North by Northeast

An Open Letter to Congressman Markey in Support of the Route 16 Green Line terminus
25 October, 2008, 10:14 am
Filed under: Local, politics | Tags: , , ,

Below is the text of my correspondence, sent this morning, to my U.S. Representitive, Congressman Ed Markey of the 7th district. It urges his public support of the Route 16 terminus for the Green Line extension through Medford. For more on this issue, please visit the Medford Green Line Neighborhood Alliance web site.

Dear Congressman,

I’m writing to urge your public support for a local issue here in Medford that has a strong, positive impact on Eastern Massachusetts, on which you can have a very positive impact on I urge your support and leadership for the MBTA Green Line Terminus at Route 16 in Medford.

I’ve been working along with the Medford Green Line Neighborhood Alliance to ensure that we take this once in a lifetime opportunity to build as much infrastructure as possible to benefit the future generations of our city.

As a new resident of the city (3 years) I got involved too late to help support the state’s initial plan to have the Green Line terminate at the West Medford Commuter Rail Stop, which is the line’s logical terminus. I sincerely regret this. I feel the residents of that part of town made a poor choice for the future of our city, for our environment and for our neighbors who rely on public transportation to make their lives in the greater metro area possible.

I hope that you do not make the same mistake I did, but in regard to the Route 16 terminus, supporting it too late to make a difference.

I am a home owner on Orchard Street. My backyard abuts the railway that will be under strenuous construction for an untold number of years to make this extension possible. I am willing to deal with that inconvenience for the greater good of our city, its citizens and our environment. Right now, I deal with very loud commuter trains passing every 15 minutes or so, from which I get almost no benefit. At 2 in the morning, CSX freight trains roll by and shake my house, only about 25 yards from my newborn son’s nursery and my own bedroom. It’s about time something moved through that ravine that benefitted its neighbors instead of only annoying us.

As a former resident of Brookline who lived very near to the C-line, I know the noisiest that line can be, on outdated tracks that make the trains squeal. Even that noise would be many times more acceptable than what I have now, but that does not benefit me. New tracks and new trains on the all-electric Green Line would be nearly silent compared to the diesel behemoths that pass by now. Improved sound walls that the EOT has promised with construction will actually make my situation better, despite increased traffic in my backyard. The new sound and vibration damping will work with commuter trains and freight trains as well as the much quieter electric trolleys.

I believe that this is the first time I’ve written to you that I’ve urged you to take a stance on an issue I didn’t believe you already favored. I’m very appreciative of your leadership in high-tech and communications issues, such as net neutrality. In all, I’m extremely pleased that you are my Representative. I hope that you’ll come through for me here, in an issue that perhaps one of the most personally important to our city’s life.

Please feel free to contact me personally if you would like any additional input from a direct abutter to the tracks.

Thank you for your time.

Brian W. Christiansen


Two of the Greatest Daily Show Clips of All-Time
7 September, 2008, 10:08 am
Filed under: politics

Over the past two weeks, The Daily Show has covered the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in the cities that they were held. What transpired was truly the best two weeks of the Daily Show yet.

Here are the two best clips from the RNC week, which may be two of the best DS clips of all-time:

Sarah Palin and the Gender Card

John McCain the Reformed Maverick

I would embed these clips into this post, but stupid can’t cope with embed codes. This remains the lamest part of WordPress.

The Truth About Palin
3 September, 2008, 11:45 pm
Filed under: politics

…it is important for the public to know that Palin raised taxes as governor, supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it, pursued pork-barrel projects as mayor, tried to ban books at the local library and thinks the war in Iraq is “a task from God.” The attempts by the McCain campaign to bully us into not reporting such things are not only stupidly aggressive, but unprofessional in the extreme.

Angry Amateurs, Joe Klein, Time Magazine.

Outrageous Preemptive Peace Protester Arrests in Minneapolis Ahead of RNC08
30 August, 2008, 11:35 pm
Filed under: politics, Politics 2008 | Tags:

Excuse me, are we living in China or the United States?

I’m pretty sure we just got finished seeing protestors get arrested in China for attempting free speech, including some Americans.

I’m also pretty sure some RNC08 protestors have just been arrested in Minneapolis, Minnesota for planning to protest for peace.

I am besides myself that this is happening in my country. Outraged. If people continue to allow this jackboot thuggery in this country, things are going to turn bad. I’m going to say under one potential presidential administration, this will be less likely to continue. I’ll leave the answer up to your interpretation.

Read up:

Salon (with video): Massive police raids on suspected protestors in Minneapolis

New York Times: Dozens Detained Ahead of Convention.

Minnesota Independent: Crackdown Begins: Food Not Bombs House Among Saturday Raids.

Hillary The Fail
3 June, 2008, 1:23 pm
Filed under: politics, Politics 2008

I had a lot of respect for Senator Hillary Clinton before she entered the 2008 Presidential campaign. She had lived through a lot of public turmoil, with many personal attacks from conservatives during her time in as First Lady. She tried to use the First Lady’s position as one that could actually accomplish something meaningful, other than hosting teas and giving tours of the White House.

She set back the cause of universal health care in this country 50 years when she bungled that task. Granted, it wasn’t totally her fault, she was just acting like the Republicans who were attacking her on the issue.

Then, she had the great personal tragedy for all the world to see, all while trying to raise a teenager in the White House. Then she recovers a few years later from all this to successfully become a Senator in a state she’d never lived in. She certainly is a fighter, and she dedicated her life to the public, despite all the personal difficulty it may have caused for her.

But now, we’ve seen her Presidential campaign.

She’s repeatedly been unable to properly budget her campaign’s finances. She’s repeatedly had to “loan” her campaign millions from her personal fortune. All while claiming she’ll be able to run the national budget better than the current administration—who is also always taking out loans to finance its hi-jinx.

She conveniently bends the truth to make it fit her agenda, whenever it’s convenient for her. If you disagree, her surrogates will attack you. She’s all for the rules… that are beneficial to her. She’s against rules that are “unfair” even if she was for them just a few months ago.

She’ll say anything for an applause line. Drop the gas tax? Sure. It doesn’t make any financial sense, but what do economists know? It’s get me a few votes!

She’ll leverage racist poor whites to advance her personal agenda, and tell us “You never know, look what happened to Bobby Kennedy.”

Despite absolutely no chance of winning a fight she’s quagmired in, she refuses to quit, continuing to fight on wasting untold millions, at untold cost to her party’s ultimate success in November. All for personal glory.

Now I have no personal respect for Senator Clinton. Senator Clinton represents all that is wrong with the Democratic Party. Senator Clinton is one example of why I am not a Democrat.

Clinton’s New Campaign Manager Has a History
11 February, 2008, 12:18 pm
Filed under: politics, Politics 2008

Senator Hillary Clinton replaced her campaign manager today with a woman from her past, Maggie Williams. Williams had served as the First Lady’s Chief-of-Staff during Bill Clinton’s first term in office. Williams is an interesting choice because of how she left the White House when she worked there. Here’s a short summary from the NPR News Blog.

Williams left the White House in 1998 after questions arose about her relationship with controversial Democratic fund raiser Johnny Chung, who was convicted of bank fraud, tax evasion, and two misdemeanor counts of conspiring to violate election law. Williams had also faced allegations during the first Clinton term that she had removed the files of deputy White House counsel Vince Foster after his suicide.

Is Senator Clinton trying to write Obama Campaign press releases for them? This sounds like a gift to me. Plays right into their major point: “Senator Clinton is a great woman, who plays Republican-style politics right on the edge of the ethics line.”

Here’s more detail and background from Huffington Post and the New York Post.

Make up your own mind, but to me this is “yet another reason to vote for Obama.”

A Dozen Reasons Why This Edwards Voter Is Now Backing Obama
8 February, 2008, 4:36 pm
Filed under: politics, Politics 2008

A Dozen Reasons Why This Edwards Voter Is Now Backing Obama by Paul Rogat Loeb (via D. Weinberger)

7. Mark Penn: Clinton’s chief strategist, Mark Penn, runs a PR firm that prepped the Blackwater CEO for his recent congressional testimony, is aggressively involved in anti-union efforts, and has represented villains from the Argentine military junta and Philip Morris to Union Carbide after the 1984 Bhopal disaster.
8. Sleazy campaigning: Hillary stayed on the ballot in Michigan after Edwards and Obama pulled their names, then audaciously said the delegates she won unopposed should count retroactively. She, Bill and their surrogates have conducted a politics of personal attack that begins to echo Karl Rove, from distorting Obama’s position on Iraq and abortion choice, to dancing out surrogates to imply that the Republicans will tar him as a drug user.

Many more excellent points raised, as well.