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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Please Set Me Straight

For the past couple of days I have been pent up with frustration, disgust and anger over the decision that came down on Tuesday in the Justina Pelletier case.  Maybe I am just confused, maybe I am just misinformed or maybe I just don't get it.  So I am asking anyone who reads this and has a differing opinion to set me straight.  Unfortunately for me I have not been able to find anyone to set me straight.  So, I am begging, please set me straight.

For those of you that don't know what I am talking about here is a quick summary from the website  "Justina Pelletier, a 15-year-old from West Hartford, Conn., is in the fight of her life. After being diagnosed and treated for a rare genetic disorder, Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) overruled the diagnosis and said it was “all just in her head.” When Justina’s parents refused to stop her treatment, BCH assumed custody of Justina and locked her up in the psych ward — against her parents’ wishes. Shouldn’t the parents of this young girl have the right to make decisions regarding her welfare?"

For the past 14 months Justina has been sheltered away from her parents only able to see them for an hour a week under the supervision of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the police.  They are not allowed to ask her how she is feeling or how she is doing.  Evidently, Justina is wheel chair bound, legs swollen and her condition that was "in her head" has worsened.

On Tuesday, Judge Joseph Johnston ruled giving permanent custody to DCF in this case.  In reading the ruling I noticed it had nothing to do with what is in the best interest of Justina's treatment but how the Pelletier's hurt the doctors at BCH and DCF officials feeling.  Calling them "Nazi's", swearing at them and threatening to sue.  What has that got do with any of this?  If my children were in this situation the offenses above would be the least of their worries.

These are the facts that I know.  Justina has been diagnosed and treated for mitochondrial disease, which is a very controversial disease and some doctors don't believe it is a valid disease.  This is where the issue starts.  I get if a doctor doesn't believe in a diagnosis, but the actions that are being taken are just far too extreme.   Second, if the Pelletier's are such horrible parents why hasn't the DCF in Connecticut taken any action against them?  Because they refuse to.  They feel there is no basis to get involved.  Lastly, why is DCF fighting so hard on this?  Is it because they have had several misses lately?  Are they trying to flex their muscle? It just doesn't make sense.

I have contacted the Governor’s office, my state rep and Senator Warren to help end this.  I did not contact Senator Markey because I just think he's useless (low blow, sorry).  Needless to say, nobody has contacted me back.  So, I am asking someone on the other side of this argument to set me straight.  Please, don't tell me to get all the facts, I am asking you to present them to me.  I will respect anyone's position on this.  But I need to be set straight.

If you don't take it from me, ask my wife

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Lottery is Not the Problem

The most heinous thing happened the other day and, if true, the man should spend the rest of his life behind bars.  That, however, is the less likely scenario of the situation involving Daniel Snay of Uxbridge.  Snay, a four time convicted Level 3 sex offender was arrested for yet another sex crime against a child.  It was reported that Snay used money that he won on a scratch ticket in 2008 to lure the victim.  So instead of tightening up the incarceration laws in the Commonwealth, Rep. Richard Moore of Uxbridge has proposed a bill that will solve this issue going forward, he wants to ban sex offenders from participating in the Lottery.  That makes almost as much sense as CNN anchor Don Lemon asking if supernatural powers were involved in the missing Malaysian Airlines flight.

Rep. Moore's heart is in the right place, unfortunately as a lawmaker he needs to take the emotion out of it and look at this with a clear head.  The lottery winnings were a contributing factor, not the reason.  If convicted, again, shall the winnings be forfeited? Yes.  But to prevent them from participating?  Not only is that a civil rights violation how you could possibly police that? 

This is where it gets tricky.  If a convicted felon, of any crime is released from prison they have supposedly paid their debt to society and or, are rehabilitated according to parole boards.  If Snay had been released four times by the Commonwealth, the parole board obviously felt he was not a danger to society and would not commit this crime again, or again, or again. Preventing him to purchase a lottery ticket, where the odds are in the millions of him winning, is going to prevent him from committing this act again, or again, or again.

It's staggering to me while watching the news and I hear stories of people getting arrested and I hear it's their "sixth DUI", or it's their "eighth drug charge" or "fourth sexual assault on a child".  There is the problem people.  I am all for rehabilitation, but I am also a proponent of three strikes and you are out, must be the umpire in me.

If we are going to take away the ability of a convicted sex offender to purchase lottery tickets then we need to prevent convicted DUI offender from purchasing cars, convicted arsonists from buying cigarettes or convicted drug dealers from buying aspirin.  If we are going to start banning what they can do on the outside, then why not keep them on the inside.  This is coming from a state that First Degree Murder by a juvenile does not carry an automatic life sentence.

I hope Snay spends the rest of his days in prison, because I know the treatment he will get will be much more appropriate.  But as the lights dim down on this issue the lawmakers should abandon the ban on lottery tickets and focus it more on keeping monsters like Snay behind bars.  The money may have contributed, but he would have continued to do this without the lottery ticket.

If you don't take it from, ask my wife.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Mamma Mia Hit the Mark!

My plan this week was to be preparing for the state title game at the DCU Center on Saturday night.  Well, things happen and we lost in the District Final.  However, my wife had purchased tickets to see "Mamma Mia!" at the Hanover Theater this week.  On Thursday night, the Baseball Widow and I took in the final performance of the three show stop.   I'm not much into musicals but since The Hanover Theater opened we have made it a point to support the local theater and with any hope it will revive the downtown Worcester landscape.

The Baseball Widow really wanted to see this show and made it a point to get tickets.  I had seen it in Las Vegas several years ago, which just goes to show you that gambling and drinking will make you just about anything.  

We arrived about 10 minutes before curtain.  Ironically enough the lady who was sitting next to me introduced herself as "Chelsie Williams, teacher", who just happened to be playing "Sophie", the confused daughter of the main character.  They came down from Windham, Maine to catch Chelsie's performance.  She even told me a story of how her son, who she described looked like a character on "Duck Dynasty" went to see her in St. Louis.

I must say that the show kept me entertained.  I don't know what it is but the band ABBA seems to make everyone reminisce of older times.  I must admit, until Mamma Mia came out I only remembered two ABBA songs, "Dancing Queen" and "Fernando".  Oddly enough, the title track was never on my radar.  As you go through the performance you sense the "They did this song too?"

I thought the acting was good, the orchestra was phenomenal and the singing was mostly on point.  There was one character that was not on key as much as you would expected.  Yet, she was still not worse than Pierce Brosnan in the movie version of the musical.  One point to note that the male lead (Sam, played by Jeff Drushal) reminded me of Jason Sudeikis (Saturday Night Live), I don’t know why.

If you saw the movie and not the theatrical version please refrain from saying that you saw it.  The movie did this show no justice.  Besides the fact that Pierce Brosnan is as good a singer as I am, I feel that movie versions of theater shows are always over directed and miss that range you see in actors.  I would have to say that the only movie depiction that was better than the theatrical version has to be Grease.

But, if you ever get the chance to go see "Mamma Mia!" you must be aware of your surroundings.  For some reason the show really engages the audience and there seems to be dancing, clapping and singing along throughout the whole performance.  There was one woman at the end of our row who thought she was at "Polly Esta's" at every song, including the ballads.  Nothing engages the audience more than the finale.  It is treated somewhat of an encore at a rock concert, where the main characters belt out the two biggest hits, "Dancing Queen" and the title track, as the audience stands up, claps, sings and dances.  If you are one to leave while the actors are taking their bows, then you missed it.

Overall, I would say I enjoyed my night out.  A rare "date night" with the Baseball Widow, supporting a local business and taking a performance of a world renowned show.  If you don't get to see "Mamma Mia!” you should at least get to the Hanover for one of their other shows that come through town.  You will not be upset.

If you don't take it from, ask my wife