Archive for Boston

Boston, Vote Early (but only once)

New, Improved, Zap, Pow! For the first time ever, MA including Boston will allow early voting. That’ll be Monday, Oct. 24 through Friday, Nov. 4.

Yes, yes, this is long overdue. At least MA is one of the states going the right way. Sixteen or more other states have been legislating nonstop to limit voting. On the other hand, I’d like to see at the least:

  • Prolonged early voting
  • Same-day registration
  • Automatic voter registration upon becoming 18
  • Choice of any ballot in a primary to those registered in a party or political designation (popular in MA

However, I’m sure the legislature and secretary of the commonwealth will  look carefully at turnout this and the next few elections.

The way it work in MA and Boston this first go will be designated locations on specified days and times. You can see Boston’s locations and times here.

The overview is each neighborhood gets one ore more four to eight hour periods. Boston’s city hall has early voting every few days. For example, my Hyde Park area gets a single period, Wednesday, Oct. 26 from 2 to 8 PM.

I haven’t gotten my training for the pending general election. As a precinct warden I’m want to understand some details. For one, the election polls open Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 7 AM.

We’ll get check-in and check-out books that list each registered voter in the precinct. I assume there will be a designation beside each early voter’s name that indicates they have already voted. We have a version already for absentee voters (AV). I assume there’ll be EV or the like. So the data-entry minions at city hall area likely to be clerking away from Friday afternoon on to make sure the books we get are up to date.

 

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Transportation Equity Podcast

Just imagine what 58 transportation-oriented private and governmental groups could think of and accomplish together. Don’t imagine. Go to Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA.org) and see. Start with the last year’s legislative recap here.

Josh Ostroff, interim director, spoke today on the aims and needs. We are two transit geeks, who love everything from trains to bikes (and tolerate cars as needed). Among our fast-talking topics were:

  • transportation equity, getting everyone including the poor from where they live to where they work or want to play quickly, safely and affordably
  • maintaining roads, bridges and rails
  • planning, building and repairing for multi-modal transit
  • transit for the “unrich’ who don’t have choices for work, education, and just getting around

Regular readers and listeners know I’m big on transit. I expect more shows with principals of T4MA. Meanwhile, look through the site for what fits your interest. Consider the T4MA half day conference Fast Forward to saturate yourself in the subject.

icon for podpress  T4MA Transit Equity [30:14m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Bernie vs. Hillary — Family Tale Podcast

HillhugWho said, “A house divided against itself cannot have a peaceful dinner?” No one. Then, how about, Proverbs 17:1 — “Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.”

My family did not quite rise to disowning and blows, but we were riven. Mot were strongly Bernie Sanders supporters versus one very strong Hillary Clinton proponent.

I talked about our difficulties as a microcosm of the leftist struggle this election. No family members were hospitalized in this house.

I mused on the likelihood of Sanders-to-Clinton voting, both for us and for the nation. Even with young voters heavily favoring Sanders, he did not mobilize them or add new ones as well as Barack Obama in ’08. The phrase of note for November 8th will surely be GOTV.

icon for podpress  Dems Butting Heads — Family Tale [19:31m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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No! Town, Boston

You want to do something exciting and edgy? Boston will watch from a distance.

Let’s not talk about the old Banned-in-Boston literature and performance. Let’s not talk about Blue Laws. Let’s come to recent times, the past few years

The mayor, other pols, and citizens have defeated:

  • Summer Olympics
  • More, easy-to-get liquor licenses
  • A single F1 car race
  • In town casino
  • 24-hour mass transit
  • Late-night mass transit

What gives in a city, town really, that loves to brag it is world class? Alas, Adam Gaffin over at universalhub.com is like spot on when it call this the city that always sleeps.

A few centuries ago, Boston and Charleston SC were seen as sister cities. Their social conservatism accounted for much of the zeitgeist. They did develop stifling Blue Laws together. Boston also hid behind Puritans, then and still it ducks behind its Roman Catholicism. Those were supposed to account for and excuse the petty and nasty limits on human behavior, speech and even thought.

I’ve lived in Boston for 36 years, after a decade in Manhattan. I draw my conclusions on why this town will live vicariously through its huge student population and asthenic arts life, as though that was plenty of vitality and creativity for everyone. Harrumph.

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Jessica Berson on Exotic Dancing Podcast

jessicaYou likely don’t know much about exotic dancing or dance studies. Reading guest Jessica Berson’s <>The Naked Result: How Exotic Dance Became Big Business will fix that.

She came on to discuss her book, what goes on in private dances as well as on stage, and a lot more. Click below to hear the personal, the business, the history, and surprising (to me) analysis of the meanings of the dancing. We also spoke about how dancers and customers interact and what they get from each other.

She teaches dance studies at Yale and has at other august institutions. She is professorial type and dancer, one who got the most out of her year on stage and in front of single clients. Her book ended up at once academic and highly readable, concentrated on exotic dancing, but from its many angles. While it has personal vignettes, it is not yet another stripper memoir as Berson is quick to note.

icon for podpress  The Naked Result [31:02m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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MBTA Fair Fares Podcast

The MA legislature and recent governors have lacked vision, and still do on mass transit. They look for shortcuts, quick fixes and binary left-brained answers to questions that should demand deep analysis and keen insights.

