Friday, February 26, 2010

The roundtable with Obama

If you caught a glimpse of the meeting with the D's, R's and President Obama over the Health Care Reform proposals, you witnessed the perfect storm of political theater coupled with the ideological differences between the two parties, that was embarrassing to watch. Grown men and women claiming their set of facts are true, while the other side says no. It's sad to see, after all the debates, how millions of dollars of lobbyists money has divided this country and crippled what little work gets done in Washington for so many critical issues. Both sides, just like here in Mass, should be ashamed and embarrassed.

More trouble for Beacon Hill, Deval and others

As I had written last year, the fallout from the upcoming DiMasi trail may well be the end for Deval and others who were connected to the awarding of a software contract. In the trail many who knew what was going on will be testifying, under oath, just before the election in November.

Reading the tea leaves, some 30 reps are not going to run again, leaving an opportunity for a seriuos change on the Hill, if and only if, reasonable, middle-of the-road, Independent, unconnected to any party, civic minded people from across the state to get on the ballot. Anyone who voted for DiMasi, just weeks before he had to resign, will and should be challenged and beaten in open debates. The is no cover for these people and they know it.

The historically ineffective and unproductive track record for Beacon Hill mirrors what has just happened this week. On Wednesday, a Constitutional Convention was convened at 1:06 PM, (meaning both House and Senate meet jointly)to consider amendments proposed to the State Constitution, either by initiative petition or legislative action. The agenda has 17 proposals intended to improve the way the commonwealth is governed, including reforming the legislative redistricting process, abolishing the Governors Council, limiting state spending, repealing automatic pay raises for legislators and restricting the use of eminent domain.

The Constitutional Convention was first convened in May of 2009, but recessed 13 minutes later. It reconvened in Sept, 2009 and was recessed immediately until Feb 24th. On Wednesday, Senate Pres Murray recessed the joint session at 1:07 PM.

Bottom line: Nothing good will ever happen, for the voting tax payers, as long as Murray, DeLeo and all their ruling elitist followers are voted out of office. And this year, unlike any I've seen in the past 20, could very well happen. Normal everyday people are sick and tired of the way Beacon Hill operates and can judge for themselves, those who continue the disgraceful inability to get anything meaningfully done.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

School budget, Bullying and the auto bill

As the 2011 budget forecast for Framingham Schools takes shape, Superintendent Hiersche says a 3% reduction in staff, or around 54 people, may be a reality. Transportation cuts could mean no busing for kids living 1 1/2 to 2 miles away from schools. It's way past time the school department get with the program and reduce their budget... somehow. Any ideas from anyone are welcomed.

Beacon Hill, in their reaction to bullying in schools and on the web, in light of recent suicide of the S Hadley school student, has once again, showed how the lack of insight into this matter has produced another overbearing, infective bill. Last year, the bill received support from teachers and law enforcement, because it had a provision for school districts to report cases to the State, but in the Senate version, it's gone. Another provision in the bill would require every school district to adopt prevention and intervention measures. And another part of the bill would mandate that children on the autism spectrum receive counseling on how to avoid and respond to bullying. This part makes no sense what so ever.

The entire bill misses the most important factor, parents of the bullies and their victims. Before cops are drawn into this and separate classes are taught on how to prevent and report bullying, the schools should first acknowledge and react to in school bullying. Parents are the only answer to this problem and should be counseled if need be and held accountable for their children s actions. In my life's experience, bullies grow up to have bullies as children. And it's our own fault for not having more control over our children, not the schools, cops or legislators. The Senate will vote on this in early March and could have done something about this years ago, but once again, people have to die at an intersection before a light goes in.

The big money comes to the lobbyists, representing car companies, they got so far, 600,000 to kill the "Right to Repair" bill that will be voted on today. Car manufactures claim company secrets will be compromised, while everyone else says it will help the consumer get car repairs done cheaper than the dealer. Mass would be the first state to enact such legislation and I hope they can get this done. It's a whole sale rip off, getting any repairs done at a dealership, regardless of manufacture. And the worst part of this is that most drivers pay more than they should for the same service done by a repair shop. Lets see if all that lobbyists money sways the Hill away from fair competition and lower car repair prices.

