July 2014
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Month July 2014

A new ad from the Berwick campaign! “John’s story”

What do you all think of the ad released today by the Berwick campaign? By telling the story of John, a former Republican, I think it has the potential to draw the interest of many moderate Massachusetts voters. Maybe even a few Republicans too! Here is my favorite line: ”Then, despite what Limbaugh and Hannity had led me to believe all those years, the safety net came to our rescue.” With Don as our next Governor, we would strengthen the ever-weakening safety net that our state government provides for those who fall on hard times and act as a beacon for the rest of the nation to follow.

Shared Prosperity Agenda: Jobs

Over the summer, we are highlighting aspects of our Shared Prosperity Agenda. Our members are sharing their experiences and expertise on Education, Healthcare, Housing, Jobs and Wages, and Progressive Revenue. This week we are focusing on Jobs – Within five years, every job in Massachusetts should pay at least $15/hour, and everyone should have access to safe, affordable transportation; a good first step would be an increased minimum wage, indexed to inflation, and earned sick time. To go deeper into these issues, see the three blog posts by our members below on Tipped Wages, Earned Sick Time Now, and Transportation Infrastructure Investment. Read them on our blog here. Sign our petition for Jobs and Transportation here. 

Voters need to step up; state needs to help.

This is something I have been pondering for awhile, but the currently active thread that began with a proposal to eliminate caucuses and the discussion that has generated finally prompted me to diary some of my thoughts about the role of voting in our system.  I get the distinct impression that many people, present company excluded of course, just don’t get what it means to vote.  Very often those who came here and became naturalized, as opposed to natural-born, citizens have the greatest appreciation.  I suspect this not only has to do with coming from places that lacked this opportunity in some cases, but also that learning about it is part of the naturalization process. Regarding voting, I tend to lose patience very quickly with discussions about why people vote, what motivates them to vote, how can we get more people to vote.  I would argue it is our job as citizens to vote – period – and civics classes need to make that clear.  If you are President or Governor you are expected to show up and do your job – meet with people, sign/veto legislation, make appointments, create commissions, work with the legislative branch, etc.  If you are […]

Commonwealth Mag’s Jack Sullivan Tweeted EB3 is a “Bitter Bitter Man”. Man What a Wuss. Can’t Take Push Back – And Yeah I’m Anonymous Jack, What of It?

Jack Sullivan, another local “journalist” tweeted I am “a bitter bitter man”. First off it is very sexist to assume I am a man. And second, don’t you love the hate and bitterness readily apparent in most  of the local scribes’ writings. My goodness, talk about gleefully beating dead horses, kicking people when they are down, and making sure they never get up. Nothiong but hate aimed towards their target of the day. Point being, up until the internet revolution the media never saw push back in public. They can’t take it. Especially around here. It’s all about being accepted by their peers and invited to the right get to togethers. Obvious to anyone paying attention. And many in the press know it. They’ve spent a lifetime not mattering and angry at that those who do so many just go primal with the keyboard and take those that matter down because they can. Oh, and as for my anonymity. Well jack, I don’t get paid for this. Unlike you, I don’t need this. I also don’t have the backing and security working for an institution such as yours provides. You have those wagons with money and the local media orgy […]

What’s Up With CRUX? I Want To Believe, But…. – Wall Street Journal Criticizes Boston Media

Ahh, Okaaaaay, the Globe has a new all things to all Roman Catholics section/website called CRUX. It’s gonna keep us abreast of the latest happenings in the Vatican I suppose. What’s this all about? That’s my question. Shouldn’t this be a general religion section with yes, because of demographics,  an emphasis on Catholicism, but Judaism, currently going through major changes, Islam, and of course those nameless faceless people that go to the mostly wooden Protestant churches have boatloads of members too. The Golden Rule is the common theme in religions and this website should mostly be about that. What the churches and religions are doing in furtherance of it and such. People need to be reminded what the real meaning of the religions are and how it manifests itself in the community. Both good and bad. Will CRUX do this? With big hoopla Margery Egan joined the Boston Globe yesterday. She’s a Roman Catholic from Fall River. [She] will be the spirituality columnist for Crux, focusing on “issues of spirituality, contemplation, and devotion, drawing on her personal experience with her Catholic faith, as well as that of other Catholics and those of various religious traditions.” Anyone familiar with Margery’s writing […]

