March 2016
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Month March 2016

Donald Never Thought He Could Win – John Oliver Laughs at Dan Conley – Dan Kennedy Epitomizes Lame Local Media – No Need for Bike Laws

I think the last thing Donald Trump ever expected was to be the Republican nominee. The president? No way. He’s a promoter, a salesman,  a carnival barker, a brand manger. Why did Pat Paulsen run for president in 1968? The same reason Donald runs. It’s good for their businesses. Like Donald Trump, entertainers are brands. So what happens when a publicity stunt gets taken seriously and the jokester wins the election?   BTW Isn’t there an old movie with this plot? Sound familiar? Cary Grant or Gary Cooper I think. Jean Harlow is an ambitious and street wise reporter who uses her charm and 1940′s sex appeal to puts him up to it. Lionel Barrymore is her old school editor who, like her, only cares about selling newspapers. Sound familiar? — How about the FBI and fools like Search and Avoid Dan Conley saying the government should order Apple to write code (speech) that opens all the i-phones so cops can get into them whenever they want? First off, the NSA can crack it at anytime. So can’t other agencies but the FBI never asked. Why? They don’t care about opening that phone. They just used it as a rouse […]

Senate Charter School Bill May Close More Charters Than It Opens

Disclaimer: I’m not an expert in education policy. I did take a quick look through the bill, and came to a startling conclusion that I want to get your input on. The Senate’s Charter School bill states that if a Charter has a worse suspension rate OR attrition rate than the local school district the students are from, they will lose the renewal of their charter, and the charter school would be CLOSED. This includes a subsections of the population based on things like special education, income and race. If they do worse than local schools in just one area, then they could kiss their charter goodbye. I doubt most charters would make the cut, due to studies showing a high suspension and attrition rates BILL S2203 SECTION 87. Said section 89 of said chapter 71, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word “students,” in line 641, the following words:- ; provided, however, that a commonwealth charter school shall not be renewed if: (i) the average 3 year student attrition rate of the charter school is greater than the sending district’s average 3 year student attrition rate in the same grades served by the charter […]

Snarky Post: Filming of “Patriots’ Day” has begun, with Quincy as the stand-in for Watertown.

Mark Wahlberg in Quincy wearing the uniform of a Boston Police Sargent. Despite the attempt of some so called “high powered VIP” to voice opposition to the film, “Patriots’ Day” has begun filming this week in Quincy. The Boston Globe reported that the film is expected to premiere in Boston on December 21.

Maura Healey speaks up for civil rights for all

Good for her. Email from Mimi Lemay, mother of a transgender child, sent to the AG’s list of supporters on her stationery: There’s a bill in Massachusetts that would fix this situation. Similar legislation has passed in 18 other states with no negative consequences, but in Massachusetts, of all places, it’s facing serious opposition from the same groups that fought against marriage equality. This bill needs champions, as does Jacob. Thankfully, we have found such a champion in our Attorney General, Maura Healey. Last week, under the leadership of AG Healey, Jacob and other transgender residents of Massachusetts earned rousing support from some powerful voices. #EveryoneWelcome, a social media campaign, hit the ground running, featuring short “selfie” videos recorded by celebrities from the world of sports, television, politics and music. I was moved to see videos from, among others, the Boston Bruins and the Celtics, soccer great Abby Wambach, Caitlyn Jenner, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and actress Kathy Griffin, declaring support for our transgender community. An interesting question is: should Healey run against Charlie Baker in the next election? Perhaps his leaden Donald Trump Republican electoral shoes will have been fully fitted by then. What do you think of the letter, […]

The Supreme Court looked deadlocked in the Obamacare/birth control case. You won’t believe what happened next.

As you may know, last week the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Zubik v. Burwell, a case in which religious nonprofits claim that the opt-out procedure set up by the Obama administration (which involves filling out a form and sending it to their insurer), designed to avoid their having to supply contraceptives to their employees through their health insurance plan, is itself a burden on their religion.  Most accounts of the oral arguments I have seen report that, as you might expect, the Court seems divided 4-4.  If that doesn’t change, the result in the case will be a one-sentence order reading “the judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.”  (That is what happened earlier this week in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, an important union/First Amendment case.)  Such an order has no precedential effect, and would mean that the opt-out procedure stays in effect in most of the country, but not in several midwestern states. In an attempt to avoid such an obviously unsatisfactory outcome, the Court yesterday issued an order the likes of which I have never seen before.  Here it is, in full: The parties are directed to file supplemental briefs that address whether and how contraceptive […]

Thomas Frank explains inequality in MA: hard hearts

In “Why Have Democrats Failed in the State Where They’re Most Likely to Succeed? Massachusetts should be a model state for liberal public policy, but instead it is one of the country’s most unequal” for The Nation, adapted from his new book, Listen, Liberal: Or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? Thomas Frank discusses the rise of Uber, dry-erase walls in the Innovation District, and Elizabeth Warren as a “great exception.” The answer is that I’ve got the wrong liberalism. The kind of liberalism that has dominated Massachusetts for the last few decades isn’t the stuff of Franklin Roosevelt or the United Auto Workers; it’s the Route 128/suburban-professionals variety. (Senator Elizabeth Warren is the great exception to this rule.) Professional-class liberals aren’t really alarmed by oversized rewards for society’s winners. On the contrary, this seems natural to them—because they are society’s winners. The liberalism of professionals just does not extend to matters of inequality; this is the area where soft hearts abruptly turn hard. Frank is a co-founder of The Baffler periodical (“We … pioneered the cyber-skepticism that suddenly seems so urgent and necessary.”) which started in Charlottesville, Virginia, moved to Chicago, and is now based in … […]

Joke Revue: leland4anything

Twitter user leland4anything: The Library of America releases its latest tome. Hat tip to The Way of Improvement Leads Home and Randall Stephens. Also, be sure to visit the Smithsonian Institution’s website for its image of Trump from the National Portrait Gallery. TrumpDonald.org, which allows one to play with the orange man’s hair, is vaguely amusing for about 10 seconds. Borowitz: North Carolina Governor Swears in Historic First Class of Bathroom-Enforcement Cadets RALEIGH (The Borowitz Report)—In a historic ceremony at the state capitol, on Friday, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory swore in a thousand officers charged with enforcing the state’s new public-bathroom regulations. Speaking to the newly graduated bathroom-enforcement cadets, McCrory impressed upon them the gravity of their responsibility. “You are the thin blue line charged with protecting the gender sanctity of North Carolina’s bathrooms,” he said. “Be careful out there.” McCrory told reporters that the thousand officers are only “the first wave” of a bathroom-patrol force that will eventually swell to over fifty thousand. “This is job creation at its finest,” he said. … Unlocked iPhone Worthless After F.B.I. Spills Glass of Water on It WASHINGTON (Satire from The Borowitz Report)—Moments after successfully unlocking the San Bernardino iPhone, the F.B.I. rendered […]

Boaty McBoatFace – Haters gonna hate!

On Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me this weekend, they identified this story about a proposed $287 million polar research ship and which the British Government decided unwisely, to let the internet choose the name for this new research ship. Currently, R.R.S. Boaty McBoatFace is leading the pack. Winston Churchill once said: It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried. Once again, the Internet Trolls ruin things. It makes me wonder about the wisdom of adding Internet Voting to our Voting options. And that’s all I have to say about that, to mix the metaphor even more.

The GE is going to get their Boston HQ rent free.

Fort Point and the “Innovation District” is one of the hottest property markets in the world. There is no end to the number of firms that would like to locate there. So, of course, the GE is going to be there at the giant cost of… rent free. Courtesy of the Boston taxpayer. In a city where rent is so high that there’s more homeless people living in it than in LA and almost every city in the country, we’re giving one of the country’s top 10 most profitable businesses a brand world new headquarters, rent free. Rent free. But, then, why should any of us be surprised? Our politicians already gave them $150 million in tax goodies, plus a brand new $100+ million free bridge. Free rent is like peanuts in a deal like that. The GE is one of the most powerful, profitable companies in the world — and they know paying for their share (any part of it, never mind a fair part) in a corrupt oligarchy like ours is for suckers. They don’t care about what kind of message this sends or how this will rob Boston’s schools of millions, and apparently our elected leaders don’t, either. Boston can […]

What Drives Us Crazy about Chad Gifford and Bank of America

Globe business columnist Shirley Leung, on whom we can always rely to be highly attuned to the sensitivities of corporate executives, recently shared with us what drives retiring Bank of America board member Chad Gifford crazy — “big-bank bashing.” Gifford, who’s stepping down as chairman of Bank of America’s board with an eight-figure retirement package, plans to devote his retirement years to countering the impression that some of us (notably Senator Elizabeth Warren) have gotten that big banks bear an enormous amount of responsibility for the currently precarious financial condition of what we once referred to as America’s middle class. While conceding that in 2008, the banking industry “made some mistakes,” Gifford insists that’s not the whole story. “Bigger isn’t always bad,” he explained.  ”Banks need to be well-capitalized to handle the increasingly complex transactions of their clients.” And, as Bank of America vice chairman Anne Finucane pointed out to Leung in further defense of bigness, Bank of America now gives away $12 million locally — more than its earlier incarnation, FleetBoston, donated. (Which is all very nice, but considering that FleetBoston had $200 billion in assets before merging with Bank of America, and Bank of America now has $2.1 trillion in […]