Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs
I was watching local news this morning and they had a segment on Governor Patrick’s and MassDOT’s new transportation plan (pdf). I think I owe the Governor a small apology as the things listed prominently as revenue sources for addressing the structural deficits, crumbing infrastructure, and needed transportation investments included MBTA fee hikes. I was all set to write a huffy blog post about that, and I will get to that in a minute, but it appears that the mention of MBTA fee increases is modest, if anything, in the actual report, so now I’m a little miffed at Channel 7 instead.
Since that early report, I have heard the Governor on WBUR on my way into work (audio not up yet) and read some online articles like on Boston.com and skimmed the revenue section of the report itself (as linked above). I have to say, the plan/report takes the situation pretty head on and has a very wide net in its revenue suggestions. And the report is not Boston-centric; although of course most of the public transit is in the Boston area, there is a call for a Boston-Springfield line (long overdue) and other projects. (more…)
I am convinced that Deval Patrick’s oratory is second to none. Deval Patrick could get me to walk on fire for “the cause.”
Sometimes I wish he were white, so the “Hooray For Me” Democrats would listen to him. Instead, they are gonna go for #BothWaysBrown
PS. If you’re pissed that I’m calling you out as a racist, then try to actually support your position with well developed thoughts, instead of slogans puked up from the bumper sticker braintrust. If you can’t, get Cliff Krieger to tutor you. Maybe, he can teach you the difference between the “Chicago School” and Keynesian Economics?
From the Blog of Record:
BOSTON — The historic health-care cost-control law signed by Gov. Deval Patrick Monday will hurt the bottom lines of Massachusetts hospitals and limit their flexibility to grow, a major credit-rating agency warned.
“The legislation is credit negative for Massachusetts hospitals because it will limit their revenue growth and reduce their operating flexibility,” Moody’s Investment Services wrote in a credit analysis of the new law.
In 2000, my family’s health care insurance, which included dental and vision, cost me less than $300/month. It was BC/BS and had all the bells and whistles. There were $15 co-pays. It was subsidized by my employer. In 2012, I buy insurance direct, no dental or vision, for $1100/month. We have $30 co-pays and $250 deductibles. Actually, the claw back provisions effectively keep us from seeking care, as we aren’t quite sure what we will get stuck paying. That is exactly what the insurer wants. People paying premiums, but not using the insurance.
So, to the fat cats I say, SUCK IT UP!
There is a redistribution of wealth here in America. But, it is NOT the ones you will see inferred in Mitt Romney campaign slurs or on Super PAC media buys. It IS the various ways the system; via cable bills, health insurance, college loans, home mortgages, ect. that the fat cats suck the middle class dry. If we swam in a muddy river and came out with leeches stuck to our neck, wouldn’t we pull them off? Yet, we happily sign up for monthly installments to pay for the priviledge to have certain stuff.
I can go without cable TV. Health care?
My. My. How the world turns.
It’s pretty sad when our delegation plays shadow boxing, in front of the home town crowd, with the Patrick Administration and, then, when Patrick actually throws a punch, they bitch up and run to the Blog of Record.
Grow up, Lowell. Pangy was our last great hope. He bailed. Maybe, just maybe, Tom Golden might make the moves needed to make a difference for us. Sen. Donoghue is in her first term. Frankly, I see her as a better fit for the US Congress, than MA Senate. So, I wouldn’t put too much stock in her on Beacon Hill.
Gov. Patrick just stepped over a shadow boxer, laying on the canvas. That’s how we roll in Lowell. No?
Now we have “the rest of the story” coming out of the Blog of Record.
On Sunday, Gerry Nutter offered some thoughts on the contortions around the Commonwealth’s budget. Now, Gerry isn’t above simply picking a scab, just to pick a scab.
The 3 Lowell State Representatives are clearly upset with Gov. Patrick for vetoing the Lowell based items in this years state budget. Rep. Dave Nangle is said to be furious and the most upset. Especially with the Governor’s lack on providing any relevent reasoning for the cuts.
