Tuesday, January 21, 2014

And A Child Shall Feed Them

Ken O’Brien

Sometimes, in their innocence, young children can be our best teachers. Their naturally curious minds can also cast a bright light on issues that we, as adults, frequently fail to acknowledge as important.

I was reminded of this the other day when a friend sent me a link to the following video.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Senator Brewer Leaving The Legislature

Ken O’Brien

Sen. Stephen Brewer announced on Wednesday that he will not seek reelection and that he will retire when his term expires at the end of 2014.

Brewer, who took over the Senate Ways and Means Committee in 2010, has served as a top deputy to Senate President Therese Murray. As such he has been a significant factor in all major pieces of legislation to emerge from the Senate over the past four years. Murray is serving her last term as Senate president and hasn't said whether she will move on from elected office. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Tribute To Student Achievement II

Ken O’Brien

Back On November 20th I posted the first of these pieces that paid tribute to the third and fourth graders who excelled in their performance on the MCAS.

Honors for those in higher grade levels who also excelled on the MCAS were planned for the next School Committee meeting. Regrettably that was twice deferred due to inclement weather. But they are equally worthy of recognition for their efforts. They are also, it goes without saying, an embodiment of the scriptural dictum "honor thy father and thy mother".

Friday, January 17, 2014

In Retrospect

Ken O’Brien

At the outset I want to say that I made a serious mistake. I should never have apologized for the article "Weighty Matters". Insofar as the target of that article has refused to accept the apology it can be considered to have been rescinded.

Moving on I hope to discuss the matter that gave rise to that article in a reasonable and intelligent manner.

A number of years back we had a town manager by the name of Clayton Carlisle. Mr. Carlisle was, shall we say, portly. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

How To (Try To) Silence A Critic

Ken O’Brien

The only good thing about living to be a certain age is that you learn from your mistakes.

As regards the current kerfuffle about this blog and the Chair of the Southbridge School Committee the relevant lesson was “put it in writing”.

The benefits of that lesson are illustrated by today’s Telegram article titled “Fighting tears, Southbridge official reacts to blog comments about her weight”. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Weighty Matters

Ken O’Brien

Well shame on me!

With tears welling up behind porcine cheeks and multiple chins aquiver the chair of the Southbridge School Committee closed last night’s meeting with a performance that rivaled Vivien Leigh at the denouement of Gone With The Wind.

At issue was the reference to her as a morbidly obese blueberry by a reader’s comment on this blog in a post that parodied her for reasons other than her weight.

Monday, January 13, 2014

School Committee Chair Reacts

As followers of The O’Zone are no doubt aware, a controversy recently erupted over comments that appeared related to a post parodying the Chairman of the Southbridge School Committee.

Therefore, it was with no small amount of interest that I opened an email from the Chairman this morning. Insofar as she chose to contact me using her School Department provided email, the initial message, as well as the ensuing exchange, is a matter of public record.

With that in mind I am reproducing the conversation below without additional comment other than to say that I have received no additional correspondence as of the time of this posting. (I do, however, reserve the right to respond to reader comments.) 

Southbridge School Committee Agenda - January 14, 2014

Southbridge School Committee Meeting

: Robert G. MacKinnon Council Chambers, 41 Elm Street

Date: Tuesday, January 14, 2014

                                                                   Time: 7:00 PM

Sunday, January 12, 2014

This Is Truly Shameful II

 Well I certainly stepped in it.

But, then again, it’s not the first time.

Back on January 8th I wrote a piece titled “This Is Truly Shameful”.

As a result I found my views criticized on a local FaceBook site (which I should emphasize I respect and believe serves a very valuable local need).

However, I found it somewhat interesting that people would choose that forum to address my comments rather than coming to this site and addressing me directly.

That being the case I will be compelled to summarize the debate on this matter by drawing quotes from that discussion. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Building An Economy For The Future

In an earlier article, You Are Being Exploited!, I promised to expand upon the thoughts written there as they relate to a new paradigm of economic and political thought.

In that article I put forward the premise that the transition from an industrial economy to an information economy was obviating the historical linkage between physical labor and economic rewards. Rather, to an ever increasing extent, every individual, to varying degrees, was contributing information to the system. That information was being translated into knowledge which was ultimately applied as technology accelerating economic growth.  For that contribution they should be compensated. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Pim Previews Tonight’s PTA Talk By The School Committee Chair

Submitted by Pim Stewert

This Is Truly Shameful

It has become commonplace to denounce the “cult of celebrity” promoted by reality TV.

How many of us could care less if we never heard another word about the Kardashians?

But, when a reality TV show is based upon making celebrities of those who achieve prominence by flouting the law it is doubly bad.

When a local media outlet glorifies a former resident for achieving celebrity by rising to the top echelon of such criminals, it is thrice cursed.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Councilor Peloquin Makes By-Law Revisions Available To Public

A shout out to Town Councilor Amelia Peloquin.

Those who watched last night’s Town Council Meeting will remember that the Council voted to postpone the second reading of the proposed changes to the Town By-Laws that were recommended by the By-Law Review Committee.

During the discussion on this subject it was pointed out that a December 2nd memo from the Town Attorney had recommended that the marked up version of the old By-Laws with proposed revisions be made widely available as a means of avoiding the Charter-mandated requirement to read the entirety of such changes at each meeting. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

It Ain’t So, Joe

Former Town Councilor and die-hard Republican James (Joe) Marino can’t seem to open his mouth but to change feet.

Followers of local town politics will remember that he departed the Town Council not long after he admitted that he had leaked Executive Session minutes to the local press.

He has, in the typical pattern of most Republicans who go around in circles, followed in his own footsteps. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Southbridge Town Council Meeting Agenda – January 6, 2014




January 6, 2014 –7:00 PM



1. Pledge of Allegiance

2. Roll Call

3. Consider and accept Town Council Meeting Minutes of Monday, December 16, 2013. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Local Impact Of Long-Term Unemployment Insurance Cuts

On December 28, 1.3 million Americans were immediately cut off of their unemployment insurance coverage. New data from states across the country highlights the harm local communities will face due to the Republican failure to extend unemployment insurance before leaving for the winter holiday break.

When Congress failed to extend the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program more than 58,700 people in Massachusetts lost their insurance coverage immediately on Dec. 28, according to the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance. An additional 54,800 people in Massachusetts will lose their coverage in the first six months of 2014 if Republicans continue to block an extension of the program, according to Department of Labor estimates. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot...

Congressman McGovern: Snowden More Whistleblower Than Villain

Congressman Jim McGovern (D – MA) has joined a growing number of members of Congress who believe that a deal should be struck to return Edward Snowden to the U.S.

Speaking to BuzzFeed McGovern said, “I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s more of a whistle-blower than a villain. I’ve kind of wrestled with his actions for quite some time because part of me would like to think that in this country there is a process in place where people can do the right thing and not get punished for it. The more I learn about his particular case I’m not sure there was a process in place where he could have presented what he found out and actually changed things.” 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Feel The Chill?

The Philadelphia Enquirer reported earlier this year, “Republicans such as U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), and Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation, as well as commentators like Pat Buchanan, have expressed preference for charity over government to solve various societal ills such as hunger. Many say private giving, not government largesse, kept America going through the decades.”

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

You Are Being Exploited!

Let’s say that oil was just discovered on your property. Even Jed Clampett was smart enough to know that you don’t just turn it over to Exxon-Mobil without getting something for it.

But, every day, we are proving that good ole Jed was a damn sight smarter than you or I.

The fact is that each and every one of us, to varying degrees, has become an essential source of raw materials in the new global economy.