The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts on August 18, 1990 · 23
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The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts · 23

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Saturday, August 18, 1990
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23
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23 Fast action, fair play QUOTES OF NOTE THE BOSTON GLOBE SATURDAY, AUGUST 18, 1990 THOMAS BOYLSTOH ADAMS ( An ounce of decision is worth a thousand pounds of vacillation. Louis XVI King of France did not have the ounce and lost his head and his kingdom. Napoleon said scornfully that fa whiff of grapeshot" would have fepelled the mob that took him on Eicnrv ne rs BSe i 7 il of his journey )OKS Anead to destruction. Napoleon was an authority on the use of artillery. When a mob threatened the existence of the Directory, the last of the revolutionary governments, he did not hesitate. He ordered cannon fire that instantly dispersed the mob and Opened his road to becoming emperor of the French. I President Bush has shown that he, too, can act with decision. If he ian succeed in mobilizing world opinion against the thief of Baghdad and proceed with full United Nations support, not just the imposing of Sanctions but with a military presence enforced by troops and ships of S'her nations, he will achieve a place history greater than that of any emperor: the prestige of being one of the first-rate presidents of the United States. To succeed he must move as quickly as possible from the immediate crisis to the solution of its root cause, the. dependence of half the world on imported oil. He has an opportunity to curb the greed and self-indulgence of all the nations that strive toward the opulence of the United States and are willing to sacrifice the environment in which the human race survives. The place to begin is the United States itself. He should call for voluntary gasoline conservation, for the curbing of unnecessary trips and for a reduction of speeds to get full use out of a gallon of gas. As Franklin Roosevelt demonstrated again and again, the American people will cheerfully make sacrifices when . made aware of national need. The root problem, how to teach the world to save oil, is largely technological. It should be faced now while the need is apparent France has gone furthest in the successful development of atomic power. Its system of strict national control of production; of distribution and safety has worked well. Ninety percent of electricity in France is atomically produced, and its waste control may be the best devised. There is a similar potential in cheapening the methods of converting sunlight to heat by cellular action. The Old Regime crashed in France 200 years ago because it could not reform its system of taxation fast enough to restore the national credit and could not supply its people with bread. A distribution hogtied by internal customs barriers and with no means of control over hoarding and price gouging led to the mob violence which captured the Bastille and released the passions and horrors for which the French Revolution is infamous. ; By July 6, 1789, the revolution was beginning to run out of control. Thomas Jefferson, envoy to the French government, was nearly caught up in it. Deputy Mirabeau, in the National Assembly, challenged Deputy Pierre du Pont, head of the committee of commerce: "If he didn't know of the offer M. Jefferson had made to M. Necker, the King's finance minister, for the US to supply flour? If he did know, why hadn't he told the Assembly?" This was a low blow aimed at Necker, who had tried valiantly but with small success to curb the extravagance of the French court, that landed squarely on Jefferson. Lafayette wrote Jefferson to ask anxiously if Mirabeau's statement was true. Jefferson replied he had never made any "offer." This was literally true. Yet Jefferson had been, the previous fall, engaged for three months in a correspondence with Necker promoting proposals of the Boston merchant James Swan to ship 100,000 barrels of flour at a contract-agreed price. Because of bureaucratic delays nothing had been done. But the word had leaked out. During the spring, American ships had arrived in French ports loaded with flour that had sold at higher prices than Swan's contract would have provided. Lafayette showed Jefferson's letter to Mirabeau and on July 8 Mirabeau told the Assembly,. "I must take back the word 'offer which I used the other day." Then he read Jefferson's letter and laid it on the table. Jefferson was well out of the mess. On July 11, King Louis, pressured by reactionary advisers, fired Necker and allowed mercenary troops to advance toward Paris. This was the signal for bread riots. The Bastille was attacked and fell three days later. Thomas Boylston Adams is the honorary treasurer of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The wonder years MICHAEL GRUNWALD Thursday was my 20th birthday, and I feel old. I'm not saying I'm a relic. I realize I have "the rest of my life in front of me." (Doesn't everybody?) But I still can't shake this tremendous sense of loss. No matter what Thomas Wolfe wrote, you can go home again. You can get married again. You can even be born again. But you can never be a teen-ager again. It's not that teen-age life was so exciting, the way it's portrayed in the movies. I've never driven a Porsche into a lake. I've never waded through a leech-infested swamp. I've never played chicken with tractors. In fact, my teen-age years were pretty tame. I stayed away from the bar scene, the club scene, the drug scene. I got into the hanging-around-with-friends-wondering-what-to-do scene. Apparently, I passed my sexual prime two years ago - let's just say I didn't