Friday, April 30, 2010

Something about light, tunnel

as reported in the local paper...

April 30, 2010
NEW BEDFORD — The developers of the newly approved Cape Wind project are eyeing New Bedford as one of two possible home ports for the wind farm, a project official confirmed yesterday.

"We're taking a very close and interested look in New Bedford," said Mark Rodgers, communications director for Cape Wind.

The other port under consideration is Quonset Point in Rhode Island, according to Rodgers.

The proposal by Cape Wind Associates LLC to build 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound was approved Wednesday by U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Rodgers said project officials had considered about six ports and had originally intended to use Quonset Point.

However, over the past two years, the developers have become more and more interested in New Bedford, he said.

"Part of it is just that it's closer, part of it is that it's nice that it's in Massachusetts since the project will be offshore Massachusetts," Rodgers said. "And then part of it, again, comes down to the mayor's team, and them being really proactive and great people to work with."

Rodgers said New Bedford has a number of attributes that make it well suited to Cape Wind's needs, including a deep-water port, a good location that is in close physical proximity to the Cape Wind project, and an available work force.

Additionally, Rodgers said he was impressed with the way city officials such as Matthew Morrissey and Kristin Decas — economic development director and executive director of the Harbor Development Commission, respectively — are working to place the city ahead of important trends.

"They're ... trying to think long-term and how they can position New Bedford and the New Bedford waterfront to maximize its potential," he said.

A wind turbine has never fallen over, dumping 11 million gallons of oil into the ocean. I rescind the preceding nasties. Good luck, everybody.
Fair winds.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tourism Season

It's that time of the publishing year for full-page mentions of newspaper advertisers and free mentions of local politicians' efforts at blowing smoke up some neglected skirts. In a typically revisionist economics flurry of "tourism-centric" articles encouraging unwarranted self-congratulation among certain citizens, the Standard-Times has spent the past few days chronicling/enabling tourism-related credit-grabbing, including the scaffold-and-spackle adventure in room reclamation at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. "A $350K Art Gallery expansion":

Russell expects the space to display local fine and decorative art for at least the next few years. "You'll see less of a concentration on whaling materials and artifacts. It will concentrate more on the art that is produced in the area," he said.
Russell hopes the project will boost tourism and foot traffic in the downtown.

reports Dan McDonald. "Russell" is "James Russell," the President of the museum. (Yes, you can be President of a museum. Even if you weren't born in the museum. Take that, Birthers.)
Let's see. The museum up the street paints its walls and puts up a new exhibit every three months and nobody ever sends two reporters to cover that. And that place actually says "Art Museum" on the door.
All of New Bedford knows that the foot traffic in the section of downtown New Bedford below Johnny Cake Hill has already been boosted to high parking anxiety levels by the Celtic Coffeehouse and any number of other new businesses that have opened, but if the NBWM wants the credit, let 'em. This is called spin, "favorable publicity which exploits certain media to bias key markets." Considered undignified due to teevee news, spin is now a required public relations tool of any organization that has a logo.
Or some municipalities entering an election cycle.
As a personal aside: It is truly a gratifying thing to see some public use made of a wonderful part of the museum in which I worked -- whose ancient dust scratched my cornea and whose preposterous shelving precipitated a wild and acrobatic hunt for a Helen Ellis woodcarving hidden behind William Rotch (Junior)'s divan.
In Senior Correspondent Steve Urbon's account yesterday,

"Motta said the renovation will provide another 1,800 feet of museum space without having to add anything to the building. The walls, he said, have the capacity to display some large paintings that today cannot be accommodated elsewhere in the museum."

Another watercolor of a sailboat heeling over. But look at them heels!"Accommodated." Hmm. It's not that items will be exhibited in any special gallery space, it's that items will be "accommodated" -- museum jargon for "stored" -- in a publicly-accessible "accomodation" space. See, it's not an exhibit, because an exhibit requires a curator, and a well-regarded professional curator (who was counting on that income, bitches) was recently informed that his services wouldn't be needed. "The staff wanted" to do it. Assuming that this is not the housekeeping or kitchen "staff," I trust that this "want" is the curatorial staff flexing its in-house curatorial muscle; I commend all enthusiastic job-wanting.
Ah, the enthusiasm in the Whaling City! (well, one of the Whaling Cities. Let's not gorget New London CT, Or the Whaling City that they'll invent for the movie.) New Bedford city councillors enthusiastically cut the budget, eliminating positions. Like the Tourism Director -- so that they can brag to the NO NEW SPENDING WE WANT JOBS crowd about having done so. It was a wild move perpetrated by illiterate short-sighted boneheads covering up for incompetent management, but that's old news. An interesting admission follows in a News Corporation-cleared Economic Development Council puff piece:

[city councillor Linda]Morad said she supported the council's cut last year to the tourism department budget as she did not agree with the approach Ann Marie Lopes, the then-tourism director, took to her role, nor did she agree with some of the ways in which the city was being advertised.
So eliminate the position becuase you don't like the employee in the position. In this case, I would have eliminated the clueless supervisor. And, umm, isn't Morad ON the NBEDC? Never mind. She bravely voted to ax the tourism budget rather than recuse herself due to a possible conflict of interest. Of course, there are something like, what, eight hundred members of the NBEDC according to their website, so I don't know who is. I only counted one dead guy on the roster, and several members who no longer have the titles noted.
It wasn't AHA!'s opportunity for mention. The NBEDC hates AHA! because AHA! harmonizes 60 business partners every month to present a product that attracts a thousand or more visitors to the downtown. The NBEDC attracts two or three businesses to New Bedford every year -- no mean feat but not the same as face-painting and free music every second Thursday. (Maybe if they affixed an exclamation point to their name.) Also, nobody at AHA! presents himself as the Emperor of AHA!, so it's hard for an over-worked under-paid lazy simple-minded correspondent to make one easy phone call to get a quote. As it stands, the lines of ego are finely drawn and AHA! was mentioned exactly no times in the Matt-centric article.Susan Hayward 'mans' the Wharfinger building. That'll bring some sport to the waterfront.But fear not, NBEDC! and others who rely on good-natured anonymous SouthCoasters of goodwill who encounter out-of-towners and voluntarily clear up universal misperceptions. At a recent Gateway Cities event, Summerfest -- New Bedford's famed folk festival -- had to be explained to an organizer who felt that New Bedford could be a great city if New Bedford only had a folk festival. Peter Golden, a columnist from the MetroWest -- which has recently adopted a midword capitalization -- has even noticed the SouthCoast, albeit in the context of a disturbing conflation:
Visitors may also head west, to Old Sturbridge Village, Historic Deerfield or even Northampton, which is kind of old, but which is so much fun no one really cares. Battleship Cove in New Bedford gets its share, too...

Of course, now that Battleship Cove is in New Bedford, Fall River can start to make some real money on its waterfront.
Enjoy New Bedford Tourism Promoters Season.It's officially begun.
And no, you can't get a permit to shoot them.

(This presentation includes photographs of Susan Hayward and Sandra Dee.)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

Funny that we call it earth when it's mostly water. I'm waving.Or plastic.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Exposed on The Cape

H.M.S. Somerset III has poked its futtocks up out of the sands of the Cape Cod National SeaShore near Provincetown MA, for the first time since 1973. According to a story located on entitled British Warship Paul Revere Eluded Resurfaces, the old hulk is somehow associated with Paul Revere. You remember Paul Revere, the Son of Liberty and copper-bender? "Two if by sea?"Of course you do. (And I do understand that the date of this entry is The Eighteenth of April.)
The headline of the article (the sub-head is "Wreckage From HMS Somerset III Unearthed By Storm Erosion," although I am not familiar with the journalism work of this "Storm Erosion") refers to the legend that Revere avoided the ship -- "slipped under the bow" -- and then became famous for William Dawes' famed midnight ride, but William P. Burke, Park Historian, says that "11 18-pound and five 9-pound cannon and powder were entrusted to Colonel Paul Revere to be used in fortifying Castle Island in Boston Harbor." So Colonel Revere didn't completely avoid the ship's cannons, after all. Charged with exposure near P-Town. Ouch.As is the custom with demolished relics located in or near a National Park, the National Park Service has promised to use its special 3-D imaging gadget (not to be confused with Phineas J. Whoopee's 3DBB) to record (or "preserve") something of the remains. But, of course, a few in Boston didn't notice the story because they were too busy shopping for tricorns (or trying to dress up like Paul Revere) so that they could go to the anti-government rally on the Boston Common and defile the memory of the actual patriots who fought for their lives and livelihoods and posterity.Me! My! Me! It's always the same with you people.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ready for my close-up, Mr. MelVille..."

''Say, 'Kraken!'''
from, sperm whales swimming with photographers off Dominica, the Caribbean.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

“Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.”-Thomas Jefferson

Still waiting for that one, Tom. But some of "the people" won't pay for libraries or schools.
This time of year, a lot of news stories -- even those from otherwise trustworthy sources -- open with the line "Nobody likes paying taxes..." As if this were a fully verified truth.
It is my patriotic duty to pay taxes. I find those who do not like paying taxes to be lazy derelicts and unpatriotic sociopaths who have no right to use my roads or services or take part in my democracy. Their sophistry about "not agreeing" with how the government spends their money is immoral and illiterate selfishness born of an intractable inability to think of others.
Today, these unfortunate fringe are given far more credence than their weightless palaver deserves, but they fill our teevee screens and radiowaves. They huddle in bunches, denying the most basic tenets of this nation, but since they can see only each other and hear their own words echoing back, they mistake those numbers for "majority," even in the face of crushing defeats at the ballot box -- and the embarrassment of their fellow citizens.
But there are still citizens of this nation who act as true patriots.
Who find them to be nothing but sickening.
from NPR:

