By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Hello, slippery slope.  It didn’t take long for you to appear.

I’ve always noted that once the green light was given by the 5th Circuit to remove the New Orleans monuments that the slippery slope of further changes would break open. And so it has.

Read the list of names that activist group Take ‘Em Down NOLA wants changed because they celebrate white supremacy.

One is Touro Hospital.

Touro Hospital is named for Judah Touro, who was the son of Jewish immigrants and was born in Rhode Island. Touro fought in the Battle of 1812 and later worked in shipping, trade, and real estate. He lived a simple life and donated a lot of money across the country. In New Orleans one of his charitable works was to establish what would become Touro Hospital – the largest charity hospital in Louisiana.

But that’s racist, so it must go.

Tulane University must apparently change its name as well.

Why?  Because founder Paul Tulane donated large sums of money to the Confederate States of America.

Never mind that he gave large charitable donations to charities throughout New Orleans and that he worked to raise the quality of higher education in the city.

Most of the things on this list are absurd and I’d venture to say that 99.9% of the people in New Orleans don’t have one idea who Judah Touro was or who Lane Street is named for.  In fact, maybe we should quit calling the place in the road where one drives a “lane” – perhaps that too is racist.

There is still hope that some of this madness will end.  Two upcoming bills in the Louisiana Legislature may still protect these monuments and legacy names; similar bills have been successful in nearby states.

Even more bizarre is the fact that Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who is the brainchild of this removal project, has no idea what will replace the monuments that come down nor how any new monument or art would be paid for:

This is perplexing because in every other instance when anyone wants to tear down a historic site or building, the proposed destroyer must have a plan in place for what will be replacing the historic site and why it is justifiable. A year a and a half later, the City Council has not called a meeting to discuss future artwork options.  None of the organizations—Historic District Landmarks Commission and Human Relations Commission—that rubber stamped Landrieu’s cause have called such a meeting. Nothing is planned.  No public discussions held.  No artists commissioned.  No money for new monuments mentioned.  Mitch is the man without a plan.

I’m sure Take’Em Down NOLA has some ideas but, well, there’s that slippery slope again.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By:  Pat Austin

Added:  Thank you The Dead Pelican for the link!

SHREVEPORT – Bear with me, readers, for this week I’m bringing you a local problem but it is one that needs national attention in order for it to be rectified. Your help is needed.

Our local animal shelter is deplorable.  The city of Shreveport has a population of just over 200,000 people, and we are the third largest city in the state of Louisiana, yet we can’t seem to figure out how to run a humane animal shelter. The problems at Caddo Parish Animal Services are epic and have been going on for years. Any attempt to solve the problem has only been a token one.

Consider the following:

July 2007: CPAS director fired for failing to properly perform his duties, for example: failing to do rabies tests on a racoon that had scratched a man, among other offenses.

September 2007: CPAS adoption coordinator Raymond Abney resigns his position, citing multiple, horrific cases of torture, neglect, and abuse at the shelter.

2010: CPAS has a 78% euthanasia rate.

2011: CPAS has 80% euthanasia rate.

2012: CPAS has 83% euthanasia rate.

2013: CPAS has 81% euthanasia rate.

October 2013: Karen Dent’s Golden Retriever escaped her backyard when a tree fell on a fence; CPAS picked up the dog. Dent called the shelter and was told she could claim her dog, but when she arrived the dog had been euthanized.

October 2013: A puppy was found in September in a Shreveport storage locker, abandoned and left to die. Literally at death’s door, he was rescued and taken to the emergency vet clinic and then transferred to Benton Animal Hospital. By October he was in foster care with a vet tech and making a nice recovery at which time CPAS comes to their home and seizes the emaciated, still very fragile dog, as evidence of the animal abandonment crime. “Braveheart” was heartlessly placed in a kennel at CPAS rather than allowed to stay in foster care under the attention of a vet tech. Massive public outcry resulted in animal cruelty charges against the owner of the storage locker. (Braveheart’s story has a happy ending.)

2014: CPAS has 79% euthanasia rate.

August 2014: Adoptions volunteer Reed Ebarb resigned his position at CPAS after director Everett Harris verbally attacked Ebarb and his attempts to move more dogs into rescue and off the euthanasia list. Ebarb was vigilant in compiling and reporting monthly euthanasia rates to the public which was often well over 70%.

2015: CPAS has a 78% euthanasia rate.

March 2015: Two malnourished dogs, dubbed Lucky and T-Bone, were picked up by CPAS after a citizen complaint of neglect, found to be full of parasites, yet when PetSavers Rescue offered to take the dogs and vet them, director Everett Harris denied the request, igniting yet another firestorm of public outcry.

