Friday, July 31, 2009

Do as I say...

The Democrats are warning Republicans that they better be careful about their votes for soon to be Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotamayor lest they offend Hispanic voters. Majority Leader Harry Reid is also annoyed with Republicans who dare argue against her nomination. But, when it comes to votes on justices, it is the Democrats who vote no the most often.

NPR has a list of the justices who received the most no votes since World War II. Of the ten on the list, nine were appointed by Republicans and one by a Democrat and that was in in 1949! The list is below and I added the presidents' names in bold:

Robert Bork -- 58 (rejected 42-58, 10/23/87) - Reagan
Clement Haynsworth -- 55 (rejected 45-55, 11/21/69) - Nixon
G. Harrold Carswell -- 51 (rejected 45-51, 4/8/70) - Nixon
Clarence Thomas -- 48 (confirmed 52-48, 10/15/91) - Bush 41
Samuel Alito -- 42 (confirmed 58-42, 1/31/06) - Bush 43
William Rehnquist (for Chief Justice) -- 33 (confirmed 65-33, 9/17/86) - Reagan
William Rehnquist -- 26 (confirmed 12/10/71) - Nixon
John Roberts (for Chief Justice) -- 22 (confirmed 78-22, 9/29/05) - Bush 43
Potter Stewart -- 17 (confirmed 70-17, 5/5/59) - Eisenhower
Sherman Minton -- 16 (confirmed 48-16, 10/4/49) - Truman

Not again

Man, I love the Onion. Just read:

Cambridge Cop Accidentally Arrests Henry Louis Gates Again During White House Meeting

WASHINGTON—Upon arriving late to his meeting with President Barack Obama and famed African-American intellectual Henry Louis Gates, Cambridge police officer James Crowley once again detained the distinguished Harvard scholar after failing to recognize the man he had arrested just two weeks earlier, White House sources reported Thursday. "When I entered the Oval Office, I observed an unidentified black male sitting near Mr. Obama, and in the interest of the president's safety, I attempted to ascertain the individual's business at the White House," Crowley said in a sworn statement following the arrest. “The suspect then became uncooperative and verbally abusive. I had no choice but to apprehend him at the scene for disorderly conduct.” Witnesses said that Sgt. Crowley, failing to recognize Gates on their flight to Logan Airport, arrested the tenured professor in midair, once again at the baggage claim, and twice during their shared cab ride back to Cambridge.

Mayor Mumbles

Commonwealth, the magazine of Mass Inc., has a pretty good article about Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, his 16 years in office, and the 2009 campaign. It is a long read but it does a great job highlighting Menino's personality as well as his accomplishments and failures. See it here but below is a taste:

Once considered the unlikeliest of politicians, Menino is now Boston’s longest-serving mayor. Almost 15 percent of today’s Bostonians were not yet born on July 12, 1993 — the day Ray Flynn resigned to become US ambassador to the Vatican and Menino, then City Council president, replaced him. He’s served under three presidents and five governors, through flush years and lean ones, through September 11, the Democratic National Convention, the end of the Red Sox curse, the dawn of the Internet age, the start of gay marriage, and the embrace of all things “green.” It’s been a long ride for the mayor, and he’s not ready for it to end.

With his somewhat garbled speech and late-in-life bachelor’s degree, Menino is a surprising leader for a city riddled with MBAs, PhDs, and high-tech wizards. But he’s managed to turn his education and speaking limitations into advantages. Voters can relate to him. Bigwigs aren’t threatened by him; if anything, they underestimate him.

Menino can be, at once, confident and unassuming, relaxed and prickly, boastful and self-effacing. Although fond of saying that he isn’t a “fancy talker,” he is actually quite skilled at manipulating conversations onto safe ground. Ask him about the giant hole in the ground at Downtown Crossing and you may find yourself listening to his thoughts on ways to improve local nonprofits. Driving past Boston Medical Center, which was created during his first term, he points and announces, “I did that.” But when a reporter comments on the hospital’s Menino Pavilion, the mayor makes a shooing motion with his hands: “I hate it. I don’t like having my name on stuff.” Yet the man who purports to hate having his name on things has his name on a great many things. It is hard to find a parks department sign or a city employee’s T-shirt or a page of the city of Boston’s website that doesn’t say menino in two or three places.

Those last two lines are so true. Every single city sign in Boston has Menino's name on it. Neighborhood Welcome signs, park signs, construction signs, banners, etc, etc. Whenever he leaves office, it is going to cost a fortune to replace them all.

Home bound

Kevin woke up from his nap yesterday around 3:30/4:00 very warm. I figured he was hot because his room was hot so I brought him into my room with has AC. He fell back asleep for a while and when he woke up, all he wanted was for me to hold him - something he hasn't really done since he was a baby! I went out last night but Lynn said he threw up and after that, seemed better.

I put an AC in his room yesterday and he seemed to sleep well all night. But, he is very clingy and blah again this morning. All he wants to do is lay down and be held. I took him temperature with a pacifier thermometer and it said his temp was 102.2. Lynn had already made a doctor's appointment before I took his temp so we're heading there in a bit.

Looks like it's going to be a lazy, quiet day with TV.

Thanks guv

Howie Carr's Friday column is up already and it's a good one - an ode to Gov. Deval Patrick on the final day of the 5% sales tax. On Saturday, it goes up to 6.25%. Lynn is getting a new car and I was hoping to get it by today but to no avail. So, the hacks will get more coin out of us for their no-show, unnecessary, over paid jobs.

Anyway, see Howie's column here but below is a taste:

Thanks, Governor, for dithering all through the budget process, going back and forth on raising the tolls, and the gas taxes, and every other damn thing, enabling the unspeakably corrupt Legislature to move into the vacuum of your nonleadership to sock it to us with this 25 percent increase in the sales tax.

Thanks for giving Mumbles Menino et al. the right to impose higher meals taxes, but why do they have to wait to jack up the cost of a cheeseburger until Oct. 1?

Thanks, Governor.

Thanks for nothing.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Oh crap

Report: Ortiz, Ramirez said to be on 2003 doping list

Nice gig

I was reading an article on a family who are the only residents in a 32 story condo building in Ft. Myers. The husband is a 45 year old fire fighter from Weehawken, NJ and the article said the following:

He planned to make it a vacation getaway and eventually his full-time residence when he retires in four years.

Now, I was never good at Math but if he is 45 and he is retiring in 4 years that would mean he is retiring at the ripe old age of 49.

Care to guess which state has the highest tax burden in the country? Yep, New Jersey at 11.8% (the national average is 9.7%). No wonder they pay so much in taxes, their public employees are retiring before they hit 50!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Great witnesses

The Washington Post and Boston Globe have uplifting stories this week about men at different points in their Christian journeys - one about a group of Franciscans walking from Chicago to Washington before taking their final vows and the other about the death of an amazing priest who fought homelessness in Quincy.

See the Post story here and the Globe obit here. Incredible stuff.

h/t to Rocco

So much for that

Charlie Baker told the media today that he is in favor of:

1. Abortion

2. Capital punishment

3. Gay marriage

Oh well, guess I'll be blanking the governor's ballot again next year.

Weak start

Charlie Baker launched his bid for governor this week by launching his website and releasing a video. Both his website and the video are pretty bad, in my humble opinion. The website has almost no information on it, no pictures, etc. To be blunt - it is horrible. The video is obviously done before a green screen and Baker comes across very wooden.

Not a good start.

See his website here and video below:

Monday, July 27, 2009

Home rule petitions

Last week, Gov. Deval Patrick mentioned that about 70% of the legislation he sees deals with "home rule petitions." I was pretty surprised that the number was that high and like Patrick, I wonder if it is a worthwhile exercise. I did a little digging and came across a report done by the Center for Public Management at UMass Boston. They found that during the 2007-2008 legislative session, the state Legislature dealt with 504 hole rule petitions. Of those, 263 were signed into law, 56 were rejected, and the others were not acted on. Two of those 56 rejected petitions were by Patrick and the others were rejected by the legislature.

The study said that hole rule petitions began in 1967 after a constitutional amendment was passed requiring them.

You can see the full detailed report here.

Abortion and eugenics

Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe takes the abortion lobby to task by linking them to the eugenics movement. He frames his column around Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Gingsburg's recent disgusting comment about Roe v Wade:

"Frankly, I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. . . But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way.’’

He also mentions President Nixon's racist and ignorant comment after Roe was decided:

"There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white."

You have to read this column. See it here.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Good old Sunday

Lynn, Kevin, and I had originally planned on meeting up with some folks at a park in Bedford this morning. But, the Weather Channel said there was going to be a ton of rain so we decided to go for Plan B. After a bunch of different ideas, we decided to head to Willard Brook State Forest in Townsend and go somewhere for lunch. I was talking to my neighbor and she suggested we check out Kimball's in Jaffrey, NH for lunch.

Jaffrey is over an hour from Dracut so we got there around 1pm. I don't think I have ever had a lobster roll before so I decided to try that out. It was pretty good but I felt the mayo took away from the taste of the lobster. After some ice cream, Kevin decided to take a pony ride at a house next door. He was scared at first but I just put him on the horse and he was in love.

After that we decided to see Willard Brook in Townsend. Kevin was asleep in the car but I woke him up when I got out to look at the water! He loves water falls and this brook had enough "flow" that he didn't know the difference. We got home a little while later and Lynn dropped me off at church for the 5pm mass while her and Kevin went food shopping. After mass, they picked me up and Lynn headed to a 6:30pm mass in Hudson, NH.

Now we're sweating it out in the living room as we don't have the AC in here yet. I am thinking of going to read in the very cold, ACed bedroom. But, have to finish "Next Food Network Star" first!

What liberal media?

Headline on cnn.com today:

Ticker: Republican compares Palin to GOP Loser

Headline after the jump:

Republican: Palin is another Huckabee

Tell me again why CNN is tanking? Oh right.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bush leaks

Have you noticed all the leaks about Bush-era military actions as of late? Gee, I thought President Obama was all about moving America forward. But, it seems all he does is make reference to the "previous eight years" (like he did the other night during his press conference) and with these leaks about Bush.

Now it comes out that the government considered sending in the military to arrest a suspected terrorist cell in Buffalo shortly after September 11. The headline in the article makes it seem like it was Bush's idea but others presented it to him and he said no. The article's lead also said it would have been an "unprecedented use of military power." But later in the final paragraph it said, "Scott L. Silliman, a Duke University law professor specializing in national security law, told the Times that a U.S. president had not deployed the active-duty military on domestic soil in a law enforcement capacity, without specific statutory authority, since the Civil War."

That's a lot of caveats. Read it more closely: active-duty military; on domestic soil; in a law enforcement capacity; without specific statutory authority.

Of course the New York Times forgets that President Eisenhower sent federal troops to Little Rock to enforce desegregation as did President Kennedy in Alabama. But, perhaps these actions did not fall under Prof. Silliman's multi-layered definition of deployment of the military but Bush's would have. Convenient.

Not so sure

Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court yesterday ruled that sobriety checkpoints are constitutional. Listen, I am for doing all we can to get drunk drivers off the road but I question whether or not it is indeed constitutional for police to pull everyone over to check and see if they're drunk. I find it quite chilling, actually, that police can pull anyone over to see if they're breaking the law. What about the constitutional protection against illegal search and seizure? The Supreme Court ruled in 1990 that the state's interest in fighting drunk driving outweighed the 4th amendment!!! Please.

Now, police are supposed to inform residents that a checkpoint will take place but the area is so vague. For example, today's Lowell Sun said there would be a checkpoint on July 31 "somewhere in Middlesex County." Well, Middlesex County is 848 sq. miles and extends from Cambridge to Lowell and further west.

I also saw a child seat check in Londonderry, NH on a number of occasions. Again, I have no problem with laws about child seats but for the police to stop you and check your car randomly is very suspect.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Good move

President Obama did a good thing today calling Sgt. Jim Crowley, apologizing for calling the actions of Cambridge police stupid, and essentially putting this whole incident to rest.

