Westfield State Senator Mike Knapik noticed this oddity today at a McDonald's President's Day display. Along with George Washington and Abe Lincoln we have - President Ben Franklin!
Actually Ben Franklin probably should have been president, and might well have been had he been younger at the time of the revolution, but somebody needs to tell Micky D that wise ol' Ben was never a President, nor did he ever even attempt to run for the office.
Speaking of State Senators, Northampton's Stanley Rosenberg is taking some well-deserved flack for his latest attempt to make more difficult the process for putting policy questions on the ballot. Every few years he claims that the ballot questions favor special interests, but the truth he just doesn't like the causes that the public puts on the ballot. As those saints at the Massachusetts Citizens for Limited Taxation point out in a recent press release:
Stanley and his mob are back again for yet another assault, his lust to crush democracy undiminished.
"After grassroots groups had to spend about $11 million to fight 2010 questions at the polls seeking to cut taxes," the Hampshire Gazette reported, "Rosenberg said, they have joined a coalition seeking to raise the bar for placing initiatives on the ballot."
Time out, Stanley: What "grassroots groups" had to spend that money? Let's take a look at his latest Big Lie. Let's look at Question 3 on last year's ballot, the proposal to reduce the state income tax from its recently hiked 6.25 percent down to 3 percent. How'd that work, Stanley?
According to the Secretary of State's Elections Division, here is the amount raised by the proponents and opponents:
Proponents: Alliance to Roll Back Taxes
Opponents: Mass. Coalition for our Communities
According to BallotPedia.org, the largest contributors opposing the 2010 sales tax cut ballot question (Question 3) were:
National Education Association - $1,325,000
Massachusetts Teachers Association - $1,062,000
Service Employees International Union - $888,000
American Federation of Teachers - Massachusetts -$704,000
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees -$200,000
Boston Teachers Union - $150,000
Mass. Nurses Association - $104,000
"After grassroots groups had to spend about $11 million to fight 2010 questions at the polls seeking to cut taxes, Rosenberg said, they have joined a coalition seeking to raise the bar for placing initiatives on the ballot."
"Grassroot groups" indeed! What hogwash.
Almost eight years ago, on Apr. 13, 2003 the Eagle-Tribune editorial ("A wolf in sheep's clothing") stated:
State Sen. Stanley C. Rosenberg, D-Amherst, says his bill to "reform" the initiative petition process is not an attempt to kill it. He says if he wanted to destroy the ability of average voters to pass laws, he would have filed a bill to do exactly that.
Don't believe it. Legislators rarely do things directly. It is much safer, and usually more successful, to do it indirectly.
Rosenberg is indeed trying to kill the only avenue to direct democracy in Massachusetts. He is just trying to kill it softly. He is hoping that, just like the frog in the cook pot, voters won't notice the heat gradually increasing on their already limited powers until it is too late and those powers are boiled out of existence....
It is not that Rosenberg has a problem with manipulating public opinion. He just wants himself and his colleagues to be the ones doing it.
Here former Valley investigative TV reporter Jim Polito, now turned radio provocateur, discusses Rosenberg's anti-democracy efforts on his radio show
In Holyoke the other day I made this video about the old Holyoke Catholic High School building.
Lovers in a Northampton alley.
Local musical treasure Jim Armenti has a new solo album out.
You can listen to some of it by clicking here.
Another local musical talent is Tom Pappalardo, although he's best known for his Valley Advocate cartoons, such as this one mercilessly attacking Valley hipsters. (click to enlarge)
His songwriting shows a pretty caustic wit as well.
Early spring at UMass.