"I Have A Dream"... updated!

Thanks for posting this. - promoted by david

The National Archives has a pdf of the famous MLK speech.

Read it today. Here is an excerpt, wherein King speaks to the many who protested knowing that powerful people would do them harm.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering.

Further historical documents can be found at Slate. They are the flyers for protests that King was leading when he was assassinated. The struggle continues. What are we doing today, to make right what is wrong?


I want to call attention to HamdenRice’s must-read post “Most of you have no idea what Martin Luther King actually did”

What most people who reference Dr. King seem not to know is how Dr. King actually changed the subjective experience of life in the United States for African Americans. And yeah, I said for African Americans, not for Americans, because his main impact was his effect on the lives of African Americans, not on Americans in general. His main impact was not to make white people nicer or fairer. That’s why some of us who are African Americans get a bit possessive about his legacy. Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy, despite what our civil religion tells us, is not color blind.

Interesting throwback: in 1981, firefighters and others blocked highways to protest layoffs; no arrests

A fascinating find from some BMGers with long memories (thanks, bob-gardner and methuenprogressive).  In the spring of 1981, Proposition 2-1/2 was wreaking havoc on municipal budgets and resulted in a number of layoffs, including police and firefighters.  People were upset, and firefighters in particular were not interested in playing nice.  April 29, 1981 (all links are behind the Globe archive paywall):

Major roads into Boston were temporarily blocked during this morning’s rush hour by protesters of cutbacks in the city’s police and fire departments, causing massive traffic jams on major and alternate routes and delaying commuters….

However, no injuries were reported nor were any arrests made during the morning demonstrations.

The first demonstration began about 7 when some 100 placard-carrying men emerged from Florian Hall on Hallet street, Dorchester – home of Boston Firefighters Union Local 718 of the International Assn. of Firefighters – and climbed an embankment to the Southeast Expressway.

Walking about 15 abreast, the group proceeded northbound on the Expressway toward Neponset Circle, blocking all inbound traffic for 20 minutes, until they reached the Neponset on-ramp.

At that point, the demonstrators walked down the up ramp and, for about three minutes, blocked traffic headed northbound on Morrissey boulevard with a 30-foot wide banner carried by 10 men that read: “Help! Save Jobs That Save Lives.” …

One of the leaders of the demonstration, Richard Besse, an off-duty Boston firefighter, surveyed the results of the Dorchester demonstration and called it “terrific. . . . This is what we wanted to do to get our message across.”

These demonstrations were not just a one-day affair, and they were not limited to a single roadway.  Here’s a story from May 1, 1981, two days later:

The ranks of the Boston, state and MDC police were spread thin this morning as police tried to curb growing demonstrations protesting cuts in Boston police and fire department personnel.

Demonstrators were successful in delaying morning rush-hour traffic for as much as a half hour by blocking the Southeast Expressway at Neponset Circle, Morrissey boulevard and Columbia road at Kosciuszcko Circle in Dorchester, Soldiers Field road at the former Coca Cola plant in Brighton, the Sumner Tunnel at the East Boston end and City Square in Charlestown.

And many of the demonstrators promised to return Monday.

The blocking of Kosciuscko Circle caught many drivers by surprise as they attempted to use Morrissey boulevard to bypass the Neponset Circle blockade on the expressway.

About 7:30 a.m., some 30 persons, mostly women, began blocking cars at Kosciuszcko Circle. Almost immediately, 10 MDC patrolmen, several with riot sticks at the ready, pushed the demonstrators from the roadway.

A number of the women began yelling obscenities at the officers and one called out: “Why don’t you take off your uniform and come and meet my husband.”

As cars passed the demonstrators, the protesters called out to the drivers, “Ten bucks if you hit them,” referring to the police officers in the intersection.

Remarkable.  Can you imagine the reaction if this week’s protesters had cursed at the police and encouraged motorists to hit them?

The next day, May 2, 1981, the Globe had this story:

Traffic was stopped on nine main arteries into the city yesterday, the most roads to be blocked by the demonstrators since they began protesting three weeks ago.

Some of the tieups were created on roads or at traffic interchanges where the demonstrators had not struck before, including Kosciuszko Circle and Pulaski Circle, both in Dorchester, Soldiers Field road at the former Coca Cola bottling plant in Allston, and Memorial drive in Cambridge and Storrow drive in Boston.

The demonstrators also stopped traffic on the Southeast Expressway and Neponset Circle in Dorchester, on the East Boston approaches to the Sumner Tunnel, and at City Square, all scenes of earlier protests.

And here, from the same story, is perhaps the most interesting part of all this:

No arrests have been made since the protests began on April 10, when the city’s cutbacks in fire and police personnel and closing of some fire and police stations went into effect.

Boston Police Comr. Joseph Jordan yesterday defended his department’s policy of making no arrests.

“We’ve had demonstrations for the last 15 years,” Jordan said. “Our policy has always been to make an arrest only in cases where there is an aggressive, hostile demonstration and these demonstrations have been peaceful.”

Wow.  Weeks of protests, including several straight days of protests in which major roads were repeatedly blocked, and not a single arrest.  Is it possible that there were no arrests because the police, although charged with trying to keep the roadways open, were basically in sympathy with the protesters?  Or have policies regarding when to arrest protesters changed over the years?  I don’t know, and I would be very interested in hearing from someone who does.

I-93 - "I need to go to the hospital! Please get out of the way!" "Get away from my vehicle!"

Yeah ... this protest was ill-conceived and, IMHO, counterproductive. - promoted by david

Quotes from the 1-93 Protesters. No, really!

“I need to go to the hospital! Please get out of the way!” 0:25 “Get away from my vehicle!’ 1:40


Oops! Governor Baker rescinds appointments of two of his max-out campaign donors

Remember when new Governor Charlie Baker swept in and rescinded all 60-or-so appointments made by ex-Governor Patrick in the last few days he was in office?  Well, that hasn’t gone well at all.  Baker ended up having to rescind his rescission of all but two of those appointments.  And BMG has discovered that those two appointees both maxed out to the Baker campaign in 2014 (neither of them donated to Baker’s opponent, Martha Coakley), and they probably aren’t too psyched that their appointments were yanked.

Here’s what happened.  On his second day in office, Baker sent a one-sentence letter to Secretary Bill Galvin instructing that all of Patrick’s last-minute appointments were rescinded.  The first problem was that Galvin interpreted that letter as applying to the newly-named DA of Bristol County, who was finishing preparations for the very high-profile Aaron Hernandez trial.  So that was awkward.  There was an embarrassing back and forth between Baker and Galvin, which ended when Baker sensibly re-installed the same guy Patrick had named.

Then, it turned out that all but four of the 60-odd appointments are actually exempt from being rescinded.  Worse, two of the remaining four appointments were designed to allow the new Chief Justice of the SJC (Ralph Gants) and the incoming Attorney General (Maura Healey) to swear in their own staff, so Baker promptly reinstated those two as well.

That left only two unfortunate last-minute Patrick appointees to be subjected to Baker’s axe:

Paul Phaneuf to the Board of Registration of Funeral Directors and Embalmers, and Raymond Murano to the Board of Registration in Podiatry.

Hilariously, though, Phaneuf and Murano both donated the maximum $500 to the Baker campaign in 2014.  And Murano’s support of Baker goes back to 2013, when he donated $200, and even back 2010 when he also maxed out (though, to be fair, Murano covered his bases in 2010 by also donating to the Patrick campaign).  Murano also donated to the state Republican party in 2010 to the tune of $1,300.  Awkward.

MassLive.com reports that Governor Baker told Galvin that “[i]n due course, we will consider what action will be taken relative to the appointments made to the Board of Registration of Funeral Directors and Embalmers and the Board of Registration in Podiatry.”  Won’t it be interesting to see what, if anything, remains of Governor Baker’s first big move since taking office once that review is complete.  :D

The Gaming Commission's Hurry-Up Offense: Dispatch from the "ATM's in Casinos" Battlefront

BMG: information you need, when you need it. - promoted by david

(Cross-posted at hesterprynne.net.)

The latest episode in the drama concerning the legality of placing ATM’s in casinos here in Massachusetts.

Quick recap. At present, a state law says that no ATM “shall be located upon premises where there occurs legalized gambling.” This law presents an obstacle of major significance to the casino industry, under whose business model casino patrons must have ready access to all of their assets. In a very lightly attended legislative session on Christmas Eve, the State Senate included a repeal of that law in an amendment to a much larger bill concerning the regulation of state-chartered banks. The maneuver did not go undetected, and those who favored more careful deliberation on this policy question succeeded in removing the proposed repeal before allowing the bill to pass.

The Gaming Commission, in sympathy with the casino industry, had earlier asked the state’s Division of Banks for its views, and last week the agency responded: no repeal of the law is necessary because it has already happened. Their argument goes like this: the 2011 gambling law included a directive to several state agencies to ensure that casinos do not allow “any credit card or automated teller machine that would allow a patron to obtain cash from a government-issued electronic benefits transfer [EBT] card.” This prohibition against EBT cards, the Division of Banks reasons, also operated to repeal the earlier law prohibiting the placement of ATM’s in casinos altogether. Despite the fact that the Legislature did not expressly repeal the ATM prohibition (as it did with seven other statutes it regarded as inconsistent with the gambling law), the repeal nevertheless occurred “by implication,” because no other interpretation is conceivable: the prohibition against the use of EBT cards can mean only that the Legislature intended that ATM’s capable of rejecting EBT cards are permissible.

Whether the Division of Banks is correct in its interpretation is certainly a matter of dispute. (Courts are very reluctant to conclude that repeals “by implication” have occurred: the test for the principle of implied repeal is “whether the prior statute is so repugnant to, and inconsistent with, the later enactment that both cannot stand.”) For one thing, the Legislature evidently lacked confidence that the gambling law repealed the entire ATM prohibition “by implication,” or else it would not have attempted to repeal it expressly last month.

In any event, now that it believes it has a green light of sorts from the Division of Banks, the Gaming Commission has a hurry-up offense going. Draft regulations allowing ATM’s as long as they are 15 feet or more from the gaming area have been issued and the Commission is requesting comments from the public by 4:00 pm on this Monday, January 19 (yes, it’s a federal holiday).

The Commission’s decision on ATM’s is far from the final word. And they should know what you think. So this weekend, maybe while you’re watching the Patriots’ hurry-up offense, drop a line to the Commission with your thoughts — and remember, the wisdom of the ATM policy is fair game, too. Use ‘draft regulation comment’ in the subject line and email to mgccomments@state.ma.us.

Governor, We Have a Revenue Problem

"We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem" is great rhetoric, but where does the budget axe actually fall? As Mark accurately points out, discretionary spending isn't where the big money is. - promoted by david

It’s honeymoon time in Boston. The transition from Governor Deval Patrick to Governor Charlie Baker couldn’t have been much smoother. Baker has talking, and even seems to walking, the bipartisan line. Referring to talks to close the gaping budget hole of FY ’15, House Speaker Bob DeLeo said they were off to a “superb start.” Senate President Stan Rosenberg characterized Baker and as “very substantive” and said they “spent the entire time digging deep in the weeds of policy.”

Baker is not going to govern as a Democrat, but I think it’s safe to say that he will not be Scott Walker or Sam Brownback or Rick Perry or Rick Scott. Management, and to some degree, leadership can be non-partisan. But it is worth noting that Baker is both a Republican and an avowed “fiscal conservative” who has he has pledged not to raise taxes. This ideological stance explains Baker’s recent statement that, “If we’re honest with ourselves, we can’t blame this deficit on a lack of revenue. We have to recognize that this is a spending problem.” At best, this statement is disingenuous.

BMG Fundraiser Party Friday 1/23!

Bumped, for glory. - promoted by david

Dear BMGers: You are most cordially invited to our official, extra-special Blue Mass. Group 10th anniversary Propaganda Propulsion Pizza Party! It’s Friday January 23rd, starting at 6:30 pm, at Bertucci’s on Route 16 in Medford. Why there? David dropped his business card in a bowl and won a pizza party, so there you go. Pizza and wings are on them; cash bar for drinks.

We’re hoping that this event will serve two functions.  First, it’s good for everyone, including the BMG community, to step out from behind the keyboards now and then and meet up in person.  Those of you whom we’ve already met, we’d love to see again; those of you we’ve not yet encountered in person, what better time?

Second, we’re trying to raise some much-needed funds to maintain and upgrade the site, and we hope you’ll support our efforts.

Why a fundraiser after all this time? Well, the maintenance and minor improvements we’ve had over the last few years have been bankrolled — barely — by the slender stream of advertising revenue from the site. And when extra expenses have popped up, your editors have dipped into their own personal funds, even depriving their loved ones of life’s necessities in so doing. Not only have we not been making money from the site, we’ve been losing it – for years.

Now, we’ve made some changes, and we’d like to do more. You may agree that after all this time, the site could use a few improvements. We’ve finally moved to a new server. We need a new developer to take on some projects: A mobile-friendly version (i.e., “responsive”, in WordPress jargon) would be nice; more social-networking possibilities; maybe even an events calendar. As you can imagine, this is the kind of thing where you can spend as much money as you’ve got. Once we get a budget we can see what’s possible.

In addition, there will be a silent auction — donations of wicked classy things are most kindly accepted! Our donations are:
1. a voice lesson with Charley
2. lunch and constitutional banter with David — ask for his hilarious Stephen Breyer impression
3. a singed and signed copy of “Napalm” from Bob

Donate something valuable, or better yet, bid!

Do let us know if you plan to go, and give a percentage chance you’ll make it. Here’s a rough, easy translation of your words into percentages:

“I’m coming! Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor dead of night shall keep me from it!” = 75%
“I can make it. See you there” = 50%
“I think I can make it” = 10%
“I’ll try to make it” = 3%

And if you can’t make it, consider this BMG pledge time. Why not subscribe and do some small part to keep our little pamphlet mill cranking away?  Subscribing also gets you a spiffy gold badge by your user name, and cuts down on the advertising you’ll see on the site.  Alternatively, you can toss a few bucks our way using the PayPal button below:

So COME ON DOWN to Bertucci’s in Medford on 1/23. It would be great to see all or any of you in the flesh!

Quick, boys, raise the blimp

Run, Mitt, Run! Three's the charm! - promoted by Bob_Neer

It does not look as though His Etch-a-sketchelency will be on deck for very long.

Getting gas is painful.

Any time you wonder about whether Obama has been not the most romantic progressive boyfriend, please ponder how we’d be doing on climate issues with President Romney. This is a BFD:

WASHINGTON — In President Barack Obama’s latest move using executive authority to tackle climate change, administration officials are announcing plans this week to impose new regulations on the oil and gas industry’s emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

The administration’s goal is to cut methane emissions from oil and gas production by up to 45 percent by 2025 from the levels recorded in 2012, according to an official familiar with Obama’s plans.

Obama Administration to Unveil Plans to Cut Methane Emissions – Nation – The Boston Globe.

Obama Administration to Unveil Plans to Cut Methane Emissions - Nation - The Boston Globe

Natural gas does indeed burn cleaner than coal. It’s what happens when it doesn’t burn: Trapping 80x as much heat as CO2. (Methane decays; over a 100-year period it’s still 20x that of CO2. The 80x figure is relevant because we don’t have 100 years to wait.) So when it leaks — which it does — it loses much, if not all of its advantage. 

So one wonders what Charlie Baker’s seemingly lackluster energy team is going to do about our admittedly high electricity and gas prices. Just build another pipeline? Does that make sense? Let’s try to follow this logic:

  • If gas is cheap, we should expand capacity — cheap energy, everyone!
  • If gas is expensive (as it is now) … we should expand capacity!

No. The problem is our dependency on a price-volatile commodity. How about this: continue to bolster efficiency measures and price-stabilizing renewables — a booming industry that happens to be native to Massachusetts. Why shouldn’t Massachusetts shouldn’t go big on renewables, like California?

Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone Outlines How the Boston Bid Should Go Forward to Benefit The Entire Region

A good discussion-starter. - promoted by david

Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone’s Commonwealth piece is a must read for anyone following the Boston 2024 Bid. It is an even handed assessment of the real challenges the region will face, and why the risks and rewards will need to be regionalized for these games to be successful. It’s a piece supporters, opponents, and those on the fence would do well to read.

Mayor Curtatone has identified the only way forward for these games-a regionalized effort where burdens are shared, costs contained, and the legacy the games leave behind HAVE to include substantial long term investments in our crumbling infrastructure and depleted housing stock. He also addresses a need for greater civic engagement and transparency, using the Olympics as a springboard to get guaranteed federal funding for infrastructure improvements needed on a broad scale in a short timetable, and using the games to increase the permanent sustainability of our local economy.

The municipalities that constitute Greater Boston share many of the same goals that we’re trying to tackle in piecemeal fashion. The Olympics presents an opportunity to leap forward on some of the most pressing issues such as transportation, infrastructure, and housing. A true Boston Olympics should be one where we go to the International Olympic Committee and say, “This is how you do it better.”

Key questions remain:
1)Is this the kind of bid the IOC would actually approve?
2)Is it worth pursuing this bid the right way if it won’t be selected?
3)Can these laudable goals be achieved without an Olympic bid to spur them?

Glad to see at least one policymaker asking them, and looking towards the long term risks and rewards that the Games pose to the entire Commonwealth-not just the city of Boston itself.

Subscribe to BMG!

A fine idea! - promoted by Bob_Neer

Note/Edit: I’m still getting the hang of this… did it post the first time but I just can’t find it?

Hey! Did you know that for just $39.99 a year you can help BMG editors not lose money for providing, frankly, the best source of political news in the state? Well, I just did that, and you can too! See that little ‘Account’ button at the top of your screen? Click it! and get your credit card out. It takes two minutes. I’m new to this posting thing, but I’m having a blast! While you have your card out, why not send a few more of your dollars to worthy causes that value small dollar contributions.

I like:

Progressive Massachusetts.

Black Lives Matter Boston

Mass Alliance

There are a bunch of others, but so far as building a more progressive commonwealth, this is where I’d start!   Ok… /spam Hopefully I’ll get my act together to be a better poster and commenter over the next few weeks.

No pardon for Wahlberg

Former assistant AG Judith Beals offers a devastating argument against a pardon for Mark Wahlberg in the Globe:

Actor Mark Wahlberg has petitioned Massachusetts for a pardon of violent racial assaults he committed as a teenager. I prosecuted Wahlberg for his actions 26 years ago when I was an assistant attorney general. Now, as a private citizen, I see no reason why that history should be erased from the public record through a pardon. While private acts of reconciliation and forgiveness can be an important part of our shared racial history, that history should never be erased.

Wahlberg made his mark in Boston long before he became famous. He first came to the attention of the attorney general’s office in 1986 when Boston was still under court order to desegregate its public school system and racial tension was high.

On a Sunday afternoon, Jesse Coleman, a 12-year-old African-American boy, was walking on Savin Hill Beach when Wahlberg and his buddies began chasing him, hurling rocks and yelling racial epithets. When Jesse returned to the beach the next day on a school field trip, Wahlberg was there again with an even bigger gang, hurling rocks and more racial epithets at Jesse’s class, injuring two of the students.

The harm inflicted by racial harassment extends far beyond individual victims — it sends ripples of fear throughout entire communities. This case was no exception. But Wahlberg was not criminally prosecuted for his actions on Savin Hill Beach. Instead, we secured a civil rights injunction — a court order — that essentially amounted to a stern warning: if you do this again, you will go to prison.

In the 13 years I served in the attorney general’s office, I recall only one instance of a defendant violating a civil rights injunction — Mark Wahlberg. His attack on Thanh Lam and Hoa Trinh showed the same tendency toward serial acts of racial violence. The two men had no connection except for the fact that they were both Vietnamese. Wahlberg’s repeated racial epithets revealed an equally racist motivation albeit toward a different class – making clear that bigotry harbors no boundaries. But this time, Wahlberg was even more violent, breaking a five-foot pole over Thanh Lam’s head and punching Hoa Trinh to the ground. For this, he served 45 days in prison.

Racism is a vice that has hurt Boston and left its stain. To whitewash, as it were, Wahlberg’s grotesque crimes against children and immigrants would be obscene. He should be applauded for rising above his past, just as Boston and the nation should be, to the degree they have done so, but we should never forget it.