The Chimes at Midnight
Friday, August 31, 2007
 
The Tough Enough Blog
has now morphed in the "Tough Donkey" blog...don't worry I've updated the links.

Meanwhile, whaddaya say? How long will Senator Craig last? I say he caves in and resigns by Monday still bitterly insisting that he is NOT gay and soliciting an under cover cop in a public restroom is one of the straightest things a man can do by accident.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007
 
The Imperial Twilight of Senator Larry Craig (R Idaho)
There is something sad and pathetic about a US Senator allegedly soliciting gay sex in an Airport bathroom. It is a scenario so lame, so retrograde, so clumsily wrought that it is worthy only of a deeply closeted allegedly gay United States Senator.
Mind you, what he did was wrong according to the laws of the land, but mostly it was inept and ridiculous. Senator Craig's career perishes because he can't admit the truth to himself or even set up an assignation with any confidence.
Predictably, the values-pimps have come rushing in demanding this poor lout'sresignation and humiliation...being gay and Republican is a tolerable state if you are sufficiently orthodox and rightical chic, but if you get caught mah friends, then it is Katey-Bar-the-Door!
What this really points to is the sad decline of conservative politics in the USA, from theory with Goldwater to doctrine under Reagan now the whole mishaugas has become a nasty little witchburning cult with a pronounced and inexplicable animus towards gays.
2008 may be their Marengo or their Waterloo, but conservatism is falling apart in this country. Don't look to the olde wise men to save the movement they are hopelessly corrupt and compromised, on the other hand the best of the young turks can only think of running the likes of Larry Craig out of town on a rail.
The sun sets on them all...and sometimes as happens at twilight, all is cast in a harsh red lurid light.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007
 
Sad news...
Representative Marzilli's mother has died quite suddenly, the details can be found here:
I met the women several times in my travels, she seemed classy...she will be missed.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007
 
Breaking News:
Lexington state representative Jay Kaufman will not be a candidate for the now vacant 4th Middlesex state senate seat.

Below is a short excerpt from a statement issued by Kaufman on the Arlington List:

My family and I do not live in the part of Lexington that is in the 4th
Middlesex district. While I could legally be a candidate without living in
the district, we would need to move there before I could serve. My family
and I looked at this and easily and unanimously just said “no.”


That is interesting, for the moment it is good news for Jim Marzilli but there are ongoing rumors of a candidate from Lexington getting in come hell or high water.

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Havern resigns from the State Senate
a special primary election is now scheuled on Tuesday November 13th followed by a special general election on December 11th 2007 for the fourth Middlesex seat.
Well I'm sorry to see Bob go, he was no showboat and a stand up guy when you needed him.

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Monday, August 27, 2007
 
Anti-Casino Gambling Forces are set to march on the Statehouse today...
so reporteth the Boston Globe deep in the heart of the Metro section.
All I can say is, be firm but polite kids and lets hope you get some decent news coverage.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
 
Idle numbers for the Fourth Middlesex
As of 12/31/2006 the campaign
accounts for the below listed candidates were:

Rep. Jim Marzilli, Arlington: $14,626
Rep. Jay Kaufman, Lexington: 2,827
Rep. Charles Murphy, Burlington, $37,411
Rep. William Greene, Billerica?$1,140

Sen. Robert Havern, Arlington: $104,012

Havern's money isn't in play this cycle he can't transfer it to anyone. That is bad news for Diane Mahon who is increasingly seen as the candidate of the Havern High Command. It is currently rumored that Havern's resignation & the subsequent special election are being orchestrated on behalf of Mahon, a longtime protege of Bob Havern's former campaign manager and advisor George Laite.
These numbers are six months old and don't reflect any current fundraising or the latent cash-gathering potential of any of the above State Representatives.
There are also rumors circulating in Arlington to the effect that former Selectman and Town Hall powerhouse Charlie Lyons might get into the senate race thus potentially dividing the Arlington vote into thirds. Lyons has a complicated history in the town (and a recent DUI conviction) but his status as a school headmaster up in Billerica gives him some traction outside of Arlington and could advantage him in a tight race if hr played his cards right.

