Tag Archives: InCity Times

Friday not-so-funnies …

Donald Trump addresses CPAC in 2014. We were forewarned! It was all there: Trump’s blatant disrespect for women (watch this married fat slob hit on a woman in the front row – before the crowd and TV camera. It’s ok cuz he’s a billionaire!); Trump’s desire to cut immigration in half – more politically than racially motivated (reduces number of Democrats!, Trump crows); his arrogance, the braggadocio, the flamboyance, the money-obsession. The promise of great jobs for every American. .. His bizarre charisma in full, toxic bloom. Preening … His fake straight-shooter persona; his bombastic, teleprompter-free blabbing. Easy to see why this asshole political genius?! got elected.

– Rose T.

😥😥😥😥😥😥😥😥😥😥

The trash lot heading into Crompton Park, on the corner of Sigel and Bigelow streets. Go, Worcester! Yesterday:

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pics: R.T.

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Wow. WoMag swallowed by Gate House media. The kiss of death. Layoffs to come to recoup some of the sale price. More uninspired and uninspiring management bots.

For years, in my opinion, WM was a real … drag. But so-so staff believed: we’re the bees knees! Now? Under the penny-pinching Gate House crew, they’re tragic. … The newspapering life we all love is mostly gone. Unless you’re the great (The) New York Times, it’s a Snap Chat world! Smaller fonts, smaller pages, smaller world views … 😢

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Make it 2018:

🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷

💖💖Ezra!

City of Worcester, Mayor Joseph M. Petty would like to invite you to …

Shepard-DefendDignity

… A Community Conversation on TPS and DACA

Saturday, February 24

At Saint Peter’s Church
935 Main St., Worcester

1 PM – 3 PM

Hear from elected officials standing in solidarity with
community

Learn about the impact of
TPS & DACA changes

Connect to advocacy efforts

Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

This community event has been organized in partnership with
Worcester MA TPS Committee, Worcester Interfaith, and the Office of Human Rights and Disabilities

“The City of Worcester is committed to principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action.”

For questions or accommodations, please contact us at
esparzak@worcesterma.gov or at 508-799-8486

*******

This Saturday, Mayor Petty will be joined by Congressman Jim McGovern and other city representatives at a community conversation on the issue of Temporary Protected Status and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that has been put in jeopardy.

Aside from the Mayor and Congressman, organizing efforts will be discussed, as well as best practices for managing the guardianship of children whose parents may become “undocumented” because of changes to the federal TPS designation, per the guidance of Attorney General Healy.

“Trump will hold a gun violence ‘listening session’ with high-school students [today] …

“… and meet with state and local officials tomorrow. …”

– NYMAG.COM

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When it comes to eradicating gun violence in America, we don’t expect determination, empathy, leadership or vision from our fat, burger-scarfing Blowhard In Chief. We don’t expect anything of substance to be burped up by the Cowardly, Cowed Congress. But we CAN EXPECT GREAT THINGS FROM AMERICAN KIDS! They are demanding a new day in America – and they’ll get it. Because the future is theirs.

Some view points that shed light:
– Rose T.

Mother Nature Still Packs a Wallop

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Winter time: the view from Edith’s front porch. pics: R.T.

By Edith Morgan

I stayed up late one Worcester winter evening, at the cusp of a winter storm, waiting to see the first snowflake come twirling down. The early snow is always small and light flakes, rather hesitant and unsure about where to land and stay. We expected things to pick up during the night, but there was really just a dusting, hardly worth anything but a sweeping of walks and dusting off the car. But after that early inch, Winter Storm Grayson moved in on us, and lived up to his label as a real “Nor’easter.”

I do not know where the Grayson name originated, but I will remember Grayson, the first real storm of our new year, and so much earlier than I had expected (We think of February as the month of storms). We had been spared pretty much last year, so we were due: I had visions of a repeat of the previous winter, when I could look out my kitchen window at a smooth blanket of snow covering everything from my kitchen window right over to my neighbor’s porch – smooth and dimple-free and perfect – as yet unmarred by the marks of shovels and tiny footfalls of squirrels, birds, and perhaps an occasional adventuresome outdoor pet cat.

The blizzard named Grayson hit us here amid very cold temperatures, so the snow stayed pure and powdery and was not sticky enough to cling to branches or wires. But we are always prepared: Power outages are always a threat. We think we have it all covered: Should the power go out, we still have our in-the-wall gas heaters, ancient as they are, which do not require electricity; we have a gas stove downstairs, which requires electricity only to light the burners, but which can be lit by a match. And if all else fails, we have a small roomful of well-seasoned wood for our wood stove, which looks so small but can put out a great deal of heat and look so comforting on a cold night. And, of course, the many candles we got for Christmas will burn for many hours, giving off the fragrance of apples, cinnamon and fir.

My husband Guy and I took precautions, too: We shopped for essentials, have enough of our prescriptions on hand, and wear as many as three layers of clothes – high neck turtle necks, with long sleeves, sweaters, vests, and jackets – and always the knot caps to hold in the heat that escapes through our heads. And then we wait. Good time for reading, watching movies, and drinking hot chocolate. The plows go up and down the street, usually burying my car, parked at the corner.

This is a time when neighbors come out and help each other. We are both 87, my husband and I, and shoveling is increasingly out of the question, especially for him, since his heart attack. But we have great help here, and as I look out at my car, a day after Grayson buried us, I can see my car standing free and clear, and totally brushed off and ready to go. So many of our houses were built before the multi-car families came and have no driveways or garages, so on-street parking is still needed for some of us.

The mail has come every day so far, undaunted by winds of nearly 50 miles an hour, and even our newspaper is at last finding its way onto the porch. After several winters of having to hunt for it in snowdrifts and even on the porch roof, (where it stayed and became a pulpy mess when we finally retrieved it) I can now get it daily without risking life and limb seeking it in snowdrifts.

Once in a while we entertain the seditious thought of becoming “snowbirds,” but we stay here and meet the challenge laid down by Mother Nature and enjoy the benefits of the ever changing scene, with four REAL seasons: the tender greens of spring, the great colorful panorama of blooms in summer, and the glorious displays of native trees in the fall. And it is not the same every year: I think some bushes and trees take a little time off every other year and recoup, only to burst into greater profusion the next year. Was it a good year for tomatoes last year? Then maybe it will be a good year for roses this year. Who knows?! Anyway, we can dream as we stay safely indoors and look at the seed catalogs that have begun to arrive.

I make my regular pilgrimage out to the bird feeder, to help the hardy stay-at–homes; and every day the squirrels get a treat of cubed old bread smeared with peanut butter.

Today the sky is deceptively clear blue – and the bare branches of the maples sway gently in the wind; it all looks so benign from inside; but a couple of minutes outside are enough to frost the fingers, even inside gloves.

Anyone who still thinks that we can master Mother Nature must have gotten the message that we are NOT in charge. The pictures of high tide pushing a wall of seawater up onto the streets of Boston, to mix with the ice and snow floes already there, must have gotten the message that “you don’t mess with Mother Nature.”
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Edith and Guy set up this table for their grandkids during Valentine’s Day week.

And so, I continue to enjoy the pure and silencing beauty of this blanket over us, safely ensconced in our home, with Wassail and cookies to enjoy between meals, while the elements do their worst out there. And we hope that everyone has found a safe haven to ride out winter …

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How being black and vegan honors my ancestors’ struggle

By Zachary Toliver

Somewhere along the line, while getting through this thing called life, I came across these words by the late, great Maya Angelou and turned them into a personal mantra: “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”

I’ve relied heavily on this quote for personal development. It’s helped me choose where to spend my money and how to treat other human beings, and yes, practicing these words has a lot to do with why I’m vegan. Once I understood that just like humans, chickens, pigs, cows and all other animals feel pain, experience fear and value their own lives, I banned dead animal parts from my life. I knew better, so — for animals — I did better.

However, black vegans certainly “do better” for more than animals. No matter if I’m recognizing Black History Month, an ordinary April or even National Doughnut Day, I understand that I’m only here because of my ancestors and the struggles they endured — and I owe every one of them my best, to honor their legacies.

Right now, America in general, but African Americans in particular, face a health crisis. According to the American Heart Association, Black Americans are disproportionately affected by obesity and more likely to have diabetes than their white counterparts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that African Americans have nearly double the risk of dying early from heart disease and strokes as whites.

These aren’t arbitrary statistics. My own father — who eats a stacked plate of ribs for a meal — struggles with diabetes. Most people can hardly understand my grandmother when she speaks due to multiple strokes. My uncle Harrison prided himself on his signature mustard and collard greens with ham hock, and he also died of heart disease. These are all links in my ancestral lineage ravaged by an unhealthy diet.

