December 2012
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Day December 6, 2012

The Protest Chaplains Occupy Advent in the very “Maw of Mammon”

Yesterday the Protest Chaplains of Occupy Boston celebrated Advent in the Maw of Mammon – more commonly known as Bank of America Headquarters.  I was there, and sang the Hymn Emmanuel, chanted, and called out in prayer for a return to the rule of law, not of men.  There is terrific coverage of this event at this link, and I hope you check it out.   There is something energizing, healing and glorious about singing hymns in the open air, in public, and calling for the renewal of my country. Photo courtesy Michael Horan. I heartily recommend it, and hope that some of you will join in the remaining two Occupy Advent gatherings, also at 100 Federal Street, Boston on 12/12 and 12/17 at 5:30 – 6:00 PM.

Cycling Tipping Point

In a pseudo-apology, I note that I’m passionate about cycling. This appears also at Harrumph. Time to get serious,boys and girls, rather far past time. Today’s catalyst was the latest death of a cyclist on Boston streets. This one was Chris Weigl, a 23-year-old photographer (website up at least for now). The wreck (never call these “accidents” as though they were unavoidable fatalities) had familiar basics, as limned by the Globe report. A tractor-trailer took a four-lane right turn on a major avenue, aiming for a tiny side street by a local university. The cyclist in a bike lane was instantly mushed to death. As long as they are up, the comments at the Boston Herald let cycle haters drink their fill. The this-but-that versions will stay up at Universal Hub. This is no place to broach the craziness of all-cyclists-always-break-all-traffic-laws or cyclists-don’t-have-licenses-or-pay-taxes or ban-all-bikes folk. They are beyond reason as well as compassion. Instead, Boston has started its bicycling evolution. What must be do next for safety and civility? Simple legal stuff Stop signs and traffic lights. We have to stop being puerile here and look to what has been successful in Idaho since the 1980s — rolling stops for bicycles. Stops as yields. Somewhat […]

Union-busting on the Move Again, How to fight back…?

There is little we can do on a national level to correct the wrongs of Wisconsin.  Likewise, there may be little that we can do to help public employee union members in states that have passed right-to-work laws.  However, it may be time for unions to seriously reconsider their tactics. In an age of gerrymandering, even the strongest electoral efforts cannot guarantee a reversal for the very simple reason that you may not move enough votes in all of the legislative bodies to get the result you want.  President Obama won Michigan and Wisconsin and yet Democratic majorities did not materialize.  In Wisconsin, the numbers actually fell. Now Michigan has one advantage Wisconsin did not have, which is vote referendum, although that failed this past November when they attempted to enshrine labor rights in the state Constitution.  Michigan Republicans, learning from Ohio, also excluded police and fire from their bill, although GOP may yet face voter wrath.  Gov. Rick Snyder’s not terribly popular and a strong challenger might take him down and carry a repealing referendum with it. This leads me to ask, what can be done?  Repealing Taft-Hartley, the source of Right to work statutes, is political impossible.  Frankly, […]

Odds of a Scott Brown Comeback: Lower Than You Think

In the last forty years: 93 incumbent Senators were defeated for re-election (not counting the two defeated this year, since we don’t know their futures yet). 9 of those ran for Senate again 6 lost on election day 1 polled so badly that he dropped out before the election 2 won 1 of these winners was kicked out by the voters again later in his Senate career. The other originally lost his Senate seat in a primary, so his circumstances may not be applicable. 4 ran for Governor 2 lost 2 won Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Brown is definitely part of that diehard 14% who didn’t give up. His odds of recapturing the Senate seat are about 22%. Not nothing, but I wouldn’t call him the favorite. And since there would be a high probability of getting the boot again later even if he won, it’s probably not worth it for him to even try. His odds at a Gubernatorial seat are 50%.   The takeaway from all of this: You really only get one chance to impress the voters as a Senator. When they say goodbye, they mean it. If Brown is rational, he’ll go […]