Former Occupier Tries Being a Democrat, Hates It

In which the Occupy movement is derided in the comments as a flash in the pan that changed nothing. - promoted by Bob_Neer

An activist who took part in Occupy Boston decided to give the Democratic Party caucus and convention process a shot:

“I’m not into party politics. Never have been. Although Massachusetts is more progressive than other states, the system feels too rigged for me to make a serious investment. I’m a registered Democrat and have been for a long time, even though I don’t identify as one. I vote in every election not because I feel like it makes a huge difference, if any, but because it only takes about 10 minutes, so why not?”

“A bunch of party faithfuls huddle in a relatively small room and argue for hours about who is The Best. In my experience, a number of attendees seemed to come from central casting: zombie neoliberal sycophants looking to take selfies with candidates, college Dems in polo shirts and pearls who look “Kennedyesque;”

“Being a delegate for the Democratic Convention, on the other hand? I wish I’d never set foot in my caucus. The only people who really enjoy stuff like that, I think, are either political wonks or folks who like having their asses kissed by powerful people who make personal calls and approach them in arena aisles. The kicker: the process of Democrats caucusing and the convention itself lasted over four months, and most Massachusetts people probably have no idea that they happened at all. Occupy Boston, on the other hand, lasted only two and a half months but won’t be forgotten anytime soon.”

Read the full article at the Dig.

Personally, i’m inclined to agree with her. Thoughts?

Globe makes the wrong case for Moulton

Congratulations to Seth Moulton for landing the Globe’s endorsement — for what it’s worth. He appears to be a very credible candidate with a fascinating resume, and a solidly progressive issues page. His TV ad is lame, but that’s not unusual, nor a disqualifier.

But the Globe wastes a lot of pixels worry about how Moulton might deal with the intransigent Republicans, whether he can help out in bringing them to reason:

Still, there is something problematic about Tierney’s full-throated partisan stances and his staunch defense of Congress’s business as usual. Returning him to Washington would do little to change a system that is widely seen as gridlocked and broken. Moulton and Tierney share nearly identical political views, but Moulton’s background, and his approach to discussing the issues, suggests an openness to new perspectives …

Moulton’s work in Iraq — negotiating with warlords, developing on-the-ground relationships in tense circumstances — might bode well for his ability to deal with recalcitrant Republicans, and to broker agreements between the two parties.

So … Tea Party Republicans … a lot like Iraqi warlords. Chew on that.

Harder to swallow is the notion that somehow Democrats are responsible for Republican stubbornness, for their refusal to take yes for an answer, for their willingness to chuck the economy under the bus by shutting down the government … and for what? In many ways they’re even harder to deal with that Iraqi warlords, since they often don’t act in their own stated interests. Making a deal — whatever its actual terms — is a sign of betrayal to Tea Partiers.

One must respect the factors that we have absolutely no control of in Massachusetts. There is an entire nationwide, profitable industry dedicated to inflaming partisanship from the right, and little old John Tierney had nothing to do with it. Talk radio helped deliver the votes that croaked Eric Cantor. Eric Cantor. They took down reliable conservatives Dick Lugar and Bob Bennett and almost bagged Thad Cochran. Compromise is bad radio. Fox News doesn’t want it — too squishy.

Do you really think Seth Moulton, for all his virtues, is going to be able to help out with this? And a conciliatory tone hasn’t exactly put President Obama in a better position to deal with Congress — QED. Wouldn’t we better use Ted Kennedy as the exemplar of how to use politics to your advantage? That is: Full-throated public advocacy without; and private relationships, persistence, and compromise within. That’s politics.

The better case for Moulton is in his resume and experience. I don’t believe that incumbents should hang onto seats by default, particularly in a state so tilted to one party. I don’t especially feel strongly for Tierney one way or the other — I think his wife’s and brothers-in-law’s convictions don’t necessarily disqualify him. But primary challenges are good. People in the district will have to decide whether Tierney’s constituent service, experience, and seniority put him above Moulton.

Clarence Thomas: "I Paint My Eyeballs On"

A Joke Revue Special Edition presents Breaking News: Massachusetts’ own Harvard Lampoon published its first website parody today:

Click here to check it out at

Clarence Thomas: I Paint My Eyeballs On

[I] sleep perfectly well at night, during the day, and, yes, even during almost all meetings of the highest judicial body of the United States of America.

My secret, you ask? Simple: I just paint open eyeballs on top of my eyelids, allowing me to seem outwardly alert while I nap to my heart’s content.

Of course, I’m hardly the first judge to use this move, often called the “hidden weapon” of judges worldwide. Legend has it that the method has its origins in ancient China, when the fabled Song-era government official Bao Gong covertly replaced himself with a photorealistic scroll and skipped an entire trial to get lunch. My own early efforts, however, were far more modest, to the extent that they met with success at all; as Assistant Attorney General to John Danforth, I was saddled with the nickname “Walleye Clay” due to the frequency with which carelessly-applied paint made my “eyes” appear to be looking in two separate directions as I slept. Once, I accidentally painted my entire face white and was immediately given three promotions. It was clear the process wasn’t perfect.

