The last time we saw Rick Green on this blog was the last day I was a member of the GOP Mr. Green after losing a very, shall we say interesting election for GOP party chair urged his supporters to forget what had happened and get behind the new GOP chair and the party.

Five years later Rick Green in running in my district for congress and has a new ad out

Now Green has an uphill battle, the conservative center of the state has been carved into as many different districts as possible to dilute the vote and the anti-Trump left is mobilized.

On the plus there is the Trump economy benefiting the entire region and President Obama helpfully reminding voters of how times were before Trump and activating GOP activists who already fondly remember Green. Finally Green is not only is he contending for an open seat but the recount in the 3rd district race has the potential to divide Democrats come election day.

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin has officially ordered a district-wide hand recount in the 3rd Congressional District.

The recount comes after Democratic candidate Daniel Koh filed a sufficient number of signatures to request the recount.

Under state law, the boards of registrars in each city and town in the district must now set a date to recount all Democratic ballots cast in their communities in the Sept. 4 state primary. The recount in each municipality must be completed by Sept. 17.

Candidate Lori Trahan is claiming a 122-vote victory in last week’s Democratic primary race against Koh.

No matter how the recount turns out, someone is going to be angry.

And finally there is the exceptions game, this seat is under everyone’s radar in a year when Democrats are feeling good about themselves

Just like 2010.

I haven’t had a lot of time to watch this race I wouldn’t be surprised it it doesn’t end as some people expect.

A current portion of my scattershot career path, which this year has meandered from giraffe tenderer to Willy Wonka to rubber band man, daily places me on a rather lengthy bus ride around and in a white collar Mecca known by the locals as Bishop Ranch and by everyone else as that place where yuppies who don’t want to work in San Francisco proper go for presumably gainful employment. Bishop Ranch, or at least the vast majority thereof, resides in the city of San Ramon, a tony San Francisco Bay Area suburb where the police have so little to do they actually come to stores for shoplifting calls, residents out and about have to duck drive-by snubbings, and a street fight is defined as two soccer moms reaching for the same latte at Starbucks.

There was once upon a time – sixty years worth of time, to be precise – a ranch on Bishop Ranch’s seventeen hundred and seventy acres, this era concluding in 1955 when the at that time current Mr. Bishop passed away and his heirs decided they’d rather cut and run than continue to corral cattle, thus selling the land to Western Electric. Fast forward twenty-three years to when Western Electric, by then on its deathbed as part of the AT&T monopoly breakup that eventually gave us, um, AT&T, sold the ranch to a business development firm which immediately set out planting as many concrete wedding cakes with windows as it could fit into the available acreage. They’re still planting them, as daily I ride past a not unsubstantial construction site for yet another retail shops in the basement with apartments in the attic site currently all the rage in these parts.

There has been at least some effort to maintain Bishop Ranch’s rural legacy. The grounds have a multitude of trees scattered about, oak and pine and eucalyptus and even a few redwoods. A good portion of them give evidence by way of height and width of predating the building frenzy, doubtless present to both provide wood for assorted ranch requirements and shade for assorted cows and bulls to do what cows and bulls do, namely munch on grass while waiting for the next minor earthquake to rumble through so they can get a free hoof massage.

Trees notwithstanding, it’s impossible to gaze out the bus window and not wonder what this land was like when it was man using nature rather than man subletting nature and paving over everything else. In the city where I was born and raised, a standard joke whenever any kind of new development came in was the regrettable nature of tearing down yet another perfectly good empty field just for this. Progression progresses even as man multiplies; all these people have to have somewhere they can work and earn just enough money for enabling living the lifestyle they can’t afford. Yet, one wonders if any surviving members of the Bishop family, or the Gale family or any of the other families who have traded their earthy inheritance for an exceedingly large check, sometimes consider what was once theirs and regret leaving their farm on the freeway.

A reporter takes a picture of a protester in front of Planned Parenthood in Fitchburg 4-29-18

On Saturday in Fitchburg I attended one of the Defund Planned Parenthood protests that took place around the country as the speaker.

While nationally the effort ran afoul of GOP senators John McCain, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski In Massachusetts the effort is a tad different as it is necessary to amend the Massachusetts Constitution to do so here. So there is a need to obtain signature to get a ballot question started.

She spoke to a reporter from the Telegram earlier

Gardner resident Shelley Austin said that Massachusetts is one of only 15 states that use tax dollars to pay for abortions, which she said are a covered procedure through MassHealth.

She said that the Massachusetts Alliance to Stop Taxpayer Funded Abortion is trying to put the issue of taxpayer-funded abortion before Massachusetts voters. They are working to collect the 65,000 signatures required to get a question on the ballot.

I spoke to Shelly after the rally.

The reporter for the Telegram and Gazette spoke to several of us before the event including me.

Fitchburg resident Pete Ingemi, a longtime member of St. Bernard’s Church, said fighting taxpayer-funded abortion is the first and most logical step to ending abortions.

“What is abortion? It is the abandonment of hope,” he said. “And the argument is always that it isn’t a real life, but it is a life, and it’s a life of value. You never know what great things that human being was going to make happen.”

and stayed for most of the rosary but not for either Shelly talk or my speech

In Fitchburg, a similar, but smaller prayer protest was held on Main Street near the Planned Parenthood office. A small group, some holding rosary beads, shared their commitment to stopping abortion.

Situated under the shade of a tree, the group got plenty of support in the form of thumbed-up hands sticking out of passing cars, beeping horns and the occasional affirmative shout. There were also passers-by who strongly disagreed — though just one or two — and organizer Joyce Aucoin said this is nothing new.

The detail left out here was man who repeatedly approached Joyce as she spoke, loudly loudly asking her for condoms, he left when it was clear she was not going to let him provoke her.

As for my speech I pointed out that Planned Parenthood was built on the same lies that justified slavery from the days of ancient Egypt, to Roman times, to the Barbary Pirates to the slave trade. The idea that those enslaved were either of lesser values or not actual human beings. It is no coincidence that like most other places it operates, Planned Parenthood moved into Fitchburg as the “Hispanic” population increased.

Furthermore I pointed out that the easiest way to reveal the lie is to ask any counter-protester supporting “choice” if it is OK to abort a child in the womb because it was gay. Suddenly the woman’s choice argument isn’t good enough and the person always has to think, why? Because in their mind that person might be of their group which suddenly confers a value on that life that they didn’t before.

But the easiest way to show how carefully the lie has to be taught was illustrated by a model of a 20 week old baby in the womb.

Put that model in front of any child and ask what it is, and the answer will be “a baby”. To produce a different answer, you have to be carefully taught.

Will it make a difference? It will be tough to win this fight in Massachusetts, particularly when a lot of the GOP leadership has been carefully taught to run away from this issue, but as the man who actually wrote the Constitution of Massachusetts once said, facts are stubborn things.

To say he would be appalled at how partisans have rewritten and reinterpreted his words in their image while still claiming it was his work and not theirs, is an understatement.

St. Bernards Parish at St Camillus Church 333 Mechanic St in Fitchburg is hosting Fr. Carlos Martin of the Companions of the Cross in Corpus Christi. TX. He will be here with his special ministry hosing a teaching lecture and exposition of Sacred Relics tonight at 6 PM.

150 relics of the saints, some as much as 2000 years old will be displayed for veneration.

Among the treasures will be relics of St. bernard, St. Maric Goretti, St Therese of Lisieux (The Little Flower) St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua. St. Thomas Aquanis and St. Faustina Kowalska.

There will also be part of Our Lady’s Veil and one of the largest remaining pieces of the True Cross in the world.

Attendees can examine and venerate each relic and you are encouraged to bring articles of devotion and pictures of ill family and friends to the reliquaries as a means of intercession.

Now that’s not something you get in town every day (and wouldn’t you know I’m stuck working)!

by baldilocks

Sitting in for Fausta.

A friend sent me this LA Times link from 2016.

Escalating their battle to stamp out an unprecedented spread of street encampments, city officials have begun seizing tiny houses from homeless people in South Los Angeles.

Elvis Summers, who built and donated the structures, removed seven of the gaily painted wooden houses — which come with solar-powered lights and American flags — on Wednesday and Thursday ahead of a scheduled city sweep.

Summers, an L.A. resident who says he was once homeless, had placed them within encampments on overpasses along the 110 Freeway, for homeless people to use instead of tents.

But three structures impounded earlier this month remain in a city storage lot, a Bureau of Sanitation spokeswoman said, and the city notified occupants they would be “discarded.” (…)

Councilman Curren Price, who represents the neighborhood, said the houses pose serious health and safety risks.

“I’m getting complaints from constituents who have to walk in to the streets to avoid them,” Price said.

Authorities destroyed needles, drug setups and a gun seized from one or more of the houses and tents during an earlier cleanup.

I don’t know what the ultimate solution to this problem should be. I do know, from my own experience in homelessness – I was never on the street — is that many people who are on-the-street are there because they are alcoholics and/or addicts who are unwilling to go without their given substance. This precludes them living in structures provided by LA County for the homeless. The County offers free detox as well. But a potential customer must want to be free.

Thing is, isn’t it better for all concerned for an on-the-street homeless person to live in a solid structure rather than in a tent or a makeshift tarp shack?

It seems to me that Elvis Summers understands his limitations. He cannot solve such a huge problem but can only improve the situation in small steps using his own personal skills. Would that we all thought like that.

And leave it to government to hinder it.

I’m going to search for a more up-to-date report on this and I may update.

(Thanks to Jason Minks.)

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

Hit Da Tech Guy Blog’s Tip Jar for his new not-GoDaddy host!

Or hit Juliette’s!

Our Panel Mike LaChance, Chip Faulkner, Dianna Ploss & Christopher Maider

A week ago today in conjunction with the Worcester Tea Party we held our 2nd Event together at Tang Dynasty Restaurant President Trump a Year in Review and Looking Ahead.

There were some similarities with our first event with Stacy McCain last year, the venue, the fact that both the Worcester Tea Party and Granite Grok recorded the event and that the food was served a little later than expected (about 12:30) which delayed the proceedings and as before once the food was served everyone enjoyed it tremendously which practically guarantees our next event will be at the same spotl

Unlike the last event we had a few people unexpected guests show up.  One of them was Dr. Scott Lively who made a few remarks to the crowd before things got started.

Dr. Lively is going to challenge Charlie Baker from the right for the GOP nomination.

Also speaking was one of the many candidates vying for the nomination to challenge Elizabeth Warren this time around, Heidi Wellman who I interviewed after the event.

I didn’t record the event myself as both WTP and Granite Grok were doing so (and frankly I was too busy with the event itself to bother with that side of it.) As of today only the Granite Grok raw feed is up which I include below. The speeches begin at 12:46

There were some lively exchanges and disagreements on the panel particularly on the subject of the president’s tweets but things flowed very well. We passed out index cards so the crowd could submit questions and it wasn’t long into the event that I went to them. The audience had great questions and it led to a lively and interesting event right to the end at which time Matt O’Brien who did yeoman’s work getting things going gave the closing remarks

Once things were all done came the interviews. First I spoke to Chip Faulkner from Citizens for Limited Taxation.

Chip’s warnings about the latest attempt for the state to try to tax us bear listening to.

Next came Mike LaChance (who some of you might know as Alester from American Glob) who now writes at Legal Insurrection

and we finished up with Dianne Ploss from Ma for Trump and Act For America

Her MA for Trump Christmas party will be tomorrow (it was delayed due to illness in the family but you can still catch it) It’s only $25 which includes a DJ and Chinese food. You can find details for the party here.

It was a good time and a good discussion and as before people left knowing a lot more than when they came.  If you were one of those folks thanks so much for coming.  If you missed it, make sure you show up for our next event.

I mentioned earlier this month that GOP candidate Dean Tran had won the state senate seat left vacant by Jen Flanagan but before I leave the subject I’d like to say something about the former State Senator now on the Massachusetts Cannabis Commission.

I had covered and interviewed Senator Flanagan several times in the past my last had been after the 2014 debate in Leominster

As you might guess while I had little in common politically with Ms. Flanagan it’s worth noting that Flanagan never shrunk away from those who opposed her politically.  She was happy to appear at Tea Party forums to engage and make her case to political opponents at a time when Democrats and media Nationwide were demonizing the Tea Party.

Fortunately for the GOP most Democrats nationally weren’t classy or smart enough to do the same.  Which is one of the reasons the GOP have a majority today.

She was a class act and will do an excellent job on the commission, I wish her luck.

Sheriff-Lew-Evangelidis-Dean-Tran-Charlie-Baker-and-friend 2016

This story is what we call “News”

Robert Stacy McCain The Power of Simple Sentences May 31st 2011

Yesterday I promised an example of a Newsworthy story it now follows:

On Tuesday morning before I was headed off to what would be, unknown to me, my last day of work before I was laid off, I headed to the St. Bernards activity center in Fitchburg Ma’s ward six with my son to vote in a special election for the Massachusetts State Senate vacated by Democrat Jennifer Flanagan of Leominster after Governor Charlie Baker appointed her to the Massachusetts Cannabis Commission.

If this had been the US Senate the idea of a GOP governor appointing a Democrat Senator from a district that went for Scott Brown in the past might have made some waves, but as Flanagan had successfully defended her seat both during the 2010 big red wave and the smaller 2014 red wave that elected Charlie Baker Governor (I covered the debates back then) and the fact that a republican hadn’t held that seat since the first George Bush was president (Mary Padula) there wasn’t a lot of worry over it in Democrat circles.  Particularly since her GOP opponent Dean Tran had previously lost a special election for State Rep in Fitchburg where he was a longtime city counselor even though popular GOP sheriff Lew Evangelidis and Governor Charlie Baker had appeared on his behalf then and would do so in this race too.

The primary was held on the day of the General election and despite two wild cards longtime Leominster city counselor Claire Freda (a self described Conservative Democrat / Liberal Republican) running as unenrolled and Green / Rainbow candidate Charlene DiCalogero the smart money was on Susanne Chalifoux Zepher who had won a three way Democrat primary on election day and had outspent Tran by more than 6-1 .

But election day Tran’s supporters turned out:

Leominster resident Sarah Tatro said she was more swayed by Tran’s Republican convictions, which she said were more in line with her own views.

“He’s way more of a conservative than Sue Chalifoux Zephir and he lines up with a lot of the policies I care about and my beliefs,” she said, referring to his pro-life stance and support of the Second Amendment.

And when I got home that night after midnight I was delighted to find out that Dean had won with 46% of the vote in the four way race to Chalifoux-Zephir’s 42% Freda picked up 10% of the vote (lower than I expected) and green candidate DiCalogero 1%. This gives the GOP its seventh seat out of forty in the Massachusetts senate and gets them half way toward the 14 seats needed to break the Democrat senate super majority.

Now I will grant you in terms of the composition of the Massachusetts senate it’s not going to make a huge difference this year.

But it seems to be that a Republican candidate,  and not just a republican but a Minority pro-life 2nd Amendment republican, flips a senate seat, and not just a senate seat but a seat that Democrats have held since 1992, to represent three cites (Fitchburg Leominster & Gardner) that all went for  Hillary in a state she won by over 27 points  might, just might, be a Tad newsworthy.

But in fairness that’s the opinion of a blogger who has never been employed in the MSM.  What would professional reporters say?  Tomorrow I’ll share with you the opinions of a few I spoke to on the subject.


If you’d like to support independent journalists who, unlike the folks at CNN, know the definition of “Newsworthy” without being told please consider hitting DaTipJar



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Finally might I suggest my book  Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer and would make an excellent Gift for the person of faith on your Christmas list.

While driving down Route 55 in Lagrangeville, New York (about 60 miles north of New York City) on the way to a medical appointment yesterday, I spotted a sign outside of Kelly’s Steaks and Spirits that sure lifted mine! The sign announced that they DO NOT air NFL games in that establishment and the sign further went on to say:

MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

If I were not driving at the time I would have taken a picture.  I do not have the resources to go out for dinner, but that sign alone (in NEW YORK) is enough reason for me to want to check that place out if the opportunity to dine out should ever present itself to me. Predictably, the Trump Derangement Syndrome afflicting people has caused an outbreak of hatred and poor reviews for this establishment.  At the top of their page, Facebook highlights certain words they think we need to know people are using:

*******

MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals.