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

Friday, January 20, 2006


I left town right after the Berkshire Brigades dinner and had a WONDERFUL weekend in our Nation's Capital and in the Cradle of Liberty.

Friday night we dined with my son and his fiancee and her mom, the incredible Judy Hansen. Dinner was in Crystal City at Oyamel which, if you haven't been there, is a MUST SEE! Gorgeous sculpture of butterflies hanging from the ceiling because apparently Oyamel is where the Monarchs go to hang out in the winter. Wonderful tapas and a pomegranate margarita to die for.

I'd say it doesn't get any better, but then on Saturday we had our Gourmet Dinner group, six couples who have been breaking bread together for close to 30 years. While there was no crab imperial, there was wonderful salmon/spinach wrapped in phyllo dough and a chocolate cake that made you want to curl up and die. Sunday in PHL there were fried oysters, keeping the seafood theme, and then wonderful Mandarin cuisine complete with dim sum on Monday for Nano's 91st birthday.

So maybe this is why, with all the eating and drinking and lovefesting, I TOTALLY MISSED THE FACT that Arlen Specter went on TV and said the "I" word.

Because like, yeah, when you violate the Constitution, your oath of office and a few Federal statutues in addition, then the remedy, as the good Senator said, is a "political" one.

Now remember, while we're talking the "I" word, we have to figure out a way to get rid of The Dick first. Showing W the door and ushering in TD is not to be wished for.

I'll be in DC again next week. It's the Families USA Health Action 2006 Conference. The way I feed my soul every year. Do you think something ELSE exciting will happen while I'm there?

Thursday, January 19, 2006


I'm sure there's some "blogger rule" that you have to post on relevant events within so many minutes/hours/days. Well, as you all know, I am NOT about rules, and so I'm finally getting around to telling you all about the wonderful Berkshire Brigades dinner last Thursday. I also left town the next a.m. (which we may or may not cover in a subsequent post...) so you can forgive me if I actually RELAXED for a change!

Four hundred people in one place in Berkshire County constitutes a riot. Especially on a cold day! But it was a love fest of sorts at the ITAM Lodge as virtually every Democratic candidate with opposition appeared to woo our 2% of the statewide vote (although we can be mightier in a primary.) We were also graced by the presence of Middlesex County DA (and Lee/North Adams native AND Williams College '75) Martha Coakley, who, although she has no primary opposition (I think Phil Johnston actually TOLD people they weren't supposed to run against her!) had to good sense to check in with the hometeam, teh people who knew her "when."

Let's start with Secretary of State, because that was the "unlovefest" part of the evening. I was a Cam Kerry supporter, and am sorry that he is not running. That having been said, I personally do not think that John Bonifaz did himself any good that evening. Too over the top and confrontational given the event. What good he DID do was make Bill Galvin a better candidate. Not known for his exciting presentation, Galvin shot right back and got some adrenalin going. Voting rights and ballot access are important questions -- too important to be shrugged off. So at least now we're talking about it.

As everyone who reads this knows, I have had a hard time with the crop of LG candidates, that is, until Tim Murray officially joined the race. And I was not disappointed Thursday night. He did a great job and gave a good presentation. Second place goes to Andrea Silbert who, while she isn't my candidate for LG, would be a good cabinet choice. And the microphone problems actually HELPED Sam Kelly who dealt with it with grace, ease and aplomb. He's become a better speaker.

Then there were the gubernatorial candidates. The Brigades organizers, while not backing a horse in this race, are politically savvy. If Deval Patrick had spoken first, the room would have cleared and the rest of the candidates would have been speaking to their advance people. As it was, Tom Reilly did a good job (another example of opposition improving someone's candidacy) but when DP concluded the evening with ANOTHER FABULOUS PRESENTATION SAYING NEW THINGS I HAD NEVER HEARD BEFORE the spontaneous standing O was a sight to behold. As Wes Flinn has pointed out, the DP partisans were on the feet when he WENT to the podium. By the time Deval finished, only those recovering from hip replacement surgery had failed to rise to their feet! BELIEVE AGAIN. that's the message.

Well, back to Medicare D.....DONT GET ME STARTED!

Friday, January 06, 2006


No, I'm not going to tell you how I spent NYE....well, maybe I should. I worked all day from home trying to enroll the last few people in Medicare D....not the last few people who NEEDED enrolling, but the last few people I could get to before 2005 turned into a pumpkin. Then we opened a bottle of Veuve Cliquot that's been sitting around for a while, got a filet and some shrimp, and collapsed.

But realizing that this is the first post of 2006 I wanted to call your attention to Ellen Goodman's TERRIFIC column today in the Boston Globe entitled "Desperate Ex-Housewives." The immediate focus is on a woman who 25 years ago wrote an op-ed in the Times bemoaning all those career women and making the case for staying home. Her 'update" this year tells about being handed her walking papers by hubby on their 40th anniversary and having an income that may make her eligible for food stamps.

Goodman writes that she's an embedded reporter in the mommy wars, and that, having traded depression for stress, would do the same today. You go, girl! It IS stressful trying to earn a living and raise kids, even in a two-income, two-parent household, and my friends who did it, and do it, on their own are even more zonkers. But they know that there's only ONE bossman to worry about, not two. And even in intact marriages, it's easier to find your voice when you at least pay the grocery bill. The way to a man's heart and all that....

I hope that the Gen X & Y 'ers will remember that when they think that a Supreme Court nomination can't have an impact on their lives. It has, and it will and it could.

Happy New Year.