Joke Revue: Cruz Hopes to Tap Into Immense Popularity of Carly Fiorina

Borowitz owns Cruz’ feeble imitation of McCain’s choice of Palin, once again proving Karl Marx’ dictum that history repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce. Hat tip to esteemed BMGer jasiu:

Cruz Hopes to Tap Into Immense Popularity of Carly Fiorina

INDIANAPOLIS (The Borowitz Report)—In choosing the former Hewlett-Packard C.E.O. Carly Fiorina as his running mate, Senator Ted Cruz hopes to tap into the immense popularity of one of the most beloved public figures in America.

Minutes after the news of Cruz’s selection leaked, political insiders called the choice of the wildly adored Fiorina a game-changer for the Cruz campaign.

“It’s no secret that Ted Cruz has some trouble with likeability,” the Republican strategist Harland Dorrinson said. “What better way to fix that than by choosing Carly Fiorina, a person everyone is absolutely crazy about?”

Fiorina’s reputation for winning the hearts of everyone she comes in contact with dates back to her days as the incredibly well-liked C.E.O. of Hewlett-Packard and, before that, Lucent Technologies.

“At Lucent, she could light up any room with her smile,” former Lucent employee Tracy Klugian said. “If you had to say what people loved about working at Lucent Technologies, it all came down to two words: Carly Fiorina.” …

Borowitz also has this gem:

Ben Carson Says He Has No Memory of Running for President

WEST PALM BEACH (Satire from The Borowitz Report)—Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon, stirred controversy on Thursday by saying in a televised interview that he had no recollection of running for President of the United States.

Appearing on the Fox News Channel, Dr. Carson responded to host Sean Hannity’s question about his ten-month-long candidacy by saying, “I do not recall any of that occurring.”

“I’ve been told that I did it, but I find it impossible to believe,” he said. “I don’t think I’d forget a thing like that.” …

While Carson insisted that “there is no way I ran for President,” he did not rule out running for the Republican nomination in the future.

“I think I’d be really good at it,” he said.

Daniel Kurtzman:

“Today, Carly Fiorina was announced as Ted Cruz’s running mate. Fiorina said it’s always been her lifelong dream to lose twice in the same election.” –Jimmy Fallon

“According to a new poll that just came out, 50 percent of Republicans say they could support Donald Trump. The other 50 percent are a group calling themselves ‘Women.’” –Conan O’Brien

“Yesterday, Donald Trump said, ‘If I lose, I don’t think you’ll ever see me again.’ So finally, a Trump campaign promise we can all get behind.” –Conan O’Brien

“A woman who looks exactly like a female Ted Cruz has been asked to star in a porn movie. So finally, a cure for your porn addiction.” –Conan O’Brien

“If you think that you’re worried about what is going to happen in this race, just consider Reince Priebus, RNC chairman and man whose name is an anagram for ‘crisp bee urine.’” –Stephen Colbert

“House Speaker Paul Ryan this afternoon issued a formal statement ruling himself out as a potential replacement candidate if there is a contested Republican convention. And you know things are bad in the Republican Party when people who aren’t even running are dropping out of the race.” –Seth Meyers

“After losing in Wisconsin, there has been a big shake-up in the Trump campaign staff. In fact, the guy in charge of racist comments is now in charge of sexist comments.” –Conan O’Brien

MA pols suck at controlling health care costs

Bumped, for glory. - promoted by david

Why do we have high prescription drug costs? Because over and over again, our political system — including and especially Democrats — decides that it’s going to enable it.

Example 1: Richard Neal. The Obama administration tries to scale back the incentive (!) that docs get for prescribing expensive drugs. Richie Neal writes a letter!

House Democrats Push Back On Obama Plan To Cut Drug Prices.

WASHINGTON — A group of House Democrats is organizing an effort that could slow down an Obama administration plan to reduce drug prices, according to a letter obtained by The Huffington Post.

The Department of Health and Human Services is working toward finalizing a new rule that would experiment with ending the financial incentive doctors have for prescribing some extremely expensive medications. The rule has been well-received among some patient advocates, but congressional Democrats have been largely silent, while the pharmaceutical industry and medical community have waged an aggressive campaign to stop it.

The campaign is bearing fruit. The letter from House Democrats, according to Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), was made necessary because Big Pharma and oncologist lobbyists had pushed many Democrats to the brink of signing a much more aggressive Republican letter. The letter expresses concerns with the proposed rule, but doesn’t call for it to be withdrawn.

… Hammill said Pelosi is urging members to sign the letter, which is being circulated by Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.).

Well how about that. Glad someone is looking out for the little guy.

And look at what happened to poor Sen. Mark Montigny a few weeks ago – who actually was trying to do something about profiteering pharma companies? Smacked down left and right, he had to back off of price caps for stuff like life-saving hepatitis-C drugs because bad for business!

This is in a state where we can’t even sustain a ban on small-time bribery of doctors and their offices, with sandwiches and presentations. Yes, Dr. Purity Yale Cabot Lowell VIII, all your protestations to the contrary, the PhRMA gang knows precisely what a cheap date you are. They have departments for this stuff, with the numbers to prove it. They know what docs prescribe what drugs. It’s their job!

Of course we have obscenely high prescription drug prices. That’s what we voted for, apparently.


Veepstakes Starts Early

This strikes me as an exceptionally silly move by Cruz, and it seems to have been widely perceived as such. - promoted by david

Ted Cruz announced today in Indiana that Carly Fiorina will be his running mate.  (I swear, The Onion is not my source for this!)  Talking heads seem baffled by this strategy.  Nobody seems sure if and how this helps him with delegates.  Not since 1976 when Reagan tapped PA Senator Richard Schweiker in a failed bid to woo not only PA delegates, but others who thought Reagan too conservative (RS was firmly in the Rockefeller Republican wing.), has someone selected a running mate without having clinched the nomination.  Maybe it’s to get under Trump’s skin, or pressure him to name someone.

I can’t help but think, though, that if Clinton had done this even though she IS almost certainly the Dem nominee (Cruz, of course, isn’t even his party’s frontrunner.), she would have been slammed for being presumptuous.  It’s looking like the conventional wisdom is settling on the idea that she should take advantage of the fact that Republicans go first this year and wait until after their convention to name someone so she can take what happens in Cleveland into account.

[Your editor adds the following trenchant commentary:] 

Trump MA campaign stumbling into caucus showdown

Pogo is unimpressed with the Trump campaign's organization for the delegate caucus coming up on Saturday and has some evidence in support. Meanwhile, on Politico, Trump's Massachusetts co-chair and state Representative Geoff Diehl offers this determined if somewhat confusing message about the caucus results: "Until that ball is in the end zone, we’re not stepping our foot off the gas." - promoted by hesterprynne

As I wrote about earlier this month, there is big MA GOP showdown this weekend to elect loyal Trump delegates to the RNC Convention between the Real Donald Trump camp and the Cruz camp, who are running as Trump delegates and will then abandoned Trump if he doesn’t win on the first ballot.

I’m on Trump’s email list and just got their “all hands on deck” call to attend one of the nine caucuses this Saturday. The email had three links, all bringing you to the same webpage, where you’re supposed to be able to learn where your caucus will be.

Just below the video on the page, the first line reads: “Find your caucus location here” and takes you to the Secretary of State’s page to find your local polling location…not your caucus location. Whoops.

Even better, the email ends, “and then join us this Saturday at 7AM at your local caucus location to vote for the Trump slate of delegates.”

Hmm…7 am sounded awfully early for me, so I checked the MA GOP site, which listed the start time for each caucus at 10 am. And it kindly lists the location of each caucus. (And I suppose by writing this post, I’m giving them enough time to correct it…but the Trump organization is hapless and I’m pretty sure they’ll screw up the second chance they’ve been given.)

Can't Solve Transportation Without Addressing Housing

"Free market, not free parking". And affordable housing. - promoted by charley-on-the-mta

Charley already wrote up WBUR’s transportation poll, but WBUR did a sidebar story on some non-highway transportation ideas.

Reporter Steve Brown talked to State Sen. Tom McGee about his idea to relieve traffic & help people get around – expanding the Lynn-Boston ferry service:

“We started off with 13,000 riders the first year from May to September. Up over 15,000 last year, so there’s definitely an interest,” McGee says. He’d like to see the ferry become permanent and run year-round, to give commuters on the North Shore another option for getting into town.

“We’ve got a state-of-the-art facility with two berths for ferry boats and other operations,” McGee explains. “This is also land that’s also part of the project. [It’s] city-owned, for extra parking spots. Parking’s free, with a building here as planned as a terminal and then a restaurant on the top. You can see how beautiful it is here.”

McGee says the ferry terminal — located a short walk away from a commuter rail stop and parking garage in Lynn Center — could become a major transportation hub for the entire North Shore, especially if long-ago shelved plans to extend the MBTA Blue Line to Lynn were revived.

In general, ferry service is a great idea! Lower carbon, you don’t have to build & maintain new pavement, and it’s just plain way more fun than driving.

But there’s a big problem in Lynn that’s a great example of how we can’t solve our transportation problems without also dealing with housing and development policies.

The problem is the ferry’s location. Here, take a look:

Confederate memorial in Boston

The Southern Poverty Law Center has released Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy that “catalogs 1,503 examples of monuments and statues; flags; city, county and school names; lakes, dams and other public works; state holidays; and other symbols that honor the Confederacy.” Here is their press release.

Amazingly, one is in Boston. The Center’s report links to this 2013 photograph and accompanying article on Civil War Memory, a website by local historian Kevin M. Levin:

Today my wife and I spent the day on Georges Island in Boston harbor. I gave a brief presentation for the National Park Service on Boston’s Civil War memory, which went really well. Afterwards, we spent some time walking through Fort Warren.

A number of prominent Confederate officials, including James Mason, John Slidell and Alexander Stephens were held as prisoners for various periods of time. In addition, Richard Ewell, Isaac Trimble, Simon Bolivar Buckner and a small number of Confederate soldiers were also held as prisoners during the war.

I knew all of this, but what truly surprised was this monument to those Confederates who died as prisoners, which was dedicated by the Boston chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1963. Yeah, that’s right, there was a UDC chapter in Boston.

Kudos to Levin for breaking the story, in a sense.

The Law Center urges community members to “organize campaigns to remove these symbols from public spaces and place them in museums or similar venues where a full account of the history can be provided.” Noted Civil War historian Eric Foner has argued it is more effective to leave such memorials in place, but add additional material that puts them in historical context. WaPo:

“In the south, I don’t think they should take down statues of Confederate leaders,” Foner continued. “They should put up statues of black congressmen and senators. It makes the public history more accurately reflect our entire history.”

At a minimum, such additional material should be added to this memorial. For a start, it might mention the 13,942 Massachusetts residents who died in that awful conflict, and the millions of people enslaved by the brutal government whose seal is featured on the memorial.

Then again, Foner did preface that comment with “In the south.” Maybe here in the North, we don’t need a relatively recent confederate memorial complete with the seal of the CSA and its motto “Under God, Our Vindicator” on George’s Island, and it would be better off in a museum as the Center recommends — complete with additional contextualizing material. The Robert Gould Shaw Memorial on Boston Common says more, better.


A response to Senator Lewis on marijuana legalization

Food for thought... - promoted by david

As many of you saw, last week BMG had some great discussions on the ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol that will be voted on this November. It began with my post asking why progressive organization ActBlue was working with the campaign to continue prohibition, and a petition I created for progressives to ask them to stop. Senator Jason Lewis then issued a detailed response explaining his opposition to the initiative. Both of these posts generated tons of comments (47 and 92, respectively, as of this writing), and I’m really thankful to the BMG community for a great discussion. Someone asked that I make my comment responding to Senator Lewis’ points into its own post, so here it is (small edits to add links):

Potency & Edibles
Senator Lewis is absolutely correct that the average potency of marijuana today is higher than it used to be (which it’s worth pointing out was driven by prohibition, as more potent drugs are easier to smuggle – same reason we had “rum runners” and not “beer runners” during alcohol prohibition). While it does come with more potential for dosage mistakes, education about these products is the most important thing. People know that you drink 12oz of 5% beer but only 1.5oz of 35% liquor – many tourists in Colorado don’t know that 5mg is the standard dose, so seeing a 30mg label means nothing to them. Education like the industry “Start Low, Go Slow” campaign is the best way to alleviate this problem. And while it is a problem, luckily it’s impossible to fatally overdose on marijuana, unlike alcohol – people who consume too much will have a bad time, but their organs won’t shut down and they won’t die. Additionally, a legal marijuana market allows for greater variety of dosages, as many people prefer less THC, just like many people prefer beer or wine over shots of liquor. The black market incentivizes potency, legal markets incentivize variety. There are many low-THC products on the market in CO and other states, as there will be in MA post-legalization.

Stuck in traffic? Or on the T? #nohopeever

WBUR is doing a fine series on traffic and transit this week. From yesterday — If you think your commute is getting worse, you’re not alone …

WBUR Poll: Boston-Area Residents Say Traffic Is Getting Worse, But MBTA May Be A Solution | WBUR.

Traffic is getting worse. That’s the conclusion of Boston-area residents surveyed in a new WBUR poll (topline, crosstabs).

Fifty-seven percent say it’s gotten worse in the last five years. You could point to the rebounding economy, but whatever the reason, almost 2 in 5 residents say traffic has caused them to be late for work. And 14 percent say they’ve considered leaving the area to get away from the traffic.

And what’s the solution? 79% of those surveyed in Greater Boston say “repairing and modernizing” the MBTA! This is the MBTA with a $7 billion repair and maintenance backlog.

This is, of course, completely at odds with our Governor and Speaker DeLeo, who insist upon the strategy of “the beatings will continue until morale improves.” Budget cuts, austerity, no vision, no hope ever.

I stipulate that the politics are exacerbated by the unavoidable, structural regional rivalries for transit dollars; and the looting by the T’s contractors and unions; absurdly outdated procurement; so that even approved money gets lit on fire. Better procurement is obviously necessary, but it’s not sufficient.

That $7 billion is never going to come without … ahem … a “political revolution.” Even our vaunted progressives vote for DeLeo for Speaker-for-life and hold fundraisers with him, for the scraps he throws their districts. (Of course, it’s not just transit that suffers under the current leadership.)

Again: Gov. Baker can be Mr. Fixit or a “fiscal conservative”. But not both. It’s pretty apparent that DeLeo just doesn’t care.

If this seems like a cynical, impotent rant … well, it is. But with scant leadership from electeds on this, I suppose we’re left to complain and bang on the table. Someone show me a better way.

Your Film Tax Credit Dollars at Work -- for Mark Wahlberg

It’s looking like the film tax credit is going to be with us for quite a while longer. Last year the Governor’s idea of scrapping it altogether in favor of a tax credit for working poor families met with very stiff resistance from film tax credit fans. This year his more modest plan to prune it back to its Romney-era size (in part by imposing a cap of $7 million per movie and by eliminating the option to sell the credit) hasn’t really been heard from since its January launch.

But if we can’t stop this perpetual train robbery, we can at least learn where the money is going (h/t to Jamie Eldridge and other members of the Senate who succeeded in getting us this window to peer into).  In 2014, the most recent year for which film tax credit information is available, one very big winner was Massachusetts native Mark Wahlberg, the star of Ted 2, which was filmed here that year. (If, like me, you haven’t caught Ted 2 or the original Ted yet, Wahlberg’s co-star is an animated bear and both stars’ vocabularies are largely scatological.)

We taxpayers ponied up $14 million toward Ted 2‘s production costs. For that money we could have paid for upgrades to 30 subway cars to extend their service for the better part of a decade or funded a year’s worth of rental vouchers for 2000 homeless families.  So far, Ted 2 has taken in over $240 million in box office and video sales, an amount that ought to reassure investors in Mark Wahlberg’s next Massachusetts venture that the film tax credit is not strictly necessary to its commercial success.

And as we were particularly reminded this past Monday, Mark Wahlberg’s next Massachusetts venture is already in production. Opinions vary on whether it’s too soon for a movie about the Marathon bombing and whether a Marathon bombing movie made by Mark Wahlberg will ever be appropriate, but come December, we’re going to have one called Patriots Day. Wahlberg and his production company at CBS have tiptoed around the movie’s possibly explotative nature and have offered a solemn but indefinite vow to “get it right.”

Apparently getting it right does not include respecting the wishes of any 2016 Marathon runners who don’t care to appear in the movie.


Here’s an idea.  If the Patriots Day folks are really interested in getting it right, they could announce that they’re making this movie on their own dime and won’t ask us taxpayers to chip in a quarter of the production costs via the film tax credit.

Beyond Bernie: Voter suppression in New York

Is New York's voter registration law defensible? The U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision from 43 years ago (cited downthread by jcohn88) ruled that it was constitutional: its purpose "is to inhibit party ‘raiding,’ whereby voters in sympathy with one party designate themselves as voters of another party so as to influence or determine the results of the other party’s primary. This purpose is accomplished...not only by requiring party enrollment several months in advance of the primary, on the theory that ‘long range planning in politics is quite difficult,’ but also by requiring enrollment prior to a general election." - promoted by hesterprynne

Seems that many of my friends who share my outrage over the election laws recently instituted in Republican states are suddenly defending the Byzantine and highly restrictive election laws in New York.

