Quixotry

This post is nearly five years old (and somewhat out of date with respect to the discussion of Weld's presidential endorsements), but I am bumping it up in honor of Bill Weld's recent move back to Massachusetts, and the faintly hilarious speculation that he might actually run for statewide office again. Talk about a pol being past his sell-by date. Here's Joan Vennochi's take, with which I agree.

I trust everyone has heard about Michael Cresta, the carpenter from Lexington who recently shattered the single-word and single-game records for competitive Scrabble.  His amazing single-word play was “quixotry,” a 35-point word (the 8-point “X” was doubled) that was greatly amplified by hitting two triple-word squares and by the 50-point bonus for using all his letters, for a record total of 365 points.

“Quixotry” is a synonym for “quixotism,” meaning ”that form of delusion which leads to extravagant and absurd undertakings or sacrifices in obedience to a morbidly romantic ideal of duty or honor, as illustrated by the exploits of Don Quixote in knight-errantry.”

All of which puts one in mind of Bill Weld, don’t you think?  This, to refresh our recollection, is the guy who improbably became the Governor of Massachusetts when the Democratic party nominated the worst candidate in modern history (John Silber), thereby driving swarms of Democrats to vote for the guy who wasn’t Silber.  Weld, who quickly became bored when he realized to his chagrin that governing required actual work, then went for John Kerry’s Senate seat and lost a not-very-close race; resigned his office to pursue the ambassadorship to Mexico even though it was obvious he’d never get it; became CEO of a sad little college in Kentucky that ended up under federal investigation; and ran a highly improbable and quickly-failed campaign for Governor of New York.  Jon Keller offers this warm remembrance:

When I asked him last fall if he had any personal regrets over the [Big Dig] tragedy, Weld said “no, the project was on-time, under budget, and being properly handled at the time I shuffled off.” Wow. The man is either a world-class liar or in a pathological state of denial.

The Sanders Campaign's adults point out the obvious:

Interesting that this comes from Jeff Weaver, who has sometimes seemed overly aggressive in defense of his candidate. - promoted by david

From Politico:

Bernie Sanders will work around the clock to make sure Donald Trump is not elected president, regardless of whether the Vermont senator wins the Democratic presidential nomination, his campaign manager said Tuesday.

“Well, he certainly has said that he will do everything — he will work seven days a week, night and day, to make sure Donald Trump is not president, and I’m confident that he will do that,” Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver told CNN. “Bernie Sanders, as you know, is a very effective campaigner on the stump.”

Weaver said Sanders has rallied millions of people, including young voters, independents and working-class people. “And I think he’ll take the message to them that Donald Trump would be a disaster for working-class and middle-class families in this country,” Weaver continued. “Putting the Republicans back in control of Washington is not a good strategy.”

Snip

…despite the reported chaos in Nevada regarding delegate selections last weekend, Weaver insisted Trump’s assertion that the system is rigged against Sanders was wrong and reiterated that Sanders will not run as a third-party candidate and will support the nominee.

“And that’s what he’s gonna do,” Weaver said. “Trump obviously would like a third-party candidate on the left so that he could try to divide the vote and win. But I think what you’re gonna see is unity to defeat Trump.”

He also suggested that the Sanders campaign is helping Clinton by refusing to bow out of the race early because they’re focusing on the issues that matter to voters…

Media manufacturing a controversy?

I hold these truths to be self-evident:

I’m glad Clinton is the presumptive nominee, since I think she will be a better president than Sanders. I applaud the passion of the Sanders supporters. Exactly as Sanders says, they shouldn’t engage in violence, and haven’t, except perhaps in Nevada, which sounds like it was poorly managed from top to bottom. I think contested primaries are good for the eventual nominee. I predict that Sanders will campaign hard for Clinton after she is nominated: on her worst day, as he has said, a President Clinton would be far better than a President Trump. If he really wanted to undercut her, he’d be discussing a third-party challenge, and there hasn’t been any substantive mention of that alternative by him.

What do you think?

What, If Anything, Went Wrong in Nevada?

A curious one-off resulting from a bizarre caucus system? Or a preview of the main event in Philadelphia?

Also, apologies for the glitch. JimC is the author of this post. - promoted by david

My Twitter feed is blinking red about the Nevada convention, along with scary pictures of cops, but as far as I can tell, the only real news is that the Chair ruled on a voice vote (rather than a roll call) to close the convention. This is of course well within the chair’s rights as chair.

Am I missing something?

Fair Share Tax Proposal Will Close The Income Gap Between Rich and Poor

Tim Toomey is a Cambridge City Councillor and Massachusetts State Representative for the 28th district. His blog is here. Thanks for posting here! - promoted by Bob_Neer

On May 18th, the House and Senate have a genuine opportunity to take the first step to substantially reduce income inequality in Massachusetts by approving the Fair Share Tax Amendment. I will be one of many progressive legislators proudly supporting this proposal to require our wealthiest residents to pay the same effective tax rate as our poorest citizens. This is a chance to engrave economic equality directly into our Constitution, and by generating nearly $2B in new revenue, we will not only strengthen our public schools, but finally have the resources we need to repair our crippled transportation system.

Boston recently earned the dubious distinction of being named the U.S. city with the widest gap between its top 5 percent and bottom 20 percent of earners. The Boston metro area, which encompasses the eastern part of our state, ranked sixth in the nation in income inequality. The gap between the rich and the poor in Massachusetts is nearing crisis levels, and manifests itself in many ways – public school achievement gaps, transportation access disparities, and the wider erosion of the middle class.

This inequality is only compounded by the growing divide between the effective tax rates paid by the bottom 20 percent of earners versus the top 5 percent. As it stands now, those making more than $860,000 per year pay, on average, an effective state and local tax rate that is 38 percent lower than that of those making less than $22,000 per year.  Given that our state is grappling with problems such as backlogged road and bridge repairs, failing and inadequate public transportation infrastructure and a scholastic achievement gap between children of rich and poor families that only continues to widen, this disparity in tax rates is not just unfair, it is morally unacceptable.

The Fair Share Tax proposal – a constitutional amendment that would create a 4 percent state marginal tax on incomes over $1 million – is the best chance we have had in a generation to address these problems.

Constitutional amendments such as this need to be approved by a majority of Massachusetts voters. In order for residents to have a chance to vote on this proposal, the legislature must collect 50 votes from the combined House and Senate membership during constitutional conventions held in two different legislative sessions. While members have not yet had a chance to vote on the amendment, the most recent constitutional conventions were used to clear items off of the agenda so that the Fair Share amendment could be considered. It’s likely that the next constitutional convention on May 18th will be the first opportunity for members to vote on this proposal, and if it does receive at least 50 votes, the legislature will need another vote in the 2017-2018 session in order for it to appear on the November 2018 ballot.

If passed, this amendment would quickly bring the effective tax rates paid by residents at both ends of the income spectrum in line with each other. And by raising an estimated $1.9 billion to finance public education, roads and bridges, and public transportation, it would provide the state with the means to make long-overdue investments.

Critics of this proposal may point to national rankings that show the Massachusetts public school system outperforming most states in test scores. It’s indisputable that Massachusetts has some highly skilled students with impeccable academic achievements. So too is the fact that we have one of the nation’s highest income-based school achievement gaps. Unfortunately, our public education system is not an even playing field. The quality of public schools, in terms of amenities and infrastructure, varies dramatically from community to community, with household income being a determining factor to high school graduation rates and future college attendance.

One of the reasons for this is that we don’t have universal access to early education, which means that children from low-income households are at a disadvantage before they even enter elementary school. Only 48 percent of children from low-income families are ready for school at the age of 5, as compared with 75 percent of children from higher-income families.

Massachusetts is the nation’s education pioneer. We’re home to the nation’s first public schools and were the first state to establish a state board of education because we believed then, as we believe today, that education is our primary social equalizer. Our constitution requires our governing bodies to set standards that ensure all children a high-quality education regardless of class. The Fair Share Tax proposal would give us a greater opportunity to uphold these values.

On the other hand, it would be difficult for anyone to argue that our transportation system does not desperately need substantial investment in both its state of good repair backlog and in key system upgrades. Anyone who has waited for two full red line trains to leave a station before barely squeezing on to a third can tell you that capacity problems are only growing worse. And as the repair and replacement needs of the T’s equipment continue to be put off to close budget deficits, on-time performance and reliability suffer. As rising housing costs push our region’s poor and working-class residents farther and farther from the urban core, their access to reliable public transit diminishes, and yet their reliance on it grows. For these reasons, investment in transit is both a pressing moral and economic issue – without it, the gap between rich and poor will only continue to broaden.

In the parable of the faithful servant, Jesus says “To whom much is given, much will be required,” a phrase I have heard repeated often in recent weeks. While it is true that much of the wealth in this Commonwealth has been earned through skill, perseverance and hard work, without the things that we choose to provide as public goods – chief among them the education of future workers and the infrastructure that allows for the exchange of goods and services – much of that wealth would be impossible.  The Fair Share Tax will require more of our state’s wealthiest residents, true, but no more than what we already require of the poorest. This is hardly a biblical standard to meet, and we would be foolish not to strive for it.

State Representative Tim Toomey

Somerville/Cambridge

 

This Wednesday at the State House: First Vote on Millionaires' Tax

The proposed state constitutional amendment to impose an additional four percent tax on taxable incomes over one million dollars will receive its first vote in the Constitutional Convention that’s being held on Wednesday. Here’s the calendar.

To bring us up to date since Mark Bail’s October 2015 post on the subject, advocates of the proposed amendment collected 155,000 signatures (way more than twice the number required) to submit the proposal to the legislature. The Joint Committee on Revenue held a hearing in January and gave the proposal a favorable report in February.

At the Constitutional Convention on Wednesday, the amendment needs a yes vote from 1/4 of the 200 legislators in order to advance. If that happens, another yes vote of 1/4 of legislators in 2017 or 2018 will put the amendment on the ballot in November 2018.

In legislative offices, operators are standing by to hear what you think.

Joke Revue: "Trump Promises Paul Ryan That He’ll Sound Slightly Less Like Hitler"

Borowitz:

Trump Promises Paul Ryan That He’ll Sound Slightly Less Like Hitler

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In what is being hailed as a productive closed-door meeting between two leaders of the Republican Party, Donald J. Trump promised House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday that he would try to sound slightly less like the former German Chancellor Adolf Hitler.

Speaking to reporters at the U.S. Capitol after the meeting, the presumptive G.O.P. nominee said that Ryan had expressed concern that so many of the billionaire’s public utterances were reminiscent of the Third Reich.

“Paul basically said, ‘Can you help me out here? Can you not sound like Hitler all the time?’” Trump said. “And I was like, ‘Paul, I can absolutely do that for you.’”

As an example, Trump said, “Instead of saying I am going to round up people based on their religion, I’ll say that’s just a suggestion. Just like that, I’m fifty per cent less Hitlerish.”

Trump acknowledged that the challenge for him will be to sound somewhat less like Hitler to please congressional Republicans while still sounding enough like Hitler to avoid alienating his key constituencies of Nazis and white supremacists. …

Daniel Kurtzman:

“Trump is still out there taking aim and most recently, Trump gave Bernie Sanders a nickname. Now we have Crazy Bernie, Lyin’ Ted, Little Rubio and Crooked Hillary — it’s like the Spice Girls.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“In an upcoming interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, Donald Trump tells her that although they’ve reconciled their feud, ‘this could happen again.’ Especially if Megyn Kelly continues to stubbornly insist on being a woman.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Donald Trump has been married three times. Attacking Hillary Clinton for having marital problems is like the pot calling the kettle black, or in Trump’s case, calling the kettles ‘the blacks.’ By the way, the kettles love him.” –Stephen Colbert

“A tow truck driver in Asheville, North Carolina, who supports Donald Trump evidently stranded a disabled woman on the side of the road after he saw a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker on her car. Telling the woman that she was obviously a socialist and that she should call the government for help, he then drove away on a road that I assume he paved himself.” –Stephen Colbert

“Donald Trump said his vice presidential pick might be one of his presidential rivals. When asked which one, Trump said, ‘I haven’t decided yet if it’s the liar, the loser, or the fat pig.’” –Conan O’Brien

“Donald Trump observed Cinco de Mayo. He posted this on Facebook, ‘Happy Cinco de Mayo! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!’ There you go. All is forgiven. He even built a little wall around the Mexican salad so it doesn’t get on his American desk.” –Jimmy Kimmel

A consequential court case: Political corruption to be redefined by the US Supreme Court

Because, after all, Massachusetts politicians from the Probation Department to the Speaker of the House, in recent memory, are such models of probity, what could possibly go wrong? - promoted by Bob_Neer

According to Harvey Silverglate, when US Attorneys like Carmen Ortiz are investigating state pols, Ortiz is really exceeding her authorization. Silverglate calls her regime Reign of Terror – inaccurately – and points out that the McDonnell case in front of the Supreme Court is liable to change the way all US Attorneys will be allowed to deal with state political corruption.

I suspect Silverglate is right about the fallout from the McDonnell case. And it’s a fairly big deal. It’s a consequential thing that’s liable to happen unbeknownst to many, with little following in the national or state press – with the impact being felt mostly in the states.

The effect to Massachusetts will be direct. We have the dubious distinction of having three House speakers convicted of felonies in federal court, and the fourth an unindicted co-conspirator. If it makes us feel better, we are not completely alone: Sheldon Silver, long time assembly speaker in New York state, was recently prosecuted by the office of Preet Bharara and found with millions of dollars in kickbacks and bribes.

Depending on the US Supreme Court decision in the McDonnell case, this oversight regime by the US Attorneys could come to an end.

If that happens, we should expect more things to go under cover and in the dark. What’ll be the incentive for the press to report shady things and corruption of state officials, if no one is left with legal standing to follow up the leads?

Sen. Bruce Tarr's Take on the Transgender Bill: Paperwork Can Resolve This Controversy

The State Senate is debating the transgender public accommodations bill tomorrow. And just in time, Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) has come up with a new approach. We don’t often think of the Senator as an advocate of increased governmental paperwork, but he can surprise.

The Senator’s idea is that if you have gone through a gender reassignment procedure you can have your birth certificate amended to reflect the change. And so simple — all it takes is an affidavit from you that you have (or once had) gender dissonance and an affidavit from your doctor that something was done about the problem. And voila, you can have a birth certificate that establishes a rebuttable presumption of your sincerely held gender identity. So the next time when you use the restroom in a public place, you’ll have your rebuttable presumption ready like everybody else and won’t have to worry about being hassled.

Progress in the new Massachusetts State Senate

Government matters. "This year, almost every week, 4 to 5 pieces of solid legislation are being debated and passed. This dramatic change in how the body is being run makes the State Senate an exciting, forward-looking institution today." - promoted by Bob_Neer

With the Legislature passing the halfway point of the 2016 legislative session (ending before the July 25th kickoff of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia), it’s important to take a moment and highlight key policy areas where the State Senate has taken the lead, reinforcing key themes set out by Senate President Stan Rosenberg and a majority of State Senators at the beginning of the 2015-2016 session.

I’m proud that the Senate is now not only a more inclusive, small-d democratic body, as explained by the Senate President in this WGBH interview last month, but I’m equally proud of how the Senate President’s decentralized leadership and long-term vision has translated into the pace of the State Senate. This year, almost every week, 4 to 5 pieces of solid legislation are being debated and passed. This dramatic change in how the body is being run makes the State Senate an exciting, forward-looking institution today.

Here are four critical policy areas that the Senate has tackled this session so far:

Inequality

The Senate passed the following bills to advocate for pay equity for women, improve worker’s compensation, create more opportunities for individuals with disabilities and better protect consumers from unwanted loan debt:

S.2119 An Act to establish pay equity

S.967 An Act relative to enhanced enforcement of civil penalties

S.983 An Act to establish pay equity

S.2033 An Act relative to fairness in worker’s compensation disfigurement benefits

S.2166 An Act relative to the hiring of persons with a disability

S.2194 An Act relative to unsolicited loans

Criminal Justice Reform

The Senate passed the following bills to remove a driver’s license suspension as a penalty for vandalism, increase the threshold for a theft to be classified as felony larceny, help people in correctional institutions better manage their finances and credit and expand pretrial services:

S.728 Removes License Suspension for Vandalism

S.795 An Act relative to adjusting the credit for nonpayment of fines

S.2176 An Act relative to larceny

S.2216 An Act relative to the use of community corrections for pre-trial detainees and criminal defendants

Education

The Senate passed the following bills to lift the cap on charter schools, expand physical education programs, and promote common-sense sex education in classrooms:

S.220 An Act enhancing reform, innovation and success in education

S.2061 An Act to promote quality physical education

S. 2062 An Act relative to healthy youth

Healthcare

The Senate passed the following bills to improve access to quality health care and medical treatment for rare diseases, raise the smoking age to 21 years old and ensure that all patients have confidential access to the health care they need:

S.2137 An Act relative to HIV-associated lipodystrophy syndrome treatment

S.2234 An Act to protect youth from the health risks of tobacco and nicotine addiction

S.2138 An Act to protect access to confidential healthcare

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in a Statistical Tie...... in Georgia!

Very early days. - promoted by Bob_Neer

AJC posted the latest state poll showing Clinton within 1.4% of Trump, well within the margin of error. Just how many states is Trump going to lose?

To Donald Trump,

Just keep doing what you are doing.

Take pointers from carpetbagger and two time loser Scott Brown, Makes sense.
Bankrupt the United States, bringing on a meltdown of the global economy. Why not?
Cut out payments for US troops abroad while allowing S. Korea and Japan to build up nuclear arsenals? Sure.

Keep it up!

Trump adopts Scott Brown's losing strategy

And like his loser role model, The Ignoramus may himself be just a few years away from pushing diet pills.

NYT:

Mr. Trump first teased Ms. Warren about her ancestry claims in an interview last summer with the New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, saying: “She’s caught a little wave. Perhaps it’s her Indian upbringing.” He has since repeated the mockery, calling Ms. Warren “the Indian” at a news conference in Washington earlier this year.

Utterly hilariously, bqhatevwr Brown claims that Warren was “drunk Tweeting” in her amusing Friday night takedown of the oaf.

Scott Brown for VP! He can start with youth outreach.