At the last minute my scheduled extra shift was cancelled and I found myself able to briefly attended the anti-abortion protest in Fitchburg which while part of a series of national protests for defending planned parenthood was delayed a week by winter storms.

In the seven years that Planned Parenthood has been in Fitchburg there have been many demonstrations there and lots of prayer but over the last year our friends on the left started counting protesting so there were two distinct groups, one near the entrance of the parking garage that was prolife and wanting to defund planned parenthood

And one directly opposite the “clinic” that was in favor of abortion and planned parenthood

When we first started protesting planned parenthood before the building even opened we had no opposition (unless you count the painter working on the building before they opened who told me that said if it gets rid of some of the Spanish in town he’s all for it) the other side never bothered to counter protest. It speaks well of the effectiveness of the pro-life prayers that our foes now, in the last year have found it necessary to counter us (if we had no effect then they’d ignore us) and it speaks even better of us that in a college town in this bluest of states we outnumbered them on a Saturday, but the most interesting part of my brief visit was completely unexpected.

At one point as the rosary began a young lady from the other side walked over and started engaging one of our group, the organizer, not wanting the prayers to be interrupted, asked her to postpone her engagement until the prayer was done at which time they’d be happy to talk to her but I was intrigued, so I walked over to her and we spoke literally between the two groups.

Other than age we had a lot in common, we attended the same university (although it was a college when I was there before she was born) we were both engineers (although she has a double major) but most important of all she was willing to talk to people she disagreed with which suggests both curiosity and a liking for people, this and her civility given what we’ve seen in the land is rare and should always be encouraged.

At this point I offered to interview her and she consented (which given my association with the other side shows a level of trust I’ve rarely experienced when engaging opponents)

I thought she did quite well, particularly on the question of funding and after the interview we talked briefly. She said that I had given her things to think about.

Meanwhile I moved back to my side of the aisle and there I found Olivia who also consented to an interview. She was a few years younger than Natasha and talked about the pressure that she gets from her peers for her open pro-life stance.

It seemed to me in many ways Natasha and Olivia were very alike and as I pondered it something clicked in my head. I asked Joyce (the protest leader for our Pro-life group) If I could speak to the group before leaving and she agreed.

I asked them to pray for the folks on the other side noting that some of the greatest pro-life warriors of our age started out on the other side and for all we know one of those young people (and most of them were college age with a few older feminists sprinkled in) might be leading our protests some day. On my way out I quietly asked a pair of people, strong in faith & prayer to pray for Natasha and found myself not only doing the same but adding her to my lengthy prayer list remembering that God changes hearts.

That very day the news of McCorvey, a.k.a. ‘Jane Roe,’ death broke:

She had a troubled, difficult life, but eventually renounced her pro-abortion views and converted to Catholicism

Her conversion story is here an excerpt in her own words

The sad story of my days as a pro-choice activist, days that I am happy are long gone, is recounted in the book I am Roe. The marvelous story of my journey to a new life in Christ and the pro-life movement is recounted in the book Won by Love. Now it is time to add a new chapter to the story of my life, because God had more in store for me even after He made me 100% pro-life and washed me in the waters of baptism.

He wanted me to “come home,” a message that scared me at first, because I did not know what it meant.

Eventually she would figure it out and become Catholic

The day finally arrived when I would be received into the Catholic Church. I did not have to be baptized again, because the Catholic Church recognizes the validity of baptism by flowing water in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. So the ceremony, scheduled for August 17, 1998 at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Dallas, was a Mass during which I would profess my adherence to all that the Catholic Church officially teaches, and would receive the Sacraments of Confirmation and of First Holy Communion.

I did not want this day to be a media event. No part of my journey of conversion was for the media; it was for God. I did not want distractions, or a distortion of the day’s true meaning…The first time Fr. Frank Pavone interviewed me for his radio program, he started by saying, “So you are the Jane Roe of Roe vs. Wade.” “No Father,” I responded, “I was the Jane Roe of Roe vs. Wade, but now I am a new creation in Christ. I am Roe no more!”

The primary goal of us in the pro-life movement is to save lives, both the lives of the child (and all those generations that would follow) and the life of the mother, father and all of those who will suffer, sometimes in silence, and sometimes in public over abortion.

But the 2nd goal is to change hearts and minds, because it will be those changed hearts and changed minds that will make the first goal possible and will even more importantly lead to changed souls.

And it’s a changed soul that is the different between eternal life and eternal death which in the end is the bottom line we will all face.

Right now I have a lot on my plate and I suspect so do you but I’d ask that you add a daily prayer for both Natasha and Oliva, may they both, like the brother in scripture, find themselves in the end together in their father’s house, one there from the start, and the other after a wrong turn and a long detour, but both in the end together in celebration.

That’s a result worth praying for.


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As a general rule there are not a lot of reasons for conservatives in Massachusetts to smile come election time but WCVB polls on Question 2, the expansion of charter schools in the state is an exception:

On charter schools, 49 percent of likely voters support the question and 39 percent oppose, with 12 percent unsure. With leaners, the support goes up to 52 percent and opposition to 41 percent.

These polling stats come despite the opposition of such liberal icons as Senator Elizabeth Warren coming out against Question 2. And the NAACP maintaining its opposition to such schools.

In fact there has been a divide on the question amongst liberals  with the Boston Globe editorializing against fiscal objections to charter schools and some Cambridge city officials  spitting from their fellows on question 2.

US News has noticed this split between the liberal grass-roots and their leadership on this issue

But why do many civil rights groups oppose charters? The more deeply one looks, the more puzzling the question. Unlike rank-and-file teachers, the African-Americans we surveyed support charters by a nearly two to one margin. Forty-eight percent of African Americans say they favor the formation of charters, while only 29 percent stand in opposition, with the remainder taking the neutral position. In fact the opinions of African-Americans resemble those of the American public as a whole – 51 percent support, 28 percent oppose, 21 percent neutral. A March Boston Globe poll found much the same level of support for charters in the Bay State as we found nationally, both among the public as a whole and among all demographic groups.

Not only does the black community support charters, but African-American students enjoy over-representation in charter schools. According to the U. S. Department of Education 27 percent of all charter students are black, even though black students constitute only 16 percent of the overall public school population. Hispanic students at charters (30 percent) are slightly over-represented, as their share of the school-age population is 25 percent. But white students constitute just a quarter of the enrollees at charters, even though they are half of all students attending public school. Mysteriously, the NAACP calls this segregation

This divide has not slowed down the teachers unions and their allies.  In my home town of Fitchburg a local office opened up in the parkhill plaza area with a big sign Fitchburg Educational Association over it.  This has been a source of the lawn signs against question two that have popped up all over town.  In my travels I’ve yet to notice any such comparable effort locally on the other side.

Of course it could be the reason for the inactivity of the pro-question 2 side might be a decision to allow the results from the Sizer School, the local charter serving grades 7-12 speak for itself

the Massachusetts Department of Education released the accountability results for schools across the state. Sizer School, a 7-12 public charter in Fitchburg, has reached Level 1 status – an exciting accomplishment. In the aggregate and by subgroup, Sizer students met state targets for achievement. Sizer also saw strong improvement in subgroup performance in English Language Arts, and in moving students from warning/failing into proficient, and from proficient to advanced. This benchmark is due to the achievement and dedication of Sizer staff, students, and families. It represents diligence and is the result of hard work to ensure students understand and are able to demonstrate mastery of content and concepts in a testing environment.

According to the Massachusetts State 2016 glossary of accountability terms level one means?

Massachusetts’ Framework for District Accountability and Assistance classifies schools and districts on a fivelevel scale, classifying those meeting their gap narrowing goals in Level 1 and the lowest performing in Level 5. Approximately eighty percent of schools are classified into Level 1 or 2 based on the cumulative PPI for the “all students” and high needs groups. For a school to be classified into Level 1, the cumulative PPI for both the “all students” group and high needs students must be 75 or higher.

It defines “high needs students” as:

The high needs group is an unduplicated count of all students in a school or district belonging to at least one of the following individual subgroups: students with disabilities, English language learners (ELL) and former ELL students, or economically disadvantaged students. For a school to be considered to be making progress toward narrowing proficiency gaps, the cumulative PPI for both the all students group and high needs students must be 75 or higher.

Sizer school scored 76 on all students and an even higher 78 for “high needs” students.

Meanwhile according to state stats Fitchburg in General (Level 3 62/60) and the schools servicing comparable grade levels   Fitchburg high  (Level 3 60/51)   Longsjo Middle school (Level 2 74/68)  and Memorial Middle School (Level 3 61/53) did not do so well.

On the minus side Sizer overall performance relative to other schools in same school type was 40 meaning that 60 percent of comparable schools scored better.  That might have been a good talking point for the folks at the Fitchburg Educational Association trying to move voters in Fitchburg voters if it wasn’t for the fact that Longsjo Middle school relative overall performance score was a 23, Memorial Middle school  a 22 and Fitchburg high a lowly 10 barely making double digits.

As election day grows nearer those opposed to charter school expansion in Massachusetts find themselves in the same position as Senator Richard Russell of Georgia who during the debate on the Civil Rights Act of 1957 had a memorable exchange over the need for a such a law with Senator Pat McNamara of Michigan on the senate floor.  Russell arguing for the status quo, noted McNamara’s stated racial issues in Michigan could be handled without outside interference and asked “Then, why does not the senator let us [in the south] do the same?”  McNamara, in a loud voice answered the argument for maintaining things as they were by saying:  “Because you’ve had ninety years and haven’t done it.”

That’s the dilemma of those hoping to reverse those polling numbers.  If the local schools had produced results that parents wanted for their children the whole question of charter schools would be moot.  But as long as the stats from the state and more importantly the results that are visible to the voters every time their children come home from school remain what they’ve been for years, lawn signs not withstanding the argument for the status quo will remain a difficult sell.


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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.

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Either way thanks for reading and don’t be shy about letting us know what you think. One can’t improve without critique.

For all the talk about how the base needs to cooperate with the establishment more, it’s worth remembering that the base almost always does its part on Election Day. It’s the establishment that is less reliable in returning the favor.

Jonah Goldberg

Earlier this year just before the NH primary the popular Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker endorsed Chris Christie as his candidate for president. Despite an active robust campaign Christie went on to be decisively beaten in NH and dropped out of the race two days later.

Some wonder why Chris Christie did so poorly, too crowded a field, not enough money but one of the things that I think cost him was his record.

No not his record as Governor, given the situation in his state he’s actually done pretty well, no I mean his record as head of the NJ GOP

Since Christie is so popular and won re-election so decisively one would naturally expect he brought success for the party with him. After all , if he is the poster boy for the GOP nationally he would be the model to elect party members following his lead all over the state right?

Despite Christie’s 60 percent showing on Tuesday, Republicans didn’t make up any ground in the state Senate.

In an election where he got 60% of the vote and faced token opposition he had absolutely no coattails in his state, and furthermore at the same time he refused to campaign for Ken Cuccinelli who was in a close tough race that he would barely lose to Clinton confidant Terry McAuliffe.

I suspect more than a few Tea Party members took note.

And that brings us to Charlie Baker.

Charlie Baker has been a pretty good governor his handling of the big snowstorm last year, showed what competent leadership can do.  His no drama administration has been a welcome contrast to Deval Patrick and his approval ratings reflect that contrast.  It’s no wonder that the National Journal story about him was titled The Most Popular Politician in America.

Given the state of the GOP in Massachusetts and with 11% registration and a state house with veto proof majorities in both chambers for democrats (house 125-35 Senate 34-6) one would think Charlie Baker might use some of that political capital to build the party, recruiting GOP candidates across the state to contest these races and perhaps narrow those democratic supermajorities that he is facing.

And indeed the Governor is in fact getting involved in local races…in order to defeat conservative republicans

Strongly conservative factions of the Massachusetts Republican Party, a constituency that Charlie Baker courted in his 2014 gubernatorial race, are now the target of the governor and his political team in their campaign to take firmer control of a sharply divided state GOP.

Baker, in an unprecedented foray into an intraparty squabble, is using the March 1 balloting for the GOP’s governing state committee to muscle the conservatives out of any significant influence and to replace them with moderate Republicans.

And some of the people he is opposing are folks that he can directly link his narrow electoral victory to

For example, Baker and Polito endorsed 29-year-old Neil St. Clair, a newcomer to the party, for a committee seat now held by conservative activist Steven W. Aylward of Watertown.

Aylward, who did not want to comment, was a leader in the 2014 campaign to repeal automatic increases to the state gas tax, a battle that brought a swath of antitax, pro-Baker voters to the polls. Baker even credited Aylward with playing a key part in his razor-thin victory over Democrat Martha Coakley.

Adding to the insult is that Baker’s choice, St. Clair, recently moved to Boston’s Back Bay from New York, where in June 2011 he had registered as a Democrat. St. Clair, who registered as a Republican last fall, said he is drawn to Baker’s moderate Republican brand and has offered to help. He is vague about how the Baker endorsement came about.

So Charlie Baker is supporting a newly converted Democrat for state committee vs a GOP activist who is directly responsible for the defeat of the hated indexed gas tax.

No wonder the Globe endorsed him last time.

I’ve received one of those Baker mailers, they are supporting two people who I’ve never heard of over the local activists who have been working like dogs to advance the GOP in the area and stood by the party and defended it when conservatives were talking about staying home.

 

I can’t think of anything that would enrage the activists who have spent the last six years giving their time, effort and money to support the party than this effort to push them out of the way.  If these suggested committee people are such excellent choices why not instead use the strength of the party to run them for state rep and state senate.  After all if 19 of those 52 people managed to win seats currently held by Democrats in the house then the party would be able to sustain a Baker veto.

Furthermore let’s say Baker plans to recruit local candidates once he purges the grassroots activists from the party.  Once that happens who is going to do the grunt work that said activists did?  After all Jeb Bush has already demonstrated that big money can’t compete with committed volunteers.

On that subject we have a special election coming up in my district where Republican city councilor Dean Tran is facing Democrat Counsler Steven Hay for the seat vacated by Democrat Steve DiNatale.  At the state party site Kristen Hughes had this to say:

“Dean Tran has been a consistent and hard-working advocate for Fitchburg taxpayers for years, and will be a trusted leader for the 3rd Worcester on Beacon Hill. The MassGOP is ready to work with Dean as our nominee in this election, to send Governor Baker a strong partner from Fitchburg and Lunenburg.”

You might think that a popular sitting GOP governor might bother to say a good word Mr. Tran yet the mailer which talks about the March 1st election doesn’t say a word about the special election taking place that day or the candidacy of Consular Tran.

Back in 2013 I left the GOP after covering the party convention and seeing the ahem interesting tactics used by the party establishment to defeat a potential Tea Party chairman I left the GOP very publicly saying

If the party wants me and people like me they’ll have to earn me. When the GOP can convince me that they are serious about growing the party, when they convince me they are serious about treating the tea party et/al as valued members as opposed to a source of temp labor and occasional funds. I’ll be happy to return to the Republican Party in as public a fashion as I’ve just left it.

Apparently they are happy to keep people like me out and maybe throw a few other under the bus.  I guess Neil McCabe was right:

after he is elected, conservatives may think they won something. But, rather with Baker and his collaborator Republicans, it means all is lost.

And people in the GOP establishment wonder why Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are winning primaries and their candidates are not.

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Yesterday was election day and there are several stories to tell.

On the local level Steve Dinatale left the Massachusetts State Legislature to run for mayor of fitchburg and his choice was rewarded with 74% of the vote in a city that has not been shy about voting for republicans like Scott Brown.

I hope Dinatale stays in the Mayor’s office a while, he’s a sensible fellow who will do a good job plus any attempt to advance further in state government would require a choice between his Catholic faith and the Democrat party and I suspect that choice is the reason why the city will get the benefit rather than the entire state.

Their loss is our gain.

Andrew Couture is a good guy and I think he should consider running for city council.

In Kentucky in a race Democrats were expected to win Matt Bevin, Mitch McConnell’s favorite punching bag was expected to lose and the media already had their narrative written

Bevin, who polls show is trailing by a small margin, appears on the verge of joining the list of tea party-aligned candidates whom establishment operatives will blame for years to come for losing a winnable race. Like other Republicans damaged by the party’s Obama-era civil war, Bevin took untenable positions in the primary that Democrats have turned against him in the general. And the Republican businessman’s strategy and decisions throughout the campaign have baffled longtime political observers.

As you can guess they hedged his bets with a single line

They think pollsters might be missing the anger of rural conservatives who are most likely to vote, which is what happened in the media polling here in 2014.”

The polls showed him down five, but you know what, people forgot about, a person named Kim Davis

As he travels around the state, Bevin’s body man hands out postcards describing Bevin as “the only candidate for governor that has stood up for traditional marriage and religious liberty.” Bevin has also made appeals to born-again Christians, urging them to vote to counteract the political activism of “agnostics and atheists” and telling them to “stand firm” for their beliefs.

The Advocate made it very clear which sides the Democrat Conway & the Republican Bevin are on:

Conway, on the other hand, is so staunchly pro-[gay]marriage, Kentucky’s former top lawman got choked up when announcing in 2014 that he would not appeal a federal judge’s order recognizing same-sex marriages performed out of state. “If I did so I would be defending discrimination. That I will not do,” Conway said, which you can watch in the video below

Bevin visited Kentucky clerk Davis in jail, where she spent time this summer for refusing to grant marriage licenses to any couples, citing personal religious beliefs against same-sex marriage. Bevin’s support for Davis became a tentpole of his campaign strategy

Alas for our liberal friends the voters of Kentucky clearly knew which side they were on too and it wasn’t close

Bevin was able to defy pundits, political insiders and polling — including one released by his own campaign in October that showed him losing — and emerge a winner Tuesday night.

In the end, it wasn’t even close. Bevin won 107 of the state’s 120 counties on his way to a nine-point victory.

The real fun part are paragraphs like this gay blogs like this:

Kim Davis’s attorneys at the Liberty Counsel sent out a press release congratulating Bevin which included a statement from Davis herself:

“I congratulate Matt Bevin on his win. I am ecstatic. He is such a genuine and caring person. I will be forever thankful that he came to visit me while I was in jail. At a clerks’ meeting he hugged me and said he was praying for me. I am looking forward to his leadership as our new Governor.”

Liberty Counsel attorney Mat Staver clucked as well:

“The election was not even close. The lopsided victory for Matt Bevin stunned most political pundits. There is no question that the issue of religious freedom and same-sex marriage played a role in the results. The people favor traditional values and marriage, and they are tired of the political elites represented by Governor Beshear who are out of touch with ordinary, God-loving citizens. We look forward to working with Governor Elect Matt Bevin to accommodate the religious convictions of Kim Davis and other Kentucky clerks. Finally, we will have common sense and the Constitution prevail in Kentucky.”

Apparently Judge Bunning can jail a clerk for her faith but you can’t jail the electorate.

Expect the MSM to spin this result as having nothing to do with Kim Davis.

Update: Out of curiosity I did a google and yahoo for any comments Alison Grimes might have made on the Kim davis case. I didn’t find anything.

On what I’m sure is a totally unrelated note in a year while Bevin won the governor’s race Grimes managed to be re-elected Secretary of state by two point margin.

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

On Tuesday, the feast of the nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary WQPH radio held the first of a series of events put on by WQPH over the next several days detailed here at the old Madonna of the Holy Rosary

There was a living rosary, a birthday cake and Ice cream to celebrate our lady’s birth and the exposition of the blessed sacrament.

But I thought one of the best parts of the event was this 15 minute talk by Fr. Joe Dolan the pastor of St Bernards Parish at St. Camillus church about the Rosary and it’s evolution over time.

Give it a watch and learn something about this most Catholic of prayers

If you’re interested in the rest of the events they follow:

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Saturday September 12th:

Feast of the Holy Name of Mary Madonna Holy Rosary Church, Fitchburg

10am – 3pm Day Retreat – Fr Leonard ($25 offering)
10am – 4pm
Festival in Church Hall
Catholic Book Fair
WQPH Radio-a-thon
3 – 3:45pm Confession – Fr Leonard Mary MFVA of EWTN
4sandrpm Holy Mass – Fr Leonard Mary MFVA of EWTN
Sunday September 13th:

Fatima Anniversary

9am HolyMass St Francis of Assisi Church, 441 Fellsway W. Medford

10:30am Breakfast Anthony’s, 105 Canal St, Malden

Susan Campbell Trainor (781) 391-7374 for tickets ($25 per person)

Special Guest: Fr. Leonard Mary MFVA of EWTN

Monday September 14th:

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

St Bernards at St Camillus Church, Fitchburg

Noon Holy Mass with Fr. Leonard Mary MFVA of EWTN

Luncheon to follow in lower church

Roland & Carol Vallee (978)343-4927 for tickets ($22 per person)

Tuesday September 15th:

Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows For lost children

St Joseph Church, 114 High St., Medford

6pm Living Rosary of the Seven Sorrows and Divine Mercy Chaplet

Followed by Mass celebrated by Fr. Leonard Mary MFVA of EWTN . Contact Sandi Arjune (781) 333-4800

For more information or to volunteer to help

www.prayersforlife.org

info@wqphradio.org

781-218-2834

Intercessory Prayer

9/8/15 Living Rosary: Joan Conroy (978) 343-9278
9/12/15 Day Retreat: Chris Toloczko (508) 856-9416

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.

opiate awareness 001If you go to the 5th street diner these days you’ll find a purple flag flying from the sandwich sign:

that flag symbolizes Opiate awareness. On Aug 31st 2015 you’ll be seeing a lot more of them on the Upper common of Fitchburg and around the state.

opiate awareness 008

I spoke to Ed Zannino about the event:

This is something that mean a lot to Ed and Tina as they’ve lost a son under these circumstances and given Fitchburg’s transformation in my lifetime from a manufacturing city to an illegal drug hub we’re going to see a lot more of this and the people of the city had better be prepared.

“First we must cross the river,” Benito was saying.  “Do you believe me now when I tell you that you must not attempt to swim it, or even get wet from it, or must you try that too?”

“What happens if I just dive in?”

“Then you will be as you were in the bottle.  Aware and unable to move.  but it will be very cold, and very uncomfortable, and you will be there for all eternity knowing that you put yourself there.”

Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle Inferno  1976

 

Well it’s official, a letter writing campaign by a clique at my parish managed to get our 20 something year old pastor removed and transferred to Winchendon and replaced by the 60 something Pastor currently there..

When I first heard about this effort several weeks ago I figured it was just the normal ruffled feathers that come with a big change. After all our previous pastor had been at our church for 14 years and was both a strong speaker and a powerful force.  Any person replacing him would have some problems so when our new pastor came in, only a few years past ordination it was likely quite a shock to some of the older families.

However when I talked to Fr. Mike I found out this was a lot more serious than I thought. Despite the lack of anything resembling wrongdoing a concerted effort was being made to remove him. He noted that I was welcome to write a letter supporting him to the Bishop (which I did) but remembering that there were a few feathers ruffled when Fr. Bob first came in 15 years ago I figured it was going to be a lot of noise that the Bishop wasn’t going to take note of.

Boy was I wrong.  The Parish and the Diocese has managed to shoot itself in the foot big time.  The number of losers in this sorry affair  is rather numerous:

1. Bishop McManus:   By giving into a clique he not only gives the impression that he can be swayed over minor disagreements over staff & spending but he makes himself vulnerable to this kind of pressure from cliques in other parishes in the future.

2. The Priests of the Worcester County Dioceses: If a priest is guilty of misconduct the it is incumbent on a bishop to act quickly and decisively to remove him, but if the priests of the parish get the idea that the Bishop is going to melt over a few letters concerning parish operations & spending that can’t be good for either morale or operations.

3. The Seminarians: What do you think young men studying to be priests in this Diocese are going to think hearing about this?  Will they dare to be dynamic and challenge their flock to get out of their comfort zone and follow Christ or will they be inclined to play it safe, intimidated, worried that any move that might make those with money or influence in a parish upset?

4. Vocations: It’s hard enough to generate vocations in the east these days.  This example of a young priest being chewed up and spat out by a parish isn’t going to make it any easier.

5. Steve DiNatale Mayoral Campaign:  Steve has been a good state rep for the city and to my knowledge has absolutely no knowledge or involvement in any of this, but the facts won’t matter.  He is a lector at this parish and one of our most prominent members so people will assume he does.   It’s a no win situation. If he comments on this in any way he is likely to divide the people in his parish base,  If he says nothing than people will make assumptions about what he thinks, what he did or didn’t do.  And that’s just inside the parish, the rumors going around the Catholic community in town certainly aren’t going to help and gives an easy in if any of those running against him choose to use it.

6. St. Anthony’s Knights of Columbus Chapter: Our council is barely a year old, a divide in the parish can’t be good for recruiting within the parish and certainly isn’t going to make Catholic men from other parishes without councils anxious to join us.

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?

8. Our incoming pastor: I’ve met Fr. Leblanc & know him slightly.  He seems a nice enough man but not only does he gets thrown into a now divided parish but he’s on the spot. Does he make his own decisions on how to do things, or is he looking over his shoulder?  Does he make changes, does he stand pat?  It’s going to take a lot of effort and prayer to get things where they should be. And what if the folks who got rid of Fr. Clements decide they don’t like what HE does? What if the money doesn’t start coming in? Does he get the blame?

But the biggest loser of all is St. Anthony of Padua Parish:

Our reputation among priests is likely shot (what priest will want to go to a parish that makes trouble for them)?

Our reputation with the Diocese is likely shot (Nobody likes to deal with whiners and given that we escaped the last church closings by the skin of our teeth, if there is a future church closing in town we’ve likely moved to the front of the list)

Our reputation among potential parishioners is likely shot (what Catholic moving into town will want to jump in the middle of this high school clique nonsense?)

And our reputation among ourselves is shot.  Who is going to want to get involved in any group or club or activity that they aren’t already part of?  After all if a pastor who makes a decision that somebody doesn’t like can be replaced,  how much more expendable is a mere parishioner? Much easier to just show up on sunday, put in the envelope and go home, or just decide to head off to a parish without High School drama queens.

All of this is a distraction from the primary duty of the church. To Teach and preach the word of God and put it into action in the community.

It will take an awful lot of prayer, supplication and humility on the part of the parish to recover from this disaster & if it doesn’t the worst part will be the knowledge that the responsibility for the fall of the parish and the waste of the hard work of Generations of faithful Sicilians who built up St. Anthony’s doesn’t fall on some outsider.

It will be because we put ourselves there.

Saturday after doing Conservatively Speaking on WCRN AM 830 and a home show with DaWife we stopped by Dario’s Restorante on River Street Fitchburg a new restaurant that occupies the spot the French Marceau Diner & Variety did for decades.

KODAK Digital Still Camera Years ago this was an area of factories where the French & Greeks from the neighborhood worked with the Italians who came from the other end of town.

Today it’s a much tougher neighborhood than when location at the Corner of River Street & Sheldon street was an intersection point for Greektown, Cleghorn (the French Canadian Section) and Main Street. Most people who come to the street do so for the DQ ice cream stand less than a block away or to visit one of the half-dozen used car dealers in tKODAK Digital Still Camerahe small area.

But when you walk inside you will find an oasis amid an area past its prime. You will find two rooms a back area next to the parking with a mix of tables and wooden booths with a counter station and a Front area with a mixture of booth and a front area with a series of old-fashioned diner stools facing a classic soda dispenser and bar.

Now ambiance is always nice but when it comes down to it what matters is the food. The menu is not large but with more than enough variety to satisfy the hungry diner.

We started with an appetizer called Garlic Twists

The twists were delicious but just as good if not better were the greens that a person might mistake as a garnish but that came sprinkled with cheese and an oil/butter. It was almost a mini side salad that really complimented the twists & Marinara dip.

As it was lunchtime and my wife would be working in a few hours she decided to go with the steak sub.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

While I wanting to try from the dinner menu ordered the classic chicken parmigiana.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Now while the still images wets the appetite I think the video conveys things even better.

The side Salad with the steak was a surprise. The wife gave me a taste of the veggies and they were of a very high quality.

The pasta was baked rather than boiled, it had a good flavor. The Chicken Breast was a big as it looked and & I found it delicious. The only critique if any would be I’d have liked a bit more tomato sauce.

There were some good dessert selections but my wife did not have the time and after that prodigious chicken breast I had not the capacity for it.

Our meal came to $33 and was more than satisfied for my money.

Now there are a few drawbacks. The Restaurant is only open till 9 PM Mon-Thursday. Till 10 PM Friday & Saturday. (Closed on Sunday) Furthermore the amount of parking available is less that one might desire. The place is not open on Sundays

My verdict?

If Fitchburg is going to come back, we need to reward places like this willing to take a chance on the city and its neighborhood, particularly when they provide a high quality product for a reasonable price.

Dario’s a a good place, it deserves your patronage.