Pro-trash "No on Question 2:" recycling has eliminated trash in MA

A ludicrous anti-bottle bill ad from Roche Bros., Big Y, Stop & Shop, the American Beverage Association, and the other giant corporations who put profits before people and sell millions of bottles each year that we then have to pay to clean up:

[Bottle deposits are an idea] whose “time has come and passed” with the advent of curbside programs that allow residents to recycle at home

As if. Our roads and parks remain littered with bottles and containers that cost states and local municipalities millions to clean up, despite curbside recycling programs. By all means, expand the latter, but that is no argument against Question 2.

Expanding the bottle bill will reduce rubbish and move the costs of cleanup to those who create the expense. Yes on Question 2 is an easy call and, indeed:

Yes on 2 will hold a Volunteer Summit on October 5th at the Worcester First Baptist Church, located at 111 Park Avenue in Worcester, from 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM. We will give a comprehensive review and training of our strategy, message, and the tactics we will use in order to win on November 4th.

Click here to RSVP for the October 5th summit.


Indexing: More economic literacy, please

I’ve heard some bad arguments against gas tax indexing, and Tom Keane makes two of them in the Globe today.

Take away lawmakers’ easy way out on gas tax – Opinion – The Boston Globe.

First, I really wish that the “magic” of compound interest were not such a novelty to allegedly informed journalists:

The compounding effect of annual inflation increases can prove quite large. If automatic indexing had been in effect since 1991 (when it was 21 cents), for example, the gas tax today would stand at a whopping 36 cents.

Um, yes, that’s true. But the whole point of indexing is that 36 cents is precisely as “whopping” as 21 cents back in 1991.

To be fair, Keane says that families don’t get an automatic increase in cost of living. Well, yes and no. Wages do rise over time, but not equally. Inequality is rising, and that working class wages have not kept pace with inflation. That’s the actual problem, then, isn’t it? That would require a different column from Keane, which would fit less neatly into the simple anti-tax narrative.

Secondly, Keane bafflingly asserts that by indexing the gas tax, the legislature has somehow “delegated” its authority to tax, and is escaping the political ownership of such marginal increases. (And he drops some serious knowledge by quoting John Locke! DAMN!)

This is plain silly. The legislature owns whatever it writes. And if it owns the teeny increases in the gas tax, then it also surely owns the condition of roads and bridges as well. This has been quantified! $1 billion a year, and we’ve known about it for some time.

So for all of Keane’s hand-waving about how the problem is overstated, well, prove it. His personal skepticism is not actual evidence.

Save basic economic literacy. Keep the index.

Addendum -  This is so obvious it smacks one in the face: Your sales and income taxes are already adjusted for inflation because they’re percentages. Thanks commenters.

Baker, Coakley out of tune with the high tech industry

This is some sad stuff. "Disruptive" is such a common buzzword, it's become a cliché. And non-competes are a joke that hand jobs to California. Gov. Patrick knew that - that's why he opposed them. Things To Never Say: “I’m open to looking at XYZ" needs to be banned from Martha Coakley's repertoire with extreme prejudice. - promoted by charley-on-the-mta

What do Blue Mass Groupies think of Baker and Coakley’s appearance at the High Tech forum in Cambridge?

“Both major-party candidates for Massachusetts governor were clearly out of their element Monday before an audience of about 150 tech workers during a forum at Microsoft’s Cambridge office. They spoke in generalities, sidestepped questions about employee noncompete agreements — a hot-button issue in the tech sector — and left attendees craving substance.

“‘It was terrible,’ said Axel Scherer, a software architect at Cadence Design Systems in Chelmsford. ‘They said nothing. Just empty suits going blah, blah, blah.”

(Boston Globe: Baker, Coakley sidestep hot-button tech questions at forum, by Callum Borchers, Sept 29, 2014)


I’m having trouble understanding this reluctance of both candidates to engage on the issue of banning non-competes in the state.

Baker, I understand, as CEO he’s coming from a board room environment, and may find it hard to mend his ways and accept banning non-competes in the state.

