Archive for May, 2014

How Troubled Deval Patrick Podcast?

deval1.jpgWell, boys and girls, if you live by conspiracy theories and love to blame Barack Obama for all ills, go elsewhere. We did the MA version today with chatter about Gov. Deval Patrick, the commonwealth’s recent troubles and what it all means. Listen in as we figure that yeah, Patrick carries some burden but that he’s pretty solid. The real issues are more systemic and fixable.

Listen in as we catalog many of the troubles, diagnose them, and see what they imply for his legacy. Patrick is in some ways a stalking horse for Obama — two or more years ahead in election to major office, in embracing marriage equality (and governing its implementation), in overseeing universal health care, and now in leaving office. As with the Prez, the Gov gets the it’s-all-his-fault treatment. Instead, we talked about what was likely his shortcomings and what were institutional failures.

To our satisfaction as MA voters, Patrick broke with previous governors in leading and bringing the legislature along on many system corrections. He went for highway/bridge infrastructures long kicked down the road, particularly by never-raise-taxes GOP governors. We expect the South Coast rail project to advance because he started it too.

We did touch on the health-care website transition from state to federal failure, the compounding lab cock-up, and the dreadful, ongoing Department of Children and Families disasters. In the latter, we see the confluence of decreased budgets, overworked staff and the lack understanding of how 34,000 kids would be at risk at a given moment.

We discuss what this all may mean for his legacy…and his future prospects.

icon for podpress  How and Whither Deval Patrick [33:05m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Another Fine Mess, This MA Gov. Race

Oliver and Hardy dance“Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!” said Oliver Hardy in The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case (1930). That seems to work for this year’s MA gubernatorial race.

The two of us talked about the state GOP follies that seem to have blunted what could have been a Republican concentration on Dem scandals in the air. Instead, we are left wondering whether there is a single Republican in the state organization with any integrity. Click below to hear the overview and recap.

On the Dem side, scandals are not enough. They have their own peculiar rules. The GOP made up its rules on the fly to benefit their presumptive nominee, but Dems have instituted a rigid rules that candidates must get 15% of delegates on the first ballot (no switching on subsequent ones) to advance to the primary. Ryan, who has experience and expertise in the process discusses the ramifications. For one, if three or four of the five candidates get on the primary ballot make it, the system likely works. If not, a major revision will have to happen for future elections.

We discuss the two first tier and three second-tier Dem contestants, plus the two non-major-party ones who will be on the November ballot. Ryan figures that if either Jeff McCormick or Evan Falchuk pulls well, that can only help the Dem nominee in November.

We also discussed whether the loser tag tattoos either Coakley (to Scott Brown for US Senate) or Charlie Baker (in the last MA Gov race) remain. We disagree.

Sure it’s early and a month before the Dem convention, but there’s lots of handicapping to be done.

icon for podpress  2014 MA Gov. Race [32:39m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Tito Talks Black Men and Boys in Boston Podcast

The numbers can be grim — longevity, disease outcomes, death by violence, absent fathers, unemployment, imprisonment… Being a Black male, man or boy, in Boston is rough.

Tito Jackson is working on that complex status. He came on today to talk about what he refers to as “moving the needle.” He figures that life “is not a spectator sport” and that we need to leave the world better than we find it. Those aren’t simply clichés to him. He is optimistic but he likes to call himself a man of action and as such is about fixing things.

We spent most of the show on the effort he spearheaded in his role of a Boston City Councilor. The new Commission of the Status of Black Men and Black Boys in Boston just formed. He’s ready to move on it. While there are lots of data about such issues as crime, health, single-parent families and so forth, he is proceeding to define problems specifically and set baselines to measure against.

Listen in below (he joins about 6:47 in) as he talks about his plans.

His concepts for the commission overlap with the major issues he concerns himself with as a councilor. For just one entry point, he notes that 72% of Black households here are headed by a single woman — no dad. That relates to other problems in numerous ways. The man/husband/father is likely to disappear if he cannot support or even contribute meaningfully financially. That in turn generally relates to poor education and a cycle of disillusion and despair that leads to crime, jail, a CORI and being unemployable.

So a solution to a progressive and do-gooder would start at pre-K. Of course, that’s way late for many men and boys. Instead, Jackson wants diagnosis and solutions along the continuum.

He’ll drive for beginning programs in the next few months. First he wants some public input and buy-in. That will include youth. Too often, he notes, adults talk about youth and not with them. For his baselines, he wants everyone involved to help define the issues.

We dealt a bit in the key area of education and jobs. Yes, Black males are on the downside of income and employment Jackson does not see that as intractable. He noted that money transfers by businesses, real estate and inheritance. Black Bostonians are at a disadvantage on the third, but he sees wealth creation through both employment and entrepreneurship. (In that light he noted that in days of segregation around here, Black entrepreneurship was higher than it is now.)

He sees great promise in voc-tech schools, perhaps a revitalized Madison Park High. Moreover, he wants to help enable great Black participation in labor unions, something the new Mayor Marty Walsh also touts. He calls voc-tech “the future.”

He knows that double dropout rate for Black students is a crisis. He wants his commission to address that, as well as the related issues of nothing-to-do-but-gangs. He recalls when there were more after-school and evening places (like clubs that allowed under-21 kids to party instead of roam the streets). He wants to define all the issues, build on the programs that work, dump the programs that don’t, and attack all the issues hampering Black Boston males.

icon for podpress  Tito Jackson [32:49m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Tito Jackson Looks for Big Solutions

Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson joins us Wed. May 7th at 2:30. If you can, listen live then right here.

As always, his show will be available to hear or download later at that URL, back here at Left Ahead or on our iTunes page.

Tito remains as he likes to say a man of action. Most recently he drove into being a commission on the status of Black men and boys in Boston. Despite his relentless optimism, he has seen and experienced how tough it can be here. We’ll talk about the problems and possible solutions.

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