Thursday, September 27, 2007


So, it's still post-primary fun time and the papers are full of quotes from candidates and ex-candidates. Confusing, baffling quotes.

Honestly, I don't know if I've just finally fried one too many brain cells or what, but there's a whole bunch of stuff in the papers that I just can't wrap my head around. I assume the statements mean something, mostly because they're in the paper. Why would the paper print stuff that doesn't mean anything?

Anyway, let me give you some examples...

I first noticed this trend yesterday, in the Telegram article about the primary. They had some quotes from Dionne that just seemed baffling:
Mr. Dionne said he is considering not running for a political office again after what he calls a “disastrous” result.

“I’m not even going to make an attempt anymore,” he said.
What the hell? Did he even really make an attempt this year? Did he actually expect to get more than 36 votes? I mean, it's not like he raised any money or did any real campaigning or anything. Did he just expect people to vote for him because of his awesome goatee?

Then he got all brimstone and hellfire!
“Everything is following the path happening over the past years,” he said. “Destruction is what they are looking for, and it’s going to happen, too. I can see it happening. It’s a path to destruction.”
Oh my goodness!

I thought Dionne just ran for fun! He was the nice guy who didn't really have a chance but was there to represent the underdog. Now he's prophesied "a path to destruction!" What happened? Where'd the lovable little leprechaun from the debates go?

The next thing that stuck out to me was in this article in the Telegram. Tom Donnelly talks a little about how he's going to focus more on change now. All well and good, totally understandable stuff. But then comes this bit:
“I question changing people without municipal experience versus someone with municipal experience, meaning me,” he said. “I can make change.”
Okay, I understand the last bit: "I can make change." Sure, he sounds sort of like a cashier, but I know what he meant.

It's the first part that's so baffling. I gather he's saying that you can't make change without municipal experience. Or that you should only change to someone with municipal experience. Or something. Is changing to someone with municipal experience even changing? Is what he said even a sentence?

Actually, is he questioning the act of changing people (with changing as a verb), or is he questioning some group of people who are known as "changing people" (with changing as an adjective)? If the latter, who are these "changing people?"

Also, why did he have to put "meaning me" at the end? I understand that he's got "municipal experience," that's not the confusing part! Did someone just forget to put a comma somewhere? Did the reporter understand the quote when it was said and it just translated badly to print? Or did the reporter never understand it in the first place, and if so why print it? Is there a typo? A misquote? Are people speaking in a dialect I don't understand? Am I just an idiot?

My head hurts.

If those were the only confusing things in the paper I'd be okay, but it gets worse.

I was hoping that with DeSalvatore out of the race I wouldn't have to write about him anymore. But he's still making a lot of noise, and he's saying things that confuse me even more than Donnelly did!

From the Sentinel's article entitled DeSalvatore: Loss came from 'character assassination':
DeSalvatore said "information terrorists" called his supporters and spread negative information about him.

"As long as that ultra-liberal sense continues we don't have a chance," he said. "Without a prevailing common sense, the city is done."

At first I quoted the "information terrorists" part mostly because I think it's funny. I thought I understood it and it was just crazy talk, but on further reflection I understand it less and less.

Are phone banks terrorism now? If not, who are these scary terrorists with too much free time on their hands who go around cold-calling people just to badmouth Ted? Why didn't the people who got the calls just hang up? I'd hang up, and I'm no Ted fan! Is it still terrorism if the victim can end it just by hanging up?

But what really baffles me is the "ultra-liberal" thing. Where did that even come from? Is it just the catch-all term conservatives use for anyone or anything they don't like? Is "ultra-liberal sense" something that alerts you to danger, like "Spidey sense"? Except maybe it alerts you to ultra-liberal danger! And how is that in any way connected with the phone terrorists? Or is it just a requirement that whenever you make an attack on liberals you have to mention terrorism too?

And isn't "common sense" by definition "prevailing"? That's what makes it common sense!

Man I'm confused. Or if not me, someone else is.

He also said:
"For those that have been involved in city government: Shame on you for shenanigans and letting things go to hell."
But he's a city councilor! Doesn't that make him "involved in city government"? So he's shaming himself? What the hell is going on here?

I also read a bunch of stuff about Lisa Wong, but she didn't say anything that left me totally confused. I'm trying to be fair to all the candidates and ex-candidates here, so hopefully she'll get confusing really soon.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hey look! A poll thing!

I was playing around with the Blogger interface doowhacky and found that it allows you to easily make a poll thing. So I stuck one over on the right there asking which of the two remaining candidates you support.

This is of course a highly scientific survey, and whomever wins will surely become our next mayor. The poll ends in a week. So vote, dammit!

Oh no, I'm out of material!

As pleased as I am that Wong decisively won the mayoral primary, and as pleased as I am that DeSalvatore is out of the race, things are a little bittersweet today.

You see, Ted DeSalvatore was incredibly easy to make fun of. Any time he made a public statement that found its way before me it was like a little turd wrapped in a shiny box. It was fun to open even if I didn't like what was inside.

That may have been the worst metaphor ever. Or simile, whatever.

Anyway, without Ted in the public spotlight so much I'm going to have a much harder time writing stuff that isn't insanely boring.

But today he's still got a little light on him, and has said some stupid things after dramatically losing in the primary, so I'm going to rub salt in the wound!

What has Ted "I put up more signs than I got votes" DeSalvatore been saying since he got a whopping 14% of the vote?

The Fitchburg Pride quotes him thusly:
DeSalvatore, who drew about 14 percent of the votes, said he had a feeling over the past few weeks things were going sour for him.

"There were so many attacks against me. I knew it was wearing me down in the public eye," said DeSalvatore. "It is unfortunate people believed it."

DeSalvatore believes attacks against his campaign, in the press and through e-mails distributed around the city, were what hurt his campaign. He said he never retaliated or ran a dirty campaign, something he remains proud of.

"Politics in this city are dirty. The system is a failure in the city. Until we end that, the city doesn't stand a chance to survive," said DeSalvatore.
Woohoo! Easy pickings!

First, people believed the "attacks" on DeSalvatore because they're true. Nobody out there was making stuff up. We simply took what he said and cast a critical eye on it. If he didn't say dumb stuff, there would have been no problems for him. He "never retaliated" (ahem, except for the scores of deleted comments launching personal attacks on Rachel, John Westlake, and others), because you can't retaliate against the truth.

Additionally, politics in the city actually appear to be quite clean. None of the candidates really ran a negative campaign. The closest to it was Donnelly, but his attacks on Wong were relatively minor and really only occurred in the debates. So yeah, pretty clean campaigns.

I don't know much about these supposed email attacks. All I heard of was someone who apparently sent around information about Ted's bankruptcy to an old email list of his supporters (this is why you should use Bcc: and not CC: on email lists). Which I'm sure didn't change anyone's mind. Frankly, it was also a pretty dumb idea.

Jason at Save Fitchburg said "In the closing days of the campaign, a mass e-mail made the rounds (including to a large number of teachers) that detailed all of that stuff." That "stuff" here refers to the information already available on blogs, I think. If there was such an email, it doesn't appear to have had any impact on the number of visitors to PF, and I doubt had much impact on anyone else. Seriously, nobody reads mass emails.

Enough of that particular article though, Ted must be elsewhere!

Like the Sentinel? Well there was a hilarious snippet from this article about why people were voting for who they were voting for.
Other DeSalvatore supporters said they are impressed by his aggressive style of leadership.

"He's a loose cannon, so you know something will change if he gets in there," said Malcolm Price.

Next time around, Mr. Price will be supporting Mel Gibson's character from the Lethal Weapon series of movies.

There was also this article in the Sentinel:
DeSalvatore warned residents that neither of the remaining candidates have a drastic enough approach to fix the city's problems, and declined to endorse either of the two remaining candidates.
Heh. I really doubt either of them would want an endorsement from Ted. It is nice that a guy who could only manage to bring in 14% of the vote thinks he's in a position to give advice though. Sweet of him, really.

Next we have the Telegram article!
“There was a negative campaign running behind the scenes,” Mr. DeSalvatore said. He blamed his showing on what he called a vocal minority. Several Internet sites had popped up in the months before the election making allegations about Mr. DeSalvatore and criticizing his philosophy.

“I couldn’t deflect the negative information,” said Mr. DeSalvatore, who entered city politics by getting on the ballot with a write-in campaign in the preliminary election in 2005.

He said several of his fellow councilors mounted a misinformation campaign to discredit him.
There's the Ted we've come to know! He's blaming his loss on blogs and secret conspiracies instead of his own totally inept campaign. I love that about him!

Okay, let's get this shit out of the way...

Ted (and others) have made the claim that blogs have had a significant impact on the election.

They didn't.

Unfortunately, blogsters tend to have a hugely inflated sense of their own importance, and the importance of other blogetteers. It's well-lampooned in this great Diesel Sweeties comic:

Sadly, that's all too true to life. Except for the robot, I guess.

But give me a break! Wong won by more than 2,600 votes over DeSalvatore. Donnelly beat him by 447 votes. That's a lot of votes!

Frankly, none of the local blogs (Save Fitchburg included) has a readership big enough to account for those numbers. Not even close.

Furthermore, people tend to read the blogs they agree with already. I'd wager I don't have a lot of Progressive Fitchburg readers out there who came here all gung-ho supporting DeSalvatore and after reading my magical prose decided to switch their vote to Wong or Donnelly. Maybe there are a few, but I doubt it. Maybe I (and others) helped bring some things to light for some people, but not in the kind of numbers that change an election.

Sure, we try to have some impact (otherwise why do it?), but that impact is small. This election was a landslide.

No, this election wasn't won or lost by the media or the blogs. It was won by the best candidate and lost by the worst (well, and the one who didn't really try that hard, sorry Ron!). Simple as that.

Enough about blogs, though.

I also enjoy how Ted complains about people presenting negative information about him, but never once actually denies any of it. He weasels around a bit, saying he "couldn’t deflect the negative information." Which of course means that the information was true, but he wanted to somehow "deflect" it. Which is a weird choice of words, but you get the idea. I guess responding to it was out of the question, and he's mostly upset that burying it didn't work.

Shame, that.

Okay, one last bit in what is hopefully my final post about DeSalvatore for a very long time.

This comes from his website, which has just been updated!
Wednesday, September 26, 2007

As you may know by now, for me, the race is over. I will not be on the ballot for the November 6th election. I want to thank each and every one of you who offered your trust on Primary Day. We want to thank all who participated with us no matter what the job, each was important. We feel we have gained a great deal from being in the campaign the greatest being, our newfound friends. We are truly grateful to have had this opportunity.

Fitchburg has been forced to endure challenging times caused by many factors and exasperated by bad decisions made at both levels of our State and Local governments. My advice to all of you is to challenge what you think is wrong; don’t let your government forget who it is responsible to. As for me, my position as the Ward 4 Councilor will end on January 1, 2008 and it is too soon to have thought out what I may do next.

I am proud to have been of service.

Thank you all,
Ted & Brenda DeSalvatore

Out of respect of all those who participated in the campaign and trusted with their vote, for a while, this website will stand as a reminder of our effort and of what we believe in.

You know, I'm just going to let that stand.

Ted was a bad candidate, and now he's done. He didn't lose because of anyone but himself. He ran a lousy campaign, and he ran it badly. The other candidates (except Dionne) did a much better job, and were rewarded appropriately.

I don't wish any harm on Mr. DeSalvatore, and hope he's successful in his future endeavors. Just as long as those endeavors don't involve getting elected to public office.

So long Ted. I'll miss your craziness!

And now we can get back to other things...

Dear Voters: Way to Go!

Okay, I'm late to the party reporting this (I was at a concert last night, which amazingly is more fun than writing about politics), but Lisa Wong continued her ass-kicking spree by running away with the mayoral primary yesterday.

Here's the breakdown:
Out of 5,472 votes (roughly a quarter of registered voters):
  • Lisa Wong: 3,425 votes (63%)
  • Tom Donnelly: 1,228 votes (22%)
  • Ted DeSalvatore: 781 votes (14%)
  • Ron Dionne: 36 votes (0.7%)
Yikes! Landslide!

This result was a surprise to many people, and I'll admit I was one of them. While I did expect Wong and Donnelly to both get through the primary, I thought they'd be much closer than they turned out. I even thought Donnelly would probably be the winner, though certainly not by a huge margin. Lisa's landslide indeed caught me by surprise.

Why? Because I totally underestimated the intelligence of the voters. Sorry about that, voters!

Also, I obviously underestimated Lisa Wong herself. Sorry about that, Lisa Wong!

So why did Wong win by such a huge margin? Well, in retrospect it's not that hard to see. She's run a very effective campaign that focused on the right things, timed things beautifully, and presented the best ideas and vision for the city. If I didn't underestimate the intelligence of the voters (sorry again!), that alone should have told me that she'd run away with it.

Another thing that can't be discounted and I've heard mentioned multiple times is Wong's intelligence, which sadly is a rare commodity in politics. For example, here's a quote from the Fitchburg Pride:
"I was thinking that over the years, most of our mayors have not been very bright and sort of incompetent," said Chuck Bagg this morning. "I voted for Lisa Wong because she seems so much brighter than anyone who has been around in a while."
Then there are the wider factors. Wong represents focused and intelligent change. Donnelly represents the status quo. DeSalvatore, of course, represented unfocused and unintelligent change. People want change, and they want change for the better.

That's really bad news for Donnelly, but he has a plan!
Donnelly said last night he heard the message for voters, and is ready to respond over the six weeks before the general election.

"I am for change. I know people want change," Donnelly said. "I look forward to the challenge we have in the next few weeks."
Yes, he'll switch his focus from "I've been here forever" to "I'm for change too!" I don't expect that to go very well, since he's been all about the status quo for so long. I'm sure this isn't a good time to be Tom Donnelly, but at least he understands why he lost didn't win.

Anyway, Wong's victory is a great sign for the future of Fitchburg. Congratulations to her, and way to go voters!

Monday, September 24, 2007

A different kind of election!

The mayoral primary is tomorrow, and I've lost track of the number of times I've heard people describe it as being different from past elections.

Even that douchey Jeff McMenemy at the Sentinel has a column entitled It's an historic time for Fitchburg politcally [sic]. He then goes on to say how he won't endorse a candidate but he's desperately in love with everything about Ted DeSalvatore.

Also, he thinks Lisa Wong doesn't pay enough attention to crime, which he and every other conservative idiot keep harping on as being totally horrible in Fitchburg. I've already addressed this lie repeatedly, so won't bother to right now.

He's right about one thing though: this is a pretty historic time.

Why? Let me give you my reasoning.

We have three "real" candidates for mayor, representing three very different philosophies and three very different potential futures.

On the one hand, we have oldschool moneybags Tom Donnelly. He's been here forever, he's firmly part of the establishment (but none of the town's problems are his fault!), and he seems to feel like he's entitled to be mayor based on those two "qualifications."

He's the status quo candidate. Sure, he talks about change a little bit, but I think everyone knows that his appeal doesn't lay with people looking for true change. The main block of people who vote for him are going to be doing so because he's the native boy. The one who hasn't left town in 45 years and for some reason is proud of that fact.

Yeah, that gets you some pretty good name recognition. But it doesn't get you any significant change. Will a few things change if Donnelly becomes mayor? Sure. But will the city head in a new direction? Don't count on it.

He has too many local ties, too much to lose if things really change. Even if he can overcome the massive conflict of interest that is his real estate business, his deep roots in town will make him overly cautious at every step.

Maybe he'd be a decent mayor. I don't know. But I do know that the guy hasn't demonstrated any vision. He's strictly old guard local politics. That may or may not be enough to get him elected (I suspect it'll at least get him through the primary), but it's virtually a guarantee of the status quo staying the same if he gets in.

We also have Ted DeSalvatore. New to town, only political experience is as a bombastic one-term city councilor, alienates pretty much everyone he comes into contact with. He's a walking joke.

Unlike Donnelly, DeSalvatore's shtick is all about change. Unfortunately, it's generally about change for the worse. This is a man with no political skill and not a lot of brains, but certainly a lot of passion. It's just too bad it's horribly misguided.

A "zero-tolerance" approach to crime, a bizarre reliance on the "fixing broken windows" theory of crime prevention, and a lot of other fancy ideas that aren't based on reality (and more importantly don't/won't work) is what he offers.

There's a reason that I (and many others) have spent a lot of time writing about DeSalvatore. I think most of us are totally in favor of change, but we're not in favor of making Fitchburg a worse place to live, and that's what he promises. His divisiveness, inane political stunts, and lack of any true understanding of the issues are just the tip of the iceberg.

I don't want a gentrified town, and I'm pretty sure most of the other people living here don't either. There's a reason you don't see DeSalvatore signs in the more heavily Hispanic neighborhoods, and it sure as hell isn't because they fear him. It's because he so obviously fears them.

Let's pretend for a moment that DeSalvatore does get through the primary (which I doubt) and goes on to become mayor (even more unlikely). What would we get?

Well, we'd get someone who can't get anything done. He's demonstrated no ability to work with others, has created a huge amount of hostility in town, and is a more effective clown than a political leader. For all his talk of change, we'd get someone who's so personally unstable and has such a poor grasp of the the issues that he'd be unable to make that change actually happen. He could probably screw things up worse, but as for changes that improve the town, the guy just doesn't have the ability.

On the bright side, he'd almost certainly only be mayor for one term.

Finally, we have Lisa Wong.

Now, here's your opportunity for change. Not only does Wong have a firm and nuanced grasp of the issues, she actually has vision. She's not part of the old guard in any way, but has demonstrated an ability to get things done that benefit Fitchburg. She's by far the most intelligent of any of the candidates, and her presence in the race elevates it dramatically.

Her financial background is also impeccable. For a city in such dire financial straits as Fitchburg, it would be pretty nice to have a mayor in place who actually understands economics and what needs to be done to turn things around. It's a far cry from Donnelly's "I'll appoint a committee to fix it" and Ted DeSalvatore's reliance on "common sense" to run the city finances (keep in mind Ted is an unemployed guy whose common sense led to him declare bankruptcy and whose campaign is at least $6,000 in the red).

Not that I think a Wong mayorship would be all milk and honey, but she clearly holds the most promise for taking the city in a direction that would benefit everyone living here. There would be resistance to face. The old guard doesn't like new people screwing up the status quo (why do you think Donnelly has been so snide towards Wong in the debates?). But Wong has demonstrated an ability get things done despite that. Not by "fighting", but by working together towards intelligent goals.

Yes, it's a very different election this year. Most years we have people just like Tom Donnelly. They've been around a long time, and don't have any particular vision or thirst for change. But they're keen to step into their spot in line.

This year we have just one person like Donnelly. Which would be... ummm... Donnelly. We also have the laughable DeSalvatore, who provides people like me with entertaining fodder to write about, but would be a disaster as mayor. But it's not unheard of to have a crazy person running for mayor. Ted's not what makes this race different.

The difference is that this year we actually have a candidate in the form of Lisa Wong with the promise to significantly improve the quality of life in Fitchburg. To actually move forward and see things improve. Yes, things can be very different, and this could be a very historic election. It all depends on who wins it.

Vote wisely, Fitchburg.

Friday, September 21, 2007

There was a debate last night!

So, yeah. Last night there was a debate at FSC. It wasn't on TV, which is pretty stupid.

I didn't go. I considered it, but came up with a list of reasons not to instead. It went like this:
  • Nobody's going to care about this debate since it's not on tv.
  • Debates are sort of annoying.
  • If Ted DeSalvatore sees me in the crowd and realizes who I am he'll probably punch me in the nose.
  • I don't want to get punched in the nose.
  • It'll probably be on FATV's website later anyway.
  • Seriously, I feel sort of urpy.
  • To hell with feeling urpy, I have beer in the fridge!
  • I bet I can get drunk and find something great on youtube!
  • Crap, I should have gone to the debate!
Turns out I was right about the last bit, I should have gone!

Why? Because Lisa Wong apparently kicked everyone's ass. This doesn't surprise me, because I thought she dominated the first debate too. But it is nice to hear. Jason over at Save Fitchburg has a nice wrap-up/analysis thingy here that's worth reading. People I've talked to who attended the debate basically confirm his assessment of Wong as the very clear winner.

The Sentinel (which clearly supports DeSalvatore and hates Wong) also had two articles, here and here. They're about what you would expect.

Also you can find stuff in the Fitchburg Pride's article and over in the Telegram too!

That's a lot of writing!

I'm still waiting for the debate to get posted online. Once it does and I get a chance to watch it I'll update this post. In the meantime, feel free to chime in with your own analysis here.

[Update 9/23/07: Holy crap I'm lazy! Luckily for me, 1970s Abraham Lincoln has posted a very good review of the debate over at Hello Fitchburg. It pretty much says what I'd have said, except better. So go read that!]

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Shut up about the stupid signs already!

There are a lot of protests going on these days. Anti-war protests, civil rights protests, important stuff like that.

Not in Fitchburg though! Here we have dumbasses protesting the DPW doing their job.

Yes, paranoid schizophrenics gathered en masse (well, actually just about 20 of them) yesterday to protest the imaginary persecution of Ted DeSalvatore's illegally-placed campaign signs. Though they pretended it was about freedom of expression and not just a stupid publicity stunt for Ted.

You know... fuck it, this is just too stupid to even write about. I'm getting a beer.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Fitchburg Needs Hero Ted?

Yesterday there was an article in the Telegram about Ted DeSalvatore. Part of their candidate profiling thingy. It was called Campaign tackles crime, property values, ‘perks’ and was crazy hilarious!

Just look at the opening:
Ted E. DeSalvatore says he came to the city because he was looking for a place that needed him.
Oh my. Ted, your ego is remarkable. Perhaps there is a place that needs you, but I'm pretty sure it's not Fitchburg. Maybe you could go to Iraq? They can use all the help they can get. And they have "thugs"!

