Indy McCormick Goes for Gov.

promoted by Bob_Neer

Following a recent post here linking to chats with three Dem candidates for MA governor, a comment asked about the independents. The first Left Ahead did was today with Jeff McCormick.

Click below to hear the half hour with him. In addition, he recently appeared at Suffolk Law’s Rappaport Center roundtable. His 13-minute self-intro there appears as a video on Suffolk’s site here.

My diary draws on both his chat today and on the roundtable.

Not Mitt

First, there are bound to be the obvious comparisons with Willard Mitt Romney. McCormick too has been very successful in MA as a venture capitalist (21 years with his Saturn Partners). Very much unlike Romney, he grew up blue-collar in upstate NY, to college on scholarships, and did not have a rich, politically and corporate connected father. He claims to have arrived in Boston with $800 to make his fortune, which he did. Unlike Romney, there is no delusion when he says he’s self-made.

Superficially, McCormick was a lacrosse champion in HS and at Syracuse. He has a chin that could be a weapon and a great jawline. Those are important only in that they serve to reinforce his self-confidence and well-thought-out positions. I never for a moment felt he was jiving me.

Voters and donors have not been kind to independent gubernatorial candidates here. The few original governors came to office before parties, but maybe only Henry Gardner in 1855 fit the category. Although, as part of the Know-Nothing Movement, he was sort of in a party and managed to beat a popular Whig by a landside.

At the moment, McCormick figures he can appeal to enough voters, particularly the 53% of unenrolled ones. He seems to think it might not be as hard as some of his professional accomplishments. When asked about whether he’s hitting the public meetings and diners, he’s in his element. “I’m really comfortable in diners, much more than in ballrooms,” he said. “I can relate to just about anyone.”

Today on Mulligan's Island: Judge Thurston Saylor IV is Helping to Turn the Three Hour Tour on the S.S. Probation Trial into a Shipwreck

You really should read the story about yesterday's courtroom shenanigans. Amazing. - promoted by david

sung to the “Gilligan’s Island” Theme Song

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip.

That started from the jealousies of the S.J.C.

The commissioner was a savvy man, his top aide tried and true. If not for the pleas from judges and pols, probation would be doomed, probation would  be doomed.

With Mulligan,

Fred Wyshak too.

A guy named Ware,

and his lies.

A Federal Judge!

And The Senate Prez and Bobby D.

Here on Mulligan’s Island

The End


Really, this Probation thing is a disgrace. Read the latest via Commonwealth Magazine. And this from David Boer.i


BBJ Exposes MGC

Revere votes tomorrow on whether to invite Mohegan Sun into their town. Disclosure: I am working with the Repeal The Casino Deal legal team. - promoted by david

If you haven’t seen this and you aren’t outraged… aren’t paying attention.

A Boston Business Journal analysis of credit card statements and reimbursement reports has spotlighted repeated instances of lavish employee spending since the commission’s inception two years ago. The expenditures, which have been criticized by a state watchdog and at least one casino-license applicant, include dozens of charges at luxury hotels and top-rated restaurants in major cities throughout the world. Other outlays include millions in payments to international gaming consultants.

Unlike other state agencies, the gaming commission has operated without formal guidelines on the amounts and types of personal spending and travel permitted among its employees. In many documented cases the commission’s employees have flouted the agency’s own $71-per-day recommendations when it comes to meals expenses incurred on the job.

Some of those same gaming officials have had tens-of-thousands in airfare, meals and hotel costs covered by the largest casino operators in the world, the same multinational companies that are vying for a select number of licenses to operate in the wealthy state of Massachusetts. (Subscription needed for remaining article.)

Other media outlets have picked up on this exceptional investigative journalism by Craig Douglas, BBJ Managing Editor, Online & Research.  Outrage is spreading across the state as people begin to realize the unbridled abuse of the public trust that is unfolding.

The greatest obstacle to a progressive Massachusetts..

