September 2011
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Month September 2011

Weekly Joke Revue: Fox GOP debate coverage, via Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live rebroadcasts Fox’s coverage of the latest GOP debates: Shades of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force attack that brought the Boston Police Department, and the city, to its knees on 31 January 2007. An Onion story titled “Congress Takes Group Of Schoolchildren Hostage: ‘We Need $12 Trillion Or All These Kids Die’” set off a “brief panic” on Capitol Hill, according to Roll Call. Sample Onion Tweets: Veteran hostage negotiator calls Rep. Boehner’s demands “unrealistic” #CongressHostage President Obama in bullet proof vest now on Capitol steps trying to talk congressmen down” #CongressHostage Obama on bullhorn: “John, I know you can hear me in there. Please, you don’t need to do this.” #CongressHostage 4pm deadline is in 15 minutes. Congress still has not received its $12 trillion #CongressHostage From the story: “Bring us the money and we let the children go, simple as that,” said Boehner, appearing in the East Portico with a serrated switchblade held to one of the fourth-grader’s throats. “If you want to play games and stall for extra time, we’re going to shoot one kid an hour, starting with little Dillon here.” “Tick tock,” he added, vanishing back into the building with the terrified child in tow. … As […]

Cambridge strikes a blow for local workers

HuffPo: The City of Cambridge, Mass., has moved to create an ordinance that will effectively bar hotels from outsourcing in-house jobs, the first ban of its kind in the country. The ordinance will require any large hotel seeking a license to prove that its workers who regularly enter guest rooms are directly employed by the hotel and not by an outside labor agency. Although the regulation has not yet been written, the city’s licensing commission voted 2-1 on Tuesday to move ahead with it at the behest of city council. … Cambridge City Councilor Marjorie Decker says the impetus for the ordinance was the 2009 mass firing of housekeepers at Hyatt hotels in Cambridge and Boston. At the time, 100 housekeepers were let go and replaced with new workers who earned about half the pay and had no health benefits. The incident caused such an uproar that Gov. Deval Patrick (D) called for a boycott of Hyatt. Here is the key paragraph: Decker says that she didn’t face much opposition to the ordinance from the hotel industry, with most local hotel operators telling her they wouldn’t outsource jobs anyway. She also says the ordinance will probably exempt hotels with fewer than […]

Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Report

The Massashusetts Climate Change Adaptation Report is now available here. This report was mandated as part of the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act. You may be forgiven if you missed its mention in the Boston Globe as I did. It was featured prominently in a single column on page B15 on Wednesday, below the weather report. Not that this stuff is very important: Massachusetts is set to experience a 3° to 5°C (5° to 10°F) increase in average ambient temperature, with several more days of extreme heat during the summer months. Days with temperatures greater than 32°C (90°F) are predicted to increase from the 5 to 20 days annually that Massachusetts experiences today to between 30 to 60 days annually; while up to 28 days annually are predicted to reach above 38°C (100°F), compared to up to two days annually today (Frumhoff et al., 2006, 2007). Sea surface temperatures are also predicted to increase by 4°C (8°F) (Dutil and Brander, 2003; Frumhoff et al., 2007; Nixon et al., 2004), while winter precipitation—mostly in the form of rain—is expected to increase by 12 to 30 percent. The number of snow events is predicted to decrease from five each month to one […]

WOW! I am impressed!

I am ashamed to admit that I never even took a look at Marisa DeFranco’s campaign or what she had to offer as a Senate candidate. I am genuinely excited about what I am hearing here. I hope she does very well at the upcoming debate.

We Need More Transparency

From Jim Stergios: In all the excitement over the launch of www.massopenbooks.com, some have pitted our efforts against those currently underway in the State Treasurer’s office and the Executive Office of Administration and Finance.  Nothing is further from the truth.  Pioneer has been pushing the transparency rock up Beacon Hill (feels more like a mountain) for years.  We look forward to the website that the Treasurer/ANF is looking to release later this fall.  The public needs access to public information, and that means we need many more hands getting the information out.  When it comes to transparency, the more the merrier.   Treasurer Grossman campaigned on this issue — and we applaud him for his progress.  Our goal is to keep pushing for more transparency; that’s the Pioneer brand.  Only through friendly competition and collaboration will we be able to ensure that the public has access to public information.  So try out MassOpenBooks.com.  It’s a great tool.  And when the Treasurer/ANF website comes out, use that one, too.   We will keep pushing for open government through all of our transparency tools and operations –  MassReportCards.com which lets you evaluate and compare all schools in the Commonwealth MassCityStats.com which lets you compare older, industrialized cities […]

Boston City Hall- a parking lot?

In most cities; City Hall is the seat of power. It is the center of a city. It reflects the culture and thinking of the cities leaders. Boston City Hall Plaza is filled with trucks, city and private cars. Whatever you think about the  60′s concrete modern architecture there must be a better way to show case Boston then filling by  the Plaza with trucks and cars;  Many of which are used for personal transportation.

Donate to your favorite MA-Sen candidate today!

It’s that time of year: today is the final day of the third quarter of 2011. As of midnight tonight, the books close on the quarter, and the candidates will begin to tally up their take. It’s a tad unseemly, but let’s face it: money matters in elections, and Scott Brown is sitting on $10 million (and probably more than that once the results of this quarter become known). Fundraising reports must be made public by October 15; I suspect we will hear leaks of early results from candidates happy with how things went. So do your bit: help out your preferred MA-Sen candidate today before midnight.  Here they are, in alphabetical order*: Tom Conroy $ Marisa DeFranco $ Alan Khazei $ Bob Massie $ Elizabeth Warren $ *I have not included Jim King or Herb Robinson, who, although technically in the race, do not appear to be waging much of a campaign yet, as far as I can tell.

Link to the 9/30/11 Occupy Boston Press release for those interested

Here is the URL for the 9/30/11 PR I just received from Occupy Boston

RMG apparently going all-in on illegal immigration

I find this fascinating … do our friends across the aisle really think that illegal immigration is going to be the issue that wins, say, the Senate race for them? Maybe this is just a random fluctuation, but I did a little survey of the 18 posts currently on Red Mass Group‘s front page.  Here’s what I found: Illegal immigration: 9 posts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) MASSter List: 3 posts (1, 2, 3) Pioneer Institute promotions: 2 posts (1, 2) Casino bill: 1 post Jobs: 1 post MA-Sen race: 1 post EaBo on TV: 1 post Fully 50% of the front-page posts are about illegal immigration in one form or another – and given that MASSter List and the Pioneer posts are externally generated (and are posted here at BMG as well, though front-paged less often), it seems that actual RMGers care a lot more about illegal immigration than just about any other issue. I just don’t think that’s true of most MA voters.  But maybe I’m wrong.

$5 fee for Bank of America Debit cards – Bloomberg posts the details

Bloomberg posted the details as to which accounts will be hit with the new $5.00 fee for using debit cards. Would it surprise you to know that the Top 1% with accounts linked to Merrill Lynch will not get hit?  Nope – nor the “try it” college student accounts. Those who have the least, who cannot keep minimum balances and don’t have brokerage accounts, and who, presumably, are too stupid or beaten down to change – THOSE are the customers who will pay this fee.Why?  Because BOA (the BOA constrictor type snake comes to mind) can no longer charge retailers 44 cents every time you use your debit card.  That elimination of ‘swipe fees’, by the way, was a major help to struggling retailers. Don’t mess with the BOA constrictor – they will only tighten around the struggling poor and working class and what is left of the middle class. I am moving the convenience account I kept at BOA in addition to my far less expensive Metropolitan Credit Union account. How about you??