Thursday, March 27, 2014

Notes on 19th Century European History

the French Revolution; Napoleon seizes power; Napoleon's defeat at waterloo (1812);Congress of Vienna (1815) to maintain power through diplomatic relations; 2nd industrial revolution at the ned of the century; growth of class consciousness; rise of nationalism; unification of Italy and Germany;

Romanticism is a backlash to Enlightenment (read Shelly’s “Frankenstein”)

Industrialism/Capitalism verses Liberalism/Individualism (read Dicken’s “Hard Times”)

and the Rise of Unitarianism (1830)

1848 - The French Revolution - Emperor Louis XVI believes in divine right; population growth; pressures of stagnant economy (the estate system) feudal economy; the 3rd estate carries tax burden; American Revolution success due to French support; French frustration of Estates General had not met since 1610; Enlighten political discussion that there is a "Prime Creator" undermines the notion of divine right; begins looking inward (human political relationships & rights). Thomas Hobbes writes of a commonwealth to organize society (Levant) to create a better society. "The life of man is about conference and indifference and short & indifference."

John Locke writes that people have natural rights: life, liberty, and property. "To life under absolutism is slavery." Tabula risa:  Humans are a blank slate at birth environment models intellectual; argument for human equality and human rights.

Rousseau writes about the Social Contract; individuals have power by membership in a larger group; power is held by the group, the general will can effect political change through democratic consensus by qualified people free of self-interest, informed acting for the good of the society.

French Finance Minister, Jacque advises against raising taxes. Louis XVI calls the Estates General in Spring 1789.  the 3rd Estate is locked out and convenes in a Handball Court to create the Deceleration Rights of Man (aka constitution). Food riots in Paris; mood becomes darker and darker. July 14, 1789 decides to liberate political prisoners in the Bastille. August 1789, National Assembly is born.

Jan 1793 - Louis XVI is executed; Radicals (Jacobeans) gain power; 'san coulte' (trouserless) minority pushes National Assembly further: Committee for Public Security over 16 months is the "Terror" lead by Robespierre, to attain a new political state.  Napoleon enters into a power vacuum and leads a coup; and builds an army to disrupt England power.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Kurt Elling - 1619 Broadway - The Brill Building Project

With his new album, Kurt Elling - the outstanding male vocalist in jazz today — celebrates a legendary legacy outside the jazz world. 1619 Broadway - The Brill Building Project honors a locale that the London Telegraph called "the most important generator of popular songs in the Western world." Even for the ceaselessly inventive Grammy-winning singer-lyricist, it's a hugely unexpected step, and one guaranteed to further solidify his reputation for bold innovation and superb craftsmanship. "Having done so many projects about my love for Chicago," Elling says, "I wanted to make something that spoke of my love for New York." The two cities define his career. Elling developed his craft in Chicago, and recorded several of his early albums there—including his debut. Close Your Eyes, which catapulted him onto the national stage and earned the first of his many Grammy nominations. (All told, every one of Elling's ten albums has been nominated for at least one jazz Grammy—a streak unequalled in Grammy history.) But in fact, Elling and his family have lived in Manhattan since 2008, and 7679 Broadway - The Brill Building Project is his response to that experience. "I didn't want to cover any of the New York songwriters jazz people usually go to: the Gershwins, Rodgers and Hart, Cole Porter, all of whom I love; I wanted to reach out for something different. The vast collection of songs coming out of The Brill Building seemed like a gold mine." A honeycomb of offices and claustrophobic studios at 1619 Broadway, in the heart of midtown Manhattan, the fabled Brill Building at its peak served as the creative home for more than 160 tenants associated with the pop-music industry. Of these, the vast majority were composers and lyricists. From the mid-1930s through the early 1970s the architects of the "Brill Building Sound” churned out a preponderance of the popular songs that three generations of America grew up hearing and singing. The term "Brill Building Sound" describes the string of rock-and-roll masterpieces that defined the genre and signaled its first maturing. These instantly recognizable songs came from such songwriting teams as Leiber and Stoller ("Stand by Me"), Goffin and King ("Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?"), Mann and Weil ("You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling"), and Bacharach and David ("Walk On By"). Such teams crafted hit after hit while working in a physical environment with paper-thin walls that allowed the writing teams to hear and learn (or steal) from each other. It became a fertile and competitive hothouse of cross-influence and collaboration. Even as Elling began researching this material, he "knew this would be a challenge, because the Brill is so much associated with doo-wop"—not his usual neighborhood. For help, he turned to a friend: hit songwriter and educator Phil Galdston ("Save the Best for Last"). "This is really his metier, and he did encyclopedic research," says Elling. "We must have touched on a couple hundred songs before we narrowed it down. Phil did a masterful job of codifying first-tier, second-tier, and third-tier choices. Several of my choices, like the classic "On Broadway," were foregone conclusions; some, like that hip lick recorded by The Coasters, "'Shoppin' for Clothes," gradually percolated to my attention." And, indeed, the reworking of that novelty "B-Side" fails right into Elling's penchant for spoken-word fun, games and hipster jive. Another surprise choice is the Goffin-King exercise in social satire, "Pleasant Valley Sunday." As Elling recounts, "I had summarily dismissed that one until it had time to simmer on its own, and I found an idea on how to handle it." This version mixes John McLean's retro-lectric guitar, authentic-sounding sound clips of the 60s, and an audio profile that recalls Ken Nordine's classic "Word Jazz." The result is a trippy and darker-than-the- original ride through a neighborhood that the Monkees first visited in 1967. Some jazz fans may raise an eyebrow at these song choices, but they'd do well to remember that throughout the 20th century, artists from Louis Armstrong to Sonny Rollins and Herbie Hancock have successfully transformed one era's pop songs into another generation's jazz standards. And throughout his career, Elling has worked to expand the jazz repertoire, sprinkling his albums with songs made famous by (among others) The Zombies and King Crimson. Some of the tunes on 1619 Broadway - The Brill Building Project were actually written years after their composers had left the Brill entirely. For example, Elling explains, "Carole King, like many other signatories to The Brill Sound,' never had an actual office at the Brill. So it doesn't pay to be too didactic about any of this. The Brill is both a physical reality and a mental construct; and because of that, I felt comfortable casting a wide net." That wide net contains more than rock and doo-wop. As Elling's inspired song choices reveal, the Brill was a hive of music activity from the mid-30s on, housing the creative efforts of Irving Berlin, Sammy Cahn, Johnny Mercer, Harry Warren, and more. One survey estimates that of the 1200-odd songs performed between 1935 and 1948 on the Your Hit Parade broadcasts (radio and then television), more than 400 of them— nearly a third of the total—came from Brill tenants. Thus the inclusion here of such great American standards as "I Only Have Eyes for You" (Warren/Dubin, 1934) and the Sinatra signature "Come Fly With Me" (Cahn/Van Huesen, 1957). For that matter, even Duke Ellington (through his long-time publisher Irving Mills) leased space in The Brill, as did Nat "King" Cole and a host of other Swing Era stars. Elling pays heed to that corner of the Brill as well, with the Duke's "Tutti for Cootie," written to showcase the Ellington band's unsurpassed trumpeter Cootie Williams. And on the flip side, Paul Simon, represented here by "American Tune," still keeps an office at the Brill. On track after track, Kurt Elling and Laurence Hobgood, his collaborator for two decades, illustrate the creative fireworks that have marked their work together from the start. Some tracks, such as "On Broadway" and "You Send Me," glow with atmospheric re-harmonizations (either audacious or subtle), unexpected rhythms, and jazz sensibility. Others, such as "I'm Satisfied" and "A House is Not a Home," artfully distill the essence of the original through a jazz filter. But all of them manage to strike a balance of tradition and modernity that will by now be familiar to Elling's longstanding admirers, on a program of songs guaranteed to bring new fans to the party.
The party takes place at 1619 Broadway, as The Brill Building Project provides the inspiration for intrepid exploration of the great jazz singers of our time.