Moving on, the article gives his background, including his imaginary job that I discussed already. So let's just skip that bit and move forward to some crazy-ass logic!
The Back Streets Association, which he formed, was his attempt to create a grass-roots organization that would unite residents against the “thugs.” However he said that when people criticized the organization as being a front for his aspirations for mayor, he disbanded it so volunteers could continue their work unfettered from his reputation.
Umm... that doesn't make any sense.

I'll admit right now that I don't know that much about the history of the Back Streets Association. I know he founded it with Clark Patterson (his campaign manager), and the claims about the BSA being a front for his mayoral aspirations can be found here. To quote from there:
[DeSalvatore] stated, as though I already was aware (which I had not been), that the purpose of the Back Streets Association was to form a "grassroots group" that would endorse him for mayor "when the time is right." I told DeSalvatore that that is a specifically prohibited purpose of a 501(c)3 organization, and he stated that "I will bow out and turn it over to the directors and just stay in the background."

Perhaps this is just an artifact of the reporting style, but focus on the statement in the article: "he said that when people criticized the organization as being a front for his aspirations for mayor, he disbanded it so volunteers could continue their work unfettered from his reputation."

Notice anything funny? I did! He never said it wasn't a front for his aspirations for mayor! Isn't that the sort of claim you'd want to debunk? Unless you couldn't debunk it, because it was true and you stupidly went around telling people as much.

Even stranger is this concept of disbanding a group "so volunteers could continue their work unfettered from his reputation". What the fuck?

Let's say you're involved in an organization you really believe in, with important volunteer work to do. Then let's say you're sort of a jackass and cause trouble for the group because your reputation is so bad. What do you do?

A sane person would recognize they're hurting the cause and personally leave the organization. They would not disband the organization! A disbanded organization doesn't continue its work! It's disbanded!

Oh, but if the organization is secretly a front group for your mayoral campaign that doesn't work. Because they don't have anything to do if you quit. So disbanding makes sense in that case.

Enough of that, let's move on:
He said clean streets and safe neighborhoods around the downtown will likely mean a change in demographics for the area.

“If it happens, I’m successful … I’d be a hero,” he said about gentrification. “People will have to move where they can find lower-cost housing.”
Ted, you make it too easy. The last panel of my old crappy political cartoon was supposed to be satire, not a disturbingly accurate representation of how you think of yourself!

I loved that the reporter used the word "gentrification". It has almost universally negative connotations, and DeSalvatore is under the delusion that people will praise him if he achieves it!

It's bad enough that he basically wants to eliminate any minorities or poorer members of the community, but to think he'd be a hero for it is just ridiculous. The town is 15% Latino, generally not a population that's crazy about the idea of gentrification.

Humorously, DeSalvatore also gives his reason for moving here as being "It was what we could afford." So if he were successful in gentrifying the town I suppose he'd have to move out of it. Certainly if it had been that way when he was looking for a place to live we wouldn't have to deal with his bullshit now. Not that I support gentrification at all, I'm just saying maybe there's one upside.

One last bit, about moving social services off Main St and into his imaginary community center that he's never provided specifics about and probably doesn't really intend to do:
“We have to care,” he said. “I can’t fix people. But I want to help.”
Oh my god, he wants to neuter people!

Anyway, the guy's a nut. Primary election, hurry up!

More Campaign Finance Stuff

Yesterday I made a post about the campaign finance reports. It was lengthy. It was based off reporting in the Fitchburg Pride. Consider it the first chapter of this post.

Today the Sentinel has their version, in an article entitled "Wong leading fundraising chase". Incidentally, the Pride article was entitled "Donnelly leads mayoral money hunt".

Sigh... this is why I prefer raw data.

Neither headline is really technically wrong. Wong has raised more funds. Donnelly has more money (thanks to throwing in $5,000 of his own). Though unless hunting through his bank account is included, a "money hunt" could be seen as synonymous with fundraising. So neither's technically wrong, but the Sentinel is more accurate.

The Sentinel article also provides some new details missing from the FP piece.

For one, it gives us DeSalvatore's actual figure, which is $10,704. Of that, only $5,330 is from "contributors", while the rest came from his fundraisers. Pretty lame.

I found this bit interesting:
Wong raised the most in contributions smaller than $50, with $1,315. DeSalvatore raised $530 in those contributions and Donnelly raised only $65 from donations of less than $50.
So there you have your grassroots support. People who give what little they can to support someone they believe in. DeSalvatore loves to claim he has the big grassroots operation, but from this it sure looks like Wong is far ahead of the field in that respect. Donnelly obviously only appeals to the big-money people, which is not the tiniest bit surprising.

Furthermore, there's a telling segment of the article worth quoting extensively:
Donnelly has $7,345 left, all of which he plans on spending before Tuesday.

"No sense in saving it," Donnelly said. "I don't expect to save any money. We're using this to get through the first step, then we're hoping to get a second round of contributions to be used for the second campaign."

Wong has a different plan of how to spend her money.

"It's very important to have a budget that is flexible," Wong said. "Right now I'm on target to make sure that I don't spend any more money than I have."


Wong is the only of the three candidates who does not owe money. Donnelly has a $5,000 loan from himself listed on his finance sheet. DeSalvatore has more than $6,000 worth of expenditures, most of which is to Clark Patterson, the campaign's treasurer.
Once again we have a relevant situation when considering the city's finances.

Donnelly will apparently spend all the money. No contingency plans, no flexibility. Just throw money at things. Also, he'll go into debt.

Wong will have a flexible budget, and make sure not to spend more money than she has.

DeSalvatore will spend way more than he has, probably a good chunk of it paying off his cronies.

Easy choice, again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

An Answer! Ted's Unemployed! And a Liar!

Okay, wait a second. Before you start thinking I got a response to my email to Ted DeSalvatore asking what his job is, I didn't.

But there's an article on him in the Telegram, and the reporter sort of almost kinda did!

To quote:
He has owned a home remodeling business, video transfer operation and computer technician service. Currently, he’s taking a break from teaching computer repair at the Peterson School in Woburn to focus on running for mayor.
See, he's not unemployed, he's just "taking a break... to focus on running for mayor." It makes perfect sense!

Oh wait...

The Peterson School hasn't offered computer repair courses since December of 2005. But as I noted at the time, Ted formed his "exploratory committee" to look into running for mayor in February of 2007.

For those of you bad at math, that's roughly fourteen months after he would have last been teaching at the Peterson School.

Doubt me? Well, let's just look at and see the old course schedules!

First, though, have a gander at the current course schedule (Google cached because the site is unresponsive at the moment). See any computer courses at all? Nope, me neither.

To the wayback machine!

Here's how the schedule looked on April 6, 2005. It does have a "Computer Service and Support Technician Including A+ Certification Prep" course listed. It even links to this page which in turn links to this PDF, which is the source of that horrifying mustache photo I've used in the past. So there's Ted, back in 2005.

Funny thing though...

If we go forward to May 13, 2006 we find a couple computer courses listed, but this time we find "No class offered at this location" for them. See?
Incidentally, that top link points back to the same old mustachioed page from 2005. It wasn't updated for 2006.

By April of 2007 the course is totally delisted, and obviously remains that way. So yeah, he hasn't been teaching since 2005.

That's a hell of a long time to "focus on running for mayor"! Fourteen months by my count prior to even forming an exploratory committee.

