Monday, July 30, 2012

Obama vs. Romney Electoral Map, August 1 Update

[This posted updated as of Sept 1 HERE. ]

As we enter the Nominating Convention season, I still see Obama defeating Romney by an electoral vote of 310 to 228.  The two places where I am contradicting most other "experts" are New Hampshire (where I see an arrogant freshman Republican domination of the state house pulling out all the stops to frustrate student, minority, and 'liberal' voting groups), and Arizona, where I see a backlash among minorities and independents against the antics of their state GOP.

 As for a state-by-state roundup of the 'swing states,' here is my analysis:

 ARIZONA: Once a red state, we see a backlash happening on several fronts: the zany antics of Sheriff Joe, efforts to define 'personhood' at ovulation, harping on the 'birther' issue, and harsh rhetoric about immigration should cause a perfect stew of resentment against Republicans by Hispanics, women, young people, and independents.  The Supreme Court's elimination of three clauses of Gov. Jan Brewer's pet anti-immigrant legislation will further energize progressives and immigrant-rights groups to win in Arizona. Americans describing themselves as Hispanic, Native American, Black, Asian, and Racially mixed have all increased by double-digit percentages in the last 10 years, a good sign for an interracial President.  We contradict the pollsters, and see this state swinging Blue now.

IOWA: Polls are mixed, and too close to call. Iowa is tough to gauge, and will be close: we now give the edge to the Democrats, as Republican infighting and "bad blood" between the Paul libertarians, Santorum Religious Zealots, and the Romney Establishment over stealing the Iowa caucuses have prevented the GOP from organizing a realistic state-wide campaign so far.  Blue.

FLORIDA: This should be Blue, but a massive effort by Republicans in the state to purge voting rolls of Democratic-leaning groups is almost certain to throw the electoral votes of Florida into court - again.  We give it to the GOP - again.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Though it went for Obama (narrowly) last time, this is a tight state.  An active Libertarian Party bid in NH that emphasizes peace and an end to the war on drugs will hurt Obama as much as Romney; and an increasingly organized Green Party effort will hurt Obama far more than Romney.  Given the already tight race in this state, and the brashness of a young, ascendant state GOP leadership in suppressing liberal votes, we now give it to Romney - though we doubt he will win it with a majority of votes.

NORTH CAROLINA: Democratic convention in Charlotte notwithstanding, there is some Triumphalism among the religious right over the recent vote to ban Marriage Equality in the NC Constitution.  This momentum may just carry them through the Fall. Red.

VIRGINIA: Normally a safe GOP state, especially on a state-wide basis, Virginia sided with Obama in the last election. Increasing numbers of middle-class blacks, and an in-migration of young liberals in the tidewater and Potomac regions suggest that Virginia will once again go Democratic.  Three of four recent polls suggest Obama is pulling ahead...and the only poll that disagrees is the chronically pro-Republican Rasmussen poll.  Count Virginia Blue.

As for the other "swing" states: We still give New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and Ohio to Obama by comfortable margins (Ohio is not even close), and Indiana (won by Obama in 2008) to Romney. We do not believe that Obama is in danger of losing Wisconsin, in spite of an electorate tired of everybody and everything. 

(Map Courtesy of )

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Why Soccer Could be the Future of American Sport

Can you imagine the American-based National Football League holding the Superbowl in, say, Italy?

 Could you imagine 29 Basketball teams allowing one Argentine team to play with them, and then having the audacity to call their national tournament the “World Series of Basketball?”

Can you imagine a Boston Bruins hockey player falling on the ice, and being immediately helped up by a New York Ranger?

Probably not.  But that’s because American Sports are…well…American, and insular.  Only during the Olympic season, and during rare, fleeting American media coverage of major global matches such as Soccer’s World Cup, are Americans even aware of sports in other nations.

And yet, in this insular world, the winds of change are blowing.  For those not glued to the London games, this past weekend saw a series of sporting events, here in the United States, that indicates a growing challenge to “The Big Four” (American Football, Baseball, Basketball, and Hockey) and the insularity of American sports.

Yesterday (Saturday, July 28), France held its Trophée des Champions, the equivalent of France’s Soccer Superbowl….in Harrison, New Jersey.

In spite of threatening weather, 15,000 fans turned came out to the New York Red Bulls Stadium to watch Olympique Lyonnaise battle Montpellier to mark the official start of French soccer season (the cup is played at the beginning of the ‘next’ season, rather than at the ‘end’ of the season).

"New York is a magical place, and we were more motivated to play in New York and for a Cup final," Said Lyon forward Jimmy Briand, who scored the tying goal in the 77th minute and also converted the decisive penalty kick to give Lyon the title.

The game is traditionally played in France, but the last three cups have been settled in other French-speaking foreign nations: in Montréal, Canada; Tunisia; and Morocco.  This marks the first time that the French have chosen to pay their ‘soccer superbowl’ in Anglophone America, and is indicative of the winds of change blowing on the international – and American – sports scene.  The match was televised in almost 200 nations around the world.  

“I think this was a solid first step for the French Federation to grow their brand with the American fan base and with American companies looking to expand even more into soccer,” said Chris Lencheski, CEO of Front Row Marketing Services, the Comcast-owned company that helped with the tour and the French Cup. “The U.S. is becoming more and more soccer savvy, because of the efforts of MLS and the continued marketing prowess of foreign clubs, and it makes great sense for the French to be in the mix as well. Today was a great example of how strong French soccer is, and it played out not just before a crowd in New York but before a global audience online and on TV. It was a great day for their league and for the sport.”

Meanwhile, the NY Red Bull Soccer Team was not on hand to witness the match at their home stadium.  The Red Bulls, the top-seeded Soccer club in Major League’s Soccer’s Eastern Conference, was playing the Montréal Impact in their Saputo Stadium.  

I openly admit: I have recently become an MLS junkie.  We had the Red Bulls-Impact game live-streaming on our laptops last night, while the Western Conference powerhouse LA Galaxy (home to now-famous import David Beckham) match against FC Dallas was on the Flat-screen TV six feet away.

But I also know I am not alone:  In 2011, MLS reported an average attendance of almost 18,000 per game, with a total attendance of 5,468,951.   Prior to the 2010 season, MLS had never broken  4 million in attendance,  and only barely did so in 2010 (4,002,053). That’s a one-year increase of 37 percent, and that’s just stadium attendance; it doesn't include media spectators. 

Even more important: At an attendance of nearly 18,000 fans per game, Major League Soccer is now attracting more fans, in the stadium, than 17 NBA teams and 15 NHL teams (*see list at end of post).  Last year, the NY Red Bulls averaged 19,700 fans per game; the NY Rangers pulled 18,000; the NJ Nets, 14,000; and the NY Islanders 11,000.  

Why the impressive growth in soccer in the U.S.?

Perhaps traditional American sports fans are tired of ego-driven million-dollar salary contracts.  

Perhaps they’re tired of having Corporate money shoved in their face at every turn. 

With each new NFL or MLB stadium expansion or rehab, from Green Bay to Citi Field to Fenway Park, more space is given to premium suites that are out of the reach of ordinary fans; in contrast, Major League Soccer teams have devoted entire seating sections to independent Fan Clubs that bring drums and chants and banners and passion.  The fans-in-the-stands are actually respected and appreciated, and it shows.

As I watched from my chair last night, four times I saw soccer players extend a hand and help up a fallen man from the opposing team.  I watched guys on opposing teams exchange shirts with each other at the end of the match in a display of sportsmanship and camaraderie.

And I realized I am part of a growing number of Americans embracing a truly global sport, played the way professional sports used to be played, with a respect for the players, each other, and the fan base that has long gone by the boards in America’s “Big Four.”

 (Photo: Bill Gaudette, NY Red Bulls Goaltender)
*NBA teams with lower average attendance than MLS: Clippers, Suns, Nuggets, Wizards, Pistons, Raptors, Rockets, Bobcats, Hawks, Bucks, Timberwolves, 76ers, Hornets, Grizzlies, Nets, Kings and Pacers.

NHL teams with lower average attendance than MLS: Bruins, Sharks, Lightning, Oilers, Hurricanes, Predators, Panthers, Stars, Avalanche, Devils, Ducks, Blue Jackets, Jets, Coyotes, and Islanders.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Vatican Chooses Radical Conservative as Archbishop of San Francisco

 Salvatore Cordileone, 56, Roman Catholic of the Diocese of Oakland (California), has been named Archbishop of San Francisco by Pope Benedict XVI.  He will preside over the entire Bay Area of California.

With this move, the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy could not have made their church any more obsolete and out of touch if they had tried.

