Archive for February, 2014

McCormick Promises Jobs Podcast

McCormick“I’ve never accomplished anything in my life by taking the easy roads,” Jeff McCormick said. “I never had access to the easy road.”

As an independent candidate for MA governor, he knows he’s on a tough one. We spoke today a lot about what he wanted to do if he wins and a bit about he he expects to do that.

I opened by drawing a contrast with another MA venture capitalist, Willard Mitt Romney. Like him, McCormick has earned piles and has lots (dare we say binders) of successful companies he can cite that he helped fund. Unlike Romney, McCormick actually is self-made, coming from a blue-collar home in upstate NY, without a rich, powerful, politically and corporate connected father. In that vein, McCormick is good at brief descriptions. When asked about his campaigning, he said because of his background, “I’m really comfortable in diners, much more than in ballrooms.”

He wants voters to think of him as Jeff for Jobs. He cites his VC successes and his ideas of how to create tens of thousands here. Listen in as he describes how education and training will prepare the workforce. He also is keen on helping gateway cities outside the Boston and Worcester areas.

You can hear the VC background as he speaks of changing the culture of Beacon Hill to one of problem solving. Here he points to US Sen. from ME Angus King as a model. McCormick said that when people see you are solving problems, they want to join you and that’s an easier way to govern. McCormick ways he’d bring his work style over. “I’m part of the team. No one is voting for a CEO here.”

icon for podpress  Jeff McCormick [31:07m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


McCormick Pushes MA Job Growth

Jeff McCormick
Independent candidate for MA Governor, Jeff McCormick wants voters to think Jeff for Jobs. He joins us to discuss his platform and campaign.

Founder of VC firm Saturn Partners, he got degrees in biology, molecular genetics and finance first. He’ll explain how he plans to replicate and expand his success in growing companies to adding tens of thousands of jobs in the commonwealth.

His platform has planks for education, economic growth, health care, environment and energy. We’ll talk about how he expects to implement those and how he plans to leapfrog the big party pols.

McCormick has the requisite progressive social positions, such as women’s choice and marriage equality. Yet he exudes confidence that his policies would at once expand educational opportunities from K through college, control health-care costs, and add those thousands of jobs.

He says up front that being governor would be a huge change for him. He says he’s quite wealthy, mostly from his VC successes. Yet he longs for public service and to make major improvements, and is willing to lose lots of potential income by doing so.

He points to those successes as proof of his understanding of the economy, and in particular the MA economy.

If you want to hear him live, click here at 2:30 PM Eastern, Tuesday, February 25th. Afterward you can listen on demand there, back here at Left Ahead or on our iTunes page.


Scarlet Letter for Voting

It’s an atavism, a vicious one. Many of our states continue perpetually to punish ex-convicts who have, as the American ideal runs, served their debt to society. That is, after they are out of prison, not on parole and not on probation, they still can’t vote. In 11 states, that is permanent.

The U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is on the case. He has been speaking on the irrationality and counterproductive nature of such laws. For great background, check his speech last week on reforming criminal justice here. In it, he draws heavily on a report from The Leadership Conference, which you can see here.

Among the must-know findings are that 5.8 million Americans are thus disenfranchised. They are three times more likely to re-offend (33% in contrast to 11% for those allowed to vote after prison). The United States is the only democracy that follows this inane throwback policy.

Today, we ran down the basics, discussed the Democracy Restoration Act, itself imprisoned in a U.S. House committee since 2012, and suggested direct involvement. Learn a bit from these sources linked. Tweet or blog your thoughts. Contact your U.S. Rep. and maybe Senators. This bill could use some sponsors and visibility.

Otherwise, for near-term podcasts, we’re roping in some more MA gubernatorial candidates. Watch this blog for notices. Also, if you want more direct contact, consider the Suffolk Law Rappaport Center’s lunch roundtables with the candidates, which you can sign up to attend here.

icon for podpress  Perpetual Punishment [23:00m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Permanent Disenfranchisement of Millions by Old Laws

We’ve been on this before, but have new good company. A serious American cliché is that any of us can serve our debt to society in prison, thus behind rehabilitated and re-entering as full citizens. Not bloody likely.

