Friday, May 28, 2010

Boston Common - picture courtesy of Dave Lombardi

Memorial Day 2010

One day a year this country pays tribute those who have sacrificed so much for our way of life, including their own lives. Millions have gone off to faraway places, volunteered or not, regardless of skin color, political views, families or careers. Many continue to pay a heavy price for their patriotism and devotion to the cause and yet, hundreds of thousands still go to war for us and our way of life.

On the Boston Common, there are 20,000 flags representing those from Mass who have sacrificed their lives. We still have 38 or so servicemen unaccounted for from Vietnam and just recently, finally resolved the first Desert Storm POW MIA pilot who was shot down on the first days of that war.

All the fancy speeches from the pols this Memorial Day may make the families of lost ones feel better, that at least their sacrifice will not be forgotten, it still begs the question, why do we lose so many of our people to war and will it ever end?

I think about my friends who went and those who came back only to suffer in so many ways I couldn't even understand. Gut wrenching accounts still haunt the young and old servicemen and women and no matter what the cost, this country owes it to those who have served. The fact that one out of three homeless people are veterans shows us we need to do better.

My own personal beliefs aside, I will never be able to show my appreciation enough. So I will proudly fly my Stars and Stripes and POW MIA flags as I do every day, and thank those of you who have done what I could not do, go to war.

2,933 kids miss diploma over MCAS

While I do agree, that kids need to be trained for this century's workforce requirements, the new requirement for passing the science test has almost 3,000 kids not getting a diploma. While the numbers are not extreme and hundreds of thousands do pass, we are spending millions on educating the kids to pass one test. Someday this testing regime will go away and be replaced with broader educational based testing, after all, not everyone is going to be a scientist.

The Senate votes to restrict access to services for illegal immigrants

In a stunner for this State, the Senate 28-10 voted to crack down on employers who hire illegal immigrants, bar them from public health care, housing and higher education. The House still needs to approve this measure and Deval who is riding the fence, may well end up vetoing this, after all, the D's rely heavily on the immigrant vote and this is an election year.

It's time for this reform in so many ways.

204 million later... Town Meeting is done

In the last night of budget approval, only 103 members showed up to approve police, fire, Public works, etc and by 9:30, there were only 89 members left. Call me a whiner, but if anyone would like to defend such poor participation at TM, here's the place.

The only excitement came when one TMM proposed a resolution to have the selectman ask business owners coming to Town, if they were employing legal residents. And as we were voting on this resolution, the Senate was passing a immigration reform package that has shocked some in our State. Clearly, illegal immigration is a hot button issue, that in an election year, will be causing some trouble for the incumbents.

I am stunned over the things I saw and heard from TM. There's probably 100 or so people who have the intellect and drive to follow what goes on. A large percentage will rubber stamp anything put before them because they benefit financially in some way. Others are busy doing other things and couldn't possibly be paying attention enough to make a thorough decision, while others (like myself) try to understand the complex history of votes taken on issues years ago and the dizzying array of amendments. Made even more frustrating over those who take valuable air from the room by just speaking nonsense.

I've learned a lot and am even more convinced that this Town Meeting form of governing is making a good case for a city form of government. I look forward to fall TM.