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Vickery at my polling place

GOP Culture of Corruption hits Chicopee

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Vickery v. Miers

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Romney's Flood Control Credentials

Advocate on PDM and Patrick

PDM Endorses Deval Patrick

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Laws that need to be changed

Here's a law that needs updating:
Chapter 207: Section 1 Marriage of man to certain relatives

Section 1. No man shall marry his mother, grandmother, daughter, granddaughter, sister, stepmother, grandfather's wife, grandson's wife, wife's mother, wife's grandmother, wife's daughter, wife's granddaughter, brother's daughter, sister's daughter, father's sister or mother's sister.
Need to add father, grandfather, son, grandson, brother, stepfather, grandmother's husband, granddaughter's husband, wife's father, wife's grandfather, husband's father, husband's grandfather, wife's son, husband's son, wife's grandson, husband's grandson, brother's son, sister's son, father's brother and mother's brother.

The rewrite of this one is left to the reader.

Myth of Taxachussets

Atrios debunks the myth of Taxachussets:
[Georgia]'s state and local tax burden ranks 18th in the nation, at precisely the national average of 10% of income.

While in small government loving Massachusetts, the state and local tax burden ranks 36th in the nation, at 9.6% of income.

And, hey, what do you know? It appears you welfare lovers in Taxeorgia [Georgia] are sucking at the federal government's teat! Taxeorgia gets more from the federal government than it sends in taxes! For every buck you freeloaders send to DC you get $1.01 back! What of Massachusetts? Well, suprise surprise! Massachusetts is supporting layabouts like Taxeorgia! A whopping $.25 of every dollar Massachusetts sends to the Feds is stolen from them and redistributed to states which can't manage to take care of themselves, like Taxeorgia.

Yes for Northampton

Official website of Yes for Northampton.

This Date in Bigotry History

Representative Travis today:
"Massachusetts will be forever known as the birthplace of homosexual marriage. From the Bay State to the Gay State," said Rep. Philip Travis, D-Rehoboth, who sponsored a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages. "I had hoped that people of common sense, who understand what nature and marriage is all about, would prevent it from happening."

Ron Crews:
My world changes in the fact that the marriage license I hold with my wife will no longer mean what it meant on May 16. It is not going to impact my relationship with my wife of almost 34 years, but the fact [is] that the word marriage has now been radically redefined by judicial fiat. If I dwell on that I can get really despondent, but I choose not to dwell on that.
What a martyr.

Establishing Residency

This NYT article has some ideas for establishing residency in Massachussets in order to get a gay marriage.
Ed Horvath, 53, and his partner, Richard Neidich, 64, both of Washington, D.C., where they plan to remain, will apply for a license in one of those three towns, even if Mr. Romney declares their marriage "null and void."

"We really think that Massachusetts is the place," said Mr. Horvath, adding that Mr. Neidich's successful battle with cancer last year had strengthened their desire to marry soon. "I have a very strong assumption that that law is going to be thrown out."

In any event, Mr. Horvath said, he has thought of buying a burial plot in Massachusetts, wondering "if having a grave site would be considered having an intention of residing there."

Romney's Legacy

I just reread this great piece about Mary Bonauto in the NYT Magazine last week. The last paragraph is exactly right:
Looking back 50 years to Brown v. Board of Education, most Americans have no difficulty in distinguishing the legacies of Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy from those of the segregationist governors Orval Faubus, Ross Barnett and George Wallace. And 50 years from now, the odds are that Americans will have little difficulty in distinguishing the legacies of Evan Wolfson, Mary Bonauto and Gavin Newsom from those who oppose gay equality. As Kevin Cathcart asks, "Which side of history do you want to be on?"
Mitt Romney even had to use a segregation era law to limit gay marriage to Massachusetts citizens.

Local Candidate Makes the Dean Dozen

Howard Dean made this announcement yesterday:
Today, Democracy for America announces the Dean Dozen - twelve diverse candidates that represent the spirit of grassroots democracy. These will be tough races, and not all of the Dean Dozen may win. However, they will all spread the message that to change America progressives must compete.

One of the Dean Dozen is a local candidate for State Rep:
Monica Palacios-Boyce for Massachusetts State Representative. Inspired by my race for the White House, Monica launched her campaign for state representative when she learned that the Republican incumbent had faced no opposition in his last two elections.


Unsubstantiated Rumors

Just got back from a walk through town. Main Street in Northampton is roped off near Starbucks. Lots of police and firemen around -- rumor is that there's a bomb scare. I saw a large orange suitcase at the center of the roped off area.

Update: Kristen saw it too.

