Category Archives: InCity Voices

A tale of two PIP shelters

By William T. Breault

The former Public Inebriate Program, now the People in Peril Shelter, is the only “wet” walk-in shelter in the region for homeless individuals. People walk in, or are dropped off, or released from incarceration and given a place to stay. We now are working hard as a region to close this shelter. I have been working to do exactly this for decades. This article explains why.

There have always been two PIP Shelters at 701 Main Street.

The first PIP Shelter is the one that most people know. It is the safety net shelter for people with no options. This PIP offers people a refuge from the street, a place to sleep and get a meal, a place to see a doctor and connect with social services. This is the humane PIP – the PIP that recognizes that we are all legitimate, that we are all worthy of hope, and that we all deserve a place that will “catch you, time after time.” This is the PIP that helps us to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, a PIP that gives us a place to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, and to forgive the sinner.

The other PIP is the shelter that the neighborhood and social service providers for the homeless know. This is the PIP that enables self-destructive behavior on many levels, the place to go if you want to buy or sell drugs to feed addictions, to buy or sell bodies for sex, to fence stolen goods. Continue reading A tale of two PIP shelters

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus: The saddest show on earth

By Ingrid E. Newkirk

Elephants have the largest brains of any mammal on the face of the earth. They are creative, altruistic and kind. They use tools to sweep paths and even to draw pictures in the dirt and scratch themselves in inaccessible places, and they communicate subsonically at frequencies so low that humans cannot detect them without sophisticated equipment. Imagine, then, what it must be like for them to be told what to do, courtesy of a bullhook—a rod resembling a fireplace poker with a sharp metal hook on the end—at every moment of their lives. Yet this is what life is like for elephants used in circuses, who are constantly beaten and kept chained, sometimes for days at a time.

It takes a lot to get circusgoers to see beyond the headdresses and glitter to that metal-tipped bullhook sinking into an elephant’s soft flesh behind her ears and knees. But I hope that PETA’s new undercover investigation of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will help open some eyes.
PETA’s investigator caught Ringling employees digging sharp metal bullhooks into the sensitive skin behind elephants’ knees and under their trunks. Eight employees—including an animal superintendent and a head elephant trainer—used bullhooks and other objects to strike elephants on the head, ears and trunk. Employees whipped elephants and a tiger, including on or near the face. One elephant, Tonka, repeatedly exhibited signs of severe psychological stress but was nevertheless forced to perform night after night. The footage can be seen on our website. Continue reading Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus: The saddest show on earth

T & G’s Clive McFarlane: hypocrite extraordinaire!

By Rosalie Tirella

Well, I hope pin-head Telegram & Gazette columnist Clive McFarlane is feeling guilty. 

Several months ago, when the Worcester School Committee was voting on the new school superintendent, school committee member Dottie Hargrove put her vote behind school superintendent candidate Melinda J. Boone, who hails from Norfolk, VA. By doing so, the wonderfully sunny and INTELLIGENT Dottie Hargrove made way for the city’s first African American/female school superintendent and put an end to the serious nepotism that parades as hiring practice in the Worcester Publis Schools.

By voting the way she did,  Dottie Hargrove was actually answering the prayers of most Worcesterites. She was saying: It’s not who you know in this town anymore – it’s what you know! By dumping job candidate Steven Mills, the city’s connected-guy, Dottie, along with the majority of the school committee, was saying this LOUD AND CLEAR to Mills and most important the parents and students of Worcester: a new day is dawning in Worcester.

But Mills was/is deaf. In a story about his desire to be the next Worcester school superintendent, he made it a point to flaunt the fact that he worked on Lt. Gov. Tim Murray’s political campaigns – as if that would instantly make him school superintendent of Worcester.  What a stupid – but telling – thing for Mills – the toady! – to say to a reporter!

The real questions on Worcester parents’/residents’ minds: Did Mills have enough experience? Was he smart enough to handle the work load? Could he do the job? Most people wanted answers to those questions and didn’t give a damn if Mills is palsy walsy with Murray.

And the majority of Worcester School Committee members wanted answers to those questions, too. And when they got the answers – based on a non-partisan, super-intelligent search committee who reviewed all candidate resumes, interviewed all candidates, etc and recommended Boone for the job – it was a new dawn for Worcester!

You would think Clive McFarlane, a Black of Jamaican descent, would have been celebrating with the rest of us. After all, he was on the receiving end of affirmative action policies when it came to getting his metro columnist job at the T & G.

Years ago,  Clive would most likely have not gotten his plum job because the old T & G was so clubby. Thanks to places like the MLK Center on Dewey street, whose director Robert Thomas told me several years ago that he had to “point a gun” to then T & G publisher’s Bruce Bennett’s head to get him to hire an Asian American for a job at the T & G, things have changed at the T & G (well, slightly).  Thomas told me Bennett said to him something like: you know how I feel about affirmative action, Robert. Well, dink-puss Bennett got his arm twisted by Thomas and he relented and hired the Asian American guy – who worked out wonderfully. Bennett is gone – and actually right after a reminder from InCity Times that there are NO reporters of color at the T & G, Bennett gave McFarlane the job and when he was retiring from the T & G said he was glad of his affirmative action (Clive as metro columnist) hires.

So how stupid of Clive McFarlane – a product of affirmative action, a system whose goal is to destroy the old white boys’  club –  to defend the skewed hiring practices of the Worcester Public School System – a system that most likely would have kept him out of any teaching job. 

Clive beat Dottie up in his column last winter – making her seem spacy, as if she didn’t know what she was doing and thus ruined the W.P. Schools for everyone! For two columns Clive dumped on Dottie, intimating that she was putting an end to a long, grand, proud Worcester teaching tradition.  Clive said even though the WPS system was clubby, the WPS had great teachers and our school system was excellent. So what if it was a teeny bit … corrupt? he seemed to be saying.  Clive was for the status quo – a status quo that doesn’t give two shits for him.

But I ask: How can you have an excellent school system when you have most of our schools without any black/Lationo teachers while our schools are filled with a majority of minority students?

So in has last Dottie Hargrove column ( a week or so ago)  the idiot Clive threw Dottie a bone: Yes! Dottie was passionate about inner-city kids and their education! No one was more passionate about these kids!

Unlike you, asshole!

Because if you were, Clive,  you would have known that Dottie was on the poor minority kids’ side all along! That she had a ton of love for the kids in our schools – was a reading teacher for many years in our school system, is a professor now – teaching college students how to be effective teachers.

If only you had interviewed her, Clive-o, and given her a fair shake!

And that’s no jive.

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