Monday, August 31, 2009

Busted

Mega kudos to Michelle McPhee of 96.9 WTKK for exposing State Rep. Michael Rodrigues shopping for booze at the New Hampshire State Liquor Store. She posted a picture of his car with his House license plates in the parking lot over on Facebook.

Why is this a big deal? Because hacks like Rodrigues recently voted to lift the sales tax exemption for alcohol so the commonwealth could pay the salaries of bloated government hacks...I mean, help the children. And now it seems Rodrigues is depriving us of desperately needed revenue. How many relatives of state representatives and senators will be laid off because of the selfish acts of Rep. Rodrigues? How many fire stations will be closed and teachers laid off? Shame on you Rep. Rodrigues, why don't you think of the children?
(By the way, I am being sarcastic if you didn't know).


Dates are set

Gov. Deval Patrick announced today that the primary election to replace Sen. Edward Kennedy will be December 8 with the regular election being January 19. Patrick is still trying to change the law to allow him to appoint an interim senator (to serve until January 19).

Of course, until Kennedy himself demanded that the law be changed in 2004, Patrick would have been able to appoint a successor today. But, the Democrats, at Kennedy's command, changed the law so that former Gov. Mitt Romney could not appoint a successor to Sen. John Kerry had he been elected president.

State Sen. Thomas Kennedy (no relation) is the chair of the Senate election laws committee and told the Globe, "One of the senator's last public acts was a request that the Legislature explore ways to amend state law so the Commonwealth will not lose a voice in the United States Senate pending the filling of the seat with a special election.''

But if Ted Kennedy was so concerned about the state not "losing a voice" why did he push for a change in the law in 2004? BECAUSE OF POLITICS. PURE PARTISAN POLITICS.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

20K

Over the weekend, this blog got its 20,000th hit from someone in Millersville, MD.

Now, I am well aware that many of those are not "unique visitors" but I'll take it! I am also well aware that many blogs get 20,000 hits a day so for me to get my 20,000th after 13 months is no huge accomplishment. But, I never expected to get 200 let alone 20,000 so thanks.

What liberal media?

With all the fawning coverage of Ted Kennedy by the media, one wonders what the coverage would have been like if Kennedy were a Republican.

Former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw gives us a hint. In 2004 after Ronald Reagan died, he said:

"Reagan" was a beloved American leader, but at the same time our journalistic obligation is to put his whole life and his political career in context," Brokaw says. "It's a very delicate balancing act."

Disgraced anchor and fake news reporter Dan Rather said:

"They will be overcovered," Rather says. "Even though everybody is respectful and wants to pay homage to the president, life goes on. There is other news, like the reality of Iraq. It got very short shrift this weekend."

Emily Rooney, host of WGBH's "Greater Boston" told CNN this morning:

"Well I don't think there's anybody like Ted Kennedy. I don't know what Republican senator would have deserved it frankly. I was trying to think, any, even any living president I don't think at this point would get the kind of attention. Which one? If George Bush one or two died tomorrow, I'm not sure they would get the same kind of accolades."

H/T to Newsbusters

Right on

Via the Deacon's Bench:

A priest friend dropped me an e-mail with his thoughts on the Kennedy funeral:

i. We have a crisis in liturgy in this country. What it comes down to is that we are addicted to "therapeutic religion;" the religion that comforts, but never challenges.

ii. Nowhere is that clearer than at funerals. The purpose of the funeral Mass is to offer the Holy Sacrifice, to apply the merits of Calvary to the departed soul. Does that mean that the comfort of the family isn't important? No. It means that the Liturgy should be comforting to the family primarily because through the Mass, and prayers, works, sacrifices joys and sufferings they can assist their departed loved one.

iii. That funeral was a canonization ceremony. The homilist explicitly canonized Ted Kennedy. No one left that funeral thinking "I need to pray for Ted," or, "I need to get back in the habit of praying for my departed loved ones."

iv. the Liturgy should be allowed to speak for itself. Pound for pound, there HAD to be ten times more commentary in that Mass than there was Mass text. The Funeral rite doesn't start, "We have gathered here today in this historic Mission Church to remember the life of the great..." Once that verbiage ended and th inept celebrant got to the chair for the opening prayer... well, the first words of that are, "Let us pray." Not a musing on how the Narragansett bay must be greyer today because one who so loved it is gone. Every time you got to another point of that Mass there was either some ponderous commentary on the liturgy or some portion of the Martyrology entry on Saint Ted.

v. The Prayer of the Faithful was really amazing, a testimony to the colossal ego of the Kennedy clan. The Church's prayer was hijacked to promote liberal talking points. They prayed "for Uncle Ted's smile and laughter as he was with his family" (why specifically that smile needed praying for, I do not know), for an end to "strife between white and black, rich and poor, gay and straight." They left out the Millennium Development Goals and Free Mumia.

vi. Liturgically it was odd. A spoken psalm, sanctus, amen, Lord's Prayer, Agnus Dei. The Mass itself wasn't important enough to prepare; the focus was on the memorial service.

vii. And in a nutshell, that's a problem. In the world, when someone of note dies, they rent a hall, hold a memorial service, look back, celebrate the life that has been lived, its accomplishments. Nothing wrong with that. We do it at the wake, the sharing of memories and all that. But as Christians we do something else as well - looking forward to judgment and eternity. It's really tragic that the Liturgy has been corrupted to the point where every Funeral Mass is a canonization ceremony. And I do not think it is unreasonable of me to feel strongly that if the Church's Liturgy is going to be broadcast nationally on television, that what is broadcast is, really, the Church's Liturgy, a reflection of her faith.The Kennedy Funeral was liturgical comfort food. It was manufactured to make everyone feel good!

