January 4, 2002
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A front-page article in today's New York Times about Senator Torricelli reports that a former friend of the senator "met a number of times with President Clinton, whose best friend, Terry McAuliffe, now the Democratic National Committee chairman, he hired as a consultant."
It's probably an excessively categorical statement to refer to Terry McAuliffe as Bill Clinton's "best friend." The Times itself reported on December 26, 2000, that "One of Mr. Clinton's best friends, Vernon E. Jordan, is black and the two are frequently photographed together playing golf and taking vacations." The wording in today's article suggests that Mr. Clinton has only one best friend and that and it is Mr. McAuliffe, not Mr. Jordan.
News Article: An original, non-Times-related news article follows: Roll Out the Fire Barrels -- After 9/11, Old-Fashioned Heating Elements Warm Streetcorner Guardposts
NEW YORK -- Even as the war-zone feeling fades from most of lower Manhattan, New Yorkers can still stop by Broadway just below Lispenard Street to see a group of armed men huddled around a smoking steel drum.
The police officers, state troopers, and National Guardsmen watching at makeshift guardposts for suspicious vehicles have faced cold days and colder nights, and have responded with a traditional solution: open wood fires. The fires are fed by scrap donated by passing truckers, and some of the ash appears to be dumped into a subway grate. That's not exactly everyday behavior in a city whose ordinances include a six-part section regulating the design of candles at public events.
The fires are among the many rough traditions that have sprung from a downtown that still feels itself under siege. The American Lung Association warns that wood fires are a major source of pollutants, and the federal Environmental Protection Agency has regulated wood stoves since 1988. Those concerns seem minor in comparison with the smoke generated by the fires that burned for months at the site of the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. But if nothing else, the flame-filled barrels are signs that the heightened law-enforcement presence following the attack has brought with it a certain more relaxed attitude toward, well, enforcement of some of the laws.
"You would normally need a permit" for fires like those the police and National Guard are lighting, fire department spokesman Brian Dixon said. But he said that the department was unaware of the police fires and has no plans to shut them down. A spokesman for the police department referred Smartertimes.com to the nearby Fifth Precinct, where a policeman who identified himself as Officer Henderson said of the open fires, "I don't see anything illegal about that."
"This does look like a double standard," a spokesman for an advocacy group for New York's homeless, the Coalition for the Homeless, said. The police routinely roust vagrants and douse their fires, the spokesman, Patrick Markee, said.
In New York, even barbecues are strictly regulated: the Parks Department issues permits for summer cook-outs in the city's green areas, while the Web site of the New York Fire Department warns that "parties looking to barbecue in commercial establishments, street festivals, or in other nonresidential areas must make specific applications to the FDNY."
But the bureaucracy and its permits appeared far from the minds of the two young members of the New York Army National Guard's 101st Cavalry, who were helping police officers on vigil for suspicious trucks on Broadway and Lispenard. A police officer was occupying the checkpoint's wooden hut, so the guardsmen, dressed in camouflage and black knit caps, warmed themselves next to the flickering fire. Asked where the ash goes, one soldier laughed. "We dump it down there," he said, indicating a nearby subway grate crusted with ash.
At another checkpoint Wednesday afternoon, just south of Canal Street, Officer Greg Leavey was jamming a wooden plank into one of two gently flaming fires in rusted drums. One of four officers checking trucks on Varick Street near the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, he was standing near an American flag and amid several rough heaps of wooden pallets.
"The truckers see that you have a fire and they want to get rid of these things," he said.
Officer Leavey, like two members of the 101st Cavalry at Lispenard Street, said he didn't know when the fire had been started and didn't think it had a permit. But he felt obliged to keep it burning for the shift that would replace him in the evening.
"Clothes only do so much" against the cold, he said. "We don't really need it during the day, but overnight it gets down into the teens."
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