December 2016
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Month December 2016

Picking Our Battles

I have stated, ad nauseam perhaps, what I think the important fights are. But what say you? Trump puts (and will keep putting) so many fish in the barrel that it will be hard to decide which ones to eat, to mix a metaphor. For example, I would pass (painfully enough) on the Supreme Court vacancy. We lost that one, and I think we would be better off de-escalating future Supreme Court fights. (Which, I know, might not work.) But the lesser, federal counts — on which there are something like 100 vacancies — we need to fight on those seats, lest the entire federal bench become a GOP stronghold. We have a unique opportunity to impose greater scrutiny on the intelligence community, and to rein in the CIA. We should take that opportunity. What else?

Rogue One: Recruitment Poster for The Resistance

Some lessons from Rogue One: You have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat. However greedy, evil, vain, and cruel, power will find servants. Some of those servants will prove capable. The grownups will not protect you. When offered the choice between truth and justice or tickets to the inaugural ball, Republicans will take the tickets. Ask not what your galaxy can do for you: ask what you can do for your galaxy. Do not rely too much on the Democratic Party: the institution will sometimes seek safety and compromise at the crucial moment. The volunteers will bear any burden and pay any price, but someone has got to ask. The problems of little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given you. That may be less than you thought. You cannot outrun what is coming. Faith manages. Hope.


So, let’s play a game.  See if you can guess who the REAL crook is :   ‘ CROOKED  HILLARY ‘ ? SIX times investigated for ‘crooked’ acts. ZERO times evidence warranted going to trial for ‘crooked’ acts. ZERO times found guilty of ‘crooked’ acts.   ‘ CROOKED  TRUMP ‘ ? 1597 times evidence of ‘crooked’ acts warranted going to trial. 236 times settled or found guilty of ‘crooked’ acts. GUILTY of being ‘ CROOKED’ every other month for the last thirty years.   Your Honor, the prosecution rests.   Fred  Rich  LaRiccia

We’re back…?

Well, that was distressing.  As you probably know, BMG has been down for several days.  We’re not sure exactly what happened, nor are we sure that the problem has been resolved.  But, at the moment, we seem to be running normally again. It’s clear that, for the site to continue, we need some fairly significant technical upgrades.  More announcements along those lines are coming soon. In the meantime, happy holidays, and best wishes for 2017.

City Agriculture – December 15, 2016

Guizhou – Mountain Forest Hotel: a vertical forest hotel so green that it may also purify the surrounding air Paris “Mille Arbres” or Thousand Trees building with an urban park on the ground and a forest in the sky Vertical farming and urban ag tech article—A-Love-Story Living wall in London for construction site Regenerative villages Amsterdam – redesigning Amsterdam for urban agriculture and more Artisan Moss – moss for green walls – I wonder if they are doing edible mosses too Mississauga Food Bank starts an aquaponics food farm Living Food Bank – their first is in Haiti at the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission in St. Louis Du Nord Agora Gardens in Taipei – a green building that absorbs CO2 Michigan Urban Farming Initiative – America’s First Sustainable Urban Agrihood is “two-acre urban garden, a 200-tree fruit orchard, a children’s sensory garden, and more. Annually, the urban garden provides fresh, free produce to about 2,000 households within two square miles of the farm.” Mobile greenhouse for urban farming

Stiffening of spines

The one tiny bit of comfort I take in the horrors that are to come, is that hardly any of them are based on popular policy. How can you take away health care from 20 million people and not suffer a political consequence? How can you voucherize and cheapen Medicare, to the point that we’ll be paying for our parents’ health care in order to afford a tax cut for the rich? Even Trump ran against that. How can you cripple clean energy (popular) and pollute clean air and water (also popular), without political cost? You can’t. People don’t like that stuff, and they didn’t think they were voting for it.  “We” haven’t gone away. And “we” are most of us. I have to appreciate the words of Charles Blow, furious and comforting at the same time: … Angry yet? Yes. Good! And understand this: You are not alone; you aren’t even in the minority … … I know that it can feel like we are all drowning in a deluge of compounding outrages, with every headline about this impending administration appearing to one-up the last, but take heart. You may have been on the losing side of this year’s […]

Does Donald Read Blue Mass Group? If he does, I have a question for him.

Mr. Trump: Last night, you said that there are Middle East countries with “lots and lots of money” and they will pay to rebuild safe zones in Syria. If that is going to be your foreign policy, I have a question for you. There are American corporations and families (Like yours) who have “lots and lots of money”. Are they going to pay to build safe drinking water systems in Flint? If not, why not?

Committee of Safety

Tonight I was proud to be one of 50+ attendees at a meeting combining representatives of the Malden, Melrose, and Wakefield Democratic Committees (and one representative from Lynnfield). Held in Malden, this meeting was probably one of many similar gathering held across the country whose theme was basically, “What can/should we do now?” The formal tag line was “Thoughts into Action.” Ideas ranged across issues advocacy, engaging new/infrequent voters, protecting human rights, and improving committee organization locally and statewide—along with sharing our best practices and events, not only within our organizations but also across our region and beyond.  For me personally, the meeting helped crystallize the way I want to focus the time I have to give to improving the Commonwealth (and my city) in the near future. The proof will be in the action. We experienced a healthy tension among a range of issues, from climate change to income inequality to pressuring the State Committee–and our state elected officials–to DO MORE. Would women’s reproductive issues be part of human rights/sanctuary cities or a separate issue? Would income inequality receive its own small break-out or be subsumed under another? No perfection here—just the messiness of ordinary people with a will […]

Getting the Marijuana Law Up and Running: It’s Not About the Money

On the first day that it’s legal to possess and grow marijuana in Massachusetts there are some happy faces outside the State House. But inside the State House, seems it’s a different story. For example, State Treasurer (and, notably, Question 4 opponent) Deborah Goldberg is troubled because, as she told Politico yesterday, the new law requires her to set up a Cannabis Control Commission to regulate the sale of marijuana — and to do it quickly, but she has no idea where the start-up money is going to come from. Eventually, the costs will be paid for by marijuana sales tax revenues, but those are a year or more away. “Tough times moving forward,” she said. (If you’re wondering why this funding issue wasn’t addressed in Question 4 itself, that’s because ballot questions are not allowed to include any appropriations of money.) Goldberg is doubtful that that funds will be forthcoming from the state, citing the Governor’s recent mid-year budget cuts as evidence of our currently precarious fiscal situation. She’s also opposed to requesting that money come from the state’s Rainy Day Fund (even though that’s where the start up costs — $15 million worth — to regulate the nascent gambling industry […]

Marijuana is legal now — and the age to possess should stay at 21

For the first time since 1911, starting today, marijuana is legal for everyone in Massachusetts! Well, everyone over 21, that is. Question 4, like every successful marijuana legalization initiative in the country, set the purchase and possession age to 21, with the idea of treating marijuana similarly to alcohol. While I think adults should be able to make their own decisions and would prefer both ages to be set at 18, I at least appreciate the consistency of giving marijuana the same age requirement since the alcohol age isn’t changing any time soon. But on Boston Herald Radio, Senate President Stan Rosenberg surprisingly floated the idea of raising the marijuana age to 25. Beyond violating the clear will of voters, this would just be bad policy. Not every voter knows every detail of every ballot question. They’re complicated, and people are busy. But an age requirement of 21 was one of the major themes of the Yes on 4 campaign: WBUR, Suffolk University, and Western New England University all mentioned the age requirement in their polling questions. It was in the first sentence in the official voter guide. The group pushing for it was even called the Campaign to Regulate […]