BMG's Mark Bail in the news

Our plan for world domination continues apace. Congratulations, Granby -- and Mark! - promoted by Bob_Neer

The Daily Hampshire Gazette (Northampton) reports on frequent BMG poster Mark Bail’s plans for his third term on the Granby Select Board.  (The reporter, Eric Goldscheider, has also posted to BMG in the past.)  Mark stresses his efforts to use the internet and social media to make local government transparent and responsive.

Oddly enough the Gazette classifies this as an article about Goshen rather than Granby.

Is the USOC about to drop a house on #Boston2024's bid?

The WSJ story originally reporting the rumor that the USOC is considering dropping Boston, citing "people familiar with the USOC's thinking," is available at this link. Also worth reading: Shirley Leung's and Joan Vennochi's columns, which come from different viewpoints (Leung probably wants the Olympics here and Vennochi probably doesn't), but both of which seem ready to dump John Fish as Boston 2024's chief spokesman. - promoted by david

Quick, someone prep the Lollipop Guild; it looks like someone may drop a house on #Boston2024′s bid.

The Fat Lady hasn’t sung yet, but the obvious conclusion about Boston 2024 is becoming obvious to the people who still have the time to stop it.

The USOC has come out to deny the report, but the story is writing itself from here.

Is the USOC really going to continue to humiliate itself after wasting years of effort to get back in the IOC’s good graces? Doubtful.

It’s only a matter of time, now — as Boston 2024 goes drip, drip, drip.

Governor Baker, Prioritize Environmental Justice

In which a Democratic group (cautiously) praises a Republican governor and asks him to step up and do more. - promoted by charley-on-the-mta

Dear Governor Baker,

As you know, on November 25 of last year Governor Deval Patrick signed into law an Executive Order #552 on Environmental Justice which decrees that state agencies designate resources to protect the health, safety and environment for the most vulnerable residents of the Commonwealth. It recognizes that low-income communities, communities of color and communities with limited English-proficiency live in areas with greater exposure to environmental health hazards.

As part of the College Democrats of Massachusetts’ Environmental Action Week, we write to you in support of this Executive Order and thank you for ensuring its continued implementation. We appreciate the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ (EEA) updated policies on Environmental Justice including reducing diesel emissions, promoting clean energy technology, brownfields revitalization and creating greenspaces. In addition to the EEA, we hope we can count on you to make sure all state agencies create an environmental justice strategy by May 24, 2015 and that secretariats designate a coordinator to implement their specific strategy. Massachusetts made history by becoming the eighth state in the nation to make environmental justice a policy priority and we cannot allow this progress to stagnate.

Another crucial part of guaranteeing environmental justice for all Massachusetts residents is making sure vulnerable communities have access to reliable public transportation. Youth and low-income people rely heavily on the MBTA to get to work, school and community resources like grocery stores and healthcare centers. Accessibility to these places allows people to contribute to their communities and help the Commonwealth become healthier and more productive. We urge you to work with Secretary Pollack to make increasing funding for the MBTA part of the Department of Transportation’s Environmental Justice Strategy.

Although our political agendas are not always in line, the College Democrats of Massachusetts deeply appreciates your commitment to serving the people of the Commonwealth. Your most recent proposed legislation on expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit shows your regard for low income residents and we hope you see the intersection of low income and environmental justice issues. We thank you for supporting the Environmental Justice Executive Order thus far and strongly encourage its continued implementation.


The College Democrats of Massachusetts Executive Board

Ocean "conveyor belt": Where do the fish go?

At its heart, the global warming problem is about food.

There’s a local angle to the climate news that the Atlantic “conveyor belt” is slowing down. Also known as North Atlantic Drift, these are the ocean currents that go from the tropics and bring relatively mild weather to Europe. The melting of Greenland’s glaciers has significantly slowed down the conveyor belt. So, Europe may well be getting colder. But there’s a local problem as well — where do the fish go?

Living on Earth: Melting Ice Slows Down Ocean Circulation

From Living on Earth’s interview with famed climate scientist Michael Mann:

CURWOOD: Now, when you say it keeps Europe warm, we’re saying places like England, which is far north of eastern United States – New York, Boston – tends to be much warmer and has an earlier spring.

