Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fundamentalists are funny

This is pretty entertaining. It's just these guys reciting stuff that they got from online fundamentalist forums (like the S&E Topix forums, but even dumber).

Just one complaint: without the random capitalization, hyper-prevalent spelling errors, and wall-of-text formatting you'd see online, you really miss out on the full batshit-craziness of these people. Oh well.

This post has been brought to you by the letter Z, the number i, and the Fitchburg city council being too whiny and stupid for me to stomach writing about them today.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Save Fitchburg is no more!

Well damn, this is sort of sad.

It seems that Jason at Save Fitchburg, the biggest and oldest local political blog, has called it quits. There will be no more posts at Save Fitchburg.

That's unfortunate, but understandable. While Jason & I certainly haven't always agreed on everything, he's always come across as a decent, intelligent guy who really cared about what he was doing. Unfortunately for him, he also ended up as the guy at the center of a commenting community that could be deeply infuriating.

Sadly, it sounds like the stresses of dealing with the commenters is what did him in, and that sucks. It's totally understandable, though. Most of my commenters here are awesome, but the occasional troll or flaming jackass can quickly sap the fun out of an otherwise good time. Once things become un-fun, there's no reason to continue.

He says he's getting out of blogging and politics and all this nonsense, and doing something else. I'm not quite certain, but reading between the lines of his post, I gather that he's going to start racing Nitro-burning funny cars. And who can blame him?

Pictured: Jason Lefferts and friend

Anyway, it's a little sad to see him go. But such is life.

Good luck with your funny cars, Jason!

Now, somebody please step up to fill his former role of serious local political blog guy. I'm going to stick with making dick jokes.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Attack of the Vampire Schoolgirls!

Hey everyone, listen up! It's time to start stockpiling garlic and crosses, because there's an outbreak of vampirism in Boston!

I've learned this from an article in the Boston Globe entitled "Vampire rumors spur alert at Boston Latin - on bullying". Witness the horror!
Boston Latin School headmaster Lynne Mooney Teta issued a notice to parents and students yesterday quashing rumors of vampires at the school. An odd move for the head of a historic elite preparatory school, but Teta and Boston public school officials declined to elaborate on what triggered the unusual message.

They did, however, adamantly offer assurances that no one at the school has been hurt, arrested - or bitten.
You can't quash rumors without elaborating, dummy. That just intensifies rumors! And good thing, too, because the vampire menace must not be ignored.

Please note that they say no one at the school has been hurt or bitten. What about the community, I ask? If there are vampire schoolgirls, then I'm not so much worried about the students (there is probably a cute blonde vampire slayer in the student body, after all), I'm worried about the community at large!

Let's get to the bottom of this. Do we need to be posting additional guards outside blood banks or not?
Two law enforcement officials with knowledge of the incident said a group of girls at the school had been bullying at least one other student who likes to dress in Goth-style, a vampirish look popularized by musician Marilyn Manson. The officials said the girls began spreading a rumor that the student was a vampire who had cut someone's neck and sucked the blood.
Well, thank Jesus that these brave prep-school cunts had the foresight to ostracize and torment this evil vampire who may or may not listen to a washed-up musician whose music was more industrial than goth! Can you imagine what would happen if these "Visigoths" were allowed to run free, smearing their damn eyeliner all over the place and feasting on human blood? It would be bedlam!

What's worse, it looks like the headmaster lady may indeed be a vampire herself!
"It has come to my attention that rumors involving 'vampires' began spreading through the building yesterday," it said.

"I am very concerned that the safety of certain students may be jeopardized as targets of rumors and speculation," she wrote. "Please alert any adult in the building if you feel that any student is being harassed or targeted."
Yeah, right. Don't fall for it, students! Teta is one of them! If you try to report "bullying" of vampires, it'll be the last thing you ever do.

Obviously some students have noticed that their school is turning into a vampire picnic, and have tried to draw attention to the fiendish culprits, by being assholes to them. That's not "harassment," it's saving the human race!

It gets worse!
One student who contacted the Globe said a male student, rumored to be a werewolf, had threatened on Facebook to bring a gun to school because he was being harassed.
Okay, you know the NRA is just totally out of control when even known werewolves are allowed to buy guns. I support the second amendment and all, but you have to draw the line somewhere!

We must be alert to these lycanthropic dangers, because it appears the parents are dropping the ball (as usual):
John Maguire, who was picking up his 13-year-old at the school yesterday afternoon, said he didn't know there was an issue about vampire rumors until his son told him yesterday. He said he laughed it off.

"C'mon, a vampire in the school? Don't you think that's a little woo-hoo?" he said, pointing to his head.
First off, "John" (if that is your real name), the proper sound for crazy is "woo-woo," not "woo-hoo." "Woo-hoo" is an exclamation of joy, as in "Woo-hoo! I just escaped a deadly gun-toting werewolf!" Dumbass.

Second, "John," you have just established yourself firmly as the first guy who will get eaten. It's always the doubter who goes first. If you're black, you're in even more trouble. Sorry, that's just the way it goes. It serves you right for asking questions.

"But where's the evidence?", you might ask. I don't actually recommend asking that question unless you want to end up disemboweled like "John" up there, but fine. Here's your evidence, smarty science pants!
Students leaving Boston Latin yesterday said rumors about students claiming to be vampires, or more specifically "half-vampires," have been circulating for months. Several said two or three female students at the school carry umbrellas in all weather to avoid exposure to the sun.
How do you like that, doubters? Full vampires can't go in the sun, even with an umbrella, but half-vampires are much better at tolerating the sun without bursting into flames. All they need are umbrellas to walk among us! There could be no other possible reason for someone to avoid sun exposure.

Pictured: A Vampire!

Sadly, not all students are as intelligent as the "rumor"-starters. To wit:
Seventeen-year-old Davis Murphy said he heard that some students claiming to be half-vampires were draining their blood to make their skin paler or had claimed they could fly.

"No one bullies them," he said, laughing. "We just want to know why they're vampires."
Oh, Davis, you don't even know what a vampire is, do you? The whole turning-into-a-bat thing is a myth. Vampires can't fly, and they don't need to make their skin paler. Their skin is pale because they're dead. Haven't you learned anything in that fancy school? Stupid boy.

I'm glad to hear that you don't bully them, Davis, but are merely asking why they're vampires (presumably while giving them wedgies and calling them "fags"). But if you don't even know what makes someone a vampire, then you can't be trusted to fight them. Leave it to the professionals, please.

Okay, let's wrap this up:
"There's no bullying here," [senior Victoria] Browne said. "It's just that everybody is really weirded out."
And who can blame them?

I mean, there are students half-vampires in the school who look and act differently from everybody else. That sure freaks me the fuck out! And it's an almost certain indication that they're undead soulless demonspawn who deserve whatever treatment they get.

Now is the time, patriots! Rise up against this undead menace, and fight so that future generations won't have to be made uncomfortable by people hell-demons who are slightly different from them.

Do it for the (non-vampire) children!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Well, this is really neat.

On my daily romp through the local blogs (a romp which is getting shorter, since not a lot of people are writing these days for some reason), I discovered that the illustrious 1970s Abraham Lincoln has created a really nice gizmo for listing what movies are showing in Fitchburg, complete with links to trailers and average review scores and stuff.

It's vastly superior to the crummy website that the theater has, and it apparently will update every morning.

If you haven't spotted it already, read about it here, and check out the listings themselves here.

Yeah, the movies mostly suck, but that interface is really nice! Yay for nerds!

In which a couple of city councilors earn my respect

In my perusing of the local news yesterday, I saw and skipped over this article, because it seemed boring.*

Boy, was I wrong! The Progressive Fitchburg City Council-tolerating correspondent sends word that there was a lovely display of asshattery, courtesy of well-known local asshat, Marcus DiNatale!

Apparently, even with some of the streetlights being turned off, there's still a deficit in the streetlight budget. There is also a difference of opinion on how to deal with it!
Even with Wong's plan to shut off about 60 percent of the city's streetlights, the streetlight account in the Department of Public Works still has about a $90,000 deficit.

Wong has proposed leaving two positions within DPW unfilled to cover the rest of the deficit in the streetlight account.

But DiNatale, the at-large councilor, said he would have liked to have seen money taken out of the city's free cash account to reduce the number of lights that would be turned off.

"I think 60 percent is really drastic," DiNatale said.

He said he would like to see a plan that would turn off only a quarter of the city's lights.
Ah, clever plan! Instead of saving money by turning off streetlights (which has caused a lot of whining, but no discernible problems), he wants to raid the city's free cash instead. Because, umm... actually I have no idea how that idea makes any sense.

But DiNatale saying stupid things is not really news. It's just what he does. Lots of sound and fury, signifying a young man's desperate attempt to differentiate himself from his father (while still benefiting from the surname), by acting like an idiot.

Where it gets fun is that at least a couple of other city councilors are clearly getting sick of him too. First, Stephan Hay:
Other councilors said that approach was not looking at the "big picture."

"I'm surprised my fiscally conservative watchdog councilor is so quick to spend our free cash," Council President Stephan Hay said to DiNatale.
Not bad at all! That was pointed and sarcastic, while also shining the light on DiNatale's hypocrisy! Very nice! I give it four out of five stars.

Can anyone beat that? Your turn, Jody Joseph!
Ward 6 Councilor Jody Joseph said she [Sic] was "tired" of hearing DiNatale criticize Wong.

"I'm constantly hearing the same thing, 'My way is right, her way is wrong,'" Joseph said.
Okay, that's pretty decent. I think Hay wins, though. Joseph is blunt, which is good, but Hay is funnier.

See, now is the time when I wish I actually did watch these things. I'm sure there was more entertainment to be had there. Hey, FATV, how about providing edited down clips of only the interesting parts of council meetings? By which I mean the parts where they bicker.

Let's have a contest! The first city councilor to call DiNatale a "twatmonkey" (or an equivalent insult, have fun with it!) during a council meeting will win a fabulous prize!**

I'm rooting for Annie DeMartino, because of her lovely accent.

Oh, DiNatale did defend himself, sort of:
DiNatale responded saying he would "provide criticism when I feel it's appropriate."
In other words: "I will continue to grandstand at every opportunity, even if I have nothing of value to contribute. Because I am a twatmonkey."

That is all.


* Also because if I write about city council meetings without having actually watched them personally, Mr. Follies might yell at me. But he seems to have disappeared, so fuck it.

** Prize may not actually exist.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday video of fun!

No news has moved me to write today, and I'm not in the mood to go digging for something, so instead please enjoy this old Dead Milkmen video I just saw for the first time.


Monday, March 23, 2009

The problem with civility

I've written and discarded multiple posts about the term "civility" and the way it's used as a weapon to silence dissent.

I touched upon this briefly in my post about "bipartisanship", but never felt I could get what I was trying to say about civility across clearly enough to justify a post of its own.

Yet today, I find Coturnix commenting here, and he expressed it almost perfectly. So I'll just quote him:

The call for civility is the method for the privileged to exclude the outsiders from conversation, because the only way to shock them out of their privilege is to tell them to fuck off.

Dammit, I wish I had said that.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

You're invited to Jeff McMenemy's pity party!

Today I rolled out of bed to find that the official Progressive Fitchburg car crash correspondent had sent me a hot tip: Sentinel Editor Jeff McMenemy had an accident and was crying about it in editorial form.

Normally, I'm not inclined to make light of someone's car accident. Car accidents suck, and not even the despicable McMenemy deserves to have one.

But then I read the actual editorial, entitled It's time to get dangerous drivers off the road, and any shred of sympathy I might have had evaporated. It's just that bad.

One trait common to most people who have trouble with the real world is that they put too much importance on their own experiences and actions. Show an astrology buff any of the dozens of well-controlled experiments debunking astrology and they'll claim that it's still valid, because it "works for me."

You get the same thing with car accidents. Some delusional people will see a car accident as a sign that the world is out to get them, when they should probably just take it as a sign that cars + icy roads = trouble.

Anyway, let's start the pity party!
I left work at about 7 p.m. on a Thursday night several weeks ago and headed up South Street in Fitchburg. The temperature had risen above freezing that day for the first time in several days and some of the snow had melted.

But as night fell, the temperatures dropped and even a main road like South Street was starting to get icy.

Unfortunately, as it turned out, there were no Department of Public Works trucks in sight.
Here our protagonist is setting up the story. The tale of a young man who unwisely decides to drives on one of the steepest, curviest, slipperiest roads around on a night it was getting icy, before the DPW had a chance to get to it.

Make sure not to interpret this as a sign he was doing something stupid, though. That would ruin the rest of the story. Just pretend that he's an adventurous type, instead of just a guy who doesn't know how to pick the proper route.

Onward, brave adventurer!
I headed up South Street and as I came to a slight turn in the road, I immediately saw a large black truck already about halfway in my lane.

I tried to get closer to the side of the road to avoid him, but because of the snowbanks and the piles of debris from [Sic] ice storm, I had nowhere to go, and in an instant, he crashed into me.

His truck had turned totally sideways when it crashed into my car.

The impact sent my small Subaru crashing first into a snowbank, and then into a pile of debris, before I stopped.
Oh no! Our hero has encountered a setback! A deadly fire-breathing dragon black truck was out of control in front of him! The roads were too narrow to avoid its devious sideways-driving and a crash ensued!

Since our hero was driving a Subaru (apparently known for being tiny), he was bounced around like some sort of bouncy thing. Did his heroic instincts kick in and allow him to pull the Subaru-beast out of its deadly spin?
In those short moments, I felt like the little silver ball inside a pin-ball [Sic] machine [Note from Unicow: the ball inside a pinball machine is known as a "pinball."] and promised myself I would buy a bigger car if I got out of the wreck uninjured.

I now drive a Ford F-150.

I kept waiting to crash into my windshield, part of which had been crushed when my car crashed into the pile of debris, but I had my seatbelt on and walked away without getting hurt.

Unfortunately, my car was not as lucky.

