Friday, December 30, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012!

From Ken O'Brien


New Year's Resolutions for Southbridge Town Leaders

Ken O'Brien

New Year's Eve is traditionally a night given to thoughts of new beginnings.

We put behind us the mistakes and misgivings of the old year. One last night of revelry casts out the demons of the past to make way for the angels of rebirth.

To sanctify this commitment to a better future we engage in the crafting of New Year's resolutions. The exercise makes a concrete statement of how we plan to realize our phoenix-like ambitions.

In that spirit of starting over, let me suggest some resolutions for our current community leadership in Southbridge.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Making Facts Malleable

Ken O'Brien

I've often resorted to the observation that, "You're entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts."

However that is becoming increasingly more difficult to argue.

The reason is the growth of a conservative media offensive that willfully distorts verifiable facts to perpetuate an alternative view that supports their ideology. In a sense they have injected a religious component into their political ideology that dictates that adherents accept their version of the "truth" on faith.

Such is not merely a reversion to the since renounced medieval church's response to Galileo. It is also an oxymoronic adoption of the philosophy of Islamic fundamentalists that they so roundly abhor.

Monday, December 26, 2011

GRIDBLOCK

Ken O'Brien

Gridlock is a term that appears to have originated in New York City in the 1970’s.

To quote from Wikipedia:

The term gridlock is defined as "A state of severe road congestion arising when continuous queues of vehicles block an entire network of intersecting streets, bringing traffic in all directions to a complete standstill; a traffic jam of this kind.” The term originates from a situation possible in a grid plan where intersections are blocked, preventing vehicles from either moving forwards through the intersection or backing up to an upstream intersection….
The traditional form of gridlock is caused by traffic heading in one direction across an intersection. This traffic is then stopped, by sometimes too much capacity for the roadway or an accident, blocking the intersection. The drivers in the other direction then go into the blocked intersection trying to get through. In many jurisdictions, drivers are prohibited from entering an intersection at a green light if there is no room for them to clear the intersection. If drivers follow this rule of the road, gridlock will be prevented and traffic will only be slow in the direction that is actually congested. One method of reducing gridlock is to aggressively enforce penalties for vehicles that block intersections.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL

Respect

Ken O'Brien

During her remarks at the start of December 19th's town council meeting, the council chair said:

"...we [the town council] represent the entire community, you are not, the people sitting here in the audience, are not the entire community. You are part of the community, and as we are trying to be respectful of you, we require, expect and demand that you be respectful of us as well."

You've got to love the dichotomy of the parallelism in this statement.

The chair is saying. "... we are trying to be respectful of you".

To quote the words of that interstellar sage, Yoda, "Do or do not... there is no try.”

Friday, December 23, 2011

Decorum?

Ken O'Brien

Southbridge Town Council Rule 19a. says:

"Councilors Forum will be an agenda item on each regularly scheduled Town Council meeting. The purpose of Councilors' Forum is to conduct Council business."

At December 19th's council meeting the council chair began by lecturing the assembled citizenry of her intention to see that proper decorum would be maintained during meetings. Any interruptions by catcalls or applause would result in removal of the offenders from the hall.

As a less than subtle punctuation to this admonition, one only had to notice the presence of four police officers in the council chambers.

Apparently, however, adherence to proper decorum is more a function of how favorably your conduct is viewed by the chair rather than by its actual propriety.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Republican Big Lie….

And How It Can Trip Them Up Now

Ken O’Brien


The current Washington soap opera relates to the extension of payroll tax cuts that would benefit the vast majority of Americans in the middle class.

The core issue is the manner in which we would pay for this tax holiday.

Democrats have proposed a surtax on those earning in excess of $1 million per year

Republicans initially proposed further spending cuts. Now, in the absurd compromise for a two month extension, the proposal is to have a surcharge on mortgage fees for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae mortgages.

However, it is acknowledged that such a “pay for” would be insufficient for a full year extension.
 
So, come January, the battle will be joined again on the issue of how to pay for these payroll tax cuts.

Season's Greetings?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Oh Paul, We Miss You!


