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Langhart Cohen has a read on Barnicle

By Carol Beggy and Mark Shanahan
May 12, 2004

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HOMECOMING
Surrounded yesterday by friends and former colleagues, it was as if Janet Langhart Cohen never left. "I didn't," she said, "I just moved to Washington." The former Channel 5 news personality was back in Boston to celebrate the release of her memoir, "From Rage to Reason: My Life in Two Americas," tracing the author's long journey from a housing project in Indianapolis to her role as the first lady of the Pentagon. (She's married to former defense secretary William Cohen.) "I just thought it was about time I told this story," she said. Inevitably, Langhart Cohen, who's African-American, was asked about a comment Mike Barnicle recently made while talking about her husband on the radio. (Barnicle used the word "Mandingo" -- the title of a 1975 movie in which a black male slave is paired intimately with a white female slave master -- to refer to their marriage, and later apologized.) Langhart Cohen said she was hurt by the remark and suggested Barnicle read Noel Ignatiev's book "How the Irish Became White" to understand the historical conflict between Irish-Americans and African-Americans. "Any friend of mine would know better than to insult any ethnic group," she said. "We're trying to move away from that dark time." (She has more to say on the subject in her interview, airing Sunday, with Channel 5's Karen Holmes.) Contacted yesterday, Barnicle said he would read the book. "I would take any recommendation from Janet Langhart because she's a terrific person," he said.

MAKING AN IMPACT
Understandably, the Justice Department's decision this week to reopen the investigation of Emmett Till's 1955 murder pleases Mark Samels, senior producer of "The Murder of Emmett Till," PBS's acclaimed documentary. "We never make a program with the purpose of righting an injustice," Samels said. "But to have our film play a role, however small, in the reopening of this case is remarkably gratifying." Till, a black teenager from Chicago, was murdered in Mississippi after allegedly whistling at a white woman. Two men were charged but later acquitted by an all-white jury. Director Stanley Nelson will receive the Peabody Award for the movie next week.

PATRIOTS VISIT PATRIOTS
After his team's return trip to the White House this week, Pats owner Robert Kraft took some of the staff and seven players to visit wounded members of the military at the Walter Reed Medical Center. Tom Brady, Joe Andruzzi, Deion Branch, David Givens, Larry Izzo, Ted Johnson, and Tedy Bruschi spent more than two hours touring the hospital, taking pics, and signing autographs. "It was incredible. The whole way back from the hospital . . . you could tell the visit made an impression on the players," said Pats spokesman Stacey James. The patients were impressed, too. When James asked the wife of one of the soldiers where they lived, she said North Carolina (whom, of course, the Pats defeated in the Super Bowl). "I said, `Sorry,' " James said. "But she just said, `I bet he'll be a bigger Patriots fan now.' "

ANOTHER NEELY MILESTONE
Bruins hockey great Cam Neely and his brother, Scott, opened the new $2 million Neely Cell Therapy and Collection Center at Tufts-New England Medical Center yesterday. The 4,000-square-foot facility is on the top floor of a medical center building. Just like other programs sponsored by the Neely brothers through the Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care, the mission of the 4,000-square-foot facility is to help patients undergoing treatment for cancer and their families.

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