Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day
Thank you to all who have served. May we some day, as a nation and a people, limit the harm we put in your way to truly important and relevant actions of significance and dignity. Enjoy the day. It is going to be a hot one.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

More on Lamont; others
Ned Lamont, the renegade Democratic challenger to Sen. Joe Lieberman, pseudo-D-CT, received the endorsement earlier this week in their online primary poll of members: ["Lamont Wins MoveOn's Endorsement in Online Primary, Tops Lieberman 85 Pct. to 14 Pct."]. This is not surprising, since the group is super liberal and Lieberman is very conservative. But it is significant because it is another blow to Lieberman who should be coasting this time around. One has to wonder if he is in serious trouble or not. It is probably still too early to say.
Another interesting story this weekend: New polls out of Montana which show Democratic challengers to Republican Sen. Conrad Burns could potentially beat the incumbent: ["Tester, Morrison deadlocked"]. This is a huge "red state" on par with places like Utah and Wyoming. Voters are so damn fickle these days because it isn't like the Dems are really moving a ground-breaking agenda. Although, I don't really follow Montana politics that much, so maybe they are doing something amazing there.
It looks like Jill Stein, the former Green Party gubernatorial candidate in Massachusetts, is running again - this time, for Secretary of State. In addition to her campaign, John Bonifaz, a well-know liberal attorney, is also challenging the incumbent, Bill Galvin: ["Galvin may face primary battle"]. Typical of the clueless Phil Johnston whose arrogance puts the party in jeopardy of alienating some of its most liberal voters, saying there is no room for dissent about how to vote [Hmm ...].
Interestingly, a Google news search reveals this to be the only time Stein has been mentioned in the press of late. There is, however, a good chance that she will get 3 percent of the vote versus Bonifaz or Galvin, which will reestablish major party status in the state. Her site is here: ["Jill Stein"].
Speaking of Mass. politics, Adam Reilly of the Boston Phoenix has a preview of the Democratic convention here: ["Survivor: Worcester"]. The Reilly-Gabrieli pissing match - and that is kinda all one can call it - is really the dynamic of the primary race. Well, that, and the fact that a virtual nobody like Deval Patrick can come out of nowhere to snatch the nomination away from Reilly! What was Reilly thinking? He should have just given Gabrieli the Lt. Gov. support and put it all to bed. Instead of $2M worth of Gabrieli ads before the convention, there would have been $2M worth of Reilly/Gabrieli ads before the nomination! What a dingy.

More blogs: In my recent search for things to read - like I need the search or have the time - I've come across two sites worthy of talking about.
The first is a completely centered about Boston arts, and written by a contributing writer for the Boston Globe: []. Boy, remember the days when newspapers didn't want journalists to blog. Now they can't keep them from blogging! The other, is about Boston blogs in general: ["Boston Blogs"], an off-shoot of What they have also done is created a pretty good collection of advertisers for their blogs and others, like Dan Kennedy's Media Nation, with what looks like no sales overhead. Simply fill out the form and wah-lah, you have an ad on a bunch of sites. And these advertisers aren't just a bunch of snake oil salesmen: Stop & Shop's Peapod food delivery service has a major display ad, as does Legal Seafood, with a GC ad, and a major condo company. The future is already here and it virtually pays for itself.

Well duh: It turns out, we are journalists after all: ["Apple Loses Court Bid to Identify Sources"]. What I want to know is, When is Congress going to pass a law to stop all these kinds of frivolous corporate vs. individual lawsuits?! They've already passed laws to keep the individual from suing corporations. How about some equality and equity?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Is there a crash coming?

How is this for a heavy headline: ["Markets ‘are like 1987 crash’"]. Granted, this is a Brit paper. But, the financial markets are all pretty well connected these days and it all feels a bit unstable, doesn't it? Gas prices really high; tons of folks out of work; tax cuts not geared towards regular folks who really need the tax relief; trade deficits booming; illegals flooding the border depressing the wages of the unskilled citizenry; etc. It all seems pretty bad out there right now.

This guy Ned Lamont
I haven't really been following the Lieberman/Lamont Senate race in Conn. but I am intrigued by it, since I met Lieberman a couple of times when he ran for president. Plus, his unwavering support for the occupation of Iraq makes you wish you had a real Republican in the seat.

This weekend, Lamont got 33 percent of the CT Dem Convention - a shocking feat - and is the talk of the entire political world right now. It seemed worth remarking about. Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie says it best in this piece: ["Lieberman's in Trouble"]. Lamont has some pretty good TV spots posted on his blog which are worth a watch: ["Lamont blog"]. Lieberman's insane support of the occupation and coddling the hard line is dumbfounding especially in light of Rep. Murtha's - a true hero, BTW - recent comments: ["Lawmaker: Marines killed Iraqis ‘in cold blood’"]. What is so sad about all of this is that most of the folks in the armed forces are just ordinary people trying to do what they think is right and they are getting caught up in all of this mess. This action is turning them into war criminals. Why would anyone want to turn another human being into a murderer?

