Congressman Jim McGovern (expressed his outrage that Senate Republicans removed a provision in the Fiscal Year 18 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would create the Atomic Veterans Service Medal honoring more than 200,000 American veterans. Congressman McGovern is a co-author of the bipartisan provision to recognize the service of these veterans who were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation while conducting nuclear weapons tests between 1945 and 1962. Congressman McGovern has called on President Trump to right this wrong by issuing an executive order to create the medal honoring these veterans.
In July 2017, the House unanimously approved Congressman McGovern’s amendment to create the service medal by a vote of 424-0. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) is the author of an amendment to include the service medal in the Senate version of the NDAA. With the provision being dropped from the Conference Report, this is the third consecutive year that Senate Republican leaders have prevented these veterans from being honored.
“I am outraged that for the third consecutive year, an amendment to create a service medal for our Atomic Veterans has been dropped from the NDAA Conference Report. I find this particularly shocking as this amendment, which I offered with my Republican colleague, Congressman Tom Emmer (R-MN), was approved by the House unanimously by a vote of 424-0,” Congressman McGovern said. “The Pentagon remains silent on honoring the service of our Atomic Veterans, arguing that to do so would diminish the service of other military personnel who are tasked with dangerous missions. This is a pitiful excuse. I hope we can convince the Senate or the Pentagon to finally do the right thing, before it’s too late. More than 75 percent of Atomic Veterans have already passed away, never having received this recognition. We owe it to our veterans to honor them for their selfless service to our nation.”
“While we will never be able to fully repay their sacrifices for our nation, the simple act of recognizing the hundreds of thousands of our Atomic Vets is well past due,” Senator Markey said. “I am incredibly disappointed that the NDAA Conference Committee chose to disregard the overwhelming, bipartisan support in Congress to finally do what is right and recognize the dedication of these brave servicemembers. We will continue fighting to ensure that the brave men and women who were exposed to radiation in the line of duty are properly honored.”
Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Statement is Below:
“I thank the Ranking Member for yielding. I am outraged that for the third consecutive year, an amendment to create a service medal for our Atomic Veterans has been dropped from the NDAA Conference Report. I find this particularly shocking as this amendment, which I offered with my Republican colleague, Congressman Tom Emmer, was approved by the House unanimously by a vote of 424-0.
“It is unclear to me why our colleagues in the Senate are determined to deprive our Atomic Veterans this most basic recognition of their honorable service.
“Between 1945 and 1962, about 225,000 members of our military participated in hundreds of nuclear weapons tests. These GIs were placed in extremely dangerous areas and were constantly exposed to potentially dangerous levels of radiation in performance of their duties. They were sworn to secrecy, unable to even talk to their doctors about their past exposure to radiation.
“Thankfully, Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush recognized the Atomic Veterans’ valiant service, and acted to provide specialized care and compensation for their harrowing duty.
“In 2007, our allies Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia enacted their versions of this amendment by authorizing a medal to honor their Atomic Veterans who served with the United States.
“Regrettably, the Pentagon remains silent on honoring the service of our Atomic Veterans, arguing that to do so would diminish the service of other military personnel who are tasked with dangerous missions. M. Speaker, this is a pitiful excuse.
“Tragically, more than 75 percent of Atomic Veterans have already passed away, never having received this recognition. They served honorably and kept a code of silence that most certainly led to many of these veterans passing away prematurely.
“Past administrations and Congresses have dealt with the thornier issues of legality and compensation. What remains is recognizing these veterans’ duty, honor and faithful service to our nation. And time is running out.
“I thank my colleagues here in the House for supporting this amendment. With your continued support, I hope we can convince the Senate or the Pentagon to finally do the right thing, before it’s too late. We owe it to our veterans to honor them for their selfless service to our nation.”
Blow that horn, parade down those streets! The Gaffneys are OUT!
By Ron O’Clair
The good guys won yesterday!
Of note: The voting people of Worcester spoke yesterday with a resounding defeat of the Gaffney duo, which I had correctly predicted long before Michael Gaffney abruptly announced his intention of pulling out of the Worcester City Council race.
Though Gaffney had come in second in the last election when he ran against Mayor Joseph Petty and, as a consequence, many people thought he would do well in this election, I had come to believe his association with the Turtle Boy “hate blog,” his vitriolic political rhetoric on and off the council floor, his feeding into and fanning people’s fears and racial and ethnic prejudices would have alienated a significant proportion of the voting public.
The Turtle Boy blog defamed and ridiculed many of Councilor At-Large Gaffney’s very own constituents and, for some reason, instead of distancing himself from that vitriol, Councilor Gaffney stoked the flames of hatred and racism, as well as continued to be one of the Turtle Boy blog’s major financial supporters. This sent a message to many people in Worcester as to the true character of the man himself. How anyone could claim to be the “People’s Councilor” while at the same time trashing half the populace and supporting a blog that ridicules the downtrodden of Worcester alienated many voters.
I tried to interview Michael’s wife, Coreen Gaffney, for a story for CECELIA in her campaign for the District 4 seat, held by Councilor Sarai Rivera, only to be refused an audience with Mrs. Gaffney. I truly wanted to know what Coreen Gaffney would do differently, if she won the D 4 seat. I intended to be fair and impartial, even though I have long supported Sarai Rivera. But I was turned down by Coreen. The boycott of all media during election time became the policy of the Gaffney duo. Husband and wife turned down any and all press interviews about their plans if elected to the Worcester City Council. How bizarre!
Most candidates welcome the chance to get their views expressed in print and other media, but not the Gaffney duo. I wish them well in future doing, whatever it is they do. On reflection, I am not sad to see them out of Worcester city politics, given their toxic political rhetoric and stylings, their exploitation of cultural differences and their reluctance to be honest with the media. I am sure all of this had a lot to do with their defeat.
Of course, we will never know their chances of winning for sure because they decreased their own chances with their announcement that they were withdrawing from the election just weeks before it took place. Someone was going to be bumped off the at-Large Council seat, with the addition to the mix of the ever popular Gary Rosen, who decided not to run for re-election to the District 5 seat. Yesterday that seat was won by Matt Wally. I had predicted that the loser would have been Michael Gaffney. Perhaps, Gaffney saw the handwriting on the wall and made the decision to abruptly announce his and his wife’s withdrawal from their respective races. To spare themselves from the embarrassment of a humiliating defeat.
I truly believe had the Gaffneys not pulled out, there would have been little difference in the results.
The backlash from supporting the Turtle Boy “hate blog” all these years, pulling political stunts on and off the council floor that traumatized so many people in our community, caused so much hurt to so many people – especially the most vulnerable in our community, opened up so many racial wounds – all this would have negatively impacted their vote totals.
Congratulations to the incumbents who won: Mayor Joe Petty, Councilor Kate Toomey, Councilor Gary Rosen, Councilor Khrystian King, Councilor Moe Bergman and Councilor Konnie Lukes.
Congratulations to all who won re-election to the Worcester School Committee and to challenger Dante Comparetto who certainly worked very hard to secure his win on the school committee.
I would remind all the winners that they serve at the will of the people and that they need to be careful not to spew hatred at their own constituency! It is unbecoming a City Council member to sow hatred. Mike Gaffney is a good case in point.
Rose’s babies say: STAND UP FOR ALL ANIMALS!! pic: R.T.
Dogs being doped. Big cats hauled to football games. Greyhounds discarded then bled. From racetracks to playing fields to school gymnasiums, animals are being forced to participate in sporting events — even though it puts their health and safety at risk. It’s time to stop exploiting animals just to satisfy our whims.
News that some dogs on four-time Iditarod winner Dallas Seavey’s team tested positive for an opioid pain reliever called Tramadol recently made headlines around the world. But dog doping may be the least of the Iditarod’s abuses. Forced to run full out for 1,000 miles in hellish weather conditions, dogs can suffer from bleeding stomach ulcers, diarrhea, dehydration and other debilitating conditions.
At least 150 dogs have perished, all so that mushers can win a truck and bask in glory that they haven’t earned, since the dogs do all the hard work.
Other mushers have exposed the massive numbers of dogs who are killed (euphemistically called “culling”) simply because they can’t or won’t run the equivalent of four marathons a day. Dog sledding is a ruthless industry, one in which dogs pay with their lives.
Then there are the lions and tigers who are used as mascots on college campuses. Anyone who has attended a college football game can attest to the sheer intensity of these events.
The stadiums are always packed with people and actually vibrate with the energy and enthusiasm of the spectators. But the bright lights, hordes of screaming fans and marching bands are terrifying to animals, who can’t possibly understand what’s going on.
Even if they’re not taken to games, it’s stressful and cruel to subject wild animals to a bustling university environment and force them into close proximity with crowds of people day in and day out.
And even though tracks are mostly empty, greyhounds are still being forced to race so that humans can gamble on them. Illness and injuries — including broken legs, heatstroke and heart attacks — claim the lives of many dogs.
Countless greyhounds are also killed each year when breeders decide that they won’t be fast enough to win races.
They have been shot, bludgeoned or simply abandoned to fend for themselves. Some even end up suffering on blood factory farms, where they’re forced to live in cramped kennels and their blood is repeatedly drawn and sold to veterinarians to be used for transfusions for other dogs. They go crazy from the intense stress and confinement.
Speaking of crazy, how is “donkey basketball” still a “thing”? Some schools still hold these fundraisers in which students and faculty members shoot hoops from the backs of donkeys, who are supplied by a couple of companies that rent them out as if they were carnival equipment.
They are frequently mishandled by unruly riders, who are more caught up in putting on a show for the spectators than in treating these personable animals with the care that they deserve. During games, the donkeys may be punched, kicked, screamed at or whipped for being “uncooperative.”
With the limitless ways that we have to entertain ourselves, why should animals have to suffer for our pleasure? Surely, we can all agree that there’s nothing sporting about hurting them.
City of Worcester and Community Partners Unveil Plan for Incoming Evacuees of Hurricane Irma and Maria
The City of Worcester announced yesterday its collaborative plan for the resettlement of incoming evacuees of Hurricane Irma and Maria, alongside partners from the non-profit community Amor Para Puerto Rico and Centro, Inc.
“Cities step up. This is what we do,” said Mayor Joseph M. Petty. “Evacuees are not just coming to Worcester but to cities like Boston and Holyoke and New Bedford. We are committed to working with our community and state partners to make sure that the people of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Island are cared for and are receiving the services they deserve. We will not back down from our commitment to our fellow Americans.”
Speakers urged the public to call 2-1-1 if they or someone they know is an evacuee from the devastation brought by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The City of Worcester and Worcester Public Schools have worked to distribute fliers with this information across the city.
“The City of Worcester has been working with our non-profit service providers for the past several weeks to convene working groups to address all of the major issues incoming evacuees face: case-management, housing, employment, education, healthcare, and community support. If you’re planning on bringing family here, call 2-1-1 and let Centro know who is coming and when they can be expected,” said City Manager Edward M. Augustus.
One of the community support groups is Amor Para Puerto Rico, a non-profit formed to respond to the needs of incoming evacuees from Puerto Rico as well as raising money for relief efforts on the island.
“Amor para Puerto Rico stands in solidarity with all Puerto Rican Americans,” said City Councilor Sarai Rivera speaking on behalf of the organization. “To those on the Island we will continue our relief efforts and our commitment to help rebuild Puerto Rico. To those on the mainland that have resettled or those thinking of resettlement here in Worcester whether long term or short term we embrace and welcome you to our neighborhoods, our schools, our community based organizations, our churches, our businesses, our City Hall, our hospitals and clinics. Our city is now your city and we are here to help in your transition.”
At the time of the event over 100 students new students have enrolled in the Worcester Public Schools from areas affected by Hurricane Irma and Maria.
“While this situation remains fluid, I am confident we will be able to provide all of the services needed for our children,” said Superintendent Maureen Binienda. “I believe this firmly from our long history of welcoming students from all parts of the United States and the world.”
Centro, Inc located on Sycamore Street in Worcester is the lead agency handling intake of incoming evacuees and case management services for Worcester and all of Worcester County.
“We are blessed to live in a city where elected officials, community leaders and citizens have come together to identify the most effective way to assist the self-evacuees from Puerto Rico as a result of this season’s hurricanes,” said Juan Gomez, Executive Director of the service agency Centro, Inc. “Centro is proud to be a partner in this important initiative, by receiving the referrals, conducting assessments and providing case management, so to ensure none of the families fall through the cracks.”
Since Hurricane Maria, the City of Worcester has received 113 new students in the Worcester Public Schools from the affected areas and Centro, Inc. is working with 203 evacuees in total.
There is so much music to revel in … the music of life!
CDs for sale at Rose’s friends’ shop … pics: Rose T.
And I’m a real revelator! I try to listen to EVERYTHING:
For me, the blues is my late mom … her pain, her music, so deep, dark, God-focused and yet transcendent – BEAUTIFUL, like my mother’s deep brown eyes!
Rose’s mom – a Worcester teen at a Worcester County lake…
Being my mother’s daughter, being in her life as a little girl and teenager, was like singing the blues with her every day:
Watching Ma walk to work at the dry cleaners (we never owned a car), her back slightly hunched from the years of toil…her back growing more bowed through the years…
… Ma trudging, almost marching!, home at end of her 11-hour day at the dry cleaners.
Home in Green Island, home from work. Ma has three little girls to feed, to help with their homework, to put to bed…her husband, my father, Daddy, with the pretty hazel eyes, red hair dolled up in a pompador, looking handsome, looking at Ma’s small hunched shoulders and shouting: “Hey, fuck nut! Hey, donkey!”
But Ma always looked so cute!! What was Daddy thinking? And she was so smart and had such pride in herself and her children.
Rose’s mother, at her sister’s house
… I see my mother walking to work, carrying in one hand the cheap pocketbook that she bought for herself at White’s Five and Ten on Millbury Street. In her other hand: her lunch in a brown paper bag, which always contains one sandwich, one piece of fruit and her Thermos (also purchased at White’s) filled with Maxwell House coffee, a little milk and sugar – the meal that would carry her through her work day.
Back home, on Lafayette Street, more name calling courtesy of our Daddy and a quick hard loud slap to the face for Ma. Daddy, of course, jealous of some imaginary lover/interloper. As a little girl, I watched Ma force herself not to cry as my father’s hand left her soft, rounded cheek.
But there was Salvation! ALWAYS SALVATION! Plus: Comfort, love and peace… Every day, every hour. On Sundays especially!
One of Rose’s mother’s prayer cards.
… Every day of Ma’s life – up until the last few months when her Alzheimers got worse – and then she HELD her little yellowed dog-eared penny prayer cards and prayer books tight in her hands – Ma prayed. Big time. To a Big God. Who kicked ass and took names. The Old Testament Yahweh.
My mother’s God could take on my asshole father, rough and tough Green Island, a minimum wage paycheck, physical exhaustion. No sweat! He was older than the stars!
Throughout the day, no matter where Ma was – she was checking in with God – praying to him in whispers, chanting to him, sometimes singing to him in her not so pretty voice (though she was a tremendous whistler). Sometimes she would make a loose fist with her right hand and repeatedly, gently, strike her heart, her breasts, with it. While praying. Lost in time. Very dramatic to a little kid like me!
With God on her side, of course Ma and her three little girls and old Polish Mama, Bapy, would endure!
In the a.m., before breakfast, Ma would pray. Before eating one slice of toast. Before waking us kids up for school. Before anything. … It is 5:30 in the morning, and I am in bed but peaking out from under the covers to watch my mother start her day. Our day. She is kneeling on one of the rickety wooden kitchen chairs at our old green kitchen table. In the brightening kitchen she is whispering to God – not reading from a prayer book – but talking straight from the heart. Her arms are raised, her head lowered. She is serious but looks calm. I find the sight of my mother praying comforting. I smell the morning coffee percolating. Mmmm!
It is time to leave our third-floor tenement for school and work. The letters K M and B? – in honor of the 3 kings who visited the Baby Jesus in Bethlehem – are written in chalk above our apartment’s front and back doors. The Christmas story is retold to us every day as we start our day, head out into the world. I watch Ma make a little cross on her forehead with the back of her thumb as we leave the tenement.
After school, when my two kid sisters and I drop into the dry cleaners where Ma works to say hi to Ma we may see her off to the side, sitting on her metal chair, her eye glasses sliding down her nose as she prays, reading from one of her prayer cards. This takes only a few minutes, but the act connects her to God. A shot in the arm for Ma. A shot of love.
At home, after supper, before we go to bed, we may say the rosary together, with Ma leading the prayers. Just one section – not the whole rosary, thank goodness! Just one Our Father, followed by 10 Hail Mary’s and One Glory Be. I’m into it because I am praying with my new white rosary I just got for First Holy Communion at Saint Mary’s. Plus the nuns gave us girls a cool white taper candle and a pretty white pocketbook with a pink little rose embossed on the flap. I got all the goodies just for going to CCD class at St. Mary’s! Definitely one of the few perks of trudging to catechism class every Monday at 5 p.m.
Then it’s time to fall asleep! I am in my bedroom, under the covers. If Daddy is with us – he sometimes goes MIA for months – I hear Ma and Daddy talking, sometimes laughing, in Ma’s bedroom. Then there’s a lot of groaning and moaning, and Ma’s bed springs are squeaking like mad, which keeps me up. But it all stops soon enough and the flat goes quiet.
Soon old Bapy, wracked with her arthritis which wrecks her sleep, will be up making noise in the kitchen. Going to fetch a little piece of golden cake to feed to my hamster Joy, also nocturnal, and up and running on her little squeaky hamster wheel. I have told Bapy: NO, BAPY! DON’T FEED JOY CAKE! SHE GETS SPECIAL FOOD – HARTZ HAMSTER FOOD! Bapy is super stubborn and doesn’t listen to me and keeps feeding my hamster cake. Joy is obese for a hamster – even with all her running on her hamster wheel! Ma tells me not to worry: Bapy lived on a farm in Poland before she came to America and took care of chickens, dogs, cats, even a horse on her farm. And she raised her kid brother and sisters when she was 12 because her mother died, and her step-mother wanted no part of the brood. Bapy knew how to love things.
Joy did live a long life, for a hamster – almost four years. And she always stood on her tiny pink feet at the front of her little cage when the dumpling shaped Bapy leaned over it and called to her, cooing ever so gently. Joy was just waitin’ for that cake!!
Fall is approaching – there is always room for dessert! Having a toddler around makes me want to make nutritious desserts …
So grab some local cream and eggs and you have a protein-filled nutritious dessert that can double as a dinner. But don’t tell the kiddies!!
What is this magical dessert that sounds too good to be true?
It is none other than Crème Brulée!
This delicious concoction traditionally made with vanilla flavoring first started appearing in cookbooks around 1690. It was translated into English mid-1700’s but kept the name. By 1800 it was called “Burnt Cream” in England.
Other names are Crème Anglaise. In Spain it is called Crema Catalana, and is the dessert served once a year on Saint Joseph’s day (March 19), and instead of vanilla, it is flavored with the zest of lemons or oranges. You can do Nutella, chocolate, rasberrry etc – that’s what is so great about this dessert!
I recently reintroduced myself to this dessert, thanks to my new friends Stephanie and Penny who were constantly being served custard, which is cooked on top of the stove vs baking. It is an easy technique and you don’t have to put the sugar on top and burn it.
It’s a delicious concoction that takes minutes to prepare and can be made ahead of time and keeps for a couple of days!
You will need ramekins for individual servings – or a glass pie plate will do for family style.
For the basic recipe you need:
1 quart of cream
6 eggs, separated Back at Rose’s shack – 6 eggs. pic: R.T.
1 cup of sugar
and a vanilla bean!
I’ll list them below again. The fun is you can substitute the vanilla and add lemon, orange, almond, chocolate, pistachio, coconut etc – endless combinations!
If you take a ride to Cooper’s farm in Leicester, a quart of milk there is magnificent to make this concoction!
Road trip! pic: R.T.
So turn your oven on to 325, separate the eggs and save the whites for breakfast.
Add ½ cup sugar to the yolks and whisk until light in color and very fluffy.
In the meantime, add the seeds from the vanilla bean to the milk/cream in your sauce pan and bring to a boil.
Let it sit for 15 minutes to cool down, then slowly add it to the eggs whisking constantly.
Prepare your baking pan by placing the ramekins in the large rectangle pan.
Fill the ramekins with the filling, then pour HOT water into the holding pan – so it comes up just over halfway up the ramekins or pie plate.
Place in your hot oven and bake for 45 minutes.
The center should be a little jiggly and yet firm to the touch. Depending on your oven, adjust the cooking time.
Remove from the oven, take the ramekins out of the water, place on a cookie sheet and bring to room temp, then refrigerate.
They are ready to eat like this or dust with the rest of the sugar, just a light coating, and using a blow torch, fire it evenly on the sugar until it melts! You can do it under the broiler, but just keep a close eye on it!
6 eggs separated
1 quart cream or Coopers Farm milk
½ cup sugar
1 vanilla bean (just the interior seeds)
325 degree oven – rectangular pan – 8 ramekins
… Webster Square’s Unique Finds Antiques and Vintage gift shop!
Located at 1329 Main St., Worcester – Open Mon – Sat
2 – 8 p.m.
Vinyl (lps, 45s, 78s) – neon signs – vintage – furniture – antiques – industrial – tableware – vintage toys – lamps – electric and folk guitars – jewelry – vintage toy trucks and cars – lamps – big mirrors – funky frames for your art AND MORE!