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BHI: Dynamic Scoring and New CBO Director Keith Hall

by: Beacon Hill Institute

Thu Mar 26, 2015 at 11:05:30 AM EDT

Dynamic scoring is in the news as of late. BHI's Executive Director David G. Tuerck weighs in over at NCPA with a defense of the practice. Why it's important: the world doesn't stand still and generate more revenue when taxes are raised; taxpayers change their behavior thus changing the base.  

The appointment of Keith Hall as director of the Congressional Budget Office coincides with the adoption by Congress of a rule change that requires "dynamic scoring" of proposed tax law changes.

Hall is chief economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission, served as head of the President's Council of Economic Advisers under George W. Bush and was Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2008 to 2012. In April 2015, he will replace CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf, who has served since 2009.

The appointment of Hall appears to signify an intention, going forward, for the CBO to adhere to the spirit, as well as the letter, of the new congressional mandate. He should not be distracted from this effort by politically-driven griping from economists who should know better than to question the congressional intent behind that mandate.

The only question that Hall or any competent economist might ask in considering the question of dynamic scoring is, "Why would we do it any other way?" Dynamic scoring means measuring the impact on tax revenues of a change in tax law by taking into account how that change will affect the base on which the tax is imposed. Because changing a tax law will always change the economic activity on which the tax is imposed, it would be nonsensical to assume the tax base will remain fixed under a new law. Yet that is exactly what the proponents of "static scoring" want to assume. And it is static scoring that dynamic scoring is intended to replace.

Suppose that someone committed to the idea of static scoring thinks income taxes are too low. If the combined federal and state income tax applicable to the top federal tax bracket is 50 percent (as it is in some states), then, under the canons of static scoring, we might as well double the rate to double the amount of revenue collected from that tax bracket. Dynamic scoring would produce the obvious conclusion that the amount of revenue collected would go to zero, inasmuch as no one will bother to earn (or report) any income that is taxed at 100 percent. Read more at NCPA.

More on dynamic scoring from today's Wall Street Journal.(gated).


Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Feds sharpen focus on lawmakers in reignited probation probe

by: Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno

Thu Mar 26, 2015 at 09:36:31 AM EDT

And you believed the Beacon Hill insiders when they said that Bob DeLeo, Terry Murray, and their allies would get off without being charged in the probation dpartment scandal.  Well it looks like the politicians turn at the defense table may still be coming.  The Boston Globe has the story:

Federal prosecutors are pressuring disgraced former state probation commissioner John J. O'Brien to testify in a renewed investigation likely to focus on politicians who took part in the illegal hiring scheme he once ran, according to two people briefed on the probe.

O'Brien, who is appealing his 18-month prison sentence for his role in the patronage scandal, has been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury about his former agency's rigged hiring system, which funneled jobs to politically connected candidates, the people briefed on the investigation said. Both asked for anonymity because the probe is secret.

It is not clear which Beacon Hill politicians might be targeted in a new probation investigation. Though the US attorney's office did not seek indictments against legislators, it named numerous politicians, including House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, as "unindicted co-conspirators" in the scandal. DeLeo denied wrongdoing.

This could be an interesting few months.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Nuke the RTCs to Save the MassGOP?

by: Patrick

Mon Mar 23, 2015 at 19:30:41 PM EDT

(I especially like how at the end he says well we have to keep them because you know it is the law.  

I will have a much longer response to this.   - promoted by Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno)

Ed Lyons has composed quite the missive:
Dear Rockport GOPThe MassGOP Town Committee model has failed

This 4,900-word essay, a 20-minute read, is about the Town Committee system, which is the long-standing legal structure for how political parties organize at the local level in Massachusetts. I argue that, for the Republican Party, this structure no longer makes sense, and, in fact, does more harm than good. I will explain why, and propose major changes for how we can better organize our 440,000 fellow Republicans.


