September 2005
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Month September 2005

Judith Miller caves; will testify in Novak-Plame-gate

As everyone knows by now, NY Times reporter Judith Miller ended her self-inflicted martyrdom by agreeing to testify before the Novak-Plame-gate grand jury, thereby releasing herself from jail. A lot has already been said about today’s events, and I don’t have a lot to add.  Here are my two cents: (1) Miller’s claim that she has "finally" received a "personal" waiver from her confidential source (Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney’s chief of staff) is patently absurd – Libby’s lawyers were widely quoted today as saying, essentially, we gave her the same waiver we gave her months ago, and we have no idea why she went to jail over this issue.  Fact is, it became clear that Fitzgerald was going to keep her in jail for months longer, so she caved.  Thus proving that the NY Times was flat-out wrong, to claim (as they repeatedly did) that Miller would never cave so there was no point in keeping her incarcerated.  (2) Arianna Huffington is absolutely right that Miller ought to follow in fellow Plamegate reporter Matt Cooper’s footsteps and promptly publish, on page 1 of the NY Times, a full account of what she told the grand jury and of her role […]

The Zell Miller of Charlestown?

Fascinating column by Brian McGrory today about Charlestown State Rep Eugene O’Flaherty. It’s mostly about O’Flaherty’s opposition to Melanie’s Bill, which would increase penalties for DWI repeat-offenders, along with a good deal of general mockery. (I don’t know the details of the bill, but I’ll say that I have as little sympathy for DWI repeat-offenders as possible.) Going over their history, McGrory quotes an email he received from O’Flaherty after Finneran’s indictment: ”I rarely write responses to low-level journalists but you really tickme off to the point where I wish I had been in high school with you sowe could have playfully wrestled after school and you could have gonehome to Mommy with tears in your eyes along with a black eye and a sorearse like I’m sure you did on more than one occasion." How statesmanlike. To my knowledge, O’Flaherty has not walked the streets of Charlestown with his pants around his ankles, but this is pretty close. Extra-juicy rumors (scroll to end) have been floated on this site about the possible candidacy of gay ex-priest Christopher Schiavone to challenge O’Flaherty — "a vehement opponent of gay marriage", says McGrory — for his seat. If that happens, grab the […]

DeLay indicted

Someone commented here once, "A good DA could indict a ham sandwich." Well, Tom DeLay is no ham sandwich, friends. The dominoes may be falling…

Don’t make him angry…

The normally mild-mannered Eisenthal Report turns green, grows enormous muscles and busts out of its shirt: Outgoing Massachusetts Secretary of Administration and Finance Eric Kriss gave an interview that appeared in this morning’s Boston Globe.In this interview, Kriss said that Massachusetts cities and towns are"in their worst financial shape ever" and that this is "a crisislargely of their own making." Kriss blames "overly generous" salaryincreases for public employees, a "failure to control" health carecosts, and "aversion to development that could spur new tax revenue." These comments can be best described as bizarre and out of touch withthe reality that faces local governments in Massachusetts. [my emphasis] Yup, more victim-blaming from the Romney administration. Really, municipalities are facing the same squeeze that middle-class families are facing: Spiraling health care costs and real estate prices, which make it difficult to develop because it dilutes the tax base. Add Prop 2 1/2 making it impossible to raise revenues to fill the gap, and you’ve got a nasty squeeze. I mean, "a failure to control health care costs"? How the hell does the city of Framingham or Leominster or whatever do that? Shouldn’t that be the state’s job? The feds’? I came down hard […]

Patrick backs ACT

This is welcome news: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick will deliver a speech today endorsing a plan [The Health Access and Affordability Act, written by Health Care for All] to establish universal health coverage [sic] in Massachusetts that is funded by hiking cigarette taxes 50 cents a pack and by creating a new payroll tax for employers that do not offer worker health plans. Well, the bill is not a universal health care bill. The Globe really needs to get its facts straight. But the bill is a major step forward, and Patrick’s support is good to hear. Perhaps this will give the bill some traction and visibility, at least among his grassroots supporters. And it’s also a way for him to distinguish himself from the Dem pack, for the time being. Reilly counters: Reilly’s campaign committee issued a statement yesterday saying the attorney general will address the state’s healthcare issues in the future, adding: ”No candidate can match Tom Reilly’s experience and record of accomplishment in healthcare." Great. Prove it by supporting the bill. (Hat tip to the Healthy Blog.)

Somerville News: Jehlen wins by 1700+

Here’s the link. Jehlen 7466, White 5747, according to their source in White’s campaign. Should it have been this close? Does it reflect well on White? Or is this a statistical blip on an obscure special election? Heck, even we didn’t say much about it after Jehlen won the primary.

Second Middlesex and Boston City Council elections are TODAY!

If you live in Boston, Somerville, Medford, Winchester, or Woburn (ward 2 only), be sure to stop by your polling place today.  Preliminary elections for Boston City Council, and the final election for the Second Middlesex Senate seat (Democrat Pat Jehlen vs. Republican Bill White), are happening right now.  Cos reports below on one of the contested Boston City Council elections.  Please treat this post as an open thread on today’s elections.  Seeing anything interesting out in the field?  Drop it in the comments!  –David Since Boston City Council races are nonpartisan, there are no party primaries, but any race that has more than twice as many candidates as offices holds a preliminary today to narrow the field. Boston has nine council districts, which each elect one councilor, plus four at-large councilors elected by the entire city. There are fifteen candidates on the ballot for the four at-large seats, so today’s citywide preliminary will pick the eight who will be on the ballot in November. In most of the city, that’s the only race on today’s ballot. The at-large race is getting all the attention. In one district, however, there are more than two candidates running for district councilor: the […]

2nd Middlesex Senate: Special election is TOMORROW

Don’t forget: the special election to fill Charlie Shannon’s Senate seat is tomorrow, Tuesday, Sept. 27.  Democrat Pat Jehlen is taking on "Republican" Bill White. Not sure where to vote?  This site will tell you. Don’t forget to vote!

The appalling hoax of “intelligent design” moves to the courtroom

Courtroom proceedings begin today in the challenge to a Dover, PA school committee’s misguided decision to require that a "disclaimer" (along the lines of "evolution is theory, not fact") be read to students with respect to the teaching of evolution (this requirement applies only to evolution, although it obviously applies to any scientific subject), to alert them to the "alternative" explanation of "intelligent design," and to mention a specific book available in the school library that advocates for "intelligent design." Ironically, another news story published today reports that the decoding of the chimpanzee genome has allowed scientists to test one of evolution’s most important predictions – the rate at which harmful genetic mutations appear.  Evolution passed with flying colors: the actual rate of harmful mutations in the chimpanzee matched what evolutionary theory predicted.  Another testable prediction made and confirmed. As I’ve said several times before, what is so frustrating about this whole debate is that it’s a debate at all.  "Intelligent design" does not make any testable predictions.  It therefore cannot be proven or disproven.  And it is therefore not a scientific theory.  Yet, the WaPo reports, ID’s proponents have the gall to say that "it is up to Darwinists […]

“Internet advantage”?

In which my bloggy navel-gazing meets the Boston Globe… from the Globe’s article on the challenges of the Deval Patrick campaign, I found this comment interesting: ”If our opponents think they can continue to cherry-pick short-termdata as some kind of old-school evidence that they can beat us, wecan’t wait for the day when we are only seeing them in our rearviewmirror," Byrd said. ”Our evidence is our grass-roots advantage, ourInternet advantage, our million dollars raised since April, and ourissue focus." OK… so that internet advantage? That’s us, and his pretty decent site. The question is whether he’ll be able to leverage that, and his doubtless enthusiastic volunteer base, into getting wider name recognition and support. While I would love to toot the horn of this site and all the other MA lefty blogs, my impression is that our readership is small, deep, dedicated and possibly influential — but not broad. sco has a good breakdown of where the polls are for the Dem candidates, and Patrick is still pretty much unknown. Right now, frankly I don’t see that many Deval Patrick bumper stickers, name tags, (neckties, samplers, stained-glass windows, tattoos, anything ), i.e. things that bump up his name recognition. […]