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Derivative Works from Daniel X. O'Neil

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One thing you often see in the world of obituaries is the difference between the pop and real. A person will be celebrated the world over for a particular contribution to this or that, but in the real world of their chosen profession they are respected and admired for something else altogether, usually something more serious and probing. Here's Margaret Singer from today's Boston Globe, she of Patty Hearst and schizophrenic language patterns. --DXO

Margaret T. Singer, at 82; studied cults, brainwashing
By Los Angeles Times, 11/29/2003

LOS ANGELES -- Margaret Thaler Singer, one of the world's leading experts on cults and brainwashing, died Sunday in a Berkeley hospital, of pneumonia. She was 82.

She served as an expert witness in numerous high-profile court cases, including testifying for the defense in the 1976 bank-robbery trial of kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst.

Ms. Singer was a clinical psychologist and former psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who also was known for her work on schizophrenia.

Ms. Singer, who did groundbreaking research on the brainwashing of US soldiers captured during the Korean War, often was sought out by lawyers as an expert witness and by the news media for comment in high-profile cases, including the People's Temple and the mass murder-suicide at Jonestown, Guyana; the search for the Hillside Strangler in Los Angeles; and the Branch Davidian and Heaven's Gate cults.

Over the years, she interviewed more than 4,000 cult members, including Charles Manson.

In the scientific community, however, she was more famous for her work on schizophrenia and family therapy, said Daniel Goldstine, chief psychologist of the Berkeley Therapy Institute. "She was a remarkable person -- the only genius I ever met in our business," Goldstine said. "She was twice nominated for a Nobel Prize for her work in schizophrenia. That work revealed that the best indicator of the disordered mind was the schizophrenic's odd and peculiar use of language."

In 1953, she began working as a psychologist for the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington, D.C., where she specialized in studying returned prisoners of the Korean War who had been brainwashed into denouncing the United States.

She did further research, with a heavy focus on schizophrenia, with the National Institute of Mental Health, the Air Force, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company


47763khalkhali.jpg There's one in every bunch. Funny thing about corrupt jerks-- they seem to be everywhere, whether you're a Western-style "democracy" or a revolutionary-style place like Iran in the early 80s. The more I learn about that place we're occupying and their neighbors, the more I realize there's really not a whole lot separating us. Here's the obituary of Ayatollah Khalkhali from today's Boston Globe. --DXO

Ayatollah Khalkhali, Iran's 'Hanging Judge'

TEHRAN -- Ayatollah Sadeq Khalkhali, who became known as the Iranian revolution's "Hanging Judge" for ordering summary executions after trials of only a few minutes, died Wednesday at a Tehran hospital. He was 77.

His son, Mohammad Givi-Khalkhali, attributed the death to old age and illnesses of the heart and brain, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency said.

Ayatollah Khalkhali was the most feared of the judges appointed after the US-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was deposed in 1979.

As president of the Islamic Revolution Court, Ayatollah Khalkhali was prosecutor, judge, and jury for those deemed counterrevolutionaries and for people charged with being drug dealers. In his autobiography, Ayatollah Khalkhali wrote that he ordered executions for 85 members of the shah's government and security forces. But other Iranians said he sent hundreds to their deaths without fair trial during his two years on the bench.
Dissidents accused him of executing thousands. Some of his trials lasted only minutes.

It was widely reported in Iran that when Nematollah Nasiri, the head of the shah's feared secret police, went before Ayatollah Khalkhali, the judge picked up a pistol and shot him dead.

Abbas Hoveida, the shah's longest serving prime minister, had two brief appearances before the ayatollah and then was led outside accompanied by the judge. A shot was fired, and Ayatollah Khalkhali returned to the courtroom and announced the sentence had been carried out. It was not revealed who fired the bullet into the back of Hoveida's head.

In retirement, Ayatollah Khalkhali was unrepentant. He said the leader of the Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, had given him wide powers and it was necessary to use them.

"I believe, and still believe, that all members of the shah's parliament and senate and all provincial governors and generals should have been sentenced to death," he wrote in his autobiography, "Ayatollah Khalkhali Remembers," published in 2000.

