A banner slogan on the Pemberton Republican Club's Web site that said, "Obama loves America like O.J. loved Nicole," disappeared yesterday after local Democrats alleged racist campaign tactics. The Web master, Ed Kuck, a recently elected Republican County committeeman, said he had seen the slogan on an Internet site and copied it onto the club's Web page about a month ago as "a joke." He removed it yesterday from the site, http://homewebs.net/pem, after a community person told him it would offend people, he said. "I found out it was inappropriate, and I took it down," Kuck said, adding: "I just want to apologize to anybody who was offended, because that wasn't our intention at all." Pemberton Councilwoman Diane Stinney said a Republican friend had called to tell her about the ad, saying: "I just want you to know I'm very disappointed with our Republican page." Stinney then reported it to fellow Democrats. She said the slogan had offended her, adding that Pemberton is a very diverse community. "We've come a very long way, and we people of different colors still have a lot of growing up to do, but there are other issues that the two [presidential] candidates have to and should be addressing," she said.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Native to the American prairies, it was slowly replaced by European grasses. Cows can eat it. It works as a ground cover and prevents erosion. It can grow in all sorts of conditions without a lot of cultivation. It's also a crop that many are looking to for alternative energy.
SUNDERLAND - They may be sprouts now, but Robert Williams of Mount Toby Farm in Sunderland hopes to heat his dairy farm and home for one year with the biofuel he will reap from an acre of switchgrass. Williams is one of the few farmers in Massachusetts growing plants for "second generation" or "advanced" biofuels - biological energy sources that do not deplete corn, sugar or other food crops. Through a partnership with the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Extension Program and several state agencies, 10 farmers in western Massachusetts are growing switchgrass and crambe, an oil-seed plant. "We're going to need something besides oil and propane," said Williams, a seventh-generation farmer. "We're doing a small amount now, see how it pans out." Over the last few years, as oil prices climbed to $145 a barrel and concern about the environmental effects of carbon emissions has grown, the state has pumped up biofuels. Bay State farmers are just now beginning to invest their land in the process. In Massachusetts, as elsewhere in the world, biofuels face an uphill battle against black, bubbling crude. Biofuels must straddle a line in sharing land with and not depleting food crops. And the infrastructure needed to convert biomass into fuel and distribute it does not yet exist. All the while, oil and food prices soar. The price of cereal, for example, increased by more than 60 percent from 2005 to 2006, due in part to biofuel production, according to a report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
One of his first duties as cub master was to be "pied" by those cub scouts who sold the most popcorn during a fundraiser to help pay for summer camp.
One of the pie throwers was Fabricius' son, Logan, 8, who sold $500 worth of products and got to throw two cream pies. The other two pie throwers were also from Den 6. They were Nathan Varney, 7, who sold $750 worth of popcorn items and got to throw four pies, and Andrew LeBlanc, 7, who sold $280 worth of popcorn products, and got to throw one pie.
Activities planned for the summer include: rain gutter regatta, kick ball every Tuesday night, sleepover with the Pawtucket Red Sox, monthly Pack hikes, Cub Scout summer camp, and camp out at Camp Fabricius, the Fabricius property
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
It may take a while for you and me to get used to my new blog site. I'll feel better when I can change the picture on the blog to something from Granby, rather than Manhattan. Nonetheless, I'm starting my posting there.
Please visit Granby01033 at www.granbymass.net.
FROM ALUMNI ’08 COMMITTEE
CONTACT: PAUL ROBITAILLE: 413-427-9613
Premier Alumni Day Picnic Scheduled for August 9
On Saturday, June 14, members of the reunion committee for the Class of 68, held a bake sale and 50/50 drive to jumpstart the coffers for their 40th reunion as well as the first-ever Alumni Day Picnic to be held in August this year.
On Friday evening, August 8, the Classes of 67, 68, 69 and 70 will gather for their respective class reunions at Adelfia’s banquet facilities on Route 202, South Hadley. The evening will begin with a social hour featuring an international cheese board and cash bar followed by a buffet dinner.
