Dorchester Punches Back

by murphy on April 16, 2013

in Uncategorized

Dont’t call it a tragedy. An avalanche is a tragedy. An earthquake, cancer, a ship lost at sea is a tragedy. This is an outrage. Don’t call it a senseless act of violence. Child abuse is a senseless act of violence. A sucker punch, a drunken bar brawl, a mugging of an elderly person is a senseless act of violence. This is a coldly calculated attack which, sick and evil as it is, was “sensible” in the minds of the attackers.

These men had intention, strategy, ideology, and unlike an avalanche or a train wreck, the human capacity to change their minds and not plant and detonate bombs in a crowded place. But they chose not to change their minds. They chose to kill and maim our neighbors, friends, and guests in our city. Children. In our city while we were celebrating a day that commemorates the birth of individual freedom as the bedrock concept of government and the right of people to form a government run by ordinary people for the benefit of ordinary people. Government by the people for the people. Patriots Day.

Don’t say there are no words. There are words. Words like consequence, punishment, and death. Words like no mercy for the enemies of human progress and peace.

Harsh words, it’s true. But the western world (and Russia and most of Asia and Africa) has spent more than 2000 years shedding blood and enduring misery to learn a few good goddamned truths, and the truth above all that the descendants of the patriots who started a war in my Boston backyard 250 years ago know is this: we are endowed by our creator with the unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that no religion, ideology, government, or law can be allowed to subvert that right to individual freedom. The men who planned and carried out this murder and mayhem today, and those who sympathize with them, must be removed permanently from our civil society. The consequence of your actions today is punishment, and the punishment is death.

Don’t say, Pray. Pray if you want; if it gives you comfort, motivation, solace, or peace, do pray. But don’t tell us to pray. That is an abdication, and abdication of responsibility is a sin. The God you pray to will act in his infinite wisdom. It’s not for us to use prayer as a human solution. We can only pray in grace (without sin) for two things: intercession and wisdom, neither of which will bring back the dead, heal the wounded, or prevent the next attack. The only solution for humans – the only one ever offered to us is to ACT. We must think, we must choose, we must act, we must DO.

This is Boston. Here when somebody punches you, you punch back. Every kid in this city, whether Mattapan, Southie, East Boston, Roxbury, or Roslindale knows: if somebody attacks you, you fight back. You have to fight back. The first time, the second time, the last time. Until the one who wants to break you is broken himself. There can be no peace otherwise.

You took a Dorchester boy today, and Dorchester doesn’t forget, and Dorchester punches back.



Happy Spring, Pumas!!





‘I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother’: A Mom’s Perspective On The Mental Illness Conversation In America
Written by Liza Long, republished from The Blue Review

Friday’s horrific national tragedy — the murder of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut — has ignited a new discussion on violence in America. In kitchens and coffee shops across the country, we tearfully debate the many faces of violence in America: gun culture, media violence, lack of mental health services, overt and covert wars abroad, religion, politics and the way we raise our children. Liza Long, a writer based in Boise, says it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

While every family’s story of mental illness is different, and we may never know the whole of the Lanza’s story, tales like this one need to be heard — and families who live them deserve our help.

Three days before 20 year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, then opened fire on a classroom full of Connecticut kindergartners, my 13-year old son Michael (name changed) missed his bus because he was wearing the wrong color pants.

“I can wear these pants,” he said, his tone increasingly belligerent, the black-hole pupils of his eyes swallowing the blue irises.

“They are navy blue,” I told him. “Your school’s dress code says black or khaki pants only.”

“They told me I could wear these,” he insisted. “You’re a stupid bitch. I can wear whatever pants I want to. This is America. I have rights!”

“You can’t wear whatever pants you want to,” I said, my tone affable, reasonable. “And you definitely cannot call me a stupid bitch. You’re grounded from electronics for the rest of the day. Now get in the car, and I will take you to school.”

I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.

A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan — they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.

That conflict ended with three burly police officers and a paramedic wrestling my son onto a gurney for an expensive ambulance ride to the local emergency room. The mental hospital didn’t have any beds that day, and Michael calmed down nicely in the ER, so they sent us home with a prescription for Zyprexa and a follow-up visit with a local pediatric psychiatrist.

We still don’t know what’s wrong with Michael. Autism spectrum, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant or Intermittent Explosive Disorder have all been tossed around at various meetings with probation officers and social workers and counselors and teachers and school administrators. He’s been on a slew of antipsychotic and mood altering pharmaceuticals, a Russian novel of behavioral plans. Nothing seems to work.