And it was very successful. I can't deny that.

He's back

I LOVE ESPN's "This is SportsCenter" commercials. If you haven't seen them, go to You Tube right away.

This one on Brett Favre un-retiring made me laugh pretty hard. Perhaps it's the inner-History geek in me but I think it is fantastic:

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Letter

Tonight, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick read a portion of the letter Ted Kennedy sent to Pope Benedict XVI earlier this summer. It read, it part:

"I want you to know, Your Holiness, that in my nearly 50 years of elective office, I have done my best to champion the rights of the poor and open doors of economic opportunity. I’ve worked to welcome the immigrant, fight discrimination and expand access to health care and education. I have opposed the death penalty and fought to end war. Those are the issues that have motivated me and been the focus of my work as a United States Senator."

Guess he forget to mention his 100% rating from NARAL, his support of late-term abortions and embryonic stem cell research, and his railroading of Robert Bork. Nah, those wouldn't have fit his narrative.

Oh good God

Get ready for an avalanche of columns like this from the out of touch, self serving, liberal weanies over on Morrissey Blvd.

God help us all.

Only when they need us

I never questioned whether or not Ted Kennedy should be allowed to have a Catholic funeral. Heck, even John Geoghan, a serial child molester, got a Catholic funeral. I wasn't surprised, either, when I heard that Cardinal Sean O'Malley would attend. Had he not attended, he would have received a lot of criticism.

What gets me, though, is that when Kennedy was alive, he did all that he could to distance himself from his Catholic beliefs unless they were "liberal" teachings. His faith, we're told, "guided" him on such matters such as immigration and welfare but when it came to abortion and marriage, all of a sudden he could not "impose" his faith on others. He told the Church to stay out of the public square and that religion should not play a role in governance (see his questioning of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito during their confirmation hearings). But, when it came time for his funeral, there was no question about the Church "honoring" him with a majestic funeral at a majestic Church with the archbishop being present in full regalia.

Who's using who?

Did O'Malley snub Biden?

Before today's funeral mass for Ted Kennedy, Cardinal Sean O'Malley went over to speak to President Obama who was sitting in the front pew with his wife, Vice President Biden, and his wife. They all stood up when O'Malley came over and Biden kept looking at him. After he spoke with Obama, O'Malley shook Michelle Obama's hand and turned around without acknowledging Biden. I doubt it was intentional but I wonder...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Why would he?

Time Magazine is confused as to why Pope Benedict XVI hasn't commented on the death of Ted Kennedy. But, why would he? I would venture to guess that the pope doesn't even know who Kennedy was. Benedict is German and has lived in Rome for decades, his understanding of America is very limited. Even if he was more knowledgeable about America, why would he comment on the passing of a senator?

People say, well, Kennedy was Catholic and the "most prominent Catholic politician." Please, he was CINO - Catholic in Name Only. He only used his religion when he needed to (i.e. PR with the old ladies). Kennedy sold out his Catholic faith to the liberal establishment about 35 years ago.

Your next senator

David Bernstein of the Boston Phoenix said on Facebook that he is hearing who our next senator will be if the Legislature changes the 2004 state law on Senate vacancies.

Ladies and gentlemen of Massachusetts, your next senator is here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What liberal media?

Need to puke up your dinner? Then keep reading CBS' Maggie Rodriguez "reporting" from the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston:

"A life that was able to bring friends and enemies together....We’ll hear from one of those foes who became a friend as we broadcast from the John f. Kennedy Presidential Library where the body of Uncle Teddy will arrive today and lie in repose."

And later:

"This place dedicated to a slain American president will today serve as a shrine to his younger brother, a beloved American senator....we were joking here that we think all this wind today is sort of fitting for the Kennedys. The tousled hair, a perfect day for sailing, a wonderful day for the Kennedy family and the public to gather here, at this of all places, to remember Ted Kennedy. Sort of symbolic, Chris, I think, of the older brother looking down, looking after the younger brother."

h/t to Newsbusters

Got through to Howie

I decided to give Howie Carr's show on WRKO this afternoon and got through after a little wait. I talked about this and got a big laugh out of him.

Howie's courage

Howie Carr has the courage to write what so many in the media are ignoring - that Ted Kennedy wasn't all that wonderful. The whole piece is here but below is a taste:

Yesterday the tributes kept mentioning his commitment to the “working class.” He fought for, as President Obama said on Martha’s Vineyard of all places, “an America that is more equal and more just.”

But more equal and more just for some people than for others. When it came to the white ethnic working class from which his father came, Kennedy just plain didn’t get it. Whether it was court-ordered busing in Boston in the 1970s, or the affirmative action policies that stymied the careers of so many of his family’s traditional voters, Kennedy never grasped the depth of the blue-collar frustration as he veered left. And what infuriated them even more was that so many of them had grown up in homes where on one side of the mantel was a faded photo of the martyred JFK, and on the other the pope, with a dried-up palm frond given out at Mass on Palm Sunday between them.