Marnie Thompson defies the conventional wisdom that wealthy people don't like taxes.
She's on a public relations and lobbying campaign to see her own taxes go up.
"I'm proud to pay my taxes; it's a hallmark of democracy," says Thompson, the daughter of a wealthy businessman who gave $5 million she would have inherited to found a charity.
"As a wealthy person, I want you to tax me more," she writes to her elected officials.
And, more than likely, she'll get her wish.
Raising Taxes For The Wealthy
The series of tax cuts the Bush administration enacted in 2001 is set to expire at the end of the year. Income taxes for households with incomes over $250,000 (or $200,000 for single people) will go up, although Congress is expected to extend the cuts for those making less.
Dividend taxes, which had been cut to 15 percent, will very likely also increase, although it's not clear whether they will revert to the previous top rate of 39.5 percent. Likewise, estate taxes for the wealthiest Americans are also likely to increase. In addition, taxes to pay for the new health care legislation are likely to add to the tax bill.
If you ask Jeffrey Hollender, who along with Thompson is a member of the Responsible Wealth project, all of those cuts should go away because they primarily benefit the richest, like him.
"I do feel that I should pay more taxes — absolutely," Hollender says. "While I don't like how the government spends the money I give them, I do feel that I pay too little."

By the way, the "charity" that Marnie founded is The Fund 4 Democratic Communities.

The Fund was founded in 2007 by Marnie Thompson and Ed Whitfield, two longtime community activists in Greensboro, N.C., with a strong belief in the power of ordinary people in neighborhoods, workplaces and other communities to figure out and solve their own problems when given an opportunity to put their heads together and hear the diverse voices of all involved.

After committing decades of her life's work to this belief, Marnie further committed her inheritance to it, establishing this foundation with a bequest from the estate of her father, the late W. Hayden Thompson, who built his wealth through his gas-fired burner business and diverse investments.

The funding began arriving in late 2007, and the balance is to be turned over to the Fund over the next five years. By 2013, our financial assets are expected to total around $5 million. By the standards of conventional philanthropy, that makes us a "small foundation." We're eager to see what this "small" amount of money can do, when it is joined with the power of people working together in democratic communities.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Donning the Wool

In its strictest sense, this feature should honor or commemorate someone who can be found portraying an historical figure (or amalgam of individuals of a given epoch or setting), most likely in a school room or heritage site.
Not actors, but rather those historians who endure bratty schoolkids and insipid tourists who may not be entertained or edified. These personators rarely enjoy the benefits of trailer or assistants. And often without recognition from the public or from peers.
In other words; not Paul Giamatti.
However, the idea of working six months out of the year to bring a historical figure to others is a noble one, whether you're in stinky wool or a confortable stage set.
Such a one was Eddie Carroll.
Eddie will be probably best remembered for his voice work portraying the de facto human spirit of Walt Disney, Inc.:

But Eddie also portrayed a figure that's not so familiar anymore. Lost in the celebrity flood of the last few decades, Jack Benny -- once a show-biz icon -- is a longlost relic of a time when radio was actually entertaining and even the mean guys were likeable. So likeable, in fact, that he's on a stamp. And probably only known to toiday's audiences through the work of Edie Carroll.

Eddie died last Tuesday. You can read more about here on on his site.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Moby wants to speak with you about meat...

A book. By Moby. I'm pretty sure there's no whale.
I just read an interview with former "pretentious philosophy student" Moby, as he discussed his latest project: Gristle From Factory Farms to Food Safety (Thinking Twice About the Meat We Eat).
Working with Miyun Park (Executive Director of Global Animal Partnership), Moby is one of the growing number of vegan and vegetarian celebrities who've taken their cases to larger and more literate courts. If you thrilled to the omnivorous exploits of Michael Pollan (Michael J Fox's foodie brother-in-law), you'll recognize that these are not the sorts who toss red paint at mink stoles or even pose nude for PETA. (Not that there's anything wrong with that. Ms. Silverstone walks it like she talks it. Even when laying down.) Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Moby and Park are prepared to engage a wider audience, not just preach to "the choir," the animal lovers and trendsters who are dabbling through their "I don't eat anything with a face" phase.
I live on a former dairy farm. My neighbors do as well, since the original acreage was, of course, divided and subdivided. Here on this stretch of The Beach, many tracts were fields once full of beeves and Bossies for the production of burgers, butter and ice cream. These farms were family operations; they knew their livestock (some maybe by by name) and were as considerate of the animals' welfare as any Yankee can be about any investment. The estate continues to use the old wooden structure, and it could still operate as a heifer facility.
I know a fellow who grows local grass-fed beef, and since he sells the meat around hereabouts, he's part of the local economy. He doesn't seem to be a cigar-chomping tycoon, but the agribusinessmen who are charged with stocking our supermarket freezer cases and butcher department displays are different, as the motion picture Food Inc pointed out:

Moby's new book addresses the effects of factory farming and "how" says he, "it destroys communities, and workers, and animals, and carnivores. and how it’s subsidized every year by $50,000,000,000 of our tax dollars." I'm looking forward to reading this collection of essays. It'll be released tomorrow.
While we're on the subject: March was National Nutrition Month, and the American Dietetic Association has a great deal of information for those interested a vegetarian lifestyle, or those devoted to simply subverting the military-agricultural complex.
Although I'm pretty sure that that's not how they would put it.
(This presentation features an advertisement featuring Alicia Silverstone.)