Dave Denison

Recent Articles

Living with Oswald

Mrs. Paine's Garage and the Murder of John F. Kennedy By Thomas Mallon. Pantheon, 224 pages, $22.00 W hy did Mrs. Ruth Paine of Irving, Texas, make the notation "LHO purchase of rifle" on the March 1963 page of her Hallmark pocket calendar? Soon enough, everyone would find out that LHO was Lee Harvey Oswald. But how and why would an unassuming mother of two young children in a Dallas suburb know, eight months before the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, that Oswald had purchased a rifle? Could she have been in on the plot? Consider the incriminating evidence: In the spring and fall of 1963, she gave free room and board to Oswald's Russian-born wife, Marina. She made the crucial phone call that helped the almost unemployable Oswald get a job at the Texas School Book Depository warehouse. It was her garage that stored LHO's Mannlicher-Carcano rifle until the morning of November 22. And after the fateful shots rang out from the sixth floor of the warehouse that day, and after...

Statehouse Subversion

I n the mid-1990s, a group of liberal activists, with the support of a few wealthy donors, developed a new strategy to reduce the power of money in national politics. Let's not waste so much energy trying to get minor reforms through Congress, they reasoned. Let's take the battle to the states and push for something meaningful, something that could really change the way campaigns and elections are conducted. The idea was public financing: a system that would make government money available to qualified candidates, freeing them from groveling for contributions. The plan was to start in states with a tradition of reform--places like Maine, Vermont, and Massachusetts--where people can still exert some influence on their legislatures. It was an idea that made sense, states being the laboratories of democracy, and all that. And it started out well, with Maine and Vermont--and, later, even Arizona--enacting "clean elections" laws. But there has turned out to be a large fly--more like a...

Who Let the Liberals Out?

Don't buy into the mainstream media's propaganda about how the recent transfer of power in Washington was remarkable for its lack of violence. That ignores the mobs of bloodthirsty liberals rampaging through the nation's capital, ready to hoist the heads of innocent conservatives on newly sharpened pikes. Or at least that's how the sensitive souls on the right see things. It's not just that mean liberals are hurting people's feelings. They're out for blood. The violence started even before George W. Bush's inauguration, when liberals went after Linda Chavez, his choice for labor secretary. "I think they smell blood in the water, and I think they got her scalp a little too easily," conservative activist Paul Weyrich told The New York Times after Chavez stepped down because she was found out to be too kind to immigrants. To Chavez it was more like an execution than a scalping: "There were a lot of people gunning for me because of my views, and in not being more...

Fighting Al Gore

As Al Gore labors to be seen as a man of the people, the candidate's demeanor continues to strike some voters as annoyingly confident. "He's like the kid in school you wanted to beat up because he knows all the answers," Tom Coveney, a 42-year-old Massachusetts banker, told The New York Times after the first October debate. Buddy Hillow would be the man to ask about that. Hillow attended St. Albans prep school with Gore and, as recounted in a recent Gore bio, resented the fact that Gore seemed to excel at everything. Tension developed between Gore and Hillow that boiled over in a high school math class. As told in The Prince of Tennessee , by David Maraniss and Ellen Nakashima, here's what happened: "Hillow sat in front of Gore and had a habit of rocking back in his chair until it reached the precarious balancing point. Once, as he was rocking, Gore extended a finger and lightly touched the chair, upsetting the balance. Hillow turned and hissed, 'If you do that again, I'm coming!'...

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