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Netroots Nation Recap Podcast

The annual progressive convention Netroots Nation just finished — Providence this year. Ryan was there and spoke of what made the strongest impressions.

One session that struck Ryan was on marriage equality efforts at the ballot box. He disagreed with the Maine campaign using primarily straight allies in efforts to win back the right for same-sex marriage. The campaign should be using gay couples and families, he said and wrote.

It’s not the same as being there, close enough, to hit the video. Netroots has a remarkable page with clips of each session, here.

Meanwhile, listen in to today’s show to here Ryan speak of the decline in state and local blogs, which have been so influential in recent elections, and much more.

icon for podpress  Netroots Nation [35:35m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


GOP Who Couldn’t Spit Straight

flames.jpgThe clichéd 15 minutes of fame seemed to have been 1,500 pages of infamy instead. A huge number of right-wing media, including blogs, jumped on Elizabeth Warren, Left Ahead and me following last Friday’s show and podcast. A search for “elizabeth warren” “hick” will turn up tens of thousands of fresh (in every sense) hits.

For anyone who hasn’t yet heard the very widely disseminated clips of her and me, it starts near the beginning of the 40-minute show. Click the player below to start it.

She and I share a few traits unusual and remarkable in these parts. We were both born in Oklahoma (I also spent much of my youth in West Virginia where my mother’s family was) and since moving to the Boston area (32 years ago for me and 17 for her), we’ve heard repeatedly that we were hicks for our backgrounds. I have also heard assertions that everyone in WV is a hick, hillbilly, toothless, dumb and likely the product of incest. Way to stay classy, Boston. On her part, I have been reading and hearing the no-win vise — she’s “not one of us” because she’s not a lifelong resident as well as from a hick state, and on the other hand, she and her husband have taught at Harvard for 17 years, so they are elitist snobs.

I opened the conversation with that dichotomy. She responded jovially, noting that she was aware of that Catch-22 game. She said that she must be a new category, “an elite hick.” Shortly after, she said to one of my comments about my background, “I’m going for the hick vote here. I just want you to know. Maybe we could start wearing stickers that say ‘HICKS FOR ELIZABETH’. Could we do that?”

After the absurd MA GOP and conservative responses, I might order up some of those shirt and bumper stickers. Feel free to beat me to doing that.

Surely no one is surprised that FOXnews and the like tried to hurt Warren with this. They are, after all, the same sources that excused Sen. Scott Brown’s denigration of her and even his daughters publicly as just humor. They don’t understand the fundamental difference between mild self-depreciation and knocking someone else down to appear clever.

Some of us were surprised though by the MA GOP’s effort to blow this into a big deal. Chair Jennifer Nassour is leaving. The release on it came from Communications Manager Tim Buckley, who had the unenviable task of playing the jerk in the release they emailed (not on the site yet). His paragraph before a link to a Politico piece on the podcast quotes himself as:

“Professor Warren’s insulting use of the word ‘hick’ offers a revealing prism into her elitist and arrogant worldview. Massachusetts voters deserve an explanation about just who Professor Warren was referring to when she spoke of winning the ‘hick vote.'”

Disclaimer: I have invited MA GOP head Jennifer Nassour on our show by email, voice mail, and twice face to face. Both times we chatted in person over the past year and one half, she pressed her card on me, took mine, said she’d love to do the show and to contact her office to arrange it. She or a handler seemed to have decided that was not a good idea, even knowing we’d had John Walsh, her Dem counterpart, on a couple of times. Now she’s announced she’s stepping down. I tried.

Elizabeth WarrenSensible folk are ridiculing the winger/MassGOP efforts, as in Mediaite calling them humor-challenged and NECN’s Jim Braude saying their bluster was pathetic.

Lynne, Ryan and I have been kicking around the spasm of coverage. We each figure the craziness only helps her. I see a lot of traffic going to the show both on BlogTalkRadio and here. Anyone who listens knows quickly that she was cool about the hick talk, reflecting on her and me only. Moreover with the many, many extra listens, people who otherwise were not aware of the show or her strong set of problem ID/solutions are now. As Lynne said, it looks like the MA GOP wants to help Warren as much a possible.

