Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 172]: Warren, McGovern and Markey — oh my!

Republicans and Democrats have been taking aim at each other since long before Donald Trump commandeered the Oval Office.

Of course, once President Business took over, liberals have sharpened their sights — and their rhetoric.

More Hitch | What if … Worcester | Free to Read

Following the midweek shooting of GOP lawmakers and staff practicing for a congressional baseball game, though, the war of words among chief Trump antagonizers — and the bronzer-in-chief himself — appropriately took a knee.

Still, Hitch was a bit surprised.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 171]: Worcester budget writers are a cut above

The city’s spending plan for fiscal 2018 comes with a healthy bottom line of about $632 million, some $13 million more than last year.

That, of course, after those intrepid souls on the City Council bravely hacked a whopping $622,112 from the city manager’s original proposal. While a large majority of the new spending will go to schools, many observers decried the lack of scrutiny on how their tax dollars are spent.

Hitch takes a little off the top to get to the bottom of this.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 170]: Worcester school initiative in the spin cycle

This one seemed cut-and-dried to us: In an effort to curb absenteeism and boost kids’ spirits, washers and dryers will be made available to city students at four more schools, following a trial run at Sullivan Middle School this year.

Related editorial: A lesson in laundry and kindness

Plus, UMass Medical has stepped up to help finance the plan. Everybody wins, right? Well, haters gonna hate. And keyboard cowboys across the interwebs found myriad reasons to pick apart the laudable endeavor.

Hitch separates the dark from the light to get to the bottom of this.

More Hitch | What if … Worcester | Free to Read

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 169]: Staying cool, with Charlie Baker

It’s not easy being a Republican in Massachusetts — or, really, anywhere these days, what with President Aerosol chiseling new holes in the O-zone whenever he takes a break from tweeting jibberish.

Baker, though, has not been shy about disagreeing with Trump on health care and other socioeconomic issues; he again strayed from the pack to affirm the Bay State’s commitment to address climate change.

Hitch thinks this won’t be doing Baker any favors with the already-skeptical state GOP.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 168]: Getting carried away with plastic bags

Forget about the splintered neighborhoods, persistent crime, aging infrastructure and simmering feud with the teachers union. No time for that stuff — it’s an election year, so let’s talk about banning plastic shopping bags.

Maybe conservative longtime councilor and former mayor Konnie Lukes can see the liberal writing on the wall, as at least one at-large incumbent is likely to be on the outs come November. But still, the city certainly has bigger fish to fry.

Never one to hide behind politics, Hitch has some thoughts.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 167]: Worcester ballot casts concerning shadow

While the contentious, polarizing and downright dispiriting 2016 presidential election coaxed a slight reversal in flagging national voter turnout numbers, that momentum has not carried over locally where Worcester voters are joined in seeming ambivalence this election season by a head-scratchingly short list of contenders for public office.

How to get more folks involved in such an important process? Never fear, Hitch always has the right idea.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 166]: Elizabeth Warren has a fever

The popular and outspoken senator for Massachusetts has made no bones about her disdain for President Trump.

Day after day, she can be found on Twitter and TV and news feeds around the globe chiding and chastising the latest Trumpian policy blunder. In the wake of a divisive budget outline that shot panic straight into the veins of liberals everywhere, she’s tweeted herself to the point of exhaustion.

A remedy is required. As it happens, Dr. Hitch has just the prescription.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 165]: The last days of First Night Worcester

One thing we can all agree on is, there will certainly be some sort of party in Worcester on Dec. 31.

While First Night Worcester Inc., the dedicated group of folks who kept the pioneering event going for 35 years, may no longer have the wherewithal to lead the charge, the odds of someone or something not filling the void are quite slim.

Which begs many questions: who should be in charge; what should a new event look like; where will all the buttons go? Luckily for Worcester, Hitch is a man with answers.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 164]: Taxachusetts Welcomes You

If only state Legislators could dine and dash! Indeed, a costly bill is being delivered to their table and nobody seems to have enough in their pockets to pay for it.

Nope, the only bucks they can find are of the passing variety.

So, of course, that leaves lawmakers scrambling to avoid an embarrassing scene, sniffing for revenue wherever it might bubble up — particularly, and in true Bay State style, in the form of divisive and expensive new taxes.

This has Hitch searching for the right words.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 163]: Steve Palermo, called to the real big leagues

For many, if not most, sports fans of today, the name Steve Palermo rings hollow.

But for baseball aficionados and astute local observers, Palermo — born in Worcester, raised in Oxford — was truly someone to admire, having sacrificed his acclaimed Major League umpiring career to help two women being attacked outside a Texas restaurant in 1991, an instinctive action that led to paralysis.

Palermo died from complications of cancer this week. Hitch pays tribute to an unlikely sports icon who should never be forgotten.