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.

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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:


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 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. 

After White Nationalists and their counterparts caused violence to erupt in Charlottesville, Virginia back in August, Americans witnessed a very odd occurrence. Suddenly, Virginia bureaucrats sought to impinge on our constitutional right to bear arms.

First, Va governor Terry McAuliffe very publicly and very falsely alleged that “eighty percent of the people here had semiautomatic weapons,” and even went so far as to say that the white supremacists in attendance “had better equipment than our state police.”

As if all of that wasn’t exaggeration enough, Governor McAuliffe claimed that these supremacists had weapons “stashed around the city.”

Not only was his allegation of citywide conspiracy the stuff of comic books but his entire speech missed the mark completely in terms of bedrock reality. As a matter of cold, hard fact, the white supremacists in the Charlottesville incident utilized nearly every form of weapon imaginable…save for guns.

As anyone who’s followed the news can tell you, the chief offender at the Unite the Right rally implemented a motor vehicle as his assault weapon. One witness at the rally was Hunter Wallace, a Right wing blogger at Occidental Dissent who reported being attacked with “mace, pepper spray, bricks, sticks and foul liquids.” But nowhere does he mention firearms.

Much of the anti-gun rhetoric surrounding the incident has to do with a paramilitary group that was photographed at the scene, each of them outfitted with camouflage gear and brandishing assault rifles. But the problem here is one of false identification.

At the height of the tension in Charlottesville, the governor announced a State of Emergency and members of the National Guard were deployed. As such, there is no reason to believe that those who were armed at the protest weren’t actually members of the National Guard or a private security firm.

In fact, state police have even renounced the governor’s claims, insisting that they searched for stashed weapons and came up short. “No weapons were located.”

Despite this, the Internet blew up with rumors that a gun-toting militia had silenced free speech when, on the contrary, those in attendance were more than capable of speaking their minds. And they did. Quite loudly and violently.

Nevertheless, the public outcry over the event triggered a domino effect and, in no time at all, the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) was deferring to the Left, announcing that they would no longer “defend hate groups seeking to march with firearms.”

In other words, they are threatening to strip Americans of their First Amendment right to march if we exercise our Second Amendment freedoms. It’s a dangerous precedent that they are setting in the name of placating the gun-hating PC police.

What the ACLU’s decision tells us is that even those legal watchdogs who we trust to defend our civil liberties are, in the end, out to save face rather than protect our inalienable right to civil disobedience or organized demonstration.

Their announcement is also an arbitrary one since there are already numerous legal restrictions that limit the places and situations in which bearing arms is acceptable. This is true in multiple jurisdictions. Any responsible gun owner is already fully aware of the consequences he or she faces if they violate extant firearms laws.

The ACLU’s proclamation is one that runs counter to those laws, one that says they refuse to represent organizations that are compliant with those laws. In the case of Charlottesville, the gun laws are less restrictive than in other states. Any person 21 years of age or older can apply for a five-year concealed carry permit.

Granted, the ACLU is a private organization and they have every right to select the clients they represent at their own discretion, but their decision in the wake of Charlottesville is one that perpetuates the current rash of myopic, partisan arguments dividing our great nation.

People want to point fingers at the alt-right, they want to point fingers at the “snowflakes,” they want to shame everyone other than themselves. But what many people are failing to notice is the real danger at play here.

The Republic of the United States and its free speech has sustained itself through awful, unspeakable attacks, many of them far more catastrophic than even the disgusting display in Charlottesville. And through it all, we’ve been able to give voice to all opinions, maintaining unity despite our differences.

All of that is compromised when retreat and surrender become the status quo. What the ACLU has done is take a step in that egregious direction, a step toward compromising the core values and liberties of all for the sake of appeasing the few.

It’s almost laughable that the alt-right or the Democrats would get behind such a move since losing our First and Second Amendment rights would rob us of the privilege of calling America a so-called “democracy.” After all, without a voice, you have no say and without a say, you are no longer living in a free country.

Loud-mouthed political wingnuts, whether ultra-liberal or ultra-conservative, will never be a threat to the fabric of our constitution. On the other hand, a culture that places more value on suppression and censorship than constructive debate will. Once we begin undermining our freedoms, we forfeit what it means to be an American.