August 2015: Amanda Middleton was travelling through Shreveport, blew a tire, and her dog, Libby ran off and got lost. Libby was lost for two days before being found and taken to CPAS where a microchip was scanned and her family identified. A Humane Society volunteer had permission from the eight-months pregnant Middleton to retrieve the dog and meet Middleton halfway to return the pup, but director Everett Harris refused to release the dog to anyone but Middleton, despite written permission from Middleton to do so. Middleton drove all the way back to Shreveport from Houston to get her dog.

August 2015: CPAS director Everett Harris was placed on administrative leave, and then resigned, after posting an offensive photo on Facebook of dogs with a Star of David and Nazi symbols drawn on their heads and the caption “How to deal with the difficulties of life.” He said he meant to post the picture to a private account rather than the public CPAS page. Harris was on paid leave for several months, then terminated.

June 2016: Chuck Wilson, former assistant director of CPAS, is appointed new director of CPAS.

October 2016: Amber McMillan’s two dog were euthanized despite her multiple visits to CPAS searching for them.  McMillan contends that her dogs were not in any of the stray hold kennels she was shown when she went to the shelter. She showed photos of her dogs to the employees at the shelter and filed paperwork. The dogs were killed nine days after intake.

November 2016: DeAnna Robinson adopted a large breed dog from CPAS; he weighed only 30 pounds when she brought him home. He was emaciated and could barely walk. He had been housed in a kennel at the shelter with five other dogs.

December 2016: A stray dog, “Ellie,” wanders into a man’s yard; the man brings his own dog outside and orders it to attack Ellie who subsequently dies from her injuries. The event is captured on video which creates a social media firestorm. CPAS fails to press charges, thereby sanctioning the inhumane attack.

December 2016: “Tini” was picked up by CPAS on December 30 after being hit by a car; her owners determined that Tini was at the shelter but they were not allowed to pick her up for four days, despite that fact that the dog had a broken jaw and other injuries and needed immediate medical care. Because of the New Year’s Eve holiday, Tini had to stay in the shelter rather than be reunited with her family.

January 2017: In two separate events, two dogs tagged for rescue were accidentally euthanized.

January 2017: American Boston Terrier dog rescue attempted to pull several dogs but the dogs either starved to death or were euthanized before the rescue arrived.

January 2017: Big Fluffy Dog Rescue out of Nashville TN, came to CPAS to pull two dogs but left with 17, and later came back for more, because of the deplorable conditions in which they found the dogs in the CPAS shelter, which included inadequate medical care for broken bones, malnourished dogs, and overcrowded kennels. BFDR is urging public outcry against the abuses at the Caddo Parish shelter.

January 2017: A citizens meeting to discuss continued problems at CPAS is attended by two Caddo Parish Commissioners who cite lack of first-hand accounts as one reason why no change has been made at CPAS.

February 2017: CPAS kennel worker placed on leave, and then fired, for having sex with a dog. The act was filmed by another CPAS worker. Where this act actually took place has not been revealed; reports are that it was not at the shelter, but does it matter?

Obviously, the problems at the shelter are ongoing and it doesn’t seem to matter who the director is.  Meanwhile, literally hundreds of dogs (and cats) are euthanized each month. The shelter’s euthanasia rate is right around 50 to 60% right now, down from previous years where there was a 77% or more euthanasia rate. This decline is due to the help of some tireless rescue groups and an improved willingness by the current director to work with rescues.

Euthanasia rate: Caddo Parish Animal Services

There are volunteer rescue groups that work to pull dogs from the shelter and take them to states “up north” where stricter spay/neuter laws have resulted in lower numbers of available pets. Our dogs have a much better chance at adoption there.

That being said, this shelter still needs major change. State inspections have taken place but they are announced at least ten days in advance which gives the shelter time to clean up their act. After the public meeting in January, two Caddo Commissioners toured the shelter, but again, it was announced.

The Parish Administrator, Dr. Woody Wilson, has control over this situation. He works for the Caddo Parish Commission, but his oversight of CPAS operates is completely independent. There is no system of checks and balances and Wilson has the final, and only, voice.

Granted, we have a huge problem here in unwanted animals; too many people in this area see animals as property and all too often refuse to get their animals spayed or neutered. The director’s job at the shelter is a huge one. But it’s clear to me that this director has lost the faith of the public by this most recent string of allegations, and something must be done.

For years, and years, we’ve been told by the Parish Administrator that they are revisiting and reviewing laws, policies, and procedures yet we are still battling this issue. The public outcry rises, we get lip service, public outcry dies down, and the cycle continues. When public outcry rises, we are dismissed as crazy animal people who get their information from social media. When citizens go to shelter board meetings to voice concern, they are quickly shut down if their experience is not first-hand.

