Oh, great: The House’s top budget writer is warning that the state could be forced to make significant cuts in key services next year to offset a budget deficit that appears to be growing worse every day. “I’m hoping the dire predictions turn around, but I’m preparing myself for the worst,” said state Rep. Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop), chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. “We have to look where we can find cost savings and efficiencies.” Patrick administration officials have already predicted a deficit of at least $1.3 billion in fiscal 2009, an estimate DeLeo agreed is “in the vicinity” of what the state is facing. That could mean deep cuts in services unless lawmakers agree to raise taxes, a move DeLeo said appears unlikely. Well, it's all good, because remember how this year the legislature: Closed all those corporate tax loopholes, like the Verizon windfall and combined reporting (like 21 other states)? Took bold action on health care cost increases? Got rid of unnecessary police details on construction projects? Allowed cities and towns to cushion the coming blow by raising their own meals tax revenue? And of course, it sure is good that we didn't dip into [...]
Mitt Romney is getting desperate.
He has not received as much support from the religious right as he had hoped. He has sought to be acceptable to conservatives and at the same time not-too-scary to moderates. He has also emphasized his recent conversion from being prochoice to being prolife, and sought to obscure his past support for gay and lesbian civil rights while emphasizing his position opposing marriage equality. During the recent GOP candidate debate in Florida, he refused to say, as he once did, that he looks forward to the day when gays and lesbians can serve openly in the military. Many — especially many of us who live in Massachusetts — take him as having few, if any, deep convictions. And (as far as I know) with the exception of Paul Weyrich, no major religious right leader is supporting him.
Why do we have this whole song and dance and pretend that the Iowa caucus represents something other than a bucket of warm spit? Walter Shapiro: The Iowa caucuses have to be a management consultant's nightmare. Just think of the wanton inefficiency of it all. In 2004, 1.5 million Iowans (about two-thirds of the state's voting age population) cared enough about the presidential race to cast ballots in the Bush-Kerry race. But only around 200,000 Iowans in both parties are expected to participate in the Jan. 3 caucuses, even though the decisions made on that cold Thursday night will go a long way to narrowing the choice for president. Put another way, the odds are about seven-to-one against a typical Iowa voter participating in the caucuses. It goes on … and on and on. And that's why the polls mean jack squat: IT AIN'T EVEN A SECRET BALLOT, a normal votin' kind of thing done by normal votin' kinds of folks. It's more like some kind of goofy-ass summer camp game than an act of democracy: Choose your candidate publicly — but if you don't like him/her, or it seems like someone else is winning … GO! RUN! DUMP THE [...]
Originally posted on Citizen Orange
When it comes to race baiting, Lou Dobbs is a hypocrite. Check out this new video that I’ve put together where Lou Dobbs gives a pass to a staunch racist at forum in Illinois. Then, just a day later, he accuses Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) of race baiting on his show. This and Gutierrez didn’t even mention race once! I can’t help but see hypocrisy when Dobbs gives a pass to an anti-migrant racist in his forum at the same time that he constantly calls out pro-migrant advocates for race-baiting on his show.
Have you seen the headlines? The squabble to be first in deciding the nation’s fate is intensifying. Early states are cleverly inching their primaries in a race to secure voting influence for their citizens. By the end of February, we’ll know who the presidential finalists are before more than half the nation gets a chance to vote, let alone meet the candidates. Sound Fair? Check out the primary schedule. The heavily frontloaded primary schedule does all of America a disservice. Leaving the power to decide who the next president of the America can be to a handful of people is just not right. The demographic make up of all the early primary state, even combined, does not accurately represent the American population. For instance, isn’t New Hampshire the third wealthiest state in the nation? With less than a month left, there seems like there’s no hope. The Washington Post reports that the American people are being tempted by pessimism, and are losing faith in our political system. But, not to fear. Register to host a caucus at www.nationalcaucus.com and get involved. It seems like there’s no hope but to accept the circumstances. However, I came across this website, the National [...]