As we all know the town manager has forced through his "reorganization" of the public access channels.

At the core of this was the dismissal of Paul Zotos as the Director of that operation and the decision to hire three part-timers to replace him. Never mind the fact that, after years of service, and numerous awards, Paul was dismissed months before he would have been eligible for retirement and a pension.

One of the primary reasons cited in Paul's dismissal was a video that he recorded following the June tornado. In it, then town council chairman Steve Lazo was shown helping clear trees that had been devastated in the event.

Wall Street Crapshoot


So you think that we learned something from the 2008 financial meltdown?

Think again.

A major factor in the financial crisis was the use of synthetic derivatives that essentially turned into a casino game. These abstruse financial instruments brought about, among other things, the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the bailout of AIG and numerous banks and the bankruptcy of the country of Iceland.

So it would seem that, if anything, some sanity would be restored to the use of these mechanisms.

Not so.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Snark Trumps Smart Again

Ken O'Brien

At last night's meeting the town council chairman once again demonstrated her ignorance of procedure.

In a none-too-veiled reference to the previous chairman Steve Lazo she remarked that unlike the case of the charter review committee she was not naming the chairman of the bylaw review committee. Rather, she would allow the committee to elect its own chairman.

Apparently she has forgotten that the town council rules provide that, unless otherwise stated, the council's conduct shall be governed by Robert's Rules of Order.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Delay, Intimidate

Ken O'Brien

I recently wrote a piece remarking on the apparent absence of the firm specializing in municipal law from town activities.

Well, so much for that seeming hiatus.

As many of you are probably aware, a case is pending in Worcester Superior Court challenging the validity of the bylaw expanding the Board of Health from 3 to 5 members. (This should not be confused with a separate action now before the State Supreme Court relating to the landfill site assignment hearings).

Attorney Pecci was notified by Atty. Adam Costa of Blatman, Bobrowski & Mead on December 15th that, in anticipation of a Motion for Summary Judgment in the case, he had scheduled a series of depositions of six of the plaintiffs between Tuesday and Thursday of this week at Southbridge Town Hall.

Attorney Pecci responded to the proposed deposition with the following letter and motion:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sweeping Change Coming to Town Council


Dennis Martinek and Ken O'Brien

At December 19th's meeting, the town council will take up the following item:

17. Vote to authorize the Town Manager to proceed with the procurement process to purchase a Street Sweeper and to fund this purchase, that $172,000 is appropriated for the purpose for financing the purchase of a Street Sweeper and to meet this appropriation the Treasurer with the approval of the Town Manager is authorized to borrow $146,155.00 and issue bonds or notes therefore under Section 7 and/or 8 of Chapter 44 of the General Laws, or any other enabling authority; that such bonds or notes shall be general obligations of the Town and to fund the balance of the project by appropriating $10,000 from Sewer Enterprise Retained Earnings, $10,000 from Water Enterprise Retained Earnings and by transferring $2,046.00 from #6325 Replace Boilers, $2,474.00 from #6323 FY 2010 Capital Budget and $1,325.00 #6317 Pleasant Street Paving.
                                                                        (2/3 Roll Call Vote Required)

At a time when the taxpayers would like to see a concerted effort at austerity, this item is especially troubling.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mommie State Dearest


Ken O'Brien

Unlike the "nanny state" that many conservative critics claim that American liberals are making of our country, Southbridge has become a mommy state.

However, in contrast to the altruistic motives that underlie any conception of the "nanny state", Southbridge's mommy state is more aptly characterized as a "mommie dearest state" as exemplified by the iconic book and movie Mommie Dearest.

While both employ an element of the proverbial stick, there are clearly distinguishable matters of motive, degree and the absence of any carrot.

Southbridge's "mommie state" has devolved from any uses of incentives to one based entirely upon intimidation and penalties.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Southbridge Charter Review Committee Strikes Back



Ken O'Brien


Back in July I wrote a post entitled The Charter Chupacabra.

In that article I made a series of predictions on how the current council would amend the recommendations of the Charter Review Committee.

