^ champagne and pitch counts : the Red Sox go from bottom to top

—- —- —-

Baseball is not my beat, not at all. But today it has to be. Here in my City, the “olde Towne Team,” i.e, the Red Sox, a team that finished in last place in 2012, this year won their division, league, World. and did so at home, for the first time since 1918, when Babe Ruth was still pitching for the Sox (and setting pitching records long unbroken).  In six games they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, a team dubbed pretty darn good but which proved highly flawed. The Sox had some flaws, too, and these were hung out to dry; but their flaws were fewer, their hitting devastatingly opportunistic, their pitching good enough — especially Jon Lester and John Lackey.

Lackey ! There’s a story. Written off a couple years ago, labeled a head case by folks who had forgotten, or never knew, just how strong a pitcher Lackey used to be, he became his strong self once again. He pitched just long enough in last night’s deciding game — two outs of the seventh inning — to get the game into the hands of the Sox’s proven late relievers : Tazawa, Workman, Uehara. And this they proved to be. When Lackey finally did get pulled — after giving up four straight hits and one run —  the bases were loaded, the score 6 to 1. The Cardinals needed just one big hit to make things interesting. Tazawa got that last out. The Cardinals never threatened again.

What can you not say about a series that had not one but TWO game decided on fluke plays ? Never before had a World series game been decided by an obstruction call or a runner being picked off. But that’s exactly how Games 3 and 4 ended. Home runs boomed out of nowhere. Johnny Gomes had one in Game 5; it won an otherwise low-scoring pitchers’ duel. Mike Napoli had one. So did Stephen Drew, in last night’s clincher. The real story of this Series, actually, may be that both teams weren’t all that great. Other than the Sox’s David Ortiz, it’s pretty hard to find among either roster a potential Hall of Famer. Great teams do the expected. they roll over the opposition, inexorably : think 1975 Cincinnati Reds, a team with two Hall of Famers (Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan) and one other, Pete Rose, who would have been Hall’ed had he not been Pete Rose. The Cardinals weren’t a great team, and neither were the Red Sox.

The red Sox were just better at devouring the other team’s mistakes. For that, one man deserves all credit : John Farrell. Never, ever say that the manager doesn’t matter. He does matter. Anybody who watched spastic Bobby Valentine do a Three Stooges job last year and then watched Farrell create a team from last year’s leftovers, give them a method, and see them use that method all the way to victory, you know that the manager makes a huge difference. All the more is that the case when the team he is managing isn’t that great.

And then the beards. It’s a silly thing, but sometimes a shattered team looking for a ring to bind them needs a talisman that looks silly in every other context. And so beards it was.

Farrell’s greatest series was not, in fact, the World one. It was the ALCS, in which his Sox found ways to beat the Detroit Tigers. Here was a team as close to great as I have seen in a long time. it has Miguel Cabrera, the only triple crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski did it 46 years ago. He’s a sure Hall of Famer. It also has baseball’s two best pitchers, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, and a third, Doug Fister, nearly as good. yet the Sox beat Verlander 1 to 0, as John Lackey out-dueled him. This was John Lackey’s finest hour. Verlander made just one mistake pitch : result ? A Mike Napoli home run. Ball game. The Sox also beat Max Scherzer (season record 21 – 2) not once but twice. The method ? Run up his pitch count, get Detroit’s less than great bullpen into the game, and pounce.

Thus a team that suffered 35 strike outs and was overmatched 99 % of the time used that wayward one percent to beat a team that had greatness in its sights. After that achievement, the World Series was theirs for the wrapping up.

—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere



^ gulping down face to face the nectar of Negative Punch : Marty Walsh vs. John Connolly

—-    —-    —-

A month ago I wrote that the Final campaign had to go negative. 65 % of those who voted on Primary day did not vote for either Walsh or Connolly; each, and certainly the winner, would get the big majority of his votes from people who did not want him.

Last night at Debate Number three we saw that negative, at the beginning and at the end. It bookmarked the debate. Clearly both men were determined to assure that, of two men not liked by most voters, his opponent would be liked less.

Walsh attacked Connolly as a “corporate lawyer” and for not doing anything as a City Councillor. “Name one thing you have done,” Walsh challenged. “Did you as a Councillor bring any jobs at all to Boston ?” Connolly had a strong answer to that. Three strong ones, in fact.

Connolly attacked Walsh far more cogently, or at least I thought so. He cited Walsh’s now infamous House Bill 2467, which would take away City Councils’ power to approve or turn down labor arbitrators’ awards, and, at the end of the debate, he noted that Walsh, as chairman of the House Ethics Committee, “took no action” – Walsh’s own words, when asked — despite “one legislator going to jail,” as Connolly noted.

Listening to this attack, Walsh’s face grew grim, his eyes grimmer. If looks could kill…but he did not lose his temper, did Walsh, although at the grimmest point he seemed about to. He is said to have a terrifying temper. We almost saw it.

His record is open to substantial question; but so far the voters do not seem to care about what he has been and done. They want to know what he is going to DO. And during the middle of the debate — really more a Forum, with questions being asked by the moderator, than an actual debate — Walsh talked on and on about his policy proposals, numerous proposals — almost a policy wonk. It was very effective, because what newly watching voter expected “the union guy” to talk in detail about parks, young violence, the BRA, enterprise, budgets, etc etc ? Walsh talked abut them all. He sounded like a Mayor.

Connolly sounded like an insurgent; a challenger; the underdog. It was a shrewd role for him to adopt, as he did the day before the debate on the wings of his internal poll showing the race tied 43 to 43. It was also shrewd because the Walsh campaign’s attacks on Connolly, fueled by huge money, mailings, and an army of union door-knockers, had succeeded in getting voters to care a lot about what, said Walsh, Connolly has been and not much at all about what he would DO as Mayor. At the debate, Connolly time and again had to reassert that he is a City Councillor with a strong record of accomplishment.

It is never good when, at a campaign’s final debate, the man who looks like the challenger has to fend off accusations from the man who looks like the incumbent. But in this case, the man who talks like the incumbent isn’t. He doesn’t have a record to defend. Thus Connolly was punching not a bag but a might-have-been.

Today we found out, at 1:00 PM, exactly what the debate portended : a new UMass Poll finds Walsh now leading Connolly 47 to 40; that people really do believe that Connolly is a corporate lawyer, not a City Councillor; and that Walsh represents the poor and middle class.

Connolly’s hope is knowing that that poll did not take into accoungt the strong questions that he raised at the third debate about Walsh’s record and connections. Unhappily for Connolly, the poll does take in Walsh’s very weak performance at the second debate. If voters watching that debate did not decide for Connolly,. how will they decide for him now, after Walsh’s best debate performance of the three ?

Connolly has six days to change voters’ perception, to get them thinking about Walsh’s status quo attitude, his army of one interest group, his base in the city’s most unreconstructed communities — hardly a home plate whence to hit a home run for the future city. Can Connolly do it ? It’;s all up to him at this point.

—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere



^ a fighting reformer, a transformer even : John Connolly addresses supporters at last night’s Debate watch party at Merengue on Blue Hill Avenue

—-    —-    —-

As this year’s race for mayor of Boston approaches voting day, it has become ever clearer that we are beset by the grip of old politics. We must shake off this dead hand, and do it now. Old politics thrives in old institutions set up long ago to address long-ago challenges. unhappily, the institutional drag survives long after those challenges have been met, its vested interests a grievous obstacle to progress. Such is the case in Boston’s mayor race. It’s why the Marty Walsh campaign looms large as we head to voting day.

Old politics are a curse. We have seen how old, reactionary politics of the Tea party have almost devoured the GOP, rendered it practically useless to most Americans. In the same way, as we wrote over a month ago, the campaign for Mayor has split the Democratic party between Obama Democrats and the Left. That split has now become as clear as the hulk of Godzilla stalking a japanese movie.

We like President Obama because he speaks for the innovation society that is already here and for the rise of new leadership from it, leadership that now takes on the task of transforming our schools, careers, social connections, lifestyles.

This innovation politics has, however,m divided the Democratic party, just as the rise, a decade ago, of pragmatic conservatism split the GOP.

In Boston, the Marty Walsh campaign has made its pact with the Left and its money. Granted that it had no choice. Facing John Connolly, a quintessential Obama Democrat, Walsh by himself had the votes only of union households and the City’s oldest political community (and not even all of that). Thus his move, after the Primary, using his leadership position in Boston Organized labor to bring to his side politicians with large numbers of Union households in their Districts, and, at the same time, union money and door-knockers from everywhere.

Walsh’s army is motivated by people who dare not risk what they already have. But people cannot just cling to what they have or know, because the economic and social world is changing faster than a speeding bullet. It is upon us all, and all of us must begin to move even faster.

This entails some risk; but the risk of not innovating, re-imagining, everything — schools, work, careers, connections, entrepreneurship — is far far greater.

The new economy is much, much bigger than the Democratic Left’s constituencies. Union households comprise about 14 % of all workers. Most work coming into being today is not union-appropriate. The careers of today and tomorrow come in small business units, laboratories of innovation, connected by co-operative competition. They aren’t assembly line. They aren’t low-skill.

We agree that low skill work needs enactment of a living wage, so that people who work such jobs can participate fully in the economy — and so that we the public aren’t forced to subsidize slave wage employers who need EBT and welfare in order to survive because hey aren’t paid enough. But the minimum wage is a State Legislature matter, not a mayor’s.

The mayor of Boston has a different mission : to guide the innovation economy into being, including innovated schools, policing, health care, social connectedness and an end to social segregation.

This is John Connolly’s message. It’s why today we proudly confirm the endorsement we gave to Connolly on October 7th.