As President Trump said after the Charlottesville incident, the violence that was wrought could be blamed on “both sides.” And whether you agree with him or not, one thing that we can take away from that is that violence can come at us from any direction, regardless of our political leanings.

Thus, it is imperative that every American retain their right to own and carry a gun. Law-abiding citizens, even those exercising their freedom to sit in and protest, should be able to protect themselves against the berserkers from both sides of the aisle.

Sam Bocetta is a retired defense contractor for the U.S. Navy, specializing in electronic warfare and advanced computer systems. He now teaches at Algonquin Community College in Ottawa, Canada as a part time engineering professor and is the ASEAN affairs correspondent for

That is a picture of a Rose Petal that was taken by my son’s Iphone last night at a prayer service in Medford. Said Petal and one other were pressed against his chest by Brother Carmelo a mystic from the Philippians who is in Massachusetts who flew in tuesday and flies out tomorrow.

Here are two videos I shot of the various Petals, my wife, oldest son, and I have two each. 3 of them have the Eucharist on them, one the head of Jesus, one of the Blessed Mother and the children of Fatima and one of St. Francis at the foot of the cross.

This one was about 90 minutes later taken in Leominster at Happy Jack’s restaurant.

Here are two of the pictures I took (the full batch is at the bottom

that’s the same of as above here is my son’s other one.

There were a bunch of people in this room after the blessing Brother Camelo took the white pedals out of the bowl where they had been mixed with water (water that had come from sealed water bottles that were opened in our presence and drank from by people who attended) and pressed them against our chests. The images were viable to the light very shortly afterwards but the letters on the host didn’t become distinct until later. I still have glitter on my chest…

and my head.

My wife took these pictures just now for this post. There is also glitter on my wife’s chest but you’ll have to take my word for it as you aren’t getting any photos of that.

Watching the assorted people aged from late teens to 80’s was like watching a bunch of kids opening up packs of baseball cards to see who they had gotten. The images widely varied from person to person and the sheer amazement of the room was palatable, although given that it was full of faithful Catholics said amazement might be a tad strange.

I should point out that while our host bought a bunch of roses for the event my wife specifically purchased six roses at the Market Basket on John Fitch Highway in Fitchburg and brought them. They were sent to the front and I distinctly saw the petals from those roses taken by the priest (not Brother Carmelo) and plucked for the use in this service. We had gotten there a tad late and nobody had a shot to fiddle with or adjust said roses. Furthermore there was a room full of people (I’d estimate 30-40) people in a room not bigger than 20 x 10 with all eyes on what was going on.

Here are the thumbnails of the pictures we took. My son’s petals are now at his house in his bible and our four are at our house in mine. Brother Camelo said to leave them there for three months and then we can laminate them.

Oh and one other thing. A Bowl was passed full of water that had been clouded by the pedals for us to dip our rosaries in. All three of ours still smell strongly of roses.

Here are the pictures I took along with the four my son took off of his Iphone

As I said, all of this happened right in front of us and I’d say the implications of this is significant for what a person believes and how they choose to live. You are of course free to assume that I’m a liar or a fool and come up with a complicated explanation as to how this happened.

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Two years ago when the new young pastor of St. Anthony di Padua Church in Fitchburg Massachusetts was forced out of the parish by a letter writing campaign by some individuals in the parish  that somehow convinced the Bishop to move the young priest despite the lack of any wrongdoing I wrote a list of who the biggest losers were.  this was number 7:

St. Anthony’s School: Our Elementary School will be trading a young dynamic priest, who was the chaplain of the Fitchburg Fire Department.  A priest from the video game, email and cell phone era for a priest in his 60’s. Boy that’s going to be a draw for young families choosing between the catholic schools in the area. And hey, if parents if you have a choice between enrolling your kid in a Catholic school where the parish is divided or a school where it is not, where are you going to go?

Well less than a month after the parish insisted that they were not closing the school, merely trimming some of the grades, the inevitable is taking place:

Saint Anthony School will close after the end of this school year, Rev. Leo-Paul LeBlanc said Tuesday.

