Archive for March, 2010

Slots, Seriously? Podcast

We’re not too subtle here and today’s show was in that mold. Kathleen Conley Norbut, founder and head of United to Stop Slots in MA and Kelly Marcimo, board member of the MA League of Women Voters joined us. We’re all against casinos and other expanded gambling here, even as a short-term palliative for our extreme recession.

Despite comments from several of our recent politician guests, Norbut and Marcimo do not cede racinos, casinos and other gambling as fait accompli. They talk about the secret downsides of gambling in its economic effects and societal costs.

The  UUS-MA will highlight and explain the issues at a press conference at the State House tomorrow, 3/31, at 1 p.m. in room 1-B.

Listen in to hear the myriad negative impacts and permanent changes to Massachusetts should the General Court move in favor of expanding gambling to casinos.

icon for podpress  Slots, Seriously? [60:28m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Gambling with our futures, tomorrow

Kathleen Conley Norbut, head of United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts, as well as Kelly Marcimo, board member of the Massachusetts League of Women Voters, will be coming onto LeftAhead tomorrow to discuss the upcoming legislation on slot machines in Massachusetts. Among the topics of discussion will be,

  • The secrecy with which the legislation is being written
  • Clyde Barrow’s latest Center for Policy Analysis “study” on casino projections across New England, discussed at length over at Blue Mass Group by one of the co-hosts
  • What an actual, comprehensive study would look like
  • Why this topic is, or should be, important to residents across the state

The show’s live at 2:30. People can listen in at BlogTalkRadio, or catch it later at LeftAhead or on iTunes.


Lida Harkins for Senate Podcast

State Rep. Lida Harkins is aiming for the Norfolk/Bristol/Middlesex Senate seat Scott Brown vacated when he headed to D.C. She told us how she is at least as progressive as Dr. Peter Smulowitz, whom she faces in next month’s special election primary. She also discussed how she’ll beat the Republican in the race, Richard Ross, in May.

Harkins explained her qualified support for casinos, which she views as fait accompli and whose nature she wants to help construct. She ticks the list of the district’s concerns and said she’ll cover all 12 cities and towns in this truncated race. She talked a lot about the big issue for the district, jobs.

Listen in as she speaks of what has been accomplished in ethics reform and what needs to happen in terms of transparency and finances. Moreover, we covered a wide range of topics from getting our money’s worth from tax credits to corporations to her understandable pride in leading the charge in the House for same-sex marriage.

icon for podpress  Lida Harkins [49:56m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Sprint for Brown’s Seat, Part 2

Lida Harkins is running for the MA Senate seat Scot Brown vacated with his move to D.C. The current state Representative joins us at a special time on our usual day. To hear the live stream, go to our BlogTalkRadio site at 6 p.m., Tuesday, March 23.

If you can’t connect then, check back here or at the BTR site later to hear or download her session.

Two weeks ago, we spoke with Dr. Peter Smulowitz, the outspoken progressive running for this Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex seat. Catch his show here.

The primary is April 13th and the special election May 11th.

From the looks of her website and literature, Rep. Harkins is more of a moderate Dem.


Health Reform for the Masses

We kicked the health-care reform can up and down the field today. We’re coming up on four years of a version here in Massachusetts. Like the national version under debate in Congress, what we got with the bastardized, starter version…but a big and necessary step.

We talked about the character development in D.C., particularly House Speaker Nancy Pelosi showing surprising spine, long overdue courage. Listen in as we muse, predict, compare and contrast.

icon for podpress  MA Health for Masses [43:08m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Progressive Aims for Brown Seat

He who would take Scott Brown’s MA Senate seat is a very different politician and person. Dr. Peter Smulowitz wants to bring his insights as an emergency-r00m doctor and his progressive goals to the General Court.

Among the local and national hoo-ha about Brown winning U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy’s spot, the focus now shifts back to the state senate seat he left. The Norfolk, Bristol, Middlesex district is not solidly Republican and is a microcosm of many Massachusetts areas filled with unenrolled voters and a chance for the most expressive and convincing candidates.

The choices here are sharp. Smulowitz is unquestionably the progressive. Lida Harkins is a state rep in her 22nd year, a Dem linked for better for worse with the past two Speakers of the House. The Republican is Richard Ross, in his sixth term in the MA House.  While the latter is a marriage-equality supporter, he is otherwise socially conservative.

Our guest today alone had filed for Brown’s seat before the special election. Now he’ll have to beat Harkins in the April 13th primary to head into the May 11th special election against Ross.

Listen in as he explains he personal, professional and political insights. His views are informed not only by his day job, but the his parents’ and wife’s teaching experiences. He is a strong champion of the middle class and sees two keys to our economic future here — controlling health-care costs and creating jobs.

(As a bonus, we had a caller who does not want a progressive income tax and does want to protect the wealthiest.)

icon for podpress  Peter Smulowitz [56:53m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Swapping Smulowitz for Brown

Senator Brown may have won a seat in the US Senate, but that meant he had to give up his old position in the State Senate. The door may have been shut, but we can safely call this an open window. Peter Smulowitz, a medical doctor living in the district, in Needham, had been campaigning to replace Brown since before Brown even defeated Martha Coakley, and now he finds himself an established candidate in an open seat. With an impeccable resume — from Cornell for a degree in Biology, to the University of California for Med School and then Harvard for a grad program, Smulowitz has been in Massachusetts since 2003, when he started at Beth Israel Deaconess for his residency, where he still works as an emergency physician. As Co-Chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee for the Massachusetts College of Emergency Physicians, he’s worked closely with both state regulatory agencies and state legislators, including his work with State Senator James Timilty to file “An Act to Improve Access to Emergency Care,” which has nudged the Department of Public Health towards taking action on reducing overcrowding at ERs across the state. He’s also had close ties with his home community in Needham, working on environmental causes and affordable housing.

Undoubtedly, health-care related questions will pop up, as well as questions about his record, stances on the issues and the campaign in general. People can listen live, Tuesday at 2:30, or catch it later at the same site, at or on itunes.


Dukakis and the T Podcast

Mike  DukakisHot stuff from the Duke today on the T. Former Gov. Mike Dukakis joined us to talk about the MBTA specifically and mass transit in general. He is a huge public-transit advocate and the T flourished in his two terms as governor. He has answers and ideas.

One big thing he thinks we progressives can do is to advocate for our legislators to reasonably fund the T. It has teetered under mismanagement and staggered under overpowering debt for some time. Gov. Dukakis (now distinguished political-science professor at Northeastern) says the right start is to apply a 6¢ to 9¢ gasoline tax to the T and drop that failed notion of a never ending growth spiral of a sales tax.

The Duke speaks of a steel interstate for modern times, that is,  a fast, frequent system of intracity and intercity rail. As well as the predictable environmental and other benefits, it sees this as a jobs action when the state and nation need it the most. In fact, he said that his administrations’  10¢ for transportation efforts was just that.

Listen in as he explains how we have all the highways we need and that we’re “not going to build our way out of the highway mess.” Instead, “if you want a first-class public transportation system,you got to pay for it.”

He has high hopes between MA and federal effort, we’ll be able to do just that.

icon for podpress  The Duke Takes the T [54:24m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download