Category Archives: InCity Voices

Ma’s little red book and Trump’s America

IMG_20170928_111626
“Ma”   photos: R.T.

By Rosalie Tirella

When my late mother was around 14 years old she got the How To Pitch Baseball book by Lew Fonseca lots of American kids (mostly boys) owned around that time (World War II) and pored over after school, during school, before baseball practice and after a game (sand lot, park or school yard) – kid-arenas where your team either won or lost and a million stories unfolded between the first and ninth inning. All of them were dusty and dirt-beneath-your-fingernails hardscrabble, especially if you played them in Green Island!

The slim red book is small and light – a teenaged boy could have held it in the palm of his hand easily.

IMG_20170928_103734

It was published in 1942 as part of the Little Technical Book Library and belonged to Ma, a baseball lover from impoverished childhood to impoverished nursing-home death. But most likely it first belonged to her big brother, Walter, who played baseball on his high school’s b-ball-team. So it was a hand-me-down, one of many that came my mother’s way because she was the youngest of five children in a Polish immigrant family and it was the Great Depression . She did things like walk the railroad tracks with her Polish father, my “Jaju,” looking for “coke” – bits of scrap coal that had fallen along the railroad tracks – to take home for their little black stove my grandfather had set up in the corner of their big kitchen in the Lafayette Street tenement. To heat the cold water flat up in winter.  Ma and Jaju would wander the Worcester fields, too, picking wild blueberries and mushrooms to take home to my Polish granny, Bapy. Bapy would  cook them in soups or breads. She was a great cook, made egg noodles, stuffed cabbage – everything they ate at dinner from scratch. She kept (illegally) rabbits in a hutch on the back porch for stew. Jaju slaughtered them for Bapy and occassionally made Ma a lucky rabbit’s foot key chain from the scraps. Ma said the rabbit stew was delicious and, even though not all mushrooms were safe to eat, Jaju was an expert mushroom picker, and knew the safe ones.

Like I said, Ma’s big brother Walter played baseball and was on a team in high school. They didn’t have baseball teams for girls. I know Ma would have joined one if they had them, especially if they were St. Mary’s school- or church-affiliated. She was tiny and skinny but always active, a great walker, walked all over Green Island – up Millbury Steet to buy sausage at Biehler Brother Polish Market – or up Richland Street to help the nuns with decorating their classrooms at St. Mary’s School. Ma whistled when she walked – so much so that Jaju nicknamed his skinny legged, whistling daughter “scrovonik” – Polish for Little Sparrow. St. Mary’s school cum church was Ma’s, all Woo Polish folks’, cultural and educational nexus. A bridge to  America, a new country, a place mysterious and grand and scary.

Baseball was another bridge to America! For Ma and Walter and so many kids of Italian, Irish, Lithuanian, Greek, Portuguese and Polish immigrants of the first half of the twentieth century. They found their parents flaying about – out of their deeply religious countries of origin and thrown into the great wide open moneyland that was America. They would do better than Ma and Papa. They would be fluent in English. They would be rich. They would live in houses, not tenements.  They would go to baseball games and the movies. They would play ball!!!

When Ma died, her little red baseball book became mine. It is sweet looking and fine to the touch, but I like my baseball book best of all because it’s a window on America that is no more: an America that encouraged – practically forced – first generation kids and their immigrant parents to get with the American program! Become a part of the best country on the planet. No one called it “assimilation” back then or felt sorry for or psychoanalyzed anybody who was struggling to get with the American program.  Our great land was serious and striving, even though it was brutally racist and loved its booze, vaudeville stars and strippers… For every illegal dog fight in Green Island there was a little paper American flag taped on a tenement wall. Right next to the picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

IMG_20171008_120157
Rose’s Bapy’s Sacred Heart of Jesus picture hung on her kitchen wall in her Green Island tenement for decades. Now it hangs in Rose’s bedroom.

Patriotism is the subtext of Ma’s/my little red baseball book!

IMG_20170928_103823

This late morning, as I turn its pages, I connect with the “late” America: one that paid lip service to equal opportunity for all but was dead serious about work ethic. Believed in dreams, infinite possibilities, the act of self-creation ane recreation. Embracing intellect, too – even if you were just a kid from Green Island you could be smart! In so many paragraphs the book is telling kids: The KEY TO SUCCESS IN AMERICA IS THE SAME AS IN BASEBALL – dream, work like crazy for your dream, and if you can’t realize your dream and you’ve had to settle for another position on the American team, that is great too! You’re playing the American game with gusto! Fonseca (or most likely his ghostwriter!) says this straight up in his introduction. He writes: “Pitching without a doubt is baseball’s citadel. … More often than not, however, he [the wannabe star pitcher] will find his forte is elsewhere.”

IMG_20170928_103834

No matter your position, in America, you can still shine! It’s the effort that counts!

I love this caption, printed under the photo, you see below:

“Run out every batted ball.”

“Never assume you are out till umpire rules.”

IMG_20171001_150732
Be tenacious, kiddos!

And our American love of science, math, Hard Facts, is on display, in several diagrams like this one:

IMG_20171001_150639

Very “Technical” – just like the book’s cover says! There is a science to great baseball!

