Thursday, April 30, 2009

Heart pounding

The first round of the playoffs with the Celtics has been so intense. Game 6 is now in triple overtime! I stopped watching with a minute or so left in double overtime because it seemed like it was over. Nope.

Souter is out

Supreme Court Justice David Souter is retiring. Souter was appointed by President Bush in 1990 but was consistently part of the liberal voting bloc. He's not old (69) and there are a number of justices who were appointed before him (Stevens, Kennedy, and Scalia) so I am not sure why he's retiring.

Souter is from New Hampshire but he was born in my native Melrose.

Now on Twitter...

I decided to sign up for a Twitter account so if you're on Twitter, my name there is brianmflaherty. The only reason I signed up was to respond to a Tweet from MSNBC's David Shuster but I think I may grow to like it!

Talking out of both sides of his mouth

So you all know by now that Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter became a Democrat. He did this because he knew he would lose the GOP Primary next year and because he is more "philosophically" in-line with the Democrats (he's right about both).

Back in 2001, then Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords left the Republican party and became an Independent. Who was the biggest critic of this move - RINO Specter! He actually choked up talking about it on the Senate floor and actually proposed a rule that would prohibit senators from changing parties in the middle of a Congressional session!!!!!!! He even upheld Phil Gramm's 1985 decision to resign from the House after he left the Democratic party and to run again in a special election as a Republican.

See an article on Specter's hypocrisy here and the video of his floor speech below:

You've got to love Bishop D'Arcy

When I was a seminarian at Moreau Seminary at Notre Dame, I used to look forward to reading the weekly diocesan paper "Today's Catholic." Bishop John D'Arcy always writes a weekly column about what he did the previous week. To this day, I read it every week online.

D'Arcy always ends his column with a sports reference (usually to a Boston team since he is from Brighton) and this week's was hysterical:

Can you believe it — three straight over the Yankees, two of them coming from behind. How sweet it is.

But is there anything in all the world so boring as the National Football League draft? How can those announcers get so caught up about some offensive tackle from East Oregon State, who might go in the third round? Those people should get a life. See you all next week.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Deval's Hacks

Howie Carr exposes three huge hacks in Gov. Deval Patrick's administration in his column today. These people hold the very important jobs of “director of civic engagement”, “director of grassroots governance and Commonwealth Corps”, and the “director of the office of community affairs.”

These folks make a combined $270,698. When there are layoffs, who will be the first to go - the janitors or these bums? I think you know the answer to that.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Vaca so far

Today was day two of April vacation. Today I took a ride to Boston to visit the John F. Kennedy Museum and Library. I went there once before when I was in college but I remember I had to work an overnight shift that evening at Shaw's so I didn't enjoy it as much. Going to the JFK Museum was somewhat of a trip down memory lane as I went to high school right next door (BC High).

It is a neat museum if you're a history/politics buff. They have a lot of videos, memorabilia, displays, etc. I spent about an hour and half there and then took a walk around the harbor (it is right on Dorchester Bay).

The only other presidential library in my area is FDR's in Hyde Park, NY. I may take a ride there this summer.

Good riddance

I am shocked, shocked that RINO Sen. Arlen Specter is becoming a Democrat. Actually, I wasn't surprised at all as this guy has been a Democrat in everything but name for years. But, don't let him fool you, he's not doing this because of "philosophical differences." He switched because he would have faced a huge primary battle next year, one he knew he may lose.

Jenky

Thomas Peters of the American Papist blog has a posting about Bishop Daniel Jenky, CSC and what he could do about the Obama/Notre Dame scandal. Bishop Jenky is not only a Holy Cross priest but a member of Notre Dame's Board of Trustees and Board of Fellows.

See his posting here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Fulfill your charter

In 1967, the governance of the University of Notre Dame was transferred from the Congregation of Holy Cross to a Board of Trustees made up mostly of lay people. However, the Board of Trustees are appointed by another board called the Board of Fellows made up of an equal number of Holy Cross priests and lay people. One of the stated tasks of the Board of Fellows is to "Ensure that the University maintains its essential character as a Catholic institution of higher learning."

One of the members of the Board of Fellows is Bishop Daniel Jenky, C.S.C. who is the Bishop of Peoria. The other CSC members are Father William Beauchamp (President of the University of Portland), Father Peter Jarret (Superior of the Holy Cross Fathers at Notre Dame), Father John Jenkins (President of Notre Dame and Chair of the Board of Fellows), Father Timothy Scully (Professor at Notre Dame and former EVP), and Father David Tyson (Provincial of the Indiana Province).

I am not familiar with the lay people who serve on the Board except for Patrick McCartan. I believe that he used to be the Chair of the Board of Trustees. Anyway, in regards to the President Obama scandal, I bet some pressure could be applied to the Board of Fellows since one of their stated obligations is to maintain the Catholic character of the university. Bishop Jenky, I know, is very concerned about the way Notre Dame has gone astray and I have heard him speak about this on many occasions about that (not personally but in groups over dinner when I was in the seminary there). People who want to pursue the matter may be wise to feel him out.

See more about the Notre Dame governance here.

Losing money along with credibility

A website called Replacejenkins.com (Jenkins being Notre Dame's president Father John Jenkins) is reporting today that $8.2 million in donations to Notre Dame has been withheld or withdrawn.

I am not sure what Notre Dame gets every year in donations but I am guessing this amount is just a drop in the bucket. But, money does talk and if this amount is accurate, the symbolism is huge.

h/t to American Papist

Profile in Courage

Mary Ann Glendon, Harvard Law professor and former Ambassador to the Holy See, has announced that she will not accept Notre Dame's Laetare Medal at this year's Commencement. Glendon is refusing to accept it because of the university's decision to also honor President Obama at Commencement.

Madame Ambassador - THANK YOU!!!!!

You can read her letter to Notre Dame's president Father John Jenkins here. It may take a minute for the site to load, it's being overwhelmed with hits.

Catholic hospitals and abortion

A couple of years ago, there was a special election in my Congressional District to replace Rep. Marty Meehan. Niki Tsognas, the wife of the late Paul Tsognas, ultimately won but she had a tough primary race against Lowell City Councilor Eileen Donoghue.

Tsognas and Donoghue (and the others) tried to fall all over each other saying they were the candidate who was the most pro-abortion. Donoghue was furious that Emily's List, a pro-abortion women's group, endorsed Tsognas before the primary was over. She also went after State Rep. Barry Feingold, another candidate, for supporting some bill that may have restricted abortion "rights." Feingold apologized as quickly as if someone accused him of saying the "N" word.

Anyway, during the election I discovered that Donoghue was on the Board of Trustees of Saints Medical Center, a Catholic hospital in Lowell. It is not affiliated with the Archdiocese of Boston's Caritas system but rather sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa. Either way, I always found it shameful that Donoghue was allowed to be on the board of a Catholic hospital, even after she fought tooth and nail to prove she was very pro-abortion.

The only reason I am writing about this now is because I called my doctor about something (a potential in-grown toe nail, don't worry mother) and they suggested that I go to the Saints Walk-in Center since they didn't have any times that fit into my schedule. I was on their website and saw the link to the Board of Trustees and it got me thinking about Donoghue again.

If you're curious about her stance on abortion, just google "Eileen Donoghue and abortion."

What about Planned Parenthood?

Some church in Florida uses a local elementary school for its Sunday services. I guess they're promoting sermons on "great sex" and the school department is threatening to boot them from the school.

In other news, in Massachusetts Planned Parenthood is pushing for classes for kids on how to use condoms and have safe sex. No objection has been raised by school officials.

Come to Jesus time

Geez, maybe the New York Times is right to shut down the Globe. Between October 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009 the Globe's daily circulation fell 13.6% while its Sunday paper fell 11.2%.

Say goodnight Gracie.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sigh...

Because I teach U.S. History, I get easily worked up over foolish historical or political errors (i.e. Rachel Maddow implying that Republicans were the cause of secession before the Civil War). The newest case of historical idiocy comes from Sally Vallongo of the Toledo Blade. She wrote:

In the 1950s, as then-Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R., Wis.) and his House Committee on Un-American Activities investigated liberal and progressive artists in search of Communist-oriented dissidents...

Um Sally. How could Sen. McCarthy serve on a House Committee?

h/t to Newsbusters.

Awkward

I know the Globe is struggling and facing closure and sex usually sells. But, do we really need an article about the sexual exploits of the deputy chief of the Globe's Washington Bureau? The article describes Joseph Williams' sex life in great detail, from his 20-somethings years, to his sexless failed marriage, and his most recent FWB (that's Friend with Benefit for those of you older than 65).

The article reads like something a 17 year old would write. Williams talks about "hooking up", booty calls, etc. It's actually embarrassing to read but if you want, you can see it here.

10 easy steps

Howie Carr has a tongue in cheek column today about solving the state's budget crisis. A lot of what he says, however, makes a lot of sense! He makes 10 proposals such as:

No. 9: Henceforward, no more defined-benefit pensions. Obviously, you can’t renege on commitments already made to people who’ve paid in, but you can freeze all future contributions and move them to 401(k)s, just the way it’s been done to millions of workers in the Dreaded Private Sector. Public employees used to get good pensions because they weren’t paid as much as they theoretically could have made in the DPS. Now they make more money - a lot more, in most cases. They don’t have to worry nearly as much about losing their jobs, they get three times as many sick days, plus extra holidays . . . and behind all that comes the pension.

See the other 9 here.

Conference recap

Yesterday was day two of the Abraham Lincoln conference I attended at Harvard. On Friday night we went to the Sheraton Commodore Hotel for dinner and a speech by author Doris Kearns Goodwin. Her speech was framed around her Lincoln book "Team of Rivals." Haven't not read the book, I was fascinated by her talk and found her to be an amazing storyteller.

I sat with a high school teacher from the Philadelphia area, two amateur historians from New Jersey, and a couple from Maryland, the husband being a Lincoln fanatic. I am so glad I sat with them because they were regular folks with no airs about them. There were a lot of Ph.D.'s in the room and tons of bohemians. I had initially put my bag down at another table and later realized it was full of older blue bloods who looked right out of Back Bay central casting. They did not seem to like the fact that a pedestrian high school teacher was sitting there and that I had taken their reserved seats. I looked for a reserved sign but they said they had placed the napkins on the seats to reserve them. They never told me to leave but they were whispering to each other and saying how they needed one more seat so I got up and moved to an empty table without saying a word. Thankfully my fellow middle class friends joined me.

Saturday was full of lectures. To be honest, I had a very hard time staying awake during the morning sessions and could not sit still during many of the others. But, there were some interesting talks and I got to meet some nice people. However, I was not fond of the staff member who kept on closing the window I had opened!

I skipped last night's dinner because I was all Lincolned out. As I got back on the T, I ran into a few others who were leaving as well. We were all tired and hot. When I got home, I had some homemade pizza and Lynn, Kevin, and I went to get some ice cream and to go for a ride. It was an early night as I went to bed around 9:45pm!