With one exception all of those predictions came true. The sole exception was that the council would recommend changing the position of Town Clerk from elected to appointed. Perhaps this was a bridge too far. Perhaps it reflected the fact that the current Town Clerk had changed her party affiliation from Democrat to unenrolled.

Having been duly appointed in accordance with the terms of the Town Charter, the members of the Charter Review Committee felt obligated to respond to the actions of the town council.

Faux News Redux


                                             
Ken O'Brien

Back in February I published a piece titled "Where's Joe Friday When We Need Him?"  

In it I detailed a study by the University of Maryland that found that viewers of Fox News were the most misinformed of all consumers of broadcast news.

Now a recent study by  Fairleigh Dickinson University confirms that result:

"According to the latest results from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind Poll, some news sources make us less likely to know what’s going on in the world. In the most recent study, the poll asked New Jerseyans about current events at home and abroad, and from what sources – if any – they get their information. The conclusion:

Sunday morning news shows do the most to help people learn about current events, while some outlets, especially Fox News, lead people to be even less informed than those who say they don’t watch any news at all."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Southbridge Town Council - A Year in Review

Ken O’Brien

The last year has been a tumultuous one in Southbridge politics ("So what else is new?").

The year was marked by a major power shift on the town council as a result of a special election in February to fill the unexpired term of Councilor Laurent E. McDonald who passed away in November of 2010.

The election resulted in the councilorship of Larry Spinelli, widely perceived as the candidate of the Future of Southbridge coalition.

The power shift was consolidated in the June election which returned councilor Nikolla for her third term (and re-ascension to the chair) and the election of Darlene Marcucci and David Langevin, both of whom had served on the council in previous years. All of these were similarly viewed as the candidates of the same coalition.

Now, as 2011 comes to a close, and before the inevitable emergence of a new campaign season, it seems appropriate to review and analyze what the result of this shift in power has been on Southbridge's town council.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Mythbuster - NPR debunks "Job Creator" Catch Phrase

Ken O'Brien

Who can forget the rabid efforts by GOP forces in the Congress to defund National Public Radio earlier this year?

Further evidence of their motives for such an effort was provided today.

It has become axiomatic that any effort to raise taxes on the top 1% is met with the argument by Republicans that, "We can't raise taxes on the job creators."

In fact, Republicans have argued vehemently that tax reductions for  the rich don't have to be paid for because they pay for themselves in increased economic benefits (i.e. the gains to the rich trickle down to the 99%).

Will We Be Fooled Again?

Ken O'Brien



On Saturday, November 26th another article appeared in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette promoting the interests of Casella. It was titled  "Waste Not".

Interestingly, as the town council is reconsidering a bylaw that would create an Industrial Finance Development Authority that, as I've shown elsewhere, would primarily benefit Casella (particularly in the area of cogeneration projects) this carefully crafted promotional puff piece suddenly appears!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Goes Mainstream

Ken O'Brien

On Tuesday night the Los Angeles City Council went on record as the first major city passing a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment declaring that corporations are not persons and that money is not speech.

The Examiner.com reported, "Thanks to ground work by the U.S. Green Party, the wave of Occupy Wall Street empowerment and Human Rights Alert, today, Los Angeles became the first major U.S. city to vote against corporate personhood and call for a Constitutional Amendment asserting corporations are not entitled to constitutional rights and that money is not free speech. The vote was unanimous."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Through The Looking Glass

Ken O'Brien

With all that is going on in Anne Beinema's situation, I had to ask myself several questions.

First and foremost is, "Why is this case being carried by our local attorney Rob Caprera?"

Don't get me wrong. I know Rob, I like him, and I respect him.

But, with all legitimately due respect, he is not a specialist in municipal law.

Up until a couple of years ago Southbridge was represented by Kopelmann & Paige.

The council subsequently decided to drop that firm (except regarding a few ongoing matters) and hire two attorneys. One would be local and, as a backup when needed, a law firm specializing in municipal law in Massachusetts.

As the local attorney, intended to handle matters of a more everyday and non-specialized nature, Mr. Caprera was chosen.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Taxpayers Aren't Santa

Ken O'Brien

December 5th's Southbridge town council meeting illustrated the upside down nature of town government.

Councilors and citizens were informed that they had no choice regarding the property tax rate. Their only choice was whether there would be a single rate for all property owners or different rates for industrial, commercial and residential properties.

Now, whether you're a household or a business, the first thing you do when you prepare a budget is determine your income. Then you formulate a budget that fits within that income.

Not so for town government. First you establish your budget and later you set the income you will extort from the taxpayers.

I believe that it is time to institute a change that will correct this topsy-turvy situation.

Hello Again - Maybe

by Ken O'Brien

Given the progress of politics recently in Southbridge, I am considering reactivating the O'Zone. I welcome your thoughts as to whether you feel this would contribute to the discussion or simply be an addition to the noise factor in local affairs.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

GOODBYE!

Kenneth M. O’Brien


After six months of attempting to provide a forum for intelligent discussion of issues, I’m calling it quits.

There is no such thing as intelligent debate out there.

There are only personal attacks, beliefs without evidence to support those beliefs, abject ignorance and just plain stupidity.

Go find a chatroom somewhere else to massage each other’s egos and insecurities.

I am through wasting my time.



Saturday, August 13, 2011

You Heard It Hear First! S&P Downgrade Politically Suspect

Kenneth M. O’Brien

On Sunday, August 7, I wrote an article titled “The S&P Sucker Punch”.

At the beginning of that piece I wrote, “
If ever there was a situation that called for widely publicized hearings by the U. S. Senate it is the action by Standard & Poor’s to downgrade the debt of the United States.”

In the midst of the post, I reminded readers that, “The most important thing to remember in this discussion is that Standard & Poor’s is a business.”

At the conclusion of that article I wrote, “In my opinion, S&P is using its influential, but misunderstood, role as an arbiter of credit worthiness to influence public policy for its advantage. Part of this is the corporatist agenda to create a narrative that will bring about the defeat of President Obama and other Democrats in 2012.”

The very next day, no less a bastion of right wing extremism than Redstate.com ran an article titled, “In All Seriousness, What If Barack Obama Is Right?
In that article conservative doyen Eric Erickson wrote:

 “What if Barack Obama was right and S&P just got it wrong.
Here’s what I’m hearing and it gives credence to this theory….
S&P, I’m told, began telling some of its clients about the downgrade on Friday morning. That’s why the market was so screwed up on Friday….
S&P, I’m told, began telling some of its clients about the downgrade on Friday morning. That’s why the market was so screwed up on Friday.
By Friday afternoon, the Treasury Department told S&P it had made a $2 trillion math mistake.
But S&P had already told its clients about the downgrade. So it couldn’t walk it back now without a major loss of confidence in its credibility. Could you imagine that conversation? “Hey . . . um . . . Joe. Yeah, Charlie here from S&P. So . . .um . . . we made a $2 trillion math mistake in our downgrade analysis. . . . What’s that? You just lost $500 million in the market because of it? Oh . . . um . . . sorry Joe. Better luck next time.”…
But S&P did the downgrade. And by any objective measure, it would need to downgrade France for the very same reasons it gave, but it has not done so yet — though that may change.
So maybe the White House is right and S&P figured it needed to save face, do the downgrade, and come up with a loosey-goosey reason that both sides could seize on to fight it out while ignoring that S&P just made a major mistake and the country took it on the chin because of that mistake.”

Yesterday Reuters reported that the SEC had launched an investigation of Standard & Poor’s for potential insider trading relating to the downgrade of U.S. Treasury Securities.

” SEC's move is part of a preliminary examination into potential insider trading, the FT [Financial Times] said.”

The same article went on to report, “The U.S. Senate Banking committee has begun looking into last week's decision by S&P's to downgrade the U.S. credit rating, a committee aide told Reuters on Monday.”
The latter report was provided substance by John McLaughlin on his weekly PBS program “The McLaughlin Group” by forecasting such action by the Senate Banking Committee as his final prediction on this week’s broadcast.