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Friday, August 24, 2007
 
Meanwhile back in the 4th Middlesex senate race
word is, Jay Kaufman, Lexington's stat rep is really giving serious thought to getting into the senate contest. Admittedly he has to move into the district but the feeling is among the serious playas that this thing is wide open and could attract a ten person primary spread.
That makes some sense, there isn't another game in town at the moment, it's a good district for democratic turnout and if the field clusters up, a smart candidate can get seize the nomination with as little as 30% of the vote.
Don't laugh, this is exactly the scenario that got Ed Markey the congressional nomination in 1976.
No..the only thing that might hold a lesser known candidate back is the reputed 100,000 to 150,000 price tag on a serious all-out campaign in this district. Where someone like Diane Mahon can find moolah like that is mystery to me.

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It ought to be an axiom in the Bush White House...
that the President ought to avoid uttering the words "Viet Nam" like a plague. Sadly like a damn fool Bush tried to evoke the spectre of that bygone war to justify his own doomed adventure in Iraq. Bringing up the domino theory etc only reminds us that Viet Nam was a conflict that GWB couldn't be bothered to fight back in 1970.
This is sort of ironic, Bush keeps lashing around looking for a lie that'll justify prolonging this useless war having beat a honorable man accused of all sorts falsehoods back in 2000. Al Gore didn't invent the internet and didn't claim to have done so, but GWB can't seem to invent an excuse for the Iraq war that'll work on the American people.
All this would be funny if real people weren't dying while the President stumbles around looking for an alibi.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007
 
The launch pad gets crowded:
Both and the Boston Phoenix and the Boston Herald are reporting that it's a done deal, Bob Havern is resigning from the State Senate to take a position in the private sector.
If so, it is the end of an era in Arlington Politics, Bob has served as Selectman, State Representative and seventeen years as State Senator...the town and the district have had themselves a true golden age in terms of representation...lets hope we can hold onto it.
Meanwhile, word on the street is, that Arlington Selectperson Diane Mahon is seriously looking at running for Havern's Senate Seat. Below is a cut and paste from a YourArlington Article.

Mahon considers state Senate run
Written by Bob Sprague
Wednesday, 22 August 2007
Selectmen Diane Mahon has confirmed she is exploring a run for the seat of Sen. Robert Havern, with whom she has been associated for many years.

Mahon provided the following statement on Aug. 22:

"I have been fortunate to not only work with Senator Bob Havern as a Selectman, but we have also been friends for many years. I met with Bob last week where he informed me of the possibility he may be resigning to take the job with Mintz Levin, so I have been making some calls to the entire District and have formed an initial exploratory committee for the Senate seat.

Diane is in a bit of a bind, she is in a natural position to run for Marzilli's seat in the State House of Representatives, but she and Jack Hurd the other powerhouse at Town Hall don't live in the District. So to exploit the opportunity she has go for the big job which potentially might split the Arlington vote on Primary Day. This could get interesting as both Marzilli and Mahon have strong organizations in town and many many friends. Arlington usually has a huge democratic turnout (one of the highest in the State so I am told), which gives it a commanding position over the State Senate nomination...but two strong candidates from Arlington could negate that advantage in favor of a well organized well financed democrat from Woburn or even Burlington. Moreover there are rumors afloat that Jay Kaufman, Lexington's State Representative may pile into this thing!

We are four days into this thing and already the situation is getting interesting.

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"Heady days for those of us in the War Party"
opined Jeff Jacoby, once, not too long ago.

Heady days indeed.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007
 
If current trend continue...
and other states keeping to poach on New Hampshire's exalted first in the nation presidential primary status, then the Granite State will have to reschedule the contest to go off no later than October 25th of this year.
Okay I kid...but I do think it's ironic that the most genially xenophobic state in the nation is fighting to the last man to preserve an over hyped presidential primary that fills the state with all kinds of outsiders every four years.
Monday, August 20, 2007
 
Late word comes to us
by way of the Blue Mass Group, that State Senator Robert Havern might be leaving the Upper Chamber for a job opportunity at ML Strategies.
Bob has always been a stand up guy in the State Senate a man of wit and something of a work horse, it would be a shame for the Fourth Middlesex District to lose him.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007
 
Defeatism and the Democratic Party...
Suddenly, Joanie Vennochi has decided in one of her irritating oracular effusions that the Democrats are prone to infighting and "defeatism".
Her proof?
That the usual suspects within the party are questioning Senator Clinton's electability.
Oh my goodness!
You mean there are Dems out there who aren't sold on the prospect of electing the first Woman President? Herself a former First Lady of a sandal prone US President?
Those wimps!
Those BASTARDS!
HOW DARE THEY not line up behind Clinton and give Joanie months and months of easy snarkage?????
Anyway who the hell is Joanie Vennochi to lecture anyone about defeatism?
She spent all of 2004 questioning John Kerry's electability and indeed his masculinity. Joanie then followed up this disgraceful performance by doing likewise and the same to Deval Patrick last year.
If there are persons within the Democratic ledership who question Senator Clinton's electability it is only because they know she will NEVER get a fair shake from spiteful jerks like Joanie Vennochi.

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"Holy Moley!"
cried Billy Batson that stalwart comic book character from an primordial era in American history. Sometimes Billy would shout other words, notably the magic acronym "SHAZAM!" and thus be transformed into the superhuman & righteous crimefighter Captain Marvel.
The good Captain came and went some fifty years ago, he was once the top selling super-hero comic but he went belly up in 1953 a victim of lagging sales and endless copyright lawsuits from DC Comics. I like to think he was just too pure and simple for even the Eisenhower era.
Mitt Romney likes to shout "Holy Moley" as well, or so the Boston Sunday Globe reports this morning, but there are no magic words to transform him from a cold aloof opportunist into a warm folksy j'es plain folks type caricature let alone a superhero in red tights.
So instead Mitt keeps spouting puerile expletives like "Heavens to Betsy" and "Gosh all fish hooks" and all like that hoping somehow to make a connection with voters. The Globe article suggests he is condescending to his audience, but I think he carries on in this ridiculous fashion because some image consultant thinks it obscures his origins as a former Governor of the hated state of Massachusetts.
After all, nobody even in the most remote recesses of the Berkshires carries on in this affected fashion, especially a graduate of Harvard and a fomer CEO of a venture capital corporation with a global reach.
Mind you, Hubert Humphrey used to talk this way, but he had an excuse he was raised in the rural depths of South Dakota when "Tarnation" was still a part of the local lexicon. Ole' Hubert may have also wanted to obscure his own background as a college professor of that strange mystical discipline political science.
Mitt Romney however grew up amidst privilege in Michigan and talking like he is Jed Clampett is just plain foolish.
However this is another Presidential campaign run by the corrupt on behalf of dangerously cynical candidates, we can expect worse than just stupid cliched' expletives before we are done.

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Friday, August 17, 2007
 
Romney has already run out of things to say...
and has begun chanting his old mantra, "Reform, Reform Reee-form!!"
For the benefit of anyone from Iowa or New Hampshire who might be reading this blog, let me assert that Mitt Romney has the same relationship to "reform" as the fire department has to "fire".
In four lackluster years as the Governor of Massachusetts all Romney did was cut the ribbon on the Big Dig, fire a couple of hopeless GOP hacks and flew off to strange faraway places wherein he took every opportunity to slag the Commonwealth.
Other than that, he accomplished little though he boasted a great deal.
In truth though, Romney is in the same intellectual bind as all the other GOP candidates; Bush's low popularity forces him to run against the White House, but the ideological straitjackets that constrain the GOP prevent him from proposing anything new or different or at substantive variance to current White House policy.
So instead he hurls manly invective at France, snarls at Barack Obama promises fiscal catastrophe thru lower taxes and other sonorous claptrap.
It doesn't make a lick of sense but the GOP is in a deeply delusional state and demands fantasists as candidates first and foremost.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007
 
