The sprawling storm system hit Wednesday and blew out to sea Thursday, leaving huge snow piles, frigid temperatures and tens of thousands without power across the Midwest and Northeast. The National Guard’s aid operation ended once the stranded vehicles were cleared from I-78 Thursday evening. Some vehicles – mostly trucks – were still being towed after becoming stuck in sections of the other two highways, Pennsylvania transportation officials said. Road-clearing operations were expected to continue through the night and into the morning. Transportation spokesman Sean Brown said he could not say when the roads would reopen. Eugene Coleman, who is hyperglycemic, was trapped for 20 hours while on his way home to Hartford, Conn., from visiting his terminally ill mother in Georgia, along with his girlfriend and pregnant daughter. “How could you operate a state like this? It’s totally disgusting,” Coleman said. “God forbid somebody gets really stuck on the highway and has a life-threatening emergency. That person would have died.” HAMBURG, Pa. – National Guardsmen in Humvees ferried food, fuel and baby supplies Thursday to hundreds of motorists stranded on a 50-mile stretch of highway for nearly a day by a monster storm blamed for 15 deaths. The traffic jam on the icy, hilly section of Interstate 78 in eastern Pennsylvania forced authorities to also shut down portions of I-81 and I-80 Thursday afternoon as they struggled to gain ground on the colossal traffic jam. Drivers were frustrated they were let on the road at all. State police did not close all the entrance ramps to I-78 until around 5 p.m., more than 24 hours after vehicles starting getting caught. “Why would they have that exit open if they were just going to let us sit there?” said a crying Deborah Miller. Her 5-year-old son was trapped in the car with her, running a 103-degree fever from strep throat. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
A year ago the country was in uproar over the United Nations. It looked as if the great vision of a world platform was coming to an end. The United States railroaded the UN, ignored it, bullied it, disposed of it very publicly in a trash can and then went to war. As circumstances (and common sense) would have it, the war isn’t working out well. Almost everyone in this country is coming to the uncomfortable recognition that the war with Iraq is as good as lost or at best it is on the verge of a major failure. There are still a few in this country, especially some fanatical talk show hosts (Bob Grant and Sean Hannity in New York and the right wing clones elsewhere) who are convinced that we won the war and what is happening now are mere skirmishes (“We have to go in there with more troupes and wipe everyone out.”).Now the United States has turned to the UN because the it is the new janitor. They will help us clean it up. They are needed to make it all look legitimate. Some in the administration (including its gifted Defense Secretary) want a “UN” face on the “operations in Iraq.” In some looney fit, even the Indian Government was contemplating sending soldiers to help this facelift on an operation that the natives of Iraq call an occupation. We hope that brief gesture of generosity got some good will with the IMF or the World Bank, but it did not and would not fit well with anyone who has a semblance of understanding about the Iraq debacle.The UN has passed a resolution supporting an international administration in Iraq. All sorts of ridiculous, funny and outrightly insulting propositions have been trotted out. One of them suggests that a U.S. General would head the armed forces there, while the civil administration will be headed by UN diplomats. Read here cleaning services (Baghdad is literally awash in garbage, according to some reports), hospitals with lots of bandages and anesthetics and civic offers of bureaucracy. Sort of a front line for the military operations!The President once remarked that the UN has reduced itself to a debating society. Wouldn’t you know! If all you know is shooting from the hip, then you would not notice all the other shooting you do.Even though the UN has become an ineffectual body for a host of other reasons (among them, a steady starving of overdue funds from the United States, choking of UNESCO and other bodies, some of which were released some money only after Sept. 11, 2001), one cannot deny that UN is the only hope of conducting any dialog among the communities of the world. It has virtually no real authority, but it is a wonderful place where you could still stand face to face with the greatest superpowers and assert that you had the same single vote that the Big Ones do.What a beautiful idea that all nations, tiny and mighty, each have only one vote! You would think this could be nurtured in the greatest democracy in the world.Despite the continuous debilitating attrition in the value and effectiveness of the UN, we hope that there may be at least one hope. That the UN could become a great debating society where you could practice courage in free speech and tell the major honchos who want to run the world that they are wrong and arrogant and completely contemptible.Once Malcolm X remarked in Harlem that the Blacks in the United States could go to the UN to bring its pressure to remove racism in this country. Oh, how the world has changed!Although the vision of Malcolm’s dream is difficult to realize today, we hope that the UN can at least debate and discuss such issues, including the wretched war in Iraq which brings fresh news of new deaths every morning. Related Items