< .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

That didn't take long

The American Exceptionalism crowd is taking exception. Rather than take pride in defeating an enemy who killed thousand of innocents, they'd rather whine about their real enemy.

Yes that would be the "other "O."

Pickup the Tea Party Newsletter today and Howie "free liposuction" Carr offers a sneering screed under the headline "Victory, sure, but U.S. still a mess." Elsewhere we are told "Obama 'got lucky,' say Republicans."

I could have figured out the attribution on that one.

Yep the right wing hate machine is going through the shakes not knowing how to cope with the fact Barack Obama successfully directed a military strike that accomplished the long-held objective to take out Osama bin Laden. No mention of Tora Bora anywhere.

First a long-form birth certificate, now the end of bin Laden. It's been a tough week for Howie, Andrew Breitbart and others who have made careers and money spewing venom on the left and its leaders.

Which really is the Hate America crowd again?

Stay classy guys.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, May 02, 2011

Savor this moment

And so, just like that, the most hated man in the world is gone, done in by the American military to strike a blow for not only revenge, but more importantly justice.

Foe one brief shining moment, Republicans are lauding the military strike into Pakistan ordered by Barack Obama. The president acted with his usual cool determination in finally bringing about the promise of his predecessor that the United States will take the mastermind of the 9-11 plot "dead or alive."

But in our "what have you done for us lately" society, don't expect the euphoria to last. Al Qaeda was probably already at work on a 10th anniversary reminder and terrorists will be more ready than ever to sacrifice their own lives to the honor someone they consider a martyr.

And I just can't imagine the Obama haters letting up for a day, if that long, in finding faults in the decision and operation.

So savor this moment of unity, a brief time when a nation is desperate need of a victory relishes in the end of a man who has represented pain and suffering and lawlessness met rough justice.

No Gitmo debates, no trials of the millennium. An eye for an eye.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Blinded by the story line

Conspicuously absent from the Globe's front page thumbsucker about unions and the state budget crisis is a detailed look at how Massachusetts labor managed to become "just another interest group."

What's worse, Globe editors seem to be ignoring their own reporting, with Glen Johnson following Deval Patrick out to Wisconsin where the governor issued a strong defense of labor unions and collective bargaining.

Instead of showing off its local chops, the Globe has fallen victim to the national story line that blue Massachusetts is the latest state to try and crush the labor movement. Never mind the House has limited itself to a narrow provision that would give unions 30 days to negotiate changes to their health plans with local officials, instead of allowing the officials to act without any union input.

And never mind that House Democrats stuck this provision into the fiscal 2012 budget only after labor leaders have steadfastly refused to concede an inch even as their members lose jobs in cash-strapped municipalities.

Instead of leading the way on the story, the Globe is just tagging along -- leaving the best reporting to Charlie at Blue Mass Group.

All sides -- certainly Rep. Marty Walsh and maybe even AFL-CIO boss Bobby Haynes -- recognize the House provision is unlikely to become law. Perhaps the Globe should too?

Labels: , , , ,

Backpack boogie

Once the MBTA takes care of the pram jam, will they do anything about the in your face (and other body parts) attitude of folks who tote backpacks?

Count me among those who think common courtesy and common sense -- not to mention on-time performance -- can do more to solve the jammed aisles than feeble rules enforced by a "stern lecture."

Let's face it, strollers and buses mesh as well as Red Sox and Yankee fans. Even folding up the seats designed to make room for wheelchairs leave little room to manuever aisles that can't handle the crush of passengers that result from long waiting times.

There is slightly more room on Red, Orange and Blue Line trains. As for the Green Line, well...

The Breda cars were designed to look sleek from the outside -- and are dysfunctional on the inside. But I've experienced more inconvenience from the student backpack jammed into my face -- and whipped around a few times during the wearer's conversations -- than anything caused by a mother or nanny with a single-seat stroller.

And women and men with small children have one thing urban backpackers lack -- the sense to know they are taking up extra space. Say something to a toddler toter and you will get an attempt at accommodation. Say something to a backpacker and you will likely get a lot of lip.

So count me among those skeptical about the value of any organized effort to to wrangle strollers -- unless there's a similiar move, say charging an extra fare -- for oversize backpacks.

And keeping buses and subways on regular schedule to avoid sardine car situations would go a long way too.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, April 30, 2011

He likes it. Hey Mitty!

I'm not ashamed to admit I'm confused. I consider myself an inveterate Mitt Romney watcher and I don't have a clue how many times he's, um, modified his position on the Massachusetts health care law.

But there was Our Man Myth, tanned, rested and ready, standing before the Koch-based Americans for Prosperity banner, saying the Massachusetts health care law he helped shepherd through as governor was a good thing. Sorta. Kinda.
“I went to work to try and solve a problem,’’ Romney said. “It may not be perfect — by the way, it is not perfect.’’
Romney was forced the back away from his preference not to talk about the law because those pesky potential voters in the Republican primaries consider RomneyCare to be the father of ObamaCare and ObamaCare, well it must be from some alien place like Hawaii.
“In my state, we were spending hundreds of millions of dollars giving out free care to people who could take care of themselves,’’ Romney said.
So the man who signed the bill and immediately vetoed a provision to have business pay its fair share, starting himself down this long and twisted road, decided to man up and says he would sign the bill again.