It's the end of the world as we know
and it all starts at Shaw's in Waltham apparently.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007
 
The weasel vesus the loon
It would take an H.L. Mencken to properly describe the delights of Mitt Romney taking on Rudy Giuliani over the issue of illegal immigration.
Alas and alack all you've got is Humble Elias.
I shall try my best.
The participants in this late summer donnybrook can't be beat, on the one hand you've the egomaniacal former Mayor of New York, renowned for his scary wigginess and on the other, the ex Governor of Massachusetts whose capacity for phoniness makes plastic look like immutable granite.
Both these guys are scared, scared of any daylight getting between them and GOP's wingnuts, scared that their own records will somehow condemn them and scared they are of being called a sissy.
And so they rant and rave each trying to sound ever more tougher on the issue of "sanctuary cities" and the like. It is craven-ness played out with Wagnerian intensity. This is the core irony of the current GOP race for president, in the midst of sounding so truculent and manly, they are all to a man groveling in the most base and abject terms possible.
Doesn't get any better than this, it just doesn't.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007
 
I usually don't pay much attention to columnist E.J. Dionne Jr
but today he sums up the "Rove Era" pretty succinctly.
In particular this passage is highly instructive:
But a "51 percent strategy" leaves no room for error, and Bush proved very error-prone. Relentlessly attacking Democrats on national security meant that Bush's opponents had no stake in his Iraq policy when things started falling apart.
Indeed this could well serve as an epitaph for the whole Bush Regime.

Where I differ with Mr. Dionne is in his naive' punidt driven faith that after 9-11 Bush could've built up a broad centrist driven GOP coalition a'la that Saint of the Potomac, the Moderate Messiah Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Yeah...Bush could've governed from the center, but his record and his nature proclaim GWB as a almighty fear-monger and a divider of electorates par excellence.
Hell his father was the same way...forget all that nostalgic nonsense emitted by David Broder, George Bush a selfish divisive old prick who got elected because of Willy Horton and tried to stay in office on the basis of Gennifer Flowers and a smear campaign against Hillary Clinton.
The Bush's aren't nice people, they are mean, selfish with a bitter and frightening sense of greivance against the whole world for such a wealthy family.
Frankly, Karl Rove fit right in.
Well at least we are at last quits with Karl, there are rumors out there that he is gonna sign up with the Romney campaign...lets see how well that works out.

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Monday, August 13, 2007
 
Mitt Romney wins the Iowa GOP straw poll
by seemingly hiring jugglers, clowns, inflatable moon-walks and depopulating a herd of cows for spare-ribs.
Of course, the irony is, that despite his pricey circus-hoopla all Romney managed to do was force the clown-like & pathetic Tommy Thompson bad-hair piece and all out of the race.
Doesn't seem like such a big victory, what with the low turn-out and the wingnut twins Mike Huckabee and Sam Brownback running to place and show respectively.
Still this is Mitt Romney we are talking about, true to his viceregal style he is strutting around today pretending that store-bought victory in the straw poll and Tommy Thompson's sad departure from the race, cements Romney's status as a front runner.
To me, it seems like he spent a lot of money and got lucky for one afternoon in that neither Giuliani or McCain decided to make a fight of it. Thats not quite the same as surging to the front of the pack on the basis of your charisma and scintillating ideas.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007
 
