Tag Archives: incitytimesworcester.org – ICT website

“Strange Fruit” …

Strange Fruit

By Abel Meeropol

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant South,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,
And the sudden smell of burning flesh!

Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop

InCity Book Review

But first …

******

Unholy Alliance: The Agenda Iran, Russia and Jihadists Share for Conquering the World

By Jay Sekulow, (2016, First Howard Books, 310 Pages)

Reviewed by Steven R. Maher

If you dislike Muslims, you’ll love this book. If you were looking for an even-handed description of the Middle East turmoil, reading Unholy Alliance: The Agenda Iran, Russia and Jihadists Share for Conquering the World, will be a severe disappointment. That was this writer’s opinion after reading Jay Sekulow’s Unholy Alliance. In this book, Sekulow postulates the unlikely theory that “Muslim jihadists” such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS are conspiring with Iran and Vladimir Putin’s Russia to take over the world.

Sekulow wants the reader to believe that Sunni terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS are, or could be, allied with Iranian Shiites to seize the planet. That the Sunnis and Shiites have been fighting each other for 1,400 years argues against this.As support for his belief in a pan-Muslim terrorist conspiracy, Sekulow says Shiite Iran is the major backer of the Sunni Hamas movement in the West Bank. That is an exceptional case, as Hamas is in the belly of Israel, and Israel is a major target of Islamic extremists today.

Sekulow ardmits that Iran is fighting Al-Qaeda in Syria, and asserts later that Al-Qaeda directs its overseas operations from Iranian sanctuaries. The idea that Iran is knowingly allowing Al-Qaeda to direct its Syrian followers from Iranian territory to kill Iranian Revolutionary Guards supporting Bashar Al-Assad in Syria, is absurd.

Chief Counsel of ACLJ

Sekulow is the Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, the conservative version of the American Civil Liberties Union.

“The ACLJ was founded in 1990 by law school graduate and evangelical minister Pat Robertson to protect constitutional and human rights worldwide,” says Wikipedia. “ACLJ generally pursues constitutional issues and conservative Christian ideals in courts of law.”

This book reads like a law review article. Sekulow sources his book with Teutonic thoroughness, citing 1,460 endnotes in the186 pages in the body of the book. There are 119 pages – or 38% of the total – devoted to acknowledgments, notes, appendixes, and the index.

“Unholy Alliance” is like another tome reviewed here, “Trouble in the Tribe”. (See http://incitytimesworcester.org/steve-parked-%F0%9F%9A%99-in-roses-space-incity-times-book-review/.) In “Trouble in the Tribe”, we noted how the author dumped a great deal of specific information into endnotes, “which should have been better served in the main text, or attached as footnotes on the pages where they are cited.” In Unholy Alliance, there is a whole page for one endnote, and a large mass in commentary in the others that would better serve the reader being attached as footnotes. Unlike “Trouble in the Tribe”, “Unholy Alliance” makes little pretense at being an evenhanded analysis.

Sekulow analyzes the Muslim faith. He provides examples of how British Islamic groups prefer Islamic tribunals using Sharia law to British courts, and the terrible injustices which take place in those tribunals, particularly against women. He implies that America’s Muslim population has the same plan for the U.S. This book was published in September 2016, before Donald Trump’s surprising upset. Trump’s election makes the possibility of American courts adopting Sharia law remote.

He quotes sections of the Koran which, taken out of context and the times in which they were written, make the Muslim faith look absurd and blood thirsty. Sekulow acknowledges that critics of Judaism have done the same type of misrepresentation of the Jewish bible. He excuses this by saying essentially that the Koran was intended as a “universal and timeless” document, while the Jewish bible is a history book.

Dubious Sources

Some of the sources cited by Sekulow are at best dubious. This is another reason the author may have avoided footnotes. To find who the references are for some of these, you must turn several hundred pages forward to look up the endnote. On the other hand, if there were footnotes naming these sources, the questionable nature of some of Sekulow’s sources would become immediately known to the reader.

To illustrate this, we did a computer analysis of Chapter Nine “Iran and Al Qaeda”. The last time America launched a preemptive invasion in the Middle East, George W. Bush and the neocons linked Al-Qaeda to Iraq.

We plugged into an Excel spreadsheet the 141 sources cited by the author in 132 endnotes in Chapter 9. We then sorted the data by two sequences: by the source cited in the endnote; and by the year in which the source originated. We found:
• 51% of the sources were dated 2009 or prior. For some reason, Sekulow relied on older historical information. There were only four sources from 2012, two cites from one source dated 2014, and three from 2016.

• One out of five endnotes (28 in total) cited Ronen Bergman’s book “The Secret War with Iran.” One PBS broadcast was cited seven times. The 2004 9/11 Commission Report was cited 17 times. The 13 sources dated 2013 included four marked “opinion” in its web locations, and seven endnotes were from three sources.

• Most disturbing of all was Sekulow’s frequent cites to the Weekly Standard, the neoconservative magazine that clamored for the disastrous 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. One such article, cited in five endnotes, was co-authored by William Kristol, America’s foremost neoconservative. There were 23 sources dated 2015; sixteen of these, or 70%, derived from the Weekly Standard. The same people who bought us the war in Iraq are now ginning up for a war in Iran.

Severe Disappointment

As we said at the beginning of this book review, if you dislike Muslims, you’ll like this book. If you were looking for an even-handed description of the Middle East turmoil, reading “Unholy Alliance” will be a severe disappointment.

AMERICA SHOULD RETURN TO CELEBRATING WASHINGTON AND LINCOLN 🎂 🇺🇸

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George Washington’s birthday?🎁February 22, 1732.🇺🇸🇺🇸 pic: R.T.

By Steven R. Maher

This coming Monday (February 20, 2017) Americans will celebrate Presidents’ Day. This writer thinks that the holiday should revert to the celebration of the United States’ two greatest Presidents, George Washington (born February 22, 1732) and Abraham Lincoln (born February 12, 1809).

My reasons for advocating this is that there are some Presidencies I don’t want to celebrate. Most Americans probably feel the same way. For example, if you’re a Republican, do you want to celebrate the Presidencies of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama? Chances are, probably not. If you’re a Democrat, do you want to celebrate the Presidencies of Herbert Hoover, Richard Nixon, George W. Bush and Donald Trump? Chances are, probably not.

I think you see the point.

1971 Change in Law

In 1879 Congress passed a statute declaring Washington’s birthday a federal holiday for government offices in Washington DC. This was expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices. “As the first federal holiday to honor an American president, the holiday was celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday, February 22,” according to the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

In 1971 Congress enacted the “Uniform Monday Holiday Act,” the name of which explains why the holiday schedules were changed. Washington’s Birthday is now celebrated the third Monday in February. But “Washington’s Birthday” remains the official name of the federal holiday. Wikipedia noted: “Various theories exist for this, when reviewing the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill debate of 1968 in the Congressional Record, one notes that supporters of the bill were intent on moving federal holidays to Mondays to promote business.” Alexander Hamilton would have undoubtedly approved.

Historians’ Rankings of our Presidents

Presidential rankings have been a small American cottage industry since Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr. conducted a poll of historians ranking U.S. Presidents in 1948. Wikipedia has summarized many of these studies, and it seems that three Presidents are perennial favorites for greatest President: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt, listed in this paragraph in chronological order. Usually, historians pick Lincoln as the greatest President, Washington as the second greatest and Roosevelt as third. My expectation is that Reagan will likely enter this top tier as our fourth greatest President. Reagan shifted the “correlation of forces” and momentum in the Cold War to favor the U.S., and the Soviet Union collapsed not long after Reagan left office.

The worst President, by consensus, was James Buchanan, who left office as southern states were abandoning the union because of Lincoln’s election. As Wikipedia puts it: “The C-SPAN Survey of Presidential Leadership consists of rankings from a group of presidential historians and ‘professional observers of the presidency’ who ranked presidents in a number of categories initially in 2000 and more recently in 2009. With some minor variation, both surveys found that historians consider Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt the three best presidents by a wide margin and William Henry Harrison (to a lesser extent), Warren G. Harding, Andrew Johnson, Franklin Pierce, George W. Bush and James Buchanan the worst.”

Bill Clinton once famously said a statement of his could be interpreted differently depending on how one defined the word “is.” To a large extent, the same can be said of Presidential “greatness.” One conservative Presidential historian ranked Presidents based on “whether their policies promoted prosperity, liberty and non-intervention, as well as modest executive roles for themselves.” As Wikipedia put it, “his final rankings varied significantly from those of most scholars.” If one ranked post World War II Presidents based on prosperity, balanced budgets and keeping the country out of war, Dwight Eisenhower and Bill Clinton would be ranked at the top.

The states do not have to blindly follow the federal government in naming holidays. Massachusetts joins eight other states in celebrating “Presidents’ Day.” Five states celebrate Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays: Montana, Colorado, Ohio, Utah and Minnesota. Ohio and Colorado celebrate “Washington-Lincoln Day.”

Massachusetts should join in with the latter two in celebrating Washington and Lincoln – and not non-entities like Chester Arthur and Millard Fillmore on a generic “Presidents Day.”

Chef Joey in Rose’s space … InCity Yum Yums: February is a funny month

ICT_Yum Yums-edited
Chef Joey keeps it cozy in February with tasty treats!

Text, photos and recipes by Chef Joey

February is that funny month: it is shorter than the others and has a “Leap Year” attached to it. Here in New England there can be a roller-coaster ride of seasonal activity – from mild almost spring- like weather to frost-bite severe. We seem to be mirroring storms that graced us in 2015, not as severe yet, but just as menacing.

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Chef Joey’s Vinny and Mikey lounge on the couch. Spoiled babies💙!

Some useless trivia: Because February is only 28 days long, it can actually have no full moons. The last full moon in February was in 1999, and the next gap is predicted on the 2018 astrological calendar.

It also is the host month of Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday,” literally translated), the kick off to Lent by Ash Wednesday followed, for some people, by 40 days of giving up something (albeit excused one day for St Patrick’s Day, March 17). Ironically, Fat Tuesday is the last day of February this year on the 28th, making March 1 Ash Wednesday.

Having grown up in France, this day was a build-up event. Basically eating everything that is fattening for 7 days before the fast!

We in the south of France made crêpes. In the middle country, they made Beignets or small doughnuts, and in Northern France, folks made waffles. All three meals are synonymous with the much celebrated day. Carnivals take place all over France. Carnival is a Latin word deriving from carnelevare, literally meaning “Lift out the meat”!! The following 40 days of fasting were virtually meat-free; butter and eggs were sparse in meals, as well.

In France, February 2 is always National Crêpe day, called “La Chandeleur.” It is a family event that involves Crepes, a gold coin and a flipping contest. My grandmother would make the crepe batter, and we all got a shot at flipping our delicate pancake. Tradition has it that if you flip the crêpe successfully, you won’t have any money problems. Oh, but there is a catch! You hold the coin with the hand you write with and flip your crepe with your other hand. It keeps things fun.

So, for French Crèpes, you make a simple batter:

1 cup flour, sifted

2 eggs

½ cup milk

½ cup water

¼ tsp salt

2 tbsp soft butter

Mix the eggs and flour together …

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… adding the milk and water slowly. Add the salt and butter and whisk until smooth. In a hot skillet, add a tsp of butter, or cooking oil for savory crêpes coat well. Add ¼ cup batter for each crepe and tilt the pan so the batter swirls out – the back of a ladle also helps to spread it out.

Cook for about 1 minute or until the sides are brown. Lift with a spatula to loosen it and cook the other side. Stack them on top of each other and cover with a cake pan (for height) or a piece of foil.

Crepes can be savory (salty) filled with ham and melted cheese, or sweet, say filled with Nutella or something as simple as strawberry jam.

********

COOKIES!!!!!🍪🍪😍😍

This is the easiest cookie recipe you will ever need for your entire life! The base is magic! And the fillings are what you want. When you make them from scratch, it takes 20 minutes and costs less than 20 cents a cookie. So bake a batch for your loved ones – they are nutritious and healthy.

You can add cinnamon, raisins, chocolate chips, dried fruit, glazes, frostings. Or you can roll this cookie dough out and get creative with cookie cutters. Or just roll into small balls for the perfect cookie.

You will need:

1 pound of soft BUTTER

1½ cups sugar

3 eggs

2 ¾ cup flour

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

Mix the sugar and butter until light and fluffy …

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… add the eggs and mix well.

Combine the flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar. Add flour mix in small batches – mix well.

Use a small ice-cream scoop to form round balls and place dough balls on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 mins in a 350-degree oven.

I make these cookies all the time for my foster daughter, and when she says, “Papa, I want a cookie!” I know she is getting good stuff. Tomorrow, when we’re snowed in …

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Chef Joey’s backyard, winter 2015 …

… I may make a few dozen 😉!

Mark your calendars! Our Story Edutainment Black History Month events at the Worcester Public Library!

Shepard-ProtectEachOther
by Shepard Fairey

At the WPL
Salem Square

Compiled by Parlee Jones

Feb 15 – Wednesday

Black Culture Movie Night

6 p.m.

Hidden Colors – Part 1

Hidden Colors is a documentary about the real and untold history of people of color around the globe. This film discusses some of the reasons the contributions of African and aboriginal people have been left out of the pages of history. Traveling around the country, the film features scholars, historians, and social commentators who uncovered such amazing facts about things such as: *the original image of Christ * the true story about the Moors *the original people of Asia *the great west African empires *the presence of Africans in America before Columbus
*the real reason slavery was ended *And much more.

Feb. 22 – Wednesday

Black Culture Movie Night

6 p.m.

Trials of Muhammad Ali

No conventional sports documentary, THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI investigates its extraordinary and often complex subject’s life outside the boxing ring. From joining the controversial Nation of Islam and changing his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali,to his refusal to serve in the Vietnam War in the name of protesting racial inequality, to his global humanitarian work, Muhammad Ali remains an inspiring and controversial figure. Outspoken and passionate in his beliefs, Ali found himself in the center of America’s controversies over
race, religion, and war. From Kartemquin
Films, this film examines how one of the
most celebrated sports champions of the
20th century risked his fame and fortune to follow his faith and conscience.

Feb. 25 – Saturday

Black Culture Movie for Children

2 p.m.

Zarafa

Under the cover of darkness a small boy,
Maki, loosens the shackles that bind him and escapes into the desert night. Pursued by slavers across the moon-lit savannah, Maki meets Zarafa, a baby giraffe – and an orphan, just like he is – as well as the nomad Hassan, Prince of the Desert. Hassan takes them to Alexandria for an audience with the Pasha of Egypt, who orders him to deliver the exotic animal as a gift to King Charles of France. And so Maki, Zarafa and Hassan take off in a hot-air balloon to cross the Mediterranean, setting off an adventure across Northern Africa, the bustling port of Marseilles, and over the snow-capped peaks of the Alps, arriving at last in Paris. But all the while, Maki is determined to find a way to return Zarafa to her rightful home.

Mount Carmel Preservation Society will be meeting on MONDAY, February 6 – 6:30 p.m.

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pic: R.T.

editor’s note: From Mauro DePasquale. I’ve made some sentences bold:

… at WCCA TV, 415 Main Street. Near City Hall.

Please make every effort to attend.

Thank you!

Many of you may have received letters from the Bishop and Monsignor Pedone in the last two days or so.

The work of our society is NOT OVER!

We will continue to stand tall with courage and move forward with our mission with stronger determination.

MPS has filed a Canonical Appeal to address the Bishop’s decree announcing a parish merger. He will have a limited time to respond.

Remember, shortly after the Monsignor locked the doors and first filed for a permit to demolish [Our Lady of Mount Carmel] Church we began our mission to Fix the Church and Save the Parish on Mulberry Street.

Since then, the Monsignor stated numerous times in public and in private meetings that if we raised the funds to alleviate the burden of cost of the “Make Safe” work, as ordered by the City Building commissioner, and have a sustainability plan and engineers signed off on the work, he will re-open the Church for masses. We responded that when this work is completed and after doors are opened for mass, we will then collect our pledges.

Well, it looks like the “Make Safe” work is done or very very close to being completed. So will the doors be opened? We expect to hear from the City of Worcester inspectors if the church is safe to occupy or not.

Coincidentally, the decree merged the parish as of Feb. 1, and it was announced that activities and materials will be moved to [Our Lady of] Loretto church and another Our Lady of Providence on Lincoln Street. Just in time when the work may be completed. So . . . . ! Does it sound like doors will be opened?

The letters you received may seem to illustrate a complete disregard for the work and efforts of all you toward fixing our church and saving our parish. However, we continue to seek clarification and a possible willingness, on the Diocese part, to explore a way to save the church as a sacred space.

We made numerous calls to the City planning department asking if the City Inspector has signed off. We expect to hear from them soon.

Although Mount Carmel is on of the top 7 most endangered historic resources in Massachusetts, our petition for a Historic District Feasibility study was stunningly turned down by members of the Historic Commission. We were told an appeal, if unlikely voted in an affirmative, may be possible but it may also be a lengthy process, if it passes. Not in time for the May wrecking ball.

There still are options. We will discuss them on Monday.

To save this important historical treasure as our sacred worship place, we must continue to pray the Monsignor and/or the Bishop come to understand what is truly in the best interest of our parish, the faithful, and perhaps the Diocese. The right and just decision for the Diocese, we believe, is to consider fixing the church and bringing the entire parish back to Mulburry Street.

Many have asked me: “If the church is fixed, why not let us all have another chance at sustaining it?”

I asked the Diocese if the work ordered by the City to fix the church is completed. Vicor Reidy returned my call today. The following simply outlines the points he made in our discussion which he believes are true at this time:

Regarding Receipt of our appeal:

1. The Bishop did receive our appeal. No comment was offered.

Regarding the “Make Safe work as ordered by the City:

2.Banding on the Church tower is completed

3.Tie back work is completed

4. Diocese engineers have inspected the work. He did not elaborate on that. They may have signed off on it. We are not certain, however.

5. Through bolts and plates were being added to prevent the veneer on the facade from falling off.

6. There is more exploratory work that may be going on to see what other urgent work that may need addressing. He did not elaborate.

7.Some of the netting was tucked in. This may indicate that the facade work is completed.

8. He said it is “Virtually done, if not totally.”

9. He then stressed it was a temporary fix, “not permanent.”

NEXT STEPS:

1. We will discuss on Monday night.

2. Monsignor Pedone is putting together a committee to determine next steps for the property. We have asked to participate in that committee. We have received no response as of this writing.

2. The Vicor added that the Diocese is not driving this – under canon law, the Paster makes the decisions relative to these matters.

We hope to hear from our Canon advisor before articulating and determining our MPS next steps. We have sent in the appeal. The Bishop has it and is obligated to respond.

See you Monday (Feb 6), if not Sunday at the vigil.

Your ideas, editorials, donations are welcomed!

Thank you,

Mauro
http://www.preserveourladyofmountcarmel.org

Parlee in Rose’s space!😌 … This Saturday – February 4 – at the Worcester Public Library! Bob Marley Birthday Bash!🎵💖

bob(1)
Bob!!!

Parlee for Rosalie
Parlee!! GO, PARLEE, GO!!!!

From our PARLEE JONES:

At the Worcester Public Library
Salem Sq.

February 4 – this Saturday!

1 p.m.

The Bob Marley Birthday Bash!
You and your family are invited to celebrate the life and music of Robert Nesta Marley.
BOB CAKE(1)

Watch a video documentary on his life!🎬

Live Music!🎵🎵

Sunta Africa and the Small Axe Band!🎹

Worcester’s Best Performers!🎹🎸🎁

Sample Authentic Jamaican Food!🍴

Spoken Word Poets!🎤

Love, Peace & Happiness💜💙❤💚💗💛 …

After Party at WCUW, 910 Main Street at 9 pm. $5. BYOB. 18+

– 💕Parlee Jones

Trump clone Worcester City Councilor Michael Gaffney and his Resolution (or Revolution?!) of Hatred

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You see this big sign when you enter Worcester City Hall from the city parking garage. It WELCOMES ALL TO WORCESTER! photo: R. Tirella

By Rosalie Tirella

Take City Councilor Michael Gaffney (PLEASE!). Has there ever been such a dangerous Worcester City Councilor? Such a loathsome opportunist, cynic, headline-grabber and power-snatcher posing as a city “leader”? A demagogue lurking beneath a friendly, penguin-emblazoned sweat-shirt, force smiling that weird, serpentine smile of his and doing all sorts of nefarious things to my beloved city? Worcester’s  own snake in the grass!

Michael (Mike) Gaffney’s goal?

Pure raw power.

And to overthrow the Democrats who, for the most part, have run this city for decades.

Gaffney wants a Republican-lead Worcester and he, already the head of the city’s Republican committee. wants to be crowned her king.

Screw the  fairly progressive Democratic Gateway City we all live in and pretty much love. Welcome to carnage-strewn Trumpland! Welcome to Gaffney shitsville where people, especially minorities, are thrown under the bus daily.

If we aren’t smart and vigilant, Gaffney – with the help of his friend and personal public relations machine, the racist, classist Aidan Kearney of Jefferson, the evil voice of the hate-spewing Turtle Boy blog  – could become our next mayor! Think I’m kidding? Worcesterites are getting used to Gaffney’s creepy, slippery ways. And he’s smart: people often don’t realize he’s playing them, playing on their deepest prejudices when he decides to run hard with a (wedge) issue on the City Council floor and wants their support. Or when he conflates two issues and ends up scapegoating a minority group. Or when he just fucks with our heads, sowing racial intolerance and chaos.

Forget about leading a  complex, diverse, very cool Gateway City! Gaffney is all about hatred.

Gaffney, a relative newbie to the Worcester City Council, is the exact kind of morally bankrupt asshole you’d expect to be vomited up during these toxic Trump times! His ideas, his speeches, even his supporters are all taken from the Donald Trump playbook. Our insane PRESIDENT😰😫😫 has made it ok for politicians like Gaffney to behave in racist, divisive, bigoted ways. Trump has, perversely, validated their un-American-ness! Because he’s the biggest fascist!

So Gaffney throws a bomb on to the City Council floor every other week!

He traumatizes the City of Worcester with his red herrings for mere political gain and to weaken the city’s present power structure. Gaffney’ll pounce on any issue – or create one – that he thinks will hurt our mayor, Joe Petty, and make him (Gaffney) the hero. Gaffney will say anything or float any nutty, racially explosive idea to gain the upper hand. Usually it’s one that is somehow connected to vulnerable subsets of our people – for example: the minority-run Mosaic Group or City Councilor Sarai Rivera and her property. Gaffney beat those issues and people to death. He was able to be so merciless because both issues’ main players were people of color. And there are lots of bigots in this town (all Turtle Boy readers) who cheered him on!

Now we’ve got the latest Gaffney-manufactured shit-storm, another racial and ethnic hornets nest, with our weakest brothers and sisters (many children) at its heart: Next city council meeting City Councilor Michael Gaffney is ASKING THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL TO WEIGH IN ON SANCTUARY CITIES. TO, IN A VERY PUBLIC WAY, DECLARE THAT WORCESTER IS OR IS NOT A SANCTUARY CITY. Gaffney is demanding that his City Council colleagues  sign on to – or not! – the anti-Sanctuary City resolution he has so craftily crafted!

What garbage. What bull shit. What a way to make the City Council fritter away the city’s time! This has nothing to do with making Woo a better city! Gaffney has set up this situation up so he can WIN POLITICAL POINTS – and he wins either way!

He hurts Mayor Joe Petty and the Dem power structure in town no matter how the council votes. Just bringing this shit resolution on the council floor opens the floodgates to race baiting, group-hating and soul-sapping arguments between Woo residents and among Woo City council members. Rotten words and hurt feelings will rule the day as we rue the day!

Gaffney does not give a fig that he teases out all kinds of racist feelings in our community,  exploits people’s deepest prejudices and obfuscates the real issues.

He willfully chooses to make things murky! He uses people. He keeps Worcesterites from understanding each other and learning the truth about each other!

On Gaffney’s watch there is no bending that arc towards justice! Just more hatred in hate-filled times.

So, this is what the Gaffer’s true intentions are:

1. To get the mayor and city council to say: YES, we’re a SANCTUARY CITY.

2. To get the mayor and city council to say: NO, we’re not a SANCTUARY CITY.

If they go with #1 they make all their constituents happy and do the right thing, but the City, thanks to President Trump, loses millions of dollars (except for cops) in federal funding. Also: the more conservative folks in Worcester, plus all our racists and bigots, will hate them and try to vote them out of office in November.

If they go with #2, their constituents and supporters will be devastated and Worcester’s most vulnerable folks will be scapegoated, sent back to violent lands, torn apart. They will be broken-up and broken-hearted. We’ll get the federal monies, but we’ll lose a good chunk of our collective soul.

In the meantime,  a crazy, evil, confused and confusing debate swallows up our city.

Thanks to City Councilor and mayoral candidate Michael Gaffney.

For Gaffney to create this kind of civic havoc is wrong.

For him to create a scenario, under the guise of his stupid SANCTUARY CITY RESOLUTION, divides folks. It pits one group of people against another, magnifies our slight differences and attempts to erase our shared humanity.

It’s just not right!

As we say here in lower Vernon Hill: Michael Gaffney’s a PIECE OF SHIT.

At Clark U in Main South: What’s so funny?!😄😂😜

But first …

From Bill Maher:

*******

Clark University’s Higgins School of Humanities’ spring dialogue symposium asks ‘What’s so funny?’

Lectures, exhibits and films examine how humor connects and divides

This spring, Clark University’s Higgins School for Humanities presents “What’s so funny?” a symposium that comprises lectures, community conversations and exhibits on humor.

“Our symposium asks how humor creates and fragments communities. What larger cultural, social, and political role does humor play? In short, what can we learn when we take jokes, comedy, and laughter seriously?” wrote Amy Richter, director of the Higgins School of Humanities.

All events listed below are FREE TO ALL and will be held on the Clark University campus:

Lecture

“The Science of Laughter”
7 p.m.
Wednesday, February 1
Higgins Lounge at Dana Commons, 2nd floor
British neuroscientist and stand-up comedian Sophie Scott (University College London) will discuss the sometimes surprising science and evolution of laughter—an emotion with its roots in play and social bonding. She will explore questions such as: How and why do humans laugh? What do brain studies reveal about laughter? What happens when laughter goes wrong? This event is co-sponsored by the Higgins School of Humanities and the Frances L. Hiatt School of Psychology at Clark.

Lecture and exhibition

“Cartooning; Sense, Nonsense, Applications”
4 p.m.
Tuesday, February 7
Exhibition runs from Tuesday, Feb. 7, through Monday, May 22
Higgins Lounge at Dana Commons, 2nd floor
Cartoonists James Sturm and Caleb Brown will look beyond graphic novels and iconic characters to emphasize cartooning’s ability to communicate complex information quickly and effectively, share powerful and precise visual narratives, and engage readers of all ages, nationalities, and socio-economic backgrounds.
Sturm, cofounder of The Center for Cartoon Studies, will curate an accompanying exhibit on “applied cartooning.” The selected images will highlight the ways the medium itself is being used to innovate and problem-solve in medicine, business, education, and other fields.
This event is co-sponsored by the Higgins School of Humanities, Difficult Dialogues, and the Media, Culture and the Arts Program.

Lecture

“Dark Humor and the African American Image”
7 p.m.
Thursday, February 16
Higgins Lounge at Dana Commons, 2nd floor
Scholar and curator Tiffany E. Barber will draw upon her recent exhibition, “Dark Humor: African American Art from the University of Delaware,” to consider the significance of humor in contemporary art. Barber will discuss how contemporary black artists, such as Camille Billops, David Hammons, Barkley Hendricks, and Peter Williams, employ subversive humor to question the currency of cultural and racial stereotypes.
This event is part of the African American Intellectual Culture Series, and is cosponsored by the Higgins School of Humanities, the Office of the Provost, and the Department of Visual and Performing Arts.

Talk and book signing

“Light in the Dark: A Talk on Writing and Humor”
7p.m.
Thursday, February 23
Higgins Lounge at Dana Commons, 2nd floor
Is it possible to fake your own death in the twenty-first century? With six figures of student loan debt, author Elizabeth Greenwood was tempted to find out. She set off on a foray into the world of death fraud, where for $30,000 a consultant can make you disappear, possibly forever. Greenwood will read from her book “Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud” (2016), and introduce us to men and women desperate enough to lose their identities—and their families—to begin again. She will lead a discussion on the role of humor in illuminating and exploring our darkest impulses. A book signing will follow. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event. This event is co-sponsored by the Higgins School of Humanities and the Writing Center.

Lecture and book signing

“BALLS: It Takes Some to Get Some”
7 p.m.
Wednesday, March 1
Higgins Lounge at Dana Commons, 2nd floor
For Chris Edwards, a former advertising creative director, changing his gender from female to male took balls…and a damn good sense of humor. How did he find the courage to come out at a company board meeting of white, middle-aged executives; to endure 28 painful and extensive surgeries; or to show up at his 10-year high school reunion? Edwards will read from his funny and poignant memoir “BALLS: It Takes Some to Get Some” (2016), and share how humor helped him re-brand himself and gain acceptance from his family, friends, and colleagues at a time when the word “transgender” was almost non-existent.
A book signing will follow. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event. This event is co-sponsored by the Higgins School of Humanities and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program.

Workshop

“The Truth is Funny: An Improvisation Workshop”
7 p.m.
Wednesday, March 15
Higgins Lounge at Dana Commons, 2nd floor
“The truth is funny. Honest discovery, observation, and reaction is better than contrived invention.” The words of actor Del Close have inspired countless improvisational comics. In this workshop, Dan Balel (Theater) and Gino DiIorio (Theater) will lead us in theater games and improvisation exercises to develop trust, reveal truths, and generate laughs.
This event is cosponsored by the Higgins School of Humanities and the Theatre Arts Program.

Film Screening and Discussion

“’THE LAST LAUGH’; A Film Screening and Discussion”
7 p.m.
Tuesday, March 21
Jefferson Academic Center, Room 320
“THE LAST LAUGH,” a feature documentary by Ferne Pearlstein, proceeds from the premise that the Holocaust would seem to be an absolutely off-limits topic for comedy. But is it? History shows that even the victims of the Nazi concentration camps used humor as a means of survival and resistance. Still, any hint of comedy in connection with this horror risks diminishing the suffering of millions. So where is the line? If we make the Holocaust off limits, what are the implications for other controversial subjects— 9/11, AIDS, racism—in a society that prizes freedom of speech? Valerie Sperling (Holocaust and Genocide Studies/Political Science) and Amy Richter (History) will facilitate a conversation after the film.
This event is co-sponsored by the Higgins School of Humanities, the Holocaust and Genocide Studies Program, and Screen Studies.

Lecture

“Brother Jonathan Runs for President: American Humor, Vernacular Values, and the Rise of Trump”
7 p.m.
Tuesday, March 28
Higgins Lounge at Dana Commons, 2nd floor
Challenges to America’s most sacred myths fuel the traditions of vernacular humor, which asserts faith in ordinary Americans and mistrust of elites. Spoof presidential campaigns by ostensibly ordinary citizens—heirs of Brother Jonathan, folklore’s quintessential American—have mocked the ideological contradictions of presidential campaigns whose vernacular values nonetheless yield elite results.

Professor Judith Yaross Lee (Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University) will consider how nearly 200 years of spoof campaigns in cartoon, video, newspaper features, and other formats highlight values and visions always at stake in the presidential race, but especially in the candidacy of Donald Trump. This event is co-sponsored by the Higgins School of Humanities, the Department of History, and the Bland Fund of the Department of Political Science.