ANOTHER Machiavellian Proposition

Of course, Machiavelli himself said his advice only works about half the time. - promoted by Bob_Neer

Well, you didn’t bite with electing my friend David D’Arcangelo as Secretary of State and now we have another 2,000 years of Galvin.

Let’s give you all another chance.

Let’s start a movement to welcome the Olympics to Massachusetts and hold the games in…..SPRINGFIELD!!!

Every argument about jobs, infrastructure, and positive commerce made about siting a casino there applies to the Olympics in spades.   There are some college facilities there now, but future facilities can be added as expansions to the public college system there, a justification for the tax dollars we are going to get hosed for anyway.

By taking the construction out of Suffolk County, it will be exponentially cheaper.  The long hoped-for IT and internet capacity for western MA can finally be constructed, with the profits from the games to off-set the costs of doing so.

Instead of a casino, let’s build an Olympic Village instead.  We could even use the Lake Placid model and relieve crowding in the corrections system as the courts have demanded.

The location will have an appeal for nearby New Yorkers, and existing public transport can be upgraded while vehicular transportation can also be accommodated.

Viva Olympics!  Springfield – 2024!




Properly Pricing Carbon

Acts like this build momentum. Thanks Williamstown. - promoted by charley-on-the-mta

The Williamstown Democratic Town Committee has endorsed a bill (SD285) filed in the Massachusetts State Senate by Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) that would impose a revenue-neutral carbon fee that is reimbursed to households and businesses.  We did so because we agree that it can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce our state’s dependence on fossil fuels while spurring economic growth.  We like the feature of the bill that returns tax revenue to households and businesses in a way that protects low- and moderate-income households and business competitiveness.

By coincidence, in its January 17th issue The Economist also came out in favor of carbon taxes, which the magazine’s editors called “a much better way to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases than subsidies for windmills and nuclear plants” (p. 9).  Their broader point was that governments should use the opportunity given us by lower energy prices to price carbon-based fuels at their real cost – that is, including their damage to the environment.  Their arguments are persuasive.  The time to act is now.

We urge all Democrats in both Houses of the Massachusetts Legislature to support and cosponsor SD285, An Act Combating Climate Change.

Jim Mahon
Chair, Williamstown Democratic Town Committee

Winners, Losers, and Loozahs in Demolition of Speaker Term Limits

One woman's take. - promoted by Bob_Neer


Bob DeLeo  (Duh)

His staff (Duh again)

Winthrop (OMG, how many times can I say “duh”? Duh.)

Suffolk Downs  (At Least four times. Duh.)

Future speakers (Five, five Duhs. Duh)

The House as an Institution: By definition term limits causes turmoil inside the House and weakens it on the oustide. A lame duck speaker gives a governor and senate a huge advantage in getting things done as House members  obsess about his replacement and are they “in” with the right people. Totally sucks the air out of the place.


Ron Mariano: The majority leader/kingmaker is not happy.  Jesus effin cripes. He’s spent the past six years making sure his hand chosen minion will be the next speaker, in this case Brian Dempsey. Do you know how many goddamn dinners he’s had to endure with schlomo reps from East Puttsville and other god forsaken places  in order to get the one and only thing they have that’s worth anything? Other than the name they spit out when called for their speaker vote they’re worthless. WORTHLESS I TELL YOU!

So now he has to keep them all in line for much longer than anticipated. First off, them being made to do something they don’t like to do (vote to extend the term limits – makes them look bad at home and second (actually a derivitive of the first thing) this is the type of vote that can come back during election season and severely bite many of them on thier asses.

Brian Dempsey: How pissed off is this guy right now? How long will this go on for? Can he keep his people together? Trust me on this. Nobody is more interested in Bob DeLeo’s health right now than Brian Dempsey.


"Why can't you be a f***ing gentleman?": A bad day for the House

Bumped, for the "f****** gentlemen." And people wonder why the House is held in such low esteem... - promoted by Bob_Neer

First, when you’ve got left (BMG), right (the Herald), and center (well, maybe center-left) (the Globe) agreeing on an issue, there’s probably a decent chance that they’ve got a point.  In fact, just about the only people in Massachusetts who seem to think that repealing term limits for the Speaker is a good idea are the Speaker himself and just over 100 other House members, who just rejected an amendment that would have put the term limit back into the House rules. [UPDATE: the entire rules package has just been adopted, and the Speaker's term limits are no more.]

Early reports indicate that only 11 Democrats had the gumption to vote in favor of the amendment (Reps. Hecht, Ayers, Provost, Dwyer, Timilty, Rosa, Zlotnik, DiZoglio, Dinatale, Dykema, and John Rogers, per the Herald’s Matt Stout), and that of them, only Rep. Hecht spoke on the floor in favor of its adoption.  Kudos to those brave 11 souls (especially Jon Hecht), who no doubt will feel the wrath of DeLeo brought down upon them in the form of crappy offices and committee assignments.

Second, to add insult to injury, a number of the House’s court officers and legislators apparently aren’t familiar enough with their own rules to realize that a caucus meeting is open to the public until closed by a vote of the members.  Which results in embarrassments like this:

Two State House reporters clashed with Beacon Hill court officers before Democrats voted to close a caucus meeting where they discussed ending term limits for the office of House speaker….

The two reporters involved, the author [our own Garrett Quinn] and one from the State House News Service [Gintautas Dumcius], were initially confronted by a confused court officer and a handful of legislators that thought they had to leave.

The reporters informed them that House rules state that the meeting is open until it is voted closed by a majority of members present.

Two additional court officers confronted the reporters moments later before the start of the meeting and asked them to leave. When the reporters calmly repeated the rules to them the lead court officer grew increasingly agitated and grabbed the arms of both reporters before swearing at them.

“Am I going to have to have you escorted out of the f***ing building? I am talking! Quiet! Are you telling me you’re not going to leave?” said the officer, raising his voice.

The visibly agitated court officer continued to confront the reporters and grab their arms as if trying to move them out of the room.

“Why can’t you be a f***ing gentleman?” said the officer while loudly asking them to leave the room.

Here’s the kicker:

Both court officers involved in the confrontation declined to identify themselves when asked by the two reporters.

WTF.  It hardly needs to be said that (a) court officers have no business refusing to identify themselves in circumstances like these; and (b) the reporters involved are owed an apology by the officers, and by the Speaker’s office.  Naturally, the members who were present unanimously voted to close the caucus, at which point the reporters left on their own.

In sum, today the Massachusetts House of Representatives held an important debate that was closed to the public, roughed up a couple of reporters who were trying to cover it, and then voted to repeal term limits for the Speaker which had been put in place at the instigation of that very same Speaker as a needed reform to restore trust in government and guarantee the flow of fresh ideas.

Yeah, I’d call that a bad day.

Popular support for a Boston Olympics is already dead // Crackdown on city workers' free speech is not boilerplate

Comment of the Day from Mark Bail: "BOSTON 2024 EXECUTIVE BID COMMITTEE COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY ENGAGEMENT COMMITTEE Co-Chairs: Robert Caret, President of University of Massachusetts Katie Lapp, Executive Vice President of Harvard University Gloria Larson, President of Bentley University Israel Ruiz, Executive Vice President of MIT GOVERNMENT AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH COMMITTEE Co-Chairs: Former U.S. Senator William “Mo” Cowan, Senior Vice President and COO at ML Strategies William F. Coyne, Esq. Massachusetts Senator Eileen Donoghue INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE Co-Chairs: Joseph L. Hooley, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, State Street Corporation Juliette Kayyem, Professor at Harvard Kennedy School and CEO of JNK Solutions Group Jeff Leiden, CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Bill Teuber, Vice Chairman of EMC PUBLIC RELATIONS AND MARKETING COMMITTEE Co-Chairs: Karen Kaplan, Chairman and CEO of Hill Holliday Doug Rubin, Founding Partner of Northwind Strategies OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC MOVEMENT COMMITTEE Co-chairs: Cheri Blauwet, MD, Sports Medicine Physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Spaulding Rehabilitation Network (Paralympic Athlete) Ralph Cox, Founding Member and Principal of Redgate Real Estate Advisors (1980 U.S. Hockey Team) Bob Reynolds, President and CEO of Putnam Investments (Trustee, US Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation) FUNDRAISING AND FINANCE COMMITTEE Co-Chairs: Roger Crandall, President and CEO of Mass Mutual Financial Group Steve Pagliuca, Managing Director at Bain Capital and Co-Owner of the Boston Celtics MASTER PLANNING COMMITTEE Co-Chairs: Tom Alperin, President of National Development David Manfredi, Founder and Principal of Elkus-Manfredi Architects LEGAL COMMITTEE Chair: R. Robert Popeo, Chairman of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo, P.C." - promoted by Bob_Neer

It was pretty easy to guess that the meager support a Boston Olympics was receiving in early polls would quickly dissipate as the details spilled out.

