Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I turned 39 (2014)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

America's racist laws!...Derrick Z. Jackson

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DERRICK Z. JACKSON
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BIOGRAPHY

Derrick Z. Jackson was a 2001 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in commentary and a winner of commentary awards from the National Education Writers Association and the Unity Awards in Media from Lincoln University in Missouri. A Globe columnist since 1988, Jackson is a five-time winner and 10-time finalist for political and sports commentary from the National Association of Black Journalists. He is a three-time winner of the Sword of Hope commentary award from the New England Division of the American Cancer Society. Prior to joining the Globe, Jackson won several awards at Newsday, including the 1985 Columbia University Meyer Berger Award for coverage of New York City. Jackson, 45, is a native of Milwaukee, Wis., and a 1976 graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. Jackson was a Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard University in 1984. He holds honorary degrees from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., Salem State College, and a human rights award from Curry College in Milton, Mass.
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"High court's sensible sentencing"
By Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe Columnist, December 11, 2007

THE CRACKS in America's most racist set of laws widened dramatically yesterday when the Supreme Court voted 7-2 that a federal district judge can reduce a sentence for crack cocaine that would have been much worse under federal guidelines.

"We hold that . . . the cocaine guidelines, like all other guidelines, are advisory only and that the Court of Appeals erred in holding the crack/powder disparity effectively mandatory . . . The judge may consider the disparity," wrote Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The decision involved the case of Derrick Kimbrough, an African-American who saw combat in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. He pleaded guilty in Norfolk, Va., to selling both crack and powdered cocaine and possessing a firearm. He was a first-time offender with an honorable discharge from the Marines and a steady employment record. He was busted with another defendant by two cops as they sat in a car.

Had the cocaine involved been just powder, Kimbrough faced a mandatory sentencing guideline of 8 to 8 3/4 years. Under the laws that punish crack far more harshly than powder, so much so that it takes 100 times more powder to trigger the same mandatory sentences, Kimbrough instead faced 19 to 22 1/2 years.

The district judge weighed the disparity in sentencing with the facts that Kimbrough had an otherwise clean felony record and that like the US Sentencing Commission long ago concluded, "crack cocaine has not caused the damage that the Justice Department alleges it has." While no one was saying that what Kimbrough did was not serious, the judge said the crime "was an unremarkable drug-trafficking offense."

The judge sentenced Kimbrough to 15 years. A federal appeals court overturned the sentence, saying it strayed too far from the guidelines. Yesterday, the high court - with even Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia joining in - said the district judge "appropriately framed its final determination" in line with recent Supreme Court rulings that guidelines are advisory to properly "impose a sentence sufficient, but not greater than necessary." The district court appropriately concluded that the crack sentencing guidelines drove the punishment "to a point higher than is necessary."

The Supreme Court did not throw out the 100-to-1 ratio in its ruling, but Ginsburg thoroughly debunked it. The laws originated in 1986, at a time when crack was the new scary drug in society.

Ginsburg yesterday recounted in her opinion, "Congress apparently believed that crack was significantly more dangerous than powder cocaine in that: (1) crack was highly addictive; (2) crack users and dealers were more likely to be violent than users and dealers of other drugs; (3) crack was more harmful to users than powder, particularly for children who had been exposed by their mothers' drug use during pregnancy; (4) crack use was especially prevalent among teenagers; and (5) crack's potency and low cost were making it increasingly popular."

In the years since, medical researchers and criminal justice experts have discovered that there is no difference between crack and powder and the majority of trafficking in both forms of the drug are nonviolent. Yet, even though the majority of crack users are white, 85 percent of convicted federal crack offenders are black. But the laws have continued, as cowardly politicians, Democrat and Republican, refuse to end this barbarity.

The racial disparities of two decades of sweeping young black men off the streets for crack are now cemented in American society. Americans use illegal drugs roughly equally by race, but the Justice Policy Institute reported last week that African-Americans, who are 13 percent of the population, are 53 percent of sentenced drug offenders in state prisons. Similarly, The Sentencing Project reported in September that African-Americans now spend nearly as much time in prison for a drug offense (59 months) as a white person for a violent offense (62 months).

The Supreme Court, even one that has become more conservative under President Bush, can see how horrible that looks (the two dissenters were Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito). Ginsburg wrote "given all this, it would not be an abuse of discretion for a district court to conclude when sentencing a particular defendant that the crack/powder disparity yields a sentence 'greater than necessary.' "

With the court's ruling yesterday, Congress should eliminate 100-to-1.

Derrick Z. Jackson's e-mail address is jackson@globe.com.

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DERRICK Z. JACKSON
Clinton's shenanigans
By Derrick Z. Jackson, (Boston) Globe Columnist | December 15, 2007
MONTICELLO, Iowa

BARACK OBAMA said yesterday that he accepted the apology of Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton after Bill Shaheen, Clinton's New Hampshire cochairman, suggested that Obama's teenage drug use would hurt him in the general election.

It was clear, though, that the apology did not cover all the recent shots at Obama that raise questions as to whether the Clinton campaign is getting desperate.

"The kindergarten stuff was not mentioned," Obama said in an interview after a morning town hall event here in eastern Iowa. The Clinton team was ridiculed in political circles for dredging up an Obama kindergarten I-want-to-be-president essay.

"She apologized for Billy Shaheen's comments, and said she had nothing to do with it," Obama said. "I accepted her apology. But the simple point I made was simply that it's important for those of us who are the candidates to send a clear signal down to all of our surrogates that we're going to do things differently."

Shaheen resigned this week after raising the issue in an interview with the Washington Post. But even after Shaheen's resignation, Clinton strategist Mark Penn used the "C" word in an appearance on MSNBC, saying, "The issue related to cocaine use is not something that the campaign was in any way raising."

That leaves open as to how far the Clinton campaign, whose poll leads have evaporated in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, will go to stereotype Obama as not only naïve, but cast him in a sinister light in a nation where black drug use and criminality is exaggerated in the media and where Muslims face undue wariness. Earlier this week, the Clinton staff fired two Iowa volunteer coordinators for circulating a hoax e-mail saying Obama, a Christian, was a Muslim who might help destroy the United States.

"I don't think these strategies are very subtle," Obama said.

"I won't speak to the racial element of it because I think, you know, if I were a white candidate, obviously, somebody suggesting falsely they were a drug dealer, it's never good." But in sum, Obama, who has written about his teenage drug use in his memoirs, said, "There's been a series of these kinds of tactics that at some point we've just got to send a clear signal this is not what we're about."

The attacks appear to have no effect on his crowds. No one asked about drugs or kindergarten essays or his religion in well-attended community events in frigid, ice-strewn towns. They asked about healthcare, Iraq, and jobs.

Thursday night in Maquoketa, Brenda Carlson, a 57-year-old medical technologist, said she recently went to hear former President Bill Clinton speak on behalf of his wife, Hillary. "It was great. It was like going home," Carlson said. "But Barack is dynamic. I really like what he says about taking back America. I think I may change to him."

Also clearly enjoying the overreaching by Clinton was John Edwards. Seemingly recovered from puncturing his commoner image with his $400 haircut and huge house, he was in full roar Wednesday at a middle-school auditorium in Des Moines. His promise to fight the establishment earned ovations that drowned him out.

"I take it very personally when I see powerful, well-financed interests drug companies, oil companies, insurance companies, big banks, when I see them taking over this democracy and taking your rights away from you," Edwards said. In an interview after the speech, Edwards said he remains resolute that his message is working that "the system is broken" and Clinton "defends the system."

Obama was careful not to say who the Democratic nomination belongs to, two-and-a-half weeks before the Iowa caucuses. "She remains the favorite," Obama said of Clinton. "She was considered a shoo-in at least for the nomination as recently as a month ago. We've made some progress, but you know, she still has an enormous infrastructure and a former president who is extraordinarily popular campaigning on her behalf . . . We got a shot, but we've got to stay hungry."

Obama even said that there was a positive side to the attacks by Clinton surrogates. "All these issues and these tactics are ones that very well could come up in a general election. So I don't mind if this stuff comes up now.

"Let's get it on now. Let's be clear about whether these tactics work or not . . . I do not think these kinds of tactics work. I'm from Chicago. I'm used to all kinds of shenanigans."

Derrick Z. Jackson's e-mail address is jackson@globe.com.

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A Boston Globe Editorial: Short Fuse, February 25, 2008

"Crime: Base crack sentences on facts"

A federal law requiring longer jail terms for crimes related to crack cocaine than for powder cocaine creates a significant racial disparity, because most crack defendants are African-American, while most powder defendants are not. To reduce the disparity, the US Sentencing Commission sought in December to shorten sentences in past and future crack cases. The Bush administration now wants Congress to thwart such reductions for 1,500 convicts eligible for release, arguing, as Attorney General Michael Mukasey recently did, that "many of these offenders are among the most serious and violent offenders." But a new study by commission staff indicates that most of the offenders in question are nonviolent, The Washington Post has reported. The drug trade destabilizes communities, but so do disproportionately long sentences for crack addicts and low-level dealers.

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DERRICK Z. JACKSON
"Scratching the lottery"
By Derrick Z. Jackson | July 7, 2007
LET THE Mashpee Wampanoags have their casino.
Then the state should kill the lottery.
This Indian tribe is reportedly trying to make a deal with Middleborough, which would rather consider killing trees for barren asphalt and a palace of booze and bamboozlement than approve a tax override to pay for public services. I say let the two parties marry, let the gamblers be their children, and let the casino pay whatever in income and sales taxes to the town and state.
This beats the abject addiction of the state to the lottery.
This addiction reached ridiculous depths when state treasurer Timothy Cahill claimed that this week's $40 million Star Spangled Sweepstakes was "far from a failure," as it was indeed failing. It needed sales of 2 million $20 tickets to break even, but only 1.35 million tickets were sold. The state promised a full payout anyway.
"We were really trying to hit a home run," Cahill told the Globe's Bruce Mohl, who reported that Cahill was under pressure to swing for the fences "from lawmakers to increase revenue before the fiscal year ends June 30." In an earlier story, Mohl wrote, "Lottery officials have struggled this year to keep sales growing and keep revenues flowing to cities and towns. Last year, the lottery had its best year ever, with sales of $4.52 billion. State legislators set a target of a 2 percent increase this year, but as of yesterday sales were off 1.66 percent, or about $73 million, from last year's pace."
The reason given by lottery officials was "high gas prices, a dearth of large Mega Millions jackpots, and competition from casino and Internet gambling."
This is simply nuts. It is also a social crime. As Massachusetts towns, many of them middle class or wealthy, vote down overrides across the state total ing $60 million this year, lotteries try to make up for their stinginess on the backs of the poor and working class.
The latest evidence of this comes from a Tax Foundation report released this week that warned of the growing reliance by the states on lottery revenues. In 2005, Americans spent $52 billion on lotteries, of which $15 billion went to the states. The average American spent $177 playing the lottery, more than the average spent on reading materials. Massachusetts is fifth in the nation in per-capital lottery spending at $700.
But instead of just raising taxes and closing tax loopholes by $4.5 billion, Massachusetts is a sad national model of people in high places scratching their heads to get the lowest of income to scratch tickets to pay for vital services for everyone. Study after study shows that low-income households spend a larger proportion of their earnings on lotteries than wealthier households. A study released last month by the National Center for Policy Analysis said that the lowest-earning households spend 10.8 percent of their income on gambling, compared with 0.7 percent of the highest-earning households.
States often justify lotteries by saying that it's OK, since many of the services come back to the poor and working poor. But the National Center for Policy Analysis report cited research that found that the Georgia lottery was a $161 net loss for the lowest-income households while wealthier families experienced a net gain of $114. Citing research in Texas, the report said the lottery "is more regressive than virtually any other tax, including the sales tax, payroll taxes, or personal property taxes."
The Tax Foundation report seconded that by saying that the lottery, "when subjected to the tests of sound tax policy, it fails."
I'm not all that thrilled about casinos either, but since people do like to gamble, the best middle ground is to make it more of a choice to travel to than the state-sponsored sickness to addict people, especially the poor, on false dreams. Killing the lottery and asking wealthier state residents and corporations to pay a more fair share in taxes is of course akin to asking politicians to walk up to the guillotine. Governor Deval Patrick got into office promising to find ways to cut property taxes.
The Tax Foundation report says that if the states found a way out of the lottery, "they would improve their tax systems by increasing accountability, transparency, and economic neutrality, as well as decreasing regressivity. Legislators would find that they truly do not need the revenue raised by lotteries; they would either get by without it or raise it through explicit taxation enacted legislatively -- and honestly."
Derrick Z. Jackson's e-mail address is jackson@globe.com.

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Voting rights chief reassigned By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer
Friday, December 14, 2007, 6:42 PM ET

The Justice Department's voting rights chief, who said voter ID laws aren't a problem for blacks because they often die before old age, has been transferred to a new job, officials said Friday.

John Tanner, a longtime attorney in the department's Civil Rights division, requested the move from the division's voting rights office, Justice spokesman Peter Carr said. Tanner now works in the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, Carr said.

"Mr. Tanner made the decision to pursue this opportunity on his own accord," Carr said in a statement.

Tanner, who worked for the voting section since 1976 and served as its chief for the last two years, came under fire in October for remarks that were criticized as racially insensitive.

In an Oct. 4 speech to the NAACP in Georgia, Tanner said minorities are "slightly more likely" than non-minorities to have a photo ID. He suggested that was due to vestiges of racism still at work in the United States.

"You think you get asked for ID more than I do?" Tanner, who is white, asked the black audience members.

"I've never heard anyone talk about `driving while white.'"

A day later, as part of a panel discussion with the National Latino Congreso in Los Angeles, Tanner said "inequities in health care" were to blame for minorities not living as long as white people. The discussion focused on state laws that require photo identification for voting, and Tanner said elderly voters more often lack the needed IDs.

"That's a shame, you know, creating problems for elderly persons just is not good under any circumstance," Tanner said, according to video posted on YouTube. "Of course, that also ties into the racial aspect because our society is such that minorities don't become elderly the way white people do. They die first."

Tanner later apologized for the marks, which he acknowledged were poorly worded. "My explanation of the data came across in a hurtful way, which I deeply regret," Tanner told a House panel in Oct. 30 testimony.

Democrats have called for Tanner's resignation since his comments, and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., cited "missteps and failures" of the voting rights office under his leadership.

"Ideology and partisanship have overtaken the voting rights section and been allowed to infect every facet of the office, from its hiring practices to its decisions about which cases to prosecute," Clinton said in a statement.

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Don Cheadle (left) and George Clooney campaign in Rome. (Dario Pignatelli/Reuters)
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"Peace award for Darfur efforts"
The Boston Globe, December 14, 2007

George Clooney and Don Cheadle brought their Darfur campaign to Rome yesterday, where they received a peace award for their efforts to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis in the region. "We do concerts, rallies, where thousands of people show up and say how terrible it is," Clooney told a news conference. "But the truth is not one single thing has changed. Now it's time to turn that corner." The Hollywood actors have raised money and attention to stop a conflict that has claimed more than 200,000 lives and uprooted 2.5 million people since ethnic African rebels took up arms against Sudan's Arab-dominated government in 2003. (AP)

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THE WASHINGTON POST: EDITORIAL
"Stuck on Darfur: A planned peacekeeping force is stalled, two weeks before it is due to deploy."
Sunday, December 16, 2007; B06

WHEN THE United Nations Security Council approved an expanded peacekeeping force for the Darfur region of Sudan last summer, some Western politicians may have concluded -- prematurely -- that one of the world's worst humanitarian crises was at last going to be relieved. If so, that's exactly what Omar Hassan al-Bashir was hoping for. Mr. Bashir, Sudan's Arab dictator, has made an art form out of confounding Western attempts to end his genocidal repression of Darfur's African population. His pattern is to resist international pressure until it reaches a peak. He then appears to give in, waits until Western attention wanders and returns to intransigence.

Last June, after President Bush announced new U.S. sanctions, European leaders talked of imposing a no-fly zone and even China pressed for a concession, Mr. Bashir agreed to replace 7,000 African Union peacekeepers with a 26,000-member force that the African Union and the United Nations would jointly organize. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon proclaimed a success, the Security Council ratified the deal at the end of July and Mr. Ban began raising troops. Now, with the deployment due in two weeks and the world's attention elsewhere, Mr. Bashir has dug in his heels. He is refusing to approve non-African troops for the force, including Nepalese, Thai and Nordic soldiers who would be crucial to its effectiveness.

