No, I’m not kidding. The Catholic League announced today a “Campaign Against Jon Stewart,” in which they will pressure advertisers on the Daily Show to withdraw their support in light of some comments and images on the show that they didn’t like. (For the record, Stewart was talking about the curiously different reaction on Fox News to the “War on Christmas” vs. the “War on Women,” and the image shows up at 12:15 in this episode.) Now, obviously, the League’s boycott is not going anywhere, so this story would normally be unworthy of discussion. But what stands out is the League’s choice to depict Jon Stewart – who is Jewish, and who often loudly self-identifies as such – in flames. That’s just a very, very bad choice. It’s especially bad when you realize that today, the day on which the Catholic League made this announcement, is Yom HaShoah, the international day of remembrance for victims of the Holocaust. Which, in case you had forgotten, featured many Jews literally going up in flames. Maybe the League didn’t realize that today was Yom HaShoah. Or maybe they didn’t care. Either way, the image is offensive and embarrassing to the League, and they [...]
(Cross-posted from the COFAR blog) Last week, Department of Developmental Services Commissioner Elin Howe described the House Ways & Means Committee’s proposed Fiscal Year 2013 budget for DDS programs and services as ”the best budget the department has had in five years.” Speaking with advocates during a conference call, Howe cited some boosts in funding in the HW&M plan. Those include a proposed $10 million increase over the governor’s plan for Adult Family Supports, which help families care for intellectually disabled people at home. They also include $1 million more than the governor proposed for Turning 22 services, which are geared toward people who are moving from the special education system to the adult service system. But we wouldn’t agree this is a particularly good budget overall for people with intellectual disabilities. In fact, this budget fails to restore most community-based line items to what they were four and five years ago, and it continues to decimate the state developmental centers and to underfund other state-operated residential services. In the conference call, Howe acknowledged that “the state side has taken the burden of the reductions” under the HW&M plan, but termed it “good news for the private sector.” We disagree that the HW&M budget is really all that good [...]
I know we’ve been over this, but it’s so delicious that I can’t help myself. Fenway Park officially turns 100 years old tomorrow. The Yankees are in town; there will be a big pre-game celebration; the teams will both wear 1912 throwback uniforms; the weather is supposed to be absolutely beautiful. A good time will be had by all. And today, if you’re interested, you can wander through Fenway on your own: there’s a free open house at the park from 9 am to 7 pm today. Bring the kids! Savor the history that is Fenway Park! And through all of that, remember that Scott Brown really did want to move the Red Sox to a new stadium in Foxborough when he was a state rep. Here, courtesy of the fine folks at Progress Mass, is a Wilmington Morning Star newspaper clipping from January 9, 2001, recounting Brown’s efforts to get the Sox out of Fenway Park, and out of Boston. ”Exploring the possibility of a Red Sox relocation to Foxboro makes fiscal and economic sense,” said Brown. Also noteworthy is that Brown actually “hand-delivered” his letter containing the proposal to Patriots owner Bob Kraft, as well as faxing it [...]
Next week the state House of Representatives debates the annual budget. I’m looking forward to the debate on the subject of state employee pensions, where Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Pembroke) will square off against Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Pembroke). In one corner, Rep. Webster, wearing the red trunks with the Pioneer Institute insignia, will argue for his amendment to establish a purely private alternative to the public retirement system. State employees could go totally Ayn Rand: no tiresome limits on how much of your earnings you can contribute, no tiresome taxes on your gains and no tiresome benefits to collect when you retire. And in the other corner, Rep. Webster, wearing the black trunks with the National Association of Government Employees insignia, will argue for his amendment to work the current system in a way sometimes referred to as “hackery.” It would confer the highest level of retirement benefits (known as “Group 4″ status) on a lucky new group of employees, in this case the officers in the bureau of criminal investigation in the sheriff’s department of Plymouth County. Group 4 retirees get a full state pension at age 55, while most state workers have to wait until they’re 65. This special [...]
Climate Central has an adjustable map showing how a variety of sea level rise scenarios will affect us: Surging Seas / Cities / Boston, Massachusetts.
BREAKING (little siren here): Mass. Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Press Release says MA added 8,700 jobs last month; unemployment drops to 6.5%. Press release pasted on the flip. And, our jobs numbers may well get revised back upwards: The Massachusetts economy created jobs faster than the nation as whole in 2011, new data show, and the US Labor Department acknowledges that it probably got it wrong when last month it dramatically lowered estimates of the state’s job growth. 38,900 vs. 2,300 jobs for the first three quarters of 2011. Big difference. Back in the saddle again, although I guess we were never out of the saddle. I love when that happens. Relatedly, the Center for American Progress does a little story on Massachusetts’ green jobs scene; I love the images of insulation work getting done, which is low-tech, cheap for the consumer (especially with big MassSave subsidies), and a huge money- and energy-saver. The Truth About Green Jobs: A Case Study – YouTube. Now, here’s the problem with politicizing jobs figures for incumbents: The most profound and important things a governor and legislature can do for the economy won’t be felt for years to come: Focusing on [...]