In a city where the gay City Supervisor (Harvey Milk) and the City Mayor (George Moscone) were assassinated, Cordileone has ranted that it is not this hate, but rather "same-sex marriage" that is "...a plot of the evil one;”

In a time when multiple state and federal district and appeals courts have emphatically ruled thqat California’s Prop 8 is Unconstitutional...Cordileone takes pride in being one of the prime organizers to pass Prop 8 in the first place, in an effort to trump constitutional law with church canon law;

In a state that is widely viewed as one of the most progressive in the nation, Cordileone has called for a return to the Roman Catholic liturgies used in 1950.  At the annual meeting of the U.S. bishops in Baltimore in November, 2006 (just 6 years ago!),  he proposed to the group that the use of contraception be considered a ‘grave matter’ under church canon law (to their credit, they refused his request.)

In the city with the largest percentage of gays in America (15%), Cordileone claims a deep understanding of the  people in one breath, while calling the people of the Bay Area “radical” in the next;

And in the city named after Saint Francis of Assisi, the 12th Century monk known for his vows of poverty and lifelong efforts to remove himself from power centers within the church... Cordileone successfully pursued his position with the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signora, the Vatican’s version of the Supreme Court, and highest body operating directly under Pope Benedict himself.

 The Vatican has chosen the man who might well be considered the single most combative conservative in the American Roman Catholic Church to provide pastoral oversight to the nation’s most liberal, forward-thinking, progressive cities.  It has chosen someone who spent countless hours sticking his thumb in the eyes of same-sex couples seeking marriage equality, and using his position to spread division and hate rather than peace, love and reconciliation.

It has chosen to declare a pointless war on the unforgiving, unrelenting tide of history itself.  And it will lose the battle with the sea changes in the generations ahead.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

FBI Agents Seek to Intimidate Vermont Activists

 Just about two hours ago (1 pm on Thursday, July 26) activists near Burlington, VT received a knock at the door of their home from two FBI agents. The agents asked to speak with a member of the household who wasn't present. The person who answered the door, organizer and self-identified anarchist Jo Robin, a pseudonym, asked the agents why they were looking for her roommate. While they initially declined to tell her, they ultimately said that they wanted to ask him questions about the Northeast Governors' Conference, to take place in Burlington over the July 28th weekend.

Organizers from the northeast United States and Quebec have planned a convergence to coincide with the binational governors' meeting, the BTV Convergence. Members of the FBI-targeted house near Burlington have been actively involved in planning the convergence, including Jo Robin.
"I think it's highly inappropriate for the FBI to visit my home to ask my roommate about his political activity," said Robin. "That kind of intimidation intends to chill political speech. It isn't appropriate and I want the federal government to know that we are not intimidated."

It's not the first time Robin has been approached by law enforcement to inquire about her First Amendment protected political activity. While organizing in New York City she was repeatedly, informally interrogated by plainclothes NYPD officers about her protected speech and association. On more than one occasion, members of the NYPD legal office called Robin out by her legal name in public. An NYU and Fordham University study released this week says that Robin is far from alone, reporting "evidence that police made violent late-night raids on peaceful encampments, obstructed independent legal monitors and [were] opaque about [their] policies."

Today's FBI visit to the activist house near Burlington in advance of the governors' conference follows a week of FBI raids on houses affiliated with anarchists in the northwest United States.
Also this week, journalist and green activist Will Potter released documents showing that the FBI "is creating reports and maintaining files about the writing, interviews, and lectures of journalists who are critical of the government’s repression of political activists," including his own writing, which agents called "compelling and well written."

(One of my heroes, Harvey Silverglate, reknowned Civil Liberties attorney who has litigated for the ACLU, The, and others)

Remember: if the FBI asks to speak with you, you do not have to talk to them, no matter what they say. The best thing you can do is take the agent's card and say your lawyer will contact them. Say nothing else, because lying to a federal agent can get you in very serious trouble, and they'll figure out a way to make it look like you lied. Watch the clip below to see how that works. Don't get caught in their vice; don't speak to them without your lawyer present. Ever.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Tale of Two Stadiums: NY Red Bulls, and Mets' Citi Field

 Over this past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend two different sporting events with my boyfriend and my son.  In both cases, these events were ‘firsts” for me:  my first major league soccer game, and my first time attending Citi Field.  And in spite of the pervasive corporate influence in both places….one franchise “did it right,” and one was horribly wrong.

