Mass Revolution Now!

Another member of Massachusetts’ reality based community. Maybe honesty IS the best policy.

May 3, 2006

Reilly On Cape Wind

by @ 8:20 am. Filed under Democrats, Massachusetts, Election '06, Environment, Social Policy

Tom Reilly has a letter to the editor in today’s Globe defending and praising Sen. Ted Kennedy’s efforts to block the Cape Wind project in Congress. Reilly applaudes the tactics of the Kennedy to use the senator from Alaska to throw a bone to Gov. Romney which allow the part-time gov to veto the project, which Romney has promised to do. I repsect that people do not want the Cape Wind project, for whatever reasons. Reilly is obviously an opponent of the project, that is obviously his perogative, personally I believe in Cape Wind. Where I strong object, and take offense, to Reilly and Kennedy’s tactics is the idea that Congress has any right to interfere in what is completely a state matter. Why doesn’t Reilly push for a vote on the matter, or push for legislation on Beacon Hill? I am concerned that a potential governor is willing to abdicate the sovereign power of the people of Massachusetts when he isn’t getting his way locally. I think Reilly and Kennedy can do better. Reilly seems to claim that Kennedy’s actions are giving Massachusetts a stronger voice. I think the converse is true, Kennedy is undermining the process of this state thereby weakening the voice of the citizens.

May 1, 2006

Somerville Rally/Vigil For Int’l Workers Day

by @ 9:32 am. Filed under Somerville, Social Policy

If anyone is around the Somerville area please come out and support our friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens in the fight for a sensible immigration policy; one that will reflect the equality and justice everyone in this country deserves. There will be a rally/vigil today in Foss Park (this is the park across from the Hess station and Stop and Shop along the McGrath Highway) from 4-6 p.m. Please come by if you can!

State Budget Forum For 2nd Middlesex

by @ 9:18 am. Filed under Somerville, Massachusetts, Social Policy

For those of us living in the Second Middlesex Senate District, our esteemed and responsive Senator Pat Jehlen will be holding a forum, co-sponsored by all of the state reps in the district, on the state budget to help us all gain a better understanding of the process and what comprises the budget. Some great speakers are lined up to give some practical advice. They include:

Noah Berger (Executive Director, Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center)

Harris Gruman (Executive Director, Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts)

Those of us in attendance will also have opportunities to ask questions, very cool stuff.

The details:

GRACE CHURCH PARISH HALL

160 High Street, Medford

Thrusday May, 4

7-9 p.m.

April 28, 2006

Wisconsin Shows Mass How Healthcare Is Done

by @ 10:27 am. Filed under Massachusetts, Health Care, National, Social Policy

While the bill won’t be passed this legislative cycle, Wisconsin is poised to show the nation, and Massachusetts in particular, how real healthcare is done. The WI legislature has a bipartisan plan before it, greatly supported by businesses, unions, and the healthcare industry, that will create something akin to universal coverage in Wisconsin. Essentially what the state is proposing is a single, comprehensive healthcare plan that will not just insure but instead will cover all medical necessary care. This means the plan will offer both preventative as well as emergency care. The plan also includes a prescription drug componenet intended to bargain with the mega-pharma companies to get discounted drugs, further reducing the cost of the plan. Wisconsin is also poised to accomplish something big business here in Massachusetts stopped, an across the board assessment, per employee, for every business.

(more…)

