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Reposted from Joan McCarter by poopdogcomedy
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) listens to answers during a testimony while sitting on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee in Washington February 14, 2013.  U.S. lawmakers pressed financial regulators on Thursday on their efforts to cr
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has been championing increased spending for the National Institutes of Health and greater investments in health research. The problem is, austerity still reigns in Congress and finding that funding means slicing the budgets of other programs. But she's come up with another way to get the money: big pharmaceutical companies which are prone to illegal practices.
The bill, which she intends to introduce in the Senate next week, would take money from fines levied against major pharmaceutical companies that engaged in illegal practices and use it to fund drug research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

"It's like a swear jar," Warren told the crowd at the Families USA Health Action Conference in Washington, according to her prepared remarks. "Whenever a huge drug company that is generating enormous profits as a result of federal research investments gets caught breaking the law—and wants off the hook—it has to put some money in the jar to help fund the next generation of medical research." […]

Warren's inspiration for her proposal sounds a lot like her populist rhetoric on the campaign trail in 2012. Although pharmaceutical companies deserve some of the credit for life-saving drugs, she argued Thursday, government deserves some too. "Blockbuster drugs that generate billion-dollar profits and are used by millions of consumers don't just appear overnight as if by magic. Rarely do they appear as the result of a single, giant company's individual genius," Warren said, according to the prepared remarks. "Drug companies make great contributions, but so do taxpayers. In other words, we built those medical innovations together."

Big pharma, of course, is opposed. They argue that it would siphon money away from research and development—the threat that they always make if anyone even suggests maybe they pitch in a few bucks out of profits for the public good. Indeed, the legislation wouldn't take money from R&D because the penalty it includes is based on a percentage of profits after R&D spending—the more money spent on research and development, the lower the potential fine.

Her legislation is getting some criticism from the left, as well. Liberal economist Dean Baker argues that the money could end up benefiting big pharma anyway because the NIH usually contracts with pharmaceutical and biomedical companies. Those companies then make discoveries—with taxpayer help—that they then patent and make billions of dollars on. Baker would like to see a patent reform included in her legislation that would keep products developed with public assistance in the public domain.

Warren's legislation isn't likely to go much of anywhere in Mitch McConnell's Senate, but she's starting what could be a critical next step in healthcare reform—reining in the pharmaceutical industry. It was left essentially off the hook in Obamacare, and because it's responsible for such a huge chunk of the nation's outsized healthcare spending, it has to be tackled.

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Reposted from Frederick Clarkson by Frederick Clarkson

Sen. Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst) is the kind of public servant who will help remind Democrats elsewhere what it means to be a Democrat when the darkness fades. Rosenberg is a pragmatic progressive from a college town who has managed to rise of the top of state politics. Along with the governor and the Speaker of the House, he is one of the three people who make things happen.  

Rosenberg gave a memorable speech on assuming the presidency of the Senate. There is much in the policy arena that will interest people who live and breath policy.  But I am sharing part of his address here, because it is a window on the kind of person I wish we had more of in politics and government.

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Reposted from Daily Kos by Clytemnestra
teachers
At Jacobin, Dan Clawson writes No More Backroom Deals. Clawson is a member of the board of directors of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, and is co-chair of the MTA’s education policy committee. An excerpt:
To the casual observer, Massachusetts may seem like an unlikely place to open up a new front in the assault on teachers. The state has the highest test scores in the nation, and just this year the National Education Association named its chief executive “America’s Greatest Education Governor.”

But on October 20, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) unveiled a draconian proposal that would tie teacher performance, narrowly defined, to teacher licensing. Thousands of educators knew an unmitigated attack when they saw one, and responded accordingly.

Late last week, after a massive backlash organized by the Massachusetts Teachers Association—under the leadership of Barbara Madeloni, the recently elected president of the 113,000 member union—the proposal was withdrawn. The victory should serve as a reminder that a mobilized rank-and-file and implacable leadership can defeat attacks on public school educators. Backroom deals don’t get the goods. And because the proposal will likely appear in other states, teachers around the country should take note.

Under the October 20 proposal, teachers rated by their supervisors as “needs improvement” wouldn’t just lose their jobs—they’d lose their license, preventing them from teaching anywhere in the state ever again.