Kurt Elling, vocals, Grammy-winner is among the world's foremost jazz vocalists. He has won every DownBeat Critics Poll for the last fourteen years and has been named "Male Singer of the Year" by the Jazz Journalists Association eight times in that same span. Every one of Elling's ten albums has been nominated for a Grammy. Elling's rich baritone spans four octaves and features both astonishing technical mastery and emotional depth. His repertoire includes original compositions and modern interpretations of standards, all of which are springboards for inspired improvisation, scatting, spoken word, and poetry. The New York Times declared, "Elling is the standout male vocalist of our time." The Washington Post added, "Since the mid-1990s, no singer in jazz has been as daring, dynamic or interesting as Kurt Elling. With his soaring vocal flights, his edgy lyrics and sense of being on a musical mission, he has come to embody the creative spirit in jazz." Elling was the Artist-in-Residence for the Singapore and Monterey Jazz Festivals. He has also written multi-disciplinary works for The Steppenwoif Theatre and the City of Chicago. The Obama Administration's first state dinner featured Elling in a command performance. Elling is a renowned artist of vocalese-the writing and performing of words over recorded improvised jazz solos. The natural heir to jazz pioneers Eddie Jefferson, King Pleasure, and Jon Hendricks, Elling has set his own lyrics to the improvised solos of Wayne Shorter, Keith Jarrett, and Pat Metheny. He often incorporates images and references from writers such as Rilke, Rumi, Neruda, and Proust into his work. The late poet and Bollingen Prize-winner Robert Creeley wrote, “Kurt Elling takes us into a world of sacred particulars. His words are informed by a powerful poetic spirit." Said Robert Pinsky, former Poet Laureate of the United States, "In Kurt Elling's art, the voice of jazz gives a new spiritual presence to the ancient, sweet and powerful bond between poetry and music." Kurt Elling has toured vigorously throughout his career, thrilling audiences throughout the world, in that time he has led his own ensemble and has collaborated with many of the world's finest orchestras. Elling's latest recording, 1619 Broadway - The Brill Building Project, honors and celebrates the locale that the London Telegraph called "the most important generator of popular songs in the Western world." Elling's interpretations and signature arrangements of songs like "On Broadway," "A House Is Not a Home," and "So Far Away" make this record a must-have for those in search of current great singing. Even for the ceaselessly inventive Elling, 1619 Broadway is another unexpected step, and one guaranteed to further solidify his reputation for thrilling innovation and superb craftsmanship.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Rule 15: Why I must haze this pledge

"The pledge has to earn his membership."  Joining a Greek organization is an honor. Membership is exclusive. We should only allow the most qualified people into our organizations. However, they can prove their worthiness by means other than hazing.  "You have to break pledges down to build them back up. This is what the military does, and it produces the best leaders in the world." This is nonsense. I was an officer in the military, and that is not how it works. The military takes individuals who show potential (which is why it has such an extensive recruiting program) and makes them a better version of themselves. There is no hazing or breaking anyone down. If someone can't cut it, the military weeds him out. The military trains officers by giving them a number of tasks that they cannot possibly accomplish in the time allotted. This forces officers to be efficient- to be smart in how they prioritize tasks. This instills discipline. It also instills confidence because officers learn that they can do more than they thought was possible. This is how the military teaches leadership, and they are the best in the world at it.  "This is how I became a brother/sister, and I'm not going to stop a tradition." This is tough one to counter because it isn't a very intellectual argument. If this mindset were prevalent everywhere in the world, then there would never be any improvement. I would deal with this reason by continually asking, "Why can't we be better?" If your chapter members don't want to improve, then you are talking to a lost cause.

The Chapter President –Preparing Sorority and Fraternity Leaders for the Unexpected
by Patrick Daley

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Stopping Stop and Frisk

by Stephanie Francis Ward / Photographs by Arnie Adler

New York City crime has been dropping for decades, but who has been paying the price?

In the new, gentrified post-9/11 New York City, gone are the days when a visitor’s to Times Square might include aggressive panhandling, a mugging or an uncomfortable exchange with a prostitute. But gone, too, are $900 apartments in the East Village, Soho artists lofts that artists can actually afford and $150-a-night hotel rooms that have their own bathroom.
In one of the signature achievements of Michael Bloomberg’s three terms as mayor, New York police helped create a new quality of life for many New Yorkers—even the poorest-through a sometimes merciless attention to low-level crimes like public intoxication, littering, graffiti, loitering and petty property crimes.

The policy grew from a statistics-driven program adopted in 1994 called CompStat, and was propelled by a crack-fueled crime surge that threatened to undermine the city’s reputation as the global epicenter of social democracy and cultural tolerance. By focusing on offenses that were offensive at the neighborhood level, police helped disperse concentrations of criminal behavior that were breeding more serious and more violent crimes.
By almost any standard, CompStat has been successful. Since 1990, murders have dropped 85.2 percent, rapes by more than half. Burglaries are down 85.7 percent and robberies are down 80 percent. Statisticians and criminologists are sometimes divided in their perceptions of the turnaround—citing changing demographics, stiffened sentencing, even the social effects of gentrification—but nearly all concede that CompStat’s concentrated enforcement policies have played a significant role.

And for the most part, these police tools have been acceptable to a broad swath of New Yorkers.
One exception, however, has been the sticky business of “stop and frisk,” a proactive police tactic that grants broad law enforcement discretion to stop and search anyone suspected of intending to commit a crime. Though police have long had the right to search for weapons, even during such minor and temporary detentions as traffic stops, New York City police had expanded their use of those searches so broadly that their tactics became the subject of high- profile litigation and were a central issue during last year’s mayoral campaign.

During the campaign, Bill de Blasio argued that the city had strained race relations through its overzealous enforcement tactics. A vocal critic of the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk practices, the newly elected mayor announced in January that the city would drop its appeal of a federal court ruling that found the city’s practices were unconstitutional under the Fourth and 14th amendments. Evidence at trial revealed that the NYPD had an unwritten policy of targeting those deemed suspicious. In practice, that meant young blacks and Latinos were stopped and searched for weapons and contra-band, often on pretexts that were flimsy or nonexistent.
The mayor announced a proposed settlement at Brooklyn’s Brownsville Recreation Center. The park department building is in an eight-block section of Brooklyn where, according to a New York Times report, nearly 52,000 police stops were made between January 2006 and March 2010.

Said de Blasio: “We believe in our obligation, the most fundamental one that there is in government, to keep people safe. And the values and the strategies that keep people safe ... those values are not compatible with a broken and misused stop-and-frisk policy.”
Under the proposed settlement agreement in Floyd v. City of New York, the city agreed to drop its objections to findings by U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin. The agreement, which addresses Floyd and another similar case, Ligon v. City of New York, recognizes a federal monitor appointed by the judge, and includes such safeguards as the use of on-body cameras to monitor police stops.

“To us it’s a total victory,” says Jonathan Moore, a Floyd plaintiffs lawyer and a partner at New York’s Beldock Levine & Hoffman.
Well, maybe.

Police unions filed a motion in November to intervene in Floyd, arguing that Scheindlin’s appointment of a federal monitor, along with other remedies listed in her August 2013 order, would impair officers’ abilities to do their jobs and harm their collective bargaining rights.

The police motion states that the Floyd opinion unfairly taints officers by stating that bad stops are widespread in the department.
On Feb. 7, the police unions filed in opposition to the city’s motion to remand Floyd and Ligon back to the district court for settlement. The filing asks the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to allow the police unions to continue to appeal the consent decree as intervenors. The motion says officers’ “daily work lives would be changed substantially” if key findings from Scheindlin’s orders are included in the consent decree. If the settlement goes forward anyway, the unions are asking that Scheindlin’s liability findings in Floyd be vacated.

“It ain’t over ’til it’s over,” says Burt Neuborne, a New York University law professor and founding legal director of the school’s Brennan Center for Justice.
In November, Neuborne filed a motion requesting that the appeals court allow a challenge to the removal of Scheindlin from the Floyd and Ligon cases. A panel of the court said Scheindlin’s conduct at a related hearing, as well as comments made to the media, suggested that her impartiality “may reasonably be questioned.” (See “No Longer the Case,” page 43.)

On Nov. 25, the appellate court issued an order of abeyance on the various Floyd motions, which froze all proceedings until de Blasio took office on Jan. 1.
Floyd is one of three class actions that allege the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policies are unconstitutional. Under a Southern District of New York rule, it is considered a related case to Daniels v. City of New York, a 1999 class action brought by Moore and several other lawyers, as well as the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights. The case, which settled in 2003, was the first class action to challenge New York’s stop-and-frisk policies.

The settlement agreement, required the police department to document all stops and frisks, and the information was to be periodically given to plaintiffs counsel for monitoring purposes.
According to Moore, a review of the data showed an “alarming increase, year after year” in the number of police stops made. That raised concern that the increase in stops was a result of continued racial profiling by police. The findings led, in part, to the filing of Floyd in 2008.

According to the Floyd liability order, in 2011 and 2012 blacks and Hispanics represented 87 percent of all people stopped by New York City police. The order noted that 90 per-cent of those stopped were released without police finding any basis for a summons or arrest.
“To proceed from a stop to a frisk, the police officer must reasonably suspect that the person stopped is armed and dangerous” the remedies order states.