Our Attorney General, Eric Holder, has put the lie to that. He is working to see laws past to remedy huge civil-rights wrongs. In particular, he lists the many states where convicted criminals permanently lose their ability to participate in democracy. They can’t vote, for the worst example.

Much of America thinks that’s swell, He cited detailed analysis and study proving that doing so dramatically increases recidivism. Meanwhile, many folk figure if you commit a crime and get convicted, there really is no such thing as serving your debt.

We’ll be talking it tomorrow. If you can join us live, go here at 2:30 PM Eastern, Tuesday, February 18th. Afterward, you can hear or download the show there, back here at Left Ahead or on our iTunes page.


Berwick’s Progressive Positions Podcast

Dr. Don Berwick joined us today to talk about some of his many, detailed platform planks. (See his campaign site’s Issues tab for more.) Don Berwick

He unabashedly bills himself as a solid progressive. Also, in the mold of Gov. Deval Patrick when he ran for the first time in 2006, Berwick is not afraid to put out his positions and almost dare competitors to take shots. For example, he does not think casinos are a viable economic-development strategy and wants a plebiscite on the ballot that could withdraw approval. He sees catching up on the long-delayed infrastructure maintenance is essential; he’s want a higher gas tax short term, then something like a mileage fee longer term to make sure we avoided the trap. Listen in as he describes his proposals and how he’d plan to fund them.

Berwick is huge on education and health. He’s drive for universal pre-K, scrub for-profit charters, while encouraging in-district ones, providing they were transparent and shared their methods and successes with all. Drawing on both his management expertise and background as a pediatrician, he would immediately “create a new, cabinet-level position to facilitate total cooperation among state agencies, cities and towns, and families in fostering child health and well-being to the age of five – the most critical years.” Check is Issues for proposals for every stage of ed through college. He’d drive to make sure everybody could afford public colleges too. That would include in-state rates for undocumented students.

Understandably, he has special emphasis on health care. Both our conversation and his site have a lot about what’s wrong with it now and how he’d aim to fix it. In perhaps his most progressive point, he’d aim for single-payer health care. To that effort, “On day one, I will appoint a multi-stakeholder Single Payer Advisory Panel to investigate and report back within six months on how Massachusetts moves to a single payer health insurance system like Medicare for all.” He noted that MA is capable of driving the single-payer agendum, much as it did with universal health coverage. Listen in as he describes how he thinks insurance carriers and others can be won over.

icon for podpress  Don Berwick [30:07m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Dr. Don Goes for Governor

Don BerwickLong-term physician and manager Dr. Don Berwick is in the race for the Dem nomination for MA governor. He joins us next week to tell us what he’ll pitch in the campaign and what he wants to accomplish. Mike saw and heard him at the Suffolk Rappaport lunch thingummy. He’s quite the progressive and has gotten a lot of attention here.

If you can join us live, click in here next Tuesday, February 11th at 2:30 PM Eastern. Afterward, you can hear or download his show at that URL, back here at Left Ahead or on our iTunes page.


Obama and Patrick Podcast

Given the temporal luxury of a week, we visited the State of the Union and MA State of the Commonwealth addresses. President Barack Obama and Gov. Deval Patrick are long-term friends and have many political parallels. Their addresses reflected their similar styles, progressive goals and mixed accomplishments. Listen in as we give our take. Click below to do so.

Catch the President’s address here and the Governor’s here.

We discuss the recalcitrance of the related legislatures and where the two have been able to meet their goals, and fell short. We also kick around the aims and promises in both addresses and what we see as the likely outcomes of this year for Patrick and the next three for Obama.

icon for podpress  SOTU and MA [36:03m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download