Tuesday, April 2, 2013

In Massachusetts, It's All About the Money

    In today's Worcester Telegram I came across an article about a disturbing development concerning day care providers and the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry. In the report, it is alleged the DEEC failed to live up to its responsibility of overseeing day care providers in the past year. See Article by Paula J. Owen
    Most disturbing was the revelation that 120 registered sex offenders were listing addresses which are also day care centers. How could this possibly be happening if the state's first priority is the safety of the children? It couldn't, and is more proof the laws passed by our leaders under much fanfare and public pronouncements are nothing more than thinly disguised money making tools for the Tammany Hall that is our current statehouse.
     Two recently passed Massachusetts laws concerning day care highlight this point. (Fingerprints for Teachers and Unions for Daycare Workers)
     One involved much fan fare about the unionization of private daycare workers and providers alike. In partnership with the SEIU, the state can now collect union dues from all of those folks with some notable exceptions, mainly big providers like Kindercare. In a very public ceremony, Governor Patrick and other law makers trumpeted the benefits those workers would reap from being part of a union. Of course there was no mention of the hundreds of Kindercare workers left out in the cold but since Kindercare is big enough to spread a lot of contributions around, there was no financial need for the pols to mess with them.
     Another law was passed concerning the fingerprints of teachers in Massachusetts. Although the headlines were all about the public teachers affected, the bill also affects thousands of others, including all daycare providers, anyone associated with those providers over the age of 15, any contractors and their employees who may work on properties used for day care and on and on. On the surface, this is actually a good law and if enforced and implemented properly it will go a long way in protecting children. That being said, it is still a typical Liberal Democrat law which means it provides little protection of the records from prying eyes, will cost a lot of money to you and I, the taxpayer, and probably not live up to expectations. For instance, it requires the creation of a whole new department to oversee the program and the awarding of state contracts to companies who provide the service. Potentially millions of dollars just to get it off the ground and hundreds of new jobs for the pols to hand out to cronies, relatives and campaign supporters.
     If these laws are supposed to be all about the protection of children and the betterment of low paid workers, how can situations like the sex offenders living at the centers happen? Although only a few of the thousands of registered sex offenders in the state fell through the cracks, it should not matter. What do you think the odds are only a few day care providers could get away with not paying their taxes to the state? My guess is none and the same should be for the monsters who prey on the most innocent among us, if the protection of the children is truly the priority.

Friday, March 8, 2013

What is Happening to Us?

     This past week has been extraordinary if only for the new norms which we are living with. First the sequester took place on Monday and nothing happened. Planes didn't fall out of the sky, the government did not come to a screeching halt and poor people did not suddenly find themselves out in the cold dying from hypothermia.
     Then word came out of NASA about yet another asteroid or comet or some other type of space debris flying around which could hit Mars. What I found most interesting about that story was the reference to it being a life ending event. Hmmm, last I knew there was no life on Mars. Did someone slip up on that one?
     Yet another winter storm appeared  and caused havoc for a big part of the country yet life went on and again, no glaciers formed so in the end it was no big deal.
    For me the biggest story is the one about the drone program. I had the pleasure to speak with Clyde Lewis as a caller to his Ground Zero radio show last night and was allowed to express my views on this to a national audience. thank you for that Clyde. As far as the use of these drones against American citizens, on American soil, are we really that crazy? Have we really gone so far over the edge as to think drastic measures like these are acceptable? I hope not but unfortunately. it appears we are. Other countries tried things like this. You know, places like Nazi Germany, Stalin's Russia, and Saddam's Iraq. Please folks, wake up before it's too late!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Will This Storm Deserve The Hype?