On October 30, in response to letters of protest, Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Mitchell Chester emphasized that “at this point in time,” he had not yet recommended any specific changes. He was just floating a set of (bad) options. Three were being considered, and all tied license renewal to “performance.”

Under Plan A, a teacher wishing to retain her license would have to be rated at least “proficient” and have at least “moderate” student impact ratings every year; a teacher who cleared that bar could get her license renewed for the next five years. On the other hand, if her supervisor judged that she “needs improvement,” or her students’ test scores didn’t go up at least a “moderate” amount, she would be unable to re-up her license.

Under Plan B, if an educator didn’t “demonstrate to the state” enough “progress toward growth” on his or her educator plan, the educator would get a conditional one-year extension. This would presumably require the state to add hundreds of staff members to read through eighty thousand teachers’ educator plans. (This in a state where the DESE often takes a year to respond to a complaint that a teacher violated the rules for administering a high-stakes test—one of the agency’s highest priorities.)

Plan C offered a menu of bad choices, and applicants had to meet two or more of them. Options included being recommended by one’s school district (dependent on one’s supervisor), “satisfactory student growth as measured by” high-stakes standardized tests, and (unspecified) “successful and effective parent engagement.”

These inane plans—not raising pay, or according respect, or giving teachers more autonomy in the classroom—were supposed to create a world-class teaching force in Massachusetts.

If adopted, the consequences of this “performance-based” licensure system would have indeed been dire. First, teacher tenure would be effectively abolished. Forget due process. An educator could have a solid union contract and be doing a pretty good job; if his supervisor decided he wasn’t good enough, he’d lose his license and his job — even if he had Professional Teacher Status, the state’s equivalent of tenure. [...]

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2010Incoming GOP House not interested in jobs:
Atrios made this point a week ago:

During exchanges on the twitter, it occurred to me that even Republican challengers didn't for the most part run on the bad economy/unemployment. They ran on issues more separate from peoples' lives (stimulus spending, deficit) and on being the great defenders of Medicare.
It was a surprising point, but one that rings true nonetheless. Republicans might argue that all the deficit hysteria was job-related, but only insofar as they've transferred blame for Wall Street's excesses onto the government for obvious ideological reasons. It turns out that Republicans really didn't run on creating jobs, but on demonizing government efforts to stimulate job growth (the stimulus, auto industry bailouts, TARP, etc). And by the time the votes were cast, even TARP—a Bush initiative—belonged to Obama.

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Reposted from Daily Kos by poopdogcomedy
Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton
The country needs her to run. So does our party. And so does Hillary Clinton.
The midterms didn't go so well. As I said about a week ago, the Democrats should have run on economic populism. They should have put forth a coherent vision of where they want to take our country, one that includes a frank assessment of our current problems, and a concrete set of proposals to address them. Instead they tried to run to the right of President Obama by distancing themselves from Obamacare and other administration priorities. One candidate even tried to keep "private" the fact that she voted for Barack Obama over Mitt Romney.

Democrats will never win by running as what Harry Truman called "phony Democrats." We can only win by contrasting what we believe and what we've done when in power with the beliefs and actions of our Republican opponents. There is no alternative. And there's no one in our party better suited to make that contrast to the American people than the woman who said this:

People feel like the system is rigged against them. And here's the painful part: they're right. The system is rigged. Look around. Oil companies guzzle down billions in subsidies. Billionaires pay lower tax rates than their secretaries. Wall Street CEOs—the same ones who wrecked our economy and destroyed millions of jobs—still strut around Congress, no shame, demanding favors, and acting like we should thank them. [...]

The Republican vision is clear: "I've got mine, the rest of you are on your own." Republicans say they don't believe in government. Sure they do. They believe in government to help themselves and their powerful friends.

[snip] Corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die. And that matters. That matters because we don't run this country for corporations, we run it for people.

That woman, of course, is Elizabeth Warren. And damn if those words don't get me excited. Many people have said this before. I'm one of them. But I'm going to say it again, because it must be said after our losses in the midterms: We need Elizabeth Warren to run for president. Whether she wins or loses, no one else can more effectively reshape the message and policy agenda of the Democratic Party, and there's no better way for her to do so than with the platform of a White House run.

Please join me for more discussion beyond the fold.

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Reposted from Joan McCarter by poopdogcomedy
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) listens to answers during a testimony while sitting on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee in Washington February 14, 2013.  U.S. lawmakers pressed financial regulators on Thursday on their efforts to crack down on Wall Street after the 2007-2009 financial crisis, which a new government report said may have cost the U.S. economy more than $10 trillion. .REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS) - RTR3DSRD
Senate Democrats are capable of learning. Last Tuesday's election taught them they probably need some help on messaging and policy, and they looked to precisely the right person for it.
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) gained a leadership position in the Senate Democratic caucus Thursday, giving the prominent progressive senator a key role in shaping the party's policy priorities.

Warren's new role, which was created specifically for her, will be strategic policy adviser to the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, helping to craft the party's policy positions and priorities. She will also serve as a liaison to progressive groups to ensure they have a voice in leadership meetings and discussions, according to a source familiar with the role.

More proof they're learning—Sen. Harry Reid strongly supported Warren for this role precisely because of what happened in the election.
"If the ballot measure results are any indication, actual progressive policies remain popular with voters in red and blue states. I believe you’ll see a Senate Democratic caucus fight on behalf of those policies and provide the votes if and when Republicans are ready to act," Faiz Shakir, a senior adviser to Reid, told HuffPost earlier this month.
There's no one better at shaping the progressive populist message in Congress than Warren, and Congress needs it for 2016. The Democrats as a whole need it for 2016. And here is where Warren can have a real effect on the 2016 presidential campaign. Hillary Clinton is not going to run a campaign that's discordant with what the Senate Democrats—with Warren shaping the policy and the message—are running on.

There's ongoing discussion in LtPower's recommended diary.

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Reposted from Phoebe Loosinhouse by poopdogcomedy

There are a few people in politics who know how to speak sincerely to the American public about their economic concerns and to offer solutions in a concise, understandable and persuadable way. Fortunately for all of us, Elizabeth Warren is one of those people.

After consoling us over Tuesday losses, she moves along quickly to the real business of the day - what is going to happen next in our new political landscape. It seems she might have some advance reservations about potential outcomes and whose agenda they would further:    

Elizabeth Warren: It's time to work on America's agenda

Before leaders in Congress and the president get caught up in proving they can pass some new laws, everyone should take a skeptical look at whom those new laws will serve. At this very minute, lobbyists and lawyers are lining up by the thousands to push for new laws — laws that will help their rich and powerful clients get richer and more powerful. Hoping to catch a wave of dealmaking, these lobbyists and lawyers — and their well-heeled clients — are looking for the chance to rig the game just a little more.

But the lobbyists’ agenda is not America’s agenda. Americans are deeply suspicious of trade deals negotiated in secret, with chief executives invited into the room while the workers whose jobs are on the line are locked outside. They have been burned enough times on tax deals that carefully protect the tender fannies of billionaires and big oil and other big political donors, while working families just get hammered. They are appalled by Wall Street banks that got taxpayer bailouts and now whine that the laws are too tough, even as they rake in billions in profits. If cutting deals means helping big corporations, Wall Street banks and the already-powerful, that isn’t a victory for the American people — it’s just another round of the same old rigged game.

Pretty damn refreshing to have someone address us like we're not idiots, isn't it? And also for someone to be bold enough to address the reality of the hazardous situation the country and it's citizens are in with some frank language and without finessing it.

Thank you, Elizabeth Warren for forewarning us clearly about whose ox is going to get gored and whose calf will be fattened. You are one inconvenient woman speaking some uncomfortable truths and I am so happy we have you on our side!

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Reposted from pdc by poopdogcomedy
11/07/06: Deval Patrick poses for a picture with Marlene Honore following his gubernatorial win at Hynes Convention Center. (Photo by Phil Sussman)
Last one and it will be short but I figured on Election Eve, you all could use this:

http://www.masslive.com/...

Lagging in the polls, Martha Coakley turned out an A-list of Massachusetts' Democratic politicians Monday night to encourage activists to turn out the vote on Tuesday.

"I have said many times you don't have to hate Republicans to be a good Democrat, but I feel like kicking a little Republican ass right now," Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, told a crowd of nearly 200 activists at Coakley's Somerville headquarters.