At the start of seventh grade, Michael was accepted to an accelerated program for highly gifted math and science students. His IQ is off the charts. When he’s in a good mood, he will gladly bend your ear on subjects ranging from Greek mythology to the differences between Einsteinian and Newtonian physics to Doctor Who. He’s in a good mood most of the time. But when he’s not, watch out. And it’s impossible to predict what will set him off.

Several weeks into his new junior high school, Michael began exhibiting increasingly odd and threatening behaviors at school. We decided to transfer him to the district’s most restrictive behavioral program, a contained school environment where children who can’t function in normal classrooms can access their right to free public babysitting from 7:30-1:50 Monday through Friday until they turn 18.

The morning of the pants incident, Michael continued to argue with me on the drive. He would occasionally apologize and seem remorseful. Right before we turned into his school parking lot, he said, “Look, Mom, I’m really sorry. Can I have video games back today?”

“No way,” I told him. “You cannot act the way you acted this morning and think you can get your electronic privileges back that quickly.”

His face turned cold, and his eyes were full of calculated rage. “Then I’m going to kill myself,” he said. “I’m going to jump out of this car right now and kill myself.”

That was it. After the knife incident, I told him that if he ever said those words again, I would take him straight to the mental hospital, no ifs, ands, or buts. I did not respond, except to pull the car into the opposite lane, turning left instead of right.
“Where are you taking me?” he said, suddenly worried. “Where are we going?”

“You know where we are going,” I replied.

“No! You can’t do that to me! You’re sending me to hell! You’re sending me straight to hell!”

I pulled up in front of the hospital, frantically waiving for one of the clinicians who happened to be standing outside. “Call the police,” I said. “Hurry.”

Michael was in a full-blown fit by then, screaming and hitting. I hugged him close so he couldn’t escape from the car. He bit me several times and repeatedly jabbed his elbows into my rib cage. I’m still stronger than he is, but I won’t be for much longer.
The police came quickly and carried my son screaming and kicking into the bowels of the hospital. I started to shake, and tears filled my eyes as I filled out the paperwork — “Were there any difficulties with… at what age did your child… were there any problems with.. has your child ever experienced.. does your child have…”

At least we have health insurance now. I recently accepted a position with a local college, giving up my freelance career because when you have a kid like this, you need benefits. You’ll do anything for benefits. No individual insurance plan will cover this kind of thing.

For days, my son insisted that I was lying — that I made the whole thing up so that I could get rid of him. The first day, when I called to check up on him, he said, “I hate you. And I’m going to get my revenge as soon as I get out of here.”

By day three, he was my calm, sweet boy again, all apologies and promises to get better. I’ve heard those promises for years. I don’t believe them anymore.

On the intake form, under the question, “What are your expectations for treatment?” I wrote, “I need help.”

And I do. This problem is too big for me to handle on my own. Sometimes there are no good options. So you just pray for grace and trust that in hindsight, it will all make sense.

I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and only one was a woman. Mother Jones focused on whether the killers obtained their guns legally (most did). But this highly visible sign of mental illness should lead us to consider how many people in the U.S. live in fear, like I do.

When I asked my son’s social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.”

I don’t believe my son belongs in jail. The chaotic environment exacerbates Michael’s sensitivity to sensory stimuli and doesn’t deal with the underlying pathology. But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise — in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population.

With state-run treatment centers and hospitals shuttered, prison is now the last resort for the mentally ill — Rikers Island, the LA County Jail and Cook County Jail in Illinois housed the nation’s largest treatment centers in 2011.

No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, “Something must be done.”

I agree that something must be done. It’s time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That’s the only way our nation can ever truly heal.

God help me. God help Michael. God help us all.

(Originally published at The Anarchist Soccer Mom.)

H/T Gordana





Time Flies Like a Banana

by murphy on November 6, 2012

in election 2012

Hard to believe that four long obama years have flown by. It seems like just yesterday we were protesting the 2008 election and then hunkering down four months later for an obama term. Those days are over TODAY. But only if you go out and vote. SO, go out and vote for gawd’s sake!

This is an open election day thread. Post to let us know you voted and share what you saw/felt at the polls today.

This guy does the simple math on how Romney gets to 270:

“here’s a much simpler way to understand Romney’s task. Assuming Obama wins Nevada, all he has to do to win the election is take the big four in the Rust Belt and midwest — i.e., Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. That would put him at 271. Romney must win at least one of those four states to have any chance of victory. If he doesn’t, then he’d have to win every other battleground state — Nevada included — or else.”

I think there is no way in hell that obama will win all four of Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. My hunch, for what it’s worth, is Romney will take Wisconsin and Michigan. We will know the outcome soon enough. Sit tight!



President Barack Obama (Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas)

Vote for the guy who promises
“a higher minimum wage, a ban on the replacement of striking workers, seven days of paid sick leave, a more diverse media ownership structure, renegotiation of NAFTA, letting bankruptcy judges write down mortgage debt, a ban on illegal wiretaps, an end to national security letters, stopping the war on whistle-blowers, passing the Employee Free Choice Act, restoring habeas corpus, and labor protections in the FAA bill.”
Oh wait, if you voted for obama in 2008, you already did. But of course obama not only did NONE of these things, he even doubled down on several of Bush’s policies. OOps! From an article by progressive democrat Matt Stoller on why liberals should NOT vote for obama in 2012.

Remember liberal women, obama is the guy who ” insisted that women under 17 shouldn’t have access to Plan B birth control, overruling scientists at the FDA, because of his position ”as a father of two daughters.” Girls, he said, shouldn’t be able to buy these drugs next to “bubble gum and batteries.” Aside from the obvious sexism, he left out the possibility that young women who need Plan B had been raped by their fathers, which anyone who works in the field knows happens all too often.”

I’m voting against obama and his ilk every time — until true, modern, liberal values are restored to the Democratic party. Every time you reward a bully and a liar by not standing up to him, he will hit you again. As Stoller says, “Systems that can’t go on, don’t. The political elites, as much as they kick the can down the road, know this. The question we need to ask ourselves is, do we?”



Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

From Nate Silver’s post this morning in the NYT:

“Mr. Obama’s narrow lead in Ohio accounts for the bulk of his overall advantage in the forecast right now. Were Ohio decreed to Mr. Romney by fiat, Mr. Obama’s chances of winning would decline to 57 percent from 70 percent in the forecast.

Come on, Ohio, the whole country is depending on you. I actually think Ohio is more important to obama than it is to Romney. Romney can afford to lose Ohio as long as he wins Wisconsin, Iowa, and Virginia, which he clearly is on track to do in any event. obama can only afford to lose Ohio if he instead wins Virginia or Colorado, as well as Wisconsin, Iowa and Nevada (not going to happen). If Ohio goes to Romney it will probably mean a popular AND electoral vote landslide of Reaganesque proportions. By the way, this is a fun game — click on the states to make your own predictions about the electoral vote outcome HERE. The NYT has a super one too. I may never get back to work.

How anyone can say that obama won the debate last night is beyond me. Yeah, he did okay (using the soft bigotry of low expectations here), but Romney was clearly more the master of facts, figures, and ideas. He also came across more calm, measured, and likable. obama isn’t even likable enough anymore. Or, as Dafyyd Ab Hugh (what?) put it,

“Romney carefully painted a portrait of presidential bearing and gravitas, knowledge and wisdom, specificity and the political chops to carry it out, and the courage to point out that Emperor Obama has no clothes. Since that last clause was demonstrably true, the end result is — well, not quite inevitable; it ain’t over till the fat lady votes — but extremely likely: Mitt Romney is going to win this election.”

The one thing I am REALLY gonna miss now that the debates are over is the Frank Luntz focus groups. Pure. Comedy. Gold. If you haven’t seen the woman who starts screaming and spitting you really owe yourself to click on that LINK and watch the video. It’s like an SNL skit. Except not because it’s actually REAL.


how to lose by winning. ..

PPP (democratic polling company) found a majority of Independents who watched the debate (55%) think obama won. But most of them are going to vote for Romney.





by murphy on October 22, 2012

in election 2012,Mitt Romney

"Obamachair" by Barry Blitt. Cover of the New Yorker magazine published 10/15/12

It’s Mitt Romney versus President Empty Chair for the 3rd and final debate before the 2012 presidential election in 15 days (ohhh, like Chris Matthews, I get a bona fide TINGLE anticipating November 6th and its aftermath :-) ). We will be live blogging the final debate tonight here. I’ll be watching on CNN, Fox, and CSpan, and checking in to New England Cable News to see if my pal is doing post-debate commentary. I’ll also be checking in as per.

All my Cali and SFBay Area puma pals, fingers crossed for the Giants tonight!!



Not only is he funny and charming, he’s also chivalrous and self-deprecating. And kind of cruel. Favorite line?  Romney said that both he and the president have people they lean on — their anchors in good times and bad. Romney —  ”I have my beautiful wife, Ann, … he’s got Bill Clinton.”