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November 30, 2012

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Page 2 POST-GAZETTE, NOvi MBER 30, 2012 by Prof. Edmund Turiello ~~U A weekly column highlighting some of the more interesting aspects of our ancestry.., our lineage.., our roots. THE VIGILS OF OLD ROME Here are some appropriate definitions: Police the de- partment of government con- cerned with the preservation of public order, including the prevention and detection of crime; Fire Department -- a municipal department whose work is fighting fires and preventing their occurrence; VIGIL -- a purposeful or watchful staying awake dur- ing the usual hours of sleep. Now let's take all three, put them in our giant blender and out come the Vigils of ancient Rome, a combina- tion of police and fire depart- ment organized under mili- tary discipline. There were as many as seven thousand of them under the command of a Prefect. They were quar- tered in seven main bar- racks or "stationes" headed by a captain or "tribunus" and each of these stationes was responsible for guarding two of the city's fourteen sec- tions or "regiones." They were responsible for law and order in the city and for the protection of its citizens. This meant that they were also responsible for preventing and extin- guishing fires; a combina- tion police and fire depart- ment all rolled up into one neat little package. They had regular duty details at all places of public assembly and were equipped with axes, ropes and buckets. They were trained in the use of a hand-operated fire engine called a "sipho" and before long received the nickname of "siphonarii." There was a very high incidence of fire, especially in the tenement houses of "insulae" This was largely due to the lack of adequate heating systems and the use of movable stoves or braziers, candles, poorly designed lamps, and torches. Building fires and the wealthy Crassus seemed to be synonymous. As soon as news of a fire was received, he would dash to the scene and commiserate with the owner, who was PART II deep in despair and misery because of the sudden loss of his building. The crafty Crassus would then offer to purchase the smoldering real estate on the spot at a ridicu- lously low price. If his offer was accepted, and it usually was, trained teams of build- ers were soon on the spot erecting a new income-pro- ducing structure. Crassus was then handsomely re- warded for his sympathetic and capit~T'effort. Thi~ is th~ same Crassus who was a member of the "First Trium- virate" and it is said that his fame spread faster than his flame. He was captured while leading an army against the Parthians and because he had such a great love for wealth, they put him to death by pouring molten gold down his throat. This was known as getting your teeth filled the hard way. NEXT WEEK: The Vigils of Old Rome, PartIII Massport Opens Roadway (Continued from Page i) in August 2011. and took 15 months to complete. The project created 46 construc- tion jobs. "Our family is overjoyed that Marty's idea for a bypass road has become a reality," said Coughlin's sister, Mary Coughlin Johnston. "I'he road came about because Mass- port, community activists and our political representatives came together keeping the neighborhood of East Boston in mind." Boston Logan Airport, 15 minutes from the intersec- tion of Route 128 and 1-90 and five minutes from downtown Boston, serves as the gate- way to the New England re- gion and offers nonstop ser- vice to 73 domestic and 32 international destina- tions and in 2011 handled 28.9 million passengers. Bos- ton Logan is the Airline Pilot Association's Airport of the Year for 2008 because of its commitment to safety. Over the past decade, the airport spent 84.5 billion on a mod- ernization program that in- cludes new terminals, public transportation access, park- ing facilities, roadways and airport concessions, and has been transformed into a world-class 21st Century facil- ity. The airport generates 87 billion in total economic impact each year. FINISH Publica by David Trumbull 2012 Massachusetts Ballot Question Physician-Prescribed Suicide One of the most liberal states in the Union, in an elec- tion in which the Democrats at the top of the ticket won by comfortable margins, narrowly defeated physician- prescribed suicide. Let's examine the data from the elec- tion and see what they may tell us about the voters. 1. Working class Democratic cities opposed Question 2. The top 15 (by population) communities account for 30% of the total population of the Commonwealth. Question 2 was defeated in 10 of these communities: Brockton (63.8% opposed), Fall River (63. i%), Haverhill (53.8%), Lawrence (69.4%), Lowell (57.6%), Lynn (59.2%), New Bedford (62.5%), Quincy (54.1%), Springfield (65.5%) and Worcester (58.7%), by large margins. In Boston it barely (51%) passed. 26 mu- nicipalities account for 40% of the population of the Com- monwealth; Question 2 was defeated in 20 of them. The Cities where Question 2 was defeated are, generally speaking, those that, historically, had large Catholic immi- grant populations (French Canadians, Italians, Poles and Portuguese) or substantial recent immigration of Catholics and conservative Evangelicals (Brazilians, Cape Verdeans and Hispanics). They are also among the poorer communi- ties in Massachusetts. Some of the cities most opposed to Question 2 also had sizeable African-American populations. In the United States Senate election these communi- ties most opposed to Question 2 went heavily for liberal Democrat Elizabeth Warren. Moderate Republican Scott Brown carried one of the top 15 and 5 out of the top 26. He was not even competitive in most of the rest of them. The cities populated by more affluent professionals, Brookline, Cambridge and Newton, also went heavily for the Demo- cratic candidate, however they went equally heavily in favor of Question 2. 2. Many, but not all, Republican-leaning towns and small cities opposed Question 2. Of 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth, 166 had vote totals on Question 2 that were majority opposed. Once we look past the largest communities, we find 156 small to medium sized communities where Question 2 was defeated. Scott Brown won 133 of them, These communities are among those that traditionally have supported Republicans and are among the more conservative in an otherwise liberal State. My hypothesis is that Question 2 was defeated in part due to a competent organized opposition and the nature of turnout on Election Day, as driven by the candidates for the two major parties. Strong candidates from both parties and a hotly contested race brought high turnout. The large Democratic turnout for Ms. Warren in the cities may have brought to the polls a large number of economic liberal/ social conservative voters in blue-collar, immigrant cities. While that also brought large numbers of social liberals to the polls in affluent cities and suburbs, the strong Republi- can support for Mr. Brown in the smaller more conserva- tive communities may have brought out offsetting economic and social conservatives in,those municipalities. Leave the to Us! With a Gift Subscription to the Post-Gazette, your generosity : will be remembered every week of the year. Christmas Ggt ~ubscription POST-GAZETTE We'll send the recipient an announcement of your gift. 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