Brian’s Column: Randy and Dianne for Producers of Liberty

A retrospective on two fine behind the sceners in the Libertarian Party of Michigan
By Brian R. Wright

Greg, yes, I’ve known Randy for a long time, going back to my early days as leader of the Ayn Rand fans on the campus of Wayne State University, that would be 1969/1970, then Randy and two others and I rented a house in Detroit in the Greenfield/Grand River area for about a year in the early 70s.

I ran meetings of the Wayne State Students of Objectivism while I pursued and got my mechanical engineering degree. Randy was an electronics technician for the Engineering School at Wayne. I remember in those days he’d occasionally give me a ride in his late-60s Chevy Impala SS from our house down to Wayne along Grand River, he was a good driver but his foot was nearly always on the floor—accelerator and brake, both. I had given up the ghost a few years before, so didn’t say any prayers, but do remember a few “Thank Gods” in my thoughts as I exited the vehicle onto terra firma.

Didn’t know Dianne as well in those days. But understood she came from sort of a liberal Unitarian-Universalist milieu, and really wasn’t that turned on by any of the Ayn Rand characters or literature. I think they were married slightly before I was in 1975. They both became reasonably active in the LPM, whether they were at  the founding convention in Taylor I can’t say, but they’d have supported the idea of a third political party on the landscape devoted to the nonaggression principle.

As the years unfolded, Randy and Dianne were definitely in the social circle of my wife, Rose, and me. I mean to the extent that they’d join us every once in a while—along with Rose’s sister Therese and boyfriend—on Friday nights to watch the Mary Tyler Moore Show, the Bob Newhart Show, and the Rockford Files. Actually, my memory isn’t that good as to whether these shows were all on Friday or Saturday or even on the same night. And we’d go to movies together, sometimes, too.

Further they were petitioners and good workers, in general. I remember particularly on our 1982 volunteer ballot access petition drive at the local Meijer in Royal Oak. They helped a lot, and we’d all come back to our house in Birmingham (Lite), where Rose and Dianne would prepare this hot cinnamon cider toddy with cloves in it. Wow! Many a cold day’s petition drive was cut short a few minutes on the basis we needed a warm drink.

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Book Review: Engines of Creation (1986)

The coming era of nanotechnology
by K. Eric Drexler
1986, Anchor Press/Doubleday , 289 pages
Reviewed by Brian R. Wright

Original review, November 2007.

One of the watershed books of the life extension movement—or any of half a dozen names given to the rising awareness that we humans are destined to transcend our biological limitations—Engines of Creation by Dr. Eric Drexler lays out the vision for molecular-level engineering. (The approximate dimensions of molecules are in the nanometer—1 billionth of a meter—range, hence the words molecular technology and nanotechnology are synonyms.)

These were heady times in the mid to late 1980s for what I’ll refer to here generically as the “transhumanist” movement.  In 1960s and 1970s, Dr. Robert Ettinger had laid out some blueprints for how human beings could reach the next level of evolution: The Prospect of Immortality and Man into Superman.  Other scientists and humanists were also debating the ramifications of cryogenic preservation, gene therapy, cloning, nutritional enhancement, and so on.  In 1982 researchers Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw came out with a bestselling book Life Extension: A Practical Scientific Approach.

It’s no accident the life extension and transhumanist movement coincided with the heyday of the Libertarian Party’s impingement on American political consciousness—not to mention the thrust of free-market anarchist, individualist, anti-corporatist, Movement of the Libertarian Left, and innumerable variations on the following theme: “We are free agents, beholden to no central political power, and rational self-interest being a good thing, why not stick around as long as we can, vigorously, youthfully?!”

Engines of Creation describes the foundations of and the issues surrounding humankind’s increasing potential for building molecular machines. (Indeed as we stand here on the verge of 2008, notable accomplishments in nanotechnology continue to be made.) Drexler’s “starter kit” comprises what he calls “universal assemblers,” which are nanomachines designed for a simple task, such as replacing defective genetic links with functional ones or bonding one cellular structure to another: Continue reading

Movie Review: Alice (1990)

Entertaining film of troubles with the gilded cage, by Woody Allen
Reviewed by Brian R. Wright  ________________ Rating 9/10

Set in the posh East Side/Fifth Avenue world of wealth and youth, Alice (Mia Farrow) has been married to Doug (William Hurt), a millionaire businessman, for 15 years. They have two kids, with a nanny, and live in what looks like a $5,000 to $10,000 per month apartment. After having the chauffeur drop off her kids at the elite private school, Alice basically spends her weekdays in an epicurean montage: manicures, pedicures, hair styling, massage, acupuncture, shopping, gossiping with her similarly situated girlfriends.

