Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

~~~

~~~

.

.
cartoon via Dem.Underground

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

NJ Gov Christie Gives More Love to President Obama; Wingnuts All Over America Weep and Gnash Teeth

Oh Snap!  

Grind!  Grind!  Grind!

Do you hear that America?!

That is the sound of angry, irate, raging rightwingers gnashing their teeth after they heard the awful, terrible, horrible Governor Chris Christie tell teevee personalities on some morning show that President Obama HAS KEPT EVERY PROMISE HE MADE TO HIM IN THE AFTERMATH OF HURRICANE SANDY!

The awful, terrible, horrible Gov. Christie did not call President Obama the anti-Christ, baby-killing, Commie, Marxist, Socialist, Nazi, teleprompter-reading, Kenyan Usurper (with the "uppity" wife), and THAT WILL NOT DO!

How long now before the long knives come out and the extremists on the right start calling for the head of Chris the Christie???

Wait for it.  Three, two, one...ALL LOSERS ARE BREAKING HELL!


"Chris Christie has done it again. He gave President Obama a big verbal bear hug on MSNBC’s 'Morning Joe' program on Monday. The governor was asked whether, six months later, he had any regrets about working with Obama after Superstorm Sandy, given that he has since been described as a “pariah” by members of the GOP. First, the governor simply said “No”, repeating it twice. Then he added:

“I’ve got a job to do. And nothing else crossed my mind… Presidential politics was not what was on my mind that day.”



After describing the progress New Jersey has made in recovering from the storm, as well as the foot-dragging process Congress went through before approving aid, Christie said:

 “Listen, the President’s kept every promise that he made. And the fact is, that’s what I was saying at the time… I was asked how is the President doing and I said, He’s doing a good job… We saw suffering together and when you see that, you are going to either step up and be responsible, or you’re not, and we stepped up and were responsible together.” 


Get out your fainting couches rightwing Obama haters!  A GOPer actually said something non-partisan about President Obama and even *GASP*  praised *GASP* him!

Do I see a crack in the unified wail of rage and detestation that has been the default reaction to everything President Obama has done in his presidency? 

Oh Noes!

A GOP governor and a Democratic President working together to help Americans?  

What will we tell the children?





GOP dies irae?  

Or Americans working together to help Americans?

I report; you decide.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Art in Bloom, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

This is an annual event that welcomes spring and shows off the creativity and artistry of the various garden clubs in the Boston area.  

For those who are not familiar with this event, the garden clubs that enter the competition are assigned an art object or a painting, and then each club must interpret, with flowers or other organic material, that object or painting.

The photos below are from last year's event (courtesy of flickr.com)  I will be at the MFA today to take photos of this year's beauties and post them later in the week.

Meanwhile enjoy the wonders of Art in Bloom:















Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Night Poetry




MISSING

It was a hard winter
of metal rivers and iron beds
certain disorder
uncertain sleep.
In the coming
and going of doctors, 
how many saw her?  
How many tried to imagine 
tragedy like a train 
roaring through a house 
as a family sat eating 
toast and jam.

Near-zero breath
after doctors tell the family
one is missing.
Her small daughters
look down at their dresses.
Their father makes fists.
Mother's in a building
snow on the roof and
bars on the windows.
Imagine a winter so hard
that no birds survive 
and nothing moves in the ice.

                      ---S.K.

Just Because I Think He's Awesome.

This is my nephew.  

He's an army ranger, served in Afghanistan, speaks Japanese, Chinese, and studied and learned Pashtun at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California.

We keep in touch on facebook and when he's not visiting us here in New England. 

The other day, he posted his picture on his fb page and invited his friends who know photo shop to come up with a great background.  A friend put the eagle in the background; and when I saw it, I told my nephew the photo was good enough to be on the cover of TIME.  

And then VOILA! 

His friend posted this!   

All in good fun.  

And even if my nephew never makes it on the real cover of TIME, he'll always be an awesome guy to me!




Saturday, April 27, 2013

FOX NEWS: THE MOST DANGEROUS CABLE NEWS STATION IN AMERICA

Just watch and listen to them thinking of ways to shred the U.S. Constitution.

And remember, FAUX NOOZ is the most watched cable news station in America.  Their dumbass news readers suggest that in dealing with terrorists we should disregard the U.S. Constitution! OMG!  How utterly Bloombergian of them!


THE FOX NEWSERS WANT TO TRASH OUR FREEDOMS AND CRUSH YOU UNDER THEIR JACKBOOTED HEEL OF PROPAGANDA.  NO BILL OF RIGHTS FOR YOU!  WE'RE BEING TERRORIZED!



FAUX NOOZ:  The pant-wetter hysterics who DEMAND that this country ignore our laws in order to fight terrorism and its assault on our freedoms!







Friday, April 26, 2013

Coo-Cooka Choo Mr. Bush, A Nation Turns Its Debt-Fill Eyes To You



Yesterday, five living presidents gathered in Texas to pay honor to George W. Bush on the opening of his presidential library.

