Monday, April 24, 2006

Ginny Buckingham - from 9-11 to Gay Bashing

In one of her recent editorials, Boston Herald writer Ginny Buckingham let Boston know exactly what she thinks about people rolling Easter Eggs while being Gay. The anti-Gay column was surprising for someone who once toiled for Bill Weld, a Massachusetts governor known for his Gay-friendly policy making. So who is Ginny Buckingham, and what is her claim to fame; or infamy.
When I think of Boston Herald Columnist Ginny Buckingham, I automatically think of people like G. Gordon Liddy, a valueless creature and one of the secret "plumbers" in the Nixon Administration. He was eventually thrown behind bars and now does a radio show and a commendable imitation as a journalist.
Ginny - who sometimes prefers Virginia - never went to jail though some think she should have. On September 11, 2001 it was she who proved that hack appointments do indeed have their life and death consequences. Buckingham was the czarina of Massport - the agency which runs General Logan International - on that fateful date, despite a chorus of protests earlier when her benefactor, Paul Cellucci, appointed her to the aviation post in 1999. Buckingham's aviation management experience was limited to making reservations for trips to Disney World and operating the sickness bag during turbulent flight time. As Democratic Consultant Michael Goldman said in a widely carried quote when Buckingham received the patronage appointment, "the only person less qualified for this job is me." Boston was rocked and tongues were wagging, but no one was able to see what was coming down the pike and how dangerous this hackdom behavior could be for the world.
None of this is to say Ginny didn't leave her mark at Logan before 9-11. She granted, among other things, a $300,000 consulting contract to her special friend Ray Howell; and if Ray can ever tell me what he did to earn that $300,000 I'll give him another $300,000. That contract is just one of many which don't pass what Bill Weld would have called, "the smell test." No telling how history might have changed had all the money sprinkled on pals and political salons by Ginny been diverted to security and protection. We'll just never know, which may be why Acting Governor Jane Swift basically fired Buckingham in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, the smartest thing Her Excellency ever did in her own brief tenure of power. Buckingham's resignation letter read, in part, "The fact that our airport was used in an unimaginable plot that killed thousands of people is something I will carry in my mind and heart forever."
On October 30, 2001 it was revealed that she would depart in a golden parachute deal worth $180,000. Massport's own personnel policies strictly limited the director to a severance package of $28,482. Then Massachusetts House Speaker Tom Finneran called the sweetheart deal, "a dreadful, dreadful message." Under intense local, and even national pressure, the Massport board of directors cut the Buckingham deal by $47,000. But the terms of Buckingham's extraordinary severance package remained too naked an abuse of public office for the public to digest, given the heinous events which promulgated her firing. The entire episode rocked the state house and made Buckingham only more the figure of national scorn.
Buckingham became radioactive overnight; a walking Chernobyl with a pretty smile. The terms of her hefty severance package compelled police officers to guard Buckingham's Marblehead mcmansion where she and her husband (for whom she secured a judicial appointment while still chief of staff in the governor's office) enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle, Sapronos style, while thousands of 9-11 victims were were finally learning that Logan Airport, from where the attacks on the World Trade Center originated, was run by an infamous hack, and therefore ill managed from every vantage point.
Today, the infamous hack is…well….I don't quite know what she is. I guess she's imitating a columnist, all be it a very isolated one and at a less than thriving publication; where no less than forty of her colleagues singed an unprecedented publicly released letter protesting her hiring due to lack of competence for the job. But the journalists who spoke out could not compare to the calibre of influence belonging to Attorney Bob Cordy, a Buckingham confidant from the Weld days and now a high ranking jourist. Cordy has a, well, very close relationship with Herald editorial page boss Rachelle Cohen. He brokered the deal for Buckingham's retainer. And since her appointment the caliber of Buckingham's missives have not proven her critics wrong; and her soft ball diatribes for people known to have worked with her in the governor's office have eroded what credibility she never had in the first place.
This Tuesday, Ginny decided it was time to get in Goose Step with most other Herald Columnists, namely Howie Carr and Joe Fitzgerald. You guessed it, another Gay bashing editorial in the Herald….kinda like discovering Tom Cruise really likes Katie or that the Pope wears white shoes - even after Labor Day. In her piece titled, "Activists lay egg by politicizing event," Buckingham writes that Gay couples who attended the White House Easter Egg Hunt are guilty of "exploitation of this treasured Easter season tradition." She said that the Gay parents were "inappropriate" and "classless." She further scribes that the Gay parents should, "Get a grip, people, and while you're at it get a life."
Ginny, why don't you get a real job?? Truth be told, if the columns aren't perpetually boring, nonsensical or completely self serving, they are now just old fashioned bigotry. Once upon a time a couple of color could not attend this White House tradition. The same attacks were levied against those who tried. I tried to bring these points to the attention of Buckingham's editor, Rachelle Cohen, but she hung up on me.
You gotta hand it to the Herald. They're behaving at the exact level of maturity as was Massport before 9-11. Thank God there aren't any airplanes at Herald Square to hijack; just loads of ink, a low rated web page, and a silly "columnist" whose destined to be forever lost in the abyss of her own infamy.

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