Thursday, December 13, 2007

Poetry 010

The Causes
by Jorge Luis Borges

The sunsets and generations.
The days and none was the first.
The coolness of water in Adam's
throat. Orderly Paradise.
The eye deciphering the dark.
The love of wolves at dawn.
The word. The hexameter. The mirror.
The Tower of Babel and pride.
The moon that Chaldeans gazed at.
The unnumbered sands of the Ganges.
Chuang-Tzu and the butterfly that dreams him.
The golden apples on the islands.
The steps in the wandering labyrinth.
Penelope's infinite tapestry.
The Stoics' circular time.
The coin in the dead man's mouth.
The weight of the sword on the scale.
Each drop of water in the clepsydra.
The eagles, the auspicious days, the legions.
Caesar on the morning of Pharsalia.
The shadow of the crosses over the earth.
The chess and algebra of the Persian.
The footprints of long migrations.
The conquest of kingdoms by the sword.
The relentless compass. The open sea.
The clock's echo in memory.
The king beheaded by the ax.
The incalculable dust which was armies.
The nightingale's voice in Denmark.
The calligrapher's meticulous line.
The face of the suicidal one in the mirror.
The gambler's card. Avid gold.
The shapes of a cloud in the desert.
Every arabesque in the kaleidoscope.
Each regret and each tear.
All those things were necessary
so that our hands would meet.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Journalism 030

Ah, the wonderful world of Washington lobbying.

Carol A. Kelly was named last week to the position of Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy with the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), which will celebrate its 75th anniversary next year. Kelly will join NACDS in January.

The NACDS consists of nearly 200 chain community pharmacy companies. Collectively, chain community pharmacy comprises the largest component of pharmacy practice with about 114,000 pharmacists.

The NACDS membership base operates more than 37,000 retail community pharmacies with annual sales totaling nearly $700 billion, including $221 billion in sales for prescription medicines , over-the-counter (OTC) medications and health and beauty aids (HBA). Chain-operated community retail pharmacies fill over 70% of the more than 3.3 billion prescriptions dispensed annually in the United States

Kelly currently serves as Senior Executive Advisor of External Affairs to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Michael O. Leavitt where she dealt with health insurance access, value-driven health care, and health information technology. She served as the main HHS liaison to the White House Office of Public Liaison and to the Partnership for Value-driven Health Care, an employer health care reform coalition.

NACDS's mission statement reads in part:

"Creating a favorable political and business climate in which NACDS member companies can carry out their business plans. Developing and promoting policies and programs aimed at improving merchandise distribution and retail operations efficiency."

Monday, November 5, 2007

Poetry 009

Spiritual Antenna

Twilight emerges
With a flame-retardant umbrella,
In preparation for the shower,
Sure to commence,
Like 9-month bellies,
Full of assurance
As though stockbrokers
Were only as big as the subway they rode in on,
Strap-hanging on the livelihood of gravity,
Because miracles are tickled
On the roofs of the mouths
Of hot pan fiddlers
Trying to string together their version
Of the moon’s landing.

Sacrilege, like the sacrosanct methods
Of dollar-tippers for 50-cent freestyle strippers,
It keeps Sam Cookeing change
On the backburner of the second-coming,
Gonna pop nickels like collars
And massage grandfather time’s throat
Until he can’t help but swallow
Next year’s design,
Like next year’s line
To get into the racetrack;
My money’s on the fastest fantasy to burn
Solely off of advertising embers,
Etched in the memory of Vishnu’s TV Guide,
Like a climb to the world’s tallest spiritual antenna.

Copyright 2007

Friday, October 12, 2007

Journalism 028

On Wednesday, October 10, I went to the Velvet Lounge for a night of music in honor of Danny Pearl. The venue was such that there were maybe 40 people there, but it felt as though you were in a packed "living room", to quote one of the other guests. And adding to the intimate feel, was the fact that aside from recognizing a few people from the L.A. Times D.C. bureau, I didn't know anyone there, but most knew each other, whether from the Wall Street Journal, the NY Times, the L.A. Times or the Washington Post, which granted me that fly-on-the-wall position. Sort of a glimpse into 20 years from now, the insiders club that I'll perhaps be fortunate enough to be a part of.

The bands were so-so, with one exception, which was really why everyone seemed to have shown up: Bryan Gruley who worked with Danny at the WSJ.

A pregnant friend of Danny's was overdue and getting pretty worried about her soon-to-be born son's health. So, Danny wrote a song called, "The World's Not Such a Bad Place," which was Danny's (who played the fiddle) way of saying, don't worry, come on out, it's going to be alright.

So, Gruley wrote a song for Danny's son, Adam, who was still in Mariane's belly when Danny was killed. Gruley precluded the song, "For a Son", with the meditation: would Danny still feel the same about the world?

In between songs, Gruley shared stories of his relationship with Danny. The following brought tears to my eyes:

It was 1995. Gruley had just gotten hired by the WSJ in Chicago, where Danny worked. So, Danny, being the gentle-hearted soul that he was, took the time to show him the ropes and get him more comfortable with his surrounding. And then about two weeks into his new job, Gruley gets the most coveted thing a reporter can get: a scoop. And it's a good scoop too, a really good one, about an unexpected, unannounced merger. And as it turns out Danny and a New York-based reporter were working on separate stories that tied right in with Gruley's. So Danny told Gruley to write up seven or eight paragraphs and then send it over to him, which he did, and then Danny wrote his and the NY reporter contributed his.

And the next morning, Gruley goes out front and picks up the paper, opens it up, and looks at their article...the byline read: Bryan Gruley. That's it. Danny had conferred with the NY reporter and told him that this first big byline for Gruley meant more for him who was just starting out, then it ever could for either of them.

That's who Danny is.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Journalism 027

On Saturday, September 15th I covered the protests of the Iraq war protests in Washington D.C.

I spent the greater part of the day covering the pro-war rally, organized by the group: Gathering of Eagles [GOE]. There were about a thousand people gathered along the National Mall sweating, chanting "U-S-A" periodically and waving American flags.

I met a 21-year old man named Jake Altman, from Tampa, Florida who had been stationed in Iraq in the 9th engineers for less than six months when he had his right hand and forearm blown off by an explosively formed penetrator [EFP]. He had just gotten his new prosthetic arm about a week before I met him and was still undergoing physical therapy at Walter Reed hospital. He said he wanted to go back to Iraq.

Andrius Vaitekunas, 28, from Warrenton, Virginia.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Journalism 026

Last Thursday night, I was one of approximately 40 people who heard Anita Thompson speak at Olsson's bookstore here in D.C. For those who aren't familiar with her, she was married to Hunter S. Thompson for just under two years. Anita, 35 years his junior was there to read from her book, The Gonzo Way, which pays tribute to her husband who took his life on February 20, 2005. They started to write and outline the book together as a work of humor, once carrying the tentative title, "A Woman's Guide to Hunter S. Thompson".

Shelby Sadler, Hunter's editor for many years was in the front row. Anita described her as "this century's closest thing to Lord Henry". Richard Cusick, former editor of High Times, and Keith Straub, the founder of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, were standing in the back.

Anita and Hunter began the book with the intention to dispel "the impression that if you did a lot coke and drank a lot of wild turkey, you too could write like Hunter S. Thompson. He put a lot of thought and a lot of work" into every piece. Their collaboration was a rarity, with one of the finest exceptions being, The Lion and the Cadillac, a response to the work of Jack Kerouac.

Anita stood at a podium in the midst of the Children books section, with two books in particular facing out to the audience, for no intended reason, that's just how the shelves were situated that day. Titanic and Jokelopedia. They seem to do a decent job at summing up Hunter's life. Compelled by the freedom to laugh and fly high and tromp through the world with his funny bone always left intentionally exposed. But there was also the impending doom, and not just any doom, but one that when it came upon him, was catastrophic beyond compare. The pendulum.

She began by raising one of Hunter's favorite topics, that of "fear". While Jack Kerouac and Hunter did not have an especially close friendship, she said, they shared an understanding and need for freedom and found that freedom through writing, "the only profession you can do what you want and make a living." As she described it, Hunter always thought of fear as the anti-freedom and security as the opposite of freedom. His classic, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was "a 300 page argument for freedom in the face of fear," she said. She then opened the floor for questions, ending with, "My life is the polar opposite of safe, and I love it."

The first question came from a young man who had briefly interviewed Hunter some years ago and recalled that when asked about his feeling towards Kerouac, Hunter replied, "He's a drunken asshole!...but he taught me how to get away with it."

In the 1970's Hunter launched into the national spotlight with his Rolling Stone articles. He chose the magazine, not because he had any special affinity for it as a publication, but because he saw it as the best conduit to reach America's “very powerful voting block," according to Anita. When asked about Hunter's lengthy hiatus from writing, Anita said, "He did take a long breath, didn't he.” When Hunter did eventually come back to writing articles, he chose ESPN for the exact same reason, he could reach a core chunk of America.

Hunter never gave up on America, no matter how bad the times seemed. "Don't mistake anger for pessimism," she said. He thought "people could do a lot more, and I think he's right." Adding, "He was a bedrock patriot. He loved his country."

Hunter would write for 17-18 hours straight when he was younger, Anita said. "First and foremost, he was a writer." He would start his day with a routine, which served as a meditation of sorts for him to help get the blood flowing. He would eat elaborate breakfasts with cornbeef hash, eggs, orange juice, chivas on the rocks, grapefruit juice and coffee. And then he would dive into his "input", newspapers, television, which remained on, day and night, phone calls, which would continue all day long. Then around 10pm he would start writing, with his best writing coming between the hours of 2am and 4am or 2am and 6am, which was perfect because his ESPN deadline was at 8am. Regarding deadlines, Hunter would say, "Drugs no excuse, booze no excuse." A deadline is a deadline. So, Anita would take his typewriter-written copy, transcribe it and send it on, via email. Hunter resisted technology, even an electronic typewriter, because he thought, "it would speed it (the writing process) up, he would think less, and crap would come out. And he liked the idea of an original manuscript."

One of the only modernizations Hunter used was the fax machine. "He had a deep affection and appreciation for Keith Richards," Anita said. It was to Richards that Hunter could send the craziest, most beautiful and interesting faxes and he would actually understand it.

When asked about modern personages who Hunter appreciated, Anita responded that he like Eminem for his "courage" and he would listen to Dolly Parton's Silver Dagger over and over.

"Hunter didn't want anyone to act like anyone else, which is why he never recommended his lifestyle to anyone else," she said.

When Anita first met Hunter, she didn’t really know who he was. "He was just a guy I had a crush on. I didn't know his work. I just knew that he knew a lot about football and was a writer."

About Woody Creek, where the couple lived, she said to come visit and you would "see why he didn't like to travel much." And that he realized that "he could reach more people is he stayed at home and worked."

Then I asked her a question: "Aside from the writing process, what do you think you taught Hunter?"

She paused, smiled the kind of slow, corner of the mouth twitch that turns into a grin smile, the type where you can tell someone's gone back into a museum of memories, and then she said, "Nobody's ever asked me that." She said she helped him keep his curiosity alive and keep the fun in his life. She said he would always say that he was "a teenage girl trapped in the body of an elderly dope fiend." And she said that she steadily reminded him that he was a writer and that writer's were supposed to write.

She said Hunter appreciated excellence, and it didn't matter what it was you were excellent at. He liked to surround himself with the best criminals, the best writers, the best cops, just so long as you exhibited excellence in what you did.

"He said, everyone fumbles, it just matters if you recover," she said.

His life was based on love. While she doesn't agree with his decision, she believes that it was out of love that he took his life. Hunter had been talking about suicide since he was 22-years old, his favorite age.

All quotes are from Anita Thompson.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Journalism 025

The U.S. Geological Society reported last week that within the next 50 years, 2/3 of all polar bears could die if ice continues to melt in the Artic region.

Also earlier in the week, Roll Call reporter Tory Newmyer wrote an interesting article about the role the polar bear could play in the global warming debate. The piece suggests that if the polar bear was placed on an endangered list, with global warming as their number one enemy, it would give advocates of laws curbing global warming, more leverage.

The part of this that I find fascinating is, if it takes polar bears to get us to care about our future, what does that say about us? In other words: Global warming could make us extinct: fine. Global warming could make polar bears extinct: oh shit!

Personal 005

So, 45 years later, Jordy begins to update his blog again...This time writing from our nation's capital. That's right. I moved down here from the grand ole Beantown a couple of weeks ago and have since started writing as a correspondent for the New Hampshire Union Leader. And I started interning with the Washington bureau of the Los Angeles Times. I'm living two blocks from the zoo, which I think normally I have a disagreement with [animals being held in captivity and all] but here are its two redeeming points, 1. something like 90% of the animals there, were born there, so they would pretty much be screwed if they were let loose. 2. it's free. And I'm slowly discovering the city. Planning on going to a book reading/discussion tonight with Anita Thompson, Hunter S.'s wife. I was going to continue to write about all the things that I'm going to be doing, but then I remembered...I'm going to be updating this here blog with all of that, much more frequently. So, stay tuned.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Journalism 024

Last week I helped WBUR reporter Andrea Shay with a story on elementary school art education as taught through VTS, or Visual Teaching Strategies.

The concept is basically one that allows children to make their own connections with artwork before being taught the historical signifigance.

Here is my favorite excerpt:

Okay, what’s going on in this picture? Jeremy.

Um, it looks like, the person is like, choking the horse.

Which person?

The first person.

Okay so there’s this person right here on this first horse, and you said it looks like he’s choking the horse?


What do you see that makes you say that?

Because he has something around his neck

Okay, so we’re noticing that around the horse’s neck, there seems to be, are you talking about that white sort of string part?



And you think that maybe that person might be hurting the horse in a way?


Thursday, July 5, 2007

Journalism 023

Last week I created a map of the homicides in Boston so far this year. I will update it as needed.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Journalism 022

Severe weather conditions across Europe have claimed at least 44 lives in recent days.

Due to temperatures reaching up to 115F:

*Greece - two people died

*Romania - six people died, bringing the country's heat wave death toll to 29.

*Turkey - a man collapsed on a beach and later died as temperatures there reached 111F.

In Turkey the governor of Istanbul said pregnant and disabled public servants would be given days off on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Greek government has ordered all public offices to close at midday on Tuesday and Wednesday to allow people to stay out of the sun.

*Firefighters in Italy battled to bring 30 forest fires sparked by the heat wave under control, with their efforts frustrated by strong winds.

Meteorologists said temperatures could hit 104F in the Romanian capital Bucharest this week, the highest level in 90 years.

Due to extreme rains and floods:

*England - three people died and about 250 northern county residents were evacuated.

*Bulgaria - three people drowned seeking respite from extreme temperatures.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Journalism 021

A 38-year old Iowan woman, Suzanne Marie Butts, was charged last week with three counts of fifth-degree theft.

Butts was at the Marshall county courthouse for an unrelated charge, when employees reportedly saw her taking three rolls of two-ply toilet paper from a storage closet in the women's bathroom.

Police confronted Butts outside the courthouse as she attempted to smuggle away the toilet paper under her shirt.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Journalism 020

Gay and lesbian rights advocates won out yesterday at the Statehouse in Boston.

The Legislature voted 151-45 in favor of disallowing a public vote on an amendment, which would ban the now-legal option of same-sex marriage.

Gov. Deval Patrick and other top lawmakers on Beacon Hill were a driving force in thwarting the amendment.
In Dallas, mayoral elections will be held tomorrow between Democratic candidate Ed Oakley and nonpartisan candidate Tom Leppert.

Oakley, if elected would be the first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Journalism 019

In Australia, Queensland officials are forcing "habitual spitters" to wear "spit nets" in an attempt to deter them from spitting on police officers, according to The Australian.

The nets are similar to the headgear worn by beekeepers and would be disposable, one-time use items.

There were 222 spitting incidents in Australian watch-houses (detention centers), between October 2005 and October 2006.

Personal 003 I don't know how many readers of this there actually are, but regardless, I feel semi-guilty for not attending to such beautiful matters as this here blog for over a month now...yikes. I've been traveling over the past three weeks, up and down the east coast and have officially finished my first year of journalism school. I also started my summer internship at WBUR, the local NPR radio station here in Boston. I'm in the newscasting department as of now, but am slated to move to the online department in the next couple of weeks.

So much has been happening in the world and yet for some reason I can't seem to shake the feeling that this is the quiet frontier that is about to burst full of revolutionary gunfire...and no, I'm not even referring to the U.S. presidential election more than a year away...

All I'm saying is...Paris Hilton and James Galdofini...for real? Is that where we're at right now?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Poetry 008

Asked of four student poets at the Illinois Schools for the Deaf and Visually Impaired:

If you could write one great poem, what would you want it to be about?

Fire: because it is quick, and can destroy.
Music: place where anger has its place.
Romantic Love--the cold or stupid ask why.
Sign: that it is a language, full of grace,

That it is visible, invisible, dark and clear,
That it is loud and noiseless and is contained
Inside a body and explodes in air
Out of a body to conquer from the mind.

---Robert Pinsky

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Journalism 018

Rail Line Moves Forward
By Jordy Yager

While regional legislators are excited about the commuter rail plan revealed this week for New Bedford-Fall River, Rep. Jim Fagan, D-Taunton, remains skeptical that the ambitious plan will finally happen.

Gov. Deval Patrick unveiled a 10-to-12-year plan Wednesday that would extend the Providence/Stoughton commuter line from Stoughton to New Bedford-Fall River.

“When they put a timeline on it that extends beyond what it takes to graduate high school and college, then I wonder how much hope there is to get it finished,” Fagan said.

Former governors, William Weld and Mitt Romney, both proposed extending the rail line while they were in office, but failed to pursue it. Other local lawmakers say there is a difference with the Patrick proposal.

“For the first time we have a governor that’s put together a step-by-step plan for how we’re going to begin and how we’re going to end,” said Rep. Stephen Canessa, D-New Bedford.

Although the governor’s proposal is the most realistic that Fagan has seen yet, the commonwealth is facing a $1.3 billion budget deficit, which makes funding the rail extension difficult.

“The $1.4 billion that the governor proposed is probably what it will actually cost,” Fagan said. “But while we talk all this talk, talk is cheap, trains are expensive.”

Rep. Antonio Cabral, D-New Bedford, agrees that while Patrick’s plan is feasible, a way of paying for the rail line still needs to be solidified.

“The big question that remains and will remain is funding. We’ve got to find new sources of revenue,” he said.

Rep. John Quinn, who was at UMASS-Dartmouth when Gov. Patrick released his proposal, views the costs as a long-term investment.

“He said something today that I think was very appropriate, that we can’t afford not to do this with the ten’s of thousands of jobs that will come out of this,” said Quinn, a Democrat from Dartmouth. “It’s a money-maker that will pay the bills.”

Rep. Cabral also sees the line extension as an asset to Taunton, which will have two rail stations.

“When you improve transportation infrastructure, you see a spike in economic development,” Rep. Cabral said. “Taunton will be one of the biggest benefactors in the development of this line.”

Over the next three years, the state will put $17 million towards the initial costs, such as gaining permits and construction designs. The state has until Jan. 1, 2010 to come up with a comprehensive financial plan.

“We’ve got a long way to go, but this is a good initial start,” said Sen. Marc Pacheco, D-Taunton.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Poetry 007

"Poetry describes, enacts, is compelled by those moments of supreme passion, insight, or knowledge that are physical yet intuitive, that render us whole, inspired. Among verbal events---which by their nature move horizontally, through time, along the lines of cause and effect---poetry tends to leap, to try to move more vertically: astonishment, rapture, vertigo---the seduction of the infinite and the abyss---what so much of it is after."

---Jorie Graham

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Monday, April 2, 2007

Poetry 006

"In the States there has been an unfortunate division between narrative poetry and lyric poetry; frankly, I've never felt that much of a difference. A good poem usually has both. A lyric may not have a traditional narrative line, but it all depends on what you define as story. Even a leaf falling from a tree is a pretty dramatic the leaf."

---Rita Dove

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Journalism 016

Today is World Water Day. The theme this year is "Coping with water scarcity".

Americans enjoy the privilege of having reasonably sanitary tap water at our beck-and-call for free. So today some restaurants in New York City are giving patrons the option to donate $1 for such tap water, the proceeds of which will go to UNICEF's Tap Project, which provides children throughout the world with safe drinking water.

More than 1.6 million people die every year due to lack of access to sanitary water, most of whom are children under the age of 5, said Margaret Chan of the World Health Organization today.

Massachusetts has one of the best drinking water treatment systems in America. So maybe that accounts for why when I contacted state Sen. Pamela Resor, D-Acton, who is chairwoman of the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture committee, she was unaware that today was World Water Day. As was the Department of Public Works in Brockton, MA.

The day was initiated in Brazil at a UN conference on environment and development in 1992.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Journalism 015

On Thursday, Reuters reported that about 325 U.S. Law Enforcement officials were in the second day of "Operation Vigilant Sentry" training exercises in Miami, which teaches officers to thwart possible illegal migration attempts, when two boatloads of migrating Cubans landed on a nudist beach miles away, and went undetected.

Under the U.S. "wet-feet, dry-feet " policy, the Cubans will legally be granted asylum.

The training exercises were enacting the possible exodus that some have imagined when Fidel Castro dies.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Poetry 005

The most magnificent of muses
Entered the subway of my life's trepidaton,
A series of tongue twisted dwarves
That guide umbilical beliefs
Into the gutters of human disparity.

And yet I'm left
Requesting rights
That have yet to arise
Upon the tastebuds of tangled tyrants,
Twisted beyond illusion,
In an attempt to gentrify
A never-ending phoenix,
Shooting hope in between the toes
Of bed-ridden angels,
Whose wings no longer perspire or aspire
To the ancestral heights
That came before them,

Sharpening talons, instead, hourly
To ensure some form of engraved bedrock.

Copyright 2007 Jordy Yager

Monday, March 5, 2007

Journalism 014

It's not a bad theory, take a little bit over a long period versus alot in a short period.

But it didn't work for Robert Gibson, 69, who is being accused by MBTA Transit Police of stealing more than $40,000 in coins and tokens, while working as an electrician on vending and collection equipment.

Gibson worked for the MBTA for 20 years and just retired last October. Police paid a visit to his home in Revere, Ma. over the weekend and carried out 17 five-gallon plastic drums filled with tokens and coins in paper bags.

The MBTA switched last year from tokens to the electronic Charlie Card and perhaps if it hadn't, Gibson would be a richer man. He was recently caught on surveillance cameras depositing at least $3,500 in tokens and putting it onto 45 CharlieCards. I mean, maybe he just really liked to take public transportation.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Journalism 013

"This is all a chess game, and we're trying to stay far enough ahead in it," said U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano last Wednesday.

(D-Ma), in his fifth term as Congressman, held a question and answer session with about 50 Brighton community members at the local Veronica Smith Multi-Service Senior Center. He began with a 20 minute statement outlining his anger with the Bush administration and its decision to invade Iraq, which he has opposed since day one.

"Every single minute the Bush administration has been in power, they've borrowed almost $1 million. Every minute," he said.

A self proclaimed "social liberal", Capuano, who has the build of a celebrity bodyguard, spoke on issues ranging from abortion to local property taxes. He gave audience members a chance to ask their question but cut them short if they tried to ask another in response to his answer, clarifying that this was not in fact a debate session, but instead an opportunity for him to give his opinion and his stance.

On Cuba:
"The Cuban embargo isn't going to last much longer, once Castro dies."

On Venezuela:
"Venezuela is not that large of an oil producer."
Ummm...the Energy Information Administration ranks Venezuela as the eighth largest oil producer in the world...that's kinda big.

On D.C. politics:
"I'm good at persuading my colleagues to drink the water that they're looking at."

On gay marriage:
Capuano is 100% for gay marriage saying that since Massachusetts has allowed same sex civil unions it hasn't interfered with his life in any way. He's been with his wife for 34 years and he hasn't switched teams.

On Sudan:
"I'm one of the only Congressmen to call for U.S. military to go into Sudan."

On abortion rights:
"It's a choice between me and my wife and our God." Capuano said that he doesn't feel that it's right to impose his own personal choices on anybody else. To which the female audience member who had posed the question and was sitting next to a sign that read--
'It's a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish" interjected and said, "But you're willing to impose your choice on Sudan." Capuano again emphasized that it was not a debate.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Journalism 012

First there were green homes, then came along green burials and now we have green tours...well, kind of.

As Naoki Schwartz reported today for the AP, the non-profit, Communities for a Better Environment has started offering
a "Toxic Tour" that meanders through Los Angeles' oil refineries, brownfields and chemical sites.

Like any good tour, it's the stories that accompany the scenery that really make it impactful.
The stories of affected community members are shared along the tour as a grisly reminder that the money-makers don't always like to be held accountable for the pollution, death and disease that they expound.

From the AP:

"The big thing with the tours is to put a human face on this," said Bill Gallegos, executive director of CBE.

The next stop (on the tour) is Tweedy Elementary School in South Gate, where an accidental release of chlorine gas in 1986 from a nearby factory sent 76 people, including three dozen children, to hospitals to treat nausea, respiratory and eye problems.

Tomothy Malloy, co-director of the Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic at UCLA, takes students on the tour to reinforce classroom lessons on pollution.

"What really drove it home for the students," Malloy said, "is we were standing at the end of a cul-de-sac with these small homes, and they were looking across a property and could see the emissions we were talking about."

Friday, February 9, 2007

Journalism 011

State and federal cuts for HIV and AIDS programs have Jessica Almeida of Brockton and other health advocates around the state concerned about their ability to treat patients.

“It may affect our ability to provide access to medication for people in the HIV drug assistance program,” said Almeida, director of the case management program at Brockton Area Multi-Services Inc.

Such concerns were the focus of a lobbying day at the Statehouse on Wednesday as AIDS activists lobbied state legislators for an additional $5 million in next year's budget.

The activists said the money is needed to make up a possible $3 million cut in federal funding this year and a steady decline in state funding for clinics and counseling.

Local HIV-AIDS programs, such as the one run by BAMSI, the largest counseling and education center for Brockton area residents, rely on lobbying groups such as Project ABLE (AIDS Budget Legislative Effort) to help secure their annual funding.

Brockton has the ninth largest population of people living with HIV-AIDS in Massachusetts. More than 23 Brockton residents are diagnosed each year, according to the state Department of Public Health.

The possible shortage in federal HIV-AIDS funding is due to a reallocation of funds to states with less developed HIV-AIDS programs than Massachusetts.

“It's not that Massachusetts isn't in need, it's just that there are other areas that may not have received as much funding as Massachusetts in previous years,” said Mary Ann Hart, a coordinator with Project ABLE.

Project ABLE's lobbying efforts came in conjunction with National Black HIV-AIDS Awareness Day. Blacks and Latinos make up 72 percent of Brockton residents with HIV-AIDS.

“HIV is colorblind, but society isn't,” said Rep. Marie St. Fleur, D-Boston, the vice chairwoman for the House Ways and Means Committee. “The real barrier to health care is race.”

Copyright 2007 Enterprise

Monday, February 5, 2007

Personal 003

I was born in 1981...

A couple facts about that year:

-MTV made its debut
-The NY Times published its longest sentence ever, 1,286 words
-The IBM-PC was introduced
-The unknown Prince opened for the The Rolling Stones at the LA Coliseum
-Lady Diana married Prince Charles
-The first woman, Sandra Day O'Connor, was appointed to the Supreme Court
-Walter Cronkite retired as anchorman
-The US Dept. of Agriculture declared ketchup to be a vegetable
-Life expectancy was 74.2 years
-The average new car cost $7,718.00
-A movie ticket cost $2.25
-A gallon of gas cost $1.25
-I was born

Monday, January 29, 2007

Poetry 004

I finally got me understanding
A little bit of the math

Behind the operations round here…

Translate as:

I admitted to knowing nothing…

I said,

“Fill my Styrofoam cup
With your dreams of cities

Emasculated in the armpits of history,

And let the tides of the sea’s

Rise to reach our gas pumps

And envelope
That which was rightfully hers,

And watch the Cadillac’s submerge

And float like submarines

With a gangsta lean…”

Cuz I finally got me understanding

A little bit of me…

Translate as:

Scared of getting hurt

So I don’t commit

To nothing but the profession of my passion…

I said,
“Two plus two equals four
So what’s the three really for?

Except to better recognize

The divine at the core of all of our hardcore

And what’s more

Is that the streetlights

Never fail to illuminate

The inner street fights

The parts of us that we love to hate”

They said,
“If you love something give it away”

I said,

“But if it’s taken
Instead of given, then
It smirks of a whole new rhythm
Of a reason
To keep you living and believing

Until the day that it dawns on adequate hands,

Hands of those that truly understand

The beast beneath

The gimmicks of wordsmithery,

With piano keys pounding like it was a ceremony
A funeral tribune

Lost in the tune
Of rites of passage, which

Ain’t right

Til we say it’s so…"

I finally got me understanding
A little bit of the tracks we stand over…

Translate as:

But ain’t that the bitch of manifest destiny?

I said,
“Question all you want
But the marks

Will only leave you be

As a leaf on the tree of productivity, with

Cycles that repeat out of necessity
For more mulch for another seed

For another tree of creativity…

This ain’t an end, It’s a means

That’s finally got me understanding

A little bit of the in-betweens

Between the in-betweens…

Translate as:

I travel,
Because my shoes
Choose to carry me
And transcend me

Through the clarity

Past the muddy depths

Of what it means to not have any choice left.

---Jordy Yager, 2007

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Journalism 010

Internet Hunting Could Fall Prey:

Do you remember when having a mobile phone was a novelty? And remember when you could first order pizza over the Internet? And remember when you could shoot live deer, wild boars and ram with the click of your mouse?

It’s known as “internet hunting” and it allows a user to sit in front of a computer, pay a fee and survey real animals, via live camera-feed, that have been stocked as game. And as the animals meander into the crosshairs on the screen, with the click of the mouse, a mounted gun fires a live round at the intended target.

That may change shortly if the Massachusetts Legislature passes the bill that Senator Robert Creedon, D-Brockton, has filed outlawing ‘internet hunting.’
Creedon filed the proposed ban on behalf of Brockton constituent and deputy director of advocacy of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Scott Giacoppo.

“I took this initiative to Sen. Creedon and without batting an eye he was onboard,” Giacoppo said.

“Internet hunting” originated in 2005 with John Lockwood’s Texas-based website,, which after only months of operation was shut down with a state ban. Twenty-two states have since outlawed the “arm chair hunting” as quickly as possible in fear of seeing it spread.

“To our knowledge there haven’t been any other internet hunting sites [since],” Giacoppo said. “But there’s potential to be a disgrace to a state that hasn’t outlawed it.”

As more states follow suit with the ban, there is the increasing possibility that future sites will pop up in states that have not done so, which is part of the reason that animal rights advocates and gun ownership advocates are seeing eye-to-eye on the issue.

“Internet hunting is not hunting,” said Jim Wallace, executive director of the Gun Owners’ Action League, a Massachusetts gun advocacy group. “It has nothing to do with being a sportsman. To me, it’s just ludicrous.”

The National Rifle Association has agreed with GOAL’s position, but remains cautious of using terminology such as “remote control hunting.”
Wallace mentioned the possibility of developing new technology for handicapped hunters who are physically unable to fire a rifle. The hunters would be in the direct presence of the firearm but would use a remote control device to fire it.

“Internet hunters are not even in control of the firearms,” said Wallace. “It takes violent video games that one last step.”

Monday, January 22, 2007

Journalism 009

This is the newspaper that I am currently writing for and a little bit of info in regards to Brockton itself...

The Brockton Enterprise is a $0.50 afternoon daily newspaper run out of Brockton, Massachusetts with a daily circulation of 35,040. The racial demographics of the 327,083 residents in the area of circulation are as follows: 83% white, 7% black, 3% Hispanic, 1% Asian, 6% other. In 1999, the Knight Foundation issued a report that found 2.3% of the Enterprise’s news staff to be non-white. The Quincy Patriot Ledger and the Enterprise share Chazy Dowaliby as editor. She’s been with the Ledger since 1998 and with the Enterprise since July, 2005 when she replaced Charlie Hickey, due to publisher Kirk Davis’ dissatisfaction with Hickey’s job. The Enterprise subscribes to AP services for national and foreign news coverage. Local coverage extends into Boston and throughout Massachusetts but mainly focuses around Brockton, Stoughton, Taunton and Holbrook.

The Enterprise is owned by GateHouse Media, formerly known as the Liberty Group Publishing, which owns 74 other newspapers throughout the country.

Founded in 1881, the Enterprise was owned by the Fuller-Thompson family for 115 years until it was bought in 1996 by James Plugh who reportedly paid somewhere between $20 million - $30 million. At that time the newspaper’s circulation was approximately 50,000. One year later, Plugh paid $60 million for Quincy’s Patriot Ledger, which has a circulation of approximately 65,000. In 2003 Plugh sold his majority stake in the two papers to a Boston-based investment firm, Heritage Partners Inc. Plugh remained publisher for one more year, until he hired Kirk Davis as publisher. Finally GateHouse Media bought the Enterprise in 2006 as part of a $225 million deal.

Brockton is the sixth largest city in Massachusetts, with a population of 94,304 and is situated in Plymouth county. The most famous local Brocktonian, was boxer Rocky Marciano. Brockton Mayor James E. Harrington moved to Brockton from Somerville in 1972 with his wife and continued work as an engineer until in 1990 he opened his own insurance agency, Harrington’s Insurance, and in 1996, he started a financial advisor company, Centre Street Financial Services, Inc. Harrington has served on the Brockton City Council for the past 20 years, including as City Council President three separate times. The next general election is in November of this year.

Brockton High School is home to 4,200 students. 80% of graduating seniors are admitted to colleges. The Brockton city school system is the 4th largest in Massachusetts, with approximately 19,000 students enrolled as of 2005. The Phoenix Alternative Programs serve approximately 200 students who have otherwise been expelled from the Brockton school system. Brockton’s other alternative school, is the Champion Charter Public high school for out-of-school youth that have either dropped out or have been set back for attendance reasons.

Representing the 9th district of Plymouth is Rep. Thomas P. Kennedy (D), Rep. Chrsitine E. Canavan (D) is the 10th district representative and Rep. Geraldine Creedon (D) is Plymouth county’s 11th district representative. Serving the second district Senate seat for Plymouth and Bristol is Sen. Robert S. Creedon, Jr.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Journalism 008

"Exoticism is generally defined as the attraction for a civilization -- manners, climate, social behavior, clothing -- foreign to our own, far from us in time or space..."
--- Gilles de Van

Friday, January 5, 2007

Poetry 3

Chestpounding (pt.1)

As I witness sunsets

Grant Jersey a power
Neither Edison nor Watt could have ever fathomed,
I'm visited by candlelit memories
Of solitary sparks,

Singular moments
Where the light of the heart
Was able to eclipse a mind
Accustomed to the dark,

And waves run
Their salt-scented fingernails
Across the backdrop of big-city
Nightlife blackboards...


Where today’s lessons
Tomorrow’s guesses for sea’s to
And the clouds chase the streams
Of our undying manifest dreams,


"Go west my son
And you will find the mothers
From which we’ve come,
You’ll find the one in the rest
And rest in the one,

And listen to the crazy one’s
For signs of things to come",

Because as an adolescent
Our lessons are filled with questions,
And now that time has unleashed its blessing,
We turn from searching to stressing,
Looking for the next dollar from the next man,
So eager to holler at him
We forget to listen...

(pt. 3)

So we gotta regroup
And meditate,
Make moves
And make them straight
To the point, we ain't got time to chase,
Because as soon as we take a breath
And attempt to rest our case,
We're faced with a case
Leading to the arrest of our breath,
And they wonder why we're stressed,
Pledging allegiance to fighting our debt,
Pounding our chests
Praying that there are still breaths left.

Copyright 2006