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Confederacy of dunces in the state Senate

After watching these excerpts from the Senate battle over getting rid of Evacuation Day and Bunker Hill Day, I can't tell who's worse: Some senator from Godknowswhere, MA, who briefly affects an Irish brogue to condemn our holidays and who defends Christmas as being "for the children," or our own Jack Hart, who says that unlike the rest of the state, "we have real history here in the city," nay, we have "a historic history" and if you strip that from our bosoms, what's next, gutting Thanksgiving?

Via Bostonist.

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Comments

Is it too early to petition to get retroactive term limits onto the ballot? Just high enough to flush Hart and this loser, and if we can make Therese Murray "irrelevant" too, even better.

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Lets get rid of a paid legislature and do what NH does.

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I've listened to Sen. Hart's comments three times and I believe he said "storied history", not "historic history". That said, I'm no fan of excess holidays, but these two have particular significance to the American Revolution. If anything, Evacuation Day should be celebrated. The city of Boston was held by hostile British troops, who fled when cannon were set up in Dorchester Heights. And Bunker Hill Day — just a holiday for hacks? Come on! What country, what planet is that guy from?
Boston played a primary role in initiating the American Revolution, without which there would be no United States of America. It's not Suffolk County that should change its marching tune. The entire country should recognize these cherished days.

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splain me again how the public gooditude is betterized by these memorializations, eh?

keep in mind that most normal people go to work on those "holidays" - their costs are just higher due to extra child care expenses, slower commutes, and inability to get necessary stuff done in state and local offices.

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If "Evacuation Day" had been any day other than March 17th, no one in this state would pay any attention to it or even have heard of it.

I know the official line is wink-wink-no relation-wink-wink, but we should be smarter than that here.

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Many states have these weird little holidays. Alaska has Alaska Day, California has Cesar Chavez Day, Illinois has Casimir Pulaski Day, so I say let Massachusetts have Evacuation and Bunker Hill.

Yeah, it is another example of how Western Mass gets stepped on by Boston, and maybe that's what gets the rep from Westfield all riled up. Maybe we should offer Western Mass a holiday. How about Quabbin Day? It could memorialize the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir, destroying several towns in order to provide Boston with fresh water.

Seriously though, if you're upset about Boston getting more attention than the rest of the state, focus on money and infrastructure issues, not something as insignificant as holidays.

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then why can't we?

that must be the dumbest reason I've heard. Well, today, anyway.

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A better choice to honor Western Mass. history would be Shays Rebellion Day.

The only problem is that we'd have to decide between August 29 and January 25, depending on whether we want to honor or condemn the rebels.

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We'll celebrate both.

State and local government workers should not be compelled by the legislature to either condemn or honor the rebels - this is a highly personal matter in which the state has no right to force beliefs upon its employees.

So keep quiet about this or we're going to end up with "holiday schedules" on the T for two additional Mondays per year - one of them during the coldest month, and the other during the hottest...

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Right on, Sock_Puppet! I have written before on UH about how there will be another Captain Shays (perhaps this time, however, he and his men will only have rhetorical pitchforks)coming if the state government doesn't shed its "Bostonian's View of the World" (i.e., that its western edge is at 495). I was thinking it was going to be Dan Bosley, but I haven't heard anything about him since the Battle for Speaker. Unfortunately, he is now probably tainted by the Stain of DiMasi, which, so long as he wasn't involved, is a shame because he's an intelligent and articulate fellow.

I guess my bottom line is that, as bad as things seem around town with the T and all, W.Mass is getting really getting hosed (Non-Disclosure: I have no connection to W.Mass other than I just think its a cool place to go).

What would be a quick hitting way to give W.Mass a boost, you ask? Get your hands on some of the federal $$ for high speed rail and get it up and running from Boston to Albany (The "Shays Express"?). I think the preferred route would have stops at Boston, 128, 495, Worcester (and Worcester Airport?), Springfield, Pittsfield. You could also have a northern route (generally following Route 2, and going through the Hoosac Tunnel!), but I think that the most economic bang for the buck, at least initially, would be the southern one.

Okay, purveyors of doom and gloom, it's over to you about how this won't work, cost to much, etc. I will say in advance only that none of the cost estimates ever properly calculate the benefits (of, for example, making Springfield to Boston a commutable run. Think of what that would do for Springfield.)

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Western MA infrastructure costs more per resident than Eastern MA - e.g. miles of road with few people, etc.

Guess who is paying for all of that?

I don't have the actual data and links at hand, but I'm going to look for it when I get a chance. I have done some demographic analysis of the Commonwealth using census data, and the "wahhh we're getting hosed" complaints from the West is very much like the southern states complaining about northern states despite the heavy transfer of funds to the south. People from Western MA may not think that they are getting their money's worth, but they would complain a lot more if they really did get their money's worth.

(PS - the high speed rail idea? It should go all the way to Cleveland, if not Chicago!)

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As I am willing to accept without any analytical support whatsoever your assertion (which I think is almost axiomatic) that transportation infrastructure in rural areas is more expensive per person than in urban areas.

My "hosed" comment was referring only to my non-quantifiable belief that Western Mass is not held in particularly high regard around here (in the media, in the statehouse, and elsewhere). Hence the comment about the famous knock-off on the New Yorker's view of the world, which was adapted for Boston (and lots of other cities - Link below). I can't seem to find the Boston adaptation, but I am sure it exists as an old colleague had it hanging in his office.

http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~chiang/images/n...

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Boston metro area: 4 million people.

Massachusetts population: 6 million people.

Maybe the problem is less one of "attention" and more one of whiny self-entitlement.

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Many states have official holidays, but many of these states don't close state and local government offices in recognition of these holidays. In Massachusetts we have three. I don't think you can find any other state with that many. I think this really sets this situation apart from any comparison to other state "holidays".

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1. Personal sense of the importance of the holidays to our collective soul or something?

2. Favor with unions who want the holidays?

3. Favor with voters who get the holidays?

4. Favor with voters who feel honored by one of the holidays?

5. _____?

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What do I win?

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My favorite quote: "from Hampden and Hampshire, where no history takes place, Mr. Knapik". Ouch, Madam President.

Seriously, though, as ridiculous and as wasteful as Bunker Hill and Evacuation Day are, let's let sleeping dogs lie on this one.

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My guess is that if it weren't for some legislative aid from Hampden or Hampshire, Jackie Haaaaaht wouldn't have had the vaguest notion where either of those places were, and whether they're counties, cities, districts, regions or names of mountains.

I also take offense to places that figured prominently in the industrial and cultural history (Thomas Cole's "The "Oxbow", anyone?) of our Commonwealth and Country being dismissed as devoid of any historical value. Too many of the people in our Commonwealth's legislative body are a damned disgrace. They are going to give me no choice but to run.

Link to image of The Oxbow:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/archive/5...

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don't "threaten" to run

either do it, or don't do it.

too many smart people in MA would rather whine about the people they repeatedly re-elect, then carry on with their own self-interested activities, than displace them with better people, including themselves. That's why things are the way they are, and why they've remained this way for so long

Btw not everyone in the statehouse is an idiot or a crook.. but the good ones seem to get in and get back out once they realize how broken it all is.

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Zbert,

You will notice that I was careful not to say everyone, or to even imply that everyone in the statehouse was one thing or another, and certainly not an idiot or crook.

As for running, I said "no choice" because, frankly, your commentary about being self-interested is why I haven't already done it. A Legislator's base pay is something like $46K a year. You can get more by sitting on committees. To do so, you must make nice with (read: bow to) the leadership. As you hopefully can tell from my comments, I am unwilling to kiss either Madam President's or Mr. Speaker's ring. That is how each of them, and their predecessors have amassed so much influence, to the detriment of us all.

With respect to my "threat": since living in Greater Boston and paying back significant law school debt (to the tune of what many people pay on a mortgage per month) on $46K/yr is a pretty difficult proposition, I may have to defer to my self-interest in not becoming a ward of state. So if not making you pay for me is what you meant by calling me self-interested, I plead guilty, Your Honor. Rest assured, Zbert, as soon as I have saved enough money, the Mike Rushes of the world will absolutely not run unopposed. Promise.

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... said that everyone in the statehouse is a crook

Sites like this need an "apropos of nothing" indicator to delimit "responses to specific comments" from "general commentary"

that coda was definitely "general commentary", just an idle thought.

However, given the current state of affairs, they may as well all be idiots and crooks, since the idiot/crook approach to operations does apparently prevail in nearly any matter of significance.

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"from Hampden and Hampshire, where no history takes place, Mr. Knapik"

Oh please. He is hereby banished to Purgatory Chasm!

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"We gotta protect our phony-baloney jobs, gentlemen!"

As I understand it, Evacuation Day as a holiday was the creation of one James Michael Curley in the 30s. If that's true, then to me it doesn't seem like enough time has passed to give it 'historical significance'. It doesn't pass the smell test.

I don't have a problem with Patriots Day - as noted, many other states have local holidays of significance. My issue has always been that these two holidays in question are Suffolk County only, and so municipal workers in other counties in turn have their hands out to get the local equivalent. It becomes this huge grab for entitlements those in the 'dreaded private sector' just don't get. It reinforces the belief, true or not, that municipal workers and state pols are do-nothings, get perks and bennies that others don't and are generally useless except for padding their own pockets.

And that Casimir Pulaski seems to have a deep well of appreciation all over the place. Not only does he get a state holiday in Illinois, but a parade in Philly and a portion of I-93 South in Dorchester named for him. Who knew!

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And don't forget the _real_ Pulaski Skyway, in New Jersey.

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The Polish engineer known from Pole to Pole!

Critical contributor to the US Revolution:

Kosciuszko's first task in America was the fortification of Philadelphia. His first structure was the construction of Fort Billingsport.[7] On September 24, 1776, Kosciuszko was ordered to fortify the banks of the Delaware River against a possible British crossing. In the spring of 1777 he was attached to the Northern Army under General Horatio Gates. As the chief engineer of the army he commanded the construction of several forts and fortified military camps along the Canadian border. His work made substantial contributions to the successful American retreat from the battle of Ticonderoga and the victory at Saratoga in 1777.

After the battle, Kosciuszko was regarded as one of the best engineers in American service and George Washington gave him command of military engineering works at the stronghold in West Point. Then he asked to be transferred to the Southern Army, where he also made substantial contributions to the American victories.

There is stuff named for him from Philadelphia to the highest peak in Australia.

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Being of Polish descent I enjoy vignettes like this one. Glad to know it's more than the mustard that Kosciuszko is known for! LOL

It's really amazing, when you think about it, just how many Poles were involved in world-changing events or endeavors... Copernicus.... Curie, etc.

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These faux holidays represent the worst of Beacon Hill *wink wink nod nod* back door policy making. Rescinding them would be a small first step into gaining back some trust from the citizens of the commonwealth. As a former resident of Westfield, I have met Rep. Knapik several times and it's good to see him stand up to the good 'ol boys club of suffolk county reps.

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