Sunday, February 25, 2007


The Final Story for Aileen in Northern Ireland

This is Part 3 of a family story for Aileen.

I found Bill Broadhurst (see Parts 1 and 2) and his book, The Flaming Truth, on the internet in 2002 while researching the history of my ancestors in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Since the book was not available in the U.S.A., I purchased four copies directly from Bill and his co-author Harry Welsh to share with my sister, brother and one nephew (a New York City firefighter).

In the book, I found this account of the death of my uncle, Archie McDonald:
[O]n the night of 7-8 April 1941 the German air force arrived over Belfast. Just past midnight, having illuminated the city with parachute flares, the relatively small force of six Luftwaffe bombers began dropping incendiary and high explosive bombs, principally on the docks area. One of the first major fires to develop as a result of this was at the McCue Dick timber yard in Duncrue Street. As the regular and auxiliary firemen moved in to deal with this and the other fires in the area, a parachute mine exploded nearby killing Auxiliary Firemen Archibald McDonald and Brice E. Harkness, who were among the first casualties of the raid. By the end of the attack at about four o’clock in the morning of the eighth, major fires had started throughout the harbour area, including one as the aircraft factory of Short Brothers and Harland Limited. The local firemen began to experience the same difficulties as their colleagues in Great Britain had been enduring for some months.
Pages 174-175
The Flaming Truth: A History of the Belfast Fire Brigade
©William Broadhurst and Henry Welsh 2001

Bill Broadhurst and I kept in touch via email. When my son, Robert, went to Belfast in 2004 to compete in the World Irish Dancing Championships (Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne), Bill took him to Lisburn. That’s where The Rescue statue stands in front of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service headquarters on Castle Street. Here’s a picture of my son and Chief Fire Officer, Colin Lammey, in front of the statue:

You can see more pictures of the statue and the names inscribed on the Roll of Honour at Honoring Fallen Firefighters.

Here’s a picture of the man himself, my internet friend, Bill Broadhurst, taken in 2005:

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Lest We Forget

The clock is still running.

The impeachable offense that George W Bush admitted to 416 days ago is still on the table.

James Banford recently brought us up to date on the case for impeachment in Bush Is Not Above the Law. He reminded us of the grounds: Violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Then he pointed out that:
The issue is not original. Among the charges approved by the House Judiciary Committee when it recommended its articles of impeachment against President Nixon was "illegal wiretaps." President Nixon, the bill charged, "caused wiretaps to be placed on the telephones of 17 persons without having obtained a court order authorizing the tap, as required by federal law; in violation of Sections 241, 371 and 2510-11 of the Criminal Code."

Under his program, President Bush could probably be charged with wiretapping not 17 but thousands of people without having obtained a court order authorizing the taps as required by federal law, in violation of FISA.
How many more days before the 110th Congress puts Impeachment back on the table?

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Farewell Molly and Bob

I mourn the passing of two giants of American progressive political thought, who also made me laugh. Molly Ivins died on Wednesday and Father Robert Drinan passed last Sunday.

Like Rosa Brooks, I agree that Both were outspoken, brave, and funny, their toughness exceeded only by their kindness and their deep commitment to justice. We need more people like them.

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