Saturday, July 31, 2010

Political Connections and the Lassman Meshpucha

The Lassman meshpucha appear to have a family tradition of establishing connections with the political elite. Malcolm Lassman together with Robert S. Strauss created the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld in 1971.

Mr. Lassman's brother, Lionel King Lassman, is a barrister in London, England -- and a well-connected one at that!

Happy 31st!

Daniel Barenboim performing the Beethoven piano sonata no. 31, opus 110 in A flat major. Composed in 1821, it is the central piano sonata in the group of three opp. 109–111 which he wrote between 1820 and 1822, and the thirty-first of his published piano sonatas.

The sonata is in three movements. The moderato first movement in sonata form, marked con amabilità, is followed by a fast scherzo. The finale comprises a slow recitative and arioso dolente, a fugue, a return of the arioso lament, and a second fugue that builds to an affirmative conclusion.

A lecture by András Schiff on Beethoven's piano sonata op. 110.

Flight of Ideas

The Wright brothers, Orville (August 19, 1871 – January 30, 1948) and Wilbur (April 16, 1867 – May 30, 1912), were two Americans who are generally credited with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903. In the two years afterward, the brothers developed their flying machine into the first practical fixed-wing aircraft. Although not the first to build and fly experimental aircraft, the Wright brothers were the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing powered flight possible.

Manned flight -- an idea whose time had come!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Defamation, Lohengrin, and the Rhodes Scholar

Lohengrin, one of Wagner's early operas, tells the story of a knight in shining armor who appears mysteriously to defend and protect the weak and vulnerable Elsa against defamatory accusations.  See the connection to this blog?  Oddly, I fell in love with the opera when I was 12 years old.  It seems that I have always had a concern with defamatory accusations.

Note the parallels between the character of Lohengrin ("You have defended the right of the meek") and the qualities sought in the Rhodes Scholar: Truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship; moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one’s fellow beings.

Speaking metaphorically, I pray for a Rhodes Scholar who will come to my defense!

In August 1987 I worked at the law firm of Hogan & Hartson.  I mentioned to my friend Craig W. Dye, a coworker, that the only German I knew I had gleaned from listening to the Wagner operas.  Craig replied: "So your German is only good for doing things like rescuing maidens in distress."  A moment of uncanniness.

King Henry the Fowler has arrived in Brabant where he has assembled the German tribes in order to expel the Hungarians from his dominions. He also needs to settle a dispute involving the disappearence of the child-Duke Gottfried of Brabant. The Duke's guardian, Count Friedrich von Telramund, has accused the Duke's sister, Elsa, of murdering her brother. He calls upon the King to punish Elsa and to make him, Telramund, the new Duke of Brabant.

The King calls for Elsa to answer Telramund's accusation. She enters, surrounded by her attendants. Knowing herself to be innocent, she declares that she will submit to God's judgment through ordeal by combat. Telramund, a strong and seasoned warrior, agrees enthusiastically. When the King asks who shall be her champion, Elsa describes a knight she has beheld in her dreams (Narrative: "Alone in dark days") and sinks to her knees, praying for God to send her relief.

Twice the Herald sounds the horn in summons, without response. Then Elsa herself makes the call. A boat drawn by a swan appears on the river and in it stands a knight in shining armour. He disembarks and dismisses the swan, respectfully greets the king, and asks Elsa if she will have him as her champion. Elsa kneels in front of him and places her honour in his keeping. He asks but one thing in return for his service: she is never to ask him his name or where he has come from. Elsa agrees to this.

Telramund's people advise him to withdraw because he cannot prevail against magic, but he proudly refuses and the combat area is prepared. The company prays to the one "Herr und Gott" for victory for the one whose cause is just. Telramund's wife, Ortrud, a pagan woman, does not join the prayer of the monotheists, but privately expresses confidence that Telramund will win. The combat commences. The unknown knight defeats Telramund but spares his life. Taking Elsa by the hand, he declares her innocent and asks for her hand in marriage. The crowd exits, cheering and celebrating, and Ortrud and Telramund are left to lament their defeat.

GW -- Psychotherapy -- Letter to Suzanne Pitts, M.D. 1992

I was terminated from my job as a paralegal at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld in late October 1991. In September 1992 I had a psychiatric assessment at the George Washington University Medical Center (Napoleon Cuenco, M.D.). Dr. Cuenco diagnosed me with bipolar disorder, a psychotic mental illness that, according to Dr. Cuenco, featured the mood congruent psychotic features of "loose associations" and "flights of ideas." In late October 1992 I started psychotherapy with Suzanne Pitts, M.D., a third-year psychiatry resident at GW. About a week and a half later I submitted the following letter to Dr. Pitts. I was not on any medication when I wrote the following letter.

My motivation in writing the following letter? First, I had a wealth of intellectual ideas that I wanted to work out at that time.   The creative individual "is almost insatiable for intellectual ordering and comprehension."

But the letter is also an example of "showing off." The chairman of the GW psychiatry department at that time was Jerry M. Wiener, M.D., a nationally-prominent psychiatrist who served as President of the American Psychoanalytical Association as well as the President of the American Psychiatric Association. I also believed that GW was in communication with my former employer, Akin Gump. I wanted to impress important people with the "brilliance" of my ideas. At this particular time Akin Gump founder Robert S. Strauss was ending up his service as
U.S. Ambassador to Russia. Strauss's father had aspired to be a concert pianist; the following letter is about the autobiography of renowned concert pianist Arthur Rubinstein.  Incidentally, Arthur Rubinstein's daughter, Alina Rubinstein, M.D. is a psychoanalyst who practices in Manhattan.