But Coakley? What did she have to lose? Is it timidity or lack of political acumen? She is obviously struggling to be popular in the high-tech industry. And it’s not like the non-competes questions came out of nowhere. Taking a stand against non-competes would have been a great way to differentiate against Baker.


From the Globe story:

“Baker flubbed a question about collaboration between state government and local universities, which he expanded to discuss cooperative efforts by one school and another. ‘One of my favorite collaborations going on right now is in online education between Harvard and MIT,’ he said. ‘I think it’s called Next. NextEd? EdNext?’ Crowd members called out the correct name, edX, referring to the platform for free online courses the two universities launched in 2012. ‘I know what it is!’ Baker responded, laughing at himself. ‘I just can’t spell it.’

“Meanwhile Coakley was thrown off by an inquiry about Uber, Airbnb, and Tesla, which a questioner described as ‘disruptive’ technologies. ‘Does the use of disrupt telegraph how you feel about these?’ Coakley asked, suggesting a negative connotation. The questioner clarified that his definition of disruptive is ‘improving the delivery of services to consumers.’ Coakley laughed and replied that she is ‘old enough that disrupt was usually a bad thing.’ ‘But I know that it’s a good thing,’ she said. ‘I’ve learned that.’”


Anti-Casino Folks Need To Reach Beyond Their Base

This is good advice. Jeff Jacoby's somewhat unexpected "Yes on 3" column is a decent place to start. - promoted by david

Two Rules of Campaigning 101:

1. Nurture and grow your base; and

2. Reach out beyond your base,

Too many campaigns get so caught up in number one they forget about number two. And too many campaigns get so caught up  with number two they ignore number one to their detriment.

The anti-casino people have number one wrapped up. They just have to make sure they vote.

Number two I am not so sure of. They can’t win without number two. The numbers are showing it. There needs to be outreach to voters who would be sympathetic to their cause if they knew certain facts other than the same old boiler plate arguments that keep the base together.

Independents, Republicans, Libertarians, and less progressive Dems who do not ft the stereo-typical anti-casino voter NEED TO BE TOLD of the plain-as-the-nose-on-your-face shenanigans and appearance of corruption occurring at the Gaming Commission and in Everett.

If anything, what these people don’t want is another Massachusetts stereotypical corrupt institution.

Here’s another rule everyone knows. Campaigns are all about additions. Not sunbstarctions. Keep adding voters without losing any. The referendum has not seen an increase in support from beyond its base and it probably won’t unless they affectively spread the word.

Time to build a specific message for a specific audience. Targeted mailings and media buys showcasing a few facts that lets the too busy to notice electorate know that only a fool would not wonder if the Commission has been corrupted.

The Atlantic City/ addiction/neighborhood blight stuff is the meat potatoes but not everyone is a meat and potatoes type of voter.

Wonk Post: MA Governor Polling Aggregate

Not surprising. But well worth being aware of. - promoted by david

From HuffPo/Pollster:

Vote Yes on Question 3: Casinos Threaten Our Jobs

Vote Yes on 3 or wind up like Atlantic City. - promoted by Bob_Neer

According to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s own projections, $1 billion dollars a year in local spending will be shifted away from existing businesses to the casinos.

Whether it’s 1,000 Massachusetts businesses each losing $1,000,000 in sales, or 10,000 Massachusetts businesses each losing $100,000 in sales, no business is going to absorb that loss without laying off employees.  Are you willing to sacrifice your job so someone else can get a job at a casino?  Should your friends and neighbors have to sacrifice theirs?

On November 4th, Vote YES to Repeal the Casino Law
Vote YES on #3
Vote YES to STOP the Casino Mess

Donate/volunteer here to stop the casino mess!

Calling BS on Ed Markey's emails. Again.

No sooner did I write up a brief, mild critique of Ed Markey’s fundraising emails than another one shows up.  And this one is the most outrageous one yet.  Here it is (email, no link).

From: Ed Markey <>
Subject: Every day?
Date: September 29, 2014 9:05:03 AM EDT

Dear Blue,

I know, I know — another day, another email from me, asking you for money. You’ve got to be thinking “Every day? Really? Do we really need an email every day?

