Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Best Letter Ever

At first blush, this letter to the editor of the Telegram and Gazette is a tour-de-force of senile induced stream of consciousness. But then I looked up some of the stuff the old man wrote about, and I'll be damned if his memory isn't pretty good:
I watched the football game between the New England Patriots and the Dallas Cowboys. The Patriots beat the Cowboys. Good. I noticed a lineman on the Dallas Cowboys whose name was Jolly. I haven't seen that name around in ages. When I first followed big league baseball back in 1932, the Boston Red Sox had an outfielder whose name was Smeed Jolly.

The centerfielder was Dusty Rhodes and the other fielder was Suitcase Seeds. The New York Giants had a pitcher whose name was Fat Freddy Fitzsimmons.

Then World War II came along and I went to war and forgot about Fat Freddy. I think the three years I spent in the Navy in World War II were three of the best years of my life.
Before I get into the facts, I hope you take a moment to appreciate what you've just read.


Looks like there was a Red Sox outfielder named Smead Jolley in 1932. Dusty Rhodes wasn't an outfielder, but rather a pitcher on that 1932 team (there was an outfielder named Dusty on the 1933 Sox). Still, that's pretty good recall after 75 years. And while "Suitcase Bob" Seeds wasn't on that team, he did play with the 1933 team. Fat Freddy Fitzsimmons had a long and successful career.

I've got to give the letter writer credit. Not only did he find some way to get from the 2007 Patriots to the 1932 Red Sox and back to World War II in a matter of three paragraphs, he essentially got his facts right as well.

Previous T&G Letters to the Editor:
In God we trust, in e-mails we don't
"suspiciously left-wing"
T&G Readers are off their meds again
"I like Jasmine Guy"
BREAKING: Election fraud in Auburn
"The sting of unboozed Democrats"
"Why is Mitt Romney ashamed of Massachusetts?"
"hot condiments cause them to be...interested in sex"
Disgust with that nasty Francona grows
It's that dirty Francona's fault
T&G reader takes on terrorism
Worcester: the San Diego of the East
Is State Senator Barrios a Bush Crony
Rem-Dawg Debate Rages in Worcester
Jerry Remy has "lost all touch with reality"


Thursday, December 13, 2007


Nine inches of snow here in Sterling. Looks like Matt Noyes at NECN won today's prize. He had us in the 8-12" range. Every other local news meteorologist had us under 8".

Oh, and it only took 40 minutes to get home from Marlboro this afternoon. I don't know what the big deal was with today's commute.


Woman urns trip to court

This has to be one of the top ten stories of the year. According to the Telegram and Gazette, a woman broke into her stepfather's house, stole her late mother's ashes from his mantle, and took them on a Caribbean cruise. Now she faces a court date:
EAST BROOKFIELD-- A former Warren resident charged with stealing her mother's cremated remains from her stepfather's home and scattering them on a beach in Aruba turned down a plea agreement yesterday in Western Worcester District Court.

Elena M. Day, 35, of Palmer was charged with receiving stolen property and breaking and entering after her stepfather reported that his wife's remains were missing, and what appeared to be cat box filler and fireplace ashes placed inside the urn he kept at his Main Street home.
OK, so far nothing too special, although the kitty litter is a nice touch. But the story really gets interesting as we find out what evidence the police found.
During his investigation, Officer Chase wrote, he obtained a copy of a DVD with the title "Travel Log of Her Ashes, Memorialized, Judith A. Heier Mann, Her Final Resting Place."

In his report, he wrote that the video, which is just over 10 minutes long, also has a segment called "The Stops Along the Way" and lists Carnival Destiny, San Juan, St. Thomas, Dominica, Barbados and Aruba.

The video also allegedly shows Ms. Day scattering ashes on a beach described as "Mamok Beach" and ends with a picture of a map marked with an "X."
So the woman took a vacation video of her dead mother's ashes as she cruised the Caribbean? I wonder if she also got those commemorative photos the cruise line sells at each port. Perhaps she came back with a collection of pictures of her, the urn, and a Rastafarian. Or even better, maybe the waitstaff carried the urn around the banquet hall when they did their little song and dance number on formal night. The possibilities are endless.

Oh, and as though the story needed any more, the reporter checked in with someone in the death business to get some ideas of ways this conflict could be avoided:
Susan C. Fraser, executive director and founder of In the Light Urns in Three Rivers, Calif., suggests that one should be sure a trusted family member knows the person's funeral wishes...

Mrs. Fraser said her company sells more "keepsakes" than urns. The keepsakes are a sort of miniature urn, sometimes in the form of a necklace, rosary or key chain. They are filled with a small amount of the ashes and can be carried or worn as a remembrance.
Nice idea, but it's hard to get good video of a key chain.


Friday, December 7, 2007

Lancaster's Cat Lady and the Lord of the Flies

Apparently, Lancaster has it's own version of Boston's Cat Lady. But not only do she and her boyfriend have cats running roughshod over their home and reportedly "decomposing" in their yard, they also have an interesting take on vegetarianism:

The Board of Health is prepared to bring a local homeowner to court if she does not comply with an order to clean up her Vincent Avenue house in nine days.

Board chair Robert Baylis said that if Claudia Ezinicki and boyfriend John Bottomly do not clean up the 50 Vincent Ave. home within the set time limit, the board will file a lawsuit with the Worcester housing court....

While the board found the pair's 17 cats -- which Ezinicki rescued from the streets of Boston, according to Bottomly -- in good condition, they had concerns with flies in the house.

Bottomly said that the problem has been resolved, even though he is not happy about it.

"We're strict vegetarians. We don't like to kill flies," Bottomly said.

Hey Mr. Bottomly, no one said you have to eat the flies.

All of the stomach-turning details are chronicled in the Sentinel and Enterprise.


Not fit for office

John McCain: "We need to have Curt Schilling as president of the President's Council on Fitness."

Does this guy look like the poster boy for fitness?


Thursday, December 6, 2007

What did the teacher think would happen?

Free advice from me: if you're a gym teacher (or any teacher, for that matter) don't put dodgeball on the curriculum for a bunch of high school boys:
SOUTHBRIDGE -- A 19-year-old man was arraigned yesterday on allegations he was unruly during a game of dodgeball during gym class at Southbridge High School.

Jose L. Belfort, 19, 658 Main St., first floor, was removed from the school in handcuffs just before 1 p.m. yesterday He was charged with creating a school disturbance, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace...

According to a police report, a group of out-of-control young men in the class did not want to behave and were throwing the ball at the gym teacher.
We got mad at our gym teacher once when I was in high school. He made a terrible call while we were playing softball and a bunch of us surrounded him and kicked dirt on him like a major league manager would. It was pretty funny, and none of us got arrested. I'd hope we wouldn't have pelted him with dodge balls if that had been the activity of the day, but I'm not so sure about that.

Mitt muffs the easy religion question

Much of the discussion over the next couple of days about Mitt Romney's religious experience will center on his speech this morning. But just as telling--if not more so, since it wasn't a scripted message--is Romney's complete inability and/or unwillingness to answer the simplest question about Mormonism: how does your religion differ in its teachings from other religions.

I'm stunned at his non-answer. I understand that he doesn't want to be defined by his religious beliefs, but he completely uncomfortable by the question. He acts like he is hiding something. Is he afraid that by articulating what Mormons believe, people will find him weird or out of the mainstream? Or is he unable to articulate the central tenets of his religion, which would suggest that he is not as committed as he would like us to believe.

As the children's' song goes, "Hide it under a bushel? No. I'm going to let it shine!" Romney should take the advice and shine some light on what he believes.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Globe no different than Romney in exploiting illegal immigrants

Mitt Romney has exploited the illegal immigration issue to the hilt in his run for the presidency, so it's particularly rich that he has been caught--again--contracting with a lawn care company that employs these undocumented workers.

But just because the Globe caught his hypocrisy for the second time doesn't make their reporting efforts justified. Frankly, I don't see much difference between Romney using a immigrants as a pawn to get elected, and the Globe using immigrants as a vehicle to play gotcha with the former governor. Both are wrong.

Romney is fair game to be aggressively investigated on the issue, no doubt about it. But when the Globe's reporters follow the workers home, name them as sources and provide details of their lives in Massachusetts, they are putting these men at some risk. And to what end? Is that a trade that the Globe and it's reporters are willing to make?

Apparently so. If asked, the reporters and editors would probably say that they don't have any obligation to protect these sources if they have consented to go on the record, and that is undoubtedly true. But outing illegal immigrants in an effort to prove Romney a liar confirms that the Globe is just as willing to use these human beings as pawns in their plan as Romney is.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Bet this wouldn't happen to Tedy

So, you know how you call ahead to your local pizza parlor to order your meal, so it will be ready for you to eat when you arrive?

Apparently the crew at Papa Gino's in Leominster has never heard of such a thing. We called ahead for our pizza Saturday night, got to the restaurant 10 minutes later, and then watched while a parade of patrons who ordered their pizzas in person after we arrived were called to pick up their pies.

Then, once our pizza finally came out of the oven, they boxed it to go. I guess they figured that since it was a phone order it must be to go.

I'll bet Tedy Bruschi never has to wait 40 minutes for a pizza. And I imagine when he calls, he gets what he wants when he wants it.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Massachusetts should have waited on the primary

As expected, Governor Deval Patrick earlier this week signed the bill moving our presidential primary from the first Tuesday in March to February 5. February 5 is the date that many other large states--including New York, California, Florida--are holding their primaries. Many observers expect that the primaries will essentially be over after the fifth.

That was the idea behind Massachusetts moving up; state leaders were afraid that the nominees would have already been chosen by the time came for us to vote, and by moving to February, Massachusetts would have more of a say in the primary process.

I think moving the primary up was a mistake. I don't believe the commonwealth will have more power in the nominating process and I don't think candidates will spend any more money or time in the state in an effort to woo voters.

We already get as much coverage, commercials, and information about the candidates as anyone else in the country, seeing as the Boston media is the largest player in New Hampshire. Most candidates have already started blanketing the Boston stations with their ads, the city's news organizations devote significant resources to the New Hampshire primary, and candidates heading to the Granite State frequently stop in Boston to tap into the coffers of wealthy Democrats. None of that will change with a February election. And with other delegate-rich states up for grabs on the same day, I would expect candidates to concentrate their efforts in areas where the voters haven't already been engaged.

However, if the nominations weren't wrapped up on February 5, those states who hold later primaries will be in the position of king-maker. Let's say that on February 5, Hillary Clinton wins the east and west coasts, Barack Obama ekes out victories in the Midwest, and John Edwards pulls out a state or two in the South. Suddenly, instead of having a clear-cut nominee, you have two strong candidates that still need a few hundred delegates to go over the top. (The same thing could happen on the Republican side, too).

By holding on to their March date, the commonwealth could have set themselves up to be the most important constituency of the nominating process. Sure, the risk is that our votes would mean nothing, but it seems to me that in this, of all election cycles, the risk would be worth the potential reward.

Instead, we follow along with everyone else, and ensure that our influence will be diluted.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mitt's "Sanctuary Mansion" and other thoughts on tonight's GOP debate, Part 2

All right, here comes the second half of the debate, (part one is here) started by a crazy gun nut.
  • Speaking as someone else from a small town, I don't have any affinity at all for guns.

  • The whole gun thing is weird to me. This guy is asking about an old Giuliani quote suggesting that gun owners should have to take a test. Here's the thing I find fascinating. Many Republicans who would be against a "test" to own a firearm would, in some cases, be the same people who would be in favor of similar restrictions on voting rights.

  • Mitt Romney: The way to fix the problems of the inner city are to get "more moms and dads." Oh brother! What a naive gas bag. Would Romney be willing to allow the illegal immigrant mothers and fathers of American citizens to stay? That would keep more moms and dads in the inner city.

  • Giuliani is really in a rough spot with the gun control laws and abortion questions.

  • Huckabee is so good. I'm telling you, he could almost convince me that the Death Penalty is OK. He can't, but he's a very attractive candidate.

  • Oh geez, and now they ask Giuliani about the Bible. Could he be any more uncomfortable?

  • Why can't Mitt Romney answer a simple question about whether or not he believes the Bible is literal or not? Any time he is asked a yes or no question, you can see that he just dies inside.

  • Huckabee, on the other hand, hit the question out of the park. What a contrast. Where it was obvious that Romney and Giuliani were scared to death of answering incorrectly, Huckabee is obviously so comfortable with the topic (as an ordained minister) that he could say that parts of the Bible were allegorical and you knew he meant it, and believed it.

  • Funny stuff from Giuliani. King Kong and less snow. Nice.

  • This woman is dressed like a Muslim and has an Arabic sounding name, but she keeps saying "eye-rack" instead if "ee-rock". She sounds more like George Bush Sr. than someone of Middle Eastern descent.

  • What a bunch of war-mongers. McCain can't have it both ways. Saying he's in favor of the war and the surge, but that he's against Rumsfeld won't fly as well as he thinks it will.

  • Andrew Jones of Seattle, WA has the American flag backwards in his video. I wonder if he realizes he's being unpatriotic.

  • Oh, there goes Romney again, explaining why he won't answer a question. This thing about not wanting to answer about waterboarding because he doesn't think a president should tip his hand about what interrogation techniques is baloney. He doesn't want to answer because he doesn't want to be pinned down by his opponents.

  • Good for McCain for skewering Romney on his wishy-washiness. Either you're for torture or you're an American.

  • Thompson is just a taller older Mitt Romney. He doesn't stand for anything either.

  • Well, I guess it took me about 95 minutes to be totally fed up with these guys. I should get a medal for my patience.

  • I give McCain credit. I think he's a true believer. I think he's wrong, but I think he is genuinely committed, unlike President Bush, who goes along to get along.

  • Thompson wants a powerful VP because if elected, he plans on napping frequently.

  • Have you heard that Duncan Hunter built a fence?

  • What an uncomfortable round of applause for the gay man. I wonder how many people in the room are seeing an openly gay man for the first time.

  • So let me get this straight, political conservatives shouldn't be forced to fight along side gays?

  • And there goes Mitt dodging again. Either you stand by your support of gays in the military, or you no longer support it. This "I'm going to do what the military leaders tell me to do" is both disingenuous and dangerous. It's disingenuous because he's obviously just trying to avoid answering (for good reason, either he's a flip-flopper or a liberal based on his answer). It's dangerous because the president is the civilian in charge of the armed forces, not the other way around. He is elected to tell the military what to do, not to take orders from them. If we wanted to take orders from generals, we would have set this country up as a military dictatorship.

  • No Rudy, Blacks don't vote for Republicans because they know that 1/3 of you hate them and wish the Confederacy had won.
And my tape has run out. Guess the debate ran a little long.

Winners and Losers? I'd say the Huckabee train continues to pick up speed. He was really good. I think he connects with voters and comes across as a leader. Giuliani and McCain were OK, although Rudy had a rough when the subject turned to guns, abortion, and the Bible. Romney had a really bad night, to the point that he was being booed and heckled after the 14th time he refused to give a straight answer. Thompson was also a disappointment.


Mitt's "Sanctuary Mansion" and other thoughts on tonight's GOP debate, Part 1

You're looking not quite live at...well, I'm not exactly sure where they're at, but it doesn't really matter since the questions are all coming via YouTube. It's the Republicans' turn, and you just know they're terrified of being the one to get the question from the snowman. And away we go...
  • They're in St. Petersburg, Florida, FWIW.

  • I would not have figured that big guy would have that little squeaky voice, although I hear that's not too unusual for Florida's Republicans.

  • Did Duncan Hunter just say "Thanks Dad?"

  • Governor Crist just called the Colorado rep "Tom Cantredo."

  • OK, enough of this stuff, let's get on with it.
  • Chuck Norris in the house.

  • Oh Dear God, here we go. A friggin' song? This is worse than that awful Terry Cashman stuff they insist on singing at Fenway whenever the Red Sox have a ceremony. I'm embarrassed for these guys.

  • Can you really "deploy a fence," Rudy? How do you do that?

  • Mitt Romney owns a "sanctuary mansion." Nice line. That is the way to go after Mitt. Get him riled up. That's exactly what Ted Kennedy did when Romney started to challenge him in 1994. Get him red-faced and let him implode. Good start for Rudy.

  • I wonder how many Canadians really want to come here right now. If I lived in Canada, I'm not sure what America holds at this moment in history that would be more attractive than the great white North.

  • The idea of cutting off federal money for sanctuary cities is more bluster than anything else. How much federal money actually goes directly to American cities?

  • Good grief, who is the Hank Williams, Jr. wannabe?

  • Tom Tancredo: "I'm not going to aid any more immigration into this country."

  • Sigh. Duncan Hunter continues to claim "I built that fence." If it's the last thing I do, I'm going to find a picture of Duncan Hunter building that damn fence.

  • Mike Huckabee gave an excellent answer on education for children. Romney seems like a grinch in comparison. I think Huckabee won the day.

  • Unbelievable. Ron Paul actually does believe in the North American Union. This guy gave him a softball where he could have proven that he isn't really a nutcase, and, well...he is really a nutcase.

  • Instead of sending bills full of pork back to congress, I wonder if Romney would rather send it to the Muslims he won't appoint to his cabinet. That'll show 'em.

  • Fred doesn't have the kind of specific answers that this questioner wants. He has no idea of three programs to cut.

  • These guys are serious about dumping the income tax. I'll go on the record right now as saying they'll never dump the income tax.

  • The US did not allow Hitler to come to power through isolationism. To blame WWII on the America First crowd as McCain did is an incredible distortion.

  • Looks like no one in Florida cares at all about farm subsidies. Those of us in Massachusetts don't either.

  • Oh good, here come the videos. And Tom Tancredo can't even string together a 30-second clip of his speeches without stammering and fumbling his words. He might be the least articulate candidate since Admiral Stockdale.

  • Duncan Hunter wants us to Buy American. Good Luck. I don't think there is any way we can go through a day without using anything from overseas. In fact, my shirt was made in Bangladesh, my slippers were made in China, my running pants are a product of Taiwan, and my underpants are from El Salvador. If I only went American, I'd be naked most of the time.

  • Fred Thompson's little video was an attack ad? Are you kidding me? The man clearly has no rationale for running. He has nothing to say.
It's been 55 minutes. I'll end the first round here. I'd say Huckabee and Giuliani are probably winning so far. Romney has been battered pretty hard and hasn't looked good. Thompson hasn't been very good either. More to come...


Maybe he'll come to Clinton, too

In Iowa Monday, my favorite presidential candidate said that if he's elected, he'll spend the night with "average Americans" as he travels around the country.

Maybe he can follow the lead of the last president to do that very thing, and come to Clinton. Better yet, if he comes to Sterling, he can stay with us.

(via TPM Election Central)


Monday, November 19, 2007

Now this is a political ad

Best ad of the year, courtesy of the Mike Huckabee campaign.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

NFL Picks -- Week 11

For entertainment purposes only. Picks are against the spread, straight up winners are in bold.

Green Bay (-9.5) over Carolina
Minnesota (-4.5) over Oakland
Jacksonville (-3) over San Diego
Cincinnati (-3) over Arizona
Indianapolis (-14.5 ) over Kansas City
New Orleans (+1.5) over Houston
Detroit (+3) over N.Y. Giants
Cleveland (-3) over Baltimore
Miami (+9.5) over Philadelphia
Tampa Bay (-3) over Atlanta
N.Y. Jets (+9.5) over Pittsburgh
Seattle (-5.5) over Chicago
Dallas (-11) over Washington
San Francisco (+3) over St. Louis
Buffalo (+16) over New England
Denver (-2) over Tennessee

Against the Spread
LAST WEEK   5- 8- 1   .393
SEASON 64-71- 9 .476
THIS WEEK 0- 0- 0 .000
SEASON 64-71- 9 .476
Straight Up
LAST WEEK   5- 9      .357
SEASON 94-50 .653
THIS WEEK 0- 0 .000
SEASON 94-50 .653

Friday, November 16, 2007

Governor Patrick goes too far on casino bill

I haven't completely decided whether or not I think casino gambling in Massachusetts is a great idea. I tend to think that opening one or more casinos would probably be in the state's best interest--that the rewards would outweigh the risks--but it's possible that someone might talk me out of it.

But regardless of my soft support for the concept of casinos, I cannot support Governor Patrick's version of the bill. The part of the bill that puts me over the edge--and the part that should worry both gamblers and non-gamblers alike--is this little tidbit the Globe uncovered earlier this week:
Even as Governor Deval Patrick seeks to license three resort casinos in Massachusetts, he hopes to clamp down on the explosion in Internet gambling by making it illegal for state residents to place a bet on line. He has proposed jail terms of up to two years and $25,000 fines for violators.

The provision, buried deep in Patrick's bill to allow three casinos to the state, puts the governor at odds with a fellow Democrat: US Representative Barney Frank, the sponsor of federal legislation to license and regulate online gambling nationally. Yesterday Frank strongly criticized the governor's plan to punish online gamers while inviting casino operators to set up shop.

