Eileen McNamara Eviscerates Charlie Baker

Click that link and read. McNamara's column absolutely crackles. If you think Baker is the guy to defend poor kids ... Just no. - promoted by charley-on-the-mta

On the WBUR site today she hit Baker with the op-ed equivalent of a top rope piledriver, detailing his terrible record of protecting children and lessening the overwhelming caseloads of DSS social workers. To be honest, my memory banks were so filled up with Baker’s role in the Big Dig debacle that I had forgotten the miserable job he had done on health and human services.

McNamara whipped out those Pulitzer skills to kick off her piece:

Charlie Baker is not the first politician to exploit the suffering of Massachusetts’ most vulnerable children for political gain, but he might well be the brashest.

It takes no small measure of nerve for a public official with a record of callous indifference to the plight of abused and neglected children to impugn the commitment of a woman who has spent her career championing their cause.

She goes on to detail reports that got ignored and appropriations for a supposed fix that never got spent. Got a feeling Baker won’t be sending the Commonwealth Future Independent Expenditure PAC any thank you cards for opening up this can of worms.

Quick hits on casinos and the Olympics

  • Counting cards while playing blackjack is not cheating.  It’s just smart strategy, like not hitting a 13 when the dealer shows a 6.  Yet local boy Ben Affleck was just informed that, because he has learned how to count cards, he is no longer welcome to play blackjack in certain Las Vegas casinos.  This is obviously another example of casinos unfairly stacking the deck (see what I did there?) against their customers.

    In the event that casino gambling goes forward in Massachusetts, the Mass. Gaming Commission should take a firm stand against this kind of outrageous behavior on the part of casinos.  It should insist that no player can be banned from the premises, or from playing any particular game, because of card-counting specifically, or because of any similar instance of a player getting “too good” at a game while staying within the rules.

  • In a related story, the latest WBUR poll has the pro-repeal forces closing to within 5 points (49-44), down from at least 10 in previous polls.  This one’s not over yet, folks.
  • As for the Olympics, it seems to me that if Boston is really going to bid, it should do so on Boston’s terms.  We are, after all, the cradle of liberty in America.  So it seems entirely sensible for Boston to refuse to go along with some of the International Olympic Committee’s more anti-freedom requirements suggestions.  Rather than repeating something like Boston’s shameful “free speech zone” episode at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, where protesters were tucked into an iron cage under the highway, any Boston Olympics bid should insist that none of the speech-limiting garbage that was reported during, say, the London 2012 Olympics, will be tolerated here.  Bostonians must be free to speak about, or against, the Olympics, just as they always have been on other topics.  Of course, the IOC won’t like it, and it might cost Boston the games.  But surely Marty Walsh isn’t going to sacrifice the free speech rights of his city’s people to a shadowy cabal like the IOC.  Right, Marty?

Politics makes strange bedfellows

Massachusetts native Charles Dudley Warner said it first, with a nod to Shakespeare (he also named the Gilded Age with Mark Twain, in the eponymous book, which described another period of extreme American inequality, at the turn of the nineteenth century, but I digress) and insiders O’Neill and Associates (“a new paradigm for the traditional lobbying business”) lay it bare.

On the one hand the firm, which trades on the contacts and name of its CEO former Lieutenant Governor Thomas P. O’Neill III, son of the former speaker of the House Thomas P. (“Tip”) O’Neill, represents ostensibly environmentally minded organizations like the Charles River Conservancy, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Head of the Charles (coming in 10 days, BTW!).

On the other hand, the No on 2 campaign that the firm is pimping publicizing against an expanded bottle bill (and in favor of parks and beaches littered with rubbish and millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidy to the beverage industry) was held up to ridicule last week as based on a pack of lies.

Members of the Charles River Conservancy, Environmental Defense Fund, and Head of the Charles should ask their boards if their PR dollars are best serving the causes for which those organizations solicit donations. In the meantime, Charles Dudley Warner’s aphorism can be succinctly answered: “money talks.”

Jon Keller (R-WBZ) starts the "debate" with a 30 second pro-Baker commercial.

Keller knew Baker was getting the first question, so he made a political statement, and then asked a question.
“The last couple of years of Governor Deval Patrick’s administration have been plagued by a range of managerial failures, costing lives and millions of dollars. Including oversight of compounding pharmacies, the health connector website, the roll out of medicinal marijuana dispensaries, and tragic errors at the Department of Children and families.”
You runnin’ for office there, Keller? He continued:
“Here’s my question: What went wrong with Executive Branch management, and how will you avoid similar embarrassments on your watch?”
John Keller starts the “debate” with a 30 second pro-Baker commercial.




Tonight! GUBERNATORIAL DEBATE: Live 7 p.m. on WBZ-TV, WBZ NewsRadio, and CBSBoston.com

This is your debate open thread! - promoted by david


Please, watch and post your thoughts.


Has anyone else here worked on an Olympic Bid? I have, here's five reasons Boston ain't getting the games

This is great stuff. Boston 2024, Mayor Walsh, and others interested in the topic, take note. - promoted by david

I did, for Chicago 2016 during my Mayoral Fellowship back in 2009. I rarely like to toot my own horn, but it was one of the most educating experiences I’ve had in my 25 years. Certainly one of the best public policy lessons.

So keep in mind five things:

1) The Host City and the IOC want completely different things

Marty Walsh goes all-in for Boston Olympics in 2024


Declaring that “it would be Boston leading the United States,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh gathered with Olympians and Paralympians Monday night as the city continues its press to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

“It’s an opportunity for us to plan what the future of Boston will look like,” Walsh said, noting that the Games would bring long-term benefits to the city’s infrastructure.

The mayor was assisted by members of the Boston 2024 Partnership, which is working to bring the Games to the city, in the event at Blazing Paddles restaurant, within walking distance of Boston’s best-known sports facility, Fenway Park.

Walsh also argued that hosting the Olympics would kick-start projects across the city by giving them a deadline.

In making his pitch Monday, Walsh said the city would establish a sustainable hosting plan that others could use to help bring down costs in the future. The mayor and Partnership also said Boston would bring awareness to issues such as global warming by focusing on them when developing facilities and transportation plans.

Ah, I see.  Spending billions of dollars on white elephant stadiums and on lavish perks for the grotesque members of the International Olympic Committee makes sense because … it’ll increase awareness about global warming?  That might be the worst argument I’ve heard yet.

Let’s get a couple of things clear.  First, the International Olympic Committee is one of the worst organizations in the world.  If we’re serious about an Olympic bid, it means we’re in bed with these guys for the next decade.  You thought Steve Wynn was bad?  You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.  The corruption attending casinos is small potatoes compared to what the IOC has managed over the years.

Second, the Olympics is a huge party thrown by and for (but not funded by) the 1%.  Yeah, there are a few sporting events that are fun to watch, but that’s not really what it’s about.  If you’re lucky, you might get a ticket in row ZZ to one of the second-string track and field events (not that there’s anything wrong with the hammer throw).  But rest assured, you won’t be at the finals of the gymnastics competition, nor will you be at any of the lavish cocktail parties.  The most you’ll probably get out of a Boston Olympics is a fistful of cash because you decided to leave town and were able to rent out your house at exorbitant rates to some visiting one-percenter who got the tickets that you couldn’t get.

Third, very recent events should serve as a warning that things haven’t changed much.  You might have heard that Oslo (Norway) recently withdrew its bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics (following the earlier withdrawals of Stockholm, Krakow, and Lviv (Ukraine)), citing among other things the lack of public support, the gargantuan price tag, and the hilariously over-the-top demands the IOC places on host countries.  The IOC has pushed back on the story about the demands, arguing that these are only “suggestions and guidance … on how to improve the games experience for all,” not requirements.  LOL.

Oslo’s withdrawal means that the only candidates left standing for the 2022 Games are Beijing and a place called Almaty in Kazakhstan.  It has not gone unnoticed that every location in which something like small-d democracy exists has taken itself out of the bidding.

Those who want a Boston Olympics will no doubt argue that Boston needs to upgrade its public transit system, and committing ourselves to the Olympics is the only way to guarantee that we’ll actually do it.  I find that argument to be pathetic.  If everyone agrees that we need to fix the MBTA, then maybe we should just do it.

Mayor Walsh said that a Boston Olympics is “an opportunity for us to plan what the future of Boston will look like.”  Gee, Marty, you’re the Mayor.  Shouldn’t you be doing that anyway?

I Have Seen The Light! We Cannot Allow Charlie Baker and His Welducci Crew To Take Back Control Of The State and All Its Business. The Gaming Commission is Great Example of How These People Work

- promoted by Bob_Neer

The other day I ate some hallucinogenic plants and stepped into an isolation chamber a la Altered States. I saw things like I never did before. All at once everything became clear. Everything.

And then I talked to God. I know, God. So I asked Him a question. “God,” I said, “What d ya think, Martha or Charlie?”

And God answered with no uncertain terms. He laid it all out. His Light shone upon me. It was beautiful. Suddenly I knew what God knew thanks to the shrooms and isolation tank.

But then I awoke in Mass General hooked up to all kinds of machines and not remembering a damn thing God said or anything else that happened after our chat. What’s worse is nobody will tell me what I did and how I got there. In fact nobody will even look me in the eye.


Anyway, I was just waiting in line for my chicken parm sub and it hit me. What a fool I’ve been,

We have to get Martha elected. She has to beat Charlie Baker. Now I can hear all you Bmgers in falsetto voices saying, “Exactly Ernie, you now see Martha gets it on the environment, education, women’s rights, and all the things progressives stand for.”

Wrong MassPirg breath!

This casino thing is showcasing the old gang and the disreputable types they don’t mind hanging around with. When Bill Weld calls Charlie Baker for a favor for Steve Tocco or Jim Kerosotis or who knows who else…well…what’s he gonna say?

Sticky notes from Hong Kong

Striking photos from the popular protests in Hong Kong:

Hong Kong Central & Western districts October 2014

Same-sex marriage just quietly became legal in a lot of states

Same-sex marriage just became legal in Utah.  And Oklahoma.  And a bunch of other seemingly unlikely places.

This morning, the Supreme Court denied review of several closely-watched cases in which same-sex marriage had been declared legal despite state laws banning it.  In each of the cases, the lower court order legalizing same-sex marriage was on hold pending the Supreme Court’s decision whether to take up the issue.  Now that the Supreme Court has refused to weigh in, the lower court orders go into effect, and same-sex marriage is now legal (or soon will be as soon as some technicalities are resolved) in all states encompassed by the three federal appeals court circuits (the 4th, 7th, and 10th) whose orders were at issue.

According to the pro-marriage equality group Freedom To Marry, today’s events will result in same-sex marriage becoming legal in 30 states encompassing roughly 60% of the American population.  Per the same group, the states that can now expect to see marriage equality in short order despite state laws banning it are: Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

The Supreme Court may well still weigh in – there are marriage cases pending before a couple of other federal appeals courts, and they could come out the other way, which would pretty much require the Supreme Court to resolve the conflict.  But what happened today makes it much more likely that, fairly soon, same-sex marriage will be legal nationwide.

Why?  Think about it this way.  Four votes are required for the Supreme Court to take a case.  That means that, if they wanted to, the “conservative” Justices – Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito – could have required the Court to accept any of these cases.

But they didn’t.  Probably, they didn’t because they don’t think they have the five votes needed for the case to come out the way they want it to, which means they think Justice Kennedy is prepared to recognize a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry.

And, as a practical matter, the Court’s action today means that, by the time the case does finally arrive at the Supreme Court (if it ever does), thousands of same-sex couples in the 10 states listed above will be married, will have kids, will have gotten their affairs in order based on the lower courts’ actions permitting them marry legally.  Undoing those arrangements would be terribly disruptive, and would bring the Supreme Court’s already somewhat shaky public reputation into further question.  Honestly, I don’t see it happening.

A lot of this is tea-leaf reading, which is notoriously hazardous when it comes to the Supreme Court.  But one thing is clear: a whole lot more people just got marriage rights today.  And that’s an unalloyed good thing.

Coakley for Governor: The Small Differences That Matter

Noteworthy. - promoted by david

What’s this election really about?

We’ve taken to calling it 16YORG: 16 years of Republican governors.

That’s an unacceptable risk. If Baker gets in, are we ready for another 16 years? That would bring us out to 2030.

As noted, I understand the frustration with the candidates. The differences between Coakley and Baker don’t seem to be the yawning chasm that we’d like. But in the immortal words of Donald Rumsfeld, you go to war with the army you have.

Let’s look at the differences. They’re important.(All quotes from the respective issues pages.)

Coakley’s issues page.

Baker’s issues page.

Coakley on Jobs and Economy

Providing earned sick time so that no employee is forced to choose between keeping their job and caring for their health, or the health of a loved one. Today, nearly 1 million workers in Massachusetts, many of them low-wage workers and women, don’t have a single day of earned sick time; extending earned sick time to these workers will increase productivity and reduce income inequality.

Baker’s economic plan:

Charlie will not raise taxes, period. He will work to reform a tax code that has grown overly complicated – benefiting only special interests while harming workers, families, and small businesses.
Gas Tax
Charlie opposes the automatic gas tax hike supported by his opponents. Charlie will demand accountability and transparency from Beacon Hill, forcing the legislature to publicly cast their votes before increasing any taxes that affect workers, small business, and the economic future of Massachusetts.
Welfare Reform
By investing in measures to get people back to work and give them the tools to achieve economic stability, and by stopping abuse, welfare can be reformed so that it provides a true safety net for those who need it. Charlie has announced a series of welfare reform priorities to help people achieve economic independence, support parents and families, ensure the integrity of the program and prevent abuse.

Winner: Coakley. Does Baker really think welfare reform will stimulate the economy? And by the way his plan also raises the work requirement age from 60 to 66.

Coakley on gun control

Why does Ed Markey need $30,000 more than he needed yesterday?

Today, another chapter in our ongoing series of “Why Is Ed Markey Constantly Begging For Money He Doesn’t Really Need?”

First, the basics.  As you are well aware, Ed Markey’s is one of the safest Democratic Senate seats in the country.  Nate Silver gives him a >99% chance of being reelected.  Nobody knows who the guy running against him is – the two polls I’m aware of that have polled the race shows that Markey’s opponent, Brian what’s-his-name, is unknown to the vast majority of voters, and that Markey wins the head-to-head running away (53-27 in one, 54-30 in the other).

Despite all of that, Markey’s fundraising emails arrive almost every day, each of them imploring us to send him money, lest the Senate fall into Republican hands (without ever actually saying that his seat is in danger, because he knows as well as anyone that it isn’t).  Here’s one from yesterday:

November is fast approaching, and for Democrats across the country, it’s not looking good. The Washington Post, the New York Times, Nate Silver, and others are predicting a likely Republican takeover in the Senate.

The GOP only needs to pick up six seats to gain the majority in the Senate. We can’t let that happen.

Forecasters are giving the GOP the edge. We need to work harder than ever between now and Election Day, and that’s going to take resources — can you get us $5 closer to our $16O,OOO October goal? …

We need to raise $16O,OOO in October to keep fighting. Help us out with a $5 contribution.

That’s $16O,OOO with a letter “O,” by the way, not the number “0.”  I still don’t get that.

Anyway, here’s what I got today:

The Washington Post is giving Republicans a 77% chance of taking over the Senate this November….

Whatever else happens on November 4th, we need to take care of business here in Massachusetts. To finish this race strong, we need to raise $19O,OOO in October — get us $5 closer to our goal now.

Wait, wait – why the $30,000 raise for October?  Did something happen between yesterday and today to dramatically change the nature of the race here in Massachusetts?  Did Markey commit some epic gaffe, or did ol’ what’s-his-name say or do something so remarkable, such that the outcome of this race is suddenly in doubt?

I’m pretty sure the answer is no.  It just looks to me like Markey got even greedier for campaign cash.  Ugh.