The publishers of the New York Social Diary like it when I send them something about an interesting Washington party or two, but they especially like it when the column is about what's going on here in a more "mood of the city" fashion. What are people talking about? Thinking about? So, today they publish a column called Hillary Clinton has Left The Building. It's the most interesting talk I hear: what will Hillary do? Where will she go? Will she run? We don't know, but I do my best to give context to the mystery. Of course, there's also two parties and a few thoughts on the paintings of George W. Bush.
Starting next Wednesday Feb 13, one week from today, I'll make a weekly appearance on WUSA's morning show to talk about what's going on our town. It will be a Washington social chronicle, derived from what I write for washingtonian.com, with context, and with photos, As with Washingtonian, it will be social occasions that show something about the city, who we are, and how social life keeps the wheels turning as the work day transitions from day to night. It will have some character, meaning not a checklist of last night's fundraisers and red carpets. We will pick and choose. While a lot of reporters like to focus on celebrities, visiting here or what they are up to in Hollywood and New York, I like to talk about the people who live here, which means a quite few household names.
For example, there's a social context to who goes to Nats, Wizards, Caps and Redskins games with season tickets and the best seats. Hey, you've noticed, I'm sure, that Congress doesn't live here anymore. What's that about? Why are Bill Clinton, John Kerry and Joe Biden regulars at Cafe Milano? What about the new Georgetown hotel that will have a private rooftop pool club and hopes to kill the nearby competition? Then there's the story I broke last year, about the Oval Office renovation and President Obama having to move to the EEOB (to Nixon's old hideaway) while the work is done. There will be more of that type of story, too. And Donald Trump opening a hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Everybody loves hearing about social life, and sometimes with a little good gossip thrown in (I'm sitting on a doozy right now).
A good example of what I do is an article yesterday about a rare party for embassy social secretaries. At the party both White House social secretary Jeremy Bernard and chief of protocol Capricia Marshall confirmed to me that they will be staying in their jobs in the second term. So, there's a news component, too. If you've been reading my social chronicling for the last six years, with New York Social Diary and now Washingtonian, you know what to expect.
WHITE HOUSE SOCIAL SECRETARY JEREMY BERNARD
Another recent story that would play well in this context is what I reported last week about First Lady Michelle Obama: posing for a Vogue cover, having a Girls Night Out at BLT Steak and the Howard Theater, where she was seen dancing in the aisles. What does it say? What does it mean? Why should we care? That's what we'll talk about. Also, the Alvin Ailey Gala Tuesday night. At the dinner dance I sat between a brilliantly talented 26-year-old Ailey dancer and a DC artist who switched careers from government to painting after she received a message from God.
While the Ailey event was a fundraiser it is also unique in Washington, because it's a wild dance party and probably DC's most diverse formal party, mixing White House staff (Valerie Jarrett), Congress (Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz), business leaders (Post publisher Katharine Weymouth) ... with the exception of whatever went on in the East Room the night of President Obama's public swearing-in. I wasn't at that party, but that's precisely the kind of party I pursue -exclusive, private, unsual and off the grid ... so long as it says something about this town and who we are.
The idea for this new venture, which I would say initially is in the experimental phase, came from anchor Mike Hydeck, after I made an appearance to discuss the inauguration. Mike, executive producer Anetra Gaines and I got together to discuss it further. So please watch, wish me luck, comment, and let's hope this finds its place on the rails and stays there for a long time. I spent most of my professional life in television, including a decade with WUSA's mother ship, CBS News, and still host The Q&A Cafe for DC Cable, and enjoy keeping a hand in. For me it's a natural habitat.
I stopped in at the News Channel 8 studios today to talk about the November and December issues of The Washingtonian with Let's Talk Live co-host Natasha Barrett. I followed a food segment which made the studio smell so much better than the typical TV studio. TV shows should always have food segments -- for the sake of the staff and guests.
Watch the segment, but I'll give you a tease: the December issue of the magazine would make you think we can see into the future.
In one brief interview we discussed these topics: the Petraeus scandal, love affairs, love and marriage, how to stay married in this town, Cleveland Park, Palena Restaurant, the Uptown Theater, 2 Amy's, Hillwood museum, Cactus Cantina and more.