Eastleigh Farms, Paulini Loam/concrete still unresolved

Last night the BOS averted even more of a pissing contest with Doug Stephen, submitting a statement from the BOS, which included language that stated Eastleigh would not have to pay back water charges, back flow regulators and a water meter to be installed. (already approved by Town Meeting last year)

The hand shake deal that was allegedly made with the Town going back to early and mid 1900's has been the bone of contention. The farm has never had a water meter and when the Town or the developers needed more water pressure, the then multi owners of the land made deals to let pipes, water tower and easements go through their property, in return for no payment for the water they used on the farm.

It's good to see the BOS do something, other than get into ligation with a resident and I do believe the quid pro quo deal made with the farm should be honored. The Town has had numerous chances to install a water meter on the property, going back to the 80's. One would have to conclude, it would be impossible to get an accurate figure on how much water was used in all those years.

A deals a deal and since the Town has benefited in so many ways by using Eastleigh Farm to run infrastructure through it, it makes sense to me that he not pay for his water usage. Losing that piece of land to mic-mansions will cost this Town dearly.

The vote for approval by the ZBA was postponed last night, citing a request from the board to seek counsel advice. I can't imagine how the ZBA can approve this business, in that cubby hole location, knowing full well, the environmental effects, noise and traffic problems that will come. The ZBA meets again tonight but they better have croosed all the T's on this, as the neigbors are furious over this and I wouldn't be surpried if they took this matter to the courts, just on the air quality issue.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pillsbury for Town Meeting

I'm officially on the ballot for Pr 6 Town Meeting. I'm open to hearing what the voters expect from Town Meeting this year. Lots to consider

Accupuncture and Asprin.. try one, stop the other

Our beloved aspirin takes a trip down reality lane. The daily aspirin thing we all did years ago, and still today, because we were told to, as a preventative measure, is now a dead end.

I would hope those readers in the categories listed, consult your tribal medicine man immediately.

From the WSJ,

Aspirin Advice

Doctors have been scaling back their aspirin recommendations for people who don't already have heart disease. Here are the current guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Aspirin recommended for:

* Some men 45 and older with risk factors for heart disease, assuming no history of ulcers or other bleeding dangers.
* Some women 55 and older with risk factors for stroke, and no history of bleeding danger.

Aspirin not recommended for:

* Men younger than 45, and women younger than 55.
* Anyone 80 and older.

What Aspirin Does

Aspirin's effects in the body can have good and bad implications.

* Blood thinner: It inhibits clotting, which helps reduce the risk of heart attack and ischemic stroke but increases the danger of bleeding.
* Inflammation reducer: It lessens pain and fever by preventing production of the hormone-like substances called prostaglandins. But this can also deplete a protective layer in the stomach and increase the risk of ulcers.

What You Can Do

If you want to figure out if the newest guidelines recommend aspirin for you, here's where to check:

* At, type 'aspirin and prevention' into the search box, and the new guidelines will come up in the results. Click on 'clinical summary' for a table that explains what people of different ages should do, and includes links to online calculators to help you figure out your risk of heart attack or stroke. You should also speak to your doctor.
* An analysis published in the British journal the Lancet, which reached somewhat different conclusions.
* A letter from the task force responding to the Lancet authors' findings.

As an advocate for alternatives to western medicine, I can personally attest to the benefits of acupuncture. I've been a big fan for almost two years and I do say categorically, it does work for me and is not approved by the FDA as a drug, so it's real safe to use.

from the WSJ... In a study of 150 clinically depressed pregnant women who weren't previously taking antidepressants, got either acupuncture for depression, acupuncture not specifically designed for depression, or message for 8 weeks. Some 63% of the women who were in the acupuncture-for-depression group responded to treatment, compared to 44% in the other groups.

SO.. if anyone is pregnant and depressed, try this out, before you take pharmaceuticals which pass through your unborn child. It may help.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Per diem's for our Reps

From Beacon Hill Roll Call, the State, (we) gave 474,383 dollars to House Reps for mileage, meals and lodging, "for each day for travel from his place of residence to the State House and return, therefrom, while in the performance of his official duties, upon certification to the State treasurer that he was present at the Statehouse".

Richardson put in for 123 trips for 2,214.00, while Sannicandro was given 3,016.00 for 116. Other notable neighbors, Dykema, 93, Linsky from Natick, 2,340.00 for 130. The highest amount for 2009 went to Rep Timothy Madden D from Nantucket, 14,900.00 dollars.

Very few put in for no per diems and is not meant to say they didn't show up for work. It simply means that they choose not to list the number of days and not to request their per diems. Conroy from Wayland, did not list any days at the Statehouse and asked for no per diems.

So.. in Richardson's case, 24 weeks or so she went to the Statehouse, 29 weeks or so she did not.

Is it a part time job or not?

Profits over safety for Toyota and GlaxoSmithKline

According to the WSJ, Toyota's top leaders in July rolled out a power point presentation from Toyota Safety Group that claimed a win when they convinced the National Highway Administration to allow Toyota to recall only 55,000 Lexus ES and Camry vehicles in response to complaints of sudden acceleration. This move saved Toyota 100 million dollars. Toyota president Akio Toyota will testify in front of Congress this Wednesday. The US Department of Transportation is investigating whether civil fines against the company for failing to comply with regulations governing safety recalls.

Profits over safety also include a recent FDA investigation. Glaxo makes Avandia a popular diabetes drug that is now and it appears, has in the past, been linked to heart attacks. The investigation is looking into why the FDA had ignored the studies that showed an increase risk of heart attacks. Global sales of this drug for 2009 were 1.2 billion dollars. And in the end, it will be shown that this drug should have been scrutinized more by the FDA and that Glaxo will end up in litigation and some time years from now, huge settlements will be settled.If you are on this drug, please be aware of the findings and risks.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Interesting twist in Cape Wind saga

From the Globe, it appears that tribe member, who was recently hired by Cape Wind, alleges that he has never seen or heard of any unobstructed views in any sun ceremonies, saying, "fabricated cosmology".

The letter sent to Interior Sec Ken Salazar, Jeffery Madison, a Martha's Vineyard lawyer who was hired by Cape Wind states, "I am stating to you in all honesty and knowledge that I have never participated in, witnessed, or even heard of a sacred spot on the horizon that is relevant to any Aquinnah Wampanoag culture, history or ceremony. Nor did I see, or hear either my farther or grandfather conduct such a ceremony".

Very interesting twist and I'll bet Salazar uses it and gets this project going.

Crooks get indicted.

The list grows. RMV worker from Framingham is indicted for taking bribes for fake drivers licenses. 10 counts of falsification of a drivers license, attempted falsification, bribery and identity theft.

Our neighbor from Framingham is indicted on 18 counts of fraud in connection with his 29M dollar ponzi scheme. Move over Bernie, you have a cell mate.

And last but not least, a Trooper from Stoneham was charged with accepting a 50.00 bribe to falsify vehicle inspection records for two men connected to a Revere body shop. One has to wonder, how many years this has been going on, undetected.

More stimulus money for the State.

We got a gift it appears from Washington, 132 million. As the Globe reports, States have been looking for enhanced reimbursements from the Fed for Medicare prescription drug coverage for residents who are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.

Beacon Hill is licking their chops over this. While it's unclear where that money will go, it's presumed to help us get to July 1 and perhaps stop any more bleeding.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's target practice Mr Speaker in this war of words

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo is warning gubernatorial candidates to back off the much-maligned Legislature during the cutthroat election year, vowing to return fire if lawmakers become a convenient campaign target.

“I’m, as speaker, not going to sit back idly and not fight back in terms of what we’ve done,” DeLeo told the Herald yesterday. “I think everybody wants to run against the Legislature . . . (but) I’m proud of the progress we’ve made.”

Are feeble threats made by the speaker going to stop anyone or any candidate from exposing what real problems this legislator has not dealt with before? Standing for a part time legislature, who when forced by a time line, makes secretive decisions, based on partisan politics, while taking millions from lobbyists, is exactly why his support of the dysfunctional, unethcial system of governing, will make excellent target practice for all who challenge the status quo. Who else is to blame? And what group of people were elected to fix the problems?

DeLeo and company cannot hide from the truth or mislead us any longer, to many average people see what the problem is and it's DeLeo and company.

Fire away candidates.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Misquito Control and the Big Digs deadly saftey rails

Process to Exclude Property From Public Area Wide Pesticide Applications

State Regulation 333 CMR:13:03 provides a method for homeowners to exclude their property from public area wide pesticide applications. The regulation requires that residents send a certified letter to the town or city clerk by March 1st of each year. The certified letter should specify: your name, address, telephone number, the names of all abutters, and the spray program for which the exclusion is requested. In addition the boundaries of the property must be marked every 50' by orange surveyors tape or other appropriate means. Questions regarding the regulation can be answered by calling the Massachusetts Pesticide Bureau at (617) 626-1781. Questions on pesticide applications by the East Middlesex Mosquito Control Project can be answered by calling (781) 899-5730.

Another Big Dig oversight that has killed 7 motorists, including a Mass State Trooper is now being exposed. The riling that is attached to the raised sidewalk for tunnel workers is to blame, according to a legal claim and experts. The wife of the trooper has filed a lawsuit in 2006, claiming her husband would have survived the crash, if the hand rails had been designed properly. While the defendants all say the hand rails are approved and safe, one has to wonder, how this might have been avoided in the first place and how many lives lost does it take, to resolve a problem.

The Amy Bishop story gets bigger

The tragic story in Alabama over the weekend of the three co workers of Amy Bishop who were killed at the University Of Alabama over a tenure issue is growing deeper. Back in 1986 Bishop shot and killed her brother, tried to car jack someone in an attempt to flee the area. As she was arrested at gun point and brought to the Braintree Police Station for booking, in one account, was lead out the side door of the police station without being charged, ordered by the former Police Chief, who later said the shooting was accidental. Her mother worked at the Town offices at the time. The Police Chief from Braintree now is saying the words cover-up as there is no record or evidence of the crime anywhere to be found. Now, authorities are looking at a bombing of a professors home, many years ago,in connection with with Bishop's killing spree in Alabama.

Question of the day, will there be a full investigation by the AG's office into whether there was a cover-up?

Lantigua resigns

Over the weekend the newly elected Mayor and State Rep from Lawrence resigned his House seat. Some time down the road, it will be discovered that Lawrence and the 35 million dollar loan guarantee from the State was held hostage until he resigned.

This was never about holding two paid positions in the State, nor was it about the double dipping loyalists who collect retirement benefits AND have full time State jobs. This was all about the notion that State Reps are full time jobs at full time salaries. If a State Rep could do two jobs, as many do now, they would have to admit, their jobs are at best, part time. DeLeo forced this issue, just to maintain status quo on the Hill. No one from Framingham ever asked Stephanini to resign his House seat when he was a Selectman and State Rep. Nor has anyone demanded any House Rep to resign because of their law practice or co ownership of any company.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The D's are making news

In a surprise move, some local D's are asking Kelly Timilty (the useless Governors Council member) not to run again. Citing her 8,000 dollar fine levied on her in 2008 for using Deval's name on her campaign flier. Please note, she is being paid 26,000 a year, can opt into the States health care program AND can write off travel expenses.I have personal experience with the Council and as far as I can see, they are worthless hacks and should be laid off.

Two D's are pulling papers to run against Richardson. Walsh and Rizoli. It's just to bad JR didn't have the mind to run as a R. He would have been in the hunt to the end. It should be very inetresting to witness JR beating on Richardson about ilegal immigration and just as interesting to see Walsh maintaing the staus quo here in Framingham.

Patrick Kennedy not running... oh my. After 8 terms, multiple rehab stints, and his latest gaff, saying "Browns election was a joke", is his undoing for sure. I never thought I'd see a day when a Kennedy was not in office.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Toyota.... why did it take so long

In the WSJ today, we learn that Toyota has had customer complaints about sticky gas pedals since 2000. The NHTSA Chief (National Highway Transportation Admin) David Strictland is apparently so pissed that he is seeking to exercise his subpoena power and fines and even stopping of production. The secretive Japanese society is to blame for the problem according to Toyota.. it's a mindset thing they have about sharing.

Our regulatory body, overseeing this for many years, IS, as much to be held accountable as any of the Toyota people. We have opened many investigations and let Toyota slide to much, and the Feds know it now. Look for some of the Japanese to fall on a sword over this and perhaps, one small shakeup in the NHTSA.

