Lt. Gov.-elect Karyn Polito blasted the state's botched health care Connector as the top culprit for an "eye-popping" budget gap as large as $1 billion that must be closed when she takes office next month - and suggested heads could roll as a result.
"There are problems at the Connector board," Polito told Boston Herald Radio. "Whoever is responsible for the shortcomings there, we will hold accountable."
Despite Gov. Deval Patrick's early cuts and projections that the gap will be as low as $329 million, Polito voiced deep concern about conflicting reports that show a skyrocketing deficit despite solid state revenues.
"It's clearly a spending problem. It's clearly a management problem. It's clearly the lack of accountability in holding the system to the goals that we are setting," she said, adding that the new administration under Gov.-elect Charlie Baker will target the "problems that are putting a drag on our budget and taking funding away from the areas of greater need."
Sources close to the Baker transition team have told Red Mass Group that it is "worse than you can even imagine," at the Connector Authority.
Disclosure: I am a frequent contributor to Herald Radio
Today, the Baker Transition Committee released a list of committee members in key areas. There are some really good people from all sides of the issues on these committees.
The makeup of the committee reminds me of what I've been saying for awhile. Someone with Charlie's skill set makes a less than optimal candidate sometimes. He is a trained manager. He looks at and welcomes all opinions before making a decision, instead of working like a lot of us on gut instinct.
That is exactly the kind of leadership that the Commonwealth needed after 8 years of Deval Patrick's agenda driven leadership. We, as conservatives won't always agree with him, but even those who opposed him from the right should give him a chance.
Some of the key appointments to the committees that stand out are:
Donna Colorio - Donna was a Worcester School Committee member who has led the fight to get Common Core out of Massachusetts schools. She is a great member for this committee.
Beth Anderson - A charter school advocate is one of the co-chairs of the committee. Charters are the best hope for thousands of low-income children trapped in underperforming schools.
Marty Meehan - Yes, I spent the better part of my 20s looking to get rid of Marty Meehan from Washington, but... he has been a fantastic steward of my alma mater, growing the endowment and making it a world class institution, which in many regards has surpassed the flagship of the UMass System in performance.
Steve Poftak - Steve is a fantastic transparency advocate, and he is a chair of the committee.
Greg Sullivan - The Democratic head of research at the Pioneer Institute, Sullivan - former Inspector General - has been a pitbull on transparency and good government issues. He will be a great voice on this committee.
Jobs and the Economy
It would have been good to see more manufacturers that may have left Massachusetts on this committee.
But Mike Heffernan is on, and he's built a great company here in Mass.
The man who I wanted to be Secretary of HHS is on this transition committee. Josh Archambault of Pioneer has been a stalwart voice against both Romneycare and Obmacare. It is good to see him on this committee.
Watching key Obamacare architect & MIT academic slimeball Jonathan Grubertestify at this week's House Oversight & Government Reform Committee hearing in Washington (DC), I couldn't help but be reminded of Uriah Heep, the disgustingly obsequious fictional toady created by English writer Charles Dickens for his novel DAVID COPPERFIELD.
Gruber spent a good amount of time groveling before tough grilling from the likes of Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC). But if you pay close attention to the tense exchange between both men, you can see that Gruber's rehearsed responses are a clever form of "pleading the Fifth" without calling attention to the fact that he's deliberately NOT answering Gowdy's questions. Like the ever "umble" Heep, Gruber glibly pretends to be contrite & self-abasing as a way to cloak his true character, his true motivations, & his true role in Obamacare from any further scrutiny.
Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) tersely remind Gruber that "glibness" can have unintended consequences in the lives of ordinary Americans whom Gruber infamously derided as "stupid". But her admonitions will have no impact on Gruber & his ilk. They will put up with the discomfort of what they perceive to be the GOP version of a show trail because they know that most Republicans are spineless & will be loathe to do the unpleasant job of (to paraphrase Conan The Barbarian) crushing their enemies, repealing the legislation of said enemies, & listening to the genuine lamentations of the NGOs, the media, & the academies of whom Gruber The Glib is its most notable personification.
