Sina-cism: From Manchester to Worcester, our common heritage is under assault

The Manchester attack resonates so deeply precisely because when we look into the life and history of that English city and its people, we see so much of ourselves.
Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

England — and civilized peoples everywhere — again lament the deaths of innocents. Once more the flowers are piled high, terror alert levels are at maximum, and police raids are underway in search of terrorist accomplices.

In Manchester, England — where at least 22 children and adults were slain during last Monday night’s nail bomb suicide attack at a concert — grief, nervousness and anger abound. The rituals of London, including the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, have been disrupted with the deployment of British troops on the streets.

And from Whitehall to Washington, the all-too-familiar debates are renewed — debates over immigration, refugees, assimilation, and the violence that seems increasingly to characterize the encounters between “Western” and “radical Islamic” cultures.

No debate will breathe life into the departed. Those who perished in Manchester — children, young adults, parents — have been added to the ever-lengthening lists of terrorism’s victims. For their families, friends and communities, life has been altered beyond recognition. Perhaps beyond endurance.

For now there is only consolation. In the days, weeks and months ahead there will be some measure of healing. For some, time may even bring forgiveness. Or not.

Worcester Sun, May 28-June 3: Mariano gives Trump supporters the stage, not-so-Great Wall, Live Action Escapes expands + more

Sinacola on Manchester. Hitch on Elizabeth Warren. Giselle Rivera-Flores on leadership. The Bravehearts are back. And, still, there’s more inside your May 28-June 3 Worcester Sun.

Last week’s most popular, May 14-20

Here are the most popular Worcester Sun articles May 14-20

Mariano: It is time to start talking about and planning for the closing of more churches
Survival training: One woman’s story of perseverance
Free to read: On the road to big things, with singer Dezi Garcia
Sina-cism: Fighting what never was to create what never can be
Valentino’s has ambitious plans for heart of Shrewsbury Street
Mandell: Closing the book on Jane Week in Worcester


Worcester Sun, May 24: TIFs add up to developing success in Worcester, ISIS attack raises local concerns + more

Plus, top Sun stories, Hitch on First Night, a new free-to-read, nursing homes in crisis and a jam-packed Inbox. This is your Wednesday, May 24, Worcester Sun.

Sina-cism: McGovern peddling Social Security snake oil

Debate often quickly runs aground on the hotly contested question of whether the Social Security Trust Funds are real or an accounting trick. Liberals insist every penny goes where it should. Conservatives argue “there’s no ‘there’ there.”
Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern, D-Worcester, was at the Worcester Senior Center last week with fellow Democratic congressman John Larson of Connecticut to peddle the “Social Security 2100” bill.

Like traveling salesmen, this pair promised the world.

Their bill would increase benefits, hike annual cost-of-living adjustments, help elderly workers, ensure Social Security remains solvent into the 22nd century, and cost individual contributors less than the proverbial cup of coffee each week.

Perhaps they meant kopi luwak, Vietnamese weasel coffee, which is produced by civets ingesting and defecating coffee beans and sells for hundreds of dollars per pound.

In my opinion, Social Security’s solvency can be extended in one of two ways.

One way is by adopting a chained Consumer Price Index, raising the retirement and early retirement ages, investing some of the Social Security Trust Fund in stock indexes, and slowly reducing payroll taxes so younger workers can boost contributions to their 401(k) and IRA plans, which offer higher yields.

The other way is to raise taxes.

The difference is that only the first approach solves Social Security’s problems in the long term.

Worcester Sun, May 21-27: Mariano on missing kids, Sina-cism on McGovern’s Social Security pitch, First Night + much more

Serendipity and the Silver Ball. “Legendary Lucas.” Hitch on Taxachusetts. Another incredible installment in Augustine Kanjia’s impossible tale of survival. And, still, there’s more in your May 21-27 Worcester Sun.

Sina-cism: Fighting what never was to create what never can be

Warren has never seen a tax cut she liked. In her view, Reagan was notable only for busting unions and deregulating industries.
Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s latest book, “This Fight Is Our Fight,” is dedicated “To the people of Massachusetts, who sent me into this fight,” so I am confident that includes me. Otherwise, she would have omitted the comma, thus limiting the dedication to those voters who actually cast a ballot for her.

So I bought a copy and spent part of an otherwise gorgeous spring weekend imbibing the political wisdom of our senior senator.

Warren’s previous effort to build her presidential résumé, “A Fighting Chance,” came when she was new to politics. We got to learn about her Native American heritage (OK, just one passing mention) and up-from-poverty past.

This latest installment in résumé-building, subtitled “The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class,” is 270 pages of partisanship, perhaps to be expected from someone who never stops telling us how deeply she cares about every left-wing cause. But she undermines herself. Warren spends so much time demonizing Republicans that when we get to what passes for serious policy discussion, her credibility is shot.

More Sina-cism on Warren: A liberal dose of ‘no’

Worcester Sun, May 14-20: Mariano on church closings, thoughts on Petty and Gaffney, growing up at City Hall + Mother’s Day

What if … Worcester sees a future with shorter pregnancies. Giselle Rivera-Flores takes a look back for Mother’s Day. And a whole lot more of the best commentary and storytelling in the city in your May 14-20 Worcester Sun.

Worcester Sun, May 7-13: Mariano on a larger-than-life Worcester Warrior, Gedman still pitching in for Sox, Altea’s Eatery, Trumpcare + more

Augustine Kanjia’s unbelievably true story of perseverance continues. Hitch on Bill Coleman. Sinacola on 290. And, still, there’s more — so quit dragging your feet and check out your May 7-13 Worcester Sun.

Sina-cism: That serpent, fear, stalks America

The international and global problems we face require much more cooperation and are not wholly within our control, but even they are merely variations on past problems.
Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

What are you afraid of? Terrorism? Illegal immigrants? Losing your job to a robot? Donald Trump’s latest tweet or executive order? North Korea? A rattlesnake attacking you while you’re hiking around the Quabbin Reservoir?

Some of these fears could be realized.

Terrorism is a grim reality. Some illegal immigrants commit crimes. Technology replaces some jobs (and creates others). Trump has made and will make mistakes. North Korea could be the flashpoint for a major conflict.

But in most cases, even when such things come to pass, they are unlikely to directly affect the vast majority of those who worry about them. Tragedies are tragic enough without compounding their pain through constant worry.

The least likely on the above list, rattlesnakes, serves to illustrate how irrational we humans can be.