     As we wake up today and brace for what is sure to be a significant storm, I thought it would be fun to go down memory lane and mention some of the more memorable snow events in Worcester's history, in my lifetime anyway.
     Although many news stories in late October 2011 claimed the heavy Halloween storm that year was the earliest on record in Worcester, they were all wrong. On October 10, 1979 7.5" of snow fell at Worcester Airport as an early rain event ran into unusually cold air over New England. Many towns West of Worcester saw even more snow.
     As far as the latest snow on record,  May 10, 1977 has the honors. On that day an official total of 7.5" snow fell at Worcester Airport. Another late Spring snowstorm happened in 1987, when on April 29th, over 17" of snow fell in Worcester. I still have the newspaper from that day with a famous front page picture of Pleasant Street clogged with cars and snow. Many other areas received much more as 2 foot totals were common all over New England.
     Large snowstorms have always held a special place in the memories of those who went through them. As for the fiercest, meanest, most memorable snowstorm for Worcester, there can be no other choice than the Blizzard of 78' which occurred from Feb 6 to Feb 8. Although the Worcester total snowfall of 20.1 inches was not especially note worthy, the duration of the storms hurricane force winds (32+ hrs.), guaranteed that storm would live on in infamy. Worcester was paralyzed by the 12 to 16 foot snowdrifts which resulted. Commutes home, which usually took a half hour, turned into 5-8 hr nightmares, if you could get home at all. East of Worcester the storm was especially deadly as hundreds of cars were stranded on the highways. Ninety nine people died in MA and RI, including an Uxbridge boy who disappeared outside his home during the storm. Those of us who lived through it will never forget it.
     As far as the most snow from one storm, the December Nor'easter of 1992 is the king of the snowdrift! In one 24 hour period 28" of snow fell on Worcester making that a one day record. The official snow total for the storm at Worcester Airport was 32.1" but areas west of Worcester, including Spencer and Paxton received measured snow of up to 49"! This storm was remarkable for its duration as it started snowing on December 11th and did not stop until December 14th. Many people in Worcester County were out of power for over a week as a high tension line came down in Auburn.
     The official record holder for snow at Worcester airport occurred on April 1, 1997 when 33" of snow fell from March 30 to April 1.  During the peak of that storm, snow fell at over 3' per hour while strong thunderclaps were heard throughout. Although Worcester broke a record, generally the snowfall amounts were up to a foot less in places as close as Boston.
     There are too many more examples of storms which dumped over 2 feet at one time over the years to mention. Although the forecast for Nemo is dire, it would have to be an incredibly powerful storm to knock the king off the snow pile.
     Stay safe my friends.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Whoever Wins, We Must Support

     This evening, members of the Massachusetts republican State Committee will vote on who is to be the next part chairperson of the party. Both candidates, Kristen Hughes and RickGgreen are well qualified for the job. I for one am not able to endorse either candidate at this time, not because I am not happy with the choices, but rather due to a lack of knowledge about either one. My knowledge of both, and what they stand for, have been formed from the media coverage and from people whom I do know and who have shared their opinion. Many of those people, for whom I have a ton of respect, have come out in favor of both candidates.
     This campaign is exposing once again the differences in our party at this time. Conventional wisdom is that Mr. Green is more sympathetic to the Tea Party members of the party and the Ms. Hughes is more of an establishment candidate. Both of those things may or may not be true. After the election tonight, I hope those things no longer matter.
     If Mr. Green wins, I want to see all members of the party rally behind him. No games. No long drawn out battles over the vote simply because you can, no public statements of regret or subliminal messages that he is too far right.
     The same should hold true if Ms. Hughes wins. Within an hour of the final results, every single Tea Party Group and RTC in Massachusetts should immediately join hands behind her and give the full support of the party by publicly announcing their support.
     In short, our differences need to be put aside after the vote and compromises made. To my friends in the Tea Party Groups, if your guy loses, do not go away, or worse, fight against the party. Same goes for my more moderate Republican friends. If you win and then do not include some of the new ideas or strategies being brought about by those more conservative than you, we are all doomed to failure for a long time to come.
     Tonight is not the time to show the voters how divided we are. It is the time to show everyone how strong we are when we come together. I for one will start by saying this. Whoever emerges victorious tonight, I will vehemently support until or unless there come a time when they no longer deserve that support. Good luck to both of you.