November 2007
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Month November 2007

State hearing on eminent domain bills Dec 4

The Joint Committee on the Judiciary will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, December 4, 2007 at 1:00 in room A2, on land and property issues including eminent domain legislation. The eminent domain bills are on the state website: H1770, H1466, H1499, H1704, H1732 The best, I believe, is H 1770 (Martha Walz) An act relative to eminent domain takings. Martha M. Walz, James B. Eldridge, Matthew C. Patrick, Denise Provost, Christine E. Canavan, James R. Miceli “SECTION 1. Chapter 79 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2004 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after section 1 the following new section: Section 1A.  The taking of real estate or of any interest therein by right of eminent domain under this chapter or chapter 80A shall be effected only when necessary for the possession, occupation, and enjoyment of land by the public at large and shall not be effected for the purpose of commercial,  private economic development, or any private use of the property. Property shall not be taken from one owner and transferred to another on the grounds that the public will benefit from a more profitable use.  Whenever an attempt is made to take property for […]

Dear BFK: You are Denied. Pay up, or else. Love, The Commonwealth

So its been about a year since I've written anything here on BMG, but I still stop by from time to see whats going on.  Those of you with insanely good memories may remember what I wrote last time I was around, while the health care law was being written:

I’m under 30, with no health insurance.  I haven’t been for a physical in 8 or 9 years, I havent had any medicine – not so much as an asprin – in over 10 years, and I haven’t had a prescription since I was 5.  I’m in tip top health, as was shown by the fact that I swam more than a 1/2 mile into cape cod bay this summer to retrieve a boat that had slipped off its anchor on the beach.

I don’t says this to brag, but simply to say that I don’t like the idea of the state FORCING me to pay a premium that I can’t afford every month when I know I won’t be using services.  I can’t afford to get by now working 2 jobs with my mountains of student debt.  Boston is my home, and I’ll never leave, but it might mean my living in a slum somewhere just to get by.

At the time Charley asked for more stories like this, so I would like to continue mine.

Not much has changed in the past year.  I still haven’t taken any kind of medication, I still haven’t been to the doctor, and I still don’t have health insurance.  Though I fundamentally disagree with the personal mandate, like a good citizen I sent in an application to be exempted from the requirement.  I tried a two prong approach.

Is Patrick trying to annoy me?

Cross posted from CFO blog Governor Patrick spoke at the Worcester Economic Club in defense of his ill-conceived Casino plan “All I’ve heard is the emotional argument,” he said of the public debate about his casino proposal. Casinos, he said, will not “jeopardize the character of the commonwealth.” Mr. Patrick, I submit that if the emotional argument is all you’ve heard, you have a serious hearing problem.  Information about the downsides of casino gambling is everywhere. He said he was neither morally nor practically opposed to gambling, noting that he used to take his mother to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. “I get it,” he said of gambling. “It’s entertaining.” As someone who has been intimately involved in this issue for many months, I must insist that you do not get it. Questioned by club members after his speech about the social costs of addictive gambling, Gov. Patrick said only 5 to 6 percent of those who frequent casinos have a gambling problem, which he said is about half the percentage of bar patrons who have a drinking problem. “We don’t tell them they can’t drink,” he said. Mr. Patrick, I hate to be the one to break this to you […]

FYI: 2 Clinton Campaign Workers Being Held Hostage in NH

[UPDATE - The situation was resolved peacefully.]

News report here.  A man wearing explosives is holding 2 Clinton campaign workers hostage at the 28 Main St. office in Rochester.  Earlier he released another woman and her baby.  The situation is ongoing.  Let us hope for a peaceful conclusion to this very scary situation.

Live video report here.

Senator Clinton isn’t in NH today, but has reportedly canceled plans in VA today due to this ongoing situation.  The hostage taker is apparently asking to speak with her.

Earlier press release from Clinton Campaign.

There is an ongoing situation in our Rochester, NH office.  We are in close contact with state and local authorities and are acting at their direction.  We will release additional details as appropriate.

UPDATES below the fold.

Willard’s Extremism Starting to Have Consequences

The Associated Press reports today that the Log Cabin Republicans and the Republican Majority for Choice group have both started airing ads in New Hampshire. Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Galatians: 6). The consequences of Romney’s decision to campaign as a religious extremist, as close to the religious right as he can get, are coming home. It will be interesting to see how his gambit plays in increasingly blue New Hampshire. A Republican gay rights advocacy group accuses Mitt Romney of “Mitt-flops” in a new radio ad that criticizes the former Massachusetts governor on his tax record. The ad by the Log Cabin Republicans notes that Romney signed legislation in 2003 that increased taxes on New Hampshire residents who worked in Massachusetts. It also says Romney raised taxes on businesses, a point Romney disputes by saying he was merely closing tax loopholes. “Mitt Flops – sounds like something you’d wear to the beach, but they could cost you,” the ad states. “Let’s see. Running for governor, Mitt Romney said he’d balance the budget without raising taxes. So what’d he really do? He raised taxes on some New Hampshire residents who worked in Massachusetts, taxing their income […]

Federal review of BU’s scary-virus biolab was hopelessly inadequate

I’ve long thought that locating a research facility designed to study the world’s most dangerous pathogens (Ebola, anthrax, dengue fever, etc.) in the densely-populated South End was a lousy idea.  I always thought it smacked of hackery trumping sensible policy (jobs! prestige! politically-connected players! and hey, what could possibly go wrong?), with an uncomfortable overlay of once again screwing a relatively poor neighborhood because it’s possible to do so.  (No one ever talked up locating this thing in Cambridge, despite the proximity to Harvard’s and MIT’s researchers.)  Previous posts on this, some of which date back to BMG’s infancy, are here, here, here, and here. No, no, no, the doubters have repeatedly been told — it’s completely safe.  The federal government said so.  But now it turns out that the federal government’s study was a catastrophe, to the point that it didn’t meet “basic standards applied to scientific research.” A federal review of a controversial laboratory being built by Boston University was “not sound and credible” and failed to adequately address the consequences of highly lethal germs escaping from the project, according to a blistering report released yesterday by an independent panel of scientists.  Authors of the report from the […]

Edwards just lost all shred of any respect that I might have given him

From Kevin Drum Under the Edwards plan, when Americans file their income taxes, they would be required to submit a letter from an insurance provider confirming coverage for themselves and their dependents. If someone did not submit proof of coverage, the Internal Revenue Service would notify a newly established regional or state-based health-care agency [which] would enroll the individual into the lowest cost health-care plan available in that area….The newly covered individual would not only have access to health benefits but would also be responsible for making monthly payments with the help of a tax credit. ….If a person did not meet his or her monthly financial obligation for a set period of time (perhaps a year, perhaps longer) the Edwards plan would empower the federal government to garnish an individual’s wages for purposes of collecting “back premiums with interest and collection costs.” Oh, yes.  Give the IRS more power.  Great thinking Johnny.  /sarcasm

Rip van Romney

Random L.A. Times reporter Faye Fiore worries that Willard is too perfect: By central-casting standards, the former Massachusetts governor is the perfect presidential specimen — a comforting throwback to the 1950s, when nobody got divorced (they fell in love in high school and that was it), mothers stayed at home (he dubbed Ann the Romney CFO — chief family officer) and the greatest parental challenge was making the boys practice their piano (Ann used to pinch their necks ). This is the tragedy of the Republican Party in 2007: locked in worship of the 1950s, when women stayed at home and white men told the rest of the country to hand them a putter. We’ve moved beyond those days — we need everyone to participate in our economy and our society today, if we’re to have a chance in the globalized economy, for one thing — and the faster the Republicans recognize that the better. In the meantime, as the unnatural coalition between the fanatics of the religious right and corporate America fashioned by Bush, Rove and Cheney splinters before our eyes, it is entertaining to watch His Expediency campaign like a modern Rip van Winkle.

The Huckabee Survivor Scenario

I can't get away from the conclusion that Mike Huckabee is going to be the Republican nominee. I know, he's come from nowhere; he's cornpone; he's a governor from a small, inconsequential state that has produced a bunch of nobodies; he lacks Mitt's money and organization, and Rudy's name recognition and admiration. Yup. I know all that. But look … Republicans are going to want someone who genuinely agrees with them on core issues: abortion, God, gays, and guns. Sure, they'll accept a "convert" telling them what they want to hear (Mitt), or perhaps stomach someone they feel is acceptable to mainstream America (Rudy-?), but Huckabee speaks to them where they are. He's charming and personable. Do not underestimate this. You can say the goofiest, wrongest stuff imaginable and get away with it if you're charming doing it. Huck's got the goods. Huck has been steadily gaining in the polls. He's close in Iowa; the question is whether the wack-ass circus of the Iowa caucuses makes the polling irrelevant. I don't know enough of the history to know. Are Huckabee's supposed unorthodoxies with regard to taxation somehow more toxic to GOP voters than Mitt's pandering or Rudy's defiance? (Or Rudy's […]

Patrick going to China with biotech execs?

The Glob reports that the Governor is planning a 200,000 dollar trip to China to work on some international trade agreements with Genzyme and Massachusetts, Inc.  An excerpt below: