"An unwieldy spectacle with an exorbitant price tag"

Professor Jules Boykoff hammers the idea of hosting an Olympics in a stinging Op-Ed in today’s NYT:

THE Olympic movement is descending into a slow-motion crisis. Fewer and fewer cities are game for the Games.

Bidder enthusiasm for the 2022 Winter Olympics has fizzled, with voters in Krakow, Munich, Stockholm and Switzerland overwhelmingly rejecting the Games. Unrest in Ukraine forced Lviv to abandon its bid, leaving just Oslo, where public support is thin, together with Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan — neither a bastion of democracy.

Prospects for the Summer Games are hardly rosier. In the four American cities shortlisted for the 2024 Olympics — Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington — interest is tepid. More than 30 others, including New York and Philadelphia, passed on the opportunity.

In sum, he says the games run billions over budget and often leave host cities with useless white elephants. However, I do not think he is correct that “interest is tepid” in the four shortlisted US cities: some in Boston certainly support the games.

Boykoff is an associate professor of political science at Pacific University and the author, most recently, of “Activism and the Olympics: Dissent at the Games in Vancouver and London.”

John Rogers, the Wrong Answer for Harbor Towers - Rick Perry and Fred Wyshak - Lucchino and Werner - Advice for Grossman - Charlie Baker

Vintage EBIII. - promoted by Bob_Neer

The Harbor Towers people have hired Norwood state rep. John Rogers to run interference with the city on developer Don Chiofaro’s planned Taj Mahal on the Greenway.

Rogers served with Mayor Walsh and ran a couple of hard fought battles for the speakership with Walsh acting as one of his main lieutenants. Walsh went balls to the walls only to be on the losing side each time. Not good when you’re a rep.

Here’s what Harbor Towers didn’t consider. During Rogers’ battle with DeLeo for the big job and well after people like Walsh had committed everything to him it came out that Johnny Boy’s a major league unethical son-of-a-bitch.

Rogers had a huge war chest. He was in leadership for years (now he’s a back bencher) and raised a ton of dough. You know what he did with the money? Lemme tell ya.

He hired his no- experienced buddy as a $250,000.00 political consultant. You read that right. Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars. Then Rogers buddy took the money and bought a house on the cape and put Rogers’ name on the deed as a co-owner.

People were not happy when they heard about this but lines had already been drawn.

Now Rogers is a sitting rep. whoring his relationship with Walsh to influence this closely watched development. (different for former rep to do this. But a sitting rep?)

Not only should Walsh be insulted by Roger’s involvement, which alone should cause it to backfire, I doubt he trusts or respects him.

Rogers cape house move to me is as bad as anything I’ve seen up there except for taking money. This Harbor Towers move shows his lack of shame. Nothing more transparent than a guy with a tin ear and larceny in his heart.

I just heard Charlie Baker say he quit his day job so he can spend the next 90 day campaigning full time for Governor.

There’s a Moe Sizlack  ”Whaaaat?” for you. How would you like to be raising money and working hard for this guy and on August 17th you find out he hasn’t been working full time on this?

SMACKDOWN: Gov. Patrick Forecloses on Senate Bill 1987

  - promoted by david

Real estate lawyers and supporters of the bill (S 1987) in the Legislature say it would give a remedy to homebuyers who purchase a foreclosed property only to learn the title is in dispute, and who are therefore blocked from selling or refinancing their mortgage…

Anti-foreclosure advocates say the bill would substantially reduce legal avenues for people to regain homes after illegal foreclosures and prevent predominantly people of color from returning to their homes.

Statehouse News Service

Last week, one of my friends found himself in the unenviable position of reading an advertisement announcing the auctioning of his house. The announcement came as a surprise. He has been working with an attorney since he filed for bankruptcy and couldn’t pay his mortgage. He had been making good money until he was laid off from work. He has since found temporary employment, but a few years ago, he and his wife had accepted a 15-year mortgage at 9% interest. That’s right a short mortgage for three or four percent more than the going rate at the time. The lender, by the way, had encouraged them to take the 15-year mortgage. The monthly payment eventually became $2200 a month, hardly manageable for a couple making about $80,000 a year. When he was laid off, he did everything he was supposed to do. He called his lender and tried to make arrangements until he could get another job. To put it mildly, the lender was less than helpful. The lender agreed to an adjustment to the mortgage, if my friend could make a down payment of $185,000. The house, according to Zillow, is worth $237,000. My friend ended up defaulting and declaring bankruptcy. He’s working with an attorney who successfully prevented last week’s auction.

