April 28, 2009

As Specter Switches, the Ira Einhorn Saga Deserves Wider Mention

IraEinhornMugs.jpgIra who?

The establishment media is saying almost nothing about the man who co-founded Earth Day (yes, indeed he did — see Update 2 below), and who also happens to be in jail for life for murder. Arlen Specter’s involvement with the Ira Einhorn case is an important event in the party-switching Senator’s career that curious readers would want to know about — if the establishment media cared to note it.

You know they would be bringing out similar stories quite prominently if they existed about a Democratic senator switching parties. Look at what the Associated Press and the Democratic Party (but I repeat myself) laid on Joe Lieberman in 2006 (“AP Labels Joe Lieberman ‘Democrats’ Public Enemy No. 1′”) — and he’s still considered a reliable Democratic vote.

Time Magazine recounted the sordid case history in 1997; it’s a read the whole awful thing piece if there ever was one.

But before excerpting Time, let’s look at two of the earlier paragraphs at John J. Miller’s related National Review piece in April 2004, written days before Specter barely withstood an aggressive GOP primary challenge from then-Congressman Pat Toomey:

Between serving on the Warren Commission and becoming a senator, Specter was twice elected district attorney in Philadelphia, where he earned a tough-on-crime reputation. His most famous case, however, came in 1979, when he was in private practice and thinking about running for the Senate. A man named Ira Einhorn, better known as the “Unicorn,” had been arrested for the murder of his girlfriend; she had been missing for a year and a half when police found her mummified corpse squeezed into a trunk hidden in Einhorn’s closet.

Einhorn was a celebrated leftist and is credited with helping found Earth Day. He also had strong ties to Philadelphia elites — a group of people Specter was cultivating for his prospective Senate campaign when he agreed to become Einhorn’s lawyer.

That’s important background not contained in Time’s report, which focused more on the details of Einhorn’s grisly murder of Holly Maddux and his 16-year flight from justice, which we should never forget was facilitated by Specter (bold is mine):

Ira Einhorn …. (was) a man who had risen to fame during the late 1960s and early 1970s as a counterculture guru. Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman were friends, logically enough. But so was an unlikely battalion of bluebloods, millionaires and corporate executives, many of them so charmed by Einhorn’s New Age vision that they stood by him even after his arrest for a murder so grisly an entire city had gasped.

….. The story had been absolutely epic in Philadelphia, touching off endless rounds of horror and disbelief. Ira Einhorn? Peace-loving, earth-hugging Ira Einhorn? In the March 29, 1979, Philadelphia Daily News, the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island was nearly invisible under the mutant block letters at the top of Page One:

“HIPPIE GURU” HELD IN TRUNK SLAYING

….. with knowledge stolen from years of voracious reading, Einhorn charmed many into believing the planet was warping into new frontiers and only the Unicorn could lead them into the Age of Aquarius. Whether it was politics, environment or computer science, “he was three or four steps ahead of you at every turn,” says Norris Gelman, one of Einhorn’s attorneys. As if hypnotized, the suits responded with free lunches, grants, consulting contracts, four-figure speaking fees. A local communications company hired Einhorn to mediate a neighborhood power-plant dispute, then for years afterward sponsored his space travel by mailing copies of his scribblings and those of other “forward thinkers” to a growing list of international contacts.

Einhorn won a teaching fellowship at Harvard in the ’70s. In the ’60s he had taught an alternative-education class at Penn, his alma mater, and once reportedly broke out the joints, stripped naked and danced in the classroom. Thirty years ago, not everyone was after an M.B.A.

Warts and all, “Ira charmed the city,” says Lewis. And countless women.

….. He met Helen (Holly) Maddux in 1972 at La Terrasse, the bistro where he held court but never picked up the tab. Maddux was described as a woman of such mesmerizing elegance, everything around her would fall away. “Michelle Pfeiffer has the same kind of fragile beauty,” says Holly’s sister Mary ….

….. (Maddux) met another man and in early autumn 1977 told Einhorn it was over between them. He threatened by phone to toss her belongings into the street, and she raced over to retrieve them. She would not be seen again. Ira calmly told anyone who asked that she’d gone to the nearby food co-op and simply never returned.

