The House just voted 108 to 51 to back DeLeo’s sales tax amendment – the assuring a veto proof majority against the Governor. As I stated before – this surprise letter from the Governor was a huge political blunder. It worked to DeLeo’s advantage and members who actually agreed with the Governor were so pissed that they turned on him and backed the sales tax because of what they felt was a blindside attack from the corner office. It was a page from Mitt Romney’s book only this time its against members of the governor’s own party! looks like the Governor is running for office against his own Democratic Legislature.
Time for USA to disclose everything that was done (acts of commsission) regarding the “management ” of terrorists from 1990 to present. The Shanghaing/kidnapping of terrorists from their countries of origin to Balkan countries and Egypt for “intensive questioning” during the Clinton administration to Guantanamo/Afgahanistan/Russia/Balkans/Egypt/Israel during the Bush 43 administration must be investigated and prosecuted. Members of congress and members of the Clinton Administartion as well as Clinton and Bush must be held to account. It may even be advisable to allow the Hague to begin a war crimes investigation and prosecution and allow for full disclosure of all CIA documents as to what was done to whom and what they said. There is no reason why Madeleine Albright, Sandy Tenet, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, George Bush 41 & 43, Condoleeza Rice and everyone associated in CIA should not be brought before tribunals domestically and internationally. Let the prosecutions begin and let the chips fall as they may. If we are to have a blood letting, let it begin here, continue in Europe and let the blood flow freely and universally to show the world that USA should and will punish ALL responsible parties regardless of motive and mitigation. [...]
Here is a collection of talking points for discussing the recent revelations on torture. Waterboarding is torture pure and simple. International norms consistently classify waterboarding as torture, for example, the U.N.. U.S. soldiers who engaged in something similar in the Pillippines after the Spanish American War were court-martialed. There are a number of cases where U.S. courts have recognized waterboarding as torture. The Japanese War Crimes Tribunal sentenced Yuikio Asano to 15 years hard labor for waterboarding. Before the Bush Administration bought into it, the military’s Joint Personnel Recovery Agency labeled it torture in 2002. The Bush Administration attempted to redefine torture in 2002. No useful information was extracted from Abu Zubaydah by way of torture. All useful information was extracted from Abu Zubaydah using traditional interrogation methods. This included his identification of the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Despite President Bush’s claims, “Abu Zubaydah also appeared to know nothing about terrorist operations; rather, he was al-Qaeda’s go-to guy for minor logistics“. In other words, he was unlikely to know anything about major attacks anyway. In a fit of futility and cruelty, he was waterborderd 83 times in August 2002. The Bush Administration engaged in significant torture to justify an [...]
Here is the link: http://masslegislature.tv/?l=h… This broadcast is not as clear, or easy to hear and follow as the former video coverage. I often learned from watching the “rostrum conferences” and other interactions. It helps that I am somewhat of a lip reader and have an excellent, nearly professional lip reader in my household [ due to an exotic hearing disorder called "deaf against ground" ]. As to my own comments on the budget: 1. Local option taxes are long overdue. Local option taxes are both nimble, and capable of being tailored to local conditions. Legislative micromanagement of cities and towns has the problem of not being as responsive to local conditions and needs as a local option tax handled by local government – responsive to local voters – would be. Micromanagement from Boston is also not the best use of governance resources. 2. Putting all the “eggs” in the sales tax basket is fundamentally unwise. We have all seen the horrific impact of over reliance on the capital gains tax. In a deepening recession/depression, with neighboring states without sales taxes, we both hurt local business and repeat the “too many eggs in one basket” approach, thereby undermining the [...]
Let us congratulate the House on its apparent recognition that we're going to need new revenues in order to protect critical services. It seems rather unlikely that the draconian Ways and Means Budget is the real blueprint for what's to come. Rather, we're seeing a more dialectical approach, whereby the “honest budget” forces a discussion of what we salvage and how. This has been turned over endlessly on this board already, but for the sake of emphasis, count me among those unenthused about the option of an increased sales tax. The concern is that among the options currently being considered, only the sales tax is broad-based enough to raise the revenue necessary to avoid some of the draconian cuts called for in the House budget. This is why the Globe likes it, and they try to make it seem progressive-ish — hey, people can cut back on purchasing! Adding 1 cent on the dollar to the sales tax would yield $750 million. By maintaining the current exemptions for food and clothing (above $175), the increase wouldn't fall disproportionately on the poor and middle class. Massachusetts would rank only 42nd in the nation in sales tax burden after such a modest [...]
There has been a good many thoughtful posts on the prospective demise of the Globe. Its all depressing if you ask me. If saved today, the Globe and the entire newspaper business are still in grave long-term jeopardy. And as others have discussed, it all raises the question about whether the news gap left behind, particularly at the local level, can be filled through other means or whether we sadly will live with a major hole in our civic fabric. Newspapers are no doubt profit-making (or at least they were at one point a long time ago)businesses. No profit and ultimately no business. But, in a sense, newspapers were a form of “social enterprise” (and newspapermen a type of social entrepreneur) before the term was coined. The great media moguls of yesteryear – like William Randolph Hearst – wanted influence and a political voice as much as profit. And a lot of people involved in the business went into it not to make big money but out of a sense of civic duty and activism. Selling papers mattered but so did contributing to public understanding and the civic commons. Thus, even as we the public are often rightly cynical of [...]
Those of you who were lucky enough to spend Sunday morning at the Portuguese Club on the shores of the picturesque Assabet River in Hudson know that April 26, 2009 was Kate Donaghue Day (an ecumenical holiday for Massachusetts Dems). Others who may not have heard of the ceremony are still undoubtedly aware of Kate’s central role in the Democratic world of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, particularly if they frequently read Blue Mass Group. But for everybody else, I’ll offer an introduction to “supervolunteer” Kate (to use Charley on the MTA’s epithet).
http://www.boston.com/news/loc… There is no reason why Massachusetts cannot relive vermont by beginning to take many of these refugees into Boston, Brockton, N. Bedford, and perhaps Cambridge and Brookline. Time to open the wallets and homes—talk the talk and walk the walk. No reason that Burlington should bear the brunt and there are hundreds of thousands of torture victims in Africa seeking solace in USA.
This is important, folks, and it’s happening right now. The Governor is absolutely right that a large broad-based tax should be unacceptable at least until the legislature gets its act together on transportation reform, pensions, ethics, and other key issues. Those bills are languishing; meanwhile, it seems like a big sales tax hike is on the fast track. But nothing’s a done deal.
The Governor sent a letter to every legislator today; the full text is on the flip. Read it, realize that he’s right on every point, and then call or email your Representative and Senator (not sure who they are? find out here) to make sure they know where you stand.
We can make a difference on this. The Governor is doing the right thing, but he can’t do it alone.
Editor & Publisher reported that circulation among the top 25 newspapers in the country is down, way down. The Globe was down 13.68% in the past 6 months ending March 2009. Advertisers will respond accordingly. Maybe Boston.com will make up some of the redeployed ad spending. What surprises me is the Globe circulation: 302,638. I thought it was 500,000. Is 10% or less penetration in a major market (metro population is around 3,000,000 although the CSMA is >5,000,000, IIRC)? Note that the WSJ is the only paper in the top 25 that held its circulation. Smaller markets did worse. Memo to the Globe: emulate the Journal’s print/on-line strategy. Seems to work.