Today’s reality check - [insert preferred holiday here] edition

December 11th, 2008

PVP Christmas strip

Yeah, it’s that time again: time for everyone to get into a pointless knot over which greeting they receive at retail stores.

I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: I don’t give a toss whether I get a “Merry Christmas” or a “Happy Holidays”…as long as they’re not telling me “Go **** yourself,” I’m cool.

The argument, as always, is over the exorcism of Christ from Christmas; the argument is that refusing to even say the word is part of some greater effort to secularize the holiday and strip it of its alleged Christian roots. I say “alleged” because Christmas is a essentially co-opted pagan holiday, and sorry, people, there’s ample historical proof to back me up on that one.

I disagree. I see running with a very generic slogan as a wholly understandable (if kinda gutless) reaction by the retail industry to those people on the opposite end of this foolishness: those who get themselves in a knot over a greeting that excludes everything but Christmas. Going with the all-inclusive, if bland, “Happy Holidays” is the best option in a no-win scenario, because you know it’s happened somewhere: someone went and scrounged themselves up a lawyer to sue a place for not offering a Christmas-specific platitude. Even in today’s frivolous litigation-happy society, you really have to push the bounds of jerkdom to claim you suffered emotional distress because someone wished you well in the most general of manners, so in simple terms of liability, I’d think “Happy Holidays” is more defensible than “Merry Christmas.”

(If there are any lawyers out there who would care to expound upon this — without claiming billable hours — please do.)

Whatever holiday you subscribe to, chances are it’s somehow based in a philosophy of peace, love, acceptance — you know, the good stuff in life. Why crap all over that just because someone’s being nice to you, just not in the precise way you’d like them to be?

Going, going, gone (and ain’t never comin’ back)

December 8th, 2008

One of the issues facing Cape Cod as a whole is its ongoing emigration of young people. Often you hear about the region losing its post-college age residents,a.k.a. the future of the Cape’s workforce; residents between ages 25 and 34 are the minority. There are twice as many senior citizens living here now, and they sure aren’t going to give up their golden years to patch holes in the workforce…not that they could in many cases (unless you know some 65-year-olds who can swap out a crashed server).

The reason frequently cited for this bleeding is affordability. Whether renting or buying, homes on the Cape are prohibitively expensive for the typical college grad, whose first priority is to land a gig that will allow him to pay both living expenses and his student loans, and perhaps allow for a few luxuries, like eating meat on a regular basis…believe me: you spend four years eating nothing but Ramen and Twinkies, and ground beef becomes more precious than gold.

Our elected officials tend to think that resolving this situation is a matter of improving two conditions; provide affordable housing and jobs that pay solid wages, and young people will stay on or come back to the Cape.

Affordability and the job market are two small elements of a larger and much more complex formula; there are many other reasons why Cape kids don’t stick around to become Cape adults, and we cannot hope to negate a lot of those influences, so it’s time for our local, regional, even state-level elected officials to admit the bitter truth: you aren’t going to succeed in reversing this particular tide. Young people are going, will continue to go, and in most cases will go for good. Next time you see them as residents, they’ll be buying their retirement homes.

A lot of kids are lost to the region the day they leave for college. Following high school, their old social bases are scattered to the four winds, so they start building new bases at college. They become emotionally attached to a whole new crowd, and those ties become stronger over time as their old ties weaken. By the time they’re ready to head out into the real world, they’ve lost one of their best reasons to come home; chances are, all their old high school chums are everywhere but on good ol’ Cape Cod, and precious few college grads are going to move back in with mom and dad if they can afford not to.

The seeds of this escape are planted early. If you’ve grown up on the Cape, you know that once you hit the magical age of 13, there is simply nothing to do around here until you’re old enough to hit the bars (and if that becomes your main source of entertainment, you’ve got deeper problems).

What is there for, say, the typical Falmouth teen? The town’s previous mecca for teen socialization, the Falmouth Mall, is no longer a viable location for the adolescent elite to meet and greet. Once the mall at least provided a sheltered gathering spot, vital during the cruel winter months, but now it’s open-air, and no way in hell would Wal-Mart allow teens to come in and loiter until closing time. The arcade on Main Street used to be a happenin’ spot — it was my home away from home for a hue chunk of my youth — but why go there and shell out a buck a pop to play video games when you’ve got a PlayStation at home?

