Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Random Tuesday thoughts

It's been a while since I could say anything huge and original, so I've been mainly quiet. But a few things come to mind:

  • I heard Deval Patrick on my radio today talkin' up Massachusetts as a great place to do business. I'm not quite sure why he's selling Massachusetts via Boston radio -- their listerners have already bought into the state by the act of being here. In the radio ad I heard, Deval introduces himself and says that we're going to hear another Massachusetts business success story, and then we get the real commercial, a CEO talking about their successful Bay State Business. Deval then comes on and tells us to visit a website. Three thoughts came to me: 1-Deval doesn't have a voice for radio, 2-About 1/4 of the ad time was spent on Deval talking, not the meat of the ad, and 3-Just how long has this been running? It doesn't seem like a wise use of money for Massachusetts, but not a bad use of money for our embattled governor.

  • Lots of gnashing teeth over the amazingly precarious state of the Boston Globe on the Internets. I certainly agree that ideas are needed to keep the only paper around here with valuable coverage outside the sports section. Granted, a fair bit of the problem is rooted in the poor decisions of the paper's absentee managers in NYC. These buffoons struggle to an online model work the way the LA Times has, and are seemingly unable to gather news that breaks inside their own building. Still, I would like to see things turn around for the rag.

    Newspapers are valuable the way that the Pony Express was...with perhaps the same long-term prospect. Their main stated mission is to gather news, and there is pretty much possible way they can do that nearly as quickly, immediately, or thoroughly as radio, television, or the Internet these days. While many paper defenders say that rags should focus on local news, that's even iffy. The best source for key Lowell news isn't the Lowell Sun, it's leftinlowell.com. My town has a weekly paper that isn't bad, but it has six blogs that I know of that get updated more frequently. The town paper is the single worst source of information on the area casino debate, among other things. With the Internet replacing obits and classifieds, I wonder if all that's really unique about newspapers is their (disappearing) investigative journalism, and their columnists. Maybe that's where the money should go.

  • Vermont joins Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa on the side of fulfilling still more of America's promise to its people. And they did it the old-fashioned way -- over the objections of a milquetoast Republican governor. (Funny story: I met Douglas once while tagging along at a VIP tour of the State House. It was campaign season, and my Hillary button was prominently on my jacket as we shook hands. To enter Boston's State House you go through metal detectors to enter the State House, in Montpelier you go through a door.)

  • My town voted recently in town election, resulting in a clear and close split between the townie ticket (motto: "The people who got us into this mess are the only ones who can get us out") and the anti-townie ticket. I'm seeing similar things happen around the state. Anyone who can figure out how to get 10% of a town's voters to the polls can pick his/her job in most of suburban Massachusetts.

  • Chris Dodd the most threatened Democratic Senator? Strange, that, and an unpleasant surprise. Not that he doesn't deserve it, mind you -- a waste of a presidential "campaign" that shafted his real constituents, and some dodginess over his role in the AIG mess. I have to agree that Dodd is done, and hope Lamont or Blumenthal rides in on a white horse. Plus, saying this allows me to post one of my favorite bits of 2008 political comedy: