Incoming MIT freshmen volunteered today to wash cars to raise money for Cambridge Cares about AIDS in a borrowed parking lot on Russell Street.
The students are in their Orientation Week for the school, said Rose E. Yu, 18, a biology major who was holding a sign at the intersection of Russell Street and Massachusetts Avenue with Kyle M. Knoblock, 18, an aerospace engineering major.
The effort is part of the school's City Days public service program, she said. Other students are helping with other community projects throughout the city.
Alewife Photos by Neil W. McCabe
by Neil W. McCabe
At or around 6:30 p.m. today a large shard from an oak tree just inside the front yard at 2 Rindgefield St. blocking the street with its full boughs, but leaving the bulk of the tree intact.
"I thought it was an explosion and I expected my whole house to crash down," said a neighbor at 3 Rindgefield St., who asked that her name not be used. "I ran out the the porch and when I saw the tree I could not believe it."
The woman, who has lived at the address for the better part of 47 years, said she was on the phone with her daughter when the timber swooned.
City police and fire personnel responded to the street, but there were no injuries, she said.
The cause of the tree splitting off may have been ants, but most likely was the summer heat, which creates pressure inside the tree, said George E. Broughall, a foreman with the city's tree department. "The hot weather stresses the trees."
Broughall said the city loses more trees from the heat stress than wind.
Although the tree was on private property, the city was responsible for the cleanup, he said.
by Heather Goldman
The owner of Porter Square's newest toy store is reacting to the summer's toy recalls by keeping the proper perspective.
Richard A. Henry, owner of Stellabella Toys in Porter and Inman squares, said he first learned of the June 13 recall of various products of the Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway Toys line from R2C Corporation, the distributor.
Tatiana S. Varges, an assistant manager at Porter Square's Stellabella Toys, holds a shaped block set by Plan Toys. Plan Toys is a Thai-based company that uses food-grade dyes to color blocks.
Alewife Photo by Neil W. McCabe
Henry's first step was to voluntarily remove the affected items from his store, which he calculates to be maybe less than .0025% of his inventory, and post recall notices, he said.
The store was not affected by the subsequent Mattel recalls on lead paint and faulty magnets, or the most recent one on children’s watering cans, he said.
Lead paint is a well-know health hazard. If ingested, it can cause serious health problems in young children, including brain damage, he said.
He works with manufacturers who are at the top of their field, such as Plan Toys, a Thai-based manufacturer that colors its toys with food-grade dyes, a process which is more detailed and costly but, ultimately, safer, he said.
While there are not many toy manufacturers in the United States, approximately 40% of his inventory is manufactured in countries other than China, including Sweden, Germany, Thailand and England, where testing standards are even more stringent than the United States, he said.
If a child swallows one magnet, there is little danger, he said. But, if the child swallows more than one, the magnets find each other and bond to form a larger more lethal object passing through the intestines.
Toy recalls are not a new issue. Despite the media onslaught, only a very small percentage of items were affected. The situation appears to be much worse than it is because a few fell on the heels of one another, he said.
“The system failed at the point of manufacturing. The rest of the safety values worked,” Henry said.
City Council Candidate Jonathan Janik offers his thumb up with his volunteers have been standing out in Porter Square regularly throughout the summer. Read a profile of Janik, who was the guest of the Aug. 10 contributors meeting in the September edition of The Alewife. This picture was taken in July.
Photo Courtesy of the Janik Campaign
I'm blanking right now
You got to give me an idea of what to write. I’m blanking right now. Everything is peaceful and stable in my life and it is ruining my writing.
I’m gonna stare at this blank screen for a little while longer, hoping something comes to mind. No resentments, no politics, nothing to offensive to talk about, this is really the dog days of summer. I guess all the times my life was in some desperate spiral downward I’d try to expel the evil by writing.
Or when I felt wronged by someone I would use the power of the pen to smite them. But now I have two jobs I really like, bartending at the Middle East and working in a real estate company renting apartments.
I love my the people I work for and work with, and feel I’m hitting my stride in regards to maintaining gainful employment.
When I’m not too busy juggling those two jobs, I make time to drag my gear out into Harvard Square and sing pretty songs to those passing by. So, as of now, money is not an issue. Another thing that seems to compel me to write is when I’ve somehow warped myself into some kind of emotional wormhole of despair. I get all maudlin and “woe is me” and “what is life all about” and shit like that, I really seem to lose my marbles over trying to save horrible relationships.
In the past I’ve been quite comfortable writing openly and honestly about what a sniveling little bitch I am when carrying a broken heart.
But I’ve since met the sweetest girl ever and things are really couldn’t be better in that department. She is young and beautiful, works as a nurse at Brigham and Womens hospital and has a great sense of humor. At least I think she does. I manage to keep her laughing quiet often and she loves watching my cable show whenever it comes on. She and I will sit at home watching movies, or take a long road trips on a whim, or hang out with Joseph at the Middle East. We have a grand old time doing nothing. She and I also seem to have the same taste in women, but I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions as to what that means. She also seems to lack any capacity to nag me or try to change me, and hasn’t a jealous bone in her body.
A very good friend of ours called to alert us to the lunar eclipse Tuesday morning plotted to begin at 4:51 and play out through 8:24.
The editor of The Alewife, Neil W. McCabe, will be a guest on Roger Nicholson's "Cambridge Rag" program on Cambridge Community Television's channel 9 tonight at 7 p.m. Nicholson is a columnist for The Alewife and hosts the Monday night Open Mike at Central Square's Middle East restaurant.
BeLive! programs are broadcast live from CCTV's Central Square studios and usually take phone calls from viewers. The viewer call-in number is: (617) 876-0055.
[Gary Wang resides in North Cambridge and is a Senior Architect at Jonathan Levi Architects in Boston. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
Between a rock and hard place; Re-visiting the Porter Square design project
Despite all of its recent gentrification, Harvard Square still holds the urban fabric that made it a ubiquitous Cambridge haunt from its conception through the 1960’s and today. Our neighbor to the east, Davis Square, has made itself known as the hip neighborhood with modish restaurants and funky infill. However, our own Porter Square, although credited with naming the Porterhouse steak, has had quite an identity crisis through its history when compared to its more successful Cambridge siblings. So she sought to make a name for herself, eventually undergoing a makeover known as the Porter Square Design Project.
In 1997, a Citizen Advisory Committee was formed to oversee the square’s redevelopment. After the project went to bid in spring of 2004, the project was constructed and completed as it stands today, boasting flamboyant zebra stripes and pockmarked with fieldstone.
