March 2011
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Month March 2011

Today’s MASSterList

The Governor's Council voted to fill out the ranks of the Parole Board (Globe) with Gov. Patrick's nominees (WBUR), but not without requiring Lt. Gov. Tim Murray to call in the boss to break some ties (AP). The Republican focuses on Springfield's Lucy Soto-Abbe.  The House passed a $325 million supplemental budget (T&G) yesterday, which included $50 million for additional snow removal (WBUR). Hopefully, that will cover it (WCVB). The Lynn Journal tells us that a collection of mayors met behind closed doors with Speaker DeLeo to discuss gambling last week. Behind closed (cell) doors, a Fitchburg mayoral hopeful faces charges of A&B on a police officer (T&G). Former U.S. House Speaker and potential 2012 Romney rival (Salem News), Newt Gingrich visited Salem State. The Lynn Item's take. Still more coverage (AP) is available of Tuesday's oversight hearing ( WWLP) on tax breaks and certain job-moving companies ( Fox 25).  Read the rest of today's stories on the MassterList

leveling the playing field is… unconstitutional?

Yesterday, the US Supreme Court took up the question of whether or not it is constitutional for a state to provide public matching funds to qualifying candidates to help them keep up with very well-financed opponents.  John Roberts, the Chief Justice, was skeptical: “Under our precedents, leveling the playing field is not a legitimate state purpose,” he said.

Is he living in the same United States with the rest of us?

Health Care Econ-101 For Governor

During an appearance on WTKK-FM today, Governor Patrick dipped his toe into the free care controversy (Health Safety Net) that has been splashed over the pages of The Boston Herald. Here and here. Some highlights (lowlights) from the Inspector General’s report that sparked the stories have been: $7 million on care for non-Massachusetts residents. Claims were paid out for patients with home addresses in 48 other states, and a handful of foreign countries. $17.8 million for more than 60,000 “medically unlikely” or “medically unnecessary” claims, such as foot X-ray charges for patients suffering from headaches. Suspicious claims for gender-specific procedures for members of the opposite gender. (Such as gynecological bills for men) $6 million for 13,000 duplicate claims. 45% of those seeking free care reported no income. I will say that again no income—no paycheck, no welfare, no social security, no money coming in at all, private or public assistance. How can that be? But the Governor’s comments on the matter should concern residents of the Commonwealth for the breathtaking ignorance of basic economics. According SHNS ($), the Governor said This is a $430 million program. $400 million of it does not come from taxpayers, it comes from assessments on […]

Leonardo DiCaprio Urges People To Call Senators

With the recent EPA budget cuts coming to the floor for voting soon, the United States now faces the real possibility of what would amount to a “stop-work order” on the 40 year old, extremely beneficial (benefits that outweigh costs at a 40:1 ratio) Clean Air Act. Senator James Inhofe is spearheading a movement that will essentially eliminate the EPA’s flagship regulation; something that has effectively protected the public health for years. The Clean Air Act drastically reduces harmful pollution, specifically greenhouse gases. This no-good proposal will only prolong America’s addiction to oil and other ancient energy technologies. Any semblance of forward, progressive movement towards a cleaner energy economy has vanished. The proposal, titled the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 would restrict the EPA from regulating big oil and coal companies as they ravage the environment. All accountability will be lost. One would think policy makers have learned their lesson since the disaster in the Gulf; but apparently the environment is not of great concern. When the science of climate change is clearer and more disturbing than ever, it’s quite alarming to see the big wigs in the White House coming to this stance on pollution regulations. Heat waves […]

Dems Help Reelect Brown

Are Democrats ever going to wise up!?  And if not, why not?

Three articles worth the read today from AP’s Andrew Miga (Winchester native), a poll boost for Brown, and a Roll Call perspective piece on MA Democrats prospects of defeating Sen. Scott Brown.………

There is only one conclusion you can come to after considering the political landscape in this race and the challenge it would be to defeat the star struck celebrity Scott Brown. Democrats MUST clear the field and get behind ONE Democrat from the get-go.  Rep. Capuano, among others, has stated that fact in numerous interviews and he is correct. (but, that one Democrat may not be him.) To waste time, resources, manpower, huge funds, and energy on needless and divisive convention and primary battles only serves to ensure a Brown victory.