Almost by the hour the plot thickens in the Petraeus scandal,with new information coming from here in Washington, down in Florida, and now Afghanistan, too. The entry of the other-other woman, Jill Kelley, in Tampa prompted me to tweet Bravo's Andy Cohen to ask him to please get with it and produce a "Real Housewives of the Joint Special Operations Command." Press accounts describe her as a "socialite" with a "mansion" and "married to a doctor." That's tailor made for Real Housewives. If you doubt me even the slightest, read this from the Tampa Bay Times. I'm intrigued by her "good friend" in the FBI, who may have bent some rules for her. The Wall Street Journal reports tonight that Kelly's agent friend sent her shirtless photos of himself. Is that great, or what?
But an even bigger bombshell is that the FBI is also investigating Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan and up for a big promotion, for an alleged trail of "inappropriate" communications with...Kelley!
The scandal that keeps on giving.
Pretending for a moment that I'm back in the talk show producing business, I like to play the game of who's the biggest "get" at any given moment. This is how it shakes down for me, who I'd book and on what show, because eventually everyone of these players in the scandal will do a TV interview (and books):
Jill Kelley - for Anderson Cooper (he gets the set up)
Holly Petraeus - for The View (empathy, obvious)
David and Holly Petraeus together - Oprah (couples therapy, obvious)
Paula Broadwell - 60 Minutes (Morley Safer, delicious)
The "Shirtless" FBI Agent - Greta Van Susteren (scolding, she's so damned PO'd at the FBI)
FBI Director Robert Mueller - Meet the Press This Week The Daily Show (well, why not?)
Another part of the story happened this past weekend out in Little Washington, Virginia. That's where Scott and Paula Broadwell spent Thursday and Friday night at the romantic Middleton Inn. For a while I lived part-time in Little Washington and still have good contacts there. Needless to say the Broadwell visit was Topic A in the town today. It's a small town. Word spreads fast. I put a story together for The Washingtonian: The Broadwells Little Washington Getaway.
The voting sticker I chose today at my polling place in Georgetown. It was one of the options, the other, of course, being in English. This may be the future of American politics. For today, congratulations to the 2012 winner, President Barack Obama.
I went to three parties, each a mix of players, power brokers and insiders. The mood was contained optimism that grew into unbridled joy and relief.
Earlier in the day, GOP friends had texted to say they were not expecting a good night. We will likely later learn that those close to the campaigns new the trend early on in the day.
What's the future for foreign policy in Barack Obama's second term? That's the focus of The Q&A Cafe for Friday, November 9 at the Ritz Carlton Georgetown. Our guest is Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. You know the group. Robert Rubin is a member of the board. So are David Rubenstein and Madeleine Albright. And Tom Brokaw, Colin Powell, Fred Smith, Pete Peterson, Martin Felstein and David Bradley. Angelina Jolie is a member, too.
How can we not have loads to talk about?
Please make a reservation today. The fee is only $35, and that's all inclusive of food, drinks, tax and tip. It's a deal. To make reservations please contact Esmaralda Prifold. Or phone 202.912.4110.
This will be our first post-election gathering. It will be timely, interesting and, as always, fun.
Here is a recent column Haass wrote for Huffington Post.
I'm loath to use the word, but Max's expression is insipid. Plain and simple. He's lost the will to faux emote.
Romney's flag lapel pin is GOP version of "mine's bigger than yours." True patriots don't need 'em, and don't need big ones. Fail.
To be fair, Romney is right that we need more armed whirligigs stationed as close as possible to fearsome Siam.
I have made a pact with myself: to work out for the entire debate. That will make it all okay.
This ballroom at the Washington Hilton soon filled up with an interesting mix of Italian Americans, and Americans and Italians at the annual National Italian American Foundation gala. Happily, not the usual suspects. Oh, yeah, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, but the Supremes are socially unbiquitous. These days it's pretty much not a party without at least one of them on the guest list, often there are two or three. I think it was Anthony Kennedy who I almost tripped over at the ball last night.