Teens living in and around Boston have two things Cape kids sorely lack: available non-parental transportation and a wealth of social opportunities. When I was sixteen, I would have killed just to have the option of hopping the T and going to the Boston Garden (or whatever it was called at the time) to take in a concert from a major performer, or go to an all-ages club, or wander around the Museum of Science. If you’re a teenager on the Cape and you don’t have a friend with his own car, you’re limited to where ever your parents are willing to drive you, and you can bet the average parent in Truro isn’t going to haul their kid to the Cape Cod Mall just so they can get shuffled about by the rent-a-cops for a few hours.

Sure, the place is kinda hoppin’ during the summer months, but for 10 months out of the year, Cape Cod is, like, Snoozeville, daddio. That’s more than enough to give the average teen a healthy case of wanderlust, and as the saying goes, how’re you going to keep them down on the farm once they’ve seen Paris?

To repeat: you can’t.

I admit to occasionally feeling wistful and nostalgic for Falmouth. My last apartment in town, before I moved off-Cape to be with my wife, was next door to Kappy’s. On a whim I could grab a book and trot over to Starbucks to chug coffee and read, zip over to Paul’s to grab some pizza for dinner, then settle in with some movies from Video Paradise. Peking Palace and the Clam Shack were two minutes away driving time, my office at the Enterprise three.

Meanwhile, all my friends in Boston and Revere and Saugus and Salem and Gloucester and Brockton and Bellingham and Lynn and Swampscott and Nahant were having a grand old time. And if I wanted to join them? Hello, two-hour drive.

Even if I could afford to live on the Cape, I wouldn’t. My life isn’t here anymore. It’s elsewhere, and that’s where I want to be.

Cape Cod has a lot more to worry about than providing decent wages and reasonably priced homes. It has to provide young people with a full, well-rounded life, and that’s not happening overnight, or even in this generation. The future of the Cape’s workforce isn’t in high school or even elementary school, it’s in kindergarten and preschool. Give them what they need at every level — financially and socially — and you have a shot at keeping them around after college.

Otherwise? Better hope gramps is better at reformatting hard drives than he is setting the clock on his VCR.

Proposition 8 - The Musical!

December 3rd, 2008

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Barbara Anderson: citizen for unlimited vexation

November 26th, 2008

I just love it when people who have never met me presume to speak for me.

The latest person to do this is Barbara Anderson, the head honcho for Citizens for Limited Taxation. Anderson appeared on “Keller @ Large” Sunday to discuss Question One, the proposed state income tax elimination that voters shot down soundly (70 percent of us voted against it, myself included).

In addition to calling Question One foes idiots (gee, thanks, and the horse you rode in on, ya harpy), Anderson told Keller that this vote was, in essence, a clear message to the Legislature that taxpayers like being soaked at every given turn so Beacon Hill can fritter our money away. She viewed the vote as us giving legislators carte blanche to tax and spend and tax and spend, we’ll eat it all up and ask for more.

It would have been nice if Anderson could have backed this up with some hard data instead of simply projecting her own frustrations onto the results. I could just as easily say that Question One supporters were part of a secret cabal out of Rhode Island that wanted to bankrupt Massachusetts, then swoop in while we’re vulnerable and buy us out for a song. Rhode Island’s rampant government corruption would then invade Massachusetts – renamed Rhodesechusetts – and take over like a virus.

(What, you think that’s loony? Look at what’s happened with Dianne Wilkerson and Chuck Turner and convince me they didn’t pick something up last time they were in the Ocean State.)

While I’ve been unable to find any exit polls that delve into why people voted they way they did, I could more easily (and I dare say, accurately) extrapolate by looking at the sales pitches each side employed.

Question One backers sold a repeal of the income tax as a chance for us to put more money in our pockets while forcing government to become more efficient. A few folks claimed that even if the Legislature ignored the will of the voters and retained the income tax (an entirely possible, even probable outcome), it would send a message that Massachusetts taxpayers weren’t going to tolerate reckless spending anymore.

Opponents, to be honest, played the fear card, and they played it well. They forecasted huge spikes in property taxes, new and higher taxes in other areas (gas, sales, capital gains, etc.) to compensate – perhaps insufficiently – for the loss of local aid and other state-funded services. In this economy, when the middle class are clinging to every dollar and our leaders are gradually whittling away at the FY09 budget, that scenario held mighty power indeed.

