Friday, August 31, 2012

Court Orders Restoration Of Ohio Early Voting



From the Huffington Post:

A federal judge sided with the Obama campaign and ruled Friday to order Ohio to restore three days of early voting before Election Day, a decision that could affect the outcome of the 2012 election in a key battleground state.

Judge Peter C. Economus of the Southern District Court of Ohio granted an injunction in favor of Obama For America, the Democratic National Committee and the Ohio Democratic Party, which sued Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to restore in-person voting in the last weekend before the election. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Before He Accepts The Nomination Tonight…

A Mitt Romney Primer






Court Strikes Down Texas Voter ID Law



Texas' controversial voter-identification law was struck down unanimously today by a three judge panel. The court held that the law violates civil-rights protections by putting an unfair burden on poor and minority voters. This is a major setback for Republicans on a key legal fight leading up to November elections.

A number of states, including Texas, Georgia and Pennsylvania, have passed laws tightening identification requirements for in-person voting. The Texas law would require a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver's license, passport, or gun permit, but wouldn't allow a student ID for purposes of voting. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Democratic Gun Control Plan



The Democratic Party is gearing up for the start of their national convention on September 3rd in Charlotte, North Carolina.

One subject which has been a recent topic of conversation on The O’Zone that has received little attention on the national scene is the Party’s position on gun control.

All of that is about to change.

The “New Jersey Experience” Under Christie



Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey was the keynote speaker at the opening of last night’s Republican convention.

Christie has been a darling of conservative Republicans because of his blustering put downs of anybody who challenged him publicly. Many hoped he would seek the Presidential nomination of his party or, barring that, be chosen as the vice-presidential running mate.

However the “New Jersey experience” under Christie has been anything but rosy. Here are some key economics stats to know about Christie’s tenure as the Garden State’s chief executive: 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Coal Miners Made To Attend Romney Rally Without Pay


Two weeks ago the Romney bus tour held a rally at a coal mine in Beallsville, Ohio, owned by Murray Energy Corporation.

Today the Huffington Post is reporting that the coal miners present at that rally were told that their attendance was mandatory. Additionally that mandatory attendance was in lieu of a day’s pay. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Tonight's Southbridge Town Council Meeting

UPDATED: August 29, 2012

A Tribute To “My Chairmanship”






There have been NEW additions! READ ON!

Taxes The Rich Don’t Pay Could Eliminate The Deficit


While conservatives focus on the deficit issue they ignore job creation, and insist that tax increases on the rich wouldn't generate enough revenue to balance the budget. They're way off. But it takes a little arithmetic to put it all together.

The following analysis was conducted by Paul Buchheit who teaches Economic Inequality at DePaul University. He is the founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, PayUpNow.org, RappingHistory.org), and the editor and main author of "American Wars: Illusions and Realities" (Clarity Press).

In the analysis data has been taken from a variety of sources, some of which may overlap or slightly disagree, but all of which lead to the conclusion that withheld revenue, not excessive spending, is the problem. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Who Approved This?


Paul Zotos Photo
I am a licensed gun owner.

I am also proud to be an American and proud of our pioneer heritage.

However, I have to question the wisdom of our public decision-makers who have adopted a logo for our new Middle/High School that features one of these proud frontiersmen emphasizing the importance of guns thirteen years after the events at Columbine.

Why not show them scalping a Native American? 

Ely Responds


As a result of the questions raised on The O’Zone post Southbridge Superintendent Announces Rumor Control Plan, Southbridge School Superintendent Eric Ely has responded.

His comment on that post read, “I have posted responses on the district website front page today. I will add to them as more questions come.

Sunday Photo-‘Toons 1.19


Without a town council or school committee meeting it’s been a pretty quiet week in dear old Southbridge. As the saying goes, these are the times that try a critic’s soul.

A couple of subcommittee developments have provided some saving fodder for the foolish.