On Saturday, July 21, I watched a match between the New York Red Bulls and the Philadelphia Union at Red Bull Stadium in Harrison New Jersey.  It was the first time I had ever seen a live professional soccer match.  I was a little nervous, simply because I assumed this would all be ‘new’ to me (Disclosure: I was a soccer coach for “mini-kickers,” the five-year old soccer kids, in the early 1990s in Cheshire County, New Hampshire.  I also had the wild experience of watching the European Cup in a bar in Holyhead, Wales at about the same time.  But I still entered the stadium feeling ‘unprepared’ as an American at a soccer game).

The journey to Red Bull Stadium (to see the Red Bulls, owned by the Red Bull Company) on the New Jersey PATH trains was efficient, but certainly not, shall we say, “aesthetically pleasing.”  The signage at the NJ PATH stations is sparse and incomplete, and certainly not up to the standard that this New Yorker is  used to.  Fortunately, the Red Bull  crowds knew their way about, and I followed them to the stadium in Harrison, NJ.  The stadium is located in an urban – nay, industrial – part of town, with nothing to see for miles around but iron and steel and rust and grit.  

Nonetheless, the stadium rocks.

Seating 25,000 fans, the stadium is larger than Fenway Park in Boston.  It is not a “football” stadium, rented by a soccer team, but a SOCCER stadium.  It is touted as the *premier* Major League Soccer stadium in the United States….and  it is, from a fan’s perspective – a great (and fun!) stadium.    
We entered the stadium and my son was handed a red bull cap.  We found our way to our seats - fairly inexpensive seats (about $24) in section 223.  I was a bit nervous, as these seats were located in a “corner” of the field, and fairly “up” in the stadium.  I was pleasantly surprised by how good the seats were.  In fact, I can honestly say that there is not a bad seat in the stadium.  All of the action was clearly viewable from any point in the stadium.  

And the match began.

We had an unbelievably, enjoyable, wonderful time.

The fans (both the Red Bull fans *and* the visiting Philly fans) were *excited* about the game.  The stadium is built with metal floors, so stamping your feet made NOISE.  The opposing Philadelphia team brought in drums and fans, and they made incessant noise the entire time.  At the other end of the stadium, Red Bull fans unleashed a multi-level banner supporting New York, and matched the Philly fans in excitement and noise.  (We’ve discovered there are several Red bull support groups that have special seating privileges as an official ‘fanbase,” such as the Viking Army and the Raging Bull Nation.)  This was a REAL rivalry, and it was exciting!  I found myself being drawn into the rivalry…and standing and cheering when “our guys” made a goal.  In fact, both goals were made by headers by Kenny Cooper (pictured above)  – a name I didn't know then, but I sure know now.  Just as I now know the name Thierry Henry now.  And just as I now know the name of Bill Gaudette, the goaltender who was *clearly* in command of communication with the rest of the team throughout the game. I was drawn into the game, and found myself booing and cheering and clapping and standing and being completely involved  (My boyfriend stood up so fast at one point to cheer that he fell back into his chair with a low blood-pressure head rush!  Though he continued to scream…)   

Were there drawbacks?  Sure.  No fan likes to be charged $7 for a medium beer or $9 for a large beer (the $7 purchase was actually a better buy). And the corporate domination of the team was clear: the Red Bull Company owns both the team and the Stadium; the team is named after the company (after previously  being called the Empire Soccer Club and he MetroStars),  and the corporate logo is the same as the Red Bull energy drink logo.  But the Red Bulls have managed, in spite of that clear corporate connection, to keep further corporate money “out of your face.” And one must admit that, given the predominance of “the Big 4” (Baseball, Football, Basketball, and Hockey), how in the world could soccer make a splash on the American sports scene without significant corporate support?

The Red Bulls won the game 2-0.  I was elated.  I was psyched.  I went home a fan.

Then, on Sunday, it was on to a Mets game.

Understand that I am a dyed-in-the-wool Mets fan.  I went to Shea Stadium as a kid; I grew up (in spite of generally being sports-ignorant) knowing the names Tom Seaver, Bud Harrelson, Jerry Grote, Ed Kranepool, Cleon Jones, and Tommie Agee.  I sat in box seats in 1969 as the Mets moved towards World Series victory.  I have imagined how a Mets Logo would look as a tattoo on my calf.  This is MY team.

But I had never been to Citi Field.  And I went with an open mind, and an excitement at having been able to attend a Mets game, once again, this time with my son.  And it wasn’t just any old game  - it was a game against the Traitorous Los Angeles Dodgers, whose exit from New York led to the birth of the NY Mets. 

So, off on the 7 Train we went to Citi Field.