John Connolly’s open door message  means innovation supporters as well. One of the features we most applaud about the John Connolly campaign is the newness of his following, Few of Connolly’s people have any history at all in Boston politics. Some come from the Obama campaign, some too from Senator Warren’s, and, yes, some from (Republican) Paul Cellucci’s years. But by far the most are brand new to political combat, and most of these come from communities themselves new to the arena. this we like. Like it a Lot. The newer the better, in fact. Because that’s what America is, at its finest : new, new, tomorrow, a future goal. Morning in America, as Ronald Reagan put it.

Morning means change and the unexpected, even the unpredictable. Into this morning, the politics of the Left needs to step, together with the Obama Democrats whose agenda the Left now recoils from, ominously.

And finally, as a coda to our endorsement, let us add this : the Democratic party cannot be split. Today it’s the only feasible party of national government. It needs to hold together, in Boston and nationally, to direct the new economy, the new society. Until such time as the GOP returns to the field of common sense and forward, splitting the Democratic party, as the Left seems now intent on doing, really is playing with fire.

— Michael Freedberg, editor in chief / Here and Sphere



^ insurgent (and endorsed by Doris Bunte) : Jamahrl Crawford acts out at RoxVote Forum

—-    —-    —-


Last night the RoxVote Coalition hosted a Forum for District 7’s three Council candidates, followed by a Forum for the at-Large Council candidates. This report focuses on the District 7 Race, one of three District contests that we are paying close attention to.

The Forum gathered at Hibernian Hall on Dudley Street, and differences aplenty displayed themselves. One saw Tito Jackson, the incumbent, well dressed, well informed, almost professorial as he articulated his council service in detail; Jamahrl Crawford, his main challenger, passionate, a classic insurgent with a long, long history of activism; and Roy Owens, a quiet slender man who has run for office numerous times and whose issue is that City hall should work its Roxbury agenda through faith-based communities.

Time and again Crawford insurged his campaign demands : for housing afforability; that the Roxbury innovation Initiative needs all kinds of enterprises; that city services should revive the RISE movement; that gentrification of the District should mean economic development. Crawford spoke rapidly and intensely, a preacher inspiring. His presentation harked back to an earlier time, when oratory glowed hot onto the faces of listeners; yet it also elicited more applause from the 100 or so voters on hand than either Jackson or Owens. He talked at length about his grandmother, living on the third floor of their Ruthven street house even at her age and being feisty, not one to pander to (as Crawford said politicians do too often when addressing seniors); and this, too, drew applause from many.


^ detailed answers to all questions but one : Councillor Tito Jackson at RoxVote Forum

Jackson, by contrast, answered every question by narrating the actions he has taken to address the problem or advance the initiative. His housing plan is a three on three : one-third low income housing, one third affordable, and one third market rate. Jackson proposed communication and coffee hours as his constituent outreach proposal. He opined at length about the Boston Police’s Safe Streets task force and the need for the City’s Public Health Commission to rate crime a health problem.

About the Roxbury Innovation Center, Jackson noted that Tim Rowe of Cambridge innovation has committed to run it; but he did not give any answer as to why he was not present when his Council colleague John Connolly, with several prominent Roxbury business leaders at his side, announced his support for said Center. It was at that point that Crawford responded, “we should have had one years ago !”

As for Roy Owens, I mean no disrespect in reporting that his answers were hard to hear, seemed to ramble or disconnect from the question when one could hear them, and often included banter with his two rivals, inaudible except to them. Many in the audience chortled. His was obviously a presence well known to them and long since dismissed. Owens’s one serious point was that all City services should be funneled through “faith based communities.” In a District whose people are so well and diversely led by pastors and church congregations, his call did not seem to me an isolated gasp or readily dismissable. But a generational gulf separated it from Crawford’s protest speeches and Jackson’s managerial steadiness.

—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere



^ the underdog in South Boston with St rep Nick Collins and, on the left, a man whom you may recognize —  and his son.

—- —- —-

After weeks of leading in the polls for Mayor of Boston, John Connolly today anointed himself the underdog. He even had a poll to prove it. This morning he allowed the Globe to observe as he gave a talk to his finance committee in which he revealed that his campaign’s internal poll shows the race now tied, 43 to 43. This, after a Globe poll last week found Connolly leading 47 to 38 (with leaners assigned). Connolly declared that poll “an outlier’ and said that in fact another poll last week, showing him ahead only 41 to 39, was more accurate.

The release, by Connolly himself, of a poll so bad for him puzzled many. Walsh people gloated that he, the “candidate of working families,” as his spin doctors put it, “had huge momentum.” And doubtless the news of said poll invigorated the already vigorous Walsh door-knockers. So why, then, did Connolly make such a move ?

The answer should be obvious.

By assuming the position of underdog, Connolly gave himself three huge advantages :

1.People who had simply assumed that Connolly would be the next Mayor now had to think again; to contemplate — envision — confront — Walsh as Mayor, with all of its implications, many of them not good for the fisc. This is why Connolly has been gradually stressing — and is now emphasizing — his mastery of the City budget, ahead of his original stance as “the education Mayor.”

