05/02/2016

Charlie gone wild | What’s the matter with Boston liberals? | Reverse mortgage blowback

 
Happening Today
 
SJC hears cases
 

The state’s Supreme Judicial Court will hear arguments on Suffolk Construction Company v. Benchmark Mechanical Systems; Timothy Bogertman and others v. the Attorney General; Stephanie Gray and others v. the Attorney General; and Limoliner v. Dattco, John Adams Courthouse, Courtroom One, second floor, Pemberton Square, 9 a.m.

 
 
MBTA Green Line review
 

The MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board will hear a presentation and discuss the current state of the existing Green Line infrastructure and hear about near-term improvement efforts, 10 Park Plaza, 3rd Floor Board Room, 12 p.m.

 
 
U.S. secretary of education hits town
 

U.S. Secretary of Education John King joins Boston Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Tommy Chang for a roundtable discussion on increasing diversity in the teaching profession, Gardner Pilot Academy, 30 Athol Street, Allston, 2:15 p.m.

 
 
Today's Stories
 
Charlie gone wild
 

Gov. Charlie Baker is ramping up his fundraising campaign with big donors, even promising direct access for their contributions, reports the Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan. Gotta love this non-subtle appeal: “‘In an effort to continue building upon our strong relationships within the business community, this year we are expanding opportunities for PACs to work more closely with our team,’ Elise Dickens, a state GOP official recently hired from the political operation of Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, wrote in a recent e-mail to potential donors.”

Sounds like something a former Christie aide would write. 

Anyway, what could possibly be driving one of the most popular politicians in the country to grovel so much for money? Maybe it has something to do with Baker running scared within his own state GOP, especially with Donald Trump so popular among the base rank-and-file, reports the Herald’s Hillary Chabot.

“‘As governor, he’s just going to walk away from the nominee? Massachusetts was overwhelmingly won by Trump in the primary and he needs to understand that,’ said Mary Lou Daxland, head of the conservative Massachusetts 
Republican Assembly. ‘He needs the base and he has thumbed his nose at the base repeatedly. If he keeps it up he will be just like (former U.S. Sen.) Scott Brown. One and out.’”

Of course, there’s always the ultimate insult a conservative can hurl at someone: “Gov. Baker clearly has staked out a strategy of appeasing The Boston Globe, and in doing that he is risking drawing a conservative opponent,” proclaims Joe Malone, the former state treasurer and failed gubernatorial candidate who once unsuccessfully challenged a sitting Republican governor.

 
 
So Trump won’t do well in the state GOP caucuses? Never mind
 

Heading into the weekend, the conventional wisdom had it that Donald Trump would struggle to win new delegates at the state GOP caucuses. A typical pre-caucus headline (and we’re not picking on WBUR, for just about everyone blew it): “Analysis: Trump May Lose Mass. Caucuses, But Not For The Reasons You Think.” Well, that was then. This is now. Trump proceeded to absolutely dominate the weekend caucuses, as the Globe reported.

There’s at least one very happy and proud pundit: Howie Carr, whose wife was elected as a Trump delegate: “Unfortunately for Dyin’ Ted Cruz, she is not a double agent for him or any other Canadian-born RINOs.”

 
 
Judge allows Patrick lawsuit to continue
 

An Essex County judge has refused to toss out a defamation lawsuit filed by the former chairwoman of the Sex Offender Registry Board who claims former Gov. Deval Patrick defamed her in the wake of her departure from that role, Julie Manganis of the Salem News reports. The judge rejected Patrick’s assertion that he enjoyed “absolute privilege” protection for his official public actions.

Salem News
 
 
Oops. Simple math error could cost Massachusetts hospitals $160 million
 

Thanks, Nantucket Cottage Hospital. You just cost the entire state hospital system $160 million in federal Medicare funding. The Globe’s Liz Kowalczyk explains.

Boston Globe
 
 
What’s the matter with Boston liberals?
 

We’re not the ones asking that question. Instead, Thomas Frank -- whose most famous book is “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” – is the one effectively asking (and answering) that question in his latest tome “Listen, Liberal - Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?” The book is apparently quite critical of modern liberals for being too elitist and detached from struggling working people. And Frank takes special aim at Boston’s liberal establishment. “He spends almost an entire chapter mocking the true-blue city of Boston, with its ‘lab-coat and starched-shirt’ economy and its ‘well-graduated’ population of overconfident collegians,” writes Beverly Gage in her NYT review of Thomas’s book.

We delve a bit more into the book below in the prestigious Monday’s MASSterList Review of Book Reviews. But we thought we’d plunk the Boston-liberal bashing up higher in a separate item, figuring there’s more than a few people in Boston who might find it intriguing, if not entertaining.

New York Times
 
 
Reverse mortgage blowback
 

Most people have seen the TV commercials for reverse mortgages. They sound like a too-good-to-be-true proposition for struggling seniors to stay in their homes while actually getting paid. Unfortunately, for many seniors like Kenneth and Sadako Miller of Gardner, it’s indeed too good to be true, reports Jenifer McKim and Koby Levin of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting’s The Eye. “The Millers, aged 69 and 68, have joined a growing number of reverse mortgage holders who are learning they can be thrown out of their homes after all. That’s because of what consumer advocates say is a poorly understood loan feature that allows foreclosures when borrowers fall behind on real estate taxes or house-insurance premiums.”

The Eye (NECIR)
 
 
Worcester mulls school aid lawsuit against state
 

The Worcester City Council is expected to take up a request from the city’s School Committee that would clear the way for the exploration of options—including a possible lawsuit—to help recoup millions in school-based aid the city says it is owed by the state, Scott O’Connell of the Telegram & Gazette reports. At issue is what the city considers a 2010 funding miscalculation by the state, a move the city says has cost it $12 million in the years since.

Telegram & Gazette
 
 
Boston’s ‘no’ attitude strikes again
 

Sponsors of the proposed Indy Car race in Boston pulled the plug over the weekend, launching a round of “epic finger-pointing” and recriminations around Boston, reports Dan Kennedy, who wishes Boston was a little more open to new event ideas:

“We do say ‘no’ a lot in Boston. ‘No’ is sometimes the right answer. It was certainly the right answer to the Olympics bid, which would have led to years of disruption and the likelihood of massive budget shortfalls. This time, though, it’s too bad we couldn’t find a way to get to ‘yes.’ ”

Mike Ross, in a Globe op-ed, is also bemoaning Boston’s penchant for shrilly and loudly proclaiming ‘no’: “Boston can’t be a place where good ideas go to die. With Friday’s announcement by Grand Prix of Boston that they are leaving town, however, that’s exactly the reputation we have earned.”

Dan Kennedy
 
 
Opponents to present ‘Rattlesnake island’ petition
 

Hikers and others opposed to the state’s plan to create a timber rattlesnake colony on an island in the Quabbin Reservoir plan to present a petition to lawmakers calling for the plan to be scrapped, Jeanette DeForge of MassLive reports. The group collected more than 1,800 signatures online and in person in opposition to the plan, which has already been put on hold by lawmakers who want to study it more.

MassLive
 
 
Hundreds could retire from T this year
 

More than 1,100 T workers are eligible for retirement this year, representing potentially massive payouts from the agency’s troubled pension fund, Erin Smith of the Herald reports. More than half of those in position to retire are under 60 and 10 percent are under 50, Smith reports.

Boston Herald
 
 
Peabody mayor vetoes solar plan he originally backed
 

Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt has vetoed the city council’s approval of a solar power array that was to supply electricity to the city’s Municipal Light facility, ordering a new hearing on a plan he was once on the record in support of, Alan Burke of the Salem News reports. Bettencourt said he heard from a number of residents concerned about the impact of the project on their neighborhood, many of whom were unaware the project was moving through the approval process.

Salem News
 
 
The winding road to First Light
 

As the dust settles from last week’s decision by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to deny a license to a Brockton casino, the Cape Cod Times’ George Brennan traces the winding, obstacle-filled road the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe took to take control of the gambling market in southeastern Massachusetts. The tribe won several key victories along the way, from federal recognition that came as a surprise to many and the inclusion of a tribal casino option in the state’s casino gambling law.

Cape Cod Times
 
 
Mein Kampf mess
 

Boston publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has long had the somewhat bizarre duty of disbursing the royalties and profits from Adolf Hitler’s notorious autobiography and political tract ‘Mein Kampf.’ But as reported by the Globe’s Malcolm Gay: “Recently, however, the company has quietly decided to change course, shifting its grant-making focus from programs explicitly related to Holocaust awareness and Jewish education to those that promote tolerance more generally. This delicate pivot has become even more complicated locally, as the publishing house has sought to focus the book’s proceeds in Boston.”

The shift to “more general antidiscrimination” projects is not sitting well with some. “Holocaust education and Holocaust awareness should be at the top of the list for these profits,” said Robert Trestan, director of the Anti-Defamation League’s New England regional office.

The case reminds us of several recent water-down-the-message controversies, such as how backers of “Black Lives Matter” rightly resisted turning the movement into an all-encompassing “all lives matter” cause or how a city meeting called in the wake of anti-Semitic incidents at Newton schools somehow turned into a generalized anti-discrimination discussion, angering some members of the Jewish community. 

For some reason, many good-intentioned people think they’re being fair and even-handed by taking these generalized approaches toward controversies, but they end up missing the point in the process: There are very particular types of evil in the world – and particular victims of such evil – and broadening the message can blunt the message.

Boston Globe
 
 
Monday’s MASSterList Review of Book Reviews
 

Listen, Liberal - Or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? by Thomas Frank, and The Limousine Liberal: How an Incendiary Image United the Right and Fractured America, by Steve Fraser, both reviewed in the New York Times by Beverly Gage, teacher of American history at Yale University. 

Gage spends the majority of the review on Thomas’s book, calling it a “thoroughly entertaining if rather gloomy work of a man who feels that nobody has been paying attention.” Though it devotes nearly a chapter to bashing Boston’s liberal establishment, the book is actually a tough critique about how liberals in general have become more “coastal,” elitist and out of touch with the working class, Gage writes. She spends less time covering Fraser’s book, which apparently also takes a tough look at how modern liberalism has drifted far from the days of FDR.

NYT
 
 
Today's Headlines
 
Metro
 

BPS’s Chang: Schools must close poverty, privilege gap - Boston Herald

Wynn land case defendants found not guilty - CommonWealth Magazine

More and more, city council limits speech, pushing against constituents, Constitution - Cambridge Day

Case Could Spell The End For Roadside Breathalyzer Tests In Mass., And Callie Crossley Is MADD About It - WGBH

 
Massachusetts
 

Top donors could gain more access to Baker, officials - Boston Globe

Brian Shortsleeve’s mission: fix the MBTA’s budget woes - Boston Globe

Rattlesnake Island opponents to submit petition to legislators - MassLive

MBTA pension punch could hit taxpayers - Boston Herald

Peabody mayor nixes solar panel plan - Salem News

Judge rejects bid by former governor to toss lawsuit - Salem News

Casino dreams become reality for Mashpee Wampanoag - Cape Cod Times

$12 million sports complex proposed for Hyannis - Cape Cod Times

Worcester may sue state over school aid - Telegram & Gazette

 
Nation
 

Bernie Sanders’ fundraising plunges by more than 40 percent - Boston Globe

Bill before Congress could pump up New Balance - Boston Globe

 
Jobs
 

MASSterList is your direct connection to Massachusetts' political news and commentary and our more than 13,000 subscribers who are scouring our Job Board for job openings in government and public policy organizations. Want to reach our engaged professional base at half the cost of average job posting sites? Please contact Bill Bagley at bbagley@massterlist.com for more information.

 
Recent postings to the MASSterList Job Board:
 

Deputy Director of Communications, MassDevelopment

Campus Coordinator, CAMERA - Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America

Government Relations Specialist, Boston Children's Hospital

Associate Director, Harvard University

Communications Strategist, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Director of School Operations, UP Education Network

Political Director, MASSCreative

Employers: MASSterList's savvy readership of over 13,000 engaged professionals in the government, nonprofit, and private sectors can be reached for half the cost of average job posting sites. Please click here to post online or contact Bill Bagley at bbagley@massterlist.comfor more information.

Sign up to get a free copy of MASSterlist delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.

Sign up to get a free copy of MASSterlist delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.