Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tin Foil Hats

I usually avoid InCity Times much like I avoid the comment section in the T&G. When I first picked it up years ago while waiting for a Chicken Pesto Pizza at the Corner Grille, I thought it was a good idea. The T&G was downsizing, WoMag was getting stagnant, and I hoped InCity Times would improve. It hasn't.

The combination of misspellings, innuendo, crazy conspiracy theories, and ignorance usually makes my eyes bleed. Every so often there's a good piece of information that shines through, which is why I occasionally go back.

Today, I went back looking for a nugget, and found this gem.

I don't know Don Abraham or Jeff Richardson from a hole in the wall. But I do know that Worcester isn't spelled "Worcetser." Seriously Rosie- you live here. Unless you have a printing press in your basement, you're probably typing your articles on a computer. There's this lovely modern invention called spell check, and it even recognizes uncommon names like.....Worcester.

It reminds me of 1992 when the Centrum hosted the first round of March Madness, and the board had games in Worchester, MA...but they had an excuse.  They weren't from here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Greatest prank ever???

Not if you are a tree...but very funny.

Here's Louie's reaction:

I'm going for a walk.

It's cold and windy outside, and I stumbled across clips of idiots babbling.

Then I stumbled across a compendium of idiots babbling some more.

I don't drive a Caddy....yet.

Both Glenn Greenwald and Bob Herbert tackle taxing 'Cadillac health plans.' As it stands right now, I fall just under the threshold for the 40 percent tax, which means in the next few years I too can have a Cadillac plan!

The bad news? I have a bare bones, If- you-get-sick-it-will-cost-you-plan from Fallon. I'm single, don't have children and certainly don't make enough to warrant paying that sort of tax on my health benefits.

That's why I'm with Representative Keith Ellison (D-Minn) and not with Senator Joe Lieberman, (I- Aetna).

Monday, December 28, 2009


I highly recommend this article regarding climate change legislation's glacial progress through Congress.

Historic district comedy tour!

I saw this cartoon today and thought of the whole Montvale situation.

Lazy journalism, part 2!

Apparently I'm going to start a weekly series based on the Sunday column of Robert Z. Nemeth. I hoped Tracy would tackle this article because she is far more knowledgeable about the subject, but no such luck (yet?).

Mr. Nemeth begins his article with the following quote:
"Hard-core opponents of charter schools are licking their chops at the prospect of the state closing two of those schools, one in Springfield and another in Lowell, for alleged testing irregularities, mismanagement or lack of academic progress. They’re using the occasion to discredit all charters in the state. The effort is mean-spirited and misguided."
Apparently Massachusetts Education Commissioner Michael Chester is a 'hard core opponent' despite the fact that he was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick. In related news this week, Governor Patrick called for expansion of charter schools in the state.

Mr. Nemeth then takes exception to Mr. Chester's actions:
"Mr. Chester should be more concerned about the well-being of tens of thousands of children in regular district schools who receive substandard education."
Perhaps Mr. Nemeth should read this article about the new head of the Robert Hughes Charter in Springfield. With all the hoopla over the Donna Byrnes hiring last year, imagine Mr. Nemeth's anti public school vitriol if the School Committee hired a convicted felon to run a public school?

Mr. Nemeth finishes with the jewel:
"However, expansion comes with suffocating restrictions and creates a bureaucratic nightmare. It mandates quotas for low-income, special education, high-risk and limited-English-proficiency students, along with specific strategic plans to recruit and retain students from such categories. No district school is expected to function under such restrictions."
The reason district schools don't have such restrictions is because the entire public school system cannot turn away any students! Our public schools are full of high risk and underachieving students, and charter schools aren't. Comparing results from the two is highly illogical, and only serves Mr. Nemeth's agenda.

I hope next week he decides to leave his argument with Clive McFarlane to the break room at the T&G.

Lettahs to the Editah!

I try to ignore the letters to the editor. They usually make me want to retreat to a cabin somewhere in the White Mountains and not talk to people.

Today's T&G letters went from the reasonable to the ridiculous. I truly hope Charles Goodhue of Northbridge's intent was sarcasm or un-funny humor.

Christmas return lines...

I've never returned a gift... but for those who have, I stumbled across this video by Garfunkel and Oates.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Keep that Christmas music coming....

Dar Williams' The Christians and The Pagans will help tonight and tomorrow as I make soup, bake cookies, bake bread, and make jam.

Dar is always best live!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

More Christmas music

I can't spend a Christmas without this classic by John Lennon:

Chairs of Worcester

This poster is fantastic, and a perfect reflection of the winter months here in Wormtown.

It would probably make a good Christmas present too!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Lazy Journalism

I've never been a big fan of Robert Z. Nemeth. His journalistic style and political philosophy reminds me of Sam the Eagle. His opinion piece in Sunday's T&G was particularly lazy.

I'm fine with his endorsement of Scott Brown. I don't agree, but after all, it's an opinion piece. But I do take issue with his sloppy journalism.

"If Ms. Coakley goes to Washington, she is expected to be in lockstep with Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader. Mr. Brown has been known for his independent voice."

Does Mr. Nemeth really believe that Scott Brown's 'independent' voice won't be in lockstep with the Republican minority in the Senate? If Mr. Nemeth believes that, he obviously didn't do his homework on the candidate. Next time, eliminate the word independent and just come out and say Republican.

Let's run down Mr. Brown's stance on the major issues:

Health Care: "I believe that all Americans deserve health care coverage, but that we shouldn't have to create a new government insurance program to provide it. I support strengthening the existing private market system."

Immigration: "However, we are also a nation of laws and government should not adopt policies that encourage illegal immigration."

Energy: "I oppose a national cap and trade program because of the higher costs that families and businesses would incur."

Abortion: "While this decision should ultimately be made by the woman in consultation with her doctor, I believe we need to reduce the number of abortions in America. I believe government has the responsibility to regulate in this area and I support parental consent and notification requirements and I oppose partial birth abortion. I also believe there are people of good will on both sides of the issue and we ought to work together to support and promote adoption as an alternative to abortion."

Death Penalty: "I believe there are some crimes that are so heinous that they deserve capital punishment. Our Government should have the ability to impose the death penalty in cases where it is justified."

Apparently 'independent' equals Republican in Mr. Nemeth's dictionary.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Keep Mike Lowell!

I have never been so happy to hear that my favorite player is injured and needs surgery.

Keep Mike Lowell in Boston! Let him play out the last year of his contract, and by all means, please don't sign Adrian Beltre.

I stumbled across a great site last night that keeps track of every Red Sox player and the number they wore.

"We'll knock the milkmaids over and roll them in the clover"

I caught The Brennan Brothers at the Worcester Hibernian Cultural Centre on Friday night, and they managed to surprise me with a Makem and Clancy song I had never heard before, Drink Up the Cider. I hope they keep it in their repertoire...perhaps they can replace Ratlin Bog, permanently!

I was disappointed to hear that SueAnn and Bill Dolan are being replaced in the kitchen at Fiddler's Green. They will be missed, along with their Tomato Basil Bisque!

Ziggy has pants!

This has been a great week for Stephan Pastis at Pearls Before Swine. Thanks to his efforts, Ziggy has pants.

Ultimate Christmas mix

I've been slacking lately on my Christmas playlist, but here's some more choices:

Cheech and Chong's Santa Claus and His Old Lady always makes me laugh. It's corny, ridiculous, and commercial, yet it works for me.

When I was a kid, I always needed to listen to the Muppet's Christmas album with John Denver, and Noel: Christmas Eve, 1913 was a favorite.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Merry funny Christmas!

Here's two funny Christmas posts, one by Stephan Pastis, author/artist of Pearls Before Swine, and the other from Tim's blog, Functioning Rageaholic.

More Christmas music

I think I will count down the remaining days until Christmas with music that I actually enjoy hearing.

Here's another favorite, off of one my desert island albums, If I Should Fall From Grace With God:

I've always felt that Fairytale of New York was the sequel to Rainy Night in Soho, another Pogues classic:

"The winners are at war with the losers, and the fix is on. The prospects for peace are awful." -Kurt Vonnegut

So far, it really hasn't mattered whether Barack Obama or George W. Bush is in the White House. In an excellent piece, Glenn Greenwald points out the similarities between the two administrations and their dangerous fascination with state secrets.

The less transparency we have in our government, the less freedom we truly have.

Monday, December 14, 2009

"Maybe I should put a bucket over my head and a marshmallow in each ear."- Ani Difranco

I had the misfortune of hearing a Mariah Carey Christmas song this afternoon. I firmly believe that the majority of all pop Christmas music is complete and utter mindless filler, and about as emotionally filling as a Twinkie. Every Christmas I swear that I'll make my ultimate Christmas mix...perhaps this will be the year.

Here's a Christmas song that captures the season and will definitely be on my list:

While I'm on my soapbox, here's a post from Michael Boyle that captures that same spirit.

More from the City Square website...

From the Worcester section:

"The city's entertainment venues include Foothills Theater"

Unfortunately, not anymore. Update the site much?

From the residential section:

"CitySquare is restoring vibrancy to Downtown Worcester. This new, refined urban lifestyle makes Worcester a great place to work and live- at much more reasonable prices than Boston." -Roberta Schaefer, Executive Director, The Research Bureau.

Yes Roberta, Boston has an empty downtown mall also.


The News Section was last updated on 04/29/09.

Berkeley Investments in the news...

I found this gem in the Boston Globe profile of Barbara Lynch:

"But he (Park) has sold fewer than half of the 92 condos over her restaurants, which were more complicated and costly than he anticipated."

Good to see Young Park making news for his (partially successful) developments. I think he needs to come eat at a few Worcester establishments and find some more clients for CitySquare.

In a bizarre coincidence, there's a City Square Restaurant in Wooster, Ohio.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Privatize this, Part 3!

Here's a quote from  U.S.PIRG's website regarding PPPs and how the public needs to safeguard themselves:

"The city should ensure that any future privatization deals adhere to the following principles:

• The public should retain control over decisions that affect the broader public interest.
• The public must receive full value so future revenues are not sold off at a discount.
• No deal should last longer than 30 years because of uncertainty over future conditions, because the risks of a bad deal grow exponentially over time, and because long contracts transfer unnecessary control to the concessionaire.
• Contracts should require state-of-the-art maintenance and safety standards instead of statewide minimums.
• There must be complete transparency to ensure proper vetting of privatization proposals.
• There must be full accountability in which the elected legislative body must approve both the authority to negotiate a deal and any terms of a final deal.

 In addition, the city should adopt procedural safeguards for future privatization proposals that include the following:

• A minimum waiting period of 30 days between publication of the final terms of a privatization agreement and a vote (45 days for privatization of assets or services valued at more than $50 million).
• Competitive, transparent bidding for all professional services provided during the privatization process and for the privatization contract itself.
• Disqualification of city councilors from voting on privatization proposals when they have received campaign contributions from companies that bid on a given asset or performed professional services related to privatization. The Mayor’s office should similarly reject contributions from such companies and publicize contributions received for a defined period prior to the decision to consider privatizing an asset.
• Thorough, independent analysis of the valuation of assets proposed for concession agreements along with a comparison of privatization with other alternatives (including the option of bonding against future revenues with the same schedule of user fee increases without a private lease or transfer of ownership).
• Prompt public disclosure of all documents related to privatization bids.
• Clear directions for how proceeds from the sale will be allocated, along with the development of tools to enable the public to track spending of proceeds from privatization over time. These tracking tools should be integrated into a city wide budget transparency Web site that would enable citizens to have “one-stop” access to all city expenditures.
• Timely public disclosure of all documents relevant to a privatization proposal, including posting of such documents on a publicly accessible Web site.

Finally, to bolster confidence, trust, and transparency in government, Chicago should follow the example of a growing number of cities and states that provide detailed and up-todate searchable information about government contracting and expenditures on-line.

Specifically, the city should create a one-stop, comprehensive, on-line database that would enable citizens to obtain information on contracts, the current status of city accounts, special tax breaks, fee services accrued, economic development subsidies and city budgets. The Web site should provide summary information and enable residents to drill down to detailed information on city payments, including the city’s check register. The Web site should also retain previous years’ data for comparison."

I hope our City Council, City Manager, and local newspapers keep this in mind as this debate progresses.  I know I will.

Privatize this, Part 2!

It's been 18 days since I posted this, and 21 since Mike O'Brien's speech. (And more than a years since he first proposed the idea.) Nicole has blogged about it twice, including emails to city officials.

