HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

March 31, 2008
From the Editor

John Turner


Here I sit, five weeks and two days after ordering Kindle, and still no word from Amazon. If they're catching up on the backlog, they're not doing it very quickly.

I hope you all got a chance to see the 60 Minutes segment about the five year imprisonment and torture of Murat Kurnaz by the United States. There was never a single bit of evidence that Kurnaz had ever done anything wrong, and the government acknowledged that truth early in his incarceration. But that didn't cause them to let him go or stop treating him very badly. It's difficult to imagine the mentality of people who will do things of that sort, but they seem to be sprinkled liberally throughout the federal government.  I wonder where they come from, what produced them.

Another questionable imprisonment in the news is that of Don Siegelman, former Alabama governor, who some say was thrown into jail simply because he was a Democrat. Mr. Siegelman was finally released on bail while his appeal proceeds though the courts. He's going to testify to Congress about what happened. There's some hope that the Siegelman case might reveal Karl Rove's part in the prosecution. But that seems to be a long shot.

Richard Widmark died last week at the age of 93. I always liked him in movies. He had the kind of personality that could cause me to like him even when he was playing a terrible villain.

I wish everyone would get a chance to read Martin Marty's defense of Jeremiah Wright in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the April 11th edition. It's the sort of analysis that seldom makes its way into popular journals.

There's a great review in this week's New Yorker by Louis Menand of David Hadju's The Ten Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How It Changed America. Some of you may remember that in the 1950s, comic books were a huge threat to the innocence of American children, and if there's one thing that has to be protected by the Senate of the United States, it's the innocence of children. Incidents of that sort give senators an opportunity to pontificate more fulsomely than anything else, and we may well ask, what else are senators for?

I have had no great political revelations this week. Might it be that the candidates have said all they dare to say? And if that's the case, what else can we expect from them as we wend our way to November? The journalists are all hoping for some tremendous scandal to emerge in the coming weeks. And I am hoping that their hopes will be disappointed.

Winter is holding on here in Vermont tenaciously. It has managed to give people the feeling that it will never end. And since that's a droopy thought, things here are, indeed, a bit droopy. But, I assume we'll make it through to warmer times without any tremendous disasters. Send us you news from happier climes.


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