By the way, I would love to be a fly on the wall when Obama, Prof. Gates, and Crowley have that beer!

On the radio

I will be on WCAP 980 AM with Warren Shaw tomorrow from 6:30am-7:30am to discuss this. If you're up, you can listen here.

Messing with the wrong guy

Henry Louis Gates allegedly told Sgt. James Crowley "You don't know who you're messing with." Apparently, Gates didn't know who HE was messing with. By all accounts, Crowley is an upstanding police officer with impeccable credentials. He also teaches a class on racial profiling and he was the officer who tried to resuscitate Reggie Lewis in 1993. Less you forget, Lewis was black.

Yep, sounds like a KKK, cross burning, red neck son of a bitch to me.

See Howie's take here. Below is a taste:

The luckiest guy, of course, is the Rev., excuse me, Professor Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr., who is battling The Man - and The Man’s mama. Good career move, Skippy - pulling this Sharpton should triple your lecture fees and get you a book advance in the high six figures, plus longer limos and even more endowed chairs, plus all the rest of that stuff that you’ve been denied in AmeriKKKa because - oh, that’s right, you went to Yale, didn’t you, before you got the tenured job at Harvard?

Too funny

The liturgist in me hates this but I couldn't help but smile:

(By the way, it is not a Catholic ceremony - h/t to the Good Deacon)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Stupid remark

I've been pulled over a handful of times for various things: no registration sticker, missing front plate, speeding, going through a light just as it turned red, etc. I ALWAYS keep my hands on the wheel and ask for permission from the police officer before I get my license and registration. I address him as "sir" and say "yes sir" time and time again and I always admit to what I did. Ever since I started this approach about 5 years ago, I've yet to get a ticket. They appreciate me not giving them attitude and that I defer to them. I never mess with a cop and I have the utmost respect for them.

My wife and I were watching President Obama's press conference last night and we were both surprised when he called the actions of Cambridge police "stupid" (they "acted stupidly" to be more accurate). Lynn said, "That was the wrong thing to say." Now I realize that black people get a raw deal and our country does have a history of treating them differently. But Prof. Henry Louis Gates went into this situation with a chip on his shoulder and even if the cop left within moments, he would have made a stink about this. I don't know much about him but it seems that liberals even see this guy as arrogant and full of himself.

The Globe did a nice story today on the officer who arrested him. James Crowley is a solid veteran police officer who tried to save the life of Reggie Lewis in 1993. But he's a racist, right?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Well well well

So President Obama is refusing to release a list of those people who have visited the White House to work on his health care bill.

Hmmm, so I am guessing that when Obama said the following, he was only kidding:

My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.

The car shuffle

So now it is Lynn's turn to have her car worked on. We knew her car would need some work when we bought my 2007 Ford Focus last week. We decided that we would buy one new car and have work done on another. Since my car was the worst, we trashed mine and are now having hers worked on this week.

My sister Meaghan lives in Somerville and works in Boston so she doesn't use her car all that much during the week. So, she is letting us use it for the rest of the week. I think Lynn would feel better driving our car so she is taking ours and I will use Meaghan's.

I'll be glad when the car shuffle is over!

Howie's Mid-term grades

In the spirit of last week's All-Star game, Howie devoted his Wednesday column to giving grades to some of the local pols running for office. It's pretty good stuff as he grades Deval Patrick, Tim Cahill, Tim Murray, Steve Grossman, Charlie Baker, Christy Mihos, Tom Menino, Michael Flaherty, and Sam Yoon.

See it all here but my favories were his takes on Patrick and Menino:

He had a photo op with his new puppy, could there be a clearer sign of desperation? Tobey arrived just after Joe the Gorilla kicked Deval’s butt in a Texas death match over the zoos. The voters already don’t like Deval; wait till next week, when the sales tax goes up.

Next we come to the Boston mayor’s race, which in recent years has come to resemble South American elections. The tongue-tied dictator-for-life, in order to keep the yanqui dollars flowing, opens the polls solely for the benefit of the gringo observers.

Mumbles is wisely taking no chances - look what happened to Trujillo back in ’61. Mumbles is the candidate of the No-New-Faces party, his signs are up on shuttered warehouses and closed gas stations and he’s touched everything but the third rail. Do ya like your job at City Hall, Mack? Then youse better come to the mayor’s barbecue down Readville.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Is this 1961?

How the hell can there still be segregated proms in this country? Charleston, Mississippi has apparently not gotten word about, well, modernity. See here.

RMV Politics

The Registry of Motor Vehicles is closing 11 branches this year in an effort to save money. Fine by me - the less the better. Plus, I've haven't been to a registry in 7 or 8 years, you can do most things on-line.

What gets me, however, is that Registrar of Motor Vehicles Rachel Kaprielian is closing branches that have high rent. Then tell me, why isn't the Watertown branch closing? That one is located inside the Watertown Mall and I'm guessing that ain't too cheap. Why oh why would that be kept open?? Gee, it has nothing to do with the fact that Kaprielian is from Watertown and represented the town in the state legislature, does it? Nah, I doubt it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Weight update

Bad week this week - gained 4 lbs. I know why. I took that class last week at Fitchburg State and I was perhaps a little too zealous with the free snacks, tonic, and lunch!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Doesn't make sense

Stick with me on this one:

1. Dracut police catch two businesses selling alcohol to minors.

2. Dracut Board of Selectmen suspends the liquor licenses of said businesses.

3. Businesses appeal their suspension to the ABCC.

4. The attorney representing the businesses before the ABCC is State Rep. Kevin Murphy.

5. Murphy is also the attorney for the Dracut School Committee.

6. A state representative, who is also the lawyer for a town board, is defending the suspension of a liquor license handed down by another town board.

7. This is the same Murphy who represents the LRTA union members and four Lowell school employees who got fat raises last year (one of whom was Murphy's wife).

8. Murphy, a state legislator, is trying to aid two businesses who actually sold beer to minors.

9. Murphy took the following oath this past January:

"I, Kevin Murphy, do solemnly swear, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and will support the constitution thereof. So help me God

10. Part of the laws of the Commonwealth that Murphy swore to support states that: "Whoever makes a sale or delivery of any alcoholic beverage or alcohol to any person under 21 years of age, either for his own use or for the use of his parent or any other person....shall be punished."

Um, did Murphy miss the Law School class on ethics and conflict of interest?

Irony of ironies

Massachusetts State Rep. Bruce Ayers (D) is introducing legislation that would tighten laws on body piercing. He also wants to prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from getting a body piercing unless they are accompanied by a parent.

Hmmm, what ever happened to "it's my body and I can do whatever I want to?" Also, will Rep. Ayers also introduce legislation prohibiting minors from obtaining abortions without their parent's consent?

I didn't think so.

Good weekend

There has been a lot going on in my neck of the woods this past week, hence the lack of postings. I took a class for an AP class all week down at Fitchburg State College. On my way down on Monday, it became very, very apparent that my good old 2000 Saturn needed to go. So, I rented a car Monday night and bought a new car on Tuesday (2007 Ford Focus) from Saturn of Medford. I picked that up on Thursday and then went home and did some homework for my class. Yesterday I was on the radio from 6:30am-7:30am (WCAP) talking Dracut politics and then took a ride to Medford to get the registration for my car and to get it inspected.

Yesterday afternoon Comcast came and installed digital cable, high speed internet, and digital phone so I hung around for that. I then read at the 4:00 mass and then headed to Hampton Beach for the night. Lynn and Kevin had gone up earlier in the day along with Lynn's friend Claudia, her husband Alex, and their son Michael. We had some dinner and then took a walk and a car ride.

Today we hit the beach around 11am and stayed until 2:15pm when Kevin would not stop hitting other kids and throwing rocks! My parents came by for a visit around 3 and Kevin and I left around 6:30. Lynn needed to stay behind and clean the house for a renter and then go to a late mass in the area. Now I am relaxing and enjoying my new toy - digital cable.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Mary Z for higher office?

The good thing about Charlie Baker running for governor is that it is encouraging other Republicans to run for statewide office as well. The Metrowest Daily News is reporting that Mary Connaughton, a member of the soon to be defunct Mass. Turnpike Board, is thinking of running for higher office. Connaughton has been a very vocal critic of the Pike and has fought the secrecy and grandstanding of Secretary of Transportation James Aloisi. She has been a good friend to the tollpayers.

I for one hopes she runs for Treasurer as I have heard her on the Howie Carr show and she seems well versed in finance. Plus, she is a CPA and worked as the CFO for the lottery under Joe Malone. See the whole article here.

Baker and the Big Dig

The Globe has a pretty fair article today on the role Charlie Baker played in the financing of the Big Dig and the decision to transfer the project to the Mass. Pike. The article says that Baker, as Secretary of Administration and Finance under Govs. Weld and Cellucci, helped craft plans to accept $1.5 billion up front in exchange for giving its federal highway money to bondholders between 2006 and 2015.

Baker was also involved in the decision to transfer the Big Dig and its debt to the Mass. Pike which almost put the Pike into bankruptcy.

You can see the whole article here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Overreaching

Now I appreciate the fact that President Obama is trying to fix so many problems. I agree that health care is out of control, that the economy is in a free fall, and the wars in the Middle East need to be better managed. But, like President Clinton, he is overreaching and I think it is going to cost his party some seats in 2010.

Clinton and the Democrats raised taxes in 1993 and had some other missteps that cost the Democrats the House and Senate in 1994. Obama's failed stimulus package and his mammoth health care legislation could also lead to his party losing significant seats in 2010. In New York City, the wealthiest people could see their income tax bracket rise to 57% under Obama Care! Now New Yorkers may be as liberal as they come but I am guessing when it comes to their wallet, they're pretty conservative.

It reminds me of the "Simpsons" episode where Side Show Bob was running for Mayor of Springfield. Years earlier, Bob had gone to jail for framing Krusty the Clown but he was now out of jail and running for office as a conservative Republican. In one scene, they show Krusty in the voting booth looking at the two choices. He said, "Well, he tried to frame me but man am I aching for that upper class tax cut."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ooops

I cannot stop laughing about the guy who got charged $23 quadrillion for a pack of cigarettes in Manchester. Imagine checking your bank account and seeing that??!? I find it even funnier that it took 2 hours for his bank to correct the error. Did they think he was trying to pull a fast one on him??

New car

So the time has come for me to retire my Saturn. I bought it 9 years ago this month and it's always been a reliable car. But, over the past few months the brakes went, the AC needs to be recharged, and now the transmission is acting up (It is a standard and I can't get the car into first gear). Plus, it has 168,000 miles. The car is so bad that I had to rent a car so I could get to Fitchburg for my class this week.

Lynn and I have been looking around for a car and last night we found a 2007 Ford Focus at Saturn of Medford (where I bought my Saturn coincidentally). They wanted $10,000 but Lynn got them down to $8,200. It has 45,000 miles on it and it was in an accident last year. But, it runs great and is a nice car.

So, I spent a good portion of this evening cleaning the Saturn, particularly a jello spill and baked in crayons! I think I got most of it. Tomorrow night I have to bring the car to Best Buy in Salem to have my Sirius satellite radio taken out and then off to Saturn to get my "new" car. I can't wait!

Call it both ways

In today's New York Times, liberal wing nut Maureen Down took President Obama to task for nominating a Hispanic woman to the Supreme Court and a black woman as Surgeon General. "It was a disgrace that Obama appointed two minority women to these positions" she said.

Incredible, huh? Dowd is obviously a racist and feels that there is something about these women being minorities that prevents them from doing a good job.

Oh, wait she actually said, "It was a disgrace that W. appointed two white men to a court stocked with white men."

Um, never mind.

Settled law

This week, Judge Sonia Sotomayor told the Senate Judiciary Committee that abortion was "settled law." Thank God that Judge Sotomayor wasn't on the Supreme Court in 1954 when Brown v. Board of Education was being decided. Otherwise, the notion of separate but equal may still be "settled law."

