A protestor in Tulsa with two members of the local police force (Courtesy of the Tulsa World)
A protestor in Tulsa with two members of the local police force (Courtesy of the Tulsa World)

Faith in God. Faith in the community. Faith in the system. That is why Tulsa, Oklahoma, didn’t devolve into race riots after the shooting of a black man by a white police officer.

Many residents took to the pews, while other cities, facing similar issues, took to the streets with looting and riots. Tulsa, often called “the buckle of the Bible belt,” is different because of its faith. Southern Baptists and evangelical Christians play a significant role in the community of 400,000 people. Oral Roberts University has its campus there.

The ethnic makeup of the city parallels that of the nation. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, slightly more than 60 percent of the population is white; 15 percent is African-American, and 14 percent is Hispanic.

The city has had its racial troubles, including a major riot many years ago. The police have faced both positive and negative reviews over the years.

“This is tragic–and something all of us should spend time reflecting on so we can make a better nation,” the Rev. Teron Gaddis, representing the Oklahoma Baptist State Convention, said. “This is not a race issue, a Caucasian or black issue.”

The reverend is black. Had a white leader said the shooting of a black man was not a racial issue he would have been chastised for taking up the “All Lives Matter” banner.

Even The New York Times and CNN had to admit that religion played a role in keeping the peace. Still, the media provided wall-to-wall coverage of the upheaval in Charlotte, with only a passing reference to the peaceful scenes from Oklahoma, including a Black Lives Matter protester holding hands with a white and a black police officer.

Everyone needs to look at Tulsa as an example of how to stop racial division. Riots don’t work; prayer does.


Christopher Harper, a recovering journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law.

addictions
From sciencenews.org

by baldilocks

So, this happened not far from where I live.

SKID ROW, LOS ANGELES (KABC) —

Paramedics rushed to Skid Row after 18 people appeared to have overdosed on a drug presumed to be spice, or synthetic marijuana, fire officials said.

The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to the area of 5th and San Pedro streets at about 10:30 a.m.

Officials said 18 people were evaluated and 14 of those were taken to the hospital.

The victims were all suffering from similar symptoms, according to officials, which included altered mental status, combative behavior, and in some cases, seizures.

“We don’t have toxicological confirmation, but it’s presumably spice, which is a synthetic type of cannabis or marijuana. And of course, because it’s synthetic, nobody for sure knows what active ingredients are in there, the strength is variable,” Dr. Marc Eckstein, the Los Angeles Fire Department medical director and EMS bureau commander explained.

Before my homeless stint, I’d never heard of stuff like ‘spice’ and ‘tweaking.’ But 2015 was an education for me. I saw the effects of both—turning relatively normal people into the zombies of recent fiction, except that they weren’t cannibals…that I know of. And regular weed was everywhere. Since the latter is legal here in CA, there are “clinics” all around, and one of the hot topics of the homeless housing was where a customer could get the best high for the most reasonable price. Usually, I’d walk away from such conversations—not for any high-minded reasons, but because they bored me to tears.

Mere nicotine-addicts—like me–and those who would manage to sneak alcohol in were considered relatively straight-laced.

And that brings me to one of the reasons I wanted to stop smoking. It seems to me that all drug addictions bring illusory benefits but, in reality, have only drawbacks. Hard-core illegal drug addicts see these quickly, but we who partake in the legal substances are more likely to fool ourselves for many years, at least until that first stroke, heart attack, car accident, etc.

I’ve mused on my blessings from God many times; one of these is excellent physical health, in spite of battling nicotine addiction for many years. It’s a sin to take a blessing from God and throw it in the trash can, is it not?

Another thing: we are coming into some very perilous times, maybe the End Times. But even if things are not that apocalyptic, it seems that it’s best for each one of us to leave the extraneous habits behind. There is enough useless baggage on our backs already.

Fifteen days. I’m sort of addicted to CornNuts now.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>>baldilocks

Dash: But Dad always said our powers were nothing to be ashamed of, our powers made us special.
Helen: Everyone’s special, Dash.
Dash: Which is another way of saying no one is.

The Incredibles 2004

Last Sunday when I woke up after getting home from Denver I turned on the TV as I got dressed for the Madonna Della Cava festival and noticed a commercial playing attacking Charter Schools and question 2 which began with the words.

“400 million dollars, that’s how much charter schools will drain from Massachusetts public schools this year”

Under normal circumstances this would be more background political noise that I would ignore but I had just come back from the Amplify choice conference put on by the Franklin Center where we spent a day and a half listening to speakers talk about Charter Schools both in Denver and across the nation.

And having attended said conference I knew that best the “Save our schools” crowd was being deceptive and at worst they were lying through their teeth because that statement ignores a cogent fact about charter schools…

Charter schools are public schools.

That would seem to be a rather important fact for that argument but an ad saying: “400 million dollars, that’s how much money will be spent on some public schools instead of others this year”  is unlikely to scare voters.

From that point the ad argument doesn’t get better.

400 million syphoned from local districts that desperately need it.

Except for the fact the Charter Schools are still part of the school districts that they are located in.

400 million that won’t fund more science and technology…

Actually the 400 million will just fund science and technology at a different school as anyone who joined me in visiting the Denver School of Science and Technology last week would know and met Sheila…

…and some of her classmates

The three wise young women
The three wise young women

…would see that science would not suffer, it will prosper.

arts or preschool, counseling or smaller class sizes

In fact charter that money would not only fund smaller class sizes which are the norm at charter schools but would fund them for groups that traditionally don’t get them as this enrollment chart shows:

In fact the STRIVE charter schools in Denver enrollment is 97% of color reflecting the neighborhoods they operate in.

$400 million unavailable to the 96% of students who don’t attend charter schools

That sentence is funny , it would be just as accurate to say to describe the $1.013 billion budgeted to the Boston Public schools as….

$1.013 Billion dollars unavailable to students who don’t attend Boston public schools”

…which again isn’t going to scare anyone.

The “save our schools” ads when they finish with

“Let’s improve public schools for all students, not just a select few.”

Forgetting for a second that by this argument your public school should not get a new lab because said lab is not for all public school students, just for the select few that go to it. It ignores that fact that the rising tide of Charter schools tends to lift all boats as evidenced by the results in Denver before expansion of charter schoolsDenver mid 2000'sand after
denver after

What is this ad actually arguing? It’s arguing to keep schools that are failing from having to compete with schools that are not, and it’s counting on the fact that most of the people seeing this ad, did not attend the Franklin Center #amplifychoice event this year.

Or to put it another way this “save our schools” ad is completely dependent on its audience being uneducated and uninformed about the results charter schools bring to protect failing public schools

Rather ironic isn’t it?

If you want to find out more about charter schools check out the #amplifychoice hashtag here or check out these posts at DaTechGuyblog:

Denver Day Two The Zoo and then Six #AmplifyChoice Conference Interviews

Denver Day Three Part 1: Panels and speakers

Denver Day Three Part 2: Da Writers at #AmplifyChoice

Denver Day Four Part 1: #AmplifyChoice on the Road


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Following the money can be an intriguing political exercise. Take one Planned Parenthood affiliate’s political expenditures, for example. When a candidate benefits from PP expenditures and later has to vote on a PP contract, when does business-as-usual becomes a matter of ethical concern?

Darlene Pawlik wants to find out. She’s checking things out close to her New Hampshire home, and she has filed a complaint with the Executive Branch Ethics Committee against Governor Maggie Hassan and Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern. The complaint might be heard formally at the committee’s next meeting, scheduled for August 3.

Pawlik was prompted to act by a June 2016 “do-over” vote by the state’s Executive Council that sent “family planning” money to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England only months after the same Council turned down a similar PPNNE contract proposal. It’s unusual for a contract denied in a fiscal year to be re-introduced and approved in substantially the same terms later in the same fiscal year, but that’s what the Executive Council did with its 3-2 vote on June 29.

A bit of background: PPNNE is the region’s largest abortion provider, although the New Hampshire contracts are for “family planning” services and are not meant to be used for abortions. (Thereby hangs a tale for another day.)  The denial of the original contract hardly de-funded PPNNE, however much the denial gave PP supporters the vapors. PPNNE’s budget is $20 million a year. The original contract was for $638,000; the do-over contract was for a little less than that. By comparison, PPNNE spent $1.5 million on “public policy” in 2014. That doesn’t count campaign donations and independent campaign expenditures by PPNNE’s political arm.

Back to the do-over vote. The more recent contract passed because executive councilor and GOP candidate for governor Chris Sununu switched his vote from 2015. PPNNE’s Action Fund stayed out of Sununu’s race in the 2014 election.  On the other hand, the campaigns of Governor Hassan and Councilor Van Ostern were the beneficiaries of PP donations. Hassan, a Democrat who is running for U.S. Senate, named a pro-PP commissioner of health and human services earlier this year who promised during his confirmation process that he would “bring back” the PP contract. Van Ostern was the chief cheerleader for PP on the Council during the recent reconsideration vote. He is a Democratic candidate for governor.

In her ethics complaint, Pawlik alleges that as recipients of PP donations, Hassan and Van Ostern should have recused themselves from any action on contracts with PPNNE. The governor has no vote on the Executive Council, but she presides at Council meetings and was more than happy in that capacity to speak in PP’s favor at the June meeting before the contract vote was taken.

It’s hardly news that political committees get involved in elections, and it’s hardly news that governments do business with entities associated with those committees.What’s news is that a concerned citizen is taking action to clarify how much back-scratching is too much. The same-fiscal-year reconsideration of a rejected contract begs for further scrutiny.

The New Hampshire Union Leader quoted PPNNE’s vice-president for public policy as saying “PPNNE and its Political Action Fund are ‘separate and distinct organizations with different funding, different activities and different tax status.’” Presto: no conflict of interest, says PP.

Look again, says Darlene Pawlik.

She is appealing to an Ethics Committee that is under most New Hampshire residents’ radar. The Committee itself has been moribund for several months, with its three most recent scheduled meetings cancelled. There’s a meeting scheduled for August 3, though, and we know now that at least one complaint should be getting a hearing.

Stay tuned.

Ellen Kolb writes about the life issues at http://leavenfortheloaf.com. When she's not writing, she's hiking in New Hampshire.
Ellen Kolb writes about the life issues at Leaven for the Loaf. When she’s not writing, she’s hiking in New Hampshire.

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Sheriff-Lew-Evangelidis-Dean-Tran-Charlie-Baker-and-friend
Sheriff-Lew-Evangelidis-Dean-Tran-Charlie-Baker-and-friend
Saturday Governor Charlie Baker spent the Day in Fitchburg Massachusetts stumping with longtime City Councilor Dean Tran who is running against even longer time city Councillor Steven Hay for the State Rep seat vacated by newly elected mayor Steve DiNatale.

The final stop on the governor’s trip where he would speak for Dean and meet voters was Destare gov 2 002 a small nightclub/bar at the corner of main and Cushing street where believe it or not 30 years ago at the ripe old age of 23 I opened a comic book/hobby shop which is now their downstairs storeroom.

Fitchburg didn’t have the reputation it does now but it seemed like every other month till I moved it my shop was broken into and robbed, so I asked the Owner if he had any trouble since opening up several years ago. He said quite the opposite he had seen no trouble at all which, along with good food, good drink and excellent wi-fi speed explains his success.

I arrived around 1 PM and set up laptop and mike where I would record the first two segments of DaTechGuy off DaRadio podcast (available by clicking the fedora in the corner or emailed directly if you subscribe). Within a few minutes sign holder for Dean Tran led by the indomitable Mary Lotze formerly of the Twin city Tea party and now head of the Fitchburg Republican Committee.gov 2 001

As time passed the number of sign holders grew outside while the club started to fill up. About 20 minutes before the governor arrived I noticed a group of well dressed men sitting by the window. It tuned out they were from a protestant church in the Cleghorn part of town which once housed the large French Canadian population who came down from Canada to work the now shuttered factories that once dominated Fitchburg when it was a hub of manufacturing from shoes to Machine Guns, but is now one of two sections of down where the Spanish population is concentrated. Minister George Rodriguez consented to an interview:

Alas the lith ion battery in my primary camera choose at the end of that interview to die o I switched to my broken (no stills, no zoom) but still functioning emergency backup camera for the rest of the day. I used that to record this interview with Ed Vargus who was in attendance promoting his program to get kids off the street using skateboarding which I recorded later in the day

but include here because it fits with the Minister’s talk about getting involved with the community.

Fifteen minutes after the interview with the Minister the Governor arrived.

The governor was accompanied by his wife and Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis one of the most popular elected republicans in the area and one of the few actually taller than Charlie Baker. Despite the recent squabbles concerning the state committee (more on that here) he warmly greeted, and was warmly greeted by, those standing out.

When the Governor and the Sheriff came in they worked the crowd greeting and talking to people who attended. It’s worth nothing that they gave time to the attendees rather than simply making perfunctorily statements.and shaking hands which is one of the reasons for his popularity.

After about 15 minutes of that the guests of honor took the stage, first the Sheriff, then the Governor and then Counselor Tran who was the object of today’s exercise.

