The Chimes at Midnight
Monday, April 27, 2015
The Globe has a poll out today
indicating a majority of respondents favor life in prison over the death penalty for Dzhokar Tsarnaev. Some of this comes off the stony soil for capital punishment that is Massachusetts, the broadmindedness of some of the victims may be of influence as well and on review that Supermax in Colorado is no Spring Break in Ft Lauderdale by any means. As we move thru the penalty phase I keep telling myself that I'll accept whatever the outcome is, my heart tells me how difficult it can be for someone to invoke the death penalty (even a longtime advocate) in the cold clinical spaces of the jury room. As I've said elsewhere we are a feeling people and sentencing someone to death even someone who richly deserves it like Tsarnaev is an impossible emotional burden. But still...the little bastard smirked as he set down that bomb at the Finish Line...there is something purely evil about that.
Friday, April 24, 2015
Counter Intuitive Thought re. Hillary Clinton
The conventional wisdom out there is that once again Hillary Clinton is in scandal plagued country re. overseas contributions to the Family's Charitable Trust. My thinking is, nobody really gives a damn, its another fatally complicated financial issue of core interest to sweaty nerdy wingnut bloggers and AM Ranters....and to my money Hillary is just lucky that way. I'll be blunt, I give a rat's ass about that incredulous ominous tone the columnistas and NBC News affect when talking about "Clinton's Latest Scandal", if there was a controversy out there that could end her campaign out there, it'd a hit by now...the woman is a magnet for investigation after all, none of which seems to stick. I also think it was shrewd to fly off to NH and start moving left in general on financial issues, there are votes to be had by "staying populist" on the banks etc. Her GOP rivals on the other hand are welcome to continue raving about women's hemlines, voter fraud and Benghazi, all that shit does nothing but drive voters to Hillary (or any other sensible democrat)as the only sane sounding person sticking up for the little guy in the race. Morever, she is a divider in a useful sense of the term, husbands rave against her, wives say nothing and vote for her, in droves. It is a weee bit Nixonian...but lets face it, Nixonian tactics work.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
What is worse?
A Tax Increase or a Fare Increase? In my case, as a daily MBTA rider the answer is simple, its the fare increase that is worse IF it is married to a degradation in service levels or the revenues are used to pay off debts that don't relate to MBTA operations. Because even as I write this, Governor Baker has filed legislation that takes the cap off MBTA fares and with a transportation board entirely appointed by himself that means if the law passes Baker can jack up fares sans recourse...Baad Karma mah frenz. But of course the measure has to pass, and that will hopefully occasion some debate on Beacon Hill. Lets keep a few things in mind as the process unfolds, we are hamstrung in this matter by two complimentary factors, governmental indifference and tacit hostility is pretty much what put the MBTA in this fix and those two items are also the very things with all the momentum as the debate goes on. We have to change that or else we'll be paying five bucks each way every day for the privilege of sitting stalled in a tunnel between Davis Square and Hell.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Well predictably...
Governor Baker has purged the MASSDOT Board and pocketed full complete and final control over the MBTA...all the while eructating comforting bromides about managerial improvements, cost savings....etc etc. In short he means to stick it to the ridership bigtime, higher fares, degraded service, more non union temps....and most importantly no additional appropriations. Keep in mind, to fix the MBTA Charlie Baker WILL increase fees and fares to a fare thee well, this is straight out of the Mitt Romney playbook as long as no TAXES are invoked verbally then NO TAX INCREASE was every used to pay off the MBTA's debts or purchase all the rolling stock and equipment needed then all is well in the Governor's books. No someone will pay but it will be the ridership and there is even a proposal in the 2015 commission report to raise property taxes in the heavy ridership communities to cover the MBTA's imbedded needs. Translation Grandma is to be taxed to cover off the neglect of the legislature and the Commonwealth. So in effect "targeted" tax increases will be used as a revenue solution, one that likely won't fix things but it will allow Charlie to run for reelection on a "I dint raise no taxes" pledge. Sad but at this point it's inevitable unless the ridership gets active....and that pretty much is our last forlorn hope at this point.
Friday, April 17, 2015
So Jeb Bush is gonna give a speech
at Jerry Falwell's "Liberty University". I wonder if the students will be compelled to attend under threat of a fine as was the case when Ted Cruz came to speak? Hell why stop there? Mandate compulsory standing ovations, hissing and cheering on demand a'la The Supreme Soviet of the USSR in Stalin's Day. Well whatever the conditions I think we can safely discount any "Sista Soljah Moment" from Jeb, the Bush Family Go To with the religious right is to grovel (however reluctantly) first last and always.
The Gyrocopter Guy over the US Capitol...
Is probably going down for two felony counts so far. Congress and the Feds are united with respect to their ego, they hate being mocked....oh how they hate it. It pains me to write this, but stunts like this almost never work. All they do is afford movement conservatism another inflexible opportunity to rant and rave about law & order. And I write that as someone who admire's "The Postman" and his cleverness & his general views on campaign finance reform. DC has always been historically immune to clever street theatre especially when the wellsprings of their entirely legal graft are under discussion. No...the irony of democracy is, the political class never learn anything while In Office, they are only schooled well and thoroughly when they are driven from power at the ballot box. And then their learning largely counts for I said, ironic.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
On the 150th Anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's Assassination
its worth remembering that prior to being sworn into office in March of 1861, All Abe Lincoln ever asserted with respect to slavery (other than his personal disapproval of said institution) was that clearly congress had the authority to limit the spread of slavery with respect to the territories and the states formed thereof. AND THAT quaint mannered little constitutional argument was enough to wreck the union...for a while at least. And its also worth recalling that that in TODAY'S GOP, said argument would be soundly rebuffed by a phalanx of politicians and intellectuals who think in their heart of hearts Slavery Wasn't So Bad After All.

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