  1. The Problems of Evan Falchuk, and of Kirsten Hughes
  2. Why the RTC Model Doesn't Work
  3. Prescription for Reform
  4. Healthy Republican Organizing
  5. Final Words

Of particular interest to myself is Ed's suggestion on changing the party image.
We need a new logo. Something that doesn't look like a Republican elephant. Something distinctive.

We've discussed the image problem on RMG before. My solution from 2008 still holds up well.
Out with the elephant.  In with the cheetah.

In your heart you know it's right.

There's More... :: (10 Comments, 28 words in story)

Immigration Forum with Sheriff Tom Hodgson & Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)

by: BNCordeiro

Mon Mar 23, 2015 at 19:17:57 PM EDT

(Sounds like a good take from a national leader on immigration.   - promoted by Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno)

Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson of Bristol County, Massachusetts is hosting a community forum on the subject of immigration on March 26, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM at the Fisherman's Club in New Bedford (639 Orchard Street).  The topic discussed will be will be the importance of achieving immigration reform and will include the adverse impact illegal immigration is having on public safety, national security, public health, education, and economic well-being for United States citizens and legal residents.

This event will include a question and answer period and will end with a discussion about strategies we can utilize to end the 20 years of inaction by Congress and move forward with a sensible and fair plan that will lead us to legitimate comprehensive immigration policy.

Joining Sheriff Thomas Hodgson for this event will be the National Law Enforcement Field Director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), who will offer a national perspective on this critical issue.

Immigration Forum
with Sheriff Thomas M.Hodgson
March 26, 2015
6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Fisherman's Club
639 Orchard Street
New Bedford, MA 02744

The event is free and open to the public. Numerous restaurants and wine distributors are graciously donating food and beverage for attendees. For more information please contact Grace Ouellette at 508-995-6400 extension 2401.

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

It's Never Enough

by: Patrick

Thu Mar 19, 2015 at 20:08:11 PM EDT

( - promoted by Paul R. Ferro)

The St. Patrick's Day Parade organizers were perhaps too busy patting themselves on the backs at their inclusivity to notice that the formerly excluded are not content.
"The proof of the success of their decision will not be so evident this year, but next," Scanlon said. "Will the Allied War Veterans Council allow other LGBT organizations to march with OUTVETS and Boston Pride next year? What will they do if other legitimate LGBT organizations such as Mass Equality, or GLAD, the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, or Dignity, a Catholic LGBT group, BAGLY, the Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth, Rainbow Warriors or The Rainbow Times are prohibited from joining them? That will be their real test."

Karyn Polito recently took flak in the Globe for not being inclusive enough. Never mind that she fully embraced marriage equality. Disregard that she signed the gay marriage brief. Pay no attention to the fact that Karyn marched alongside Charlie in the inclusive St. Patrick's Day Parade.
"You are questioning . . . my personal and heartfelt embracement of marriage for everyone," she said. "Whether you want to believe me or not, my actions will obviously prove, beyond you, my sincerity and commitment."

That's great to hear. So now, why not go even further? Why not embrace the public accommodation bill that is a key priority of the commission to which she's now so closely connected? That law would prohibit discrimination against transgender people in public places, making it illegal to refuse to serve them in restaurants or to keep them from using public restrooms. The administration does not support the bill. Baker has cited concerns about how it would be implemented.

Yvonne Abraham is correct of course. Baker and Polito can't accept the LGBT agenda on every point except for the public accommodations part of the transgender rights bill. If there can be no legitimate opposition to gay marriage, neither can there be legitimate opposition to public accommodations. It is only a matter of time before Charlie Baker signs the bill to make Planet Fitness' corporate policy the law of the Commonwealth.
There's More... :: (1 Comments, 28 words in story)

Massachusetts Sheds 800 Private Sector Jobs in February

by: Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno

Thu Mar 19, 2015 at 11:59:10 AM EDT

Buried in the numbers of the latest unemployment headlines that scream "Massachusetts Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.9%" is the fact that the Commonwealth shed 800 private sector jobs last month.  The Boston Globe has the story.

The private sector lost 800 jobs last month, with 1,600 new government jobs pushing the monthly total into positive territory. That compares to total hiring of 5,500 in Feburary 2014, state data show. The estimated number of jobs added in January was revised downward, from 2,600 to 900.
Discuss :: (3 Comments)

What Have Socons Ever Done For Us?

by: Patrick

Tue Mar 17, 2015 at 20:47:48 PM EDT

( - promoted by Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno)

An article in the Globe details some pushback Charlie is getting in response to signing the gay marriage brief. Anyone who reads RMG knows there is much more to it than that one act on that one issue.
Members of the Republican base, though, called it the latest instance of the state's more centrist GOP establishment turning its back on them and the party's bedrock principles.

"You've got this, what I would call, traitorous behavior, and it just continues on and on," said Steve Aylward, a leading conservative activist and committee member from Watertown.

The reaction to the article has many fellow "centrists" bloviating about the uselessness of socons. How could they do this to Charlie?!?! Steve Aylward? Leading conservative activist??? What's he ever done?!?!!?

Some people need to step back and reexamine things.

There's More... :: (14 Comments, 24 words in story)

ICYMI: Jeff Jacoby Column On Closing the Union Loophole

by: MassFiscal

Tue Mar 17, 2015 at 14:54:41 PM EDT

( - promoted by Paul R. Ferro)

Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby recently devoted his column to the effort of two companies owned by MassFiscal board members to overturn Massachusetts' unconstitutional "union loophole." The beginning of Jacoby's column follows; you can read the whole thing at the link above.

WHAT DOES Massachusetts have against the First Amendment?

A lawsuit filed in Superior Court by two family-owned companies - 1A Auto Inc., an auto-parts vendor in Pepperell, and 126 Self Storage Inc., a storage-unit rental firm in Ashland - challenges state campaign-finance rules so crazily lopsided they should be equipped with grab bars. Massachusetts law has long banned businesses from contributing to political candidates or parties, but under rules dating back to the 1980s, labor unions are free to spend up to $15,000 per year in direct political contributions with no disclosure required. Labor unions can also set up PACs - political action committees - to funnel money to candidates and parties they support. Businesses in Massachusetts aren't allowed to do that either.

The sheer unfairness of such regulations speaks for itself. Whatever your view of unions or businesses - or of any interest group - there should be only one standard for determining whether they can engage in political expression. In 15 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, businesses and unions alike are prohibited from making direct campaign contributions. Nearly twice as many states permit both to contribute on equal terms. If you didn't know better, you might think it a no-brainer that a state like Massachusetts - a cradle of American liberty, the home of such free-speech champions as Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. and Louis Brandeis - would be in the second group, holding the marketplace of ideas open to all comers.

Instead Massachusetts is one of a handful of states that blatantly discriminates, blocking campaign contributions from businesses while clearing the way for unions to get involved in electoral contests. The $15,000 no-disclosure loophole is especially egregious. "More than any other state," argues Jim Manley, a senior litigator with the Arizona-based Goldwater Institute, a pro-bono legal group representing the plaintiffs, "Massachusetts' campaign contribution restrictions are tilted in favor of unions and against businesses."

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Beacon Hill Institute schools Natural Resources Defense Council on basic economics and the EPA.

by: Beacon Hill Institute

Fri Mar 13, 2015 at 13:55:03 PM EDT

[Author's note: The environmentalist left has mounted a campaign to discredit any cost-benefit analysis conducted by state policy think tanks. The criticism of such studies turn out to be more than mere invective and devoid of any substance. Groups such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, the NRDC and Forecast the Facts rely not on economics but ad hominem attacks on research organizations such as BHI, partly because they are losing the debate on climate change mitigation. The following is a recent point-by-point response to the NRDC. It's also a good introduction on how to apply economic analysis to a public policy issue.]

Laurie Johnson, an economist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, recently posted a blog entry that sharply criticizes recent BHI studies of the EPA's Clean Power Plan.  

It is important, in reading this blog, to understand that Dr. Johnson's job is to defend tooth-and-nail an organization whose purpose is to promote what it deems to be environmental protection at any cost to economic activity at home and abroad.  