Friday, April 24, 2009

What's the big deal?

So the New York Times may close down the Boston Globe one week from today. I doubt it will happen but the paper's employees aren't taking any chances. They had a rally today at Fanueil Hall (whose owner is also bankrupt) and invited every single member of the State Legislature to attend. Many Republican leaders were confused by the invite, calling it unusual for a newspaper to invite politicians to a rally for the paper itself. Some scholar told the Boston Herald that the invite "puts pressure on the principle of journalistic independence.”

The way I look at it, despite the recent exposes of pension abuses and hack jobs, the Globe has been nothing but a mouth piece for the Democratic party for years, why be concerned now? Howie Carr wrote his column today about the rally and the Globe's potential demise and mentioned the following tidbit that appeared in the paper in 2003:

“If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age.”

See what I mean?

100th day

I may get beaten up for criticizing President Obama while sitting in Harvard Square but it has come out that despite the media's constant cream puff coverage, the president is still seen as very polarizing with a 60% approval rating. This is better than President Bush who had a 50% at his 100th day but that was after the whole Bush/Gore fiasco when he was said to have "stolen" the election.

Not to worry though. The media has a huge bonanza planned for Obama's 100th day (which is April 29) so he will be portrayed as the new FDR, the savior of the world, and God made man. That will help his numbers I am sure.

Blogging from the Square

I am attending a conference at Harvard on Abraham Lincoln and we have some time to kill so I am sitting outside the Au Bon Pain in Harvard Square. God bless the locals for having Wi Fi access as I was getting bored. I took out my laptop to see if there was any access and there was!!

The conference is in honor of the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth. It began this afternoon and runs until tomorrow night. We have a banquet at 6:30 at which Doris Kearns Goodwin will give a talk. I am worried that I am underdressed as I am wearing kakis and a polo shirt. There are a lot of college professors here and I feel a little out of place! But, I am learning a lot and enjoying the atmosphere.

I am a little disappointed that James McPherson, the author of the great Civil War era book "Battle Cry of Freedom" had to cancel his talk for tomorrow. His paper will still be read but I was very much looking forward to seeing him.

I am going to head back home after the dinner tonight and come back early in the morning. I considered staying at my parent's house since they live about 20 minutes away from here but it's always nice to sleep in your own bed. Plus, I will be gone all of tomorrow so I would like to at least see the wife and boy, even if they are sleeping.

It is a beautiful day in New England. I am guessing it is 65 degrees with a nice breeze. I hear tomorrow will be in the 80s. Nice day for an indoor conference :(

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Honorable Mention

I have been getting a lot of hits from a blog called Texas for Sarah Palin and was wondering why. I checked it out and discovered that they gave me a honorable mention in their "Quote of the Day" section when I said earlier this week:

"I love how the media says Sarah Palin is a joke but hangs on every word of the 24 year old vapid daughter of the worst presidential candidate since George McGovern."

Thanks for the plug, folks! See their link here.

Get thee to a history class

Liberals never allow the facts to get in the way of a good screed. Take MSNBC host Rachel Maddow who somehow thinks that seceding from the Union is a Republican ideal.

You can read it all here but remember sweetie, Abraham Lincoln was a Republican and it was Democrats who supported slavery, succession, fought civil rights in the 1960's, etc.

I hate these people.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Biggest Loser

As someone who could afford to lose a pound or two, I watch the "Biggest Loser" every now and then. My wife has it on now and I'm wondering...and I the only person who gets annoyed during the cut away shots during the weigh-ins? They show a person weighing in and as they go to commercial, they cut to Bob and the other contestants looking all dejected because of a supposed horrible result. But when they come back from the commercial, it turns out that the person lost 500 pounds and everyone is happy.

Oh well, back to my ice cream and beer...

Helping hand

So it seems the Red Sox are in danger of not selling out every home game this year for the first time in years. Your humble blogger hasn't been to a game since 2004 because that was the year the Curse was broken and all the yuppies, pink hatters, and band wagon hoppers started gobbling up the tickets so they could be seen.

So, in order to stem the tide of sinking ticket sales, the Red Sox turn to their in-house advertisement machine (aka the Boston Globe). The Globe (or the NY Times actually) owns 17% of the team and the paper runs articles that are simply ads for Red Sox products.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Exactely

In the wake of the 2002 revelations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, a group of lay Catholics sprung up called Voice of the Faithful. I think at first they were well intentioned but they were quickly hijacked by liberals who were wolfs in sheep clothing. 7 years later, VOTF is on the cusp of bankruptcy and the average age of their members is 109.

Given the geriatric make-up of their organization, I found the following headline on their website too ironic: "VOTF Affiliate and FOSIL Working Together."

You've got that right.

Ugh

I am not one to pay attention to the political beliefs of Miss USA candidates but it seems that Miss California has shocked the world by professing, you ready for this, that marriage should be between one man and one woman.

OH THE HUMANITY!!!

The only thing worse than a Californian saying she doesn't belief in gay marriage is admitting that her carbon footprint is too high. She would not have made it off the stage alive.

Surprise, surprise...

The media is so predictable. John McCain's daughter Meghan has been in the news lately because she has been bashing Republicans and people like Karl Rove. She's also come out and said that Republicans should support gay marriage. However, they fail to tell you that Miss McCain voted for Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. She's as Republican as Barack Obama.

