Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Back row (LtoR): Mr. & Mrs. Tinder, Mrs. & Mr. Levanto
Front row (L to R): Akemi and me
November 25, 2007
Morgantown, W.V.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Interesting story my brother Mark just emailed me. It's sad that we all begin Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving now...

I decided on Saturday night that I wanted to get my kids Nintendo Wii for Christmas. We went everywhere and nobody had them in stock, but Toys R Us was getting a shipment so they told me to come back at 9:00 on Sunday. I show up at 8:45 (Yes, I skipped church) to a line of 75-100 people at the door and a store manager announcing to the crowd "No pushing, no shoving, and remember that if you don't have a ticket, you don't get a Wii." I've never seen anything like it. Needless to say, about two hours later I walked out with one of the last Wiis they had. They sold out of 100 of them in about two hours (Of course, the tickets were gone in about five minutes). The funniest part of it was this: I was in line behind this incredibly obnoxious woman and I noticed that the line next to us was moving faster and was shorter -- so I gave up my spot and went to the end of the other line (there were only two lines). As it turns out, the faster line was being serviced by two registers, so it was moving twice as fast. I get to the front (about five people ahead of the woman) and she gets mad and leaves her line and cuts in front of me. Everyone in my line freaks out (except me -- I figured if she wanted it that bad she could have it, plus with two registers I was next either way), but the woman refused to move. It was only when the two cashiers informed her that they would refuse to serve her that she returned to her original spot. Unbelievable.
I am going to see Mark this Thursday at Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

My thoughts from the democratic debate that happened this past Thursday.

1) I don't agree with Senator Clinton that the recent "increase" in support from the Iranian Guard is hurting Iraq. The key here is the word increase. In all my reading I am not sure if Iran's support is recent. Iran has always had influence in Iraq-- even when Saddam Hussein was in power.

2) I agree with John Edwards stance on torture, racial profiling, and the Patriot Act that he layed out to the gentleman in the audience who noted he was racially profiled all the time.

3) It is so clear that Joe Biden is your candidate if foreign policy is the biggest issue for you; Hillary Clinton is if healthcare is the biggest issue.

4) How many times do we have to be told in each debate that Senator Chris Dodd speaks Spanish? This time, he proved it to us.

5) I do agree that the honor-system-timelimit does not work.

As for me, I went into the debate leaning toward Edwards and come out leaning toward Edwards.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Upcoming Travel

Here's a review of some upcoming travel for me.

Wednesday, November 21 - Friday morning, November 23
Franklin, Conn.

Friday, November 23 - Sunday, November 25
Morgantown, W.V.
UCONN v. WVU in football

Thursday evening, December 13 - Friday, December 21
Munich, Germany
Prague, Czech Republic
Zurich, Switzerland
"Jason Bourne on a Budget" with Scott Lauber

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Scott and I are slowly planning our trip to Europe in December. Jason Bourne on a Budget, as we are calling it.

We land in Munich on December 14 and stay for two days. Then we take a train to Prague for two days. The only remaining question is where do we go after Prague. Scott is in Boston this weekend staying with me, and it would appear we are leaning toward Zurich. The other options are Berlin and Vienna.

We leave Munich on December 21 to fly back to the United States.
I Blame the Boston Globe for Voter Apathy

Idealistically, the media serves as the town crier. The person who stands in the middle of the town square and tells the community what it needs to hear. Certainly the media also tells an audience what they want to hear; but clearly human beings do not often want to hear what they need to hear.

It is not surprising to me that turn out for the recent Boston City election was low. If you had lived in Boston in the weeks leading up to the election, you never would have known there was one. The Boston Globe did not cover the election. Globe columnist Adrian Walker wrote a column on election day that noted how dead the election season was.

He concludes:
People just don't pay enough attention to the City Council to feel invested in who serves on it.

That's too bad, because on a range of issues, from neighborhood violence to property taxes, the council holds the most significant platform, other than the mayor's. The council has a limited ability to act, but that doesn't mean it doesn't matter. Nine nervous candidates are waiting to see if voters today reach the same conclusion.

To be frank, these two paragraphs infuriate me. That a Globe columnist says it's disappointing the public does not pay enough attention to the City Council should be reflection of the Globe's coverage. Looking at Mr. Walker's own columns is telling. I do not see one column about the City Council election in his recent archive, which goes back to early October-- a month to the election. I did see one column about the Boston Red Sox, which is interesting given that Mr. Walker is not a sports columnist. I understand certainly the Red Sox have a cultural impact far beyond just the Sports page, but his Red Sox column was published one week to the election. One week later, Mr. Walker is criticising his readers for not caring to vote.

How is anyone to pay attention to the City Council race when the Boston Globe doesn't bother to cover it?

I was in London when my neighborhood organized a candidates' forum, sponsored by several neighborhood groups. Almost all of the Boston City Council candidates were there (including the top five vote-getters in the election who battled for the four at-large seats), and between 70 and 100 residents attended. The Globe did not cover it. It's a good thing that I had already done a lot of research on the race before the forum took place. I was not here for it, and there's no way I would have read about it in my local city newspaper. (Props to the Beacon Hill Times and Back Bay Courant for covering it, though).

Adam Gaffin at the Universal Hub hosted a blog string on this topic, and the discussion is pretty good. Apparently, Globe City Editor Brian McGrory finds the City Council boring. Well, Mr. McGrory, why should we be surprised, then, that the voters do not go to the polls? Adam Gaffin also dissects the Globe's online coverage during election night in a previous post. Long story short, if you wanted to know who won the City Council elections in Boston on election night, one would not have found them on Boston.com.

To be sure, the City Council election is not as important as many other elections. People generally don't want to care about it. But they need to know about the races, the key issues, and the positions of each of the candidates. And the responsibility of giving people what they need to know rests on the media.

Where were the profiles of the candidates? The in-depth profiles of each and what issues they stand on? The coverage of the debates?

The election is past us now, and despite the fact not many went to the polls, the results are very important. Matt O'Mally, a former city council candidate, breaks down some of the numbers on his blog. What's great about numbers in a low-turnout election is that you know the voters who actually voted are the types who will vote in *every* election. If you want to earn "the base," you have to understand them.
For those following from afar, John Connolly did in fact win a seat on the Boston City Council this week.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Endorsement: John Connolly

I figured I would take a litte more space to explain why I am voting for John Connolly. I met John two years ago when he first ran for the at-large City Council seat. I was actually volunteering for Mayor Menino at the time, holding a sign for him outside a Mayoral debate at WGBH. John Connolly was there shaking hands. I remember being overwhelmed by his energy.

At the election a few weeks later, he got my vote, along with Patricia White and Michael Flaherty. I was shocked he did not win, simply because I saw, first-hand, how hard he was campaigning.

Connolly has not lost a step in the two years since that election. He wants to make a difference, and frankly, I think it's time for a little change on the City Council (even with Sam Yoon a relative newcomer). But his energy is not why I am voting for him. There are two reasons why.

First, John understands that there are a lot of people like me who want to live in Boston for the long term but are freaked out by the cost of owning a home here. That's not even mentioning the cost of raising a child here. Since I first moved here in 1994 to go to BU, it was pretty much taken for granted that you have fun in your 20's in the city, and then get married and move to the suburbs. Now that I have lived here for a bit, and want to stay, I cannot simply accept that reality.

Second (and this point isn't often made, but it's important), John Connolly understands the limitations of the City Council. Let's face it-- The City Council cannot do much. But there are certain areas where the Council can have an impact. Connolly is smart about the change he wants to make; his platform is not overly ambitious, but it's laser-like in its focus. I like that.

No question that John Connolly really wants this. I received two separate auto calls from him tonight... In the first, he simply restates his credentials. In the second, he seeks to deflect the criticism related to mailer-gate.

Speaking of mailer-gate, here's my two cents on that. For those of you not in Boston, Connolly sent two separate mailers attacking a City Councilor, Stephen Murphy, this weekend. The problem is, he didn't say the mailers came from him. I will stop there. The tactic was wrong. While it will not cost Connolly my vote, it was wrong. I can't believe he expected that no one would find out. I am in complete disbelief.

That being said, Connolly deserves a shot. And while I could vote for three other candidates to fill the at-large City Council seats, Connolly will get my only vote.

Friday, November 02, 2007


On Tuesday, November 6, I will be voting for the following candidates:

Michael P. Ross
Boston City Council District Seat
District 8

John Connolly
Boston City Council
At Large

I live in the City of Boston, Ward 5, Precinct 4.