“The purpose of a frisk is not to discover evidence of crime but to allow the officer to pursue his investigation without fear of violence.”
Credit for bringing crime down is often given to Mayor Bloomberg and his predecessor, Rudy Giuliani, both of whom touted a zero-tolerance approach to crime.

“It’s uncontested that New York City has seen a tremendous drop in crime,” says Steven Engel, who represents four of the five police unions involved in the litigation.
“Eighty-three percent of the suspects reported by crime victims were black and Hispanic,” adds Engel, a Dechert litigation partner who practices in the firm’s New York and Washington, D.C., offices. “There’s a close correlation between the demographics of the people the officers have stopped and the persons having been reported as having com-mitted crimes.”

One of de Blasio’s first political appointees was Bill Bratton as police commissioner. Bratton previously served as police chief during the first three years of Giuliani’s administration. He replaced Ray Kelly, who oversaw a dramatic increase in the city’s stop-and-frisk practices, as stops rose from roughly 97,000 in 2002 to 685,000 in 2011.
While speaking with reporters at a December press conference, Bratton discussed bringing the police and the public “together in a collaboration of mutual respect and mutual trust.”

“I will get it right again in New York City,” he said.
Bratton told reporters in January that the problems with stop-and-frisk in New York City had “more or less been solved,” noting that there had been a 60 percent decrease in stops from 2012 to 2013.

Robin Steinberg is executive director of the Bronx Defenders, a nonprofit group that provides legal assistance to the indigent.  She is hopeful about the proposed Floyd settlement agreement, but she says she finds it hard to believe the culture of the New York Police Department would suddenly have changed as much as Bratton might suggest.
In January, Steinberg notes, “11 young men were unlawfully stopped and frisked against the walls of the Bronx Defenders while one of our investigators recorded it on his phone. No contraband or weapons were found on anyone and no arrests were made. It looked like stop-and- frisk as usual.”

Some have wondered whether New York City crime rates will shoot back up as police cut back on their stop-and-frisk practices to honor the settlement agreement. Steinberg doubts that will happen. She notes that as police stop-and-frisks declined over the past year, crime rates also continued to drop.
“History shows that crime rates are cyclical. Social scientists debate the reasons why, but no one has the answer. So at some point, no matter what policing strategies you have in place, crime rates will likely rise. Hopefully, it won’t be on the watch of a new, progressive mayor who is trying to make important and thoughtful reforms to policing in New York City,” she says.

“It’s easy to talk about equality and fairness now; the challenge is to hold on to those values when you don’t feel safe,” Steinberg adds. “That’s the real, true test of your commitment to fairness.”

David Floyd, a black medical student, is one of the named plaintiffs in the Floyd case. The liability order notes that he was stopped by police twice—once in 2007, while he was walking home, and another time in 2008. Both stops were in the Bronx, where Floyd lived. At the time of the second stop, Floyd was helping a neighbor, who had forgotten his key, get into an apartment in a building Floyd’s godmother owned.
Police testified that they stopped the men because they suspected a burglary, and that the two were observed in an area that had a history of burglaries.

Scheindlin found that those two stops were constitutional, but going through Floyd’s pockets during the frisk at his godmother’s property may have amounted to an unconstitutional search, as there was no allegation that officers noticed anything during the frisk that felt like a weapon or contraband.
Scheindlin ruled in August 2011 on the city’s summary judgment motion. She found that the city was not entitled to summary judgment on class claims of racial profiling, but she did grant the motion in regard to Floyd’s individual claims. She later reinstated one of his claims, about an illegal stop.

“In their zeal to defend a policy that they believe to be effective, they have willfully ignored overwhelming proof that the policy of targeting ‘the right people’ is racially dis-criminatory and therefore violates the United States Constitution,” Scheindlin’s liability order states.
“We need an end to the kind of philosophy of policing that says it’s OK to engage in preventive, detentionlike tactics,” says Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Her organization represents the plaintiffs in the Ligon case. The complaint challenges the city’s Trespass Affidavit Program, through which police patrolled private Bronx apart-ment buildings and often made stops and trespass arrests.
Police defended the program as a crime-fighting tool. But in January 2013, Scheindlin found that police arrest practices associated with the program were unconstitutional because officers repeatedly stopped individuals outside buildings without reasonable suspicion of trespassing.

Lieberman mentions Floyd trial evidence from Eric Adams, a former NYPD officer who now serves as Brooklyn’s borough president. Adams testified that former commissioner Kelly told him in 2010 that officers targeted young black and Latino men. The reason, Kelly said, was because police wanted the men to fear that “every time they leave their home, they could be stopped by the police.”
Kelly has denied Adams’ sworn statement, but Lieberman thinks it is significant. “That’s another way of saying that people should worry about their freedom to walk the streets when they are not engaged in suspicious behavior,” Lieberman says, “and that is not OK.”

If someone feels they’ve been mistreated by police, they can file a report with the Civilian Complaint Review Board. The board is an independent city agency, and under the terms of an agreement reached in April 2012, its lawyers act as prosecutors when board members recommend the most serious level of discipline.
Since 2005, 25 to 30 percent of all complaints filed with the CCRB have been tied to stop-and-frisk.

In cases in which the board feels discipline is needed, members make a recommendation to the police commissioner, who makes the final decision. Before the 2012 agreement, the agency gave its findings to the police department and police department lawyers presented the cases to administrative judges. The CCRB prosecuted its first wrongful-stop- and-frisk case in December.
“Historically, the discipline that’s been imposed has ranged from one slap on the wrist to two,” Lieberman says. “There really hasn’t been any kind of punishment. And in terms of restorative practices, there hasn’t been the response of providing training for individuals who are engaging in wrongdoing.”

It may be time for the Supreme Court to revisit stop-and-frisk law, says lawyer and former U.S. Rep. Louis Stokes. “Police don’t budge; you have to move them,” he says. “It’s going to take legislation or a U.S. Supreme Court decision to move them where they have to be.”

Stokes represented John Terry and Richard Chilton in Terry v. Ohio, the landmark 1968 Supreme Court case that found police may search someone if they have a reasonable suspicion that the individual might be “armed and dangerous,” regardless of whether the officer has probable cause for an arrest.
Terry and Chilton were both black, and a detective found that each was carrying a gun. According to the opinion, the defendants attracted Detective Martin McFadden’s attention when they repeatedly walked alongside a downtown Cleveland store and looked in its windows.

The two talked to a third man who was white, identified as Carl Katz, according to a 1964 transcript from an evidence-suppression motion hearing. McFadden approached the three, patted them down and felt weapons on Terry and Chilton. They were arrested, and Katz was allowed to leave.
The Supreme Court opinion did not mention the defendants’ or Katz’s race, but Stokes thinks that the detective stopped the three because it was unusual then to see blacks speaking with whites who were not authority figures.

“As a black man, I knew that black men at that time all over America were stopped indiscriminately on the streets, simply because they were black,” Stokes says. “They’d frisk you, find nothing, and then you were told to get on down the street. That happened all day and all night.”
At the evidence hearing, Stokes asked McFadden why he stopped the men. “I didn’t like them” was McFadden’s answer. Stokes thought that answer might have been enough to convince the judge it was a bad stop, and that the evidence-suppression motion might be granted based on that. When asked about questioning the detective specifically about whether race was his motive for the stop, Stokes says he “didn’t push it.

I knew it would be too heavy to try and carry to the Supreme Court.”
The hearing took place a few years after Mapp v. Ohio, the 1961 Supreme Court opinion that found evidence from unreasonable searches and seizures was inadmissible in state court. “I used strictly the Fourth Amendment, thinking that was enough,” Stokes says.

The suppression motion was denied, and the defendants were convicted of carrying concealed weapons. Ultimately, the Supreme Court found that the search was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. Chief Justice Earl Warren, writing for the major-ity, did note that minority groups “frequently complain” about police harassment, but those complaints would not be stopped by excluding evidence from a criminal trial.
“Under our decision, courts still retain their traditional responsibility to guard against police conduct which is over-bearing or harassing,” the opinion stated.

Judged should avoid the appearance of impropriety, the U.S. Judges Code of Conduct states. And U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin did not, according to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at New York City.

In October, an appellate panel removed Scheindlin from Floyd v. City of New York and Ligon v. City of New York, two of the four class actions she has presided over that challenge police stop-and-frisk policies. A longer ruling was issued in November.
No party asked for her removal; the panel made the decision on its own. The ruling noted that three media interviews Judge Scheindlin gave last year may have led some to conclude that she favored stop-and-frisk plaintiffs.

