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?