December 03, 2005
ATTENTION! You are now on the OLD Blue Mass. Group homepage! We have moved away from Typepad and are now located at http://www.bluemassgroup.com. You'll notice a lot of new features at the new site -- if you've ever been to DailyKos you will recognize the format. (The platform is by Soapblox, similar to Scoop.) We've got diaries, ratings for comments, and recommended diaries. The intent was to make it much more of a community blog, as opposed to just a place for us to hold forth.
Give it a look, and please please please change your bookmarks!
December 02, 2005
Open Document, Insert Foot III: with Sen. Marc Pacheco (D-Redmond, WA)
So, we found out who's the Senator-mouthpiece for Microsoft in the lege's debate over the state moving to document types that aren't owned by a single, monopolistic company. It's Marc Pacheco, ostensibly of Taunton, but he's doing a better job of representing Redmond, WA.
The policy adopted by the state contains a standard within a standard, asserted Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton), chairman of the Senate Committee on Post Audit and Oversight.
"It sets forth under its wording language that would essentially still preclude Microsoft," he told TechNewsWorld.
"One has to question if this is about open document standards or is it about an exclusionary policy so that some people can't play in the system," he said.
Now there's an argument for you. Using document formats whose source code is open to the public -- "free, as in speech", as they say -- would somehow preclude Microsoft?
Horsehockey. It would prevent Mr. Softie from monopolizing the state's software purchase decisions, like they do most of the world. It would actually make them compete with other companies -- some of which actually are based in Massachusetts.
Now, Mr. Softie has supposedly offered to open up its formats (MS Open Office XML) for their next version of MS Office, but there's a problem... no one's seen what they're offering.
You smell a bluff?
No matter: RomneyCo's folding like origami masters! Let's listen to Massachusetts Secretary for Administration and Finance Tom Trimarco:
"The Commonwealth is very pleased with Microsoft's progress in creating an open document format. If Microsoft follows through as planned, we are optimistic that Office Open XML will meet our new standards for acceptable open formats."
Optimistic that Mr. Softie will play fair? Based on their past behavior?
Anyway, if you're in Sen. Pacheco's district, I'm sure he'd welcome your comments on how he's shilling for a monopolist at the expense of your taxpayer bucks and Bay State businesses. (617) 722-1551.
December 01, 2005
Bush speaks on Global Warming!
Thanks to Oliver Willis.
Wall Street Journal to MA: Freeze to death
So, the wise men of the Wall Street Journal editorial page (who, wags have said, don't read the actual fine reporting of that paper) have upbraided Rep. William Delahunt and Joe Kennedy for the Venezuela-MA oil deal:
"Mr. Delahunt's lobbying for the dictator undermines any official U.S. pressure on Mr. Chavez to behave more humanely, which is precisely why Mr. Chavez is returning the favor by plying Mr. Delahunt with cheap oil," the Journal asserted. "Leave it to the congressman ... and a Kennedy to close the deal."
Well, when the Senate of your own country leaves you to freeze, you just don't have many options.
Let's be clear: The WSJ guys care more about saving face for the (their) administration than people in MA having heat this winter. Nice priorities.
November 30, 2005
"Give. Me. A. Break."
Mike Wallace was on WBUR's On Point this morning. You simply must hear the one question that he would ask George Bush.
I won't transcribe it, but start listening to the clip at about 27:30.
Not so much a question as a complete demolition, you'll find.
UPDATE: Ok, I transcribed the best part:
WALLACE: What in the world, sir, Mr. President, prepared you -- what in your background prepared you to be the Commander in Chief of the supreme power in the world? Your military background? No. Your business background? No. Your travels? You were an incurious man for such a long time, I'm at a loss to understand. And you were -- according to Bob Woodward in his book Plan of Attack -- you said when asked if you ever talked to your dad, George H.W. Bush, Number 41, about what you might do better or different: "No", you said, according to Bob Woodward. "No, I look to a higher Father."
Give me a break.
... So many people say [W] is such a likeable guy. [Clears throat.] I pass.
November 29, 2005
Tim Murray in the Lt. Gov. race?
Mariposa at Beyond 495 calls our attention to a most interesting tidbit in a holiday party invitation sent out by DDemDispatch: the invite notes that Worcester Mayor Tim Murray has confirmed his attendance in the capacity of candidate for Lieutenant Governor.
Well, well, well! This has been rumored for some time, but nothing official has appeared on it yet. And one can't really call this invitation an official statement of Murray's candidacy for the no. 2 job on Beacon Hill. Nonetheless, it's pretty good evidence that, as everyone has been anticipating, Murray is indeed planning a run for Lt. Gov.
If Murray does join the race, it will shake things up substantially. He has been Mayor of Worcester since 2001, so his experience in public office is substantially greater than any of the three declared candidates, and he's obviously got a substantial base of support in a major city. Beyond that, I honestly don't know much about him. But hey, the more the merrier!
A Teacher Runs in Foxborough
An important update in the 1st Bristol race from Cos. --David
There's a Democrat running in the 1st Bristol special election, but it's not Feeney. The Sun-Chronicle reported last week that "Claire Naughton, of 4 Everett Lane in Foxboro, took out papers Monday in the Foxboro town clerk's office to run for the Democratic nomination for the seat."
Since then, Naughton has hired staff and is setting up a campaign office. She's a retired teacher in Foxborough and apparently well known in the community. As I noted in a previous post, this traditionally Republican-held district has voting patterns that show it to be a swing district. It sounds like we have an exciting race to look forward to.
As of 2pm on Tuesday, the Foxborough Town Clerk's office reports they know of nobody else running aside from the Republican candidate, Ginny Coppola. With just a few hours to go until the filing deadline, it seems unlikely anyone new will jump in. That means we won't have contested primaries on either side, and the real action in this district is all for February 7th.
Bush Closes in On One Year Off
W., who already holds the record for most vacation days ever taken by a President, is closing on a full year of R&R as the death toll in Iraq mounts, according to Harper's. The well-informed readers of Blue Mass. Group will no doubt recall Bush was on vacation when Katrina struck, and was also taking time off when then-CIA Director George Tenet first found out that Zacarias Moussaoui, an Islamic jihadist, had been taking lessons on how to fly a 747. Clinton, by contrast, spent just 152 days on vacation in eight years. Some have found humor in W.'s achievement.
November 28, 2005
Candidate Questionnaires in the Somerville special election
PDS member Cos reports on PDS's questionnaires and upcoming candidates forum for the State House seat vacated by Pat Jehlen's move to the Senate. --David
The Progressive Democrats of Somerville (PDS) today posted questionnaires filled out by the two candidates vying for PDS endorsement in the 27th Middlesex special election: Denise Provost and Elizabeth Moroney. (It's not yet clear whether Ward 5 Alderman Sean O'Donovan is running ... sound familiar? The Somerville News reports that O'Donovan is in the race - but all they really say is that he pulled papers. We'll know who's on the ballot Tuesday night.)
The PDS questionnaire covers a variety of topics including local aid, election reform, police and public safety, the development of Assembly Square, and social divisions in Somerville. And both candidates will appear in person at the PDS November meeting this Tuesday, November 29th, at the College Avenue Methodist Church, 7-9pm. Each candidate will speak for about 5 minutes, then take questions for about 15 minutes, then PDS members will vote on an endorsement. The meeting is open to the public, so if you'd like to get to know these candidates, read their questionnaire responses and come to the meeting.
One measure of how valuable the PDS endorsement could be in this race: The number of volunteer precinct captains in the recent state senate special election who were affiliated with PDS is larger than the number of precincts in the 27th Middlesex.
[disclaimer: I am a member of PDS.]
More Patrick campaign tea leaves
.08 acres points to this Adrian Walker column about Deval Patrick, which makes this intriguing comment: "I had called after reading that one of his top consultants, Dan Payne, had left the campaign. Supposedly Payne had left because he didn't want to work with another of the top consultants." (That, of course, would go counter to Payne's parting shot that "When your opponent is taking on the gov over auto insurance rates and you're celebrating your 100th home-made web site, something's not right." Spin it how you want.) Well, it would be interesting to know who that is; and if Payne/Consultant X are mutually exclusive, is this a net positive or negative for the campaign?
Walker says that "too many people -- 80 percent, according to various polls -- still don't know who he is." But if that's true, how is he beating Healey in the polls? How is he a statistical dead heat with Romney, rising 11 points since the last poll, more than any other candidate? Did "Anyone But Romney" become that much more attractive as a candidate?
I have no idea what to make of any of this. Polls are weird.
However, ... it's been discussed in the comments of David's original Payne post that Patrick may want to "throw a few more elbows" in the campaign. Reilly calling Healey on 'RKO about illegal immigrants and education was a gutsy move -- or cheap shot, depending on how you see it; either way it certainly was effective as political theater.
The departure of Payne and RFK's would-have-been 80th birthday have made me wonder: How do polticians who tout compassion deal with the inherent nastiness of adversarial democracy? Josh Marshall recently got an email from a Republican reader which said: "Democratic politicians tend to be wimps. Anyone can see how easily they get pushed around by interest groups in their own party; when criticized aggressively, they tend to seek sympathy rather than hitting back." (My emphasis, natch.) Well, how do you advocate for better health care and caring for old people and poor people and the environment and kids and not being a dick in international affairs -- and be properly aggressive? How can compassion be the flag to rally around and fight tooth-and-nail for, as opposed to a soft underbelly to be exploited?
We gotta figure that one out. Right now Reilly's not doing a bad job of it ... but it could be done even better.