2.Given the mountain of big-pol endorsements given to Walsh in the past 16 days, and reports of a tidal wave of Labor Union money from all over, Connolly said something like, “OK, Marty, you ant to be the overdog ? Go right head, be the overdog.  by all means — be my guest !”

3.People like underdogs. They want the small guy to beat the big guy. If not, Sylvester Stallone would not be a multi millionaire today. (As I mention a lot, it is 1959 all over again; John F. Collins with few endorsers against John E. Powers with all of them. Collins won.)

Lastly, with their man now drawing the underdog card, Connolly’s workers can no longer be complacent. Their man is NOT going to coast to a ten-point victory. They will have to work for it — work hard and long and with the foul winds of desperation at their backs. Connolly’s voters too. They know they can’t stay home on election day.

This is the mindset you want your organization to have going into the last week before election day. You want your people committed to aee you win. Connolly as underdog is putting his people to that test. As well he should.

As for Walsh’s people, they need to know this, and I am sure that the smartest of them already knows it : Walsh has bet the farm on his winning.

If he does not do so, likely it is that there will never be another significant Mayor campaign from a base tribally Irish and Union labor. Walsh’s city is receding into history. Indeed, even if Connolly does not win, the society whence Walsh’s core support arises will dwindle and calcify as stony as the statue of Paul Revere in the North End. There already IS a new Boston. entirely new. It is fresh and exciting, open and flush with innovation. It can only grow, and pollenate and bloom, because there is no other way forward. This the Walsh people sense. They’re in  a race against time.  It’s why they have felt such heat, all campaign long, as Connolly seeks to apply to his people, now, with all the marbles anted in.

— Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere



^ mixed up shook up bad gals and bad guys : including Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz in Ridley Scott’s “The Counsellor”

—-   —-    —-

Not so long ago the Coen Brothers deviated from their usually quirky fare and wove a hard-boiled yarn about lawmen and criminals playing it loose and lethal as they pursued an elusive satchel of money back and forth across the Southwest border.  The basis for that masterpiece came from the laconic and acerbic prose of Cormac McCarthy’s similarly titled novel, “No Country for Old Men.” And in an odd and intriguing, first time move, the scribe, for iconic director Ridley Scott (“Alien” and “Blade Runner”), has delivered his first original screenplay. The result is full of pointed soliloquies, diatribes imbued with philosophy and poetry and even daubs of philosophy regarding poetry; but the mainstays, of course, are protracted dissertations on death and destiny, followed invariably by death.

Just as in “No Country” the plot is driven by an accidental anti-hero ensnared in a macabre web of underworld misdoings. In short, McCathy has cooked up an assured rearrangement of “No Country.” It’s not on par by any means, but it is entertaining. And, if you haven’t gotten enough of him lately, Michael Fassbender tackles the eponymous role (that’s all he’s ever called), as a square-jawed, fashionably stoic defender, who, while very dapper and upper crust, has a litany  of unsavory clients. One, an imprisoned mama kingpin (Rosie Perez put a lot of pizzazz into the brief role), asks him to pay a fine for her son who’s in jail for a traffic violation (going over 200 mph). He reluctantly complies, but doesn’t know that the kid is involved in a scheme to hi-jack a 20 million dollar drug shipment. Which doesn’t matter, because by sheer association he’s now considered one of the brains behind the ever expanding plot.

Zanies and assassins from every corner of the muted desert town start to drift up. And, if the similarities to “No Country” haven’t hit you over the head at this point, Javier Bardem drops in for good measure as the shady club operator who has a few nascent business dealings with the Counsellor. Bardem’s real life wife, Penelope Cruz, shows up too, as the Councilor’s betrothed, but she’s mostly just garnish and a bargaining chip. The real feminine fire power comes from the gams of Cameron Diaz as the high priestess of the Southwest gangland. She’s flip, enjoys Gucci and Prada and doesn’t value life too much, and, if she so desires it, she’ll fuck a Ferrari (no joke).

Brad Pitt’s in the mix too as another shady sort who advises the Counsellor on how to get his neck out of the noose, but his role, like Cruz’s, feels more ornamental than substantive and perhaps somewhere out there, there’s  a studio exec who thought it would be devilish fun to release Pitt and Fassbender in this western noir the same week the pair appeared in the more serious, “12 Years a Slave”–celluloid buddies to save the day at the box office?

The problem with “The Counsellor” isn’t so much the every twisting and inward folding machinations that keep the engine humming. That works quite well, the problem is that none of these people are likable and Fassbender’s Counsellor is such a stiff, you never really give a rat’s ass if he gets offed or not. But the film looks great. Scott has always been a visual stylist and really summons up the dusty milieu with artistic elan.  McCarthy too packs it with some rich treasures and a potpourri of indelible underlings. Heads roll (literally) and the stash of drugs is carted around a septic truck that from time to time gets shot up and re-patched so that the shit don’t stink. That’s the wicked type of fun “Counsellor” has. It’s not much, but it clicks along just enough.

— Tom Meek / Meek at the Movies



^ addition versus subtraction ? Politics at its most basic lesson

—-  —-  —-

My friend Dan Winslow, an insurgent, civil rights Republican to whose US Senate campaign I consulted before gearing up Here and Sphere, liked to say to me, “addition, not subtraction.” Every time I groused about our campaign finding favor with this or that constituency whose agenda or outlook I disagreed with, he would say it to me : “Addition, not subtraction.”

Winslow has since left the State Legislature — a huge loss for imaginative politics in Massachusetts and for a constructive GOP — but his observation remains so true. In our democracy of many, many communities, interests, and individuals, the successful campaign draws from many people different. More singly defined campaigns tend otherwise. There are so, so many voters; hardly any single interest can compass more than a small portion. It’s a losing situation in almost all cases. And once the “everybody else” begin to not see themselves within that single interest, the single interest campaign is cooked.

In this election, there is a single interest campaign almost feral in its singularity. Martin Walsh is a fine, fine man, and a hero of civil rights and personal struggle. By no means should any one disparage him. His friends follow him passionately : that says a whole lot. But as a candidate — on the large picture — he has defined single interest politics. He is a labor leader, labor unions are his career, his expertise, his theme, his following. Articulate he is — though not in debate — and, on many issues, extremely well informed. But everywhere he goes it is palpable that his goals are labor union goals. Labor union’s goals are not, however, everybody’s. Union labor comprises about 14 % of Boston voters. That is a mighty small minority. And the City’s wisest labor leaders know it. They know that if union labor is to advance it must join with other constituencies, other interests, and add to a coalition, not stand alone.

Marty Walsh has worked tirelessly in his campaign to attract other interests. He addresses arts issues, school issues, diversity, interfaith, even innovation; has commissioned 40 position papers, 37 of which his campaign reports are now written; has won to his side many politicians from Boston’s communities of color plus some State Legislators and two Boston Congressmen. Clearly he knows that without allies, his labor union following cannot win.

Walsh has bet the farm, that his outreach will not expose labor’s numerical weakness. This is to risk a lot.

He has allowed labor unions to become a major issue in this campaign; and that is bad for labor unions ; because labor unions aren’t exactly popular with most of the public, even in Massachusetts. Strikes send an unpleasant message of intimidation and intransigence. Take the school bus drivers’ walkout, for example. Yes, Walsh condemned it. But the impression made was not an untrue one. Everyone also remembers the Verizon strike, with its images of angry picketers and stories of vandalism. Nor have Boston’s public worker unions exactly made friends and influenced people. Arbitrators’ awards that risk the City’s finances and portend cuts in other City services make City unions look militantly selfish. Same too for the Boston Teachers’ Union (BTU), which so far refuses to accept that school transformation will happen and that it would be better to help forge it rather than doggedly resist it.

Walsh rejects none of it. How can he ?

Thus his campaign has put labor unions under public scrutiny, in all their stubbornness, their resistance to change, their adversary attitude to everybody else. The passion, the heavy-handedness, the rush of politicians to get with Walsh because they don’t want to break with labor — all of it has been a disaster for labor because it has engendered criticism of labor unions from people who would not have gone down that road, and because those criticisms have now become the common perception.

Labor actually emerges weaker from this campaign than had Walsh not become a candidate. As the respected leader of a powerful force in the city, Walsh had enormous influence. As a candidate, he has risked that influence upon a pitiless test : the judgment of the voters.

ALL the voters.

Meanwhile, John Connolly keeps on adding to his following the “everybody else” who are not members of City labor unions or followers of Walsh’s labor-allied office holders.

—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere


Passed in Chicago Mandated Sexual Education for Kindergartners is like a cold case file. It was a heated debate at the start of the school year, only to make NO headlines since. Outraged as a parent vs my abstract — usually unbiased journalism side, I decided to ask around our area — the south coast, for input on the matter. Here is the result of the things combined above……..

Background 150 people were polled at random, 125 men 125 women from all social, financial, sexual, and political — as well as age brackets. With such diversity in our surveyed pool — for sure there would be a fairly decent ratio of No vs Pro Sex-Ed for 5 yr old’s, RIGHT? WRONG, instead we found that actually only 2% agreed with the idea. When it was revealed that this law had already been passed — AND — became effective in Chicago IL. Public School Systems THIS YEAR……Our polled parties were beside themselves, some angry, others terrified — but ALL posing the question –“But HOW could parents ANYWHERE allow schools to take over like that?” THE QUESTION and ANSWERS posed later in this article  seemed to silence all. If only for a few minutes of self-reflection, and deep thought. As the school year approached, and parents began to hustle for last-minute needs and supplies — parents of kindergartners were preparing in a whole different way. For many,this would be your first year with your baby/ babies in the “trusted hands” of the public school system. This year would begin your journey into uncharted territory — full of unknowns, unthinkable’s,proud moments, and those Kodak Captured milestones — as parents you knew were going to come eventually. Yet the moment that matters is the moments you were living. The moments where you as a parent were in complete control of the outcome. Then you find yourself at that pivotal moment in time — where it stands still — and you realize THIS IS WHAT ALL THE FUSS IS ABOUT… Letting go……Handing the reigns, even if only for 6 hours a day –over to someone else. This was the time you loosen your tight grasp, slowly disengaging your entangled hands — and allowing your child to go into the world and BEGIN to learn……Begin to grow into their own….Begin the next chapter of their life’s storybook. BUT DID YOU CONSIDER FOR ONE MOMENT — THAT YOUR BARELY SELF-SUFFICIENT, AUTONOMOUS, FREEWHEELING  5 YR OLD  WOULD BE ((MANDATED)) TO HAVE SEXUAL EDUCATION TAUGHT TO HIM OR HER??  Didn’t think so….. Well parent’s of Chicago IL. kindergartners got just that. A reworked, updated curriculum — with a mandated sex-ed course starting in kindergarten. Chicago Public School or CPS officials say that the “sex ed curriculum will use age-appropriate language to teach children the correct names of body parts” ———-Are they serious? ” Okay yes CPS, that’s just a brilliant idea — I mean screw the part where what “we as a family unit and PARENTS of said children think or feel — HELL, as long as they are not calling their “thingy” a D**k, and she doesn’t really think the name of her “bubbles” are boobs BY ALL MEANS GO AHEAD…….” In the same statement CPS says it’s curriculum will teach the kids about “bullying, and the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching.” — ????????????????????? (Okay maybe were way off base here but I’m pretty sure any GOOD PARENT, has had the basic what is okay and what’s not conversation as soon as possible with their child/children. The one’s who haven’t either felt no need “yet” or — at the other end of the spectrum should not be parent’s at all, perhaps more focus on that end would be better than telling “OUR” children things that cross lines. Lines put in place to separate what the public see’s and feels is RIGHT or OKAY — versus how ANY other household may view these  subjects. After looking through comments and quotes made to the press, and even general statements and press releases — made by everyone from the CPS to (SIECUS) better known as Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States — a reoccurring barely noticeable trend was emerging. In EVERY statement about the curriculum — there always seemed to be loosely used terms poignant enough as to redirect the reader’s attention. We will demonstrate as we move on. Right now we will redirect you ourselves back to our polled people. After confronting them with the question — and the rebuttal they gave (see top for refreshing.) The question was then posed…… Who did you vote for in the last 2 elections? obama its the right thing to do Our polled  group  made up of 47%  republican(only 23% of which conservative republicans) — 45% Democrat (30% of which considering themselves liberal democrats) — and the other 8% being an undisclosed or chose not to identify with either party.  When revealed that they had ALL except 11% voted for President Obama — it was actually quite startling. Ages 18-65 — married, single, divorced, separated — poverty-stricken to wealthy — childless to hands full, and /or expecting — ONE COMMON DENOMINATOR — ALL VOTED OBAMA! Now what does Obama have to do with any of this you may wonder? Well our participant’s did too. The answer is not at all black and white, cut and dry, with very little grey area — actually the more we researched the more we discovered how very deeply into “the grey” this subject is.  Yet Obama does factor in and here is how, In 2003 Barack Obama supported even “pushed” for the proposal of mandated sex-ed for kindergartners — he went on to continue defending his stand on this matter, when running for president in 2008’s election cycle. In 2003 Obama who was the then chairperson for the SIECUS committee, voted in favor of a bill (SB99) or Senate Bill 99 — that suggested making changes to the existing Illinois sex-ed law which at the time required instruction for grades 6-12 that included topics like AIDS how it is transmitted, spread, and how to prevent it. Illinois law also said “schools must teach honor and respect for monogamous heterosexual marriage.” SB99 would have eliminated all mention of marriage in the Illinois sex-ed code. It would have REQUIRED that all material used in classrooms be “age and developmentally appropriate, and medically accurate”. AND PAUSE — here is one example of A.) SPIN, and B.) Redirection from the main point. The main point here is that because heterosexual monogamous marriage is not the only kind of relationship it was discarded and no longer worthy of respect and honor. Also the fact that  “age and developmentally appropriate, and medically accurate.”materials be REQUIRED well (sigh of relief) for a second we thought by trying to veer away from the point of teaching our 5 year old’s sex-ed — AND, taking away ALL mention of marriage, and attempting to redirect our focus — whereby putting us at ease with words like age-appropriate, and medically correct — just might have been the goal. (PHEW glad we cleared that up)……. Age-appropriate….Developmentally-appropriate….Medically-Correct — Here is where it gets sticky…. Who decides what age is appropriate? Is it the same age for everyone? (Especially since males supposedly mature slower than females.) What about the special education students? Or how the term medically correct actually means anatomically correct and human body accuracy. Who is the deciding voice? Who has come into OUR homes and asked OUR “opinion” on what our children are taught? Who asked the parents of these little ones what their beliefs — religious, or otherwise are? class of kids ((CRICKETS))??? Thought so. The SB99 bill — even with Obama’s support and push as he called it, DID NOT PASS in 2003. However here are some highlights to keep in mind. Here is a video from a Planned Parenthood convention on July 17th, 2007 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in D.C. A “peer educator” in the D.C. public school system asked the then U.S. Senator Obama what his intentions where regarding the continued pushing forth with the teaching of “medically accurate, age-appropriate, and responsible sex-ed”? Obama proclaims with much conviction that “SEX-ED FOR KINDERGARTNERS IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO!” Obama is seen in this video joking about Alan Keys a running mate using the truth that “Obama had worked with Planned Parenthood to pass a bill on the topic mentioned above about sex-ed for our 5 year old’s — during the time he served in the Illinois state legislature. Again the terms “science-based, fact-based, age-appropriate etc, are tossed around so freely. But as our polls indicate in (Many if not the majority of households here in the south coast and across the U.S. — sex-ed is NOT something that is taken so lightly. Not every household whether by dynamic or religion, or other variable sees this as a topic to be discussed or even touched upon at such a young and possibly detriment causing age. In many households sex-ed is a “FAMILY MATTER”and should not be left in the hands of teachers unfamiliar with each family the curriculum may affect. Key wording would be Family Matter.” Sex-ed at ANY level at this age is usually discussed at an age and time frame a family / parent’s have deemed appropriate” says one Chicago mother of three. Megan Morrow: ” I am pissed the hell off she tells Here and Sphere. I am a mother happily married — my husband of 9 years is in the military, active duty at the moment. Our youngest child is adopted, he is 5. We adopted him when my sister passed away when he was 1 month old. We have not told him ALL of his story yet! ((she sobs)) ……. The new curriculum teaches them all about the different family dynamics and “types of families” including adoption…… “Why some kids look nothing like their “parents”etc. Our son adopted or not has bright red hair — his fathers genes were clearly dominant — the rest of our family are dark-haired, olive complected, dark-eyed….((more sobs)) — he is a very bright child he will know.” she exclaimed…. “I don’t want to play beat the clock to tell him first, unprepared with my husband lands away — ITS JUST NOT FAIR…… There are so many similar stories it is heart breaking. Delving deeper into the curriculum we dug up a “teacher’s memo” showing things no media outlet has even touched on. Such as our 5 year old’s spongy little brains  may be just test subjects in a 7 year implementation of curriculum — developed to assess if it has low-mid-high or no impact on  Chicago’s nationally higher documented STD and underage, unwed pregnancy rate among K-12 graders. The “teacher’s memo” consists of these sentences:

  • Part of the National multi-year Evaluation of Adolescent pregnancy prevention approaches funded by the office of Adolescent Health U.S. Department of Health and Human services.
  • Conducted by Mathematica Policy RESEARCH.

Here is the link you be the judge — When researching for a broader opinion and/ or more facts regarding the curriculum — we also happened upon — they seemed to have a very non-surprising, conservative bashing, liberal take on the matter. A quote from the article found on their site reads: “So what’s at the root of all this concern? What kind of salacious details will Chicago’s youngest student’s be receiving, thanks to the new sex-ed guidelines? What does Obama want to force kindergartners to sit through?” Well for starters now that the bill has passed this year, it reads much like the SIECUS curriculum. Mandating instruction to our Kindergarten classes on things such as same-sex relationships, appropriate touching, correct terminology for anatomy. “Students will take a look at the different types of family structures that exist in today’s society” and  “When discussing same-sex relationships — we will use non-graphic terms” —— AGAIN let me point out the sugar-coating “non-graphic terms” (OH I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER)……Not remotely….. Using these what may be age-appropriate or non-graphic terminology to some — may be a whole other overwhelming, mind-blowing, and startling thing to a 5-year-old who has already had to endure the harsh truth of war, drug overdoses by parents, or family members and the list goes on………BUT WHERE DOES THIS ALL STOP? ENOUGH with the diversion tactics the smoke and mirrors, street magician bullshit –(bring your attention HERE……….and if we are lucky enough you won’t see what we are up to over…………..HERE, HELL we might even get you on board the very train you wanted to derail…..Right? After all is said and done the fact remains that it is only a matter of time before Massachusetts and Rhode Island legislature attempt this in our homes , Cities, Towns, States, are you in the know? Where do you stand we want to hear from you? Comment, share, ask around these ARE OUR CHILDREN AFTER ALL………. sexed Written by: Heather Cornell of Here and Sphere hereandsphereprofileshot


The Local Vocal

Passed in Chicago Mandated Sexual Education for Kindergartners is like a cold case file. It was a heated debate at the start of the school year, only to make NO headlines since. Outraged as a parent vs my abstract — usually unbiased journalism side, I decided to ask around our area — the south coast, for input on the matter. Here is the result of the things combined above……..


150 people were polled at random, 125 men 125 women from all social, financial, sexual, and political — as well as age brackets. With such diversity in our surveyed pool — for sure there would be a fairly decent ratio of No vs Pro Sex-Ed for 5 yr old’s, RIGHT?

WRONG, instead we found that actually only 2% agreed with the idea. When it was revealed that this law had already been passed — AND — became effective in Chicago IL. Public…

View original post 2,013 more words


John C Marty W Roxbury

^ The Budget Master versus the Union Master : who will do a better job of untangling City union contracts ? (photo by Chris Lovett of BNN, posted at FB)

—-   —-   —-

Who knew that the labor contract concept of “pay parity” would become a defining issue in this year’s mayor campaign ? I doubt if many voters know even what “pay parity” is. I sure didn’t, and I’ve spent half a lifetime swimming in Boston city politics. Yet we DO know that negotiating contracts with the City’s public employee unions — some 33 of them, I think — is one of the Mayor’s top responsibilities; and the two finalists both come well equipped to master such negotiations. Marty Walsh is himself a labor leader, and John Connolly a master of the city’s budgets and finance. Thus the “can he negotiate a city worker contract ?” question would seem to be easily answered “Yes.” But it isn’t.

The question became hard to answer on the day, about three weeks ago, when the arbitrator deciding the new Boston Police Patrolmens’ Association contract announced a raise of 25.4% over six years. The City heard the news and went into emotional hemmhorage. $ 80,000,000 this award would cost ? And what now when the Fire Fighters Local 718 came to the table next year ? how much would they want ? After all, their last contract negotiation had gone past arbitration to rejection by the City Council and, finally, a raise that just barely missed forcing the City to close its libraries.

Dropping this bomb into the middle of a heavily populated Mayor campaign looked sure to affect the outcome. Suddenly everyone wanted to read Arbitrator Buckalew’s 1-page decision. In it we meet the concept of ‘pay parity.’

The decision does not explain how Buckalew applied the concept, but — I beg you bear with me — it goes like this : ( 1 ) most agree that Boston’s Police and Fire fighters should get something like pay parity ( 2 ) but do we apply parity to their base pay, or do we factor in their second job income ( 3 ) if we factor in the extra income of both groups, the award achieves pay parity : each union’s members earn 107,900 to 109,000 a year in total ( 4 ) but wait : the Fire fighters’ extra income isn’t from public employment, it’s from second jobs; whereas the Police extra income comes from overtime and details, most of it public payroll work ( 5 therefore it’s unfair to include the Fire Fighters’ second job income in calculating pay parity ( 6 ) but if you don’t, then the Police pay is almost 60% higher than what the Fire Fighters earn from public work.

You got that ? Read it again. Then cough.

A link to the Arbitrator’s Decision follows. i know that you cannot WAIT to read it, but just in case you do want to read it, here it is :

Click to access Scanned%20BPPA%20Award.pdf

Unhappily, the only mention of pay parity in the entire 11-page award is found on page one, in which the arbitrator awards a “one time parity adjustment” of $ 2000 payable on January 1, 2014. Other than that, he does not talk of parity, but simple math says that he based his parity award on base pay, not total pay. The 25.4% six-years of pay raises, too, build upon base pay. This seems fair enough — were it not that both the Fire fighters and the Police earn an average annual pay about 40,000.00 higher than base. By what justification do these two work groups merit pay raises much more generous than those granted the City’s other 30 unions (Boston Teachers Union not included) ? Given the outsize award, the certainty that the Fire fighters will next year demand their own base-pay parity adjustment, and the high degree of union activism in this year’s campaign, what avails the City’s voters but to expect a large attack upon City budgets and solvency ?

After all, Tom Menino, even with his 83 % approval rating assuring re-election every four years, could not halt the growth of Police and Fire fighter pay awards. How will a Mayor who depends utterly on union support do so ?

Still, why need it come to this ? There is another scale for determining workers’ pay ; pay equity. We apply it when measuring how workers in approximately equal jobs are to be equally paid. Can we not find a way to apply pay equity to the contract negotiations of Boston’s police and Fire fighters ? (not to mention the City’s other unions.) Fire fighting isn’t police work, and vice versa, but the two careers share much ; on duty, off duty; life-threatening work; calls upon a moment’s notice; working from district stations. Both careers require passing an exam. Both require skill in emergency response. It would be so much easier to settle both unions’ contracts in one negotiation applying pay equity. And more : the pay equity principle would, eventually, once the City’s tax revenue can fund it, bestow a needed raise upon workers in the unions not blessed as are the Police and Fire fighters.

But that would mean change — reform — thinking outside the box : a concept just about as foreign to Boston City governance as scientific evidence is to a Creationist.

This must change. City governance needs to be re-thought, and soon, because as the society it governs is changing rapidly, if city governance does not change, it will be an obstacle rather than an empowerment. Much of Boston governance already is an obstacle. That much has been made clear by at least half of the 12 Mayor hopefuls who competed in the Primary.

Which leads us to the question ; who can better untangle the City’s labor conundrums : the Union Master, Marty Walsh, or the Budget master, John Connolly ? Guess we will soon find out.

—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere