Archive for Labor

Khazei Calling for People to Rise Up

Alan Khazei somehow manages to be simultaneously smart, politically experienced and optimistic. Speaking with us today of the dreadful economic and employment problems as well as awful political forces, he still is confident we’ll get through it as a nation and thrive.

Doing so will require both strong governmental action and popular uprising to correct the problems. Click the player below to hear him describe the problems and solutions.

The highly accomplished social entrepreneur is not about to relax after withdrawing from the race for the Democratic U.S. Senate seat nomination. He proposed the widest ranging and most specific platform of issues with sub-issues in the race. Many of these are progressive goals he has worked for over the past several decades. He intends to find ways to accomplish them.

In case there is any doubt, he does not see the incumbent Sen. Scott Brown as a possible champion of what’s necessary for the nation. Toward the end of our half hour, he notes that Brown came in with a perfect opportunity to form a bipartisan caucus. “He could have done anything,” Khazei said. Instead, Brown has not been the game-changing leader people need and expected.

He spoke to us of the travesties of the Citizens United decision and the codification of corporations as people and money as free speech. Instead of these and such regressive moves as states requiring voter ID and otherwise limiting election participation, he wants same-day registration and other moves to open the process to more Americans. The greater the number of voters with access determines who’s elected and the quality of government, he said. To fix the dysfunctional political system requires people to rise up and demand it.

For the economic and employment side, he sees the need for state and national government to do all possible to get more Americans back to work. In the process, that can mean modern equivalents of the NRA, WPA and CCC. With that could come repairing the nation’s infrastructure and modern benefits like retrofitting green building features. The larger process would put more of us to work and more money and growth in the economy. Listen in as he describes the role national service and similar efforts can play.

Again and again, he returned to the point that “ultimately, it’s going to take a citizen movement” to implement these actions. In that vein, he said early on that far too many politicians and bureaucrats in Washington are “stuck in the Beltway.” Many are not aware that “there are a lot of great answers” beyond.

By the bye, he did not endorse anyone for the Senate race, but did say that he would campaign for the eventual nominee if asked.

icon for podpress  Alan Khazei [34:14m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Flaherty At-Large Race Podcast

Michael Flaherty doesn’t lack enthusiasm, even in an off-year election with no preliminary to whet voter’s interest. In what figures to be an extremely low turnout on Nov. 8th, he’s determined to become at at-large Boston City Councilor yet again. As former body president who quite two years ago to run against the mayor, he’s one of seven in the hunt for an at-large seat, with all four incumbents running for reelection.

Listen in as Flaherty deals with all three co-hosts on many topics. He hits his stump speech points on construction and government jobs going to Boston residents, on city schools being good enough to let residents get into the local great universities, and both citywide and neighborhood crime plans instead of just reacting to violence. He expands on some areas like jobs — wrap-around services for student and year-round job opportunities them, as well as squeezing the many colleges and other non-profits to hire residents for their important positions.

He addressed corruption among local pols. He also went head-on to discuss his relationship with Mayor Tom Menino as well as the Council. He bills himself as not a go along to get along guy, but says there’s nothing personal when he disagrees with Menino or a councilor. It isn’t personal, but about policy he says, adding, “I can work with anyone.” He does believe that competition in good and drives government and politicians to be their best.

Click the player below to hear how he thinks his running for mayor last time brought improvement. He also addresses whether councilors should have four-year instead of two-year terms.

icon for podpress  Michael Flaherty [34:20m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Occupy Wall St. Podcast

In case you had any doubt were we’d fall on the 99% v. 1% struggle, listen in. Ryan and Mike speak about the Occupy Wall Street movement. Click below to activate the player or download the show.

We deal with how it came about, the absurd media reaction, and even how it relates to other real or pretend grassroots movements. We think it has a lot better chance to thrive and force changes than the media and pols do.

icon for podpress  Occupy Wall Street [31:58m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


MA Casinos, Again, Podcast

Early-as-possible warning on the casino front… Ryan and Mike went on about the latest, behind-closed-doors, lobbyist snuggling casinos/slot parlor effort on Beacon Hill.

The governor and top dog from each house will come out after Labor Day presenting a combined front. It will run something like three destination casinos, one slot parlor, and a lot less possible money than ever mentioned. Ryan detailed the sneaky add-ins, like 9% to go to horse racing interests.

The fantasies that casinos would solve MA’s money problems are belied by experience of states with gambling, far and close, as well as the economic studies of the industry. Listen in as we discuss the obvious and other drawbacks.

We’re urging people to pay attention come next month. So far, the effort has been to slide this proposal through without education to avoid objection. As Ricky Ricardo would have said, “You go a lot of splanin’ to do.”

icon for podpress  MA Casinos, Again [29:42m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Flaherty Livens Race Podcast

Here’s one Boston pol not afraid of powerful, longest serving Mayor Thomas Menino. Michael Flaherty enlivened the at-large City Councilor race by announcing his campaign to rejoin the body.

Our conversation with him today (click the player below to listen) dug into what he wants to do if he returns, why he’d run rather than just work his law practice, how he’ll campaign, and…a lot…on what he sees as the flaws with what he calls “one of the most powerful mayors and most petty mayors” in Boston history.

Two years ago the former Council President stepped back to try to unseat Menino. Then as now, he found the Councilors “frequently marginalized,” and thus less effective than they should be. Listen in as he describes initiatives, like a 13th year of school to prepare BPS students who need this to succeed in college. He stresses the check-and-balance role of the Council and differentiates it from being “cheerleaders.”

icon for podpress  Michael Flaherty [33:29m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Boston & MA Updates Podcast

We went up and down the hall today, opening doors and peeking in them. There was:

  • The suddenly hot at-large Boston City Council race, with 13 total, including the four incumbents and form biggy Councilor Mike Flaherty.
  • We hit on whose running, who really has shots and what their liabilities might be.
  • We went two steps up to the candidates for U.S. Senate for the first full term after Scott Brown replaced the late Ted Kennedy. We discussed Setti Warren and Alan Khazei in particular.
  • We wound up with the drive to do a WI-style trumping of public-employee collective bargaining. We don’t buy disclaimers from MA legislators that it’s very different.
icon for podpress  Boston & MA Updates [31:09m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


‘scansin Scandal Podcast

The Wisconsin union-busting attempt by brinkman Gov. Scott Walker continues to hoist him on his petard. He figured he’d carry his anti-union corporations-instead-of-people crusade further as the new head of state.

Instead, he has riled up most of Wisconsin and much of the nation. While the public-sector unions agreed to his economic demands, he iterates that what he really wants is to strip them of all collective-bargaining rights. Efforts to turn workers and managers in the first state to allow public unions into employees at will has met with fierce resistance and his poll numbers have plunged to tiny figures.

We talked about what this is about. Ryan recommends Rachel Maddow’s take, like here. Walker has also blundered into abject lying territory about public-sector income, which is easily refuted, like here.

We discuss the likelihood of the failure of this union-busting efforts and how it is galvanizing non-union as well as union Americans. We talk about Walker’s befuddled economic policies, past and present. This seems to be yet another overreaching that causes a tumble on the right.

icon for podpress  'scansin Scandal [32:36m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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‘scansin Scandal

We’ll be kicking the union-busting can up and down the hall for a half hour tomorrow, Wednesday, 2/23, at 2:30 PM Eastern. If you can join us for the live stream, go here then. If not, you can listen or download there or back here at Left Ahead!

It’s an odd day and time, but if you have something to add, use the call-in number during the show — 718-664-6966.

This is a seminal fight that WI Gov. Walker has picked. The extreme right loves the idea of hiding behind fiscal responsibility when the real aim clearly reversing many decades of union rights to collective bargaining. Progressives and even wishy-washy liberals say if you want to balance budgets, start with Wall Street profiteers and the super-rich who have benefited from crazy tax breaks for many years. There’s a piper to be paid, but not by the working and middle classes.

This is quickly shaping up as the great political fight of the time.


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


Mass GOP Mess

Loud, incessant and dolorous is the keening. The Massachusetts Republican Party dominated the commonwealth for most of the post-Civil War. Yet, it has an all-time low percentage of elected officials at the state and national levels.

We kicked around:

  • How they got to this state of the state
  • What they might do other than complain
  • How accurate the one-party description is here
  • The role that Democrats in Name Only (DINOs) play
icon for podpress  Endangered Species [53:18m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download