May 2006
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Month May 2006

Another voice against the 15% rule

OK, it’s the Herald – not exactly the Dems’ best friend.  So take it with as much salt as you’d like.  But they’re still right: You’d think a party that has been closed out of the Corner Office for the past 16 years would do a little soul searching about its internal workings. But noooooooo! The 15 percent rule (any candidate seeking to run for statewide office in the September primary must get 15 percent of the convention vote), which ought to have been lowered or abandoned long ago is back in play this year. And made even more onerous by requiring that candidates get over that bar on the first ballot. Gubernatorial hopeful Chris Gabrieli, who entered after most delegates were selected at local caucuses, has worked hard to reach that mark. But how embarrassing would it be to the party if a man with the solid credentials of Gabrieli were denied a place on the September ballot by a delegate or two? They also don’t like the “you can’t be a delegate if you endorsed a Republican” rule, which is a much smaller deal since it only affects a few delegates.  But the 15% rule affects every Democratic […]

I am voting for Gabrieli on the first ballot this Saturday

I have been very impressed by Deval Patrick, but am going to vote for Chris Gabrieli on the first ballot this Saturday.  If a 2nd ballot is necessary, I will then switch back to Patrick to help push him over the 50% threshold and win the weekend convention.  The reasons that I am doing this are as follows: 1) Patrick is going to make the ballot and is assured of 15%; 2) Patrick is going to win the convention in any event; 3) Gabrieli is a legitimate candidate with impeccable democratic credentials and intriguing ideas; 4) The democratic party is about inclusion and Gabrieli could be at risk not to get to the required 15% threshold – that would be an embarrassment to the party and hurt us in the Fall; 5) Along these lines, I have not appreciated what I read about Reilly delegates being disqualified by DP supporters; 6) Patrick is fading in the polls and Gabrieli is a good hedge – in the end Gabrieli, Reilly, and/or Patrick are superior to the alternatives and 16 years of Republican rule is enough. Do we want to risk making it 20 years? 

Delahunt squishy on net neutrality?

Matt Stoller is still afraid that MA congressmen Bill Delahunt could sell us down the river on net neutrality: The danger here is that the conflict between the Rules Committee and the Judiciary Committee produces a meaningless substitute bill [for the Sensenbrenner-Conyers Net Neutrality bill (HR 5417)], and some squishy Dem like Bill Delahunt sells us out and cosponsors it … That bill can then go to the floor and House Democrats will then vote for it while whimpering that it’s the only pro-net neutrality legislation they had the opportunity to vote for. Last week’s call to action by mem from somerville may have worked — but we’re still watching. For those in his district, it couldn’t hurt to give ol’ Bill a call at (202)225-3111, saying this, again: Here’s what to say. Urge them to support the bipartisan Sensenbrenner-Conyers Net Neutrality bill (HR 5417)… and to support it without amendment. Saying without amendment is key. (If you’re wondering what net neutrality is, watch a little video.)

South Shore Needs Help – We Need a Democrat in State Senate

South Shore Democrats have been sleeping…  why are Democrats ignoring incumbent, strong, loud Republicans in the State Senate? There is a campaign that hasn’t received much attention yet, but is also quite important to Democrats: the Plymouth-Norfolk State Senate Race.  For nearly 15 years, there has been a Republican in this spot.  Despite the fact that there are more Democrats than Republicans in this area, and the House Reps in this region are Democrats, this position has always gone to a Republican.  As you look through the voting record scorecards and legislative reviews (especially for important Democratic issues like equality in marriage, low income housing, immigration, alternative energy, healthcare, etc, etc), you always find the name of this Republican Senator, holding back Democratic policy.  I am not clear why Democrats in the South Shore (and throughout Massachusetts – since this is a State position) have allowed this to happen for so long.  One progressive Democratic candidate has stepped up to the plate recently, named Matt Mulvey (a building inspector / housing advocate / firefighter / Coast Guard Auxiliary / Democratic activist), to take up the challenge (http://www.mattmulvey.com) – however, he is not wealthy and self-funded like many of the candidates […]

More on legalized bribery from Washington Monthly

In my last rant on campaign finance as legalized bribery, I neglected to link a good article on the apparent change in attitude at the Department of Justice (I knew I’d seen it somewhere!): Unlike overhaul efforts in the past, though, which have relied on politicians cleaning up the very system that keeps them in power, the Justice Department’s Abramoff case opens up the possibility of genuine change. Imagine, for instance, if the oil companies and their executives could no longer link their campaign contributions to their interests in energy legislation. Or if trial lawyers couldn’t do the same with tort reform legislation. Robbed of much of their ability to bend the power structure with donations and other gifts, these industries would have less reason to give at all. They’d be forced instead to rely on the persuasiveness of their arguments rather than the power of their pocketbooks. Let’s hope that’s the end result. Much credit to the folks at DOJ for calling a spade a spade, finally.

Where Do Candidates Stand on Factory Farms in Massachusetts?

William Saletan, the national affairs correspondent for Slate, has an interesting article in which he compares our current system of factory farming to slavery and the subjugation of women: a practice whose time is past. I personally, meat-eater that I am, haven’t been able to shake this issue since I started thinking about it a few years ago after I read Fast Food Nation. I keep wondering: How can one justify keeping pigs, creatures as intelligent as dogs, in conditions where they cannot even lie down or turn around, for months or years, until they are killed? They often, understandably, go mad from stress and distress. My dog would. Wouldn’t yours? I haven’t been able to find a respectable answer. Right now where I think I come out is that I want any animal that I eat to be treated decently before it dies for me.

The secrecy of the meat industry — slaughterhouses closed to reporters; producers that clam up, as it were, as soon as questions about the conditions of their animals start to be asked (try it and see), adds to my sense that something is awry in our carniverous Denmark.

I wonder where the Governor and LG candidates stand on animal welfare at the farms and slaughterhouses of the Commonwealth. Do they want to encourage it? Do they support alternative organic farms? What? I couldn’t find a mention of this issue on any candidate websites although the environment, health care, and guns and violence, among other issues, are discussed in impressive detail on Patrick’s website, Tom Reilly features a picture of a chap propped up on a hay bale, and Chris Gabrieli has answers for a wide variety of issue-based questions.

This issue is deep in our history. In 1641, just 20 years after the landing at Plymouth Rock, the Pilgrims included in their Body of Liberties safeguards to protect all living creatures. Our MSPCA is the second-oldest humane society in the USA. George Thorndike Angell founded the organization in 1868 after two horses — each carrying two riders over 40 miles of rough roads — were raced until they both dropped dead, according to the Society. As the inscription at the base of the statue in his honor in Post Office Square explains, an important reason to treat animals well is because the way we treat them has a direct impact on the way we treat each other.

In any event, Saletan writes:

Felix Arroyo Endorses Andrea Silbert!

I was at a Boston delegates event that Andrea Silbert hosted at the Milky Way in JP tonight and Felix Arroyo attended and endorsed Andrea! I am a big fan of Felix’s and love what he’s doing on the Boston City Council.  He is also the pre-eminent Latino political figure in the Greater Boston area, so to have his support should cause ripples throughout the Progressive and Latino communities. Although no one would expect Andrea to receive the number of endorsements from state reps and others that politicians like Tim Murray and Deb Goldberg receive simply because they have been in the game for so long, some endorsments mean more than others, and Felix’s is one of those.  I am so excited that my favorite councilor has endorsed my favorite LG candidate!

Reilly takes big swing at Patrick, accidentally hits self

The Herald reports that, in response to Deval Patrick’s blockbuster financial disclosure, Tom Reilly released the following statement: The truth and Deval Patrick are clearly strangers when it comes to Ameriquest. He claims to have been the point person who set Ameriquest on a ‘better course,’ but that is empty rhetoric to the hundreds of Massachusetts families who had their homes threatened by this predatory company. Sadly, the problems continue to this day. It seems to me that he reaped a big payout on the backs of the very people who were scammed by his company. Cut through all the campaign BS in there, and focus on the text that I’ve highlighted.  The problems continue to this day??  Uh, Tom, haven’t you been crowing nonstop since January about a big ol’ settlement that was supposed to take care of those “problems”?  If Ameriquest is still behaving badly, doesn’t that reflect as poorly on you as it does on Patrick?

Dump Phil Johnston

With all due respect, it’s time for him to go. 1)  Can’t win the big one.  We have not been able to grab the Corner Office under his “leadership”. 2)  His victory claims are unwarranted.  The Dems picked up three seats when Romney made his attempt to take some legislative seats for the Republicans.  Please point me to the how the state party helped that along. 3)  Senator Scott Brown.  Brown was and is a lightweight.  In a special election to replace a sitting Dem, and where the state party in an overwhelming Democratic state had no other race to focus, Phil could not deliver the goods. 4)  We owe it to Senator Kennedy to stop the wind farm.  Please.  Nobody is a bigger Kennedy fan than I (except amybe Phill), but it’s always bad form to base a major policy decision on being in the tank for Ted.  I guess you’ve got to give him points for candor in being against the wind farm because Ted says so – as opposed to for policy reasons).  And it’s particularly bad form to for a state chair to bash certain guberatorial candidates on the eve of the convention.  Of course, I […]

Deval Patrick is really, really rich

From Jon Keller’s blog: Some items of immediate note: -Patrick earned $360,070 last year from ACC Capital Holdings Inc., the parent company of controversial mortgage-lender Ameriquest; -He earned $3,129,126 in 2005 from his work as a “consultant and former senior executive” for the Coca-Cola Company, where he formerly served as general counsel; -He made $295,266 last year from Reebok International of Canton, even though he resigned from their board of directors in April 2005; -Patrick is currently paying off three separate mortgages (valued at more than $300,000) on property he owns in Atlanta and Richmond, Massachusetts; -He lists ownership of 250 different securities and investments, including the likes of Bayer, Biogen, Cablevision, Chevron, District of Columbia muni bonds, Dow Chemical (!), Marriott, Marathon Oil, Merck, Petsmart, and Verizon; [that's my link from Dow] -Under “trust-owned securities and investments,” Patrick lists such holdings as Archer Daniels Midland, Chubb, Domino’s Pizza, EMC Corp., Exxon Mobil, Microsoft, and pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. Lots of interesting narratives in that info; Patrick’s had an interesting life on the way to making lots of money. The Coke settlement is enormous, of course, and probably represents the acrimonious situtation in which he left; they must have wanted to […]