Ask voters why they went against Question One, I’d bet they’d list all the repercussions as laid out in the opposition’s exhaustive ad campaign…in fairness, I’d also bet a lot of them didn’t do any kind of supplementary research to see if those claims were at all accurate, but that is secondary to my point: the message as interpreted by Anderson was not the message Question One opponents actually sent.

Not one to take chances, I wrote my state rep and senator to tell them this directly and in no uncertain terms. My letter read, in part:

I voted against Question One for a variety of reasons, but nowhere among those reasons was an explicit, implicit, or tacit desire to see increased taxes, tolls, and fees; nor was there any desire on my part to see unnecessary and/or extraneous spending continue.
In fact, as we are facing by all estimates a worsening economy through 2009, I hope that you gentlemen exercise increased diligence in clamping down on government waste, and keep open minds when presented with opportunities to change the way Massachusetts does business — Governor Patrick’s proposed overhaul of the Mass. Turnpike Authority, for example. I do not believe the only answer to our shared woes is to increase the financial burden on the average taxpayer, nor do I believe it should be the first avenue explored. Surely, my elected officials can be more imaginative.

State Representative Jeff Perry has often said to me: sometimes the only way he knows what his constituents think is when they tell him what they think. Our elected officials are not mind-readers, folks (thank god for that), and the last thing any of us should want is for the people who represent our interests to, like Barbara Anderson, misrepresent our interests because we’ve not made our message abundantly clear.

As voters, our job did not end when we handed in our ballots. So take the holiday off, enjoy yourselves, then get back to work, you lazy bums.

Best. Billboard. Ever.

November 26th, 2008

Yes, I think it even beats out The Daily Show’s “Welcome Rich White Oligarchs!” billboard outside the RNC. This appeared in California following the vote to ban same-sex marriage.



November 20th, 2008

As I write this, Thanksgiving is a week away, and by this time next week I will be arriving for the family dinner, when I sit down with people with whom I generally have little in common and avoid idle chit-chat by constantly shoveling food in my mouth.

Not that I have all that much to contribute to the conversation, which regularly revolves around my cousins’ many many children (you’d think they were Catholics instead of Methodists). As a proud and happy member of a DINK (Double Income, No Kids) couple, I’ve got no common point of reference, and I don’t think anyone wants to hear me gripe about how my young second cousins are coddled with specialty Thanksgiving menus whereas I, as a young fussy eater, got what was served and liked it. Or starved, whichever.

With luck, by Turkey Day I’ll have once again polished off the last of my Christmas shopping. I’ve done pretty well the last few years, though my grandmother always proves a challenge. “Oh, I’m sure I’ll love whatever you get me” is the typical response whenever I ask her what she’d like for Christmas…no help there, but I swear one year I’m going to give her a box containing a quart of motor oil, last week’s TV Guide, and a packet of unsweetened Kool-Aid, just to see if she sticks to her story (”But you said you’d love whatever I gave you!”).

Like a lot of people, my wife and I are scaling back on our holiday spending, mainly to ensure we celebrate Christmas in our house instead of the back of our car. Strict spending limits, set and observed. Necessary, but boy can it drain the fun out of present shopping…nothing sucks like finding that perfect gift that is just out of your price range and being too damned disciplined to say, “Eh, screw it, I’ll buy it anyway!”

I know, we could bend a little, let the budget slip by a buck or two here or there, but then we would have to make the money up elsewhere, and the next thing on the list is cutting down on holiday travel, which I am loathe to do since it means missing out on quality time with my friends (and if you knew just how high my friends’ inherent entertainment value is, you wouldn’t want to take a pass either).

I have no real point here, or even a witicism on which to end. Sorry, folks, not everything I post here is going to be gold.

The Court of English in now in session

November 17th, 2008

The defendant:
The offense: Apostrophe abuse
The evidence:
Amazon page
As you can see, pluralized “Pirate” in the Nintendo Wii title by adding an apostrophe-S combo, which is only used to denote a contraction or a possessive. This mistake is even more egregious since the correct form of the word IS RIGHT THERE ON THE PACKAGE
The correction: Lose the apostrophe (duh)
The sentence: Uhh…give me a free copy of the game? My wife would like it for Christmas. Okay, fine. Just give a copy of Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss to every customer who buys this game

The purpose of this feature is to educate readers by spotlighting boneheaded mistakes in spelling, grammar, and punctuation in a public setting.

