Previously
Awake just to participate in some fun

Vickery at my polling place

GOP Culture of Corruption hits Chicopee

Fair Districts

Vickery v. Miers

Electability Proven

Deval Patrick Blog

Romney's Flood Control Credentials

Advocate on PDM and Patrick

PDM Endorses Deval Patrick


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Massachusetts Progressive Politics and other news of the world

 

Hiroshima and the Role of Conservatives


On the 60th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb, Leo Maley, a PDM leader and Peter Vickery's campaign manager, has some interesting thoughts on Conservatives and their role in atoning for Hiroshima:
Our failure to grapple fully with the ethical questions stemming from our use of mass violence against civilians has meant that we unwittingly endorse an act that some would consider state terror. We rightly expect Germany and Japan to confront painful episodes from their participation in World War II. Now it's our turn.

Conservatives today are the natural candidates to take the lead in confronting our most painful episode from the war, because they were once among the most vocal critics of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Consider the following:

On August 8, 1945, two days after the bombing, former Republican President Herbert Hoover wrote to a friend that "[t]he use of the atomic bomb, with its indiscriminate killing of women and children, revolts my soul."
Read the rest and this 2001 article on the military perspective of the atomic bomb at the time.
 

Globe on Judicial Dust Up


Here's the Globe piece:
'I think the nomination will not be confirmed," said Peter Vickery, one of two councilors urging the Romney administration to withdraw the nomination. ''I think it would be far better from [Rigali's] point of view to withdraw now rather than be rejected."
The rejection would deal a significant setback to Romney, who has touted his reform of the judicial-selection process as one of his signal achievements. It would also mark a rare defeat for a governor's judicial nominee: The last time the council rejected a nominee was in 1993, when former state representative John Flood of Canton was tapped by Governor William F. Weld and rejected twice.

In Rigali's case, the overriding objection of several councilors -- Vickery, Christopher A. Iannella, Marilyn M. Petitto Devaney, and Carole A. Fiola -- is that Romney departed from his usual practice in nominating him for the $112,000-a-year position.
The money quote
Iannella also said Rigali acknowledged at the hearing that he has barely any experience practicing juvenile law. ''My feeling is this guy has obviously got some powerful sponsor," he said.
 

Labor and Progressives


This important post on the House of Labor blog hilights the growing disconnect between organized labor and the progressive movement:
There are myriad reasons for labor's weakness, and many of these reasons have been cited here and elsewhere. But one of the reasons that is rarely discussed is that many in the non-union portion of the liberal left decided years ago to simply give up on organized labor. Union issues became unfashionable.
At a recent meeting of PDM a labor activist we invited spoke of the importance of building capacity in times of low power. He suggested that the best way was helping to pass card-check legislation.

I also want to mention that two of our local PDM chapter's on-going electoral campaigns are for progressives with strong labor ties. In 2004, we helped elect PDM member, Peter Vickery, to the Governor's council. He's a UAW member and lists pro-Union in his tagline. In 2005, we are helping PDM member Pat Duffy in the Holyoke City Council race. She's a former labor organizer for both the SEIU and UAW -- from the first paragraph in her bio:
Pat Duffy has worked for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and the Holyoke-based United Auto Workers Local 2322. Both jobs require a deep and ever-growing knowledge of business, government, law, contracts, and the social and economic needs of people who work for a living.

She has been privileged to work with people at all levels of society -- business and labor leaders, local and state elected officials, and regular folks, working hourly wage jobs, struggling to make a living. She has the knowledge and the ability to work with everyone to make Holyoke a better place.
But this is something progressives need to work at and should be near the top of our list when evaluating candidates.
 

Fred on the Showdown


Fred Clarkson has more on the judicial showdown set for next week:
Does a controversial nomination for a juvenile court judge position in Springfield, Massachusetts have anything to do with Governor Mitt Romney's presidential ambitions? Who knows? But since grandstanding controversial judicial appointments is what presidents do these days, if you want to look presidential in a kind of red-meat Republican way, it would seem to be the thing to do.
I can't imagine why Romney is doing this. I think he's losing his touch. At some point it's going to come out that he's passing over two JNC approved judges and that the crisis he's referring to is his own doing for not picking one of them sooner. I just don't understand why he'd go out on a limb for this guy.
 

More on Possible Judicial Rejection


Here's the official Governor's Council list. One thing I haven't seen in news reports, but learned today, is that Romney is right that there is an urgent need, but that there are at least two qualified candidates that have already been approved by the JNC for this position. He has, for some crazy reason, decided to just name someone else. According to this article, he is coming back from his vacation for the vote. Wow. Also, this would be the first time the council rejected a Romney judge.
 

Valley Free Radio


This Sunday, Aug 7th at 2pm, Valley Free Radio goes on the air. WXOJ-LP/103.3 FM.
 

Romney vs. the Governor's Council


There is a mini-showdown between Romney and the Governor's council brewing. Normally, Romney uses the Judicial Nominating Committee as a shield against the politics of nominating judges where he has to go through an 8-1 Dem over GOP Governor's Council (the "one" being the Lt. Gov). This story got some play last week (originally from the Globe):
Governor Mitt Romney, who touts his conservative credentials to out-of-state Republicans, has passed over GOP lawyers for three-quarters of the 36 judicial vacancies he has faced, instead tapping registered Democrats or independents including two gay lawyers who have supported expanded same-sex rights, a Globe review of the nominations has found
From what I can see, the judge and clerk magistrate numbers are conflated, but there is a big difference between naming a democrat as a judge or as a clerk magistrate, since clerk magistrates do not rule on cases. I'd like to see the breakdown.

In any case, Romney cannot just name GOP idealogues to the bench with the Governor's Council so tilted against him, but to stave off GOP pressure, he wisely issued an executive order to require approval from a Judicial Nominating Committee. There is some other good background in the Globe article:
Romney won praise in the legal community when he replaced regional judicial nominating committees that were viewed as politically tainted with a centralized Judicial Nominating Commission. The commission considers applicants using a ''blind" first phase of the selection process that removes names from applications in an attempt to ensure the candidates will be judged on their merits. In addition, all of Romney's nominees have been submitted to a Joint Bar Committee on Judicial Nominations, which rates candidates as qualified, well-qualified, or unqualified -- and each has been found to be either qualified or well-qualified.
but,
Peter Vickery, one of the Democrats on the Governor's Council, says he believes Romney and Moore would seek far more conservative jurists if a vacancy were to pop up on the Supreme Judicial Court, which delivered the gay marriage decision that Romney has routinely blasted.
Which brings us to this:
Governor's Councilor Peter Vickery is calling for the governor to withdraw his pick for a judge in Hampden Juvenile Court in Springfield, saying the nominee lacks the proper demeanor.

[...]Vickery, an Amherst Democrat, said he expressed his opposition to Rigali to Mark D. Nielsen, the governor's chief legal counsel. Vickery said he will vote against confirming Rigali as a judge.

Vickery criticized the way Rigali handled himself during his interview before the Governor's Council, saying Rigali was too harsh in responding to Willie M. Johnson, 68, of Springfield.

[...]Vickery also said Rigali didn't apply to become a judge at Hampden Juvenile Court. The Judicial Nominating Commission, a group that interviews candidates and makes recommendations to the governor, did not recommend Rigali for the juvenile court post.
The whole thing is kind of interesting because it sets up a rare (only?) Governor's coucil rejection of a Romney judicial pick. The rejection will further cement the council's authority should an SJC opening occur, and force Romney to stick to his shield even if he thinks he can make a case. The other interesting dynamic is that the opening is in Vickery's district -- how that sways the other councilors will be interesting. We can assume that the tie goes to the Gov, so we need five councilors to stop this nomination, and send a message to Romney that we want him to stick to JNC -- my bet is that no one (not a single person) writes their Governor's councilor -- so it would be fun to do it in this case. This page has instructions for finding your Gov. Councilor -- it's out-of-date for the 8th District -- if you are in Vickery's district, contact him through his site.
 

MassDems is back


The MassDems blog is back. Lynne is teaching them about linking in the comments, so it's not long before they have a blogroll (cough! cough!).
 

wonkNOT's Patrick Interview


Michael (wonkNOT) interviewed Deval Patrick. This was interesting to me:
Deval astutely pointed out that while he often starts out his stump speeches talking about "why" – the values behind his stances and beliefs, people often say "yah, yah" get to the "how". He said that many people in the audiences he speaks to want to know the details, the wonky, policy stuff; not why he would do something but how. We discussed that there is a challenging tension between speaking about specifics (the how) and the need to continually connect to larger context/vision of "why". I feel that this is an important thing his campaign will need to figure out but if they get it right they’ve got room to run. This is where the framing comes in and the being repeatedly intentional about underlying values. It’s not easy but I do think its necessary.
I personally have little interest in the "how" (unless someone is proposing something genuinely revolutionary -- then you need to hear to know if the person is crazy or a genius). My problems with it are (1) I don't believe that anyone running for office really knows how they are going to get something done (2) It may undermine the effort to talk about it to the public first, rather than working the politics (3) It's more than a year before the term would actually start -- situations change.

So, I'd much rather hear approach and priorities and get the feel that the candidate is smart, engaged, and ready to lead. When Deval says that he's willing to spend political capital to get to universal coverage, that means a lot more to me than the specific bill he's backing.

Now, as we get closer to the election, you need a more concrete plan, because (1) the media and your opponents will make it impossible for you not to have one. (2) if you win, you need the plan to show what your mandate was for. But don't dismiss the reasons.

The why gives you an idea about what's going to be important to them when it comes time to compromise. Deval stresses the "universal" aspect rather than a specific plan (like single-payer -- although I've heard him say that he'd like to get to single-payer). I've also heard him say that he wants to get the uninsured covered fast -- that he couldn't see making them wait for a specific solution. I think that these statements give an indication of what he'd actually do far better than a specific plan would.
 

Keep-a-knockin'


Patrick from Cape Ann Dem is making me smile:
Last Sunday’s Boston Globe North regional section contained an article talking about a project that I’ve been involved with in Gloucester for a couple of years now. The Democratic City Committee has been going door-to-door to talk with unenrolled voters about becoming Democrats.
Read the rest.
 

Northampton November (and September) Ballot


Kristen at the Fray points to an article that summarizes the expected Northampton 2005 ballot. This list does not include the contested Ward 7 council race (they only report on the open seats) and the expected Northampton CPA ballot question. The pro-CPA group, Northampton for the CPA, campaign kickoff is Monday August 8, 7pm at the Florence Civic Center.

I should have more to say on these races in the next month.
 

Northampton's Own


On the topic of Lt. Governor, Sco at .08 has a bit about Kerry Healey, and includes this great anecdote from former Northampton Mayor (and MA Lt. Governor), Calvin Coolidge:
Once, at an official dinner in Massachusetts, a woman sitting next to Calvin Coolidge asked him what he did for a living.

"I'm the lieutenant governor," the future 30th president said.

"That's wonderful," the woman said. "Tell me all about it."

"I just did," Coolidge replied.