May 2011
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Month May 2011

Scott Brown, Mr. “go along to get along,” voted for *the money that would fund* the Cognos contract [updated]

UPDATE (Wednesday morning): You know how, on Star Trek, you can walk right past the Borg and they’ll ignore you until they perceive you as a threat?  That’s apparently how Republican consultants are.  Under normal circumstances, an important fellow like Eric Fehrnstrom (consultant extraordinaire for GOP bigwigs like Scott Brown and Mitt Romney) wouldn’t give the likes of us the time of day.  But this post caught his attention: @bluemassgroup Get facts straight. Cognos contract was awarded by Gov. Patrick’s office. Legislature did not “vote” on it. Sure thing, Eric.  As a hypertechnical matter, you’re correct.  The legislature did not actually vote on “the contract” with Cognos.  What the legislature, and specifically Scott Brown, did is vote to fund “a contract” that would inevitably go to Cognos.  That is, they voted in favor of appropriating $15 million “for a new statewide performance management system to enable all state agencies and departments to manage their performance by leveraging the vast amount of data that resides in numerous agency applications.”  That’s the language – allegedly supplied by DiMasi’s alleged coconspirators Joseph Lally et al. – that inexorably led to the award of a contract to Cognos.  Just to refresh everyone’s recollection, here’s […]

BMG 3.0 update: recommender and other stuff

We’re pleased to report some further improvements to BMG 3.0.  Much of the most recent work is on the back end, so you won’t actually see it, but we’re certain you’ll be pleased to learn how much better your editors’ lives will be as a result of the upgrades to the promotion system.  ;-) What you will see is a substantially improved “Recommend” function.  The Recommender now keeps a running tally of how many recommends each post has received, and will identify the recommenders when you open up the post.  We’ve also made the “Unrecommend” option more obvious.  Here’s an example of how the appearance of the Recommender changes when I click it to register my recommendation (using this post as an example) – it goes from this: to this: Also, we’ve fiddled with the algorithm that determines how long posts stay on the “Recommended” list, so that should be working better. Additional fixes are on the way, including a better “there’s more” system and an improvement to the commenting system that will make it easier to get comments to nest properly.  Stay tuned. Also, if there’s anything you’d really like to see, let us know.  We’re now at the […]

MASSterList: Top Probation lawyer fired – RomneyCare by the record – Prosecution wrapping up at DiMasi trial – Setti’s baby boy

STOP SNITCHIN’: The acting commissioner of Probation has fired the department’s top lawyer for leaking information to former commissioner John O’Brien, who is accused of running a jobs-for-favors operation out of Probation. MITT MONITOR: If you haven’t read Brian Mooney’s authoritative piece on former Gov. Mitt Romney’s role in Massachusetts’ 2006 health care reform overhaul, do so now. (Globe) DiFENSE: If you haven’t been paying any attention to the DiMasi trial, (or only began to pay attention when Gov. Patrick testified last week) know that the state’s case is wrapping up and the defense is about take over. (AP) MEMORABLE DAY: Typical candidate Memorial day: Sen. Scott Brown attends parades and memorial events around MetroWest. Atypical candidate Memorial Day: Setti Warren welcomes a new baby boy. Read the rest of the MASSterList, including the Mitt Monitor, today’s legislative headlines, transportation news, new health care headlines, today’s Best of the Blogs and more by signing up for daily email at

Memorial Day

One of the great musical compositions of the twentieth century is Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, which interweaves the Latin text of the Requiem mass for the dead (sung by a large mixed chorus, children’s chorus, and soprano soloist) with the remarkable poems of Wilfred Owen (sung by the tenor and baritone soloists), a British poet who fought in World War I and was killed in action at age 25.  Britten was a pacifist, but to my ear at least, the piece is not so much a political statement as it is an exhortation that we remember the reality of war: that in war, young men and women die and are injured, often in terrible ways, in large numbers.  Owen was one of them.  His poem about the horrors of gas warfare is particularly gut-wrenching – Britten did not set that one. Here are three of the poems that Britten chose to set; there are more at this link and elsewhere on the web. Futility Move him into the sun – Gently its touch awoke him once, At home, whispering of fields unsown. Always it woke him, even in France, Until this morning and this snow. If anything might rouse him now […]

Romney advisor: “There weren’t many of us thinking there would be a national debate on this”

The title of this post is a quote from Brian Mooney’s must-read article in today’s Globe about Mitt Romney’s key role in putting Massachusetts’ health care law in place.  Here’s the full context: The question: Should adults with sufficient income be required to buy basic health insurance or pay a penalty if they refuse? It was in many ways a conservative notion, grounded in personal responsibility, and Romney was drawn to it. At the roundtable meeting, he pressed the issue, challenging his advisers. “Everybody in the room was very aware it was a novel approach and that it had repercussions in Massachusetts,” recalled Timothy R. Murphy, who was Romney’s point man on the legislation. “I don’t think it was lost on anyone that Mitt had an emerging national profile, but there weren’t many of us thinking there would be a national debate on this.” And that, in a nutshell, is why Mitt Romney is never going to be president.  Romney badly miscalculated how the politics of health care would play out – and so did everyone else.  It’s fascinating to look back to 2006, when the health care issue came to a head in MA, and realize that just about […]

Mental health parity does not exist

Want to bring the BMG community’s attention to an impressive speech made during budget debate Thursday night by freshman Sen. John F. Keenan, who called insurance companies out on the carpet for failing to meet obligations  under the state’s parity laws. Sen. Keenan, is the new co-chairman of the Joint Committee on mental Health and Substance Abuse, along with veteran Rep. Liz Malia. Sen. Keenan had gained some attention for highlighting the problem of mental health patients being warehoused in emergency rooms while waiting for beds to open up. The underlying problem, of course, is our chronically underfunded mental health system which has taken an unfair share of cuts over the past three years. However, the more acute issue is that hospitals aren’t able to charge insurance companies for boarding their clients for days, and in some instances, weeks on end. Sen. Keenan had offered an amendment that would have changed this and allowed hospitals to charge the per diem rates. He apparently knew the amendment was going to be defeated, but used the opportunity to instead call out insurance companies for breaking federal and state parity laws. He said a patient in diabetic shock would not be stabilized and then allowed to […]

I’ve Seen the Light: Elizabeth Warren Will Win! – Will Sal Plea?

jesuscrise I think she’s going to do it. I’m in. She can win. I wouldn’t have said this last week. Nothing has changed since then except my opinion. As for her running, Sen. Patty Murray from Washington State, the national point person in getting Teddy’s seat back, whispered to the press last week that someone (by that she means a real candidate) would be stepping up soon. Then the Senate did some in-house procedure that wiped out the possibility of recess appointments, including one for Warren. Warren is good at what she does and has had a taste of power and fame. She likes it. So why wouldn’t she run? Only if she had low percentage of beating him. Right? But she doesn’t. Between now and November of 2012 Warren, the college champion debater, will show case the dumb as a door knob Scott Brown we all know and love. The “David Puddy” Scott Brown. She will ask the right question: As lovable as the incumbent is, during the next 20 yesrs which person do you want working for you in the U.S. Senate? If she can do this and be likable, especially to women. (easier said than done- this […]

Hello? Any Bruins fans?

It’s pretty much like clockwork to see a post about the Sox, Celtics, or Pats when they get deep into the playoffs, but apparently not so with the Boston Bruins. Are there any fans here? I guess it’s just like in general: Hockey is the ugly sibling of the other major sports, even in an Original Six town. I’m not a Bruins fan, but I am a huge hockey fan. My team is the Detroit Red Wings, who got knocked out in the second round by Joe Thornton (remember him?) and the San Jose Sharks. I was bummed until I realized that between appearances in the Eastern Conference final by the Bruins, the Wings had been in eight Western Conference finals, won six of those, and went on to lift the Cup four times. I’m not rubbing that in… Yes I am. Anyway, I’m happy to see both an Original Six team and a Canadian team in the final. If the Bruins pull it off, that’s three out of the last four for the O6, Among those teams, the Bruins’ Cup drought (1972) is only surpassed by the Toronto Maple Leafs, who haven’t won since 1967. The last Canadian champions […]

Weekly Joke Revue: In Partial Rapture, Credible Republican Candidates Vanish From Earth:

Daniel Kurtzman: “Ron Paul announced he’s running for president. And get this: he supports the legalization of prostitution and heroin. Now, I know he doesn’t have much of a chance but if he does win that’s going to be one hell of a victory party.” —Conan O’Brien “Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a lovechild back in 2003. To be fair, Arnold has been taking financial responsibility for the child: education, health care … everything he’s taken away from every other child in California.” —Craig Ferguson “The federal government has hit the 14.3 trillion dollar debt ceiling and cannot legally borrow any more money. Can’t we work out a deal? We have the head of the IMF in one of our jails right now. I’m thinking, set bail at 14.3 trillion dollars.” —Jay Leno “President Obama suggested that Israel should go back to the pre—1967 borders. Native Americans said, “Why stop there? Let’s go back to the pre—1492 borders.”” —Jay Leno “A gay activist dumped glitter all over Newt Gingrich. He wants Newt to stop being against gay marriage. But Newt believes marriage is a sacred bond between a man and his wife and his mistress and the other woman he’s seeing on the […]

What Did you Learn in WMass, Senator?

So it appears that Scott Brown was in Western Massachusetts today.  All the more interesting, he was not here for a booksigning or to speak in front of the Young Republican Club of Westfield.  No, he actually looked around.  Indeed, it appears that Eric Ferhnstrom even had canned some quotes for him that he knew the kiddies out here would love.  The Republican quotes Brown saying, “I’m here to learn… there is life after 128 and also past 495″ Speaking as a Western Massachusetts resident, I know how it often feels like Boston treats us like there is no life past 495 (I don’t think the 128 crowd doubt that life exists between them and 495, however).  Still, it is going to take more than a few photo ops in Agawam and mingling with the metro area’s elite in Wilbraham to show that he has any real appreciation for our problems. If you would like to learn, Senator, perhaps you should consider what has been going on in the region’s biggest city (and to a lesser extent in Greenfield and Russell) where efforts are being fought to hold back biomass plants, whose health effects are unknown.  Then you might realize that when the […]