Archive for August, 2011

MA Casinos, Again, Podcast

Early-as-possible warning on the casino front… Ryan and Mike went on about the latest, behind-closed-doors, lobbyist snuggling casinos/slot parlor effort on Beacon Hill.

The governor and top dog from each house will come out after Labor Day presenting a combined front. It will run something like three destination casinos, one slot parlor, and a lot less possible money than ever mentioned. Ryan detailed the sneaky add-ins, like 9% to go to horse racing interests.

The fantasies that casinos would solve MA’s money problems are belied by experience of states with gambling, far and close, as well as the economic studies of the industry. Listen in as we discuss the obvious and other drawbacks.

We’re urging people to pay attention come next month. So far, the effort has been to slide this proposal through without education to avoid objection. As Ricky Ricardo would have said, “You go a lot of splanin’ to do.”

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Dem Senate Primary Gets Pop

My wife picked up pop, as it give it pop. Well as of yet still unannounced but probable U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren has given pop to the race here.

Alas, I soloed for about 20 minutes updating the race. We had caught the first candidate, Bob Massie here in January. You can listen to his positions in his podcast here. Two other announced candidates are Newton Mayor Setti Warren and City Year founder Alan Khazei.

Recently though, Harvard Law Prof. and consumer-finance agency enabler Warren has heard from thousands requesting that she go for it. I went to one of her listening-tour stops recently and reported on it here and here.

The short of it is that I see her skunking the Dem primary field if she enters. (She promises to say one way or the other by shortly after Labor Day.) That would put her up against the huge campaign funds of Sen. Scott Brown, the Republican who is finishing the term of the late Ted Kennedy. Moreover, no one doubts national conservative funds would rain down on him for the race. The GOP really, really wants to keep this seat.

You can listen in as I describe why I think she might well be able to beat him and at the least would elevate the debate above stereotypes and cliché. She’s all ideas and solutions — a most welcome change.


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Massachusetts Money Podcast: Grossman

We have to look to comic book or movie heroes to find a more straight-ahead character than Steve Grossman. The MA Treasurer joined Left Ahead today and gave an update on his numerous innovative and even revolutionary campaign pledges. The short of it is that he’s getting us there.

You can check his campaign promises on his appearance with us in May of 2010 here.

Over at Marry in Massachusetts, Mike endorsed him. He has also written numerous posts including favorable mentions.

That attitude reflects in today’s show. We did not have time to get into one area of disagreement — he sees destination casinos as revenue sources and job creators, while the LA hosts see more drawbacks than potential benefits. However, we did get into questions and criticisms that have floated about. For example, as maybe the Dems’ best ever fund raiser, he solicited money in the last election from people who did or could do business with the commonwealth.

Listen in as he talks about how the bidding and hiring systems work and how he has upgraded them. He even, bless him, used the correct whom you know phrase when describing how nepotism and referrals from machers were no longer acceptable. He contends that it is and will remain the lowest responsible bid that wins the contract and the best qualified candidate that gets the job.

We can check him on that with his thinner-than-ever transparency online.

A big part of that is moving the entire commonwealth checkbook and bidding records online. That’s very new and has been in the works since January. He plans for the big part of the checkbook to be functional in October and fully fleshed out in November. He’s very much a believer in people being able to see where their money comes from and is going.

What sounded like an ever harder part is working well already and will just be getting better he says. Grossman promised to leverage MA’s billions in pension funds and other investments to create jobs here. The key part is partnering with banks who will lend to local companies who want to expand here. He says already 51 of the 190 MA banks have signed up, 27 have completed the paperwork and are working with small businesses. Every quarter, they have to prove their commitment and lending records to keep their millions in MA money. By the bye, he notes that he goes to every meeting with banks who want to join the program to answer their questions.

He also touched on things just starting, like financial education and literacy by students, seniors and veterans, and on the messy matter of attacking unfunded pension liability.

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Treasurer Comes Acalling

sgrossman.pngThis coming week, MA Treasurer Steve Grossman joins us. You can catch the show live on Wednesday, 8/17, at 11:30 AM Eastern (note, not our usual day and time) here.

If you can’t listen to the live stream, hear it later here, at the show URL or on iTunes.

Grossman won election last fall with promises of reforming the staid office. He called for showing the public who gets commonwealth money and contracts, how much and when. He said he’d squeeze banks who do business here to invest in local companies and grow jobs, using the leverage of the multi-billion-dollar pension investments. He spoke of broad reforms in the many agencies and departments his office overseas.

Mirabile dictu! In just over half a year, he’s delivering.

We’ll ask him for some specifics and how those fit in his reform goals. Then we’ll see what’s in the works and where he sees his biggest challenges.


Blue Goals Red Ink Podcast

Well, we got it on about the economic crises and pending elections. Ryan and Mike did a second show on what has been happening, what has not, and what we might expect short term and in 2012.

Ryan even wants to see a better version of a progressive, with some courage, to challenge the POTUS in the 2012 Dem primary.

Listen in as we give our ideas of what the problems are and solutions may be.

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Capitulation Podcast

Ryan and Mike were bitterly angry and disappointed at the process and end game alike in today’s debt-ceiling bill. Listen in as we speak of what should have happened and the few options ahead. Feel free to pile on comments below.

The GOP and specifically their Tea Party masters had their way with the POTUS. Obama so wanted to be their friend that he let this crisis arise over the past year and change because he did not make the debt ceiling part of previous negotiations. Instead of trading and compromising, he simply gave them what they wanted. Moreover, as Ryan noted, it was he who put social safety net programs on the table, an issue that could have been the perfect campaign differentiation next year.

In an incredibly Pollyanna move — twice — Obama would like us to believe that in the super-committee that will use a dozen Congress members to plan the next phase, things will be different. He said in two speeches that he’ll get what the nation needs to create jobs, make the richest corporations and people contribute, and provide essential social services.

We already know he does not negotiate. He capitulates. We call on folk to go directly to their Congressional delegations and demand what that committee must do. Ryan also suggests running more progressive candidates for Congress and maybe for POTUS.


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