Being an anal-retentive, research-oriented type, I also went through even the right-wing news-like sites and blogs for comments. There, many said they’d never vote for her, but nothing lost. They typically indicated they hated Dems, progressives and liberals, and some even had harsh comments relating to women, lesbians and some coarse lingo for female body parts. Plus, quite a few made the point they were not from Massachusetts (with the thank God implied).

This appears to be a bungled effort from the right to smear Warren and likely do balancing damage control for Brown’s numerous public errors. Net, I figure they failed. A couple thousand extra MA voters and possible contributors here and elsewhere know Warren’s priorities. They can contrast an incumbent who says he doesn’t know the solutions to joblessness and such, with one providing solid proposals.

I still expect her presence in the Dem primary process and, should she advance the 2012 Senate race, will put ideas and solutions on the table and elevate the dialog. People here will get a choice.


icon for podpress  Elizabeth Warren [40:17m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Worcester Check-In Podcast

Social activist (podcaster, blogger, video maker and on and on) Mike Benedetti joined us from and to talk about Worcester. That helped keep us from our usual speculation and judgments of politicians. He is much less rarefied and concentrates on real issues of real people, like the homeless and immigrants. His own real life is after all with the Catholic Worker community.

Listen in as we figuratively walk through Worcester to talk about what matters there, how it is the same and different from other Massachusetts cities and what has been changing there. We deal with the impact (and lack thereof) of having the lieutenant governor and one of the most influential members of Congress in Jim McGovern.

You can learn more of Benedetti in this The Pulse Magazine profile (about the middle).  You can also see more of his craft and labors at Pie and Coffee and WCAATV’s 580 show.

He discusses such progressive issues as the surprising effectiveness of placing group homes in Worcester. He also walks us through the slow economic recovery of the central downtown. Listen in to hear what is and what isn’t happening…and why Worcester is a fine place to be a vegan.

icon for podpress  Mike Benedetti [49:08m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Deval, Slots, Health Podcast

Punditry special today — 2010 primary and elections, and gambling. Ryan and Mike anticipated Gov. Deval Patrick’s campaign, which starts in earnest this weekend and the destructive fantasy of casinos and slots here.

We looked favorably on Patrick’s accomplishments, but not on his presentation of them. We agreed that the info is there and the in several key places, notably the state of the commonwealth address, the governor detailed an impressive list of them. However, as Ryan was quick to say, the political junkies like we are know all that. Patrick and running mate Tim Murray need to brag, be plain, and repeat.

We don’t see casinos and slots as viable growth and job creation strategies. While House Speaker Robert DeLeo claims to have the votes to push this into law, we remain to be convinced. Next week’s debates in the House will tell.

We urge citizens here to demand realistic accounting and projections of the claimed benefits.

icon for podpress  Deval Re-election [57:56m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Deval Patrick Podcast

Deval mugTruth be told, today’s podcast with Gov. Deval Patrick was a little bit of a love fest. The usual trio had supported and endorsed him in his campaign and will again. Yet, we are like many progressives — impatient.

Amusingly he brought out one of his anecdotes about his friend Barack Obama. When Patrick complained that he hated the raising-money and bragging aspects of politics, Obama said, “Get over it.” He seems to have done that and let us know early and in detail how much his administration has accomplished.

He also detailed what he’d still like to do this year and in the next four if he wins re-election this fall. As he put it, “It’s a terrible time to cut and run.” That’s shades of FDR and don’t change horses in mid-stream.

He told us what to expect in jobs-creation drives, why and how we are closer to CORI reform than ever, why he admires Scott Brown (hating the Senate special-election outcome but respecting the effort and involvement of the campaign Brown ran), and what it means when he and the legislature have at each other. In the latter case, he first says that after the criticism and complaints, the legislature “does what I ask them to do.” His words to people like me are not to read too much into that. We should, he says, accept there will be differences and just look to the legislation or other result.

Listen in as he talks about his own compromises on the sales tax and on what progressive goals he has in his sights. He also touched on his campaign strategies against GOP challengers and the broad differences in how he and they view budget issues.

We weren’t obnoxious in liking our Governor (although Lynne did endorse his re-election on the air). He was thorough in talking about what he has done and hasn’t. We need to have him on again to finish the conversation.


icon for podpress  Deval Touches All [59:09m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Safe or Sorry Pols

We raced around the candidates for the special election for our U.S. Senate seat. Most remarkable was AG Martha Coakley’s one chronic and one acute conditions.

First, she has avoided contact with the public, both grassroots and netroots. Meanwhile the other three Dems, particularly U.S. Rep. Mike Capuano have waded into the mainstream with both feet.

Then recently she show incredible greenness in proclaiming that she would have voted against the national health-care bill solely because of its temporary amendment banning federal funding for abortion. The other candidates as well as the media have excoriated her.

We figure she still has a great shot at keeping her jack-rabbit lead. Yet if Capuano is right, the small number who will turn out for the December 8th primary will want an experienced legislator instead. He has to get those folk to the polls to advance to the January 19th final.

We go on at length and in detail on all aspects of the election.

icon for podpress  Senate special election [67:41m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Guest Commentator Podcast on TH

Golly, kids, it’s been since last fall that we were able to get blogger John Galligan (a.k.a. Humble Elias of The Chimes at Midnight) to join us. We have a special pre-election podcast this Thursday to get his commentary.

I’m sure we’ll hit national and local politics, as well as cultural issues.

If we’ve worn you down with politicians or maybe just the three usual suspects, listen in on 10/29. We fire up at 2:30 p.m. Eastern. You can catch the live stream here then. Afterward you can hear the show at the same URL or return to Left Ahead! to listen or download the show.


Debate and Kennedy Replacement Podcast

The three usual suspects hit two different topics — the significance of political debates and Sen. Ted Kennedy’s request for an appointed replacement if he has to step out. Neither was a clear-cut progressive position and we had our own disagreements.

We started by diverging on whether voters truly pay attention to debates and decide on issues. Either way, we figured that established pols like Boston Mayor Tom Menino were politically smart in avoiding too much debate and discussion.

We also had several views on how political Kennedy’s request for a law reversion to let Gov. Deval Patrick appoint a replacement in the U.S. Senate. This is close to Ted’s heart and mind as his passion for health-care reform is in crucial stages.

Listen in to hear whether we struck your chords.

icon for podpress  Chicken or Sage [47:53m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


May Showers, June Pols

While we line up some politicians and subject-matter experts as guests, this was another week of the old bald guy talking. Mike covered:

  • The race to replace Rep. Salvatore DiMasi (May primary/June election)
  • The blogging and other online politicking workshops we’ll lead at the state Dem convention next month
  • The sickness of the Boston Globe and speculation on where we’d get news without a huge, well-staffed daily
  • The looming Boston mayoral race
  • The passage of the same-sex marriage bill in Maine, plus the likelihood it will become law
  • Check back here for announcements of our guests as we book ’em.


P.S. That news-gathering Non Sequitur comic is here.

icon for podpress  May Showers [29:31m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Flurry and Fury Podcast

This was a catch up and look ahead day. Ryan and Mike talked about progressive events and actions pending in Massachusetts.

Ryan has taken the lead on our BlogLeft group.  His latest was to organize a meeting of bloggers with a few Dem Party sorts to finalize what we’ll do for the party convention the first weekend of June. He describes our presentations and round tables here.  We have Netroots interest stuff for half a day.

We hit on several events coming. Mike pushed the rally and protest related to ex-gay Exodus International training in Boston Tuesday, April 28th. We’ll provide more information about the May 17th celebration of five years of legal same-sex marriages as we get the final details.

More substantially, we hit on taxes and redirecting the legislator to funding and accomplishing progressive goals. It looks like a busy couple of years coming for BlogLeft.

icon for podpress  Flurry and Fury [37:13m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download