Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My Red Sox All-Massachusetts Team

While I spent most of the weekend sitting on the couch recovering from a minor surgical procedure and bored absolutely out of my mind, I decided to put together a team of Red Sox players whose share last names with Massachusetts towns. If you ask why I decided to do this, you'll get no answer. I have no idea.

Anyway, I set a few arbitrary parameters for my research:
  • The players name has to be a phonetic or spelling match to one of Massachusetts 351 cities or towns. For instance, Mike Lowell is an exact match to the city of Lowell. John Lester is a phonetic match to the town of Leicester.
  • Players who have names of Massachusetts places that are not official cities and towns have been excluded (Chad Bradford and Reggie Jefferson, for instance).
  • Finally, players whose names are part of a city or town name are not included. So Ted Williams is omitted even though his name is part of Williamstown.
I came up with a nearly complete 40-man roster (see update below), with 22 pitchers and 17 hitters. So I've put together a 25-man playing roster (12 pitchers and 13 hitters) and put the other 14 players in the minors. Here is my Red Sox all-Massachusetts team, with their stats with Boston:

Starting Pitchers
Player          Years      W    L   ERA  SV      IP    SO
Josh Beckett 2006-08 48 28 4.11 0 579.2 524
Erik Hanson 1995 15 5 4.24 0 186.2 139
Bill Lee 1969-78 94 68 3.64 13 1503.1 578
John Lester 2006-08 27 8 3.81 0 354.2 262
Tim Wakefield 1995-08 164 145 4.02 22 2781.2 1797
The starting pitching is clearly the strength of the pitching staff (and the team as a whole). There really weren't any tough choices in putting this group together. The only significant starter left out was Jack Russell, who had three consecutive 18-loss seasons between 1929-31 and ended his career with four straight seasons of 5+ ERAs.

Player          Years      W    L   ERA  SV      IP    SO
Tom Bolton 1978-92 21 23 4.45 1 368.0 231
Wes Gardner 1986-90 17 26 4.73 12 403.0 316
Sid Hudson 1952-54 16 22 3.73 7 361.2 137
Joe Hudson 1995-97 6 7 4.40 2 126.2 62
Mike Paxton 1977 10 5 3.83 0 108.0 58
Allan Russell 1919-22 27 28 3.74 10 527.2 210
Jeff Russell 1993-94 1 9 3.61 45 74.2 63
This is a really mediocre group. When Jeff Russell and Wes Gardner are holding down the back of the bullpen, you're in big trouble. Allan Russell, Tom Bolton and Mike Paxton could all be credible long men who could also start. But I wouldn't want to turn too many leads over to this group.

Starting Line-up (by position)
Pos Player          Years       G    AB    R     H   HR   RBI   SB   OBP   SLG   AVG
C Bob Montgomery 1970-79 387 1185 125 306 23 156 6 .296 .372 .258
1B Rip Russell 1946-47 106 326 30 65 7 38 1 .248 .304 .199
2B Jack Barry 1915-19 319 1074 116 241 2 78 22 .286 .268 .224
SS Larry Gardner 1908-17 1123 3919 496 1106 16 481 134 .347 .377 .282
3B Mike Lowell 2006-08 420 1581 216 469 58 273 7 .353 .481 .297
OF Fred Lynn 1974-80 828 3062 523 944 124 521 43 .385 .520 .308
OF Carl Everett 2000-01 239 905 143 254 48 166 20 .338 .519 .281
OF Lou Clinton 1960-64 412 1427 190 359 49 198 7 .307 .440 .252
Not a great group, although Lowell, Lynn, and Everett are all good players. Larry Gardner was a decent SS for his time. But the group of hitters is so weak, I can't even find a DH. Of course, had I expanded the rules I could have included Ted Williams (Williamstown) and Carlton Fisk (Fiskdale, a section of Sturbridge), which would have made for a much more formidable lineup.

Update: Commenter Phil noted that I left off Lou Clinton. I've updated the starting lineup and bumped two other players onto the bench and the 40-man roster.

