Saturday, January 31, 2009

Early start

As you may know, I have another blog called Dracut Politics which is dedicated, as the name says, to the politics of the town of Dracut. I am going to be doing an exciting project with the other major Dracut politics blog in town, Dracut Forum, during the May election and I will be calling into the Saturday Morning Live show on 980 WCAP this morning to discuss it.

So, I got up at 6:00am to start listening to the show. I wasn't too happy when the alarm went off but I got to say that I am loving getting the early start to the day. I am listening to the show on-line and am getting a lot of other work done for school. I am never able to get school work done until Kevin goes to bed after 8pm so this is great.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Super Bowl Party

I am pretty confident that the Steelers are going to mop the floor with the Cardinals this Sunday but I am still looking forward to the game. I have three friends coming up for the game as part of my new Sunday entertaining/cooking tradition. I am not too sure what I am going to cook yet but I think buffalo wings and Ina Garten's peanut butter brownies will be on the menu. Someone else is making chili so I think I need one or two more dishes. I am thinking a shrimp and chicken dish I saw on Food Network and then something else.

Kevin and I will be doing our Friday night shopping in about a half hour so I will decide the rest of the menu soon.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cullen on DeLeo

Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe is very skeptical about the new Speaker of the House, Robert DeLeo. As the title of his column says, he feels that DeLeo is cut from the same cloth as Sal DiMasi: typical politician from "the neighborhood" who cut his teeth in Massachusetts politics and who won't change a thing. You can read the whole column here but I love the following sections:

Listening to Bob DeLeo promise to clean up Beacon Hill inspires about as much confidence as hearing Moe, Larry, and Curly promise to do a good job with the plumbing.

We're told that the new speaker is more conservative than his predecessor. This is all very interesting information, given that there are approximately as many people living on Mars as there are Republicans in the State House. The Legislature is about as ideologically diverse as the Cuban Parliament. The idea that anything up on Beacon Hill is going to change because Bob DeLeo differs with Sal DiMasi on slot machines, seat belts, and the death penalty is, like Dianne Wilkerson's take on campaign finance law, patently ridiculous.


A couple I know, working people, were having coffee a while back, and they were reading the paper, and every other story was about some pol stealing or getting himself a fatter pension, and they coined a word to describe what's wrong with state politics: "lawyerticians."
It's perfect, and it describes so many on Beacon Hill, especially in leadership: They are politicians, so they are always on the make, but they are lawyers, so they think they know how far they can go without getting into trouble. Sometimes it turns out to be too far anyway, but even it if it's not, it's too far for anybody who isn't getting a piece of the action to think it's any good.

Did I mention that Bob DeLeo is a lawyer?


Watching Sal DiMasi slap Bob DeLeo's cheek the other day, as if the new speaker were getting confirmed again at Holy Rosary in Winthrop, was not exactly comforting.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.


With apologies to The Who, we just got fooled again.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

STOP THE PRESSES

Holy Mother of God...I agree with Barack Obama on something. Today he joked about his daughter's school being cancelled because of a little ice:

"My children's school was canceled today...Because of what? Some ice? . . . We're going to have to apply some flinty Chicago toughness to this town."

I agree, all of a sudden we're too quick to cancel things because of a little snow and ice. Last month I saw a woman on the news leaving the mall saying, "The second we saw flakes, we were out of here." I don't ever recall such hysteria over snow storms. Last I checked we live in the Northeast. It snows 4 months out of the year here. That's life. Deal with it. Chicago, which has much worse winters than us, apparently never cancels school, why are we so different?

Emily Rooney on WGBH's "Greater Boston" talked about this very issue tonight and shares the same views that I do. People are so skiddish and wimpy now when it comes to snow and it's become maddening. She's not sure who to blame: news, internet, potential lawsuits, but feels that people need to learn to cope.

Whenever my students complain about us having school on snowy days, I tell that the real world doesn't stop for bad weather. Prior to becoming a teacher, I went to work come hell or high water. I even went in during a state of emergency because the office messed up and recorded a pre-mature message saying we would be open but shortly thereafter changed it to say we would be closed. Those who checked the message after me got the correct message and did not come into work. There were a few of us in the same situation but we did get a day off to compensate us for it.

When I lived in South Boston and worked in Wellesley we had a nasty storm that completely buried my car. So, I woke up super early and took the Green Line to Newton and then caught the employee shuttle to the office. It took about 2 hours but I made it to work no problem. A co-worker who also lived in South Boston said he could not get to work but our boss made him come in saying if I could make it in from the same location, so could he. Yeah, he didn't like me very much that day.

Slow on the uptake

Now I realize that Bob DeLeo has only been Speaker for less than 8 hours but why does mass.gov still list Sal DiMasi as the Speaker of the House? For such a progressive and technological savvy state, the official website of the Commonwealth leaves something to be desired. The information is often old and stale and the main page is very cluttered. The Legislature's page looks like it hasn't had a facelift since the Internet was invented by Al Gore and it is very cumbersome, boring, and utilitarian.

UPDATE: Once again Dracut Musings moves people to action...Less than a half hour after the posting above, DeLeo is listed as the Speaker on mass.gov. Of course it is pure coincidence but I will be happy to take any credit!

Advice for the new Speaker

Scott Lehigh of the Globe has a good column full of advice for Bob DeLeo. See it here but I like these parts:

Resist the urge to punish your rival's supporters. Yes, your long tussle for the speakership with John Rogers has rubbed feelings raw. But don't consign the talented folks in Rogers's camp to unimportant committees and lousy offices. That's petty - and it will hurt the body you're trying to lead. Talent is already in short enough supply there.

Empower the House. The last time committee chairmen really mattered was under Flaherty. A control freak, Finneran centralized everything - and centralized everything has stayed. Consolidating power is a natural impulse for any speaker, particularly one who has been Ways and Means chief. Resist it. Let your chairmen and chairwomen take real responsibility and initiative. It will make the institution a much better place. And it wouldn't be a bad legacy to be the speaker who restored democracy and debate to the House.

Finally, don't plan on staying forever. Figure out some things you want to do, work hard at them, and then get out.

As you well know, it's hard to cite a successful speaker from the recent ranks.

But on the Senate side, Robert Travaglini was elected president in January of 2003, spent four productive years, and left in March of 2007. He was deemed a big success by everyone. And that's a relatively rare thing for a legislative leader.

Another snow day

Alas, another snow day. I was a little disappointed yesterday when it seemed apparent that we would have the day off because I was gaining some momentum in my classes. But, as I settled in last night I was quite happy to have a day off! I got the call at 5:08 this morning.

I think Kevin and I will go sledding this morning as we have a little hill next to our condo. Perhaps later we will go somewhere else in the afternoon, I can't stand being cooped up in the house. Plus, I don't have old reliable (movies) as we can't use the DVD player and VCR because Kevin did something to the cords. The audio is fine but the yellow video cord is messed up. Grrrrrrr.

I do have a lot of work to do so I am hoping he takes a nice long nap this afternoon.

New Speaker

So we have a new Speaker of the House in Massachusetts (well, we will at noon). Rep. Bob DeLeo of Winthrop will be elected Speaker after Rep. John Rodgers conceded DeLeo had more votes. In his Wednesday column, Howie Carr suggests that given Rodgers' shady past, his speakership would have been similar to the terms of Pope John Paul I and William Henry Harrison. DeLeo, however, is no choir boy and is under some scrutiny from the scandal that brought down Sal DiMasi.

Is this the best we can do?

Brady: Girly man

Finally, someone has said it. Tom Brady has gone soft on us. I never really considered how high faluntent he had become until people began comparing him to Eli Manning last year. They said Manning was the kind of guy girls would want to marry while Brady was a "bad boy." Then the pictures of Brady being fed by his girlfriend Gisele Bundchen emerged. Then another came out of the couple looking all googly in a pool in Mexico. Gag me with a spoon.

Dan Shaughnessy said he's had enough of Brady displaying himself like this. He is a football player, he should act like one! See the link above for the column but here is a good part:

But you simply cannot have your quarterback being fed like an infant at poolside. Remember, people - this is a football player we're talking about. This is your quarterback. Think there's any photographic evidence of Johnny Unitas being spoon-fed? Bet Slingin' Sammy Baugh's wife never tried to sling any hash into his mouth.

Gisele was feeding him. Think of Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah's couch. Think of Mike Dukakis in the tank. This was worse.

Ever see a high school player injured in the middle of the game and have his mother run onto the field to hover over him? That's what this is like. A guy might never recover.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Birth Control stimulates the economy

Aren't you glad we have a Catholic Speaker of the House who feels that birth control should be part of the economic stimulus package because it will help "reduce costs?"

Reason number 5,783,878,087,880 that I left the Democratic party.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bonus Howie Column

Howie Carr has a bonus article on bostonherald.com on the candidacy of Michael Flaherty for Mayor of Boston. Howie feels that Flaherty's run is a fools errand and he'll be packing up the moving van this time next year.

See the column here.

Done

It's official: Sal DiMasi will resign from the House of Representatives on Tuesday at 5:00pm. DiMasi is now the third straight Speaker of the House to leave office in disgrace. Charles Flaherty (no relation) resigned in 1996 because of tax fraud and Tom Finneran stepped down in 2004 after he committed perjury.

I tell you, if the Republicans don't use this as a campaign issue in 2010, they deserve to be in the gutter. Three straight corrupt Democrat Speakers and years of do-nothing Legislatures: change is needed. Steal a page from Barack Obama, it worked for him.

The Globe has DiMasi's letter of resignation here. He says he is leaving "because it is time to move on...and return to [his] first professional love, the law." OK Sal, whatever you say.

Quick Hits

I have to get ready for Church but I wanted to link to two good columns in today's Globe.

1. Joan Vennochi says why Caroline Kennedy is no JFK.

2. Jeff Jacoby explains how Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Dalton have been misinterpreted for 36 years.

Flaherty for Mayor?

No not me, that would be Boston City Councilor Michael Flaherty. It appears that Flaherty posted a You Tube video last night at 11:00pm announcing his candidacy but it was taken down by 12:30am. Perhaps they were testing everything out and didn't think anyone would see it so late on a Saturday night but the Boston Globe did (or someone else who tipped them off). See the story here.

Howie on DiMasi

If WRKO is hiring, Howie Carr has the perfect person - Sal DiMasi. Howie works for WRKO but HATES the station after it blocked him from moving to rival WTKK two years ago. He takes any chance he can to mock his station while on the air or in his Herald column. WRKO is owned by Entercom so whenever so something in the studio breaks or doesn't work he says, "You know what I say, Entercom happens."

So, with DiMasi about to become the third straight Speaker of the House to step down in disgrace, Howie suggests his next career be at WRKO. See his column here.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

What if...

President Obama feels that women should have the right to have an abortion for a number of reasons. Why should a child be raised in a broken home? Why should a mother raise a child all by herself? The child's life will be miserable, he won't have a chance, why burden him by allowing him to be born?


Well, if Mrs. Obama felt that way, there would be no President Obama. Catholicvote.org nails it - click here.

The shilling continues

The media continues to break bread with President Obama and do his bidding. The only time they've criticized him this week is when CBS complained that ABC got some exclusive interview after paying to air scenes from one of the Inaugural Balls and when he would not allow a ton of reporters in to cover his "second" swearing it. Thus, they only get mad at him when he doesn't do whatever they want. Well, I guess I can't blame them for being upset. For almost two years, most of the nation's newspapers and news outlets produced puff pieces and regurgitated Obama Press Releases - I guess they want to be rewarded for helping him get elected.

I bring this up because of the following headline from an AP article I just read: "Obama breaks from Bush, avoids divisive stands."

The media is a complete joke, plain and simple. They have no standards and have completely sold themselves out to Obama and the Democrats. People like Dan Kennedy and the pundits on Greater Boston can go on all they want about the media being objective but they lose everytime.

No matter what President Bush said or did, they would find someone or someway to refute or criticize him. Reports about him were biting and ominous and his political appointees were always raked over the coals. Obama's nominee for Secretary of the Treasury did not pay his taxes but the media says it was a simple mistake. President Clinton's former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger STOLE documents from the National Archives that would implicated him for being negligent in fighting terrorism and the media says that Berger is just an absent minded professor who must have forgotten he stuffed classified documents down his pants.

I for one am cheering the demise of the Boston Globe, the New York Times, CBS News, et al. I cannot wait for the day that the Times shuts off the press and padlocks its Manhattan office building. Please God let it be soon.

Slow going

Sorry for the small number of postings the past week or so. We recently had mid-terms and I had then had to get ready for the second semester. Plus, I've had a number of meetings and events, and I have been caught up in reading "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" by Edmund Morris. We should be back to normal this weekend.

Unimpressive Caroline

The New York Daily News has a great article today on how Caroline Kennedy did not impress Gov. David Paterson from the moment she expressed interest in the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Hillary Clinton. Here are the best parts:

Friends said Paterson was adamant that she was never going to be appointed, even though she was considered the front-runner.

Paterson was turned off when Kennedy first called him and asked if she "could" be considered for the seat.

By asking if she could, rather than saying she wanted to be considered, Paterson immediately felt she wasn't really interested, the source said.

In meetings, the governor and his aides decided she had no political depth, the source said.
She had no firmly held views and little idea about why she wanted the job, the source said.

Her abysmal public rollout cemented the governor's fears that she had no political instincts.
The governor felt the sheltered Kennedy had no communication skills and absolutely no empathy with the voters, the source said.


He was amazed that she went upstate for a day to meet with political leaders but didn't walk around to chat up regular people.

"She just lived in a bubble," the source said.

Change we can believe in!

Well, I hope all you Catholics and others who voted for Barack Obama are happy tonight. He has signed an Executive Order reversing the Mexico City Policy which prohibited overseas organizations from using federal money for abortions. Gee, what an inspiration Obama is. He is truly a change agent - he has made abortions more accessible. That is change we can believe in.

Obama signed this order on a Friday so it would not get a lot of attention. What a courageous man we have as our President.

The final countdown...

Finally, Sal DiMasi will step down as Speaker of the House after the Globe revealed that lobbyist Richard Vitalie paid off some debt incurred by DiMasi's in-laws. This was the final straw in a long drawn out cat and mouse game with DiMasi.

He was overwhelmingly re-elected as Speaker earlier this month but he is now on his way out. Bye Sal.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Some good news...

Caroline Kennedy "withdrew" her name from consideration for the U.S. Senate citing "personal reasons." Riiiiiggghhhhttttt. The NY Post has the real story here and Dan Kennedy takes the NY Times to task for believing the personal reasons spin.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New blog

I've mentioned before that I spent the 2001-2002 academic year with the Holy Cross Fathers discerning a vocation to the priesthood and religious life. I became very homesick (I was in Indiana) and left the community in May of 2002. I considered becoming a diocesan priest in Boston but, like Michael Corleone in "Godfather I", I was struck by the thuderbolt and fell in love after I got home.

But, I still keep up with the CSC's (especially with the blogs of Fathers Michael Wurtz and Stephen Koeth). Now, the order has a new blog dedicated to the life and times of their community. It's called Spes Unica ("The Cross, our Hope") which is the order's motto. See it here.

Clinton snub

I never knew that Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton hated each other. When all of the living Presidents met with Barack Obama in the Oval Office a few weeks ago, Carter stood as far away from Clinton as he could. Now, yesterday Carter kissed Barbara Bush, shook President George Bush's (41) hand and then walked right by Clinton.

See the story and video here.

Howie's Take

In the midst of all the adulation from the media, Howie Carr is a voice crying out in the wilderness. He doesn't really bash President Obama but has a funny column on him and his moonbat followers. See it here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

44

I watched the swearing-in and Chief Justice John Roberts messed up the words of the oath so it wasn't very smooth. I do feel back for the President, that's the big moment and you don't want it ruined. It's like the wedding I went to last year where the presider asked the groom the vows questions and then said to the bride, "Same for you?" I felt so bad for her - you don't deprive a bride or groom that moment!

Anyway, congratulations Mr. President.

Inaguration Day 2009

Although I disagree with him politically and hope he is out of office four years from today, I still celebrate the inauguration of our new President. Unlike our Democratic friends who never give a Republican a chance, the Republicans and President Bush have been nothing but gracious and helpful to Barack Obama. Incoming Press Secretary Robert Gibbs praised the Bush Administration this morning on Fox News and said they have been helpful from the moment the election was over. Contrast that with 8 years ago when the Clintons took stuff from the White House that didn't even belong to them and people had the W removed from every computer in the building. That's class.

On his radio show this morning, Bill Bennett summed it up well - George Bush brought honor and integrity to the Office of the President. He has been flogged from the moment he won the election and he has been a true professional in response. He is a good man with flaws but he can leave with his head held high.

God speed George Bush and God bless Barack Obama.

Monday, January 19, 2009

CBS Promo

I caught this last night while watching the Steelers-Ravens game and Newsbusters picked up on it today. Gee, what media bias??

Know your history

The media likes to forget that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican and his pro-slavery opponents were Democrats.

The party that led the Reconstruction of the South and the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments? Republicans.

The party who supported the KKK and led a campaign of terror against blacks in the 19th century? Democrats.

The author of the following statement from 1964: "We will resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races in our (Southern) states." Sen. Richard Russell...Democrat.

The only member of Congress who was a Grand Wizard in the KKK? Democrat Robert Byrd. What else is Byrd famous for? A 14 hour filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The party that controlled the White House and the Senate when Martin Luther King got a holiday? Republican.

I could go on but I bring this all up because Good Morning America highlighted the people who helped make possible the election of a black President. The people they mentioned...all Democrats. See the story here.

No more standards

I get it - tomorrow will be a very historic day, the inauguration of the first black President. Given our nation's checkered past when it comes to race, it is amazing that in less than 24 hours, a black man will become our leader. But, the media has lost any and all sense of its journalistic integrity in its coverage of the Inaugural events. Every story is a puff piece on Obama or his wife's fashion with no real hard nose questions. If they do a news piece, the arc is how Obama is going to save us after 8 years of President Bush.

For example, I point to two stories that are on boston.com right now. One begins as follows:

In 1990, the Globe interviewed the newly elected Harvard Law Review president, a soft-spoken 28-year-old whose presence was so commanding, one colleague gushed, "This guy sounds like he's president of the country already." Take a look back at Barack Obama before he was "Barack Obama."

Would you ever see a introduction like that about a Republican or a Conservative? No, if Obama were a Republican it would read:

In 1990, the Globe interviewed the newly elected Harvard Law Review president, an arch-conservative whose views are so polarizing, one colleague said, "How a Harvard educated African-American could hold the views he does is beyond me." Take a look back at Barack Obama and wonder what could have been.

Below that "article" is another with the headline "Learning to be Michelle Obama." Wow, what hard hitting stuff!

Moses and MLK

Those who know their Bible know that Moses was never able to enter into the Promised Land because he sinned against God. But, before he died he was able to climb Mount Nebo and look into the Promised Land. After he looked at it, he died.

On April 3, 1968, the night before he was shot and killed, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a speech to a crowd in Memphis. He of course did not know he was going to be killed the next day but the speech he gave was very prophetic. Using the analogy of climbing the mountain and seeing the Promised Land, King told the people that he may not get into the "Promised Land" with the people. But, he has seen it and it is real.

An amazing speech by an amazing man. See the final part here:

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cooking...

As you know, I am a huge fan of Ina Garten (aka Barefoot Contessa) from Food Network. I got two of her cookbooks for Christmas and I've been making some of her dishes. Last week I made a vanilla honey pound cake and today I made her meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and chocolate ganache cupcakes. A friend of mine came over for dinner and was thoroughly impressed.

A new hobby is born!

Modern communication

I follow Lowell politics pretty closely and there is a battle brewing between the City Manager Bernie Lynch and some members of the City Council. Some of the Council members feel that Lynch is not doing a good job of communicating with them and have filed a motion to encourage him to do a better job. They're angry because some of them found out about a local story from the paper and not from Lynch.

Today's Lowell Sun has a huge run-down if you're really interested but this part about City Councilor Michael Lenzi cracked me up:

Lenzi complained that he has only received three phone calls from Lynch in his 13 months on the council, a number Lynch disputed. Lenzi said he does not consider e-mail, text messages or other forms of "modern communication" an appropriate way for the manager to communicate with the council. Lenzi prefers talking over the phone or face-to-face.

So Lenzi feels that "modern communication" is not appropriate????? Is this guy for real? Would he prefer that Lynch telegraphs him or send smoke signals when he wants to chat? Lynne over at Left in Lowell has a perfect name for people like Lenzi: Luddites.

Postscript: I just remembered that Lenzi also serves on the Greater Lowell Technical School Board. I wonder if he insists that the carpentry students use handheld tools rather than power ones and that the culinary students use fire pits rather than ovens. Electricity and gas stoves may prove to be too fancy for Lenzi!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

More daylight

The cold doesn't bother me as much as it does some people. Yeah it stinks and my hands are drier than the Sahara but I figure it is January, it is going to be cold. I was in the post office today and the woman behind the counter asked me, "Cold enough for you?" I said I didn't think it was all that bad, it's January after all.

But, the one thing I do hate is it getting darker earlier. That first day after we turn the clocks back is such a bummer. But, have you noticed that it is now getting dark around 4:40 and not 4:20, 4:30? That always perks me up.

End of the Times?

I missed this last week but Dan Kennedy over at Media Nation commented on an Atlantic Magazine article that said the following:

But what if the old media dies much more quickly? What if a hurricane comes along and obliterates the dunes entirely? Specifically, what if The New York Times goes out of business—like, this May?

It’s certainly plausible. Earnings reports released by the New York Times Company in October indicate that drastic measures will have to be taken over the next five months or the paper will default on some $400million in debt. With more than $1billion in debt already on the books, only $46million in cash reserves as of October, and no clear way to tap into the capital markets (the company’s debt was recently reduced to junk status), the paper’s future doesn’t look good.

Dan doubts that the Times will cease publication by May but today, he has even better news on the Boston Globe: they will cut 50 more newsroom positions by the end of the month. That's 50 less closed minded, biased, non-objective, Barack Obama worshippers (my thoughts, not Dan's). I feel bad they will be out of work but I don't feel bad about the further demise of the Globe.

Follow-up on Inaguration costs

Newsbusters has picked up on the story of the media's reports on the cost of the Inaugurations of President Bush (2005) and Barack Obama.

In 2005, the AP said: "President Bush’s second inauguration will cost tens of millions of dollars — $40 million alone in private donations for the balls, parade and other invitation-only parties. With that kind of money, what could you buy?" They then on to list things like supplies for the military, a down payment on the debt, etc.

