February 2009
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Month February 2009

Musical Diplomacy: A Concert and Discussion on Rights and Responsibilities

A group of New England Conservatory students have put together a concert and panel discussion focusing on the relationship between music and current political issues, or more specifically, human rights violations in wartime. The concert will feature three new compositions, one of which incorporates clips from a broadcast on Guantanamo Bay by This American Life. The panel discussion following will be headed up by Harvard PhD’s, faculty of NEC, Tufts, and National Defense University, and a reporter from the Boston Globe. The event on Thursday, March 12th is free, open to the public, and to be followed by a reception. For more details, check us out on facebook under “Musical Diplomacy” or here: http://today.newenglandconserv…

Curiosities from today’s papers

You can always find something that’ll raise your eyebrows. Brian Mooney has an interesting story on the state legislature’s magic trick of “cutting” $11 million from its budget without actually, you know, cutting anything.  It’s complicated (and I’m not sure I completely get it), but basically, it appears that the vast majority of the “cuts” came from a reserve fund (I believe “slush fund” is the technical term), and that reductions in spending from the reserve fund will not revert to the general fund to be used for other purposes (like helping towns buy fire trucks).  Go read the whole thing, and if you can clarify the details for us, please do so. Mitt Romney joins the hilarity at CPAC, an event which sensible conservatives like Rick Moran realize is the first stop on the road to nowhere: The theme of this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) should be “Cocooning our way to Irrelevancy” or perhaps “How to lose the next 5 elections in 10 easy steps.” From my point of view, it really is that bad. With the exception of some effort to bring conservatism into the 21st century communications-wise, the program appears to be an excellent panacea […]

Single Payer Heath Care, MA model, Debated …

An excellent debate Friday between our very own MA doctor David Himmelstein of Physicians for a National Health Program and Len Nichols of the New America Foundation on the ever-informative Democracy Now. The physicians group is “a non-profit research and education organization of 15,000 physicians, medical students and health professionals who support single-payer national health insurance,” according to its website. The foundation, according to Wikipedia, “aims to be non-partisan, a goal reflected in the title of The Radical Center: The Future of American Politics, a manifesto published in 2001 by Ted Halstead and Michael Lind. In 2007 Steve Coll, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former executive editor of The Washington Post, succeeded Ted Halstead as President of the New America Foundation. Well-known board members include political commentator and Newsweek columnist Fareed Zakaria, former Republican governor of New Jersey and former head of the United States Environmental Protection Agency Christine Todd Whitman, conservative philosopher and historian Francis Fukuyama, author and Atlantic Monthly correspondent James Fallows, former Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Roger Ferguson, and liberal economist and professor Laura D’Andrea Tyson. Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, is chairman-elect.” The “Massachusetts model” is discussed at length. It fares poorly. Nichols, who favors health care […]

Who we are and what we stand for – The Massachusetts Democratic Party Platform

Is a platform a list of positions, policies and programs that Democrats support?  Is it a document that is discussed and enacted every four years to be put on the shelf?  I hope it is more than that.

In the last two years since I was honored to be elected to lead the Massachusetts Democratic Party, I have been asking people about our platform.  Most conversations have been fairly short.  ”Have you read our platform?” I’d ask.  It’s a little unfair because to be honest, I only read it just before declaring my candidacy for Chair – and then just in case someone asked if I had.  By the way, nobody asked.  

Our current platform is a strong progressive document that is the result of much good work by many dedicated people.  This year, I hope we build on that strong base and enact a platform that will be used more often by Democrats.  To achieve this, I propose that we adjust the platform to tell the story of “who we are and what we stand for” in a different format.

Special election in the Third Suffolk – for now a four way primary! WITH POLL !!

There are four candidates for the Third Middlesex Rep seat vacated by Sal DiMasi.  Here they are, complete with their websites:

1.  Ryan Higginson:     http://www.ryanhigginson.com/

South End Resident, Age 27

2.  Aaron Michlewitz  

http://aaronforrep.com/

    North End resident, Age 30

3.  Susan Passoni:  http://susanpassoni.com/

Age 47, South End resident

4.  Lucinda [Lucy] Rivera:  http://lucindarivera.com/about…

Beacon Hill resident

THESE are the four contenders and their websites that I could find.

This special election is worth watching in my opinion.  I do not know any of these candidates personally, though I am forming my opinion as to whom I will support.

I am hoping the candidates will introduce themselves and that their supporters will comment.

GOP plagiarism

Hmm…anyone notice a pattern here? http://www.thecapitolviewlive…. “I cannot in good faith ask, nor can I justify asking taxpayers to fork over even more of their hard earned dollars to support Governor Patrick’s misplaced priorities,” said Representative Brad Jones. “In the last year alone, the Democrats with much opposition from the Republicans, have passed the largest corporate tax increase in history, raised the cigarette tax and proposed a slew of other revenue increases. Enough is enough. We are tired of this argument being painted as if increasing the gas tax or hike the toll fees are our only solutions. That is a fallacy and one we are here to clarify.” http://www.wickedlocal.com/san… “I cannot justify asking taxpayers to fork over even more of their hard earned dollars to support Governor Patrick’s misplaced priorities,” said Representative Perry from the State House today. “In the last year alone, the Democrats with much opposition from the Republicans, have passed the largest corporate tax increase in history, raised the cigarette tax and proposed a slew of other revenue increases. Enough is enough. We are tired of this argument being painted as if increasing the gas tax or hike the toll fees are our only solutions. 2009 […]

Reaction to President Obama’s Troop Withdrawal Announcement?

Almost one year ago exactly, the first piece of legislation that I introduced after being elected was a bill to set a timetable for the responsible redeployment of our armed forces from Iraq.  Today’s announcement at Camp LeJeune by President Obama describing – in his own words – how “our combat mission in Iraq will end,” was a welcome one.   As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I will be reviewing the President’s strategy to draw down our troops in a timely way while ensuring their safe return.  And, I believe it is critical that we continue to work to engage the international community to ensure political stability in the region.   We have the finest military force in the world who have done everything that’s been asked of them and more.  And, as President Obama acknowledged, the war in Iraq taught us painful lessons about the price we pay for sending our servicemen and women into harms way.  We must never take that cost for granted.  I look forward to working with the Administration as they move forward to implement this plan and I am interested in your thoughts about this announcement, particularly around the number of […]

Obama scores low so far on “Restoring the Rule of Law” Scorecard

Actually, zero.

ACLU of Massachusetts Education Director Nancy Murray is compiling a scorecard reflecting key decisions made by the Obama administration which either help restore the Rule of Law or continue Bush administration policies — and so far, although there have been some positive steps, the Obama administration has a net score of zero.

http://www.aclum.org/scorecard/

Obama announces 18-month troop withdrawal

From the Globe – Obama announces 18-month troop withdrawal schedule. Link to President Obama’s remarks. The president said today between 35,000 and 50,000 troops will stay beyond the pullout date to train Iraqis and perform counter-terrorism. Now it time for those that thought invading  (sorry I mean liberating) Iraq was the right thing to admit they were wrong and for those that thought we should have withdrawn a year or two ago to do the same. For the record I was against the war but thought we needed to stay and try to turn the tide. Now you fess up!

Let’s Put Down Our Swords and Talk Political Ideology

As someone with no stake at all in the perpetual brouhaha between members of the Democratic Party and the members of the GOP, but someone with a very deep, passionate love for political ideology in its untarnished form, at the behest of others, and at the suggestion of something mentioned in another post, I’d like to start a dialog on political ideology here at BMG, which I’ve found, in my time here, to be a lively, engaging, and thoughtful political forum.  As a self-professed conservative (though I consider myself a classic liberal, perhaps), I find it very engaging and informative to “have it out,” if you will, with those who, politically, do not see eye-to-eye with me.   Instead of going after each other with sharpened knives and forked tongues, let’s hash it out on a theoretical level, and have a real, honest-to-goodness dialog about our core beliefs.  Because I think we all, at heart, truly want a better Massachusetts, a better America, and a better world at large. To start it off, I ask the following question:  What is the proper relationship between the government and the governed?  I’d really enjoy hearing what you have to say. As Ringo […]