Weight update

I forgot to weigh myself on Monday so I checked yesterday and I am at 271 - a 2 pound loss.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Nice try Deval

Good effort, Gov. Patrick, but your scare tactic to close the state's two zoos is as transparent as a piece of saran wrap (weak analogy, I know). When will Patrick learn that we are not dummies - we know when the government is trying to scare us into having our taxes raised or take us for fools. You tried this with the Mass. Pike and your boy Alan Lebovich got run out of town. We know when you're trying to reward your cronies. You tried to sneak Marian Walsh's hack job by us and she had to pull back in disgrace, embarrassing her and destroying her reputation.

Deval - this is not 1933 or 1976 anymore. James Michael Curley, Tip O'Neill, et al are dead...and so aren't the tactics they used to reward hacks and pull the wool over the eyes of the taxpayers. It's over.

The end?

So it looks like Voice of the Faithful may have reached the end of its lifespan. Baring an "infusion of funds" VOTF will have to close its office in Needham (they used to be in Newton but had to move to save money) at the end of the summer. They insist that the organization will not cease to exist, just its headquarters. VOTF will simply exist as a network of "organizational affiliates."

I for one think VOTF has been dead for years. The average age of their members is 163 and their councils have been contracting rather than expanding. While I want to say "I told you so" I do feel bad for some of the members. I do think VOTF was a sincere organization when it was founded in 2002 in the wake of the sexual abuse crisis but it was very quickly hijacked by liberals who wanted a platform for their radical views. Plus, they got too caught up in organizational rules, leadership roles, finances, etc. They were doomed for failure.

I was very suspicious of the group early on and tore their representatives apart when they made a presentation to my parish's parish pastoral council in 2002. My pastor just stared at me with a "Where did this come from" look. Lynn was working at the parish at the time and she too took on their arguments and afterwards we went out for a drink to celebrate our accomplishment! We were not dating at the time but I realized we would make a good team after that night.

Anyway, the Globe has the story on VOTF's decline here.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Whirlwind day

Lynn and Kevin headed to the beach on Friday night but I didn't go up until yesterday morning - I wanted to do the grocery shopping, get a haircut, and do some work. I did the first two but eventually I didn't feel like doing any work. My barber shop opens at 8am on Saturdays so I got there at 7:55 so I could get in and out. But when I got there, 3 guys were already getting their hair cut and there was a number of people in front of me! I was bummed because I really wanted to listen to something on the radio. So, I got to the beach around 10am and we got to hang out until 12pm when the tide came in.

We were going to spend the rest of the afternoon at the neighbor's house but Lynn got a call that her father had a seizure and was being rushed to the hospital. Bruce was in the hospital last week due to complications from his diabetes and was just released on Thursday. There was a woman coming to rent the house at 2pm so we decided that Lynn would leave to go to the hospital and Kevin and I would stick around to meet the renter. We hung out for a bit at the neighbors since they have a little pool and toys and I went over at 2 to meet the renter. After that Kevin and I headed home. But Lynn called as I was on the road and said her family was all at her parent's house in West Roxbury so Kevin and I headed there instead.

When I got there the mood was solemn. Bruce was in a medically induced coma and had a breathing tube. We all ate some lunch/dinner and eventually the hospital called to say he was awake and off the breathing tube. Lynn, Kevin, and I went to the hospital to see him although Kevin could not go in (he was in ICU). Lynn's sister and brother-in-law were there too so they watched Kevin as we went in. Bruce looked OK - he seemed groggy and aggravated. He kept on wanting to get up to go to the bathroom and was fighting with the nurses! I guess that's a good sign.

Lynn's sister called around 10:30 last night and said the seizure was caused by something called DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis). Essentially, a person's body doesn't have enough insulin so it begins eating muscle. Hopefully Bruce will get his insulin under control.

I think Lynn is headed to the hospital again today. Luckily she is on vacation this week so she can go down there and take him to the doctors, help her mother, etc. As for me, I am taking a class all week at Fitchburg State College. I am teaching AP US Government and Politics next year for the first time and the College Board has a class on how to teach the class. So, blogging may be lighter this week. I am looking forward to a little change in routine and to be around some grown-ups for a little while! But, you can tell that the school year is fast approaching as I had a dream last night that it was the first day of school and I didn't make any of the syllabi and wasn't prepared for classes. I think I dreamt that because last night I was thinking about how much I still have to do this summer. I am teaching three new classes next year and I really need to prepare for them. Time to get cracking.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Day in the city

Kevin and I made our second annual trip to the Boston Children's Museum today. This time we were accompanied by my parents (aka Mema and Bepa). We met up at their house in Melrose around 11am and then took the T into town. My parents crack me up - they gave me detailed instructions on where to put the money for parking at Oak Grove and my mother asked me if I knew how to use the Charlie Ticket.

We stopped for lunch in South Station and we all got pizza at Pizzeria Regina. As I was sitting there I thought back to my four years of high school in Dorchester, the 2 years I worked in Copley Square, and the 2 years I lived in South Boston. While I don't miss studying, working or living there, I sometimes miss the "idea" of Boston if that makes sense.

We then walked over to the museum. When we got there, Kevin was obsessed with a make believe airplane and would not leave. I had to pick up him and bring him to the other parts. He had a great time running around and playing, especially with the basketball nets and play trains. We stayed for about 2 1/2 hours and then headed back to the train. Kevin LOVES trains and was in 7th Heaven the whole time. He was fast asleep within minutes after I dropped off my parents. He stayed asleep even after I brought him inside which is unusual. He typically wakes up the second I get him out of his car seat but he stayed asleep this time and didn't flinch when his leg banged into his highchair.

Tomorrow is Hampton Beach and Sunday, I think, a visit to his grandparents in West Roxbury. Lynn's father suffered a minor stoke recently and I think he would enjoy a visit from Kevin.

