Random Thoughts
Professor Mark Palermo

Last time I checked, Methuen was still part of the Union. Why, then, could somebody in town hall have even entertained the idea of going into people’s homes in order to count unreported pets? Sounds like a bit of North Korea in New England, doesn’t it? Imagine if they could have gotten away with this and set a precedent. It could have spread to my town and yours: I fear for my two parakeets which I have failed to report to the proper authorities.   Hopefully, those responsible for this atrocious idea are kept under adult supervision long enough so that they might bone up on the Fourth Amendment.

***I don’t mean to pick on Methuen. A few years ago voters there showed more common sense than any surrounding community in rejecting fluoridation of their drinking water. They had enough class to engage in a spirited public discourse, as well as the good sense in rejecting this unwise, unconstitutional and unhealthy practice.   Fluoride is safe and natural? Good for teeth? Tell that to the parents of three-year-old William Kennerly, who died in a dentist’s office when he swallowed, instead of spit out a stannous fluoride rinse while the hygienist was engrossed in conversation. He died in a hospital emergency room later that day of fluoride poisoning. The story was reported on the front page of the New York Times of January 20, 1979.

Like to take a drink or two in the privacy of your own home? Well, now a new test has been developed by a team of researchers in Switzerland.   From the testing of a mere strand of your hair, it can detect how much liquor you have been drinking. Not only can they go back months, but they can even tell what kind of liquor and the number of drinks you imbibed on any particular day. Well, here’s looking at you, kid. I predict short hair will be back in style soon.

“What this country needs is a good five-cent cigar.” Thus spoke then-vice president of the United States in 1920. In 2004, what the Merrimack Valley needs is a number of independent newspapers to balance the pervasiveness of the Tribune’s one- dimensional world view. Where are the antitrust laws when you need them?   The primary goal of newspapers is to sell advertising, not to report truth or to enlighten readers. The Tribune bought up almost all the small community newspapers in the area. Then the Tribune bought up the local radio stations. As a result The Merrimack Valley gets almost all its regional news from one source- which is the standardized, filtered version that the Tribune and its sponsors approve.
Fidel Castro recently gave a four-hour speech to economists from around the world gathered at a conference in Havana. He talked about free national health care in Cuba and a lower infant mortality rate than in the U.S., adding that “ a Cuban ninth-grader could win a debate with President Bush.” Well, I’d have to say that President Bush is not an articulate man, in fact I think he could do well with some diction and ESL classes. But as far as Castro’s claims, I don’t see anybody risking life and limb to get into Cuba, only to leave in desperation. I wish Castro, now 77 years old and still a champion of the American left, would explain this. Then he should tell us how many political prisoners are rotting in Cuban jails.

Isn't it ironic that during this same time frame Haverhill lost its only English language radio station and its daily newspaper? To be replaced by the Eagle Tribune. Let this be a lesson to other communities about what can happen when nobody is on duty to watch the hen house. Don’t be surprised if you are missing a few eggs, or in the case of Haverhill, most of your hens. And it is a testament to the importance of independent papers like this one. Whether we agree with them or not, they provide a valuable service in reporting what politicians are doing with your rights and how they are spending your tax money.

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The Valley Patriot is a Monthly Publication. All Contents (C) 2004, Valley Patriot, Inc.
We distribute in Andover, North Andover, Methuen, Haverhill, Lowell and Lawrence.
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(March Edition)

Prior Columns by Mark Palermo