“The rules are the rules,” I have been told. “Setting the rules and letting the contestants know what they are before the game starts? Totally fair.”

Voters aren’t contestants, and despite what Donald Trump might have to say, an election is not a game show or a reality TV show. You can vote with a gun permit but not with a photo ID issued by a state university? No problem, you knew the rules before the game started. 92 years old, no birth certificate? No problem, you knew the rules before the game started. They closed the motor vehicle offices in all the majority-black counties? No problem, you knew the rules before the game started. Who needs the Voting Rights Act as long as everybody knows the rules before the game started.

What are the rules in New York? You can’t make this stuff up. If you want to change your party enrollment, you send in the form to your county board of election. They place the form in a locked box, which is opened once each year. The deadline for getting your entry, I mean your enrollment change form, into the Board of Elections is no later than 25 days before the general election. The box is opened on the first Tuesday after the general election, and that’s when your party enrollment change is entered on your record. If you wanted to switch parties to vote in a 2016 primary, you needed to submit your form and get it in the sealed box no later than October 9, 2015.

Did I mention there are THREE primaries in New York this year? The presidential primary on April 19 was just the first one. There is a Federal primary (for Congress) on June 28 and a state and local primary on *September 13.*

To put it simply. If you want to change parties to vote for your cousin in the state and local primary on September 13, 2016, you need to get your party change form in the sealed box no later than October 9, 2015, slightly more than 11 months in advance.

Why a Progressive Democrat Opposes the Marijuana Ballot Question

Thank you for posting here, Senator. - promoted by david

Hello BMG community. This is Senator Jason Lewis. Seeing the recent discussion on BMG about marijuana legalization I thought I would share my perspective on this issue and why I oppose the likely November ballot question.

A year ago, Senate President Stan Rosenberg created the Special Senate Committee on Marijuana, and asked me to lead this effort. The Committee’s purpose was to conduct a thorough and objective review and analysis of the many public policy ramifications if Massachusetts were to legalize marijuana for recreational use and sale.  We did a deep dive on marijuana policy, including extensive research and interviews with more than 75 expert stakeholders in Massachusetts and across the country. We also spent almost a week on the ground in Colorado, to observe firsthand the marijuana industry from “seed to sale” and to hear directly from state and local government regulators and industry officials. The Committee produced a 118 page report with our findings and recommendations which I encourage you to read (or at least skim) if you’re interested in this topic.

I began this process knowing very little about marijuana policy and with an open mind about whether legalization would be good or bad for Massachusetts. I maintained a neutral position throughout the process, and the Committee did not take a position on legalization or the ballot question (since it was not charged with doing so).

Once the Committee had wrapped up its work, given everything I had learned over the past year, I took a public position in opposition to the ballot question. I’m now active on the Steering Committee of the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts (the organization recently formed by Governor Baker, Speaker DeLeo, and Mayor Walsh to oppose the ballot question).

I know many people think what’s the big deal if an adult wants to smoke a joint now and then. It doesn’t seem more harmful than having a beer or a cocktail? So why shouldn’t we just go ahead and legalize marijuana already? Well, the proposed ballot question to legalize recreational marijuana use and sale in Massachusetts is about far more than an adult simply being able to smoke a joint. And I think that once people begin to understand how far reaching this proposal is and how many troubling issues are involved, they will conclude that the ballot question is bad for Massachusetts.

Trump Pulls Baker's Pants Down

Trump really does have a remarkable resemblance to the proverbial stopped clock. It doesn't happen often, but every now and again, he does make sense. - promoted by david

With Governor Baker’s odd speech about TRANS….portation last week in front of an audience of transgender people, Donald Trump, of all people, today made Baker look like he was the one with no safe place to go. Trump said that trans people need to be allowed to choose the bathroom that best matches their gender identity.

After years of heartfelt pleas from trans people, this political conundrum moved Baker within hours to issue a statement hinting strongly that school systems following Trump’s advice were doing the right thing.  Baker should just do the right thing on his own.  Despite this feckless moment, the many Democrats who understand that this a serious issue for a still vulnerable and misunderstood minority hope both the Democratic leadership and Governor Baker will do just that and pass and sign a bill protecting these fellow citizens.