Chappaquiddick, of course, never went away. But sometimes Kennedy could seem oblivious even to that ultimate blemish on his career. In 1974, when President Ford pardoned Richard Nixon for his Watergate crimes, Kennedy issued this thundering statement:

“Do we operate under a system of equal justice under law? Or is there one system for the average citizen and another for the high and mighty?”


On issue after issue he was wrong - the nuclear freeze, the Reagan tax cuts, the Immigration Reform Act of 1965, which he assured his Senate colleagues would not lead to a “flood” of immigrants into America’s cities. With a Tele-Promp-Ter, he could be articulate, but when he wasn’t using his glasses to read a prepared statement, he was often an oratorical mess. In 2005, at the National Press Club, he referred to the current president as “Osama bin La-uh, Osama Obama, uh Obama.”

And yet he was always protected by most of the media, who shared his views on just about everything. In 1962, at the behest of President Kennedy, the Boston Globe played the story of his expulsion from Harvard below the fold on the front page. To the very end the Globe did its best to shield him - last week the struggling Times-owned broadsheet broke the story of his deathbed attempt to change the Massachusetts law on Senate succession, without mentioning that he himself had lobbied in 2004 to enact the law he was now denouncing as undemocratic. Only then, he was for stripping the governor of his right to fill a Senate vacancy, because, you see, that governor was a Republican.

The Globe reported that Kennedy was extremely concerned that the people of Massachusetts would have no representation in the Senate for five months until the special election. The fact that he had already missed 97 percent of the Senate roll-call votes in 2009 was not noted until the next day - in a different newspaper.

The hagiography will continue throughout the weekend. We all agree that Ted Kennedy should rest in peace. But let’s not forget that there was more, much more, to his “legacy” than is being reported on MSNBC.

Pandering

I was watching a ton of the coverage of Ted Kennedy's death last night and much of it was so fawning, saccharin, and uncritical. Channel 4 (WBZ) was one of the worst offenders with Jack Williams and Lisa Hughes wearing black! They mentioned that before last night's Red Sox game, they played "Taps" and had a moment of silence. Williams referred to Kennedy's "beloved" Red Sox and talked about how much he loved the team.

Please.

I bet if you asked Kennedy to name 10 players from the past 10 years, he may be able to name 1 or 2. He knew NOTHING about baseball. This is the same guy who, when introducing President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore day at an event in 1998, referred to them as "Mike McGwire" and "Sammy Sooser" of the White House. This was the summer in which Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were chasing Roger Maris' home run record and Kennedy was trying to show that he was up with the times.

Audio below:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Partisan thy name is Kennedy

With all the talk of Ted Kennedy being a saint and someone who reached across party lines, recall his Robert Bork speech in 1987:

Requiescat in pace

I was obviously not a fan of Ted Kennedy and I abhorred his politics but I pray for the repose of his soul.

Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review says it well here:

Ted Kennedy has died.

Seared in my memory: When I interned at the Heritage Foundation, I would sometimes pop into Mass at Saint Joseph’s on the Hill at noon on a weekday. And I would almost always find myself sitting near Ted Kennedy.

He’s responsible for things that are deeply offensive to my conscience and diametrically opposed to the teachings of the Catholic faith, and he probably led some people astray by his example.But our faith also teaches that we are all sinners and that there is redemption. He had some incredibly good forces in his life, not least among them his sister, Eunice, who just died. I pray for the repose of his soul and for his family.

R.I.P. Senator Kennedy.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Putting your money...

Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe says today what so many people have been thinking: that Sen. Edward Kennedy should resign. If Kennedy is so concerned about Massachusetts not having two votes in the Senate "should a vacancy occur", Jacoby feels that he should resign now because Massachusetts hasn't had two votes in a long time.

For well over a year, Massachusetts has not had the “two voices . . . and two votes in the Senate’’ that Kennedy says its voters are entitled to. Sickness has kept him away from Capitol Hill for most of the last 15 months. He has missed all but a handful of the 270 roll-calls taken in the Senate so far this year. Through no fault of his own, he is unable to carry out the job he was reelected to in 2006. As a matter of integrity, he should bow out and allow his constituents to choose a replacement.

He shoots, he scores!

On the Left, Joan Vennochi today blames the Democrats and their desperation for 60 votes for this mess.

LET’S BE HONEST. Ted Kennedy’s last wish is not about principle. It’s about politics.

He said it’s about giving Massachusetts voters a voice in Washington. But it’s really about giving Senate President Harry Reid 60 votes on health care reform.


Kennedy did not worry about leaving Massachusetts voiceless in 2004, when he asked lawmakers to repeal a law that gave the governor the power to fill a Senate vacancy. He did not want Governor Mitt Romney to appoint a Republican if Senator John Kerry won the White House. Massachusetts legislators did what Kennedy wanted. They passed a new law, calling for a special election within five months of any vacancy.

