Thursday, November 20, 2014

Turkey Time!

The Middleboro School Committee is the latest local poster child for lack of transparency. The SC decided to deep six the current superintendent, Roseli Weiss, for the transgression of being honest on MCAS expectations and have the audacity of asking for a raise.
Middleboro has an illustrious history of less than splendid MCAS results so when Weiss appears to lower the bar the SC demands some degree of retribution. Top it off by her requested for a contract extension and a raise and the door was open for the bum’s rush for Weiss.
The raise issue was of particular interest as I was reading a recent article of equal pay. One of the reasons why women sometimes lag behind is a lack of aggressiveness. Seems men are more vocal in seeking out a few pennies more. So Ms. Weiss decides to ask and the SC is stunned. Hey, boys and girls, just say no!
The SC was in full turtle mode and there is certainly no profiles in courage as the information had to be gleaned by the Middleboro Gazette forcing the issue with the club being the Freedom of Information Act. So Weiss gets the gate and we’ll get a new administration who – if they are smart – will certainly say “Middleboro will be Level One in MCAS!” And I will start in left field for the Red Sox in 2015.
I watched the parade of parents on the telly who thanked Weiss and expressed disappointment with the SC. That added some degree of excitement to what is normally one of the most mundane evenings on said telly.
Why does the Middleboro schools do a half-day professional development each month? That counts as a full fay. Would seem to me it would be more productive to have three full day professional days and then have that extra seat time.
In Middleboro if you are a retired teacher from the Middleboro system and substitute you are compensated at $100 per day. Retired from another system and you get $80 a day. Considering our MCAS results maybe it should be flipped.
Maybe the proposed alignment of February – April vacations will help?
Olga Roche, the deposed commish of the DCF, was handed a nice fiscal kiss after being “fired.” Roche was allowed to hang around to fatten her pension and collect some vacation and sick time. This was outed by The Boston Herald and when confronted the latest DCF hack in charge said essentially “No comment as we respect her right to a private retirement.” Translated: If we wait long enough this will go away.
Rising rapidly up my food chain in my “Pantheon of Idiots” is the latest group of those in need of a feeling of moral superiority – the divesture crowd. So if a public pension fund sells off fossil fuel positions that is supposed to hurt the fossil fuel industry?
Here it is in a nutshell. We are a technological society and scientific evidence clearly supports the excessive use of fossil fuels as being a negative. I am sure some wingnuts can find a blog or two that provide contrary evidence. Now for point two. The fossil fuel companies are heavily invested in alternative energy just as tobacco companies started to migrate into other areas. Smart business
Just a drive down picturesque Route 44 will show a small solar farm and in the background wind turbines. On my roof is a solar unit that has been there since 1982 – long before it became “sexy” to use alternative energy. The transition is taking place.
Is there anything more foolish than day trading in stocks? I would consider going to Village Market and buying one each of every scratch ticket a better option. I get on message boards and read their endless whining about the hour by hour fluctuations of a stock. They respond like petulant four year-olds as the daily numbers are posted.
Who says you don’t win at gambling? Turns out our newly formed Gaming Commission lead by Steven Crosby has run up some impressive expense tabs. They far exceeded certain suggested limits imposed by the administration of expense accounts for public employees. Maybe a former member of the G & E Board could land a job there?
Selectman John Knowlton had an excellent opinion piece in the Gazette regarding the recent failure of the police station renovation. It is over! No second try.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Ocean Spray - Home of ageism