Of possible additional psychoanalytical interest is the fact that the Clinton-Bush Presidential election took place on Tuesday November 3, 1992, a few days before I wrote the following letter.

November 9, 1992
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Apartment 136
Washington, DC 20008

Dr. Suzanne M. Pitts
Department of Psychiatry
George Washington University
Medical Center
2150 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20037

Dear Dr. Pitts:

I have identified a case report in one of Freud’s papers, key elements of which parallel two key elements discussed in the opening pages of the autobiography of the pianist Arthur Rubinstein [Rubinstein, A., My Young Years (Knopf: 1973)].  Examination of the Freud case study (discussing clearly defensive processes) and comparison with the Rubinstein autobiography (discussing mixed defensive and adaptive processes in the context of a creative ego) raise several issues regarding the interaction of pathological (defensive) and creative (adaptive) ego processes in my case.  Further, the materials suggest the relation of seemingly unrelated psychological issues such as guilt, identity diffusion, the need for an omnipotent protector, or rescuer, among others.  Examination of the materials may help clarify the significance and relationship of these issues in my case.

In Part I. (“The ‘Exceptions’”) of “Some Character-Types Met With in Psychoanalytic Work” Freud discusses the case of a man who had developed the conviction that a special providence watched over him and protected him.  Freud traced the patient’s irrational conviction to an incident in the patient’s infancy. The patient who believed himself watched over by a special providence had been in infancy the victim of an accidental infection from his wet-nurse. The two key elements here are (1) the belief in a special protector and (2) traumatization from the wet nurse in infancy. (Freud does not explore the significance, if any, of the patient having suffered an oral disturbance, as opposed to having suffered some other “unjust injury.” That is to say, whether the issue of orality is material in this case is an open question. If the oral nature of the trauma were immaterial, the relation to the Rubinstein autobiography and to my own case is seriously diminished.)

Rubinstein’s autobiography begins: “My life was saved by my Aunt Salomea. A seventh child, eight years after the last-born, I was utterly wanted by my parents, and if it had not been for the enthusiastic persuasion of Aunt Salomea Meyer, my intrusion into this valley of suffering might have been prevented.” The theme of a “special protector” was an important one for Rubinstein; Rubinstein chose to begin the story of his life with these very lines and, indeed, returns again throughout the two volumes of his autobiography to his belief in a “special providence” that saved him from disaster. On the second page of the book, Rubinstein discusses his wet nurse: “My physical care was entrusted to a wet nurse called Thecla who was devoted to me, but later on, I heard, she was caught thieving and was put in prison. I was frightened that possibly I had swallowed some of her vice along with her milk, though the future proved my apprehension unwarranted. I have never stolen -- yet!” 1/ Thus, within the span of the six opening paragraphs of Rubinstein’s autobiography we find the introduction of two important themes, namely, the belief in a special protector and the theme of oral “infection.” The two themes parallel those found in the Freud case study.

Note Rubinstein’s linking of what was presumably for him the symbolically equivalent issues of nursing and thieving, which is significant. By implicitly analogizing the act of nursing to thieving Rubinstein also implicitly raises the issue of depletion guilt. In the paper “Survivor Guilt in the Pathogenesis of Anorexia Nervosa,” [Friedman, M., Psychiatry, 48:25-39, February 1985], the author relates the infantile fear of depletion of the mother to the development of survivor guilt. Significantly--in view of Rubinstein’s discussion of infantile oral concerns and his implicit invocation of the issue of depletion guilt--Rubinstein later discusses, at pages 10-11 of his autobiography, an episode of apparent survivor guilt in early childhood that followed the death of a beloved female cousin. “Next morning, my father took me for a walk. At his first words, ‘You know, Arthur, .  . .,’ I cut him short, and said quickly, ‘Yes, I know, I know, Papa. She has left, but she will come back.’ My childhood was over; I was a boy now. Only years later could I talk about this and listen to the details of the abominable scarlet fever which took her away from me."

"My sweet little Nemutka--she is certainly an angel now if there are any! I went though a bad time. I became irritable and disobedient, refusing food [anorexia], avoiding people at home [a diagnostic criterion for adjustment disorder], and starting fights with boys at school. Nobody could persuade me to play the piano for pleasure [anhedonia]. I would just practice scales, but lazily, without conviction. The only thing I liked was to play cards with my sick grandfather, who distracted me by teaching me the most intricate games. I could not be reconciled to the loss of my little friend; there was a rage in me, a grudge, a resentment against something, or someone--I could not say what. One night, wide awake, I suddenly knew. Yes, it was God, this God of my grandfather [apparently a capricious God who plays cards] who prayed to Him so fervently, assuring me that God knows everything, is everywhere, perceives our most secret thoughts, protects us [note once again the theme of protector: but here, a capricious and failed protector], and is never wrong. Well, then, I thought  bitterly [possible oral reference: compare Rubinstein’s earlier fear in regard to his wet nurse, “I was frightened that possibly I had swallowed some of her vice along with her milk”], how could He do such an unjust and terrible thing as this? . . . Night after night I went through the same scene, which was very hard on my nerves [possible allusion to his concertizing as an adult, and possible implicit allusion to the protector/impresario, Sol Hurok]. In addition, I was unhappy at school, where we were made to absorb everything too mechanically [possible oral allusion], never putting our heart in our work. But I did succeed in learning Russian and German, which was spoken all around me. With my Polish [i.e., his native, or “mother,” tongue] it made three languages (emphases mine).”