Now let's see what Dr. Johnson has to say and how she is willing to mislead her readers and resort to her own brand of junk economics in order to defend her employer's agenda. Read the entire BHI response here.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Sign the MassGOP's Petition to Support Gov. Baker And Oppose the Dems' Hollywood Handout

by: massgop

Thu Mar 12, 2015 at 14:20:37 PM EDT

The MassGOP has released a petition to build support for Governor Baker's move to end the film tax credit and instead expand the Earned Income Tax Credit. With Democratic legislative leadership trying to keep the tax credit, the MassGOP has released this petition to stand with Gov. Baker and stand up for working families. See the text of the petition below the flip...
There's More... :: (4 Comments, 147 words in story)

New Lawsuit Seeks to Close Union Loophole

by: MassFiscal

Wed Mar 11, 2015 at 08:04:17 AM EDT

(A massively important case in the cause of fairness and freedom of expression.   - promoted by Paul R. Ferro)

Two businesses owned by board members of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance have teamed up with the Goldwater Institute to sue the state's Office of Campaign and Political Finance to overturn the so-called "union loophole," which allows unions to give $15,000 to a single candidate in one year while limiting individuals to $1,000 and banning corporate donations entirely.

The businesses include Pepperell-based 1A Auto, Inc, a family-owned company run by MFA Chairman Rick Green, and Ashland's 126 Self Storage, which is owned by Mike Kane.

Learn more here!

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Katherine Clark is not interested in different opinions

by: Karl Marx

Tue Mar 03, 2015 at 14:40:40 PM EST

( - promoted by Paul R. Ferro)

The Wall Street Journal just provided a public service by listing the members of Congress who did not attend and thus tuned out #BibiSpeech.

Wouldn't you know? Katherine Clark opted out. So did Jim McGovern. (He'd be there for Hugo Chavez if the late dictator were ever invited in days gone by.)

I guess you could argue with the protocol whether Congress should stick its nose in foreign affairs in this manner and in this climate. But it's a done deal and at the very least the speech is a teachable moment.

The Hill says Elizabeth Warren also took a pass.  

Discuss :: (11 Comments)

Should Andrew Jackson's Image Be Removed From The $20 Bill?

by: The Angelic One

Mon Mar 02, 2015 at 00:20:03 AM EST

Columnist Arthur Chu had a primal scream of an article published in this past week's Daily Beast titled "The Mass Murderer On Your $20". In it, the leftist writer decries having the double sawbuck tainted with the image of a man whom the author views as a psychotic "mass murderer" of the American Indians, an "anti-intellectual" demagogue, & a bully whose "presidency demonstrate(d) the ugliness of an American populace that wanted to be led" by him.

But you know what? If the Reagan people want to put Ronald Reagan on the $20 bill and boot Andrew Jackson off, I'm all for it.

The problem with Chu's article is that there's no context to it. He's quick to highlight the ugly, indisputable facts that tarnish - if not damn - Jackson's tenure as our nation's seventh president but he fails to comprehend why many historians place the man among the "greats" of American history (which is material for another blog in & of itself).

Nor does Chu want to confront the fact that today's Democrat Party owes its existence to Jackson (he was a co-founder) & that the ugliness Chu thinks Jackson alone personified was actually an ugliness shared by many within the party itself.

He was a "man of the people," in that his election marked the beginning of content-free, vicious mass-media-driven personality politics. Although operatives of both sides slung copious quantities of mud, Jackson's opponent John Quincy Adams was personally one of the most educated, idealistic, decent people to serve as president, and was thus easily taken down by Jackson as being a limp-wristed, out-of-touch elitist you wouldn't want to have a beer with.

This set the tone for attacks to be used against educated, idealistic, decent people for the entire future history of American politics. Neither sushi nor lattes were commonly consumed in America in 1828, but one gets the feeling if they had been they would have figured prominently in Jackson's campaign.

As more & more young leftists like Chu discover the truth about the Democrat Party's sordid past, they'll either dismiss it, denounce it, or ignore it. But if they want to expunge one of their party's founding father's from his place on the $20 bill and replace Jackson with Reagan, who am I to disagree? So I now ask the RMG community: should Jackson's image be dropped from the $20 bill? If so, which past American president should have his image replace that of Jackson's?

Discuss :: (41 Comments)

Sheriff Tom Hodgson's Statement on Defunding President Barack Obama's Illegal Immigrant Amnesty

by: BNCordeiro

Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 17:29:33 PM EST

( - promoted by Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno)

Sheriff Tom Hodgson of Bristol County, Massachusetts released the following statement concerning opposition to President Barack Obama's amnesty for illegal immigrants.

President Barack Obama has been calculatingly and systematically dismantling the enforcement of our immigration laws, and in so doing, placing more and more of our citizens in the crosshairs of criminal illegal aliens.

Late last year, after he and his party were repudiated by the voters, the president announced plans to take executive action to grant amnesty and work authorization to some 5 million illegal aliens, while his Homeland Security secretary issued memo protecting virtually all other illegal aliens from deportation. When the House of Representatives acted to block these unconstitutional actions by including explicit language in the DHS funding bill prohibiting him from diverting money and manpower to carry out his political agenda the president threatened to veto the entire appropriations bill. Despite his own veto threat, the president nonetheless is attempting to blame Congress for any interruptions in DHS operations if a spending bill is not finalized.

Unlike President Obama, a majority in Congress recognize that if they allow the president to raid DHS's budget to implement his amnesty program, it will weaken our efforts to secure our homeland. Giving amnesty to people who have entered our country illegally, knowing little about their behaviors, prior or ongoing, is a formula for disaster. Even under the best of circumstances, carrying out adequate background checks on some 5 million illegal aliens would be a Herculean feat.

To the contrary, the record of this administration has been to impede the sort of due diligence that might identify potential threats. I'm sure most people would agree that if law enforcement were looking into the backgrounds of Mohamed Atta and his fellow terrorists while in flight school, the President and other pro-illegal activists would have vilified law enforcement citing that these individuals had done nothing wrong and were simply taking advantage of an opportunity to get a pilot's license and a career. Likewise, had we been investigating the younger Tsarnaev brother for not meeting his obligations of his student visa, the President would likely say that we were harassing a college student who has done nothing wrong and is simply trying to get an education.

How many of the over 5 million illegals who would benefit from amnesty are like-minded people who have been, or are planning to commit acts of violence against us. The painful lessons of 9/11 and the Boston bombing remind us that even a few who manage to slip through the nets can inflict enormous damage.

Secondarily, we have watched as the President dismantled our Secure Communities Program, which identifies deportable aliens who are arrested and charged with other offenses, and changed the criteria for detaining and deporting illegal immigrants. For example, an illegal immigrant cannot be detained on an immigration warrant unless they have been convicted of at least three misdemeanor crimes. Someone with seven traffic arrests does not qualify for an immigration detainer.

Imagine if you had a criminal who kept committing crimes in your neighborhood and the police said they could not remove and detain him until he is convicted on three separate misdemeanor crimes. Imagine me telling you that a driver in your community who has seven traffic arrests does not qualify to be detained and prevented from repeating the behavior until he/she kills someone.

If Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police were to operate their law enforcement agencies based on President Obama's criteria, we would be unable to protect our citizens from becoming repeated victims of crime. We'd also be in violation of our oath and rightfully accused of violating our Constitution.

The American Sheriffs have drawn a line in the sand and we will not allow the citizens of our communities to face greater dangers by adopting a policy that reduces accountability for criminal illegal aliens and raises the dangers of our citizens being victimized by them.

I urge the American people to stand behind those who are trying to keep you safe and oppose President Obama's attempt to grant amnesty and work authorization to millions of illegal aliens and further eviscerate meaningful immigration enforcement.

In defense of our national security and public safety I urge all Americans to insist that Congress defund the president's attempt to impose amnesty by executive decree, and to demand that our borders be secured as the first step toward legitimate and comprehensive immigration reform.

Discuss :: (10 Comments)

"The Birth Of A Nation" Turns One Hundred Years Old This Year

by: The Angelic One

Sun Feb 22, 2015 at 22:15:14 PM EST

D.W. Griffith's legendary racist masterpiece just turned one hundred years old this month. THE BIRTH OF A NATION (1915) revolutionized the art of making movies (techniques that are still used in today's Hollywood) while at the same time it poisoned race relations & contributed to a brief resurgence of popularity for the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).

What always intrigues me about the movie is its unspoken subtext. Although a portion of the movie delves into politics, it doesn't talk about Democrats or Republicans. It does, however, casually quote Democrats like Woodrow Wilson:

"The white men were roused by a mere instinct of self-preservation... until at last there had sprung into existence a great Ku Klux Klan, a veritable empire of the South, to protect the Southern country." - WOODROW WILSON

The movie was based on a book written by Thomas Dixon who once declared his goal "was to revolutionize Northern sentiments by a presentation of history that would transform every [white] man in the audience into a good Democrat!"

As author William Loren Katz recently pointed out in his blog, the movie was a damn effective piece of propaganda:

The Birth of a Nation focused on the period of Reconstruction after the Civil War when formerly enslaved men were allowed to vote and hold office in 11 Southern states. Dixon was a young former Baptist minister in love with gallant Ku Klux Klan stories he heard as a child and decided to write a book, a play, and a movie.

Dixon described Reconstruction as a clash between white good and black evil. He briefly touched history since from 1868 to 1898 African American men under the protection of three constitutional amendments and 25,000 federal troops were elected to office in Southern states. Then his film omits a lot: With white allies, black elected officials helped rewrite the constitutions of Mississippi and South Carolina, elected 22 black congressmen, including two senators from Mississippi, a Supreme Court justice in South Carolina, and a host of state representatives, sheriffs, mayors, and other local officials in 10 states.

This coalition managed to introduce the South's first public school system, and bring economic, political, and prison reforms to their states, including laws to help the poor of both races and to end racial injustice. Nonetheless, black legislators did not challenge segregation in Southern education, business, or personal life.

After about half a dozen years, as the federal government largely sat silent, these governments were overthrown by KKK violence and systematic election fraud. In 1877 the federal government caved in, made a deal with former slaveholders and withdrew all troops. A democratic experiment was overthrown and white supremacy reigned.

The Birth of a Nation sought to erase any memories of the role of African Americans and the unity they forged with whites to bring democracy to Southern states. The film's lesson: Race relations must remain in the hands of those who once owned, "understood," and controlled black people. And white violence is justified to ensure this noble end.

Even GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) had a touch of revisionism to it. You'll note that the Northern carpetbagger (played by Victor Jory) along with his black associate are portrayed as less buffoonish as the carpetbaggers in THE BIRTH OF A NATION but they are still the "enemy" - probable members of the Radical Republicans who won the Civil War.

It's sad that the black hole of memory affects many members of today's Republican Party. Not long after its founding, the GOP declared itself to be the party opposed to the "twin relics of barbarism, polygamy, and slavery". It was a party of modernism - a party of liberalism - that wanted to build upon the foundation laid down by the nation's revolutionary Founding Fathers. It's no surprise that Ronald Reagan - a man of the Old Left who was drawn to the Republican Party - would often quote Thomas Paine, the most radical of the Founding Fathers because he shared Paine's liberal view of politics. And by "liberal" I mean the classical liberalism that was a hallmark of the Anglo-Scotch Enlightenment which, in turn, made the American Revolution a reality that even today remains imitated by few yet despised by many.

The Republican Party in the past used to be the standard-bearer of that proud American tradition of classical liberalism. Where is THAT party today? Is it as invisible as the (black) Republicans in THE BIRTH OF A NATION whose grotesque caricatures live on in the academic archives about popular culture - or has the party's liberalism extinguished itself?