More Howie

This has been a great week for politicos! Howie has another column on the 2010 governor's race with a column on Tim Cahill as a potential straw man. A straw man is essentially a guy who is in a race in order to take votes away from another candidate (intentional or not). Read it here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Howie on 2010

Howie has a special Thursday column today about Charlie Baker's entrance into the governor's race and the impact it has on the the candidates. He thinks Tim Cahill will fade away but may play a spoiler and turn the election to Deval Patrick. See it all here.

I kind of hope that the GOP encourages Christy Mihos to drop out of the governor's race and run for another office so the Republicans don't have a bruising primary. But, Mihos was never one to obey party bosses so I doubt he will. Instead, he will beat up Baker, drain Baker's finances, and leave him limping in the general election. Mihos was good on the Turnpike Board but he is seen as a sort of fringe candidate - no one takes him seriously.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Who is Charlie Baker?

Many people don't know who Charlie Baker is so the Globe did a pretty nice overview of his bio today. I have seen Baker speak twice: once when I was an intern at the State House in 1997 and last year when he was the speaker at my graduate school commencement.

While I don't know for sure, I am pretty sure Baker is socially liberal but so is Christy Mihos, the other Republican candidate. Ironically, the most socially conservative person in the race may be Tim Cahill. He may get my vote but I have to wait and see how it all plays out.

Deval getting ready

Deval Patrick realizes he's on the ropes with three other candidates now in the race for 2010. He's sent a message out tonight to his supporters asking them to declare "I'm With Deval."

Election 2010 has begun.

BAKER IS IN!

Go Charlie, go!

What liberal media?

I don't have a lot of time to jump into this article but take a look and see how the media treats Sarah Palin and Joe Biden when they both say the exact same thing. I think you know where this is going.

Viva la revolution!

Howie's Wednesday column is about State Treasurer Tim Cahill's decision to leave the Democratic Party to become unenrolled. Howie said that Cahill did this to appeal to the "conservative wing of the Democratic party" and the "blue-collar voters." Howie doesn't come out and say it directly but implies that Cahill will go no where. He hopes he does well but is not confident.

Towards the end of his column, however, he points out that FOUR of Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo's cronies got raises this year. This after DeLeo ushered through a $1 billion sales tax increase and a complete gutting of local aid?!?!?!? One guy, DeLeo's deputy chief of staff, went from $70,000 to $100,000! DeLeo's spokesperson said the raises reflect "enhanced duties" but Howie nails it when he said:

Out here in the DPS, the reward these days for “enhanced responsibilities” isn’t a 30 percent pay raise. It’s not getting fired.

Get rid of these people in 2010.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Whoa...

I just made shrimp scampi for dinner. Dang, it was GOOD. Make it. Now. See the recipe here.

Little dusty in here

I so wanted to stay home and watch the Red Sox game last night to see Nomar's return. But, Kevin had been in the house for a few hours and we had to get outside. I thought about sticking around until his first at-bat but that wouldn't be until 7:30 or later so we left and went to the park. So, I just saw the ovation he received over at You Tube. It got a little dusty in my house as I watched it. See it below:

Getting fun

A few weeks ago, Lynn, Kevin, and I happened to come across a thrift store in Tyngsboro. Lynn decided to run in while Kevin and I waited in the car. She came back and said there were a lot of books and movies so I decided to take a look. I came across a mint condition copy of Tip O'Neil's 1987 autobiography "Man of the House." I first read that book when I was in high school (around the time he died) and I decided to write my senior English paper on him. The paper was so good that my teacher asked for a copy so she could show future students how the assignments should be done!

Back to the thrift store. I already owned a softcover copy of the O'Neil book but I decided at 25 cents, buying the hardcover would be a good deal (plus, I think it's out of print). Despite his liberal ways, I admired O'Neil. I first learned of him as I was "discovering" politics so I was impressed by him. I do think he was a sellout on abortion but that's for another story. O'Neil was from Cambridge (where my mother grew up) and my mother gave her mother a copy of the book when it came out. My grandmother said to me later, "I never liked that man!" So, she let me have the book.

I've read the book 2 or 3 times already but I have been re-reading some chapters over the past few weeks. For a political junkie like me, it is a fascinating look at politics in the mid-late 20th century. As I've read it, I have gotten bit by the political bug and have been thinking about how I can get involved in some political campaigns. The beautiful thing about living in Dracut is we're right on the New Hampshire border so I can see presidential candidates pretty easily. With a hot 2010 New Hampshire Senate race in the works, I bet there will be a number of politicos in the state very soon.

Locally, there looks like there will be a race for the House seat with a man named Sam Meas who is running against Rep. Niki Tsognas in 2010. I don't know a whole lot about him but he has an amazing story - he lived in a refuge camp in Cambodia and he came to this country in the 1980's with the help of Catholic Charities in Virginia. He was adopted by a single mother and went on to graduate from Virginia Tech. If Meas is pro-life than I am going to do all I can to help his campaign. I cannot wait!

2010 NH Senate Race is on

Today New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte announced she will resign to explore a possible run for the Senate in 2010. Incumbent Judd Gregg is not going to seek re-election after his disastrous flirtation with becoming President Obama's Secretary of Commerce.

Ayotte is a star in NH GOP circles and currently serves under Democratic Gov. John Lynch. I'm pretty sure she was first appointed to the job by Republican Gov. Craig Benson so she has shown she can be bipartisan (The AG's job in New Hampshire is appointed, not elected).

Whoever the Republican is, they will likely face current U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes. Hodes was first elected in the Democratic sweep of 2006 and now wants to move up the ladder. It should be fun to watch, especially since I am on the border.

Monday, July 6, 2009

2010 Governors race is on

State Treasurer Tim Cahill announced today that he is leaving the Democratic party and becoming unenrolled. The conventional wisdom is that Cahill, who wants to be governor, cannot get the necessary 15% of delegates at next year's state convention in order to get onto the primary ballot.

I don't know a whole lot about Cahill but he is more of an old-school Democrat - aka not a flaming liberal. If he's pro-life then I'll vote for him.

DeLeo moving on?

Word on the street is that Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo hates being Speaker of the House. Ernie Boch (yes that one) has a pretty good posting over at Blue Mass Group about DeLeo looking to get out. He also lists some potential replacements.

But anyway, word is Deleo is not happy with the job. Taking years off his life and it is showing. Not dealing well with the adversity. Members are being ignored, feeling left out, and losing confidence in their captain.

So what's happening then? The talk is who is jockeying to be the next speaker. It is not too early.

Read the whole thing here and see the list of possible replacements.

McNamara is dead

Word is that Robert McNamara has died. McNamara, of course, was the architect of the Vietnam War under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. McNamara was not a well-liked guy, even years after the war. He spoke in Boston some years ago and he was getting yelled at by people in the crowd, it was brutal.

One of the best documentaries I've seen on the war is PBS' "Vietnam: A Television History." It is 11 hours long but broken down into 11 one-hour episodes. It is so good I watched it in about 2-3 days. I highly recommend it. PBS also did a documentary on Johnson called "LBJ" which focuses a lot on the war and McNamara. That is good too.

Weight update

By some miracle I lost 3 pounds this week - I was around 275 this morning. I was convinced I would gain weight because I had beer for the first time in weeks last week and I went out to eat a few times.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Cars, batteries, and fathers

Today was a whirlwind day. After 10am mass, Lynn, Kevin and I headed to Saturn of Lowell to check out their used cars. Lynn likes the Saturn VUE as it has a lot of room and is affordable. They didn't have any in Lowell but Saturn of Haverhill did so the guy brought us up there. We took a test drive in a 2003 VUE (101,000 miles) - Lynn liked it but we of course didn't make any decision. We then headed to Saturn of Portsmouth but they didn't have anything for us.

So, we got back into my trusty old 2000 Saturn, I turned the key...and...nothing. My car would not start and I realized that I had left the headlights on all day! The battery was dead. Luckily I was at a car dealership...and a Saturn one to boot! They hooked my battery up to a battery charger but nothing was happening. Lynn called her father's friend Louie in near-by Hampton and he agreed to come over and give me a jump. Lynn and Kevin then crossed the street to the mall so Kevin could stretch his legs. Louie showed up a little while later and got the car going again...thank goodness.

The fun didn't stop there, however. Lynn then found out that her father is not feeling too well and she feared it was something serious. She was crying and bummed out the whole way home. We talked to him tonight and he assures us it's nothing major but Lynn's not convinced. Drop a line or two to the Big Man if you wouldn't mind.

All in all, an exhausting day. Lynn woke up this morning at 3:30am and could not fall back asleep. Between her worrying about her father, car shopping, Kevin, and her early start to the day she was pooped and was off to bed around 10 tonight.

One silver lining - I was reminded tonight that Kevin is going to daycare tomorrow so I will have a free day. I thought the woman was on vacation this week but she sent me a message on Facebook to remind me. Kevin doesn't normally go to daycare over the summer but we're sending him a few times so he can play with kids (and give daddy a breather). So, I have a day to plan! I have a feeling, however, that it will involve cleaning the house and doing some school work for next year.

Give me, give me, give me

Yvonne Abraham of the Boston Globe takes the Boston Fire Department to task today for their childish antics and constant grubbing for more money. See it all here but below is a taste:

What world are Boston’s firefighters living in?

Across the city - across the entire country - people are hurting. Those of us lucky enough to keep jobs have seen our paychecks slashed. We’re taking calculators to the supermarket, vacationing at home, wondering how long our savings will last.

And yet here is Firefighters Local 718 holding out for raises and benefits totaling between 21 and 24 percent over five years, depending on whom you’re asking - the city or the union.

The city had offered firefighters 14 percent over four years in 2007 - just what the police got - and the union shot it down. After the economy tanked last fall, the city amended its offer, offering 10.5 percent over three years.


That looks sweet to me. Especially when you consider that the average Boston firefighter makes about $85,000 a year, higher ranking officers $115,000.

Still, it’s no surprise Boston’s firefighters expect better. Like spoiled children, they’ve grown accustomed to getting their way.

Rim shot!

I missed this a few weeks ago. Like all presidents, President Obama recently attended and addressed the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association dinner. One of his jokes was hysterical:

"A few nights ago I was up tossing and turning and trying to figure out exactly what to say," he said. "Finally, when I couldn't get back to sleep, I rolled over and asked Brian Williams what he thought."

h/t to the AP.

Time for new car

I don't have a lot of time as I need to head out to the 10am mass this morning. Lynn happened to wake up early today so she went to a 7am mass so Kevin won't be praising God with his loud shrieks this weekend! Afterwards we're headed to Portsmouth to check out a car at Saturn of Portsmouth. Both of our cars are in rough shape and both have over 160,000 miles (me 168,000 and Lynn almost at 160,000 with 158,000). Plus, her car needs $1,500 worth of work and it doesn't seem worth spending that much on her car. I suppose buying another car seems silly when that will be thousands more but one must weigh the opportunity cost (am I using that term correctly)?

Saturn of Portsmouth has a 2003 VUE for about $5,000 that we want to look at. Not so sure we will buy but worth a look. After that, we're either going to see Lynn's parents at Hampton Beach or head to West Roxbury for a birthday party, I am not sure which. I rather stay north and perhaps get some steamers, haven't had any all summer!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Another great 4th...

The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. BBQ, time with family, fireworks, Boston Pops, etc, nothing beats it.

Lynn, Kevin, and I went to Medford to the house of my aunt and uncle Bernie and John. There were a good number of us there and Kevin and my little cousins are old enough now that they could play together. We all had a great time chatting, playing baseball (with a big jelly ball), and eating. Most of us lingered until about 6:30/7:00pm.

The only problem is my weigh-in on Monday. John assured me that the food was all low-fat but my taste buds and stomach bulge said otherwise! Dang did Bernie make a good cake!

Happy 233rd!













Actually, today really isn't the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Today was chosen because we needed a day to celebrate- there was no one day on which the Declaration was signed.

My favorite history author Joseph J. Ellis explains it all here.

Classy liberals

Liberals always say they're above the fray and are sensitive, compassionate, and politically correct. Oh really? See the following headline from Erik Sean Nelson at the uber-liberal Huffington Post:

"Palin Will Run In '12 on More Retardation Platform"

The article, for some reason, is no longer available. I wonder why.

Yep, stay classy.

Why she left?

There is a ton of speculation as to why Sarah Palin is resigning her post but check out the following analysis by Mark Steyn of National Review:

With respect to many of the Palinologists below, I think they're getting way too hepatomantic over the entrails.

As a political move for anything other than the 2010 Senate race, today's announcement is a disaster. And I'm not sure it's a plus for the Senate - and, even if it were, the manner and timing suggest it was not a professionally planned event and therefore is unlikely to have any grand strategy behind it.

So Occam's Razor leaves us with: Who needs this?

In states far from the national spotlight, politics still attracts normal people. You're a mayor or a state senator or even the governor, but you lead a normal life. The local media are tough on you, but they know you, they live where you live, they're tough on the real you, not on some caricature cooked up by a malign alliance of late-night comics who'd never heard of you a week earlier and media grandees supposedly on your own side who pronounce you a "cancer".


Then suddenly you get the call from Washington. You know it'll mean Secret Service, and speechwriters, and minders vetting your wardrobe. But nobody said it would mean a mainstream network comedy host doing statutory rape gags about your 14-year old daughter. You've got a special-needs kid and a son in Iraq and a daughter who's given you your first grandchild in less than ideal circumstances. That would be enough for most of us. But the special-needs kid and the daughter and most everyone else you love are a national joke, and the PC enforcers are entirely cool with it.

Most of those who sneer at Sarah Palin have no desire to live her life. But why not try to - what's the word? - "empathize"? If you like Wasilla and hunting and snowmachining and moose stew and politics, is the last worth giving up everything else in the hopes that one day David Letterman and Maureen Dowd might decide Trig and Bristol and the rest are sufficiently non-risible to enable you to prosper in their world? And, putting aside the odds, would you really like to be the person you'd have to turn into under that scenario?


National office will dwindle down to the unhealthily singleminded (Clinton, Obama), the timeserving emirs of Incumbistan (Biden, McCain) and dynastic heirs (Bush). Our loss.


Friday, July 3, 2009

What is she thinking?

So Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is resigning at the end of this month. This is obviously because she intends on running for president and wants to be seen as a different sort of politician by not running for office and serving as governor at the same time. But, to give up her job for another job that she will not win is madness.

I love Palin but she should have stayed out of the spotlight for a while, retooled her image, and then ran in 2016.

Why am I not surprised?

Well, the public sector unions have officially proved that they only care about themselves. Yesterday police and fire unions sued the state because of the changes in pension laws that were just passed! They say the changes illegally reduce their compensation.

Well, yes the changes do reduce their compensation but that's because these guys have literally been stealing from the taxpayers for decades. We all respect and admire the men in blue but the shady pension padding and phony disability claims need to end now.

See the story here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Summer learning

I am always trying to read and watch history documentaries to improve my teaching. So far this summer I have watched documentaries on the French and Indian War ("The War that Made America"), the American Revolution ("Liberty"), and Ken Burns' movie on Lewis and Clark ("Lewis and Clark"). I am currently watching Burns' 9-series called "The West." Well, Burns didn't do this movie but his company did and you would never know the difference. It's called "Ken Burns Presents" instead of "A Film by Ken Burns." The beauty is that I have gotten all of these movies from libraries so they've cost me zilch (well, if you don't count tax dollars).

Watching these last two have really gotten me interested in the West - the landscape, the beauty, the mystery, etc. I've been out west a few times but I really want to check out places like Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, the Dakotas, etc. Some day.

Got in the game

Lynn, Kevin, and I went to a Lowell Spinners game last night. Lynn got there a little late so I had to spend an hour entertaining a 2 year old in a confined space and puddled grounds! Luckily there is a lot of running room and Kevin enjoyed himself. We had front row seats, right on the field level (third base side). We got them from the guy who worked on my car last week - they have season tickets and give them out to their customers.

We only stayed until the 5th inning as it was getting late and Kevin was all done. The guys around us, however, said Kevin did good for a little guy. Everyone also loved Kevin's scally cap.

I am actually going to another game tomorrow with my friends Bill and Dan. I bought these tickets so they're not as sweet as last night's.

Happy Anniversary

The blogosphere was changed forever one year ago today.

You're welcome...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bloom off the rose?

You know things are coming apart when Helen Thomas and CBS News are actually going after the White House. Thomas and CBS News, who are left of Trotsky, went after Press Secretary Robert Gibbs today about the White House's efforts to control the media. Watch it all below and notice how Gibbs tries to weasel out of the discussion a number of times by trying to joke around:

Lame duck Deval?

Ramussen has an amazing poll about Gov. Deval Patrick's popularity. Only 33% of those polled said they would vote for Patrick again next year and he has a shocking 65% disapproval rating!

Even better, 49% said Mitt Romney was a better governor! I'd say so - a lot of what Romney proposed (eliminating the Mass. Pike, merging state agencies, etc.) are now being implemented. The Legislature refused to do it when Romney was governor simply because he was a Republican.

See the detailed report here.

Back in the kitchen

Now that I am off for the summer, I have gotten back into cooking. On Monday I made a really good stuffed chicken breast (stuffed with pancetta, mustard, and cheese) with sugar snap peas and spinach sauteed in olive oil, garlic, and scallions. Last night I made sloppy Joes with ground turkey and chopped hot dogs with lots of heat. All of the recipes were from foodnetwork.com.

Last night Lynn, Kevin, and I went to the library and I happened to come across the cookbook section. I saw that they had a Barefoot Contessa cookbook so took it out. As I was flipping through it I saw a recipe for an orange pound cake - I had to make it! So we went to the store to get some ingredients and I made it last night. Man is it good! The recipe was for two loaves so I am going to give one to my neighbors. They're always giving Kevin presents and lollipops and have us over for visits. I think one of them is diabetic so I hope I don't put them over the top!