June 2010
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Month June 2010

And this, my friends, is why we need clean elections back

Massachusetts Gubernatorial Candidate Jill Stein discusses the environment pt1 from Jon Satriale on Vimeo.

Governor Patrick signs on-time, balanced budget

Impressive in these times.  The whole budget is available here.  Governor Patrick’s $457 million in vetoes, many of which are a result of the US Senate’s failure to approve an extension of federal Medicaid funding (thanks for nothing, Scott!), are available at this link.  The full press release from the Gov’s office is on the flip.

Scott Brown loving every second of his 15 minutes

Amazing. Senator Scott Brown is assiduously avoiding any commitments on the financial overhaul legislation, despite repeated efforts by top House and Senate lawmakers to win his vote. The 43-member House and Senate conference committee met for two hours late yesterday afternoon to scrap a $19 billion tax, after Brown threatened to vote against the bill unless it was removed. This morning, Brown continued to hold out, saying he would not make a decision on the bill for at least another week, after the Senate returns from a weeklong recess. Of course, this is not about Brown making sure that he is happy with the bill (or, more precisely, Brown making sure that State Street Bank et al. are happy with the bill).  It is about Brown making sure that everyone knows it’s all about Brown.  Because if he said he’d vote for it, he wouldn’t be the center of attention anymore.  And God knows we can’t have that! Fortunately, at least on this bill, Brown’s 15 minutes are perilously close to expiring. “I don’t know what his problem is,” Representative Barney Frank, a Newton Democrat and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said this morning. But, he added, “It […]

Are you a Mac or a Lynch? Take the Quiz (and Get Involved)!

Over the past decade, three of the most important votes Congress has taken – three votes that have shaped the direction of our nation in fundamental ways – are the vote to implement health care reform, the vote to authorize the Iraq War, and the vote to pass the Patriot Act.

I’m Mac D’Alessandro, the progressive Democratic candidate for Congress from Massachusetts’ 9th Congressional district, and I invite you to take our quiz: how would you vote on these three critical issues – and how do your votes compare with the record of incumbent Stephen Lynch?

After taking the poll, you’ll see how incumbent Stephen Lynch voted.  If you are as disappointed in Stephen Lynch’s record as I am and think we can do better, you’re a Mac, and I urge you to get involved in my campaign and take action:

(Much more below the fold!)

B.P. Burning Endangered Sea Turtles Alive in the Gulf

Yet another example of why B.P., whose duty is to maximize corporate profits, not to protect our environment, natural resources, jobs, shrimp, or anything else, should not be involved in management of the Gulf cleanup effort (but should be required to pay for it). CommonDreams.org: The Center for Biological Diversity and Turtle Island Restoration Network today officially notified BP and the U.S. Coast Guard of their intent to sue to stop the burning alive of endangered sea turtles in the chaotic clean-up efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. The letter is a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit under the Endangered Species Act. Under U.S. law, harming an endangered sea turtle carries a fine of up to $50,000. But that is just a drop, as it were, in B.P.’s bucket. Mike Ellis, Louisiana resident, shares his experiences:

Corporate Welfare Watch: Boston Scientific Redux

From today’s Globe. Emphasis added: A state board that grants tax breaks to corporations is again withholding information about its awards before it votes on those requests, a move that critics contend leaves no time for the public to review and respond. The Economic Assistance Coordinating Council is scheduled this morning to vote on requests by Boston Scientific Corp., Smith & Nephew, eClinicalWorks, and other companies for millions of dollars in state and local tax incentives, in exchange for increasing jobs and investment in Massachusetts. But the council refused to release the company’s proposals or the staff’s recommendations on the amount of money to award each company prior to the scheduled vote. [snip] …Quincy last week approved a $320,000 property tax break for Boston Scientific, which must be approved by the state council. The Natick maker of medical devices promised to invest $55 million in its Quincy distribution center by 2013 and create five full-time jobs by 2018. Boston Scientific has previously drawn criticism for receiving millions of dollars in tax incentives to expand in Marlborough, and then cutting jobs. In March, the Globe reported that the state has given out hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local […]

Why I’m with Jim McGovern – by Ed Augustus

By Ed Augustus

Dear BMGers-

As many of you have heard, I recently returned to Massachusetts after 18 months as the head of the Children’s Defense Fund in California to manage Congressman Jim McGovern’s reelection campaign.  It’s good to be home, and it was great seeing many of you at the Democratic Convention and at our campaign events around the district.

A lot of you have asked what brought me back home, aside from the opportunity to be closer to my family.

The real reason is, I came back for Jim.

Ernie’s Spotlight 4: More Dirt on Judge Mulligan and His Hires

First a recap. As we all know Judge Robert Mulligan, the guy who runs the trial courts, conspired with the SJC, the New York Times, and Attorney Paul Ware to go after and destroy Probation Commissioner John O’Brien because he had something they want. Jobs. As a result the New York Times poor cousin the Boston Globe ran a spotlight series detailing how a number of probation employees exercised their First Amendment rights and donated money to politicians. It also reported that a dude named Corbett was Mulligan’s and some others’ first choice over O’Brien for the back when he was appointed. Corbett works for the SJC and as soon as the first Spotlight story came out detailing the donations and selected hires of the 2000 plus person agency Mulligan and all seven members of the SJC removed O’Brien pending an investigation and replaced him with there guy Corbett. They then appointed attorney Paul Ware, a big time lawyer whose firm has a considerable trial and appellate practice, to investigate O’Brien. Talk about a conflict and a set up. In Commonwealth Magazine last week Judger Mulligan confessed to two things that calls into question his ethics, his legal reasoning and capabilities, […]

President Obama, Please Call Their Bluff!

Yesterday, President Obama met with Senators at the White House and pushed them to pass comprehensive, clean energy and climate legislation. Still, the skeptics are spinning a monotonous web of negativity regarding what is achievable on this front.  And, not surprisingly, the “mainstream media” once again has been asleep at the wheel in setting the record straight.  Fortunately, we know that when this President rolls up his sleeves, he gets stuff done and delivers on his promises. One thing’s for sure; President Obama is anything but an underachiever! Along these lines, President Obama held a press conference following the G-20 summit in Toronto.  In response to a reporter’s question regarding how he would achieve his deficit reduction goals, the president responded: For some reason people keep being surprised when I do what I said I was going to do. So, I say I’m going to reform our [health care system], and people say well gosh that’s not smart politics maybe we should hold off. Or I say we’re going to move forward on [Don’t Ask Don’t Tell] and somehow people say well why are you doing that, I’m not sure that’s good politics. I’m doing it because I said I […]

The precarious job of writing laws

Today’s story over at WBUR on the Independent Contractor’s Law is a terrific example of the challenge lawmakers face in trying to come up with laws that address an underlying problem with causing unintended consequences. The Independent Contractor’s Law (ICL, to be lazy) was originally passed 20 years ago as a progressive attempt to prevent unscrupulous business owners from pocketing a few extra bucks by re-classifying full-time employees as “independent contractors.” By reclassifying employees, business owners didn’t have to pay health insurance, unemployment insurance, workman’s compensation, and sometimes wouldn’t even withhold taxes. The problem with this arrangement, of course, is that these employees often didn’t know they were classified in this manner until they got hurt at work, or laid off, and discovered they had no coverage. A change to the ICL in 2004 tightened restrictions even further, basically saying if a contractor is essentially doing the same work as a full-time employee, he can’t be classified as a independent contractor. As the WBUR story says, this change was mainly targeted for construction jobs to prevent the use of day laborers, which, I think, most of us would support as a policy. But here comes the unintended consequences. The law […]