sense a nationwide outpouring of grief. I don't know who's supplying the material for these teen flicks. Bill and Ted had "excellent adventures. Ridgemont High had "fast times." Maybe I've had a few "adventures in baby-sitting" -1 recall my 3-year-old neighbor barfing on me - but I just haven't been involved in much "Risky Business," "Mischief' or "Casual Sex." That's what's so depressing about turning 20. Old fogies have been taunting me with stories of their whirlwind teen-age years. "Enjoy it while you can, kiddo. These are the best years of your life." I hope not They remind me of a world-wise sophomore I met before my college orientation week. He told me I would get more dates and have more fun during Freshman Week than I would jor the rest of my college career. Imagine how I felt after . - ; - a dateless seven days spent angsting over placement exams and trying to persuade my new roommate not to hang stolen lingerie on our common room wall. ' Being a teen-ager meant infinite possibilities without any serious responsibilities. Now, I'm having a pre-life crisis. At 20, I'm starting to wonder when I'm going to accomplish something. I mean, I could get arrested just for taking Jennifer Capriati across state lines, and she's already reached the top of her profession. With my wonder years behind me, people are going to expect me to act like a real person. Maybe I should stop watching Sesame Street, or playing with my food, or collecting Garbage Pail Kids. Before I know it, IH be wearing undershirts, smoking cigars and using the words "per se" in conversation. No, I won't grow up. But I'm not going to be appeased with cloying cliches about how nice it is to be young at heart, either. I'd rather be young. I'd rather be a kid with no wistful regrets, no nagging worries, no paisley ties. I'd rather have a little more of "the rest of my life in front of me." Last week, I met Joe DeDario, the unofficial mascot of the Niagara Falls Rapids. (Dinger the Duck is the official mascot) Joe is 75 years old, but he still dances on the dugout during every Rapids game. He still caps off his act by dropping his baggy plaid pants to reveal turquoise briefs with silver sequins. "I do it because I love ft," DeDario told me. "I just wish I were young again. There are so many other things Td love to do." The fans at Sal Maglie Stadium give DeDario a birthday cake every year. And every year, DeDario cries. I know how he feels. Michael Grunwald is a junior at Harvard University. I didn't know that Canada was outside the United States." Pittsburgh Steelers fullback (and Idaho State graduate) MERRIL HOGE, asked why he didn't bring an ID to get into Canada for the Patriots-S teeters preseason game kk It is not as if we have never seen women before. We have women, too." A Saudi airman, on Saudi Arabia's fierce protection of women from Western influence kk It's a serious emotional and political burden when your country is fighting your people. KHALIL JAHSHAN, spokesman for the National Association of Arab-Americans kk We've lost about 60 of our best delivery people. We're doing a lot of recruiting right now. We were even calling up their wives to see if they were interested." JEFF MORSE, spokesman for Domino's Pizza, which was left high and dry near Camp Pendleton, Calif., when moonlighting Marine drivers were ordered to the Persian Gulf NWHj8NWSB' "Your father's a baby-boom liberal dear - he's never had a war he could support before!" kk We will continue to pray, and pray hard, that there will be no confrontation by which you will receive thousands of Americans wrapped in sad coffins after you had pushed them into a dark tunnel." President SADDAM HUSSEIN of Iraq, in an open letter to President Bush (Amnl II Pt?'' HERE'S MY QUESTION?! &sn I&W. Li " Tht ChWwi Scenes Mmlor Jffr W WStfL . The Christian Saanos Monitor Los Angeles Times Syndicate kk Arab unity is like the weather. It keeps changing. HOSNI MUBARAK, president of Egypt. kk The real legal debate now is over, because everyone now believes for sure one thing - Dan Quayle is no longer the luckiest man in Washington." Comedian DAVID LETTERMAN, on the mistrial , of D.C. Mayor Marion Barry on 12 drug-related charges kk I hope the general public understands how inherently dishonest the press i in this country is ... . what the press has done is taken a situation " ' v where they see something and blown it to kingdom come ... I have never seen press reporting as I have with regard to me." Developer DONALD J. TRUMP kk Paid media has driven this thing from Day One." ROBERT DONAHUE, campaign director for Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Silber, on the television campaigns of the candidates PBS' reluctant showing of a Castro horror show MONA CHAREN WASHINGTON - A black Protestant minister sat in his wheelchair and faced the camera. While a prisoner in Castro's Cuba, he said, his main priority was safeguarding his Bible. One day, as he was stowing the Bible beneath his bunk, the guards observed him - and shot him in the leg as punishment As he spoke, the minister removed the prosthesis from below his knee. "Even still," he said, trembling slightly, "if I had gotten medical care the leg could probably have been saved." Testimony like that, and worse, filled the 53 minutes of a stunning documentary about human rights abuses in Cuba called "Nobody Listened," shown for the first time on American television on Aug. 8. The accounts by former political prisoners of tortures and abuses they endured at Castro's hands are so bone-chilling that the film is hard to watch. And the cumulative effect is enough to make anyone conclude that Castro is not a nice guy. Lucky for us, the Public Broadcasting Service, a taxpayer-funded entity, decided to shield us from any such rash conclusion by teaming the showing of "Nobody Listened" with a trashy piece of pro-Castro propaganda called "The Uncompromising PBS has an interesting moral stance. Revolution," produced by Saul Landau of the Institute for Policy Studies. At one point during the film, Landau says of Castro, "There is no question who is directing this country - or this film." How true. Castro denied to. Landau that Cuba has ever engaged in violations of human rights. "No one has done more to improve human dignity than we. We do not practice torture. Our people have been educated to hate such things." Alcides Martinez, who served eight years, His a different story. "There were five to eight in one cell. We had to take turns lying down. And there were no sanitary facilities. In a few days, we were on a scum of maggots and excrement The world was unaware or didn't want to know. It was 1967." The original film, a two-hour version, had been screened all over Europe and Latin America in 1988 to widespread praise. But when it was offered free to PBS, it was rejected for "presenting point of view as fact." Astonished, the producers offered supporting testimonials from human rights activists. The film was reconsidered in 1990 - only to be rejected again. Then PBS officials found the ideal rope with which to hang "Nobody Listened." They discovered that the film had received a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment for Democracy. The NED is an The instructions from the ward boss aboveboard agency created by Congress to promote democratic values. But to PBS such a grant amounted to indelible taint Marc Weiss, the director of "P.O.V." (the series that airs independent films), wrote to th producers, "The NED is no more appropriate as a funder of an indepeng dent film than would be the CIA." s Now that's an interesting moral: stance. PBS, which is funded by the taxpayers, pronounces government, funding to be reprehensible. Finally, after two years of effort, the producers of "Nobody Listened" found a PBS affiliate willing to sponsor the film, but only teamed with the Landau paean. Someday soon, when Castro falls' and the full Stalinist horror of his re!1 gime is revealed, liberals will be I quick to claim that they were anti" Castro all along. When they do, re, member how "Nobody Listened" was treated. : il Morn Charm is a syndicated columrf nist n ALAN LUPO Machine politics: Every election year, which is to say every year in Massachusetts, I call upon my feared political machine to turn out the vote for my favored candidates. My machine consists of my wife, son, daughter and father. They all listen dutifully and then go out and do pretty much what they were going to do in the first place. But it's a regular Martin Lomasney-Dick Daley fantasy, collaring them one at a time and telling them what the ward leader wants of them. As of now, these are my instructions: Governor, Democrat Frank Bellotti. Governor, Republican: the late Leverett Sal-tonstaD. Or, the late John Andrew. Or maybe the late Christian Herter. Or even Lincoln's War Cabinet Or just about any Republican except the two now running. Lieutenant Governor, Democrat: Marjorie Clapprood. - Lieutenant Governor, Republican: Argeo Paul CelluccL US Senator, Democrat John Kerry, unless there's a Boris Yeltsin write-in. US Senator, Republican: Dan Daly. Because of my status as machine leader, I deal with only the big ones. If you are turned on by wondering what Republican is running for auditor, call the League of Women Voters. These endorsements, strictly personal, do not reflect the thinking of the Globe. More in the campaign vein: State Rep. Nick Paleologos (D-Woburn), a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor and a champion of education reform, says one of his proudest accomplishments was having successfully pushed for gavel-to-gavel television coverage of the House. Why? I am reminded of a friend who, when the Revere City Council began appearing weekly on cable, asked rhetorically, "I thought they were gonna take the violence off TV." An elderly reader has politely taken me to task once or twice for denigrating cable. She says that gavel-to-gavel coverage, for example, is a wonderful outlet for those who can't get out much. Such coverage is misleading, however, because the real work in any legislative body goes on in committee and behind closed doors. What you get on gavel-to-gavel is the pontificating, grandstanding and campaigning. It's how Steve Pierce, the Westfield Republican candidate for governor, got to be almost a household brand name. Gee, thanks, Nick. Getting scrod: When you dined at Dini's down on Tremonf f St, you also were tasting Boston's past, a time when this now somewhat cosmopolitan burg was a ' small town. Back then, there were only a handful of decent! eateries. No Indian. No Thai. Not much variety of.v Chinese. But in those few places, most of whichT are now history, you saw the pols, the newspaper" people, the retailers and wholesalers, the bankers and investment counselors, the cops and racket guys - in all, a manageable number of wheelers and dealers. The city is a better place today. Then, most of' the downtown faces were white and male. The politics was parochial. Ethnic, racial and class hatred were always just below the surface arid ready1 to burst out with a vengeance. But the old restaurants, like Dini's, were com,;? fortable places, where a truce was always in efnT fed, and where the fare, tasty, albeit somewhat plain, was redolent of a town that had grown up on fish, turkey, beans, corn and brown bread, j Why, in the march toward sophistication - on yuppification - must we lose so many of the land- ' marks that remind us of the better side of our. past? y Alan Lupo is a Globe columnist ,i it r.i .9 t

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