The impact of the other driver's truck hitting my car crushed the driver's side of the car, smashed part of the windshield, smashed the bumper, both headlights and the front passenger side of the car.
Okay, not so much with the heroic pulling out of the spin. But wearing a seatbelt is very sensible! Not heroic, but at least a good idea.

Predictably, the tiny car was lost. Which is why our hero had to replace it with a needlessly-huge penis surrogate. Or maybe he's planning to quit his editor job and take one in construction? Either way, not that heroic.

Plus, he then spends a few boring paragraphs talking about other cars almost hitting him and how he got out of the car (into the snowbank, people!). Okay, fine, we get it. You were in a car accident.

But now he's out of the car, time to be heroic!
I called one of my reporters so he could call the police for me -- I didn't know the direct number and I knew the newsroom did -- so I could get an officer to respond to the scene.

But because I was not hurt, they told him they were too busy to come to the scene and invited me to fill out a police report in the morning.
Umm... wow. That's not heroic. That's not even competent.

Hey, Jeff, I have information! Try not to forget this: The direct number for the police in this situation is 911.

See, that's the number for emergencies. If you call that number instead of forcing one of your employees to call the number they'd call to get an interview or something, then the police come and actually help you. Try that next time!

Of course, since you weren't injured, it's possible that they'll be off attending to people who have bigger problems. But I'm sure you'll be able to cope without turning into a bawling mess, right?

This isn't going so well anymore, but maybe it picks up?
I continued to wait and look around for the other driver, but he was -- as we used to say -- long gone and hard to find.

And it started to dawn on me that the driver had actually crashed into me and likely totaled my car, and then took off.
Oh no! A hit and run! We could be back into heroic excitement, now! Though the heroism is sort of diminished by the hero apparently being extremely slow to notice the world around him. Still, car accidents are scary, so maybe he was busy pissing himself or something. I'd leave that out of the retelling too.

Finally, I saw a police cruiser slowly driving up South Street and I thought he was coming to look for me to file a report, but he instead blocked off the road so a DPW truck could sand it.

Here's a thought: Next time maybe the DPW trucks should start sanding before the accidents happen.
Okay, enough of this hero bullshit. McMenemy has just revealed himself not as a hero, but as a whiny idiot (you knew it was only a matter of time).

Here's a thought: Next time don't drive on slippery unsanded roads, you flaming jackass!

The DPW can't be everywhere at once, and you're the moron that chose to drive on one of the single most hazardous-when-icy streets around, despite it being untreated. If you had waited 15 minutes, or taken another route, maybe you wouldn't have gotten yourself in an accident.

Let the whining continue:
As I was sitting in car [Sic] trying to stay warm and decide what to do next, I started getting angrier at the truck driver who had drove [Sic] into my lane, crashed into my car and then took off.
Umm, do you actually know that he took off? I mean, he was going sideways. On a curve. He probably didn't stop on a dime right after hitting you, so maybe he was in a snowbank around the curve?

Or maybe he did hit-and-run, in which case shame on him! That's a shitty thing to do, but what can you do? Life is shitty sometimes.

Most of us recognize that fact, and try to just deal with whatever shit life throws at us. But most of us don't have editorial columns in which we can cry about how unfair everything is:
What kind of a person drives into another vehicle and takes off?

What kind of a person crashes into a car that is half the size of his vehicle and then isn't even a decent enough human being to stop and see if the other driver is all right?

The hit-and-run wreck literally cost me thousands of dollars because I had just done about $2,000 of work on my car, and I just had to turn around and buy a new one.
Yes, car accidents tend to cost money. Deal with it.

Or, if you're unable to deal with it, maybe you could take your one isolated accident that resulted from driving on an untreated icy road that is treacherous even in a light rain and see it as a sign that everyone but you is a terrible driver.

And if you're really a despicable shitsack of a human being, you can compare your accident in which you were in no way injured to accidents in which people lost their lives. Same thing, right?
The sad fact is that there is an unacceptable level of dangerousness on Massachusetts roads because state officials would rather soak dangerous drivers with high fines and fees, and keep them on the road, than just take their license [Sic] away.

Take the case of Westminster resident Myja Parviainen, who died earlier this year when a Worcester driver speeding the wrong way down Route 495 in Bellingham crashed into her car and killed her.
Then we have a long list of all the shitty things this Waterman guy who killed Parviainen did. To prove that "state officials" hate taking people's licenses away, McMenemy provides the following information:
Waterman lost his license for nearly four months in 2007 after Worcester Police arrested him on charges of driving while intoxicated, according to his driving record.
and ...
The arrest marked Waterman's seventh surchargeable offense in three years, leading to an automatic 60-day license suspension under state law, in addition to his drunken-driving suspension...
Yeah, just look at all those "high fines and fees"! It's terrible! And eventually this horrible driver (who I'm sure totally never got behind the wheel while his license was suspended) killed someone. Which, yes, sucks.

But what does that have to do with McMenemy's stupid little accident in which nobody was hurt? He doesn't even know who was driving the other car. It could have been someone with a spotless driving record who was having a very poorly-timed heart attack for all he knows. Not that it matters when you can just make up your own reality.

Besides Waterman, McMenemy whines for awhile about some other driver who also drove poorly. This is the part of the editorial I like to call the "Jeff is out of ideas and just going to plagiarize some old story from the paper" part. So he does that for awhile, then ends with his coup de grace.
It was only through the grace of God that the driver didn't kill someone when he crashed, and that's apparently what state officials don't understand.

I'm not talking about someone who has a few tickets and got into an accident or two, accidents do happen.

I'm talking about someone with a history of accidents, driving drunk or multiple and excessive speeding.

People like that get way too many chances to stay on the road in Massachusetts, and every day that they get to keep driving, they put all of our lives at risk.
Hear that, state officials? You could have killed Jeff McMenemy! Even though there's no indication that the person who hit him had so much as a parking ticket, we're obviously supposed to think that whoever did it was undoubtedly a repeat offender. Probably an ILLEGAL too (at least that's what some dumbass thinks).

So, what have we learned?

Just a few things:
  1. Don't drive on South St. when it's icy (though most of us already knew this).
  2. The number for the police is 911 (again, most of us knew this).
  3. If your loved one dies in a horrible auto accident, your loss might be fodder for some douchebag who likes driving on icy roads to complain about something stupid.
  4. If you see a guy who looks like the lovechild of Joe McCarthy and a kiwi fruit driving a Ford F150, give him a wide berth.

The moral of the story? Jeff McMenemy is a whiny-ass titty baby.

The end.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Still waiting for one valid argument...

I knew it.

This tedious issue of illegal immigration has moved on from just outraging stupid people on message boards.

I heard stupid people arguing about it in my workplace this morning, a bunch of city councilors said stupid things to the newspaper, and McMenemy did what everyone knew he would do and wrote a stupid editorial.

We're approaching a singularity of stupid.

Let me clarify something, in case anyone is under the impression that I'm just calling people stupid because I disagree with their point of view. That's not actually the case.

There's certainly a discussion to be had about illegal immigration and how best to deal with it. Smart, sensible people can have different opinions on the issue. It's a very complicated issue, after all.

But what we're seeing is not smart, sensible people making rational arguments against allowing illegal immigrants to have driver's licenses. If we were, this would be a wonderfully interesting topic to write about and discuss.

No, what we're seeing is a bunch of people putting forward the same fundamentally stupid non-argument. It boils down to saying "illegal is bad" and therefore anyone who's been labeled an "illegal immigrant" or the dehumanizing pseudo-noun "illegal" is bad and should be punished in petty and nonsensical ways.

This "argument" is actually perfectly encapsulated in McMenemy's editorial headline: "Rewarding people for breaking the law."

That's what it's all about. There's no argument about whether allowing illegal immigrants to have driver's licenses makes sense or not. No, it's all about denying them the vast reward of being allowed to legally drive because they're ILLEGALS!

Dean Tran makes the same basic argument in his whining:
"I strongly believe this is an issue of right and wrong," Tran wrote in an e-mail responding to questions Thursday. "We should not condone illegal activities as we do not teach our children to engage in illegal activities."
Incidentally, note that the Sentinel initiated the questioning here. They're the ones trying to drum up outrage. They went looking for quotes condemning DeMoura, and found themselves a number of willing patsies. Way to get used, guys!

Here's the old dumb non-argument again.
Ward 2 City Councilor Norman Boisvert strongly disagrees with DeMoura's stance.

"I must be stuck in the old school," Boisvert said. "I believe anyone who comes here illegally should not be rewarded with a drivers license."

Boisvert is not anti-immigrant, he said, but he wants the laws to be obeyed.
Yes, what a wonderful "reward" driver's licenses are. It's not like anyone needs a driver's license. They're just a nice luxury item, like golden back-scratchers.

Also, please note: anyone who feels the need to state that they're "not anti-immigrant" is most likely anti-immigrant. It's like the people who say "I'm not a racist" before saying something incredibly racist. Just saying it doesn't make it true.

Kevin Starr thinks illegal immigrants should have a way to become legal immigrants, and I agree with him. But what does he think about this specific driver's license issue?
Ward 4 City Councilor Kevin Starr disagrees with DeMoura's position.

"A driver's license is a privilege you have to earn," Star [Sic] said. "It's not a right."
Oh, Kevin. You're a nice guy, but that's a really stupid thing you said. You "earn" the privilege to drive by passing a driving test and paying a fee. There's nothing about that process that inherently disqualifies people who haven't gone through the proper immigration channels.

Believe it or not, even foreign tourists can drive legally as long as they have a valid license in their home country. Have they earned that privilege more than someone who's actually living here but has been labeled as "illegal"?

About the only one in the S&E article who gets it at all (besides DeMoura) is Jody Joseph:
Ward 6 City Councilor Jody Joseph is upset that Patrick has the committee to begin with, saying illegal immigrants should not be receiving any benefits from the state.

"I don't know how comfortable and easy we should make it for refugees and immigrants to come into the area if they are here illegally," Joseph said. "I don't understand the whole concept."

But Joseph is not opposed to DeMoura's stance on giving licenses to undocumented immigrants.

"The chief just wants to be able to identify all of them," he said.
Sure, the first part of that quote is stupid (way to attack refugees for no reason, asshole), but at least Joseph understands that this isn't about "rewarding" anyone, it's about pragmatism.

Chief DeMoura didn't suggest allowing illegal immigrants to have driver's licenses as a reward, it's for purely pragmatic purposes. Let's actually see what he says:
DeMoura defended his comments Thursday. He said giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants is a good policy.

"It's a procedural step that makes sense," DeMoura said.

It would allow police to be able to identify those immigrants during traffic stops or other police encounters, he said.

And the proposal would also give the state a way to get a fingerprint from the immigrant, he said.

Most illegal immigrants are people whose temporary work visas have expired, DeMoura said.
Clearly, this isn't about some stupid "reward", it's about making the job of the police easier. People have to drive. Not driving is really not an option if you live in Central Massachusetts and hope to have a job, or do pretty much anything.

There just aren't a whole lot of other options. Not everyone has an endlessly supportive friend who can ferry them around all the time. Not everyone has access to public transportation (which sucks around here). Taxis cost more than many people can realistically afford, assuming they can even get one when they need one.

And even if there were viable alternatives, the reality of the situation is that people are driving anyway. Doing this illegally causes problems. So instead of stamping our feet and whining about it, DeMoura put forward an idea that's very simple and solves a lot of problems.

So, can anyone point to problems that DeMoura's suggestion creates? I mean besides pissing off people who "earned" the privilege of having a driver's license by virtue of their mom getting knocked up while living in the United States?

Here's the closest I could find to an argument against DeMoura's suggestion, and it doesn't actually have anything to do with driver's licenses, it's just whining that anyone dare to give a shit about what happens to illegal immigrants. Cue Dean Tran:
And Tran thinks Patrick ought to be doing more for the legal residents of the state before he deals with illegal immigrants.

"If Gov. Patrick wants to help the people of the Commonwealth, he should be focusing his energy on creating jobs and lowering taxes," Tran wrote. "His committee is another representation of bigger government and more tax dollars going to waste."
Blah blah blah, typical conservative nonsense. You know, Dean, it is possible to do more than one thing at a time.

Or should we wait until every single problem faced by naturalized citizens is solved before we do anything for illegal immigrants? Because if that's how you think government works, it's no wonder you think Rachel is some kind of political genius.

Finally, McMenemy does present an "argument" that slightly deviates from the prevalent "stop rewarding the wetbacks" argument. Here it is:
Again, no matter how well intentioned DeMoura is, we think his proposal, if enacted, would only encourage more illegal aliens to come into Massachusetts, where residents and business owners are already paying high taxes which go, in part, to educating and housing illegal immigrants.
This, like everything that comes out of McMenemy's brain, is only valid in the peculiar little fantasy world that he inhabits.

I'll just discard outright the totally-unsupported-by-facts assertion that this would somehow turn Massachusetts into some sort of vacation resort for illegal immigrants. It's nonsense.

Also, please note that illegal immigrants pay less in taxes than citizens, but they also use less in services. Depending on who you listen to, they either use slightly more than they pay or pay slightly more than they use, but either way it pretty much comes out as a wash.

Sure, schooling illegal immigrants costs money, but illegal immigrants also pay into Social Security without ever getting any benefits from it. Sales tax hits everyone, of course. It's not a simple issue, unless you just choose to ignore all the complexities.

As for our "high taxes," Massachusetts was ranked 23rd in the country in 2008 for "tax burden." That puts us squarely in the middle. Of course, any tax is high in McMenemy's eyes.

But that's beside the point.

The point is, if you have a valid argument against allowing illegal immigrants to have driver's licenses, go ahead and make it. But base it on the real world, not some imaginary land where driver's licenses are considered "rewards" and a police chief expressing a desire to do one very simple thing to make the job of the police easier is some deep moral outrage.

In other words, disagree with DeMoura all you want, but please stop being so fucking stupid about it.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Police Chief says something smart, outraging stupid people

Some days when I check the local newspaper for my daily fix of "what a fucking stupid world this is," I find something that I just know is going to explode into a giant shitstorm of stupidity so vast that even I will soon have to avert my eyes, lest my neurons start apoptosing out of sheer despair.

Today is such a day.

I present to you Fitchburg Police Chief wants illegals to have driver's licenses.

Stupid thing #1 is that headline. Apparently the S&E has given up even the pretense of being a real newspaper. By embracing the dehumanizing term "illegals" to refer to illegal immigrants they've demonstrated that they're just as blatantly biased as Fox News or WorldNetDaily.

But we already knew that, so let's look at the article itself. Which is actually not that bad.
Fitchburg Police Chief Robert DeMoura won a standing ovation Wednesday night by calling for driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants during the New Americans Agenda public hearing held at Fitchburg High School.

"Let's start with the simplest thing we can practically do," DeMoura said.

DeMoura said giving undocumented immigrants driver's licenses would allow them to legally work and commute in the community. It will also simplify the job for police when stopping drivers for alleged traffic violations.

"When we stop somebody, we want to know who we're stopping," DeMoura said.
Well damn, that makes an awful lot of sense. It's not like there's anything even approaching adequate public transportation in Fitchburg. People have to drive, so let's make sure they're doing it legally and with the proper training.

The article also contains some stories from illegal immigrants, who point out that it's ridiculously difficult to integrate into American society despite their desire to do so. Lack of SSNs and driver's licenses contribute to this, while of course the ridiculously convoluted immigration system itself is also at fault.

So, aside from its deeply idiotic headline, the article itself isn't the stupid I'm going to be focusing on. It's actually relatively decent for an article in the S&E.

No, the stupid is exploding elsewhere, in the comments on the story, which have already increased from 30 to 37 in the time I've been writing this.

In these comments the xenophobia, racism, and just outright stupidity run thick. If stupidity were gravity, we'd be well on our way to a singularity. There are maybe one or two sane people trying to stem the tide of stupid. It's a lost cause, guys! Get out before they drag you down!

As an exercise, I'm going to pick the "arguments" out of a set of some comments and see how concisely I can rip them to shreds. Most of the comments don't actually bother to make any arguments, and are just people being outraged and whiny, so I probably won't bother with those except maybe to briefly mock them.

Let's start!

Here's what "Jim" has to say:
What part of "illegal" do they not understand, we spend a fortunate enforcing immigration laws, and there are many valid reasons for doing so.

To suggest that we should ignore the laws, or look the other way is illegal as well, and we should expect everyone to enforce them.
Jim here uses the old "illegal means bad!" argument that you'll be seeing a lot of. But the more interesting part is the fact that this legal scholar believes not enforcing a law is also illegal, and that "everyone" should be enforcing immigration laws.

It is not illegal to not enforce a law. If it were, every cop would be breaking the law constantly (even more so than they do already). There are priorities to consider, because if you spend all your time enforcing the "keep off the grass" signs, it sort of lets other things get out of hand.

Also, "everyone" enforcing the law means vigilantes. Vigilantism actually is illegal. Next!

From "enough":
ok, so now the police sheif is actually condoning criminal activity? this is all so insame, i think i am going to vommit.
The Chief is condoning allowing illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses. There is nothing illegal about that. Don't blame him for your bulimia.

From HAHA:
So if DE dum dum is going to ignor that crime will he turn a blind eye to all other crimes commited by these illegal people? What about the people who pay his income are we exempt from the laws also?
Oh, the old "I pay your income salary so you have to do what I want" gambit! Well played!

Additionally, "illegal people" is not a thing. And if such a thing did exist, I'm sure the police chief would not turn a blind eye to all their "other crimes" which you seem to believe they commit.

Hmm, this is getting tedious. Let's mix it up with a quick listing of people who are shocked, shocked I say, at how nobody but them understands the meaning of the word "illegal." Also, please note that the proper spelling of "illegal" is in wingnut all-caps:
  • "Doesn't the word ILLEGAL send up any red flags?? If they are not LEGAL citizens, why are they here?" - reply
  • "How are ILLEGALS driving...whos car?" - Misfortune Teller
  • "Illegal means not within the law; therefore, they should be issued the apt punishment, not a license." - Truffles
  • "I am outraged that my tax dollars are being used to allow illegals to attend Schools and colleges." - Ken Burgess
  • "I hate to be the bad guy here, and I do know quite a few foreigners without papers, but why should they enjoy ANY degree of comfort or service while they are here ILLEGALLY?" - eric
  • "When you stop ILLEGAL aliens arrest them." - Concerned Citizen
  • "Illegal is not a sick bird. [...] Wake up everyone, we are the MAJORITY. Let us not bow to ILLEGAL minorities. " - Kojak (who brings the funny before calling for a race war!)
  • "F**k the illegals." [that was his entire post] - Jon from Lunenburg
Clear enough? These people really really really hate the word ILLEGAL. Also, brown people.

In case you can't follow their logic, the brilliant "Resident" spells it out:
If they are illegal we shouldn't be doing anything but deporting them. Honestly, this liberal bullsh!t is appalling.

Undocumented = illegal
illegal = breaking the law
breaking the law = got to jail, or leave the country.

Why is this chain of logic so difficult for people to understand?
Thanks, "Resident"! Your command of the English language is remarkable!

Of course, the reason people don't follow your "chain of logic" is because it's not actually logical. See, breaking the law doesn't actually equal "got [Sic] to jail, or leave the country."

Most of the time, breaking the law doesn't result in anything at all. Part of the time, it equals a fine or penalty of some sort. A tiny fraction of the time it equals going to jail, and an even tinier fraction of the time it equals deportation.

One more post, just for fun! Here's "believer"
are you freakin kidding me is right....you know just when you think you've heard it all you hear more!! nothing like catering to these cry babies, they should have rallied them up and sent them back to their own country, I mean one guy 20 dam years!! now that is a huge effort to become legal 20 years later........wow the U.S. is a dam joke to these people.
Cry babies? Pot, meet kettle.

Okay, so my attempt to briefly eviscerate their arguments has been foiled by everyone having failed to actually make any arguments beyond "ILLEGALS suck," which isn't actually an argument at all.

So let's just examine why these people are so hung up on the word "illegal," as if using that word instantly makes immigration a simple issue to deal with. As I see it, there are several factors that go into this.
  • Lacking an actual understanding of the very complicated and nuanced issue of immigration, people latch onto the division of legal/illegal so they can pretend they understand it.
  • They're all a bunch of racists who would like to get rid of all immigrants, but know they can't do anything about legal immigrants.
  • They spend all their free time tossing Lou Dobbs' salad, and just automatically parrot back whatever bullshit he spews.
  • They have serious daddy issues.
  • "Illegal immigrant" is wingnut code for "Mexican," and wingnuts do not care for those lazy Mexicans one bit.
  • It's the only word they can consistently spell right.
I suspect it's a combination of all of the above, mixed in with big heaps of jingoism and old-fashioned xenophobia.

