The Chimes at Midnight
Thursday, October 29, 2009
 
Walking with the King...
"Left Ahead" the Commonwealth's premiere progressive podcast moved heaven and earth to get me on the cyber airwaves today...I guess because my droning monotone is just the utmost ultimate. Personally, Mike Ball's summary over the MP3 link makes waa-ay more sense than the nonsense I was spouting.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009
 
What I learned from the democratic senatorial primary debate...
That Alan Khazei's dad was a doctor and his mom a nurse and he is of Iranian extraction. That and he has apparently thinks he is up on stage with three uncaught crooks...Honestly, has he sworn an oath on the Altar of Reform Sacred to campaing in an even more shrill and humorless mode than Ralph Nader?

That Steve Pagliuca has a plan to stimulate job growth in the Commonwealth, likely it consists of paying ten million dollar signing bonuses. Steve claims that he was "inspired" to enter public service by the late Edward M. Kennedy, all that idealistic inspiration didn't stop him from voting for Romney in 1994 though.

That...Amazingly enough, Congressman Capuano debated badly. It has been a article of faith for me all along that Mike could seriously tear things up in a legit debate, Here though he sounded fussy and little defensive. Maybe the format which was little more than a joint press conference referee'd by a weirdly inarticulate Peter Meade, didn't favor Capuano's strengths.

That Martha Coakley could drone on tonelessly with the best of them? Humble Elias has met the AG enough to know she is quite personable in person, here she just exuded a monotonal grey fog.

Oh and one note to our democratic aspirants for Senator Kennedy's seat...Don't mention the late bank robber Willy Sutton in the context of US tax polcy, it is just asking for trouble.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009
 
(Another) Note to the Laity
Scheduling issues prevent Humble Elias from calling in to the Left Ahead podcast today, we will try to get this straightened out for another try later this week.
Meanwhile DO listen in to today's podcast, John Connolly, the Chair of the Boston City Council's Education Committee is making an appearance so it ought to be an interesting and suggestive show.

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Monday, October 26, 2009
 
Nothin' left but Left Ahead....
Humble Elias will take his dignity in hand and be calling into the very fine "Left Ahead" podcast tomorrow at 2pm.
Because clearly, the blogosphere can't get enough of my tuneless droning baritone.
And as a note to the laity let me add that Humble Elias IS on vacation this week, he has already hit Suffolk Downs and plans to loaf up on Hampton Beach tomorrow so postings herein will be erratic for a few days.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
 
No one ever went bankrupt in the Boston Market
by not stoking the fires of regional self loathing.
Take Sam Allis column in today's Globe in which he all but blames the Civil War on "effete 19th Limousine Liberals from Boston".
It seems a "Secret Six" of disgruntled wealthy anti slavery men bankrolled John Brown's attempted coup at Harper's Ferry in 1859...And well Sam has decided that little know cabal somehow is representative of the liberal spirit in Boston circa 2009.
There is much to deride in Allis' column today, the complete silence about the polarizing effects of the Dred Scot decision and the Fugitive Slave Act both of which gave the liberals of 1859 good reason for outright paranoia.
In fact if you think politics is fractured and driven by partisan hatred today, then please take a long look at 1859 again it is a portrait of a republic teetering on the brink of revolution and or dissolution.
Truly John Brown would've a found a way to killing even if six wealthy dingbats hadn't given him $5000.00 He ran up a nice bloody record in the Kansas territory sans any palmy fundraisers. In the end though, Brown was hung for the crime of attempting insurrection on a small scale in 1859, the slave-holders of Dixie would implement nearly the same model of rebellion on a regional basis not two years later. Truly, all Brown really did was hold the bridle that Robert E. Lee might ascend the saddle and ride off to some magnolia scented Ragnarok in the hills of olde Virginny.
Ah but Sam Allis reads history in a Agnewian manner, "effete liberals" are bad and cowardly and take advantage of other men's extremism before running away from the consequences.
Well, all I can say is, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and his troops didn't run away from any consequences, and trust me on the topic of slavery they were further to left than any of the so called "Secret Six".

