An Inclusive Litany
What if Watergate had elected McGovern?.... The Cold War would have ended in the '70s rather than in the '90s. McGovern, in his campaign, debunked the threat and invincibility of the so-called evil Soviet empire. Republican and Democratic Presidents preached that myth for four decades, until the USSR self-destructed.... George McGovern. A man before his time. Prescient. Decisive, but decent. The USA and the world would have been far better off if we'd been heedful of his early Watergate warnings and had put McGovern in the White House in 1972.
The first-ever "Kid Curator Contest" has found its winner! Victoria Kabek came up with the wonderfully original idea of Cross-Dressing for Kids. An eloquent nine-year-old fourth-grader from the Upper West Side, Victoria wrote that such a series would help "to teach people to be tolerant of others who are different." And so from June 28 to August 31, we will present her suggested movies, plus a few more we contributed to fit the bill: Tootsie, Mrs. Doubtfire, Some Like It Hot, I Was A Male War Bride. Join us for a fun, instructive romp—through mistakes, mishaps, and missteps...oh, miss?
While I found the content of the article "Tackling hurt head-on" [News, Feb. 17] quite sensitive and compassionate, it contained a phrase that I feel is insensitive and offensive, That phrase is "sat Indian style."
What exactly does "say Indian style" mean? How does it happen that a whole race of people have the honor of having a way of sitting named after them? Are Native Americans the only people who sit with their legs crossed? I would think that the educated and learned reporters of the Orange County Register could come up with a more descriptive and appropriate way of describing how a person was sitting. Perhaps using the simple phrase "sitting cross legged" would be adequate....
The witnesses told an appalling tale of arrogance and destruction.[Ed.: Critics complained that along with their problems understanding the complex ecological issues involved, none of the 7-year-olds in the play served as mankind's defense attorney.]
The frog said she was born with a third hind leg because humans polluted the marsh where she lives. A panther told of a whole species that people had wiped out and of hunters who display the head of the animals they kill.
The prosecutor, a crow with a long black beak, charged humanity with transforming a "once-living planet into a dull and lifeless rock."
For the students inside the animal costumes, their play, "The Trial of Humanity" climaxed months of rehearsal and even the building of a "jungle" with Palmer High School ecology teacher Michelle Corbeil-Crawford. More than 600 people in this blue-collar town near Springfield watched last month as animals prosecuted people for their environmental crimes.
Another addition to the growing Barbie community is "Billy," an anatomically correct 13-inch doll who, according to his manufacturer, is "the world's first out and proud gay doll." Billy "has arms like a football linebacker and legs like a weightlifter," and comes with a trim sailor's suit, among other outfits.
Two United Nations soldiers from Belgium will stand trial in their own country beginning next Monday on charges of roasting a live Somali child over an open fire during "peacekeeping" operations in 1993....
Photos taken by one Belgian UN soldier—published for what is probably the first time in the United States by the Village Voice—show two soldiers smiling as they roast one child. Another soldier is photographed forcing a child to drink worms and vomit, after being compelled to drink salt water to make him vomit. In one photograph, a UN peacekeeper is urinating on the body of a presumably dead Somali. In another, a soldier's foot, encased in a black combat boot, is pressed into the head of a Somali sprawled on the ground, presumed dead.
Shocking as it is, the UN scandal in Somalia is no anomaly. A Village Voice analysis of documents and reports relating to recent UN peacekeeping operations has uncovered incidents ranging from murder and torture to sexual exploitation, harassment of and discrimination against local women and children. UN representatives have also sexually harassed their female colleagues, and have been accused of smuggling drugs and arms. In addition, brothels have sprouted nearby—and in one case allegedly inside—UN compounds. In the latter case, prostitutes were allegedly employed by the UN and were reportedly even shipped on UN planes to fornicate with a UN staff member in hotels paid for by the UN. Shoddy leadership has also led to what the UN's own investigators call "mismanagement" of $26.7 million relating to a war-crimes tribunal in Rwanda; another $3.9 million in cold cash was stolen outright from an unlocked filing cabinet in Somalia.
Well, I think it's disturbing. I mean, she is not going to be a commentator or a part of a show where she's clearly identified with her partisan point of view—she's going to be an anchor. And I think it means, it sends the message that there's no such thing as journalism anymore. It's all just about celebrity-hood and name recognition and I think it's, I think it's disturbing.NPR's Nina Totenberg, "Inside Washington," May 31, 1997:
Well, this really makes me want to puke. You know, at least CBS had the decency, when they hired Diane Sawyer from the Nixon White House, to make her go out and stand in the rain for a year or so, to earn her position... it really, it just makes me want to throw up.In criticizing Molinari's partisanship, neither Liasson nor Totenberg noted that the current and previous two Presidents of National Public Radio had been active in the Democratic Party. In fact, when Bill Clinton was first elected, the NPR President at the time jumped to a position in the new administration.
But NAPAP found that over half of the dead, acidic lakes were not located in the northeast at all but in Florida, which does not receive high rates of acid rain. Despite dire assertions about the state of northeastern lakes, it turned out that only about one-fiftieth of one percent of the fresh water in the eastern United States was "acid-dead," with a pH of 5.0 or lower. NAPAP concluded that acid rain may have caused marginal environmental problems such as stress to certain high-altitude tree stands, which itself could also be explained by the presence of disease or parasites. NAPAP also noted huge variations in acid precipitation around the world, with some Pacific islands receiving naturally high levels of acid rain due to the presence of carbonic acid derived from carbon dioxide. Of the acids derived from industrial emissions, NAPAP was mostly concerned about sulfuric acid, since nitric acid is readily absorbed by trees as a nutrient.
Soil scientist and NAPAP participant Edward Krug concludes that the major factor causing certain lakes to become acidic is not acid precipitation but the alkalinity of the surrounding soil. Krug notes that normal rainfall has a pH of 5.0, which most species of fish cannot survive in, but most watersheds are buffered by lime-like alkaline substances that underly rivers and lakes. The high acidity of lakes in the Adirondacks and Nova Scotia results from a lack of this natural buffering. A multimillion-dollar survey also found that biological factors, such as the presence of acid-producing sphagnum mosses, also contributed to the dearth of alkalinity in the Adirondack watershed.
Then why was there such good fishing in the Adirondacks as recently as 100 years ago? Even President Theodore Roosevelt prized the region as a vacation site because the fish were so plentiful. Krug concludes that this represents a recent anomaly and that originally the lakes were acid-dead. The Iroquois word "Adirondack" literally means "bark-eater," which suggests poor fishing, and initial European settlers also found it very difficult to stock local lakes with fish. Core samples from lake bottoms also revealed the lakes to be historically acidic.
However, during the latter half of the 19th century the Adirondack area became a major center for the wood industry, which at the time entailed devastating clear-cutting that was accompanied by massive forest fires. Much of the naturally acid-producing plant life was eroded away and replaced by alkaline ash from the forest fires, runoff from which caused the local watershed to become inhabitable for sport fish for a time. But this severe environmental disturbance in turn led to local conservation measures when the government bought the damaged land from the lumber companies and made it into a park, a measure that after a time caused the watershed to return to its natural acidic state. Krug found the same scenario of low-alkalinity soil, and the same history of logging followed by conservation, also applied to Nova Scotia as well as Scandinavia, where the recent acid-lake problem had been blamed on industrial emissions from Great Britain and central Europe.
Krug also concluded that if people wanted those lakes that were acidic to support wildlife, the best way to do so would be to seed targeted watersheds with lime. Krug determined that all acidic lakes in New York and New England could successfully be limed for under $500,000 a year, compared to the billions of dollars it would cost to reduce acid rain emissions, which evidence showed would not work anyway. And already on Cape Cod, the National Park Service has resisted pressure to "improve" acid lakes for fishermen, in favor of its environmental mandate to preserve the natural ecosystem of its parks.
[Ed.: Acidity and alkalinity are measured on the logarithmic pH scale in units from 0 to 14, with 0 representing extreme acidity, 14 as extreme alkalinity, and 7 as neutral. Each pH unit represents a ten-fold increase in concentration, so a pH of 4.0 (as in a pear) is ten times more acidic than pH 5.0 (as in tea).
Ironically, regional acid precipitation intensified following local environmental efforts in cities like Pittsburgh and Cleveland to spread out pollution more widely with tall smokestacks and also to reduce soot emissions, which are alkaline and effectively neutralize the acids formed by burning fossil fuels.]
We could abolish gun violence very easily, simply by making gun ownership a crime until such violence is reduced to zero. Everyone who owns a gun and defends general gun ownership is, I believe, a contributor to gun violence and should be held partially responsible. Once gun crime has stopped (yes, I believe it's possible to actually stop anything we really want to stop), those who have gun permits for hunting and have never committed a crime could once more own a gun, but if any crime occurs, once more all guns would be confiscated.
According to official Cuban statistics, the country's GNP has fallen by about 20 percent since 1991, and the average Cuban worker earns a monthly wage of 203 pesos. Even if the nonconvertible currency's official exchange rate is taken seriously, it still means the average Cuban worker earns about $140 per year, less than an American minimum wage earner earns in a week. This is occurring despite a considerable level of investment by Western governments defying American policy.
But the local environment has in fact been suffering from an overpopulation of elephants, with herds growing at an annual rate of 5 percent. Noting the ever-accumulating piles of tusks from elephants as they die off, Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe has also denounced the world-wide ban on the ivory trade as "colonialist." Matusadona National Park warden Zephania Muketiwa also warns that elephant overpopulation threatens the survival of other wildlife in the region, including the endangered black rhino.
Awhile later, with the sky outside the plate glass window turning murky with light, I felt somebody touch my thigh. Allen was sitting beside me and when I looked down I saw his hand resting there. He squeezed.
I thought: One of the great poets of the century is making a pass at me. And it has to be a man! And then I thought that this man was 20 years older than I was, he had been drinking and doping and laughing and shouting and making great ribald sense all night through; his lover was here; he had tried to seduce Andy; and now he was going to settle for me.
My head was drooping with tiredness and he was going strong. It taught me something about the vast energy that underlies the creative urge in a genius like Allen Ginsberg, the unlimited appetites, to contempt for the barriers that keep the rest of us penned in.
This week thinking about Allen Ginsberg and old idea made sense anew: The world is a smaller place when a great man dies. He breathed life and yearning into all he touched.
Author Fran Liebowitz told Stahl, "Why should Times Square be safe for children? I mean they have the whole rest of the country... [Mayor Giuliani's] kind of turning this from the you know, Big Apple to the Big Apple Pie.... I'm not romanticizing the gutter. I didn't move here when I was 18 years old because I heard how clean it was. You know. You came here because you thought it would be interesting. And it was. And it's significantly less interesting now."
Asked whether he had been to Times Square following the city's campaign to drive out pornography and prostitution, columnist Jimmy Breslin responded: "Yeah, with the celebration of the corporations on the signs? I love it. There's no dirt. No dirt at all. City dies unless it's got some dirt and a little raciness." Asked whether he thought it was a good thing to be able to walk down the street free of constant solicitation from prostitutes, Breslin responded: "Well who's gonna be there? What's on 42nd Street now?... Disney? I'll take the hookers."
A dark-skinned Egyptian immigrant is suing the federal government to change his racial classification from white to black.
Mostafa Hefny said the classification, based solely on his country of origin, has kept him from seeking jobs, grants, scholarships and loans as a member of a minority group.
Hefny said his hair is kinkier, his complexion darker, and his features more African than blacks such as Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer and retired Army Gen. Colin Powell.
"I was born and raised in Africa and they were not," said Hefny, a 46-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen. "And yet they are classified as black and I am classified as white."
The lawsuit, filed in March in federal court in Detroit, targets directive No.15 of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, a document drafted in 1977 that sets racial categories for all federal record keeping, including the census.
The directive defines blacks as having origins with the black racial groups of Africa.
But it defines whites as having origins with original peoples of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, including Egypt.
I do not believe in male-only leadership anywhere in the world, including Cuba. I think the woman at Fidel's side should be his co-president, not his interpreter. Nor do I wish to imitate Frida Kahlo, one of whose last paintings was of "Uncle" Joe Stalin, whose attempts to improve the lives of Russians she respected and about whose gulags and genocidal policies she knew nothing. There is no way of knowing yet what skeletons, if any, are gleaming in Fidel's closet. Or if they are worse than Clinton's, Kennedy's, Gingrich's, or Dole's. For years the United States media have been pulling out bones that almost never, once you actually go to Cuba and talk to Cubans, connect, except grotesquely, to the reality of life there and the dreams and aspirations of the people. As an outsider I have nothing to go on but the universal evidence of healthy bodies, sound teeth, and self-possessed spirits so lacking in many other third-world countries; the excellence Cubans exhibit in so many areas, including medicine, education, and sports. Even the Cuban boat people, escaping from the devastation and hunger of their island, were remarkable for their fitness, their ingenuity in constructing their boats, and often for their ability to speak more than one language.
You're going to find a lot of opposition from a lot of different trends. The isolationists are going to say wait a minute, we're not sending troops or our nuclear umbrella to defend Prague, basically, that's going to be one line. Right-wing Republicans, maybe even led by Henry Kissinger, are going to say you just gave away the store to the Russians....
You've got a basically, hardline, right-wing Duma, largely, not largely but a strong communist, I'm not sure a majority but a plurality....
Nicholas Cage is known for aggressively pursuing roles. Fifteen years ago, he apparently ate a live cockroach in seeking one role. He notes that this would no longer be legal: animal rights concerns now cover cockroaches. The creature would have to be a remote control cockroach.The name of the movie containing the scene in question is Vampire's Kiss. In addition to Cage and the unfortunate cockroach, the 1989 film also stars Maria Conchita Alonso, Jennifer Beals, and Elizabeth Ashley. A 1997 release, Addicted to Love, starring Meg Ryan and Matthew Broderick, features a similar scene: a roach unwittingly eaten by a restaurant critic. Credits state simply that no animals were harmed in the course of making the film.
Barry Sonnenfeld, who directed 1997's Men in Black, commented on the presence of representatives from the American Humane Association at scenes involving cockroaches. "In each shot we had to tell them how many roaches we were using. So if we had eighty roaches coming out of a Dumpster they would actually count—'We're still missing three, guys'—and we'd be shooting at ten thousand dollars an hour, looking for three roaches." But Sonnenfeld expressed puzzlement that if any roaches were unaccounted for by the end of the day, the crew was still allowed to fumigate the stage. For its part, the Humane Society invokes the "slippery slope" metaphor to explain its policy—that if cruel treatment of cockroaches was allowed, it would then be a small step to allow cruelty towards cats, dogs, and horses.
During the filming of The Shawshank Redemption, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals objected to a scene in which a crow is fed a maggot, requiring filmmakers to substitute a maggot that had died of natural causes. One was found, and the scene was filmed.