It appears that the only thing that might work is a national outcry. This shelter administration needs to be completely rebooted. They all need to go. If qualified, they can be rehired; if not, more the better.

This shelter needs to be cleaned up, literally; all policies need to be examined, updated, revised.  Dogs in stray/hold, for example, are kept in outdoor pens regardless of the weather. Too many dogs are crowded into pens thus creating feeding issues and fights. When Big Fluffy Dog Rescue pulled their thirty dogs, they wrote:

Caddo Parish Animal Shelter in Louisiana has been the subject of serious complaints for years. In January, Big Fluffy Dog Rescue took in more than 30 dogs from this shelter. Most of the dogs were emaciated, many had serious health issues and most had bite wounds consistent with fighting for resources. Big Fluffy Dog Rescue attempted without success to determine whether the cause of the animals’ suffering was the shelter itself or if the dogs came in to the shelter in that condition. Caddo Parish did not appropriately investigate the issue and the concerns of animal rescuers were largely swept under the carpet and derided by the local government as unfounded. Local media covered the story.

There is a veterinarian “on call” but not on site. Dogs with broken bones or other injuries languish. There is no feral cat or TNR program; there are no online records – everything is still done on paper.  If a volunteer speaks out or complains about conditions or abuse, they are banned from the shelter. Quite often they choose to remain silent so they can continue to help the animals in the shelter. Any online presence is due to the work of volunteers. If you go to the shelter’s page and click on animals for adoption, you might find a few, but these are out of date and do not nearly reflect the number of available animals.

The issues are epic. But at the very least, the neglect, abuse, and miscommunication must be stopped. And sex with animals? Please. Is this the best we can do with vetting our employees (this woman was a paid employee – not a volunteer!).

To be clear, I’m not calling for the firing of current director Chuck Wilson; while he may not be perfect, many of the volunteers appreciate his efforts yet Wilson is hogtied by the current structure of oversight. The source of the problem lies in the fact that the control is all with the Parish Administrator Woody Wilson who has shown very little interest in making this shelter a safe and humane shelter for animals.

Please share this with any animal rights advocates or organizations you know that might be able to help the citizens of Caddo Parish clean up this shelter and turn this situation around.  Ideally the shelter should be privatized or turned over to a competent, established rescue with a humanitarian mission. Please email or write letters, polite and respectful letters, to Parish Administrator Woody Wilson, and the Assistant Parish Administrator who is reportedly working Woody Wilson’s job while he is being investigated on a residency issue.

A national outcry is the only thing we haven’t tried. There are plenty of citizens here who want to make a difference; the problem is in the politics. We need help and you can contribute by helping to shine light on this issue.

Points of Contact:

Randy Lucky, Parish Administration – rlucky@caddo.org

Dr. Woody Wilson – wwilson@caddo.org

Louisana SPCA. Humane Law Enforcement: dispatch@la-spca.org

Louisiana Animal Welfare Commission:  http://lawc.la.gov/report-cruelty/

Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler: mayor@shreveportla.gov

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

(P.S.: Thank you Chris Muir for the cool artwork!)

 

A protestor in Tulsa with two members of the local police force (Courtesy of the Tulsa World)
A protestor in Tulsa with two members of the local police force (Courtesy of the Tulsa World)

Faith in God. Faith in the community. Faith in the system. That is why Tulsa, Oklahoma, didn’t devolve into race riots after the shooting of a black man by a white police officer.

Many residents took to the pews, while other cities, facing similar issues, took to the streets with looting and riots. Tulsa, often called “the buckle of the Bible belt,” is different because of its faith. Southern Baptists and evangelical Christians play a significant role in the community of 400,000 people. Oral Roberts University has its campus there.

The ethnic makeup of the city parallels that of the nation. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, slightly more than 60 percent of the population is white; 15 percent is African-American, and 14 percent is Hispanic.

The city has had its racial troubles, including a major riot many years ago. The police have faced both positive and negative reviews over the years.

“This is tragic–and something all of us should spend time reflecting on so we can make a better nation,” the Rev. Teron Gaddis, representing the Oklahoma Baptist State Convention, said. “This is not a race issue, a Caucasian or black issue.”

The reverend is black. Had a white leader said the shooting of a black man was not a racial issue he would have been chastised for taking up the “All Lives Matter” banner.

Even The New York Times and CNN had to admit that religion played a role in keeping the peace. Still, the media provided wall-to-wall coverage of the upheaval in Charlotte, with only a passing reference to the peaceful scenes from Oklahoma, including a Black Lives Matter protester holding hands with a white and a black police officer.

Everyone needs to look at Tulsa as an example of how to stop racial division. Riots don’t work; prayer does.


