Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Michael Kelly in Kuwait City on the anniversary of its liberation from Iraq:

" The last time I was here was on the occasion of the liberation, and on that day, and for several days thereafter, the whole city was a parade and a party. Everyone was in the streets, cheering and screaming, and driving around 10 to a car, madly honking and shooting guns in the air.

"You could easily find grief and wretchedness, though. To be part of a country that has been raped by an invading force is nearly incomprehensible—incomprehensible at least, to a modern-day American; it is a routine part of life's education in many places at many times. To begin with, Kuwait City itself had been savaged—shot up, blown up, torched and, of course, thoroughly looted. The major buildings of state and commerce had been used for artillery practice. The beaches had been salted with land mines and strung with concertina wire. Garbage and human filth were everywhere, and the place stank.

"About 400 Kuwaiti civilians had been killed during Iraq's seven-month occupation, and many more had been brutalized in one way or another—ritualistically humiliated (forced to urinate on the Kuwaiti flag or on a photograph of the Kuwaiti emir, for instance), robbed, beaten, raped, tortured."

Memo to Janeane Garafaolo and the other Hollywood Half-wits opposed to the war: Read it.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

If you want to know what's really rotten at the heart of the Buchananite faction in this country, this excellent piece by Clifford D. May on NRO pretty much sums it up:

"The late Balint Vazsonyi, a Hungarian immigrant who established himself as a great champion of America's founding principles (and a long-time friend and mentor to me) might have suggested this answer: Somewhere along the line, people like Mr. Press—and Messrs Buchanan and Novak, as well—discarded the Anglo-American principle of the rule of law in favor of the Franco-German concept of 'social justice.'"

Thus, blowing up little old Jewish ladies and their children in Israel is perfectly justified from the Buchananite point of view. Why? Because the Palestinians have been oppressed (not by their fascist leader Yasser Arafat, of course) and have a just cause.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

"Bush has used this method to spectacular effect, over and over again, by threatening unilateral action. If there is anything that can unify Midwestern congressmen, French Gaullists and New York newspapers, it's indignation at the very notion that great decisions can be made without consulting them first."

Excellent piece in the National Post. (via Glenn Reynolds)

Monday, February 17, 2003

In a sure sign that some liberals out there are truly losing their sense of perspective (and irony), the New York Times reports that at least 50 irate Nation readers are canceling their subscriptions to the mag because it allowed Fox News to place an ad there.

Friday, February 14, 2003

Regarding the new lawsuit to try and block President Bush from sending in the troops to Iraq, a lawyer friend writes to me:

"There is a question on every bar exam about it—the president wishes to send troops to (fill in the blank).....what must he do? Obtain Congressional approval?
NO!!!!! That's only for a war declaration. He is the Commander in Chief. He says go, you go. What a crock of sh*t. This suit will got tossed in the first hearing."

God bless this lone Iraqi doctor, and Heaven preserve his family for him.

This needed to be heard (thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link).

Thursday, February 13, 2003

The remains of the astronauts of the Shuttle Columbia have been identified and are being returned to their families.

God rest them. It's morbid to contemplate, but you can't help wondering, what does remain after disaster like that?

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Dude, you're gettin' a joint. The kid who does the annoying Dell Computer commercials got picked up in New York by police for buying marijuana.

Monday, February 10, 2003

From the latest New Republic:

On "Meet the Press" in January, Tim Russert reminded the freshly reinvented presidential candidate of four episodes in his past: His 1987 conviction for defaming a man he accused of raping Tawana Brawley; his 1993 conviction for tax evasion; his 1995 incitement against a Jewish store owner in Harlem, which culminated in the racially motivated murder of seven of the store's employees; and his 2002 eviction from the Empire State Building for failing to pay his rent.

If you're a Republican or Libertarian, you gotta love watching the other Democratic Presidential nominees squirm with this dirtbag sharing the stage with them.
Is George Clooney turning into a jerk?

Friday, February 07, 2003

Web developer Kate Gardner tells me what she was up to during the Blizzard:

"I remember that I spent the days in '78 constructing two very elaborate, highly realistic, quite large snow lions to guard the driveway of the apartment I lived in at the time (Newton Highlands). A process not really too dissimilar to beach sand sculpture really. You gather the raw material and shape it—and then cement it with liquid water. (You need to work fast per bucket—it does not stay liquid for very long.) It was a thing to do. After all, I was a recent art school graduate, and had a lot of time on my hands."
My production of Richard the Second is featured on the front page of Check it out while it lasts....

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Boston area writer Rick Heller on where he was during the Blizzard:

"I was a freshman at MIT, living in a dorm right along the Charles River with a classic view of the Boston skyline. The dorm had a small terrace off the 3rd floor, and a larger one off the 2nd floor. Guys were jumping off the upper terrace like it was a diving platform and landing in the deep snow on the lower terrace.

"There was enough food to go round, so we sat back and enjoyed the sights, such as the largest tow truck I've ever seen dispatched to pull a fire engine out of a snow bank."

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

You know you've made it when your web log starts getting cited by readers (with arcane interests) in Germany.
Pure, 200-proof Hitchens. Go for it.
Boston-Online's Adam Gaffin on where he was during the Blizzard 25 years ago:

"Somewhere up in my attic, I still have an I survived the Blizzard of '78 certificate I bought the day after the snow stopped in Harvard Square.

