Person #1588: 3 Posts

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  1. The Only Reason? (0 Replies)

    The fact that Richard Tisei has an (R) after his name is helpful shorthand for the vast majority of voters who don’t have the time, interest and/or knowledge-base necessary to research Tisei’s policy agenda. But, for those of that do, here’s a list of policies that Tisei supports (publicly, on his own campaign website) that most progressive Democrats don’t and should not support:

    Jobs and the Economy: Tisei’s listed priorities include *reducing* corporate taxation, *repealing* business regulations, and “undoing the damage” of Obamacare. (Moulton’s top priority, meanwhile, is “comprehensive tax reform” to address the fact that “the wealthiest Americans and corporations get away with paying next to nothing.”)

    Federal Debt: Priority #1 is “admitting we have a spending problem.”

    HealthCare: Will “fix” Obamacare, which he characterizes as “a failure” (his specific fixes are repealing the Medical Device Tax and ending the death panels.) Allow across-state lines purchase of health care and more tort reform (the GOP’s two favorite “reform” alternatives to, you know, actually subsidizing health insurance for poor people).

    The idea that Tisei isn’t “really” a Republican (plus, he’s so nice!) doesn’t fly when you actually look at his policy stances and listen to him repeat tired, old GOP talking points time and time and time again.

  2. A Couple of Overstatements (1 Reply)

    I congratulate you on the creativeness of the “it only takes a penny” campaign. The well-cited reports around how pro-gambling politicians do not themselves gamble (including the Gaming Commission members) is striking and revealing.

    Yet, I can’t help commenting on these two statements from the diary and your letter:

    These gambling machines are built mathematically so users are certain to lose their money the longer they play.

    This is almost true. The machines are definitely designed so that the users (as a whole) are certain to lose money. Slot machines do, over time, take 5%-10% of all money put in to them. That said, it’s not true that users are “certain to lose their money the longer they play.” That’s not even really a logical statement. I think your letter would have more credibility if it instead said something like “These gambling machines are built mathematically so that the average user will lose, play longer, and lose more money the longer they play.”

    At the same time, the machines are literally designed so citizens cannot stop using them, exploiting aspects of human psychology and inducing irrational and irresponsible behavior.

    This is another very controversial thing to say and also strangely now talks about “citizens.” It’s not true and opens you up to fair attacks from those of us who believe in free will. Instead, you could make virtually the same point by saying something like “the machines are literally designed so that more users are more likely to become addicted, exploiting aspects…”

  3. It Would Be (1 Reply)

    If we were allowed to redeem our cigarette stubs for a full refund of the tax.

  4. Direct Jobs (0 Replies)

    MGM has said (and, listen, I recognize that this is an estimate and nothing more) that it will create 3,000 direct jobs working for the casino (including in it’s own restaurants and other attached businesses). The proposal claims 2,000 construction jobs and “thousands” of “indirect” jobs.

  5. November 4th (1 Reply)

    The election is on Tuesday, November 4th.

    Unless you plan on voting No on Question 3. Then, by all means, consider November 8th to be the important day.

  6. Labor Unions (1 Reply)

    Without mentioning your sister, how do you really feel about labor unions?

  7. Hanover was host to.... (1 Reply)

    …. this unusual Gubernatorial debate focused on the Arts:

    Grossman’s wife is chair of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a point he emphasized primarily at that debate. In Hanover.

  8. In Comparison (1 Reply)

    Comparing this to the Sciortino ad (which the poster and, really, the ad itself suggest), it comes off as a poor imitation. The missing Tea Party versus Massachusetts Liberal dynamic is a key difference. But I also think Sciotino’s is more successful because it is more cheerful, upbeat, and modern in both the writing and production. The ad opens and peaks with clever references to Sciortino being openly gay too which helps it flow better in to the policy pieces. And Sciortino being young and young looking also makes it work better. In contrast, to me, Grossman’s ad is much less interesting and feels less fun.

  9. MassHealth Not GIC is Far Biggest Cost (1 Reply)

    Your comment here is founded on a fundamental misunderstanding about the reality of health care costs for government and employer:

    The cost of healthcare in the state budget revolves around employee benefits. The expense comes in providing health benefits to state employees.

    This “fact” is not at all true. Health benefits for state employees is about a $1.3 billion annual cost. Real money, sure, but dwarfed by the $14 billion spent on Medicaid annually. For details, you know facts and all, see here:

    Meanwhile, Medicare spends about $15 billion a year while the commercially insured spend about $18 billion a year on medical costs alone while siphoning off $1.8 billion for non-medical costs of private health insurance (administration and other “profit”). See:

    I’d submit that when you take a real look at the health care system in Massachusetts, single payer seems like a fair better solution than when you narrow the question to what to do about state employees.

  10. "Fingerprint Trigger Locks" (1 Reply)

    Yes, on his website and in many other places, Tolan has used the phrase “smart gun technology” to describe what he seeks to mandate in new guns sold.

    And I get that this is somewhat of a vague term that may include radio-emitting technology that’s not accurately described as only a trigger lock.

    BUT, Toman’s website (and Tolman himself) frequently defines “smart gun” technology as follows:

    This technology, which includes fingerprint trigger locks, prevents anyone other than a gun’s owners from pulling the trigger.(emphasis added)

    Then, in this very ad, Tolman wisely avoids the term “smart gun” altogether and says simply he will “require fingerprint trigger locks on new guns sold.”