Bench (by position)
Pos Player          Years       G    AB    R     H   HR   RBI   SB   OBP   SLG   AVG
C Tubby Spencer 1909 28 74 6 12 0 9 2 .220 .176 .162
IF Billy Gardner 1962-63 89 283 26 70 0 13 0 .283 .307 .247
IF Fred Hatfield 1950-52 109 200 32 39 3 19 1 .297 .295 .195
OF Cleo Carlyle 1927 95 278 31 65 1 28 4 .315 .345 .234
OF Roy Carlyle 1925-26 138 441 58 137 9 65 1 .341 .454 .311
This group is a whole bunch of awful. Can't hit, can't hit for power, can't run. Yet, they're better than the ones left off the active roster.

Here are the other 14 players who I left off the "active" roster, but who are also all-Massachusetts players.

Player          Years      W    L   ERA  SV      IP    SO
Terry Adams 2004 2 0 6.00 0 27.0 21
Bob Adams 1925 0 0 7.94 0 5.2 1
Ed Barry 1905-07 1 6 3.53 0 79.0 34
Mike Gardiner 1991-92 13 20 4.80 0 260.2 170
Josh Hancock 2002 0 1 3.68 0 7.1 6
Craig Hansen 2005-08 3 5 6.15 2 71.2 58
Sang Lee 2000 0 0 3.09 0 11.2 6
Jeff Plympton 1991 0 0 0.00 0 5.1 2
Jack Russell 1926-36 41 94 4.58 0 1215.0 202
Al Worthington 1960 0 1 7.71 0 11.2 7
Pos Player          Years       G    AB    R     H   HR   RBI   SB   OBP   SLG   AVG
OF Walter Carlisle 1908 3 10 0 1 0 0 1 .182 .100 .100
OF Garry Hancock 1978-82 121 254 26 58 4 26 0 .249 .323 .228
SS Chick Maynard 1922 12 24 1 3 0 0 0 207 .125 .125
C Lenny Webster 1999 6 14 0 0 0 1 0 .176 .000 .000
IF Ray Webster 1960 7 3 1 0 0 1 0 .200 .000 .000
Jack Barry, who was 90-62 as a player/manager for the 1917 Red Sox is the team's manager.

Hmmmm. Maybe I'll see if I can do the same thing with the other Boston teams...


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Recap of Senator Flanagan's Sterling forum

Senator Jennifer Flanagan took questions for nearly an hour and a half at the Sterling Democratic Town Committee's open forum Monday night. The discussion was lively and spirited, and touched on a wide range of topics including the aftermath of the December Ice Storm, the effect of President Obama's stimulus package, and the Transportation Reform bill (which passed the Senate yesterday) to name a few.

A couple of things stood out to me:
  • I was struck at how much the discussion has changed since the last time we had then-Representative Flanagan in Sterling for an April forum and for a June debate. At the time, most of the questions were about social issues such as gay marriage and abortion rights, minor reforms like police details, and other topics that seem almost trivial when compared to the financial crisis the state is currently facing. As best as I can recall, there were no questions about any topic except finances in Monday's entire 90 minute discussion.
  • Senator Flanagan seems to be unhappy with Governor Patrick. Although she did not explicitly say so, it was clear that she is frustrated with the Governor's budget plan, his gas tax proposal, and the hiring of Senator Marian Walsh to a lucrative post. She seems to think that the backlash to the governor's actions have made it more difficult for the legislature to get things done.
  • She said she doesn't think we'll be out of the current budget crisis until fiscal year 2012. That would mean at least two more years of difficulty like the last one.
  • She was unwilling to commit to any revenues (gas tax, local option meals taxes, etc.) until after the Senate's reform measures were passed.
  • She and the other senators and representatives don't have any specifics on the stimulus funds. She seemed to be a bit frustrated about the process and the lack of information.
There is a whole lot more. The entire forum was taped and has been posted on you tube. Here is Part 1:

Part 1: Public Utilities, Transportation
Part 2: Commuter Rail, Transportation, Pension Reform
Part 3: Pension Reform, December Ice Storm
Part 4: Local Aid, Budget Cuts
Part 5: Federal Stimulus
Part 6: Federal Stimulus, Commuter Rail, Local Option Taxes
Part 7: Budget Cuts, Transportation, Media
Part 8: Budget Cuts and Reform
Part 9: Elder Affairs


God help us all

I fear for what this country will become in a generation when these kids are in charge:
A school administrator wants to set the record straight: There are no vampires at Boston Latin.

The headmaster of the prestigious exam school took the unusual step today of sending a notice to faculty, students, and parents saying that "rumors involving 'vampires'" had begun spreading through the building Wednesday, causing disruption and anxiety for a number of students....

