Category Archives: Newburyport Daily News

I Voted for Barack Obama

Barrack Obama

I am writing to congratulate myself for voting for Barack Obama and being part of his 28-vote victory in Newburyport in the Democrat primary.

My vote was not based on Mr. Obama’s skin color because I’m not a racist.  I do admit,however, that I do not watch BET (Black Entertainment Television) or support the United Negro College Fund because they’re racist.

My vote was not based on Barack’s middle name, “Hussein.” That middle name is part of his Moslem background.  If I let his background factor into my vote, I would be a racist and I’m not.  However, if I learned that his hand was going to be on the Koran instead of the Bible when he was sworn in to the presidency I would vote against him.  That’s not being racist. That is believing that the Bible, not the Koran, contains the truths that I want my leader to pledge allegiance to.

My vote was not based on Barack being against the war in Iraq.  Barack was in the State Senate, not the US Senate, when the vote for that war took place.  If he had been confronted with the same evidence that President Bush and Hillary Clinton were confronted with he would have voted to go ahead with the war. 

My vote was not based on Barack’s belief that abortion should be available in all nine months of pregnancy.  I am opposed to abortion and consider the slaughter of unborn children to be a horrific tragedy.

My vote is not based on Barack’s willingness to put an end to some of the tax cuts that have been enacted during the current administration.  I defy anyone to explain to me how sending me out into the buying world with less money is going to help the economy. 

My vote is not based on Barack’s talk of unifying the country.  I believe that his idea of “unity” is for me to change my previously held positions and switch to his.  I have a right to my opinion even if it disagrees with his opinion.  Labeling opinions that are different from his, “divisive,” is a step toward trying to shut off constructive dialogue. 

My vote is not based on the endorsements of Senator Kerry and Senator Kennedy.  Those two are the punch lines of jokes in any comic setting.  Kerry was offered $1 million to clear up the controversy surrounding his service in the Vietnam War.  He proved that either he didn’t need the money or he couldn’t clear his name by taking no action.  Kennedy looked out his ocean-side window and decided that his view was more important than a wind energy program that would lower electricity rates on the Cape.

So why did I vote for Barack Obama?  Quite simply it was a vote against Hillary Clinton. 

At a dinner party recently, I heard someone say that they were voting for Hillary because, “she was the only one that they could trust.”  You’re right, it stunned me too!  If past performance means anything, Hillary is the one that can’t be trusted.

Let me make a prediction: Barack Obama is going to get the Democrat nomination but during the trip to also-rans, the Clintons are going to tear that party apart.  It gives me pleasure to think that I may have had a hand in that process in a voting booth at the Brown School.

( Appeared in both the Newburyport Current and the Newburyport Daily News on February 15, 2008. )

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Filed under Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Iraq, Newburyport, Newburyport Current, Newburyport Daily News, President George Bush, Senator John Kerry, Senator Ted Kennedy

Former Clipper Ben Chase Stars at Emerson College

(Beverly) Ben Chase is having the time of his life.

Ben at medium size 

The former Newburyport Clipper basketball player is in his senior year at Emerson College in Boston and was an important part of a team that crushed Endicott College at Beverly on Wednesday evening, 85-53, in a nonconference game.

I spoke with Emerson coach Hank Smith prior to the game about Ben.  With no prompting, he paid the young man some significant compliments including;

“Ben is the only person in my 14 seasons as head coach to serve as captain for three years and we’ve had some great players at Emerson during that time.  He was not over his head in that position even as a young player.

“He has a serious approach to everything he does.  He is the type of role model you want for everybody.”

Coach Smith also added that, “Ben has always put himself in a position to succeed because his attitude and effort were always good.” 

In the game against Endicott, Ben poured in 21 of his game-high 27 points in the first half.  With the lead over 30 (76-44) Ben sat the last 6 ½ minutes or his totals might have been even higher.

Ben admitted afterwards that the 21-point first half was the best he had ever had.  Good time to have a big game since his parents, Robert and Lynn, were in attendance as well as his girlfriend Kim.  “This is the closest game we’ve had to Newburyport since I’ve been at Emerson so it was easier for them to see me play.”

At 6’1”, you might assume that Ben would be a guard.  You would assume wrong.  “He’s basically a 3 or 4 man because we play all small guys,” said Coach Smith.  “At times he’s our biggest player.”

Endicott was taller at every position than Emerson but it didn’t make an ounce of difference.  The Lions never pressed but still forced 26 turnovers in a relentless half-court, man-to-man defense.  On offense the Lions were in perpetual motion and made many successful darts to the basket.  When asked about his team’s quickness Ben said, “We don’t have any height.  All we have is quickness.”  That quickness has taken Emerson to an 11-1 start. 

Ben said that he grew up playing basketball in Newburyport.  “I learned so much from my high school coach and from Coach Lucey when I was younger.  Coach Lucey retired when I was in 8th grade but I played at youth camps he ran.  They started in me a love for the game that I haven’t lost.”

Coach Smith saw Ben play for Newburyport.  “He was a pretty good player in high school.  However, I wasn’t sure how he would do at the college level.  He could shoot the ball but what I liked the most about him was his attitude and the way he approached the game.”

Attending Emerson was a nice fit for Ben.  “It is a small art school and I figured that I could do film.  I also saw the opportunity to continue to play basketball.”

You get a sense of the “good” attitude that Coach Smith alluded to when Ben talks about his freshman season at Emerson.  “I barely played but we had some great senior leaders on that team.  I had the best seat in the house to learn from them.”

Ben has not been an all-league player in Emerson’s conference (Great Northeastern Athletic Conference) but that will almost certainly change at the end of this season.  Ben is scoring over 16 points per game with a number of outstanding performances in the mix.

“He has had a lot of memorable games this season,” recalled Coach Smith.  “He was MVP in the tournament at Vassar.  In the championship game, he had 25 points and was 11-for-13 from the field.  The two shots he missed he got his own rebound.  Against MIT, he was 9-for-10 and had 23 points in 21 minutes.  In a big win at Lasell he had 30 points.  He has been hitting at a very high percentage.”  Ben continued that high percentage versus Endicott making 11-of-17 shots. 

Ben has high praise for Coach Smith.  “He is fantastic.  He knows more about basketball than anyone I’ve met in my life.”  When asked specifically about what Coach Smith had taught him he replied, “To make a long story short – everything.”

Ben says that he still spends a lot of time in Newburyport visiting his mother, father, and sister at Parker Ridge.  However, that could end if things go as he hopes after graduation.  “An alumnus from the Emerson basketball program (Sam Presti) was named General Manager of the Seattle Supersonics last year.  With a little luck, I am hoping to get an internship position out there.  It would start out as a generic internship and then possibly move to player development and scouting.”

Blessed with a remarkable attitude and work ethic it is not difficult to picture Ben Chase leading the Emerson Lions to the best season they have ever had as well being highly successful in life after college.

( January 17, 2008 – appeared in the Newburyport Daily News )

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Filed under Ben Chase, Newburyport, Newburyport Daily News

Senator John Kerry Won’t Release Records

Are you expecting Senator John Kerry to release unaltered copies of his service and medical records?  Santa entering your house via your chimney has a better chance of happening.

Big money Boone Pickens has given Senator Kerry yet another opportunity to clear the fog concerning the discrepancies surrounding the senator’s service in Vietnam by offering a $1 million gift if he can do it.  Kerry says he’s willing and able.  So far so good but now Mr. Pickens is requiring, among other things, that Senator Kerry release unaltered copies of his service and military records.  Trust me, that won’t happen.

Why?  If those records somehow exonerated Senator Kerry, he would have released them during the presidential campaign of 2004 when the Swift Boat Veterans first start attacking him with ads.  The Swift Boaters believed then, and still think now, that the records will prove their contention that Senator Kerry lied about what he experienced in Vietnam and will confirm that he should never have received some of the medals awarded to him.

I believe that if John Kerry had just gotten the medals, whether rightly or wrongly, and then returned to the United States and lived quietly ever after he wouldn’t have riled up the folks he served with in Vietnam.  However, to come back and talk about atrocities that he had apparently witnessed and go on to insist that his superiors knew what was going on and did nothing, really stirred up some that he had served with.  To many he was, and still is, just as evil as Jane Fonda is when it comes to the Vietnam War aftermath.

When John Kerry decided to run for President a golden opportunity for revenge presented itself to the Swift Boaters.  Through organization and significant financing, Senator Kerry’s military career began to come under attack through a series of advertisements. 

The Swift Boaters produced evidence, and eyewitnesses agreed that two of Senator Kerry’s three Purple Hearts shouldn’t have been given to him.  They also raised serious doubts about the Bronze Star he was awarded. 