The best reason being floated is a good old fashion one – Political Payback for the way Lt. Governor Tim Murray has been treated has a result of the Mike McLaughlin Fiasco which is tied to the Dracut Housing Authority and the appointment of Brian Bond over the re-appointment of Rep. Dave Nangle’s cousin and the unsuccessful attempt at replacing the Executive Director and the alleged involvement of former Lowell State Sen. Steve Panagiotakos and friend of the delegation Jerry Flynn to save Mary Karabatsos job at what appears to be the expense of the Lt. Governor’s political career.
Of course, when cheap political dung can be flung at Democrats, don’t count Shawn Ashe out. He pipes in with some inane concern trolling:
Are you saying.. that Gov Deval Patrick and Lt G Tim Murray would play politics with jobs and projects in Lowell as political payback for the people of the state cleaning up the mess that Murray created in the housing authorities?
All those good union construction jobs? I guess its who you know…
And I thought Patrick had a “vision” for the state.
My Republican friends are quick to bust my chops. There is always a subtext to our political discussions that I am naive, ignorant of the reality of being a “Democrat” in Massachusetts.
… Murray showed uniquely bad judgment in aligning himself with McLaughlin, a notorious political grifter. But the larger system of alliance-building through state and municipal government, greased along by dubious fundraising and the awarding of patronage jobs, is a deeper threat to Massachusetts. Murray has rejected McLaughlin, but he and other elected officials need to be far more forthright in declaring that the system of rewarding political supporters with jobs is morally wrong, unfair to other applicants, and damaging to the credibility of the state government. It simply shouldn’t happen.
But rather than promise to change the system, elected officials try to hide behind it. Everyone’s heard their alibis: How political supporters and their friends are merely “referred’’ to hiring officers, rather than hired outright; how rewarding a political crony is no different from any other managers putting their own people in positions of authority; how some of those hired through political contacts are actually hard workers who get unfairly stigmatized.
This is the legacy of Chelsea, Springfield, Lawrence, and other municipalities that have been so hobbled by corruption as to require state oversight. It’s the legacy of the Probation Department, the Legislature’s patronage dumping zone. And it’s the legacy of elected officials who played the game, either tolerating it as a price of entry or participating in order to build a network of supporters.
Murray belongs to the latter category.
Note: Before I go on, please take a moment to ponder why Lowell missed ending up on the list of shamed cities, above. Further, please know, Lowell is but a few bad choices from slipping backwards. I’m not that naive. Are you?
I don’t think there has been a formal campaign announcement, but Sheriff Koutoujian has volunteers out collecting nomination signatures at the Democratic Caucuses.
I love data, but I’m going to admit, my gut says Koutoujian is exactly what we need for Middlesex County Sheriff. You could write it off as a Dem supporting a Dem, but you’d be wrong. If I had concerns, I’d say nothing. If I was convinced he was wrong, somehow, I’d speak out.
I’m going with my gut, unless data tells me otherwise.
Check out his website, HERE.
Yesterday, the lower body of the Massachusetts state legislature passed the casino gambling bill. Yesterday, we took a step closer to allowing predatory gambling in our state, affecting thousands of families that otherwise would have not been torn apart by gambling addiction. It is a well-documented outcome that within a 50 mile radius of slot parlors and casinos, you increase the level of addiction. Proximity to slots means new addicts.
There has not been a true cost-benefit study, nor will there be. The proponents constantly cite job numbers and state revenues, stats which come direct from the casino lobbyists and their paid consultants. We have never heard of the estimated costs associated with predatory gambling in our backyard - such as mitigating increased crime rates (and there will be increased crime, and from the unlikeliest of people). Affecting public institutions, churches, nonprofits, and small businesses especially.
In CT, a state-commissioned study showed that the rate of embezzlement has gone up 10 times the national average there.
Among other associated costs (such as the millions needed to create an oversight agency), is the loss of state revenues from other sources which are taxed, as some people spend their discretionary monies on slots and gambling instead of other goods and services. There’s only so many ways to slice the pie. You can’t create more pie matter out of thin air.
The costs only go up over time. A decade from now, the number of addicts who commit crimes to support their habit, tear their families apart, and/or require addiction services from the state will only go up. Businesses in the vicinity of a casino may well not be able to compete and shut down. Cultural institutions closest to CT already have a hard time attracting the best acts to their stages, and this will also spread and worsen. This won’t happen all in the first year the casinos begin operating. But over the next two decades we’ll see increased effects from the life-sucking casinos and slot parlors.