In conclusion (at least until Jeff McMenemy writes an outraged editorial about this in a day or two), good job Chief DeMoura! If you're pissing off this many idiots, it just means you're doing something right.

UPDATE: The Telegram has a pretty crummy article on the same meeting, also using the word "Illegals" in the headline! What the hell, Telegram? You're supposed to be the paper for grown-ups! At least it doesn't focus as heavily on the stupid driver's license issue.

The comments there are similarly depressing. Jesus fuck, we're surrounded by dipshits.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Web 2.0. Yay.

So, I've been hearing lately that the Republicans have beaten the Democrats in the only metric that truly matters: Twitter usage.

For instance, John McCain has an account, which he some intern uses to update everyone on his prostate (at threat level yellow today!) and complain about earmarks.

There's even a website listing the "top conservatives on Twitter", that is basically a really long (3,890 entries right now) listing of a bunch of conservatives you've never heard of, with a few known entities sprinkled in for good measure. It's proof that Republicans understand techmologies!

This cannot stand! Republicans gave us "the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes."

That sort of comedy gold could disappear forever if Republicans begin to understand the internet!

More recently, they gave us Norm Coleman's complete donor list, complete with credit card numbers. If his staff were more knowledgeable about the internet that might not have happened, and then I wouldn't have this nice new George Foreman grill.

Obviously, Republicans + internet = trouble!

To fight this growing menace, I have made a Twitter account myself. In the creepy parlance of Twitter users, it's @unicow. Twits will know what that means, apparently.

In keeping with the true spirit of Twitter, I will mostly be using it to tell you what I had for lunch. It also gets auto-updated when I make a post, so it'll still get updated after I get bored of it in a couple days.

So yeah, follow me if that's your thing. Or don't.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ghosts are more interesting than streetlights

Oh, what an embarrassment of riches I'm faced with today!

Checking the S&E today, I see it contains not only the dumbest editorial ever, in the form of a special column by village idiot Jeff McMenemy, but also the dumbest actual story ever. It's about ghosts.

Prior to spotting the ghost story, I was all set to address McMenemy's dumbness. But frankly, it's not coherent enough to be worth a full post. It's just a tedious hit-piece attacking both Lisa Wong and Deval Patrick for their shared crime of doing things McMenemy doesn't care for.

For some reason McMenemy is obsessed both with streetlights and with pricey SUVs. I'd explain what his reasons are, but he never really bothers to make them clear. The man has the intellectual sophistication--and language skills--of a mildly retarded parakeet. Just know he's really upset!

But the ghost story, now that's something amazing!

Let's do some quoting!
Kathleen Caslin became a ghost hunter six years ago by accident, after a supernatural encounter got her questioning the existence of the paranormal.

"That's where your life turns on a moment," Caslin said.

Caslin, a registered nurse, was working a night shift at a hospital in 2003 when she was approached by a ghost in one of the patient rooms, she said.
Okay, that's not so terrible. Kooky lady spends her free time doing something stupid. Not really news-worthy, but maybe it would work as a human interest story or something.

So what brings this nurse I hope to never require medical care from to town? She's giving lessons on how to be credulous like her!
Caslin, Edward Perry and other members of the SIGNS Paranormal investigative team gave a presentation on dealing with hauntings at the Thayer Memorial Library Sunday afternoon. Caslin is now a researcher with the group.

Caslin decided to start asking questions about the unexplained after her encounter in the hospital, and that eventually led her to her position with SIGNS.

The group researches haunted houses and tried to determine what, if anything, is actually going on. Perry said paranormal investigators need to keep an air of skepticism as they do their work.
An "air of skepticism"? I don't think they know what the word means.

See, if you're a skeptic, you don't call yourself a "ghost hunter." Because that assumes that ghosts exist, and any "ghost hunter" is going to primarily be looking for things that support their belief. You can no more be a skeptical ghost hunter than you can be a skeptical Leprechaun wrangler or a skeptical dragon slayer.

If you hear funny noises in your walls and send a ghost hunter in to investigate, they're going to say it's a ghost. If you send in an exterminator to investigate, they're going to say it's mice. If you send in a plumber, he's going to say it's your pipes. That's just the way it goes.

But you don't get many newspaper stories about plumbing problems, or rodent infestations. Being a ghost hunter is clearly way more fun.

But wait, the website for this nutty "SIGNS" group says they're all about science! SIGNS even stands for "Scientific Investigations of Ghosts N Spirits."

Ugh. That's terrible.

What sciencey-sounding stuff do they use?
Perry, wearing a polo shirt with the logo from the movie "Ghost Busters" on it, demonstrated the different devices the ghost hunters use in their work. There is an electron meter to gauge the energy in a particular room, a temperature gauge, an audio device to pick up sounds of spirits talking or moving, video camera and audio recording devices.
Ooh, an electron meter! Because ghosts are always leaving their electrons laying around everywhere. Also a temperature gauge (known to laymen as a "thermo-meter"), in case the ghosts have a fever or something. Plus a tape recorder. Obviously that's the most important bit!

Besides the Ghostbusters polo shirt, I mean. Because nothing says "scientific rigor" like referencing a movie in which a giant marshmallow destroys part of New York.
The investigators at SIGNS have been successful [Sic] picking up what they claim are the voices of ghosts in different haunted locations using audio recording. Caslin explained the group will record their discussions inside a haunted location and then hear the voices of ghosts when that recording is played back.

When the ghost is heard, it is called an Electronic Voice Phenomena [Sic], she said, or EVP.
Funny that they don't hear these voices at the time, isn't it? Maybe it's a magical audio recorder?

EVP is awesome in the same way that playing records backwards to look for hidden messages is awesome. It nicely illustrates the brain's ability to find patterns, even if the patterns it finds are totally meaningless.

If you record something (or nothing) and then crank the volume way up to the point where it's mostly a bunch of white noise, you can then rely on the pattern-finding parts of your brain to turn a bit of noise into something that sounds like a voice.

You might experience something similar in the shower. I often hear phantom phones ringing when in the shower. It doesn't mean my house is haunted by a phone, it means finding patterns in the random noise of the shower is not particularly useful.

It's sort of cool, as long as you're not a gullible doofus who interprets your brain's reflexive pattern-finding behavior as proof of a ghost.

Not that this group of totally-not-fake scientists would ever do something so obviously stupid!
Caslin played EVPs taken at the Christ Community Church in Chicopee where SIGNS suspect two disgruntled ghosts started haunting the church in 2004 after it switched from being a combination of Methodist and Congregationalist to just Congregationalists.

The recordings played revealed sometimes inaudible and distant whispers responding to the comments of the SIGNS team. At one point, one of the alleged ghosts can be heard telling the team to "get out."
Oh, maybe they are that stupid. Or maybe ghosts really hate it when churches switch from including two Protestant sects to just allowing one. That certainly gets me all worked up!
Caslin researched the history of the church and believes the two ghosts are Methodists [Sic] spinsters and former members of the church who died before it made the change to just being a Congregationalist church.