Ocean Spray is supposed to be a fairly intelligent company. Or are they? They have a testing lab and you can sign up to be a tester providing you meet certainly qualifications. I can fully comprehend that except for one – age. You have to be between 18-69. I can understand under 18 but over 69? I’m 70! I guess that means that anyone over 70 should not purchase any ocean spray product? That is exactly what I intend to do. I will also go to their corporate headquarters and attempt to find the genius behind this exclusion. Guess when you are over age 69 your taste buds become invalid.
QE is essentially gone and the stock markets have not missed a beat. I follow the Standard & Poor index rather than the outdated Dow Jones or the Apple inflated NASDAQ. Even with QE – essentially an 85B a month welfare handout – the markets have been steady. Like a relationship that you can see as crumbling and eventually ending is an analogy I care to use. You know it will soon be over.
One of the huge failures of Bush part deux was his failure to allow some level of private investment with social security – the ultimate Ponzi scheme. Bush backed off that to the usual militant and 100% unfounded babble from the Democrats.
Allow some level off the grid. Reduce any eventual SS payout by what you choose as an alternate investment. Place it under strict guidelines and watch it grow and grow. I have run the numbers on what my contributions – both mine and employers – would be with what we both contributed over the thirty years I was locked in. Just a simple split among the three major indexes I would have had $800,000 at age 62. And the money would be there for heirs – inherited wealth.
Allin Frawley had a recent series of posts on FB regarding hunting. As a trail runner that means disaster time as one cannot take the risk of entering the kill zone. However there are plenty of places where hunting is restricted and that is even here in Middleboro. Pratt Farm and Weston Town Forrest to name two.
I also posted on ATV’s. This is an area I have real mixed emotions about since there is a huge yahoo factor with the four and two wheel mechanical noise machines. There is an upside. I am a trail runner and the monsters can really cut a trail or restore one. Seen it done and been involved in it. Invite a club in for a few days and flag the area and let them go.
Hunting has now progressed to where virtually all respect nature. Back in the day at Freetown State Forest I would watch them wander into restricted areas with beet or plastic solo cup firmly in hand. Far too many with some serious drug and alcohol issues along with a distinct inability to read and comprehend the simple word – POSTED. That has slowly changed over the years
Seems the Superintendent of Schools has become the latest victim of the long and illustrious history of underperforming Middleboro students. The one consistent through all the decades I have lived in Middleboro is the people themselves. What is more important? An Honor Society induction or a football game? Take a look at the demographics of Middleboro. The income level. Poverty rate. Unemployment. College educated parents. Compare it with other communities in the county.
The open store fronts seem to proliferate in downtown.
Pot luck suppers have been rescued from the clutches of the nanny state. H.1997 allows that time honored tradition without the local board of health tossing in any roadblocks.
Speaking is phony stuff. Sandra Fluke (rhymes with flake) lost by 21% in CA.
I can’t wait to hammer away at Charlie Baker.
The beauty of the national swerve to the right is the fabled what goes around. The Democrats were laying into “Blame Bush” for years and the Republicans won by “Blaming Obama.” Then if things are still screwed up in two years they can milk it again.
To me the real big loser was the one pol I simple cannot stand – Elizabeth Warren. She was 4-8 with one undecided (it will be 4-9 after a runoff) in the senate races she campaigned for.
Locally Middleboro supported Baker. The whole county did except for the cities.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Late October Rubbish

Allin Frawley about summed up how I feel about the Oliver House – it’s the land, baby!
If that Oliver House was put where the real representation is – the ballot – it would end up the same way the police station did. The only possible rescue was assuring voters the house would stay put with no funding source from Middleboro – especially CPA.
The Oliver House is another prime example of the need for electronic voting at TM. No public display of standing up. Debate all you want but make it a secret ballot. Of course this would require actually moving from the 19th century and into the 21st.
Recently returned from Texas and their sales tax is amazing! They tax food and clothing at 8.25%.
Texas, like most of the rest of the country, has some bizarre affinity for gated communities. Here in the People’s Republic those are very rare birds indeed. Yankee independence? Deep rooted egalitarianism? Rejection of wealth and class?
The MBTA will purchase some new rail cars and the price tag is 1.3B. The deal goes to a state owned Chinese rail company and several “activist” have pointed out the apparent liberal hypocrisy here in Blue Massachusetts. Imagine if it was a Koch Brothers company.
Some of the rail cars will be headed for the Red Line. How appropriate.
Part of the deal would be assembly of rail cars in Springfield. But the real money flows back to China.
The Obama administration appoints a high profile political hack as Ebola Czar!
I will certainly vote yes to have casinos in Massachusetts.
Nice to see pro casino ads that focus on the environmental clean-up that Steve Wynn will do to get his gin mill in place. Now who will clean-up the casino industry and our own commission?
The Republican alternative to government is less taxes and the Democrat one is more taxes. No wonder I am an independent.
Three and out for the Super. Probably next in line is Paul Branigan.
And with MCAS the Middleboro results were – as usual – tepid.
Liberty, Texas built a nice police station a few years ago for 2.5M for 10,000 SF. Sweetwater will soon have one for 20,000 SF for about 5M. National average is around $240 per SF, but seems like many do it for considerably less. Nice that some places have realist up front and not manic preservationist.
What’s with all the still black and white photos in political ads? Usually with the victim (opponent) with pursed lips or a frown.
Cat Stevens is heading back to the money trough in the United States for a series of concerts. Stevens is now called Yousef Islam and has professed some real man-love to radical (is there any other kind?) Muslims.
When last seen Olga Roche was being sacked as commander of child welfare. Or was she? Turns out in the land of the hacks it is never over until the pension is inflated. Roche took sick leave and was retained as a “consultant” until the magic day arrived – her 60ith birthday and a nice pension bump. Charlie Lincoln would be proud.
The TM search is down to three. I’d always go with the person with the conservation background.
A deposit on water bottles? I’d raise that to a buck on everything including Styrofoam cups.
What is all the buzz about new trash barrels? That has been in the works for quite a bit. ‘Bout time it is out and rolling.
Ghost crap! Are these people serious? All in fun, I guess, unless some actually take it for real.
What is even more bizarre is that triangle swamp garbage in the Bridgewater area. Been running trails in and around that for years and can only recall being chased once by a slime creature.
Caillou is the most vile kids show imaginable. This whiny little brat should be a up in lights example for poor parental skills. This Canadian show should be reason enough for war with our neighbors to the north.
Deb Goldberg is running for state treasurer and has pontificated about divestiture in PRIM on fossil fuel companies. For the uninitiated this is a translation of all the evil associated with “Big Oil.” No doubt her virus would spread to “Big Banks,” “Big Insurance”, and to me – “Big Mouths.” Goldberg represents the worse that liberalism has to offer – a pathetic gentry class totally out of touch.
Ocean Spray Cranberries will no longer shoot commercials in Massachusetts. The new venue is Wisconsin.
Been a long time since Middleboro high school football won anything. Now they have.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Slogging towards town meeting

Steve Wynn goes on CNBC and hammers away at Obama calling him “immature” and “cannot believe we elected someone so inexperienced.” Two days later the Feds indict three mooks involved in wire fraud revolving around the land Wynn has purchased for a gin mill in Everett. Revenge? Probably.
The situation with the mooks is just so typical of the gaming industry – I guess it is a rather bizarre term for it – “Industry?” Anyway, the pinky ring fingered set gravitate around it and have ever since gambling started.
In Massachusetts gaming is on the ballot and it most certainly will pass. I’ll vote for it.
The Boston Red Sox will be in the playoffs in 2015. They have already started throwing money at some of their problems.
Aaron Hernandez continues to have charges whittled away as more and more evidence gets tossed. Why are the police so freaking dumb arse when it comes to acquiring evidence? Proper punishment would be to band all involved from any paid details for two years.
This is the description of the Granby, MA public safety complex. Granby is about 1/3rd the size of Middleboro but note that the structure is both fire and police. Cost is 6.5M. The police portion of the building is 17,000 SF.
“Engineering services for a new 23,926 sq. ft. 2 story public safety facility. Project included 1 bay vehicle drive through sally-port, booking and holding facilities, evidence processing and storage, found property storage, mens and womens locker rooms, training facilities, detectives area, chiefs and administration area, patrol offices and report writing spaces, E911 dispatch area, break room, communications equipment room, lobby with toilet and interview spaces and public area community/training room. Project also includes a (10) bay vehicle apparatus bay with adjacent hose storage turnout gear and miscellaneous storage areas, (2) room dorm section, kitchen and day room. Building is energy efficient, modern, tested technologies to comply with the Massachusetts Energy Code. Building was designed around the LEED Certification base approaches for energy conservation, controls, system designs, documentation and installations.”
Tying the police station to a historical building was the death knell for the project. That became obvious with the famed Bumpkin poll and post-election analysis.
I have no issue with a purchase of a “Traitor’s house,” but I do have issue with spending 2M to fix it up. That is not exactly “pristine” as one BOS member has stated. I will also feel quite comfortable stating that is going to be just for starters.
My grandfather’s house in Pennsylvania was a sixteen room brick farm house with several hundred acres of farm land. His neighbor was Dwight Eisenhower. The farm was eventually sold for development with the stipulation the farm house be maintained and any addition work be done before a shovel full of soil was turned over.
In Bridgewater their CPC wasted over a million bucks with the same lofty aspirations for a wreck. It failed. The house cannot be sold and no one is interested in renovation. The positive is the land is protected.
Town meeting is upon us and the usual local characterless will come out to make the whole process as boring as possible. I am sure this quaint ritual does have some significance from a historical perspective, but it has long passed its shelf life. Folks could care even less than they do about the general elections.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Musings of madness