"I was a freshman at Brandeis. At first, the blizzard was great fun: Brandeis is built on a hill, so we had plenty of places to slide down on our swiped cafeteria trays. And the trains were still running, so I was able to get into Harvard Square and just marvel at people cross-country skiing through the square (thank goodness I had a friend at Harvard; buying two of those survival certificates left me 25 cents short for the train ride back to Waltham). Waltham managed to get its main roads plowed pretty quickly, so with the driving ban in effect and classes cancelled, it seemed like pretty much everybody who wasn't busy jumping off the roof of the Spingold Theater into a giant snow mound in the parking lot was just walking up and down South Street marveling at everything.

"But a freak lightning bolt the night of the storm knocked out power to my quad. And after a couple of days, everbody (including me) started coming down with one of those godawful winter colds, and things stopped being so fun...."

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

All the stories in the media about the famous blizzard which paralyzed the area 25 years ago bring to mind a rather humorous episode which occurred at the now-derfunct Boston Herald Traveler newspapers during another major snowstorm in the 1960's. While not as big as the '78 blizzard, this one shut down the city for a day as huge drifts brought vehicular traffic to a standstill.

The Herald Traveler was in an intense struggle with the Globe for circulation and, like the Globe, doing everything it could to add to its numbers. Both papers, like Hearst's Record-American, published afternoon editions to go with their morning editions. At the height of the big storm when little traffic was moving in the metropolitan Boston area, Asst. Publisher George Akerson had what he thought was a great idea for selling more Travelers that afternoon. He thought the Herald Traveler should go on its WHDH-AM radio station with repeated announcements that listeners who wanted the Traveler could get one merely by putting on their front porch lights.

Ben Moltman, the H-T's circulation manager who couldn't get a truck out of the Harrison Avenue garage, asked Akerson how we (I was managing editor of the Herald at the time) were going to get the Travelers to these people. An embarrassed Akerson retreated from Moltman's office.
HubBlog's Jay Fitzgerald tells me where he was 25 years ago during the Blizzard of '78:

"I was a freshman at Tufts University during the big storm. Students were like excited little kids because classes were canceled. Unlike little kids, though, we didn't build snowmen or make snow angels—and there were no parents to tell us to come in for grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. Instead, I recall, fondly, students having outdoor parties, with attempted bonfires and barbecues, and marveling at the intense beauty of it all. We'd go for long walks in the middle of the streets in Somerville and Medford, dodging the cross-country ski types, waving at people and them waving back. Some of the intricate snow sculptures people made still amaze me all these years later. I know the storm was hard on many people, but, for me, it was like a Winter Wonderland. ... Postscript: The storm was the first time I truly became aware of Michael Dukakis. Say what you will about the Duke, his calm televised updates and alerts, while wearing his snug sweater, still sticks out as one of his greater moments as governor. "

Video here taken by yours truly during the storm.

Monday, February 03, 2003

Where were you during the Blizzard?

Boston Phoenix Senior Writer Dan Kennedy tells me:

"I was a student at Northeastern at the time, the managing editor of the Northeastern News. We had two sports reporters at the Beanpot that night, and we were pulling our usual all-nighter to get the paper out. I remember that they walked into the newsroom somewhere between 2 and 4 a.m., looking like they were near death. The editor-in-chief and I were quite determined to get the paper out, but we finally had to give up when the Phoenix (which had the contract to do our typesetting and printing) told us they had no way to get the pages out to their printer, which was somewhere in the Worcester area.

The amazing thing was that I never picked up a shovel. Such is the bubble of college life. But I do remember standing in a long line, outdoors, to get into the Store 24 at the corner of Huntington and Gainsborough, with it
getting toward dark, no traffic on the streets, and with an Army helicopter overhead. It made me think of some scene out of East Berlin."

Farrellmedia welcomes other memories during this week's 'celebration.'
For anyone who's interested in history, 25 years ago the Blizzard of 1978 flattened Boston and the surrounding region. Schools were closed for a whole week.

For a view of what it was like, check out Farrellmedia's Video Archive and click on 1978. You'll need QuickTime (link available on the Archive page) and a broadband or faster connection is recommended for optimal playback.
My short story, Trypho, is available online and in print in the February issue of Literary Potpourri.

Saturday, February 01, 2003

Another reason even Democrats across the nation can be thankful that voters re-elected Ronald Reagan President of the United States in 1984, instead of George Mondale their nominee, was demonstrated in Boston's Federal Court two days ago when Chief Judge William G. Young slapped down and locked up for life the terrorist who tried to destroy an inter-continental passenger airliner, bound for the U.S., over the Atlantic Ocean with a shoe bomb.

In 1985 former President Reagan appointed Judge Young who was a Massachusetts Superior Court judge at the time, to the United States District Court on which he has served with distinction. Had the liberal Mondale been President, he'd have named some ultra-liberal Massachusetts attorney with credentials that would never have handled a terrorist such as shoe bomber Richard Reid in the courageous fashion shown by Judge Young.

There's little doubt that Judge Young's widely heraded handling of Reid now projects him as one of the front runners for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court when a vacancy occurs.