By the way, I love how the media says Sarah Palin is a joke but hangs on every word of the 24 year old vapid daughter of the worst presidential candidate since George McGovern.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Never gets quiet

Once again I had a slow week on the old blog, sorry about that. I teach AP US History and the exam is less than three weeks away (with April vacation next week) and we just started Eisenhower. Thus, I need to get through the 50's, 60's, and 70's by Friday!! So, I have been up until 11, 11:30 preparing classes and trying to plow through a half a century of material in a short period of time.

On top of that, I am the advisor for the freshman class and we have a yard sale every year to raise money for the class. The yard sale was yesterday and I was setting up all day Friday and today we're going to a baptism in Dedham. Luckily Lynn's parents life in next door West Roxbury so I think they're going to watch Kevin while we go to the party.

The good news is that this week, classes are shorter because it is Spirit Week and we have assemblies everyday at 1pm and next week is school vacation. I am leaving work a little early on Friday because I am going to a two-day conference on Abraham Lincoln at Harvard. I cannot wait to go as many big name historians are going to be there.

Less than two months to summer vacation - sanity is right around the corner!

Cuba

I've never been a huge opponent of not having ties with Cuba. The Soviet Union is gone and so is Cuba's lifeblood. We already have relations with the biggest Communist nation in the world (China) so why not Cuba? Just because Cuba is 90 miles from our shores does not mean it still poses a threat. Cuba is a complete joke where people think the Packard is a luxury. Thus, I see nothing wrong with President Obama trying to normalize our relations with them. I think the only reason we haven't done anything over the years is simply because of pride. Fidel Castro could not be defeated and he has thumbed his nose at the United States for decades and no president wanted to be the one who went to Castro hat in hand. I guess Obama's squishiness comes in handy!

What I do see something wrong with is Obama and his cronies not addressing the wide-spread human rights violations in Cuba (and China for that matter). If we are going to have normalized relations with Cuba, something needs to be done about the 50 years of oppression and murdering that has taken place there. People don't escape into rickety rafts to leave a country because it is a paradise!

Jeff Jacoby of the Globe has his take on all this here.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Call it both ways, Dan

I have seen his show in passing but I never watch Glenn Beck's show on Fox News. Because the media and Democrats always try to vilify someone on the right, Beck is the newest target. Beck has been accused of inciting anti-government rage and the Left says that he is encouraging gun violence.

On last night's "Greater Boston" on Channel 2, panelist Dan Kennedy said that Beck is dangerous and should be taken off the air. Kennedy feels that Beck is "playing with fire." I like Kennedy and enjoy reading his blog but if he feels Beck should be taken off the air, I look forward to his similar condemnation of Keith Olbermann. That man could have been arrested for sedition during the Bush Administration but Kennedy never called for him to be taken off the air. Once again, liberals talk out of out both sides of their mouths.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Covering up Jesus

This week, President Obama gave a speech at Georgetown University about the state of the economy. It seemed the the Leader wanted nothing to distract from people focusing solely on him so he demanded that all signage be removed from the stage area. Thus, Georgetown, a "Catholic" university covered up a sign that said "IHS." IHS is a monogram for Jesus Christ.

Perhaps his "dialogue" at Notre Dame will also be scrubbed of all references to Jesus, Notre Dame, the Cross, etc. I am sure Notre Dame would have no problem saying yes to that.

Tell me again why Catholics voted for this guy?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bo what

Am I the only person who thinks the coverage of the new Obama dog is absurd??? I DON'T CARE!

Wanting more

All of us support our teachers, fire fighters, and police officers. Cities and towns do all they can to protect their jobs and residents are always supportive of new schools, fire/police stations, new equipment, etc. In my own home town of Dracut, in the past ten years or so, we have built a new police station, two new fire stations as well as a new junior high school. At the last Town Meeting, we voted to study the building of a new high school. The residents always uphold their end of the bargain. Not to mention, teachers, fire fighters, and police officers make very good livings with extremely generous benefits that are not even close to being available in the private sector.

This is why I am very frustrated with the 1,000 fire fighters who descended on the State House today chanting "What do we want? Respect! When do we want it? Now" and "Governor! Give us our due!"

With all due respect, ladies and gentlemen, you do get respect and you do get your due...all the time. Yes, some of you will be laid off this year but so aren't millions of other Americans. And those of you who remain make a damn good living. You risk your lives, yes, but you can never say we don't respect you or give you your due. Begging for more just hurts you in the long run.

Fire Breathers

Ever since Barack Obama was elected, President Bush has been dignified and has taken the high road. He has hardly said a word since he left office and during the transition, he was overly gracious and helpful. When he was president, however, President Clinton and Vice President Gore were all over him and they criticized him up and down left and right, backwards and forwards. Gore called Bush and Vice President Cheney a "disgrace" and said they have "dragged the U.S. through the mud."

Did the media criticize Clinton or Gore for going after the president, for being undignified? Nope. Never. But, Cheney criticizes President Obama and the media jumps all over it calling him bitter and angry.

See Gore's outburst from a number of years ago below, it is very unbecoming, even for a wack job like Gore:

Monday, April 13, 2009

The B's are Back

Hockey is back in Boston!



Morons

So a number of cashiers, I mean, toll collectors, on the Mass Pike "called in sick" yesterday and the Turnpike didn't bring in replacements. All this on one of the biggest travel days of the spring, Easter. The result - absolute gridlock on the Mass pike yesterday.

They said they don't have the money to pay overtime but dollars to donuts, those people who called in sick got the Holiday Flu. These damn hacks have it made and what do they do - they continue to thumb the noses at taxpayers/toll payers. They don't feel like working on Easter and so they call in sick. What do they care? They won't be punished, they're not going to lose their jobs. They just sit around collecting $70K to do a job a teenager could do and watch their butts get bigger.

REVOLUTION!!!

The Devil you know...

For once I agree with Gov. Deval Patrick on something. He wants to reform the state's transportation system and the Legislature is not going along with some of the biggest ideas, moving MBTA workers to the state's health insurance plan for example.

The Carmen's Union controls the Legislature and the hacks are very afraid to upset that apple cart. Thus, I am guessing that the T workers will have to make very few concessions and I am willing to bet my house that pension reform will be gutted (23 years and out will never be eliminated). I have a feeling that if the Legislature had its way, they would make window dressing reforms and take very little action on major initiatives (kind of like when they "disbanded" the MDC but just renamed it the DCR).

We Shall Remain

As a history geek, I am very excited about a new 5-part series on PBS starting tonight. Called "We Shall Remain", it is a look at American history through the eyes of the Indians. Produced by American Experience, it looks like it will be an amazing comprehensive history of the nation and the role of the Indians. It promises not to be a "Blame America" series but rather an historical look at our nation's history.

It airs tonight at 9pm and goes for the next five weeks. Read more here and here.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Amazing GLOBE column

Howie Carr is right - ever since the reporters and columnists at the Globe began losing their jobs, they began taking on the hacks over on Beacon Hill. Before, they figured that sort of reporting was for the lowly Herald but they now realize the inequalities.

Today a Globe editorial actually used the term "hackarama" - I almost fell out of my seat. Furthermore, Joan Vennochi takes on the hacks who beg for tax increases but also want to keep their plum jobs. See it all here but I have posted a good chuck below:

The symbols of greed, excess, and patronage not only drain taxpayers of their hard-earned money. They take away their commitment to shared responsibility and blind them to the basic services government provides us all. The clean water we drink, the roads we ride on, the schools our children learn in - that's all taxpayer-funded government at work.

It's bad enough when taxpayers conclude they are paying too much for mediocre service. It's worse if they conclude their money is being diverted from those basic services to pay outrageous pensions to ex-lawmakers and further enrich retired T employees.

The disclosure about the four MBTA officials who retired under the agency's generous pension plan and were then rehired under contracts to do their old jobs is one more reason for the public to reject any kind of tax increase. It is one more reason to interpret headlines about drastic cuts in bus and rail service as meaningless scare tactics. The threats feel obvious and manipulative. Give us our gas tax hike or suffer the consequences.

Massachusetts faces a genuine fiscal crisis. The transportation system is running on empty.
But no one today has the credibility to make the case for higher taxes. The governor squandered the high ground with his ill-fated employment plan for state Senator Marian Walsh, and legislative leaders have their own credibility problems.

The initial reaction to the report about the four MBTA officials is more proof that no one in state government gets it. At the urging of Secretary of Transportation James A. Aloisi Jr., the T said it would let the contracts expire without renewal. What a timid response from Patrick's alleged agent of reform.

Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation - which supports a gas tax hike and pension reform - got it right with his reply to the T retirees-turned-consultants: "Is there no end to the indignity?"

Not in Massachusetts.


Back scratching

Another example of why people HATE state government and refuse to agree to tax/fare/toll/fee increases as long as hacks get treated like kings.

The Globe reports today that former State Rep. Timothy A. Bassett of Marblehead is receiving his state pension of $41,000 while STILL WORKING as the Executive Director of the Essex Regional Retirement Board at the tune of $123,000. And how is Mr. Bassett getting to do this despite the fact that it is against the law? Former Speaker of the House Tom Finneran buried it in a 556 page budget bill in 1999.

Finneran of course has no memory of this (just like he told a court that he had no memory of the gerrymandering of a district which landed him a perjury conviction) and he told the Globe, "But, wow, it's a lot of money. Not a bad outcome for Timmy Bassett. Not bad at all."

Not a bad outcome? No I am sorry for that, it should never have happened, it is unconscionable, etc. No, Finneran is happy that he hoodwinked taxpayers.

Good luck with those tax increases Deval et al. Never going to happen as long as people like Timothy A. Bassett are still kicking.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pays to drive

During a debate in the middle of the 2006 campaign for governor, Deval Patrick told Republican nominee Kerry Healy to "come down off [her] high horse." Patrick, of course, makes a living speaking from a high horse and came into office saying he would clean up Beacon Hill and the culture of state government. Of course, Patrick now IS the culture of Beacon Hill and is nothing more than a hack.

The Boston Herald today reported that a number of people who worked as drivers during Patrick's campaign are now stuffing themselves with taxpayers tax dollars as state hacks. And what happened when the Herald called the governor's office for comment? They hung up on the reporter. These people are the biggest bunch of self-righteous blow hards.

Read it all here.

Alleluia!

Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia:
Quia quem meruisti portare. alleluia,
Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia,
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.


Changing times

This is the first time in perhaps 20 years that I did not attend a single liturgy during the Easter Triduum. The liturgies, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil, are my favorite of the year but with Kevin around now, it is harder to get to them. Lynn went to the Good Friday liturgy as she was working with the teenage group during the day.

Tomorrow we're all going to the 8am mass at our parish. I'd prefer to go to the 10am but it will be mobbed and, well, Kevin does not do well in crowds!

