May 2008
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Month May 2008

State Convention Ride Board

In order to promote car-pooling to the State Convention, I am creating a thread with the intention that it can be used as a “ride board.”  With gas at $4.00 and up, it makes sense to share rides.  Now I don’t have much experience in this area, so others please pitch in if there is a better way to do this.  I’m guessing that within our own wards and towns, we are already ride sharing, but for people on non-standard schedules and from more distant parts of the state, this may be helpful.  I’ll kick it off. WANTED: RIDE FROM CAMBRIDGE TO LOWELL ON FRIDAY EVENING A friend of mine works in Cambridge, near Kendall Square and is looking for a ride to Lowell on Friday after work.  The delegate has transportation home.  Please contact me off-line at KateDonaghue@aol.com if you can help.  

Lawrence Lessig and the Change Congress Movement

I stumbled on an article in this week’s The Nation about Lawrence Lessig’s new “Change Congress” campaign that’s worth checking out.  Professor Lessig, famous for taking on corporate-friendly copyright laws, is trying to start a new movement to end money in politics through an alternative donation system.  The Change Congress website would allow political candidates to declare a pledge not to accept PAC money, fight earmarks, and support public financing for elections and then allow people interested to donate funds to those candidates who meet the pledge.   I’m not really all that familiar with elections law, but with Lessing and internet campaign guru Joe Trippi behind it, it might have an impact.  You can view the funding sources for Massachusetts on their map here. Update by Charley: From a recent Lessig talk at Harvard: Thanks Greg.

Brother, Can You Spare A Photo?

An admirable endeavor, in a life already overflowing with admirable endeavors, by Barry Crimmins is getting off to a slow start.

Crimmins photo project: Picture this


It’s time for the digital revolution to live up to its name. If you have a digital camera (or a traditional camera and the means to convert your photos into digital files) please get out and start snapping shots of the America we rarely see depicted elsewhere. The closed factories, the abandoned business districts, the substandard housing and environmentally insulted land, air and water. How about some pix of abandoned malls. Perhaps you have some old photos that could show before and after in your town. Maybe you could take pictures of an empty Main Street and then contrast them with the new superstore conveniently located where the city limits meet the edge of oblivion. How about pictures of the growing lines at soup kitchens, food banks, homeless shelters and health clinics? Well you get the idea. And there’s nothing new about it. Some of the most amazing pictures I’ve ever seen, documented the Depression and were done via WPA/Art grants and government agencies such as the Farm Services Administration

Museum of Science’s Body Works Exhibit used Chinese Torture Victims

Peter Porcupine has a great blog post regarding this on his blog.  I have always believed that something was amiss as Peter does with this exhibit. I thought it was disgusting and have refused to go to the Museum of Science because of it. I’ve told them so.  Here’s Peter’s blog post.  The German magazine Der Spiegel broke the news.  People told me I was crazy when I told them that the corpses were of Chinese government, for lack of a better word, slaves.  Guess Peter and I were right. It has now been learned that they are worse then John Does – they are, instead, victims of Chinese torture and execution. The anonymous Chinese corpses come from the plastination lab at Dalian Medical University in China, operated by a former partner of plastination pioneer and anatomist Gunther von Hagens of “Body Worlds” fame. von Hagens himself has served as a visiting professor at Dalian Medical University, and for some of his international plastination exhibits he received from China the corpses of apparently-executed prisoners. While, in North America, Body Worlds is now touring in three versions, in Europe it has disappeared, having gone unexhibited since 2004. For in that year, […]

Rules of the Game [updated]