In addition we always have the endless well of silliness provided by races for national office. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Neil Armstrong, 1st man on the moon, dead at 82

(CBS News) Neil Armstrong, the Apollo 11 astronaut who became the first human being to set foot on another world, has died. He was 82.
In a statement his family said Armstrong had passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Southbridge Superintendent Announces Rumor Control Plan


Southbridge School Superintendent Eric Ely has launched an effort to keep the public informed regarding the truth about rumors relating to the school system. In addition, it is his desire to provide answers to Frequently Asked Questions in a concise forum.

He informed The O’Zone as well as Brent Abrahamson of his plan in an email this morning. The email read as follows:

Southbridge Town Council Agenda - August 27, 2012






TOWN OF SOUTHBRIDGE
SOUTHBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS 01550-2638
TOWN COUNCIL MEETING
COUNCIL CHAMBERS, TOWN HALL
August 27, 2012 – 7:00 PM
********************
AGENDA

1. Pledge of Allegiance

2. Roll Call

3. Consider and accept the Council Reorganization Minutes of Monday, August 13, 2012 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Romney’s Energy Plan – Dick Cheney On Steroids


Mitt Romney’s comprehensive energy plan was officially announced today. It was comprehensive in name only.

While giving a brief mention to renewables, the plan seems to have been crafted in the boardroom of Exxon-Mobil or any other oil company It's hard to imagine that what Vice President Dick Cheney and the energy companies cooked up in their secret get-together in early 2001 could be any more favorable to the oil giants and coal companies. 

A Brit Gives The Best Presidential Campaign Speech


John Oliver, best known for his appearances on The Daily Show, was a guest on last night’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Fallon asked what kind of things Obama should be saying to help his reelection campaign.

Oliver launched into an homage to the classic movie cliché of an inspiring locker room speech from an undaunted coach.

Perhaps this bit of comedy contains the essential germ of truth about what is truly missing from the current campaign scene. Judge for yourself.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What Will They Say If Hurricane Isaac Strikes Tampa During The Start Of The Republican Convention?





It’s becoming increasingly likely that tropical storm Isaac will strike mainland Florida along the west coast as a category one hurricane just as the Republican National Convention gets underway.

While not of an equivalent magnitude of hurricane Katrina, I could not help wondering if the voices of the American Taliban religious right would view it as having the same warnings of divine disapproval that were invested in the New Orleans tragedy.

The "Legitimate Rape" Song





Todd Akin's Abortion Position Reflects GOP Platform

---The Huffington Post

Brown Leads Warren By 5 Points In Latest Poll


Democratic Senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren is losing ground in her race against Republican incumbent Scott Brown.

This is the verdict of the latest poll from Public Policy Polling released yesterday. PPP is generally regarded as leaning Democratic in its results.

The release from PPP about the results of their poll follows: 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mitt Romney: Serial Flip-Flopper or Congenital Liar?


Remember John Kerry’s Presidential campaign?

Do you remember the endless barrage of ads that characterized him as a “flip-flopper”?

That was all over one vote.

Now, however, conservatives are so consumed with, dare I say it, outright hatred of Barack Obama that they haven’t stopped at a relentless volley of lies about subjects ranging from his birthplace to his religious convictions.

Rather, they are willing to embrace a Presidential candidate who is not merely a demonstrable liar, but someone who has been characterized as one by his own Republican fellow travelers.

Elizabeth Warren Would Reduce The Debt By More Than Scott Brown


Despite Republican efforts to portray her as a tax-and-spend class-war mongering liberal, Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren has actually turned out to be a bigger fiscal hawk than her Republican opponent Scott Brown.

An analysis published on July 11th by the The Boston Globe found that Warren's deficit plan would cut 67% more of the debt than the plan offered by Brown.  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Stop The Madness!


I have refrained from expressing an opinion on the recent developments on the Southbridge school committee.

To date I have attempted to play the part of an impartial referee reporting the developments as fairly as I could. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday Photo-‘Toons 1.18



Here at The O’Zone we call these Sunday diversions Photo-‘Toons because they are usually variations (some would say corruptions) of photographs.


However, this week as we compiled our list of subjects, we found that a lot of so-called “real life” was, in fact, downright cartoonish. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Obamacare Robs Medicare of $716 Billion – Mostly False - Politifact

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan say Barack Obama robs Medicare of more than $700 billion to pay for Obamacare

Over the last week the Republican candidates for President and Vice-President have been perpetuating a canard that Obamacare guts Medicare. Once again there are those who will believe whatever they want to believe, regardless of the facts.

However, in an effort to provide a counterpoint to this tactic of perpetuating misinformation through repetition, I am replicating the full analysis of this claim from Politifact. Anyone who is politically aware knows that this is a source that has been frequently criticized by Liberals and Progressives (google it).

I hope that this information will constitute an antidote to a developing pattern of spewing misinformation as fact in an unbridled effort at deception. 

Southbridge School Tussle Is Big News In Upstate New York


Southbridge is garnering headlines in the Albany/Schenectady area of New York State.

Unfortunately, it’s not the result of any positive community news.

Rather it’s a result of the fascination over the recent effort by three members of the Southbridge school committee to remove Superintendent Eric Ely.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

That's The Teabagger World (Music and Lyrics)








That's the Teabagger World
(To the tune of Louis Armstrong’s  “It’s A Wonderful World”.)

I see teas of green, Red Rose too
Dangling from yokels, shouting at you
And I think to myself, that's the teabagger world.

Chris Matthews Calls Out Hypocrisy of the Right

With Additional Commentary by Jon Stewart

 Ken O’Brien

Yesterday, on his program Hardball, Chris Matthews let loose on the hypocritical hyper-ventilating from Mitt Romney and his campaign accusing the Democratic candidates of conducting a campaign of division and hate.

Matthews, a graduate of Holy Cross and former chief of staff for the late House Speaker Tip O’Neill, tore into the four years of abuse directed against President Obama on everything from the church he attended to his place of birth to his basic patriotism. 

Paul Ryan’s Core Values


The right wing media mill was, and remains, relentless in its attempts to portray Barack Obama as a radical, anti-American, foreign philosophy-based outsider.

Guilt by association conspiracies were spun around his church affiliation with the Reverend Wright. His having met with radical Bill Ayers was considered proof of his fundamental desire to undermine America. His early work as a community organizer proved he had to be a devotee of Saul Alinsky.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Message From The New Principal of Southbridge Middle/High School

Ms. Tammy Perreault, Principal
Southbridge Middle/High School


Welcome to Southbridge Middle/High School

Dear Students and Parents/Guardians,

It is with great anticipation that the administration, faculty and staff welcome Southbridge families to a well-deserved and long-awaited, new middle/high school. Our new building is incomparable and exceeds expectations in design, technology and safety. I cannot wait to see the smiles on our students faces the first time they see it!

Our new configuration unifies two separate schools and brings them together as one unified facility.  As the year passes, new relationships will be formed and preceding relationships will be strengthened.  Collaboration amongst administration, faculty, staff, parents and students is essential to our success.

The Skool Komity


Well the kids got together last night.

It’s clear that they just can’t play well together.

The former team captain just won’t accept that he can’t call the shots anymore.

It doesn’t help that he takes every opportunity to embarrass the new captain who is still learning to call the plays. Calling her coach a ventriloquist is just so third grade. It’s unbecoming of a group of sixth graders. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Breaking Rumor: Increasing Conflict On Southbridge School Committee


As many know, I have shied away from reporting rumors.

However, when they portend a potentially entertaining showdown to be broadcast live, well the truth will be borne out in less than five hours for all to view and judge.

From what I have been able to garner, the minority members of the school committee are engaging in the same kind of stonewalling that we have seen for the last year and a half in the U.S. Congress.

The reports I have are that the Fab Four minus one have failed to respond to the chair’s inquiries regarding their preferences for subcommittee assignments. As a result the chair was compelled to make assignments on her own initiative. 

