Green New Deal Is a Good Deal

Green New Deal Is  a Good Deal

The growing movement for the federal government to take the lead in effecting policies that will negate the effects of both economic inequality and climate change has been incorporated into what is being referred to as the Green New Deal.

Our U.S. Sen. Edward J. Markey, is among those who is spearheading the legislation, along with newly elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

The key features of the Green New Deal are both economic and environmental.

Health insurance for all Americans, job creation, and the expansion of the safety net are among the highlights of the economic aspect of the proposal.

On the environmental front, the goal is for the United States to become carbon-neutral within 10 years.

Both aspects of the proposal will face opposition in Congress from Republicans. The economic aspects will require raising taxes on the wealthy, which essentially would repeal the tax cuts approved by the GOP Congress last year.

The environmental goals will face a fierce fight from the energy industry and other business groups.

The Green New Deal seeks to address what we believe are the two great existential threats both to the American way of life and America itself :

First, that we are becoming a plutocracy — a government of the rich, for the rich, and by the rich.

Second, that climate change will wreak environmental and economic havoc on our nation with catastrophic consequences unless we take immediate steps to reverse its effects before they reach a tipping point from which we cannot escape.

Some may call the Green New Deal a pie-in-the-sky idea. But the reality is that unless we do something — and soon — about the growing concentration of wealth in the hands of a few and the imminent threat of climate change, the future of America (and the world) is grim.

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Corteo, One of the Best-Loved Cirque Du Soleil Productionsis Coming to Boston June 19 to 30

Corteo, One of the Best-Loved Cirque Du Soleil Productionsis Coming to Boston June 19 to 30

Corteo, the latest and most enchanting Cirque du Soleil’s arena production is now touring in North America. The show will visit Boston at the Agganis Arena from June 19 to 30, 2019 for a limited run of fifteen performances. This unique production, directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca, first premiered in Montreal under the Big Top in April 2005.

Since then, the show has been a great success and has amazed 8 million people in 19 countries on four continents.

Advance tickets for Corteo are available now online to Cirque Club members. Cirque Club membership is free and benefits includes access to advance tickets, special offers and exclusive behind the scenes information. To join, go to www.cirqueclub.com.

Tickets are available at cirquedusoleil.com/corteo.

Corteo, which means cortege in Italian, is a joyous procession, a festive parade imagined by a clown. The show brings together the passion of the actor with the grace and power of the acrobat to plunge the audience into a theatrical world of fun, comedy and spontaneity situated in a mysterious space between heaven and earth.

The clown pictures his own funeral taking place in a carnival atmosphere, watched over by quietly caring angels. Juxtaposing the large with the small, the ridiculous with the tragic and the magic of perfection with the charm of imperfection, the show highlights the strength and fragility of the clown, as well as his wisdom and kindness, to illustrate the portion of humanity that is within each of us. The music turns lyrical and playful carrying Corteo through a timeless celebration in which illusion teases reality.

The concept and disposition of the stage bring the audience in a theatrical atmosphere like never seen before in Cirque du Soleil arena shows. The set curtains, inspired by the Eiffel Tower, and the central curtains, which were hand painted, give a grandiose feel to the stage. This sets the tone for the poetry of Corteo.

The cast of Corteo includes 51 acrobats, musicians, singers and actors from all around the world.

Ticket information

Show Schedule:

Wednesday, June 19, 2019 – 7:30 pm

Thursday, June 20, 2019 – 7:30 pm

Friday, June 21, 2019 – 7:30 pm

Saturday, June 22, 2019 – 3:30 pm & 7:30 pm

Sunday, June 23, 2019 – 1:00 pm & 5:00 pm

Tuesday, June 25, 2019 – 7:30 pm

Wednesday, June 26, 2019 – 7:30 pm

Thursday, June 27, 2019 – 7:30 pm

Friday, June 28, 2019 – 7:30 pm

Saturday, June 29, 2019 – 3:30 pm & 7:30 pm

Sunday, June 20, 2019 – 1:00 pm & 5:00 pm

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Bush Decency and America’s Christmas List

Bush Decency and America’s Christmas List

Christmas is coming and wish lists vary. Here are ideas from which most can benefit.

Medical care for all Americans. Congress must sever ties with lobbyists working on behalf of the pharmaceutical and medical insurance companies and represent the American people. Prescription costs are too high and the government pays too much money to the drug companies for those who receive various medicines from government coverage. All Americans should be able to see a doctor and receive medical care. Working Americans should have access to affordable medical care. Retired and poor/disabled/uninsurable Americans should have access to Medicare and Medicaid. All Veterans and military should be able to choose an alternate doctor or hospital when the VA hospital and doctors are not in close proximity or are inaccessible.

My medical insurance company recently informed me that my doctors must always gain their consent when prescribing any kind of medicine. They not only demand final approval on any medications I might need, they frequently dictate that my doctor prescribes a medication that is less expensive. I would like to think that my doctor prescribes medicines based on his opinion that they will work.  If I decide to follow my doctor’s direction and the medical insurance company doesn’t agree then I will be totally out of pocket for my prescription.

My wife and I were in France once and she had to see a doctor. There were doctor offices everywhere in Paris. Seeing a doctor and getting two prescriptions were less than $35. We didn’t use an insurance card and a visit to the doctor and going to the pharmacy around the corner both took less than 90 minutes. France does not have socialized medicine. They are involved in controlling the costs of drugs. The life expectancy for those living in France is longer than us living in America. France’s medical world is not perfect but we should take notes.

Christmas will be good if Americans can have access to jobs across the country. Big cities are booming with jobs it seems but rural America does not have the same options. I suppose it will always be this way but everyone cannot live in Provo, Utah, Austin, Texas or Nashville, Tennessee. A friend of mine recently moved to Indianapolis and has job opportunities galore. The federal government must spend some of the money we give away to the Middle East on rural America. Roads, bridges, parks and investing in small companies that will locate in rural America must be a government priority. We’ve spent too many years nation-building throughout the planet and let Appalachia and other rural communities drown.

I don’t have enough space so here are musts for Americans this Christmas:

Small interest loans so our youth can afford to go to college. Make college as affordable as possible.

Turn Social Security around and keep our promised retirements solvent for our graying Americans.

Reward the corporations who stay in America and let those who want to be out of America pay the price for abandoning us.

Keep America safe with strong borders and a strong military and take care of those who do and have served our country.

Insure that sane Americans can have their Colt-45 revolvers by their bedside tables when they turn out the lights and say their prayers.

Finally, may we all be a little more like President George H.W. Bush who wrote newly elected President Bill Clinton a very gracious note welcoming him to the oval office and assuring him of his support saying “…that you will be ‘our’ President when you read this note.”  He led by living the example that it doesn’t hurt any of us to be respectful, gracious, decent people who help, love and encourage others.

May all Americans have a Merry Christmas!

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Be Sure to Thank Our Veterans

Be Sure to Thank Our Veterans

Its was 100 years ago this Sunday, on Nov. 11, 1918, that World War I formally came to a conclusion on what is famously referred to as the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month.

Americans observed the first anniversary of the end of the war the following year when the holiday we now know as Veteran’s Day originated as Armistice Day in 1919.

The first world war was referred to at the time as “the war to end all wars.” It was thought that never again would mankind engage in the sort of madness that resulted in the near-total destruction of Western Civilization and the loss of millions of lives for reasons that never have been entirely clear to anybody either before, during, or since.

Needless to say, history has shown us that such thinking was idealistically foolhardy. Just 21 years later, the world again became enmeshed in a global conflagration that made the first time around seem like a mere practice run for the mass annihilation that took place from 1939-45.

Even after that epic second world war, America has been involved in countless bloody conflicts in the 73 years since General Douglas MacArthur accepted the Japanese surrender on the Battleship Missouri. Today, we still have troops fighting — and dying — on frontlines around the world.

Peace at hand has been nothing but a meaningless slogan for most of the past century.

Armistice Day officially became known as Veteran’s Day in 1954 so as to include those who served in WWII and the Korean War. All of our many veterans since then also have become part of the annual observance to express our nation’s appreciation to the men and women who bravely have answered the call of duty to ensure that the freedoms we enjoy as Americans have been preserved against the many challenges we have overcome.

Although Veteran’s Day, as with all of our other national holidays, unfortunately has become commercialized, we urge our readers to take a moment, even if just quietly by ourselves, to contemplate what we owe the veterans of all of our wars and to be grateful to them for allowing us to live freely in the greatest nation on earth.

If nothing else, Veterans Day should remind us that freedom isn’t free and that every American owes a debt of immeasurable gratitude and thanks to those who have put their lives on the line to preserve our ideals and our way of life.

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Is This Really America?

Is This Really America?

The national disgrace that is occurring at our southern border is something that we never could have imagined happening in the United States of America.

The images of children separated from their parents and locked behind chain link fences evokes the worst horrors of the 20th century —  the concentration camps and gulags to which millions of people were consigned by the very worst dictatorial regimes.

For almost 250 years, America has been not merely a place, but an ideal for the proposition that all men are created equally and that every person has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

In less than a few days’ time however, the principles that Thomas Jefferson and the Founding Fathers so eloquently, yet simply, put into words in the Declaration of Independence have been destroyed.

The justification for what, by any standards of decency, amounts to an inhumane policy resembles a classic case of reductio ad absurdum.

The New York Times columnist David Brooks (who is a conservative writer) put it this way in his analysis of the language that is being used when they talk about the situation:

“This is what George Orwell noticed about the authoritarian brutalists: They don’t use words to illuminate the complexity of reality; they use words to eradicate the complexity of reality.”

If we say nothing then basically we are telling these families and their children that they are getting what they deserve. If separating people into metal cages is okay, then what does that say about our society and ourselves.

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The Top of His Field:Fitness and Nutrition Expert Michael Wood Releases a New Book

The Top of His Field:Fitness and Nutrition Expert Michael Wood Releases a New Book

Michael Wood was a towering presence in the city of Chelsea, a left-handed fireballer in the Chelsea Little League who attended the Shurtleff School with fellow classmates, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash and Boston College graduate Paula Bradley Batchelor, among other notables.

At 6 feet, 5 inches tall, Michael, son of James and Joann Wood, later excelled in the Saint Dominic Savio basketball and baseball programs, helping to lead the Spartan hoop team to the Division 2 state final.

Wood, 57, has stayed in the sports arena, so to speak, building a reputation as a nationally recognized expert in the field of strength and conditioning and nutrition.

Wood is releasing a book that is an accumulation of his 30 years in the personal coaching industry.

“People were always asking me to write a book and I went for it,” said Wood. “Last year we published a book and we now have a 240-page second edition: TBC30: 6 Steps To A Stronger, Healthier You, that will be released in July. It’s basically a six-step plan that I’ve used over the years with my clientele to get them in better shape.”

Wood, 57, has become “a trainer to the stars” during his distinguished career. Chris Lydon, national radio personality, calls Michael, “the Bill Belichick of personal trainers: smart, tough, a scientist, and a motivator.”

Pulitzer Prize winner David Mamet says simply, “Thanks for the body.” Well-known actress Lindsay Crouse is also a big fan. Itzhak Pearlman, internationally known violinist, is a long-time client. Steven Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith, has called upon Wood for his personal training sessions.

Wood also served as assistant strength and conditioning coach at the University of Connecticut in 2001 and 2002, working with such All-Americans as Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Swin Cash, and Caron Butler. The director of athletics at that time was former Chelsea basketball great Lew Perkins.

Major publications have showered Wood with lofty praise. Men’s Journal named Michael Wood, “one of the top 100 trainers in America.”

Wood delivers to his many clients a unique step-by-step approach that follows the same nutrition and exercise strategies that have made him one of the most prominent and respected personal trainers in America.

“I teach people how to eat better and how to exercise more efficiently,” said Wood. “This whole approach is to get people over the course of a 30-day plan, called Phase 1, to get their body stimulated, to get them eating the right way, cutting back on their sugar. All these tidbits of information that I’ve learned over the years are in the book.”

Still in excellent shape and capable of dunking a basketball, Wood is very proud of his daughter, Julia, who was a basketball superstar at the Foxboro Regional Charter School and just graduated from Fairfield University, where she competed in Division 1 cross country and track. She is currently working as an emergency medical technician with aspirations to be a physician’s assistant.

Michael’s wife, Robyn Wood, is a teacher and a Hall of Fame inductee at Stoughton High School.

“Robyn started on the basketball team as a freshman in high school, so she was better than me,” jested Wood, displaying the sense of humor that made him so popular among his peers in Chelsea. “I know [former Chelsea resident] Danny O’Callaghan scored 1,000 points at Savio, but I just missed.”

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Women Celebrating Women at Roca

Women Celebrating Women at Roca

Every country has a story about the strength of its women. That was the lesson learned by the 30 or so young mothers who attended Roca Chelsea’s International Women’s Day celebration on March 29.

Roca’s Young Mothers program focuses on helping high risk young moms get out of violence and poverty, go to work, and care for their children. As part of the programming, Roca has built a community among the participating women through a weekly ‘family night,’ where moms and their children gather to take classes, learn, and grow – and also eat and socialize in a safe environment. The International Women’s Day festivity was an add on to this weekly gathering, giving the group a chance to learn about each other’s home countries and the women that helped shape history.

Ahead of the event, each participating young mom was asked to research a woman in history from her home country, and prepare a short presentation for the group. The result was a diverse line up of rock star women from all over, including Honduras, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, and the US.

“We asked them to look for women in history that made a difference and acknowledge powerful women in Latin America who have always been there,” explained Roca Chelsea Young Mothers staff member Gina Josette. “We wanted to celebrate these women and ourselves as women in a fun and creative way.”

And celebrate they did. The women also brought traditional dishes from their home country to share with the group making the event a feast!

“It’s important and empowering for our young mothers to celebrate women in their country’s history,” said Josette. “For other events, we celebrate other important parts of our lives—Mother’s Day, graduations, etc. We celebrate any type of success in our group, and we celebrate it together.”

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Chelsea Public Library – Wingmasters Bird Exhibit

Chelsea Public Library – Wingmasters Bird Exhibit

Six birds of prey that are native to Chelsea were presented during the Chelsea Public Library’s Wingmasters Bird Exhibit on April 7. Jim Parks and his partner, Julie Collier, rescue, rehabilitate, and release raptors such as eagles and osprey. The falcons, owls, and hawk displayed were born in the wild, but due to permanent injury are non-releasable; and so Parks and Collier care for them permanently.

“Ninety percent of the time the birds we rescue are releasable. They’re resilient,” said Parks. “Sometimes they are injured in such a way that their injuries can’t be fixed by any doctor.”

Parks and Collier visit 200 schools, museums, and libraries each year to educate the public about these remarkable animals. They work closely with Tufts Wildlife Clinic in North Grafton where veterinarians help Parks and Collier free most birds back into the wild.

“One of the biggest problems these birds deal with is their reputation. They’re often thought of as being dangerous,” explained Parks. “It’s good that we have birds of prey. These birds do us a huge favor by controlling the populations we want nothing to do with.”

Parks presented a four-ounce male, and a six-ounce female American kestrel falcon with cataracts. The female’s larger build is excellent for protecting her young; and her brown-shaded feathers keep her camouflaged.

“Falcons are built for speed because they hunt other birds. This is an incredibly difficult lifestyle,” Parks said. “They get high above the earth, close their wings and drop. They accelerate and capture a bird below. They can outfly every other bird in the world.”

The male falcon was picked up off the ground at three-weeks-old and hand fed. He bonded with a human and will never understand what it is like to be a wild falcon. Male falcons, built for hunting, are considered the most colorful bird of prey in North America.

“Unfortunately, this is a bird about to be added to the government’s endangered species list,” said Parks. “This is a bird running out of a place to live.”

Seven species of hawks live in Massachusetts, with the most common being the red-tailed hawk. The female red-tailed hawk that Parks exhibited was once a mile-high flyer. At 32-years-old, the six and a half-pound bird is the oldest bird that Parks and Collier have ever rescued. Her wing was shattered when she was hit by a car while hunting a rodent on the grassy median of Rt. 128 on Thanksgiving Day 13 years ago.

“A circling hawk is showing off his red tail in the sky as a way of telling other birds to go away,” described Parks. “When they’re hunting they stand in trees, keep their bodies still, and dart out feet first after their prey. Eagles and hawks have the best eyesight.”

Parks also showed an eastern screech owl, the most common owl living around us, a barred own, New England’s second largest owl, and the great horned owl, New England’s largest owl. Owls are one of the slowest and most silent flying birds in the world. They hide during the day, and hunt and nap at night; but because of their incredible camouflage often go unseen. Owls can also see eight times better at night than humans can, and use their acute hearing to locate prey.

“They are masters of deception. They know how to blend in,” said Parks. “No other bird looks like this. We stand upright, have round faces, and have eyes on the front, and so do owls.”

Parks explained that most birds are injured in their first year of life while they are still learning. He has been working with birds for 24 years; and prior to that worked at an engineering firm in Boston.

“As a photographer, I was always interested in the natural world,” explained Parks, who grew up in Lynn. “I liked all aspects of nature growing up.”

With decreasing habitats and an increasing human population, Parks hopes that more corporations will develop properties to accommodate wildlife.

“Impact injuries are sad because there are many man-made obstacles now in the world that cause them. Julie and I do what we do to give birds a second chance to live,” said Parks. “If you want to help, donate to an organization that buys land. If you don’t have a place to release a species, they won’t know where to go. Many animals cannot adapt, and that’s when you see animals fall off the map.”

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Ban Plastic Bags

Ban Plastic Bags

There are 61 communities in Massachusetts including the City of Boston that have placed a ban on those horrible plastic shopping bags and the City of Revere is poised to become number 62 after Revere City Council members Steve Morabito and Patrick Keefe sponsored a motion that is set for a public hearing on Feb. 26.

When we think of the litter problem in America, the item that is most ubiquitous and that most readily comes to our mind’s eye is the small plastic shopping bag that is at every checkout counter in every store across the country.

They float in our oceans, get stuck in trees and tall grass, or just blow in the wind, the modern-day equivalent of a prairie tumbleweed. There is not a space anywhere that is spared from their unsightliness.

There is no good reason to have them, given the degree of environmental degradation they cause, and we are pleased that communities in Massachusetts are doing the right thing to ban these bags.

The movement to do so, in our view, highlights what we all know: That preserving our environment is necessary from the bottom-up.

We can make a difference, person-by-person and community-by-community, and a plastic bag ban is a big step in that direction.

Maybe, Everett officials should consider being number 63.

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Local Artist at New England Water Color Society Signature Members Show

Local Artist at New England Water Color Society Signature Members Show

Explore the world of watercolors inside the Guild of Boston Artists gallery on Newbury Street, where the New England Watercolor Society (NEWS) is holding its annual Signature Members Show through March 4.

Paul McMahan from Chelsea with his painting of Preston’s Bridge

Paul McMahan from Chelsea with his painting of Preston’s Bridge

On display are a variety of styles ranging from hyperrealist to abstract, from soulful portraits to detailed images of machinery to sweeping light-struck landscapes.

The exhibit offers an exceptional opportunity for anybody to come in and appreciate the high degree of artistry and technical mastery attainable in this challenging medium.

“Watercolor is an amazingly diverse medium,” said Wendy Hale, president of NEWS and a Back Bay resident. “The palette extends from richly saturated colors to muted tones. Our members’ styles are equally varied, from the traditional Andrew Wyeth to today’s modern-edgy.”

NEWS was founded in 1885 as the Boston Watercolor Society and became the New England Watercolor Society in 1980. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious watercolor societies in America.

Some early members included American art as Thomas Allen, F. Childe Hassam, John Singer Sargent and more.

The Society has grown to over 400 members from all six New England states, of which nearly 200 are signature members.

The mission of the Society is to promote the advancement of aqua media arts throughout New England and to bring exceptional paintings using both traditional and innovative techniques to a wider public.

NEWS sponsors two juried shows each year. This show features the work of the Society’s signature members. The other show is open to all water-media artists in New England (in odd-numbered years) and throughout North America (in even-numbered years).

To become a signature member, a New England-based artist must be juried into four NEWS shows within a 10-year period, including at least one North American show.

“The one thing that is unique about the Signature Members Show is that it is always held in Boston every year and is always in February,” said Hale. “People can count on it.”

This year’s exhibition judge is Frederick C. Graff, a distinguished member of the American Watercolor Society. Graff had the hard job of determining the top 10 winners out of 79 pieces. He said he determined the winners based on their impact, composition and originality.

“With watercolor you’re not going to have a perfect painting,” said Graff. “So you take the best and see what they did with the composition and with their artistic ability.”

But what it really comes down to, Graff said, “Is what is the first thing that sticks out to you when you first walk into the room? For me, I usually know right away if I think something is on the top of the awards list.”

In connection with the exhibitions, the Society sponsors receptions and award presentations, gallery talks, demonstrations, and workshops led by nationally recognized water media experts.

Community artists and other interested supporters of NEWS can join as associate members. Signature and associate members are eligible for reduced fees for workshops for the regional and North American shows.

The Signature Members Show reception will be held on Saturday, Feb. 10 from 2 – 4 p.m. It is free and open to the public. All of the artwork on display is for sale.

New England Watercolor Society Signature Members Show, Guild of Boston Artists, 162 Newbury Street, Boston, through March 4, Tuesday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sundays 12-4 p.m. Painting demonstrations Sundays 1-3 p.m. Feb. 11, 18, and 25, and gallery talks Saturdays 1p.m. February 17 and 24 and March 3.

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