Sunday, September 30, 2012

Warren Leads Brown By 5 Points In Latest Poll



The latest Boston Globe poll shows Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren leading incumbent Senator Scott Brown by 43% to 38%. However, the poll shows that 18% of those polled remain undecided.

This is a turnaround for Warren from the last Globe poll conducted in May when Senator Brown held a two point lead. The result, though, still falls within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.4%.

During the month of September there have been a total of eight public polls on the race, six of which showed Warren in the lead. 

Is Romney Criminally Liable In Federal Disclosure?




Joseph E. Sandler
On September 27 Justin Ruben, Executive Director, MoveOn.org Political Action sent a legal memo to  Jack Smith, Esq., Chief Public Integrity Section U.S. Department of Justice.

The seven page memo concluded:

“The facts known about Gov. Romney’s role in Bain Capital entities after 1999 strongly suggest that Gov. Romney made a false statement in violation of the False Statements Act in categorically asserting, in 2011, on his Financial Disclosure Form, that since February 1999, he had not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way. At a minimum, the facts call out for a full investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.”

Sunday Photo-'Toons 1.24

Ken O'Brien



As we close the door on another exhilarating week in the land of O’Z, we look back with fond reminiscences.

We enjoyed a nicely entertaining town council meeting, followed by a snooze fest of a school committee meeting. (No mention of MCAS, hmmm.)

On the national scene, Willard continued to slide in the polls. Fortunately, he was joined by the non-mainstream media in protesting that such samples were clearly inaccurate if not tilted. (This did create somewhat of a conundrum for Faux News whose own poll showed Mittens behind by five points).

Saturday, September 29, 2012

So You Don’t Trust The Polls, But You Trust The Free Market



Are you one of those who have come to doubt the polls about the Presidential election after the relentless attacks by some elements of the media this week?

Do you long for an “unbiased” source that reflects the true sentiment of the public as regards the likely outcome of the race?

If only there was a free-market model that provided an accurate reflection of where the contest was headed, where people actually had to back up their beliefs with their dollars.

Well there is such a place. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

My Open Meeting Law Complaint



The O’Zone has documented at great length the black comedy of errors that has constituted efforts to amend the Southbridge Town Charter.

First we witnessed the ineptitude of the town council in dealing with the original charter amendment proposals by the Charter Review Committee after a year’s work.

Then we saw the newly elected council dispense with all that work in two subcommittee sessions and ram through the politically driven result. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Trouble In The Romneyulan Empire?



Gul Destench
Word is filtering out of growing tensions between the Republican running mates.

It was former political director of the Republican Party of Iowa Craig Robinson who said to the New York Times on Sunday, “I hate to say this, but if Ryan wants to run for national office again, he’ll probably have to wash the stench of Romney off of him.”

The remark has been taken up by Paul Ryan as an inside joke on the campaign trail. Politico‘s Roger Simon reported that while Ryan “had already decided to distance himself from the floundering Romney campaign, he now feels totally uninhibited. 

Hey Scott Brown, Just Look At Him


During his opening response in the first Massachusetts Senatorial debate, Senator Scott Brown said, “As you know, I think what you’re referring to is the fact that professor Warren claimed she was a Native American, a person of color — And as you can see, she’s not.”




Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Southbridge School Committee Agenda, September 25, 2012




SOUTHBRIDGE SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING

LOCATION: Robert G. MacKinnon Council Chambers

DATE: Tuesday, September 25, 2012

TIME: 7:00 PM       

A G E N D A

I. Pledge of Allegiance

II. Public Input

III. Meeting Called to Order 

Southbridge Council Asks State For Police Department Audit



Chief Daniel Charette
Following a sometimes tense discussion the Southbridge Town Council voted 6 to 3 to adopt a motion requesting that the State Auditor conduct an audit of the Southbridge Police Department from July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2012.

The motion had been presented by Councilor Laurent “Butch” McDonald and was signed onto by all eight other councilors.

During discussion, council chair Catherine Nikolla conceded that she had signed off on the request but that she regretted it almost as soon as she did. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Another Open Meeting Law Violation In Southbridge?



