April 2008
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Day April 12, 2008

Try this at home….PLEASE!

Like everybody else for whom attention to political campaigns is either part of their job or part of their life, I often shake my head at the intellectual disingenuousness of what is for candidates standard operating procedure. About which frustrating campaign S.O.P. am I referring? I am talking about the irresistible urge to characterize frank, thoughtful, and intellectually honest comments as anything but. Because the present Democratic primary fight is realistically over, the Obama campaign has had the luxury of the team up by enough at the end of the game to be gracious. Senator Clinton, on the other hand, is desperate to do what Kansas did to Memphis in the NCAA D1 Basketball championship game- foul at every opportunity and hope Obama falls apart at the free throw line. This means that the Clinton campaign cannot afford to pass up opportunities to distort the very comments of Obama that set his message apart – the honest ones. The latest example of this involves Obama’s comments about Pennsylvania voters being embittered by the economic dislocations they are facing. Obama indicated that this understandable frustration causes voters to look for explanations, and sometimes to fall for demagogic scapegoating. Desperate for a […]

MBTA Pensions

Know Howie Carr and the Herald are verboten here, but yesterday’s article focusing on Patrick Bulger’s MBTA pension actually made the rounds on national pension newsletters as an example of public pension abuse.

The Bulger fixation obviously is the connection, but the larger issue here is the pension system that the MBTA is running.  This is beyond the pale from a cost standpoint.  To wit:  a 43 year old employee with earnings topping out at $72,000 “retires” after 23 years of service (the Normal Retirement Age under the Plan) and starts collecting a pension of $41,000 per year. Care to take a guess as to the actuarial value of this pension?

COMCAST TO BE BOUGHT OUT BY VERIZON ?

Word on the street is that Comcast is in oh so private negotiations to be bought out by Verizon. Verizon is cutting into Comcast’s profits across the country and the writing some say is on the wall that Comcast stock will never be worth more than it is now. The “Suits” the street say it is now or never for Comcast. Fios is the way and Comcast is on the way…out.

Quick hits

Oh my, I've missed a lot this week … Some more thoughts on talking with the Gov on Tuesday … He seemed to me to be a guy simply trying to do his job. He's not that into the game of gratuitous political narrating and leading the press around by the nose; and he has a strong and stubborn sense (for good and ill) of what matters and what doesn't. But in a few months, he'll have a number of important accomplishments, with more attractive proposals for education on the way. I fear no poll nor Cahill. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Something I should have asked the governor, vis-a-vis the life sciences bill and green energy bills: Where do you draw the line between a.) creating a business-friendly climate and b.) outright corporate welfare? And if anybody knows of a solid, informed, disinterested organization or individual that has an opinion on those proposals, I'd love to know about it. Another question I should have asked Gov. Patrick: Where do the arts fit in to economic development? Areas without strong arts presences … suck. Straight-up. So why don't artists have a decent lobby? Kathleen Bitetti has started on that […]

Friday Joke Revue

From Daniel Kurtzman’s Political Humor Blog. Slim pickings this week: things have been pretty quiet on the national scene, except for the Penn-parture. “After Governor Bill Richardson switched his support from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama last week, an angry Bill Clinton said, ‘Five times to my face he said he would never do that.’ Wow, so he looked you right in the face and lied to you. What’s that like?” –Seth Meyers “Big shake-up in the Hillary Clinton campaign. This is huge. Yesterday — true story — Hillary Clinton’s top adviser abruptly left her campaign. When he heard about it, Bill Clinton said, ‘Wait, we can leave?’” –Conan O’Brien “Former presidential candidate John Edwards announced this week he will not accept the nomination for vice president. That’s what he said. He will not accept the vice presidential nomination. To which the cashier at Wendy’s said, ‘You want a frosty with this, mister? People are waiting.’” –Jay Leno “John McCain is now crisscrossing the United States campaigning. Or, as they’re calling it, Antiques Roadshow.” –Jay Leno And here is an Obama joke, just for old times sake: “‘Last night was the final Democratic debate. … I guess one of the […]