Archive for October, 2009

Punditry Aplenty Podcast

Friend, raconteur and wit John Galligan joined us (Mike at least) today. He blogs at The Chimes at Midnight, which blends politics, culture, historical and literary allusions and more.

Lynne had business and Ryan was at the casino hearing at the State House. Check Ryan’s Take for his commentary and expect some observations at Left Ahead! Note that next week we are moving our show from the regular Tuesday to Wednesday, November 4th, to allow comment on the election results.

Listen in below as we plough the state and city fields. With his couple of political-science degrees, John put the Boston councilor and mayor races, as well as the special-election for U.S. Senate, in perspective. He describes the different criteria voters use for candidates for each office.

He has, however, been surprised by U.S. Rep. Mike Capuano’s weak showing in the one debate among Senate candidates. He’s seen him do better. He also was disappointed in Martha Coakley’s performance.

John also suggests that we get accustomed to instant candidates like Steve Pagliuca and Alan Khazei.  From Howard Dean for President and Deval Patrick for our governor, successful online fund-raising and political organizing means we are certain to see more. That means harder choices for voters among candidates who have sidestepped the usual progression in office.

He also offers a perspective on the commonwealth attorney general’s office. It’s the enemies an AG makes in performing duties that keeps her in the office and from moving above and beyond. He figures Martha Coakley is smart to try to get out now.

There was more, including John’s hope that the casino-gambling effort translates into a ballot initiative. He thinks as long as it stays in the State House, it remains below the public view and comment. When it is up for vote, the sides can make their arguments.

We covered quite a bit and had a good time of it. I hope you do too.

icon for podpress  Punditry Aplenty [60:05m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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BPS Podcast with John Connolly

Boston Public Schools are not there, but can get there. So said City Councilor John Connolly, who chairs the education committee.

He joined us to talk about what right and wrong with the massive school system here and what the roles of the various key players are in improving it.  While he doesn’t blame parents who turn to private or parochial schools, he is a former teacher who is a strong advocate of solid public education for all.

Listen in as he goes head into what schools have to offer and be to provide parents what what they need. He speaks to the discrepancies in facilities and features from school to school. He looks to the complex issues of freeing up much of the $80 million a year the system spends on busing kids to decent schools to in turn make every neighborhood a decent one.

He has considerable hope that the often maligned BPS system is heading in the right direction. He intends to do his part and hopes to remain on and continue to head the education committee.

We cover the range of related topics from charter schools to the teachers union to English language learners and special-needs students.

icon for podpress  Boston Public Schools [57:49m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Guest Commentator Podcast on TH

Golly, kids, it’s been since last fall that we were able to get blogger John Galligan (a.k.a. Humble Elias of The Chimes at Midnight) to join us. We have a special pre-election podcast this Thursday to get his commentary.

I’m sure we’ll hit national and local politics, as well as cultural issues.

If we’ve worn you down with politicians or maybe just the three usual suspects, listen in on 10/29. We fire up at 2:30 p.m. Eastern. You can catch the live stream here then. Afterward you can hear the show at the same URL or return to Left Ahead! to listen or download the show.


Boston Schools Podcast

The Boston Councilor who chairs the education committee joins us. John Connolly is hip deep in improving the city schools in ways large and small.John Connolly

Boston public schools have been big news and noise for decades. This mayoral election alone, we hear they are pretty good and getting better, or that they fail most students most of the time.

Click over here for the live stream tomorrow, Tuesday, October 27th at 2:30 p.m. Eastern. The call-in number is at that URL. If you can’t join us then, you can return to that URL or return to Left Ahead! or go to iTunes to hear or download the show.

This is important stuff around here. Connolly will let us know what’s in the works.

Disclaimer: I endorsed Connolly for Boston City Councilor at-large on one of my individual blogs. Left Ahead! does not endorse local city races. He and I had spoken on many issues and narrowed to education previously and privately. This podcast coincidentally runs during campaign season before the 11/3 election.  I thought about pushing this off until afterward, but that seemed silly. Plus, he had a huge lead over the field in the preliminary voting and doesn’t seem to need even a little extra boost.



Capuano Aiming for Senate Podcast

Rep. Mike Capuano joined us to talk about the special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat of the late Ted Kennedy. He calls in 20 minutes into the show, as pre-arranged. We introduce the race and contestants first. Then we discuss Capuano’s voting record and politics.

As is his wont, he was plainspoken and straight ahead with us. He shied from nothing and wants everyone to know where he stands and how he operates.

We discussed the jack-rabbit head start of our AG Martha Coakley in the race. He is sure of two things there. First, all the candidates, including him, will have plenty of money to conduct this short race; money won’t decide it. Second, he’s the only one with a voting record and legislative history after 11 years in the House; he’s confident that voters will go with the person who knows how to do the job.

He spent some time on key issues. He won’t vote for health-care reform without a robust public option, for one.  That is, as he put it, “the only way…that will really provide competition for insurance companies.” The other would be the impossible-to-achieve-short-term single-payer system.

He is strong on human rights, including GLBT rights and marriage equality. Likewise, he was one of the few legislators to vote against the PATRIOT Act. He viewed it as letting the terrorists dictate to us and change the way we live, giving the government far too much authority over individual liberties. He also spoke and voted against the Iraq invasion.

