While You Remember Pearl Harbor Remember Catherine Greig and John Connolly

You hardly hear a mention in Boston about the man Jim who allegedly terrorized Boston and its environs for 25 years. You don’t even here much about Jim from those in the media responsible for hyping up his reputation in order to line their pockets with money. It’s almost as if he never existed.

The strange thing though back then when Jim was allegedly terrorizing Boston and the surrounding area for 25 years almost no one heard of him. If you were not from South Boston a small peninsula off the eastern part of Boston which has around 35,000 inhabitants, or a member of law enforcement involved in investigating organized crime, or a fellow gangster you were unlikely to know he existed. I remember talking to a Boston Police captain who had spent many years on the force mostly as a detective. He told me in all the time on the job he had only seen Jim once or twice.  The captain did most of his work downtown Boston. Jim hardly ever left South Boston other than to go to his home over the Neponset River Bridge to his condo in Quincy.

Saint Patrick Drove Snakes Out of Ireland – The Clergy Drove Him Out

Reading an article the other day about Ireland it stated that the Catholic archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid  Martin, estimated that only 20% of the population are true believers in the Catholic Church.

He went on to say: “I could spend all my time being concerned about the people who come to church, but they’re — you know I don’t want to be nasty — but they’re a dying breed, The situation is changing, but Irish Catholicism hasn’t changed with it.”

Who’d ever have thought that a bishop in the Catholic Church in Ireland would call those in the Church who were still true believers a dying breed. He did cling to a sliver of hope that the abandoning of the Church may be stopped and that the Church may reconnect with the people during the ongoing discussions over the upcoming vote next year to repeal the Eighth Amendment

He said: “The one way the church could lose” in the debate “is to compromise its position.” The Eighth Amendment prohibits abortion. Ireland is planning to vote on legalizing abortion.

Senator Grassley’s America: The View from the GOP Top

Senator Chuck Grassley was talking the other day about the new tax bill. Senator Grassley is an 84-year- old Republican. He has been in Congress 42 years. He graduated from Iowa State Teachers College with a masters in 1956. From 1959 to 1975 he was in the Iowa House of Reps. The latter year he was elected to Congress. His net worth is around 3 million which is not too far out of line for a guy of his age who has had a steady job and avoided women, booze and movies.

Right now the federal estate tax will exempt from taxation estates with a value of over 5.5 million dollars. Ma taxes estates with a value of over 1 million. The new federal tax bill will increase the exemption to those earning over 10 million dollars.

The tax rate on the estates that exceed those figures is 40%. So roughly after the new tax bill if you leave an estate of 20 million dollars the amount your heirs will receive tax-free is 16 million dollars. Grassley wants to do away with the tax totally.

Me and the GOP Tax Bill; Keeping America Dumb

I have to admit that it is somewhat hard to write about the Senate vote last Saturday morning at 2:00 am on the new tax bill. In part because few know what is in the 479 pages (I thought taxes were going to be simplified) and because it has to go to conference to be compared with the version put out by the House. But I do have a few general thoughts I would like to share.

Do you remember when the Tea Party started? Some refer to as the White Tea Party. It came into existence in response to the nation electing its first African-American president in 2008. It was composed of people who were conservative Republican voters. It caused an upheaval in American politics and brought about a big change in the membership of the House in the election of 2010 when the Republicans took 63 seats from the Democrats giving them a majority in the House and putting in to the Speaker’s seat John Boehner. It gained greater influence with more victories in later races.

Things Aren’t What Trump Tells You: The Not So Friendly Russians

I usually rise early and check on the BBC news among others. I’m not sure whether that is included in Trump’s description of “fake news” or not. I would note that a poll taken by Rasmussen showed the winner of the fake news trophy in the United States is Fox News so maybe he only includes American news as fake.

On the last day of November I saw as the headline in BBC news of  “North Korea: Russia accuses US of goading Kim Jong-un” 

The article read: “Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the US of seeking to provoke North Korea into stepping up its nuclear missile programme.”

“Wow,” I thought, “how did the Russians turn it around to aver we were provoking North Korea.”

The article went on: “He rejected a call by the American envoy to the UN Security Council to sever ties with the North after its latest ballistic missile test.”  I suppose that makes sense. An article in September noted: “Through Russian eyes, then, North Korea’s resolve in the face of American and international pressure is admirable and worth supporting. So while Russia may seem to go along with UN sanctions on North Korea, it works behind the scenes to make them as toothless as possible.”

MA State Police Scandal That Isn’t a Scandal

It is with interest that I read of the “scandal” that now seems to involve the Massachusetts State Police. As best I can tell some lawyer represents one, two or more troopers and he seems intent on suing one, two or upwards of dozens of people in federal court because of what happened. But for the life of me I don’t understand what he is looking to accomplish. To be frank, I don’t see that anything particularly wrong has been done.

As best I understand it a woman age 30 who is the daughter of a sitting judge was involved in a crash. A trooper arrived on the scene to investigate. He quickly came to the conclusion she was operating her vehicle in an impaired manner and was obviously under the influence of some drugs, alcohol or both. He found a heroin kit in the car and saw she had an outstanding warrant for a heroin charge. When he brought her to the station she had upwards of three times the amount of alcohol in her system than is acceptable.

During the investigation the trooper interacted with her. She failed the sobriety tests he gave her. She also made some salacious and gross statements which reflected badly on her.

The Blue Whale in the Room No One Wants to See

I wrote the other day how the President of the United States in blaming the Texas Church Massacre on a deranged person does not want to see the Blue Whale  in the room. That is that even if the person was deranged or mentally ill, of which there is no history, the massacre could not have happened if we had common sense gun laws in the country.

No one who thinks like the president wants to accept that the conditions that existed in 1787 were totally different from they are  today. It seems to me that suggesting a blunderbuss in the hands of a citizen is the same as a machine gun is the height of naïveté or at a minimum a sign one is blind to society as it exists today. One would say a good SAT question would be a machine gun is to the blunderbuss, as a nuclear bomb is to a (a) cherry bomb; (b) hand grenade; (c) 3 sticks of TNT; or (4) land mine.

Who is Deranged? The Supreme Court? The President? Or us?

I don’t think there is anyone that believes the Supreme Court of the United States has been right in its decisions as to what the law is  over the years. Those eminent nine justices sitting around in conference over a nine month period from October through June with their smart clerks have always been able to interpret the Constitution in such a manner that they pretend to tell us what provisions written in 1787 mean today even though what they said yesterday might have been quite different.  They are also able to find things in the Constitution that no one ever thought existed there.

They tell us that in the gun area the law that governs there can be few restrictions on the use of guns.  Thus we have situations where people can buy as many guns as they wish and can attach to them magazines that shoot 30 or more rounds off in a matter of seconds while carrying hundreds of other rounds which can be readily inserted into the gun to bring about the results we saw in the church massacre in Texas (26 people dead and 20 injured) or the country music festival in Las Vegas (58 people dead and 546 injured).