Archive for the Politics Category

The following was written by my cousin, Karen Hurley. It speaks so well to my own sentiments I had to pass it on (with permission).

I never expected Obama to be a secular messiah. I’m proud that he broke a historic barrier, but my vote for him was and is not due to his race. I sure am voting against Romney because of race, because MR never stood up against the racism festering in his base. MR never said, “Don’t vote for me because you’re uncomfortable with a black person having authority, or harbor negative stereotypes about people of color – vote for me because you agree with my ideas.” Instead, he lets pundits drop ill-disguised code words designed to surreptitiously stimulate racial fears while he smiles and waves, hoping to benefit from hatred at the polls even as he denies its existence. If a man is willing to let an entire people slip under the bus (oh, and let’s add women who have suffered rape while we’re at it, and LGBT folks and…), don’t fool yourself that he won’t do it to you. After all, look at what he did for a living – strip-mining the assets out of companies and reselling them, upending lives in the process. Don’t think that identifying with a big dog will protect you from what the big dogs are up to in your own yard – digging up our banks, healthcare system, real estate, and industries for cash - cash that will *not* trickle down back to you. As Romney himself has shown (in the limited returns he was forced to release), that cash will then sit offshore in a tax shelter, enriching a few, and creating jobs for no one. That Obama achieved anything at all (and he did achieve quite a bit) is a miracle in the face the all-out, intransigent “War of No” waged by Republican congress members, in which even minor, perfectly reasonable laws and mid-level nominations were blocked with the express purpose of denying Obama the possibility of receiving credit for anything. Republican Congress members put “make Obama a one-term president” ahead of the recovery, and the Republican presidential nominee wants you to blame Obama for that. And what are we recovering from? My favorite sign at the 2003 protests against Bush’s invasion of Iraq was, “Drunken frat boy borrows his Daddy’s car and drives it into a ditch.” Came true, didn’t it? In his first term, Obama has gotten the car mostly out of the ditch; now we need to secure the car and fill in the hole so it won’t happen again. Voting for four more years.

There is a group of people in Oxford that thinks that it’s okay to go after anyone they disagree with. Right now, they’ve decided they don’t like the Superintendent of Schools. As far as I can tell she’s the most popular superintendent we’ve had since we’ve been living here (1991).

Somehow, they keep stating that it’s a political attack on the board. It’s the Democrats. When it’s pointed out that there are Republicans who are against what they are doing, they claim that those Republicans are working for Democrats. The fact that these Republicans have been active in Republican Town politics since before many of them were born isn’t relevant. They’ve attacked my wife and I by name because we got involved. Had they asked, I would have told them that I’ve voted both for Republican and Democrat candidates over the years here. But, I’m a political hack!

The whole concept of participation without partisanship seems inconceivable. They think that FOI rules are technicalities that they get to interpret according to what’s convenient. They’ve stated that they don’t take petitions seriously because anyone will sign whatever their friends put in front of them, even though that is how Town Meeting government works.

As soon as word got around that people would be coming to a scheduled meeting that had been included an audience of citizens, they announced that they could not pull together enough of a quorum to hold the meeting and canceled it. Here’s a hint, people: when you run for an office and are elected, you are expected to attend meetings. I wonder how the absence record of the current Superintendent compares to the record of the current BOE Chair? (more…)

Lets get as many people as possible out on Tuesday, June 15, at 6pm at Oxford High School to support Dr. Palmer.

Dr. Palmer has been a wonderful superintendent. We need to show the Oxford Board of Education what we think of their arbitrary decision to void a contract without first showing a good faith effort to correct whatever language their new attorney may have called into question.

Please show your support on Tuesday.

The Oxford Board of Education is out of control! They voided the superintendent’s contract for undisclosed reasons (citing inexplicable attorney client privilege) and have now informed Dr. Palmer that there will be a review on June 30th based on criteria that have yet to be determined. A review should have happened in April according to the contract in full force at the time. This process was determined at meetings of the last board and discussed at meetings of the current board, all of which chair McKinnon was (or should have been) in attendance. Simply put, she dropped the ball. (more…)

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In Oxford, we have a Town Meeting form of government with a Board of Selectmen and a Board of Finance.

We also have a Board of Education. The Oxford Board of Education wants to put a metal roof with solar panels on the Oxford Great Oak Middle School to at least try to mitigate the costs of an electrically heated building. So the Oxford Board of Selectmen established a committee to look into the options available. That committee came back with a recommendation to proceed with the metal roof rather than once again going the route of the standard asphalt roof, which has never successfully kept the rain out anyway.

So far, so good. Deciding which way to go is a valid subject for debate. Everyone performed their responsibilities and the process continued. The next step was to send it to the Oxford Board of Finance to review the finances and make a recommendation to the town. That’s where it gets strange. The Oxford Board of Finance decided to review the options. Not the financing options, the roofing options! (more…)

I’m not generally a fan of celebrity endorsements. Somehow, the idea that someone might base their decision on who should be president based upon an endorsement by someone who makes their living pretending to be somebody else, or singing or playing music, or throwing some sort of ball, is kind of scary. But in a blog entry by Paul Reiser today on The Huffington Post, he really hits the nail on the head; John McCain is becoming the schoolyard bully who steals your lunch money and blames you because you brought it. Another, non-celebrity, blog by Kathleen Reardon also says it well when she asks,”Is It Sexist To Want The Person Flying The Plane To Be A Pilot?