MANN: That’s right. And of course, Western Europe relies upon that moderate climate. If they were to lose that moderate climate that would obviously be problematic for them, for their economy. The pattern of climate, of rainfall, of drought, of temperature, that we rely upon today, and we rely upon the stability of those climate patterns for human civilization, well, if they were to change abruptly, that could really spell trouble, for us, for other living things, so any abrupt change in climate could potentially be catastrophic. We have long suspected that the North Atlantic Ocean circulation, the conveyor belt is one of those components of the climate system that could potentially undergo a very rapid change if we continue to warm the planet with fossil fuel burning and increased greenhouse gas concentrations. The climate models predict that we could see that current begin to shut down perhaps by the end of the century. As it turns out, the models appear to be too conservative because in our latest study we find evidence that that current is already weakening substantially and could be much closer to a total collapse than current generation climate models would suggest.

My emphasis. And the Massachusetts angle of the story? No good news for our beleaguered fishing industry:

One of the greatest concerns here is that if we did shut down the ocean circulation system, the conveyor belt, while we wouldn’t get a new ice age in the northern hemisphere, we would fundamentally change the flow of nutrients that feed ecosystems in the north Atlantic Ocean, which is one of the most productive regions for sea life in the entire world, and we would potentially lose access to fish populations that we rely upon right now, at a time when we’re already seeing threats to fisheries from ocean acidification, from overfishing. And so, while the impacts wouldn’t play out like a Hollywood disaster film, they could still be disastrous for us.

Here in Massachusetts, if we want to preserve a local industry — hell, if we want to eat — we’d better figure this out. Mitigate and adapt: What can we do to slow this process down, and what can we fish and eat in the future?

Why is Indiana's "Religious Freedom" law such a big deal? Because Hobby Lobby changed everything.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past week or so, you’ve probably seen something of the sh!tstorm that has erupted over the decision by the Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence (quite possibly a candidate for president but I digress), to sign a “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” into law in that state.  The NY Times declared that the law has been “denounced as [an] invitation to discriminate against gays”; the “#BoycottIndiana” hashtag is trending on Twitter; major entertainers, athletes, sports leagues, businesses, and others are talking about withdrawing from the state or cancelling plans to appear there or to expand their businesses; everything’s just going all kinds of wrong in the Hoosier state.

This morning, Governor Pence went on This Week with George Stephanopoulos to try to defend himself and the law he signed, and his principal argument is a pretty straightforward one: our law is exactly the same as the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which President Clinton signed, and it’s also the same as state laws that are already in effect in roughly 20 other states.  All basically true [UPDATE: however, see additional notes at the end].  So, he asks, why is everyone picking on Indiana?

Two words: Hobby Lobby.

A little history is in order here.  Back in 1990, the Supreme Court held (in Employment Division v. Smith) that Native Americans who used peyote as part of a religious ceremony, and who as a result were disqualified from receiving unemployment compensation from the state, could not invoke the First Amendment’s “free exercise” clause to argue that their sincerely-held religious beliefs regarding peyote prohibited the state from punishing them for its use.  The Court, in an opinion by Justice Scalia, ruled that generally-applicable laws that don’t single out religion for negative treatment apply across the board, and that the First Amendment does not authorize religiously-based exemptions.

Ms. Clinton, what have you done?

Looks like she deleted her emails. I doubt this will have any effect on her campaign: many people may even see it as a sign of cagey ability. - promoted by Bob_Neer

Updated, see below

According to Reuters — not generally part of the Faux News Network — Hillary Clinton’s attorney has told a Senate panel investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks that the email server she used “had been wiped clean” (emphasis mine):

Representative Trey Gowdy said Clinton had not provided a single new document and her lawyer told the committee a server she used for emails while she was the top U.S. diplomat had been wiped clean.

“We learned today, from her attorney, Secretary Clinton unilaterally decided to wipe her server clean and permanently delete all emails from her personal server,” Gowdy, chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, said in a statement.

Is there some other way to interpret this? Was Ms. Clinton actually operating her own email server? Or does this mean that some provider used by her did the deed?

I understand that the GOP hatred for the Clintons is nearly as intense as its similarly disgusting hatred for Barrack Obama. But even so, the emails either were or were not deleted. Ms. Clinton did or did not have a role in deleting them.

If the emails are truly gone, and especially if Ms. Clinton personally ordered them deleted or knowingly did nothing while a third party removed them, then in my view she is unfit for public office. If this turns out to be true, then nominating Ms. Clinton would be like nominating Richard Nixon after his role in the Watergate cover-up was disclosed.

Mythology has it that when when Mr. Clinton’s activities with Ms. Lewinsky were made public, Ms. Clinton’s reaction to him was a furious “What have you done to our Presidency?”

Ms. Clinton, what have you done to your candidacy?

Updated 28-March-2015

Published reports like this CNN report clarify the statement made by Ms. Clinton’s attorney:

In his letter to Gowdy, [Clinton lawyer David Kendall] said the former secretary of state “chose not to keep her non-record personal emails.”

“Thus, there are no … e-mails from Secretary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state on the server for any review, even if such review were appropriate or legally authorized,” he wrote.

But she “has maintained and preserved copies” of work-related, or potentially work-related emails she turned over to the State Department late last year. Kendall did not specify whether the emails were kept in paper or digital form.

So Ms. Clinton has decided, unilaterally, that she and only she will determine whether individual emails were “non-record personal emails”. Given the history of the Clinton family with the GOP, I’m not surprised that she takes this posture.

In my view, the optics are still devastating. I truly wonder whether the political firestorm this is already creating is worth the exercise. Other individuals have pursued approaches such is an “in-camera” review by a neutral judge. This strategy rejuvenates the dying “Benghazi-Gate” foolishness that was, up to now, dying a well-deserved death.

Surely Ms. Clinton and her advisers understand this. It is hard for me to avoid wondering whether there are emails that she and her advisers fear would be at least misunderstood — all the more reason to find something less drastic than destroying the evidence that a third party requires.

Joke Revue: "Ted Cruz is the Abraham Lincoln of Sarah Palins"

The headline is courtesy of John Fugelsang.


Nation’s 30 Fraudulent Voters March On Washington To Restore Voting Rights Act

WASHINGTON—Spanning nearly half of a city block as they rallied to support the freedoms of unscrupulous citizens, the nation’s 30 fraudulent voters reportedly marched on Washington, D.C. Sunday to restore the Voting Rights Act. “It is crucial for our great nation to protect the rights of every single citizen who wants to vote more than once,” Miami resident Tanya Bruton said to the assembled mass of more than two dozen Americans who were protesting policies that have made voting under a false name far more difficult. “The erosion of these rights is the only thing keeping .000001 percent of Americans from heading to polling places and stuffing ballot boxes. We will not stop fighting until these restrictions are lifted.” At press time, sources confirmed that the chants of the nation’s entire fraudulent voter population were drowned out by a large group of eighth graders on a field trip.


Indiana Defines Stupidity as Religion

INDIANAPOLIS (The Borowitz Report)—In a history-making decision, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana has signed into law a bill that officially recognizes stupidity as a religion.

Pence said that he hoped the law would protect millions of state residents “who, like me, have been practicing this religion passionately for years.”

The bill would grant politicians like Pence the right to observe their faith freely, even if their practice of stupidity costs the state billions of dollars.

While Pence’s action drew the praise of stupid people across America, former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer was not among them. “Even I wasn’t dumb enough to sign a bill like that,” she said.

Disturbed Man Tries to Get Into White House

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – A disturbed Canadian man wants to try to get into the White House, according to reports.

The man, who was born in Calgary before drifting to Texas, has been spotted in Washington, D.C. in recent years exhibiting erratic behavior, sources said.

