Sunday, May 30, 2010
When did it become OK for under qualified people to think they can do anything - and what's worse, for other people to think that's alright?
You can't do anything - you can do what you're good at and you should stick to that.
The point of elected officials is that you sort of pick one who you know is smart, who is aligned with you in most ways, and who you think/hope will make the right decision because in most cases, you don't know what the hell is really going on yourself.
This whole 24-hr. news cycle/citizen journalist movement has made "experts" out of everyone, so everyone thinks they can be an elected official, or they know someone who can be, or FoxNews told them this person can be ... whatever.
Get over it.
There are people out there who are smarter than you are. Picking one to vote for who is of average intelligence just because you are is stupid.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
When I was young, the nephew of our neighbor drowned in the lake we lived on (he was visiting), in Michigan ... he was about 18, I think. He went fishing in a rowboat and a sudden thunderstorm capsized the boat.
He could not swim.
When I was a little girl in Barbados, I spent most of my life in the ocean, but we lived on the calm, Caribbean side of the island. As macsurf said in this comment to another post and as sds said last night, you need to have respect and understand what you're up against.
I think that no amount of signs will help. I think you need to have grown up around the water and have been told and told and told ... and even then, you can still be a victim.
I don't usually pray, but I will say a little prayer for Marina Kohn, just in case ...
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
I see on the Excel spreadsheet she links to that the EAC is recommending that all the street lights on this end of Old Point Road (you know, where I live) be shut off. I wonder if they realize how dark it is out here at night? I always thought we needed more lights out here, not fewer ...
Saturday, May 22, 2010
The question pundits and prognosticators of all political persuasions are now asking is, "What does it all mean for November?"
May, 18 was a very bad day for incumbents and for the establishments of the two political parties - especially the entrenched Republican establishment.
Rand Paul's GOP primary victory over Trey Grayson, the handpicked candidate of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who also had the very public backing of GOP heavy hitters like Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, was the political "shot heard 'round the world" in many ways.
No doubt it has put the fear of God into the GOP establishment, as it struggles with how best to manage the increasingly right wing, almost neo-fascist, Tea Party tiger the GOP establishment created, and whose back it believed it could ride.
Rand Paul's primary victory over Grayson by almost twenty five points was, indeed, impressive. It has, as one would expect, sent Tea Partiers into a euphoric swoon.
But, the fact remains, what happened on May, 18 in Kentucky, as impressive was it was, was just a primary election , with a very small percentage of Kentucky's eligible GOP voters even bothering to go to the polls.
The GOP in Kentucky is badly split, with 53% of GOP Grayson voters holding a "highly negative" view of Rand Paul, and 43% of those voters emphatically stating, according to a Public Policy Polling survey, they will not vote for him in November.
That, despite all the Tea Partiers' morning after euphoria, is not a good omen in terms of the GOP holding on to the seat now held by retiring GOP Senator Jim Bunning, especially when one considers that registered Democrats and independents outnumber registered Republicans in Kentucky by a significant margin.
For Kentucky Democrats, the surprisingly high primary voter turn out has bolstered optimism that a reenergized base will help propel the Democratic nominee, Jack Conway, to the Senate. Many Democratic strategists in the state expect Rand Paul's often extreme, right wing, rhetoric to keep the base energized, pull in many of the state's independents, and, at the very least, keep those Republicans who dislike and distrust Paul home, come the second Tuesday in November.
We shall see. We shall see.
The Republican and Tea Party belief, it's almost an article of faith, that November will bring a routing of the Democrats hit another snag on the 18th when Mark Critz, a Democrat, defeated the GOP candidate, Tim Burns, in the special election held to fill the seat held by the late Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman John Murtha.
Many people thought Burns would capture Murtha's seat, given the district went for John McCain over Barack Obama in 2008, and has always been more of a "Reagan Democrat" stronghold than a "Kennedy Democrat" one.
But Critz defeated Burns by eight percentage points in a district many, if not most, pundits predicted would flip to the Republicans.
In Arkansas and Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate primaries, one incumbent, Arlen Specter, was rousted by a Democratic challenger, Representative Joe Sestak, who ran to Specter's left on most issues; and in Arkansas, Lt.Gov. Bill Halter, held incumbent Senator Blanche Lincoln to less than fifty percent of the primary vote, thus forcing a run off election on June, 8.
Like Sestak in Pennsylvania, Halter ran to the left/liberal side of the centrist Lincoln and mobilized a significant level of support from the base of the Arkansas Democratic party.
The races in Arkansas and Pennyslvania are fueling optimism that the Democratic base will be far more enaged and mobilized in November than it has historically been in mid-term elections.
