Monday, May 30, 2011

A Word From Dennis Martinek

I have written and maintained SOS for four years and a month now, and I have enjoyed it immensely.

However, there comes a time when, like an athlete or an actor, you have to decide if you want to go out on top, or if you want to go on longer than you should and appear foolish for hanging on too long.

So the time has come to pass the torch to Ken O'Brien, who has done an excellent job over the last week covering for me.

During that time, I've been able to get over being sick, watching my daughter run in another road race, play baseball and hockey with my son, go golfing (the first time in three years), and scrape and paint a section of my house.

Granted, the last activity almost made me stay,  but life for me is about my family, and always putting them first.

So thank you to everyone!

I know some will be disappointed, others joyous.

I'm putting me first, and Ken will take this to the next level, so don't expect any less
scrutiny...expect more.



Sunday, May 29, 2011

The American Idiocracy

Kenneth M. O’Brien

The greatest argument against Democracy has got to be the United States of America in 2011.

We had an election in 2010 that had only one real issue – the nation’s economy and even more central, unemployment.

Flash forward to May 2011.

Republicans succeeded in gaining control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

They now have control of the people’s house. They can set the legislative agenda. Remember how they castigated Nancy Pelosi for doing, I repeat doing, things to which they objected when she was Speaker?

So, where are the proposals to improve the economy? Most critically, where is a plan to reduce unemployment?

More Breaking News

Kenneth M. O’Brien

Seven people submitted validated petitions to appear as candidates for town council in the next local election set for June 29.

However, as of the deadline last week, only six had signed the requisite town hall log to appear on the ballot.

Running for town council will be incumbents Steve Lazo, Richard Logan and Catherine Nickolla.  They will be joined by former councilors David Langevin, Darlene Marcucci and former acting police chief Gary Fontaine.

Absent from the list of candidates, despite having submitted the required number of signatures, will be former councilor Albert D. (“Apple”) Vecchia, Jr.

In related news, there has been a spate of people reporting the receipt of anonymous letters attacking the Lazo family with unsubstantiated charges. We all know how the Southbridge rumor mill works. I will not repeat the scurrilous accusations that are made in these letters. That would only serve to spread them to those who desire to believe the worst, regardless of the truth.

Suffice it to say that this is not the first time that this town has seen a campaign waged through anonymous letters. I can only hope that, as the old saying goes, “Those who cannot learn history are doomed to repeat it.”

Friday, May 27, 2011

Breaking News on the Charter

Kenneth O’Brien

I now have it on good authority that Councilor blah-blah-blah is lobbying to achieve the objectives to undermine the Charter that I outlined in my post The Next Shoe To Drop .

What is staggering is where the approach is being made.

Here is someone who, behind the scenes, was intimately involved in electing a Republican State Representative.

So, who is she approaching to achieve this end run around the Democratic process of our town?

Making A Stink About Sewer Rates

Kevin N. Christo
Guest Contributor

Once again Southbridge residents are beset with an increase in sewer rates.

It’s bad enough that we are burdened with the economic and environmental consequences of being home to the state’s largest dump.

It is also becoming increasingly costly to dump at home.

No longer can we blithely skip to the loo, my darlings.

We have to weigh the financial implications of bladder and bowel relief.

The time has come to make our town overlords realize that this situation stinks.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Next Shoe To Drop

Kenneth M. O’Brien

The hubris of the town manager and the gang of five knows no bounds.

Next Wednesday, June 1, 2011, there will be a meeting of the Council of the Whole.

The purpose of that meeting will be to take up the recommendations of the Charter Review Committee.

The gang of five and the town manager are salivating at the prospect of using their position to cast in stone their stranglehold on town government.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Backstabbers: Part I

Kenneth M. O’Brien

It’s save my butt time for our town manager.

The same is true for the five-member majority now running the town council.

The current Gang of Five that dominates the town council has two objectives.

The first is to preserve the overpaid tenancy of the current town manager in his job.

The second goal is to serve the interests of our corporate landlord, Casella.

But, I can’t help but ask, “Why?”

Sunday, May 22, 2011

WTF Southbridge?

Kenneth M. O’Brien

I confess that I am outspoken and prone to expressing my opinions.

However, as hard as some might find it to believe, others also ask me frequently for my opinion on certain matters.

More often than not, as those who know me will tell you, I conclude my observations with the proviso “That’s my opinion, and it’s worth what you paid for it.”

Friday, May 20, 2011

How To Lower Oil Prices --- UPDATE

Kenneth M. O’Brien

On May 9, I posted an article titled “How To Lower Oil Prices NOW!”

I subsequently sent the piece as a Letter to the Editor that appeared in the Southbridge Evening News.

I even went so far as to send the proposal to our Congressman Richard Neill.

Apparently, there are those who still feel that my ideas are outlandish and of little merit.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Judging Our Town Government

Kenneth M. O’Brien

On Monday night the five member collusive majority on the Southbridge town council once again backed the town manager’s agenda.
Despite efforts by the four-member minority to reduce the proposed budget, the FOS clique pushed through what served the interests of the town hall bureaucracy.

As a result, you’ll see another property tax increase of at least 3.7 percent. This is on top of a 4 percent increase in water and sewer rates.

I have attempted to find a simple way of summarizing how successful this crew has been in governing this town.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words.

Therefore, here is my 6,000-word picture essay on how to judge what this group has done on behalf of our town relative to other towns in the area.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Just a reminder...

Bush pledges to get bin Laden, dead or alive
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush pledged anew Friday that Osama bin Laden will be taken "dead or alive," no matter how long it takes…

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Enhanced Distortion

(Download this document)

Kenneth M. O’Brien

In the unending effort to rehabilitate the image of the Bush Administration, Conservative apologists rushed to use the occasion of Bin Laden’s demise to justify the “enhanced interrogation” techniques used and subsequently abandoned by the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld triumvirate.

They virtually tripped over one another to seize upon a statement by CIA Director Leon Panetta which they saw as validating their position.

In an interview on NBC Panetta said, "They used these enhanced interrogation techniques against some of these detainees, but I'm also saying that, you know, the debate about whether we would have gotten the same information through other approaches, I think is always going to be an open question."

Monday, May 9, 2011

How To Lower Oil Prices NOW!

Kenneth M. O’Brien

At present a futures trader can control $100 of oil futures contracts with only $6.

This is the magic of what’s called “buying on margin”.

It is the basis for a great deal of speculation in the commodities markets.

It is the Exchanges that dictate the margin requirements on commodities contracts based on their assessment of market risk.

But, there is another, more insidious, element of margin requirements.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Cult Of Republicanism

Kenneth M. O'Brien

The party of Lincoln is no longer a political party.

It has devolved into a religious cult.

Reasoned debate, the fundamental basis of a democratic society, no longer exists.

The Republican cult has proclaimed its articles of faith. Those who fail to conform are subject to excommunication.

The Nicene Creed of the Republican Cult has the following tenets:

1) Under no circumstances will we raise taxes. All Republican members of the US House and Senate have signed a pledge by Grover Norquist that they will not raise taxes under any circumstances;