Very American!

Even the President of the United States plays ball!! Fonseca tells his young readers that none other than our PRESIDENT throws the first ball of the first game of the baseball season! Every year! Right onto the diamond!

An American tradition!

In the book there is a photo of FDR throwing the first ball …

IMG_20171001_150611

The kids probably didn’t know President Roosevelt’s polio-ravaged body would never allow him to “play ball.” He couldn’t even stand up! “Standing” for the photo – to throw that baseball was a herculean effort on FDR’s part. It was in fact an optical illusion that the wheel-chair-bound Roosevelt and his team worked hard to create: Before the baseball game, a big ramp was built so that the President’s car could be driven up it. Then hidden behind a ton of bunting and banners the president’s team propped him up, held him tight while he gripped a railing or his son’s arm with one hand and threw the baseball with the other. Sonetimes FDR just sat in his car and pitched – the roaring crowd didn’t know the difference. Sometimes the President’s car was driven on the field and he watched the game from the sidelines. No one knew the difference!

None of this is mentioned in Fonseca’s little red book. After all, FDR embodied everything that Fonseca preached in his little red book!: high spiritedness, optimism, intelligence, competitiveness, most important, control. Without control, Fonseca tells his young readers, your pitching is no where. Without self-control, you can never be a great pitcher! FDR was a great pitcher for America! He was the Babe Ruth of presidents!

Flash forward to today.

President Donald Trump TOTALLY OUT OF CONTROL. absolutely undisciplined. Today. Trump would probably make fun of FDR and his physical handicap – just like he did that New YorkTimes reporter.

Or the many other folks on the campaign trail (U.S. Senator John McCain. A Gold Star mother). The way Trump still treats his fellow Americans is appalling! Most recently, NFL players (he called kneeling NFL football players “sons of bitches”) and the folks of Puerto Rico (he intimated they were lazy and a drain on the mainland).

Now Las Vegas. A mass murderer with a ton of money but no soul. A big empty hole inside he filled with evil. What were Paddock’s motives, America wants to know?

What are Trump’s motives?

How is Trump making America great again???

My mom, like every kid in America, went to the movies religiosly. There was an A picture screened, preceded by the B, preceded by cartoons and shorts like this: 

Baseball was Ma’s fave sport! She must have loved this video when it came up on the big movie screen!! There were two or three movie houses in Green Island. They gave away dishes, so people would keep coming back. To make an entire table setting! American generosity and salesmanship!

Aa little kid, Ma listened to ALL the games on the big family radio in their “front room,” talked baseball with her big brother whom she watched play rough and ready pick up baseball games in the Green Island “big yard” – the sand lot down the street. Ma even grabbed her #2 pencil and, because she was a good artist, drew big sketches of her fave baseball players mid-swing or mid-catch. The hard, stitched balls only her mind’s eye could see…sailing through time and space … sateliltes of love. She gave her sketches to her teachers, the nuns at St. Mary’s school on Richland Street (still standing and operating!). They gave her little prizes for her skills: penny prayer cards (pretty picture in front, prayer in Polish on back), or little plastic statues of the Blessed Mother or Saint Joseph. 

Paddock worshipped winning money – an unhappy addict. A brutal killer who didn’t see, like I did on YouTube news, that pretty girl with long hair in short denim jeans and sexy cowgirl boot go down mid run to safety. She was hit with a bullet in her middle but like a young beautiful deer in shock got up and holding her stomach, ran, kept running. In shock. Would this lithe beauty die???

Trump never mentioned her or the others who were in the madman’s shooting gallery. Gun control? Not a peep from Trump on universal background checks, something most Americans want.

Trump is a demagogue, a slick, creepy divider of Americans, not a healer like FDR or Obama…

… but a killer, like Paddock. A killer of America, Ma, the immigrant’s dreams, science, good sportmanship, baseball’s highest ideals …

Donald Trump, our murderer in chief.

Tuesday, a day of mourning …

Las Vegas Massacre

By Ron O’Clair

Our country is being divided by hatred. Virulent anti-American hatred of all sorts, mainly directed at those who support President Donald J. Trump.

Stephan Paddock, a 64-year-old American citizen, decided for whatever reason, to barricade himself into two adjoining hotel rooms, bust out the windows and fire into a crowd of thousands of concert goers, killing 59 outright and injuring more than 500, many of whom are clinging to life as I write this column. The death toll may go higher if some of those injured succumb to their wounds.

Paddock’s family was shocked, they had no clue he was even capable of doing such a thing. All the facts are not in as of yet, and there is much speculation as to his motives, and what kind of help he had during this attack on innocent concert goers. The official narrative points to a “lone gunman” at this time, though there are many who seem to think that there was more than one shooter involved.

We do know that this man had acquired an arsenal of weapons and deliberately shot defenseless people from afar indiscriminately, not caring who was killed or injured.

This kind of killing is on the rise in our country. There are many who blame the weapons for the tragedy. …

IMG_20171003_112258
Our Founding Fathers were not talking individuals, they were talking militias – and muskets. NOT AK-47s… pics: R.T.

Now, with this latest outrage there is a growing swell of support for enacting more laws prohibiting firearms. We have been unable to come up with a solution to this type of indiscriminate killing which has been happening off and on in America since the Texas Tower shooting back in the 1960s, when a lone gunman barricaded himself atop a Texas University Tower and began killing whomever crossed his sights.

This author has no solution to offer.

I do not believe there is one – other than to remain vigilant and aware of what is going on in our own neighborhoods around the country.

I believe we need to be more proactive with neighborhood watch groups willing to report suspicious activity to the police for investigation/action.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this latest American tragedy and their extended family members. I pray to the God of my understanding that America can learn from this tragedy and hopefully prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.

Ron O’Clair, comments? ronaldoclair@hotmail.com

*********

LOVE YOU, TOM!!

By Rose T.

IMG_20171003_114234

Tom Petty put the HEART in heartland rock! He’s on the soundtrack to so many of our lives! Name me a Baby Boomer who doesn’t have a TP album or hasn’t gone to a TP concert? Still searchin’ that cobweb-covered cranium of yours?? Ha! … I remember being 19 at my first Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers concert: every bone in my young body, calcium-rich – and still growin’!! … My friend’s lighter, like the thousands in the arena raised by fans and groupies, flickering in the darkened, “weedy” mega youth”church”…The both of us glancing at each other. Smiling.

“Wherever you are tonight / I wish you the best of everything … It’s over before you know it.” – Tom Petty

Parlee writes: On Taking a Knee

Parlee for Rosalie
Parlee Jones

By Parlee Jones

9/28/17
(my Sun’s birthday. He is a Black Man)

Colin Kaepernick did not stand during the national anthem at a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers in August, 2016. After the game, Kaepernick stated his decision to choose not to stand for the anthem saying, “I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed.”

Colin’s silent protest hit a nerve within me. Since that time, I, myself, and my children have not stood for the national anthem or pledge. I will continue to sit in silent protest for Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and all the other victims of murder by police that look like my sun. I am also tired of police brutality, the school to prison pipeline and other abuses under white supremacy and the present systems that control America.

I am an American. My ancestors on my dad’s side kidnapped and brought to America under the guise of slavery long ago. My mom’s people migrated from Italy.

I understand that some people may have a hard time separating peaceful protest and “disrespect of a flag and song,” but that is not a concern of mine.

Those folks are telling me that they see the value of a piece of cloth and words to a song mean more than the life of a Black man, woman or child. Kind of like a vote for Trump really says to me you are a racist. White folks may see this differently, but trust me when I say a majority of People of Color see you as racist if you voted for Trump. Regardless of your reasoning.

I know many that feel they live in two worlds. Many people of color have two lives. Myself included. Their time in the “business / work / corporate / professional” world (with white folks) and time at home w/ family and loved ones where the “social norms” are not expected and they can be free to live their true culture and way of life. Many people do this unconsciously.

W.E.B. Du Bois wrote over a century ago:

“It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”

There are many videos online with Fannie Lou Hammer, Marcus Garvey, James Baldwin, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and many others that speak on why Black Folks have been torn with their experience in America.

Some People of Color try to assimilate into “white society” and unfortunately, they are always reminded that they are not white. Some children / people who are “mixed” struggle with this dynamic. But that is another article for another time. One drop of Black blood made you Black back in the day … I’m just saying.

I will end saying this. If you are not a person of color, please do not try to tell People of Color what racism feels like or looks like, how they should react and how you think they should do something. You are not walking in our shoes and really have no idea of what you are talking about.

I say this with love and sincerity.

Peace & Blessings

Main South: the block party at Stone Soup!

Text and photos by Ron O’Clair

I was pleased to have been able to attend on September 16 the block party at Stone Soup at 4 King St., in the rear parking area of the renovated and fully functional building that had nearly burned to the ground some time ago. It was a long process of renewal that saved that building from the wrecking ball. It took a lot of time and a lot of effort to secure the funds needed to make this happen. It was a Herculean effort that has paid big dividends for the neighborhood …

DSCF5520

… with its programs being housed there.

Stone Soup is the headquarters for Earn-A-Bike, which is a really cool program that teaches children how to repair/build bikes, and the kids who volunteer end up with a free bike. It teaches kids the importance of hard work and saving for what you want in the world. There are many life lessons taught here, as they instruct the lucky recipient children in the art of making something whole again from a bucket of parts scavenged from other bikes that have been donated in various states of disrepair. They learn how to fix their own bicycles, too, and that can have an advantageous effect on their future development because they get to see what makes things work and understand a bit about how to make them work with a little effort. Plus they learn skills that can be applied at work or future jobs. It really is a unique program, one that should be emulated across the country, if you ask this author. It is a great program that, unfortunately, is being underutilized.

DSCF5521
Woo Rides at the block party!

There is also the EPOCA organization, which advocates for removing roadblocks put in place that prevent ex-felons from gaining employment and housing in their attempts to re-integrate back into the community after their release form prison. I support this organization fully due to my own oldest brother John Jr. having been killed in August of 1973 when I was 12 because he COULD NOT get a job in an economy where they were so plentiful you could quit a job in the morning and have another by that afternoon, starting the very next day.