Unfortunately, the short answer is yes — this is the reality in the post-Citizens United world. Grassroots organizations like ours are in constant danger of a well-funded super PAC jumping into our race, and since we can’t raise millions of dollars overnight the way super PACs can, we have to steadily hit our goals.

And right now, our goal is $145,OOO before the FEC filing deadline tomorrow at midnight. Get us $5 closer by making a contribution today.

This year, with the Republicans just six seats away from taking over the Senate, we all need to step up to the plate.

The priorities we’ve been working toward for years — equal pay, climate change, strengthening Medicare — are all in jeopardy if we lose the Senate. And to keep the Senate, we need to give our campaign the resources it needs to win.

Getting to $145,OOO before midnight tomorrow will keep us on schedule for victory in November. By giving $5, you’re helping to safeguard Massachusetts’ Senate seat, and to help prevent a Republican takeover.

Believe me when I say I wish I didn’t have to send these emails — that’s part of why we’re working to roll back Citizens United. But until that happens, we need to stay strong, and we count on people like you to make that happen.

Thanks for your continued support.


How utterly absurd.  As far as I can recall, Markey has not mentioned his opponent’s name in a single one of these ridiculous emails.  Not one.  And there’s a good reason for that: if he ever mentions the guy’s name, he knows that people will say, “who?”  And then they will realize what everyone who pays attention to the numbers already knows: Markey’s reelection is as close to certain as an election can be.  Every observer in the country rates this race as “safe Democratic.”  Nate Silver gives Markey a >99% chance of being reelected.  Not 99%, “>99%” – the highest possible rating for a race that technically is contested.  Think about that before you send Markey any of your hard-earned dollars.

The last FEC reporting date was August 20.  As of that date, Markey had over $2 million in the bank.  His opponent, Brian what’s-his-name, had under $5,000.  And that’s not a typo.  There is no indication – zero – that Republican Super PACs are planning to spend a nickel on this race.  I’m sure they don’t like Markey, but they also are not stupid.

Markey’s persistent emails have now gone beyond the point where I’m irritated that they could be directing donations toward him and away from campaigns that actually need them.  Because the answer to the question, “do we really need an email every day” is “no” – or, at least, it’s something like “well, maybe not.”  It is certainly not “yes.”  And I actually don’t “believe” Markey when he says he wishes he didn’t “have to send these emails.”  Because he doesn’t.

I don’t like it when a candidate isn’t straight with me.  Even when I agree with him on most of the issues.

Oddities for a Monday morning

Nothing earth-shattering here, just a few peculiar things I’ve noticed lately.

  • The ongoing campaign to get David Koch booted off of local public broadcasting powerhouse WGBH’s board of directors has taken a very peculiar twist: Harper’s published an essay entitled “PBS self-destructs,” which discussed the campaign and is apparently critical of Koch’s relationship to public television (I can’t say for sure, as the essay is available only to Harper’s subscribers).  In response, and in what sure looks like an act of retaliation, PBS yanked a bunch of ads that were scheduled to run in upcoming issues of Harper’s.  The publisher of Harper’s told the NY Post, “I have to say I am shocked…. You’d think PBS would be above that kind of tit-for-tat mentality.”  Indeed you would … but you’d be wrong.I wonder if Jim & Margery will find any time in their newly-expanded 3-hour (!!) daily yak-fest on WGBH radio to talk about this.  Not holding my breath.
  • A recent press release from Martha Coakley’s campaign said, at the bottom,

    Copyright © 2014 The Martha Coakley Committee, All rights reserved.

    Really? Copyright protection on a press release? I’m all for people looking after their legal rights, but that seems a bit much.

