Archive for August, 2011

August 29, 2011

Irene Aftermath

Tropical Storm Irene over New England (photo from ABC News)

Wednesday, August 31st: 

The death toll has risen to 42 across 13 states, after Hurricane Irene carved a path of disaster up the east coast this past weekend. Despite the cessation in heavy rains and winds, Vermont is still recovering, while their have been fresh rounds of evacuations in New Jersey and Connecticut prompted by the fear of swelling rivers.

In Washington DC, FEMA Director Craig Fugate is shrugging off the prospect that Disaster Relief funds being held up in Congress due to legislative gridlock. House Majority leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has stated that all funding for disaster relief should be provided, but must be off-set by spending cuts elsewhere in order to avoid deepening the deficit.

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August 29, 2011

The latest on Irene’s aftermath in Western Massachusetts

The view of the damage (a couple fallen limbs) from my back window.

Excuse the poor style and heavy concentration of links in this post. It is meant to be a general description of ‘Irene’s’ aftermath told through a number of local news sources.

Hurricane Irene may have eroded in strength from ‘hurricane’ to ‘tropical storm’ , as she churned up the Atlantic coast, but her fury has no doubt left much ruin in its wake;  unleashing her wrath as far South as Florida  and North as Maine, even inching across the border into Canada.

So far as many as twenty-one people in eight states have been reported as casualties of Irene, and millions could still be lacking power for the coming week. Some time in the early afternoon , Irene which had already reeked havoc in such states as North Carolina and Virginia ( even washing a live shark into the streets in Puerto Rico days ago) was downgraded to the status of a tropical storm as it headed north towards southern New England.

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August 13, 2011

NPR talks to Chicopee mayor about U.S Credit downgrade

Picture courtesy: Seatacradio.com

The jitters generated by the decision of Standard and Poors to downgrade the triple-A  credit score has been a topic of heavy discussion over the past week. Republican Presidential candidates and conservative bloggers are deriding it as a fiasco brought on by the President and overspending, while progressives and Democrats are blasting the Tea party for creating doubt in the run-up to raising the debt ceiling.

Beyond the political realm though it could have real consequences that go beyond its symbolism. Chicopee Mayor Michael  Bissonette was interviewed briefly on the Tuesday August 9th edition of the National Public Radio show ‘Market Place’ about affects the downgrade could have on municipalities.

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August 12, 2011

Senator Kerry to be on ‘Super Committee’

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) has been selected as one of three Democratic Senators to be on the much talked about ‘Super Committee’ this Fall.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced Tuesday that Kerry, the 2004 Democratic Presidential Candidate who also sits on the Senate Finance Committee, would be one of three Senate Democrats on the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction which will be tasked with crafting a plan consisting of proposed spending cuts, tax reforms, and possible revenue increases; to cut $1.2 trillion from the national debt over the next ten years.

The  panel consists of twelve members of congress from both parties and houses of Congress, and was part of the agreement to raise the debt ceiling,  passed by Congress on August 2 and later signed into law by President Obama.

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August 11, 2011

Too many heroes?


Picture courtesy of world.edu

Farmers markets have gained traction in recent years as cooperative locally based venues where small farmers can sell their goods to consumers, while getting people acquainted with where their food comes from and cutting down on the amount of energy used to harvest it. The number of such markets has soared, increasing in number by 17 percent according to the U.S Department of Agriculture; going from 6,132 such markets around the nation to 7,135 in the past year alone.

Massachusetts is one of the states with the most, having as many as 255 peppered throughout town squares and parking lots throughout the Bay State. But have these alternatives to a world of agribusinesses and corporate grocery store giants, begun to crowd each other out? In other words in some areas are there more vendors selling goods at more of these markets in a given area then there are customers to keep all these markets profitable?

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