What instigates her initial discomfort is a back ache that won’t go away. One of her friends recommends a Chinese ‘herbalist,’ a Dr. Yang (Keye Luke) , who serves more as a psycho-therapist and deliverer of tough love… in conjunction with ‘natural substances’ to cure the various dramas that are Alice’s unfulfilled life. She starts with something that opens her up emotionally and sensually toward an apparently single man, Joe (Joe Montegna), she finds attractive who brings his child to the same school that Alice’s kids attend. Good writing, and very good acting—I consider Alice to be a major tour de force of Mia Farrow’s career. She’s simply magnificent, and hilarious, as the dominating presence in her initial conver-sation with Joe, which moves the relationship to the next step.

So much more, as Alice starts to break out of her shell and leaves behind her insecurities, seen in her various relationships…with Joe, of course, but also with her first love Ed (Alec Baldwin—quite the handsome stud in 1990), her sister Dorothy (Blythe Danner), a woman friend Nancy Brill (Cybill Shepherd) who has ‘made it’ as a TV executive and to whom Alice goes to to propose a writing project, and so forth. All these relationships are drawn finely and fittingly into the general plot of Alice trying to find fulfillment away from the superficial life that she knows she’s leading but is afraid to let go of. Continue reading

Guest Column: Ursula Haverbeck awarded Robert Faurisson prize at Vichy

Transcript of speech by her lawyer, Wolfram Nahrath, accepting on her behalf
Courtesy Rudy List

On the 25th. January 2019, at a ceremony at Vichy, France, the International Robert Faurisson prize for 2019 was awarded to Ursula Haverbeck.

The German lawyer, Wolfram Nahrath – who has represented Frau Haverbeck in innumerable trials – accepted the International Robert Faurisson prize in her place. In his Laudatio Herr Nahrath acknowledged, that it was a great honour to receive the prize on behalf of his client.

The full text of the Laudatio is as follows:

Ladies and Gentlemen, esteemed committee, Michele Lady Renouf, Master Fallisi, the Honourable Mr. Nichols.

It is for me a great honour to accept this prize on behalf of my client.

My client, Frau Ursula Haverbeck-Wetzel, last year celebrated her ninetieth birthday, but it is not age or physical infirmity that has hindered her from traveling to Vichy.

No, she finds herself in prison in the Federal Republic of Germany. Last year she was condemned in the first instance to three and a half years’ incarceration. A series of further trials against her have been planned and so it is not impossible that she may yet be condemned to further years in prison. The possibility is not to be excluded that she may spend the rest of her life in prison and die in prison.

Now everybody is going to ask, what type of fearful and dangerous criminal is my client who has the criminal energy still to commit crimes at her advanced age. Is she the Godmother of a mafia-type criminal organisation ? Has she robbed, murdered, wounded, cheated, stolen, molested children, dealt in drugs, organised human-trafficking ?

No, she has committed none of these offences. But in reference to her rights of Freedom of Opinion, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Enquiry, she has exercised her personal right publicly to question and to comment on one particular event, limited to a particular time and place. She has done so in public and in her writings and at meetings where she was the guest-speaker and she has distributed her literature widely. And, Yes ? – just for this, people are going to ask, you can be locked up for years in jail in the most free (and liberal) judicial ordering that has ever existed in Germany ? Yes, this has happened and this is the fate of the recipient of this prize. Continue reading


USS Liberty Screenplay Flyer
By Brian R. Wright

Note: The information on this html page is laid out similarly to the flyer I composed for myself to announce and promote the marvelous screenplay about the USS Liberty incident written by Clint Burnette and now available on Amazon at this location. The actual flyer you may download to tailor and use is one of the following pdf files, all prefixed with
EW_Flyer.pdf (flyer author w/my contact info: Novi, Michigan, area),
EW_Flyer_CB.pdf (screenplay author Clint Burnette: Sydney, Australia, area), EW_Flyer_EG.pdf (Liberty survivor/advisor Ernie Gallo: Palm Coast, Florida, area)
EW_Flyer_RK.pdf (Liberty survivor/advisor Ronald Kukal: Sheridan, Wyoming, area).

The flyer source MS Word file is linked on the pdf file, so you may tailor your own pdf flyer [by modifying the source Word file] to yourself.

Available for Purchase at

Typical Review of Enemies Within

“I’ve just read Enemies Within and am ready to read it again. It seems the more I read the more I want to know. I’ve been following the USS Liberty for approximately 24 years and never imagined I’d be reading something as chilling and riveting as this! So realistic that I was in tears, and actually felt as if I were there, terrified and slammed into a wall. I did not want this to end. I want more. I want to read more, know more and see more in FILM! A blockbuster film! Almost forgot to mention that my partner Wayne Kyle was aboard the USS America and witnessed some of the after effects of that incident.” — Rose Marie Higgins

What We Can Do to Help Turn this Screenplay into a Movie

We want to bring the screenplay to the attention of a film making team of excellence and courage in the face of hostile opposition who desperately want it squashed. So: Continue reading

Book Review: Teenage Idol, Travelin’ Man (1992)

The Complete Biography of Rick Nelson, by Philip Bashe
Reviewed by Brian R. Wright

For some reason around Christmas 2018, I know what it was, I was pondering whether I’d be receiving a card from my former boss, Cathy. We had worked together doing documentation of an EDI [electronic data interchange (paperless business transaction documents)] suite of documents for a company in Livonia, Michigan, back in the 1990s. I’d just recently heard a desultory comment from a current coworker that Rick Nelson’s plane had crashed because he was freebasing cocaine—IOW, the sort of rumor meanspirited people, guided by hearsay, not knowing and not caring, use to dismiss another’s achievement.

Well, Cathy, whom I really admired professionally and personally, had shared with me a book on Rick Nelson back in those days I worked for her. Turns out she was a major fan of Rick’s music and of Rick the individual. [“Elvis was too full of himself, and, like, a greaser.”] I read the book that she recommended back then and came away quite impressed with Mr. Teenage Idol, as well. In particular, whatever book I read dwelt on the distressing relationship between Nelson and his wife Kris, the drugs and affairs and whatnot—mostly on Kris’s end of the stick. It was a good book, putting Rick mainly in a favorable light. BUT it was NOT this book that I just read and am reviewing here.


This book, Teenage Idol, Travelin’ Man, is several cuts above the other one I remember reading in the early 1990s. Mr. Bashe has delivered a remarkable achievement that focuses first and foremost on Rick the musician and on Rick the person. With a full family history and background, especially of the remarkable Ozzie Nelson.

“Oswald George Nelson was born in Jersey city, March 20, 1906…. A voracious reader, Ozzie dog-eared copies of David Copperfield, Tommy Tiptop, the Rover Boys, and especially Horatio Alger’s rags-to-riches boys’ stories. The latter’s recurring theme of infinite possibility had an immense impact on him, as it did on young men as Henry Ford, David Sarnoff, John D. Rockefeller, George Eastman, and Thomas Edison. That they and Ozzie all wound up millionaires might be coincidence. Then again, maybe not: for the honesty and virtue of Alger’s protagonists weren’t their own rewards, but were usually supplemented by cash.”

“Though the public would come to know Ozzie as the indolent, bumbling father he played on the air, in reality he displayed Algeresque drive and ambition his entire life. In addition to becoming the youngest American Eagle Scout on record at 13, Ozzie went on to excel in scholastics, debating, cartooning, and sports…. Ozzie followed his brother Alfred to all-male Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey,” where at 130# he played running back on the varsity football team. After graduating and enduring many hardships, including his father’s death from a rare bone cancer, superachiever Ozzie developed a thriving entertainment business—band, orchestra, singer, conductor, composer—on the east coast while even earning a law degree. — Pages 4-7

By comparison and contrast, Rick fit the following description:

“Strong-willed professionally, in his private life Rick was passive and reserved, the loyal son of a domineering, ambitious father. Ozzie Nelson, creator and star of an unprecedented radio and television dynasty, directed Rick not only on The Adventures [of Ozzie and Harriet] but off camera as well, and was the most influential person in his life. Rick felt forever torn between his devotion to Ozzie and his desperate need to establish an identity separate from father and family. He became an escape artist, always seeking his independence—from Ozzie;  from an unhappy marriage; from adulthood, which Rick resisted like Peter Pan by singing rock & roll; and most of all from the Boy Next Door image that plagued him through the years.” — Page xvii

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Movie Review: Dreamgirls (2006)

A composite retrospective on the music of Soul and Motown___ 8/10
Reviewed by Brian R. Wright

Directed by Bill Condon

Jamie Foxx …. Curtis Taylor Jr.
Beyoncé Knowles …. Deena Jones
Eddie Murphy …. James ‘Thunder’ Early
Danny Glover …. Marty Madison
Anika Noni Rose …. Lorrell Robinson
Jennifer Hudson …. Effie Melody White
Keith Robinson ….  ‘C.C.’ White

This is a large, beautiful movie that stays true to its roots.  Based on the book and lyrics written by Tom Eyen, the movie is an adaptation of the musical play of the same name that debuted in 1981.

Condon dedicates the movie to the director-choreographer of the play, Michael Bennett, who died in 1987 of AIDS complications.  He keeps the spirit of Bennet’s creation intact with a bold, insightful, entertaining gem of a movie with dynamite acting and musical performances.

The story is about three young women, a composite of the Supremes and Aretha Franklin—Beyonce (~Diana), Anika, and the American Idol finalist, Jennifer Hudson (~Aretha)— who as the Dreamettes meet up with a young promoter, Curtis—a Barry Gordy Jr. surrogate played by Jamie Foxx—at a Detroit theater in the early 1960s.

Initially performing backup with James Early (a combo of Jackie Wilson and James Brown, and others, played by Eddie Murphy), Curtis turns the Dreamettes into the Dreamgirls and promotes their considerable talents all the way to the top of the musical world.  The sets of Detroit and environs, LA, and other entertainment venues are uncannily realistic. Continue reading