Archive for August, 2008

Ryan Does Denver

In today’s LeftAhead, Lynne and Ryan talked about the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Ryan was in Denver until Sunday night, staying in the same hotel as the Massachusetts DNC delegation, for the National Stonewall Democrats Convention. Lynne asked Ryan all about it – who were the speakers, what was it like, what was Denver like? Etc.

Then we talked about the first night of the DNC, most especially Michelle Obama’s excellent speech. Ryan also talked about Bob Neer’s book – which he’s halfway through – that serves as an introduction to the Obama’s. Between both sources, it becomes more than apparent what the Obama’s are and what they represent: the kind of hard-working people with solid family values that the rest of the country should aspire to. Both Obama’s passed over lucrative law careers to become community organizers, earning paltry salaries and struggling with the rest of us… because they wanted to do their part in making a better world. How cool is that?

We also chatted about the media’s coverage of Michelle, Hillary and the entire campaign.

icon for podpress  Ryan Does Denver: Download


Stickers over Watertown Podcast

We learned quite a bit about how party town committees work and had a progressive candidate on to discuss his drive to become State Rep. form the 29th Middlesex in Watertown and a bit of Cambridge.

Steve Owens came on first. He chairs the Watertown Democratic Town Committee (coincidentally, we’ve known him for years as the blogger behind .08 Acres).  He explained how the May resignation of Rep. Rachel Kaprielian came after filing dates, meaning his committee with that of the 9th Ward in Cambridge could have picked a candidate to be on the ballot instead of her. Rather than play kingmakers, they left an open, sticker campaign.

There are four candidates likely to push themselves as sticker folk for the 9/16 primary:

We narrowed to Jon to focus on the issues. He also seems the most progressive candidate.

The show concentrated on those little issues, like what vital improvements are needed short-term and longer and how the devil we can pay for them.

icon for podpress  Stark Rep. Choice [61:59m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Sprint for Watertown/Cambridge

This is not the trek toward the White House. It’s a dash for Rep. Rachel Kaprielian’s 29th Middlesex seat (Watertown and Cambridge).

Kaprielian got the head of the Registry of Motor Vehicles. It was too late for the usual nomination process. We face an all-sticker race with four distinct candidates — a union one, a conservative, a progressive, and a Bill-Clinton admin alum.

Tomorrow (TU 8/19), we bring on Steve Owens, head of the Dem town committee. He’ll explain the forces and peculiarities that left t his race up for grabs.

On the same show, we’ll have Jon Hecht, the progressive to pitch his candidacy and explain what the district’s needs are.

If you want to do your homework, the candidates include:

Voters don’t have a lot of time to make up their minds. However, the results promise to reveal much about the district.


No Surprise Wilkerson Op-Ed

For full disclosure, I point to today’s guest column in Bay Windows. Ryan and I codified our sense that the ethical angles do matter in the two-progressive race for the Second Suffolk Senate seat.

The piece is no surprise to those who read Ryan’s Take or Marry in Massachusetts.  We acknowledge that Sen. Dianne Wilkerson has a strong advantage in being a 16-year incumbent who has brought in the grants and other funds consistently. On many progressive causes, including gay rights, same-sex marriage and GLBT issues, she has been a solid vote if not always the leader.

feature.jpgYet, maybe it was the ways we were raised. While Lynne sits in Lowell with no stated position, Ryan and I think challenger Sonia Chang-Díaz has a strong, much better articulated platform of leftist goals. We think she’d come up to speed in renewing her existing legislative relationships, quickly being an effective senator.

Common wisdom says this remains Wilkerson’s seat. We’d prefer otherwise.

Parenthetically, we’d love for Wilkerson to reschedule the podcast she canceled the day before. We’re more than open to her trying to convince us and our listeners that she should return to Beacon Hill.



Wilkerson, Plus the MBTA Panic

What if you gave a party and the guest of honor couldn’t make it? Surely, she’d want the other folk to party on.

We did that today after getting a call yesterday from Sen. Dianne Wilkerson’s chief of staff saying she had a conflict that prevented her from calling in at her chosen time. We had promoted the show, and Blog Talk Radio even put it on top of its front page. We went ahead presenting the  key issues.

We took her staff at their word and expect her aide who schedules her to pick another date and time. We’ll update the various blogs for any reprise.

To the show, we covered:

  • For the Second Suffolk senatorial district, this is a good choice to have — among two progressives. Many states don’t have any such options and we do here as well as in our 35th Middlesex House race, between Pat McCabe and Jim Caralis.
  • Wilkerson claims a long list of endorsements, from the governor to the president of the senate to Boston’s mayor to GLBT groups.
  • Challenger Sonia Chang-Díaz has clear policy positions and says you don’t need to choose between left-wing goals and ethics.
  • The incumbent says her recent plea bargain with the commonwealth attorney general “closes the book” on her personal, financial and legal troubles. This election may well come down to whether voters believe she’s put these many distractions in her wake.

bsbucks.jpgOtherwise, we riffed on the Metropolitan Boston Transit Authority (MBTA or T) and its latest overreaction or mis-reaction. MIT students were going to present a paper describing security flaws in the transit passes. Rather than embrace the knowledge and fix the problems, the short-term solution was the pummel the messengers, including getting a restraining order gagging the lads. This smells of the Mooninites.

It can be embarrassing to live where truth or toys cause panic.

icon for podpress  Dianne Wilkerson [53:48m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Wilkerson in the Window Delayed

Follow-Up: No Wilkerson podcast tomorrow, 8/12/8. Sen. Wilkerson’s chief of staff called to say conflicts prevented it. We take her at her word and await rescheduling.

All Massachusetts will likely turn to watch the Second Suffolk primary fight between Sen. Dianne Wilkerson and Sonia Chang Díaz. In a widely culturally, racially and otherwise diverse district it pits two progressives.dianne.jpgListen in this Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. to hear Wilkerson tell us why she’s still the one. She says her legal troubles are behind her and points to almost 16 years of delivering the goods for neighborhoods and GLBT constituents. We’ll post the show here later in the afternoon. You can listen or download.  You can go to the link above anytime to grab it too.

In April, we brought on the challenger. They have similar platforms. We’ll ask Dianne to differentiate her positions as well.


35th Progressive #2, Jim Caralis

The second progressive challenger for the 35th District House seat, Jim Caralis, joined us today. Sunday we had the other one, Pat McCabe.

That’s a good conflict for Medford and Malden votes to have — a choice between two good lefties, or to keep the DINO in office, Paul Donato.

Right off, Caralis differentiated himself from McCabe as well as Donato (not hard for the latter). Jim does not see casinos as a good revenue source and opposes them. He does favor such measures as taxing ads in Massachusetts for casinos elsewhere.

Caralis’ emphases would we on returning aid to previous levels. He notes that Medford is one of eight towns in the commonwealth that have actually lost aid in contrast to six years ago. Moreover, while he is not totally against raising taxes, he thinks most money for improved education, infrastructure and similar expenditures can come from efficiencies and redirecting moneys to where they are needed.

He has detailed proposals on what he wants and how he would expect to facilitate those on his site.

icon for podpress  Jim Caralis Chat [34:01m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Today’s Podcast: Candidate Pat McCabe Calls In

Today, we had a special Sunday session with candidate for the 35th Middlesex District for State Representative, Patrick McCabe – the latest in our Candidate Series (here are our previous candidate shows). He’s in one of the most progressive districts in this state that’s not currently being represented by progressive leadership in Medford and Malden.

Paul Donato, the incumbent, is against a women’s right to choose and voted against marriage equality numerous times. The primary battle’s already done some good, in getting Donato to vote to repeal 1913, but is it damage already done?

Listen to today’s podcast to hear Pat talk about everything from universal health care and leadership to his background as a West Point grad and union organizer. Fast forward to 13-14 minutes in for when Pat comes on.

Click below to listen to or download today’s show.

icon for podpress  Pat McCabe Chat [54:29m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download