Puttin' the Dumb...
Adam G. (as usual) has the Boston blogger round-up.
(via reader Reginleif)
Parents Say They Should Choose If Twins Educated Together
Bill Would Give Choice To Parents, Instead Of Schools
CONCORD, N.H. -- State lawmakers are debating a bill that would allow parents of twins to decide whether the children should be kept in the same classroom or separated.
Several families testified Tuesday before the Senate Education Committee on the proposal, saying that they know how their children would function best in school.
"When they do start school, I want to make sure that we have the option, the choice," said Linda Hamada, a mother of twins. "They're still too young for me to know will they do better together or will they do better separate. But what I don't want is an arbitrary decision made by a principal who doesn't know my children."
CONCORD, N.H. -- State lawmakers are debating a bill that would allow parents of children not related to one another, but who happen to be very close friends, to decide whether the children should be kept in the same classroom or separated.
...Department of Education lawyer Sarah Browning warned the legislation goes too far in giving parents decision-making power over the placement.
"If you put parents in control, there would not be any dispute," she said.
"It doesn’t encourage a communication between the parent and the school district."
The bill would allow a local school board to overrule the requests of parents only if the placement would be "disruptive" to the school.
A state panel yesterday outlined for the first time the minimum requirements for coverage under the state's new health insurance law, a package estimated to cost $380 a month on average for an individual, more than $100 above recent estimates.
Employees of the new state agency established to provide health insurance to the state's low-income residents have been hired at an average salary of $111,000 a year, with 12 of the 22 staff members making more than $100,000 and six earning more than Governor Deval Patrick and his Cabinet secretaries.
More than 200,000 people with health insurance would have to buy additional coverage to meet proposed minimum standards under the state's new health insurance law, according to a count completed by insurers yesterday.
Most of the individuals do not have coverage for prescription drugs or have drug coverage that is more restrictive than the minimum proposed by the state board implementing the law. The Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector board is scheduled to vote on the standards in March. Individuals would face a fine of about $200 next year and more in future years, if they do not have insurance that meets the standards.
The number of residents whose insurance would not meet the minimum standards is more than four times the estimate made by the board's staff earlier this month before the board altered the proposed standards. And the new number includes only those covered by the five largest Massachusetts insurers. It does not include tens of thousands more who have policies that set dollar limits on coverage, policies that the board also said were inadequate.
"I have a very bad feeling about this."
OK, last post (maybe) on the healthcare bill (which I still think sucks ass, btw) before I move on to more important matters.
Let me see if I've got this straight:
1. The total cost of this plan to the taxpayers of the Commonwealth is yet unknown.
2. The cost of individual coverage plans is yet unknown, but likely higher than original estimates had shown.
3. The level of coverage provided by these plans of unknown cost is, well, unknown.
4. The extent to which healthcare coverage for lower-income families and individuals will be subsidized by the taxpayers is ... (any guesses?) ... yep, unknown.
5. Participation in this plan of unknown costs and capabilities, for those who could afford it, but would otherwise choose not to, is mandatory. And, enforcement thereof shall be coordinated with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.
Yep...here come those warm-n-fuzzy feelings again.
On Monday, Toby Iselin of Keene, New Hampshire, sent a short, polite email message to his state representative, Delmar Burridge, asking him to support a full legislative debate on a marijuana decriminalization bill that the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, on which Burridge serves, was scheduled to consider this week. "I know you are opposed to this bill," Iselin said, but "I hope you will consider passing it through committee so that all sides will have their chance to speak on it." Burridge responded with predictable prohibitionist bluster, starting with his account of how marijuana killed his brother (who "was smoking a joint before the crash") and moving on to the "family devastation," "severe burns," and "lots of blood and death"—apparently all marijuana-related—that he witnessed as a juvenile probation officer in Philadelphia during the 1970s. "I will vote no on this Bill," he said, "and have lots of very chilling stories to relate to the other committee members so it goes my way." Fair enough. But then Burridge closed his message with what sounds like a veiled threat:I am copying two members of the Keene Police Department in case you want to change your ways and act legal and save your friends.
You are very passionate in your beliefs and would make a great snitch.
Burridge evidently believes the police should take an interest in anyone who expresses support for drug policy reform. Talk about chilling.
Update: As jf and PoN helpfully note, the full text of the two messages can be found here and here (Iselin's blog).
Rather than taunting Iselin, however, Burridge told The Sentinel he only meant to hold him responsible for committing a crime.