Casino proponents say that you get increased tourism when you open a casino. This is only true if every state doesn’t already have one. We will not pull people from NV, or CT, or PA, or RI, or anywhere where else gambling is already accessible, with our shiny new casinos. This is a false hope and gets more false with every new state that adds casinos. We’d be better off focusing on our historic and cultural offerings to attract more visitors.
They say we’ll be adding jobs. But that is finite, the jobs are mostly low-paying, and the numbers they cite are usually overblown.
Think about your disposable income. You might go out to eat, buy a new couch, or go the the movies. Each one of these things supports a whole host of services and goods (farmers, small business owners, chefs, fabric companies, woodworkers, gaffers, costume designers, camera operators). Now, decide whether or not you can afford to buy a couch, or lose a thousand at a casino. What does the casino income support? A few paltry (mostly low paying) service jobs locally, a trickle to the state, and the rest pulled out of the state but not to support other producers - no, the bulk of the money goes straight to the pockets of the casino profiteers. Casinos are empty calories, like the guy who consumes a 2-liter bottle of Coke a day, is 50 lbs overweight, and wondering why.
Never mind the questionable morality and sustainability of the state being in the position of needing to create more gambling addicts to raise funds for schools. Studies show that at least 50% of the profits a casino makes are from the problem gamblers. That means 50% of the state revenues we get from casinos is sucked from people who cannot help gambling and will do so until they destroy their own lives and the lives of others. And slots, in particular, are rigged to make them particularly addictive (similar to adding chemicals to cigarettes to increase their addictiveness).
Casinos are going bankrupt and losing money in many states. States with casinos have huge budget problems as those revenues go into the tank, whereas Mass, with its infrastructure and high-level industry investments (such as in green and biotech) has seen amazing job and economic growth compared to other states. And we want to tie our future to those same gambling stars? Connecticut just raised sales and use taxes this summer to patch their big budget deficit. Oh yes, those casinos saved CT from economic ruin. (That’s sarcasm. Revenues for CT’s casinos are dropping alarmingly.)
So in sweeps DeLeo and his race track slot parlor mentality. And he begs, borrows, and twists arms to get enough votes to pass a bill includes a racino (an element that sank the last gambling bill in the Senate). But this time, closed door compromises between the Senate president, House Speaker, and Governor Patrick all but ensure there’s no hope now in the Senate, unless we see an upset.
Of course, we expect such short-sighted voting from some of our elected officials, such as Rep Tom Golden and Dave Nangle, as they have a history of such. However, my biggest disappointment is reserved for those who at least ought to know better about rosy projections that never have panned out in the past in other states. Who are smart and should be keenly interested in an independent, thorough evaluation before we commit an irreversible act to allow predatory gambling.
Politicians like Governor Deval Patrick, who I know is way smarter than this.
Progressive state reps that I have long supported, like Representative Jen Benson, who was a Yes vote on this bill.
And other progressives around the state, like Rep. Lori Ehrlich of Marblehead.
I call on our new state Senator Eileen Donoghue to vote NO on this casino bill. Donoghue, who is Chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, pointed out on Facebook, the other day, a Sun article outlining some meager possible protections for cultural institutions.
I hope this does not mean she is already a “Yes” vote. Senator Donoghue, you are not only Chair of that committee, but you are also on the committees for Community Development and Small Businesses, and Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. I entreat you to look at the casinos bill with your small business, cultural institution, and constituent eyes. Question what you have been told about the revenues for the state and the jobs numbers - look at what is happening to casino states all over the country right now. Understand that allowing casinos comes at a huge cost - not only to our citizens and our economic development, but to our politics, which will be further spoiled by the corruption that comes with the casino lobby parking itself permanently in our state.
Do you want to be noted in history as a person who enabled our state go from the strong economic engine that we are, which invests in its own people and businesses, to a state with many of the serious problems of others, states who thought they could make a quick and easy buck…by gambling? It doesn’t work for the poor schlub who thinks buying a lottery ticket every week is a good retirement plan, and it won’t work for Massachusetts, either.
Governor Deval Patrick was on last night’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He got a chance to brag about our state (like I love to do!), and of course, to hawk his new book, A Reason to Believe: Lessons from an Improbable Life.
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