No word if he would veto it again too. Or if he wanted to parse the meaning of the words free care.

The saddest part of Mitt Romney Acrobatics is the former Massachusetts governor may be the only grown-up in the 2012 GOP primary race. The Minnesota Twins, Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann, generate ennui and rage respectively, neither particularly solid general election credentials.

But give credit to Bachmann for showing up in Manchester, NH and not Manchester by the Sea.

Herman Cain? Ron Paul? Newt Gingrich? Donald Trump? Puhleeze.

Romney has serious problems with the Koch-Americans for Prosperity Tea Party, starting with his religious beliefs and amplified by a political resume that has stretched, in his telling, from the left of Ted Kennedy to the right of Attila the Hun.

Not that I'm offering any advice for the Mittster -- and not that he would listen -- but it would seem the smartest thing he could do is to finally, once and for all, figure out who he is. And stick to it.

Labels: , ,

Friday, April 29, 2011

Sins of the father

It's all a case of mistaken identity -- Republicans think Barack Obama Sr. is the president.

The Globe offers a fascinating view of the elder Obama today, an apparently brilliant but erratic soul who was eventually shown the door by Harvard in a scheme negotiated in concert with the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The story relies on documents unearthed through a Freedom of Information Act request by the Arizona Independent.

The Globe's Sally Jacobs initially requested the documents in 2009 for a book to be published this summer. Obviously word of their existence and the elder Obama's Harvard problem have been circulating in the conspiratorial nether regions for awhile.

So I'm guessing The Donald missed the fact the documents pertained to the elder Obama when a sudden gust of wind blew hair into his eyes and he could not see the documents dated from 1964, when the president was not quite three years old.

Yeah, I can see how a kid would have grade problems in a Harvard PhD program.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Birth of a new red herring

OK, Donald. Now that Barack Obama has offered his long-form birth certificate it's time for you to produce your Hair Club for Men receipt. And demand a refund.

It's a sad statement on the tone and "substance" of the rabid right that more than 50 percent of Republicans were so incredibly stupid -- or hate-filled -- to believe the blatherings of fringe elements who so firmly reject the concept of an African-American as president they either make up "facts" or ignore reality to delegitimize Obama.

As my friend Dan Kennedy rightly observed, no white president would be "bullied by sociopaths."

And while it is foolish to think the fringers are through questioning Obama's heritage or credentials, it's more than past time for the Republican Party's "leaders" to denounce the tactics and begin acting like the "adults" they claim to be.

That starts with the New York real estate developer who is turning them into a one-ring circus by masterfully manipulating the fringe as only a reality TV show star can do. You almost think Trump is collecting a check from the Democratic National Committee under the table. so skillful has he been in igniting the "base" to lunge even farther to the right.

We're currently dealing with three wars, a feeble economy and a reverse Robin Hood proposal by the House Budget Committee to take from the poor and give to the rich to solve our economic woes. It's long past time to be distracted by foolishness like where Obama was born, what grades he earned and whatever new idiocy emerges.

The only winner here is Trump, who once again masterfully promoted his own brand at the expense of serious conversations about our nation's real problems and suggested paths to the future.

No matter what he decides after this stunt to promote his TV show, it's time for Republicans to tell Donald Trump "you're fired." And the same goes for anyone who follows the same path (are you listening Fox News?)

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bobby, you just don't get it

When last we looked AFL-CIO boss Robert Haynes was thundering about about the House siding with "intractable and uncompromising management advocates." Last night, Speaker Robert DeLeo showed him what happens to "intractable and uncompromising" labor advocates.

DeLeo not only beat back a potential rift in his own Democratic ranks, he outmaneuvered Haynes and engineered a stinging defeat to the labor boss by winning passage of his budget provision limiting collective bargaining over health care in municipalities.

First DeLeo peeled supporters for an alternative plan by Boston rep and union secretary-treasurer Martin Walsh, sweetening his original proposal by allowing public employees 30 days to discuss changes to their health plans with local officials, instead of allowing the officials to act without any union input.

Then he engineered the vote in the dark hours prior to the day Haynes planned to launch an aggressive lobbying effort in Statehouse halls.

It's likely those members will still be there today to confront lawmakers -- but they will probably be there with more thoughts about compromise.

The action is being portrayed as right out of the Scott Walker playbook, an effort to cripple unions and collective bargaining in Massachusetts. It is far from it -- focusing on one, albeit key section of the contract -- health premiums. And even then some important issues remain on the table: the share of premiums paid by employees.

The future of this provision is still uncertain beyond being a key bargaining chip in its own right. Senate President Therese Murray is uncertain she wants to go in this direction and Deval Patrick's repeated efforts to rein in municipal health spending have not gone this far.

But fueled by Haynes' bluster, Massachusetts labor has been in no mood to consider the broader reality around them -- and the fact many of their members have lost jobs because municipalities can't afford the salary and benefit costs.

The DeLeo proposal forces labor to the bargaining table, which is where they claim to want to be all along.

After some interesting Statehouse theatrics this morning, I suspect that's exactly where Haynes is going. Hope there's a silver platter at the table for him to place the head DeLeo just handed him.

Labels: , , , , ,