Nowadays, however, both my increased skill at painting and my ever-increasing disinterest in constitutional law make the illusion almost undetectable. Did you hear about that whole Hobby Lobby thing? Because let me assure you, I did not. Remember when I broke my complete silence in court last year, for the first time since 2006, to say “Well — he did not — ?” Well, I was having an awesome dream in which I was a centaur, and in context it made total sense.

I understand that some of you may consider me a monster for showing such complete disengagement with my role in one of the most important elements of our democracy. Before you judge me too harshly, though, keep this in mind: Scalia stays awake the whole time and he actually believes the sh*t he says.

Globe Endorses Moulton

Won't it be interesting to see, if Tierney wins (which he very likely will), whether the Globe backs Richard Tisei in the general. I've already predicted that the Globe will back Charlie Baker in the likely event that Martha Coakley wins the primary. - promoted by david

It dropped this morning.

Only 8% of likely primary voters are paying attention - UMass Lowell/WHDH poll results.

Oy. - promoted by david

Hello, my fellow 8%ers!

In our exclusive 7News-UMass Lowell poll of likely Democratic primary voters, it’s Coakley 52%; Grossman 20%, Berwick 9%, undecided 19%.

Our pollster, Dr. Joshua Dyck, says the outcome is as clear as the numbers:

Hiller asks: “How can Coakley lose this primary?
Dr Dyck says: “Right now it would take something catastrophic for her campaign. Short of a major scandal, she will become the nominee according to our poll.”

Looking ahead to November, our poll predicts Coakley will face Republican Charlie Baker.

Currently, Coakley is winning among the state’s registered voters, with 41%.  Baker gets 32%, independent Jeff McCormick 7%, and 17% are undecided.

If you haven’t been paying attention to this race–or any of the others–join the crowd!

Our poll shows only 8% of likely democratic primary voters are paying very close elections [sic] to the party’s contests, and you can’t blame the people who aren’t.

“Right now, there’s really nothing interesting going on in this primary,” Dr. Dyck says.

Link to the WHDH story

Defeat Nate Bell

We wish Chase the very best of luck! - promoted by david

Remember Nate Bell?


Click now to defeat Nate Bell

This man is the State Representative who embarrassed himself and the good people of Arkansas on the national stage by inferring that victims of the horrific and tragic Boston Marathon Bombing as cowards.
My name is Chase Busch, like you I was embarrassed by the actions of my representative and after much prayer and thought I decided to take action and run for this office. I’m running because I want to improve quality of life for the people of West-Central Arkansas by solving problems using common sense and finding common ground amongst people regardless of their political ideology.

Shirley Grossman makes her pitch

Your thoughts? - promoted by david

The super PAC supporting Steve Grossman for Governor has come out with a new ad featuring Shirley Grossman, Steve’s 92-year old mother and one of the committee’s top donors. I’m biased as a Grossman supporter, but I think it’s the best ad I’ve seen for any statewide candidate this year. Much like Carl Sciortino’s famous ad with his dad, this one is amusing, endearing, and substantive.

Martha Coakley's utterly nonsensical position on a Springfield casino

In a debate that was probably seen by about 17 likely primary voters (it aired at 8:30 am on Sunday morning of Labor Day weekend), Martha Coakley agreed with Charlie Baker that, even if the people vote to repeal the casino law in November, it might still make sense to allow a casino to go forward in Springfield.

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Charlie Baker was the first candidate to suggest he would pursue legislation to build a casino in Springfield if Question 3 passes, and Coakley has said she’d also be willing to listen to the case for a western Massachusetts casino.

“If the voters say overturn casinos, that’s the law of the Commonwealth. That should stay the law. Let’s not undermine the democracy for which we fought for for hundreds of years,” [Steve] Grossman said.

Coakley responded: “The voters in Springfield voted for it under the statute. That’s democracy as well.”

I’m sorry, but Coakley’s comment makes zero sense.  None.  The people of Revere and Everett both voted for a casino too.  Why should their votes count for less than those cast in Springfield?  Either the local votes trump the will of the people statewide, or they don’t.

Furthermore, under federal gaming laws, if casino gambling is legal anywhere in the state, that could open the door for Native American tribes to open casinos on the South Coast, on Martha’s Vineyard, and potentially elsewhere.  There is no way to enact a “Springfield only” law.

Now, I recognize that Coakley’s comment was made in a debate, apparently in a colloquy with Steve Grossman, and maybe she was just speaking off the cuff.  Still, people running for Governor should make sure they are clear on the consequences of what they are proposing.  Especially when what they’re proposing involves flouting the will of the people.

Another bad few days for the pro-casino forces

Today’s news on the casino front is that Massachusetts’ most popular politician, Elizabeth Warren, will vote to repeal the casino law in November.  The Herald (but not the Globe, for some reason) has the story:

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she will vote to repeal the state’s casino law when the hotly debated question goes to the ballot in November.

“I come to the question of gambling from a background in bankruptcy and what happens economically to families,” the Cambridge Democrat told reporters yesterday. “It’s a tough call here. People need jobs, but gambling can be a real problem economically for a lot of people. I didn’t support gambling the first time around and I don’t expect to support it (now).”

Of course, this is awesome news for the pro-repeal forces.  And it comes on the heels of several days of terrible stories regarding the casino industry as a whole.

In particular, if you have looked at the news at all over the last few days, you cannot have missed the numerous stories coming out of Atlantic City, NJ.  Basically, the casino industry there is in something close to freefall.  The two-year-old ultra-glitzy Revel casino is closing tomorrow.  The Showboat, which had been there for decades, closed on Sunday.  And in a couple of weeks, Trump Plaza is set to shut down.  Thousands of casino employees are losing their jobs, and it’s unclear where those people are going to go.

Obviously, it’s impossible not to connect the dots from Atlantic City to our own ongoing experiment with casinos.  Globe:

The contraction and painful layoffs in New Jersey — amid disappointing revenues in the casino industry elsewhere in the United States — come at an inauspicious time for casino supporters in Massachusetts, a little more than two months before voters will decide whether to repeal the state’s casino law in a ballot referendum.

Naturally, the pro-casino crowd insist that Massachusetts is totally different and all the terrible news coming out of Atlantic City (as well as Mississippi and other casino havens) has nothing to do with building three and a half casinos here.

The industry’s supporters argue that Massachusetts’ casino marketplace would be a much different animal — a maximum of four facilities, not a dozen. With more than 6.5 million residents, the Bay State has enough potential customers to support up to three resort casinos and a slot parlor scattered around the state, as called for in the 2011 expanded gambling act, supporters say.

“All four facilities can do very well and you would not have a supply-and-demand imbalance,” said Jay Snowden, chief operating officer of Penn National Gaming, the company building the state’s slot parlor in Plainville.

But more sensible minds have a different view.

the state [of MA] is not immune to the same competitive pressures that are squeezing Atlantic City, specialists say.

Competition has shrunk casino markets, and new jurisdictions should look soberly on how much tax revenue casinos can produce, said Israel Posner, an expert on Atlantic City and director of the Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality, and Tourism at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey…. Other casino jurisdictions are also suffering in the face of competition, and less interest in gambling among younger people, said Posner. Ohio’s casino profits, for example, have not lived up to projections. Closer to home, the Connecticut tribal casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, have seen declining gambling revenue.

Needless to say, taking a “sober” view of “how much tax revenue casinos can produce” has not exactly been the Massachusetts legislature’s forte.  Even before the casino industry started collapsing around the country, the revenue projections from local proponents were derided as wildly unrealistic.  Yet the legislature happily built projected revenues into the state budget, with no evident backup plan should those revenues fail to materialize.

Anyway, since I will be voting to repeal the casino law, I’m happy that Elizabeth Warren is publicly on board.  We can certainly anticipate that the pro-repeal forces will continue using her name in advancing their cause.

Joke Revue "Critics Blast Obama’s Three Meals a Day"

Mitt Romney takes the ice bucket challenge, looking simultaneously stiff, honorable, and slightly ill at ease:


Critics Blast Obama’s Three Meals a Day

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—G.O.P. chief Reince Priebus ripped President Obama on Sunday for consuming three meals a day while on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.

“With international crises boiling over in Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine, it’s unconscionable that the President is having breakfast, lunch, and dinner,” he said. …

Nation Debates Extremely Complex Issue of Children Firing Military Weapons

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Across the United States on Wednesday, a heated national debate began on the extremely complex issue of children firing military weapons.

“Every now and then, the nation debates an issue that is so complicated and tricky it defies easy answers,” says pollster Davis Logsdon. “Letting small children fire automatic weapons is such an issue.”

Logsdon says that the thorny controversy is reminiscent of another ongoing national debate, about whether it is a good idea to load a car with dynamite and drive it into a tree.

“Many Americans think it’s a terrible idea, but others believe that with the correct supervision, it’s perfectly fine,” he says. “Who’s to say who’s right?”

Similar, he says, is the national debate about using a flamethrower indoors. “There has been a long and contentious national conversation about this,” he says. “It’s another tough one.”

Much like the long-running national debates about jumping off a roof, licking electrical sockets, and gargling with thumbtacks, the vexing question of whether children should fire military weapons does not appear headed for a swift resolution.

“Like the issue of whether you should sneak up behind a bear and jab it with a hot poker, this won’t be settled any time soon,” he says.

Daniel Kurtzman:

“Happy birthday to former President Bill Clinton. He turned 68 today, or as he calls, ‘one away from the fun one.’” –Jimmy Fallon

“Disneyworld has become a popular location for Republican fundraisers. A favorite activity is to ride through It’s a Small World and deport most of the dolls.” –Conan O’Brien

“Yesterday was Bill Clinton’s birthday. Hillary yelled surprise, and out of habit, Bill yelled, ‘I can explain.” –Conan O’Brien

“Anthony Weiner is opening a restaurant. Honest to God, how many of you — other than losing a bet, how many of you would go to have a meal at Anthony Weiner’s restaurant? Plus it’s a drive-thru. You pull your car up, you roll down your window, and you scream your order right into his fly.” –David Letterman

“Rumor has it that Texas Gov. Rick Perry badly wants to run in the next presidential race. You can tell Perry’s behind it because they’re starting to make signs that says ‘Perry 2017.’” –Conan O’Brien

Globe endorses Healey for Attorney General, Conroy for Treasurer

Two endorsements emerged from Morrissey Boulevard today.  For Attorney General, Maura Healey:

Healey’s clearer focus on the core responsibilities of the office, coupled with her evident tenacity and discerning legal mind, make her the superior choice…. Healey shows a refreshing willingness to acknowledge some limits to the power of the position she’s seeking. From her work as an assistant attorney general under Coakley, Healey has a firm grip on how to deploy the powers the office indisputably has — and to tend to the basic duties of that office…. [H]er unusual biography — she played professional basketball in Europe before attending law school — and her audacious performance in debates hint at a level of imagination and creativity that would serve her well….

Tolman, if elected, would be more conspicuous in using the attorney general’s bully pulpit. Healey would likely be more aggressive in using the office’s established powers in pushing for outcomes that she and Tolman both favor — and that would benefit the people of Massachusetts.

And for Treasurer, Tom Conroy:

He has worked in the private sector as a financial and risk-management consultant. He understands clearly how securing favorable financing terms for major state debt issuances can save money that can be directed toward other needed projects. He sees how giving cities and towns access to the state’s investment expertise can reduce fiscal pressure on municipal authorities. Meanwhile, his wide-ranging public-sector experience, which includes everything from working with refugees on behalf of the US State Department to chairing the Legislature’s Labor and Workforce Development Committee, bespeaks a commitment to maximizing the good that government can do for people by making it work effectively…. [I]t’s Conroy who shows the most fluency in, and enthusiasm for, the gory details of the treasurer’s job, and that makes him the best Democratic candidate for treasurer.

Nice gets for both of them (and for Steve Grossman, of course).  Still, I’d urge all the endorsees not to get too comfy, and instead to recall the specter of Dan Winslow.  As I observed after he lost big in the three-way Republican primary for US Senate in 2013:

Newspaper endorsements don’t mean sh!t.  Everyone pretty much knew this already, but wow – what an emphatic demonstration we got yesterday.  Republican Dan Winslow absolutely ran the table on major newspaper endorsements.  He got the Globe, the Herald, the Lowell Sun, the Springfield Republican, the Fitchburg Sentinel, and the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune.  Yet he didn’t just lose the primary, he got blown out, netting only 13% in a three-way race.  And to make matters worse, this seems like the sort of election in which newspaper endorsements might actually have some influence – nobody really cares who the Globe or any other paper supports for president, but if you’re coming late to an election that you know is important (it’s a US Senate seat, after all), but that you haven’t had the time to delve into, you might place some stock in the views of what you consider to be a reasonably like-minded editorial board.  But apparently not.

A letter to friends... The Top 10 Reasons You Should Vote For Don Berwick for Governor on Sept. 9

In which the interesting question is posed: what generates more votes? A Boston Globe endorsement? Or a letter from your neighbor? - promoted by david

The following was written by two Berwick supporters in Greater Boston. They asked me to share this letter on BMG on their behalf.

Hello dear friend:

It’s so easy to let a state primary slip by but the opportunity for real change in this election is quite exciting and so we wanted to reach out to our friends and neighbors.

Hal and I would very much appreciate your consideration and vote for Dr. Don Berwick, Democrat for Governor on September 9th.

I personally have been tracking Don’s career and accomplishments for over 15 years. While at Abt Associates, it was imperative to follow his work because simply, Don is a thought leader.  He has been cited as the third most influential voice in healthcare, just behind Bill Gates.

But if you haven’t been tracking his career as I have, I’ve put together a Top 10 list for you. So, drum roll please, here are the top 10 reasons why you should vote for Don Berwick!

Reason 10:  If you like Elizabeth Warren, you will LOVE Don Berwick!