At the Black Sheep
All of the candidates for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy - with the exception of the frontrunner - appeared at UMass last night. In an unusual twist, the candidates from both parties appeared together, instead of the usual format of having separate debates for the candidates from each party. It was a rare opportunity for the voters to see all the contenders onstage at once (or would have been had candidate Martha Coakley shown up).
But even with a novel format the debate was a predictable bore, with all of the Democrats parroting each other and only the two Republican contenders offering a dose of original thinking. However since GOPers Scott Brown and Jackie Robinson are considered to have no chance of winning, whatever they think is dismissed as irrelevant.
It's too bad that the winner is going to be one of these Democrats, because they are a real rogue's gallery of losers. Attorney General Martha Coaxley got her start as one of the shameful opportunists in the Fells Acres phoney child abuse case, which disqualifies her no matter what her views. Margaret Hagen, a professor of psychology at Boston University and author of the book Whores of the Court sums up the case against Martha Coakley.
"The cynical manipulation by the Middlesex County prosecutor's office of the child witnesses against Gerald Amirault who are now young adults makes it depressingly clear that the office of prosecutor is intended by its occupants to serve their political ambitions and not the cause of justice. Martha Coakley and her cohorts and precursors know full well that children who were 3, 4 and 5 years old at the time of the Fells Acres trials will not ever be able to have untainted memories of their experiences. Hauling these innocent young people out for a press conference was disgraceful.
These children were victims of politically ambitious and woefully ignorant prosecutors who chose to disregard the coercive interrogations by the inexperienced graduate student assigned to dig the "truth" out of the children, to ignore bizarre claims that defied all rationality (e.g. sodomy with lobsters and knives) and to close their eyes to the utter lack of substantiating physical evidence.
Yet this field is so weak that Coakley is actually the frontrunner! Meanwhile two of the Democrat contenders are millionaire unknowns who are trying to buy the seat. That leaves U.S. Rep. Mike Capuano as the only half-decent contender, but even he's no prize.
I caught wind that Mike Capuano was going to make a campaign appearance before the debate at the Black Sheep Deli in downtown Amherst. Therefore I rushed down there and sure enough one half of the dining area had been turned into a campaign rally. The highlight of the event came right at the beginning, when Rep. John Olver announced that he was endorsing his fellow congressman for the Senate seat.
There were other local political celebrities in the room as well, such as State Rep. Ellen Story.
Also present was Northampton City Councilor Michael Bardsley.
Capuano began his speech by proudly declaring himself "the most liberal candidate" in the race, causing the audience to cheer. Capuano responded with the quip that Amherst "is the only place that line works." Actually there is no significant difference between any of the Democrats on any issue, with the exception of the legalization of medical marijuana, which Capuano alone supports. On that slim libertarian thread hangs the only real reason to support him.
However I did find him personally likeable. Capuano comes across as a regular guy with a middle-class background, although even that image has been tarnished lately by such revelations as this one in today's Boston Herald:
U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, a shirtsleeve Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate who has crafted a working-class image as an average guy from Somerville, has dined at high-end steakhouses and brasseries across the globe including a hot spot in the heart of Paris.
Capuano shelled out nearly $5,000 alone from his campaign account and PAC in the past two years at the National Democratic Club, an exclusive magnet for Washington insiders, according to a Herald review of spending records.
“You mean everybody doesn’t have a campaign account? The average Joes eat out a lot, too, but it tends to be McDonald’s and Wendy’s,” said Larry Sabato, director of the center for politics at the University of Virginia.
Later at the debate Capuano surprised everyone by getting up and leaving early. According to the UMass Collegian:
Around 8:35, Congressman Capuano abruptly left the forum, which his press secretary, Roger Lau, attributed to his being extremely tired upon touring Western Massachusetts after a trip to Washington.
Here's a video I took of the allegedly exhausted Capuano at the Black Sheep.
Oh well, may the best person win - if there is one.
Peace of Hamp
Here's what I call a cool and colorful bumper on this car parked in Northampton. It appeared to be hand-painted.
This is a nice sentiment.
The Haymarket sure looks different with its wall menu removed.
I can't believe those dorky hats we wore as kids are making a comeback.
Just goes to show you that it's true that if you live long enough, every fashion comes round again.
Don't forget that Hot Tuna is coming to Northampton on November 28th.