Sacred Cods and Holy Mackerals

Obama, Wilson, and partisan gymnastics
September 10, 2009, 9:04 am
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I thought President Obama’s speech was fantastic. (Then again, my politics can sometimes lean towards the Marxist commie pinko socialist Nazi end of the spectrum.) I didn’t realize that Aaron Sorkin was a speechwriter for Obama now. The last five minutes of that speech was something directly out of The American President or any one of Jeb Bartlett’s rainy night monologues on The West Wing. And I dug it.

I am a bit disappointed that South Carolina Rep. Jim Wilson backed down and apologized so quickly for his ourburst. He would have been received as the conquering hero on every right-wing show from Fox News in the morning, Rush and Glenn Beck in the afternoon, to Michael Savage at night. Sarah Palin would be bidding on a dinner with him. His constituents in Sakerlina would have built a statue of him next to John C. Calhoun. And Congress would have taken one step closer to resembling the British House of Commons. Oh well.

EDIT: Adamg over at reminds us that Wilson’s outburst may only rank as the second worst assault a South Carolina Congressman has perpetuated beneath the dome of the US Capitol.

The ongoing debate in the Massachusetts State Legislature over whether to allow Gov. Patrick to appoint an interim US Senator until the January special election is a great example of why partisan politics can be a dangerous game to play. The RIGHT thing is to allow for an interim appointment. John Kerry and Bill Delahunt were correct yesterday when they testified that Massachusetts voters deserve to be fully represented in Congress and there are hundreds of sensitive constitutent cases currently in limo.

But there is that nagging question: if these are viable concerns now, why weren’t these viable concerns back in 2004 and 2006 when the Mass. Legislature twice voted against allowing an interim appointment? Rep. Paul Frost – who hopefully someday will buy a suit that properly fits — asked the question of the day yesterday: If Kerry Healey was currently our governor, would they be here arguing so forcefully for an interim appointment? Naturally, it was a question that Kerry and Delahunt tried to duck.

So now legislative Democrats need to explain why they are going to vote for something they opposed purely for partisan reasons back in 2004 and 2006. And legislative Republicans are going to have to either vote for something they supported in 2004 and 2006, or appear like they’re caving in to Sen. Kennedy’s wishes. (Defending a vote on the grounds of intellectual consistency doesn’t fly back in the corner coffee shop.)

But hey, at least none of them are this guy.


Advice and wisdom
September 9, 2009, 2:18 pm
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So, where was I before summer so rudely interrupted?

Ah yes, dispensing advice and wisdom.

Here’s my advice and wisdom to Tim Cahill.

1) Don’t drop your campaign kick-off speech and then fumble around awkwardly to find your place.

You say, he did what? Hmmm. That can’t be a good sign. Oh, I’m sure that clip won’t resurface during the gubernatorial campaign.  

Here’s my advice and wisdom to Christy Mihos.

1) Fire whomever it is on your staff chattering away about your plans to run for US Senate.

2) When someone leaks your name as a potential candidate for US Senate, and it’s met with a reaction along the lines of “Wow, this is a great move, he could be a major contendor” don’t 12 hours later say “never mind.” Maybe you should take some time and think about it.

What now for Deval?
July 27, 2009, 10:59 am
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Boy, Gov, Deval Patrick really can’t catch a break can he?

He tries to be fiscally repsonsible by spreading budget cuts around fairly, but then gets blindsided by Zoo officials who all but claim the governor is going to be putting animals in a burlap sack and tossing them off the Tobin Bridge

So in response, he starts bringing around an adorable fuzzy-wuzzy black lab puppy..and the thing nips a woman at an event.

He unleashes his inner Mitt Romney, starts taking swings at the Legislature, takes credit for transportation, pension and ethics reform.. and his poll numbers drop even further!

What’s a first-term governor to do?!

It’s this latter issue that really has Beacon Hill buzzing however (By buzzing I mean, trading cell phone calls with each other from the beach). Insiders remember that day last February when the poll numbers showed that Patrick’s favorability rating had plummeted to under 40%. This news was followed very quickly by a noticable change in strategy by the Governor: blame the Legislature.

Not that it’s a bad strategy. Goodness knows the House and Senate — at that point — hadn’t done much to dispel the notion they were fiscally and ethically out of control. Pension, ethics and transportation reform hadn’t been debated yet, and the Boston Globe was still runing daily Sal DiMasi updates.

When that poll came out, the Governor made a big decision that will have major repurcussions next fall. He decided that he was better off politically being perceived as anti-Legislature, even if meant losing the support of many of the people who worked to put him in the Corner Office in the first place. By attempting to take the high road on the need for reform (conveniently glossing over the fact he never even filed a pension reform plan, and didn’t get serious about transportation reform plan until after the Senate filed their own plan) he hoped to shed the Legislature’s stink, and win back popular support.

As expected, Matthew Amorello is now about the only person with less friends inside the building than Deval Patrick. However, the poll numbers haven’t improved. In fact they’ve gotten worse.  

Just 36% now think he’s doing a good job. More importantly, his unfavorables have hit 52%. Ask Hillary Clinton how easy it is to get elected once your unfavorabilities cross 50%. Those numbers don’t come down very easily, especially not here in cynical Massachusetts.

Naturally, his numbers look even worse when put next to those of Charlie Baker and Tim Cahill. But neither Baker nor Cahill has fully gone through the media’s “build them up so you can tear them down” routine.  Cahill has received some bad headlines regarding close ties with lobbyists but nothing that’s really stuck with the public.

Cahill’s biggest challenge right now is getting a machine behind him. Sure, it’s great to have media coverage and have your name mentioned in prestigious blogs, such as this one, as a major contender, but it doesn’t get you very far if you don’t havea  small army of people holding signs, making phone calls, stuffing fundraiser invites, and all the little stuff that gets people elected. His last real race was in 2002 and the difference between the machine needed for a treasurer’s race and a governor’s race is the difference between running for library board of trustees and state representative. Ideally, he’ll quietly receive help from many of the same legislators that worked behind the scenes for Gov. Patrick in 2006. But  that type of support only goes so far. He needs to score some loud and significant endorsements early on to have a shot.

As for Baker, his biggest threat comes from Christy Mihos. If Mihos decides he really wants the nomination, he will spend millions over the next 13 months — fairly or unfairly — tying Baker to the Big Dig. Baker can protest all he wants that he wasn’t the guy in charge, and by all accounts he wasn’t — Jim Kerasiotes took that football and ran until he was finally tackled by the SEC. But the Big Dig stains easily in the minds of the average voter and Baker will havea  tough time claiming he was the architect behind the Weld and Cellucci years, while also insisting he had nothing to do with the Big Dig.

Jon minus Kate = ? (update – show on hiatus!)
June 23, 2009, 11:08 am
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This just in: TLC has put the show on hiatus. Not because of the divorce. But because they dont have enough fresh footage to air new episodes. Nice.

Congratulations to Pearl Jensen of Sioux Falls, Iowa for correctly guessing last night’s big announcement: the kids got Crooked Houses!

One thing I admire about Jon & Kate is their total openness and willingness to shill for whatever theme park/hotel/resort/playhouse provider is willing to give them free stuff. Unlike other shows where the product placement is more subtle, Jon & Kate leave no doubt as to where they are, what they’re doing, and have always been quick to give a big plug. You could play a drinking game with how many times the name of the theme park/hotel/resort/playhouse provider is mentioned during the episode. That’s some good ‘ol American honesty there.

As for the big news, what can really be said? It’s not a surprise. It’s been the world’s worst kept secret. Frankly I’m more surprised they didn’t film as they told the kids. Now THAT would have brought some ratings!

Personally, I think the reason Kate has become such a villan is because Jon comes off as nice guy and a good Dad. Normally when we see naggy wives on television, we excuse the naggy-ness due to the fact the husband is typically portrayed as little more than an oversized children who will sell the house as part of some crazy plot with the whacky next-door neighbor the second the wife turns her back. Seriously, how is Kate any different than Ray Romano’s wife on Everybody Loves Raymond?

The difference is that on Jon & Kate, Jon isn’t that bumbling, oafish husband. He’s a decent guy who tried hard, but could never seem to adjust or anticipate his wives rules, whims, and needs.  And that small difference is what makes Kate look so nasty, even though I would bet there are millions of husbands out there who want to shake Jon’s hand and say “Congratulations.” 

I did laugh when Kate said she still wasn’t sure what she had done to make Jon so angry at her. No, seriously. She doesn’t know. And now Jon is too bitter to even try to explain to her that 10 years of criticism, nagging and emasacalation can lead to feelings of hostility that not even 8 kids and millions of dollars can overcome.

Maybe that can be the ultimate lesson learned by all the wives out there. Nagging does not lead to better husbands. It leads to bitter, ground-down husbands that eventually don’t resemble the “man” they married.

Jon & Kate’s special announcement
June 22, 2009, 9:17 am
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What do YOU think it is?

Are they divorcing? Are they “separating?” Are they temporarily pulling the plug on the show to “work things out?” Is Kate pregnant with triplets?

I think they will announce the Jon & Kate: The Musical, with songs and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice.

Guess the right answer and you’ll win a special prize!*

*Offer not valid in the United States or any country with a vowel in the name.

Fall River/New Bedford line, mounted patrols, Enchanted Village
June 19, 2009, 9:41 am
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Over at Blue Mass Group I have posted some additional tidbits on the  transportation reform bill that you won’t find anywhere else. Supporters and opponents of the Fall River/New Bedford line may be interested in one nugget in particular: that the bill will make it harder for the state to build projects it knows it can’t afford to operate and maintain.

And, as of right now, the state CANNOT afford to build, operate and maintain the Fall River/New Bedford line.

That is not a commentary on the worthiness of the project, more a statement of realism.

I will comment on the worthiness of the City of Boston’s mounted patrols, however. It’s a tough issue. I think mounted patrols are one of those neat things that can be helpful and always makes people smile. Nothing sends someone back in time faster like hearing the clomp-clomp of horseshoes on a cobbled street. But I don’t know if the historic charm justifies preserving the patrol at a time when the city is laying off workers.

I do, however, feel very strongly that the city should do a “Last Ride” from the stables in JP to Downtown Boston. It would make for a great procession and I bet thousands of kids and families would turn out to see it. Maybe it can be included as part of the City’s July 4th festivities?

Finally, nothing in this world makes more sense that Jordan’s Furniture purchasing the Enchanted Village display. They have the money for the reapir and the space to set it up. Plus, I have to give Eliot Tatleman credit for at least admitting that this is a promotions ploy designed to get people to come and walk through their store:

“The only catch for Jordan’s,’’ Tatelman said, “is that you are just going to have to walk through a lot of furniture to get to it.’’

Jon & Kate divorce announcement?
June 18, 2009, 4:12 pm
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It appears Jon & Kate are headed towards Splitsville. Unless this television promo was designed to mislead the public, and stir up ratings, but come on, how often does that happen?

You know something is up when a TV promo starts with “On a very special…” Sometimes Alex P. Keaton is forced to deal with an amphetamine addiction, and sometimes the parents of 8 young children announce their divorce.

Either way, I wish I could buy stock in things like “10 million people are going to watch this episode Monday night.” 

 By the way, did we ever find out exactly where Splitsville is located? If I has to guess I’d say it’s in central Pennsylvania just north of Palookaville.