Ron Klain has determined that the USA is Ebola free and he is going home. So says the latest updates that Obama's Ebola Czar, appointed in October, will return to the private sector to take back his old job of managing money for rich people.
Obama took much criticism for appointing someone so late to the process of trying to get a handle on the world's most virulent illness. While thousands continue to die in the African continent from Ebola we have nothing to fear here at home because of all the work Ron Klain did. What exactly he did we are not sure because the headlines changed as soon as he was appointed. We do not know how much he got paid, we do not know if we are prepared for future outbreaks. All we know is Ron is going home...soon...
'Mission Accomplished' signs will be strung across the front door of the White House. Klain lasted barely longer than the 21 day incubation period for the disease. But he was successful. He succeeded in getting Obama off the hot seat. It got the MSM to stop asking about the Secret Service scandal. It got the MSM to stop asking about ISIS. It got the MSM to stop asking about why the economy is still in shambles just days before the November election. Yup, all was forgotten...
Ron Klain came in - did nothing but change the subject - and went home. Mission accomplished.... Another perfectly executed Obama program...
This is why Ron Klain needed no health management experience. Remember when everyone was asking why Obama thought he was qualified? He was not a medical doctor, or health care expert. Nope he was a Lawyer with a degree from Harvard Law school. Just like Obama. He was a political insider that worked for Gore and Biden in the past. He did not need any kind of medical expertise because he was not going to stay any longer than was necessary. In fact, he never actually resigned from his old position as President of Case Holdings. He returns to doing that job shortly. His paycheck never stopped and his benefits never ended. He just pretended to work for Obama for as long as it takes for the MSM to forget all about Ebola...
The scientific method is how we come to better understand how the world works. It is as true in economics as it is in physics or any other science. Develop a new theory and run an experiment to see if it explains and predicts better than existing theory. If it doesn't, back to the drawing board. If it does, validate the finding with additional experiments.
This last step-validation through replication-is vitally important. Sometimes experiments produce unlikely outcomes. If you flip a perfectly fair coin, it will come up heads five times in a row about three percent of the time. Without replication, you have no way of knowing whether the outcome was unlikely happenstance or whether you're dealing with a magic coin. And you wouldn't wager on the outcome of future coin flips without knowing whether the phenomenon you observed was real, or just a statistical fluke.
When it comes to the "evidence" demonstrating the magic of the Keynesian Multiplier, what we see, in fact, is merely careful curation of statistical flukes on a grand scale over decades. Economist Ryan Murphy, who runs a project called govtmultiplier.com that attempts to catalog scholarly measurements of the Keynesian Multiplier, has categorized and analyzed 128 papers on the subject. Only four papers even attempt to include this kind of statistical test, and none of these validate the original results, meaning simply that none of them prove the Keynesian Multiplier actually leads to more dollar-for-dollar economic growth. And this is after these models are ginned up to make their theory look as good as possible. If attempts to employ macroeconomics purport to be science, they must boldly make predictions about the future, not rummage around for convenient data from the past. But no peddler of the Keynesian Multiplier has been able to make demonstrable predictions borne out by the test of time.
But that hasn't stopped proponents of Keynesianism from pushing for policies that burden us with more debt and higher taxes. And why should it? Talk, after all, is cheap.
The following resolution was passed unanimously, without objection, and without abstentions, by the Watertown Republican Town Committee on December 3rd 2014.
Watertown Republican Town Committee
A Resolution of Censure
Whereas; prior to the November 4th election, the GOP controlled roughly 15% of the State Legislature, and no Statewide Constitutional Office...
And Whereas; it was therefore incumbent upon all Republican office-holders and high-profile, celebrated former officer-holders, to actively support faithful Republicans seeking office, or at the very least not cause divisions by endorsing their Liberal Democrat opponents...
And whereas; in spite of the fact that former Governor William Weld endorsed Barack Obama for President in 2008, the MA-GOP Leadership embraced him upon his return to Massachusetts, welcoming him back into the inner circle of decision-makers and party strategists, further celebrating the former Governor as a great Party Patriarch by honoring him with the Prestigious Lincoln-Reagan Award, and then showcasing him at the 2014 State Convention...