Officer Eddy Chrispin, a Boston Police spokesman, said police went to the school Wednesday after hearing that some students were spreading rumors there were vampires in the school.

"I'm not sure whether [the supposed vampires] were among the student body or whether they were inhabiting the old corners and crevices of the building," he said.
I hope school counselors and riot police are on guard next month when the students learn there is no Easter Bunny.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mass. Republicans duped by New Hampshire

Oh, those mindless contrarians that make up the Mass. GOP. They are so eager to oppose any and everything that Deval Patrick and Democrats even sniff at that they don't realize when they are being used. Case in point, their touting of a "Border Coalition" made up of New Hampshire and Massachusetts legislators who are opposed to new tolls on I-93. From the official Senate Republican Web site:
Sen. Robert L. Hedlund and Sen. Scott P. Brown were among the Massachusetts and New Hampshire legislators who gathered today on the State House steps to voice their opposition to additional tolls on Interstate 93....

“We initiated this coalition to stop a border war among the states,” said New Hampshire Rep. Frank V. Sapareto, who represents District 5 in Rockingham. Rep. Sapareto was joined by Rep. Al Baldasaro, Rep. Frank R. Emiro, Rep. Anthony DiFruscia, and Rep. Margaret Crisler. All are Republicans.

The legislators argued that tolls on Interstate 93 could also lead to toll plazas on Interstate 95, Route 3, and Route 1 in order to prevent drivers from circumventing the toll plazas.
Well that makes a lot of sense, doesn't it. Or at least it makes sense if you are in New Hampshire. Of course New Hampshire doesn't want new tolls on I-93, I-95, or route 3...because New Hampshire already has tolls on all three of those roads. Take a look at this handy map I have produced showing tolls on those three highways. I've marked the tolls with the word "TOLL" in large, Republican red letters so that our minority legislators might more easily notice:

See, unless you are heading to Hampton Beach, the Pheasant Lane Mall, the Rockingham Mall, or the Mall of New Hampshire (you know, because you're from Massachusetts you must shop in New Hampshire to save pennies in sales tax), the state of New Hampshire is already charging you tolls on the only three highways that go north out of Massachusetts.

New Hampshire doesn't want Massachusetts to put up new tolls, it wants to continue it's monopoly on border toll revenue. And New Hampshire is more than happy to let our Republican legislators carry its water.

If that wasn't mindless enough, you'll notice that our Republican senators are worried that someone might put a toll booth on route 1. Clearly, whoever wrote this release has never driven route 1 near the border, or they would have realized that it looks like this:

Yup, our Republican legislators are trying to scare you into believing that Massachusetts (or New Hampshire) is going to try to put a toll on a two-lane suburban road. Not only are they willing to do New Hampshire's bidding, but they think we're too stupid to notice.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Final Straw

As flat out, bottom-of-the-barrel awful the service at the Sterling Dunkin' Donuts is--have I mentioned that the service is particularly poor?--there was still one reason to give them my business.

Then, as I ordered this morning, I was informed that they no longer carry Bavarian Kreme donuts.

They no longer have a reason to exist.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Ed have no money

I just got this email from former senate candidate Ed O'Reilly looking to retire his campaign debts. He's broked.



Thursday, March 19, 2009

Senator Flanagan to attend open forum in Sterling Monday

Newly elected State Senator Jennifer Flanagan will be attending an open forum at the Butterick Municipal Building in Sterling on Monday night at 6:00. This is a great chance for anyone in the North County to meet the Senator and give her your opinion on the proposed gas tax, how we should use the stimulus funds, the aftermath of December's ice storm...you name it. Anything goes. How often do you get to share your thoughts with one of our elected representatives?

Here is the press release:
The Sterling Democratic Town Committee will host an open forum with State Senator Jennifer L. Flanagan on Monday, March 23, at 6:00 p.m. at the Butterick Municipal Building, 1 Park Street, Sterling.

Senator Flanagan will speak about the Senate's transportation reform plan and legislation she has proposed to regulate utility companies in the wake of the December ice storm.

The forum is open to the public. Citizens are invited to attend and ask questions of Flanagan, who is chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse and vice chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation.

Citizens are also encouraged to stay for the Democratic Town Committee's regular business meeting, immediately following the forum.

