Archive for Massachusetts

Another Entitlement Computer Screw-Up

I like pithy headlines, but, really, what can you do with this?

The Baker administration said it will have to spend millions of dollars to repair a food stamp computer system that has continued to unfairly deny thousands of elderly, disabled, and working poor their food stamp benefits — a situation officials called horrible.

The $35 million system was rolled out last year, and the Patrick administration gave assurances that it was running properly in late December, after early trouble with processing food stamps arose.

But problems have persisted, as the system mistakenly closed thousands of food stamp accounts, leaving people at grocery stores with baskets of food they were unable to pay for when their cards were rejected.

“It’s an embarrassment,” said the state’s Health and Human Services secretary, Marylou Sudders.

As was most of the Patrick administration. Some thought he’d run for president, but I think David Axelrod (who ran his Together We Can campaign just before Obama’s Yes We Can campaign) told him his record as governor was an Alcatraz around his neck (as the late Boston mayor, Tom Menino, once said). This is just another example.

The cost of these measures: about $4 million.

McCue said the system was not adequately tested or vetted before it was rolled out publicly on Oct. 27. He added it was hard for him to dine at night in the comfort of his home in Weymouth, knowing the system has left people stranded without money for food.

Food stamp recipients are the latest group affected by chronic breakdowns in newly automated systems created to streamline and improve government services. In 2013, the administration of Governor Deval Patrick disastrously launched an online system to manage unemployment benefits that resulted in thousands of problems for jobless workers whose benefits were delayed or erroneously cut.

That was followed by the 2013 software failure of the Massachusetts Health Connector, which left people unable to access health coverage.

One could be forgiven for thinking that government can’t solve society’s problems for sh*t. Something tells me ex-Governor Patrick is dining just fine in the comfort of any one of his homes.

PS: Leave it to the Glob to cover only this story about food stamps, as important as it is, while ignoring the rampant fraud and abuse in the program. There would be no hungry people if other recipients didn’t trade their EBT cards for drugs, declare the cards lost, and get full replacement value.

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Donkey Doo Update

Only yesterday I wrote:

ObamaCare is liberalism on steroids. Take a problem (heck, invent one), ignore human behavior, ram through a theoretical, ivory-tower, Jon Gruber-style, top-down response, watch everything turn to donkey doo.

I wasn’t wrong, but I should have added “Leave it as a steaming pile to attract flies and vermin”:

States are wasting millions of taxpayer dollars under ObamaCare’s massive Medicaid expansion by failing to regularly check the eligibility of program recipients, critics charge.

Under the Affordable Care Act, millions of people were enrolled in the expanded Medicaid, a jointly run state and federal program that primarily provides free or low-cost health care to low-income people, the elderly and disabled. Federal law requires that states annually verify the eligibility of recipients — but some are not, and that means tens of thousands of ineligible people are receiving benefits.

They focus on Arkansas and Massachusetts in the story (how do you think that makes us feel up here?), but the problem is doubtless national.

But each state scams in its own way:

In Arkansas, the first DHS waiver extended the review deadline to March, from Dec. 31, 2014, but Selig testified as late as April 20 that his department had been issued another waiver pushing the deadline to September.

When King requested to see the “waivers,” the DHS was unable to provide them. “We’re thinking the dog ate their waiver,” King said after months of requests.

“They’ve been misleading us — that’s just the facts,” King said. “It seems that they’re trying to cover what they should have been doing to begin with. … And it’s wasting money.”

Siler agreed, saying, “They are all too happy to leave on tens of thousands of individuals at the cost of millions of taxpayer dollars per month, than comply with the law and start controlling the exorbitant costs.”

Massachusetts officials blame ACA-required changes in the state’s Medicaid enrollment website — changes that crashed the site — for its delay in reviewing recipient eligibility.

Because the website crashed, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick struck a deal with the Obama administration that allowed more than 320,000 people to be added to the Medicaid expansion program without checking eligibility, Archambault said.

Archambault estimates that 1.2 million people in Massachusetts still need to have their eligibility verified.

“They have not completed a redetermination in almost two years,” Archambault said. “If the Massachusetts Affordable Care Act website had worked the first time around, state and federal taxpayers would have paid far less than they have now.”

