Marriage Equality is halted in Colorado.

Colorado’s Supreme Court order a halt to Marriage Equality in Boulder County Colorado today.

My sympathy to the residents of Colorado. Hopefully, this will only be an injustice for a short time period.

Note: The following image is still showing Colorado as Blue unfortunately.

Legend for the key colors

State Should Support All Students

Last week, the senate voted to defeat a bill that proposed to raise the current cap on charter schools in 29 districts.  Beginning in 2017 the cap would rise from 18% to 23% of those school districts’ spending.

Before the vote, we heard from parents, advocates, students, and organizations on both sides of the argument. We sat down with whoever was willing to talk about the bill and what it would mean for students in the Commonwealth and the future of our public education system.

We went into all of these conversations with the goal of answering one essential question: what is our end game in expanding charter schools?

In 1993 when the Massachusetts Legislature voted to create charter schools, the intent was that charters would experiment with new practices for educating our children. Originally, it was intended to take the successful practices developed by charter schools and use them in the district public schools.

Today, charter schools are promoted not as collaborators with public schools, but as competitors in a marketplace where test scores take the place of profits. In this market, there are rewards for schools that can avoid students who are likely to score low. That was never the intent.

Interesting Chart on the progress of Marriage Equality...


Normally, I would title this “Cool Image of the Day”, but it is more a “Sad Chart” than a “Cool Image”. But it does demonstrate the progress that is being made in United States regarding Marriage Equality. From Andrew Sullivan’s blog.

If Carmen Ortiz Was a Doctor? - "Broadway Street"? Really Guys? Really?

( Note: Everyone hear knows that immediately after the Globe Spotlight series on the Probation Department appeared a new law was passed making it impossible for politicians to interfere with hirings, right? So the argument going around that the indictments and guilty verdicts were needed to clean up the mess is without merit. Funny how the media never reminds the readers of this when they try to make that point. …..Ernie)

Suppose Massachusetts had an outbreak of some disease that had people dropping right and left. Now suppose the medical establishment did the usual and via the scientific method came up with preventive and curable treatments.

Got that?

Now suppose Carmen Ortiz was the state health commissioner and Fred Wyshak was her chief scientist. (You may want to suppose that both have a history of getting enjoinment out of seeing good people suffer so they may be suspect)

Now suppose Ortiz and Wyshak tell the public over and over again that the only prevention and cure is to cover the body with leeches and lie in the sun.

Now imagine if the local media ran with that and report it as gospel science truth. At the same time established members of the medical and scientific communities were desperately trying to get their voices heard.

Unfortunately for the public the media ignores the experts while bombarding readers with uneducated opinions and selective facts based on Carmen Ortiz’z insistence that leeches are the answer.

That my friends is what Commonwealth Magazine, David Bernstein, The Globe, and the rest of them are doing by ignoring the legal experts who are crying foul based on settled law. According to Paul McMorrow and Bruce Mohl and the Globe they can figure this out for themselves and don’t need the knowledgable crowd to get in their way.

That’s not reporting, that’s creating the news to the detriment of the readers they say they serve.

P.S. Judge Young repeatedly reminded the defendants during their motions for directed verdicts that he would entertain the same arguments on motions to over turn the jury’s verdict if it returned guilties.

Of course the lawyers knew this, but Young kept saying it. I like to think he’s gonna flip a few of the findings, maybe reversing Burke’s guilty and all verdicts against Tavarses. He could trim down O’Brien’s multiple guilties and then give him probation or a short period of in-home incarceration. He may then stay the sentence pending appeal.

Who knows?

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Hey you losers in the media who have been referring to Broadway in Revere as “Braodway Street” please go away. The Globe even printed this on front page of its website last night.

WTF. Can you name another Broadway Street anywhere?  It’s like saying “Arborway Street” you putz.

 

Rescuing the Middlesex DA's Office from Marian Ryan

Full disclosure: I am a strong supporter of Michael Sullivan, and would be backing him for DA no matter whom he was running against.

Last week I laid out an entirely positive case for why I was proudly supporting Michael A. Sullivan for District Attorney, based on his long history of public service to my hometown of Cambridge and Middlesex County as it’s Clerk of Courts. Consider last week the direct examination of a talented and capable public servant, and this week the cross examination that undermines his opponents case for election*.

(*As an appointed official, Ms. Ryan is technically not up for re-election, as this is her first time facing the voters)

We already have the questionable actions of her response to the tragic Remy case. On top of that, Joan Vennocchi brought up another glaring mistake that her office has made:

But there are other signs she needs to focus on the big picture. Last June, the Globe reported that an error made by an administrative assistant in the DA’s office jeopardized at least a dozen child pornography cases in the county….But in the aftermath, what did you learn? And how did you lead, manage, and inspire from that low point?

That’s the case Ryan has yet to make to the public.

And this Saturday’s Globe finally brought to light consistent mismanagement of the office, which is hemorrhaging staff, alongside a pattern of repeated abusive behavior towards subordinates.

As many as 66 of about 240 employees in the office have left and been replaced during Ryan’s time at the helm…

Possibly due to abusive behavior by the DA

“The employees of the Middlesex DA’s office are deeply committed and extremely hard-working despite the current executive leadership who often treats them in demeaning and disparaging ways,” said former prosecutor Lisa McGovern, who gave notice on June 2, a week after securing the first-degree murder conviction of Jared Remy for the killing of his girlfriend, Jennifer Martel. “It’s mismanagement to treat them in a harsh, demeaning way and mismanagement to base supervisory decisions on the fear of media criticism.”

A pattern going as far back as 2012, when then DA Gerry Leone removed paralegals and interns from Ryan’s staff due to the way they were mistreated:

In 2012, then Middlesex District Attorney Leone decided that Ryan should no longer directly supervise paralegals and assistants following several complaints about her yelling at subordinates and overloading them with work, according to three people with knowledge of the order.

One was so stressed while working for Ryan she no longer felt comfortable coming to the office, according to two of the sources.

Michael Sullivan is a former colleague and friend of Marian Ryan, at question here is not her capability as a lawyer or a prosecutor, but her ability to manage an office of several hundred attorneys successfully. Michael A. Sullivan already has some executive experience as Mayor of Cambridge where he chaired the Cambridge City Council and School Committee as Mayor and oversaw City Hall Staff, and he has successfully runan even larger office at the Clerk of Courts. He came into this race reluctantly, at the behest of several attorneys and former MA AG and Middlesex DA Scott Harshbarger, who were disappointed with the direction Ryan was taking the office.

As Sullivan said in this Sunday’s Globe, where he challenged Ryan to a second debate, this is a purely a question of management, and a strong case can be made that he will do a better job.

Martha Coakley got an F from the NRA because of her strong support of stricter gun laws. Grossman gets an F from me on his campaign so far.

Coakley has worked her whole career to keep families safer from gun violence. As Middlesex DA she worked with schools to develop programs that would help prevent tragedies like Columbine, she worked in cities like Lowell to launch 24-hour tip lines in the languages spoken on the street to help combat gang violence, and she advocated for legislation that would increase the maximum penalty for illegally carrying a loaded gun. As Attorney General, Coakley called on Congress and the President after the Newtown shooting to renew a meaningful and comprehensive assault weapons ban, to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines, and to close loopholes to ensure that all purchasers of firearms at gun shows undergo a background check prior to purchase, regardless of the seller. She strongly opposed the National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act, which would require all states to recognize firearms permits obtained in other states, even if those states have looser gun control laws She has a clear record that demonstrates her commitment to the safety of our families.

Grossman’s first salvo on this issue was a fake debate that his campaign staged in April. His campaign put three podiums on the steps of the Statehouse, one for him , one for gun-rights advocate Jim Wallace, and an empty one for Coakley even though his campaign knew she wasn’t coming. There were no podiums for the other 3 Democratic candidates. They had not even been invited. In an article written by Michael Jonas in CommonWealth the author quotes Jim Wallace saying about Grossman’s campaign’s portrayal of Martha, “Martha Coakley was being made to look like the darling of the NRA, and I think that’s probably a little bit laughable,” Wallace said when asked about the idea that he had been praising her. “If you look at her track record, unfortunately, she’s pretty much ignored the plight lawful gun owners since she’s been in office. I don’t think we’re here to praise Martha.” It was poor political theater.

Although we know he technically isn’t allowed to coordinate with Super-PACs the second salvo was an ad funded by a Super-PAC that implies that she hasn’t done everything possible to protect our families. The ad isn’t true but Coakley can’t debate it because it isn’t Grossman. It is put out by a group that is funded by secret special interest money. If it had been an ad paid for and put out by Grossman there would be room to debate.

Coakley, who was the first Attorney General to support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United has stated repeatedly that secret special-interest money has no place in Massachusetts elections.  Her campaign has asked Grossman’s campaign to sign the People’s Pledge to keep secret, outside money out of the Governor’s race. They have so far refused.

There have never been Super PAC-funded ads in a Democratic primary. These ads tear down candidates with little regard for the truth. They are funded by secret special interest groups. They are the opposite of the transparent campaigns so many of us have fought for. These Super PAC-funded ads will hurt all Democrats in November.

Grossman is the only Democrat in this race to have a Super-PAC. The chair of the PAC is his neighbor and friend Barry White. We have no idea who the other contributors are, if they are from firms that do business with Grossman in his role as Treasurer Grossman, we don’t know much of anything because they are funded in secret.

I had hoped for a better campaign from Grossman and his team. I have long admired him and thought he would fight a fair fight this campaign. I am disappointed. I would ask that you join me in asking him to disavow these Super –PAC ads and ask others to do the same.

Follow this link to a petition to call on Grossman to disavow the SuperPACs       http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/massachusetts-say-no?source=c.em&r_by=11002128 that was just launched by MoveOn.

Say no to Citizens United and shadowy SuperPACs

Grossman once said, “Voters should determine who wins elections, not outside money!”

He was once on the right side of the argument. Shame.

Link

A petition by Martha Coakley via MoveOn.org

To be delivered to Steve Grossman

Join us in calling on Steve Grossman to denounce the SuperPAC formed in his name and publicly request their ads be immediately taken down. These attacks, the first negative SuperPAC attack ads ever launched in a Massachusetts Democratic Primary, will only hurt our Party, our state and our democracy in the long-run.

Petition Background

Massachusetts has been a proud leader in denouncing the Citizens United decision and preventing SuperPAC attack ads from influencing campaigns. Since Citizens United, these shadowy groups have used their unlimited, undisclosed corporate donations to launch negative attacks and drown out the voices of average voters across the country. In 2012, Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown led the way in voluntarily agreeing to ban these groups in their Senate campaign. Ed Markey and Steven Lynch followed suit in their race.

No matter which candidate you’re supporting, if you’re undecided or you may live outside Massachusetts, by joining our efforts, you’re helping to send a strong message that the Citizens United decision was wrong. These secretive, special interest groups drown out the voice of average voters, breed cynicism, and threaten our democracy.

We believe this campaign should be about grassroots activism and candidates’ ideas for the future, not attacks ads funded by undisclosed corporate interests.

Marriage Equality comes to Virginia

A An Appeals Court stuck down Virginia’s Ban today.

Congratulations to the residents of Virginia.

SuperPAC Ad Fight in Governor's Race

Mass Forward, SuperPAC supporting Steve Grossman, released an ad about gun violence attacking Martha Coakley and calling her the “wrong choice for governor.”

I think it’s a decent ad and gets at an issue where Coakley is pretty weak (although still no one really cares much about policy distinctions among the candidates in this race yet).

The Coakley campaign released a counterad attacking Grossman.

I agree with the general SuperPAC assessment and wish they weren’t involved (especially when disclosures are not required), but this response really irks me. It just seems so condescending. It also reminds me of the 2010 primary in which criticisms would go unaddressed by Coakley. I’d say that so far Coakley has a very well run campaign, but it is frustrating when real issues with the frontrunner’s policies and background just never get addressed (see also: criticism of the Partners deal). They don’t want to get into those discussions, and for good reason. The other campaigns are having a hard time getting anyone to notice, and the press doesn’t seem too interested either.

What do you think? I guess I’m just glad my candidate isn’t involved, and he also released a pretty strong gun control platform, although I’d love to see more on gun manufacturing and also registration requirements. MA should be so far ahead of other states on this issue.

The Globe has a bit more coverage of the Grossman/Coakley fight as well.

 

 

Half-Man George Regan Is Spokesman for Bill Linehan. Why? - I'm With Kirk Minehan - RICO Case Against Arthur T. DeMoulas Much Easier Than Probation Case - David Bernstein Takes on Harvey Silverglate.....Baaahahaha

Sorry If this reads a little groggy but I just came to. I was doing my usual morning routine and because I am ambidextrous I can read the Herald at the same time. Bad move. I read something that caused me to pass out and fall from where I sat striking my cranium on the open porcelain container in which I bathe.

I’ll let you read it for yourself. But be forewarned. Strap yourself in before you continue.

From a story in today’s Herald concerning the city council’s reaction to Mayor Walsh’s position on the immigrant children.

Council President Bill Linehan said he learned of Walsh’s intent in the Herald and wants to sit down and talk about the idea this week.

“He knew nothing about it until he read it in the paper,” said George Regan, Linehan’s spokesman. “It’s an interesting concept and a complicated issue. He intends to talk to Mayor Walsh early this week to figure out where they go.”

Did you catch that? George Reagan. The Half-Man himself. The man who for the right price can get you A. a seat by the window at whatever restaurant you want and B. your name in bold in the Inside Track mentioning your dining experience.

He’s also the guy that told Ernie Boch, Jr. to unmasked me and then Howie Carr could use Entercom’s FCC license  to “terrorize me every afternoon.” Funny how that stopped right away because I was able to use this blog to fight back. Right Half-man?

(Ernie’s own Two and a Half-Men. Ernie, Jr. and Howie make two with vertically challenged Regan playing the Half-Man. I only call him this because I know it kills him. And guess what? After I attacked him he changed course and ignored. The Inside Track  gals were all over me then in an e-mail they said word had come down and no more EB3 stuff.

Seeing a Howie Carr takedown The Globe wanted in and put it’s best columnist on it.  Joan Vennochi bashed Howie for being Howie and posed the legitimate question of my anonymity. However Joan being Joan the column was evenhanded and fairly presented my position.)

Enough about me. A district city councillor has employed a high end and expensive public relations firm to handle basic crap. Who is paying for this and why can’t Linehan speak for himself or through his office?

And check out the issue. George Regan and Bill Linehan. Two pathetic excuses for Irish Catholics. (What would Pope Francis say?)

—-

I’m sorry but FOX calling out WEEI and Kirk Minehan for saying if Erin Andrews was 15 pounds heavier she would be a waitress after the bitch reference was smoothed over is so disingenuous.

How phony is this? FOX saw an out from expensive advertising with a dying station.

And how dare any broadcasting or production company that employs women as on-air talent criticize someone as being sexist.  The morning news is now one big spank-o-vison. “Start your day with the best pair of tits in this market.”

Who’s kidding who? Minehan spoke the truth and the victims of the truth get the better media play. Truth be told if Erin Andrews gained five pounds she would hear about it from the same people who pulled the advertising.

Ladies and gentlemen, that sucks!

BTW I love how people in the media get off on seeing others lose the job and get publicly humiliated.

Easy RICO case fro the Fred Wyshak School of Prosecution.

A CEO controls four votes on a seven member board.. The minority is controlled by people he hates. He does not hide the fact that he finds them intrusive and views the company as his personal property. He tells the board this in recorded meetings.

He commits himself to making sure the opposing shareholders never see any benefit they rightfully and legally  deserve. One thing he does is provide generous salary and benefits packages to management and mid-level employees (nothing wrong with that) while at the same time unreasonably holding cash and not allowing shareholders dividend pay-outs.

Also there are real estate development companies owned and controlled by various members of the CEO’s family set-up solely to develop needed company expansion. No other development companies were considered.

Now suppose the mid-level managers and employees who may have been benefiting from this corporate pissing contest knew what was going on. Who couldn’t?

Well my friends, according to Fred Wyshak we have a RICO case easier to prove than the probation one. Market Basket is lay-up. Some of the high level employees were racketeering because they were accepting benefits and high salaries all the time knowing that Arthur T. was stealing from shareholders to their benefit. The case can made my friends.

This is an example of how the government’s theory in probation can easily be applied to the private sector.

With RICO hearsay comes in and rules of evidence used to protect the court from being duped get thrown out the window. So now we have the feds hauling in all these honest employees telling them they are racketeers and what will they do to help themselves.

Suddenly one guys “remembers” a time when he thanked Arthur S. for a sizable Christmas bonus and Arthur S. responded “better you than my a-hole cousins”.

BINGO!

Speaking of Market Basket they have the best jobs going right now. The press doesn’t report this but people, mostly young summer cashiers and such, are reporting to work, signing in, then going outside and spending the day picketing in a nice party atmosphere. They are getting paid. They invite their buddies. They meet chicks. Oh, and they all go back to school in a couple of weeks.

I wish I knew what Team Arthur S.’s plan is.

How about David Bernstein? Where did this guy come from? He is by far one of the most arrogant and condescending “journalists” we have around.

Check this out. Noted civil libertarian lawyer Harvey Silverglate wrote a piece for Lawyers Weekly that explained in some detail why RICO and other federal criminal charges were abuses of prosecution and other such bad stuff.

Harvey cited case law and precedent and backed up his assertions with facts and law.

On the other hand hand we have David Bernstein tweeting out that he “respectfully disagrees with Silverglate on many of the issues”.

Oh really David? Let’s see what you have to say.

Ouch, we get this crap? No research. No case law cited, no precedent, no sign of understanding of the laws to convict and an obvious lack of understanding and appreciation of basic legal concepts. No mention of Harvey either. No mention of any lawyer with an opinion.

Dave’s not alone in this.

BTW what is journalism school? You would think all these “journalists” who constantly opine on the law would have some education in it.

BTW2 Notice how hard it is for Harvey Silverglate, Nancy Gertner, and other legal experts to get heard on this? The media has shut them down.

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Have you guys heard about this twitter thing? It’s amazing. I bet it catches on. Anyway, I’m on it and you should check it out.

 

What got me to support Don Berwick

I was standing at an intersection in Metro West with fellow Democrats this weekend,  sign holding for a visibility in support of our candidate for the House of Representatives this weekend, when the subject of Don Berwick’s campaign came up.  The odd thing is that we were all in support of Don Berwick, but each of us thought that the rest of us were in support of one of the other candidates.  One by one, we discovered that we were all supporting Don Berwick.  Imagine that.

Then something very telling came up about us.  We were all children of the 60’s.  To the people passing by, we were just older folks, gray hair, holding signs for our candidate.  In our hearts, we remained the same as we were back then when we protested the Vietnam War, participated in Earth Day, supported a woman’s right to choose and fought for social justice.   Then somewhere in the 1980’s we stopped, not all of us, just many of us, myself included.

When I speak with of Gen-X’ers and Millennials, I hear them say that my generation, the Baby Boomers, screwed up, and they’re right, we did.  Yes, we did a lot of good things, and then we stopped.  We let the big banks take control.  We allowed corporations to send our good jobs overseas.  We stood by and watched as our employers got to decide what health care we could and could no longer receive.  We allowed faceless corporations full financial access to our elections.  We got distracted with self-fulfillment, individual achievement, McMansions, and life coaches.  We got soft. We played it safe.  We stopped fighting for social justice.

Don Berwick’s speech at the convention was the spark that re-ignited that commitment to social justice.  His campaign of bold progressive leadership comes at a time when people like me still have the will to fight for what we believe.  It’s good to be back.

Question for AG and other candidates

What are your thoughts on the Commonwealth Fusion Centers?

What role and costs do these centers assume and consume and how do they actually make the average citizen safer?

Do you have any thoughts or suggestions about increasing transparency and general information to the public about the centers (Maynard, Boston) and why they should have oversight or not?

Is it the AG’s role to spy on the spies (surveillance and security information specialists) in order to ensure that accountability and civil rights are being protected?   If you believe the AG’s office or other offices/departments are needed to perform those watchdog services, how do you propose to do it?

Thank you  – I look forward hearing from you.   HD

 

Climate Change and Geotherapy: Two Conferences, Two Workshops, and Another Chance

I’ve been going to public lectures on climate change at Harvard, MIT, and other places since at least 1980. Lately I’ve been thinking that I have yet to hear an ecologist talk about the subject. I’ve seen climatologists, atmospheric chemists, atmospheric physicists, glaciologists, rocket scientists (thanks, S Fred Singer), oceanographers, and geologists address the subject. But I can’t recall hearing an ecologist talk about climate change and ecological systems. This becomes even more frustrating to me when I attend a lecture on geoengineering. In the last couple of years, a joint Harvard and MIT group has been meeting to discuss this topic and the enormous intellectual effort devoted to rather simplistic solutions to complex systems problems is astonishing to me, especially since there seems to be such a great reluctance to engage on the systems issues.

Recently, some friends and colleagues have begun trying to remedy the situation, focusing on the global carbon cycle and, in particular, soil carbon. Part of this is through the work of Allan Savory and his practice of Holistic Management in relation to livestock grazing patterns. Another part is through the work of Tom Goreau protecting and, in some cases, restoring coral reefs. Through their efforts, this year’s Northeast Organic Farming Association Summer Conference will have an extensive “Soil Carbon and Climate Track” introducing practicing farmers to ways in which their daily work can sequester carbon from the atmosphere for years, decades, and even centuries, becoming an important tool in diminishing climate change and, just possibly, reversing it.

A few weeks later, the NOFA Massachusetts chapter will host two day-long workshops with Dr. Christine Jones, an Australian soil biologist, on “Practical Options for Food Production Resilience in an Increasingly Variable Climate.” One workshop will be in the Boston area and the other will be in Western Massachusetts.

Lastly and certainly not least, they are organizing a conference at Tufts University at the end of November on “Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming.” Not only will the conference bring together experts from all over the world to talk about ecosystem solutions to confront climate change and global warming but it is also designed to start a global conversation and network to begin practicing these systemic solutions, sharing what works and understanding what doesn’t and why.

This is a development I have long waited for and will participate in as much as I can.

The Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Summer Conference takes place August 8-10, 2014 at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA.
http://www.nofasummerconference.org/index.php
pdf alert: http://www.nofasummerconference.org/pdfs/Soil_Carbon_and_Climate%20_Track_2014.pdf

Soil Carbon and Climate Track
2014 NOFA Summer Conference
These workshops provide information on farming practices that return carbon to the soil from the atmosphere, and build humus for the long term.

Carbon Farming: Regenerative Agriculture for the Climate
Saturday, August 9, 8:00-9:30AM
Connor Stedman: Ecological designer, organizer of the internationally acclaimed Carbon Farming Course.
Most efforts to respond to rapid global climate change center on emissions reduction or climate adaptation. This workshop explores a third tool – carbon sequestration in trees and soil. We’ll review the science and discuss agroforestry, holistic rotational grazing, organic no-till, and biochar. We’ll identify promising methods and crops for farmers in the Northeast to trial.

Building Deep Rich Soils in New England
Saturday, August 9, 10:00-11:30AM
Jim Laurie: Biologist studying successful land and ocean restoration efforts.
New England soils are notoriously thin but can be restored with planned grazing. Increasing soil biodiversity improves the water cycle, food quality, farm profitability, wildlife habitat, and climate. We will learn from case studies how to integrate pasture, woodlands and croplands deepening soils to create a New England Savannah.

Grazing for Soil & Carbon
Saturday, August 9, 1:00-2:30PM
Seth Itzkan: Environmental futurist investigating climate mitigation through restorative grazing.
I will report from the Africa Center for Holistic Management in Zimbabwe, where grazing, in accordance with evolutionary patterns, is re-greening highly depleted landscapes: helping to provide sustainable food and water security while invariably sequestering carbon through new soil formation. Case studies and explanations provided.

Monitoring the Carbon Cycle on your Farm
Saturday, August 9, 3:00-4:30PM
Peter Donovan: Founder, Soil Carbon Challenge, monitoring soil changes across North America.
The cycling of carbon via photosynthesis (or lack thereof) affects both climate and soil fertility. Participants will learn how observing these processes locally, with citizen-science and open-data approaches, can enable us to recognize and organize leadership to slow down carbon and water cycling for local and global benefits.

Harvesting your Cover Crop with Ruminants
Sunday, August 10, 8:00-9:30AM
Ridge Shinn: Grass-fed beef pioneer with special knowledge in bovine genetics.
Successfully finishing cattle on a forage-only diet requires understanding how to harvest energy from plants. Cover crops are a way to build soil quickly, and harvesting them with ruminants enhances their functionality. Learn how and why. People with some grazing experience will gain most.

Growing Clean Water: Topsoil & Water Security
Sunday, August 10, 10:00-11:30AM
Abe Collins: Helps producers and communities to achieve new soil outcomes.
Proper agricultural management can yield healthy, covered, aggregated, high organic matter topsoil, cost-effectively meeting society’s need for clean water and flood regulation. I’ll address: land managers’ leadership role, monitoring technologies and open data to accelerate and confirm progress, collaboration between farmers and other community leaders, and payment to farmers for producing clean water.

Nuts for the Northeast OLC,
Sunday, August 10, 1:00-2:30PM
Keith Morris: Grower, builder, and designer, creating ecologically regenerative and economically viable food
systems.
Nut trees and shrubs provide nutrient dense foods, other products, habitat, flood resilience, and can be ‘carbon-negative’. I’ll cover the ecology and mythology of nut trees suited to growing in the Northeast. We’ll cover breeding, trailing, and hybridizing for disease resistance, quality timber, oils, and medicinal properties.

Biological Management for Carbon Sequestration
Sunday, August 10, 3:00-4:30PM
Dan Kittredge: Working to build soil. Farmer, father, husband.3
How integrated practices of biological soil management effect carbon sequestration. What is the biological system, how does it work, and what can you do to help it work better, with a focus on building stable soil humus.

September 1 and 2, 2014, NOFA/Mass welcomes Dr. Christine Jones, an Australian soil biologist, researcher (http://www.amazingcarbon.com) and international educator about carbon sequestration in the soil. From Dr. Jones’ essay “Farming for the Future”, “There is much that can be done ‘on the farm’ to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, sequester carbon and nitrogen, increase soil water-holding capacity and change the climate- rather than being changed by it.” Come to one of these day-long workshops to learn with us and ask Dr. Jones your questions about soil carbon sequestration and how soils we depend on can be a climate change solution.
Details: Mon. Sept.1 10:00am-4:00pm at Newton Community Farm, and Tues. Sept. 2, 10:00am-4:00pm in Amherst. Participants can attend just one or both of these independent workshops. More info and registration: Practical Options for Food Production Resilience in an Increasingly Variable Climate.
http://www.nofamass.org/events/practical-options-food-production-resilience-increasingly-variable-climate#.U9QkqFYQ4s4

Biodiversity for a Livable Climate: Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming First Conference and International Action Week November 2014 (http://bio4climate.org/conference-2014/)
Promoting the power of nature to remove excess carbon from the atmosphere where it does untold damage, and restore it to the soils where it supports abundant life and reverses global warming.

Conference: November 21-23, 2014 Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts, USA (near Boston) Co-sponsored by The Institute of the Environment (TIE) and The Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP) at the Fletcher School of Tufts University

Note: Speakers in [brackets] are not yet confirmed, and there are still speaker slots to be filled. This is a draft program as of July 1, 2014, and subject to change.

Purpose and Overview of Conference
Adam Sacks, Executive Director, Biodiversity for a Livable Climate
A brief introduction to reversing global warming with eco-restoration and the necessary steps along the way.

The Urgency and Basic Science of Soil Carbon
Tom Goreau, Climate and Soil Scientist, Restoration Biologist
An explanation of why is soil carbon so important, the role of plants and soil biota, the power of photosynthesis and living things as a driving force in the climate equation.

How Water Cools the Earth
Walter Jehne, Soil Scientist
A discussion of systemic interactions of biology, water, carbon, heat transfer and the practical applications of basic science in reversing global warming.

How Forests Store Carbon
Mark Leighton, Forest Ecologist
An explanation of how forest restoration and optimization fit into the climate puzzle.

Policy and Paradigms: Is Soil Carbon Sequestration “Real” Science?
William Moomaw, Climate Scientist and Policy Expert
A discussion of the obstacles to progress on addressing climate to date – from the perspective of narrow policy interests and the inability to think beyond failed prevailing preconceptions – and how to address them.

Policy in Action: A Carbon Tax
Gary Rucinski, Citizens Climate Lobby
An examination of political organizing to implement good climate policy.

A Brief Tour of the New Paradigms
Judith Schwartz, Journalist and Author, Cows Save the Planet
A description of the ways in which many land practitioners around the world are addressing ecosystem destruction and climate change – with healing and abundance.

The 40% Example: Healing Grasslands and Capturing Carbon
Seth Itzkan
How applications of Holistic Management and Holistic Planned Grazing applied to billions of acres worldwide can reverse global warming, how it works and what the controversy is about.

How Nature Teaches Us To Purify (water and other things)
Jim Laurie, Restoration Ecologist
An exploration of self-organizing natural systems where other creatures do 99% of the work to heal the earth, and do a far better job than we ever could – including fungi, bacteria, worms, prairie dogs, beavers and buffalo.

Carbon Drawdown: Biochar, Bamboo and the Marketplace
Charlotte O’Brien, Entrepreneur
Serial entrepreneur Charlotte O’Brien merges concerns for a healthy planet and a healthy economic system, and explores the true meaning of “sustainability.”

Restoring the Earth: The Contribution of Commerce
Steve Apfelbaum, Entrepreneur
Stories from decades of experience helping clients worldwide return damaged, degraded lands back to health and productivity.

Regenerative Agriculture in Action
Panel: Dan Kittredge, Dorn Cox, [Ridge Shinn], and others
Presentation by individual speakers and moderated discussion on supplementation with biochar, rock powders, and sea minerals; and managing land for balanced health and productivity and economic stability.

Healthy Soils, Healthy People, Healthy Planet
[Daphne Miller], Physician and Author, Farmacology and The Jungle Effect
The importance of soil health for human health and the connections with restoring a healthy climate.

Reversing Global Warming:The Organizing Challenge of the Ages
[Speaker TBD]
How do we get a planetary movement going – observations of a renowned movement organizer.

The Central Role of Indigenous Peoples
Candace Ducheneaux, Lakota Organizer
Stories from a Lakota grandmother of her efforts to unite indigenous nations and the millions of acres of land under their jurisdiction to restore damaged land, invigorate local economies and reverse global warming.

Cracking the Paradigm: Challenging the Message
Antje Danielson, Director, Tufts Institute of the Environment
The importance of messaging and thoughts of how to challenge the dominant paradigm that obscures our understanding of climate.

As stated, this a draft of the speakers list for the conference as of July 1, 2014. Already there have been changes. To get the most current information check the following links:
List of speakers
http://bio4climate.org/conference-2014/speakers/
Program
http://bio4climate.org/conference-2014/program/
Register
http://www.eventbrite.com/e/biodiversity-for-a-livable-climate-restoring-ecosystems-reversing-global-warming-tickets-12190027701

Previously:
Cows Save the Planet – notes on a layperson’s guide to a variety of soil carbon solutions
http://hubeventsnotes.blogspot.com/2014/02/cows-save-planet.html

Holistic Management – notes on Allan Savory’s text
http://hubeventsnotes.blogspot.com/2014/03/holistic-management-new-framework-for.html

Market Basket Workers, Customers United for "Artie T"

 

The Market Basket board of directors faces unified opposition from both workers and customers who want the board to either reinstate ousted former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas (Artie T), or allow him to purchase the company. Judging by what I have seen the profit losses during this boycott must be staggering, so I decided to make a trip there and see what was going on. At first glance it seems like the stores aren’t open because there are no cars in the parking lot, especially considering that my visit took place on what would normally be a busy Saturday afternoon.

Protesters were outside waving to the cars that drove by, enjoying generous support responses from drivers who would honk their horns repeatedly and wave back at the sign holders. Once inside I have to say it looked quite strange to see no one else. I spoke with a worker who had been there 25 years and had personal experiences with Arthur T. Demoulas who said

“Artie T loves the people who work for him, that’s why we are all standing up for him now.”

Many shelves are bare and the isles are deserted with the exception of the skeleton crew who are diligently keeping up with what little there is left to do.  Everywhere you look there are reminders of the power struggle being waged as workers have put tasteful effective signs reminding all who come that they want Arthur T Demoulas back in control.

As I was making my way through the store I found a lone shopper who was happy to chat about her thoughts on the matter. Mary Ann, 69, is a Salem resident and has shopped at Market Basket since it first opened. I thought that she would say that she was a die-hard loyal customer, that’s why she was still there, but her response was unexpected:

I support the boycott and the workers but I have a little girl’s birthday party to save and I just came from Shaw’ s where the lines are too long for me to wait, so I’m getting just a couple of things I need. I’m not going to shop here until Artie T is back.

To some this may seem like nothing more than a squabbling super rich family matter, but to the workers who have pride and loyalty in this company it is about the changes Arthur S Demoulas threatens to bring as the board elected new CEO. The issue certainly goes deeper than two cousins fighting over money.

The board of directors have a few choices ahead of them: They can rehire Artie T as CEO, they can sell the company to Artie T, or they can proceed as planned with a vigorous shake up of current prices, policy and personnel. One thing seems certain though, employees and shoppers alike, the ones who can make or break a company, are unified in their stand. How much profit will Market Basket have to lose before the board of directors come up with a viable solution? Anyone’s guess is as good as mine.

I’ve heard some negative comments about Artie T in comparison to another more famous local business owner, allow me to share what I know. Being a former employee of Malden Mills and having my Aunt Jackie Hosty as  the 32 year secretary for owner Aaron Feuerstein I remember him well. There was a Great Fire in 1995 that crippled the plant’s production of Polartech, a technology in winter weather apparel used all over the world by companies like Nike and others. I strongly believe Feuerstein’s words helped shape my ethics and sense of fairness, and his actions still resonate through our community almost twenty years later.

“Nobody needs to worry, I’m going to continue to pay everyone out of my own pocket. I have insurance and I plan to rebuild the facility right here.”

Artie T might not be Aaron Feuerstein, but I see the same spirit of unity and belonging in his employees as was then, and all participants can be proud to know that there stand has already made a difference in the hearts and minds of their community, just like it did back in my time at Malden Mills.

As a side note, the board governing Malden Mills rewarded Feuerstein by firing him too. More and more this seems to be the attitude of Corporate America that greed is good even at the cost of employees and customers alike.

 

Obama Calls Out Corporate Tax Dodgers

In his weekly address Saturday, Obama reiterated his call for Congress to pass legislation ending the “unpatriotic tax loophole” that allows some companies to pay fewer taxes.

“Even as corporate profits are as high as ever, a small but growing group of big corporations are fleeing the country to get out of paying taxes,” Obama said. “They’re keeping most of their business inside the United States, but they’re basically renouncing their citizenship and declaring that they’re based somewhere else, just to avoid paying their fair share.”

Even though “the vast majority” of U.S. companies pay what they owe, he added, some are able to “cherrypick” which taxes they pay by swallowing up a smaller foreign company and shifting their official address overseas.

The process is “totally legal” Obama said, but also “totally wrong.”

http://thehill.com/policy/technology/213414-obama-hits-unpatriotic-tax-loophole

Both the right issues and a great campaign issue for November.

Open Thread on Massachusetts 2014 House and Senate Races

With about 6 weeks until the September primary, local races will start to heat up. In response to my post on the 33rd Middlesex, people indicated that an open thread on house and senate races might illuminate the challenges we face in building a more effective and progressive legislature, and at the same time not clog up the news feed.

Let fellow BMGers know what is happening in your district: 

  1. Where is your district?
  2. Is there actually a race (in the primary or the general election)?
  3. Why or why not?  (Is there an open seat? someone challenging an incumbent? an incumbent–good or bad–with no challenger?)
  4. Who’s running? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What sorts of campaigns are they running?
  5. What result do you seek and why? And what will it take to get the job done?

(See my post linked above for a somewhat longwinded example.)

Please disclose any candidate or campaign affiliations.

Enjoy!

So: Nobody walks to work. Who knew?

Thanks to the Boston Globe for proving scientifically that no one in the Bay State walks (or rides a bike) to work.

Instead, according to this week’s poll, we choose driving (82%) and mass transit (8%) or both (9%).

News storyPoll results

I’d never have guess that, but science! Also, people really like the T, with only 17% of T “customers” dissatisfied.

In fact, the number of satisfied “customers” outnumbers the number of people who, um, use public transportation by more than 10 to 1!

More remarkable science: We agree we don’t drive any worse than drivers in other states. Take that, Seattle!

But mostly, no one walks to work. Wow.

