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R&B Legend Charlie Wilson Fills the Gaps in His Life’s Winding Road

Posted by: Audiegrl

Charlie Wilson

Full circle: Charlie Wilson shows the alley he slept in as a homeless person after his Gap Band days in Hollywood. Wilson has renewed his life and career.

USA Today“This building wasn’t here,” Charlie Wilson says, waving at a high-rise condo under construction along busy La Brea Avenue. “It was a parking lot for U-Hauls. I slept under them when it rained. So did a lot of other crackheads.”

He brushes a tear from his cheek. Revisiting the haunts of his darkest days is distressing for the R&B legend, who led the Gap Band to international stardom in the ’80s and rebounded to solo glory in recent years. In between lies a desperate stretch of addiction and homelessness that took the singer from a posh Hollywood Hills manse to seedy alleys.

Strolling a narrow road behind a pawn shop, he points to the grassy spot he frequently staked out while living on the streets from 1993 to 1995.

“I slept in that deep corner there,” he says. “When I come through this area now, I get all tensed up. A lot of people who sink that far into depression, drugs and street life don’t come back. A lot of people I knew then are dead.”

Robert, Charlie, and Ronnie in 1982

Robert, Charlie, and Ronnie in 1982

Wilson, who turns 57 on Friday, did more than survive. He just had the most successful year of his 43-year career. The singer is up for two Grammys: R&B album for fourth solo effort Uncle Charlie and R&B vocal for hit single There Goes My Baby, which spent 10 weeks atop Billboard’s adult R&B chart. The album entered the R&B chart at No. 1 and the pop chart at No. 2, a career peak. He’s also nominated for an NAACP Image Award.

Nobody is more astonished by this resurrection than Wilson, who returns to the mileposts of his downfall with humility and gratitude. He starts a walking tour at the former location of the Total Experience studio, where the Gap Band, his trio with brothers Robert and Ronnie, recorded from the mid-’70s to the late ’80s, generating a string of platinum albums and such hits as You Dropped a Bomb on Me, Party Train, Outstanding, Burn Rubber on Me and Shake.
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Charlie Wilson talks to USA Today about his past struggles with drugs, his time spent living on the streets of L.A., and his comeback as a Grammy nominated singer.

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George Lopez Interviews Charlie Wilson on Lopez Tonight

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Charlie Wilson Performs His Grammy Nominated Song, “There Goes My Baby” on Lopez Tonight

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44-D’s True Crime: Discovery Channel’s Jack the Ripper in America

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Reviewed by Audiegrl

The greatest serial killer in history has never been named. But what if we are looking in the wrong place?


In 1888, a deranged killer stalked his prey on the streets of east London at night. After 121 years since the murder and mutilation of at least five prostitutes, the case remains unsolved and the true identity of Jack the Ripper has never been known. The world’s greatest criminal investigators have focused on searching for answers in London. However, in the 1890s a series of horrific murders took place across the United States in New York, San Francisco, Galveston and Atlanta, that mirrored the attacks in attacks in the UK. In this one hour special, Discovery Channel’s viewers will witness the new evidence, science and analytical techniques being used to reveal the true identity of Jack the Ripper.

NYPD Cold Case Detective Ed Norris

The Discovery Channel’s documentary, Jack the Ripper in America focuses on Detective Ed Norris, former head of the NYPD Cold Case Unit, who investigates and uncovers new evidence not seen since the time of the murders. In trying to solve the 118 year old murder of New York prostitute Carrie Brown, he begins to note the similarities between her murder and the famous Whitechapel murders in London. Brown’s murderer had a three-stage MO (strangled, penetrating wound, pulled apart) Because of the unusual and gruesome nature of the crime, the press of the day, immediately began asking the question, “Is Jack the Ripper in New York“. Norris sees the same unusual ‘signature‘ in both the London and New York killers. They both kill prostitutes by strangling, cutting the throat, and eviscerating the body. For Norris this indicates that he might be looking at the same killer.

Carrie Brown aka Old Shakespeare

Carrie Brown aka Old Shakespeare

The key in all cold cases is finding the clues missed by the original investigators. Although, Brown was murdered on April 23, 1891, Norris decides to let a new set of eyes look at the evidence. Enter Dr. Jonathan Hayes, the Manhattan Senior Medical Examiner. Dr. Hayes combs through the autopsy report of Carry Brown. He reaches some interesting conclusions, including a special marking on the body, which I won’t reveal here, you’ll have to watch the show. On August 7th, 1891, another unidentified prostitute is murdered with the same MO as Brown, and pulled from the East river. Visiting the New York Municipal Archives, Norris finds that the old newspapers of that time, reveal another shocking detail. The killer actually wrote to the NYPD, before the murder of Carry Brown. His letter is recreated below:

Capt. Ryan,

You think that “Jack the Ripper” is in England, but he is not, I am right here and I expect to kill somebody by Thursday next, and so get ready for me with your pistols, but I have a knife that has done more than your pistols. Next thing you will hear of some woman dead.

Yours truly,

Jack the Ripper

Richard Jones

Detective Norris wants to get into Jack’s head, and walk in his foot steps. He feels that he was an organized killer that took advantage of the conditions of the time: no ambient street lighting, a black curtain of smoke over the city caused by burning low quality coal, and counting on his victims to naturally take him to the dark, secluded places used in the prostitution trade. Norris takes viewers through a summary of the Ripper murders by using re-enactments and walking through the crime scenes. Next, Norris consults London historian Richard Jones, owner of Ripper Walking Tours and author of Uncovering Jack the Ripper’s London. Jones has spent more than two decades investigating the Whitechapel murders. He asks Jones if any of the serious Ripper suspects had ever traveled to the United States after the death of Mary Kelly. Jones provided him with three names: Severin Klosowski, Francis Tumblety, and James Kelly.

Known as the From Hell or Lusk Letter

Norris then consults with Sheila Kurtz, a Forensic Hand Writing Analyst, Master Graphologist and President of Graphology Consulting Group. Kurtz had successfully worked on the Son of Sam case among many others. After reviewing samples of the Ripper’s hand writing, Kurtz identified the writer as a very disturbed individual, who she said, “I wouldn’t want to be in his company“. For additional details on her analysis please visit her blog. The graphic to the left shows the letter was purportedly written in 1888 by Jack the Ripper.

Dr Thomas Bond

Dr. Thomas Bond

Norris then paid a visit to Britain’s National Archives. The archives hold thousands of original documents in the Ripper case. There, Norris discovers a document not previously used in the investigation. A profile of the killer. Sir Robert Anderson, the head of the police Criminal Investigation Departments, asked Dr Thomas Bond, Britain’s top police surgeon in 1888 to examine material connected with the Whitechapel murder investigation. Bond wrote a 19th-century version of a modern day unsub profile, based on personally examining the body of Mary Kelly and reading the autopsy reports on the first four victims. In the report, he describes in detail the type of person they should be investigating. Dr. Bond was sure that all five women had been killed by the same hand, because the throats of all victims had been cut in a similar way and the victims were presumably lying down when murdered. (for additional details on Dr. Bond’s profile, click here to read the report) Norris ultimately uses this 121 year old profile to narrow the three suspects down to one name. James Kelly. In the world of police parlance, Norris says that “Kelly looks good“.

Jack the Ripper victims: Polly Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catharine Eddowes, Mary Kelly

In 1883, James Kelly only one month married, argues with his wife and accuses her of being unfaithful. In a psychotic rage, he uses the methods of strangulation and throat slashing to kill her. Kelly is caught, convicted and sentenced to die by hanging. Then his employer comes forward and explains that he believes Kelly is mentally disturbed. Kelly was then examined by a alienist and committed to the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum. Kelly’s psychiatric report has been sealed for over 125 years, until Norris examines it.

Broadmoor Old Gate

Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum

In 1863, Broadmoor was the first custom-built asylum to house criminal lunatics. In Broadmoor, Kelly is a outwardly a model prisoner, but at the same time he is secretly planning his escape. Working in the asylum’s carpentry shop, he cunningly uses a piece of medal he carved into a key to aid his escape. In January of 1888, Kelly escaped and just disappeared. At that time a series of stabbings and slashing attacks of women start in London. Three victims: Annie Millwood, (February 25, 1888, stabbed repeatedly, but survived), Ada Wilson, (March 28, 1888, slashed in the throat, but survived), and Martha Tabram, (August 7, 1888, stabbed 23 times, did not survive). Norris feels these are the early attempts of Jack the Ripper, who like many serial killers, escalates and only gets more brutal over time. After these three attacks, the first London Ripper murder occurs. Surprisingly, Kelly was once considered a suspect by London police, but after only minimal checking at his old residence, they simply gave up, and were never able to find him. With the huge amount of pressure they were under, the case against Kelly went cold…

