The war in Syria: a confused state of affairs

English: The United Nations Security Council C...

English: The United Nations Security Council Chamber in New York, also known as the Norwegian Room Français: La Salle de réunion du Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies à New York Nederlands: De Zaal van de Veiligheidsraad van de Verenigde Naties in New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m probably like most Americans: confused.  On one hand, I look at the pictures of the victims in Syria, not only the dead and injured from the chemical weapons attack, but also those in refugee camps or living in caves and wonder why the world can’t do anything to help.  On the other hand, there is a seemingly intractable diplomatic stalemate and no one wants “boot on the ground”.  So what to do.

The British drafted a resolution that was discussed by the United Nations Security Council condemning use of chemical weapons but it didn’t get anywhere because of the threat of a Russian veto.  This morning, the Guardian reports on President Putin’s reaction

Vladimir Putin has rejected US intelligence claims that Bashar al-Assad’s regime used chemical weapons in Syria, saying it would be “utter nonsense” for government troops to use such tactics in a war it was already winning.

“That is why I am convinced that [the chemical attack] is nothing more than a provocation by those who want to drag other countries into the Syrian conflict, and who want to win the support of powerful members of the international arena, especially the United States,” Putin told journalists in Vladivostok.

The Russian president also challenged the US to present its case for military intervention to the UN security council, after suggesting that if Barack Obama was worthy of his Nobel peace prize, he should think about the possible victims of any intervention by foreign forces.

Is this a signal that the United States should wait to take action?  Is Putin ready to compromise – or at least to talk?

Meanwhile John Kerry, the hero of the anti-Vietnam War movement, is sounding more and more like Donald Rumsfeld – or maybe Colin Powell at the UN.  The New York Times reports

Again and again, some 24 times in all, he used the phrase “we know” as he described the intelligence that Syria’s government massacred more than 1,400 people with chemical weapons. And then, while saying no decision had been made, he left no doubt that the United States would respond with military power.

“We know that after a decade of conflict, the American people are tired of war — believe me, I am, too,” said Mr. Kerry, who opposed the Iraq war in his failed presidential bid in 2004. “But fatigue does not absolve us of our responsibility. Just longing for peace does not necessarily bring it about. And history would judge us all extraordinarily harshly if we turned a blind eye to a dictator’s wanton use of weapons of mass destruction against all warnings, against all common understanding of decency.”

Just seven months after being sworn in as secretary of state, Mr. Kerry has become President Obama’s frontman in the public argument for a military strike against the Syrian government. While the president sounds restrained in his language and even perhaps personally ambivalent about the operation he seems likely to order, Mr. Kerry came across on Friday as an unstinting advocate for action against what he called “a despot’s brutal and flagrant use of chemical weapons.”

The problem is that we were lied to once, told that there was intelligence that proved there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and even though some of us may want to trust Kerry, it is hard to do so even with the level of specificity in the summary report he released.

As to allies, the British Parliament has voted not to participate in any military action and French public opinion is also against.  The Arab League has said that while they think Assad used chemical weapons, they can’t support any military action.  The public here is lukewarm at best.

This is not Libya.  In Libya there was a recognized opposition which had actually established a shadow government with diplomats working with the European Union, Arab League and the United States.  We know that when she was Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton tried hard to get the opposition in Syria to form a similar government but was unable to do so.  The situation is that someone, most likely the Syrian government or someone fighting with the government, has used chemical weapons on the civilian population.  (I think we can trust Doctors Without Borders when they say they were used.)  This use goes against what 99% of the world’s people believe is right.

A large, but so far not a majority, of members of Congress think there should be a debate and resolution under the War Powers Act.  I know that Kerry and the President both believe they have already followed the Act by consulting with Congress.  It is up to John Boehner and Harry Reid to call Congress back for a debate and not just a consultation.  The question now is whether Obama will act before they can do so.  The summit for the G20 is next week.  Will the missiles fly before then?  The UN inspectors have left Syria.  Have they been told an attack is imminent?

I’m not sure that I agree with Bob Dreyfuss who called the President a “schoolyard bully” but there is a great deal of irony in seeing two men who made their reputations opposing war now trying to justify military action.

