November 2006
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Day November 20, 2006

Something new in Middle East policy

In the week prior to the election, Orson Scott Card — author of “Ender’s Game”, which I’ve read and re-read into probably double-digits — wrote an unexpected article in his local paper on the Iraq War / War on Terrorism, and the coming national elections. I heard of it during a brief tune-in to Rush Limbaugh. Rush liked the article because it advocated against giving Democrats control of Congress, based on the their support of withdrawal. Because it was Card (not Rush), I made a mental note to google the article when I got the chance.

I just got the chance. I found Card’s article quite … new. Card is a strong mind, and a brilliant writer, and he combines both in presenting a portrait of the cultural and historical forces at play in the Middle East that wraps the knowledge of an amateur historian into an easily readable narrative. He taught me a lot about the situation at hand, and also offered several new ideas that I had not heard before.

Card isn’t a political essayist, and his article isn’t perfect. I found the material inadequate to support his main thesis, but of high interest nevertheless. But I’ll let you make up your own minds. I’m posting this because in the context of a very stale national discussion on Iraq, Card’s article deserves a wider readership than it seems to have had so far.

For the time-challenged, on the flip I re-post the single most novel idea I found in the article, a discussion of American military options related to Iran.

More Romney Hypocrisy

Yesterday, Mitt Romney was on the steps of the Statehouse insisting that voters be given a chance to decide the marriage discrimination amendment. So what does he do?  Denies Massachusetts voters, who actually made a choice, the opportunity to have their votes translated into public policy. From the Globe: Romney appoints two new members, chairman of Board of Education November 20, 2006 BOSTON –Gov. Mitt Romney on Monday appointed Thomas Fortmann, a scientist who founded a program to help teachers learn mathematics, and Sandra Stotsky, a longtime professor of education, to the state Board of Education. Fortmann and Stotsky will replace James Peyser and Abigail Thernstrom, whose terms had expired. The governor also named Chris Anderson, a current board member, as chairman. The nine-member panel sets policy for kindergarten through 12th-grade education in Massachusetts. “Tom Fortmann and Sandra Stotsky each bring a lifetime of educational experience to the Board of Education,” Romney in a statement. “They will insist on high standards, preserve the choice offered by charter schools and make sure that the needs of children always come first in the decisions we make regarding education policy.” Peyser and Thernstrom had served on the board for the past decade. Does […]

Looking to the ’08 Senate race?

Something funny caught my eye over the weekend, which was posted on The Fix, regarding a potential 2008 Senate race in the Commonwealth:

Massachusetts — John Kerry (D): “If” is the operative word in this race. IF Kerry decides to run for president in 2008 and IF he gives up his seat to do so, then we will see a historic free-for-all among Democrats for the right to replace him. Reps. Marty Meehan, Barney Frank, Stephen Lynch and Ed Markey have all made clear they are interest in a Senate bid and have been squirreling away hundreds of thousands of dollars in their House accounts to be used to jumpstart a Senate race. Meehan is the leader of that pack with nearly $5 million in the bank, but it’s unlikely that even that large a warchest will scare away other potential competitors. No Republican names have been floated; outgoing Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey’s (R) dismal showing this fall in the governor’s race may serve as a deterrent to other ambitious GOPers in this ultimate blue state.

The post is right about two things. First, the GOP will not run a credible candidate if the seat opens up because they really don’t have any to run. Second, it’s right about the big “IF” of John Kerry’s ambitions. Nothing will happen if Kerry decides to stay in the Senate, though he could very well be bored in that position. Despite his “botched joke” a week before the election, I can’t imagine that Kerry won’t run for president again. Where does that leave us?

Timmy Taps Jimmy

According to sources, LG-Elect Tim Murray has chosen State Representative Jim Leary (D-Worcester) to be his Chief of Staff. So if anyone knows a good Democrat in that district who wants to be a state rep, now’s the time to start raising money!

WRKO Fires Entire News Staff

Did anyone see this one sentence buried in the last paragraph of the column on the Globe’s Living Section on Saturday: WRKO-AM (680) eliminated its entire news staff on Thursday. The cuts affect news director Rod Fritz; news anchor and reporter Paul Tuthill; and news anchors Listo Fisher, Mary Blake, Marga Bessette, Sharon Smith, and part-timer Deb Daigle… Gee, there was once a time when a major radio station would eliminate it’s news department and it would be news.  Are we all so callous to corporate cost cutting moves that it barely gets a notice? 

Talking to the Differently Winged about Ben LaGuer

(cross posted at Live, Love and Learn) Yesterday afternoon I spent time on some of the rightwardly winged Massachusetts blogs to see what they were saying about Ben LaGuer. Gov. Elect Deval Patrick’s appointment of Joan Wallace-Benjamin as his chief of staff was getting a workout. Like Patrick, she had spoken out on the injustices of the LaGuer case in the 1990′s. So the conservative bloggers were busy opining as to when the prison doors in the state are going to swing wide open. I happen to have a lot of respect for true conservatism. So my post to their blogs is aimed at appealing to their better angels. Feel free to use the links to add your $.02. I am glad to see that there is a two-sided debate on Hub Politics and Wizbang! and Universal Hub on Benjamin LaGuer’s actual guilt. (Which is a separate question from whether he got a fair trial. That question will be taken up by the SJC in January.) Having researched the case I have come to the conclusion that not only did LaGuer not commit the crime, but the police overlooked a likelier suspect who went on to be charged with another […]

Mass. Election: Hidden Winners & Losers

You know the drill. Beyond the obvious, what can we say about the election results?

I’ll get the ball rolling, you add yours, both after the flip.

“All in the family” for Healey flack

From today’s Herald: It didn’t take long for at least one member of Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey’s campaign squad to land on her feet.  Healey spokeswoman Laura Nicoll has been named director of corporate communications for Affiliated Managers Group, the $4 billion acquisition firm run by Healey’s husband, Sean. No doubt Nicoll was offered the job after a nationwide search revealed her to be the best candidate. Seriously, though, how weird is it that the entire state Republican party is apparently a wholly-owned subsidiary of AMG?  The retiring party chairman is AMG’s CFO; the former state party chair and sitting Republican Lt. Gov. is married to AMG’s President and CEO; Bill Weld, the closest thing the party has to a celebrity, sat on AMG’s board from 1998 to 2004; AMG stock options funded the only significant race the party ran this year; and now an operative from that failed race has picked  up a nice job at AMG (maybe Tim O’Brien could manage the copy room or something?).  Does anyone think all of that might have something to do with the disappearing act the party is on the verge of perfecting?

Health care: What the decision-makers are hearing

From Health Care for All’s blog, reporting on the public input meeting of the “Connector”, the state’s new agency charged with implementing the new health care law: Next up was a panel from the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO). Members of the panel told their personal stories of hardship and inability to afford Commonwealth Care premiums. The first panelist had held a steady, full time job for 25 years before being laid off. She now works part time, has no health insurance, and is ineligible for MassHealth. Further, she is a cancer survivor and a diabetic and cannot afford the co-pays and premiums for Commonwealth Care. The second panelist had cut her hand and, since she had no health insurance, she tried to care for it herself. But her hand became infected and forced her to go to the hospital where she stayed 5 days, had surgery, and now faces a bill of $8,000. She feels that while paying off this debt, she cannot afford Commonwealth Care premiums. The third panelist told the story of a family of five with an income of $60,000 a year. Both parents have full time jobs, they own their home, have no debt, and […]

Who paid for the buses?

MFI and VoteOnMarriage say they were not sponsoring the free buses for yesterday’s rally. Anyone know who paid for them? Just curious. That must have been some chunk of change.