Archive for August, 2009

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


Boston Youth Violence Podcast

Mediating between feuding street gangs in Boston has been just another part of Rev. Jeffrey Brown’s calling for well over a decade. Now that he’s executive director of the Boston TenPoint Coalition, he has vastly expanded policy and implementation roles.

The goal that everyone agrees is the crucial and obvious one is duplicating the Boston Miracle from the early 1990s. That was a staunching of extreme youth-on-youth violence in the hub. The Coalition was headed by two black ministers and worked as it coordinated the efforts of many churches, community groups, Boston police and others.

Rev. Brown was quick to tell us that his underlying goal is even more ambitious. His group wants and expects to transform Boston’s youth culture with the aim of permanently stopping the violence, gangs and drugs.

Meanwhile, he is pastor of the socially activist Union Baptist Church in central Cambridge. He has held and expanded that role for the past two decades since he took over at 25.  That’s significant as he sextupled membership there, while keeping and growing the century-long tradition of social involvement.

Listen in as he describes what the Coalition does, will do and how they go about it.

icon for podpress  Another Boston Miracle [55:40m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Polling Deval Podcast

Deval PatrickRyan and Mike waded into MA Gov. Deval Patrick’s recent terrible approval poll numbers. Why has he sunk and what does that mean for his pending re-election campaign?

We figure he’s going to have to make it plain what he has accomplished and what he still wants to do. Certainly none of the like opponents has anything like answers for those. However, in the terrible economic times, he remains the lightning rod for people’s troubles here. He has to describe clearly what he has done.

We discussed why we think he fell short of some of our ideals for him, but what he pushed through over tremendous opposition. Listen in to see whether you agree with our assessments.

icon for podpress  Polling Deval [37:35m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Comments (1)

Another Boston Miracle?

We have a special and extra show this week on Thursday, August 20th, at 10 a.m. The new executive director of the Boston TenPoint Coalition joins us.

Rev. Jeffrey Brown has the ambitious goal of leading the effort to minimize urban violence in Boston, mostly the youth-on-youth variety. It was over a decade ago that the Coalition led the successful effort that became the Boston Miracle.

He’ll tell us what’s changed on the streets and in the larger communities and how his group will address the challenge.

You can listen live here Thursday at 10 a.m. You can check that URL later or return to Left Ahead to listen to or download the show.



Bipartisan? Politics Podcast

We kicked around the new style of compromise and bipartisanship of President Obama and MA Gov. Patrick. It’s been kind of working, but with hits and misses at both the state and national level.

We ended up dissecting the fights for health-care reform, both in Congress and the attempts to scuttle public debate by the pharma-funded and the plain obstreperous.

Both our gov and prez are committed to this modern style of legislative politics. We talk about what seems to be working and not.


icon for podpress  Buds of a Feather [41:51m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Improving Gateway Cities Podcast

On today’s LeftAhead podcast, Lynne and Ryan invited special guest Ben Forman, of MassINC, to talk about Gateway Cities in Massachusetts, something MassINC’s done an enormous amount of work on. Ben is one of MassINC’s research specialists on Gateway Cities and brings a lot of knowledge to the table. You can read some of his work here.

Called “Gateway Cities” because they tend to be both gateways to the middle class as well as communities where large influxes of immigrants move into, they’re incredibly important to the economic prosperity of the Commonwealth. While Gateway cities bled manufacturing jobs and population for decades, they’re still a major part of the Massachusetts economy and, with a little more effort and strategy, could yet again become the economic engines and ladders to the middle class that they were once before. Simply put, this state does not become a place of economic opportunity for all unless it works on economic and community development in its 11 Gateway Cities, representing a huge proportion of the population at large. Ben thinks focusing on education, housing and the business-service sector is the key to accomplishing that goal.

Lynne did the behind-the-scenes computer hosting this time, for the first time, so we had a few technical difficulties at the start, so listeners may want to skip ahead a few minutes, when things start rolling smoothly. Ryan insists he get the blame for leaving bad directions.

icon for podpress  Standard Podcast [48:50m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download