Residents, particularly those in the Boston area, will get another fare hike of between 9 and 10%. It makes life harder on poorer citizens and solves absolutely none of the T’s troubles.

I talk a bit about the absurd and irrational debt service, about the shameful forward-funding scheme the legislature pile on the MBTA, and why they won’t even consider admitting they thoroughly blew it, much less try to fix it.

When these hikes are under discussion, a few of us call and yell and write and testify that they need to ask meaningful questions. The only one they seem to come up with is not meaningful, rather it is “How big a fare raise and we get?”

Honk. Wrong question.

My rant is has two sides. First and most obvious is fix the damn funding blunder, so the T can have cash flow for operations and maintenance. Harder but more important is asking what we want and expect from the T.

The answer is not the stupid one — on-time trains that are clean and safe. Those should be sine qua non. No, if we want mass transit to be affordable for getting all from where they live to where they work, if we want it to reduce vehicular traffic, noise, pollution and other congestion, we need to be willing to subsidize it like we do with cars and trucks.

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation report on T funding is here.

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Demon vs. Raptor…on to November

Let’s interrupt the political theater for a brief moment of reality. My guy, Bernie Sanders, has almost surely lost the Dem nomination for President. On the other side, there’s an even chance Donald Trump will come into the GOP convention with a majority of Delegates.

Clinton vs. Trump in November. The war hawk vs. the hate monger.

I talked about the mundanities, such as number of delegated needed and already bagged for the nominations. I spoke of the likelihood that each will arrive at the July convention with a majority and the nomination.

I also stuck my neck out with a prediction that Trump will have his 35% or so of the electorate that responds to emotion and bluster. Yet we see that every for years. There is always at least that much or even up to 48% who will vote for any bozo who honks his clown nose to the proper tune.

This was just a rant. At least my Boston precinct voted for Bernie yesterday.

icon for podpress  Demon vs. Raptor [26:16m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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MA Without the Usual Suspects Podcast

Mild apology up front, as our service cut off the podcast just at 30 minutes with no grace. We were still holding forth, but there’s some beef in the bun. Ryan and Mike looked to the strong possibility that Boston mayor may not run and the term-limit certainty that the governor can’t.

We never got to speculating about a possible special election for US Senate if John Kerry gets sucked into an Obama cabinet post.

We had plenty to consider and pontificate about with possible replacements for Mayor Tom Menino and Gov. Deval Patrick. Ryan’s hoping for a Boston dark horse, but Mike figures on a city councilor. They name names. Likewise for governor, we went through some prime suspects and wild cards.

Listen in as we play what-if and who.

icon for podpress  MA Usual Suspects [30:04m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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2013-14 What Ifs

We’ll speculate tomorrow. Boston’s mayor might well not run again. MA’s governor can’t by term limits. We’ll muse on those and maybe throw in some punditry on the US Senate seat here.

Join us if you can Tuesday, December 4th at 2:30 Eastern for Without the Usual Suspects. You can always catch the show later at that URL or back here.

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Reset of Public Schools Podcast

This is the moment, a second chance for change in a short time, for foundering Boston Public Schools, according to John Connolly. He joined came on today to talk about the Quality Choice Plan.

The first chance was what he called “a swing and a miss,” that brought a pretty reactionary teachers-union contract.

That new plan is either a sweeping vision for much needed reform or a renegade assault on business as usual replete with incremental efforts at the edges. He and the Globe and I among many others think of it as the former. He and I share a devotion to public education, including putting our kids in BPS. No one I know of matches his passion for the schools, fitting as he has chaired the City Council’s Education Committee for over three years.

He’s the point man for this plan, which he fine tuned with another Councilor (Matt O’Malley) and four MA Reps (Linda Dorcena Forry, Nick Collins, Ed Coppinger, and Russell Holmes). As he has in Council, he doesn’t mind taking any heat, sharing any plaudits, and meeting with everyone who can and wants to make big improvements.

Listen in as we describe the plan’s big ideas. Do check the link up top for the 10-page plan. It is unlike the typical timid proposals for upgrading urban school systems. He does touch on such high points as 16 citywide schools with dual-language and other concentrations, guaranteed K2 seats on one of the four schools closest to home, annual teacher and principal evaluations, and most of all, a strong push for innovation status schools. Those would follow the model of the successful turnarounds like the Trotter. John describes the components.

Of course, the talks about some of the pending conflicts. When I attended the press conference announcing the plan, he alluded to such essentials as longer school days — an anathema to the local teachers’ union, which just set a four-year contract. We didn’t really get into another broad area, the not-invented-here syndrome. He did mention that the School Committee leans toward its incremental, modest student-assignment proposal. He’d rather see the Quality Choice Plan or at least a hybrid with its key features.

Listen in to hear him on the plan.

icon for podpress  Connolly on BPS [30:36m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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