Category Archives: Senator Ted Kennedy

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

Surprising Behavior by Senator John Kerry and Michael Cook

What is this world coming to? 

Is it possible that prolific letter writer Michael Cook wrote an entire entry for last week’s Newburyport Current (“Culture of celebrity is all about marketing”) without including “President Bush” and an unflattering adjective in the same sentence?

Is it also possible that our Senator Kerry called former president Bill Clinton a “liar” last Friday?

It is not only possible but also true in both cases.  I found both occurrences refreshing.

I will admit that I generally only read Michael’s entries until the word “Bush” shows up.  After that, the Far Left talking points start and my interest vanishes.  I’m not crazy about President Bush, especially on immigration, but he is not the cause of all the evil in the world. 

In this article, which I was able to read in its entirety, Michael opined on a topic that my wife and I have discussed more than a few times: “Why do some of the lightweights of our society get paid so much money?”  Like us, Michael wonders why those who really make a difference in society struggle to get by. 

Michael credits this unfairness to the fact that the successful are getting assistance from publicists while the rest of us are not.  We may be doing great things but no one is notifying the media of it or setting up contacts that will lead to financial rewards.  I absolutely agree.

I do think we have to remember that we live in a culture that is willing to pay dearly to be entertained.  Those offering the entertainment know this.  When ticket prices go up people are outraged.  However, they do have two choices – pay or stay home.  Most choose to pay and that just emboldens those offering the entertainment.

Michael thinks that the sordid lifestyles of many of the celebrities will eventually lessen our interest in following them and/or paying to see them perform.  I hope he’s right but after flipping through the TV channels and seeing previews of coming attractions, I think that those providing the entertainment totally disagree with Michael on this point.   The faces and thoughts of fools are constantly before us today and most likely will be there tomorrow. 

When the Super Bowl is over and they start interviewing the participants you can bet that more than a few players will be an embarrassment to watch………but we’ll watch just to see if they embarrass themselves.  Of course, if they’re celebrating Patriots players we’ll bear with it and the networks know that.

John Kerry 

The other pleasant surprise I referred to was Kerry calling Clinton a liar.   It wasn’t breaking news that the Clintons are often free and easy with the truth it was just that Senator Kerry showed some moxie and went after the Clintons.   Kerry’s endorsement of Obama early this month didn’t cause much of a stir. I, in fact, thought that Kerry’s endorsement might do Obama more harm than good since Senator Kerry is about as popular as those dogs that leave their calling cards down on the Merrimac River boardwalk are. 

It aggravated many Obama supporters that because Kerry delayed his endorsement he fumbled a chance to help Obama in the neighboring New Hampshire primary.  A number of national media types, much to his embarrassment, noted Kerry’s poor timing. 

The media criticism stirred Senator Kerry into action.  He made sure that he wasn’t late in having an impact in Massachusetts on Super Tuesday (February 5th).  This time around he not only told the truth about the former President but also reinforced his support for Senator Obama.  Hillary currently has a 30+ point lead in the polls in Massachusetts.  However, with Governor Patrick, along with Kerry and now Senator Kennedy backing Obama it could get a lot closer come primary day. 

So, thank you Michael Cook and John Kerry for pleasantly surprising me.

(Submitted to the Newburyport Current on January 29th as a letter to the editor. )
 

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Filed under Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Governor Deval Patrick, Newburyport, Newburyport Current, President George Bush, Senator John Kerry, Senator Ted Kennedy

Extend the school day? Only if………………..

When an editorial starts with, “It should be obvious…” you would expect that the conclusion drawn thereafter would be exactly that.  Not in the case of The Newburyport Current editorial ( “More time, better scores” ) put forth on December 6th.

The editor’s contention is that putting students and teachers in classrooms longer will “obviously” produce better results.  Says who?

The editor relies on the statistical findings of an organization called Massachusetts 2020 to prove the point.  Would it help to know that Massachusetts 2020 is heavily committed to the idea of adding days and hours to the school experience?  They’re about as reliable a source regarding extra hours/days in the classroom as Planned Parenthood is on whether abortion is a good idea.

The Massachusetts Department of Education apparently will release their findings regarding extended school time next month.  They could well come to the same conclusion as Massachusetts 2020 but at least they wouldn’t have an agenda going into the research.

The only certainty in extending school time is that it will cost more.  Of course with the Chairman of the US Senate Education Committee (our own Ted Kennedy) leading the way, asking for more money comes easy.  He wants $50 million a year, which will increase to $150 million a year by 2012, to train teachers to help schools redesign academic content for extended time.  What a waste!  Don’t these people ever get tired of throwing our money at problems? 

Those advocating the extended day seem to assume that the teachers and students are performing efficiently during the regular school day we now have.  If we just add time they’ll do even better.  We can’t make that assumption.

I believe that school system leaders know exactly why their schools perform poorly on state tests.  They will not tell you specifically but I will attempt it.

First, some students are not too bright and no matter how long the school’s best teacher spends with them they will not shine on a state test.  A student could well be pleasant, hard working, and a genuine nice kid but it will not matter.  In the real world, the underachiever is called out but not in schools. They hide them by releasing group results. The extended-hours folks think that more time in school will make academically challenged students do better.  Very unlikely.

Second, there are teachers who don’t know how to teach.  If students at a certain grade level do poorly on a section of the state test it is easy for a school system to figure out what teacher was supposed to teach that skill or material.  I’m guessing that a high-quality administrator could sort this out and insist that the teacher improve.  The extended-hours folks think that students will somehow benefit by spending more time with an underachieving teacher.  Very unlikely.

Do you get the sense that schools spend most of their time trying to help underachieving students do better?  That’s because they do.   But what about the rest of the students?

I think that US schools should try to compete with the schools in the rest of the world.  What holds the US back is that in many schools classes are mixed with achievers and underachievers.  The schools’ top students are hurt by this arrangement. 

What would happen if only the best students and teachers were given a longer school day?  You combine the ability to learn with the ability to teach and all kinds of good things could happen.  No need to redesign anything.  Just put your two strongest elements together. 

I am very much in favor of extended school time for the top achieving students and teachers.  Extending school for everyone else will never be worth the effort and money involved.

(Appeared in the Newburyport Current on December 21, 2007)

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Filed under Newburyport Current, Senator Ted Kennedy

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