Let’s say the President waits a week.   He can talk to folks at the summit.  The UN Security Council can talk some more.  Congress gets back into town and holds a debate.  I don’t see that anything is lost.  The Syrians have all ready evacuated areas and moved military assets so maybe we don’t need an actual strike with the potential for civilian casulties.  Plus we don’t really know all the consequences of a strike.  More acts of terrorism in the United States?  More chemical attacks on civilians?  A wider conflict?  An excuse for the Republicans to try to impeach him?

There are a lot of negatives and unknowns to military action, but I haven’t heard a credible alternative either.  I can only hope that the President, who says he hasn’t made up his mind yet, thinks about this a bit longer.  Maybe he is actually like the rest of us – wanting to do something, but not sure what the something should be.  All the more reason to wait.

Economic justice and the March on Washington

Correction:  I refer to today as if it were the 28th.  The date I posted this is the 27th.  I seem to not know what day it is!

 

The official name of the march we celebrate today is the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  Notice what comes first.  Jobs.  And while no one can deny that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a brilliant leader who served as a public face for the civil rights movement, we tend to forget that when he was assassinated in Memphis he was there to support sanitation workers striking for higher wages and employment rights.  Dr. King had moved past the simple movement for integration of public facilities and voting rights to understand that gaining equality meant a great deal more that sitting at a lunch counter or riding in the front of a bus.  Yes, those were monumental achievements, but true equality also means economic justice.

One man to whom we owe the March on Washington 50 years ago today is someone few have heard of:  Asa Philip Randolph.  Jack Curtis celebrated him in last Sunday’s Boston Globe.  The headline and subhead kinda of say it all:

Economic equality: What the March on Washington didn’t win

Fifty years later, why we remember King and not A. Philip Randolph

Rep. Byron Rushing (left) from Roxbury and John Dukakais at the unveiling of the A. Phillip Randolph statue in Boston’s Back Bay Station.

Rep. Byron Rushing (left) from Roxbury and John Dukakais at the unveiling of the A. Phillip Randolph statue in Boston’s Back Bay Station.

Today we can still point to the high unemployment rates, the lack of health care in many places, the failing schools and know that black Americans suffer the most.

The director of the march and its opening speaker, A. (for Asa) Philip Randolph (1889 – 1979) was established by 1963 as the century’s preeminent force on black labor and the dean of American civil rights leaders. Born in Crescent City, Fla., the son of a minister and a seamstress, Randolph moved in 1911 to Harlem, where he became a staunch socialist, a labor organizer, and a renowned soapbox orator. In 1925, Randolph was named the first president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, which he guided for over four decades.

In 1941, Randolph leapt onto the national stage. He and his fellow activist Bayard Rustin initiated what they called the March on Washington Movement, or MOWM, with the goal of staging a massive march to protest racial discrimination in the armed forces and defense industries. An alarmed Franklin Roosevelt summoned Randolph to the White House. Just one week later, Roosevelt issued an order prohibiting workplace discrimination throughout the nation’s defense industries, which led Randolph to call off the scheduled march
MOWM lasted only through 1946. But in the 1960s, as the nation’s African-Americans faced high unemployment and low wages and the country was shocked by violent attacks on civil rights demonstrators in the South, Randolph and Rustin turned to the same organizing tactics. In early 1963, Rustin and three associates addressed a memo to Randolph, then 74, calling for “mass descent” upon Washington, with 100,000 participants protesting “the economic subordination of the American Negro.” They envisioned a groundswell of protest calling for freedom and jobs.  Randolph and Rustin, aided by labor organizers and civil rights activists, organized the march with the dual goals of ending racial segregation and discrimination in the Jim Crow South and achieving economic equality for all Americans.
Randolph was a union organizer and Bayard Rustin (someone else you may never have heard of), often called “brother outsider” was a pacifist and gay.  Together they put together the event now best known for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a dream speech.  Rustin was also a major influence in bringing Dr. King  to embrace non violence.
Bayard Rustin with Martin Luther King, Jr.  in 1956

Bayard Rustin with Martin Luther King, Jr.
in 1956

In February 1956, when Bayard Rustin arrived in Montgomery to assist with the nascent bus boycott, Martin Luther King, Jr. had not personally embraced nonviolence. In fact, there were guns inside King’s house, and armed guards posted at his doors. Rustin persuaded boycott leaders to adopt complete nonviolence, teaching them Gandhian nonviolent direct protest.
Rustin was the speaker who read the list of the marcher’s demands.  You can read or listen to the transcript of Rustin reading the list of the demands in this link from WGBH radio.   They were seen as quite militant and including a living minimum wage. We all recited the pledge that committed ourselves to action.  I think it was in our programs.  (I found my button but so far haven’t located my program.)
As you watch the 50th anniversary coverage, remember A. Phillip Randolph and Bayard Rustin.  Without them, we would not be celebrating this important milestone today,  We can honor them by supporting the continuing fight for economic justice.
Jack Curtis concludes

But King’s emphasis on integration and legal equality gradually came to be seen as the primary impetus for the movement. In the years since, the optimistic and basically patriotic appeal of King’s speech has served to eclipse the march’s agenda and distort the popular understanding of its significant challenge to the status quo. The standard narrative skirts the more controversial, no less patriotic, themes of the march, and the radicalism that was front and center that day.

Randolph’s legacy is not forgotten, including in Boston. In the waiting area of Back Bay Station sits a larger-than life statue of Randolph by sculptor Tina Allen, dedicated in 1988 by Governor Michael Dukakis. Speakers at the dedication ceremony, including state Representative Byron Rushing, hailed the contributions to the railroad industry by porters and waiters from the black community, many of whom had lived in the Roxbury and South End neighborhoods by the station. A quote inscribed in the monument’s base attests to Randolph’s militant stance: “Freedom is never granted; it is won. Justice is never given. It is exacted.”

As we look back over the last 50 years, and look around at a country with rising and racially inflected economic inequality, that revolutionary spirit sits less easily than the hope of King’s “dream speech.” We embrace King’s dream in part because we sense that the country has indeed gone some way down that long road to freedom, and his vision can still set us dreaming and move us forward. But focusing on the demands by Randolph that fell to the wayside, we see even more glaringly that the march’s core aims of economic justice are not close to fruition; even today, we stand at the start of that path. It’s been a long time coming, and it may be a long time yet to come.

Photograph:  Randolph Statue John Tlumacki/Globe staff
Photography:  Rustin and King Associated Press

Voting rights: 2013

This Brian McFadden cartoon seemed appropriate for posting as people are Marching on Washington for Jobs and Freedom once again.

mcfadden voting

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has it right in her dissent from the recent decision:  Why would we want to do away with something that is working?

What’s next? Impeachment!

I sense there is a growing level of frustration among Republican members of Congress.  Their opposition to immigration reform is not playing well with either the public or Republican party elders.  Same for their desire to shut down government to prevent the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare from full implementation.  Some of them have been hammered at town hall meetings and the videos are posted all over YouTube.  The deficit is actually shrinking.  Republican governors like Rick Perry are reversing themselves and asking for Medicaid funds.  And the President and his administration are doing the best they can given that no proposal will pass the House.  So what is left for them.  Impeach Obama!

Steve Breen wrote on MaddowBlog

When fringe figures like Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.) talk about impeaching President Obama without cause, it’s a mild curiosity. When U.S. senators push the same idea, it’s more alarming.

“I think those are serious things, but we’re in serious times,” said Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn during a town hall in his home state. “And I don’t have the legal background to know if that rises to ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’ but I think you’re getting perilously close.”

The remark came after an attendee called the Obama administration “lawless” and asked, “who is responsible for enforcing [Obama’s] constitutional responsibilities?”

Coburn apparently has given this a fair amount of thought, telling constituents, “What you have to do is you have to establish the criteria that would qualify for proceedings against the president, and that’s called impeachment. That’s not something you take lightly, and you have to use a historical precedent of what that means.” He added that he believes “there’s some intended violation of the law in this administration.”

Official portrait of Tom Coburn, U.S. Senator.

Official portrait of Tom Coburn, U.S. Senator. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But what violation?

And what, pray tell, has the president done that Coburn perceives as possible “high crimes”? In keeping with the recent trend, the Oklahoma Republican never got around to explaining what the grounds for impeachment would be. Coburn mentioned that he’d heard a rumor about the Department of Homeland Security choosing to “ignore” background checks for immigrants, but he did not elaborate.

Meanwhile Sam Stein tweeted David Axelrod’s reaction

“that was his considered legal opinion as an obstetrician”

Maybe it is just wishful thinking on my part, but I think that Americans still want government to fix roads and bridges, regulate our food, water, drugs and financial institutions, and help those you are in need.  Sure, we all wish for new, creative solutions to some of the problems that seem intractable, but on the whole I think Americans just wish that Congress would actually work with the President instead of just voting “no”.  But the fact that even Mitch McConnell has a challenger from the right in the Republican Primary does not make this seem possible.

I’ll give the last word to Steve Breen

And finally, for every Beltway pundit who proclaims with a tear in their eye, “Washington would be more effective if Obama showed leadership by reaching out to Republicans, schmoozing them, and offering to work cooperatively with his critics,” I hope they’re paying very close attention to current events. It is, as a practical matter, awfully difficult for a president to work constructively with radicalized lawmakers who refuse to compromise and cherish the idea of impeachment without cause.

Just so we’re clear, I don’t really expect Republicans to pursue this in a serious way, and my coverage on the issue is intended more as a “look how silly this is” than a “look at this threat to our constitutional system of government.” If for no other reason, GOP lawmakers wouldn’t try impeaching the president because they’d risk motivating the Democratic base to show up in the 2014 midterms.

That said, the recent talk about impeachment is nevertheless unnerving.

The world loses two jazz greats

One played the piano and hosted a wonderful radio show; the other was a writer who wrote about jazz and blues (among many other things) and whose prose style was said to reflect those musical styles.  Marion McPartland was 95; Albert Murray, 97.

Marion McPartland was a white English woman in the world of American jazz first coming to New York in 1964.  Her New York Times obituary quotes the critic Leonard Feather

“Oh, she’ll never make it: she’s English, white and a woman.”

Mr. Feather, she [McPartland] added, “always used to tell me it was a joke, but I don’t think he meant it as a joke.”

Little did he know.  After many several years  of touring with her husband, Jimmy McPartland’s group, she struck out on her own.

The bare-bones accompaniment of bass and drums was always Ms. McPartland’s preferred format, but she also appeared in concert with symphony orchestras, and in 1996 she recorded an album of her own compositions, “Silent Pool,” on which she was accompanied by a string orchestra.

Marian McPartland, who became an articulate spokeswoman for jazz, and the jazz trumpeter Roy Eldridge around the 1950s.

Marian McPartland, who became an articulate spokeswoman for jazz, and the jazz trumpeter Roy Eldridge around the 1950s.

But what she will most be remembered for in the United States is “Piano Jazz”.

Ms. McPartland’s contributions to jazz were not limited to her piano playing. An enthusiastic and articulate spokeswoman for the music, she lectured at schools and colleges and wrote for Down Beat, Melody Maker and other publications. (A collection of her essays, “All in Good Time,” was published in 1987 and reissued in 2003.) Most notably, for more than 30 years her “Piano Jazz” was one of the most popular jazz shows ever on the radio.

The show, produced by South Carolina’s public radio network, made its debut on NPR in 1978. The format was simple: an informal interview interspersed with extemporaneous duets.

“I didn’t have any idea I’d be good at something like this,” Ms. McPartland told The Associated Press in 2000. “I certainly never thought people would know me because of my voice.” But she proved a natural.

As its title suggests, “Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz” was originally a show about piano players. But the guest list came to include vocalists, among them Mel Tormé, Tony Bennett and even Willie Nelson and Elvis Costello, as well as trumpeters, saxophonists and other instrumentalists.

I listened on the radio and in recent years often streamed it though headphones at work.  She was understated in her interview style and never got too tangled in the technical aspects of the music she and her guest were performing.  Her voice was instantly recognizable.

In her last years Ms. McPartland received numerous honors. She was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master in 2000, given a lifetime achievement Grammy Award in 2004, inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2007 and named a member of the Order of the British Empire in 2010.

And she continued playing almost to the end. Reviewing her appearance at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in Manhattan the night before her 90th birthday in 2008, Nate Chinen wrote in The Times, “Ms. McPartland still has her pellucid touch and her careful yet comfortable style.”

Albert Murray was not a musician.  In fact he was about as different from Marion McPartland as one could be.  Murray was black (a term he disliked), he was born in the segregated American south, and he was an academic.  The New York Times said in his obituary

As blacks fought in the streets for civil rights, black integrationists and black nationalists dueled in the academy and in books and essays. And Mr. Murray was in the middle of the debate, along with writers and artists including James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Romare Bearden and his good friend Ralph Ellison.

One of his boldest challenges was directed toward a new black nationalist movement that was gathering force in the late 1960s, drawing support from the Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam, and finding advocates on university faculties and among alienated young blacks who believed that they could never achieve true equality in the United States.

With a freewheeling prose style influenced by jazz and the blues — Duke Ellington called him “the unsquarest man I know” — Mr. Murray challenged conventional assumptions about art, race and American identity in books like the essay collection “Stomping the Blues” and the memoir “South to a Very Old Place.” He gave further expression to those views in a series of autobiographical novels, starting with “Train Whistle Guitar” in 1974.

Mr. Murray insisted that integration was necessary, inescapable and the only path forward for the country. And to those — blacks and whites alike — who would have isolated “black culture” from the American mainstream, he answered that it couldn’t be done. To him the currents of the black experience — expressed in language and music and rooted in slavery — run through American culture, blending with European and American Indian traditions and helping to give it its very shape and sound.

“The United States is not a nation of black and white people,” Mr. Murray wrote. “Any fool can see that white people are not really white, and that black people are not black.” America, he maintained, “even in its most rigidly segregated precincts,” was a “nation of multicolored people,” or Omni-Americans: “part Yankee, part backwoodsman and Indian — and part Negro.”

Albert Murray in his home in Harlem in 1998

Albert Murray in his home in Harlem in 1998

He wrote often about blues and jazz as part of the American culture.

In Mr. Murray’s view, the essential bond between American culture and what he called Negro culture is the shared embrace of a “blues aesthetic,” which he said permeated the works of black musicians, writers and artists and was being increasingly adopted by whites. To Mr. Murray, the blues were “the genuine legacy of slavery,” Laura Ciolkowski, a professor of literature now at Columbia University, wrote in The New York Times Book Review in 2002.

“For him,” she wrote, “blues music, with its demands for improvisation, resilience and creativity, is at the heart of American identity.”

In “Stomping the Blues” (1976), he argued that the essence of the blues was the tension between the woe expressed in its lyrics and the joy infusing its melodies. He saw the blues, and jazz, as an uplifting response to misery.

“The blues is not the creation of a crushed-spirited people,” Mr. Murray said years later. “It is the product of a forward-looking, upward-striving people.”

He next began a long collaboration with Count Basie on his autobiography, “Good Morning Blues,” which was published in 1985, a year after Basie’s death. Along with the writer Stanley Crouch and the trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, Mr. Murray was actively involved in the creation of Jazz at Lincoln Center, the institution’s first permanent jazz program.

Murray tried to help us understand that our American culture is not purely one thing or another, but a mix.  That mix is what makes us different from any other country in the world.

I couldn’t find any mention of a meeting between McPartland and Murray, but I can’t imagine that they never met.  I hope they are with the other jazz and blues performers and critics gone before them talking and improvising.

Photograph of Marion McPartland:  Bob Parent/Getty Images

Photograph of Albert Murray:  Suzanne Mapes/Associated Press

The burden of domestic violence

The news hit Boston like a bombshell:  Jerry Remy‘s son was arrested for murder.  Jerry Remy is the former Red Sox second baseman and long time Sox television commentator.  He is the President of Red Sox Nation.  We have seen him through cancer, depression and a recent reoccurrence – a minor one he told us.  When he is not broadcasting games, we miss him.  So hearing that Jared Remy had been involved in a domestic violence incident that resulted in the stabbing to death of his girlfriend and mother of his child was shocking.

All the facts are not in, but there was a violent incident two days before that resulted in injury and a court appearance for Jared Remy the next day.  Jennifer Martel, for reasons that we really don’t know, did not appear to ask for a retraining order and, even though Massachusetts law allows for it, the district attorney did not request one.  Jared Remy has a history of violence.  A little over 24 hours later, Martel was dead.  She had been stabbed to death on the patio of their home.  Some neighbors tried to intervene and one of them was also injured.

The DA and the state attorney general are both investigating and looking into changes that might prevent similar incidents in the future.

Everyone is wondering why Martel didn’t just leave, but the question I want to ask is why is it always the woman who has to leave?  I’ve been on task forces, on the board of the Richmond, VA. YWCA, and executive director of a women’s commission.  I have supported shelters and hot line and assisted women to leave home and go to a safe place.  I ran a Clothesline Project.  Everyone in the field knows that the most dangerous time for a woman is when she is getting ready to leave her abuser, but we still expect her to be the one who leaves.  When there are school aged children, they are often put in different schools.  The woman is separated often separated from her friends and support system and so are the children.  She bears the burden, not her abuser.  (And yes, men can also be abused.  Gays and lesbians can abuse their partners and spouses.  But the vast majority of those suffering abuse are women.)  Martel’s family says she was also making plans to leave.

