The observations of a 50 something with lots of experience in politics, government, life and learning.

Friday, December 30, 2005


A "tip of the hat" to LG candidate Tim Murray who has the grace to write a personal note after meeting him at Bagels, Too and acknowledge a modest contribution from MargePAC. (For all I know he wrote to everyone there whether they gave or not -- it was a "meet and greet," not a fundraiser....)

But I have been taken aback (my friends tell me this is the measure of my political naivete...) at how little etiquette there is in the world of politics, especially when it comes to fundraising. I was raised to believe that you wrote a thank you note BEFORE you asked someone for more $. I've gotten two kinds -- "Gee, you only gave $250; you haven't reached the max yet!" and "Now that you've given the max, could you find friends and family to hit up?"

Well, see, MargePAC IS my friends and family. People who are NOT themselves big givers (well maybe a couple are) but who are intrigued at the notion of bonding with other small givers to make a statement about special candidates. I still believe in all my special candidates. I just wish they'd stop for a moment and contemplate what this system has become. If someone from out of your district that you don't know takes the time to research your candidacy and throw in more than a few bucks, perhaps you could pause for a split second (or find a volunteer to pause for you....) and acknowledge the compliment.

Or if someone spends a lot of time hitting up acquaintances for a good cause when no one's ever heard of you and talks you up and keeps the buzz going, maybe you could pause and realize that there are all kinds of "capital" in politics, and money is just one form.

And kudos again to Councilors-elect Peter Marchetti and Mike Ward who will be sworn into the Pittsfield City Council on 1/2. I may even trot down to watch on closed circuit!


Well, it's that time of year again and we've survived it.

Where to begin? Perhaps with a 35th anniversary dinner at one of the finest restaurants in Manhattan, the Danube? But when your twentysomething daughter and s.o. pick up the check, that really makes you feel old. And loved.

Having our first "split Christmas" where kids went to the homes of their s.o's and we hung at the Crystal City Marriott with Nano. We were fortunate to have Christmas dinner with the ever gracious Hansen clan (David's fiancee's family) and so really had the best of both worlds. We could get up whenever we wanted and not be on other people's schedules. Other "empty nesters" -- Bill and Linda Dickinson -- treated us to breakfast that morning, and we spent Xmas eve night with the wonderful Potomac Zimmerpeople and Boxing Day with the Hilder-Williams family. The 27th was mini-Ware Christmas at David and Jenny's new house.

Please go see "The Family Stone" if you want to see Diane Keaton as MJW. My husband thought it was formulaic, but I was sobbing. I felt like the screenwriter had been shadowing us!

Good things about this year: This blog, MargePAC, my son getting engaged to a wonderful young woman (we managed to keep it to only two political discussions over the holiday gathering which is pretty good!), my daughter being happy in her new L.A. life and another successful year at the Williamstown Film Festival.

Bad things: Every year a few fewer wonderful people are part of our universe. We are aging. Medicare D is aging everyone. Clients are calling me in tears. The "system" is SNAFU. Am I crazy to care more than the government does? My signature on email these days is "Medicare D is the proof that there's no such thing as intelligent design."

Ironic things: Being the County's living expert on something confusing and complex is actually feeding my soul. I am reaping psychic rewards, either at the expense of others or because others appreciate that I have a "clue." Much to think about.

Apparently more people read this blog than I realize. Like in life, most of them have their own private thoughts and don't share them here. Apparently there are only a few of us who are willing to put our opinions "out there" at the risk of ridicule and the potential reward of support. But Nancy Buting Carey was right. It's given me a place for my voice that reaches beyond the Berkshires. I've joined a new "community" of interesting and bold people.

I'm lucky. Life is good. Enjoy. Happy New Year (a holiday we can all agree on.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


I work in human services, and it always amazes me that people there are very apolitical. One would think that if your salary were dependent upon the whim of the legislature, governor, president, etc. you'd want to make darn sure that you knew who was calling the shots. But that doesn't seem to be the case in my workplace.

But today I happened to be up in the financial office, and colleagues there were actually DISCUSSING THE SENATE VOTES ON ANWR AND THE BUDGET CUTS! We are talking 20 and 30 somethings who think George W. is an idiot and are willing to bring it up in the workplace.

Could it be that America is finally "getting it?"

We lost on the budget cuts but we made them break a tie and identify the person (THE DICK) responsible for taking bread out of the mouths of old people and kids. And we beat down ANWR again.

If we lock arms and walk forward together, we CAN change the way that business is done in this country.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


On a happier note, I got to meet Mayor Tim Murray of Worcester on Thursday a.m. at Bagels, Too in Pittsfield. It was a lovely event hosted by Register of Deeds and Democratic State Committeewoman Mary O'Brien.

Tim Murray is a real person. That's refreshing. He also appeals to both Patrickites and Reillyphiles so that's good too.

I of course used the opportunity to get on my soapbox about the need for more affordable "assisted-type living" for elders.

MargePAC is supporting Tim Murray for LG. Hope you will too!


Am I the only person who's totally bent out of shape over the death of actor John Spencer? I have always had contempt for people who can't separate reality from fiction and who get upset over their soap opera characters. And I literally woke up this morning worrying about what the ticket is going to do now that Leo is gone....

Besides being a little nutso from Medicare D, I suspect that some of my "not too rational" reaction to this is that the "West Wing" world is one that I retreat to when the real world of national politics becomes too much to bear. You close your eyes and think that Jed Barlet IS the Prez and it's all OK. Even better, you can sleep at night because even IF Alan Alda wins the election, it's OK!!! He's not a wingnut (pun intended...that's the nickname for people like me who are obsessed with WW...)

My daughter happens to work in the entertainment industry in LA (I'd say "Hollywood" but that's where she lives...she WORKS in Beverly Hills...) and so some of the "inside baseball" stuff of the TV universe actually becomes part of our family conversation. So I am waiting until 9am her time to commiserate.

Georgie Ann Geyer has a good column this week on "Peace on Earth" pointing out that while John Lennon TALKED a lot about peace, it didn't begin with him. He caused a lot of personal pain for people who cared about him and could be downright nasty.

Let's remember that there are a lot of REAL Leo McGarry's out there. Flawed, wonderful human beings who try to make the world a better place. Let's celebrate and promote them rather than the pretty boys and girls who are into style and not substance (Mitt, are you listening?)

Peace on Earth.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


OK, so I'm not Joe DiMaggio, but one whole reader (that is, 10% of all the people who read this blog) wanted to know why I hadn't posted in almost a month.

Mea culpa. But I gotta tell you, I have been 'zausted.

The last time I posted was the approximate date when the website finally got it's act together (it was supposed to be up and running 10/13.) That meant we had lost at least three weeks when we could have been giving people good solid answers. So those of us in the elder/disabled health care biz are up to our butts in paperwork, trying to calm down anxiety-ridden Medicare "bennies." It ain't a pretty sight.

And frankly, I've been getting so much traditional press in the local rag and the regional NPR station, not to mention those 30 second cable spots that will run (count 'em) 450 times this winter, that I don't have to do so much self-promotion. NOT THAT ANYONE WOULD EVER START A BLOG FOR THE PURPOSES OF SELF-PROMOTION!!!!

So in the meantime T'giving has come and gone (the best one EVER in our family) and I wake up this evening and realize that Tim Murray has finally made it official (or sort of) that he's running for LG and I'm thrilled.

I don't know what to say about the rest of the world. Bob Woodward has me scratching my head. Jack Murtha has become a hero -- who'd a thunk it? And of course, the R's continue to TRASH and CHARACTER ASSASSINATE anyone who disagrees with them. I have a friend whose handle is "Seeing Red in Ohio" and she has good reasons to see red.....she remembers the day when you could be an honorable person and be an Ohio Republican. In fact, in the old days, the Dems were the crooks! Remember PA? The Scrantons were the clean ones....the PHL machine boys were stealing the taxpayers money.

I will continue to be a Democrat but will always point out if a D is a liar or a crook. Well, sometimes. Other times, one may be taking one's life in one's hands to out some of these people. So we speak behind closed doors. But I do believe in the power of the truth to eventually break out.

For now, rather than outing the crooks, I will continue to support the good people with time, money, and a well-placed word on the internet. But a word of caution:

CANDIDATES: If I send you money, PLEASE don't send me a "could you send more" letter by return mail. Or a "gee, you've given the you have any friends or family you can recruit?" How about a "Thank you Margie for your part in trying to make good government possible in the Commonwealth." How about a "I'm honored that someone who doesn't even live in my district would take the time to research my candidacy and support me." How about "I'm taken with the idea that you would solicit small individual contributions so that you can set an example of how regular old voters can take back the system."

No, I just get requests for more money.

I'll finish out this election cycle and then do an assessment. Is MargePAC working? Did it make a difference? Did anybody care?


Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Let us try to identify November 8, 2005 as the day when the planet shifted on its axis and the forces of good started to recover.

The Dover, PA school board threw out the creationists. (We won't talk about Kansas; they're behind the curve.)

And MARGEPAC scored two victories in the Pittsfield City Council race -- Peter Marchetti came in second among eight contenders for four spots as Councilor at Large and Mike Ward defeated an incumbent to join as the Ward Four councilor.

Together with our victory in the Pat Jehlen race in August, it's a hat trick -- three for three.

MargePAC was also thrilled that Mike Bissonnette is the new mayor of Chicopee (when your opponent is arrested a week before the general election, you don't really NEED MargePAC to help you...) and that Sam Yoon became at at-large City Councilor in the City of Boston. We were interested in that race, but didn't really find a personal connection. Since MargePAC at least wants candidates to understand that importance of this group of small donors throwing their collective hats in the ring, we don't do it unless someone appreciates us. That's all we want....not jobs, not favors, just appreciation of the sacrifice that small donors are making.

So raise a glass to all the "good guys" who joined the ranks of elected public officials last night. Here's hoping that the world is a better place come January 1st.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Given the state of the world, it's been MUCH more fun to spend time at the Williamstown Film Festival than to worry about Scooter Libby. Actors, writers, producers and directors can transport us to other worlds, albeit many of them sobering, but the material is presented to you in 90 or 100 minutes and you can ponder it and discuss it, and then shelve it until you see it again. Our national disgraces seem not to be that tidy.

So what we have here, it seems to me, is the White House, in the personages of Richard Cheney, Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, being so frightened that the America people MIGHT figure out that they cooked up a pretense for murdering American soldiers and Iraqi civilians, that they started a whispering campaign that included outing a CIA agent.

Knowing that the American people would MUCH rather count the angels dancing on the head of a pin than to stop momentarily polluting the air and consumerizing themselves into oblivion to actually consider the facts and the implications, the three amigos successfully got their puppet re-elected, albeit with some help from the OH Secretary of State (talk about cronyism!) and so now if the truth comes out, who cares? Halliburton has their contracts, Supreme Court justices are being installed and with any luck we can drill some more in Alaska all the while enjoying our tax cuts. From a Republican point of view, IT DOESN'T GET ANY BETTER!!!!!

So that we shouldn't notice Scooter, Karl, Dick, Harriet, Sammy et al., we have a national crisis on AVIAN FLU!!! (Although I guess we're safe this year, according to Gipper, Jr.)

If this were a movie at the Film Festival, I would be laughing my butt off. As it is, I am in mourning for the concept of a democratic society which has been reduced to wagging the dog. Rest in peace. No one else will.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


But I thought I'd come in tonight and find out that all of America had been talking on the blogosphere about the indictment of Scooter. Myself, I was at the Williamstown Film Festival, but at the parties we made sure we took time to toast the news.

Ironically, we had watched a movie about prison inmates who participate in a program to put on Shakespeare plays "inside." It makes you remember that sending someone to prison is a life-changing event, and for a moment I wondered whether I should be less cavalier about wishing that Scooter, Karl and Dick would end up behind bars.....

But then I said "Nah. F*** the B**tards." They have contempt for democracy. That's about the highest crime and misdemeanor you can commit. Talk about premeditation.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Wes Flinn and I will compete to see how effusive we can be about Mike Dukakis' incredible talk at MCLA this evening.

He's the only person (Mike, not offense, I'm sure there are many things that Wes knows more about than Mike!) I know whose given a cogent history of Iraq in the 20th century in five minutes and explained why things are so SNAFU....

I was, however, disappointed, that it wasn't SRO. Especially because that size audience is his forte. Michael's commonsense approach to life and learning and his ability to tell it like it is really shines in that venue (and unfortunately a thirty second sound bite never did it justice....) and you can imagine what a wonderful professor he must be.

Probably the most poignant thing about the evening was remembering that there was a time in this Commonwealth where there was someone we could believe in and we worked our butts off in a classic grassroots campaign to change the world.

One of the reasons I'm working for Deval Patrick is that he's the first person in 15 years to come close to Michael's ability to connect with the average voter.

There are many ways in which people give their lives for their country. Mike has certainly given his life for this Commonwealth and this nation and we are all the better for it.


Apparently there is a new group buying ads on TV against Harriet Miers. Now, I don't have an opinion one way or the other on HM because I know nothing about her except that she seems to adore W and that puts her judgment into question. And when you're a judge, or a Justice, I think you're supposed to have judgment.

But the group that is trashing her nomination is called "Americans for Better Justice."

I am thinking of starting a group called "Americans for Better Judgment." (And let's all remember that the word has only one "e." We law school wives learned this the hard way typing papers for our husbands in the era BEFORE computers or even correctable IBMs....)

But I digress.

We are confronted with the fact that Americans allowed W to be installed in the White House (notice I don't call this "electing" him) twice without a whimper. And to top that all off, apparently the majority of Americans do not believe in evolution, a debate I thought we settled 80 years ago.

And we wonder why they're shipping jobs to India. At least there, they keep religion out of the call center.

So, if you want to join MY version of ABJ, just sign a pledge that you'll never vote for an avowed idiot for President and you'll never substitute hogwash for science. For some people, that will make the dues beyond their reach.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Why is it OK to impeach the President of the United States over the issue of his reluctance to discuss his sexual peccadillos, but it's NOT OK to indict White House aides and maybe even the VPOTUS over outing a CIA agent?

The chorus of "well, we don't want these indictments to be about technicalities like perjury and obstruction" makes me want to either ROFL or throw up. I'm not sure which.

Any time in the last five years that someone has suggested impeaching Bush (on stupidity if nothing else...) I always pointed out that we only impeached Nixon AFTER we got rid of Agnew. Impeaching Bush to get Cheney was not anything to be wished for.

And then came Plame.

So who's being cast as the Gerald Ford character for this remake?

Thursday, October 20, 2005


So why don't my email headlines from the NYT say that this a.m.?

This is the biggest news since the crash of the Hindenberg.

Of course, if Cheney resigns, we could be looking at '73-'74 all over again.

Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it.

How many seats DID the D's gain in the '74 elections?

How sweet it is.....

Monday, October 17, 2005


You heard it here first. Well, maybe not first....

He was in Pittsfield yesterday. My friend Frank Lloyd had mentioned me to him.

He actually remembered the conversation and the fact that I lived in Williamstown.

If the "personal touch" genes had spread a little further, the world would be a different place.

Anyway, it will be fun working with him.

And my son's middle name is Cameron, so we're almost family.


And so it kills me that I can't find anything I wrote in this blog in re: Judy Miller. I never felt sorry for her, and all my buddies in the free press were wringing their hands and talking about First Amendment freedoms. I thought she committed treason.

So her lame claims that she can't remember who told her about "Valerie Flame" just don't cut it with me.

She should just admit she was lied to about WMD (a lot of us were suckered in that turned out you couldn't believe Colin Powell for gawd's sake....) and has seen better days as a journalist and get on with her life. Making this into a "cause" cheapens the work of REAL whistleblowers that need protection.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


I'm sure Wes Flinn, Michael Wilcox and I will all compete to see who can put up a "review" of Deval's speech to the Central Berkshire Labor Council this morning. Read them all with the caveat that we are all involved in his campaign....

But it didn't take a political genius to figure out that, once again, he was a rock star. His message of hope and affirming the American dream really resonated with the audience, people like me who had worked hard to get where they were. Probably the story that affected me most (besides the observation that he showed up at Milton Academy the first day in a windbreaker because the mailing had said that young men should wear jackets to class....) was his recounting of the call home to his grandmother to tell her he had been admitted to Harvard. He was all excited and his grandmother was too. Then she paused and said "Now, just where is that?"

Of course the crowd howled. But then he gently pointed out the lesson. "She wasn't so much interested in or aware of the prestige. She was happy for me because I was going to have the OPPORTUNITY."

God helps those who help themselves, but we all need an opportunity first. Deval's story of the opportunity that the A Better Chance (ABC) program gave him to go to Milton and the opportunity he got to attend Harvard and HLS are the kinds of dreams that we are still trying to create. And his reminder to us that government can be the instrument of that possibility is one of the things his candidacy is about.

As a kid who went to a Seven Sisters school on a half scholarship, and got survivor's benefits from the Social Security system to finish, I can only say, "AMEN."

Saturday, October 15, 2005


HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MOE! You are the best dog in the whole wide world (even better than Lucky.....)

Friday, October 14, 2005


OK, OK, OK (as Rebecca Joffe-Halpern would say....) this is how we save money this winter with high energy prices.

For those of us who are mobile, we turn the heat down in the house and walk briskly to the local wi-fi coffee place (in our town it is Tunnel City.) We have internet acccess, cell phone in hand, and we do our work "offsite" and don't drive to work. We have companionship, and the more bodies there, the warmer we are, not to mention the coffee.

Works for me. Are you listening, Human Resources?

Thursday, October 13, 2005



for the war in Iraq
for our response to Hurricane Katrina
for our inability to eliminate poverty in this richest of nations
for our ability to put in office (I won't say elect) a certified idiot, not once, but twice....

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


This is how dead my brain is. I don't remember what I said in my last post.

I am brain dead because I do "three shows a day" about the new Medicare Rx benefit. My shows are great. Entertaining, informative and focused.

They still all leave the room totally confused. I'm not sure what to do about that. I'm not sure I CAN do anything about that.

So I'm up performing and, in the case of yesterday, driving some significant miles from one small town to another. The upside is the great people you meet in the small towns. And although the foliage is behind schedule, and probably won't have a great peak, there are worse ways to spend your business day than driving around southern Berkshire County looking at incredible views of mountains, fields, leaves and barns.

My weekend did not come out the way I thought it would. I've tried to balance all the pressure at work with taking care of myself, and realizing that a long weekend was in the making had visions of going to to Cape and chilling out. And then I saw I had booked myself for a presentation at a local church on Sunday morning. In that particular case, God works in mysterious ways. Heard a great sermon, reconnected with a friend that I hadn't realized attended that church, and met some wonderful people.

But that , combined with the rain, meant that both the Cape and my second choice, Lake Sunapee, NH were both nixed. But it did mean that I went on the Greylock Ramble Monday a.m. with my faithful dog Moe.

Both of us were a little bit (or a lot) the worse for wear by the time we descended to the parking lot. Covered in mud, tired and aching. We got into the shower together, washed off the mud and went to bed (at 3:30 in the afternoon!) me with a bourbon manhattan, Moe dead to the world at my feet. (He's hardly moved for two days...) For those of you who don't know, Mt. Greylock is the highest peak in MA. The hike was seven miles r/t and the hardest part was that it was extremely wet on the ground so footing was iffy. I think Moe literally pulled me up the mountain. My friends Jen and Lona had brought sandwiches and if it wasn't for them, I would have been carried down in an ambulance. But I was revived by the egg salad and pb&j and schlepped back. As of this morning my musculature is still complaining, but I am capable of doing my schtick out in the community so I must not have suffered too badly.

But what occurred to me as I saw all the rain (and cleaned leaves from gutters at teh end of the street so it wouldn't flood) is WHEN WILL PEOPLE REALIZE THAT WE ARE F---ING UP THE PLANET? Sometimes they barely have time on the local news to give all the disasters that are occurring simultaneously. I suppose I won't blame Pakistan on global warming, but to have that and the tsunami in one year, and Katrina, Rita and Stan to boot, not to mention mudslides in NH, seems like TOO MUCH OF A COINCIDENCE.

And then of course there's the whole issue of "being old enough to remember the gas lines of the '70s." I'm turning off my engine if I'm going to be idle for more than 45 seconds, resisting jackrabbit starts and driving the speed limit (or higher if it gets me to 50 or 55, the ideal speeds.) The young kids don't know this stuff. I've even been known to revert to the time-honored 16 year old's trick of going into neutral at the top of a hill, although I'm not sure if this really has any effect. We were always doing stuff like that when we were teenagers; I'm not sure I've EVER heard a kid say that they were doing something to "save gas." We'd all chip in our spare change to see if we could come up with two bucks to put gas in someone's Beetle. Now that car isn't a symbol of efficiency, it's just an excuse to hit the kid sitting next to you in the car if you see one.

What hath God wrought?

Friday, October 07, 2005


I say that because I'm asking myself the question: "Why haven't I posted to this blog for a while?"

1. I'm so busy at work that I'm dropping dead when I arrive home.

2. The news of the day is, on the one hand, so commentable, and, on the other, so boring.

3. Will anything ever change?

Take Harriet Miers for instance. (I have no idea whether I have either her first OR last names spelled right....AND I DONT EVEN CARE (which is unusual for me.)

I see conservatives are upset. That's good. Liberals are upset. That's bad.

I get third hand emails from female attorneys in TX saying "she's not that bad and I've seen the others that were possible and believe me they were WORSE" and I read op-eds from people I respect saying "gee, we've come so far baby, we're now cronys!" But it's not a compliment. Especially if someone REALLY DID SAY that W was the smartest man she'd ever met.....OH MY GAWD.

I think what really upsets me is that there's no one in my party (which happen to be the Democrats if you are new to this site....) that is cogently, succinctly, articulately saying "THESE PEOPLE (the B administration) are assholes, incompetents, thieves, liars and nincompoops!" How much evidence has to pile up until we find our "voice?"

I admit it's hard to prove someone's an asshole or a nincompoop; I think we have prima facia and every other kind of evidence that they're thieves, liars and incompetents.

I feel like I'm back in 1973 when Rosemary Woods was claiming that little green men erased the 18 1/2 minutes of tape and no one stood up and said "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" I probably have used this as an analogy before, and I know that EVENTUALLY we got rid of the lying son of a bitch, but I'll tell you, it took the biggest g.d. smoking gun you ever saw.....I guess people are on overload, worrying about being outsourced, downsized, dissed and cut to bits, so that there's not enough time to stand up and say "I'm going to speak up, speak out, march, protest, write, call and holler!"

to be continued....

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


DUH!!!! You know, I'm not the kind of person to call other people names (well, maybe I am) but I was brought up that you don't call the POTUS names. (sorry, for some reason I can't use the return key to make a new paragraph, so this will seem run-on...) BUT HE'S A JERK! (Actually, he's an asshole, but I was trying to be nice.) We have needed to conserve energy in this country for at least the last 30 or 40 years. One of my FAVORITE presidential candidates, Paul Tsongas, suggested many years ago that we add a 50 or 75 cent tax to gasoline. Everyone was horrified. Well, right now, we're paying a "tax" that's a lot bigger, but it's not going to fund universal healthcare or education.

Oh, here comes back the ability to write paragraphs. Whoopee!

So for a while, GWB was happy for us to drive as much as we wanted and put $ in his friends' pockets. But eventually his SUV buddies started whining "Gee, W, it's costing me $75 to fill up my vehicle. I could have spent that on cigarettes or half-decent bourbon." So now we all have to conserve.

Some of us have been conserving for a long time. some of us have been carpooling. some of us have been limiting our speed to get the most gas mileage. Some of us even YEARS AGO bought cars that were relatively fuel efficient.

And the minute Prius makes a wagon for my dogs, I'm in line. And like, why DONT they make a wagon? Isn't it obvious that there are more people who want hybrids than there are hybrids available? Whatever happened to supply and demand?

OK, I'm ranting, but I'm tired and cranky and I've been awake half the night worrying about all the things I haven't gotten done. It's election day in Pittsfield. I hope it's stopped raining by the time I have to stand at the polls. VOTE MARCHETTI!!!!

Monday, September 26, 2005


or pretty close to it and I remember where I was.

In the Bahamas. I remember this for two reasons:

a. We went on the vacation because we had NOT found a house we wanted to buy. I whined to my husband and he (uncharacteristically) caved in. We bought our present house in 1986, so this was the year before.

b. It was mid-September because I am sorry to say that it was the classic time for mental health issues, and while I was on vacation, a young man that I knew took his own life.

So we went to a Club Med in the Bahamas and a hurricane approached as we were there. My husband's parents were taking care of our kids, and the priest from our church, Sinc Hart, very kindly called my in-laws and asked if they were OK as the hurricane approached the Berkshires and were they worried about us.

The hurricane was named Gloria. I remember THIS clearly because as it approached, we danced at Club Med until the wee hours to the song "GLORIA -- G-L-O-R-I-A -- GLORIA" which was an oldie but goodie.

Notice that it was mid-September and we were on the letter G.

It's now mid to late September and we're on the letter R. Do you get my drift?

And a month ago we were on the letter K. So not only had we gotten pretty far by the end of August, but between end of August and mid-end September, we had gone through seven more letters.

I rest my case.

Monday, September 19, 2005


In the midst of all the problems in the world, I suppose I should be embarrassed that I had one of the world's BEST vacations this month. We joined our friends Gerd and Duncan Ritchie in Orleans (no, not NEW Orleans, just Orleans...) and had loads of fun biking, hiking, walking the beach, eating, drinking, drinking, eating and laughing. I never did get any crab imperial or Wellfleet mix, but besides that it was perfect.

However, the reason I'm not embarrassed is that I am about to embark on a major outreach effort in my job, notifying 30,000 Medicare beneficiaries that their lives are going to change. I will be working nights, weekends and any other kind of calendar settings someone can dream up. I'll be on the phone or in public constantly. I will be the recipient of more unfocused anxiety than you can shake a stick at. So the least I can do is feed my soul in preparation.

My soul having been fed, I am also embarking in my private life working on the Affordable Care Today (ACT!) campaign in conjunction with Health Care for All. We are trying to collect 100,000 signatures, so my personal goal for Berkshire County (although if the truth be told my 'catchment area' is the whole Senate district...) is 2,000 signatures since we are 2% of the population of the state (Senate district is 2.5%) I'm trying to get 40 people to get 50 signatures each of registered voters. (I guess it really should be 50 and 50 to account for the whole Senate district...) So I'm going to try my best. If not now, when? If not here, where? If not me, who?

I am hesitant to make any comment on the state of the world, nation or state. I hear so much drivel that it seems virtually impossible that there are so many stupid people out there. So for now I will keep my thoughts to myself and just hunker down and try to make the world a better place. My commitment to this posture will probably last no more than five days, so I'm sure I'll be ranting and raving in this space soon.

But until then, I am going to try to bathe in the memories of the Cape Cod Rail Trail, the Nantucket Whaling Museum, dinner at Chillingsworth's, ice cream at Nauset Beach (September schedule: Open on sunny days 11-4), and more wine and lobster than you can shake a martini at.

Find someone today who needs a kind word. It's the autumnal equinox, and people who struggle with emotional ups and downs find this a very difficult time. I'm going to try NOT to think about the days getting shorter, but how beautiful the leaves will be in October.

Monday, September 05, 2005


I've tried to post twice re: the hurricane but to no avail. It just goes into cyberspace. Now everything erudite and pithy that I've said has been said better by others.

via con dios.


Tuesday, August 30, 2005


I feel terrible about putting these two contrasting observations in the same post. And yet it is the essence of life.

The news from the South is devastating. After making jokes like "I hope that the storm doesn't hit Commander's Palace" (our favorite NO restaurant) it now appears that the Big Easy did not dodge a bullet and in fact it and the neighbors in MS have experienced something that the rest of us can only begin to imagine. My favorite charity for this kind of things is Episcopal Relief and Development, but Red Cross, Salvation Army etc. are all good choices.

It also happens that five months after starting my own political action committee, I may have scored a win in my first venture out of the gate. Pat Jehlen appears to have won the Democratic primary for a special election for State Senate in the Somerville area. I feel like my efforts were worthwhile, even though they were a VERY small part of her overall fundraising efforts. Most about that another time....

Isn't that the essence of life? Yin and yang....mundane and ethereal....ridiculous and sublime.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


...when you're sitting on the beach in Eastham?

I know I haven't posted in a VERY long time. But HELLO! Do you think I started this blog so I could have YET SOMETHING ELSE to feel guilty about? I mean, this is like my answering machine at home. I ONLY LISTEN TO THE MESSAGES WHEN I FEEL LIKE IT...ITS NOT FOR THE CALLERS' CONVENIENCE, IT'S FOR MINE! So this blog is for when I want to say something and not like I have an editor breathing down my neck saying "Your column is due!"

That having been said, I want to thank the people who tell me they actually READ this thing. It's a great privilege to be someone that you use your valuable time to check in with. And I want to respect and honor that.

But I did wonder what I should write about seeing as how I was at a cottage pumping my own water and getting back to nature by improvising showers and using dishwater to flush the toilet with. (You think I'm making this up? I'm not.) But it was gorgeous and relaxing and I was privileged to be there. But it does make one ask "How are you going to get revved up enough about something to write about?"

I mean, it's not like you want to hear "How I spent my summer vacation..."

And then Cos (and I'm sorry but I've forgotten the name of his blog) very appropriately pointed out some things about the special state senate election that's being held Tuesday that got my blood going. So it just shows to go ya...

He pointed out that Pat Jehlen, the individual that MargePAC is supporting, is in favor of nonpartisan redistricting and same day registration and a lot of other "clean elections" kind of legislation. I had been getting discouraged because she was not endorsed by the Globe and I thought maybe I had been too hasty in supporting her. But when Cos pointed out these differences with one of her opponents (and perhaps all of them) I revitalized the courage of my convictions.


Oh, and please, don't start with "but that's the way the people have control. They can vote out the politicians but not the nonpartisan commission." Yeah, and how do I vote out the Billy Bulgers and the Finnerans the the Travs and the Sals? Give me a break. I'm not even saying Trav and Sal are bad people. But why have a special election on 30 August? Give me a BREAK!

Believe it or not, more than the war in Iraq, we should be concentrating on changing the way that electoral districts are drawn in this nation. In other countries, it's nonpartisan. Since ours are drawn for incumbents, not only is there VERY LOW TURNOVER in both the national and state legislature (I'm not expert enough to comment on any other jurisdiction than MA...) but it means that individuals run to the extreme in their party, since the primary is the only place they can potentially be beat. But of course if you're a good party member (and I consider myself to be one) you don't run against a sitting member of your own party unless s/he has done something egregious. And if the district is drawn for them, then the other party doesn't have a chance in hell.

So take that to the extreme. The House of Representatives is made up of M's of C who are extremely liberal or extremely conservative. So there's no compromise, no consensus, no meeting of the minds. And yet the average voter is a moderate on one side or the other.

Until we look this square in the face, we're condemned to decades of deadlock. (Title for a book?) Doesn't make me happy. What about you?

Monday, August 15, 2005


and of course in the Fools category, I have my black belt.

So just in case anyone cares, I think the NARAL ad was a BIG MISTAKE.

I know I know, people say "Why can the slimy Republicans demo John McCain and demonize John Kerry and get away with it and we can't play hardball?"

1. Because we're not a party where people of good will sit around and do nothing when they see something unfair (They Are.)

2. Because we don't have the stomach for slime.

Does that make us wusses? Well, if the definition of a wuss is someone who refuses to stoop to the lowest level just because "they did it first" then sign me up. No election is worth selling one's soul for. And, as I said in a previous post, I think we have to accept the fact that Bush called our bluff when he nominated a non-slimeball for the SCOTUS. Doesn't mean he doesn't have to answer questions and produce the work product from his days in the Reagan White House. But what it DOES mean is that all those people who were gearing up for a fight NO MATTER WHO GOT NOMINATED can't turn on a dime.

We need to maintain our focus on lying about WMD, Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, the corruption in Ohio and the overarching question of how we draw national legislative districts in this country. I'm not a lawyer, and I don't play one on TV, but it seems to me that if people are members of a NATIONAL legislature, then it should be up to a nonpartisan, computer-assisted, "intelligent design" to draw the boundaries in all 50 states. Politics should have nothing to do with it. The reason we have come to such a divided Congress and polity is that districts are drawn in the House for safety's sake, meaning very few are competitive to begin with, and most people run to the extreme side of their party's spectrum to maintain their bona fides. There's no premium on nuanced answers or thoughtful bipartisanship.

I wonder how bad things are going to have to get before people throw up their hands and take responsibility for a broken system. Or are we all numb?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Do I REALLY Have to Go Home????

I just received an email from a close friend asking me if I'd read this month's issue of Harper's. No, I hadn't. Well, he said, any blogger worth her salt, any PAC chair needs to read this.....I told him that sitting in Oak Bluffs, looking out over the water, riding my new bicycle, and reading a Jonathan Kellerman mystery all seemed like lot better ways to spend my time than worrying about the state of the nation.


But I have learned a couple of things this weekend.

I am now an OFFICIAL MA BLOGGER!!! Lynne from "" included me on her distribution list. This means I have arrived and I will have to find a way of suitably celebrating it. And when I put my URL into an MSN website, some of my postings came up on the search engine. OH MY GAWD!!! I mean, it's one thing to find yourself on the web under "Ware takes job at Elder Services." It's another to have your blog posts pop up. All this "finding yourself at 55 " stuff is getting pretty exciting.

I have also learned that even my old LWV friend Polly, who is now only part time in MA, and the rest of the year in NH hasn't heard of Deval Patrick. Nor had the people I'm staying with, or the other couple who's visiting. We have our work cut out for us people. I DID see a minivan with a big "" bumpersticker and an old Kerry-Edwards sticker in the parking head at the Gay Head cliffs, so we're not totally unknown. But it's an uphill battle.

Also Oak Bluffs should be DP country. What an interesting town. It's the summer hangout of the black upper middle class. Sort of like Washington DC on an island. BUT NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT POLITICS. White or black. It's more about where are you going to get your ice cream and do you need a reservation for dinner and who took the sunblock down to the beach. I'm not much of an "you have to get on a boat to get there" person but I have to say I like this town. Once you figure out what ferry you need to get on (not as easy as it sounds; two departure points, two arrival points, can't get there from here, etc. etc.) you can ride your bike off and we happen to be within walking/biking distance of the ferry. It's heaven. And yet the house seems very much in the country. And a view of the water. DOES IT GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS?

I am not spending much time philosphizing on why I get to spend the weekend here and others are struggling for healthcare. I do that every day and work hard at it. This weekend is about taking care of myself to gird myself for the hard work ahead this summer making sure 30,000 Medicare beneficiaries know what's happening to them. I need to have my karma together in order to get the job done.

The other wonderful thing has been being with old and dear friends. We are having conversations we haven't had in years, and laughing and singing 60's music and camp songs and Broadway songs and hymns and drinking and walking and eating and chilling out. It is Nirvana. We held hands tonight at dinner and sang grace.

We haven't sung this song, but it sums up this glorious weekend. I know Karl Rove is an asshole and that the election was stolen in Ohio and that people are starving in Africa and my daughter's house hasn't sold, but.....


Peace. Keep fighting. But take care of yourselves. We need to be in shape for the work ahead.

Monday, August 01, 2005


I know I'm a little slow on the uptake, so I'm probably the last person in the fundraising world (to which I'm incredibly new....) to discover "Act Blue" ( --I think!!!

I discovered it because at LITERALLY the eleventhg hour, I decided I wanted to contribute to the "we're the definition of an uphill battle" Paul Hackett campaign in Ohio. I got a $20 to my PAC from a person in OH who shall remain nameless. It was an act of faith on her part, and so I thought the least I could do was match it with $20 to an Ohio candidate and put in my own two cents. So tonight I gave $20.02 to Paul and gave Act Blue a 10% "tip" for being the conduit.

Then I discovered I can have my OWN "Act Blue" account which of course I have named "MargePAC." I realize that this solves one of my problems in terms of setting up 50 PACs. I can have a Federal PAC someday, and keep my MA PAC, but for state candidates in other places I can use ACT BLUE as the vehicle. I commend them for figuring all this out way before I did.

I've put Deval Patrick and Martha Coakley on my "Fundraising List" but the sight says they're not in a position to give to these campaigns yet. Not to worry. I'm sending them money from the PAC, but in the future it will be a way to "advertise" their candidacies to others. And maybe add some interesting races like CT and VA gubernatorial runs.....

This stuff is FUN! What a hobby, and it's cheaper than skiing.....


Yes, this is one of those weeks where I'm probably glad I'm NOT a Member of Congress.

I would have voted for CAFTA. And received the undying animosity of most of my party.

Get over it people. The world is flat. Shit happens. Life changes. We have to compete against everyone in the world. It's not just New England competing against the South for where the textile mills are going to go.

Easy for me to say. I have the kind of job that can't be exported. That is, unless people in India want to talk to elders and explain the Medicare D program to them.

But the reality of life is that unless you work in a service industry that demands that you be present ON SITE (the last time I checked "they" hadn't moved the Grand Canyon or the Empire State Building) then everything is up for grabs. Are you smarter? Do you work for lower wages? Do you need health insurance?

Am I saying I like this? No, not necessarily, although there is a whole philosophical question about whether people in the U.S. deserve to live at a much higher standard than people in developing countries. Do you wonder whether the British felt this way in the 19th century?

I was not an econ major, so I'm sure there are a lot of holes in my argument, but the bottom line is that the more we put money in the pockets of people in other nations, the more they will buy our goods, the less incentive they will have to immigrate and the more there will be some economic "balance of power" around the globe.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


want to hear this, but Tom Reilly has become a better campaigner.

And I think it's because of Deval Patrick.

When Reilly spoke to the Democratic State Convention in May, you maybe could have heard a car backfire, but you couldn't have heard a pin drop. He was dry, lawyer-like and generally boring.

DP lit up the room and he was the buzz of the day.

To give TR his due, he's not as dumb as he looks.

He spoke this afternoon to the State Committee and he had actually become a human being. Taking a page out of DP's playbook, he told about being the child of Irish immigrants, growing up in Springfield (lucky for him the meeting was in Pittsfield...) having his dad and two older brothers die when he was a young man and how local cops in the neighborhood took an interest in him and showed him there was an alternative to being a punk.

When he talked about issues, he kept it short and sweet. Public education, especially higher education. Those of us who are UMass alums (Professional MBA '98) cheered when he said he wanted to make our alma mater the equivalent of Ann Arbor or Berkeley. Health care, etc. All those good liberal causes. (Do I think he's going to give the same speech in the red counties? no, I think he'll emphasize being a tough DA but what does one expect?)

He looked fit and trim and relaxed. He looked like a human being. Now, he still wasn't TOTALLY comfortable around the crowd (he's managed by handlers) but it's a far sight better than it was a few months ago.

Am I giving up on DP? Not in the least. But as a member of the State Committee is was reassuring to know that the putative nominee at least can cut the mustard, something I thought he was incapable of just a few short months ago.

Competition, rather than coronation, can be to the benefit of the Party. Let's get in their and talk about issues and see what people are thinking!

Thursday, July 21, 2005


1. We have to admit that GWB outsmarted us in nominating John Roberts. He is a creature of the DC establishment and will be confirmed. Get over it.

2. LET'S MAKE SURE WE KEEP KARL AND SCOOTER ON THE FRONT PAGES! This nomination was timed brilliantly. Let's change the conversation. Or at least let's ask JR what he thinks about WH staff outing a CIA covert agent.

Friday, July 15, 2005


I know what the problem is. When baby boomers were growing up in the '50s and '60s, the standard catchphrase to motivate people was "In America, ANYONE can be President." The '80s joke was that, in fact, "anyone" was President. This was seen as a way of motivating middle-class tots, albeit white, male middle-class tots, but it was a motivator all the same. After all, we white females could aspire to marry "anyone" who was a potential Presidential candidate, and people of color could dream of someday dream of taking out the trash for "anyone" and being close to the seat of power.

So I give you this blurb from this morning's New York Times:

Pataki Will Test '08 Winds in IowaBy ADAM NAGOURNEYGov. George E. Pataki is headed to Iowa this weekend toexplore whether he should run for president in 2008. QUOTATION OF THE DAY -"We might do a country fair - I just love those. If we're going to be out there and there's one nearby, I want to do one."- GOV. GEORGE E. PATAKI, on a visit to Iowa.

So now that the rules have changed, and women can at least RUN for President (although we all know they can't raise money....) and I'm about as solidly baby boomer middle-class as you can get (pulled myself up by my bootstraps from the wrong side of the tracks in Shaker Heights, went to a Seven Sisters college on a scholarship, raised two perfect children in small town America, etc. etc. etc.) I think I might change my plans for a vacation on the Cape and "test the winds in Iowa."

After all, my friends Terry and Henry live there. I bet that they'd vote for me. And they probably have some friends. And some of their friends are from church, so when those friends hear that I am ALSO an Episcopalian (I know, not so popular as a Presidential religion these days...last Episcopalian was GHWB and look where that got us....) they will flock to my candidacy. Especially when they find out I ACTUALLY GO TO CHURCH AND NOT BECAUSE I'M TRYING TO IMPRESS PEOPLE!

OK, so I've got the Protestant Grinnell intellectuals in my corner. What next? OLD PEOPLE! I know more about Medicare than almost anyone in the U.S., certainly more than George Pataki. Once they hear my jokes -- "what's the best thing about being 104? No peer pressure!" -- I'll have them rolling in the aisles. And did you know that Iowa has one of the, if not THE, oldest populations in the U.S.? AHA!!! This is getting good.

Now, women. In the last election, the Governor's WIFE ended up being key to John Kerry's campaign. Women are the secret weapon obviously. And look at the effect that Debra Winger had! (Or was that Nebraska? I can never keep those Plains States straight. Not to worry. Will have staff to brief me on where I am...)

County Fairs? My brother lives in Geauga County OH. BIG SWING STATE! I went to school there! I've done the Geauga County Fair and the Redwood County Fair in CA and the Helena Stampede (which has actually been VERY favorably compared to the Calgary Stampede -- this is a direct quote from the lady in the tourist info booth in Helena in 1974 -- also the first place I saw an "Impeach Nixon" bumper sticker in the Heartland)in MT. The Governor of MT is considering a run....maybe he'd like to put me on as VP to balance the ticket? I'm not going to dismiss that out of hand. Perish the thought of the sin of hubris...

Gotta go. I have a fundraiser in NH this weekend. Six of my college friends are donating $10 each to pay for my gas to drive to Keene.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


When I was a delegate to the 1992 Democratic Convention (on behalf of our beloved Paul Tsongas....) one of the "chants" that the delegates were asked to repeat over and over and over again (I believe during an acceptance speech by the VP nominee, Al Gore) was a call for the Bush I administration (which of course we're now considering in a whole new "gee, I guess he wasn't THAT bad....) to be defeated. The chant went "It's time for him to go!"

Well, if anything EVER pertained to Karl Rove, it's that phrase.

Let's put it this way....there was a public poll yesterday on AOL or Netscape or something asking whether KR leaked deliberately or inadvertantly or what. 87% of the respondents thought it was deliberate. You can't get that many people to vote for Motherhood and Apple Pie these days. Second question was "how damaging do you think this is?" Silly me voted with the 17% who answered "somewhat damaging" only because when you have a Teflon president, apparently it takes something more than mass torture, lying and givng out billion dollar contracts to your friends to make a dent. Well, I was definitely in the minority. Over 70% thought it was VERY damaging.

And now, from 1600 Penna Ave we have "silence" or "chose not to comment" or "avoided the question." Yeah, I'd avoid it if I had a felon sitting at my right hand....but that's just me.

SO CAN SOMEONE EXPLAIN THIS TO ME.....the Republicans got all bent out of shape during the Clinton scandals about a. something that had nothign to do with the health, welfare and security of the US, and b. discussions of "well, it depends on what you mean by 'is.'"

NOW ITS "WELL IT DEPENDS ON WHAT YOU DEFINE AS OUTING AN UNDERCOVER CIA AGENT. HE DIDN'T REFER TO HER BY NAME, JUST SAID IT WAS WILSON'S WIFE." Oh yeah, that makes it TOTALLY DIFFERENT. You'd have to have access to highly classified records to know the name of someone's wife. I mean, they shot all the neighbors because they were privy to information that was on deep background.

Like the Downing Street memo, this keeps reverberating with Watergate-like allusions. How is their stance any different from listening to Rosemary Woods describe how she could have inadvertantly erased 18 minutes of recording from a dictaphone tape? It all defies logic, reason and the willing suspension of disbelief.

AND THEN THERE'S RICK SANTORUM. Don't get me started. There is a group of Democrats here in Berkshire County who are hell-bent on getting rid of Rick. When they first proposed their scheme I was frankly underwhelmed. I believed that we had enough people right here in MA (and not all of them Republicans....) to take on and that our efforts should be more targeted.

I will now admit that I'm wrong. The man is a menace and an idiot. It's a matter of national security to hand him his head on a platter. He claims that the Boston priest scandal in the Catholic Church is the result of our liberal lifestyle. Ignoring for a moment, that the priests involved represented a philosophy which said only men could hold power, that homosexuality (at least other people's) was an unnatural act, birth control was an abomination and there was never any possible reason why someone should seek a civil divorce, I can't say that this was the hallmark of a liberal lifestyle.

But what is also the truth is that the highest per capita rate of sexual abuse in American dioceses occurred in Louisville KY. I know this because a dear friend of mine was the attorney for the plaintiffs in that case. So either Louisville is a hotbed of liberalism, or mint juleps are the work of the devil or horses encourage us to, well, ....I'm sorry but this is a family channel.

I need to get to the dentist so I have to calm down. I'd like to thank all my "readers" out there who said "why haven't you written about Karl Rove?" Didn't know I felt so strongly about these jerks. Thanks for asking. Keep the faith.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

What is the world coming to?

I know I "should" write about the bombings in London. They're horrible. Luckily I have heard that my four closest friends, Peter and Amy and David and Gayle are all ok (Gayle is actually in the US visiting her dad...) so that is a great joy. I tried to remember that when I walked in and saw that the puppy had eaten not ONE but THREE couch cushions.

But what I really want to write about is the Judith Miller thing. I'm sorry, and beat me with a wet noodle if I've lost my liberal credentials, but I don't think that she has any right under the constitution to protect someone who "outed" a CIA undercover agent. Those articles endangered Ms. Plame and her associates. I think wrapping yourself in the First Amendment in this case is inappropriate.

OK guys, let 'er rip.....

Saturday, July 02, 2005


And she's so upset about Sandra Day O'Connor leaving the Supreme Court that she decided to give us a freebie....she decided to tell us that Karl Rove was the rat who outted Valerie Plame. Is truth stranger than fiction? Is it possible we'll be rid of the evil bastard and that everyone who's been too scared to talk so far will finally open up? And that the right wingnuts will go back into their holes?

Friday, July 01, 2005

Don't Tread on Me

When I woke up this morning, I had forgotten how shocked I had been at a Letter to the Editor in yesterday's Berkshire Eagle. Only now did I remember, and felt compelled to address a letter to the editor. I don't know whether it will be printed, because they have a "30 day" rule, and I may have written more recently than that. Hope not.

A local Pittsfield resident stated that Democrats hate President Bush more than they love their country. I don't know whether to be angry, sad, disgusted or cynical. I guess I'm all of that or more.

When will this hatefulness end? Are we condemned to live in a century, or a country, where civil discourse is a mere remembrance? I weep.


Sometimes when someone says it better than you can, you need to point this out to people!

My friend Emily Carey Cronin sent this snippet from Molly Ivins who was one of the speakers at Haverford commencement weekend. ENJOY!

O.K. class of 2005. I would exhort you to go forth and change the world, but I think you've already been trained in that department. And I just want to refine the advice a little bit. Here's one of the things that you are going to have to remember as you attempt to save the world-I've been at it for several decades and so far no big visible effect-what you have to learn to do is have fun while trying to save the world. Now this is real, real important stuff. If you do not have fun while trying to save the world, you will get tired and cynical and burned out and become totally useless to everybody. Consequently, you really need to concentrate on how to make it fun, and in Texas we find that imagination and sometimes beer are quite helpful. In Texas, of course, liberals know how to survive hard times, and I pass along to you certain rules for going through hard times. In the first place, things are not getting worse, things have always been this bad. The long consoling perspective of history is always helpful. You will find that the people who were trying to save the world always thought that things were getting worse. Now, number two, things probably will get worse. That means that these are the good 'ole days, and think what a fool you will feel like in the future if you do not enjoy them now. Third, there is always, since we are the spiritual children of Puritans, the inviting possibility that adversity will improve our characters. I think this is something that needs to be worked on. I'm just going to tell you one story about how I think things should go. A few years back, the Texas legislature took a fit of communism and decided to recognize the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a state holiday. Now, don't panic; they kept confederate heroes day. It was a package deal. Nevertheless, there we were honoring Dr. King and as you can imagine it upset the Ku Klux Klan. They announced that they were coming to have a big rally and march in protest, and it's always a pain in the butt when the Klan comes to town. I realize that in civilized precincts like Haverford such things do not happen. I can tell you that it just makes your Jewish citizens get upset, your Black citizens get upset, skin head kids turn out on the sidewalk to cheer for them, people get into fistfights, everybody is mad at everybody for a good six months. So, if you are like myself, a civil-libertarian, naturally you have to stand up for the right of these blue-bellied nincompoops to spew whatever viscous dribble they want to because it's in the first amendment. This is a stand that will make you about as popular with your neighbors as a whore trying to get into the SMU school of theology. So, several of us gathered mournfully over a pitcher of beer one night and came up with what we thought was a better plan. And we do not have enough cluckers there in Austin to have a good rally; they had to be bused in from Waco and Viddar (?). They got off the buses wearing their little pointy hats on their little pointy heads. They were greeted by several thousand citizens of Austin lining both sides of Congress Avenue, who mooned them as they marched. Made a very nice effect, it was sort of like a wave in a baseball stadium. This is the kind of freedom fighting tactic I recommend to all of you, although I realize that in this part of the country it's a seasonally limited option.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


This is just a note to let you all know that this blog is NOT sponsored by or some other insipid organization. I receive NO FUNDS for the time and effort I put into this magnum opus. In fact, if time is money, I'm donating huge amounts of dough to the cause of truth, justice and the American Way.

As I write this, Himself is "speaking to the nation" about Iraq. Well maybe on the west coast people haven't eaten but talk about upsetting your digestive system! Listening to that nasal twang, those illiterate sentences and then contemplating death, destruction, humiliation and downright stupidity? Not the way I want to end a very tiring day trying to rectify the healthcare system.

The good news though is that my Political Action Committee is "catching on." I arrived at a League of Women Voters "picnic" tonight (where no one was dressed like it was a picnic and they started at 5PM when I was still at work and there was no food left by the time I got there....but I digress....) and one of my friends said "I understand you started a PAC!" Yes, I admitted, I had. Well, she wanted to know, why hadn't SHE been solicited? So I had to describe how I needed to only buy 50 stamps and see how it went so that I didn't use more of the income than was appropriate for expenses! Once I got some contributions I went out on a limb and bought 100 stamps, half of which were for thank you letters! Another woman also wants to make sure she's solicited! So I guess I'm now part of the local buzz!

Keep the faith and let's hope the American people are waking up to what's in front of them. With any luck, the Good Guys will sweep the Congress in 16 months.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


As we all know, the above quote was from Ed Koch, who was constantly concerned about people's perceptions of him as mayor of the Big Apple.

My ambitions are less, shall we say, ambitious, and actually I'm going to TELL you how I'm doing rather than ask...

I am, of course, referring to my POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE. I know I've been sort of a tease telling people that I was going to tell them how it was going. Well now I fulfill my promise.

In my humble opinion, I'm doing quite well, thank you very much.

I've mailed somewhere between 40 and 50 solicitations and have received about 15 donations. On the one hand, that's an amazing return for "direct mail." On the other hand (and, isn't there ALWAYS an other hand?) given that the first 50 letters went out to close friends and family, the question is WHY IS THE RESPONSE SO LOW. Hey, just kidding. I'm VERY pleased with the response and realize that it is a true leap of faith to say "hey, send me your hard earned money and I'll 'invest it' in candidates of my choosing!"

I have received donations from California, Virginia, the District of Columbia, Ohio, New York, Massachusetts and Maine. So we're trying to go from sea to shining sea.

And I made my first contribution to a candidate. My friend Peter Marchetti, whom I met thru the Rhonda Serre campaign, is trying to reclaim his at-large seat on the Pittsfield City Council. Talk about a dysfunctional body. Oh well, it's Peter's choice.

More later....I got to bed at 1:30 on 6/21, got up at 5:30, drove to worcester and was compis mentis, got home nad now it's 11:30. I think I'm crashing.


Saturday, June 18, 2005


At some point in high school, we had a film in the auditorium (remember those days?) for history or government that had Joseph Welch, the congressional prosecutor of Joe McCarthy, explaining the ins and outs of the judicial system. And then, if I'm not mistaken, he played the judge in Anatomy of a Murder. He is one of my favorite people.

Obviously his best known line from the McCarthy era was "Sir, have you no shame?" And I think of Joseph Welch and that five word phrase when I look at pictures of Jeb Bush on TV and in the newspapers.

Silly me, I was under the impression that he was the smart one in the family. I sort of felt sorry for him because his parents dissed him when he married a Hispanic woman, and he's been eclipsed by his way more doltish older brother.

Either he has early onset dementia, or he's one of the cruelest people in public life today. Take your pick.

'Nuf said. I haven't had breakfast yet and don't want to ruin my digestion.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Al Franken for Senator

"In this country, we are going through a very dark period," he told his audience, "and someday your grandchildren are going to ask what you did, and you are going to tell them, 'I worked my butt off." ( Al Franken on the possibility that he might run for Senate in MN in 2008)

Which is why I started my own Political Action Committee. After the election, I did the whole "catatonia" thing for two days, moved on to the "let's drown our sorrows in San Diego Bay" thing (no, that does not mean offing oneself by jumping from a bridge....that means drinking margaritas and looking at the water, the skyline and the mountains and realizing that life still has meaning....margaritas can do that for you. Then I did the whole "numbness" thing, which included trying to pretend there wasn't an inauguration and throwing myself into work, where I try to protect elders from the ravages of the healthcare system.

The numbness thing had to quickly be replaced by the "vigilant citizen" thing, because a friend of mine was running for an open state rep. seat this past winter. It wasn't my district, and we had 57 days to see if anyone knew who she was. She ran the best campaign, but 57 days in the dead of winter wouldn't give you enough time to let people know that John Beresford Tipton was in town. We had the best message and the best candidate. We were also trounced. Luckily the Republicans were too dumb to nominate the more electable of the two people running in their primary, and so the D's waltzed to victory.

Before the numbness thing set in again, I realized something.

I knew a lot ABOUT politics, I knew a lot of people IN politics, and I knew a lot of people INTERESTED in politics. I'm the local "go to girl" in my small town when there's a campaign for some obscure office. "Marge, who should I vote for?" is the constant question heard on the street. So I decided to put my money, and OPM, where my mouth was and start my own PAC.

I have always been a supporter of Clean Elections and contribution limits. My first run for Selectman, I put on a $25 PER FAMILY contribution limit and raised over $1200. Donated a couple hundred back to the high school scholarship fund. Won in a landslide (well, almost....) I've always been proud of that race because some people thought I was "stupid" not to accept $100 donations. Later in my term I needed to make a hard choice on an appointment to a board and "some people" had a much different opinion than I did. Luckily, they hadn't contributed 10% of my campaign coffer!

So now I'm inching up on the $1K mark in the Margaret Johnson Ware PAC. I'm about to write my first check to a candidate campaign committee. I only accept donations up to $132 per person. I'm looking for candidates who have a viable chance of changing the system and who stand for the issues that I'm interested in.

So at least when my grandchildren hear about the dark political days of the early part of the 21st century, when civility was lost from politics, and personal invective was the rule of the day, and they say "Grammy ....what did YOU do to make a difference?" I can say "I worked my butt off."

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Rationality from the "Other Side"

I heard Christine Todd Whitman from the Commonwealth Club on NPR today. It was obviously an old broadcast, because the compromise on the nuclear option hadn't been concluded yet.

While I don't agree with the times she tried to make GWB look like a good guy, in general her talk made a lot of sense. Her book "It's My Party, Too" is probably a hat in the ring for 2008, certainly a way to make $, but who cares if what she says is true. It is also a reminder to Democrats about what it feels like to be a conservative in our party. And it's nice to know that there are a few R's out there who still want a constructive dialogue on the issues of the day. Her comments on energy, for the most part, were fairly tolerable. Her comments on the Schiavo case were right on!

It's always good to remember that no "side" owns the truth, and that you can learn a lot more from listening than from speaking.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

That Was The Week That Was

Now, if you get the popular culture reference in the above title, you ARE dating yourself, but it means you're my kind of people.

I figure I have about three faithful readers, so to them I apologize for no new "news" in the last week. We had an engagement party for my son on Saturday, and that entailed transforming the entire house from a den of dirt into something presentable enough to be seen by his future in-laws. In the middle of that an old college friend showed up, and so I HAD to see her, and that set me back even more.

The party went off without a hitch and a good time was had by all families. This is not always the case and we feel INCREDIBLY lucky that our future d-i-l is so wonderful and has such a great family. We are almost over the whole "Republican" thing. In fact, my goal for the next visit is NOT TO MENTION PARTY AFFILIATION ONCE. (We'll see how I do....)

Meanwhile all the people in the blog world are talking about "The Downing Street Memo." I will now tell you something very embarrassing.

I have purposely NOT read anything about the DSM. You know why? Because I would either be outraged, or depressed, or both. I would feel that I'd (and the world had) been had, and I just can't deal with all those emotions right now. I'm putting my effort into something constructive, my new political action committee, called, surprisingly, "The Margaret Johnson Ware Political Action Committee" (in part because under Mass. law a PAC controlled by only one person needs to identify itself as such.) I have put the DSM in a category of "wake me up when 5% of the population has heard of, and is outraged, by such, and then I'll hop on."

I use the figure 5% because back in the days of a wonderful movement , early to mid-80's called "Beyond War," they had two interesting factoids about the adoption of a new idea. For an idea to become "imbedded" in the public consciousness, 5% of the population had to hold that idea. For an idea to become virtually a fait accompli it had to be adopted by.......can you guess? Not 50% but 20% of the population. That's right. When 20% of American became CONVINCED that Richard Nixon should be impeached, it was as good as done. No, it didn't happen at that moment. But it had reached a critical mass that made it a virtually unstoppable notion.

So when 5% of ....hmmmm, should it be the U.S. or the world, or Western Europe or what? Well, we'll have to go with U.S. because I can't really get a handle on "world" opinion. When 5% of the U.S. has heard of the DSM and feels that it rises to the level of an impeachable offense, send me an email.

As usual, I have digressed, but that's my perogative is it not? Later this week I'll tell you the story of my PAC and the wonderful initial success it has had.

And so to bed.....

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Thomas Friedman Says It Best

I know that it's au courant for some progressives to trash Tom Friedman these days, but for my money I still think he's one of the only people walking straight (please, it's a figure of speech...don't go all PC on me here...) down the middle and telling the truth.

I've never done a LINK on this blog, and it may not work, but here goes:

One of the joys of living in a small town is that you often have access to speakers and events that would elude you in the wider world, where you'd need an expensive ticket or you'd have to line up 48 hours in advance. In this corner of the world, we have Jim Lehrer, Tom Friedman and lots of other interesting people on a regular basis, which makes life here at least palatable when you think the rest of the world has passed you by.

So read what he says. I sent it to my son in the BIG CITY (DC) and he wrote back "I'm crying."

What was even more amazing was that the class of 2005 Valedictorian, rather than being a boring nerd, was just as compelling as Friedman. Let's hear it for a good liberal arts education. Especially for a student from Bulgaria who triple-majored in German, economics and math.

Is this a great planet or what?

It Has Come to This

Tom Finneran was indicted. Another thing I didn't think I'd see in my lifetime....

But imagine this. When the news of the redistricting situation and the US Attorney's interest in it became public, I emailed/called some members of the Democratic State Committee, including the Affirmative Action chair.

No one said anything. No one has said anything. Omerta. We protect our own.

If a Republican speaker had done this we'd be all over it like a cheap suit. Instead we stand silent. Is no one else embarrassed? Or are we to take silence for embarrassment and know that as good Yankees, we keep stiff upper lips?

When will the Boston party insiders admit that it's people like Finneran and Charley Flaherty who make it possible for all those Republican governors to win? Because people don't want complete control of the state in Democratic hands. Because they're not sure they can trust us.

What's even more pathetic is that the Republicans can't take advantage of the obvious dissatisfaction and run credible candidates for auditor and treasurer. They can't figure out who the REALLY bad guys are and run a moderate Republican against them who would get silent progressive support.

The "good guys" in MA politics want the same thing -- good schools, good government, decent healthcare, a clean environment. We may have different approaches, depending on our registration, but we want it without undue influence from lobbyists and mischief makers.

Do you think Mike Dukakis could be persuaded to come out of retirement?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

So That's How Mark Felt.....

It happened within my lifetime. I finally found out (along with millions of other inside track) the identify of Deep Throat.

I feel a bit embarrassed because I consider myself not exactly an EXPERT on the Watergate scandals, but they certainly could attain the rank of avocation for me, as opposed to hobby. And I had never really heard of Mark Felt. I'm sure I read his name at various points when people were doing pseudo-scientific analyses of DT's identity, but I never really focused on him.

I was 22 1/2 when the DNC headquarters was burgled. A legislative aide for a moderate Republican Member of Congress. Our main focus that summer was going to George McGovern campaign events. In fact, the junior staff of the aforementioned M of C would stand around in the reception area of the office arranging carpools to various events. We were not told who to vote for, but we were asked not to plan our political activities in the front hall of a Congresswoman from the opposing party. Bad form.

I actually remember at one point during that year when I felt sorry for the Republicans, although not for Richard Nixon. My boss sat on the Banking and Currency Committee and Wright Patman, the chair, a real Texas good ole boy, had decided that some aspect of this just HAD to be investigated by his committee. I guess he was following the money. In any case, he ran roughshod over procedure, witnesses and anything else that stood in the way of him grandstanding. I could actually be genuinely sympathetic to my Member for what she had to endure as a junior member of the minority.

We lost the Presidential election, and I lost my job in the spring of '73. Soon after I was working at George Washington University and do remember that we had the hearings on the radio a lot. But apparently the guy who had fired me from Mrs. Heckler's office was spending all his time watching the hearings on TV and not getting any work was everyone's hobby.

We went to Europe after my husband took his bar exam, and only vaguely figured out that something was happening at home...sure enough, it turned out that the Vice President was a crook. Who'd a thunk it? He had been the great liberal savior of 1966 when his Democratic redneck opponent had run on a slogan like "Your Home is Your Castle" referencing his opposition to fair housing laws. But he was quickly converted to the pit bull he was and learned to alliterate.

Meanwhile, everything that happened at the White House became a joke. By the time Rosemary Woods told us with a straight face that little gremlins had erased the 18 1/2 minutes of tape, it said something about our collective willing suspension of disbelief that the entire country didn't get up from that movie and walk out. I shudder now to think how brain dead we were...on the other hand, in subsequent decades we've evidenced that it was not a passing phenomenon so why should I take responsibility?

Living in Washington, EVERYTHING was about Watergate. If someone invited you to dinner at 7:30, you didn't LEAVE YOUR HOUSE until 7:30, no matter how far away they lived, because you didn't want to miss one minute of Agronsky and Company. I think it was James J Kilpatrick who tried to keep up a valiant defense of the President until even he had to admit that he had been duped. The low point, of course, was when Nixon asked his own daughter to go out and lie to the reporters. I felt then that it was only fair that years later, as much as I loved Bill Clinton, and thought he was being unfairly targeted, I should equally criticize him for putting his family in a position where he wasn't honest and asked his wife to front for him and put his daughter through public humiliation. That ain't OK.....

The summer of 1974 we left on a cross-country journey of three months. One of the great lessons of that summer was that, in most parts of the country, NO ONE WAS TALKING ABOUT WATERGATE!!!! There was a drought out West that summer, and unless God was elected President, what happened in DC didn't really affect people's lives too much. It was at this point that I developed my theory that as long as the Treasury kept printing payroll and Social Security checks, it would be a long time before the American public knew whether the President had flipped his lid or not.

The first harbinger was the "Impeach Nixon" bumper stickers at the Helena MT Stampede (which has been favorably compared to the Calgary Stampede I'll have you know...)And then, one day, as we came down out of the mountains of Wyoming and got radio reception for the first time in days, we heard a reporter say "Senator Gale McGee said today that, in light of the smoking gun, he would now vote for impeachment...." WHAT? We raced for a phone and the cowboys in Gillette were none too happy when we tied up 50% of the pay phones in town calling home and trying to get a clue to what was going on. The Denver Post's front page had some hog prices on it....

These were the nascent days of NPR. Frankly, we'd never heard of it or listened to it because DC had a classical AM station that we always listened to. But all the way across Wyoming, South Dakota and Minnesota we listened to call in shows and radio reports giving us a aural report on the quickly deteriorating situation. By the time we reached Albert Lea MN on that Friday we were just in time to see Nixon resign. I think we had enough class not to cheer but to be saddened by the fate of the country. That night we watched a capsule of the week's news and saw in two hours what the last five days had brought. It was one of those weeks where you will always remember where you were.

Journalism has never been the same. Electoral politics has never been the same. It was the final straw on the back of the camel first saddled up by Robert McNamara and Lyndon Johnson. You couldn't trust anyone in politics or government. They were all crooks. Who ever heard of public service?

There have been many unintended consequences of that era. Every once in a while I long for a smoke-filled room where candidate's potential peccadillos are vetted prior to their circulating nomination papers. I cringe at the power of telegenicity but realize that it started in 1960, or perhaps ironically in 1952 with the Checkers speech. And then I realize that we have come full circle when individual voters like me put their own spin on things and create their own fifteen minutes of fame.

It wasn't the first assault on the Constitution, and it won't be the last. And, in fact, the Constitution was the big winner, showing the world that a government of laws, not people, was the prevailing rule of the day.

Of course, one wonders whether this nation, this Congress, this Court, would be as diligent about searching for the truth.

I hope we won't need to test that hypothesis......