April 2010
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Month April 2010

Weekly Joke Revue: WaPo Conflates Obama and Malcolm X

Not intended as a joke by the paper of Woodward and Bernstein, but absurdly hilarious nonetheless because of its idiocy: Daniel Kurtzman: “The top executive of Goldman Sachs testified before Congress today, which proves crooks always return to the scene of the crime.” -Jay Leno “By the way, Sarah Palin, if you’re watching, how is that offshore drilling working out for ya?” -David Letterman “Arizona is the meth lab of democracy.” -Jon Stewart on Arizona’s new immigration law “This week Arizona signed the toughest illegal immigration law in the country, which would allow the police to demand identification papers from anyone they suspect is in the country illegally. I know there are some people in Arizona worried that Obama is acting like Hitler, but can we all agree that there’s nothing more Nazi than saying, `Show me your papers?’ There’s never been a WWII movie that didn’t include the line, ‘Show me your papers.’ It’s their catchphrase. Every time someone says ‘Show me your papers,’ Hitler’s family gets a residual check. So heads up Arizona, that’s fascism. I know, I know, it’s a dry fascism, but it’s still fascism.” -Seth Meyers, on Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” “Obama is getting […]

Arizona hunts down teachers with accents

WSJ: The Arizona Department of Education recently began telling school districts that teachers whose spoken English it deems to be heavily accented or ungrammatical must be removed from classes for students still learning English. At first I thought, given everything else that happend in Arizona this week, that this was a joke. It turns out to be true.

Quixotry redux: Cahill vs. the windmills

Of the thousands of posts I’ve written for BMG, one of my personal favorites is this one, entitled “Quixotry,” in which I used the news that a Lexington man had set a new world record in competitive Scrabble by playing “quixotry” for 365 points as a lead-in to talk about Bill Weld’s hilarious endorsement of Mitt Romney for president. Well, it turns out that Bill Weld may not be the most quixotic local politician after all.  Tim Cahill is giving Weld a run for his money, since Weld’s quixotry was metaphorical, whereas Cahill is actually tilting at windmills. “We all think of the Netherlands, and we think of all these windmills,” the independent gubernatorial candidate told a downtown meeting of business executives yesterday. “It’s really quaint.” Well, Cahill is here to set the record straight.  You see, Tim Cahill, like Don Quixote himself, believes that windmills are a threat. “I understand the attraction to wind, because it seems so benign,” he continued. “It’s not as benign as people make it out to be.” Oh, no indeed, Mr. Treasurer.  The dark side of windmills has as yet gone largely unappreciated (despite nine years of exhaustive study of the Cape Wind project). […]

The Finance Commission of the City of Boston will hold a [public] meeting… 152 North Street

City of Boston Finance Commission 152 North Street Room 309 Boston MA 02109 tel 617 635-2202 fax 617 635-2206 Sicut Patribus, Sit Deus Nobis. Civitatis Regimine Donata AD. 1822. Bostonia Condita AD. 1630. April 30, 2010 Ms. Rosaria Salerno City Clerk City Hall Boston MA 02201 Dear Ms. Salerno:      This is to inform you that, pursuant to M.G.L. Chapter 39, s 23B, The Finance Commission of the City of Boston will hold a [public] meeting at its offices at 152 North Street on Tuesday May 4, 2010, at 5:30 p.m. Very truly yours, Matthew A. Cahill Executive Director matt.cahill@cityofboston.gov

Red Line melts down. No, really.

UHub: A three-alarm electrical fire on the Red Line tracks at Downtown Crossing sent acrid smoke billowing through subway tunnels around 10 p.m., shutting down three of the MBTA’s four subway lines and sending at least 20 people to the hospital for smoke inhalation. Smoke reached at least as far as Boylston on the Green Line and South Station on the Red Line – where Silver Line service was disrupted as well. Several electrical cables on the Alewife-bound side of the Red Line platform at Downtown Crossing began burning around 10 p.m. Service is shut down for large portions of the Red, Green, and Orange lines.  No word yet on when they’ll be back up. UPDATE (Friday morning): According to mbta.com, the Red Line is continuing to experience delays; other lines are allegedly running normally.

Ongoing Web Cast of the House Budget process at 10:06 PM

Webcast is at this link.   Note, by the way, that there is some protection for guardian ad litems proposed, see the Judiciary consolidated amendment Also the House Budget site is being kept current.

Apply to the New Organizing Institute’s 2010 New Media BootCamp

I participated in a New Organizing Institute blogger conference a few years ago and found it excellent. If you are a progressive activist, I urge you to consider this pitch and throw in an application by tomorrow’s deadline. You’ll make all of your fellow BMGers proud. BootCamp can take you from delivering pizzas to working in the White House. Seriously. When we called to interview her for our first BootCamp in 2006, Cammie Croft was about to start her shift at a pizza parlor. We snatched her up from pepperoni and mozzarella and, in just three short years, she went from tossing pizzas to managing a Washington State House race to working in the White House as Deputy New Media Director. And NOI’s BootCamp was her jumping-off point. Her story is incredible, but it isn’t unique — and we’re going to repeat it with this year’s class of new media rock stars. The deadline to apply for New Media Bootcamp is TOMORROW, April 30th! Whether you’re organizing in the field, mobilizing students on your campus, or flipping pizzas, this is our call to you. If you’re dreaming of fighting for real social change while pulling lattes at Starbucks, this is […]

Anti-Bullying Bill Gets Final Legislative Approval

Here are highlights of the bill now awaiting the Governor’s signature:

• Bullying defined as “the repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a victim that: (i) causes physical or emotional harm to the victim or damage to the victim’s property; (ii) places the victim in reasonable fear of harm to himself or of damage to his property; (iii) creates a hostile environment at school for the victim; (iv) infringes on the rights of the victim at school; or (v) materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.

• Bullying and cyberbullying prohibited on public and private school grounds, property immediately adjacent to school grounds, a school-sponsored or related activity, function, or program, at a school bus stop, on a school bus or other school vehicles, through the use of technology owned by a school, and outside school if a hostile educational environment is thereby created at school.

• Retaliation against people reporting bullying prohibited.

• Public and private schools required to “develop, adhere to, and update a plan to address bullying prevention and intervention….”

Tea Party Republicans in Arizona pass birther bill, will Cahill follow?

An anxious Commonwealth waits with bated breath: will Tim Cahill endorse the birther bill passed on 19 April by his fellow Tea Party sympathizers in Arizona as a follow up to their Big Giant Government triumph signed into law on 23 April that requires everyone in the state to carry around identification all the time on threat of immediate arrest. CNN: The Arizona House voted Monday by a 31-22 margin to require all presidential candidates to prove they were born in the United States in order to meet the constitutional requirement. The measure still has to be considered by the Arizona state Senate before it can become law. Cahill has gone after the birthers, deathers and Tea Partiers for all he is worth in an effort, presumably, to replicate Scott Brown’s victory and take out Charlie Baker on his 9/11 truther flank. This seems like a logical next step followed, perhaps, by … what? A concealed carry rally by armed supporters at City Hall Plaza? Fill in your suggestion in the comments.

BIG TIME: Fed DOJ to investigate Partners contracts for anti-trust

Hey, here's a little something that could affect health care cost control around here …   And about time! The insurers are going to have to hand over some info as well, which could get a bit interesting for Charlie Baker: Representatives of health insurance carriers Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and Tufts Health Plan confirmed that the Justice Department had asked them to turn over documents relating to their dealings with Partners. All said they plan to comply with the directive, formally known as a civil investigative demand. A fourth large state insurer, Fallon Community Health Plan based in Worcester, said it did not receive the Justice Department’s order. This doesn't mean HPHC is in trouble. One way or another, it may shed light on the decisions Charlie Baker had to make in dealing with Partners. Let's remember that back in 2002, Tufts Health Plan tried to bargain down Partners' rates, and Partners pulled out, saying they wouldn't take Tufts insurance anymore. Hardball. Tufts caved. Partners' rates, and the effect on other providers' rates, are almost certainly a major factor in what drives health care inflation around here. And it wouldn't be surprising […]