Now Kennedy is asking those lawmakers to partially reverse themselves and authorize the governor to appoint an interim senator for five months, should he die or resign. His request puts pressure on Governor Patrick and the Democrats who control the Legislature. Bay State voters, already angry over tax increases and assorted examples of government incompetence, will view this as another example of raw politics as usual, because that’s what it is. If the governor were a Republican, Kennedy would not be trying to change the law.


Kennedy was diagnosed with brain cancer more than a year ago. He collapsed in Washington on Inauguration Day. If he resigned then, Massachusetts already would have a new senator in place to vote on health care. But Kennedy didn’t resign, leaving his party at this sad crossroads. Because of the partisan politics of five years ago, Massachusetts will be without a US senator for five months; or, in a classic show of political hypocrisy, it will have a surrogate senator whose appointment was engineered as a thank you gift to Kennedy.

Te Deum

I love this video - I always get chills up my neck when the trumpet blares and the singing starts. Perfect watching for a Sunday:

National Parks Celebration

This Tuesday night, the Lowell National Park will celebrate National Parks Day by showing three brief films: a movie about "untold stories" of the National Parks, a film on the Lowell National Park, and a movie trailer about Lowell students who have grown up and attended school around the Lowell National Park.

See more details here. If you're in the area, you MUST attend. It sounds amazing.

There is a God!

The 2010 election is a long way away but I will do cartwheels if these poll numbers stay solid. Harry Reid is one of the most miserable partisans in Congress and it would be amazing if he got knocked off in the 2010 election. He would be the second straight Senate Democratic Leader to lose re-election.

The future?

For the past 30 years or so, Europe has gone soft. Their governments are led by a bunch of wimps who, to quote Winston Churchill, have a very soft underbelly. There is no better example of this than the Scottish government releasing Abdulbaset al-Megrahi from prison on "compassionate" grounds. Although he said Scotland acted on its own, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is facing ire after a letter that he wrote to Muammar Gaddafi was released. In it, Brown told Gaddafi that if al-Megrahi was released, the celebrations should be low-key (which of course they weren't). So, was Brown part of the planning?

Now Brown and Scotland look like fools with al-Megrahi getting a hero's welcome and a warm embrace by Gaddafi. Not only that, when he was getting on the plane in Scotland, al-Megrahi looked like a frail invalid covered like Michael Jackson. When he landing in Libya, he looked like a million bucks. It's like those mafiosos who claim they're too sick for jail and look all debilitated in court but once they get out, they're fine!

I bring this up because President Obama is a liberal wimp too who may let some terrorists free from Guantanamo Bay or do something to make us look like wimps. I think he already did that by trying to play nice with Iran and look what happened. If we're not careful, we're going to become Europe: the American Division soon enough. Europe, however, has woken up and voted in some conservative governments, most notably in France and Germany. Me thinks England is next.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Calm before the storm

This is my final weekend of freedom! The first day of classes is this Monday with this past week being meetings and orientations for the students. Yesterday was freshmen orientation which was a lot of work in a lot of heat! I wasn't in charge but I helped out with all of the day's events which wrapped up with a BBQ and clean-up. I was there until 7pm and was wiped out by about 10pm when I fell asleep on the couch.

This morning I volunteered at the Dracut Food Pantry. The food pantry is open once a month and was founded by the two Catholic Churches (Saint Francis and Ste. Marguerite) and the only (I think) Protestant Church in town (with help from the town) a couple of years ago. I was scheduled for 90 minutes and after that I ran some errands - CVS, haircut, dry cleaners, supermarket. Lynn and Kevin went to the beach today so I had the afternoon to myself and watched "Entourage." I watched the show when it first came out on HBO years ago but I got HBO this summer for the first time in a long time so I've missed most of the series. So, I am catching up with DVD's from the library. I just finished season 3, part 1.

Tonight Lynn's niece Ciarra is sleeping over. Not too sure what we're going to do with my last day before classes begin but it may be a quiet day given Hurricane Bill's remnants!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Amazing

John F. Kennedy was elected president in 1960. Prior to that, he was a senator from Massachusetts. His younger brother Ted wasn't 30 yet so he could not run for the seat as was his divine right (so thought the Kennedys). So, the governor of Massachusetts, Foster Furcolo, appointed a guy named Benjamin Smith to fill the vacant seat. Who was Benjamin Smith you ask? John Kennedy's college roommate. Smith kept the seat warm until Ted could run in 1962 and the rest, as they say, is history.

In 2004, John Kerry was running for president and if he won, Gov. Mitt Romney would have been able to appoint a replacement, just like Furcolo. But, people like Ted Kennedy didn't want a Republican appointing a replacement so the Legislature changed the law to allow for a special election in the case of a vacancy in the Senate.

In 2009, Ted Kennedy is about to die and he is now asking the Legislature to change the law back to allowing the governor to appoint a successor. With all due respect Senator, enough of you and the people of Massachusetts bending over for you and your family.

See Howie's take here.

The rumors of my demise...

Sorry folks, back to school this week so I've been crazy getting ready for classes next week. I am teaching two new classes so I needed time to prepare for them.

You miss me?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Another victory

The White House is folding on a lot of its health care bill provisions and PR initiatives. They're dropping the public option, they eliminated the section of the bill that many said would lead to "death panels" (which in my mind was silly for people to claim, that means you Sarah Palin), they're back tracking on sending e-mails to people about health care who never asked for them, and now they stopped the flag@whitehouse.gov snitching program. I just e-mailed it and it bounced back.