April 27, 2006

Trav’s Tax Cut Premature

by @ 8:32 am. Filed under Massachusetts, Social Policy

I meant to write about Trav’s tax cut yesterday but didn’t find the time. I would like to respectfully disagree, at least temporarily, with David over at BMG. I say temporarily because not enough info has been released. Based on what is known, I think the tax cut is the wrong way to go. First the plan costs $70 million a year. This isn’t an overwhelming expense but considering the budget isn’t even structurally balanced, we shouldn’t be handing out tax cuts. (The current budget released by the Ways and Means committee takes some $270 million from the rainy day fund in order to “balance” the budget making the budget structurally unbalanced because the projected revenues are not enough to cover the $270 million taken from the fund. Current projections show that revenues will only be about $200 million more than the legislature is budgeting.) In addition to not being fiscally sound we must also consider the “relief” that is going to be had by middle- and lower-class families. The best case scenario only projects about $250 extra in the hands of families. Now an extra $250 is not something to sneeze at but no one seems to be asking is at what cost on services will the $250 come at. Does the $70 million price tag mean that other services, of a value greater than $250, are going to be cut or reduced? Budgets are give and take and to slip in a $70 million line item it is reasonable to infer to services are going to be cut. My thought is familes are more in need increased services that can help them defray costs in a variety of areas than they are of a quick $250 in their pockets. The other problem I have is that if you look at some hypothetical projections the families with two children will only get around $150. Is that worth the $70 millon price tag? If Trav can show that his tax cut won’t reduce services and will give real help, not nominal help, to families then I he has my full support. As things stand now I think this jesture rings more hollow than true.

April 26, 2006

Murray Pushes Transportation Improvements

by @ 1:21 pm. Filed under Democrats, Massachusetts, Election '06, Social Policy, Transportation, Tim Murray

sco and Susan love to make fun of me for having a “candidate crush.” Apparently the object of my candidate crush is Mayor Tim Murray. I have no idea what I did to deserve the teasing but sco and Susan live in their own worlds so I don’t question. But I will say this, Tim’s new rail plan does go right for my heart! I didn’t just read the press release, I read the whole darn thing! Here are some plan highlights:

PDS Annual Meeting Recap

by @ 10:01 am. Filed under Somerville

So I have been out of it in terms of blogging as is evidenced by my total lack of posts over the last three weeks. Sometimes I think it is good to step away. I am also trying to rethink my approach to blogging (this in light of all the great press blogs in our great state have been receiving). As a result of my lack of posts I neglected to mention last night’s Annual Meeting for PDS. So to make up here is a recap of what happened.

The Annual Meeting is a great opportunity where PDS stops and takes a look back at the previous year as well as talks about what the year ahead should look like. The meeting is also the meeting in which the Steering Committee is elected. This year there was a restructuring of the Committee so there were new positions. The positions now are the Chair (Katie Wallace was reelected), Vice Chair (Jen Lawrence; this is a new position), Secretary (Paula Stuart was elected), Treasurer, Affirmative Action Chair (Joe Beckmann), Issues Committee Co-Chairs (2; this is a new position), Membership Committee Co-Chairs (2)(Greg Dennis), and Endorsement Committee Co-Chairs (2). (I think that is correct, however, I am operating from memory so I might have missed a seat.) I am pretty excited because after an unexpected nomination I got elected (there was no opposition, I don’t want to make it sound like there was a demand for me) as a co-chair along with Fred Berman of the Issues Committee. I am pretty darn excited because I have been wanting to get more involved with PDS and this a good way to “force” me to more meetings and more involvement.

My favorite part I think of the whole meeting was hearing from Rebekah Gewirtz and Marty Martinez, the founders of PDS.  Both had great things to say about getting involved in city politics and organizing.  Based on their enthusiasm it is pretty clear why these two have been successful.  I was also thrilled to see how many people attended.  I am terrible at estimating group size but I think between 30 and 40 people showed up.  I hope to have more good things to come as I get sucked in more!

April 25, 2006

Standing Up Through Silence

by @ 11:37 am. Filed under Massachusetts, Social Policy

For once silence on the issue of homosexuality will be speaking volumes. The Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network is having its 10th Annual Day of Silence to protest the harassment and violence endured by too many of our friends, family, and neighbors due to their sexual preference. About 150 school throughout Massachusetts are recognizing their students’ right to be silent and protest. Personally, I think that is pretty cool that schools are willing to go along. Of course Lexington is part of that mix, thankfully, given the homophobe attitudes of some parents when it comes to fairy tales. The disgusting and ignorant Mass Resistance of course objects and exposes the truth: the desire of millions of Americans to push homosexuality onto children!  We kept it such a good secret, how did they ever find out?

Reilly Is Wrong On Taxes, Patrick Gets It Right

by @ 10:25 am. Filed under Massachusetts, Election '06, Social Policy

Tom Reilly is not a responsible leader. He was absolutely in favor of reducing the income tax rate from 5.3% to 5.0%. Reilly seems to base his decision on the fact that voters have already “approved” this rate at the ballot box. It is clear that this is all that Reilly is basing his decision on because even the most cursory examination shows that this issue is a lot more costly than the .3% would suggest. Back in January of this year the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center released a quick reference guide(pdf) on the real impact of Reilly’s reduction. Here are a few highlights:

The worst part of the entire tax cut is whom it would benefit. Fifty nine percent of the cut would benefit the top 20 percent of tax payers in Massachusetts. Basically, Reilly is proposing giving a tax cut to the most wealthy which would in turn mean less dollars for the botom 20 percent that needs it most. Not only is now not the time the idea of not targeting a tax cut (which is impossible in our flat tax state) is even more irresponsible. I haven’t like Tom Reilly as a leader I am liking him even less when it comes to the nuts and bolts of governing.  Deval Patrick, and to Gabrieli’s credit he agreed, shares Reilly’s desire to cut taxes but understands that such cuts can only occur repsonsibly.  Deval said he would cut taxes when the budget allowed but not one second sooner.  This choice is the most fiscally responsible and frankly the most progressive way considering this way ensures that programs get the best funding we can give based on the best revenue available.  Deval is a better leader, a more seasoned manager, and has more passion than Tom Reilly can ever hope to have.  Perhaps that Tom can’t even keep is poll numbers balanced?

April 19, 2006

Quit Complaining, You Are Raising Gas Prices

by @ 11:36 am. Filed under National

Did you know: Those who complain about Donald Rumsfeld are responsible for increasing gas prices.  So everyone who is raising legitimate concern about the terrible job of the Sec Def, please stop so we can see our gas prices go down.  I love Fox News and their anchors and commentators, they are totally crazy and funny, I am happy to see that the Daily Show has a right leaning alternative.  Oh, what is that you say?  Fox News is considered a real news station.  I didn’t know.

Hat tip to ThinkProgress.

April 13, 2006

Harry Had It Right

by @ 2:03 pm. Filed under National, Election '06

I am reading McCullough’s Truman and was struck by a speech given by President Truman during his campaign in 1948.  Truman was facing the infamous 80th “Do Nothing” Congress, which was under Republican control.  His words are as true today as they were then:

Something happens to Republican leaders when they get control of the Government…  Repbulicans in Washington have a habit of becoming curiously deaf to the voice of the people.  They have a hard time hearing what the ordinary people of the country are saying.  But they have no trouble at all hearing what Wall Street is saying.  They are able to catch the slightest whisper from big business and the special interests.

Tom DeLay and his followers are emblematic of profound deafness to ordinary people.  Only those with tremendous resources at their command are of any use to the Republicans today.  The machine politics that Democrats were excoriated for during the first half of the century at least brought jobs and help to people who needed.  There is no defense for stuffing ballot boxes to be sure but the kind of machine politics being played by Republicans today benefits no one other than the absolute wealthiest.  Republicans were kept out of the majority for 50 years and I think the country is starting to remember why.

April 12, 2006

Postcards From The Haters

by @ 11:55 am. Filed under Massachusetts

BEWARE THE GAY AGENDA! Some morons in West Bridgewater have been sending postcards to residents “warning” them of the fact that Jerry Lawrence, candidate for town selectman, is gay and will bring push his “gay agenda” if elected.  In typical hater fashion no one had enough courage to put their name on the postcard to claim responsibility.  Luckily it seems that Lawrence has a lot of support in the community and his attitude remains positive.  My “favorite” part of this b.s. is the notion of a “gay agenda.”  What exaclty does the agenda push?  The abolishment of hetero sex?  The end to opposite sex marriage?  Or is it something more sinister like…GASP…equal rights!!!!!  OH NO!  Lock your children up!  People want to be equal!

