August 27, 2012

Space pioneer Neil Armstrong, who did the actual moonwalk, dead at 82

Neil Armstrong, who in 1969 captured the attention of millions of television viewers and the world who took ‘one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’ when he became the first man to set foot on the moon died Saturday at age 82, from complications due to heart surgery Armstrong had undergone in July. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

July 20, 2012

‘The Mindless Menace of Violence’ strikes Aurora, CO

A lone gunman opened fire on a crowd at the premiere of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, killing at least 12 and wounding 50. The suspect allegedly hurled a can of tear gas into the crowd before spraying those gathered in the theater with gunfire. According to reports the gunman, 24-year-old James Holmes fled after the shooting and was apprehended by police in the theater’s parking lot.

This is one of the moments of horror where the rhythms of our own everyday lives are collectively interrupted by the realization man is just as capable of horror as he is of discovery, creation, or monotony. A speech that then Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy gave a day after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr is especially relevant and sums up incidents like this and the reverberations they send through mankind.
Continue reading

July 16, 2012

Jon Lord, ‘Deep Purple’ Keyboardist dies

The hard rocker passed away in London today at the age of 71, following  a long bought with pancreatic cancer.

 

July 14, 2012

One Hundred years of Woody

It was one hundred years ago today Woodrow Wilson Guthrie, better known to the world and those who met him as ‘Woody’ Guthrie, was born in Okemah, Oklahoma a place marked by rural poverty. Eventually Woody’s search for work in the years of the Great Depression and Dust Bowl would take him across much of America, where with his guitar he documented  the beauty of the lands, the injustices of the powerful,  the events of his  time, and the characters he met.

During his life Guthrie wasn’t a celebrity in the modern sense. Nor during his life did he have many if any best selling albums.  He wasn’t donning the covers of magazines and sure as hell would never be handled by a publicist,  but his original music well simple, would become the call of  many. It would touch the pioneer,  the dispossessed wanderer, the migrant farmers, the labor union member, the  coal minor, and all those  suffocated by hardship or the powerful. Over time he would not become merely a king among the pantheon of other singers and songwriters, many of whom he inspired (could you really picture Bob Dylan without Woody Guthrie), or even as an artist who heralded a message of  social justice. Rather, Woody would become an icon a force in and of himself. One whose words and imagery reminded those who he sat and sang with that in a difficult world they were not alone, and offered a glimpse to all of us into their lives. Continue reading

July 11, 2012

Ernest Borgnine, award winning fim and television actor dead at 95

 

Ernest Borgnine, the heavy-set actor with the gap toothed grin whose over half a century of acting included an Academy Award-winning performance in the 1955  film classic “Marty” and a staring role  in the television sitcom “McHale’s Navy”, died of kidney failure Sunday at Ceader Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles at the age of 95. Continue reading

July 1, 2012

Round up of Massachusetts U.S Senate race part II

Senator Scott Brown (R-MA), picture from desmosblog

Since Warren clinched the nomination nearly a month ago, along with the ads which have been scattered across the television landscape, its debate preparations that have received much of the attention.

Earlier this month Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the widow of the late Senator Edward M Kennedy (D-MA) extended an invitation to both Warren and Brown for a debate hosted by former NBC Nightly News Anchor Tom Brokaw at the Edward M Kennedy Institute at UMASS Boston. Warren accepted the invitation, but Brown who won the special election in January 2010 to fill the seat left vacant after the August 2009 death of the longtime Senator, made his acceptance contingent upon Kennedy promising to stay neutral in the Senate debate and MSNBC not host the forum.

Though Kennedy has not yet formally endorsed Warren and the Institute said they were still looking for sponsors, both this conditions were deemed as ‘inappropriate’ and ‘unprecedented’, so Brown declined the offer and the debate is off.  The Brown campaign said that to have the Institute’s head trustee host a debate and possibly later endorse his opponent was a conflict of interest and so the debate was off. Such a  conflict however, didn’t seem to present itself when Brown challenged Warren to a debate on conservative leaning Boston talker Dan Rea’s radio show.

Warren turned down the offer to appear on the WBZ News radio show this Wednesday and Brown went on the show anyway and in an awkward way the two seemed to be debating from afar and indirectly, when Brown was on Dan Rea’s show  and  Warren  appeared  on MSNBC’s ‘The Rachel Maddow Show’. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

June 6, 2012

Broadsheets in the bathroom

From ‘Stuff Journalist like’