Christopher Harper, a recovering journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law.

addictions
From sciencenews.org

by baldilocks

So, this happened not far from where I live.

SKID ROW, LOS ANGELES (KABC) —

Paramedics rushed to Skid Row after 18 people appeared to have overdosed on a drug presumed to be spice, or synthetic marijuana, fire officials said.

The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to the area of 5th and San Pedro streets at about 10:30 a.m.

Officials said 18 people were evaluated and 14 of those were taken to the hospital.

The victims were all suffering from similar symptoms, according to officials, which included altered mental status, combative behavior, and in some cases, seizures.

“We don’t have toxicological confirmation, but it’s presumably spice, which is a synthetic type of cannabis or marijuana. And of course, because it’s synthetic, nobody for sure knows what active ingredients are in there, the strength is variable,” Dr. Marc Eckstein, the Los Angeles Fire Department medical director and EMS bureau commander explained.

Before my homeless stint, I’d never heard of stuff like ‘spice’ and ‘tweaking.’ But 2015 was an education for me. I saw the effects of both—turning relatively normal people into the zombies of recent fiction, except that they weren’t cannibals…that I know of. And regular weed was everywhere. Since the latter is legal here in CA, there are “clinics” all around, and one of the hot topics of the homeless housing was where a customer could get the best high for the most reasonable price. Usually, I’d walk away from such conversations—not for any high-minded reasons, but because they bored me to tears.

Mere nicotine-addicts—like me–and those who would manage to sneak alcohol in were considered relatively straight-laced.

And that brings me to one of the reasons I wanted to stop smoking. It seems to me that all drug addictions bring illusory benefits but, in reality, have only drawbacks. Hard-core illegal drug addicts see these quickly, but we who partake in the legal substances are more likely to fool ourselves for many years, at least until that first stroke, heart attack, car accident, etc.

I’ve mused on my blessings from God many times; one of these is excellent physical health, in spite of battling nicotine addiction for many years. It’s a sin to take a blessing from God and throw it in the trash can, is it not?

Another thing: we are coming into some very perilous times, maybe the End Times. But even if things are not that apocalyptic, it seems that it’s best for each one of us to leave the extraneous habits behind. There is enough useless baggage on our backs already.

Fifteen days. I’m sort of addicted to CornNuts now.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>>baldilocks

Dash: But Dad always said our powers were nothing to be ashamed of, our powers made us special.
Helen: Everyone’s special, Dash.
Dash: Which is another way of saying no one is.

The Incredibles 2004

Last Sunday when I woke up after getting home from Denver I turned on the TV as I got dressed for the Madonna Della Cava festival and noticed a commercial playing attacking Charter Schools and question 2 which began with the words.

“400 million dollars, that’s how much charter schools will drain from Massachusetts public schools this year”

Under normal circumstances this would be more background political noise that I would ignore but I had just come back from the Amplify choice conference put on by the Franklin Center where we spent a day and a half listening to speakers talk about Charter Schools both in Denver and across the nation.

And having attended said conference I knew that best the “Save our schools” crowd was being deceptive and at worst they were lying through their teeth because that statement ignores a cogent fact about charter schools…

Charter schools are public schools.

That would seem to be a rather important fact for that argument but an ad saying: “400 million dollars, that’s how much money will be spent on some public schools instead of others this year”  is unlikely to scare voters.

From that point the ad argument doesn’t get better.

400 million syphoned from local districts that desperately need it.

Except for the fact the Charter Schools are still part of the school districts that they are located in.

400 million that won’t fund more science and technology…

Actually the 400 million will just fund science and technology at a different school as anyone who joined me in visiting the Denver School of Science and Technology last week would know and met Sheila…

…and some of her classmates

The three wise young women
The three wise young women

…would see that science would not suffer, it will prosper.

arts or preschool, counseling or smaller class sizes

In fact charter that money would not only fund smaller class sizes which are the norm at charter schools but would fund them for groups that traditionally don’t get them as this enrollment chart shows:

In fact the STRIVE charter schools in Denver enrollment is 97% of color reflecting the neighborhoods they operate in.

$400 million unavailable to the 96% of students who don’t attend charter schools

That sentence is funny , it would be just as accurate to say to describe the $1.013 billion budgeted to the Boston Public schools as….

$1.013 Billion dollars unavailable to students who don’t attend Boston public schools”

…which again isn’t going to scare anyone.

The “save our schools” ads when they finish with

“Let’s improve public schools for all students, not just a select few.”