Discuss :: (26 Comments)

Fisher Lawsuit Settles, Costs MassGOP $410,000

by: Patrick

Mon Feb 16, 2015 at 09:28:58 AM EST

Kirsten Hughes says, "We did nothing wrong..."

Mark Fisher was alleging criminal activity. On a list to be deposed were Kirsten Hughes, Charlie Baker, and Ron Kaufman. The never to be released tally sheets from a convention that occurred a year ago were thought to expose pre-primary collusion between the Baker campaign and the state party. Not an absurd claim at all.

Baker campaign manager Jim Conroy maintained that Coleman had been working for the campaign only as a contractor before Baker became the party nominee in March. "Ryan Coleman has worked for the campaign first as a contractor and later as an employee," Conroy said. "His engagement with the campaign has been transparent and publicly reported, as is the case with all campaign expenditures."

The Baker campaign, however, shows no payments to Coleman as a contractor when he was being paid by the state party.

Discuss :: (16 Comments)

MBTA MidDay Status Update

by: Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno

Tue Feb 17, 2015 at 11:23:19 AM EST

MassDOT just sent out a press release with an update on MBTA service.

Severe Weather Service MID-DAY Update for Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Effective this morning: Red Line service was extended from Alewife to JFK/UMass.  More than 70 buses, including 40 from Peter Pan requested by the Governor, were used to shuttle customers between Braintree and JFK/UMass.  Close to 50 buses, including 10 from DATTCO, four from Bloom Bus and two from Greyhound, were used to shuttle customers between Ashmont and JFK.

Also effective this morning: Orange Line service was extended from Sullivan to Forest Hills stations.  Close to forty buses, including 10 from Yankee Bus, are being used to replace service between Oak Grove and Sullivan.

Green Line service is operating between Kenmore and Lechmere stations with limited trolley service operating in both directions on the D branch.

Along the B branch, Route 57 buses are making stops between Packards Corner and Kenmore stations.  There will be no bus service between Packards Corner and Boston College.

Overnight and throughout the day today: snow removal crews deployed throughout the MBTA system continue to make progress with the assistance of the Governor's Office, the National Guard, Emergency Assistance Compact(EMAC) resources, MassDOT and DOC.

Efforts have been concentrated on clearing major MBTA busways, bus routes, key T parking facilities, and major terminus locations used for MBTA emergency bus shuttles.

This includes work performed at locations such as Dudley Square, Forest Hills, JFK, Braintree, Ruggles, Back Bay, South Shore parking lots as well as key bus routes like the Route #66 through Brookline and Cambridge and the Route #23 out of Ashmont.

MBTA forces and contractors have successfully cleared and/or removed snow from major bus garages and refueling stations.  This includes Quincy, Fellsway, Arborway, Charlestown, Southampton, with work expected to be complete at Cabot, Albany, North Cambridge, and much of the Wellington Campus (non-track area).

Throughout the day the MBTA has further refined its snow removal strategy resulting in the following prioritized plan:

The MBTA will continue to use labor forces to hand shovel the Red Line-Braintree Branch to remove snow from the right of way.   Resources are deploying to Braintree Station to work between Braintree and Quincy Adams stations and between Quincy Center and Wollaston.  The MBTA will have heavy equipment on the right of way clearing snow drifts in various sections.

The MBTA deployed labor forces to the Orange Line from Oak Grove to Wellington to remove snow from the right of way.  Effort will be concentrated on the segments of track between Oak Grove and Malden, and Malden to Wellington.

Resources are also being deployed to Wellington Yard to clear the south end of the facility to allow for additional access points and greater mobility for MBTA operations.

Forces are also being deployed to the Mattapan High Speed Line to hand shovel and clear the Ashmont and Mattapan loops, as well as segments of track along the right of way.

Resources are also assisting with clearing Silver Line locations on Temple and Washington streets; the Mattapan Busway, and the Cabot Yard area, the Green Line rights of way on the B, C, and E lines; Riverside Yard and Busway; Silver Line, Bus Route #66; and parking lots along the Red Line and Commuter Rail.