Just to repeat, you heard it here first.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Draft Hillary!

Kenneth M. O’Brien


The time has come to admit that I made a mistake.

I believe that it is also time for national Democrats (at least the majority of us) to admit the same.

For the good of the country Barack Obama should step aside. If it comes to it, he should be set aside.

Circumstances call for a Harry Truman.

We have a more talkative version of Calvin Coolidge.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Southbridge Town Council Rescinds Board Of Health Ruling

Kenneth M. O'Brien

At it's meeting tonight (August 8) the town council voted 7 2 to adopt the following motion:

"Vote to rescind the precedent created as a result of the ruling of Ex-chairman Lazo on a Point of Order at the Town Council Meeting of Monday, July 19, 2010 whereby Ex-chairman Lazo ruled that “the 2004 by-law creating a five-member Board of Health was null and void”. (Roberts Rules, p.294, line 28) “

Voting no were councilors McDonald and Vandal.

This sets the stage for the town manager and the council majority to attempt to appoint a fourth and fifth member to the Board of Health thus restoring a pro-Casella majority.

Honoring The Best

Kenneth M. O’Brien

The tragic loss of life in Afghanistan over the weekend cannot go unmentioned.

On Saturday, as you’ve all heard by now, Afghan insurgents shot down a U. S. Chinook helicopter killing all on board.

30 Americans lost their lives.

Seven of those who died were Afghan commandos.

One was a civilian interpreter.

22 were U. S. Navy seals, members of seal team six.

Whatever we feel about the war in Afghanistan, we cannot but help but to honor those who have put their lives on the line in support of what they believe are the best interests of their country.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The S&P Sucker Punch

Kenneth M. O’Brien

If ever there was a situation that called for widely publicized hearings by the U. S. Senate it is the action by Standard & Poor’s to downgrade the debt of the United States.

To assume that S&P is some kind of independent, wholly objective watchdog is absolutely naïve and foolish.

Months before as well as within days of the announcement of the action by S&P to downgrade the debt of the United States from AAA to AA+, conservative media outlets began putting forward arguments that the action was not politically motivated. Forbes Magazine and Fox News’ Huckabee program were in the forefront of such arguments.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Out-Of-Town Council Meeting Erupts

Kenneth M. O’Brien

The Southbridge town council met starting at 9:00 this morning at the Southbridge Savings Bank location on Route 20 in Sturbridge.

The meeting rapidly ran into another controversy, not unlike the numerous others that have developed in the short tenure of the current leadership.

A press release from Councilor Laurent McDonald summarizes the events as they unfolded.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Agendas And FOIA Requests

Kenneth M. O’Brien

Things keep moving quickly in Southbridge these days. First, the agenda is now available for Monday, August 8th’s meeting of the town council.

Most notable is the following (and, oddly enough, once again the last item on the agenda):

15. Vote to rescind the precedent created as a result of the ruling of Ex-chairman Lazo on a Point of Order at the Town Council Meeting of Monday, July 19, 2010 whereby Ex-chairman Lazo ruled that “the 2004 by-law creating a five-member Board of Health was null and void”. (Roberts Rules, p.294, line 28) “

A Long And Winding Pant Load

Kenneth M. O’Brien

There has been a concerted effort to obscure the facts surrounding
whether Ann Beinema is still, in some way, associated with the 10-person suit related to the landfill site assignment.

The  following is a summary of  the timeline and facts related to this issue.

Ann Beinema was first appointed to the Board of Health (BOH) in the summer of 2009. Her appointment was conditional upon her withdrawal from the10-person suit.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Chloramine Debate

Kenneth M. O’Brien

I have been approached by a number of people to openly state my opposition to the introduction of chloramines into the Southbridge water supply.

I cannot do this.

The truth of the matter is that I do not believe that it is as open and shut an issue as some would like you to believe.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Execrable Clemencey


Kenneth M. O’Brien

Last night’s (August 2) meeting of the subcommittee on Education and Human Services began on an interesting (some would say, intimidating) note.

