Socializing with sociopaths

Yeah, it can be a little weird out there, too.

Just ask Ellen Brandt.  She’ll tell you a little story called, uh… I Don’t Like What You Wrote. You Should Be Poisoned, Garrotted, Stabbed With Stiletto Heels, Thrown Off A Tall Building, and Have Vultures Eat Your Liver.

In case you ever think, yeah, maybe unplugging isn’t such a bad idea.

Cross-posted on Dean’s World.

I knew him … pretty much.

This was originally posted on Dean’s World on November 16, 2007 (there are comments there too). I’m reposting it because of the story I am linking to below.  They’re not the same; the details are significant in their differences, it would seem — but the lesson, for me, is one that is essentially identical:

This picture is from his v-card on my hard drive. I’d sent him an article of mutual interest earlier this year. I had worked with him, as an adversary in a real estate fraud case in federal court in Brooklyn. He had it all.

He was one of those people who was roughly my age — younger, damn it — regarding whom I used to say, “That guy has the career I was supposed to have.” He wasn’t just a high-earning partner in a top international firm. I saw the quality of his work: He really knew what he was doing. He had the confidence. The look. The credentials.This was one of the lawyers I was jealous of.

Not any more.

Now, this one (via @abajournal) — it happened last spring, but I had not heard the story:mark-levy-dead

He pulled his Jaguar into the garage at the law firm two blocks from the White House just before 5:30 and took the elevator up to the 11th floor.

Always an early riser, he enjoyed getting a jump on the news of the day and sharing it with friends and colleagues. His were often the first e-mails they received—a pitch to attend a Democratic fundraiser, a pat on the back for a well-written article, or his take on the latest from the U.S. Supreme Court.

But this particular Thursday morning something was different. Levy had cleared his calendar, coyly dodging the reason when he canceled lunch the day before with a longtime friend.

“He said something had come up, and that I’d be able to read about it in the papers,” the friend says.

“I thought he’d gotten a big case. I was happy for him.”

Levy, 59, was one of the most skilled appellate lawyers in the country. He was of counsel at the firm and chair of its Supreme Court and appellate advocacy practice. He had argued 16 times before the court and in January had posted a 9-0 victory in an em­ployee-benefits case for DuPont.

He was one of Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s classmates at Yale Law School. The future Supreme Court justice once house-sat for Levy when they worked together at the Justice Department—watching after the Levy family’s golden retriever. When another classmate, Hillary Rodham Clinton, ran for president, Levy knocked on doors in the middle of an Iowa winter on her behalf.

Relentlessly upbeat, if a little uptight, he was passionate and enthusiastic about even the most arcane aspects of the practice of law. An impeccable dresser, he always looked like he was ready to go to court.

If he was distressed with the arc of his career, even his closest professional colleagues had no inkling—and they certainly had no idea that he would sit down in his office chair the morning of April 30 and, with a .38-caliber handgun, fire a bullet into the right side of his head.

Mark Levy had a loving family. He seemed financially secure. He had earned the admiration and respect of his peers.

What Levy did not have, however, was a job.

Just days before he killed himself, he found out that he was being let go by Kilpatrick in a round of cost-cutting driven by the unraveling economy. He had been one of 24 lawyers nationwide laid off by the 500-lawyer firm.

Different career arc.  Different pain.  But both men I may well have wished I could switch places with in some way.

There but for the grace of God goes Ronald Coleman.  Literally.

Don’t get me wrong.  I knew someone who jumped off a bridge when he was told he was not making partner in a major law firm, too.  I was never afraid I would do that — just not that ambitious, not that way, anyhow.  I was never going “to kill myself” over that sort of thing, and that’s what I am grateful for:  Having the ability to know not to, despite an ego and a love of “the good things” that would have loved nothing more.

I didn’t know Mark Levy, but, yeah, I knew him, too.

UPDATE:  Similar thoughts from Carolyn Elefant.

First they came for Rush…

Listening to the contemporary American left’s views of the rest of us is increasingly like listening to a paranoid schizophrenic slip farther into delusions that they are surrounded by malevolent people. Just as we have to worry that the schizophrenic might act on their delusional beliefs and strike out violently against the evils they imagine, we have to be increasingly worried that leftists will strike out against the rest of us based on their delusional fantasies about what we non-leftists believe.

That’s the redoubtable Shannon Love over at Chicago Boyz.  Yes, you can be a little “scared.”  It is so beyond “truthiness” at this point…

Talkin’ union

Mickey Kaus — no fascist — is the best popular commentator critically following what unions — not workers, or even necessarily union workers — are doing to this country, its key industries and its political institutions.

It isn’t pretty.

Communism in two countries

The New York Times gives us a primer on how Red is Red:

Like an envious underachiever, Vladimir V. Putin’s party, United Russia, is increasingly examining how it can emulate the Chinese Communist Party, especially its skill in shepherding China through the financial crisis relatively unbowed.

United Russia’s leaders even convened a special meeting this month with senior Chinese Communist Party officials to hear firsthand how they wield power.

In truth, the Russians express no desire to return to Communism as a far-reaching Marxist-Leninist ideology, whether the Soviet version or the much attenuated one in Beijing. What they admire, it seems, is the Chinese ability to use a one-party system to keep tight control over the country while still driving significant economic growth.

And that differs from Stalinism exactly how?  Besides not being called Communism, I mean.

The Kremlin’s strategy was apparent in regional elections last week, when United Russia lieutenants and government officials used strong-arm tactics to squeeze out opposition parties, according to nonpartisan monitoring organizations. United Russia won the vast majority of contests across the country.

Far behind was the Russian Communist Party, which styles itself as the successor to the Soviet one and has some popularity among older people. The Russian Communists have also sought to build ties to their Chinese brethren, but the Chinese leadership prefers to deal with Mr. Putin’s party.

Sure.  Why deal with loser commies when you can deal with the new, improved winning kind?

One from Column A

One from Column A

You really do need a scorecard these days.  Just be sure there’s a floorboard you can hide it under when they guards start heading across the courtyard, comrade.

Win big

Instapundit on the Rush Limbaugh defamation story:rush_limbaugh

A reader emails: “I suspect the discovery process alone would be enough of a living hell for CNN and MSNBC. There is certainly lots of painful information about their internal decision processes just waiting to see the light of day. Rush does not have to win a judgment in order to prevail on this one.”

Yes, but he wins mu-u-u-u-u-ch bigger if he just hovers above the whole thing.

See how from up there all those other media folks look like ants?


Attorney Ronald D. Coleman