Friday, August 31, 2007

Rodney Harrison: Cheat

When I was in high school, I had a history teacher who used to say "a cheater is a liar and a thief."

Meet Rodney Harrison. Cheater, liar, thief.

In announcing that he was about to be suspended--reportedly for using Human Growth Hormone--Harrison attempted to mitigate the damage:
I want to make it clear that not once did I use steroids. I did admit to the commissioner that I did in fact use a banned substance. My purpose was never to gain a competitive edge. Rather, my use was totally for the purpose of accelerating the healing process from injuries I sustained playing football.
Liar. Oh, I suppose it's technically accurate. But "making it clear" that he didn't use steroids blurs the fact that he is reported to have used HGH, which is at least as bad, if not worse, than anabolic steroids. And I don't see how "accelerating the healing process" is not a competitive edge.
I understand that I’m a role model to high schools, colleges, young kids. I don’t condone my decision, my behavior. I’m very, very embarrassed by it. I’m disappointed in myself. And to any young person, any high schooler, any college athlete, I sent the wrong message with my actions and I would want to be the example to them to never jeopardize what they believe in, never jeopardize their health. And they always have to love themselves.
Thief. One can make the argument that athletes aren't role models, but to his credit Harrison doesn't try that. However he does acknowledge taking on the trust of many young athletes and frittering that away. (And I have no idea what the whole "they always have to love themselves" stuff has to do with anything).

As a Patriots fan, I hope he helps the team succeed as he has for the past four seasons. One of the nicest moments of the win in Super Bowl 38 was seeing Harrison with his broken arm in a sling, tears of joy streaming down his face as he is engulfed by confetti.

But he's cheated the game, and I have no use for that. I'm not rooting for him anymore. I'm rooting for the laundry.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Which NFL games will we get each week? 2007 Edition

Every year I try to look at the NFL schedule and guess which games we in the Boston area will get to see on local TV week-by-week. Last year I was right on 70% of the games that were up for grabs (afternoon and flex games not including the Patriots). The formula I use to pick the games is explained here. Here is the expected TV schedule:

Thursday, Sep. 6
8:30 PM NBC New Orleans at Indianapolis
Sunday, Sep. 9
1:00 PM CBS New England at N.Y. Jets
1:00 PM FOX Philadelphia at Green Bay
4:15 PM FOX Chicago at San Diego
8:15 PM NBC N.Y. Giants at Dallas
Monday, Sep. 10
7:00 PM ESPN Baltimore at Cincinnati
10:15 PM ESPN Arizona at San Francisco

Notes: An easy week to pick the FOX games. These should be the two top games, and there are no compelling alternatives.

Sunday, Sep. 16
1:00 PM FOX Green Bay at N.Y. Giants
1:00 PM CBS Indianapolis at Tennessee
4:15 PM CBS N.Y. Jets at Baltimore
8:15 PM NBC San Diego at New England
Monday, Sep. 17
8:30 PM ESPN Washington at Philadelphia

Notes: With the Pats in prime-time, all three Sunday afternoon slots are up for grabs. The Giants and Jets games are given. Colts-Titans should be CBS top early game. This will be a good test to see if WBZ sends us the top game, or if they stay in the division with Buffalo-Pittsburgh.

Sunday, Sep. 23
1:00 PM CBS Buffalo at New England
4:15 PM FOX N.Y. Giants at Washington
8:15 PM NBC Dallas at Chicago
Monday, Sep. 24
8:30 PM ESPN Tennessee at New Orleans

Notes: Since the Pats are home on CBS and it is a Fox doubleheader, we only get one game in each Sunday slot. The Giants game is an obvious choice over Carolina-Atlanta.

Sunday, Sep. 30
1:00 PM CBS N.Y. Jets at Buffalo
1:00 PM FOX St. Louis at Dallas
4:15 PM CBS Denver at Indianapolis
8:15 PM NBC Philadelphia at N.Y. Giants
Monday, Oct. 1
8:30 PM ESPN New England at Cincinnati

Notes: With the Pats in prime-time, all three Sunday afternoon slots are up for grabs. The two CBS games should be the top games in their time slots (although Kansas City-San Diego is a pretty good 4:15 games as well). Rams-Cowboys will probably be the #1 FOX game, although Green Bay-Minnesota is a possibility.

Sunday, Oct. 7
1:00 PM CBS Cleveland at New England
4:05 PM FOX Tampa Bay at Indianapolis
4:15 PM CBS San Diego at Denver
8:15 PM NBC Chicago at Green Bay
Monday, Oct. 8
8:30 PM ESPN Dallas at Buffalo

Notes: Since the Pats are home on CBS, we’re forced to get the 4:05 FOX game, and Bucs-Colts is the only option. Chargers-Broncos will be the #1 CBS game.

Sunday, Oct. 14
1:00 PM CBS Cincinnati at Kansas City
1:00 PM FOX Philadelphia at N.Y. Jets
4:15 PM CBS New England at Dallas
8:15 PM NBC New Orleans at Seattle
Monday, Oct. 15
8:30 PM ESPN N.Y. Giants at Atlanta

Notes: Pats-Dallas will be CBS top game. Eagles-Jets is an obvious choice for the FOX slot. There are only three CBS games at 1:00, Miami-Cleveland is the only other possibility, but that game should be such a dog that WBZ will send us Bengals-Chiefs even though a Pats’ rival is also on at 1:00.

Sunday, Oct. 21
1:00 PM CBS New England at Miami
1:00 PM FOX San Francisco at N.Y. Giants
4:15 PM FOX Chicago at Philadelphia
8:15 PM NBC Pittsburgh at Denver
Monday, Oct. 22
8:30 PM ESPN Indianapolis at Jacksonville

Notes: The Pats game is usually the only one on in a given slot, but since the Pats are on the road and FOX has the doubleheader, we get an offering opposite New England. The Giants are the obvious choice (although Minnesota-Dallas will be their #1 game at 1:00). Bears-Eagles will be FOX top game of the week.

Sunday, Oct. 28
1:00 PM CBS Indianapolis at Carolina
1:00 PM FOX N.Y. Giants at Miami (London)
4:15 PM FOX Washington at New England
Monday, Oct. 29
8:30 PM ESPN Green Bay at Denver

Notes: The game in London will most likely be the top Fox game, but since it features the Giants and a Pats’ rival, we’d get the game if it were played in Pittsfield. The CBS 1:00 game is a tough choice, Steelers-Bengals is another good game in that slot.

Sunday, Nov. 4
1:00 PM CBS San Diego at Minnesota
1:00 PM FOX Washington at N.Y. Jets
4:15 PM CBS New England at Indianapolis
8:15 PM NBC Dallas at Philadelphia
Monday, Nov. 5
8:30 PM ESPN Baltimore at Pittsburgh

Notes: Again a couple of good options on CBS at 1:00. Jacksonville-New Orleans could easily be the choice over Chargers-Vikings. Bengals-Bills could also be an option if Buffalo is any good. The Jets game on Fox is a given.

Sunday, Nov. 11
1:00 PM CBS Buffalo at Miami
1:00 PM FOX Philadelphia at Washington
4:15 PM FOX Dallas at N.Y. Giants
8:15 PM NBC Indianapolis at San Diego
Monday, Nov. 12
8:30 PM ESPN San Francisco at Seattle

Notes: With the Pats on their bye week, all three Sunday afternoon slots are up for grabs. Every 1:00 game is between division rivals, so depending on how races shape up, these could change. Unless both the Bills and Dolphins are out of contention, that will probably be the CBS game, though Denver-Kansas City or Jacksonville-Tennessee look like better match-ups. FOX will probably send us the NFC East game, although Atlanta-Carolina, Minnesota-Green Bay, and St. Louis-New Orleans are all attractive games. Cowboys-Giants will be FOX #1 game.

Beginning Week 11, all Sunday games are subject to change because of flex scheduling. I’ve laid out how I expect the games to be broadcast based on the current schedule, and have noted where I think the flex might come in.

Sunday, Nov. 18
1:00 PM CBS New England at Buffalo
1:00 PM FOX Washington at Dallas
4:15 PM FOX N.Y. Giants at Detroit
8:15 PM NBC Chicago at Seattle
Monday, Nov. 19
8:30 PM ESPN Tennessee at Denver

Notes: The Pats game is usually the only one on in a given slot, but since the Pats are on the road and FOX has the doubleheader, we get an offering opposite New England. Carolina-Green Bay is the only other good FOX option at 1:00, so I think Redskins-Cowboys is a pretty secure bet, unless it gets moved to 4:15. Rams-49ers is probably FOX top 4:15 game (another reason to expect a possible change) but we’ll probably get sent the Giants just the same. Bears-Seahawks is an obvious choice to stay at 8:15.

Thursday, Nov. 22
12:30 PM FOX Green Bay at Detroit
4:15 PM CBS N.Y. Jets at Dallas
8:15 PM NFL Indianapolis at Atlanta
Sunday, Nov. 25
1:00 PM CBS Denver at Chicago
1:00 PM FOX Minnesota at N.Y. Giants
4:15 PM CBS Baltimore at San Diego
8:15 PM NBC Philadelphia at New England
Monday, Nov. 26
8:30 PM ESPN Miami at Pittsburgh

Notes: With the Pats tentatively scheduled for prime-time, all three Sunday afternoon slots are up for grabs. Ravens-Chargers is the only 4:15 game, so that is the choice, although Denver-Chicago is a pretty good option to move to the late slot (or to 8:15 if the Pats or Eagles are no good). New Orleans-Carolina or Seattle-St. Louis are possibilities for the early FOX game.

Thursday, Nov. 29
8:15 PM NFL Green Bay at Dallas
Sunday, Dec. 2
1:00 PM CBS N.Y. Jets at Miami
1:00 PM FOX Seattle at Philadelphia
4:15 PM FOX N.Y. Giants at Chicago
8:15 PM NBC Cincinnati at Pittsburgh
Monday, Dec. 3
8:30 PM ESPN New England at Baltimore

Notes: With the Pats playing in prime-time, all three Sunday afternoon slots are up for grabs. Giants-Bears is the only 4:15 game. Seahawks-Eagles is the only good 1:00 FOX game. The Jets-Dolphins is the choice assuming at least one of them is still in the running for the division crown. Otherwise, Jacksonville-Indy or San Diego-Kansas City are also good choices. If the Bengals and Steelers are having down years, any of the games listed here could be good options to move to the NBC game.

Thursday, Dec. 6
8:15 PM NFL Chicago at Washington
Sunday, Dec. 9
1:00 PM CBS Pittsburgh at New England
4:05 PM FOX Arizona at Seattle
4:15 PM CBS Kansas City at Denver
8:15 PM NBC Indianapolis at Baltimore
Monday, Dec. 10
8:30 PM ESPN New Orleans at Atlanta

Notes: Chiefs-Broncos will probably be CBS #1 game, although Cleveland-Jets could be WBZ’s choice if the Jets are still in contention for the division. The Pats-Steelers game would also be a candidate to move to 4:15 if the currently scheduled games aren’t good. Fox is required to send a 4:05 game. Cards-Seahawks could be an important divisional game, so that is the choice, but it’s a tossup whether this game will be better, or whether Minnesota-San Francisco would be.

Thursday, Dec. 13
8:15 PM NFL Denver at Houston
Saturday, Dec. 15
8:15 PM NFL Cincinnati at San Francisco
Sunday, Dec. 16
1:00 PM CBS N.Y. Jets at New England
4:15 PM FOX Philadelphia at Dallas
8:15 PM NBC Washington at N.Y. Giants
Monday, Dec. 17
8:30 PM ESPN Chicago at Minnesota

Notes: Since the Pats are home on CBS and it is a Fox doubleheader, we only get one game in each Sunday slot. Eagles-Cowboys is an obvious choice (over Detroit-San Diego), although I wouldn’t be surprised to see that game swapped with the 8:15 game. Seattle-Carolina might also be a candidate to move to 4:15 or 8:15.

Thursday, Dec. 20
8:15 PM NFL Pittsburgh at St. Louis
Saturday, Dec. 22
8:15 PM NFL Dallas at Carolina
Sunday, Dec. 23
1:00 PM CBS Miami at New England
4:05 PM FOX Tampa Bay at San Francisco
4:15 PM CBS N.Y. Jets at Tennessee
8:15 PM NBC Philadelphia at New Orleans
Monday, Dec. 24
8:00 PM ESPN Denver at San Diego

Notes: I’m going to go out on a limb here and guarantee that the Bucs-49ers game will not remain in that NBC slot. I’d expect Philadelphia-New Orleans to be moved to 8:15. If that happens, Bucs-49ers would move to 4:05 and replace Falcons-Cardinals locally. Baltimore-Seattle will be the top 4:15 game on CBS and will be the choice if Jets-Titans is meaningless to the Patriots.

Saturday, Dec. 29
8:15 PM NFL New England at N.Y. Giants
Sunday, Dec. 30
1:00 PM FOX New Orleans at Chicago
1:00 PM CBS Pittsburgh at Baltimore
4:15 PM FOX Minnesota at Denver
4:15 PM CBS San Diego at Oakland
8:15 PM NBC Kansas City at N.Y. Jets

Notes: With the Pats playing in prime-time, all four Sunday afternoon slots are up for grabs. Chargers-Oakland is the only 4:15 CBS game currently scheduled. I’d expect another game (possibly Steelers-Ravens) to be moved to 4:15. New Orleans-Chicago is the best FOX game, although Dallas-Washington is also a 1:00 tilt and could be the choice if it’s more important to the playoff race.

Looking at the schedule, I'd suggest fans of the Giants, Cowboys, and Eagles cancel the DirecTV Sunday Ticket, since they're going to get nearly the whole schedule anyway. As with last year, we should get every team in the NFL at least once.

New England 16
NY Giants 13
Dallas 12
Philadelphia 11
Chicago 10
Indianapolis 10
NY Jets 10
Denver 9
Washington 8
Baltimore 7
Pittsburgh 7
San Diego 7
Green Bay 6
Miami 6
New Orleans 6
Buffalo 5
Cincinnati 5
San Francisco 5
Seattle 5
Minnesota 4
Tennessee 4
Atlanta 3
Kansas City 3
Arizona 2
Carolina 2
Detroit 2
St. Louis 2
Tampa Bay 2
Cleveland 1
Jacksonville 1
Houston 1
Oakland 1


Saturday, August 25, 2007

"suspiciously left-wing"

Ah, the Telegram and Gazette is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Today's tour de force comes from a Paxton man's letter to the editor, who believes the federal government is an un-American, suspiciously left-wing organization:
It distressed me greatly to read that life expectancy in the United States is in 42nd place worldwide and behind such countries as Jordan, Guam and the Cayman Islands...[and] that we are 41st in infant survival rates behind the likes of Cuba, Taiwan and most of Europe....

Whence came this malicious report? I would hope that our hometown newspaper would not publish such un-American drivel, especially when it comes from such suspiciously, left-wing organizations as the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics.
And while the writer has the bully pulpit, he might as well toss in a completely unrelated truth:
Most of us know that ...the only reason that dinosaurs are no longer running about is that they were too big to fit onto Noah’s Ark.
I wonder if the U.S. Census Bureau keeps numbers on how many Paxton residents are loony tunes.

Previous T&G Letters to the Editor:
"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, August 23, 2007


Presented without comment:


I want my sidewalks, and I want them now

The shenanigans have begun in Leominster as the developers of the Wal-Mart project on route 117 have decided that they aren't going to build the sidewalks they agreed to as a condition of the development.
LEOMINSTER -- The developer of the retail complex along Route 117 that will feature a Wal-Mart and Lowe's is apparently bypassing a city request to install sidewalks to make the area more pedestrian-friendly.

New England Development, the Newton firm behind the 475,000-square-foot project, doesn't intend to install the sidewalks, the city's planning director told the Planning Board during its Tuesday evening meeting. The reasons were not clear....

The Planning Board had requested the firm build the sidewalks on both sides of Route 117 as a condition to the project's approval. They said the sidewalks are a condition to the firm receiving occupancy permits for the project.
I take this personally. I was the guy at the 2003 public hearing who first brought up the issue of sidewalks to the Willard Road neighborhoods. Every time we drive by the construction site, I comment to Michelle that they should install a commemorative plaque with my name on it.

While the project should never have been built, at least the planning board tried to get New England Development to throw the city a bone. Making the stores easily accessible to the people in the neighborhood suggests that the development has some sort of interest in catering to the community. This move makes it clear that New England development could care less about their neighbors (as though it were really in doubt).

The opponents of the Lancaster Wal-Mart ought to drop their misleading rhetoric and latch onto things like this as they try to fight that project.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Could the arson at Mary's house have been prevented?

It looks like the police may have found the two men who destroyed the childhood home of Mary Sawyer, the subject of the poem "Mary had a Little Lamb." In fact, it looks like the authorities have had their eyes on these two for a while:
ORANGE-- Two Clinton men charged with setting a fire last month that destroyed a paper mill warehouse in Erving -- men whom police had tracked for the last month via satellite -- are considered "subjects of interest" in a fire in Sterling last week that destroyed the birthplace of the woman made famous by the poem "Mary Had A Little Lamb."....

Holden Police Chief George R. Sherrill said the men may be connected to a barn fire Aug. 13 in his town and to a fire on Aug. 12 that destroyed the birthplace of Mary Elizabeth Sawyer at 108 Maple St. in Sterling....

Mr. Dreslinski and Mr. Rousseau’s involvement with the Erving fire may have been discovered through a global positioning system surreptitiously installed by police in Mr. Dreslinski’s 2006 Ford Ranger truck on July 19 by court order.
So if these guys set the Erving mill on fire on July 30 as is alleged, and there was enough concern over their behavior that a court ordered them to be tracked by a homing device, why did it take three weeks to apprehend them? If these suspects are in fact responsible for the fire at the Sawyer house, it seems that it could have been prevented by a little bit quicker action.

But I have to remind myself that the police probably were busy with other things as well. I have this picture in my head from watching so many TV shows of a police task force standing around a wall-sized map of the state watching a little red dot race around the map and calling all units to apprehend the little red dot. The reality is probably more like one guy behind a desk looking at the data after a report of suspicious activity comes into the office.

Either way, it seems like a missed opportunity.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Tips on going to the zoo

We took Jackson to the Roger Williams Park Zoo today and the experience taught me a couple of things:

1. Do not buy food at the concessions stand. While I was standing at the window waiting for my sodas to be delivered, I watched as one of the Aramark workers snatch a French fry out of the one of the plates of fries waiting to be delivered to a customer. She saw that I saw, looked at me like a three-year old trying to play innocent, and then ate the fry when I pretended to look away.

Not only did some poor hungry kid get one fewer fry then he should have, but the Aramark worker wasn't even wearing gloves, so who knows what else he got with his order.

2. A 14-month old child doesn't care all that much about the animals behind the cages. Jackson had much more fun chasing the sparrows around the food court than he did watching kangaroos and monkeys sleep the day away (Although he did enjoy the elephants). I'm guessing he'd have had as much or more fun running around the back yard as he did being trucked around the zoo.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

"What I believe in is love." and thoughts from today's Democratic Debate -- Part 2

You are looking live at Des Moines, Iowa, site of the 458th Democratic Presidential debate. OK, again not live, since I have better things to do at 9:00 am. Obama says he's out of the rest of the debates (other than the "official" debates), but I'm not! I'll be here for all of them.

The first part of the debate is discussed here. Part two starts now...
  • Well hang on a minute George. Why don't you tell us what's been going on for the last 30 seconds, or roll some video of what we missed. Don't tease us like that.

  • So the first video question was from a farmer in overalls, and the second question was from some guy standing in front of what looks like an elementary school bulletin board, speaking so fast that they needed to add subtitles. Those were the two best questions ABC could get?

  • Mike Gravel, when have you lied to your constituents? I haven't been truthful about just how lousy my opponents are.

  • Biden says he's never not told the truth, in fact he says too much. How about you start with this answer.

  • Kucinich also hasn't ever lied. Your nose is getting longer, Dennis.

  • Obama says he doesn't talk enough about the cost of energy efficiency. Whatever. This is obviously a stupid question. No one wants to answer it.

  • Edwards said it was when he voted for the war and didn't speak about his concerns. Hillary is saying the same thing, but without the sincerity. She just can't say she made a mistake without qualifying it. Can't do it.

  • Richardson says he makes a mistake a week, but despite that, he'll be a great president who loves America and the constitution.

  • Dodd says he's upset that he didn't filibuster the Military Commissions Act. And he got a hearty round of applause.

  • I'm distracted by the fact that Dodd has snow white hair, and heavy dark brown eyebrows. I wonder if he'd look better or worse if his eyebrows were white as well.

  • George qualified his question on education with the admission that no one was talking about it. I've got to say I'm not paying attention.

  • Except that Richardson seems to be the only one who got real support form the crowd, with his suggestion that he has a one-point plan for No Child Left Behind and his proposal to add 100,000 math and science teachers.

  • Gravel is reinforcing the idea that he is bat-shit crazy.

  • Whoops, ABC just flashed the closing credits on the bottom of the screen as Biden started talking. Guess we know the producer wants to get out of here as soon as possible.

  • How can you ask a yes-or-know question about the banking and mortgage crisis? What kind of a stupid idea is that. We could have an entire debate on this issue.

  • It sounds like Kucinich wants the federal government to take over the mortgage industry. I'm not sure that would be a better idea.

  • What was the decisive moment in your life:
    • Kucinich: living in a car as a child.
    • Obama: Going to college.
    • Biden: The civil rights movement.
    • Richardson: When my wife agreed to marry me.
    • Gravel: When I realized that representative government was broken.
    • Edwards: When he saw his father watching PBS. (no really)
    • Dodd: Decision to join the peace corps. (He now has the fly on his head).
    • Clinton: The women's movement. What a boring, pandering, unfulfilling answer.

