Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Apparently Schlitz used to be delicious beer, but "fell victim to the industry trend in the 1970s when breweries accelerated the brewing process and used cheaper ingredients – all with the goal of cutting costs." Which I am guessing is part of the reason so many American beers suck.

But in a sign of good times to come, Schlitz decided to go back to the old formula it used from decades back. However, like NASA's moon plans, the original recipe had been lost and/or destroyed. Hope was ebbing as people worried they may never again taste the delicious 60's Schlitz.

But fear not. "Schlitz brewmaster Bob Newman needed to interview people who were Schlitz brewers back in the day to re-create the formula: “He literally sat for hours on the phone, talking to these guys.”"

Now its back baby.

So the new Schlitz is the old Schlitz, and it’s being rolled out in locations in Boston and other watering holes in Eastern Massachusetts. Wortham says the price will be comparable to Bud (an actual increase, believe it or not, from the bargain-basement prices that Schlitz used to sell for). A ceremonial delivery is planned for Thursday at 4 p.m. at the Eire Pub in Dorchester to herald the formula’s return to the Boston market.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Vikki Backs Kirk?

Boston Globe reports that Vicki Kennedy, along with Patrick and Joe, have expressed support for Paul Kirk (Kennedy "family friend", former DNC, oversees JFK Library) for late Sen Kennedy's seat.

Meanwhile Huffington Post reports, going off a Fox News scoop, that Patrick has chosen Paul Kirk.

It leads me to believe that Governor Patrick's office may have intentionally leaked the news that Vicki Kennedy wants Kirk (the lead headline on the Globe's website for more than an hour is "Victoria Kennedy Backs Kirk"). Thus the people of the Commonwealth can sit on this for a while and let it saturate into the news; perhaps a day or two ahead of Gov Patrick actually making the appointment.

Why ? My guess is because a string of governors (Blagojavich, Paterson) have fumbled with Senate appointments and Patrick, with low approval numbers and an election next year, wants to avoid any misteps. So let the people of Massachusetts first know that Vicki Kennedy, who is immensely popular and adored and a close connection to the late Ted, prefers Kirk. Then a day or two later when Patrick appoints Kirk it is seen as being done with the blessing of the beloved Vicki, so everyone (minus angry Republicans) is happy and can focus on other things.

How is this man not more popular?

From the NYT CityRoom:

Gov. David A. Paterson showed up to a meeting of state leaders meeting on Wednesday morning determined to trim the budget, but there was one immediate trim that everyone noticed: his mustache.

...It remains to be seen whether the clean-shaven look will improve the governor’s standing in the polls, or with President Obama and his administration.


The governor, answering questions after he met with state leaders to discuss the budget, was first asked what happened to his mustache.

“Additional deficit means additional cutting,” he said, “and it’s likely before the end of this process you will see me bald.”

Friday, July 24, 2009

He Did Act Stupidly

Was the arrest of Henry Gates Louis, Jr. by Cambridge police an act of racial profiling? That remains to be seen, and I think is actually not the crux of the case here.

The officer is speaking to Boston media outlets defending himself; it was noted that he performed CPR on Reggie Lewis once (performing CPR on a black person makes you not racist?) and taught a course on racial profiling.

I would be pissed if I were Professor Gates for getting hassled for walking into your own home. So his anger is understandable. And his belief that the thus-far anonymous phone call to the police about a black man breaking into a house was probably a case of racism.

But here is the core of it. Once it became clear that Professor Gates owned that house, that it was not breaking and entering, the police should have apologized and left. Instead, Gates was arrested for "disorderly conduct" because he was an asshole to a police office? That is inexcusable. The Cambridge police did act stupidly, as President Obama noted. Not to single out this specific incident or officer; but I'm sure many of us have experience with police officers who act like assholes or act above the law, and fuck with everyday citizens. Well this could have been an outstanding officer, as it has said, but arresting someone in their own home for yelling at you is wrong. Being an asshole is not a crime. If it was, Sgt Crowley would be in jail.

Similar sentiments at Thomas Jefferson St Blog

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Recent study shows in England that journalists/media workers are the biggest drinkers (by profession) "consuming the equivalent of more than four bottles of wine or more than 19 pints of beer a week, according to government research."

I'm not surprised; since the British are becoming more and more known for excessive drinking (most notably British tourists.) But is it excessive? I suppose if they are binge drinking, then it is. But if they are just enjoying wine with meals and a few beers after work, what's the problem with that? I am personally in favor of returning to the good old days of the three-martini lunch; which is almost a hark back to more leisurely days in this country (or so I heard).

prop 8

so it appears that the california supreme court will rule today on the validity of proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in california

and as someone who is a proponent of gay marriage, the case nonetheless represents an interesting gray area; as im not sure there is a strong case for overturning it since it was a statewide proposition. its one of those interesting cases in which you have a position (for gay marriage) but not sure whether the case itself has any legal grounding.

i guess the question would have to be the intricacies of the california legal system, which i am not familiar with. it seems to me that the original supreme court case which ruled gay marriage was legal was an interpretation of the state constitution; and for that to be overturned it would have to be done so via a constitutional amendment, not a voter proposition (in MA when gay marraige was ruled legal, the opposition went straight for a constituional amendment). But that seems a bit too easy so who knows. from what I read it looks like the supreme court isnt likely to overturn the proposition.

the silver lining if that happens is that, according to a recent study, Massachusetts has benefited enormously over the last five years (since gay marriage was rule legal) as huge swaths of what they call the "creative class" have flocked to the bay state and contributed substantially to our economy and culture. California might siphon that off from us and we dont want that.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hot Day in Beantown

I had lunch today in the Public Gardens, which was nice. Its about 90 degrees outside, a fine day for the end of May.

I am finally done with the semester, and look forward to an enjoyable summer. I am working at ICI 20 hours a week and need a job to supplement that income. I also want to try to do more in and around Boston and get to know the city better. I also want to write more; both for the novel and the sitcom. And I have a secondary blog (to be posted) about trying something new every week here in Boston; with Renee doing the same in Chicago.

It is Thursday. That is all I can think of now.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Why Obama, why?

Paul Krugman blogs about the one sided debate in the media when it comes to the stimulus plan; that is to say, the media systematically excludes a specific view point (this being that the stimulus was too small) and overwhelms with people from the other side (it was too big). They did this with the Iraq War too

This can also be applied to advocates of a single payer health care plan (which most Americans support). According to FAIR “the views of advocates of single payer have only been aired five times in the hundreds of major newspaper, broadcasts and cable stories about healthcare reform over the past week. No single-payer advocate has appeared on a major TV broadcast or cable network to talk about the policy during that period.”

Also Max Baucus said with health care reform “all options are on the table” EXCEPT for single payer, taking the unusual step of specifically ruling that out. Lastly at the President’s health care summit, Obama refused to invite Rep John Conyers and Physicians for a National Health Program; both of whom advocate single payer, until they threatened to stage a protest outside the White House and finally received invitations at the last minute. The insurance companies had no such problems getting in.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Tonight I met Howard Zinn, and last week I met Noam Chomsky. What a week. What a week indeed. Here's to that.

Rather than describe the profound affect that both Chomsky and Zinn have had on my life politically, intellectually and most importantly, morally... something that would take dedication to describe and not important for the moment. And rather than detail the profound significance of having the rare opportunity to meet not one, but two of my heroes; which is connected to the first subtopic. I'd rather aptly describe both encounters in order to record for my own memory.

Wednesday, January 21st 2009 I went to a teach in at the Palestine Cultural Center in Allston. The event was headlined by Noam Chomsky; who, with a few other speakers, was seeking to educate and enlighten on the current US/Israeli assault on the Palestinian people living in the Gaza Strip.

The only other time I tried to see Noam Chomsky speak was when I was an undegrad. With several friends, I drove about an hour and a half (including getting lost) from Syracuse to Binghamtown, NY. Because it was in the middle of upstate New York, I didnt expect a crowd. Instead the auditorium was overflowing past capacity, including every aisle filled with people. An adjacent auditorium, which was just showing a video feed of him speaking, was also overflowing. we could not get into either. It was disappointing.

The talk on Gaza, on 1/21/09, was informative and helpful; a description which does no justice to Prof Chomsky, but is lacking in detail because a proper description would warrant a book. And he has many, which I recommend.

Afterward every left and Prof Chomsky wandered over to talk to someone, and a few people went to greet him, have their pic taken and see about an autograph. I rushed over realizing I could be one of the few. One of his handlers was rushing him off but I was able to quickly meet him and get a picture with, in my opinion, one of the greatest people of all time.

Friday, January 30th, was when I met Howard Zinn. He was speaking at an event called "Voices of Gaza" in Cambridge, incidentally headlining with a wonderful professor of mine, Leila Farsakh.

There was a lack of seats when I came (due to a crowd) and I ended up being seated behind the speakers podium, facing the audience. It was odd but a great location.

There were many wonderful speakers. Professor Farsakh, who just returned from a visit to the West Bank, read a beautiful poem, which I will return to.

Professor Zinn was the last speaker, who rose to a standing ovation. He spoke of the importance and role of artists, social critics and intellectuals in society, revealing and magnifying the injustices we may be blind to. He recited e.e. cummings and read from Dalton Trumbone's "Johnny Got His Gun". He spoke of injustice, and truth and promise. Its difficult to describe if not familiar with Zinn.

As the event ended a friend and I race up to Zinn. She spoke first, shaking his hand and speaking to him briefly about her love of his work. Then I got a chance to do something I did not get a chance to do with Chomsky.

I said, "Professor Zinn, my name is Kevin and I just wanted to shake your hand." And I did.

I cant really describe how that felt. It was like meeting Nelson Mandela or Mohatma Ghandi. It was that big for me. It was overwhelming.

And he was gracious and kind, and I told him how much I love his work and he was a major influence on my life. And I asked if he minded if I had a picture with him.


The theme in both of these encounters, unfortunately, is that they rose amidst tragedy in Gaza. It has a lot to do with what I admire about both men.

There is, right now, whats was coinied "politicide" by an Israeli scholar, being waged upon the Palestinian people, "a gradual but systematic attempt to cause their annihilation as an independent political and social entity." There is unspeakable death, destruction, humiliation amidst a brutal and inhumane occupation that none dare speak of in the United States; lets they be labeled "anti-semetic" for questioning Israeli policy.

I wont go into the details of the particular assault on Gaza; ostensibly waged to fight Hamas rocketfire, which is indefensible and criminal in its own right. But Israel has occupied the West Bank and Gaza in a brutual occupation denying the most basic human rights since 1967. And worse, it has been annexing Palestinian land; forcing them from their land, bulldozing their homes, and building "Israeli only" colonies, connected by 'Israeli only" roads, correctly described as Apartheid. One speaker at the Voices of Gaza, a doctor, pointed out that Israelis bar Palestinians from digging wells for water on their own land so that Israelis can steal that water. On the West Bank Israelis take over 98% of the water, leaving Palestinians with less than 2%.

The west bank, of course, is worse. Over half of the people do not have daily access to food or water. It is collective punishment upon a civilian population and can only be described as a descent into a kind barbarism. And I should add at this point it is the United States that enables all of this, supports all of this, funds all of this; and stops anyone from trying to stop this. Every American (myself included) harbors responsibility.

Including Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn; two Jewish intellectuals who took time from their lives to speak out against the injustice and horror of the Israeli actions against the Palestinian people. Speaking out for the defenseless, speaking out against injustice, struggling for hope. Because as both men point out, we as American citizens have responsibility to stop the crimes of our own society and our own government; including its support and arming of the Israeli occupation.

Turning back to the poem read by Professor Farsakh, it was particularly moving for a few reasons. ALthough it was about Palestine, it had a human universality that was relevant to all of our lives. And it was tragic, in that it spoke of a livilhood and nation being destroyed by American and Israeli policy. But hopeful, in that the struggle is not over and more can be done, and must be done. We are all humans, we all inhabit this planet and we are all mortal.

The poem is called "We have on this earth what makes life worth living" by Mahoud Darwish

We have on this earth what makes life worth living:
April’s hesitation
The aroma of bread at dawn
A woman’s opinion of men
The works of Aeschylus
The beginning of love
Grass on a stone
Mothers living on a flute’s sigh
The invaders’ fear of memories

We have on this earth what makes life worth living:
The final days of September
A woman leaving forty in full blossom
The hour of sunlight in prison
A cloud reflecting a swarm of creatures
The peoples’ applause for those who face death with a smile
The tyrants’ fear of songs.

We have on this earth what makes life worth living:
On this earth, the lady of earth,
Mother of all beginnings
Mother of all ends.
She was called… Palestine.
Her name later became… Palestine.

My Lady, because you are my Lady, I deserve life.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More Good News

Updates on stimulus package;

According to, yes, the NYT; the bill expands health care coverage for the unemployed; stating that if you are collecting unemployment, you are automatically elegible for Medicare.

Previously it was means/income tested, meaning it wasnt enough to be unemployed, you also had to be impoverished to be on Medicare. Thus a lot of people had to either enroll in Cobra (which costs a small fortune) or go without health insurance. As someone in that position, I ended up just going without health insurance for a while, which is a scary thing. Cobra is widely expensive.

So more good news for average people. Lets hope this bill passes

Good News

money money money money money money

Good news on some of the components of the economic stimulus package (as it currently stands.) According to today's New York Times, the bill will "shower the nation's school districts, child care centers and university campuses with $150 billion in new federal spending, a vast two-year investment that would more than double the Department of Education's current budget."

It goes on to note that the money will be spent "on nearly every realm of education, including school renovations, special education, Head Start and grants to needy college students" and that it would be " the largest increase in federal aid since Washington began to spend significantly on education after World War II."

"The bill would increase 2009 fiscal year spending on Title I, a program of specialized classroom efforts to help educate poor children, to $20 billion from about $14.5 billion, and raise spending on education for disabled children to $17 billion from $11 billion."

Not everyone is happy though. The right-wing American Enterprise Institute noted that "It's like an alcoholic at the end of the night when the bars close, and the solution is to open the bar for another hour".

Confused? A lot of Republicans want to eliminate the Department of Education and claim to be against government spending in general (which they really aren't, they are just against government spending on social services; if the government spends on military or hands money without strings to private business, for any reason, thats ok.) So they think its stupid that the Democrats' solution to our horrible education system is to just spend more money. Hence, its like giving an alcoholic more alcohol.

ANd they are partially right (although hypocritical, they will trip overthemselves to sign military spending increases). But we have a new education secretary Arne Duncan (I think?) who is going to direct this money, and regardless there is a lot of money for proven successful programs like Head Start which is badly lacking in funds.

Its a good measure.