As Johnny Drama said on "Viking Quest": "VICTORY!"

Rahm

The New York Times had an interesting profile of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in yesterday's paper. Emanuel has a reputation of being a pit bull, old-school Chicago Machine pol. In some ways he is but today, the article said, he is a little softer. Years ago, he apparently channeled his inner Godfather and sent a dead fish to a political opponent!

See the article here.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Musical chairs

Howie's Sunday column is a good one - it talks about the possibility of Massachusetts losing a seat in the House of Representatives after the 2010 census. Currently at 10, Massachusetts' population has not kept up with the South and the West so their gain is our loss (as well as New York, New Jersey, etc, etc).

Howie feels that Rep. Ed Markey's district will be on the chopping block. Markey represents the North of Boston as well as some Metrowest cities and towns. I'm not so sure as Howie points out, Markey is the longest serving member from Massachusetts so I doubt he'll be eliminated. If I had to guess, I'd say District 1 or my District, 5, will be impacted. Mine is the most logical as Rep. Niki Tsongas is the rookie and we can be broken up into districts 2, 6 and 7...but, she is the only woman. We shall see.

See the column here.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The more things change...

My mother tells me that when I was younger, I would oftentimes put up a fight about going somewhere but once I was there, I would have a ball. One time my day care went to an MDC pool in Stoneham and I insisted that I was not going to go swimming. But, once there and seeing how much fun everyone was having, I decided to join in. So I did what any kid would do - I stripped down then and there and begin to change into my bathing suit! Luckily I was stopped by the teachers before I could get arrested for indecent exposure.

I guess I still have some of this in me as I never want to go to the beach but once there, I love it. When I got home from the radio show this morning, Lynn said she wanted to go to Salisbury Beach. I wasn't really up for it but I have realized that summer for me is OVER so I need to enjoy what's left of it. I was kind of a pain heading there but I had a good time. The beach is really nice with tons of parking, bathrooms, showers to rinse off, etc. Besides the traffic, it was perfect.

Kevin is afraid of the water but eventually he loosened up and was running in and out of the waves. Each time he would run out of the water, he'd come up to me and say "Water is nice." He would then hug me and head back in the water. This happened about 26,000 times.

We got back home around 4:30 and we're soon going to head out to the annual Assumption of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church Festival here in Dracut. Today is the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and each year, the church has a three-day festival in her honor around this time. We went last year and while it's really just food and music (and some kids things), it's nice to get out and support local causes. Next week the Centralville Sportman's Club here in Dracut is having their annual steer roast. I've been wanting to go to that for a long time now and I think we're going this year although Lynn isn't as enthused as me!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Saturday Morning Live

If you're up early tomorrow morning, I will be on 980 WCAP from 6:30-7:30 with Warren Shaw to discuss Dracut politics, namely this. If you're not in the area, you can listen on-line here.

Must be bad

I was surprised to read that Sen. Edward Kennedy did not attend the ceremony in which he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor, nor the wake or the funeral for his sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Although I am no fan of him or his politics, I think we can infer from this that he is very, very sick and perhaps nearing the end of his life. If so, let us hope that his final days are peaceful and that the good Lord will comfort him.

Never believe Pelosi

So when Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi tells you that protesters are un-American, remember this video.

Never believe Obama

So when President Obama tells you that the health care forums are packed by Republican plants, remember this blog posting.

Never believe Deval

So when Gov. Deval Patrick tells you that he is making cuts to state agencies and that government is becoming leaner, remember this column.

Fast week!

Wow, I haven't updated the old blog since Tuesday, sorry about that. I was at a 2-day conference for teachers at Boston College on Wednesday and Thursday. The conference was called "New Teacher Academy" and while this will be my 4th year as a teacher, I still wanted to go to see if I could learn some new tips and to get some professional development hours (we have to attend 75 hours of these type of things over 3 years).

The conference was fantastic with some amazing presentations. We attended 7 talks and you could pick from a variety of topics. I tried to mix it up so I went to talks on adolescent mental health, rubrics, writing, Social Studies resources, etc. The talks were 2 hours long with no real break in between so it made for a tiring couple of days. In addition, I was up early each day and so I was in bed early the past couple of nights (11pm and 10pm).

I feel reinvigorated and ready to go back to work next week. I will miss Kevin big time, though. But, it will be good for him too to get back into his routine.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

American as...

I tried to change things up a little this summer with my summer reading assignments. Instead of just assigning books, I also assigned movie watching. My AP US Government and Politics students had to read "Showdown at Gucci Gulch" and watch the HBO mini-series "John Adams." My AP US History students had to read the first five chapters of the textbook and watch Ken Burns' "Baseball."

I've never actually seen all of "Baseball", just bits and pieces. So I watched all 9 episodes this summer and I finished last night at 2am! What an amazing film - especially the parts on the 1920's-1950's. I found the first couple of episodes a little boring but the whole thing picked up as it went on. Burns is working on a 10th episode called "Inning 10" since so much has happened in baseball since the movie came out in 1994. That is coming out in 2010.

That leaves four Burns' movies that I still need to watch: I've only seen parts of "The Civil War" and Jazz" and I also need to watch "Not For Ourselves Alone: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony" and "Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson." Also, don't forget that his next movie "The National Parks" will be on PBS this fall!

Go get em Dan

Former MBTA General Manager Dan Grabauskas and the Boston Globe are showing everyone what a big slime ball Secretary of Transportation James Aloisi is (if you already didn't know). Grabauskas was forced out of his job last week and he said it was because he wanted to hold off on fare hikes whereas the Patrick administration (i.e. Aloisi) wanted to ram them through for 2010:

In a July 6 e-mail to Transportation Secretary James A. Aloisi Jr., Grabauskas detailed a plan to delay a fare increase until January 2011, writing that that there would probably be enough new state sales tax revenue and federal stimulus money to “spare our customers, many of whom are poor and transit dependent, a fare increase for an additional year, during the worst economic climate in 80 years.’’

Aloisi wrote back the same day and advocated a more immediate fare increase, for January 2010. “Thanks Dan,’’ Aloisi wrote. “My reaction is that there are too many ‘ifs’ or other risks in the scenario you outline - too many things have to go right . . . My objective here is to set the MBTA on a much stronger financial footing, and moving forward on the fare increase now seems to me to be the best and most certain way to accomplish that for the next three fiscal years.’’

Now Aloisi is saying the administration was not pushing for a hike, the T was. You can can see the whole back and forth here but the following line by Grabauskas made me very excited:

“Sometimes you’re judged by who your enemies are,’’ he continued. “If that’s Deval Patrick and Jim Aloisi, then I’ll take my friends.’’

UPDATE: Even the liberal blogs think Aloisi is a big fat liar and a piece of you know what. See here and here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

"Town Hall" Forum

Mark over at Mr. Mill City has a great run down of Saturday's Health Care "Town Hall" with Rep. Niki Tsongas. Mark is a pretty funny guy so you'll enjoy this.

By the way, I loved this part and his idea about his spam:

Two other things that came out of this weekend I wound up on some “Mob Watch” list which has been forwarded to the White House. Which is AWESOME. The other is I’ve started to forward all my spam email to flag@whitehouse.gov because all that stuff is “fishy” right? See the worst move you can make is piss of a kid with an office job, free time, a chip on his shoulder, and a pronounced mean streak.

See a video of some of the forum below. Hysterical stuff, reminded me of Prime Minister's Questions in the British House of Commons with all the booing and hissing:

Feeling slighted

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton showed her true side today in Africa. See the video here and read the article here. Clearly she is feeling slighted and realizes that President Obama has one upped her by taking her out of the game.

Alive and well

Liberals beware, I am still alive!

Been having a good few days here in the bustling metropolis of Dracut. On Saturday morning/afternoon I cleaned the house and did some work while Lynn and Kevin had fun at Salisbury Beach. Afterwards, we all met up with my parents and my sister Meaghan for our annual Lowell Spinners game. Before the game, however, everyone but Meaghan went to the 4pm mass at St. Michael's in Lowell. Meaghan's dog Tally doesn't like being alone for too long so Meaghan didn't want to leave her house too early! St. Michael's is right around the corner from the park and since the game was at 5pm, we figured we'd go there for mass and not be too late for the game. Kevin did pretty good at the game but we had to take him for walks and excursions every now and then. The game went into extra innings but we left as the 10th inning began.

Yesterday Kevin went to music class in Tewksbury. A fellow parishioner and her husband run the class and have a few drop-in classes this month and we wanted Kevin to take part. He pretty much just ran around the whole time but that's fine. Afterwards we all headed to Hampton Beach for the night. We just kind of hung out, went to the beach to throw rocks, went to a playground, arcade (played some Q-Bert), etc, nothing too exciting. Lynn left this morning and Kevin and I spent a couple of hours on the beach. We headed back home around 12:45 this afternoon after cleaning the place up for the renter that is coming in later this week.

Kevin didn't take a nap yesterday so he did something he never does - he fell alseep on the couch around 8pm! He was sitting up watching "Caillou" (what else?) and then pushed everything off the couch, laid down and passed out.

I had to stop by my parish this afternoon and as I was talking to the pastoral associate, Kevin let out some major flatulence - TWICE. It was loud and gross sounding, pretty embarrassing but funny. The pastoral associate is a mother so she understood! I guess that's what I get for giving him too much apple juice.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Keller on the loose

Jon Keller absolutely nails the Dan Grabauskas resignation. Just read it:

It is pure spin and fantasy to suggest that Grabauskas, whatever his flaws as a manager, was an impediment to better service and fiscal stability at the T. His stellar record - an object of bi-partisan admiration around here for years - at the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Office of Consumer Affairs suggests otherwise. As several angry T workers and riders pointed out at today's MBTA board meeting, the issues plaguing the T long pre-date the 2003 arrival of Grabauskas, and are tied to the agency's chronic problems with poor union and management leadership, bad contracts, irresponsible spending, inept planning, etc.

No, Grabauskas is gone because he wasn't a "team player" on The Team That Couldn't Shoot Straight, a.k.a. the Patrick administration. Watch Secretary of Obfuscation and Patronage Jim Aloisi try to explain why Grabauskas had to go in my report tonight, and you'll see a failed bureaucrat trying and failing to cover his rear end. The best case scenario is that this purge merely reflects the arrogance, cluelessness and political stupidity that has become this administration's calling card. Let's pull for that, and hope that the rumors that this was done to clear the way for MBTA patronage-packing aren't true.

Now watch this and see Keller TEAR that slime ball Aloisi apart:

Looking good

Gov. Deval Patrick is having hip replacement surgery on September 1 - something Howie Carr had last month. His Friday column is devoted to tips for the governor but what caught my eye was how much weight Howie has lost. Take a look at the new thin and trim Howie here.

Chicago thuggery

Peggy Noonan has an amazing column today on the Obama response to the health care protests. It's chock full of great stuff so read it all here. Below is a taste:

But most damagingly to political civility, and even our political tradition, was the new White House email address to which citizens are asked to report instances of “disinformation” in the health-care debate: If you receive an email or see something on the Web about health-care reform that seems “fishy,” you can send it to flag@whitehouse.gov. The White House said it was merely trying to fight “intentionally misleading” information.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas on Wednesday wrote to the president saying he feared that citizens’ engagement could be “chilled” by the effort. He’s right, it could. He also accused the White House of compiling an “enemies list.” If so, they’re being awfully public about it, but as Byron York at the Washington Examiner pointed, the emails collected could become a “dissident database.”

All of this is unnecessarily and unhelpfully divisive and provocative. They are mocking and menacing concerned citizens. This only makes a hot situation hotter. Is this what the president wants? It couldn’t be. But then in an odd way he sometimes seems not to have fully absorbed the awesome stature of his office. You really, if you’re president, can’t call an individual American stupid, if for no other reason than that you’re too big. You cannot allow your allies to call people protesting a health-care plan “extremists” and “right wing,” or bought, or Nazi-like, either. They’re citizens. They’re concerned. They deserve respect.

Leave the Dear Leader Alone

So Sen. Barbara Boxer says that health care protesters are out to "hurt our president." Oh no, we can't possibly upset and hurt his feelings, can we? Should we not criticize the Worthy Leader? Is it now illegal to protest Himself?

Some guy in Nashua learned the hard way yesterday that the Leader and his minions are out there listening and watching. Be careful what you say, they'll get you.

Change of plans

Kevin and I had planned on going to the Ecotarium in Worcester today. But, I made an appointment for Papa (our cat) to get groomed today. I dropped him off at 8:15 and planned on heading right to Worcester and picking him later this afternoon. But, the lady said I had to pick Papa up at 1pm so I wouldn't have enough time to go to the Ecotarium. Instead, we'll go on Monday.

So, we'll head out in a little bit to a farm or playground, pick up Papa, and then after Kevin's nap we'll go somewhere fun - perhaps Great Brook Farm State Park.

UPDATE: D'oh, just read the Ecotarium is closed on Mondays. Guess we'll go on Tuesday!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hacks getting raises

Want to raise your blood pressure? Need a good excuse to punch a wall? Feeling the need to kick a puppy? Then read this and this.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What liberal media?

The media is so freakin' predictable. Lately, Town Hall meetings have turned deadly for Democrats as people have been protesting the health care reform bill. Now the media is saying this is a coordinated effort by conservative activists who are trying to undermine President Obama.

Perhaps...I actually don't doubt it. But, when Democrats/liberals do the same thing, they're hailed as the loyal opposition who are standing up to the majority. Remember when some guy named Harry Taylor criticized President Bush in 2006 at a town hall meeting in North Carolina? That guy was hailed as a hero. Was he some random guy? Hell no, he ran for Congress two years later as a Democrat (he lost)

Cindy Sheehan? Hero. Shoe thrower in Iraq? Amazing man. Health care protesters? Hateful fear mongers. Media? Complete sell-outs.

Day from hell

So as I said yesterday, Lynn was getting a new (well, used) car yesterday. She was buying the car from a girl in Needham. So, we headed out in the morning to sign the loan papers and to get the check. All good so far. Then Kevin goes into meltdown mode - he doesn't like the car for too long and wanted to get out. We eventually got to the girl's bank in Needham and Lynn said Kevin and I could take off. This was about 1pm.

Thankfully Kevin fell asleep on the way home and slept until 4pm or so. I took a nap too and woke up when he did. Shortly thereafter Lynn called me and asked if I could look up and find the closest registry. "You haven't gone to the registry yet?" I asked. "Nope, just left the bank." Apparently, the bank told Lynn that it would not release the title until the check from our bank cleared - 7-10 days from now.

So, Lynn called our bank to see what could be done and they never got back to her. So, Lynn had to take a loan from this bank and they in turn would pay off our bank's loan. I myself would have preferred to wait for the check to clear but Lynn was worried she would have no car for a week. She says all will be OK - I hope so!

Now, what I don't get is why it would take a check 7-10 days to clear. Don't checks clear pretty quickly these days? I thought Congress passed a law saying checks would clear immediately - Check 21. Plus, the check was a bank check, shouldn't this girl's bank assumed it would clear with no problem?

Once this is all settled, I am going to look into this a little further as I don't think the other bank acted in good faith. This whole process added a lot of stress to Lynn and doesn't seem fair.

