Shirley Grossman makes her pitch

Your thoughts? - promoted by david

The super PAC supporting Steve Grossman for Governor has come out with a new ad featuring Shirley Grossman, Steve’s 92-year old mother and one of the committee’s top donors. I’m biased as a Grossman supporter, but I think it’s the best ad I’ve seen for any statewide candidate this year. Much like Carl Sciortino’s famous ad with his dad, this one is amusing, endearing, and substantive.

Martha Coakley's utterly nonsensical position on a Springfield casino

In a debate that was probably seen by about 17 likely primary voters (it aired at 8:30 am on Sunday morning of Labor Day weekend), Martha Coakley agreed with Charlie Baker that, even if the people vote to repeal the casino law in November, it might still make sense to allow a casino to go forward in Springfield.

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Charlie Baker was the first candidate to suggest he would pursue legislation to build a casino in Springfield if Question 3 passes, and Coakley has said she’d also be willing to listen to the case for a western Massachusetts casino.

“If the voters say overturn casinos, that’s the law of the Commonwealth. That should stay the law. Let’s not undermine the democracy for which we fought for for hundreds of years,” [Steve] Grossman said.

Coakley responded: “The voters in Springfield voted for it under the statute. That’s democracy as well.”

I’m sorry, but Coakley’s comment makes zero sense.  None.  The people of Revere and Everett both voted for a casino too.  Why should their votes count for less than those cast in Springfield?  Either the local votes trump the will of the people statewide, or they don’t.

Furthermore, under federal gaming laws, if casino gambling is legal anywhere in the state, that could open the door for Native American tribes to open casinos on the South Coast, on Martha’s Vineyard, and potentially elsewhere.  There is no way to enact a “Springfield only” law.

Now, I recognize that Coakley’s comment was made in a debate, apparently in a colloquy with Steve Grossman, and maybe she was just speaking off the cuff.  Still, people running for Governor should make sure they are clear on the consequences of what they are proposing.  Especially when what they’re proposing involves flouting the will of the people.

Another bad few days for the pro-casino forces

Today’s news on the casino front is that Massachusetts’ most popular politician, Elizabeth Warren, will vote to repeal the casino law in November.  The Herald (but not the Globe, for some reason) has the story:

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she will vote to repeal the state’s casino law when the hotly debated question goes to the ballot in November.

“I come to the question of gambling from a background in bankruptcy and what happens economically to families,” the Cambridge Democrat told reporters yesterday. “It’s a tough call here. People need jobs, but gambling can be a real problem economically for a lot of people. I didn’t support gambling the first time around and I don’t expect to support it (now).”

Of course, this is awesome news for the pro-repeal forces.  And it comes on the heels of several days of terrible stories regarding the casino industry as a whole.

In particular, if you have looked at the news at all over the last few days, you cannot have missed the numerous stories coming out of Atlantic City, NJ.  Basically, the casino industry there is in something close to freefall.  The two-year-old ultra-glitzy Revel casino is closing tomorrow.  The Showboat, which had been there for decades, closed on Sunday.  And in a couple of weeks, Trump Plaza is set to shut down.  Thousands of casino employees are losing their jobs, and it’s unclear where those people are going to go.

Obviously, it’s impossible not to connect the dots from Atlantic City to our own ongoing experiment with casinos.  Globe:

The contraction and painful layoffs in New Jersey — amid disappointing revenues in the casino industry elsewhere in the United States — come at an inauspicious time for casino supporters in Massachusetts, a little more than two months before voters will decide whether to repeal the state’s casino law in a ballot referendum.

Naturally, the pro-casino crowd insist that Massachusetts is totally different and all the terrible news coming out of Atlantic City (as well as Mississippi and other casino havens) has nothing to do with building three and a half casinos here.

The industry’s supporters argue that Massachusetts’ casino marketplace would be a much different animal — a maximum of four facilities, not a dozen. With more than 6.5 million residents, the Bay State has enough potential customers to support up to three resort casinos and a slot parlor scattered around the state, as called for in the 2011 expanded gambling act, supporters say.

“All four facilities can do very well and you would not have a supply-and-demand imbalance,” said Jay Snowden, chief operating officer of Penn National Gaming, the company building the state’s slot parlor in Plainville.

But more sensible minds have a different view.

the state [of MA] is not immune to the same competitive pressures that are squeezing Atlantic City, specialists say.

Competition has shrunk casino markets, and new jurisdictions should look soberly on how much tax revenue casinos can produce, said Israel Posner, an expert on Atlantic City and director of the Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality, and Tourism at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey…. Other casino jurisdictions are also suffering in the face of competition, and less interest in gambling among younger people, said Posner. Ohio’s casino profits, for example, have not lived up to projections. Closer to home, the Connecticut tribal casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, have seen declining gambling revenue.

Needless to say, taking a “sober” view of “how much tax revenue casinos can produce” has not exactly been the Massachusetts legislature’s forte.  Even before the casino industry started collapsing around the country, the revenue projections from local proponents were derided as wildly unrealistic.  Yet the legislature happily built projected revenues into the state budget, with no evident backup plan should those revenues fail to materialize.

Anyway, since I will be voting to repeal the casino law, I’m happy that Elizabeth Warren is publicly on board.  We can certainly anticipate that the pro-repeal forces will continue using her name in advancing their cause.

Joke Revue "Critics Blast Obama’s Three Meals a Day"

Mitt Romney takes the ice bucket challenge, looking simultaneously stiff, honorable, and slightly ill at ease:


Critics Blast Obama’s Three Meals a Day

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—G.O.P. chief Reince Priebus ripped President Obama on Sunday for consuming three meals a day while on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.

“With international crises boiling over in Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine, it’s unconscionable that the President is having breakfast, lunch, and dinner,” he said. …

Nation Debates Extremely Complex Issue of Children Firing Military Weapons

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Across the United States on Wednesday, a heated national debate began on the extremely complex issue of children firing military weapons.

“Every now and then, the nation debates an issue that is so complicated and tricky it defies easy answers,” says pollster Davis Logsdon. “Letting small children fire automatic weapons is such an issue.”

Logsdon says that the thorny controversy is reminiscent of another ongoing national debate, about whether it is a good idea to load a car with dynamite and drive it into a tree.

“Many Americans think it’s a terrible idea, but others believe that with the correct supervision, it’s perfectly fine,” he says. “Who’s to say who’s right?”

Similar, he says, is the national debate about using a flamethrower indoors. “There has been a long and contentious national conversation about this,” he says. “It’s another tough one.”

Much like the long-running national debates about jumping off a roof, licking electrical sockets, and gargling with thumbtacks, the vexing question of whether children should fire military weapons does not appear headed for a swift resolution.

“Like the issue of whether you should sneak up behind a bear and jab it with a hot poker, this won’t be settled any time soon,” he says.

Daniel Kurtzman:

“Happy birthday to former President Bill Clinton. He turned 68 today, or as he calls, ‘one away from the fun one.’” –Jimmy Fallon

“Disneyworld has become a popular location for Republican fundraisers. A favorite activity is to ride through It’s a Small World and deport most of the dolls.” –Conan O’Brien

“Yesterday was Bill Clinton’s birthday. Hillary yelled surprise, and out of habit, Bill yelled, ‘I can explain.” –Conan O’Brien

“Anthony Weiner is opening a restaurant. Honest to God, how many of you — other than losing a bet, how many of you would go to have a meal at Anthony Weiner’s restaurant? Plus it’s a drive-thru. You pull your car up, you roll down your window, and you scream your order right into his fly.” –David Letterman

“Rumor has it that Texas Gov. Rick Perry badly wants to run in the next presidential race. You can tell Perry’s behind it because they’re starting to make signs that says ‘Perry 2017.’” –Conan O’Brien

Globe endorses Healey for Attorney General, Conroy for Treasurer

Two endorsements emerged from Morrissey Boulevard today.  For Attorney General, Maura Healey:

Healey’s clearer focus on the core responsibilities of the office, coupled with her evident tenacity and discerning legal mind, make her the superior choice…. Healey shows a refreshing willingness to acknowledge some limits to the power of the position she’s seeking. From her work as an assistant attorney general under Coakley, Healey has a firm grip on how to deploy the powers the office indisputably has — and to tend to the basic duties of that office…. [H]er unusual biography — she played professional basketball in Europe before attending law school — and her audacious performance in debates hint at a level of imagination and creativity that would serve her well….

Tolman, if elected, would be more conspicuous in using the attorney general’s bully pulpit. Healey would likely be more aggressive in using the office’s established powers in pushing for outcomes that she and Tolman both favor — and that would benefit the people of Massachusetts.

And for Treasurer, Tom Conroy:

He has worked in the private sector as a financial and risk-management consultant. He understands clearly how securing favorable financing terms for major state debt issuances can save money that can be directed toward other needed projects. He sees how giving cities and towns access to the state’s investment expertise can reduce fiscal pressure on municipal authorities. Meanwhile, his wide-ranging public-sector experience, which includes everything from working with refugees on behalf of the US State Department to chairing the Legislature’s Labor and Workforce Development Committee, bespeaks a commitment to maximizing the good that government can do for people by making it work effectively…. [I]t’s Conroy who shows the most fluency in, and enthusiasm for, the gory details of the treasurer’s job, and that makes him the best Democratic candidate for treasurer.

Nice gets for both of them (and for Steve Grossman, of course).  Still, I’d urge all the endorsees not to get too comfy, and instead to recall the specter of Dan Winslow.  As I observed after he lost big in the three-way Republican primary for US Senate in 2013:

Newspaper endorsements don’t mean sh!t.  Everyone pretty much knew this already, but wow – what an emphatic demonstration we got yesterday.  Republican Dan Winslow absolutely ran the table on major newspaper endorsements.  He got the Globe, the Herald, the Lowell Sun, the Springfield Republican, the Fitchburg Sentinel, and the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune.  Yet he didn’t just lose the primary, he got blown out, netting only 13% in a three-way race.  And to make matters worse, this seems like the sort of election in which newspaper endorsements might actually have some influence – nobody really cares who the Globe or any other paper supports for president, but if you’re coming late to an election that you know is important (it’s a US Senate seat, after all), but that you haven’t had the time to delve into, you might place some stock in the views of what you consider to be a reasonably like-minded editorial board.  But apparently not.

A letter to friends... The Top 10 Reasons You Should Vote For Don Berwick for Governor on Sept. 9

In which the interesting question is posed: what generates more votes? A Boston Globe endorsement? Or a letter from your neighbor? - promoted by david

The following was written by two Berwick supporters in Greater Boston. They asked me to share this letter on BMG on their behalf.

Hello dear friend:

It’s so easy to let a state primary slip by but the opportunity for real change in this election is quite exciting and so we wanted to reach out to our friends and neighbors.

Hal and I would very much appreciate your consideration and vote for Dr. Don Berwick, Democrat for Governor on September 9th.

I personally have been tracking Don’s career and accomplishments for over 15 years. While at Abt Associates, it was imperative to follow his work because simply, Don is a thought leader.  He has been cited as the third most influential voice in healthcare, just behind Bill Gates.

But if you haven’t been tracking his career as I have, I’ve put together a Top 10 list for you. So, drum roll please, here are the top 10 reasons why you should vote for Don Berwick!

Reason 10:  If you like Elizabeth Warren, you will LOVE Don Berwick!

Boston Globe endorses Steve Grossman for Governor

The big question, of course, is whether this has the ability to move the needle much...if at all. Newspaper endorsements don't have much of a track record recently. - promoted by david

Early edition of Sunday’s Globe is up tonight and the paper has endorsed Steve Grossman:

Grossman is not my candidate. Indeed, I do not have a candidate in this race, but the Globe nails for me one very serious problem in both the short and long term: even if she is likely to win the primary, frontrunner Martha Coakley is a tepid, cautious, uninspiring candidate whose campaign has been underwhelming to say the least.

This editorial will definitely make me give Grossman a second look.

How to help Springfield (and cities like it)

A very thoughtful post. I invite all of our candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor (and everyone else, of course) to offer their comments. - promoted by david

In another thread, I was asked for ways that I thought the state could help Springfield. It is difficult to describe Springfield’s problems succinctly. I can only offer my middle-class white perspective, but there are many other residents’ viewpoints which need to be considered. We are a very diverse city.

From my perspective, Springfield is struggling with poverty, lack of opportunity, lack of services/amenities, lack of recreational options, lack of economic diversity, and a recent particularly nasty reputation for crime (partially deserved, partially undeserved – it wasn’t right for Chris Gabrielli to call us “Detroit” a few years back).

As a city resident, I live here because I don’t want to live in an enclave where everyone is just like me. I want to live in an ethnically and economically diverse neighborhood. That diversity is slipping away as the city becomes more and more poor, and more and more ethnically/racially segregated from the region. I would like to see the city retain a more balanced populace, especially economically.

I would like to be proud of my city, to be able to advise people to move here. I would like to be able to drive to retail stores and restaurants in my neighborhood instead of having to leave the city to go to a bookstore (Springfield has zero firsthand bookstores). I would like to not have to worry that a state sponsored home for sex offenders or drug addicts is going to move next door to me (this happens more than you’d believe).

I would like to not have to explain away the city’s reputation on a daily basis. I would not like to have to worry when I see a “for sale” sign go up on my block, and to have to explain to everyone else that this person is not fleeing, but is moving for their job or something else innocent. I would like to not be constantly told that I should move by my friends.

It is not possible to solve all these problems at once, but we can do some things immediately, short-term, medium-term, and long-term to make Springfield a better place, to make it the engine of the region again.

More below..

Don Berwick's new TV ad

A creative approach.  Your thoughts?

Why I'm voting for Don Berwick for Governor

Thank you Senator, as always, for posting here. - promoted by david

I am very proud to support Don Berwick for Governor, and will be voting for him on Tuesday, Sept. 9th.

I endorsed Don back in March, after giving a lot of thought to both his positions on key issues, but also where I see a Governor could make a difference on progressive public policy that makes a difference in people’s lives, both by executive action and pushing the Legislature to the left on a range of important legislation.

If we as progressives are really serious about tackling problems in Massachusetts like income inequality, our backwards criminal justice system, climate change, or the most expensive health care system in the US that still leaves many without proper care, I don’t think having a Democrat in the corner office is enough (just as I feel the same about the Legislature) – we need a visionary leader with strong principles, who has the capability to marshal the state programs and agencies to solve very complex problems, while inspiring the public to rally behind powerful ideas that take on the status quo.

We’re in a very interesting time in Massachusetts politics, and policy. For the past eight years, under Governor Patrick’s leadership and an active Democratic Legislature, we’ve made progress on access to health care, become a nationwide leader on alternative energy, sustained a strong economy, and protected marriage equality.

And yet there are things that happen on Beacon Hill that make me shake my head. A wasted opportunity on a progressive tax package that does not adequately invest in transportation infrastructure, underwhelming increases in public education, welfare, immigration and criminal justice “reforms” that only further punish the poor and oppressed, and state agencies that have made only modest progress on social suffering and moral outrages such as the state’s homeless crisis, and deep poverty in struggling cities and towns.

Warren Tolman's new ad

Here it is.  Did you find it confusing that the ad starts out talking about smoking, but then suddenly shifts to guns?  Other thoughts?

WWLP-22News Democratic Gubernatorial Debate Tonight at 8PM!

At least it's on the air somewhere in the state. - promoted by david

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Don Berwick, Martha Coakley. and Steve Grossman will go at it again tonight at 8 PM in another debate. This one will be televised in Western Mass. on Channel 22, but for the rest of us in Central and Eastern Mass., we will be able to watch it online here. 

Check out a preview of the debate from WWLP-22News here! In addition, you might be able to still submit a question to be used in the debate!