As sco has scooped, Harvard Pilgrim CEO Charlie Baker has decided not to go up against the Kerry Healey money-printing machine for the Republican gov. nomination. From what I’ve heard from a couple of different quarters (including esteemed co-blogger David), this is good news and bad news. Baker is said to be a member of the "reality-based community", not a wide-eyed radical, and a guy who really knows the health care business and has led Harvard Pilgrim to a lofty status as the top health plan in the country. He would have been a worthy opponent. So assuming — I don’t think it’s a stretch — that the Dems will be facing a well-funded but, er, lightweight opponent, with deep pockets but shallow support … whom do you want doing battle out there? Do you bet on bucks and institution, or passion and organization? What’s the trump card? (We were skeptical of Kerry Healey magic back in June — but she’s a heckuva lot richer now. Who needs a fairy godmother when you can buy your own pumpkin?)
In case you missed it, this column by Daniel C. Dennett in Sunday’s NY Times is the best takedown I’ve yet seen on the so-called "theory" of intelligent design ("ID") as an alternative to evolution. You should read the whole thing, because it is extremely well done and, I think, unanswerable. This ought to be the final word on this stupid "debate" (it won’t, of course, but it should). A couple of the truly excellent points in the article: The "design" touted by ID promoters as so "intelligent" is actually not all that great in some ways. The example the author gives is the blind spot that everyone has in their vision, which results from the awkward path that nerves must traverse to get from the retina to the brain. Surely an omnipotent and merciful "designer" could have, and would have, done a better job. So ID can’t explain the blind spot. But such a defect is perfectly understandable if you accept that these structures evolved over billions of years, and that non-critical design flaws may never be weeded out in that process. As the author says, "this is just one of hundreds of accidents frozen in evolutionary history that [...]
… but does it knock-’n’-drag? A fellow named Dave posted these links to the Medfordmass Yahoo group — they may have shown up in the bazillion comments here, sorry if I missed them: An article about campaign spending by the various candidates in the Winchester Star. Here’s a tidbit from that: "Casey spent $260.96 on cakes for the elderly andMackey spent $152.65 on helium in hopes of lifting his campaign withballoons. Jehlen hoped to make a splash by dropping $75.72 into a soupparty for her campaign." There’s a few one-liners in there somewhere… Good old-fashioned spying on your neighbors from the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, with contributions and amounts for any candidate you want.
In case you weren’t awake yesterday morning @ 8:35 … there’s a link to yesterday’s Senate debate, moderated by Jon Keller of WBZ4, at the bottom of this page. (Thanks to Jonathan of the medfordmass Yahoo group.) As I’ve noted, the candidates all seemed to be coffee-achieved and awake for the event.
The endorsements in the 2nd Middlesex Senate race are still trickling in – Boston’s major gay and lesbian newspaper, Bay Windows, has endorsed Pat Jehlen. They also had kind words for Joe Mackey ("just the sort of person we want in politics"), but concluded that, among other things, Jehlen’s vocal support for gay marriage since the Goodridge decision and her appreciation for the special issues facing the GLBT community made her their pick. I thought Bay Windows’ editorial supporting Jehlen was quite good. I will confess to being a tad put off by the pro-Jehlen stuff coming out of MassEquality and others – after reading it, you could be forgiven for thinking that Pat Jehlen was running against a bunch of James Dobson clones. The fact is, of course, that Mackey has come out strongly in favor of gay rights, including marriage, and even Michael Callahan has said that he doesn’t favor amending the state Constitution to ban gay marriage – Paul Casey is the only anti-marriage candidate in this race. For that matter, the Globe’s endorsement of Mackey suffered from a bit of the same problem by saying nothing about any of the other candidates. Good for Bay Windows [...]