Maybe nobody cares anymore that town councilors have become the most blatant scofflaws while they direct their attention to trash disposal violators.

During tonight’s town council meeting the town manager finally addressed the issue of the legislation relating to the Charter amendments for the town of Southbridge. 

During town manager's announcements he basically called for a motion to request the state legislature to amend the law to say that the election could be held in 2013 rather than 2012 as is currently required. That motion was made and unanimously adopted.

Romney: Airplane Windows Should Open



Musing on the emergency landing his wife’s plane had to make, Mitt Romney told a Los Angeles fundraiser:

“I appreciate the fact that she is on the ground, safe and sound. And I don’t think she knows just how worried some of us were,” Romney said. “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous. And she was choking and rubbing her eyes. Fortunately, there was enough oxygen for the pilot and copilot to make a safe landing in Denver. But she’s safe and sound.”

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Romney to 60 Minutes: Campaign Doesn’t Need Turnaround - Video




Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said his campaign does not need a turnaround in an interview scheduled to air on 60 Minutes tonight.

CBS News released a portion of the interview Saturday in which CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley noted Romney’s performance slumping after the release of his “47 percent” remarks at a fundraiser in May, and asked how the self-described “turnaround artist” was going to turn his campaign around.

Kristol: Obama Turned Around Economy



Bill Kristol, Editor of the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard, told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, “Bush was president during the financial meltdown, the Obama team has turned that around pretty well.”


video

Sunday Photo-‘Toons 1.23




I received another three photo-‘toons this week from long-time contributor IMTownie.

The submissions caused me to think how much he has participated in this dubious enterprise. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Martinek Launches New Blog




Longtime Southbridge blogger Dennis Martinek has launched a new blog.


He characterizes his new endeavor, SpeakOutUSA.com, as a forum in which he can advance thought-provoking ideas with the hope of spurring serious discussion and debate.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Southbridge Town Council Agenda for September 24, 2012




TOWN OF SOUTHBRIDGE
SOUTHBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS 01550-2638
TOWN COUNCIL MEETING
COUNCIL CHAMBERS, TOWN HALL
September 24, 2012 – 7:00 PM
********************
AGENDA

1. Pledge of Allegiance

2. Roll Call

3. Consider and accept Town Council Meeting Minutes of Monday, September 10, 2012

Romney Releases 2011 Taxes – Is He Unqualified To Be President?



Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney today released his 2011 tax returns.

From Mitt Romney’s official website.

This morning, Gov. and Mrs. Romney filed their 2011 tax return with the IRS. At 3:00pm today, the Romney for President campaign will be posting the 2011 return online. 

Homer Simpson Votes For President

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Breaking News: Southbridge High MCAS Scores “Evolving”




Forget those charts and links I gave you for Southbridge High School’s Assessment and Accountability results on the spring MCAS tests. They’ve vanished!

Now there is a combined report for Southbridge Middle/High School.

If you go to the assessment page, this is what you get:

Southbridge School Bus Overcrowding - Fox News, Boston



Tammy Perreault
Fox News Channel 25 in Boston has carried a report on claims of overcrowding on buses carrying students to the new Southbridge Middle/High School.

The report was prompted by a local parent, Willimaris Vega, contacting the station alleging that students were having to stand, sit three to a seat or sit on the floor while travelling to and from the school.

In a telephone interview, school Principal Tammy Perreault responded that officials had reacted quickly to the complaint, getting on the buses themselves to assess the situation.

What’s The Plan? ...Chris?...Petey?...Anybody?



It’s now been over a week since The O’Zone addressed the issue of the Massachusetts Senate’s approval of legislation that would allow Southbridge residents to vote on the amendments to the town charter crafted by Clark’s cronies on the General Government subcommittee and approved by his puppet council.                     
At the time we pointed out the fact that, apparently, the town manager wasn’t aware of what was in the legislation.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Southbridge’s MCAS Progress is Fantastic – Right?



According to the MCAS results released today, Southbridge High has met and exceeded its targets in all but one category.