I feel like Keith Olberman's closing speech throughout the Bush Administration.

Today, Worcester Magazine's Jeremy Shulkin broached the subject of selling the City's parking resources.  I'm tired, cranky and don't really want to write about this, but here goes the quick quick version until I have more time and energy.

-Mr. Shulkin mentions that Harrisburg, PA had an offer for $215 million and rejected the deal. He also mentions discontent in Washington D.C. and Chicago regarding ticketing policies and high prices. Why doesn't he go into detail about these cities? Is it the limitation of the print media? Or is it because this seems to be a largely pro-privatization piece?

-Mr. Shulkin relies extensively on Rick Norment, the Executive Director of the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of privatization.

-The NCPPP is an organization that relies on the existence of privatization (or their euphemism of Pubic-Private Partnerships). Where is the voice from the other side? How can Mr. Norment be the only expert quoted in this article?

Here's a few reasons why people mistrust privatization.

Eight links, minimal effort, three searches on Google that took nanoseconds and then some reading.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Please Vote Tomorrow!

The primary is tomorrow. Find out where you are registered to vote on the City Website.

The main election will be held on January 19, 2010. If you aren't registered, you have to register by December 30th. Information can be found here.

Here are the websites for the Democratic challengers:
Alan Khazei
Martha Coakley
Mike Capuano
Steve Pagliuca

Here are the websites for the Republican challengers:
Jack E. Robinson
Scott Brown

Please vote!

The new hermit

Frugality and anti-materialism seems to be popping up everywhere. This story reminded me of one of my all time favorite books, Blue Highways, by William Least Heat-Moon. I admire the author's discipline and ability to evade a mountain of student loan debt. However, I wonder what he missed in his years of avoiding contact with his fellow students.

While we're on the subject, here's another blog that I've been reading on the same theme, but even more radical.

This blog loosely fits in with the theme, especially the parts about Vicky.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Rest In Peace, Liam Clancy

Liam Clancy passed away today at the age of 74.

I have many fond memories of seeing him perform at Mechanics Hall with Tommy Makem and his brothers. He would always play Worcester sometime around St. Patrick's Day, and my family would sit in the balcony over the stage. Every show was amazing- full of stories, jokes, and sing-a-longs. Liam was gifted with one of the greatest voices to ever grace a stage, and he will be missed.

May he rest in peace.

Here he is with Tommy Makem performing one of my favorite songs:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Two Rhapsodies in the same week?

Are you sick of the Tiger Woods story?  Are you sick of the large amount of ink devoted to it and the huge number of on air stories speculating about a fender bender?

So is Jon Stewart.
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Tiger Woods Newzak

Daily Show
Full Episodes

Political Humor
Health Care Crisis

I couldn't have said it better myself...although I might have been able to sing better than Stewart, and that is not a compliment to my voice or his!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Where's my red pen, part 2!!!

This sounds like a can't miss deal offered by a sleazy salesman.

Here's the headline:
Utility’s rate hike reduced by state
Some electric bills will drop

I admit I rarely read the Money if I was glancing through it like I usually do, I'd believe that the state was looking out for me and lowering my electric bill.

But then I kept reading, and found out that National Grid wanted a $111.3 million rate increase, and the state Department of Public Utilities reduced their request for a rate increase to $44.3 million.

So here's my modified headline:
Utility's rate increases $44.3 million
State DPU approves increases 

Author Martin Luttrell paraphrases the ruling with this gem: "So, as customers use less energy, the company can raise rates enough to make the additional $44.3 million in revenues approved by the DPU"

Later in the article, Luttrell quotes DPU Chairman Paul J. Hibbard:

"there are several classes of residential and commercial customers, and that some could see rates go up. For example, under the DPU ruling, low-income customers will see a typical monthly increase of 24 cents, compared to an increase of $3.70 under the company’s proposal."

So the moral of this article is that if I am poor and energy efficient, National Grid will raise my rates so they can turn a profit in order to build more green energy, despite the fact that they are one of four "investor-owned public utilities."  Perhaps we should eliminate the middle man and invest our money in the green energy ourselves.