"Why is gambling in a casino OK and gambling on the Internet is not?" Frank said. "He's making a big mistake. He's giving opponents an argument against him."
He's also giving his supporters an argument against him. Many of the folks who would support the opening of casinos in the state also gamble online. I play poker online. Not a ton, but I have an account with a poker site and play five-dollar games and tournaments every once in a while. I'll be damned if I'm going to be fined or sent to jail because I want to play cards online.

But more than just the selfish argument that I don't want one of my forms of entertainment taken away, I don't want the government making those decisions for me. Congressman Frank is right. It is hypocritical and invasive for the state to decide that any behavior is OK if it is done in a state-sponsored venue, but illegal in the privacy of my own home. It would be like allowing smoking only in government buildings or state-sponsored smoke houses, but not in one's residence.

Patrick's proposal has led me and others like Harvey Silvergate to wonder if the governor's form of "liberalism" leaves "liberty" out of the equation:
Far from taking a pro-liberty position, it appears that Patrick’s support for casino development in this state is premised entirely on the real or imagined economic benefits – and specifically the taxes and other revenue the state would be pocketing, at least at the start, from introducing casinos....

This kind of unprincipled pragmatism – which rejects the necessity of certain liberties, like the liberty to engage in private gambling even in the shadow of glitzy, state-sponsored public gambling – gives the committed civil libertarian pause about how extensive Governor Patrick’s commitment to freedom is.
Governor Patrick should remove the online gambling prohibition from his casino proposal. Failing that, the legislature should either reject the proposal altogether, or pass their own version of a casino bill which protects individual liberties.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

"We need a collegeral collaboration." and other thoughts on tonights Democratic debate

You know, I wasn't going to blog tonight's democratic debate, but then Wolf Blitzer lied and said this was the first ever debate in Nevada (what about this one?), and Chris Dodd came out and appeared to have dyed his eyebrows gray (finally!) and I said "Who am I kidding, I'm going to sit here and snark anyway." So away we go...

  • Or not. Wolf is still talking. Michelle asks "Is Campbell Brown pregnant?" (Eight months so, apparently).

  • Hillary says she is wearing an asbestos suit. No one laughs. It wasn't that funny.

  • Why does the first question of every debate have to go to Hillary about whether or not she can be elected, and the second one go to Obama about why she can't. Do the networks actually think that they've come up with something new?

  • Michelle: "She looks really funny standing like that." I keep staring at Hillary to see what she's talking about. Michelle is talking about our dog.

  • Obama is not going to take this laying down. Someone in the audience is heckling Wolf for not letting the other candidates answer.

  • Apparently Biden has forgotten that his mic is open. Edwards just said that not everyone is perfect and Biden let out an "Oh, come on!" Does he mean that he (or one of the others) is perfect?

  • Wolf has absolutely no control over this discussion.

  • Fat man with an ugly tie, live on CNN.

  • Joe Biden looks really gray, and he won't shut up.

  • John Roberts is using the republican "you were for it before you were against it" line. He should be called on that.

  • John Edwards just can't stay on the attack. He's all over the place. Does he want to let Hillary have it, or does he want to talk about poverty. He started by talking about Hillary's inability to hold a position.

  • Michelle says Dodd looks like he had his eyebrows trimmed, but not dyed. They just look lighter because they aren't as thick.

  • People are going to take Richardson's exhortation to be positive as lead blocking for Hillary. Hillary's ready applause at the line doesn't change that perception.

  • Obama is fumbling his line about going after employers who hire undocumented immigrants. And now he's clearly uncomfortable defending his position in favor of drivers licenses for illegal immigrants. Twisting himself into a pretzel. He clearly knows it's an unpopular position.

  • Chris Dodd says we need "clarity" then he bloviates for 45 seconds before getting to his answer. That is example #1 why a senator hasn't been elected in forever.

  • Michelle has determined that Chris Dodd must have gone to the salon and had a complete makeover. He got his eyebrows trimmed and a "cool dude haircut." I wonder if he got a manicure and wax too. Actually, I wish I hadn't thought of that...

  • Richardson has put on a little weight. And yes, I'm totally not paying attention to anything these guys are saying. I'm listening enough to realize that no one has said anything new, however.

  • Hillary: "we need a collegeral collaboration." I don't believe collegeral is a word...

  • I disagree with the way Wolf has framed the "Is Human Rights more important than American Security?" But more than that, I can't believe that Dodd and Clinton have fallen into the security trap. Human Rights are obviously more important than Security. What is the point of security if we are sacrificing freedom and dignity for it? Security first is a George Bush position.

  • John Edwards just tried to dismiss Kucinich by calling him "cute." He is not connecting. He's not doing well at all.

  • Frankly, I don't think any of them are doing very well. Maybe I've just seen too many of these. No one is wowing me at all.

  • Hillary is going to impose a "trade time-out?" Is it a full time-out, or a 20-second timeout? Do we need to hire Supernanny to put trade in the time-out chair?

  • Obama is "opposed to South Korea." Wonder what they ever did to him.

  • Here is the problem with this and most debates: the reporters and moderators have all of these smart questions that they think they have to ask, so they cut off any real discussion to get to the next question. The whole group was about to get engaged about the issue of China trade after Joe Biden attacked the president, and Wolf Blitzer cut off the back and forth to go to John Roberts for a question about Yucca Mountain. Fine. But what is wrong with letting the candiadtes go and actually debate and challenge each other. I'd much rather hear them go at each other with some passion on the issues, than parry with the reporters.

  • "My opponents are not attacking me because I'm a woman, they're attacking me because I'm ahead." Probably the line of the night.

  • John Edwards gets booed as we go to the break. Seems apropos.

I'm done. If anything in the second half of the debate grabs me, I'll let you know.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mike Huckabee: Let's get it on

Mitt Romney decided to attack the one guy on the stump who is sharp enough and funny enough to give it right back, and Mike Huckabee did not disappoint:
Romney criticized Huckabee...for tuition breaks for children of illegal immigrants while governor of Arkansas. "Giving a better deal to the children of illegal aliens than we give to US citizens from surrounding states is simply not fair and not right..."

...Huckabee was more pointed in his response to Romney: "I guess Mitt Romney would rather keep people out of college so they can keep working on his lawn, since he had illegals there."
Zing! That's awesome.


It's been a crazy few weeks, with a business trip to Chicago, followed by a vacation to Louisville (and an afternoon at the RCA Dome to see the Patriots beat the Colts!), and then another business trip, this time to New York.

In other words, I've been neglecting the blog. I've made note of a handful of things that I wanted to write about, but I've been too busy to get to them, and the topics end up becoming stale by the time I get to them.

I know, cry me a river.

Anyway, here are a couple of pictures of our trip to Louisville...

This might just be the cutest picture I've ever seen.

nov 103
At the park.

nov 127
Feeding parakeets at the zoo.

nov 156 crop
Enjoying the evening.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

NFL Picks -- Week 10

For entertainment purposes only. Picks are against the spread, straight up winners are in bold.

