April 2nd, 2009

Chris Keeley

a forthcoming memoir by another distinguished ambassador adds stunning new charges to the debate. Th

a forthcoming memoir by another distinguished ambassador adds stunning new charges to the debate. The ambassador, John Gunther Dean

by BARBARA CROSSETTE

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090413/crossette

March 31, 2009

In the wake of the accusation by Chas Freeman that his nomination to lead the National Intelligence Council was derailed by an "Israeli lobby," a forthcoming memoir by another distinguished ambassador adds stunning new charges to the debate. The ambassador, John Gunther Dean, writes that over the years he not only came under pressure from pro-Israeli groups and officials in Washington but also was the target of an Israeli-inspired assassination attempt in 1980 in Lebanon, where he had opened links to the Palestine Liberation Organization.

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Chris Keeley

cadillac man

I Loved It Under the Viaduct; Still Do

FOR nearly 13 years between 1994 and 2007, I wandered the streets of New York, a nomad in the town where I was born in 1949. To say that I was homeless is true and yet not the whole truth. I had a mobile home of sorts — my wagon — the most recent, a grocery cart I liberated from the Costco in Long Island City. In it, I carried everything I needed: bedding, clothes, a camp stove, beach chairs, an umbrella, pots and pans, a first-aid kit and 20 or so paperbacks.

Every morning, I’d get up and say to myself: Where to today? And I’d turn my wagon either right or left and just keep going in that direction. Eventually I rolled my way through all the boroughs except Staten Island, stopping to live for a while in one place or another. I supported myself mainly by “canning” — collecting and redeeming recyclable bottles and cans. On an average day, I might make $20; on a good day, I could top a hundred.

I expected to die on the streets, a fate I’d seen befall so many of my homeless brothers: Nacho, Old Crow, Joe the Bum, Billy, Petey, Wahoo, Pachunga. One day we’re here, the next day gone, picked up by the meat wagon from the morgue, dropped off at Bellevue or Kings County hospitals, and stored for up to 60 days in the fridge. Then, if our bodies are still unclaimed by relatives or friends, we’re ferried for one last ride across the East River to the potter’s field at Hart Island, where inmates from Rikers Island on burial detail stack our plywood coffins in a long trench and cover us with dirt. I call that place the Land of the Lost Souls. That’s where I was bound.

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