Again, we shall see.
But back to the question in the second sentence of this column regarding what May, 18 means in terms of November.
The honest answer is, "Nobody really knows."
But we do know a few things.
The first is that the party controlling the White House, especially if it also controls one or both Houses of the Legislative Branch, almost always loses seats in a mid term election.
That's why all the talk about a rout come November brings on a big yawn from me. I fully expect the Democrats to lose some seats. It is, after all, the historical norm.
Will they lose their majority in one or both Houses? It's too early to say, but I'm predicting the answer is "probably not".
The other thing we know is, despite Rand Paul's upset victory in Kentucky, the Tea Party, when all is said and done, represents only a very small sliver of the electorate. A sliver that is overwhelmingly white and that, at least within some of its factions, is displaying increasingly right wing, racist, nastily xenophobic, and sundry other nasty traits that have a way, once people look at the whole phenomenon a little more closely, of turning many people off, especially independents and more moderate Republicans off.
I suspect, given the number of Republicans in Kentucky who hold negative views of Rand Paul and, at least indirectly, the Tea Party movement he personifies, we will see similar numbers emerge across the nation as the election season heats up and more and more Americans take a closer look at the Tea Party phenomenon and the candidates it fields.
But still,no one really has any idea what all this will mean, and how it will play out come November.
But one thing is certain. 2010 promises to be one of the most interesting and volatile mid-term election cycles we have seen in a very long time.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
It's kind of interesting to me that people don't want others to know who they are. Aren't you guys proud of your thoughts, your positions ... yourselves?
Then again, since I know who some people are even though they don't use their real names because they have either written to me or told me* ... and you may know who they are. If you don't, ask (them, that is ... I'm not sure what blog etiquette says about bloggers "outing" people).
* A couple of months ago, I met a man who told me that I probably knew him better as "anonymous."
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Locals are enjoying the start of an early season for fishing, but most anglers' understanding of a new federal law requiring saltwater recreational fishermen to register with the federal government for the first time is tangled, at best.
Under rules set forth by the The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, anglers across the country must register for a permit this year in order to do any saltwater fishing. Previously, there was no license or permit required for saltwater fishing in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. (Daily News)
No, no, no I say. It's OK to make people register to fish, but another fee (the fee part starts next year)? You all know how I feel about fees on things that have the most impact on poor people ... which in most senses includes me.
Next the government will be telling me I need a paid permit to garden because home gardens are increasing in popularity due to the high cost of pesticide-laden veggies - and the government needs to keep track of soybean production or something.
Lay off the poor people.
Monday, May 17, 2010
"Start a blog," he wrote.
I did and here it is. I love it; every day I love it because it has brought me to such wonderful people and brought wonderful people to me ...
So thanks Tom Salemi.
For those of you that don't already know, my brother-in-law's 41-yr.-old sister was found dead in bed on Mother's Day morning. Our families are quite close, and of course I'm very close to my brother-in-law (not to mention my sister and niece and nephew).
We were all very shaken, and although with help from Bluehost we identified the malicious code in the index file of the website, nothing was done last week ....
On the other hand, it was also a week of near bliss, comfort and fulfillment, so what can I say (except for "Yikes! What a roller coaster!")?
Newburyport Business will be back soon; Google just has to clear it for landing.
This has been an exercise in ... well, in how much Google controls everything. Even though Newburyport Business itself was not putting any malicious software anywhere, there was some code that had been inserted into the files that was (?was it?) redirecting people to another site that might have been.
Might have been.
Google has shut down that site, so I'm really not clear on why it had to shut down Newburyport Business as well ... but, hey, who am I to question Google?
My website was like one of those little fish that gets caught in the net while people are fishing for the big guys.
But you know what? There has been a lot of loss involved in this whole process, but there has also been gain.
I implore everyone again to watch yourselves on the Internet ... and make sure you have good anti-virus software ... and tell the people you love that you love them when you have the chance, because you just don't know when they will be taken away from you.
A little website means nothing when you think about the grand scheme of things.
It truly boggles the thinking person's mind; be one a Republican, a Democrat, a genuine conservative, a liberal, or an independent.
Thankfully, I think more and more intelligent Republicans and independents are asking those questions, especially since it's come to light that the Tea Party, rather than expanding citizen participation in our democratic processes, is actually trying to limit it.
They are doing so by calling for repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution that, in 1913, took the power of electing US Senators away from often corrupt state legislatures and gave it directly to the registered voters in each state.
The amendment greatly expanded voter participation, strengthened democratic processes, and gave power back to the people.
There's a strange irony in the Tea Party, a movement that calls itself "grass roots", and an advocate of taking the government "back" on the "people's" behalf, championing a cause that will do just the opposite.
But then, this movement is full of "strange ironies".
It is a movement based on the belief President Obama is an impostor president.
It is a movement that believes health care reform will bring a new, Nazi like Holocaust to America.
Its members, in one of the most disrespectful displays I've ever seen relating to the Holocaust, used actual photographs of Hitler's victims at their rally on Capitol Hill last September to score cheap political points against the health reform legislation wending its way through the halls of Congress.
The Tea Party's de facto leader, Sarah Palin, a woman who can't seem to decide if she is a good Christian woman or a leather dominatrix in the making (twice, in the last few weeks, she's showed up at political events dressed in some kinky looking leather outfits), revved up the Tea Partiers' paranoia with claims that Obama was looking to euthanize people like her little Down Syndrome son Trig, not to mention Grandma and Grandpa - and most of the Tea Partiers seem to have swallowed the lie, hook line and sinker.
Sarah's other half, no not Todd, Michelle Bachmann; the right wing, looney tune, congresswoman from Minnesota, drove the Tea Partiers' paranoia into overdrive when she urged them to break the law by refusing to fill out the census.
Why? Because Bachmann claimed the census was really a tool devised by Obamamaniacs to identify the impostor president's political opponents so that they could, at a later date, be rounded and up and sent to domestic Guantanamos run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Funny thing though, when one of her aides clued her in that if people in her district listened to her and didn't fill out their census forms, her district and, hence, her job, might be eliminated, bats in her belfry Bachmann became a born again champion of filling out the census.
More locally, the Tea Party is represented by none other than Bill Hudak, the apparent GOP nominee for the 6th district congressional seat held by Democrat John Tierney.
Hudak is an admitted "Birther", in that he, like most of the Mad Hatters of the Tea Party, believes Barack Obama is an impostor president.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Hudak had life size cut outs of then Senator Barack Obama dressed as Osama bin laden on the front lawn of his home in tony Boxford.
He has publicly stated he believes issues pertaining to people's civil rights should be put to popular votes, but won't answer if that applies retroactively to things like Brown v. Board of Education, the 1960's Voting and Civil Rights Acts, woman's suffrage, or the right of interracial couples to marry.
He's a piece of work, this Bill Hudak. But he is our local Tea Party candidate for Congress. It makes me feel badly for the many decent and intelligent Republicans I know who reside in the sixth district.
A lot of this might be funny if it weren't for the fact that, not too far below the surface of the Tea Party movement, there is a level of racism, xenophobia, and homophobia, not to mention rhetoric that comes perilously close to inciting violence, that should concern all intelligent and reasonable Americans, regardless of party affiliation or political philosophy.
It's all so ironic. The Tea Party claims it cares about people's freedoms and is working to defend them but, the record shows, and the call to repeal the Seventeenth Amendment proves, its intent, if its members were to ever gain real political power, is to do just the opposite.
2 Willow Street
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
But I have to admit I loved him showing a tape recently on "Countdown" of Sarah Palin leading her groupies, barely a fortnight before the Gulf of Mexico oil rig disaster, in chants of "Drill baby drill, not stall baby stall", while she assured her groveling groupies that deep sea drilling for oil was perfectly safe.
Olbermann lost me, however, when, after repeatedly showing the tape, he said, "That woman is an idiot."
The tape made that reality about Palin crystal clear to anyone with half a brain. There was really no need for Olbermann's additional commentary. It made him seem, well, "Limbaughesque".
But anyway, here we are facing a man made marine disaster of likely unprecedented proportions that isn't just about the greed of big oil companies. It's about our own selfishness, stupidity, ongoing love affair with things like Status Utility Vehicles, and our deep denial of the dangers our continued dependence on oil, be it foreign or domestic, poses to both the global environment and our national security.
I don't care if people view themselves as faux green Obama-maniacs fretting about climate change and global warming while driving their Range Rovers and Denalis on some of greater Newburtport's best maintained roads; or science denying Dodge Ram, monster pickup truck driving, rednecks who sport stickers on their bumpers with slogans like, "My Wife Yes, My Dog Maybe, My Gun - NEVER!"; the truth is most Americans, across the board, have yet to grasp what's really at stake here - both in terms of the environment and our long term economic and national security.
As much as I may have enjoyed watching Olbermann lampoon Palin for her sophomoric "Drill baby drill" pep rally, I was also well aware President Obama had recently announced that he would allow new drilling leases to be issued to oil companies in numerous coastal regions of the country.
Now, I expect Sarah Palin to do and say stupid things. It is, after all, par for her course.