And for further proof that you should always read until the end, the article ends with this nugget that should probably be a whole new article:

"The DPU has also denied NSTAR’s petition to collect about $33 million from its customers after negotiating lower power-supply rates.

NSTAR must return roughly $20 million of that amount it has already collected."

Where's my red pen?

I know ink and pages are limited in the T&G, but couldn't we get a more substantial article with actual details?

Here's what I mean:
"Mr. Rushton and Councilor-at-Large Joseph M. Petty opposed the lowest residential tax rate and offered a set of alternative tax rates that were less odious for business property owners, but both motions were soundly rejected."

-What was the alternative tax rate? I was working, so I couldn't attend the meeting. When I pick up the paper in the morning, I'd like that detail please. Nick Kotsopoulos has quotes from four councilors in the article, but couldn't print the details of the Rushton/Petty plan? I'm so glad that he quoted this gem from Mike Germain: “(the) economy is in such a mess."

Thanks. I hadn't noticed.  This is why ideas like Nicole floated are happening across the country.

Councilor Santa Claus, Updated.

I received a prompt reply from Bill Eddy regarding yesterday's post regarding a special election for a vacancy.

"1 & 2. Yes, candidates would have to collect the usual number of signatures (300 at-large, 100 district). In the event of a vacancy, the council would set an election date (90 days) with a signature filing date (between 30 & 45 days).

3. In the unlikely event of a vacancy, the city would incur the cost of an election from general funds. While we are attempting to fill a Charter void by having a process in place, it is worth some perspective. Since the inception of this current Charter in 1987, we have had 17 district councilors represent five districts. Of the 17, we have had 1 mid-term vacancy (1990). We have had at-large and school committee vacancies, but have never gone beyond ballot candidates which would trigger the special election scenario we propose."

Too bad the T&G couldn't be bothered to print the details.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I applaud the fiscal restraint and sacrifice, but wouldn't it be nice if our City Council rescinded the raises they gave themselves a few years back in the name of sacrifice?

And wouldn't it be nice if the taxpayers didn't pay for a city vehicle plus insurance for an employee who makes over $180,000? What other city employees have this perk, and how much would we save if the City Council eliminated this sort of perk?

And does any one else think it is a coincidence that this story appeared in the paper the same day the Council voted on the tax rate?

City Councilor Santa Claus, your time is up!

City Councilor Bill Eddy promised to change the City Charter after this November's election, and today the T&G reported that he is one step closer to amending our City Charter.

“Some might say we are trying to correct a problem that doesn’t exist, but I look at it as filling a void left in the charter.” said District 5 Councilor William J. Eddy, committee chairman.

Speaking of voids, I searched the City website for information regarding his order, and found this. When you click on attachments, you get this.

I'd like a few more details, please.

-Will the candidates have to collect the same number of signatures that they would in a regular election?

-Do they have 90 days to pull papers and collect signatures, or is there a smaller window of time?

Tonight I sent out an email to Councilors Eddy, Petty and Toomey. I'll post any details they share when I get them.

I'll have the fish, please.

This made me think and laugh, especially the Trout and Brownie. I wish I had thought of this myself...the ideas are starting to percolate in my head, and more will pop out at work tomorrow as I play with food.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Muppet Rhapsody!

Nothing beat the Muppets! Especially when it features the Swedish Chef and Lew Zealand!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Registered Candidates

I have a few questions about changing the City Charter to only allow eligible registered candidates to fill a vacant position. This is mostly in response to the public comments made by Bill Eddy at the 11/17/09 City Council meeting and on Mike and Brendan's discussion during 508 #93.

-Will we prevent a last minute write in/sticker campaign from happening during a general election? The beauty of a democracy is our ability to vote for whomever we choose, not just from the slate of candidate(s) who choose to run, have the assets, time and staff.

-What happens in an instance like the 2008 13th District race? Bob Spellane faced a last minute challenge from John Mahoney after details regarding Rep. Spellane's personal and campaign finances become public. What if something like that happens in a city race, and some voters decide to challenge a registered candidate after the deadline for registering as a candidate?

2008 Results, 16,360 votes cast
Spellane: 7861 (48%)
Mahoney: 4916 (30%)
Write in: 191 (1%)
Blank: 3392 (21%)

Mahoney's sticker campaign materialized in the last two weeks leading up to the election, and 30% of the votes cast were for him. If you add in the other write ins and blanks, 52% of voters didn't want Spellane as their representative. Should we disenfranchise a large percentage of voters because their candidate didn't register and get enough signatures?