The Sheriff emphasized in his speech public safety without which none of the other things that make a city great can be achieved and his work with Counselor Tran on that subject. The Governor stressed his own beginnings as a selectman where everybody knows where you live an knows when you’ve voted a way they dislike and let you know about it and talked of how Dean’s background would be of great use as a representative. When Counselor Tran took the stage he talked about bread and butter issues but two things stood out to me.

When talking about jobs he stressed how jobs in Fitchburg meant families could stay in Fitchburg echoing the Chris Christie “Grandparents” speech which in my opinion should be a staple of any GOP speech on fiscal responsibility.

But what really stood out to me was his American Dream story by which he could come from a 3rd world country, come to America, succeed at business, be the first minority counselor in Fitchburg and then run for state office with the endorsement of the most popular governor in the Entire United States.

There was some jocularity as well. Dean is of short stature and both the Governor and the Sheriff tower over him and there was some good natured ribbing along those lines but in terms of public service they all stand tall together.

I had hoped to ask the governor a few questions about his popularity (Is it a function of the no drama, get things done work ethic, the possibility of him being considered for a national ticket, an his efforts to slowly increase the number of elected republicans to at least get enough to sustain a veto in one house but Gov Baker took no questions and frankly didn’t give me a first look. Sheriff Lew was friendly but noting another commitment that he had to attend apologized leaving right after the speech. I had better luck with Counselor Tran himself.

.

I have a long memory , when we were fighting Planned Parenthood in Fitchburg Counselor Tran was sympathetic to use while his opponent was whole hog for Planned Parenthood so there is no question where my vote is going on Tuesday.

One oddity. This special election is the day of the Massachusetts primary (Supertuesday) so one might think the increased turnout and the Trump phenom would help Counselor Tran but it’s also worth noting that there are separate ballots for the presidential primary and the local election so it’s unclear how if at all, that will affect the outcome. This came out in my conversation with Mary Lotze in a segment which I recorded as part of my Podcast and include here

As I said before It’s a good sign that the governor is stumping for a social conservative despite the State committee kerfuffle it remains to be seen if he, the sheriff, the LT Gov (who attended an earlier event that I was unavailable to cover) and the increased turnout will be enough to give us our first GOP state rep out of Fitchburg in a while.

That dear voters is up to you.

*************************************************************************

For the first times since I lost my job an Stacy McCain lost his Twitter right we’ve had a setback in our quest for $61 to make a living back here at the blog. Yesterday DaTipJar was completely and utterly silent. So as we find ourselves seeking a new $61 today our deficit for the year climbs back to 21 days and $1335 dollars.

In fairness my email blast went out late do to covering the Governor (post later today) an helping my son move so I didn’t spend the day promoting the blog, furthermore it was saturday and I suspect that our traffic consisted of our core readers who take a peek before going an enjoying the weekend.

yet if less than 1% of yesterday’s readers kicked in $15 each we would have made out goal for the day with ease.

Again I say to those who have kicked in thank you so much, for those who can’t afford it, don’t worry about it but I do ask you to promote the site.

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In my hometown paper there is a story about a crooked former democrat speaker of the house.

Sal DiMasi (remember him?) — a former speaker of the Massachusetts House, who is serving time in a North Carolina federal prison after being convicted of accepting some $65,000 in payoffs to facilitate approval of a state computer contract.

I really should have specified DeMasi, after all “crooked former Democrat speaker of the house in Massachusetts” is a description that a whole lot of people fill.

The writer Peter Lukas notes that Mr. DiMasi is in rough physical shape is very old and full of cancer. He’d really like to move to a jail closer to home, Governor Baker has no problem with it however as a federal prisoner it’s not his say, so he needs friends close to the White House perhaps the Gay community

While the gay community once honored DiMasi, it has since abandoned him.

For instance, the gay community spent an enormous amount of time, money and energy seeking a taxpayer-funded sex change for Massachusetts prison inmate Michelle Kosilek. All Kosilek ever did was savagely murder his wife when he was a man named Robert.

DiMasi paved the way for the legalizing same-sex marriage, which was a step toward the transgender movement, but the gay community has done nothing for DiMasi in return.

or maybe an ex governor close to the president:

Patrick was asked one time if he would intervene with his friend, President Barack Obama, to show compassion to DiMasi. Patrick bristled at the question and said, “I’m not going to get involved in that at all.”

“How come?”

“Because it is not my jurisdiction, and I have plenty of other things to do.”

Given that this corrupt pol bears responsibility for bringing Romneycare and Gay Marriage to Massachusetts and all the evil that has come from both nationwide even as a Christian I have a hard time feeling sorry for him, however it’s not folks like me that Peter Lucas is outraged over. He’s wondering why all those people who celebrated all of these things are not willing to lift a finder to make it a little easier for his family to visit and allow him to die a little closer to home.

The answer is really easy.

Historically our friends on the left have always used useful idiots providing financial and political aid to them in order to advance a common cause. Historically as soon as their usefulness ends so does their financial and political support. The same thing has happened here. Sal DiMasi has suffered the same fate that useful idiots have for over a century.

He simply isn’t useful anymore.

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I know you can get the MSM for nothing, but that’s pretty much what most of them are worth.

opiate awareness 2 036Yesterday at the upper common of Fitchburg Ma a group of over 70 people turned out for an event highlighting Opiate Awareness and the people and families who are affected by them.

I arrived near the time things were about to start and talked to Lauren who seemed to be in charge.

There were several speakers, one of them was our state rep Steve DiNatale who is running for Mayor

And the Police Chief

The stress of the event was addiction as a disease and coping with it. Nobody talked better on the struggle between being firm and being kind than Tami Arguelles founder of the local group: Help for our Community.

The need to find the balance between loving and caring for a person, while not enabling or approving is for the families and friends of the addicted the hardest thing.

They had some ceremonial events the lighting of candles

The Releasing of Balloons

and a moment of silence

.

Some spoke about their loss like Ed.

Other were there simply to stand for their lost loved ones. I spoke to the police chief after the event:

and I spoke to two former addicts one before things started:

and the second after, this was Reverend Hollaway who had spoken before

What really truck me about both of them was their words about the Just Say No campaign from the 80’s. This type of thing was routinely laughed at by our friends of the left but both of these ex addicts noted that a direct statement, a solid “NO” makes a difference.

But the real story to me was that every police car in Fitchburg is equipped with Narcan which can be the difference between life and death for a person.

The other half of the coin of course is the prevention, the chief talked about getting old prescription drugs out of the house but the other part of the game is something quite simple and direct. If you see someone dealing drugs on your street corner in your neighborhood don’t just ignore it and figure it’s not your business: Say Something. Call the police, tweet the police, help them protect you.

If you don’t want the cost of the Drugs and Gangs, stand up and fight, even if it’s just a phone call. The harder you make it for the dealer, the more likely he’s going to at worst move on, or at best find themselves caught.

The event made the front page of the Sentinel, you can read it here.

Name a company and we could get them. Except one. We were never able to get a Market Basket employee to jump ship.

Arthur (Jay) DiGeronimo Jr.

Lorenzo: The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.

A Bronx Tale 1993

 

 

One year ago at this time the one and only story in New England was the Market Basket Strike.

For those of you from outside the area basically there was a power struggle between two cousins both named Arthur Demoulas.  One Arthur T who was deeply involved in the day to day operations of the highly profitable company and treated his workers and managers so well that when the majority of 9 person Board of Directors,  despite high profits in bad times  headed by supporters of his cousin Arthur S finally succeeded in forcing out his cousin,  the workers went on “strike” in support of Arthur T.

Within a short time the shelves started to go empty and the workers started protesting (off the clock).

It was the most unusual protest in US history to wit:

I’ve heard this sentiment from every Market Basket person I’ve talked to from managers to baggers they don’t want a union and it was made plain during the protest

When word got out at a Friday rally at Market Basket headquarters that representatives of an unidentified union were passing out cards to protesting employees, it was Trainor who responded: “Really, do you think we need a union?” The crowd responded with a resounding “no.”

“There is no union in this country that’s stronger than this crowd right here,” Trainor said. “So take your cards and go home.”

So basically you have a workforce not complaining about wages, not complaining about working conditions, not calling for a union but instead protesting against business decisions that they believe will hurt long term profitability.

There is one way to describe a protest like that: Pro Capitalist.

It was like covering a tea party rally.  It’s why I suspect they were getting flak from some left wing sites and the overwhelmingly Democrat state legislature was slow to fall behind them.

I saw a huge opportunity here for the GOP

If I was Rick Santorum I’d be in Massachusetts at the next rally. If I was Reince Priebus I’d be asking why Elizabeth Warren & the left are AWOL and suggest it is due to being owned by the unions.

And if I was Kirsten Hughes I’d run through that gap in the line the left has left unguarded and I’d go all in for the Market Basket Workers and vividly illustrate the GOP’s support for the working man.

However the GOP did nothing.

Eventually vendors started scooting ,  20,000 layoffs came, and viola:

Suddenly the prospect of 20,000 to 40,000 voters in two states controlled by Democrats going to the polls angry with an election less than 90 days away was a reality.

And so Governor Patrick and Gov Hassan of New Hampshire decided to get involved.

In the end, a year ago this month Arthur S sold out to his cousin Arthur T.  Within a few days the stores were re-stocked  and Arthur T was back in the stores greeting customers who waited in lines to shake his hand.

And it’s thriving:

The company is on track to record total revenues of about $4.8 billion in 2015, top executives say, the most in its nearly 100-year history. It is also in expansion mode, opening five new stores in the last year, some with upscale accents such as massive gourmet cheese islands, expanded organic food offerings, and outdoor cafe seating. Two new stores are under construction in Plymouth, Mass., and Rochester, N.H.

Now imagine for a second if the GOP had taken my advice, There are twelve GOP candidates polling at under 10% in NH.  What if Lindsey Graham had given kudos to the Market Basket Workers on the senate floor.  Picture if Rick Perry saying Arthur T would be a hit in Texas.  Imagine Carly Fiorina noting him as an example of a CEO who gets it.  Think of Scott Walker using Market Basket to compare Union vs Non-Union shops.  Ponder Rand Paul praising the Market Basket low-no debt model.

What if in 2014 Chris Christie came to NH and used Arthur T as an example of hands on management or Ben Carson showed up describing it as the difference between doing and saying or Ted Cruz giving a speech talking about Market Basket as a non-government success story.

And I didn’t even mention Rick Santorum.  Could you see Rick Santorum at a Market Basket rally in 2014 saying they are the model of how to create success in America.  It was a story absolutely tailor-made for his campaign.

What would any of these guys give to have the chance to go back a year and knowing what they know now, give that speech?  Where might they be in the polls today?  A non-union, pro capitalist, anti debt, tea party like labor action and we just let it go.  There is nothing more frustrating than seeing an opportunity like that a wasted.

Sigh if only.

Postscript, I was searching on the net and I did find one presidential candidate that noted the end of the Market Basket strike on his web site an tweeted about it at the time.

By an odd coincidence he happens to be leading in NH by 7 pts in the latest Boston Herald poll.

The Biggest winner from this blizzard is Charlie Baker

One of the things that happen if you are a GOP member in Massachusetts is you come equipped with a pair of horns by the media.  It  takes great timing, an extraordinary event,  or a bad Democrat candidate for them to disappear.

Baker won election thanks to good timing and a bad Democrat and this blizzard, right at the start of his term, constitutes both good timing and an extraordinary event for him.

This blizzard plays to all of his strengths, a problem to be solved, a steady hand in a crisis and a fellow who is normal.

That’s Charlie Baker all over.

Even more importantly people who would normally never see these qualities in action couldn’t help but see them as his press conferences where regular and necessary TV.

This images and the narrative of his strengths are now firmly in the mind of the voters, even the low info ones and it will take an awful lot to get it out.

The question is, once we’re all dug out will those in the political game realize it and act accordingly?

One might consider the title of this post a tad provocative, after all the events in Ferguson Missouri involve a shooting death followed by rioting, while in Westminster MA all that being debated is banning cigarette sales in the city.

However there is one aspect of these two events that is identical, the objection to how a representative government is acting, and that objection requires the same solution for those upset.

In Ferguson the community that has been the loudest in opposing the local police & mayor etc have been rather apathetic at the ballot box and have been so for years.  These aren’t the days of Jim Crow, if they don’t like their local representation in the city they could be voting them out or at least making sure there is a political cost for making what they consider bad decisions.

They have not.

While the circumstances aren’t as dire in Westminster and the odds of riots and blood taking place in the city are lower than the chances of Bill Clinton taking and keeping a vow of chastity it’s very much the same situation.

Where were all of these people who were so angry now when the members of local government who are pushing this ban were being elected and appointed?  Were they attending town meetings?  Were they pushing other candidates?  Were they filing petitions?  Were they running candidates or standing as candidates themselves?

They were not.

So while I have sympathy for the store owner at the center of this fuss, if you are  a person in Westminster who possess this move by the town remember it was made possible by your apathy.

There is however one huge difference between Ferguson & Westminster.

No matter what your position is on the Officer’s actions or young Mr. Brown’s nothing that comes out of Ferguson will bring Michael Brown back from the dead.

While in Westminster if the people don’t like the decision to force smokers to go to a neighboring town or city to buy their tobacco products (made possible by those amazing new inventions called the Automobile and the Bicycle they can vote out the people in charge in the town and vote in new people to replace them, presumably the store owners in Westminster will still be there by that time.

If you live in a free society and you don’t take advantage of those freedom and allow people who wish to restrict your freedom, it’s on you.

As a Massachusetts conservative watching the national media go wild about the election of a Republican Governor completely ignoring the lack of coattails (hell the lack of coat) is a source of frustration.

Charlie Baker is a nice guy and he means well but his election is not likely to have more than a cosmetic effect

The best way to explain the problem is to think of Baseball and the difference between buying a championship and building a dynasty.

In Massachusetts there are two conflicting views of the party, the establishment that is interested in the top of the ticket. It produces for those at the top patronage and excellent resume fodder in the hopes of getting a national political position.

Because of that goal they can’t take the time to build a farm team, every year that passes brings up a crop of people in Red States vying for those same jobs with resumes filled with actual positions in government.

They need that governorship today, they can’t wait around for the GOP to start winning seats in the statehouse, in fact a strong GOP controlled house and or senate will simply mean a crop of rivals with strong resumes in government as well.

Then there is the grass-roots Tea Party activists. They aren’t looking for a job from the government. They are looking to be able to keep their own jobs and business intact and be able to afford to have a decent life to raise their children here without either being hit in the pocketbook or because of their religious & social values.

For them it’s the bottom of the ticket that matters since until there is a change in the state senate and house all a GOP Governor can do is delay the day of reckoning.

So the idea is to start at Single A, city councilors, school committees. Recruit candidates to fill those spots. Then in four or five years those people can run for mayor, country offices, register of probate etc. the Double AA of electoral politics at the state level while a new grew group of people are recruited for the single A offices. After a few years the AA polls will start running in the state house and senate and positions like secretary of state & AG and within a few years viola you have a full slate of viable candidates not only for the Governor’s office but for congressional and senate seats.

Until the Massachusetts GOP decides to embrace the base GOP leaning votes will continue to leave the state and sooner or later there won’t be enough left to allow even a Republican as socially liberal as Charlie Baker won’t have a prayer ever again.

If you are a conservative in Massachusetts there isn’t a lot to cheer about this morning.

Yes Charlie Baker has won the corner office which means that Big Government in Massachusetts will be run by an honest man who is a competent manager, that’s an improvement.

However he had all the coattails of a streaker at a football game which isn’t the way to build a party, of course considering how little we heard of other GOP candidates one might conclude the state party’s concern was winning all the patronage of the appointed positions by the governor without electing any of those icky conservatives to office who might rock the boat.

There were two bright spots in the evening.

Ballot Question 2 which would have expanded the bottle bill went down to a crushing defeat, while ballot Question #1 passed 53-47 removing the onerous Gas tax linked to inflation allowing taxes to go up without a vote (A hearty well done to all involved particularly Marty Lamb there).

It is that result, combined with Democrats sweep at the state house and the left’s victory on Question 4 which mandates businesses provide earned sick leave for employers that really explains the mindset of voter in Massachusetts. It’s about what is in front of their faces & nothing else.

If Question two, the bottle bill expansion passed every person would have to pay that extra nickel (to start) whenever they purchased a non carbonated drink and to get that nickel back they would have to carry that bottle to a redemption center. It would affect people across party and class and racial lines which is why it lost by almost a million votes out of 2.1 million cast. 73-27%

Question one had even more dire consequences, a Gas tax linked to inflation would mean a regular tax increase every year forever. Every person & company who drives a car or truck and pays for gas was would be affected. Because there are a large amount of people who don’t drive and therefore didn’t see the effect on them (in the form of increased prices for good) the margin was smaller but enough of the general population still fills their tank weekly to allow the question to pass by 53-47% the margin being just under 120,000 votes.

But Question 4 Sick Pay law that passed by 18 points (59-41) was another story. Most voters didn’t understand what it means to supermarkets like Market Basket Restaurants like Singapore and even pizzeria’s like Espresso’s in fact all you might see if you are a bagger, a busboy or a pizza driver all you know is you’ve just got an hour of paid sicktime for every 30 hours you work up to a maximum of one paid 40 hour “sick” week a year. That’s likely why it passed by almost 400,000 votes.

Even when the supermarket inch up their prices the Restaurant cuts your hours and the pizza place decides not to hire the votes won’t make the connection that the cost of that effective 2-3% pay raise that you forced them to give is going to have to come from somewhere.

That disconnect from reality is why the same “highly educated” voters who repealed the onerous Gas tax can re-elect almost every single state senator and representative who voted to impose it upon them without batting an eyelash.

The folks at the statehouse will learn from that result and be smarter next time. They’ll make small gradual changes, and reach into your wallet more subtlety, not stealing over their weight or attracting attention.

They know if they do they’ll be all right, the votes who might notice and the business that employ them moved out of Massachusetts a very long time ago.

I’ll give Governor Baker a chance, but if he doesn’t attempt to build the party on the local or state level my advice to young people of talent when it comes to Massachusetts will remain the same.

Get out while there still isn’t an exit tax to do so.

For 35 days stores like Stop & Shop, Hannafords and Shaws reaped the windfall from the Market Basket Work Action.

I wondered during that time if they would take the chance to drop prices to compete in the hopes of keeping these customers even if Arthur T won.

I shopped at Hannafords the afternoon a few hours before the sale was announced, it seemed to me they didn’t bother.

And now a week into the return of Market Basket comes the reckoning:

Until this summer, Casey Kett never thought much about Market Basket. Mostly, he remembers his brother nagging him to pick up inexpensive beer at the store in Portsmouth on his way to their parents’ summer home in Maine.

Then, like thousands of consumers around New England, Kett became intrigued by the unprecedented protest Market Basket employees staged to get Arthur T. Demoulas reinstated as head of the grocery empire.

And so on Friday, just two days after Demoulas struck a deal to buy out his cousin’s share of the company, Kett finally stopped in at the Portsmouth store — becoming one of an untold number of new customers drawn to Market Basket by the recent barrage of news coverage.

If somehow you never heard of Market Basket before you damn well have heard of them now, and more importantly these new shoppers like Casey are catching the workforce at their absolute best, flush from their victory and still happy every single day they are at work no matter what the duty.

So right now 35 days after Arthur S. Demoulas & family figured they finally had finished off Arthur T and his allies not only have they lost the company but it’s has under his cousin reached cult status and rather than dumping him with a debt ridden white elephant have put him in a position to reap greater profits and rewards then they every dreamed of.  And what did they get, well they went from very rich to very very rich, in other words their own lives will hardly change at all.

It must make Arthur S Demoulas sick to his stomach.

 

 

What a difference a day makes

Yesterday I reported that Market Basket was slowing coming back to normal but today I can report that the adjective slowly doesn’t cut it.

On thursday at noon the parking lot was still pretty empty

When I pulled into the parking lot at just after 4 PM it was crowded, in fact there was nothing to suggest that anything had been going on except for a man picking a perfect time to voice a grievance against the company walked on the sidewalk holding a sign urging a new boycott.

He was not being heeded as entering the store I found it crowded with 9 registers open

On thursday we saw the start of deliveries returning

27 hours later the signs of the work showed. The fresh fish section was full including crab legs, scallops and whole fish. The meat section was populated and full. The cereal aisle had spaces but there was volume on every shelf, the juice section that had been nearly empty was more than half full.

The biggest difference was the produce section, almost empty the day before fresh peppers, corn and lettuce was there. About half that section was empty.

The bread section still had plenty of gaps but it seemed it was flying off the shelves as fast as the associates could put it there.

But the real sign that all was normal was the prepared foods. The ovens were in action, cakes and breads were apparent and the very first shipment of chickens were a mere 30 minutes from going from rrotisseries to sales floor.

If Market basket has reached this state less than 40 hours after the announced deal I would not be surprised if they aren’t completely back to normal by the middle of next week.

After a late night and an early Mass I headed down to the closest Market Basket to see what people were saying and to pick up some of the groceries that I’ve done without for the past month.

I hit the parking lot at 8:10 AM and noticed several signs on the wall thanking the customers and welcoming them back. These were professional printed which implies that they had these ready for at least a day for this moment suggesting part of the delay in finalizing the deal might have been to get things ready for their opening.

The Milk Egg and cheese aisle was pretty well stocked but people were making it a point to check the dates on the eggs and perishable items. While fresh meat, veggies and the cheapest cereals were gone there was enough stock to cover most needs. You could actually tell the shopping patterns of the people who ignored the boycott by what was left on the shelves and what was not.

I talked to several customers who came just to see what was there, a woman expressed disappointment that there were no PopTarts but that of course is to be expected as the supply chain has not been re-established

Employees I spoke to were absolutely thrilled, some looked exhausted having been up all night others had got the news early this morning. A few said their personally couldn’t have held out much longer and were full of relief but all were rushing to stock the shelves with whatever they had ready to put out.

They had incredibly high praise for the customers who stood by them. One young lady told me about a homeless man who lived out of a shopping cart who would come in regularly (Since you can buy a whole cooked chicken for just $4 it’s not unusual for the homeless to stop in when they have a few dollars). He hadn’t been in the store the entire time of the strike.

One day when she was shopping at the Hannafords for her basics she happened to look up and saw him walking by in Leominster she noticed him there.

She was surprised after all “strike” or no Market Basket was open and while they didn’t have many fresh meats they did have preserved meats that a homeless man could have picked up and eaten, yet he walked all the way to the next town to respect the action of the Market basket workers. She’ll not forget that.

Around 8:30 Arthur T. was getting ready to speak and some of the meat & deli folk gathered around some smart phones to see what he had to say, by then I had just about finished my shopping and headed for the registers.

Even with the smaller selection I found myself spending over $70 (I was short on Olive Oil) but I still paid .61 cents less for a loaf of bread and .29 cents less for the nacho chips I buy, and a full .50 less a package for an inexpensive brand of flavored water that was not available at Hannafords and I could go on and on.

I got to the checkout at about 8:35 by that time a 2nd register had been opened up and there was a small wait. I talked to the women running the checkout they had just been called in because traffic had already increased. I would not be surprised if the number of registered doubled by the time this piece went up.

Finally as I left the store around 8:40 I noticed that there were more cars in the lot at that moment early in the morning than I had seen any day during the last 30 days.

Things are not quite back to normal, but they’re getting there and in two weeks when the shelves and stocked and the people are there shopping like nothing had ever happened I’ll remember the times I walked though those empty store and thought of the people who were willing to risk everything for what they believed in.

We won’t see the like again.

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Olimometer 2.52

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Consider the lineup you get In addition to my own work seven days a week you get John Ruberry (Marathon Pundit)  on Sunday Pat Austin (And so it goes in Shreveport)  on Monday  Tim Imholt on Tuesday,  AP Dillon (Lady Liberty1885) Thursdays, Pastor George Kelly Fridays,   Steve Eggleston on Saturdays with  Baldilocks (Tue & Sat)  and   Fausta  (Wed & Fri) of (Fausta Blog) twice a week.

If that’s not worth $20 a month I’d like to know what is?

Heard about the Market Basket Deal just a few minutes ago (11:20 PM) and here is what comes to mind.

 

Tomorrow I have shopping to do.

The financing of the deal is going to have to be paid for somehow.  It will likely have to come out of a combination of profits & prices so I wouldn’t be surprised to see some slightly higher prices short term.

The biggest danger that has to be resisted by the victorious employees is retaliation against those in their number who didn’t want to strike (with 25K workers that’s gotta be in the hundreds easy).

I suspect there will be a huge promotion at Market Basket sometime in the near future to celebrate, I imagine the grand re-opening event will be rather epic.

The Arthur S family while angry is sitting pretty, they just got a ton of money and I suspect are not liable for any of the losses over the last month as part of the deal.

I think that economics students will be writing about and doing papers on this for decades and centuries to come.

The workers who stuck their necks out will have a bond that will exist long after they leave Market Basket.

I’m wondering how long it will take the side business’ dependent on Market Basket to recover from the closing?

I hope the managers are planning to schedule any of the removed workers today because I suspect many of them started celebrating at 11 PM or so and are likely still sleeping it off as this post goes up at 7 AM EST.

It will be interesting to see how many if any, Market Basket customers don’t come back, will the number of new customers coming in to find out what was so good about the store that it was worth risking your job over make up for it?

After this week there will likely never be another “Market Basket Wars” post unless Arthur T. children don’t learn the lesson from this fight

Finally I must confess that while I’m very happy for the Market Basket Employees I’m particularly happy for me because this will make a big difference to my personal bottom line and with money VERY tight right now that’s important.

 

 

I can’t say I’m surprised by this development:


NEW BEDFORD – Part timers at the New Bedford Market Basket left work en masse today, taking with them their last paycheck and a slip of paper with a number for the state unemployment office.

