The Courant’s Interview

July 20, 2013  |  1 Comment

Here’s the lead-in to the Hartford Courant’s nice interview. The entire piece is at http://www.courant.com/features/books/hc-bangkok-world-0721-20130721,0,7282443.story
The book is available through www.thebangkokworld.com, Amazon.com and at other locales.

By DAVID HOLAHAN
Special To The Hartford Courant
July 21, 2013

To people of a certain age, especially journalists, Denis Horgan’s fourth book, “The Bangkok World,” (296 pages, Bluefoot Publishing, $25) evokes memories of a misty distant past: when his home, Boston, had six daily newspapers (Hartford had two); when newsrooms ran on cigarettes, coffee, and whiskey; when the type was hot (molten lead) and being a reporter was not. Newspapering was viewed as a rung above riding shotgun on a garbage truck (maybe).

Horgan confesses: “I did not set out to become a newspaper guy any more than someone sets out to become an alcoholic or a drug addict; it happens that many of us might end up that way but no one starts out with that as The Plan.”

Happenstance, it turns out, isn’t always terrible, and the author’s love for his lifelong calling is vivid, even moving. After leaving Thailand, he enjoyed a distinguished career at The Washington Star and the Hartford Courant, where he was an award-winning columnist for decades. His writing is crisp, conversational, and insightful. He can turn a phrase on a dime.

His book focuses on the years 1966 to 1971, when the Vietnam War was getting bigger but not better. Horgan began that period serving in the U.S. Army, stationed in Thailand, and he sometimes squired journalists about. But when his tour ended, he stayed on to become, at age 26, the editor and publisher of The Bangkok World, an English-language daily. His most significant previous journalistic experience was as a copy boy at the Boston Globe.

The book is richly illustrated with three dozen black and white photographs by William Harting, the author’s colleague at the paper and the author of several books of photography. Words are not enough to describe Thailand in all its glory and chaos circa 1970, and Harting’s wonderful vision closes the circle.

Horgan’s love for Thailand is unbounded, even if his paper’s newsboys came after him once with malice aforethought (and a knife). The kid from Boston became a newspaper man in a mystical and tumultuous land far away, and he is eternally grateful: “Just getting off the plane in Don Muang, the sense of the place had embraced me like a beautiful fog. I had read a little on what Thailand was supposed to be like but I was not the least ready for the warm loveliness, the sharp colors, the smells and sparkle in the air, the niceness of the people. Simply, it made me feel happy.”

Voting Rights Outdated?

February 27, 2013  |  No Comments

How ironic that the Supreme Court, dominated by rightwing ideologues, nightriders and barnburners, is dedicating time to airily wondering whether America’s protections of the right to vote aren’t outdated exactly when America’s protections of the right to vote are under more attack than in a generation.
There is not less to fear but more.
The enemy of America’s rights this time is the Republican party — which in state after state is imposing harsh and terrible attacks on Americans’ chance to vote in fair and effective manner. People are denied the ballot for trifles, made to wait in hours’ long lines, abused and treated like criminals by the Republican party.
No distant enemy of the nation has ever caused as many Americans to be discombobulated, harrassed and harried at the polls as has the Republican party with its proud voter suppression campaign. Osama bin laden did less damage to our liberties at the polls than has the Republican party. Bin laden suppressed not a single American ballot — except those of the Ameericans who lost their lives at his bloody hands. Yet the Republicans in state after state have caused thousands and thousands of American citizens to be denied their rights, to be penalized for no crime whatever except their race, national origin or political affiliation.
No doubt the Supreme Court hacks will allow ever new ways for the GOP anti-patriots to inflict their partisan damage on the liberties so many have fought for.
That’s what we’ve come to expect from them.
It’s what they do.

Is This Really Fun?

February 24, 2013  |  1 Comment

90 to 30?
Howabout 30 to 90?

I know the UConn Women’s basketball program is sainted and beyond anything but the most reverential adoration. But come on.

90 to 30?
105 to 28?
119 to 50?
102 to 45?
105 to 49?
101 to 41?
94 to 37?
97 to 25?

Is that sports? The fawning goes on how well they play and how god-like is the coach. But is that what we want from our squeeky clean sports? Massacres? Scores run up crazily high?

This is getting a little stale.

Places to Cut on Budgets Spongers

February 21, 2013  |  10 Comments

Okie doke. They have to cut the budget. Since it is so often said by government haters hat there are so many people sponging on the federal budget, clusters of special interests gorging at the public trough, here’s a start; what government hater would ever object to cut:

Fort Jackson in South Carolina
Charleston Air Force Base in South Carolina
Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina
The McEntire Joint National Guard Base in South Carolina
Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina
The Naval Weapons Station Charleston in South Carolina
Brooks City-Base in Texas
Dyess Air Force Base in Texas
The Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas
Lackland Air Force Base in Texas
Randolph Air Force Base in Texas
Fort Bliss in Texas
Fort Hood in Texas
Fort Sam Houston in Texas
Red River Army Depot in Texas
The Naval Air Station in Texas
NAS Corpus Christi in Texas
Naval Air Station Kingsville in Texas
Eglin Air Force Base in Florida
Hurlbert Field Air Force Base in Florida
MacDill Air Force Base in Florida
Patrick Air Force Base in Florida
Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida
Camp Blanding in Florida
Air Station Clearwater in Florida
Blount Island Command in Florida
NAS Jacksonville in Florida
Naval Air Station Key West in Florida
The Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida
Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Florida
Naval Station Mayport in Florida
Naval Support Activity Panama City in Florida
Moody Air Force Base in Georgia
Robins Air Force Base in Georgia
Camp Frank D. Merrill in Georgia
Fort Benning in Georgia
Fort Gillem in Georgia
Fort Gordon in Georgia
Fort McPherson in Georgia
Fort Stewart in Georgia
Hunted Army Airfield in Georgia
Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany in Georgia
Kings Bay Submarine Base in Georgia
NAS Atlanta in Georgia

Done with that there’s so many more to cut in Alabama, Mississippi, Wisconsin, etc.

Al Qaeda in America

December 20, 2012  |  No Comments

Oughtn’t the Iraqis have invaded America?
If pursuit of weapons of mass destruction is the passport to walking into someone else’s country and wrecking the place, who could say the Iraqis or Afghans don’t have the same call on coming here that we claimed in going there?
What country has more weapons of mass destructions just lying around than gun-crazy-America?
Imagine, too, that there was an outfit somewhere whose principal mission was to promote weapons amd policies and a lifestyle that have killed far more Americans than did Osama bin Laden? Or the Viet Cong? Or the North Koreans? Or Adolph Hitler? Or the secessionist slave states? Or imperial Britain asmashing its uppity colonists? Would we stand for that?
Of course not. We rattle around the earth blowing up peoples by the thousands or the ones and twos because they don’t like or us or talk big about harming some of us. While we kill ourselves by the tens of thousands. With guns.
But the gun madness and its manufacturers and promoters in the NRA and the Republican party national platform think we don’t have enough guns and no matter the bloodshed their lunatic policies have spilled. American blood. None of our enemies have killed as many of us as has our gun culture — and those who promote it, ankle-deep in the gore of American children, American grief.
Who is our greater enemy then?
Who deserves our strongest assaults then?
Who has harmed us most and who needs to be controlled entirely?
Al Qaeda? Or guns?
Count the corpses and come up with the anwser