Hillary Clinton comes out against Keystone.

Impressive statement by Clinton. - promoted by Bob_Neer

Today for the first time she publicly stated her opposition, having previously remained mum in order to let the administration continue the process she was involved in starting.  She said she thought the decision would have been made by now, but feels she could no longer wait.  Unfortunately, many of the Democratic “tea party” that had used this as a litmus test rather than celebrating that she agrees with them is instead saying things like too little, too late and doubting her sincerity.  She instead wants to repair existing pipeline infrastructure so they don’t spring so many dangerous leaks.

Mass pension system blows $500 million by ignoring collapse in fossil fuel stocks

D'oh! - promoted by Bob_Neer

The Massachusetts public pension system — with $61 billion — has been refusing for years to look at the question of fossil fuel divestment on the grounds that selling fossil fuel stock would be a violation of fiduciary duty. Now it turns out that by hanging on to oil, coal, and gas they have managed to lose $521 million in just twelve months. That’s $10 million a week — down the drain. My estimates are that each member of the system has about $300,000 backing up his or her retirement in which case this loss equals the total retirement funds of 1,400 workers.

I spoke this morning to the investment staff at the pension system, and they could not say whether they have ever given the question of climate risk a moment’s thought. Now THAT is a breakdown of fiduciary duty.

Donald Trump (peace be upon him) shows his character

Trump’s tacit acceptance of the premise of his New York questioner in a New Hampshire question and answer session last week — that President Obama is a Muslim and not an American, and that Muslim Americans are, in general, a threat — sums up in a nutshell the thesis of his campaign: to seek the nomination on the backs of the worst of America. Washington Post:

“We have a problem in this country — it’s called Muslims,” the man said. “We know our current president is one.”

To this, Trump responded, “right.”

The man continued: “You know he’s not even an American — birth certificate, man!”

“We need this question, this is the first question,” Trump responded with nervous laughter.

“We have training camps growing where they want to kill us,” the man said. “That’s my question. When can we get rid of them?”

Trump responded by steering clear of the question entirely and giving a vague catch-all statement before quickly calling for another question.

It’s worth watching the exchange, and Fox’s segue into McCain’s defense of Obama when asked a similar question in the 2012 race:

Trump’s campaign followed up on the story with this statement to the Washington Post: “The media wants to make this issue about Obama. The bigger issue is that Obama is waging war against Christians in this country. Their religious liberty is at stake.”

This approach is why Trump (peace be upon him) is unlikely to win the nomination: ignorant racists and religious bigots comprise a fraction of the electorate, but not enough to carry the general election, and probably not even the GOP nomination. Still, it’s a strong character statement.

Terrified MBTA passengers: "DROP THE GUN"

What the hell is wrong with people? Is this what police training calls for? - promoted by charley-on-the-mta

According to published reports, an armed MBTA police officer drew a gun on a crowded bus while attempting to subdue an unarmed woman:

A Massachusetts transit police officer was caught on video hitting an unarmed woman with a baton and drawing his firearm in a crowded bus as onlookers yelled for him to “drop the gun.”

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Police Department says it is investigating the video posted to Facebook Friday, which occurred in Dudley Square in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood earlier that day.

Watch the video (permissions prohibit me from embedding it) and see for yourself. The MBTA claims that the beginning of the altercation is not recorded. So be it.

What I see and hear is a police officer striking a woman multiple times. The apparent effect (not surprisingly) is to aggravate the encounter. At about 0:38 into the altercation, the officer draws his weapon. The terrified crowd begins to yell “Drop the gun”. The officer holsters his weapon at 1:13.

I note that the officer and woman (as well as most of the onlookers) are black, so at last this is not another example of racist police violence.

Why do we continue to tolerate police officers who worsen already tense situations by threatening lethal violence? The bus was stationary and stopped in a busy MBTA station. Backup was on its way.

At best, this video shows a police officer taking actions that worsen, rather than calm, an encounter with an unarmed woman. When that officer unholstered his weapon, he immediately jeopardized the lives of the many bystanders on the bus.

There is no excuse for this behavior from our police. We should not tolerate it.

Dead kids in MA.

I”m still reading through the new report “Out of the shadows” from the New England Center for Investigative Reporting (a joint project of BU and WGBH). It’s a wretched story, and a real indictment of our entire political culture’s inability and unwillingness to protect the most vulnerable. Dead children. Kids that ought to be alive today, growing up and learning and enjoying life. And we didn’t help them. We didn’t do enough, simple as that.

William is one of at least 110 children 17 and younger whose deaths were linked to abuse and neglect between 2009 and 2013 in Massachusetts, a third of whom had at some point been under the watch of the state Department of Children and Families. Many others were likely known to the state but never subject to DCF supervision. The rest died without ever having a chance at state protection.

Records obtained by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting show that the vast majority of the dead were under the age of three, beaten, drowned, smothered or otherwise abused or neglected by caretakers. And their numbers have steadily increased, records show, from 14 reported abuse and neglect deaths in 2009 to 38 in 2013 – and state officials say numbers will likely remain elevated when the 2014 death toll is made public.

Now, if you look at some of the stories, it’s not clear that you could have expected DCF intervention to save them. But the story of low-prioritization — from the state’s management of DCF, to funding, and now to the Baker administration’s staffing cuts — is pretty damned devastating:

The state keeps shoddy data on child deaths and its child fatality review system is crippled by lack of funds and resources. The New England Center found 10 children who were not included in state data even though their deaths were ruled to be homicide and, in most cases, parents or other caretakers were implicated.

The number that jumps out at me is the 92,000 abuse complaints that DCF handled in 2014. That’s astonishing, isn’t it?

With the results we’ve been getting, it’s time for a complete rethink of how we support vulnerable families and the children who inevitably catch the absolute worst of a bad situation. Data, management, staffing, mental health and addiction support — and inevitably, funding — all need to be rethought. Children being killed is unacceptable, and avoidable.

The Elephant in the Room at the Convention

To me, a striking dichotomy is that Mass. Dems Chair Tom McGee elects not to criticize Baker, while emails sent out by the Mass. Dems aggressively try to call him out for penny-ante stuff like attending GOP gatherings in other states. Weird. - promoted by david

As Democrats Target GOP, Baker Escapes Criticism” — Boston Globe

At State Convention: Mass. Dems Focus National, Tread Lightly on Baker’s Beacon Hill” — WGBH


During most of the speeches at the convention yesterday, I was tabling in the hall for Raise Up with Progressive Massachusetts (If you’d like to volunteer–which hopefully you do–you can sign up here), rather than sitting and watching the speakers. Following the speeches on Twitter, however, I began to notice a striking absence: direct criticism of Charlie Baker, our Republican governor.

When I decided to take a break from tabling for the day and head into the auditorium, I listened to party chair Tom McGee criticize anti-union Republican governors in other states (like Wisconsin), without so much as mentioning the anti-union governor in our own state. To my memory, McGee did not even mention Charlie Baker once in his speech.

I turned to a friend of mine and asked, “Have any of the speakers criticized Charlie Baker by name?” She paused for a moment to think: “Nope.”

Live blogging the convention from Springfield...

  - promoted by david

Have at it in the comments folks!

Convention Guide

  - promoted by david

The Massachusetts State Convention is in Springfield on Friday and Saturday. On Friday there are no formal sessions but an opportunity to gather.

I hope that you find this helpful. I try to get the schedule information listed upfront so that you can have a quick summary handy. The Convention is always a fun opportunity to connect with people and to conduct the business of the Democratic Party. As with any large event, be prepared to be patient. A few years ago I heard some complaints from some new delegates who thought that breakfast would be a little more substantial than they got. So the next year I mentioned that the breakfasts were a great place to meet folks and hear candidates and grab a bagel or a glass of juice, but if you want bacon and eggs, eat at home or go to a restaurant. So I get to the convention and of course that year we have bacon and eggs! Years ago on Friday evening people would wave pieces of paper at me saying, “I’ve got the Dispatch right here.” Then they started waving smart phones at me. Last year a friend said to me, “I printed out the schedule from the Dispatch in Braille!” 

9/18 6:00pm Congressman Neal, The Fort, 8 Fort Street
9/18 8:00pm Young Dems of Mass, Smith’s Billiards, Worthington Street, $10 suggested
9/18 8:30pm Host Committee, Mass Mutual Center
9/18 9:00pm Latino Party, Biergarten, 1600 Main Street
9/19 8:00am AFL-CIO with Senator Markey. Grand Ballroom
9/19 8:00am Democrats for Education Reform. Room #3; Featured speaker Sheriff Steven Tompkins
9/19 07:30am Registration and exhibits open
9/19 09:15am Convention called to order – opening ceremonies
9/19 01:00pm Breakout sessions A
9/19 02:00pm Breakout sessions B
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Sen. Ed Markey
Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin
Attorney General Maura Healey
Treasurer Deb Goldberg
Auditor Suzanne Bump
House Speaker Bob DeLeo
AFL-CIO President Steve Tolman
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh
Newton Mayor Setti Warren
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean for Hillary Clinton
Boston City Councilor Matt O’Malley for Martin O’Malley
Mass. nurse/co-president of National Nurses United Karen Higgins for Bernie Sanders

Jeb Bush can't come up with an American woman for the $10 bill; instead proposes ruler of country that actually invaded the US

Image via @Number10cat

Honestly, I think this is borderline disqualifying for the presidency.  Asked last night about which woman should be featured on a redesigned $10 bill, the answers ranged from the legitimate (Rosa Parks) to the silly (Ivanka Trump).  But one stood out for its outrageousness: Jeb Bush’s, who suggested former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

Has there ever been a more offensive suggestion?  American currency is for Americans, folks.  And if you’re not going to propose an American (John Kasich also went rogue by proposing Mother Teresa), you assuredly had better not go with the former prime minister of a country from whose yoke of oppression our Founding Fathers waged a revolution to free themselves!  And let us not forget that British invaders actually set fire to the White House.  Yet Jeb Bush wants a ruler of that barbaric nation on our $10 bill.  Heck, why not replace George Washington with King George III on the $1 bill while we’re at it?  The mind boggles.

My tongue is somewhat in my cheek for this, but in all seriousness, I think it’s astonishing that a candidate for the presidency of the United States couldn’t come up with an American woman to grace the $10 bill.

California mandates 50% renewable energy by 2030

Bumped, for glory. - promoted by Bob_Neer

VoteSolar.org reported on 9/11: (Environmental Defense Fund has it here)

Awesome news from the Golden State! California lawmakers just passed SB 350, which will increase the amount of renewable resources powering the state to 50 percent and double the energy efficiency of existing buildings by 2030. The bill now goes to Governor Brown, who is expected to sign SB 350 into law. This is a bold move that raises the clean energy bar for our state, our country, and our world.

Massachusetts should follow the Golden State and pass similar legislation. Oil prices are low now, but it is a finite resource, and we should be preparing ourselves for a renewable energy future. Equally important, or maybe even more important, we import almost all (or all?) of our fossil fuels, but our leadership in education, research, and high technology can allow us to build green energy jobs in the Bay State.

Charlie Card expirations -- another consumer ripoff

This does utterly suck. What rubbish. It wouldn't happen if the T was quasi-privatized and listed on the stock exchange where it could access private capital and be professionally managed -- with the state holding a controlling stake. - promoted by Bob_Neer

The MBTA has ripped me off to the tune of $6.00. I can certainly afford the loss, but many of those who depend on the T can’t. And, quite frankly, it was not so long ago that Massachusetts came down hard — correctly — on retailers who did the similar shenanigans with gift cards.

How many of you knew that:
1. Charlie cards expire
2. There is no expiration date printed on the card
3. There is no notification when the card is about to expire
4. The process for recovering money on an expired card seems designed to make it effectively impossible.

Here’s my experience. I’ve kept a Charlie Card in my wallet for as long as they’ve existed. I generally “charge” it up to about $20, and refresh it at the machines (in every stop) when it’s empty. On my last trip, when I attempted to use it (at the Arlington stop on the Green Line), the gate made it’s “Sorry Charlie” noise. Assuming that it had again run out of money, I attempted to add another $20. The machine notified me that it was expired.

Fortunately, an attendant was nearby. She immediately handed me a new card, and was very helpful. I asked her when it expired, and she used a special code (available only to T employees) to unlock the machine so that it could display information about my old card. It is, in fact, expired — and has six dollars and change on it.

Here is what the CharlieCard Expiration FAQ says about recovering the value from an expired Charlie Card:

Stored value can be transferred at the CharlieCard Store located adjacent to the Red and Orange Lines in Downtown Crossing, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Expired Senior CharlieCards and TAP CharlieCards can also be renewed at the CharlieCard Store. Cards can also be mailed to:

Comedy LIVE! Liveblogging tonight's RNC debate

Donald Trump (peace be upon him). Great write-up! - promoted by Bob_Neer

-Off we go then.  First impressions and introductions: the guy selling red ties in the parking lot must have made a killing.  Weird camera angle on Jake Tapper.  Huckabee calls his group the “A-Team”…it’s another group with only one minority, of which none could connect on a shot to save their life.  Ted Cruz remembers his family fleeing “oppression” to come to America.  He was born in Calgary.  Carly Fiorina says her story “from secretary to CEO” is only possible in this nation.   Because only America has female CEOs.  Kasich is trying so hard to act like a human it’s kinda sweet.

-Opening bell.  “Carly Fiorina, would you feel comfortable with Donald Trump’s finger on the nuclear button?”  She plays cool, and Tapper begs her to attack him.  DAMMIT Carly, we changed the rules to get into the debate so you would play attack dog!  If you’re not gonna attack him, what’s the point of you being here?

Donald Trump (peace be upon him), seizes the opportunity to declare that Rand Paul has no business being on stage, and 11 debaters is too many anyway.  Rand Paul calls Trump “sophomoric” and “in junior high”, and Trump proves him right by slyly attacking Rand Paul’s looks.  Meanwhile, Jeb Bush is trying so hard to pretend Donald Trump isn’t on stage with him.  Chris Christie says he can fix this country, and offers as proof over 400 vetoes of legislation as governor.