OK, if it's Friday, so that means it's a good day to round up the Week In Mass. Insanity.
First, we have a glimpse that while Michael Dukakis has been out of office for about 15 years, his tenure was no aberration -- especially in respect to the Massachusetts judicial system and its attitude towards murderers, a la Willie Horton.
In 1991, Daniel Tavares killed his mother. He was convicted and sentenced to 17-20 years in prison. But he managed to get some of that whittled down for "good behavior" (despite a rather well documented record of being a violent, disruptive prisoner) and was released. Shortly thereafter, he was charged with several assaults on corrections officers (from his stretch in prison -- apparently not actually killing someone you assault is considered "good behavior") and brought before a judge.
The prosecution asked for $50,000 bail. The judge weighed the facts of the case, Tavares' history, and decided that was excessive -- releasing him on his own recognizance would be sufficient.
So Tavares left court, went home to his wife (a prison groupie he'd met and married via mail while locked up), and waited patiently for his court date.
Whoops, my mistake. Instead, he found a gun (quite possibly the one his wife had borrowed from a relative on news of Tavares' release), and traveled across the country to Washington State with his bride -- where he apparently murdered a couple in their own home.
The couple -- Brian and Beverly Mauck -- had been married about a year and a half.
Their families are blaming Massachusetts, in part, for their loss. And I think they have a hell of a good case.
From the outright obscene to the just plain stupid, we have several examples from the Boston Globe. First up, noted columnist looks at all the evidence and carefully considers the matter before deciding no, George W. Bush is no Hitler.
In fairness to Mr. Beam, it's actually -- for the most part -- a pretty reasonable column. The dumbness shines through in the opening, though -- "I suppose it was inevitable that the liberal intelligentsia would start comparing George Bush to Adolf Hitler."
Mr. Beam must not have been paying too much attention to current events over the last seven years. Comparisons between Bush and Hitler have been a hallmark of his presidency, and it hasn't been exactly fringe.
Then we have that delightful program called "Commonwealth Care." This is the "everybody must get health insurance OR ELSE" program that Massachusetts instituted last year, and is -- to me, at least -- one of the reasons I am disinclined to support Mitt Romney. The program is simple: if you have health insurance, you're fine. If you don't, then you need to get it on your own or sign up through the state. Otherwise, you get to be fined rather heftily.
This program was touted as the way to save money for everybody (well, except for those greedy doctors and insurance companies), and was to be a model for a national plan.
Well, guess what? It turns out to be costing a lot more than the backers predicted -- about $150 million more. (To mention that this is precisely what the detractors predicted is, of course, utterly irrelevant and borderline seditious in the Free People's Democratic Republic of Massachusetts.)
So, what's the Globe's solution? Any of you not saying "raise taxes!," stay after class for detention.
Well, that's not fair. They call for legalizing casinos, closing "tax loopholes," and getting more money from Washington (under the theory that "why shouldn't the people of the other 49 states bail out our asses from our own stupidity?"), and -- note the delightfully evasive language here -- "show greater openness to new revenues if they became necessary to sustain Commonwealth Care."
Anyone who doesn't read that as "raise taxes," you get an extra detention too.
And then we have this delightful editorial lamenting Hamas' habit of promoting unity among the Palestinians by shooting those who dare dissent. This is, of course, sad, because it goes against Yassir Arafat's legacy of pushing Palestinian unity above all else, of keeping internecine squabbles below the surface and presenting a united front to the world.
Actually, this is a perfect example of Arafat's legacy. Arafat was a terrorist, a thug, a mass murderer, a thief of the highest order, and an unregenerate swine. His way of unifying the Palestinians was to say "hey, stop killing each other! You should focus on killing the Jews!"
It was Arafat who rejected the possibility of peace when he triggered the current Intifadah, and the logical conclusion of that struggle was that Israel would finally say "screw this" and just wall itself off from Gaza. And the logical outgrowth of THAT was that the Palestinians, filled with rage and bloodlust, fueled by the economic collapse of the isolation from Israel, and stuffed to the gills with weapons, would turn on each other instead.
The proper response to the situation in Gaza is not to wail and moan. It is to say "well, that's pretty much what they asked for," and sit back and let them hash it out. With luck, the worst will kill each other off and the survivors will be more peacefully inclined.
But to whitewash the legacy of Yassir Arafat (pardon me while I spit) into anything but the status quo is laughable -- at least it would be, if it wasn't so blood-soaked.
Finally, we have a glimpe of sanity from the Boston Globe. A lot of people (myself included) have been wondering just why in hell John Kerry is bringing back up the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth, and the damage they did to his presidential campaign. At the time, Kerry didn't bother to answer their charges. Then he tried to tell everyone that their charges had been refuted, but kind of skipped over the part where he proved them wrong. Then he let the deadlines for legal redress slip, one by one.
But recently he decided he'd take T. Boone Pickens -- one of the early Swift Boat backers -- up on his public dare: if anyone could convincingly refute a single one of the Swift Boat Veterans' charges, Pickens would hand over a cool million dollars.
Like a lot of other people, I wondered why Senator Waffles Gigolo would give Pickens' grandstanding such prominence. Could Kerry's second heiress wife be cutting back on his allowance, and he needs the money? Has he finally convinced himself of his own bullshit? Does he think that just saying "they're all bogus" would constitute a successful refutation?
Well, it took the Boston Globe, of all sources, to provide the answer. It seems that John Kerry is up for re-election next year. In 2002, he was unopposed both in the primary and the general election. But this time it's different -- Kerry has at least one likely challenger for the Democratic nomination.
Losing the presidency wasn't that big a deal to Kerry -- he still had his Senate seat. But this time it's his very life he's fighting for. I don't think it's much of a stretch to say that very few people will have very much interest in Former Senator Kerry.
Poor John Kerry, always behind the times. He fought most fiercely about Viet Nam from the day he left until November of 2004. And now, as he's facing his greatest political threat ever, he finds himself re-fighting the 2004 presidential campaign.
Remember, folks, this is Massachusetts we're talking about here. The Democrats hold both Senate seats, all the House seats, all the statewide elective offices, and over 85% of each house of the Legislature. Their universal health care plan -- being touted as a possible national model -- is barely a year old and already $150 million in the hole.
This is what you get when you give that much power to one political party.
You asked for it, Massachusetts. Enjoy it.