It’s a shame when folks mistake slave food for soul food. “Foods” like chitlins (animal intestines) or hog maw (pig stomach), lard and pigs’ feet harm our bodies. Our enslaved ancestors had to consume these disgusting body parts to survive horrifying atrocities and in no way could they “do better.” Here in the 21st century, however, there’s zero excuse. Consuming sickness and filth is not our true heritage and should not represent blackness.

These types of culinary dishes — which were given to us as scraps by our oppressors and later hijacked African-American culture — kill us. So I do better. A vegan diet reduces the risks of heart disease, obesity, strokes and diabetes. And trust me, vegan soul food is alive and well. I still eat greens, fried “chicken,” gumbo and sweet potato pie just like I did growing up. We can still have all the flavors we crave without the death, suffering and disease that come with eating animals.

Living as a black vegan is a practice in “sankofa” — a traditional West African term that reminds us to learn from our roots in order to move forward.

For this Black History Month — and beyond — if we really want to honor our brothers and sisters, we must strive to be our healthiest, greatest, most compassionate selves.

An opposing view …

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photo by Ron O’Clair

By Ron O’Clair

One of our Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, said many things that were profound and prove to be full of wisdom still in our time. He said: “Make yourself sheep and the wolves will eat you” and “Those that would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither Liberty nor safety.”

A contemporary of his, acknowledged as the Founding Father, George Washington, said, “Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself.”

A more modern U.S. President – John F. Kennedy – said: “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past, let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”

These quotations come from some brilliant and civic-minded leaders, right out of our American History and experience. They seem to resonate with the problems we are facing today in America.

We just had another American school massacre, another in a long line of senseless acts of violence perpetrated against the citizenry with malice aforethought on the part of the perpetrator of the criminal act. He ended the lives of 17 people in Parkland, Florida, as well as wounding many more.

It is patently obvious to do nothing is not an answer. Our society has become seemingly filled with hatred and disrespect for the law, giving rise to many different hate groups advocating for the repeal of the Second Amendment and a nationwide gun confiscation program similar to what took place in Australia in 1996.

There are many who believe if you deprive the people of their guns, that these incidents of violence would simply disappear overnight. They are not taking into consideration that firearms overlooked during the “great gun grab” would be in the hands of those very people who fail to comply with the laws already on the books regulating the use of private firearms primarily in self-defense.

You would then have individuals and groups of individuals who are armed with weapons hidden from confiscation preying on an unarmed populace of law-abiding citizens who could no longer effectively defend their homes from armed intruders intent on robbery, rape and murder.

The very knowledge that the occupants would most likely be disarmed would only serve to further embolden the law breakers intent on acts of violence against law abiding citizens whom they believe have no firearms to protect their families with. When you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns. This itself is a scary proposition. If you are unable to summon the police, you are then at the mercy of the merciless.

History is replete with examples of what can happen in such cases, starting with the Ottoman Empire in Turkey from 1915-1917, the Soviet Union from 1929-1945, Nazi Germany and occupied Europe from 1933-1945, China Nationalist 1927-1949 and Red China from 1949-1952, 1957-1960, and 1966-1976. Guatemala 1960-1961, Uganda 1971-1979, Cambodia (Khmer Rouge) 1975-1979, Rwanda 1994.

In the above cases of gun confiscation, nearly one BILLION people were subsequently killed by their own government after their primary means of protection were taken from them in the guise of “better safety.”

Were “We the People” to allow our Second Amendment right to be encroached upon and ultimately eliminated, due to the hysteria following events such as this latest tragic loss of life in another of our schools, there is a very good possibility that “We the People” would be subjected to increasing “police state” tactics from our own government, as well as be at the mercy of roving gangs of law breakers armed to the teeth to pillage the populace without fear of retaliation from the victims who voluntarily disarmed themselves in the name of “temporary safety.”

We have seen the folly of “Prohibition” with alcohol with the intention of making our society “better” without the “violence” spawned out of drunkenness caused by excessive alcohol consumption. This gave rise to armed gangs of criminals profiteering off the demand for alcohol and the ensuing “disrespect for authority” that resulted when a significant proportion of our population opposed to the law allied themselves with law breakers.

The same thing happened when the “Drug War” attempted to prohibit illegal consumption of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and many other illegal substances being used by a significant proportion of the populace. It caused further “disrespect for authority” on the part of the people who feel that drugs should be decriminalized and made available for use, abuse and sales.

Depriving law-abiding citizens of their right to bear arms would be the true beginning of the end of America as envisioned by our Founding Fathers. Doing nothing is not the answer. Repealing the Second Amendment would be worse than that. We must find a better solution. We must do something. We can’t expect this problem to just go away by itself.