    Given these clarifications, do you still think Tolman is actually proposing to mandate new guns include anything other than a biometric or “personalized” trigger lock?

  11. Blackjack is a Simple Game (1 Reply)

    A great player (one who has memorized the odds of any particular hand beating any particular dealer’s up card) has literally no decisions to make. Depending on the dealer’s up card and the total count of the player’s cards, a great player can make the “correct” decision (the decision that gives them the best odds of winning) on whether to hit, stay, double or split under any circumstance.

    Meanwhile, the dealer makes absolutely no decisions whatsoever. They may not double and may not split. They hit until their cards total 16 or less (always hitting 16s) and stay if and when their cards total 17 or more. Again, the dealer is a robot, paying the player when they their either go over 21 or stick on 17-21 and beat the players hand.

    All that said, there are two relatively simply ways to change the odds for Blackjack and to (as proposed) increase the house edge to match the house edge on slot machines:

    (1) As kirth points out, one way to increase the “house edge” (to reduce the average amount a player wins) is simply reducing the amount that the casino pays the player for getting dealt a “blackjack” (an Ace and a Ten or face card totaling 21) in their first two cards. This doesn’t really “change the odds of winning” (which is probably why you found it confusing) but it does decrease the average amount that a player will win. Since the odds of getting dealt a blackjack are about 5%, cutting the amount paid out upon getting a blackjack in half (say from 2-1 to 3-2) increases the “house edge” by about 2.5%. With the average game playing roughly 80 hands and hour, even small changes in the amount paid out for blackjack can have a big effect over time.

    2) The second and most common way that casinos increase their “house edge” is by limiting the options for the player by changing the basic rules of the game. There are 6,912 different types of commonly played blackjack each with subtle combinations of different rules! The “house edge” can be increased not allowing players to double their bet after a split or with a hand other than a 10 or 11, not allowing players to split Aces or to re-split already split hands, etc. These are all very subtle changes (each changing the “house edge” by less than 1%) but they certainly *do* effect the odds that a player will win or lose money over time.

    This is probably more than someone who mistakenly thinks blackjack is “literally the luck of the draw” wants to know. But hopefully this helps you understand that you certainly can and the casinos certainly do “artificially change blackjack odds”.

  12. BS (1 Reply)

    In Reading, certainly not an enclave of super liberal ideology, the undecideds take first place at about 44%, next comes support for Berwick(they’ll actually vote for him) by 37%, Coakley 13%, and last Grossman at 6%.

    Yeah, right. How about an actual cite for these (I assume) completely made up numbers? What a bunch of nonsense.

    Unions have not endorsed anyone and will not be out campaigning for one candidate or another.

    This is also ridiculous. Of course “the unions” have endorsed candidates in the Gubernatorial primary. They will spend millions of dollars in direct mail, advertising and for their ground operations in the next two weeks. Mostly for Coakley (who’s been endorsed by 1199SEIU, AFSCME, and many other power players in the state’s labor movement).

  13. Not New (0 Replies)

    This theory (that lead levels were connected to crime rates) has been around for a good while now. At least since 2007:

    It fails to gain traction for the very reasons alluded to in the article you cite. The solutions to reducing lead poisoning (an ongoing and important effort across the country but especially for those living in older housing stock) are increased environmental regulations and assistance for poor people. In contrast, the most vocal law & order folks prefer “solutions” that don’t affect them so directly or cost as much. Imprisonment and more religion in public spheres.

  14. Why Not? (0 Replies)

    Are you against offering brewery tours? The various “Brew Runs” held across the state every year? Wine related tourism? (e.g.: )

  15. Oh, Boy (0 Replies)

    Two short paragraphs and yet loaded with pure nonsense.

    Marijuana is decidedly *not* a harmful drug. You’ve brought up virtually no “real evidence” here aside from a handful of people getting sick from ingesting too much candy, cookies or chocolate. Decades of research has proven that marijuana is far *less* harmful than alcohol, cigarettes or 16 ounce sodas.

    But where you really get my goat is with this ridiculousness:

    I want to understand why adding MORE options for people to hurt themselves for revenue is good because the other two aren’t going away. Explain why you want to add more.

    In no way does legalizing marijuana “add more options for people to hurt themselves.” Marijuana is already an option for the estimated 400,000 + individuals who smoke it at least once a month in Massachusetts. Legalization is decidedly *not* adding a new “option” for most people.

    What it does do is end the Prohibition of an already widely-used drug that has been shown to have very few harmful effects. Ending the prohibition of marijuana will almost undoubtedly *reduce* harm to society by severely undercutting the criminal marijuana black market and increasing regulation. Reducing crime, saving law enforcement and judicial resources, and (a nice side benefit) increasing revenue.

    This is a *legal* and public policy debate about what should be considered a state crime. And whether the downsides of Prohibition are at all worth criminalizing the re-sale of a plant.

  16. Fiar Labor Hotline (1 Reply)

    The Fair Labor Division of the AG’s office does already have a permanent hotline that is available to everyone. The number is (617) 727-3465.

    This number can and should be used by anyone with complaints related to violations of state law related to the payment of wages, minimum wage laws, overtime, prevailing wage, pay stub and record keeping, tip pooling, independent contractor, and retaliation laws.

    For more info and to file an official complaint either online or through the mails, see: