Tag Archives: America

What happened to my America?

By Edith Morgan

Where is the America I knew? I came here in 1941; this was the only country still taking in refugees, and we got in at the last minute (two months before Pearl Harbor). The U.S. quotas were full, and we were saved only because FDR established a special quota for “political refugees.”

The America I found was still struggling to recover from the crash of 1929, which finally ended when we entered World War II and the government went into full war production.
At that time, the America I knew was governed by two kinds of people: the usual politicians, beholden to various pressure groups, and the statesmen, the REAL public servants who truly wanted to work to better the lot of all people.

It was a time when “the customer was always right”, when banks were a service (not a business) as was the U.S. Post Office, and he teachers, policemen, and firemen were all public servants whose jobs were not expected to make a profit, but were legitimate expense that taxes were used to support. Most Americans agreed that an education was a valuable asset, and all of us looked up to our teachers and learned what we were expected to learn….

The airwaves were the property of the public, and stations were required to renew their licenses every three years, after consulting their publics as to how satisfied they were with the offerings.

Corporations were creatures of the state, chartered to do business according to certain rules and charters could be revoked under certain conditions. And under Teddy Roosevelt, the antitrust laws were rigorously enforced, so that no corporations could become big enough to sink the economy again.

How did were change so much that money is now everything? That “we know the price of everything and the value of nothing”? That lying has become an accepted national art (as advertising becomes more and more ubiquitous and more exaggerated), and that even freedom has a price? How have we come to accept the idea that government, which is usually all that stands between the individual and depredations of those who seek power over us, is blamed for our ills.

There is not a rule or law that has been passed that was not the RESULT of some citizens’ request for protection. Maybe we overdid it, passing laws to respond to single cases (which could be reversed if needed), but at least the individual in America could always expect his government to respond to him (unlike his employer), and to protect him overseas.

Now we are subject to the whims and greed and power mad urges of the very rich, many of whom inherited their money from parents who actually earned their money. Not one of them has invented anything, as all the inventors I know of began with hunches and ideas, often tinkering for a long time in garages and studies or labs, surviving on government grants, the support of the family or schools until they invented something that succeeded in making them rich (like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs).

Where did this vagrant notion originate that if we throw more money at those who already have too much they will suddenly become creative and inventive? There is no evidence that they will do anything except to squirrel away more money, buy more expensive “toys” and such more assets out of smaller businesses, while overcharging the taxpayers for their services.

It is high time that the American people stop to think, reverse the deadly course we are on, and once again become the America that was once a beacon to other nations. The preamble to our constitution begins with the words: “We the people”, not “We the states” nor “we the corporations.”

Celebrate Patriots Day! Watch “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” starring James Cagney!

By Rosalie Tirella

I seem to have grown more patriotic with age. I remember when I played apathetic American years ago, as a dopey kid: sorta standing, shoulders slouched, of course, kinda placing a very limp hand over my heart during the Pledge of Allegiance as it blared over the loud speaker at home room in Burncoat Senior High School. I was 17 then, a cool graduating senior. I did my best to look bored with the whole deal – too cool (it was 1979!) to feel the love for old America, too dopey to understand the idea of America, too immature to get down on my knees (like my grandmother would) and thank God for America.

I remember a few years later, when I was 19, and the Vietnam War had wound down but there was still a draft. I told my mother, if young women were to be callled up: I would never fight. I would high tail it to Canada.

I had never really seen my mom look ashamed of me; she never berated me either. This time was different – she was actually mad at her favorite daughter. “Rosalie,” she said in a stern tone of voice I had never heard before, “you wouldn’t die for your country?” Then, my 40-something year-old mom, a woman way past her prime from raising three kids alone and working 60 hours a week at a minimum wage crap job in an inner-city Worcester neighborhood, said with iron-clad pride: “I would fight for my country! I would die for my country!”

I didn’t get her.

All I knew is that if the Soviet Union had bombed us that second, my mother would have run to city hall, kitchen carving knife in hand, and demanded: WHERE CAN I ENLIST?!

Today at age 85, my mother was/is part of the World War II/Great Depression generaton – the group of folks newscaster Tom Brokow has dubbed: THE GREATEST GENERATION. And they were/are! Tough as nails, my mother is. My uncles and aunts the same – all determined, industrious people who always were/are honest, decent, polite and ready to help a person when the chips are down. They believe: we are in this thing together. We all rise together/fall together. We are Americans! They always sing the National Anthem, too. Know it by heart! They sing it loud and proud at baseball games and other public events. My mom, even with her dementia, hums the pre-game “Star Spangled Banner” when she watches her beloved Red Sox on TV.

My grand parents were just as patriotic as my mom. I remember my feisty old grandma from Poland used to tell people she loathed – like my ne’er do well, peripatatic father – “You no like this country? You no love this country?! Then get the hell out! Get the hell out!” Then she would turn to my father and show him her chunky round butt (swaddled in her flannel housecoat) and whack it hard. Her poverty-wracked life in America had swept the niceties away. Still, for my “Bapy,” it was church every day (back then immigrants like my grandmother attended Mass every day!) and America all the way!