"But only a few of them were sentenced to death, and most of them left the country," he added.

In his final years, Ayatollah Khalkhali seemed to have a change of heart and supported some of the liberalization ideas promoted by President Mohammad Khatami and other reformers. But the reformist movement, which has spent years fighting Iran's dominant unelected hard-line clerics, never embraced the former judge.

Ayatollah Khalkhali was a judge until 1981, when he was forced to resign because of a failure to account for millions of dollars seized in raids on drug traffickers and amassed from court fines.

He served for eight years in parliament, where he headed the foreign policy committee. He then taught religious studies in the holy city of Qom before stopping work in 2002 after suffering a stroke.

© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company

Daniel X. O'Neil

My Books:  
BRICKS: A New Book of Poems  
Memo To All Employees: Including the long poem, "Boilerplate: Koreshians, Potential Rioters, and Bureaucratic Complicity in American Self-Destruction.  
: The book for those with unclean hands.

My World:  
Juggernaut Co.: The book company I run with designer Jonny Stepping.  
PoetryAndTechnology: Classroom lessons and events. Every needs poetry. Everyone needs technology.  
GoogObits: Obituaries and essays augmented by Google seaches. There is a lot to learn from the dead.  
GoogOgraphy: Second takes on original texts of our time.  
Streams Online Media: Where I've worked as an internet consultant for the past 6 years.  
Bibiliography of American Poetry told through the Pulitzer Prize: Told through the eyes of an American Performance Poet.  
Wesley Willis Art: Dedicated to propagating the reputation of a genius visual artist.  
Killer On The Loose: An idea whose time came and went.  
NecklacePoems: Colored, anodized aluminum pendants with a face on the front and a poem on the back.  
Cheerocracy: This is not a democracy. This is a cheerocracy.  
John F. Burns 2003: The best there is.  
Wide Right Turn: An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.  
Letters to the Editor: Another Derivative Works site based on Letters to the Editor of my father, Jack O'Neil, of Sewickly, Pennsylvania, published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from 1990 to 2003.

Queen of Angels Parish Chicago: Parish, School, and 75 ministries serving Chicago's North Side.
Sweet Fancy Moses: online journal of wit
RGBrand: Jonny Stepping's design firm
Emigre: best design magazine
Slip Studios: stephen farrell's joint DevCorp North: Rogers Park, IL
Potbelly Sandwich Works Dallas: Potbelly's coming to town


that is fucking Fantastik!

Associated Press TULSA, Okla. [^] James Marshall Wiley, the developer of Fantastik household cleaner, has died. He was 75.
The family didn't release a cause of death.

Born March 29, 1928, in Tulsa, Mr. Wiley attended Central High School and joined the Army as a paratrooper after leaving school.

In the 1960s, he developed Fantastik in a bathtub in his home. Mr. Wiley marketed the product (warning: adult content) door-to-door in Tulsa and eventually sold the formula, which is now produced and marketed by S.C. Johnson and Son.

Mr. Wiley is survived by his wife, Madeline Joy Bradley; three sons; three daughters; 16 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

What are GoogObits?

GoogObits are obituaries and essays augmented by Google searches. There is a lot to learn from the dead. If you are a reader of GoogObits from its first life as a Salon blog, welcome. If you are new, I welcome you as well. I intend to inject some new life into this weblog here in its new home, with more frequent updates and a more serious focus on the underlying principle: that copyrighted text has meaning beyond its first life.


Daniel X. O'Neil: Chicago-based writer and internet developer. I am a co-founder of and the People Person for EveryBlock, a site that pulls together local news and public information. I run dozens of personal projects and websites for clients, and also own half of a poetry book company.


EveryBlock: A news feed for your block.
CTA Tweet: Unofficial Twitter tracker for the Chicago Transit Authority.
CityPayments: Database of all vendors, contracts, and payments that have been posted by the municipal government of the City of Chicago
Wesley Willis Art: Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
Wide Right Turn: An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.


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