If you look at the information that the Swift Boaters offer about those two questionable Purple Hearts you have to wonder if the senator wasn’t trying out for the part of Ensign Chuck Parker in McHale’s Navy. 

In one episode, that ends with a Purple Heart, the senator fires a grenade launcher and ends up with shrapnel in his own arm.  Later a doctor pulls out the shrapnel with tweezers and puts on a band-aid.

In another Purple Heart episode, the senator tosses a grenade onto a pile of rice. The resulting explosion sends out shrapnel, which makes unpleasant acquaintances with his left buttocks and right arm.  Now injured he earns a Bronze Star by taking part in a rescue after first abandoning others who had been thrown overboard from a nearby swift boat. 

If people were tossing around this sort of information about your military career, wouldn’t you want to prove that they’re wrong as quickly as possible?  Not our senator.  He writes his own version and has a few eyewitnesses as well.
John Kerry knows what is in his military and service records.  He has disparaged the eyewitness accounts against him and can thus expect the Swift Boaters to treat his eyewitness accounts the same way. 

What must he do to clear this whole thing up?  It seems obvious to me. 

Will he do it?  Not if it contains damaging (embarrassing) information. 

What will most likely happen?  He’ll offer “proof” that can’t be substantiated and insist that he’s proven his point.

(Appeared in Newburyport Daily News on December 6, 2007)

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Filed under Newburyport Daily News, Senator John Kerry

Mike Costello is not the Legislator of the Year

When I saw the headline, “Costello wins bar’s top honor,”  in the November 2nd issue of The Newburyport Daily News I thought that something special had happened at one of Newburyport’s drinking establishment. 

Not so.  The article under the title, by Stephen Tait, was about our state representative Mike Costello being honored as the Legislator of the Year by the Massachusetts Bar Association.

I’m glad that someone thought that Mr. Costello was an honorable legislator because I certainly don’t.  He fell out of my favor with his pathetic performance in the marriage amendment fiasco.

Those with memory problems may have already forgotten that 170,000 petitioners in this state requested permission from the state legislature to find out if the voters of Massachusetts believe that marriage is only between a man and a woman.  These petitioners were not asking the state legislature to decide anything about marriage.  All they wanted was for the voters of this state to have the opportunity to give their take on this issue. 

Remember that this wasn’t the effort of a few sorry malcontents but of 170,000 people.  The sheer numbers didn’t faze Mr. Costello and his legislature friends.  When it came time for the legislature to decide if the general populace would have a say in defining marriage they defiantly slammed the door.  Shameful.

An appropriate lawyer joke comes to mind: How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb?  None, they’d rather keep their clients in the dark.

Simply put, the Massachusetts Legislature got its chance to vote on the marriage issue but the rest of us were left in the dark thanks to award-winning Mr. Costello.  You should be able to see what distain these folks have for the rest of us even if you are opposed to man/woman marriage.

In the Newburyport Daily News story, Mr. Costello suggests that he is willing to take unpopular stands.  He has that right.  He would also be right if he suggested that his stands are predictable. 

I guess, on the other hand, that my stands are predictable as well.  I think that the majority in this state believe that gay marriage is an unfortunate arrangement and that this would be confirmed in a statewide vote.  I believe that more time should be spent in protecting the unborn than in protecting the abortionists.  I believe that more time should be spent protecting the rights of victims rather than the rights of criminals. 

Mr. Costello doesn’t agree with me and that’s not likely to change.  Then why was he quoted in the article as saying that in his five years in office he has always fought “to make sure people get a fair shake?” 

Some of us out here are still waiting for our “fair shake,” Mr. Legislator of the Year. 

( Appeared in the Newburyport Daily News – November 9, 2007 )

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Filed under Mike Costello, Newburyport Daily News

Iraq Improves, Surveillance a Necessity

I read Michael Cook’s letter-to-the-editor (“Bogged down in Iraq, under surveillance in U.S. – October 8th) with both interest and disbelief.

I can always count on Mr. Cook to reveal a wide assortment of illusions that the Far Left wants the rest of us to believe.

He would have us believe that the war is a disaster – “quagmire” is his term.  No mention is made of the recent optimistic report from General Petraeus.  No hint that a world without Saddam Hussein is a better place for a whole lot of people. 

