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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Massachusetts' LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, February 18th, 2014
6:13 pm
Warrant needed for cell phone location tracking
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.
Monday, October 28th, 2013
2:48 pm
MassDOT survey
Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has a survey for people who drive in Massachusetts, about the highways (state and interstate) here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/massdothwysurvey
Sunday, July 28th, 2013
3:46 pm
Friday, February 1st, 2013
5:28 pm
Saturday, November 3rd, 2012
11:00 am
Can't get to polls on Tuesday? You may be able to vote today or Monday instead
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.
Tuesday, October 30th, 2012
1:08 pm
Have you moved since the last election? Forgot to re-register to vote at your new address?
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 WhereDoIVoteMA.com 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.
Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
8:41 pm
Only one week left for Massachusetts Election Reform bill
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 WhereDoIVoteMA.com. 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.
Monday, April 16th, 2012
3:46 pm
Fake MA Town Names
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 boston.reddit.com with new suggestions in the comments.
Sunday, September 18th, 2011
11:43 am
What's a city or town in MA...
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?
Tuesday, February 15th, 2011
11:01 am
Piece in The Atlantic highlights Massachusetts schools
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."
Monday, November 1st, 2010
3:13 am
Candidates for Statewide Office, joint interviews
New England Cable News' Broadside with Jim Braude hosted a series of 15 minute live candidate forums where he interviewed opposing candidates for statewide office together. He asks good questions and he's pretty good at pressing them for answers (although in the case of one candidate, as you'll see, that was a futile effort). Short, densely packed, well worth watching, especially if you're still trying to make up your mind. Click the links for video:

You might've noticed that Secretary of State* is missing. That's probably because our incumebt Secretary, Bill Galvin, seems to have a policy of "never debate your opponents or appear in any public forum with them, unless absolutely necessary". And just as in 2006, he apparently agreed to a debate and then backed out.

* Technically, Secretary of the Commonwealth
Tuesday, October 12th, 2010
10:42 am
Voter registration deadline tomorrow
Tomorrow, Wednesday, October 13, is the deadline to register to vote in Massachusetts in this year's November 2nd election.

You can register in person at your city or town hall, or mail a filled out voter registration form to your city or town, postmarked no later than tomorrow. You can pick up a form at any public library (or city or town hall, but if you're there, just fill it out and hand it in), or download and print out the national form here.

If you've already registered in Massachusetts, and haven't moved since then, you're still registered.

  • City/town elections or clerks' offices will be open until 8pm on Wednesday for people to register in person.

  • If you have moved since you last registered in Massachusetts, it is possible that your registration has been moved because of the city census, but it's also possible it hasn't. You can call your city/town clerk or elections office to ask if you're registered. Filling out a new registration will ensure you're registered at your current address.
  • If you miss the deadline, and it turns out your registration has not been moved, but you moved less than 6 months before election day, you may go to your old address' polling place to vote on election day.

  • College students and other transient residents may register in Massachusetts - even if you are only living here briefly. As long as you don't vote in two places in the very same election, you're fine, and you can switch where you vote as often as you want. Homeless people can register too! Pick a street corner and mark it on the diagram on the form.

  • Remember to sign your form and to check the "18 or over" box - these are the two most common significant mistakes I've seen on voter registration forms. The Voting Rights Act says your registration can't be denied for flaws that are not relevant to determining your eligibility, but those two are relevant.

If you have any other questions not answered here, comment. I may know the answer.
Friday, October 1st, 2010
9:29 am
Broken candidate
A joint interview on NECN with the Republican and Democratic candidates for Massachusetts State Auditor:

One of these candidates seems broken. WTF?
Wednesday, September 8th, 2010
9:48 am
MassBudget recession charts
MassBudget published a report this weekend with a number of charts comparing Massachusetts to other states and national averages on various metrics related to the current recession. Some interesting data. Overall, their data shows Massachusetts doing significantly better than most of the country (which is still not that well).

Jobs and the Massachusetts Economy on Labor Day 2010

[ The PDF has a bit more. ]

Percentage of jobs lost, by stateCollapse )
Saturday, September 4th, 2010
1:10 pm
Reversal: Since 2008, Massachusetts has been gaining residents from other states
"Massachusetts has stopped bleeding people to other parts of the country for the first time in years," according to this Boston Globe article from this past winter:

Reversing trend, more are coming to Mass. than leaving it
Analysts cite economic resilience, housing dip, lack of jobs elsewhere
Tuesday, December 8th, 2009
3:27 pm
Capuano & Coakley contrast on the issues
[ Also posted in b0st0n ]

A lot of people haven't made up their minds even today, and one reason is that the candidates seem to be so similar on the issues. Well, if you're looking for an actual substantive difference on the issues between Mike Capuano and Martha Coakley, here it is:

Coakley: More war on drugs.
Capuano: Less war on drugs.

Coakley: Defended the PATRIOT Act.
Capuano: Opposed the PATRIOT Act.

Martha Coakley, as Attorney General, has presided over a criminal justice system that does a tremendous amount of collateral damage, and could use a lot of improvement. She's been in a position to do that, and at best, she's been a weak reformer. What she's been strong on, throughout her career, is advocating for harsh punishment - whether it be for a mentally disabled convict in Alabama, or an obviously innocent Massachusetts man who was railroaded into jail through egregious prosecutorial misconduct (something Coakley doesn't seem to care much about), or those two guys who put up Mooninites around Boston.

Which brings me to another big contrast: While they seem to agree on almost every issue except for freedom & the criminal justice system, on most of those issues,
- We know Coakley's position because she said so
- We know Capuano's position because he's voted on it and worked for it in his decade in Congress.

So isn't it interesting that Coakley has positioned herself as a progressive identical to Capuano on every single issue *except* for the ones she's actually been responsible for in her career in public office?
Friday, November 13th, 2009
10:58 am
Senate special election: Register to vote by Wednesday
The special election primary for Ted Kennedy's replacement in the US Senate will be held on Tuesday, December 8th. That means the voter registration deadline is 20 days earlier, on Wednesday, November 18. If you're not already registered to vote in MA, or if you've moved recently, you have to (re-)register by then in order to vote in that election.

Note: If you moved within Massachusetts less than 6 months (I think, it might be longer) before the election date, and you were registered to vote at your old address, and you don't re-register before the deadline, then you vote at your old address.
Saturday, October 31st, 2009
2:45 pm
Transcending Boundaries Conference Advance Registration Ends Today!
The Transcending Boundaries Conference (TBC) is for bisexual/pansexual, trans/genderqueer, intersex and polyamorous people and our allies. TBC is for and about those who do not fit into simple categories, and we couldn't be more excited about our 6th upcoming conference! This year, the conference will take place at the DCU Center and Hilton Garden Inn in Worcester, MA from Nov. 20-22, 2009.

This year, our keynote speaker is none other than Tristan Taormino! This year's conference also features Peterson Toscano in his play "Transfigurations", a reading by Cecilia Tan, Workshops by Robyn Ochs, Anita Wagner, Gunner Scott and more, a Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil and reception, the Happy Hour Burlesque show and much more! See our website for details.

Advanced Registration for Transcending Boundaries ends today at midnight. As of tomorrow, prices will raise to the at-door rates. Pre-registration is recommended if you can manage it, as we have to give our catering orders ahead of time. (Though don't let that stop you from showing up if you haven't registered!)

You can find registration information here

Hotel reservations may also be made online from our website; some rooms are still left. The group rate is $109/night.

And on a completely unrelated note, Happy Halloween!

Current Mood: excited
Friday, October 30th, 2009
1:49 pm
DJpet and Peter Lee DJing all day at the Fools Mansion 10-31
Starting at 10am and going to close I'm running sound and DJing with Peter Lee all day at the Fools Mansion, 127 Essex Street Salem MA. Come on out and pick up some really great merch and listen to some really great music at the same time.

I'm bringing out the real equipment and if all goes well I'm also going to be simulcasting to http://www.radiogolgotha.com I have been remaking the site since the old second in command tried to take things over and ultimately got everything deleted by the old ISP *bad DJ no cookie*. I'm now in charge of all of the tech as well as a resident DJ so expect to see more posts from me in the future about shows.

Click on the player icons in the upper left corner of the site to listen in (Itunes people should use the winamp icon since the apple one is getting hooked by quicktime and not itunes) I should have the cast up and running by noon.

http://sh3.audio-stream.com/tunein.php/vrodrigu/playlist.pls <-- direct stream location
11:36 am
Reminders from the RMV
You can sign up here to receive an email or text message reminder from the RMV when your MA drivers license is due to expire soon and you need to renew it. They're no longer sending these notifications by postal mail. Of course you could look at your license and remind yourself, if you wish.
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