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Astonishingly, in 1927…forty years later, a much older Kelly voluntarily returns to the insane asylum and began to chronicle his travels. A typed copy of Kelly’s confession letter survives in the National Archives, and Norris is the first detective to read it. In the letter, Kelly describes having “problems dealing with society“, and being “overtaken with feelings of envy, jealousy, and malice“. Kelly states, “the thing has been hard because of all kinds of ‘skank’” (a term he uses to refers to women of low moral character) and “I’ve been on the warpath since I left Broadmoor Asylum.” Also in his letter, he admits to traveling to London after his escape, and more interestingly he tells of traveling to the United States and arriving in New York conveniently before the Carrie Brown murder. He was by profession, a trained upholsterer, and would have known quiet a bit about knives and how to use them effectively for the purpose of murder. Kelly also mentioned traveling to many cities in the US before returning to England and admitted that he came to the US many times over a period of 40 years.

USS Zaandam

First Norris wanted to check to make sure that Kelly’s confession matched up with actual travel records of the day. In Britain’s National Maritime Museum, they kept track of every ship that came to the United States. Kelly said he traveled to America aboard an Anglo-German steamer named the Zaandam that sailed from Rotterdam to New York. At the museum, Norris not only confirmed the ship existed, but that it sailed from Rotterdam to New York on October 7, 1890—two years after the last Ripper murder in London (11/88) and months before the April 23, 1891 murder of Carrie Brown in New York. You might be thinking, “How does a ‘wanted man’ get into the United States without detection?” Professor Dan Citrum is an expert in 19th-century immigration and explains how easily it could have been done. Remember this was before Ellis Island was established, so getting in and out of the country was very easy. No drivers licenses, no passports, and no photo id whatsoever. Many people back then, came to this country to start over, and remake themselves and get lost in the huge crowds of New York city. In his confession, Kelly admits to changing his name once his ship arrives to ‘John Miller‘, one of the most common names both then and now. Kelly used his new name like a disguise to blend in and escape police scrutiny.

Knowing from experience that many serial killers travel extensively, to avoid detection, Detective Norris plots the cities Kelly claims to have visited against the murders written about in the newspapers. He begins to see similarities in Ripper-like murders committed in other cities: New York NY, Trenton, NJ, Galveston, TX, New Orleans, LA, Philadelphia, PA, Baltimore, MD, Jackson, CA, San Francisco, CA, Denver, CO. Each of these murders occurred during the time that Kelly, thorough his confession letter, said he was in that city. Even the city newspapers asked the same question “Is this the work of Jack the Ripper” and “Is this the fiend of Whitechapel?” and “Has Jack the Ripper Invaded Texas at Last“. Detective Norris identified twelve murders across five states in just four years…and remember, Kelly was gone for forty years…you can do the math. To read an amazing collection of news reports, please visit Casebook: Jack the Ripper.

Using a asylum photo of Kelly provided by the National Archives, he was able to see what Kelly looked like at age 67. Norris then contacted Steve Mancusi, a NYPD senior forensic artist who has helped solve the most difficult cases for the last 30 years. He wanted Mancusi to use forensic imaging technology normally used for age-progression in missing child cases, but with this case, he wanted him to reverse the effects of aging, to show what Kelly would have looked like in his 30’s. The striking illustration below on the right is based on their findings.

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Both illustrations of Jack the Ripper

The left composite, was drawn based on 118 year old eye-witness accounts of Jack the Ripper in London. They examined different witness statements and used modern day forensics to come up with a portrait of the killer, even indicating what type of hat he wore.

The drawing on the right, is the result of Mancusi shaving 40 years off of James Kelly’s photo at age 67. As you can see, once they added the type of hat mentioned by eye witnesses, the drawings are a very close match.

In the end, there is no doubt in Norris’ mind that he has found Jack the Ripper. We may never know. John Kelly died of natural causes in 1929 inside Broadmoor Asylum and took his secrets to his grave. In my opinion, Jack the Ripper in America was very well done and is a must-see for all forensic buffs and amateur Ripperologists. I’m interested in seeing further research, analysis and discussion of Norris’ theory. Regarding any factual errors in this post, I apologize in advance, and encourage everyone to let me know what needs to be corrected.

Time After Time

On a lighter note, anybody remember the movie “Time After Time” starring Malcolm McDowell, John Warner and Mary Steenburgen? McDowell played H.G. Wells, who uses his time machine to chase his friend, Warner (aka Jack the Ripper) through the streets of modern day (1979) San Francisco. After watching Norris’ documentary, maybe Hollywood’s silly (but entertaining) version of the Ripper story had a sliver of truth to it after all. 😉

The Secret of Prisoner 1167: Was This Man Jack the Ripper? by James Tully


Hat tip and special thanks to Roy Corduroy for his suggestion to add this book to this post. Casebook: Jack the Ripper gives this book a three-starred review:

A triumphant achievement on the part of Jim Tully, well-researched and written. James Kelly is his suspect, a lunatic upholsterer and wife-murderer who is actually in the Guinness book of world records for his escape from Broadmoor asylum. Tully weaves a fascinating story, regardless of your feelings on Kelly as a suspect. Recommended.

Related Articles and Sites

Casebook: Jack the Ripper

Maps of Whitechapel, 1888-1894

Ripperological Preservation Society

Jack the Ripper Tours

Serial Killer Database – Jack the Ripper

The Whitechapel Society

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Filed under California, Computers, Crime, Documentary, England, Forensics, Georgia, History, Law, New Jeresy, New York, News, Pennsylvania, Police, Technology, Texas, True Crime, Uncategorized, Violence, World

Joe Wilson’s Wife Roxanne Has Swine Flu

sROXANNE-WILSON-largeCNN—Rep. Joe Wilson’s wife Roxanne has been diagnosed with swine flu, the congressman’s office confirmed to CNN on Thursday.

The South Carolina Republican who gained instant notoriety in September for shouting “You lie!” at the president told The Hill newspaper on Thursday that he plans to keep his distance from his wife when he returns home this weekend.

Wilson said he plans to get the H1N1 vaccination soon, but only after “the majority of the American people” receive it.

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No Longer Charlie Wilson’s War, Former Congressman Says He Feels Obama’s Pain on Afghanistan Decision

Posted by Buellboy

 Fmr. Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-TX)

Fmr. Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-TX)

TPM/Christina Bellantoni—Wilson (D-TX), whose role in the covert operation in Afghanistan later inspired the film “Charlie Wilson’s War,” said he thinks President Obama is in a “very tough situation” when making his decision on whether to send more troops.

It’s probably best to make a calculated withdrawal. …If I were the president, I’m not sure what I’d do. I’d probably shut it down, rather than lose a lot of soldiers and treasure,” Wilson, now 76, told the newspaper in advance of an event Thursday at the Scranton Cultural Center.

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From now on, it’s “Obama’s War…”
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Who Is Barack Obama? And why do people say such loopy, ugly things about him? The enduring rot in American politics

Photo-illustration by Gluekit   (Photo: Mannie Garcia, AP)

Photo-illustration by Gluekit (Photo: Mannie Garcia, AP)

New York Magazine/Philip Weiss—All around were satanic representations of President Barack Obama in whiteface, as a Nazi, an African witch doctor, a Marxist, a Muslim, and Che Guevara’s best friend—but Kathy Golya had never felt so good about the new administration as she did right now. It was a day after Representative Joe Wilson’s outburst in Congress, and the South Carolina congressman had given voice to Golya’s inner heart. He hadn’t just said it on the Internet, he had said it to the president himself.

No, it was not the appropriate place, Golya said, but still she glowed with the memory. “It was the first time in my life I felt good, since he got into office. Someone had called him a liar.”

 Obama protesters from rallies in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., over the last few months.   (Photo: Mark Peterson, Redux)

Obama protesters from rallies in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., over the last few months. (Photo: Mark Peterson, Redux)


A prim, slender homemaker in her fifties from northeastern Pennsylvania, Golya had come out to a tea party in Scranton with her friend Donna Biscontini to have solidarity with everyone else with strong criticisms of the president. Not really criticisms, actually, but feelings—anger, upset, a sense of dispossession. There had been a kind of revolution in the country with Obama’s election, the women felt. They talked about the president’s “czars.” One of the czars believed that animals should have lawyers to sue their owners. “Animals have more rights than people,” Biscontini said. Another was for forced sterilization. “Who’s that sound like? Hitler,” Golya said. The president was putting himself at a godly level, was her point; he was saying that man controls his destiny, not God. She saw that as arrogance. She mentioned that the president’s wife wore $600 shoes when she was helping the poor.

Obama protesters from rallies in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., over the last few months.   (Photo: Mark Peterson, Redux)

Obama protesters from rallies in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., over the last few months. (Photo: Mark Peterson, Redux)


Golya, who was Kittykat on the Internet, saw her conflict with Obama as a battle of souls. She prayed for the president every day. “For his conversion.”

I asked her if she thought he was a secret Muslim. “Only he knows that; we don’t know that,” she said. “I’m praying for the conversion of his heart.”

That was as charitable a view of Obama as one could find at the rally in Scranton, or in Washington, D.C., two days later. The images were frightening. Obama with a Hitler mustache. Obama morphed to Heath Ledger’s Joker. Obama, Parasite in Chief. Obama the Muslim, Obama the Marxist. Even Obama the Antichrist: Jesus is the Messiah, not Obama.

This seven page article although both shocking and disturbing, is a must read.

Read more here

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Filed under Hate Crimes, Media and Entertainment, Partisan Politics, Politics, Republicans, Uncategorized

Rhode Island Hispanic GOP Assemblyman Quits Party Due to Embarrassment Over Wilson’s ‘You Lie’ Shout

Posted by Audiegrl

Ivan Marte, the ex-chairman of the Rhode Island Republican Hispanic Assembly

Ivan Marte, the ex-chairman of the Rhode Island Republican Hispanic Assembly

I’ve been asking for a couple of months now, when someoneanyone in the Republican leadership was going to stand up to the crazy elements in their party?

Ding, ding, ding… We have a winner. 🙂

I’m proud to introduce you to Ivan G. Marte, the Chairman of the Rhode Island Republican Hispanic Assembly, and member of the Republican Central Committee. He has resigned his post over what he sees happening in the Republican party. For Marte, the Joe Wilson ‘you lie‘ shout heard around the world, was the last straw.

In a phone interview with Think Progress’ Faiz Shakir,
Marte said:

“I do not want to continue being a member of a party in which the members of the party express themselves in that way,” said Marte, 59, of Cranston. In a phone interview, he called Wilson’s behavior “shameful” and “uncivilized.”

In a resignation letter to GOP Chairman Giovanni Cicione, Marte touches upon several important points.

On the morality of tolerance:

Endurance, tolerance and courage must be part of our daily life, there are others virtues to be considered to fulfill some of our daily task and responsibilities to our family, our neighbors and our community but when those duties are to be accomplish through a political machinery with an uneven and inequality system fill with peoples lacking the basic understanding of human values, seduced by power, money and an illusion of glory and fame than those duties are to be attended through others venues.

On being underutilized and marginalized:

I would also like to point out that during my tenure of my position I came to realized that I was underutilized and marginalized by the same peoples that we help reached public office through our support, commitment and hard work.

On the Republican party needing to unify and not divide our country:

I do hope that my resignation served as a sign, that the Republican Party in this Nation need to reevaluate their position in a Society that it strength and sovereignty depend on the unification of our peoples and not the division that we had build and that we should concentrate our efforts on our similarity and not on our differences.

On learning an important lesson from our Armed Forces:

That we out to follow the lesson that our Armed Forces has learned while defending our Freedom, our Democracy and our way of life through forces made out of an array of soldiers from every corner of the world who like any American swore to defend our Nation with the same commitment as our fore father before them.

On the GOP adjusting to the 21st century:

We must prepared our peoples to adjust and adapt to our current time, that our survivorship will be in the hands of the very same peoples whom at one time or another we found it hard to deal with it because of Color, Religion, Race, Ethnic or National Origin; for our children will be a witness to this.

In resigning, Matre has made the GOP tent a little bit smaller today….but if Republicans continue to alienate voters with litmus tests, I’m sure it will be even smaller tomorrow….

Read his full resignation letter.

44 Diaries Political Courage AwardDue to Mr. Matre’s courageous country-before-party actions today, he is the recipient of the 44D’s Political Courage Award.

Congratulations Mr. Matre!

This prestigious award is available to all of our elected officials who are willing to do the right thing for our country, instead of the right thing for their political careers.

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Filed under Democrats, Hispanic/Latino/Latina, Military, News, Partisan Politics, Politics, Republicans, Uncategorized

“Saturday Night Live Weekend Update” takes on Republicans

Posted by Audiegrl

SNL returns with it’s Thursday night format of Weekend Update. The opening sketch features the Republican’s planning the ‘You Lie” incident, only Joe Wilson leaves to go to the bathroom, and the other Republican’s decide it would look bad if they all shouted. Needless to say, Wilson doesn’t know things changed and he shouts alone. Hi-jinx ensue… Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers are back with a great interview with SNL’s version of James Carville. We need some levity in our politics, things are getting way to nasty. Enjoy. 🙂

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