"It's not whether I agree with the guy or not," Burridge said. "When someone sends me an e-mail, and they say they're doing crimes, felonies or misdemeanors, and they put that in print, I have to respond in a responsible manner."
Iselin never acknowledges smoking marijuana in his e-mail, he said.
Regardless of your feelings on the drug war, this has got to scare the living shit out of you. Imagine if you are a California gun owner and asked Dianne Feinstein not to vote for an AWB. As things stand now, they would merely laugh at your letter and send you a polite "no way in hell" letter. If Burridge’s attitude prevailed in the party, they would still laugh, still send you a "no way in hell" letter, but the P.S. would read, "We have notified local authorities so they may investigate you for illegal weapons possession. Have fun in prison!"
According to NOAA, the best way to avoid hypothermia and frostbite is to stay warm and dry indoors.
Driving to and from the Statehouse in Concord two to three times a week, Pantelakos said, she sees 15 to 25 people a day with one hand on the wheel and the other holding a phone to their heads.
"I've been counting them," she said. "The other day, in the passing lane, I came up behind a woman who was going 85 mph with two little kids in the back seat and talking on her cell phone. She should never have put those children in that danger."
WASHINGTON -- Southern and Western states are growing so much faster than the rest of the country that several are expected to grab House seats from the Northeast and Midwest when Congress is reapportioned in 2010.
The projections are based on state population estimates by the Census Bureau. The bureau released its July 2005 estimates today, showing that Nevada grew at a faster rate than any other state for the 19th consecutive year, followed by Arizona, Idaho, Florida and Utah.
Rhode Island, New York, and Massachusetts lost population, as did the District of Columbia. The populations of North Dakota, Ohio and Michigan grew, but at a slower rate than others.
Unless the state legislature can come up with a way to count all the illegal aliens in Massachusetts as lawful residents (and don't tell me they're not working on it already), expect to see the same results in the year-end tally....and next year...and the year after that...
Bay State officials seeking to save a coveted congressional seat are turning for help to residents who can’t even vote: illegal immigrants.
A census of the often-maligned underground residents - who face constant calls for their deportation - could be critical to reaching a population total that could preserve the seat.
"We need to chase them," Secretary of State William Galvin said yesterday, stressing the need for an "all local" hunt for everyone living here.
"Taxation without representation is tyranny."
"Representation without taxation is just fine by us!"
The apportionment calculation is based upon the total resident population (citizens and noncitizens) of the 50 states. In Census 2000, the apportionment population also includes U.S. Armed Forces personnel and federal civilian employees stationed outside the United States (and their dependents living with them) that can be allocated back to a home state. These segments were included in the apportionment population in the 1970 and 1990 censuses, too. The population of the District of Columbia is not included in the apportionment population.
What will you do to allow competition among car insurance companies?
There's a policy judgment that we made when we put the current insurance framework in place which I support, and that is an evening out, if you will, as to the rates paid by people who live in the cities, people who live in the suburbs, people who are newer drivers vs. older drivers, to make the peaks and valleys, the differentials, less extreme. That to me seems right.
Almost half of the most generous donors to Governor-elect Deval Patrick's inaugural next week are major auto insurers whose business could be greatly affected by Patrick's actions on efforts to reform the state's highly regulated industry.
Four of Patrick's nine leading contributors -- Arbella Insurance Group, the Commerce Group, the Hanover Insurance Group, and Liberty Mutual Group -- have a significant stake in whether Massachusetts shifts to a less-regulated system, which opponents say would discriminate against certain drivers, but which supporters say would give consumers more competition.
Gas Station Guy: How much does this cost?
Me (not paying too much attention at all): Huh?
GSG: What's a fair price for this?
Me: The Harpoon's next to it were $6.49...I think.
GSG: Sounds good to me.
1. The Tube
Close the seam on the 8" round duct to form tube. Secure with duct tape at middle and near ends.
On the end cap, which is NOT going to hold the light fixture, drill (4) 1/4" holes, spaced about 1/8" apart, along the edge. These will serve as the drain holes for the liquid cosmoline to run out of. Opposite the drain holes, drill a small hole for the thermometer.
2. Electrical Work at End Cap
Remove one 3/4" knock-out on the electrical box to feed the cord through to the light socket. Center the box on the inside of the lid, trace the outline of the knock-out onto the lid, as well as the small mounting holes. Remove box, drill out (7/8" spade bit) the hole you just traced, and drill 1/8" holes where marked.