  • I want to know what Richardson resented. In his last answer, he started to say that he resented...and then Stephonopolous cut him off. I'd have liked to hear what he was upset about.
I'll be interested to see what everyone else thinks about the debate. For the first time, I thought Richardson did very well, and was the "winner." He was able to set himself apart on the war and on education, and his opponents were on the defensive in response to his positions (especially on the war).

If there was a loser (other than Gravel, who might as well be running for president of Saturn), it was Edwards. I think he's losing traction a little, despite the fact that the arena was obviously stuffed with his supporters. I also thought Clinton was a little less impressive than usual.

Until next time...


"What I believe in is love." and thoughts from today's Democratic Debate -- Part 1

You are looking live at Des Moines, Iowa, site of the 458th Democratic Presidential debate. OK, again not live, since I have better things to do at 9:00 am. Obama says he's out of the rest of the debates (other than the "official" debates), but I'm not! I'll be here for all of them. And away we go...
  • Hey Hillary, Obama's not ready, right? Ho ho, ha ha. I'm not going to criticize a naive, inexperienced candidate on this stage, George.

  • Senator Dodd, you've said Obama's completely out of touch. Should he be president? What kind of stupid questions are these to start? Why ask the seven candidates what they think about the eighth? What is that supposed to prove?

  • Richardson takes the early lead! You've got Obama who represents change and Clinton who represents experience. Both are important, which is why you should vote for me.

  • Obama with a nice line about the bumper cars at the fair. After talking about Pakistan, he says "there is one more thing I believe..." I hope to hell that he believes in more than Pakistan and just one other thing.

  • George pins Hillary on nuclear weapons. I wonder if George feels like he needs to be tougher on Clinton, since he worked for the former president. Kind of like a father who coaches his son and is tougher on him so that he doesn't appear to be playing favorites.

  • Looks like this is going to be the Hillary and Obama show.

  • Hey, Obama has a fly on his forehead. Wonder if that's an indication that he's full of shit?

  • Senator Edwards finally has a chance to speak and he starts by guffawing about hope and optimism? Clunk. He says "actually" when he's talking about his points. I find people who talk in those kind of terms to be a little shady.

  • Michelle says Mike Gravel is "out of his mind." I like him because he gives me a chance to catch up with the blogging.

  • Richardson seems engaged for a change.

  • Again, here we go with the Clinton-bashing from Stephonopolous. Why would he ever start a question with Karl Rove's premise. Is it at all possible that Rove is talking badly about Clinton precisely because he is most afraid of her, not as some sort of objective observer? If Rove says Clinton is unelectable, I immediately suspect that he thinks she is the most formidable.

  • Obama says he believes he is the best person to lead the country. Edwards counters that he "has a different view." Well no kidding, Mr. Obvious. If you didn't disagree, you would drop out and support Obama wouldn't you? I just don't see how this Washington lobbyist thing gains enough traction to help him.

  • Clinton is right about Rove's obsession with her, as am I. Pardon me while I pat myself on the back.

  • I guess all we are going to do for the next five minutes is argue about the influence of lobbyists. I guess the fact that the game is being played on Edwards turf right now is a good thing, but I just don't think this a huge issue.

  • Chris Dodd is right about "situational ethics" where candidates think their donors are good and the opponents' donors are bad, but no one is listening because he is Chris Dodd and he sounds and talks like a generic senator.

  • Hey, Kucinich is there! And he's pissed that he hasn't spoken for the first 15 minutes. He's talking about health care, but he's still pissed. He doesn't seem as happy as he has in previous debates.

  • Tee it up for Richardson...and whiff. Don't use words like tri-partite. You turn people off by using big ambassador words. He should have started by saying he will bring the troops out, not adding that as an addendum to the end of his question.

  • Hillary, help a brother out, yo! Michelle is tired of her not being specific on how she'd take the troops out. This is good for Richardson, in that he gets to stand out as the only one of the "top tier" who is committed to a quick withdrawal. Anytime every candidate is debating one candidates, position, it's a good thing for that candidate.

  • Gravel wants to ally with Iran and Syria and let them have Iraq. Hoo boy!

  • Richardson wants to know what the purpose of Clinton's and Biden's "residual force" is. Good question. Turn it on them. He overtalked the question, and lost some of the impact of it, but that's what he needs to do, force them to explain why troops need to stay.

  • And even better news for Richardson: Obama agrees with Edwards, Clinton and Biden. The point has been made: Richardson is the only member of the top tier who is willing to stand up to take our troops out. He has to be thrilled with how this is going.

  • Stephonopolous pinned Obama down on specifics, and Obama is starting to stammer a little. I don't think he wanted to get pinned down.

  • Kucinich is still mad. He blames the "Democratic Senate" for going along with the war. Were the Democrats still in charge when the war was authorized? I'm going to half to look that one up.

  • Do you believe in a personal God? Hillary says she can't hear the question. Sounds like she's trying to buy time to come up with an answer. That is not going to go over well with the religious folk (not that they were going to vote for her anyway).

  • Dodd says we don't do anything "without [God's] approval." None of these guys sound convincing so far.

  • Gravel: "What I believe in is love." Hasn't that been obvious throughout the debates? He is really a big cuddly teddy bear.

  • Richardson seems sincere. Biden also seems sincere. And he's a martyr.

  • Obama is speaking now. I've got to say, I'm looking past him. I can't wait to hear Kucinich's answer. Obama would pray for strength and wisdom. That's actually a pretty good answer.

  • Kucinich: "I've been standing here for 45 minutes praying to God that you would call on me." Now that is the most candid answer of the night!

  • Oh come on, they get a guy with overalls to ask a question? He can't be real, can he? He's got to be straight out of central casting.

  • Chris Dodd wants the Internet in every farmer's home. That'll do it.

  • Edwards has a number of supporters in the hall. I think he could advocate the torture of all dogs under 35 pounds and get a hearty round of applause.

  • Obama always says that "every proposal that has been talked about is a good one" before adding his two cents. Every single time.

  • Richardson gets 20 seconds to finish this segment. Much as I'm rooting for the guy, he couldn't recite his social security number in 20 seconds. And he gets cut off.
More to come.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Lancaster selectwoman misleads on Wal-Mart

The Times and Courier published a story in Thursday's edition looking at the impact 24-hour Wal-Mart Supercenters have had on their communities. Lancaster selectwoman Jennifer Leone, an opponent of the proposed Supercenter in Lancaster was contacted for a comment, and she provided this whopper:

Selectman Jennifer Leone, a former member of Our Lancaster First, a group of Lancaster and Leominster residents opposed to Wal-Mart's plan, doesn't believe a 24-hour store in Lancaster is necessary.

"I don't think the town gains anything by having a 24-hour store," Leone said. "Other stores have tried and failed; I mean, how many people need to buy Pedialyte at 3 a.m.? I do think a town needs a 24-hour pharmacy, but we have the CVS in Leominster that is 24 hours, and is closer to most Lancaster residents than the proposed Wal-Mart." (emphasis added)

While I appreciate Mrs. Leone's passion on this issue, she has to know that her contention that the CVS in Leominster is closer to most residents than the proposed Wal-Mart is an outright falsehood. In fact it's not even close to being accurate.

Look at the simple map I've put together here. The only 24-hour CVS in Leominster is at the green arrow. The proposed Wal-Mart is marked by the blue dot. My rough outline of the Lancaster town borders are marked by the blue line. Any way a Lancaster resident tries to get to the 24-hour CVS (assuming they take routes 2 or 190, and avoid all the stoplights in the center of Leominster), they have to pass within a mile of the Wal-Mart. I'd suggest that there is not one Lancaster resident that would have a shorter drive to CVS than to Wal-Mart.

I do not support the Wal-Mart in Lancaster, and certainly don't think we need two Supercenters with in three miles of each other. But the opposition to the project should be based in fact. There are plenty of reasons to oppose this project without making them up.

It also would have been nice if the Times and Courier had fact checked or qualified Mrs. Leone's statement. While the paper has a responsibility to report the positions of town officials, just because a selectwoman says something doesn't mean it's true. If a public official (or anyone being quoted in the paper) presents something as fact it should be verified and either omitted if it is false, or contrasted with the truth.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

"Little Lamb" house destroyed by arson

One of Sterling's landmark sites was burned to the ground Sunday morning. According to the Telegram and Gazette, the home of Mary Sawyer, the girl described in "Mary Had a Little Lamb," was destroyed in a suspicious blaze:

STERLING-- The birthplace of Mary Elizabeth Sawyer, the girl who became famous for bringing her lamb to school in the poem, "Mary Had a Little Lamb," has been destroyed by fire.

Fire officials are calling it arson.

About 4:30 Sunday morning, the Fire Department received a phone call from a neighbor saying the house at 108 Maple St. was in flames. Firefighters arrived to find the house -- in which no one has lived for about 18 years -- engulfed in flames.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the state fire marshal's office, as well as Sterling police and fire investigators.

It's a disgrace that someone would torch what is probably our town's proudest historic site (To give you an idea of how important the poem is to Sterling's identity, we have a bronze statue of the lamb on the town green).

There is a $5,000 reward for info leading to an arrest. Hopefully that will be money well spent.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Follow the Rainbow


This evening, which was crystal clear at 6:00 pm, we went down to the Sterling town common for the weekly concert. The concerts are essentially background music. While there are some folks who actually sit and listen to the music, most of the crowd are young families. The kids run around the field in front of the stage playing ball or dancing while the parents all sit together and shoot the breeze.

During intermission, a downpour passed through, dropping about an inch of water in 15 or 20 minutes and ruining countless picnics. We were completely and thoroughly soaked through. Jackson got a little freaked out because everyone was running around shrieking, trying to cover up in a futile attempt to stay dry. Normally he enjoys the rain; I think he got worked up because the rest of us were.

The quick shower left behind a fairly vivid rainbow, which remained in the sky for a good 15 minutes or so. Once the rain stopped, we left the concert and headed back home to dry off. The rainbow was still visible from our front yard, so I grabbed my camera to take a couple of pics.


Thursday, August 9, 2007

"My heart is clean" and other thoughts on tonight's Democratic forum

You're looking live at Los Angeles, where six of the Democratic candidates are facing off at the first LGBT-themed debate. Two hours, huh? I'll be interested to see if the entire time is used discussing LGBT issues, or if the candidates will be asked questions on other subjects.

Margaret Carlson is about done talking--and hey, there's Doogie Howser!--so away we go....

Hey, isn't this supposed to be a debate? They're just coming out one at a time? Oh, that's not nearly as much fun. Besides, what are they going to do, talk about issues? First up, Barack Obama.

Barack Obama
  • This is pretty tough. A guy like Obama who is trying to walk the tight rope between civil unions and gay marriage is really on the spot. What he's trying to say (without saying it) is that the government should be out of the marriage business and that all legal unions should be "civil." Of course, he can't say that, because that would be seen as incredibly radical. So he dances around this idea of "all the rights conferred on heterosexual couples" and "the church should decide what they call marriage."

  • "We've got gay friends in the red states, and we play little league in the blue states." What in God's green earth is he talking about? Do gay kids not play little league? Or maybe Democrats don't play little league? I don't get it.

  • Does it help or hurt Hillary that whenever anyone refers the the Human Rights Campaign, they use her initials (HRC). Every time Obama uses the acronym, I think of her.

  • Melissa Ethridge is peeking over the reporter's shoulder, trying to read his notes. I wonder if she'll end up stealing one of his questions.

  • Obama is already tired of the "civil unions" question. What did he expect he was going to be asked about, Barry Bonds? (sorry, Keith)
John Edwards
  • It's John Edwards, and he's going to get a health care question. Why should domestic partners/same sex spouses be refused health care benefits? What can you do about it? It sounds like he was going to tell this story about homeless gay youth regardless of the question he was asked. That really drives me crazy. And not just about Edwards. Any candidate who fudges answers in order to spew their talking points is a little shady (and I know, they all do it).

  • Are you uncomfortable around gay people? Well?

  • Edwards is in favor of teaching "I have two mommies." The right wingers are going to have a conniption tomorrow. Oh, and now they are asking him what he would do if he had a transgendered employee working in his department. And Edwards is blinking and stammering. You know these guys all have the general election in the back of their mind and they are trying to parse their answers.

  • "I shouldn't have said that" my religion influences my thought that marriage is between a man and a woman. Why? Because it leads to questions like this one.

  • I think you should know the truth...that's always a red flag. What have you been telling us for the last 15 minutes?
Dennis Kucinich
  • Are you pandering to the LGBT community as you did at the AFL-CIO forum? Do you ever say no? No, just give me more money, thanks.

  • Put the equal sign inside a heart, and that's what we should be about. Oh great googly moogly.

  • That's not what it says, it says "all men are created equal," not "all are created equal." While it may be philosophically true that "all are created equal," that's not what the founders wrote. Who are you to rewrite the Declaration of Independence?

  • So Dennis, what do you think of weed? All for it. If your doctor says so, smoke away.

  • How are you going to get elected president? See above.

  • "My heart is clean. I have the ability to see" into the soul of the earth or something. I didn't catch the rest. Man, when he talks about his personal philosophy, he is really out on the moon.

  • "I send you great love...I love all of you." And he just hugged himself. Dennis Kucnich just gave himself a bear hug as he was walking off the stage. I dare any of the Republicans to hug themselves at the Iowa Straw Poll Saturday.
That's it for tonight. I'm exhausted.


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Counting Counties

Apparently Mitt Romney doesn't know how many counties there are in Massachusetts. I'm not sure I do either, but then again, I haven't been the commonwealth's chief executive for four years.

I'm going to try to list as many as I can without looking them up:
  • Worcester
  • Middlesex
  • Essex
  • Suffolk
  • Norfolk
  • Plymouth
  • Barnstable
  • Dukes
  • Hampden
  • Hampshire
  • Berkshire
  • Nantucket
I know there are two more, but I can't come up with them...

I missed Franklin and Bristol.


Worcester, Fitchburg join casino madness

While Governor Patrick continues to deliberate whether or not he will support the building of casinos in Massachusetts, more cities and towns are lining up to bring gambling to their communities. Tuesday brought two more proposals.

Worcester is trying to get into the act, as they bandy about a plan to let the Disabled American Veterans build a casino on city land:
WORCESTER -- The Disabled American Veterans of Massachusetts is asking City Manager Michael V. O'Brien to establish an exploratory committee to look into a proposal that has been broached by the group for a casino on city-owned land off Route 146....

As part of the group's proposal, it has suggested sharing the net profits from the casino with veterans groups, the city and state.

"In the past, we have provided you, the mayor and the city councilors copies of our proposal," Mr. Stack wrote in a letter to the city manager. "On average, the city of Worcester would net $40 million in addition to what would be generated by property taxes..."
Not to be left out, Fitchburg's state rep wants his city to be part of the discussion:
BOSTON -- As the statewide appetite for casinos grows, state Rep. Stephen DiNatale, D-Fitchburg, said he would consider bringing legalized gambling to North Central Massachusetts.

