November 2013
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Month November 2013

Preliminary interpretation. Stenographic Record. Public Meetings. Boston City Council

Preliminary interpretation. Stenographic Record. Public Meetings. Boston City Council

Open Thread: Cleansing the Palette

If there’s one thing I want to change in politics, it’s that I’m tired of fighting against things. I want to fight FOR something (say, raising Social Security). But first one must cleanse the palette. (Suggestion; stop this scene when it ends, and skip the boring techie stuff.) How do you gear up for the next battle? (Which is, of course, the War on Christmas. But hell that’s just a battle for religious freedom.) A song? A movie? A quick touch of your shrine to your loved ones, like Russell Crowe in Gladiator? And once we’re geared up, what should that battle be? (Besides taking the House back.) This is an open thread.    

Repeal the casino deal (edited)

Secretary William F. Galvin whose office is able to monitor the number of locally certified ballot signatures through a central data system has announced that both the automatic gas tax and the (special interest/corporate monopoly) casino/slots law have garnered enough signatures for the November 2014 ballot. Beacon Hill is tone deaf.   Leadership and many elected officials are disconnected from the sentiments of the average citizen in the Commonwealth.  Ballot initiatives take a gargantuan effort that requires passion, time, funding, and organization – as well as a groundswell of collective opinion. We want solutions, not more of the same.  We want real reform – some see that as curtailing the reach and expense of government and others see reform through a progressive lens that improves efficiency, effectiveness and balances fiscal burdens across the income and wealth spectrum.

How’s that GOP Latino outreach program going?

While Thanksgiving is a good time to reflect on family and the positives in our lives it also serves as a reminder (at least for me) that the vast majority of us are immigrants to this country. Those folks who landed in Plymouth were immigrants escaping persecution and looking for a better life. As each wave of immigrants came to America’s shores there was resistance (being Irish I have a keen awareness of the old “No Irish need Apply” signs and that police vehicles were called “Paddy Wagons” as an ethnic slur against the Irish). Immigration remains a hot button issue today as the Republicans stall an immigration reform bill to please their Tea Party zealots. At the same time, after losing another national election and seeing Latino voters stand with Democrats, the GOP went through a series of internal reviews and decided on a plan to reach out to Latino voters for future elections. So how is that working out with the GOP rank-and-file? RMG gives us a window into that (V3PN’s comment on a Karl Marx post) – – While the progressives rally to demand free healthcare, college education, welfare and housing for Mexicans who came here to […]


Obamacare’s Effects A good place to start is to estimate who is affected by the ACA. The New Yorker interviewed MIT economist and health-care expert, Jonathan Gruber. He breaks it down as follows: 80% of Americans will be largely unaffected. They are already covered by employers (or perhaps Medicare.) 14% are uninsured and the A.C.A will give them access to affordable healthcare. They are clear winners. 6% buy their own insurance. Half (about 3%) will have little change. The other 3% will have to buy different plans. It is tempting, of course, to price insurance by the premiums, but, just as a cheaper car constantly needing expensive repairs may be no bargain, so too insurance with low premiums, high deductibles, high copays, low caps, and stingy claims processing can be more expensive to own than real insurance with reasonable deductibles, copays, and caps. The quality of insurance can matter a lot:  the leading cause of bankruptcy in this country, and bankruptcy happens to people who are on insurance. Crumby insurance. Oh, and subsidies. Many people are eligible for subsidies. Grandfathered Plans We have been hearing two things: The ACA allows healthcare plans to be grandfathered and companies are canceling plans because […]

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving. The turkey is stuffed and the potatoes are peeled. Today I get to enjoy a feast with the people I love. Some will give food to those in need, others will give their time.  Some will just go about their day. We will catch-up, laugh, share stories of Thanksgivings gone by, play football in the yard, create new memories, and probably have an argument or two.  We will eat until we could pop and then bring out the pie.  We will remember those who have passed and contemplate on what is to come. Today I sit across from my Tea Party uncle, a few seats down is my conservative aunt.  I will sit next to my liberal cousin and my “just tell me how to vote” sister.  I will agree with some and strongly disagree with others, but I am thrilled to have them all at my table.  They are the ones I love and politics will never change that. The day will end and everyone will head their separate ways.  I will see some everyday, some again at Christmas, and others I probably won’t see until next Thanksgiving, but today we are all together.  Today I cherish. […]

the unbearable smugness of being (dfw)