Bill McKibben Brings the People's Climate Tour to Boston

The event: Friday Aug 22, starting at 7 pm, at the Boston Opera House. - promoted by david

I’ll admit, I’m still afraid of falling in the Charles River. As a kid growing up in Cambridge, I used to hear horror stories of what would happen if you went for a swim in that polluted waterway. A third eye. Eighteen fingers. Eaten by the swamp thing.

And while I loved that dirty water, I love it even more now that the impossible has become a reality: the Charles is clean (or a good deal cleaner). Thanks to the hard work of groups like the Charles River Watershed Association, the Charles River Conservancy, and many others, the river has returned to much of its natural glory. Government action, citizen organizing, and a lot of volunteer sweat brought back one of Massachusetts’ great treasures.

When it comes to climate change, we’re polluting the atmosphere at a rate that puts the sewage that used to flow into the Charles to shame. This year, the parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere skyrocketed past 400 ppm, far above the 350 ppm that scientists say is the safe upper limit.

We’re already seeing the impacts of this pollution, from the devastating drought in California and the Southwest to super-storms like Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy. Just today, a storm dumped 13-inches of rain on Long Island in a single morning, more than doubling the previous record.

Scientists have warned us that we’re at risk of passing dangerous tipping points, after which climate change could spiral out of control. The message is clear: if we’re going to act, we’ve got to act now.

That’s why, this September 21, 350.org, the organization I co-founded with a group of college friends and writer Bill McKibben, is coming together with over 700 partner organizations across the country and around the world to organize the People’s Climate March in New York City.

Don Berwick will be on reddit Friday afternoon!

This is today! Chat him up. - promoted by david

Ask him anything!

Foto: What's my plan for building an economy that works for everyone in Massachusetts? Why do I want to be Governor? What was my first car? What's my favorite pizza topping? It's all fair game tomorrow at 2:30 when I answer your questions during my reddit Ask-Me-Anything!

Where are we, again? [updated]

UPDATE: With a new officer – Ferguson native Ron Johnson, of the state Highway Patrol – put in charge of the police response in Ferguson, things appear to have changed dramatically for the better.  Here’s a telling photo, via WaPo’s Wesley Lowery:

And this tweet, from the NYT’s Nick Bilton, compared yesterday’s police presence (left) to today’s (right):

 

Quite the difference.  So, just maybe, Captain Johnson understands what the police are actually supposed to do.  Here’s hoping.

This photo looks to be from somewhere overseas, maybe Afghanistan, right down to the blue sky and camo pants.

But it’s from Ferguson, Missouri.  As is this one:

… and this one:

Meanwhile, the police still have not released the name of the officer who killed Michael Brown, earning the ire of even the National Review, who went on to describe the police in Ferguson as “ridiculously militarized suburban police dressed up like characters from Starship Troopers and pointing rifles at people from atop armored vehicles, i.e. the worst sort of mall ninjas” (and when law enforcement has lost National Review…).  Furthermore, two reporters (one from the Washington Post, the other from Huffington Post) were arrested last night for … well, for doing their jobs.  Check out some video here of the cops preventing WaPo’s Wesley Lowery (formerly of the Globe) from using his video camera inside a restaurant where nothing was happening.  Totally unacceptable.

The situation in Ferguson is badly out of control.  Missouri’s Governor has finally stepped in, apparently to relieve St. Louis County police of all duty, which hopefully should help matters somewhat.

President Obama just offered some comments on Ferguson.  He said that the Department of Justice and the FBI will independently investigate Brown’s death, and generally urged for calm and for respect for the right to peaceful public protest.  He did not take questions.

SomervilleTom has long been asking for answers about the increasing militarization of police.  Clearly, he has been right in doing so.  There doesn’t seem to be any reason why Ferguson couldn’t happen anywhere, including here.

First TV Ad: First Hamp Senator District

The battle of the airwaves reaches the state legislature... - promoted by david

The first television commercial for the First Hampden-Hampshire Senate District campaign is from Eric Lesser.

I’m supporting Eric in the Democratic Primary. I’ve known him since he was a high school student. He is an important voice for the future Massachusetts. Read my BMG endorsement here.

The "Dirty Denier" of the Day: Scott Brown

I think Shaheen is going to end up winning this race fairly easily, but that said, it's an important race that deserves our continued attention. - promoted by david

#DirtyDenier$

Day 6: Scott Brown

 In 2012, Massachusetts voters decided they didn’t like Senator Scott Brown’s loyalty to Big Oil and they voted him out of the Senate. This year, he’s back, but in New Hampshire, where he is trying to unseat Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

In May 2011, Senator Brown voted to protect billions in taxpayer subsidies to oil companies even though they were enjoying record profits. It was later revealed through FEC records that just two weeks before the vote, he had accepted contributions from Exxon, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips. In March 2012, Senator Brown again voted against ending the subsidies. Over his career, he has accepted $454,000 from the Oil and Gas industry. To put that in perspective, in 2012, Senator Brown received more money from the Oil and Gas industry than all but five other members of Congress (and more than all but two other Senators).

Not only did Senator Brown vote in May 2011 to keep giving billions of dollars to oil companies instead of using that money to reduce the deficit or invest in renewable energy, he also voted to weaken the oversight standards of offshore drilling operations. This was after the tragic 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, and would have weakened oversight even beyond what was in place during that catastrophe.

When Senator Brown tried to explain away these unpopular pro-oil votes, he claimed (incorrectly) that “oil companies don’t get subsidies.” Our friends at the League of Conservation Voters explained why that is completely false.

Ferguson

  - promoted by david

This picture should be crashing the Internet right now. Incredible.

Huffington Post:

Journalists encountered a threatening response from police as they tried to cover the protests in Ferguson, the Missouri town that has been upended by the police killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager.

While there was a spate of looting on Sunday night, Monday’s demonstrations were peaceful. Protestors faced tear gas and rubber bullets from officers trying to break their ranks up. At the same time, police told local media to get out of the area.

New Ads from Coakley and Berwick

Less than a month from primary day, we can anticipate the ad wars quickly gaining steam. - promoted by david

There are a couple new ads from candidates for Governor released this week.

Coakley’s first ad “For Us” seems like a victory lap ad. It’s a good ad and plays it pretty safe. The line about “The political insiders, the big money SuperPACs, the “Old Boys Club,” they’re all against her” irked me, however, because it’s such utter bullshit. Clearly this ad is hitting hard for the EMILY’s List set, which is smart for her campaign.

 

Berwick released a very different ad with a “Commonwealth of Firsts” that pushes hard for single-payer. I’ve never really seen an ad this up front about a policy like that. I love it, but I’m not sure how well it plays with the greater Dem primary voters.

Tolman's First TV Ad

It begins... - promoted by david

Just wanted to make sure everyone got a chance to see Warren Tolman’s first TV ad:

Ad Transcript:

“This is where two women were gunned down at health clinics in Brookline.

So this is where I fought to pass the buffer zone law to protect women exercising their right to choose.

Now, women’s safety is being denied by the Supreme Court.

I’m Warren Tolman and as Attorney General, I’ll focus on gun violence and violence against women. I won’t wait to require fingerprint trigger locks on new guns sold. And if you endanger women at a health clinic, you’ll be prosecuted.

Brookline should never happen again.”

Robin Williams, deceased

This is so sad. RIP. - promoted by david

Actor and comedian Robin Williams has been reported dead.

Legendary actor and comedian Robin Williams died on Monday, a suspected suicide. He was 63.
“Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has been battling severe depression of late,” said spokeswoman Mara Buxbaum. “This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”

 

Sad news.