Listen for some colorful tropes too. He likened Republicans to a pack of dogs who hunt together and Dems to a herd of cats. He admires House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for having the temperament to manage all the cats.

While he says he could not do that, he said too that he is the only candidate in the race who knows how to get things done in Congress. “I like politics, both the internal politics and external…When it comes to hitting the ground running, I’m the most likely.”

He spoke about both what’s important to him and how he operates.

icon for podpress  Mike Capuano [59:53m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Endorsements? Over there

Regular listeners and readers here know we are not big on endorsements. That is particularly true for local elections and specifically for Boston ones. That’s largely because we are in three different places and I am the only one who lives in Boston.

However, we have paid a lot of attention to various contests. The at-large councilor race in Boston has been of great interest to me. I attended various debates and forums, we pounded all the available candidate websites and we interviewed several candidates.

I  have endorsements for that ballot. They are over at Marry in Massachusetts.



Capuano Podcast Next Thursday

We’re running another special this coming week (are we becoming a department store?). Thursday, U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano joins us. Of course, he’ll concentrate on his candidacy to move to the U.S. Senate in the special election to replace the late Ted Kennedy.

Rep. CapuanoExpect the Congressman about 6:20 p.m. Eastern. We’re catching him on a typically busy day. He’s doing his full House load plus campaigning.

We’ll start the show at 6 p.m. Eastern, Thursday, October 22nd. We’ll describe the race as well as provide background on Capuano’s positions and voting record. That way, when he can join us, we can get right down to it.

You can listen live at this URL. That page lists a call-in number if you just have to squeeze in a short question.

Afterward, you can hear the full show or download it from the same URL, here at Left Ahead! or on iTunes.

The Thursday show will be in lieu of our regular Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. one. Expect a return to the regular schedule on Tuesday, Oct. 27th.


Pressley Boston Council Podcast

Ayanna PressleyDown to the last weeks, the highly competitive Boston At-Large City Council race looks exciting from here. Today, candidate Ayanna Pressley joined up and held up well under a barrage of diverse questions.

There are four open at-large seats this time, because two councilors did not run for re-election to challenge Mayor Tom Menino. The Michael Flaherty and Sam Yoon at-large spots were up as well as the re-election bids of incumbents John Connolly and Steve Murphy.  The 9/22 preliminary cut the field of 15 to eight for the general on 11/3. The top four become councilors.

Ayanna finished fourth in the preliminary, ahead of our previous candidate guest Andrew Kenneally.  We blowhard types figure that the incumbents (who finished one-two in the preliminary) will win re-election. Felix Arroyo, son of a former councilor, finished a strong third and looks headed to a chair and office. We’re looking for a lot of rivalry between Pressley and Kenneally.

Pressley seemed to have settled considerably since I spoke with her in May. Her emphasis is far less that she’d add greater African-American presence, plus being the only woman on council, and much more on what she’d bring as a package. More important, she had answers for a wide range of questions.

We asked her about what relationship her 16 years in D.C. working for Rep. Joe Kennedy and Sen. John Kerry had to do with anything local. She didn’t promise more money for Boston, rather good relationships from the existing mayor and council level through the state to facilitate changes and legislation.

Listen in to hear what she thinks the councilors should be doing to improve education, pubic safety and housing/development. She was clear on not jumping into things, like dumping the Boston Redevelopment Authority or demanding an elected school committee. She was a lot more for the proposition that cooperation among the council, mayor, state and public will affect the big goals. She unquestionably fell into the evolution, not revolution, camp.

If you’re a Boston voter, it’s your job to listen to her and Kenneally to see whether one or both is credible to you.


icon for podpress  Pressley Makes Her Case [57:47m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Obama and HRC Promises Podcast

Our self-declared progressive President can’t seem to close any deal on gay rights or LGBT issues. Likewise, the Human Rights Campaign as self-appointed leader for LGBT rights counsels patience…seven years’ worth.

Ryan and Mike ripped into what they have promised and some of the list of what they haven’t delivered. During his campaign, Barack Obama promised overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and the military’s don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy. He promised to use a bully pulpit to force these civil-rights issues to quick resolution. He promised equal marriage rights too.

He keeps talking, talking, talking, and not acting. Even on DADT, which he could effectively halt with an executive order as I type this, talks, talks, talks to Pentagon and Congressional anti-gay sorts instead of forcing anything.

Ryan has noted before that the HRC does next to nothing and seems to be a time and money sink for the LGBT communities.

We offer own own suggestions for what those who really want change should and should not do. Obama and the HRC clearly need leadership, as they don’t offer it here.


icon for podpress  Unfulfilled Promises [40:57m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Pressley and Obama’s Promises Podcasts

We have two shows this week, on Tuesday and Thursday.

At our regular day and time, we discuss President Obama’s promises to the LGBT communities. In light of his weekend speech to the Human Rights Campaign, how are his repeal DOMA and DADT promises playing? To keep our acronyms perking, we discuss HRC itself.

Catch that show live here at 2:30 Eastern on Tuesday, Oct. 13th, or check back afterward.

On Thursday, we run a special show talking with Boston City Council candidate Ayanna Pressley. In September’s preliminary, she finished a strong fourth of 15 candidates. She needs to be in the top four of eight in the November final to take her first elected office. We have spoken with her competitor, Andrew Kenneally. She details why she deserves to be one of four.

Likewise, catch that show live here at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15th, or check back afterward.