They were all polite; they all lauded the man whose "Mission Accomplished" brought us two unpaid-for wars; tax cuts for the richest among us that were unpaid for; the largest cabinet-level bureaucracy in US history, Home Land Security; the Patriot Act; the Valerie Plame scandal; the wildly expensive Medicare Part D, which prevented any negotiations with drug companies on prescription prices; US sanctioned torture--an international crime; Guantanamo detention colony where men still are being held with no charges (shame on the Obama administration); dozens of US consul and embassy attacks; plus Bush's bungling of Hurricane Katrina  response; and, sadly, having 9/11 happen on his watch.  

Did I leave anything out?

On the plus side, Mr. Bush did a tremendous job in the fight against AIDS in Africa.  And he gave us hours of entertainment from his Bushisms.



Eugene Robinson, from the Washington Post:


"Bush didn’t pay for his wars. The bills he racked up for military adventures, prescription-drug benefits, the bank bailout and other impulse purchases helped create the fiscal and financial crises he bequeathed to Obama. His profligacy also robbed the Republican Party establishment of small-government credibility, thus helping give birth to the tea party movement.

Thanks a lot for that. As I’ve written before, Bush did an enormous amount of good by making it possible for AIDS sufferers in Africa to receive antiretroviral drug therapy. This literally saved millions of lives and should weigh heavily on one side of the scale when we assess The Decider’s presidency. But the pile on the other side just keeps getting bigger.


Michael Tomasky, from The Daily Beast:


"If you suspect (or hope!) that this is the point at which I’m going to segue into a 'maybe George W. Bush has been underappreciated' column, sorry. At the present moment, and certainly today here in Dallas, Bush is being wildly over-appreciated. The rub here for Dubya is not that Democrats detest him. It’s that Republicans have no use for him. 

How quickly people forget all that talk from so many Republicans about how “we lost our way” under Bush, the big-spending and bureaucracy-expanding statist. Republicans have almost been harder on him than Democrats have. I expect this era of good feelings to last about another 24 hours. [...] 

Rehabilitation is going to be a reach for Bush because more than most presidents, he made his fate. True, he was in office when 9/11 hit, and in that sense history thrust a heavy burden upon his shoulders. (But one he should have done more about after that August 6 warning? Someday, Americans might yet know the whole story about that.) But in legacy terms, 9/11 was an incredible opportunity. Here was a moment when all the world, almost all the world, was feeling sympathetic toward America. He blew that moment terribly. Very few people beyond the conservative base are going to buy his freedom argument. The lessons of the 'freedom agenda' were mostly inadvertent or tragic." 








GEORGE W. BUSH BY THE NUMBERS, via The Houston Chronicle.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Dear America...




Here's Why Everyone Thinks You Have A Problem With Guns






On April 15, Boston was hit with a terrorist attack that killed three, injured, and in many cases permanently maimed, almost 200.  During the manhunt, a security guard was murdered and another law enforcement officer severely wounded.  One of the two attackers was killed by police, and the second brother was finally captured. 

The city of Boston is recovering, it'll take longer for the innocent people who are still in hospital and dealing with their life-altering injuries.


I've read on several conservative blogs, as well as heard the usual talking heads on teevee and hate radio, that we need to either deport all Muslims, shut down their mosques, or just round them up and put them in internment camps.  At the same time I read on a conservative blog that Mayor Bloomberg is the most dangerous man in America.


We've clearly lost our minds.


What our friends on the opposite side of the aisle seem blind to is the fact that guns kill 30,000+ Americans every year.  Those 30,000 deaths are mainly American-on-American deaths, and yet these same people who clamor for getting rid of mosques [where are their worries about the Constitution here?] or kicking Muslims out of the country [I haven't seen any distinctions between American Muslims, naturalized Muslims, visiting Muslims] these same people are, (if you'll excuse the snark because of recent comments from a troll here), wetting their pants over what to do about preventing Muslims from killing Americans.


Guess what?  The criminal Muslims who murdered Americans in this country are a tiny minority compared with how many Americans kill Americans.  Yet the people shouting the loudest about trampling on American Muslim's Constitutional rights are completely oblivious to this hypocrisy and, in my opinion, reacting in total madness to the recent attack.


The United States Senate, in a cowardly move, blocked passage of a bill for universal background checks; among those who voted against it were four Democrats.  The rest, it goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, were Republicans, one of whom wrote to a constituent in his home state of Arizona (she lost a relative in the Arizona massacre) saying that he supported background checks.  And then he voted against it.  What a guy!  What a sniveling cowardly, little spineless excuse for a human being.


The police chiefs across America are on the side of the majority of Americans, Democrats, and others who see this legislation as sensible and the right thing to do.  Here is what they think of the lackeys of the N.R.A. who voted against it.  And of all those who continue to side with gun manufacturers and their profits over the safety of the American people:


U.S. police chiefs, including Salt Lake City’s, blast U.S. Senate gun vote Legislation »


Burbank calls U.S. Senate vote “a disgrace.”
By Kimball Bennion | The Salt Lake TribuneFirst Published Apr 23 2013 04:39 pm


"Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank, who is on the board of directors of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, joined in the group’s characterization of last week’s Senate vote as 'a disgrace.'

'Showing an unprecedented lack of courage, U.S. Senators defied the will of the American people and voted according to their instructions from the Washington gun lobby,' the association’s statement reads. 'Much was said about the rights of gun owners, but almost nothing was said about the equal rights of the public to be safe from gun violence.'


In an interview Tuesday, Burbank said the strong language of the letter was approved by the association’s five-member board of directors but that the association’s support of stronger gun laws — which include universal background checks, limits to high-capacity magazines and a ban on assault weapons — represents the unanimous opinion of the association’s members, who oversee police agencies in the 70 largest cities in the U.S. and Canada. 

Burbank has been the board’s vice president for three years. Burbank said that while mass shootings such as the ones in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., get the most attention, there are many other gun deaths in cities across the country that police deal with every day. Restricting criminals’ access to guns would make a difference, he said. "People who want to do society harm are getting access to firearms when they shouldn’t," Burbank said."

Salt Lake City and its police chief can hardly be characterized as knee-jerk liberals, and yet they are in agreement with an overwhelming majority of Democrats and the American people on this issue.  Where are those yahoos who claim they respect our law enforcement officials on this?

It appears that cowardly U.S. Senators don't respect the men and women in law enforcement who have to deal with the thousands of shootings every day by Americans on Americans.

What happened in Boston on April 15 was an horrendous tragedy perpetrated by terrorists.

What happens every year in America:  30,000+ deaths by Americans on Americans is an horrendous tragedy as well.

Where is the outrage by the people (who call for the deportation of Muslims) on this carnage year after year, month after month, day after day, by Americans on their own countrymen?

Where?  

Cowering under their beds afraid of Mooslems?

AUSTRALIA KNEW HOW TO DO IT:










THE SENATE DOESN'T REPRESENT AMERICA.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Boston Strong








Below is a good answer to the conservative trolls who've infested certain liberal blogs blubbering about the Boston attacks and making the childishly stupid claim that had Bostonians all been armed with AR-15s, the bombers would have been apprehended more quickly; and, as some of the more moronic trolls have claimed, would not have left Bostonians "cowering" in their homes.

The lockdown was for Boston, Watertown, and Cambridge, but it was in Watertown and Cambridge where the real danger existed, where the terrorists tossed IEDs at police officers, and where one officer was killed and another gravely wounded.  Boston proper was not in any danger during the manhunt, and we who live there followed the drama on teevee along with the rest of the country, hoping to see the surviving brother captured.  In fact that is what happened and immediately the second-guessing on how law enforcement should have acted began.

Susan Milligan at U.S. News and World Report has this to say about Bostonians and the surrounding towns of Watertown and Cambridge being armed with AR-15s:



"The country, for the most part, is standing with Boston, and the outpouring of support and financial assistance is a reminder of what is great about this country, our ability to keep a sense of community across a vast and diverse land. But the episode also exposed a fundamental and troubling divide over the role of government and of the individual. This is a fair and reasonable discussion, but when weapons are involved, it can be a dangerous one. 

The pushback was stated most offensively and insensitively by a state representative in Arkansas, Nate Bell. Last Friday morning – while Boston and Watertown's police, state police and the FBI were risking their lives to locate and capture the second bomber, who might well have been booby-trapped, Bell sent out this missive on Twitter: 

 'I wonder how many Boston liberals spent the night cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 with a hi-capacity magazine?' 

The question is ridiculous, for starters. Bostonians – 'liberal' or not – were not 'cowering,' as Bell put it. They were very sensibly following the directive of government officials and police to stay indoors while the experts did their jobs. The fact that people did it is a testament to their respect for the better judgment of the authorities – certainly, they behaved better than the idiots who go out on the oceanfront during a hurricane, daring nature and first responders to stop them.

And what would an individual do with an AR-15? Go door-to-door, ferreting out a man who might well have another bomb on him? That's one way to wind up dead, perhaps taking a lot of other people with you. A single individual with a gun is no match for a suicide bomber. Trained teams of bomb squad technicians and well-protected professional law enforcement officers are a better bet. This, actually, is what the framers of the constitution had in mind when they wrote a Second Amendment referring to 'a well-regulated militia.' 

There is a suspicion of government – any kind of government – in the country that has reached disturbingly absolutist levels. This isn't just about whether the government should collect taxes for the purposes of paving roads (as opposed to having user fees fund it), or whether government has the obligation to provide for vulnerable and needy citizens. This is about a failure to recognize a basic truth: that we cannot do everything on our own, including personal defense. 

 Even the 'citizen' investigations done on the Internet turned out to produce the wrong suspects. But when civilians turned in their cell phone photos and videos to police, the experts figured it out. It took a whole, big village of Bay Staters to find and capture the alleged killers, and that doesn't make us weak. Inter-reliance sows our strength."

Trolls like "beamish" who, for reasons known only to himself, can't stop coming to this blog and talking about Bostonians pissing their pants (does the beamish troll have a urine fetish? It appears he's obsessed by other people's pee, just like a two-year old is.) Trolls like him apparently get a thrill up their legs by taunting and mocking--typical troll behavior.  


To those of you who care, here is information on the One Fund Boston set up for the victims of the April 15 bombing:


"Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino have announced the formation of The One Fund Boston, Inc. to help the people most affected by the tragic events that occurred in Boston on April 15, 2013."








Monday, April 22, 2013

MENTORS, a guest post by KP

I'm happy to post frequent commenter, KP's, essay on mentoring.



Mentors 

We are all mentors to someone -- and have been mentored. It may be in the course of parenting; or as a friend, a teacher, a coach, a co-worker or healthcare provider. At times you may not even know you are mentoring. It is some of the most important work we will ever do; more important that money and more important than winning. Why? Because it lasts and if done successfully it is extremely rewarding for all parties. Being mentored is not necessarily found in rigid programming. It occurs when opportunity presents itself and is often done by someone who cares about your welfare, although it may not feel like it at the time. 

We can be most helpful to others in areas where we have struggled mightily and prevailed. In my view, those special circumstances are part of the reward of having over-come the difficulties we all experience. Seems to me we are put here on earth to be challenged. How we handle those challenges is part of our character and ensures we can assist others do the same. 

On other occasions mentoring is just doing little things over time that we never expect to be acknowledged for. Last week I received a letter in the mail from one of my two adult daughters. It was a hand written letter. Don’t see many of those anymore. What a treat! I don’t think she will mind me sharing a snippet from it: 

“Ever since I was little I can remember you supporting any and every project or organization I’ve been part of. If I was making bracelets out of yarn and selling them on the corner, you were buying them. When I was working at the Smoothie place by our house, all of a sudden you couldn’t get enough smoothies. And it was always the best part of my day when you came all the way to Mira Mesa to get a coffee from the Starbucks I worked at as opposed to just going to the one right by the house.” 

Showing my family I love them has resulted in me hearing the kindest words of my life. 

There is another type of mentoring and it is done in communities. Paraphrasing Rick Warren and others: who we are is the sum of our habits; it is how we habitually act. Being truthful with one another provides the opportunity to grow. 

It’s never too late. Sharing with others provides the support we need to grow. Some people feel all that is needed for growth is the desire to change. In truth, we often need others. Good things happen to people who are part of a team of supporters. Depending on one another is not a sign of weakness. Communities provide the opportunity to learn about your-self and others. 

NFL Super Bowl winning coach Tony Dungy said “Success is measured in changed lives, strong character and eternal values rather than in material gain, temporal achievement or status.” 

Most of us feel a little uncomfortable when put in the position to lead. It's okay; but don't let that initial awkwardness keep you from experiencing some of the most important moments life has to offer. I believe the only things we can take with us from this world are those things we were given. Mentoring or being mentored is a great gift. 

Keep On Truckin'


Sunday, April 21, 2013

JON STEWART EVISCERATES THE STUPIDS IN THE SENATE WHO VOTED AGAINST BACKGROUND CHECKS





I reacted on another blog to a commenter who praised this moron's tweet:






Nate Bell is a state representative from Arkansas who mocked the people of Boston who were under a terrorist attack.  I understand now that reacting to intellectually challenged pea-brains is probably not a wise thing to do, but as someone who saw her beloved city and so many of its citizens experience such horror, my first reaction was to strike back against the jerks who wrote both the comment and the tweet.

To Nate Bell (and his supporters):  I leave you all with this thought:  You may have gotten a cheap, momentary thrill by demeaning the people of Boston with your heartless tweet, but in the end, it is you who had to cower.   

You had to walk back your stupid, thoughtless remark because decent people all over this country were repulsed by its sneering mean-spiritedness. 

Next time, use your brain, if you have one.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

AN INSPIRING STORY...

about an intelligent, brave young woman.

After a week of terror, heartbreak, and tears, I was happy to read a story about an amazing young woman who embodies the best in our young people.  

I salute you, Katelyn Campbell, and wish you the best during your college years at Wellesley.








"Katelyn Campbell is a high-school senior in West Virginia. And she rocks. In one fell swoop, she stood up to the stupidity of abstinence-only education AND a bullying principal:

 A West Virginia high school student is filing an injunction against her principal, who she claims is threatening to punish her for speaking out against a factually inaccurate abstinence assembly at her school. Katelyn Campbell, who is the student body vice president at George Washington High School, alleges her principal threatened to call the college where she’s been accepted to report that she has "bad character."

George Washington High School recently hosted a conservative speaker, Pam Stenzel, who travels around the country to advocate an abstinence-only approach to teen sexuality. Stenzel has a long history of using inflammatory rhetoric to convince young people that they will face dire consequences for becoming sexually active. At GW’s assembly, Stenzel allegedly told students that “if you take birth control, your mother probably hates you” and “I could look at any one of you in the eyes right now and tell if you’re going to be promiscuous.” She also asserted that condoms aren’t safe, and every instance of sexual contact will lead to a sexually transmitted infection.

Campbell refused to attend the assembly, which was funded by a conservative religious organization called “Believe in West Virginia” and advertised with fliers that proclaimed “God’s plan for sexual purity.” Instead, she filed a complaint with the ACLU and began to speak out about her objections to this type of school-sponsored event. (source)

Believe it or not, it gets worse: According to Campbell, her principal said, "How would you feel if I called your college and told them what bad character you have and what a backstabber you are?" Campbell alleges that Aulenbacher continued to berate her in his office, eventually driving her to tears. "He threatened me and my future in order to put forth his own personal agenda and make teachers and students feel they can't speak up because of fear of retaliation," she said of the incident. (source) But you know what's really awesome? Campbell didn't back down. She fought back. And became an inspiration to activists everywhere.




Wellesley College released public statements welcoming Campbell to campus in the fall. 

After news broke that Katelyn’s principal allegedly suggested he planned to call Wellesley to complain about Katelyn, a spokesperson for the college provided the following statement to ThinkProgress: 

“Wellesley College is delighted to welcome Katelyn Campbell as a member of the Class of 2017 this fall. The Wellesley community fosters a living and learning environment where diverse opinions, ideas, and perspectives are not only welcomed, they are encouraged.” 

The academic institution also welcomed Katelyn with supportive messages on Twitter and Facebook. A Wellesley College alumni group started a petition to applaud Campbell. A group called the Wellesley Sisters began a petition on Change.org to let Campbell know she’ll fit right on in campus in the fall. 

“In reality, your actions prove that the College couldn’t be a better fit,” the petition reads. “At Wellesley you will find students just like you: strong, independent, intelligent women who speak their minds and work to make the world a more just and equitable place.” 

It currently has over 1,200 signatures. Fellow students formed a Facebook page called “Friends of Katelyn Campbell.” The Facebook page has been verifying some of the complaints that Campbell took to the ACLU, including an image of the religious flyer used to promote the event at the public high school. It has since extended beyond West Virginia, as people across the country have flooded the page with messages of solidarity. 

“Katelyn is an inspiration to anyone who treasures the First Amendment and values honor and courage,” reads one recent post from an ally in Indiana. Students attended a local school board meeting this week to advocate on behalf of Campbell. On Thursday night, students took up the issue with the school board. Campbell’s lawyer advised her not to attend, but other advocates represented her point of view on her behalf. 

According to an update on the “Friends of Katelyn Campbell” page, the meeting was not necessarily productive. “Unfortunately, as was to be expected, Katelyn’s message continued to be chastised this evening,” the update stated. “Speakers on her behalf were berated to the point of tears, and one board member broke protocol to burst out that there needed to be more god in school and that Pam Stenzel ‘should speak in all schools.’ ” 

Strangers submitted letters of support after reading Campbell’s story. After publishing a story about Campbell earlier this week, ThinkProgress has been contacted by numerous people commending the teen’s actions and requesting her contact information to share letters of support. One reader was inspired to write an open letter that he intends to deliver to Campbell’s principal. “I wanted to congratulate you and your institution for producing such an accomplished student,” the letter reads. “Surely you must feel privileged to know that you have presided over the education and awakening of such an student as accomplished as Campbell.”


Friday, April 19, 2013

GOT HIM! AND HE'S ALIVE!!!!!

People are all over the North End screaming for joy!  The way they cheer when one of our teams wins a championship.


It. Is. Over.!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all our law enforcement people who worked so hard and so selflessly through these difficult days.  

You are all awesome!  The best!

I'll have something more to say later.

Right now, I'm relieved it's over.  

This is important to remember:



Richard B. Bernstein:

Now that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is in custody, and now that other suspects are apparently in custody, let's thank Heaven that this stage of the ordeal is over. Let's be grateful for the police-work and for the heroic efforts of first responders. Most important of all, let's stay calm and not start slavering for vengeance. Let's let due process take its course. We're better than vengeance. The dead of the Marathon deserve better tribute than vengeance.

MY DESERTED CITY OF BOSTON, APRIL 19, 2013


Here's my immediate neighborhood:







Hanover Street, looking toward Commercial Street



Hanover St., looking toward the Prado

The above photos are by S.K., the following via HuffPost:


North Station and the Boston Garden in the distance



Zakim Bridge


Other shots of deserted Boston:



Longfellow Bridge to Cambridge, otherwise known as the Salt and Pepper Bridge


Beacon Street



Washington Street, Downtown Crossing



Every one of these locations would be teeming with cars and people.  Not today.

The Bruins game is cancelled and Red Sox game postponed.

A truly historic moment in Boston's history.

The massive manhunt continues.







BOSTON ON LOCK DOWN AS POLICE HUNT SUSPECTS


I was notified this morning, by phone, of a "shelter-in-place" order given by the Boston police.

I don't know anything more than what I saw on TV and the massive ongoing manhunt for one of the suspects, the Tsarnaev bothers, in the Boston Marathon bombing.  Apparently other bombs were found in and around the Cambridge/Watertown area.  An MIT security guard is dead.





I was ready to travel this AM. 

Guess I won't be leaving my apartment soon.

Apparently, the police know where the second Tsarnaev brother is.  

The other one is dead.

PS.  I am NOT terrified.  Just waiting for this to be over and for the s.o.b. to be apprehended and brought to justice.

9:28 AM:  Hope they take the s.o.b. alive.  We need to know what motivated his dastardly attack on Monday.

10:08 AM:  NBC  news is reporting police have suspect trapped.  I haven't seen anything else to confirm this.

11:02 AM:  What is usually a bustling area, Hanover Street in Boston's North End is eerily quiet and empty.




Kenmore Square, Friday morning, April 19, a normally very busy part of Boston.  

The Day They Locked Down Boston...


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why I'm for the Brady Bill By Ronald Reagan



Ronald Reagan, in announcing support for the Brady bill yesterday, reminded his audience he is a member of the National Rifle Association Published: March 29, 1991



 "Anniversary" is a word we usually associate with happy events that we like to remember: birthdays, weddings, the first job. March 30, however, marks an anniversary I would just as soon forget, but cannot. It was on that day 10 years ago that a deranged young man standing among reporters and photographers shot a policeman, a Secret Service agent, my press secretary and me on a Washington sidewalk. I was lucky. The bullet that hit me bounced off a rib and lodged in my lung, an inch from my heart. It was a very close call. Twice they could not find my pulse. But the bullet's missing my heart, the skill of the doctors and nurses at George Washington University Hospital and the steadfast support of my wife, Nancy, saved my life. 

 Jim Brady, my press secretary, who was standing next to me, wasn't as lucky. A bullet entered the left side of his forehead, near his eye, and passed through the right side of his brain before it exited. The skills of the George Washington University medical team, plus his amazing determination and the grit and spirit of his wife, Sarah, pulled Jim through. His recovery has been remarkable, but he still lives with physical pain every day and must spend much of his time in a wheelchair. Thomas Delahanty, a Washington police officer, took a bullet in his neck. It ricocheted off his spinal cord. Nerve damage to his left arm forced his retirement in November 1981. Tim McCarthy, a Secret Service agent, was shot in the chest and suffered a lacerated liver. He recovered and returned to duty. Still, four lives were changed forever, and all by a Saturday-night special -- a cheaply made .22 caliber pistol -- purchased in a Dallas pawnshop by a young man with a history of mental disturbance. This nightmare might never have happened if legislation that is before Congress now -- the Brady bill -- had been law back in 1981. 

 Named for Jim Brady, this legislation would establish a national seven-day waiting period before a handgun purchaser could take delivery. It would allow local law enforcement officials to do background checks for criminal records or known histories of mental disturbances. Those with such records would be prohibited from buying the handguns. While there has been a Federal law on the books for more than 20 years that prohibits the sale of firearms to felons, fugitives, drug addicts and the mentally ill, it has no enforcement mechanism and basically works on the honor system, with the purchaser filling out a statement that the gun dealer sticks in a drawer. 

 The Brady bill would require the handgun dealer to provide a copy of the prospective purchaser's sworn statement to local law enforcement authorities so that background checks could be made. Based upon the evidence in states that already have handgun purchase waiting periods, this bill -- on a nationwide scale -- can't help but stop thousands of illegal handgun purchases. And, since many handguns are acquired in the heat of passion (to settle a quarrel, for example) or at times of depression brought on by potential suicide, the Brady bill would provide a cooling-off period that would certainly have the effect of reducing the number of handgun deaths. 

 Critics claim that "waiting period" legislation in the states that have it doesn't work, that criminals just go to nearby states that lack such laws to buy their weapons. True enough, and all the more reason to have a Federal law that fills the gaps. While the Brady bill would not apply to states that already have waiting periods of at least seven days or that already require background checks, it would automatically cover the states that don't. The effect would be a uniform standard across the country."

SENATE VOTES TO ALLOW TERRORISTS, RAPISTS, MURDERERS, AND CRIMINALLY INSANE TO PURCHASE GUNS

The American people were told to DROP DEAD yesterday.

Our lawmakers are cowards.

They voted for a more dangerous America yesterday.

And they will pay a price in the next election.

HERE ARE THE COWARDS (except for Harry Reid, who had to vote no in a procedural vote in order to be able to bring this issue up again for vote in the future).

I will now refer to these cowards as "PRO-GUN DEATH SENATORS."







"On Wednesday, a minority of senators gave into fear and blocked common-sense legislation that would have made it harder for criminals and people with dangerous mental illnesses to get hold of deadly firearms — a bill that could prevent future tragedies like those in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., Blacksburg, Va., and too many communities to count. 

Some of the senators who voted against the background-check amendments have met with grieving parents whose children were murdered at Sandy Hook, in Newtown. Some of the senators who voted no have also looked into my eyes as I talked about my experience being shot in the head at point-blank range in suburban Tucson two years ago, and expressed sympathy for the 18 other people shot besides me, 6 of whom died. These senators have heard from their constituents — who polls show overwhelmingly favored expanding background checks. And still these senators decided to do nothing. Shame on them." --Gabby Gifford





Coward McConnell shows his support for those yellow bellies who worked together to ensure that more murderers, rapists, mentally ill, and terrorists can continue to purchase guns and kill more Americans and perhaps another grammar school full of children.  

Coward McConnell, Republican senators, and 4 Democratic senators are all gleeful that a majority of Americans AND a majority in the senate were defeated and told to shove it.

CHARLIE PIERCE:



"There is a strong, coherent bloc in this building that believes that a certain level of violence is so inherent in this country that it is shielded absolutely by the Constitution, and that it is so essential to who we are as a people that to try to control it -- let alone eliminate it -- weakens our national institutions and blights our national character. 

There is nothing Machiavellian about this. It is what people believe is part of what makes America what it is. It is an essential article of faith. It is unshakable. It is implacable. And it is triumphant. Make no mistake. 

That is what was determined down there this week among the bright, white buildings. There is a barbarism in the American soul and we must protect some of it by law. To root it out is to endanger our lives on the one hand, and our liberty on the other. We must tolerate the barbarism of the black sites to stay alive, and we must tolerate the occasional mass shooting in order to maintain our liberty. 

We will find the barbarian who killed and maimed the people along Boylston Street in Boston because his barbarism was not sanctioned, nor was it sanctified by law. That is the simple basic equation of where we are right now."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Martin Richard





“My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston. My wife and daughter are both recovering from serious injuries. We thank our family and friends, those we know and those we have never met, for their thoughts and prayers. I ask that you continue to pray for my family as we remember Martin. We also ask for your patience and for privacy as we work to simultaneously grieve and recover. Thank you.” 
-- Bill Richard

Monday, April 15, 2013

HORROR!

For many years my family and I hosted runners from Europe who ran in the Boston Marathon.  One friend from England and another from France.

I also had friends and acquaintences from the Boston area who ran the marathon as well.  And for the past 3 years my niece, Kate, has run it, finishing in a respectable under 4 hours.

One of my dreams was to run the Boston Marathon, but after some hard training and having run a half marathon, I knew my knees wouldn't survive, so I contented myself with local 10K races around the Boston area.  I also ran the Falmouth Road Race, The Freedom Trail Race, as well as finishing 3rd for women in a 10K race in central Massachusetts on a steamy 4th of July. 

I loved running.  Many times  I felt what runners describe as a "runner's high."  I could have gone on forever running the back roads and byways all over New England.  I've also had the pleasure of running in many beautiful cities and towns across this country.  Louisville, Kentucky's Cherokee Park, downtown Indianapolis, Boca Raton and Clearwater, Florida, Santa Clara, California, Saratoga, California, San Francisco, California, Wilea, Maui, Seattle, Washington.  And the happy runs I had in Europe, running in Italy, France, and Germany.

The Boston Marathon was and is a festive time for our family and friends.  After the race, we often held parties serving lots of pasta, beer, and other carbs to the runners and the wannabe marathoners.  It was always a day when we took the children either to Wellesley or Newton (we lived in a western suburb of Boston) to see the runners pass, wave to them and shout encouragements, and catch a glimpse of our friend, Warren, from London, as he sped by.

Now that I am living in Boston, marathon day is even more fun, since the runners gather here in the North End to load up on carbs at our fine Italian restaurants.  And the festivities continue even after the race when the runners, looking to reload those carbs they used up during those grueling 26+ miles.

The last three years I've been to Copley Square to watch for my niece, Kate, as she completed her run.  This year she did not.  This year Kate sustained a running injury that prevented her from competing.  This year I was not in Copley Square.  This year I am in central Massachusetts with family visiting from Florida.

And this year the unthinkable happened.

What has been a highlight in our life every year, the Boston Marathon, has been turned into a tragedy.  What has always been a time of joy, festivities, meeting old friends and new, has been turned into a hellish nightmare.  The images I've seen are too much to watch. 

My heart goes out to the family and friends of those who died and were injured.  To those who simply went to watch a magnificent foot race, and who saw the happy day turn into unspeakable horror. 

It's too much to think about; it's too much to endure.





Sunday, April 14, 2013

FOR THE TROLLS WHO INFEST PROGRESSIVE ERUPTIONS AND EVERY BLOG WHERE THEY LEAVE THEIR IMAGINARY GRIEVANCES







Attention all trolls--and you know who you are. 

 This is what you look and sound like when you go on the attack here and at other people's blogs.




 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

BRAVO! AND WELL DONE.





From the New York Times:



"As families of the victims of the Newtown, Conn., massacre watched from the Senate gallery on Thursday, 68 senators, including 16 Republicans, voted to break a conservative filibuster to allow debate to begin on a bill that would expand background checks for most gun sales. That a procedural vote was considered a breakthrough demonstrated how hard it has been to get even the most fundamental, common-sense reform of the nation’s inadequate gun laws past the gun lobby. Groups like the National Rifle Association still don’t want a background-check bill to come to a vote, but at least a few Republicans (and almost all Democrats) recognized how popular the bill is, and how politically unwise it would be to kill the effort before it reached the Senate floor. 



The next steps are even more treacherous, and Thursday’s coalition will quickly begin to dwindle. There are several more potential filibusters to break, and the most extreme anti-gun-control senators — like Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah — are likely to erect procedural hurdles wherever they can."

Now the real work begins.  I hope the momentum continues.  It is up to us to keep the pressure on our legislators.



“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what. - Atticus Finch”
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird



Thursday, April 11, 2013

Why I Didn't Join In On The Hagiography of Margaret Thatcher





How many times have I heard people on the right speak disgustingly of those who glorify leftist icons like Che Guevara.  The pearl-clutchers are appalled that anyone would admire murderous leftists like Che Guevara.


Except:

This historic account in the New Yorker show how cozy Madam Thatcher was with the murderous Pinochet of Chile.  It's amusing, isn't it, that we don't hear anything about her relationship with Chile's dictator.  We only hear of how rotten it is for lefties to wear t-shirts with Che Guevara's image on them.

Hypocrisy of the 10th magnitude:


From The New Yorker:

"In a tribute Monday, President Barack Obama said she had been “one of the great champions of freedom and liberty.” 

Actually, she hadn’t. 

Thatcher was a fierce Cold Warrior, and when it came to Chile never mustered quite the appropriate amount of compassion for the people Pinochet killed in the name of anti-Communism. She preferred talking about his much-vaunted “Chilean economic miracle.” 

And kill he did. Pinochet’s soldiers rounded up thousands in the capital’s sports stadiums and, then and there, suspects were marched into the locker rooms and corridors and bleachers and tortured and shot dead. Hundreds died in such a fashion. One was the revered Chilean singer Víctor Jara, who was beaten, his hands and ribs broken, and then machine-gunned, his body dumped like trash on a back street of the capital—along with many others. 

The killing went on even after Pinochet and his military had a firm hold on power; it was just carried out with greater secrecy, in military barracks, in police buildings, and in the countryside. Critics and opponents of the new regime were murdered in other countries, too. In 1976, Pinochet’s intelligence agency planned and carried out a car bombing in Washington, D.C., that murdered Allende’s exiled former Ambassador to the United States, Orlando Letelier, as well as Ronni Moffitt, his American aide. Britain regarded Pinochet’s killing spree as unseemly, and sanctioned his regime by refusing to supply it with weapons—that is, until Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister. 

 In 1980, the year after Thatcher took office, she lifted the arms embargo against Pinochet; he was soon buying armaments from the United Kingdom. In 1982, during Britain’s Falklands War against Argentina, Pinochet helped Thatcher’s government with intelligence on Argentina. Thereafter, the relationship became downright cozy, so much so that the Pinochets and his family began making an annual private pilgrimage to London. During those visits, they and the Thatchers got together for meals and drams of whiskey. In 1998, when I was writing a Profile of Pinochet for The New Yorker, Pinochet’s daughter Lucia described Mrs. Thatcher in reverential terms, but confided that the Prime Minister’s husband, Dennis Thatcher, was something of an embarrassment, and habitually got drunk at their get-togethers. 

The last time I met with Pinochet himself in London, in October, 1998, he told me he was about to call “La Señora” Thatcher in the hopes she could find time to meet him for tea. A couple of weeks later, Pinochet, still in London, found himself under arrest, on the orders of Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón. During Pinochet’s prolonged quasi-detention thereafter, in a comfortable home in the London suburb of Virginia Water, Thatcher showed her solidarity by visiting him. There, and in front of the television cameras, she expressed her sense of Britain’s debt to his regime: “I know how much we owe to you”—for “your help during the Falklands campaign.” She also said, “It was you who brought democracy to Chile.” 

 This, of course, was a misstatement of such gargantuan proportions that it cannot be dismissed as the overzealousness of a loyal friend. Pinochet himself finally died in 2006, under house arrest and facing over three hundred criminal charges for human rights abuses, tax evasion, and embezzlement. By then, he was alleged to have over twenty-eight million dollars stashed in secret bank accounts in various countries, with no sign that it had been legally earned. At the end, Pinochet’s only defense was a humiliating claim of dementia—that he couldn’t remember his crimes. His final heart attack came before he could ever be convicted. During the years of what could be called Chile’s return to democracy, after 1990—when Pinochet was forced to step down from the Presidency he had seized following a referendum on his rule, which he lost—little was done to truly exorcise Chile’s demons, much less judge them. Pinochet retained the command of the armed forces, and when he stepped down from that role, in 1998, he retained a senatorship-for-life, which gave him immunity from prosecution. 

Until his detention in Britain, the Presidents who ruled “democratic” Chile continued to tiptoe around the fact that the country’s chief former tormenter continued to dictate the terms of the national discussion about the recent past. Following his return home, after sixteen months, however, Pinochet was stripped of his parliamentary immunity, criminally indicted for some of his coup-era crimes, and spent much of the remainder of his life under house arrest. But it took Michelle Bachelet, Chile’s President from 2006 to 2010—the daughter of a general who opposed the coup and was tortured until he died of a heart attack in detention—to end the tradition of deference."






In addition to Thatcher's admiration for the rightwing murderous dictator, Pinochet, this is how she handled the apartheid regime and Nelson Mandela.


"When she denounced Nelson Mandela’s liberation movement as a “typical terrorist organization” and rejected calls for sanctions against South Africa’s white minority government, Margaret Thatcher found herself on the wrong side of history. Characteristically, she never admitted error. 

In 1987, just seven years before the fall of apartheid, a Thatcher spokesman scoffed that it was “cloud cuckoo-land” to suggest that Mr. Mandela would ever win power. In the same year, Mrs. Thatcher clashed repeatedly with the Brian Mulroney government as she bitterly fought Canada’s efforts to introduce Commonwealth sanctions against South Africa."

The rightwing can have their love fest for Margaret Thatcher on the occasion of her death, but they also need to look at the hypocrisy of overlooking her horrendous bad judgement in backing the rightwing murderous dictator, Pinochet, as well as her choosing to be on the wrong side of history in South Africa's stuggle with apartheid.