Source (Click Here)

Now, I’m no expert. In addition I’m probably going to reinforce my reputation for being overly negative.

Nevertheless, there is something I find discomforting about these results.

Southbridge MCAS Results


The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has released the following summary of the MCAS Spring 2012 results.








SOURCE


A Place For The Tartar Sauce?



Following The O’Zone’s publication of its latest post, Southbridge, Does This Smell Fishy To You?, a friend asked me when the council authorized the town manager to make these sales and who voted for it.

After reviewing the town council minutes, I was able to find the following entry:

TOWN COUNCIL MEETING
TOWN OF SOUTHBRIDGE
MONDAY May 21, 2012

AGENDA ITEM #2- ROLL CALL: Councilors present: CLEMENCE, LANGEVIN, MARCUCCI, NIKOLLA, REGIS, SPINELLI & VANDAL. Absent: LIVENGOOD. MCDONALD arrived at 7:05pm. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Southbridge, Does This Smell Fishy To You?




David Livengood
Tomorrow’s Southbridge News will carry an article by Gus Steeves titled, “First industrial park lot sold in Southbridge."

The article will say, in part:

SOUTHBRIDGE — After being on the market for months, the first parcel has been snapped up in what the town has designated to become the Southbridge Technology and Environment Park on Commercial Drive.

According to Town Manager Chris Clark, Oxford-based Mid-State Welding bought three of the nine available lots, approximately four acres in total, for $107,000. But because the state did the feasibility study there, the town is paying for that out of the proceeds, meaning Southbridge is netting $26,000 less. Income from future sales, however, will go entirely to the town. 

Romney On Mideast Peace: I’d “Kick The Ball Down The Field” - Video





UPDATE: 9/18The full video (40 minutes) of Mitt Romney’s Florida fundraiser speech is available onYouTube.

At the private fundraiser held May 17 where Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney candidly spoke about political strategy—noting that he saw half of the American electorate as freeloaders and "victims" who do not believe in personal responsibility—he discussed various foreign policy positions, sharing views that he does not express in public, including his belief that peace in the Middle East is not possible and a Palestinian state is not feasible.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Romney: Obama Voters Are Freeloaders-Video






UPDATE: 9/18The full video (40 minutes) of Mitt Romney’s Florida fundraiser speech is available onYouTube.

UPDATE:
9/18 The American Conservative online, of all people, just released a map prepared by the conservative Tax Foundation showing which states have the highest proportion of residents that pay no Federal income taxes. I bet it will come as a surprise to Barack Obama when he finds out from where Mitt Romney says Democratic support is coming, (Top ten states in ratio of non-Federal-income-tax paying residents are in red. The lowest ten are in blue.)


“When he doesn't know a camera's rolling, the GOP candidate shows his disdain for half of America.”

During a private fundraiser earlier this year, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a small group of wealthy contributors what he truly thinks of all the voters who support President Barack Obama. He dismissed these Americans as freeloaders who pay no taxes, who don't assume responsibility for their lives, and who think government should take care of them. Fielding a question from a donor about how he could triumph in November, Romney replied:

Don’t Buy Netanyahu’s Iran Scare



Benjamin Netanyahu
Yesterday afternoon I wrote the following as a comment in regard to another post:

Netanyahu’s warhawk blustering is understandable to anyone who follows Israeli internal politics. Following the erosion of his coalition government he rushed through a series of austerity measures that, as Agency France Press reported in August, caused “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's popularity [to] [plummet] to its lowest point since his election in 2009 after he pushed through a series of tough austerity measures, a poll showed yesterday.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Poll Shows Warren With 6 Point Lead





UPDATE: 9/18 For the third time this week a new poll, this time from Suffolk University, shows Elizabeth Warren has taken a lead in the Massachusetts Senate Race.


UPDATE: 9/17 Another new poll by Public Policy Polling shows Warren with a two point lead, an improvement of seven points since their last poll just before the Republican convention.