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Globe: MBTA"s current woes started with Dukakis and Conservation Law Foundation, then snowballed

by: Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno

Tue Feb 17, 2015 at 07:12:53 AM EST

The Boston Globe has written a very lengthy piece explaining the root causes of the MBTA freeze up (can't call it a melt down can we?).  They rightfully put the majority of blame at over expansion, supported by governors of both parties, but started by Dukakis and the Conservation Law Foundation.

The story could begin in many places. But start in 1990.

Governor Michael Dukakis was at the tail end of his third and final term. The Big Dig, an idea two decades in the making, was moving closer to reality. And the governor was determined to push the project forward and cement his legacy.

The Conservation Law Foundation, an influential environmental advocacy group, sensed an opportunity.

A project of this size - burying the Central Artery beneath downtown Boston and transforming an important American city - had to pass muster with federal clean air regulators. And one way to do that was to attach a bunch of public transit improvements.

Take a look it is a sobering look at government gone wrong.  The roots of this problem are simple, and mismanagement has made it worse.  

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Does Kirsten Hughes' Performance Merit A Pay Raise?

by: The Angelic One

Mon Feb 16, 2015 at 16:05:38 PM EST

According to Boston Herald reporter Hillary Chabot, GOP Chairwoman Kirsten Hughes just got a raise:

But the Massachusetts Republican Party needs more than a strong governor. Thanks to a recent $240,000 settlement payout to former gubernatorial candidate Mark Fisher, the party is scrambling for money. Add the fact that the executive committee voted on Feb. 4 to start paying Hughes a $90,000 salary - the first time she's taken a salary since she started chairing two years ago.

"It was a unanimous vote," said Hughes. "It's not taken from the operating budget in terms of candidates."

(Charlie) Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito have plans to help boost the state's GOP coffers at a March fundraiser, said Hughes.

I've long argued that the party needed its position of chair to be a paid gig if the party ever hoped to attract talented individuals to apply for the job. So I've no problem with the compensation part of the news.

Now does Hughes herself deserve the salary? I'd venture to guess a lot of activists would say no based on how the last GOP convention was mismanaged & how said mismanagement contributed to the party's payoff of Fisher.

I wasn't at the State Committee meeting when the decision was "unanimously" supported by its members in attendance. I hope said decision was reached after due deliberations had been made springing from the pros & cons of the issue itself. I'd be VERY disappointed if powerful people rather than an impartial process had determined the outcome of Hughes getting a raise in spite of a performance that one could charitably describe as "underwhelming".

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Elizabeth Warren - Wall Street's Best Friend

by: markmezzina

Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 13:52:19 PM EST

(She showed that she's a fraud on these issues the moment she ran to uncle sub-prime banker Deval for help in 2012.   - promoted by Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno)

"Let's just be real clear - the game is rigged and it's rigged in favor of those who have money and who have power"

Elizabeth Warren is a champion of the middle class. She has devoted her political career to defending the powerless against the Wall Street elites who have rigged the economy in their favor. Elizabeth Warren is leading the charge to level the playing field.

Okay, let's be serious here.

Regardless of what the media says, Elizabeth Warren could care less about the middle class. She is not Wall Street's worst nightmare; often times she's their best friend. When railing against Wall Street achieves her goal of dramatically increasing the size of government, she'll jump on that bandwagon. The other 99.9% of the time - when Wall Street benefits from big government - there is no bigger corporatist than Liz Warren.

That's why it's interesting to hear that Liz thinks that Sen. Rand Paul's Audit the Fed bill is a "dangerous" idea. You might think that a populist warrior would want the activities of the Fed - the bank of all banks - to be made public and given greater transparency. Wouldn't it make sense for the "champion of the people" to be upset about the Fed eating away at the savings of middle-class America?

Nope. Because middle-class America doesn't really factor into her ideology. It's just a helpful disguise for her much larger political goals.

Be sure to sign the Audit the Fed petition and tell Congress to bring sunlight to this shadowy institution:

Discuss :: (7 Comments)
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