For more information or to get directions to the Butterick Municipal Building, visit the Sterling Democratic Town Committee on the Internet at www.sterlingdems.org.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Run Around Lew

A couple of events scheduled for tonight caught my eye. First, from The Landmark:
The Sterling Republican Town Committee will hold a dinner meeting on Monday, March 16, at Twin Oaks Restaurant, Leominster Road/Route 12, Sterling. Social "Hour" cash bar, 6 p.m.; Dinner Buffet, 6:30 p.m., $17/person; Speaker, Rep. Lew Evangelidis, 7 p.m.; Business meeting, 8 p.m.
And from the Telegram and Gazette:
State Republican leaders are planning a “Hardship Listening Tour” for the public to voice their opinions about the proposed gas tax increase and other proposed tax, toll and fee increases.

One of the first forums will be held tomorrow at Auburn Town Hall, from 7 to 9 p.m. It is sponsored by state Reps. George N. Peterson Jr., R-Grafton; Paul K. Frost, R-Auburn; Karyn E. Polito, R-Shrewsbury; and Lewis G. Evangelidis, R-Holden.
Either the Republicans in Sterling aren't going to be getting their $17 worth, or Rep. Evangelidis won't be hearing about much hardship in Auburn. For Lew's sake, I hope the Staties don't have their speed trap up on I-190 tonight.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Beautiful March

Seems like every post lately has been about some unpleasant bit of politics, so I thought I'd take a break and share a few photos from this month...

march 021
Sara has been in absolutely adorable mood this morning, so I took the time to shoot a handful of pictures.

march 020
Another from this morning.

march 011
Lest anyone has forgotten that we suffered an historically severe ice storm three months ago, a drive through just about any part of town will show plenty of damage still to be cleaned up. This tree is in our neighbor's yard. Jackson has learned to play around it.

march 009
Jackson helped us clean up the mess under our big catalpa tree by loading sticks into his wagon and carrying them to the wood pile.

march 048a
Jackson also helped us stack wood.

march 007
Rosie is very happy that we have finally been able to clear the debris from under her tree.

march 013
Now that Jackson is tall enough, he helps us get the mail.

march 033
Finally, this is perhaps the cutest picture I've ever taken.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Lancaster's Potholes

To: Lancaster DPW
Re: Potholes

Putting three inches of new asphalt into a foot-deep pothole does not fix the problem.



Thursday, March 12, 2009

Beacon Hill Republicans offer no solutions

All I keep hearing from Republican critics of plans to raise revenues to address the state's $4 billion deficit is that we should cut costs first, reform the system, the economy is too weak to withstand new taxes, people will go to New Hampshire to shop, and so on.

The one thing I have yet to read or hear is a plan...or even a portion of a plan...to actually do this. Where are the specific plans to cut costs and reform the system so that we don't need to raise taxes and fees?

There aren't any. The Republicans on Beacon Hill have no plan. Instead of proposing specific fixes, they have chosen to demagogue the issue.

Let's take an example from yesterday. Here is a release from Republican State Rep. Karyn Polito:
Well, we all knew it was probably coming. Now it's here.

Yesterday, several leading members of the House and Senate were quoted as saying they are considering increases in the state sales tax and the state income tax as ways to generate revenue to bridge budget shortfalls....

I think new taxes need to be off the table unless and until we make a serious effort to tame irresponsible state spending. I fully acknowledge the important role that our government plays in the lives of everyday people in this state, and I admit there is a price we all have to pay to fund those programs. But, I refuse to ask my constituents to pay more money to support a system that is fundamentally broken.

What do you think?
I will tell you what I think (and thanks for asking). I think it's high time that Rep. Polito and other opponents of plans to raise revenues get specific. What "irresponsible state spending" needs taming? How exactly and specifically will you fix "a system that is fundamentally broken?"

Now, I cut out the three middle paragraphs of her statement, but I encourage you to read it in its entirety. Please, if you come across a specific cut--even one dollar--in her discussion of the issue please let me know, because I missed it.

It's not enough to be for or against something, there need to be specifics. Whether or not you agree with proposals to raise gas taxes, meal taxes, sales taxes or any other kind of tax (and I have supported some of them), at least the proponents of those measures have been specific in how much revenue they will generate. Citizens are given the information they need to make a decision on whether or not to support a measure.

"Tam[ing] irresponsible state spending" sounds like a great idea, but it is meaningless if there are no specifics regarding what state spending is irresponsible and how much we will save by taming it. As an example, reforming the state pension system sounds like something that needs to be done, but for all of the stories of pension abuse and double-dipping, I haven't heard a discussion of how much money a comprehensive reform plan would save.