A couple of new blogs
Citizen journalists are sprouting up all over and some of them are more than just ranting opinion places. Here are a couple I've found over the past week or so.

First, there is this one from a guy named Jesse in Cambridge: ["View from 'The Bridge'"]. Since I once lived in both Cambridge and Somerville, I still keep in touch with a lot of the things going on there and sites like this one help me quickly find out what is going on. I love the look of his site too - with the Boston skyline dragged along the page no matter where you are on it. Very cool.

Here is another site called The Alewife
["The Alewife"]. Today's link is about Rep. Michael Capuano voting against some GOP bill. Not a huge thing. However, if you scroll down, you'll find a picture of a rainbow over Porter Square [I used to live a few blocks from there], lots of local news that would otherwise be gathered by a newspaper, and even a notice about meeting Belmont Selectman Will Brownsberger, who is now running for state rep.
I used to cover Brownsberger when I was the reporter for the Citizen-Herald. I got to know him pretty well. For the most part, he wasn't a bad guy [his wife is super nice] with the exception of this one time when he grabbed me in a threatening manner at the 2002 Democratic convention.
I was attending the convention, hanging out with the Belmont delegation for a story I was writing. During a lull - and there were a lot of them - I asked Brownsberger if there was any truth to the compounding rumors I was hearing about sexual issues at the Chenery Middle School, specifically 12 to 14 year-old girls performing sex acts on boys in the boy's bathrooms. I had at least two parents complain to me about the issue privately, although they wouldn't go on-the-record for the story. I thought I would catch him in a relatively good mood and he might slip me some information. But that isn't what he did.
Brownsberger swiftly grabbed my arm and pulled it behind my back, whispering in my ear about how he was sick of hearing that the middle school girls in Belmont were sluts, something I wasn't insinuating at all. I turned to him and told him that he better let go of me right away if he knew what was good for him. He quickly did let go of me and apologized after realizing what he was doing. I was pretty shocked by his actions but I guess I struck a nerve. He said there was nothing to the rumors and walked off, I assume, to cool off. I later learned that Brownsberger had a daughter at the Chenery which is probably why he was so upset by the question. And, despite being a public figure, I never said anything about the outburst until now.
Since I am a parent now, I can understand why Brownsberger was so pissed. But, as a public official clearly concerned about his town, Brownsberger had an obligation to act like a professional. He should have dealt with the question like this from a reporter in a straight-forward manner instead of reacting in a violent manner.
In the end, I was never able to get the story but I did believe the rumors. In an accelerated sexual society, it isn't surprising when kids start doing things they are exposed to. A year later, I started to hear about similar problems at the McCall Middle School when I was the editor of The Winchester Star but I couldn't get that story either [although we did get a story about the early release day when a slew of young teens got busted for smoking pot]. But the stories are out there about very young children and sexual activities. The key now is to admit that they are happening and try to stop them from happening. But for pols, covering it up seems to be the most important task at hand - not fixing the problem.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

June Top 30 Noise Chart

1. Mission of Burma – The Obliterati
2. The Curtain Society – Every Corner of the Room
3. Ponies in the Surf – Ponies on Fire
4. Campaign for Real Time – Yes … I mean No
5. Aloud – Leave Your Light On
6. Magic People – Keen Whips I’d Wear as Rubies
7. Mittens – Fools on Holiday
8. Paper Thin Stages – Progress Towards Ranks EP
9. Hector on Stilts – Same Height Relation
10. Various – Ace of Hearts: 12 Classic 45’s
11. Chop Chop – Chop Chop
12. The Weisstronauts - … featuring “Perky”
13. Chas Mtn – Hugs
14. La Peste – Better Off La Peste
15. The Motion Sick – Her Brilliant Fifteen
16. The Silver Lining – Well Dressed Blues
17. Victory at Sea – all your things are gone
18. Ajda the Turkish Queen – Ajda the Turkish Queen
19. Compass – Munchy the Bear
20. Gene Dante & the Future Starlets – Gene Dante & the Future Starlets
21. The Larkin Brigade – Paddy Keys for Mayor
22. Josh Ritter – Animal Years
23. Scamper – Boulevards EP
24. The Beatings – Holding on to Handgrenades
25. Bon Savants – Post-Rock Defends the Nation
26. Chemist Camp – Product Withdrawn
27. Ryan Lee Crosby – There is No Music
28. Dresden Dolls – Yes, Virginia
29. Hooray for Earth – Hooray for Earth
30. Seekonk – Pinkwood

Monday, May 15, 2006

Too long
It's been too long between posts but to be frank, I haven't had much to write about. And, I've been busy with other things. Like the flooding this weekend which left the entire damn state under water. I don't know what it is about this weather but we are just not prepared for these hundred year storms happening twice a year. None of our communities have been built to withstand these attacks from Mother Nature a few times a year. But anyhow, on to the headline roundup.

