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Warrant needed for cell phone location tracking [Feb. 18th, 2014|06:13 pm]

I think this is very good:
    "The state's highest court ruled today that law enforcement must generally obtain a search warrant before acquiring a criminal suspect's cell-phone data in order to track his movements."

From this Boston Globe article.
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MassDOT survey [Oct. 28th, 2013|02:48 pm]

Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has a survey for people who drive in Massachusetts, about the highways (state and interstate) here:
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Chessmaster from Chelmsford [Jul. 28th, 2013|03:46 pm]

Mass. girl, 9, becomes youngest US chess master [Boston Globe]
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No More Cod Fish? [Feb. 1st, 2013|05:28 pm]

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Can't get to polls on Tuesday? You may be able to vote today or Monday instead [Nov. 3rd, 2012|11:00 am]

Massachusetts doesn't have official early voting, but you can vote "absentee in person" at your city elections office or town clerk's office. It's like voting absentee except you don't have to wait for anything to go through the mail: You fill out the application in person, hand it to them, they give you a ballot and envelope, you fill it out and seal it in the envelope, and give it back to them.

Although they're not required to, some cities and towns open their elections office on Saturday (that is, today) for absentee in-person voting. For example,
  • Boston Hours for In-Person Absentee Voting today are 9-2:00 PM in City Hall Room 241 (Congress St. Entrance)

  • Cambridge ... on Saturday, November 3rd from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Google for your city's elections office or your town clerk's office and call them to ask. You can also vote in person on Monday morning if that helps. I believe the deadline for absentee ballot applications is noon on Monday, so you can't do this after that time.

You need to have a reason to vote absentee in Massachusetts, so if you can vote at your regular polling place on Tuesday this isn't for you. However, your reason can be simply that you work in a different city or town and your work hours prevent you from going to the polls. Or, perhaps you work near home but you recently moved and need to vote at your previous location which is too far to get to on a work day.
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Have you moved since the last election? Forgot to re-register to vote at your new address? [Oct. 30th, 2012|01:08 pm]

Massachusetts' voter registration deadline for this election is past, so it's too late now to register to vote at your current address. However:
  • If you filled out a city/town census, they could've updated your registration for you. Don't remember if you did a city census? Don't remember if you updated your registration? Call and check! Google for your city or town's elections division; if you live in a town too small to have a separate elections division, look for the town clerk's office. Call them up and tell them you want to check if you are registered to vote, and they can probably do it while you're on the phone.

  • Have you moved within Massachusetts this year? If you're not registered at your new address, you can still vote at your old address! (Other states may allow this as well, but I don't know the rules for every state). Go to and look up the polling place for your former address where you were last registered to vote. You can go there on election day.

  • Can't get to the polls on election day? Maybe because you moved recently and your old polling place is too far to get to on a work day? Vote this weekend! You can do "absentee in person" voting - again, look up your city/town's elections department or town clerk's office phone number, call, and ask them what hours they're available for absentee in person. Most of them have some hours available for that on the weekend. In theory you could do absentee by mail, but you'd have to mail the application, get the ballot by mail, and send it back in; there's not enough time for that. With absentee in person voting, you can do it all in one visit without waiting for the mail.

While you're at it, register now so you won't have this problem next year! (No elections next year, you say? look again - most MA cities and towns hold their local elections on odd years, including Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Medford, Newton, ...)

P.S. Please link to this from your LJ, Facebook, or other places friends of yours in MA may read.
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Only one week left for Massachusetts Election Reform bill [Jul. 25th, 2012|08:41 pm]

Do you want Massachusetts to...
  • Let voters download and print out voter registration forms.

  • Let 16 and 17-year-olds pre-register to vote in Civics classes, youth groups, at the RMV, or their city or town hall, greatly increasing the number who will actually vote when they turn 18.</i>
  • Improve training of election officers.

  • Mandate random post-election audits to ensure that voting machines are working correctly and that your vote is counted accurately.

  • These things are all in a bill that has already passed the House, but is still stalled in the Massachusetts Senate. Since the legislative session ends July 31st, if they don't vote on it soon, the bill will die, and have to start from scratch next year.

    Bill text: H4139

    If you'd like the Massachusetts Senate to vote on it before they adjourn, call your State Senator. You can look up who yours is at Put in your address, and in the results, scroll down to "Senate in General Court" and click on their name.

    You can also send a message and get your senator's phone number via MassVote, here.
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Fake MA Town Names [Apr. 16th, 2012|03:46 pm]

McSweeney's list of fake Massachusetts towns has inspired a twitter hashtag, #FakeMATown, for people posting new ones for the list. There's also a post on with new suggestions in the comments.
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What's a city or town in MA... [Sep. 18th, 2011|11:43 am]

What is a city or town in Massachusetts that you'd expect anyone who grew up in MA would probably know of, where the local culture of that city or town is not especially open to or accepting of LGBT people, and you'd expect most people who grew up in MA to either know that or at least be unsurprised to hear that?
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Piece in The Atlantic highlights Massachusetts schools [Feb. 15th, 2011|11:01 am]

From the December 2010 issue: Your Child Left Behind

First half of the article is about research comparing primary education in individual US states with other countries, and attempting to pin down how we do for our best or most advantaged students, to answer concerns that other comparisons with the US are harder to read because we have so much more variance here. The research this article surveys suggests that that's not the explanation; that we really don't do as well as many other countries, even when we break it down by geography or demographics.

Second half of the article is mostly about Massachusetts, beginning with this:
    One cannot help but thank God for Massachusetts, which offers the
    United States some shred of national dignity-a result echoed in other
    international tests. "If all American fourth- and eighth-grade kids
    did as well in math and science as they do in Massachusetts," writes
    the veteran education author Karin Chenoweth in her 2009 book, How
    It's Being Done, "we still wouldn't be in Singapore's league but we'd
    be giving Japan and Chinese Taipei a run for their money."
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