Further Update: The Gazette reports:
A portion of Main Street was closed for more than two hours after a shopkeeper found an abandoned suitcase in front of a store.

Later, a bomb squad determined it contained only papers and books.

The decision to bring in the bomb squad was largely made because the business owner was very concerned that the suitcase was left right in front of the store and looked suspicious, Duggan said.

He said that calling the bomb squad is "a little bit out of the ordinary" but that "we're obviously in a different world now" where people have heightened sense of concern.

Red Sox Nation

Just watched a repeat of Red Sox Nation (Ch. 15 in Northampton, 6:30 every Tuesday). They pit a Sox fan against a Yankee fan to debate the merits of each team. Best line from the Yankee fan: "The Red Sox Nation would be nothing without a history of losing".

The next live show is May 18th with special guest, Northampton Councilman, Bill Dwight.

PDM Coverage in the Gazette

Mary Carey from the Gazette covers PDM (registration required)
Northampton writer Fred Clarkson, who is the Northampton representative to the statewide organizing committee, said the idea of organizing the group grew out of a meeting at Robert Reich's house following his unsuccessful bid for governor in 2000.

Clarkson counts himself among "Reich Democrats" who had not been closely involved in Democratic politics for many years until Reich's candidacy, because they felt the party had lost its way. As organizers put it on the group's Web site,, "We are deeply concerned that people have become disconnected from the democratic process and that many of the progressive ideals upon which the Democratic Party was founded have been forgotten."

In Hampshire and lower Franklin counties, Reich's candidacy pulled in hundreds of newly energized activists into caucuses that had previously been relatively sleepy affairs attended by only the most dedicated party members. One of the goals of Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts is to keep these and other newly minted activists, including Howard Dean supporters, involved - not only when an election is imminent, but all year long. Clarkson, who writes about the conservative Christian movement, compares Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts to the Christian Coalition, in that it is a values-oriented group intended to affect the outcome of elections.
I was a disconnected Reich supporter in 2002 -- it's much better now, knowing other supporters.

Bloggers in the Mist

Bloggers are being given credentials to go to the Democratic Convention in Boston.
In the subculture known as the blogosphere, the news has spread quickly: Blogs, short for "Web logs," are getting recognition from the insiders at last. Credentials are "a way to promote the blogosphere as a new and genuine and legitimate media outlet," said Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, 32, who runs the popular liberal blog -- daily readership, 150,000.

But this new form of media is colliding with old-hand political structures, such as the House of Representatives Press Gallery, the initial gatekeeper for credential requests. Officials there decided that independent blogs do not fit their standards of "media," and passed their applications down the ladder a rung, to the convention staffs that handle credentials for student and weekly papers.

It's a matter of definitions, said gallery supervisor Jerry Gallegos, who says that, these days, it's not always easy to distinguish real journalism from widely broadcast rants.
Let alone, extremely narrowly broadcast rants, like mine. Looks like I picked the wrong time to get a real job.


Man, I'm a jerk. Sorry, Jennifer. In my defense, I'm always confused at Chamber events. I don't know anyone.

Hey, Jennifer and Arjuna at the same show -- cool.


Accountability is the watchword over at
Q: What is the purpose of the Mass Scorecard?

A: Our mission is to provide information to the voting public about how legislative voting records relate to the Massachusetts Democratic Party. Our purpose is to expose voting records to the public, and to show the degree to which each legislator adheres to the party platform.

Q: Why voting records?

A: First, they’re unambiguous – a yes or no statement on a particular issue. Second, there’s an official record maintained by the Massachusetts government. And third, “surveys suggest a strong desire by citizens to see the voting records of their lawmakers,” as reported in the New York Times. The Massachusetts legislature’s voting records are impenetrable to the voting public, and there are no websites to provide that information

Q: How will you decide on which votes to use?

A: Our criteria for selecting votes are:

  • Count only roll call votes -- no voice votes, no bill sponsorships, etc.

  • No omnibus legislation (such as vote on the entire budget bill, because the purpose of the legislator's vote is unclear).

  • No constituent service votes, nor any votes that apply primarily to one locality (such as funding for a hospital or court in one legislator's district, since the vote depends more on geography than on one's stance on the issues).

  • Count only one vote in a series of amendments, or only one vote on any given topic (to avoid over-weighting one issue over others).

  • No unanimous or near-unanimous votes which likely have some other political component hidden from the apparent vote.

  • Count only votes that clearly address a platform issue, as expressed in the platform, and as the core issue of the vote.

  • Vet all votes by confirming with Democratic State Committee representatives on a confidential basis that the selected votes meet the criteria above, that the descriptions and platform links are fair and accurate, and that the vote is a fair representation of the legislators’ views of the corresponding section of the party platform.

