Saturday, February 16, 2008

Cambridge Chronicle shuts down on line comments on articles

Bob La Trémouille reports:

1. Introduction.
2. Civil Rights a saving grace?
3. No way is Civil Rights a saving grace.
4. Self-censorship. Rogue cops. Jim Crow.
5. Cambridge Chronicle editor position.
6. Response by your editor to the Cambridge Chronicle editor.

1. Introduction.

The truly sick abuse being afflicted on the beautiful and extremely popular Charles River White Geese as part of the bizarre project at Magazine Beach says pretty much everything that needs to be known about nine Cambridge City Councilors and their cohorts at state level. They plan to very quickly make things much worse by destroying the green playing fields at Magazine Beach and replacing the green playing fields with grass maintained by poisons.

The nine hypocrites on the Cambridge City Council extended their reprehensible behavior from heartless treatment of the Charles River White Geese and other Charles River animals to the destruction of the homes and habitat of hundreds if not thousands of free animals living at Fresh Pond. These nine hypocrites have proceeded with a bizarre project at Fresh Pond which, among other things, is destroying thousands of healthy trees to plant one thousand saplings.

2. Civil Rights a saving grace?

Throughout their reprehensible behavior against the Cambridge environment, the apologists for these vile indivuals bragged about the record of the nine on civil rights.

3. No way is Civil Rights a saving grace.

Kathy Podgers has been abused by the Cambridge government for a number of years.

Shopkeepers have more than once barred her guide dog in spite of the clear protections that that guide dog has under Federal law.

The Cambridge government has been unsupportive of Kathy's civil rights. They claimed that Cambridge has its own civil rights laws and thus Cambridge does not have to obey Federal civil rights laws.

A little over a year ago, the Cambridge City Council tried to throw Kathy's guide dog out of a City Council meeting.

Kathy filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. The MCAD now has made two findings of probable cause of discrimination.

4. Self-censorship. Rogue cops. Jim Crow.

The Cambridge Chronicle reported the recent victory both in its hard copy and on line.

The on line edition allows comment on stories. The Cambridge Pols unleashed personal attacks and taunts in at least five to ten written on line attacks on Kathy Podgers. I responded three times with objections to their behavior accordingly.

Last summer, Kathy's guide dog was abused in the public area of the Cambridge Police Station by a bunch of rogue cops (one actor, the rest "failing to protect" the victim). She filed complaint with the department head. I am not aware of any punishment or apology. I commented on that abuse in my response.

Cambridge's selective respect for civil rights strikes me as outrageous. An excellent example is Cambridge insistence that Cambridge's ordinance is good enough and that Federal laws be damned if Federal laws provide more protection than Cambridge's ordinance.

This stinks of Jim Crow. The Jim Crow south had their own Civil Rights laws. The Jim Crow south protected those they thought should be protected. The Jim Crow south was outraged that the Federal government actually expected the Jim Crow south to obey federal civil rights laws. The Jim Crow south used rogue cops to enforce their contempt for civil rights.

Cambridge's treatment of Kathy, including the personal attacks and taunts on the Chronicle website, stinks to me of Jim Crow.

My objections were pulled by the Cambridge Chronicle three times. Before the third time, I realized that there were buttons on the comments allowing readers to object to objectionable content. Clearly the sick Cambridge Pols were clicking on that button when they saw comments which meaningfully stood up to them. The third time, I clicked on the buttons associated with the personal attacks and taunts. My comment was pulled. Then the Chronicle shut down public comments.

There was a letter in the Cambridge Chronicle on Thursday objecting to the shutdown of comments.

My letter below, submitted to the Cambridge Chronicle yesterday, omits saying the abuse of the guide dog was done by rogue cops. My letter omits the accurate association of the nine Cambridge City Councilors with the Jim Crow south.

5. Cambridge Chronicle editor position.

The Cambridge Chronicle editor announced the comment shutdown as follows:


Cambridge - Most of the conversations happening at are spirited and informational. But a number of them have been just mean-spirited.

With this in mind, we must shut down comments on all our new stories. I personally apologize that we must remove this feature, but until we have the ability to block repeated offenders who wish to spread ignorance, fear and lots of profanity, it must go.

Please keep reading this space for updates, but know there are still ways you can weigh in here on your local news site. Continue to comment on the Chronicle's blog here, where you can talk about all things Cambridge. Feel good about writing a letter to which we can publish online. Or call our print-only SpeakOut line at 617-715-5050.

And for those who have kept the conversation clean these past months, thank you. I hope to work with the good folks here to come up with a solution for you soon.

6. Response by your editor to the Cambridge Chronicle editor.

The following, in accordance with Chronicle practice, was sent by me Friday before noon to make it timely for next Thursday's paper:


I think you are to be commended for shutting down what was a nasty situation on line.

Kathy Podgers' interim victory over abuse of her federally guaranteed civil rights by the City of Cambridge exposed the very dirty side of the unified group of Cambridge Pols who keep a nasty situation going by calling it the exact opposite.

When the facts are the opposite of the propaganda, the propaganda gets tossed out anyway. If non stop falsehoods will not work, personal attacks are mercilessly used with the deliberate intent of destroying a person fighting for what the Cambridge Pols falsely claim to stand for.

Cambridge has filthy hands on environmental and civil rights issues.

Cambridge has filthy hands on environmental issues with the worst, but by no means the only, examples being, at Fresh Pond, the needless destruction of perhaps thousands of trees and associated animal habitat in the bizarre project, and, on the Charles River, the heartless abuse of the Charles River White Geese as part of the bizarre project.

On civil rights, Cambridge clearly calls itself above federal law. If Cambridge does not protect somebody in its local civil rights ordinance, Cambridge has clearly called itself exempt from Federal laws which do protect people not protected by the Cambridge ordinance. Kathy Podgers has, with success, stood up to this highly irresponsible position and now has two victories at state level.

The Cambridge Pols have responded with great nastiness.

KATHY'S GUIDE DOG HAS BEEN PHYSICALLY ATTACKED. How can anybody be so irresponsible as to attack a guide dog? Well, this is Cambridge, a city governed by holier than thou hypocrisy. So the Cambridge Pols physically attacked her guide dog.

Your report on Kathy's victories was turned into another effort at destroying Kathy rather than obeying the requirements of civil rights law.

Pols abused her on line. Pols mocked her on line. Pols taunted her on line.

Kathy would likely have settled for an apology at the state. The Cambridge Pols will respect nothing less than a big cut of money taken out of the tax rate. Kathy should proceed. What has been physically done to her dog and verbally done to her on line is just part of the problem.

Cambridge politics is a very filthy place and a very hypocritical place.

The Cambridge Chronicle has shut down use of its website as part of standing up to the filthiness.

Thank you.