Running to be a Town Meeting Member

If you ever thought about getting involved in our Town form of government and running for a place at the large table at Town Meeting, you might consider doing this now.

There are 68 TMM's up for re-election. As of this date, it's unclear how many will run again. February 16th is the last day for TMM members to declare if they are not running again.

To get on the ballot for Aprils election, one only needs 25 signatures from any registered voter in their prescient. The form needed is at the Clerks office at the Town Hall. The signatures must be turned in no later than February 23rd. I will volunteer to help any new member gather signatures.

Budget cuts in Framingham

According to CFO Kelly, the Towns 209 million dollar budget for 2011, will be reduced by 4 to 8%. Things still up in the air... Addition litigation funds for the SMOC suit, wage adjustments for Police, fire and public works still not settled for 2009 and 2010. Along with the 450,000 dollars for Quinn funding that the cops want the Town to pay.

About three quarters of the budget is funded by property taxes, 14% comes from State Aid and 9% comes in from local receipts. The 2011 revenue includes an estimated 2.4% increase in the tax levy, a 2% decrease in a total State aid decrease of about 1 million dollars and no state funding for the Quinn Bill. There was talk last night of dropping the tax levy to 2% which would reduce revenue by 762,000 and would drop the average tax bill by about 25.00 dollars.

Police and Fire make up half of the total budget, while Public Works is at 19% and the remaining 25 departments make up 31% of the municipal budget.

In my opinion, the hand writing was on the wall last year about declining revenues and out of control spending on things that will not generate income or stop the bleeding. Town Meeting will be faced with hard questions about the budget and while everyone I know has had to cut back, it's time for TMM's to hold the Town to the same reality as for the rest of us live by and spend money wisely..

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Beacon Hill bailing out Lawrence

The lines in the sand are drawn, if Lawrence wants the 35 million in bailout money from the State,newly elected Mayor and State Rep William Lantigua must resign his State Rep seat. Under pressure from Deval and the R's the State Rep is collecting two salaries for two jobs, 100,00 for being Mayor and 61,000 for his State Rep job. Part of the requirements Beacon Hill has put on the deal, is that Lawrence hire a financial overseer at a salary of 120,000 a year to oversee the money spent.

This guy has singled handily made the case for part time legislators and I hope he doesn't resign his House seat until he is forced out. As many of you already know, most House Reps have other jobs and incomes and the Mayor is going to make more trouble for those who insist on him leaving.

The Who, Undercover Boss and the Big Dig

After hearing some reviews of the Who playing at the Super Bowl, I'll say that their performance was nostalgic and heartwarming. To see them still rocking on and for me, the fact that the drummer is Rongo's son, who did a remarkable job, re creating that drum sound, made my evening.

From Business Week, we learn that the Undercover Boss, is no more real than any other reality TV show. Their review: The show consists of feeding the public's appetite, which has grown insatiable, after years of expert stimulation, with the mixture of sadism and sentimentality, cruel unfairness and poetic justice, ugly situations and happy endings, that most of us know by now are sheer delusions.

Another Big Dig crisis is looming. The ground under Fort Point channel and South Station, which was frozen by mechanical refrigeration, to protect the US Postal Service property, is now thawing. This thaw, being monitored by a 346,000 dollar consulting contract through 2011 by the MBTA, which is paid for by the settlement with Big Dig contractors, is expected to continue until 2014. Already, train tracks have been re aligned to accommodate the shift in the ground and will most likely lead to more leaks down the road. There will never be enough money from the settlement to completely fix the problems now and in the future. The only fair way to pay for this nightmare is to have commuters pay their fair share of the Big Dig in tolls.

Monday, February 8, 2010

vaccine-austisim connection rebuked

As an Uncle of a autistic child and having known parents of autistic children who, like many, firmly believe that the preservatives in the vaccines given over the years have somehow had an effect on the number of diagnosed autistic children. Which now seems to be close to an epidemic, leaving scientists, parents and would be parents to wonder, what the hell is going on.

A well know scientist Andrew Wakefield from Britain published a paper 12 years ago, in the Lancet, claiming children were immeasurably harmed by vaccines. For many years, the anti-vaccine crowd around the world held his work as the gospel. And now, the prestigious Lancet has pulled Dr. Wakefield paper, concluding he had shown "callous disregard for the children in his study and had abused his position of trust" in doing his research.

Today we hear on another study, that suggests women over 40 who have children late in life, have an increased chance of having an autistic child.

The scientific community should get their collective act together and find the ROOT cause of this now and not 5 or 10 years down the road. My non scientific opinion is that in the end, they will discover many environmental factors, including the damage to chromosomes, that has caused at least some of the health problems linked to this nightmare for unsuspecting parents. It's so very sad to think, that perhaps many of our health care problems will be related to what we have put into our bodies, where we lived and worked and the air and water we drank and breathed.

Cops overtime, electronic Tolls, home grown Con Man

If you haven't heard, our Town is being sued by 100 Cops seeking 1.2 million in back overtime pay. The Union's attorney contends that the Town never notified employees of any change in calculating overtime for many years. District Court has already ruled in favor of the Town and if the appeal by the cops is won, this Town will have to pay 1.2 million, PLUS pay more in the future for overtime pay. A decision may come in 6 months to year. This is just another example of how poorly Town officials communicate. Let's see if anyone brings this subject up for the Selectman race.

Deval looks at reducing time at toll booths with electronic toll collections. How long you ask, has this technology been around? for years and years. Will it make it easier for tolls to be collected from the North and South commuters who ride the roads for free? You bet it will and would finally address the issue of fairness and equal responsibility for the Big Dig dept, now shouldered by the Mass Pike commuters.

The feds have in custody one of our neighbors. Mr. Richard Elkinson of 2 Ford Lane is accused of bilking 29 million dollars from investors to his Company, Northeast Sales. Last year, investors filed civil action against him and is only now, after failing to appear at two superior court hearings, is finally being brought to justice. It goes to show, even in our little community, con men can live next door and no one notices.

Agent Orange health effects expanded

I would hope that all Veterans who were on the ground from 1962 to 1975 in Vietnam, know that they may qualify for disability compensation and health care benefits. A recent independent study by the VA added recognized disses that include lung cancer, prostate cancer and Hodgkins disease to the already know disses of Parkinson's disease, B cell leukemia ischemic heart disease.

While this new process is very long, 23 pages of instruction, vets are encouraged to contact the local veterans rep and go to to get more information. If a veteran dies of any of these agent orange diseases, he is presumed to have died as a result of him being in a combat zone and his property taxes are reduced for 5 years... something I never even heard of.

This country owes the veterans of the Vietnam War and their families, every drop of care money can buy and I hope anyone who knows a veteran from that era makes an effort to help get the word out. Considering 1 out of 3 homeless people are Vets, some may fall through the cracks and may never know they are entitled to health care and disability compensation.

The next forgotten group of Veterans with war related health care issues are from the Desert Storm wars and I hope that the Feds come to terms with the clear evidence that shows those vets have some of the very same health care problems as their counterparts from Vietnam.

Friday, February 5, 2010

We've heard this before... Hands-free phones only

In the making for two years now, and has been rejected before, by the can't make a decision, ruling elite on the Hill. The Senate passed on it last year, citing,"Hands free devices were an "inconvenience and didn't improve road safety. I'll bet most of you can recall reading or hearing about someone killing themselves or others in a car, train or buss. And I trust the Senate can rest at night, knowing full well, that people have lost their lives, because of their inaction.

The fact that laws already exists to stop this useless and tragic way to die carnage, that floors us, scares us and see every day we drive. Distracted while driving laws are on the books already. Cell phones and texting.. and driving. Who among us will say it's common sense not to be distracted when we or others drive anything? Would a cave man, wax his club, driving to the cave?

What the 136 to 9 House vote approved is this: Hands free cell phones while you drive, ONLY.

No texting while driving.

New requirements for the over 75 set, in person, every 5 years, with a vision test.

Anyone under 18, no cell phone use at all operating a vehicle.

Core issues aside, there's no joy in Who Ville. Now comes the fines...text and talk, 100.00 first offense, 250.00 for second, 500.00 for the third. OH MY If this goes through.. State and Local police, will makes hundreds of thousands of dollars a week. There's your Quinn money folks.

