Left In Lowell

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May 30, 2011

Bernie has GOT to go!

by at 6:56 pm.

Well friends, we have had enough campaign kickoff parties to get a sense of where we are headed. And the litmus test du-jour is whether or not a candidate will be a “rubber stamp for Bernie.” This even comes up in School Committee events.

Seems the old spirits of a bygone era are not happy in exile. The din of the disgruntled, murmurs in the local watering holes. The effete, pinkies up, pooh pooh this so called “professional government.” From the high hills to the tenaments in the Bowl, conspiracy boils for the way things used to be. When a permit was on a wink and a nod. When a job was assured for politcal loyalty or what family you came from. When contracts were finagled and the City budget was the meat wagon your pals feasted from.

Can you feel them out there? Can you feel them wanting? The way it used to be?

For this note, I will be labeled. “Mitchell holds Bernie’s coat.” “Jack carries Bernie’s water.” Hmm? That just may be. But if you have ever talked to me, I’ve told you, “I don’t care if Bernie goes. It isn’t him that I support, it is the way we now conduct ourselves.” Go ahead and hand Bernie his pink slip tomorrow. Will I gripe? Not if you give Adam Baacke his job. Hire anyone that will truly carry on the momentum of what is going on. I really don’t care.

But don’t try to bullshit me and say Kevin Murphy is that guy. Come on. You read the blogs, just like I do. The names of the “preferred replacements” are out there. Lowell thrives on whispers. But now the whisperers comment on blogs. Trust no one.

The hamfisted haters that do their best to use our City to butter their bread are good at being against something. They may even be cohesive enough to get rid of a few “rubber stamps” on the Council. But it is easy to be against something. Wait until it comes time to set up Bernie’s successor. Then their fellowship will splinter from mistrust and clan allegiance.

Remember the level playing field, oh ye of olde Lowell. You just may find yourself wishing for what we have now.

See you at the next kickoff. I’ll be there.

May 4, 2011

Meet Sheriff Peter Koutoujian

by at 8:52 pm.

Facebook has delivered another nugget. Embedded is Mara Dolan’s interview of Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian. The video runs just short of 24 minutes. Definately enough to give you a sense of the Sheriff.

An interesting point, the Sheriff is talking up a women’s facility for Middlesex County. Currently, women prisoners are sent to Framingham. Koutoujian is convinced of the need, but is unsure how to secure the funding.

I’m going to take a bigger bite of this tomorrow and delve in. Tonight I’m sorta zoofed out from a 4:40am start. But, I wanted to get this up for your viewing pleasure. :D

June 15, 2009

Military Weapons in Lowell??

by at 2:20 pm.

Alert reader Paul@01852 sent me a link to a list of Massachusetts towns who have acquired military grade weapons.

Some 82 local police departments in Massachusetts, many of them hamlets with little or no violent crime and no known terrorist threats, have obtained 1,068 weapons under a federal program that distributes surplus guns from the US military, records show.

As Paul said, Lowell received more M14’s (25) than any other MA police departments except Boston, Worcester and the state police. Paul also asked,

What exactly are our locals planning to do with 25 *military* weapons? Who exactly is trained in their use and what are the criteria for deploying them? Who makes the decision and when? Street sergeants? Shift commanders? Senior staff? The Super? Or worse yet are they already deployed in sector cruisers to be sued at the discretion of individual patrolmen?

I don’t like *any* of the questions never mind possible answers!!

Indeed. Is this common practice, having this many high grade military weapons in our local police arsenal? Is it really necessary?

May 6, 2009

Slurpee® Policing!

by at 10:02 am.

City Manager Bernie Lynch has an interesting post up about a new partnership between 7-11 and the Lowell Police Department.

Dedicated for use by Lowell police officers, the in-store PCNC consists of a work-station with a telephone, brochure display case, fax/copier/printer and suggestion box dedicated for police use. The center gives officers a place to complete paperwork and make phone calls during their shifts in an environment that allows them to interact with the residents of the neighborhoods they patrol.

To announce the opening of the Lowell 7-Eleven® “store-front” PCNC and demonstrate the sophisticated live security monitoring system, Lowell franchisee Sean Gannem, local police and city government officials will attend a special store event Wednesday, May 6, at 11 a.m. The community is invited to attend. As part of the PCNC opening festivities, 7-Eleven will donate $711 to the Lowell Boys & Girls Club, and Slurpee coupons will be distributed to youth during the event and after school.

Seems like a good idea to me! But I’m personally going to lay off the Slurpees®. All that sugar! ;)

January 22, 2009

This Just In: Conventional Village Wisdom Wrong; also Pope Catholic

by at 12:28 pm.

(cross posted at BlueMassGroup)
One sure sign that the village is about to ignore reality is when it asserts anything about the desires of Americans. As Greenwald pointed out today:

One of the most common and most corrosive aspects of our political discourse is the endless assertions — based on nothing — about what “Americans believe. It is exceedingly conventional wisdom that Americans generally view the world through the prism of Jack Bauer and therefore want our government to torture, want Guantanamo kept opened, and do not want suspected Terrorists to be tried in civilian courts inside the U.S. It is even more commonly asserted that Americans do not want, and even further, would never tolerate, criminal investigations into the various crimes of Bush officials.”

Turns out that there is polling on these questions, and the American people seem to have missed the memo from the village about what they are supposed to believe. Of course the polling is phrased to try and push them toward village conformity, but alas the village is doomed to be disapointed (that is if they really cared if their claims about American opinion had any basis in truth).

Greenwald has the details but here are some hits:

By a wide margin — 58-40% — Americans say that torture should never be used, no matter the circumstances.

Moreover, a majority of Americans (53-42%) favor the closing of Guantanamo,…

a majority of Americans (50-47%) believe that the Obama administration should investigate whether the Bush administration’s treatment of detainees was illegal.

Americans would have opposed (52-42%) the issuance of pardons by Bush to those “who carried out his administration’s policy on the treatment of terrorism suspects.”

I guess it turns out that Americans get, unlike Fox, that Jack Bauer is as advertised… entertaining fiction. Of course the village will no doubt go on misunderestimating American opinion. They will claim insight into ‘conventional wisdom’ and assert that these majority views are actually only the opinion of the far left.

One can hope now that those who dismissed anyone that was ‘reality based’ are out of office, real reality might begin permeate the consciousness (and conscience) of the village.

September 3, 2008

The United States of America, or the State of “Norsefire”?

by at 8:28 pm.

{Cross posted on BMG and Dailykos (please recommend on each site if you can). This is by far the most important story in America this week.}

Buried deep, deep under the seriously unvetted veep choice of John McCain, under Gustav, and under the formless, content-free speechmaking at the Republican convention, is the real scary story of the week - the scene outside of the RNC convention in St. Paul.

By all accounts, fascism is here, and it is us. The scenes just from that one Greenwald post alone should cause you great worry for our democracy. (more…)

June 20, 2008

Friday Open Thread

by at 11:07 am.

I’ll be honest, I still haven’t had as much time for blogging as I would like, this week. Or for being outraged. Or whatever. Or maybe not much is happening. So here’s an open thread.

Sharing the blog is the reason why I want to do the aforementioned LiL upgrade even more - on days or weeks where the news is going crazy but so are my clients, I’d like to have all that great content that I know many of you can produce. So far, I have about $350 in generous pledges (thank you guys!), but I need to reach $1500 in order to really get this software development going. So if you are still interested in throwing into the kitty (well, pledging to throw into the kitty) we still need you! I did want to clarify that in that post, I mentioned that user post status will not be given automatically, though priority will be given to those with a good comment posting history, those who are in other local towns we can’t cover, progressives (though it won’t be required), along with candidates and elected officials because we want to encourage them to interact with the public.


I’ll tell you what, though, this FISA thing scares the crap out of me. It’s like the House Dems can’t give away our civil rights fast enough. Last night on some show we were watching (Olbermann I think?) the conversation turned to this strange phenomenon of Dems wanting to give Bush everything he wants on FISA. They surmised that the Democratic leadership (Rep. Steny Hoyer for one) has their own you-know-what’s to cover, so they’re happy to sell out the American people and civil liberties to do it. By giving the telcos immunity, they in effect give it to Bush and his illegal spying programs (past, present and future) and give it to themselves since some of them knew about it.

Some Democrats in the Senate are already crying foul and stating that it will not pass in the Senate. I hope so. Russ, we never needed you more than now.

March 10, 2008

Think They Wouldn’t? They Did

by at 1:50 pm.

Information is a precious and precarious commodity these days. Many “trusted” companies you do business with are selling their data on you to other companies. Junk mail and spam attack you at all angles, scams abound, and the universe is getting smaller and smaller.

Conservatives and liberals alike ought to be very, very frightened of our Big Brother culture. Because Big Brother is doing it…again:

Siobhan Gorman of The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that the National Security Agency has assembled what some intelligence officials admit is a driftnet for domestic and foreign communications.

Here’s the way the whole thing works, according to Gorman: into the NSA’s massive database goes data collected by the Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Treasury. This information includes data about email (recipient and sender address, subject, time sent), internet searches (sites visited and searches conducted), phone calls (incoming and outgoing numbers, length of call, location), financial information (wire transfers, credit-card use, information about bank accounts), and information from the DHS about airline passengers.
[…]
Gorman describes the NSA’s effort (elements of which have been reported before) as basically a resurrection of the Pentagon’s Total Information Awareness program, which of course was de-funded by Congress once the details became public.

OK, so the NSA figured out that naming a program Total Information Awareness sounded really Orwellian. So they changed the name and kept doing it - even after Congress said “No!”. Can someone tell me just where the due process is? Hello? Do we even have a Bill of Rights anymore?

And how important do you think it is to keep telecom immunity out of the FISA bill now?

February 15, 2008

We Win On FISA, For Now

by at 4:11 pm.

Thank god the House Democrats have some balls. Just a skirmish in the war but it’s headed in the right direction.

February 12, 2008

Perception is not Reality

by at 7:36 pm.

Tonight prior to the regularly scheduled City Council meeting, the Public Safety Sub-Committee (CC J. Milinazzo, Chair; R. Elliott, A. Kazanjian) to discuss two motions that were passed by the CC and sent to that committee.

Both motions requested that Police Chief Ken Lavallee meet with them regarding the “recent crimes of burglaries/robberies” and the GRIP Program, a group home for teens with two facilities in Lowell, one on Wilder for girls and one on Varnum Ave. for boys. (I will post later on the Group Home issue at a later date; here also perception is not reality).

The Chief gave the crime statistics for the month of January, 2008 vs 2007. In spite of a number of high profile armed bank robberies, the overall crime rate in the month of January compared to last year, went down. I wish he would post tonight’s Power Point Presentations with all of that data and information on the Police Department’s web site

They were two major arrests in relations to these crimes and the Police Department has undertake some new measures to stop this rash of crimes that hit greater downtown.

Chief Lavallee also mentioned that he will be hiring an outside management/consulting firm that will do a comprehensive study of policing services. The funds will be used from the law enforcement trust fund and thanks to individuals who want to do drug deals in Lowell and get caught, the law enforcement fund keep growing. That money is also allowing the City to buy new guns as well as body armor for the Department.

In answering CC Elliott’s question on how many officers are out on medical leave, the Chief said about 20-24. That is close to 10% of the force.

In his closing remarks, the Chief promised that those individuals who come into this City to conduct illicit activities, such as the group of men who got caught in the prostitution sting last week, will be stopped and arrested. He indicated that there is another sting coming.

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