“It’s like a funeral in here,” said store director Bill Clark, who said that he had to lay off his part time workers, who represent about 90 percent of the store’s employees. “It’s going to be very difficult to come back from this. I see Market Basket non-existent in the very near future, unless Arthur T. Demoulas makes some sort of statement.”

However Market Basket insists they are not in fact laying off workers:

“I have issued an immediate communication for all Store Directors. All Store Directors are to let their associates know that they are not laid off,” Thornton said in a statement emailed by the company Thursday afternoon. “All Store Directors as part of their normal responsibilities are able to and often do reduce hours but they need to make clear when doing so that the individuals are still employees of DSM.

I suspect to the employees no longer getting checks that is a distinction without a difference.

Now in terms of a business decision this is a sound move. There is no money coming in therefore there is no point in scheduling hours and even better if your goal is to dump the company, the more part timers loyal to Arthur T who are no longer with the company the easier it will be to dump the place and not worry about a worker revolt.

In terms of PR of course the idea that you are dumping 20,000 workers is basically a disaster and in an election year is not something that will be pols looking to be elected and re-elected are in a position to ignore..

However I think this has reached the point where management has decided no amount of bad PR is going to stop them, I think the store is going to be sold out from under the employees and an entire new team brought it.

The only problem being of course while you can wait or starve the employees out the customers have other alternatives and it will take a lot of time effort and money to try to win them back.

However this is New England land of the low info voters, given that the voters have been wiling to elect and re-elect people who ignore and abuse them I see absolutely no reason why a buyer wouldn’t assume the customers who vote that way wouldn’t shop that way too.

Final thought, be prepared now that tens of thousands of voters are about to lose their jobs for pols to get involved who did not, but perhaps if they had gotten involved before this point maybe those tens of thousands wouldn’t have lost their jobs.

Of course if the GOP took my advice on the matter back in July thousands of young people who would likely never think of voting Republican might right now be remembering which party was on their side before their jobs were lost.

As I said at the time it was a golden opportunity for the Massachusetts GOP and the smart thing to do…

…which explains why they failed to do it.

Friday I attended the Protest at the Market Basket in Tewksbury that you might have heard of on the NBC nightly news yesterday.

I got to the event at 10 but even during the post rush hour time of the event the The Traffic on 495 was impossible and when I arrived at the event I had to park a 1/2 mile away (off of the map shown on the Save Market Basket Facebook page.

I pretty much started interviewing people as I moved forward.

There were people leaving early because of commitments and new people coming and I kept interviewing them.

I eventually got to the crowd and boy it was BIG

I extended the monopod and to a pan of the crowd:

I saw a Tea Party fellow with a flag and interviewed him.

Followed by a warehouse worker, they have taken the biggest hit from this work action.

There were many speakers:

They stood next to a stuffed Giraffe symbolizing “sticking your neck out” and the podium is the back of a large pickup truck

Which has been their makeshift platform.

The Petition that last speaker mentioned were in a tent next to the truck

There was a wide variety of speakers, here is a sample

I worked my way to the back of the crowd. There is a series of tent at the back where people were set up with water for people. While in that tent I spoke to a fellow from Jeff Kuhner show.

At the end of this interview there was suddenly a surge of people to a truck near K-Mart

It was Pizza from Dominos that had been purchased anonymously

When I got back to the tent it was pointed out that other local business had also supported the protesters

But back to the protest proper, the workers sticking out their necks vary between short term workers like Chris

To long term workers like Ken

Though this is a labor issue the workers have rejected unionizing although some Unions have shown support

(It’s not often you get unions and tea party guys on the same side.)

What has been very conspicuous has been the lack of support from the biggest democrats in the state, the congressional delegation including the senators like Elizabeth Warren have been silent as has Gov Patrick but I found one Democrat primary candidate at the rally.

Mr Devine’s presence highlights the people who have stayed away. There was however a lot of pride in those who backed them including state senators & reps (like my own Steve DiNatale D-Fitchburg) who have been public in this support but as I walked behind the podium again I got the feeling these people & their families would remember who was with them and who was against them.

Near noon they started packing up

And cleaning up

I gave a brief summary of what I saw

and as I was leaving I interviewed one last person who worked at the store where the protest took place.

At this point my wife and I went across the street to the Ray Kroc Memorial Journalistic Filing center McDonalds were I plugged in and put up a quick post. At the location we talked to several of the protesters and customers who with a single exception expressed sympathy with the work action. A few McDonalds workers also mentioned seeing Arthur T on occasion and vouched for the good nature of Mr. Arthur T.

One Hanniford employee who came back seemed to suggest that some of the Market Basket customers who have flocked to the store during the work action have expressed annoyance with the action but the think I found most amazing was being told by protesters was how many people where totally unaware of what is going on even though it’s been all over the news and the protesters where very visible.

That frankly is, in my opinion, Arthur S’ biggest advantage.

In closing I can’t see Mr. S. accepting any offer from Mr. T. If this was about money & success his cousin would still be doing day to day operations. From Arthur S. perspective his side of the family feels cheated, they eventually won in court only to see on of his side of the family switch, then he finally gets the company and there is a workers revolt causing him to retain his Cousin in charge. Then when he finally seemingly gets rid of him, the entire workforce revolts.

I think he’d burn the company to the ground before selling out, if the workers are going to win it’s going to have to mean one of the other shareholders will have to decide it just isn’t worth it.

Let’s hope for the best

The Market Basket Board has given it’s answer to today’s protests, their plan?   stall

Consistent with its fiduciary obligations, the Board will evaluate and seriously consider this proposal, along with any other offers previously received and to be received. Following its evaluation of all of the offers, it will convey its recommendations to the Company’s shareholders.

attack 

The negative behavior of certain current and former associates is at variance with the Company’s culture of putting the needs of the Market Basket customers first. It is now clear that it is in the interests of all members of the Market Basket community for normal business operations to resume immediately.

and stand pat

Furthermore, the Board reaffirmed its election of Co-CEOs Felicia Thornton and James Gooch to manage the Company in accordance with the Company’s bylaws.”

If the goal is to “win” then this makes sense, they feign interest in the offer to appear to be reasonably, insist that the workers are not ” putting the needs of the Market Basket customers first” which is the exact opposite of the truth, and then back up their replacement crew.  The plan seems to be: appear “reasonable” while ducking any actual action and hope the employees will make a move allowing the Board to win the PR war.

Apparently they figure they can wait the employees out as they don’t have the wealth and the dough to  last.   Alternatively knowing that Arthur T has the same affection for the employees as they have for them, they might figure they can cause him to perhaps up his offer.

My gut says the board will eventually reject Arthur T’s offer,  and when things die down come down hard on the workforce that they now consider the enemy.  Revenge is going to trump capitalism & profit.

I hope I’m wrong because unless I am Market Basket will never fully recover.

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Olimometer 2.52

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If that’s not worth $20 a month I’d like to know what is?

 

Today the latest chapter a unique labor dispute  played out in the parking lot Market Basket store 8 in Tewksbury where 3000+ workers, managers customers and well wishers turned out to express their support for ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas in his bid regain control of the company that he has run for years.

Workers with 40 years and workers with 4 months tenure stood united urging the board of directors meeting at the location to reinstate the CEO who was ousted by his cousin in the latest step of what has been a nasty family battle that has gone on for decades.

Employee after employee talked of the kindness of Arthur T Demoulas,  and how he cared for them and the business he helped build both in person and from a makeshift stage on the back of a large pickup truck.  (Even at this McDonalds where I’m posting this of the women here talked about hi as a regular customer who always treated the people waiting on him well.)   Employees current and former had stories to tell.

I’ll have video and photos later in the day but there is one point I want to make before I start driving home to upload my photos & video.

There is a background story that people here are missing.  The employees here cross racial, ethnic and political lines.  They are a family and have taken note of those who have spoken in support of them and those who have been silent,    (As I was tying this a spanish worker from a Boston store thanked me in broken English  for being at the rally, it’s easy to be picked out when you wear a 12 ft scarf on an 80 degree day).

That dynamic has not gotten a lot of attention now but don’t be surprised if it  has ramifications far beyond New England over the next few years:

Update:  The Board plan?  Stall & stave em out

 

On Wednesday I stopped by Market Basket on Water Street in Fitchburg. There was a large group of off duty associates lining the area asking customers to avoid the store for the week.

By the look of the Parking Lot that request was being honored. There were very few cars and the store itself was almost empty of customers.

The associates on duty were still doing their jobs and taking advantage of the absence of traffic were taking time to clean many areas that traffic or stock would not normally allow.

When I went in a pair of managers talked to me on camera along with an associate.

After the interview I went down the aisles and saw this.

The background voice you hear is my youngest son whose shift had just ended before I showed up.

I was really surprised at the amount of milk in stock. I presume that it was kept in stock as a necessary staple or that it’s delivered by someone else such items delivered & stocked by them remain in supply.

As promised in the video the next stop was the John Fitch Highway location and the aisle situation and the off duty protester situation was pretty much the same. Dairy & soda strong, associates taking advantage of the situation to clean other items running out.

I talked to a manager who was sending an alert to other stores about a shoplifter. Bottom line if you are a thief and think these guys are going to let you go wild because of that dispute, think again, these people are still doing their jobs.

One interesting sign of the boycott for this week have been customers putting receipts from other stores they shopped in to the window in a show of solidarity.

Given that all these customers are paying more on those slips then they would have in the near empty Market Basket that is support indeed.

The biggest showdown will come on Friday. If the board continues on the course it has selected thus far then the various competitors might have sufficient time to take advantage and perhaps price not withstanding, win the loyalty of some of these loyal Market Basket employees, additionally while the bottom line can likely handle a single week of this, it likely can’t handle much more.

Don Fanucci: This is my neighborhood. You and your friends should show me some respect. You should let me wet my beak a little.

Godfather II 1974

I spotted this update at the Save Market Basket Fasebook page:

1. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Governor Deval Patrick have both declined to take a stand in our fight against corporate greed despite the fact that dozens of lawmakers and mayors in MA and NH have signed our boycott and our standing with us, the middle class and lower class that they claim to fight so hard for.

Say What?

These two politicians claim to be on the side of the worker and against corporate greed yet refuse to put their money where their mouth is, lets flood them with calls and emails.

How can this be? We have been hearing for years about how Deval Patrick is all about the little guy, in addition Elizabeth Warren’s entire meme is about populism the whole “you didn’t build that” business. What on earth could cause the Democrat Governor and a Potential Democrat Presidential nominee to hang back?

Doesn’t it seem odd that these liberal lions are silent? It seems even more odd that Blue Mass Group appears to be on the side of current management.

Question 1: Since the new Market Basket management has not announced or indicated plans to change the current method of operation isn’t it wiser and in the better interest of the employees and their families to wait until something more concrete other than a change of the guard?Question 2: How much money has Arthur T. DeMoulas spent on his effort to re-gain his job?

Question 3: How many p.r. people, media specialists, and political organizers are working on his behalf?

It’s THAT 3rd question that is the real clue to both Patrick’s & ‘Warren’s silence & Blue Mass Groups seeming indifference to these workers.

You see the Demoulas workers have done this in a generic way. Any person talking directly to the workers and the managers in the stores could tell you this. Any person who has covered these rallies would note that rather than being filled with paid protesters, or people who can’t read their own signs, being managed by handlers they are filled with actual Market Basket Employees doing all of his on a shoestring via social media and networking.

Twitter and Instagram have been flooded with messages and images, some in support of efforts and some simply documenting the effects of employee action. The #MarketBasket, #MarketBasketStrong, and #SaveMarketBasket hashtags (among others) have gained traction from both workers and customers alike.

That’s the problem, the workers have rejected the unions very publicly, they’re not paying community activists to organize, they dare to think they can do this themselves without the aid of the professional protest crowd that the left fund nationally & keep employed for shock troops when they need a rent a crowd.

In other words this is actual grass roots. no Unions, no activists, no Pols like Patrick & Warren are getting their beaks wet and for the left  that simply won’t do.

In fact it might be a danger, if other people see these workers get a successful result without unions, without paid activists without the Democrat machine it could bring down their whole facade.

To top it off these people are protesting for common sense, for smart business decisions, for not building up debt, in short for capitalism

and we can’t have that can we?

So expect Blue Mass Group to keep attacking Arthur T & expect Patrick & Warren will stay silent until whatever happens is a fait accompli .

Oh and as for PR Firms & dirty tricks:

6. The Board and the new co-CEOs have engaged a new PR firm Oneill & Assoc out of Boston. Apparently KEKST was finally fired for doing such a stellar job, more money wasted. Anyway this PR firm has decided that the best way to boost their image is to drag up information that is decades old and try to rehash it. They have also planted trolls on our site to make negative comments etc…so if you think there is a troll jump on them then PM us so we can take care of it. They have found a PR firm with as much character as the BOD has.

Hmmm I wonder if we’ll see paid counter protesters anytime soon?

If you want to understand how unique the Market Basket protest is listen to this WBUR interview with one of the protesters who has been fired after 41 years at the store

You might note the entire argument of the fired worker concerning the good of the business & the old CEO who made it a success. business.

