theloquaciousliberal

Person #1588: 3 Posts

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  1. 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.

  2. 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: http://www.mass.gov/ago/doing-business-in-massachusetts/labor-laws-and-public-construction/file-a-wage-complaint.html

  3. True And (0 Replies)

    not all gambling is created equal

    And the Lottery is the one of the worst kind of gambling there is.

    Promoted by the state (and, therefore, by all of us as taxpayers), the state lottery is rigged much more than any casino game. Last fiscal year, people bet $4.86 billion on the Massachusetts lottery. The lottery paid back just $3.51 billion of that in prizes (about 72%). It made net profits of $971 billion (returned to cites and towns) and the remaining 8% was paid out in administrative costs plus commissions/bonus to retail stores.

    That house edge for the lottery (again, about 20%-28% depending how you count it) is unconscionably high. The house edge in Roulette is 5.2%, about 2% in Craps, less than 1% in Blackjack, and anything from 2%-12% on slot machines.

    The state lottery is a reverse ATM machine that takes your money much, much faster than the casinos.

    Personally, I wouldn’t make either casinos or the lottery illegal. Prohibition does not work. But spending millions of taxpayer dollars a year to advertise the “opportunity” to play the lottery and to encourage residents to “entertain” themselves by playing games with a 25% house edges is absolutely, unequivocally immoral in my book.

  4. Double Speak (0 Replies)

    Yes, this detailed explanation of the statement came out before the esteemed Dr. Berwick commented. But much of the rest of what you say here is simply “doubleman-speak”:

    Coakley did nothing to reduce Partners’ negative impact on health care costs.

    That’s simple not true, as you acknowledge in your next confusing sentence and despite your misleading use of terms like “temporarily” and “slow the growth”. Semantics aside, there’s no substantive difference between “reducing” Partners’ impact on health care costs and “slowing the growth of that negative impact.” Among other things, the settlement reduces the negotiating power of Partners, limits its ability to acquire physicians, and places a hard cap on Partners’ cost growth (tying it to inflation). Yes, these provisions are not for all eternity but generally are in place from 6.5-10 years each and they will have a real impact on health care costs. And for much longer than “temporary” suggests.

    This deal just ensures that Partners’ out of control prices are the norm

    To the contrary, maintaining the status quo would result from either allowing (without restrictions) or absolutely preventing (through a lawsuit) Partners’ acquisition of South Shore Hospital. This settlement seeks a wise middle ground that leverages Partners’ desire to acquire South Shore Hospital to get serious and very real concessions from Partners. Operational and legal reforms that actually will control Partners’ cost growth and change the “norm”.

    We need a governor who will take the lead on reversing rapid health care cost increases, not just try to slow them.

    There are no candidates for Governor or serious policymakers of any kind who believe that we can actually “reverse” health care cost increases. Goods and services cost more over time because of inflation if for no other reason. Health care cost grow faster than inflation because utilization also increases with technological innovation and because Partners has the negotiating power to increase their prices rapidly. The best we can do is slow cost growth (“cost containment”). Single payer (which I strongly support, for the record) doesn’t promise to decrease health care costs and it shouldn’t.

    It’s just that the circumstances are that Martha Coakley is running for governor and battling with one of the biggest entities in the state would not help her campaign.

    I just don’t by this at all. Politically, taking on Partners is a clear winner. The insurance companies, most other hospitals, the health care labor unions and many others are eager to battle with Partners. Look at the Questionaires from the nurses union and SEIU (available on Maura Healey’s website, for one). The MNA asks pressing questions about “the negative impact of health care consolidation”, “anticompetitive behavior among large health care systems”. SEIU does too, noting that “rapid
    growth in health care costs, significant market consolidation and increasing price disparities have all had a direct and negative impact on communities, consumers, and workers.”

    I’d certainly like to think that the endorsement of these powerful unions (and many others) that Coakley has gained (at least in part because of her leadership in taking on Partners) will help her campaign. To me, it’s simply political gamesmanship to suggest that Coakley would rather coddle Partners than gain the support of many other powerful political interests (not to mention the general public) who benefit from her ongoing and extensive efforts to limit Partners’ negative impact on health care costs.

  5. Partners' Deal Defense (1 Reply)

    The AG’s office has laid out a detailed argument about why they think the Partners deal was the best possible settlement under the circumstances:
    http://www.mass.gov/ago/news-and-updates/press-releases/2014/2014-06-24-partners-settlement.html

    In my view, those who legitimately question (as opposed to just seek to score easy political points) the AG’s commitment to reducing Partners’ negative impact on health care costs can’t been paying attention to the leading role AG Coakley has taken in this area for many years.

  6. They May Have Heard of Her? (0 Replies)

    This poll only shows that 1 out of 11 refused to say whether they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion. Based on the question, those were supposed to be people who have “never heard of” Hillary.

    But, the historical record shows that 9% is indeed a relatively high and confusing number. The last Gallup poll (from early June) showed Hillary at 54%-43% with only 3% offering no opinion!
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/173591/favorability-potential-presidential-candidates.aspxs_140717%20.pdf

    I’m not sure why the number is so much higher a month later (2-5% seems like the usual number going back many years). Ironically, it seems like that as she gets back in to the public eye about twice as many respondents prefer to offer “no opinion” and/or claim they “never heard of” Hillary Clinton?

    You have any insights in to this phenomenon?

  7. Nice Try (0 Replies)

    Berwick is “the one consistently leading and changing the debate–about this issue”

    Yeah, right. “A lot of people” apparently means 111 people now (the current number of signatories to Berwick’s groundbreaking decision)? I’d suggest that’s actually an absurdly low number of “followers” for any leader to garner for an online petition.

    Aside from Berwick and Grossman, there have been dozens of high-profile critics of the AG’s proposed consent agreement in this case. Including numerous hospital CEOs, community organizations, the policy leaders on the Health Policy Commission board, and numerous media outlets.

    Given that reality, for either Berwick or Grossman (or their supporters on their behalf) to take credit for the AG’s decision to ask the judge to postpone the decision in this case is hubris at best.

  8. Exactly My Point (1 Reply)

    She’s been in the public eye for 23 years yet only about 40% of the electorate doesn’t like her! And almost everyone knows enough about her to have an opinion. Very little is likely to move that number in a meaningful way.

    Everyone else – including Biden – has more room to move (up or down!). And everyone else starts with “alarming” negative ratings that math or are lower than Hillary’s. History shows that it’s very rare for a candidate to greatly improve their favorability rating as name recognition increases. Obama got re-elected easily in 2012 with 40%-45% negative favorability ratings.

  9. You're Not Making Sense (1 Reply)

    This whole debate started when you suggested that Hilary’s negatives are “alarmingly high.” I then pointed out that (despite the “common knowledge” that Hillary is widely hated) her 40% negative rating is actually lower than almost all the other candidates. You said, yeah but favorability will change as name recognition increases. I replied that it seems likely to me that favorability will stay about the same (on average!) since name recognition increases based on both positive and negative publicity. To which you replied, Rand Paul’s favorability is likely to get even worse than the current 42% as he becomes better known.

    So…. what’s your point about Hillary’s “alarmingly high” negatives again?

  10. What Nonsense (2 Replies)

    They might move in synch, but I think it’s wiser to assume that they will change.

    Of course, events will boost name recognition. But those events will be both positive and negative. For example, I’m sure Rand Paul will become more well known as he comments on foreign policy (likely a net positive) but also as his plans to privatize (destroy) Social Security and Medicare become more widely known (likely a net negative). The same is true for all the candidates (except Hillary who has a ridiculous 91% true name recognition).

    It’s just silly to suggest that it is “wiser to assume that they will change”, especially when what you really mean here is “We should assume that, as a candidate gets better known, they will have relatively fewer people that view them negatively.”

    I’d suggest it’s actually “wiser” to assume that the candidate’s favorability ratings will stay about the same (since nobody really knows whether a particular candidate’s increased name recognition will come from positive or negative publicity).

  11. Says Who? (1 Reply)

    That will not be the case.

    I am assuming that the ratios will stay the same as name recognition grows. Why wouldn’t they?

  12. Hillary's Negatives (1 Reply)

    Are far from “alarmingly high” but rather encouragingly low. And she benefits from huge name recognition too.

    Doing the math, Hillary has a 40% negative rating (36%/91%).

    By this calculation, Warren has a 45% negative rating with the other three Democrats at about 50%. The top Republicans are about in that range too with Huckabee at 39%, Paul at 42%, Rubio at 41% and Perry at 45%. Bush and Christie are worse off than Hillary too.

  13. Specifics, your welcome (1 Reply)

    Coakley joined in leading the charge in advocating for An Act to Promote Public Safety and Protect Access to Reproductive Health Care, recently filed in response to the McCollum decision. See e.g.: http://www.pplmvotes.org/newsroom/press-releases/265-legislationfiledtoenhancesafeaccesstoreproductivehealthcenters.html

    As AG (and as a candidate for Governor), Coakley will push for passage and strong enforcement of this legislation. As Governor, she will led enforcement efforts.

    On Hobby Lobby, Coakley has pledged to ensure that state law fully mitigates any impact on Massachusetts’ women. She’s also said she will work to ensure that all businesses contracting with the state offer insurance covering contraceptives. See:
    http://www.marthacoakley.com/Campaign-Updates/details/2014-06-coakley-will-work-to-require-companies-that-contract

  14. Harvard is Diverse Too (1 Reply)

    Almost half of Harvard’s student body is now people of color. Slightly more than half at MIT. So…

  15. We Pretty Much Agree (0 Replies)

    Certainly, the Massachusetts Legislature and the Governor are wrong on this. Allowing casinos to be built is terrible public policy and I’d rather see jobs created in just about any other way. And it doesn’t pass the smell test to argue that casinos are in any way a good way to raise revenue.

    However I would continue to argue, apparently, that the unions are not “wrong on this.” The unions have no obligation to oppose the legalization of businesses that might have bad societal impacts. To the contrary, they have a responsibility and collective interest in new job opportunities for union members regardless of the associated societal implications.

    I also can’t believe all the progress we’re flushing down the toilet.

  16. As Usual (1 Reply)

    You put an absurdly negative spin on what I said here.

    What you apparently want us to see as “money for the unions”, I would argue is much better characterized as “good jobs for workers and members of the union.”

    It’s not “greed” to support construction job opportunities. It’s the legal, moral and ethical responsibility of an organization created by workers to further their own interests. It’s not the responsibility of trade unions to decide whether a particular new business is good or bad for society. That’s the job of politicians and all of us as participants in democratic government.

  17. "The Unions"... (1 Reply)

    Is a pretty vague term.

    First, you’re conflating the construction unions (who wholeheartedly support the casinos) with the hospitality and service unions (like Unite-HERE and SEIU) who are much more on the fence about casinos. For the construction unions building casinos is unquestionably “good” even as the other unions probably would prefer better jobs. Even the service and hospitality unions still support building casinos over the other options on the table (build nothing? more hotels anyone?).

    Regardless, this isn’t a matter of the unions “picking the wrong friends.” Unions that organize casino workers are seeking to make existing jobs better. The boss is not and never will be their friend. That doesn’t mean a union should or would oppose the new boss’ efforts to open a new business.

  18. Unions Do (1 Reply)

    In my experience the construction unions support nearly 100% of all proposed new construction (as long as the developer has agreed to or his forced by law to hire union labor).

    Generally Democratic politicians do the same (at least those who want to continue receiving the union’s political support). When, in the rare instance, a Democrat makes a truly principled argument against a particular project, the unions usually forgive them but they don’t forget.

    By your logic, wouldn’t Senator Warren oppose casino development?

  19. Huh? (1 Reply)

    So what?

    Of course, unionized employees picket (and take other actions typically part of collective bargaining) in order to further negotiations of wages, benefits and working conditions.

    But this has absolutely nothing to do with the debate over whether to build new casinos.