The rhetoric can only take us so far. Republicans on Beacon Hill can either snipe from the sidelines or unveil specific, detailed proposals for reform. So far, they have had lots to say, but nothing to offer.

Update: As if on cue, my State Senator Jennifer Flanagan--who I strongly supported during her campaign and still strongly support--circulated this op-ed to local newspapers today suggesting that we need to reform our transportation system before raising gas taxes. Her column does not mention specific numbers, which is a problem because I just don't see how one gains support without presenting evidence. But at least it does refer to a specific bill, Senate President Therese Murray's proposal to save $6.5 billion over 20 years by restructuring the state's transportation system. I'm curious enough to go searching for the details, but how many voters are? Again, if our representatives want to gain support for their proposals, they need to be specific.

OK. So that's a start...$325 million each year. Now we've only got $3.7 billion to go.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Have Republicans already "taken back Beacon Hill?"

Apparently they have. Two months ago, Rep. Lew Evangelidis announced that the seven Republican state reps who voted for him for House Minority Leader had teamed up to create a new Web site that was designed with Republican "activists" in mind:

I'm posting here to make you, as the grassroots activists of our party, the first ones to know about the first step in this initiative.

We are launching a new Web page that is dedicated to taking back Beacon Hill for the people of Massachusetts. We want to take things in a new direction and help to create a legislature we can be proud of, one that actually listens to people and represents them appropriately. And it is specifically designed with you in mind.

I guess it wasn't designed with me in mind, because when I visited www.takebackbeaconhill.com today all I got was this:


Then again, that does seem to accurately reflect the extent of the Republican agenda.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Republican efforts are worth every penny

The Boston Herald reported Friday that every Republican in the State Senate receives at least $15,000 on top of their salary because they are considered members of the leadership team. How does that work? Apparently, there are five members of the minority party's leadership team. Since there are only five Republicans in the Senate, they all get big bonuses:
The state Senate’s five lone Republicans, spearheading a new campaign against the Democrats’ wasteful spending, are raking in more than $80,000 a year in taxpayer-funded stipends, each claiming a leadership title - even though they have nobody to lead.

All five members of the anemic Senate minority caucus boast a top-tier post, including a minority leader, an assistant minority leader, a “third assistant minority leader,” a minority whip and an assistant minority whip....

Tisei gets $22,500 on top of his $61,440 salary. Assistant Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr (R-Gloucester) gets a $15,000 stipend in addition to his $58,237 salary, as does Third Minority Leader Michael R. Knapik (R-Westfield).

Minority Whip Robert L. Hedlund (R-Weymouth) and [Scott] Brown [(R-Wrentham)], as assistant minority whip, both get $15,000 tacked onto their $61,440 salaries.

Tisei said his caucus led by example when they refused a 5.5 percent pay raise earlier this year, but he argued his members earn their stipends.
Now, you might think that the Republicans are being hypocritical in taking $15,000 leadership stipends when there are literally no followers, but I have it on good authority that the members of the leadership work hard at their leadership positions. I recently came across a transcript of an earlier caucus meeting held in a statehouse phonebooth conference room. As you can see, the leadership takes its jobs very seriously:

