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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Milk carton politics

We're about to enter the last full week of February and meteorological spring is just around the corner (I"m not waiting for the real thing -- too far away!). Congress has passed a $787 billion stimulus bill and is moving on to other pressing issues after a short break.

The Massachusetts Legislature? Well, I hope they had a pleasant school vacation week.

Nearly two full months into a year which should be loaded with important activity, Beacon Hill remains virtually asleep. There have been snags in filing bills -- even though that process is now computerized. Proposals that are in the hopper haven't been making it to committee (second item).

Part of the problem, obviously, is the DiMasi Drama. By holding his resignation until late January -- and another year of pension credits -- former Speaker Sal DiMasi virtually insured the House would work on the same leisurely pace that characterized its schedule during his reign.

New Speaker Robert DeLeo took his time in making committee assignments (I mean really, he didn't have that already worked out?) and then the House went through its routine paces in adopting rules.

Phew. That's enough intrigue and internal politics to surely warrant a week off. Just like Congress.

To be fair, school vacation week schedules are slow all over. But the slow roll out of committee assignments and rules debates reflect business as usual -- and not the urgency that should be seen in these times.

What's that you say -- what can they debate when the budget is early in the process and the governor hasn't filed his transportation bill yet?

How about ethics reform?

It's time to pick up the pace. When Congress looks like a dynamo in comparison to the Great and General Court it's fair to wonder if we need to stick the Golden Dome on a milk carton and put out a call to discover if anyone has seen them.

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Blogger Chris Rich said...

Maybe they are like jack lit deer frozen in the high beams of macro circumstance such as the planetary economy swoon.

Rep. Antonio Cabral, (D New Bedford) penned an interesting op ed piece in Saturday's Glob.

It was aptly titled, "Don't Forget the Rest of the State".

His premise is that the rest of the Commonwealth has been starved for several decades in the rush to pump up Boston.

And it shows when you travel around beyond the 495 collar.

Much of the Commonwealth exhibits an infrastructural decrepitude I last saw in North Dakota from the window of a passing Amtrak over very bad rails.

And now all this conspicuous effort larded with graft, incompetence and overkill sees an enfeebled Boston due to the broader global economy impacts.

Many of the jobs that came of this lopsided boost are the very ones most vulnerable to this particular crisis, non producing paper shuffle things in a shrinking financial sector, insurance sector and that odd invented sector Richard Florida gushingly calls 'the creative classes'.

The Mayor evidently read about that thing and decided to make it a guideline for a 'new Boston'.

So now all these posturing attention whores and sub par vaudevillians actually have to work rather than indulging in their sport of 'thwart when in doubt'.

I'm sure they are sore dismayed.

February 23, 2009 7:24 AM  

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