-I believe that the signature drives needed for a campaign is a blessing and a boon. Yes, it keeps frivolous candidates off the ballot, but it also acts as an impediment to citizen participation in government. Voter apathy and our two party system creates a government that only answers to the machines and interests that support their candidacy, and not the whole electorate.

-If there aren't any registered candidates, what happens in a year where we are facing budget shortfalls and we need to hold a special election to fill the seat? Where will the money come from?
On a final note, I would suggest that our elected officials finish their terms and not use our city government as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Then we wouldn't have to worry about Frank Raffa and his last minute campaign.

And for the record, I know who finished after Bill Eddy....I voted for them, and they are qualified!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

46 Years ago....

This is an excellent article regarding the events in Dallas of 1963 and its aftermath. I found the events and atmosphere in Dallas very compelling in light of the poisonous political atmosphere in our country now.

I feel like this sometimes.

A morning without Pearls Before Swine is a wasted morning.

Privatize This!

I was at Worcester Local First's Networking Party at Commerce Bank on Main Street. The City Manager spoke and addressed his ten points of interest for the business community.

The point that caught my attention was his future goal of privatizing some city services, namely the garages and parking meters. He hopes to sell the managing rights (and future profits) in exchange for a one time fee to help the city through our current fiscal crisis.

I know we're facing a huge budget shortfall for the next few years, but let's not start privatizing services. The track record for privatization is terrible.

Worcester drivers will end up paying more for parking for however many years the deal is in effect while the city gets a one time fee. Will it be enough?

Where was the T&G with this news nugget? "Your search for parking privatization resulted in 0 articles."

Two nights, two shows

Friday I caught Guns of Navarone at Beatnik's on Park Ave.

Nice spot for a show, great energetic band, and Long Trail on tap makes for a good night, even if I had to work the next day. I liked the new stuff that Guns played in their 2nd set, especially Lover's Rock (I think that was it- the 4th or 5th Long Trail might have jumbled the name in my memory.) The long winding song/story about trying to play reggae for Sarah Palin was fantastic, but I didn't catch the name of the song. I hope they play it again the next time I see them.

Saturday I saw Derek Warfield and The Young Wolfe Tones at the Worcester Hibernian Cultural Centre.

This was my first time seeing Derek with The Young Wolfe Tones, and they didn't disappoint! Damaris Woods was impressive on banjo, setting the tone and tempo all night without fail. I wanted them to play my favorite song, and they did towards the end of the second set.

I only had one gripe about the show, and it had nothing to do with the band, but with the karaoke in the pub next door in Fiddler's Green. The soundproofing doesn't work at all, and Derek's ramblings were often interspersed with off key renditions of Light My Fire and other classic songs reinterpreted/butchered just a few feet away. In the future, I hope the Cultural Centre doesn't book karaoke on nights where they have a band playing in the room next door.

I finished off the night next door at The Dive Bar with an Anderson November Bock. Amazing beer- it tasted like Fall in a glass. I usually try every new beer on the board when I am at the Dive, but I stuck with the November Bock the whole night.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Why people don't read newspapers anymore.

I was reading the Boston Globe at the Bean Counter this afternoon, and 14 out of the 20 pages in the front section were full page ads. And to dumb down a minuscule news selection, they had two articles about Sarah Palin plus letters to the editor.

And now for something completely different, I'd like to thank the giant broken curb/pothole that I hit on my way home that popped the back tire of my mountain bike.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I'm not an economist.

But this seems like a good idea.

The band-aid approach to problems.

Speaking of principles, how could anyone be opposed to a trial for Khalid Sheikh Muhammed or any other terrorist? Does Boehner truly believe that a jury will find Muhammed not guilty?

We have a court system firmly planted in the bedrock of our government. Its purpose is to ensure that everyone has a chance for justice (in theory, at least!). An open and transparent democracy needs courts and public participation if there is any hope for a truly progressive democracy where we are all free.