Also, if you'll recall, Ted's website still says:
Teacher of computer related courses: For the last eight years, Ted has taught computer service & networking courses in area colleges and private schools.
That very clearly suggests he's currently employed in that field. Or at least that he was employed in it very recently. A year and a half of unemployment makes you a "former teacher", not a "teacher". For that matter, was he even in this area for the last eight years?

No, he wasn't.

I don't even care that much that the guy's unemployed (if he can honestly live off his wife's income then good for him). His dilettante-ish employment history looks pretty bad though. And generally speaking, I'd rather have someone in office who's demonstrated a work ethic and stuff like that.

But when you get down to it, my real problem is that he's a huge fucking liar.

P.S. The rest of what Ted says in the Telegram article is also highly mock-worthy. But this is my second post this morning and if I don't get some work done I'm going to end up unemployed just like Ted. Someone out there please pick up my slack.

Campaign Financial Reports Oddly Telling

Hey, there's interesting news at the Fitchburg Pride!

Seems that campaign spending reports are in and there are a mess of numbers to look through! Sadly, I don't have access to the actual reports so we'll just have to take the Pride's word on stuff. [Update 12:15 pm: thanks to Jason of the FP for some additional data I'm working in now.]

How's it break down? Sort of like this:
  • Tom Donnelly:
    • $17,980 raised, which includes $5,000 of his own money. So that's $12,980 from people who aren't Tom Donnelly.
    • $5,940 of that's from out-of-town donors.
    • Has $7,345 cash on hand.
    • "Donnelly is also carrying about $20,000 in liabilities in the form of loans. Included with the loan from this year are a number of loans dating back to 1999 from Donnelly to the campaign that have not been repaid."

  • Lisa Wong:
    • $14,409 raised. $500 (the maximum personal contribution) of it her own, which puts her at $13,909 otherwise. That means she's the biggest money-raiser when we eliminate candidates' donations to themselves.
    • $7,074 of that is from out-of-town.
    • $3,091 cash on hand.
    • No report of any debts.

  • Ted DeSalvatore:
    • "Just south of $11,000" raised, from "13 individual donors." I presume none of it is his money.
    • The Pride doesn't tell us how much of that is out-of-town, but I'm betting a bunch is. [Update: Jason from the pride indicates $1,800 from out-of-town donors.]
    • Zero cash on hand, because he has...
    • $6,077 in unpaid bills. Ouch!

  • Ron Dionne:
    • No money raised.
    • No money spent.
    • Oh, he did get two in-kind donations of printer ink cartridges, for $120.68.

There's also mention of who gave money to Donnelly and Wong, both getting reasonable support from local bigshots who I don't care to go over here. Ted's report is rather more confusing, as:
DeSalvatore's report details only 13 individual donors. Law requires details accounting for only donors who give more than $200. The report lumps together fundraising from three events over the last year -- $1,575 from a "Thank You Party" held before DeSalvatore was officially a candidate, $1,429 from a "Heartbeat Dinner Dance," and $2,370 from a "Gold Rush BBQ."
Mind you, Donnelly and Wong both reported on lower-money donors. I guess Ted's treasurer isn't big on record keeping, or public disclosure of relevant information.

Additionally, even if we remove the three big events, Ted's left with about $5,500 in donations from just 13 donors (I think. This would be easier with the raw data and not just the incomplete Pride reporting.). [Update: Jason at FP thinks there was another "clump of unlisted, random donations" as well.] It would appear he has some interested parties throwing decent chunks of money at him. Pity for them that he can't seem to follow a damn budget and is six grand in the red. Did he learn nothing from his own bankruptcy filing earlier in life?

This is actually quite an interesting report, particularly when you consider the town's fiscal mismanagement in the past and the currently miserable state of its finances.

Wong is apparently the only candidate who's capable of working with money and not going into the red. Plus she's pretty good at raising it. Moneybags Donnelly has his own money to throw around, but he still has twenty grand in liabilities (though he does at least have cash on hand). DeSalvatore has six grand in liabilities, and no cash on hand. Perhaps he should stop it with the fucking signs already. Dionne has no real campaign and simply has a printer with expensive ink cartridges. I wonder which of these four candidates would be better at dealing with the town's budget?

It's no surprise that Donnelly raised a good chunk of change. The guy's been here forever and is very much the "establishment" candidate. Plus he has his own money to throw around. Why he still has twenty grand in liabilities and can't repay eight-year-old loans is beyond me, but certainly doesn't give me a good feeling about his ability to manage finances.

DeSalvatore's report is just weird. He doesn't report on the small contributions, has no cash on hand, and has six thousand dollars in unpaid bills. Incidentally, $5,000 of those are (indirectly) to his campaign manager, who I suspect probably won't send him to collections. Of course, I believe $5,000 is quite a bit higher than the maximum campaign contribution allowed, so surely he'll be collecting on that bill at some point. Right?

Either way, Ted spent more money than he had. A lot more money than he had. During the debate, he said his qualification for handling the city's $95 million budget was "common sense." While that's ridiculous in itself, this goes on to indicate that his "common sense" is incredibly bad. Basically, if he ran the city budget the way he runs his campaign budget, he'd spend $173 million and have a deficit of $78 million. Criminy!

Dionne has no campaign, obviously. But his report does raise the issue of how printer ink is ridiculously expensive, so I guess that's something. He's bringing light to important issues!

I think the pretty obvious choice here if you care about the city's finances is to vote for Wong. It looks more and more like the race is going to come down to her and Donnelly anyway, which would be a very nice thing as far as I'm concerned.

Friday, September 14, 2007

More Like May-snore-al Debate!

Proving that my friends are way cooler than anyone else's friends, I got together with some of them last night to watch the mayoral debate on FATV. Awesome!

Now, I'm actually not a big fan of debates. Truth doesn't much matter in a debate. You don't win by telling the truth (just ask Ron Paul), you win by having the most skill at debating. Debating is a very specialized skill, and has nothing to do with honesty. Personally, I'd rather see the candidates all submit specific multi-page position papers a couple of months before the election and be forced to defend them to a committee of fact-checkers and people who ask tough questions. But whatever.

On the other hand, the skills used in a political debate are some of the same skills that are valuable in a mayor. So it's not like it's totally pointless for deciding who'd be the best mayor. It's just totally pointless if you're trying to use it to examine the issues. It's about communication skills and creating the right perception, not good ideas. Communication skills and creating the right perception are important in a mayor though, so let's examine the boring debate!

Rather than pretend like the issues have relevance in this format, I'll just go through the candidates alphabetically by last name and give my perceptions from this debate:

Ronald Dionne:

Remember when James Stockdale was in the vice-presidential debates as Ross Perot's running mate? He seemed like a confused old man who was totally out of his element. That's who Ron Dionne brought to mind last night.

Don't get me wrong, Dionne seems like he's probably a pretty nice guy. He's been a truck driver in the past, and I bet he's fun to hang out with on a long trip.

But he didn't bring anything to the debate. He didn't really seem like he belonged there, or knew anything. And he kept getting confused about things. I expected him to bolt for the door at one point.

If there was an overall "loser" in the debate, it was probably Dionne.

Ted Desalvatore:

It's an old cultural bias that liars are "shifty-eyed". I don't know if that's true, but Ted may just be the most shifty-eyed person I've ever seen! Not only did he not look into the camera once during the entire debate, he actually went so far as to swivel back and forth in his chair!

Presumably he was talking to the tiny audience in the studio, but it came across really badly to anyone watching on tv.

