• Remembering Syl on Mother's Day

    My Mom, Sylvia

      My Mom, Sylvia Readers may wonder why I pen a Mother’s Day tribute about my mother on a Website that publishes political commentary. The answer is easy: Sylvia was a political person. Sylvia was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1921. She grew up in a family that did not want for much since Syl’s father, Bill, had a good job working as the superintendent at his bother’s textile mill in Rhode Island, where the family moved for that work. The mill was quite successful and produced dyed synthetic fibers. It was one of many mills that Bill’s brother operated. Syl married my dad, Irv, in the early 1940s. Irv’s…

  • returning home

    You Can Go Home Again, but You Might Not Like What You Find

      You Can Go Home Again, but You Might Not Like What You Find I went home after 34 years to the town where I grew up. The town is located in central Rhode Island. It was the epicenter for the textile industry in the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. Because of that industry, a robust business district existed in the town’s center that sold everything from clothing to hardware. My family came to this town to work in its textile industry and to establish a clothing business. My childhood memories include the busy streets of the town on Friday evenings, when stores remained open until 9:00…

  • U.S. Census

    The Day People Disappeared: A New Strategy for Stealing Votes

      The Day People Disappeared: A New Strategy for Stealing Votes   Published at CounterPunch on May 6, 2019 It was a routine day in completing census enumeration for the U.S. Census in 2010. The census was great work because no one was above me in a supervisory role while I was out on the streets. I really loved the work. And then I came upon two groups of individuals that seemed to disappear after I attempted to complete the census with them. The first group of four people lived above a business in a community in western Massachusetts. There were three or four apartments surrounding the hallway on the…

  • income inequality

    In Your Face Income Inequality

      In Your Face Income Inequality The delivery trucks have been driving on a driveway next to mine in the rural Berkshires of western Massachusetts for eight months. They drive home (no pun intended here) income inequality in a way that other experiences cannot. The home that I write about here is a second home on well over thirty acres of farmland. There are two separate houses on the land and a gargantuan pool building beside an outdoor pool. The houses and land sold for about $1 million in 2013, and two major construction projects have gone on there since its purchase. This real estate is similar to scores of others in the area…

  • Uncategorized

    Mental Health in the Time of Existential Threats

      Mental Health in the Time of Existential Threats Published at CounterPunch on April 30, 2019 To prepare for a yearly physical examination, I received a questionnaire that addressed emotional health. I had read somewhere… I cannot remember where… that physicians were addressing these emotional concerns as part of an attempt to look at the whole (I can’t come up with a better description here) person in assessing overall health. So, how’s my mental health in 2019? To answer this complex question, I have to go back to the early 1970s and mention a psychiatrist who practiced in Rhode Island where I lived. His name was Alfred Fireman, and he…

  • Massachusetts

    Loose Bullets and Loose Cannons

    Loose Bullets and Loose Cannons   Published at CounterPunch on April 22, 2019 The Huffington Post (“Substitute Teacher Fired After Bullets Fall Out Of Pockets In Pre-K Class,” April 15, 2019) reported the story of the substitute pre-kindergarten teacher at an elementary school in Millbury, Massachusetts who had been fired because he dropped loose bullets from his pocket in class. That incident prompted a search of his home that found unsecured guns. It seems unfathomable that a person could carry loose bullets around in a school environment (not illegal in Massachusetts) among young children without noticing, but given the benefit of the doubt, perhaps a busy schedule, or other issue, might have…

  • Julian Assange and a Free Press

    How Dangerous is Julian Assange’s Arrest to a Free Press?

    How Dangerous is Julian Assange’s Arrest to a Free Press? The simple answer is very, especially if the First Amendment’s future is considered. For those readers who think Julian Assange will “pay” some price for his publication of the illegal acts of war of the U.S., among thousands of other documents, and then be free to go his way, perhaps some serious soul-searching is necessary. Five years in prison, or whatever the U.S. government finally penalizes Assange with for so-called illegal access to a protected computer, would only be the beginning of the end for Assange. The government of the U.S. has been waging a war against freedom of the…

  • Chelsea Manning Julian Assange

    Whistleblowers Beware! 

    Whistleblowers Beware!  It’s not an accident that Chelsea Manning is in jail and once again temporarily sent to solitary confinement before being released into the general prison population,  and Julian Assange is teetering at the precipice of being tried and imprisoned in the U.S. following the certainty of extradition with the cooperation of the government of England. The U.S. government is at war with both Manning and Assange because they divulged classified information and in particular the “Iraq War Logs” and the “Afghan War Diary.” Those “logs” and “diary” recounted U.S. airstrikes in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Within the “Iraq War Logs” is a video of a helicopter strike in Iraq in which…

  • U.S. politcal system and the political left

    The Political Left is Bigger Than Imagined: Ask the Feds

      The Political Left is Bigger Than Imagined: Ask the Feds   Published at CounterPunch, April 8, 2019 There has always been official disdain for the political left in the U.S. The suppression of left movements began with the Palmer raids of 1919-1920 in the First Red Scare. Anarchists were deported in a manner similar to the removal of immigrants from the U.S. today, some of whom committed only minor offenses, and some of whom have been held or deported while active asylum claims have been made, or could have been made. Then there were the communist witch hunts of the Cold War of the 1940s and 1950s, culminating, but not limited to, the execution of…

  • Woodstock at 50

    Woodstock at 50

    Woodstock at 50 Published at CounterPunch on March 29, 2019 In a few, short months, on August 15, 50 years will have passed since Woodstock (known formally as the Woodstock Music & Art Fair, An Aquarian Exposition), a defining cultural event of the 1960s and a defining event of the baby boom generation, took place.  It took 43 years for me to get to the rolling hills in White Lake, New York at the foot of the Catskill Mountains where the festival was held. The contemporary museum and outdoor music venue are a few hundred yards away from where the Woodstock stage was erected and the bowl-like lay of the…

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