Archive for ‘national news’

January 4, 2012

Iowa Republican Caucuses live blogging stylistic inconsistencies and all.

Pic courtesy- I and R

Update- Romney wins by eight votes!

The Iowa caucuses are tonight, as voters in the Hawk eye state wade out into the night of January to cast a vote, marking the first contest of the primary season to begin the process of selecting a Republican nominee, to go up against Senator Barack Obama in the Autumn.

Since 1972 for Democrats and 1976 Republicans have made the Iowa caucuses  the first stop in then process to narrowing the field in the process of selecting a Presidential candidate to be  their party’s candidate. In the months leading up to that January night, candidates, typically flock to the state know for its prairies and cornfields, to converse with voters, get exposure without spending wads of money (well fewer wads of money then they would on tv spots and other advertizing in larger states), with the country waiting with bated breath to see who these voters will select.

Tonight Barack Obama has no Democratic primary challenger (and presidents running for re-election rarely have), though Democrats and Obama campaign organizers say they are treating it as a sort of rehearsal to gauge their strength in the general election (since Iowa is a so-called ‘swing state and if you don’t know what that phrase means then I don’t know what to say except look it up by clicking on the link to this online dictionary). By the way I never heard the term ‘floating voter’ used, even though it is listed as a synonym for ‘swing voter’.

U.S Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), former  Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), and former 2008 Republican contender Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA)  vying in a battle for the top spot according to polls, as doors close at the caucuses are about to be called for order.

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January 1, 2012

AP poll finds that Bin Laden killing the biggest story of 2011 and my end of the year rambling commentary

The top story of the year according to a survey of U.S newsroom directors and editors.

The results to the annual poll of U.S news editors and News directors was released in mid-December and the next few posts will likely seem to have happened a few weeks ago, because I have had other issues to cope with and hence the back log.

Anyway since we are on the precipice of 2012, (which as this cartoon I came across illustrates, I think is just a plot by the Mayans to freak us all out ), it seems just as timely as it was weeks ago.

Gauging the opinions of 247 U.S  News Directors and News Editors, the Associated Press asked them what was the biggest story of 2011. By an overwhelming majority, 128 of them said the NAVY SEAL operation that located and killed Al-Queda mastermind Osama Bin Laden. The Earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown that hit Japan in fairly quick order of one another, came in a distant second with 60 votes.

Obviously, since those  in charge of U.S News rooms and not media outlets around the world, the selection would seem to be tilted towards stories that have a substantial effect on or involve America. As the AP noted however, this year about half  have an international flavor to them. 

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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’.
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November 21, 2011

Weekly Links- November 13 – 20 ‘Happy Thanksgiving’

The week began with the clearing out of ‘Occupy’ protesters from Zucotti Park Tuesday morning, and the subsequent re-occupation (minus the tents and camping accouterments) of members of the two month old movement against what they say is corporate advirace and income inequality. Nearly 200 were arrested by police during the eviction.

  •  Structures were dismantled and some property was confiscated by police. Among those entities taken apart, was the so-called ‘People’s Library’, an accumulation of books and periodicals set up for public consumption at the camp site. After Police took down the initial library and confiscated the books, a new collection was begun at Zucotti Park. Then that library was also dismantled and its materials destroyed. The American Library Association has expressed alarm over the incident.
  • In New York City and other communities and college campuses around the globe, ‘Occupy’ demonstrators participated in  what was deemed a ‘National Day of Action’ to condemn the crackdowns, rail against austerity measures, and celebrate the two month anniversary of the movement. Marchers took part in acts of civil disobedience  attempting to shut down financial centers, tie up traffic, fill subways, protest in large banks, and march across bridges and landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge. Hundreds were arrested by police including a retired Philadelphia Police Captain and a  New York City Council member. I will also be posting a slightly belated article on events correlated to the ‘Day of Action’ that took place in Amherst on Thursday.
  •  In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), banking lobbyists reveal their desire to derail the ‘Occupy movement’ and help defeat any Democrats that might sympathize with their calls to reign in the power of large financial institutions that many blame for the 2008 meltdown. They also express fear of a populist alliance between the ‘Occupy’ movement and the ‘Tea Party’ that could be detrimental to them.
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October 18, 2011

Occupy Wall Street becomes Occupy Northampton

'Occupy Northampton ' demonstrators out in front of the Bank of America on Oct 6.

The ‘ Occupy Wall Street’ movement’s message against corporate power and Wall Street greed touched down in Northampton just a little over a week ago on Thursday Oct 6, when demonstrators assembled outside the Bank of America branch on Main Street, for what its organizers dubbed ‘Occupy Northampton’.

   Standing behind barricades erected by Northampton Police in the parking area in front of the bank, protesters wielded homemade signs, chanted slogans, and sang along to the music of a burly college age acoustic guitar player backed up on occasion by the slap of a tribal drum or the shaking of a percussion instrument.
    Collectively, those in attendance  referred to themselves as ‘the 99%’, a term common in the vernacular of the ‘Occupy movement’ rallies across the country.
September 22, 2011

Elizabeth Warren, one week in.

About a week into Elizabeth Warren’s Democratic primary campaign for the U.S Senate, it appears that she isn’t doing nearly as bad and some thought she would be or Republicans hoped she would be.

First her campaign and Democrats recieved a jolt of sorts when a new poll revealed that a new poll shows her up two points in a hypothetical race with Brown next year, after a previous poll had shown her 15 points behind. Now Greg Sargent at the Washington Post has this video which is making the rounds through the progressive blogosphere.

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September 16, 2011

She’s In ! Elizabeth Warren enters Senate race

Elizabeth Warren (pic courtesy of

Fashioning herself as a voice for the working class willing to stand up against the interests of corporate lobbyists, Elizabeth Warren officially launched her campaign Wednesday for the Democratic nomination to take on Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) next Fall.

In a one minute and thirty-five second video posted on her campaign’s website, the former Harvard Law Professor turned consumer advocate says that a Washington dominated by corporate special interests whose desires are met at the expense of average Americans, was key in tipping the scales for her in favor of running for the U.S Senate.

    “Washington is rigged for big corporations that hire armies of lobbyists. A big company like GE (General Electric) pays nothing in taxes, and we’re asking college students to take on even more debt to get an education. We’re telling seniors they have to live on less. It isn’t right and it’s why I am running for the United States Senate.”

Following her announcement, she began Wednesday greeting South Boston Commuters at the Broadway MBTA station, before embarking on a two day journey across the Commonwealth visiting the cities of Framingham, Gloucester, Lowell, New Bedford, Springfield, and Worcester.

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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:

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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