Category Archives: Politics

Waco or Wacko? You decide…

Came across this article about Bill Nye (remember him? The Science Guy) giving a presentation in Waco, TX about… you guessed it… science. I’m gonna start off by saying that, while I am not religious in any way (I consider myself a bit atheist and a bit agnostic), I have absolutely no problem with people who practice religion and actually believe what they practice… so long as they have some common sense about it. Heck, even the Catholic Church admitted that the story of the world being created in seven days wasn’t completely accurate, that the story is just a story to make a point and to explain something that couldn’t previously be explained. Continue reading Waco or Wacko? You decide…

Marriage Equality

I’ve posted about it before, but the issue is actually being debated in Rhode Island’s General Assembly as I write this. Yesterday after work, I attended a marriage equality rally held by some of the students at the college. They had various speakers that included a gay Catholic priest (not Roman Catholic), some students, and some faculty. I didn’t get to stay to the end as I had to get home to make dinner for my wife, but it was a great rally. Continue reading Marriage Equality

Interview with David Cicilline

Here’s an interview with former Providence mayor, now congressman, David Cicilline on the financial problems the city faces. Scott MacKay from WRNI asks the tough questions while Cicilline gives the easy answers. He literally avoids every question he’s asked and pushes the blame elsewhere. Don’t let the title fool you. I think he said that once, but never truly accepts responsibility.

Cicilline: I’m responsible for every decision I made

The Plot Thickens in Providence

I have posted previously about why people should not vote for David Cicilline to represent Rhode Island in Congress. In summary, the man is a liar, and the worst kind of self-serving politician as well. For the record, I am a registered Democrat in Rhode Island. I voted to elect Cicilline back into the mayor’s office in 2006. I want to like him, but his secrecy in the mayor’s office and now this in the Phoenix’s Not for Nothing blog. Continue reading The Plot Thickens in Providence

Providence’s Financial Woes

If you haven’t heard, the city of Providence is in some serious financial trouble right now. The previous mayor, David Cicilline, left the city with a serious deficit (somehow he managed to get elected to Congress). As has been all over the news, our current mayor, Angel Taveras, has sent all of the city’s public school teacher termination notices. If it sounds like a drastic measure, it was. Four to six schools will also likely be closing, among other means to cut costs and increase revenue. I want to explain my thoughts as to what can, and should, be done in the city to help raise revenue without overly taxing the residents (which is likely going to happen). Continue reading Providence’s Financial Woes

Thinking about voting for Cicilline?

Think twice. He’s a liar. And this is not related to his problems with the fire department.

While I don’t see eye-to-eye with him on many issues, I’m going to be voting for David Segal in the democratic primary for Patrick Kennedy’s former seat in Congress. We need more people who are less of the same. Cicilline is just more of the same. David Segal is not. I will be happy once Cicilline is out of city hall. I’ll be even happier to see him lose this election. He has not done the work of the people. He has done the work of his friends and people who write checks. We do not need more of that in Washington.

Yet Another Reason to Boycott Wal-Mart

Low prices come at a cost to someone, somewhere. In the case of a gay couple from Michigan, it was the well-being of their twin sons.

Wal-Mart Bans Gay Couple for NOT Shoplifting

This is yet another reason why I have been boycotting Wal-Mart and have not stepped foot in one in several years, the one exception being my trip out west because I was 1 of 7 in an RV trying to save costs (if I had it my way, we would’ve gone elsewhere). This story puts me over the edge though. I will now never step foot in one again. They don’t deserve my business, nor do they deserve anyone else’s, as far as I’m concerned (that is, of course, unless you’re a gay-hating, homophobic redneck).

Of course, another big FUCK YOU should go to the Niles, MI police department who sided with Wal-Mart on the issue. Those officers should lose their badges, and if I were that couple, I’d be in court suing the town.

So join me in my boycott. Vote with your wallets. Boycott Wal-Mart.

Why I will vote against my current state rep

My current state representative, Joanne Giannini, has helped out our neighborhood greatly. She works with a neighborhood group with which I work (and also run their website). However, she has recently gone crazy with the fight against indoor prostitution. She has sponsored a bill to band indoor prostitution in Rhode Island, where it is currently legal only through a loophole. She wants the police to be able to arrest prostitutes and throw them in jail.

I don’t support prostitution. I don’t see a reason why anyone would want to pay for sex. However, I do support the right for people to pay for sex and for people to sell their bodies for sex. I understand that some people are forced into the business, some even brought here from overseas for the sole purpose of being used as prostitutes. I don’t support that. I don’t see a problem with people who are willingly doing this to continue to do so.

What the RI General Assembly should be doing is legitimizing the sex industry. Regulate where brothels are allowed through zoning laws. This will prevent them from opening in residential neighborhoods. Regulate the business with random visits by social workers and health inspectors. This will keep the business clean and allow the employees to come forward to someone other than a cop if they are being forced into prostitution.

Most of the prostitutes in Rhode Island are doing it because they need the money. They are supporting their families. In a state with one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country, it is horrifying to think that the General Assembly is so heartless to force hundreds more people into unemployment. And not only will they be forcing them into unemployment, they will be forcing them into a life of crime. Putting these people in jail will cost our state and communities more than leaving the law as it stands. However, if we regulate and tax the sex industry, we will be putting money in the state’s coffers… money that the state desperately needs.

Shame on your Rep Giannini. Shame on all the members of our General Assembly who are buying the garbage spewed by the likes of Donna Hughes, the URI Women’s Studies professor who has made the sex industry her #1 enemy. I will be voting against Rep Giannini (and possibly Senator Maryellen Goodwin, if she also votes in favor of this) in the next election, not because she has been a horrible representative, but because she is putting her own personal moral beliefs before the needs of the state, including the needs of my community.

Why You Should Boycott Monster Energy Drink

It’s rare that I call for an outright boycott of a product or company, but this is one of those cases where it is most definitely called for.

You see, up in the very small town of Morrisville, Vermont, there stands a very small brewery, producing only about 3,000-3,500 barrels of beer per year. This brewery started in the owners’ basement and grew to this small industrial building. It employs only 7 people besides the husband and wife team that owns it. This brewery is called Rock Art. They produce some awesome beers, some of which are very creative. They sell their beers at a very reasonable price (less than what they could get for them if you ask me, but I’m definitely not complaining). On their 10th anniversary, they made a 10% version of their flagship beer, Ridge Runner. They named this new barleywine The Vermonster

In another part of the country stands this giant beverage corporation. They are in the soda, juice, tea, and energy drink business. They do not make beer, but they are large and have a lot of money. This company is called Hansens Beverage Company. They own the popular Monster line of energy drinks.

Recently, Rock Art filed for a trademark for The Vermonster name nationally (it was already trademarked in Vermont since its creation). Shortly after the filing, they received an impersonal cease and desist order from the lawyers representing Hansens. The order told them that they must stop using the name as it infringes on their trademark of “Monster Energy Drink”. Now, the term “monster” is by no means trademarkable. The way trademark law works is that you have to protect your trademark or you lose it. Once confusion exists, the trademark is nullified. Examples of this are Kleenex tissues or Bayer’s trademark of the term Aspirin. Those words became so commonplace for any tissues or for any headache medicine that the trademark was dilluted. While I understand Hansens right to protect their trademark from becoming dilluted, they have lost all PR points in their methods.

The reasoning Hansens gives for the trademark infringement is incredibly weak. They claim that there is major overlap between the energy drink market and the beer market. Perhaps that is true if you consider beer as being only Bud, Miller, and Coors. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Rock Art’s market does not overlap with the energy drink market. They also claim a type of synergy between the beer market and the energy drink market. Again, this is all marketing lingo and completely false. There is absolutely no mistaking a beer which comes only in a 22 ounce brown bottle for an energy drink that comes in a large can. There is no mistaking the different labels. Finally, there is no mistaking the term “Vermonster”, a play on the name of a state, for the term “Monster”.

This whole thing reeks of Monster Cables and their frivilous lawsuits against anyone and anything they can go after. They have lost many of these because the justice system decided they were too ridiculous in their claims, but they knew they were the big guys in the case and could probably bully the little guy around. That is exactly what Hansens is doing here. Rock Art is a small brewery. It takes a lot of time and overhead to run a brewery. Rock Art only distributes to a couple of states with the vast majority of their distribution being in Vermont. They don’t have the reach that Hansens has.

So, because of all this and because Rock Art is such a great brewery owned by some great people, I urge you to boycott Monster Energy Drink. In fact, I would extend that boycott to all of Hansens’ products. This is purely corporate bullying and greed. Rock Art has a case, but doesn’t have the wallet to defend their case. In a country founded on justice for all, they should get what’s theirs and not have to fight a long expensive legal battle.

How can you help?

  1. Buy Rock Art beer if it’s sold in your state or nearby (this is the most important).
  2.  If you’re on Twitter, tell @MonsterEnergy how shameful this is.
  3. Tell @RockArtBrewery how great they are and show them some support.
  4. Use the hash tags #monsterboycott and #ISupportRockArt in your tweets.
  5. Join the Facebook group Vermonters and Craft Beer Drinkers Against Monster.
  6. Contact Hansens and tell them what you think.
  7. Contact Monster Energy Drink and tell them what you think.

Since you’re probably looking for more information on this debacle other than my simple blog post, here are a few links to various news outlets reporting on the story.

Associated Press

Burlington Free Press

Rutland Herald

Finally, here’s a great video of Matt Nadeau, the owner of Rock Art, explaining the situation.