"I'd want to wait and see what (Gov. Deval Patrick) feels about the issue, but if he supports it I think something in the Central Massachusetts area and North Central Worcester County would be great," DiNatale said Monday.
Although he didn't specifically say "Fitchburg," DiNatale isn't pushing a site in Leominster, to be sure.

So that brings the number of cities and towns vying for casinos to at least six. Meanwhile, Governor Patrick is getting himself into his own little executive privilege spat, refusing to release the findings of the study he commissioned:
Two weeks after being briefed on the benefits and pitfalls of casinos in Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick and his administration are fighting to keep secret the completed studies that the governor is reviewing.

On July 25, Patrick received a stack of studies on gambling to help him decide whether to support casinos.

But in a sign that Patrick is treating the casino question with political caution, the administration declined Monday to provide copies of the records to the Globe, which filed a formal request for them July 26.
Governor Patrick needs to unveil his position soon, before more and more municipalities stake their claim to the casinos. He should also release the findings of the studies he ordered. This issue is too important to be decided under a cloud of secrecy.


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

"I'm the Seabiscuit of this campaign." and other thoughts on tonight's Democratic debate -- Part 2

(Part 1)

On to the audience questions...
  • Oh come on, a "celebrity questioner?" I feel bad for her, but I don't like the idea of ringers. Worse, how can Biden deflect the question of a mine widow to talk about Iraq? He got appropriately booed by the crowd.

  • Kucinich is still on fire. Although calling it "the Workers White House" will probably have the conservatives breaking out in hives.

  • Richardson apparently wasn't paying attention to the questioner from Michigan, as he just said he was in his town in Iowa.His answer on job protection was weak, the response on health care for veterans was much better.

  • A fantastically emotional question from a disabled steelworker, gets a standing ovation from the crowd. Question goes to Edwards, which is right in his wheelhouse. He'd give workers the same benefits as their CEOs, and he'd push for universal health care. He gets a huge ovation for shouting down Olbermann's effort to enforce the rules.

  • Clinton doesn't answer the question she was given, but she answers all the rest of them. The curtain behind her nearly blows into the distance.

  • Obama: I think it's possible to be a nation of laws, and a nation of immigrants.

  • Joe Biden is pandering to nurses, but not answering the question. Apparently the debate has devolved into a question of who has walked more picket lines than the other. Blah, blah, blah. He is not connecting at all.

  • Kucinich wants Medicare for all. Ooooh. I don't know about that. Universal health care, yes. Universal Medicare? Count me out.

  • Now Edwards is going on and on about how many picket lines he's walked. OK, we get it. He spends a little too much time saying "I want to say something about this."

  • The graphic says "Robert Flynn, insulator." That's kind of cool.

  • The crowd is starting to get tired of candidates going back to answer questions that they haven't been asked. Dodd booed for talking about health care instead of energy independence.

  • Even Hillary getting booed for postponing the question. Sounds like someone in the audience is trying to shout her down.
Third break. Kucinich continues to be the only candidate that has connected consistently. Edwards did well, but the crowd started to tire of his "I picketed more than you" exchange with Biden. Biden is withering on the vine. He's been brutal.


Lightning round...
  • Richardson's VP would not be Dick Cheney, and would be a member of executive branch. Makes the old joke about how any of the other candidates would make a good VP.

  • Oh look, there is a lightning round clock. So we can see how long Hillary will avoid answering the question about lobbyists.

  • Barack what about bundling by lobbyists? I don't have any lobbyists bundling for me. Oh, and I walk picket lines.

  • John Edwards, how are your rich lawyer donors better than Hillary's rich lobbyists? They just are, Keith.

  • Joe Biden, would you appoint a Republican to Homeland Security? He'd consider it. Not the answer we're looking for, Joe. The Republicans have proven to be incompetent.

  • Dodd makes sure to mention that Homeland Security doesn't allow collective bargaining.

  • Kucinich, what has congress accomplished? Well, nothing, so I'll talk about how I'm tilting at windmills with all these bills I can't get passed.

  • Obama, would you honor Barry Bonds at the WH? Heh, heh. Don't ask me that, Keith.

  • Hillary, what would you do to fix Katrina? I'd have a 10-point plan that I can't tell you about.

  • Joe Biden, would you pledge to stop no bid contracts? Yes.

  • Question for all:Would it bother you that the next campaign will start as soon as you're inaugurated?
    • Richardson didn't hear the question, so he's talking about bringing the country together or something.
    • Obama says yes, campaigns are too expensive and long.
    • Biden would be such a good president, that no one would want to replace him.
    • Hillary will be too busy to worry about it.
    • Dodd says the campaign started early because people hate Bush.
    • Edwards is talking about the guy with the cleft palate again. At least the second debate where he's talked about the guy. He's connecting.
    • Kucinich: "I'm the Seabiscuit of this campaign." Lots of jokes there.
That's it. Kucinich won, but that doesn't really matter. Edwards also connected well with the crowd and was a close second. Clinton and Dodd also did well. Obama was alright. I think he's still too cautious.

If there was a clear loser, it was Biden. He didn't connect at all. Richardson had a very lackluster showing.


"I'm the Seabiscuit of this campaign." and other thoughts on tonight's Democratic debate -- Part 1

You're looking live at steamy, sweaty Soldier Field in Chicago where the eight Democratic candidates are going to do their best to keep cool and not faint from the heat. Anyone left standing at the end will probably be a winner.

Everyone in the crowd appears to be clothed, so that's a start. Although I can't see too far into the upper deck, where the sun is.

If the president of the union doesn't stop speaking soon, I'm going to collapse from the heat and the boredom.

Air conditioning? They have air conditioning? Is that a joke, or do they actually have AC in their podiums? They shouldn't. they should have to sweat.
  • Dodd would have been better off saying "I'm a Bud man and a Cubs fan." He's also not really talking about infrastructure. And he's yelling. Someone should remind him that he has a microphone. He doesn't need to yell to speak to the back off the audience. Michelle says it's the most passionate he has sounded. She's probably right. I'm just cynical.

  • Hillary: "Da Bears!"

  • Obama: "Da Bears, Da Bears, Da Bears, Da Bears, Da Bears, Da Bears, Da Bears!" Michelle notes that he's not answering the question and that he goofed in saying we're not safer that we were after 9/11.

  • Biden: "We don't need any more commissions," Hillary. Ah, and he's going after Giuliani. That's the ticket. Giuliani went after the Dems at the debate Sunday (and probably won). Biden obviously was watching.

  • Edwards thinks that he's got something on this lobbyist money issue. He obviously thinks that's his way to get at Hillary.

  • Kucinich is basically saying that it's his fault that the Browns left Cleveland, since he wouldn't build them a new stadium to replace the dilapidated stadium.

  • Obama: "Da Bears!"

  • Richardson is against privatizing roads and bridges. That should be a no-brainer, but there are an awful lot of people who think we should sell our infrastructure for a quick financial fix.

  • Hillary, how would you fix NAFTA? The only good answer for this crowd would be to say that she'd scrap it (as Kucinich has). But she's just nibbling around the edges trying to make it sound like she's more against it than she is.

  • Would you scrap NAFTA or fix it?

  • Richardson would "fix it," and toss all the union-busting lawyers out on their ears.