Nice Saturday

As I mentioned yesterday, I was a guest this morning on "Saturday Morning Live" on 980 WCAP (Lowell). Warren Shaw, the host, had me on to discuss Dracut politics and I ended up sticking around for 3 hours. The show discusses politics in the Greater Lowell area. I read the local paper everyday so I am pretty up to date on issues and hoped I was able to contribute something. There were two other guests so it made for nice discussion. It was a real rush to be in a radio studio and being on the radio. I love talk radio so it was a great experience.

After that, Lynn, Kevin and I went to an indoor playground in Lawrence called Imagine That. If you live in the area, you must take your kid there, it is amazing. I even went down the slide a few times!

When we got home, Kevin went down for a nap and so did daddy. Lynn wasn't too happy as we're having guests over tomorrow for Easter but I was tired from waking up early for the radio show. Kevin and I both slept until 5pm while mommy cleaned. I may pay for that later but man was it a good nap!

Stepping back in time

In honor of the 40th anniversary of the Norman Rockwell Museum, the museum is recreating Rockwell's studio as it looked in October of 1960. It was then that Rockwell painted his final cover for the "Saturday Evening Post": The Golden Rule (see below). The New York Times recently did an article on the recreation, see it here.

Rockwell's studio is on the grounds of the museum and is open to visitors from May 1 until October or so. As you know, I am a huge fan of Rockwell and the museum so I highly recommend you take a ride to see it!


Friday, April 10, 2009

Radio Debut

If you're up early tomorrow, I will be a guest on 980 WCAP around 7am. I will be chatting Dracut politics with the host Warren Shaw.

If you're not in the Lowell area, you can listen on-line - click here.

MBTA Blackmail

How nice of the MBTA to release its proposed service cuts on Good Friday - a day in which many people are off from work or away for Easter.

As I said yesterday, when times are tough government makes cuts to services that are popular so people will be more amiable to a tax/fare/toll, etc. increase. In this case, the T is proposing cutting things like Commuter Rail service after 7pm on weekdays and all together on weekends, cutting Green Line stops at BU, cutting bus service by 50% on weekends, etc. You can see all the cuts here.

Now we're supposed to go running to James Aloisi and beg him to keep services and tell him that we will pay anything.

Oh, in other news, the Globe discovered that four MBTA retirees collecting pensions were back working for the T making big bucks as "consultants." Alosi is making the T get rid of them but how many of these hacks are floating around out there? I think you know the answer to that question.

Also, ask Senate President Therese Murray why MBTA employees will get to keep their luxurious health care system instead of moving to the more mainstream GIC that most other state employees are on? I think you know the answer to that question.

Complete joke.

Good Friday

We adore you O Christ and we praise You.
For by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Craving lamb

Writing about my seminarian days in my previous post, coupled with the fact that today is Holy Thursday reminded me of Holy Thursday dinner at the seminary. That night we had lamb and I must have had 3 helpings - it was so good. Lynn HATES lamb so she refuses to cook it or allow me to cook it because of the smell so I haven't had it in a while. Some day when I am out at a restaurant I should order it but it will never be as good as it was on Holy Thursday 2002. I don't know how they cooked it but it was sliced and very tender and juicy.

Dang, I am craving it!

Speaking their mind

A number of members of the Congregation of the Holy Cross have written an open letter objecting to Notre Dame honoring President Obama at their commencement in May. The first name to be signed is Father Bill Miscamble, a respected History professor at Notre Dame. When I was a seminarian with Holy Cross, Father Miscamble was the Rector of the Seminary and is an amazing man. It is interesting that of the 10 signers, half were ordained in the past couple of years. The majority of Holy Cross' priests fall on the liberal side so I am not surprised. But, the order has been infused with a number of young, energetic, and orthodox priests who are great guys.

You can see the letter here.

Arm twisting

Whenever the state or towns are strapped for cash, they always make cuts to services and jobs that are essential or popular. So instead of laying off the Deputy Assistant Second Executive Vice Director of the Massachusetts Department of XYZ, they ax social workers and police officers.

Now the Mass. Turnpike is almost insolvent but rather than lay off toll workers and Project Managers who make six figures, they're going to shut off the purple lights over the Zakim Bridge. They want people to feel "pain" and practically beg for toll increases or a gas tax, anything to get the lights back on! The tolls will then be raised and the gas tax will go up 19 cents and the lights will come back on. But, toll takers will still make $75,000 a year and hacks will continue to roam the halls and leave the office at 1:00 on Fridays.

If it walks like a duck...

Yesterday there was a meeting of the Revenue Committee (House, Senate, or Joint I do not know) at the State House. According to WBUR, hundreds of people attending and many were wearing badges that said "Support New Revenue."

Nice try trying to hide what you're really saying - "Raise Taxes." Using euphemisms like "revenue" instead of taxes does not work in the age of $175,000 hacks.

Long weekend at last

With tomorrow being Good Friday, I have a nice three day weekend this weekend. Lynn also has tomorrow off but she will be spending tonight and a lot of tomorrow at our Church for a 24 hour fast by our parish teenager group. They fast from tonight until tomorrow night and break their fast after the Liturgy of the Lord's Passion with a pancake dinner (around 8:45pm). They sleep in the Church Hall tonight and spend time in prayer and service. Lynn will sleep there tonight and I assume spend a lot of time there tomorrow.

Despite the long weekend, I have a lot going on. Besides spending time with Kevin, I also need to work on my professional development paperwork, write a test for Monday, and prepare for classes. In addition, I am appearing on 980 WCAP Saturday morning to discuss Dracut politics and Sunday my in-laws are coming over for dinner.

Phew. The good news is that there is only two more weeks until April vacation!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Essential people

Remember that very important quasi-public agency that State Sen. Marian Walsh was generously moving to in order to "reform" it (at the cost of $175,000 a year)? Well, it turns out that reform could begin by eliminating all the hack jobs that exist there. Howie Carr goes down the line in his column today but here is a taste:

The Herald reported March 25 that HEFA’s executive director, Benson Caswell, is paid $225,000 a year, and he also gets a free cell phone, Internet service, and a health club membership. Plus he grabs $5,000 for a car, free parking and - get this - a “transit pass.” Free car, free parking and free “transit pass.” This is another payroll Charlie who’s not content to feed at the trough. He has to lick the plate.

Why I never donate to political campaigns

Former Massachusetts Acting Gov. Jane Swift announced that she is donating all of her political campaign money to charity. That's awfully nice of her to donate $159,000 but Howie Carr points out that when she left office in 2003, she had $1.2 million in her coffer. What the hell did she do with all that money??

I never donate to campaigns for this very reason - the money is spent on lavish dinners and faux jobs for political hacks.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What liberal media?

Remember when former Vice-President Dan Quayle said "I was recently on a tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have was that I didn't study Latin harder in school so I could converse with those people." Of course you remember that because the media never failed to report about Quayle (and President Bush and, well, all Republicans) misspeaking (By the way, Quayle never said that line, it was a joke by some Congresswoman).

Anyway, can you imagine if Quayle or Bush said, "It was also interesting to see that political interaction in Europe is not that different from the United States Senate. There's a lot of -- I don't know what the term is in Austrian -- wheeling and dealing..."

But, President Obama said this so you're guaranteed not to hear that the President of the United States thinks that the people of Austria speak "Austrian." That's like saying you and I speak American.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Prayer request

Please bombard heaven with prayers for a friend of mine and his wife who are experiencing difficult times right now.

Thank you.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

NY Times Double Talk

Liberals are famous for saying one thing and doing another. John Edwards' presidential campaign mantra was "Two Americas" and called for an end to poverty. His contribution to the War on Poverty? He built a 28,200 square foot house in North Carolina. Al Gore says we're all killing the environment but he travels the world in private jets. Barney Frank rails against AIG bonuses but gives out bonuses to his own staff.

I bring this all up because the New York Times is demanding massive union concessions from the Boston Globe but in December, the very same newspaper wrote:

The argument against unions — that they unduly burden employers with unreasonable demands — is one that corporate America makes in good times and bad, so the recession by itself is not an excuse to avoid pushing the [card-check] bill next year. The real issue is whether enhanced unionizing would worsen the recession, and there is no evidence that it would.

There is a strong argument that the slack labor market of a recession actually makes unions all the more important. Without a united front, workers will have even less bargaining power in the recession than they had during the growth years of this decade, when they largely failed to get raises even as productivity and profits soared. If pay continues to lag, it will only prolong the downturn by inhibiting spending.

H/T to the Corner.

That wacky Constitution

Article 1, section 8 of the U.S. Constitution required Congress to find a seat for the National government "by cession of particular states." This has always been interpreted to mean that the seat of the United States should not be a state but a sort of federal district. For years now, citizens of Washington, DC have pushed for DC to be granted statehood and Congress has always rejected it because it would be unconstitutional.

Washington does have a Delegate serving in the House of Representatives but she does not have the right to vote. That Delegate, Eleanor Holmes, is pushing harder for statehood but is being rebuffed because, once again, it would be unconstitutional. In response, Del. Holmes said "I don't think members are in the least bit affected in their votes on the question of its constitutionality. People vote their politics in the House and in the Senate."

Um....what?

Long, slow death

By now you have heard that the New York Times, the owner of the Boston Globe, has given its unions 30 days to make $20 million in financial concessions or they will shut the paper down. I really doubt this will happen but how ironic would it be if the only newspaper left in Boston is the Herald. The Herald's circulation is horrible and they have made tons of cuts over the years just to stay afloat. But, they have cheated death on a number of occasions and they seem to be steady at the moment.

Howie Carr must be on Cloud Nine right now! The only other thing that would make his day is the demise of WRKO.

Dying church

The "Rev." Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, an Episcopal priest (or is it priestess) feels that abortion is a "blessing" and that those who perform abortions are her heroes. The "Rev." Ragsdale said this and much more filth at a rally in Birmingham in 2007.

"Rev." Ragsdale is the Rector of St. David's "Church" in Pepperell, MA and was recently named the dean of some school called the Episcopal Divinity School. Care to guess where EDS is located? Cambridge.

The Episcopal "Church" is nothing more than a haven for radicals and liberals who have highjacked a once relatively strong Church and turned it into a complete joke. When you have people like "Rev." Ragsdale running around saying abortion is a blessing and calling abortion doctors saints, it is no wonder that it has a total of 2 million members in the entire country.

By the way, "Rev." Ragsdale posts all her sermons and talks on her blog but just after her appointment to EDS, her soliloquy on the beauty of abortion suddenly vanished. Gee, I wonder why.

Busy weekend

One of my many positions at my school is advisor to our Youth and Government group. Youth and Government is a sort of mock government experience for teenagers from all over New Hampshire. The kids literally get the run of the State House for 3 days and this Friday and Saturday were two of those days. We got there Friday at 9am and the events went until 8:30pm and yesterday they went from 9am-4pm. It was a long weekend and very tiring but it was a great experience and I enjoyed spending time with students outside of the classroom. They did a great job and represented our school well.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Good night

"ER" ended its 15-year run last night with a two hour finale (preceded by a one hour retrospective). It was a really good episode in that it was like any other episode but with some added bonuses: many of the old characters were back, Dr. Greene's daughter Rachel played a role, and there were homages to the first episode as the last scene was similar to the last scene from the pilot. In addition, they did the old opening theme for the first time in many years. They got rid of it a few years ago to compete with "Grey's Anatomy."

I am a little sad with the show ending as it is the end of an era. "ER" began when I was a freshman in college so the show ending reminds me, again, that I am getting older! Lynn was pretty bummed out too because she watched the show since it began. She kept on saying after it was over, "I've watched that show half of my life." I started watching the show faithfully around the same time I began dating Lynn as her and her roommate watched it all the time. I would always hang out at their place in the evenings so I stayed to watch "ER." In the process, I really got into the show despite the fact that it wasn't as good as it once was.

The Globe has a nice rundown of the final episode. See it here.

Hackitis

State Sen. Marian Walsh is making the rounds this week trying to clear her "good" name and rationalizing her $175,000 hack job that never was. Her and Gov. Deval Patrick have tried to say that the job was essential for reform and Walsh is a true public servant. Riiiggghhhtt.

Howie Carr brings Walsh back to Earth is his column today by highlighting her Hack Family Tree. See it here but I loved the lede:

You really can’t blame Sen. Marian Walsh for her arrogant greed. She has a disease. Her name is Marian and she’s a hack. One Bunker Hill Day off is too many, and a thousand are not enough.

This disease has long raged out of control here. But now it’s an epidemic. The saddest thing of all is how a single hack can infect an entire family of once-productive citizens, turning them into overpaid sloths who endlessly phone in sick and brag about their impending kiss in the mail.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pension "reform"

Gov. Deval Patrick and the Legislature are taking up pension reform this month. They know that if they want new revenue (i.e. new taxes) they need to make changes to the bloated hack system and their bloated pensions. However, we will believe it when we see it. Right now there is a lot of talk, results need to happen for voters and taxpayers to be onboard for any taxes.

Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe sums it up beautifully here. Below is a piece of his article:

These pension-abuse stories are never complete without a disobliging brush-off from one of the abusers. "I take what is given to me - that's my stand on it," Councilor George Colella told the Globe.

That has been the attitude for years - the attitude of MBTA employees who retire with full pensions after working just 23 years; the attitude of retirees who get pension credit for volunteering as library trustees or town moderators; the attitude of ex-lawmakers whose pensions soar when they are defeated for reelection or quit under an ethical cloud; the attitude of Boston firefighters whose tax-free disability pensions are fattened if they claim to have been injured while filling in for a supervisor; the attitude of the scores of government retirees who collect annual pensions of $100,000 and up. Like Colella, they will all gladly take every nickel the taxpayers can be coerced or gulled or manipulated into giving.

For years the political class has taken care of its own at taxpayers' expense. That is why so many former public employees enjoy retirement perks far more lucrative than anything typically found in the private sector. "The nation is dividing into two classes of workers: those who have government benefits and those who don't," USA Today noted in 2007. "The gap is accelerating in every way - pensions, medical benefits, retirement ages."

All of that was galling enough when the economy was strong and the Dow was flying high. Now - in the midst of deep recession, with the market prostrate, millions out of work, and retirement portfolios worth far less than they used to be - it is infuriating. Beacon Hill's worthies can feel the growing backlash, which is why they declare so solemnly that pension reform is a "priority."

Well, declarations are easy. True reform - not merely plugging the most egregious abuses uncovered by the media, but thoroughly overhauling the public-pension system - will be much harder. Sweet-talking the sheep won't do the trick. Beacon Hill needs to slay some wolves.

Appeasement

Archbishop John Quinn, the Archbishop Emeritus of San Fransisco, recently wrote that President Obama should be allowed to speak at Notre Dame's commencement in May. You can read the whole thing here but I am blown away by the following statement by Archbishop Quinn:

The president has given ample evidence that he is a man of good will, of keen intelligence, desirous of listening and capable of weighing seriously other views.

I don't question the president's intelligence but on matters of life, he has had no good will, he will not listen, and he will not weigh other views. Since he took office, he has overturned two major pro-life policies of President Bush and is pushing for the passage of FOCA. He cares about one side and one side only, don't let anyone else tell you different.

Watch the following and see for yourself. The man actually said "The first thing I'd do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act." Yep, he will listen to all sides.

Shameless plug

The Boston Globe has a done a great job of late exposing hacks and political patronage but when they pass off off-field articles on the Red Sox as news, it drives me crazy. Today they have an article about the new and improved Fenway Frank. Why is this a problem? The Globe owns 17% of the Red Sox and for years now the Globe has become one big advertisement for Red Sox products.

Just take a look at the lede in the article:

If there's a Holy Grail of hot dogs in Boston, the Fenway Frank is it.

And in top-secret, off-season negotiations that gave new meaning to the concept of Hot Stove, Kayem Foods Inc. has snagged this sought-after prize. Monday, on Opening Day at Fenway Park, Kayem will unveil a new, bolder recipe for the Fenway Frank.


With over a million hot dogs served at the park each season, Kayem is looking to the Fenway Frank to solidify its ascent to the top of the local hot dog market. The Chelsea meat purveyor recently toppled Sara Lee's Ballpark Franks as the best-selling hot dog in stores across New England with $20 million in sales last year.

This is just a pitch for more people to buy the product which indirectly benefits the Red Sox and the Globe. The article is very soupy and corny. Not only that, it is shameless and tacky, especially when they bury the fact that the Red Sox and Globe have a relationship deep in the article.