Can’t get no relief | 5 years ago | November 9, 2001 | Kristen Lombardi questioned the way relief money was distributed to the families of 9/11 victims.
“Is it fair that the family of a New York firefighter who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center will receive checks totaling $325,000 plus a lifetime pension, when the family of a food-service worker at Windows on the World, the restaurant at the top of the WTC, gets just $15,000 in financial relief? Is it fair that the married spouse of a victim who died in the attack will receive Social Security benefits when the gay partner of someone who died the same way will not? Is it fair that the families of undocumented immigrants have yet to see a penny of the $1.4 billion raised in charitable contributions to help those affected by the attacks?
“Of course it’s not fair. But the hard truth about the September 11 relief effort is that some families will end up receiving far more benefits than others. Why? Because a huge portion of the donated money is reserved for certain victims only. It’s a sensitive topic, but one that must be addressed by charitable organizations, whose duty is to help those people who need it most.
“Since the terrorist attacks on September 11, Americans have donated more money for disaster-relief efforts than ever before: $1.4 billion and counting. Yet just 10 percent of the money raised thus far has been distributed. Not surprisingly, the trickling of the money stream has angered critics such as Bill O’Reilly, the conservative host of Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor and a syndicated columnist. In an October 29 piece, O’Reilly characterizes the current situation as ‘so chaotic that nobody really knows what the hell is going on.’ He concludes: ‘This is one big, cruel mess.’ ”
Raw deal | 10 years ago | November 8, 1996 |Dan Kennedy compared the presidential campaigns of Bill Clinton and Michael Dukakis.
“Eight years ago, Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis won 46 percent of the vote — and was sneered at by Ted Koppel (‘You just don’t get it’), lampooned on Saturday Night Live, and mocked for everything from his ride in a tank to his technocratic response when asked how he’d feel if his wife was raped and murdered.
“Four years later, Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton won just 43 percent of the vote. His reward: the White House.
“Such are the vagaries of politics.
“Today, Clinton embarks on a second term with a solid re-election victory. Dukakis, who turned 63 last Sunday, now has a considerably more modest career, as the Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Northeastern University.
“Governor of Massachusetts from 1975 to ’78 and again from ’83 to ’90, Dukakis tore down the old-style, urban-oriented Massachusetts Democratic Party and rebuilt it in his own suburban, reformist image. During the Dukakis era, which coincided with the economic boom of the ’80s, the Democrats were a fearsome vote-gathering machine that dominated the political landscape until 1990, when they were undone by recession and the rise of Bill Weld–style moderate Republicanism.
“Dukakis remains the policy wonk famed for once bringing a dense report on the Swedish health-care system with him on vacation. In his clipped, rapid-fire delivery, he offers plenty of advice for Clinton. And why not? After all, it took Clinton four years in office before he could match Dukakis’s 1988 electoral performance. You could look it up.”