The New York times reports: “Joseph R. Biden Jr. won Massachusetts’ 11 electoral votes”. I read a little more of the page and learned that this fact was reported with 3 percent of the vote counted. In other words, Biden won 2 percent of the votes and that was enough for the NYT to say that he won the state election. Why not report “Biden won” at 7:01 am, then?Full post, including comments
I finally dug my way through the two ballot questions (see Should I vote for ranked-choice voting?) and am ready to vote here in Maskachusetts. The instructions that came with my mail-in ballot:
Put your ballot into the yellow ballot envelope and seal the ballot envelope.
Sign the ballot envelope. Print your name and address below your signature.
The ballot envelope also has a personalized name/address sticker on it.
When a person votes in-person in Maskachusetts (generally for a candidate running unopposed or one whose odds of winning are 99.99%), he/she/ze/they fills out a ballot in a private booth and then puts the ballot into a scanner. There is no association between ballot and person.
With vote-by-mail, local officials, nearly all of whom are from one party(!), could assemble a list of citizens (and the undocumented?) who failed to vote correctly. After the election, God willing, this could be the basis for correcting the big error that my Dutch friend said the American elites made in 2016 regarding the Deplorables: “They forgot to take away their right to vote.”
I haven’t seen this discussed much, but as far as I can tell, vote-by-mail means the end of anonymous voting in Massachusetts (not sure how it is done in the rest of the country).
Separately, the towns here have spent what is probably $10,000+ each on voting drop boxes on concrete pads:
People who don’t trust the government-run post office to deliver a local letter within 2-3 weeks can use this box to vote for a bigger government that will take over additional day-to-day functions within society and the economy. People who agree with Joe Biden that climate change is an existential threat to humanity can, instead of walking to the end of their own driveway and putting the flag up on their own mailbox, drive a CO2-spewing vehicle to/from the ballot drop box. They will, of course, vote for bold government action to cut CO2 emissions!Full post, including comments
One of my favorite businesses here in the Boston area has been shut down since March as part of one of the 50+ orders from the Maskachusetts governor: full-service interior cleaning at the Allston Car Wash.
Most of the folks whom I’ve met working there over the years were native Spanish speakers, i.e., the very folks whom NPR tells us are most likely to have been infected with coronavirus:
MassINC’s survey of Latino results found the infection rates for essential workers is far from the only challenge Latino residents have faced. But it is a major one. Public health data, however incomplete, is clear about one thing: Latino residents have been much more likely to contract COVID-19 and to suffer serious health consequences from it. The poll also documented the devastating economic and health consequences many have felt and showed many Latinos to be among those who have been hit the hardest.
So they’ve very likely been exposed to coronavirus and now it is illegal for them to work because they live in the state that ranks #3 for most coronapanic-related restrictions. [The article didn’t talk about “Latinx” residents of Maskachusetts, so have only partial information.]
I previously asked why people who’d previously been hospitalized for COVID-19 and discharged months earlier couldn’t have enjoyed being spectators at the U.S. Open tennis match. Now the same question for working in these banned industries: Why can’t the car wash reopen for interior cleaning if they employ only those who’ve previously had a COVID-19 positive test result? Indulge in some mask theater as well if we want a “belt and suspenders” approach and have the cleaned cars sit for a couple of minutes with the windows open and the vent blowers turned up to max.Full post, including comments
One of our governor’s 50+ orders is banning likely-to-be-plagued visitors from other states from visiting Massachusetts (#3 among states ranked by Covid-19 death rate) unless these unclean individuals go through a 14-day ritual purification and/or receive the sacrament of false negatives (a PCR test on the asymptomatic).
As of yesterday, however, it seems that Massachusetts itself would be a “hot zone” state and visitors from Massachusetts would therefore have to be quarantined before mingling with the righteous locals… here in Massachusetts (Boston Herald).
Related:Full post, including comments
The first of my five mail-in ballots has arrived. 3 out of 7 candidates are Democrats running unopposed. The remaining 4 races are 100 percent guaranteed to be won by Democrats. A potential contest: Question 2 is whether to adopt ranked choice voting.
As someone whose political beliefs are most aligned with the libertarians, a last-choice party in a nation where people want a planned economy (my 2012 document after watching both the Republican and Democrat candidates promise that government would create jobs, ensure fair wages, etc.), is this for me? I could vote for a libertarian candidate and then also pick a second choice from a party that has a chance in a country whose citizens want government to cater to their every need? Yet in a Massachusetts general election it is almost inconceivable for a non-Democrat to win. So how can this have any practical effect?
The “Independent Women’s Law Center” opposes this question. We don’t know what people identifying with the remaining 50+ genders say. Wikipedia says that Estonia had something like this, but abandoned it in 2001. As government in Estonia is radically more efficient than here in the U.S., that’s a strike against the idea.
Readers: What do you say about this proposal?
Update, 10/16: a friend highlighted “The Ancient Greeks Teach Us The Perils of Ranked Choice Voting”, by a political science professor:
Full post, including comments
As this list [of supporters] makes clear, RCV supporters fall overwhelmingly into two (mostly overlapping) categories: Democrats and groups whose members vote heavily for Democratic candidates; and groups that (Libertarians aside) have practically no chance of winning elections even under RCV, except at the local level. Given Massachusetts’s status as a heavily Democratic state (the state’s congressional delegation consists solely of Democrats, who also have long held a substantial supermajority in the legislature), Democrats have little to fear from losing elections to Republicans as a result of RCV. Rather, they need to court members of left-liberal fringe groups, as well as public-employee unions, to ensure that they turn out to vote — knowing that those groups’ supporters would almost surely make the Democratic candidate, at worst, their second-choice candidate, further guaranteeing the defeat of any Republican contender.
The City of Cambridge recently emailed to say “Governor Baker’s COVID-19 Order #50 made certain Phase III adjustments, including extension of outdoor dining provisions and opening of indoor and outdoor gaming arcades”. This reminded me that we’ve now had 50 governor’s orders related to this virus.
What’s in the latest one? First, a reminder of how awesome it is to have the power of being a state governor:
(sorry for the images, but the governor distributes these as scanned PDFs without OCR). Then, just as the City of Cambridge says, two pages regarding under what circumstances the state and local License Rajs might allow restaurants to serve alcohol outdoors and might allow arcades to reopen.
What about a never-shut never-masked country with less than half the COVID-19 death rate compared to Massachusetts? Sweden seems to have had about 10 new regulations in the past 6 months and they’ve either been laws passed by the legislature or regulations issued by bureaucracies, not orders coming down from a muscular executive such as the Prime Minister. Sweden is being governed, even in what Americans have characterized as “an emergency”, by consensus rather than via dictates from individuals.
(How is Sweden doing with plague right now? The WHO dashboard shows them at 578 deaths per 1 million residents (i.e., only 99.94 percent of Swedes remain alive). The U.S. is at 584. So, despite our shutdown, the U.S. caught up to Sweden just as the former chief scientist of the European CDC said (in April) that we would.
Whatever we have done with shutdowns and/or masks seems to have ensured that we will have a “long tail” of infections/deaths rather than the exponential decline to near-zero that Sweden has had.
Note that this is the dashboard from which deaths-by-age statistics were removed last month just as officials were deciding whether to reopen schools: Maskachusetts: When people aren’t scared enough, change the Covid-19 dashboard )Full post, including comments
“The age of incrementalism is over,” Markey said. “Now is our moment to think big.” (Boston.com)
Ed Markey, who might be running to replace President Harris in 2028 when he will be a young 82 years of age, defeated Joe Kennedy III in the Maskachusetts Senate primary by declaring that Kennedy was not progressive enough and winning the endorsement of AOC. Yet ProgressivePunch says that, during the 2019-2020 session, AOC had a “Progressive Score” of only 94.94 percent (based on her votes). Kennedy, by contrast, voted correctly 96.2 percent of the time.
In other words, a candidate who was actually more progressive than AOC lost the election here in Massachusetts.
(This was the only race on my Democratic primary ballot in which there was a choice; all other candidates were running unopposed.)
From Newburyport, MA yesterday, a multilingual Hate Has No Home Here message that welcomes migrants right next to a No Trespassing sign. The owner is also apparently an Ed Markey fan:
- “It is the duty of the revolution to put an end to compromise, and to put an end to compromise means taking the path of socialist revolution.” (i.e., the age of incrementalism was also over in 1917; V.I. Lenin)
The First Amendment rights of young people to assemble, go to school, work, socialize, travel, etc. have been suspended or eliminated due to the coronavirus public health emergency declared by the governor here in Maskachusetts.
Recently, however, I learned that we’re in the midst of a second public health emergency. From “Massachusetts Municipal Leaders Pledge to Take Action on Systemic Racism”:
The municipal leaders agreed on five shared principles:
We agree that systemic racism is a public health emergency, which must be addressed by strong and decisive actions over the coming weeks and months, and by patient and determined efforts years into the future. We are in this now; we are in it for the long haul.
In other words, in addition to the multi-year coronavirus “emergency”, there is a “long haul” “emergency” that will stretch “years into the future.”
Readers: What former Constitutional rights that survived corona-edicts can be eliminated to deal with this emergency?
- When does coronaplague stop being an emergency? (July 6)
- “Mass. Students, Kids in Day Care Must Get Flu Vaccine, DPH Says Amid Pandemic” (NECN): Students at Massachusetts schools from kindergarten up to universities, as well as children at least 6 months old in day care, must get the flu vaccine by the end of the year if they’re around others, health officials said Wednesday. The new requirement from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health comes amid the coronavirus pandemic, which public health experts have said could be exacerbated by the annual resurgence of the flu in the fall and winter. “It is more important now than ever to get a flu vaccine because flu symptoms are very similar to those of COVID-19 and preventing the flu will save lives and preserve healthcare resources,” said Dr. Larry Madoff, medical director of the DPH’s Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences, in a statement. (Why not prohibit alcohol if we are trying to save lives, instead of going door to door hunting for young people who are #Resisting flu shots?)
The 74-year-old Ed Markey is running for reelection to the Senate here in Maskachusetts, The 39-year-old Joe Kennedy III, whose primary qualification is being a Kennedy, is running against him. Whom to vote for?
Text: “Progressive leadership isn’t about your age. It’s about the age of your ideas and your commitment to fighting for what’s right, even when it isn’t easy. That’s what my partnership with @AOC is all about.”
If we average Markey’s age and AOC’s age (30), we would get the age of a person whom an American business might trust to serve as a manager?
No Republican can win in November, so the real contest is the September 1 primary among Democrats. (Though, in fact, all of the other candidates on my primary ballot are running unopposed. So there will be two successive ballots in which nearly every candidate is unopposed!)
Why doesn’t AOC like Joe Kennedy III? Wikipedia says that he supported the Green New Deal (we can prevent climate change from killing anyone who somehow escapes coronadeath). Kennedy has an elite educational background: BB&N (where students actually got taught this year, unlike in the Massachusetts public schools), Stanford, Harvard Law School. Maybe AOC is worried that Kennedy will follow the old rule: “If you’re not a liberal at twenty you have no heart; if you’re not a conservative at forty you have no brain.” As Kennedy gets older he will begin to listen to his buddies from Stanford and Harvard Law School about how taxes are too high?
Readers: How should I vote in the primary? (Wisdom of crowds: Markey leads Kennedy)
(Among registered Republicans, those who #BelieveScience and #RespectScience have the option to vote for a real scientist (PhD in systems biology), Shiva Ayyadurai (also the inventor of email). A sign among the righteous suburbanites, many of whom have “We Believe… Science is Real” signs in their yards:
Next best thing to voting for Dr. Fauci! The inventor of email’s opponent in the tilting-at-the-windmills exercise in futility (a Republican primary in MA) is a law firm partner, Kevin O’Connor.)
- “Kennedy allies sweat as Massachusetts Senate race tightens” (Politico, August 12): Single-issue climate groups — including the Environment America Action Fund and another super PAC called United for Massachusetts — have spent nearly $3 million boosting Markey’s campaign.
Massachusetts’ education department is reportedly issuing guidance on the amount of remote learning schools should use based on the coronavirus risk level in their communities.
As school districts scramble to submit reopening plans to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education by Friday, superintendents received a memo from Commissioner Jeffrey Riley Tuesday night that would limit the use of online learning, according to The Boston Globe.
Here’s the map….
From a linked page:
Chelsea, Everett, Lynn and Revere are included in the high risk category, meaning they have over eight cases per 100,000 residents. Twenty-nine other communities, including Auburn, Belchertown, Boston, Brockton, Charlton, Chicopee, Fall River, Framingham, Georgetown, Granby, Holyoke, Hull, Lawrence, Longmeadow, Malden, Marlborough, Maynard, Middleton, Northampton, Peabody, Salem, Saugus, Springfield, Quincy, Randolph, Taunton, Winthrop Worcester, Wrentham, are in the moderate risk category, meaning they have between four and eight cases per 100,000.
In other words, if your town is packed with welfare-dependent People of Color and migrants… no school (“remote learning” in your crowded public housing apartment). The rich white kids in Wellesley and Dover can go back to school, though!
- “Priority for Students of Color in returning to public K-12 school” (Washington State goes in the other direction)