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Check out “The Dangers of Liberal Bias” by Joan Chevalier from today’s Boston Globe. It’s a well-written piece that explores the mind of rural voters and their understandable distaste for Ivy league liberal politicians like Barack Obama.

Leave comments on what you think...I’m curious.
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Hooray Constitution!

What we saw today with the defeat of the whopping $700 billion Wall Street bail out package was a brilliant working of checks and balances (remember those from middle school government class?). I don’t want a hastily put together, $700 billion dollar tab shoved down my throat as a taxpayer when no one’s even really sure if it will work. Now, I’m no finance wiz...so I can’t really comment intelligently on the matter, but I’m inclined to support the representatives who defeated the bill today.

A great quote from a Republican representative who voted against the bill (I’m pretty sure he was from Texas, but not positive): “Once the government socializes losses it will socialize profits. If we lose our ability to fail, we will soon lose our ability to succeed”.

Well said.
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A Few Good Boston Globe Articles

The Boston Globe had a few good articles on their website today that are worth a read.

-The first one by Jeff Jacoby, “
Seeing through Obamanomics”, analyzes Obama’s plan to cut taxes for 95% of Americans and raise them for the other 5%. Rich people like those in Hollywood or CEOs living the easy life aren’t that easy or popular to defend, but just because its not easy doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. Jacoby calls Obama out on the unfairness and hypocrisy of income redistribution and an even more progressive tax code. Check it out.

-James Peyser writes “
Brain Drain”, an article highlighting the importance of experimental charter schools in failing public school systems, especially poor, inner-city ones. Boston used to lead the way on this front, but its leadership has recently ebbed because of a cap on the number of charter schools allowed. All this while cities like New York and New Orleans fully embrace the schools and see inspiring figures and statistics as a result. McCain has attemped to make charter schools and school choice a focal part of his campaign, especially in courting inner-city and black voters, so it’s definitely both policitally and socially relevant.
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Two Quick Posts in a Row!

Just stumbled upon an interesting editorial in the Boston Globe by Jeff Jacoby. Check out “A Stark Choice on Abortion”.

Happy Wednesday!
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Hillary in the Spotlight

I guess I didn’t really know what to expect from Hillary Clinton’s speech tonight at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. What I got, however, wasn’t what I could have imagined. Instead of a speech focused on calming her anxious supporters and unifying the Democratic party, I witnessed a speech focused on, well, Hillary. The introductory video segment put together by daugher Chelsea highlighted her family history, career, and presidential bid. It was full of pictures of Hillary- only two or three of which included both she and Barack. Her speech was all about her fight for the presidency- as a woman, as an underdog, as a fighter for middle America. Sure, she intermixed a few lines of support for Barack’s candidacy and dinged “her colleague and friend” John McCain a few times, but it was pretty much the all-about-Hillary show. But, maybe thats what some of her most fervent supporters, nevermind Hillary herself, needed to move beyond the fact that she has indeed lost the race for the Democratic ticket. Now that she’s been given her chance to shine she can move on with the Democratic race for the White House and her own political future.
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Drinking Article

Just found this interesting article on a petition that 100+ college presidents have signed urging Congress to reconsider the U.S. drinking age.
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John Edwards

And the biggest slimeball of the year award goes to....

John Edwards

So much for being a “moral Democrat” or a man who represents “both Americas”.

The bigger story than all this is the fact that the national media completely ignored the story even after a witnessed confrontation between Edwards and the National Enquirer during a late-night visit to his mistress’ hotel. Can any of you imagine if this had been Mitt Romney? Or Rudy Giuliani? All hell would have broken loose in the liberal media. Exposed, yet again.s
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Jesse Helms

Jesse Helms is a name that I have heard, but have never been very familiar with. His death early this morning has brought his name back into the spotlight. After reading this, from the Boston Globe, and other articles about him I am now intrigued. Just from this short glimpse, I can tell you I’m a big fan of his politics and his unapologetic character. I think I’ll continue my memoir-streak and pick up his Here’s Where I Stand: A Memoir later this week.

