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

Embedded image permalink

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!

Is Political Climate Change Real? Scott Brown (R-Bqhatevwr!) Apparently Thinks So!

Oh Scott. Welp, this shows a few things: a.) How Brown is truly a Romney protege in being willing to jettison previously-held positions, and b.) How talk radio and the Koch oligarchs control the GOP in NH. People with common sense understand the situation pretty well, it turns out (according to the Yale Climate Project). Denial is left to those whose political-tribal affinities *require* that they not accept the facts in front of their faces. And that's who Brown is chasing right now. It's an endless chase for Brown, into another state and into the arms of a truly marginal political faction. - promoted by charley-on-the-mta

DKos front-pager Meteor Blades and DKos user Poopdogcomedy both had posts up today about the latest flip-flop from the flim-flam man Scott Brown:

MB: Shifty Scott Brown reverses his 2012 stance on whether climate change is real

PDC: NH-Sen: Scott Brown (R) Flip Flops On Climate Change, Claims “It’s Not Scientifically Proven”

In Brown’s first debate with Elizabeth Warren, when he was asked if he believed climate change was real, he answered, “Yes, yes I do. I absolutely believe that climate change is real and I believe there’s a combination between man-made and natural. That being said one of the biggest things we could do is get an energy policy and we don’t have one.” . In sharp contrast to that answer, when asked by reporters yesterday is climate change had been scientifically proven, he simply answered “No.” You can see his answer from the Warren debate around 48 minutes in on this clip:

This actually marks Brown’s third stance on climate change, since in his race against Coakley in 2010 he said he wasn’t sure if climate change was man-made or occurring naturally. Whether climate change is real or not, Scott Brown apparently thinks bending the way that will get him the most votes is the kind of political climate change he can believe in. Bqhatevwr!

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Don Berwick's "house calls" web video

So, this is interesting for a couple of reasons.

  1. Clearly, Berwick is going all-in on single payer/Medicare For All.  It’s a good strategy.  At this point, there isn’t time for a groundswell of support to materialize without some galvanizing issue behind it.  In 2006, there wasn’t a particular issue that pushed Deval Patrick to the top; his rhetorical skill and personality played a bigger role than any single issue that I can recall.  That isn’t going to happen for Berwick, so he needs a different approach.  Of course it remains to be seen whether single payer is that issue, but it’s probably Berwick’s best shot.
  2. The point that health care is over 40% of the state budget is really important.  If this video (or a similar one) gets boiled down to a 30-second TV ad, I’d suggest making sure that gets emphasized.
  3. Without making a big deal out of it, the ad appears to be set in a gay couple’s home.  Nice touch.
  4. Acting is harder than it looks.  Some of the line deliveries are a bit stilted, and Berwick needs to calm down his hands.
  5. The goofy line about playing the piano strikes me as superfluous.  The video is already longer than it needs to be, and the line isn’t funny enough to be worth the time.

Your reactions?

Coming to a teevee near you

Maura Healey hits the airwaves:

And Don Berwick issues a 15-second “preview” of an upcoming web video.  Not sure exactly why you wouldn’t just, you know, release the web video, but here’s the preview, FWIW.

Want to know what went wrong with the Heath Connector? It's all (and I mean all!) here.

Taken with the requisite grains of salt, this is worth a look. - promoted by david

My pal Ed Lyons, an IT project professional, (known by some here as RMG poster “edfactor”) writes an extensive autopsy of the Health Connector failure. I advised him to use a less opinionated tone but he said it’s not intended to be a magazine article but as a resource document for a wide range of people, including the press, and he wanted to express his outrage. His ultimate goal is better government, especially when it comes to IT issues. He feels, based on our local high tech economy, that Massachusetts should have the best government IT infrastructure in the country. The failure of this project not only wasted a lot of taxpayers dollars, but harmed people that needed help.

It’s a monster read, but very interesting.

John Tierney's fundraising email jumps the shark

I’ve complained previously about Ed Markey’s breathless, over-the-top emails about how if we don’t send money immediately, Brian what’s-his-name is surely going to be the next Senator from Massachusetts (spoiler: he’s not).  I can’t make exactly the same complaint about John Tierney, who is indeed in a competitive race.

But this email from Team Tierney is completely ridiculous.

From: <>
Subject: Boehner WRECKED
Date: August 25, 2014 3:11:51 PM EDT
To: David


This morning, Nancy Pelosi sent an inspiring email asking for your support. And David, your response has been absolutely…


Since Leader Pelosi’s email, donations have been POURING IN for John. 114 and counting chipped in — JUST SINCE 10 AM!!!


If we can hit 300 donations by midnight, we can WRECK Boehner’s plans for a Republican takeover in Massachusetts. Sounds GREAT to us!


If you’ve saved your payment information with ActBlue Express, your donation will go through immediately:

Chip in $5 immediately >>
Chip in $35 immediately >>
Chip in $50 immediately >>
Chip in $100 immediately >>
Chip in $250 immediately >>
Or click here to donate another amount >>


Team Tierney

It’s got everything.  The fake donation “counter.”  The three – or even four – exclamation points.  The multicolor text.  The ludicrous flashing “Let’s Do This” gif.  And the smarmy references to the Speaker of the House as, simply, “Boehner.” And the best part is that while I did, indeed, get an email (“inspiring”? well…) signed by Nancy Pelosi asking for money for Tierney this morning, this afternoon I got an identical email, also from Pelosi, except that instead of raising money for Tierney, it’s asking me to donate to Julia Brownley (a Member of Congress from California).

John, we get it.  You’re in a tough race, and you need money to stay competitive.  But for heaven’s sake … blue flashing gifs??  I don’t know, maybe they work.  I’d be shocked.

Suffolk/Herald poll

The excellent discussion in the comments supplies important context to these numbers. - promoted by david

In the latest Suffolk poll released today by the Herald, we see some significant shifts from previous polls, including last week’s Globe/SocialSphere poll.

Here are the highlights from the Suffolk poll of likely Democratic primary voters:

Coakley: 42.25%
Grossman: 30%
Berwick: 15.75%
Undecided: 11.5%

Lieutenant Governor:
Kerrigan: 9.5%
Lake: 9%
Cheung: 8.75%
Undecided: 70.75%

Attorney General:
Tolman: 34.75%
Healey: 28.5%
Undecided: 35%

Goldberg: 19.75%
Finegold: 7.75%
Conroy: 6.5%
Undecided: 63.5%

The biggest takeaways for me are…

The day I met Ted Kennedy

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

When I was a law professor, I spent years studying why middle class families were going broke. I went into this area of study believing the hype – that people who were declaring bankruptcy must be gaming the system and going on too many shopping sprees at the mall.

My academic research showed that three things caused more than 90% of bankruptcies: A serious medical problem, a job loss, or a family breakup. These were good people who worked hard, played by the rules – and, for most of this, a twist of bad luck had turned their financial lives upside-down.

So, in the 1990s, when the big credit card companies tried to make it harder for working families to straighten out their lives using bankruptcy, I was determined to fight back. And that’s how I came to meet Senator Ted Kennedy.

I told the story in Springfield a few months ago. Take a look:

Senator Kennedy led the charge to stop that bad bankruptcy bill for ten years. It wasn’t something that made headlines, and it wasn’t something he got a lot of praise for – after all, there aren’t any lobbying groups or high-dollar PACs for people who are about to go bankrupt. He did it because it was the right thing to do.

And then five years ago today, we lost our champion Senator Ted Kennedy. Not a day goes by that we don’t miss his passion, his enthusiasm, and – most of all – his commitment to working families.

After all these years, I still have a voicemail saved from Senator Kennedy about our work together on consumer issues. Every once in a while, I listen to it just to hear his voice. I wish I could thank him one last time. I wish I could tell him that I’m doing my best to honor his memory, and to do what Senator Kennedy taught all of us to do: to fight for the millions of hard-working families who are counting on us.