Repeating It Doesn’t Make It True


“The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results."

Repetition of an untruth is the surest way to guarantee that it becomes an accepted fact.

Take for instance the above quotation.

Just about any of you who are familiar with it have seen it with the attribution “- Albert Einstein”.

Just yesterday the quote appeared as a question on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”.

Unfortunately, there is absolutely no record that Einstein ever said it. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday Photo-‘Toons 1.17


Well this has been a week where the political landscape has been changing at all levels – local, statewide and national.

Obviously the crowning event was the long-awaited announcement of Mitt’s running mutt. It was done with all the calculation of a late Friday night Washington document dump. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Voter Suppression Phase Two (Or Is It Three?)


The O’Zone has received a lot of pushback for the attention we have paid to the voter ID law movement sponsored by Republican legislatures across the country.

Court cases in Texas and Pennsylvania have amply demonstrated the total lack of incidents of voter fraud that have been the justification put forth for such laws.

As Jon Stewart has famously put it, it’s now time to move on to addressing the pressing matter of leash laws for unicorns. As for myself, I think we should first legislate and enforce an extraterrestrial registration act. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Southbridge Town Council Agenda - August 13, 2012


TOWN OF SOUTHBRIDGE
SOUTHBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS 01550-2638
TOWN COUNCIL MEETING
COUNCIL CHAMBERS, TOWN HALL
August 13, 2012 – 7:00 PM
********************


AGENDA

1. Pledge of Allegiance

2. Roll Call

3. Consider and accept the Council Reorganization Minutes of Monday, July 30, 2012 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

It’s Scottie’s Time To Whine


Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown has joined in the Republican conspiracy game.

At issue is the fact that the state of Massachusetts hasn't been complying with federal law, the National Voter Registration Act (Motor-Voter). States are supposed to give residents the opportunity to register to vote when they get a driver’s license or apply for social services. Massachusetts hasn't been doing that, so a number of voting rights groups filed a federal lawsuit alleging the state was in violation. The suit was brought on behalf of a woman who had applied for assistance from the state but wasn't offered a chance to register to vote. One of the groups suing was Demos. Elizabeth Warren's daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, is on the board of directors for Demos.

And there is Scott Brown's conspiracy. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Some Post-Election Observations: Dennis Martinek’s Letter To The Editor

Dennis Martinek

For those who were unable to read Dennis Martinek’s Letter to the Editor in Monday’s Southbridge Evening News, he has been good enough to provide a copy for O’Zone readers.

To the Editor:

First off, I would like to offer my belated thanks to all who came out to vote in our recent election, regardless of who you voted for. It was an outstanding and impressive turnout, and although I didn't win, I was able to have an enjoyable day with all the candidates and their supporters...it was somewhat of a party atmosphere, that proved to me that no matter how much we may disagree, we can do it politely, and even laugh, when we face each other face to face and just talk. 

Massachusetts' Own Aly Raisman Wins Olympic Gold In Gymnastics Floor Exercise



Aly Raisman indelibly inked her name in the memories of gymnastics fans with a stellar performance in the final of the women's floor exercise to win the gold medal. Not long after winning bronze in the women's beam final, Raisman authored a memorable performance on the floor, earning a score of 15.600.

The Burning Bird Blister



One possible side effect of the addition of chloramines to the Southbridge water supply warrants investigating. While I know of no research supporting the conclusion, casual observation of events in town inclines me to believe that they may lead to the long term loss of short term memory.

Case in point; it’s my understanding that when someone is given an interim appointment, it is pending the hiring of a permanent employee for the position in question. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Background On Guru Nanak The Founder Of Sikhism


Regrettably we have another mass murder shooting, this time in Oak Creek outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin at a house of worship.

It is clear, simply from watching broadcasts of events, that there is almost no knowledge of the religion that has been victimized by this event.

I feel somewhat compelled to provide some information on this tragic incident since my ex-wife was, in fact, a Sikh. 

I will depart from my usual practice and produce in its entirety the excerpt from Wikipedia on Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion.