 

 

Celebrating the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Tomorrow, we celebrate the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a landmark civil rights law that has helped remove countless barriers for Americans with disabilities. It has made workplaces, schools, courtrooms, and restaurants accessible to people who previously could not get through the door. It has changed our national consciousness and made our state a more welcoming place.

But like all civil rights laws, the ADA is an unfinished promise. We have much more work to do to make opportunities in our Commonwealth available to all.

As a leader in the Attorney General’s Office, I fought hard to ensure that Massachusetts residents with disabilities were able to access education, employment, housing, transportation, and places of public accommodation. I achieved landmark agreements with Apple, Monster.com, and three national movie theater chains to make technology, websites, and entertainment accessible to those with disabilities. I also took action against landlords, employers, and storeowners who failed to meet their responsibilities to people with disabilities.

As Attorney General, I will continue to make the ADA’s protections real for all Massachusetts residents. I will advocate for inclusive technology in our workplaces and classrooms. I will ensure that people with disabilities are able to obtain health care and housing. I will improve employment opportunities and ensure access to places of public accommodation. And I will lead the way by making the Attorney General’s Office a model — investing in trainings, recruiting workers with disabilities, and prioritizing disability rights work throughout the Office’s many divisions.

A society is stronger and richer if it includes everyone. That’s what I will fight for as your next Attorney General.

Thank you for joining me in this effort,

 

Maura

P.S. To learn more about my experience and independent vision for the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, please visit www.maurahealey.com.

My choice for Governor: Don Berwick

Disclaimer: This is my personal endorsement. I serve on both the Milford Democratic Town Committee as co-chair of the Elections Committee, and I am the Outreach Coordinator for the Greater Blackstone Valley Democrats, this should not be construed as an endorsement from either of those organizations, which are constrained in their by-laws from making endorsements during a primary. Also, I am not associated with the Berwick campaign, other than as a door-knocking, phone-calling and blog-posting volunteer.

Earlier this year, shortly before the state convention, I ran into that rarest form of Bay State Democrat, a Joe Avellone supporter, at a Bellingham Democratic Town Committee event and fundraiser. She urged me to read a letter Joe had just released, where he was imploring delegates not to “make a mistake” at the convention. I told her that I was supporting Don Berwick, and she said that Don only cares about health care, he doesn’t have a stand on any other important issues. I told her that she needed to take a look at Don’s web site, where she would see just how mistaken she was.

There is not a single issue in the race for Governor of the Commonwealth where I find myself disagreeing with Don. On his web site and in his answers to the Progressive Mass candidate questionnaire, he has staked out position after position where I find myself in complete alignment with his views – there’s no need for me to have to hold my nose on anything when I go into the voting booth on September 9.

Please join me over the fold for a look at the best candidate in the race…

On Display the priorities of Martha Coakley . .and NESN, and Keith Olbermann . .

So, not that long ago some on BMG took Martha Coakley to task for condemning the stupid and sexist remarks of a lackey on the Dennis and Callahan radio show. Somehow Coakley commenting on that meant she wasn’t paying attention to pressing important legal matters. She was being opportunistic, grandstanding, only saying this because she a woman candidate . . .whatever. The issue of how a professional woman working in her field and being denigrated because of her sex should not be commented on by a professional woman working in her field. How dare Coakley take public offense at a woman being called a “stupid bitch” because a man (who can’t get a TV job) didn’t like her interview technique.

Well it seems that others share Coakley’s view and are saying so. Keith Olbermann, who comments on more than just sports, was featured a a Boston Globe story:

Olbermann professes not to know who Minihane is, describing him as “a derelict of some kind who appears on a Boston radio car wreck called the Dennis & Callahan morning show, evidently to make hosts Gerry Callahan and John Dennis seem less psychotic.”

http://www.boston.com/sports/other/2014/07/24/keith-olbermann-joins-weei-host-erin-andrews-fun/NqNTZDnsN7PSzdkKCGl4EK/story.html

and then this:

Minihane again caused a stir yesterday when, upon returning to the show from vacation, he apologized for his comments but punctuated the apology by saying that if Andrews were “15 pounds heavier she’d be a waitress at Perkins.”

And today the news that NESN is NOT renewing the TV contract with the D&C show that will expire in September. And NESN issued the following statement:

NESN spokesman Gary Roy said the network’s policy is not to comment on personnel or programming matters. But earlier Thursday, he did provide a statement regarding NESN’s view on Minihane’s comments:
“NESN has absolutely no editorial control of WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan Morning Show, and completely disapproves of Mr. Minihane’s disparaging statements. Furthermore, we feel it’s unfortunate that his comments aired on our network.”

There has been backlash elsewhere to the recent controversies. Fox Sports personnel have had internal discussions on the possibility of banning its talent from appearing on WEEI programming, or at the least “Dennis and Callahan.” Respected Fox Sports baseball writer Ken Rosenthal already has said he will no longer appear on D&C.

ESPN’s Keith Law, often a guest on Alex Speier’s excellent “Down on the Farm” weekend show and podcast, said during his chat on ESPN.com Wednesday he will no longer appear on WEEI programming.
“It’s a shame Alex has to work for an outfit that condones this combination of outright misogyny and demeaning personal attacks,’’ wrote Law.

http://www.boston.com/sports/touching_all_the_bases/2014/07/weeis_dennis_and_callahan_program_will_no_longer_air_on_nesn.html?p1=Topofpage:Carousel_sub_headline

I kinda like Martha Coakley’s priority on this one. And Minihane’s continued stupidity shows that Coakley was right not to leave him unchallenged.