Shooting the messenger: bad in general, worse when it’s you

November 11th, 2008

Last week, following the sound defeat of Question One, I got involved in a heated (yet civil) debate with a friend over the turnout. To sum up his argument: the people of Massachusetts are idiots because they turned down an opportunity to refuse to give the Legislature our precious money to waste, or at least send the message we didn’t want them to squander our tax dollars anymore.

I’d heard the same basic case from lots of other people who planned to support the question. They saw repealing the state income tax as, at best, a way to reclaim several hundred dollars for themselves, and at worst a way to tell their elected officials to quit pissing away our tax money on non-essential spending.

The numerous potential pitfalls of the proposal aside, I argued that this was a horrible way to send a message. A good way would be to vote the old regime out and replace it with people who would, theoretically, work more diligently to reduce waste in government and let us keep more of our own money.

But to approve a measure you don’t at all agree with? No one seemed to realize the damned if you do/damned if you don’t scenario that would unfold.

Consider: Massachusetts voters don’t like Question One. They believe that stripping the government of $12 billion or so in revenue would not result in greater fiscal responsibility and reduced spending, but only lead to higher taxes elsewhere. Yet, they vote for it anyway, to send a message, and it passes.

Now what? If the Legislature behaves as many predicted it would had Question One passed and refuse to enact the repeal, they’d be ignoring the will of the voters. Yet any indignation at this would be totally disingenuous since the majority didn’t really support it. How many people would want to kick their elected officials out of office for not supporting a proposal they actually did not want?

And if the Legislature were to let the repeal happen? I don’t think we would have reaped the grand benefits we were promised. I think we would have seen all the income tax money we “saved” just flying out the window in other directions (property taxes, increased gas, meal, sin taxes, etc.), in which case we’d all be peeved at the Legislature for not protecting us from a bad law. And maybe we would hold them accountable in 2010, but we’d be punishing them for our own bad judgment call. And who would we be likely to elect in their stead? People who promised to reverse the repeal voters approved two years prior.

Supporting Question One for no reason other than to serve as a passive-aggressive test for our lawmakers was a terrible concept, and I’m grateful voters did not choose to send a message that would have resulted in us, one way or another, shooting ourselves in the collective foot.

Open letters to John McCain’s supporters (both kinds)

November 6th, 2008

Dear John McCain’s rational supporters,

For what it’s worth, you have my sympathies. Really. I remember how I felt when Kerry lost to Bush in 2004, and it sucked. It felt like I was on a flaming boat that could explode any minute, but I couldn’t jump into the water because it was teeming with piranhas and I was heading for a towering waterfall anyway…I felt screwed screwed six ways to Sunday and profoundly frustrated because I had no power to stop it.

I imagine you’re experiencing the same thing right now. If it comforts you at all, first take pride in knowing that your candidate is a good man at his core, and anyone with a shred of intelligence recognizes this. I do not for a minute question McCain’s love for this country. I don’t deny that he only wanted what he felt was best for all of us. Under different circumstances, I would have gladly voted for him, but I could not this year; when I weighed the pros and cons versus those of Barack Obama, I chose Obama.

Neither man is my perfect candidate — is anyone? — but I did not think McCain’s proposed policies would yield the best results for all Americans. I was personally disappointed on how he pandered to a conservative base I often felt he did not truly agree with, and I feared that the conservative social values I regard as regressive and oppressive, and indeed contrary to the Republican Party’s philosophy of keeping the government out of citizens’ private lives, would leak into his policy decisions. And I did not once ever believe he made the best choice for a running mate, for reasons I will not go into now because they are largely irrelevant at this juncture.

McCain himself said it is time for everyone to come together as Americans, regardless of which horse we backed, and he is absolutely correct. Lingering bitterness and resentment will achieve nothing, just as it achieved nothing following the 2004 election…save perhaps to lay the foundation for what happened on November 4, 2008, which, in a way, is a hollow achievement when weighed against how much so many Americans have lost in the past four years.

John McCain can still lead you, after a fashion. Please let him.


Dear John McCain’s whackjob supporters,

You realize this is all kinda your fault, right?

If you’re freaking out right now because Barack Obama is the new President-elect, like to the point your neighbors are now calling the police to report Bigfoot has invaded your house and is throwing you bodily through every stick of furniture you own, you might want to reflect on your own behavior over the past year.