But when I heard a man as intelligent as President Obama reopen the door to increased off shore oil drilling, in direct contradiction to a promise he'd made on the campaign trail, my heart sank.
That announcement was not a profile in political courage. It was a profile in political expediency.
If Barack Obama was truly a leader, he would not have called for his own version of "drill baby drill", or tried to do a half hearted Sarah Palin/Dick Cheney imitation on energy.
He would have called the American people to action. He would have told us the truth; we are not going to drill ourselves to economic, energy, environmental, or national security.
He would have spoken the word to which no American politician dares give voice - SACRIFICE.
He would have told Americans that our choice is not "to drill or not to drill". The choice before us is whether we are going to continue on the path we have been on for more than a century. A path that has led us to this precarious place in terms of not only our economic and strategic security, but also our environmental and ecological security.
The clock, as they, say is ticking and, thus far, very few Americans have showed any real signs that they grasp what's actually at stake.
I see and hear it all the time, from Costa Rica to Cape Cod. More and more people are talking "green" but they aren't walking "green" - not by a long shot.
Most Americans, regardless of party affiliation or political ideology, are living proof of NY Times columnist Tom Friedman's assertion in his compelling book, "Hot, Flat, and Crowded", that people are for more interested in a "green party" than they are a genuine "green revolution".
Being "green" is all the rage. It's the new cause celebre in America, but not much else.
That's truly tragic because we are running out of time, quicker than most people realize, to, as Friedman put it in "Hot, Flat, and Crowded", "...manage the unavoidable and avoid the unmanageable..." in terms of both climate change and global biodiversity loss.
As the disaster in the Gulf continues to wreak its havoc, perhaps one positive to come out of it will be an awakening, a true awakening, especially among those who claim to care about all things green, that the time has come for a genuine "green revolution", not just a hip and trendy "green party".
However, with past often being prologue, I, sadly, am not holding my breath.
Friday, May 7, 2010
We're going to be talking about the "new media" and tossing a few tables around the studio. OK, that second part might be an exaggeration ...
It's at 9 a.m. on Comcast cable channel 10 and will stream live on PortMedia's website (and will be taped for re-broadcast throughout the week).
I'm sure it will be a hoot. Our meeting a couple of weeks ago certainly was ...
Both of the cars were left unlocked. This is something I'm guilty of myself, but then, I have no portable electronic devices that I carry around with me.
The second person told me yesterday that when she called the police, they told her she was the third person that day who had called in such a report. She lives on Lime St.
Which is kind of funny, in a small way, because earlier yesterday, a native was telling me that people used to call Lime St. "Slime St."
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
As I did so, I couldn't help but think if Carroll were alive today, the movement known as the "Tea Partiers" would no doubt serve as inspiration for another sequel to those classic works of political and social satire.
After all, today's Tea Partiers, much like the denizens of Carroll's rabbit hole, live in a parallel universe behind a political looking glass that is as much fantasy and fiction as anything Alice encountered on her journey through "Wonderland."
Let's take a look at just how distorted the Tea Partiers' "behind the looking glass" thinking really is.
Of course to do so begs the question, "Where to begin?"
Let's start with the "Birther" conspiracy. You know, the one many Tea Partiers still cling to that says Barack Obama is an illegitimate president because he was born in Kenya, not Hawaii, and his presidency is the direct result of an international plot hatched on the day Obama was born in some far off, Muslim land by Osama bin Laden's grandfather, or some other evil and nefarious Islamic potentate.
I do believe Bill Hudak, the Tea Party's candidate for congress here in the 6th, is a big subscriber to some variation of that meme.
I have little doubt if today's Tea Partiers had been alive in the 1930's they would have believed, and revered, the Detroit based, nationally syndicated, Nazi apologist, anti-Semitic, Catholic priest, radio shock jock, by the name of Father Coughlin, who revved up that era's Tea Partiers with bogus claims FDR's real name was "Rosenfeld," and that he was an agent of Jewish, Socialist, bankers in Europe determined to destroy America and her capitalist and Christian traditions.
Anyway, on to the next "through the looking glass" Tea Party delusion.
Let's see. How about them there "death panels" Sarah Palin got the Tea Partiers all fired up about?
The Carrollesque irony in Palin's "death panels" meme is the concept that led Palin to lie to her followers and tell them health care reform would result in Obama appointed bureaucrats deciding whether to euthanize or spare little Trig Palin, not to mention Nana and Grandpa, actually has its origins in the fundamentalist Christian administration of George Walker Bush.
The "death panel" meme is the direct result of efforts by both the Bush and Obama administrations to make important "end of life" legal and medical planning something for which Medicare would pay. GW Bush saw it as important for lower income seniors who might not have the financial means to pay for such services out of pocket .