“Medicaid is a high-risk program,” said Carolyn Yocom, director of the health care team at the Government Accountability Office (GAO). “High risk for waste, fraud, and abuse by virtue of its improper payment system.”

Improper payments last year alone totaled about $17.5 billion, Yocom said.

Is that all?

No surprise here. What government program is not run with this kind of waste and fraud? I’m not even sure what my point is. This is who we are. For every Reagan we elect, who sees, hears, and speaks the evils of big government, we elect three Obamas who burst through spending limits and expand government exponentially. We finally elected a Republican governor, Charlie Baker, here in Massachusetts, who is trying to clean up just this sort of nonsense. But he follows two terms of mini-Barack, Deval Patrick, and will doubtless be succeeded by another big-spending, big-government Democrat.

I don’t even know who I really am. Am I the dour optimist who hopes against hope that America will at last wake up from the vial of Molly the Left slipped into our national cocktail? Or do I follow Aggie’s line (if I state it correctly) that America is probably too far gone to be redeemed. Mark Steyn hews to this view, as well. Be it deficits and accumulated debt, reliance on government, or general moral decay, we seem to be addicted to the temporary euphoria supplied by liberalism. And all we want when we wake up to the shame and ugliness of our appetites is more.

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No Way to Run a Railroad, II

A follow-up to out post yeaterday:

Stop the presses! Jim Rooney is not going to file for another state pension before he becomes the $370,000-a-year (plus $55,000 in bonuses) boss of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce on July 1.

This is shocking. Because if you look up the phrase “double-dipper” in the dictionary, you see a photograph of the South Boston native.

Under his photo is a caption: “See also, plate, licking the.”

Rooney is the ultimate non-elected hack. He’s gone from one hackerama to hackapalooza his entire life. He already has the ultimate hack status symbol: A pension from the MBTA, currently worth $62,544.24 a year. He started collecting in 1999. Rooney was 41 years old — 41! This means he’s already collected about $900,000 since he retired, and he’s still only 57 years old.

Who retires at 41? Other than a tech billionaire, and pushing subway tokens under the window slot at the booth hardly qualifies. Wishing him long life as we do, he’ll likely collect two and a half million dollars—our dollars—for not working since before his hair turned gray.

Oh, silly me: he is working.

When Rooney was selected to succeed his fellow hack, Paul Guzzi, at the chamber, I immediately assumed that he would start collecting yet another kiss in the mail.

So I called that white elephant known as the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center and got Rooney’s flack. I asked her if her boss would soon be filing for his second pension.

“I’m not going to ask him that! That’s personal!”

Oh, go ahead and give it a shot, Katie. She did, and a few minutes later, she sent me an email: “Jim will answer your question about filing for a pension. The answer is ‘no.’”

A true hero. Never in the field of human resources has so much been owed by so few to so many.

Once he started collecting his T pension at age 41, Rooney migrated to City Hall to work as Mumbles’ chief of staff for a couple of years.

Then the MCCA beckoned, where Rooney followed in the footsteps of such tycoons as Francis X. Joyce, whose major qualification to run the MCCA was his prior career as the tin-whistle player in Billy Bulger’s band.

For his third hack career at the MCCA, Rooney has another 15 years, 3 months in (counting his time at City Hall). At the MCCA he was making as much as $276,000 a year, although more recently his pay was reduced, and lately he’s been grabbing about $270,000.

Let’s average out Rooney’s top three years at $260,000.

So he’s 57, 17 years beyond 40. Multiply 17 times his 15 years in and you get 26 percent, times 260,000. So he could grab a second pension of roughly $65,000, on top of the $62,541 from the T.

Does the chamber really want as its public face a … triple-dipper who’s collecting two kisses in the mail, from the T and the MCCA, on top of his chamber salary?

No. Or at least not now.

Lest you think this is an isolated event:

As long as I was perusing MBTA pensions, I checked on Whitey Bulger’s two nephews. Mark Bulger retired from the T at age 45 in 2008 and now collects $34,732. Patrick Bulger retired from the T at age 43 in 2007 and now collects $55,546.

