Featuring the works and commentary of Andrew Bruss

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Capuano at odds with CNC on Sully Sq. project

The Boston Transportation Department has spent the past 18 months working with the community of Charlestown on a plan to redesign Sullivan Sq. to be more pedestrian friendly. After they completed their preliminary design, Representative Mike Capuano voiced his objections.

The BTD refused to speak with me about the story but once I told them I had a quote from Capuano that was at odds with their position, they were happy to provide a response. Funny the way things work out. Read all about it here...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Wikileaks Causing More Harm Than Good

Douchbag Of The Year
As the Andrew Bruss of Andrewbruss.com, I would like to publically disapprove of Wikileaks with extreme prejudice. While founder Julian Assange is right that American’s have the right to know what their government is up to, American’s do not have the right to know what top secret actions our government is taking. That's why they call them secret.

The Freedom Of Information Act provides Americans with unheard of access to government records, fiscal expenditures, and meeting minutes. But when the subject pertains to national security, the Supreme Court has ruled time and time again that American civilians are not entitled to classified information. Whether we’re talking about battlefield records or diplomatic communiqué’s, some things must remain secret from the American public in order to serve them best. You can disagree with this statement, but that doesn’t chance the statements legality.

But what to make of the content? While a great deal of the information that’s surfaced through the latest round of leaks is embarrassing, not much is surprising.

-       Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has been lobbying two presidents to strike Iran’s nuclear program.
-       Yemen’s President has been telling the Parliament that U.S. bombings against Al Quada forces were in fact Yemeni bombings.
-       Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton has continued a decades old program of utilizing U.S. embassies as de facto CIA bases.
-       Russian intelligence agencies have been relying on organized crime syndicates for operational assistance.
-       Iran smuggled weapons into Lebanon with the assistance of the Red Crescent
-       Russian officials consider Soviet-born Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman “one of them.        

Nothing declassified in the latest round of Wikileaks is too surprising. It’s what happens next that is of grave concern. World leaders from every international hot spot have had private, even embarrassing conversations with U.S. diplomats leaked. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was called “risk-adverse and uncreative,” and the gatekeepers of Mecca and Medina have been ousted as wanting to bomb Iran even more than the Israeli “Zionist regime” they hate so much.

The end result of these leaks will be an unprecedented distrust of U.S. diplomats. In a time where the first African-American president is working to use his overseas popularity to achieve a laundry list of progressive diplomatic initiatives, no good can come of these leaks. The only person who stands to benefit is Assange himself, and something tells me his days of flaunting the worlds only superpower are numbered.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Update: Bone not blondes but still top story

Now CNN.com is reporting that the bone is not Natalee Holloway's but the story is still holding the top slot while several articles pertaining to the conflict between the Korea's hovers beneath it.

At what point does the possible outbreak of a third world war take precedent over human remains that don't belong to a missing American girl?

Talk about needing to get your priorities straight...

Slain Blonde Bumps North Korean Agression From Headlines

The most serious armed conflict between North and South Korea since 1953 is underway, but CNN.com demoted this story in lue of news about Natalee Holloway. The 18 year-old Alabama native went missing in Aruba in 2005 and for the past five years everything about the beautiful blonde's whereabouts has been deemed front page news.

With all due respect to the pain and suffering experienced by the Holloway family, CNN's editorial department needs to check their fucking heads. Two South Korean sailors died in an artillery barrage fired by their whacked-out neighbors to the North, and the prospect of war appears closer than ever. Nearly 30,000 US soldiers are stationed in South Korea along the 38th Parallel and they would instantly be thrust into a full-scale conflict between nuclear powers that would likely cost thousands of lives. But CNN has given greater significance to the discovery of a piece of jawbone that might be Holloway's.

It's the job of the media to report on news of interest to their consumers, but more importantly, news of significance. As emotionally engulfed as people have have been over a sudden loss "that could happen to anyone," giving this story priority over news from the Korean Peninsula is a disservice to CNN.com readers. The skirmish between the Korea's on the island of Yeonpyeong is being called "one of the worst clashes since the end of the Korean War" by BBC analysts. Upon the heels of heightened tensions over the North's nuclear program, the events of the last day deserve the full attention of the 24 hour network obsessing over the Holloway story.

For shame.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Teen's are causing a ruckus!

I attended a public safety meeting at the police station in Charlestown on behalf of Patch.com to hear how crime statistics were trending, but what I heard had nothing to do with car theft or assault.

Charlestown residents all brought up how disrespectful and difficult the local teenagers were. One resident commented that the high school should be torn down and replaced with an army recruitment station. Other residents discouraged him from providing journalists with outlandish remarks, but everyone was on the same page in regards to the littering, roughhousing, and the blatant disrespect exhibited by high school students.

Boston Police Capt. Bernard O'Rourke told residents he would add foot patrols to specific areas but that kids will return to locations they had been forced to disperse from. Turns out kids will be kids.

All this talk about disrespectful, unruly youth makes me feel sort of bad about my own days as a teen. *sigh*

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bill Clinton cameo's in The Hangover 2

Slick Willy was the first politician to bring MTV into the electoral process in 1992, so it makes perfect sense that the sax-playing globe-trotter would be cast to join the ranks of Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis in the sequel to 2009's Golden Globe winner, The Hangover.

Mike Tyson made his tattooed face seen in the first film, and rumor is that Mel Gibson's cameo in the sequel has been replaced by ex-Jedi Liam Neson.

As the Andrew Bruss of andrewbruss.com, I speak for all of us over here when I say we cannot wait for this film to hit theaters.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Kanye apologizes on Today Show... then boycotts Today Show.

