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Life Among the Felons


It was in 1943 that my parents moved our family from the Kingsbridge Road section of the Bronx to what is still a beautiful building on the Grand Concourse a few blocks from Yankee Stadium.

The US Navy had the temerity to take over our apartment building to use as billets for WAVES. There was a war going on and the move disrupted my life. I was 11 tears old and not a "happy camper."

It took only a short time for me to be comfortable in my new neighborhood and find my way to the area near the Stadium where there were all sorts of athletic fields. These facilities now sit underneath the new Yankee Stadium.

It was my continual joy to play pick-up half court basketball games at this park which was near my house, and as a rule I played with kids a little older then me.

One of them became famous for a series of wrong reasons, in that he was deeply involved in what became a "point shaving" scandal with local college players and big time gamblers, and he went to jail. I remember that he often played basketball wearing blue suede shoes.

And now a quick segue. Over thirty years ago I worked for and became friendly with David Begelman at Columbia Pictures. Sadly and appropriately, David was convicted of a few minor felonies such as check forgery, embezzlement, as well as a few other trivial crimes.

Let us imagine the unimaginable. I decide to run for Governor of California. Would it be "acceptable" for my opponents to vilify me by claiming that I "hung out" with felons in my life that fixed college basketball games, forged checks, and embezzled funds?

Why would my past and very casual and trivial relationships be an issue?

Sadly Governor Sarah Palin and Senator John McCain did bring up the issue of Barack Obama and his "whatever" with William Ayers.

They now have stopped repeating these charges, but it still is not OK that the two of them chose to do it in the first place.

There were times when I was married that my "then wife" became upset with me, and she would say the most horrid things, and when she calmed down she would apologize for the things that she had said. She become upset when I would tell her that it was just not OK to say horrid things if you had a path to forgiveness with an "I'm sorry."

Referring to Obama as a "socialist" is also not OK either. Name calling among grown ups is just not acceptable any longer. Welcome to the Bush/Cheney/McCain/Palin campaign process.

I take big time issues with the two of them (Palin and McCain) doing the "Willie Horton Thing" to Obama, as well as the ease with which the "vaunted" media just accepted the Obama/Ayers connection as it did, without putting it into proper perspective.

I know that the most recent debate moderator, Bob Schiffer is a likable guy, but I continue to expect more of him and his media brethren then I receive. The notion that network news anchors are somehow able to moderate these events is one that escapes me. Moderators should do something other than sit there, ask questions, and smile.

If I had the opportunity, and I was a journalist or a debate moderator, I would have asked both Palin and McCain exactly what Obama was doing when he was "hanging out", or "palling around" with a "known terrorist?"

Coming from a possible future President and Vice President of our country, this sort of vilification of ones opponent is far from acceptable to me.

Our country is sinking into two oceans and involved in two wars, yet this sort of behavior had been a fulcrum if the McCain Palin campaign. Circumstances demand more from candidates notwithstanding the "campaign conventional wisdom" that recommends this sort of behavior. Winning elections at all costs is just not acceptable to me.

Norman Horowitz

Who did hang out with at least two felons.