  • Obama will immediately talk to the presidents of Mexico and Canada (which is a prime minister, but who's counting). So now we're going to talk to Iran, N. Korea, Cuba, Canada, and Mexico.

  • Biden would go one better, taking the leaders of Canada and Mexico to the mat. That would be worth watching. Perhaps they could duke it out in a cage, too.

  • Dodd stands with labor, and it looks like the stage is about to fly off into the sky.

  • Edwards says NAFTA has cots America 1 million jobs. He just smacked someone for being on the cover of fortune. I'll have to look it up. Apparently it was Hillary.

  • Kucinich will scrap NAFTA within the first week.

  • Hillary is trying not to lash out at Edwards. She wants to be our gal.

  • An excellent question, how do you explain that Made in America is better if other items are cheaper. Obama says it's because people would pay more if it meant they kept their job. But that's a little naive. Most people's jobs aren't tied to the manufacturing sector.

  • Is China an ally or an adversary? Richardson: China needs to do better in a host of areas, including human rights.

  • Obama: China is a competitor, but doesn't have to be an enemy. Good line.

  • Biden: The problem is that they "own the mortgage on our house." He wants to cut taxes and reduce the deficit? Is he a Reagan Republican now?

  • Hillary: I'm with Biden. "I don't want to eat bad food from China or give my children toys that will get them sick." That's the best answer so far. Meets people exactly where they are.

  • Dodd: We need to be able to flood China with cheap American goods to make the playing field even.

  • Edwards: No one is mentioning human rights abuses. He didn't hear Richardson's answer, apparently. Looks like Hillary stole his thunder on toys and food.

  • Kucinich:"If you dig a hole deep enough you'll get to China. Well, we're there."
First break. Kucinich is winning so far, Clinton has also been strong. Since Kucinich isn't actually going to win, it looks good for Hillary so far.


We're back, and on to Iraq.
  • If you get us out of Iraq and al Qaeda takes over, what will you do, Bill Richardson? Richardson is essentially rejecting the question and giving a mushy answer on long-term goals. He should have hit that one out of the park, since he's been calling for an immediate withdrawal.

  • Biden smacks Obama on Pakistan.

  • Hillary wants to redeploy smartly. Blah blah blah. What does that mean, exactly? She actually sounds like she's for the surge. I'll bet that won't play well.

  • Dodd said something I didn't get.

  • Edwards would draw down 50,000 now, and then practice diplomacy. What will happen with the other 100,000 troops?

  • Kucinich is on fire.

  • Barack, who did you wait until the last minute to vote on the supplemental? He's filibustering. He has to, because he waited for 50 votes on one side so he could vote without worrying about the consequences. Same thing for Hillary Clinton, despite her bloviations.

  • Chris Dodd, is Barack naive and reckless? Yes, he's irresponsible for threatening to bomb an ally. Obama says he's amused, but he doesn't sound like it. How can someone who voted for the war credibly tell me about foreign policy?

  • Hillary says you shouldn't always say what you think when you're running for president. The crowd doesn't like it. Actually, I don't like it. If you want to be president, you'd better damn well tell me what you're thinking. Obama doesn't like it either. "The American people have a right to know."
Second break: Kucinich is still winning. Obama did a pretty good job in the exchange over Pakistan. Clinton did not.

Part 2 coming up...


Democrats turning up the heat

Here is the forecast for 6:00 pm Central Time in Chicago, site of this evening's outdoor Democratic presidential debate:85 degrees with a dew point of 76! That's enough to cause a full-body sweat just by sitting still in a chair. I can't imagine how miserable the candidates will be sitting (or worse, standing) in business suits in that soup for 90 minutes. The weather (and 15,000 sweaty, tailgating union workers) could be a wild card that makes for a very interesting debate.


Sunday, August 5, 2007

"I changed my position." and other thoughts on today's Republican debate -- Part 2

(Part 1)

Finally back from commercial. I wonder if they were waiting for Tommy Thompson to get back from the men's room...
  • A YouTube style video asking about Cheney's abuse of power. McCain says "I would make certain that everyone knows there is only one president." Pow!

  • Giuliani: War, war, Islamic war, terrorist war. Did I say war? He'd go back to the Reagan-Bush model.

  • Mitt pandering to the pro-Bush crowd. They've made us safe. Too sugary sweet.

  • Brownback said something. I wasn't paying attention. I was talking about laundry. I doubt I missed much.

  • Huckabee is in favor of the fair tax. No more drug dealers, prostitutes when we have the fair tax. What the hell? Does the fair tax eliminate the need for sex and weed? Will they become legal as long as they're taxed?

  • Tom Tancredo actually has a good argument on this. He's right that the current tax code is just a way to get people to do what the government wants them to do. I'm guessing that he is not consistent with that argument when it comes to non-tax issues.

  • Brownback wants an optional flat tax? Why would I want to opt to pay a tax?

  • What was your greatest mistake? Hunter, contemplating running for Congress as a Democrat.

  • Paul says he isn't forceful enough. Cop out.

  • Huckabee's biggest mistake is getting fat. At least that's a real answer.

  • Mitt Romney's biggest mistake was running as a pro-choice candidate. Oh brother! He can talk about it all he wants, but the abortion issue is not going away.

  • Giuliani refuses to answer, but gets away with it because he makes a funny joke.

  • McCain got himself put in a Vietnamese prison. I'd say that qualifies.

  • Brownback doesn't say he loves his kids enough.

  • Tommy Thompson gave all of his relatives breast cancer. No, wait. He wasn't supportive enough.

  • Tom Tancredo took 30 years to find God.

  • On another note (and the final question), Tancredo will restore hope to the office of the president.

  • Tommy Thompson would open up the East Wing. Has it been boarded up? I don't get him at all.

  • Brownback would rebuild the family. Apparently he thinks Jenna and Barbara are bad kids or something.

  • McCain loves America. Doesn't answer the question.

  • Giuliani will also restore hope. And not be like the Democrats.

  • Mitt has made a pigs breakfast of his answer. Something about the Gettysburg address and strengthening America or something. These guys have lost the sense of the question, which is what would you restore to the presidency.

  • Huckabee will work for the people and put up a citizen of the month photo. Probably give them a special parking space too.

  • Paul would restore openness to the government and would not use executive privilege to cover up.

  • Hunter would restore economic patriotism. That means nothing. Talk about a bunch of hooey. And he keeps talking about his son in Iraq. How about just running on your record, not on your son's back.
Well, that's enough of that. I thought Giuliani won, in the sense that he controlled the discussion. Romney recovered from his tough start, and seemed fairly presidential. Ron Paul also did well. Of the upper-tier candidates, McCain was ineffective. He looks like a man whose time has come and gone. Tommy Thompson was so bad, it's almost sad.

Democrats have a debate with Keith Olbermann Tuesday night. See you then.


"I changed my position." and other thoughts on today's Republican debate -- Part 1

You're looking live at Des Moines, Iowa, where the Republican candidates for president are....OK, who's kidding who? This debate was held at 9:00 am in the East, 8:00 am in Des Moines. No one watched this debate live. It's a Sunday morning, what were they thinking. The hell if I'm going to get up early to watch these nine goobers debate. I recorded it and am now turning it on about 8:30 pm.

  • This is the first Republican debate in Iowa? What have they been doing for eight months.
  • These guys all look like they are still half asleep, except for McCain, who appears to have had a bunch of coffee.

  • And away we go...Sleepy Sam Brownback, what's the deal behind your robocalls? Well, Mitt is a loser, I said so, and my ad is true.

  • Mitt, are any of those facts untrue? Pro-life. Pro-life. Pro-life. I won't answer your question, I'm pro-life. Mitt isn't doing well, he's stammering. "I changed my position." No kidding. That will be the punch-line of any number of commercials. He's going to wish he hadn't said it that way. It is the perfect sound bite.

  • So Mitt, since you've said that a candidate should speak for himself, why did you say these things about Rudy Giuliani? Tough job being the front-runner, eh Mitt?

  • Giuliani defending his pro-choice position well, saying it's about keeping government out of personal decisions. That's the only way to go if he's going to neutralize this question.

  • Tommy Thompson looks like a bullfrog. Hey Tommy, Is Giuliani a good Catholic? No, but let's talk about issues, George, not about each others attacks.

  • For what it's worth, George is off to a good start if the debate is supposed to be a "Gotcha!" exercise, but he's not yet asked a candidate to explain their own position. Every question has been couched in "this guy stands for this, is that right?" That's a lousy way to run a debate.

  • McCain isn't as awake as I thought he was. That's what happens when Tommy Thompson speaks. That and the dog starts barking.
  • Softball to Ron Paul, how do we get out of Iraq? ABC knows how he's going to answer, and they are going to use his strong anti-war answer as a foil for the rest of them.

  • Oh, and why is Duncan Hunter talking about about Russia and the Berlin Wall? "I was there when we did Central America." So was David Vitter. (Tip your server and try the veal. I'll be here all week).

  • Mike Huckabee is the only one who sounds grounded. I don't agree with him on much, but he sounds like he's reasonable.

  • Sam Brownback looks puffy. Too much sun maybe? Not enough sleep?

  • Looks like the one black Republican in Iowa got a good seat right behind Stephanopolous and where the cameras can see him.

  • McCain thinks that if the Iraqis can come together to celebrate soccer, they can form a nation. And that is why he's past his prime.

  • Romney with a good line: "In one week, Obama has gone from having tea with our enemies to bombing our allies." A wax figure of Ann Romney nods in agreement.

  • Tancredo is pissed that he hasn't had a question yet. And now he's yelling. I'd do just as well not hearing him again. He apparently thinks we haven't pounded the Iraqis enough. I get the idea that if he were president, he'd say "go ahead, kill them all. Let me know when you're done."

  • Tommy Thomson looks like a milk jug. Michelle says he looks "like a caricature," but she can't put her finger on exactly what.

  • He's still talking. I need a nap.

  • Paul: "We can achieve much more in peace, then we can in these illegal unconstitutional wars."

  • McCain just said he was "one of [the war's] greatest critics." Is he senile? Has he been paying attention to himself for the last four years?

  • Huckabee wants to give the people the same health care plan that congress had. John Kerry ran on that platform last time and lost. Nice to see that's back on the table.

  • Tommy Thompson says: "The problem is, Governor Huckabee is correct." I say the problem is, Tommy Thompson looks like a beanpot.

  • Duncan Hunter says it's not the government's job to provide "womb to tomb" health care. And he blames the immigrants.

  • These guy depress me. "More market forces in health care" is another way to

  • Oh look, here's Obama's head on a platter. Take a swing...Rudy agrees! Wow, someone agrees with a Democrat. Mitt doesn't, he's going back to the meet with our friends, bomb our enemies thing. I don't think it's a bad thing for Obama to have all of these out-of-touch Republicans criticize him for being out of touch.

  • George finally asks a good question. So Bush wants to spread democracy around the world, and all of these Middle Eastern nations keep electing radical enemies of the US. What do you think of that? Huckabee talks about something else. Paul calls

  • Giuliani says Democracy is more about rule of law than about elections. That is what it's all about right there. That is why, no matter how progressive Giuliani sounds on some issues that I cannot imagine voting for him. If he has to choose between rule of law or elections, he thinks "rule of law" comes first. And the rest of them do too. Good grief.

  • Mitt Romney wants to "move the world of Islam toward modernity." I'm sure they appreciate that. Not at all condescending and paternalistic there Mitt, huh?

  • Tommy Thompson is completely incoherent.

  • Whoever had Sam Brownback in the Ronald Regan sweepstakes, come up and cash in your ticket. I don't think he realizes that Egypt is already a democracy.

  • Huckabee with a strong answer on infrastructure. Giuliani has decided that he's going to talk about the "liberal Democrats" in every answer. He knows that he is soft on conservative issues, so his strategy is obviously to look more conservative by talking about the Democrats each time.

  • But...I think Giuliani is winning the first half. He seems to be setting the tempo. A number of the other candidates have been piggybacking his ideas, he seems like the leader on the stage.
Time for a break. More after the commercial.


Saturday, August 4, 2007

A chicken in every pot, a casino in every town

All of a sudden, it seems like everyone wants to build a casino in the commonwealth. Middleborough has voted yes (and no) on a proposed Indian casino in their town. Another tribe is looking to build one in Palmer. Mayor Menino is trying to lure casino developers to Suffolk Downs in East Boston. One of the richest men in the world wants to build one off route 495 in Marlborough.

I support the building of one or more casinos, but Governor Patrick is going to have to get this under control when he reveals his position on the proposals in the next few weeks. I fear that without strict control, we're going to end up with a hodge-podge of casinos across the state.

Rather than leaving the development options open, the state should designate a casino "district" (like Atlantic City in New Jersey, for instance) and allow the casinos to all build in that one area. Some cities and towns would probably fight pretty hard for that reward (New Bedford comes to mind, maybe Springfield), yet small towns like Middleborough or Palmer wouldn't be facing the possibility for significant upheaval.

But what we don't need is a string of casinos from Stockbridge to Boston.


Will the last one out turn off the sun?

Enough! Can someone please put out the sun, at least for a day? I've begun intentionally taking cold showers--I hate cold showers!--but at least it gives me five minutes when I'm not sweating.

If I could vote for the next climate catastrophe, count me squarely on the side of another ice age instead of global warming. I don't think I could put up with this every day. At least if it were permanently cold I could put on a sweater.


Thursday, August 2, 2007

Wakefield on the verge of history

Well, on the verge might be a little premature. But did you know that this man, who celebrated his 41st birthday with a 7-4 win today over the Orioles, now leads the American League (along with five others) with 13 wins?

That's right, Tim Wakefield--the guy who just drives you crazy because you never know when he'll suddenly walk three in a row; the guy who has saddled the Red Sox with the unbearably bad Doug Mirabelli (today's three hits notwithstanding); the guy who doesn't get any respect because he doesn't throw hard, yet has almost identical statistics this season as Curt Schilling; the guy who is third all-time in Red Sox wins (behind only Cy Young and Roger Clemens, maybe the two greatest pitchers of alltime)--is on pace to lead the league in victories.

If Tim Wakefield wins seven of his remaining starts (he should have 11 starts remaining), he would become the only pitcher in history to put up his first 20 win season after the age of 40. In fact, he would be only the sixth pitcher in 131 years to win 20 or more games after 40. Here are the seven 20-win seasons by 40-year olds:

Warren Spahn422319632613
Jamie Moyer40212003382
Phil Niekro40211979303
Warren Spahn402119612613
Pete Alexander40211927249
Cy Young412119082415
Cy Young402119072415

Cy Young and Warren Spahn each did it twice, but they also each had over a dozen 20-win seasons, starting in their mid 20s. Only Jamie Moyer was in the later stages of his career when he first won 20 games, achieving the milestone at age 38.



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