We all remember when Kanye West took to national television to tell the world that "George Bush doesn't care about black people." It was September 2nd, 2005, days into the federal governments failed response to Hurricain Katrina. A Concert For Hurricane Relief was held to raise money, and West decided to go off script so everyone knew how he really felt.

Well, it's been over 5 years, and the former president just dropped a book where he comments that being called a racist by Kanye was the worst moment of his presidency. Editors Note: This is the man who was told on 9/11 that "America is under attack." 

But it looks like W. can let the wounds from the past begin to heal. During a recent interview on The Today Show, West told hair-plug enthusiast Matt Lauer that he regrets the comment. ""I would tell George Bush in my moment of frustration, I didn't have the grounds to call him racist," the voice of our generation said.

Although West was down to let the world know he's capable of remorse, he went on to throw a hissy fit over The Today Show's use of video footage showing him upstaging Taylor Swift at the VMA's [The footage related to criticisms Kanye himself was racist against white people].

Kanye is claiming he was ambushed and is refusing to follow through with his scheduled Today Show performances. But at least George W. Bush can sleep tight...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sarah Palin's Fact Check Fail

Turns out fact checking is another skill Sarah Palin didn't pick up in journalism school. The reality TV star recently criticized the Federal Reserve for taking actions she insists have caused inflation in the cost of foodstuffs. The former Governor of Alaska specifically said, "Prices have risen significantly over the past year or so."

Following her speech, Sudeep Reddy of The Wall Street Journal ran the numbers and said, "Grocery prices haven’t risen all that significantly, in fact. The consumer price index’s measure of food and beverages for the first nine months of this year showed average annual inflation of less than 0.6%, the slowest pace on record."

Palin took to her Facebook account to strike back at the Journal Reporter [whose News Corp. checks are signed by the same folks that pay Palin's Fox News contract]. Palin asserted that a WSJ story from November 4th reads: "an inflationary tide is beginning to ripple through America’s supermarkets and restaurants…Prices of staples including milk, beef, coffee, cocoa and sugar have risen sharply in recent months."

Unfortunately for Palin, the Columbia Journalism Review reports the article she cited made a very different point than the one she presented. The full quote from the WSJ articles actually reads: "An inflationary tide is beginning to ripple through America’s supermarkets and restaurants, threatening to end the tamest year of food pricing in nearly two decades." Clearly the article she quoted to support claims of inflation suggest food costs remain steady.

Although the cost of food does not appear to be inflating, it appears as though the value of fabricated facts are on the rise.

Friday, November 5, 2010

US Jews urged to lobby Israeli Knessett

I interviewed the Senior Legal Advisor to the Knessett and he said he's surprised that American Jews don't do more lobbying on issues that effect them, like the laws pertaining to conversion. The advisor commented that he was aware American Jew's had been lobbying the Prime Minister, but not the Jewish State's parlament.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Republican Wave That Wasn't

The national media is abuzz over the “Republican wave” that swept Nancy Pelosi and her colleagues out of power in the House of Representatives, but when compared to the expectations the GOP has built over the past year, this was really a wave that wasn’t.

While acknowledging their historical gains in the House, their failure to retake the Senate can almost entirely be attributed to the Tea Party phenomenon that has created a Civil War within the Republican Party.

The Democrats have clung to power in the Senate by a single seat, a seat that likely would have gone to the GOP in Delaware had moderate Republican Representative Mike Castle not lost to “not-witch” Christine O’Donnell in the primary. Polling suggested that Castle would have defeated Democrat Chris Coons, who later went on to beat O’Donnell by 16 points. As soon as she was nominated, Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell was attacked by conservative icon’s like Karl Rove as unelectable, and lampooned on cable television for past comments that she’d “dabbled in witch craft.”

Things were far from a loss for Tea Party candidates. Rand Paul brought the GOP a senate seat in Kentucky and Marco Rubio did the same in a three-way race in Florida. To be clear, last night was a victory for the Republican Party. It’s the long-term consequences for the path to victory that conservative pundits should find troubling.

A troublesome trend in GOP primaries this past season was the way moderate Republicans were forced to the right by Tea Party opposition, only to be left supporting positions that alienate moderates and independents. Sarah Palin has hinted that she will run for president "if nobody else is there to do it," and this already has seasoned Republican operatives fearful that a Palin run would force moderate Republicans out of the race and hand Barack Hussein Obama his second term.

While the loss of the House certainly puts a damper on the president’s plans, the Democrats can see an upside in having a GOP majority in the House of Representatives. The past two years of Republican politics have been trademarked by obstructionist opposition to Obama’s agenda, and as a party voted out of power, there was little that forced them to provide an alternative or demonstrate their ability to govern better. This is no longer true.

With seats in both congressional chambers up for grabs in just two years, the GOP will have to demonstrate that they can create jobs and cut down on the federal deficit while limiting spending. 2008 was the year of the Democrat and it only took two years for the American public to change their minds about whom they want in control. Given the recent short sightedness of the American electorate, the GOP should not count on their swing-state gains being dependable in 2012. The theme of this election cycle was anti-incumbency, and if current outrage over the economy remains strong in 2012, that anger will be directed against leadership across the board.

The Republican Party won a historic victory last night that they should be proud of. Now it’s time for them to get to work. If they can’t come through on their promises, their victory will likely prove short lived.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Live election coverage from Charlestown, Mass

I'll be covering the election all day live from Charlestown, Mass so stay tuned as I bring you the inside scoop on how things play out.