david

Opera singer, blogger, lawyer. You can reach me by email at david [at] bluemassgroup [dot] com.

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  1. The "unanimous motion" requirement makes no sense. (0 Replies)

    The whole point of adjusting the rules for joint committees is to prevent legislation from being bottled up when a *majority* of the Senate wants to move it forward. Your proposal simply shifts the ability to bottle things up from the House to the Senate minority party (currently the GOP). Senator Rosenberg has already made a perfectly sensible reform proposal that keeps the joint committees intact. If DeLeo isn’t going to play ball, it seems pretty clear that the Senate will move forward with its own committee structure. I agree with you that that will entail some cost, but the cost of the current system is already far too high.

  2. "this really should have been Warren’s presidential announcement video." (1 Reply)

    That, of course, is exactly the point! :D

    Seriously, though, I think what’s really good about the video is how little it is about her. I can’t recall an announcement video from any other candidate taking a similar strategy, where the candidate doesn’t even appear until well into it. It’s a clever way of acknowledging both that she is a very well-known quantity who hardly needs any introduction, and also that she recognizes that her campaign needs to be about more than her desire to be president.

  3. Silver Line is free (2 Replies)

    from Logan airport to South Station. You can even transfer to the Red Line for free.

  4. In reaction to Bob's promotion comment, (1 Reply)

    I think it depends on the scope of the problem. I don’t have much information about that; I assume Maura Healey does, and I’d like to hear more about it. A doctor would seem to be the easiest, lowest-risk way to get hold of certain powerful controlled substances that can then be resold at a substantial profit.

  5. Well, (0 Replies)

    it’s of course true that IN has no state-level anti-discrimination law protecting LGBT people. But Indianapolis does, and I think there are some other local laws as well. So the just-adopted fix to RFRA should help in those localities, and might actually create some momentum to fix the state anti-discrimination law as well (though, admittedly, that seems like a long shot).

  6. Well, exactly. (1 Reply)

    That’s probably what everyone was thinking when the law was originally enacted, but unfortunately there’s zero chance of rewriting it in the current Congress. Plus, since the federal RFRA applies only to the federal government, it would have to be altered by each state legislature that has one of these laws as well.

  7. Well, no. (0 Replies)

    - Ex post facto/bill of attainder principles are not even remotely applicable here. No individual is being punished for something that was legal when he did it, or being singled out in the very specific way covered by the bill of attainder clause. Being told the state won’t fund your pet project is not “punishment” within the meaning of those clauses. If the state wants to pass a law saying that it won’t spend money for such-and-such a project, it of course may do so.

    - This is not a specific appropriation that would be excluded from the ballot under Article 48. There is a lot of case law on where the “specific appropriation” exclusion does and does not apply. I’ve read a lot of it; I’ve never seen any suggestion that a law prohibiting the expenditure of funds on something would qualify, since such a law by definition does not “make[] a specific appropriation of money from the treasury of the commonwealth.”

    - The local affairs exclusion argument has been tried many times, most recently with the casino ballot question, and almost always fails. It would fail again in this case, because the law is not by its terms limited to specific municipalities. It doesn’t say that “Boston may not host the Olympics.” It says that Massachusetts won’t spend money on the 2024 Olympics.

    There may be good reasons not to use something like Falchuk’s proposed language, but with all due respect, you haven’t offered any here.

  8. This makes no sense to me. (0 Replies)

    It’s much better to withdraw now than later. There will have to be a ballot question at some point; far better for all concerned to deliver the message that the people don’t want the Games before they are awarded than after. True story:

    The [1976 Winter] games were originally awarded to Denver on May 12, 1970, but a 300% rise in costs and worries about environmental impact led to Colorado voters’ rejection on November 7, 1972, by a 3 to 2 margin, of a $5 million bond issue to finance the games with public funds.

    Denver officially withdrew on November 15, and the IOC then offered the games to Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, but they too declined owing to a change of government following elections. Whistler would go on to be associated with neighbouring Vancouver’s successful bid for the 2010 games.

    Salt Lake City, Utah, a 1972 Winter Olympics final candidate who would eventually host in 2002 Winter Olympics, offered itself as a potential host after the withdrawal of Denver. The IOC, still reeling from the Denver rejection, declined and selected Innsbruck, which had hosted the 1964 Winter Olympics games twelve years earlier, on February 5, 1973.

  9. Nonsense. (1 Reply)

    “We,” meaning the people of (greater) Boston, have no responsibility whatsoever to the USOC. After all, we had nothing to do with what was submitted to them and persuaded them to go with Boston. If Boston 2024 overstated public support for hosting the Olympics (probably) or failed to do sufficient grassroots work before submitting their bid to the USOC (certainly), that’s on them, not on us.

  10. And another thing: (1 Reply)

    the ballot question folks need to think very carefully about whether they want their preferred answer to be “yes” or “no.” We saw a lot of confusion over the casino question, where a “yes” meant “no casinos,” and vice versa. If a “yes” means “no Olympics,” as is the case with Falchuk’s question, that will be a PR nightmare. It would be nice if someone could figure out how “yes” could mean “yay Olympics” and “no” meant “boo Olympics.”

  11. Yeah, (1 Reply)

    this is a good example of why Falchuk’s wording is IMHO too broad. This needs to be thought through carefully.

  12. Heh well, (0 Replies)

    I’m not sure Godwin’s Law actually applies to situations where the one who starts the conversation mentions an actual Nazi in doing so…

  13. Ask the authors! (0 Replies)

    Their email addresses are readily available on their university pages.

  14. Don't think so. (1 Reply)

    I think all it takes into account is the assessments the authors received from the reporters who responded.

  15. Apparently the value of medallions (0 Replies)

    is already in freefall, presumably because of Uber and similar services. Per the Ramos op-ed linked in my post, their value has declined 50% in just a year, from $700,000 to $350,000. If the city wants to call a license to operate a taxi a “medallion,” that’s OK with me. I just don’t understand the logic behind issuing only a set number of them, especially when (as you say) pretty much everyone who doesn’t already own one seems to agree that the current number is way too low.

  16. Yes, I agree (1 Reply)

    I really don’t understand this notion that the city should artificially limit the number of cabs on the road. Econ 101 dictates that doing so inflates prices and pretty much guarantees inadequate supply – and, indeed, that’s what we have in Boston. Just lay down reasonable licensure requirements, and let the market handle the rest. It will quickly become apparent how many cabs can operate profitably in Boston.

  17. Did you watch the video? (2 Replies)

    There were only two Scott Brown jokes out of about 15 total. And they were funny, especially the first one.

    Re takings, certainly, that is the argument that the medallion owners have already raised. But I think it’s weak. A medallion is essentially a license to operate a taxi. And the state’s authority over licenses is pretty sweeping, as we recently learned in the casino case.

  18. While it's a great question, (4 Replies)

    my sense is that answering it isn’t so easy. It’s simple enough to measure jobs “created” by the tax credit – and by that measure, there doesn’t seem to be much evidence that the credit makes economic sense. But once you get into “economic activity,” it gets much harder, because then it’s hard to figure out how many cups of coffee sold by local vendors were due specifically to a film being made, and how many would have been sold anyway.

  19. At the end of the day, (1 Reply)

    the question seems to me to be to whom the leadership of the agency is accountable. If the leadership serves at the pleasure of the Governor, then clearly the answer is the Governor, and by extension the people who elected the Gov. But if the answer is “nobody,” then we have a problem. I’m really not sure how a halfway measure (“insulate an agency from political whims, but not also legitimate oversight”) would work – that, I’d say, was the intention behind creating independent authorities, but it hasn’t gone well.