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Thursday, October 22, 2009
 
Like Napoleon Returning from Elba
so too does the Bad Poets Society return unto Harvard Square tomorrow night.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
 
Congrats to Senator Kerry
his timely intervention has bought us some much needed time to craft a sensible Afghan policy.
Humble Elias doesn't expect a run-off election to achieve miracles, but anything that increases the legitimacy of the government in Kabul is a good thing in general and a specific benefit I would hope for the US armed forces currently fighting in Afghanistan.
If this is the sort of work we can expect from a Senior Senator who is chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, then I say th' Tall Guy can forget about being Secretary of State. Long after Hillary Clinton has booked two successors into Foggy Bottom, Kerry can still be making a difference in foreign policy...Think on that John.
J'es sayin'.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
 
For what it is worth...
With respect to last night's mayoral debate, Tom Menino sounds terrible over the radio, incoherent, slurs his words, drops the definite article at random with a harassed tone as well.
Flaherty threw some good haymakers but from what I heard over NPR landed no solid knock-out.
To be honest, is there much ideological difference between Tom and Mike? Both are democrats, likely pro-choice, pro gay rights, an ardent lover of Boston's sacred and inviolate neighborhoods, humble promoters of education and both never saw a bridge whose ribbon they wouldn't cut with the utmost glee.
Frankly the debate in this race isn't about philosophy it is about management, who will run a more efficient operation down at City Hall.
If there was any heat last night (aside from sniping at the Mayor about the e-mail controversy) it was mostly generated by competing claims to executive ability.
As long as that is the substance of the debate, then it is all advantage Menino, his rep as an "urban mechanic par excellence" remains unsullied.
***
Predictably though, Joan Vennochi watched the whole thing with mounting bitterness and surprisingly pronounced a pox on both their houses.

WOW! Where did that come from?? Like Mad Random!
Monday, October 19, 2009
 
With respect to the big
Mayoral debate in Boston tonight, Humble Elias is hard pressed to see just how Candidate Flaherty will be able to deliver a knockout blow to Mayor Menino's re-election chances.
The bar is just set so low for Menino that short of gargling all his responses thru a mouthful of Clorox the outcome is more or less assured.
Still, there are political reasons to have second thoughts about Menino, despite some of the attractions of his somewhat quaint style of governance.
Anyone else recall how Mayor Menino turned his back on gubernatorial candidate Scott Harshbarger in 1998, kept his precinct machine home on election day and thus denied the former Attorney General the thirty thousand votes he needed to get past Penniless Paul Cellucci?
It seems His Honor the Mayor was peeved at some of the investigations AG Harshbarger had initiated in and around the City of Boston.
And we all know a peeved Mayor Menino has consequences for us all.
I do, ancient history I know, but come 2010 if a re-elected Tom Menino pulls the same stunt on Governor Patrick don't say you weren't warned.
"All politics is local" said Speaker O'Neill, which brings up "Nugator's Adendum",that "All Local Politics is Personal".
And with Tom Menino some of his personal feuds do have reprocussions for those of us who live beyond Boston.
Just sayin'...
Sunday, October 18, 2009
 
Jeff Jacoby Hearts Referendums
today's column in the Sunday Globe is a keeper as Jeff Jacoby that laughing young senescence marks out hard for the public referendum, particularly California's brand wherein the state legislature cannot over-ride the outcome of a ballot initiative.
This makes California a sort of berserker paradise wherein werewolves are proclaimed an endangered species and silver edged weapons are taxed at 10.5 percent.
My question is this, when the state legislature screws up and the subtle bond of representation are sundered betwixt the electorate and the elected, legislators lose their jobs. The mighty are humbled and are forced to slink back into their phony baloney law practice or store front insurance brokerage.
When the public screws up and bankrupts the state via referenda fiat, what measures can be brought to bear against them?
You can't throw out the electorate and put in a new constituency....
Under one scenario there is the basic accountability of the voting booth, under the other, the voting booth is the potential path to anarchy sans recourse.
Right now in California the public has voted themselves a plethora of tax breaks along with a long list of additional and expensive mandates relating to education, the environment, public works etc etc. Less money is coming in to cover an ever expanding list of publicly mandated initiatives.
Y'see there is a reason why the founding fathers set up a representative democracy, the act of representation is a nigh ethereal thing but thanks to frequent elections there is also very real element of public accountability. Humble Elias isn't against ballot questions per se but getting them on the ballot ought to be only half a difficult as getting a bill approved by the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Friday, October 16, 2009
 
