Speaking of Immigrants

Joanna Weiss began her column on immigrant children in powerful fashion the other day: “What if the Irish potato famine happened today?” We do have that history and I’ve always marveled at how it was summarized by my late friend the Boston College historian Thomas O’Connor in his book The Boston Irish: A Political History “If there had existed in the nineteenth century a computer able to digest all the appropriate data, it would have reported one city in the entire world where an Irish Catholic, under any circumstance, should never, ever, set foot. That city was Boston, Massachusetts.” Continue reading

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The demagogues among us

There’s nothing like the fear of the other to bring the demagogues in our midst out into the open.

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No White Hats

The long ordeal between US Attorney Carmen Ortiz and former Probation Commissioner John O’Brien ended its trial phase yesterday with a verdict in favor of the US Attorney. Both sides as well as defendants-by-proxy Speaker Robert DeLeo and the Massachusetts legislature came out considerably diminished. It’s hard to look upon the fraudulent conduct at the Probation Department as business as usual; it went beyond that.  The US Attorney’s Office zealously pushing the limits in political prosecutions is business a usual, but unfortunately there is no Spotlight Team to stop them. Continue reading

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Veteran Benefits v Unaccompanied Immigrant Children: A Downright Stupid False Binary

When we passed the rescue scene surrounding a bad car accident, my mother taught me to say a prayer for those involved and not look. I suggest the same strategy for political analysis on Facebook. The recent surge of undocumented and unaccompanied children at U.S. border has tested this self-imposed rule though as recent weeks have seen memes stating “I can’t help but wonder why there are so many homeless veterans and so few homeless illegals” and the following:

cutting-veterans-benefits Continue reading

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Most Gendered Headline of Campaign Season: “Is Coakley Using Women’s Issues as a Campaign Crutch?”

 Yes, you read that headline right. And if you did not blink, or better yet recoil in disgust, then you are a part of the problem. Last week, GoLocalWorcester published Nicholas Handy’s more measured piece on the role of women’s issues could play in differentiating the three Democrats hoping to win the gubanatorial primary. But headlines matter and this one is a doosey: “Is Coakley Using Women’s Issues as a Campaign Crutch?” Hard to imagine Massachusetts has one of the worst records in electing women, eh? Continue reading

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Faith and Philosophy in Gov. Patrick’s Immigration Decision

Governor Deval Patrick’s remarkable press conference announcing that Massachusetts would welcome unaccompanied immigrant children continues to reverberate through the commonwealth. His actions and remarks carry implications for how we think about religion and politics, for political philosophy, and for our political institutions. Continue reading

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The Boston Herald: The “Stupid Party” Newspaper

No one will mistake the Boston Herald for a credible news organization anytime soon, but since somebody must be buying it for it to still be in business, it’s probably important to highlight the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of its columnists every now and then. Continue reading

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Some aren’t ready for Hillary

Professor O’Brien and Professor Ubertaccio are quoted in a piece by Scott Conroy in Real Clear Politics: Not Ready for Hillary: The Rationale for Elizabeth Warren

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Don’t further the ugly

The plight of migrant children and the role of the Commonwealth in offering them shelter is going to produce many reactions.  There are those grounded in reality (cost, duration, locations best suited for the situation, etc) and then there are others. Continue reading

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Grossman’s free media miscalculation

Steve Grossman had a plan. The plan was to spend the pre-convention period building the best campaign infrastructure and volunteer army. The post-convention summer period was supposed to be when the political media’s horse race coverage of the treasurer’s post-convention bump and the backs and forths between the Coakley and Grossman camps would provide the one-on-one media narrative necessary to move the poll numbers and soften the ground for Grossman’s late summer “air campaign.” By primary Election Day, with Grossman’s viability having been established by free and paid media exposure, the superiority of the treasurer’s ground operation would get him over the finish line ahead of the AG. Unfortunately for Grossman, the media has not fulfilled its part of the plan. Continue reading

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