But who would have guessed it would happen this fast?

The latest, a statewide poll released Wednesday by the Emerson College Polling Society,asked the question, “Do you want Boston to be the host city for the 2024 Summer Olympics?” Respondents said “no” by a 48-42 margin.

The closer to Boston, the lower the support: in Suffolk County, where Boston is the county seat, the poll showed 59 percent opposed and just 36 percent for.

Given the lack of people paying attention, support will continue to crumble as more people find out just what is at stake here.

One other note from the article:

No one in Boston or Colorado Springs either a) vetted the language or b) realized the impact of language in the “joinder” agreement between the city and USOC that not only prevented city employees from criticizing the bid but also asked they promote it.  That effectively denied free speech to a group that would include police, fire, teachers, sanitation and more….

Walsh had called the offending clause, “boilerplate,” but there is no evidence of it in any agreement Chicago signed in its failed 2016 bid effort.

If the language denying Boston employees, officials and representatives free speech is just boilerplate language – routine and to be ignored — why wasn’t it included in Chicago’s bid?

In what other ways is Boston willing to go above and beyond to crack down on free speech and our constitutional rights to ‘win’ the games?

Couldn't resist


Hacks in a huddle

The Joke Revue came early this week, and in the Herald of all places: Matt Stout reports in “Critics press lawmakers to oppose Robert DeLeo:”

DiMasi became the third speaker in a row to be convicted of a federal crime, and 
DeLeo, while never charged, was labeled by federal prosecutors last summer as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Probation Department corruption trial — a fact he admitted “taints” 
his legacy. …

“This is not about Bob DeLeo. It’s about the House as an institution,” said state Rep. Garrett Bradley.

Another member of DeLeo’s inner circle, state Rep. Paul Donato, said, “I don’t believe the speaker’s position is, ‘I want to be speaker and I don’t want to let go of it.’ ” And while DeLeo “changed his mind” on the term limits, Donato expects the majority of the House to support him.

So hilarious. What this power grab by DeLeo and his coterie of cronies demonstrates is the incompatibility of one party rule and democracy: apparently, the US Attorney is the only one who can generate turnover in the Speakers Office. (As a side note, a shout out to yesterday’s Comment of the Day from TheBestDefense on HesterPrynne’s post: “Here is a run down from SouthCoastToday on DeLeo patronage games. Carol DeLeo, his sister, Secretary of State’s office; now she’s at the State Auditor’s office. Vicki A. Mucci, his longtime girlfriend, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. Ralph DeLeo, his cousin, Executive Office of Administration and Finance. Joseph DeLeo, his cousin, the Revere Police Department. Brian Mirasolo, his godson, acting chief probation officer, Administrative Office of the Trial Court. 15 people at the state Probation Department who contributed at least $850 apiece to his campaign” citing this 2011 Globe piece by Andrea Estes and Scott Allen).

For progressives, what it shows is the dreadful cost of the failure to develop an effective Progressive Caucus under Governor Patrick that could vote as a block and stand up to bullying like this. At the moment, they are scattered like gulls at the seashore, and BMG readers find themselves applauding the chair of the Mass GOP.

Shenanigans like this are an important part of the reason Charlie Baker beat established Democratic pol Martha Coakley (and Scott Brown, before him), and help explain why the largest political party in Massachusetts is Unenrolled.

Today in "even a stopped clock is right twice a day": Kirsten Hughes nails it on DeLeo and term limits

Kirsten Hughes, the chair of the Massachusetts Republican party, doesn’t often say things that gain much traction around here.  But on Would-Be-Speaker-For-Life Bob DeLeo, who is seeking to abolish the House’s 8-year term limit on being Speaker, she’s right.

state Republican Party chairwoman Kirsten Hughes said, “Speaker DeLeo’s sudden reversal on term limits he once championed smells of hypocrisy. Speaker DeLeo’s about-face is yet another example of Democrats on Beacon Hill changing the rules for their own self-interest and demonstrates a lack of commitment to changing the culture of corruption that led to the indictment of three consecutive speakers.”

