Archive for California

Stupor Tuesday Podcast

The huge, diverse Super Tuesday elections clarified things…at least for Democrats. Hillary Clinton almost surely will arrive at the July Democratic Party convention with a majority of delegates, and a first-ballot nomination.

It’s not so simple for the GOP, even though Marco Rubio lost his home state, Florida, and dropped out. Kasich did win his home state, Ohio, and Cruz did OK behind Trump. The latter is very unlikely to come to his party’s July convention with a majority of delegates. He’d have to win 59% of all remaining delegates to do so…unlikely. Even more unlikely, Cruz would need to get 80% of them and Kasich 100%. Haar.

It looks like Sanders, even with loads of adoring supporters and lots of cash will be relegated to influencing Clinton’s positions. She’s long been like her husband, a moderate to moderately conservative deal cutter. She has picked some of Sander’s (and Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s) lingo. I could easily see a Pres. H. Clinton jettisoning those positions.

Now the show shifts almost entirely to the Republicans. a contested convention would be a festival of threats, pouting, accusations and other theater. I speculated a bit on who might emerge as the nominee assuming Trump does have a majority coming in.

 

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Orks Inside and Out Podcast

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Zero-Fare Mass Transit Podcast

Fairmount LineI’m not the first to propose fare-free mass transit. I’ve done it before, shall do it again, and won’t be the last. Yet, the proposal and concepts behind it continue to astound those who accept the current unnatural order of things transportation.

The shock to many is shifting from the it’s-only-common-sense idea that sure, a bus, commuter rail or subway has to charge for a ticket. Otherwise, who’ll pay for the expenses. Well, the commonsense thingummy almost always means, “I have nothing. I’ll just deal in cliché and stereotype.”

After our last terrible winter when the mass transit in Boston (the T as we call it, for MBTA) failed us countless times. The newish Gov. Charlie Baker set a task force to defining how to fix it. Not surprisingly, they wanted to do the same things, just cheaper and more efficiently. They never asked what we expect from mass transit.

I talk a bit in a short show (19 minutes) on why we should have zero-fare transit. There are many advantages in clearing road congestion, minimizing pollution, noise and wrecks, all by shifting the governmental (you taxes) expenditures from conductors, ticket vendors and such to the fares. I’d bet that be done for the same or less.

Then drivers who often disdain mass transit have to look at the huge subsidies they get in road building and maintenance, gas price supports and more. The are more heavily riding on our taxes than T riders would be. Let’s get real, boys and girls.

Many library as well as internet sources cover the topic. You can start with our 5-year-old Left Ahead chat with MA Gov. Mike Dukakis, here. Of course, Wikipedia as a multi-page recap of cities who are offering free transit, here. An excellent think piece on the subject by Henry Grabar appears in Salon, here.

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How We Got to Marriage Equality So Fast

Marc Solomon mug, from his websiteMarc Solomon is justifiably flogging his newly published Winning Marriage: The Inside Story of how Same-Sex Couples took on the Politicians and Pundits — and Won. He is national campaign director for Freedom to Marry and has been a key player in several rights groups for 13 years.

Eager-Reader Note: You can order his book through his website. Click on the title above to go there.

In fundamentally another stop on his book tour, Solomon came on to answer past, present and future questions about marriage equality in the U.S., as well as describing what’s in WMTISOHSSCTOTPAPAW. We’re not huge on promoting books. That’s for the likes of The Daily Show. However, I think this is one is really timely, very important, and with a strong local angle.

Solomon admits we aren’t quite to full marriage equality yet, but expects it soon. He figures that with or without Chief Justice John Roberts’ vote, the Supreme Court will expand it to the nation, likely this term, by the end of June 2015.

Getting there has not been easy nor linear. Click the player below to hear some of the road blocks and struggles. He recounts the anguish of California’s Prop 8, which stripped legislated equality away, only to have it restored in another initiative. There, then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger “punted” as Solomon put it, after vetoing SSM twice and claiming the courts should decide. In the end though, Schwarzenegger aided the cause by not fighting the result.

Solomon also recalled the struggle to keep marriage equality alive in MA, the first state to legalize it, with the Goodridge decision of our Supreme Judicial Court. Efforts to overturn that pivoted on a ballot initiative that would require only 25% of the combined bicameral legislature to put to a risky vote. Listen in as Solomon describes what worked in MA and later elsewhere. Convincing lawmakers to support equality required gay couples, many with children, to visit their Reps and Senators to simultaneously present themselves and plead the case. That made the difference here and elsewhere.

While that campaign went on, Solomon said the pro-marriage-equality forces often felt the whole world opposed them — leadership in the Vatican, the commonwealth’s Republican party, local pols like Sen. John Kerry, and national ones like Karl Rove. He talks about how their strategy won the day, even with legislators from rural and more conservative urban areas.

Now, Solomon says, the anti- forces have pretty much lost their strength. The Catholic Church has shifted its position, the Mormon Church has backed away, and the professional anti-gay groups have much less support as the nation favors SSM by 60% or more.

For one point, Solomon is much kinder to President Barack Obama than I on the issue. Many political insiders hold that Obama was always pro-SSM but cynically held off saying so before his first election. I am incredulous that he and his wife, both lawyers with him also a former law professor, certainly knew the distinction between religious ritual and civil marriage.Solomon, who was privy to White House thinking, phrases the process leading to Obama’s support for equality differently. Solomon sees a very narrow range where politicians feel comfortable making definitive statement on controversial issues. “It’s simply the way the political process works,” he said.

~Mike

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