It also mentions the Southern District of New York’s related-cases rule, which permitted transferring new, related civil cases to the same judge, instead of traditional random assignment.
Floyd and Ligon came to Scheindlin by way of Daniels v. City of New York, a 1999 class action challenging police stop-and-frisk policies. The case settled in 2003, but it was a December 2007 hearing about the consent decree that figured prominently in the 2nd Circuit panel's decision regarding Scheindlin.

According to the appellate ruling, Scheindlin had addressed parties battling over compliance with the Daniels settlement. "And if you got proof of inappropriate racial profiling in a good constitutional case, why don’t you bring a lawsuit,” she said. "You can certainly mark it as related.”
After Scheindlin was removed from the cases, Burt Neuborne, a New York University law professor, filed a motion to appear on her behalf, urging the 2nd Circuit to reconsider the removal en banc.

Scheindlin’s 2007 statement, he says, does not make the judge appear to be biased toward the plaintiffs. Rather, she thought that litigation for enforcing the Daniels consent decree was a waste of time, when a new lawsuit could get to the merits more quickly.
"It’s clear what she was saying was 'Spare us all six months of litigation,’" Neuborne says.

The 2nd Circuit’s longer decision, published Nov. 13, notes that Scheindlin did not specifically mention Floyd or Ligon in media interviews.
"While nothing prohibits a judge from giving an interview to the media, and while one who gives an interview cannot predict with certainty what the writer will say, judges who affiliate themselves with news stories by participating in interviews run the risk that the resulting stories may contribute to the appearance of partiality," the ruling stated.

The 2nd Circuit, however, backed off its initial assertion that Scheindlin violated the related-cases rule.
In December, the Southern District revised its related- cases rules, requiring parties seeking to mark a suit as related to another case to formally state how they are related. A judge's decision to accept a case as related is now i subject to review by the district's three-judge assignment committee.

"I think it's a pretty good idea to change the rule, so there’s never any question of impropriety," Neuborne says.

Various states now have laws that require recording data, including race and ethnicity, for all traffic stops; and a handful of large city police departments, including New York and Philadelphia, require similar data for stop-and-frisks, says University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris, whose academic work focuses on racial profiling.
A few states, including New Jersey and Washington, prohibit racial profiling or discrimination in policing under their own state law, Harris adds.

In 2003, the Justice Department issued policy guidance that forbids federal law enforcement from engaging in racial profiling. Harris notes that there’s an exemption for national security and immigration, which “of course are the two areas in which federal agencies are most likely to engage in profiling.”

Few if any courts have dismissed a criminal case based on a defendant stopped because of his or her race, according to Harris. He mentions Whren v. U.S., a 1996 Supreme Court case that involved a drug conviction stemming from a traffic stop. The court found that any traffic violation by a driver provides probable cause for a stop.
Pat Lynch, a police officer and president of the New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, says it’s not hard to follow the law set forth in Terry v. Ohio.

“You have to be able to articulate what the suspect is doing that is suspicious,” says Lynch, who spoke with the ABA Journal last fall. “For instance, when you have a person who is carrying a weapon, they tend to be heavy on one side. They’re nervous and repeatedly tap the area.” The bigger problem, according to Lynch, is the goal that management sets for officers regarding stops and summonses. “If you don’t meet that goal, you get punished,” Lynch says. “I see police officers getting into trouble because they are trying to stay out of trouble.”
According to Lynch, punishments include assignment to a different shift, denial of opportunities to work overtime and unsatisfactory performance evaluations, which prevent promotions and transfers.

“Performance goals,” the Floyd order states, made it clear that supervisors evaluate officers based on activity numbers, with a focus on summonses, stops and arrests.
Evidence presented during trial included recordings officers made during police roll calls, where they are directed to get more stops and summonses.

One lieutenant supervising officers in Brooklyn’s predominantly black Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood reminded them that they were “not working in Midtown Manhattan, where people are walking around smiling and happy. You’re working in Bed-Stuy, where everyone’s probably got a warrant.”
A Halloween 2008 Bedford-Stuyvesant roll call was also recorded and presented as evidence: “Tonight is zero tolerance. It’s New Year’s Eve all over again. Everybody goes. I don’t care.... They’re throwing dice? They all go, promote gambling. I don’t care. Let the DA discuss what they’re going to do tomorrow,” a deputy inspector said. “They got [bandanas] on and they’re running like nuts down the block, chasing people? Grab them. Fuck it. You’re preventing a robbery.... You know that and I know that.”

The order found such behavior from management a problem, but it also noted that police department performance goals tied to stops may be “appropriate, once an effective system for ensuring constitutionality is in place.”
That finding disappoints Lynch. “There's no time for community policing because you’re constantly chasing numbers,” he says. “We want to stop criminals; we don’t want to stop working folks. We’ve never wanted to do that, but that’s what the quotas do.”

Jeff Hynes, a retired commander with the Phoenix Police Department who now does consultant work, blames politicians. According to him, the Floyd case is not surprising, given Giuliani and Bloomberg’s 20-year focus on lowering crime.
“When you enter politics, you get things like quotas and numbers— with unrealistic expectations,” Hynes says. “Like: ‘No one can stand on the street corner.’ Really? How am I sup-posed to enforce that, legally?”

New York City has had some embarrassing summons stories, says John Eterno, a retired NYPD police captain who now teaches criminal justice at Molloy College on Long Island.

Eterno recalls seven men ticketed in 2010 for playing chess by themselves at a Manhattan playground that didn’t allow adults unless they were with children. Though the park’s built-in chess tables were separated from the play area by a fence, the men were ticketed anyway. Two of the seven challenged their summonses, and a judge threw them out.
“There’s this culture to get the numbers right, so the commanders look good at CompStat,” says Eterno.

Kamau Butcher, a policy organizer with the Bronx Defenders, regularly speaks with young people about police encounters and their legal rights. He’s met people who have never been stopped, as well as people who get stopped on a weekly basis.
“Sometimes it’s not adversarial; it’s more like: ‘You know the drill. Get up against the wall,’ ” says Butcher, who sees such stops as examples of how relations between police and “community folks” have deteriorated.

When speaking with youths, Butcher focuses on their “rights,
realities and responsibilities.” They often tell Butcher they are too afraid to ask police if they can leave during stops. He doesn’t blame them.

“A kid is up against a wall, and he thinks, ‘The officers are not touching me, but they’re both bigger than me, and they have guns. I am just going to hope that they leave me alone.’ ”
Butcher recalls an account a teen shared at a Hunts Point session.

“He said that he knew everything he was supposed to do during a stop, and he tried to do it,” Butcher recalls. “The police officer laughed at him and said he watched too much TV. Then the officer proceeded with the search and threw him up against a car.”
 ABA JOURNAL, March 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I believe in Relativity by kCura

Alvin Blackshear  |  Manager, Litigation Support
O: 310.201.2100  |  D: 310.551.4327  |  F:  310.201.2110  |  E:
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Los Angeles, California 90067-2561

Rule #1 for fraternity or sorority members

Rule 1: Hazing is a Crime.   If someone is hurt, it becomes a felony. As president of your chapter, you will personally be held responsible to some extent, regardless of whether you were directly involved. If you are convicted of felony hazing, you will go to jail. Each state's law is different, as is every hazing case. Let's look at the recent Northern Illinois University hazing incident.  A fraternity held an event in late 2012 at which a new member died of alcohol poisoning. (He had a 0.40 blood alcohol content.) Twenty-two brothers of the fraternity have been charged with hazing. Five have been charged with felony hazing. The five are the president, the vice president, the secretary, the new-member educator, and the brother who organized the event. Those five guys face from one to three years in prison if convicted.

The Chapter President –Preparing Sorority and Fraternity Leaders for the Unexpected
by Patrick Daley

Friday, March 07, 2014

Rule 11: How to Deal with Criticism

  To ensure you are properly handling healthy criticism, you can do a few things. You have to remain above gossiping. If the president gossips; it will become infectious in the chapter. Take the high road and be above it. That is what leaders do.  Be sure to understand the reason behind the criticism. This can be a useful leadership tool for a president. Does the membership have valid concerns? Can they be used as a reason to plan a retreat? Does the chapter need to reevaluate its priorities? There is a chance you can gain useful insight from complaints and use it to improve the morale in your chapter.

The Chapter President –Preparing Sorority and Fraternity Leaders for the Unexpected
by Patrick Daley

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Lincoln's Boys: John Hay, John Nicolay and the War for Lincoln's Image

Lincoln's Boys: John Hay, John Nicolayand the War for Lincoln's Image
by Joshua Zeitz. Copyright © 2014, The Viking Press.