First, a nice note: There is nothing like getting a kudos from folks in the media about the job you are doing. Here is a nice note from Dan Szczesny, who is the editor of the Concord edition of The Hippo, about all the great things going on at WKXL 1450: ["Support your local station"].
What’s the purpose of all this furious activity? It’s truly local community-oriented radio, a kind of broadcasting that’s increasingly rare in this age of syndicated programming and media consolidation. But that rarity, of course, makes it all the more valuable.
Yeah, that says it all. And so does this, in the Boston Globe no less: ["N.H. broadcasters honored for 2005 work"]. It's a little sad that there wasn't anything in our local daily newspapers about the radio stations winning. But hey, The Hippo is good enough.

Good economic times; bad heart attacks: ["A Good Economy May Be Hazardous to Your Health"]. I've often wondered about this. While bad economic times often create stress and anxiety, creativity can often excel during those time periods. Whereas, in good economic times, a person is often working harder and longer hours, and has little time to do the more creative things in life. Then, there is the issue of balancing all those things
"Perhaps more worrisome, the most at-risk population is younger workers aged 20 to 44. 'This is a group that's more heavily involved in the workforce and may be more affected by changes,' Ruhm says."
The theme of older workers being able to take on the responsibilities is a good point; the other side of that is that the older workers sometimes slide through the end of their careers, not getting caught in the hullabaloo.

This passed by without much notice: ["After 5 Years, Levy Case Yields Plenty of Theories but No Break"]. In an age of 24x7 media, and the obsession with hot little white girls who have been disappeared by whoever, I'm surprised there wasn't wall-to-wall on this anniversary.

Another side of freedom?: ["Bush Clears the Way for Corporate Domination"]. Antonia Juhasz makes some pretty good points in the piece. I wonder if it is worth reading the book since we already kinda know this stuff. This is another take on things: ["Overthrow"]. And this: ["The Worst President in History?"].

Ted Rall: Ted Rall does sometimes vicious cartoons. His commentary is sometimes beyond biting. Sometimes, he is also not a very kind person. But, he does, sometimes, make some really good points: ["America, You Lost! The Railroading of Zacarias Moussaoui"].
"Lest we forget, Moussaoui didn't do anything. He couldn't have. He was in jail on immigration charges; he had already been behind bars for nearly a month on 9/11. The government charged him with six counts--not of committing a crime, but of conspiring to participate in 9/11. Count Four, Conspiracy to Use Weapons of Mass Destruction, relied solely on Moussaoui's alleged membership in Al Qaeda. If Al Qaeda ever tried to acquire WMDs--evidence of this is sketchy to non-existent--it's absurd to imagine that Osama bin Laden might have involved a demented third-stringer like Moussaoui."
There is also this point:
But innocence isn't Moussaoui's only defense. He's also insane. Only a loon would refuse to cooperate with his own lawyers, testify against himself and shout "You will never get my blood! God curse you all!," "God curse America and save Osama bin Laden! You'll never get him!" and "I am Al Qaeda! I'm the enemy! This trial is a circus!" while on trial for his life before a jury of 12 Americans. After the jury sentenced him to life, he filed a motion for a new trial--a right he waived when he plead guilty to the original trumped-up charges. The man needs Zoloft, not a prison cell.
If Moussaoui had just sat back and took some of that TV advice and popped a pill, he might not have had these problems.

ARG 2008 polling numbers: ["ARG"]. American Research Group, one of the state's two biggest polling firms, has been doing some interesting things with the Republican primary. They've been polling folks in a number of states with potential primaries after - or before - New Hampshire and Iowa. While we expect them to poll in these states, along with South Carolina, it is interesting to voters queried in Utah, Michigan, New Mexico, Arizona, Alabama, California, and other New England states. Interestingly, McCain and Undecided rule the day, with Gingrich getting some so-so numbers. Put Guliani in, and he is an instant second. Hilariously, "Guy Smiley" Romney only gets 17 percent of Republican voters in Massachusetts ... where he is the damn governor! With Guliani in the polling, his numbers drop to 10 percent.

Who is this guy?: ["Ex-Alaska Senator Gravel Runs for Presidents"]. The first one out of the block. It is not in this report, but in another report he suggests scrapping the income tax with a national sales tax. Then, there is this:
"His Senate tenure was notable for his anti-war activity. He led a one-man filibuster to protest the Vietnam-era draft, and read into the Congressional Record 4,100 pages of the 7,000-page leaked document known as the Pentagon Papers."
R.I.P. Tony Crayton: ["City has lost a maverick"].

I love this: ["Energy crisis? Venezuela gas is cheaper than water"]. This is also interesting: ["The Fox News Effect"]. The only problem with the theory is that there aren't that many people watching the channel.

Hillary: While I didn't like getting banned from his site, I do like this piece: ["Hillary Clinton: Too Much of a Clinton Democrat?"]. I also like this piece: ["Hillary, Rupert, and the Culture of Corruption"]. And another side: ["Murdoch Defends Plan to Host Hillary Fundraiser; Calls Her 'Effective, Good Senator'"].