Daniel Kurtzman:

“We have Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham all running for president. It’s all part of the Republican plan to make Jeb Bush look presidential.” –David Letterman

“Tea party candidate Ted Cruz, Republican senator from Texas, wants to be president. That means he’s one step closer to being a Fox News analyst.” –David Letterman

“Texas senator and tea party favorite Ted Cruz announced he’s running for president. He pledged to lead America boldly forward into the 1950s.” –Conan O’Brien

“Senator Ted Cruz has officially announced that he is running for president. But if you see a T-shirt that says ‘Ted Cruz 2016,’ those aren’t election shirts. That’s just how old he thinks the Earth is.” –Seth Meyers

Getting to Net Zero: Cambridge, MA

Excellent. Buildings are the source of 37% of CO2 emissions. (pg. 117) I will simply restate stomv's line that it isn't really important for individual buildings to be net-zero; rather for buildings *as a whole* to be net-zero. IOW, some may be net-producers and some net-users. Might be more efficient and practical that way. --Charley - promoted by david

For the past year, the Cambridge, MA city government has had a Getting to Net Zero Task Force studying the implications of a net zero energy building requirement. They finished the draft report on March 16, 2015 and will have an open forum to introduce the study to the public on Wednesday, April 8.

The Task Force defined net zero as “an annual balance of zero greenhouse gas emissions from building operations citywide, achieved through improved energy efficiency and carbon-free energy production,” applying it to the net zero target at the community level (citywide).

Net zero new construction (at the building level as opposed to citywide) is defined as “developments that achieve net zero emissions from their operations, through energy efficient design, onsite renewable energy, renewable energy infrastructure such as district energy, and, if appropriate, the limited purchase of RECs [Renewable Energy Credits] and GHG [Greenhouse Gas] offsets.”

The objectives for the proposed actions from 2015 to 2035 and beyond include

(a) …target of Net Zero Emissions for new construction: New buildings should achieve net zero beginning in 2020, starting with municipal buildings and phasing in the requirement for other building types between 2022-2030.
(b) targeted improvements to existing buildings: The Building Energy Use and Disclosure Ordinance (BEUDO) will provide the information necessary to target energy retrofit activity, including, over the long term, the regulation of energy efficiency retrofits at time of renovation and/or sale of property.
(c) proliferation of renewable energy: Increase renewable energy generation, beginning with requiring solar-ready new construction and support for community solar projects, evolving to a minimum requirement for onsite renewable energy generation.
(d) coordinated communications and engagement: Support from residents and key stakeholders is imperative to the success of the initiative.

You can read the full report at this link and access other information about the Task Force at this link.

The House Voted on Three Democratic Budgets Yesterday. How Did the MA Delegation Vote?

Interesting datapoints. - promoted by david

Yesterday, the House voted on three Democratic budget proposals: the Congressional Progressive Caucus’s People’s Budget, the Congressional Black Caucus’s budget, and the Democratic Caucus’s budget.

Of the three budgets, the Congressional Progressive Caucus’s budget is always the “gold standard” of them. Here is a run-down of the budget by the Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel:

On the investment side, the CPC expands investments in areas vital to our future. It would rebuild America, modernizing our outmoded infrastructure. It would invest to lead the green industrial revolution that is already forging markets and creating jobs across the globe.

The CPC understands that we must do the basics in education. It would provide pre-K for every child, the most important single reform we can make in education. It calls for increasing investment in our public schools, helping to mitigate the destructive inequality between rich districts and poor. It would provide students with four years of debt-free college education, and pay for renegotiating existing student loans, relieving the burden now crushing an entire generation.

An Olympics referendum? Should've just asked BMG.

Well, looky looky. Boston 2024, and Mayor Walsh, have now completed their slow-motion about-face on putting something about the Olympics on the ballot.  Having previously indicated that they opposed that course of action, they’ve now gone all-in and are saying they will actually sponsor a ballot question (exactly what it will say remains to be seen, and, as the Globe accurately points out, this is quite important.)

It would be churlish to point out that this is the exact advice BMG generously offered the Mayor and Boston 2024 a few months ago.  But we are nothing if not churlish around here, so we’ll point it out.

I frankly can’t imagine what the case against a public referendum would be.  So come on, Boston 2024 and Mayor Walsh, just back a referendum.  Then everyone will know that you mean it when you say that you only want to have the Olympics in Boston if the people are behind it.

Imagine the money they could have saved on high-priced PR consultants and the like!  We remain pleased to offer BMG as a free service to the Massachusetts political community.

