‘The Paper Chase’ at 40

first_imgMany readers and viewers wonder if John Osborn Jr. had someone special in mind when he created the imperious professor in his 1971 hit novel “The Paper Chase,” based on his Harvard Law School (HLS) years.The book centers on “Hart,” an eager young law student, and his tumultuous relationship with an austere contracts professor named “Kingsfield” (played to perfection in the 1973 film by actor John Houseman, who won the Academy Award for best supporting actor).With a careful reply, the author told HLS Dean Martha Minow and a crowd gathered at Austin Hall Thursday for a discussion about his book that the character was actually a composite of several people. But, he added, “It wasn’t like it was hard to find role models.”According to Osborn, a 1967 Harvard College and 1970 HLS graduate, 40 years ago the Law School had professors with stern classroom styles and zero tolerance for poorly prepared pupils. Based on that experience, Osborn crafted his curmudgeonly composite, one that has proved popular to generations of readers and moviegoers. The hit movie version, released in 1973, was soon followed by a popular TV series that aired for four seasons in the late ’70s and early ’80s.Minow, it turns out, is one of those many groupies. “I am a ‘Paper Chase’ fan. It influenced my life, my career — here I am,” said the HLS dean, who asked Osborn a series of questions, including why he wrote a novel while balancing the strenuous workload of a third-year law student.The decision was threefold, explained the author. At Harvard College, Osborn said he had wanted to pursue writing but was discouraged after being rejected from a poetry seminar by a teaching assistant who told him his poetry was terrible. He returned to writing at HLS in part as a “reaction against the status quo” — his feeling, he explained, that the School “glorified their teachers” over the students.I was learning “reciprocity in the contract class, and yet there was no reciprocity in the classroom,” said Osborn.In addition, the author said he chose to write as a way to “find another narrative” for himself, one that didn’t involve a large Wall Street firm after graduation. Later in the discussion, Osborn laughed while recalling how his fear of being sued over his book’s grim depictions of big-firm lawyers turned to utter surprise when they instead began to thank him for being included in his work.Osborn said Harvard’s William Alfred, a professor of English literature, helped him work on the narrative and suggested a number of publishers.In discussing the film, which he called an “almost literal transcription of the book,” Osborn said he worked closely with the movie’s noted cameraman, Gordon Willis of “The Godfather” fame, to help establish the imperious role of Kingsfield by including close-up shots of the gruff professor throughout the first part of the film. In addition, camera tricks and a movable set heightened the sense of distance between teacher and student. As the film progressed, Hart came increasingly into the foreground of the camera’s lens and was finally “right in the frame with Kingsfield,” on a par literally and figuratively with the stern professor, said Osborn.Reflecting on the choice of Houseman to portray the professor in the film, Osborn said the actor was the perfect fit. “He could be that way; it wasn’t a big stretch for him. He was used to being in control.”But when it came to the TV series, they had to modify the Kingsfield role to entice a weekly audience to keep watching. “You can’t have a guy who is just nasty through and through,” said Osborn. Instead, Houseman, who reprised the role for the series, offered viewers “a watered-down version” of Kingsfield for the small screen.Osborn also discussed his work teaching at the University of San Francisco’s School of Law. Instead of relying on the intimidating “cold call” process where a professor simply points to a student and waits for the response to a question, he has his pupils raise their hands, he said, as a way to get them to engage. “Students,” he said, “are not scared in my class.”Constitutional scholar and Osborn’s former professor Laurence Tribe said he thoroughly enjoyed the 40th anniversary event. “I loved this,” said Tribe, Harvard’s Carl M. Loeb University Professor. “He was a wonderful student in my seminar.”First-year HLS student John Wiest heard about “The Paper Chase” only after he was accepted to the School, and his parents made him watch the film. “I was pretty terrified,” said Wiest of his reaction to the movie. “But I had been here to visit, so I was assured that was not reality.”last_img read more

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Raw beef recall issued for products shipped to Indiana

first_imgWASHINGTON D.C. — PFP Enterprises, LLC, also doing business as Texas Meat Packers, a Fort Worth, Texas establishment, is recalling approximately 7,146 pounds of raw beef products that were produced and packaged without the benefit of federal inspection, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.The frozen and fresh beef items were produced on March 23-24, 2018. The following products are subject to recall: [View Labels(PDF Only)]5-lb. vacuum-packed frozen packages of “BEEF SKIRT DICED FOR TACOS,” with a case code of 1470 in the upper left-hand corner of the label and a packaging date of 03/24/18.5-lb. vacuum-packed frozen packages of “PRESEASONED BEEF FOR FAJITAS,” with a case code of 36989 in the upper left-hand corner of the label and a packaging date of 03/24/18 and a use-by date of 03/23/19.Varying weights of vacuum-packed packages of fresh “USDA CHOICE ANGUS BEEF, FAJITA SEASONED STEAK, BEEF FLANK STEAK FOR FAJITAS,” a packaging date of 03/23/18 and 03/24/18, a use or freeze-by date of 04/18/18, and an item code of 567248261 in the upper left-hand corner of the case label.Varying weights of vacuum-packed packages of fresh “USDA CHOICE ANGUS, FAJITA SEASONED STRIPS, BEEF FLANK STRIPS FOR FAJITAS,” a packaging date of 03/24/18, and a use or freeze-by date of 04/18/18, and an item code of 567248253 in the upper left-hand corner of the case label.The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 34715” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to institutional and retail locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin.The problem was discovered on March 30, 2018 when inspection personnel reviewed establishment records and determined that the establishment operated on March 24, 2018 without inspection.There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about a reaction should contact a healthcare provider.FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.Consumers with questions about the recall can contact Shane Fresh, vice president of quality assurance for Patterson Foods, at (817) 546-3561. Members of the media may contact Michael Schirato, chief executive officer for Patterson Foods, at (817) 546-3561.last_img read more

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Attack Nick Mariano details decision to transfer to Syracuse

first_img Published on August 19, 2015 at 7:59 pm Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschweds Nick Mariano said his lifelong dream has been to play for Syracuse. And after spending his first two collegiate seasons at Massachusetts, he’ll finally be able to fulfill that.“Growing up watching the great players that played there … it’s a real privilege and honor to become part of that list and pedigree of players,” Mariano said. “I just can’t wait and hopefully I run with my opportunity.”Mariano, who totaled 51 goals and 30 assists and started every game over the past two seasons, found out on Monday that he’ll be eligible for the Orange in 2016 after transferring from UMass.The lefty attack joins a position group that is looking to replace starters Kevin Rice and Randy Staats who both graduated, but said their absence wasn’t a big factor in his decision.“It was just more of the tradition and the competitiveness that they play at every day and every game,” Mariano said. “That’s kind of what I wanted. I wanted to play on one of the highest levels I could possibly play in, especially in the ACC.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhile reports of Mariano’s transfer came out nearly two months ago, he still needed to complete two online classes at UMass in order to enroll at SU for the fall and be eligible to play this upcoming spring. While the process was stressful for both him and his parents, Mariano said, he was confident he’d complete everything he needed, which he did.Mariano said he was also considering Ohio State, Loyola (Maryland) and Penn State, but ultimately chose Syracuse.“Sometimes you just got to do what’s good for yourself or what’s better for yourself,” Mariano said, “And I figured with the transfer I would be more successful if I went somewhere else. Start fresh at school and on the field.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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Fire service suits rising

first_imgDespite a decade of efforts to end harassment and discrimination within the Los Angeles Fire Department, the agency still faces frequent costly lawsuits, according to records obtained by the Daily News. The number has ebbed and flowed over the years, but rose sharply from three in 2002-03 to 13 in 2004-05, City Attorney’s Office records show – and interviews with firefighters and attorneys suggest even more litigation is pending against a department facing increased scrutiny after a city audit found persistent “systemic harassment.” While many cases are pending, liability payouts have already topped $1 million in the past five fiscal years. The Supreme Court has refused to hear the city’s appeal in another Fire Department labor case that could leave Los Angeles on the hook for more than $2 million. The specter of the mounting costs disturbs some city leaders, who have called for an evaluation of the department’s employment practices after the city audit blamed rampant discrimination and retaliation on weak management and a poor disciplinary system. “At the same time, both men and women are treated with disrespect. Rookies are often lowest on the totem pole. Our administration seems to be only mildly annoyed by the whole situation.” Terese Floren, a former Ohio firefighter for 15 years who now heads Women in the Fire Service Inc., said treatment of female firefighters across the country has frayed since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. “It’s difficult to talk about this because there’s so much pain and outrage still over 9-11,” she said. “But there very much was a backlash against women firefighters after 9-11. As soon as it happened, all the news coverage was about fireman, fireman, fireman – not firefighters, fireman.” Pat McOsker, president of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City Local 112, the union that represents the rank and file, said his group has long believed the department’s discipline system is broken. “There has been a rash of lawsuits,” he said. “People obviously feel pushed to do that to seek justice.” Bamattre, who was promoted to chief in 1996, in part to increase the number of women on the 3,300-member force, defended his decade at the helm by pointing to increased numbers of recruits, and a force that is nearly 50 percent minority. But he acknowledged that recruiting women remains tough – particularly because of fallout over the harassment allegations. “Our people don’t know where the line is,” said Bamattre. “What troubles me in our efforts to recruit more women is the last thing we want to have is a perception among potential candidates that our department does not welcome women into the fire service.” Bamattre said he is committed to fixing it even as he is set to retire in little more than two years. He said he hopes to reform an aging disciplinary process in which firefighters can appeal their penalties to a panel of three fire chiefs – a system that only allows Bamattre to reduce, not increase, penalties. He also hopes to soon begin holding regular meetings with supervisors to grill them on the number of complaints of workplace harassment and hazing, in addition to how the fire bosses are handling their operational obligations. And Bamattre has begun holding regular sessions with small groups of supervisors to hammer through human relations and other workplace issues. “Our effectiveness in dealing with human relations issues will be dramatically improved,” he said. “I won’t leave until this changes.” Meanwhile, details of more cases are becoming public. Ruthie Bernal, 38, filed a lawsuit late last year in Los Angeles Superior Court accusing her former supervisor, Capt. Robert Meilleur, of sexually harassing her and making inappropriate and offensive remarks between December 2004 and March 2005. The suit seeks more than $25,000 in damages for the alleged sexual harassment and sexual discrimination, sexual battery and emotional distress. In the lawsuit, Bernal also said an internal complaint she filed with the department was never investigated, and that Meilleur was never interviewed or disciplined before he retired May 13, 2005. Bernal, who has been on the force since 1990, remains on duty. Her attorney, Richard A. Love, declined to comment. Meilleur could not be reached for comment. His attorney, William Lively, did not return a call seeking comment. Late last month, a heterosexual male firefighter filed a claim against the department alleging sexual harassment and discrimination. Between 2003 and 2005, the claim says, the 20-year veteran was abused by a supervisor who made sexually suggestive gestures and inappropriate remarks about the firefighter’s wife, and threatened to fire him if he complained. The claim, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeks more than $25,000 in damages for sexual harassment and retaliation. The claim also says the firefighter complained about the situation, but faced retribution. Aaron Straussner, one of the lawyers in the case, also is representing African-American firefighter Brian Brooks, a 16-year veteran who alleges racial discrimination and retaliation and years of abuse from supervisors and peers. Mike McOsker, the current secretary of UFLAC and Pat McOsker’s brother, represented Brooks during disciplinary hearings and in March 2001, wrote a memo on Brooks’ behalf alleging “a historical and ongoing bias against African-Americans in the administration of discipline” at the department, according to a copy obtained by the Daily News. “Mr. Brooks’ case is one of the worst examples of a disciplinary system run amok,” Mike McOsker wrote in the memo, in which recounted a long history of unfair treatment against African-American firefighters in Los Angeles. In an interview, Mike McOsker said he stands by the statements. “We (UFLAC) are confident that under the current leadership of the Fire Commission, many of these issues will be resolved,” he said. The problems within the department dovetailed with a case from late 2003 that made it easier for California public employees to bring lawsuits before exhausting all administrative remedies, said Thomas Hoegh, a Woodland Hills lawyer representing numerous city firefighters. “I still don’t think the department understands the ramifications of this case,” he said. “Because it’s a sea change in the law in terms of remedies that are available to employees who believe they have been discriminated against.” Hoegh is representing 10 plaintiffs with labor-related cases against the department and says he is in the process of filing three more. The lawyer has attended recent Fire Commission meetings and followed the fallout from the audit, but does not think the department is addressing the fundamental causes. “Chief Bamattre called for transparency in these types of issues in the workplace and, in my opinion, the only way right now we’re getting transparency is through lawsuits and people accessing the courts and securing their rights in that manner,” he said. Even though less than 3 percent of the department work force is female, women accounted for 56 percent of plaintiffs in lawsuits filed against the department between 1996 and 2005, according to a city Personnel Department report. In addition to the cases filed by women and minorities alleging harassment, even the accused are threatening suits, saying the department is making them “scapegoats.” Capt. John Cappon, an 18-year veteran, was one of the supervisors of a female firefighter who said she became seriously injured because of excessive training. Cappon said he became the target of an internal investigation related to the incident almost a year later as the city controller’s auditors were probing the department. Cappon said he is preparing a lawsuit against the city that may allege harassment and retaliation. He said the department’s disciplinary system is rigged and tainted by internal politics. “The department now, I think, is looking for incidents so they can show they have been proactive,” he said. “I think now they’re looking for scapegoats.” Dan Laidman, (213) 978-0390 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant “When we lose these cases for millions of dollars, that affects our general fund, which goes for services like street paving, sidewalks, trees, all the issues that concern people,” said Councilman Dennis Zine. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has called on his civilian Fire Commission to draw up a plan by the end of April for fixing the department’s workplace problems, and Chief William Bamattre is seeking a half-million dollars to staff an internal affairs division to investigate complaints. “The public is very clear: They don’t see this hazing and treatment as behaviors they expect of firefighters,” Bamattre said Friday. But, he said, “our people don’t see that same gravity. That is a challenge. We’ve got to get our people to realize these things are serious and cannot continue in the work environment.” At City Council and commission hearings since the January audit, numerous firefighters have decried the fact that an earlier scandal brought many of the same problems to light in the mid-1990s, yet they persist today. “It’s been so pervasive for so many years that it slowly gets better, then again, at times, it sort of rears its head again,” said Capt. Alicia Mathis, who’s been an LAFD firefighter since 1989. last_img read more

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