November 2010
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Month November 2010

2011 Federal interactive budget

2010 3.6 Trillion 2011 3.69 trillion http://www.nytimes.com/interac…

Two stories you should read about state employees

With all the brouhaha surrounding the probation department, it’s easy to assume that all state employees got their jobs because they were Bob DeLeo’s godson. So, yes, you should stay up to date on what’s going on with probation (it now appears that a federal grand jury is investigating).  It’s important that what went wrong in probation be corrected. But it’s also important not to lose sight of the fact that there are a lot of good people in state government who toil away for years in relative obscurity doing good things like helping communities build schools.  The Globe has a terrific story on Katherine Craven, long the head of the Mass. School Building Authority, and soon to be Treasurer-Elect Steve Grossman’s top deputy.  Craven sounds like exactly the kind of person we all want working for the state: smart, hard-working, and creative.   In interviews with the Globe, those who have worked with her exhausted their vocabulary of superlatives to describe her abilities, work ethic, and professionalism…. “She’s almost unreal,” said Bernard Feldstein, chairman of the designer selection panel of the School Building Authority. “Katherine’s the most intelligent, quick-thinking, fair-minded person in any job, public or private, that I’ve […]

US grand jury targets probation

Story Federal prosecutors are asking a US grand jury to weigh charges, including fraud, extortion, and conspiracy, in the widening patronage scandal that has staggered the state Probation Department. US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz has ordered probation officials to preserve all documents that could be used as evidence in the criminal probe, including e-mails, laptop files, BlackBerry text messages, and all of the agency’s paper records. I would guess the feeling of “cover” may have just evaporated since we may get an “objective” investigation of the entire Probation Department situation by the Feds. I would imagine there will be many State House politicians and Departmental Managers/Supervisors subpoenaed with threats of perjury so the truth should come out. Let’s hope the investigation will result in the following… – The public starting to “believe in” the integrity of the government… starting. – Our leaders stop the “business as usual” attitude about these state jobs. – A return of fairness and openness when it comes to hiring state workers. – Public officials and employees stop “looking the other way” when they witness improper activities. They need protection for their “whistle blowing”. – Better performance by State Government since workers will be hired for […]

(Video) Deficit or no deficit, that is the question

Mark Kirk (R-IL)“don’t extend unemployment unless they are paid  for”

Mark Kirk (R-IL) “extend the Bush taxes cuts no matter what”

There you have it folks…borrow money from China to benefit the RICH, but not to help American Families that lost their jobs.

http://www.newsvideoclip.tv/us…

Spin is Spin

DeLeo’s speculation as to how his 28-year-old godson became one of the youngest chief probation officers in state history: “I wrote a letter of recommendation for him,” DeLeo said. “And that was the extent of my recommendation of Brian. Upon his getting the probation job, from there on, I had nothing to with his elevation from there. He must have proven it by his excellent work record.” sounds amusingly like the speculation of Picasso’s former electrician as to why the legendary painter might have given him 270 paintings. According to an NPR story this morning, the man who installed burglar alarms for Picasso said words to the effect of: Maybe he liked my work.

Get Your War On Returns

This is a Weekly Joke Revue Special Report. After a hiatus of almost two years, GYWO is back. A comic strip that pulls relatively few punches. Full-on slideshow here. One selection:

David asked – my thoughts on Deval 2.0

David asked me a question a few weeks ago in response to a snippy comment I made in in a thread about “Deval 2.0″.  I’ll start my answer by assuming that there should be (yet to be defined) benefits to having people who were engaged as volunteers in a campaign continuing to be involved in some (yet to be defined) way in “governing” after the election is won.

Seems reasonable – governing looks like hard work, and our elected officials could probably use the help.  Giving people a role that keeps them connected and ready to return to campaign mode when the time comes makes sense.  This is especially true at the middle level of enthusiasm and interest.  Some people want to elect a good candidate and then let that person do their job.  There are also people, often focused on a particular issue or cause, who will be engaged in governing, and will in fact show up at a budget hearing in a snowstorm in February, no matter what.  In the middle may lie a realm of untapped resources where a candidate or party might get the most return on investments that keep people primed and ready to get the next campaign off the ground faster and more smoothly than the last time.

Those parentheses back in the first paragraph highlight a big problem.

We need an independent cost comparison in closing developmental centers

(Posted on behalf of COFAR)

(Note to BMG readers: You may have seen my first post earlier this month on behalf of the Massachusetts Coalition of Families, Inc. (COFAR).  COFAR is a statewide, nonprofit, family-supported, organization that has advocated for people with intellectual disabilities since 1983. I previously posted here for more than three years on behalf of The Fernald League, whch is disbanding as of the end of this year.  The Fernald League has been an affiliate of COFAR for many years.)

It has become apparent to us that the Legislature needs to commission an independent analysis of the costs and benefits of closing developmental centers for persons with intellectual disabilities in Massachusetts.

Citing deficit, Obama freezing federal worker pay

Walking the walk President Barack Obama on Monday called for freezing the pay of 2 million federal employees, saying the move is the first of many difficult decisions that must be made to slash the nation’s mounting deficits. Kudos to President Obama for taking it on the lip. He took a shot to the mouth for 12 stitches and now he will be taking many shots from union officials for his proposed freezing of any pay raises. Now the reaction from some make it sound like these workers are getting a pay cut. I think we are all going to have to take a hit and thanks to the President for starting at home. Let’s keep the spending reduction ball rolling and then we can talk revenue increases. I know it’s only $5 Billion but a billion here, another billion there… and pretty soon you’re talking real money.

Hi…..How are you?

I’d just like to know how all my BMG friends are doing. P.S. Hope to see you all at Kate’s Holiday Gala. It would be nice to put a face with a name PPS. Happy Holidays