However one evening together is just not enough. So on Saturday, August 9, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. the four classes will host the first-ever ALUMNI DAY PICNIC at Dufresne Recreation Area, Rte. 202, in Granby, where ALL GRANBY HIGH alumni, from the year 1964 through current graduates, are invited. There is no cost for admission or parking. Guests can bring their own eats and drinks in coolers, or they may purchase food at the concession provided by an independent vendor.
Softball and volleyball games will bring old friends together again, along with favorite oldies from back in the day. So bring yearbooks and brag books and enjoy a day with old friends.
Anyone wishing more information about their respective reunions or the Alumni Day festivities, may call Donna McKay, Class of 67: 413-533-4262: Paul Robitaille, Class of 68: 413-427-9613; Russ Boudreau, Class of 69: 413-538-9342.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
In the next couple of days, I'll be posting full-time at the Granby01033's new address: www.granbymass.net.
I've been able to add a calendar function, so I can run a list of events. I'd like to keep it mostly Granby stuff, but I could make exceptions.
If your organization has an event planned or if you're just having a tag sale, let me know and post it at www.granbymass.net.
He's the most clueless president we've had in a century.
The idea that tax cuts are the key to a healthy economy is in the process of playing itself out. Except for disinvesting in the nation's infrastructure and increasing the divide between the rich and poor, tax cuts haven't done anything for the economy.Still, the fault with today's economy lies not so much with The Worst President Ever or his tax cuts as the short-term thinking of Republicans and neo-liberal Democrats.
He Who Must Be Read says that the current economic mess isn't the fault of The Worst President Ever. Mind, you, he didn't do anything to help, but the actual causes of the current crisis date back farther to the short-sighted energy and health policies of 1990's:
At the top of my list of causes for the lousy economy are three factors: the housing bubble and its aftermath, rising health care costs and soaring raw materials prices. I’ve written a lot about housing, so today let’s talk about the others.
One of the underemphasized keys to the Clinton boom, I’d argue, was the way the cost disease of health care went into remission between 1993 and 2000. For a while, the spread of managed care put a lid on premiums, encouraging companies to expand their work forces.
But premiums surged again after 2000, imposing huge new burdens on business. It’s a good bet that this played an important role in weak job creation.
What about raw materials prices? During the Clinton years basic commodities stayed cheap by historical standards. Since then, however, food and energy prices have exploded, directly lopping about 5 percent off the typical American family’s real income, and raising business costs throughout the economy.
Much of this pain could have been avoided.
If Bill Clinton’s attempt to reform health care had succeeded, the U.S. economy would be in much better shape today. But the attempt failed — and let’s remember why. Yes, the Clinton administration botched the politics. But it was Republicans in Congress who blocked reform, as Newt Gingrich pursued a strategy of “coagulation” designed to “clot everyone away” from Mr. Clinton.
As for high food and fuel prices, they’re mainly the result of growing demand from China and other emerging economies. But oil prices wouldn’t be as high as they are, and the United States would have been much less vulnerable to the current price spike, if we had taken steps in the past to limit our oil consumption.
Mr. Bush certainly deserves some blame here, and not just for his destructive embrace of ethanol as the answer to our energy problems. After 9/11 he could easily have called for higher gas taxes and fuel efficiency standards as a national security measure, but the thought never seems to have crossed his mind.
Still, in energy as in health care the biggest missed opportunities came 15 or more years ago, when Mr. Gingrich and other conservative Republicans in Congress, aided by Democrats with ties to energy-intensive industries, blocked conservation measures.
So here’s the bottom line: Mr. Bush deserves some blame for the poor performance of the economy on his watch, but much of the blame lies with other, earlier political figures, who squandered chances for reform. As it happens, however, most though not all of the politicians responsible for our current economic difficulties were Republicans.
PHOENIX – Senator John McCain is pledging once again to balance the budget by the end of his first term in 2013, his advisers said Monday, reverting to an earlier pledge he had abandoned in April when he proposed a series of costly tax cuts for corporations and high earners and said it might take two terms to balance the budget. It is unclear how Mr. McCain plans to balance the budget, given that fiscal analysts who have examined his economic plans say that his calls to extend the Bush tax cuts while cutting corporate and other taxes would likely increase the deficit. Mr. McCain plans to talk about the economy – which has eclipsed Iraq and terrorism in polls of voter concerns – all week.
I may be wrong, but balanced budgets are for times when people aren't worrying about money. It takes a lot of contentment to care whether the government is paying all of its bills on time when you can't pay your own.Glad to see the switch in McCain's campaign management is making a difference. --Mb
U.S. Department of Education employees inappropriately used government credit cards to purchase $49,500 worth of goods and services, including meals, items at clothing stores and rental cars, for personal use, according to a review by the department's inspector general.
Auditors examining a sample of business travel expenses for fiscal 2006 found $18,256 in inappropriate charges made by 34 employees. The charges included payments to clothing retailers and restaurants near their homes or office.
Twenty-nine people used bank cards to withdraw about $17,600 more than allowed under the department's travel allowance for meals and incidentals. Four department workers made $13,570 in bank card withdrawals when they weren't on business travel. One logged 44 withdrawals totaling $8,560.
It could not be determined yesterday whether employees paid for the personal expenses they charged. The cards are issued to individual employees who are responsible for paying the bills but then seek reimbursement.
A former state Department of Education administrator has told investigators that she was offered a private sector job by a sales representative for Cognos ULC, around the same time that the software company was attempting to win a lucrative education contract in 2006, according to officials briefed on the matter.
Maureen Chew was the education department's chief information officer when, she told state officials, she was approached by Joseph Lally, a Cognos representative trying to broker a multimillion-dollar contract between Cognos and the state.
Lally was a former Cognos vice president who was selling the company's software through a new sales firm he had founded. Chew told officials he had offered her a job at his company, Montvale Solutions, during a lunch meeting, and that she declined it.
Chew refused to meet with Lally after the offer was made, but Lally went over her head to her superiors in a successful effort to land a multimillion-dollar software contract, according to the officials. He had unusual access to the Department of Education's headquarters in Malden, she told officials, appearing there multiple times, though she didn't know whom he was visiting.
If he made a job offer, Lally could have violated the state's conflict of interest law, which bars private individuals from offering anything to a public official with the intent to influence an official act.
The report of the job offer marks yet another instance of Cognos appearing in the thick of questionable activity in pursuit of state business. After Cognos won a $13 million contract to sell management performance software to the state in 2007, the state inspector general sharply criticized the deal, saying the bidding process was so rushed and faulty that the deal should be rescinded.
Neither Lally nor Chew, who now works for the information technology division of the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, returned phone calls from the Globe seeking comment. Last week Chew was interviewed by investigators from the inspector general's office.
Business Intelligence tools are a type of application software designed to report, analyze and present data. The tools generally read data that have been previously stored often, though, not necessarily, in a data warehouse or data mart. [Wikipedia]
- Calculate curriculum costs, identify good fundraising programs
- Monitor student headcount and performance, program outcomes, school reputation, national agendas, and other KPIs
- Share secure Web-based information with all stakeholders
- Manage endowments and recruitment through driver-based planning
- Spot high- and low-performance schools or programs
- Map enrollment to attendance and attendance to performance
- Speed compliance reporting
Monday, July 07, 2008
The national job situation continued to sour in June with a net loss of 62,000 payroll jobs, the government said Thursday. Private economists warned not to expect a turnaround until 2009. The grim outlook reflected six straight months of job cuts — a sustained slide that hadn’t occurred since 2001-02 — and an unchanged 5.5 percent unemployment rate, the highest level in four years. “This statistic was greatly affected by the number of discouraged adults who have left the labor force,” said Peter Morici, an economist at the University of Maryland who follows the labor market. “Factoring in the decline in the number of adults participating in the labor force, the unemployment rate is closer to 7.2 percent.” Voter surveys indicate the economy is the top concern, and economists said they expect the June jobs report to cause presidential contenders to focus more on the topic. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Thursday also revised upward the job loss numbers initially reported for April and May. U.S. employers cut 52,000 more jobs in those months than first tallied. Since December, payroll employment has fallen by 438,000 jobs. Another indicator, also reported Thursday, suggested further upward revisions in jobless numbers can be expected. Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose to 404,000 last week, the U.S. Department of Labor said in a separate report. That brought the national four-week moving average of new jobless claims to its highest level since October 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Sunday, July 06, 2008
In a town meeting in Cincinnati the next day, Mr. McCain would again slip up on the name of the Massachusetts town, where, he noted, “Americans asserted their independence once before.” He called it “the Lexiggdon Project” and twice tried to fix his error before flipping the name (“Project Lexington”) in subsequent references.
