Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Shining a Light on Patrick's Legacy

I wasn't going to until I saw thisPatrick says maybe to a run for Oval Office

Has he been spending too much time in the sun

Looks like I was blinded by the Globe spin machine, too.

Related: Governor Patrick has role in ‘World’ events 

For all your sakes, I hope not.

"Solar use will push energy costs up in Mass.; 20-year rise put at $1 billion" by Jay Fitzgerald |  Globe Correspondent, February 12, 2014

Massachusetts utility customers could get hit with more than $1 billion in higher electricity bills over the next two decades under Governor Deval Patrick’s plan to dramatically expand solar power in the state, government and industry officials said Tuesday.

And he is leaving the blame for the next guy!

A top state official said that the average residential customer would pay $1 to $1.50 more a month under the Patrick plan, which aims to cut air pollution and create more jobs in the growing solar energy industry.

All over that hot air and fart mi$t!

In a filing with state regulators last month, Northeast Utilities System, which serves 1.3 million customers in the state, contended Patrick’s plan to quadruple the amount of solar power in use in Massachusetts would lead to consumers paying “excess costs” of more than $1 billion because of how they would be forced to buy the electricity.

Forced to buy? In America?

The result, Northeast said, is that Massachusetts consumers would pay two to three times as much for solar power as ratepayers in neighboring Connecticut, where the company also provides electric service.

Mark Sylvia, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, acknowledged in an interview that the added cost could range from $500 million to $1 billion over the next two decades, about $1 to $1.50 more a month for residential customers. But Sylvia said in exchange for higher bills, Massachusetts residents would get cleaner air, a more diverse source of electricity, and a dynamic clean energy sector....

These guys don't understand we are sick of getting less when paying more while the wealth flows upward. They just aren't getting it, and we have nothing left to give. 

The alternative energy industry is a pet project of Patrick’s. One of the governor’s signature achievements so far is a 2008 law, the Green Communities Act, creating a flourishing alternative energy industry in Massachusetts.

Oh, it's one of his pet projects, huh? What a $tinky legacy he is leaving.

One way to do that is to force utilities and other large electricity consumers, such as factories, to buy a certain amount of their power from alternative energy producers like solar and wind farms.

In America? That sounds more like Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, or Communist China from what I've been told my whole life. Holy $hit!

Utilities don’t object to the goal. Rather, they are concerned with how the governor’s plan would require them to obtain the power: by buying from a mix of large and small producers. That approach, the utilities argue, would result in them paying much higher prices for solar power — much like buying groceries at a corner convenience store instead of a large supermarket.


Instead, utilities want to be able to shop bids for solar power from a few larger producers, on the assumption they would be able to negotiate better prices based on higher volume....

That is what they have been $elling for centuries now, back to the days of kings through the late 19th-century robber barons and 20th-century globalization. Then the industry is monopolized by a few oligarchies and prices rise.


I suppose you can stick this next article where the sun don't shine:

"Mass. is easing rules for some pollutants; Environmentalists bridle; developers call it overdue" by David Abel |  Globe Staff, February 23, 2014

Developers will be allowed to leave substantially more arsenic and lead in the soil deep below contaminated construction sites under new state rules, leading environmental advocates to accuse the Patrick administration of rolling back key public health protections.


More poisons in the ground while we have to pay more for solar power that should be built on every home with state subsidies (instead of the millions in tax checks to profitable and well-connected corporate concerns as well as the hundreds of millions in debt interest payments to banks and investors every month). 

But you know....

The regulations, slated to take effect this spring, would double the amount of lead and increase by 150 percent the amount of arsenic allowed to remain in dirt 15 feet or more below the surface. Pollutants at those depths rarely present a public safety hazard unless they are dug up during construction, and the state Department of Environmental Protection says the changes are supported by recent scientific studies.

Yeah, and as everyone knows, there is hardly any construction in Boston, ever, and no one pushing for it from the halls of government and business, yup.

Critics worry the rules will spur developers to build on contaminated land, known as brownfields, potentially creating plumes of toxic dust and sludge that can leach into waterways or disperse over a wide area if the soil is excavated and trucked elsewhere. 

Yeah, well.... 

“These changes are deeply, deeply troubling,” said Sue Reid, director of the Conservation Law Foundation in Boston.

Yes, this kind of thing is much more disturbing than the endless fart mi$t about global warming -- especially when it is brutally cold out there for late, late February. That's why you are getting a wave of blog posts before basketball today.

The regulatory shiftcombined with other new rules, and the deep staff and budget cuts at the agency since the recession — threaten the environment in Massachusetts, she said.

“They’re gutting core environmental protections and selling it to the business community as cutting red tape,” she said.

State officials, however, said that the revised standards for a range of toxic substances reflect better data about what amounts are hazardous.

“The reality is the standards we had before were overdoing it,” said Kenneth Kimmell, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, referring to the arsenic and lead limits. “You can always say that if you’re raising the standard with any chemical, you’re raising the risk. But that’s not how the science of risk assessment works.”

Oh, these people are incredible! They don't care about health or the environment; otherwise, they wouldn't just adjust standards to fit political and bu$ine$$ interests. 

Related: Deja Fu Friday

Whole separate matter, sort of.

Kimmell said the current limits on lead in deeper soil are “not science-based,” and are “much lower than necessary for people who have exposure to soil that deep,” such as construction workers. The new levels approximate amounts of lead found in areas not designated as brownfields, he said.

For arsenic, he cited a 2008 California study that he said provided more precise toxicity values than previous research.

“Our data shows the level we are proposing fully protects public health, and this conclusion was peer-reviewed by independent scientists,” Kimmell said.

And because the state such a thing who could ever question it?

But environmental advocates say they are concerned that developers influenced the process, especially with representatives of the real estate industry sitting on a board that advised the Department of Environmental Protection on the proposed regulations.

Welcome to AmeriKa, kids! Where ya' been?

“There’s always pressure from the development community to lessen the regulations,” said Jack Clarke, director of public policy and government relations at Mass Audubon. “That’s something that never lets up, and it’s something we guard against.”

He called it “baffling” that any rigorous study could conclude that lead or arsenic levels would be safe in greater concentrations. “I’m seriously concerned about this apparent step backwards,” he said.

In a letter sent to the environmental agency last May, Joseph Dorant, president of the Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers and Scientists, wrote of his “grave concerns relative to the direction the administration is taking in what appears a full-scale abandonment of [its] legally mandated responsibilities.”

RelatedUnfunded costs squeezing cities and towns, report says

Dorant, whose union represents state government scientists and engineers, said staff cuts have made it difficult for the agency to oversee compliance with many regulations and called recent rule changes “a huge step backwards in environmental protection.”

The possibility that more of the state’s estimated 925 brownfields will be developed, he and others said, raises concerns about what will become of the excavated soil.

As an example of the potential problems, Wendy Heiger-Bernays, an associate professor of environmental health at the Boston University School of Public Health, pointed to a recent uproar in Dartmouth, where residents have been protesting a proposal by a Brockton-based company to ship tons of contaminated soil to cap an old landfill on a working farm.

She noted the increasing challenge the state has in finding a place to deposit contaminated construction debris, harbor dredgings, and other detritus, and worried these materials could end up in communities or in other states where neighbors may be oblivious to the shipment of toxic substances.

What's in the dump?

“I worry about where those soils are going to go,” said Heiger-Bernays, who serves on the environmental agency’s technical advisory committees for toxicological and environmental health issues. “We should be concerned about this stuff being trucked around, the potential for dust particles getting spread around, and protecting communities from accepting this stuff and not knowing what it is.”

Kimmell responded by noting that the state has strict rules about how toxic substances are transported and where they can be buried.

Oh, well, no need to worry. Everyone follows strict state rules.

He also said that while developers may have to clean up less arsenic and lead, the new rules would require them to remove more of other toxic substances, including petroleum hydrocarbons; trichloroethene, a solvent used by dry cleaners; and vanadium, which is often found in urban fill.

The department has also proposed reducing allowable levels of some pollutants in topsoil — lead, cut by a third, and polychlorinated biphenyls, which became ubiquitous as coolants and insulating fluids, cut by half.

Kimmell acknowledged that the state has sought to reduce regulatory hurdles to development and would like to see more brownfields developed.

“There’s no question that we have tried to find ways to speed up our permitting, but we do that without weakening any of our environmental standards,” he said. “I categorically reject the idea that in finding ways to be productive, efficient, and decisive, that we have weakened environmental protections.”

Representatives of the real estate industry have applauded some of the regulatory changes, pointing to the state’s need for more housing and noting that much of the vacant land in urban areas requires environmental remediation.

“Environmental regulations usually get more stringent and complicated. It takes great courage for the department to actually lessen a standard,” said Greg Vasil, CEO of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board, a trade association that represents real estate brokers, owners, and developers. “These changes could make some projects more economically feasible.”

He added: “Environmental advocates have the arguments of the angels on their side, but they don’t help make stuff happen.”

Among the potential beneficiaries of the new regulations is Wynn Resorts, which has proposed building a casino on 34 acres of industrial wasteland in Everett that over the past century had become a repository for vast amounts of arsenic, lead, and other toxic substances that remain buried in a broad, empty field that borders the Mystic River.

No frikkin' kidding?

On some parts of the contaminated land formerly owned by Monsanto Chemical Co., arsenic levels are more than 1,000 times the current limits and lead levels are more than 50 times current limits.

Well, how about that, huh?

Officials representing Wynn Resorts, which has promised to spend as much as $30 million over about six months to clean the property, said the proposed regulations would have little impact on their plans.

“Any cost differential of the new regulations is marginal,” said Larry Feldman, a senior principal at GZA GeoEnvironmental, an environmental consulting firm in Norwood, who helped draft Wynn’s remediation plan and who sits on the environmental agency’s waste site cleanup advisory committee. “It’s not a big issue.”

But for many of those who live near the proposed casino, the potential development is disturbing.

In a letter to state environmental officials, members of the Charlestown Mothers Association urged them to nix the plan.

The group questioned whether Wynn Resorts’ cleanup would adequately remove the contaminants and worried that construction activity would produce dangerous dust particles of arsenic and lead that could be sent airborne and settle in the neighborhood, leach into the Mystic River, and get spread by trucks moving the dirt elsewhere.

“We have grave concerns about the public health impact on our community,” said Rebecca Love, a nurse practitioner and copresident of the association. “It would be negligent if they allow this to go through.”

Related: Revereing Casinos 

Another Patrick legacy.


At least they taking care of the kids, right?

"Mass. ranks low in children’s welfare; Data show state trailing in visits, protection from abuse" by Todd Wallack |  Globe Staff, February 10, 2014

Massachusetts is used to being near the top in national rankings — from education to health care to technological innovation. But when it comes to protecting children in foster care or potentially abusive homes, the state has languished closer to the bottom for years, according to an assortment of federal data.

Massachusetts ranked 38 out of 50 states in the percent of foster children visited each month by caseworkers, according to 2012 data from the US Department of Health and Human Services, the most recent data available....

The statistics are not a perfect measure of the state’s relative standing, as Massachusetts officials readily point out. But the state’s overall performance adds up to one of the worst in the nation, according to two watchdog groups that analyzed the federal results.

One of the two, the Foundation for Government Accountability, a conservative research group in Florida, listed Massachusetts in 2012 as 50th out of 50 states because it fared so poorly in so many categories....

The recent disappearance of Jeremiah Oliver — the 5-year-old Fitchburg boy who is feared dead after a state social worker failed to visit his allegedly abusive home for almost seven months — exposed flaws that critics say have been clear for years in the state’s troubling child protection reports.

Massachusetts caseworkers missed nearly one-fifth of the mandatory monthly home visits last year, according to a report last month by the Office of the Child Advocate, raising concerns about the safety of the other 36,000 children under the agency’s watch.

Massachusetts officials, and some researchers, reject the idea of using the federal statistics to compare one state to another, because different states sometimes use different standards to compile the data.

“It’s not like you are comparing apples to apples,” said Olga Roche, the commissioner of the Department of Children and Families who has faced intense questioning from state legislators about her agency’s handling of the Oliver case. “Every state has its own regulations and rules.”

For instance, Patrick administration officials pointed out that Massachusetts requires less proof than most other states to substantiate a report of abuse of neglect — boosting the number of local children who appear to have been repeatedly mistreated.

And Massachusetts officials say they suspect the state suffered in the national rankings because they probably provided skewed data to the federal government themselves for years. In particular, state officials believe they underreported the percentage of children visited by caseworkers each month, while overstating how often children are moved from foster home to foster home.

The Florida research group downgraded Massachusetts in its national rankings in part because the state failed to report some data to the US government altogether, specifically how long it takes to follow up on a report of child abuse.

Because there was none.

Massachusetts officials said their computer system does not capture enough information to calculate how long it takes to meet with someone who can provide information about the allegation — even though 45 other states provided the data and the federal government asks Massachusetts for the information every year.

What a weak-a$$ excuse. Must be the same firm that redid the state unemployment, motor vehicle, and health site.

But critics say the state’s faulty data reflects badly on the management of DCF while making it harder for the Commonwealth to protect its children....

“We as a state have not made kids a priority.”

That can't be! This is liberal, Democrat Massachusetts, not some icky Repuglican state!


But it can be:

"Toddler found dead in Yarmouth home; Judge had given child to relatives" by Brian MacQuarrie, John R. Ellement and Jenna Russell |  Globe Staff, February 13, 2014

YARMOUTH — A 23-month-old boy was discovered dead in his home Thursday, several months after a judge ordered his removal from a foster home and placed him with relatives over objections from the state Department of Children and Families, according to law enforcement and state officials.

The child, who law enforcement authorities said suffered from physical and emotional problems, was found unresponsive about 8:20 a.m. by the two adults who cared for him on Winslow Gray Road. Yarmouth police and firefighters tried unsuccessfully to revive the boy at the home before he was transported to Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis.

A cause of death had not been determined by Thursday evening, according to Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe. “A preliminary investigation did not disclose any sign of trauma to the child,’’ O’Keefe said.

The boy, the child of substance abusers, was born addicted to opiates and had been monitored by the Department of Children and Families since birth, O’Keefe said....

On the same day of the toddler’s death, a bipartisan group of legislators called on DCF Commissioner Olga Roche to resign.

I agree.

In a letter detailing their concerns, the lawmakers cited the case of Jeremiah Oliver, the Fitchburg 5-year-old who is missing and feared dead after social workers failed to keep track of him.

He's more or less been forgotten, that kid.

“We agree that enough is enough. It is time for Governor Patrick to do the right thing and ask for Olga Roche’s resignation,” said Representative Ryan Fattman, a Republican from Webster who was one of more than 20 Republicans and Democrats to sign the letter to the governor.... 

You will be waiting until hell fre.... better find a better metaphor.

The death of the Yarmouth toddler comes at a time of scrutiny of the child welfare agency. Two months ago, DCF officials acknowledged that for at least seven months the agency had lost track of the 5-year-old Fitchburg boy, now presumed dead, whose family was under the supervision of the agency.

Last week, a 9-year-old Mattapan boy was shot to death, allegedly by his troubled older brother. DCF had apparently sought custody of the older brother before the shooting, but was rejected by a judge who authorizes custody decisions.

Post upcoming on that.

Since the start of the year, DCF’s oversight of 34,000 neglected and abused children has been the focus of State House hearings and investigations. Although critics have called for Roche to resign, her defenders say she cannot be blamed for each tragedy that erupts in families in which poverty, mental illness, and substance abuse are common.

Nah, state is never to blame for anything.



"According to Elizabeth Cavallini and Sheryl Erb, the state Department of Children and Families had some early contact with the boy, performing checks on his well-being during his infancy, but eventually phased out its involvement and allowed him to stay with his mother."

Also see:

Head of state family agency grilled in closed-door House session
Officials explain waivers for foster parents with records
Charlie Baker calls on DCF chief to resign
Olga Roche should fall on her sword
Patrick says forcing DCF chief to resign not helpful to youths
At DCF, death’s sad calculation

Another Mess for Patrick:

"Governor Deval Patrick on Wednesday made his first public comments about a 2009 homicide at Bridgewater State Hospital, calling the death of 23-year-old Joshua K. Messier “tragic” and saying he has embarked on his own search for answers

Like it is some sort of epiphany of self-discovery? 

The Boston Sunday Globe reported that Messier, a paranoid schizophrenic, was killed after a psychotic episode when seven guards with no training in mental health disorders placed him in four-point restraints, binding his wrists and ankles to a small bed. They then stood around idly as he died."

Related: Subdued Sunday 

It was enough to leave me down.

Also see:

Patrick pledges ‘full accounting’ in Bridgewater homicide
A tragedy, and Patrick ducks again
Governor Deval Patrick’s troubles

Looks like a lot of them!

A peer into the future of the Patrick presidential administration:

“It’s a big organization. Things are going to come up, and when things go wrong and the mob forms, it’s really hard for them and for everybody to stay focused on solutions.” The governor said he is “heartsick” over the loss of Jeremiah Oliver and “outraged” that the case workers charged with protecting him were not doing so. He noted, however, he has also called for more resources, and would rather be involved in problem-solving than in firings — a move he considers “more about the theater of public life. Let’s not trash everybody because they work in an agency, frankly, where hundreds of miracles are performed every week.”

OMG! The man is INSANE! He says more resources when they have been his budgets!

Also see: Massachusetts DCF: Then and Now 

And we are DEAD LAST in the nation, too -- yet Patrick sees miracle workers! And now he 

In contrast to some political scandals that ensnare elected officials — patronage controversies or campaign finance discrepancies, for example — the challenges confronting the Patrick administration in recent years have had a tangible impact on people far beyond Beacon Hill. 

That's why he isn't worried or concerned. 

In 2012, for example, contaminated steroid injections from a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy licensed by the state killed 64 people and infected more than 750 nationwide. 

See: Compounding Conundrum 

Related$100 million agreement close in meningitis outbreak case

Chump change for all the suffering, and no one goes to jail?

Also that year, tens of thousands of criminal convictions were thrown into jeopardy after it was discovered that a state crime lab chemist tampered with evidence; State Police said her supervisors dismissed coworkers’ suspicions. 

Related: Dookhan a Democrat

That why she got a great deal? 

Also see: Florida's Reverse Dookhan 

I suppose Patrick can point to that as a distraction.

More recently, people trying to file for unemployment benefits have been stymied by an expensive but problematic new website contracted for the state. 

Sound familiar?

RelatedGoldstein is Going 

No such luck with the unemployment check.

See$46m jobless benefits system has over 100 defects

Mass. labor chief ‘obviously tried to neutralize me,’ official says

But she is such a good woman she was rewarded with a position as an associate vice president at Northeastern University.

And those trying to meet the new federal deadline for health insurance coverage found the Massachusetts Health Connector’s site stopped working after a vendor tried to overhaul it to accommodate the federal health law

Yeah, Obummer destroyed the Mass. health website! 

At a meeting of the Health Connector last week, executive director Jean Yang’s tears fell as she described the Sisyphean task that her staff faces — trying to process a backlog of 50,000 paper applications. 

See: Wishing You a Healthy Valentine's Day 


Related: Progress reported on insurance application backlog


Even when the Patrick administration gets one problem under control, however, it seems another crops up. Troubles have also erupted over state oversight of companies venturing into two potentially lucrative areas newly permitted in Massachusetts — casino gambling and the sale of medical marijuana.

In December, a commission that had ostensibly vetted would-be casino operators had to reconsider one land deal after the Globe reported that a convicted felon had been a silent partner. The board’s chairman, meanwhile, had to recuse himself from the discussions after the Globe reported another landowner was a former business partner

See: Caesars Sues Crosby 

Hey, at least the state is getting its cut.

And almost immediately after the state Department of Public Health awarded 20 provisional licenses to applicants who want to sell medical marijuana, complaints erupted that some of the winning applicants did not have the support of the local politicians they had cited.”

RelatedMass. Marijuana License Process Leaves Lingering $tench

All offset by hundreds of miracles every week!

At least he will bring a relaxed atmosphere to the White House no matter what the trouble.

What comes next in Massachusetts:

"Governor race takes edgy tone; Grossman assails Coakley on crime" by Joshua Miller |  Globe Staff, February 13, 2014

In a sharp change of tone in a race that has so far been cordial, Treasurer Steven Grossman launched a broadside against Attorney General Martha Coakley, one of his rivals for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Attacking her on criminal justice issues, Coakley’s area of expertise, Grossman said she had, over the years, shifted her position on the death penalty and the “three strikes” law, questioning her liberal chops.

I'm for putting the campaign to death.

“Especially in a race as important as governor, Democratic voters should not — and need not — settle for a candidate whose stances on core progressive values and issues are as squishy as Martha Coakley’s,” Grossman said in a statement on Thursday. “Again and again, as this campaign unfolds, she continues to abandon the positions she has championed for years.” 

I don't want either one of you running this state.

The shift in rhetoric from Grossman marks a new phase of a primary campaign that has been polite and friendly. While the Democratic contenders have not shied away from attacking Republican gubernatorial hopeful Charlie Baker, they have held their fire against each other and often joke and laugh together at their many joint appearances around the state.

But polls have found Grossman — and the other three declared Democratic candidates — trailing Coakley, the most widely known, by broad margins in the primary contest.

Maybe we just don't want a former director of AIPAC in charge.

And observers say it is not surprising to see a candidate working to draw a sharper contrast with a rival, particularly as Democrats around the state are in the midst of the caucus process, the first step in statewide candidates getting the party’s nomination....

Grossman’s campaign also criticized Coakley for changing her position on the death penalty....

The Democratic caucus process began last weekend and will last about a month. At local meetings of town and city Democratic organizations, activists elect delegates who will go to the state convention in June. Those delegates, who often are aligned with a gubernatorial candidate, help determine which statewide candidates make it onto the primary ballot.


Caucuses present first test to Democratic gubernatorial field
State Democrats mingle in Cambridge caucus
Democrats offer candor and caution
An insiders’ game for Democrats
Mass. governor candidates must disclose their promises

So we know which ones they will be breaking.

The other Democrats hoping to succeed Patrick are Donald M. Berwick, a former top Obama administration health care official; Juliette Kayyem, who served as a state and federal homeland security official and Globe editorial page columnist; and Joe Avellone, a biopharmaceutical executive.

Baker, his party’s 2010 nominee, is facing off with political newcomer Mark R. Fisher in the GOP race.

Independent candidates Evan Falchuk, an attorney and former business executive; venture capital investor Jeffrey S. McCormick; and evangelical Christian pastor Scott Lively are also running.


She also has a problem with casinos

Next runner-up:

"Voting history of Juliette Kayyem has some misses; Data on a gubernatorial hopeful" by Jim O’Sullivan and Todd Wallack |  Globe Staff, February 15, 2014

Gubernatorial candidate Juliette Kayyem has been rounding up support across the state, prodding fellow Democrats to cast their votes for her in this month’s party caucuses.

But Kayyem’s own voting history, particularly in recent elections where her party had much to lose, has significant holes.

This is a big issue in the campaign? With all the problems we have?

The former homeland security official and Globe columnist did not vote in either the 2010 gubernatorial election, when her former boss, Governor Deval Patrick, was locked in a tight race against Republican Charlie Baker, or in the Senate special election in January of that year, when Republican Scott Brown stunned Democrats by beating Attorney General Martha Coakley, now Kayyem’s rival for the nomination.

Both elections were viewed as major tests for her party. The Senate race was seen largely as a referendum on President Obama, then her boss, and his health care plan, while Patrick’s survival was a matter of faith for state Democrats.

The reason Kayyem missed the votes, her campaign said, was that her family moved to Washington, D.C., where both she and her husband took jobs with the Obama administration, she with the Department of Homeland Security and he with the Department of Justice.

I'm thinking of missing this years, rather than ratifying decisions that have already been rigged.

To enroll their children in public schools in Washington, said spokesman Matt Patton, they needed to become residents of the District of Columbia. Massachusetts voting records show she remained registered in Cambridge, where property records show that she and her husband, David Barron, have owned their home since 2004.

Asked whether Kayyem registered to vote in Washington, which elected a new mayor in 2010 and where voting rights are a touchy issue because the Constitution does not grant the district congressional representation, Patton initially said that Kayyem believe she had.

“To the best of her recollection, yes,” Patton said, adding that she had been busy with her job.

But the D.C. Board of Elections said Kayyem had not registered there. “We have no record of the person you are trying to locate,” said Registrar of Voters Karen F. Brooks.

Later, informed of the board’s failure to find Kayyem’s records, her campaign said....

The reflex to lie is troubling. Disqualified.

In a Globe review of the voting histories of the 10 gubernatorial candidates, Kayyem’s absences from the polls were particularly notable....

It's the issue I will be deciding the election upon, how 'bout you?


"Coakley makes weak early showing at caucuses" by Jim O’Sullivan and Frank Phillips |  Globe staff, February 20, 2014

Attorney General Martha Coakley, despite a commanding lead in public opinion polls of Massachusetts Democratic voters, has failed to produce a strong showing among grass-roots activists in the party caucuses that are an early test of the gubernatorial candidates.


About halfway through the monthlong caucus process, early results provided by all five Democratic campaigns show Coakley markedly trailing Treasurer Steven Grossman, underscoring doubts among party leaders about her ability to head the general-election ticket. 

She should pull out now.

But the biggest bloc of delegates, so far, is the roughly 50 percent who are publicly uncommitted, a historic number that reflects a field of candidates that has yet to generate the kind of enthusiasm that has animated recent Democratic campaigns.

Do I look enthused?

Operatives for all five campaigns say gathering concrete data from caucuses is more political art than scientific head counting, and even delegates committed to individual candidates can shift allegiances when Democrats gather for their statewide convention in June....