I hesitate to include Nidal Hasan in the same category as Khalid Sheikh Muhammed. In the rush to explain Hasan, people have begun to label him as a terrorist, yet I wonder what Senator Lieberman and Fox News would say call Hasan if he wasn't a Muslim.

"Terrorism" isn't an all-encompassing menace like "Communism" or "Facism". However, all are effective concepts used to justify suppression and fear, along with abuses in power that any democracy should resist.

Some members of our government and media make no distinction between jihadists, eco-protesters or anti-government forces. If we label everything as "Terrorism" and have a universal band-aid approach we ignore the actual reason why a particular group is motivated to violent protest. The most effective way to fight any crime is to understand why it happened. Only then can you solve the problem.

And I imagine that John Boehner, Bill Kristol and Joe Lieberman would be the first to scream for their rights if some foreign government locked them away without trial.

Mad Lib Time Machine!

Substitute Vietnam for Afghanistan, Kennedy for Obama, and Ngo Dinh Diem for Hamid Karzai in this article.

The simple and obvious lesson? Don't prop up or support governments because they align with our interests, but not our principles.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bernie Sanders should write for The Daily Show.

Whatever happened to trust busting and breaking up monopolies?

This probably won't pass, but I wish it would.

I remember learning about trust busting Teddy Roosevelt in junior high. Now we can add Senator Bernie Sanders to the list!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Random news nuggets.

Who could possible be in favor of sweatshops and slave labor?

Did I visit this site on June 25, 2008?

Glen Greenwald is a must read, every time he posts.

This is why private armies and police forces scare me.

I agree completely.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Really Bad Boys, Part 2

Kevin Ksen goes into more of the back story on the lawsuit pending against the city at the 16:40 mark of Mike Benedetti's 508 show.

Massachusetts Senate Race

Now that the Worcester elections are over, our next challenge is electing a replacement for Teddy Kennedy.

The primary will be held on December 8, 2009.

The main election will be held on January 19, 2010.

Here are the websites for the Democratic challengers:
Alan Khazei
Martha Coakley
Mike Capuano
Steve Pagliuca

Here are the websites for the Republican challengers:
Jack E. Robinson
Scott Brown

Please vote!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Yes, I went here.

Next thing you know, someone will tell me the moon really is made of cheese.

I'm not sure this study was even necessary. Here's a summary if you don't want to read the whole thing.

After all, every day we're faced with people who defy logic, common sense and the facts.

Really bad boys!

This story has been posted on quite a few blogs, and needs to be posted on many more so this story doesn't disappear. I'm interested to see how this turns out, and what the exact details are.

I wouldn't want to be woken up this way...ever!

Wait 'til next year!

Too bad Pedro's season had to end as it did tonight. Approximately 93 days or so until pitchers and catchers report!

At least I don't have to listen to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver for a few more months.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

This is grim.

I've never supported the death penalty. Giving the government the power to kill scares me.

Especially if they are wrong.

Whether or not you agree with the author's conclusions, it's worth reading.

Post Election Blues

Another Worcester election down, and yet another confusing result. Perhaps it's because we have such a low voter turnout, but once again I'm baffled.

Whenever I talk to people about Worcester and its elected officials, they complain. Taxes, lackluster service from its departments, a lack of planning, a lack of foresight, take your pick- people complain. The attitude in this city falls somewhere between a fatalistic acceptance of our mediocrity to optimism that it will get better and we can make Worcester into what we hope it can be.

The past few years in Worcester haven't been the greatest. There's a giant void downtown where CitySquare isn't. City services have been drastically cut. City workers have been laid off. Future layoffs and more budget cuts are imminent. No one will ever yield to oncoming traffic or pedestrians in rotaries or Kelly Square. Our pools and parks are crumbling or shuttered. Our daily newspaper is slowly disappearing page by page. Potholes and cracked sidewalks are everywhere. We still have a statue of a boy spooning a turtle on our Common and no one knows what the story is behind it (seriously- if anyone can find the real origins of Turtle Boy, the next few beers are on me.)

Things certainly haven't improved during the past two years of this Council's tenure, and we voted them all back into office!!!! (With the exception of Gary Rosen, who didn't seek re-election.) The only thing that changed was our mayor, a ceremonial position with very little power.

I don't get it.


"Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason."

-From "Common Sense," by Thomas Paine