That was 1973 Worcester, with factories running three shifts around the clock, such as Robinson Thread, Worcester Knitting and many more in the Industrial Parks that dotted the Worcester Landscape.

DSCF5513
Folks learning at the Stone Soup gathering

My brother faced the challenges the EPOCA folks face today, where after release from prison, and having paid for their crime with their time, they find they face a monumental obstacle that prevents them from obtaining employment and housing based upon their criminal convictions with a bad CORI report.

EPOCA works to address these issues so that the recidivism rate will drop. It is a truly worthwhile effort, as I believe in rehabilitation for all!

In the accompanying photographs, you will see the crowd that showed up for the burgers, hot dogs, Table Talk pies, Polar Soda’s, and other goodies – all free to the neighborhood …

DSCF5512

It was a good time to be had by all. You had a chance to mingle with your neighbors!

Parlee Jones, our own CECELIA/InCity Times writer had a spot at the table with her goods for sale which appealed to the women present (there was nothing there that interested me as a man). It was good to see my friend and colleague Parlee Jones …

Parlee for Rosalie
Parlee at the podium! ICT file photo

… whom I have a great respect for – and also a Bob Marley oversized cigarette lighter (she doesn’t smoke – it is for her candles). I wish I had known Parler was going to be at the event so I could have given it to her. When I got it, I said, Oh, Parlee would love this, she LOVES Bob Marley (and puts on the city-wide celebration every year at the WP library) … so I picked it up at the yard sale I was at for her. (This was like 2 years ago, I really need to get my gift to her pronto!)

There is a gentleman who is the owner of the “Woo Rides” who came by on his Pedi-cab to offer free rides as an inducement to generate some business for his fledgling enterprise of carting people around Worcester.

DSCF5514
There was a sound truck in the next driveway over that was used to carry the message of various speakers to the crowd. It was provided by an on call 1 hour notice D. J. service that I failed to get the name of, but if you need that type of service I am sure the good people of Stone Soup can tell you how to get in touch with the D.J.

It was a great time at Stone Soup! More than 200 people celebrated! I support all they do in our community, and I know there are other groups that I have not listed here that work out of that building as well.

I hope you found this article interesting and that you support Earn-A-Bike with donations of bicycles in any state or condition. Don’t throw your used bike out! Please donate it for the children of Worcester at Earn-A-Bike.

I also hope you support the EPOCA 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that supports ex-offenders who are trying to reintegrate into society and face challenges that, if not removed, lead to higher rates of recidivism. It is in the best interest of all to get people the help they need to STAY out of prison and become productive tax payers once again!

Please email Ron O’Clair – Ronaldoclair@hotmail.com – with any comments.

SEAC’s Marc is DACA!

By Boa Newgate

This is Marc. …

DSC05141

Marc is serving his second year in the Army Reserves. Marc spends most of his time working and volunteering at the Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts (SEAC).

Anh Vu Sawyer, the executive director at SEAC, has often said: “It’s because of Marc and all the staff, SEAC has been able to serve the more than 9,000 clients who visit a year, in addition to reaching out to more than 5,000 individuals during outreach events to assist them with many of their needs.”

Marc’s contribution in the community and at SEAC leading the youth program has certainly helped SEAC to be recognized as a trusted non-profit organization serving immigrants and refugees. It was given numerous awards for the work it has been doing for the community – Community Hero, Humanities Award, Best Small Nonprofit Award to name a few.

IMG_5496

Through his work with mental wellness programs and the suicide prevention program, and as a mentor to other youth, Marc has saved lives. He is a positive role model for many youths in and outside of Worcester. As a US military reserve, Marc aims to protect this country. He is loved by all he serves and works with: students, colleagues, friends, family and many members of his community. Marc is an everyday hero in the eyes of all who know him.

But Marc has a secret: one that has kept him in the dark. This secret gave him anxiety and great agony for many years, but he finally got the courage to share his story to me. He doesn’t want to live in fear anymore. He wants to empower others like him. Marc is a Dreamer … protected by DACA.

President Obama created DACA in 2012 in an executive order to help the children of immigrants, covering more than 800,000 people.

DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was drawn up after Congress failed to pass the DREAM (Development, Relief, Education for Alien Minors) Act.

There are certain qualifications for DACA: one must have arrived in the US before 2007 and be under the age of 16 with no criminal record. This ensures that those under DACA have a good purpose and that they are people who have earned and deserve their part in it. DACA recipients are given temporary legal status in America. They are given a Social Security card, given the ability to obtain a work permit – but they cannot apply for citizenship.

They pay their share in taxes and also pay $500 every two years to renew their status.

Tom K. Wong, an assistant professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, oversaw a national survey of 3,063 DACA holders last month and found that “on average [these people] were six and a half years old when they arrived in the U.S. Most of them — 54 percent– were under the age of 7″ (factcheck.org).

100% of DACA recipients have no criminal record and 91% have jobs, but they have limited term.

They get nothing for free in this country.

They have dreams and aspirations just like everyone here. This is their home, they have no fault of their own when they arrive here. They are children of immigrants that came from very dangerous places. Their families risk their life to be here, seeking protection, freedom and a better life for their families, just like the original settlers of America.