On Harry Reid’s Allegation


The last week has seen a furor over allegations made by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on the floor of the Senate.

Specifically the outrage was directed at Reid’s charge that he had been informed by an investor in Bain Capital that Romney had paid no income taxes for ten years.

As staunch a liberal icon as Jon Stewart delivered a scathing rebuke of Harry Reid on The Daily Show.

Over the weekend a close friend asked me why I didn’t speak out on this matter and join in the chorus of those denouncing Harry Reid for what was a blatantly political tactic. 

Sunday Photo-‘Toons 1.16


Another week in beautiful cosmopolitan Southbridge and we return to the local humor mill.

Once again I am bedeviled trying to come up with anything more laughable than what our local solons provide for us.

Nevertheless, we give it the old collage try with raw materials provided as usual by the Southbridge town council and the Southbridge school department.

An additional dollop of amusement is provided at the end of the week as Mitt Romney wrangles an endorsement from another socially potent icon.

So, in the spirit of the Olympics, down that heaping bowl of Wheaties and wash it down with a frosty mimosa made of Florida OJ and French champagne, sit back, enjoy the funnies and let all that fiber do its thing.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Curiosity’s Landing On Mars


The most complicated landing in NASA’s history will take place Monday, August 6 at 1:31am EDT when Curiosity, the 1-ton Mars rover, lands on the red planet.

What are being called “Seven minutes of terror” will be televised live in New York City’s Times Square.

Seven minutes are the window wherein NASA has to bring Curiosity from its 13,000 mph traveling speed down to 1.7 mph for a safe landing from 300 million miles away. At 180 mph, Curiosity will be released via a “sky crane” method with a backpack fitted with retrorockets controlling the descent speed lowering the rover by three nylon cords. Probably one of the most nerve-wracking parts is the uncertainty: because of Mars’ distance it takes 14 minutes for signals from the craft to come to NASA engineers here on earth. 



Friday, August 3, 2012

Another Mitt Romney Profile In Courage



Mitt Romney refused to condemn Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and four other Republicans who have alleged that Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is part of a Muslim Brotherhood campaign to infiltrate the American government. During an event in Reno, Nevada Romney dodged a question about the allegations, saying simply, “I’m not going to tell other people what things to talk about. Those are not things that are part of my campaign.” A growing number of Republicans, including House Speaker John Beohner (R-OH) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) have condemned Bachmann. Watch Romney’s remarks:

News Or Rumor?



I truly loathe engaging in unnecessary conflicts, especially with those who I respect.

However, I take great pride and care in the content of this blog. I try to distinguish quite clearly between facts, opinion and analysis.

Therefore I take some measure of pique when it is implied that I am engaged in rumor mongering. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Breaking News: Perreault To Be Named Principal Of Southbridge Middle/High School


Updated with new material from the Office of the Southbridge Superintendent of Schools after the page break (8/3/12 - 8:30 am).


The O’Zone has learned from reliable sources that Tammy Perreault, M,Ed, currently Director of Mathematics, K-12, within the Department of Curriculum and Instruction within the school district, will be named Principal of the new Southbridge Middle/High School.

A formal announcement is expected to be forthcoming imminently.




UPDATE: The Worcester Telegram is reporting (8/3/12, 4:30 am) Superintendent announces two new principals Tammy Perreault at the Southbridge Middle/High School and Dana Labb at West Street Elementary School. The article also elaborates upon what appears to be a bitter conflict between school committee members Scott Lazo and Mary Ellen Prencipe.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Southbridge Town Council Dog And Pony Show


After watching Monday night’s broadcast of the Southbridge town council meeting on local cable access I had to ask how much of this is a council meeting and how much is an infomercial?

Now, it’s not that I have anything against local cable access being used to promote local businesses. For a while Larry Beinema and John Gatti, Jr. made a noble effort at presenting information on this subject with their now defunct Eye on Southbridge broadcasts. In addition they provided interviews with local government officials.