Flashbacks: Activist Michael Colby fights the power, a former spy's real world transition, and Boston's gay church

10 years ago
February 13, 1998 | Dan Kennedy reported on the controversial activist Michael Colby and his organization Food & Water’s effort to fight against the use of irradiation on the food supply.

“Irradiating food by zapping it with gamma rays, according to its advocates, eliminates all or most of the bacteria that can make people sick. But Colby, irradiation’s most outspoken and arguably most effective opponent, charges that the process introduces cancer-causing toxins and strips food of its nutrients. It’s a stance that the overwhelming majority of scientist insist is both unscientific and wrong.
“ ‘Somehow we’ve got to block the lurch toward globalization. It does not work for the food supply,’ Colby says. ‘Urban centers like Boston are going to have to figure out ways to support rural areas around them and develop a symbiotic relationship. There are ways to do that. Cities used to consist of tight-knit communities, with small stores and small businesspeople. There was a real sense of community and cohesion, and a respect for things local. That’s been totally obliterated by Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and the rise of industrialized food. These are the things we have to challenge if we’re going to save ourselves.’ ” Read Full Article

20 years ago
February 12, 1988 | In the weekly column ‘Spurious,’ the Phoenix sounded off on Campaign ’88 as the candidates left Iowa and headed to New Hampshire.

“Whoever said that democracy, though imperfect, was the best damn system there is has never been to a Democratic caucus. I have…and I can assure you that the more traditional methods of candidate selection — like tossing each candidate on a flaming pyre and declaring that the one who doesn’t burn wins, or (my favorite) weighting each one down with lead and then tossing him bound and gagged into a deep, dark well, a contest in which the one that floats wins — would be a lot better than the way they do it in Iowa.”

30 years ago
February 14, 1978 | Jeffrey Stein chatted with Jerry Walters, a former CIA officer who was having a hard time getting work.
“Demonstrated skills in the black arts mean little. ‘...for a field-level, street-walking case officer like don’t make contacts under your right name, so it doesn’t help very much. I’ve got plenty of contacts with people who knew me as somebody else, but it would be awfully hard to go back and say, ‘You know, I wasn’t really working for who I said I was. I was an intelligence officer and now I need a job.’ ’ On January 8, Walters and two friends took out an ad in the Washington Post’s ‘help wanted’ section to advertise their talents. ‘Ex-Intelligence Operatives Seek Positions,’ the ad announced.”

10 years ago
February 13, 1973 | Charley Lerrigo profiled the Metropolitan Community Church of Boston, a church with a predominantly gay congregation.
“It’s a fierce but simple apologetic that the MCC’s offer when it comes to sex and love. Yes, it’s admitted, there are Biblical injunctions against homosexual acts. But there are also similar injunctions against eating habits, clothing and hair styles, language, and women’s rights — which have been modified by the church. Being gay — or having any kind of sex — is not ungodly, that’s the half of the message, and the other half is just “good old time religion.”

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