Perhaps the best attended meeting of the Rules Committee of the Democratic Party has started its public session today in Washington, D.C. The issue is what to do about delegates selected in Florida and Michigan. The NYT reported on last night’s preparatory meeting here. We can’t attend the session in person, but we can in spirit. What do you think should be the correct resolution, and why? For reference: without FL and MI, Obama needs 41 delegates to clinch and Clinton 244 (total 2,025); with FL and MI, Obama needs 124 and Clinton 235 (total 2,209), according to DemConWatch. I personally think that half of the delegates from each state should be awarded to Senator Clinton, and half to Senator Obama. This allows the delegates to be seated, and the states to participate in the Convention, but also respects the voters in the 48 states that did follow the rules. There were not proper campaigns in either Florida or Michigan, and Senator Obama’s name wasn’t on the Michigan ballot, so it is hard to know what the results mean. Now of course, my proposed solution is relatively favorable to my preferred candidate Senator Obama, compared to seating all of the […]

Senator Baddour, defend yourself.

On the heels of last week’s tragic train crash in Newton, State Senate Transportation Committee  Chair Steven Baddour wants to pull the plug on plans to expand the reach of public transportation in the Hub. He argues that the MBTA’s debt may have contributed to the crash, and that to help the T contain its debt, expansion projects should be shelved indefinitely. This is foolishness, and a terrible way to politicize the death of a young woman.

Much more below the fold…

Obama’s new pastor problem…racism is alive and well

On Sunday, May 25th, a former adviser to Barack Obama and another of his religious confidants took to the pulpit and brought to light America’s racial divide while bringing down Hillary Clinton and “white…entitled…” America.

Rev. Michael Pfleger, a Chicago priest, took to the pulpit of Obama’s church said Clinton’s eyes welled with tears before the New Hampshire primary because she felt “entitled” to the Democratic nomination and because “there’s a black man stealing my show.” He went on to say that “She wasn’t the only one crying. There was a whole lot of white people crying.” In past sermons, Pfleger also strongly defended Farrakhan and Rev. Wright.

Obama’s facing another round of questions about his choice of close advisers in the aftermath of this and the Rev. Wright incident.

Obama says he is “disappointed” in the actions of Rev. Pfleger, but will that be enough? This is going to turn a lot of voters off from Obama if he makes it to the general election and it could be a significant enough amount to swing the election and keep us under Republican rule.

CELTICS – LAKERS!

Convincing win against a very fine team. Do they really have no chance against the LA Kobies? Definitely another level of play. UPDATE (By Bob) Charley beat me to the post, so I’ll just add this picture and say that was an AWESOME run back from that deficit to victory. Globe leads the way on sports coverage as always. Celtics are 8-2 against LA in NBA Finals to date, but we haven’t won a title for quite a while. First two games are in Boston. GO CELTICS! I also just wanted to send some major props to the Pistons and their fans. That is one awesome basketball team, and they really played all out. Very poor officiating, if you ask me. It seemed like the officials made bad calls, recognized it, and then tried to even things up by calling absurd fouls on the other team. Crazy.

An Interesting Take on Governor Patrick

There was an interesting AP story today by Glen Johnson.  He makes the case that the Governor’s slow and steady approach, with a focus on long-term solutions and change, is producing results and laying the groundwork for long-term success. Glen writes in part: “Eighteen months later, Patrick appears driven more by the broader picture and the long term, a philosophy that has girded his maturing administration and may pay dividends if and when he decides to run for re-election in 2010. The state’s first Democratic governor in 16 years has done a lot of spade work since taking office and believes the fruits are becoming apparent with time…Patrick also is poised for some other big-ticket wins: approval for a $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative, a Clean Energy bill, a $27 billion state budget he helped define and legislation to close corporate tax loopholes.” For me, the Governor’s approach is very familiar.  During the campaign, he focused on building the grassroots, traveling across the state meeting with voters, and developing an extensive library of detailed issue papers that were posted on the website.  While we were criticized by some for not focusing on the traditional campaign techniques (ie – raising money), […]

Politics Ain’t Beanbag or Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile or “Reformer”

One of the biggest claims that Senator Obama has is that he’s bringing a new kind of politics to the arena.  It’s about bringing hope and change to the people; it’s about inclusivity and embracing diversity.  

Except…