This part was expected.  The disbelief part kicked in when Mr. Cook suggested that he and his political associates are the real supporters of the military not the President.  That’s laughable.

These people fool no one with their opportunistic interest in patriotism, least of all the military itself.  A survey taken in 2004 among active duty personnel showed Bush favored over Kerry 73-18 per cent.  I wonder what the poll results today would be with the same group if Hillary/Obama/Edwards were matched against Bush.  Mr. Cook might not want to know.

The desire for peace by Mr. Cook and his friends is admirable.  The problem is the price they’re willing to pay to achieve it.  They are not willing to fight for peace. To them Pearl Harbor happened because of a misunderstanding with Japan.  To them 9-11 was our fault.  They never seem to want to accept the idea that evil exists and that we have options as to where and when we will deal with it so that peace can result. 

Mr. Cook finds fault with the way we are fighting the terrorists.  What he doesn’t mention is that if it were up to him and his friends we would flee the Middle East entirely.  He has no concern whatsoever for what such an exit would cause to happen in the Middle East.  That our early withdrawal from Vietnam was a travesty for our friends in and around that country appears to be unimportant to him.

Another source of disbelief for me was Mr. Cook’s suggestion that our government goes too far in gathering information about people traveling overseas.  Oblivious to evil, Mr. Cook cannot comprehend the necessity of such action.  I’ll bet he has complete trust in the millions of illegals in this country as well.

Mr. Cook closes by saying that, “soon I’ll be back in the rain forest.”  I think that a better place for him might be the desert.  There he could resume burying his head in the sand.  Those periodic burials have apparently caused him to have missed the lessons of history and prevented him from having any sense of the real world the rest of us live in.

( Appeared in the Newburyport Daily News – October 15, 2007 )

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Filed under Iraq, Newburyport Daily News

Teaching Moments in Minnesota

There are lessons to be learned from the recent happenings in Minnesota.  Let me go through a couple of them.

First, we have this ongoing furor over repairing the 1A bridge over the Parker River in Newbury.  Was the bridge calamity in Minnesota not shown on local TV? 

The bridge in Newbury needs repair.  The best time to repair a bridge is before it collapses not the way it worked out in Minnesota.  Inconvenient?  You bet, but how about considering the flipside, could you? 

I read of the appeals to various politicians to stop the process and wonder why any of the politicians bother to listen to any of this nonsense.  It sure wouldn’t look too hot on a politician’s resume to say that he/she stopped, or tried to stop, the repair of a bridge that badly needed repair.

The idea that the bridge would be kept open while they work on major repairs is laughable.  It is somewhat like asking for major surgery while insisting that you will continue jogging while the surgery is taking place.  Close the bridge down completely so that the work can be done without interruption.

Soon we’ll be hearing from folks insisting that the bridge be repaired quickly.  Patience they don’t have.  We’re talking about a potentially life-saving operation and these people will want it done fast.  Try that one on your doctor before he performs open-heart surgery. 

The work on the bridge should begin as soon as possible and be allowed to take as long as necessary.

Also in Minnesota we had an unfortunate lesson learned at Minneapolis Airport by Idaho Senator Larry Craig.  This pathetic Republican tried to strike up a sexual relationship with a complete male stranger in a bathroom there. 

The stranger happened to be working for the police department and arrested the Senator.  The Senator hoped that a quick admission of guilt would put an end to his problems but it didn’t go that way.  Soon there were denials which failed miserably especially since a tape with the Senator’s confession was handy to repute the denials.

The lesson that Senator Craig should have learned in Minnesota was that he was representing the wrong state and in the wrong political party.  If he had only been from Massachusetts the idea of resignation wouldn’t even have been an option.  He could have trusted the voters of this state to let him continue no matter what he did. 

After all this state voted to let Democrat Ted Kennedy continue in the Senate even after he fled the scene of an accident that turned fatal because of his negligence.  After all this state also let Democrat Barney Frank continue in the House of Representatives after he was picked up for allowing a male hooker to run a prostitution ring out of his apartment.  Frank’s conduct was so deplorable that even the Boston Globe abandoned him but not the voters of this state.

It’s one thing for voters to lack good sense but people living near a dangerous bridge should know better.

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Filed under 1A Bridge, Barney Frank, Minnesota, Newbury, Newburyport Daily News, Senator Larry Craig, Senator Ted Kennedy