Attach the electrical box to the inside of lid with the #8 machine screws, using a washer and nut on the outside face of the lid.
Feed the cord through the cable clamp and through the lid from the outside, into the electrical box. push cable clamp through the hole in the box. Slide cable clamp nut over the cord and secure cable clamp to electrical box. Do not tighten clamp onto cable just yet.
Attach wires from the power cord to light fixture by looping around the screws and tightening. be sure there's no excess bare wiring exposed that could come into contact with any other metal parts.
Mount light fixture to electrical box using the two mounting screws on box. Pull the excess cord out the backside of box. Tighten mounting screws and the cable clamp.
Screw in a 100-watt bulb, and set this assembly aside.
(note: as I'm typing this, I'm waiting to see how hot the tube gets inside with the 100-watt bulb, and might have to switch to something bigger still)
3. The Parts Sled
Cut four (4) 4-foot lengths of drywall trim (get a hole to line up 1/2" from the cut end). These pieces will be the runners for the sled.
EDIT: In addition to reducing the sled length to 3-ft., I would suggest cutting the runners a couple inches long, installing them as described below with an inch over hang, so as to line up the screws evenly, and then trim the excess length off the ends when finished.
Cut one of the 3-foot lengths of gutter guard in half, making a section approximately 18" long.
Attach one runner to the edge of one of the gutter guard sections using the #8 screws and nuts and washers. Start at the end, and put a screw in every 12 inches. After the third screw is in, line up the cut section of gutter guard (cut edge underlaps the uncut section by about 6" or so) so that the end lines up with the end of the runner.
EDIT: If building the extended (4-foot) sled, the cut section of mesh must be staggered sideways by half a mesh opening (if that makes sense) to keep the edges symmetrical. Lining up the edges on one side of the sled won't give you an even edge on the other side.
Continue fastening with the #8 screws every 12". Note: the fourth screw will be right at the end of the uncut section of gutter guard. Now, add another screw to line up with the cut end of gutter guard. There will be six screws per runner.
EDIT: Use a punch or a 3" nail to ream out the holes somewhat if they don't line up exactly.
Attach the runner on the other side of the sled in the similar fashion.
For the inside runners, the pieces will be flipped so the "leg" with the holes will be pointing toward the outside runners. Space them so the runners are evenly spaced across the bottom of the sled.
And, here's the sled inside the tube.
EDIT: I'd like to thank the gutter guard manufacturer for producing a product that's curved perfectly to fit inside an 8" round duct.
4. Assembly and Use
Place the end caps on the tube and plug in the power. The end cap with the light fixture should go on the uncrimped end. This will require a couple short snips in the end of the duct to make it fit.
EDIT: Think trying to put two soda straws together.
Check the temperature to see how hot the tube gets inside. If the inside temperature exceeds 150 degrees, decrease the wattage of the bulb and/or drill a row of vent holes along the top of the tube. If the temperature is too low, increase the wattage or type of bulb used.
Once you determine the adequate bulb wattage, secure the end cap with the light fixture using two self-tapping sheet metal screws.
EDIT: Using a 100-watt bulb and insulating the tub with a blanket will get you to 150 degrees, at the hot end anyway. A viable alternative would be to mount a light fixture at both endcaps.
And, you're good to go.
Place your parts to be de-cosmolined on the sled and slide it into the oven.
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The San Diego Chargers gave Tom Brady one chance too many, and that's exactly what the three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback needed.
Brady and the New England Patriots shocked league MVP LaDainian Tomlinson and the Chargers on Sunday, winning 24-21 to move within one win of their fourth Super Bowl trip in six seasons.
Our favorite Differently-Winged MA expat may not like this: Turns out states with more guns at home have, like, more homicides. Who woulda thunk it?
MANCHESTER -- The city man arrested at the scene of Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs' fatal shooting had his bail doubled yesterday after an arraignment in Hillsborough County Superior Court.
Antoine Bell-Rogers, 21, will remain incarcerated unless he can come up with $100,000 cash bail, Judge James Barry ruled yesterday afternoon. Prosecutors had only requested half that amount.
Prosecutor Karen Gorham asked the judge to uphold Bell-Rogers' previous bail of $50,000, set last October when he was arraigned in Manchester District Court. Gorham noted Bell-Rogers' extensive criminal record in Massachusetts, which includes convictions for receiving stolen property, marijuana possession and resisting arrest.
[Defense attorney Tony] Introcaso said his client has the "ability" to work full-time and has "no physical or psychological disabilities that would render him a danger to the community."
After the Ragoneses' story was spotted by an NBC booker, the pair were invited to Burbank, Calif., where Leno is broadcast, NBC said.
"They'll be treated just like all of our celebrity guests," said Tracy St. Pierre, a spokesman for NBC. The Ragoneses were in sweaters, overcoats and scarves while working late last night at their center city storefront.
"When I got the call, I was absolutely flabbergasted. I was excited, I didn't believe him," Mrs. Ragonese said.
Leno wants Ragonese to bring his baseball bat, as well as the Boston Red Sox ball cap that he wears. The 5-foot, 4-inch Ragonese expects he'll have to demonstrate his bat-wielding abilities.
"Anybody jeopardizes your life and your wellbeing, I think you're going to defend yourself - instantaneously and automatically," he said.
LYNN, Mass. -- A shooting in Lynn sends five teenage boys to the hospital with gunshot wounds.
Investigators found evidence of a possible exchange of gunfire during the incident. Nine-millimeter and 22-millimeter shell casings were found at the scene.
BY SHAMING selectmen who wished to hide their voting records from the people, citizens in Goffstown have succeeded in opening all the town boards' votes to public scrutiny. That a showdown was needed to get the board to record its members' votes illustrates the need for legislators to change that the state's Right to Know law to require that all votes be recorded for public inspection.
On Dec. 4, selectmen John Caprio and Nick Campasano tried to require that all selectmen's votes be recorded and made publicly available. State law requires that roll call votes be taken only when a public board votes on whether to enter a non-public session.
The other three board members rejected the proposal, leaving Goffstown residents without any records of selectmen's votes. The public outcry was swift and effective. The Goffstown Residents Association organized a petition drive, and under considerable pressure the three selectmen who had voted to hide their voting records changed their minds, voting on Monday to record all votes.
Board of Selectmen (elected)
Philip A. D'Avanza
Barbara J. Griffin
Nicholas "Nick" Campasano
Bruce F. Hunter
The corresponding news article does contain four of the five selectmen's names: the two original dissenters, and the two who brought the issue back up. Apparently the name of the fifth selectman just wasn't relevant in any way, which explains why she wasn't named.
Lawmakers backed by the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society said yesterday they will push for passage of a smoking ban in restaurants and bars.
The ban will cover establishments open to the public, but not private clubs such as the American Legion, said the bill's prime sponsor, Sen. David Gottesman, D-Nashua.
He said the bill, Senate Bill 3, is not just about consumers, but about the health of restaurant and lounge workers. Exposed frequently to second-hand smoke, employees run a 50 percent greater chance of developing lung cancer than the average person, he said.
Gottesman said business owners, restaurant workers, and customers have asked him why the Legislature killed a smoking ban bill last year. A recent poll by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center found 79 percent support for the ban among the general public.
"I have restaurant owners who are begging me, because they do not feel strong enough to do this on their own," Gottesman said.
"This is not a referendum on our state motto, 'Live Free or Die.' It is an economic and health issue," he said.
If restaurant workers are healthier, their employers save money on insurance and other costs, he said.
"All the other New England states have gone smoke-free and New Hampshire should not be left behind," Gottesman said.
Last year, the House spent two months working on a similar bill, HB 1177. It passed the House 189-156, but the Senate killed it on a 12-11 vote after reviewing it for two weeks.
Sen. Robert Odell, R-Lempster, said he is co-sponsoring SB3 because, "one thing we can do to reduce cancer in this country is to reduce the use of tobacco." He noted that one-third of cancer cases are related to tobacco use.
Peter Ames, lobbyist for the state chapter of the American Cancer Society, said the state should increase its tobacco tax, which at 80 cents per pack is the lowest in the region. The tax "is an extraordinarily effective tool to convince children to avoid tobacco," he said.
Daniel Fortin, president and CEO of the American Lung Association in New Hampshire, said that medical spending on diseases related to smoking exceeds what the state collects in revenue from the tobacco tax.
Boston Mayor Tom Menino delivered his state-of-the-city Tuesday night at the Strand Theatre in Dorchester. During his speech, Menino said he will travel to Washington to talk with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about his work with Mayors Against Illegal Guns -- a project he and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg started last year.
"Our strategy is to increase law enforcement's visibility where crime is on the rise, reassuring residents that we are here to help, and reminding offenders that we are watching them."
"I will not allow violent offenders to terrorize neighborhoods and paralyze people with fear[.]"
"I will not allow violent offenders to terrorize neighborhoods and paralyze people with fear," he said to rousing applause from the standing-room-only crowd in Dorchester's historic Strand Theatre.
MOGADISHU, Somalia - At least one U.S. airstrike in Somalia that targeted an al-Qaida cell wanted for two 1998 U.S. embassy bombings killed large numbers of Islamic extremists, government officials said Tuesday.
My guess is the Giants landed at LaGuardia, the Jets at JFK, and their combined suckage wafted over Manhattan like some great cloud of crappiness when the planes opened their doors and disgorged their passengers.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino wants the state to suspend driver's licenses and revoke the vehicle registrations of individuals convicted of firearms violations in Massachusetts and to list the charges on driving records available to police during traffic stops.
In a measure he plans to introduce today on Beacon Hill, the mayor is proposing that licenses be suspended and registrations revoked, without a hearing, for up to five years for crimes such as illegal possession of a gun or selling guns without a license.
Menino administration officials say such a law could help stem gun crimes and warn police pulling over cars that the drivers may be carrying guns.
Authorities have said many of those arrested for firearms offenses are repeat offenders.
SEATTLE (AP) -- All Tony Romo had to do was put the ball down and let Martin Gramatica make a short kick. He couldn't do it -- and the Seattle Seahawks are still alive in the NFL playoffs.
Romo's botched hold on a 19-yard field goal try with 1:19 left forced the Pro Bowl quarterback to scramble left, but he was tackled at the 2 and the Seahawks escaped with a 21-20 victory in the wildest of wild-card games Saturday night.
DUBLIN, N.H. -- Police said a burglar in Dublin took off this week after a homeowner forced him to take off his pants and shoes.
Police said it happened Saturday night when the homeowner came home and found an intruder trying to hide in his house. Police said the homeowner pulled a gun and -- apparently hoping to make it tough for the intruder to run away -- demanded he take off his pants and shoes.
The homeowner's name hasn't been released.
Police said there was a struggle, shots were fired, and the intruder got away. No one was hurt.
"We're from Tennessee. When we see someone we don't know, we get the shotgun[.]"
When Kyle Winkler came home to his Orange Avenue apartment, he said he saw two people, a man and a teenager, in his apartment. They didn't belong there, so he confronted them and things got ugly fast.
"Tried to shove me over the rail of the second floor. Fight all the way down the stairs," Winkler said.
Luckily, Winkler has a neighbor like Dellavecchia, who not only came running, but came armed.
"I heard my neighbor, Kyle, the big guy, hollering from upstairs, so I took off running up the stairs," Dellavecchia said.
The two suspects tried to run, but when Dellavecchia and his shotgun appeared, the jig was up.
"They didn't move when they saw that thing, that's for sure," Winker said.
Two elderly shop owners in New Hampshire found themselves face-to-face with armed robbers, and were able to fight back using everything they had Wednesday night.
At 10:30 p.m. Wednesday night, two masked men wielding metal poles walked in demanding cash.
"When he approached my wife that got me kind of mad. Because I told him don't you dare touch her...you swing that thing at her again, and I'll bust your head. And that's when I came out with the bat. I got my bat and I came out swinging and I wham right at him," said John Ragonese.
While 78 year old John, a veteran of three wars, wanted to protect his wife, Margaret also showed she could handle herself just fine.
"I kind of backed off. And I got my cane. And I hit him," she said. "I wasn't scared. I wasn't afraid. I was just angry."
The robbers never got any money and they practically pushed each other out the door.
Two teenagers are under arrest, charged with attacking and robbing the same 7-11 clerk in Attleboro twice in less than a month.
Attleboro police say they were called to an armed robbery at the 7-11 convenience store on North Main Street at 5 a.m. Saturday, moments after two masked men had beaten Mohammed Kahn there with a copper pipe and wooden stick before running off.
Every American wants foolproof protection against terrorism. But history has shown it can and should be done within the confines of the Constitution.
"...most effective measures against terrorism that we have."
CONCORD, N.H. -- Police in Concord said a man shot himself in the leg and caused an accident while driving and emptying his loaded weapon at the same time.
Investigators said Robert Drown, 22, of Webster, N.H., was driving on busy Loudon Road when he accidentally shot himself.
Investigators said the incident was a case of poor judgment.