Patrick was joined by U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, labor leaders and Boston city officials. They traveled in a rented Don Quijote tour bus plastered with signs for Coakley and running mate Steve Kerrigan. Boston Mayor Martin Walsh planned to join Coakley for an evening event in Boston.

Coakley is trailing Republican Charlie Baker in the race for governor of Massachusetts, according to most recent polls, though the race remains close. Her supporters say they are counting on a strong ground game to win on Election Day.

By Monday night, Coakley's voice was hoarse from days on the campaign trail.

"We are not going to stop fighting. I know I'm not until the polls close," Coakley said. As her voice showed the strain, she added, "You can tell I've been talking a little bit, right? I've been using my voice." - The Republican, 11/3/14

While Baker may have a small lead, PPP shows that the undecideds lean towards Coakley. This race is still winnable. Click here to help out with GOTV efforts for Coakley's campaign:
http://www.marthacoakley.com/
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Reposted from Laura Clawson by poopdogcomedy
Karyn Polito and Charlie Baker at a parade with supporters.
Karyn Polito and Charlie Baker
Charlie Baker is running for Massachusetts governor in the tradition of his Republican predecessors like Mitt Romney: A Pragmatic Moderate Willing To Work Across Party Lines in his telling, a job-outsourcing plutocrat who's a little wiggly on social issues in reality. The social issues are key. Republicans can be elected governor in Massachusetts, but only if they're at least notionally pro-choice and, these days, pro-LGBT rights. Which is where 2014 gets interesting. Because sharing the ticket with Baker is lieutenant governor candidate Karyn Polito, and while she really doesn't want to talk about LGBT issues now, she has quite the history as a warrior against equality.

In 2003, Polito tried to get a measure repealing marriage equality on the Massachusetts ballot. In 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007, she voted for an anti-equality constitutional amendment as a state legislator. In 2008, she wanted to keep in place the 1913 law prohibiting people from marrying in Massachusetts if their marriages wouldn't be legal in their home states. As should be obvious from the date, it was originally an anti-miscegenation law. And there's more:

  • Jan. 2009 - Polito co-sponsored an anti-LGBT 'parent's rights' bill written by Brian Camenker, the Executive Director of MassResistance. The bill established a parental notification if LGBT topics were to be discussed in schools – in any class – even if you talked about Gertrude Stein in English class. When faced with the true consequences of the bill, 15 co-sponsors asked to have their names taken off. Polito was not one of those legislators.
  • Feb. 2009 – Polito, along with now Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis, filed an official complaint when the Registry of Motor Vehicles began allowing transgender people to change the sex designation on their driver's license without proof of sex reassignment surgery. The complaint objected to such changes because of "constituent complaints" that were concerned about "fraud and theft." The DMV simply made a change, where people seeking a new license because of changing genders did not have to provide medical documentation any longer – but still had to provide proof of identity.
Now, Baker and Polito don't want to say anything more about LGBT rights than that they accept that marriage equality is settled law. But what about all the other rights? What about all the other forms of discrimination that states like Massachusetts should be leading the country to end? Can voters really expect Polito to be anything but dead wrong on those issues?

This is who Charlie Baker chose to run with. In Massachusetts, candidates for lieutenant governor are chosen separately from gubernatorial candidates in the primary, with the winners then voted on as a ticket in the general election. But Baker actually chose Polito as his running mate for the primary. What's more, Baker has joined Polito in dodging important questions on LGBT issues, and skipped a forum to address such questions earlier this year. Charlie Baker and Karyn Polito want voters to think that by acknowledging that marriage equality is here to stay, they've proven themselves on LGBT rights. They haven't—and they're trying to keep us from knowing what they'd do if elected.

 

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Sun Nov 02, 2014 at 01:43 PM PST

I Cry.

by noweasels

Reposted from noweasels by poopdogcomedy

Republican Gubernatorial hopeful Charlie Baker "cried" the other night, during a debate, about a New Bedford fisherman and his two sons, who may or may not exist.

I’m still not exactly sure what about this story is cry-worthy (can young men with college scholarships not say "no, we are not going to be fisherman, we are going to college," or, alternatively, could not these young men say, "We want to be fishermen, because it is what we want do?").

But, right now, I do know a lot of real stories that are worth tears -- and action.