The vote is four months away?

With Grossman and Coakley both expected to clear 15 percent with relative ease, much of the drama at the convention could lie in the battle between the insurgent candidates simply trying to qualify for the ballot....

The terminology tells you all you need to know regarding the range of debate considered respectable by my $tatu$ quo, agenda-pu$hing paper.

In Amherst, another liberal academic enclave where Grossman enjoys strong support from state Senate majority leader Stanley C. Rosenberg, who has claimed sufficient support from colleagues to lead the chamber next year, Berwick supporters flooded the room. They effectively blocked would-be Grossman delegates, including Rosenberg’s partner, caucus attendees said.

The caucuses have also opened old intraparty wounds, inflicted during a turbulent decade in Bay State Democratic politics. Supporters of John F. Kerry still smart at Grossman’s 2004 backing of Howard Dean, who tested Kerry for the presidential nomination that year and has endorsed Grossman.

And now Dean is returning the favor!

On Beacon Hill, some lawmakers are peeved at Coakley, for what they view as her overly zealous investigation and prosecution of their colleagues for campaign finance and patronage transgressions....

Her own are a me$$, but you know....


NEXT DAY UPDATEDemocrats start new political action committee aimed at governor’s race

Meanwhile, on the other side:

GOP activists press platform change

And they got it! 

Why the article had to be rewritten from my print version is beyond me.

"Mass. GOP approves conservative-leaning platform" by Stephanie Ebbert |  Globe staff,  February 26, 2014

Reflecting a major shift in the makeup of the elected Republican State Committee, activists overwhelmingly embraced a new platform Tuesday night that frowns upon abortion and praises traditional marriage.

After a spirited debate in which some members disputed whether social issues should be included in the party’s guiding principles at all, the activists backed the new platform by a 52-to-16 vote.

With the vote, the activists aimed straight at some of the social issues that the Republican Party has long intentionally shied away from in Massachusetts, where liberal and libertarian views dominate public discourse.

That's me.

The move reflects the changing membership of the 80-member committee, which has gained an influx of activists who work for groups that tried to stop gay marriage in Massachusetts a decade ago and that have sought greater influence over promoting candidates and steering public policy.

It also portends choppy seas for GOP gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker, a moderate who supports abortion rights and gay marriage, but who has been trying to appease conservatives.

I was toiled he had to move to the middle, but....

The Republicans who gathered in the Friends Lounge of the Agganis Arena at Boston University for the platform vote Tuesday night will reconvene at the same spot next month for the party’s nominating convention.

There they will decide whether Baker wins the nomination for governor, as he did in 2010, or faces a primary challenger.

Vying for support is Tea Party Republican Mark Fisher, who picked up the endorsement this week of the Massachusetts Republican Assembly, a group that calls itself the Republican wing of the Republican Party.

He will siphon off votes from Baker, I'm told.

Further complicating matters, one promising candidate for Congress, Richard Tisei, who narrowly lost a challenge to US Representative John Tierney two years ago, is openly gay and has gotten married since the last election.

The party now has embraced a platform on social issues that two of its leading candidates do not support.

During the sometimes fractious meeting Tuesday night, Republicans sought to downplay their differences and focus on what unites them....

The Republican moderates that had fostered successful candidates like William F. Weld, former governor and a Republican, have long urged the party to steer clear of social issues that have proved divisive nationally and that can be anathema in liberal Massachusetts.

“We cannot let this party be hijacked by a minority who wants to push a small group of cantankerous issues when we clearly lead the way on the issues that unite us,” Platform Committee member Matthew R. Sisk said in an impassioned speech objecting to the platform. 

Defending life and the family is important, but war and looting take priority.

“Beating the drum on this issue at the state level will only serve as a major distraction from the things we can actually solve: unemployment, over-taxation, reckless spending, unaccountability, and one-party control.”

But conservatives who have long felt neglected by the state committee establishment argued that their cause deserves to be heard as well....

That's why I'm no longer active.

Scrubbed from the web:

"Mindy McKenzie-Herbert, a member of the Platform Committee who voted against the document, said her 23-year-old daughter was outraged by the debate and asked, with expletives included, why Republicans are so preoccupied with social issues."

They must have censored it due to the expletives.


NEXT DAY UPDATEBaker walks bridge with Christie

Also see:

Baker wants DiMasi moved to prison closer to home
Can millennials elect a governor?

Looks like a no.