September 2012
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
« Aug   Oct »

Month September 2012

Here’s Hoping “Glass Jaw” Scott Brown Gets Bitchy at Debate – Was Graft Involved in Amy Bishop Cover-Up? One of Many Questions Needing Answers

Here’s hoping Liz Warren hits Glass Jaw Scott Brown with quick and succinct hits on votes he’s taken that have cost jobs and hurt the economy. Past quotes of his help. It would also be nice if Scott’s asked to explain his representation of sketchy mortgage companies for loans that most likely included language that Scott’s clients knew or should have known would result in the borrower defaulting. How many “no-doc” loans did Scott represent the mortgage company on? This of course only as an attack after she is forced to defend her professional background.

Talk radio has gone batsh!t crazy over Elizabeth Warren

If you needed any additional evidence (and, really, did you?) that conservative talk radio has completely lost its mind over our little Senate race, you need look no further than this clip from WRKO. Here’s the background: in light of BMG’s awesome scoop of Scott Brown’s Senate staffers doing “tomahawk chops” and “war whoops” outside a rally, Garrett Quinn wrote an eminently sensible post on pointing out that (a) the behavior of Brown’s staffers in the video is “not exactly racially sensitive,” (b) the whole Native American issue has “finally blown up in Scott Brown’s face” and has “backfired” because, outside the base, voters don’t care about it (that view was again confirmed by the poll the Globe published today showing that 71% of respondents don’t care) and (c) “Boston has a sad racial history and this latest episode just adds to the global perception that my hometown is populated with a bunch of whiskey drinking knuckledraggers that hate the New York Yankees.” Well, cue the fauxtrage from the rabid right. Todd Feinburg and Michele McPhee had Garrett on WRKO to talk about this issue generally and his post specifically. The 10-minute conversation beggars belief – I strongly recommend […]


The following is a letter to the editor I sent to our local newspaper. Scott Brown characterizes himself as a nice, bipartisan fellow.  But despite this bipartisan image, Scott Brown has done a lot of damage. Brown often uses the Dodd-Frank bill to re-regulate the banks as an example of his bipartisanship.  Brown did work with Democrats on this bill, and it did pass.  However, he played a very destructive role.  In return for his needed vote, Brown demanded, and got, $19 billion in concessions to the banks.  After the bill passed, Brown worked vigorously behind the scenes to weaken the enforcement regulations. After the massive banking collapse at the end of the Bush administration, it was clear that some kind of banking regulation was necessary.  The Dodd-Frank bill was the response to this need.  Dodd-Frank is a weak bill, unlike the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act that prevented a major banking collapse for over 70 years.  However, it was the best that the Democrats could do in the present political environment.  Even so, rather than trying to strengthen this bill, as a strong Democratic senator from Massachusetts should have done, Scott Brown did everything he could to water it down, protecting […]

State’s decision to lease Glavin land for $1 raises questions

(Cross-posted from The COFAR Blog) For years we’ve heard from the administration that it’s necessary to close the Glavin Regional Center and three other developmental centers in Massachusetts because the centers have become too expensive to operate. But if these closures are about saving money, why has the administration agreed to essentially give away 69 acres of state land at Glavin to the Town of Shrewsbury?  In agreeing in August to lease the land to the town for $1 a year for the next 25 years, the state will forego potentially millions of dollars it would have gotten from the sale of that land. Our main question really is this: Why has the administration reached this deal with the town outside of what would normally be a formal and deliberative process to determine the best options for reuse of the land?  The 69 acres, which include soccer fields and farmland surrounding the Glavin Center, comprise at least 62 percent of the total Glavin campus. For the past eight years, the state has been involved in a painstaking and often contentious reuse process with the City of Waltham over the 200 acres at the site of the Fernald Developmental Center, which has also been targeted for closure.  That process has […]

What I’m hearing on the doors

I just got back from knocking on some doors in Medford for Elizabeth Warren. I don’t have a whole lot of time, but I’m dedicating a minimum of one day a week to knocking on doors, and more right before election day. Let me tell you, many parts of Medford are not locked up either way for or against Warren — there are a lot of undecided voters out there. And you know what? With all the undecided voters I’ve talked to, not a single one of them mentioned Warren’s heritage. Not one of them mentioned Harvard or mentioned thinking she’s somehow out of touch. Not one of them mentioned the made-up “scandals” about asbestos or whatever. When I asked them what they care about, the overwhelming thing I hear about is that they want somebody who will get our economy moving again. They want somebody who will create jobs.  One undecided woman I spoke with said that it just felt like the deck is stacked against her and her family no matter what they do. That she has too much debt, too little time. She said her husband is out of work. She talked, I listened. And then we talked about […]

A closer look at the new Globe poll

I just scrolled though the tables on the recently Globe/UNH poll, which can be found here, and some things jumped out.  Much of this will not be a surprise, and I don’t want to rely too much on one poll (particularly one with only 502 respondents), but it is instructive nonetheless. There are voters out there for Warren to reach It is clear that a Democratic brand advantage in Massachusetts is helping Warren.  Thanks to a 67-12 advantage among self-identified Democrats, Warren he leads overall in the poll (43-38) despite losing 88-4 among self-identified Republicans (no shock) and 45-23 among unenrolled voters (worse than I would have expected). There were about 100 respondents registered as unenrolled but self-identifying as Democratic, and 65 self-identifying as Republican.  Notably, virtually all of these Republican-leaning unenrolled are for Brown.  He does much better (88-4) among self-identified Republicans, including both registered and unenrolled, than among registered Republican alone (80-12).  Warren’s support is virtually unchanged and actually drops a bit (69-12 vs 67-12) when unenrolled voters who identify as Democrats are added to the registered Democrats. Much more importantly,19% of self-identified Democrats and 20% of Obama supporters are still undecided in the Senate race.  Along with […]

False Attacks on Elizabeth Warren’s Practice of Law

William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has started a bit of a kerfuffle by accusing Elizabeth Warren of practicing law without a license. She was never licensed in Massachusetts, and wasn’t required to be in order to teach law. His accusations center around her filing of briefs and giving of advice in various federal court cases. Massachusetts Lawyers’ Weekly now has a poll out asking whether Warren should be investigated. At the same time, MLW itself basically admits the accusations are bogus. Massachusetts Rule of Professional Conduct 5.5(d) provides that: “A lawyer admitted in another United States jurisdiction, and not disbarred or suspended from practice in any jurisdiction, may provide legal services in this jurisdiction that: … (2) are services that the lawyer is authorized to provide by federal law or other law of this jurisdiction.” Warren was admitted to practice law in New Jersey in 1977 and “resigned without prejudice” this year, according to Jacobson. He speculates, without providing any evidence, that she may have let her license lapse at some point in between. While we’re playing this game, I speculate without evidence that he’s an illegal Canadian immigrant and should be deported. Where’s the birth certificate? So all available […]

Where is political ground zero in MA?

Yes, presidential years generate larger voter turnouts than other elections. And this year, we have a statewide US Senate race that adds higher interest and motivation for people to vote. But where is the mostly politically active spot in Massachusetts, based on the number of truly competitive races? For those living north of Boston, specifically people living in the Sixth Congressional District, you also get to participate in the most competitive congressional race in Massachusetts, pitting incumbent John Tierney against Richard Tisei. Within this congressional district, there are two open State Senate seats that will spur even more voter activity, one centered in the Salem/Peabody/Danvers area and the other spanning from Newburyport to Methuen. While only part of the Newburyport/Methuen State Senate seat (1st Essex) is in Tierney’s district, it includes the town of Merrimac, which does fall into the Tierney/Tisei battle. Merrimac is also part of the 2nd Essex House District, which also has an open race for state representative. So voters in the town Merrimac will have 5 hotly contested races to decide on. At the top of the ballot, they join us mere mortals in voting for President and US Senator. They then join only about 12% […]

New poll has Warren up 43-38

Boston Globe poll conducted by University of NH shows Elizabeth Warren leading Scott Brown 43 to 38. Survey was conducted Sept. 21-27, so this was post-debate for all respondents but NOT post Tomahawk chop video for all respondents. Oddly, the story on calls this within the +/- 4.4% margin of error, even though they’re reporting a 5 percentage point difference. Story also says she leads among women by 12 points and trails among men by only 3 points. That’s a huge change from the yawning gender advantage PPP reported that Scott Brown had with male voters. Looks like the same include 36.4% registered Democrats, 48.4% unenrolled (i.e. “Independents”) and 14.3% Republicans. Geographically, the biggest group was 128 to 495 at 31.6% followed by inside 128 at 26.5%, 16.7% central Mass., 12.7% western Mass. and 12.4% southern MA/Cape/Islands.    

MCAS and the Globe: What the Hell?

The media has a hard time reporting on data. They often don’t know what it means or how significant it is. Blame them for people taking Vitamin E because there was research that said it was good for you, until there was research showing too much Vitamin E might actually be bad for you. When it comes to their gatekeeping function, the media rarely does well by its readers when it comes to research. It’s worse when it comes to education. The Boston Globe has what has to be one of the shallowest, most banal pieces ever produced using MCAS scores. I guess it’s a plug for the paper’s real estate section. I clicked on it because I’m interested in education and how it’s reported on. Here it is: Living near a successful school district is often a perk—if not a necessity—for home buyers. But how do you determine a district’s quality? There are several factors to consider. We chose to look at towns and cities where students excelled on the 2012 MCAS, whose results were released on Sept. 19. Many of the highest-scoring schools were charters. Several were from outside the Boston area. Take a look at which towns and cities […]