Saturday, June 23, 2012

New Tips for the Summer Cold/Flu with General Complaing

1. Symptoms: dry, nagging, cough, running nose, chills (in a heat wave (3 days of 90 plus temperatures- the type of chills that give one goosebumps), fever, general malaise, exhaustion, inability to think clearly. Consult your physician.

2. Go nowhere, hope you have a friend who can deliver tissue. Be kind to co-workers and friends do not spread the wealth.

3. Honey works, teaspoon with tea, helps with dry cough, sore throat. Also vitamin C supplements help - a bit - nothing however will replace the anti-biotic if one's prone to developing bronchitis - (See Consult physician)

4. Wait it out – on hand, chicken soup, juice, water (lots of water!), crackers - again, if one is near hallucinating get a doctor.

The good news

One cannot smoke

The bad news

Loss of time at work resulting in lost vacation and/or personal time - is not how one wanted to spend one’s vacation days!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Massachusetts “Explores” a New Tax – a VAT On Every Mile You Drive in the State! HB2660

New VMT (Tax on Miles Driven) May see Taxpayers Leave Massachusetts - Image:

Just when the residents of the Great Commonwealth of Massachusetts thought the last round of nineteen new taxes in 2010 (communications taxes, tobacco taxes, etc.) were the last to come down the pike, so to speak – for a while, the Massachusetts Legislature has come up with the latest way to enhance the budget – a tax per mile. According to USA Today, states are looking for new ways to procure income and replace the “obsolete” gas tax at the pump with a VMT (Vehicle Mileage Tax). The current Federal gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon, with President Obama having ordered a 40% increase by 2016, states are looking for way to augment the old tax per mile at the pump and replace that pain in the pocket, with a tax per mile – however, figuring out the best way to “fleece” the taxpayer is proving sticky.

Massachusetts House Legislator Carl Sciortino, of Medford, (contact info here appears to solved the problem. His HB2660 - (Here) calls for, what else, a study: “The pilot shall include 5000-10,000 volunteers across the commonwealth, who will have on-board mileage-counting VMT equipment added to their vehicles.”

Seriously – and one will bet that will cost the taxpayer, first for the study, then to pay whoever is crazy enough to slap equipment to their vehicle which will tack every mile one drives, in order to add a .01 cent per mile tax per car, per mile driven.

After that bill, the taxpayers can be expected to pay for the equipment, and then be taxed every time they back out of their driveway. Of concern is those motorists who drive back and forth to New Hampshire (lower to no taxes) – staying over the border once the tax is in place, thus lowering the overall ability of the Commonwealth to collect – and leave the rest of the population hanging – a move of course, is not out of the question and might be considered smart at this point.

The Bill is now in Committee – where it has been sitting since February, perhaps waiting for the “pilot study” to find “volunteers” to participate in yet another tax adventure.

An online poll taken by Wicked Local, Sherborn MA indicates 85% of respondents prefer not to pay additional taxes via a VMT, 10% are more than willing .

The complete text of the bill on the VMT follows – from

“Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

Section 1: This bill is intended to build a safer, more modern transportation system across the entire commonwealth that enhances public transportation ridership, and spurs job creation and economic development. A better transportation system will encourage economic growth; promote fairness and equity; increase transportation choice and public transportation ridership; improve the health of Massachusetts residents; and reduce energy consumption, congestion, dependence on oil, and greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollution.

Section 2: Ridership Increases

Section 11 of chapter 6C of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the third sentence the following:

“The plan shall ensure that statewide public transportation ridership increases at least 2 percent each year.”

Section 3: Registration Fees

Section 33 of chapter 90 of the General Laws as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition, is hereby amended to require the registrar of motor vehicles to issue rules and regulations to increase registration fees for all motor vehicles by at least 10 dollars annually and 20 dollars biannually on all passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles (per 1,000 lbs), motorcycles, mopeds and antique motor vehicles no later than 60 days after this legislation is signed into law. The registrar of motor vehicles shall also be allowed to further raise any other passenger or commercial motor vehicle fees.

For all passenger vehicles required to register pursuant to chapter 90 whose value, as determined pursuant to chapter 60A, exceeds $35,000, the registrar shall collect an additional title fee at the time of registration equal to .1 percent of the value and additional registration renewal fee equal to .04 percent of the value for vehicles renewing annually and .08 percent of the value for vehicles renewing biannually. Every 5 years, the registrar of motor vehicles shall be allowed to raise the value amount of passenger vehicles from which this additional title fee and additional registration renewal fees are collected. Any such increase shall be proportional to the average increase of the value or passenger vehicles over the previous 5 years, as determined by Chapter 60A.

The increase in funds will be distributed according to section 34 of chapter 90 of the General Laws, into the Commonwealth Transportation Fund, established by section 2ZZZ of chapter 29 of the General Laws.

Section 4: Vehicle Miles Traveled Pilot Study

The federal Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), Public Law, 109-59, established the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission to examine the condition and future needs of the nation’s surface transportation system, as well as short- and long-term alternatives to the fuel tax. The search for alternative revenue is driven by the diminishing value of the fuel tax, declining supplies of conventional petroleum-based fuels, and increasingly fuel-efficient vehicles.

The commission issued its report in December 2007. Among its recommendation was consideration of mileage-based user fee, also referred to as a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) fee, which involves several technological and institutional challenges.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) shall conduct a pilot study analyzing the benefits and challenges of implementing a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) fee for all Massachusetts drivers. The purpose of the pilot study will be to study the feasibility of supplementing or partially replacing the gas tax with a mileage-based fee based on miles driven in Massachusetts, and collected at fueling stations or through some alternative means; and to study the feasibility of using a VMT fee to collect congestion charges.

The pilot shall include 5000-10,000 volunteers across the commonwealth, who will have on-board mileage-counting VMT equipment added to their vehicles. The pilot will assess the following issues related to implementing a VMT fee in Massachusetts:

(1) Methods for calculating mileage;

(2) Process for transmitting data to protect the integrity of the data and ensure drivers’ privacy;

(3) Types of equipment that may be required of the state and drivers to implement a VMT fee, including a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of the equipment and contingencies in the event of equipment failure.

For a period of at least one year, volunteers will have their mileage, categorized location information, and timing of driving read at any participating service refueling stations or other locations. During an initial period of the study, the on-board VMT counter communicates with mileage reader but the volunteer will pay only the gas tax. During a final period of the study, volunteers will pay a road user fee or a combination of the gas tax and the road user fee.

The final pilot study and review by MassDOT shall fully examine alternative ways in which a VMT fee program could be implemented in Massachusetts, including charging varying mileage fees depending on the time and type of road, an appropriate rate-per-mile for vehicles that achieve a certain fuel efficiency, for motorists that avoid rush hour zones, for those participating in other environmentally-friendly transportation situations like car-shares, or for low-income drivers without a transit alternative; provide recommendations for implementation of a fully-implemented VMT fee program that minimizes confusion and inconvenience to drivers while ensuring their privacy; and propose guidelines for use and implementation, and shall also analyze and test other potential alternatives or supplements to the gas tax, including open road tolling.

MassDOT shall present its finding and recommendations for a fully-implemented VMT program to the Joint Committee on Transportation within two years from the adoption of this legislation.”

There’s more in the Bill – just as enlightening – (Hike by $20 on Vehicle Registration Fees) but for now the focus should be on the VMT and the possible implementation of a Tax per Mile on one’s vehicle.

Completely apoplectic about the possibility: WRKO’s/Boston Herald’s, Howie Carr – on the subject an article entitled ”Highway to Hell – pay per mile tax is latest cash grab from green pols”

Frankly, this is worse than the Tax on Dogs (oops – Fee), there just never seems to be enough to cover all the fraud and abuse expense associated with “entitlement programs” in MA – although one must credit the Legislature for removing the ability of EBT cards to be used to procure a tattoo.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

MSNBC Fabricates Romney Video – Shades of CBS and Sarah Palin – Scott Brown Agrees to Debate Warren – if MSNBC Not Included – Surprise?

Fooled - Andrea Mitchell buys "doctored" Romney Tape on MSNBC - image:

In what appeared to be a badly hacked video (see below via, MSNBC’s editing took a turn to the left to the point where Politico ran the headline: “MSNBC Misportrays Romney’s WAWA Remarks”. In the article the anchor, Andrea Mitchell, apparently believed that the clip was “real”. This illustrates the depths to which the “opposition” (left) will go to make a candidate on the right appear to be “clueless” once again. The original stump speech included a bit about how difficult it was to complete a change of address versus ordering a sandwich – Romney has developed (or perhaps, in a more realistic light) simply has a solid sense of humor. This was edited in order to make it appear that the former Governor was somehow fascinated by the development of a touch screen ordering systems. Seriously – MSNBC was caught with its “pants down” by a citizen attending the Romney event. Go figure.

