Archive for September, 2007

Prisons and More Podcast

We’ll be covering crime and punishment in several podcasts, future ones with guests. Today, we started with our views on how to deal with convicted criminals, on why America has such a huge proportion of its populace in jails, and what the alternatives are. Then we jumped to the casino debate again, this time with some added context – such as the fact that when there’s a casino within 50 miles of a home, addiction to gambling literally doubles, according to a report commissioned by the US Congress. Also, all three hosts were annoyed that Speaker DiMasi hasn’t offered any enticing alternatives to casino revenue to help diffuse whatever arguments pro-casino people have at their disposal. Finally, we touched on the United Auto Worker’s strike at GM autoplants and what it all means for the grand scheme of things.

Posts of the Week

Mike thought he was through with Larry Craig, before stumbling on a great analytical series. Over at Ridenbaugh Press, Randy Stapilus is running a four part series — one here, two here, three here and four in the works. He details the implications for Craig and other politicians of situations where they have misdemeanor convictions. He also explains how the ACLU blew its amicus brief. This series is solid journalism.

Lynne’s Blog of the Week is on a new favorite kid on the block she found, Feministe. It focuses on all sorts of women’s issues and features top-notch writing and analysis. There are all sorts of great articles on Feministe, ranging from racial issues to media critiques. Give it a whirl.

Ryan’s Blog of the Week can be found at FireDogLake. It focuses on Dan Rather’s lawsuit against CBS and how, contrary to popular conception, not all of Rather’s points regarding Bush’s service regard during Vietnam were ever answered. The questions are still relevant, not because Bush may or may not have abused the system in the 1970s, but because he’s still lying about them today.

icon for podpress  Lock 'em up [59:07m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Casino Battles Podcast

Today, we hit on the big one, the sudden fight over establishing casinos in Massachusetts. It promises to dominate the fall and beyond.

Gov. Deval Patrick faces huge deficits now and ongoing. For nearly 20 years, education, infrastructure and other key expenditures have been pushed off. That minimized taxes, but the bill is here and it’s huge.

This week, Patrick proposed three casino zones, open for bids. In doing so, he hopes to create 20,000 new jobs and hundreds of million in revenue. But what exact kinds of jobs are we getting? Minimum wage, for sure. And how much new revenue is going to be in that hundreds of millions? As we can see from anywhere with major resort casinos, they kill local businesses – meaning there are huge losses in taxable revenue, too. Furthermore, as Representative Dan Bosley states at a casino forum today, most of the casino revenue isn’t going to be new anyway. It’s only going to be money that would have been spent elsewhere, like the local businesses we’re now putting at great risk of going under.

Posts of the Week

Following the horrific confinement and torture of a black woman by white ridge runners in West Virginia, the Create West Virginia blog goes into the issues head on. It’s Mike’s post of the week.

It notes, “On the one hand, an outpouring of outrage over the brutal act and compassion for the victim. On the other, a reluctance to reflect on what this says about the existence of racism and a lack of diversity in West Virginia.” It’s something people in many places would confront as well.

In other cities and states, incidents like the one in Big Creek happen. Perhaps even more frequently than in West Virginia. The challenge is that we can’t point to something positive that the vast majority of West Virginians are proactively doing to eradicate prejudice, racism and intolerance. We don’t have a notable counter-point to an incident like Big Creek. In fact, we often have the opposite: silence, with hopes that it will all go away and people will remember the #3-ranked Mountaineers instead.

Ryan’s Blog of the Week is another one of David Kravitz’s series on Jon Keller’s new book. This time, David focuses on Chapter 3 and Keller’s favorite terminology, such as “welfare queens” and “gimmie girls.” How is this person seen as a political analyst on TV again?

Fear not, David takes Keller to the woodshed.

But his “never missed a high-calorie meal,” “gimme girls,” and especially “welfare queens” comments strike me as worthy of, well, “Ronald Reagan, Pat Buchanan, or any of the right wing’s most accomplished bashers.” Maybe that’s what they mean by self-fulfilling prophecies.

Right on, David.

icon for podpress  Casino Battle Looms [53:59m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


This and That Podcast

This was a sundries edition and short. We analyzed the 5th CD victory of Niki Tsongas, while briefly lamenting that an even more progressive candidate won’t be in the final, here or elsewhere. We also wondered where the report on casino gambling in the commonwealth is and why the governor has not released it or made his position clear. On the six anniversary of the attacks of 9/11, we regretted that we did not seem to be any more secure as a nation or individuals.

Posts of the Week

The co-author of the California health-care bill posted on the California Progress Report. Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata is peeved.

As he has done with the same-sex-marriage bill that passed (for the second time), Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he’ll veto the health-care bill. For health-care, he’ll demand a special legislative session to tailor the bill to his desires. In particular, the bill mandates that employers pay up to 7.5% of payroll for health care, while Arnie wants a limit of 4%. As Perata put it:

The Governor never put his health care proposal, which he introduced in January, into print as a bill. He left the heavy lifting of developing and refining the legislation to Democrats and legislative leaders. And, we delivered a practical, workable plan.If the Governor rejects our plan and is serious about getting comprehensive health care reform, it’s time for him to step up, show leadership and put forward a plan in writing. That should be the starting point of any special session on the matter.

icon for podpress  The Election Season [36:28m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Marc Solomon Talks Futures

Following the wonderful, powerful, affirming defeat of the amendment that would have halted same-sex marriage here, a pivotal player discussed that process and what’s next. Marc Solomon, MassEquality’s Campaign Director was our guest.

He spoke of their strategy during the battle and what may be next for his organization. We also ranged on what local progressives can do now, to what may happen next in states with DOMA laws and amendments. He also confirmed our feeling that within a few years we may see marriage equality throughout New England.

Among the highlights are:

  • “There’s no reason why every state in New England shouldn’t have mull marriage equality within five years.”
  • Legislators have seen the repercussions of voting for marriage equality, “where were none.”
  • In California, marriage equality opponent and law vetoer Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — “He’s a wimp. You can tell him I said so…I’d put Deval (Patrick) up against Schwarzenegger in an action movie any day.”
  • Senate President Therese Murray was essential to the amendment defeat. She worked hard from the beginning. “She was very, very dedicated to making this outcome happen.” Marc detailed his interactions with her.
  • Massachusetts had a great advantage in having marriage equality, something to defend rather than just trying to defeat a DOMA law or amendment.
  • MassEquality “asked our legislature legislative leaders to go out on a huge limb for us” and did not push immediately to overturn the 1913 laws forbidding out-of-state same-sex-couples from marrying here. Yet, Marc expects the legislature to get to repealing them at the end of this session or early next year.
  • He iterated that his group’s prime goal was supporting all legislators who voted against the amendment, starting with the 11 who switched, but keeping all in office in light of anti-equality folk who pledged to defeat them. This includes volunteering and contributing to campaigns.

Posts of the Week

Mike clicked over to the collective blog Iowa Independent. There, Douglas Burns holds that Gay Bashing Should Be Reserved for Sundays. He discusses the straight views of same-sex marriage. Then, he gets to it with:

A marriage license — for gays or straights — is really an economic pact tying people’s fortunes together. In that sense, a homosexual union is essentially a free-market choice about who has access to one’s money…Sure, businesses would legally have to recognize the status of married gays. But if a corporation provides health-care benefits to an employee’s wife who happens to be named Tim instead of Kim, what’s the difference, really?…Moral judgments on homosexuality are better left to the churches, which don’t have to perform gay marriages or even accept homosexual members…Some churches denounce homosexuality as sinful. Southern Baptists have been very vocal in their opposition to gay marriage. Meanwhile, the Episcopalian Church confirmed an openly homosexual bishop. Fortunately, you can attend either church. And since opinions about homosexuality and marriage are at their core religious beliefs or lack thereof you should be able to marry someone of either sex. It’s a matter of religious freedom.

There’s a catch phrase and a metaphor. You can attend either church.

icon for podpress  After the Cheers [55:18m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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MassEquality Game Afoot Today

As a reminder, we expect Marc Solomon, Campaign Director for MassEquality on today’s podcast. To repeat our previous promo, he was key in framing the issues and leading the fight against the amendment to stop same-sex marriages here.

We discuss the recent victory a bit, but more on the struggles underway. We want to know what he sees for himself and his organization, but also where he sees other activists needed.

You can listen live from 2:30 p.m. or check back here for a link to listen or download the podcast any time after that.