Monday, August 31, 2009

Deja Vu - Same Old Story

The following article appeared in The Wall Street Journal of August 27, 2009. It discusses the economic crisis in Ireland and the reappearance of the specter of massive emigration.

Courtesy of Mayo Activist, New York

Economic Crisis Strikes at Irish Heartland
As Unemployment Rises, Workers Pursue Familiar Path Overseas,
Leaving Depleted Towns Scrambling to Sustain Sports Tradition


Friday, August 21, 2009

Securing The City

By Patrick Hurley
Most books are worth reading. Even if you disagree with the basic premise, there is always a new dimension to consider. "Securing the City" by Christopher Dickey, a laudatory treatise on the Herculean NYPD counterterrorist effort, is such a book Read more...

As Hippies Partied

August 17, 2009

NEWSWEEK described them as "a youthful, long-haired army, almost as large as the US force in Vietnam." One promoter saw what happened near Bethel (nearly 40 miles from Woodstock), NY, as an opportunity to "showcase" the drug culture as a "beautiful phenomenon." The newsmagazine wrote of "wounded hippies" sent to impromptu hospital tents. Some 400,000 of the "nation's affluent white young" attended the "electric pot dream." One sympathetic chronicler recently described them as "a veritable army of hippies and freaks."

Time gushed with admiration for the tribal gathering, declaring: "It may well rank as one of the significant political and sociological events of the age." It deplored the three deaths there -- "one from an overdose of drugs [heroin] and hundreds of youths freaked out on bad trips caused by low-grade LSD." Yet attendees exhibited a "mystical feeling for themselves as a special group," according to the magazine's glowing essay.

The same tribute mentioned the "meaningless war in the jungles of Southeast Asia" and quoted a commentator who said the young needed "more opportunities for authentic service."
Meanwhile, 8,429 miles around the other side of the world, 514,000 mostly young Americans were authentically serving the country that had raised them to place society over self. The casualties they sustained over those four days were genuine, yet none of the elite media outlets were praising their selflessness. So, 40 years later, let's finally look at those 109 Americans who sacrificed their lives in Vietnam on Aug. 15, 16, 17 and 18, 1969.

They mirrored the population of the time. A full 92 percent were white (seven of whom had Spanish surnames), and 8 percent black. Some 67 percent were Protestants, 28 percent Catholic. A disproportionate number -- more than one-third -- hailed from the South. More than two-thirds were single, nearly one-third married. Not surprising, the vast majority (91 percent) were under the age of 30, with 78 percent between the ages of 18 and 22.

Overwhelmingly (87 percent), they were in the Army. Marines and airmen accounted for 8 percent and 4 percent of the deaths, respectively, with sailors sustaining 1 percent. Again, not unexpectedly, two-thirds were infantrymen. That same proportion was lower-ranking enlisted men. Enemy action claimed 84 percent of their lives, nonhostile causes 16 percent. The preponderance (56 percent) had volUnteered, while 43 percent had been drafted. One was in the National Guard.

Of the four days, Aug. 18 (the last day of "peace and love" in the Catskills when the 50,000 diehards departed after the final act) was the worst for the men in Vietnam. Thirty-five of them died on that one miserable day.

Many perished in the Battle of Hiep Duc, fighting with the hard-luck Americal Division in the Que Son Mountains. In fact, 37 percent of all GIs lost in this period came from this one unit.
So when you hear talk of the glories of Woodstock -- the so-called "defining event of a generation" -- keep in mind those 109 GIs who served nobly yet are never lauded by the illustrious spokesmen for the "Sixties Generation."

Reprinted with permission from the August 2009 issue of VFW Magazine, where Richard K. Kolb is the editor

Letters from the New York Post

August 21, 2009 --

I want to express my sincere appreciation for printing "As Hippies Partied," (Richard K. Kolb, PostOpinion, Aug. 17).
I served in Vietnam when I was 18 years old. I rarely speak about my service because of the lack of recognition and thanks when we returned and the hostilities we encountered from family members, friends and neighbors.
I had red paint thrown on me when I was in my uniform coming home from Vietnam by a group of folks who kept calling me a "baby killer" and "rapist" -- a reception I never expected or forgot.
Thomas Waring
Lyndhurst, NJ
My compliments for the article, "As Hippies Partied," which says what needs to be said.
While thousands of American youth partied, listened to music, got stoned and engaged in casual sex, thousands served their country fighting in the jungles of Vietnam. Many young men died.
The contrast is startling. Let's not forget those who served and sacrificed while others indulged in a hedonistic orgy.
T. Redmond
East Williston

Woodstock hippies partied while 109 GIs were killed in Vietnam, but most of the Democratic Party was reveling at how they "stopped the war."
Liberal icons, such as Jane Fonda, ignored our withdrawal's horrific aftermath. To this day, most Americans are unaware of that resulting bloodbath as the media focused more on Gerald Ford's airplane tumble.
Why were the South Vietnamese so desperate to get aboard our departing choppers? They knew that sticking daises in rifles would not sway tyrants. They were right, then and now.
D. Bergstein
What an amazing reflection on Woodstock. I wish that all young adults would read "As Hippies Partied."
My husband returned from a tour of Vietnam in 1967 with two Purple Hearts. I was disappointed when he came home not dressed in his Army uniform. He told me that when they landed in California, if you had your uniform on, people would insult you and spit on you.
The hippies knew you were in the "conflict" because you were the only one with a crew cut.
I cannot tell you how bad those times were. We lived only 22 miles away from Bethel, and we chose not to go to Woodstock.
Kolb, I really admire your article.
Linda M. Cosman

God bless you for printing Kolb's column, which reminds Americans that the real "defining event of a generation" was the Vietnam War and those who died and were maimed, physically and mentally, while serving their country.
God bless them and their loved ones, and God bless America.
S.P. Radacinski
While Americans fought to stop the spread of communism in Vietnam, hippies got stoned with a unifying anti-America sentiment.
Now we see the results of the worst generation in US history. It produced today's middle-aged detached-from-reality generation, which, in turn, produced today's me-first teenage generation.
The utopian mindset of both generations is void of community responsibility and oblivious to the issues that plague America -- mainly, their obstructionism.
I would rather fight America's external enemy in the filth of Vietnam than party with America's internal enemy in the filth of Woodstock.
Elio Valenti

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ronan Tynan in Woodside, NYC

The Futures in Education
Foundation and Endowment


St. Sebastian School



In Concert for Children at St. Sebastian Church

Concert $50 and $75

Concert and Reception $100
($125 first 3 rows)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Concert: 4:00 PM
Doors open 3:30 PM

Call for Reservations

The church is at the corner of 58th Street and Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside, Queens, NYC - across from Donovan's Pub

Monday, August 17, 2009

Contractor Surrenders to FBI

Irish builder surrenders to FBI in NY union corruption probe
Don Lavery Sunday August 16, 2009
An Irish building contractor is one of 10 people at the centre of an FBI probe into a corruption case involving the New York city carpenters' union and is facing charges of acting as a bagman ferrying thousands of dollars in cash to the Irish American head of the union.

Finbar O'Neill, aged 44, and from Co Tyrone, surrendered to the FBI at Newark International Airport on Wednesday after returning from Ireland. O'Neill, a founder of and consultant with the O'Neill Group, which is developing sites in New York, is facing corruption charges related to an alleged bribery scheme involving the New York city carpenters' union. He was one of 10 people named in a 29-count indictment after a federal investigation into the carpenters' union.

The FBI said their indictment charges Michael Forde, the head of the carpenters' union district council in New York City, together with seven other union officials, a construction contractor, and a contractor's representative with a series of offences stemming from a scheme where union officials were alleged to have, in return for bribes, allowed construction contractors to avoid full payment of union wages and benefits at various job sites in New York city.

The FBI indictment charges O'Neill with racketeering conspiracy, where he could face, if convicted, up to 20 years in jail, for conspiracy, wire fraud and deprivation of honest services, and unlawful acceptance of payment by a labour representative. He appeared in federal court on Wednesday and was released on $500,000 bail.

The acting US attorney for the southern district of New York, said leaders of the union were charged with betraying the rank and file of the union they were sworn to protect.
"Instead of protecting the financial interests of union members and their families, corrupt union officials and the contractors who bribed them are charged with betraying the carpenters' union and its benefit funds to enrich themselves, " said Lev Dassin.
He said the indictment showed continuing corruption at the highest ranks of the union's leadership, even after years of dedicated efforts to rid the union of wrongdoing.

He said Forde and his co-defendants lined their pockets at the expense of union members and now they faced criminal charges for their conduct.
"Rather than doing what they were elected to do, safeguarding wages and benefits for union members, they took cash and other bribes to turn a blind eye to contractors schemes to cheat the rank and file," said FBI assistant director-in-charge Joseph Demarest.
"Motivated by self-interest, they sold out the interests of the members," he said.
The O'Neill Group said Finbar O'Neill is a consultant for the company, not an owner. He is married to company CEO Paula O'Neill. The company website says that the O'Neill Group was established in 1993 by the O'Neill family and the group has evolved "into a thriving organisation; now specialising predominantly in real estate development, land acquisition and property management".
- Don Lavery

Thursday, August 6, 2009

More Trouble in the Carpenters' Union


Last updated: 3:48 amAugust 6, 2009 Posted: 2:36 amAugust 6, 2009
A union big who landed a hug from Mayor Bloomberg after endorsing his re-election bid was indicted yesterday for allegedly taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in a mob-tainted scandal.
The overall $10.5 million scheme, allegedly headed by carpenters-union leader Michael Forde, dubbed illicit cash payments "turkey" as it was being "delivered" to some of its participants.
Bloomberg -- who included video of the union's Forde-led endorsement on his re-election Web site -- called the arrests of the leader and nine others "sad" and "a surprise."

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Honoring An America-Hater: Mary Robinson


THE Medal of Freedom is the nation's highest civilian honor. Past recipients include John Wayne, Norman Rockwell and Vaclav Havel. This year, one of the 16 recipients President Obama selected (along with such worthies as Sen. Edward Kennedy and the late Jack Kemp) is former Irish President and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson.
Bad choice.

Robinson's views are well out of the American foreign-policy mainstream. Rep. Peter King (R-LI) says, "She is definitely from the school of moral equivalency which somehow invariably comes down on the side against vibrant democracies such as Israel and the United States."

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