July 2005
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Month July 2005

Building capital

Rick Perlstein lays it down for the Democrats: Be what you are and what you were, proudly, gloriously: The most glorious thing about congressional Democrats is that they have drawn the line and said: No further. Don’t. Touch. Social. Security. It is a heroic stand. What’s more, it’s been enormously politically effective. Now think about this: They are drawing on the capital of an entitlement passed 70 years ago. They’ll be drawing on the capital from Medicare 35 years fromnow. Congressional Democrats won’t let them kill it. Because theyunderstand: These programs make life in America fundamentally better.And because these gooses, Social Security, Medicare, lay golden eggs.They manufacture Democrats. Now … has George Bush ever done anything with capital — political or otherwise — except for taking it out back and lighting it on fire? Building capital takes smarts, hard work and courage. Big promises, and big delivery. Any takers? (Thanks to Atrios.)

Health care: Finger to the wind

… Wherein health care is the weathervane of the governor’s race … or vice versa? An interesting juxtaposition, from Left In Lowell’s terrific Deval Patrick interview and Health Care for All’s shiny new blog (now with comments! Be nice…): Here’s Patrick talking to Lynne @ LIL: Of the [health care] proposals that are out there, there are three, you probablyknow. The governor has a proposal, the Senate president has a proposal,and then there?s a proposal from Health Care for All. Those are, I?dsay, the most developed, the most concrete ideas that are on the table.I do think that the destination of health care for everyone isimportant. Even if we can?t get there in one step. The most ambitiousof the proposals is the one that appeals to me the most, which is theHealth Care for All proposal. I?m studying them all but I?m focusing onthat one. [my emphasis] Here’s HCFA’s John McDonough: These days anyone who believes there’s a chance the Gov. might run forre-election has a thing for the tooth fairy. The Gov’s lame duck statusis already a given and well factored into anyone’s political equation,a fact of life … … No disrespect to the Gov. For health reform to […]

Pat Jehlen on health care, education, and transportation

A little while back, we sent a brief questionnaire to the four Democratic candidates for the vacant Second Middlesex Senate seat.  Pat Jehlen and Joe Mackey promised they would respond; no word so far from Paul Casey or Michael Callahan. 

Today we received Pat Jehlen’s responses, and we are pleased to present them below.

But first, a reminder: the primary for this election is on August 30.  The primary is critically important, as it will determine which of the four Democrats listed above gets to beat take on the lone Republican in the race, Somerville alderman Bill White, in the Sept. 27 general election.  However, many residents of the district will likely be on their summer vacations on August 30.  If you will be out of town, be sure to secure an absentee ballot before you go.  (Not sure if you’re in the district?  This site will tell you.)  Turnout is everything in special elections, so make sure you vote for your candidate!

Read on for Rep. Jehlen’s answers…

Pleasing none of the people all of the time

You’ve just got to love Mitt Romney.  This is the guy who, just last year, undertook a concerted (if ultimately failed) effort to "rebuild" the state Republican party by recruiting and throwing his weight behind a bunch of Republican challengers to incumbent state reps and senators.  Mass. Republicans must have thought, hey, this is great, finally a Governor who is committed to turning the Republican party in Massachusetts into a real presence instead of a joke! Well, the joke was on them.  No less a Mass. Republican party stalwart than Ginny Buckingham, who worked for years for Bill Weld and Paul Cellucci, is begging Romney not to let the door hit him on the ass on the way out: Hey Mitt, good luck. Really. Have a ball at all those Holiday Inns and Best Westerns. Just do us this one favor before you go? Don’t take the Massachusetts Republican Party down the garden path with you. Buckingham goes on to note that Romney was elected based on his "false assertion that he was just another moderate Republican, sour on taxes, sweet on social issues," and castigates Romney’s hijacking of the state party apparatus to defend his veto of the morning-after […]

Bubble bubble toil and trouble: And you may find yourself …

Here’s an article from the NYTimes — front page of the Home and Garden section, no less — which discusses families (pretty darned affluent ones at that) having made lots of paper equity on their homes in the last few years, and no place to spend it when they outgrow or out-desire their current places. So maybe they make 100% profit on their investment, but find they still can’t afford an upgrade within their geographical areas. I’ve been posting about the need to create more housing to soak up the high demand, but bubbles are immune to ordinary supply/demand patterns. The extra demand that creates the bubble is partly from speculation, which makes it tough on folks who actually want someplace to live for an extended period of time. Really, one solution to the bubble is for other, less expensive places (Cleveland, Buffalo) to make themselves attractive somehow to people in the expensive areas, as with the couple in the article that moved to Montreal (a terrific place, by the way). Otherwise we may see the "Manhattanization" of entire markets like here and San Francisco, where folks pay higher and higher prices and hold lower and lower expectations because, well, […]

Disgraced ex-aide to Hatch and Frist defends the Federalist Society, makes nice with former boss

