From 2004, I had blogged at Marry in Massachusetts. I’m closing the figurative shop.

Thinking of doing that kept me awake. I rose those relieved and still delighted that the SCOTUS declared same-sex marriage as a right and the law of the land.

Yes, I’m heavily invested in the themes and the blog. Yes, I know that plug nasties and loons will still try to harm, hinder and hurt homosexuals. Yet over a decade ago, I pledged to shut it down when marriage equality won in the Untied States.

This show is self-indulgent. It is omphaloskepsis. I did it coming up on 12 years. I spoke out for equality. I am not one of the magnificent warriors who made this happen, more a fellow traveler. I know we have come to a good stopping place.

My political blogging will be here, occasionally at BlueMassGroup, and at my personal blog, Harrumph.

icon for podpress  Bye to marriage equality blog [19:20m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Communications guru Marshall McLuhan married a South Carolinian and continued to visit the state regularly from his native Canada. I once heard him speak to the educational broadcasters down there. He concluded that South Carolina was ready to lead the parade into the 21st Century, because it has missed the 20th. He was optimistic but his half jest had a true basis.

Yes, SC was the first to secede from the U.S. Yes, it led in slavery, both of Native Americans and the African/West Indies trade. Yes, it saw active KKKs and lynchings. Yes, it is known for racism.

I spoke to the years I was in SC, as a student and working. I married a native and visited many times, with more in the works. I edited the weekly for Black South Carolinians. I saw quotidian racism. I interviewed a Grand Dragon.

I saw changes in the 70s and more recently. I live in Boston, where we admit African Americans and Latinos are not yet equal in many ways. Yet, we pretend we are not racists here.

I spoke of why SC is much worse than MA and whether McLuhan had a real point.

That interview of Darnell Williams, CEO of the Urban League of Eastern MA by Chris Lovett, on the Charleston murders, is here.

icon for podpress  SC Racism [24:45m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

While I’ve lived 35 years in Boston, plus nearly two in Cambridge in college years, I have deep and wide Southern roots. As a child, I knew segregated schools, stores, pools and water fountains. My first college was in South Carolina. I used to be the editor of the Black weekly newspaper in the SC capital. My wife is an SC native, and on and on. I know a lot about the state.

Let me speak of the people and events I knew in my childhood and youth. Perhaps as I talk, I can come to some terms with the brutal murders of nine in a Charleston AME church yesterday.

If you are not already at work or on the way and can listen live, click this URL at 10:30AM EDT Friday to do so. I’ll take calls so long as your number is not blocked to view at 718-664-6966. Of course, any swearing or racist callers get the mute immediately.

Today was a 17-minute tirade, but a fairly jolly one. Evangelicals and anti-gay types try to copy the political success of pinkos, but with no good purpose means failure. Lefties frequently influence politicians, corporations and others through personal letters, visits, calls and yes, even boycotts. How hard can that be?

Well, apparently too hard for the other sides to emulate.

BGEA reads like a gay-friendly support group. It’s the opposite. The late Rev. Billy Graham;s son Franklin now heads daddy’s church-like object. He doesn’t care for homosexuals or equal rights and positively hates same-sex marriage. Lately he’s calling for a boycott of Wells Fargo and other companies who support equality and gay rights.

The proximate cause of the boycott call was that Wells Fargo used a TV ad that showed two women learning sign language and signing to a little girl they were adopting that they were going to be her mommies.

Many wee-brained folk live by such bluster and bombast. I’ll speak about a few, such as MA-based MassResistance. They are a small but loud and yet dwindling group. I have heard their only continuous member, their leader, spout anti-gay rhetoric since long before the group started, when we were both members of a computer society here. He could work homophobic lingo into even geek speak.

These anti-equality folk promise much and deliver little to nothing. They pick up on effective left-wing boycott talk and action, only to fail again and again.

icon for podpress  Evangelicals fail [18:00m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Zakim’s Busy First Term

June 2, 2015 | Comments Off

Rather than season like firewood, Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim has been all in his first term. Like the other dozen councillors, he is up for re-election in November. He is very comfortable in his role.

Locals know the family name, at least for the entry to the city over the bridge named for his social-activist father Leonard P. (Lenny) Zakim. His parents were role models that inform his current life.

We spoke of the many areas he’s led and insinuated himself in during his first term. You can delve into them on his Council-site link above or at his campaign site. Those also have details of his background and his various causes.

His District 8 sprawls from the West End and Beacon Hill through the Back Bay, Fenway and Mission Hill, that is from the very richest to the most downtrodden neighborhoods. He sincerely seems to support all Bostonians from the privileged to the poorest immigrants. In fact, he authored and drove through the Boston Trust Act, which makes a hardline pushback on the federal policy of crushing undocumented immigrants. That policy in turn made it unlikely that immigrants, even those with documents would report sexual assaults, domestic violence and other crimes they experienced or saw. Instead, Zakim wants them to feel comfortable in approaching authorities without fear of government retaliation or deportation.

Listen in to hear Zakim speak of:

  • Getting bucks for the city in the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) program from universities and other non-profits
  • Ensuring acceptable living conditions and rents for students and others in rental housing
  • Helping keep mortgage payers in their homes in a rapacious realty market

i kept looking for trouble, as in getting Mayor Marty Walsh or the PBD to guy into the Trust Act or getting buy-in on various legislation from fellow Councillors or having Northeastern (he’s an alum) cough up more PILOT money. Yet he got it done, and as he said about the vote on the Trust Act, it didn’t start as unanimous in Council but got there.

It looks like we have a continuation of Zakims from parents to son in coalition building.

icon for podpress  Josh ZaKIM [27:06m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

In a personal show, I discuss what lead to stopping delivery of the local paper…after 30 years. Boston Globe owners are right in there with cable providers in jacking up prices and seeing how much subscribers will tolerate.

They passed my chokepoint at last. That was hard to do, getting a former reporter and lifelong newspaper reader to drop them.

For a bit of background, we had a paywall show in 2009, with newspaper publisher Martin Langeveld, available here.

The economics of cash-rich, low-inventory newspapers are unlike most businesses. They also need customers to justify their real source of income, advertising. Driving customers away by attempting to profiteer off them, treating them as a profit center, seems foolish, but is the new norm.

icon for podpress  Paywall cancel sub [15:37m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

n activist from a family of activists, first-term Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim jumped right in. He chairs the Committee on Human Rights and Civil Rights. That alone lets him put fingers in many pies. He’s on immigration, housing, policing and much more.

He joins us to talk about his goals large and small, To hit hot buttons like the 2024 Olympics and casinos, and, of course, the pending Council-wide re-election campaign.

Join us at the usual day, but an hour later at 3:30PM Eastern. To listen live then, click this URL. Afterward, you can go there to download or listen to his show, return here to do the same, or go to our iTunes page.

The high drama and low comedy of Boston politics surely plays out most publicly with its mayors. Yet since 1909, much of the real action and strongest personalities have been in the City Council. That’s when Boston revised from a board of aldermen and common council. They are the legislative body, who go far beyond their main duty of voting up or down the annual city budget.

With no staggered terms, the 9 district councilors and 4 at-large ones run every two years. In theory, citizens could throw the bums out two years.

In my decades here, I have seen, heard and dealt with various iterations of the Council. I have met and even confronted some real lulus and loons. Those alter kakers are gone and in recent years egos have been in check and responsibility much higher.

We’ve recently lost some of the most active, smartest and overall best councilors. Some stepped down to run for mayor. Some burned out. At least one left for more money.

In this election year, I’ll set up future shows with incumbents and the few challengers. I’ll talk about the shifts and possibilities.

icon for podpress  Boston Council Electyions [19:41m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Simple enough and it should be a nine-to-zip decision affirming marriage equality. However, the right-leaning, idealogue Supreme Court will most likely be a five-to-four vote.

Last week’s arguments and a flood of amicus briefs was not a battle of equals on either of the two flavors on the table — 1) should homosexual couples have the right nationwide to marry and 2) if not, must all states recognize legal same-sex marriages performed in other states and nations? Of course if the Court finds 1, then 2 is moot. Decisions should appear in mid- to late June.

The yes-to-equality side had the legal arguments down, as well as logic and compassion. The no side really didn’t have anything. They dealt in extra-legal humbug, cliché and vague forecasts of doom. Yet the three most conservative, really reactionary, justices took several of the most absurd claims from the no side seriously, judging by their questions and comments. Fortunately, the lefties at the banc burnished away the smutch.

I expect a yes-to-equality decision.

Of course, that won’t stop the plug nasties. My word, they are still trying to undermine a woman’s right to choose four decades later. Expect attempted tricks at the state level to prevent having to recognize such marriages (comity anyone?). Expect local pols to pander to anti-gay sorts by proposing all manner of unnecessary, redundant alleged protections to protect the clergy from the horror of being asked to solemnize a gay wedding. Yes yes, they already have such protections nationwide in statute and case law, but that won’t stop the dummies from dumbing down. Oh, and expect too more prophesies of ministers being thrown in jail and churches litigated to penury. Again, they are overly protected, those things haven’t happened and won’t, but that won’t stop the anti-gay liars and slanderers.

Take a moment to chuckle at the Chicken-Little predictions of doom following Massachusetts starting same-sex marriage. The poor, bemused anti-gay sorts have been reduced to muttering, “None of that happened yet. Just you wait!”

icon for podpress  Gay Marriage Before SCOTUS [26:43m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

The listing and the shuffling of Presidential candidates are great theater. We all figured Republicans to dance and change stage positions. Far more fascinating has been the quick and deep Elizabeth Warren-ization of Democrat hers-to-lose nominee Hillary Clinton.

Elizabeth WarrenPardon the parochialism, but Sen. Warren is hot stuff…and he’s ours in Massachusetts. Well, my favorite ex-hick became a Harvard Law professor (likewise her non-hick husband) and wealthy. Yet, she emerged as a major voice for the new populism. She’s even more outspoken than Sen. Bernie Sanders.(I-VT).

Having had to tell supporters, worshipers and the media that she definitely won’t run for POTUS, Warren is still in the race — as the touchstone for liberals, progressives, and well, sensible folk.

I hit on how Hillary as cannibalized Warren’s policy, to good effect. After all, it’s her one chance to sway lefties and indies who have been indifferent at best to her candidacy.. Meanwhile, poor Republicans run hither and yon putting on the various costumes of different troupes of right-wingers.

Meanwhile, Hillary portrays herself as a middle-class and aspiring middle-class champion. She wants to appeal to the independents and lefties who will swing this election. She needs to be Warren-like. In that vein, we’ll see even more tweaks, such as naming Garry Gensler as her campaign CFO. Sure he has a Goldman Sach background, but he also was key in creating Warren’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He has pinko cred.

I’m betting Hillary can’t fully kick the Trans-Pacific Partnership as Warren does. After all, her hubby and herself as Secretary of State were a full-throated TPP claque. I’m betting she’ll lobby for changes in the proposal and emerge claiming victory as an excuse to support it.

Look for more Warren-izing of the Clinton campaign.

icon for podpress  Hillary in Warren's Gravity Field [19:26m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download