But tonight lots of real people, many of them in town from New York, New Jersey and Italia. At my table, photographer Kevin Allen and I were the only two from DC. We liked that. To my right was a man from Arlington, New Jersey, and to Kevin's left to men from Florence, Italy, though one of them lives and works in New York City. Here they are:
Who better to talk to about the state of political affairs in Washington, DC, than the city's most enduring, "been there, done that," politician, Council Member and former mayor Marion Barry Jr? He'll be the guest at The Q&A Cafe at noon TODAY. This will be a little more than a week after the council reconvenes for its fall legislative session. If you remember, when the Council met in the spring and chose Phil Mendelson to replace disgraced council chairman Kwame Brown, the meeting was contentious. Barry called DC "the laughingstock of the nation." At The Q&A Cafe, we'll discuss that and more, including what Barry sees as his "legacy."
The Q&A Cafe tapes at the Ritz Carlton Georgetown Hotel. For reservations please call 202.912.4110 or email Esmaralda Prifold Seating begins at noon, lunch is served and the all inclusive fee is $35.
Note: the program is broadcast on the District Cable Network (Channel 16) every Friday at 8 o'clock in the evening and at other times during the week. It is also on YouTube.
It's that time of year again, when all the presidential level candidates, and their spouses, get code names to be used by the Secret Service. Now, in truth, those in office already have these code names, as do their high level staff, but added to the roster are the challengers. We couldn't resist making a pop quiz, which is posted on The Washingtonian. Some of you may already know the answers - so, no spoilers - but take the quiz and have fun. Secret Service Pop Quiz.
Yesterday afternoon D.C. City council member Marion Barry Jr., and I spent an hour in his Wilson Building office, having a conversation that covered many subjects, but especially the economic divide between black and white residents, and the federal investigation of Mayor Vincent Gray. To be expected, Barry's opinions were strong. He thinks the feds need to "speed it up" on Gray, and he feels Washington "might" be ready for a white mayor. Read the full story here: washingtonian.com.
DOUBLE CLICK TO VIEW IN FULL
This interview with MSNBC's Howard Fineman was taped Thursday, July 26, at The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown. Our next show is Friday, August 17, when the subject will be national security and national intelligence, with "The Watchers" author, and Washingtonian senior writer, Shane Harris.
For those of you who don't partake of this sort of thing, let me clue you in on a behind the scenes detail of so-called "events" in Washington: attending them as a labeled member of the "media" can often be humiliating and frustrating -- but, most of all, humiliating. The organizers treat people who write and shoot pictures for a living as an alien race who must be controlled and segregated, at all times, from the superior humans, which often, in addition to assorted A, B and C entertainment and business celebrities plus tax-payer paid public servants, include fellow members of the Washington media, who want to be celebrities. Oh, Lord. You know who they are. Reporters on one side of the rope are expected to interview and photograph reporters on the other side. It's a bizarre phenomenon of DC.
That's just the beginning of the whackness. I've been to events where even media spawn are presented as celebrities for the "scrum" to report upon -- and, sadly, they do.
So, what does that have to do with tonight's otherwise honorable dinner on behalf of AIDS, embodied by amfAR? Not much, except it was celebrity studded (STUDDED!!!) and there were, at the outset, lots of rules for the branded and segregated media (really, the PR abuse has reached a level where slapping an "M" on reporters' clothing would accurately reflect the discrimination doled out). Nothing to do with the amfAR people exactly. The funny thing was they managed the evening in a loosey-goosey manner, and I was appreciative. For every rule they enforced they let another be forgotten. Here's a funny contrast: working photographers, with serious camera muscle, got pushed back by handlers protecting Bill Gates and Anderson Cooper, while those of us with our iPhones were able to move in close.
What knots my knickers? Getting kitted out on a Saturday night, schlepping to an "event," and then finding my seat is with other writers, who (btw) feel the same as I do. We may get along but we didn't come out on a Saturday night to sit at a round table and stare at each other. Dear Event Planner: How, oh, how, do we write about your givers and believers and awesome staff and great accomplishments if we're seated on the sidelines at a table of people who have nothing to do with your cause? I've never, ever understood this logic and generally just get up and leave. I didn't tonight, because ... who knows why. Maybe because it was early. Maybe because that hot man item, Bill Gates, was in the room.
But seriously. Dear Event Planners, do you think this is anything but work for me? It's not. It's work. I enjoy the work, or I wouldn't be there, and especially when I'm given the privilege of experiencing the event, but If you want interesting and useful coverage you will seat me in the warm, moist center of your cause....because that is the story. This is not my social life. It's your social life, and the social life of your guests arrayed around the room, the paying customers, the folks who would like to talk about why they are there. Mix me up with them. Unless, of course, you want me to write a story about The New York Times, Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Washington Life, Capitol File, Bloomberg, Agence France Presse, Associated Press....etc. In other words, my table mates.
The good event planners and hosts understand, but the good are few.
Further, if you want good pictures, stop with those assinine backdrops. Stop fencing in the photogs. I can tell you, the public are weary of the tedious & endless same-same and boring photos shot before a "step and repeat." Be the first to kill it. You would get such better shots of your paying principals if you invited the photogs, the good ones, to roam during the cocktail hour and the seating of dinner. People look better in candids. For one thing, they look alive. The reading and viewing public are drawn to "real" moments. A backdrop photo is just about as original and fresh and unique as last night's lap dance.
So, I hope you've enjoyned my guerilla pics from tonight, in which Bill Gates mostly seemed to want to talk to Anderson Cooper, but politely got up as needed to be honored, to be photographed, and to wrap his arm around Sharon Stone. He did not wrap his arm around Nancy Pelosi, who smartly moved in for a prime photo at a prime moment. I know this because I got up from my table on the outer border of the dinner and walked over to where the action was, the Gates-Cooper-Stone table, to observe the goings on with my own two eyes. That's what made the amfAR people cool. They didn't deck check me.
Funny observation: When Bill and Sharon got up to talk and moved elsewhere, and Anderson was left with no one on his immediate left or right, he had only William Cohen, and they did their best to hit it off in the same way as Coop and Gates and Gates and Stone. At least Sharon's jacket was still there on the chair between them, suggesting something ... but what?
Before the political speeches began -- meaning the speeches by politicians -- I drifted from the big dinner only a few steps to a much smaller party nearby. It was for ONE, another foundation, created by Bono and supported by Bill and Melinda Gates, and where my friend Michael Elliott is CEO and President.
I ran into Michael almost immediately. He's an O.G. We met long ago over dinner at the N Street home of Trish and Mark Malloch Brown, another O.G. Mike was with Time at the time, and we had that in common, but now he's with Gates and Bono, two more O.G.'s. You choose. Also at the smaller ONE party was Barbara Bush, looking summery and comfortable in a tomato red dress. That small group were soon off to an AIDS concert at the Eisenhower Theater, joned by the folks from the larger Gates-Stone-Cooper dinner, which also included a bearded John Corbett.... and other celebs too numerous to get into right now. This will all be covered in full on washingtonian.com on Monday! You betcha.
From the first time I met him I was impressed with Roland Celette, the cultural attache for the French Embassy. I think it was during arrangements for the French Film Festival several years ago. We had lunch at La Maison Francaise on Reservoir Road. Then, I started to see him everywhere: dinners at the ambassador's residence, cultural events all over town, and even in Richmond, at the opening of a spectacular Picasso exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
So, while I was saddened to learn he has given his notice and plans to return to France, I was delighted when he accepted my invitation for lunch and an interview. He's one of those people who everyone in Washington should know about. Please take a moment to read the resulting story: Who Is Roland Celette?
The Jerry Sandusky verdict was a triumph of justice on behalf of a class of victims who almost always are treated poorly by the conventional world: the victims of pedophiles. That's because pedophiles are so chillingly skilled at picking their prey, gaming the situation, hiding in "polite society" and ingratiating themsevles well in communities that easily bestow trust on "authority" figures. The Catholic church, for example. Priests can't do any wrong, right? We know better now. The child sex abuse scandals of the Catholic church made it easier for people to be skeptical about Sandusky when his crimes first became public.