Today’s "Opinion Journal," the Wall Street Journal’s on-line collection of far-right opinion pieces, contains a hilarious piece by Manuel Miranda.  It’s about the Federalist Society, which as you may recall is the conservative legal group of which Supreme Court nominee John Roberts may or may not be a member, he can’t seem to recall.  Miranda says that the White House should have defended the Federalist Society instead of trying to distance themselves from it, that the Society isn’t really so bad, blah blah blah nobody cares. Why is this so hilarious?  It’s all about the context.  Let’s recall who this Miranda guy is.  A couple of years ago, it became known that due to a "glitch" in Capitol Hill’s computer systems, the Senate Democrats’ strategy memos were readily available to Senate Republicans.  An aide to then-Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) of the Senate Judiciary Committee leaked some of those memos to the press as part of a strategy to counter the Senate Democrats’ tactics with respect to some of Bush’s judicial nominees.  The aide, who later joined Majority Leader Bill Frist’s staff, was Manuel Miranda.  After the Senate’s Sergeant-at-Arms investigated, Miranda was exposed and finally was forced to resign – by […]

Race you to the bottom!

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Association reports that health care costs are eating up municipal budgets like beetles through bark. Apparently, it’s partly because contracts are negotiated somewhat differently for those unions than those with state employees. Still, it’s not good news that cities and towns are in the same position as, say, GM, in paying ever-exploding health care costs. On one hand, there’s a place for groups like the Group Insurance Commission, which as the Globe suggests, acts as an honest broker for reasonable benefits for state employees. It’s good that there’s something like that for those state workers — and us taxpayers. But for companies like GM who are facing similar problems, I don’t necessarily share some folks’ optimism that they have to choose between 1. skyrocketing health costs, or 2. higher taxes and an increased government role in health coverage. There’s a third choice: neither. If business interests completely reject the idea that they have any responsibility for health care at all, either in the form of benefits or tax support, that’s bad news for all of us. Sure, we all want low low prices, but we may only get that at the expense of our own health. Luckily, […]

The LA Times gets it

You should read today’s outstanding editorial in the LA Times on Novak-Plame-Rove-Libby-gate.  It’s called "Operation Coverup" – a promising beginning.  And remember, we’re not talking lefty wackos over at Daily Kos here – this is as mainstream as the mainstream media gets.  Some choice quotes: [P]eople in the Bush administration misused an intelligence secret to discredit a critic of its Iraq policy. And outing Plame, whether illegal or not, did harm to our national security. Plame may work in Langley, Va., but she worked with others who work in more dangerous locales. You only need to imagine how Republicans would have treated such a leak in the Clinton administration to dismiss their protestations that it’s all no big deal. It’s a good bet that there has already been some lying under oath….Perjury is your classic coverup method, and still is used when other methods have failed…. The coverup, in short, is going well. Tough stuff.  All of it true.  The line about the howling that would be coming from Republicans and their shills on Fox News and in right blogistan if this had happened under Clinton rings particularly true.  The hypocrisy is truly staggering. On the same topic, today’s WaPo […]

Romney calls for Roe v. Wade to be overruled

Mitt Romney, in a Boston Globe op-ed explaining his decision to veto a bill that would increase availability of the "morning-after pill," has called for nothing less than the overruling of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that declared unconstitutional certain restrictions on abortion. Neither the word "overrule" nor the word "Roe" ever appears in the op-ed, but the message is crystal clear.  First, Romney unequivocally equates "life" with "conception."  But he goes well beyond that.  Here is what he says: I believe that the states, through the democratic process, should determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate. The federal system left to us by the Constitution allows people of different states to make their own choices on matters of controversy, thus avoiding the bitter battles engendered by ”one size fits all" judicial pronouncements. A federalist approach would allow such disputes to be settled by the citizens and elected representatives of each state, and appropriately defer to democratic governance. We will never have peace on the abortion issue, much less a consensus of conscience, until democracy is allowed to work its way. The only way in which the states can "determine their […]

Mr. Romney: your pants are on fire

After stating publicly that he would not do so, Mitt Romney has vetoed the bill that would increase the availability of the "morning after pill."  This pill, which is NOT RU-486, can prevent a pregnancy from occurring for up to 72 hours after unprotected sex.  Romney, in his 2002 campaign, supported increased availability of this pill.  But that was before he decided he needed to bow and scrape before the altar of the loons that control the Republican primary process.  So now he’s claiming that he was honor-bound to veto this law because it changes the state’s abortion laws, and he promised not to do that.                                                              Luckily for Romney, the legislature will override this veto, allowing Romney to pander to the right wing of his party without actually accomplishing anything.  Oh, and one more thing.  House Speaker Sal DiMasi gets it exactly wrong when he says: "The governor misunderstands the effects of this medication and regrettably misinterprets how this bill’s provisions would apply to existing state abortion laws."  Wrong, Sal.  The Governor fully understands what this medication does, […]