It only took CBS and Couric’s editorial team seven hours to piece together an interview of Sarah Palin to make it appear she was an idiot – but to their credit, no matter how desperate the network was to sink Palin’s popularity, it looked as if it were real – almost. With the MSNBC hack job, the fact that Andrea Mitchell even bought it – is startling. It’s as if the playground has morphed into the American mainstream media houses, and the bully’s are trying as hard as they might to make something out of nothing in order to down Romney. If one is watching the CBS, ABC, NBC evening news (say the 11 o’clock news), the take on Obama is one of normalcy – one of “nothing to see here, move along, he’s cruising to victory, he’s done this great, he’d done that great, followed by perhaps 30 seconds on Romney and (pick a problem) - yada, yada. One wonders if, somewhere in someone’s small mind, that might fly, or if in the even smaller circle that is the “news”, the grasp of the simple, has alluded or deluded them into thinking they have the power to sway minds.
All very Machiavellian to be sure, but, unfortunately true – which is why consumers have to “shop for their news” or watch everything with a huge grain of salt – what the media tells the public as fact, may or may not be belied unless backed up by ”plaster tire tracks, foot prints, dog smelling prints, and twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence…..not to mention the aerial photography (Arlo Guthrie – Alice’s Restaurant - truncated), or in the case of MSNBC and the rest of the bunch – citizen video’s of the same event or situation.

The quest of the broad brush and branding of Republican’s is nothing new, and as a result, makes more than a few politicians who have remotely right thinking credentials (or more precisely are running as a Republican against a Democrat), somewhat leery of certain networks – evidenced by:

Senator Scott Brown’s acceptance of a Debate with Ms. Elizabeth Warren, Harvard Professor and one-time Obama Crony, who has a history of fabricating everything from her background to her cookbooks (well, the cookbook – that’s plagiarism), came with the condition that MSNBC not be allowed near the event. (Boston Herald) – If one has seen Ms. Warren Debate, one must know that above all else, the horse pulling the carriage does not want these debates seen in Massachusetts, at a time when the general voting public can actually see the event. Which is also a condition of the Brown Campaign – the debate must air in Massachusetts. One would think that Democrats in Massachusetts would be proud to show off their elite education and ability to best those “out of touch” Republican’s (or in Brown’s case – Independent on the Cusp of Conservative), for the general public. Yet, each and every debate is marginalized, no matter the office, and shown at odd times, on odd channels – say a PBS debate at 2PM when – literally no one is watching but those in the studio. Brown’s no dummy; he’s got a pick-up truck and takes his message to the people.

Romney’s opted for a bus – larger scale, but then larger office.

And the spin goes on – and it will get worse, and perhaps they’ll employ better editing or not, as the case may be – but one must be aware, that between the studio’s in Manhattan, and elsewhere, and the reality on the ground, that the favorite son of the Media (who happens to be President Barack Obama at the moment (or any Democrat in trouble) is to be protected at all costs, no matter how much one must put a spin on a story, tell a story straight faced on video, or even tell a story straight faced on a video a smart 3 year old beagle could understand was unduly edited (and that beagle is taxed in Massachusetts).

Anyone signing up for Google News Alerts, or any news alerts will quickly understand if one has either Brown or Romney as the topic, that the media has taken a spin to the extreme – headlines sound bitter and angry, even Ann Romney’s Horse is not off-limits, and they are still going after Palin with gusto. One has to wonder what happens when Obama carries perhaps 10 states in November. Is there a contingency to have grief counselors standing by? When a group is so vested in control of a message, and will do anything to keep that message alive, it plays psychological havoc if they lose – recall Bush Derangement Syndrome – seriously, this may be much worse as declining ratings, declining subscribers, and even web stats, tell a more realistic story of who’s zooming who (Aretha Franklin), and who is losing the battle – regardless of the cost.

