December 2010
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Month December 2010

New Year’s Resolutions for Commuters

The New Year is a time for self-evaluation, change and resolutions. It’s a time for each of us to look back at what we’ve done and what we will strive to do better.

Some resolutions seem to repeat themselves every year: I will lose weight, eat healthier, file a lifetime of photographs, etc. There are, however, a few simple resolutions we can all make to help make the state, and our daily commute, better this next year.

In that spirit I’m hoping each of us- drivers, T riders, MBTA management and employees, cyclists, pedestrians, the Legislature and all others will take a few moments to make some resolutions about how we get where we’re going and how we treat each other along the way.

Scott Brown: Needs to be bride at every wedding, corpse at every wake…

Today a good man, a police officer killed in the line of duty was honored and put to rest in Woburn. As usual, dignitaries and elected officials attended to pay the respects of the Commonwealth. Most did so in a humble way, almost sight unseen. The officer’s cousin acknowledged the Governor and the Woburn Mayor by name but slipped up in her nervousness and thanked Senator Kerry for being present…Sen. Kerry was not there but Scott Brown was…Sen. Brown not to be overlooked in his $800 barncoat found a way to get mentioned on tv none the less…when every dignitary, except for him, respectfully filed out Scott broke out of line and shook the grieving widow’s hand (let no camera shot be wasted, that’s his motto)…why he was wearing the barncoat to a formal funeral is another question altogether…they used to call Sen. Kerry “liveshot”, but spotlight magnetized Brown makes Kerry look demure… Thanks to WCVB-TV CH 5 for their full coverage of this important event today. They were tasteful and respectful and appropriate. (CH4 and CH7 were more interested in adv dollars evidently and gave limited coverage…Judge Judy was more important to them.) Officer Maguire…Rest in Peace…today was your […]

Predictions 2011

Why the heck not…show off how sharp you are in the comments below.  My top five in each category:

US:

1. Sarah Palin does not run for president, but does endorse in December (her endorsee wins the nomination).  Candidates choose their spots, and are increasingly willing to skip Iowa and New Hampshire.  Romney leads polls, but doesn’t even reach 40% among Republicans.

2. A top-line primary challenger to Obama does not emerge; a secondary one (Kucinich, perhaps) does.

3. The health care bill works its way up to the Supreme Court, where it will be eventually be found unconstitutional by a 5-4 vote.  The Arizona immigration law will also be found unconstitutional, by a 5-4 vote.

4. Julian Assange is not indicted by the United States government.

5. California suffers a large earthquake.

Weekly Joke Revue: “Birthers Challenge Hawaii to Produce Statehood Certificate”

We may have already featured this cover photo from the 2010 Tea Party National Convention Delegates Guide, but here it is again to celebrate 2010. Happy New Year BMGers! Borowitz: Birthers Challenge Hawaii to Produce Statehood Certificate: President’s Birthplace Not Really American, Leaders Claim KAILUA, HAWAII (The Borowitz Report) – Leaders of the so-called Birther movement followed President Obama on his Hawaiian vacation today to demand that Hawaii prove it is actually a U.S. state. Mr. Obama’s claim to American citizenship has rested on his birthplace being Hawaii, but the Birthers argued today that Hawaii’s claim to being part of America is far from a foregone conclusion. Speaking to reporters in Kailua, Birther leader Orly Taitz said that Hawaii cannot be considered part of the United States “unless it can produce an authentic statehood certificate.” Onion: Glenn Beck – The Lone Voice Of Reason In An Age Of Hysteria In what has increasingly become an era defined by pandemonium, rancor, and blind ignorance, one stabilizing voice emerged from the din this year to soothe the souls of Americans everywhere, make us recognize the common decency that binds us all, and supplant the poisonous aura of fear and chaos with a […]

A Tea Party Crackup: I’m Not A Witch, I’ve Just Got Sticky Fingers”

Take a moment from your busy holiday season to consider the following fact: As the new class of Tea Party backed legislators prepares to head off to Washington for the 112th Congress, the movement is once again besmirched by one of it’s former stars. This time it’s thanks to a slip up by that one time sensation, Christine O’Donnell, who is now under the microscope for yet another round of financial improprieties, these related to her failed 2008 run for the U.S. Senate. According to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, it seems pretty clear that O’Donnell had been using her campaign money to finance her personal lifestyle and that would be highly illegal. These allegations were backed up as well by Ben Evans of the Associated Press, who pointed out:” At least two former campaign workers have alleged that she routinely used political contributions to pay personal expenses including her rent as she ran for the Senate…O’Donnell has acknowledged paying part of her rent with campaign money, arguing that her house doubled as a campaign headquarters.” Likewise, Mark Halperin and others have provided similar and supporting observations. To date, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware is reviewing […]

The Latest Tea Party Crackup: I’m Not A Witch, I’ve Just Got Sticky Fingers”

Take a moment from your busy holiday season to consider the following fact: As the new class of Tea Party backed legislators prepares to head off to Washington for the 112th Congress, the movement is once again besmirched by one of it’s former stars. This time it’s thanks to a slip up by that one time sensation, Christine O’Donnell, who is now under the microscope for yet another round of financial improprieties, these related to her failed 2008 run for the U.S. Senate. According to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, it seems pretty clear that O’Donnell had been using her campaign money to finance her personal lifestyle and that would be highly illegal. These allegations were backed up as well by Ben Evans of the Associated Press, who pointed out:” At least two former campaign workers have alleged that she routinely used political contributions to pay personal expenses including her rent as she ran for the Senate…O’Donnell has acknowledged paying part of her rent with campaign money, arguing that her house doubled as a campaign headquarters.” Likewise, Mark Halperin and others have provided similar and supporting observations. To date, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware is reviewing […]

Why do other states do this?

Hi All: Just found this story on Yahoo. It shows that seven states are raising the minimum wage due to increasing cost of living expenses. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/201… It might not be much of a wage increase, but why do legislators get automatic cost of living increases every year, and the poorest of the workers in Massachusetts get nothing? I would hope that organized labor in conjunction with social justice organizations in Massachusetts would champion this effort. I know that I would have been a champion of this cause if I was the State Senator from my district. Respectfully Submitted, Sincerely, Wayne J. Wilson, Jr. Roslindale

The Iraq War is a Giant Boondoggle

I’m deployed to Kuwait right now. Most of my time is spent sitting around, or doing stuff to look busy. This is because a whole battalion (about 500 soldiers)  has been assigned to do work that could be done by a company (about 125). When you consider that the vehicles we’re using cost about $1 million, not counting fuel, maintenance, etc, and that it costs an average of $390,000 to keep a soldier in theatre for a year, having unnecessary troops on the ground gets expensive fast. By the way, that $390,000 is a fairly low estimate. Some have gone as high as $775,000/soldier/year. http://www.infiniteunknown.net… The vehicles have already been paid for, so we won’t consider those costs for now. But those extra 375 or so soldiers cost about $146,250,000 for the year, using the conservative estimate of $390,000 apiece. The battalion commander is desperately seeking some new mission for 3/4 of his unit, because the Army sent us here without considering whether we would even contribute anything of value to the war effort. This is just a small portion of the war.  Without even considering whether the war is worthwhile, sending unneeded troops so a few officers can get […]

Is Extended Solitary Confinement in Massachusetts Torture? Is it Cost Effective?

Celebrated local doctor, author, and MacArthur genius grant recipient Atul Gawande argued yes, it is a form of torture, in this 2009 New Yorker piece, and went on to assert that it is also not effective, very costly, used with exceptional frequency in the United States, and more prevalent in the last 20 years than at any previous time. He also cited results from Britain that show there are more effective ways to manage prisoners. Salon.com columnist Glenn Greenwald brought the issue into sharp focus this month when he observed that U.S. citizen and soldier Bradley Manning, who has not been charged with any crime, has been confined in this way for seven months: a sobering realization for anyone who considers the implications of such treatment for some of our most basic principles of justice, including military justice, such as the presumption of innocence and right to hear the charges against one before one is confined for an extended period. Massachusetts has two Supermax prisons: Massachusetts Correctional Institution-Cedar Junction (MCI-Cedar Junction), formerly known as MCI-Walpole, where prisoners are kept in solitary confinement for years at a time, and the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center. Gawande on Supermax prisons: The number of prisoners […]

Alan Grayson for President?

Politics Daily discusses the ramifications of the progressive hero making a run.