tiseiMinority Leader Richard Tisei: The meeting of the Republican Caucus will come to order. On today's agenda, discussion of whether or not to accept the automatic 5.5% raise in salary. In my opinion, we should reject the raises. I'll turn the floor over to the assistant minority leader for his view. Senator Tarr?
tarrAssistant Minority Leader Bruce Tarr: I agree, we should reject them.
tiseiThanks Bruce. Let's see what the third minority leader has to say, Senator Knapik?
knapikThird Minority Leader Michael Knapik: Ditto, Senator.
tiseiExcellent. Senator Hedlund, the leadership has decided that we should oppose the raise, can you whip up the votes we need? I'd like to make this unanimous if we can.
hedlundMinority Whip Bob Hedlund: Sure thing Mr. Leader. Senator Brown, you work on whipping up senators whose names begin with B or K. I'll work on the H's and the T's.
brownAssistant Minority Whip Scott Brown: Will do, Bob. Senator Knapik, will you stand with us in opposition to the raises.
knapikOf course, Senator Brown. You're a very persuasive assistant whip. I was wavering there for a moment.
hedlundSenator Tarr, are you with us or against us?
tarrYou drive a tough bargain, Bob, but I will stand with the caucus.
hedlundThanks Senator Tarr. Mr. Tisei, your vote is very important to the caucus. Will you join us in opposing the pay raises?
tiseiI'll be happy to stand with you, Senator Hedlund.
hedlundOK, Scott, Including my vote, I've been able to get three votes in support of our position, how did you do?
brownI got two, including mine.
hedlundGreat work, Senator! By my calculations, the entire caucus will be on our side! Let's report back to the leadership...Third Minority Leader Knapik, I am proud to announce that by our count, the entire Republican Caucus supports the leadership in its opposition to the pay raises. Please pass on the good news.
knapikYou continue to impress me, Senator Hedlund...Assistant Leader Tarr, I've been informed by our whips that we have unanimous support for leadership's position.
tarrFantastic news, Senator. I continue to be amazed at how well this year's caucus has been able to stick together. I'll let the Minority Leader know right away...Mr. Leader, by the count of the whips and the report of the third majority leader, it looks like we have unanimous support. We will all be rejecting the automatic raises.
tiseiThank you all for your support. I'm proud that every member of the Republican Caucus has decided to stand with me on the side of fiscal responsibility. The commonwealth cannot afford to be paying its legislators an extra $3,000 in this time of economic difficulty. And I want to give a special note of thanks to my five-man leadership team. Without your work in keeping the caucus together, this vote would never have been possible. If there is anyone who deserves to receive a $15,000 leadership stipend, it's the four of you. Congratulations on a job well done.
tiseiNow, if there is no further business, I will entertain a motion to adjourn. Rush will be on in a couple of minutes and I'm sure you all want to get back to your offices so you won't miss any of his show.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

The impact of financial news on the markets

According to CNBC, Friday could be an important day for the markets:
Friday's jobs number, whether it surprises to the upside or downside, could either intensify the current market slump or perhaps indicate better things to come.
Get that? If unemployment is either up or down, the markets could move up or down.

This is the kind of insight that makes CNBC America's leading business network.

Previously: Financial news Mad Libs

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Good to be the Governor


Awwww! Isn't that just the cutest thing. It doesn't matter how tough things get, when you're the governor you can just go out and find some bears to cuddle with and at least for a moment everything must feel better.

(The bears don't seem to mind, either. Of course, they don't have to worry about paying higher gas taxes...)


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Welcome to the news, Telegram & Gazette

The Telegram & Gazette ran an article on the $410 billion appropriations bill this morning, outlining those items earmarked for North Central Massachusetts.

Readers of this blog were tipped off to this list five days ago.

As we noted once before, as the T&G has begun to shrink they have started to publish items when they get around to it, without relation to when the news actually happened.

Sunday, T&G columnist Dianne Williamson (who is fantastic, by the way...her column is easily the best part of the paper) wrote a spirited defense of the newspaper business in general and the T&G specifically. In her column, she compared news reporters to bloggers:
Anyone can become a blogger and some are better than others, but they’ll never replace reporters trained to report the news fairly and objectively. Call me elitist, but some voices are simply more credible than others. As a rule, people who get paid to report on human events are more skilled than those who do it for fun.
Perhaps there is some merit in that--although I was paid to be a reporter in a previous life so maybe I am an exception to the rule--but is the newspaper that regurgitates a press release from Congressman John Olver more credible that the blogger who spends three hours slogging through the actual bill? Is the newspaper that publishes the article on March 2 more credible than the blog that publishes the same information on February 26?

Perhaps. But if it is, it's credibility comes from it's reputation and it's longevity. For obvious reasons, community bloggers weren't an option 10 or 20 or 100 years ago. But as the T&G shrinks, it just doesn't have the ability to cover any but the most pressing stories with the kind of depth or immediacy that it could provide 30 years ago when it was publishing two robust dailies, and when the papers that are now no more than inserts--the Clinton Item, for example--also published every day.

I am more apt to get a sense of what is going on in certain communities by reading Wormtown Taxi or Save Fitchburg than I am by reading the T&G. That isn't to say that the T&G isn't important, but they no longer have the resources to cover the region comprehensively. Local bloggers are the only way to fill in the gaps.

And in some cases, bloggers are the only way to get news when it happens, not when the T&G gets around to it.



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