Thursday, October 31, 2013


The Best Thing From Holland Since Tulips

Ken O’Brien

9-year-old Amira Willighagen from Nijmegen is completely self-taught, and used only YouTube tutorials to learn how to sing. So, when she stepped onto the "Holland's Got Talent" stage, no one was expecting such a big voice to come out of such a very little girl.

Her incredible rendition of Puccini's "O Mio Babbino Caro" from the opera "Gianni Schicchi" earned her a Golden Ticket from the judges that would take her straight to the live show.

She told the judges, "My brother Vincent plays violin, and I also wanted to do something... So I thought, I'm going to sing… and then I heard opera songs, which I found very beautiful and that's when I started singing,".

Watch the video below; it moved me to tears.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fukushima Radiation Threatens U.S. West Coast

Ken O’Brien

An ocean current called the North Pacific Gyre is bringing radiation from the Japanese Fukushima nuclear reactor to the West Coast of North America:

Saturday, October 26, 2013

This Cannot End Well - Video: Southbridge School Committee Meeting October 22, 2013

The inauguration of any new political leadership sets the tone for their subsequent tenure.

In this regard, the assumption of the leadership of the Southbridge School Committee by Lauren McLoughlin could not possibly be any less auspicious.

It was characterized in its hallmark moment by what would be generously characterized as ignorance, but more likely as outright deceit.

Most disturbing was the regrettable involvement in this exercise by as distinguished an officer of the court as Demetrios Moschos of the firm Mirick O’Connell. I can only wonder if he will have the integrity to admit his error and thus require those responsible to hit the reset button.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ylvis' Tribute (?) To Massachusetts (NSFW)

Norwegian comedy group Ylvis have followed up their awesomely bizarre viral hit The Fox with a heartfelt ode to Massachusetts.

A Viewer’s Guide To Tonight’s Southbridge School Committee Meeting

Tonight’s School Committee meeting has seven action items on its agenda (including a late addendum).

Five of these items are flawed illustrating the members’ lack of knowledge about their own rules and proper procedure as well as vague policies.

The first of these is Item XII. C. Vote to establish an Ad-Hoc Wellness Committee.

It is clear from a reading of the regulation that this is a permanent committee with regular annual duties. As such it is not an ad hoc committee.

“The Law Is A Ass…”

So said Mr. Bumble, the unhappy spouse of a domineering wife, in Charles Dickens Oliver Twist. He was responding to being told in court that "...the law supposes that your wife acts under your direction".

Let it never be said that we in the former colonies have lagged behind our British forebears. Here in Massachusetts for example:

  • Any person caught eating peanuts in church may be jailed for up to one year
  • In Boston it is illegal to take a bath unless prescribed by a physician
  • It is illegal to peep into the windows of automobiles in Milford

Lest we castigate our beloved Bay State alone, here is a sampling of other state laws that justify Mr. Bumble’s complete statement, “...the law is a ass - a idiot".

Rupert Murdoch And Fox News’ Blog Trolls

Ken O’Brien

In Murdoch's World: The Last of the Old Media Empires David Folkenflik, the media correspondent for NPR News, explains how Rupert Murdoch the man behind Britain’s take-no-prisoners tabloids, who reinvigorated Roger Ailes by backing his vision for Fox News, who gave a new swagger to the New York Post and a new style to the Wall Street Journal, survived numerous scandals—and the true cost of this survival. He summarily ended his marriage, alienated much of his family, and split his corporation asunder to protect the source of his vast wealth (on the one side), and the source of his identity (on the other). There were, however, moments when the global news chief panicked. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hannity's Credibility On Obamacare Attack Shredded

Writing in October 18th's Salon Magazine Eric Stern says:

I happened to turn on the Hannity show on Fox News last Friday evening. “Average Americans are feeling the pain of Obamacare and the healthcare overhaul train wreck,” Hannity announced, “and six of them are here tonight to tell us their stories.”  Three married couples were neatly arranged in his studio, the wives seated and the men standing behind them, like game show contestants.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Video: Tea Party Holds Comeback Strategy Meeting

Following their defeat on the government shutdown and debt ceiling fight, House and Senate Tea Party caucus members met to reassess their future. Senator John "Bluto" Blutarsky rallied the troops with a rousing speech recalling America's response to Pearl Harbor. He was followed by Representative Eric "Otter" Stratton who crystallized the plans for the group's comeback.

Following is a video of that meeting.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Video: Special Southbridge School Committee Meeting, October 10, 2013

Video by Paul Zotos

Following the surprise resignation by School Committee Chairman Patricia Woodruff at its last regular meeting, the committee held a special meeting on Wednesday, October 9. The special meeting had been scheduled prior to the regular Tuesday night meeting. It was attended by five of the remaining six members, with Dr. Thomas O’Leary absent.

It was billed as a meeting intended to address expectations and goals for the committee during the coming year. However, prior to Mrs. Woodruff’s resignation it was widely believed to have her ouster as its true objective. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Cockroaches And Dog Poop More Popular Than Congress

There's been no shortage of polls out in the last few days showing that Congress has a poor approval rating. Public Policy Polling found that only 8% of voters approve of the job it's doing compared to 85% who disapprove.

In an effort to get some more perspective on those terrible approval numbers though, PPP tested Congress head to head with a couple dozen dubious things to see what came out ahead and for the most part the results for Congress aren't too hot.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Bipartisan Debt Ceiling Fix

Warren Buffett calls the debt ceiling a “nuclear weapon, too horrible to use.” Obama administration official Jason Furman says the consequence of a default on U.S. government debt is “too terrible to think about.” When asked about a default, Wells Fargo strategist James Kochan simply commented, “Holy cripes.”

With this crisis, America is risking financial Armageddon. The default of Lehman Brothers on its $613 billion of debt ignited a chain reaction in the financial system, nearly destroying the U.S. economy. A default by the U.S. government on $17 trillion of debt — debt that has been considered the safest in the world — could be far worse. 

Former Southbridge DPW Building Bought By Expert Laser Services, Inc.

Worcester Business Journal reports that the former Southbridge DPW building on Pleasant Street has been purchased by Expert Laser Services, Inc.

Expert Laser Services said it completed the purchase of the building, located at 62 Pleasant St., on Thursday. The building contains about 12,000 square feet of space, according to company spokesman Bob Chernisky. He said the purchase price for the property was $130,000, which doesn't include remodeling costs. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Moriarty Opposes Use Of Public Funds To Lure Students Out Of District

First and foremost, a big thank you to Southbridge’s own Mike Murray for leading the charge in a justified fight that will be heard on Beacon Hill later this week. It can be argued whether Mr. Smith can truly go to Washington anymore, but he certainly can go to Boston.

I vividly remember coming home one afternoon and being surprised to see a postcard from the Quaboag Regional School District in my mailbox, touting the classes being offered, technology available, athletics and extra-curricular activities, and more. It seemed quite fitting that I found it nestled among flyers from used car dealers. It was later that day when my phone rang with Mike Murray on the other end, clearly agitated over the use of public funds to entice locals to send their kids — and tax dollars — elsewhere. 

Mark Fiore Added To O’Zone’s “The Funnies” Links

Mark Fiore is an American political cartoonist specializing in Flash-animated editorial cartoons, whom the Wall Street Journal recently called the undisputed guru of the form.

Fiore lives in San Francisco, California, and his cartoons have appeared in numerous American papers and a number of websites. He studied political science at Colorado College and was a staff cartoonist for the San Jose Mercury News. He left newspapers for animated online comics in 2001. He is a member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Chairman Resigns from Southbridge School Committee

In an action that surprised most observers, School Committee Chairman Patricia Woodruff announced her resignation from the School Committee during tonight’s meeting.

Reading from a prepared statement during the Chairwoman’s Announcement segment of the meeting, she said; “It appears to me the politics of the school committee have overtaken the true mission of this committee.  There seems to be a prevailing opinion of the current majority of the school committee that this would be cured by my absence.  While I do not share this opinion, I feel it is only fair to our children, who should be the true focus of our actions, to allow the majority to have their way.  I therefore resign from the committee to be effective at the conclusion of this meeting. I hope that this gesture will encourage the remaining members to focus on what is important, the youth of our community.” 

Way To Go, Liz!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Southbridge School Committee Agenda, October 8, 2013

LOCATION: Robert G. MacKinnon Council Chambers, 41 Elm Street

DATE: Tuesday, October 8, 2013

TIME: 7:00 PM

I. Pledge of Allegiance

II. Public Input

III. Meeting Called to Order

IV. Roll Call

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


The Quinebaug Valley Council for the Arts and Humanities will host during the month of October AFTER HOURS, an art exhibition featuring work by the late Edmund (Eddie) Tetreault. The exhibition, which focuses on Tetreault’s paintings will also include work by three generations of artists in his family: Maxine Jolie, his daughter; Brenda Fredericks, his granddaughter; and great-granddaughter, Courtney Caplette. The late Tetreault began his painting career upon retiring, and was prolific during the eight years preceding his death. He painted almost daily until his eyes failed. The four generations of artists included in this group exhibition all have connections to Christine O'Brien's Atelier D'Art, taking lessons at her Southbridge Studio over the course of their individual artistic journeys.