Comments? Email Ronald O’Clair at ronaldoclair@hotmail.com

Unexpected Results?

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America – gotta love her, she’s ours. pic: R.T.

By Edith Morgan

Sometimes, more often than not, actions have results that are the opposite from what is intended. For instance, the bunch that is in control of our Congress seems to still cling to the notion that women belong in the kitchen, and the only house they should be in is their own home. But finally it looks as if the continued assault on women in all areas has awakened enough of us to create a groundswell of opposition in America, something which has not up to now happened as we bewailed happenings, pleaded and prayed and begged – but did not take concerted action.

Now it looks as if we have finally HAD IT!! Millions of marchers, letter-writers, callers, phoners, tweeters and other activists seem at last to have realized that all those activities are only preliminaries. While they are very annoying to the powerful, they are not enough.

Recently, a friend gave me a copy of Time magazine – there is a montage of the faces of some of the women who are doing something that was very rare before Donald Trump’s rise to power: They are everywhere in the United States running for all sorts offices. Local, state and national political office – and they have begun to win!

We here in Massachusetts have been very fortunate: We have not suffered from the gerrymandered take-over by the Neanderthal right. We have maintained our social services, our schools and our public places as well as we could under the assault from President Trump and Washington. And we have fielded some really outstanding public servants, male and female, who fight for us all the time.

But in many other states, the people have not been so well represented. The allegedly apathetic voters have finally had enough, and women all over the country are running for office.

It is easy enough to get involved: for example, here in Massachusetts it is “caucus time” for the Democrats – and this year (on June 1 and 2) the state Democratic Convention is meeting in Worcester. It’s a great opportunity for Worcester to make its voice heard: each ward will hold a caucus in the next several weeks, and all registered Democrats are eligible to run to be elected as delegates to the convention from their ward.

It is a wonderful opportunity to meet all the candidates, hear them, and speak with members of various groups who have tables and displays at the convention. I understand the Republicans will also hold their convention here. Later on. If you are not prepared to run yourself, being a delegate is a good way to “get your feet wet.”

It is a good way to connect with others who share political views, too, and decide how active you want to be.

I am very hopeful that the alleged apathy of the voters is at last coming to an end and that women – the REAL silent majority – have at last realized the power of numbers. And of the ballot.

Thoughts on yet another school slaughter

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Edith and her husband, Guy. pic: R.T.

By Edith Morgan

When is it enough, at last?

What a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day!! – with yet another mass murder of school children.

And, of course, there will be the obligatory hand-wringing, praying, commiserating and statements by everyone deploring this heinous act.

And there will be deafening silence from the profiteers, the gun manufacturers, the sellers of ever more easily acquired weapons of destruction and the deluded populace who think that having a weapon makes them safe. They may be temporarily a bit safer than those of us who do not tote a machine gun or make one according to the newly detailed plans available to anyone who can use a computer … Sooner or later, we too will be in a place where someone with a hate disorder decides to pepper a crowd we are in and to mow down as many innocent people as possible, in as short a time as possible.

There are enough among us with such problems, and identifying them is not so easy. We could work out a profile of a school-shooter, perhaps, but we could do nothing until he* (and it usually IS a “he”) decides to act. And then it is almost impossible to know where, or at what time, or against whom he will strike.

And he will be armed. Not with a single-shot gun or even a six-shooter – but with an assault weapon that can kill dozens of people in seconds. And spare rounds, as many as he can carry or afford … If you do not happen to be sitting in an armored tank, you will have no defense, even if you do have a gun tucked away in a pocket or holster. So, let’s admit that we will not, in the foreseeable future, wipe out all such assaults.

But we can HUGELY reduce the number of victims, if we immediately begin getting assault weapons and their ammo off our streets, out of the hands of the general public, and stand up and say NO ONE needs such weapons for self-defense. Yes, gangs will probably manage to have some, but the statistics seem to show that gang members are more likely to use them on rival gang members than on us.

In a society as steeped in violence as ours, where WAR is the main response to everything we want to fix (the war on drugs, the war on opioids, the war on everything else …), it will take time and effort to eradicate our love affair with killing.

But at least we can save some lives now, while we tackle the big problem: US. There are no quick fixes, and our education system is not at present geared to begin the tasks of teaching our children how to get along, how to respect and protect others, all the time. But we have started the job, and I hope it will happen soon enough for me to see it. (I am 87, so it better be soon!!)