Still enjoying the lazy,
hazy days of summer, spent last weekend lounging on my screened
porch reading a novel and sipping Chip’s excellent ice caramel
coffee. I could do that for the rest of the summer.
However. Other people are
very busy doing good things, and I decided to talk about them with
Salem State’s Explorers Club on Monday. It seemed a good time to
give a positive speech and I did my best, though I think the
audience sensed my ongoing pessimism about the way things are going
In no particular order, as
I think of good activity:
The Salem News published a
story about a hearing last week on a bill filed by state
Representative Colleen Garry, D-Dracut. that, according to the State
House News Service, would allow authorities to charge anyone who
blocks “access to or upon the public highway or roadway for any
purpose other than road construction, maintenance or official
traffic direction by a public safety official” with attempt to
murder, carrying a sentence of up to 20 years.
The highway protest last
January, I don’t recall what it was about, blocked people from
chemotherapy and dialysis appointments, as well as their jobs,
connecting with small children, and just getting through their day.
H 1335 would apply to all demonstrations regardless of the subject
My own state
representative, Lori Ehrlich, along with many other legislators, has
signed on to a bill that would allow terminally ill patients to die
with dignity. This is something I, who believe in choice in all
arenas, have long supported. H 1991 hasn’t had a hearing yet, but
the issue came to mind this week when Medicare announced that it is
considering allowing physicians to be reimbursed for discussing
end-of-life care with their patients. I already carry my living will
in my purse, but want even more control.
Speaking of choice,
Massachusetts has been ahead of the curve in supporting parental
choice with its charter schools. Gov. Baker has placed raising the
legislative cap on charter schools on his priority list, and I hear
some citizens are planning a petition drive to let voters do this if
the Legislature won’t.
Other citizens are
planning a petition drive if necessary to stop Massachusetts
involvement in Common Core, the federal takeover of education
testing that would replace our existing MCAS standards. Local
activists have been addressing this issue with their own school
boards, notably in Peabody.
One longtime advocate for
education reforms, the Pioneer Institute, has just published a
paperback book titled “Agenda
for Leadership, Increasing Economic Mobility & Civic engagement in
I just got the book and
haven’t read it yet but I’m sure by “economic mobility” they don’t
mean recent manifestations of it, i.e., productive citizens moving
out of Massachusetts to states that don’t have an income tax.
Pioneer wants to bring back the American Dream of rising higher,
earning more than in the past, right here in Massachusetts.
To the contrary, a group
calling itself Raise Up Massachusetts —
a coalition of community, religious and labor groups
— is working on language for a ballot
question that would create a higher tax rate for wealthiest
Massachusetts residents on income above $1 million. This is a fun
image: constitutional amendment passes on Election Day Tuesday in
2018, millionaires start packing on Wednesday, Massachusetts no
longer gets the 5 percent income tax rate, never mind a higher rate,
applied to their money. What makes liberals economically ignorant?
Here’s another fun thing,
happening tonight at 8 when local Fox 25 is sponsoring an
hour-long debate between supporters of Boston 2024 Olympics and
the opposition group No Boston Olympics. The well-spoken leader of
the No group, Chris Dempsey, and a partner will be debating two
leaders of Boston 2024 for an hour, followed by media questions.
A different group, which
recently repealed the automatic gas tax, is planning to collect
signatures on a ballot question that would protect taxpayers from
having to pay for the Olympics. For some reason Olympics proponents
are planning their own petition drive.
I prefer to concentrate on
a no vote, but the groups proposing ballot questions help to give
the International Olympics Committee a sense that the public support
may not be here and they might want to look elsewhere.
Next I must mention a
national story that is scary/infuriating but finally being
Washington Post reports that “between fiscal years 2010 and
2014, the Obama administration had released 121 unique criminal
aliens who had an active (deportation) case at the time of release
and were subsequently charged with homicide-related offenses.”
One murder we know about
was the shooting of 32-year-old Kate Steinle by an undocumented
immigrant, a repeat felon who had been deported five times to
Mexico, according to immigration officials. Over the weekend I heard
the Obama administration arguing that the border is secure, the
number of illegal immigrants is down. How then is it possible for
one felon to be deported and return five times?
This last time he
returned, the felon admits heading for a “sanctuary city,” whose
governments protect illegal criminals. Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez
was hanging out on the pier in San Francisco, where he murdered Kate
as she was walking with her father. To my theme: Congressional
hearings are being held on “Kate’s Law” to end the revolving door of
deportation her killer benefited from, and on defunding sanctuary
cities. We can all call our congressmen to support these laws.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts has three “sanctuary cities” of its own:
Cambridge, Chelsea and Orleans. You might want to avoid them if
Finally, some good summer
news that I forgot to mention to the Explorers Club: the number of
honeybee colonies in this country is on the increase. Beekeepers
have taken healthy hives, split them, and brought in healthy queens
from professional breeders — and
without a multimillion dollar stimulus from Congress. I’m still
worried about the white nose fungus that has been attacking our
North American bats, though.
Don’t have anything really
positive to tell you about the 2016 presidential campaign, except
that if laughter is the best medicine, we should all be having a
healthier summer than we expected. On to the first debates!
Barbara Anderson of
Marblehead is president of Citizens for Limited Taxation and a Salem