Thought for the day
Michelle Obama must be the very last woman in her age and SES group to not have a salaried job outside the home.
I mean, if you send the Secretary of Commerce to cut the ribbon on a nice new bridge over the Missouri River, the USA is effectively paying him or her for their time.
If Michelle Obama does the honors, she get zippo.
But imagine the hoo-hah if she took a job with a DC law firm or something...Or even started writing briefs for other lawyers part time, the statutes governing conflict of interest and the praetorian class would both literally explode.
Dunno what the answer is, the First Lady of the United State has never been more necessary and yet more anarchronistic at the same time.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
 
I have no problem with Rush Limbaugh
the wingnut radio tyrant bidding on co-ownership of the Saint Louis Rams.
He'd be in good company there must be dozens of Falangists and book worshippers among the ranks of the NFL ownership class.
However the spectacle of Rush Limbaugh the reputed drug fiend owning a professional football team sends the wrong message to a league already mired in drug scandals...steroids, painkillers and now an alleged oxycontin addict in the boardroom?
Baa-ad craziness to quote the prophet.
Just as well the deal fell through sez I, the league has enough problems.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
 
No surprise here...
as Scot Lehigh runs amok on Congressman Capuano's ass.
Serious political observers will recall Scot also dumped a rhetorical canvas bag of lugwrenches on Joe Kennedy a few weeks ago as well.
This is a routine occurence in Scotworld, a special election looms, so Lehigh needs to shuffle democratic deck and come up wanting so he can in good conscience go off in search of a nice suburban Moderate Republican to support.
Scot can't just exit the closet and admit he hates democrats and lu-uv's moderate republicanism no he has to make a big drama out of it.
Funny.
In fact, Scot Lehigh loves moderate republicanism soooo immoderately that if no appropriate middle-of-the-road GOP lackwit presents themselves during the election the Globe columnista will just pretend the republican nominee (however given to Falangism)is a person of estimable moderation.
Other let Humble Elias briefly note the utter dearth of any real sense of humor among our local political pundits. Scot's attempts today to come up with a fast paced casual sounding denunciation of Mike Capuano will not efface the memory of Hunter S. Thompson in anyone's mind. No I suspect they have all been corrupted by Howie Carr's tendency to substitute heckling for genuine wit the lot of them are as funny as getting a dislocated shoulder reset.
 
Idle Thought
To think it is likely that somewhere in the USA today, Mitt Romney is fundraising on the basis of his unswerving opposition to a Federal version of the same health care reform he happily signed off on in Massachusetts.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009
 
Floon
Joanie Vennochi was on the Jeff Santos show, blowing on the fitful embers of a tight mayoral race in Boston.
Frankly, I don't see it, Menino lacks few organized enemies among the electorate in a city that prizes continuity in governance over innovation.
The only conspicuous class opposed to Menino's re-election is the local punditariat, the reasons for this are simple, they want someone new to write about, after sixteen years Mayor Menino's novelty has worn off as far as the columnistas are concerned.
Sixteen years is a long time in office though, in other cities this might be an issue, but in Boston it is still 1912 and the personal approach still rules the voting booth.
Monday, October 12, 2009
 
Jeff Jacoby whinges about the onerous

task of grinding out yet another column.
For once, I sympathize.
Try filling this on-line bucket up six times a week...I could cut it down to five I suppose but then I'd lose props with my fellow anti-depressant gobbling, birkenstock wearing, living in dad's basement moonbat base...and That I cannot endure!

Jeff lemme give you a little secret I learned back when I was grinding it out twice a month for an obscure and deceased publication in Somerville.
Graphics cut down your word count, useful to know if you are running out of sensible things to say or write
Pictures of pretty women (Here Jean Rogers from ye old Flash Gordon serials) always work well in this context.
And on that note....
Sunday, October 11, 2009
 
Plumb consternated to discover that
Newt "The Cowardly Lion" Gingrich is a convert to Roman Catholicism.

I mean we will let in just aboutany famous dingbat in won't we??

You wouldn't mind so much but the R.C.C. won't marry you if you are gay or divorced or if you aren't a "good living catholic" (whatever that means) but the bishops will inexplicably wave thru to the sacristy the thrice married former Speaker of House sans demure.
Seems to be a discontinuity there, can't quite figure out where though...

There seems to be a pattern here of hyper conservative converts to catholicism, Dinesh D'Souza (sp), Laura "Hollow Leg" Ingraham and now Gingrich, all these poor theologically homeless sods are looking for certitude in the pristine white robes of the Bishop of Rome.

When Gingrich finds out that the money he renders up on Sunday gets spent on the poor sans oversight on Monday, he will be screaming for Pope Benedict's impeachment by the weekend...If we use his tenure as Speaker of the US House of Representatives as a baseline.

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Friday, October 09, 2009
 
President Obama wins the Nobel Prize...
What next, an Oscar? An Emmy? A Cable Ace Award?

Okay all kidding aside I think maybe the Nobel Peace Prize committee maybe thought this was a good way to stick it GWB on last time...
Cheaper just to leave a burning paper bag full of dog dung on the former President's doorstep I think.
 
Ed Markey in Menotomy
Ed Markey is hosting a health care forum at Arlington's Town Hall Monday October 12th at 6:30pm. While Humble Elias is not expecting much in the way of fireworks let us still make sure this doesn't turn into a freeper-fest or anything.

I'm suspecting though, that the wind has gone out of those sales after the many many embarrassing outbursts seen this summer. Still, this is Massachusetts and no one ever said the local Falangists had a good sense of timing or even a clue for that matter.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
 
A hint from the peanut gallery for Mike-n-Martha
Lets not make the opening salvo in the Great Democratic Senatorial Primary Debate all about a traditional and very effective GOP wedge issue like the Death Penalty, shall we?
The electric chair and the gas chamber have polled pretty well down thru the years here in the Commonwealth, a one point in 1997, approval for the dealth penalty stood at 65% in Massachusetts.
Dunno what the numbers are like now, but even if they favor the dems it can't be by much.

Given the ease with which crime issues are demogogue'd by the republicans, I'd avoid deliberately giving them an issue right out of the starting gate come the general election.
Otherwise we don't wanna start that phase of the process explaining and clarifying whilst the usual a-holes in the local punditariat heckle & hoot unmercifully.
I mean, I can see it comin' guys.

Just sayin' thass all...
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
 
In Boston, it is still 1912
The Mayor runs for re-election of the number of pot-holes he has filled, the wedding receptions he has attended, the wakes he has gone to, the sheer dazzling increment of voters who have met him, his assiduous status as a success merchant in the economy of favors.
It is a pre-atomic mode of re-election and it occurs to me that Boston is one of the last urban communities in the West where this quaint approach still holds sway.
New York for example succumbed to celebrity politics a decade or more ago with that famously unstable camera-hound Rudy Giuliani.
Boston however holds firm in its old timey ways, and truly is there a politician in living memory better adapted to it than Tom Menino?
He is inarticulate at best, incoherent most of the time he never forgets a favor or a slight, he has been down your street, knows your state rep and has few enemies among the electorate when it comes time to open the polls.
He has no higher aspirations for office, indeed how could he? Tom Menino couldn't win office anywhere else in the country, not because he is manifestly incompetent or malevolent, far from it, he is schlumpy, mumbles too much and looks like a green-grocer from the 1930's for all his evident virtues.
So let that stand as an indictment of the current political zeitgeist in the USA, so if Menino is re-elected next month and likely he will be it is mostly because he has mastered the political arts of the pre World War One era.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
 
Idle political observation
Hubert Humphrey bounced back in the polls in 1968 only after he started in on Richard Nixon with commercials such as this:

Let that be an object lesson for any democrat in a tight race come next year.
Monday, October 05, 2009
 
Howie Carr has been playing with the whole world by
prison rules for years now, and no-one in the local punditariat has ever called him out on it.
No, even the local liberal columnistas have for the most part either enabled Howie outright or else silently passed over his increasingly gruesome tirades on the radio and in the public prints.
So of course, when a pseudononymous critic of Carr pops up on the Blue Mass Group, the Globe's own Joanie Vennochi has a problem a with Ernie Boch III's lack of a proper name.
Normally I'd snark out at Joanie's latest humorless screed, but today just once I'll merely note that the internet is essentially built one oracular call-signs, mysterious handles and odd pseudonyms. There is a difference even if it is metaphorical between someone who is anonymous and someone who is using a pseudonym. I for example use one simply because I'd always thought it cool as a writing gimmick, Ben Franklin and Ian Fleming both favored pseudonyms in their columnist days, why should Humble Elias deny himself?
The dino-media doesn't get any of this, Joan Vennochi certainly doesn't get it, in part because the internet seems outside her experience and also because an attack on Howie is somehow also an attack on Joanie, she must protect her own in the end.
Of course, if the Scot LeHigh's and Joanie Vennochi's of this world had done their jobs vis a vis Howie's Neronian excesses there would be no need for Ernie Boch III or Humble Elias for that matter.
But they shuck and jive when it comes to Howie Carr and therefore into the breach charges the bloggers for better or worse.
Sunday, October 04, 2009
 
