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!
I wouldn't mention it, except for the Times' recent editorial snippily remarking that the amount of foreign aid to tsunami victims offered by the United States within the first few days of the disaster was "less than half of what Republicans plan to spend on the Bush inaugural festivities." By that logic, why hold the Golden Globes, the Academy Awards, or spend money on restaurants and theater productions praised in the New York Times? That money could go to tsunami victims!
A letter writer to the Times redoubled the Times' bile, claiming to be "embarrassed for our country" on account of the government's "pathetic initial offer of aid" to the tsunami victims. Yet he was still willing to throw away 37 cents on a postage stamp to send his letter ? money that could have been spent on the relief effort! (One strongly suspects the letter writer was embarrassed for his country long before the tsunami hit and will remain so long after.)
Another letter writer suggested the first lady wear a used dress to the inauguration to "honor the young people who are dying in her husband's misbegotten war." (To honor John Kerry's position on Iraq, Mrs. Bush would have to order an expensive gown and then, after it was delivered, decide she didn't want to pay for it.)
Hollywood liberals could not be reached for comment on the cost of the inauguration because they were being fitted for gowns and jewelry worth millions of dollars in anticipation of Oscar night.
Speaking of which, I just remembered: George Soros is worth $7 billion! Couldn't he get by on, say, $1 billion and donate the rest to the tsunami victims? If gun owners have to explain why they "need" a so-called "assault rifle," shouldn't Soros have to explain why he "needs" $7 billion? Last year, Soros announced that the central focus of his life would be removing Bush from office. Would that Soros could refocus that energy on alleviating the suffering of tsunami victims.