Remembering a Hero: Fannie Lou Hamer

I’m writing this from Jackson, Mississippi, where I’m finishing up a summer studying civil rights and desegregation. This has been an extremely historic time to be here, studying this topic: it’s 60 years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision, and 50 years after Freedom Summer and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We also started in Boston in June, looking at busing and commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Morgan v. Hennigan decision. Part of Freedom Summer involved the organization of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. This party challenged the Mississippi Democratic Party’s all-white primary and delegation at the 1964 Convention. (Most of the white delegates opposed Johnson anyways.) Fannie Lou Hamer was born in Ruleville, Mississippi, up in the Delta, in 1917. Hamer was a sharecropper, at least until one day in 1962, when she took the brave step of registering to vote. This was no small feat here in Mississippi in 1962. She was later quoted as saying: I guess if I’d had any sense, I’d have been a little scared – but what was the point of being scared? The only thing they could do was kill me, and it kinda seemed like they’d been […]

Here is the 2nd Reason why the Disclosure Bill Rocks. (You know the first).

As all you readers of Blue Mass Group know, anonymous big money in politics is a major problem.  Luckily, today or tomorrow, if all goes well, the Legislature will finalize a bill to clamp down on anonymous SuperPac spending.  That’s good law, of course.   Reason 1. But some want to torpedo the SuperPAC disclosure legislation at the last minute because of a part of the bill that raises individual contribution limits from $500 to $1,000. Actually, the increase in the limit is a feature of the bill, not a bug.  For democracy in Massachusetts, raising that limit is very likely to be a good thing, and is almost certainly not a bad one.  It’s the 2nd reason the disclosure bill rocks. Follow me into the weeds to find out why.

Federal agencies ignore realities of care of the developmentally disabled

(Cross-posted from The COFAR Blog) Some agencies within the Obama administration have an ideological bias against congregate care for the developmentally disabled that has apparently blinded them to the damage done to countless lives in the name of deinstitutionalization. That bias, which is held as well by the Patrick administration in Massachusetts, is on display in an article written by a key former Obama administration official about the deinstitutionalization movement from the 1960′s to the present. The article is by Samuel Bagenstos, former principal deputy assistant attorney general in the Obama Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and a key litigator in deinstitutionalization cases. Bagenstos acknowledges in the article, published in the Cardozo Law Review, that the past and pending closures of institutions such as the Fernald Developmental Center in Massachusetts have not resulted in adequate funding for community-based care.  But Bagenstos declines to acknowledge the role his own former agency has played in the often checkered expansion of the largely privatized community system that followed the closures of state-run Intermediate Care Level facilities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ICFs/IID). Instead, he argues that if only families of developmentally disabled individuals see fit to team up with advocates of further deinstitutionalization, they can work together somehow to ensure that care will be […]

Time To Eliminate Caucuses

This year’s conventions both showed that the caucus and convention process can be a barrier to the ballot. This means that the caucus process is significant. This fact is quite sad, as it’s perhaps the most undemocratic-democratic process out there (and I do mean small-D democratic, but also big-D Democratic as well). I think that we should a) completely eliminate the caucus process, b) either make the convention ceremonial or eliminate it, and c) move back the date of our primary. Here’s a couple of reasons why we should get rid of this shitty way of picking our candidates (edit: removed a stupid free speech argument that doesn’t make sense): Exclusionary: There are many people who can’t/won’t afford to give up the time it takes (sometimes over three hours) of their lives to attend a caucus. They include parents who can’t get child care, people who work nights/weekends (a.k.a. the working class), members of the armed forces, the disabled*, and young voters*. These are all core Democratic constituencies, and yet their voices are excluded from the caucus process. Questionable secret ballot: Sometimes there is a secret ballot at a caucus, other times it is public. It seems to be up […]

Warning!! Warning!! Beware of Scams Related to Revere Tornado

I keep hearing warnings going out to Revere residents about predatory contractors and others looking to take advantage of their plight. Ahhhh, I think they have it backwards here. First off, half the guys that graduated Revere High School  before 2001 are contractors, plumbers, electricians, and carpenters. Then add in all the kids who went to the Voc. Plus, and this is an important plus,  every resident and landlord has at least one uncle, cousin, or in-law who has a truck and a license to do what the truck says he can do. Second, nobody in Revere will be hiring anyone but these guys. However, and let this be a warning to insurance adjusters, do-gooders, and out of town tradesmen, if you can run away my friends, start immediately and don’t look back. Right now well tanned fat guys are sitting on the wall down the beach with a Herald in one hand and a Dunkin Donuts cup in the other devising brilliant and not so brillianr ways to turn these lemons into Long Island Ice Teas. — If you want to find out where on Revere Beach you can find me soaking up the ways you’ll have to follow […]