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