  • If your inbox resembles mine, it’s chock-full of desperate fundraising emails from candidates not only around Massachusetts, but around the country.  Here’s an odd thing I’ve noticed in several of them: when they tell you how much money or how many donations they desperately need, they often do it using the letter “O,” not the number “0.”  In other words, when Kay Hagan (running for reelection to the US Senate in North Carolina) tells me she wants to record ninety thousand donors before the end of September, she asks whether I can chip in to get her to “9O,OOO grassroots supporters,” not “90,000 grassroots supporters.”  I’d love to know why that is.
  • And speaking of desperate fundraising emails, Ed Markey is still emailing me just about every day about a race that nobody in America thinks is seriously contested.  One of his recent emails hilariously proclaimed the following:

    I know that many of you have been working on this race for months now. I know it’s tiring, and I know you’re getting tired of these emails — believe me, I’d love to not have to send them.

    Guess what, Ed: you don’t have to send them. You could not raise a single dollar between now and election day, and you’d still beat Brian what’s-his-name by 25 points.  I’ve said this many times before, and I’ll say it again: please, Ed, if you’re going to email us this often, raise some money for someone other than yourself.  Jeanne Shaheen up in NH could use the help.  So could Tom Udall in NM, or Al Franken in MN, or the aforementioned Kay Hagan in NC.  Those are races where a few extra bucks could actually matter.  Yours isn’t.  To paraphrase, I know you’re getting tired of my saying this — believe me, I’d love to not have to keep saying it.

"Yes means Yes" great work, CA — MA: get it done now!

Associated Press via the Globe:

California adopts ‘yes means yes’ sex assault rule

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that makes California the first in the nation to define when ‘‘yes means yes’’ and adopt requirements for colleges to follow when investigating sexual assault reports.

Brown’s office announced that he signed the bill Sunday.

State lawmakers last month approved SB967 by Sen. Kevin de Leon, a Los Angeles Democrat, as states and universities across the U.S. are under pressure to change how they handle rape allegations.

De Leon has said the legislation will begin a shift in how college campuses in California prevent and investigate sexual assaults. Rather than using the refrain ‘‘no means no,’’ the definition of consent under the bill requires ‘‘an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.’’

The legislation says silence or lack of resistance does not constitute consent. Critics said it overreaches and sends universities into murky legal waters.

A very wise rule, and one that Massachusetts should also adopt immediately. In fact, it begs the question: why wasn’t this rule adopted long ago in Massachusetts, as it should have been?

The Senator and the Governor

A worthwhile read. - promoted by david

If you voted for someone other than Martha Coakley in the recent primary – or didn’t vote at all – take a look at Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s endorsement of Martha on YouTube.  I learned something, and I think you will, too.

As the Senator explains it:

“I was a teacher….  I was writing about what was happening to working families.  Every time regulators did something, the tilt was toward the rich and powerful, not toward families, not toward seniors, not toward young people….  Then I got a call from a woman who introduced herself as the new Attorney General.  ‘I’ve been reading what you do,’ she said,  ‘How can we work together?’  ….  This woman said, ‘we care about same people; we’re working on the same side.  Let’s talk about how I can use my office as Attorney General to level the playing field for our families.’ And that’s what she’s done, year after year.”


Attn. Activists: Why Waste Your Time on Martha Coakley When You Can Be Helping the ANTI-CASINO Referendum?

Promoted not to say that you shouldn't help Martha Coakley, but that you *should* help the anti-casino ballot question. - promoted by david

Remember people, there is no turning back if this referendum is not passed. Now you all know it’s not the end of the world if Martha doesn’t win. That’s because deep down you know she can’t be trusted and will probably screw you in the end.

The people running the referendum campaign can really use your help. Please go to this webpage and sign up to do what it is you do. BMGers are some of the best organizers and political canvassers in the country. Time to sweep in and teach the powers who be who the real boss is.

Remember, there is no turning back if this doesn’t pass.

Michelle Obama and Martha Coakley rally 10/3

Awesome! -Bob
The good news: this event is a week away and it's already sold out! The bad news: that means you can't get a ticket at the link, but you can join the wait list. Great to see so much excitement building. - promoted by david

A rally with First Lady Michelle Obama and Martha Coakley set next Friday, October 3rd at the Strand in Dorchester.

RSVP for a ticket