Before a couple of days ago, I had never heard of Rep Michael Capuano(D, MA). But he has made some comments that I find quite interesting and frankly, somewhat disturbing. First, a bit of background about Rep Capuano. He is in his 7th term as the representative of the eighth congressional district, succeeding one Joseph Kennedy III. Prior to his service in Congress he served as mayor of Somerville, ma from 1990-1998.
So, what did Rep Capuano say? At a Tuesday rally of Boston union members, he made this comment, which by the way, was greeted with rousing applause by his audience . ” Every once in a while you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary.” He was attempting to fire up his union audience urging them to get down in the trenches to fend off challenges to workers rights.
After being challenged on the inflammatory nature of these words he has backtracked a bit. He issued an apology for his choice of words stating that his passion for defending workers rights caused him to get carried away.
Now, I am certainly glad he apologized for what he said, but am still disturbed by its tenor and its reception. Imagine, if you will, the response had this comment originated from any one of several conservative speakers who would have been just as wrong in saying it.
I am a union member and am supportive of workers rights and collective bargaining but I have no wish to get out in the streets and get a little bloody in promoting those rights. ( Yes I know that there are instances of this in our country’s labor relations) I must admit, when I first became aware of his comments my mind veered towards the turmoil that has gone on for weeks now in the Middle East and North Africa , with no end in sight. Many people have gotten a little bloody( and much worse) in pushing for change.
As with any statement such as his, I fervently hope that no one takes then literally to heart and chooses to act accordingly. I trust that the congressman will really the troops in a different manner when he next has the opportunity.
…only as one looks back with hindsight’s 20/20 vision. What was the year? 1776! We date the very birth of our country from that year, focusing our attention primarily on the “doings” in June and early July that culminated in Mr Jefferson’s finest work, although it was not his alone, the Declaration of Independence.
Quite a phrase that is, even 233 years and 9 months hence. But as David McCullough writes in his excellent book of the same name, 1776 was known maybe more for its failures than successes at least as far as the Revolutionary War itself. He writes of the Battle of Brooklyn that was an American disaster, the retreat from Boston, a crushing defeat at Ft Washington and on it goes. Were it not for the near miraculous crossing of the Delaware and the victories at Trenton and Princeton, all could have been lost.
What fascinated me even more were the insights into George Washington, both good and bad. He was indeed highly thought of by his men and officers, but there were flaws. He was somewhat lacking in strategy and tactics, particularly in the early days. He showed several marked examples of poor judgment as well. But, perhaps the key as McCullough writes, he never forgot what was at stake and he never gave up. In both his words and deeds, the concept keeps recurring, perseverance. As Nathaniel Greene so aptly foresaw,” he will be the deliverer of his own country.”
But perhaps for me this next showed Washington at his best and foreshadowed his attitude towards the presidency and the near hero worship status he was accorded. In late 1776, Congress gave him, for a period of six months, near dictatorial powers. A lesser man could have done irreparable damage to the country while edifying himself above civil authority. In our time , in many countries, we have seen that very thing. But this was his response.
” Instead of thinking myself freed from all civil obligations by this mark of their confidence, I shall constantly bear in mind that as the sword was the last resort for the preservation of our liberties, so it ought to be the first thing laid aside when those liberties are firmly established.”
The Father of his county indeed and a good example to follow.
On Monday, my favorite author passed away. Crime novelist extraordinaire Robert B Parker died of an apparent heart attack while working at home. Although he was 77, Mr Parker’s death was something of a surprise since he seemed in good health.
He was the author of more than 60 books; sales of which have exceeded 4 million. (Would have thought his sales were higher than that.) He did several series along with some western novels. But for my money it was his literary creation of the wise-cracking private eye, Spenser, like the poet, that set apart from all the rest. Spenser seemed almost to be Parker’s alter ego. Both were gourmet cooks, quite literate and well read, fans of German short-haired pointer named Pearl and of course Bostonian to the core.
The Spenser series began with The Godwulf Manuscript and has at its latest installment The Professional. I can say latest since his editor at G.P. Putnam’s Sons, Chris Pepe, says there are some Spenser books in the pipeline. That is good for those who are his readers but will not lessen the sense of loss for his wife and 2 sons.
Condolences to his family who have suffered by far the greater loss.
I feel it somehow appropriate to close with one of my favorite Spenser quotes and they are many. At the beginning of one book, he is approached by a prospective client and asked if he is indeed Spenser the private detective. ” Yes, and proud of it.” Thank you Mr Parker for your literary gift and you could justifiably be proud of it.
Obviously, to post won out over not posting and aren’t we all fortunate? Just kidding. I was undecided whether to write about something I liked or to vent about the lengthening list of people who have the distinct ability to get on my nerves, without even trying, I might add. Since that list seems never-ending I shall let it wait for another day. I suppose that I should provide an example or two. How about Whoopi Goldberg, Barbra Streisand and Rosie O’Donnell? Over I have come in recent yeras grown to enjoy author Robert B Parker. Mr Parker has written for over 25 years but we have only been reading his work for the last 4-5 years . He is a novelist who has done most of his work in the context of three series . The longest running of these and my favorite involves a detective known in the books as Spencer, like the poet , as the character is wont to say . Some people might remember a short- lived tv series based on this character who was portrayed by the late Robert Urich . I don’t want to spoil the joy of your discovery with the writer or the character but rather share enough to whet your appetite . I actually like the books enough to reread them . Anyway, Spencer is a tough , hard boiled guy from Boston with a ” main squeeze ” named Susan and a best buddy known only as Hawk who is as tough if not more so than Spencer. Our hero is a private eye by trade because he got fired as a cop due to issues with authority . He is a former boxer, a gourmet cook and extremely literate . My favorite characteristic by far is his wit and he is not bashful to share same in any and all situations . I would thoroughly enjoy sharing 20 or 30 of my favorite Spencerisms but will just pass along a couple which are paraphrased . A new client comes in and asks if he is Spencer and he replies,yes and proud of it . Two guys want to rough him up a bit and he tells them it doesn’t seem fair, so maybe he’ll keep one hand in his pocket to even it up. It actually is much funnier in context. So check out Mr Parker and Spencer, et. al and have a great read .
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