Great topic. - promoted by david

Well, with endorsement season a bit underway, I’d like to ask supporters of the various gubernatorial candidates one question I’ve already mooted in comments elsewhere: how would your candidate deal with the greatest obstacle to a progressive Massachusetts? That is of course being our legislature. (Sure, there are Republicans out there, but they’re generally toothless.) As much as I like what many candidates are saying, I have a sinking feeling many of their good ideas have about as much chance of getting through the State House as good federal ideas have of getting through Congress. Witness what happened when Deval Patrick, a governor of several years’ incumbency, tried to put a progressive budget before the Legislature last year. Pretty much D.O.A. With these “Democrats” clogging up the works, are we better off with an insider moderate than a destined-for-frustration progressive? Can we have both?

So fans of Avellone, Berwick, Coakley, and Grossman: how will their progressive ideas get through the Legislature? What experiences or skills do they have that will grant them better luck than Patrick, Romney, et al, in making a mark from the Corner Office?

Kate's Endorsement for Governor - Martha Coakley

Oooh look! An endorsement that could actually matter! :-) - promoted by david

We’re halfway through the caucus process and I have made my decision on my candidate for Governor. It seems presumptuous to think that people care but some have been asking me so I decided to share my thoughts with fellow activists here on BMG.

As many here know, I have been volunteering for the Democratic Party, our candidates and issues for more than thirty years. I’ve worked with a number of you supporting progressive candidates from Jamie Eldridge to Elizabeth Warren and more. I am especially proud of my work for Deval Patrick and care deeply about who will succeed him.

I am proud to support Martha Coakley for Governor. She is a leader in a strong group of candidates. She stands out as the candidate with a record of accomplishment as an elected official. She is a progressive candidate who has stood up for progressive causes in challenging DOMA, taking on Wall Street and working to fight climate change.

Making The Innovation Economy Work for Everyone

Interesting topic. - promoted by david

One of the reasons I ran for City Council, and one of the reasons I’m running for Lt. Governor, is because I saw how the new economy wasn’t benefiting everyone equally. The team at Bostinno — a news website covering Boston’s startup scene — asked me to write an op-ed on some of those thoughts.

I wanted to make sure the community here saw it, too. I cross-posted it below the jump.

On fake sports

In honor of today's controversial result in women's figure skating, in which a relatively inexperienced Russian skater beat out defending Olympic gold medalist Yuna Kim despite Kim's flawless program (Putin must be so pleased! What a coincidence!), I'm bumping up this post that I wrote eight years ago at about this time. I still think I'm right. :-)

Which of the following popular Olympic sporting events is not like the others:

A.  Downhill skiing

B.  Halfpipe (freestyle skiing)

C.  Luge

D.  Speed skating

The correct answer is B, the halfpipe.  Why?  Because it’s not a real sport.  In real sports, the winner is determined by objective criteria – fastest, longest, heaviest, whatever.  But in the halfpipe, and in all “judged” events, the winner is determined by allegedly “expert” judges who decide who they thought did the best job.  These judges often don’t agree with each other, or with the viewing public, and they are famously subject to improper influences.  Judges in sports are supposed to enforce the rules, not decide the winners.  If the judges decide who wins, it may be a competition, but it’s not a sport.

Am I suggesting that participants in judged events are not real athletes?  Of course not – figure skaters like Michelle Kwan [2014 update: and skaters like Gracie Gold] and snowboarders like Shaun White [2014 update: and freestyle skiers like David Wise] are spectacularly talented athletes.  But the Olympics are supposed to be about winning because you are the best, not because some judge decided you were the best.  If a “sport” is not susceptible of the former kind of victory, it shouldn’t be in the Olympics.

Of course, judged events will never be removed from the Olympics.  The beloved figure skating events are the biggest draw in the entire Winter Olympics lineup, and we have to have events like the made-in-America halfpipe so that Americans are guaranteed to win at least a couple of gold medals. [/cynic]  But I think that’s too bad.

Don Berwick is a classy guy and deserves a listen here:

Welcome back, Edgar! - promoted by david

As some of you may know, I am not a member of the progressive community.  But I respect the judgments of dear friends like Dr. Dave Nicholas of Virginia who was a colleague of Dr. Berwick for many years.  Dave was our Peace Corps doctor in Niger 50 years ago;  he, too, is a person of enormous good will and like Don has devoted his career to improving the lives of all of us.

Free the T

Excellent topic. Discuss. - promoted by david

If you ride the T, you already know this: decades of underfunding are really starting to take a toll on the level of service.  The red line is essentially always delayed, and even previously more reliable lines are now delayed on a regular basis.

The T is crucial to Greater Boston’s economy. And it’s dying of neglect.

Rather than subject this critical resource to more of the same, let’s rethink it: make the T free.

It’s reasonable to assume that a free ride on the T will change people’s calculations about how to get somewhere, and that ridership will increase as traffic decreases.  The environmental benefits alone make this worth doing, but it has other benefits as well.  Without dependable service, the T will stop being seen as a viable option, which will erode public support for funding, which will lead to a downward spiral where only people with no other options take an increasingly unreliable public transportation system.  This will kill Downtown Boston as it has killed the downtowns of so many cities without viable public transportation.  And if you’re going to locate your company in a suburban office park with no public transportation, why not do it in North Carolina where the rents and utilities are cheaper?

On the other hand, free MBTA service means a significant incentive for more people to choose the T. And the larger the ridership, the larger and more important the pool of public transportation advocates becomes.

Removing the Stigma of Substance Abuse

Joe Avellone is a Democratic candidate for Governor. Welcome to BMG! - promoted by david

UPDATE: Big apologies to the folks at Bostinno, where this post first appeared.

Bill grew up in a hardworking middle class family in Massachusetts. His parents provided for his every need and enrolled him in private school where he was a successful athlete and on the honor roll.

At a friend’s house during his freshman year in high school, he and his friends stole Percocet, a powerful pain medication from his friend’s parent’s medicine cabinet.

Within in three months, he was addicted and taking painkillers on a daily basis.  He started buying the powerful painkiller Oxycotin on the street and stealing money from his parents.  He stopped playing sports and barely graduated high school. Within a year of graduating from high school, he was sniffing heroin and entered his first rehab. Over the next several years his addiction worsened; he eventually began injecting heroin and contracted Hepatitis C as a result. He has spent the last few years bouncing from jail to rehabilitation facilities.

Sadly, this story is a composite of thousands of true stories around our Commonwealth.

For years, Massachusetts has struggled with the growing problem of substance abuse. Illicit drugs such as heroin and painkillers have brought devastation to our families, communities and individual lives. It is time that we put an end to the spread of substance abuse and it starts by how we treat it.

In Massachusetts, we currently treat substance abuse as a criminal issue. This will stop in my administration. We need to start to treat substance abuse as a public health issue. When we focus on addiction and substance abuse as a disease, we can start to lay the foundation to stop it from spreading, just like halting the spread of a virus.

Our state leads the nation in healthcare services and research, and yet we have the 6th highest rate in the United States of drug users under the age of 18. Data suggests that as many as 10% of our children in Massachusetts are using illicit drugs.

This past week, I proposed creating an Office of Recovery.  We need an office that is solely designated to coordinating with local detox and rehabilitation facilities so every person can easily find immediate treatment.

As Governor, I will highlight the issue of substance abuse and addiction in our Commonwealth. I will work to lessen the stigma of this illness and open our minds to it as a health problem. Only then will widespread education and other measures be effective and only then will many of our fellow citizens who suffer from addiction and drug abuse seek and obtain the treatment they need.

We as a Commonwealth need to be proactive, not reactive. It is a moral and economic imperative that Massachusetts leads the way on an Office of Recovery. As Governor, I will lead our efforts to removing the stigma of substance abuse and together we will stop this epidemic and keep Bill and tens of thousands of our children out of jail, rehab or the morgue.

Progressive Massachusetts Asked the MA-Gov Candidates Some Questions. Which Ones Didn't They Answer?

An interesting read! - promoted by david

Two weeks ago, Progressive Massachusetts released the results of its candidate surveys. The organization sent a questionnaire to the candidates for each of the four statewide races this year: Governor, Lt Governor, Attorney General, and Treasurer. The questionnaire covered jobs & the economy, education, health care, housing, and revenue & taxation.

Four out of the five Democrats responded: Don Berwick, Martha Coakley, Steve Grossman, and Juliette Kayyem. Joe Avellone did not.

When reading through the survey responses, I was caught by the number of hedges. The survey had many simple Yes or No questions to which candidates responded with neither a Yes nor a No.

Below, I’ve included all but one of the Yes/No questions for a side-by-side comparison. I left out the housing question because all of them agreed (“Yes”) and the bulk of that section consisted of written responses.

I’d recommend reading the full responses (See the above link) for the written portions, but the info below will give you a taste.

The UAW Wants Your Guns and Other Lessons from the Volkswagen Unionizing Vote

The extent and scale of right-wing nut jobbery in this incident was truly startling - and, considering the recent track record of the GOP, that is saying quite a lot. - promoted by david

These days there is very little journalism than covers labor issues. No one is talking about it. Like collective bargaining itself, news concerning labor is scarce. Tennessee workers’ rejection of the unionization of a Volkswagen plant is one of the few times we even hear about organizing workers. From a publicity point of view, this is a good thing.

Once upon a time, such was not the case. Labor leaders were well-known. People knew who Samuel Gompers and George Meany were. Walter Reuther, president of the United Auto Workers, was one of Time Magazines most influential people of the 20th century. There was plenty of racism in unions, particularly in union locals, but Reuther was a friend an staunch supporter of Martin Luther King. Reuther even co-chaired the March on Washington with A. Philip Randolph, president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and vice president of the AFL-CIO. Today, CEO’s are lionized, and labor is marginalized. How many people even know who Richard Trumka is? Any news is good news.

The UAW is, In the words of its president Bob King, “deeply disappointed” about the result of the unionization  vote at the Volkswagen plant in Tennessee. Workers voted 712-626 against joining the union. Much has been made about the fact that Volkswagen was not opposed to, even encouraged, the formation of the union. A majority of workers at the plant Typically, it is employers that run a campaign of misinformation and intimidation against workers, but in the case of Volkswagen, Republican politicians did the job.The lies are astounding.

Governor Bill Haslam, a Republican, warned that auto part suppliers would not locate in the Chattanooga area if the plant was unionized, while Senator Bob Corker said Volkswagen executives had told him that the plant would add a new production line, making SUVs, if the workers rejected the U.A.W. In a series of interviews this week, Mr. Corker, a Republican and a former mayor of Chattanooga, asserted that a union victory would make Volkswagen less competitive and hurt workers’ living standards.

To step up the pressure, State Senator Bo Watson, who represents a suburb of Chattanooga, warned that the Republican-controlled legislature was unlikely to approve further subsidies to Volkswagen if the workers embraced the U.A.W., a threat that might discourage the company from expanding.

Volkswagen officials had urged “third parties” to remain neutral and stay out of the unionization battle. Grover Norquist, the anti-tax crusader, helped underwrite a new group, the Center for Worker Freedom, that put up 13 billboards in Chattanooga, warning that the city might become the next Detroit if the workers voted for the union.

Frank Fischer, chief executive and chairman of Volkswagen Chattanooga, rushed to respond after Mr. Corker said VW officials had told him they would expand the plant if the U.A.W. was defeated. Some legal experts said that if Volkswagen officials made such a statement, it might be construed as an illegal intimidation or inducement to pressure the workers to vote against the union.

In a statement, Mr. Fischer said, “There is no connection between our Chattanooga employees’ decision about whether to be represented by a union and the decision about where to build a new product for the U.S. market.”