A member of the Southbridge Police Department was present in plain clothes but prominently displaying his badge.
When a question was raised as to who had requested such a presence, Chairman Denise Clemence proclaimed ignorance. The officer volunteered that he was there at the behest of his boss to preserve order.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wag The Dog?

Kenneth M. O’Brien


In the course of fast moving events one has to evaluate incoming information as judiciously as possible.

Certainly the latest information regarding political maneuverings regarding the Southbridge Board of Health calls for perspicacity.

However, the emergence of additional facts can be coupled with prior experience to formulate a reasonable opinion of the forces that may be at work.

The sudden emergence of charges against the entire Lazo family just prior to the last town election certainly falls within this realm.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Resign Or Else!!!

Kenneth M. O’Brien

 

Responding to a request from the town manager, Board of Health member Anne Beinema, accompanied by her husband, attended a meeting with him at the town hall today (August 1) at 4 p.m.

Upon her arrival, she found that Police Chief Dan Charette also attended the meeting.

In essence she was told that she was being investigated for conflict of interest for having been party to the citizen lawsuit against the town and Casella. This was despite the fact that she had withdrawn her name some time ago.

Where Is The Attorney General?

Kenneth M. O’Brien


The Board of Health of the Town of Southbridge is comprised currently of two members, Anne Beinema and Rinaldo Bernadone.

In conformity with a point of order raised by former councilor Richard Logan, and as specifically provided for in the town charter, there is one vacancy.

Nevertheless, tomorrow evening (August 2), the subcommittee on Education and Human Services will vote on recommending to the full council the nomination of two additional members to the Board.

This is all part of an effort to return to the previously illegitimate five-member Board of Health and thus stack it with a majority that would favor the interests of our corporate overlords at Casella.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

An Editorial Comment

Kenneth M. O’Brien

Having posted 100 articles since this site was started, I feel that it is appropriate at this time to address several issues.

The first is the criticisms that have been leveled at me regarding the use of anonymous posts.

As anyone who uses Google’s blogspot service, as I do, knows, there are several options offered to those making a comment.

One option is to choose “Anonymous”. It is beyond my control to change that.

However, there is another option offered. This is the “Name/URL” option. It would greatly simplify matters if more people used this option. When chosen, you can enter a “screen name” for “Name” and then leave the URL option blank. This would at least allow readers to distinguish among different individuals posting comments.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Another Kick In The Charter

Kenneth M. O’Brien

In their ongoing rush to re-establish the controlling interests of our corporate overlords, the Clickolla led town council of Casellaburg has scheduled another palace coup.

As you are most likely aware, the town mangler has been seeking a doctor to replace the resigned member of the Board Of Health, Dr. O’Leary.

In the meantime, however, the new ruling majority has begun preparing for the reestablishment of a five member BOH without waiting to amend the charter.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Do What You’re Told!!!

Kenneth M. O’Brien



Speaking as one the pigs or other barnyard animals now living in the “Animal Farm” of Casellaburg, I realize that my opinion has very little influence on our Clickolla led overlords.

Nevertheless, having outlined what I believe is coming to undermine the will of the people (once again), I was still taken aback in reading today’s newspaper.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Will Cart-Man Strike Back?

Kenneth M. O’Brien


Just as citizens celebrate their triumph over the Cart Monster, there are rumblings that Clickolla has plans to make that victory short-lived.


Such an administrative end run around the democratic process would be nothing new in Casellaburg.

We have Carlisle’s distortion of the Charter to create a five member Board of Health.

We have Healey’s “side letter” that altered the start date of the SRD contract as it was originally defined.

Now we have a variety of signals that there will be another avenue taken to re-animate this "Cart monster corpse".

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

“Gangster Government” Requires The “Constitutional Option”

Kenneth M. O’Brien

There’s a very old, and rather crude joke among campers who share a tent regarding the sudden nocturnal presence of unpleasant aromas. It begins with the observation, “He who say it….”.

The joke contains, however, as all jokes do, a fundamental truth about human behavior. In this case it demonstrates the presence of guilt and the immediate effort to escape such guilt and place the blame on others.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Breaking News: The Cart Monster Is Still Dead

Kenneth M. O'Brien

Contrary to all expectations, the Casellaburg Town Council last night overwhelmingly defeated an effort to revive the Smat Cart program.

By a vote of 7 to 1 the council voted down the agenda items that would have established the program. The sole vote in favor of the plan was cast by council vice chair Denise Clemence. Councilor Darlene Marcucci had been excused anf therefore was not present for the vote.

A large number of citizens braved the uncomfortable conditions in the council chamber and waited for several hours to speak on the subject.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Spend And Borrow Conservatives Created This Mess

Kenneth M. O’Brien

After decades of listening to the epithet “tax and spend Liberals” the truth has become clear.

Anyone who can divorce themselves from their ideological (dare I say religious) biases need only look at the facts.

From the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 to the election of Barack Obama in 2008, Republicans controlled the White House for twenty out of twenty-eight years.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Cart Monster That Wouldn’t Die


Kenneth M. O’Brien

The newly reconstituted town council of Casellaburg will hold its first regular meeting on Monday, July 25 at 7:00.

The community’s new power couple of town manager Christopher Clark and council chair Catherine Nickolla (which in the spirit of other such power couples as Brangelina and Bennifer I will dub Clickolla) has put forth their first collaborative agenda.

Among the items to be acted upon are the following:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Zero-Tolerance Lemon Laws

Kenneth M. O’Brien

I have made no secret of the fact that I am an outright liberal (or, in today’s micro-parsing of a once comprehensible language, a progressive).

In that regard I have argued for the need to regulate corporate, individual and political behavior that destabilizes society.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hello? Kathy Charette? Are You There?

Kenneth M. O’Brien

Earlier today the wife of the Southbridge Police Chief posted a comment on this site.

Responding to another frequent, oh so frequent, commenter, Mrs. Charette stated:

The Charter Chupacabra

CHUPACABRA
Kenneth M. O’Brien


Wasting no time, the new Town Council leadership took a meat axe to the recommendations of the Charter Review Committee.

While the absence of members of the Charter Review Committee (CRC) was lamented, such posturing was disingenuous in the extreme.

Members of the CRC were never informed of the hearing or invited to attend. The Chairman was on vacation in Maine. Other members found out only through an email from the Chairman of the CRC on Monday or through reading about it in the newspaper.

Future Of Southbridge?

Generally I have refrained from duplicating reporting from other sources.

However, the following just struck a chord that somehow I could not resist.

Thus with all due credit and attribution I bring to your attention the following story from the Chicago Sun Times.

Town of Cicero spent $500,000 on trinkets from board member’s firm

By Steve Warmbir
Staff Reporter/swarmbir@suntimes.com
Last Modified: Jul 18, 2011 02:58AM

Why did the Town of Cicero buy 250 rubber chickens?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More Preble Piffle



Kenneth M. O’Brien

On Sunday, July 17, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette ran an article titled, “Priest’s account denied outright: Non-tornado charities got aid”.
I think that an objective reading of the article demonstrates that it more appropriately belongs in a gossip column rather than in a news story.


Monday, July 18, 2011

The Remark Of Cain

Kenneth M. O’Brien

Appearing yesterday (July 17, 2011) on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain addressed the issue of the opposition to the construction of an Islamic Mosque by the residents of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

The Fox News website has reported Mr. Cain’s remarks as follows:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Smart ALEC

Kenneth M. O’Brien

America’s (genuine) cowboy humorist, Will Rogers, famously remarked,” I am not a member of any organized party — I am a Democrat.”

That observation is as true today as it was when it was made over seventy years ago. Herding cats is easier than getting Democrats to fall in line.

On the other hand, Republicans are notorious for conformity. I am not going to debate this. It is common knowledge and those who wish to dispute it overlook the various mechanisms that the Republican cult has created to excommunicate the unfaithful. As things stand today, even Ronald (on your knees, may his name be praised) Reagan would be declared anathema (after all he raised taxes 11 times and the debt ceiling 17 times during his eight years in office).