Burger King makes a business decision to move to Canada to gain favorable tax status. I have seen the information and the savings would be substantial. So the reaction of the Democrats is an attempt to place restrictions on moves like this – what is termed an inversion. What is contradictory is the fact this same party has no real issues regarding a virtual open door policy for illegal immigrants.
Reedy’s Archery building is now a vacant eyesore. A business has been denied the premises thanks to the archaic foolishness demonstrated by the Middleborough Historic Commission or is it hysteric? Seems that the use of the siding is repulsive to the collection of militant preservationist. So the building will join the multitude of eyesores that are what passes for downtown Middleboro. Maybe a wake-up call is needed to inform the commission that the downtown area is not exactly Deerfield or even East Brookfield.
The gas tax is on the ballot. That means little since the legislature does have a history of ignoring initiatives. The tax was originally passed in the dead of night – no surprise. Then comes the issue of where the money will go? Roads? Really? Ah….the trust that our elected representatives will do the right thing.
According to the nonpartisan Reasoning Foundation Organization the administrative cost per mile in Massachusetts is almost $79,000 while the national average is $10,500. Want to know where that money is going? Feed the machine! No surprise that our costs per mile for construction are three times greater per mile than the national average – only topped by New Jersey
When is the fabled “war on women” going to motivate Democrats to speak out on Sharia Law? Now that really is a well documented war.
The latest hulking wreck to be on the list of projects to avoid is the Oliver House. This could be used as a remake of the movie “Money Pit.” The land is attractive with a nice river access but the building? Does anyone remember the disaster in Bridgewater over a similar project? The only one not wearing rose colored glasses is Steve McKinnon. They land is worth it, but the house?
I listened to a talk my Martha Coakley a few months ago. In five minutes she mentioned Wall Street four times and Koch and Tea Party once each. Thanks for making Charlie Baker look reasonable.
I actually found that George Shultz, a former Sec. of State, supports the concept of Global Warming or climate change or whatever they attempt to stick on it. And all along I thought Republicans were reactionaries on science. Way to go, George!
Glen Marshall is probably more of an Indian than Elizabeth Warren.
Wonder if Steve Wynn will hire on Marshall?
As a trail runner the amount of trash one comes across can be staggering. Certain areas become a focal point for illegal dumping with power lines especially attractive. Then there is the bottles. Why not really put a charge into it? Make it fifty cents and especially on those “nips.”
Wood Street is now navigable thanks to recent paving. Nice job by the DPW.
Now then comes Precinct Street. Blame that all on the anti-casino forces since if the glorified gin mill was built it would be a pristine drive instead of a street that resembles being carpet bombed.
Back to trail running. The drought in this area has allowed access to trails that were not usable for close to thirty years. No longer submerged and in some instances not even muddy. Will show some dividends during hunting season.
Charlie Baker calls a reporter “sweetheart” and out comes the selective outrage. Turns out Obama did the same thing on two occasions, but selective memory and outrage steps in.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

How bad is it when I agree with Bumpkin?

