Daily Archives: August 28, 2014

James Baldwin on the Dick Cavett Show

Tim Wise posted the link to this video on his Facebook page.

In a previous post “I’m a cop. If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t challenge me”, I suggested we should all think about figuratively putting on other people’s shoes to imagine how they might view an issue. In this video clip, James Baldwin gives us a “shoe horn” to get those shoes on.

Perhaps the greatest show horn ever invented for trying on other people’s shoes was the movie Crash. The trailer for the movie gives you just a hint of what you are in for if you watch the movie.

The Snake in the Market Basket: Can the Company Recover From Employee Revolt Without Loading Up With Debt?

The American Prospect has the article The Snake in the Market Basket: Can the Company Recover From Employee Revolt Without Loading Up With Debt? by Robert Kuttner.

The article closes with these two paragraphs.

Until now, Market Basket has operated with no debt and lean management, which  enabled it to combine good wages and low prices. Mackin views the Market Basket victory as the rare thwarting of a trend to rationalize retailing to the benefit of shareholders and middlemen at the expense of workers and independents that often manage more efficiently.

Yet the piper must be paid, and the money to pay back the private equity partners (whose entire business model is quick windfalls) must come from somewhere. Worse case, we have variant of Orwell’s Animal Farm, where after a while you can’t tell the humans from the pigs.

This is exactly the issue I worried about when I heard that the deal to buyout the “bad” cousins involved a lot of debt.  It may not have been obvious to all readers, but the issue was behind my comments in my previous post A Scary Thought.

Jamie Eldridge: Why I’m voting for Don Berwick for Governor

State Senator Jaimie Eldridge has posted on Blue Mass Group the article Why I’m voting for Don Berwick for Governor .

Well, just as the members of the House and Senate progressive caucuses, and thousands of advocates and activists across the state do our part every year to create comprehensive change, we need a Governor who is equally committed to this level of transformation. And a Governor, with the power of the bully pulpit, the support of the grassroots, and ability to coordinate state efforts, can make this kind of change a reality.

In listening to Don Berwick speak to hundreds and thousands of people in Massachusetts, whether in people’s homes, at the Democratic state conventions, Democratic cookouts, and our one on one conversations on the phone, in the State House, or in his office, I believe that Don Berwick has the abilities to change the status quo that remains in so many policies in Massachusetts, which is holding the state and its people back.

I saw this article thanks to Michael Horan for posting the link on his Facebook page. I responded to his comments about the article before reading the article itself.

I said that I am voting for the person I would really like to see in the office, not for the person I think that most other Democrats will like. In the end, I hope that they are the same thing.

The one issue I would like to see Don address is the need for the governor to work with the other branches of government (the legislature in particular). I have heard it said that one of Deval Patrick’s failings is his inability to work with the legislature. Whether true or not, it is an issue for Don to address. He says he is not a politician and does not want politics as usual. That is fine for him, but there are lots of politicians who will remain in government and will be exerting power.

Senator Eldridge wrote in his article:

And yet there are things that happen on Beacon Hill that make me shake my head. A wasted opportunity on a progressive tax package that does not adequately invest in transportation infrastructure, underwhelming increases in public education, welfare, immigration and criminal justice “reforms” that only further punish the poor and oppressed, and state agencies that have made only modest progress on social suffering and moral outrages such as the state’s homeless crisis, and deep poverty in struggling cities and towns.

His reference to not adequately investing in transportation infrastructure may be to a different bill from the one that is a particular bone of contention of mine.  Earlier, Deval Patrick proposed a large sum for investing in transportation infrastructure.  The bill that the legislature passed was only about half of what the Governor proposed.   I was particularly incensed when, at a Sturbridge Democratic Town Committee annual lunch, Democratic State Senator Stephen Brewer bragged about how he has saved us money by cutting back on the amount of money to be spent.  About a year later, at the next annual lunch, I spoke to a State Rep who told me that part of the problem with the Patrick bill was the wasteful way money would be spent because of the order of certain projects in the bill.  I think at this time, she also mentioned the Governor’s habit of presenting bills on a take it or leave it basis instead of holding appropriate discussions with the legislators before presenting a bill.

As I said in my remarks to Michael Horan, I don’t know if this assessment of Deval Patrick is correct, but it does raise the issue of how non-politicians can succeed in a political office.  I am pleased to hear that State Senator Jamie Eldridge  thinks that Don Berwick has the necessary skills.  I’d like to see Don Berwick address this issue in public so that the rest of the voters can have the same feeling as Eldridge.

Tolman apologizes for calling Healey’s questions ‘unbecoming’

The Boston Globe has the article Tolman apologizes for calling Healey’s questions ‘unbecoming’.

To give you the context of this story, they provided the following video:

For me the issue is not the words he used. It is his refusal to answer the question.

In Joan Vennochi’s OpEd column Unbecoming issue in the AG race, she says:

Tolman says Healey is wrong to characterize him as a lobbyist, even though he was listed as one for SEIU Local 1199, and Holland & Knight, the law firm for which he worked, also listed him as a federal lobbyist. Whatever the paperwork said, Tolman never lobbied at the state or federal level, a campaign spokesman said.

If Tolman is afraid to hit back, the time for reticence is over. He needs to explain his record with as much intensity as his opponent is questioning it, no matter how unbecoming he appears.

If he were a lobbyist for SEIU, that is not bad in my opinion. Why couldn’t he just say so? As for his working with a hedge fund and a gambling organization, I want him to answer to those questions. If he has a good answer, why doesn’t he just say what it is? If he doesn’t have a good answer or he refuses to answer, then I am definitely not voting for him.

It is funny the way The Boston Globe is playing this. If you see my previous post, Globe Debate Between Maura Healy and Warren Tolman, you see that they called it a feisty debate, but they didn’t tell you why they called it that. Even in today’s news article they have not addressed the point in print. The real issue in the debate isn’t mentioned in the news, only on the OpEd page. Although, for those who see the article on the web, they do get to see the video clip that lets you decide for yourself whether or not this is the issue.

Also notice how The Boston Globe does not even mention how dismissive Tolman was on the importance of Maura Healey’s role in the current Attorney general’s office. That is probably a worse offense than the comment about unbecoming.