April 2014
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Month April 2014

At the Harvard Divest Rally

Went to the Harvard Divest rally this morning which took place in front of Massachusetts Hall where the President, Provost, Treasurer, and Vice Presidents of the University have offices. There was a constant crowd of about 100 people coming and going, holding signs and talking with each other. Pretty good for an overcast and chilly day which threatens rain. I arrived too late for the morning speakers and passed by again for the beginning of the noon speakers.

The “Transparent Airfares Act” and comparing constituent service

Last week I learned about the disgusting, Orwellian-named “Transparent Airfares Act of 2014″ that reverses DOT regulations requiring airline advertisements to accurately reflect the cost of the flight. Christopher Elliot gives some good background on the issue here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/travel/the-transparent-airfares-act-hiding-the-true-cost-of-your-flight/2014/04/24/3d1caab0-c9a6-11e3-a75e-463587891b57_story.html Unfortunately, it seems to be sailing through congress with little to no opposition, so enjoy paying $250 for your “$29″ fare!   My main point in writing this diary is not to protest this proposed legislation, as ridiculous as it is, but rather to compare the response I got from Rep. Capuano and Sen. Markey’s staff when I called them about the issue.  Both gentlemen sit on the transportation committee of their respective bodies and, based on their records, would be sympathetic to my concerns about it. The response of their staff was night and day.   Rep. Capuano’s office: No, I haven’t heard of the legislation.  Let me get you in touch with our policy expert.  He’s in a meeting right now, here’s his voicemail. (an hour later, my phone rings) Thank you so much Mr. Graly for your message. Let me let you know, I haven’t had a chance to talk to the boss yet, but here is what […]

Come Hear Charlie

BMG folks, I was happy to find out yesterday that Charles Blandy—yes, that Charles Blandy—is the tenor soloist for my community choir’s upcoming concert! Here are the details in case you would like to come: Who: The Metropolitan Chorale of Brookline, featuring Charles Blandy and others What: Beethoven, Mass in C major, and Bach, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme Where: All Saints Church, 1773 Beacon St., Brookline When: Saturday, May 17, at 8 pm. How: Tickets are $25, or $20 for students, seniors, and WGBH or Coolidge Corner Theater members. You can buy them from me or at the door!

Say hello to the first Super PAC ad in the governor’s race

This past weekend voters in Massachusetts were exposed to the first negative TV attack ad of the still young 2014 state election season. The ad was paid for by the state independent expenditure PAC (i.e. Super PAC) of the National Association of Government Employees, a national union affiliated with SEIU. We know this because of a Massachusetts “stand by your ad” law that requires political groups to clearly identify themselves in television advertisements. And we will soon know the cost of the ad and the vendors paid to produce it because of other campaign finance disclosure rules. But what we won’t know for quite some time is who contributed the money to pay for the ad in the first place. Current disclosure laws only require Super PACs to disclose donors eight days before the primary election and once more eight days before the general election. That means voters will remain largely in the dark as to who is funding NAGE and the more than two dozen other Super PACs currently registered with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) until just before the election.

I Hope This is Just the Start of Kayyem Attacking Martha – Hey Deval, Why Don’t You Order New DCF Chief to Return Justina Pelletier to Her Parents? – Does Kate’s Endorsement of Maura Healy Carry Any Weight?

Okay Juliette, that was a nice start today. I give it a C. Too wordy and hard to follow. Needs to be concise yet simple to understand. And then that has to be turned into easy to understand phrases used over and over so the uneducated electorate can understand. The theme is good. Martha is a fraud. Stick with it. Just tighten it up and add to it as you go along. I suggest you take a look at her bloated press department in the A.G.’s office and how she uses it to promote herself. Compare that with the Tim Cahill prosecution. And of course my ting, compare her handling of the Fells Acre with other jurisdictions and their day-care witch hunts of the 1980s. This message will work great with lawyers, especially in fund raising appeals. Lawyers hate Martha you know. You should be targeting lawyers as a group. Remember, no matter what happens Martha won’t be A.G. anymore come next year. Lawyers not as afraid to give. – Hey Deval, you have the power to give Justina Pelletier back to her parents. Funny how I can’t find the leaked opinion on line anymore. I did read when it […]

