Tuesday, August 30, 2005

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Back to School!

Oh yes, it's back to school time once again. The kid is going off to school again. It's weird for both of us. Last year we homeschooled and that was an excellent experience that I am forever grateful that I was able to do, but... I just couldn't keep up with the math. Damn numbers mocking me with their ability to make no freaking sense whatsoever to me. So yeah, school. Since the kid is going back, I figured I might as well too, so I'm taking a class at the Mount. I'm only taking one class, and an online class at that, because I am a slacker and didn't get registered in time. Naughty Mommy.

I'm also facing a deadline to get some website training documents finished, so I might be a big grey for a day or two.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Home Sweet Home

In Leominster an effort is underway to transform vacant factories and large blocks of black top into neighborhoods. (read the link quick, it goes away in 14 days)

"I live in Rockwell Village," she (Barbara Rodriguez) said of her neighborhood. A year ago, Rodriguez might have said she lived on Adams Street, by Pleasant Street or near downtown.

But the city has worked hard to create a sense of community pride in the neighborhood -- composed of Adams, Pearl, Cotton, West and Pleasant streets -- where well-kept homes are interspersed with hulking, vacant factories and stretches of blacktop.

Officials started the process by giving the neighborhood the Rockwell Village name.

Branding a neighborhood with a name is a good idea. Gives people a sense of belonging and ownership. What would be even better, is that if people could actually afford the housing, instead of putting in more rentals. Leominster has plans for that as well:

The city's second goal is to replace neighborhood's run-down factory buildings with moderately priced homes and more green space.

This is great news, and I hope they can accomplish it. I also hope that they are putting aside "affordable" housing along with the "moderately" priced stock. Right here though, is the money shot, from Leominster Mayor, Dean Mazzarella:

"It would be really tough to see commercial with all the kids in the area," he said. "Plus, you won't even need a car living there. You're right downtown. It'll create great walking traffic for local businesses."

Right, on! I would LOVE to live in a place where I didn't have to own a car. If I was looking for a place to live, I would definitely give Leominster a look. Improving neighborhoods, and providing more green space is an investment in community that benefits everyone.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Happy Tuesday

This is a great blog: Stories in America

Journalist Rose Aguilar leaves the liberal bubble of San Francisco to bring you personal stories from people living in states that overwhelmingly voted for George W. Bush for President.

This is a great quote:

Why are gas prices so high?

You know, Bush and Cheney are a bunch of oil men and they'll sock it to you every time. They don't care. They don't care about the people. Never did. It's all about rich men and poor men. Poor men like me are pumpin' gas and rich men are on vacation telling lies."

Preach it, brother! I paid $2.59 a gallon today at BJ's for regular. That used to be the price for premium. I can't wait to see my heating bill this winter.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Sunday Mornin' Movie Bloggin'

I was afraid that the funniest bits in this movie had been given away in the trailer. Boy, was I wrong! The funniest bits could not, under any circumstances, have been shown in the trailer. This movie is just good raunchy fun. No spoilers from me. Just go see it. There's a good reason why Steve Carell has stolen every movie he's been in. The supporting cast is perfect too. Especially Paul Rudd, who I can't even look at without laughing.

Entertainment Weekly gives it an A-.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Change is good.... or not.

sco at .08 and David at Blue Mass Group point out the hypocrisy of former Massachusetts Governor and newly minted New York Gubernatorial candidate Bill Weld's sudden hard right turn against marriage equality.

The New York Post earlier this week asked Weld whether he supported gay marriage, and he simply replied, ''No." Then, the Times reported yesterday that Weld said he supported gay marriage only in Massachusetts, based on the SJC's interpretation of the state's constitution, but that he supported civil unions for gay couples in New York and other states.

Gee, you don't think the phone call from Rove had anything to with that view change, do ya? Yeah, right. I don't think the voters in NY are gonna buy that either.

It's interesting to me how two people can look at the same subject, come up with different views, and then completely change their minds. Sometimes, it's a good thing.

Take state Rep, Anthony Petruccelli (D-East Boston) for example. Last year Petruccelli supported an amendment to ban same-sex marriage and create civil unions. What a difference a year, hundreds of happily married couples, and the realization that Massachusetts civil society has not been remotely affected, can make:

"I think that has changed things dramatically," said Petruccelli. "And it makes it easy for me to look at this issue and say, who am I to take away something from someone that they cherish, that they already have? I think that is probably the strongest aspect of why I feel strongly about voting no in the [next] convention."

Look, I don't know this guy. He Reps an area way beyond my beat. and I don't know if there is some cynical reason for him to change his mind, but I tell you I welcome it and I hope that there are other Reps out there who are brave enough to really look at this issue, not just from a partisan angle, but from a human angle.

Hopefully they will see how the only real change in Massachusetts is that we are coming a bit closer to living up to the true meaning of our state constitution.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Have a Coke and a Smile

Fredrick Clarkson has a great post about the Ashe Annual Clambake and wonders where Romney and Reilly were?

There are two pictures from the newspaper article up at Masslive.com that drew my attention

Deval Patrick enjoys a cold tasty beverage
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Only a Republican would come to a picnic in a SUIT!
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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Almost Ready for Prime Time

We are so fortunate here in Massachusetts to have so many well written progressive blogs. (Check out my badass blogroll, yo!) We have such great variety, that deals with so many different subjects and offer such depth in anaylsis that just isn't there anymore in most local papers or news outlets. I have learned so much from such amazing bloggers like Fredrick Clarkson who is truly our resident expert of the religious right, among so many other things.

That is why I was completely surprised and grateful that he would be so kind as to mention this humble blog at FrederickClarkson.com

In his usual eleoquent fashion, Fred breaks my blog down, much better than I can

Beyond 495 may also be the best name in the MA political blogosphere. Thats because it is so difficult for some to imagine anything beyond that circumference of Bosto-consciousness. To suggest to these poor souls -- to actually travel beyond 495 -- can be like proposing to mount the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

That honestly is what motivated me to start this blog. I have told every candidate that I have met, that there are votes out here, but they need to come out here and work for them.

Thanks again for the plug, Fred. You're a cool rockin' daddy!

Lowell Vigil in support of Cindy Sheehan

Since my return from vacation, I've been on west coast time and it's really screwing me up. I took a sleepy pill (non-prescription!) before I started to get all posty here. I hope this makes some sense:

Click on the picture for a link to my vigil photos

I went to the Cindy Sheehan vigil in Lowell. Kickass Blogger Lynne of Left in Lowell and Greater Lowell for Peace and Justice was the organizer. There was a very good turnout of 70 or so folks. Not bad for only three days notice.

I was pleased to see folks from the DFA group that I go to in Acton (but it meets in Littleton - yeah, I know, but hey, it's closer for me than Acton and don't forget that this was originally the Lowell DFA!) I was glad that our DFA group decided to join up with GLPJ instead of doing something on our own. I think whenever possible we should use our allies to concentrate our efforts for common goals. There was also some folks at the vigil that I met earlier this year at the Equality Rallies that GLPJ organized. Always nice to see friendly faces.

There was a fairly good cross section of people there, although, I always wish that there were more people of color in attendance. I don't have any evidence to back it up, but I feel that minorities and people of modest incomes in particular are being heavily recruited to fight this unjust war. It's a reminder that we, as progressives, have some work to do in regards to outreach in minority communities.

I came across only one person who supports Bush. I was standing on the corner taking a break because we were required to keep moving if we wanted to demonstrate. Then this car pulled up to the light. The driver rolled down the window and started yelling something to the effect of, "Bush rules!" "Insert various disparaging comments here." I just looked at the middle-aged guy and asked him if he was in the military. He replied that he was not, so I told him, that if he supported the war so much, why wasn't he off fighting it? He said that he had served previously. I thanked him for his service and told him that since the military was apparently so desperate for recruits, I was sure that they'd be happy to have such a strong supporter of the war back fighting for them. He rolled up his window and drove off.

Yeah, that's what I thought.

I had an opportunity to talk to Mike in Chelmsford, who is in my DFA group. I enjoy talking to him (even though, he never remembers me...) because he's very smart. We talked awhile about how well the demonstration was going and how much work we have ahead of us as we head into the next election cycle. Then the talk turned back to this terrible war. We both agreed that this war is wrong, and that the Bush Administration has completely bungled it. I asked Mike, like I ask many progressive-type folks, what we should do about stopping the war. We all know that our presence in Iraq is making the entire region more unstable, but I think we all also know what would happen if the US was to pull out too soon. Complete civil war.

There just aren't any good options here. I wished we had the leadership to look at this catastrophe and come up with some real solutions, instead of the same ole punk-ass, chickenhawks that say we "should stay the course." Yeah, that's working out well for us and the Iraqis.

This subject makes my brain (and my heart) hurt.

Good work on the vigil though.

Lynne has a kickass post up at Left in Lowell about the vigil. Go read it NOW! zzzz...zzzz...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Premature Presidential Contention

Well, I guess it has been a while (like years...) since I actually purchased a copy of our local paper, Townsend Times. I avoided it because it was little more than recycled news from Ayer and a weekly newsletter of what was happening with the Hartnett grandchildren. I didn't have high hopes when it was taken over by MediaNews Group. Yes, that MediaNews Group, the same newspaper group that owns the Lowell Sun.

The folks at the Sun aren't exactly known for their progressive point of view. That is why I was so surprised that they now have a progressive columnist, Chris Mills.

Chris has a great column up right now about what an empty suit Mitt Romney is. This is particularly great: (read it quick, it is only available for 14 days)

"In contrast to this group is another kind of politician, that transparent man who wears his ambition on his sleeve, who palpably lacks the greatness of spirit necessary to elevate him to the level of his own aspirations. You can hear its absence in what he says. You can see it in what he does. Think of Steve Forbes, Dan Quayle, Spiro Agnew, Ross Perot and Zell Miller.

Here in Massachusetts we have a specimen of this latter group. I mean that most premature of presidential candidates, Mitt Romney."

It is maddening that our so-called governor has been spending more time out of the state pandering to Republicans in primary states instead of working hard to get the people's business done here in Massachusetts. His recent actions on Stem Cell research, emergency contraception and welfare limits, not to mention his trip to Israel, are all designed to make him appear more electable. Jeez, I wished he'd just go already.

Is it 2006 yet?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Vigil in Support of Cindy Sheehan in Lowell

Lynne from the superior blog Left in Lowell is organizing a vigil in support of Cindy Sheehan in Lowell on Wednesday, August 17th at 7:30 PM.

From the DFA e-mail:

Cindy has asked supporters to start candlelight vigils in their communities to support her and call for an end to the war. So, DFA, MoveOn and True Majority are teaming up to host Vigils for Cindy Sheehan on Wednesday, August 17th, to show our solidarity with Cindy.

Our vigils will be simple and dignified. Together, we'll acknowledge the sacrifices made by Cindy Sheehan, her son, Casey and the more than 1,800 brave American men and women who have given their lives in Iraq—and their moms and families.

I'll be there. If you'd like to join in be sure head over to Left in Lowell to sign up.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Tiger Mother, Cindy Sheehan Begins Second Week of Vigil

Great article from theBBC on the tradition of women working for peace.

"There is a tiger-mother in most of us women, something that says 'don't put my son or my daughter in this position."

Cindy Sheehan continues her now, 10 day vigil in Crawford, TX. According to her diary at DailyKos

Speaking of George, I understand that he was riding his bike yesterday out at the ranch. (I hope no London Bobbies got in his way). He took a 2 hour bike ride and when he got back, he was asked how he could go for a two hour bike ride when he doesn't have time to meet with me, and he said: "I have to go on with my life." (Austin Statesman, August 14)

Nice. Doesn't he think that Mrs Sheehan would like to get on with her life too? Oh, I forgot - George doesn't think. He just does what he's told.

Stay stong, Cindy. We've got your back. There were vigils here in Boston this weekend and more planned this Wednesday, August 17 at 7:30 p.m. The location has not been decided on yet. I'll post that information when I get it.

Keep your eyes on the prize.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Why Did the Chicken(hawk) Cross the Road?

cluck, cluck, cluck

To avoid the Mother of all war protests.

Cindy Sheehan's vigil enters second week.
Stay strong sister. Bright blessings to you and all those supporting you at Camp Casey.

Open Source Rules

I love open source technology. It's collaborative, and progressive. The idea that anyone can contribute to making something better for the benefit of all, very much appeals to me. I'm going to be taking a look at how that concept relates to local politics in a future posting. But right now my guys are trying to drag me out the door, so it will have to keep for now.

I'll just say this. Tom Reilly's website looks like ass in Firefox. If that's not a metaphor for politics in Massachusetts, I don't know what is.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Candidates Like Blue Mass Group

There's no denying that Blue Mass Group seems to be the magnet that is drawing candidates to the Massachusetts blogsphere.

I got an e-mail from Andrea Silbert, candidate for Lt. Governor regarding a posting I made at BMG.

Welcome Andrea Silbert! If you stop by here, I hope you'll visit some of the great folks that are listed on my blogroll.

Good on you, Bob, Charley on the MBTA and David of Blue Mass Group. You guys are doing great work. I learn something everytime I visit.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Emergence of Progressive Bloggers

To follow up on a post I did earlier this week on the NPI. Chris Bowers of MyDD and Matthew Stoller of Blogging of the President have just published their report entitled Emergence of the Progressive Blogosphere.

I haven't read the whole thing yet, but sco over at .08 has a very excellent write up of it. This is a particularly on-point snippet:

I'm going to commit a bit of an Internet faux pas and reproduce the entire Appendix I from the full report in the vain hope that someone involved with a 2005 or 2006 campaign will notice and help us help them develop the Massachusetts progressive blogosphere. As more and more people get access to the Internet, it will be more important for candidates and advocacy groups to get involved. Local bloggers are going to be important for spreading messages that large national blogs aren't going to be interested in.

Not only are local progressive bloggers good for focussing in on local issues that national blogs aren't going to cover, local bloggers are covering local issues in-depth that our own local media, just doesn't cover as well.

As this election season gets more fully underway, it will be interesting to see what candidates and advocacy groups reach out to the local progressive blogsphere, and what, if any, effect that has on the outcome of the election.

Boobies! I See Boobies!!!

From the Boston Herald

Breast defense - Female sports fans battle for right to nurse at stadiums

For crying out loud, why is public breastfeeding still a huge deal? It's nutrition people, not a peek show!

This is particularly stupid:

At Fenway, both a fan service representative and a security official said if a fan finds a nursing mother "offensive'' it is up to park security to decide whether the mother must go to a more discreet area. (emphasis mine)

Why is it that the breastfeeding mother has to go somewhere else? If someone at a baseball or football game has nothing else better to do then gawk over a mother breastfeeding her child, than maybe they should go get a beer or bring a crossword puzzle with them to keep themselves occupied. Jeez...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Reflections of a Blogger

"The internet isn't about money, it's about building a community of common purpose ." ~ Joe Trippi
On Thursday, August 4th, 2005 in Washington, D.C., the New Politics Institute hosted political consultant Joe Trippi and leading progressive blogger Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos for “Reflections of a Blogger.”

At 80 minutes, the video is long, but it's very informative, and a very good overview of the emerging role of the internet in progressive politics. Check out the video at the NPI website.

Pretty much says it all

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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Catching up

I love summer because I get to see my family in California, but it cuts into my computer time, and that is a drag. So I'm gonna just sum up here:

Good Night, Peter Jennings

My mom and I used to watch World News Tonight when I still lived at home. We used to giggle over how he would say, "a-boot" and "nee-ka-rrrrrgua" He was one of the last great news anchors. I was kind of mad at him for going at President Clinton, but when I look back, I suppose he was fair, but tough. You don't really see that in a journalist anymore. Olbermann does the best Jennings tribute on Countdown.


I am disappointed in my regional democratic meet-up group. Last month, I went to the meeting and the organizer didn't show up. Didn't call. Didn't e-mail. That's just rude. I e-mailed him, but I never got any reply. Not a good sign.

Yeah, so somehow I am now the Town Captain for the Duval Patrick campaign. I went to a organizational meeting last month, talked to a few people, and the next thing I know... Aye, aye, captain! I'm usually more of the worker bee type, but I'll give it a try. I'm probably one of two people in my town who even know who Duval Patrick is. So far anyway. I guess I have some work to do.