In the mean time, HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY! I’m especially aware and thankful for all we have here in the United States after spending so much time out of the country recently.
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McCain Doomed?

A good article from the Wall Street Journal on why the media shouldn’t be so quick to call John McCain’s campaign doomed.
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Hanover Stake Out

This is a pretty funny article about an event that took place in Hanover (MA) recently. Apparently the owner of a catering company had been robbed three weekends in a row. After the Hanover police did nothing about it, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He told his employees he was going away for the weekend, but instead hung out in his store at night, accompanied by his 12-guage shot gun. Well, for the fourth weekend in a row, and intruder showed up. After he saw him steal a bunch of meat, the owner shot four rounds- two into the floor and two into the guys car. The crook got away, but was eventually arrested with the evidence in his car. Turned out he was an employee (now ex-employee I would assume).

Of course, the burglar is now being treated like the victim in this case. And the owner of the store is facing charges for firing his weapon. A hardworking small business owner is now potentially in trouble for protecting his private property that had been intruded upon for the last three weeks despite his pleas for help from the Hanover police. All this turns the attention away from the fact that the perpetrator is a thug. I bet there would be a lot less thugs like him if more business- and home-owners used our 2nd Amendment rights like this caterer did and worked to protect their property and livelihood.

More interesting than the article, though, are the 67 (at this point) comments written by readers about the story. It gives me a little hope as a resident of Communist Massachusetts to see that 90+% of them are in support of the caterer and gun rights in general. I don't have enough space to write a lot of what they said, but many of them are very good points.
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Thanks!

Thanks to Doug Hance and the Hoya for writing a nice article about students who blog at Georgetown!

Check out the article here.
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Marine Mom

This is one of the most touching videos I have ever seen. Unfortunately, you have to scroll down on the right-hand column to the clip titled "Marine Mom Adopts Platoon". It's worth all 3 minutes and 17 seconds. This woman from Rockland, MA, filled with faith and selflessness, is a true American hero. Words can't give justice to her or the story, but briefly, the video from CBS News is about a widowed mother who lost one of her nine children in Iraq last year. This St. Patrick's Day, she used her son's death benefit to host his Marine platoon for the holiday in order to remember him and give these men a break from their daily routine.

May God bless this wonderful woman and her fallen son this Easter and comfort her in her times of grief, questioning, and sorrow.

Happy Easter everyone.
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Tolls

Looks like Mr. Argento and all the Western Massachusetts people might be getting their revenge on us South Shore people. The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority is reviewing plans to more-equally distribute tolls in the state, meaning that the South Shore might be in for a rude awakening. Lets hope everything stays the way it is...
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Abortion/Suicide

An all-too-common but underreported instance of a woman committing suicide after aborting her twins at the request of her unsupportive boyfriend...

Artist Hangs Self After Aborting Twins
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Chipotle

According to the Globe, Chipotle doesn't size up to Anna's Taqueria in Boston. I haven't had Anna's in a long time, but I must say that Chipotle is one of the few places where I go and never, ever leave dissatisfied. If you haven't been to a Chipotle, go! There's a new on in the Dedham Mall.

Dan's favorite: Chicken burrito, black beans, rice, tomatoes, cheese, lettuce, and sour cream.

Globe Burrito Article
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NY Times

It is absolutely ridiculous that there is such uproar and debate over the simple prospect of asking arrested criminals whether or not they are legal U.S. citizens. This new, long overdue practice by the AZ police won't affect those simply pulled over or the victims of crimes. It continues to amaze me how all the pro-amnesty folks out there will continue to stick up for people who have not only broken the law by breaking into the United States, but continue to abuse the country by participating in criminal activities.

NY Times Article
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Letter to the Editor

Check out my latest opinion piece which appeared in yesterday's Scituate Mariner:

Editorial

It's in response to
a letter written two weeks ago
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Cell Phones

I didn't think it was going to happen, but it has. Today, the Massachusetts House of Reps passed a bill that would ban text messaging and talking on your cell phone while driving. CALL YOUR LEGISLATOR AND LET HIM/HER KNOW THAT YOU DON'T WANT THIS BILL PASSED. This is one of the most blatant examples of Uncle Sam butting into your private lives to attempt to control you. Statistically, the number of accidents caused by cell phone distraction is miniscule. This bill exists solely for the purpose of ticketing drivers for revenue and, as usual, punishing teen drivers.

Boston Globe Article
Everyone should check out this website to find the email addresses of your legislators and then email them asap:

http://www.mass.gov/legis/citytown.htm#S_bookmark
Anyone from Scituate, Duxbury, Hingham, Hull, Marshfield, Cohasset, Norwell, and Weymouth should email Senator Hedlund at Robert.Hedlund@state.ma.us
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Fertility Rate

Well, I lost the link to the article I read yesterday, so I'm going to have to wing it a little bit. But, good news! The US fertility rate rose 2% to 2.1 children per woman. Who cares, you ask? Well, 2.1 is apparently the rate that sociologists claim allows the younger generations to fully replace the older ones, keeping population steady. Of course, the environmentalists weren't very happy about this. But they're not happy about very much, anyways.

The US's fertility rate is much higher than most modern countries, especially Italy and Japan. Italy's fertility rate is currently 1.29 children per woman, which is horrendously low. I read somewhere once that if the trend in Italy continues, its population will be cut in half by 2050 (don't quote me on that, though). Crazy.

A lot of scientists are puzzled about the US's relatively high rate. Most agree that the US's strong religious traditions promote child-bearing, more so than secular Europe. Some attribute the recent rise to the inflow of Latin Americans, who tend to have more children. Finally, some say that the ability for women in the US to have children while continuing a career helps to keep the rate high. All interesting.
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Words

So the Washington Post did a pretty good "Learn about the candidates" section over the past few weeks. It's a pretty interesting section of their website for the time being. Above all the personal stories, poll numbers, etc., I found the section that listed common words used to describe the candidate most intriguing. The Post called just over 1,000 randomly selected Americans and asked them to describe a given candidate in one word. They then compiled the most frequently used words, scattered them around the page, and proportionally enlarged the words depending on how often they were used. Assuming that the polling was done in a statistically-okay manner, these word pages should really show people's first thoughts of the candidates, who are always working so hard to shape their images.

Here a few examples:

John McCain

Hillary Clinton

Mitt Romney

Barack Obama
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Irony

I had to give a chuckle after reading this one... How could someone be so dumb? If anything, winning $1 mil when you've been banned from gambling because of holding up two banks should serve as pretty strong evidence that you have a gambling problem and have really crappy luck. Now I just wonder what the consequences of the winning ticket will be. Will he go to jail $1 mil richer? Or will he not even get the $1 mil?

Scratch your way to prison
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Letter to the editor

Check out my letter to the editor that was published in today's Patriot Ledger:

Letter to the Editor
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O'Malley and the Democrats

Pretty strong words for the Democrats in Massachusetts and beyond from Cardinal O'Malley yesterday. Check out the article. While clearly neither party is Catholic enough for the Cardinal, its clear that abortion is a pressing enough issue that should sway Catholic voters. The numbers alone, 1,000,000+ per year, should raise eyebrows.

Boston Globe Article
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Huckabee

I was reading an article the other day about Mike Huckabee's climbing poll numbers and it made me think of a few things. Firstly, the article said that Romney has increased his leads in Iowa and New Hampshire, which is good news. But secondly, it made me realize that Huckabee would prove an attractive vice presidential candidate. Sadly, he has no shot at the presidency because he has no money, but he's very personable and has made a great impression on voters so far at debates and speeches. He's funny, often stopping a speech to go into a segment jokes, and he would calm the fears of many of the skeptical evangelists. He's also more moderate than the other candidates. His extremely strong voice on social issues sometimes overshadows the fact that he often favors raising taxes to aid the poor and support education. I don't necessarily agree with all of that, but it might attract some moderates that would otherwise be turned away.

Romney-Huckabee '08 anyone?
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Pat Robertson

Is anyone else as astounded as I am that Pat Robertson officially endorsed Rudy Giuliani for president today? I think McCain's response to the endorsement was most appropriate: "I'm speechless". Seeing that many evangelicals seem willing to do anything (even support a third party candidate) to defeat Rudy, its crazy that one of the most powerful preachers has backed him. I'm just hoping that the majority of evangelicals continue their efforts to stop the two New York liberals...
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SCHIP

"Just 15 percent of those respondents in the Harvard poll said children in families earning $80,000 annually should be eligible for the program, while one-third said those earning $60,000 should be eligible"

The above quote shows how dangerous an uninformed public can be. The debate regarding the SCHIP children's health insurance program has raised incredible awareness and incredible ignorance. When President Bush vetoed the bill sent to him by Congress recently, the media and Democrats (wisely) cried foul. They claimed that Bush was anti-child, anti-health, and anti-everything else. One crazy congressman even said that Bush would rather watch American children get killed in Iraq than give the "impoverished" children of America health insurance. What a great ploy. Sadly, it seems to have worked. The American public generally sees Republicans now as anti-child healthcare, which is totally untrue. The Republicans do care about poor children and their healthcare- they just differ on their definitions of poor and the role of government in healthcare.

The current bill would provide healthcare coverage for children of families earning $80,000.00 per year. Yes, thats right. $80,000.00- a number greatly above the average American salary. All of a sudden, its not just the poor children of America receiving handouts from Uncle Sam, its those making more the double the average American salary. If the Democrats have their way, pretty soon it will be everyone receiving healthcare from Uncle Sam. SCHIP is a disincentive for upper-middle class families to provide their own healthcare. Understandably, these families would rather pass that cost onto the government and spend that money on something else. The government does not exist, in my opinion, to blindly support people in this situation.

So, the Republicans are anti-child and anti-health, right? Well, maybe if the 85% of people in the above Harvard poll who believe that the government shouldn't provide this insurance for families making $80,000 per year became more informed and realized that that's just what SCHIP does (or if the Republicans did a better job exposing this- though they're at an uphill battle with the media these days), we'd all be better off. Those children who would benefit from the Republicans plan to increase the program by $5 billion would get their needed insurance, and Uncle Sam would stop spending your hard earned tax dollars blindly.

Boston Globe Article

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Romania and the EU

Last year I did a short research project in International Business on the potential effects of Romania and Bulgaria's entrance into the European Union before the two countries entered January 1, 2007. These two countries are drastically different than the majority of EU countries. They are poor, underdeveloped, and years behind the other countries in healthcare and well-being. Understandably, many existing EU countries were hesitant to welcome these two countries. Ireland and the UK were especially hesitant. Their presidents feared an uncontrollable influx of Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants, who would put a strain on social services, employment, and crime. Alternatively, others argued that the market would reach an equilibrium after a bit and the demand for unskilled labor would come to a halt, ending the influx.

Unfortunately, it seems that populations and migrants don't work on a perfect supply/demand graph. Instead of Ireland and the UK, Italy has been hard hit by Romanian immigrants since Romania's entrance. There have been numerous public murders, rapes, and assaults of Italian citizens committed by Romanians. This has lead to increased calls for a moratorium on free immigration (which is a part of the EU constitution) in Italy and increased xenophobia by Italian citizens. Since January, Romanians have jumped to 1% of Italy's almost 60 million population. 75% of the arrests in the Rome in the past year involved Romanians. Is open immigration the Achilles heel of the EU?

It's probably too early to make a decision on this. But thus far, I would certainly argue that it is. There are too many other factors that affect immigration (such as social services) which make it differ from a simple supply and demand situation. Unrestrained immigration, as we have seen in the US, can negatively impact communities, budgets, and cultural values and traditions. While we would also be foolish to ignore the reality of harsh inequalities between countries, it isn't fair to put that burden solely on the shoulders of a single country, such as Italy. The world must work through globalization and aid to develop these underdeveloped countries and bring them into the 21st century.

Italy questions EU immigration
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Man, myth, legend...

I fully believe that there is no political issue (other than abortion) that is so highly and grossly misunderstood by the common public than embryonic stem cell research. The media-likes of Michael J. Fox and Christopher Reeve have managed to tug on our heart-strings with their promises of the fountain of youth and the cure of all debilitating diseases. Newscasters, writers, and reporters love to portray those against embryonic stem cell research as inhumane and cruel. After all, who wouldn't sacrifice a few little cells (that's all they are, right?) to save humanity!? The American public has fallen right into their hands. Ask any voter today what an embryonic stem cell consists of. Ask any voter today what cures have come about from these cells. Ask any voter about alternative cures for diseases (other types of stem cells). Because of the media's work, these questions will either be answered incorrectly or not at all.

Now, I'm not a scientist. In fact, I hate that stuff (those of you who know me know that I grimace every time I even see blood). So, I cant personally give you the questionable ethics involved in embryonic stem cell research. Nor can I tell you what these cells and others actually do. But, what I am going to do, is plead that you educate yourself on the issue (you can start by reading the article below from today's Patriot Ledger). Go to a lecture (such as Dr. Fitzgerald's during last week's Life Week). Browse a website. Ask a professor. Ask who's benefitting financially from all your tax dollars. Become informed.

http://ledger.southofboston.com/articles/2007/11/01/opinion/opin02.txt
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Toughness

Here's an interesting article from politico.com. I think much of what it says rings true. The presidency, post 9/11, is indeed all about toughness. Bush won 2004 by showing his toughness. Those who wanted to vote for someone else were swayed by the fear of a president who wouldn't stand up to the enemies, a president who threw his dog tags onto the White House lawn in protest.

2008 is shaping up similarly. Rudy Giuliani has replaced W as the tough-guy. He wants us to believe that his position and actions post-9/11 make him most fit for the office. While I believe that his position as mayor of NYC may give him the most passion for fighting the Muslim extremists who are so bent on killing us, I don't totally buy that he's most trained for the job. Let's face the facts- none of the candidates has the experience of commanding the military in post-9/11 America. The candidates can have as many military friends and terrorism experts as they wish, but they're all on a level playing field when it comes to experience.

Now, I don't generally stick up for Hillary. In fact, I might have never before stuck up for Hillary. But, I do indeed think she has (appropriately) picked up on the whole 'toughness theory' compared to all the other wimpy Democratic candidates. Apologizing for a then-logical vote for the Iraq War is ridiculous and clearly a people-pleaser move by her rivals. She has stated that Iran is indeed evil, and that its leader is a psychopath (well, she's sort of said that). Diplomatic pressure must be placed on the country, as she has said and voted for, to stop them from getting their hands on nukes. This is a 'tough' position, and indeed a correct one. How foolish it is for all these candidates to pre-emptively state that they're going to leave Iran alone no matter what the circumstances. I'm sure the Dems would invite Ahmadinejad over for Thanksgiving dinner in '08 with all their diplomacy in action and promises to let him do what he pleases. That's just the kind of leader I want. Right.

Well, toughness still reigns pre-'08. And I don't think that's such a bad thing.

(This post is dedicated to Clem, who so graciously stuck up for W in a paper this week for the first time. I'm doing the same for good 'ol Hill. There's a first for everything!)
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