Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Seriously, who could ever vote for this guy?

More Crazy Ted time!

I honestly don't go out of my way to find these things, but for some reason it's hard to read anything in the Sentinel these days without finding Ted DeSalvatore doing or saying something ridiculous.

Today's example comes from an article on The Compound nightclub getting shut down early by police:
Police shut down the Compound nightspot about an hour early Sunday morning because of an argument between two women which looked like it might "escalate," Sgt. Glenn C. Fossa said.
Pretty standard stuff. The Compound has had a few incidents in the past, and the city's License Commission has been critical of them lately so I suppose that closing an hour early is sort of newsworthy, even though there were no arrests.

But it doesn't make for a very exciting story. And how do you spice up a boring article? Call Crazy Ted!
Ward 4 Councilor Ted DeSalvatore, a former supporter of downtown's now-defunct Club Karma, said clubs which feature hip-hop will always face an uphill battle.

"I know that tends to bring in the clientele that can be a little tough to deal with it [sic], you know they just have to be a little more vigilant," DeSalvatore said, explaining that Club Karma's staff could not handle the sometimes violent crowds he said hip-hop music can attract.
Okay, I'll grant that a club that plays hip hop may bring in a younger and therefore more rowdy crowd than one that only plays John Tesh and Kenny G. But who in their right mind really thinks hip hop attracts "violent crowds" these days? It's about as mainstream as mainstream gets.

The Compound's web site says its upstairs features live bands, comfortable seating, and pool while the downstairs is "Hip Hop, Techno, and Top 40 Dance". Yeah, that's some hardcore gangsta shit there, alright.

Now, just blaming hip hop for violence would be dumb enough, but Ted rarely stops there. No, it's time to take it to a ridiculous and dangerous extreme!
DeSalvatore said he would consider putting a total stop to hip-hop in the city's bars and clubs, although he wondered if it would be legal to do so.

"If you are going to have regular violence that is due to hip-hop, maybe it should be something that should be banned," DeSalvatore said.
Two big problems here:

One: "regular violence that is due to hip-hop"? Ted, it's two girls fighting in a bar. I'm willing to bet it wasn't over the song selection. It's just possible that the alcohol being served had more to do with the fight than the music being played at the time.

Two: You can't fucking ban an entire genre of music just because you don't like it! Even suggesting such a thing should disqualify you from ever seeking higher office and probably earn you a remedial civics lesson on the Bill of Rights. Then maybe you'd realize that yes, there are some pretty big legal problems with banning music.

The likelihood of anything coming out of DeSalvatore's remarks is slim, but just knowing that he thinks along these lines is frightening. If this man gets any real power the city of Fitchburg is in big trouble.

[In honor of Ted's love of good Marxist hip hop, this post has been written while listening to The Coup's "Steal This Double Album".]

Friday, January 19, 2007

Dancing Christians Everywhere!

Yesterday there was an opinion piece in the Sentinel about the Christian Performing Arts Center (CPAC) that's moved onto Main St.

Reading it I felt a twinge of concern. A performing arts center is a fantastic thing to move into downtown Fitchburg, but what's with all the Christianity?

After all, we already have a Christian coffeehouse* right next door to the new CPAC. Despite being exactly the type of person to whom a coffeehouse should appeal, I've never gone in. Why? Because I'm quite openly an atheist and just don't feel like I'd be particularly welcome in such a place. Or if welcome, that I'd have to put up with a lot of pointless proselytizing. A well-run coffeehouse on Main Street would be a fantastic thing, but a Christian coffeehouse inherently limits its clientele.

Now, the argument could be made that Christians tend to stick together, so by being a "Christian coffeehouse" they guaranteed themselves a core group of religious folk. But it's coffee, people! I can't imagine someone opening a "Christian bar" or a "Christian pizza place". Why a Christian coffeehouse?

But that's the past. Now the Christian Performing Arts Center is opening. Plenty of great art has been been based on religious themes, and certainly I have nothing against people expressing their beliefs with artistic expression. My one concern was is this going to be something else that (like the coffeehouse) fractures people rather than bringing them together?

To try to figure this out I emailed Jen Potts of the CPAC and asked a couple of questions. First, are non-Christians allowed to participate (Jews, Muslims, atheists, etc)? Second, is the focus primarily on art or religion?

The answers were encouraging. Anyone can participate, and Jen explicitly stated she's not looking to "segregate our society" in any way. Now, their focus will clearly be Christian-themed (or at least Christian "worldview") performance, so it's debatable how many non-Christians would be interested in joining. But it's good to know that they're welcome anyway.

As for the focus, apparently it's really on the arts. The religious aspect can be used as a tool towards that end, and the material chosen needs to stick to the "Christian worldview". You're probalby not going to see them performing "The Vagina Monologues" any time soon, but frankly why the hell would you want to? Regardless, the focus seems to be on the art itself, with the performances (and possibly the instruction to some degree) having clear Christian overtones. Not my cup of tea, but not necessarily something that would prevent a non-Christian from getting involved for the love of the art itself.

Would I prefer a secular performing arts center? Yes, of course. But I have to give CPAC credit for doing what they believe in, so the best of luck to them.

So there you have it, possibly the first time I've ever agreed with an editorial in the Sentinel. Except for the end part about wanting to see a Barnes & Noble downtown. How about a nice independent bookstore that will actually give a shit about the community? Sheesh!

* As a friend pointed out to me, the local coffee house's name, "Common Ground", is shared by a chain operated by the Twelve Tribes cult. I assume this is coincidental. I certainly hope so, because the Twelve Tribes are a bit scary. In a nutshell:
The Twelve Tribes await the coming of the Messiah. Children play an integral part in the preparation for the Messiah and the Last Day. Freeing children from guilt and keeping their minds pure is a critical necessity. For this reason, teachings instruct that children not play with toys, play imaginary or fantasy games, have candy, or watch television or movies.
If a child disobeys these rules, does not respond on first command to an adult, or commits any other sinful act, he or she is spanked by his or her parent with a wooden rod which is an "eighteen inch, thin, flexible balloon stick meant to sting but not injure." When punished, the child is supposed to refrain from crying and thank the punisher, the reproof and instruction having built his character.
Members, upon entering the Community, renounce all possessions, in the spirit of living together communally and sharing all goods.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Very Reasonable Man May Run For Mayor

Good news, people! Very reasonable (not batshit insane) person Ted DeSalvatore might run for mayor!

At least that's according to an article in yesterday's Worcester Telegram. It's not so much he's running for mayor yet though as it is that people just really, really want him to:
“I have had people ask me to run for every office: mayor, senator, governor and even president,” Mr. DeSalvatore said with a chuckle.

Mr. DeSalvatore, a first-term councilor from Ward 4, said he was floored when several of his supporters recently stepped forward and asked if they could throw him a party to thank him for his outspokenness on several issues facing the city.

The supporters, who have formed Team to Elect DeSalvatore, will hold an event on Jan. 27. Details will be forthcoming.
Take the Team to Elect DeSalvatore (aka TED) lightly at your own risk. They've already got a kickass website up really lame website they took down [updated 1/19].

It's hard to argue with the man's qualifications. After all, he's a first-term ward councilor. Also, he's a vigilante!
DeSalvatore admits he regularly walks through neighborhoods in his ward which have a reputation for drugs and violence, often taking videotape and calling the police if he spots illegal activity.
DeSalvatore also acknowledges that certain people often ask him to leave, which he refuses to do.
He says that on one recent occasion, he told a confrontational young man on Elm Street, "I'm going to be back here every day just for you."
DeSalvatore says he is only fulfilling the promises he made when he ran for City Council last fall.

I must have missed the part of his campaign when he promised to walk around invading people's privacy and harrassing young people. Which is a shame, because I would have loved to see people's reactions.

Whatever the case, if he does run for mayor it should make for some fantastically surreal debates. Go for it, Ted!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year!

Well, I'm back from an interminable 10-day trip to Texas over the holidays. The highlight is reflected in this adorable picture of two meerkats at the Fort Worth Zoo. About 30 seconds after I took this picture they started having angry sex and making some horrifying noises. Children scattered. It was great!

I returned with a horrific cold, and in this sort of state I have a tendency to wander over to "Save Fitchburg". I made the mistake of looking at their poll today. It's about who you'd vote for for mayor if the election were held today. Horrifyingly, Ted DeSalvatore is way ahead. Not that I expect any less from the nice folks who visit Save Fitchburg, but yikes!

So, out of nothing more than antihistamines and spite I present my own poll:

How big an idiot is Ted "Liberty Walk" DeSalvatore?
Really super hugely big, like crazy big man!
Very very large indeed.
Big, really big...
So big he eclipses the sun.
Bigger than Jesus.
I think he's a very reasonable person, and you're an asshole for making this poll.

Only one vote per person please, this isn't the Sentinel & Enterprise.

Also, happy New Year!