In Texas, Holly’s parents Fred and Elizabeth Maddux became suspicious. Holly had never gone more than a few weeks without checking in. They called Philadelphia police, who made cursory checks but had no reason to suspect foul play. Unsatisfied, the Madduxes hired Bob Stevens, a retired FBI man working as a private detective in Tyler. Stevens hooked up with another retired G-man, J.R. Pearce, in Philadelphia. What they uncovered, in a year of spadework, was a story for Hitchcock.

A Drexel student who lived in the apartment below Einhorn’s recalled a “blood-curdling scream” and heavy banging one night in the fall of 1977. In a neighborhood of frat houses and party hounds, the student downstairs thought nothing of it. But the odor that followed within weeks was impossible to ignore, as was the putrid, dark-brown liquid that oozed down through the ceiling from Einhorn’s apartment. The tenant and his roommate tried unsuccessfully to clean it away, then called the landlord, who called plumbers. Einhorn stubbornly refused to let the workers into a padlocked closet just off his bedroom.

….. The private detectives turned it all over to police, and on March 28, 1979, at 9 a.m., homicide detective (Michael) Chitwood knocked on Einhorn’s door. Once inside, he headed straight for the locked closet. He pried it open with a crowbar and immediately smelled a “faint decaying smell, like a dead animal.” Next he sprang the lock on the steamer trunk. The newspapers inside were dated August and September 1977. Under them was Styrofoam packing material. Chitwood scooped through it until he came to something he couldn’t identify at first, and then it was clear. A hand. A human hand. He scooped some more, and as he did, Holly Maddux slowly emerged. Einhorn stood by, impassive.

Then began the parade. One after another at Einhorn’s bail hearing, his supporters took the stand in his defense. A minister, a corporate lawyer, a playwright, an economist, a telephone-company executive. They couldn’t imagine Einhorn’s harming any living thing. Release of murder defendants pending trial was unheard of, but Einhorn’s attorney was soon-to-be U.S. senator Arlen Specter, and bail was set at a staggeringly low $40,000 — only $4,000 of it needed to walk free.

It would appear that “cultivating Philadelphia’s elites” was more important to Specter than the prospect of a likely guilty man disappearing into the ether and Holly Maddux’s family not seeing justice served for 16 years — something, as Time notes at the full article, Holly’s parents never got to see before they died.

A senator switching parties from Democrat to Republican would see such an episode repeated ad nauseam in the establishment press. Specter hasn’t thus far, and probably won’t — which is why it’s referenced here.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

___________________________________

UPDATE: A Wayback-archived post at FreeRepublic of an item by Specter’s 1998 general election opponent raises many more very good questions about Specter’s involvement in Einhorn’s release.

UPDATE 2, May 1: It seems there was some attempted backtracking by enviros associated with the first Earth Day in 1970, as they have tried to pretend that Einhorn was not a co-founder.

Nice try, no sale:

PhillyBulletinEinhornCofoundedEarthDay0409

The Philly Bulletin piece from April 22, i.e., just over a week ago, comes 11 years after the enviros’ letter. Obviously the Inquirer didn’t buy the horse manure the enviros tried to sell. As card-carrying establishment media libs, if they credibly could back away from Einhorn’s involvement, I’m sure they would. It’s clear they can’t.

The Earth Day letter writers, in pure CYA mode, claim that Einhorn was there, but that he hogged the stage without authorization.

Wikipedia, however, says that:

He also claimed to have been instrumental in creating Earth Day in 1970, and during the first Earth Day event, which was televised globally, Ira Einhorn was on stage as master of ceremonies, although other event organizers dispute his account.

The sentence structure is shaky, but his presence “on stage as master of ceremonies” reads as a fact, not something that Einhorn merely claimed.

Again, if enviros could accurately erase Einhorn from meaningful association with Earth Day at a place like Wikipedia, they would. It’s clear they can’t.

Finally, there is Russ Baker, who is an award-winning investigative reporter and founder of WhoWhatWhy.com. He has written for the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, the Nation, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Village Voice and Esquire. Definitely leans left, but seems to follow truth where it leads him.

Baker visited The Unicorn in France in 1999 as Einhorn was fighting extradition, beginning his Esquire report as follows:

Twenty years ago, the state of Pennsylvania charged Ira Einhorn, a cofounder of Earth Day, with beating Holly Maddux to death. Now he lives in a nice country house in France with his beautiful wife. As his extradition hangs in the balance, he tends his garden. Swims daily in one of the two streams on his property. E-mails the CIA. A killer on the lam never had it so good.

An investigative reporter of Baker’s pedigree would not claim that Einhorn is an Earth Day co-founder a year AFTER the enviros’ letter if it weren’t true. Thus, it clearly must be true.

Someone owes me a white flag on this one. Add that to the apologies he owes for profanely referring to yours truly and threatening readers here (“you’re with us or you’re against us”) if we didn’t fall in line and bow down to Barack Obama after the November election.

Better luck next time. Google’s search engine is indeed my friend, but clearly only his very distant acquaintance.

Newspaper Circs: Another Serious Drop; NYT’s Small Decline a Short-Term Obama Strategy Vindication

NYThistoryObama0109From Editor & Publisher yesterday (bold is mine):

The Audit Bureau of Circulations released this morning the spring figures for the six months ending March 31, 2009, showing that the largest metros continue to shed daily and Sunday circulation — now at a record rate.

According to ABC, for 395 newspapers reporting this spring, daily circulation fell 7% to 34,439,713 copies, compared with the same March period in 2008. On Sunday, for 557 newspapers, circulation was down 5.3% to 42,082,707. These averages do not include 84 newspapers with circulations below 50,000 due to a change in publishing frequency.

Here is a chart showing the specifics for the top 25, including percentage losses for the past four years and during the past year (current year source: Editor & Publisher):

NewspaperCirc033105to033109

Until this year, there were three notable exceptions to the downward trend: USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post. I stated during the past few years, and still believe it to be the case, that these three publications were doing better than their counterparts because they tended to play the news relatively straight — and in the Journal’s case, as its late opinion page editor Robert Bartley used to say, it is still the only newspaper people buy specifically to read the editorials.

Clearly, the New York Post has succumbed to print news’s general malaise in the past year. Still, in past four years, its 13.2% decline makes its performance the seventh-best among the top 25 papers, and its decline is less than half of five of them (Dallas Morning News, Chicago Sun-Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

It’s probably safe to say that current economic conditions have moved many print readers to get their news online at a faster rate than in previous years. In fact, it may be fair to say that a print newspaper, like the morning cappuccino, has officially turned the corner and became a tough-times luxury instead of a routine indulgence. In New York, especially given that the Daily News also declined steeply, it’s likely that Gotham’s job losses and the state’s recent round of tax increases on seemingly anything and everything have accelerated the online conversion even further.

That leaves the New York Times, which, for all its troubles, might end up being the last newspaper standing — especially if it puts its awfully-performing Boston Globe property to sleep.

The Times’s decline in the past year was relatively small because it’s positioned as a national newspaper; it’s actually New York’s third newspaper in circulation inside the city. Its shameless shilling for President Barack Obama, up to and including its ads as seen above, has thus far worked relatively well — or less poorly than almost everyone else — as a business strategy. It remains to be seen if selling out what little remained of its journalistic integrity makes the Old Gray Lady viable in the long run.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

UPDATE, April 29: Although I suspect that Burrelle’s will publish a separate Top 100 list shortly, here is the detailed 3/31/09 data, before it disappears behind E&P’s subscription wall, just in case –

USA TODAY — 2,113,725 – (-7.46%)
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL — 2,082,189 — 0.61%
THE NEW YORK TIMES — 1,039,031 — (-3.55%)
LOS ANGELES TIMES — 723,181 — (-6.55%)
THE WASHINGTON POST — 665,383 — (-1.16%)

DAILY NEWS (NEW YORK) — 602,857 — (-14.26%)
NEW YORK POST — 558,140 — (-20.55%)
CHICAGO TRIBUNE — 501,202 — (-7.47%)
HOUSTON CHRONICLE — 425,138 — (-13.96%)
THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC — 389,701 — (-5.72%)

THE DENVER POST (02/28/2009 to 03/31/2009) — 371,728 — N/A
NEWSDAY — 368,194 — (-3.01%)
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS — 331,907 — (-9.88%)
STAR-TRIBUNE, MINNEAPOLIS — 320,076 — (-0.71%)
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES — 312,141 — (-0.04%)

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE — 312,118 — (-15.72%)
THE BOSTON GLOBE — 302,638 — (-13.68%)
THE PLAIN DEALER, CLEVELAND — 291,630 — (-11.70%)
DETROIT FREE PRESS — 290,730 — (-5.90%)
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER — 288,298 — (-13.72%)

THE STAR-LEDGER, NEWARK, N.J. — 287,082 — (-16.82%)
ST. PETERSBURG (FLA.) TIMES — 283,093 — (-10.42%)
THE OREGONIAN, PORTLAND — 268,512 — (-11.76%)
THE ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION — 261,828 — (-19.91%)
SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE — 261,253 — (-9.53%)

Specter Switches Parties: Ira Einhorn Must Be Pleased

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:55 pm

News.

As of this moment …..

  • Hugh Hewitt (Specter got his coveted Judiciary Committee Chairmanship in ’04 — that really helped, didn’t it, Hugh?);
  • Rick Santorum;
  • George W. Bush;
  • Karl Rove;
  • and most of the Washington establishment GOP;

…. are apparently unavailable for comment.

All of them opposed genuine conservative Pat Toomey’s GOP Senate Primary candidacy in 2004, for no legitimate reason other than to protect an incumbent.

“Unicorn Killer” Ira Einhorn, whom Arlen Specter somehow arranged to have freed for $4,000 after Einhorn’s arrest, was also apparently unavailable — as, of course, was Holly Maddux.

____________________________________________________

Update: More on Einhorn, as a demonstration of the liberal dementia of the 1960s and 1970s that has never really left us, and which Arlen Specter supported at crunch time –

…. on March 28, 1979, at 9 a.m., homicide detective (Michael) Chitwood knocked on Einhorn’s door. Once inside, he headed straight for the locked closet. He pried it open with a crowbar and immediately smelled a “faint decaying smell, like a dead animal.” Next he sprang the lock on the steamer trunk. The newspapers inside were dated August and September 1977. Under them was Styrofoam packing material. Chitwood scooped through it until he came to something he couldn’t identify at first, and then it was clear. A hand. A human hand. He scooped some more, and as he did, Holly Maddux slowly emerged. Einhorn stood by, impassive.

Then began the parade. One after another at Einhorn’s bail hearing, his supporters took the stand in his defense. A minister, a corporate lawyer, a playwright, an economist, a telephone-company executive. They couldn’t imagine Einhorn’s harming any living thing. Release of murder defendants pending trial was unheard of, but Einhorn’s attorney was soon-to-be U.S. senator Arlen Specter, and bail was set at a staggeringly low $40,000 — only $4,000 of it needed to walk free. It was paid by Barbara Bronfman, a Montreal socialite who had married into the Seagram distillery family and met Einhorn through a common interest in the paranormal. It was Einhorn’s new rage, and his orbit of friends had expanded to include Uri Geller, the spoon-bending Israeli illusionist.

The whole thing was a setup, Einhorn assured followers. Through his antiwar research and with contacts that extended beyond the Iron Curtain, he simply knew too much about weapons development, psychic research and global conspiracies. Maddux was murdered to discredit him. The CIA, the KGB, who knew? The most damning evidence against him was also the most obvious proof of his innocence: Would a man as smart as he murder his girlfriend and keep the evidence at his bedside?

But the evidence against him mounted. Testimony from two friends who were asked by Einhorn to help him dispose of the trunk. The two former girlfriends who ended up in the hospital after trying to break off relationships with Einhorn. One was nearly strangled; the other had a Coke bottle smashed over her head. So much for flower power. The public embodiment of peace and love was in private a monster. Sickened friends spoke of betrayal and wondered if Einhorn had ever cared about anything but Ira. George Keegan: “We were walking down the street together. People who once would come up and hug Ira crossed the street and averted their eyes… He looked at me, sad, and said, ‘I’m not going to be able to be Ira Einhorn now.’ And I realized he was a selfish, arrogant bastard.”

And then, shortly before his trial was to begin in January 1981, Philadelphia’s own philosopher king simply vanished into the vapor of his grandiose mutterings.

The year Einhorn fled, Richard DiBenedetto (of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office) became a father, and it gave deeper meaning to his telephone conversations with Holly’s parents. Moved by their grief, he became obsessed with the case. Especially after Ira’s friend Harry Jay Katz baited him, “You’ll never catch Ira. He’s too smart for you.”

….. (DiBenedetto said) “I knew he liked to play a game called Go. It’s an ancient Oriental game, sort of like chess, and I found out on the Internet where the Go clubs were in Europe.” One was in Dublin, Ireland, one of Einhorn’s first stops. He and his new girlfriend rented an apartment from a Trinity College professor named Denis Weaire. When Weaire visited friends in Chicago in April 1981, he told them about this mysterious character named Einhorn. His friends thought the name rang a bell; they called newspapers and got the full story. Weaire evicted Einhorn, but Irish police told him that with no extradition treaty in force at the time, there was no cause for arrest, and the Unicorn jumped.

….. DiBenedetto suspected (singer Peter) Gabriel was funneling money to Einhorn. Gabriel told Scotland Yard he had not.

But someone else had, and after years of pursuit by DiBenedetto, she finally relented. Bronfman, by then divorced from the distilling family, at last admitted to DiBenedetto that she had sent Einhorn cash regularly until 1988, when she read “The Unicorn’s Secret,” a damning book about Einhorn by journalist Steven Levy. Find a woman in Sweden named Annika Flodin, Bronfman said.

The D.A.’s office, the FBI, Interpol and Swedish police moved quickly. It had been seven years, and this was the best shot yet. But Einhorn was quick too; once again he slithered away, just hours ahead of the sheriff.

….. DiBenedetto would never get to call Maddux’s parents with good news. Ill and depressed over a leg amputation, Fred Maddux killed himself in 1988. Two years later, his wife died of emphysema. Holly’s murder “ruined their life,” daughter Elisabeth says. “And they died thinking that Ira beat them.”

In 1993, fearing that witnesses would soon vanish, Philadelphia D.A. Lynne Abraham decided to use a new state law allowing trials in absentia. With only Einhorn’s memory filling the defendant’s chair, a jury listened for two weeks and then took just two hours to convict the Unicorn of first-degree murder.

It wasn’t satisfaction enough for DiBenedetto. Then, early this year (1997), he heard from Hjordis Reichel, a Swedish woman living in California who had seen an “Unsolved Mysteries” show about Einhorn. She had relatives in the upper echelons of the Stockholm police. Call them, DiBenedetto said. It can’t hurt.

….. Through those connections, Reichel got Flodin’s Swedish social security number. DiBenedetto’s Interpol contact ran it through motor vehicles in Sweden — and made the discovery that broke the case. In 1994 Flodin had applied for a French driver’s license under the name Annika Flodin Mallon.

Mallon.

Either Flodin had married the Dublin book dealer, or, more likely, DiBenedetto suspected, she had married Einhorn, and he had changed his name to Mallon.

That was May 15, Einhorn’s 57th birthday. DiBenedetto notified French authorities and gave them the Champagne-Mouton address on the driver’s license application. French police, posing as tourists and fishermen, ran surveillance on the farmhouse in Champagne-Mouton. DiBenedetto waited. Days passed. Weeks passed. Finally, on Friday, June 13 (1997), word came: There had been an arrest. DiBenedetto could hardly believe it. He didn’t trust it until two days later. “That was Father’s Day. I thought about Holly’s father, about her parents, and I just jumped up and cheered.”

Einhorn was finally extradited to the U.S. — four years later (if you can stand it, read about the leftists who STILL were protecting him). He is now serving a life sentence in a central Pennsylvania prison.

Let me suggest that Arlen Specter has finally come home — and what a sick, twisted home it is.

Lucid Links (042809, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:33 am

Noteworthy Net-Worthies:

If the claim made at this Freep.com article is correct, and I believe it is, General Government Motors will have to file for bankruptcy to shrink its dealer network as much as it wishes. Yours truly blogged on “The Car Dealer-State Government Racket” back in August 2006.

From Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post, on “The Media Elite’s Secret Dinners” (HT Warner Todd Huston at NewsBusters, who calls it a “shocker”) — “…. the catered gatherings also sound rather cozy, like some secret-handshake gathering of an entrenched elite.” Because they are.

From the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) at George Mason University (HT to the Kurtz WaPo piece mentioned earlier), quantifying the obvious — “The media have given President Obama more coverage than George W. Bush and Bill Clinton combined and more positive coverage than either received at this point in their presidencies …. During his first 50 days in office, the three broadcast network evening news shows devoted 1021 stories lasting 27 hours 44 minutes to Barack Obama’s presidency. The daily average of seven stories and over 11 minutes of airtime represents about half of the entire newscasts. By contrast, at this point in their presidencies George W. Bush had received 7 hours 42 minutes and Bill Clinton garnered 15 hours 2 minutes of coverage, for a combined total airtime five hours less than Mr. Obama’s. …. Mr. Obama has received not only more press but also better press than his immediate predecessors.” There is some consolation in this that CMPA didn’t note: The evening news shows’ combined audience, currently at 21-24 million viewers, is, according to a chart at this July 2006 BizzyBlog post, over 30% lower than eight years ago, and about 45% lower than 16 years ago.

You Don’t Say — “Swine flu fears may hammer travel industry.” Okay, you have to have something as a headline. But where have the headlines been about how Obama administration’s and Congress’s demonization of corporate meetings at nice places has already badly hurt the travel industry? Answer: Nowhere.

While we’re on corporate affairs, where’s the lefty outrage over hefty bonuses paid at newspapers that have either gone into bankruptcy (Philly Inquirer), or that appear to be heading in that direction (The New York Times and the Boston Globe)?

Priceless paragraph at IBDeditorials.com (“Nancy ‘Scooter’ Pelosi”) — “Scooter Libby went to prison for the “outing” of a desk-jockey CIA agent. He forgot conversations. Pelosi forgets briefings. And the outing of our entire intelligence apparatus by Democrats is OK.” Where are the defenders of Plame when the rest of the CIA needs them? It was never about the “outing” of Plame. It was always about beating up on Bush.

Positivity: Girl credits neighbour with saving her life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:13 am

From Ottawa, Canada:

April 27, 2009

Nine-year-old Brianna Rose says her neighbour, Bram Champagne, saved her life when he scooped her up and swept her into his home at the peak of Saturday’s storm. She made a card for him on Sunday, using the letters of his name to express her appreciation: B for brilliant, R for riskful, A for awesome and M for magnificent.

“The wind, it sounded sort of bad, and then it started going wild and everything was flying in the air, and it picked me up and threw me back on the ground,” explained the brown-eyed girl as she hugged her little dog, Clover. “Then my dad’s friend picked me up and put me in his house.”

After dinner Saturday, the girl was playing with some neighbourhood children at one end of the courtyard of their Manor Park rowhouse complex on Glasgow Crescent, across from Beechwood Cemetery.

Her four-year-old brother, Spencer, was riding his bike at the other end, near the family’s home. Their father, Steve Rose, kept watch from the back step.

He popped inside to use the washroom just as the rain started.

Most of the children went indoors right away, but Brianna wanted to play a little more.

“I was running down the hill when it started to happen,” the fourth-grade student said. “Things started going all over the place and the wind started hitting my leg.”

Shingles, garbage-can lids, plastic lawnchairs, branches, rocks and dirt swirled around the courtyard. Champagne had just moved his car and was heading indoors.

“The wind hit and it got very bad very quick. The danger was the stuff that was flying,” the 46-year-old optician said. “I lived in Florida and I’ve never seen anything like this, the intensity and speed that it hit. It was like a three- or four-punch fight.”

From inside his house, Rose, 44, heard a rumbling sound. He didn’t stop to put his shoes on. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.