Should someone get a clue at some point, the American media, such as it is, might actually report the news, without a spin, without injecting party politics, and watch in amazement as ratings increase and subscribers jump back on board for more than the weekly coupons. They have, in fact, alienated 50% of the population and possibly more, but, as it has been noted in the past, are too ideologically blinded to understand the public may be smarter (or less trusting) than those in ivory towers believe them to be. Meanwhile, they bleed jobs, and then report “shock” as the new weekly jobs reports appear less than expected. It is a fact that the American Public has come to expect more, and to not accept a partisan spin on any news article – regardless of the source, which includes all networks including Fox. Op-ed or opinion is, of course, a different horse of a different color, which is why it allows readers to understand it is an opinion of a situation not a fact (unless based upon the aforementioned criteria (see Arlo).

Monday, June 18, 2012

Massachusetts 1st District – Neal (D-MA1) Announces Candidacy (Again) faces challengers in Primary Fight - Outcome – Likely Richad Neal

Richard Neal, Incumbent Democrat, Massachusetts 1st District - Safe!

From the Springfield Republican ( Congressional Representative, Democrat Richard Neal, formally launched his re-election campaign for Congress this past week. He will be facing rivals from within his own party, no Republican’s have come forward to challenge Neal – redistricting in Massachusetts made Neal’s seat particularly impenetrable – melding two of the most Democrat leaning districts together in the States loss of a House Seat due to a drop in population – in other words – he’s Massachusetts’ Bob Byrd. As a result of the redistricting, Neal will not be facing a Republican Challenger this November. In 2010 Neal faced Republican Tom Wesley, and was in a heated campaign that, although he ultimately prevailed, required an influx of much needed funding to campaign, including robo-calls featuring Bill Clinton - with a winning Margin of 15% rather than the 71.7% projected by the New York Time.

Neal a member of Congress since 1989, is a rubber stamp for the Democrat Party – voting consistently and reliably as a partisan. However, his challengers from within, one with some state experience Andrea Nuciforo is an avowed Progressive, while the third challenger, Bill Shein, is a former joke writer for now Senator, Al Franken. Seriously.

The two challengers hail from the former 1st District, which, one does not require a “time-machine” to take a trip back to the 1960’s – mingled with the beautiful Berkshire Hills, fabulous outlets, resorts and spa’s, museums and the art – is a community little changed since folk artist, Arlo Guthrie, first gained national attention with his movie and subsequent album: Alice’s Restaurant. There are still festivals to be found in the hill communities that are reminiscent of Wood Stock – worth the trip – and a reliably Democrat, if not Progressive-Communist voting bloc.

The former Second District, however, was a bit (but not much) more Conservative, within certain larger suburbs, yet contains the City of Northampton (See Smith College – think Rachel Maddow), and Springfield – with the largest population center. Springfield is more “Blue-Collar” (if there are any jobs to support that moniker any longer), and “union” – There is, however, a “Tea Party” presence with a few Republican Committees and elected Republican’s to state and local offices.
Neal has little work to do other than a few meet and greets, and possibly a debate, which – with a comic, and an Occupy Wall Street opponent, will possibly be worth watching for the sheer entertainment value.

The 4th District – Not Predictable

The Boston Herald's Take on Kennedy Run in the 4th - image

During the redistricting, the 4th district (home to almost former Congressman, Barney Frank) patch together some of the most conservative Republican Strongholds in the Bay State, which prompted his resignation – there are two Republican’s running for the seat, and one Kennedy opposing. In that District, even a Kennedy “brand” may not do the trick – a great deal will depend upon who has the most juice, Sean Bielat, who had previously run against Frank, and gave him a run for his money, and Elizabeth Childs, has been endorsed by former Governor William Weld. Both Republican Candidates have ties to the Democrat Party, Bielat, formerly a Democrat, switched parties prior to Running against Frank, and according to, Child’s will be holding a fundraiser at the home of Obama/Biden grassroots coordinators.

The thing about Massachusetts is there is a thin line between being a Republican and a Democrat. One thing however is certain; the politics sure can be interesting – on occasion. The Democrats, counting on the Kennedy brand, should recall two things: one, it was a “Kennedy Seat” that riled the majority of independent voters to turn Scott Brown (R ) into Senator Scott Brown who coined the phrase “The People’s Seat”, and two, the makeup of the district, is not as firmly Democrat as any Democrat would want.

The first however, will be boring – keep in mind write-in candidates: Warner Brothers and Disney Characters.

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