Category Archives: InCity Voices

Big businesses – they ain’t so great

By Richard Schmitt

Is government the enemy? Many Americans think that. On April 15, tax day, a national organization held a series of “tea parties” all over the country to commemorate the colonists’ resistance to government and specifically to taxation. They are planning more events. At present, the Republicans in Congress are resisting the proposal to have government provide health insurance for some Americans. Anything done by the government, they believe, is worse than anything done by private business.

This is an old belief among Americans. The authors of the Constitution wrote that document after having successfully freed themselves from the British government and established their own. The political system they created is very concerned about preserving individual liberties against government attempts to limit freedom. It is, we think, a good system. Citizens have elaborate rights to protest, to tell the government what they think. The leaders of the government are elected; they hold their jobs by the will of the citizens and can be removed from office if they ignore the citizens’ wishes. Continue reading Big businesses – they ain’t so great

Adopting kids in foster care (more info)

(editor’s note: There are so many great kids in foster care! So many who would love a forever family of their own! InCity Times supports programs that help poor/special needs kids find moms and dads and siblings who will love them always. Here’s yet another story and more information for folks. – R.T.)

Adoption Rocks the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Massachusetts

By Kristin Erekson

Hip Hop pioneer and legendary rapper Darryl “DMC” McDaniels brought the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame celebrities to their feet when he told the crowd “You’re looking at what can happen when you give love to a kid.”

Recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, McDaniels credits his personal success to having been adopted from foster care by a loving family.

“The best thing you can do is give love to a kid, ‘cause that kid may grow up to be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” he added.

And right now, there are nearly 2,400 children in Massachusetts foster care waiting to be adopted by families just like McDaniel’s – families that will give them their opportunity to thrive.

Adoptive families come in all shapes and sizes. Families adopting children out of foster care may be movie stars, like My Big Fat Greek Wedding star Nia Vardalos, or they could be the teacher and construction worker down the street. But one thing they all have in common is the desire to grow their families through adoption, and the knowledge that a child in foster care may be the child who belongs in their family.

What most people interested in building their family through adoption don’t know is that there are thousands of children and teens right here in Massachusetts looking to be part of a loving home to call their own. They also don’t realize that thousands of local families have already adopted children from state foster care.

While international adoption is well known because of celebrity adoptions, those adoptions can easily cost $30,000 or more. Adoption from foster care is virtually free, with free training and assistance from social workers. Continue reading Adopting kids in foster care (more info)

Giving farmed-animal abusers their due

By Dan Paden

With so many high-profile stories in the news lately—the passing of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett, the Gov. Sanford scandal, post-election protests in Iran—you may not have heard about the historic victories for animals that are taking place in American courtrooms. It’s worth noting that two of PETA’s undercover investigations of factory farms have just resulted in groundbreaking animal abuse convictions—convictions that are both highly significant and long overdue. All too often, the abuse of animals in the meat industry is shrugged off as just the cost of doing business.

In a landmark case, two former Aviagen Turkeys, Inc., workers were convicted of cruelty to animals after they were indicted on charges stemming from PETA’s fall 2008 undercover investigation of the company’s West Virginia turkey farms. PETA’s investigator caught workers at the farms punching birds, mimicking the rape of a hen and more. Following our investigation, a grand jury indicted three workers on cruelty-to-animals charges, most of which were felony offenses—marking the first time in U.S. history that former factory-farm workers faced felony charges for abusing birds. Continue reading Giving farmed-animal abusers their due

Michael Moore’s ‘Sicko’ on T.V. Tonight!

Thursday, July 16

The Movie Channel, this evening, will be airing the Oscar-nominated documentary, “Sicko,” Michael Moore’s film about a villain known as the health insurance industry. With the debate raging in Washington, D.C. — Republicans trying to scuttle it, the President trying to hang on to his public option, and nearly a hundred members of Congress pushing for a single-payer system — showing “Sicko” tonight is very timely. Mike lays out all the facts and the arguments as to why the private insurance companies are never going to side with what’s best for the American people.

“Sicko” airs on The Movie Channel tonight at 8:00 PM. It’s also scheduled to air on The Movie Channel on July 27th at 4:05 PM and on TMC Xtra on August 2nd at 10:45 PM and August 5th at 2:15 AM and 7:30 AM.

We are in a critical time regarding which direction the health care debate is going to go. Make your voice heard. And be armed with the facts. Watch “Sicko” again!

Thanks.

Don’t get squeezed on your next flight!

By Chris Holbein

If the thought of trying to squeeze into last year’s swimsuit isn’t incentive enough to slim down before your summer vacation, here’s another reason to drop those unwanted pounds: Airline passengers with “extra baggage” may have to pay more.

This spring, United Airlines announced that passengers who cannot fit into a single seat will be required to pay an additional fare. A handful of other carriers, including Southwest Airlines, have similar policies. So much for the “friendly skies.”

But there is a simple way for frequent flyers to lose weight and avoid paying extra airfare: Stop being a “frequent eater” of meat. Studies show that vegetarians are, on average, about 10 to 20 pounds lighter than meat-eaters are and that consuming animal products can make you pile on unhealthy weight. Continue reading Don’t get squeezed on your next flight!

New Main South Farmers’ Market is open!

By the great folks at Worcester’s REC (Regional Environmental Council)

After a great pilot program last September, the Regional Environmental Council’s Urban Gardening Resources of Worcester (UGROW) has kept its promise and successfully brought a new farmers market to the Main South community for this year’s New England harvest season. The Main South Farmers’ Market (MSFM), located at 807 Main St at the corner of Benefit and Main has been up and running since Saturday, June 6 and will be open every Saturday, 10 am – 2 pm, through October 31.

Local farms have been setting up shop on Saturdays from 10am to 2pm at the corner of Benefit Street & Main Street to sell their locally grown produce and locally made products. The last two Saturdays, there was a variety of produce, freshly baked breads, freshly made corn tortillas and handmade crafts. Gibson’s Dairy provided local milk, cheeses, eggs, honey and maple syrup. At the first market day, there was also entertainment by Dan Burke. Youth from the Toxic Soil Busters were also on hand to perform their latest and greatest hits. Continue reading New Main South Farmers’ Market is open!

Responding to a reader

By Jack Hoffman

Many of the critical letters I get from my InCity Times readers are from people who misunderstand my role as a columnist. A columnist is not a reporter. A columnist opines.

A reporter attempts to write an objective piece based on certain information he/she may have. The story’s objectivity and facts are overseen by an editor and sometimes the publisher. Don’t think for one second I have a free hand without Rose looking over my shoulder, making me prove certain information.

Which brings me to a certain InCity Times reader – Tom Whalen. At first I was intrigued with his point of view re: certain talk show hosts being a bunch of haters. He wrote to me: “The problem is, Jack, you still refuse that it goes both ways and spew venom from the left … .” Continue reading Responding to a reader

Why pot and medicine don’t mix

By William T. Breault

To our state legislators:

You are considering important legislation – HB 2160 – that would establish a “medical” marijuana program in Massachusetts. There have been many half truths and mis-perceptions swirling around this controversial issue. It’s important to set the record straight.

Who really uses “medical” marijuana?

Advocates of the legislation claim that “medical” marijuana helps seriously ill people with cancer or AIDS or glaucoma. They paint a picture of elderly ill people who need it for pain relief. However, “medical” marijuana patient records from California show that 62% [of patients] were between 17 and 35 years of age; and 71% were between ages 17 and 40. Only 2.05% of customers obtained physician recommendations for AIDS, glaucoma or cancer. An extremely high number of people were using “medical” marijuana for other purposes. Source: Report from the San Diego County District Attorney

The bill makes it very easy to get marijuana.

This legislation makes it very easy to get marijuana. If you are over age 18, you can obtain marijuana by claiming to have a “medical condition” and pain or spasms or nausea and receive a medical marijuana card from a physician after a quick examination. Continue reading Why pot and medicine don’t mix

Declare dog Independence Day!

By Lindsay Pollard-Post

This Fourth of July, Americans celebrated their freedom with picnics, trips to the beach and time spent with the people they love. But America isn’t a free country for everyone who lives here. In nearly every community—perhaps even on your own street—Americans’ best friends, our dogs, are kept chained and deprived of every freedom.

These dogs spent our nation’s birthday as they spend every other day: pacing their tiny patch of dirt, panting in the heat, wishing for companionship or a drink of cool water and watching the world go by out of their reach. The only difference was that many spent this night terrorized and trembling in fear because of the booming fireworks.

“Out of sight, out of mind” in the back yard, many chained dogs are deprived of even their basic needs and rights. Continue reading Declare dog Independence Day!

Putting the skids on “The Summer Slide”

By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee member

Summer slide! It sounds like a new ride at Six Flags or Coco Keys. Unfortunately, it is the gradual erosion of the academic skills students gained during the school year over the summer. Thoughts of math, science and reading are replaced by swimming, hanging out with friends, playing video games and going to the beach. In the case of those students with limited English skills, many lose their newly acquired words. Often, it is the students who can least afford to lose the reading gains they’ve achieved during the school year who fall the farthest behind when they return to the classroom after a summer vacation.

One of the initiatives my wife, Anne Marie and I have put together to prevent student’s falling behind is the “Worcester: the City that Reads” Committee, a committee whose goal is to address the needs of literacy in the city. One of our programs has been to collect recreational reading books and put them into the hands of our children. Already we have collected over 20,000 books for our children. This will enable children from lower socio-economic back-ground to have access to books. It is the lack of books in the child’s home that poses the greatest barrier to achieving literacy. We hope to put those books into the hands of the children in the Worcester Public Schools during the week of June 7th -as we celebrate “Literacy Week in our Community.”

A recent study by Johns Hopkins University adds to the mounting evidence of the “Summer Slide.” Poor students start out behind middle-class students and fall behind each year. Most of that loss occurs when school is out. Continue reading Putting the skids on “The Summer Slide”