Sign the Petition - Stop the Stimulus
He may have lost (perhaps deservedly so) the 2008 presidential race, but Senator John McCain is still trying to serve our country, this time by rallying opposition to the potentially ruinous so-called economic stimulus plan currently before Congress. I urge you to take a minute to sign the petition by CLICKING HERE.
Thanks, every signature helps!
Closer to home, Alison Lobron of CommonWealth Magazine has a great piece in the Boston Globe today about the corrupt one-party dictatorship we have in Massachusetts that has recently resulted in House Speaker Sal DiMasi (above with Dianne Wilkerson and Deval Patrick) joining his two predecessors in resigning from the state legislature in disgrace.
AFTER Massachusetts waved goodbye to its third consecutive ethically challenged speaker of the House last week, the spotlight is now on his successor. Will Robert DeLeo be next in line? Is there something in the water at the State House - say, a parasite that infects speakers with a bad mix of myopia and arrogance?
But even as we shake our heads at the repetitive nature of political scandals, we tend to see the Legislature the way we see winter weather: It's awful, isn't it, but what can you do?
A look beyond our own borders suggests there's a great deal we could do differently. Massachusetts voters are the most disenfranchised in the country - not because we can't vote, but because most of the time we don't have a choice in whom to vote for.
Last year, just 17 percent of House races here were contested, the lowest rate in the nation. Part of the problem is the lack of a two-party system: As Republicans have failed to win races here, they have also failed to field candidates. But there's not much competition among Democrats either. Just about 10 percent of Democratic incumbents in the Legislature faced a primary opponent in 2008 - meaning a lot of voters heard no airing of issues, no conversation, no "here's why I deserve this job."
To read some of Lobron's commonsense suggestions for reviving a fully functional two party democracy in Massachusetts click here.
Nationally known artist (and Amherst resident) John Sendelbach is in Atlanta, Georgia these days doing some of his classic stonework. This is a picture he sent me of one of the kids in the house he's staying in. He ought to charge the parents a fee for it, no professional portrait artist could have gotten better results:
Sendelbach is best known locally for the majestic yet whimsical stone work he did at the Minuteman statue at UMass.
The Need for Speed
This truck filled with Monster energy drinks was at UMass today giving away free samples.
I could only drink half of mine. Maybe it's my age, but I don't like high doses of stimulants anymore. That wasn't always true. In the 70's and 80's there used to be little white pills called mini-whites available on the black market here in the Valley. There were also black capsules we used to call Black Beauties. They were amphitamines and they served as mood elevators that enabled you to stay up all night. The best of both worlds really, unlimited energy while in a good mood! Great for studying, and it was magical what you could do sexually on them. However if you took them regularly you would burn out and damage your health. I had some friends who did that, but somehow I escaped that fate myself. Now I just drink coffee, and if I have a choice, I'll take tea.
The Friends of Forbes and Lilly Libraries will once again be having their edible book contest fundraiser! It's a contest where local cooks compete to see who can come up with the most creative recipes that also serve as a symbolic representation of a popular book. Take a gander at some of last year's entries.
Representing Richard Llewellyn's 1939 novel How Green Was My Valley is this veggy cake, hopefully made with Hadley grown broccoli.
For J.D. Salinger's over-rated Catcher in the Rye is this dish featuring - what else? - a baseball catcher figurine standing on a loaf of rye bread!
A red-splattered casserole captures this Truman Capote classic.
Perhaps somebody will come up with something to serve relating to Ken Kesey, like maybe a batch of real electric Kool-Ade for Tom Wolfe's biography of Kesey The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Now that would result in a very special event! If you don't want to make anything, you are still welcome to come eat the food and drink the Kool-Ade. This year's contest will be held on Sunday April 5, 2009 2-4 pm at the Forbes Library in Northampton.