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Don’t let what happened to this cat happen to yours!

But first 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 …

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Cece, like all of Rose’s cats (going back 25+ years!), is an INDOOR KITTY!💗 Here she is with her best buddy! pic: R.T.

By Teresa Chagrin

The Humane Society of Utah called it “one of the most extreme cases of animal torture we’ve seen.” A cat named Sage managed to drag himself home after being beaten and tortured by an unknown assailant. His ribs were broken, his toes were smashed, his body was covered with hot glue burns, his eyes were swollen shut and he was suffering from brain swelling as a result of head trauma. Despite emergency treatment by a veterinarian, he succumbed to his injuries the next day.

I wish I could tell you that what happened to Sage was an awful anomaly — that psychopaths don’t lurk in plain sight, in “good” neighborhoods and “bad,” just waiting for defenseless victims to happen along.

But they do.

And we only make it easier for them to commit their horrific crimes when we let our beloved feline companions walk out the door and right into their clutches.

Terrible things happen to free-roaming cats with depressing frequency. In the past few months alone, more than a dozen cats were reportedly shot in California, Florida, Kentucky, New Jersey, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia. In Mississippi, a video posted online showed that a woman doused a caged cat with a hot liquid as the animal howled in agony. The cat was later found dead, curled in a fetal position and covered with burns. In New York, a cat was found suffering from infected chemical burns so severe that some went all the way to the bone.

I’m telling you these things not to make you lose sleep but to make clear that there is nowhere safe for cats outdoors, not even a “paradise” like Hawaii, where three were shot in a single month. Two died and a third survived after being found on someone’s doorstep with an arrow piercing her body.

It may be hard for those of us who share our homes with cats to comprehend, but not everyone loves them. People get annoyed when cats climb on their cars, dig in their gardens, antagonize their indoor cats and dogs, and pick off songbirds at the bird feeder. A man in Florida admitted to shooting a neighbor’s cat because the animal had defecated in his yard.

While there’s never any excuse for harming a cat, those who don’t want them prowling in their yards have a valid grievance. Cats can spread diseases to each other, to wildlife and to humans, including toxoplasmosis, bubonic plague, typhus and rabies. Endangered Florida panthers have died after contracting feline leukemia from domesticated cats, while endangered monk seals and spinner dolphins in Hawaii have perished after toxoplasmosis from infected cat feces contaminated the water.

In fact, a recent report named domesticated cats the deadliest invasive species in the world, responsible or partly responsible for the extinctions of over 60 species. They are estimated to be culpable in the deaths of up to 24 billion birds, chipmunks, salamanders and other wild animals in the U.S. alone every year.

There’s no question about it: It’s best for everyone when cats live indoors. In addition to being protected from cruel people, they are safe from threats posed by wildlife, dogs, traffic, parasites and deadly contagious diseases such as feline AIDS, leukemia and distemper.

That’s why the average life span of an indoor cat is 12 to 15 years, versus just 2 to 5 years for those who roam outdoors.

Sage’s family is keeping its surviving animals indoors and urging others to do the same. “We don’t want other families to have to go through this, to suffer the way we’ve had to suffer,” said his brokenhearted guardian.

Driving with a friend through Worcester’s inner-city neighborhoods …

By Rosalie Tirella

… my pets, back at the shack, waiting for me …

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pics: R.T.

… my pal and I running my errands in all the old familiar places … zipping back and forth over the inner-city Worcester streets I know so well … I got it. Fresh. Like I did the first time. Because on this day I was playing tour guide and seeing my spaces through my friend’s “tourist” eyes. On this day I saw just how “HARD HIT” half of “balkanized” Worcester – my side of town💗 – really is! Grafton Street, South Worcester, Webster Square, Main Street, 4 Corners, Piedmont, Green Island, lower Vernon Hill … once sturdy, blue collar neighborhoods that provided poorer/immigrant Worcesterites with a boost up the first rungs of the AMERICAN DREAM ladder, now engulfed in poverty, the Section 8 cheats, the drug takers and the drug pushers, …

… malnourished little kids, the morbidly obese, the rampant garbage-dumping …

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in the front yard of an Endiott Street multi-family – shameful!

… the ranters and ravers…

It was all there for the two of us to see as we drove around paying bills, buying milk. Not to mention the unseen but simmering-just-below-the-surface shit: the guns, the assault rifles, the bags of smack, the used syringes. In my years of living in Worcester, after returning here from sojourns in Hartford and Springfield, I’ve come up against all these devils. It’s funny: the Worcester of 2017 – in the old neighborhoods, at least – now reminds me of the Hartford and Springfield of the mid-1990s – the mid-sized cities I fled: dangerous, impoverished, dirty, gun-infested.

Which is why I left those cities in the first place and headed back to my hometown!

Worcester! The city that works! More working people here – purposeful folks adding to community life – fewer folks living dangerous, alternative lives on the periphery.

But that’s changed.

The poverty and despair of the Springfield and Hartford of my younger self have caught up to Worcester! At least on my streets! The many good jobs of yester year for the average joe and jane are NO longer in Worcester – in all the mid-sized and small cities throughout the land! The economy has changed, despite what Pez Prez Donald Trump, wants us to believe. Often times, our smart and resourceful but “uneducated” kids shun the McJobs here and figure out they can make a great living selling drugs! And they do just that until the authorities – or gang bangers warring over turf – catch up to them. And maybe kill them.

Bang bang …

I know, I know, I sound negative, doom ‘n’ gloom. According to the Worcester Police Department, our crime stats show that homicides are down in Woo, the murder rate plunging. But it feels like the violent crimes are up! It can feel so dark and foreboding here!

In the cold, gray afternoon light with winter’s rawness still engulfing the city and the now dirty snow still clinging unmelted to sidewalks and our souls, I found myself making excuses for my part of Worcester to my friend, who lives in one of Woo’s well-heeled suburbs.

Well, you know, I said to her, it’s the snow, the tail end of winter … that’s why things look so rough. The city is bound to look a bit bedraggled, frayed at the edges …

Or: Let’s get out of here – I don’t wanna get us in the middle of a deal… (I did not say the word “drug” before “deal”!)

The Misfortune Parade was overwhelming! The old alcoholic guy in the liquor store, the panhandler with cardboard sign, stumbling …

“He doesn’t look so good,” my friend said, as she reached down into her pocketbook for loose change for the panhandler.

Yes, I was making excuses for my city’s poverty and all the sad, violent social ills that get toted along with it. I didn’t want this suburban gal pal – of course, she knew! – to see the Worcester I see every day. I didn’t wanna make us both wince! And yet I wanted to tell her stuff, recall the scenes that make me feel this city isn’t “home” at all:

1. The Kid in the Worcester Dumpster.

Yep. As I was illegally throwing my little bag of crap into a dumpster in the ‘hood I came upon – in the dumpster! – a 10-year-old boy wading in the garbage.

A kid, who should have been in school learning, chest deep in shit – expressionless as he was making his way through it, looking for receipts, possibly with credit card numbers on them…??? There was a man sitting in a car a few yards away waiting for the boy. He obviously deposited him in the big dumpster to look for receipts and goodies. The boy was in the middle of doing his “job” when I stumbled upon him.

The man just sat in the car waiting, as I stared at him and back at the boy. They most likely had other dumpsters for the boy to dive into. They probably had a route. This was income-generating.

Surreal. In my city, Worcester.

2. The Kid Being Pushed Out of a Van to Sell Lollipops:

Then in Greendale, on West Boylston Street in Worcester: A guy pushing a little boy – another little boy! – out of a van with a bouquet of stale looking big round lollipops. To sell to people. Two bucks a pop, according to the little sign stuck amid the big jaw breakers. The kid looked positively miserable yet robotically did what was expected of him. I watched him as he entered each store in the strip mall – lifeless, on task – so unlike your average 10-year-old boy. He would go to the person at the cash register, asking if they wanted to buy a big pop for 2 bucks, like his little sign said. There was no non-profit or worthy cause he was plugging. Just himself. He looked pale, hair unwashed … jeans hanging from his skinny waist. He sold a few pops. People felt sorry for him. The few donations came his way – just like his boss, the creepy guy in the van, had expected.

I called the Worcester cops after witnessing this city scene: IT’S SLAVERY, I TELL YOU!!!!! I screamed into my cell phone, totally bent out of shape. IS HE MOLESTING THE BOY??? I SEE STUFF LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME!!! I yelled at the police officer, screaming into my cell. I sounded unhinged because I was unhinged! I had connected the dots and I was terrified for the boy – all little boys!

PLEASE! GET DOWN HERE ASAP! I yelled at the police officer over my cell. Please!

The WPD police officers, I imagine, have seen it all. So maybe they thought: YES, THIS DISTRAUGHT BROAD IS ON TO SOMETHING. Or: HERE IS A POOR GUY, A POOR DAD, USING HIS SON TO MAKE SOME EXTRA DOUGH – THE WRONG THING TO DO, BUT TIMES ARE TOUGH. This broad is over-reacting.

I chose to believe the officers took down the information I gave them over the phone and investigated the incident.

Or maybe the cops just thought I was … nutsville. Which I was, at that moment! Because I saw the pain in that little boy’s wan face!

And I remembered the 10 year old boy I saw wading in the dumpster not so long ago.

And I had had an epiphany: THIS SORT OF THING IS HAPPENING TO LITTLE KIDS ALL THE TIME! In my America!

3. The Plant Girls

Then there are the girls walking outside Worcester strip malls selling small, anemic plants to anyone who’ll buy … but maybe selling more than their half-dead plants. Some of the “girls” look older than 18, some really look like girls – about 14 or 15 years old. I remember, I told my friend while driving around with her running my errands, seeing a guy every week sitting alone in a car in a Worcester strip mall parking lot, facing the street, looking straight ahead, as if waiting for something … just as the plant girls were making their rounds selling their half-dead little plants.

It upset me to think that I had just “figured it out” then, at that moment, in my friend’s car, as we drove around: that blow jobs were what was selling those days – way faster than little plants.

You see Worcester’s future in our kids. You see the country’s lopsided economy that has left so many parents behind. And yes, if you’re young and rich and educated and fueled by the Internet, the new Worcester and American economy is for you. But if you’re not – like half of us here – it’s very hard to survive.

It was all so clear to me on a gray March day, running errands with my friend.

Wall Street Journal praises Worcester for downtown approach

But first …

******

By Steven R. Maher

Worcester received high praise from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) this past Tuesday, March 21, 2017. The city’s success in tearing down the old Worcester Center Galleria and replacing it with offices, apartments and a hotel is seen as an example other struggling cities should follow.

The WSJ reported this in a page 3 article, showing a 2008 photograph of Worcester’s downtown which showed a deserted city with rust-colored ground in older industrial parcels. More favorable for the city was a recent photo showing larger patches of bright, white concrete in a city center bustling with activity and development.

“A hotel and an apartment complex are rising on a street here that was buried by a shopping mall for four decades,” began the article. “A new office building also opened nearby, replacing a structure that failed to resuscitate this New England city’s core.” The WSJ quoted City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. of the old Galleria: “We don’t want these big dead walls.”

“You can’t put lipstick on a pig,” former Mayor Tim Murray told the newspaper of the old mall. “It was a design disaster.”

$300 Million Private Investment

The Journal reported that the city spent $90 million to demolish and rebuild city streets. The report stated: “The investment set the table for $300 million in private development, thus far, which the city said would generate higher taxes. The downtown in Worcester’s second largest is enjoying a broader rebound from years of postindustrial malaise. The population is growing, and apartments and restaurants have also popped up in refurbished older buildings around the city core.”

“It’s critical for cities to not just wring their hands about mistakes of an earlier era, but to find solutions,” August was quoted as saying.

The journal went on to review other urban cities which built new malls in their downtowns, while shoppers fled to the suburbs. As the malls lost their tenants, real estate values around the malls plummeted.

“Demolition [of the Galleria] finally started in 2010,” continued the WSJ. “Insurer Unum Group built an office building there, opened in 2013, and a cancer center is also open. What will eventually be 365 apartment units by developer Roseland Residential Trust are rising nearby, as is a 168-room hotel. Trains to Boston are a short walk away on a rebuilt downtown street.”

Waiting for our sunshine …

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Cece attacks Rose… pics+text: R.T.

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Ouch!

And Rose’s house plants get no relief from her crazy feline!

Remember last year’s potted poseys, posted on this website? Rose’s foray into indoor plantings? All gone! Every frond, bud, root hair. Cece’s peed in, pawed at, puked over all of Rose’s flowers … All gone…

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Fake flowers fill the void. Ugh.

Cece chewing on one of three live hold-outs:

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This spring all of Rose’s new plants will be MOVING ON UP … out of Cece’s radar…

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These baskets tied to kitchen curtain rod will soon hold flora…away from our adorable brat.

Lilac enjoys Cece…play buds…

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Jett is miffed – has been for weeks …

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We wait for spring daze …

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💚💚💚💚💚💚cunning…

Again, but new too-cute video:

How the Boys & Girls Club of Worcester and After School Programs Across the Country are Helping Kids, 10 Million at a Time

Dear Friend,

Did you know 10.2 million children in the US participate in after-school activities?

And that for every youth enrolled, two more are waiting to join? The Boys & Girls Club of Worcester serves 6,000 youth a year, but more need our help.

We advocate to secure the support necessary to accept every child who walks through our doors. It’s challenging to raise the funds necessary to provide our programs, but our kids are worth it.

Our programs, and that of Boys & Girls Clubs across the nation, have proven results:

93% of Club members abstained from alcohol use

83% of Club members are on track to graduate high school

100% of our 2016 graduating high school seniors were accepted to college

90% of youth who participate in homework help improve their grades by at least one letter grade

54% of alumni say the Club saved their life

* 2016 Boys & Girls Club of America and Boys & Girls Club of Worcester Statistics

Our academic, athletic, recreational, and therapeutic programs are curriculum-based and implemented by qualified, youth development professionals who strive to change the lives of our kids.

Our after-school offerings are crucial to the youth of our community. The Club saves lives. The statistics speak for themselves, but our parents and members have something to say as well. Please join us and be an ambassador for our youth by donating, volunteering, or advocating on their behalf today.

In partnership,

Liz Hamilton, executive director
Boys & Girls Club of Worcester

*****

Don’t take our word for it, listen to a Club parent…

I am a proud parent of a 13-year-old Club kid. My daughter, Rowan, has been going to the Club more than half her life. I remember bringing her to the Harrington Clubhouse for the first time, when she was 6. She went to look around, and I started to call after her, “Stay where I can see you!” but then I realized that it was a safe space, where she could be free to explore. What a relief (for both of us)! Rowan started out in the School Age Child Care soon after. She blossomed – getting attention from the Club teens who worked there was especially helpful in beginning to overcome her shyness. She learned to swim in the weekly pool session, and the dance program’s once-a-week hip hop class kindled her (so far, lifelong) interest in all forms of dance. The staff nurtured Rowan’s love for storytelling, and had her read her “books” to the class. Even so, she was counting the days until her 8th birthday, so she could be a “real” member, and have the run of the Club.

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As soon as Rowan was a full member, she joined Girls Voice, a family of girls-only programs that lets girls cultivate their leadership abilities, discuss issues that are important to them, and learn what it means to be a friend. Rowan came into her own in the program. She rose to the staff’s trust in her, and began to coordinate the activities, even working with other programs to organize Club clean-ups and other volunteer projects.

She also found a talent as a peacemaker, helping squabbling Club-mates to find common ground and start acting like friends again. The timid little girl who started at the Club would never have thought she could take charge like that. Rowan tried out, and was one of the few 8-year-olds chosen for In DA Zone, the Club’s award-winning dance team. She kept her spot for the next five years.
Rowan is a very articulate kid, with the vocabulary of someone twice her age.

She is a gifted student, and usually knows the answers in the classroom. This, combined with her “artiness” and her Club-nurtured confidence, made her an oddball in elementary school. She thought nothing of practicing a dance routine on the playground at recess, debating the finer points of Harry Potter with a teacher, or spending a free period writing a play. The kids in her class thought she was weird, and she was bullied fairly severely in 5th and 6th grades. Even though she suffered, she refused to “give up herself,” as she put it, by conforming. “I don’t want to act like them,” she said,” If I do it’s admitting that being like them is better, and my real self is bad.” Even so, I’m not sure she could have kept to her principles if she hadn’t been a Club kid. Having the Club as an outlet, a place where she knew she would be accepted and encouraged and have friends, made all the difference for Rowan.

She is now at Burncoat Middle School, in the dance program – where she has found her “tribe” among all the other arty kids. Rowan came out the other side: Because of the Club’s afterschool programs, she now knows that she is strong as well as capable. Due to afterschool commitments, Rowan doesn’t come to the Club every day anymore, but I know that those lessons will last a lifetime. – Malory

… and from our new Youth of the Year

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Anthony Soares began his Club experience when he was seven years old at our Ionic Ave Clubhouse with a swim class taught by Aquatic Director, Ian Witt.

Thirteen years later, Anthony is in his second year as captain of the Worcester Public High School Swim Team, a nationally-ranked athlete, and a certified lifeguard employed at the Club. When he’s not training or working, Anthony is a dedicated volunteer who teaches younger members how to swim.

“Over the past ten years, I’ve had a very enjoyable Club experience. I love being able to go to the Club every day with my friends and have a great time. The Club has given me a safe environment to enjoy the sport I love and help other kids learn how to pursue it. With the help of the Club, I was able to strengthen my swimming skills which led me to the National Swim Meet in Florida 10 years in a row. I wouldn’t have been able to experience these opportunities without the Club,” says Anthony.

When he was in the eighth grade, Anthony took the Boys Scouts’ oath and began working towards his Eagle Scout badge, a goal he hopes to accomplish this spring with the help of the Club.

How Can You Help?

There are several ways to help our organization reach more youth:

Make a financial contribution

Donate items such as clothing, athletic equipment, school and art supplies, etc.

Purchase an annual membership for a child for $25

Attend one of our upcoming events

Volunteer at our Club

Our goal is to serve any child who wants to join our Club.

In order to do so, we need your help.

Assisting our Club in any of the ways listed above makes a big impact. Without the varied support of our friends, we wouldn’t be able to offer our life-saving programs.

THANK YOU!

Boys & Girls Club of Worcester
65 Tainter St.
www.bgcworcester.org

More 🎵🎹🇺🇸 to our ears – thanks, Jim!💚

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Go, Congressman McGovern, go!

From Jim McGovern’s office:

Congressman McGovern: GOP Health Bill a Reverse Robin Hood! – Stealing from Working Class to give tax cut to Billionaires!

Today Congressman Jim McGovern led floor debate for House Democrats as Republicans began the process for consideration of the American Health Care Act (AHCA).

Congressman McGovern – who was the top Democrat at the more than 12-hour markup of the bill last night – called out Republicans for rushing the bill to a vote without any hearings or input from experts.

Congressman McGovern also called out Republicans for refusing to even tell members of Congress what is in the bill, which has constantly been changing as President Trump and Republican leadership have scrambled to get their members to support the bill.

Congressman McGovern’s Floor Speech – Excerpts Below:

“Republican Leadership and the White House are huddled behind closed doors as we speak, making deals that will have very real, very serious, very dangerous consequences for millions and millions of Americans.

“According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analysis – and this is truly incredible – this bill would actually result in more people being uninsured than if the Affordable Care Act were simply repealed. Let that sink in for a minute.

“In fact, Americans aged 50-64 will pay premiums five times higher than what others pay for health coverage, no matter how healthy they are. This bill is an age tax, plain and simple. And Republicans are cutting $880 billion from Medicaid! That’s a 25 percent cut in funding.

“This ‘reverse Robin Hood’ will steal from the working class and give to the wealthy. Under the Republican plan, 2.8 Billion dollars – that’s billion with a B – in tax breaks will go the 400 richest families in America each year.

“Now my colleagues on the other side of the aisle seem to be rushing this through in hopes that no one will figure out that it’s a tax break for the rich masquerading as a healthcare bill.

“Let me just remind my colleagues again that we’re talking about people’s lives here. I’m pretty sure the middle-class Americans who Republicans claim to be helping would be okay with delaying this reckless bill for a little while to give us a chance to find out what the impacts will be!

