Mateys! Good news from the wild waters off Beacon Hill. A determined stand by the stout souls of the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, Turnpike Authority, and Executive Office of Transportation (EOT) has thrown the UBS pirates off the main deck of the MSS ‘Swaptions.’ The stormiest seas and darkest nights since 1933 gave the pirates an initial advantage, and the defenders were down to just three days of hardtack and water, but the weather cleared on 20 January 2009 and the trade winds returned today. Colin Durrant, EOT Deputy Secretary for Communications and Policy this evening via email: … The Patrick-Murray Administration was notified today that the rating agency Moody’s has increased the credit rating of the Turnpike Authority’s MHS subordinate bonds multiple levels to A1 stable. As a result, UBS will not have the right to terminate four interest rate swap agreements with the Turnpike, and the Turnpike will not be required to make a $186 million payment to UBS. … The rating upgrade is a result of the sweeping transportation reform legislation recently signed by the Governor, including the Commonwealth’s commitment to provide $100 million each year to the Turnpike Authority. The Governor also worked closely [...]
Today, Lynne and I leaned on Mike’s expert knowledge of all things Boston politics again. We talked at length about the City Council race, what the City Council actually does, what it takes to be a good city councilor and who we thought could be good ones. We stuck mainly with the at-large candidates, though hit on some of the ward seats.
David Brooks put his panic on full display today. The Boston Herald’s Jay Fitzgerald agreed “with almost every word of it.” Our government is on the verge of passing real healthcare reform with a public plan. Ordinary people who work for a living will be able to buy insurance without buying golden parachutes for insurance execs. And people like Brooks, who favor the rich getting richer, are really spouting nonsense in the hope of stopping reform:
“Democratic health care bills… do almost nothing to control health care inflation.”
That’s totally rubbish, of course. If Americans fund public plans, we spend much, much less on inefficient private plans, bringing down the total cost of healthcare for our nation. Brooks throws up a lot of other false ideas, but most important is his false assertion that people don’t want public plans.
The [June CBS-NYT] poll found that most Americans would be willing to pay higher taxes so everyone could have health insurance and that they said the government could do a better job of holding down health-care costs than the private sector.
So the time is now to push back against the conservatives and in favor of reform. If you know someone who lives in Nebraska, Connecticut, Maine, Montana, Louisiana, or Oregon, encourage them to call their Senators to pass a public plan sooner rather than later. If you live in another state, urge your Senators to pressure those states’ Senators to support a public plan.
Senator Kerry’s ever-vigilant staff was quick to respond to my post last night about the public option pressure campaign directed against him by Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. New Media Director Brian Young reported that the Senator said the following at a recent rally outside his office: A public plan will meaningfully transform our delivery system through its lower administrative expenses and bargaining power. A public plan will also increase competition and would lower costs in the private insurance market. … The American public is overwhelmingly in favor of a public plan. A recent New York Times/CBS News poll found that 72 percent of those questioned supported a public plan modeled after Medicare that would compete for customers with private insurers. Americans have made a choice last November. They voted for a President and a Congress that are committed to delivering meaningful health reform. And I intend to do everything in my power to fulfill that commitment. Alert BMGer KarenC pointed us to this comment last week by the Senator on DailyKos: Been working very hard on the Finance committee to try to see it included. Harder slog than it ought to be. I ran for [...]
Charlie Baker needs to get the needle pointed the right way, not the extreme right way.
by Kevin Sowyrda, political commentator
Gossip in Bean Town, more critical to survival than franks at Fenway, is telling us that newly born gubernatorial candidate Charles Baker is about to ink a deal with G.O.P. hit man and Lee Atwater wanna-be Rob Gray to run his campaign for the corner office. If “you know them by the company they keep” is applicable here, Baker’s about to alienate more than a phalanx of party activists – and Democrats – who remember Gray for political tactics that don’t seem in sync with Baker’s reputation as a moderate Republican, high on ethics and committed to a think tank governing style.
I read the police report of Prof. Gates arrest via Boston.Com yesterday. My first reaction was kudos to the Globe for finally getting it right by providing the police report. Then I read the report. Line by line. A number of things struck me. First, the arresting officer, and report writer, by the name Crowley was assigned to the “administrative bureau” at Cambridge P.D. He was on duty (believe in plain clothes) riding in a police car ( I believe unmarked) on his way to somewhere when he heard the call sending real policemen in real police cars to check out the kind of thing that gets reported in middle and upper class neighborhoods. – A man outside a house acting suspiciously or something like that. And ninety-nine out of a hundred times in suburbia and parts of Cambridge (not central square, but even there too), it turns out to be a false alarm. The person, for whatever reason was there legitimately and a panicky but concerned neighbor called the cops. As I read the report I thought this was one of those situations which any half decent cop would straighten out in minutes. I also read in the report [...]
FURTHER UPDATE: Here is a joint statement that would seem to end the matter: Joint Press Release from City of Cambridge, Cambridge PD, Middlesex County D.A., and Prof. Gates The City of Cambridge and the Cambridge Police Department have recommended to the Middlesex County District Attorney that the criminal charge against Professor Gates not proceed. Therefore, in the interests of justice, the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office has agreed to enter a nolle prosequi in this matter. The City of Cambridge, the Cambridge Police Department, and Professor Gates acknowledge that the incident of July 16, 2009 was regrettable and unfortunate. This incident should not be viewed as one that demeans the character and reputation of Professor Gates or the character of the Cambridge Police Department. All parties agree that this is a just resolution to an unfortunate set of circumstances. UPDATE: Channel 7 reports that all charges against Prof. Gates will be dropped. Good. This photo is from Channel 7. There’s lots of commentary over the Cambridge police’s arrest of well-known Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Kudos to JimC for drolly dubbing the episode “Gatesgate.” Let’s just assume that there was non-ideal behavior on all sides. The caller (identified [...]
About a year ago, I had a very honest conversation with myself about my ability to talk on my cell phone while driving. Like many others, I wanted to convince myself that I was better than the drivers I saw who were so distracted. But an objective look told me that I, too, was a danger to myself, my passengers (usually my family), and anyone else near me on the road.
So I decided that I’d stop using my phone in the car while driving. When it rings, if I can pull over, I do so. Otherwise I let the voice mail take a message and I get back to the person later. With a few exceptions, I’ve held to this.
The lead article in Sunday’s NY Times only reinforced my decision and made me realize that I need to get rid of those “few exceptions”. The phrase “negligent homicide” is not appealing to me.
I saw myself in this paragraph:
A disconnect between perception and reality worsens the problem. New studies show that drivers overestimate their own ability to safely multitask, even as they worry about the dangers of others doing it.
A followup article today claims that a thorough study proposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2003 was not performed and the research that they did have at the time was not made public.
Critics say that rationale and the failure of the Transportation Department, which oversees the highway agency, to more vigorously pursue distracted driving has cost lives and allowed to blossom a culture of behind-the-wheel multitasking.
“We’re looking at a problem that could be as bad as drunk driving, and the government has covered it up,” said Clarence Ditlow, director of the Center for Auto Safety.
While we can all wait for the various levels of government to address this problem, I think we need to take this upon ourselves if we’re going to reverse the current cultural bias that says multitasking while driving is not only OK but necessary. And that starts with no multitasking in our own vehicles.
Professor Henry Lewis Gates of Harvard was arrested in his own house, on his own front porch on July 15, 2009. A white bystander noticed him forcing open his own door, which was stuck, and called police. Detailed Harvard Crimson Report According to the Crimson: But according to an e-mailed statement from law school Professor Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., a friend of Gates’ who is now representing him, Gates was returning on Thursday from a week-long trip to China and tried to enter through his front door, which was damaged. Ogletree said that Gates had forced open the front door with the help of his car driver, who also helped carry Gates’ luggage into the home, after first entering through a backdoor and turning off his alarm. “I think that the charges should be dropped because Professor Gates was a suspect for being a burglar in his own home,” Ogletree said in an interview with The Crimson. “This was precipitated on a false assumption that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” He added that Gates has been “traumatized” by the entire affair and is now resting comfortably in his summer home in Martha’s Vineyard. According [...]
Cross-posted (and even shorter) at Blue News Tribune. I plan to keep an eye on this. At this point, I’m hoping it’s a bit overblown. My cynic side says: It’s great that the Globe took notice of a potential racial incident. It’s sad that it took one happening to a Harvard professor to get their attention. I like Skip Gates, though, what little I know of him, so for all concerned, I hope this turns out to be a simple misunderstanding. Though maybe today’s I Am America (And So Can You!) calendar entry was prophetic: The greatest threat facing America today–outside of flag burning, yoga, and vaccination–is Higher Education.