Rhode Island outraged by use of Massachusetts to illustrate size of oil spill

Rhode Island, perhaps because it is the smallest state in the union, is the preferred media reference when describing the size of something. This works well for both the factual and the fantastical.

031105_RhodeIsland The following are just from news stories in the past week:

The ice sheets that peel off of Antarctica all seem mathematically related to the Ocean State. The most recent: An Ice Shelf the Size of Rhode Island Breaks Up in Just 24 Hours

For those of you keeping track at home, Rhode Island is either 1000 square miles in size (just measuring the land part) or 1,500 sq. mi. if you include Narragansett Bay as well. Now comes the horrific news that MASSACHUSETTS!!! of all places is being used as a measure.

They say the dead zone is roughly the size of Massachusetts, or at least 7,722 square miles. The largest ever measured was just over 8,000 square miles in 2001.

Rhode Island has always had a chip on its shoulder about Massachusetts. My home state was literally founded by Bay State castoffs (cast off because they were in favor of things like religious tolerance, I might add). So this trend has to be stopped in its tracks. NOW. So Mr. Reporter, lets try again. It is nearly EIGHT TIMES THE SIZE OF RHODE ISLAND!!! Now, isn’t that more impressive?


Massachusetts safe from the threat of pet rental

The  Massachusetts House of Representatives has passed a bill that would protect all of us voters from a looming danger — PET RENTAL!

The bill, filed by Representative Paul K. Frost, Republican of Auburn, outlaws pet-rental companies because of what he called “public health, public safety, consumer concerns, and ethical issues.”

“I’m very pleased we were able to get it passed today and engrossed in the House,” Frost said. “It’s a kind of business model that fosters disposable pets.”

Earlier this month, Boston city councilors voted to ban the Flex Petz pet-rental company from opening a Boston branch because of similar concerns, said Frost.

Flex Petz, founded by Marlena Cervantes in 2007, currently operates in New York, Los Angeles, and London. It has been recently criticized by many animal activist organizations.

This is probably the greatest piece of legislation since it tried to ban Marshmallow Fluff two years ago. I know I feel better knowing that this important issue has been dealt with. I can only hope that the Senate and the governor understand the urgency of the threat poised by a company THAT DOESN’T EVEN OPERATE IN THE STATE. I hope the US government and the UN will also act as this is a international issue. Two months ago
we reported on the disturbing trend of Dog rental companies taking off in Tokyo! (Please ignore any comments I made about wanting to start a franchise here as a way to get more dogs in to my life. I misspoke or quoted myself out of context or something.)

I turned to an expert source for more informed opinion on this issue, my Office Manager (right). She said, and this is a verbatim quote, “Snort snuffle snort snort snuffle.”

Remember: When renting pets is outlawed only outlaws will rent pets!

In a Blue year, the Bay State might go red

We here in Massachusetts have ring side seats on one of the most unusual things in this election season as the Democratic candidate for governor is actually losing ground to his Republican opponent. While it’s true that the Bay State is one of the Bluest in the nation it is also true that we habitually elect Republicans governor. Maybe it’s an affirmative action thing on the part of the voters. You don’t get much more minority around here than belonging to the GOP.

The Dem candidate, former asst. US Attorney & corporate big shot Deval Patrick still holds a significant 18 point lead over incumbent Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey whose chief claim to fame is … let me get back to you on that. But Patrick’s lead has shrunk from the 39 point lead he had over Healey in September. And that’s just the general electorate. Among unenrolled voters (that’s what we call independents), Patrick’s lead has shrunk from 24 points to just five points. 

Among the things that are hurting Mr. Patrick with the public: Taking campaign contributions from the lobbying firm for the Big Dig (Healey did it too, but that’s not really surprising now is it?); defending a murderer and supporting a rapist’s bid for parole. Patrick, who is African-American and was raised in the ghetto of Chicago, also is viewed as the more “corporate” of the two candidates owing to the fact that he graduated from  prep school & Harvard, was general counsel to Coca Cola and served on the board of at least one bank whose lending practices have recieved quite a bit of scrutiny. Huzzah! If people are willing to see Mr. P as the slick company guy then we have indeed progressed as a society.

In a year when the GOP is doing so badly nationally, it is delightful to think they might win one here. Smells like … democracy. Now if we could just get a two party system in the rest of the state’s government.