February 2014
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Month February 2014

Joke Revue: Swift Boat Veterans for Truth clear Kerry after nine-year investigation

Onion: Swift Boat Veterans For Truth Clear John Kerry After Exhaustive 9-Year Investigation Borowitz: ARIZONA GOVERNOR VETOES ANTI-GAY BILL: “LET’S FOCUS ON DISCRIMINATING AGAINST MEXICANS” PHOENIX (The Borowitz Report)—Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a controversial anti-gay bill last night, telling reporters, “Let’s focus on discriminating against Mexicans.” Governor Brewer said that while “the intentions behind this bill were obviously excellent,” she was worried that the bill “would distract us from our main mission of harassing, tormenting, and otherwise making life miserable for Mexicans.” Although Governor Brewer said that she could foresee a time when Arizona might “branch out into discriminating against gays,” the decision to veto the anti-gay bill in the name of anti-immigrant pride was not difficult: “Arizona needs to stick to what it does best.” RAND PAUL: HILLARY COULD BE DERAILED BY LITTLE-KNOWN LEWINSKY AFFAIR WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Potential Republican Presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) said today that he believes he has a “secret weapon” that will derail Hillary Clinton’s 2016 White House bid: “A little-known affair between her husband and a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.” Appearing on the Fox News Channel, Paul told the host Sean Hannity, “Sean, when the American people find out about […]

Question for Larry Lucchino and John Henry About Fenway Park Having 20 to 30 Years Left to Live YET Is Designated a “Historical Landmark”

That’s pretty much my question gents. You get questionable lifetime sweetheart deals from the city. The new administration wants to take a second look. You go on the record saying the ballpark doesn’t have much of a life left. Well then, what happens next with the park since it’s been designated a national historic building. You can’t use the place for anything else I believe. That just kills the land value, right? Where will you go? Will you move to dehistoricalize Fenway Park? Just wondering here. Because that’s me, Mr. Curious.

Eleanor’s First Missive to Present Souls

Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people. -Eleanor Roosevelt My children, I said this many decades past with several things in mind.  The race for the Massachusetts 5th Middlesex State Senate District brought this quote of mine to my mind as I have watched the sundry candidates jockeying for Katherine Clark’s seat on Beacon Hill.  Of course, Katherine is one of my progeny: a progressive who believes that not only do chosen policies matter, civility and humanity matter, and at all times. As I look down upon this one of the innumerable battles being waged in our still-great, in fact, far greater land of America than she was than in my day of Jim Crow, homosexual persons in prisons, and women still slouching out of chatteldom, I cannot but be reminded of that point about civility, decency, and humanity. For one state representative has distorted the religious and political history of another, who is a decent man.   Only one candidate, Anthony Guardia, has disciplined himself to raise the arc of progress further in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by consistently focusing on ideas.  I say this, my children, because I made that above statement about average minds […]

Guardia’s New Labor Coup in Race for Clark Seat

With a new endorsement by the American Federation of Teachers, Anthony Guardia, has now been endorsed by three major Massachusetts unions, the others being the SEIU/NAGE National Association of Government Employees, and the BTU / Boston Teacher’s Union in the race for the Fifth Middlesex State Senate seat (Malden, Melrose, Reading, Stoneham, Wakefield, and Winchester (precincts 1,2,3 and 8) vacated by Katherine Clark. Guardia has been endorsed by these unions despite the fact that he has only been running for the seat for six weeks; despite the fact that he is running against two incumbents replete with endorsements from fellow legislators; despite the fact that he has never come close to matching the funds available to his supposedly progressive opponent; and despite the fact that he does not have a state-level record upon which the unions could base their decision. Why have these unions endorsed Guardia?  It may be because they see in him a new generation of Massachusetts public servants who are anxious to bring new and innovative ideas to the table and to collaborate with the union movement in new and more mutually productive ways to benefit the lives of ordinary workers. Fred Rich LaRiccia, Guardia for State Senate Committee, […]

An Idiot’s Guide to the Federal Indictments of John O’Brien, Elizabeth Tavarez, and William Burke aka The Probation Indictments

The 20 page indictment is right here for anyone to read. Below is a synopsis. The Set-Up Page 1 stars out with “Count One – Racketeering and Conspiracy”. This is the same as RICO. First requirement to make a RICO case is an “enterprise” so the indictment describes the MA Trial Court system and The Office of Commission of Probation in detail. It pays particular note of the department’s out of state practices needed to show interstate commerce. OCP, (Probation) therefore, constituted an “enterprise” as defined by Title 18, United States Code, Section 1961(4), that is, a legal entity which engaged in, and the activities of which affected, interstate and foreign commerce. OCP affected interstate and foreign commerce by, among other things, the use of goods and services in interstate commerce. See the feds just can’t barge in and charge people with federal crimes. States don’t like that. Jurisdiction is needed and here is how they got it. It has nothing to do with the Probation Department being a government entity. Same applies to a guy who owns a restaurant in Fall River and another one across the border in Providence. Okay, Take five. Five minutes later Settle down. Settle down […]

Another election flooded by dark money? Let’s hope not

Super PACs are quietly forming to influence the race for governor and other state elections in 2014, and if state lawmakers don’t pass a campaign finance disclosure bill soon, these outside groups will be free to spend unlimited sums without disclosing their donors in real time. Worse yet, corporations could spend unlimited sums to influence election outcomes without ever disclosing their spending. The legislature must pass the Massachusetts Disclosure Act to close these loopholes, and they must do so quickly. The consequences for inaction are serious and obvious. During the 2010 state elections, the first since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United allowed for unlimited election spending by Super PACs and corporations, independent political groups dropped close to $12 million. A mere 4% disclosed their donors. Unfortunately, a bill to shine a light on this “dark money” in 2012 has not made it to the Governor’s desk despite passing unanimously in the Senate and despite strong urging from Common Cause, the Boston Globe editorial board and others. Outside groups capitalized. In 2013, they spent $4 million on the Boston mayoral election. (around 5% was disclosed with donors). With open races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, we’re sure to see even more of this dark money spending […]

Sounds to me like Charlie Baker wants a People’s Pledge

As he was departing from last night’s Republican Governors Association fundraiser – hilariously relocated at the last minute because of “unwanted attention from reporters” – presumed Republican nominee for Governor Charlie Baker had this to say about why he was willing to be seen in the company of scandal-ridden Republicans like Chris Christie: “It was more a conversation just about how important it is for our campaign to do well in ’14 and make sure we have adequate resources to compete, because there will certainly be plenty of money coming in from the outside on the other side.” Huh – sounds like Baker is super worried about outside money playing a big role in the Governor’s race.  Now, if only there was a proven way to keep outside money from flowing into statewide races in Massachusetts … Oh, right, of course there is.  Baker could do what Scott Brown did in 2012: declare that he does not want outside money to back his campaign, and pledge that, if it does, he will pay a financial penalty, as long as the Democrats are willing to make the same pledge.  It worked brilliantly in the Brown/Warren race, despite all the detractors who […]

Austerity for Little Kids’ Brains: Boston School Budget Cuts Mean Mass Layoffs

Boston is the 26th-wealthiest city on the entire planet, according to a Brookings Institution report, yet it is declaring it can’t afford to invest in its future. The city is slashing its school budget, laying off hundreds of teachers and support staff, and lengthening student commuting times. How does an allegedly progressive state let this happen? First, the gory details. As James Vaznis reports in today’s Globe, Boston Public Schools are looking at a $107 million cut, roughly 10% of the budget: Boston Interim Superintendent John McDonough Wednesday night presented a balanced budget for the next school year that calls for cutting about 120 central office positions and slashing bus rides for seventh- and eighth-graders. The $973 million spending plan, which requires School Committee approval, would also eliminate nearly 250 teachers, classroom aides, and other school-based positions. Notice how the places where schools are getting taken over by the state are also places where the budget is getting slashed and huge numbers of teachers are getting laid off because of state aid cuts? That’s not a coincidence. We’ve already seen how this cycle works in other places like New Bedford:

On Keystone XL, Will Obama & Kerry Follow Bush-Cheney Path?

President Obama talks a lot about standing up to the industrial carbon polluters disrupting our climate. So why does he act like the decision on Keystone XL tar sands pipeline – a carbon bomb & one he doesn’t have to beg Congress to defuse – is so hard? Why are he and Secretary of State John Kerry standing by in silence as the State Department hires oil contractors to write the environmental review? Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-NM) has a must-read op-ed on KXL in today’s New York Times: The administration’s approach to the pipeline is a throwback to the time when endangered species were defenseless in the face of corporate moneymaking. It is a reminder that even though our environmental laws use science, not profits, as the basis of our environmental decisions, any company with bottomless pockets used to be able to game the system and get away with it. That’s why Keystone is about more than one pipeline. It is about establishing once and for all whether we have moved on from the disastrous Bush-Cheney view of environmental policy. [...] Depending on the outcome, I worry that the American public won’t just lose faith in Keystone. It will lose […]

Interview with Don Berwick on DKos today…

The interviewer makes a compelling case for doctors as government leaders.  Here’s a choice quote: Dr. Chatterjee:  What are some of your main goals/agenda items that you want to accomplish as the next Governor of Massachusetts? Dr. Berwick:  There are five main areas.  First, I want to improve the quality of education in Massachusetts.  We already have one of the best public school systems in the nation.  I want to stress on public investment, specifically, investing in teachers to seek higher education and training, and thus grow intellectually.  Second, I want to improve the public transportation system in Massachusetts, which despite its quality, I think is under-maintained.  Third, I am the only candidate in the race that is seriously calling for a single-payer healthcare system for our Commonwealth, and not just paying lip-service to it.  Fourth, I want to make sure that the social safety net is in place due to rising social and financial inequality in our state as well as our country as a whole.  I am a big believer in social justice.  Lastly, I want to invest in workforce development as evidenced by my commitment to instituting workforce development programs during my stint as the Chief of […]