The two ghosts are known to throw hymn books, move books, hide candles and make apparitions in the church, Caslin said.
Wow, that's some major stuff that these ghosts are "known" to do! Throwing crap, hiding things for some reason, and even appearing! Why are these ghost hunters not cashing in on their findings? With all that evidence, they could definitely win James Randi's million-dollar challenge by providing evidence of the existence of the paranormal!

You could be rich, guys!

Here's another awesome bit of information:
Caslin and Perry said their group is willing to come to investigate homes free of charge. She said the group is very discrete.
Hear that? You can have these crackpots in your very own home!

So here's what you do:
  1. If you don't have one, buy a small battery-powered radio.
  2. Tune it to something that's either all talk, or at least old-timey sounding (maybe some ragtime, for the folksy ghost feel).
  3. Call SIGNS and tell them you are haunted by a noisy ghost who likes ragtime or whatever.
  4. Before they arrive, throw the radio in a closet, under a pile of clothes or something. Make sure it's loud enough to be just barely audible in the room, but not loud enough that you can actually make much of anything out. It's even better if it has crappy reception and keeps cutting in and out.
  5. Open some windows to make your house drafty (for the thermo-meter).
  6. Scatter around some spare electrons.
  7. When the ghostbusters arrive, give them mescaline.
  8. After they report back that the house is totally definitely haunted like crazy, start giving tours.
  9. Retire, rich and happy!

Or you could just make fun of them for being a bunch of credulous nitwits. That would be good too.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The full text of my new subheading quote thing

I updated my subheading thingy at the top of the page today, and turned it into a Jefferson quote. Since it's a partial quote, I'll provide the full citation for you here.

"Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus."

-Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Francis Adrian Van der Kemp. July 30, 1816

You can see why I cut it off. As much as I enjoy Jefferson's views on the trinity, it's not a topic I write about much here.

Ridiculing unintelligible propositions, on the other hand, is something I do rather often. Because it's fun.

Too terrible for words

Okay, I've tried multiple times to put together a post about this story, and I just can't do it. The above headline basically says it all, anyway.

It's just too depressing, too repugnant, too ghoulish. There's nothing remotely funny about any of it.

I still recommend you read it, though. Then the next time some religious wackaloon tries to equate their religion with "morality," just think about the poor girl in this story.

And please, try not to beat that person to a bloody pulp. Unless it's this guy:

... he at least deserves it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Whiny babies, commence whining!

Ugh, more boring crap about streetlights being shut off. Didn't I write about this awhile ago?

(Yes, I did!)

Well, now the plan is actually about to start.
A plan to shut of more than 60 percent of the city's streetlights could be implemented as early as next week, Mayor Lisa Wong said Wednesday.

The plan is expected to yield about $64,000 in savings, according to a report released this week by Department of Public Works Commissioner Lenny Laakso.

"We just have to get the OK from the mayor's office, then we'll tell Unitil to implement the plan," Laakso said.

Wong said it would take a month or two to fully implement the program.
All well and good. They're going to shut off about 63% of the streetlights, while leaving strategically-placed lights on.
Lights would remain on along Main Street, on dangerous curves, near some schools and in some areas recommended by ward councilors and police officials, Laakso said.
Well, that's pretty sensible!

After all, there are about 3,000 streetlights in Fitchburg. That's a lot of electricity and a lot of money. And many of the lights are in places that don't really require streetlights. It's really a very sensible plan.

Of course, local whiny babies don't care for this sensible plan. Because they're scared of the dark, and have apparently never lived anywhere that didn't have a giant streetlamp every 30 feet. You know, exotic places like Alaska. Or Lunenburg.

Some people are not whiny babies, of course, and even speak up. Like this rarely-seen creature, an actual intelligent letter to the editor writer! Hold on to your hats!
The truth is, no conclusive evidence exists on the correlation between streetlights and criminal activity. A 2002 article from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences concludes that "more research is needed" on the relationship between lighting and crime. Oddly enough, few American studies have been conducted on this crucial issue, and the results of the studies we do have are decidedly mixed.

In one of the newer studies, a 2000 Department of Justice report on Chicago showed that "reported offenses increased" when lighting was improved. How could this be? According to the evaluation, it "could not provide a definitive explanation of these findings." So the answer is, nobody knows.

On the other hand, the International Dark-Sky Association, an organization concerned with the negative effects of light pollution, estimates that the U.S. wastes more than a billion dollars annually in energy costs for unnecessary lighting. In short, the jury is still out on whether (or to what degree) street lighting makes our streets safer. And there is some indication that illuminating our cities may do more harm than good.
Letter-writer Elizabeth Gordon, you are a breath of fresh air! You cite people who actually know what they're talking about instead of just asking dumbass city councilors and people on the street for their uninformed opinion!

Unfortunately, very few whiny babies are capable of understanding what you wrote. Even fewer will give a shit. For instance, here's a lovely comment on that letter. It's from "WHAT ABOUT US":
QUOTED FROM STORY "Since there is no statistically significant evidence that street lighting affects the level of crime, I for one am fine with the city saving money by shutting off the lights. Others, I'm sure, will disagree."

Do you really need a chart or graph or some form of written information to see what is going on in your own town? Open your eyes... Look around you... Forget about waiting for someone to spell it out for you.
Yes, Elizabeth. Your perfectly logical and straightforward approach to decision making is offensive to idiots. You and your "charts" and "graphs." NERD!

The local illiterati have determined that research means nothing at all. All they need to know is that they think that turning off streetlights is bad, so therefore it is. End of argument!

Let's have another example, shall we? This one comes from "cheryl". It's beautiful:
No lights in Fitchburg? good when we get hurt from them turning off the lights then we should send medicol bills to Lisa Wong. she wants Lights Out then she should pay All medicol bills for those who gets injured.
I enjoy the way this person's mind works. Turning off 63% of the streetlights in her mind is apparently the same as "no lights in Fitchburg."

Yes, "cheryl." The mayor is going to come to your house and steal all your light bulbs! Not for any reason; just because she's evil! I bet she won't even pay for your "medicol" bills when the scary darkness hurts you!

See, the fact of the matter is that 98% of the bitching about turning off streetlights has nothing whatsoever to do with streetlights. It has to do with the fact that there's a subset of inbred douchenozzles in Fitchburg who hate Lisa Wong and are going to complain about anything she does, because it's her.

To illustrate that point, here's a comment on that same article from our old racist buddy, "QEII":
Geez i'm surprised and she makes me ill when i see her chuckle on tv. Nothing is funny about what has gone wrong with Fitchburg, i am appalled that we are the source of her sick laughter. She should I suppose she fooled a lot of people didn't she; 29, a mayor (great on her resume) and the people of Fitchburg foolheartedly put her there.
So the comment that this dipshit is making on an article about streetlights is basically "I don't like the way Lisa Wong laughs."

Umm... okay. I've never had an issue with the mayor's laugh, personally. But I'm also not a crazy asshole who hates the mayor.

