Yesterday was a holiday; we were off.
Democrat Kathy Hochul will be sworn in tomorrow as the newest member of the House of Representatives. Hochul won the heavily Republican district in an upset after the Republican, millionairess Jane Corwin, endorsed the budget of Cong. Paul Ryan, the House Budget Chair. The ideologically driven budget would have ended Medicare "as we know it," and transfer health care costs to future seniors. Hochul successfully ran on the Medicare gutting even as Corwin battled a third party challenger that ultimately ended up taking less than 10% of the vote.
For a humorous diversion we recommend Ian Murphy's posts at the Buffalo Beast. Murphy, who posed as David Koch in a disturbingly funny crank phone call to Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, was actually on the NY-26 ballot as the Green Party candidate. He attracted some 1,000 votes. Murphy's last post on the election had him posing as a Corwin supporter and calling voters. He earlier put together a parody site of Corwin's own campaign website. Though the election is over, Murphy has successfully interjected himself in two major political stories this year. We best keep an eye on him.
The State of Things:
The DiMasi trial continues in Boston. The former Massachusetts Speaker of the House, Sal DiMasi, is accused of steering contracts for software in exchange for kickbacks. The witness list includes Beacon Hill luminaries like Gov. Deval Patrick, Sen. Pres. Therese Murray and current Speaker Robert DeLeo. Patrick appeared last week and testified that DiMasi lobbied hard for the software contract. Apparently, Patrick, not knowing that DiMasi allegedly had his hand in the till, relented to the ex-Speaker's demands in exchange for a deal that enabled the State Backup Data Center, current under construction, to be located in Springfield.
Local and national Democrats are already turning their guns on each other over comments made by Democratic Senate Campaign Committee Chairwoman, Patty Murray of Washington state. Murray commented that a big name challenger to Senator Scott Brown will surface "within weeks." That irked the Democrats already running, though some were more subdued than others over the comments. We go into that in more detail in a post later today.
Incidentally, the AP is reporting today that Brown is opening an official (as opposed to campaign) office in Worcester to be better accessible to voters (when they cannot attend a book-signing or expensive dinner, we suppose). No plans for a Springfield office are on the table, but given the electoral map expect Brown's campaign efforts to only selectively enter the 413. Far more votes to grab in Worcester county, if not the city.
Biomass remains on the mind of some in the Valley even after last week's historic vote by the Springfield City Council to revoke the permit. Already the prognosticators on both sides are analyzing the decision, which wherever you stand on the issue represents a positive departure from the city's governing status quo (Well if you're David Callahan, a suburbanite, you probably do not care about that). Former City Councilor Tim Ryan issued the same boilerplate support for the plant in a Sunday Republican Op-Ed, but kept the issue away from the legal mess (no link found). Meanwhile, the Advocate published responses from the city's Mayoral candidates. Antonnette Pepe's response is of particular interest as she criticized the 2008 council for its approval and the current council for revoking before a state air quality report. Still, the former rather than the latter, represented a real problem with how the council operates and addresses problems, which we hope to discuss in greater detail in the future.
The Pioneer Valley Media world suffered a loss this weekend with the sudden death of Bob Paquette of WFCR & WNNZ. A heart attack appears the likely cause. Paquette, the senior news director for the area's local NPR affiliates, typically hosted the local news during the NPR broadcast of its a.m. drive-time news show, Morning Edition. Paquette's career in radio spans 38 years and his career at WFCR, which itself turned 50 this year, goes back to 1991. Paquette was 55.
Setti Warren, the mayor of Newton and a candidate for the Democratic nomination for US Senate in 2012, announced that his wife, Tassy gave birth to a baby boy. John David Warren was born Sunday night.