I regret that I couldn't attend one of the "tea party" demonstrations today in protest of the soaring level of government intrusion into our lives. Here are pictures of some other famous tea parties.
I'm delighted to see that the number and size of the parties were above and beyond anyone's expectations. And the movement appears to have launched a new political star in Texas Governor Rick Perry. According to Politico:
Gov. Rick Perry’s (R-Texas) star is rising among a new constituency — the anti-tax “tea party” crowd — in the wake of his recent endorsement of a Texas state House resolution affirming the state’s sovereignty.
The resolution urges that “all compulsory federal legislation that directs states to comply under threat of civil or criminal penalties or sanctions or that requires states to pass legislation or lose federal funding be prohibited or repealed.”
Perry’s public embrace of that language — a thinly veiled reference toward the conditions set by the Obama administration’s financial stimulus package — and his efforts to reject some of the stimulus funds have made him popular among the big government opponents who attended Wednesday’s “tea party” events across the nation.
“I believe that returning to the letter and spirit of the U.S. Constitution and its essential 10th Amendment will free our state from undue regulations, and ultimately strengthen our Union,” the governor said. “I believe that our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state.”
In Northampton I saw this expression of anti-government sentiment this morning on a downtown mailbox, complete with a hammer striking the statehouse - or is it the White House?
I was surprised to see this sign stuck to a tree in downtown Northampton. It says "Jesus is the King not the Latin Kings."
I hope that doesn't mean the Latin King gang is surfacing in Hamp. They've already done enough damage in Springfield.
This Bud's Not For You
And speaking of Springfield, I'm surprised to see that City Councilor Bud Williams (above) has made good on his threat to announce for mayor. I'm surprised because I thought Williams had too much baggage to mount a credible campaign, plus he's indicated a willingness to run in the past and nothing ever came of it.
Things are a little different this time. For one thing, there is ward representation for the first time since the 1950's, and the ward Bud is in already has a crowded field featuring early front-runner Claudio Concepcion. Bud would be strongest running citywide as he always has under the old system, but if that's the case then he might as well run for mayor as for an at-large Council seat. Actually that is an example of the first major weakness to surface regarding the new ward system, there is little incentive to run for the at-large seats, which come with no more power or pay than the ward seats but require much more expensive citywide campaigns to win.
I've always liked Bud on a personal level. He has never been as much of a fake as most others in Springfield politics. I remember back in the 90's when I first started hanging around the Springfield political scene Williams always made a point of saying hello to me whenever he saw me, despite the fact I didn't always say nice things about him. That was in contrast to many other pols who used to pretend they didn't know me, only to have Dan Yorke inform me that they had come up to him and asked questions about me. In a political scene dominated by plastic phonies and charming crooks, Williams has a certain refreshing down to earthness about him.
Yet despite the statement in William's announcement that "I've not played politics at all" the fact is Williams has always been a loyal foot soldier for the local political machine. It is hard to think of a single time he has challenged the status-quo on an issue that mattered, and like so many others his reputation is tarnished by his close association with disgraced former Mayor Michael Albano. Can't Springfield find leaders anywhere except among the motley crew who stood by, as Williams did, defending the political establishment as the city swirled down the drain?
Fortunately Williams is not the only candidate on the field. Others may come forward, and incumbent Mayor Dom Sarno is expected to seek re-election. Nor is Williams the first to announce, that would be newcomer David Parkhurst, who is running an outsider campaign that is starting to look like a real breath of fresh air.
It might be that Bud Williams is not the worst person that could run for mayor, but Springfield could, and should, do much better.
A feminist group set up these red cutouts around campus today with stories attached to them about domestic violence.
I hate domestic violence, but I'm not sure how much such displays are educational or just annoying.
These ladies were in the campus center today with a spotted cow wearing a UMass hat promoting this weekend's livestock show.
It is being held Saturday all day with free parking and free admission at the UMass Hadley Farm. If you're into farm stuff check it out.
Today was also the start of the annual Humans versus Zombies War. This well-armed humanity soldier was patrolling the campus center to protect the students from zombie attacks.
To follow who is winning click here.
Jefferson Airplane was full of such talented people that not everyone noticed that Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Cassady were two of the greatest guitar players on the planet. When they went solo with their band Hot Tuna, they never gave a damn about commercial success and so got overlooked again. Hey, if you don't know Jorma you don't know Jack! Now they seem to be being rediscovered, with Jorma winning a Grammy award and Jack being praised as one of the greatest bass players of all time!
But Hot Tuna karoake?
It takes a long time to be free.