IMG_5406

On September 5, 2017, the Trump administration began its efforts to rescind DACA. The Trump administration gave Congress six months to come up with “a fix” before the federal government officially stopped renewing permits.

At this point, if I didn’t convince you that rescinding DACA is inhuman, here’s an economic perspective: “Ending DACA would hurt the U.S economy!” We could lose hundreds of thousands of jobs, more specifically we would lose “$460 billion in economic output over the next decade, as well as $24.6 billion in contribution to Medicare and Social Security” (Progressive Advocacy Group Center for American Progress and FWD.us).

Marc and the other Dreamers were brought to this country by their parents at a young age, meaning that they had no say in the decision of living here. But they have considered this country HOME –
the only country they have ever known. This is the only place they know of, have roots, with most of them residing here for the majority of their childhood.

If the Dreamers lose DACA, they’re potentially losing all they know and love. They have their culture in their hearts, but America is their home they love, and they will do their best to take care of and protect it. It’s cruel to kick people out of their homes.

IMG_2133

It’s Labor Day …

By Rosalie Tirella

IMG_20170825_143937
Celebrate workers! pics: R.T.

Fight for $15!

IMG_20170830_172638
Run the mutts!

IMG_20170830_084830
Baby recently spayed lil’ Cece!

IMG_20170904_121418
Today Rose takes a lazy day off to mull over:

Woo City Councilor Mike Gaffney

The toxic shenanigans of Worcester City Councilor Michael Gaffney…

…whose political future is disintegrating right before his – and our – eyes! (No mayoral win for you, Gaffer! EVER!)

Another self-inflicted cannon ball to the nuts, Mikey! Yesterday you were planting flowers all over town, today you smear Bird-shit all over my city!!!

Has there ever been a creepier councilor in Worcester?

What did Worcester do to get this reactionary? (I mean, besides voting for him?)

How thin-skinned can one un- charismatic politician be? “Punishes” editor Walter Bird for a goofy little item in his paper that tweaked the Gaffer. Just a tweak. But the tweak makes Gaffney go nuts… ballistic! The paragraph wounds him to the soul. Cuts like a butter knife. Scorches like a match flame.

So he decides then and ONLY THEN to dump sexual creep allegations on editor Bird! Gets him removed from his job, too, as the paper’s publisher investigates these serious allegations. Important to remember: Allegations dumped on Worcester only after Gaffney was rubbed the wrong way by Walt…(so Gaffer is no feminist!) We’re talking ONE PARAGRAPH here, folks! A little blurb in a catch-all column.

IMG_20170904_121353
Wow! I need to make myself another cup of Folger’s!

Can you imagine if the newspaper had been a real alternative rag, like the late great Boston Phoenix or The Village Voice?! Hell, those papers would take no prisoners and CALL A REACTIONARY A REACTIONARY! They would not let Gaffney get away with the evil stuff he gets away with here! They would call him out at every turn!

Truth? Walter Bird has pretty much always handled the Gaffer with care.

Why?

Cuz he’s a conservative guy too who agrees with much of what Gaffer stands for when it comes to the issues: minimum wage, taxes, etc. On his FB page Walter Bird once railed against then presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, calling her, like many conservatives did: Hil-LIE-ary. Walter was never out to get Gaffney. Walter is no libby. He is your average Woo reporter: below average writer, cliche-wielding, basically conservative.

This is Worcester, folks! Things get stupid here, but Gaffney has sent our metropolis off the rails hurtling into outrageously nasty planets (unless you’re talking Paulie Collyer, a Gaffney mini-me and a guy who’s just as thin-skinned and vindictive as Gaffney). I mean, what kind of fourth-rate politician punishes a fourth-rate writer for not handling him with kid gloves? A Sicko pol, that’s who!

Put on the cassette player!
IMG_20170904_123715

Fast-forward to:

A Worcester that loses!

Confusion!

Dirt…muck…shaming!

Political players that do NOT inspire: Gaffney AND political gadfly Paul Collyer, hate-sower-sewer Turtle Boy Aidan Kearney and all his gangsta-writers, Turtle Boy BFF poet laureate and Woo rogue lawyer Margaret Melican, plus the usual enablers: Billy, Artie, Johnny…)

Politics that do not illuminate

Politics that don’t make the world a better place

Truth?

About five years ago we were Googling Walter Bird and stumbled on some of the stuff that the Gaffer is vomiting up now. I read a Twitter exchange between a 40- something Walter Bird and a very pretty early-20 something young lady. Ol’ Walt was really pushing himself on the gal. A real creep. She resisted. It was pretty gross. But the gal was not a minor. She was, I thought, someone he might have met at a bar and wanted to fuck. Yeah, there was a huge age gap and yeah he was TOTALLY UNATTRACTIVE in this Tweet little conversation, but he was single, the girl did not totally shut him down, she held her own, eventually put him off, let him know she wasn’t nibblin’. Not interested.

Yeah, Walt Bird came on strong, but I did not think he crossed a line. He was creepy but not illegal. The gal was of age. An adult. She handled the creepy situation OK. So I didn’t write the blog post. Chalked it up to just some Saturday night bar blather, courtesy of a loser guy so in love with himself he can’t see he’s a loser.

