BOSTON – A suspicious package was sent to Sen. John Kerry’s office at One Bowdin Square earlier today.
Over 15 emergency vehicles and two choppers surrounded the building, while nervous employees peer out of their office windows or returned to the building not knowing what was going on.
Brian Curly was standing outside of the entrance, clutching a bag of potato chips from Whole Foods.
Curly, who works in the building, says that he had just gone out for lunch.
“I have no idea what’s going on,” said Curly standing outside of the building, “I left the building to grab some lunch, that was it.”
He mentioned that while the building was not evacuated, he was outside because the elevators were shut down.
Kerry spokeswoman Brigid O’Rourke confirmed that the package was sent to Kerry’s office.
The package, filled with a liquid, was deemed to be not a threat.
There were about 10 protesters outside the building, who had come to protest the war in Afghanistan. Standing idly out of the way of the police officers, they held their picket signs and were asking “Why has Kerry abandoned us?”
Kerry is currently in traveling overseas.
Michael Fraser is tired of living two lives.
Fraser, who is a cross dresser from Salem, explained that he hasn’t always felt comfortable expressing himself because of threats and the way people tend to glare in his direction.
“This is very personal,” said Fraser, “I’m an alcoholic. I drink in order to deal with my gender identity issues. This bill would protect me and stop me from having to live two lives.”
This is the first time, according to Fraser, that he has worked up the courage to come and lobby at the Statehouse, to garner support for “An Act Relative To Gender-Based Discrimination and Hate Crime Bill,” which is currently in the judicial committee.
The bill was originally introduced in 2007 by Rep. Carl Sciortino (D-Middlesex) and Rep. Byron Rushing (D- Boston), and would add gender identification and expression to Massachusetts’ hate crime and non-discriminatory laws.
People grouped together before the rally began at 2:15 p.m., and exchanged stories and “I Support Transgender Rights” stickers. Even though there were only 50 seats in Nurses Hall, more than 150 attendees lined the sides of the hall and stood on the staircase.
Fraser was one of the many transgender rally participants who were going to knock on their legislator’s doors, tell their story, and urge them to sign the upcoming bill.
Michelle Figueiredo, a transgender woman wearing multiple colorful stickers promoting transgender equality on her demure grey dress, said, “We need more rights. We need to be equal under the law.”
While this is the first time that Figueiredo lobbied for a bill, she is no stranger to this particular bill. Last year she testified in front of the judicial committee, when the bill was last considered. However, she already knew how she was going to “win over” her legislator.
“My game plan?” said Figueirdo with a large smile, “I’m going to share my positive experiences, and let it go from there.”
Figueirdo was the first person at her company, State Street Corporation, to transition from a male to a female while on the job.
“Everyone has been so supportive,” Figueirdo said, “I just want the opportunity to give more transgender people the opportunity to have more positive experiences. After all, we are all human beings.”
However, not everyone agrees that gender identification and gender expression should be included in non-discriminatory and hate crime laws.
Brian Camenker, the President of MassResistance, has a very strong stance against the bill. Unlike other opponents, Camenker explained that he did not find the “bathroom” clause the most unsettling. While he explained that “it’s a little bizarre,” Camenker took issue with the bill as a whole.
“The mental health profession still considers this a disorder – gender identification disorder,” said Camenker during a phone interview, “Why would they make it a crime to question someone who needs professional help? They are up against science.”
Kris Mineau, President of the Massachusetts Family Institute, is also starkly against the bill.
“The myriad of trying to redefine human sexuality is not acceptable,” said Mineau during a phone interview. Mineau has been speaking out against this bill since 2007.
Stephanie Lynne Edwards, a transgender woman wearing a quaint blue hat and grey overcoat, has been supporting this bill since it first was introduced to the joint committee in 2007.
“On September 10th 2009 I was told I wasn’t allowed to use the ladies room,” Edwards recalled, “And there was nothing I could do about it.”
Edwards has a solution for people who are scared about the transgender equality bill: “They should talk to a transgender person. We all have the same hopes and dreams. We pay taxes. We want equal rights like everyone else.
Ron Marlow, a spokesperson for Deval Patrick, told the excited crowd, “We want to erase discrimination from the anti-discrimination laws.”
The mainly older crowd shouted, clapped and even flipped the bird at a photographer during the rally, understood the importance of what they were doing.
“I’m here to support transgender people, and I’m here to support a bill that would allow me to go into any establishment, get any job and to not be harassed,” said Edwards, “I’m here for equal rights.”
BOSTON – Martha Coakley supporters began to fill up the Grand Ballroom at the Fairmont Copley Plaza on Friday speaking in hushed tones about the latest bad news: the new Suffolk University poll showing Coakley and Republican Scott Brown in a tie in the U.S. Senate Race.
But the whispers turned to “We Love Martha” in anticipation of an appearance by the Democratic candidate John Kerry and former President Bill Clinton bolster Democratic hopes in the tough race.
“The stakes are high,” warned Mayor Thomas Menino told the crowd, which filled the 750 capacity room, comparing Brown to an unfavorable character in the 1972 movie “The Candidate”. The crowd booed when Brown’s name was mentioned and rose to a cheer when Menino reminded them that the election was about the people.
Chelsea Peterson, a campaign organizer, encouraged people to text in order to volunteer and help “keep the seat,” while Senate President Therese Murray asked the crowd, “Are you ready to rock and roll?”
Murray addressed the concerns brought on by the recent poll results. “I don’t care about the polls. Forget about them,” yelled Murray to a screaming crowd.
As excitement grew, people began fanning themselves with their “Vote for Martha Coakley” posters as the heat began to rise in the room, which was filled to capacity at 750 people. However, no one complained and some even took it as evidence that Coakley had a stronger voter population than Scott.
Gov. Deval Patrick told the crowd to make the race personal, since it will not only affect Massachusetts residents but the United States as a whole.
Sen. John Kerry built on Patrick’s sentiment. “Say yes to Martha Coakley, and say yes to the future,” while nicknaming Brown, “Silent Scott”.
As a sea of cell phones and point and shoot cameras illuminate the hall, Kerry introduced Clinton. However, Clinton did not emerge from behind the curtain for almost five minutes and Kerry smiled and said, “We’re going to have to filibuster,” as the crowd erupted into laughter.
When Clinton and Coakley did emerge, banners flew, cameras flashed and clicked, and cell phone cameras were in full force.
Clinton talked about the disaster in Haiti before mentioning how the financial prosperity and financial surplus he left the United States with was gone due to mismanagement.
“You just have to decide whether you want us to be a tomorrow country or a yesterday country,” said Clinton.
After Clinton spoke, Coakley, who has been accused of running a lackluster campaign, made the campaign personal, telling the stories of Stephanie, who has two sick kids and no job, Vince, who lost his job and runs an ice cream company in Jamaica Plain, and Jim, whose wife battled breast cancer without health insurance.
She also encouraged her supporters to text UNICEF to donate $10 to Haiti. It wasn’t long before the crowd pulled out their cell phones and donated their $10. Clinton, who was standing behind Coakley, smiled and thanked everyone for their donations.
Supporters were buoyed by Coakley’s performance.
“Today was when Coakley’s real passionate side came out,” said Kat Maines, a Smith College sophomore from Newburyport, “She stands for everything I believe in.”
Risa Kipp, from Newburyport, said that the healthcare bill is playing an important role in this election.
“All the speakers kept driving the point that Scott would be the 41st vote against the reform.” Kipp, who is a sophomore at University of New Hampshire, will be staying in Massachusetts one extra day to make sure that she votes.
Kipp explains that Massachusetts is a very progressive state that paved the way for same sex marriages and mandatory medical insurance.
“Massachusetts is where things happen,” said Kipp, “We can’t have a senator that doesn’t represent what Massachusetts is.”
Today, November 19th, marks the first day of the new Crowne Plaza Boston- North Shore, formerly the Sheraton Ferncroft in Danvers.
“The change brings a new level of service and guest comfort to the already popular location,” states a press release from Sage Hospitality Group.
Sage bought the Sheraton Ferncroft in 2005 for $26.6 million. The hotel employs 250 people and is very close to the I-95.
The Crowne Plaza Boston – North Shore now boasts what made the Sheraton Ferncroft so attractive: the CoCo Water Resort. The Coco Water Resort is a 65,000 square foot indoor water park that includes an arcade, restaurant, party rooms and a bar.
“The changes associated with our new brand mean that our guests will be able to add to their valuable Priority Club Rewards with every stay at the property,” said General Manager Bill Croke.
While the original Sheraton Ferncroft website is still active, the reservations must be made through the Crowne Plaza website.
The move from the Sheraton brand to the Crowne Plaza brand meant that the new Crowne Plaza Boston underwent a multi-million dollar renovation not only on the building, but on the 366 guest rooms and suites.
“In addition, they will enjoy a number of upgrades, including new bedding, featuring the popular Crowne Plaza Sleep Advantage® standards,” confirmed Croke.
Sage Hospitality also managers the Courtyard Marriot in Fitchburg, MA. They are a property management company that manages over 50 hotels, including hotels of the Sheraton, Hilton and Starwood brand, across the country.
Everyone loves to blame the T.
And they have a good reason.
I used to be one of the few people who ride the T and not complain too much about it. If it got me from point A to point B, it was a success. Yes, I was bummed when they took away the free fair for outbound travel above ground, and I gritted my teeth when they increased the fare.
But yesterday, I became a foe of the T.
I was heading to the JFK/UMASS red line stop, one of my classes was going to be at the Boston Globe. I was pleasantly surprised when a T rolled right up to BU East right as I left my classroom at 1:50pm. I had an hour to get to the Globe and an estimated 45 minute T ride ahead of me, so we were off to a good start.
Until we hit Arlington. I have no idea if something ran or dropped into the tracks, but at around 2:00pm the brakes slammed and everyone on that Green Line T was thrown from their seats. Then, the driver pulled up normally to Arlington as if nothing had happened. The people boarding the T didn’t see anything happen.
Who knows, maybe they had to stop for one of those huge rats that wander the T tunnels.
So the rest of the ride to Park Street was uneventful. I walked down to the sub-subterranean Red Line platform where I was (again) pleasantly surprised that a T was pulling in (it seemed like it was my lucky day).
Everything was fine.
Then, right before South Station, everyone started looking up from their books, newspapers and Ipods, and sniffed the air.
Our car was full of smoke.
It just seemed to appear.
“Is it smoky in here,” a 20-something year old woman said.
Oh yes, it was smoky in there. You couldn’t see the car behind us. We were sitting in the front car, right behind the driver.
A woman, who looked like she was in her mid-30s held up her Bible and started proclaiming that it was the Holy Ghost that was going to come and smite us T riders for being greedy people. Another guy stood up and told her to be quite, and that there was a fire somewhere.
I felt like I was in a movie. And all I really wanted to do was get to class on time.
The T driver I guess, either was unaware of the problem (not likely, we were the last Red Line to run for awhile), or truly thought that the way to get smoke out of a T car was to leave the doors open for 5 minutes at a time.
Let’s just say it didn’t really work.
The most frightening part wasn’t actually the smoke filling up the train (although that was terrifying). It was the ladies sitting next to me, sans headphones, with their heads buried in their Nora Roberts books. Ignoring the rest of us, who were trying to figure out why smoke was filling up the T car.
Is that what riding the T means now? That we now have to put up with smoke filling up our cars and drivers who break on a whim?
That’s what was truly frightening. Those ladies didn’t look up once. If they smelled the smoke, their faces didn’t show it. They should complete disregard for it, as if the smoke was an obnoxious BC student on their way to an Allston party.
If the MBTA really wants to raise fairs, they better start getting serious about these safety hazards. Those women must have either had smoke fill their cabin more than once in order for them not to flinch. That is just unacceptable.
I will not pay more than my $1.75 T fare, until those women start flinching at the sign of smoke on the T.
After 9/11/01, we were all called “terrorists.” We were searched when we wanted to fly, and people raised their eyebrows at us when we told them where we were from.
Now, the tragedy at Fort Hood, TX will create an interesting race relations issue within the U.S. military.
It is interesting that so many news outlets have been focusing on the fact that the gunman was of Arab descent. The fact that doesn’t quite make it out there, is that he is actually from Virginia and that he may or may not have been mentally unstable.
No. Because putting the Arab in bad lighting is what sells news these days. And quite frankly, I’m sick of it.
He was a psychiatrist, but did anyone do a psych evaluation of him before he started treating soldiers with PTSD? That’s a difficult job, for anyone with stable nerves to handle, and if something was already off, it could have pulled the trigger.
But no. It only takes one second to glance at the Boston Heralds article proclaiming that the gunman shouted “Allah Akhbar”. He said “God is Great,” not some terrorist code word. That’s not news. You don’t hear stories of Catholic gunmen who say the “Our Father” before going on a shooting spree now do you?
The comments on these articles are not even relevant, and shows how grossly misinformed some people are about the Arab world and Islam. For example “GodsArmy316” wrote the first comment and said, “Enough of this politically correct BS. They should not allow Muslims in the army.” A couple comments below GodsArmy316, “Ricardo87” wrote these harsh words:
“Just another Muslim displaying the lifestyle of the “religion of peace”. I will never trust a Muslim. No more giving Muslims the benefit of the doubt. I will stop going to stores that are run by them. No more for these people.”
The worst part? This comment for 15 “thumbs up” to only 2 “thumbs down”. There are people who do bad things everywhere, but why are the generalizations so gross about Arab Americans and Americans who practice Islam. There is a common denominator – we are all American.
The gunman served the army for many years, and helped many soldiers recover, which you can see in various articles that were published. He was ridiculed after 9/11 according to reports, like we all were, and like his mother said to the AP “ some people can deal with it, some people cannot.”
President Obama came to Boston on a whirlwind visit to talk at MIT about renewable energy technology and to show support for his long time friend, Deval Patrick, in his re-election campaign. However, not everyone was pleased with this visit and many took the to streets around the Westin (where Patrick’s re-election luncheon was being held) to voice their displeasure. Here are some pictures of the event: