By Rosalie Tirella
It couldn’t have happened to a nicer city! State Rep. Robert Spellane is not seeking re-election! Worcester can finally cut itself loose from the cuckoo’s-nest that is State Rep. Bob Spellane’s personal life AND bizarro lapses of judgement. Such as not having to pay his mortgage on his country house for over a year BECAUSE he sat high and mighty on a Beacon Hill banking committee – and got a break from a Worcester County bank. (No conflict of interest there!) And let’s not forget his father in law is suing him for $150,000 – the loan he made to son-in-law Spellane, which Spellane never re-paid.
How low can a state rep go? Spellane’s personal life is a shambles (cheating on his wife with a girl reporter from the local cable news channel, running around a park picnic table after his brother-in-law because his ex-wife didn’t give him the $20 bucks she owed him – half the cost of a pair of sneakers they bought for their son. AND he threw car keys at her. Real adults had to separate the two “kids.” Continue reading State Rep. Bob Spellane calls it quits
By Rosalie Tirella
Kate Toomey, mayor of Worcester. How disorienting a freakin’ sentence is that?!
Mayor Toomey. Mayor Toomey? I just don’t get it! What do other people see in her that I am obviously blind to?
Toomey’s a woman with zero personality, zero charisma, zero charm. But forget the personality for a moment. As a Worcester city councilor (this is her second term), she never really adds anything of substance to Worcester city council meetings – except her approval of any plan hatched by the Rushton/Murray/Petty/old boys’ team. I watch the city council meetings ever week (from the comfort of a living room, away from the T & G/Blow Mag hacks who just love to give Rushton and Petty and their pals all the best play and make it a habit of dumping on Mayor Konnie Lukes, even Gary Rosen – outsiders, both), and Toomey never ever has came up with a cool plan or vision for anything! She has never had a passion about any issue. She has never advocated for anybody/anything on the council floor with vigor. She has never stood her ground fighting for anything. Toomey seems quiet, even a little withdrawn. Continue reading Kate Toomey as mayor of Worcester?
By Rosalie Tirella
How typically Worcester! How stupidly Worcester! Here we go again! Shooting ourselves in the foot (and ankle, knee cap, hip joint, rib cage, etc, etc) – AGAIN! This is why our downtown is a freaking wasteland! This is why most people in the state think we’re a joke! This is why the young leave our seven hills in droves! The brohaha over the proposed swimming pool for Crompton Park has all the earmarks of a classic Worcester shit-storm: Yes, we want a pool at Crompton Park! No, we don’t want a pool in Crompton Park! Shove it up your tight butthole! NO! You shove it up your even tighter butthole! Worcester City Counilors (except for Barbara Haller) not doing their jobs (they had more than two years to decide what to do with our decrepit city pools!), then Worcester City Councilors grandstanding and bitching that they weren’t allowed to do their jobs! Well meaning community folks (mostly from the inner city) who have been disenfranchised for so long that they are totally inflexible on the issue just so they can feel like they matter to City Hall. Yup! Let’s all bite our noses to spite our faces!
And in the meantime, while our shitstorm blinds us, the $2.5 million that Worcester City Manager Mike O’Brien has set aside for the building of a cool, cool new pool at Crompton Park in Green Island – the digging and construction was supposed to begin THIS FALL/MAYBE EVEN THIS MONTH, if we weren’t so busy attacking each other! – could disappear. The $2.5 million could go to pay for other things … like the $150,000+ salaries of regular ol’ Worcester cops (don’t get me started – just see our Top 150 Municipal Wage Earners of Worcester, to the left.) Now that would be a tragedy. Continue reading Don’t look a gift pool in the mouth!
By Richard Schmitt
We do not think much about the cost of war. A few years after the end of the latest military engagement, we erect war monuments—plaques with names, statues of soldiers, civic buildings. We call our soldiers heroes, especially if they did not come home and that’s about it.
But a spate of recent news stories about the Iraq war cannot be ignored. They force us to face up to the horrendous cost of this war. Since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, 4328 soldiers are officially listed as killed, 31,431 officially listed as injured. Unofficial numbers for injuries are much higher. Many of the injured have brain damage.
We need to pause a minute with these numbers to consider that for every soldier killed, there is a grieving family—parents, brothers and sisters, often grandparents, uncles and aunts. Friends and neighbors are affected as well. Continue reading The cost of war
By John J. Foley, Jr.
In a recent issue of InCity Times, Congressman Jim McGovern and Jack Hoffman presented their cases for a radical overhaul of our health-care system. I do not deny that we need some reforms to the system. My main objection to both of their articles is the intellectual dishonesty running through their arguments.
I have long ago ceased to expect anything akin to objectivity or fairness from Mr Hoffman, but we have a right to hold a public official to higher standards. Continue reading Don’t be fooled by “statistics”
By Rosalie Tirella
I was glued to the TV this past weekend, watching history unfold before my eyes: the wake of the late, great US Senator Edward Moore Kennedy, the funeral mass of Ted Kennedy, the goodbyes to Ted Kennedy. From folks in Boston, Massachusetts, from his colleagues/staff in Washington DC., from people all over the country. The entire American pageant.
I only cried at the end, when I had wisely switched to CSPAN for the gravesite ceremony. Thanks to CSPAN, there was almost complete silence as Kennedy was carried to his grave in Arlington Cemetery. No commentators bloviating, no melodramatic music piped in by the news channels to seduce you into a mood. You simply saw the silent end – heart-rending. To be put into the ground. To be covered with dirt. To be locked in the earth, darkness, forever. Even with the flag draped over Kennedy’s coffin, all the flowers at the cemetery, the “eternal flame” at the grave site, and brothers Jack and Bobby waiting silently in the earth nearby, you felt: Teddy will never see a tree again – or the sky. Oh, the exquisite pain! Continue reading Our Teddy Kennedy
Book review by Steven R. Maher
There are a lot of books out there about Iraq. Many of them are poorly written, partisan to one viewpoint or another, and down right depressing. Richard N. Haass’ “War of Necessity, War of Choice” is different. It flows smoothly, is non-partisan, and avoids dwelling on the depressing aftermath of the 2003 invasion. It looks at the process by which America twice went to war with Iraq.
Haass was a senior director on the staff of the National Security Council from 1989 through 1993. He was present at many of the meetings that led to the successful first Iraq war in 1991 under the first Bush presidency of George H.W. Bush, when the United States drove Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.
Haass from 2001 to 2003 was a principal adviser to Secretary of State Colin Powell. Continue reading Book review: WAR OF NECESSITY, WAR OF CHOICE By Richard N. Haass
By Richard Schmitt
Somalia, a country in East Africa has suffered from civil war for many years. 200,000 Somalis fled to the US; 70,000 of them live in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area in the largest settlement of Somali refugees in the US. Many of these refugees came as children, often without parents. They graduated from high school here. Many are now in college. They have become American citizens.
The FBI has conducted a major investigation of the Somali community in recent years after 40 young men “disappeared”–supposedly they returned to Somalia and joined a radical Islamist organization that is trying to take power in the country. One of the young Somali-American men died on a suicide mission in Somalia last October. The FBI is asking who persuaded these young men to return to a country they barely knew since they, after all, had been children when they left. Many of them are said not to speak Somali any more. It is clearly important to find out who is persuading these young men to leave Minnesota to return to fight for a cause they are unlikely to understand fully. Continue reading When America falls short
By Lisa Wathne
Dolphins are dying to entertain us. That’s the message of a devastating new documentary, The Cove, which sheds light on a dirty secret of the marine-park industry.
Every year between September and March, more than 2,000 dolphins are slaughtered in the small fishing village of Taiji, Japan, where The Cove was secretly filmed. Most of the dolphins are butchered and sold for meat. A dead dolphin is worth about $600.
But a few live dolphins—about two dozen each year—are sold to aquariums, performing-dolphin shows and swim-with-the-dolphins programs in Mexico, China, the Philippines and other countries. It’s these lucrative sales that keep the dolphin slaughter going. A single live dolphin can fetch more than $150,000.
During a typical slaughter—or “drive fishery,” as it is called—boats chase pods of dolphins while crew members clang metal poles together underwater, creating a cacophonous wall of sound that disorients the animals. Some dolphins are pursued for hours. Continue reading What marine-mammal parks don’t want you to know
By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee member
InCity Times has been a strong advocate for our children in Worcester and has especially attempted to support educational efforts on behalf of those families who have no voice in the decision-making process. One of the questions facing education across the nation is what can be done to help our children learn at high levels. Can poor children and children of color achieve success? Is it possible for schools to help children who face the substantial obstacles of poverty and discrimination learn to read, write and become educated citizens?
As a former Worcester Public Schools principal and a long-time educator, I believe the answer is “yes.” The question is how to do it and is it being done? Robert Gordon, education advisor to U. S. Senator John Kerry, pleads passionately for us to recognize that if we rectify our most glaring and manifest shortcomings, then we can achieve a social miracle. We can have an America where birth doesn’t dictate destiny. Nothing offends democratic ideals more than the fact that a typical African American 12th grader reads at the same level as a typical middle-class or white 8th grader. Nothing is a greater threat to middle-class prosperity than mediocre schools. Continue reading Successful Strategies in Schools