Well the fun is starting again on Beacon Hill. Massachusetts state budget season is upon us and it's time for another round of "cuts past the bone" to core social services and local governments from our pals in the Massachusetts General Court and Governor's Office. And as usual, we're checking out the latest numbers here at Open Media Boston HQ - thanks to timely analysis of the recent House Ways and Means budget proposal for the 2010 fiscal year by the Mass.
Every morning, since very early in my life, I have read the Boston Globe - first in print form for many years, and then exclusively online for the last few years. So despite my many disagreements with the publication over the decades, I do not view the possible demise of the Globe as a good thing. First, because I am concerned about its unionized workforce and what might become of them in these down economic times. Second, because there are fewer and fewer professional journalists out doing city-level reporting of substance anymore.
Today another mass murder was carried out against innocent people in a public setting - this time in a immigration center in Binghamton, NY. And while the identity of the shooter has not been officially announced yet, the web is abuzz with unconfirmed reports that his name was Jiverly Voong (a.k.a. Linh Phat Voong), a Vietnamese immigrant who had just lost his job at IBM in a recent wave of layoffs at the company.
Mass. Higher Education Advocates Need to Step Up Fight for Fully Government-Funded Public Higher Education
There was some good news this week for Massachusetts public college students in the form of Gov. Deval Patrick's announcement that the federal government will provide $162 million in stimulus funds to the state's higher education system - about half going to the 5-campus University of Massachusetts, and the rest going to the 24 Mass. state and community colleges. As a result, significant planned fee increases for students will be reduced to roughly pre-crisis levels for the coming year.
On any other week we would have published an editorial on an important issue of the day for our viewers. This week probably would have been something skewering the court gag order on Councilor Chuck Turner but - surprisingly enough - the Boston Globe's Kevin Cullen pretty much wrote that piece for us (snarky comments about 1973-style anti-racist activism aside). And besides this week is special. Exactly a year ago today we released our first Open Media Boston editorial. Making today the first anniversary of the founding edition of this publication.
It's amazing to watch Massachusetts slide into economic depression. Indicator after indicator goes south, and the state government - like the federal government - continues to do what it knows, rather than what is necessary. What it knows is the neoliberal shell game. A simple game indeed. Pretend "The Market" is the basis for economic prosperity, rather than the font of economic instability. Continue to push policies that nibble away at the edges of vast social problems - virtually always to the benefit of some corporation somewhere rather than to a general principle of social welfare.
A most instructive piece in the Boston Business Journal's online edition caught our attention this afternoon. Actually it was the headline that really made us sit up and take notice here at Open Media Boston HQ ... "Menino extends aid to businesses, challenges unions." What could be a better expression of the neoliberal ethos of our times than that short sentence?
Word just came in that the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees, an unelected and wholly unrepresentative body with sweeping powers over the budget of the 5 campus system, backed a $1500 fee hike for the next school year despite strong protests from student leaders.
Well, well. We don't want to say we told you so, but it seems the media stampede to pin corruption charges on Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner (G/R - District 7) in advance of his trial hit a bit of a snag today when the FBI's "cooperating witness" Ron Wilburn announced that he isn't going to cooperate anymore. Not only that but he's singing a new tune about Turner that sounds a whole lot like he's saying Turner's innocent.