Did We Really Get Reform In Healthcare?

by @ 11:07 am. Filed under Massachusetts, Health Care, Social Policy

So this whole health care bill is turning out to be a disaster. Way back in November 2005 things seemed quite historic, Massachusetts was about to provide near universal health care coverage. We were going to assess those businesses that were abusing the system of free care, we were going to make sure that solidly middle class families could afford health care and we were going to ensure that pretty much any citizen in this commonwealth that needed insurance had access and the ability to get insurance. How far from that we have come. First, we nearly lost $385 million in federal money because after the rhetoric was over and all sides had to come up with a bill we accomplished nothing for months expect finger pointing and name calling. Next, we get a compromise but much of the real reform is gone. Employers will be assessed a very modest fee. Individuals now face a mandate to be insured. What’s more, we have no real grasp on how this is going to be paid for nor can we accurately assess the costs of the program because we have no real clue how many people will sign up. And now, the final straw is a governor that is going to be vetoing certain parts, notably the assessment on business, and is running around the country trumpeting the bill as his own accomplishment.

As a start I join Lynne, Adam, and David’s calls to boycott the signing today.  I am starting to think that we have accepted a bogus compromise, one in which we really don’t take the responsible steps toward delivering health care. Respectable groups suh as Health Care For All and ACT have accepted the bill because the reality is it didn’t seem as though we weren’t going to get anything else. To the bill’s credit it certainly does make huge improvements, it is expanding coverage and that is one of the goals of reform. But the appropriate question is whether we are meeting enough of the goals and, as important, are we meeting them in the most responsible way. There we learn about this bill the more I am afraid the answer is that we are not meeting enough goals and the goals we have met are not met in the best way possible.

April 11, 2006

Censure Looks Politically Wise

by @ 11:44 am. Filed under Democrats, National, Plame-CIA leak scandal, Russ Feingold

I think that Feingold’s censure move, instead of being a bad political move, might in actuality be superb foresight by the great Senator of Wisconsin. 63% of Americans think that President Bush acted illegally or unethically in the Plame scandal. Granted, Russ’s censure only specifically holds the President accountable for his illegal wiretapping, it should be clear that there is a lot more we can, and should, add. The public is clearly dissatisfied with the actions of the president. I think that Democrats can make a great political move, as well as a move which would demonstrate the fact that we have principles, by capitalizing on the public unrest and giving a voice to the dissatisfaction by censuring the President, and thereby hold Bush accountable.

Did Reilly Invent The Internet, Too?

by @ 7:49 am. Filed under Massachusetts, Election '06

At a candidates’ forum in Newburyport this past Saturday Tom Reilly, in desperate need to demonstrate some sort of leadership ability, was touting the fact he, as a Catholic, was so incredibly corageous to take on the Church a few years back by investigating the rampant abuse.  No matter of course that Reilly is our AG and had a duty to, once the myriad stories came out, to investigate such abuse.  Reilly went on to suggest that he was a huge part of Cardinal Law’s departure.  Realizing later how much puffing he was doing, he had to back track a little and tell reporters that of course his remarks could not interpreted as the affable AG trying to claim sole credit (translation: he was just trying to claim the lion’s share).

After the abuse became known it hardly took the “guts” and “leadership” Reilly claims to stand up to the Church.  Reilly deserves credit for the tremendous role he has played as AG, he did lead investigations and there is no doubt that the investigations were great motivating forces for the Church to start to face the music.  However, Reilly’s great job in the AG’s office isn’t enough to parlay into the corner office.  As Barrios learned, his ability to be a great state senator just wasn’t enough to be a great DA, he did not have the chops needed.  His success in one arena didn’t mean success in another.  Such is the case for our AG.  The types of work and accomplishments he can claim credit for as attorney general are not of the type to show ability in the governorship.  His wild assertion that he forced Law out is as sad as Al Gore’s attempt to overstate his role in moving the internet forward.  Even more sad, Reilly’s assertion, like Gore’s in 2000, actually belittles the tremendous role that was actually played.

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There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.


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