It is embarassing for me to say, but I feel like I'm about the least-informed person in the Commonwealth about the gas-tax/toll-hike/transport-reform goat rodeo. I mean, I really do not know what the hell is going on, or why person X says Y, etc. All in all, the whole discussion seems to be a mighty headache … and yet, one can't exactly say it's unimportant. This is the Big Dig Culture issue. Perhaps I am not the only one. So here's what I don't know: I do not know why it took the Patrick administration so long to present its plan for transportation reform. I do not know if the administration actually intended to wait until after the 'Pike board voted on the toll increases to present its plan, in order to put time pressure on the legislature to act before March 29. [I have inserted Doug Rubin's responses to Charley's questions in italics throughout this post. -David] Why did it take so long? The problems we are trying to address in our transportation system took over 16 years to create. They span highway, airport and rail operations, and include various regional issues, environmental concerns, workforce issues, complicated bond covenants [...]
Boston’s Mayor Thomas Menino approached our union several weeks ago and asked if we would be willing to sit down and discuss the budget. We told him that we are always available to talk to him and that we were not opposed to exploring cost-saving options with him.
The next thing we know, the Mayor announced to the press that he was asking all of his unions to give up their raises and step increases for one year.
Our union was surprised that the Mayor had already decided what the cost-saving option was going to be (the freeze), and that he needed the press to get his message out, but we are still willing to meet with him because we take the global, national, and thereby local budget problem seriously.
Now please understand I support President Obama and 99.9% of his plan. I sat last night glued to the TV watching his address and saying thank god we have a president who is one of our best and brightest and I also think Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geitner is the right choice for the job, but it is now my opinion that they have gotten cold feet. They may even be suffering from Hypothermia when it comes to the Banks and especially AIG the insurance giant who truth be told may ultimately be the key bad guy to the run up and now collapse of the worlds economy.
There’s an article in the recent issue of Time that describes the Catholic Church’s anti-choice campaign against the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). This bill would codify the protections of Roe v. Wade into federal law and protect a woman’s right to choose for future generations. What’s so bizarre about the campaign is that FOCA hasn’t been introduced in Congress this session! But as the writer quips, this was something that “went largely unnoticed and unmentioned” by the Catholic Church. The crusade against FOCA began just after Obama was elected in November. Chain emails circulated and threatened that Congress would pass FOCA by January 22, and that Obama would sign it shortly thereafter. Obviously, this did not happen (again, it hasn’t even been introduced in Congress!). And opponents made the false claim that Catholic hospitals would have to close if FOCA passed, but even the Catholic News Service (CNS) contends that the legislation would not be a threat to Catholic health care. In a time when Americans have reaffirmed their commitment to the values of freedom and privacy by electing Barack Obama as the president of the United States, we have an opportunity to change the tone of the debate [...]
Last night in President Obama’s speech, he mentioned the story of Leonard Abess. For those who don’t know, Abess was CEO of City National Bank of Florida when a Spanish bank Caja Madrid paid $927 million in November for an 83% stake in the bank. Albess stock was worth $60 million from the sale. Abess retained a minority share and is still chief executive officer at City National. Albess distributed the $60Mil to the 400 bank workers and 72 former bank workers with no fanfare. And while Albess is probably still a very wealthy man, he clearly walks among the Saints here on Earth. But, if we did not know about this $60M givaway… Mr. Albess is a bank CEO and must be evil, bad, malicious and deserves to be hanged at high noon in the public square. Right? Why have we suddenly taken such a hard line attitude towards bank CEOs or CEOs in general? Is it because there have been a few bad ones so we now think they’re all bad? Do we know that other bank CEOs have not done something akin to Mr. Albess? Do they have to publicly parade some “over the top” form of [...]
Tickets are $20, which enters you in a raffle and includes games, free appetizers and drink specials. Additional raffle tickets will be available to purchase for $5 each. Even better: every penny you donate will bring us one step closer to reaching our $24,000 Boston Marathon fundraising goal and help to feed our sick and hungry clients! https://www.servings.org/event…
I hate to draw readers’ attention to Jeff Jacoby but his column about Eric Holder today is so full of bull… Distortion #1 – Holder did not say we are a nation of cowards. He said we’re a nation of cowards when it comes to dealing with race. Distortion #2 – Holder did not say “America does not differ significantly from the country that existed some 50 year ago.” He said “Saturdays and Sundays, America… does not… differ significantly from… almost 50 year ago” and that although people mix at the workplace or after-work social events, many Americans in their free time are still segregated inside “race-protected cocoons.” Distortion #3 – Jacoby conflates “frank conversations about racial matters ” with “harping on old grievances, constantly revisiting past resentments and relentless picking at scabs.” Has Jacoby never heard of dialogues where open-minded people of all races talk honestly and respectfully, build mutual trust, break stereotypes and create new relationships? Dumb Statement: Americans have been jawboning about race for two centuries, and we are in no danger of running out of things to say. More race talk is the last thing we need. No, Jeff. Jawboning is not serious dialogue on a [...]
“And that is why I can stand here tonight and say without exception or equivocation that the United States of America does not torture,” President Obama said last night. So far, so good. But as the LA Times reported earlier this month: Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States. … The rendition program became a source of embarrassment for the CIA, and a target of international scorn, as details emerged in recent years of botched captures, mistaken identities and allegations that prisoners were turned over to countries where they were tortured. The administration says the people it kidnaps and sends to points unknown won’t be delivered to torturers. But the CIA’s word isn’t worth much. And as President Obama, of all people, should know, quifacit per alium facit per se.
UPDATE by David: The Senate passed this bill today, which means that it is essentially guaranteed to become law – the House has passed it several times before, and President Obama has said he supports it. So I guess we will find out the answer to these interesting constitutional questions soon enough! The Senate today approved a cloture motion that will allow passage of S. 160, a bill that would give the District of Columbia a voting representative in the House of Representatives. I support full D.C. voting rights, but this is not the way to achieve them. The bill is blatantly unconstitutional. According to the Constitution (Article I, Section 2): The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states, and the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature. The only real solutions that I can see are: (1) D.C. statehood, or (2) a constitutional amendment giving the District of Columbia representation in the House of Representatives or the Senate, or both, notwithstanding the fact that it is not a state. The drafters of the bill [...]