Yeah … I’m afraid I can’t find much in there to disagree with.  DeLeo, as the Globe correctly points out, used to see a term limit on the Speaker’s chair as not only a way to restore badly-needed confidence in government, but also as a way to ensure that “fresh ideas” had a chance to emerge from the House.  As he put it in 2009,

“Is it a symbolic move? Maybe it is,” DeLeo said. “But sometimes symbolic moves can do a great deal in instilling public trust.”

DeLeo has called ethics reform his top priority and said he considers term limits to be a part of his overall reform package because it would mandate that the powerful position change hands regularly.

“It’s important in a position such as speaker for there to be an opportunity for fresh ideas, and the only way you can ensure that is to put term limits on the speaker,” DeLeo said. “Sometimes folks feel they’re concerned about political figures getting stale. This shows that there’s opportunity for change.

“Whether it’s president of the United States or speaker of the House, there’s an opportunity to bring fresh ideas.”

But so much for all of that.  What DeLeo is doing, essentially, is saying that ethics reform and fresh ideas were needed in 2009 because other people had been Speaker, but they’re unnecessary now because it’s me, and you can trust me.  Is that not the very definition of hubris, especially coming from a guy who came awfully close to being indicted last year?

Getting rid of term limits for the Speaker is a terrible idea.  Apparently, it’s nonetheless expected to pass easily.  If it does, what a sorry commentary on the House that will be.

Tomorrow's Speaker-for-Life Maneuver: Advocacy Materials

This is perhaps the biggest story in Massachusetts politics in some time - arguably bigger than the Governor's race. Don't miss out. More on why this is so important in this post and comment thread. - promoted by david

The Globe confirms that at tomorrow’s House session, at which the rules for the 2015-2016 session will be debated, Speaker Robert DeLeo is planning to ask members to abolish the eight-year term limit on the Speakership that the current rules impose:

House Rule 14A: No member shall hold, for more than eight consecutive years, the office of Speaker of the House. For purposes of this rule, the counting of consecutive years shall commence on January 7, 2009.

If you want to communicate your views on the proposal to abolish Rule 14A to your elected Representative, here’s some information you might find helpful.

1. On May 10, 2009, the Globe published an op-ed by Speaker DeLeo, in which he praised the House for its wisdom in reforming various of its practices. The reimposition of an eight-year term limit on the Speakership was among the improvements he praised. Excerpt below (emphasis on term limits added):

Boston Globe, May 10, 2009

Section: Editorial Opinion

House on the road to reform

Robert DeLeo

In the few months I have been speaker, the Massachusetts House has done what many thought it was incapable of doing: Amid a global economic downturn and statewide fiscal crisis, the House has embraced change and reform.

Massachusetts is paying for the sins of the past. Some of those sins we committed ourselves – such as allowing a dysfunctional transportation system to persist long after it was known to be unsustainable. Some are the result of much larger forces that sent the global economy into a free fall. Regardless of their origin, what is critical is that we find quick and thoughtful solutions to the challenges.

Real change in the House cannot come from fiat or edict. As speaker, I must balance the concerns and interests of 158 other members – all of whom represent distinct cities and towns with their own specific interests.

Yet even with those obstacles, we have accomplished much.

In order to restore public confidence in the government, the House passed ethics, pension, rules, and transportation reform measures that change the face of state government for the better…

On rules reform, the House reinstituted an eight-year term-limit for the speaker and put in place new measures to combat phantom voting…

It will take the courage and commitment of every elected leader, and every citizen as well, to get us through these most difficult of times.

Democratic Representative Robert DeLeo of Winthrop is speaker of the Massachusetts House.

2. The February 11, 2009, roll call vote, at which the House members approved rules changes, including the eight-year term limit, is here.

Boston's Matt O'Malley on This and That

We have some really interesting folks on the Boston City Council right now, and Matt O'Malley is one of them. Thanks, as always, to the good people of Left Ahead for posting their conversations here! - promoted by david

Matt O’MalleyA relentless and sincere activist Boston City Councilor, Matt O’Malley keeps his eyes on many prizes. He reaches for and works for them, but never despairs when he can’t grasp one.

He has represented District 6 — West Roxbury, most of Jamaica Plain, and slivers of Roslindale, Mission Hill and Roxbury — for four two-year terms. While young for the job, he earned his way working for or to elect many pols, including Steve Grossman and Tom Menino. He spoke of some of the important lessons. For example, Mayor Menino would see him in City Hall and immediately scold him, saying to get out of the building and go talk to the constituents. He quipped that he judged his success for a weekend when Menino was Mayor by how many times he ran into Tom. If its three or four, he figured he was hitting enough of the right events and locations.

We had a rambling talk, though we never got around to the Pats. Click below to listen to a half hour or so of his views on the Summer Games 2024, casinos, schools and even compost.

The Partners Debacle

The very very last thing our health care market needs is more consolidation under the aegis of the most expensive provider. Good for AG Healey. - promoted by charley-on-the-mta

AG Maura Healey has stepped up to the plate on the Partners’s merger with SSH and Hallmark Health.  She has told Judge Sanders that this is a bad deal for the citizens of the Commonwealth.  Further if the Judge agrees she will go after Partners to stop any further expansion and bring their payments in line with equivalent hospitals.  This is a breath of fresh air from our new Attorney General. She seems to have an understanding of the issue Martha Coakley lacked. Instead of getting the best arrangement you can, it is time to do the right thing for the people of Massachusetts when it comes to healthcare.

If this deal goes through it will add to hospital costs unnecessarily, raising premiums higher for health insurance.  Besides SSH has the resources to clean up their own act.  They do not need to take the easy way out by latching onto deeper pockets. Each hospital if they serve a decent catchment area should be capable of meeting a doable budget.

Three cheers for our new “people’s lawyer”.

Of course if Judge Sanders says no deal, what’s next?

Hot Take On Balls, Chapter the Final

Fear and jealousy, looking for an excuse. Go Pats! - promoted by Bob_Neer

It’s a snow day, so we have time for this. dave-from-hvad has heroically chimed on #deflategate already, so I’ll just add this:

I think we’re owed an apology. By a lot of people.

Don’t get me wrong — we shouldn’t worry about billionaire Bob Kraft crying into his pillow over his team’s reputation, or Tom Brady bitterly spitting out his avocado ice cream in a hurt rage. These guys will be all right.

Right now the case against the Patriots rests on 90 seconds where a ball attendant apparently took a pit stop before delivering the balls to the field. #PEEPEEGATE:

The surveillance footage that FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer reported Monday afternoon shows a Patriots’ locker room attendant entering a bathroom with 12 New England footballs and 12 of the Indianapolis Colts’ footballs before the AFC Championship Game, a source told ProFootballTalk Monday night. He stays in the restroom for 90 seconds, then leaves.

Upon this hangs the reputations of Belichick and Brady as cheaters who deserve to have their achievements vacated, who deserve to be banned for the Super Bowl, fired, suspended, fined — hell, imprisoned. Troy Aikman, Mark Brunell, Jackie MacMullen; the Indy Star guy who broke the story, and many others have put forth some variant of this non-sequitir, equally Draconian and incoherent. They extrapolate from a minor but admittedly tantalizing bit of evidence, straight to mischievous intent and guilt. Never mind how trivial the motive; never mind there has never been any hint of a smoking gun. (Perhaps you’re the kind that demands video proof of urine hitting porcelain in that 90 seconds.) As someone once said of Ayn Rand, these folks are the Evel Knievels of leaping to conclusions.

Perhaps even worse are those in the media who have propounded something along the lines of “well, it doesn’t matter if they’re guilty; the damage to the Patriots’ reputation is done.” As if those scribes and radio hosts had nothing to do with that! As if the constant conjecture and innuendo wasn’t causing that damage!

The rush to judgment has been worthy of McCarthy-era literary classics. In a way, it’s fortunate that the victims of this witch hunt are incredibly wealthy, powerful, popular people, with a loyal following and a huge media megaphone at their disposal. Imagine how this kind of thing goes for those who don’t have the money or standing to defend their reputations.

And with that, I want an absolute decimation in the Super Bowl. I want a U Mad Bro Tom Brady. I want a tricksy, spiteful Belichick. I want a full Gronking. Pats 62-3.