Rubinstein’s discussion of his learning various foreign languages symbolically suggests identity diffusion. That the symbolic reference to identity diffusion occurs in the context of a discussion of Rubinstein’s survivor guilt seems important in view of Rubinstein’s earlier linking, at page 4 of the autobiography, of details concerning the spelling of his name in various languages and his difficulties with his wet nurse (survivor guilt and oral difficulties being parallel concerns).  See 1/

Also, the issue of “special protector” arises in both contexts.  On page 4, Rubinstein’s wet nurse (who simultaneously sustained and “infected” Rubinstein) and the impresario Sol Hurok (who ensured a livelihood for Rubinstein but who also “night after night made the pianist go through the same scene, which was very hard on Rubinstein’s nerves”] could both be interpreted as “protectors,” albeit ambivalently cathected ones. On page 11, the following individuals might be termed protectors: Rubinstein’s grandfather and God (omnipotent but capricious--like Rubinstein’s wet nurse). The possible symbolic reference to concertizing on page 11 (“Night after night I went through the same scene, which was very hard on my nerves”) may implicitly allude to the impresario/protector Sol Hurok.

That Rubinstein was a creative individual suggests the likelihood that his ego functioning was more synthetic than that of the patient described by Freud. Accordingly, one might expect the far greater likelihood that Rubinstein’s fantasies regarding a “special protector” would be responded to, through a process of alloplastic adaptation, by real protectors. Thus, while the private fantasies of Freud’s patient and the private fantasies of Arthur Rubinstein might be identical, the role of the environment (including the political conflicts that might ensue from the actions of, or interaction with, a real protector) is of far greater interest and importance in the case of Rubinstein.  Certainly, analysis of Rubinstein, unlike analysis of the patient described by Freud, would have to comprehend both defensive processes and adaptive processes (including the possible negative political consequences of adaptive processes. The significance of this distinction may be illustrated by the following question:  Did my termination from Akin Gump result exclusively from my reliance on defensive processes (oral dependency, for example) or did the termination represent the negative political consequences of my need for a protector--stemming from an oral disturbance (defensive process)--that was in fact responded to by real protectors though an adaptive (alloplastic) process? In other words, when dealing with a certain type of alloplastic adaptation, what appears to be the result of, or is termed, a defensive (pathological) process may actually be a negative political response to, or characterization of, an adaptive (creative) process.)

In conclusion, the Rubinstein materials, to the extent that they combine in one personality a number of seemingly unrelated psychological issues related to my own case, may provide a clearer understanding of the significance and relation of these issues in my personality. (Note that the Rubinstein autobiography raises other issues, including the Family Romance fantasy, equally material in my case, which I have not discussed in this communication.) A comparison of the Freud paper with the Rubinstein materials may further define the relevant issues in my case. (One might note incidentally that the Freud paper also discusses the resistance and the effects of an overweening superego among “those wrecked by success” and among "criminals from a sense of guilt”--all seemingly material issues for my case. That the Freud paper in itself combines a wealth of seemingly unrelated issues that come into play in my own personality raises intriguing questions about additional possible linkages in my case, such as that between my belief in a special protector (as discussed in Part I. of the Freud paper) and my need to thwart success in life (as discussed in Part II. Of the Freud paper). Although the Freud paper uses the issue of resistance as an organizing thesis and adduces case material concerning unrelated character-types to support that thesis, one cannot help notice the uncanny resemblance between my case and the three unrelated character-types. It is as if in writing the paper Freud was motivated by another organizing thesis that remained unstated and unconscious.)

Thank you very much.


Gary Freedman

1/  Of possible significance with regard to the issues of (1) identity formation and (2) the relation of identity formation, or identity diffusion, to fantasies of oral disturbance, Rubinstein discusses, in the immediately preceding paragraphs of his autobiography, his parents’ choice of the name “Arthur.” “And so Arthur I was called. In Polish it is spelled Artur. In later years my manager [and protector] Sol Hurok used the h-less ‘Artur’ for my publicity, but I sign ‘Arthur’ in countries where it is common practice. ‘Arturo’ in Spain and Italy, and ‘Artur’ in the Slav countries.”  Rubinstein's discussion of his name and its divergent spellings in various languages may relate symbolically to the psychological issue of identity diffusion. That his discussion of a putative identity diffusion is linked, by juxtaposition to the immediately following paragraph, to a symbolic discussion of depletion guilt is intriguing, and is made all the more so by his linking, at page 11 of the autobiography, of a discussion of an episode of survivor guilt with his acquisition of various foreign languages.

Happy 30th!

Daniel Barenboim performing the Beethoven piano sonata no. 30, opus 109.  Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109, is the third of his late piano sonatas (Opus 101-111) composed between 1820–1822. This sonata (composed in 1820), like the other five, shows characteristics of Beethoven's last creative phase, including rich harmonic structures, a fascination with intricate counterpoint, and strict adherence to classical and baroque forms.

A lecture by András Schiff on Beethoven's piano sonata op. 109.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Growing Up Jewish in South London: "Let in the Jews!"

Sacha Baron Cohen and his brothers attended Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School (nicknamed Habs), a prestigious private school on the outskirts of London. Habs schoolmate and close collaborator Dan Mazer has described the school as “a factory of comedy. . . .  It’s just cocky young Jews. And because we were too weak to fight each other, we compensated with verbal jousts.”

“I would say [Habs] was an exam factory and certainly it was quite cocky,” says one of the Cohen brothers. “There was a slightly rebellious [atmosphere]; it was a very regimented, high-pressure kind of place and some reacted against that—it made for comedy.”

In his novel New Boy, based on his experiences at the school in the 1980s, Sacha’s schoolmate William Sutcliffe writes that when the Christian trustees relocated the school to the prosperous greenbelt suburbs of northwest London, they were surprised to find themselves presiding over an “exam greenhouse for nouveau-riche, second-generation immigrants,” including Jews. As late as the 1950s, the novel recounts, the school had a Jewish quota, and Jewish students were excused from the religious half of the morning assembly: “[I]t is said that after the hymns and prayers, the headmaster would stand and intone the words ‘LET IN THE JEWS!’” whereupon the Jewish boys would file in for announcements. 

From the movie Chariots of Fire:

What Does Eric Bettelheim Know (If Anything) And When Did He Know It?

Bruno Bettelheim (August 28, 1903 – March 13, 1990) was an Austrian-born American child psychologist and writer. He gained an international reputation for his work on Freud, psychoanalysis, and emotionally disturbed children.

After the merging of Austria into Greater Germany (April 1938), the authorities sent Bettelheim with other Austrian Jews to Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps for 11 months from 1938 to 1939. In Buchenwald he met and befriended the social psychologist Ernst Federn. As a result of an amnesty declared for Hitler's birthday (April 20, 1939), Bettelheim and hundreds of other prisoners regained their freedom. Bettelheim drew on the experience of the concentration camps for some of his later work.

I quote from Bruno Bettelheim's writings in my book Significant Moments

Bruno Bettelheim's son, Eric Bettelheim, is a British lawyer.  Do you think our friends contacted Eric Bettelheim?  Akin Gump manager Malcolm Lassman's father was a British Jew, and Mr. Lassman's brother, Lionel Lassman, practices law in London, England.  According to Vernon Jordan all British Jewish lawyers know each other.

Eric Bettelheim is an internationally recognized expert in environmental and financial markets and investment. He is a Founder and was Executive Chairman of Sustainable Forestry Management (SFM) Ltd, from 1999 to 2009. He established SFM as a private group of companies dedicated to realising value from the ethical and sustainable use of tropical and sub-tropical forests including the environmental services which they provide. Eric is widely regarded as a leading pioneer in the development of forest and land-use carbon market policy and investment. He has worked extensively with private, public and non-governmental institutions to promote investment throughout the developing world to provide sustainable livelihoods in restored and preserved forest ecosystems.

Eric practiced as a commercial lawyer for twenty five years and is a specialist in the law and regulation of financial institutions and financial products. His clients have included investment and commercial banks, investment funds, commodities dealers, securities brokers and securities and derivatives exchanges and clearing houses throughout the world. He has published numerous articles and papers on the subjects of financial law and regulation, as well as on environmental markets and climate change. He was co-editor and contributor to a seminal work on carbon sequestration published by The Royal Society. His work on financial, commodity and environmental markets has been published by many leading journals. He has chaired and presented at numerous conferences and symposia across the globe.

What Does Michael Weinstein Know (If Anything) and When Did He Know It?

My late brother-in-law Edward Jacobson had a cousin named Michael P. Weinstein.  Mr. Weinstein is a practicing attorney in Philadelphia.  He attended my sister's and brother-in-law's wedding in May 1969.

Do you think our friends contacted Mr. Weinstein?

Phone: 215-665-3148
Fax: 215-665-3165

One Penn Center, 19th Floor
1617 John F. Kennedy Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1895

Michael P. Weinstein is of counsel with Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP. He is a member of the firm’s Tax Group.

Mr. Weinstein specializes in the field of federal, state and local taxation.

He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science from Beaver College, Glenside, PA, and his Juris Doctor from Duquesne University School of Law, Pittsburgh, where he was Recent Decisions Editor of the Duquesne University Law Review. He also holds a Master of Laws in taxation from New York University School of Law, New York, NY. He joined Obermayer in 1986.

Mr. Weinstein was previously a Lecturer in Law for Temple University School of Law’s Graduate Tax Program.

He is a member of the State and Local Tax Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association, as well as the New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida Bar Associations. He is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida and the U.S. Tax Court.

For Elizabeth

Elizabeth Joyce, the long-time front desk manager at my apartment building, celebrated her 80th birthday this year.  Mrs. Joyce is originally from London, England.  She survived the blitz!

Happy 29th!

Daniel Barenboim performing the Beethoven piano sonata no. 29, opus 106, The Hammerklavier Sonata.  The Hammerklavier is widely considered to be one of the most important works of the composer's third period and one of the great piano sonatas. It is considered Beethoven's single most difficult composition for the piano, with the possible exception of the Diabelli Variations, and it remains one of the most challenging solo works in the entire piano repertoire.

Part 1 and part 2 of a lecture by András Schiff on Beethoven's piano sonata op. 106.

Letters to Sister -- 1992

In the year 1992 I sent several letters per week to my sister, apprising her of ongoing issues concerning my job termination by Akin Gump in October 1991 and other matters.  I forwarded most of the letters to the U.S. Social Security Administration in June 1993 in support of my disability claim.  There were a few additional letters that I did not forward to Social Security because I had misplaced them and was not aware of their existence.  This is one of those letters.

I wrote the following letter in about September 1992 after I learned that I had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder by Napoleon Cuenco, M.D. at the George Washington University Medical Center.  I disagreed with the diagnosis at that time.

