Bob Massie

Figuring This Thing Out – Plus A Great Video — and Some Action Steps

In Politics on February 4, 2009 at 4:21 pm

One of the pieces of advice I have read about writing a blog is that one should keep it fresh – write something regularly, everyone says, or people will give up on you.

“No problem,” I thought, “I have tons to say.” And that is true. Except that over the last two weeks I have written some really great blogs in my head, and none that have made it on to the cyberpage. I am still prone to “writing-the-perfect-piece-for-a-finicky-magazine-editor” syndrome rather than “blurt-it-out-the-way-you-do-emails-and-at-dinner-parties.”

(Not that I am invited to that many dinner parties. Hummh…..)

The other piece of advice that people seem to give is 1) have a clear focus for your blog and 2) keep your postings short. I must admit that I am pretty far away from the first one because I am interested in a lot of things. I think it is going to take another 50 or 60 posts before I find my clearest voice.

I am also fighting a lot of battles, and I am not quite sure which ones would be of interest to a wider group. I guess the answer is – we’ll find out. And I am struggling with the inevitable ups and downs of disease, which means that the ideas I have in the morning tend to disappear when I get groggy in the afternoon.

But here’s my current promise: I am going to write at least once a week, and hopefully twice. I think I might be able to pull off a posting on Monday and again on Thursday. I haven’t been able to figure out how to attach a Feedburner box to this site to that people can sign up to be notified about new things. I think you can do an RSS feed on your browser (you can check on me) but until I figure out this Feedburner thing, I can’t notify you. I will get it eventually…

Finally, I think I need to stop thinking about the “carefully reasoned 1,000 word essay” as the right model. Instead I am going to shoot for: an interesting alert of things that are part of my “View of the World from Sycamore Street” And maybe make it 300-500 words long.

plus “super brief commentary on public events”

plus “great quotes from books I am reading that seem relevant to today”

plus “requests for action or advice”

plus the aforementioned essays, thoughtfully reasoned or not.

I will get the hang of this! My mother, quoting someone whose name is lost to me, has often said that “success in writing is directly proportional to the amount of time the bottom is applied to the chair.” And since I am mostly writing from bed, I should have some eventual success (whatever “success” might be). In the meantime, we are in the midst of an increasingly painful battle in Massachusetts as our otherwise excellent governor, Deval Patrick, goes down the awful and irrevocable road of bringing slot machines into this state as a quick fix for the state’s stark financial problems. Of course, he could raise the gas tax a few cents, because gasoline is down more than $2.00 from last summer.

Unfortunately his important aspirations in other areas (education, health care) have blinded him to the human problems of addiction. So we are taking some steps to help him and the others in the legislature see. I know that most people haven’t been thinking about this – that’s okay. This is one of those problems that creeps up on you. Or, to be blunt, is snuck by you as huge, secretive money interests knock off one state after another. It is the sleeper social justice issue of the next few years. I strongly recommend that you watch this amazing video.

There are also some wonderful things on Facebook, such as “Stop the Swindle” – check that out and sign up. Also, check out – parts of the site are somewhat dated from the battle last March, but now that Speaker of Massachusetts Sal DiMasi has been pushed out of office and has been replaced by a pro-slots state rep, the battle is much tougher.

If you want to call Governor Deval Patrick’s office, please do 617-725-4005. It takes literally one minute. But in politics every phone call is assumed to equal 100 people. Please don’t put this off. They may try to ram this through quickly. In Pennsylvania, the vote was taken at midnight on the 4th of July on a voice vote — under a Democratic governor and legislature.

If you live in Massachusetts, please also call your state rep and state senator. Remember Alice’s restaurant – if they hear from three people, it’s a movement!

Here’s a list of State Reps and Senators.

And here’s how to find out who your rep is, if you don’t know.

I will be writing a more thoughtful and reasoned essay on this in a while (surprise) – indeed I will probably writing more than one — but right now, I wanted you to know: I am still out here, I would love to hear from you.

I thank you for everything you are already doing in your busy life!


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