Cleveland (+10) over Pittsburgh (W, 28-31)
Green Bay (-6) over Minnesota (W, 34-0)
Washington (-3) over Philadelphia (L, 25-33)
Tennessee (-4) over Jacksonville (L, 13-28)
Carolina (-3.5) over Atlanta (L, 13-20)
Kansas City (-3) over Denver (L, 11-27)
Buffalo (-3) over Miami (T, 13-10)
St. Louis (+10.5) over New Orleans (W, 37-29)
Baltimore (-3.5) over Cincinnati (L, 7-21)
Chicago (-3.5) over Oakland (W, 17-6)
N.Y. Giants (+1.5) over Dallas (L, 20-31)
Detroit (+1.5) over Arizona (L, 21-31)
Indianapolis (-3.5) over San Diego (L, 21-23)
Seattle (-9.5) over San Francisco (W, 24-0)

Against the Spread
LAST WEEK  10- 4- 0   .714
SEASON 59-63- 8 .485
THIS WEEK 5- 8- 1 .393
SEASON 64-71- 9 .476
Straight Up
THIS WEEK  11- 3      .786
SEASON 89-41 .685
THIS WEEK 5- 9 .357
SEASON 94-50 .653

Sunday, November 4, 2007

NFL Picks -- Week 9

For entertainment purposes only. Picks are against the spread, straight up winners are in bold.

Washington (-3.5) over N.Y. Jets (L, 23-20)
Green Bay (+2.5) over Kansas City (W, 33-22)
Tampa Bay (-3.5) over Arizona (W, 17-10)
Tennessee (-5.5) over Carolina (W, 20-7)
Atlanta (-3.5) over San Francisco (W, 20-16)
New Orleans (-3.5) over Jacksonville (W, 41-24)
Detroit (-3) over Denver (W, 44-7)
Buffalo (+1) over Cincinnati (W, 33-21)
Minnesota (+7) over San Diego (W, 35-17)
Cleveland (-1) over Seattle (W, 33-30)
Indianapolis (+5.5) over New England (W, 20-24)
Oakland (-3)
over Houston (L, 17-24)
Philadelphia (+3.5) over Dallas (L, 17-38)
Baltimore (+9) over Pittsburgh (L, 7-38)

Against the Spread
LAST WEEK   5- 8- 0   .385
SEASON 49-59- 8 .457
THIS WEEK 10- 4- 0 .714
SEASON 59-63- 8 .485
Straight Up
LAST WEEK   8- 5      .615
SEASON 78-38 .672
THIS WEEK 11- 3 .786
SEASON 89-41 .685

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Rule #1: Pay the babysitter

Rule #2: If the sitter shows up at your house at 4:30 in the morning to trash the place until you pay her, it's probably time for a new sitter:
CLINTON -- A 16-year-old girl faces several charges after allegedly starting a fracas around 4:30 a.m. Sunday because she believed she was owed back pay for babysitting.

The Clinton girl, whose name and address were not released by police because she is a minor, allegedly went to a Franklin Street home early Sunday and demanded the money. The amount was not listed in a police report.

She allegedly kicked in several windows of the house, and when she was refused the babysitting money, the teen allegedly started pushing and shoving a man and a woman. The man told police the teen attacked him. At one point, somebody pulled an electrical meter off the side of the house and the teen allegedly used it as a weapon, according to the police report.

Tires also were slashed, but it is unclear whose car received the damage.
I might have paid to see a crazed 16-year-old girl swinging an electrical meter around in the dark in a fit of rage. As long as she didn't slash my tires.

I hope the family had a baby cam. They might want to go back and look at the tape. They also might want to look into hiring a new sitter. And paying the girl on time.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

NFL Picks -- Week 8

For entertainment purposes only. Picks are against the spread, straight up winners are in bold.

Chicago (-5) over Detroit (L, 7-16)
Pittsburgh (-3.5) over Cincinnati (W, 24-13)
Indianapolis (-6.5) over Carolina (W, 31-7)
Tennessee (-7) over Oakland (L, 13-9)
Cleveland (-3) over St. Louis (W, 27-20)
Miami (+9.5) over N.Y. Giants (W, 10-13)
Minnesota (+1) over Philadelphia (L, 16-23)
N.Y. Jets (-3) over Buffalo (L, 3-13)
Houston (+9) over San Diego (L, 10-35)
Tampa Bay (-3.5) over Jacksonville (L, 23-24)
New Orleans (-2) over San Francisco (W, 31-10)
Washington (+16) over New England (L, 7-52)
Denver (-3) over Green Bay (L, 13-19)

Against the Spread
LAST WEEK   6- 8- 0   .429
SEASON 44-51- 8 .466
THIS WEEK 5- 8- 0 .385
SEASON 49-59- 8 .457
Straight Up
LAST WEEK  10- 4      .714
SEASON 70-33 .680
THIS WEEK 8- 5 .615
SEASON 78-38 .672

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Brookline is full of turkeys

And I don't mean the birds, but the unhinged Brookliners who fear the birds as if they are crazed, rabid killers:
BROOKLINE - On a recent afternoon, Kettly Jean-Felix parked her car on Beacon Street in Brookline, fed the parking meter, wheeled around to go to the optician and came face to face with a wild turkey.

The turkey eyed Jean-Felix. Jean-Felix eyed the turkey. It gobbled. She gasped. Then the turkey proceeded to follow the Dorchester woman over the Green Line train tracks, across the street, through traffic, and all the way down the block, pecking at her backside as she went.

"This is so scary," Jean-Felix said, finally taking refuge inside Cambridge Eye Doctors in Brookline's bustling Washington Square. "I cannot explain it."
I can explain it. You are afraid of a bird. Apparently this is standard operating procedure in Brookline, where residents and visitors are easily frightened. Check out a couple of these police reports:
July 20, 9:31 a.m., Rawson Road: Caller reports 18 turkeys in her backyard. "Something must be done," caller says. "It's just not right." Requests animal control officer.
"It's just not right." What would be more right? I'll tell you what would be more right: If there were a pack of coyotes to chase them off your yard. Of course, that would probably be enough to force a Rawson Road resident to move to the South End or someplace where an animal could not exist naturally.
September 4, 11:01 a.m., Chatham Circle and Chatham Street: Caller - who had gone under some beech trees to take a picture of turkeys - reports four turkeys chasing him. Requests animal control officer.
So you approach a group of turkeys with a foreign object, and then call the cops when the birds take offense? Do these people think this is a zoo or Disney world? If you're going to approach a wild animal, it might become defensive.

We have turkeys who live in the woods behind our new home. Almost every morning from March through Memorial Day, they would trek across the yard, looking for something to eat. Sometimes they would stop under the bird feeder to pick up any seeds that had fallen. Most of the time, they'd just hang out in the side yard.

Having the turkeys around is really cool. We know how to live with them. We watch them out the window, we don't try to ask them for a photo or an autograph, and we don't call the cops to shoo them away. Perhaps the people of Brookline might follow our lead and enjoy what they have.


No more going Solo

I always choose Solo cups over Dixie cups or other brands because for as long as I can remember, there has been a Solo plant in Leominster. Living in town, I remember driving past the plant nearly every day.

No more.
LEOMINSTER-- Solo Cup Co. is closing its facility on Florence Street at the end of the year, affecting almost 200 local employees.

The Illinois-based company announced the closure of its local plant and a facility in Wheeling, Ill., last week. The local plant closure is expected by Dec. 31. The Illinois plant will be closed by the end of February, according to the company.

Solo will be shifting production and employment to a manufacturing plant in North Andover and some of the local jobs may be moved there, according to a news release.
I guess it doesn't matter which brand I use now, since there is no local industry to support.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

NFL Picks -- Week 7

For entertainment purposes only. Picks are against the spread, straight up winners are in bold.

Tennessee (-1.5) over Houston (W, 38-36)
Tampa Bay (+2.5) over Detroit (L, 16-23)
Miami (+16) over New England (L, 28-49)
Atlanta (+8.5) over New Orleans (W, 16-22)
San Francisco (+9) over N.Y. Giants (L, 15-33)
Baltimore (-3) over Buffalo (L, 14-19)
Washington (-8.5) over Arizona (L, 21-19)
Kansas City (+2.5) over Oakland (W, 12-10)
N.Y. Jets (+6.5) over Cincinnati (L, 31-38)
Philadelphia (-5.5) over Chicago (L, 16-19)
Seattle (-8.5) over St. Louis (W, 33-6)
Dallas (-9) over Minnesota (W, 24-14)
Pittsburgh (-3.5) over Denver (L, 28-31)
Indianapolis (-3) over Jacksonville (W, 29-7)

Against the Spread
LAST WEEK   6- 5- 2   .538
SEASON 38-43- 8 .472
THIS WEEK 6- 8- 0 .429
SEASON 44-51- 8 .466
Straight Up
LAST WEEK  10- 3      .769
SEASON 60-29 .674
THIS WEEK 10- 4 .714
SEASON 70-33 .680

Sunday, October 14, 2007

NFL Picks -- Week 6

For entertainment purposes only. Picks are against the spread, straight up winners are in bold.

Tampa Bay (-3) over Tennessee (T, 13-10)
Chicago (-4.5) over Minnesota (L, 31-34)
Houston (+7) over Jacksonville (L, 17-37)
Cleveland (-4) over Miami (W, 41-31)
St. Louis (+9.5) over Baltimore (L, 3-22)
Green Bay (-3) over Washington (T, 17-14)
Kansas City (+3) over Cincinnati (W, 27-20)
Philadelphia (-3.5) over N.Y. Jets (W, 16-9)
Arizona (-4.5) over Carolina (L, 10-25)
San Diego (-9.5) over Oakland (W, 28-14)
New England (-5.5) over Dallas (W, 48-27)
Seattle (-6.5) over New Orleans (L, 17-28)
N.Y. Giants (-3.5) over Atlanta (W, 31-10)

Against the Spread
LAST WEEK   5- 9- 0   .357
SEASON 32-38- 6 .461
THIS WEEK 6- 5- 2 .538
SEASON 38-43- 8 .472
Straight Up
LAST WEEK  11- 3      .786
SEASON 50-26 .658
THIS WEEK 10- 3 .769
SEASON 60-29 .674

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Real fans drive to Fenway

A letter writer in today's Globe is "outraged" that the T stopped running before the game ended.
MY DAUGHTER and I were fortunate and excited to attend the second Red Sox Division Series playoff game Friday night...You can imagine our disappointment and outrage when at 11:45 p.m., the Fenway scoreboard announced that the last train out of Kenmore Station would be at 12:10 a.m.

We, along with thousands of other unhappy fans, were forced to depart Fenway Park during a tie game so that we would not be stranded in Kenmore Square after the game...
Guy, have you ever been to a Red Sox game before? If there is one thing I'd never do when attending a night game, it's take the T. I've been to Fenway at least twice when the T stopped running, and I had no trouble because I drove in.

Just another way to tell the difference between a Red Sox native, and member of Red Sox nation.


Who kicks a man over $35 in meat?

Every once in a while you come across one of those heartwarming stories where a little old shop owner turns the tables on a thief and puts him in his place. That's what I thought I was going to see when I read this headline in today's Sentinel and Enterprise:
Police: Store manager kicked thief in face
But then I read the story and found out this was not quite the warm fuzzy story I was expecting:
FITCHBURG -- A Market Basket manager faces a felony charge for allegedly kicking a repeat shoplifter in the face, according to police.

William Clark, 31, is charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (his shoe) for allegedly kicking Eric J. Casson, 20, of 161 West St., after police placed Casson under arrest, according to court documents. Officers struggled with Casson, finally getting him on the ground and in handcuffs, according to police.

"(Casson) had already been handcuffed and was in a prone position when (Clark) kicked him," officer Keith Bourne wrote in a statement of facts filed in Fitchburg District Court.
Wait, wait, the manager of the store kicked the alleged thief in the mug while the police pinned the cuffed man on the floor? Did the guy think this was some sort of TV show where the police would be OK with this?

So I imagine that Mr. Clark must have had a good reason to kick the guy. This burglar must be a real bad man:
Employees watched as Casson and Lapointe allegedly took approximately $35 in meat, Fossa said. Casson took beef while Lapointe took pork, Fossa said.
The thief got a shoe in his mug over $35 worth of meat? Who kicks a defenseless man in the face over $35 of meat? There isn't a whole lot that will cause me to sympathize with shoplifters, but that seems to be a bit much.

And now the store manager is facing felony assault charges while the meat snatchers are are off with a fairly minor shoplifting charge.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Proposed seat belt law for the dogs

There have to be more important things going on in this state than the question of whether or not our dogs need to be crated or belted in when we're out for a drive. Well, maybe not:
Bay State drivers will have to put a harness on or secure Fluffy in a pet carrier every time they take their pet for a spin, or they could face fines of up to $50 if legislation under consideration on Beacon Hill is approved...

"People are supposed to be concentrating on the road, but they're really acting like their cars are their living rooms. They've got the TV on, a cup of coffee and the dog's jumping all over their lap," [Rep. Robert] Fennell [D-Lynn] said. He submitted the bill after he spotted a woman driving on the Massachusetts Turnpike with a dog on her lap and a cell phone in her ear.
We put Rosie in a crate once for a long trip. After sliding around the crate for a couple of hours she got out of the car and puked from car sickness. So now she lies on the floor at Jackson's feet when we travel and is nice and relaxed. The last thing I want to do is toss her back in there when she is fine and comfortable just the way she is.

And sure, the dog shouldn't be sitting in the driver's lap while the car is moving. But if it is such a major safety concern, maybe we should pass a law outlawing people driving with animals (or other people) sitting in their laps, as opposed to targeting all pet owners.


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Cape vacation

We just got back from our annual weekend at the Cape. Here are a couple of pictures. As you can see, Jackson had a fantastic time.

Rosie and her new best buddy Otis.

c10 look what I got
Look what Jackson found.

c11 Pats Fan
Pats Win! Pats Win!

cape 170
Sunset from Monument Beach.

cape 176
Family picture.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

NFL Picks -- Week 5

For entertainment purposes only. Picks are against the spread, straight up winners are in bold.