Then there is this quote from the story emphasis mine:

Some Massachusetts lawmakers have called for a boycott of the company, led by state Sen. Barry Finegold, D-Andover, whose district includes the company’s headquarters in Tewksbury. As of Monday, 37 state lawmakers and mayors had agreed to encourage constituents to stop shopping at Market Basket until Arthur T. Demoulas is reinstated, said Finegold, who attended Monday’s rally.

“I’ve never seen a rally where workers are not asking for more wages or benefits. All they are asking for is the reinstatement of the person that’s been running this company,” Finegold said. “It’s about keeping the culture of this company they’ve built that’s benefited so many all these years. So many people are paycheck to paycheck. If you can save 10 percent of your food bill, it’s a big deal.”

That’s likely why only 37 lawmakers have come out for the workers in a state where democrats have over 175 members in the house and senate. Why are the rest holding back? Here is a clue.

Fired Market Basket employees yesterday rebuffed offers of legal advice from the Teamsters, saying the solidarity of the Tewksbury grocery chain’s workers — from top executives to store baggers — is stronger than any union.

“It’s not our way of doing things,” said former facilities and operations supervisor Steve Paulenka, among eight senior workers canned this past weekend for their allegedly disruptive roles in organizing an employee push for former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas’ rehiring. “We really take care of ourselves. We don’t need a union.”

I’ve heard this sentiment from every Market Basket person I’ve talked to from managers to baggers they don’t want a union and it was made plain during the protest


When word got out at a Friday rally at Market Basket headquarters that representatives of an unidentified union were passing out cards to protesting employees, it was Trainor who responded: “Really, do you think we need a union?” The crowd responded with a resounding “no.”

“There is no union in this country that’s stronger than this crowd right here,” Trainor said. “So take your cards and go home.”

So basically you have a workforce not complaining about wages, not complaining about working conditions, not calling for a union but instead protesting against business decisions that they believe will hurt long term profitability.

There is one way to describe a protest like that: Pro Capitalist.

That’s why it will never get the approval of the National MSM. If that kind of idea spreads, watch out.

By Roxeanne DeLuca:

In McCullen v. Coakley, the Supreme Court ruled that a 2007 Massachusetts statute that restricts speech outside of abortion clinics is unconstitutional.  (Opinion here.) In fact, it so ruled, unanimously. The only difference of opinion was whether the statute was content-neutral and subject to intermediate scrutiny, or if it was a content-based restriction on speech and subject to strict scrutiny.  Regardless of the standard of review, the statute was found to not be narrowly tailored, i.e. it did not use the least restrictive means necessary to accomplish the state’s goal of enabling pregnant women to access abortion clinics.

Undeterred by a nine-nothing smackdown, the progressives on Beacon Hill have filed a new buffer zone bill that they claim will meet constitutional muster. (State House News Service.) According to the bill’s proponents,

“The Supreme Court gave us a road map of what this bill should say and we are following that road map with very narrowly tailored new tools for the police and the attorney general,” said Marty Walz, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts.

Megan Amundson, executive director of the NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, said in a statement, “It provides additional tools to ensure that all women can access health care free from harassment and intimidation.”

“This legislation carefully balances public safety and access with free speech rights. We urge the Legislature to quickly take up this bill and ensure that it passes before the end of the legislative session to protect safe access to clinics,” Amundson said.

With respect to Ms. Walz and Ms. Amundson, they could not be more wrong.  Let’s compare what the Supreme Court said and what the bill (SD2106) actually does.

Continue reading “Meet the New Buffer Zone, Same as the Old Buffer Zone”

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Here in my little burg of Shreveport, a robust debate is underway about Michael Vick; I bring this up because I’m interested in how this debate plays in other parts of the country.

You see, Michael Vick, as you may recall, is now probably more famous for his dogfighting conviction as for any skills he may have on the football field.

In 2007, Michael Vick was convicted in Richmond, Virginia for his involvement in a dogfighting ring.  His 23 month sentence was more than that of his co-defendants because the judge found him to be less than truthful about his involvement in the ring. The judge said:

“You were instrumental in facilitating, putting together, organizing and funding this cruel and inhuman sporting activity.  While you have acknowledged guilt and apologized, I’m convinced it was not a momentary lapse of judgment on your part.  You were a full partner.”

In fact, Vick pleaded guilty to “bankrolling a dogfighting operation…and to helping kill six to eight dogs.”

And now, in Shreveport, one of our most venerable and respecting arts institutions, the Strand Theater, has rented their space to the Michael Vick Comedy Explosion Tour, and Shreveport has drawn lines in the sand.

There are those who are aghast and horrified that any venue would rent to Michael Vick at all, much less one of the most respected and beloved cultural icons of the city.  The animal rights community is planning a protest of the event and some have even gone so far as to vow to never support any further endeavors of The Strand at all.

“One must be a true Sociopath to be able to watch animals suffering in horrendous ways at your own hands and not feel guilty. Remember that every serial killer started by torturing, mutilating and killing animals. Vick is no different than Jeffery Dahmer, Albert “The Boston Strangler” DeSalvo, The Columbine Killers, and Denis Rader (The BTK Killer).  Vick may not be a “human” serial killer but he is a serial killer none-the-less. No amount of jail time can rehabilitate an already corrupt, empty soul. He has shown no remorse, when doing interviews and when the dogs are mentioned you can blatantly see his eyes turn cold and dark, and his “involvement” with the Humane Society was the best “PR” move ever by his publicists.

So with that being said, I will speak loudly and proudly against him, stand up for what’s right, never forget the innocent lives lost, and never again support a company that has endorsed him, given him money or given him publicity. I have not supported Nike or Subway in over 5 years because of their support of him; and, unfortunately, I will never again support The Strand…”

Others have taken the position to simply boycott the event but to give The Strand a pass on the Vick association and will still support other Strand events.

And still others have taken the position that Vick has “paid his dues” and deserves a second chance.

So does he?

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

On this Marathon Monday I can’t do better than Michael Graham here

If you aren’t familiar with the Pelletier case, look here and here.

And you should read this too.

If I was in another state you couldn’t pay me to take my child to children’s hospital or any Massachusetts hospital for treatment

Exit Question: Can someone explain to me why Charlie Baker isn’t running hard on this?

Update: Maybe the Pelletiers can get Harry Reid to call them “Domestic Terrorists” then they would get the same visitation rights as Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

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Olimometer 2.52

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by Linda Szugyi

Following state and local politics is a pretty tough thing to do when you move every couple of years.  Since we don’t have cable and I rarely turn on the local channels, Florida’s 13th District special election slipped right by.  All I managed to do was make sure it wasn’t my district.  It was an important election, though.  At least until David Jolly won.  With a GOP victory, maybe it wasn’t so important after all.

Regardless of its value as a harbinger, the special election did spark enough interest in me to look up the prospects for my own district, Florida’s 14th.  The spark was quickly doused by the lack of information about those running against Democrat incumbent Kathy Castor.

Both Politics1 and US Elections list two Republican candidates, John Mark Grey and John Coney.  While most folks listed as candidates for office in the state of Florida in 2014 already have a website linked, neither of these gentlemen do.  I know, it’s still early in the year.  The primaries aren’t held until August.  Still, it’s frustrating when even the oddballs have websites up and running.

The news about my district is even more disheartening:  No Obstacles To Kathy Castor’s Progress.  And look at this map of House races, where Castor floats safely in her little blue boat amid a red sea.  She won reelection in 2012 with 70% of the vote.  The closest race she ran was in 2010, when she got 60% of the vote.

Is my district as hopeless as it seems?  Since Kathy Castor continues to wear her support of Obamacare as a badge of honor, she should be vulnerable.  For heaven’s sake, she continues to display on her congressional website Politifact’s 2013 Lie of the Year:  If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.  (Hat tip.)

Kathy Castor

Are either of the listed Republicans serious candidates?  Will more candidates surface?

By the way, another special election will be held on June 24th, in Florida’s 19th District.  Will it get as much attention as the 13th District did?

We’ll see.  Stay tuned.

I’m one of Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent Seven guest writers.  If you like our writing, please consider subscribing to Da Tech Guy’s Blog so that he may continue to host The Magnificent Seven.  Thanks.

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Olimometer 2.52

It’s Monday and with 8 days left to the month I am still over $850 shy of the Mortgage that’s due in a week.

That’s why you don’t see the weekly goal this morning, because if I make that goal I’ll still be nearly $700 shy to pay the bills this month.

We had a good start yesterday but I still need a minimum of four $25 tip jar hitters every day for the next nine days simply to come up a mere $100 short.

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With 61 more $20 a month subscribers this site will be able to cover its bills for a full year.

I would ask that you do subscribe by hitting the button below. If your finances allow it, consider choosing Hat level or better. A subscription comes not only with exclusive commentary, but on a weekly basis you will have the opportunity to get direct access to me by phone to provide feedback or suggestions to make sure this site is worthy of your financial support and patronage.


 

(DTG:  We welcome UnCommonCents the first of our “villagers” with this post Villagers will write on local topics to the cities & towns in the  area where I live.)

By UnCommonCents

I’m a resident of Fitchburg Massachusetts and like many I make an effort to avoid the downtown area as much as possible. Being a husband, a father, a homeowner and a law-abiding tax paying citizen, my time is spent juggling all these blessings and needless to say time is of the essence.

Last Sunday was different , I had some business at the fire departments headquarters downtown and afterwards I had the rare opportunity to drive and “smell the roses” so to speak. I made my way down main street and noticed all the vacant storefronts. Nearly half of all businesses are gone! There are massive abandoned buildings with plywood where windows once stood. I thought to myself this used to be a thriving city and now it resembles Detroit! As I continued I came to another building that’s been decorated with banners and flags and I realized it was the CONDEMNED CITY HALL.

The banners and flags placed there are to mark the 250 anniversary of the City of Fitchburg. The heart of every city/town is displayed on “main street”. Consider it a trophy of achievement or in this case the lack there of!  Fitchburg, a city that was once thriving with a busy main street, a place that was once SAFE to walk with your family  and loved ones is now nearly abandoned and condemned!

This begs the question HOW? Just look into the mirror and you’ll see why and how. It has nothing to do with partisan politics aka democrat or republican, it has everything to do with the individuals WE elect into public office and if they have OUR best interest. The majority seek office for their OWN interest whether it be to further their party’s agenda or use it as a stepping stone for a higher position. If you want to see how well our elected officials are representing their constituents (we the TAXPAYERS) just drive down Main street. Politicians can manipulate numbers, the media can deceive but neither one can alter REALITY!

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Olimometer 2.52

It’s a new week with a slight change to our goal.

With the first of our Villagers writing today this brings the number of paid writers here to 9 thus our new weekly goal to pay the mortgage and the writers is $350.

As we were short by $185 last week a five dollar higher goal might seem counter intuitive but given the record of the last three months and the last year I have faith that the readers will not only help us make the higher goal for this week 15 readers at $25 will do it

But will help make up last week’s shortfall to keep the monthly target in play

Olimometer 2.52

Your tip jar hit can help me do this. Please consider kicking in.

DaGuy low rez copy-psdOnly 55 3/4 more subscribers @ at $20 a month are necessary to secure the cost of DaMagnificent Seven & my monthly mortgage on a permanent basis. (one extra one will pay for our newest writer author Tim Imholt)

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Low res tha lotPlease specify which of the eight hi res (including myself you wish to receive)   Subscribe at $50 a month and receive all eight.  Subscribe at $100 a month and get all 8 wanted posters high res graphics plug the  high res version of all of us exclusively created for subscribers of DaTechGuy blog  by Chris Muir himself!

Tuesday the Massachusetts Gaming Commission met in Leominster Massachusetts for the final hearings on the location of a proposed slots parlor or the state.

I got there about an hour early and recorded a summary of the issues.

Two men with a batch of “No Slots in Leominster” signs showed up early.

The meeting was meant for people to from surrounding towns to comment on their agreements. Don Lowe Bolton’s Town administrator was one of them:

I also spoke to one of the Commissioners on the subject.

There were plenty of other people with opinions one way or the other Yvonne from Leominster was in favor

Chris from Leominster opposed

and Old Friend David Roth of Fitchburg was in favor:

I did one more shot before things got started.

When they did about 100 people were there many of them who arrived at the last minute.

Continue reading “Massachusetts Gaming Commission in Leominster Slots or No?”

You might recall some video from last Friday concerning armed men on Fulton Street Fitchburg and my initial report that day from the scene as things developed:

This week the Fitchburg Police department released the following Press release now available on Facebook


On Friday January 24, 2014 at approximately 10:40 p.m. members of the City of Fitchburg Police Department and a Massachusetts State Police K-9 Unit acted on information received and initiated a search of two separate apartments located at 21-23 Fulton Street Fitchburg, Massachusetts.

Here they searched for evidence involved in an alleged weapons incident that occurred at approximately 12:00 p.m. on that day.

That is consistent with my direct observations during the day, apparently they found something, the release continues


As a result of the execution of search warrants by police, three handguns, another type of firearm, and a bullet resistant vest were located and seized inside the apartments by the Fitchburg Police Department.

“another type of firearm?” that’s a pretty broad statement. I find the discovery of the vest significant as I presume it isn’t for safety when leaving a party with a metal detector per Chris Rock. The release continues announcing arrests connected with these searches.


As a result of this investigation, Friday January 24, 2014, Keno Berrick (09/29/1993) of 21 Fulton Street 1st floor was arrested at the Fitchburg Police Department and charged with discharging a firearm with 500 feet of a dwelling and carrying a firearm without a license.

Also arrested was Marquis A. Ford (01/05/1986) of 21 Fulton Street 1st floor at his residence and was subsequently charged with Assault with a dangerous weapon, use of body armor during a felony, and possessing a firearm without a license.

Oddly enough Massachusetts strict gun laws didn’t prevent these two young men being armed, the release continues with a new development.

A third suspect is currently being sought after by the Fitchburg Police Department’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations for their alleged role in the incident.

And concludes with this from the chief of police.


Chief Robert DeMoura said “the quick response by our patrol officers and dedication to this case by our detectives got these dangerous weapons off the street.”

The police certainly did a good job here, but I submit & suggest that the most dangerous weapons they got off the street that day were two legged.

A breaking story with armed principles in a Neighborhood in Fitchburg:

Expect updates

Update: At the request of police I will not be able to provide more updates at this time

Update 2: I can now provide some further updates including two videos shot at the time of the events in question.

In summary here is what we I know based on witnesses In the neighborhood I have interviewed and direct observation.

Between the hours of 9-10 AM three different people in the neighborhood reported the sounds of firecrackers or shots.

2-3 hours later neighbors saw two black men having a loud argument in the middle of the street, a woman ran out toward them screaming “please don’t”. At which time multiple people in the neighborhood called police.

After uploading the first video I returned to scene and shot this.

Multiple witnesses saw a weapon passed from one of the men to the other before they headed back toward 21 Fulton Street.

It is at this point where the first video was shot. When I returned outside I shot this

and then this:

After the third video a large amount of state police joined the Fitchburg police. Fulton street was closed from from Doane street to Caine street and no less that 14 marked & unmarked cars from both State and local police arrived.

Later in the afternoon a vehicle with armor arrived and several people address military style arrived and entered the address.

As of the time of this update 5:15 PM there are still three local police cars & officers on site on site. I can not confirm a motive for the dispute (domestic dispute, criminal activity?) although at least one neighbor stated that the sound of loud arguing from the multi-family building is common.

To my knowledge no official statements have been released to the press at this time.

by AP Dillon

In the last installment, I laid out the back story and one of the main players pulling the multiple strings in North Carolina — NC Justice Center via their non-profit outfit BluePrint NC (BPNC). I left off the last entry introducing Reverend Barber as the face of ‘Moral Monday’ — the most recent series of BPNC campaigns and that is where I pick up this week.

The Reverend Doctor William Barber

Barber is the President of the NC NAACP, which in NC is a 501(c)(4) organization. Barber has a Masters in Divinity from Duke and a doctoral degree from a New Jersey university. He is pastor at Greenleaf Christian Church Disciples of Christ in Goldsboro. Per his bio from the summit held in 2011″A NORTH CAROLINA SUMMIT:  POVERTY AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE IN A TIME OF CRISIS“:

Rev. Dr. William Barber, President, NC NAACP

Rev. Dr. William Barber is president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP. He serves as pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church Disciples of Christ in Goldsboro, a 120-year-old congregation with over 400 members and 30 active ministries. He is chairperson of the Rebuilding Broken Places Community Development Corporation, a non-profit organization involved with building affordable single family homes and senior citizen 
housing and providing job training, affordable child care, and inner city revitalization in Goldsboro.

Barber has held adjunct faculty positions at both Duke University and  North Carolina Central University, and is the author of the book Preaching Through Unexpected Pain. He graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Public Administration from NC Central University, earned his Master of Divinity from the Duke Divinity School, and his doctoral  degree from Drew University in Madison, NJ. He has served as executive director for the NC Human Relations Commission, appointed by Governor James B. Hunt, and is a noted advocate for social justice issues in North Carolina

Be sure to check out all the speakers bios; it’s a who’s who of the organized Left in NC.

To be clear, the NAACP in North Carolina is 100% in the bag for the Democrats. There isn’t even an attempt to put on appearances otherwise.  Over the years, Barber has used his position as a ‘Reverend’ to claim rights to the moral high ground which, of course, is whatever ground the Democrats are standing on. The use of the church, religion and morality used over and over by this man in order to score political points is shameful.

It should not be surprising to learn that Reverend Barber sits on the Board of Directors at the NC Justice Center, which we learned in my last article was the group that started BluePrint NC. It should also be noted that Reverend Barber is a big fan of… Reverend Barber. If there’s a t.v. camera in a 10 mile radius, you’ll find Barber in front of it, especially if it’s MSNBC as Sister Toldjah notes:

As does the beat with the North Carolina NAACP, who started the whole “Moral Monday” anti-GOP policies march tradition in late April, with initially just a few dozen who protested at the NCGA – including our own version of Rev. Al Sharpton: Rev. William Barber, who has become a frequent guest on MSNBC (surprise!).  – Sister Toldjah

Reverend Barber has managed to insert him into every hot button topic coming down the pike in North Carolina and he usually ends up being arrested. To Barber, everything is a civil rights issue, every thing is racist and everything he says has to be delivered in a bellowing sermon-like voice. In a nutshell, Barber is well-known for his theatrics and his race baiting. You’ll see an example of just how far Barber pushes the envelope as we proceed.

The Rhetoric Of The Moral Reverend

Let’s cut to the chase and hear it right from Barber’s own mouth.

Wherein Trayvon Martin is the same as Emmett Till, according to Reverend Barber. This video was shot at the July 15th Moral Monday in Raleigh:

In the video below, Barber has taken his Moral Monday act on the road and is in Elizabeth city.  He has called a ‘press conference’ but has no intention of addressing any questions. In the opening 30 seconds, Barber says that in response to the Voter ID law recently passed that they are bringing in the “best legal minds” but that they aren’t stopping there:

“We’re not gonna just shoot one bullet, we’re gonna shoot ‘em all.”


Read more about this incident here.

Barber hasn’t stopped with attacks just on the NC General Assembly, he’s going after another target. That target is Art Pope — the Left’s equivalent of a local Koch Brother in North Carolina. Reverend Barber’s ‘moral’ answer to those pushing back against Moral Monday is to attack their livelihood, but in doing so, Barber is also attacking those employed by Pope. How is this being accomplished? Barber is using the NC NAACP to advocate boycotting two stores owned by Pope.

The pair had a brief interaction in public recently over this very tactic. For partial video of the exchange between the two, hit ABC 11.  As the ABC 11 report says, ‘this is the first time the two have met’, one should not be surprised. Barber likes to talk at his base, not engage in actual discussion with the opposition.  If Pope hadn’t been in the vicinity, this exchange never would have happened.

You can also read a transcript of the conversation at WUNC, but the net-net is Barber wants the NC General Assembly to spend more money. Barber predictably sides with Democrats who ran up $2 billion in debt to the fed and left NC with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

Not Picketing Alone

Fear not, the NAACP is not going this road alone. The AFL-CIO, responsible for many of the fast food strikes in North Carolina and nationwide, are helping to provide the foot soldiers. Also engaging in this activity is Democracy NC.

The North Carolina NAACP, along with the state AFL-CIO and Democracy North Carolina, have organized pickets in 17 locations across the state in December, starting with events at Maxway and Roses stores owned by Pope in Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte. – Chris Kromm, Facing South

Remember that name, Chris Kromm and Democracy NC. You’ll see them again in this series. In the next installment, we’ll delve a little deeper into the “grassroots” movement called Moral Monday and those affiliated with it.

 

A.P. Dillon (Lady Liberty 1885), is a Conservative minded wife and mother living in the Triangle area of North Carolina. A.P. Dillon founded the blog LadyLiberty1885.com in 2009. After the 2012 election, she added an Instapundit style blog called The ConMom Blog. Mrs. Dillon’s writing can also be found at StopCommonCoreNC.org, WatchdogWireNC and WizBang. Non-political writing projects include science fiction novellas that are, as of yet, unpublished. Her current writing project is a children’s book series.

Two Days ago I watched Hating Breitbart for the first time and was reminded that one of the things Andrew Breitbart constantly taught was in a New Media Era it was a lot harder for the old media to hide truth.

He seemed to me convinced that given the right information the American people could figure out reality vs the left’s fantasies and make the right decision.

Yesterday in Andover MA a great example took place of people figuring it out.

market basket 110

The people gathered to protest work at a Supermarket chain, Market Basket which operates stores in Massachusetts and other New England states. Prime Blue state country that Barack Obama took with very little trouble.

market basket 111

They were carrying signs and camped for hours on end in the heat to show support for Arthur T Demoulas, a multi millionare CEO of a company that had over 5 Billion Dollars of sales last year.

market basket 107

These blue state denizens of were of many different races and colors and were neither rich, nor unionized.

market basket 109

But they were united in their support of Arthur T Demoulas and their opposition to his proposed replacement.

market basket 106

I interviewed many of these people, at least all who were willing to talk to a strange guy in a Brown Fedora and a 12 ft Doctor Who scarf in 90 degree weather.

market basket 112

And during those interviews they talked about how Arthur T had taken care of them while still making millions for the company.

market basket 108

But the key moment for me came in the middle of the last interview I conducted

I was framing a question to highlight that Market Basket’s ability to retain talented workers through good times and not just bad, I prefaced the question talking about the bad economy of the past five years when a fellow off camera said: “What bad economy?”

He and the people I was interviewing pointed out that while others were suffering, Market Basket was growing, the company and the employees were making money and doing well.

The reason for this? No debt. These people have a good pension and profit sharing plan, and they understand that if a new CEO chooses to borrow against the company and pile up debt, the future of first their pensions and then the company itself will be in doubt as eventually all that borrowed money will have to be made up with interest.

market basket 113

Think about this for a second, a bunch of ordinary workers, not rich guys, but college students, lower middle class cashiers, middle class managers are protesting and more spent yesterday in 90 degree heat for hours for a CEO who understands you can’t finance prosperity with massive debt.

And they are making that case on the same day that Detroit filed for bankruptcy.

Detroit was once like Market Basket thriving, expanding. a solid and successful city.

Then during the 60’s just before I was born something happened, Democrats didn’t just win an election in the normal back and forth of time, democrats won the city and kept it. In 1974 Coleman Young held the Mayor’s office for 20 years and was followed by increasingly more and more liberal set of mayors who saw no issue with building up debt, tax, spend and borrow some more.

The people started fleeing the city in droves, the values of houses dropped like a rock.

But we were told not to worry, the Obama administration fresh from pumping borrowed money into the general economy, pumped borrowed money into the auto industry, actually the auto unions. When people like Andrew & Glenn Beck made the case against this saying you can’t borrow and tax your way into prosperity, protesters were bussed in to attack, protesters who couldn’t even defend their own signs. The farce reached its pinnacle when with the help of the media, the administration bragged that just before the election that they didn’t allow Detroit to become bankrupt.

And now with the election safely over Detroit is.

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The Market Basket employees are non-union, they weren’t bussed in by an organization. They were protesting in shifts, some left for work while other came when their shifts were done. Those middle class market basket employees protesting in that 90° heat, are making the same argument that Pork Busters and the Tea Party has made since 2006, the same argument that Conservatives have been screaming at the federal government.  They are speaking to the board of directors and saying as loud as they can:

You can’t borrow your way to greater prosperity!

Arthur T. Demoulas understands this and has run the company accordingly, the Blue State Market Basket Employees see this and are doing their best to highlight it. They understand that a company that keeps out of debt is in a position to both make a profit and share those profits with them.

If Barack Obama managed this economy the last 5 years the way Arthur T. Demoulas ran Market Basket during the same time we would be looking at a different situation today. If Arthur T. Demoulas spent the last 40 years working for Detroit instead of Market Basket the city might not be bankrupt today.

These workers get it, they understand this, that’s why they can say “What Bad Economy?” during a time when most Americans are struggling.

I submit and suggest that they Market Basket workers are the epitome of Conservative values and they are making the practical case for conservatism perfectly and doing it in a way that can be clearly understood by the average voter.

I think conservatives should be talking about them, I think conservatives should be embracing them, and I think conservatives should be making their arguments and taking them to Washington.

They are Breitbart, they just don’t know it.

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Olimometer 2.52

It’s Friday and as of this Morning I’m only $82 shy of a full paycheck. If four of you kick in $20.50 to DaTipJar below I’ll have made it.

.

But I want to for a moment talk about someone else. A blogger by the name of Peter Davis who was brought to my attention by Cynthia Yockey.

Peter is a Viet Nam war veteran and Texas sheriff’s deputy retired on disability and coping with Parkinson’s disease

Peter had just lost his wife and he could use your help

I hope my dear gentle readers will read their story below and donate to Peter by clicking the GoFundMe button above. The donation goal is $1500 with the hope that if he doesn’t need it to cover the costs of Linda Lou’s final care and cremation, or the skyrocketing costs of his own prescriptions, that he can use it to buy a much-needed new computer to stay in touch with family and friends. It’s not easy for Peter to do that by phone because he is hard of hearing, what with all those decades of shooting firearms. I’m hoping that for all the years of service to his country and in law enforcement protecting strangers, that strangers will thank him with a donation to express their gratitude and help him heal from his loss. (I have set up this GoFundMe account especially for Peter and all the proceeds will go to him.)

I would be very happy to get that last $82 and a full paycheck, but I think I’d be happier if Mr. Davis was able to cover the burial/cremation of his wife.

Thursday I took a trip to Andover MA to take a look at the Protests that were taking place in Favor of Arthur T Demoulas that I wrote about here and here.

Despite 80-90 degree weather there were HUNDREDS Of people there to express their support for current CEO Arthur T, with a variety of signs and T-Shirts to express said support. I waded into the crowd to get their thoughts:

I started with two young ladies near where I parked on the side of the road:

I crossed the Street and interviewed Jeremy

Then Kelly

I walked down the road a bit looking for more interviews, on the way I talked to a police officer who told me there was absolutely no trouble from the protesters, given the heat that says a lot.

I spoke to Tara

and found out that I was parking where the police didn’t want me to, so I moved the car farther up the road parking in front of a couple of NESN trucks figuring if their spot was OK so was mine.

I had a hard time getting the people in the main protest to talk at first although a few of them had read my two pieces on the subject. But Michelle jumped right in.

She then held the camera for me while I recorded my subscription commentary (Half of which didn’t save drat!) and a general commentary which I’ll finish with.

I then crossed the street and talked to Dora

Then Chuck

Then Ryan

I couldn’t for the life of me find someone from Fitchburg but as my voice was dying I finally found someone from Leominster which is as close as it gets

I’ll finish with my own commentary

Two Quick thoughts.

I’ve seen a lot of protests, I know astroturf when it’s in front of me, this protest wasn’t astroturf, it was more like a tea party protests with people taking care of each other.

Look and listen to that final interview and you will see the secret of why hundreds of non-union workers will protest on behalf of a CEO who is likely is worth more than all of em put together.

I’ll be tying it all together tomorrow with the pictures.

I’ve already written about why I believe for the Market Basket Chain, keeping Arthur T Demoulas is the right thing now lets briefly talk about why it is the smart thing.

We’ve already established that disputes not withstanding Market Basket remains a successful and profitable business that has provided rich rewards for its owners and its employees but I have absolutely no idea how to run a grocery chain, what business do I have saying to the board of directors of Market Basket that Arthur T. Demoulas is better qualified than Arthur S. Demoulas.  What is the overriding argument that even though Arthur T has run the business with a steady profit that Arthur S wouldn’t do better?  What business do I have in signing a petition in support of Arthur T breaking my rule against signing petitions on any type except for nomination papers for candidates for office?

Well there are several things, lets look at them in order:

1. Debt:

“To have the lowest prices you have to have the lowest costs, that’s only Natural”

Ernie Boch Sr

Anyone who has followed the budget crisis in Washington knows that one big chunk of the budget problem is interest on the existing debt, before you spend a single dollar on any problem or cut a single dollar you have to budget for the interest on the existing debt and if you think it’s bad now wait till the artificially low interest rates go back up

The same goes in business, if you want to make a profit you have to keep costs down. What do the prospective new owners have planned?

His (Arthur T’s) attorney said that those opponents have repeatedly pushed for Market Basket to borrow heavily in order to finance payouts to shareholders of more than $1.5 billion. The company is owned by nine shareholders, all members of the Demoulas family.

The profit margin in a supermarket is not huge, it relies on volume

The average supermarket has a profit margin of about 1 percent, according to Stacey Vanek-Smith of National Public Radio. Some experts suggest this figure might be as high as 3 percent. Either way, supermarkets are a volume business. The extremely thin profit margin in the grocery business comes from the large amount of competition due to the low barrier of entry into the market. Thus, a grocery store must make up for its low margin by selling large quantities of product.

What happens if a big chunk of that profit margin is eaten up in interest payments? Well if you lived in Massachusetts over the last 40 years you might have heard a certain car salesman explain this basic economic fact to you:

If those prices go up, shoppers have plenty of other choices. The supermarket business is highly competitive. Within easy driving distance of the Market Baskets nearest to me there are several Hannafords, A Shaws, A BJ’s and a pair of Walmarts and more.

Market Basket shoppers have plenty of other options in the case of a price increase and if management wants to draw a larger share for themselves AND increase debut at the same time that money has to come from somewhere but where?

2. Labor:

George Washington McLintock: Gave? Boy, you’ve got it all wrong. I don’t give jobs I hire men.

Drago: You intend to give this man a full day’s work, don’tcha boy?

Devlin Warren:
You mean you’re still hirin’ me? Well, yes, sir, I certainly deliver a fair day’s work.

George Washington McLintock:
And for that I’ll pay you a fair day’s wage. You won’t give me anything and I won’t give you anything. We both hold up our heads….

McLintock! 1963

One possibility to make up such money comes from labor, but is that the wisest move? Let’s look at a relevant example.

In an Ironic twist Hostess Twinkees are about to re-appear on the shelves of Market Basket stores this week. The Hostess Company went through a series of bankruptcies and last year a last-ditch effort to save the company as it was voted down by one of their unions. The company was liquidated, the employees let go and the jobs that are now being offered pay considerably less:

He could have applied to get his old job back now that the plant is churning out Twinkies, Zingers and Ding Dongs in preparation for a July 15 return to store shelves. But he said the current starting salary of about $11 an hour, with the chance to bump it to $14, is “a slap in the face.”

“When I left, I was making $16.53 an hour, so I just didn’t see the point,” said Mr. Davis, who worked at the plant for almost 22 years.

How did it eventually get to that point? Well one might credibly argue that the Union demanded too much at the time of the strike

Some former Hostess workers who belonged to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters still blame the baker’s union for the company’s demise.

“We might still have our jobs if they didn’t go on strike in November,” says Scott Quenneville, a former Hostess delivery driver and Teamster in Detroit.

While others can reasonably argue the management was mor interested in their own bonus’ or in keeping agreements they had already made.

The former Hostess’ bakery union shouldered $100 million in labor concessions before being asked to take an immediate 8 percent pay cut last year amid tumbling profits. At the same time, Hostess’ acting CEO exempted his $1.5 million salary from the cuts.

In other words you had unions and management at each others throat. If the unions in days gone by had looked long term deals that were not sustainable might not have been pushed, meanwhile if management had treated the workers as a vital part of the business that provided financial rewards for both, the need for a union might not have existed at all.

At Market Basket that problem doesn’t exist. The company is not only making a solid profit but the non-union employees particularly the ones who have advanced in the company over the years, have gotten a share of it as I mentioned yesterday.

The protesting shareholders have been especially outraged by a profit-sharing plan that they believe has enriched rank-and-file employees at the expense of the family. Indeed, Arthur T. Demoulas proudly declares that some employees retire with well over $1 million in their profit-sharing plans.

and more

In one telling episode, one of the funds in which the profit-sharing money is invested suffered a $46 million quarterly loss during the 2008 financial meltdown. Arthur T. Demoulas says he insisted that the company immediately make up the loss to his employees’ accounts. That enraged his cousins, who maintained that no investment comes without risk.

Now that might seem like a big one time chuck of change and it is, but think about it, how much good will does that buy? How much labor trouble did that prevent?

How much is a workforce like that worth? How many problems and expenses did the company not experience because of this? How many smart people who might have gone on to other better jobs in good economic times stayed because they knew they could advance, make a living and perhaps even retire in some comfort if they stayed where they were? How many times do you think a union rep came down to Market Basket and the old Demoulas and tried to recruit saying “We can do better for you” and were laughed at by employees who could say: “Is your union willing to do for us what Arthur T did?” As one employee put it:

“The man has made a lot of money,” said Burke, a Market Basket employee for 41 years. “But he’s done a lot for the people along the way.”

How much would you pay for a workforce who don’t begrudge or complain about a group of 9 shareholders making a combined $214 million dollars in a horrible economy?

3. Experience:

Could Marconi have invented the radio if he hadn’t by pure chance spent years working at the problem? Are these amazing breakthroughs ever achieved except by years and years of unremitting study? Of course not. What I said earlier about accidental discoveries must have been wrong.

Monty Python A book at Bedtime 1973

I’ve never met Arthur S Demoulas or Arthur T. Demoulas at least not knowingly.  I know the two sides of the family apparently don’t get along as sometimes happens in families and if there are personal issues between the cousins I neither know or am qualified to settle these disputes.

But if you ask me which cousin is more qualified to run the business that’s not hard to figure out.  The one who has experience

the Demoulas family member facing removal is the one whose side of the family actually works in the family business.

of many decades:

Arthur T., who has worked at the company for 40 years, argued that he has worked closely with the often contentious board over the years to build one of the largest and most successful supermarket companies in New England, with more than 70 stores and 20,000 employees.

knows the customers:

He warmly greeted every member of the staff and seemed to know many of the customers too.

“How you doing?” he asked a butcher. “And how’s your wife?”

“She’s almost done with chemo,” the man replied. “We’re hanging in there.”

And has not slowed down just because he has a whole lot more money than I do:

Another long-tenured employee, meat manager Steve Burke, 60, said Arthur T. Demoulas has “kept his nose to the grindstone” even after becoming a successful businessman.

Now again I don’t know Arthur S. Demoulas he may be just as dynamic, just as hard working and just as successful in running the business as his cousin, but let me ask a basic question:  Arthur T. Demoulas has demonstrated the ability to produce a profit in the worst economic times in our lifetime in an industry that has a tiny profit margin.  How wise is it to replace an experienced CEO with hands on familiarity with a company who has demonstrated success with someone less experienced in an economic climate where one foot wrong can put you out of business in a hurry?

Conclusion:

Sheldon:   Hello, Penny. I realize you’re currently at the mercy of your primitive biological urges, but as you have an entire lifetime of poor decisions ahead of you, may I interrupt this one?

The Big Bang Theory  The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation 2009

One of the first rules I found from being in business if that there are two constant beliefs among people who have not been involved in it on a daily basis:

1. Your success, if any, came spontaneously.  You just declared your business open and the customers, readers and listeners and advertisers simply couldn’t wait to give you their business.

2. They likely could run your business better than you.

Right now Market Basket’s shareholders are making an excellent profit, but they think they can do better.  They have the right to make that conclusion and vote accordingly but I submit and suggest for all the above reasons: Debt, Labor and Experience the retention of Arthur T. Demoulas as the man in charge is not only the right thing for the company, it’s the smart thing to do.

And just as the free market rewards smart moves, it just as quickly punishes foolish ones.

Postscript:

The world runs on individuals pursing their self interest

Milton Freeman The Phil Donahue Show

You might notice in my 2000+ word argument above I didn’t answer the question I promised yesterday:  How is it in my own self interest if Market Basket keeps Arthur T. Demoulas?  After all I don’t know the man, none of my family works there and every single attempt I’ve made to contact the company for advertising over the years has been completely ignored despite my reach of my readership in the state.  In fact given that the board has the votes to get rid of Arthur it might seem in my best interest to back the other side thus increasing my chances of getting advertising.

Well there are two basic things:

1.  I live in Fitchburg Mass.  The city has come on some very hard times, and although there are other supermarkets only a few minutes away, in Leominster and Lunenburg.  The two Market Basket are the last supermarket still in Fitchburg, Victory Markets, Tom’s Food World, Iandolis, Piggly Wiggly and even Save a Lot have all closed and gone away.

If the board of directors makes a foolish move and puts the company in jeopardy the two Fitchburg locations, will be in jeopardy which means that many fewer entry level jobs for high school and college kids in one of the most depressed area in the state.

2.  As you know I make my living off my readers $305 a week for an awful lot of hours.  What you likely don’t know is I do almost all of the grocery shopping for the house.  While everyone knows I buy all of my meats at Romano’s Market I do my grocery shopping at Market Basket.

Why?  Because even though multiple Walmarts, Adli, Hannafords and Shaws are all within a 5-15 minute drive from my home none of them match Market Basket’s prices and it’s not close.

Let me tell you something.  When you’ve started your own business, empited your retirement accounts to keep the bills paid, when you are drawing your first pay in 5 years and that “check” its 37% of what you used to make with no benefits, no retirement and totally dependent on the mood of your readers and when you  don’t take a dime in food stamps, you learn in a hurry how to maximize your shopping dollars.

So yes I have a bias of self interest here.  Feel free to adjust your opinion of this piece based upon it. in any way you wish.

****************************************************

Olimometer 2.52

I mentioned yesterday that the stats for Monday dictated that the best move for me was to lead with Trayvon Market yesterday.

What a lot of regular national readers might be surprised to hear is my single most popular post yesterday was my post on Market Basket, in fact though a local story it outdrew all my Trayvon posts combined.