Hi, it’s wallyfromdantham here. I have temporarily subdued petr and I have taken over his account to tell you something vitally important… and it might even be true… I dunno fer sure, but I feel pretty positive about it… Petr’s sure as shooting not gonna tell you about it. So’s I gots ta. Earlier today, while I was enjoying my hobby, freebasing anthracite coal in my living room, my wife got mad because, apparently, she’s a liberal. Who doesn’t mind a little soot and smoke… Amirite? Anyways, she threw her laptop at me… Don’t worry, I ducked… and as the internets whizzed by my head I saw that she had been reading about Kloe or Kaos or Kim Kardigan (or sum such thing) and immediately I knew that Obamacare caused wind tunnels to carpal deviate the septum of the Keystone XL jobs because Brownsberger. Clearly proving that Obama lied. You see… since most uninsured people, scum that they are, go to the emergency room… if Obamacare then less ER visits and how can Obama say you can keep your doctor if you like your ER doctor? Huh? So there. Needer. Obama sucks and he’s deliberately going to make the modern […]

Hope and Change: Millions and Millions more will lose their employer-sponsored health insurance due to Obamacare.

Are you angry now? Why not? Are the millions who will lose their employer-sponsored health insurance considered just a speed bump on the road to single-payer health care? I volunteer those who still support Obamacare today, to offer themselves up as a speed bump and show us how it’s done. Let me first congratulate Prez. Obama and David Axlegrease for running a deceptive campaign in 2012, promising everyone will be able to keep their health insurance and doctors….period! Some call it misleading, some would say Obama just over-promised, I call it BS and out right lying to the American people. Now with Obama having no credibility on anything, I am sure even today, there are the “true believers” who still trust what Obama has to say. For those that still do, I have good news for you, mental illness is now covered under Obamacare. CBS News (not Fox) reported today that “the government estimated all along that millions of workers will be dropped from their employee insurance under the Affordable Care Act”. “In 2010, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimated ObamaCare would ‘collectively reduce the number of people with employer-sponsored health coverage by about 14 million’. The reason […]

Sen. Eldridge Talks Dark Money

One of Left Ahead’s favorite guests, MA Sen. James (Jamie) Eldridge joined us to talk campaign-finance reform, specifically disclosure of contributions. He’s as appalled as we about the Citizens United decision. He is a leader in nibbling away at its most pernicious effects with legislation here. Click below to hear is descriptions of the problems and solutions. Currently he has two bills that could make big differences in next year’s elections, ones in which we have open governor, attorney general, and treasurer/receiver general spots. The flood of undisclosed donations, particularly those from out of MA, into the recent Boston mayoral election has set the stage. One of his bills, (S.321/H.651), requires timely disclosure of big donors — when contributions occur and not well after the election. We covered a lot of the subject in the show — his current bills, the history of various campaign reform in both houses here, his own experiences running as a clean-elections candidate, the effects of outside money in Boston, and of course, the outlook for the watered down election-reform bill that passed our House and the outlook for S.321. He also would like to see Citizens United reversed by Constitutional amendment. He doesn’t know whether […]

Progress Obama Can Make Right Now with the Stroke of His Pen

While the President will ceremoniously pardon a turkey on Thursday (to massive Republican opposition I’m sure), it is important to remember that this President has had some of the fewest pardons, commutations, or acts of clemency of any President on record. And this is coming from our first constitutional lawyer President who addressed issues of sentence disparity, prison reform, and drug war consequences during his years as a state and US Senator here in Illinois. The Atlantic points this fact out in an insightful article and issues some recommendations. First is the problem: According to an analysis of Department of Justice data published by, only three presidents made less use of the clemency power than did Obama during their first terms: George Washington, who had little cause to grant clemency in the nation’s first days; William Henry Harrison, who died of pneumonia a month after taking office; and James Garfield, who was shot four months into his presidency. Which may be due to the race and perceived liberality of the President and the lingering lesson of our old friend Willie Horton The issue is freighted with politics. In 1988, Republicans attacked Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis for a Massachusetts […]