As a Party, take a hard look at the potential candidates and make a decision and clear the field…one candidate to carry the banner, one candidate to get 100% support and a chance to win more than an also-ran footnote in MA political history.  Name recognition is NOT the important factor, with enough money/donations and party support a candidate can buy name recognition pretty fast (ask Scott)…the important factors are candidate’s narrative, personality, background, positives and negatives, potential for growth, and a middle class conscious platform to run on…

Who can defeat Scott Brown?

This Week at Pioneer

Fresh on the heels of the New York Times debate pitting Bill Gates against Steve Jobs over the value of a liberal arts education, Pioneer held an event on Tuesday on this very topic: “The Liberal Arts & Closing Achievement Gaps,” featuring VA Secretary of Education Gerard Robinson, MA Senate President Tom Birmingham, and a distinguished panel that included Charles Barone, Director of Federal Policy, Democrats for Education Reform,  E.D. Hirsch, Jr., Chairman and Founder, Core Knowledge Foundation, Monty Neill, Interim Executive Director, Fair Test, and Tony Wagner, Co-Director of the Change Leadership Group, Harvard Graduate School of Education. Here is a link to some pics, we’ll have a video link next week.…. Read Jim Stergios’ blog on the Gates-Jobs debate, in which he notes that the national standards Gates is pushing “lopped in half Massachusetts’ emphasis on literature in K-12 grades.” http://www.pioneerinstitute.or… Steve Poftak, our Director of Research, had an op-ed (co-authored with John Miller) in yesterday’s Boston Globe: “Commuter Rail – Off Track.” Check it out:… Jim Stergios had an op-ed in yesterday’s MetroWest Daily on “Why Jobs Are Leaving”: http://www.metrowestdailynews…. Jim also answers questions regarding teacher pensions, following his appearance on Chronicle a […]

The fight goes on to save the Glavin Center

Cross-posted from the COFAR blog

At a breakfast on Tuesday at the Glavin Regional Center in Shrewsbury, state lawmakers heard from family members and guardians trying to save this critically important facility from closure.

And the families heard from the lawmakers, who said they will have a tough battle on their hands to get their message heard among the well-organized forces on Beacon Hill calling for the shutdown of all remaining developmental centers in the state for persons with intellectual disabilities.

Meanwhile, lawmakers will file an amendment to the state budget bill coming up for debate in the House, requiring an independent cost analysis before Glavin and two other centers can be closed.

Attend the Convention – Add-On Deadline April 1 – Looking towards 2012

The Massachusetts Democratic Convention is coming soon.  This is an “Issues Convention” but it is good preparation for a nominating convention.  In 2012 a number of candidates will compete at the Convention for the Democratic Party endorsement and the coveted 15% needed to appear on the ballot.  In my experience, people who have participated in a convention have a better chance of getting elected in a competitive year.  I don’t have links back to 2006 but I recall stories of people who had difficulty getting elected because they were not familiar to the regulars.  Take the time NOW and you’ll be familiar to the folks who take part, as well as having a better understanding of the process. Even if you were not elected a delegate, there are many ways that you can participate.   1) You can volunteer at the Convention.  We always need volunteers, especially during registration.  This is a big help to the Party.  You generally need to commit to being there early.  After most people have registered then you can attend the general session and the training sessions.  No charge to attend!  You can sign up here. Just put in your contact information and mark in […]

Eric Cantor fails basic civics.

House GOP leader Eric Cantor is apparently confused about the basic constitutional process by which a bill becomes a law.  He seems to think that a bill can become law without Senate action.  Lest you think he misspoke, he intends to pass another law to back up his words. Here is the video from last night’s Last Word reporting the matter. Here is our own Barney Frank reacting to it, also from Last Word.

Bobby Haynes to leave BC/BS board for Tufts

Citing the disrespect towards organized labor that was recently administered to him by the AGs office, Haynes is taking a seat on the Tufts board where he can be compensated for his health care insurance expertise.