(-8.5) over Atlanta (L, 20-13)
Houston (-5.5) over Miami (L, 22-19)
Kansas City (+2) over Jacksonville (L, 7-17)
Arizona (-3.5) over St. Louis (L, 34-31)
Cleveland (+16.5) over New England (L, 17-34)
New Orleans (-3) over Carolina (L, 13-16)
N.Y. Giants (-3.5) over N.Y. Jets (W, 35-24)
Pittsburgh (-5.5) over Seattle (W, 21-0)
Washington (-3.5) over Detroit (W, 34-3)
Tampa Bay (+10) over Indianapolis (L, 14-33)
San Diego (+1.5) over Denver (W, 41-3)
Baltimore (-3.5) over San Francisco (L, 9-7)
Green Bay (-3) over Chicago (L, 20-27)
Buffalo (+10) over Dallas (W, 24-25)

Against the Spread
LAST WEEK   6- 8- 0   .429
SEASON 27-29- 6 .484
THIS WEEK 5- 9- 0 .357
SEASON 32-38- 6 .461
Straight Up
LAST WEEK   5- 9      .357
SEASON 39-23 .629
THIS WEEK 11- 3 .786
SEASON 50-26 .658

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


One of my coworkers came by my desk this morning and brought a card for another coworker that was circulating among our team.

I wrote "Happy Birthday" and signed my name.

Then I read the note that came with the card, which explained that the card was a sympathy card, as the recipient's mother had just passed away.

I forked over the $2.75 for a new card.


Sunday, September 30, 2007

NFL Picks -- Week 4

For entertainment purposes only. Picks are against the spread, straight up winners are in bold.

Baltimore (-4) over Cleveland (L, 13-27)
Chicago (-3) over Detroit (L, 27-37)
Green Bay (-1.5) over Minnesota (W, 23-16)
Houston (-3) over Atlanta (L, 16-26)
N.Y. Jets (-3.5) over Buffalo (L, 17-14)
St. Louis (+13) over Dallas (L, 7-35)
Miami (-4) over Oakland (L, 17-35)
San Francisco (+1.5) over Seattle (L, 3-23)
Carolina (-3) over Tampa Bay (L, 7-20)
Arizona (+6) over Pittsburgh (W, 21-14)
Kansas City (+11.5) over San Diego (W, 30-16)
Indianapolis (-10) over Denver (W, 38-20)
N.Y. Giants (+3) over Philadelphia (W, 16-3)
New England (-7.5) over Cincinnati (W, 34-13)

Against the Spread
LAST WEEK   5- 7- 4   .438
SEASON 21-21- 6 .500
THIS WEEK 6- 8- 0 .429
SEASON 27-29- 6 .484
Straight Up
LAST WEEK  12- 4      .750
SEASON 34-14 .708
THIS WEEK 5- 9 .357
SEASON 39-23 .629


Friday, September 28, 2007

How many great places?

I was reading the Clinton Item last night (don't laugh), and came across this in their roundup of this week's legislative activity:
1,000 BEST PLACES IN MASSACHUSETTS (H 3417) -- The Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development is considering legislation creating a special commission to investigate and designate 1,000 great places in Massachusetts.
Now, I'm not sure I could name 1,000 places in Massachusetts, never mind 1,000 great places. (My brother suggested that we'd have a hard time coming up with Seven Wonders of Massachusetts, never mind 1,000.) I can't imagine how marginal the bottom, say 200, would be.

But you figure that any list would automatically have 351 "great" places, since every city and town in the state would have to have at least one, so I thought I'd give it a shot and try to come up with possible great places in the North County.

Leominster -- National Plastics Museum; Birthplace of Johnny Appleseed
Lancaster -- Bulfinch Church; Bolton Fair
Clinton -- Clinton Dam
Fitchburg -- Rollstone Boulder
Sterling -- Davis Farmland/Maze; "Mary had a Little Lamb" site
Gardner -- World's largest chair
Princeton -- Mt. Wachusett, Redemption Rock
Harvard -- Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge
Ashburnham -- Mt. Watatic

That's 13 down, 987 to go. Feel free to add suggestion in the comments.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"Rudy Giuliani doesn't know what the heck he's talking about." and other thoughts on tonight's Dem debate -- part 2

On with the second half of tonight's debate. Part 1 is here.

  • Social Security question for you, Joe Biden. Would you raise the cap on SS taxes so that people who make over $97,500 pay tax on all of their earnings? Yes.

  • Hillary Clinton? Let me talk about other stuff. Why would I ever give a yes or no answer to a yes or no question? Hillary refuses to talk about her options until there is fiscal responsibility. Why is she afraid to talk about specific policy points? Is it because Democrats won't like them or because she doesn't have any? She ran and hid on Iran, and she's hiding now on Social Security.

  • Richardson would not raise the cap. Russert is pressing him on his idea that we can "grow our way out of this" (Russert's words). Both Biden and Dodd are grinning, they appreciate Russert carrying the ball on this one.

  • Edwards: "Specifically, let me be very specific..."

  • Dodd mumbling fast again. If it looks like a senator, walks like a senator, and quacks like a senator, it must be a senator.

  • Hillary basically says, trust us we're Democrats. I mean, that works for me, but that's not going to fly with most people. She's not going to win without outlining some policies.

  • Oh good grief, where are these questions coming from? First a question of whether or not to pass a federal law banning smoking in public places, now a question about whether we should allow states to lower the drinking age. Clearly, this debate has gone on too long. No one is going to go for that. Now everyone is going on and on about the evils of alcohol. What a waste of time.

  • Gravel: If they're old enough to die for our country, they're old enough to drink.
Third break. On to the lightning round. And there is actually a "lightning round" graphic and clock on the screen. Nice.
  • Hillary, is it healthy to have a Bush-Clinton political dynasty? I'll answer this one: No.

  • Kucinich makes a joke about his height. Ho ho. What a clown.

  • Dodd, would you ban Chinese toys, at the risk of leaving your children without toys for Christmas? Yes. (Wow, I didn't expect that).

  • Bill Richardson, would you be the honorary chairman of the boy scouts, even though they hate gays? No. I don't like that answer. I'd like to see the president use that position to help change the Boy Scouts.

  • Somehow, Richardson has changed subjects onto the Iraq war and he ended up going way over his 30 seconds. I've said before, there is no way he can answer a question in less than 30 seconds. He cannot do it.

  • Mike Gravel wants to build five million windmills over the next five years. Bet Ted Kennedy won't be happy about that.

  • Clinton wouldn't rule out nuclear power, "but it's not one of the options that I favor." Good night, take a position. Please, give me a reason to vote for you. Why can't you just answer a question?

  • Russert's hypothetical: "We get lucky and get the number three guy in al Qaeda..." What is this, the NBA draft lottery? Can the guy shoot the three?

  • I hate these stupid hypotheticals. Russert tries to "gotcha" Hillary by suggesting that the hypothetical about torturing the al Qaeda swingman was from Bill Clinton. Hillary reminds Russert that Bill isn't standing here tonight. Her best moment of the night.

  • Gosh, we still have 10 minutes to go. Richardson has gone over his 30 seconds again. One thing I liked about the Fox debates was the little bell that went off in the hall when a candidate's time was up. We could have used one tonight.

  • Russert's continued use of BIll Clinton's positions as a battering ram to take on Hillary is getting old.

  • Oh boy, the gotcha of all gotchas: Hey you godless Democrats, what is your favorite bible verse?

  • Obama: The Sermon on the Mount. (That's Matthew 5-7, if you're scoring at home. Probably doesn't count as a verse). Because it expresses a sense of empathy. Man, did he struggle on that one. He's talking about gas bills and stuff.

  • Clinton: The Golden Rule.

  • Gravel: The most important thing in life is love. (Not a verse)

  • Kucinich: the prayer of St. Francis (not a verse).
  • Edwards: What you do unto the least of those, you do unto me. Now that's a Bible verse.

  • Richardson: Sermon on the Mount. He's totally cribbing off Obama.

  • Dodd: The good Samaritan would be an example of what we all should be like.

  • Biden: Christ's warning to the pharisees. I guess I'm going to have to look that one up.

  • What the heck? I don't expect these guys to be religious scholars and I certainly won't be voting for or against any of them on the basis of religion, but since they all claim to be Christians, I'd at least expect a little knowledge of the Bible.
I'm not going even going to acknowledge the stupidity of the Red Sox/Yankees question. That's it. Winners and losers tomorrow.


"Rudy Giuliani doesn't know what the heck he's talking about." and other thoughts on tonight's Dem debate -- part 1

You're looking live at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. for what might be described as the first real Democratic debate of the 2008 season. We'll see if Labor Day is really when the campaigns ratchet up to full speed, or if it's just more of the same. Now, to Tim Russert...

...who apparently needs to say nice things about Dartmouth before we start. I'd normally say that he's taking time away from the debate, but it's two hours long and...hey, now he jumps right into it.
  • Barack, how do you end the war on January 20, 2009 since there will apparently still be 100,000 troops in Iraq? And he's already punting, talking about how he wants to end the war before it gets to that point. He doesn't have an answer. Pull in the joint chiefs, etc. etc. And he won't even promise that they will be gone by 2013... Wow, did he blow that one.

  • Hillary won't promise to get them out, Edwards won't promise to get them out. Please, please, please ask this question of Bill Richardson next. Edwards is going a little farther than Obama and Clinton, hitting Clinton on her openness to continue combat in Iraq. But he will go back in if there is genocide.

  • Richardson says the senators want to change the mission, he wants to end the war. But he muffed on the specifics. He'd leave some light equipment behind? How long will it be before someone suggests that by leaving equipment behind, we'd be allowing (inset group here) to attack us and our allies with our own equipment? Tonight, next week?

  • Biden with a real good answer. Best answer I've heard him give. If his political solution doesn't work, they get out. If it does, he'd leave a residual force like we did in Bosnia. I'm not sure I've heard him describe his position in quite that way before.

  • Dennis Kucinich wants Abe Lincoln to be the next president of Iraq, or something.

  • Wow. Gravel hammering Clinton for voting for the Lieberman amendment which some suggest may allow us to go to war with Iran. Clinton really looks uncomfortable. Her first response was a forced laugh that sounded almost sinister. She doesn't look like she was ready for it, and is stammering around a bit about the revolutionary guard and terrorists and such. That might be as defensive as I've seen her in any of the previous debates.

  • And now Russert is piggybacking Gravel's idea that the Democrats should force Republicans to filibuster to kill their bills by calling for votes daily on the issue. Good for Gravel for being able to set the debate, if only for a moment.

  • Hillary, would Israel be justified in bombing Iran if they found out Iran had a nuclear device. She refuses to answer, on the grounds that it is a hypothetical. She's on the defensive again. Russert lets her off the hook by letting her talk about practicing diplomacy with the Iranians.

  • Obama rambling in response to the same question, saying that pension funds can divest from Iran to pressure them or something. So far, neither of the frontrunners sound comfortable or confident on Iran.

  • Edwards also giving it to Clinton on the Lieberman resolution. Says she should have known better than to give Bush the first step toward war with Iran.

  • Richardson says he will guarantee that Iran won't be a nuclear power if he's president, because his brand of diplomacy works. His resume suggests that is true.

  • On another note, it looks like he's gaining weight again. He was looking particularly svelte earlier in the debate process.

  • Hey, it's debate afterthought Alison King of NECN, who is going to suck all of the momentum out of the debate by asking some silly question from the Internet. Sounds like she's deepened her voice for the occasion. She asks a tortured question about immigration and posits it to Richardson, who jokes that he must be getting it because he's Hispanic.

  • Biden: "Rudy Giuliani doesn't know what the heck he's talking about. He is the most uninformed person on American foreign policy now running for president." Biden is clearly jacked up tonight. He is ready to be on fire if he can get a question or two.

  • Dodd starts his answer on immigration like a Senator always does when he doesn't have an answer. He mumbled something so quickly that it was unintelligible until he got his footing.

  • Russert asks if anyone would "shut down these sanctuary cities." What a miserably stupid question. Are we going to go in and board up New Haven, Conn. and kick 150,000 people out of their homes? Perhaps wipe them off the earth with a volcano? Who's talking about shutting down cities?
First break. Biden looks good, Clinton has been shaky. I'm going to get a Diet Coke.
  • Dodd, Why should Bush want Hillary to be president? Oh, he's not going to answer that. Why waste the 60 seconds.

  • russertraisin
  • Tim Russert looks like the fat California raisin.

  • I've got to say, I'm not fired up about the health care debate. The discussion is essentially about whether or not the so-called "Hillarycare" proposal of 1993 was a bad thing or a really bad thing.

  • Edwards is proposing to end the congressional health care plan if they don't vote for universal health care. He's not going to do that. What a transparent pander.

  • Russert wants to know why Obama is running for president when he hasn't passed any major legislation and told voters that he wasn't running for higher office. Obama says (among other things) that people want politic ans who tell the truth. The irony is lost on him.

  • Apparently we're in a stretch where Russert points out all of the warts on a candidate and asks why he or she should be president.

  • Mike Gravel, you can't balance your own checkbook, how can you run the country? He ran up credit card bills standing up for the American people. I wonder if that will fly with Michelle next time I use the credit card.

  • Dennis Kucinich, you bankrupted Cleveland, how will you keep from bankrupting the country? I did it on purpose to save the electric company.

  • Richardson, your state sucks and you make a gaffe a week, why should you be president? Hey, nobody's perfect.

  • Back to the deeply resonant Alison King for a question about teaching second graders about gays. Would you be comfortable having a story about a gay couple getting married read to your second graders? (Prediction: all will answer yes. Because it's a stupid question.)

  • Edwards: yes. I expect my children will be more enlightened than I am. Oooh, but second grade might be early. But let me talk about gay issues generally.

  • Obama: My kids already know about same-sex couples.

  • Clinton is not going to answer the question. "That's a matter of parental discretion." OK, my turn to get on the soapbox here. Gay marriage is the law of the commonwealth of Massachusetts (which is where the issue that spawned the question was raised). Teaching second graders about something that is legal in Massachusetts is absolutely appropriate. The question was fundamentally flawed, because that is not the case anywhere else at the moment.
That's the end of part 1. Biden is still winning (although he was essentially shut out of the second segment). Clinton still has it rough. Back with more in a bit.



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