Archive for ‘local’

January 29, 2013

Kerry wins confirmation, will become 68th secretary of state

The nomination of Massachusetts Democratic Senator John F Kerry (above), has been approved by the U.S Senate. [ photo: Boston Globe]

[ photo: Boston Globe] 

With broad bipartisan support, the U.S Senate on Tuesday confirmed Sen. John F Kerry (D-Mass) as the next Secretary of State.

The final tally was 94-3, with three Republicans : Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, and James Inhofe of Oklahoma opposing the nomination. Senators John Hooven (R-N.D.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash) were absent from the floor, while Kerry himself voted present in a vote that caps  over a quarter century in the Senate.

Kerry, a decorated Vietnam War Veteran, five-term Senator, and the 2004  Democratic presidential candidate, was nominated by President Obama last month to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton as the President’s chief foreign policy adviser in his second term cabinet.

read more »

August 17, 2012

‘The 413’

I know its been over two weeks since my last posting. Soon I will have more content up. Meanwhile, my friend Noelle sent me the video above from Agawam native and rapper Dr. Westercheston, singing about that four county area in the western most part of Massachusetts  south of New Hampshire and Vermont, north of Connecticut, east of New York, and west of everything else in the Commonwealth.

Westercheston, according to an April article in the Springfield Republican; was actually tapped by the Warren campaign and the Democratic state Convention which was held in Springfield, MA the largest city in Western Massachusetts, to perform this song. The songs title 413 refers to the area code. Those of you who are from any of the 102 cities or towns in the four counties that make up this culture rich and college heavy section of the Bay state will laugh, while the rest of you will learn something.

August 2, 2012

Massachusetts House signs off on resolution for Constitutional amendment ending ‘Corporate Personhood’

Working late into the night last Tuesday, the Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously approved a resolution urging that Congress support and send to the states for ratification, a twenty-eighth amendment to the Constitution aimed at curbing corporate and labor union money in politics.

The issue was among several others taken up by the House on the night of July 31, moments before the end of its legislative session and four days after the Senate overwhelmingly passed its version of the nonbinding resolution, by a vote of 35 to 1.

Massachusetts is now the seventh state to pass such a resolution.

read more »

June 29, 2012

Massachusetts U.S Senate race round up part one

Much has happened over the past few weeks since I last blogged about the Massachusetts senate race.

During the Massachusetts  state Democratic convention in Springfield on June 2, the party faithful rallied around Elizabeth Warren who officially captured the Democratic nomination for November’s high stakes senate race against incumbent Republican freshman Senator Scott Brown (R-MA).

Warren’s popularity with the liberal and more populist activist elements of the party base was on clear display when she won the nomination with the backing of 95.7% of delegates, more backing than any state Democratic candidate for any office received in thirty years of the convention system.  The former Harvard Law Professor and  Obama administration special assistant trounced her last remaining rival for the nomination, long shot candidate and Milton immigration Attorney Marissa DeFranco who failed to muster the necessary 15 percent support from delegates to challenge Warren in the Sept 6 Democratic primary election.

read more »

May 19, 2012

Republicans won’t let go of Warren’s ancestry issue

Massachusetts Democratic Senate Candidate Elizabeth Warren after speaking at the 31st annual ‘Noho Pride Celebration’ in Northampton. (Photo: Alex Ross).

 The latest controversy on what if any role Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren’s Native American ancestry played in  her hiring as a Professor,  is  a story on which Republicans are not letting go. 

Almost every day for more than two weeks, the Brown campaign or a Republican surrogate has highlighted the latest bit of news to emerge on the subject, often citing articles on conservative websites in a bid to coax more coverage from the mainstream news media. Warren’s failure to offer a full and concise answer on what role her ancestry has played in her professional career has left an opening that has allowed the questions to linger.

On Monday, Brown’s campaign manager, Jim Barnett, held a telephone briefing with reporters, offering a near exhaustive catalogue of details about the issue and demanding anew that Warren release personnel records from her jobs at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania law schools.

“The question here is not about Elizabeth Warren’s credentials, so much as it is about Elizabeth Warren’s integrity and truthfulness and willingness to be transparent,’’ Barnett said.

read more »

May 15, 2012

The Valley Advocate’s ‘Best of the valley readers poll 2012’ results

   It might be a little late but due to the unexpectedly high number of views that I saw the ‘Valley Advocate’s Best of    readers poll 2011’  get when I posted it on here last year, I thought it would be appropriate to make my first post after several weeks of reluctant exile from the blogosphere this years winners in what has become a tradition of sorts in Western Massachusetts.

For all those outside the region who don’t know, the Valley Advocate is an immensely popular weekly publication of news, commentary, and events listings in Western Massachusetts and Southern Vermont that is about as ubiquitous as a Bible is in Vatican city.

Every year between January and mid April readers are encouraged to go online and cast a ballot in one of  nine broad categories for 177 businesses, services, places, or products unique to the region with superlatives range from the best Bakery, to the best auto repair shop, the place serving the best margaritas, the best Financial services and just about everything else you can envision.

Eventually voting is then stopped and  all results can be tabulated and later published in an April issue of the advocate , and locations dubbed ‘the best’ then often display their badge as a seal of local pride in their establishment windows and in their advertising. So this years winners are…

read more »

March 11, 2012

Berkshire radio station pulls Rush Limbaugh from its lineup

 

photo from search.com

A Pittsfield radio station became the second to drop the ‘Rush Limbaugh Show’ from its weekday programming, a week after he called Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke a ‘slut’ and ‘a prostitute’ on his show.

Management at 1420AM WBEC announced on Monday March    5 that the conservative nationally syndicated talk show will no longer fill its noon to 3pm time slot, due to Limbaugh’s remarks which the station says go beyond ‘the bounds of civility’.

“Rush’s defamatory and disparaging remarks about Ms. Fluke clearly violated the standards we have set for our stations and left us with no choice but to remove him from our airwaves,” said WBEC Marketing Manager Peter Barry in a written statement posted on the station’s website.

read more »

January 18, 2012

Warren fundraising strength shows, while both sides seek to curb super PAC ads

Seeking to capitalize on last week’s news that they brought in more money from donors in the closing three months of 2011 than incumbent Republican Senator Scott Brown, the campaign of  Massachusetts Democratic Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren detonated a ‘money bomb’ Friday, that will deliver even more.

The fundraising blitz, which according to the campaign staff has already brought in $236,000, is scheduled to coincide with the two-year anniversary of Brown’s surprise victory over Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley in the 2010 Special Election  to complete the term of Sen. Edward M Kennedy, who died in August 2009.

Last Wednesday, the Warren campaign disclosed that during the fourth fundraising quarter of 2011, (or what is the term  employed to what us mortal refer to as October, November, and December), Warren raked in $5.7 million, while Brown raised $3.2 million during that same period.

Still Brown now has a campaign account totaling $12.8 million, while Warren who began flirting with a  possible Senate run in August and rocketed to the top of the Democratic primary field in September, has $6 million altogether.

Recent polls suggest that Warren maintains has developed a slim lead over Brown in the strongly liberal state. But Brown’s staunch support from Republicans, likability among independents,and image as a bi-partisan problem solver willing to defy partisan orthodoxy, makes Brown a strong candidate. 

read more »

December 31, 2011

South Hadley Mom calls for changes to school lunch program

A woman who said her daughter was regularly bullied at South Hadley High, urged officials at the Dec 13 School Committee meeting, to change how students that get free or reduced price lunches are identified.

Jennifer Kalvinek, delivered two copies of an online petition with over 5,000 signatures to the committee, calling on the high school to stop requiring students receiving assistance in paying for lunch under the ‘National School Lunch Program’, use a school issued ticket, to get their lunch.

Kalvinek, whose daughter 16-year-old Payton Spinney was one of those students while at the school, claims the neon orange tickets, single out students from low-income households for harassment from their peers, and amounts to segregating them based on economic status.

” These are high schoolers, they don’t want to do that. They don’t want another reason to be bullied,” she said to committee members during the public comment portion of the meeting. “You have a lot of poverty in South Hadley, and a lot of kids who just don’t get lunch cause they don’t want to be segregated.”    

read more »

November 28, 2011

Weekly Links- Nov 20-27

A little slower than usual on the news front this past week given the Thanksgiving Holiday, but with the Iowa Republican caucuses just thirty-six days away, there seems to be yet another seismic shift in the  field of candidates.

  • The campaign of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has been seen as a long shot since it was rather clumsily announced last March. Recent questions about money he made advising Federal Housing giant Freddie Mac and statements he made criticizing child labor laws, seemed like they would be additional blows to an already flagging campaign.
  • But as of about two weeks ago, some opinion polls show Gingrich inching out a lead over former Massachusetts  Governor Mitt Romney, indicating that he may be the latest in a long line of candidates that conservatives are flocking to him, as an alternative to Romney.
  • Last Tuesday, in a CNN Republican primary debate about  National security issues, many observers said Gingrich gave a strong performance.Gingrich, also made headlines in the debate, when he spoke of the need for a ‘more humane’ immigration policy that would forge a pathway to legalization’ for those immigrants who may have entered the country illegally, but now have families in the U.S and have assimilated into the fabric of American life.
  • Some conservatives slammed Gingrich for the move that has been widely seen as a tact to the center. Iowa Congressman Steve King  as well as primary rivals such as Romney and Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann called such a policy ‘amnesty’.
    read more »