Two Strong Women

Dear Wethersfield Friends,

This may be the first election where I do not vote for every Democrat on the ballot. While I am still a proud Democrat, I have been inspired by the courage of two strong women. That is why I am asking you to join me tomorrow in voting for Mary Beth Maluccio and Maria Kokinis-Tougas, candidates of A Wethersfield Party, for Board of Education.

Their bravery began over a year ago when they decided to reach across party lines and work with the Republican members of the Board of Education on the issues facing our schools. While the members of the United States Senate were fighting over issues like healthcare reform, the members of the Wethersfield Board of Education worked together to rebuild the school administration. When the United States Congress spent months failing to agree on how to tackle our national debt, the members of the Board of Education worked together to rebuild the work of the Board committees where members could develop expertise and focus on specific issues. They set an example that put our leaders in Washington to shame.

Yet working together came at a political cost. When it came time for Mary Beth and Maria to be nominated for re-election their party abandoned them. They could have chosen the easy way out; they could have walked away and let someone else do their jobs. Instead they took the bold step of forming their own election committee and appealing directly to the voters. They held meet-and-greets and walked door-to-door to listen to the voices of the people. They pounded the pavement over the past few months because they worked so hard to put the schools on a promising path and they know their work is not done.

That bold leadership of navigating the Board through an ethics scandal, rebuilding the central office, and working together to tackle the problems facing our school system is the kind of leadership we need if our schools are to prosper. I trust Mary Beth and Maria because I know they are intelligent, thorough, and unafraid to ask the tough questions. If you care about the future of our town and our schools, then tomorrow, please join me in voting for these two strong women for Board of Education.

Sincerely,

Matthew Zagaja

Op-ed fills void: The Courants op-ed page filled a void in 1976 and still does - Courant.com

I found this article by Colin McEnroe in the Courant today be be especially on point. Blogging regularly and making insightful commentary is a difficult exercise. While writing a post like this is rather simple, involving a quote and a few thoughts hastily thrown together, the truly insightful and interesting stuff requires more research and multiple drafts. I know it’s unlikely that people notice this blog considering the frequency of the posting is irregular, but I still consider it worth the writing practice.

I spend a lot of time out in the Digital Disneyworld, and I dont see much breadth or depth of opinion writing. Many blogs are spottily maintained, and few argue a point for more than 50 or 60 words. The Connecticut blogosphere often looks like chaos in Genesis 1:2 — formless and empty with darkness over the face of the deep.Theres a lot of "stuff," but not much rises to the level of an opinion piece on an op-ed page. There are noteworthy exceptions such as Don Pesci, who publishes damn nearly daily on his conservative site "Red Notes From A Blue State." Ezra Pound he is not, but Pescis posts usually go on for at least a few hundred words of essayish prose.I could name seven or eight Connecticut sites where somebody, on a regular basis, writes recognizable commentary, but no more than that.

via Op-ed fills void: The Courants op-ed page filled a void in 1976 and still does - Courant.com.

Inside Tumblr’s Reblog-Worthy Digs

The popular technology blog TechCrunch has features on the office spaces of start-ups. I think its pretty interesting to see how these individuals work so I wanted to link it for your viewing pleasure.

TC Cribs: Inside Tumblr’s Reblog-Worthy Digs | TechCrunch.

Louis Brandeis

It’s Friday night and I took the time to finish the biography of Louis Brandeis that I’ve been reading. It was a dense tome. I started reading it months ago and in some places it was painfully boring and detailed. I did enjoy the descriptions of his early years. If there is one take-away I had from the book it is the importance of preparation and knowing your subject matter better than anyone else in the room. That is how Brandeis was able to succeed. I also cannot help but to be surprised but also approve of his desire to serve as counsel to the situation as opposed to individuals in many matters. By encouraging collaboration Brandeis was able to craft better solutions for all parties involved. Otherwise the book explored nearly every facet of Brandeis’s life in meticulous detail. It is worth the read if you are interested in Brandeis but otherwise too dense and boring at parts to be enjoyable.

Getting into Google+

I recently acquired a Google+ account. I think its a nice meld of features from Facebook and Twitter. The idea of being able to follow people and place them into circles where I can hold different discussions is great. This avoids the problem of posting geeky things that my WPI friends enjoy but my fellow law students do not care about or vice-versa. The downside is that we may be creating more of a filter bubble than we previously had. I think the one nice thing about facebook was the idea that it forced us to see each other as full people instead of merely a co-worker or merely a classmate. We may be mitigating the problem of employers possibly seeing the pictures of us drinking but we are not solving the problem of employers expecting their employees to not have fun or be social people outside their jobs. The greater transparency championed by Zuckerburg may be doomed.

I still have yet to explore all the features of Google+. It does not have all my friends from facebook or twitter in it. I wish there was a way to import them. When I discussed this with my friends they suggested that it was unnecessary because everyone was already on facebook. That just demonstrates the power of incumbency and defaults. I do not see Google+ as having additional cost other than the time to reform my contact lists. It’d be nice to have a feature to import my history from facebook, twitter, etc. for archive purposes but unfortunately those companies do not have that option.

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