A survey of Massachusetts voters conducted Sept. 6-13 by the Western New England University Polling Institute through a partnership with Springfield newspaper The Republican and MassLive.com, shows Warren leading over Brown, 50 to 44 percent, among likely voters.

The gap among registered voters is even larger, according to the survey, which concluded Warren leads 53 to 41 percent. 

--------


--------------------

Saturday, September 15, 2012

HD Video of Mars Rover's Descent




The Mars Curiosity Rover’s nail-biting plunge to the surface of the Red Planet on August 6 can now be seen — from the perspective of the rover itself — in ultra high-definition video.

The video opens with the base of the re-entry vehicle falling away to the Martian surface. In the course of the descent one can hear the sounds of the parachute in the atmosphere and the firing of the descent engine.

Independent video producer Bard Canning spent four weeks painstakingly reprocessing imagery released earlier by NASA showing the rover’s near-perfect descent as captured by its onboard Mars Descent Imager (MARDI), a downward facing camera.

Here’s the video:

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Sounds Of Silence



Loyal readers of The O’Zone may have noticed a recent decline in comments on this blog.

Trust me, I’m still getting them.

However, they have become so vicious, abusive and, in many cases, libelous that I have refused to publish them.

Now, I think that I have demonstrated an ability to engage in banter as well as having a respect for humor.

However, in the last two weeks, there has been an absolute absence of any intelligent arguments advanced against the opinions that I have expressed.

NOW THEY'RE HOME

The brave Americans who died in the cowardly attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya have come home.
May they rest in eternal peace.


Scott Brown’s Ad Is A Lie!



You’ve probably seen the following ad by Senator Scott Brown:



Note that he says, “So I filed a bill to stop insider trading in Congress, and it got passed and signed into law.”

Well, that’s not exactly true. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Who’s Going Under The Bus?




The last two articles on The O’Zone have apparently created a level of consternation in both the Southbridge town hall and the Durant campaign.

In the Southbridge town hall there is clearly the question of how the town manager could have made the remarks that appeared in Wednesday’s Southbridge News.

In there the town manager said that now that the state senate had approved legislation allowing the town to vote on proposed charter amendments (which the Governor signed yesterday) he would work with the council to schedule an election in the spring. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Politics Of Expediency In Southbridge



There’s an old Chinese proverb that says, “If you sit by the river long enough you will see the body of your opponent floating by.”

The pollution swollen river that is Southbridge politics has flowed on for many months since The O’Zone first began. Over that time this forum has documented the many distortions of process, reason and intellect that have dominated the decision-making process that has governed this community. 

Southbridge Charter Changes Require 10 Different Senate Bills



In what the Massachusetts Senate events list describes as “an informal session” it met on September 6, 2012 and approved ten separate bills to authorize Southbridge citizens to adopt almost all the amendments to the town charter rammed through the rump town council last year.

The one amendment that was dropped was that which would require any citizen running for public office to be “in good financial standing” with the town. Attorneys at the State House saw this as one bridge too far, violating constitutional law, and had it eliminated. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

My Letter To The Editor Of The Southbridge Evening News


On Friday, September 7th, I sent the following letter to the Editor of The Southbridge Evening News:

To the Editor:

The September 6th edition of the Evening News carried a letter from Carol A. Goodspeed of Wales touting the merits of Mitt Romney’s stewardship while Governor of Massachusetts. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Creamer Goes Off The Cliff


Thomas Creamer
I have had no problem with providing links to local web sites that espouse political opinions different than my own.

Today, however, I have drawn the line.

That line relates to the website maintained by Sturbridge Selectman Thomas Creamer.

Prior to yesterday I viewed Mr. Creamer’s site as an informative and rational exposition on Sturbridge politics and governance, even if from a conservative standpoint.

Yesterday, however, he promoted an article that pandered to the basest form of religious intolerance and a growing threat of irrational Islamophobia. 

Sunday Photo-'Toons 1.21


The political scene was dominated this last week by the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. On Wednesday night the Big Dawg, Bill Clinton, actually got better ratings than the opening game of the official NFL season where the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

On the local scene there were a couple of town council subcommittee events and the release of the agenda for next Monday’s town council meeting.

Finally there was the first day of school marking the opening of the new Southbridge Middle/High School. Aside from some to-be-expected opening day confusion on which buses students were to board at the end of the day, all apparently went relatively smoothly. Kudos to teachers and staff for a challenge well met.

With all that now behind us we sit down to a brunch of Eggs Florentine with a white wine spritzer and conjure up our own take on the week in review.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Bill Maher Skewers Creator of Film “2016: Obama’s America”


Filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza appeared on August 31st’s Real Time with Bill Maher and had his latest film, 2016: Obama’s America, and the justifications for his depiction of President Obama taken apart piecemeal by Maher.

Whether it was D'Souza pretending that President Obama didn't reach out to Republicans on their health care bill, when as Maher rightfully pointed out, it was Bob Dole's plan from the '90's, trying to blame the President for the gridlock in Washington rather than Republican obstruction designed to make sure President Obama is not reelected, to pretending that President Obama did anything much differently than other presidents when it came to stimulus, regulating industry or that he's somehow anti-capitalist, D'Souza just was no match for Maher.

Here’s the video of the interview:

Friday, September 7, 2012

Gallup Reports Jump In Obama's Approval After Convention


President Obama gets a 52 percent approval rating against 43 percent disapproval in Gallup's daily tracking poll, which surveys 500 Americans a night and averages three days of data. The current tracking poll samples the nights of the Democratic National Convention and represents a major jump for Obama, who has basically been running even on approval in tracking and other major national polls, if not a little underwater. 


Southbridge Planning and Development Subcommittee Agenda for September 10, 2012


TOWN OF SOUTHBRIDGE
SOUTHBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS 01550-2638

MEMORANDUM

TO: Planning & Development Subcommittee

FROM: Denise Clemence, Chairperson

DATE: September 6, 2012

Southbridge Town Council Agenda September 10, 2012

Prepared by the Chair
TOWN OF SOUTHBRIDGE
SOUTHBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS 01550-2638
TOWN COUNCIL MEETING
COUNCIL CHAMBERS, TOWN HALL
September 10, 2012 – 7:00 PM
********************

AGENDA

1.Pledge of Allegiance

2. Roll Call

3. Consider and accept Town Council Meeting Minutes of Monday, August 27, 2012

Unemployment drops to 8.1%

THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- AUGUST 2012


Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 96,000 in August, and the unemployment rate edged down to 8.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in food services and drinking places, in professional and technical services, and in health care.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Open Thread: Obama's Speech - What Do You Think?


What was your reaction to President Obama's Convention speech?


U.S. Private-Sector Employment Increased By 201,000 Jobs in August, According to ADP National Employment Report

ADP Press Release

ROSELAND, N.J. – September 6, 2012 – Private-sector employment increased by 201,000 from July to August on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report® released today. The ADP National Employment Report, created byAutomatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP®), in partnership with Macroeconomic Advisers, LLC, is derived from actual payroll data and measures the change in total nonfarm private employment each month. The estimated gain from June to July was revised up from the initial estimate of 163,000 to 173,000.

Bill Clinton's Address To The Democratic Convention

It was the moment that brought the voters to their feet and it was the moment that broke Romney's back. 

"This convention is done. This will be the moment that probably re-elected Barack Obama." -- GOP operative Alex Castellanos.

"45 minutes into the speech, a veteran GOP operative conceded, "The Big Dog brought his A-Game -- folksy, fiery and full-throated, right down to the lip bite."  NY Daily News






The Reviews Are In:

Under the headline of Bill Clinton: Trust Me, the Jobs Are Coming, Josh Barro at Bloomberg wrote:

Bill Clinton offered a brilliant and detailed defense of Barack Obama’s record on economic policy tonight. The speech was long and had almost bizarre levels of detail on job training, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare reform, and most every other major area of the federal budget. [...]
The conventional wisdom is that Medicaid is a losing issue for the Democrats. But Clinton’s case for Medicaid is succinct, sympathetic and persuasive, and I expect to start hearing it more often.