Keep cyphering Mr. President, in the meantime let's look at some political developments closer to home:
After years of not having any opposition, Congressman Richard Neal is finally facing a credible challenger, as reported in this morning's UMass Collegian:
United States Rep. Richard Neal, a University of Massachusetts journalism lecturer and former Springfield mayor, will face a challenger for his second district house seat for the first time since 1998.
Republican Jay Fleitman, chairman of Northampton’s Board of Health, a Republican ward chairman, and a former school committee member will run against Neal, who has held his seat since 1989.
Fleitman said he is running for a variety of reasons, but primarily because he disagrees with Congress’ recent spending moves.
“They’ve let loose with this almost criminal barrage of spending,” Fleitman said of the federal bailouts, furthering that “this government is accruing debt equal to the entire debt that the U.S. government has accrued in history prior to this.
“The chickens are going to come to roost on this, it’s going to burden the whole economy, the people who are going to be paying for this are you and your children,” continued Fleitman as an emphasis to students....
On whether the Fleitman campaign poses a challenge, Neal’s staff was silent, as his press secretary, William Tranghese, would not comment on the matter.
I wonder if Neal will explain to the students in his journalism class why his press secretary considered it best not to comment to the student paper. Interestingly, the UMass newspaper is located in Amherst, which is in the district and hometown of Congressman John Olver, yet the account in the Collegian of Neal's challenger is much longer and more detailed than the one that appeared in The Republican which is printed in Neal's district and hometown of Springfield. Once again, you have to leave the area in order to find out what's going on in Springfield politics.
No matter what your political persuasion this has to be considered good news. In a healthy democracy every public official should be forced to explain to the public every election cycle what they have done while in office and why they should be re-elected. It has been far too long since Neal has had to face such a reckoning.
However, both the Republican and the Collegian get it wrong when reporting when Neal last faced a challenger. The Republican said 1996 and the Collegian 1998, but actually Neal faced a Democrat primary challenge in the year 2000 from the crackpot activist Joe Fountain. But by any measure, it has been far too long since Neal has been required to defend his record in a seriously challenged election, and therefore nothing but good can come from Dr. Fleitman's candidacy.
In a shameful episode last night the Massachusetts Democrats under the leadership of jackass House Speaker Robert DeLeo (above with Deval Patrick) voted to raise the sales tax. Of course that is the tax which hits the poor the hardest and will also hurt our chances of an economic recovery by slamming the business community. Fortunately, time exists to defeat this abomination when it reaches the State Senate. However, we should at least pause to acknowledge the brave state representatives from our Valley who voted against the sales tax increase.
Rep. Donald F. Humason (above)
Rep. Todd R. Smola
Rep. Angelo Puppolo
Rep. Sean F. Curran
Rep. Rosemary Sandlin
Now, who are the Western Mass Senators who will join this honor roll in the next phase of the battle?
Shake It Baby
Here I am this weekend at the UMass Renaissance House posing with my pal Billy.
This is Wolfmother.