A U.N. peacekeeping official warned the Security Council on Thursday that the deployment had been endangered by Mr. Bashir's stance and that a sign-off on the troops was urgently needed. Yet the assembled ambassadors didn't react much. That's probably because Sudan's obstructionism is not the United Nations' only crippling problem: Mr. Ban has been unable to find countries willing to supply two dozen helicopters needed to give the peacekeepers mobility in a territory the size of France.

Mr. Bashir's behavior was predictable -- in fact, we were among those who predicted it last summer. But the failure of European or Arab governments to supply helicopters is a disgrace. Over and over, leaders such as Britain's Gordon Brown, France's Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany's Angela Merkel have said the situation in Darfur is "intolerable." Yet, although NATO countries among them have 18,000 helicopters, none have been made available for Darfur. No wonder Mr. Bashir feels free to thumb his nose at the United Nations.

The Bush administration, which called the campaign in Darfur genocide more than three years ago, has done more than most other governments. It provides airlift for peacekeepers and is paying for the construction of their camps. U.S. helicopters might be counterproductive in Darfur even if Mr. Bashir would accept them. But the Bush administration needs to step up its efforts to see that the U.N. force is deployed in January. That means helping Mr. Ban get his aircraft and simultaneously renewing the pressure on Mr. Bashir. The cynical strongman is counting on a failure of will by NATO and the Security Council; it will take an effort by President Bush to disappoint him.

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"Crack sentences eligible to be cut: Scores in Mass. will have right to appeal; Federal panel acted to reduce disparities"
By Jonathan Saltzman, (Boston) Globe Staff, December 22, 2007

Scores of federal prisoners convicted of crack cocaine offenses in Massachusetts could have their sentences shortened and be freed over the next five years as a result of the government's effort to reduce the stark disparity between punishments for crimes involving crack cocaine and those involving cocaine powder.

Through 2012, 91 prisoners convicted of selling and possessing crack will be eligible to ask judges to cut their sentences as a result of a landmark decision last week by the US Sentencing Commission, according to a commission analysis.

The panel voted unanimously to let 19,500 inmates nationwide apply for reductions after years of criticism that mandatory penalties for federal crack offenses are far harsher than those for cocaine powder and disproportionately affect blacks.

Mark L. Wolf is chief judge of the US District Court in Massachusetts, where requests for early release will be decided. He said the commission's vote was an important step toward addressing unreasonably harsh sentences for crack.

Wolf said that Congress, under the leadership of Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill Jr., then House speaker, hastily pushed through a bill that created draconian mandatory penalties for crack in the national frenzy following the 1986 death of Len Bias, a first-round National Basketball Association draft pick for the Celtics whose death was initially linked to crack cocaine.

"I welcome the change, and I expect virtually every judge around the country welcomes the change," said Wolf, a former high-ranking federal prosecutor. He said the excessive penalties "caused federal judges for the last 20 years to be administering a system of legalized injustice."

Under the law, someone caught with 1 gram of crack would receive the same sentence as someone with 100 grams of powder cocaine. It also imposes a minimum mandatory sentence of five years in prison for dealing 5 grams of crack and 10 years in prison for dealing 50 grams of crack.

The Sentencing Commission, which sets guidelines for federal prison sentences, went further, establishing sentence ranges for various crack-related crimes that exceeded even what Congress mandated.

Miriam Conrad, head of the federal public defender agency in Boston, which has begun receiving phone calls from relatives of inmates, said the long sentences have ravaged city neighborhoods by sending black men to prison for a decade or more. At least 80 percent of federal defendants in crack cases are black.

Earlier this year, the Sentencing Commission reduced the sentencing range for crack cocaine offenses by two levels, lowering the maximum recommended sentence for selling 5 grams of cocaine from 78 months to 63 months.

On Dec. 11, the panel voted to make the move retroactive, allowing thousands of federal prisoners sentenced before Nov. 1 to apply for a reduction. According to the commission, that means the average prison term for eligible inmates could be shortened by 27 months.

Requests for reductions will be judged on a case-by-case basis and will hinge on several factors, including inmates' disciplinary records and whether they pose a danger to the community. Prisoners sentenced as career offenders or convicted of crimes of violence in addition to their crack offenses would be ineligible.

Nonetheless, prison terms for crack cocaine will remain longer than those for powder cocaine, because only Congress can change the 100-to-1 ratio and mandatory minimum sentences.

Opponents of the more lenient sentencing guidelines have defended the two-tier penalty system on the grounds that crack is cheaper and more addictive and more frequently linked to violent crime. But the Sentencing Commission, in four reports to Congress over the past 12 years, acknowledged that the differences between crack and powder cocaine were overstated and that the disparate penalties that it had helped put in place were unfair.

Mary Price, vice president and general counsel of the Families Against Mandatory Minimums, an advocacy group based in Washington, said the commission's vote will enable almost 10 percent of the nation's nearly 200,000 federal inmates to apply for shortened sentences. She said it will also send a message that Congress needs to address the other inequities in crack cocaine laws.

"It's really in Congress's court." she said. "Every day a person spends in prison longer than they ought to is a terrible day."

Law enforcement officials are divided over the prospect that convicted crack offenders could be released sooner.

Lawrence Police Chief John Romero said drugs like crack fuel crime in his city. He was concerned about the possibility of convicted crack offenders returning to the streets.

"In a perfect world, people go to prison and come out rehabilitated," he said. "But we know, realitywise, that that's not the case in many instances."

But Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis applauded the commission's Dec. 11 vote.

"There was an inequity in the system, and I am pleased to see that they have taken the appropriate steps to rectify the matter," he said in a written statement.

A spokeswoman for US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan referred inquiries to the Justice Department in Washington. Officials did not return calls yesterday. The Justice Department has strenuously opposed the sentencing change, saying last week that "these offenders are among the most serious and violent offenders in the federal system."

The Sentencing Commission has not publicly released the identities of the 19,500 inmates who can apply. Wolf has received the names of inmates convicted in Massachusetts, but said he will not disclose them because the list might not be accurate.

Some of those on the list, Wolf said, might not be eligible for reduced sentences because of factors the commission was unaware of, such as inmates' disciplinary record in prison. The commission left it up to the federal courts to decide how to evaluate prisoners' requests for a reduction.

Wolf said he plans to appoint a panel that will include a judge, public defender, prosecutor, and probation official to determine factors to be used in screening applications for early releases. As a result of the commission's vote, judges can begin considering applications on March 3.

In addition to the 91 inmates listed as eligible over the next five years, another 28 could become eligible in six or more years, the commission's report said.

In some cases, defendants will have to appear before judges. But in other cases, Wolf said, judges can rule on the applications. Prosecutors have the right to appeal shortened sentences.

The relaxed sentencing guidelines do not apply to people convicted of crack offenses in state courts.

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Jonathan Saltzman can be reached at jsaltzman@globe.com.

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(Linda Coan O'Kresik for The New York Times)
Bangor is home to the N.A.A.C.P.’s northern Maine chapter. A white man threatened to kill any black people at its meetings.
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(Linda Coan O'Kresik for The New York Times)
Given the threat, said Joseph Perry, chapter president, “there are still people who aren’t comfortable, who don’t feel safe.”
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(Linda Coan O’Kresik for The New York Times)
Assata Sherrill, who says she was a victim of rock-throwing and racial epithets, describes Maine as less racist than insular.
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"Threat in Maine, the Whitest State, Shakes Local N.A.A.C.P."
By ABBY GOODNOUGH, THE NEW YORK TIMES, December 28, 2007

BANGOR, Me. — In October, the N.A.A.C.P. chapter for northern Maine got shocking news. A man from a nearby town had threatened to shoot “any and all black persons” attending the group’s meetings at an old stone church here, and state prosecutors were worried enough to seek a restraining order.

Such remarks are not unheard of in Maine, the nation’s whitest state, which has fewer black residents — 10,918 in 2006, or less than 1 percent of the population, according to the Census Bureau — than some neighborhoods of Chicago or New York. But nor are they usually so blunt. The chapter has since held meetings at police stations and canceled its annual Kwanzaa celebration, which normally draws people from up and down the coast of Maine.

“It’s discouraging and it’s heart-wrenching,” said Joseph Perry, president of the chapter, which has 175 members from Augusta to the Canadian border. “There are still people who aren’t comfortable, who don’t feel safe.”

The man who made the threat was Kendrick Sawyer, 75, whose doctor at a veterans hospital in Augusta reported it to the police. Mr. Sawyer also said that Maine “should be a ‘white’ state,” according to court documents, and that he owned a .45-caliber handgun. No criminal charges have been filed, but law enforcement officers removed the gun from Mr. Sawyer’s home in Brewer, across a river from Bangor, and the Maine attorney general’s office filed a civil complaint against him.

“This man’s threat was shocking in its specificity and the anger it contained,” said Thomas Harnett, the assistant attorney general for civil rights education and enforcement. “It’s not often you see something articulated so clearly and so filled with acknowledged prejudice.”

Still, Mr. Harnett said his office received 250 to 300 reports of bias incidents every year from around the state, most of them racially motivated.

Many come from Lewiston, where more than 3,000 Somali immigrants have settled in recent years. In July 2006, a group of Somalis were worshiping in a storefront mosque there when a white man rolled the head of a pig, an animal considered unclean in Islam, across the floor. And last month, a Somali student at Lewiston High School said, a white man threw sand and dirt in his face as he ran at a cross-country meet.

Last year, a white man shouted racial slurs at a pregnant black woman in Hancock, near Bangor, and kicked her in the abdomen, according to Mr. Harnett’s office. And in March, Assata Sherrill, a black resident of Bangor, told the police that three white boys had thrown stones and shouted racial epithets at her as she walked her dog near the city’s waterfront.

Ms. Sherrill — who lives here with her teenage daughter, a high school senior who “hates every minute of it” and wants to attend historically black Spelman College in Atlanta — says she moved to Maine from Detroit in search of tranquillity. After the attack on her, she organized a series of community forums to discuss race issues in Maine. This month she held an alternative Kwanzaa celebration after Mr. Sawyer’s threat led the N.A.A.C.P. to cancel its larger version.

“I’m not about to stop living and holding celebrations because somebody else is sick,” Ms. Sherrill said. “As long as your skin is black and you live in the United States of America, you are going to be confronted.”

This month a state judge signed an order barring Mr. Sawyer from threatening, using violence against or even speaking to any of the chapter’s members. It also requires him to stay at least 150 feet away from anywhere the N.A.A.C.P. meets. A hearing has been delayed for six months while Mr. Sawyer gets medical treatment and counseling, Mr. Harnett said.

Ms. Sherrill said that from her perspective, Mainers were not so much racist as insular and suspicious of anyone from, as they put it, “away.”

“Anybody from away, regardless of color or whatever, is different,” she said.

Mr. Harnett said that he did not think Maine “more hateful” than other states but that it was perhaps better at encouraging people to report bias incidents.

“Because we have these systems in place,” he said, “we are more aware of what’s happening and more responsive to what’s happening.”

Mr. Harnett’s office provides civil rights training to more than 3,000 student volunteers a year, organizing them into teams to address incidents of bias and harassment in the state’s public schools. Many of the state’s hate crimes are committed by young men in their teens and early 20s, he said, so the training starts in elementary school.

Bangor, a city of 31,000 people, does not yet have a civil rights team at its high school, the largest in the state.

“I find that rather amazing,” said Mr. Perry, the local N.A.A.C.P. official.

Mr. Perry said his chapter had been inundated with supportive calls and letters since the October threat. He thinks membership may even rise as a result. Only about 35 percent of the chapter’s current members are black, he said, and he wants to see more.

“We’re active,” Mr. Perry said, “but not as active as I would like. We want to get more people involved, do more things.”

Next year, he said, the Bangor chapter may hold a joint Kwanzaa celebration with its counterpart in Portland, which covers the state’s southern region. Until then, he will search for ways to get people talking more frankly about racial tension in Maine.

“Something like this pops up,” he said, “and you realize you have a longer way to go. You can’t just say it was one of those crazy things that will never happen again.”

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(A Boston) GLOBE EDITORIAL
"Beyond the 'big man'"
December 29, 2007

MORE THAN a decade after the apartheid era ended in South Africa, one key feature of a working democracy has yet to be tested: the ability of elected leaders to accept defeat gracefully and hand over power to their political rivals. Earlier this month, though, the populist Jacob Zuma handily beat incumbent President Thabo Mbeki in the contest to lead the ruling African National Congress party.

This challenge to Mbeki's leadership is a sign of healthy politics, especially on a continent dominated by self-appointed strongmen who hold onto their offices at all costs. But Zuma's emergence would be more reassuring if his own history were less troublesome.

The leader of the ANC's intelligence efforts during the struggle against white-minority rule, Zuma later served as deputy president under Mbeki. The president forced him out two years ago amid a corruption scandal. Last year, he was acquitted on a rape charge. Yet neither that nor a continuing investigation for bribery and tax evasion deterred delegates at this month's party convention.

Mbeki was vulnerable because he has been an uneven leader. His critics within the ANC accuse him of stifling dissent. As AIDS ravaged his country, he flirted with unfounded theories that HIV is not the cause of the disease.

In other ways, though, Mbeki has governed well. According to the group Transparency International, his is one of Africa's most honestly run nations. Mbeki's responsible, middle-of-the-road economic policies have fostered a stable business climate. Despite its long cooperation with labor unions and communists, the ANC has pursued more market-oriented policies than apartheid-era leaders did, and it has overseen the privatization of state-controlled enterprises.

While such economic policies bode well for his country's reputation abroad, they do little to meet the immediate needs of South Africa's poor. Zuma saw an opportunity. A populist message has fueled his political comeback. And if the distinction within the ANC between populists and free-marketers has been sharpened, so be it. A split within the party would promote healthy competition.

Zuma has met with foreign investors, presumably to reassure them that he doesn't intend to be the South African version of neo-socialist Hugo Chavez. He also needs to make it clear that he would spend public money to help the citizenry rather than to enrich government officials. Zuma, alas, isn't the most obvious protector of the public purse.

But South African leaders have surprised critics before. Nelson Mandela, once regarded in some quarters as a dangerous radical, turned out to be a statesman. Zuma's big test will come if he is elected president. Will he nurture a hard-won democratic system? And when his time is up, will he leave?

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THE BOSTON GLOBE: Op-Ed: DERRICK Z. JACKSON
"A night for the newcomers"
By Derrick Z. Jackson, (Boston) Globe Columnist, January 5, 2008

OTTUMWA, Iowa

CATHY ORPET, a 55-year-old paralegal from Fairfield, came to a huge Hillary Clinton rally here the night before the Iowa caucuses. Orpet's head spun for months between the Democratic candidates. She liked John Edwards's fight for the middle class. She liked Joe Biden's foreign expertise.

She liked Barack Obama but had doubts. "I was really inspired by him," she said. "I thought he had a lot of integrity, but my concern is the same one I've always had, that he needs a little more experience."

She came to hear Clinton to see if the experience of a former first lady and current New York senator could persuade her.

On her 25-mile drive from Ottumwa to Fairfield, Orpet realized that Clinton made the case . . . for Obama.

"She was talking about how the Bush administration used fear among the people to have it his way. She is right about that. But as I was in my car, I thought to myself, the only one who stood up to that fear was Barack. He was courageous before the war started while she played into the fear herself [by voting to give President Bush the authority to go to war in Iraq]. That was the trump card for me."

An array of trump cards dropped like hammers in this part of eastern Iowa as a three-way dead heat in the polls became an 8-point Obama victory over Edwards and Clinton. At a caucus at the Young Intermediate School in Davenport, young voters from nearby St. Ambrose College and first-time African-American participants nearly doubled the participation over 2004, from 84 to 160. Of the 160 participants, 104 went for Obama, 27 for Clinton, and 25 for Edwards.

One of the happiest people there was caucus chairman Dan Flaherty. A 43-year-old public high school American government and history teacher, Flaherty said none of his students attended the 2004 caucuses. Thursday night, he saw seven former and five current students at the caucus, including 17-year-old Jordan Broyles (17-year-olds could participate as long as they will be 18 by the general election).

"You always hear people say that they shouldn't give a rookie a chance," said Broyles, who caucused with his 23-year-old sister, a student at St. Ambrose, and his 50-year-old father, a customer service representative for a regional gas utility. "But the way things are, I came for a chance for something different. It would have been a special night no matter what, voting for either a black man or a woman for president."

At Garfield Elementary School, a mostly white gathering of 334 participants easily surpassed the approximately 240 caucus-goers of 2004. There were 138 new registrants, nearly all of whom went for Obama, according to caucus officials there. One person was Kelvin Townsend, a 51-year-old trucking fleet mechanic. He has voted for the Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan in 1980. He was convinced to caucus for Obama by his 43-year-old wife, Julie. She told him that Obama was a consensus builder who would not take rifles out of the hands of hunters.

In addition, their 17-year-old daughter, Stephanie, came to caucus for Obama. "He just seems more real and able to get things done," she said.

On the last day before the caucuses, Obama held a rally in Davenport. He asked for a show of hands of undecided voters. Two of them were St. Ambrose professors Bill Hitchings and Owen Rogal. At the caucuses Rogal went for Obama at Garfield. Hitchings went for Obama in a Bettendorf precinct where Obama scored two-thirds of the delegates.

"I talked to an older black woman at the Obama event," Hitchings said. "I helped four white women in their 70s find their place at the caucus and they all said the same thing. They said Obama is the hope for their grandsons and their grandchildren. He's become the face of hope."

A similar phenomenon occurred on the Republican side as former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee defeated the well-oiled machine of Mitt Romney 34 percent to 25 percent.

Mike Schwenker, a 42-year-old finance consultant in Burlington, attended an Edwards rally in Burlington, saying that he liked both Edwards and Obama, despite his Republican leanings. On caucus night, he went for Huckabee, for many of the reasons people gave for Obama.

"Huckabee was more human, believable, and genuine," Schwenker said. "He's just a common man."

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Derrick Z. Jackson's e-mail address is jackson@globe.com.

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The Boston Globe, Op-Ed
DERRICK Z. JACKSON
The winning recipe for casinos
By Derrick Z. Jackson, A Boston Globe Columnist, January 26, 2008

I ASKED the Patrick administration if it was worried that a possible recession would dent its proposed casino revenues. Spokeswoman Kofi Jones responded in an e-mail: "The Las Vegas and Atlantic City models are vastly different from the destination resort model." Jones reaffirmed that Governor Deval Patrick's plan "protects against oversaturation."

The irony is, while Patrick does not propose an over-the-top Las Vegas, the best way to insulate the revenues he promises is precisely to have resorts that make Las Vegas a destination.

Last week the Associated Press reported that revenues from the glitziest resorts on the Strip were up 33 percent with a net income of $1.66 billion. But net income was down 54 percent at the less glamorous downtown Vegas casinos.

Up north, Reno resorts were up 2.8 percent. The ones on the south shore of Lake Tahoe were down 54 percent. Part of the decline is because of competition from exploding casino play in California.

In Mississippi, the rebuilt, post-Hurricane Katrina coastal resorts are booming, helping the state pull in a record $2.89 billion in revenues in the nation's third-largest casino market. But the second-largest market, Atlantic City, saw revenues drop 5.7 percent, to just under $5 billion. Part of Atlantic City's problem is fresh competition from Pennsylvania slots. Atlantic City is about to freshen its image with new mega-resorts in the next few years.

The New York Times reported that with higher gasoline prices and the tremors in the economy, slot machine revenues at Connecticut's Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun resorts were down a respective 7 and 3 percent in October and November.

The Times quoted Mitchell Etess, chief executive of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority as saying, "What we're seeing is with consumer confidence down and people feeling not so good about their own net worth, people are spending less. Declines are somewhat unprecedented for us."

What this means is that if Patrick really gets his three casinos, he better go all out, with the likes of an MGM Grand here, a Venetian there, and a Wynn Las Vegas over there (Steve Wynn, who has sunk billions into glamorous casinos, is interested).

With gas prices not dropping anytime soon and gaming advocates in Connecticut already gearing up to compete beyond what already exists at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, national gaming experts Bill Eadington of the University of Nevada at Reno and David Schwartz of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas both said by phone that Las Vegas thus far has insulated itself from shocks by being about much more than gambling.

In the AP's 2007 figures for Nevada, gaming accounted for 49.4 percent of revenues. Hotel rooms accounted for 20 percent, restaurants, 13.5 percent, and bars, 7 percent. The remainder came from the leasing of resort space to restaurants and retail stores.

"The decision to get into the gaming business, when it's worked out best, is because it is being used to benefit tourism and development and redevelopment," Schwartz said. "When it's not done well, when it's just a governor plugging a hole in the budget, or just trying to take away money from Rhode Island or Connecticut, it just becomes something where the money might make the stomach full for a minute, but the appetite just gets larger."

I do not care if Massachusetts has casinos (what I detest is the prey-on-the-poor lottery). But as a nongambler, I see entertainment merit in a true destination casino resort. I have been to Las Vegas many times, never to go to the Strip itself, but because of family or business. Still, I have dropped plenty of money at restaurants in the resorts. Closer to home, our Boy Scout troop has gone to the Native American museum at Foxwoods because, of all things, it was educational. This does not even get into the myriad of shows, concerts, and conventions such resorts have. I have never been to a Vegas or Foxwoods show, but I could see myself going to one in Massachusetts.

"Some people go to Las Vegas just to see - don't laugh - Barry Manilow or Wayne Newton or Tom Jones," Schwartz said. "Bette Midler is about to start a show and Celine Dion just finished a long run where people came from as far as France. Although your food critic might not agree, only New York and San Francisco have a better concentration of four-star restaurants. The secret is a broader appeal than gambling."

The secret is making sure the plan is not just about filling a hole in the state budget.

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Derrick Z. Jackson's e-mail is jackson@globe.com.

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The Boston Globe, Op-Ed, TIMOTHY M. GAY
"America's forgotten genocide"
By Timothy M. Gay, January 28, 2008

LOST AMID the controversy surrounding golf journalists' use of loathsome imagery in discussing biracial superstar Tiger Woods is its root cause. It's not bigotry, although as recent events in Jena, La., point out, there's no shortage of racially motivated hatred in our society. No, the real culprit behind nonchalant references to "lynching" is lack of education - Americans' ignorance about the systematic campaign of terror waged against people of color in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Kelly Tilghman, the Golf Channel broadcaster who was suspended for facetiously suggesting that Woods be lynched in a back alley to make the professional tour more competitive, and David Seanor, the now-fired Golfweek editor who displayed a noose on his magazine's front cover, are hardly alone. Too few of us appreciate the enormity of the struggles that confronted freed slaves and their descendants after emancipation.

Thanks to our society's reverence for the Greatest Generation and a renewed emphasis on teaching the moral necessity of World War II, most Americans can recite atrocities committed by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust. But few of us can discuss in detail what some historians call the Black Holocaust - a century of American apartheid that stretched from the end of Reconstruction to the attack dogs turned loose on civil rights protestors in Selma.

Too harsh an analogy? Well, consider this: in all its depravity, the Third Reich lasted little more than a decade. America's subjugation of black people lasted many times longer. Indeed, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of freed slaves still lived in fear of being lynched if they failed to observe a code of racial etiquette that forced them to bow and scrape at every turn. During the despicable reign of Jim Crow, most blacks were not only denied their inalienable rights but prevented from receiving a meaningful education or earning a decent living.

The vigilante terrorist group known as the Ku Klux Klan experienced a dramatic rebirth in 1915. Moviegoers that year cheered white horsemen as they saved damsels from marauding black solders in the Civil War epic "Birth of a Nation." Director D.W. Griffith's depiction of history was hideously off-base, but it served as such effective propaganda that Nazi filmmakers later emulated his techniques. Somewhere between 2 and 4 million Americans - a majority of them from the North - joined the Klan over the next few years, all vowing to maintain white supremacy. At rallies in the nation's capital, thousands of white-robed Klansmen defiantly marched down Pennsylvania Avenue. Cowed lawmakers refused to crack down against the KKK.

We'll never know how many black lives perished in racial violence. A University of Illinois study suggests that, between 1882 and 1930, white mobs murdered a black man, woman or child somewhere in America nearly once a week, every week.

Perpetrators were almost never brought to justice. Authorities and judges looked the other way; lynching was seen as a justifiable response to black people getting too "uppity" for their own good.

America's racial genocide took other forms. So many bloody race riots broke out in mid-1919 that it was dubbed the "Red Summer." Two years later, a racial conflagration in Tulsa was sparked when a white woman claimed - falsely, it turns out - that she had been accosted by a young black male. Horrific rioting devastated 30-plus city blocks, leaving homeless 10,000 mainly poor people.

To black writer Ralph Ellison, such outrages were "invisible" to the white majority. Sociologist Gunnar Myrdal argued that Northerners of conscience suffered from the "convenience of ignorance."

Nine decades later, that same malady infected Tilghman and Seanor. The two would never have made similarly casual references to the Holocaust because they've been taught its incalculable horror. Not for one millisecond would Seanor have considered running a picture of a swastika on Golfweek's cover. And human decency would have stopped Tilghman from joshing, "Yeah, for the good of the tour, Woods needs to be incinerated at Auschwitz."

Yet because they lack perspective on their own country's segregationist history, these two presumably well-intentioned journalists - who, between them, probably don't have a bigoted bone - made gaffes that will taint the rest of their careers. They should have known better. But until our schools and churches rededicate themselves to teaching young people the macabre realities of America's racist past, Tilghman and Seanor will continue to have plenty of company.

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Timothy M. Gay is a Washington-based writer and historian. His next book will explore the interracial baseball barnstorming tours of Satchel Paige.

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The Boston Globe, Op-Ed, DERRICK Z. JACKSON
"Why Obama is beating Hillary"
By Derrick Z. Jackson, February 22, 2008

IN WINNING Wisconsin, Barack Obama fused yet more fissures in what were supposed to be his fault lines.

Wisconsin and Hawaii now give Obama a 24-state to 11-state lead on Hillary Clinton, not including Florida and Michigan, where Clinton won uncontested elections and whose delegates currently do not count because their states leapfrogged the Democratic Party primary schedule. But right up to Wisconsin, questions persisted as to whether this was, to borrow from Bill Clinton, a fairy tale.

Sure, Obama won vastly white states in the heartland. Ah, but those were just caucuses (with Hillary Clinton preferring not to explain why her own voters were not "fired up and ready to go"). Sure, Obama won the primary states of Louisiana, Georgia, and South Carolina, but that was because of the black vote, as husband Bill Clinton, the former president, patronizingly pooh-poohed.

Last week, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, a Hillary Clinton supporter and host to what he hopes will be a critical comeback state, along with Texas and Ohio, echoed Bill Clinton by musing to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "You've got conservative whites here, and I think there are some whites who are probably not ready to vote for an African-American candidate."

Obama won Wisconsin 58 percent to 41 percent. This was a full primary. It was an open primary to be sure, and 37 percent of the voters in the Democratic primary were either independents or Republicans, according to the exit polls. Obama beat Clinton by 7 percentage points among Democrats, 44 percentage points among independents, and 31 percentage points among Republicans.

Whatever racists are out there in 90-percent white Wisconsin, it ultimately did not matter. In the fall, Clinton led in the polls in Wisconsin by 18 to 22 percentage points. On election day, Obama won the white vote by 9 percentage points. The Milwaukee Journal reported that Obama beat Clinton in Latino wards in Milwaukee. Up to now, Clinton had earned far more solid support among Latinos than Obama.

There was still a gender gap in Wisconsin, with Obama getting 63 percent of the white male vote and 47 percent of the white female vote. But Obama's share of the white women's vote, even in losing it to Clinton, reflects a major change from Super Tuesday, when he received only 34 percent of it in Massachusetts and 36 percent of it in California.

In other demographics that take a media backseat to race and gender, but play important undercurrents, Obama won every age group under 65, every income group, all categories of churchgoers, and whether or not voters held college degrees.

In perhaps the most startling piece of data, Obama not only won voters who considered Iraq their most important issue - his strongest policy suit - but he won by 16 percentage points with those who said the economy is the most important issue, and by even 8 points with those who said that healthcare - Clinton's signature issue - is the most important.

If Clinton trailed even after promising a more universal healthcare policy than Obama, then something is up.

I posit that it has something to do with the way Hillary Clinton won in New Hampshire and was blown out by Obama in South Carolina. Those two events allowed a rot to settle in on her campaign.

It was not just Hillary Clinton's welling up in New Hampshire, and Bill Clinton's racial put-down of Obama in South Carolina. Hillary Clinton has displayed a periodic reliance on white women as her safety net in town halls, saying things like "being the first woman president is a very big change."

That would be no big thing, except that the nation's demographics and racial history dictate that Obama dare not employ a parallel tactic by saying "being the first black president is a very big change." Obama has automatically had to run as a more universal representative of the people, with one fruit being his current 10-state streak.

Meanwhile, Bill Clinton periodically pops up, subtly or spectacularly burning bridges, whining in New Hampshire that he cannot make Clinton "younger, taller, male," or moaning in South Carolina that solely because of race, "That's why people tell me Hillary doesn't have a chance here."

The Obama people have never moaned once to the whitest of states that, because of race, he did not have a chance of winning there.
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Derrick Z. Jackson's e-mail address is jackson@globe.com.
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The Boston Globe, Op-Ed, DERRICK Z. JACKSON
"The ills casinos bring"
By Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe Columnist, March 4, 2008

AT BEST, destination casinos are in places that generally remain checkered destinations for daily living. This is worth remembering as Governor Deval Patrick's claim of 30,000 new construction jobs for three resort casinos appears to be crumbling. An independent analysis done this week for the Globe says that as little as 4,000 to 5,000 jobs might be created. Even the Massachusetts Building Trades Council projects just 20,000 jobs.

Just as important, it is unclear what casinos change. Take Atlantic City, Las Vegas, and the state of Mississippi. I know, I know, Patrick says we will not become another Las Vegas. And I have written that I would rather have resort casinos instead of the lottery. But some minor details just dog the argument about casinos being an economic engine.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Atlantic City casino industry is in the midst of spending $20 billion to rehab its fading image as a Las Vegas wannabe.

Las Vegas casinos are in the midst of spending $35 billion to brighten their already blinding image.

The first thing Mississippi did after Hurricane Katrina was make sure the Gulf Coast casinos reopened, changing all kinds of rules, including ones that allow them to be built on land instead of being constrained to structures floating on water.

Atlantic City, after three decades of having casinos, was described by the Economist as a place where "multi-million dollar casinos are steps away from crime-ridden neighborhoods. A quarter of the 40,000 residents live below the poverty line."

The Associated Press described it a year ago as a place where "A stone's throw from the glittering, billion-dollar casinos, thousands of people live in grinding poverty in rundown houses surrounded by drugs and prostitutes. These are the neighborhoods that the state requires casinos to help by setting aside a portion of their revenue for development projects."

It was exposed last year that the state allowed the casinos to take a significant portion of money that was supposedly meant to clean up such neighborhoods and funnel it back in their own projects.

The New York Times wrote, "Atlantic City continues to grapple with blocks of dilapidated buildings and seamy motels that draw drug dealers and prostitutes, all within the shadows of towering, brightly lighted casinos."

In Mississippi, The Washington Post wrote in November, "Nowhere has the rebound from Hurricane Katrina been gaudier than along Mississippi's casino-studded coast. Even as the storm's debris was being cleared, this city's night sky was lighted up with the high-wattage brilliance of the Imperial Palace, then the Isle of Capri, then the Grand Casino . . . Yet in the wrecked and darkened working-class neighborhoods just blocks from the waterfront glitter, those lights cast their colorful glare over an apocalyptic vision of empty lots and scattered trailers that is as forlorn as anywhere in Katrina's strike zone."

This is despite those casinos racking up in 2007 a new record for revenues, nearly $3 billion.

Last fall, 24 ministers in the region said in a letter to state officials, "our Recovery Effort has failed to include a place at the table . . . for our poor and vulnerable." Not to mention that Mississippi remains in the bottom five, according to statistics of the National Education Association, in per-pupil public school spending.

Nevada's casinos racked up a record $12.8 billion in revenues in 2007. But the Toronto Star wrote in January, "Nevada also leads in other areas, such as gun deaths, suicide and now home foreclosures. It has one of the worst public school systems in the United States. Bankruptcies are high. It ranks below average for the number without health insurance."

According to the federal Corporation for National and Community Service, Las Vegas ranks 43d out of 50 major metropolitan areas in high school graduation rate, second to last for its college graduation rate, and dead last for its volunteer rate.

The residents of Las Vegas are so disconnected that its volunteer rate of 14.4 percent is at least doubled by 25 other cities (Boston's volunteer rate is 27.5 percent).

The Toronto Star quoted William Epstein, a social work professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas as saying, "The state is intriguing. It's very wealthy. Yet the services are near the bottom."