The next time you hear coat holders and “advocates” whining about the T’s need for more “investments,” think Jim Rooney and the Bulgers.

Nepotism and living off the public teat: it’s what passes for government here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (so-called because graft and corruption are common).

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No Way to Run a Railroad

During the winter just past, I believe I referred to Boston’s transit system, the MBTA or T, as a retirement plan that ran a railroad to lose money. But they can multi-multitask.

They are also a travel and leisure service:


We few, we happy few

Unscheduled absences by employees of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority resulted in the cancellation of more than 6,400 bus trips in January and February, a panel appointed to assess T management has found.

The panel, convened by Governor Charlie Baker as the MBTA struggled to recover from a series of heavy snowstorms, found that T workers were absent 11 to 12 percent of the time in 2014, roughly twice the rate reported by transit systems in other major US cities.

Overall, T employees are out of work for an average of 57 days per year, the report found. Those numbers include vacation days, as well as categories such as jury duty, sick leave, injuries, and family medical leave.

In the report, the panel attributes what it calls “excessive absenteeism” at the T to “weak MBTA management.”

As a result, “tens of thousands of trips are canceled each year due to unplanned absences,” according to a draft portion of a report obtained by the Globe.

Fifty-seven days off? That’s 11 1/2 weeks! Do they think they’re school teachers too? And that’s the average!!! Many would have had even more off days.

James O’Brien, the president of the Boston Carmen’s Union, called the numbers “distorted” because they combine so many categories of absences. Joe Pesaturo, a spokesman for the T, declined to comment on the report.

It’s the “categories” that are the problem. How many “sick days” does our “average” reader get? Jury duty occurs once every three years at most, and even then is often just a day.

There are 260 work days a year, and the average—average—T “worker” takes off 22% of them, more than one a week.

But that might not even be the worst news:

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has failed to spend almost half of the money it has budgeted since 2009 for crucial upgrades to its aging vehicles, stations, and other infrastructure, according to findings from an expert panel convened by Governor Charlie Baker.

Though the T planned to spend about $4.5 billion on upgrades from the fiscal year 2010 to 2014, the agency left unused about $2.2 billion in grants and money it could have raised through bonds. That contributed to “chronic underinvestment and an acute backlog in fleet, facilities, systems, and infrastructure,” according to a portion of the report obtained by the Globe.

In the 2014 fiscal year, the report said, the T planned to spend $1.3 billion on crucial long-term upgrades. In reality, the agency spent just $631 million.

In early March, the agency said it would cost about $6.7 billion to repair and modernize its trains, rails, and stations. But an administration official said the panel believes the number is actually substantially higher.

They didn’t buy new trains, and their employees could barely bother to show up for work. It’s a wonder anything ran this winter. The only public service the T provides is a dry place for the bums to sleep and the buskers to play.

Joe Pesaturo, a spokesman for the T, declined to comment on the report.

He was probably on “family medical leave”. Why should he be the only one to show up for work?

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White Elephant

The perfect nickname for the building and its bloated honoree:


A worker puts the finishing touch on the “Waitress Sandwich” installation

President Obama and a host of other dignitaries will descend on the Hub today to dedicate the new ?Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, after a pricey gala last night for high-rolling donors that the organizers did not identify.

The dedication of the $79 million institute on Columbia Point — subsidized with $38 million of federal earmarks and $5 million in state subsidies — begins at ?10 a.m. and will feature remarks from Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Gov. Charlie Baker, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Secretary of State John F. Kerry, U.S. Sen. John McCain, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, among others.

The nonprofit institute held a gala last night, charging $250,000 for people who want to be members of the “chairman’s circle,” and $100,000 for a package of six “benefactor” tickets and recognition at the event. Other ticket prices ranged from $50,000 down to $2,500, the cheapest ticket for an individual.

Forty-three million dollars of our money—over half the cost—and the cheapest ticket to get into the roach motel is $2,500. So Kennedy.

More Kennedy:

When Ted Kennedy wrote his initial account of Chappaquiddick for the Edgartown police in 1969, after he scrawled the words “Mary Jo” in the first sentence he left a blank space — because he had no idea what his victim’s last name was.

That’s one of the many facts about Ted Kennedy that you won’t learn by visiting the new Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

Moore facts:

Ted was named after Edward Moore, his father’s faithful procurer.

It’s an “interactive museum,” and for the kiddies, there is what is called a “Senate Immersion Module.” Yes, immersion. Although presumably not in the backseat of a 1967 Oldsmobile Delmont.

In September 1972, in the Oval Office, Henry Kissinger told President Nixon a story about Cristina Ford, Henry Ford’s wife, being stalked by Teddy in Manhattan. Finally Mrs. Ford locked herself in her suite at the Carlyle Hotel, where FBI reports in 1965 said Teddy had been engaging in wild “sex parties,” like his older brothers before him, with Marilyn Monroe.

Kissinger: “(He) practically beat her door down … She finally told him, ‘What if the newspapers get this?’ He said, ‘No newspapers are going to print anything about me. I’ve got that covered.’?”

Nixon: “Jesus Christ! That’s pretty arrogant.”

Says Nixon! If Nixon is calling you arrogant, you’ve retired the trophy.

Entering the museum, visitors will see a video that includes snippets from some of Ted’s famous speeches. I hope the family retainers include the very truthful remarks he made in 1965 about the Immigration Reform Act:

“The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs …”

How about this speech about Nixon’s pardon in 1974, five years after the brooming of what the inquest judge described as his manslaughter of Mary Jo what’s-her-name:

“Do we operate under a system of equal justice under law? Or is there one system for the average citizen and another for the high and mighty?”

Here’s another snippet, from the Senate debate in 1991 over Clarence Thomas’ confirmation to the Supreme Court. At the time Ted was under subpoena to testify at his nephew’s rape trial in West Palm Beach:

“Are we an old-boys’ club — insensitive at best and perhaps something worse? Will we strain to concoct any excuse? To tolerate any unsubstantiated attack on a woman?”

Finally, the museum has an “almost exact replica” of Teddy’s Senate office. I trust that means a very well-stocked bar has been included, and if it’s really going to be exact, it will have to be an open bar.
Bartender — a Chivas on the rocks!

I wrote over the weekend about Harry Reid’s decade of defilement and debasement of the Senate, but I should have bided my time. Reid was an amateur compared to Kennedy, a Mario Mendoza compared to a Willie Mays of debauchery and corruption.

And we celebrate him. We shovel $43 million into a mausoleum for the runt of a very randy litter. Not since ancient Rome have so many monuments been erected for so many reprobates. Some of those Romans declared themselves gods. For that, the Kennedy clan relies on the Boston Globe.

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“Cambridge Icon”

When I see these words in a Boston Globe headline, I jump to certain conclusions.

And I am not disappointed:

Friends say Marcia Deihl was always the first person to think up a witty song that perfectly captured the moment, and to encourage the same lyrical invention in others with her “Bizarre Song Parties,” where the price of admission was a ditty of one’s own.

Deihl was a Cambridge activist who spent her life fighting — and singing — for what she believed in, and who had embarked upon retirement with joy that she could finally dedicate all her time to her art.

And she loved to ride her bicycle, a clunky old three-speed decorated with paper flowers and streamers. With her long hair streaming behind her, she cut a distinctive figure, one familiar to many Cambridge residents.

On Thursday, friends mourned the untimely death of the 65-year-old, who was killed Wednesday after being hit by a dump truck while riding her bike on Putnam Avenue.

“She was an icon of Cambridge life. She was a very colorful figure, beloved by the people who knew her,” said Pam Chamberlain, a longtime friend who described Deihl as “a riot” with a keen sense of irony and a gift for bonding with people. “It’s a great loss for the folk community and the feminist movement.”

The accident occurred around 1:30 p.m. as Deihl left the Whole Foods Market, authorities said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the truck, a 44-year-old Medford man who was not identified, is cooperating with investigators, and no charges had been filed by late Thursday afternoon, according to Jacquelyn Goddard, a spokeswoman for Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan.

David Deihl said his sister was a leftist at home in Cambridge’s progressive tradition.

“She and Cambridge were a perfect match,” he said with a chuckle.

Ain’t that the truth. I did not know the woman—never even heard of her, icon though she was—so my comments have nothing to do with her. But where others see icon, I see cliché. A 65-year-old riding a bike in snow-clogged streets, the bike decorated with flowers and streamers, she dressed in craft clothing, wearing her hair long and gray: she fits a type. Fit, rather.

And Cambridge is where that type felt most at home, which is again why she embodied a stereotype. I repeat that I never knew her, but I know many who sound just like her.

Deihl was a musician, singer, and songwriter who performed from 1973 to 1980 with The New Harmony Sisterhood Band, a feminist folk string band formed by students at the Goddard-Cambridge Graduate School for Social Change. In 2006, Smithsonian Folkways reissued the band’s 1977 record, “And Ain’t I a Woman?”

“We considered ourselves to be one of the musical voices of the women’s movement, and one of the musical voices of the left,” said Deborah Silverstein, one of Deihl’s bandmates. “We were singing about women, we were singing about class oppression, race — the progressive issues of our generation.”

Silverstein said that one song on their record, “Union Maid,” conjures Deihl’s fighting spirit, in its opening lyrics: “There once was a union maid, she never was afraid.”

“That line is about speaking out, and not being afraid, and using your voice, and that’s what we were doing,” Silverstein said. “We were breaking out, and breaking away, and breaking rules, and shocking and disappointing our parents, and we were not afraid. We wanted to be heard.”

A song written by a man, Woody Guthrie, ten years before the icon was even born. But whatever.

I wouldn’t have bothered with this obituary, except that it’s not an obituary. It’s a news story from the front page of the Metro section of the Boston Globe. And as I comment on news stories, I feel free to comment now.

First of all, the neighborhood. As the bicycling option on the map at the link indicates, there are several cycling-friendly roads in the neighborhood—Putnam Avenue very much excluded. You can get an even better idea of the conditions from Street View.

But you have to add four-foot snowbanks lining both sides of the street, and cars likely parked in every available spot. Not everyone lived a lifestyle serviceable by a “clunky old three-speed”. I love to cycle, but it’s still not safe yet—and I live in a leafier suburb than Cambridge! I actually feel just as sorry for the truck driver—who apparently did nothing wrong—as I do for the icon. Was she even wearing a helmet? The story doesn’t say.

I have to confess it’s this anecdote that pricks me most:

Deihl was brilliantly funny about her own life, and celebrating who she was, those who loved her recalled. In one song she wrote called “I’m Settled,” she sang about what she said was a true story: watching her brother get gifts celebrating his marriage, and sending out her own fake engraved invitations proclaiming herself “Settled.”

“No hubby no house no car no kid, no regrets for what I didn’t or I did,” she sang.

“Brilliant”? If you say so. I detect the faint aroma of sanctimony. For while she certainly was “settled”, it was in the make-believe land of Cambridge. Cambridge prides itself on “diversity”, but as we’ve learned repeatedly in our studies here, diversity amounts to orthodoxy of a different sort. Obama outpolled homeboy Romney 43,515 to 5,476 in 2012, an 8-1 margin. Cambridge is a community made to specifications, a Levittown for leftists (complete with a Peace Commission, should relations with Belmont or Somerville get sticky).

Leftists left to their own devices make bad choices—see the Obama vote above. But they also ride their clunky three-speed bikes to Whole Foods for organic kale and free-range almond milk when the roads are narrowed—and visibility limited—by snow banks from the Winter from Hell. I may be unkind, but I see in Ms. Deihl’s death an adherence to ideology rather than practicality. No house, no hubby, no kid—no problem. No car…well, no promises.

She’s not the only person to have been killed or injured trying to navigate local streets; given the number of joggers, cyclists, even baby strollers I’ve seen in the streets, I’m surprised there haven’t been more such incidents. Maybe there have been, but the Globe didn’t see fit to celebrate the victims’ lifestyles and poor judgement as news stories. As usual, whatever quarrel I have is with the lame-stream media that confuses the two.

PS: Irony of ironies, what do you want to bet the dump truck that killed her was trucking snow removed for dumping?

PPS: To prove I am not a total schmuck, here’s the info about her memorial service:

The Memorial Service for our beloved sister Marcia Deihl will be held at 2:00 PM on Saturday, April 25, at Old Cambridge Baptist Church.

PPPS: I confess I associate people of Ms. Deihl’s political persuasion with anti-Israel sentiments, an unforgiveable sin. I am rarely wrong, but I can find no evidence here.

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Blue State, Red Ink

Not that you need to hear us bitch about winter—though your sympathies would not be misplaced—but is this worthy of a first-class city?

The MBTA is broke and broken. It is structurally insolvent. Breakdowns and late arrivals are, indeed, unacceptable, but the bulk of the T’s troubles are not about Dr. Beverly Scott, who resigned yesterday as general manager. They are, in fact, the fault of multiple administrations and legislatures, as well as advocates who pushed the MBTA to expand faster than is reasonable – and without adequate funding to undertake, operate or maintain the projects. More immediately, they are the fault of the MBTA’s board, which is ultimately responsible to Massachusetts residents for the T. The board’s job is to uphold the public trust and ensure the good operation and management of the transit authority. They did not do that.

You’ll note that none of that mentioned the six feet of snow dumped on us in the past few weeks. All of the above is the corrosion that enfeebled the city’s transit system.. The snow caused it to collapse (along with a few roofs, garages, sheds, etc.). When we covered this yesterday, we called the T a pension system (and travel agency) that ran a public transportation system on the side.

We should have added employment agency:

According to the state’s own transparency website, OpenCheckbook.com, headcount at the T, even in difficult times, has increased by 900 since 2012. Since 2001, total compensation costs nearly doubled.

Nine hundred? Who? What do they do? They sure as hell don’t sell tokens.

We’ll spare you the litany of failures on the T (very expensive failures), and cut to the chase:

Pioneer Institute believes it is time for emergency legislation to fix the MBTA, and that the legislation should take two concrete steps:

First, place the MBTA in receivership, removing the power of the MBTA Board and establishing a receivership board.

Second, combine receivership status with debt relief and strict controls on hiring.

That’s right, it’s time to repo the Red Line; garnish the Green Line; own the Orange Line. Stop the bleeding. No more expansion, no more hiring—end the absurdly generous pension benefits (end the pension itself!) that allow people to retire before their first gray hair.

You may think this is a Boston thing, but Detroit was just a Detroit thing, Stockton was just a Stockton thing, and Illinois is just an Illinois thing. Wherever Democrats rule without check, this could happen. I wager it will.

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Detroit-on-Charles

We’re pretty hard on the ghost town that was once Detoit—which is to say we report the facts. They speak for themselves, and the story they tell is pretty gruesome.

Time to look in the mirror. The recent onslaught of snow—historic, unprecedented—has stripped us bare and shown us as the fraud of a city that we are. London has the Underground, Paris has the Metro, New York has the MTA.

We have a pension system masquerading as a transit system:

A third of MBTA’s retirees in 2013 were under the age of 55, according to records obtained by the Boston Business Journal.

Those recent young retirees (54 people in all) joined the 2,246 people on the MBTA’s pension payroll who retired at 54 years old or younger. Twenty-seven of the new retirees aren’t yet able to join the AARP, as they are under the age of 50.

The MBTA has been criticized for the age of its pensioners before. In 2009, the transit authority ended a program allowing employees to retire after 23 years of work.

That’s right: people could start drawing a pension by their mid-40s. And take another job—also almost certainly off the public teat!

But the T (not-so-affectionate local nickname for the MBTA) multitasks as a travel agency:

MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott jetted off at taxpayer expense nearly every month during her two-plus-year tenure — sometimes several times a month — to conferences and meetings around the country, even as the troubled transit system was collapsing around her, a Herald review shows.

A review of Scott’s monthly expense reports provided by the MBTA as part of public records request shows she spent 106 days traveling out of state while at the helm of the T, taking 30 trips in 24 months.

During that time, Scott, who announced yesterday she’s stepping down in April, racked up $56,753 in expenses on lodging, airplane tickets and dining tabs, including at least $1,132 on hotel laundry and dry-cleaning bills.

Scott often charged taxpayers for excess baggage fees, accruing $411 on three flights between Boston and Chicago and to Washington, D.C., in 2013 and $520 on an October flight to an American Public Transportation Association (APTA) conference in Houston.

She traveled out of state nearly every month of 2014 — sometimes multiple times a month, records show. In September, for example, she spent nearly two weeks outside the state attending conferences in Washington, Detroit and Minneapolis. The next month, she headed to Houston and Washington.

The GM has traveled to, among other cities, San Diego, Montreal, New York, Denver, Portland, Oregon, and to Washington a total of eight times, including flying first class in January 2013 to a Rail-Volution conference.

Dr. Scott didn’t make it snow. I don’t expect her to grab a shovel and dig out my car. But her example led to organizational failure:

Those are people waiting to board a bus—which travels above ground—because the subway trains—which travel below ground—aren’t working. Even people in Washington, San Diego, Montreal, New York, Denver, and Portland, Oregon know that’s effed-up.

Detroit was based on a single industry; Boston has a more diverse—and 21st century—economy. But single-party Democrat rule will be the death of us all. The legislature is overwhelmingly Democrat, and the local media, the Globe, is dishonest. We just elected a seemingly smart and capable Republican governor (after eight years of mini-Barack, Deval Patrick), but it may be too late.

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The Courage of Our Convictions

A couple of days ago, I told you that Elizabeth Warren would not only run for the Democrat nomination, she would beat Hillary Clinton like the proverbial red-headed stepchild.

Others don’t have the BTL’s ‘nads:

Indeed, even as Elizabeth Warren denies she’s running for president, Team Clinton continues to be anxious about whether she jumps into the race, forcing Clinton to take positions to the left of the political sweet spot. She’s focused on the wrong Democrat. For all the hype, Warren is unlikely to run and won’t be the Democrat pushing Clinton to the left. It will be Obama himself.

This writer’s point is that Obama is driving the party to the left in order to herd Hillary that way.

I had a different take.

Also, Obama’s antics lately are all about positioning the party to Crockagawea’s liking. Goodness knows, there’s no love lost with the Clintons, and the 0/32nds Cherokee has always been his squaw.

Did I really write that adolescent twaddle? Good for me.

Let me elaborate. Warren won’t be running? Why on earth not? Seriously, unless she just doesn’t want to run, every factor points toward her running (deer). This is her time: as Obama made clear, even the most shallow, improbable, lie-based biography is a winning platform on which to run. She’s been senator for barely two years, but she’s already our senior senator—she’s supposed to languish in the Senate for another four or eight years? It’s just as far beneath her as it was beneath Barack Obama. Her supporters will feel betrayed? Hardly. They are urging her most ardently to run. We can and will replace her with another robotic liberal (as we replaced Kerry with Markey). She can’t beat Hillary? You wait and see. She will beat her like Buster Douglas beat Mike Tyson. Like Ali beat Liston. Like Krystal beat Alexis.

Remind me if I prove to be wrong. You can be sure I’ll remind you if I prove to be right.

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PPACA

Out: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

In: Patently Preposterous and Achingly Complex A**wipe

I think I was wrong about this thing: it’s comedic gold.

A controversy has erupted in Massachusetts over an obscure provision of the federal Affordable Care Act that small health insurers say will force them to write fat checks to support the state’s dominant insurer.

Hahahahaha!!!

“Fat checks”! Heeheeheehee!!

“Obscure provision”! Hhohohohoho!!! Oh my sides.

The law requires states to redistribute income among health insurers, so those whose members tend to be healthy will pay into a state-run pool, while insurers saddled with a high proportion of expensive, sick patients receive payment from the pool. The payments will be made for the first time this summer, based on 2014 data.

The Massachusetts Association of Health Plans contends that the state is using flawed data and bad methodology, threatening the futures of smaller insurers while shoring up the market’s behemoth, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

Blue Cross, which is not a member of the association, counters that the federal requirement is necessary to level the playing field in a market in which insurers can design their plans to attract the healthy while discouraging the sick from joining.

What do you expect from something designed by Jonathan Gruber? And peddled by Pajama Boy, Ethan Krupp?

But if you’re swayed by the journalist’s writing about “fat checks” to “behemoths”, read on:

Andreana Santangelo, Blue Cross senior vice president and chief actuary, said Blue Cross covers a disproportionate share of sicker, costlier patients, and thus expects to receive a payment to compensate. She noted that the company, with 2.1 million members in Massachusetts, is losing money despite its size.

The federal law prohibits insurers from rejecting or charging higher premiums to people who are sick, and Massachusetts law has done the same for many years.

But insurers can still manipulate the market by the way they craft benefits. For example, a plan can offer a narrow network of providers that would be unattractive to people who see many doctors, or it can exclude from its preferred drug list medications popular with people who have an expensive illness, such as diabetes. Such plans tend not to appeal to sicker patients.

The behemoth is actually doing the Lord’s work, while the insurance Davids to Blue Cross’s Goliath can pick and choose whomever they want.

But the most important thing is that they hate each other, thanks to government intrusion into the marketplace, and cry like squealing brats to Mommy that the other isn’t being fair. That’s Obama’s “signature achievement”, and I thank him for it.

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Lies, Damned Lies, and Democrat Politics

I’m sick of tired of the lying and the cheating. Enough. It has to stop.

No, not the New England Patriots and “deflate-gate” (Google it if you haven’t heard of it).

Ex-Governor Deval Patrick:

Before Deval Patrick departed office earlier this month, he gave Charlie Baker, his gubernatorial successor, traditional gifts, including a pewter key, a gavel, and a 19th-century Bible.

He left a Massachusetts economy that is, by many measures, humming along.

But Patrick also left Baker something more pernicious: a mid-year budget gap the new governor now pegs at $765 million.

Baker said tax money coming into state coffers so far this fiscal year, which runs from July 2014 through June, has essentially met expectations. Tax revenue is on track to grow about 4.5 percent from last fiscal year to this fiscal year, Baker said.

But spending is set to grow by more than 7 percent, “and therein lies the $765 million problem,” Baker said at a press conference, in which he did not outline any specifics about potential cuts.

Medicaid costs, including fallout from Massachusetts’ bungled health insurance website, are a significant part of the spending side of the deficit, the administration found.

ObamaCare rears its plug-ugly head once again.

Baker has pledged not to raise taxes or fees, cut aid to cities and towns, or take money out of the state’s “rainy day” fund to deal with the deficit. At the press conference, he did not outline a solution to problem.

That’s why we elected a Republican: no new taxes. And a 4% revenue increase with a 7% spending increase is why it’s too late.

PS: And what’s the line about the economy “humming along” doing in the story? What’s the relevance, and where’s the justification? What a crap newspaper the Glob is.

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Fat Lives Matter

I’m beginning to reconsider racism:

Just as tens of thousands of commuters were making their trek to work Thursday morning, protesters blocked traffic on Interstate 93 north and south of Boston, attaching themselves to heavy barrels, State Police said.

A State Police tweet showed two women, each with an arm inside a white steel drum, where they were apparently chained together.

Which one is the 55-gallon drum?

According to one of the protesters, Shannon Leary, the group arrived around 7:20 a.m. Six people chained themselves to four drums filled with concrete, weighing 1,200 pounds, and managed to shut down the highway.

Leary said the protesters were acting solidarity with people who have protested the recent deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of white police in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City.

She said the demonstrators were sending a message that society must change.

Like this?

Philip Wood of Rockland who owns a construction company and is working on renovations in the area, said he would have to send a dozen of his workers home without pay because of the protest.

“This entire situation, which I have no control over and I have no part of, has totally destroyed everybody’s lives,” Wood said.

Wood was expecting a concrete truck to arrive at 9 a.m., but it was blocked by traffic resulting from the protest. Without the concrete, his work is stalled and his employees will not receive pay.

Their kids can at least enjoy this story to assuage their hunger pangs:

State Police, and Boston and Milton firefighters draped one protester with a protective blanket as they tried to disengage him, using power saws, hammer, and a chisel.

A Boston firefighter’s power saw generated sparks that flew onto the protester. He screamed in pain because he was being burned. The firefighter stopped, and more blankets and protective tarps were brought to protect the protesters.

Why didn’t they use a fire hose to douse the protestor? The temperature is a balmy 26, and from the looks of them, a shower would make a nice change.

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