Just got the press release: Robert Reich defends Obama on the sacred cow of Social Security: I’m becoming increasingly concerned about the stridency and inaccuracy of charges in Iowa — especially coming from my old friend. While I’m as hard-boiled as they come about what’s said in campaigns, I just don’t think Dems should stoop to this. First, HRC attacked O's plan for keep Social Security solvent. Social Security doesn’t need a whole lot to keep it going – it’s in far better shape than Medicare – but everyone who’s looked at it agrees it will need bolstering (I was a trustee of the Social Security Trust Fund ten years ago, and I can vouch for this). Obama wants to do it by lifting the cap on the percent of income subject to Social Security payroll taxes, which strikes me as sensible. Now, this strikes me as about right. Obama has caught a lot of hell for "reinforcing Republican talking points" about Social Security — you know, calling it a crisis, and so forth. But progressives should not be sanguine about Social Security's future: If the budget is in trouble, then Social Security is at risk: We don't have Al [...]
Rare in Massachusetts is there an open seat for anything other than County Clerk or the local Library Board of Trustees. So, when a seat opens up for State Representative, the game of musical chairs begins. That’s why it’s important to make sure the best and brightest of us, progressives who understand the important issues and want to make things better, have a keen ear for the music.
We, as a progressive movement, need to win this political game that isn’t a game at all. There aren’t enough forward-thinking people on Beacon Hill as it stands, so now that there’s an open seat in my home district of Swampscott, Marblehead and part of Lynn, it’s important to make sure we have the most compelling, best candidate possible winning that seat of paramount importance, State Representative of the 8th Essex. Nothing but the future of our health care system, state budget, environment and educational system is at stake, so it’s no surprise that a lot of people are interested in the race. Now is the time – campaign time – to weed through the candidates who want change for the better and the other candidates, wishing for more of the same – special interests getting special treatment, instead of the people of Massachusetts.
Is it possible that such a progressive candidate in the 8th Essex district exists? Perhaps we don’t have to look very far – more on what I mean below.
On the train this morning I noticed a small blurb in the Metro that said that a new study had found that the tropics have expanded by several hundred miles in the last 25 years. Typical of the Metro, that’s all they said about it.
What does this mean, specifically, and what are the implications?
Reader BFK told of his experience with the new health care mandate a few days ago. To sum up his arguments, he doesn't feel he should be required to pay for insurance because:
- He can't afford it;
- He doesn't feel he should be forced into a contract with a private company;
- He's a good risk, so it's up to him to assess whether he needs insurance or not anyway.
As to BFK's arguments, I have a ton of sympathy for 1.) and 2.) Our health care system is insanely inefficient, and not particularly high quality. Our health insurers are private-industry middlemen who are often shameless profiteers.
But I have absolutely no sympathy at all with #3, the idea of every man for himself in health insurance. Health care is and must be a social good. It simply doesn't function if folks are free to opt out. This isn't some technical issue; it's as fundamental as balls and strikes in baseball.
The question is on whom we put the burden of buying coverage. I'd very much prefer that the burden be on government, rather than individuals or employers, but that's not where our political consensus has landed.
24 days from now is the big day. Not Christmas, that’s 23 days away. No, I’m talking about the first big date for our campaign. On December 26th at 5:00 pm, all of the signature forms must be turned in to the elections offices in Melrose and Wakefield. That’s the big date before the big dance. We need to gather 150 certified signatures. Signatures can be disqualified for any number of reasons, so I won’t feel comfortable with less than 300 signatures. Gathering signatures is probably the most time consuming and exhausting part of campaigning, but it’s also one of the most rewarding. I have had some great conversations with Melrose and Wakefield residents, conversations that let me know what is most important to you. Democracy is alive and well in Massachusetts, and I am proud to be a candidate for this district. Jeffrey Carter Gilson Melrose, MA