Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 157]: Jim McGovern’s imperfect storm

Local pundits like to joke about U.S. Rep Jim McGovern’s “crime family,” deriding what they see as his undue influence over city government and politics.

Forget Worcester, though. This side of Elizabeth Warren (and due respect to the longer-serving Richard Neal and legacy-holding Joe Kennedy), no state lawmaker wields more D.C. influence than the 11-term congressman.

And in general he uses that high ground to laudable effect. A little birdie tells Hitch, though, that McGovern might be slipping from his lofty perch.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 156]: The Next Greatest Show on Earth

Dating back to its first visits to the city in the late 1800s, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus would parade elephants and other performing animals around the streets of Worcester.

Recently flagging attendance and escalating feuds with animal rights groups conspired to bring down the curtain for good on the once revered circus. Ringling Bros.’s last Worcester show was April 16.

But don’t be sad: Hitch knows just where you can find similar high-wire, fire-breathing entertainment — and it’s smack in the middle of downtown.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 155]: On Marcotte, Early not a moment too soon

Bad things happen to good people — it’s one of those inane platitudes to which we all resort when there’s nothing left to be said. When words couldn’t possibly be enough.

There comes a time, though, when a statement needs to be made.

Worcester District Attorney Joe Early didn’t miss his opportunity recently when his office identified a suspect in Vanessa Marcotte’s death. Hitch got the message, loud and clear.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 154]: Hopping down the bunny trail

Your job is the worst, right? Everybody thinks that at some point, but let’s face it: some occupations are harder than others.

Coal miners. Nuclear submarine engineers. Sean Spicer. Be glad your thankless 9-to-5 keeps you out of those depths. But the Easter Bunny — how cool would it be to have that gig?!

Funny you ask, because Hitch was wondering the same thing.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 153]: Death, taxes and the American dream

It won’t be long now before the last of your procrastinating friends puts the finishing touches on their 1040A and hustles it into government hands just under the wire.

Sunday’s Spot: On the Midtown Mall

Sure, new services and technology make the daunting process a little easier every year, but then, the more things change the more they stay the same. Right? And those government hands — they’ll always be looking for more.

Hitch has a few tips to get you through this and many Aprils to come.

More Hitch | Worcestory Lessons | Free to Read

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 152]: The continuing saga of the Midtown Mall

For better or worse, reputations tend to stick.

For instance, here at the Sun we’ve been saddled with the growing perception that we provide the city’s best, most thoughtful commentary, engaging storytelling and comprehensive reporting. Such is life.

Years of neglect, simmering criminal activity and public ambivalence have painted a decidedly different picture for the once estimable downtown destination.

Hitch takes a stroll along Front Street for a closer look.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 151]: It pays to be with the ACLU

The ACLU has been around for nearly a century, and it claims to have appeared before the Supreme Court more than any other entity besides the Department of Justice. We’ll take their word for it.

That much courtroom time doesn’t come cheap either. In its lower-court legal triumph over Worcester’s unconstitutional panhandling ordinances, the local chapter racked up a $1M bill it wanted the city to foot. A judge recently awarded them about half that.

Hitch breaks out the ol’ gavel for a verdict of his own.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 150]: Weighing symptoms of Worcester health deficit

Remember the four food groups? … Anybody? … Bueller?! … That was the old days. Now there’s a pyramid, and all sorts of rules and limits and labels. And tofu. Oh, the tofu!

But still, despite ubiquitous analysis and advice, a healthy lifestyle seems increasingly difficult to come by. All those experts, with all their charts and graphs, never quite capture the true effects of certain, specific environmental factors.

And when it comes to Worcester, there’s no one else to call for a diagnosis but Dr. Hitch.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 149]: Ill-advised advice for Advisory Council

When the Boston Herald calls your idea “wacky,” it’s probably time to go back to the drawing board.

Of the Worcester Human Rights Commission’s proposal to invite undocumented immigrants to serve on city boards (by switching out “Citizens” for “Community” in the name of a city manager’s advisory panel), the right-leaning tabloid wrote “it might be worrisome if it weren’t so ridiculous.”

Speaking of drawing boards, Hitch wasn’t going to miss his chance at this one.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 148]: The Holy Cross Fighting Crusader Debate Team

OK, so by now you know students and faculty at the “most beautiful college campus in Massachusetts” are busy trying to figure out how much trouble they’ll be in with the P.C. Police if they keep The Crusader name atop the student newspaper’s front page.

You’re also likely aware that Holy Cross + controversy = gold mine for Worcester-centric pontificators of all stripes. So, y’know, Hitch wasn’t gonna be left out.