We arrived, and I was excited as I anticipated seeing the Jackie Robinson rotunda for the first time.  I have to say, it was pretty disappointing. It was smaller than I thought, and was merely a staging point for herding crowds .  Oh well. On to the stadium.

On the positive side….I must admit...I LOVED the pavillions.  In a masterpiece of engineering and design, in spite of the fact that we were up on the Promenade level,  the “food courts” were masterfully designed.  I felt that I was at an outdoors food pavilion at Jones Beach rather than somewhere in Queens adjacent to LaGuardia airport.  The open-air feeling, and the variety of food choices, were a sheer delight.

Unfortunately, the food was insanely expensive and of fairly low quality.

$8 beers, *cold* fried dough, carrying trays unable to hold 3 mini-sausage & peppers, and no carrying trays able to contain draft beers without massive spillage were annoying at best.
The game experience  - in spite of my wanting to LOVE everything – was disappointing.
The seats (we were in section 424), were decent.  In fact, it seemed that most seats were pretty decent in the new CitiField (except for the fact  that we had to stand to see balls hit along the third baseline in the outfield).  No complaints there.

But the Corporate over-kill was overwhelming.

I counted thirty-six different corporate advertisements assaulting my senses around the stadium.  Even the scoreboard that gave basic information (balls, strikes, outs) disappeared from time to time for “corporate messages.”  Every inning and half-inning was introduced on the Jumbo-tron by a new Corporate Sponsor and fan who had “won” a corporate sponsor contest.  The sheer information-overload made it almost impossible to separate – and comprehend – the player statistics from the game stats to the Corporate infomercials.

The stadium floor is poured concrete, which meant that it was virtually impossible to drum up excitement, as all fan sound was muffled even as it started.  And the musical accompaniment was incompetent when it came to generating excitement.  As a child of the 1960s, I was used to the Jane Jarvis Organ getting the crowd excited.

 Instead, at Citi Field, the musician played one, perhaps two measures of a song or chant.  The crowd would try to join, the organ would stop, and the fans would be lost.  End of excitement.  For 12 innings, this continued without change: there simply was no momentum established to get the fans excited. It was a BIG change from the days of Shea that I remembered as a child.

Perhaps most disappointing of all -  were the Clothes Police.

Keep in mind, this was a sporting event.  An OUTDOORS event.  In 95 degree heat.  It was not an Opera at Lincoln Center.

Guys at Football games arrive shirtless and paint their bodies with team colors or spell out words.  When we went to Red Bull Stadium, we took our shirts off and waved them in the air in celebration of Cooper’s goals.

But at Citi Field?  No way.

As I left my seat to get some beer, I was shirtless, but brought my shirt with me (just in case).  As I somehow anticipated, one of the hundreds of security-conscious employees grabbed me and explained that I needed to wear a shirt.  I decided to comply without a fight, and walked away, arranging my tank top over my head.

Security ran after me.

“You can put your shirt on in them restroom, or right here,” he commanded.

“I’m putting it on right here,” I responded, as I continued to walk and arrange my shirt.  He followed me to make sure.

Later in the stands, both my boyfriend and I removed our shirts in the 95 degree heat, with the sun bearing directly down upon us.  We saw other guys in sections 404 and 435 taking their shirts off.
A Mets Security Goon came running into the stands to “require” us to wear shirts (in spite of the fact that our backs were against a wall, and no one was sitting next to us).  20 minutes after complying, a different security goon came to check that we were properly clothed.  I learned later that Citi Field refuses admittance to anyone wearing a T-shirt that conveys what they feel is a ‘controversial’ message.’ 

After I got home, I received an email survey about my Citi Field experience.  It asked if I was satisfied with the level of Security. The implication was that in security-conscious, paranoid New York, “Security” was a “good “ thing.  

For me, it was like watching a game under the surveillance of a Corporate-driven Fascist State.
The comparison between these two stadiums was stark.

The difference was *not* in corporate financing: both were clearly corporately financed.  The difference was in the perspective that both teams took towards their fan base, the freedom they afforded their fans to celebrate, the inclusion of their fans in their overall team drive towards success.

I am thinking, today, that I am glad I did not have that Mets tattoo inked on my calf.  And that I can’t wait to see my next Red Bulls Game.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Judge to Tennessee: Allow Muslims Access to Mosque

U.S. District Court Judge Todd Campbell has signed an emergency order allowing Tennessee Muslims to worship in a new mosque just in time for the start of  Ramadan, overturning a hate-fueled effort by some local residents to shut down the mosque.

