Friday, August 27, 2010

They're not off the hook, yet!

OK, so I heard about this story via someone who lives in Rowley, and then we all called it up on an iTouch, and it is all so ... er, fishy?

The woman in question slugged her chum with some chum, apparently, going, as one person put it, "From fishwivery to floundering."

The woman will be appearing in the dock (in maritime court, the same person asked?) to answer for slapping her gal pal with a (frozen) piece of fish.

Alexa R. Kovach, 28, 31 Pleasant St., Rowley, and Donna L. St. Pierre, 54, 37 Summer St., Rowley, were issued summonses Saturday at 3:14 p.m. on a charge of assault and battery. Kovach was also charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon — a frozen fish filet — which Kovach used to hit St. Pierre, according to Rowley police Chief Robert Barker.

What we want to know is, how much more fish does it take before it becomes a deadly weapon?

Asked if he ever heard of anyone using a frozen fish filet as a dangerous weapon, Barker said: "Actually, I have not."

I have to say - Rowley hasn't given me much fodder for fun in a while, so it's nice to know that things are still on an even keel down there - and, of course, that the scales of justice are intact in our neighboring town.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Yikes! Correction to post on NH

So ... I kinda stopped at a Dunkin' Donuts here in Newburyport today and found out that the cost of an iced latte went up, apparently.

NH is cheaper.

So sorry, NH.

Shame on me for not doing my research.

Kerble to be interviewed on PortMedia

Dr. Marc J. Kerble, the new Superintendent of Newburyport Public Schools, will appear in an interview on the town’s community access channel PortMedia.

The program will air on public channel 10 in Newburyport at the following times:

· Friday, August 20, 6:30 p.m.

· Saturday, August 21, 1:30 p.m.

· Sunday, August 22, 11:30 a.m.

· Monday, August 23, 9:30 a.m.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Spending time in NH

So ... I've been spending a significant amount of time in New Hampshire recently.

In the course of my travels, I stopped in at a Dunkin' Donuts.

Huh? My iced latte is more expensive than it is in MA?

It was only pennies, but you get a few hundred thousand people and ... well, you do the math. I'm not sure about why (I asked, but of course the clerk had no clue). Perhaps because it was a location that is on the way to Hampton Beach.

On the bright side, I can still get cigs for $2 less a pack than they are here in MA ... but do I have to report supporting my bad habit to the MA Dept. of Revenue?

Did people enjoy the sales tax holiday?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I guess it's just what we needed

This story was in today's Washington Post.

Fans of John P. Marquand should be happy. And Richard Simkins, owner of The Grog ... and the Maritime Museum ...

Nice piece.

Your weekly dose by Michael Cook

As I read Daniel Potoki's recent column in the Daily News celebrating the success he and his friends believe they achieved by gathering in support of the Fire House Center's production of "The Laramie Project" in opposition to what people feared would be an appearance by members of the cult led by Fred Phelps, known as the Westboro Baptist Church, all I could think was, "Mr. Potoki must be very young."

As much as I abhor all that Phelps and his cult stand for, well meaning people like Mr. Potoki played right into Fred Phelps' hands.

The Westboro Baptist Church is a fringe group, even within the most anti-gay elements of the fundamentalist Right.

The fact Phelps and his cultists have picketed the funerals of brave young Americans who have died in our misguided wars in Iraq and Afghanistan because Phelps believes America has become too accepting of gay people, sent even the most anti-gay bigots within the Religious Right into retreat.

They understood the wacky tactics of Fred Phelps and his followers undermined their equally bigoted, anti-gay agenda.

This is all rather ironic for me.

I'm a fifty three year old gay man who came out of the closet long before doing so was either safe or fashionable.

In the 1990's, as the director of AIDS services at a large, regional non-profit organization, I frequently found myself engaged in bizarre political battles that were as much about "morality" as they were sound public health policy.

Those battles, on two different occasions, resulted in me receiving death threats, one of which was deemed so credible my former boss actually asked me to leave Gloucester and my home for a few days until the authorities could determine the true nature of the threat.

One threat, because it came through the mail postmarked Connecticut, required the Gloucester police to actually contact the FBI.

Those years and those battles taught me a lot.

The first lesson was, "You never back down from a bunch of bullies and bigots. If you do, they will ride rough shod over you for ever."

But another lesson learned, and one perhaps even more important than the one above, was to always pick your battles carefully.

Three summers ago I was living in Provincetown when Fred Phelps and his cult members decided to descend upon America's "gay hometown" in all their bigoted splendor.

When the news of their coming broke, community leaders, activists, and ordinary citizens came together to discuss how best to respond.

Amid the voicing of many opinions, in ways that were often heated and passionate, a consensus emerged that the best way to handle Fred Phelps and his cult followers was to just ignore them.

Word went out throughout the community to do just that.

The cultists arrived, took their appointed place on the green across from Town Hall on Bradford Street, were subsequently ignored and, within a day, they were gone.

Fred Phelps and his followers thrive on attention, publicity, and confrontation. They depend on it to maintain the illusion that they are some kind of legitimate force with which to be reckoned.

Ironically, with no doubt the best of intentions, the Daily News, the Current, the young people who gathered in a show of support and solidarity with gay men and lesbians at the Firehouse, and Mr. Potoki with his column, gave Fred Phelps much more attention and "air time" than he could ever have received if those same people had simply followed Provincetown's example and treated Phelps and his followers as they should always be treated - as people to be ignored and pitied rather than people to be confronted, feared, or rewarded with free publicity they do not deserve.

Now, I sincerely appreciate the show of support for gay people the demonstrators displayed, and I was moved that so many young people would take the time to stand in opposition to the kind of bigotry and hatred espoused by the likes of Fred Phelps and his followers.

But I would urge all those good people, especially those young people, if you truly do care about the rights and equality of gay men and women, to be sure you are registered to vote and that you do vote in November.

Here's why.

The Republican/Tea Party candidate running against John Tierney in the 6th Congressional District race, Bill Hudak, has publicly stated, and had posted on his website, that issues pertaining to people's civil rights should be put to popular votes.

He, of course, was referring to the issue of marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples, but such a stand also reveals a lot about how Mr. Hudak feels about civil rights in general, and it is a troubling stand indeed.

In addition, the GOP candidate for governor, Charlie Baker, has come out publicly in opposition to legislation at the State House that would make it illegal to discriminate against transgendered people, much as it is now illegal to discriminate based on a person's race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or because of a disability.

Ironically, when Charlie Baker was CEO of one of the state's largest health insurance providers, he supported and implemented just such an anti-discrimination policy in that organization. But today as a candidate, no doubt trying to woo what I call the "New Right/Tea Party" crowd that has emerged within the GOP, Charlie Baker has endorsed allowing public discrimination against transgendered people to continue with his opposition to a bill that seeks to do for all transgendered people in Massachusetts what Charlie Baker once did for his transgendered employees.

Go figure.

Anyway, this essay was not meant to, in any way, disparage the efforts of those people who gathered to offset the bigotry promoted by the likes of Fred Phelps and others on the American Right.

But it was meant to urge those same people to pick their fights carefully, and one way to do that, and not just in relation to gay rights, is to pay close attention to the stands and positions being put forth by those who are seeking real political power in our state and in this country today.

Educating yourselves about those matters, when all is said and done, is far more important than standing up to a fringe figure like Fred Phelps and his cultists who, in the bigger scheme of things, really are more to be pitied and ignored than they are feared or confronted.

Michael Cook
PV de Limon, Costa Rica
formerly of Nbpt

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Mayor sets policy for paying legal bills

Mayor Donna Holaday last night sent notification to the City Council of her policy on paying legal bills because of the current "disconnect" in paying these bills.

All legal bills will now be received and time stamped by the Mayor's Office and will be entered into a new database ... bills will be tracked, as will the checks issued by the departments ... after two weeks, if no payment has been received by Kopelman & Paige (the city solicitor), the database will identify the check as delinquent.

"The goal of this policy is that it will create synergy among the departments required to participate in the payment process. It will also create accountability and will give the Mayor's Office the ability to quickly and easily identify."

(There was no reporter from the Daily News at last night's City Council meeting. What else do you want to know about?)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Twenty-six minutes!

That's how long the City Council took to come to a vote on dog poop. Twenty-six minutes.

The long and short of it is that they reduced the fines to $50, $75 & $100 from whatever they had originally proposed.

And then the discussion started about the part in the ordinance that says you can't dump your doggie's dump into a public barrel.

Twenty-six minutes later they decided to drop all language about where to dump the waste - because it kinda ruins the whole tourist vibe if you're forced to take doggie doo-doo home with you when you leave our fair city - and that was that.

As Councillor Barry Connell noted, the Council only took about 4 minutes to discuss a bond order of $18,500,000 for improvements to the water processing plant.

Ah, well ... I still get to step in poop because no one is going to enforce this out here on the island.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I've been out of touch

Hey there, my cat is gone, my mother is in the hospital (same week as cat disappeared) and in general I'm out of touch.

Of course, I always WAS somewhat out of touch anyway ...

But thank you all for your concern!

And hey, if I recall correctly, there were some legal bills that came floating in at the last moment at the end of FY09 ... from the mayor's office. It has happened before, and I'm sure it will happen again.

Let's not bicker and argue and who killed who.