Capuano in Menotomy
At the home of a very very very good democrat indeed Congressman Mike Capuano held a well attended meet-n-greet. Mike was funny, well informed, passionate articulate. He is clearly running as a sort of left wing "Rocky Balboa" citing himself with his blue collar background as "the guy who wasn't supposed to win".
It is a very persuasive message when yoked to his message of health care for all, civil and human rights and a stern stewardship over issues of war and peace.
When the time comes, he will debate extremely well indeed, I expect at the least he will have Steve Pagliuca for breakfast, Martha Coakley and Alan Khazei should take note.
Steve Pagliuca's TV commercials BTW are an embarrassment to the trade, they are whiny and seem to be saying "Just tell me what to think and I will think puh-leeeez??!!"
Not an auspicious start.
Anyway, back to Capuano, he is gonna run as a boot strap walk the walk liberal and that is fine by me. If Mike has a problem it is existential and a common one to politicians on the rise; on the one hand he trumpets his effectiveness on the other hand he wants to come across as a steel ribbed Man of Principle.
Those are contradictory notions, akin to Richard Nixon's mania for a quaint 19th century dignity chained to pathological desire to drink the blood of virgin cheerleaders from Moline Ill on live TV all in a bid to rebuke his liberal critics.
Truly Mike Capuano can't run as the world's most effective incorrigible can he?
Maybe he can, worse candidates have reconciled contradictions twice as daunting...
As for Capuano's audience it was mostly composed of Menotomy's most active and irredeemable progressives, although it is interesting to note that only one elected officer of the Town Democratic Committee was in attendance. Of the local machers State Representative Will Brownsberger, Senator Ken Donnelly and Menotomy Selectperson Clarissa Rowe were the apex standouts in the aud.
What this sez is, that despite a strong profile in town, local democrats are not fully united behind their earstwhile neighbor Martha Coakley.
Anyhow the game is afoot.

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Friday, October 02, 2009
 
Go Ernie GO!!!
Kick Howie Carr's teeth in, thass all I can say!
From the looks of Howie's column today I'd say the whole campaign to boycott his radio advertisers seems to be getting under his skin...I mean the damn thing is nothing but a autistic litany of his favorite insults and put-downs "Dukakoids, Moonbats" etc etc.
Sad, Howie was once a local colossus now look at him tangling with a blogger like a mid-carder with a blown out back.
No it isn't sad it's delicious gimme more sez Humble Elias.
Thursday, October 01, 2009
 
"A Military Coup has been Long Overdue"
So sang Ray Davies in far palmier times, but this would also be The Bright New Idea earnestly espoused by wingnut columnist John Perry over on the conservative Newsmax site.
Y' know what?
I sympathize, when you are unpopular and out of ideas radical armed action sounds very seductive.
Hey man, I've been there.
After all on this very blog i once joked about deposing Governor Romney via judicial fiat and some mock scary videos being sent to then Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey.
The point is, Humble Elias was kidding, this poor raving dupe is serious.
Sad really.
Coming during a week when Facebook had to delete a "Should Obama be shot" poll then you have to wonder if movement conservatism (having lost everything eighteen months ago) can find any hope or long term security in moving even further to the right into the land of armed dementia?
Right now, movement conservative is sitting in a corner, muttering curses to itself, sucking it's thumb and stroking a toy pistol...This is in a word the "loyal" opposition the people President Obama is supposed to be negotiating with over health care, defense policy, treasury matters etc.
Frankly all Mr. Perry's column really tells me is that Barack Obama's summer long bid to conciliate the GOP has been a failure as across the table from him are nothing butguys in Brooks Brothers straitjackets.

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