What I don't know as of now... how will the Insurance Industry get on the gravey band wagon and sir charge the hell of of this new law.

Lets see how dysfunction the Senate can be with this. Also, lets see who, from what companies, donate to whom, to make this a slam dunk.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ken Lewis from Bank of Amercia... charged today

It's a wonder this ever happened and now that it has, some sliver of justice may come for all the tax payers in this country. And this is just the beginning. Look for more heads to roll very soon.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said Thursday it was bringing civil charges against senior Bank of America executives, including former company CEO Ken Lewis, for their role in the company's controversial purchase of Merrill Lynch.

Separately, the Securities and Exchange Commission said it had struck a $150 million settlement agreement with BofA over its decision to pay billions of dollars in bonuses to former Merrill employees.

Bank of America's last-minute decision to purchase the ailing Merrill in September 2008 has remained a central issue in the wake of the financial crisis, prompting both federal and state probes into the matter.

Cuomo's office, which has been aggressively pursuing an investigation into the merger and subsequent bonuses paid to former Merrill employees, said it was charging Lewis and Bank of America's former chief financial officer Joe Price with fraud.

The lawsuit contends that the bank's management team understated the losses at Merrill in order to get shareholders to approve the deal, then subsequently overstated the firm's willingness to terminate the merger to regulators weeks later in order to get $20 billion of additional aid from the federal government.

"Bank of America and its officials defrauded the government and the taxpayers at a very difficult and sensitive time," Cuomo said at a press conference Thursday, joined by federal bailout cop Neil Barofsky, whose office aided in the investigation. "I believe that Bank of America officials exploited this fear."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Where's the outrage over hunger in this State?

According to the Globe and Feeding America a group of 200 US food pantries found an estimated 571,000 residents of this state, relied on food banks. In other disturbing facts, more than 1/3 of families surveyed had at least one working adult, 50% of food recipients receive food stamps, 79% of the surveyed with children under 18 lacked sufficient food, the percentage of clients aged 65 and older increased to 14%, up from 11% in 2006.

Our government has got to make more of an effort to provide emergency food relief now, as we do for every other country that needs help. What does it say about our elected officials?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Head of the D's here in Framingham, resigns last month

This is an edited version, (not by me) found on google. This makes a great read and shows how one big D has lost that loving feeling for the party that has momoplized this State and Town for decades.

Friends and members of the FDTC,

I am writing this letter to tell you that as of this morning I have switched my voter registration from Democratic to Unenrolled and hence am resigning as the FDTC chair.

I am a lifetime Democrat so this has been a very hard step for me to take but I've come to the conclusion that the Democratic Party no longer stands for anything I believe in.

The reasons are many and have been accumulating since the Democratic takeover of the House in 2006 and have only come faster and more furious since the 2008 elections giving the Democrats full control. Here are some of these reasons:

1. Our state of Perpetual War is continuing and even expanding. Next thing you know we'll be in Yemen. Our resources are being spent, horrible atrocities are being committed by US troops, and the wars are pointless and unwinnable. See Western troops accused of executing 10 Afghan civilians, including children.

2. The bailout which favored the very people who were to blame in the first place and has left in place the deregulation and too-big-to-fail institutions, while doing very little for the bottom 95% of us.

3. The continuing erosion of our civil rights to the point where American citizens are no longer guaranteed due process or habeas corpus, which basically means anyone the government deems as troublesome can be "disappeared". See One day we'll all be terrorists.

The final straw was the travesty of the Health Care Insurance Reform bill that was passed in the Senate on Christmas Eve. Not only is this a huge giveaway to Insurance companies, not only will this leave millions uninsured, not only does this bill include no cost controls and is structured as a means-based entitlement, which means that like welfare it will constantly be under attack from the Right, the 30% co-insurance will leave many families unable to utilize their insurance without going into bankruptcy. Just like today, except that today they aren't forced into buying something they can't afford. And as a final insult, it includes provisions stripping women of the most basic right of all - ownership of their own bodies. Note to Democrats - pro-choice is in the party's platform and you don't compromise on principles. Just a reminder - the U.S. spends far more than any other Western country per capita, has worse outcomes than most, and to top it off, leaves millions without access to healthcare. Interestingly enough, the rest of the world has no for-profit insurance companies, and no other national solution looks remotely like this mishmash.

I know from experience that many will say that we must elect more progressives, the bill will be improved later on, the other side is worse, what choice do we have? Let me answer these points one by one:

1. Elect more Democrats and progressives - there are 82 members in the Congress Progressive Caucus and only 52 conservative "blue dogs" but which side constantly prevails? The problem isn't in the numbers.

2. The bill will be improved later - Like Nafta? Or the Patriot Act? Will that happen when we have control over the Congress and Presidency? Oh wait...

3. The other side is worse - Yes, the Democrats are better than the party of rabid conservatives the GOP has become, but not enough to matter, not enough to make the changes this country so desperately needs.

4. There is no other choice - I agree there is no viable third party but almost all of the important achievements the Left has won for the people of this country have come from people working outside of the political system - see the Abolitionists, the Labor activists, the Suffragettes and the Civil Rights movements. Apparently, the existing political system is too invested in the status quo to change without enormous outside pressure.
I have been agonizing about this for weeks, and I apologize for leaving before my term is up. I've enjoyed being part of this committee and working with you for more than 7 years. My hope is that things will change and I'll be able to return to the party, but for now I can no longer continue to pretend that I think electing Democrats is significant.

Rochelle Sivan

Casino's ... who's betting on campaign contributions?

Their political action committees cashed in even bigger, with DeLeo’s Committee for a Democratic House and Murray’s Committee for a Democratic Senate raking in nearly $10,000 each from pro-gambling lobbyists and a handful of proponents of racinos.

That the very lawmakers who are designing the expanded gambling system are accepting cash from those who will profit the most is akin to stacking the deck, a leading watchdog group said.

“This is our pay-to-play system,” said Craig Holman, of the D.C.-based non-profit Public Citizen. “The lobbyist is the chief money-peddler on behalf of casinos. Lobbyist contributions are simply contributions from their clients. It’s part of the lobbyists’ salary.”

DeLeo’s campaign treasurer released a statement saying the speaker is “at work preparing the best bill for Massachusetts.”

Murray’s spokesman, David Falcone, noted that many of the lobbyists represent multiple clients and added that Murray “does her best not to accept contributions from anyone who is directly employed by a casino or gaming organization.”

The role of casino money in the push to approve gambling palaces and slot parlors underscored a 2008 Common Cause study showing gaming interests gave state lawmakers $1.5 million in campaign cash between 2002 and 2007. Gambling proponents also ponied up $8.2 million to lobbyists between 1998 and 2007, the study showed.

But as expanded gambling gets closer to reality, the Herald review found casino-related payments to lobbyists surged by a whopping 27 percent last year, to more than $2 million - an apparent record.

Two lobbyists hired by Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson, a Dorchester native, contributed more than $10,000 to Beacon Hill pols last year. Also heaping campaign dough on key lawmakers are former state Sen. Robert A. Bernstein and former House Ways and Means budget chief David K. Shapiro of Bay State Strategies, which represents the maker of slot machines for dozens of Las Vegas and Native American casinos.

Colorado developer David Nunes, who is pitching a $4 billion casino in Medford, hired Democratic lobbyist Paul M. Pezzella last year. “We believe at the end of the day this will all be about location and financial wherewithal,” Nunes said. “Buying yourself a license is never the way to go. Earning it is.”

Nunes’ lobbyist, Pezzella, contributed more than $11,000 to key lawmakers last year.

We can bet, nothing good will come of all on the Hill, who stand in line with their pocket books open. No one here would ever believe Senate Pres Murray's statement and look for more in depth reporting on this as time rolls on.

Boston Cops get sued over cell phone recording

From the Globe today, we learn that the man Simon Glick who used his cell phone to record an arrest in Boston, who was charged with violating the States wire tap law, which was later dropped by prosecutors, is now suing the city. Yesterday, the ACLU filed a civil rights suit on behalf of criminal defense lawyer Simon Glick.

The suit contends that Mr. Glick's First Amendment rights to free speech and his Fourth Amendment right to freedom from arrest without probable cause were violated. With millions of cell phones in the hands of every day citizens, it's no wonder that the cops are looking over their shoulders when they are doing something wrong. Look for this case to be a game changer for free speech.