Since the blog is my primary income and since it’s tip jar hits that pays the bills $305 weekly paycheck lets see if the local readers can finish the job.

5 readers kicking in $22 fills DaPayCheck for the week and means Thursday, Friday and Saturday are tip jar shaking free.

What could be better than that?

.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other

Benjamin Franklin

As everyone knows I’m a big advocate of the Free Market. the Market free to make its own decision based on their own self-interest tends to create a stronger economy as all sides do their best to compete for the dollars of the customer base.

That’s why in the latest version of the great Demoulas wars pitting two Demoulas cousins,  Arthur T, vs Arthur S against each other , I would, if on the board of directors vote with Arthur T.

Let’s look at the facts. what is the case for removing Arthur T?:

Arthur S. and his allies have argued in court documents that Arthur T. has mismanaged the company and ignored the authority of its board.

Well if that’s the case the nine shareholders who all happen to be members of the Demoulas family must be doing pretty bad and the 71 stores must be in horrible shape.

documents indicate that Arthur S.’s family has received roughly $500 million in dividends over the past decade

$500 million?  That’s a hell of a chunk of change, but in fairness that’s over ten years, it’s easy to paint a pretty picture when you include the Bush years with the Obama years, how about right now in the worst economy that we have seen in our lifetimes?

In a recent interview, Arthur T. Demoulas said that Market Basket has performed well under his five-year tenure as chief executive, recording net income of $217 million in 2012 on $4 billion in revenue.

Do you mean to say that Arthur T as Chief Executive managed to produce a $217 million dollar profit last year? (over 5%). Can it actually be that during one of the roughest times in our nation Arthur T ran the company at a profit and managed to do so without massive debt?  I’m impressed and apparently I’m not alone:

“First and foremost, if you see what the company has done in the last five or six years, it’s nothing short of remarkable,” said former state Sen. Steven Panagiotakos, whose two daughters work for Market Basket part-time when not in school.

“It’s hard to understand why they’d want to change leadership in the midst of all this success they’re seeing right now,” Panagiotakos added.

Well he must be using an iron hand to wring out these kind of profits I mean the employees must really be exploited

While they were off the clock, Jake Barisano, 19, and Brent Gellerson, 18, rallied for Demoulas with posters, petitioning pages, and current articles on the family feud that has been stirring up recent headlines.

Since Saturday, Market Basket employees have been stationed outside the Somersworth store and as of Monday, 2,500 signatures had been gathered.

Market Basket staffers indicate they will be educating all who will listen until the decision is made this Thursday. Employees claim the removal of their current CEO will change their store, and its motto “more for your dollar.”

What? Well that’s just one store….

yesterday, employees outside Market Basket locations in Haverhill and Londonderry asked customers to sign a petition in support of Arthur T. Demoulas. A similar “Save Market Basket” petition boasts over 35,000 online signatures.

In fact I’ve seen the very same thing at the locations in Fitchburg that I’ve visited.  Every employee I’ve talked to, NON UNION employes mind you, seem to be banding together to support their CEO.

This doesn’t seem to make sense, after all aren’t we constantly told that without unions employes are abused. Why would these people at all these locations be so wiling to go to bat for the rich owner? Why take sides in a family feud? Well in fairness there are millions of reasons:

The protesting shareholders have been especially outraged by a profit-sharing plan that they believe has enriched rank-and-file employees at the expense of the family. Indeed, Arthur T. Demoulas proudly declares that some employees retire with well over $1 million in their profit-sharing plans.

In one telling episode, one of the funds in which the profit-sharing money is invested suffered a $46 million quarterly loss during the 2008 financial meltdown. Arthur T. Demoulas says he insisted that the company immediately make up the loss to his employees’ accounts. That enraged his cousins, who maintained that no investment comes without risk.

That’s a big chuck of change that normally would have been split among the 9 shareholders and they have a point about the normal risks of investments but what did that blip in the bottom line buy the company?

“This company has 25,000 employees working very harmoniously, who are happy,” Arthur T. Demoulas said. “Our customers are happy. Our vendors are happy. Then you have three or four shareholders who are unhappy.”

It would seem to me that if you have a company that is running smoothly, that is making a solid profit and has a loyal customer base and a loyal employee base.  It’s pretty foolish to punish success.

But this company is not mine, it belongs to the shareholders I may have an opinion on the matter but I don’t work there, my sons don’t work there and it’s been almost 30 years since my wife was a cashier there.

So why on earth did I Mr. Free market sign that petition to keep Arthur T on the board?  My own self-interest.

How on earth is preventing a change in control of the company in my self interest?  Well that’s a post for tomorrow.

 

Update:  Fixed repeated paragraph

Update 2: Two notes to local readers, If you see a plump fellow in a Doctor Who Scarf and a hat, odds are it is me, additionally you can find me Saturday’s Noon till 2 EST on the Money Matters Radio network. WBNW, WPLM, WESO. Odds are we will discuss this subject (along with the return of Twinkies 1st hour)

…but as I mention in my Examiner piece she is earning my respect for this reason:

While one might question her definition of transparency on the part of the White House there is no question of her own. She took more than a dozen questions from different voters, invited others to leave recorded messages. Asked several poll questions to get feedback from all people on the call and not only didn’t exclude people who disagreed her she proactively called them to be invited to the event.

That willingness to engage can’t but help in 2014 which promises to be a tougher election than the last. Agree or disagree on issues one can’t help but note the first job of a Representative is to treat the voters you represent properly.

No rep can vote the way all their constituents want but they can give everyone a fair hearing for their views.

Diz:  Not one word of what he’s saying is being printed in that state
Saunders:   Oh no Diz!
Diz:  Taylor has practically every paper in the state lined up and he’s feeding them doctored up junk

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 1939

Lorenzo: Your mother said she caught ya down by the bar today.
Colegero: I wasn’t at the bar.
Mrs. Anello: Tell your father the truth
Colegero: I was by the bar.
Lorenzo: So why’d you lie?
Colegero: (shrugs) I took a shot..

A Bronx Tale  1993

One of the things I take issue with concerning Protestant theology is the concept of “once saved always saved” whereby one can commit any sin with impunity because Christ automatically forgives them. Something similar seems to take place with the Democrat party in Massachusetts.

Last week Michael Graham wrote about some pushback state Rep Shawna O’Connell (R-Taunton) got from the Patrick administration over EBT benefits for the Boston Bombers

Earlier today, Rep. Shaunna O’Connell got a phone call from a very senior member of the governor’s staff with a warning: Watch how you criticize Deval Patrick on the issue of welfare benefits for the Tsarnaev family.

Well that prompted Michal Graham calling repeatedly for details until the governors office denied the call took place

Asked about the dust-up Wednesday, Patrick told reporters O’Connell is simply spouting nonsense.

“Well, she makes a lot of things up, and it sounds like she’s on her old tear

So it’s: “he said, she said” or at least it would be if Rep O’Connell hadn’t made the call from her cell where records are available.

If Gov. Patrick is right and Rep. O’Connell is lying, then she’ll be forced to play the Tim Murray “This is my personal cell” card and keep the records private. (A move supported, ironically, by Deval Patrick)

But if she’s telling the truth, there will be a record of the call and Gov, Patrick is the one who’s lying.

Hey–what’s this? Why, it’s a screen capture of Rep. O’Connell’s cellphone showing incoming calls on Tuesday morning…

and that’s game set and match.

That the Patrick Administration which comes from the David Axelrod school of politics would be fast and loose with facts should be no surprise to anyone who follows the game of politics.  What MIGHT surprise some folks is they would bother to BS on something so easily proved false. Why would anyone, risk embarrassment on such a thing.

Because you, the voters told him he CAN!

It has been amply demonstrated to Democrats in Massachusetts that you can be as unqualified as a Joe Kennedy III, that you can play fast and loose with tax rules like Suzanne Bump or even let Americans be killed in successful attacks on the anniversary of 9/11 and still win the presidency by over 23 points.

If the electorate is willing to ignore things like that and the press is willing to back the administration up, there’s absolutely no reason they’re going to be worried about lying to your face, particularly if you are a Governor who won’t be facing the votes of Massachusetts ever again.

The question isn’t: “Why would the Patrick Administration life?”, it’s, “Why on earth would you expect better of them?”

President Obama’s apology tour continued this week as traveled to Mexico and blamed America for the violence in Mexico.

From Washingtontimes.com:

“Most of the guns used to commit violence here in Mexico come from the United States.” He mentioned that the Constitution protects the right to bear arms (he didn’t say “keep arms”), then continued that, “I will continue to do everything in my power to pass common-sense reforms that keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people.  That can save lives here in Mexico and back home in the United States.”

This same week, Mrs. Obama told children in Chicago that gun control was necessary to prevent kids from fearing death on a daily basis.  “And we, as a nation, have to embrace these kids and let them know that we hear them, and see them. One kid told me he felt like he lived in a cage, because he feels like his community is unseen, unheard and nobody cares about it.” (source)

Mrs. Barak did not articulate for the children how gun reform would get guns out of the hands of the felons that currently illegally possess them. She didn’t mention that less than 15% of guns used in crimes were legally purchased (the rest were stolen or borrowed). She did not talk to them about the Second Amendment and the importance of maintaining citizens’ rights.

Rick Perry’s response to Obama? He calls ’em like he sees ’em.

“The idea that a United States president would go to Mexico and make that statement is incredulous. His goal —  well before he became president of the United States  — was to try to disarm the American public. He just disregards the Constitution.”

He went on to say, “Nothing could be a greater tragedy for America than to disarm the pubic. If mothers want peace of mind. If mothers want their children to be safe. An armed, knowledgeable general populace is the way for that to occur.”

– Rebecca @ Americaisconservative.org

It’s that time of year again – the “find someone to run in a special election to replace a Democrat who had been in the Senate for decades, and, oh, did we mention that this term will last for less than two years?”.  Yesterday, Gabriel Gomez, Michael Sullivan, and Dan Winslow duked it out in the primaries for the GOP nomination and the chance to fight Ed Markey for the seat.

Gabriel Gomez – Obama donor, Navy SEAL, Harvard alumnus, private equity rock star – won the GOP nomination.  Gomez is “personally pro-life, politically pro-choice” (my words, not his); an Obama supporter; a Deval Patrick supporter; and a political newbie.  A lot of conservatives are upset that Sullivan lost and have zero desire to choose between a Democrat and a Democrat.   My thoughts, in no particular order:

Gomez won a majority, not a plurality, of the GOP votes.  He didn’t win because two conservatives split the ticket (Winslow is a social liberal who supports the “Bathroom Bill”); Gomez won because he won more than half of the votes.  Sure, he had more money and, allegedly, the Republican establishment behind him, but he won.  In the battle between the grass roots/pro-lifers and the moderate wing, the moderates won.

I’m no one’s moderate, certainly not by Massachusetts standards and not even by national standards, but guys, the electorate told you something there. I’ll be the first to say that, on a national level, rock-ribbed conservatives (e.g. W., Reagan) can win more easily than moderate conservatives (e.g. McCain, Romney).  But Massachusetts isn’t the nation.  It’s been decades since we had a GOP Congressman, can barely get a Republican into state-wide office ever (Brown and Gov. Romney being the notable exceptions), and can’t even get Mary Connaughton in as Auditor.   Incidentally, that brings me to my next point:

Don’t we usually have the reverse problem?  Here in Massachusetts, a majority of the pro-life delegation in the State House is compromised of Democrats.  Here, you can be a pro-life, relatively fiscal conservative Democrat and win; if you put those same policy positions (or any policy position, really) right before the letter “R”, you’ve got a losing candidate.  About 13% of the population is registered Republican.

If Gomez wants to be an Obama-supporting, Navy SEAL, fiscal conservative and call himself a “Republican,” well, it’s a nice change from pro-life, pro-family fiscal conservatives who call themselves Democrats because they think that the word Republican before a voter is like a cross before a vampire.

Independents love Gomez.  Unenrolled voters are a majority of the electorate.  Independents – squishy Democrats, true moderates, low-information voters, anti-career politician peeps – love Gomez.  He has a great life story; he’s inspirational; he earned his money before going to Washington (unlike those who inherited it – Kennedy clan, I’m looking at you, or married it – hi, John Kerry); and he’s not a career politician.  Whether they love him enough to carry this particular election is irrelevant to the basic issue: we shouldn’t be running around bashing the guy that these people like, because we’ll need their support in every single future election.

Let’s not bash Obama supporters/voters.  In 2012, the Presidential election in MA went 61-38 for Obama over Romney, but Liz Warren only won 54-46 over Brown.  (Source.)  At a bare minimum, over 268,000 people split their votes, Obama-Brown.  Likewise, something like one in five members of the Tea Party voted for Obama in 2008. If Gomez is to win, he’s going to need to win over Obama voters (or at least convince them to stay home), and he’s going to have to win them over in even bigger numbers than Scott Brown did.  Bashing those voters indirectly, by bashing Gomez for being an Obama donor, is the very definition of “counterproductive.”