The project’s completion was hardly met with fanfare by the critics; it received a curt and exceptionally uninformative condemnation from the Boston Globe in June 2006. And although the executed project is glaringly far from perfect, I believe that the Porter Square Design Project deserves a more substantive, and at least educated, critique of what went wrong and why.
In 2002, the Citizen Advisory Committee and City of Cambridge worked to define the scope of work and began designing solutions with landscape architect Cynthia Smith of Halvorson Design Partnership, the firm in charge of the plaza.
Over the course of the year they addressed the functional needs of the plaza design and went through several iterations of planning. Later on, after they believed the programmatic elements had been documented and addressed, they selected artist Toshihiro Katayama, an emeritus professor of design at Harvard’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, to design and implement the artistic components of the plaza under the city’s 1% for Art program. This division of labor was their fundamental mistake.
The project had some very difficult problems to address. Its functional needs were to improved bicycle and pedestrian traffic, no easy feat when dealing with Massachusetts drivers.
Alewife Photo by Gary Wang
Zen Japanese Grill and Sushi Bar is one of my all time favorite spot. In the summer-deprived New England, Zen offers its patrons the best summer combo - an outdoor patio, where you can maximize your summer experience while enjoying the perfect summer food - sushi.
Bao Jian Yu
Aside from catch of the day sushi, Zen offer a wide variety of Japanese cuisine, for those who are ‘allergic’ to raw food and seaweed, you’ll find something you like here.
Good news for the Sake connoisseurs, Zen carries an extensive list of Sake, and imported beer that are not offered elsewhere. If you are to have one thing, make it the Volcano or the Tuna Torch Maki, they are both superb.
Call David at (617) 371-1230 to get a table. The restaurant is at 21A Beacon St. in Boston--right off Park Street T-Stop next to the State House.
Alewife Photos by Neil W. McCabe
City politics reborn
A few months ago, I asked in this column if Cambridge politics was dead. I do not know if readers took this question to heart. I certainly did.
I have come to believe more and more that the underlying question in this city is not an issue of specific city services, or the city manager, or even the property tax rate. The underlying question in this community its identity in a new era.
I do believe that Cambridge has transitioned into a new era. The rise in housing prices over the past two decades has altered the “look and feel” of Cambridge irrevocably.
Every longtime resident knows this, and many lament the shift. It plays itself out in large ways (try buying a house here), and in incidental ways (lack of street life in Harvard Square).
Schools are a perennial issue, and rightly so. But Cambridge’s small school population (5,600 students according to a recent Boston Globe article) may be a harbinger of another shift in this community. We have an aging population that is in need of its own set of services.
Meanwhile, in the schools, we are seeing a trend that should give us pause. The schools are pursuing the important goal of diversity by using socioeconomic indicators rather than race.
The result according to The Globe is that racial imbalance in the schools has gone up since the plan was implemented, from less than 40 percent of the schools imbalanced in 2002 to almost 60 percent today.
The summer humidity is just a bit more bearable with beach themed cupcakes.
These spongy vanilla cupcakes are filled with juicy blueberries and tart raspberries, enough to have one in every bite.
Decorated with blue-tinted, vanilla frosting, crushed vanilla cookies, and a gummy lobster, they mimic the salty New England shore-without the heat!
Quynh makes custom cupcakes to order and can be reached at QisforQuynh@gmail.com.
Alewife Photos by Quynh Dao
City Councillor Marjorie Decker stand ups for special needs family caught in bridge construction maestrom.
The Decker campaign reports:
The site http://www.marjoriedecker.com launched a new and improved website.
Councillor Decker explains that her goal is “To pull in new voters by allowing them to read about my past issues and policies. The site is a source of useful information and campaign updates for both new and old Cambridge voters. We are hoping to engage voters in a more interactive campaign. It’s not easy to find people at home or get them on the phone for those we miss on the campaign trail we hope to connect with by way of the website.”
Cambridge City Council candidates this year are utilizing electronic media to grab voters’ attention and to make them more enthusiastic about local politics. The new and improved website is taking aim at using the momentum created by last falls gubernatorial election that brought in more minority groups to cast their vote for Governor.
Councillor Decker’s will serve as a tool for the election and her council work. By having a weekly campaign blog, alerts about the campaign, other local events, making a campaign contribution on-line, or contacting Councillor Decker directly, this allows the campaign to reduce the use of paper and costs associated with mailings. Councillor Decker stated, “This campaign has made an active push to utilize electronic media while incorporating time tested traditional campaign activities from door knocking to public visibilities.”
On his Web site Cambridge Civic Journal, Robert Winters reports:
News Flash - City Councillor Michael Sullivan submitted his resignation from the Cambridge City Council on Friday, August 17 - effective immediately. The vacancy will be filled using the ballots that elected Michael in 2005. It is expected that David Maher will be elected to fill the vacancy. A date for the official count to determine Michael's replacement has not yet been announced.
Best of luck, Michael. You've been the best of the bunch - one of the best ever.
According to tables also found on the site, Maher would have been the replacement for six of the nine councillors, Michael A. Sullivan, Brian Murphy, Timothy J. Toomey Jr., Denise Simmons, Kenneth E. Reeves, and Anthony D. Galluccio.
Sam Seidel, who finished 10th in the straight vote, is the first replacement for Marjorie Decker, Henrietta Davis and Craig A. Kelley.
Galluccio has said if he wins the Sept. 11 Democratic primary for the open Middlesex, Suffolk and Essex seat in the state senate, he would suspend his city council campaign. There is no Republican running. If he were to resign immediately as Sullivan, Seidel would replace him, since Galluccio's first replacement, Maher, would already be aboard.
CAMBRIDGE TO ELECT A POET OF THE PEOPLE
I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
Sometime this past year City Councilor Brian Murphy was at a Seattle conference and started chatting with City Councilor Nick Licata of Seattle about their Poet Populist Program, a program that’s now been in place since 1999. It jazzed Brian – long supporter of the arts in Cambridge – to think about initiating a program that would combine Art and Democracy in his home base of Cambridge.
Unlike Poet Laureate programs, for which dignitaries or government officials select a poet – like Ted Hughes in England, on a nation-wide basis – Seattle conducts a city-wide popular vote to determine who can speak as the Voice of the People, i.e., The Poet Populist.
Once elected – or selected through a process of governing Arts Boards—the Populist has a lot of freewheel in developing a modus operandi, and a voice to reach out to the various populations of his/her City. In other words, the Populist has a one-year fellowship of sorts with a small stipend to foster the fire of poetic expression among the peeps.
Along with this, of course, goes a list of established obligations, like readings and teaching stints and appearances.
[Doug Azarian is the 2007 President of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors and owns Century21/Dream Homes in Falmouth.]
With only 7.5 months of supply, the residential market is now in “balance.”
The Massachusetts Association of Realtors reported July 23 that the number of single-family homes and condominiums sold in the second quarter are down compared to the same time last year. Despite the decrease, this was still the fourth most active second quarter in sales volume since 1990. Year-to-date sales (Q1 and Q2 combined) are down only 1.4 percent compared to the same two quarters last year.
While the second quarter wasn’t able to sustain the momentum of the first quarter compared to the year before, it was still very active.
Looking at year-to-date numbers, we are not far off last year in terms of sales and median prices, while inventory and months of supply continue to go down.”
In the second quarter of 2007, sales of detached single-family homes decreased 5.4 percent compared to the same time last year with a total of 12,171 homes sold (12,862 homes were sold in 2006). Median selling prices also saw a decline of 1.4 percent from $360,000 in 2006 to $355,000 in 2007.
The condominium market also experienced a drop in the number of units sold in the second quarter compared to the second quarter of last year with a slight 1.1 percent decrease (6,350 units sold in 2006 to 6,278 units sold in 2007).
Despite the small drop in sales volume, median selling prices went up 2.7 percent to $287,500 from $280,000 in 2006. The combined residential market (sales of single-family homes and condominiums) experienced its fourth most active second quarter since 1990.
Regionally, Greater Boston had the biggest jump in sales volume for single-family homes with a 2.6 percent gain for the second quarter with 3,048 homes sold in 2007 compared to 2,971 homes sold in 2006.
The taste of Cambridge 2007
Near 100 degree temperatures did not seem to deter the masses last month as restaurants gathered at MIT Tech Park for the 5th Annual Taste of Cambridge.I was surprised that some of my favorite eateries were not there, like Oleana, Rendezvous, and Salts. However, I did manage to taste some amazing offerings.
Always delicious, Craigie St. Bistrot served a silky pork rillette on toasted baguettes.
This pork rillette is to die for. I could eat it by the spoonfuls. It’s a shame that Tony Maws, the award-winning chef at Craigie St., doesn’t sell to-go containers of the stuff. “I’ll have the squab and a gallon of rillette to go,
In addition to the rillette and all of the other food I managed to shove into my gluttonous mouth, my favorites were shrimp ceviche on a corn chip from the Blue Room; muffaletta and an oreo from All-Star Sandwich Bar; grilled lamb on focaccia from Rialto; the chocolate pots de crème from Finale; the pork rillette; Ratatouille a la Remy from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts; and the fromage fort and a Ballantine XXX from Formaggio Kitchen.
If the event were a quick fire challenge on either Bravo’s Top Chef or Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen, the hands down winner of the event would have been the Redline’s tender, juicy, tastes-like-chicken chicken drumstick.
It was the last dish I ate at the event; already stuffed, I asked my friend Denise who was taking a last “should-I or shouldn’t-I” bite if it was worth it.
Boy was it.
The Redline could teach the Colonel a few things about chicken.
I could just hear Colicchio saying, “Chicken drumstick isn’t very imaginative and not a true demonstration of culinary skill, but it is spot on.”
“Yes, spot on,” parrots Padma.
“Bleeping delicious. Cooked bleeping bleeping right,” shouts Ramsay.
I say, “I’ll take three more, for my, umm, friends.”
Despite the heat and the fact that the event was moved from its original date to the raindate, the Taste of Cambridge offered abundant food and drink, live music by Jazz in the Air, an enthusiastic crowd, and an entertaining pre-event bocci ball game.
Let’s hope it helps get at least one drunken partier a safe ride home, counseling for at risk youth and college students, and training for Cambridge’s beverage servers and sellers because I’m sure we’ve all been overserved at some place at some time.
Organized by a subcommittee of the Cambridge Licensee Advisory Board (CLAB), the event evolved out of the original Taste of Central Square. Over the years the event has grown into an annual summer event raising more than $40,000 for local charities.
The keyword here is local.
Like many food-centric fundraising events in the city, committee members don’t send funds off to headquarters in Washington.
Because of this event, small organizations devoted to Cambridge and Somerville community health and wellness programs continue to provide safe rides, counsel against relapse, and promote mental health and addiction treatment services.
Not that the event was intended to lecture about the evils of alcohol, I couldn’t help but notice a few things.
How many business provided beer and wine to the Taste of Cambridge? Ten.
How many chefs and servers were seen openly drinking at the event? At least a dozen. How many buzzed attendees? None; it was too friggin’ hot. Without being preachy, the TOC committee chooses to donate the proceeds to Cambridge/Somerville non-profits.
This year’s recipients were the North Charles Relapse Prevention Program, the Cambridge Saferide Program, the Cambridge Prevention Coalition, and the Cambridge MIT/Harvard Collaborative.
Diverse as the hungry ticket holders, the food offerings represented a wide range of restaurants, from upscale to chain, from Korean, French, Mexican, to everything in between.
Do Money and Happiness Go Hand-in-Hand?
How many times have you said to yourself: If I only had a few extra thousand dollars a year, all my problems would be solved? The truth is that money usually has very little to do with your personal level of happiness. In and of itself, money possesses no value. It's not the money – it's how you use it that determines its worth. It’s important to realize that achieving your goals lies in your ability to see money for what it really is—a tool, no more, no less. Just as your car gets you from one destination to another, money is a financial tool that, when used correctly, can help you reach your goals.
Establish a “Wish List”
Deciding what is important to you is the first step to effective money management. Make a wish list of what you want for yourself and your family. Items such as a new home, new car, vacations, funding retirement or future college costs, or charitable donations may appear on your list. Next, prioritize your goals by deciding what is most important to you. Why? Because in a world of unlimited choices, you may have only limited resources. Finally, put a realistic price tag on each of your goals. For example, you may want $100,000 for college in 20 years. Or, you may like to retire with a $500,000 nest egg in 30 years.
We are told the political season begins after Labor Day, but as August dawned, we are feeling like we are being very campaigned pretty heavy.
Every election cycle is unique, but this one seems more so. With Michael A. Sullivan’s announcement that he will not seek re-election to the City Council and Anthony D. Galluccio’s possible election to the State Senate to replace Jarrett T. Barrios the council’s center-right coalition could lose two of its five members.
In another twist, the election cold turn on the rollover of Galluccio’s votes to other candidates. This is because Galluccio’s name will be on the ballot--even if the then-State Senator requests it be withdrawn. This bodes well for David Maher, who has long been the beneficiary of votes that Galluccio did not need for himself.
What about the loose Sullivan votes? Oh, don’t worry, a young man named Edward J. Sullivan will be on the ballot for City Council this year, so we do not have to contemplate the first Sullivan-less ballot in at least 60 years. You see for the Sullivans it is not about politics. It is about the family’s patrimony.
Jacques Fleury writes:
Allo et Bonjour All. Its mr.fly fabulous! The REAL me this time. I got my email back with yahoo's help! THey helped change my password so that i could access my email. i was the victim of a scam! and so were most of my freinds and business associates.
i am ok and still in cambridge, mass living a fabulous life among artists. i would never put such a financial strain on my friends and coleagues. but merci for your persistent support and prayers. i got so many concerned calls and one of my friends from hungary actually sent the scammers $2000 bucks american money on my behalf!
I'm hoping he was the only one! I felt angry at myself for being so naive thus making me an easy target. My biggest fault is having too much faith in the good side of humanity. so i feel really blessed to see how many people were concerned about me during this identity theft. Thank you all so much for hanging in there with me.
So Beware of this scam artists. THe way they got me was pretending to be yahoo personnel asking for my yahoo id and password to "update" my membership! One of my friends already contacted me because she received the same email. The way i got through this was imploying prayer, even for the scammers, that they should feel the need to comit this crime against humanity. So BeWArE! and merci beaucoups to all for your loving support!
peace and love saved this most unfabulous moment in my life,
mr. fly fabulous still standing and humble before God.
[This is the scam e-mail that went out. Many of Jacques friends were fooled, but we know how many books he is selling, so when we got it we knew it had to be a hoax.--Editor.]
How are you? hope every thing is ok ? Just wanted to seek your help on something very important, you are the only person i could reach at this point, and i hope you going to come to my aid. because something very terrible is happening to me now,i need a favour from you now,I had a trip to the United Kingdom on some works.
Unfortunately for me all my money got stolen at the hotel where i lodged along with all my belongings also with my passport ,and since then i have been without any money i am even oweing the hotel here thats why my telephone service is dissconnected so i have only access to emails for now because my mobile can't work here, so i didnt get it along, please i need you to lend me about $1,850 Dollars so i can make arrangements and return back please,i have spoken to the embassy here but they are not responding to the matter effectively, I would return the money back to you as soon as i get home, I am so confused right now.
I have made enquiries and was able to find out that you can have money sent to me through a service called Western Union Money Transfer. Please i will be waiting to hear from you as soon as possible. And please scan and attach the copy of the Western Union Money transfer to me or you can put it in writing by sending me all the informations you used in making the payment via western union to able me collect the money down here.
Mr jacques fleury
by Neil W. McCabe
The congressman for North Cambridge Friday praised the progress of the state's survey of tunnels and bridges.
"I am pleased to see that the Department of Transportation Office of the Inspector General is continuing its thorough oversight of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Stem to Stern Safety Review," said Rep. Michael E. Capuano, D, North Cambridge.
"The DOT IG's report raises several serious issues that warrant our continued collective attention. I am confident that the Commonwealth has already begun to act on these issues and I believe that this oversight process will continue to be collaborative and productive," he said.
Rep. Michael E. Capuano, D, North Cambridge
"The traveling public in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts should know that this report is in no way suggesting to our citizens that they need to fear using our bridges and tunnels," he said.
The congressman said, "Rather, the Inspector General's work provides a critical map to ensuring public safety in the Central Artery Tunnel Project. I am confident that the bridges and tunnels of the Big Dig are safe. If I wasn't, my family and I wouldn't continue to use them as we do.
"I will continue to keep in close contact with the DOT IG and all involved parties as the Stem to Stern Safety Review and its federal oversight continue."
Land Protection Is No Walk In The Park
Belmont Uplands may be worth the fight, but why can’t we do better with the Alewife Reservation?
I set out to write this month’s column about the Belmont Uplands property, which has been the subject of considerable dispute between conservationists and the developer for the last eight years. Unfortunately, I got a bit side-tracked, both literally and figuratively.
The Uplands property lies mainly in Belmont, just over the Cambridge line, wedged between Route 2, Acorn Park Road, and the Little River, which comes from Little Pond and becomes Alewife Brook. The property is home to a mature silver maple forest, wetlands, and a number of other valuable ecological features.
The owner and developer of the land, O’Neill Properties of Pennsylvania, first wanted to build office buildings, then upscale condominiums. After facing market changes as well as constant backlash from neighbors and conservation groups, O’Neill used Massachusetts’s affordable housing law, known as 40B, to force Belmont to accept a proposed rental apartment complex with 299 units and 464 parking spaces.
Nearby residents and conservationists have continued the fight, suing to overturn the Town’s approval of the latest plan. To get a sense of all the issues involved, one need only peruse the Friends of the Alewife Reservation website to get a lengthy list of rancorous documents that have been filed thus far.
I thought I would go visit the property myself to see what all the fuss was about. It sounded like a perfect Saturday afternoon adventure. I would take the Red Line to Alewife Station, and proceed upon what would surely be a pleasant trek through the Alewife Reservation parkland, which stretches west from the T stop to the property in question. Boy, was I in for a schlep.
When I got to Alewife, I didn’t see any signs to the park, but I used my directional skills to guide me through a maze of bus ramps to the northwestern corner of the station. So far so good. I was further heartened by the bustling activity along the Minuteman bike path, which runs north from the station to Arlington and beyond.
[Dorie Clark, a spokewoman for the Flaherty campaign sent the following statement to The Alewife at our request to clarify whether Flaherty had pledged to refrain from negative attacks.]
At the Progressive Democrats of Cambridge debate last night, State Senate candidate Tim Flaherty pledged to avoid negative campaigning in the race. Drawing from the example of Senator John Kerry, who was the victim of slash-and-burn tactics during the 2004 presidential campaign, Flaherty vowed to respond quickly to attacks made against him. He also pointed out the distinction between comparative ads, which serve to inform the public, and malicious “Swift Boat” style attacks, which he strongly condemned.
Robert Winters writes:
Wait a minute now.
When the three candidates present (Flaherty, Galluccio, Ross) were asked whether they would pledge to avoid personal attacks, both Galluccio and Ross were clear that they would agree to such a pledge. In fact, Galluccio stated that he had never done it in any political race. Ross flatly stated "I will take a pledge to do no negative campaigning." Flaherty, in contrast, pointed to the example of John Kerry and the swiftboaters to justify why he would respond in kind to any negative campaign he felt might be directed at him (even if it didn't originate personally from one of the other candidates).
Flaherty most certainly DID NOT pledge to avoid negative campaigning. He distinguished himself from the other two candidates by not committing to such a pledge. My notes on Flaherty's response to the question: "I won't allow my name to be besmirched, but I will respond." If anything, that's a pledge to go as negative as he wishes.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - August 17, 2007
At its membership meeting following last night's spirited candidates forum for the vacancy in the Middlesex, Suffolk & Essex District state senate seat, Progressive Democrats of Cambridge voted to endorse Cambridge City Councillor Anthony Galluccio. Also participating in the forum were former Norfolk County prosecutor Timothy Flaherty and Immigration lawyer Jeff Ross. A fourth candidate on the ballot for the September 11 Democratic primary, Revere Councillor Paul Nowicki, declined to participate, citing an unavoidable conflict in his schedule. Cambridge activist Laurie Leyshon, who had narrowly missed qualifying for the ballot, was recognized for her contributions to the campaign. The nearly two-hour long debate was attended by about 100 persons.
The Middlesex, Suffolk & Essex district, which had been represented for the past five years by Cambridge-based Sen. Jarrett Barrios, is one of three state senate districts covering the City of Cambridge. The district encompasses most of mid-Cambridge, including wards 6 and 7, most of ward 8, and parts of wards 3, 9 and 10, as well as Charlestown, Chelsea, Everett, and portions of Allston/Brighton, Somerville, Revere and Saugus.
The forum, which was held at the Cambridge Masonic Hall in Porter Square, was jointly sponsored by Progressive Democrats of Cambridge and Progressive Democrats of Somerville, and co-sponsored by the Cambridge Chronicle and The Alewife. Progressive Democrats of Cambridge and Progressive Democrats of Somerville are both affiliated with Democracy for America, which grew out of the 2004 Howard Dean presidential campaign; PDC is also a chapter of the national organization, Progressive Democrats of America. PDC meets regularly on the third Thursday of each month. For additional information, contact PDC chair Lesley Phillips at 617-547-6465; email email@example.com.
At Thursday's PDC-DFA/PDS candidate's forum, former assistant Norfolk County prosecutor Timothy Flaherty joined fellow candidates Cambridge human rights lawyer Jeff Ross and City Councillor Anthony D. Galluccio pledging to avoid negative campaigning in the days before the Sept. 11 Democratic primary for the Middlesex, Suffolk and Essex seat in the State Senate.
Flaherty said he will not make the mistake his friend Sen. John F. Kerry made by not responding to the attacks during Kerry's 2004 run for the White House, but he will not use personal attacks to win the seat.
After tonight's forum sponsored by the city's Progressive Democrats of Cambridge-Democracy for America, Progressive Democrats of Somerville and this paper, the PDC-DFA voted unanimously to endorse for the City Councillor Anthony D. Galluccio for the Democratic nomination for the Middlesex, Suffolk and Essex seat in the State Senate vacated by Jarrett T. Barrios's resignation in July in the Sept. 11 primary.
The city police department made robo-calls today warning residents in the neighborhood of the recent increase in automobile-related larcenies. The computer-generated woman's voice warned against leaving Ipods, laptops and GPS systems in plain view.
Lo Galluccio, the paper's poetry editor, reports:
FRIDAY AT OUT OFTHE BLUE GALLERY’S OPEN BARK AT 8 PM (OPEN MIKE FIRST TIL ABOUT 9 PM) EDWARD J. CARVALHO, RECENT AUTHOR OF “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” WILL FEATURE ALONG WITH POET/VOCAL ARTIST LO GALLUCCIO, AUTHOR OF “Hot Rain” AND 2 SOLO CD’S, BEING VISITED, AND SPELL ON YOU. WE HOPE YOU CAN MAKE IT. Cover is $5 for the night.
Edward Carvalho is a twice-nominated Pushcart Prize poet (2004-2005) and author of solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short (2007) from Fine Tooth Press. His poems––once described as "original, innovative, imaginative and brutal"––have appeared along with his essays, reviews, and critical papers in numerous journals throughout the country.
He holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from Goddard College (2006) and is currently researching the poetry of Walt Whitman while enrolled as a doctoral student in the Literature and Criticism program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Additionally, he is also the recent recipient of that university’s Twentieth and Twenty-First Annual IUP Doctoral Fellowships and employed there as editorial assistant for the Works and Days journal. A native of Connecticut, he now shares dual residence in Indiana, Pennsylvania and Boston.
“If Henry Miller, Walt Whitman, and Edgar Allan Poe had an intellectual love child, this book [solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short] may well have been result."
“Carvalho’s words come screaming off the pages. Intense, Angry, Awesome.”
––Brian J. Kenney
“Carvalho comments upon (among other things) the frustrations presented by wireless communication, traditional creation stories, animal rights, prostitution, serial killings, and political happenings, all within the pages of solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. Carvalho also presents countless clever references to canonical authors such as Shakespeare and Beckett, proving that this doctoral student has read all of the pre-requisite masters, and is well on his way to becoming a master himself. If Henry Miller, Walt Whitman, and Edgar Allan Poe had an intellectual love child, this book may well have been the result. You don’t need to 'get' every single allusion this author makes; but you do need to wrap your hands around a copy of this book. [. . .] His work challenges you to think about man’s struggle within a plethora of haunting, daunting, and complex social conditions." —Jen Woolston
Lo Galluccio is a writer and vocal artist with published poetry and prose in Lungfull magazine, Night magazine, Out of the Blue Writer’s Unite, Heat City Literary Review II, Ibbetson St. Press, the Bagel Bards Anthology, I am from Lower East Side, Abramelin, www.strangeroad.com, and more.
She is also the poetry editor of the The Alewife newspaper with a column called, “Words and Music.”
Among other venues. she’s performed at St. Mark’s church (Marathon Day reading) in NYC, Borders downtown Boston, Mad Poet’s Café in Warwick, R.I. and Toast in Somerville, MA. As a vocal artist she’s produced two CDs, Being Visited, Knitting Factory Works (1997) and Spell on You (self-release) in Boston 2003. Lo is a Harvard College graduate and attended Berklee College of music for two semesters. She’s been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize.
Her chapbook “Hot Rain” was released on Singing Bone Press in 2004, She will be reading at the Somerville Writer’s Festival in memorial for the late poet Sarah Hannah on Novmeber 11th at Jimmy Tingle’s Theatre. “Sarasota VII” a memoir written while a chorus girl in Florida, will be published by Cervena Barva Press in spring of 2008.
by Neil W. McCabe
The human rights attorney running for the Middlesex, Suffolk and Essex seat in the State Senate vacated by the July resignation of Jarrett T. Barrios was admitted to the Mt. Auburn Hospital emergency room Monday after a car accident earlier that day.
“I checked into the hospital on the advice of my doctor. My back is injured, I’ll have to see how bad it is in the next day or so," said Jeff Ross, who lives in the city and recently won federal class action status for undocumented residents who have suffered domestic abuse.
"I hope to be back very soon knocking on doors, talking to constituents about the issues that matter most,” he said. The candidate spent six hours in the hospital before being released. He does not have a history of back trouble.
Ross was driving north on Route 3 from a visit with a client who is a detained political refugee when his car was struck from behind by another motorist, he said. The accident took place south of the city, but it is not clear yet what city or town because of the lack of border signs.
A spokeswoman for the Ross campaign confirmed that the candidate plans to attend Thursday's candidate forum in Porter Square.
City Councillor Anthony D. Galluccio, who running to replace State Sen. Jarrett T. Barrios place representing the Middlesex, Suffolk and Essex district which includes Porter Square and other parts of the city, was endorsed today by the AFL-CIO of Massachusetts.
by Gretchen E. Miexner
The local tribute to the national pastime, The Abbot Financial Management Old Time Baseball Game, will be played Aug. 15 at St. Peter’s Field with first pitch at 7 p.m.
“It literally happened by accident,” said Stephen D. Buckley, a sports writer for the Boston Herald who started the annual game in 1994 when major league baseball was on strike.
Buckley, who was hosting his “Quality Hang” for radio WEEI sports radio station at the time. In the course of the show, Buckley talked about the possibility of having a game, and was surprised when people called in and offered their help, he said.
“It wasn’t supposed to have more than that one game,” Buckley said. “It was never intended for it to be an annual thing.” The second game came about when William Novelline, the owner of Abbot Financial Management wrote a letter expressing a wish to support and be involved in a second game.
Novelline and his son Andrew are two members of the six-person committee that organize the event, which also includes Buckley, Marlinda Langone, Ben Wiess, and J.C. Bejoian. Bejoian owns Alba Press, the printing company that makes the programs for the game, he said.
Through donations, raffles, and concessions, Old Time Game raises money for different charities every year. The first game, in 1994, raised $6,000 for the children of Eddie Fitzmaurice, a local post office worker killed in a car accident. This year, the game will benefit the C2 Mission, a charity that works to benefit children and families affected by cerebral palsy and cystic fibrosis, he said.
“They did such a good job helping us help them that we decided to bring them back this year,” Buckley said of the decision to support the same charity as last year. Usually a small charity is chosen, one that doesn’t usually get a lot of attention.
“So much of the money is checks given to us beforehand by sponsors,” he said. “We’ve raised about $50,000 for the past few years, $40,000 before the game even starts.”
Buckley said the game only financially benefits the charities, and that no one involved gets any monetary compensation. “No one leaves our game turning a profit.”
“It illustrates all that is good about baseball,” City Councillor Craig A. Kelley said. “This is what baseball is supposed to be about.”
City Councillor Anthony D. Galluccio, who has his own section in right field known as Gooch’s Corner, said he goes every year.
“It’s a wonderful event for Cambridge,” he said. “Cambridge has a really deep baseball history. It’s really an honor to have the game here every year.”
"This is an important election for the city and for the state," said Neil W. McCabe, the paper's editor. "State Sen. Barrios was brought star quality to the seat making him more than just one voice in 40. Let's see how his potential successors stack up on the same stage together."
McCabe said the forum will take place at the Masonic Lodge at 1950 Massachusetts Ave. in Porter Square.
"Porter Square is right in the paper's wheelhouse, so there should be a good showing from our readers," he said.
"We have a great working relationship with the PDC-DFA and the PDS and when we approached them about putting something on we were able to take our ideas and mesh them with their ideas and come up with a fantastic program fairly quickly," he said.
"The candidates will make presentations and answer questions before the members of PDC-DFA and PDS caucus to make an endorsement," he said. The event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Deval Patrick Committee
56 Roland Street, Suite 203
Boston, MA 02129
August 10, 2007
Director of Political and Campaign Finance
Office of Campaign and Political Finance
John W. McCormack Building
One Ashburton Place, Room 411
Boston, MA 02108
Dear Mr. Sullivan,
In our ongoing efforts to comply with state campaign and political finance regulations, we have completed a preliminary review of our 2006 contributions in advance of the mandated OCPF audit. In our 2006 records, we found $51,941 in excess funds from 169 individuals.
Our findings revealed many of the common causes for excess contributions: duplicate records, variations in contributor name, address changes, book keeping error and un-cashed refund checks. We will be amending our reports and returning (or re-returning) any excess funds through the customary reporting structure, but I wanted to notify you directly and make our review public.
As you know, the Committee raised approximately $7.9 million in 2006 from over 30,000 contributors—a record in the Commonwealth’s history. Over half of the 2006 contributions were $100 and below. This level of broad based, low dollar support necessitated over 35,000 reported transactions.
In accordance with regulation, we refunded excess contributions throughout the campaign. It is a priority of this office to continue to maintain open, transparent, and accurate compliance. Given the shear number of contributions received by the Committee, I trust that this notification is valuable in your current review.
We look forward to continuing to work with your office in your review of our 2006 records.
A caller, Barbara, phoned into Alewife columnist Roger Nicholson's July 30 CCTV program "Cambridge Rag."
Read his column in the August edition of the paper on the streets now!
Our friend Elizabeth Wylde reports:
On Wednesday, Sept. 5, people who care about the wetland at Danehy Park in Cambridge will have an opportunity to help eradicate an invasive grass known as Common Reed (Phragmites australis) that is proliferating in this lovely natural area.
Volunteers with garden pruners will cut the tops off of the plants, then professional pesticide applicators will drip a small amount of a wetland-approved herbicide (glyphosate) into each hollow stem.
The herbicide will travel down to the roots of the plant and kill it without harming any other plants or animals. This work will be done with the support of the Danehy Park management and under a permit issued by the Cambridge Conservation Commission. Rain Date: Wednesday, September 12.
Anyone over 18 years old who can use garden pruners and doesn’t mind getting muddy feet is welcome to participate! You can sign up for one of two shifts: 1:00 to 2:45 pm or 3:00 to 4:45 pm. Volunteers will have no contact with the herbicide and will not need to wear protective clothing, although long pants and boots or old shoes are recommended. Pruners, gloves, water and refreshments will be provided.
Volunteers can park in the Danehy lot at 99 Sherman Street. To register and for details, e-mail Elizabeth Wylde at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-959-7157 and leave your name and number.
The rotten fruits of special elections
It is in the nature of special elections that the winner is often the candidate who can conduct the most effective get-out-the-vote campaign to get "their voters" to the polls on election day. In this race, that advantage probably goes to Galluccio who has built up a substantial organization in Everett and elsewhere in addition to his home town.
Other candidates, notably Nowicki and Ross, are resorting to "robo-calls" - pre-recorded phone messages delivered to every available phone number in the district like e-mail SPAM. It's not clear how effective these calls are, but it seems like a popular alternative for candidates with little or no field organization.
Time will tell how much money is sunk into this race by the four candidates, but the word on the street is that Mr. Ross has already committed to pulling $100,000+ of his own money out of his carpetbag to buy this seat - a very "progressive" sum indeed.
A most unfortunate outcome in this race would be for the three Cambridge candidates to split the Cambridge vote and hand the election to the other candidate with less than a majority vote.
This most unfortunate side-effect of plurality elections is preventable by having a runoff election (or using "Instant Runoff Voting"), but a this is not an option for this election and will likely never be available as an option as long as our head-in-the-sand Mass. Democratic Party remains comfortable with the devil they know.
Neither the Democratic nor Republican parties in Massachusetts have expressed much interest, if any, in reforms proposed in the name of achieving fair elections. -- RW
Check out the video now.
Robert Winters reports on his Web site: Cambridge Civic Journal that four men have secured places on the ballot to replace Jarett T. Barrios in the State Senate seat representing the Middlesex, Suffolk and Essex district.
According to the Mass. Secretary of State's Office, four candidates have met the required minimum of 300 certified voter signatures to qualify for the Sept 11 Democratic primary election. They are Cambridge City Councillor Anthony Galluccio, Cambridge resident Tim Flaherty, Jeff Ross (who only moved to Cambridge when Barrios announced he was vacating his seat), and Chelsea City Councillor Paul Nowicki.
At least two other potential candidates filed signatures but failed to meet the minimum. To the best of my knowledge, there are no Republican or independent candidates at this time for the Oct 9 general election, so the winner on Sept 11 will almost certainly be the one to succeed Barrios.
The Alewife is co-sponsoring a candidates forum Aug. 16 at Porter Square's Masonic Hall with Progressive Democrats of Cambridge-Democracy for America and Progressive Democrats of Somerville. After the candidate make presentations and answer questions, members of PDC-DFA and PDS will vote on their endorsement for the Sept. 11 Democratic Primary. The forum is free and open to the public.
Dare to dream: From factory worker to best-selling author
Afaa Michael Weaver
Poet, playwright Afaa Michael Weaver is a marvelous wonder. His presence commands respect and dignity, and he exudes grace and serenity as he writes his way into history, detailing his remarkable journey out of poverty. I met him when he rolled into the Out of the Blue Art Gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts like a docile cyclone to feature his poetry at the Open Bark series that host performance artists every Saturday at 8pm. His down to earth approach was an instant winner with the audience. His voice boomed around the room like rolling thunder and caressed the ears like the fingers of warm honey, such sweet melody. Having grown –up in Baltimore, poetry from one of his best selling books “Talisman” (i.e. “The Bra”) is infused with deceptively simple verses and are at times both poignant and funny as he tells his story from the point of view of a young vulnerable black boy becoming a successful Black man in the midst of racial disharmony that to this day, continues to divide this country. He has authored and edited numerous books and has received countless honors and was considered for the Pulitzer Prize, which is the highest honor to bestow upon an author. He is currently a Professor at Simmons College and gives readings in and outside of the U.S. He is a towering talent with a FABULOUS life philosophy and after months of trying, I was finally able to get his attention long enough to conduct the following interview.
The Alewife: Tell me about your background, where you grew up, where you schooled and how your environment helped shape your present identity?
Afaa: I was born in Baltimore, Maryland, grew up there, and lived there until I was thirty-three years old. My parents bought a row house in East Baltimore, and I lived on that side of town until I left. Historically, the West Side was the home of the older and more middle class black families. There is a kind of rivalry. East Baltimore was the home of newer southerners from Virginia and the Carolinas. I am used to a mixture of urban and rural. So I would say that I live in Somerville because it is closer to an urban/rural feel in life. Now as to my identity, I would not identify myself as a Somerville resident. Identity is shaped by many things, as I see it, most principally the experience of the “I” or ego as we travel in life. So I would have to move into the realm of my environment as the fuller range of experience in my life. I worked in factories in Baltimore as a laborer for fifteen years. I am the descendant of Africans, Europeans, and Native Americans. I do Taijiquan (Cosmos Kungfu). I speak, read, and write Chinese on an intermediate level and am always studying. I have traveled behind the Iron Curtain. I am a Bagel Bard (a gathering of poets who meet in the Cambridge/Somerville area). Making the connections between those things and a little black boy in East Baltimore is something I leave you to ponder.
Afaa: The Baltimore of my childhood was the segregated South. I had no intimate contact with white people until I was shipped out to a white junior high school in 1963 as part of Civil Rights and integration. It was a trauma I am only now beginning to name and have yet to fully gauge. Children like me were little soldiers in the Civil Rights movement. Some of us have done well but at significant cost to our health. We were marched out into a space that was new to everyone. My parents never finished high school, and my dad’s family was sharecroppers, which was the culture that replaced slavery. They wanted the best for us, and I was the oldest child. I had to get out there and kill this lion that was living in the midst of America’s social reality. Instead of killing it, I have had to convince it that it is really a big kitty cat.
TA: Who are your influences?
Afaa: My first anthology was The Poetry of the Negro, edited by Langston Hughes and Arna Bontemps, and so those poets, many of them from the Harlem Renaissance were among my early models. I was very fascinated with T.S. Eliot, especially “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” His melodic way with language impressed and moved me. I met Lucille Clifton in 1978, and she encouraged me in a big way. She told me to buy X.J. Kennedy’s An Introduction to Poetry. That was when it was in its 2nd edition. I still use that book for teaching. John Ciardi’s How Does a Poem Mean is another book I bought and studied at Lucille’s recommendation.
TA: I heard that you are a Pulitzer Prize nominee? Is that true? And for what piece of writing were you nominated and when were you nominated?
Afaa: Several of my books were nominated for the Pulitzer. Tons of books are nominated each year. The significant news is that Timber and Prayer, my fifth book, was seriously considered for the 1996 Pulitzer Prize. There were less than a handful of books on the table in the final round, and Timber and Prayer was one of them.
TA: Is there anything else you wish to address?
Afaa: Address? Well, I would like to tell some of these fame hungry poets that the literary life is not about counting points and running around the country and the world giving readings and having name recognition. That’s a somewhat vulgar way of approaching the literary life. Take time to live and explore your life in deep ways, integrate your art with your life and stop looking at things the way traders do on Wall Street at the end of the day. My wish in life is to realize life as a drop in the ocean, to come to understand and realize life so I can experience it with the rest of humanity in the harmonic of the way an ocean is, calm at time, cresting to waves and tsunamis at other times, warming itself under the sun or cooling under the moon, tickling the life of all that is and beyond it, living on the earth like a slap or a warm caress…all in love. Thank you so much for this opportunity!
For more information, please visit Afaa’s blog at: http://eastbaltimoremuse.blogspot.com/
by Neil W. McCabe
The congressman for North Cambridge, as a member of the Democratic leadership team, has been in the middle of a flurry of votes in the House.
"On Tuesday the House passed H.R. 180: Darfur Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007. As many of you know, I am co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Sudan," said Rep. Michael E. Capuano, D, North Cambridge.
"I am gravely concerned about the ongoing genocide and am searching for ways to ease the suffering of so many innocent people. One way is to limit funds available to the Sudanese government by restricting investments in companies that do business with them. This bill directs the Treasury Secretary to create a list of companies that either conduct business with the Government of Sudan or invest in key Sudanese industries, and it prohibits federal government contracts with such companies," he said.
"It also includes provisions that specifically authorize states to divest from Sudan and it protects investment and pension funds that seek to do the same. This provision is essential in warding off lawsuits from those who wish to maximize profits without regard for a people’s suffering. I was proud to support this bill as one of its first co-sponsors. I voted YES. H.R. 180 passed in the House," he said.
Rep. Michael E. Capuano, D, North Cambridge
Capuano said, "The House Tuesday also considered S.1: the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007. This legislation increases transparency by establishing an online, searchable database of all Member financial disclosure forms and travel records. It requires that any sitting Member who is negotiating for another job disclose those deliberations and recuse themselves from any issues that may present a conflict of interest. It denies a Congressional pension to any Member of Congress who is convicted of corruption. S.1 also increases disclosure of lobbyist contributions to Member."
The bill does not meet all of the congressman's goals, he said. "Although this bill does include some very good provisions and greatly increases transparency, I do not believe that it will accomplish the most important reform: campaign finance reform.
"I believe that the best campaign finance reform would limit the amount of money that can be donated by any one person or entity. I have filed legislation to lower the contribution limit and I will push for its consideration. Although I did vote YES on S.1, I do not believe that, in the final analysis, it will eliminate the real problems created by the influence of money in Washington.
"People will always find loopholes to restrictions implemented unless we reduce the amount of money in the system. S.1 passed in the House and is expected to pass in the Senate today. It will then go to the President for his signature."
[This is posted for entertainment purposes. Do not respond to this plea without first consulting an attorney. --Editor.]
Lady Evelyn reports:
Here writes Lady Evelyn Martins, suffering from cancerous ailment. I was married to Engineer Lawrence Martins an Englishman who is dead, Our life together as man and wife lasted for three decades without child.
My husband and I made a vow to uplift the down-trodden and the less-privileged individuals as he had passion for persons who can not help themselves due to physical disability or financial predicament.
When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of 5 Million (5 Million Great Britain Pounds Sterling)
which were derived from his vast estates and investment in capital market with his bank here in UK.
Recently, my Doctor told me that I have limited days to live due to the cancerous problems.
Please I need some one who can help me reach out to this category of people.
Hope to hear from you soon and God bless you. You can contact me through my private email address: email@example.com
As the product of a Boston-Irish and Lebanese-Armenian union, I bring a unique perspective to the turmoil in the Middle East and our government's attempts to bring stability to the region.
The act that finally stirred my pen to action was the recently announced multi-billion arms deal with Sunni Arab states. A Bush administration official said this transaction is meant to convince our allies to play a more constructive role in Iraq and act as a bulwark against Iran's growing influence in the region, according to a New York Times article. Before the deal is official it must be approved by Congress in September.
In my opinion, this huge arms sales package is a great example of the jingoism and hypocrisy of American diplomacy and is only going to catalyze the further destabilization of the entire Middle East.
Not surprisingly, once Israel caught wind of this package deal they demanded more destructive goods as well, a request the Bush administration quickly approved. This lathering of the Israeli defense establishment will increase our military aid from $2.4 billion to $3 billion annually for 10 years.
This frustrated me on two levels. One is logical and the other is personal. Israel is chronically at ends with her neighbors. Giving them satellite guided missiles and revamping their navy is only going to increase blood shed and conflict in the region. Israel is such a militant state by nature that they will not simply use these arms to deter, but use them offensively, or defensively in their eyes.
No longer married to my mother, my father lives in Beirut. Watching the war between Hezbollah and Israel unravel last summer broke my heart. Initially, each side was responsible for starting it, but I believe Israel did not handle it the right way. Rather then retaliating on the specific faction that kidnapped their soldiers, they destroyed the country they were embedded in. A Lebanese friend of mine (who wishes to remain anonymous in fear of reprisal) said he truely believes the reason Israel perpetrated such and unproportionate couter-attack by carpet bombing the whole city, was because they wanted to destroy Beirut's thriving economy. In this they suceeded. Bombed out bridges and buildings was the surface damage, but more difficult to rebuild is the flow of tourism. My father is a jeweler and the majority of his business was from tourists. As a result of the war, and a drop in tourism he has had to put his trade aside and he has recently started up a sandwich shop to service locals near the mountains.