In what the New York Times called Angola's "worst crisis" in "nearly 30 years" in December 1992, the country erupted into civil war. By January 1993, the streets were piled with thousands of dead bodies. In the prior year, hundreds of thousands had died of starvation in Somalia. Millions more were still at risk.
Also in 1993, January floods left dozens dead and thousands homeless in Tijuana, Mexico. Russia was, according to a New York Times editorial, on the brink of disaster, facing economic circumstances like those "that helped bring forth Hitler." Nine people were killed in a volcano in Colombia in mid-January, including American scientists. In Bosnia, according to the Times, hundreds had died of starvation and exposure in a matter of days.
"It has all been so much fun," Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd gushed in the New York Times in January 1993. It was Bill Clinton's one-week inaugural celebration. "Is it too much to ask that it go on forever?" (For those who loved America, the next eight years would only seem to go on forever.)
Rich and Dowd quoted Hollywood agent Karen Russell, saying: "I'm in this fantasy world. I haven't slept. I'm punch drunk. ... I just feel like I'm in this place called Clinton-land" ? which, if it were a theme park, could bill itself as "the sleaziest place on Earth!" Russell, they said, "spoke for everyone."
While dead bodies rotted in the streets of Angola and Somalia, the only "dead soldiers" in evidence in Clinton-land were the empty Cristal bottles lining the parade route. The most massive relief efforts that week took place at the rows of portable toilets circling each site of drunken Clintonista revelry.
Instead of having the usual Inauguration Day in 1993, Clinton had an "Inauguration Week," with high-tech pageantry, large-screen TVs on the mall, Hollywood direction and, indeed, half of Hollywood. The amount of money that would have been saved just by holding the inauguration in Brentwood could have averted the Rwandan tragedy Clinton ignored just a few years later.
The spokesman for Clinton's 1993 Inaugural Committee said the inaugural events would cost about $25 million ? largesse exceeded only by the $50 million Ken Starr was forced to spend when "Clintonland" turned out to be populated with felons. Think of all the starving children in Angola, Somalia, Bosnia and elsewhere that $25 million could have fed! And don't even get me started on Michael Moore's "on location" food budget!