Thursday, February 17, 2011

The corruption has gotten so bad...

The corruption in our State is so bad, a group now will monitor this at the State level. From The Herald:

The spike in public corruption in Massachusetts has garnered headlines for months now and stirred the Legislature to pass reforms in the areas of ethics, campaign finance, lobbying and pension laws.

Both the corruption itself – the indictments of the last three House speakers for instance - and the public policy responses will be weighed in an upcoming risk analysis of corruption in all 50 state governments in the United States.

The Washington D.C-based Center for Public Integrity announced Thursday that it plans to hire part-time reporters in every state capitol to help them rank the states for susceptibility to corruption. The State Accountability Project will be paid for with a $1 million grant from the philanthropic investment firm Omidyar Network and $500,000 from the New Jersey-based Rita Allen Foundation.

The grants were received by the Center for Public Integrity, Public Radio International and Global Integrity.

According to the center, the journalists will assess the existence and effectiveness of anti-corruption and government transparency measures, including political financing, civil service management and state budget processes. The project will feature online data and reporting.

Public Radio International plans to use its 880 partner stations and social media to spread the word about the project and its results.

“If we hope to stop corruption, people need to be invested and involved,” Michael Skoler, PRI’s vice president of interactive media. “We live in a new media world where people, not simply reporters, can and must be watchdogs for honest government.”

Missing drugs.. in police custody

In another shinning example of the corruption that the drug war has helped foster, in Boston:

a Boston Police investigation into hundreds of bags of missing drug evidence has hit a dead end. Police discovered in 2008 that the drugs had been stolen from a department warehouse in Hyde Park, but have failed to turn up any leads or suspects. Drugs seized as evidence in 256 cases, including heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and lots of prescription opiates, are all missing. An audit criticized lax security and a highly disorganized record-keeping system at the warehouse. Ten officers working at the warehouse were transferred after the audit, but because of lack of surveillance at the warehouse and the police code of silence, investigators have been unable to charge any of them. Reforms have been instituted, authorities said.

Who is going to pay... for all that unfunded insurance

Readers of this blog have certainly read about the problems facing this Town and State and country for that matter.. regarding the un funded insurance liabilities for public employees past and present.

If Deval and the Legislature can't get something done now ... this Town will be be dire shape.

From the Globe:

“It’s the equivalent of a gigantic credit card debt which grows and grows the longer it is ignored,’’ said Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a business-funded nonprofit research organization.

The Taxpayers Foundation yesterday released its first-of-its-kind report, which measures the size of the unfunded liability cities and towns face over the next 30 years for retiree health care benefits. The foundation based its findings on actuarial studies for each city and town looking at the long-term costs of paying health insurance benefits.

The Taxpayers Foundation determined that the 50 largest municipalities will need to pay an extra $20 billion for retiree health care than they have budgeted for. Boston has an unfunded health insurance liability of more than $4.5 billion over the next 30 years, the study found, which translates to $97,827 in extra tax payments for the average single-family homeowner over the 30 years.

Grammy's

While I couldn't stay up late enough to see Mick Jagger, I did see Dylan and the two young bands that performed before him and with him to do Maggee's Farm. Yes.. Bobs voice is going south and yes he seems lost without his 6 string, but it was a pleasure to see him that night. Despite the criticism of the younger media talking heads, he's still the most prolific song writer of all time and STILL can represent a time when songs were written that had a message.

And to see that two more R&R legends were nominated for best rock album, Tom Petty and Neil Young this past year was good news. Although they were bested by artists that will not be remembered past this decade, it was great to know, they are still making music, that appeals to everyone.