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Reposted from pdc by poopdogcomedy
PPP released some final polling today. They did not have good results from Arkansas, Kentucky and Idaho but they do have some news to pay attention to out of Connecticut and Massachusetts:

http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/...

In Connecticut Democrat Dan Malloy leads Republican challenger Tom Foley 44-41, with independent Joe Visconti getting 6%. When you take Visconti out of the mix and push undecideds about who they would vote for, Malloy maintains a 3 point lead at 47/44. The race has tightened since a month ago when we found Malloy leading 43/35. Since that time Foley's party has unified around him, taking him from 63% of the Republican vote to 80%. Foley is also keeping it close in the normally blue state by winning independents 43/29.

Even though there are many races across the country this year where voters don't like either candidate, Connecticut is on another level in that regard. Malloy has a 38/52 approval spread, but Foley has a 33/48 favorability rating. The race still remains very close but it may be in the end that in a race with two similarly unpopular candidates, the state ends up voting to form with its normal party allegiances.

Mass. Republican nominee for governor Charlie Baker, left, smiles as he addresses a candidates forum, sponsored by a group that represents human service providers, at Faneuil Hall in Boston, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. At right is Democratic nominee Martha Coakley. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) ORG XMIT: MACK103
In the race for Governor of Massachusetts Republican Charlie Baker leads Democratic foe Martha Coakley 46/42, with third party candidates combining for 7% and 6% still undecided. It's worth noting that undecideds, when prodded about who they lean toward, choose Coakley 39/14. Supporters of the third party candidates also say Coakley would be their second choice by a 38/29 spread. In a 2 way race Baker's lead goes down to 48/47, so there is some reason to think the contest could end up being tighter.

The big story in this contest is Baker's popularity. 52% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 33% with an unfavorable one. Few candidates across the country are managing that level of popularity this year. Coakley isn't unpopular- 44% see her favorably and 44% unfavorably- but Baker's on another level. Baker is winning independents 57/29, and he's receiving 86% of the Republican vote while just 69% of Democrats are for Coakley right now. - PPP, 11/1/14

Malloy's holding on but it's tight and it's all about getting the undecideds to come out for Coakley. Click here to help out with GOTV efforts for Malloy and Coakley's campaigns:
http://www.danmalloy2014.com/
http://www.marthacoakley.com/
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Reposted from Daily Kos Labor by poopdogcomedy
Goal Thermometer

Over the weekend, Sen. Elizabeth Warren showed up to ignite canvassers for the final push to elect Martha Coakley governor of Massachusetts. In classic Warren fashion, she drew a strong contrast between Coakley and her Republican opponent, Charlie Baker.

On Coakley:

When the biggest financial institutions were rolling across Massachusetts, selling lousy mortgages to people all across this commonwealth, Martha stood up and fought back. And when they didn't like it, she just fought harder, because that's who Martha Coakley is.
On Baker:
I recognize, he's the new! smiley! Charlie Baker. But you really need to look at what was he doing while she was out there doing this work on behalf of people across this commonwealth. Well what Charlie was doing, largely, was firing people and outsourcing jobs. Now, I want you to realize that Charlie actually got an award. [...] He dressed up in his tuxedo and got his picture taken getting an award for being "outsourcer of the year." Just for a minute, can we stop? Can you believe that there's an award called "outsourcer of the year"? I mean, like, is there also an award for "found sleaziest tax loophole"? ... "Most bloated CEO pay"? I really was stunned by this. But that's what Charlie did.

And then here's the key—because remember, we've gone through such tough economic times—with people out of work all across this commonwealth, what did Charlie want to do? He wanted to cut unemployment benefits. So when you're in trouble, you know where Charlie Baker stands. And when people took whatever work they could get, people who had gotten knocked out of good, solid, middle-class jobs, snagged minimum wage jobs and the question came up, should we raise the minimum wage—Charlie Baker said no.

This is a close race, and Baker has a big money advantage. But Elizabeth Warren is, of course, exactly right about the candidates.
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Charlie Baker is repugnant. Make sure your family and friends in Massachusetts don't think he's some kind of cuddly moderate.
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Reposted from treeuggerIT by poopdogcomedy

As a Boston resident this is a sad day, he was really good for this city...
Thomas M. Menino, Boston’s longest serving mayor, has died at age 71

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