April 2011
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Month April 2011

Perspective on Health Vote

I know it is not in vogue to take the Health vote in perspective, but I feel it is necessary. This story is getting national attention, so Gov. Deval Patrick is right when he says both sides need to cool it.  However, that does not not change the fact that the language of the bill is ill-timed and poorly written. The fact is that legislation like this has passed the one or both house of the legislation in recent years.  However, that was before Wisconsin and although Patrick, Murray and DeLeo need to consider their state first, they must appreciate that they have a role in a national story and that that role has an impact both locally and nationally.  That vote, whether reasoned or not, will hurt other people other Americans by diminishing the true assaults on working families in Wisconsin, Ohio and New Hampshire.  True, they represent people in Massachusetts, but the implications in those other states could reverberate back to Massachusetts sooner or later. The unions also need to put some perspective on this.  By far the most important and frankly uncontroversial part of this legislation is the GIC.  The municipalities should join it and frankly Patrick’s […]

BMG 3.0: update on new features, etc.

You may have noticed a fair amount of this already, but I thought it was worth summarizing some of the improvements that we’ve brought to the site, largely in response to your comments and concerns, over the last few days. Comments: The commenting system is vastly improved from where it was when we launched last weekend. Most importantly (from my perspective, anyway), you can now see and search for “new” comments since the last time you viewed a page. Also, there is now a “Preview” feature on comments, and there is a thumbs-up/thumbs-down rating system. Promotion: We have resolved a few bugs in the promotion system that may not have been evident from the outside, but that were making it difficult for us to promote posts to the front page and to “Page 2.”  Now that these have been fixed, we can take full advantage of the excellent contributions from BMGers to keep the front page as lively as ever. RSS feed. There was an issue with the RSS feed, which I think has been fixed.  Please let us know if you are still having problems with it. We are aware of a few outstanding issues that will be, we […]

Watch me debate Ralph Zazula of voter intimidation org Show ID to Vote

I’ve recently been accepted as the “Boston Political Buzz Examiner” at Examiner.com. I recently posted exposing the link between Peter Durant’s campaign and the voter intimidation efforts going on in the 6th Worcester district (hint: the same people are organizing both). See: http://www.examiner.com/political-buzz-in-boston/peter-durant-campaign-is-behind-voter-intimidation-sixth-worcester-district for details.   Ralph Zazula of Show ID to Vote sent me a Facebook message challenging me to debate this issue. So we’re going to debate it over at Examiner.com. His Facebook message, and my responses, are here: http://www.examiner.com/political-buzz-in-boston/debating-show-id-to-vote-peter-durant-voter-intimidation-campaign Stay tuned. Primary day was most likely just a dress rehearsal for the real thing on May 10.

No, we are not all Wisconsin.

Well, it would seem that the Massachusetts House’s vote to move municipal workers into the Group Insurance Commission has captured the attention of some national commentators. OK, so let’s have a primer for our out-of-state friends (or in-staters not used to following local things). The problem: Massachusetts has the highest health care costs in the country. Like everywhere else, health care inflation is eating into local budgets, forcing layoffs, service cuts and/or tax increases. Many Massachusetts towns’ workers have unions that bargain for their health care benefits, and they are expensive. State workers in Massachusetts are in something called the Group Insurance Commission. Led by the irrepressible Dolores Mitchell, the GIC has good benefits by most standards, and has generally had much lower cost increases than the muni plans. And they do it by encouraging quality rather than quantity of care, as well as by tougher methods such as more restricted provider networks. Now, this idea is absolutely nothing new. It is not a blindside attack. Moving muni unions in the GIC has been discussed for years. Former Speaker of the House Sal DiMasi — the (now allegedly-disgraced) progressive hero of our health care law — suggested that muni unions […]

Detroit’s Corporate Manager Issues Lay-Off Notices To All Detroit Teachers

Governor Rick Snyder’s new corporate martial law is in effect and it didn’t take long to see the effect of it’s implementation. In a report issued today by Reuters, The emergency manager appointed to put Detroit’s troubled public school system on a firmer financial footing said on Thursday he was sending layoff notices to all of the district’s 5,466 unionized employees. The district is unlikely to eliminate all the teachers. Last year, it sent out 2,000 notices and only a fraction of employees were actually laid off. But the notices are required by the union’s current contract with the district. Any layoffs under this latest action won’t take effect until late July. In the meantime, Robert Bobb, the district’s emergency manager, said that he planned to exercise his power as emergency manager to unilaterally modify the district’s collective bargaining agreement with the Federation of Teachers starting May 17, 2011. The real interesting issue is the background of Mr. Robert Bobb, himself. According to Forbes, Bobb is a graduate of the, Broad Foundation’s Superintendent Academy. The Broad foundation is extremely involved in privatization and “school choice”. So Broad has an inside man in Michigan’s government to push their flagrant, regressive agenda. […]

They heard us!

In the last three months, ONE Massachusetts and other organizations across the state organized meetings with legislators urging them to support an An Act to Invest in Our Communities, a revenue reform bill that would raise $1.3 billion and help stop the deep cuts outline in the FY ’12 budget. From what we’re hearing, these meetings — along with visits to legislators, phone calls and letters – have sent a strong message to the Legislature that there are individuals and organized constituencies throughout Massachusetts who understand the need for comprehensive revenue reform. Don’t take my word for it – here’s what Rep. Steven Kulik said Monday in response to a GOP proposal to cut the state’s income tax: “I think it’s a little unusual that in the two weeks since the House Ways and Means Committee released the budget, the taxpayers I’ve been hearing from have not been calling or emailing me to say lower our income tax rate. They haven’t been calling to say cut revenue. They’ve been calling to say please increase spending on services that matter to me. Whether that’ son clothing allowance to poor children, local aid.” Among those Kulik heard from were members of YES […]

Profiles In Pro-Migrant Courage: MA State Rep. Michael Moran (D-Brighton)

Kyle de Beausset (@kyledeb) is a pro-migrant blogger at Citizen Orange. This post was originally written for Crooks and Liars.

If Obama wants any chance of a pro-migrant voter advantage going into 2012, he better start taking lessons from folks like Mass. State Rep. Michael Moran (D-Brighton).

Crossville, TN happily accepts socialist fascist health care

Great news! People in Tennessee are getting a new community health center! People in underserved communities will get to see doctors! Isn’t it great? County receives $4.5 million grant for new health department » Area News » Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN. CROSSVILLE — Last Thursday was a bright sunny day, but the weather wasn’t the only reason for the sunshine, smiles and happiness. Tennessee Health Commissioner Susan R. Cooper, MSN, RN came to Crossville Thursday to visit the Cumberland County Health Department and to present Cumberland County with a check for $4.5 million in funding from the United States Health Resources and Services Administration for construction of a new health department and clinic. The funds were made available to the county through The Affordable Care Act Capital Development Grant which the county applied for last year. … Joining Cooper were several Cumberland County commissioners and staff members of the health department as well as Gregg Ridley, field representative for 4th District Congressman Scott DeJarlais. Ahem. As ThinkProgress points out … Rep. DeJarlais voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act this year. His statement: “As a practicing physician for nearly two decades in Tennessee, I stand before you as an expert […]

Today’s MASSter list

Good Morning! In MassterList, headlines from across the Commonwealth… The House passed a $30.5 billion budget (MassLive) yesterday, including funding for immigrant care (AP). (MORE: WBUR, T&G, Sun, Herald, Globe) Yes, there are people in this state that have never heard the name ‘Sal DiMasi’. (Globe) Illinois-born Gov. Deval Patrick pipes up on birther debate (AP). Love it or hate, the Commonwealth made some money off of Royal Wedding mania. (WBUR)

Redrawing the Massachusetts State Senate

A couple of weeks ago, MerrimackMan (MM) over at RMG posted some ideas for the redistricting committee to consider when redrawing the State Senate lines this year.   I had already been hard at work on drawing my own maps, and since they vary a bit from what MM did, I figured there was no better place to post them than the brand new BMG 3.0. Much like MM, I used the following guidelines when drawing my maps: I tried to keep as many incumbents in their districts as possible. I tried to avoid splitting municipalities when possible. I kept all districts within 5% of their optimal population (163,691 is the target population I worked with) However, I added a criteria that MM did not use, in that I set out to create as many majority-minority districts as I possible could.  Here’s the broad new map: I have pasted new maps for all 40 Senate districts below, but here are the major changes that will probably earn me the most angry calls, comments, and emails: I tried to make districts more compact whenever possible, and avoid long narrow districts if I could help it.  This resulted in major changes to […]