Citing decreased enrollment, LeBlanc said the elementary and middle school will not reopen next fall after 66 years educating members of the city’s Catholic community.

“The numbers of enrolled students simply cannot support the financial responsibilities that would be necessary to operate and provide a quality education we have prided ourselves on for our students,” LeBlanc wrote in a letter sent to parents on Tuesday.

Amazingly the article at the Sentinal and Enterprise has absolutly no mention of the turmoil that turned a school that five years ago had waiting lists and was raising funds for an expansion into one where parents don’t want to send their kids and to put it off to fewer nuns and rising costs is disengunious at best.  The parish has shot itself in the foot and in so doing has thrown away the hard work of our father and grandfathers who had a lot less that us but managed to build a parish and a school for their kids.

I urge most strongly that the parish adpot a Spiritual Plan of Action at once either the one I suggested or another ASAP before the next shoe falls.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT –  If Hurricane Katrina united New Orleans in the common cause of “love thy neighbor,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu has successfully decimated all remnants of civility and has created a cultural divide that has ripped the city apart and has cast New Orleans in a negative light in the eyes of the national lens.

As Landrieu continues to staunchly defend his decision to remove the city’s Confederate monuments, supporters (both black and white) have taken positions days and night at the monuments to protect them. Two weeks ago Landrieu removed one of the four, the Liberty Place monument, in the dead of night using a team of city firefighters wearing masks and protective armor.

Even as monument supporters had a large measure of victory this week with the passage of HB71 from committee, tension about the monuments rose. This bill would presumably protect the monuments:

House Bill 71 would forbid the removal, renaming or alteration of any military monument of any war, including the “War Between the States,” that is situated on public property. The measure was amended to require the support of a majority of voters in a public election before any monuments could be removed.

Mayor Landrieu is not working fast enough for Take ‘Em Down NOLA and the Antifa crowd, and they announced a rally in New Orleans to take place Sunday, May 7:


While white supremacists gather from many states around confederate monuments in OUR CITY, the mayor nor council has still not publicly called for its own ceremony to honor the historic occasion of 4 monuments to slavery coming down. Even the conservative governor of S.C. had a public ceremony to remove the confederate flag.

Cowering in darkness offers no safety or protection, it is shameful and being questioned by world wide media.

What does this say to Black youth? What does this teach white youth?

All eyes are on New Orleans. It is fitting that during Jazz Fest the people have our voices heard. Not just on the monuments, but for racial equality and economic justice for those who built New Orleans, whose heritage is leveraged for profit and who are being displaced.

In the name of the good people of New Orleans, in honor of our civil rights veterans who fought for decades for their removal, in appreciation of the Black community, elders and youth Take Em Down NOLA is issuing this call for everyone to come out!

Meet at Congo Square at 1:30pm.

March to Lee Circle.

Make History! Take down Robert E. Lee and ALL symbols of White Supremacy!

By noon Sunday protesters were gathering on both sides. Monument supporters were getting information and security, how to handle pepper spray attacks, and cautionary information about Antifa. New Orleans police began installing barricades around Lee Circle; the Jefferson Davis monument has been blocked off all week after violent clashes last weekend between both sides.

Large black busses with blacked out windows were moving into the city in the morning filled with Antifa protestors.

But, through the day, for the most part things remained non-violent. Tense, but non-violent. There were a couple of fights and skirmishes that were quickly put down, but by early evening crowds had dispersed and traffic lanes were reopened.

The focus then moved to the Jefferson Davis monument where reports were that a large Antifa group was congregating to harass supporters there. But other than the exchange of hot words, everything was calm.

Overall, thankfully the protests did not end in the free-for-all that was anticipated but what did come out of it all was a clarification that contrary to Governor John Bel Edwards’s stance that the monuments “are a local issue,” clearly it has surpassed that. Mitch Landrieu made it NOT a local issue when he called in State and Federal Law Enforcement from all over the state to New Orleans using Department of Homeland Security emergency measures. This makes is a national issue, being paid for with state and federal tax dollars.

And this means John Bel Edwards now has to get off the fence.


Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.