Ask any solo parent and he or she will probably tell you of having some pedophile radar, or should. As a widow with a young son I noticed fairly fast how they came out of the woodwork, like cockroaches, using that BS excuse of "wanting to be a substitute father." I let my son know if anybody acted odd he could tell me anything. Was this epidemic? No. A few episodes, but that's enough. In situations where I was suspicious I confronted the men and, like cockroaches, they disappeared back into the woodwork. They might get hugely defensive and offended, but they still skittered away. It wasn't every man who reached out to us who was suspicious, only certain types. The creepy stink is apparent beneath the surface of faux respectability and "good guy" bonhomie. Somehow their interest in your son is not adding up. They are just too eager, too available, offering too many perks, too fast, and in particular too many situations where they will conveniently be alone with your child and in a dominant role. There are people at Penn State and in The Second Mile who had that gut feeling about Jerry Sandusky, but nobody budged.
Pedophiles come after little girls, too. And they can be older women as much as men, though - for some reason - most often pedophiles are white, married men, fathers. They will prey on their own family members. A man I dated in my 20s revealed to me that he had been raped regularly by his father when he was a little boy. I'd never heard of such a thing before. I was shocked. I asked him how he dealt with it. He said, "I just shut it out, blacked out, to get through it. I went numb. I felt helpless and didn't know what else to do." Years later, a female colleague with whom i'd become friendly revealed she had been raped by her father when she was a little girl. Though now I knew this could happen, it still shocked me. She went to her mother who called her liar and insisted she not mention it again.
Both of these friends suffered lingering trauma due to the abuse, even though it stopped after they became teenagers. (Pedophiles seek out prepubsecent youths, sometimes even toddlers.). As adults they struggled with their demons, even while functioning well enough in regular society. They never had the benefit of justice brought against the predators in their lives - and of course it makes it so much more horrific, and crushing, when it is a trusted family member.
The experts say Sandusky will be locked up for life. But think of all the victims of his who we don't know about. Think of all the other Sanduskys who are out there, finding cover in jobs that allow them to be close to young children in a "respectable" way. Ha. Jerry Sandusky's home overlooked a playground, which for a pedophile had to be the equivalent of a "beach view." If it gives you a chill, it should. It doesn't mean every adult who works with children is a pedophile. Of course not. But other adults need to be more diligent, and to listen closely when children ask questions or seem in distress about another adult. And institutions have to be fair but inquisitive and thorough where there is doubt.
BTW, watch the film "Doubt" with Meryl Streep and Philip Serymout Hoffman. Another is "Little Children" with Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson, with Jackie Earle Haley giving a sympathetic portrayal of a pedophile. I wonder if there will be a Sandusky film?
There's a misconception that pedophiles are homosexuals. Generally they pass as "straight." But they really aren't even that. They are deviant, sociopathic predators in a class like serial killers.They usually are unable to control their urges, they live in a mode of denial, that what they are doing is good, they almost never confess. Experts say they can't be cured, or there's no known cure at the moment (thus the dramatic ending of "Little Children.") The North American Association of Man/Boy Love is trying to take man/boy love mainstream and to allign itself with gay and lesbian groups, but that could be a stretch. According to Wikipedia, "NAMBLA is a pedophile and pederasty advocacy organization in the United States that works to abolish age of consent laws criminalizing adult sexual involvement with minors, and for the release of all men who have been jailed for sexual contacts with minors that did not involve coercion." So, that's the distinction.
Most people would find it tough to support a group that has man/boy love as its cause, but this is America, the land of the free. When I was with CBS News I produced a story about NAMBLA, and it was an education. I never thought the day would come when they'd have a website.
What happens next? I hope the NCAA shuts down the Penn State football program for four years ... as a punishment for their neglectfulness and as a broader meassage to schools that put football above all. I hope the victims who qualify can bring civil suits and receive meaningful financial payback - for Penn State's negligence -- and that whoever else was complicit, or involved in a cover-up or indeptness, also goes off to the slammer for a significant stretch of time.
...and that's where I'm at in a story that's been being pursued, by myself and a colleague, for more than six weeks. Lots of reporting, lots of notes, lots of meetings with sources, interivews, on and off the record. In the end, it feels like making a basket. The story isn't done until the basket can hold something. Just when you think its tight and knotted, a piece becomes unraveled. That was this evening. It didn't mean we're not on to something. It meant we're on to more than we realized. We have to re-weave the basket. So, this evening we met with a source and had some drinks at Bourbon Steak.
Later, I came home, walked the dog, had a cup of decaf, and did my usual yoga. Tomorrow. Back to basket making. I will hope fewer people will lie, but we're prepared.
The scene captured above is tame for what Georgetown will look like much of today, as hundreds of motorcycles roar along M Street as part of the Rolling Thunder Memorial Day observance. All I can say is, if you are sensitive, wear earplugs. The bars should be quite lively later, too, after the official events in other parts of the city. I read/heard they are half a million cruisers, choppers, etc., strong.
The Economic Club of Washington reliably serves up one of the most interesting monthly luncheons. As the host of an interview program, I sit in appreciation of David Rubenstein's skill in hosting his own version of the Q&A. He could make a career of it if he wasn't already running Carlyle Group. Also, as one of DC's few bilionaires, it seems he's doing okay in his day job. Still, I love attending his program. Yesterday the guest was World Bank head Robert Zoellick. Read the full story: Economic Club of Washington.
ARKANSAS SEN. MARK PRYOR. HIS OFFICE SAYS NO INTERNSHIP WAS AUCTIONED.
Did Joe Francis, the creator of "Girls Gone Wild," buy a Senate internship off an online auction? Did Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas know a summer internship in his office was for up for auction, supposedly on behalf of a charity in Los Angeles? How did this happen? We tried to get to the bottom of the controversy today in interviews with Francis, a Pryor spokeswoman and others. Many emails during the night, including a few from Francis. Read the full story here at washingtonian.com.
Thank you for that. You are credible and I am on it. Please be assured I understand why you immediately shut down but it's time to get back in touch. You know how to find me.
Did you know today is National Weed Day? It makes for an excellent reason to read my interview with Dr. Mohammed Akhtar, DC's "weed czar," who talks extensively about the arrival soon of medical marijuana at dispenseries around the city. The interview is here at washingtonian.com. In the spirit of growing herb, Earth Day is Sunday, when it is expected to rain. You may also want to read my conversation with Adam Eidinger, co-owner of Capitol Hemp, which will be closing, though they hope to win one of the marijuana distribution licenses. Last but not least is The Washingtonian comprehensive cover story on DC's love affair with marijuana. Read that here, High Society.
Postscript: how did I observe this occasion? I went to the Corcoran Ball. Did anyone offer me a toke? No. What's happened to etiquette in this town?
Having worked all my adult life and having raised a child - solo - I can't help but have an opinion about the HIlary Rosen-Ann Romney debate. To me it's very simple, there's a distinction between parenting and working. I consider parenting a gift, a privilege, something I am blessed to be able to do and while sometimes challenging it is never "work." It bothers me when a parent describes their role as father or mother as "work."
Work is something we do because of passion or need (ideally both combined), but for most of us it is essential for financial survival. It's work. It's possible to love work, and enjoy the work day, and the challenges therein, but still it's work. That's why we have weekends off and holidays. If I didn't work I couldn't pay the bills.
Ann Romney can hide behind her parenting as work, but I'd like to know whether she did it all alone, whether she had any household staff, whether she had live-in babysitters to help her with her "work." I say that because there are women who raise children, and alone, and without money, and because their responsibilities as a parent are so demanding they can't go get a job, or they can't find a job, and have to live on government subsidy. I employed a live-in babysitter until my son was 6 so that I could work, because I can't imagine not working. I know a woman who has raised five children and seeks every opportunity she can to work, but would be the first to admit she had some luxury and used that luxury to focus on raising her children, and so has parented more than she's worked. She also did not have live-in help.
I also know quite a few women who have the kind of money and privilege of the Romneys, and who have children, but who who have extensive household staff and in some cases the staff raise the kids while Mom pursues her personal interests. I also know most of them would complain about how hard it has been to raise their families, that it has been "work." Yes, they are clueless.
Ann Romney has been a fortunate woman. Fortune favored her; she married money and has enjoyed the privileges money provides, and she makes reference to them often. It's like being a lottery winner: best to be quiet about what you have which others never will.
Was Hilary Rosen wrong to make her statement? Only in that she inadvertently embarassed the president in a campaign season. But she's a a parent who also works and speaks from personal experience.
An interesting debate topic, but it has nothing to do with whether Mitt Romney can run a country. It's a distraction from that question, and republicans are taking full advantage.
THE DOOR AT THE DRATH HOUSE, WITH RED POLICE TAPE
As ordered by DC Superior Court Judge Russell F. Canan, accused murderer Albrecht Muth has spent the last month undergoing a mental competency evaluation at St. Elizabeths Hospital. Today the doctors sent Canan their letter of assessment. In my earlier Washingtonian article on what is a competency evaluation, it was explained that the determining measure is three pronged. A patient has to meet these measures to be found competent. On that basis, the medical team wrote: "At present, Mr. Muth appears to have a factual understanding of the court proceedings. At this time, of concern is his ability to rationally understand the proceedings against him, or consult with his attorneys to a reasonable degree of rational understanding. Thus, it is opined that Mr. Muth is currently incompetent to proceed with his case." The underlining is mine, to emphasize the measures.
The doctors say Muth's condition as presented "could be the result of several factors to include psychosis or feigned psychological processes in order to avoid prosecution." (Again, my underline)
Regardless, they recommend he stay at St. Elizabeths "to further clarify this issue....but also to explore the possibility of feigned psychological problems as part of his clinical presentation." His diagnosis, according to the letter, is "Pyschotic Disorder Not Otherwise Specified," and he is receiving medication as part of the treatment.
Tomorrow Wednesday Judge Canan held a hearing to discuss the letter. I was there and here's the story of what happened: washingtonian.com.
Last week Muth was indicted for first-degree murder in the August beating death of his wife, Viola Drath.
Regardless of where you stand on the verdict in the Yeardley Love murder trial, there's another important factor that involves the young victim and the young man convicted of her murder, George Huguely. That factor is alcohol. College age and under age drinking in the U.S., according to police and experts, is out of control. Please read my report on washingtonian.com: George Huguely: The Fatal Combination of Youth and Alcohol.
After you read my piece, please also read this incredible analysis by Trevor Tierney, an NCAA lacrosse professional and the son of the long-time Princeton coach. He boldly and candidly discusses his own struggle with alcohol abuse and says, yes, there is too much alcohol abuse among lacrosse players in general. He writes, "Many people in lacrosse are tip-toeing around this topic, like it is some deep, dark family secret, and that's because it is. It's an extremely sensitive topic that is sad and quite challenging to talk about. But we need to be open and discuss it, to discover any healing from a tragedy like this." Again, read the full essay at Trevor Tierney on the Huguely-Love Case.
Soon the Newseum will host the premiere of the new HBO film, "Game Change," based on the political bestseller of the same name. It will debut on the air March 10. From beginning to end, it is about Sarah Palin, who is played by Julianne Moore. Please read my review of the film, on washingtonian.com: A Sympathetic Portrayal of Sarah Palin.
Tonight and tomorrow PBS will air an American Experience film examining the political era of Bill Clinton. The film, "Clinton," begins with his early life and his early attempts at political office and continues through to his leaving the White House after two terms as president. My review of the broadcast is here: The Good, The Bad and The Complicated Bill Clinton.
Note: this weekend I screened the HBO film of the book "Game Change," and will have that review in the next week or so. Fans of the book will be surprised.
The Q&A Cafe interview with Christopher Kennedy Lawford will air on Friday May 17 at 8 pm on DCN, channel 16. We discuss his life, his addictions, his recovery and it's all good. Please tune in.
Author, interviewer, and photographer. Read more...
Here is information for book clubs that have chosen Innocent Spouse: Book Club Discussions...