Snark aside, this is good news.  Yes, ballot questions can be “bought,” and we should anticipate a lot of spending directed toward getting people to vote Boston 2024′s way – just as we saw with the casino question.  And there’s virtually no doubt that the anti-Olympics side will be badly outspent by the pro-Olympics side.  So it’s not a perfect solution.  But it is the best one available, and therefore it is the right one.

Deval Patrick's Newest Gig? Lobbying for the TPP

Of interest. - promoted by Bob_Neer

Recently, our former governor took a job as a “global ambassador” for the Boston 2024 Partnership. Although he’s now “volunteering” and not taking the $7,500 a day compensation package, I’m sure he’ll get a very generous expense account to use for his wining and dining of IOC commissioners.

However, lobbying the IOC isn’t his own gig now. He’s also lobbying for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade deal written by and for large corporations which the Obama administration has been aggressively pushing.

Deval Patrick was announced today as a member of the advisory board of the so-called Progressive Coalition for American Jobs, a front group run by former Obama aides. Here’s the Associated Press on the announcement:

President Obama’s allies are recruiting high-profile Democrats to help combat liberal resistance to his bid for new trade agreements in Asia and elsewhere.

The effort will sharpen differences between the Democratic Party’s liberal and pro-business wings, especially in New England. And it could accelerate the effort to woo black lawmakers, a key target in the House.

Heading a pro-trade advisory board being announced Tuesday are former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, former Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire and former US. Trade Representative and Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk.

Kirk’s and Gregoire’s roles are not surprising. But Patrick’s might add some sizzle to the trade debate heating up in Congress. Among the Obama trade agenda’s strongest critics is another Massachusetts Democrat, Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Patrick and Kirk are two of the nation’s most prominent African-American politicians. Obama has openly wooed the Congressional Black Caucus in hopes of securing some of the House Democratic votes he will need to pass his trade plans.

I wrote about the “Progressive Coalition for American Jobs” two weeks ago at the Daily Kos. It’s the Democratic-aligned PR firm behind Democrat-in-name-only Ro Khanna’s congressional campaign against Mike Honda (CA-17) and Educators for Excellence, a Gates-funded front group that advocates against teacher tenure and for teacher evaluation systems that rely on the use of standardized test scores.

Boston 2024 Tells Supporters to "Get Inspired" by Watching a Leni Riefenstahl Film

"Boston 2024 is not 'deliberately promoting the Nazi agenda.'” And, "The list of 'inspirational' movies also included Steven Spielberg’s 2005 film Munich, which is based on the Israeli operation to assassinate the members of the PLO responsible for killing 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich." Amazing. - promoted by Bob_Neer

Boston 2024 hasn’t been having the best PR lately, and today (or, now, yesterday) was no different.

At 2:20 in the afternoon, Boston 2024 tweeted out a link to a list of the “10 best” Olympic movies, telling supporters to watch them and “get inspired.”



The first movie on that list was Leni Riefenstahl’s movie about the 1936 Olympics Olympia. You may recognize Riefenstahl as the director the famous Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will.

The Nazi connections of Olympia are deeper than just that:

While official documentation ascribes “Olympia” to a company named Leni Riefenstahl Productions, the film’s finances were in fact controlled by Paul Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi minister of propaganda (Berg-Pan, 1980). Furthermore, a frank assessment of Riefenstahl’s possible complicity must not ignore her work for the National Socialist Party (prior to “Olympia”) making a film titled “Triumph of the Will.” In “Triumph of the Will,” the power of the National Socialist Party is clearly exhibited, and everything the German government believed good about Nazism is on display.

(h/t universal hub)

Although the Evan Falchuk replied shortly after the tweet went up to question the Riefenstahl inclusion, the tweet stayed up for another 8 hours before Boston 2024 deleted it–without ever acknowledging doing so or doing anything wrong.

To make matters worse, the USOC Communication Director Patrick Sandusky defended the inclusion of Olympia, downplaying the Nazi ties.    He then said–in what is hilarious either within or outside of context–that Boston 2024 is not “deliberately promoting the Nazi agenda.”

The list of “inspirational” movies also included Steven Spielberg’s 2005 film Munich, which is based on the Israeli operation to assassinate the members of the PLO responsible for killing 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

One has to wonder whether they even read what they tweeted out……