Forgetting for a second that by this argument your public school should not get a new lab because said lab is not for all public school students, just for the select few that go to it. It ignores that fact that the rising tide of Charter schools tends to lift all boats as evidenced by the results in Denver before expansion of charter schoolsDenver mid 2000'sand after
denver after

What is this ad actually arguing? It’s arguing to keep schools that are failing from having to compete with schools that are not, and it’s counting on the fact that most of the people seeing this ad, did not attend the Franklin Center #amplifychoice event this year.

Or to put it another way this “save our schools” ad is completely dependent on its audience being uneducated and uninformed about the results charter schools bring to protect failing public schools

Rather ironic isn’t it?

If you want to find out more about charter schools check out the #amplifychoice hashtag here or check out these posts at DaTechGuyblog:

Denver Day Two The Zoo and then Six #AmplifyChoice Conference Interviews

Denver Day Three Part 1: Panels and speakers

Denver Day Three Part 2: Da Writers at #AmplifyChoice

Denver Day Four Part 1: #AmplifyChoice on the Road


There were a lot of expenses involved in a week in Denver not the least being missing a week’s pay from my job. If you’d like to help me cover them please consider hitting DaTipJar below

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Following the money can be an intriguing political exercise. Take one Planned Parenthood affiliate’s political expenditures, for example. When a candidate benefits from PP expenditures and later has to vote on a PP contract, when does business-as-usual becomes a matter of ethical concern?

Darlene Pawlik wants to find out. She’s checking things out close to her New Hampshire home, and she has filed a complaint with the Executive Branch Ethics Committee against Governor Maggie Hassan and Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern. The complaint might be heard formally at the committee’s next meeting, scheduled for August 3.

Pawlik was prompted to act by a June 2016 “do-over” vote by the state’s Executive Council that sent “family planning” money to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England only months after the same Council turned down a similar PPNNE contract proposal. It’s unusual for a contract denied in a fiscal year to be re-introduced and approved in substantially the same terms later in the same fiscal year, but that’s what the Executive Council did with its 3-2 vote on June 29.

A bit of background: PPNNE is the region’s largest abortion provider, although the New Hampshire contracts are for “family planning” services and are not meant to be used for abortions. (Thereby hangs a tale for another day.)  The denial of the original contract hardly de-funded PPNNE, however much the denial gave PP supporters the vapors. PPNNE’s budget is $20 million a year. The original contract was for $638,000; the do-over contract was for a little less than that. By comparison, PPNNE spent $1.5 million on “public policy” in 2014. That doesn’t count campaign donations and independent campaign expenditures by PPNNE’s political arm.

Back to the do-over vote. The more recent contract passed because executive councilor and GOP candidate for governor Chris Sununu switched his vote from 2015. PPNNE’s Action Fund stayed out of Sununu’s race in the 2014 election.  On the other hand, the campaigns of Governor Hassan and Councilor Van Ostern were the beneficiaries of PP donations. Hassan, a Democrat who is running for U.S. Senate, named a pro-PP commissioner of health and human services earlier this year who promised during his confirmation process that he would “bring back” the PP contract. Van Ostern was the chief cheerleader for PP on the Council during the recent reconsideration vote. He is a Democratic candidate for governor.

In her ethics complaint, Pawlik alleges that as recipients of PP donations, Hassan and Van Ostern should have recused themselves from any action on contracts with PPNNE. The governor has no vote on the Executive Council, but she presides at Council meetings and was more than happy in that capacity to speak in PP’s favor at the June meeting before the contract vote was taken.

It’s hardly news that political committees get involved in elections, and it’s hardly news that governments do business with entities associated with those committees.What’s news is that a concerned citizen is taking action to clarify how much back-scratching is too much. The same-fiscal-year reconsideration of a rejected contract begs for further scrutiny.

The New Hampshire Union Leader quoted PPNNE’s vice-president for public policy as saying “PPNNE and its Political Action Fund are ‘separate and distinct organizations with different funding, different activities and different tax status.’” Presto: no conflict of interest, says PP.

Look again, says Darlene Pawlik.

She is appealing to an Ethics Committee that is under most New Hampshire residents’ radar. The Committee itself has been moribund for several months, with its three most recent scheduled meetings cancelled. There’s a meeting scheduled for August 3, though, and we know now that at least one complaint should be getting a hearing.

Stay tuned.

Ellen Kolb writes about the life issues at http://leavenfortheloaf.com. When she's not writing, she's hiking in New Hampshire.
Ellen Kolb writes about the life issues at Leaven for the Loaf. When she’s not writing, she’s hiking in New Hampshire.

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Sheriff-Lew-Evangelidis-Dean-Tran-Charlie-Baker-and-friend
Sheriff-Lew-Evangelidis-Dean-Tran-Charlie-Baker-and-friend
Saturday Governor Charlie Baker spent the Day in Fitchburg Massachusetts stumping with longtime City Councilor Dean Tran who is running against even longer time city Councillor Steven Hay for the State Rep seat vacated by newly elected mayor Steve DiNatale.

The final stop on the governor’s trip where he would speak for Dean and meet voters was Destare gov 2 002 a small nightclub/bar at the corner of main and Cushing street where believe it or not 30 years ago at the ripe old age of 23 I opened a comic book/hobby shop which is now their downstairs storeroom.

Fitchburg didn’t have the reputation it does now but it seemed like every other month till I moved it my shop was broken into and robbed, so I asked the Owner if he had any trouble since opening up several years ago. He said quite the opposite he had seen no trouble at all which, along with good food, good drink and excellent wi-fi speed explains his success.

I arrived around 1 PM and set up laptop and mike where I would record the first two segments of DaTechGuy off DaRadio podcast (available by clicking the fedora in the corner or emailed directly if you subscribe). Within a few minutes sign holder for Dean Tran led by the indomitable Mary Lotze formerly of the Twin city Tea party and now head of the Fitchburg Republican Committee.gov 2 001

As time passed the number of sign holders grew outside while the club started to fill up. About 20 minutes before the governor arrived I noticed a group of well dressed men sitting by the window. It tuned out they were from a protestant church in the Cleghorn part of town which once housed the large French Canadian population who came down from Canada to work the now shuttered factories that once dominated Fitchburg when it was a hub of manufacturing from shoes to Machine Guns, but is now one of two sections of down where the Spanish population is concentrated. Minister George Rodriguez consented to an interview:

Alas the lith ion battery in my primary camera choose at the end of that interview to die o I switched to my broken (no stills, no zoom) but still functioning emergency backup camera for the rest of the day. I used that to record this interview with Ed Vargus who was in attendance promoting his program to get kids off the street using skateboarding which I recorded later in the day

but include here because it fits with the Minister’s talk about getting involved with the community.

Fifteen minutes after the interview with the Minister the Governor arrived.

The governor was accompanied by his wife and Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis one of the most popular elected republicans in the area and one of the few actually taller than Charlie Baker. Despite the recent squabbles concerning the state committee (more on that here) he warmly greeted, and was warmly greeted by, those standing out.

When the Governor and the Sheriff came in they worked the crowd greeting and talking to people who attended. It’s worth nothing that they gave time to the attendees rather than simply making perfunctorily statements.and shaking hands which is one of the reasons for his popularity.

After about 15 minutes of that the guests of honor took the stage, first the Sheriff, then the Governor and then Counselor Tran who was the object of today’s exercise.

The Sheriff emphasized in his speech public safety without which none of the other things that make a city great can be achieved and his work with Counselor Tran on that subject. The Governor stressed his own beginnings as a selectman where everybody knows where you live an knows when you’ve voted a way they dislike and let you know about it and talked of how Dean’s background would be of great use as a representative. When Counselor Tran took the stage he talked about bread and butter issues but two things stood out to me.

When talking about jobs he stressed how jobs in Fitchburg meant families could stay in Fitchburg echoing the Chris Christie “Grandparents” speech which in my opinion should be a staple of any GOP speech on fiscal responsibility.

But what really stood out to me was his American Dream story by which he could come from a 3rd world country, come to America, succeed at business, be the first minority counselor in Fitchburg and then run for state office with the endorsement of the most popular governor in the Entire United States.

There was some jocularity as well. Dean is of short stature and both the Governor and the Sheriff tower over him and there was some good natured ribbing along those lines but in terms of public service they all stand tall together.

I had hoped to ask the governor a few questions about his popularity (Is it a function of the no drama, get things done work ethic, the possibility of him being considered for a national ticket, an his efforts to slowly increase the number of elected republicans to at least get enough to sustain a veto in one house but Gov Baker took no questions and frankly didn’t give me a first look. Sheriff Lew was friendly but noting another commitment that he had to attend apologized leaving right after the speech. I had better luck with Counselor Tran himself.

.

I have a long memory , when we were fighting Planned Parenthood in Fitchburg Counselor Tran was sympathetic to use while his opponent was whole hog for Planned Parenthood so there is no question where my vote is going on Tuesday.

One oddity. This special election is the day of the Massachusetts primary (Supertuesday) so one might think the increased turnout and the Trump phenom would help Counselor Tran but it’s also worth noting that there are separate ballots for the presidential primary and the local election so it’s unclear how if at all, that will affect the outcome. This came out in my conversation with Mary Lotze in a segment which I recorded as part of my Podcast and include here

As I said before It’s a good sign that the governor is stumping for a social conservative despite the State committee kerfuffle it remains to be seen if he, the sheriff, the LT Gov (who attended an earlier event that I was unavailable to cover) and the increased turnout will be enough to give us our first GOP state rep out of Fitchburg in a while.

That dear voters is up to you.

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For the first times since I lost my job an Stacy McCain lost his Twitter right we’ve had a setback in our quest for $61 to make a living back here at the blog. Yesterday DaTipJar was completely and utterly silent. So as we find ourselves seeking a new $61 today our deficit for the year climbs back to 21 days and $1335 dollars.

In fairness my email blast went out late do to covering the Governor (post later today) an helping my son move so I didn’t spend the day promoting the blog, furthermore it was saturday and I suspect that our traffic consisted of our core readers who take a peek before going an enjoying the weekend.

yet if less than 1% of yesterday’s readers kicked in $15 each we would have made out goal for the day with ease.

Again I say to those who have kicked in thank you so much, for those who can’t afford it, don’t worry about it but I do ask you to promote the site.

To those both able and inclined I’d really appreciate it if you’d help us close that gap by hitting DaTipJar.




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In my hometown paper there is a story about a crooked former democrat speaker of the house.

Sal DiMasi (remember him?) — a former speaker of the Massachusetts House, who is serving time in a North Carolina federal prison after being convicted of accepting some $65,000 in payoffs to facilitate approval of a state computer contract.

I really should have specified DeMasi, after all “crooked former Democrat speaker of the house in Massachusetts” is a description that a whole lot of people fill.

The writer Peter Lukas notes that Mr. DiMasi is in rough physical shape is very old and full of cancer. He’d really like to move to a jail closer to home, Governor Baker has no problem with it however as a federal prisoner it’s not his say, so he needs friends close to the White House perhaps the Gay community

While the gay community once honored DiMasi, it has since abandoned him.

For instance, the gay community spent an enormous amount of time, money and energy seeking a taxpayer-funded sex change for Massachusetts prison inmate Michelle Kosilek. All Kosilek ever did was savagely murder his wife when he was a man named Robert.

DiMasi paved the way for the legalizing same-sex marriage, which was a step toward the transgender movement, but the gay community has done nothing for DiMasi in return.

or maybe an ex governor close to the president:

Patrick was asked one time if he would intervene with his friend, President Barack Obama, to show compassion to DiMasi. Patrick bristled at the question and said, “I’m not going to get involved in that at all.”

“How come?”

“Because it is not my jurisdiction, and I have plenty of other things to do.”

Given that this corrupt pol bears responsibility for bringing Romneycare and Gay Marriage to Massachusetts and all the evil that has come from both nationwide even as a Christian I have a hard time feeling sorry for him, however it’s not folks like me that Peter Lucas is outraged over. He’s wondering why all those people who celebrated all of these things are not willing to lift a finder to make it a little easier for his family to visit and allow him to die a little closer to home.

The answer is really easy.

Historically our friends on the left have always used useful idiots providing financial and political aid to them in order to advance a common cause. Historically as soon as their usefulness ends so does their financial and political support. The same thing has happened here. Sal DiMasi has suffered the same fate that useful idiots have for over a century.

He simply isn’t useful anymore.

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My goal for 2015 is $22,000.

I would I ask you to please consider hitting DaTipJar.




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I know you can get the MSM for nothing, but that’s pretty much what most of them are worth.

opiate awareness 2 036Yesterday at the upper common of Fitchburg Ma a group of over 70 people turned out for an event highlighting Opiate Awareness and the people and families who are affected by them.

I arrived near the time things were about to start and talked to Lauren who seemed to be in charge.

There were several speakers, one of them was our state rep Steve DiNatale who is running for Mayor

And the Police Chief

The stress of the event was addiction as a disease and coping with it. Nobody talked better on the struggle between being firm and being kind than Tami Arguelles founder of the local group: Help for our Community.

The need to find the balance between loving and caring for a person, while not enabling or approving is for the families and friends of the addicted the hardest thing.

They had some ceremonial events the lighting of candles

The Releasing of Balloons

and a moment of silence

.

Some spoke about their loss like Ed.

Other were there simply to stand for their lost loved ones. I spoke to the police chief after the event:

and I spoke to two former addicts one before things started:

and the second after, this was Reverend Hollaway who had spoken before

What really truck me about both of them was their words about the Just Say No campaign from the 80’s. This type of thing was routinely laughed at by our friends of the left but both of these ex addicts noted that a direct statement, a solid “NO” makes a difference.

But the real story to me was that every police car in Fitchburg is equipped with Narcan which can be the difference between life and death for a person.

The other half of the coin of course is the prevention, the chief talked about getting old prescription drugs out of the house but the other part of the game is something quite simple and direct. If you see someone dealing drugs on your street corner in your neighborhood don’t just ignore it and figure it’s not your business: Say Something. Call the police, tweet the police, help them protect you.

If you don’t want the cost of the Drugs and Gangs, stand up and fight, even if it’s just a phone call. The harder you make it for the dealer, the more likely he’s going to at worst move on, or at best find themselves caught.

The event made the front page of the Sentinel, you can read it here.

Name a company and we could get them. Except one. We were never able to get a Market Basket employee to jump ship.

Arthur (Jay) DiGeronimo Jr.

Lorenzo: The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.

A Bronx Tale 1993

 

 

One year ago at this time the one and only story in New England was the Market Basket Strike.

For those of you from outside the area basically there was a power struggle between two cousins both named Arthur Demoulas.  One Arthur T who was deeply involved in the day to day operations of the highly profitable company and treated his workers and managers so well that when the majority of 9 person Board of Directors,  despite high profits in bad times  headed by supporters of his cousin Arthur S finally succeeded in forcing out his cousin,  the workers went on “strike” in support of Arthur T.

Within a short time the shelves started to go empty and the workers started protesting (off the clock).

It was the most unusual protest in US history to wit:

I’ve heard this sentiment from every Market Basket person I’ve talked to from managers to baggers they don’t want a union and it was made plain during the protest

When word got out at a Friday rally at Market Basket headquarters that representatives of an unidentified union were passing out cards to protesting employees, it was Trainor who responded: “Really, do you think we need a union?” The crowd responded with a resounding “no.”

“There is no union in this country that’s stronger than this crowd right here,” Trainor said. “So take your cards and go home.”

So basically you have a workforce not complaining about wages, not complaining about working conditions, not calling for a union but instead protesting against business decisions that they believe will hurt long term profitability.

There is one way to describe a protest like that: Pro Capitalist.

It was like covering a tea party rally.  It’s why I suspect they were getting flak from some left wing sites and the overwhelmingly Democrat state legislature was slow to fall behind them.

I saw a huge opportunity here for the GOP

If I was Rick Santorum I’d be in Massachusetts at the next rally. If I was Reince Priebus I’d be asking why Elizabeth Warren & the left are AWOL and suggest it is due to being owned by the unions.

And if I was Kirsten Hughes I’d run through that gap in the line the left has left unguarded and I’d go all in for the Market Basket Workers and vividly illustrate the GOP’s support for the working man.

However the GOP did nothing.

Eventually vendors started scooting ,  20,000 layoffs came, and viola:

Suddenly the prospect of 20,000 to 40,000 voters in two states controlled by Democrats going to the polls angry with an election less than 90 days away was a reality.

And so Governor Patrick and Gov Hassan of New Hampshire decided to get involved.

In the end, a year ago this month Arthur S sold out to his cousin Arthur T.  Within a few days the stores were re-stocked  and Arthur T was back in the stores greeting customers who waited in lines to shake his hand.

And it’s thriving:

The company is on track to record total revenues of about $4.8 billion in 2015, top executives say, the most in its nearly 100-year history. It is also in expansion mode, opening five new stores in the last year, some with upscale accents such as massive gourmet cheese islands, expanded organic food offerings, and outdoor cafe seating. Two new stores are under construction in Plymouth, Mass., and Rochester, N.H.

Now imagine for a second if the GOP had taken my advice, There are twelve GOP candidates polling at under 10% in NH.  What if Lindsey Graham had given kudos to the Market Basket Workers on the senate floor.  Picture if Rick Perry saying Arthur T would be a hit in Texas.  Imagine Carly Fiorina noting him as an example of a CEO who gets it.  Think of Scott Walker using Market Basket to compare Union vs Non-Union shops.  Ponder Rand Paul praising the Market Basket low-no debt model.

What if in 2014 Chris Christie came to NH and used Arthur T as an example of hands on management or Ben Carson showed up describing it as the difference between doing and saying or Ted Cruz giving a speech talking about Market Basket as a non-government success story.

And I didn’t even mention Rick Santorum.  Could you see Rick Santorum at a Market Basket rally in 2014 saying they are the model of how to create success in America.  It was a story absolutely tailor-made for his campaign.

What would any of these guys give to have the chance to go back a year and knowing what they know now, give that speech?  Where might they be in the polls today?  A non-union, pro capitalist, anti debt, tea party like labor action and we just let it go.  There is nothing more frustrating than seeing an opportunity like that a wasted.

Sigh if only.

Postscript, I was searching on the net and I did find one presidential candidate that noted the end of the Market Basket strike on his web site an tweeted about it at the time.

By an odd coincidence he happens to be leading in NH by 7 pts in the latest Boston Herald poll.