Ostrowski v. Russert

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Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood . . .

by James Ostrowski by James Ostrowski

Truth is stranger than fiction. I decide in the fall of 2002 to publish an anthology including much material about Buffalo politics and my World War II-hero father. Then I find out in the spring of 2003 that another maternally-Irish lawyer from South Buffalo will do the same. We publish within thirty days of each other. That’s weird, since only five or six books about Buffalo politics have ever been published.

It gets weirder. Let’s skip over the fact that we are from long-time rival boys Catholic high schools in Buffalo. The other guy is mentioned in my book because mine is the story of how I have been fighting the Buffalo political machine for 28 years; the other guy was part of that very same machine.

The other guy boasts about how his guru (Daniel Patrick Moynihan) predicted the fall of the Soviet Union quite early — in 1976. I boast that my guru (Murray Rothbard) predicted the fall of the Soviet Union in 1956. The other guy points out the obscure fact that Nixon was an economic liberal — and he likes it. In my book, I point out the obscure fact that Nixon was an economic liberal — but I don’t like it.

The kicker is — "the other guy" is the most powerful man in American broadcast journalism — Tim Russert. As my colleague at the law office said, after my summation on behalf of Yemeni-American deli owners suing cops was interrupted by 9/11 — "If it wasn’t for bad luck, you wouldn’t have any."

This battle of the books isn’t like David versus Goliath — it’s more like David and Goliath versus Mother Theresa. But in the scrappy old Irish neighborhood I come from — South Buffalo — those sound like pretty good odds to me!

May 13, 2004

James Ostrowski is an attorney practicing in Buffalo, New York. See his website at http://jimostrowski.com.

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