Not only that, we could not get Lynn's plate off her old car as the screws are rusted on! We tried everything - drill, screwdriver, pliers, etc. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dark ages

The Registry of Motor Vehicles is the most backwards, outdated, inefficient agency ever conceived by man. My wife is buying a car today from an individual and I just happened to read that the registry does not take credit cards when you register a car and pay the sales tax. What the hell???? We're going to have to shell out $25 to transfer Lynn's plate, $75 for a "title fee", and $343.75 in sales tax (would have been $275 until Deval Patrick and the Legislature raised the sales tax). That comes to $443.75. Now, I wish I had a ton of free cash lying around so I wouldn't have to charge all this but I just don't have $500 in a checking account - a lot of money is tied up in 401(k), 403(b), etc.

The good news is you have 7 days to take care of the registry paperwork and I get paid in two days so we should be OK. But, this is 2009 ladies and gentlemen at the RMV...PEOPLE USE CREDIT CARDS A LOT, get with the times.

Back to work...sort of

I went to school last night for a planning meeting for freshmen orientation. Afterwards, I went out for an ice cream with a fellow teacher and some students. I really like this year's seniors as they were freshmen during my first year. So they will be the first class that I've seen all the way through - seeing them graduate will be bittersweet. I am very happy that I will be teaching two senior classes this year so I have one more chance to work with them.


It was good to see some folks again but I am not ready to head back to work. I've had a good time with Kevin this summer and it will be tough to go back to the routine. Another reason I am not ready is that I still have a good amount of work to do. I need to finish a book as well as Ken Burns' "Baseball." In addition, I have to figure out how I am going to teach World Geography as I've never taught that before. Finally, I have to do some work for my school's upcoming 40th anniversary. Phew.


I got some good news from my assistant principal - the average grade of my AP US History students on the AP exam was 3.66 (out of 5). To put that into perspective, the 2008 national average was 2.57 (2009 stats are not yet available). Needless to say, the principal was very happy.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

How not to win

Listen, I cannot stand the Democrats but I will give them credit - they are damn good at politics. They know how to campaign, how to use the media, how to criticize the opposition, how to get their message out, etc, etc, etc. Republicans, on the other hand, seem to come across as bumblers and who throw out very old and tired cliches.

My Representative is Niki Tsongas and she is left of Lenin. There is a guy from Haverhill named Sam Meas who is hoping to run against her next year and he posted the following on Facebook:

Why is that our Congresswoman, Niki Tsongas, so afraid of her own constituents that she only had tele-town hall meetings? Is she representing us or the people of San Francisco and the elite few? That's how communism and socialism work..the party politbureau ( the very selected few) make all the decisions affecting the entire country...no discussion or meaningful deliberation at all... Congress is heading that way.

Communism and socialism charges? Politburo? Now, Meas grew up in Cambodia and his life was upended by the Khmer Rouge so he has personal experience with Communism. But to call someone a Communist and to accuse them of acting like the politburo in 2009 is so out of date it's laughable. If the Republicans are going to beat Democrats in 2010, they need ideas and smart campaigning, not calling someone a pinko! What's next, accusing Japs of being subversive and complaining about those crazy Chinamen?

Also, Tsongas has had a lot of town hall meetings and the reasons, I am sure, she has had tele-town meetings latelty is because Congress has been in session. She has had meetings in supermarkets with constituents and I am sure she will have town hall meetings this August.

Come on Sam, if I can refute you this easily, imagine what she can do!

The voice

Ever see the face of a radio personality for the first time and be surprised to see what he or she actually looks like? The same goes for hearing the voice of a blogger. I have been reading Dom Bettinelli's blog for years and last night he posted an "audio blog" message. It was interesting to hear him talk as I've only been reading his words.

Dom is a local guy who works for the Archdiocese of Boston. He used to blog more frequently but he now has 3 little children and because he now works for the Church, he wanted to be more careful about what he says as his blog was pretty much all about church related matters. I've enjoyed reading about his family and his life and I feel like I know him. My wife actually knows him as they both went to the same college and she said he's a great guy.

Anyway, if you want to hear his first "audio blog" in which he discusses the preparations for his new son's baptism, see here.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Used day

It's been a good summer for me for deals. First I got a 2007 Ford Focus for $8,200, the other day I bought a Doris Kearns Goodwin book for about $3 at a place in Salem, NH, then today I found a used bookstore in Burlington where I bought 8 books for a grand total of $13.97, and tonight I am buying a mountain bike from a guy here in Dracut for $120.

If you like books, you need to go to this place in Burlington. It's right on Route 3A and it's called Used Book Superstore (they also have stores in Danvers and Saugus). All of their books are 90% off with a $1 minimum. I got a ton of history and political books that I will use for school:

1. Democracy in America by de Tocqueville
2. The Fifties by David Halberstam
3. Cincinnatus by Garry Wills
4. The Great Crash 1929 by John Kenneth Galbaith
5. Katharine Graham's Washington by Graham
6. Common Sense by Thomas Paine
7. The Federalist Papers
8. Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose

I was like a kid in a candy store. If I didn't have to get back to read at the 4:00pm mass, I would have stayed all afternoon!