I do not know how Walter Bird has conducted himself at his paper, but, when it comes to the paper’s young women/interns, if he acts and writes like what I read in his Tweets a few years ago HE SHOULD DEFINITELY NOT BE AROUND these young women in the office!! He is no role model! Not to be trusted. If I had a college-aged daughter, I would not let her anywhere near the desk of Walter Bird. She would intern at CECELIA, where the talented writers roost!

As for Gaffney, expect more of the same. He’ll keep his political base because of his sick, race-baiting, ultimately women-hating stunts and fiscally conservative council votes but, like Prez Donald Trump, he won’t grow his political coalition because of the deplorable stunts –
the stunts that make him a hero to his base!

Gaffney is a pathological liar, manipulator … a spinner of fakeness … He always will be.

Why?

Ask yourselves (like we do with Trump): Is this guy mentally ill?

I mean, where is the Gaffer coming from?

Abuse in a childhood foster home?

Extreme childhood neglect?

Extreme poverty?

From whence does his anger, vindictiveness, arrogance and (at his core) self-loathing spurt?

How thin-skinned can one un- charismatic politician be?

People tell us Gaffney comes from nothing, had a crappy youth, worked for everything he has … is self-made.

But made into what?

From the Worcester NAACP … and … fairs and animals …

But first …

IMG_20170830_084442
Rose’s Cece was spayed Monday. Pray for the lil’ Miss Cece! (she’s so little!) pic: R.T.

******

State and county fairs: Cruelty on the midway

By Jennifer O’Connor

Every time my phone rings between April and October, I brace myself for what’s coming: a caller reporting appalling abuse at a state or county fair:

Ponies tethered to turnstiles plodding in endless circles for 12 hours a day.

Chained bears forced to beg for marshmallows.

Bagged goldfish dumped in garbage cans after being won as prizes.

Why do fair boards continue to book these cruel and exploitative displays and allow animals to be treated as objects?

Life on the fair circuit is anything but fun and games for animals.

The logistics of moving from venue to venue mean a revolving door of cages, chains, crowds and chaos. There’s never enough time to allow animals to rest or give them a reprieve. It’s too expensive to pay a veterinarian to travel with these convoys, so animals who are ill or injured may go untreated. After all, not many small towns have vets with experience in colicky camels, sick sea lions or ailing alligators.

Bob Steele, who hauls bears around on the fair circuit, has been cited over and over again for failing to provide a bear who had large patches of hair loss with veterinary care.

He has also been cited for housing the bears in unsafe structures and for putting them as well as the public at risk in his Great Bear Show. Steele hauls an arthritic, aging bear around the country and admits to feeding the bears Skittles and M&M’s.

But nearly all the animal exhibitors that you see at your local fair have deplorable records of animal care – and since no one is monitoring caravans on the move, there’s no way of knowing how many animals have suffered and died along the way.

Reptiles and fish are specifically excluded from protection under the federal Animal Welfare Act, and horses and ponies used for entertainment aren’t regulated, either.

So as far as the law is concerned, that “world’s largest alligator” jammed inside a sweltering box and that goldfish being bombarded by ping-pong balls are no different from stuffed animals.

And there are no regulations against forcing ponies to give rides until they can’t take one more step. It’s pretty much a free-for-all.

Then there are all those “agricultural” displays, in which animals are viewed as commodities to be “scored.” Earlier this summer, there was a collective “Aww” when a photo ran of a 15-year-old and his cow nestled close to each other sound asleep at the Iowa State Fair. Yet that cow is destined to be treated as nothing more than a milk machine. When she’s too spent to produce another drop, she’ll be slaughtered.

What does it say about society’s mindset when children are encouraged to participate in programs such as 4-H that ultimately mean the exploitation or death of an animal they’ve befriended and whose trust they’ve actively courted?

Forward-thinking fair boards know they must evolve — and they are. Techie “petting zoos” are replacing tired ponies, and fairgoers are standing in line to ride Segways instead of elephants. Cruel animal displays are being removed to make way for fresh and innovative exhibits that appeal to a generation that cares about animals and our planet. Fair boards still clinging to archaic displays that no compassionate person wants to see are doing a disservice to their local communities by holding on to relics from an unenlightened past, and they’re destined to see dwindling crowds.

*****

Greetings [from the Worcester NAACP branch],

There is much to talk about in these perilous times, and there is so much we need to do to “resist” against the racial hatred and bigotry espoused by those who identify with white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups.

It is time to unite and say “enough is enough.”

The display of hatred we witnessed in Charlottesville must never happen again.

The national organization of the NAACP is extending ways you can take action by: sharing what issues matter to you, contact your representative regarding President Trump’s lack or moral clarity, and signing a petition to abolish the Electoral College.

Please go to the following link to take action today! http://www.naacp.org/campaigns/unite-us/

There is much we need to do to make sure that the values of justice, equality and inclusiveness remain strong in our city.

We can’t do this alone, we need to stand and work together. The next few events were are planning demonstrate our commitment to stand with our brothers and sisters in Worcester.

SongsOfHope

With “Songs of Hope,” the Black and Jewish communities unite to push back against hatred with a musical expression of hope, endurance and triumph.

“Faith in Worcester, Day of Prayer” unites faith-based leaders (Christian and non-Christian) in healing and lifting up our elected officials, protectors, healers, educators, all those who serve and live in our great city, and those who are suffering.

We will empower young people at our Candidates Forums as they facilitate and ask the candidates questions that concern our communities.

We look forward to working with your group or organization in the future.

[Mark your Calendars!]:

“Songs of Hope,” September 10th @ 4 pm, Belmont A.M.E. Zion Church

“Faith in Worcester Day of Prayer,” October 3rd @ 5:30 pm, City Hall, Worcester (rain date October 10th @ 5:30 pm)

“Candidate Forums- City of Worcester Councilor At-Large” October 18th & October 25th, 6 pm – 8 pm, Worcester Youth Center
“New Americans” – Update by Dr. Thomas Doughton, Worcester NAACP Executive Committee Member at Large.

… We are looking for volunteers and donors for “Songs of Hope.”

Thank you, and please consider joining the Worcester NAACP!

Pat

Worcester Unit, NAACP
4 East Central St., #484
Worcester, MA 01613
naacpworcester2058@gmail.com

Animal rights corner: Chef Joey’s vegan stew and Fighting Speciesism in a Time of Racism

Fighting speciesism in a time of racism

By Tracy Reiman

Armed white supremacists frothing at the mouth are on the march, and perhaps because of that, other rights issues are getting pushed aside.

However, now is the perfect time to have a conversation about ways for those of us who decry discrimination based on arbitrary factors like race, gender, sexual orientation and religion to broaden the line of inclusivity to include species, too.

Why? Because the narrower our definition of “other,” the worse off we are. We ignore or brush away other movements at both our collective and our individual peril. To quote Martin Niemöller, a onetime Hitler supporter and anti-Semite who changed his view after being sent to a concentration camp: “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—/Because I was not a Socialist./Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—/Because I was not a Trade Unionist./Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—/Because I was not a Jew./Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

As thinking animals and as moral agents who champion understanding, respect and non-violence, we can and should open our hearts and minds to the growing call to recognize basic rights for other animals. Not the right to drive a car or to vote but the right not to be treated as fair game. The right not to be shot so that their heads can go on a wall in a trophy hunter’s den or force-fed so that their swollen livers can be spread on toast.

When PETA protested the pigeon shoots in Hegins, Pennsylvania, the Ku Klux Klan turned up to defend the shooters and to goad little boys into “manly” acts, like wringing the necks of fallen, injured birds.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise because those who despise any individual or group they do not identify with despise them all. It isn’t just those who stand to benefit financially — the purveyors of flesh, skins and fur; testing companies and suppliers to laboratories of everything from decapitators to cages; roadside zoos, circuses and marine amusement park operators — who object to animal protection and consideration, much less animal rights. They weren’t the ones who sent the tiny guinea pig heart that arrived in our mail, placed the deer’s head in our parking lot or called us “animal-loving faggots.” Those who did are haters. And we must be their counterfoil.

Even as we have stopped institutionalizing people with disabilities, abolished human slavery, desegregated our schools, established property and voting rights for women, begun to understand LGBTQ rights and to show our support for all religions and for refugees forced from their homelands, there is more room in our hearts to keep going.

In the ’60s, we marched for civil rights, women’s rights and gay rights. PETA’s general counsel, Philip Hirshkop, brought the legal case that overturned the ban on interracial marriage and won the right of women to attend the University of Virginia, which had been off-limits to them. Today, our lawyers bring cases to stop orcas from being held captive at SeaWorld and argue in court for bears to be freed from cement cells at tawdry tourist attractions.

The time is right to examine what binds us — the commonalities between all of us, the feelings, emotions and fears we share.

Years ago, after deaf students at Washington, D.C.’s Gallaudet College won the hard fight to install a deaf president, the head of the student union there wrote, “When slaves in America, wanted their freedom, whites were not ready. But slaves were ready. When women wanted the vote, men were not ready. But women were ready. And when deaf students wanted a deaf president, the college was not ready. But we were ready.”

Today, those who use and abuse animals or do not regard them with the consideration they are due are not ready. But the animals and their advocates are ready.

*****
QUICKIE GOURMET TAKE!

FullSizeRender-1
Chef Joey says, Think of the future …

output
The future …

TOMATO, BEAN AND KALE STEW

Recipe and pics by Chef Joey

Take one large white onion – …

IMG_20170829_024508
Back at Rose’s shack: one large white onion. pic: R.T.

… cut it up.

Two cloves of garlic …

FullSizeRender(5)-1

… diced.

Toss it all into a large pot, with a little bit of olive oil on the bottom.

Saute one container of cherry tomatoes … 1 can of beans …0827171243a

… mix. Add stewed tomatoes …

0827171243b

… and one can of tomato puree.

As that all starts to cook, add cups of fresh baby kale.

Simmer for 2 hours …

0827171243

Enjoy!

*******

The struggle is real

By Imalay Guzman

IMG_8022(1)
Imalay and her family

Keeping up with three kids, marriage and working full-time is draining! Somehow I find the strength to keep going. Knowing people depend on me is a big part of why I keep pushing. I don’t like to disappoint my family or want them to have to go without. Attempting to give my children a good childhood and teach them to be decent adults is exhausting, but I know it will pay off someday. I am who I am because of my kids: they inspire me to be better and do better.

FB_IMG_1500249525758
Imalay’s husband, with two of their children

I was in a homeless shelter, pregnant with my son. At the time, my daughter was two years old. I thought I was ready to be independent, and it just so happened that that was the right move. While I resided in the shelter I learned so much – it matured my way of thinking. The staff there taught me how to find resources within the community. They also showed me how to obtain affordable childcare ane how to budget and live on a budget. After three years of living in the shelter, I sustained stability for my children. It was a traumatizing experience. I realized then how important it is to keep a stable home.

To be able to survive in life, you must maintain a steady income -especially when you have children. I am a mother of three beautiful kids. Each of my children is very different because each one has their own way of being. My daughter Avannis – she’s six years old and also my first born. She is the sweetest little thing! – when she wants to be!! “Ava” has a wild imagination, likes to build forts with chairs and blankets and she enjoys keeping her two younger siblings busy.

Then there is Joseph Jr., the only boy and the middle child. He is a kind soul – always loving and always caring for me and his sisters. My son likes to make sure you’re ok and, if your not, he gives you a hug and tells you everything will be fine.

Our youngest is 10 months old – her name is Alainna. She is at the best stage of a babyhood, in my opinion. A time when they start to walk, eat real food and become real curious! She’s just starting to walk, so you can imagine I’ve grown a spare set of arms. Being a mother is a never ending job.

Married and with children can sometimes feel like you’re married to your children. My husband is my supporter and best friend. But just like any relationship, it has its ups and downs. We bump heads often when we are parenting, or even dicussing a matter in a form of debate. I respect and understand that he has a different point of view; it comes down to being able to step into each other’s shoes and have and understanding.

Communication is key in marriage. It can be hard to open up and express my feelings because it can affect my husband’s emotions. What we do is that if we start a conversation and one of us gets upset, we give each other a minute of space. Once we feel up to it, we continue to finish the conversation.

I got married early because I believe in the old way of life. In order to have children, you should have to be married because if it takes two to tango, then it takes two to raise a child. I am lucky to have had children with my best friend! He supports my every move and reminds me how beautiful and intellgent I am. Simple words from him will have my ego blown up, ready to take on the world!! We learn from one another, and we have each other’s back – something I want my kids to learn from.

Life can be hard, having to deal with many different things at once. But that’s life. Always try to look at the glass as half-full rather than half-empty. Accepting life as it is and going on with a positive attitude can make the journey alot easier.

THANK YOU, WORCESTER MAYOR JOSEPH PETTY and CITY MANAGER ED AUGUSTUS!😌 … and … Worcester WW II Vets of Color Remembered💐

DSCF4231
CM Augustus in the blue shirt

Photos by Ron O’Clair

THANK YOU, WORCESTER MAYOR JOSEPH PETTY and CITY MANAGER ED AUGUSTUS for joining the hundreds who gathered on the Worcester Common to denounce the murder last week of the civil rights activist at the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

DSCF4225(1)

WORCESTER stands against RACISM/WHITE SUPREMECY! – Rose T.

DSCF4227

*******
Worcester Honor Roll of Colored Veterans Update

Text and photos by Ron O’Clair

In an ongoing and seemingly exceedingly lengthy process, the long awaited restoration of the Worcester Honor Roll of Colored Veterans that was taken down from its perch at Belmont and Clayton streets entered another period of debate and delay this week.

The time taken to make this happen seems excessive to supporters like myself.

Here are some photographs of a few of the many people who spoke on the delay in honoring our Veterans of Color at a recent public hearing at Worcester City Hall – the Veterans Subcommittee meeting.

The first two pictures show Marine Veteran Mr. Toney of the Toney family of Worcester which was actually reduced by the loss of three of Mr. Toney’s brothers in World War II, in the ultimate sacrifice for their city of Worcester and the Union itself.

I commend the Toney Family for their commitment to our continued prosperity and freedom by virtue of those unfortunate and untimely deaths. May they be honored for eternity, Amen.

DSCF4456(1)
Mr. Toney

Next up was the “new and improved” (he lost a lot of weight – great job, Billy!) Bill Coleman, urging the earliest possible action, as there are only two surviving WW II Veterans of the original Honorees.

DSCF4458(1)-1
Bill Coleman

Bill said he and other people don’t want the old veterans exposed to harsh weather if there are more delays and a winter re-dedication of the memorial is planned.

The next photo is of Holy Cross college Professor Thomas Doughton who was the first to speak and had a lot to say about the issue.

DSCF4440(1)
Thomas Doughton

His passion was obvious! He wanted the delays resolved quickly!

The last photograph actually is unrelated but shows the early work of Esther Howland who invented the Valentine Card in Worcester many years ago. Aother Worcester contribution to world peace and love …

DSCF4441(1)-1

A City Hall Chamber is named after her❤.