Look, people who are scared of the dark. This is easy. If you're really scared of Mad Max-style roving gangs of bandits raiding your home because a nearby streetlight was turned off, you can pay about $12 a month to have it turned on. Surely you're willing to pay that much for your own safety, right?

Because if not, then you're probably not actually all that concerned about the streetlights. So if you don't pay for the light, but do whine about it being turned off, you're really just whining because you enjoy whining. Stop it.


Also, I'm putting up a new poll. I theorize that the vast majority of people who whine about streetlights being turned off also whine about people getting too many public services (you know, welfare and disability and so forth). Do you agree?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

People are running for office!

Oh boy!

Yesterday we had the heartwrenching news that we lost the only challenger to Lisa Wong for mayor. Today, we find out that we in fact have gained a number of candidates for other positions in town.

Let's look at them, shall we?

First off, the city council races present us with both old and new faces.

Stephan Hay, Thomas Conry and Marcus DiNatale are all running for reelection to their at-large city council seats. You may or may not already have an opinion of these people.

For instance, you might see DiNatale as a grandstanding yet poorly-informed buffoon. Or you might not. It's up to you, citizens!

Besides the incumbents, we also have Rosemary Reynolds bringing the crazy church-lady vibe to the at-large council race. Here's what she had to say:
Reynolds, a former City Councilor, has said she filed papers to reinstitute morals in the chamber.

Now that Rachel's not running, I'm hoping Reynolds provides the batshit-insanity this election desperately needs. So far so good, but she really needs a crazy website to bring the fun home.

Also running for the at-large seat is someone named Stephen Hartman, who I know nothing about. Maybe he's awesome! Or maybe he's crazy! It's like a little mystery that we will hopefully explore later.

For the ward seats we have two people so far. Emilio Bernard is running for Ward 6. I don't know anything about Bernard either, but at least the paper has a little information about him.
Bernard, 48, is a native of Puerto Rico and moved to Fitchburg seven months ago. He said he wants to increase racial diversity in city government.

"I think there's a lot we can work on in our race relations," Bernard said. "If we can all look at it in a positive approach, we could help each other."
Racial diversity in city government would certainly be a good thing. Though we'll reserve judgment until he actually puts forward a platform of some sort.

One thing's for sure, though. Whatever his platform, the local mouth-breathing racist sacks of shit are going to hate him. A native of Puerto Rico who has only lived in Fitchburg for seven months and has an interest in improving race relations? That's scary stuff to a lot of Fitchburg's more idiotic residents. Not like what they say matters, but get ready to be depressed about the state of the world.

Moving on, the Ward 4 seat is being contested by Ryan McNutt, who was one of the people behind that civic engagement thing I mentioned last week.

I should disclose up front that I know Ryan socially. So I may not be totally objective on my otherwise-totally-objective-about-everything blog! I can at least say that he's disturbingly well-informed when it comes to political and local government stuff, and he can name all the presidents of the United States in order, off the top of his head! The president thing is probably not that useful for city council meetings, but it's still pretty neat.

You may also recall that former mayor Dan Mylott is running for a city council position. He hasn't gotten around to doing the paperwork yet, apparently. Make snide comments about that fact if you wish.

Finally, we have one guy running for School Committee, by the name of David Thibault-Munoz. Here's what he had to say to the S&E:
Thibault-Munoz, who works as a director for community outreach for the Twin City CDC, said he wants to create a better way for parents and students to participate and give input about school policies.

"I feel that I have my ear to the ground with both students and parents in the community," he said.
Well, that's fine. Website, please.

I think that's everyone. Lisa Wong will be seeking re-election, but hasn't filed yet. Presumably a number of the city councilors and school committee folks will be doing the same.

So there you have it. New people to examine. Old people to re-examine. Will they be boring? Will they be exciting? Nobody knows!

Okay, that's enough fake excitement for now.

Monday, March 09, 2009

And then there were one...

Remember a couple of weeks ago when some crazy lady announced she was running for mayor against Lisa Wong? Well, she's not anymore.

Yes, Rachel Rosenfeld is out of the mayoral race, probably because of that evil shadow government that hates free speech or something.

Actually, here's her stated reason:
Rachel Rosenfeld announced Sunday she is dropping out of the mayoral race, saying her health is not good enough to continue.

"I'm not afraid of dying, but I am afraid of dying on the job and letting people down," she said.

Rosenfeld, a local blogger known online as "Really Rachel," suffers from a rare neurological form of sarcoidosis that limits her to a wheelchair and affects her breathing.

Rosenfeld's condition has been stable in recent months, but a visit to a doctor in Boston Tuesday revealed her condition could worsen at anytime [Sic], she said.
Oh no! Who could have possibly seen this coming?

Allow me to quote myself...
Now, here's a prediction for you.

At some point before the primary (assuming there is one) Rachel will drop out. It might be because Tran enters the race, and of course Rachel isn't going to run against her special buddy. Or it could be because she's gotten enough ego-stroking out of her little crusade and doesn't want to suffer the humiliating defeat she's bound for. Or it could be because everyone's treating her campaign as a total joke and she discovers she needs to drop out due to "health problems."
Now, I'm not saying her health problems aren't real. But I am saying that pretty much any illness "could worsen at any time" and that it's an awfully convenient excuse to drop out of a poorly-planned publicity stunt of a mayoral run.

So, let's wish Rachel a not-so-fond farewell by quoting one last little bit of insanity before we go right back to ignoring her entirely:
"Things are going to continue to get worse," she said. "Right now we need a leader of people."

The next mayor need to see the residents of the city for who they are and value each life, she said.

"This city is made up of human beings, not dollars and cents," she said.
Yes, Mayor Wong, please stop selling the residents of Fitchburg to be ground up as dog food! What the hell is your problem?

Anyway, Godspeed you crazy ex-mayoral candidate! May a new lunatic take your place soon!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Your Friday music video of fun

Man, everything is too boring to write about lately. Instead, here's a good video by The Coup that you can watch. Music, like comedy, is at its best when it's subversive.

That's why conservatives suck at both.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Civic Engagement, Ahoy!

I'm not in a huge writing mood, so I'm going to pass along something that relates a bit to this post from last week, in which I demanded that non-crazy people run for office.

Truth be told, I enjoy the crazy people. They just shouldn't be elected to public office. Therefore, we need at least a few competent and sane candidates to actually elect while we're being entertained by the crazy ones.

So why not you? *

School Committee member Sally Cragin sends word of a civic engagement dealie that she and former-candidate-for-city-council Shaun Cormier have put together (Update: and also Ryan McNutt, whose name isn't on the damn flyer for some reason). Here's their flyer!

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Prefer Spanish? They've got you covered!

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So why not attend and get some tasty refreshments while also doing your part to make Fitchburg a better place? You don't even have to be interested in politics, since much of what they're going to be talking about isn't really political, it's just good old-fashioned volunteerism.

I also recommend that if you're interested in an elected position, then you should bring along a couple of crazy friends that you can convince to run against you. They'll make you look better by comparison!

* I'm assuming here that you are not crazy. If you actually are crazy, then please pass this information on to your caretaker, or perhaps a smart friend.