Before you vote tomorrow, watch this!

Pretty well-done video. - promoted by david

We have all heard people (and some candidates) say that they are “Socially Progressive, but Fiscally Conservative”. It’s time for a new paradigm. What does it mean to be a Fiscal Progressive? Watch to find out.

Leland Cheung – Fiscal Progressive

Companies invest in order to gain a return. Our government is no different – only we’re investing in technology, education, and transportation. Investing in each other and ourselves creates economic growth, which starts a virtuous cycle that provides increasing tax revenue, to again reinvest in the next generation.

It’s time to start talking about investing, intelligently in our values. If you believe in those values, I ask for your vote tomorrow.



The Gift That Keeps on Giving - Scott Brown

Too good not to front-page! Never change, Scotto, never change. #bqhatevwr - promoted by david

Scott Brown’s New Hampshire Senate campaign sent a news release Wednesday questioning why Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) wasn’t appearing with President Obama while he was “in town.”

But Obama was in Worcester, Mass., about 50 miles from the New Hampshire border. The president will then be raising money in Boston for Senate Democrats.

Scott, which state are you running in again?

Kate's Convention Guide

Invaluable. - promoted by david

As is my custom, I have prepared a summary of delegate information. The most popular section is the summary of welcome events. Years ago as folks traveled from party to part, people used to wave pieces of paper at me and say, “I have my Dispatch.” Now they wave their smart phones. There is good information on the MDP website, but I try to capture the most pertinent information here.

Here’s a preview of the official schedule:
4:00 PM Registration & exhibits open
6:00 PM Call to Order
6:20 PM Remarks from Congressman McGovern
6:30 PM Senator Elizabeth Warren
7:00 PM Nominations of Sen. Markey, Secretary Galvin and Auditor Bump
7:30 PM Governor Deval Patrick to address the convention

07:00 AM Registration & exhibits open
09:00 AM Convention called to order – opening ceremonies
10:00 AM Attendance Roll Call
- Treasurer
- AG
- LG
- Governor
Results of balloting announced
If necessary, voting for a second ballot commences
Call for motion to adjourn

The Results - BMG Predicts the Convention Results

Thanks for doing this! I was planning a similar post but ran out of time. It'll be fascinating to see how close we got. - promoted by david

I hope I’m not stealing Pablo’s thunder here. In his post earlier this week he asked for folks to predict the convention results.

I’ve tallied up the results of the 25 people who participated (the full spreadsheet can be found here).

First the Governors race:

The hive mind of BMG believes that Grossman, Coakley, and Berwick will make the cut and garner the 15% needed to get on the primary ballot. In fact, of these three candidates, only Coakley had a less than 100% prediction to make the cut (Coakley @ 96%). 24 of the 25 votes (96%) had Grossman garnering the most delegates while 4% had Berwick as the leader. Kayyem on average only achieved 12% with 40% of results believing she would make the necessary 15%.There wasn’t a single response that believed Avellone would make the cut.

The Globe's advice to the Dems

I heartily agree with Dave and several commenters that the worst thing in the Globe editorial - and it is awful - is advising Dems to "avoid[] special interests" and then only mentioning public employee unions as a special interest worth avoiding. Really, there aren't any others? What about giant companies demanding big tax breaks and then not even living up to their side of the deal, for God's sake? Don't those count as "special interests" worth standing up to? The Globe's pervasive anti-union bias is really getting tiresome. - promoted by david

I’ll take David up on his suggestion that we post comments on today’s Globe editorial about the gubernatorial candidates. The editorial is pretty unintentionally hilarious overall, although I do agree with the recommendation that the candidates should revisit mandatory sentencing guidelines.  I also am open to the argument about removing the 15% rule at the convention.

Overall, though, the advice offered to the candidates was fairly bland and condescending, and most notably lacking was the discussion in the editorial on “avoiding special interests,” which mentions only one such interest — state employee unions.  The editorial suggests that the Democratic candidates should be mindful that:

…upscale suburban voters don’t entirely trust the Democrats to stand up to unreasonable demands from government employees and labor unions.

Wow, where to start with that.  The only special interest on Beacon Hill we have to be concerned about is state employees and their labor unions?  What unreasonable demands are they making?  And what about the casino interests?  The gun lobby?  And “upscale suburban voters?”  What’s up with that?  People in urban areas do trust state employees, but upscale suburban voters don’t? I don’t get it.

I also thought the discussion on defining Patrick’s legacy was pretty sparse.  But like David, I don’t have a lot of time to get into it, so maybe others can comment.

Predict the convention results!

Ooooh, parlor games!

Bumped for all the pre-convention chatter, including the Globe's sort of hilarious editorial today, about which I don't have time to write at the moment, but invite you to post your comments. - promoted by david

My friends, the Democratic State Convention is on Saturday, so it is time for our beloved BMG pundits to predict the results of the convention. Here’s what you need to do:

Predict the percentage of first round votes for the candidates for the four major offices that will be contested on Saturday. [NB: to make the ballot, a candidate must receive at least 15% of the delegates voting on the first ballot. -ed.] If no candidate achieves 50% on the first ballot, the top two will go to the second round. Name the second round candidates and predict the percentage of their votes.

Yes, it’s difficult. However, BMG has the smartest political observers and operatives in our beloved Commonwealth. Bragging rights for the best guess.

Governor (first ballot)
Avellone ___%
Berwick ___%
Coakley ___%
Grossman ___%
Kayyem ___%

Lieutenant Governor (first ballot)
Arena-DeRosa ___%
Cheung ___%
Kerrigan ___%
Lake ___%

Attorney General (first ballot)
Healey ___%
Tolman ___%

Treasurer (first ballot)
Conroy ___%
Finegold ___%
Goldberg ___%

Second ballot – top two finishers from first ballot (unless a candidate gets 50% on the first round

Governor (second ballot)
Candidate 1 _____________  ___%
Candidate 2 _____________  ___%

Lieutenant Governor (second ballot)
Candidate 1 _____________  ___%
Candidate 2 _____________  ___%

Treasurer (second ballot)
Candidate 1 _____________  ___%
Candidate 2 _____________  ___%


Maura Healey for AG

Progressive Mass has already endorsed Don Berwick for Governor. - promoted by david

Because of the hard work of progressive activists, the Attorney General race has two strong progressive candidates. And the endorsement provoked thoughtful discussion and reflection amongst our members, speaking to both candidates’ strong records of accomplishment on a number of important progressive issues. As the BMG community is aware, we have a high threshold for endorsement–an endorsee must receive at least 60% of the vote, including any votes to not endorse.

Our members showed remarkable care and consideration in arriving at this decision. The Progressive Mass community is exceedingly informed and engaged, and the progressive movement is better because of the careful deliberations of our members. I have to admit I was uncertain either candidate would clear the bar, but I am pleased to report that our members have made a decision.

Our sustaining members have voted to endorse Maura Healey for Attorney General.  Maura has the progressive record of leadership and the independence that we need in our next Attorney General – and has nearly 68% in our membership vote. Whether taking on big banks, defending access to women’s health care, advancing civil rights, and marriage equality, Maura has shown what an engaged and progressive Attorney General can do. She will lead on criminal justice reform, protecting children, and reducing gun violence, with bold and new ideas for our state. And, Maura’s the only candidate for Attorney General with the independence to stand up to casino gambling. We are proud to support her in this campaign.

Maura’s strong stand against expanded gambling in Massachusetts and her experience heading up the civil rights division in the Attorney General’s office were particularly persuasive to our members. And, while we are primarily concerned with electing the most progressive leadership, members made the strong case that our elected officials should reflect the diversity of the Commonwealth, and electing an openly gay woman is important to our shared goal of supporting diversity in state government.

Kate's Pick for LG - Mike Lake

A good get for Team Lake. - promoted by david

I guess that it has become my custom to post my endorsements on Blue Mass Group. I appreciate the fact that the folks here are interested in my thoughts.

My candidate for LG is Mike Lake. My endorsement of Mike seems particularly appropriate for this forum. I knew Mike first as an activist, long before I knew him as a candidate. I met Mike when he was working on a campaign in 2003. Mike has worked as a staffer and a volunteer on a number of campaigns, including John Kerry’s presidential race. Many of us here on BMG are the door-knockers, the phone bankers and the people who do the everyday work of campaigns. Mike is one of us. From Southbridge to Marlborough to Boston, Mike is someone who has been participating in campaigns. More than simply a candidate and activist, Mike is a friend.

Comment of the day: What has "Obamacare" done for MA?

From Brian Rosman of Health Care For All. Remember this when some politician tries to tell you that the Affordable Care Act has hurt Massachusetts somehow:

It’s the ACA that made the difference

[my quote - CB] Amazing: even in spite of the inexcusable (ongoing) mess of the Connector site, we’ve been whittling away at that uninsured rate for 8 years now. And we’re almost universal.

Though we have been making progress since the passage of state health reform in 2006, it’s the ACA (Obamacare) that made the difference in Massachusetts. The big spike in coverage is just since 2014.

Prior to the ACA, state premium assistance went to people earning up to 3 times the poverty level (around $35,600 for an individual). Under the ACA, subsidy eligibility is more generous, available up to 4 times the poverty level, or around $47,000 for an individual.

The Massachusetts law also locked out from help people with unaffordable coverage offered by an employer. The federal law provides help to people when their employer’s coverage costs over 9.5% of your income.

The ACA also improved our coverage by requiring no copays for many preventive care services, by lowering the costs of prescriptions for seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare, and by outlawing lifetime and annual caps on benefits.

The ACA also is helping state taxpayers, by providing lots more federal funds for coverage assistance, and new resources for things like public health prevention programs, for our insurance regulators to closely vet proposed premium rate increases, and to move towards more coordinated care based on value.

Even in Massachusetts, the ACA has made a huge difference. These new coverage numbers show part of the story.

Brian Rosman

Health Care For All

via Blue Mass Group | We’re close to 0% uninsured??.

The sad part is that our website implementation has been such a catastrophe — imagine where we would be if we had something that worked.

Which leads one to thinking …

Is IT the next front in the Big Dig Culture? Has computer code replaced cement as the place where taxpayer dollars go to die in the dark?  Can policy wonks be expected to know what’s feasible in software contracting?

In looking for the next governor, should we be looking for the person who can best reform our IT contracting? Would that have saved lives among DCF kids? Allowed folks who depend on the Connector for their healthcare to breathe a little easier?

We're close to 0% uninsured??

Let this not go unnoticed:

Between December 2013 and March of this year, when the federal government was urging people to enroll, the number of Massachusetts residents signed up for health coverage increased by more than 215,000. If that number holds, the percentage of Massachusetts residents who do not have coverage has dropped to less than 1 percent.

via Latest Look Finds Mass. Near Zero Percent Without Health Insurance | CommonHealth.

Amazing: even in spite of the inexcusable (ongoing) mess of the Connector site, we’ve been whittling away at that uninsured rate for 8 years now. And we’re almost universal.

And it’s not just nominal insurance: It’s preventing premature deaths, particularly in communities of color.

Take a bow, Massachusetts. (Then fix the site.)

The Other AG Shoe, Tolman Podcast

You heard it here first. - promoted by david

tolman.jpgAnother successful lawyer and former legislator (both MA houses) is eager to “get back in” and make positive differences. Warren Tolman was on to describe his planks, his approaches, and why he thinks he’s the one to be the next MA attorney general.

For one of the sidetracks we dealt with in the other Dem AG candidate, Maura Healey’s show last week, he thought the two campaigns will in fact finalize a people’s pledge to limit outside money. And with a chuckle, he agreed with me that including those annoying robocalls in it would be welcome.

Tolman is very proud of his efforts as legislator in successes fighting the tobacco industry and campaign-finance and ethics reforms. Click below to hear what he intends to do if we gets the office.

Quick hits

Twitter kind of consumed the Quick Hits genre, but 140 characters is just not enough …

  • Mothers Out Front Climate group Mothers Out Front had a nice event on Boston Common yesterday. They’re trying to get folks to sign up for renewable energy through MassEnergy. Here’s founder Kelsey Wirth, her sister Annie and niece Charlotte. It’s all about the family — really.
  • I’ve said some nasty things about Marco Rubio and his climate denial. So how do you deal with politicians in denial? Give them a chance to climb down. Let the Citizens Climate Lobby demonstrate: Here’s a really nifty anecdote from their most recent podcast, starts about 2:20 in, and goes to 5:10: CCL-June-2014.mp3.
  • So even Charlie Baker is talking income inequality. Let’s count this as a positive development. There are things about our state that exacerbate that problem, specifically the high cost of housing.The recent run-up in home prices in Greater Boston is usually reported as an unalloyed good, but that’s not right. Income inequality leads to skyrocketing housing costs — which shows the need for zoning reform. We just don’t have enough housing stock in Massachusetts, and too few municipalities have been growing their stock. Even Boston has catching up to do.That’s got to change if we want to hold on to the middle class — if we want to keep our state from becoming another Silicon Valley. As the Globe editorialized last week again – the legislature has a bill in front of it to encourage more housing near town/transit centers — “smart growth”, with a whole bushel of carrots to make such growth more attractive to municipalities. Given the current situation, that’s just got to happen..It’s H.4065 if you’re calling your reps. I’d like to hear the #magov candidates address this as well.
  • This is great and all, but man, Tom Friedman … Tom Friedman …
  • Mt. Tom Power Station in Holyoke is closing. After it and Brayton Point close, that will leave Massachusetts with zero coal plants. This is good. They should be replaced by conservation and renewables, not natural gas, which very likely provides no benefit vs. coal with regard to global warming. And the state should provide transitional help to employees and the town of Holyoke.