Massachusetts DCF is a national disgrace-we can do better

Our DCF is a national disgrace, saw this news on the elevator ticker at my Chicago office, Olga Roche has finally resigned after two more infant fatalities were reported over the weekend bringing the grand total to three. Unfortunately, that same article goes on to say that the new replacement seems to be someone with a ton of public transit experience but next to zero qualifications to head this agency. Gov. Patrick has named Erin Deveney as interim DCF Commissioner. She was previously the chief of staff for the Department of Transportation [Registry of Motor Vehicles -ed.], but had been installed as DCF deputy commissioner for the last 30 days. Now to be fair, a lot of these agency heads float from department to department and have ‘managerial experience’. She is also an interim replacement. So I urge the Governor, and more importantly, the next Governor to make fixing this agency a top priority. Instead of sniping over a casino referendum they can’t control, both AG candidates should also vow to never again let agencies like this let children die and get mistreated. This is the number 1 issue for my brother and sister-in-law who had a long and painful […]

Hayre: “A stronger future for our most vulnerable children”

Dear BMG, just sharing a recent guest column I submitted to The Sun Chronicle regarding the ongoing situation at the Department of Children and Families. Here is a link to the original column. Thank you for taking a moment to read this, and thank you in advance for willing to be a part of this conversation. Guest Column by Dylan Hayre When nearly 40,000 individuals are impacted by a particular problem every year, it is incumbent upon the commonwealth to ensure that this problem is remedied as soon as possible. Unfortunately, for the nearly 40,000 children who are under the care of the Department of Children and Families (DCF), no quick solutions exist. As the numbingly tragic story of Jeremiah Oliver reminds us, the obstacles these children face, and the challenges faced by DCF in caring for these children, are immense. Long-term planning, guided by deliberate, thoughtful action is absolutely necessary if we want to build a stronger future for our most vulnerable children. First, we need to acknowledge the vast interconnectedness amongst the various issues that play a role in a child’s ending up under DCF supervision. Despite what some legislators have proposed, “Band-Aid” solutions deal only with a […]

This Saturday – May 3rd – Is Free Comic Book Day.

LeVar Burton as part of the literacy programs he supposts, such as Reading Rainbow, is promoting this Saturday’s Free Comic Book Day. This Satuday, readers can go to their local comic book store, and choose from one of sixty free comic books. Happy Reading!

Getting the Facts Straight on Outside Money in the Governor’s Race

Despite false attacks from Steve Grossman and her fellow opponents, the facts are clear: Martha Coakley believes that outside special interest money does not belong in the race for governor. Coakley has made it clear that she believes that special interest money doesn’t belong in the race for governor. How has she made that clear? One, I have heard her say it many times Two, she has made her opposition to Citizens United clear. Three, she was the first Attorney General to support a constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United decision. Four, she joined with 25 other state Attorney Generals in filing a brief with the Supreme Court to protect state’s ability to regulate and restrict political spending. Steve Grossman and Charlie Baker supporters have recently formed SuperPACS that will pour outside money into this race. This is not what we want. It is my understanding that Coakley and the other candidates were meeting about signing a people’s pledge like the one signed by Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown but that Grossman’s campaign staff walked away from the negotiations. We want a fair grassroots campaign like the one we ran that got Warren elected. I heard in a volunteer […]

Talk to me right-winger

  Ed. Ed. Ed, and some more Ed. Broom the vanity and ego aside to get to a vignette from MSNBC’s The Ed Show. There, the former right-wing talker but a left-wing talker for the past 16 years, Ed (of course) Schultz did his usual short segment Ask Ed (of course) Live. That evening, his tweeted query was why didn’t more conservatives appear there. He answered simply and disdainfully that he asked them and would welcome them, but they didn’t want to. He figured they figured doing so would not help them get elected. While I nod to Occam’s razor, I don’t worship the idea that the simplest explanation according to the known facts settles everything. I muse on why so few Republicans and other self-identified conservatives will talk with me at the weekly Left Ahead show. It’s been running for seven years. From the beginning, some weeks the founders — Lynne Lupien, Ryan Adams and I (Mike Ball) — sometimes like to cover topics ourselves. We’ll all highly opinionated. About every other week, there’s a guest. Lynne long ago dropped out, pleading business busyness. I generally arrange and book most guests. A few contact me, but typically I call, email or meet potential […]