How bad is it when I agree with Bumpkin?
Bumpkin nailed it on the police station issue. You want it? Dump the Quinn Bill. Or keep the Quinn Bill and rely on flaggers.
You go anywhere else in the United States and cops are stunned with the largesse that is tossed their way in Massachusetts. You will get paid details, but for road work? Looking in a hole? Gabbing on your cell phone? Last I looked the state was using flaggers. At least they said they were. Try and find one.
IMHO town workers that were not associated with the fire or police department went negative on a new cop shop. Think a clerk gets a 25% boost for attending and passing the rigor presented at Anna Maria College – a noted cop shop gimmie mill.
And how bad is it when I have to agree with Jim Thomas?
Thomas nailed it on the editorial in the Gazette recently supporting our current archaic town meeting system.
Mischief is afoot in downtown Middleboro with the destruction of hanging plants. I guess having a downtown police station really is not a deterrent to crime? Goodbye to Charlie and six excellent years of leadership.
The search for a new police chief is all in-house. That certainly culls the herd of potential candidates.
The flow of children to Massachusetts has opened up the heart of Deval Patrick who has found housing for them. How about housing for our children and their parents living in motels? Or for those described in a recent tent city article in the Enterprise? Yeah, Deval, “It’s for the children!”
Finally, at least on the surface, Patrick has relented. What goes on under the sheets is another story.
According to this Thomas Jefferson character “A nation without borders is not a nation.” Wonder if the executive and legislative branches are aware of that statement? Why has it become so chic for the left to support Palestinians? Strange group.
The Beacon Hill Civic Association is an example of the preservationist Nazi’s at their finest. The association is fighting the implementation of handicap accessible sidewalks since it would destroy “The character of the neighborhood.”
How is that casino coming along?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Down The Yellow Brick Road To A Failed Police Station

The power of the Good Old Boys was firmly rejected by the Hoi Polli that comprise the base of Middleboro. The local paper had numerous letters of support for the project by former Selectmen, support of the current board, former Town Manager support, a “packed” study committee, the boards of town government, and topped it all off with a Mike Maddigan column on the value of the Peirce Store.
The collective resumes of those with perceived influence in town affairs was solidly rejected. A repudiation of the Good Old Boys? Seems to be.
One certainly respects the collective service of those with that extensive resume, but buy their opinion? On the fire truck? Wrong! Ambulance contract? Wrong! Casino? Wrong! Simple fact is just because you are versed and articulate on the process does not mean you are right or can design a convincing argument.
The linkage to the Peirce Store simply had negative traction. Jim Thomas nailed it with “militant preservationist.” Far too many simply viewed the linkage as a poorly veiled attempt to save a potential money pit. This is the proverbial tossing money down a rabbit hole.
I also get the impression that the subtle attempt to negatively portray every option just didn’t sell. The ones who count – voters – simply felt that the committee, despite ten (that’s 10!) arduous years of study and data compilation ignored other possibilities. You would hear the same locations repeated Ad nauseam and the same reasons to reject it – again, Ad nauseam. Folks just didn’t buy it.
The highest paid list of town employees has numerous members of the police department listed. Resentment? Possibly. A good weekend of details can make your monthly mortgage payment. Resentment? IMO an affirmative.
Taxes. Why should I vote for a tax increase? This, likewise, was a key ingredient, but in down times the CPA passed. Might me more to it than just taxes.
When you listen to those with similar opinions you become insular to the negative. Complacency sets in. You really need to do the ground work and I just didn’t see it with this project. A lot of preaching to the choir.
At one meeting with the public there appeared to be some hostile resentment towards those in “The Cheap Seats” having the audacity to raise legitimate concerns. That will not win any favorable points. Some of the reasoning was from the theater of the absurd.
It will never be cheaper!
Fiscal Nostradamus’ on the loose. Guess what? You said that in 2007 you would be wrong! 2009? Wrong! 2011? Wrong!
Then the safety issue as we await disaster at the police station.
This was the same bogus argument used for a fire truck. Another guess what? You are dealing with volatile situations. That is what all that Anna Maria training is all about. If officers can’t handle the job it is a leadership issue. I doubt you will hear that excuse at a Super Max or even Carver.
One supporter used the “I’m one of the highest taxpayers in town” for justification. Huh? What?
It’s the SMALL taxpayers that are of concern. You know, the ones that can’t write it off as a business expense. Can’t cut hours, benefits, raise prices or raise rents. If anything that type of convoluted thinking would change my mind from yea to nay.
Even Jim Thomas, publicly the harshest critic, supports a new station. Just not this one. I believe this may well be the prevalent attitude.