It was not until late December 1992 that I received in the mail a copy of Akin Gump's Response to Interrogatories and Document Request (dated May 22, 1992) in which the firm alleged that it had determined, in consultation with a psychiatrist, that I suffered from a severe psychiatric disorder that rendered me unfit for employment.

Note that the following document is adverse to my Social Security Disability claim, which I filed in April 1993.

transmittal for Mrs. Estelle Jacobson c/o Mr. Edward Jacobson

Dear Stell,

I don't mean to sound like a smart ass, and I appreciate how physicians feel about patients diagnosing their own illnesses, but I gravitate toward 309.90 (a residual category for disturbances that are not severe enough to meet the criteria for 309.89).  309.90 seems to comprehend in the broadest way my personality problems.

I choose 309.90 for the following reasons.

Dr. Spitzer states that 309.90 comprehends survivor guilt and, by implication, all that survivor guilt entails including anhedonia and disturbances of identity (and certain abnormal biological functioning: sympathetic nervous system functioning and possibly the neurochemical changes discovered by Dr. Charney at Yale) in an otherwise mature ego.  Since my symptoms are not currently sufficiently severe to warrant a diagnosis of 309.89, I would fall back to the more general 309.90.

With regard to 309.89, the following important factors should be noted, however.  There is exaggerated startle response, in my teens and early 20's I suffered from sleep disturbance (early morning awakening and screaming awakening), outbursts of anger that are more consistent with traumatization than narcissistic rage.  Note also Dr. Alikakos' prescription of an autonomic and the evaluation by Dr. Amsterdam at HOP that found anxiety and not depression to be a predominant symptom.

Also the depression I experience may be an exaggerated mourning reaction to the psychological loss of my mother in early adolescence, which itself is fully consistent with a diagnosis of 309.90 (Dr. Alikakos noted the presence of unresolved mourning in my personality); also significant is the numbing of emotional response to my mother's actual death  Note also the coincident emergence in early adolescence of (1) depression (increased social isolation, marked weight gain, suicidal thoughts) and (2) autonomic symptoms such as profuse sweating and outbursts of anger.  (I'm just a layman, but it seems to me that the coincident emergence of depression and autonomic symptoms is significant and, from a diagnostic point of view, telling).  But what do I know:  See the case designated "Nighttime Visitor" in DSM-III-R Case Book by Spitzer, R.L., et al. (American Psychiatric Press: 1989), at 342 (Dr. Palombo on a number of occasions remarked on the significance of "lack of protection by mother" in my case).


Diagnostic Code 309.90 is Adjustment Disorder Not Otherwise Specified

Diagnostic Code 309.89 is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder  (It's interesting that PTSD is a recognized consequence of workplace mobbing.  But that diagnosis would have subjected my former employer Akin Gump to possible legal exposure.)

Job Search -- 1992

December 14, 1992
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Apartment 136
Washington, DC 20008

Elenchus Inc.
1825 Eye Street, NW
Suite 400
Washington, DC  20006

Dear Sir:

I am interested in the litigation legal assistant position detailed in the December 13, 1992 issue of the Washington Post.

Enclosed is a resume for your consideration.

Please direct any questions concerning my employment at Akin Gump to Mr. Dennis M. Race, PC, preferably in writing.  Mr. Race's address at Akin Gump is 1333 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC  20037.  If you have an immediate need to speak with Mr. Race, the firm's telephone number is (202) 887-4000.

Thank you very much.


Gary Freedman

Central High School Reunion Organizer: Now, Isn't This Interesting?

If I were a suspicious person, I would be very interested to find out more about Larry Plotkin. He's been in charge of organizing reunions from my high school class, the 230th graduating class of The Central High School of Philadelphia. I have had several email exchanges with Mr. Plotkin over the years and he has been consistently hostile towards me. I wonder if he's had any communications with anyone at Akin Gump?

It turns out that Mr. Plotkin is retired from a life-long career at the U.S. Social Security Administration, where he was a supervisory claims processing specialist.

Do you think Mr. Plotkin knows anything about my career as a fake mental patient?  Makes you wonder, doesn't it?  Maybe Mr. Plotkin can shed a little light on an ongoing fraud and racketeering scam that is the subject matter of this very blog.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Mind of the Noncreative Individual

[email to Gary Freedman from high school reunion organizer]

That's fine, but largely irrelevant, and is not worthy of a correction. Maybe you would also like to look through the list to see how many entered in 10th grade in September 68, or did 9th and 10th in 1 year beginning 9/68 years, for whom the total is then only 42 years. Do you care to look for any other typos also? I have worked very hard on this over the years, and I am continuing to work very hard to track down all the folks who have not been considerate enough to keep their contact data up to date and whose e-mails just rejected, and I actually really do NOT appreciate getting this kind of response for my efforts. Obviously, some people in the class think that this is all magic. At least I was good enough to get a correction out, as at least one person was unable to log into the web site for reasons we could not figure out until I discovered my typo on the url. Fortunately, when I hear from other members of the class they are supportive and appreciative of what is largely now a 1-man effort to keep this together and would never dream of bringing a criticism such as you did. And have offered to help and have participated in our events.

 -----Original Message----- 
From: [] 
Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 1:33 PM 
Subject: Re: CHS 230 - Correction 

Sorry to be a nitpicker, but actually there's another error. The 230th class started Central in September 1967 -- that's 43 years ago, not 44 years ago as you stated in your email. 

Gary Freedman 
Washington, DC 
202 362 7064

-----Original Message----- 
From: CHS 230 <> 
To: centralhigh230 <> 
Sent: Wed, Jul 28, 2010 7:02 am 
Subject: CHS 230 - Correction 

Please note an error in yesterday's e-mail The class web page is STILL I typed which is the school's site, and whileinteresting and useful, is not related to our page (other than a link in theAlumni section. Sorry about that


The fact remains (regardless of straglers), the 230 entered Central in September 1967, just as the 273 will enter in September 2010.  See The Central High School Newsletter.  The Newsletter refers to the 273 entering Central this fall.  "273 is on its way [beginning fall 2010] and it is going to be a truly great class."

I wonder what Linda Miller would make of this?

FBI: I Suppose They're Fed Up With Me!

Mr. Freedman,

Thank you, for the information. Unfortunately, it is of no investigative value to the FBI at this time.

FBI-Washington Field Office 
601 4th Street NW 
Washington, DC 20535 

-----Original Message----- 

From: [] 
Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 2010 4:01 PM 
To:  (USMS); Washington Field 
Subject: new psychiatrist 

Mr. xxxxxxxxxx, 

I met with my new psychiatrist this afternoon July 27, 2010 at 35 K Street, NW (D.C. Dept. Mental Health). His name is Jitendra Annapareddy, M.D. I will be seeing him once per week. His telephone number is 202 407 2153. He is a third year psychiatry resident affiliated with St. Elizabeths Hospital. His supervisor at St. Elizabeths is the same as my previous psychiatrist, Abbas Jama, M.D. (I do not know the supervisor's name).

202 362 7064

Joe's Fruit Stand: Mobbing and the Law Firm Associate

In the initial psychiatric assessment performed in September 1992 by the George Washington University Medical Center, Napoleon Cuenco, M.D. wrote the following about my problems working in law firms: "Following graduation from law school, patient came to D.C. to do his Masters in International Law. Following this, he reportedly had difficulty finding a job as a lawyer and had to settle for a legal assistant position in spite of excellent scholastic records. He has always felt bad about this. He feels that it puts him in a situation that invites a lot of envy and power struggles. On one hand, he feels that people he works with at his level feel insecure about his being a lawyer; on the other, he feels that the lawyers he works for are threatened by him (emphasis mine)."

Is there any evidence at all that a lawyer -- a practicing attorney -- has ever felt threatened by me, or was my report a figment of my grandiosity and paranoia?

As a matter of fact I have evidence that at least one practicing attorney felt threatened by me -- maybe.

In June 1981, nearly 30 years ago, I had just completed my second year at the Temple University Law School in Philadelphia.  In early June 1981 I began employment at the law firm of Sagot & Jennings in Philadelphia as a law clerk.  When I started working at the firm I had been assigned a private office adjacent to that of Thomas Jennings, Esq., the head of the firm.  A few weeks later, I lost the office and spent the rest of the summer working at a table in the law firm library.

Early in June 1981 one of the associates, Bill Einhorn, asked me to draft a pleading -- a removal motion.  A union member filed a lawsuit in state court against his union, The Teamsters, alleging that he had suffered a tortious injury that resulted from the malfeasance of the union.  Einhorn instructed me to find a court opinion that contained the following specific language: "The only duty that a union owes its membership is the duty of fair representation."  The removal motion would argue that the case could only be heard in federal court and that the union, under the NLRA, did not owe a common law duty of care to its members; under the NLRA the only duty a union owed its members was a "duty of fair representation."  (I didn't save any writings or notes associated with that research project.  I find it interesting that 30 years later I still remember these details.)

I spent the better part of a day looking for a case that had the specific required language.  Keep in mind, this was 1981.  There was no Internet; the firm didn't subscribe to Lexis or Westlaw, if they even existed then.  I did the research the old fashioned way -- and it was a slow, laborious process of reading countless court opinions.  Finally, I found an opinion that contained the exact language: "The only duty that a union owes its membership is the duty of fair representation."  I couldn't believe it when I saw it!  I was stunned.

But finding that opinion was only the first part of my assignment.  I then had to draft the motion.  Well, I found the writing to be a task that exceeded my competence as a second year law student.  I wrote the motion, but I had enough sense to know that what I had written was garbage.  I knew that Einhorn would have to do a major rewrite.  I gave Einhorn the motion I had written, and sure enough, he wrote the motion from scratch.  He was able to use the citation I had found.

The next morning I arrived at work a little early.  I could hear Einhorn and Tom Jennings talking about me in Jennings' office, which adjoined mine.  I could hear Einhorn saying: "It was awful.  It was a piece of garbage.  It was unusable."  Jennings kept interrupting him, saying: "Who found the case?  He found the case."  Einhorn continued: "I had to rewrite the motion from scratch."  Jennings countered: "Who found the case?  He found the case."  The discussion went on like that with Einhorn attacking my work, and Jennings -- the head of the firm -- supporting me.

In retrospect I find the incident odd.  Why would a practicing attorney go to the head of a law firm and complain about the work of a law clerk who just started working at the firm?  Law clerks screw up.  That's what law clerks do.  That's what they are paid to do.  With law clerks, you make do.  Is it possible that Einhorn was just looking for something -- an Achilles heal, as it were: a vulnerability -- that he could attack?  I don't know.  But then, the hiring partner at another law firm later filed a sworn statement with a government agency stating that I was severely disturbed and not fit for employment.  So, what do I know?  I'm just a pathetic mental patient ravaged by a severe psychiatric disorder.

Incidentally, Einhorn and I were the same age.  He had entered law school directly out of college; he had graduated in 1978.  I worked for four years after college and didn't enter law school until the fall of 1979.

Einhorn and I were in the same class in high school, the 230th class of The Central High School of Philadelphia.  Incidentally, Einhorn didn't make scholastic in high school.  Jeffrey Orchinik, Esq., who also practiced at Sagot & Jennings and was in the 229th class at Central, probably did make scholastic.

Oddly enough, Einhorn's father owned a fruit and produce store.  It was located at Barringer Street and Stenton Avenue in Philadelphia.  My family lived on Barringer Street.  I used to pass by the store every morning on my way to high school.  As far as I can recall, Einhorn and I had only one class in common in high school: Mr. Richard Price's social studies class in the ninth grade (1967-1968).  I have two recollections of Einhorn in that class.  He once said to Mr. Price: "Every man has his Price."  Clever.  On another occasion Mr. Price saw that Einhorn had brought a fruit knife with him to class.  Mr. Price said: "You can't bring a knife to school."  Einhorn said: "It's a fruit knife."  Mr. Price said: "It's a knife."  In these times -- "in these times," as the Justice Department would say -- Einhorn would have gotten an automatic suspension.

GW: Psychotherapy December 1992 -- Suzanne M. Pitts, M.D.

I wrote the following letter to my then-treating psychiatrist at the George Washington University Medical Center Suzanne M. Pitts, M.D. in late December 1992.  The letter was a power play.  I wanted to memorialize the fact that Dr. Pitts had said that I was improving in therapy; I also wanted to record the fact that I had been in therapy for two months (since the last week in October 1992), but Dr. Pitts had not recommended that I take medication.  Her decision to delay recommending that I take medication has always been a mystery to me since the initial assessment chart prepared in September 1992 by Napoleon Cuenco, M.D. recommended that I take antipsychotic medication for bipolar disorder.  At the time I wrote the following letter, I had not yet read Dr. Cuenco's initial assessment chart.  Also, I do not believe that I sent a copy of the following letter to the Social Security Administration in support of my disability claim.  I want to emphasize that I did not write the following letter in contemplation of filing a claim for disability benefits.  I eventually filed a claim for SSA benefits in April 1993.

December 24, 1992
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Apartment 136
Washington, DC  20008

Dr. Suzanne M. Pitts
Department of Psychiatry
George Washington University
Medical Center
2150 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20037

Dear Dr. Pitts;

Enclosed is a tape recording of a telephone conversation that I had with my sister on the evening of December 23, 1992.

The conversation reveals my continuing difficulties with very serious delusional thinking, including my belief that my sister is in communication with my former employer, the belief that I was being harassed by co-workers at my former place of employment, the belief that strangers were aware of events that are transpiring at my former place of employment.  (On Wednesday December 23, 1992, for example, while at my local public library, I formed the belief that the librarians were reacting to events that occurred at my former place of employment that day; I formed the belief that the events may have had something to do with my autobiographical sketch [The Caliban Complex] and also related to the issue of projection.)

These delusional beliefs belie assertions that I am improving in therapy.  The telephone call evidences my annoying and litigious tendencies that seem consistent with paranoid personality.  The possibility of psychosis cannot be ruled out.  My sister has read a considerable amount of material on the issue of paranoia, and believes my thought system is typically paranoid.

I respectfully request that some consideration be given to a reevaluation of my case, preferably by a senior psychiatrist in the department.


Gary Freedman

Winston & Strawn: Mystery Raised -- Mystery Solved!

Someone at the law firm of Winston & Strawn googled the D.C. Court of Appeals docket number of Freedman v. D.C. Dept. of Human Rights, no. 96-CV-961 (Sept. 1, 1998).  Where did that individual get that docket number?

I wonder what that person was interested in?  The person seemed to have an interest in Matthew Erskine, who was a summer intern at Akin Gump in the year 1990.  I shared office space with Mr. Erskine on Akin Gump's 9th floor.

Winston & Strawn (76.xxxxx.131) 

Washington, District Of Columbia

Date Time Type WebPage

27th July 2010 04:20:56 PM Page View No. 96-CV-961%22

27th July 2010 04:22:11 PM Page View

27th July 2010 04:22:52 PM Page View

27th July 2010 04:23:59 PM Page View
27th July 2010 04:25:49 PM Page View

27th July 2010 04:29:23 PM Page View

27th July 2010 04:29:25 PM Page View

27th July 2010 04:29:26 PM Page View

27th July 2010 04:29:27 PM Page View No. 96-CV-961%22

27th July 2010 04:34:17 PM Page View

27th July 2010 04:39:08 PM Page View

27th July 2010 04:40:59 PM Page View


Apparently, the individual at Winston & Strawn had first googled "Maggie Sinnott," who used to be the Legal Assistant Administrator at Akin Gump. 

Winston & Strawn (76.xxxxx.131)

Washington, District Of Columbia

Date Time Type WebPage

27th July 2010 04:09:45 PM Page View sinnott%22 &aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

27th July 2010 04:12:27 PM Page View sinnott%22 &aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

27th July 2010 04:29:36 PM Page View sinnott%22 &aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

Happy 28th!

Daniel Barenboim performing the Beethoven piano sonata no. 28, opus 101. This was the favorite Beethoven piano sonata of the composer Richard Wagner.

The Piano Sonata No. 28, Op. 101 is the second of the series of Beethoven's "Late Period" sonatas, when his music moved in a new direction toward a more personal, more intimate, sometimes even an introspective, realm of freedom and fantasy. In this period he had achieved a complete mastery of form, texture and tonality and was subverting the very conventions he had mastered to create works of remarkable profundity and beauty. It is also characteristic of these late works to incorporate contrapuntal techniques (e.g. canon and fugue) into the sonata form.

Beethoven himself described this sonata, composed in the town of Baden, just south of Vienna, during the summer of 1816, as "a series of impressions and reveries." The more intimate nature of the late sonatas probably has some connection with his deafness, which by this stage was almost total, isolating him from society so completely that his only means of communicating with friends and visitors was by means of a notebook.

For the first time Beethoven used the German term Hammerklavier to refer to the piano (although it was the next of his sonatas, Op. 106, that became widely known as the Hammerklavier sonata).
This was the only one of his 32 sonatas that Beethoven ever heard played publicly; this was in 1816, and the performer was a bank official and musical dilettante.

You might be interested in Andras Schiff's lecture on the sonata.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Akin Gump: Extended Unemployment Compensation 1992

1 of 2

FAX NO. 887 4288
(first page of two pages)

2 of 2

June 30, 1992
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Apartment 136
Washington, DC  20008

Mr. Dennis M. Race, P.C.
Akin, Gump, Hauer & Feld
1333 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Room 431
Washington, DC  20036

Dear Mr. Race:

I have recently been advised by the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services, Office of Unemployment Compensation that I qualify for an additional 26 weeks of unemployment benefits under the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act.

In view of the circumstances surrounding my termination, the payment of an additional $7,618.00 in unemployment benefits represents an egregious economic waste that could be remedied by the prompt reinstatement of my employment with Akin Gump.

I respectfully request that the management committee give due consideration to my reinstatement.

I hope everything is going well for you and your work.  Please convey my best wishes to Mr. Lassman and Mr. Segal.

Thank you very much.


Gary Freedman

On April 9, 1992 litigation support employee Patricia McNeil, who worked for my former direct supervisor, Chris Robertson, was terminated by Personnel Administrator Laurel Digweed.  The firm had direct knowledge of the unprofessional environment in the Litigation Support Department.  

On May 22, 1992 Laurence J. Hoffman, Esq. (managing partner) and Dennis M. Race, Esq. filed with the D.C. Department of Human Rights the firm's Response to Interrogatories and Document Request in Freedman v. Akin, Gump, Hauer & Feld, my unlawful job termination complaint.  The firm alleged that my complaint of an unprofessional work environment in the Litigation Support Department (October 1991) was a product of my hypersensitivity and paranoia.  The firm's sworn allegations about my mental state (dated May 22, 1992) were determined to be sufficient evidence of disability by the U.S. Social Security Administration (see SSA Notice of Award dated August 17,1993), which determined that I became disabled and unfit for employment effective October 29, 1991, the date I was terminated by Akin Gump.

Why do the firm's actions not constitute a fraud on the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services, Office of Unemployment Compensation?

Akin Gump -- Contact with Gertrude R. Ticho, M.D. -- 1996

The following is a letter I wrote to Gertrude R. Ticho, M.D. that was triggered by my receipt of the District's Reply Brief in Freedman v. D.C. Department of Human Rights, civil litigation pending in the D.C. Superior Court.  Akin Gump had advised the D.C. Department of Human Rights (May 22, 1992) that it had been advised, in an ex parte telephone communication with Dr. Ticho in late October 1991, that I was paranoid and potentially violent.  Note that the following letter I wrote to Dr. Ticho is business-like and professional, as are all my writings.  The typical response of a severely disturbed person in my position would be to write a letter that berated or threatened Dr. Ticho.  What possessed the U.S. Marshal to claim that I was an angry person on January 15, 2010?  We know the answer to that.  The U.S. Marshal was engaged in an unlawful act of intimidation only.

Dimitrios Georgopoulos, M.D., my treating psychiatrist at the George Washington University Medical Center, had diagnosed me with paranoid schizophrenia three months earlier, in February 1996.  I was not on any medication when I wrote the following letter.  In June 1996 the D.C. Superior Court ruled that Akin Gump had presented genuine and credible evidence that it had determined (in consultation with Dr. Ticho) that I was mentally disturbed, potentially violent and unfit for employment as of late October 1991.

Dr. Ticho did not reply to the following letter.

May 18, 1996
3801 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, DC  20008-4530

Gertrude R. Ticho, M.D.
3120 Brandywine St., NW
Washington, DC

Dear Dr. Ticho:

Thank you for speaking with me by telephone on Saturday May 18, 1996.

As you will recall, I stated that the Government of the District of Columbia has reaffirmed its prior (incorrect) determination that you spoke with Malcolm Lassman and Dennis M. Race, two attorney managers at the law firm of Akin Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, in late October 1991.

It would be of great value to me if you could write out on your professional letterhead the following simple and brief statement that fully disavows the allegations made by the Government of the District of Columbia.

I did not make any of the statements attributed to me by the D.C. Department of Human Rights in Finding of Fact no 6 in the letter of determination issued on June 30, 1993 in Freedman v. Akin Gump.

It's that simple.  It should require only two minutes of your time  I will be forwarding your statement to the Office of Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia--the attorney for the city.  For your information I enclose a copy of the referenced determination made by the D.C government that incorrectly refers to you.

I thank you very much for your assistance in clearing up this unfortunate misunderstanding.


Gary Freedman