Retail politics is informal. small crowds. Kissing babies, shaking hands, speaking off the cuff. Sen. John McCain is a gifted-retail politician. He's used his Straight Talk Express to great effect. Conservative pundit Tucker Carlson wrote about the McCain's retail effect
In his book Politicians, Partisans, and Parasites: My Adventures in Cable News, Tucker Carlson explains the source of many journalists' attraction to the Arizona senator: "McCain ran an entire presidential campaign aimed primarily at journalists.... To a greater degree than any candidate in thirty years, McCain offered reporters the three things they want most: total access all the time, an endless stream of amusing quotes, and vast quantities of free booze."
Aside from a campaign that has been terribly run, McCain seems to be a particularly poor whole sale politician. He flubs his soundbites and can't read from a teleprompter. National campaigns depend on wholesale politics. The NYT reports:
A politician who has thrived in the give-and-take settings of campaign buses, late-night TV couches and town meetings, he now is trying to meet the more formal speaking demands of a general election campaign.
By his own admission, Mr. McCain is not a great orator. He is ill-suited to lecterns, which often dwarf his small stature, and he tends to sound as if he is reading his lines, not speaking them. His shortcomings have been accentuated in a two-man race, particularly because the other man — Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee — can often dazzle on stage.
Mr. McCain and his advisers know that Mr. Obama’s ability to excite huge crowds will make for an inevitable podium mismatch for the older, softer-spoken Republican. “We’re going up against a guy who is off the charts,” said Mark Salter, Mr. McCain’s longtime Senate chief of staff and campaign adviser.
To better compete, Mr. McCain is undergoing a subtle but marked transition as a political performer, said aides and people who have watched him. As part of a staff shakeup that was announced Tuesday, he brought in a new adviser — Greg Jenkins, a former White House official and Fox News producer — who will oversee the producing and staging of Mr. McCain’s events. Mr. Jenkins is considered an expert at political stagecraft, oversaw many of President Bush’s appearances and served as executive director of the 2004 inaugural committee.
Mr. McCain is working closely with aides like Brett O’Donnell, a former debate consultant for Mr. Bush, to improve his speech and performance. He is working to limit his verbal tangents and nonverbal tics. He is speaking less out of the sides of his mouth, which can produce a wiseguy twang reminiscent of the Penguin from the Batman stories, and he is relying less on his favorite semantic crutch — the phrase “my friends” — which he used repeatedly in his campaign appearances. He also appears to be trying to exercise restraint, advisers and campaign observers say, when speaking off the cuff, wisecracking in town meetings and criticizing his opponent. In recent weeks, for example, Mr. McCain seems to have reined in the sarcasm he has directed at Mr. Obama. (In May, for example, he said of his opponent, “With his very, very great lack of experience and knowledge of the issues, he’s been very successful.”)
Alan Schroeder, a journalism professor at Northeastern University, said, “There’s a danger of sarcasm becoming nastiness, and McCain seems to be conscious of that line.”
EAST LONGMEADOW - Harry E. Pitsiladis, 62, (1946-2008) died at home on Wednesday July 2, 2008 after battling lung cancer. Harry was born in Greece and moved to this country in 1956. He was the son of the late Emmanuel and Mary Pitsiladis of Longmeadow. Harry was a member of St. Luke's Greek Orthodox Church of East Longmeadow.
Harry leaves two sons, Emmanuel and Nicholas Pitsiladis; a daughter, Maria Pitsiladis, all of South Hadley; a brother, George Pitsiladis of North Dakota; and a sister, Pauline Bellerose Spallino of Enfield, CT.