Friends and relatives said Martel, 27, an aspiring teacher who worked at a nearby Market Basket to provide for her daughter, had been trying to extricate herself from what she told them had become an abusive relationship with Remy, the son of famed Boston Red Sox player and broadcaster Jerry Remy.

“I talked to her on Wednesday; she said she was planning her escape,” said Patty Martel, who on Friday was driving from her home in Virginia to Massachusetts. “It started off she was very happy with him, but, as time went on, he showed his true colors, and it got worse and worse.”

Right after the murder of Jennifer Martel, I read a story in the New York Times about a new kind of law.  If someone makes too many calls to 911, the law can require the landlord to evict.

The police had warned Lakisha Briggs: one more altercation at her rented row house here, one more call to 911, and they would force her landlord to evict her.

They could do so under the town’s “nuisance property” ordinance, a law intended to protect neighborhoods from seriously disruptive households. Officials can invoke the measure and pressure landlords to act if the police have been called to a rental home three times within four months.

So she faced a fearful dilemma, Ms. Briggs recalled, when her volatile boyfriend showed up last summer, fresh out of a jail stint for their previous fight, and demanded to move in.

“I had no choice but to let him stay,” said Ms. Briggs, 34, a certified nursing assistant, even though, she said in an interview, she worried about the safety of her 3-year-old daughter as well as her own.

“If I called the police to get him out of my house, I’d get evicted,” she said. “If I physically tried to remove him, somebody would call 911 and I’d be evicted.”

This may be an unintended consequence of a law designed to help landlords with squatter and drug dealers, but the burden often falls on women who are victims of domestic violence.

“These laws threaten citizens’ fundamental right to call on the police for help,” said Matthew Desmond, a sociologist at Harvard.

In a study of citations issued to landlords in Milwaukee, conducted with Nicol Valdez of Columbia University, Mr. Desmond found that domestic violence was involved in nearly one-third of the cases and that rentals in largely black areas were disproportionately singled out.

Legal experts say the laws can give tenants the lasting stain of an eviction record without due process.

In a federal lawsuit being watched by legal aid groups elsewhere, Ms. Briggs has challenged the Norristown ordinance as unconstitutional.

She did so after her fears were realized.

In June 2012, days after her ex-boyfriend, Wilbert Bennett, moved into her house in this struggling town northwest of Philadelphia, he started another drunken, late-night argument. Then came his most violent attack yet: an assault with a broken ashtray that left a gash on her head and a four-inch stab wound in her neck.

Before she passed out, Ms. Briggs begged her neighbor not to call 911 because of the eviction threat, according to the suit, which is being argued by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The neighbor called anyway. Ms. Briggs was taken by helicopter to Philadelphia for emergency treatment. Mr. Bennett is now serving a sentence of one to two years for aggravated assault.

The town says she never got a restraining order.  What if she had gotten one when the boyfriend got out of jail?  In all likelihood he would have come around anyway and she would have had to call 911.

I don’t pretend to know what the answer is, but we need to figure out how to deal with men like Wilbert Bennett and Jared Remy.  Putting them in jail is not the entire answer.  That may well work for a while, but they will get out and often turn up again.   There are a few programs for men, but they are very few.  Some prisons have anger management classes which may work for some.  But as long as we continue to think of ending the abuse as the woman’s responsibility, we will never think of any new solutions.

A death from domestic violence leaves families shattered and children anchorless and what happened with Jennifer Martel and Jared Remy is not an exception.

Boston’s men in the news

No, I am not talking about the mayoral candidates all but one of whom is a man.  And I’m not talking about Alex Rodriquez and the Yankee who beat the Sox last night. (Maybe we shouldn’t have taunted him so much?)  I’m speaking of James “Whitey” Bulger, recently convicted felon and Larry Summers who thinks he should run the Federal Reserve.  Here is a great take on the two from cartoonist Dan Wasserman.

wise guys

Maybe I’ll go for a walk at Castle Island this week in memory of Whitey.  While I’m walking, I can send negative thought waves to President Obama about Larry.