The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro has existed for more than a decade, but legal wrangling began in earnest when the ICM received approval from the local commissioners to build an expanded mosque. 

During construction, which began with proper approvals, the site was vandalized multiple times, including an arson attack in 2010.  A bomb threat to the center was called in to the center on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks on New York and Washington.  "Not welcome" was spray-painted by vandals on a sign announcing the construction of the project.

 In a move that barely hid their own xenophobia, four county residents filed suit to block the mosque in September 2010, arguing it posed a "risk of terrorism generated by proselytizing for Islam and inciting the practices of Sharia law." They also demanded the judge bar any approval until the Islamic center showed that it was not interested in "the overthrow of the American system of government, laws and freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution."  An anti-Muslim website, "Jihad Watch," fanned the flames of opposition by calling the proposal a "mega-mosque," in spite of the existence of an equally-sized church next door (see top picture above).

Those lawsuits were quickly dismissed by courts.

Opponents succeeded, however, in convincing the local chancery court that their due process rights were violated because of improper public notice given for the project.   In May, the chancery court overturned the county's approval of the mosque construction, and, last week, further ordered the county not to issue an occupancy permit for the 12,000-square-foot building, based on the county’s failure to provide adequate public notice of its meeting.

The ICM then sued Rutherford County on Wednesday, asking U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell for an emergency order to let worshippers into the building before the holy month of Ramadan starts at sundown Thursday. They were joined by Federal prosecutors, who also filed a similar lawsuit.
The Justice Department accused Rutherford County of violating the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 by holding the mosque to a different standard than other religious institutions built in the county. The Islamic Center argued that it was being unconstitutionally blocked "merely because local anti-Islamic protests have made the mosque controversial.”

This is a victory for the First Amendment, and the Tennessee residents who supported these actions should be ashamed of themselves for their patently un-American behavior.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Kitten Encased in Concrete: $5,000 Reward

This is a horrifying story, so if you choose to keep reading, prepare yourself. (The kitten pictured is not the kitten abused in this story)

This story highlights the senseless cruelty that sick, weak people inflict on helpless animals. This sort of thing happens somewhere everyday and always elicits a gut-level revulsion on the part of anyone whose mind isn’t a cobweb of confusion or whose moral compass isn’t spinning like a top.

This is the story of Thomas, a four-month old kitten who was buried up to his chest in newly poured concrete and left to suffer and die by someone who deserves to be removed from society. When he was discovered the following day, he had to be chiseled out by the young man, Andrew, who had poured the cement the day before and left for the day. Thomas had to have been placed into the cement while it was still wet. That means Thomas was likely struggling to free himself for 18 hours as the cement hardened around his frail body.

All of this took place in Colorado City, Arizona, a small community about a 45-minute drive from Best Friends, a local animal rescue clinic and advocacy organization.  Best Friends has provided free spay/neuter and emergency vet care to residents of Colorado City for years, so a local resident called Best Friends and they sent someone to meet up with Andrew and rush Thomas to their clinic.

The BF medical staff, joined by members of their maintenance department, worked side by side to remove as much of the hardened concrete from Thomas’ fur, face, legs and eyes as possible without doing more harm to him. The vets, who over the years have attended to many animals who have been victims of car accidents, cruelty cases, chemical burns and worse, have never been so distressed as they were by this case and the trauma inflicted on innocence.

Thomas was stabilized and treated to relieve his pain, but sadly - though mercifully - had to be euthanized a few days later.

Through 28 years of operation, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary has seen thousands of animals in their final hours and minutes. But there was something particularly unnerving about seeing this helpless, adorable kitten in such a state, and then realizing that they could not undo what someone else had done. There was small comfort in knowing that they were able to provide him with some kindness and compassion in his final days.

So now what? The person or people who did this to a sweet, young cat are still out there and need to be brought to justice.

Thomas is no longer with us, but his spirit is very much entwined with ours. Best Friends is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of person(s) responsible for this act. We all hope that a cash reward will prompt someone to come forward in Colorado City to identify the perpetrator.  If you are reading this and know something about Thomas and the events that brought about his death, please contact the Mohave (Arizona) County Sheriff’s Office at 800-526-1911.   If you have friends in the Arizona/Utah/California area who need to know this story, pass it along.

Anyone capable of such a sadistic act is not only a danger to other animals, but also to children and to the entire community. Protect your family, protect your pets, preserve your humanity. Don’t turn a blind eye to cruelty.