Now being litigated in federal court is a case that threatens to wipe out, with a stroke of the pen, $2.5 billion in investments in what is intended to become the Cape Wind power project. For more than 10 years, Cape Wind has been trying to build 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound against intense opposition from local homeowners and businesses.
Until recently, the legal strategy adopted by opponents was focused on environmental, safety and cultural concerns over the project. But early this year, opponents took a different tack, raising a constitutional issue that could reach the U.S. Supreme Court. In Town of Barnstable v. Ann G. Berwick, the plaintiffs argued that the state violated the “Dormant” Commerce Clause and the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution in its efforts to secure private financing for Cape Wind.
Under the Dormant Commerce Clause, state governments may not favor in-state, over out-of-state, providers of some good or service being marketed to residents. According to the Cape Wind opponents who brought the case, the state violated this doctrine when it threatened to block a merger requested by Nstar, which had balked at buying power from Cape Wind at rates far higher than it would have had to pay out-of-state providers. The implicit message from the state to Nstar was: “Buy the prescribed amount of power from Cape Wind at whatever rates it demands or forget about the merger.
Tomorrow 1 December 2014
Lir Restaurant 903 Boylston St, Boston, Massachusetts
at 7:30pm - 9:30pm
Just How Screwed Up Are We Economically?
(& Christmas Sweater Contest)
Please join us for an open discussion regarding the true state of the economy with our friends at the Boston Austrian Economics Group. As this is holiday season, we will be having a Christmas Sweater Contest - so wear your best and brightest sweater for a chance to win!
Meeting Organizer / Emcee: Ed Wagner
Opening Speaker: Patrick Humphries, GBTP President
Topic Speaker(s):The Boston Austrian Economics Group
Closing Speaker: Patrick Humphries, GBTP President
Representative Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman) has threatened to shut down any informal session that looks to grant legislators and constitutional officers pay raises. In informal session it only takes one legislator objection to shut down the whole session.
Because of this Bob DeLeo has not brought the pay increases to the floor.
Now there are Democrats who are openly calling for a special emergency formal session of all legislators to grant the raises. This session would take place while Deval Patrick is governor and would presumably sign the legislation.
"We haven't had a raise in six years," bemoaned state Rep. Benjamin Swan, a Springfield Democrat who, as vice chairman of the House Committee on Post Audit and Oversight, is part of House leadership.
On Beacon Hill for more than 20 years, Swan couldn't recall the last time an emergency session was called after lawmakers wrapped formal meetings for the year in July, but "I hope it would happen" for this.
"I think it would be appropriate to do it," Swan said. "We need to have a reasonable compensation so people will want to serve in government ... especially at the statewide level and in the Legislature. We're a full-time Legislature, and it's a full-time job."
No Representative Swan it's a full time job for one week out of the year, budget week in April. Other than that for most legislators it is a one day a week job that the get paid well over $65K a year to perform.
Last week I commented on a Facebook post, about the flu, by Boston Children's Hospital with the following.
Just don't take your kid to Children's for treatment. They have a history of stealing children for psychiatric treatment. #freejustina
Over the past few days I've noticed that I've been banned from commenting on their posts. Then they had the hubris to put the post below up today.
Really, "what moment of victory" are people especially thankful for when it comes to Boston Children's Hospital?
Until the Justina Pelletier case, that would be when they performed a successful open heart surgery on my, then, four year old brother.
Now, all I can think of is what they did to the Pelletier family, and have yet to apologize for.
It is my hope that Governor-elect Baker and his HHS Secretary Ms. Sudders will focus like a laser-beam on Children's Hospital and their frequent stealing of children from parents over disagreements in treatment. Then using those children as test subjects without their parent's or a court's permission.
That is the "moment of victory" I, and many like me in the Commonwealth will be thankful for.
A spokesman for Governor-elect Charlie Baker said Baker will need more information on the scope of the new order, and the number of people it affects, before he can make a decision on driver's licenses or in-state tuition.
"Governor-elect Baker celebrates the fact that we are a nation of immigrants and believes comprehensive immigration reform, passed by Congress to protect the border and keep families together, is long overdue," spokesman Tim Buckley said. "The Governor-elect feels some members of Congress' threats to bog down Washington D.C. in response to the President's actions are as ill-advised as this sweeping, unilateral action where compromise legislation is the appropriate solution to the broken immigration system."
In Massachusetts, state Rep. Shaunna O'Connell (R-Taunton) said, "The president himself has said numerous times he does not have the authority to do this. He's trying to wrap this amnesty in a pretty little package like he did Obamacare."
State Sen.-elect Ryan Fattman, R-Sutton, said the president's actions, which would grant work permits to undocumented immigrants, is unfair to those immigrants who have followed the legal process.
He called for the state to tighten its residency requirements for public benefit programs, which he said are "incentives for unlawful immigration." Rather than grant amnesty and give undocumented immigrants a chance to become citizens, Fattman said immigration reform should instead focus on border security.
"Immigration reform that concentrates on securing our borders and ports is essential to making sure dangerous, unlawful immigrants cannot re-enter the U.S. after deported," he said.
The list of Jones' supporters includes James Kelcourse, an Amesbury Republican who awaits the results of a recount for the seat formerly held by Rep. Michael Costello (D-Newburyport). Kelcourse holds a 10 vote lead over Democrat Ed Cameron. Rep. Matthew Beaton, a Shrewsbury Republican who was re-elected but plans to resign to serve as energy secretary in Baker's administration, is also on the list of supporters.
Last spring, Republican Reps. James Lyons of Andover and Marc Lombardo of Billerica called for Jones to step aside as minority Leader, saying he was too cozy with Democrats and unwilling to fight for conservative viewpoints. Lyons, Lombardo, O'Connell, and Rep. Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman) are not among those who signed pledge cards.
There will be a special election for the Shrewsbury based legislative seat held by Matthew Beaton. Beaton was just appointed as the Secretary of Energy and Environment by Governor-Elect Charlie Baker.
His business partner in his green construction company Hannah Elizabeth Kane is reportedly ready to run for the seat. If Beaton resigns now, the special election could be held as early as late January or early February.
The Boston Globe reported this morning, as did the Boston Herald, that Chanel Prunier and Steve Aylward are both, independently, considering a run for Republican Party Chair.
Baker's camp declined to comment on the 2018 remarks. But the Swampscott Republican publicly backed Hughes for another two-year term yesterday, saying the Quincy city councilor "deserves a lot of credit" for helping the long-beleaguered party pick up eight seats between the House and Senate on Election Day.
"I think every group ... always has some interesting conversations about where we're going and how we're going to get there," said Baker - who just prevailed over Democrat Martha Coakley in part due to bitter schisms in her own party.
"I don't think the Republicans are any different than the Democrats with respect to that," Baker said. "Part of the process is always going to be some back and forth."
Prunier, the executive director of the Coalition for Marriage and Family, confirmed in an email she is weighing a run for the state GOP chairwoman, saying she has good relationships with "many individuals on both sides of the divide in the state committee," as well as with Baker.
"I feel I'd strike a good balance between being a team player and looking out for the party's interests independently of the governor's office," Prunier wrote.
In 1948, Democrats in Massachusetts were tired of seeing statewide candidates win in districts held by Republican lawmakers. They also knew that in order for their candidate Paul Dever to beat incumbent Republican Governor Robert Bradford, they had to do better than in 1946 when he beat Maurice Tobin. Tobin had been blocked by a Republican legislature in passing his liberal agenda, and Democratic leaders knew that for Dever to avoid the same fate as Tobin in 1950, they needed a Democratic House to help pass his agenda. Democratic leaders targeted 40 Republican held seats, and recruited candidates community by community to run in them, many seats they had previously left uncontested.
John McCormack (Democratic Party Whip and leader of the Massachusetts delegation) offered his support and encouraged O'Neill to campaign hard to make the Democratic Party the majority party in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for the first time in a century. Their effort paid off as they captured 38 out of 40 GOP districts targeted by the Democratic strategy. Tip O'Neill became the first Democratic Speaker of the House.
This is a great lesson we should take to heart. It was great seeing pickups in the House and Senate this year in addition to Governor-Elect Baker. Rest assured, the Democrats are already planning on reversing these pick ups. Take a look over at Blue Mass Group.
I know it's tough running a campaign in which you know the odds are long to win. I've won elections, and lost them. This was the first time I ran knowing that in all likelihood, unless we caught lightning in a bottle, would not prevail. We managed to make my opponent and the Democratic Party spend over $50k on a seat they didn't worry about in 2012, and that was $50,000 not directed to Coakley or other Democratic candidates. We spent about $3,000. I applaud those that ran similar campaigns in other difficult races.
If you live in a district with a long term Democratic incumbent, but your district voted for Baker, I ask you to start planning for 2016 and 2018 now. Either start asking around for whom the most popular person is in your district, and convince them to run as a Republican, or consider running yourself. A run in 2016, even in a tough Presidential election year will give a candidate great name recognition for 2018. The opportunity exists to grow our party further than the gains made this year. There are a lot of seats that SHOULD be held by Republicans, and a lot of others that could be if the Democratic Party has to spend resources in Suffolk, the liberal towns in Middlesex County, Western Mass, and Springfield and Worcester.
Start asking around now, and let's all work together building the party for the future. If you are interested, I urge you to attend a Post-Election Review/Debriefing Tuesday, November 18th at 7pm at the Leominster Veterans' Center. We will be discussing and reviewing data, and laying out a plan to begin recruiting candidates for the next election cycle. Remember, a successful campaign for 2016 begins with fundraising before the end of THIS year.
The latest edition of Commonwealth Magazine has an insightful article written by James Aloisi. He opines that this year's state election might turn out to be a watershed moment if opportunities are seized to position Massachusetts at the forefront of economic development. However, the former Deval Patrick cabinet member issued this warning:
For the Democratic Party, this is a watershed moment not unlike what it faced in the early 1990s. In 1991 the party was reeling from the turbulence and unpredictability of the 1990 election, when John Silber effectively took control of the party for a brief, tumultuous two months, before losing to Bill Weld. It was the first time since the mid-1970s when the party was not dominated by Michael Dukakis and Frank Bellotti. January 1991 saw the inauguration of a new speaker (Charlie Flaherty), a new (Republican) treasurer (Joe Malone) and new secretary of state (Bill Galvin).
It took a long time for the Democratic Party to regain its footing. A short list of capable people - Mark Roosevelt, Scott Harshbarger, and Shannon O'Brien - tried to take on the mantle of gubernatorial leadership. All were destined to fail. Patrick's imminent exit doesn't quite resemble the vacuum that was caused with Dukakis's exit in 1991, but it will likely leave state Democrats repeating the pattern of the 1990s. There will be decentralized nodes of power, centered most obviously in the House and Senate, but also thriving in the offices of the new Attorney General and Treasurer. (Stan) Rosenberg, who has waited for his moment of leadership for well over a decade, serving for a time as Senate Ways and Means Chair, comes better prepared to lead the Senate than any of his recent predecessors. Neither he nor the governor-elect will need a nano-second of on-the-job training.
Aloisi thinks Evan Falchuk & his United Independent Party might become a long-term threat to the political hegemony of the Democrats. Now that Falchuk has legitimized his party (the UIP secured more than 3% of the gubernatorial vote), he has an opportunity to attract disaffected Bay State voters who are turned off by the corrupt practices of one party & the serial incompetence of the other party. Such a development, however, wouldn't bode well for the GOP either.
The Republican Party is basically ignored in Aloisi's article. He mentions Charlie Baker within the context of what he would like to see the governor-elect do given the tectonic changes that are making themselves felt in politics, economics, & culture. If the GOP wants to avoid the ashcan of history, its going to have to get serious about re-imagining & re-tooling itself. Its gains this past election cycle are hopeful. Let's hope they aren't a transient aberration.
The governor-elect, in an unexpected move, is supporting the party's embattled chairwoman for another term. He is also backing as executive director of the party a 24-year-old data guru who played a central role in his campaign, and pitching his campaign manager as an outside consultant.