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Since the Dilly, Dally, Delay & Stall Law Firms are adding their billable hours, the Toyota U.S.A. and Route 44 Toyota posts have been separated here:

Route 44 Toyota Sold Me A Lemon

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Deja Vu all over again

When Middleboro was seeking a new Town Manager, a search committee composed of former Selectmen included Mr. D'Agostino in their final selection, failing to research the trail of discord and dissension left in his wake in Mansfield.

In his current position as Town Manager in Abington, Mr. D'Agostino's conduct is both unprofessional and childish.

Middleboro made a wise choice! OPINION: Time to ‘emancipate’ Abington town manager

Oh, where is Abraham Lincoln when a poor town official needs him.

“Lincoln freed the slaves, it’s called the Emancipation Proclamation,” D’Agostino said – later apologizing for the “slave” comments.

Abington residents should thank their unhappy town manager for the history lesson and the stunning display of offensive language and arrogance.

Slavery? Emancipation Proclamation?

Is D’Agostino joking? Local officials all had praise for his work and said they would have liked to pay him more, but Abington, like many communities, has serious financial problems.
We say “emancipate” D’Agostino – as soon as possible.

If people want to know why Abington Town Manager John D’Agostino hasn’t received many pay raises in the last few years, all they have to do is read the letter he wrote to the chairman of the Board of Selectmen Wednesday.

The letter, requesting permission to seek a job elsewhere, is riddled with grammatical errors, is confusing and contradictory and bears all the earmarks of having been banged out in anger. That’s somewhat strange since D’Agostino has violated his contract and only wrote the letter because local officials learned from the media that D’Agostino was planning an escape from town before his contract is up in 2013.

The letter is a serious breach of faith between D’Agostino and the residents of Abington and quite disappointing. Based on the letter and D’Agostino’s comments to The Enterprise, Abington should gladly let him break his contract and leave so someone with integrity and commitment can take over the post of town manager.

The trouble started recently when D’Agostino’s name turned up as a semi-finalist for the post of city manager in Key West, Fla. D’Agostino said it’s “unfair” that he “can’t test the value of my worth” while he works in Abington.

Amazingly, D’Agostino said he wasn’t aware that it was a violation of his contract to look for another job while working in Abington, even though he signed a contract that says he “may not actively seek employment during the term of this agreement without the written consent of the town.”

Can it be any more clear? D’Agostino signed on for three years, and he now makes more than $120,000 per year. We don’t believe for a minute that he didn’t know his contract forbids seeking employment elsewhere without permission. Didn’t he read his own contract when he took the Abington job?

But D’Agostino isn’t going to be “a slave for the town of Abington,” as he told us. Well, how about just doing the job you’re paid to do?

D’Agostino said town officials have ignored his hard work as town manager and didn’t give him enough in salary increases. At least we think that’s what he said. His letter to selectmen Chairman Chris Aiello makes no sense at times.

But D’Agostino was crystal clear when he talked to our reporter after sending the letter to Aiello. He wants more money and isn’t going to be anyone’s “slave,” as he put it – not even at $120K per year.

Read more:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Just as We Suspected: Florida Saved Nothing by Drug Testing Welfare

And so my Republican friends, instead of pursuing a losing cause, how about tackling CORPORATE WELFARE?

Just as We Suspected: Florida Saved Nothing by Drug Testing Welfare

Last year Florida became the first state to pass and fully implement a bill mandating
suspicionless drug testing of all applicants
for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The law mandated that all applicants pay for the cost of the drug test themselves, and that they be reimbursed if their test came back negative. The law was in effect for a mere four months before the ACLU of Florida filed a lawsuit and a federal court blocked the law, saying it was unconstitutional.

Today the New York Times released the most comprehensive data yet on how the law
during the short period of time it was in effect. We already knew that the law was a failure; what we didn't know was just how much of a failure it was.

In the four months that Florida's law was in place, the state drug tested 4,086 TANF applicants.

A mere 108 individuals tested positive. To put it another way, only 2.6 percent of applicants tested positive for illegal drugs — a rate more than three times lower than the 8.13 percent of all Floridians, age 12 and up, estimated by the federal government to use illegaldrugs. Now might be a good time to remind folks that in the debate over the bill, Gov. Rick Scott argued that this law was necessary because, he said, welfare recipients used drugs at a higher rate than the general population.

The utter absurdity of this law is magnified when you realize how much it cost the state of Florida to run this program. The data released today shows that Florida spent $118,140 reimbursing the overwhelming number of Florida TANF applicants — 3,938 to be exact — who tested negative for drugs. That is far more than any money saved by the program, at a net cost to the State of over $45,000.

And that's only part of the cost to the state to run this program. There are also the administrative costs, staff costs, and, of course, the litigation costs. Furthermore, the testing program didn't deter individuals from applying for help — an internal document about TANF caseloads revealed that, at least from July through September, the policy did not lead to fewer cases.

Despite the complete failure of this program to unearth anything other than the fact that there is no overwhelming drug problem amongst welfare applicants, the state of Florida continues to defend this law. And unfortunately, other states have followed Florida's ill-informed lead. Over
25 states introduced welfare drug testing legislation this year
. You'd think that the court rulings and high costs might have logically stopped these bills, but they have not. In fact, just this Monday, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill into law that is very similar to Florida's,
mandating all TANF applicants in Georgia be drug tested before being eligible to receive benefits.

As long as states keep fighting to pass and keep these unconstitutional and costly programs in place, the ACLU will be there to keep fighting back.

(Originally posted on Huffington Post.)
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post stated that TANF
recipients were reimbursed for the cost of the drug test if the result was
positive. That was incorrect. They are reimbursed if the result is negative.

Learn more about drug testing: Sign up for breaking news alerts

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Stop the Nuclear Industry Welfare Program

Based solely on the economics, it's time to re-think our flawed Energy Policy and its excessive taxpayer cost.

'Wealthy nuclear corporations recently secured access to $18.5bn in taxpayer-backed loan guarantees.'

Stop the Nuclear Industry Welfare Program
By Bernie Sanders and Ryan Alexander, Reader Supported News
13 April 12

The US is facing a $15 trillion national debt, and there is no shortage of opinions about how to move toward deficit reduction in the federal budget. One topic you will not hear discussed very often on Capitol Hill is the idea of ending one of the oldest American welfare programmes – the extraordinary amount of corporate welfare going to the nuclear energy industry.

Many in Congress talk of getting "big government off the back of private industry". Here's an industry we'd like to get off the backs of the taxpayers.

As, respectively, a senator who is the longest-serving independent in Congress and the president of an independent and non-partisan budget watchdog organisation, we do not necessarily agree on everything when it comes to energy and budget policy in the US. But one thing we strongly agree on is the need to end wasteful subsidies that prop up the nuclear industry. After 60 years, this industry should not require continued and massive corporate welfare. It is time for the nuclear power industry to stand on its own two feet.

Nuclear welfare started with research and development. According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, since 1948 the federal government has spent more than $95bn (in 2011 dollars) on nuclear energy research and development (R&D). That is more than four times the amount spent on solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, biofuels, and hydropower combined. But federal R&D was not enough; the industry also wanted federal liability insurance too, which it got back in 1957 with the Price-Anderson Act. This federal liability insurance programme for nuclear plants was meant to be temporary, but Congress repeatedly extended it, most recently through 2025. Price-Anderson puts taxpayers on the hook for losses that exceed $12. 6bn if there is a nuclear plant disaster. When government estimates show the cost for such a disaster could reach $720bn in property damage alone, that's one sweetheart deal for the nuclear industry!

R&D and Price-Anderson insurance are still just the tip of the iceberg. From tax breaks for uranium mining and loan guarantees for uranium enrichment to special depreciation benefits and lucrative federal tax breaks for every kilowatt hour from new plants, nuclear is heavily subsidised at every phase. The industry also bilks taxpayers when plants close down with tax breaks for decommissioning plants. Further, it is estimated that the cost to taxpayers for the disposal of radioactive nuclear waste could be as much as $100bn.

Even with all of those subsidies, the private sector still will not agree to finance a new nuclear plant, so wealthy nuclear corporations recently secured access to $18.5bn in taxpayer-backed loan guarantees. Maybe the Wall Street banks agree with the Congressional Budget Office, which estimated the risk of default on nuclear loans at above 50%. The nuclear industry's financial troubles are not new. In the 1960s and 1970s, 100 reactors were cancelled because of cost overruns. Things were so bad Forbes called it "the largest managerial disaster in business history". Despite this history, some want to dramatically increase federal loan guarantees for nuclear plants.

It is shocking that the nuclear industry continues to receive so much federal support at a time of record debt. Of course nuclear subsidies benefit some of the wealthiest and most powerful energy corporations in America, which may explain the persistence of nuclear welfare. For example, Exelon, which takes in $33bn in revenue annually, is the leading operator/owner of nuclear reactors in the US. Entergy [owner of Pilgrim], with revenues of more than $11bn annually, is the second largest. Together, these two companies own or operate almost one-third of US reactors, and based on their revenue they are doing pretty well. Why do they need endless federal welfare for their industry year after year? Will it ever end?

Well, as secretary of energy Steven Chu confirmed at a recent Senate hearing, without federal liability insurance and loan guarantees, no one would ever build a new nuclear plant. Whether you support nuclear energy or not, we should all be able to agree that with record debt, we cannot afford to continue to subsidise this mature industry and its multibillion-dollar corporations. If the nuclear industry believes so fervently in its technology, then it and Wall Street investors can put their money where their mouth is. Let's let them finance it, insure it, and pay for it themselves.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

"Fuzzy Math" for President!

In the not so distant past, Middleboro had a town manager whose middle name was 'Fuzzy Math.'

It might seem that those residents who applauded "Fuzzy Math" will love Willard for President!

Even FAUX news couldn't explain the math.

FACT CHECK: Romney's skewed case on women's jobs

WASHINGTON – Mitt Romney has come up with an "amazing statistic" and Republicans inside and outside his presidential campaign are doing their utmost to spread it around: "92.3 percent of all the jobs lost during the Obama years have been lost by women."

Read more:

Sunday, April 8, 2012

In Monson, an Easter study of hope and resurrection for tornado-damaged church

Sent to me by Emma Ladd Shepherd --

click on the link for a photo of the church after the tornado

In Monson, an Easter study of hope and resurrection for tornado-damaged church
Published: Sunday, April 08, 2012, By Tom Shea

On a Sunday morning, 90 minutes before he is to take to the pulpit for the 10 o’clock service, Bob Price will once again read his work, this time in a near-empty church. Maybe a deacon, or the choir between songs of a rehearsal, will hear it before he delivers to the entire congregation what he hopes is a blend of the instructional, the informational and the inspirational.

“Easter and Christmas are the most challenging days to give sermons,” Bob says. “I have a rabbi friend who, in referring to Passover and the High Holy Days, says the hard part is speaking to the worshipers, the faithful, who hear a sermon every week, and the tourists. You want to inspire those who come every week, but you always want to say something to spark those who only come to church twice a year. So there is a little more pressure.”

Bob says this without any hint of stress, in a voice that is Brian Williams-NBC Nightly News - clear, a lovely instrument that sometimes hints at roots in Arkansas, where he graduated from Little Rock Central High School; he was a freshman during the year of its landmark desegregation.

He was once the sports director of the Columbia University campus radio station, calling football, basketball and baseball games. In the 1960’s, he even produced Holyoke’s Archie Roberts’ quarterback post-game football show. Bob was a chemistry major and believes he might still hold the school record for breaking calibrated mercury thermometers. He would become the official scorer at University of Massachusetts home basketball games. He considered a career in sports broadcasting. But God had other plans.

Bob is 68. He has been a professor at Springfield College for 33 years. This semester he is teaching introductions to the Old and New Testament; Religion in America; and Spirituality and Healing.

He is also the interim pastor at the First Church of Monson. “Pinch-hitting,” he says, for the Rev. Bob Marrone, who is on a three-month sabbatical.

First Church, crowning the hill that once overlooked a green and bustling downtown, had its white steeple knocked from the sky by the June 1 tornadoes’ unforgiving might. Suddenly the vantage point for viewing a devastated downtown through which the storm plowed before heading over the hill to crash through Brimfield, the church quickly became the town’s epicenter, headquarters for information, water, food, clothing, guidance and sunblock.

Bob was in Chicago when the storms hit, on his way home from his 50th high school reunion. He called his wife Barbara to update her on his flight details. She told him a tornado was twisting through town.

“When?” he asked.

“Now,” she answered.

When Bob came home he walked the town with heartache in every step. The house and neighborhood in the town he’s lived in since 1984 were undamaged. But he has friends that did not miss the tornado’s path. In Arkansas, he learned of tornadoes’ lack of conscience or mercy. When his mother-in-law, Emma Ladd Shepherd asked if he was interested in volunteering with First Church’s relief efforts, he hardly took a breath before he said yes.

Six months later, when the church needed an interim pastor, a member of the search committee asked Bob if he was interested in serving for March, April, and May. Again, he consented.

The man called “Doctor Bob” by his students, “Doc” by his three step-children, “Grampy Doc” by his grandchildren, “Reverend Price” or “Pastor Bob” by congregants is a retired elder in the United Methodist Church. From 1984 to 1991, he was a pastor in Monson. He also was a pastor in Ludlow in the early 1990s, and with his late wife, Janice, pastored in Greenfield and Leyden in the second half of the decade. He was an interim pastor at Springfield’s Old First Church in 2001.

With a science degree from Columbia, he had walked across the street from the school and entered the Union Theological Seminary in 1965. It was in his second year he took homiletics, learning the construction and soul of a sermon. He delivered his first 45 years ago at Henderson Methodist, the Little Rock church in which he was raised.

His sermons can have their roots in the Gospel of John or the letters of Paul, and, over and over again, in the words of Jesus. They are sometimes influenced by the commentary of Luther or Calvin. A remark by a student or a song on the radio can offer a needed turn of a phrase or a different way to deliver the Christ-centered message Bob is trying to stress.

When we talk, he hasn’t written a word of his Easter sermon, but has a pretty good idea it will take those three hours to write, fill those 11 triple-spaced pages, and takes those 15 or 16 minutes to deliver.

His theme for Easter Sunday, for those in this town or anywhere: the resurrection, the hope and promise of it in all its forms.