Federal Budget Made Easy
The vague billions and trillions of dollars that get discussed throughout the budget season federally and statewide often have a numbing effect on me. I have always voted and had an interest in politics, but like many, I suspect, have paid more attention to the people than the numbers.
I've always been impressed by those who take time off from work and their families to visit their legislators, protest and support the issues they care about. I have joined in with small contributions financially or otherwise, but lately I have been feeling more of a draw to really understand the financial end of politics.
I turn 50 this year and am decidedly disappointed that it has taken me so long to begin educating myself about what really goes on in those hallowed halls in Washington and in my own State House. In the July 5 issue of the Valley Advocate, I was particularly impressed by a book review by Maureen Turner. I just ordered three copies of the book she reviewed, "A People's Guide to the Federal Budget." The National Priorities Project has always hovered in my mind as a great local information source, but I am going to make a commitment to supporting them now for the often underappreciated research they are doing right here in our own neighborhood. The timing of this book (and book review) couldn't be more perfect to spur me on.
Thank you, Maureen Turner, Valley Advocate, and especially National Priorities Project, for making this information available and accessible.
Cartoon "Smacks of Vitriol"
The Tom Pappalardo cartoon Variations on a Theme that ran in the June 28 edition of your paper is one of the sickest displays of anti-Catholicism we have seen in a while. An attack on the heart and soul of Catholicism—the Eucharist—has no place in objective journalism. This isn't satire, it is blatant bigotry plain and simple. Would your paper run a cartoon that attacked the fundamental beliefs of Islam or Judaism? I would assume not, nor should you. That your paper ran this cartoon smacks of a vitriol that is disturbing.
Director of Communications, Catholic League
New York, N.Y.
Is the USA Next?
Greece's economy is bankrupt because Greek politicians spent more money than they take in. They cannot pay their debt. Today Spain and maybe Italy are also in need of a bailout. This is exactly where the United States is headed. For over three decades, our career politicians have spent us into enormous debt.
The career politicians we continue to reelect are to blame. They are not addressing this problem. Today the Republicans are trying to retain Bush-era tax cuts. The Democrats are trying to spend more money on temporary job creation. Do the math. It all adds up to more debt. Greece, Spain and Italy have the European Union to bail them out. Who will bail us out?
Create term limits—don't vote for an incumbent.
Vote for any candidate supported by the GOOOH process (www.goooh.com),
Serving in Congress should be an honor, not a career.
Billy D. Clifford
Cemetery Historic, Intriguing
A few years back, I was very much surprised to find this cemetery [the Springfield Cemetery, Crematory and Columbarium; see "Springfield's Hidden Emerald Heart," June 28, 2012] in the heart of the inner city of Springfield. The first time I visited, in 2007, I was impressed by the tiered rows and park-like design of the place. The Civil War plots are interesting in that they include the graves of soldiers from other parts of New England, as if they passed away en-route back home.
There are also the little mausoleums built right into the earthen tiers, starting at the lowest end of the cemetery and following the meandering road that leads up to the top section.
A very good site for photography buffs.
Health Care Decision Good News
For us in Massachusetts, universal health care has never been an abstraction. Ninety-eight percent of our residents now have coverage, and many lives have been forever changed because of access to health insurance.
Because of the Affordable Care Act, more young people have health insurance. Because of this law, people with preexisting conditions are no longer being denied coverage. The list goes on, and the values inherent in the law are crystal-clear. Health care is a right for all of us, not a privilege for the lucky few. And yet despite today's decision, there are those out there already plotting the next phase of the assault on health care in the United States. Their interests are solely rooted in defeating President Obama, not in lifting up this country.
Do not be bullied. Stand strong for this president, and for his accomplishments. Make it personal, and talk to your friends, family, and coworkers about why this was a fight we are not afraid to have. Because when we fight for our values as Americans, and for the American Dream itself, we will win.
Governor of Massachusetts