That should be intriguing to Patrick if he goes ahead with his casinos.

There is little to suggest from the Atlantic City, Mississippi, or Las Vegas experience with destination casinos that those at the bottom will rise up.
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Derrick Z. Jackson's e-mail address is jackson@globe.com.
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"Casinos have been vital partners"
The Boston Globe - Letters
March 8, 2008

IF DERRICK Jackson had bothered to talk with anyone actually living in a casino community for his March 4 column "The ills casinos bring," he would have seen that the casinos in Mississippi, New Jersey, and Nevada are vital partners in these states' economic redevelopment - a partnership mirrored in communities across the country. Instead, Jackson conveniently blames casinos for each state's supposed shortcomings, arguing existing casinos have just not brought enough change. In fact, casinos reduce welfare payments and unemployment rates, lower local residents' tax burden, and create jobs and infrastructure improvements that otherwise wouldn't be possible.

Jackson criticizes casinos for their capital investments in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, but reinvesting in host communities creates employment, stimulates the local economy, and revitalizes local tourism. That's commitment lots of other industries can't claim. Nowhere has that commitment been stronger than along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. After Hurricane Katrina, casinos set up relief funds, continued to provide salary and benefits for their employees while properties were rebuilt, and are singled out by community leaders for their recovery efforts.

But clearly, facts weren't the focus of Jackson's misguided piece.

FRANK J. FAHRENKOPF JR., President and CEO
American Gaming, Association, Washington

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"Two views of casino industry impact"
The Boston Globe, Letters, March 10, 2008

WHILE YOUR March 4 editorial "Unnecessary hype on casinos" is correct in saying that "passage of a casino bill opens a new economic development front in Massachusetts," I suggest that, from my perspective as an urban planner, this front will not be a good one.

Economic development occurs when new money enters the state and circulates through the economy in a multiplier effect. Casinos are designed to take money out of circulation and out of the state. They have a negative economic effect because they absorb money that would otherwise be spent elsewhere. A dollar spent at a casino is a dollar not spent at a local retail store. The appalling blight surrounding the several casinos at Atlantic City is a graphic testament to this.

If a developer approached the state with an economic development proposal that would have a negative impact on the economy, create few jobs, reduce lottery revenues, increase addiction, result in the loss of homes, increase crime and suicide, and, not least, increase political corruption, we would hardly take the developer seriously. Let's put this proposal where it belongs: in the circular file.

ALFRED J. LIMA
Fall River
The writer is former planning director for the cities of New Bedford and Marlborough and the towns of Concord and Franklin.

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DERRICK JACKSON'S March 4 column "The ills casinos bring" mischaracterizes Atlantic City and the gaming industry.

New Jersey's casino industry is an economic engine for the entire state. Our industry generates billions of dollars in capital investment and tax revenues, employs more than 60,000 people who earn good salaries with benefits, and purchases $2.2 billion annually in goods and services from New Jersey businesses.

The tax revenues we generate benefit New Jersey's senior and disabled citizens through a prescription drug assistance program. Millions of dollars of our tax revenues have funded the redevelopment of blighted areas throughout the state. In Atlantic City alone this investment has spurred hundreds of millions in housing and other strategic projects that are helping to make the city an attractive place to live, work, and raise a family.

Atlantic City is a markedly better place today than it was 30 years ago when the first casino opened. However, the best is yet to come, with billions of dollars of capital investment poised to be invested in the city that will have a similar positive multiplier effect both locally and throughout the state.

JOSEPH A. CORBO JR.
President
Casino Association of New Jersey
Atlantic City

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Brett Favre overcame his off-the-field struggles and became one of us. (Derrick Z. Jackson/Globe Staff)
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The Boston Globe's Columnist: DERRICK Z. JACKSON
"The man inside Brett Favre"
By Derrick Z. Jackson, March 8, 2008

IDOLIZING ATHLETES is silly when you are 52, especially when many of them act like they are 2. And until recent years, Brett Favre was much closer to being a toddler of manhood than a towering athletic intellect like Arthur Ashe or Bill Bradley.

But Favre did more than survive marauding blitzers for 275 consecutive starts and the most touchdown passes in National Football League history. He is endearing for how he came to the line of scrimmage when it was fourth and long in the privacy of his home. He grew from self-destruction, forsaking the distant pedestal of stardom and the privacy of stoicism for a public connection to common struggles. By the time he called it quits this week after 16 seasons for my homestate Green Bay Packers, not even a Chicago Bears fan could hate him. As much as an athlete can get these days, he was one of us.

The more recent examples of Favre's human side are well known, such as his wife Deanna's struggle with breast cancer and the sudden deaths of relatives, including his father. Sports Illustrated named Favre its 2007 Sportsman of the Year, noting his Make-A-Wish Foundation visits on most Fridays before home games to children suffering from terrible illnesses.

"It's an honor to be asked," Favre told the magazine. "But I'm not going to lie. It's hard. There are times when it takes a lot out of me. These kids are so cool, but you can't ignore what they're up against and what their families are going through."

Favre did not have the ability to support others until he righted himself. In spring 1996, Favre checked into rehab for an addiction to painkillers. The NFL's then-most valuable player held a press conference to say, "It's very serious. It's something I have to take care of." A few days later, Sports Illustrated detailed exactly how serious the problem was, with an anecdote of then-girlfriend Deanna screaming at a barely coherent Brett to admit that he had just taken 13 tablets of Vicodin and Favre waking up from a seizure to hear a Packers physician tell him, "People can die from those."

Favre came out of rehab to lead the Packers in the 1996 season to a Super Bowl title. But even though he confessed about Vicodin, "I ended up telling some serious lies to get more pills," he kept drinking alcohol at a level that nearly destroyed his marriage.

He would admit in a 2005 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel feature, "I've never been completely diagnosed as an alcoholic. I consider myself one. When I drank, I drank to get drunk. There were times I had two beers, but that was because the other 10 were not available. I knew I drank for a reason. It wasn't the social aspect of it. If I was going to have a beer, I was going to have 30 or however many I could drink. That's an alcoholic."

At one point in 1999, Deanna - who had considered leaving Favre over his Vicodin abuse - had Brett's bags packed and planned to start divorce proceedings. In a book she published last year, she wrote, "He was going to lose me. There was no question. There was no way I could stay. . . . There were things that he was doing that just didn't make him quite the family man that he is now."

Those "things," she said, were "drinking and bars and women following him into the bathroom or whatever."

Brett quit drinking, became a better father to his two daughters and encouraged Deanna to put that episode in the book. Deanna told ABC's Robin Roberts, who also is dealing with breast cancer, that Brett told her, "People need to realize that sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. And you can pick yourself up, no matter where you are, no matter how low you are in life, you know, you can always turn things around."

As much as I loved to watch him for his durability, his incredible escapes from the grasp of linemen, and returning the Packers into the ranks of the NFL's elite, Brett Favre's ability to finally look in the mirror and see that an athlete is not necessarily a man was his most important scramble of all. "I'm not going to win Man of the Year," Favre quipped to the Wisconsin State Journal last season. Given where he was a decade ago, simply being a man is good enough.
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Derrick Z. Jackson's e-mail address is jackson@globe.com.
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The Boston Globe, Op-Ed
DERRICK Z. JACKSON
"High oil prices for Obama and Clinton"
By Derrick Z. Jackson, May 6, 2008

THE ARGUING between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton over the inane gas-tax holiday is more telling for what is not said than whether Obama is elitist for snubbing it or whether Clinton is a pander bear for supporting it. Both are still cubs nursing in big oil's den.

When Exxon Mobil last week posted its second-highest quarterly profits ever, $10.9 billion, Clinton said, "This is truly Dick Cheney's wonderland. But on Main Street, middle class families are facing devastating choices every day between buying groceries and filling up their gas tanks . . . We need to set a new course for our long-term energy strategy and move away from oil."

Two days before Exxon's profits were announced, Obama said oil companies "are making billions and it's time we made them give back . . . what we're talking about now is a Washington con game, and I think the American people are smarter than Washington and will see right through it."

Unfortunately, it is easy to see through the posturing of Clinton and Obama. They need to do some gas rationing of their own.

Historically, political contributions from oil companies are owned by the Republicans. All top 20 recipients of cumulative contributions from Exxon Mobil since 1990 are Republicans with President Bush at the top, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. But with a Democrat having a real shot at the White House, Obama and Clinton reside in their own wonderland, railing against the oil companies while taking money from industry employees.

In the 2008 election cycle the second-biggest recipient of contributions from Exxon after the $39,730 for Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, is Obama at $23,550. Clinton is in fourth place at $15,700. Both are ahead of the $8,450 for John McCain, the virtual nominee of the Republican Party.

Then there's Chevron. The all-time leader in contributions from that company since 1990 is former California congressman Richard Pombo. Pombo was ousted from his House seat in 2006 in a fierce campaign by environmentalists enraged by his attempts to gut the Endangered Species Act. But guess who is now number three in money from Chevron in the 2008 cycle? Clinton, at $9,350. Obama is seventh, at $7,263. Again, both are ahead of McCain's $5,500.

How about British Petroleum? Its top-three all-time recipients in contributions since 1990 are Representative Don Young of Alaska, Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, and Bush (uh, could that have anything to do with drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?). But look now who's doing the drilling. The number two recipient in the current cycle is Obama at $10,196, more than double what BP has given to Stevens.

Now, what Obama's and Clinton's handlers will be quick to say is that these few thousands of dollars are a pittance in the millions being raised by their campaigns, well below the threshold of influencing their political stances. Obama may say that his cash from Big Oil must be put in perspective with the fact that he is also the top recipient in the 2008 cycle of contributions from the alternative energy industry, $45,650.

But the symbolism of Clinton replacing Pombo at the top of the Chevron food chain, Obama replacing the Alaska congressional delegation at the top of BP's charts and Obama being number two in current Exxon cash is ominous. How far would Clinton really go with energy "solutions," and how much would Obama actually "change" the oil-to-policy pipeline in Washington?

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, McCain is still the overall leader in money from the oil and gas industry at $515,486. But Clinton and Obama are on their own slippery oil slopes, at $353,723 and, $266,097, respectively. The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania recently reported that Obama has also received nearly $10,000 from employees at Shell. Clinton can blabber about Cheney's wonderland. Obama can talk piously about Washington con games.

Until they announce they will reject any oil money, this is a Shell game.
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Derrick Z. Jackson can be reached at jackson@globe.com.
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The Boston Globe, Op-Ed, DERRICK Z. JACKSON
"Keeping Africa on Washington's radar"
By Derrick Z. Jackson, November 18, 2008
WASHINGTON

JENDAYI FRAZER, the outgoing assistant secretary for African affairs, is one of the few people left in Washington who can praise the Bush administration and not be laughed out of town. The main reason is the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. In five years, Frazer said, the program has expanded the number of people in sub-Saharan Africa who have access to antiretroviral treatment from 50,000 to 1.4 million people.

The program "will go down as the major positive legacy of his eight years. It's been a fantastic investment, unparalleled in human history," Laurie Garrett, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and global health senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, told USA today in February. Renowned AIDS researcher Robert Gallo wrote this week in the Washington Post that the president's AIDS program has been such a success that it ironically should "illustrate for the next administration the benefits that would come from creating a similar program to battle the rise of HIV infections in America's inner cities."

In leading a bipartisan effort to triple global HIV/AIDS funding to $48 billion this year, Vice President-elect Joe Biden, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief was "bold and unexpected, and I believe historians may regard it as his finest hour."

Lesser known, because of news coverage that often focuses on strife-ridden parts of the continent and concern that Somalia is an incubator for terrorism, is that much of sub-Saharan Africa has seen significant economic improvement. Examples Frazer cited were Angola and Mozambique. A recent story in the Washington Post said that the vast region overall was "having its most robust growth in decades." The Post reported, "There is still little hint of the global slowdown, partly because of still-healthy demand from China. Foreign investors are pouring in cash as they bet on the region's huge growth potential."

Last month, the International Monetary Fund reported that while sub-Saharan Africa is at risk from the fuel and food price shocks stemming from the world financial crisis, the region nonetheless "for the first time since the 1970s" is enjoying growth that "is in some ways more persistent than in any previous postwar period. There is little evidence of an inescapable poverty trap."

Such news allowed Frazer about as comfortable an exit interview imaginable, given that the approval ratings for outgoing President Bush are now as low as 20 percent. She told the Trotter Group of African-American newspaper columnists last week: "The story is very positive and perhaps as positive as the '60s. I think that the '60s were a very promising and positive time on the continent in general in terms of the dynamics of the continent and certainly this is a period that is even more so."

With attention focused on the domestic economy and Iraq, Africa rarely came up in the presidential campaign. Obama signaled his interest in Africa with a 2006 tour, blending education (he and wife Michelle took an AIDS test in his father's Kenya) with a foreshadowing of tough love against corruption ("The United States can't help Africa if its own leaders are undermining the possibilities of progress.").

How much interest he can maintain during the current fiscal crisis is uncertain. Frazer said that an increase in the AIDS program will have "spillover effects" into everyday medical care in Africa to combat deadly preventable diseases. But many observers now worry that the increase may have an end result of massive aid cuts elsewhere.

"I'm hopeful but I'm also nervous," said Frazer, who is returning to academia. "And I'm nervous because I don't want Africa to be treated as a humanitarian crisis simply. . . . I want it to be considered a strategic priority of the United States, from the point of view of economic [issues], from the point of view of security challenges, regional security, the global terror threat, and indeed the humanitarian situations there. And so I hope it will continue to be treated holistically and integrated into our global foreign policy."

Correction: In my last column, I incorrectly said that white Americans voted overall for Obama. They voted for John McCain.
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Derrick Z. Jackson can be reached at jackson@globe.com.
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The Boston Globe, Op-Ed, DERRICK Z. JACKSON
"Schools take the back seat again"
By Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe Columnist, February 14, 2009

EIGHT years ago, President Bush entered office with some bipartisan credibility on education, rightfully proclaiming that schoolchildren suffer from the soft bigotry of low expectations. He and the Republicans quickly discredited themselves with low federal funding for reform. So long was Washington anesthetized that the Democrats still seemed in a coma this week as Republican Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the three moderates the Democrats desperately needed for the stimulus bill, stripped more than $40 billion in school construction and general aid to schools.

"We hung tough," Collins said.

This hanging tough by stringing up public education finally stirred some Democrats into at least playing defense on the stimulus. After all, if so-called Republican moderates had such continued low expectations for education, then you know what the rest of that party was thinking. Despite all the up-front concessions from the Democrats, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky moaned, "This bill has only gotten worse. In my view, and in the view of my Republican colleagues, this is not the smart approach."

Tired of the Republican approach and signaling that Obama's outreach was resulting in more capitulation than compromise, Representative Henry Waxman, the Democrat from California, said of Snowe, Collins, and Specter, "It's been their way or nothing. We're losing a lot of the jobs that the president wanted because of it." Democratic Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa said, "I think our side gave in too much in order to appease a few people." Harkin later elaborated, "They took a lot of stuff out of education. They took it out of health, school construction, and they put it more into tax issues." Massachusetts Representatives Ed Markey, Barney Frank, and Jim McGovern wrote a letter saying they were "shocked" that the Senate slashed school construction while adding more money for nuclear weapons.

Most important, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said enough was enough. Saying the cuts to education "do violence to the future," the New York Times wrote that she "lit into Phil Schiliro, chief congressional lobbyist for the Obama administration and a former senior Capitol Hill aide, and had words for Rahm Emanuel, her former lieutenant, who is now President Obama's chief of staff." The Associated Press quoted her as saying, "We had to make sure the investment in education" was in the bill.

The Democrats could not get back a separate line item for new school construction. The best they could do is work with the state stabilization fund. The House originally proposed $79 billion. The Senate, cowed by Collins, Snowe, and Specter, had slashed it to $39 billion. The final agreement called for $54 billion, out of which $40.6 billion would go to local school districts. Out of the $40.6 billion, up to $10 billion could be used for school repairs. This, of course, was better than the shutout by the Senate. But no one knows what "up to $10 billion" really means, since the money comes out of the same pot that mayors and school superintendents need to fill other budget gaps and avoid layoffs.

Pelosi hailed the compromise as "historic and transformational." It was a start, but let's not get hysterical about transformation, when education advocates had to fight so hard for crumbling schools while Congress granted collapsing General Motors an 11th-hour, $3.2 billion tax break, and purchases of new cars can avail themselves of $5 billion of tax breaks.

In 1995, the General Accounting Office said that $112 billion was needed to renovate and replace the nation's crumbling schools. In 1997, the Republicans killed the mere $5 billion President Clinton proposed to repair them. With such complete neglect, the amount needed for repairs exploded to $266 billion by the time Bush took office, according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Kansas State University. The need has stayed about the same ever since, and little in the federal stimulus package changes that.

Collins is proud of hanging tough. For America's schoolchildren, that means tough luck.
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Derrick Z. Jackson can be reached at jackson@globe.com
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The Boston Globe, Op-Ed, DERRICK Z. JACKSON
"The transformation of transportation"
By Derrick Z. Jackson, February 24, 2009

IN THE half-month since the Senate nearly slashed mass transit from the stimulus bill, yet more locales broke ridership records from coast to coast. The New York City subway system moved 1.62 billion people last year, the most since 1950. Combined with buses, the city moved 2.37 billion people, the most since 1965. The Metro-North rail that services the suburbs outside New York carried a record 84 million passengers.

In the Midwest, the Madison, Wis., bus system recorded 13.4 million rides last year, the highest since 1979. Chicago's suburban bus system carried 40 million riders last year, the highest since 1991. Minneapolis/St. Paul's suburban bus system carried a record 2.6 million riders.

In the Pacific Northwest, the Amtrak Cascades line from Portland to Seattle set a new record with a 14.4 percent increase. In the South, ridership for the Piedmont train between Charlotte and Raleigh was up 30.8 percent last year.

This was on top of records announced earlier this year by other systems, including our own MBTA. It clearly factored into the Obama administration's 11th-hour rescue of mass transit in the final stimulus bill. The bill provides $17.7 billion for mass transit, high-speed rail, and Amtrak. The final budget request by Bush for these three items totaled $11.2 billion.

Compared with the last eight years of the Bush administration, this is a miracle shift of mindset. Mass transit and high-speed rail were given a massive upgrade in their share of transportation spending. In the last federal budget, the government gave highways four times more money than mass transit. The stimulus brings the ratio under 2-to-1. Compared with how some Republicans and the Bush administration kept trying to kill Amtrak, Obama's new Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood nearly made transit advocates faint by saying the stimulus funding will "transform intercity transportation in America, reduce our carbon footprint, relieve congestion on the roads and in the skies, and take advantage of a mode of transportation that has already benefited Europe and Japan for many years."

For the full transformation of transportation, Obama must move more mountains of mindset. For instance, it makes no sense to give General Motors and Chrysler an additional $21.6 billion in bailouts on top of their previous $17.4 billion, when they are cutting 50,000 jobs and still have not offered a credible plan for a fuel-efficient future. The administration should cut off the cash and let Ford, and the American plants of Toyota, Nissan, and Honda, salvage any GM and Chrysler assets valuable to them. Obama should instead invest the bailout billions into transportation that moves billions of people, and creates several times more jobs than what GM and Chrysler say they will lose.

According to University of Massachusetts economist Robert Pollin, who is a consultant to the Department of Energy, every $1 billion in clean or green energy industries creates 17,000 jobs, compared with 5,500 jobs in the oil, coal, and gas sector (and by extension the auto industry). Mass transit creates even more jobs, 22,000 for every $1 billion invested, needing many people to build and maintain it. Pollin said the job creation for mass transit is 70 percent more than for defense spending and 30-to-40 percent more than for a tax cut.

Pollin himself is not ready to say GM or Chrysler should die. "It's so frustrating because there are so many innocent people involved in the auto industry, the workers, the suppliers," he said. "The level of fragility is perhaps even worse than 1929. As opposed to 1929, we know what we're doing and it still isn't working. Perhaps we've got to let them limp through for the next year or two. But they need new management."

But at some point very soon, Obama must decide that limping is not enough to keep up with a nation whose commuters and even vacationers are radically rethinking transportation. From New York to Madison, from North Carolina to Seattle, people are not clamoring for new Cadillacs. They want the buses and trains of a new America to run on time.
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Derrick Z. Jackson can be reached at jackson@globe.com.
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The Boston Globe, Op-Ed, DERRICK Z. JACKSON
"Rectifying a 'mistake' in drug sentencing"
By Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe Columnist, March 7, 2009

CRIMINAL JUSTICE will never supplant the economy, war, or healthcare as a top priority, but when Attorney General Eric Holder called waterboarding torture, it ought to have signaled more than a reversal of a singular policy in the treatment of a few suspected terrorists. He said, "Too often over the past decade, the fight against terrorism has been viewed as a zero-sum battle with our civil liberties. Not only is that thought misguided, I fear that in actuality it does more harm than good."

The big question is whether the Obama administration can rebalance the scales at home, where the corrosive underbelly of injustice is quiet terrorism. Consider the prison boom that accompanied Draconian federal and state laws, laws that became racist in their application.

This week, the Pew Center on the States released a report that found that states spent $47 billion on prisons last year, with spending rising faster than that for education. The spending continues to rise, even as crime rates have fallen by 25 percent over the last 20 years. States spend an average of $29,000 annually on each prisoner, 10 times what they spend on parolees and 23 times what they spend on those on probation. The great irony, of course, is that $29,000 is not only much more than in-state college tuition, it is more like the annual cost of tuition at a private university.

The waste has reached a point where in California, for instance, federal judges have ordered the release of one-third of the state's 150,000 inmates because the health services available in the grossly overcrowded system violate the constitution. At the beginning of the Reagan administration, one in 77 Americans was in prison, on parole, or on probation. Today the ratio is one in 31, led by one in 13 adults in Georgia and one in 18 in Idaho. Massachusetts ranks fifth at one in 24.

Huge percentages of the 1.5 million people in prison, particularly African-Americans (one in 11 African-Americans are under some form of correction), are there for nonviolent drug offenses that call out not for barbed wire, but for treatment, education, and job opportunities. The Pew study found that nine of every 10 corrections dollars went to prisons, not for rehabilitation programs.

So it is no surprise that another report released this week by Human Rights Watch found that in every year since 1980, African-Americans have been arrested on drug charges between 2.8 to 5.5 times more, relative to the population, than white Americans. This is despite the long, conveniently ignored fact that Americans consume illegal drugs at roughly their racial percentage of the national population. Drug possession made up 64 percent of drug arrests, with annual percentages reaching 80 percent in the just-concluded Bush years.

Part of the reason this spun out of control is nearly three decades of blind eyes and cowardice in the White House. What the conservative administrations of Reagan and the first President Bush started, President Clinton continued by capitulating to the conservative chorus in Congress in the 1990s to lock in laws that punished crack cocaine possession far more harshly than possession of powdered cocaine. There was no hope for change under the second President Bush.

In a meeting with columnists in 2007, Obama said the disparate crack-to-powder laws were a "mistake." He needs to tell Holder to work with Congress to rectify the mistake. The warehousing of those arrested for drug possession has been worse than a misguided zero-sum game with our liberties. For the cost of private college tuition per prisoner, we do more harm than good, removing tens of thousands of people from the path to productivity in their communities.

Ironically, Holder created a mild stir by saying America has been a nation of cowards on race. While the statement was largely needless, given that the nation now has a black president, he suddenly has a huge say in eliminating the most powerful symbol of the cowardice that remains. The issue of American prisoners will tell us how brave Holder and Obama will be.
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Derrick Z. Jackson can be reached at jackson@globe.com.
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"Explore revenue options"
The Berkshire Eagle, Editorial, April 15, 2009

With a third round of budget cuts to be made, and more likely to come as the fiscal year looms, Governor Deval L. Patrick has expressed understandable unhappiness with the Legislature for declining to act on his proposal to generate $24 million by extending the sales tax to alcohol, candy and soda. As far as potential tax increases that have been discussed on Beacon Hill go, these would be relatively painless, and would also contribute to the fight against childhood obesity. (See Derrick Z. Jackson column [below] on the opposite page.) The state should also give financially strapped communities the option of raising additional revenue through local hotel and restaurant taxes. More cuts in local aid are likely, and Berkshire communities should have at least have the option of compensating for that revenue.

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The Boston Globe, Op-Ed, DERRICK Z. JACKSON
"Becoming a nation of Baby Hueys"
By Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe Columnist, April 11, 2009

AS MUCH AS obesity is in the news, Ohio State University public health epidemiologist Sarah Anderson was still surprised how it now assaults the youngest children. Studying 8,550 children, she and Robert Whitaker of Temple University found that 18.4 percent of 4-year-olds, nearly one-in-five, were obese, including 31.2 percent American Indians and Native Alaskans.

"While research has shown differences in older children and men and women, we didn't necessarily think we'd find that large of a difference in young children," Anderson said in a telephone interview. "But the fact they have such a high BMI (body mass index) and they're 4? This clearly shows that we have a problem early in childhood and that we really need to think about childhood obesity prevention that begins in infancy, perhaps even in pregnancy."

The study in the current Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine should set off a national alarm. We already know that fat youth inexorably blow up into fatally immobile adults. In 2003-2006 data, the Centers for Disease Control said 12.4 percent of children ages 2 to 5 were obese. Adult America is 34 percent obese.

Based on that, 20 percent obesity rates at age 4 will produce 55 percent obesity rates in adulthood. Already among those ages 40-59, 40 percent of all men, 51 percent of Mexican-American women and 53 percent of African-American women are obese. African-American female obesity continues to 61 percent after the age of 60.

The surgeon general's office says 300,000 deaths may be annually attributable to obesity. So far, America has responded with morsels of concern as our children are swallowed whole by fast food, junk snacks, and eternal, sedentary screen time. For instance, the nation spends $15 billion a year for child nutrition programs and $20 billion in the stimulus went to nutrition assistance. President Obama proposes in FY2010 an additional $1 billion a year to enhance "the nutritional quality of school meals, expanding nutrition research and evaluation, and improving program oversight."

Oversight means nothing if you are overseeing the most tragic slow-motion American disaster since smoking. Federal nutrition programs are a feeble whisper against the howling scream of trash food marketing. The Federal Trade Commission last year reported that 44 top food and beverage companies spent nearly $10 billion in 2006 on general marketing, of which $1.6 billion directly targeted to youth. Soda, fast food, and cereals account for nearly two-thirds of youth marketing.

Study after study shows obesity to be fueled by child exposure to ads, proximity of fast-food restaurants to schools, and the overabundance of bad food at rural and inner-city convenience stores, in lives devoid of exercise. Voluntary marketing limits enacted by trash-food makers are the wink of wolves. Jon Leibowitz, who was elevated last month to FTC chairman by Obama, said the marketing of sugary carbonated beverages amounts to $20 for each American youth. "The marketing efforts must be working," Leibowitz wrote. "Adolescents get 11 percent of their calories from soft drinks."

Before youth get any more calories from soda, and before we become a nation of Baby Hueys, Obama and Congress should, with an urgency second only to the oncoming regulation of tobacco, enact emergency federal rules to ban trash-food marketing to youth. This means not just kicking vending machines out of schools, but ending the insidious practice where soda and fast-food companies buy off school districts to become educational and sports program sponsors. It means ending many cross-promotional tie-ins on toys and clever media product placement. It also means the White House banning sugar and fat companies from its own exercise initiatives. The President's Challenge on physical fitness lists Coke, Burger King, Hershey's, Kellogg's, and General Mills as "current advocates."

Four decades ago, Mary Poppins cheerfully sang that a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. Today, sugar is the grim reaper as children down 12-ounce sodas with the equivalent of 10-to-12 teaspoons of sugar. With infants literally blowing up, we need Mary Poppins back to sing sugarcalifragilisticexpialidocious. The sight of our babies is simply quite atrocious.
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Derrick Z. Jackson can be reached at jackson@globe.com.
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The Boston Globe, Op-Ed
DERRICK Z. JACKSON
"Cheney talks and the GOP squirms"
By Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe Columnist, May 16, 2009

PLEASE, Dick Cheney, keep talking!

Now we know why he was so hunkered down as vice president, except to proclaim that we would be welcomed as liberators in Iraq. Had he been more candid sooner, even more Republicans would have staked their lawns with Obama signs, ashamed of the rock their party lives under.

Why Cheney is hitting the news-show circuit at all is amazing, given that his job approval rating was down to 30 percent by the time he left office, according a Washington Post/ABC News poll. Worse, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll last month found that only 18 percent of Americans had positive feelings for him. This compared with 56 percent in the months after 9/11.

But Cheney never cared what Americans thought about him back then, with his secretive, industry-stacked energy panels, his defense of waterboarding of suspected terrorists, and his saying that he would have invaded Iraq even if we knew Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. So there is no reason to expect sensitivity from him now, blubbering to an excess that serves only to further creep out Americans on the Republican brand.

On "Face the Nation," Cheney reasserted last week that President Obama has "moved to take down a lot of those policies we put in place that kept the nation safe . . . prisoner interrogation for example." In a February interview with Politico he warned of a "high probability" of a nuclear or biological terrorist attack in an American city that could kill hundreds of thousands of people. "Whether or not they can pull it off," Cheney said, "depends whether or not we keep in place policies that have allowed us to defeat all further attempts."

Talk about denial. Americans clearly felt stained by Abu Ghraib and how the Bush administration strained international relations with its definitions of torture, with no conclusive proof that harsh interrogation works. Americans, 71 percent of whom considered waterboarding to be torture in an April New York Times/CBS poll, wanted many policies to be taken down. By a 2-to-1 margin in that poll, Americans approve of Obama's handling of terrorism. By nearly a 3-to-1 margin, a CNN poll last month found that Americans felt the actions Obama has taken on terrorism have NOT increased the chances of a terrorist attack.

No matter. Cheney plows ahead, shoveling more voters into the category of independents or Democrats. When Senator Arlen Specter, one of the only Republican moderates left on Capitol Hill, along with the likes of Maine's Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, switched last month to the Democratic Party, Cheney said in a radio interview, "I think it would be a mistake for us to moderate . . . The idea that we ought to moderate basically means we ought to fundamentally change our philosophy, and I for one am not prepared to do that."

On "Face the Nation," he said he would choose right-wing radio firebrand Rush Limbaugh over moderate Colin Powell as an icon of who a Republican is. Powell, who begged the Republicans in vain at national conventions to adopt a more humane platform on racial, women's, and class issues, endorsed Obama for president. Cheney said Powell's endorsement was an indication of his "loyalty."

What Cheney does not get is that many Americans felt betrayed by the Republican hard line on many social and economic issues in the last election, handing the Democrats leadership of the White House and the Hill. Approval ratings for Democrats in Congress are not exactly stellar, currently floating between 43 and 50 percent, but they are abysmal for the Republicans, drifting between 36 and 14 percent. A month before Obama's election, only 7 percent of Americans felt the country was headed in the right direction in a CBS poll. That has risen steadily to 45 percent this month.

Cheney, who thinks the party of Lincoln should now become the party of Limbaugh, says he sees only a "semantic problem" with the Republicans. Americans saw right through this in November and continue to see through it. They see a seismic problem.
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Derrick Z. Jackson can be reached at jackson@globe.com.
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Former Vice President Dick Cheney. (AP Photo).
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The Boston Globe, Op-Ed
DERRICK Z. JACKSON
"All right, everybody, let’s all cool off"
By Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe Columnist, July 25, 2009

AS A resident of the People’s Republic of Cambridge for nearly a quarter century, the spectacularly bad hair day of Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cambridge Police Sergeant James Crowley hits me as an amazing case of how two people steeped in race can combust. A pessimist could easily go down a dark worm hole in an incident where a PBS-producing, Oxford-encyclopedia-writing black Harvard professor with nearly 50 honorary degrees was hauled out of his own home in handcuffs after a 911 call over a suspected burglary.

After all, this comes on the heels of African-American and Latino children being disinvited from a suburban Philadelphia swimming pool. It comes at a time when the fissures of structural inequality have widened again into full fractures, with black men, even college-educated black men, losing jobs in the recession in the Northeast at much higher rates than everyone else. It comes as police profiling and the stereotype of black men as criminals are still very real, even if African-American men run the White House, Massachusetts, and New York.

So if you want bad news to confirm a view that racial change in America is only frosting on a still-rotten cake, plenty of it still abounds.

Proving that life is stranger than fiction, Crowley was chosen by a former African-American police commissioner of Cambridge to share his sensitivity skills with other cops on racial profiling. To boot, he tried in vain in 1993 to save dying black Celtics basketball star Reggie Lewis. But in a doomsday scenario, two otherwise intelligent men, one who is paid to size up situations in nanoseconds and the other who is renowned for deep historical probings, likely found a way to push each other’s buttons of race and class. The resulting divide has Gates calling Crowley a “rogue policeman’’ while Crowley is pleading, “I’m not a monster or the bigot or racist that he’s portrayed me to be.’’

Crowley should never have arrested Gates for being upset at lingering police presence in his home, having proved it was his. But Crowley’s history is that he’s not a rogue policeman. Gates calling him one on national TV Wednesday blurred the line between the act and the man.

The story is ratcheting up beyond hope of reconciliation, with police unions now demanding apologies from President Obama and Governor Patrick, who merely said the obvious, that the act - not the man - was stupid and that the arrest was every black man’s nightmare. On the other side is the ubiquitous Al Sharpton, railing that this was “at worst the highest example of racial profiling I have seen.’’

Obama yesterday attempted to cool things down by calling Crowley and Gates and inviting them to the White House for a beer. He said the incident was an overreaction on both sides. While it is a serious cautionary tale that we are not in “post-racial’’ America, it does not invoke a 911 call on racism that throws out the baby of generally improving race relations with the shampoo of this bad hair day. Regarding Cambridge police, I think I have a pretty good idea of what constitutes a rogue cop, having once covered police brutality in New York City. Cambridge is not a corrupted city of rogues and monsters.

Based on my experience, the Cambridge police, precisely because of the town’s progressive politics, are noteworthy in not arresting or not incarcerating people unless necessary. In one incident, when I called them to break up teen rowdiness in a neighbor’s home, they calmly gave the youth a chance to come out. It all ended with IDs taken, party ended, and no arrests.

How many times have the police not been calm in confronting African-Americans in other cities?

That does not mean Gates did not get a traumatic, raw deal. He did. Luckily for him, his power to command national attention was equal to Crowley’s power to arrest. Now, after nearly a week of incendiary charges back and forth, it is time for this scholar on race and the cop who teaches on racial profiling to show how smart they truly are. Perhaps the next PBS special produced by Gates should be of him and Crowley discussing how it all went wrong. That might help the rest of us get it all right.
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Derrick Z. Jackson can be reached at jackson@globe.com.
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www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2009/07/25/all_right_everybody_lets_cool_off/?comments=all
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About Me

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Amherst, NH, United States
I am a citizen defending the people against corrupt Pols who only serve their Corporate Elite masters, not the people! / My 2 political enemies are Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr., nicknamed "Luciforo" and former Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr. / I have also pasted many of my political essays on "The Berkshire Blog": berkshireeagle.blogspot.com / I AM THE ANTI-FRANK GUINTA! / Please contact me at jonathan_a_melle@yahoo.com

50th Anniversary - 2009

50th Anniversary - 2009
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Columbus Avenue in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Pittsfield Politics: Capitanio, Mazzeo agree on budget cuts, public safety

Pittsfield Politics: Capitanio, Mazzeo agree on budget cuts, public safety
Paul Capitanio, left, speaks during Monday night's Ward 3 City Council debate with fellow candidate Melissa Mazzeo at Pittsfield Community Television's studio. The special election (3/31/2009) will be held a week from today (3/24/2009). The local issues ranged from economic development and cleaning up blighted areas in Ward 3 to public education and the continued remediation of PCB's.

Red Sox v Yankees

Red Sox v Yankees
Go Red Sox!

Outrage swells in Congress!

Outrage swells in Congress!
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., left, and the committee's ranking Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., listen during a hearing on modernizing insurance regulations, Tuesday, March 17, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh). - http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20090318/pl_politico/30833

Beacon Hill's $pecial Interest Tax Raisers & $PENDERS!

Beacon Hill's $pecial Interest Tax Raisers & $PENDERS!
Photo Gallery: www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/15/St_Patricks_Day_Boston/

The path away from Wall Street ...

The path away from Wall Street ...
...Employers in the finance sector - traditionally a prime landing spot for college seniors, particularly in the Northeast - expect to have 71 percent fewer jobs to offer this year's (2009) graduates.

Economic collapse puts graduates on unforeseen paths: Enrollment in public service jobs rising...

Economic collapse puts graduates on unforeseen paths: Enrollment in public service jobs rising...
www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/14/economic_collapse_puts_graduates_on_unforeseen_paths/

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis
Should he be fired? As Bank of America's Stock Plummets, CEO Resists Some Calls That He Step Down.

Hookers for Jesus

Hookers for Jesus
Annie Lobert is the founder of "Hookers for Jesus" - www.hookersforjesus.net/home.cfm - Saving Sin City: Las Vegas, Nevada?

Forever personalized stamped envelope

Forever personalized stamped envelope
The Forever stamp will continue to cover the price of a first-class letter. The USPS will also introduce Forever personalized, stamped envelopes. The envelopes will be preprinted with a Forever stamp, the sender's name and return address, and an optional personal message.

Purple Heart

Purple Heart
First issued in 2003, the Purple heart stamp will continue to honor the men and women wounded while serving in the US military. The Purple Heart stamp covers the cost of 44 cents for first-class, one-ounce mail.

Dolphin

Dolphin
The bottlenose is just one of the new animals set to appear on the price-change stamps. It will serve as a 64-cent stamp for odd shaped envelopes.

2009 price-change stamps

2009 price-change stamps
www.boston.com/business/gallery/2009pircechangestamps/ -&- www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2009/02/27/new_stamps_set_for_rate_increase_in_may/

Red Sox v Yankees

Red Sox v Yankees
Go Red Sox!

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama
AP photo v Shepard Fairey

Rush Limbaugh lackeys

Rush Limbaugh lackeys
Posted by Dan Wasserman of the Boston Globe on March 3, 2009.

Honest Abe

Honest Abe
A 2007 US Penny

Dog race

Dog race
Sledding for dogs

The Capital of the Constitution State

The Capital of the Constitution State
Hartford, once the wealthiest city in the United States but now the poorest in Connecticut, is facing an uphill battle.

Brady, Bundchen married

Brady, Bundchen married
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and model Gisele Bundchen wed Feb. 26, 2009 in a Catholic ceremony in Los Angeles. www.boston.com/ae/celebrity/gallery/tom_gisele/

Mayor Jimmy Ruberto

Mayor Jimmy Ruberto
Tanked Pittsfield's local economy while helping his fellow insider political hacks and business campaign contributors!

Journalist Andrew Manuse

Journalist Andrew Manuse
www.manuse.com

New Hampshire Supreme Court Building

New Hampshire Supreme Court Building
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Hampshire_Supreme_Court

Economic State of the Union

Economic State of the Union
A look at some of the economic conditions the Obama administration faces and what resources have already been pledged to help. 2/24/2009

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama
The president addresses the nation's governors during a dinner in the State Dinning Room, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari).

The Oscars - 2/22/2009.

The Oscars - 2/22/2009.
Hugh Jackman and Beyoncé Knowles teamed up for a musical medley during the show.

The 81st Academy Awards - Oscars - 2009

The 81st Academy Awards - Oscars - 2009
Hugh Jackman pulled actress Anne Hathaway on stage to accompany him during his opening musical number.

Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow
A Progressive News Commentator

$500,000 per year

$500,000 per year
That is chump change for the corporate elite!

THE CORPORATE ELITE...

THE CORPORATE ELITE...
Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman and chief executive of General Electric

The Presidents' Club

The Presidents' Club
Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton & Carter.

5 Presidents: Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton, & Carter!

5 Presidents: Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton, & Carter!
White House Event: January 7, 2009.

Bank Bailout!

Bank Bailout!
v taxpayer

Actress Elizabeth Banks

Actress Elizabeth Banks
She will present an award to her hometown (Pittsfield) at the Massachusetts State House next month (1/2009). She recently starred in "W" and "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," and just signed a $1 million annual contract to be a spokesmodel for Paris.

Joanna Lipper

Joanna Lipper
Her award-winning 1999 documentary, "Growing Up Fast," about teenaged mothers in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Happy Holidays...

Happy Holidays...
...from "Star Wars"

Massachusetts "poor" economy

Massachusetts "poor" economy
Massachusetts is one of the wealthiest states, but it is also very inequitable. For example, it boasts the nation's most lucrative lottery, which is just a system of regressive taxation so that the corporate elite get to pay less in taxes!

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon
Hollywood Actress

Peter G. Arlos.

Peter G. Arlos.
Arlos is shown in his Pittsfield office in early 2000.

Turnpike OK's hefty toll hikes

Turnpike OK's hefty toll hikes
Big Dig - East-west commuters take hit; Fees at tunnels would double. 11/15/2008.

The Pink Panther 2

The Pink Panther 2
Starring Steve Martin

Police ABUSE

Police ABUSE
I was a victim of Manchester Police Officer John Cunningham's ILLEGAL USES of FORCE! John Cunningham was reprimanded by the Chief of Police for disrespecting me. John Cunningham yelled at a witness: "I don't care if he (Jonathan Melle) is disabled!"

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
The 44th US President!

Vote

Vote
Elections

The Bailout & the economic stimulus check

The Bailout & the economic stimulus check
A political cartoon by Dan Wasserman

A rainbow over Boston

A rainbow over Boston
"Rainbows galore" 10/2/2008

Our nation's leaders!

Our nation's leaders!
President Bush with both John McCain & Barack Obama - 9/25/2008.

Massachusetts & Big Dig: Big hike in tolls for Pike looming (9/26/2008).

Massachusetts & Big Dig: Big hike in tolls for Pike looming (9/26/2008).
$5 rise at tunnels is one possibility $1 jump posed for elsewhere.

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
My FAVORITE Journalist EVER!

9/11/2008 - A Show of Unity!

9/11/2008 - A Show of Unity!
John McCain and Barack Obama appeared together at ground zero in New York City - September 11, 2008.

John McCain...

John McCain...
...has all but abandoned the positions on taxes, torture and immigration. (A cartoon by Dan Wasserman. September 2008).

Dan Wasserman

Dan Wasserman
The deregulated chickens come home to roost... in all our pocketbooks. September 2008.

Sarah Palin's phobia

Sarah Palin's phobia
A scripted candidate! (A cartoon by Dan Wasserman).

Dan Wasserman

Dan Wasserman
Family FInances - September, 2008.

Mark E. Roy

Mark E. Roy
Ward 1 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Theodore “Ted” L. Gatsas

Theodore “Ted” L. Gatsas
Ward 2 Alderman (& NH State Senator) for Manchester, NH (2008).

Peter M. Sullivan

Peter M. Sullivan
Ward 3 (downtown) Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Jim Roy

Jim Roy
Ward 4 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Ed Osborne

Ed Osborne
Ward 5 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Real R. Pinard

Real R. Pinard
Ward 6 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

William P. Shea

William P. Shea
Ward 7 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Betsi DeVries

Betsi DeVries
Ward 8 Alder-woman (& NH State Senator) for Manchester, NH (2008).

Michael Garrity

Michael Garrity
Ward 9 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

George Smith

George Smith
Ward 10 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Russ Ouellette

Russ Ouellette
Ward 11 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Kelleigh (Domaingue) Murphy

Kelleigh (Domaingue) Murphy
Ward 12 Alder-woman for Manchester, NH (2008).

“Mike” Lopez

“Mike” Lopez
At-Large Alderman for Manchester, NH. (2008).

Daniel P. O’Neil

Daniel P. O’Neil
At-Large Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Sarah Palin for Vice President.

Sarah Palin for Vice President.
Republican John McCain made the surprise pick of Alaska's governor Sarah Palin as his running mate today, August 29, 2008.

U.S. Representative John Olver, D-Amherst, Massachusetts.

U.S. Representative John Olver, D-Amherst, Massachusetts.
Congressman Olver said the country has spent well over a half-trillion dollars on the war in Iraq while the situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate. 8/25/08.

Ed O'Reilly for US Senate in Massachusetts!

Ed O'Reilly for US Senate in Massachusetts!
John Kerry's 9/2008 challenger in the Democratic Primary.

Shays' Rebellion

Shays' Rebellion
In a tax revolt, Massachusetts farmers fought back during Shays' Rebellion in the mid-1780s after The American Revolutionary War.

Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore
Actress. "The Big Lebowski" is one of my favorite movies. I also like "The Fugitive", too.

Rinaldo Del Gallo III & "Superman"

Rinaldo Del Gallo III & "Superman"
Go to: http://www.berkshirefatherhood.com/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=699&cntnt01returnid=69

"Income chasm widening in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"

"Income chasm widening in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"
The gap between rich and poor has widened substantially in Massachusetts over the past two decades. (8/15/2008).

Dan "Bureaucrat" Bosley

Dan "Bureaucrat" Bosley
"The Bosley Amendment": To create tax loopholes for the wealthiest corporate interests in Massachusetts!

John Edwards and...

John Edwards and...
...Rielle Hunter. WHO CARES?!

Rep. Edward J. Markey

Rep. Edward J. Markey
He wants online-privacy legislation. Some Web Firms Say They Track Behavior Without Explicit Consent.

Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan
She gained fame with her antiwar vigil outside the Bush ranch.

Olympics kick off in Beijing

Olympics kick off in Beijing
Go USA!

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall
In this May 1, 2008, file photo, a customer pumps gas at an Exxon station in Middleton, Mass. Exxon Mobil Corp. reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion Thursday, July 31, the biggest quarterly profit ever by any U.S. corporation, but the results were well short of Wall Street expectations and its shares fell as markets opened. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole, File) 7/31/2008.

Onota Lake 'Sea Serpent'

Onota Lake 'Sea Serpent'
Some kind of monster on Onota Lake. Five-year-old Tyler Smith rides a 'sea serpent' on Onota Lake in Pittsfield, Mass. The 'monster,' fashioned by Smith's grandfather, first appeared over July 4 weekend. (Photo courtesy of Ron Smith). 7/30/2008.

Al Gore, Jr.

Al Gore, Jr.
Al Gore issues challenge on energy

The Norman Rockwell Museum

The Norman Rockwell Museum
Stockbridge, Massachusetts

"Big Dig"

"Big Dig"
Boston's financially wasteful pork barrel project!

"Big Dig"

"Big Dig"
Boston's pork barrel public works project cost 50 times more than the original price!

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
My favorite journalist EVER!

U.S. Rep. John Olver, state Sen. Stan Rosenberg and Selectwomen Stephanie O'Keeffe and Alisa Brewer

U.S. Rep. John Olver, state Sen. Stan Rosenberg and Selectwomen Stephanie O'Keeffe and Alisa Brewer
Note: Photo from Mary E Carey's Blog.

Tanglewood

Tanglewood
Boston Symphony Orchestra music director James Levine.

Google

Google
Chagall

Jimmy Ruberto

Jimmy Ruberto
Faces multiple persecutions under the Massachusetts "Ethics" conflict of interest laws.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
Obama vows $500m in faith-based aid.

John McCain

John McCain
He is with his wife, Cindy, who were both met by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe (right) upon arriving in Cartagena.

Daniel Duquette

Daniel Duquette
Sold Mayor James M. Ruberto of Pittsfield two tickets to the 2004 World Series at face value.

Hillary & Barack in Unity, NH - 6/27/2008

Hillary & Barack in Unity, NH - 6/27/2008
Clinton tells Obama, crowd in Unity, N.H.: 'We are one party'

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Wanna-be Prez?

WALL-E

WALL-E
"out of this World"

Crisis in the Congo - Ben Affleck

Crisis in the Congo - Ben Affleck
http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/popup?id=5057139&contentIndex=1&page=1&start=false - http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=5234555&page=1

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
NH's Democratic returning candidate for U.S. Senate

"Wall-E"

"Wall-E"
a cool robot

Ed O'Reilly

Ed O'Reilly
www.edoreilly.com

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
World Champions - 2008

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
J.D. Drew gets the same welcome whenever he visits the City of Brotherly Love: "Booooooo!"; Drew has been vilified in Philadelphia since refusing to sign with the Phillies after they drafted him in 1997...

Joe Kelly Levasseur & Joe Briggs

Joe Kelly Levasseur & Joe Briggs
www.2joes.org

NH Union Leader

NH Union Leader
Editorial Cartoon

Celtics - World Champions!

Celtics - World Champions!
www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_18_08_front_pages/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_17_08_finals_game_6/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_17_08_celebration/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_15_08_celtics_championships/

"The Nation"

"The Nation"
A "Liberal" weekly political news magazine. Katrina vanden Heuvel.

TV - PBS: NOW

TV - PBS: NOW
http://www.pbs.org/now

The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone
List of Twilight Zone episodes - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Twilight_Zone_episodes

Equality for ALL Marriages

Equality for ALL Marriages
I, Jonathan Melle, am a supporter of same sex marriages.

Kobe Bryant leads his time to a Game 5 victory.

Kobe Bryant leads his time to a Game 5 victory.
L.A. Lakers holds on for the win to force Game 6 at Boston

Mohawk Trail

Mohawk Trail
The 'Hail to the Sunrise' statue in Charlemont is a well-known and easily recognized landmark on the Mohawk Trail. The trail once boasted several souvenir shops, some with motels and restaurants. Now only four remain. (Caroline Bonnivier / Berkshire Eagle Staff).

NASA - June 14, 2008

NASA - June 14, 2008
Space Shuttle Discovery returns to Earth.

Go Celtics! Game # 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

Go Celtics! Game # 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.
Boston took a 20-second timeout, and the Celtics ran off four more points (including this incredible Erving-esque layup from Ray Allen) to build the lead to five points with just 2:10 remaining. Reeling, the Lakers took a full timeout to try to regain their momentum.

Sal DiMasi

Sal DiMasi
Speaker of the Massachusetts State House of Representatives

Kelly Ayotte - Attorney General of New Hampshire

Kelly Ayotte - Attorney General of New Hampshire
http://doj.nh.gov/

John Kerry

John Kerry
He does not like grassroots democracy & being challenged in the 2008 Massachusetts Democratic Party Primary for re-election.

Tim Murray

Tim Murray
Corrupt Lt. Gov. of Massachusetts, 2007 - 2013.

North Adams, Massachusetts

North Adams, Massachusetts
downtown

Howie Carr

Howie Carr
Political Satirist on Massachusetts Corruption/Politics

Polar Bear

Polar Bear
Global Warming

Elizabeth Warren - Web-Site Links

Elizabeth Warren - Web-Site Links
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Warren & http://www.creditslips.org/creditslips/WarrenAuthor.html

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
Consumer Crusader

Leon Powe

Leon Powe
Celtics forward Leon Powe finished a fast break with a dunk.

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett reacted during the game.

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo finished a first half fast break with a dunk.

Teamwork

Teamwork
Los Angeles Lakers teammates help Pau Gasol (16) from the floor in the second quarter.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant took a shot in the first half of Game 2.

Kendrick Perkins

Kendrick Perkins
Kendrick Perkins (right) backed down Lamar Odom (left) during first half action.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
The Boston Symphony Orchestra performed the national anthem prior to Game 2.

K.G.!

K.G.!
Garnett reacted to a hard dunk in the first quarter.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce reacted after hitting a three upon his return to the game since leaving with an injury.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Kobe Bryant (left) and Paul Pierce (right) squared off in the second half of the game.

James Taylor

James Taylor
Sings National Anthem at Celtics Game.

John Forbes Kerry & Deval Patrick

John Forbes Kerry & Deval Patrick
Attended Celtics Game.

Greats of the NBA: Dr. J, Bill Russell, & Kareem!

Greats of the NBA: Dr. J, Bill Russell, & Kareem!
Attend Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis
The actor (left) and his date were in the crowd before the Celtics game.

John Kerry

John Kerry
Golddigger attends Celtics game

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton
Ends her 2008 bid for Democratic Party nomination

Nonnie Burnes

Nonnie Burnes
Massachusetts Insurance Commish & former Judge

Jones Library

Jones Library
Amherst, Massachusetts

Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton

Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton
2008 Democratic Primary

"US vs Exxon and Halliburton"

"US vs Exxon and Halliburton"
U.S. Senator John Sununu took more than $220,000 from big oil.

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
4- U.S. Senate - 2008

William Pignatelli

William Pignatelli
Hack Rep. "Smitty" with Lynne Blake

Ben Bernanke

Ben Bernanke
Federal Reserve Chairman

Gazettenet.com

Gazettenet.com
www.gazettenet.com/beta/

Boys' & Girls' Club

Boys' & Girls' Club
Melville Street, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Denis Guyer

Denis Guyer
Dalton State Representative

The Berkshire Eagle

The Berkshire Eagle
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Carmen Massimiano

Carmen Massimiano
Williams College - May 2008

Larry Bird & Magic Johnson

Larry Bird & Magic Johnson
www.boston.com/lifestyle/gallery/when_the_celtics_were_cool/

Regressive Taxation! via State Lotteries

Regressive Taxation! via State Lotteries
New Massachusetts state lottery game hits $600 million in sales!

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
"Luciforo"

John Barrett III

John Barrett III
Long-time Mayor of North Adams Massachusetts

Shine On

Shine On

Elmo

Elmo
cool!

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce kissed the Eastern Conference trophy. 5/30/2008. AP Photo.

Kevin Garnett & Richard Hamilton

Kevin Garnett & Richard Hamilton
Kevin Garnett (left) talked to Pistons guard Richard Hamilton (right) after the Celtics' victory in Game 6. 5/30/2008. Reuters Photo.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce showed his team colors as the Celtics closed out the Pistons in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. 5/30/2008. Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis.

Joseph Kelly Levasseur

Joseph Kelly Levasseur
One of my favorite politicians!

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
In the Big Apple: NYC! She is the coolest!

Guyer & Kerry

Guyer & Kerry
My 2nd least favorite picture EVER!

Mary Carey

Mary Carey
My favorite journalist EVER!

Nuciforo & Ruberto

Nuciforo & Ruberto
My least favorite picture EVER!

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
U.S. Senate - 2008

NH Fisher Cats

NH Fisher Cats
AA Baseball - Toronto Blue Jays affiliate

Manchester, NH

Manchester, NH
Police Patch

Michael Briggs

Michael Briggs
#83 - We will never forget

Michael "Stix" Addison

Michael "Stix" Addison
http://unionleader.com/channel.aspx/News?channel=2af17ff4-f73b-4c44-9f51-092e828e1131

Charlie Gibson

Charlie Gibson
ABC News anchor

Scott McClellan

Scott McClellan
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/scott_mcclellan/index.html?inline=nyt-per

Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho
Downtown Boise Idaho

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Legislative Hearing in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, BCC, on Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson
My favorite classical U.S. President!

NH Governor John Lynch

NH Governor John Lynch
Higher Taxes, Higher Tolls

Paul Hodes

Paul Hodes
My favorite Congressman!

Portland Sea Dogs

Portland Sea Dogs
AA Red Sox

New York

New York
Magnet

Massachusetts

Massachusetts
Magnet

New Hampshire

New Hampshire
Magnet

New Hampshire

New Hampshire
Button

Carmen Massimiano

Carmen Massimiano
"Luciforo" tried to send me to Carmen's Jail during the Spring & Summer of 1998.

Kay Khan - Massachusetts State Representative

Kay Khan - Massachusetts State Representative
www.openmass.org/members/show/174

Luciforo

Luciforo
Andrea F Nuciforo II

B-Eagle

B-Eagle
Pittsfield's monopoly/only daily newspaper

Jon Lester - Go Red Sox!

Jon Lester - Go Red Sox!
A Red Sox No Hitter on 5/19/2008!

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Dustin Pedroia & Manny Ramirez

U.S. Flag

U.S. Flag
God Bless America!

Jonathan Melle's Blog

Jonathan Melle's Blog
Hello, Everyone!

Molly Bish

Molly Bish
We will never forget!

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Celtics guard Rajon Rondo listens to some advice from Celtics head coach Doc Rivers in the first half.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Celtics forward Kevin Garnett and Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace embrace at the end of the game.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon calls for the ball as he charges toward first base. Papelbon made the out en route to picking up his 14th save of the season.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka throws to Royals David DeJesus during the first inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka delivers a pitch to Royals second baseman Mark Grudzielanek during the second inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew is welcomed to home plate by teammates Mike Lowell (left), Kevin Youkilis (2nd left) and Manny Ramirez after he hit a grand slam in the second inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell crosses the plate after hitting a grand slam during the sixth inning. Teammates Manny Ramirez and Jacoby Ellsbury scored on the play. The Red Sox went on to win 11-8 to complete a four-game sweep and perfect homestand.

JD Drew - Go Red Sox

JD Drew - Go Red Sox
www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/gallery/05_22_08_sox_royals/

Thank you for serving; God Bless America!

Thank you for serving; God Bless America!
Master Sgt. Kara B. Stackpole, of Westfield, holds her daughter, Samantha, upon her return today to Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee. She is one of the 38 members of the 439th Aeromedical Staging Squadron who returned after a 4-month deployment in Iraq. Photo by Dave Roback / The Republican.

Kathi-Anne Reinstein

Kathi-Anne Reinstein
www.openmass.org/members/show/175

Ted Kennedy

Ted Kennedy
Tragic diagnosis: Get well Senator!

Google doodle - Jonathan Melle Internet search

Google doodle - Jonathan Melle Internet search
http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?hl=en&q=jonathan+melle+blogurl:http://jonathanmelleonpolitics.blogspot.com/&ie=UTF-8

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Billionaire U.S. Senator gives address to MCLA graduates in North Adams, Massachusetts in mid-May 2008

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
"Luciforo"

A Red Sox Fan in Paris, France

A Red Sox Fan in Paris, France
Go Red Sox!

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Interviewed on local TV

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
Luciforo!

John Adams

John Adams
#2 U.S. President

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I stood under a tree on the afternoon of May 9, 2008, on the foregrounds of the NH State House - www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/post/nhinsider/vpost?id=2967773

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Inside the front lobby of the NH State House

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Bill Clinton campaign memorabilia

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Liberty Bell & NH State House

Jon Keller

Jon Keller
Boston based political analyst

Jon Keller

Jon Keller
Boston based political analyst

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Franklin Pierce Statue #14 U.S. President

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
NH State House

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Stop the War NOW!

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
"Mr. Melle, tear down this Blog!"

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I stood next to a JFK photo

Jonathan Levine, Publisher

Jonathan Levine, Publisher
The Pittsfield Gazette Online

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I made rabbit ears with John & George

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I made antenna ears with John & George

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I impersonated Howard Dean

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
mock-voting

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
pretty ladies -/- Go to: http://www.wgir.com/cc-common/cc_photopop20.html?eventID=28541&pagecontent=&pagenum=4 - Go to: http://current.com/items/88807921_veterans_should_come_first_not_last# - http://www.mcam23.com/cgi-bin/cutter.cgi?c_function=STREAM?c_feature=EDIT?dir_catagory=10MorningRadio?dir_folder=2JoesClips?dir_file=JonathanMelle-090308? -

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Go Red Sox! Me at Fenway Park

Mary E. Carey

Mary E. Carey
My favorite journalist! Her voice sings for the Voiceless. -/- Go to: http://aboutamherst.blogspot.com/search?q=melle -/- Go to: http://ongeicocaveman.blogspot.com/search?q=melle

Velvet Jesus

Velvet Jesus
Mary Carey blogs about my political writings. This is a picture of Jesus from her childhood home in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. -//- "How Can I Keep From Singing" : My life goes on in endless song / Above Earth's lamentations, / I hear the real, though far-off hymn / That hails a new creation. / / Through all the tumult and the strife / I hear its music ringing, / It sounds an echo in my soul. / How can I keep from singing? / / Whey tyrants tremble in their fear / And hear their death knell ringing, / When friends rejoice both far and near / How can I keep from singing? / / In prison cell and dungeon vile / Our thoughts to them are winging / When friends by shame are undefiled / How can I keep from singing?

www.truthdig.com

www.truthdig.com
www.truthdig.com

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Concord NH

The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post
http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/neighbors.php?type=loc&newest=1&addr=&zip=01201&search=Search

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
smiles & beer

Jonathan Lothrop

Jonathan Lothrop
A Pittsfield City Councilor

Michael L. Ward

Michael L. Ward
A Pittsfield City Councilor

Peter Marchetti - Pittsfield's City Councilor at Large

Peter Marchetti - Pittsfield's City Councilor at Large
Pete always sides with the wealthy's political interests.

Gerald Lee - Pittsfield's City Council Prez

Gerald Lee - Pittsfield's City Council Prez
Gerald Lee told me that I am a Social Problem; Lee executes a top-down system of governance.

Matt Kerwood - Pittsfield's Councilor at Large

Matt Kerwood - Pittsfield's Councilor at Large
Kerwood poured coffee drinks for Jane Swift

Louis Costi

Louis Costi
Pittsfield City Councilor

Lewis Markham

Lewis Markham
Pittsfield City Councilor

Kevin Sherman - Pittsfield City Councilor

Kevin Sherman - Pittsfield City Councilor
Sherman ran for Southern Berkshire State Rep against Smitty Pignatelli; Sherman is a good guy.

Anthony Maffuccio

Anthony Maffuccio
Pittsfield City Councilor

Linda Tyer

Linda Tyer
Pittsfield City Councilor

Daniel Bianchi

Daniel Bianchi
A Pittsfield City Councilor

The Democratic Donkey

The Democratic Donkey
Democratic Party Symbol

Paramount

Paramount
What is Paramount to you?

NH's Congresswoman

NH's Congresswoman
Carol Shea-Porter, Democrat

Sam Adams Beer

Sam Adams Beer
Boston Lager

Ratatouille

Ratatouille
Disney Animation

Ruberto Details Plans for Success - January 07, 2008

Ruberto Details Plans for Success - January 07, 2008
"Luciforo" swears in Mayor Ruberto. Pittsfield Politics at its very worst: 2 INSIDER POWERBROKERS! Where is Carmen Massimiano? He must be off to the side.

Abe

Abe
Lincoln

Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime
Leader of the Autobots

Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime
1984 Autobot Transformer Leader

Cleanup Agreements - GE & Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

Cleanup Agreements - GE & Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/cleanupagreement.html

GE/Housatonic River Site: Introduction

GE/Housatonic River Site: Introduction
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/

GE/Housatonic River Site - Reports

GE/Housatonic River Site - Reports
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/thesite/opca-reports.html

US EPA - Contact - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

US EPA - Contact -  Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/contactinfo.html

GE Corporate Logo - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

GE Corporate Logo - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/index.html

Commonwealth Connector

Commonwealth Connector
Commonwealth Care

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Healthcare Reform

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Healthcare Reform

Network Health Forward - A Commonwealth Care Plan

Network Health Forward - A Commonwealth Care Plan
Massachusetts Health Reform

Network Health Together: A MassHealth Plan - Commonwealth Care

Network Health Together: A MassHealth Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

www.network-health.org

www.network-health.org
Massachusetts Health Reform

Neighborhood Health Plan - Commonwealth Care

Neighborhood Health Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

Fallon Community Health Plan - Commonwealth Care

Fallon Community Health Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

BMC HealthNet Plan

BMC HealthNet Plan
Massachusetts Health Reform

Massachusetts Health Reform

Massachusetts Health Reform
Eligibility Chart: 2007

Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare

Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare
Massachusetts Health Reform

Business Peaks

Business Peaks
Voodoo Economics

Laffer Curve - Corporate Elite

Laffer Curve - Corporate Elite
Reagonomics: Supply Side

Corporate Elite Propaganda

Corporate Elite Propaganda
Mock Liberal Democratic Socialism Thinking

Real Estate Blues

Real Estate Blues
www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/2008/0316/

PEACE

PEACE
End ALL Wars!

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech
Norman Rockwell's World War II artwork depicting America's values

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln
A young Abe Lincoln

RACHEL KAPRIELIAN

RACHEL KAPRIELIAN
www.openmass.org/members/show/218 - www.rachelkaprielian.com

Jennifer M. Callahan - Massachusetts State Representative

Jennifer M. Callahan - Massachusetts State Representative
www.openmass.org/members/show/164 - www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/05/04/legislator_describes_threat_as_unnerving/

Human Rights for ALL Peoples!

Human Rights for ALL Peoples!
My #1 Political Belief!

Anne Frank

Anne Frank
Amsterdam, Netherlands, Europe

A young woman Hillary supporter

A young woman Hillary supporter
This excellent picture captures a youth's excitement

Hillary Clinton with Natalie Portman

Hillary Clinton with Natalie Portman
My favorite Actress!

Alan Chartock

Alan Chartock
WAMC public radio in Albany, NY; Political columnist who writes about Berkshire County area politics; Strong supporter for Human Rights for ALL Peoples

OpenCongress.Org

OpenCongress.Org
This web-site uses some of my Blog postings

OpenMass.org

OpenMass.org
This web-site uses some of my blog postings!

Shannon O'Brien

Shannon O'Brien
One of my favorite politicians! She stands for the People first!

The Massachusetts State House

The Massachusetts State House
"The Almighty Golden Dome" - www.masslegislature.tv -

Sara Hathaway

Sara Hathaway
Former Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.
A corrupt Pol who tried to put me in Jail

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.
Another view of Pittsfield's inbred, multigenerational political prince. Luciforo!

Luciforo

Luciforo
Nuciforo's nickname

"Andy" Nuciforo

"Andy" Nuciforo
Luciforo!

Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer)

Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer)
Nuciforo's henchman! Nuciforo tried to send me to Carmen's Jail

Andrea Nuciforo Jr

Andrea Nuciforo Jr
Shhh! Luciforo's other job is working as a private attorney defending wealthy Boston-area corporate insurance companies

Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer) Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr.

Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer) Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr.
Nuciforo tried to send me to Carmen's Jail! Carmen sits with the Congressman, John Olver

Congressman John Olver

Congressman John Olver
Nuciforo's envy

The Dome of the U.S. Capitol

The Dome of the U.S. Capitol
Our Beacon of American Democracy

Nuciforo's architect

Nuciforo's architect
Mary O'Brien in red with scarf

Sara Hathaway (www.brynmawr.edu)

Sara Hathaway (www.brynmawr.edu)
Former-Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Nuciforo intimidated her, along with another woman, from running in a democratic state election in the Spring of 2006!

Andrea F. Nuciforo II

Andrea F. Nuciforo II
Pittsfield Politics

Berkshire County Republican Association

Berkshire County Republican Association
Go to: www.fcgop.blogspot.com

Denis Guyer

Denis Guyer
Dalton State Representative

John Forbes Kerry & Denis Guyer

John Forbes Kerry & Denis Guyer
U.S. Senator & State Representative

John Kerry

John Kerry
Endorses Barack Obama for Prez then visits Berkshire County

Dan Bosley

Dan Bosley
A Bureaucrat impostering as a Legislator!

Ben Downing

Ben Downing
Berkshire State Senator

Christopher N Speranzo

Christopher N Speranzo
Pittsfield's ANOINTED State Representative

Peter J. Larkin

Peter J. Larkin
Corrupt Lobbyist

GE - Peter Larkin's best friend!

GE - Peter Larkin's best friend!
GE's FRAUDULENT Consent Decree with Pittsfield, Massachusetts, will end up KILLING many innocent school children & other local residents!

GE's CEO Jack Welch

GE's CEO Jack Welch
The Corporate System's Corporate Elite's King

Economics: Where Supply meets Demand

Economics: Where Supply meets Demand
Equilibrium

GE & Pittsfield, Massachusetts

GE & Pittsfield, Massachusetts
In 2007, GE sold its Plastics Division to a Saudi company. Now all that is left over by GE are its toxic PCB pollutants that cause cancer in many Pittsfield residents.

Mayor James M Ruberto

Mayor James M Ruberto
A small-time pol chooses to serve the corporate elite & other elites over the people.

Governor Deval Patrick

Governor Deval Patrick
Deval shakes hands with Mayors in Berkshire County

Deval Patrick

Deval Patrick
Governor of Massachusetts

Pittsfield High School

Pittsfield High School
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Sara Hathaway

Sara Hathaway
Pittsfield's former Mayor

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Pittsfield Attorney focusing on Father's Rights Probate Court Legal Issues, & Local Politician and Political Observer

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Very Intelligent Political Activists in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Rinaldo Del Gallo, III, Esq. is the spokesperson of the Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition. He has been practicing family law and has been a member of the Massachusetts bar since 1996.

Mayor Ed Reilly

Mayor Ed Reilly
He supports Mayor Ruberto & works as a municipal Attorney. As Mayor, he backed Bill Weld for Governor in 1994, despite being a Democrat. He was joined by Carmen Massimiano & John Barrett III, the long-standing Mayor of North Adams.

Manchester, NH Mayor Frank Guinta

Manchester, NH Mayor Frank Guinta
Cuts Dental Care for Public School Children-in-Need

Manchester, NH City Hall

Manchester, NH City Hall
My new hometown - view from Hanover St. intersection with Elm St.

Manchester NH City Democrats

Manchester NH City Democrats
Go Dems!

2008 Democratic Candidates for U.S. Prez

2008 Democratic Candidates for U.S. Prez
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards

NH State House Dome

NH State House Dome
Concord, NH

Donna Walto

Donna Walto
Pittsfield Politician -- She strongly opposes Mayor Jim Ruberto's elitist tenure.

Elmo

Elmo
Who doesn't LOVE Elmo?

Hillary Clinton for U.S. President!

Hillary Clinton for U.S. President!
Hillary is for Children. She is my choice in 2008.

The White House in 1800

The White House in 1800
Home of our Presidents of the United States

John Adams

John Adams
2nd President of the USA

Hillary Clinton stands with John Edwards and Joe Biden

Hillary Clinton stands with John Edwards and Joe Biden
Hillary is my choice for U.S. President!

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton
Former President Bill Clinton speaks at the Radisson in Manchester NH 11/16/2007

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
U.S. Senator & Candidate for President

Pittsfield's 3 Women City Councillors - 2004

Pittsfield's 3 Women City Councillors - 2004
Linda Tyer, Pam Malumphy, Tricia Farley-Bouvier

Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts
My friend Brian Merzbach reviews baseball parks around the nation.

The Corporate Elite: Rational Incentives for only the wealthy

The Corporate Elite: Rational Incentives for only the wealthy
The Elites double their $ every 6 to 8 years, while the "have-nots" double their $ every generation (or 24 years). Good bye Middle Class!

George Will

George Will
The human satellite voice for the Corporate Elite

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
The Anti-George Will; Harvard Law School Professor; The Corporate Elite's Worst Nightmare

The Flag of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

The Flag of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
I was born and raised in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

State Senator Stan Rosenberg

State Senator Stan Rosenberg
Democratic State Senator from Amherst, Massachusetts -/- Anti-Stan Rosenberg Blog: rosenbergwatch.blogspot.com

Ellen Story

Ellen Story
Amherst Massachusetts' State Representative

Teen Pregnancy in Pittsfield, Mass.

Teen Pregnancy in Pittsfield, Mass.
Books are being written on Pittsfield's high teen pregancy rates! What some intellectuals do NOT understand about the issue is that TEEN PREGNANCIES in Pittsfield double the statewide average by design - Perverse Incentives!

NH Governor John Lynch

NH Governor John Lynch
Supports $30 Scratch Tickets and other forms of regressive taxation. Another Pol that only serves his Corporate Elite Masters instead of the People!

U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter

U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter
The first woman whom the People of New Hampshire have voted in to serve in U.S. Congress

U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes

U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes
A good man who wants to bring progressive changes to Capitol Hill!

Paul Hodes for U.S. Congress

Paul Hodes for U.S. Congress
New Hampshire's finest!

Darth Vader

Darth Vader
Star Wars

Dick Cheney & George W. Bush

Dick Cheney & George W. Bush
The Gruesome Two-some! Stop the Neo-Cons' fascism! End the Iraq War NOW!

WAROPOLY

WAROPOLY
The Inequity of Globalism

Bushopoly!

Bushopoly!
The Corporate Elite have redesigned "The System" to enrich themselves at the expense of the people, masses, have-nots, poor & middle-class families

George W. Bush with Karl Rove

George W. Bush with Karl Rove
Rove was a political strategist with extraordinary influence within the Bush II White House

2008's Republican Prez-field

2008's Republican Prez-field
John McCain, Alan Keyes, Rudy Guiliani, Duncan Hunter, Mike Huckabee, WILLARD Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Ron Paul

Fall in New England

Fall in New England
Autumn is my favorite season

Picturing America

Picturing America
picturingamerica.neh.gov

Winter Weather Map

Winter Weather Map
3:45PM EST 3-Dec-07

Norman Rockwell Painting

Norman Rockwell Painting
Thanksgiving

Norman Rockwell Painting

Norman Rockwell Painting
Depiction of American Values in mid-20th Century America

Larry Bird #33

Larry Bird #33
My favorite basketball player of my childhood

Boston Celtics Basketball - 2007-2008

Boston Celtics Basketball - 2007-2008
Kevin Garnett hugs James Posey

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
All heart! Awesome basketball star for The Boston Celtics.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady
Go Patriots!

Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch
Owner of Fox News - CORPORATE ELITE!

George Stephanopolous

George Stephanopolous
A Corporate Elite Political News Analyst

Robert Redford

Robert Redford
Starred in the movie "Lions for Lambs"

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep
Plays a jaded journalist with integrity in the movie "Lions for Lambs"

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise plays the Neo-Con D.C. Pol purely indoctrinated by the Corporate Elite's political agenda in the Middle East

CHARLIZE THERON

CHARLIZE THERON
"I want to say I've never been surrounded by so many fake breasts, but I went to the Academy Awards."

Amherst Town Library

Amherst Town Library
Amherst, NH - www.amherstlibrary.org

Manchester NH Library

Manchester NH Library
I use the library's automated timed 1-hour-per-day Internet computers to post on my Blog - www.manchester.lib.nh.us

Manchester NH's Palace Theater

Manchester NH's Palace Theater
Manchester NH decided to restore its Palace Theater

Pittsfield's Palace Theater

Pittsfield's Palace Theater
Pittsfield tore down this landmark on North Street in favor of a parking lot

Pleasant Street Theater

Pleasant Street Theater
Amherst, Massachusetts

William "Shitty" Pignatelli

William "Shitty" Pignatelli
A top down & banal State House Pol from Lenox Massachusetts -- A GOOD MAN!

The CIA & Mind Control

The CIA & Mind Control
Did the CIA murder people by proxy assassins?

Skull & Bones

Skull & Bones
Yale's Elite

ImpeachBush.org

ImpeachBush.org
I believe President Bush should be IMPEACHED because he is waging an illegal and immoral war against Iraq!

Bob Feuer drumming for U.S. Congress v John Olver in 2008

Bob Feuer drumming for U.S. Congress v John Olver in 2008
www.blog.bobfeuer.us

Abe Lincoln

Abe Lincoln
The 16th President of the USA

Power

Power
Peace

Global Warming Mock Giant Thermometer

Global Warming Mock Giant Thermometer
A member of Green Peace activist sets up a giant thermometer as a symbol of global warming during their campaign in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007. World leaders launch marathon negotiations Monday on how to fight global warming, which left unchecked could cause devastating sea level rises, send millions further into poverty and lead to the mass extinction of plants and animals.

combat global warming...

combat global warming...
...or risk economic and environmental disaster caused by rising temperatures

www.climatecrisiscoalition.org

www.climatecrisiscoalition.org
P.O. Box 125, South Lee, MA 01260, (413) 243-5665, tstokes@kyotoandbeyond.org, www.kyotoandbeyond.org

3 Democratic presidentional candidates

3 Democratic presidentional candidates
Democratic presidential candidates former senator John Edwards (from right) and Senators Joe Biden and Chris Dodd before the National Public Radio debate yesterday (12/4/2007).

The UN Seal

The UN Seal
An archaic & bureaucratic post WW2 top-down, non-democratic institution that also stands for some good governance values

Superman

Superman
One of my favorite childhood heroes and movies

Web-Site on toxic toys

Web-Site on toxic toys
www.healthytoys.org

Batman

Batman
One of my favorite super-heroes

Deval Patrick & Denis Guyer

Deval Patrick & Denis Guyer
Massachusetts' Governor stands with Dalton's State Rep. Denis E. Guyer.

Bill Cosby & Denis Guyer

Bill Cosby & Denis Guyer
TV Star Bill Cosby stands with Denis E. Guyer

Denis Guyer with his supporters

Denis Guyer with his supporters
Dalton State Representative

Denis Guyer goes to college

Denis Guyer goes to college
Dalton State Representative

Peter Marchetti

Peter Marchetti
He is my second cousin. Pete Marchetti favors MONEY, not fairness!

Matt Barron & Denis Guyer with couple

Matt Barron & Denis Guyer with couple
Matt Barron plays DIRTY politics against his opponents!

Nat Karns

Nat Karns
Top-Down Executive Director of the ELITIST Berkshire Regional Planning Commission

Human Rights for All Peoples & people

Human Rights for All Peoples & people
Stop Anti-Semitism

Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill

Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill
State House, Room 227, Boston, MA 02133, 617-367-6900, www.mass.gov/treasury/

Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley

Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley
1350 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01103, 413-784-1240 / McCormick Building, One Asburton Place, Boston, MA 02108, 617-727-4765 / marthacoakley.com / www.ago.state.ma.us

Bush v. Gore: December 12, 2007, was the seventh anniversary, the 5-4 Supreme Court decision...

Bush v. Gore: December 12, 2007, was the seventh anniversary, the 5-4 Supreme Court decision...
www.takebackthecourt.org - A political billboard near my downtown apartment in Manchester, NH

Marc Murgo

Marc Murgo
An old friend of mine from Pittsfield

Downtown Manchester, NH

Downtown Manchester, NH
www.newhampshire.com/nh-towns/manchester.aspx

Marisa Tomei

Marisa Tomei
Movie Actress

Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC)

Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC)
www.masschc.org/issue.php

Mike Firestone & Anna Weisfeiler

Mike Firestone & Anna Weisfeiler
Mike Firestone works in Manchester NH for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign

James Pindell

James Pindell
Covers NH Primary Politcs for The Boston Globe

U.S. History - Declaration

U.S. History - Declaration
A 19th century engraving shows Benjamin Franklin, left, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman at work on the Declaration of Independence.

Boston Globe Photos of the Week - www.boston.com/bostonglobe/gallery/

Boston Globe Photos of the Week - www.boston.com/bostonglobe/gallery/
Sybregje Palenstijn (left), who plays Sarah Godbertson at Plimouth Plantation, taught visitors how to roast a turkey on a spit. The plantation often sees a large influx of visitors during the holiday season.

Chris Hodgkins

Chris Hodgkins
Another special interest Berkshire Pol who could not hold his "WATER" on Beacon Hill's State House!

The Big Dig - 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto Milena Del Valle's car.

The Big Dig - 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto Milena Del Valle's car.
Most of Boston's Big Dig highway remains closed, after a woman was crushed when 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto her car. (ABC News)

Jane Swift

Jane Swift
Former Acting Governor of Massachusetts & Berkshire State Senator

Paul Cellucci

Paul Cellucci
Former Massachusetts Governor

William Floyd Weld

William Floyd Weld
$80 Million Trust Fund Former Governor of Massachusetts

Mike Dukakis

Mike Dukakis
Former Governor of Massachusetts

Mary E. Carey

Mary E. Carey
Amherst, Massachusetts, Journalist and Blogger

Caveman

Caveman
www.ongeicocaveman.blogspot.com

Peter G. Arlos

Peter G. Arlos
"The biggest challenge Pittsfield faces is putting its fiscal house in order. The problem is that doing so requires structural changes in local government, many of which I have advocated for years, but which officials do not have the will to implement. Fiscal responsibility requires more than shifting funds from one department to another. Raising taxes and fees and cutting services are not the answer. Structural changes in the way services are delivered and greater productivity are the answer, and without these changes the city's fiscal crisis will not be solved."

James M. Ruberto

James M. Ruberto
"Pittsfield's biggest challenge is to find common ground for a better future. The city is at a crossroads. On one hand, our quality of life is challenged. On the other hand, some important building blocks are in place that could be a strong foundation for our community. Pittsfield needs to unite for the good of its future. The city needs an experienced businessman and a consensus builder who will invite the people to hold him accountable."

Matt Kerwood

Matt Kerwood
Pittsfield's Councilor-At-Large. Go to: extras.berkshireeagle.com/NeBe/profiles/12.htm

Gerald M. Lee

Gerald M. Lee
Pittsfield's City Council Prez. Top-down governance of the first order!

Mary Carey

Mary Carey
Mary with student

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox
Jonathan Papelbon celebrates with Jason Varitek

Free Bernard Baran!

Free Bernard Baran!
www.freebaran.org

Political Intelligence

Political Intelligence
Capitol Hill

Sherwood Guernsey II

Sherwood Guernsey II
Wealthy Williamstown Political Activist & Pittsfield Attorney

Mary Carey 2

Mary Carey 2
California Pol & porn star

Pittsfield's Good Old Boy Network - Political Machine!

Pittsfield's Good Old Boy Network - Political Machine!
Andy "Luciforo" swears in Jimmy Ruberto for the returning Mayor's 3rd term

Berkshire Grown

Berkshire Grown
www.berkshiregrown.org

Rambo

Rambo

The Mount was built in 1902 & was home to Edith Wharton (1862-1937) from 1903 to 1908.

The Mount was built in 1902 & was home to Edith Wharton (1862-1937) from 1903 to 1908.
The Mount, the historic home in Lenox of famed American novelist Edith Wharton, is facing foreclosure.