Joanie Vennochi's thesis in today's Globe
bears some examination.
She insists (on the basis of no evidence) that Deval Patrick must somehow bend Speaker DiMasi to his will with respect to the issue of casino gambling or else risk defeat, ruin and political emasculation.
Now, lets get our facts straight here. Speaker DiMasi is agin' casino gambling (as is the Chimes at Midnight), Governor Patrick has said that he is interested if the right deal comes along.
So where does Joanie get this "do or die" show down scenario between DiMasi and Patrick?
Well, for one thing, she seems a lot more interested in writing an early political obituary for Governor Patrick than she in fostering a reasonable intelligent debate over casino gambling.
This was her same exact take on gay marriage back in the spring "Deval MUST prevail on SSM or face defeat, doom and impotence...blah blah blaaaah!!"
Okay...I get it.
Joanie hates Deval.
He didn't lose last year like a good wimpy liberal and that somehow offends Joanie's delicate political sensibilities. So now instead of trying to prove that Patrick is unelectable, she obsesses on demonstrating that he can't govern and must soon go off a cliff never to return.
One of the funnier offshoots of this obsession is Joanie's strange belief that Sal DiMasi is the political equivalent of Lex Luthor, powerful and too clever for anyone who doesn't sport a red cape to beat.
A lot of columnists have this problem, it is an ad hominem view of history.
Since policies and politicians have become disposable products, the columnistas tend to view defeat as final and irrevocable, especially if it befalls someone they disdain.
Steve Stark had the same problem with President Bill Clinton back in the early 1990's. Every week it seemed, Steve would devote precious column space in the Boston Globe to proving that Clinton was about to politically self destruct and be chased from office by a torch wielding mob.
Lost within Joanie's own farcical bid to play Cassandra is any objective discussion of the issue...and we desperately need one.
I think that Joan Vennochi is against casino gambling in the Commonwealth...but is she against it because it is a bad thing by her lights or is she against it because she assumes Governor Patrick is pro-gambling?
This cuts to the core as to what is wrong with Joan Vennochi as a columnist, we know WHO she dislikes, (John Kerry, Deval Patrick, Liberal Bloggers) but we don't know what she is for.
So much of her writing is about people, especially people she disdains...but as for what Joanie believes in who knows?

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Thursday, August 09, 2007
 
A couple of days ago I was lazing around the Friendly's
in Lenox Massachusetts, digesting my three humungous buttermilk pancakes when I saw a Jeff Jacoby column in the Globe decrying the Commonwealth's ticket scalping laws.
Fair enough, you can make an argument against these pettifogging statutes, that this is a venal transgression too miniscule to invite consistent enforcement....and that is a bad thing generally.
Jeff was making the usual dog-days of late summer libertarian argument, pretty unremarkable stuff...I wonder though where his highminded freemarketeering ends?
Does this mean that Jeff is gonna come out for rescinding the Commonwealth's puritanical public solicitation laws? Or maybe just maybe he'll demand the State Legislature strike down that false invasive 1913 anti-miscegenation statute, the one that prevents out of state gay couples from gettin' hitched hyar?
Or is he justing making easy libertarian hay without downing any heavy lifting?

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Monday, August 06, 2007
 
On vacation this week
postings will be arbitrary and capricious til further notice.
Friday, August 03, 2007
 
Overheard on Larry King last night
The celebrated "journalist" asked a pair of dazed and astonished youth counselors who'd survived the big bridge collapse in Minneapolis if "This disaster will make you afraid of highways or underpasses?"

Honestly, I have no idea how this man perpetuates himself on the public airwaves.
If you need some inane embarrassing question asked in the wake of some catastrophe, Larry King is your man, there are none more vacuous and trivial.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007
 
Scott Harshbarger the former Massachusetts Attorney General
(y'know the guy that a slots-happy pol named Tom Menino screwed out of the governorship) has an interesting and suggestive editorial about casino gambling in today's Globe.

This passage is particularly significant:
Finally, every state that has consumed the casino Kool-aid still has tax problems, education funding issues, economic development issues. In other words, promises are made, but promises are cheap, and often not kept. The only sure bet is that investors in casinos will make huge profits, and the state will get a slice, but we'll all bear huge social costs.

I agree, casino gambling is a classic short money solution to structural revenue and employment problems. I urge the Governor and the legislature to think twice about importing casino gambling to the Commonwealth...at the very least they all should read this op-ed piece.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007
 
Nothing today kids...
Except maybe a Hubert H. Humphrey campaign advert!

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