Q: What about Republican legislators?

A: We will score Republicans in the same manner as we’re scoring Democrats, with their votes compared to the Democratic Party Platform. of course Republicans have no obligation to adhere to the Democratic platform, and presumably their scorecard percentages will reflect a much lower adherence rate. We think citizens will find the Republicans’ votes much less in alignment with the Massachusetts electorate than the Democrats’ votes, which is one of the motivating factors for our creation of the Mass Scorecard.

Read more.

Illumination Night

This Saturday night is Illumination night at Smith.
On Illumination Night, the campus is lit only by colored paper lanterns. The college basks in a soft glow, perfect for reminiscing on four years of Smith education and escapades.
Also, the campus is dotted with singing groups, comedy troupes, a jazz band, etc. A nice night to walk through the campus.

What $15 a Month Can Buy You in Northampton

Without the Proposition 2 1/2 override, Northampton is planning the following personnel cuts:
Those cuts come on top of 65 positions already lost over the past three years.

The Gazette reports:
"That's the harshness of the budget proposal," said Finance Director John Musante in an interview with the Gazette. "We've had $3 million in cuts in state aid; no additional sources of local aid allowed; and a cap on property taxes, our biggest revenue source. You need money to pay the bills. This is where we are."
Funding city services through property taxes is a serious problem that we should address this year. Unfortunately, there is no other choice in the short term (except cuts). We cannot keep up with inflation (let alone State and Federal revenue cuts) without this override and then examining the tax base.

Peter Vickery for Governor's Council

Peter Vickery is one of a half dozen Democrats vying for the open Governor's Council seat in the eighth district in Massachusetts. For those who don't know, the council has an important role to play in the MA Judiciary, especially now. From Vickery's site:
The Governor's Council is the last firewall in the judicial nomination process. In spite of its low profile, the Governor's Council, also known as the Executive Council, has several important constitutional powers. The eight-member group has the power to approve judicial appointments and gubernatorial pardons and to authorize expenditures from the treasury. And it can ask the Supreme Judicial Court for advisory opinions about controversial legislation.
Why is Vickery running?
Judicial independence is under threat in Massachusetts. Conservatives in both major parties want to politicize the judiciary by making judges run for re-election every six years. And they want to amend the Constitution to undo the Supreme Judicial Court's equal-rights decision in the Goodridge case. At the federal level we continue to see more and more ideological conservatives appointed to the bench, and I am concerned that the same thing could happen at the state level. After all, John Ashcroft has already tried to bring the death penalty back to Massachusetts by the back door, and we have a Republican governor who seems to be already running for the 2008 presidential nomination.
I saw him speak last month, and I have to say that he was unbelievable -- a real star in our party. Like all candidates, he needs money, time, and votes. This one is worth working for.

Triumphant Return of Rachel Maddow

Air America Radio is coming to Northampton. According to their site, WHMP 1400 will soon be carrying our own Rachel Maddow and some other "famous" liberals.

Charge up the Party

The Massachusetts Democratic Party now has a credit card. The first use will earn $40 for the state party ($10 of it will be sent to your local town and city committees). The State party will also receive a portion of your charges thereafter. It's the easiest and most painless way to help the party.

Make sure you get your town code on the application (in field B).


Progressive Massachusettsians need to join their local Progressive Democrats of Mass chapter. I could easily give you a list of reasons to join, but suffice to say that speed dating was mentioned at the last social (they really should advertise that on the site).

Seriously, this is a great organization and we need a lot of help for this election year, protecting gay marriage, and gearing up for the 2002 Gubernatorial primary and race to oust Mitt "George Wallace" Romney.

Run, Moore, Run

Northampton's own Fred Clarkson examines a run by Roy Moore as a spoiler candidate from the right. (and the Washington Times picked up the story)

A friend thinks this is how the armegeddon starts.


Gay Marriage Day

Gay Marriages start on May 17th. In Northampton, supporters/revelers/history buffs are meeting behind City Hall at 8:30am (the certificates are being issued from the small building in the back).

Supposedly, Cambridge is issuing certificates starting at midnight -- that should be fun.

MA Democratic Convention

Ok, back now.

I ran into Kristen from Sigh Club and Sound Check at the convention. She recorded the encounter here. I was totally shocked that someone had connected my face with this blog -- I forgot that I went to a blogger event a couple of months ago. She astutely guessed that I had stopped blogging because of a post-Dean depression.

This is as good a time as any to start up again.

One thing I learned at the convention, is just how many MA Democrats need some help. I'll be highlighting them in the next couple of weeks.