This has been the ugliest campaign season I have ever witnessed, and I’m sorry, a lot of it was coming from you, because you chose to resort to cheap scare tactics and slander, borderline and outright. How many times did you refer to Obama as a “secret Muslim”? Or Barack “Osama”? Or Barack Hussein Obama, accent heavily on Hussein to drive home the point he shares a name (but nothing more) with one of the most vile human beings walking the planet? How many times did you deface an Obama bumper sticker to read “NObama”? Or tear up a yard sign? Or scream at an Obama supporter as if he’d just taken a wizz on your TV?

You could have made intelligent arguments about Obama’s qualifications and relatively limited experience. Instead, you dismissed his contributions to his community, state, and nation while simultaneously trying to pass off Sarah Palin as a seasoned political pro.

You could have stated your concerns about Obama’s relationships with Reverend Wright or William Ayers in a thoughtful manner, but instead you sensationalized them and, again, turned a convenient blind eye to McCain’s own questionable association with Reverend Parsley, among others.

You could have rationally argued that Obama’s lack of military experience, when compared to McCain’s, rendered him inadequate to address national defense issues, an area where he absolutely needs to hit the ground running. Instead you simply threw out McCain’s POW status like a Get Out Of Jail Free card and never went the extra step to explain why his captivity meant he had the goods to lead the country.

And, perhaps your greatest sin, you too often eschewed calm and rational discourse on the merits and flaws of each candidate with Obama boosters. No, you did absolutely insane things like claim an Obama supporter attacked you and carved a letter B into your cheek, or denied Halloween candy to children who had no real grasp of what the hell was going on with the Presidential race, just because they’re parents were backing the “wrong” horse.

Even McCain was getting sick of your crap. Did you not see the look on his face when that old woman called Obama “an Arab” during a town hall meeting? That was the look of a man who wanted nothing more than to stuff a rolled-up tube sock in her mouth.

Did you goons ever once stop to consider the damage you were doing to your own man? Did you ever once realize that every time you made some ignorant crack about Obama, you drove someone away from McCain in disgust? Did you once consider that every uninformed, sensationalized dig you took made Obama’s people all the more determined to bury your beloved candidate? Whenever I saw these appalling shenanigans, all I could think was, “Wow, is this the type of person McCain is attracting? Do I really want to be associated with these mutants?”

Granted, my decision to support Obama was based far more in facts and personal assessments of each man’s credentials, experience, but not everyone can see past your buffoonery to judge the man on his inherent worth rather than his hangers-on…and even still, the thought of sharing the title of “McCain supporter” with you degereate mouth-breathers made me nauseous. I wanted nothing to do with you and, by extension, your man.

Ask yourselves: how many other voters did you drive away? Enough to cost McCain the election?

Some believe that a man is measured by the company he keeps. McCain did not have the luxury of choosing a finer grade of company; you, however, had the option of being a finer grade of company, and by blowing it so spectacularly, John McCain was found wanting, underservedly so.

Bravo, idiots. Bravo.

The week in politics

November 6th, 2008

I would like to open this, my final column of the 2008 election season, with the following announcement:
I’m certain we’ve all by now been inundated with analysis from the major media outlets, so let’s talk about the local races instead.

As a certain animated parrot once said, I could have a heart attack and die of not surprise over the local results. It was a night for incumbents for the most part, starting with US Senator John F. Kerry, who successfully and soundly turned away a challenge by Harwich Republican Jeffrey K. Beatty.
I maintain that Betty pushed the “Kerry war vote” angle too hard — Beatty repeatedly claimed the Senator supported the Iraq war to goose his 2004 Presidential campaign — at the expense of addressing other issues. People wanted to hear about the economy, and Beatty failed to deliver on that point.
This makes two failed bids for a major elected office for Beatty (he ran against Congressman William D. Delahunt in 2006). Whatever his next move is, I would urge Mr. Beatty to develop a more balanced platform; one-issue wonders rarely go far in this biz.