I also think he believes that when you become mayor of Fitchburg you somehow become omnipotent and can do things like tell judges what to do. He did specify that he wouldn't be literally boxing with them (seriously!), but it's generally a bad idea to tell judges how to do their job. Anyway, my understanding is that they're not appointed by the mayor and I doubt they give two shits about what he has to say.

One fun thing he did say was pointed out over at Fitchburg Follies. It dealt specifically with a Prop 2 1/2 override for school budget stuff, and the quote is:
"I would be out there trying to sell the right decision, whatever the right decision would be."
Way to be informed!

He also thought that all it takes to manage a $95 million budget is "common sense." Oh my.

Of course, all that is getting dangerously close to an issue and as I said issues are meaningless in this format.

Anyway, DeSalvatore sucks on camera and came across really badly. Maybe a little bit better than Dionne, but he still ran third. Which I guess leaves two potential winners! Who will it be?

Tom Donnelly:

Nope, not the winner (I bet you can't guess who was!).

He never really seemed very comfortable on camera. All hunched-up and weird. Also, he attacked Lisa Wong out of the blue a few times, making himself the only candidate to really stoop to that.

A friend pointed out to me that Donnelly's the only one of the four candidates with the funds and likelihood to have done opinion polling. Does attacking Wong (and nobody else) mean that he fears her the most? Beats me, but it's possible! He certainly didn't seem too concerned about Ted.

He also spent a lot of time basically saying he'd have other people do his job, trying to put the blame for things the city council did on other people, and taking credit for things that Wong did. Weird.

He did at least look at the camera and basically act like somebody who might be a sort of bargain-basement mayor. Though it would require the town giving up a bit of dignity.

Overall, he just came across as sort of a dick though.

Lisa Wong:

Yeah, she won. Easily.

While Donnelly gave the impression that he might be mayor-ish, Wong gave the impression that she already has the mayor thing in the bag. She was good on camera, articulate, and actually made an attempt to present specific solutions to things.

Really, she was head and shoulders above the other three. Also, she's clearly much smarter and better-informed than the other three, which is pretty sad when you consider two of them are city councilors. She did manage not to come across as a snooty smart person though, which is probably good.

So yeah, Wong won.

And that's that for my mayoral debate wrap-up thing.

On a related matter, I notice there are two polls going on that ask who won the debate. One is over at Save Fitchburg, where the insane legions of Ted supporters have showed up to vote for him and pretend he didn't look like a cat watching a string during the whole thing. Still, he's just three votes ahead of Wong at this point (the others candidates are way down).

The other--much better--poll is at Hello Fitchburg. It's a better representation, I'd argue, since the DeSalvatore groupies don't generally try to stuff that one.

Why not go take both? Let your voice be heard!

[Update 9/18/07: Hey, there's even a third one at Fitchburg's Voice. It matches pretty well with the Hello Fitchburg one, and of course the Save Fitchburg one is still just gibberish that has DeSalvatore winning.]

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Signs Point to Evil Cult of Lizard People Targeting DeSalvatore!

I woke up this morning wondering if anything newsworthy has happened lately in local politics. Perhaps there had been some unpleasant revelations about mayoral candidates or something. So, obviously I went to the Sentinel & Enterprise website to find out.

Oh my god, there's a giant DeSalvatore ad on the front page! Also, a really stupid article about how he thinks fairies and goblins are stealing his magic beans people are stealing his campaign signs and his dog is telling him what to do the DPW is unfairly taking his illegally-placed signs down.

To wit:
Mayoral candidate Ted DeSalvatore said about 150 of his signs have been torn down or vandalized in what he believes is an unfair attack by the city and detractors of his campaign.

"There is a small group of individuals who are concerned about losing a particular type of control they have within the city and I represent someone who they don't like," DeSalvatore said. "I don't know who they are or what their motivation is, but I know there are people who have gone out of their way to vandalize my signs."
Wrap your head around that for a second.

First he says there's a "small group of individuals" involved, then he says he doesn't know who's responsible. First he says they're concerned about losing some sort of control, then he says he doesn't know what their motivation is.

What the fuck? You can't say something in one sentence and then directly contradict it in the very next one! If you don't know, just say you fucking don't know! Don't make paranoid shit up and then try to throw a disclaimer on the end! Argh!

Not only that, but what's the deal with the Illuminati this group of made-up conspirators? Who the hell is "concerned about losing a particular type of control they have within the city"? That just sounds extra crazy and paranoid.

Most of the people I know who oppose Ted have no power in the city. Then again, they're also not out there tearing down signs. Maybe the Mothman whoever is tearing down the signs doesn't even care about Ted. Maybe they're just sick of seeing so many fucking signs everywhere. Or maybe, you know, Ted has alienated so many people that people just can't help themselves.

I found this quote interesting too:
"There's a small but effective group that has been working to keep me specifically out (of the campaign) because I'm not part of the system," said DeSalvatore, who has only been a councilor for two years.
Not sure who this refers to. Maybe I'm one of them! If so, I'm glad to know I'm effective! Now, I've never torn down a single sign. Nor do I know anyone else who has. But whatever.

Of course, the people who oppose Ted (by no means a small group, but rather just a large part of the population) don't do it because he's "not part of the system." For one thing, he's a fucking city councilor! He's absolutely part of the system, and the system sucks.

Rather, most people oppose him because he suffers from paranoid delusions, alienates everyone he comes in contact with, would destroy the town if he were elected, leads racially-charged marches, hurls racial epithets, bullies disabled veterans, and many, many other reasons.

Another fun bit:
Patterson said the DeSalvatore campaign has produced about 700 signs so far and DeSalvatore said about 150 of the signs have been taken down.

Not all of the DeSalvatore signs were vandalized. The councilor said about 40 of the signs were taken down by Department of Public Works officials.

DPW Commissioner Denis Meunier said city officials will collect any sign or poster that's posted in violation of the city code.
Holy crap that's a lot of signs. But extra holy crap that's forty signs he placed illegally!

I could understand one or two. People make mistakes, boundaries may be unclear, etc. With 700 signs, maybe I could even understand ten being placed badly. But forty? That's not a mistake anymore, that's just total disregard for the law.

Donnelly weighed in with a somewhat odd comment:
"It's a fine line between political freedom of speech and there being an obnoxious number of signs," Donnelly said. "But the one with the most flagrant number of signs is Ted (DeSalvatore). There are others who are getting their signs picked up too. But some people crying because they can't do what they want, it's all part of the campaign."
You can almost feel him wanting to say "Ted's a dick, he should quit it with the sign bullshit already" but restraining himself from doing so. Good self-restraint!

Lisa Wong's also mentioned, here's her whole bit:
Lisa Wong, a third mayoral candidate, said her campaign has had some issues with vandalized signs, but she's focused more heavily on door-to-door campaigning than putting up signs.

"I don't want to comment on other candidacies because I'm focusing on my own," Wong said. "I think candidates need to talk about the issues and that's what I'm doing."
How negative! Oh wait, she's not. Sorry, Save Fitchburg mouthbreathers!

So yeah, that's that. Good thing there's no other news worth reporting. Thanks, Sentinel!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Discussions to Avoid

In the wake of unpleasant revelations about DeSalvatore's bigotry, I find myself wondering how the DeSalvatore supporters (and Ted himself) will respond. How will they defend the indefensible?

Luckily, there's a long history of blind supporters defending any and all stupid things their candidate does, and they do it in a few very predictable ways. Let's examine them, so we know whether to bother even talking to these people.

Defense #1: "It's not true!"
This is a very effective defense if indeed the thing in question isn't true, but a really horrible one if it is.

This is usually the first defense used by candidates who are accused of something bad. If the accusation is true it's highly risky (not to mention totally dishonest) to say it's not. There's often corroborating evidence that comes out after a denial. It sounds like there are plenty of people who can corroborate the charges against Ted, and a denial tends to bring those people out.

Of course, even in the face of overwhelming evidence, some candidates will always hold to the lie. And some hardcore supporters will support their guy no matter what, even going so far as to internalize the lie. Like the people who still believe there are WMDs in Iraq (they're just well-hidden!), these people are not worth talking to.

Defense #2: Refuse to comment.
When used by a candidate it's like Defense #1. Except it's for people who are certain they'll be caught if they lie. The only reason to use this defense is if you don't dare tell the truth, since everyone's going to assume the worst anyway. So you just hope it'll go away. If the press is anemic enough, maybe you can even get away with it.

Supporters only use this in a disingenuous manner, generally pontificating at length about how they refuse to talk about the thing they're actually talking about. This is the "I won't dignify that with a response" passive-aggressive technique. It doesn't work, because everyone realizes it just means they have no defense.

Defense #3: "Even if true, it's no big deal."
Do I even need to discuss this? People who say this simply prove that they're just as big an asshole as the candidate they support. Just write them off as lost causes.

Defense #4: Attacking the messenger.
This is a very common one. It's an obvious favorite of DeSalvatore's supporters, who've already been attacking Rachel for pretty much anything they could think of.

In addition to being a sleazy thing to do, it's intellectually bankrupt. There's absolutely no relationship between the truth of a statement and the person telling it.

Sure, if someone's a well-known liar you may have reason to dig deeper before believing them, and you should always try to get corroboration for things like this anyway. But attacking the messenger is really just a thinly-veiled attempt to get people to ignore the message.

I'm sure some people will say that Rachel made this up because she doesn't like Ted. There's no reason to believe that, though. Making shit up and presenting it as fact opens you to libel charges, which nobody wants to subject themselves to. Telling the truth is a perfect defense against such charges.

Anyway, could it be that perhaps the person who used to be the director of Ted's "Back Streets Association" doesn't like him anymore because he called her a "crazy kike"? Yeah, that'd turn me against someone real quick too!

So anyway, that's another pointless defense. Truth exists independently of those who tell it, and attacking the messenger is just a smokescreen.

Defense #5: Talking about "negativity".
This is actually the one I want to get into the most, since it comes up so often in campaigns. Usually it's brought up by people who support a candidate that does a lot of negative things. It's also something I'm quite certain will come up in response to the revelations about DeSalvatore.

First, let's just write off the people who accuse the actual mayoral candidates here of negative campaigning. They're talking out their asses.

None of the mayoral candidates have really engaged in negative campaigning, at least on a personal level. Sure, DeSalvatore "focus[es] on what's bad" about the town, but he's managed not to launch personal attacks on the other candidates (at least in public). The other three candidates have been more positive about the town, and have also basically kept their mouths shut about their opponents. Overall, it's been a pretty civil campaign. If there's negative campaigning, I haven't seen it.

The charges of negativity are more appropriately leveled against people like me who write about what's going on in town. In my case it's accurate. I'm pretty damn negative at times, and it's not always tongue-in-cheek. The No To DeSalvo guy can be accused of the same (hell, it's an inherently negative name). And Rachel's statement is about something negative, though her actual blog stays positive.

But so what? Why shouldn't people writing about local events be negative at times? We're writing about negative things! If someone running for Mayor is spouting racial epithets then it's not being negative to talk about it, it's being honest!

What would these people who are so keen on positivity have us do? Ignore what's going on because it's inconvenient to their preconceptions? No thank you! I think I'll just stick to telling the truth.

Funny bit about this: The people who harp on "negativity" are asserting that negativity is a bad (aka negative) thing. They then attribute this negative thing to somebody else. So they're being what they're accusing others of being by the very act of making the accusation! Ouch!

Let's not delude ourselves, though. They don't really give a shit about negativity. They only care if it's directed at the guy they support. Given the same information about an opponent, they'd be the first people to pounce on it. But when they learn something negative about their guy, they'll start with the moralizing bullshit.

These people are idiots who can be safely ignored.

So that's just a few of them. There are certainly other defenses that get used, and they're almost universally dishonest. The only acceptable response from DeSalvatore in this situation would be a truthful one, which I don't really expect to get. (Just as I no longer expect to get an answer to the question of where he teaches.)

As for his stalwart supporters, maybe they'll realize at some point that there's a reason we call some things "indefensible." In the meantime, I suggest just ignoring them. These arguments have no merit.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ted DeSalvatore, Bigot

If you haven't seen it, you should go read ReallyRachel's statement that's been posted over at Say No to DeSalvo.

I don't know Rachel outside of her commenting and an occasional email here and there, but I can think of no reason why she would lie about this. She's already been demonized by every Ted-supporting nutbag out there without even having done anything, and this will just make them madder. I'm sure that's attention she could happily live without. Kudos to her for having the guts to come forward!

Sadly, the revelations in the post don't really surprise me given what we already knew about Ted. It is a little shocking to see how blatant his bigotry can be, but it's always been pretty obvious this is the way he thinks. Still, even the biggest bigots usually have more sense than to go saying this sort of shit out loud.

Anyway, there's not much I can add to this. Please, just go read the statement here.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Ted Was On That Dickbag's Radio Show!

Since I'm a total masochist and had some time to kill between 5 and 6 pm tonight, I decided to once again listen to the horrific Chuck Morse radio hour of shame (Last night he had a guy on who said that "recreational sex" is worse for you than smoking! Awesome!). Imagine my joy when my favorite other crazy idiot was on the show: Ted DeSalvatore!

Ted didn't get the whole hour, of course. The first 15 minutes or so were filled with some Moonie guy from the Washington Times rambling about how Democrats are all horribly corrupt and Republicans are the party of "values" and the media is controlled by liberal Jews and so forth. He had a little lovefest with the ultra-conservative "slightly right of center" host and then went back to from whence he came. I passed the time playing Advance Wars and mostly ignoring the windbaggery.

Then Ted came on and I couldn't ignore it anymore. I'll say one thing for the man; he has a buttery-smooth radio voice. Like those morning DJs who push the fart sound button every 15 seconds and make you want to drive your car at full speed into a telephone pole.

So what did he say?

Beats me, I didn't take notes and it was mostly the same crap he says all the time. Slumlords were mentioned. Cleaning stuff up was mentioned. Unitil was talked about a bit. Then, in an uncharacteristic bit of journalistic integrity, the host also asked about Ted's financial backers!

Let me recreate for you from memory the way that conversation went. This is not a literal transcription, but should give you the gist. Let's call it a "re-imagining", like that horrible Tim Burton remake of "Planet of the Apes"...

"So what does this all cost, and who's backing you?"
Ted: "It's a grassroots thing, I have a treasurer who knows about that stuff."
Host: "You have to tell people, you know. It's the law."
Ted: "Not for ten days I don't! Neener neener neener!"
Host: "I love you Ted! You're a visionary!"

There was a similar exchange over Unitil. This time Ray C. got involved. Again dramatized for your pleasure:

Ted: "I'm going to get a bunch of mayors together and go tell the state to make Unitil lower costs or something."
Host: "Why do you have to be mayor to do that?"
Ted: "Because nobody listens to me now!"
Ray C.: "Couldn't somebody have done that in the past if it would work? It's not like the state regulatory commission is a new thing, and we've always had state reps who could help."
Ted: "I dunno."
Ray C.: "Your plan kind of sucks, doesn't it?"
Ted: "I'm a fighter!"
Host: "I want to have your children, Ted!"

I sort of like Ray C.

Ted also described his role as mayor as being a big "cheerleader" for the city. That's Ted "We need to focus on what’s bad" DeSalvatore for you!

Man, talk radio sucks.


Email update:

Still no response to my email to DeSalvatore. Do other people have this problem too? Should I not have signed it "The Unicow"?

I humbly request the help of you, the Progressive Fitchburg readers. If you could, please take a moment to email Ted at either or and ask the simple question "Where do you do your teaching?" You're welcome (and encouraged) to add more to the body of the email than just that, but please make sure to be respectful.

Seriously, this is a question that really should be answered. If anyone actually manages to get an answer out of him, you can either leave a comment or forward it to me at It would also be nice to hear from you if you try but don't get a response. Unless Ted's trying to hide something, somebody ought to get an answer!

Thanks for the help!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Hooray! Another Conservative Media Outlet!

A couple of weeks ago there was an article in the Fitchburg Pride about a new radio show on WEIM. The Pride article said the show was going to be called "Morse Code", since it's hosted by a guy named Chuck Morse and that makes it a really clever name.

Well, it's not named that. Actually it's named "Talk Back with Chuck Morse". Also, it sucks ass.

I had the misfortune of tuning in to this show today, on its second day on the air. Let me provide for you a brief synopsis.
  • First 10 minutes: Host guy kisses the ass of guy running as a Republican in Lowell's special election today. Also spends a lot of time badmouthing Democrats. Note: 1280 AM is impossible to listen to in Lowell. Trust me, I tried.
  • Next 5 minutes: commercials
  • Next 10 minutes: Host guy kisses the ass of some jackass who wrote a book called "Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn't". Spends a lot of time equating Muslims with Nazis. Doesn't seem to realize that Hitler was a Christian.
  • Next 5 minutes: commercials
  • Spends awhile talking to local radio guy Ray C., who's way smarter than him. Calls himself a "friendly conservative". Demonstrates that he doesn't know the names of the mayoral candidates (neither DeSalvatore nor Dionne). Mispronounces a simple word in an hilarious way (but I can't remember what it was, argh!). I decide to listen to something else.
Yeah, pretty awesome show. He hit all the conservative talking points right on the head, including calling pulling out of Iraq "surrender" and saying Democrats are weak on national security and spend everyone's money all the time and so on.

So who's Chuck Morse? Why, he's a "friendly conservative" of course! He spent some time saying how he loves everyone and wants to hear all their opinions and so forth. And that he quit the Republican party (even though he's a registered Republican, so don't ask me how that works). Which I'm sure was supposed to make him look open-minded, but really just came across as pandering to try to get people to call in to his call-in show (nobody did while I was listening).

Why, just look at his friendly website where he's described this way:
Host Chuck Morse, a conservative intellectual who ran for Congress against Barney Frank, is a veteran radio commentator, author, columnist, and business owner. Morse was named a "Hot 100" upcoming talk show host by Talkers Magazine.
How friendly is he? Well, just check out this screenshot of his website featuring news items about him:I think it's safe to say that no, Barney Frank had not met his match.

Also, I guess he's only friendly if you're not a Muslim...

Or anyone who realizes that WorldNet Daily is the single most ill-informed hardcore conservative "news" outlet outside the Weekly Standard...

Or anyone who snickers when they hear the phrase "conservative intellectual"...

But yeah, super-friendly. Thank god we have another ultra-conservative moron in the local media! We didn't have nearly enough of them already.

Oh, Donnelly and DeSalvatore are both supposed to be on the show this week too. And he's invited Lisa Wong. Since Dionne doesn't have an email address I guess he's not invited. He should consider himself lucky.

[Update: 9/5/07] According to Wikipedia's article on Morse:
Morse ran a write-in campaign against incumbent Barney Frank for the 2006 Massachusetts's 4th congressional district elections, as he did not get enough certified signatures to appear on the ballot. The total possible percentage of votes Morse could have received as a write-in canidate in the 2006 election would be 1.2% of the total vote.

Dude also writes for not just WorldNetDaily, but also the equally despicable And he wrote a book called "Why I'm a Right-Wing Extremist".

Also, he sued Wikipedia/Wikimedia for a totally insane reason.

"Friendly conservative" my ass.

[Update over]


In unrelated matters, I'm still waiting for a response to my email from the last post. I assume it will be arriving soon, since the only reason to not answer would be if DeSalvatore had something to hide. And that's just crazy!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

So, What's DeSalvatore's Job?

It's mystery time!

If we look at Ted DeSalvatore's website we find a lot of mysterious empty spaces in his employment history. Fine, no problem. What's past is past. We also find this statement:
For the last eight years, Ted has taught computer service & networking courses in area colleges and private schools. Ted is certified in the state of Massachusetts to teach computer related courses and has been hired to save failing courses and curriculum in "drop-in, take-charge environments." Ted has headed course development & classroom design which include, advanced curriculums. As a teacher and Director of Computer training, he has created advertising campaigns and was the lead agent in the direct marketing of those courses.
Well, that's a job. Right?

Yeah, if it exists. Oddly, DeSalvatore doesn't bother to tell us where the hell he supposedly teaches.

Maybe it's Monty Tech! I heard he taught there at one point! Sure, it doesn't really qualify as a "college" or "private school", but it's worth a shot!

Hmm, he's not in the night catalog. The website is pretty bad, so I couldn't dig up the day courses, but let's assume he doesn't appear there either.

Area colleges, eh? Mount Wachusett Community College is one of them! Drat, doesn't show up there either.

Fitchburg State? Yow, that's a bigass course catalog! Not one mention of DeSalvatore though.

But wait! A Progressive Fitchburg Operative has sent me something!

(Click on these for full-size)

Just for kicks, let's enlarge one part of that first page...Holy crap that's quite a mustache! Also, it's definitely Ted! Teaching an A+ certification course and apparently threatening to shoot a motherboard with his finger-gun!

For those of you who aren't familiar with IT certifications, an A+ certification basically means that you know the difference between a CD tray and a drink holder. If you've used a computer for more than a few years you can probably pass it yourself. Still, it's evidence that at one point he did teach something!

Of course, these images date from the Winter 2005 semester. Which I'm told is the last semester the Peterson School actually offered computer courses. Drat! It's another dead end!

I've checked a few other sources, but results are inconclusive. Suffice it to say that if the guy still has a teaching job, I can't figure out where the fuck it is. That's not to say he absolutely doesn't have a job doing such, but I can't find it.

As such, I sent Mr. DeSalvatore an email asking him to let me know where he teaches. Here it is in its entirety:
Dear Mr. DeSalvatore,

Your website doesn't specify. Could you please tell me where it is that you do your computer-related teaching?

Thanks very much!

Best Wishes,
The Unicow

I got a speedy response from a bot saying "We will be contacting you soon unless a response hasn’t been indicated." Sweet! Soon we will have an answer, and the mystery will be solved.

Stay tuned!