In 2009, the AP says: "So you're attending an inaugural ball saluting the historic election of Barack Obama in the worst economic climate in three generations. Can you get away with glitzing it up and still be appropriate, not to mention comfortable and financially viable?
To quote the man of the hour: Yes, you can. Veteran ballgoers say you should. And fashionistas insist that you must. "This is a time to celebrate. This is a great moment. Do not dress down. Do not wear the Washington uniform," said Tim Gunn, a native Washingtonian and Chief Creative Officer at Liz Claiborne, Inc."Just because the economy is in a downturn, it doesn't mean that style is going to be in a downturn," agreed Ken Downing, fashion director for Neiman Marcus. And if anyone does raise an eyebrow at those sequins, remind them that optimism is good for times like these. "Just say you're doing it to help the economy," chuckled good manners guru Letitia Baldridge.


What media bias??

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bush v. Obama

2005 Inauguration of President Bush:

January 16, 2005 New York Times:

The organizers expect 55,000 people at the nine inaugural balls on Thursday evening and 500,000 spectators at the parade that afternoon from the Capitol to the White House. There will also be a rock concert on Tuesday, candlelit dinners on Wednesday and a concluding prayer service on Friday morning.

Some critics say spending so much on these parties seems ill-timed both because of the Iraq war and the tsunami catastrophe in Asia. Anthony D. Weiner, a Democratic congressman preparing to run for mayor of New York, sent President Bush a letter on Tuesday suggesting that the millions in inaugural funds be sent to the troops in Iraq.

"Precedent suggests that inaugural festivities should be muted - if not canceled - in wartime," Mr. Weiner wrote, noting that in 1945 Franklin D. Roosevelt limited the celebration to a cold luncheon at the White House.

January 20, 2005 Salon:

Nonetheless, like butter on a humid summer day in Washington, reporters have simply melted away from asking pointed questions about the costly security overkill (nearly 9,000 police officers and military personnel will be deployed) -- a buildup that clearly plays to Bush's political advantage by keeping terrorist threats at the top of people's minds.

When not deferring to Bush administration officials on the unprecedented security, news teams from outlets such as Time magazine, ABC News and Fox News have been busy hyping terror threats -- leaked by Bush administration officials -- about explosive-filled limousines that could literally crash the inauguration. "Imagine a terrorist plot to gut this entire vehicle except for the front seats, filling the rest with high-grade explosives, enough to bring down a building," intoned ABC's Chris Cuomo (emphasis added). The terror "reminder" sent to intelligence officials this week was based on al-Qaida documents seized last year that made no reference to the inauguration.

Hearing any similar stories about the cost of Obama's inauguration? Didn't think so.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

That explains it!!!

The Globe tells us why Congress is having so many problems:

New Congress 9 percent Jesuit-educated

I am kidding of course. I am a proud graduate of Boston College High School - a fine Jesuit institution.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Congrats #14


Suckers

Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe nails it on the head today, taking the state Legislature to task for fattening their wallets while cutting services for the poor. Using yesterday's Globe article on hacks who double their pensions after they lose an election, Cullen unloads:

This is a truly marvelous, glorious state, where we can find millions for useless, utterly useless "full-time legislators" and no money for the most vulnerable kids among us.

If you read Michael Levenson's terrific story in yesterday's Globe, you would have learned, as you choked on your cornflakes, that Senator Busy Hands Marzilli is hardly alone when it comes to violating innocent people.

Turns out more than a dozen of these clowns are putting the arm on taxpayers, taking advantage of a legal form of larceny in which legislators are allowed to quadruple their pensions if they get voted out of office, or bail out because a grand jury is sniffing around.

Is this a great state, or what?


There was a photograph accompanying the story, showing a bunch of state reps applauding the 2002 farewell speech to the House by Chris Hodgkins, the representative from Lee, who was the envy of his colleagues because of his New York-border per diems. All the reps were smiling and clapping and laughing like hyenas.

And who can blame them? They are being paid full-time wages for part-time work, and they give themselves raises and pension boosts and no one says boo. They work for suckers.


Us.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Buffalo Wings

On Friday, boston.com ran a piece on the top ten places for buffalo wings in New England. Number 1 was Buff's in Newton. I've been there but I don't remember being blown away by them. I am the biggest fan of the hot stuff although I can't remember when my obsession began.

Sometime after college, my friend Dan and I were at the 99 enjoying their tasty buffalo wings when I said, "We should go on a pilgrimage to the place where buffalo wings were invented." I actually had no idea where they were invented, I was only kidding. But sometime later I saw something on TV about the buffalo wing being invented at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo (I never made the connection between Buffalo Wings and Buffalo, NY). So, we had our pilgrimage!

We decided to make a full weekend out of it and catch a Buffalo Bills game as well. My friends Dan and Dave and I left on a Saturday morning and headed west. I knew Buffalo was far but as we started driving I looked at a map and said, "How far are we going??" We got there in the afternoon and then headed to the Anchor Bar around dinner time. There was a huge wait but that was OK. We eventually got seated and ordered the wings. When they came, Dan and Dave said I should have the first one. I took a bite and said, "Boys, our trip was not in vain." We then proceeded to eat a ton of wings.

The next day we went to the Bills game and then after the game, stopped at Wegman's Supermarket and got subs and other stuff for dinner. We brought it all back to the hotel and feasted. We did it again two years later but we haven't been in a while.

I went back to Buffalo about a year and a half ago for the Buffalo Wings Festival. Kevin was only 3 months old but was a trooper. This time it was Lynn, Dan, and our friends John and Rita. I think John and Rita want to go again this year so perhaps we will.

Yes, I am obsessed.

Dom over at Bettnet wrote about his favorite buffalo wings a couple of years ago. It is a great story, see it here.

Thoughts on libraries

I've always enjoyed going to libraries and bookstores. When I was in college, I used to stroll though the school library on Friday afternoons - it was quiet and tranquil, I loved it. When I was in the seminary, a fellow classmate and I would go to the Notre Dame bookstore after lunch on Fridays for coffee. It became one of my favorite times of the week and really looked forward to it. We would then take our time walking back to the seminary taking in the sights. Thus, I was bummed when we found out that during second semester, we would have a class from 1-3 on Friday afternoons! There wasn't enough time to go to the bookstore after class because we had mass and Vespers at 5pm. But, we would still go on other days, especially Thursdays when we had class near the bookstore that got out at 2 or so.

I mention all this because for the past two weeks, I have been going to the Dracut Library on Saturdays to do work. The library was renovated about two years ago and is so beautiful. They kept the shell of the old library and made it into a reading room (click here for more pictures from the time of the renovation). There are a number of arm chairs and tables and they have WiFi throughout the building. It is very quiet and conducive to getting work done. The best part is that there is never anyone there in the reading area. People come through looking at books or to read the paper but I am surprised that more people don't use it - it is very peaceful. I highly recommend it.

Bush v. Clinton

Yesterday President Bush took his last ride on Air Force One, 10 ten days before he leaves office. You may recall that in January of 2001, President Clinton took a number of farewell trips on the plane across America. In addition, he had a very elaborate going away ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base after the Inauguration.

I am very confident that Bush will quietly duck away after the ceremonies and will not detract from Barack Obama's day...unlike Clinton who has never seemed to go away. I once heard (I believe from Dick Morris) that he is so starved for attention that he attends things like first grade plays in Chappaqua (his hometown in New York).

All in the same bed

Howie's column today highlights how every politician scratches each other's back in this state. He highlights three stories.

1. A blue-ribbon commission recently recommended the state raise the state sales tax. The head of that commission? John Fish. Who is John Fish? The head of Suffolk Construction. What is Suffolk Construction? The company Howie told us that Thomas Menino, Jr. works for.

2. No judge can seem to be found to preside over Richard Vitale's trial. Why? They're all connected in some way to Sal DiMasi.

3. Four governors, including three Republicans, have written a letter to President Bush asking for a pardon for Democrat Tom Finneran.

See it all here.

Pension Reform

The Globe has a good story today exposing the hacks who get increased pensions because they lost re-election. Only in Massachusetts. See the story here and remember, don't blame me, I voted yes on Question One.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

More on pay raises

I am usually more sympathetic to Republicans on this blog but not this time. State Rep. Robert Hargraves of Groton recently defended his 5.5% pay raise telling the Lowell Sun, "Did you say no to a raise? This raise is for two years. My fuel bills have gone up, my taxes have gone up."

According to the Sun, Hargraves currently makes $65,737. I am currently looking into whether or not Hargraves takes the per diem from the state for his drive into Boston. I will let you know.

How many people make $65,737 for what amounts to very little work? How many people have been laid off? How many mental health workers were recently let go by the state? How much will local aid be slashed? How many cops will be laid off? How many teachers will be pink slipped? That doesn't matter, Mr. Hargraves needs to make $68,940 to pay his bills.

I don't know much about Hargraves but I can describe him pretty easily: arrogant and politically tone deaf. Please, somebody, anybody, run against this guy in 2010. Hell, even a Democrat!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

"Legislators don't make very much money"

The Governor of Massachusetts feels that the members of the Legislature do not make a lot of money. While he doesn't come right out and say it, he seems that they deserve the 5.5% pay hike they're receiving.

Legislators make a base salary of $58,237. If they are a committee chair or in leadership, they get an additional bump. Then, the state pays them a per diem for everyday they have to drive into Boston.

During a time when people are losing their jobs in droves or not receiving a pay raise, for the governor of Massachusetts to say that legislators, who don't work a 40 hour week, don't make enough is the biggest hubris I have heard in a long time. This guy is so out of touch. But, what do we expect - he owns two mansions so of course a salary of $58,237 is chump change.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

You've got to be kidding me...

We were told we could not afford Question One. The governor is making major cuts to state government. Local aid may be slashed 10%. Tolls are being raised to $7. But, you know what the state can still afford - a 5.5% pay raise for the state Legislature. I kid you not. If this goes through, we are the biggest suckers on the planet.

Fight this people. Call your state senator and state representative...now. If you don't know who they are or their phone number, click here. Trust me, they listen to phone calls and they get scared when people call. Don't bother e-mailing, they won't respond. Get someone on the phone right now.

Failed inspection

For the first time, my car has failed its yearly inspection. I did have an old car that failed once but this is the first time in the 8 1/2 years that I've had my Saturn that it failed. I saw the guy putting the sticker on and was waiting with bated breath for the 1 (January) or the R (Rejected). I saw the red R and felt a huge lump in my stomach.

Luckily all I need are two new front tires and then it will be all set. Kevin and I came home for a quick lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches and then we're going to run up to Sears in Nashua and get the tires and then go back to the place and get the new sticker. Usually you have to pay the inspection fee again but the guy said I can bring it back and get it for free.

Ummmm

I couldn't find my cell phone this morning so I e-mailed Lynn and asked her if she took mine by mistake (we have the same one). She called her cell phone to tell me that she did indeed have mine. She then asked, "Do you know where my phone is?"

Good thing Kevin has Lynn's looks and my brain and not the other way around!

Why I can't stand Harry Reid

I try not to be a hater but I cannot stand Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader. He is incredibly partisan for a floor leader and has said some pretty hateful things about the President of the United States. I expect more from the Senate's top dog. You can see why I think he is evil here.

In addition, Pat Buchanan reminds us of a story ignored by most of the media that Reid asked Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich not to appoint a black person to replace Barack Obama. Hmmm...See the column here.

The pain, the pain...

I had a horrible ear ache last night. It started around 2:30 and got progressively worse as the night wore on. Lynn mercifully got home around 7:00 and I was in bed by 7:30. The pain had reached my teeth and back of my head. I fell asleep around 8:00 and slept the rest of the night. The ear is still blocked but the pain is gone thank goodness.

Alas, another day off as school was cancelled because of the snow/ice. It doesn't look all that bad but I am not sure how the roads are. I just hope we don't lose summer vacation time over all these snow days!

Mumbles, Jr.

On Sunday, I posted about Howie Carr's column on the many Meninos who happened to find work with the City of Boston, including his son Det. Thomas Menino, Jr. Now, it has come out that Junior also works 20 hours a week at Suffolk Construction, a politically connected construction firm that works on many city projects. Not only that, in 2006 Junior forged his supervisor's signature on a police detail pay sheet..and got away with it!

Mayor Menino never said anything because he didn't see any conflict of interest with his son working at Suffolk. But, the Herald shows otherwise:

However, Suffolk Construction, which employs Menino’s son, Boston Police Detective Thomas Menino Jr., as a safety engineer, has built schools, government buildings and other multimillion-dollar projects in the city. And Suffolk executives frequently venture to City Hall seeking permits before agencies under the mayor’s control.

State ethics laws require municipal officials to disclose all potential conflicts to the city clerk’s office. The law also requires elected officials to recuse themselves from decisions that could impact the personal finances of themselves or their immediate family members.

Suffolk has also built a slew of major developments backed by the mayor, such as the $30 million Boston Opera House renovation and the $55 million Landmark Center in Allston. The firm is also building the $5.8 million Camp Harbor View - reportedly at cost - for city kids on the Boston Harbor Islands, a Menino pet project.

In addition, the mayor chairs the George Robert White Fund, a public charitable trust administered by the city that paid $2 million in 2007 to renovate a Roxbury community center. Suffolk was the job’s contractor.

Howie weighs in as well here.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Burris Circus

Despite the fact that Roland Burris is a Democrat (and has an huge ego), I think he should be allowed to be seated in the Senate. Yes, the governor of Illinois is corrupt but he is still the governor and the Legislature has not changed the law regarding vacancies. Thus, he still has the power to appoint.

But, it looks like the Senate has blocked Burris and he won't be seated. I don't know what the Illinois Legislature is waiting for. Do they want an empty seat for the next few months?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ahhh, Camelot

I can hear some old timers now:

Boy, if Caroline Kennedy becomes a senator, the magic of Camelot will be back. Golly gee, won't that be swell? The daughter of the first (and only) Catholic President will be in Washington. One of our own will be there, bringing back memories of the glory days.

But, what else will will she bring to Washington:

Ms. Kennedy was so concerned to assure pro-abortion leaders in New York, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported on Dec. 18, that on the same day Ms. Kennedy telephoned New York Gov. David Patterson to declare interest in the Senate seat, "one of her first calls was to an abortion rights group, indicating she will be strongly pro-choice."

Within the first week of her candidacy, Ms. Kennedy promised to work for several causes, including same-sex marriage and abortion rights. In responding to a series of 15 questions posed by the New York Times on Dec. 21, Ms. Kennedy said that, while she believes "young women facing unwanted pregnancies should have the advice of caring adults," she would oppose legislation that would require minors to notify a parent before obtaining an abortion. On the crucial question of whether she supports any state or federal restrictions on late-term abortions, Ms. Kennedy chose to say only that she "supports Roe v. Wade, which prohibits third trimester abortions except when the life or health of the mother is at risk." Presumably Ms. Kennedy knows that this effectively means an unlimited right to abortion -- including late-stage abortion -- because the "health of the mother" can be so broadly defined that it includes the psychological distress that can accompany an unintended pregnancy.

Ms. Kennedy's commitment to abortion rights is shared by other prominent family members, including Kerry Kennedy Cuomo and Maryland's former Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. Some may recall the 2000 Democratic Convention when Caroline and her uncle, Sen. Ted Kennedy, addressed the convention to reassure all those gathered that the Democratic Party would continue to provide women with the right to choose abortion -- even into the ninth month. At that convention, the party's nominee, Al Gore, formerly a pro-life advocate, pledged his opposition to parental notification and embraced partial-birth abortion. Several of those in attendance, including former President Bill Clinton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, had been pro-life at one time. But by 2000 nearly every delegate in the convention hall was on the pro-choice side -- and those who weren't simply kept quiet about it.

Caroline Kennedy knows that any Kennedy desiring higher office in the Democratic Party must now carry the torch of abortion rights throughout any race. But this was not always the case. Despite Ms. Kennedy's description of Barack Obama, in a New York Times op-ed, as a "man like my father," there is no evidence that JFK was pro-choice like Mr. Obama. Abortion-rights issues were in the fledgling stage at the state level in New York and California in the early 1960s. They were not a national concern.

Even Ted Kennedy, who gets a 100% pro-choice rating from the abortion-rights group Naral, was at one time pro-life. In fact, in 1971, a full year after New York had legalized abortion, the Massachusetts senator was still championing the rights of the unborn. In a letter to a constituent dated Aug. 3, 1971, he wrote: "When history looks back to this era it should recognize this generation as one which cared about human beings enough to halt the practice of war, to provide a decent living for every family, and to fulfill its responsibility to its children from the very moment of conception."

But that all changed in the early '70s, when Democratic politicians first figured out that the powerful abortion lobby could fill their campaign coffers (and attract new liberal voters).

The Kennedys are frauds ladies and gentlemen, pure and simple.

Watch Night

Fascinating article in the January 1 New York Times about a black tradition called Watch Night. Every year on December 31, black churches around the country are filled with people celebrating the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation which went into effect on January 1, 1863. The tradition dates back to 1862 when blacks around the country gathered to watch for the stroke of midnight and the freedom of the slaves.

You can see the story here.

(h/t to Whispers in the Loggia)

First Obama Shoe Drops

Not a huge deal but Barack Obama's choice for Secretary of Commerce, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, has withdrawn from consideration. Apparently he is under investigation because of some shadiness with a company with which the state does business. (You paying attention Sal DiMasi?).

See the story here.

Cutting what the people want

Whenever there are budget cuts, the government eliminates programs or positions that actually matter to people. All of a sudden library hours are cut, teachers are laid off, the dump is closed on weekends, etc. This is all designed, of course, to force taxpayers into practically begging for a tax increase so services can be restored. The Boston Globe highlights the fact that libraries are being used a lot of more nowadays but may face cuts in the future. Surprise, surprise.

What is never cut? Hacks and pay increases. I am shocked, shocked that a woman with the last name of Menino makes $102,000 as an Administrative Assistant for the City of Boston. Who else? Wow, what a coincidence - there is a Det. Thomas Menino, Jr. working for the Boston Police Department for $137,529 a year. Want even more surprises? These two are husband and wife. Howie exposes the Menino hacks here.

Well, certainly our Representatives in Congress are pinching pennies? Well, not exactly. They just got a $4,700 pay raise.

Don't blame me - I voted yes on Question 1.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

It's the final countdown...

Sigh, the last weekend before I go back to school. This Christmas vacation was a good pace - a solid two weeks off and it didn't drag nor did it go by fast. Today I am going to do some work at the library. I never did correct all the papers I was supposed to correct. I seem to do better correcting under the gun (i.e. term coming to an end) so I will do them this week.

I got my first haircut in almost two months this morning. The girl I used to go to moved to a new place in Tewksbury and it sounds like a real girlie place. So, I decided to find a new barber today and I went to Dracut Barber Shop. It was great - a typical barber shop like I used to go to before I moved to Dracut. There were three barbers working and the guy who cut my hair did a great job. I am relieved because finding a new barber is hard for me. I went to the same place for 12 years and it took me a while to find a good one in Dracut. I went to the same girl for about 2 years and when told me she was moving I was worried. But, this guy did a nice job and I've found my new place.

Tonight I think Lynn, Kevin, and I are going to West Roxbury to visit with Lynn's parents. I think we're going to get pizza from Pleasant Cafe in Rosindale. If you've never been, go...now...it is amazing.

OK, off to the library.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Jerome on Scripture

One of the all around great monks from Saint Anselm College is featured this month on the Catholic Bishop's website. Each day a different priest from around the country comments on the scripture readings of the day and this Sunday, it is Father Jerome Joseph Day, O.S.B. Local folks may recognize him as he worked for a time at the Lowell Sun.

Click here and then click on January 4 to see his thoughts.

Kids at mass

I have mentioned that Lynn and I typically go to mass separately now because Kevin is so crazy there. When we do go together, I usually take him to the back or to the choir loft from the beginning of mass until the Prayers of the Faithful and then Lynn takes him until the end of mass. Thankfully most people at our parish are patient and understanding and we've never gotten any dirty looks. I will confess that before I had a child, I was one of those people who would give the look if a kid was acting up. Now that I am a father, I am embarrassed by my actions.

Dom over at Bettnet blogs about a recent experience of when some old timers gave him and his wife "the stare" at mass. See it here.

How to drop a dime

Ever want to expose a politician or some hack? Howie shows us the way in his column today. See it here.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Resolution

I never make New Year's Resolutions because they're broken within weeks, if not days. But, I am making a real effort to be better with money this year. I started using my credit card less and actually used my debit card for almost all of my Christmas shopping. One charge I can avoid every month is tolls. I usually take back roads to work but if I am running late (which is often) I take Route 3 which has a $1 toll. If I just get up 15 minutes earlier everyday for work, I can save about $30 every month or so in tolls. I also have Sirius Satellite Radio which bills my credit card twice a year for about $75. I am going to try to switch that to monthly and have it taken from my bank account directly so I don't incur a charge on my credit card. I also spend $25 a month on the Lowell Sun. I have considered cancelling but I really enjoy reading it everyday. I can read it online for free but their website is not that great.

Lynn and I don't go out that often but we (well, I) order food more often than we (well, I) should. That would save too. Thank goodness gas came down, that has really helped out in savings.

Hopefully these changes will help eliminate any credit card debt and help jump start savings. I don't have a lot on my credit card but I want to have it paid off in full in less than 6 months. Then we can focus on savings and hopefully move from our condo to a house within a couple of years.

Radio Changes

The Boston Herald has confirmed that WBZ 1030 talk show hosts Steve LeVeille and Lovell Dyett were laid off along with sports anchor Tom Cuddy. In addition, the horrible Finneran's Forum on 680 WRKO is being pushed back to 5:30am and ending at 9am. This means that Laura Ingraham's show can now be heard in its entirety. Finneran is also gaining a co-host in Todd Feinburg.

I hope that someday Howie Carr can get to move to 96.9 WTKK like he wanted and take over mornings. Morning drive in Boston is horrible.

Quiet New Year's Eve

Not a lot happening in Casa da Flaherty last night. Kevin and I went to mass at 5:00 for the holy day and then got some stuff at the supermarket. On her way home from work Lynn picked up my favorite food - buffalo wings - from the 99 in Lowell and I feasted on those. Kevin hardly slept yesterday so he fell right asleep around 7:45 and Lynn and I just watched TV all night, nothing exciting. I actually fell asleep on the couch around 11:30 and Lynn woke me up at 11:57. I watched the ball drop, kissed Lynn, and went to bed.

Today we're heading down to the La Salette Shrine in Attleboro to see their Christmas lights display. This is an annual tradition of ours and I always enjoy going down there.