Bill Russell

The death of Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell is giant loss.

For those of us old enough to remember his heroics on the basketball court – and his heroics in life, Russell represented about the best in professional athletes and human beings on and off the court.

He didn’t put up with racism. He always spoke out. He was bitter about how he was treated in Boston for many years before he became a sports God.

Russell was about as good as a professional athlete could be in the time he played.

He has been voted the greatest player in professional basketball history.

We’re not sure what Michael Jordan or Lebron James would have to say about that.

Intellectually, Russell towered above all the rest playing during his time.

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Are They Protected?

The common and oft repeated belief among the cognoscenti here that the mayor and others at the center of the political and racial storm now being investigated by the US Attorney believe that the FBI is protecting the mayor and a few others.

Preposterous, you say? Not at all.

Protected from what and why, we wonder?

Obviously, we have no real idea who the FBI protects and who the FBI doesn’t protect except to say – when bad actors are allowed to lead without impunity, questions always arise about how such a situation is left to exist when in other places, such behavior is vigorously prosecuted.

Next door to us, in the Chelsea of yesteryear, gangsters were allowed the run of the city during the 1980’s, and this included a succession of Chelsea’s mayors.

Many residents in that city, and leaders who were not part of the crime, the payoffs and the corruption never thought the FBI was allowing such behavior.

Time has proven otherwise.

Those of us who covered the carnival of crime alive in Chelsea at that time never understood what the hell was actually going on with law enforcement.

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Big Papi

The induction into Baseball’s Hall of Fame of David Ortiz was a giant moment for baseball and for the Boston Red Sox and for all of us who watched many of his finest moments during a long a grand career.

His first round induction into the Hall of Fame says a great deal about Big Papi’s stature as well as his popularity.

He was, in every way, what baseball fans and sports fans all over the world regard as a clutch ball player.

He wielded an explosive bat. He hit over 500 homeruns and he led the Red Sox to world championships.

Big Papi at bat during a critical moment of a big game rarely disappointed the fans or himself.

His unlikely rise from abject poverty in the Dominican Republic to become one of the greatest baseball players of his time should prove as an inspiration to many younger ballplayers trying to make it.

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Extend Tahiliani’s Contract

We did not support Priya Tahiliani to be the superintendent of Everett’s Public Schools when she was seeking the position.

We always felt that a “local” candidate would be better than an “out of towner.”

In this respect, we believed the leadership of the public schools should be left to an insider, preferably an Everett resident.

This was before the racial component now hanging over the city’s right to govern itself revealed just how ugly racism becomes when a city that is largely Black, Brown and Hispanic is ruled exclusively by white people who make the effort to exclude people of race and color from joining the city hall and the Vine Street management teams.

Further, we believed two years ago that Everett was just fine except for the rough and tumble politics that pervades city hall under the leadership, or the lack of it, of Mayor Carlo DeMaria.

After Tahiliani became the superintendent, we got behind her.

We never bought in to the idea that she was not right for the position after she was appointed.

After all, who exactly is right for the superintendent’s position to begin with?

With everything underhanded and rooted in racism that has gone on to undermine and to be rid of Tahiliani since she arrived, we have come to understand that she is the right person, at the right time, in the right place with stellar qualifications to be the superintendent of schools.

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Paulie Walnuts

The death of Tony Sirico, who played Paulie Walnuts on the Sopranos, is a moment for those of us who loved watching the Sopra- nos to say farewell to one its most compelling characters.

He died in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida last Friday.

He was 79.

He never graduated from high school.

He worked in construction as a younger man.

Then he got into “other things,” as he liked to recall.

The other things were armed robbery, extortion, coercion and felony weapon possession.

He served time at Sing Sing maximum security prison in Ossining, New York.

Then he got into acting.

When the Sopranos role came to him, he was 55 and “sleeping on my mother’s sofa,” he recalled during an interview about his life.

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