Now? Well, now it is a completely different story. I don’t know if it’s reimagining my mother, my immigrant grandparents or almost 11 years of publishing and writing for my own paper – InCityTimes – but I am absolutely besotted with America! Cuckoo over the very idea! I adore my country’s fab history! It’s music. Its painters. Its national parks. Its great presidents (FDR, TR, Lincoln, Washington, Kennedy!). And lately … its grand musicals of the 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s.

No where can you see America at her finest – her feistiest, her most idealistic, her most artistic and talented – than in American musicals. The melodies, the lyrics, the choreographers, the dancers … all Americans! All American! All first rate! We really were number one back then! In brains, in heart, in spirit! The world looked upon us as a free, brassy, brilliant one of a kind miracle. Buy/rent/watch on TCM the following movies and you’ll see what I mean: “Top Hat/anything starring Fred Astaire,” “An American in Paris,” “Singing in the Rain/anything Gene Kelley,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Oaklahoma,” “South Pacific,” “Gi Gi,” “Show Boat,” “Calamity Jane,” “West Side Story,” “White Christmas,” “Going My Way,” “Guys and Dolls.”

Last night, in honor of Patriot’s Day, I watched the classic American musical “Yankee Doodle Dandy” starring the one and only classic American actor James Cagney! Fantastic!

There he is, James Cagney, a movie tough guy who is no Fred Astaire and can’t even carry a tune (he kinda half speaks/sings the songs), dancing to and singing classic American songs written by another classic American – song writer George Cohan … and he’s brilliant! Cagney’s performance makes you wanna stand up and cheer for our “Grand Old Flag.” And you believe we can lick Hitler because we won’t stop fighting “Til It’s Over, Over There!”!

All these great songs, celebrations of America, written to get us marching and singing. But not progaganda – garbage that was forced from the pen, lies to seduce the masses. These are American love songs written by guys like Cohen, Irving Berlin, Rodgers and Hart. Guys who were maybe considered part of America’s underbelly: Italian Americans and Jews whose parents came from Europe. Life was tough but there were opportunities for the industrious and talented! Look old woman from Italy! Your son has grown up to be frank Capra! Where would American musicals and movies be without first generation Americans like Frank Capra, Irving Berlin and George Cohan?

No where!

But I digress. LIke I said, in the movie Yankee Doodle Dandy, Cagney is no Fred Astaire; he can’t really dance or even sing! But he is mesmerizing! Ebullient! When you see Cagney strut down the stage and sing/speak Cohan’s songs, you are uplifted! You are bathed in pure spirit, pure American showmanship! And then the topper: as part of the finale, when Cagney as Cohan plays FDR in a skit, and the camera pans in for a close up Cagney/George Cohan looks squarely into the lens and basically tells Adoph Hitler to shove it!

I loved it! And so did the WW II audiences who first saw it! They got up to their feet in movie theatres all over the country and cheered! Here they were in the middle of World War II, up against EVIL incarnate and little tough thug james Cagney – with a hardscrabbe American background like my mom’s and grandma’s – is telling them: We’ll cream Hitler! We will be a free country – forever!

Only in America!

And FDR, Franklin Delano Roosvelt, the president Cagney/Cohan portrays in the skit? Well, my mom still finds it hard to believe her hero was in a wheelchair all those years. Sure, she tells me, everyone knew FDR had had polio, but … he couldn’t walk?! She still doesn’t quite believe the facts. And By God, if you watch, “Yankee Dodle Dandy” (Cagney/Cohan tells his life story to FDR during a visit with the president to receive the Congressinal Medal of Honor) FDR danced across America. Few folks (accept Eleanor!) could keep up!

It is so important to know our history! To tap into our American idealism and remember how great we really are! It just takes hard work, a bit of selflessness, a lot of joy! Watch “Yankke Doodle Dandy” or any Fred Astaire flick or any American musical, and you’ll see just how fantastic America is/YOU are!

Happy Patriot’s Day!

The New America

By Jack Hoffman

As unemployment grows, the poverty statistics grow with it. And the anger becomes greater. One wonders: When will the people take to the streets again?

Recently, on his radio talk show, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned “that if the national jobs crisis doesn’t end soon, the United States will soon see riots in the streets.”

Call it what you want, but the warnings of riots and revolution have been echoed all over the country in magazines, newspapers and talk on the radio and TV shows. Professor Thomas Kochan at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, certainly no bastion of liberalism, not only agrees with Mayor Bloomberg, but also was surprised there aren’t more visible signs of public anger/protests.

The real unemployment figure for the US has now reached a staggering 20%. And just how much is the real under-employment, meaning the figures on those who are now working a bare minimum of what they used to work and earn not so long ago. The figures I have used – and will use – are based on the US Dept. of Labor statistics. Recently, the job crisis has been inflamed with the new reports of poverty in America. That last statement is an obvious fact. If people are out of a job and working at a bare minimal wage – in many homes hamburger is now stretched thin with the addition of a crappy helper and in some cases dog food – they are POOR.

We here in the Bay State are fortunate compared to states like California, Nevada and parts of the Midwest that have double-digit unemployment. Places like Detroit and Milwaukee are almost wastelands compared to what they were 20 years ago. Here in Massachusetts we are more fortunate. Our unemployment figure for the past month has dipped from 7 ¾% to 7 ½%. In a recent Globe article is a listing of 15 town and cities where housing values have actually begun to rise.

I’m sure you all have heard the stories from neighbors, friends and within your own family. Take Bill Rickers of Hartford, Maine: In 1980 he fell through some boards while doing some carpentry work. He has since been unable to do any carpentry work. He has two college degrees. As a young man, Rickers worked as an electronics repairman, a pastor and a TV cameraman. He and his first wife had seven children. Now he receives food stamps, gets donations from a local food pantry store, and drives an 18-year-old car with 189,000 miles on it. About once every two months, as a treat, he goes out to lunch at a nearby lunch café.

After his accident Rickers was not able to tend to a three-unit apartment house he and his wife owned. They sold it, and bought a used trailer from the proceeds. If you think this is bad, he has serious back and shoulder injuries, his hands shake, he has congestive heart problems, asthma and arthritis. The stories go on and on.

That’s why I wasn’t so shocked when at a recent Republican debate Ron Paul was asked what do we do with folks like Ricker, who have no insurance — or any extra money Ricker has which is very little he uses for food. Mr. Paul’s answer was (in so many words): If he can’t get into a hospital he will just have to die.

At that moment there was a few dumb asses out there who actually applauded. I imagine some of the Tea Party/Fox TV crowd. I wasn’t surprised. Most likely the yelp and cheers came from the ones who love to raise the American flag on every holiday and consider themselves proud patriots.

Let the new figures speak for themselves:

Three out of four below the poverty line work; half have full-time jobs. One quarter work part-time. Only one quarter don’t work at all. So don’t give me that BS line “They should get a job.” 25% of all children, that’s 16.7 million, are living below the poverty line. 52% of all Americans, by the time they reach 65, will live in poverty. In one year, poverty has gone to 15% from 14.3%

Today there are 42 million Americans living in poverty. It has been more than 50 years since Edward R. Murrow telecast one of the most shocking and profound TV documentaries, A Harvest of Shame (poverty in America). That was a long time ago, and since then things have gotten worse.

America, land of morons, fearmongers and whores (and, of course, greedy bastards)

By Rosalie Tirella

America, land of morons, fearmongers and whores.

America, land of money grubbers, land of McMansions, land of bling bling, land of extreme poverty (let’s call it what it is: America’s underclass)

America, land of whores (Paris Hilton, Madonna, Lindsey Lohan). America, land of realty TV shows run amok! Let’s all sit in front of the TV and masturbate to: stupid brides, stupid chefs, stupid carpenters, stupid hairdressers, stupid musicians, stupid twenty soemthings, stupid politicians, stupid mud wrestlers, body flailers, breast beaters, face cutters botox injecters! Let’s watch them on TV! They have their own show!

America, land of countless talentless shows, where “the talent” has zero talent. America, land of TV ooglers and video game slobs, hence, land of the overweight and obese.

Ameica, land of the ugly – people who look ugly in their clothes not because they are poor but because they are soft and lazy and glommed onto their TVs, computers, etc, like flies to shit. Continue reading America, land of morons, fearmongers and whores (and, of course, greedy bastards)

Did the American Revolution begin in Worcester?

By Chris Horton

Revolution.

The word defines who we are as a people. Whether our ancestors came across the Bering Straits 10,000 years ago or just arrived here from Ireland or Columbia, we are the people who inherited the Revolution we celebrate every July 4. We march up and down, shoot off fireworks, listen to patriotic speeches – and sometimes – more and more often of late – we sit around the barbecue pit talking about how out of control our government has gotten, and how we need a new revolution, or are headed for one.

Our Declaration of Independence starts with the assertion of our right to make a revolution when we need to, but most of us know very little about revolutions, and our minds are full of images that scare us away if we get too close. Because “we need a revolution” connects to “peasants with pitchforks” and Minutemen with guns – and that usually stops us. Because if we think that a revolution is a war, anyone who understands what a war really is knows that we don’t want one if we can help it.

Yes, we Americans celebrate the Revolution – our own special kind of revolution. We’ve all heard Jefferson’s quote about the Tree of Liberty needing watering from time to time with the blood of tyrants and patriots. Continue reading Did the American Revolution begin in Worcester?

A two-party political system

By Carl Benander

Tony Hmura brings up the big increase in the number of state jobs; this, at time of extreme budgetary shortages.He calls attention to terribly excessive wages to certain state workers, wages that are not enjoyed by most workers in the Commonwealth.He mentions the difference between the retirement policies between State and Private sector employees.

First of all, being a reader, I make it a practice to read as much as possible that with which I may disagree. InCity Times fits this bill nicely. However what I like about it is the fact that you do not hesitate to “make waves, or “rock the boat”. I see very little of this in the T & G. Continue reading A two-party political system