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Some lessons from 2017

2017 is gone, and 2018 has begun. While the nation has daily trembled, awaiting to see what awful news – or tweet – will come out of the White House next, Worcester has had a good year. If 2018 goes for the nation the same way that this past year went for our city, America will be on a far better – more democratic – footing than it had been, and the world will be a far safer place. The extremists seemed powerful A year ago, Worcester’s political landscape seemed dangerously similar to that of the U.S. as a whole. Then city council member Michael Gaffney was vice chair of the council, and he and others in his faction of the local Republican Party had…

The Communist Party and Me

Earlier this year, I began writing about a blog local to my hometown, as well as a deranged city council member, who, as I correctly predicted, is about to be “former,” his fate decided in recent elections. In retaliation, the blog and councilmember either googled my name or read the “about me” section of this website. Uncovering a non-secret, they found that I was at one time a member of the Communist Party USA, as well as the leader of its New York District and a member of its national leadership. Perhaps I was being petty, and perhaps my silence made my innocent past seem sinister, but I simply didn’t want to dignify these hideous people with a response, so I only wrote that they…

Worcester students make their voices heard to improve schools

WORCESTER, Mass. – Organized by local public high school students, more than 40 people packed into the Pleasant Street Neighborhood Network Center here July 31 to participate in the “Schools We Deserve Dialogue,” in which participants discussed ways to improve the city’s schools. Kicking off the meeting, which lasted for more than 90 minutes, Dr. Eric DeMeulenaere, of Clark University’s education department, requested that those in attendance, mostly Worcester students, think of their experience at school and what could be changed, and then to answer the question, “What would you like to see?” The resulting discussion was wide ranging, and the students raised a variety of issues, including the school budget, greater diversity of educators, how students are treated by teachers and guidance counselors, and…

Child rape: Michael Gaffney and friends think it’s funny

Stock image

Imagine you have a daughter. (If you do have a daughter, I suggest that for this thought experiment you use an imaginary one.) She’s eleven years old. Now imagine that she’s just been (allegedly) raped by a 38-year-old man. Imagine how you feel, the torment and anguish. And now imagine how you would feel if the (alleged) rapist accused her of raping him. That’s just what’s happened in Springfield recently. Can you conceive of how the mother feels? Or how the child feels? If you’re a decent person, you hear that story and feel sad, disgusted, and frustrated, and – the feelings run the gamut. But if you’re a writer at Turtleboy Sports, which is run by Aidan Kearney-and funded by city council member and…

Not a freedom of speech issue: Margaret Melican probably shouldn’t be on the zoning board

Margaret Melican

Not moving Margaret Melican forward in the application process for zoning board was the right decision – but not because of her political beliefs. She should be kept off the board instead because of her troubles with the truth, and, more importantly, because she has repeatedly shown herself to be extremely unethical – at best. Worcester city council member and Republican City Committee chair Michael Gaffney, as well as the blog he sponsors, Turtleboy Sports, have been fuming publicly that Attorney Melican was asked – for a moment – about her relationship with Turtleboy Sports by the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) during her candidacy to become a member of the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals. Further, Gaffney and the blog he champions are arguing that those who…

Michael Gaffney and Turtleboy Sports: flailing, desperate, and trying to deflect from the issues

Poor Michael Gaffney and Turtleboy Sports. If they weren’t so sleazy, it would be tempting to feel bad for them in their desperation. They’ve become so desperate – Gaffney to defend any shred of dignity and Turtleboy to convince people that their blog isn’t just have haven for bullies, those who sexualize children, and others – that they are flailing to defend themselves. Why won’t you just answer the questions I posed, Michael Gaffney? Again: do you think it’s okay for a semi-local blog to tell your constituents to commit suicide? Do you support sexualizing children? Because that’s where your dollars are going. To recap, after I wrote an open letter to Michael Gaffney, who wants to be mayor, about his support for a blog…

Council Member Gaffney, Worcester’s Trump, must be defeated in 2017

I wrote recently about the similarities between Worcester City Council Member Michael Gaffney and the blog Turtleboy Sports, on the one hand, and President-Elect Donald Trump and Breitbart.com, on the other. This is an incredibly important parallel, and any progressive, liberal, centrist, or good small-d-democrat in Worcester should take note – and fight. Despite the wishful thinking of most Americans (Trump, it should always be noted, lost the popular vote by a huge margin, and Hillary won more votes than any candidate for president in American history, except for Obama), Trump will occupy the White House come January, and there won’t be elections for the next four years. While it’s necessary to do all that we can (and by “we,” I’m again referring to anyone…

Michael Gaffney and Turtleboy Sports: Worcester’s Trump and Bannon

The Trump phenomenon nationally has manifested itself even in Worcester. Our local Trump is Michael Gaffney, the city council member, and his enabler, the local Bretbart, Turtleboy Sports. Anyone who is progressive or moderate should commit themselves to defeating their agenda. In general, Worcester should be proud of its leadership bodies. We have a progressive mayor and several good council members who have collectively avoided the corruption that has been endemic in nearby cities (Providence, for example). While it’s hard to argue that the Plan E form of government is a sparkling example of democracy, the city has also benefited in recent years from a steady executive leadership by city manager Ed Augustus, whose contract was just renewed, as well as a good police department,…

Francis Fukuyama’s new start

Francis Fukuyama, best known for his book The End of History and the Last Man, now aims to tackle all human history, middle, beginning and end, in only two books. In his earlier work, the author argued that, with the collapse of the Soviet experiment, human history, which developed and progressed in a Hegelian or even Marxist sense, had reached its destination. The communist and every other experiment had failed; liberal democracy was the ultimate endpoint, the historical process’s logical outcome, and this could no longer be disputed. Succeeding years saw conflicts and genocide, even in countries that had so recently overthrown Stalinism, but Fukuyama’s thesis wasn’t disproven: The slides away from democracy were simply bumps in the road. But a few years later, Fukuyama,…

Labor Department official says U.S. needs independent labor media

Generally, I avoid posting news articles I’ve written here, but this is on an important topic, and it is a subject rarely covered in the news media. Therefore, I decided to break with my regular protocol. The mainstream media has become so biased against working people that even a federal agency can’t get its message out, says a senior Department of Labor official. President Obama’s Labor Department has an impressive list of accomplishments, but most of the media doesn’t bother to report on them, Carl Fillichio, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis’s senior adviser for public affairs and communications, told the annual gathering of the International Labor Communications Association. Referring to the midterm elections, Fillichio said, “Why we fared the way we did three weeks ago is because…

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