Assembly Square and Casinos

This takes a bit of chutzpah:

Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone, an outspoken opponent of casinos and of the expanded gambling law, said he was disappointed though not surprised by the state action.

“The process failed and the Gaming Commission voted despite not having the answers to all the serious, outstanding questions [about the Wynn plan],” he said. “This is the consequence of a fundamentally flawed piece of legislation that allows one community — Everett — to make a decision that impacts an entire region.”

Hayes Morrison, Somerville’s director of transportation and infrastructure, said the city is facing major traffic changes because of the project.

Noting that about two-thirds of the predicted 25,000 daily vehicle trips to and from the casino would go through the already overburdened Sullivan Square in Charlestown — and that three of the roads from the square lead directly into Somerville — she said the project would add to congestion and send cars onto local streets.

The state has invested significant sums in the “redevelopment potential of Somerville and the traffic in Sullivan Square has the potential of devaluing that investment,” she said, noting in particular the adverse effects the project could have on the Assembly Row development, across the river from the casino via the Wellington Bridge.

The increased traffic also could jeopardize the success of the Union Square redevelopment, said Morrison, who called Wynn’s plans for addressing the traffic issues at Sullivan Square “extremely vague.”

A lot of government money has gone into Somerville to help build Assembly Square and the Green Line extension. These developments not only don’t pay money to neighboring communities they are taking money from them. I wonder how much input Somerville got from the surrounding communities when they were planning Assemble Square? And I just love how they worry about the increased traffic into Sullivan Square from the casino, but don’t note that Assembly Row will also add lots of traffic to the same Square–at least the casino is going to put in a bunch of money to try to mitigate the extra traffic.

London Calling

Scotland has voted to stay in the United Kingdom which is as a good a reason as any to play some Clash:

Sure, it’s not entirely appropriate but it’s the Clash.

Which side are they on?

Quick quiz, are the following statements from people who are working with or against the Obama administration? The answer is under the fold.

David Glazer, stood with Arch Coal. Glazer told Jackson that the government should not “monetize” the impact of global warming.

What doesn’t make sense, Slone said, is imposing “imprudent and unwise” regulations to cut carbon emissions. He said “technology is the answer to addressing climate concerns,” referring to efforts to capture carbon emissions and store them underground, which is being tried at a number of sites around the world.

“There is still a lot of debate on global warming,” Ludlow said. “The earth has been warming for 10,000 years, the glaciers have been receding. All the models I’ve seen have over-predicted the impact of global warming. I believe the effect of carbon dioxide is overstated.” Referring to his company’s local employment, as well as the ability to provide electricity to people around the world, Ludlow said, “There’s a lot of people who refer to carbon as a social benefit, not a social cost.”


Truth, what a quaint concept

It seems that it’s unconstitutional to outlaw lying:

A federal judge on Friday struck down Ohio’s law barring people from knowingly or recklessly making false statements about candidates in a case the US Supreme Court said needed to be heard.

US District Judge Timothy Black ruled Ohio’s law unconstitutional and prohibited the Ohio Elections Commission from enforcing it.

I sympathize a bit with the case this is based on:

The case began after then-US Representative Steve Driehaus filed a complaint when the group planned to post billboards claiming the Democrat’s support for President Obama’s health care overhaul equated with support for abortion, even though he opposed abortion.

I’m not sure if I want a jury to decide if political statements are true unless it’s pretty obvious. But the judge’s reasoning is highly stupid:

The judge said the answer to false statements in politics is ‘‘not to force silence, but to encourage truthful speech in response, and to let the voters, not the government, decide what the political truth is.’’

There are some cases where a party obviously lies and the judge is saying that there should be no consequences except to say that they’re lying–obviously if the liar has a lot more money than it’s more likely to be accepted than the truth.

And wouldn’t you just know that the purported liars are anti-abortion activists–they love, for example, saying that having an abortion causes depression even though the evidence shows it does not.


It’s primary day here in Massachusetts which means we all need to get out there and do our civic duty–vote. I have decided to vote for Don Berwick for governor because he is for a single-payer system for healthcare, but even if you disagree with me I hope you go vote. A democratic system will not long survive unless most people put in the minimum of effort to support it and voting is the minimum.

The League of Women Voters has a short guide to all the primary candidates for statewide office and links to all their websites. Go look and then go vote.

The ‘makers’ are taking more

I don’t know what these guys are protesting about:

Police handcuffed nine protesters in Boston and dozens of others in cities across the country who blocked traffic Thursday in their latest attempt to escalate efforts to get fast-food companies to pay employees at least $15 an hour.

Oh wait:

For the most affluent 10 percent of US families, average incomes rose by 10 percent from 2010 to 2013. For the rest of the population, average incomes were flat or falling.

The least affluent families had the largest declines. Average incomes dropped by 8 percent for the bottom 20 percent of families, the Fed reported in its triennial Survey of Consumer Finances, one of the most comprehensive sources of data on the financial health of US families.

For the top 10 percent of families, ranked by income, estimated average wealth increased by 2 percent to $3.3 million. For the bottom 20 percent of families, average wealth sharply declined by 21 percent to $65,000.

And (the data comes from here):

Over the past 25 years, the rich have seen their wealth skyrocket, from 44.8 percent of the total to 54.4 percent of the total. The middle class and the poor, by contrast, have seen their share of national wealth plummet from 33.2 percent to 24.7 percent.

Filling in: the share for the people from the 90th to 97th percentiles went from a 22% share to 20.9%–even the somewhat rich are losing out to the very rich.

Back to the original article:

The National Restaurant Association said in a statement that the protests are an attempt by unions to ‘‘boost their dwindling membership.”

Wow, what an insight. Notice how they think we will assume this is a bad thing–the shrinking of the unions is one of the big reason the rich are taking an increasing share of the wealth.

Hey, it’s Neptune

I’m all at sea, so here’s a picture of Neptune (Credit: NASA; this was taken by Voyager 2 in 1989):


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