I saw an interview with John McCain, yesterday, where he stated that if Obama had agreed to his plan for Town Hall style debates, the campaign would not have taken a negative tone.

So let me get this straight. Most of the mud being thrown over the fence has been from the McCain campaign. But if Obama had allowed McCain to control Obama’s strategy, then McCain would have played nice????

One of the wonderful things about the internet is that it give a voice to a lot of people who haven’t had much of one before and generally enhances the dissemination of knowledge. Knowledge and Voice are an essential ingredient to a functioning democracy. However, the current election shows us that whenever the privileges of a free society are available, someone will abuse them.

Last night, a friend forwarded me one of the viral emails floating around about Senator Barack Obama, attributing a rediculous quote to him to challenge his patriotism. The quote was a complete fabrication. This morning, we received one containing a list of books that Governor Palin wanted banned. It was also a fabrication. The fabrication of so-called information does a disservice to the privilege of Free Speech.

The email about Obama built upon another viral email sent out earlier which took a picture of Obama without his hand over his heart while two of his opponents did and claimed that he refused to honor the Pledge of Allegiance. This also was not true. At the event in question, he DID put his hand over his heart during the Pledge. The picture was taken during the playing of the National Anthem. If someone wants to use that standard, then the question can be asked, though by that standard anyone who’s ever attended a ball game could have their patriotism questioned! Deliberately twisting it into something which it is not is an obscenity.

The Governor Palin thing takes a different kind of fact and twists it. She did, in fact, ask the city librarian a question about banning books. Personally, I think that even consideration of the banning of books is frightening enough. The email states that she also later tried to fire the librarian. This was also true. A quick Google search indicates that she did not think the librarian was supportive. Her reasoning is open to interpretation, and contrary to the Republican attack machine is certainly worthy of investigation and/or consideration. However, adding the claim that she actually followed through with an attempt to ban books, enhanced by a list of books that was completely fabricated, turns a valid set of concerns into an obscenity.

Spreading maliscious rumors is not new to politics. Apparently, Thomas Jefferson himself controlled some of the efforts to discredit Alexander Hamilton and the Whigs tried to do it by tying a Jackass to Andrew Jackson (which backfired, when the Democrats adopted it as a symbol of the working man as well as their party). But, I think the cynical use of this kind of disinformation has become revolting.

In the current election cycle, the “validation” of these attacks rose a notch when Hillary Clinton felt compelled to say that she didn’t know whether Obama was a Muslim which took things to the level of an official campaign comment (by the candidate, herself, no less) and was not acceptable.

Yesterday, the McCain campaign went a step further, releasing an ad which put up the headline “Obama on Palin” followed by a video of Obama using the expression, “Lipstick on a Pig.” Looking at the entire segment from which the expression was extracted shows that he wasn’t discussing anything about Governor Palin at the time, and was using the expression to describe some of the policies of John McCain. The McCain campaign trotted out its surrogates expressing outrage about the sexism of the remarks because the reference to lipstick had to have been a reference to the gender of his VP candidate, and completely ignoring the fact that the expression has been frequently used by McCain himself, including during a Town Hall type of event in which he gave an opinion on Hillary Clinton’s health plan.

The whole thing is an obscenity and should be considered an insult to the intelligence of the voters.

I went to a town meeting in Oxford a couple of nights ago. Town meetings have to be among the more interesting ways of running towns. In general, they have to be a lot closer to the Athenian style of democracy than you have with town councils and other variations of government. Anyone who wants to speak can do so. The meeting was presided over by the elected First Selectman and two Selectmen, one of whom was the last First Selectman. According to the rules, a moderator was elected who then stated that he would attempt to limit peoples comments or questions to 3 minutes so that everyone would have a chance to speak.

There were several items on the agenda, the first of which were dispensed with rapidly. The last one drew a great deal of interest. In an objective world, the elected representatives would describe what they had proposed and why they proposed it. Then the people would have a chance to discuss it. At first it seemed to be going that way until the former First Selectman jumped up and raised a point of order that the current First Selectman was exceeding her three minutes! Then, his backers wanted to limit the Director of Development to the same three minutes for explaining the details of the deal being presented to the public. The whole thing seemed to be more geared towards obstruction than participative democracy. Hopefully, in the future we’ll see rules that specifically state that the rule shouldn’t be applied to the overall presentation of what it is we’re about to discuss.

Whatever position people held on the issue being discussed and eventually voted on shouldn’t matter. The people in front were elected to do a job, and should have been permitted to present that work to the public without this kind of nonsense. It’s not about party (or party faction, which is clearly an issue there). It’s about giving approval or disapproval of a town action. There seems to be a group of people here with the wrong goal.

  • Saturday, May 31, we get a first pass on how the Florida and Michigan delegations will be addressed; probably half for Florida, but Michigan will be interesting.
  • Sunday, June 1, Puerto Rico votes, most likely going to Clinton.
  • Tuesday, June 3, Montana and South Dakota vote; then we find out what the next metric is that the Clinton campaign wants to use to measure results and where the new goal post will be.