“Don’t jam a disastrous bill through the House with patched-up fixes. Wait for a revised CBO score. Listen to what members of your own conference are saying. Or better yet, don’t do this at all. Let’s go back to the drawing board. It’s clear Republicans never really had a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Don’t pretend you did and then make our most vulnerable pay the consequences.”

******

Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Remarks:

“We aren’t here to debate the Republican health care repeal plan. We aren’t here to debate that, because Republican Leadership and the White House are huddled behind closed doors as we speak, making deals that will have very real, very serious, very dangerous consequences for millions and millions of Americans. Instead, we’re here to debate a martial law rule that will allow Republicans to rush their bill with its brand-new backroom deals to the floor today without any proper deliberation.

“As a matter of fact, it would let them rush any bill to the floor today – or any day through Monday.

“It’s a blanket martial law rule that lasts past the weekend – not specific to their health care bill, and not even specific to the topic of health care! What other bills could they be contemplating considering? We saw the Buffalo Bribe is already in the manager’s amendment, but this rule lets them bring up any other bill before the public has a chance to know what it is. Something on the Russia investigation, perhaps? I’ve seen a lot on that in the news lately. Or maybe we’ll give President Trump’s friend Putin a Congressional Gold Medal. It’s the least the Republicans could do after his help with the election!

“But let’s talk about what we have learned so far in the press. We first learned from news reports last night that Republicans were considering changes to the bill that would kill the Essential Health Benefits in current law.

“Let me say that again. Essential – as in “absolutely necessary; extremely important” as defined by the dictionary.

“And sure enough, we reported out this martial law rule in the dark of night, which will allow Republicans to bring the new and unimproved version of the bill – again, now with even more backroom deals – to the Rules Committee later today, or in the dead of night, and take it straight to the House Floor.

“Apparently, there’s no time for it to even sit for one day so members can read it, let alone get analysis from the non-partisan experts at CBO.

“Are they hoping that if they move quickly enough, no one will figure out what they’re up to?

“Well let me lay it out for everyone: essential health benefits require insurance plans to cover basic, essential benefits such as: emergency services, maternity care, mental health care and substance abuse treatment, pediatric services, and prescription drugs.

“The New York Times this morning pointed out that this late-breaking Republican proposal could lead to plans that cover aromatherapy, but not chemotherapy. Really? Are Republicans seriously contemplating making a change this massive without hearings? Without a markup? No CBO estimate of the impact? No chance to read the bill??? I’ve seen a lot in my years here, but this is truly unbelievable. You guys take my breath away.

“And that’s not even considering the already-dangerous bill we were supposed to be down here considering right now. Let me just make clear what that bill actually is.

“First, it is a massive tax cut for millionaires and billionaires, paid for by taking health insurance away from 24 million people. Period.

“Anyone who takes five minutes to look at any unbiased analysis of the bill knows that this is true. Massive tax cuts for the well-off, at the expense of 24 million people. Let me paint a picture of how big that number is: 24 million people is basically the entire population of the country of Australia. It is more people than live in the states of Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia – combined.

“You know how I know the bill is a tax giveaway for the wealthy, and not a health care bill?

“Because according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analysis – and this is truly incredible – it would actually result in more people being uninsured than if the Affordable Care Act were simply repealed. Let that sink in for a minute.

“Second, their bill will cause people to pay more out of pocket dollars, for lower quality health insurance. That’s right, Republicans are asking people to pay more for less coverage. In particular, lower-income and older Americans will see their costs skyrocket – those people who can least afford to pay more.

“Third point, and this is a big one: the bill guts Medicaid and Medicare.

“Don’t take it from me: the AARP said, and I quote, ‘This bill would weaken Medicare’s fiscal sustainability, dramatically increase health care costs for Americans aged 50-64, and put at risk the health care of millions of children and adults with disabilities, and poor seniors who depend on the Medicaid program for long-term services and supports and other benefits.’

“In fact, Americans aged 50-64 will pay premiums five times higher than what others pay for health coverage, no matter how healthy they are. This bill is an age tax, plain and simple. And Republicans are cutting $880 billion from Medicaid! That’s a 25 percent cut in funding.

“All this, to give tax cuts to the rich and to corporations. The bill must look like a cruel joke to the most vulnerable among us.

“Representative Mo Brooks, a member of the Republican Conference, said just the other night, and I quote, ‘Quite frankly, I’m persuaded that this republican healthcare bill, long term, is a detriment to the future of the United States of America.’

“Finally, even before imposing martial law last night, this process was horrendous. The Republican majority rushed their bill through the committee process without any hearings. None. Zero. Just holding marathon markups where no Democratic amendments were accepted. None. Not one. They didn’t even wait for a CBO score!

“Then, when a score finally came, it showed that the bill would kick 24 million people off their insurance. Did they stop then? No! Of course Not!

“Yesterday, in the Rules Committee, we rushed ahead with a cobbled-together managers amendment – I’m sorry, four cobbled-together managers amendments, since the originals had errors – and again, no CBO score on the updated bill. Didn’t my colleagues learn their lesson from last week?

“And even worse – the main manager’s amendment, which we received just 36 hours before our meeting, is so full of backroom deals like the Buffalo Bribe, a cynical and likely unconstitutional agreement with wavering New York Republicans who know the republican healthcare plan would devastate New York.

“And now, they’re saying ‘Don’t Worry. If you don’t like this bill, it’s just step one of three. You’ll get another chance to vote on Healthcare during step three.’ Never mind that they can’t give us the full slate of bills that are part of this mysterious step three.

“Or maybe I should just take Republican Senator Cotton’s word for it. He said, and I quote, ‘There is no three-step plan. That is just political talk. It’s just politicians engaging in spin.’

“Republican Senator Ted Cruz, from my colleague’s state of Texas, called the third prong of this three-bucket strategy, and I quote “the sucker’s bucket.” That’s your own member calling you a sucker if you vote for this!

“We heard testimony all day yesterday, and well into the night, about how disastrous this bill would be for hard working Americans. We heard about how countless major health organizations oppose this plan from the American Medical Association, to American Hospital Association, to the National Rural Health Association, to the AARP, to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, to the National Alliance on Mental Illness – and I could go on and on and on.

“This ‘reverse Robin Hood’ will steal from the working class and give to the wealthy. Under the Republican plan, 2.8 Billion dollars – that’s billion with a B – in tax breaks will go the 400 richest families in America each year.

“Now my colleagues on the other side of the aisle seem to be rushing this through in hopes that no one will figure out that it’s a tax break for the rich masquerading as a healthcare bill. And now, we find ourselves on the floor debating a martial-law rule that will take this reckless process from ‘light-speed’ to ‘warp-speed.’

“Let me just remind my colleagues again that we’re talking about people’s lives here. I’m pretty sure the middle-class Americans who Republicans claim to be helping would be okay with delaying this reckless bill for a little while to give us a chance to find out what the impacts will be!

“This process is beyond the pale. I’m honestly still stunned that we’re even here debating a martial law rule on legislation of this magnitude when changes to people’s basic essential health benefits are being contemplated without so much as a single hearing, let alone a CBO score. And again – we have no real clue what Republicans will be bringing to the floor later today.

“Now – I’m just going off of what I read in the news, since we haven’t gotten any actual updates from the other side of the aisle.

“This rule would allow them to bring anything to the floor today. Or tomorrow. Or Saturday. Or Sunday. Or Monday. Literally anything.

“Will there be a new bill? Who knows! Will it even be on health care? Beats me!

“What mystery changes are they contemplating that are so broad they can’t even narrow their martial law authority down to the topic of healthcare?

“Please, I would ask my colleagues to slow down! Be thoughtful – this is not a game. You don’t get extra points for being fast. This health care repeal affects millions upon millions of Americans.

“Don’t jam a disastrous bill through the House with patched-up fixes. Wait for a revised CBO score. Listen to what members of your own conference are saying. Or better yet, don’t do this at all. Let’s go back to the drawing board. It’s clear Republicans never really had a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Don’t pretend you did and then make our most vulnerable pay the consequences.

“This is a sad day. This is a sad day for this institution, but it is an even sadder day for the American people.”

More Chef Joey Yum Yums! 🎂🌽🍅🍆 …

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Chef Joey says, Spring time is veggie time! Go, Joey, go!!

Text, photos and recipes by Chef Joey

These days we have the convenience of running to the market for pre-made items. Heck, you can even buy pre-made mashed potatoes! I was floored when I saw that, and for the price of two portions, you could buy 10 pounds of potatoes and feed 10 to 15 people!

I always have root vegetables stored on my stairs. I tend to buy 20 pound bags of onions and potatoes and 10 pound bags of carrots, just to have them on hand. They come in very handy, and you save money when you buy these staples in bulk.

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Spring!

Vegetable Stock!

Here is a simple recipe for vegetable stock, and it costs less than buying it.

You will need the following:

2 potatoes chopped evenly

2 onions coarsely chopped

2 carrots peeled and chopped (so you can eat them!)

1 stalk celery chopped

2 leeks split cleaned and chopped (they can hold dirt)

2 turnips peeled and chopped

5 or 6 cherry tomatoes split

salt

Place all the ingredients in a large pot. Cover with 6 ½ cups water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil.

Then turn the heat down to simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Strain into a bowl using a colander, and press gently down on the veggies to extract the maximum flavor.

Chicken Pot Pie!

You can use the veggies with tofu or sautéed chicken to make a chicken pot pie!

Literally, take a cup of your broth and thicken with a teaspoon of cornstarch that you mixed with a little cold water.

Add the cooked chicken meat and veggies.

Pour onto a pie plate, cover with a crust and you are done!

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Flower power!🌸🌺🌷💐

One last recipe for you …

Veggie Casserole!

It is so easy – especially with summer veggies coming up. You can modify it each time by adding additional herbs!

Ingredients:

1/3 cup uncooked long grain white rice (brown or wild rice works, too)

2/3 cup water

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 pounds zucchini or summer squash or both, cubed

1 cup sliced scallions

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💛💛💛💛

1 clove garlic, minced

1 1/4 teaspoons garlic salt

5 or 6 basil leaves sliced

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon oregano – fresh is best

1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes – plum are best or minis cut in half

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese – divided

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 1 ½ quart casserole dish and set aside.

Cook the rice in the water, bring to a boil and simmer covered. If using brown or whole grain, follow the package directions.

In the meantime, in a sautee pan, add everything from the oil to the paprika.

Sautee 5 minutes.

Add the rest and 1 cup of the cheese.

Place into the casserole dish and cover with remaining cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes until hot.

*****
Chefs, if you are looking to replace the animal ingredients in your recipes for health or ethical reasons …

Vegan-Cooking-Tips2

🎵🎵🎵🎹🇺🇸 to our ears! … Congressman McGovern Leads House Democrats in Opposing GOP Health Bill at Final Committee Markup Before Vote

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Go, Jim, go!

From Jim’s office:

McGovern Slams GOP Move to Rush Health Bill Vote Without CBO Score

Congressman Jim McGovern, the top Democrat at today’s House Rules Committee markup of the American Health Care Act, criticized Republicans for rushing the bill to the House floor for a vote tomorrow without any analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on the costs of the new version of the bill.

The CBO estimated that the first version of the bill would result in 24 million Americans losing healthcare.

Joining Congressman McGovern at today’s hearing was fellow Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA), who is the Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Both McGovern and Neal spoke about how Massachusetts has been a leader in healthcare reform and how the Republican bill would threaten healthcare access for Massachusetts families.

Below are excerpts from Congressman McGovern’s opening statement as prepared for delivery:

TAX CUT FOR WEALTHY, MILLIONS LOSE COVERAGE

“You know how I know this bill is a tax giveaway for the wealthy, and not a health care bill? Because according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analysis – and this is truly incredible – it would actually result in more people being uninsured than if the Affordable Care Act were simply repealed. Let that sink in for a minute.

“Second, this bill will cause people to pay more out of pocket dollars, for lower quality health insurance. You’re asking people to pay more for less coverage. In particular, lower-income and older Americans will see their costs skyrocket – those people who can least afford to pay more.

“This bill guts Medicaid and Medicare. Americans aged 50-64 will pay premiums five times higher than what others pay for health coverage, no matter how healthy they are. This bill is an age tax, plain and simple. And you’re cutting $880 billion from Medicaid! That’s a 25 percent cut in funding. All this, to give tax cuts to the rich and to corporations? The bill must look like a cruel joke to the most vulnerable among us.”

GOP STEAMROLLING VOTE ON TRUMPCARE

“The Republican Majority rushed their bill through the committee process without any hearings, just holding marathon markups where no Democratic amendments were accepted. They didn’t even wait for a CBO score. Then when the score finally came, it showed the bill would kick 24 million people off their insurance. Did they stop then? No, of course not.

“We’re still full steam ahead, only now we have a cobbled-together manager’s amendment – I’m sorry, four cobbled-together manager’s amendments, since the originals had errors – and again no CBO score. Didn’t you learn your lesson last week? And even worse, this manager’s amendment, which we received just 36 hours ago, is full of backroom deals like the Buffalo Bribe, a cynical agreement with wavering New York Republicans who know the Republican healthcare plan would devastate New York.

“And now they’re saying, ‘don’t worry if you don’t like this bill, it’s just step one of three – you’ll get another chance to vote on health care during step three,’ never mind that they can’t give us the full slate of bills that are part of this mysterious ‘step three.’ Or maybe I should just take Senator Cotton’s word for it – he said, quote, ‘there is no three-step plan. That is just political talk. It’s just politicians engaging in spin,’ end quote. Ted Cruz called the third prong of this ‘three-bucket’ strategy quote, ‘the sucker’s bucket,” end quote. The sucker’s bucket.

“Please, slow down! Think about what you’re doing. Don’t jam this disastrous bill through the House with patched-up fixes. Wait for a revised CBO score. Listen to what members of your own conference are saying. Or better yet, don’t do this at all. It’s clear you never really had a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Don’t pretend you did and then make our most vulnerable pay the consequences.”

*****

Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Opening Statement:

“First, let me just lay out what the bill actually is. It is a massive tax cut for millionaires and billionaires, paid for by taking health insurance away from 24 million people. Period.

“Anyone who takes five minutes to look at any unbiased analysis of the bill knows that this is true. Massive tax cuts for the well-off, at the expense of 24 million people. Let me paint a picture of how big that number is: 24 million people is basically the entire population of the country of Australia. It is more people than live in the states of Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia – combined.

“You know how I know this bill is a tax giveaway for the wealthy, and not a health care bill? Because according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analysis – and this is truly incredible – it would actually result in more people being uninsured than if the Affordable Care Act were simply repealed. Let that sink in for a minute.

“Second, this bill will cause people to pay more out of pocket dollars, for lower quality health insurance. You’re asking people to pay more for less coverage. In particular, lower-income and older Americans will see their costs skyrocket – those people who can least afford to pay more.

“Third point, and this is a big one: this bill guts Medicaid and Medicare. Don’t take it from me: the AARP said, and I quote, “This bill would weaken Medicare’s fiscal sustainability, dramatically increase health care costs for Americans aged 50-64, and put at risk the health care of millions of children and adults with disabilities, and poor seniors who depend on the Medicaid program for long-term services and supports and other benefits.”

“In fact, Americans aged 50-64 will pay premiums five times higher than what others pay for health coverage, no matter how healthy they are. This bill is an age tax, plain and simple. And you’re cutting $880 billion from Medicaid! That’s a 25 percent cut in funding. All this, to give tax cuts to the rich and to corporations? The bill must look like a cruel joke to the most vulnerable among us.

“Representative Mo Brooks, a member of the Republican Conference, said just last night, quote, “Quite frankly, I’m persuaded that this Republican healthcare bill…long-term, is a detriment to the future of the United States of America.”

“Finally, this process is horrendous. The Republican Majority rushed their bill through the committee process without any hearings, just holding marathon markups where no Democratic amendments were accepted. They didn’t even wait for a CBO score. Then when the score finally came, it showed the bill would kick 24 million people off their insurance. Did they stop then? No, of course not.

“We’re still full steam ahead, only now we have a cobbled-together manager’s amendment – I’m sorry, four cobbled-together manager’s amendments, since the originals had errors – and again no CBO score. Didn’t you learn your lesson last week? And even worse, this manager’s amendment, which we received just 36 hours ago, is full of backroom deals like the Buffalo Bribe, a cynical agreement with wavering New York Republicans who know the Republican healthcare plan would devastate New York.

“And now they’re saying, “don’t worry if you don’t like this bill, it’s just step one of three – you’ll get another chance to vote on health care during step three,” never mind that they can’t give us the full slate of bills that are part of this mysterious “step three.” Or maybe I should just take Senator Cotton’s word for it – he said, quote, “there is no three-step plan. That is just political talk. It’s just politicians engaging in spin,” end quote. Ted Cruz called the third prong of this “three-bucket” strategy quote, “the sucker’s bucket,” end quote. The sucker’s bucket.

“Please, slow down! Think about what you’re doing. Don’t jam this disastrous bill through the House with patched-up fixes. Wait for a revised CBO score. Listen to what members of your own conference are saying. Or better yet, don’t do this at all. It’s clear you never really had a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Don’t pretend you did and then make our most vulnerable pay the consequences.”

He’s our gonzo City Council candidate!😝💚🇺🇸

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Ron O’Clair – terrific writer💚! Interesting inner-city political candidate.🇺🇸

Why Vote for Me?

By Ron O’Clair

As we head down the road to the preliminary election in September, you have to ask yourself, of all the people running in this election cycle, who am I going to vote for? And why?

A fair question! And one that I hope to give you an answer to here:

I have been working for the last 30 years on behalf of the residents of my beloved City of Worcester, and most never knew what I was doing, nor why I was convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that it needed to be done.

Someone had to make the sacrifices required to see the job through to its completion.

That someone happened to be me.

All these years I have been cataloging abuses made in various guises by those who are being paid a handsome salary on the back of the average working stiff in the form of – trap of – high taxes$$$. We hoi polloi foot the bills that keep them in clover!

I have nothing against paying our Worcester Police Law Enforcement Personnel a living wage, plus benefits, lest they be tempted to work against us – and for the drug cartels. There have already been cases here in Worcester of that happening – Operation Tune-up!

What I do have a problem with is when the people put in positions of trust and authority over “the people” abuse that trust or authority to deprive the least of us of our inalienable rights to be free and unmolested as we go about our legal and lawful business. I am against those who target certain people based on wrong assumptions.

When these abuses and usurpations of power happen, there is a process in place meant to provide relief for those who are unjustly persecuted, and even maliciously prosecuted, for crimes that either never happened or were blown out of proportion into something bigger for more sentence.

When that process itself is corrupted by malfeasance, ineptitude, cronyism, nepotism and outright favoritism, what is a citizen supposed to do?

Pack his toothbrush as he heads off to do time to satisfy the lust of some jerk putting him or her in jail just because they CAN – and not because a crime was in fact committed!

Well, when the victim happens to be a dual citizen / soldier like me – in service to the United States Government on a Federal Level, there is only one thing to do: INVESTIGATE.

I had the Constitutional authority granted to me as a non-commissioned officer in the rank of E/5 to back my play, and the corrupted County of Worcester had not a freaking clue as to the deep pile of doo doo they stepped into when they attempted to, and succeeded in, covering up for a corrupted Court officer who attempted to murder a prisoner – me! – in restraints, and in custody of the Trial Court of the Commonwealth at 50 Harvard Street that 30th day of September, 1986. A fateful day indeed.

I was nearly killed that day. And the Court Officer was in fact 100% disabled by me so that I could have the ability to breathe back when he let go of my throat after I put his lower left leg bones out the back of his leg with my Air Force low quarter dress shoes that I was wearing at the time of the assault on my person there on my charge of “Disturbing the Peace”!

I want to bring honesty and accountability to our City of Worcester Government, and to do that I need a chair on the Worcester City Council Floor.

Vote Ron O’Clair for City Council and “RULE OUT CORRUPTION” in the City of Worcester.

Ronald O’Clair
ronaldoclair@hotmail.com
(774) 242-1468 for donations of volunteer time or money for the Campaign for Worcester City Council. All donations will go for a worthy cause. Guaranteed.