John Hay, one of Abraham Lincoln's two private secretaries, spent the evening of April 14, 1865, Good Friday, at the White House, drinking whiskey and talking with the president's 21-year-old son, Robert, an officer attached to General Ulysses S. Grant's staff. Shortly before 11 p.m., Tad Lincoln burst through the front door of the mansion, crying "They've killed Papa dead!" Hay and Robert rushed by carriage to Tenth Street, where the mortally wounded president had been transferred to the Petersen House, a boardinghouse across from Ford's Theatre. Upon their arrival, a doctor informed them that the president would not survive his wounds.  

With John Hay at his side, Robert Todd Lincoln walked into the room where his father lay stretched out on a narrow bed. Unconscious from the moment of his shooting, the president "breathed with slow and regular respiration throughout the night," Hay later recalled. Family friends and government officials filed in and out of the chamber. "As the dawn came and the lamplight grew pale," Hay recalled, the president's "pulse began to fail." Hay and Robert were at the president's side when he passed.  
The next day, 33-year-old John Nicolay, who served as the president's other private secretary, was aboard a Navy warship, returning from a brief excursion to Cuba, where he had traveled to take the ocean air. As his party entered Chesapeake Bay, Nicolay reported, they "took a pilot on board [and] heard from him the first news of the terrible loss the country had suffered ... . It was so unexpected, so sudden and so horrible even to think of, much less to realize that we couldn't believe it, and therefore remained in hope that it would prove one of the thousand groundless exaggerations which the war has brought forth during the past four years. Alas, when we reached Point Lookout at daylight this morning, the mournful reports of the minute guns that were being fired, and the flags at half-mast left us no ground for further hope."  

It is little wonder that historians consult Hay's and Nicolay's writing frequently-their letters and journals provide eyewitness accounts of their White House years. But their major life's work after the Civil War is a largely forgotten story.  
"The boys," as the president affectionately called them, became Lincoln's official biographers. Enjoying exclusive access to his papers-which the Lincoln family closed to the public until 1947 (the 21st anniversary of the death of Robert Todd Lincoln)- they undertook a 25-year mission to create a definitive and enduring historical image of their slain leader. The culmination of these efforts-their exhaustive, ten-volume biography, serialized between 1886 and 1890-constituted one of the most successful exercises in revisionism in American history. Writing against the rising currents of Southern apologia, Hay and Nicolay pioneered the "Northern" interpretation of the Civil War- a standard against which every other historian and polemicist had to stake out a position.  

Hay and Nicolay helped invent the Lincoln we know today- the sage father figure; the military genius; the greatest American orator; the brilliant political tactician; the master of a fractious cabinet who forged a "team of rivals" out of erstwhile challengers for the throne; the Lincoln Memorial Lincoln.   
That Abraham Lincoln was all of these things, in some measure, there can be no doubt. But it is easy to forget how widely underrated Lincoln the president and Lincoln the man were at the time of his death and how successful Hay and Nicolay were in elevating his place in the nation's collective historical memory.  

While Lincoln prided himself on his deep connection to "the people," he never succeeded in translating his immense popularity with the Northern public into similar regard among the nation's political and intellectual elites. The profound emotional bond that he shared with Union soldiers and their families, and his stunning electoral success in two presidential elections, never fully inspired an equivalent level of esteem by the influential men who governed the country and guarded its official history. To many of these men, he remained in death what he was in life: the rail-splitter and country lawyer-good, decent and ill-fitted to the immense responsibilities that befell him.  
Leading into the 1864 election cycle, many prominent in Lincoln's own party agreed with Iowa senator James Grimes that the administration “has been a disgrace from the very beginning to every one who had anything to do with bringing it into power.” Charles Sumner, a radical antislavery leader, fumed that the nation needed “a president with brains; one who can make a plan and carry it out.”

From across the political spectrum, influential writers and politicians blamed Lincoln for four years of military stalemate and setbacks and for a series of political blunders that cost his party dearly in the 1862 midterm elections. John Andrew, the governor of Massachusetts, spoke for many Republicans when he explained his support of Lincoln’s re-election. The president, he said, was “essentially lacking a close-knit family, and Nicolay, orphaned at 14 after his parents emigrated from Bavaria in 1838, forged a close friendship that endured over a half century. Fortune placed them in the right place (Springfield, Illinois) at the right time (1860) and offered them a front-row seat to one of the most tumultuous political and military upheavals in American history.
By 1856, Nicolay, the editor of an Illinois antislavery newspaper, had become active in Republican party politics. Appointed an aide to the Illinois secretary of state that year, he was a well-known figure in the statehouse. Hay returned to Illinois in 1859 after graduation from Brown University and was studying law, having joined his uncle Milton Hay’s Springfield practice, housed in the same building as Lincoln’s law offices.

Lincoln took on Nicolay as his secretary in June 1860, in the midst of the presidential campaign. During the heady post-election interlude in Springfield, Nicolay, installed in the governor’s office, controlled access to Lincoln and labored alone, answering in the quality of leadership,” but now that he had been renominated, “correction is impossible ... Massachusetts will vote for the Union Cause at all events and will support Mr. Lincoln so long as he remains the candidate.” Years later, Hay remarked that had Lincoln "died in the days of doubt and gloom which preceded his reelection,” rather than in the final weeks of the war, as the Union moved to secure its great victory, he would almost certainly have been remembered differently, despite his great acts and deeds.
John Hay and John George Nicolay were prairie boys who met in 1851 as gifted, inquiring students in a rural Illinois school. Hay, a physician’s son and one of six children born into between 50 and 100 letters a day.

When the mail and visitors became unmanageable, Hay began assisting his friend on an informal basis. By the end of December, Lincoln offered Nicolay the post of presidential secretary, at a princely sum of $2,500 per year—almost three times what he earned as campaign secretary. Not long after, Nicolay suggested that Hay be appointed assistant secretary. “We can’t take all Illinois down with us to Washington,” Lincoln replied. When Milton offered to pay his nephew’s salary for six months, the president-elect relented. “Well, let Hay come,” he agreed.
As Abraham Lincoln’s private secretaries, Nicolay and Hay became closer to the president than anyone outside his immediate family. Still in their 20s, they lived and worked on the second floor of the White House, performing the functions of a modern-day chief of staff, press secretary, political director and presidential body man. Above all, they guarded the “last door which opens into the awful presence” of the commander in chief, in the words of Noah Brooks, a journalist and one of many Washington insiders who coveted their jobs, resented their influence and thought them a little too big for their britches (“a fault for which it seems to me either Nature or our tailors are to blame,” Hay once quipped).

From the instant of Lincoln’s death, the debate over his role in history ignited. John Hay, who was present at Petersen House (pictured leaning against table, right) understood the obligation to Lincoln’s legacy as early as 1863. “I believe,” Hay wrote, “he will fill a bigger place in history than even he dreams himself.”
In demeanor and temperament, they could not have been more different. Short-tempered and dyspeptic, Nicolay cut a brooding figure to those seeking the president’s time or favor. William Stoddard, formerly an Illinois journalist and then an assistant secretary under their supervision, later remarked that Nicolay was “decidedly German in his manner of telling men what he thought of them ... People who do not like him—because they cannot use him, perhaps—say he is sour and crusty, and it is a grand good thing, then, that he is."

Hay cultivated a softer image. He was, in the words of his contemporaries, a “comely young man with peach- blossom face,” “very witty boyish in his manner, yet deep enough—bubbling over with some brilliant speech.” An instant fixture in Washington social circles, fast friend of Robert Todd Lincoln’s and favorite among Republican congressmen who haunted the White House halls, he projected a youthful dash that balanced out Nicolay’s more grim bearing.
Hay and Nicolay were party to the president’s greatest official acts and most private moments. They were in the room when he signed the Emancipation Proclamation, and by his side at Gettysburg, when he first spoke to the nation of a “new birth of freedom.” When he could not sleep—which, as the war progressed, was often—Lincoln walked down the corridor to their quarters and passed the time reciting Shakespeare or mulling over the day’s political and military developments. When his son Willie died in 1862, the first person to whom Lincoln turned was John Nicolay.

Though the White House was under military guard—later, as the war progressed, plainclothes detectives mingled among household staff for added security—the public, including hordes of patronage seekers, was at liberty to enter the mansion during regular business hours. Visiting hours “began at ten o’clock in the morning,” Hay explained, “but in reality the anterooms and halls were full before that hour—people anxious to get the first axe ground.”
After rising at dawn and eating a sparse breakfast of one egg, toast and black coffee, the president read the morning dispatches from his generals, reviewed paperwork with his secretaries and conferred with members of his cabinet. Breaking at noon for a solitary lunch—“a biscuit, a glass of milk in the winter, some fruit or grapes in the summer”—he returned to his office and received visitors until 5 or 6 in the evening. Most days, Lincoln worked until 11 p.m.; during critical battles, he stayed up until the early daylight hours, reviewing telegraphic dispatches from the War Department. Unlike modern presidents, Lincoln never took a vacation. He worked seven days each week, 52 weeks of the year, and generally left Washington only to visit the field or, on one occasion, to dedicate a battleground cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

For the secretaries, too, the work was punishing. When their boss was in the office, often 14 hours each day, they remained on call. “The boys” soon came to know him intimately. He often took carriage rides with them, and when the first lady was out of town or indisposed, they accompanied him to the theater. In good humor, the secretaries referred to Lincoln privately as “the Tycoon” and “the Ancient,” though they always addressed him directly as “Mr. President.” Charles G. Halpine, an Irish-born writer who came to know Hay during the war, later judged that “Lincoln loved him as a son.”
Nicolay’s rapport with Lincoln was more formal but they were still close. Nicolay decided which visitors would enjoy a presidential audience and which dispatches would fall under Lincoln’s gaze. In many cases, Nicolay issued orders and responses without consulting the president, whose policies and priorities he came instinctively to understand and anticipate. Even his detractors did not second-guess his standing.

In the weeks following Lincoln’s burial in Springfield, Nicolay and Hay returned to Washington, where they spent several weeks arranging the presidential papers for shipment to Illinois. The archives would be overseen by Lincoln’s son, Robert, now devoted to a growing law practice in Chicago. Lincoln’s official correspondence comprised more than 18,000 documents, sprawled across roughly 42,000 individual pieces of paper.
Most items were letters and telegrams written to the president, but dispersed among dozens of boxes were copies of thousands of Lincoln’s outgoing letters and telegrams, memoranda, Congressional reports and speeches.

During the next, half-dozen years, the Lincoln papers remained sealed behind closed doors. When William Herndon, Lincoln’s Springfield law partner, who was planning his own Lincoln biography, asked Robert for access, Robert insisted that he had “not any letters which could be of any interest whatever to you or anyone.”
The first substantive attempt at memorializing Lincoln fell to George Bancroft, the unofficial dean of the American historical enterprise, whom Congress invited to deliver a tribute in early 1866. A Democrat who had served in James Polk’s cabinet, Bancroft was an unusual choice to eulogize the first Republican president. The two men were not well acquainted. Bancroft cast a critical eye on Lincoln’s abilities. Speaking from the well of the House for more than two and a half hours, the gray haired relic offered little background beyond a stock biographical sketch of the 16th president, though he managed to issue a cool, outwardly polite rebuke of Lincoln’s administrative skills and intellectual capacity for high office. John Hay later fumed that “Bancroft’s address was a disgraceful exhibition of ignorance and prejudice.” The former secretary was particularly offended that Bancroft seemed fundamentally to underestimate Lincoln’s native genius. It was an error Hay had seen committed time and again during the war, by better-educated but lesser men who remained stubbornly ignorant of the president’s inner reserve of intelligence and strength.

William Herndon likely shared Hay’s contempt for George Bancroft, though for reasons of his own. Lincoln’s friend and law partner of 16 years, Herndon was an abolitionist and temperance man, though also an alcoholic who relapsed repeatedly. Yet for all his faults, Herndon understood Lincoln intimately and frowned upon the popular impulse to apotheosize the man whom he had known in the flesh and blood.
No biographer was more guilty of this historical mischief than Josiah Holland, the deeply pious editor of the Springfield Republican in Massachusetts, who paid Herndon a visit in May 1865. In the 1866 Holland’s Life of Abraham Lincoln, the author introduced the president as a Bible-quoting evangelical whose hatred of slavery flowed from an eschatological belief that “the day of wrath was at hand.” The book reinvented Lincoln from whole cloth, but the reading public eagerly bought up 100,000 copies, making it an overnight best seller.

Ultimately, Herndon—although he delivered a series of lectures on Lincoln’s life—was unable to complete a biography, particularly once he became sidetracked by stories he collected regarding Lincoln’s doomed courtship of Ann Rutledge. The New Salem, Illinois, innkeeper’s daughter contracted typhoid and died at age 22 in 1835; rumor had it that she and Lincoln had been engaged. Herndon’s subtext was impossible to mistake: Lincoln had loved only one woman (Ann Rutledge) and his grief for her was so profound that he never loved another woman, including his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln.
Mary, of course, was enraged. “This is the return for all my husband’s kindness to this miserable man!” she fumed. Robert was equally incensed, but also concerned. “Mr. Wm. H. Herndon is making an ass of himself,” he told David Davis, the executor of his father’s estate, and pleaded with him to intercede. Because Herndon “speaks with a certain amount of authority from having known my father for so long,” his stories, Robert believed, could do great injury to the family’s reputation. (Years later, as late as 1917, Robert still bristled at any suggestion that his father had been a simple, rough-hewn relic of the frontier, a characterization advanced aggressively by Herndon.) Fortunately for the Lincoln family, Herndon lacked the necessary discipline to sit down and write a proper book.

Unfortunately for the family, by 1867, Herndon, in increasingly dire financial straits, sold copies of his extensive collection of Lincoln materials—interview transcripts, court records, testimonial letters and newspaper clippings—to Ward Hill Lamon, a bluff, gregarious lawyer whom Lincoln had befriended on the circuit in the 1850s. Lamon went to Washington with Lincoln, served as U.S. marshal for the city during the war and later established a law practice in Washington, D.C. with Jeremiah Black, a prominent Democrat who had served in President Buchanan’s cabinet.
Realizing that he lacked a way with words, Lamon joined forces with his partner’s son, Chauncey Black, who undertook the task of ghostwriting Lamon’s history of Lincoln. The Black family held the Republican Party and its martyr in low esteem. “He certainly does not compare well with the refined and highly cultivated gentlemen (fifteen in number) who preceded him in the executive chair,” the elder Black scoffed. “He also lacked that lofty scorn of fraud and knavery which is inseparable from true greatness. He was not bad himself but he tolerated the evil committed by others when it did not suit him to resist it.”

On the eve of the book’s publication in 1872, Davis, who had learned of its contents, all but locked Lamon in a room and compelled him to excise an entire chapter representing Lincoln as a bumbling, inept president who inadvertently pushed the nation to war. Black was incensed by the eleventh-hour omission, but what remained in print proved sufficiently explosive. Incorporating Herndon’s material, Black and Lamon, in The Life of Abraham Lincoln, were the first to publish alleged details of Lincoln’s troubled marriage to Mary Todd, the depth of the future president’s putative atheism and a charge—long thereafter disputed, and much later discredited—of Lincoln’s illegitimate patrimony. Hay beseeched a mutual friend, “Can’t you stop him? ... For the grave of the dead and the crime of the living prevent it if possible. Its effect will be most disastrous.” Robert, too, was furious. “It is absolutely horrible to think of such men as Herndon and Lamon being considered in the light that they claim.”
Herndon, for his part, countered that he was helping the world to appreciate the complex of hurdles that Lincoln overcame, including bastardy, poverty and obscurity. Unsurprisingly, tire Lincoln family took exception to Herndon’s declarations of friendship. Robert also came gradually to understand that to tell the story his way, he would need help.

Hay and Nicolay had begun planning a biography of Lincoln as eaiiy as midway through their White House tenure. The president’s death upended whatever initial scheme they had in mind. Over the next five years, the secretaries turned their attention to other endeavors. Nicolay took pleasure in travel and family life with his wife and daughter before settling in the nation’s capital, while Hay kept busy as a newspaper editor and poet, for the most part in New York City, and devoted time to his courtship of Clara Stone, a daughter of wealthy Cleveland industrialist Amasa Stone.
By 1872, however, Hay was “convinced that we ought to be at work on our ‘Lincoln.’ I don’t think the time for publication has come, but the time for preparation is slipping away.”

That same year, Charles Francis Adams—a scion of the famous Massachusetts family (and father of Henry Adams) who had served in the Lincoln administration as minister to Great Britain—delivered a memorial address on William Seward that portrayed him as the glue that kept the government together in perilous times. “I must affirm, without hesitation,” he avowed, “that in the history of our government, down to this hour, no experiment so rash has ever been made as that of elevating to the head of affairs a man with so little previous preparation for the task as Mr. Lincoln.” Only by good grace and luck did Lincoln possess the wisdom to appoint as his first minister Seward, the “master mind” of the government and savior of the Union. The speech enraged Lincoln’s stalwart defenders, first among them Gideon Welles, secretary of the Navy in Lincoln’s cabinet, who issued a stinging rebuke.
Then, in his popular account of the war years, The American Conflict, the ever-erratic newspaper editor Horace Greeley portrayed Lincoln as a bungling leader who squandered multiple opportunities to end the war early, either on the battlefield or through negotiation. Lincoln acolytes might have rolled their eyes, but he sold books, so his opinion mattered.

Shortly after Seward’s death, Nicolay wrote once more to Robert, urging him to allow for the “collection and arrangement of the materials which John and I will need in writing the history we propose. We must of necessity begin with your father’s papers.” Robert agreed to grant access in April 1874.
That summer, several dozen boxes made their way from Illinois to Washington, D.C., where Nicolay, who had been appointed marshal to the Supreme Court in 1872, deposited them in his office. There, in the marble confines of the Capitol building, they would be safe from fire, water damage or theft.

Hay and Nicolay were especially troubled by the historical amnesia that was quickly taking hold over the reunited states. In popular literature and journalism, the war was being recast as a brothers’ squabble over abstract political principles like federalism and states’ rights, rather than as a moral struggle between slavery and freedom. Magazines and newspapers commonly took to celebrating the military valor of both Confederate and Union soldiers, as though bravery, rather than morality, were the chief quality to be commemorated.
The authors pointedly emphasized the salient moral and political issues that had divided the nation before, and in many respects after, the war. The conflict had been caused by “an uprising of the national conscience against a secular wrong” that could never be blotted out by the romance of reunion.

By 1875, the secretaries were fully immersed in research and slowly coming to appreciate the mammoth task for which they had volunteered. The biography would consume them for the next 15 years. During that time, both men held other jobs: Nicolay remained at the Supreme Court until 1887, while Hay worked for his father- in-law and served briefly as assistant secretary of state under Republican President Rutherford B. Hayes. Their labors were frequently interrupted by their own illnesses or those of their wives and children. Editors begged them for an advance peek at the work. Publishers courted them. For the time being, they held their suitors at bay. “We [are] in no hurry to make arrangements,” Hay told one hopeful.
Though Nicolay and Hay made little effort to mask their bias, they did set out to write a history grounded in evidence. In the early days of the project, Nicolay spent several months interviewing dozens of individuals who had known Lincoln in Illinois and Washington. The transcripts of these discussions informed their work, but they came to cast a skeptical eye on memories recorded years or decades after the fact. If a fact or an anecdote could not be confirmed by the written record, they usually discounted it entirely. Luckily, what they could not find in Lincoln’s vast manuscript collection they often located in their personal archives.

On rare occasions they relied on personal recollection of events to bring the biography to life—for instance, Nicolay’s vivid description of the moment that Lincoln was nominated at Chicago. They scoured newspapers for speech transcripts. They collected vast quantities of government documents, both Union and Confederate,related to the war. They swapped materials with the War Department, which retained copies of Lincoln’s in-going and out-going telegrams. They asked the children of long-departed Civil War notables to look through their attics for important documents, and they purchased materials from manuscript and book dealers. “I am getting together quite a little lot of books,” Nicolay reported as early as 1876.
The oversize first-floor study in Nicolay’s Capitol Hill row house came to accommodate one of the largest private collections of Civil War documentation and secondary scholarship in the country. Later, when Hay lived in Washington, between 1879 and 1881 as assistant secretary of state, and again from 1885 onward, he and Nicolay would walk between each other’s homes to swap materials and chapter drafts.

“The two would never divulge how the actual writing was divided between them,” Nicolay’s daughter, Helen, later explained. “They seemed to take a mischievous delight in keeping it a secret, saying they were co-authors, and that was all the public need know.” In some cases they alternated chapters. In other cases, each might assume responsibility for an entire volume. Hay and Nicolay had been so long acquainted that they were able to develop a common prose style with little effort.
By 1885, Hay and Nicolay had written some 500,000 words and were scarcely halfway through the Civil War. Hay grew increasingly concerned by the scope of the undertaking. What was needed was an incentive to bring the project to a close. Roswell Smith and Richard Gilder, publisher and editor, respectively, of the Century magazine, provided that motivation. “We want your life of Lincoln,” Smith told Hay. “We must have it. If you say so, I shall give you all the profit. We will take it, and work it for nothing... It is probably the most important literary venture of the time.”

Soon they had a contract. Century offered unprecedented terms: $50,000 for serial rights, as well as royalties on sales of the full ten-volume set, to be issued following the magazine run.
The long-awaited serialization began in late 1886.

Almost from the start, the work proved controversial.
By virtue of their exhaustive treatment of Lincoln’s political career, Nicolay and Hay seared into the national awareness episodes largely unknown to the public, and themes and arguments that would influence Lincoln scholars and Civil War historians for generations.

Among its many famous contributions to the nation’s shared historical consciousness were revelations that William Seward drafted the closing lines of Lincoln’s first inaugural address, which the president-elect then fashioned into a work of literary genius. Nicolay and Hay were the first to report George McClellan’s vainglorious assurance that he could “do it all” when Lincoln gave him command of the Union Army. They were the first to write of Lincoln’s great distress early in the war, when Washington, D.C. was cut off from the North and the president, keeping anxious vigil for fresh troops, wondered, “Why don’t they come!” The biographers offered unprecedented insight into Lincoln’s decision-making on emancipation and the enlistment of black soldiers and an insider’s view of his interaction with the Union’s high command.
Above all, Nicolay and Hay created a master narrative that continues to command serious scrutiny more than a century after its introduction. Populating his cabinet with former opponents for the Republican presidential nomination, Lincoln demonstrated his discernment and magnanimity in choosing men whom he “did not know... He recognized them as governors, senators, and statesmen, while they yet looked upon him as a simple frontier lawyer at most, and a rival to whom chance had transferred the honor they felt to be due to themselves.” Presaging the popular argument that Lincoln forged a “team of rivals,” Nicolay and Hay insisted that the strong personalities and talents who constituted his inner circle did not always appreciate “the stronger will and ... more delicate tact [that] inspired and guided them all.”

Hay’s love for Lincoln shines through in his imagining of the future president’s solitary childhood. Describing Lincoln’s boyhood habit of reading and rereading Aesop’s Fables, Robinson Crusoe, the Bible and Parson Weems’ biography of George Washington, he drew a moving portrait of a young boy sitting “by the fire at night,” covering his “wooden shovel with essays and arithmetical exercises, which he would shave off and begin again. It is touching to think of this great-spirited child, battling year after year against his evil star, wasting ingenuity upon devices and makeshifts, his high intelligence starving for want of the simple appliances of education that are now afforded gratis to the poorest and most indifferent.” Hay presented the future president as a hero in the wilderness, doing solitary battle against the privations of his upbringing.
Nicolay and Hay gave a prominent place to the elephant in the room: slavery. Few white Americans were interested in discussing the question by 1885. Hay, in his discussion of sectional politics that formed the backdrop of Lincoln’s political rise, stated matter- of-factly that “it is now universally understood, if not conceded, that the Rebellion of 1861 was begun for the sole purpose of defending and preserving to the seceding States the institution of African slavery and making them the nucleus of a great slave empire.” Rejecting the increasingly widespread argument that the Civil War was about a great many things, but not slavery, Hay reduced the conflict to “that persistent struggle of the centuries between despotism and individual freedom; between arbitrary wrong, consecrated by tradition and law, and the unfolding recognition of private rights.”

Breaking his own rule against believing the memories of old men long after the fact, Hay gave credence to the claim of John Hanks, Lincoln’s cousin, who recalled a journey that he and Lincoln had taken. Hired to escort a barge of goods down the Mississippi River in 1831, Hanks claimed that it was there that Lincoln first saw “negroes chained, maltreated, whipped, and scourged. Lincoln saw it; his heart bled; said nothing much, was silent, looked bad. I can say, knowing it, that it was on this trip that he first formed Ins opinion of slavery.” As an antebellum politician, Lincoln—though not an abolitionist or a radical—had boldly affirmed that black Americans were fellow men and women. After four years of war, his own thinking evolved even further. The secretaries followed his moral and intellectual lead. They also understood that his legacy would forever be linked with his emancipation agenda. In this regard, they were writing for posterity. As young presidential aides, Nicolay and Hay often missed the significance of events that they’d witnessed and in which they’d participated. They were actors in “stirring times,” Nicolay observed in the first weeks of the war, though “I hardly realize that they are so, even as I write them.” In November 1863, the secretaries drank their way through a 24-hour trip to Gettysburg, in part because it was their job to work the swing-state reporters and politicians on hand for the dedication of the cemetery, but also because they were young men who enjoyed a good time. In hindsight, they appreciated the gravitas of the moment.
The slain president’s critics were legion, including historian George Bancroft; Senator James Grimes; newspaper editor Horace Greeley; statesman Charles Francis Adams; William Herndon, Lincoln's law partner.

The pair acknowledged the growing consensus around the magnitude of the Gettysburg Address when they devoted a stand-alone chapter, 13 pages, to the speech. They reproduced the entire address, along with a photo facsimile of the original manuscript in Lincoln’s hand.
In securing Lincoln’s historical legacy, Hay believed it was imperative that the biography diminish the reputation of George McClellan, the former Union general, Democratic presidential candidate and thorn in Lincoln’s side during the war.

Hay portrayed McClellan as an inept general given to “delusions” and “hallucinations of overwhelming forces opposed to him,” a man who “rarely estimated the force immediately op-posed to him at less than double its actual strength.” Hay disclosed for the first time McClellan’s discourteous refusal to meet with Lincoln, when the president called at his house in late 1861, and zeroed in mercilessly on the general’s botched effort at the Battle of Antietam, where, thanks to a Union private’s discovery of Lee’s battle plans, he "knew not only of the division of his enemy’s army in half, but he knew where his trains, his rear-guard, his cavalry, were to march and to halt, and where the detached commands were to join the main body.” McClellan failed to act on this intelligence, Hay disclosed, and “every minute which he thus let slip away was paid for in the blood of Union soldiers the next day.” McClellan’s “deplorable shortcomings” were a constant source of agony, as was his “mutinous insolence” in routinely denigrating the president behind his back.
Nicolay and Hay scrupulously avoided distortions. Yet their bias was evident not only in what they wrote but what they omitted. The secretaries were fully cognizant of Mary Todd Lincoln’s misappropriation of the official household expense account. They also witnessed the distress that her actions visited upon the president. The subject appears nowhere in their work.

As for the president’s liberal suspension of the writ of habeas corpus—protection against indefinite confinement without benefit of legal proceeding—they dismissed critics. “The greatest care was taken by the President to restrain the officers acting under his authority from any abuse of this tremendous power,” they wrote. In retrospect, even historians who believe that Lincoln had little choice but to jail certain vituperous Northern opponents of the war would disagree with the secretaries’ overly generous assessment.
The Lincoln whom Hay and Nicolay introduced to the reading public was a deft operator. He exerted control “daily and hourly” over “the vast machinery of command and coordination in Cabinet, Congress, army, navy, and the hosts of national politics.” When the military high command failed to deliver victory, the president schooled himself in the art of battle, and “it is safe to say that no general in the army studied his maps and scanned his telegrams with half the industry—and, it may be added, with half the intelligence—which Mr. Lincoln gave to his.” Unlike many of his generals, the president displayed a “larger comprehension of popular forces” and understood that “a free people ... can stand reverses and disappointments; they are capable of making great exertions and great sacrifices. The one thing that they cannot endure is inaction on the part of their rulers.” He was, in the eyes of his secretaries, the most skilled executive ever to have lived in the White House.

Hay was certain that he and Nicolay had placed “the truth before the country.” ‘Tear after year of study,” he wrote to Robert Lincoln, “has shown me more clearly than ever how infinitely greater your father was than anybody about him, greater than ever we imagined while he lived. There is nothing to explain or apologize for from beginning to end. He is the one unapproachably great figure of a great epoch.”
Reviews of the massive Nicolay-Hay work-in its final form, Abraham Lincoln: A History was ten volumes and 1.2 million words—were mixed. Some reviewers were baffled by its scope. Even a friendly newspaper remarked that “no one will suspect the writers of being lukewarm Republicans.”

William Dean Howells, the dean of American literature who, as a young man, had written Lincoln’s campaign biography in 1860, called it “not only... the most important work yet accomplished in American history” but also “one of the noblest achievements of literary art.” By far, the critic whose opinion held the greatest sway with the authors was Robert Lincoln, and he was “much pleased ... with the results of your long work,” he told Hay. “It is what I hoped it would be.” “Many people speak to me & confirm my own opinion of it as a work in everyway excellent—not only sustaining but elevating my father’s place in History,” he assured his friend of three decades. “I shall never cease to be glad that the places you & Nicolay held near him & in his confidence were filled by you & not by others.”
Hefty and expensive, Abraham Lincoln: A History sold only 7,000 copies, but for every person who bought the collection, 50 others read extensive excerpts in its serial run. More important than sales was the book’s intellectual reach. For at least half a century, the Nicolay-Hay volumes formed the basis of all major scholarship on Lincoln.

Nicolay continued to labor in Lincoln’s shadow. He contributed articles on matters of Lincoln lore and legend. He condensed the ten volumes of his effort with Hay, creating an abridged history that achieved strong sales. That his life had become an extension of Lincoln’s did not seem to trouble Nicolay. He had not grown as rich as Hay (though he surely understood that Hay married, rather than earned, his money). He was by no means as famous. He never held high office or seemed even to aspire to it.
Hay, approaching 60, finally achieved the political heights that many of his friends had expected of him. In spring 1898, President William McKinley forced the increasingly senile John Sherman out of the State Department and later that year tapped Hay to replace him as secretary of state. Over the next six and a half years, until his death, Hay played an instrumental role in expanding America’s strategic position over two oceans and two hemispheres.

Days after William McKinley, struck down by an assailant’s bullet, expired on September 14, 1901, Hay rode by carriage from his home on Lafayette Square to Capitol Hill, where his oldest friend, John Nicolay, lay dying. Hay wore black crepe on his arm, a sign of mourning for the president. Helen greeted him in the hall and explained that her father did not have long to five. She asked that Hay not tell him of the president’s assassination, for fear that the news would agitate him. “I must take this off before I go up to him,” Hay said as he removed his armband. “I had to tell him that my father would not see it—that he was already more in the other world than in this,” Helen later wrote. “He mounted the stairs slowly. I stayed below. He came down more slowly still, his face stricken with grief. He never saw his old friend again.” Shortly following Theodore Roosevelt’s inauguration in 1905, Hay took a leave of absence from the State Department and traveled to Europe with Clara, where he hoped that doctors might help cure him of mounting heart trouble. The sojourn seemed to have had a restorative effect. Yet by the time John and Clara boarded the RMS Baltic for the journey home, the old troubles seemed to afflict him once again. After conferring with the president in Washington, Hay left with Clara for the Fells, his New Hampshire country house, where he died in the early hours of July 1,1905.
On July 25,1947, some 30 scholars and scions of the Civil War era gathered in the Whittall Pavilion of the Library of Congress for a gala dinner. Poet and Lincoln biographer Carl Sandburg was there—so were historians James G. Randall and Paul Angle, the leading expert on Lincoln’s Springfield years. Ulysses S. Grant III was pleased to attend; Helen Nicolay, now 81, was compelled by poor health to send her regrets. “Not since that morning in the Petersen House have so many men who loved Lincoln been gathered in one room,” remarked one of the attendees.

Shortly before midnight, the party took leave of the banquet and walked across the street to the library annex. There they waited for the clock to strike 12, signaling the 21st anniversary of Robert Todd Lincoln’s death—the date that the Lincoln family had designated to make the president’s papers available. Among the crowd of 200 onlookers, newspaper cameramen lit the room with then* flashbulbs, while CBS Radio News interviewed several dignitaries.
At the appointed hour, the library staff unlocked the vaulted doors that had guarded the Lincoln collection, and the scholars rushed the card catalog. Elated, Randall felt as though he were “living with Lincoln, handling the very papers he handled, sharing his deep concern over events and issues, noting his patience when complaints poured in, hearing a Lincolnian laugh.” Many of the Lincoln papers were written in Nico- lay’s or Hay’s hand and signed by the president. Most had passed through their fingers at least twice—during the war, when they were young men, and decades later, when they were old.

Soon after release of the manuscript collection, Roy P. Basler, the 41-year-old secretary of the Abraham Lincoln Association, entered into an agreement with the Library of Congress to edit The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Basler was among a handful of individuals, then and since, who could claim to have read almost every extant scrap Lincoln ever wrote, from the mundane to the truly profound (with the exception of the late president’s legal papers). In 1974, speaking as “one of the few people yet alive who once read Nicolay and Hay complete,” he judged their work “indispensable” and predicted that it “will not be superseded.” Theirs was “not merely a biography of a public man but a history of the nation in his time.” The secretaries, he concluded, made “use of the stuff of history” in a way that few of their successors could claim.
Review by Joshua Zeitz, Smithsonian, February 2014.