August 3, 2005 

An open letter to Pres. Bush•In defense of "Social Swirl"

An open letter to Pres. Bush

I understand you don't read the newspapers because there's always too much bad news , so I'm going to fill you in on what your closest friends and advisers refuse to tell you. So kick back, have a pretzel and listen up.

1. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The Israeli Spy in the Pentagon office of special plans (that the FBI is now investigating) really sold you a bill of goods there. Say, wanna buy a bridge?

2. According to the latest Gallup poll, half of America is convinced you lied about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction.

3. There is good intelligence that Osama Bin Laden is dead. He died in Dec. 2001 of kidney failure. Why use the "Bin Laden Myth" to keep your oil wars going?

4. Saddam was not aiding al-Qaida. They were bitter enemies. The anti-U.S. forces in Iraq are not al-Qaida but are comprised of independent forces from 20 different countries and 50 different Islamic organizations.

5. Your poll numbers are plummeting as is support for your war.

6. You did not fool anyone about 9/11 being a surprise. 288 million Americans saw you sitting there reading about goats while airplanes were flying across the nation, crashing into buildings and killing thousands of our best citizens. These Americans also know that your presence at Booker School had been published in the media three days ahead of time and they watched as your secret service detail acted as though they knew you were perfectly safe sitting there. Bragging that you actually saw the first impact as it happened didn't help your credibility, since no video of that impact was available until hours after the towers collapsed.

7. Did you realize, Mr. President, that the letter you sent to Congress starting the Iraqi War contained numerous statements that were less than true? Lying to Congress and the people is illegal. You have read the Constitution, right? How about the Bill of Rights?

-Joe Moran,

Boise

In defense of "Social Swirl"

Absolutely loved the Boise Weekly's Bat Mitzvah issue-even if I was paid to read it! Kudos to all, but especially to BW-saviors Sally and Bingo Barnes. Thanks for your gifts to me personally and to our community. We're lucky to have you.

That said, I am forced to admit that Andrew Adam Newman's third-rate "Social Swirl" cheap shot sorely tempts me to unleash my inner bitch ... but I'll resist. Simply put, Newman totally mischaracterizes "Social Swirl"-not surprisingly, since anything is difficult to evaluate accurately when you're looking down your nose at it. (Oops!)

With its hundreds of pictures of thousands of people, "Social Swirl" provides a snapshot for history of our community's virtually panoramic good deeds and good times. For a fledgling paper with severely limited staff resources, "Swirl" was a perfect way to provide coverage of a wide range of events interesting to our readers.

While we did attend as many cocktail parties as we could possibly squeeze into our impossibly tight schedules, the vast majority of the events covered in "Social Swirl" were community events, mostly benefits for local nonprofit organizations and the people (and sometimes animals) in need whom they served. Other regular "Swirl" stops included Alive After Five, the Boise Art Museum After Hours and the Downtown Gallery Stroll, the precursor to First Thursday.

"Social Swirl" also covered visits by everyone from Vice President Dan Quayle, Ross Perot and Barbara Bush to Rosa Parks, Judy Collins and Allen Ginsberg. And the openings of downtown galleries, businesses and political campaign offices. And actors on opening nights. And world premieres of films by big boys gone local. And the returns of local boys who made it big. And dancers from across the globe, and kids playing in fountains, and young adults handing out religious tracts and lovers of all ages, shapes, sizes and colors.

Where else could you find photos of Gay Pride Parade participants and a World War I veteran celebrating Flag Day on the same page? And if co-founder and first Publisher Andy Hedden-Nicely's pals and advertisers appeared in "Swirl" (no preferential treatment was given to either), perhaps it was because so many of Boise's best and brightest qualified as both.

Far from being lowest-common-denominator journalism, "Social Swirl" was community journalism at its finest. And Early BW was rewarded with five Idaho Press Club awards, including one for our very first cover story, penned by yours truly. The embarrassing fact is, the third-rate "Swirl" was good for Early BW's bottom line. If my high-ranking insider confidential sources (don't even ask) are correct, the same can't be said for Newman's presumably first-rate brand of "alternative" journalism. (Oops?)

Finally, one correction: Samantha Silva, Steven Stuebner and Steve Duda somehow tumbled into the pages of BW while I was at the helm. And one clarification: Early BW's page count went from 20 to 24 for the first time on Nov. 17, 1992, and except for the traditional post-Christmas and July slumps, stayed at or above 24 pages (going as high as 40 pages) through the remainder of my tenure.

So, let me hand out more kudos to all the heroes of the Early BW, including Andy and co-founder Debi Hedden-Nicely, whose superbly written Bat Mitzvah piece reminded me of why she was one of our cover-story contributors; Art Director Jennie O'Reilly, whose stunningly original covers and graphic designs won BW a slew of Press Club awards; and Arts Editor Kristin Tucker, who covered the local arts scene like it's never been covered before or since. I hope you're as proud of our accomplishments as I am, third-rate cheap shots notwithstanding.

Jay Edmund Vail was BW's first editor, serving from Volume 1, Issue 1, through the August 26-September 1, 1993, issue. Vail later returned to his hometown newspaper, the Idaho Press-Tribune, where his opinion writing earned two Idaho Press Club awards. He currently lives underground in an undisclosed secure location, feverishly polishing a screenplay while waiting for replies to unsolicited queries.

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