Speaking of which! In the race for Barnstable County Board of County Commissioners, Republican Ric Barros’ rather one-note campaign I think fell flat with voters; no matter what the topic was, Mr. Barros invariably turned it back toward the subject of the county budget and the lack of funding.
His was a very realistic perspective — that the county barely had enough money to keep on an even keel, much less embark on any new spending initiatives — but he did not balance fiscal pragmatism with an optimistic plan for the county’s future, as his rivals did.
I doubt he was helped at all by the fact he was the only person in the race with no experience in county government whatsoever, again, an area where his opponents had an advantage. Sometimes the “outsider” card works, sometimes it doesn’t.
William B. (Brad) Crowell almost tied with Barros, and I think his problem was that he just didn’t get enough face time. The man is personable and his ideas were sound, but the two winners — Mary L. (Pat) Flynn and Sheila R. Lyons — had the advantage of being in a Primary race, which meant greater voter familiarity.
I do have to give a special nod to Ms. Lyons for very successfully getting her message out. For a relative political unknown to beat three more well-known candidates in the Primaries (one of them an incumbent!) and carry that momentum through a second packed general election race is impressive indeed.

If there was a surprise in the local scene, it was in the race for Barnstable County Register of Probate, where Anastasia Welsh Perrino beat veteran legislator Eric T. Turkington by a very respectable margin.
Many people expected Mr. Turkington’s name recognition, existing support network, and sizeable campaign war chest to carry him to a win. However, as I and others have pointed out, a sterling track record in the Legislature is no guarantee of victory in other areas (to wit: Jim Cummings beating Tom Cahir for county sheriff in 1998).
Mr. Turkington pushed his legislative credentials over his experience as a lawyer, which apparently did not strike a chord with voters. He also turned the race in a more partisan affair by talking up his Democratic membership and decrying the fact a Republican has run the office literally since it was created. That was the wrong card to play, and Ms. Perrino countered, quite rightfully and successfully, that the post was a non-partisan gig and should be treated as such.

State Representatives Matthew C. Patrick (D – Falmouth) and Jeffrey D. Perry (R – Sandwich) were returned to office by wide margins, which echoed results in contested races in the second and fourth Barnstable districts.
Their respective opponents, Carey M. Murphy and Glenn S. Paré, ran good but not great races. They got out, met the voters, and pitched their messages, but frankly, their proposals were very general and largely unremarkable. They threw out campaign chatter we’ve all heard a million times before when they needed to hit voters with something specific and innovative.
And, incumbency aside, they were fighting uphill battles. Mr. Patrick and Mr. Perry both had recent significant achievements behind them, which does not give voters incentive to mess with success. The results also suggest that voters were not blaming the incumbents for the current state budget mess, but rather were hesitant to change horses mid-stream and throw untested men in to deal with such a huge problem.

In the four-way race for state representative of the Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket district, Timothy R. Madden of Nantucket powered to a solid win thanks to the overwhelming support of his hometown constituency. Folks have long speculated that a big win in Nantucket could lock up a victory for this post, and that theory was proven Tuesday.
Falmouth voters were divided between Daniel J. Larkosh, who won the Democratic primary, and hometown candidate Melissa C. Freitag, with Famouthites (Falmouthoids?) leaning toward Mr. Larkosh. On the Vineyard, Mr. Larkosh won five out of six towns, with Mr. Madden taking Chilmark.
Jacob Ferreira outgunned Ms. Freitag on the Vineyard and came in close behind Mr. Madden, but couldn’t make decent penetration in Falmouth or Nantucket. That Falmouth and the Vineyard were divvied up between three other people only contributed to Mr. Madden’s win; had he been running against only one other opponent, we might have seen very different results.

Briefly, on the ballot questions, how gratifying it was to see that the vast majority of voters were not falling for the false promise of Question One, the elimination of the state income tax. Even had the Legislature allowed this to happen, I doubt we would have seen the glorious benefits extolled by the measure’s main sponsor, Carla Howell; whatever we held on to in income taxes would have gone out somewhere else, like elevated property taxes.
I’m not overly thrilled with the passage of Question Two, the marijuana decriminalization proposal, and I’ll be curious to see if there’s any sort of spike in marijuana use because of it. On Question Three: I think I need to run out right now and adopt a greyhound. They’ll be out of work soon, after all.
For candidate reaction to and more details about all these races, as well as the ballot questions, check out our stories here.

In closing, a sincere thank you to the readers of this column who stopped me during the campaign season to let me know they actually enjoy my semi-crazed diatribes and gleefully spiteful jabs. Although this column is going to bed until 2010, I’ll still be posting about current issues regularly in this blog.
I sleep now.
Ventriloquists Obama

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