But in the parallel, "behind the looking glass", universe of Sister Sarah Palin and her Tea Party groupies, that benevolent policy aim mutated into an attempt by Obama to carry out an American Holocaust.
Oh, and lest I forget. How about Sister Sarah's Minnesota twin, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, exhorting her own Tea Party groupies to break the law and not fill out the Census because it was all part of a plan to identify critics of Obama so they could be later rounded up and placed in domestic versions of Guantanamo where God only knows what horrific fate would await them.
Funny thing though, once Bachmann realized if Minnesotans did not fill out their Census forms her own congressional district, and hence her job, might be eliminated; filling out the Census became a patriotic, almost sacred, duty for her Tea Party constituents to fulfill.
The list of such Tea Party and Palinesque "behind the looking glass" lunacy just goes on and on. It might all be funny if the implications for the nation, perhaps even the world, were not so frightening if people who believe such things, like Bill Hudak here in the 6th, actually obtain real political power in the coming election cycle.
I can assure any and everyone reading this the world is watching, and many people around the globe are aghast that people like Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and a movement like the Tea Party, seem, at least on the surface, to be the driving forces in American politics today.
We in Gloucester and Newburyport may not be able to do much about what will unfold on the national scene come next November, but we sure as heck can do something about what will happen here. We can make sure John Tierney, as long as the Republicans can't or won't field a better, more viable candidate than a Tea Party conspiracy theorist like Bill Hudak, is returned to Washington to represent the 6th district for another two years.
Not to do so is so unacceptable that it, truly, borders on the unpatriotic.
For years, I listened to Mr. Harwell doing the play-by-play for the Detroit Tigers, on the radio. He was the voice of the Tigers for 42 years, so I guess I was a listener for most of them ... in my car, at work ...
One time my sister and I were driving back from Michigan, and we were able to pick up a baseball game on the car radio around the call letters of WJR (the "Great Voice of the Great Lakes"). I think we were in PA. We knew it was a Tigers game because we recognized the voice immediately.
Here's a video from ESPN.
Ernie died yesterday at the age of 92 - a good run.
As you I'm sure all know, the City Council has to approve a site, but not a plan (as in, they don't get to say "I want option 1, or option 1A"). There is a deadline to all this planning and that deadline is May 15.
I'm writing a story about this garage for this week's Current so I'm not going to say a whole lot here.
But I will say that some $500,000 of taxpayer money has been spent on this already. That's how much the site study cost (or that's the last figure I had).
It kind of boggles the mind, doesn't it?
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
And accepting it.
Nobody but me seems to think that my website being hacked is a big deal. Someone wrote to me about how common it is, and how often people don't even know their site has been hacked. I certainly would not have noticed, on my own.
Then I think of sites such as Facebook, which frequently does not work for whatever reason. People get their accounts hacked on there all the time, yet everyone goes back (including me).
A while ago, a friend of mine was so horrified that her account had been hacked and she had inadvertently infected her "friends" that she canceled her account. Now I see that she is back.
What does this all mean?
I stopped doing online banking a while ago (that's what it means to me). There is nothing on this laptop that would be of interest to any hacker, unless they were looking for news stories about Newburyport, or perhaps looking for some fairly bad attempts at memoir writing.
Nobody seems to particularly care that going onto Newburyport Business could potentially lead to bad things (there is no malware on the site itself, but the site has been hacked and points readers to another site that logic would tell you is not safe).
Someone said the other day that they ignore virus warnings when going on a site, including Newburyport Business. A couple of other people said they also ignored the warnings.
Well, all I can say is, I was the person most on there, and I don't seem to have picked up anything - but that does not mean that someone else did not, or could not. I take that seriously.
Then again I say, I have nothing of interest to a hacker.
Monday, May 3, 2010
They were out of gallon jugs of water. NECN is reporting that the water down there south of us is still not safe for drinking or cooking.
Heck, people, my mother and sister/brother-in-law go through this every year in Gloucester. Boil order, boil order, boil order.
I suggest that these people boil their water and stop coming here to buy up our jugs of water! We've got our own problems. Geesh.
Dunkin' Donuts - oh, no! say it ain't so - and other purveyors of coffee had to close, as some other businesses also have no water to wash lettuce, make ice, etc. On the other hand, businesses that make ice are doing quite well.
* I am hobbling because I fell down a hill at the community garden yesterday morning and sprained my left knee. The knee is about the size of a grapefruit. Good thing I don't have to depress a pedal in my car to engage a clutch, huh? You know what comes next ... "Oh, wait ..."