Tag: Massachusetts


Cartels trafficking drugs into the United States rely on individuals using stolen identities to transport and distribute their illegal product. Identity theft, the criminal act of assuming another person’s name, address, social security number, and date of birth in order to perpetrate fraud, allows illegal aliens to fraudulently obtain valid state driver’s licenses. But more police are being trained to identify these “identity imposters.”

This week, James Scott, a retired Massachusetts’ police officer, joins Parsing Immigration Policy to talk about a highly successful program he has developed to detect certain types of ID theft, about which he trains law enforcement officers around the country. He notes that driver’s licenses should not automatically be accepted at face value, and has developed protocols and indicators to help law enforcement officers pick up on likely imposters involved in crime.

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Gary Christenson, Mayor of Malden, the second most diverse city in Massachusetts, with almost 43 percent of its residents born outside of the United States. It’s also home to The Immigrant Learning Center, the co-producer of this podcast. It’s always been a gateway city for immigrants and refugees: from Jews fleeing for safety after World War II, to Eastern Europeans and Vietnamese seeking democracy and freedom, to immigrants from China, Morocco, Brazil and Haiti seeking the American Dream. For Mayor Christenson, it is this diversity that gives Malden its strength, and assures him of a strong, proud future. He looks to the revitalization of downtown with its disproportionate number of immigrant-owned businesses, and talks with us about managing the relationships between long-time residents and new immigrants, the reaction of the city to hate crimes after the Boston Marathon bombing, how much immigrants have given back to their new home, and his stance on sanctuary cities, in this week’s JobMakers.


Everything You Need to Know About the Shocking Hilaria Baldwin Scandal


El Sr. y la Sra. Baldwin son de Estados Unidos, no de España.

America has been rocked by a story about Hilaria Baldwin. “Who is Hilaria Baldwin,” you ask? I hadn’t heard of her until a couple of days ago, so I thought some explanatory journalism was in order. I can barely stay awake reading a tweet about Sra. Baldwin let alone read an article, so I’ll summarize what I gathered from scattered mentions on social media.

Hilaria Baldwin is the wife of actor/pugilist Alec Baldwin. I guess his marriage to Kim Basinger didn’t work out so now he’s with this lady. She’s pretty and a yoga teacher, which is the résumé you want to become a rich, old guy’s third or fourth wife.

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome Massachusetts voters rejecting the Senate bid of Rep. Joe Kennedy III, who didn’t have a reason to run other than being a Kennedy, and helping dismantle the stupid notion that America has a royal family. They also unload on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for flouting COVID restrictions while constantly lecturing everyone else. And they hammer local D.C. political figures for wanting to “remove, relocate, or contextualize” the Jefferson Memorial and Washington Monument among other sites – and call out the Washington Post for pretending there was never a call to remove or relocate them.

Congress Can’t Afford to Bail Out High-Spending States


Gov. Andrew Cuomo (NY-D) speaks to union group. (Lev Radin / Shutterstock.com)

Congressional Democrats are doubling down on their demand that, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government must bail out free-spending states. There are several terrible ideas out there just now (destroying minority-owned businesses in the service of racial equality comes to mind), but this is one of the worst.

The crisis in problem states is fueled mainly by unfunded pension liabilities. Public employee unions and the politicians they elect have for decades promised lavish pensions to union members, far exceeding those paid to wealth-creating private-sector employees. But adequate funding was never provided and the over-optimistic financial market returns didn’t materialize. The result is a growing total of $4.9 trillion in contractually enforceable liabilities to state retirees. There is no way the states can make these payments.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard open with commentary on the George Floyd tragedy and K-12 education’s role in addressing racial injustice. Then, they are joined by Jeffrey Riley, the Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, to talk about the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19. Commissioner Riley walks them through the remote learning guidance he issued, the timeline since the closures in March, and efforts to meet financial and technological obstacles in different parts of the state. He discusses work to acclimate teachers to online learning platforms, and options for re-opening in the fall. He also shares an innovative program that he launched in Lawrence that is now available in other parts of the state to respond to the growing demand for vocational education. Lastly, they delve into how to improve the Boston Public Schools, the subject of a recent audit warning about graduation rates, facilities, and academic performance, with 30 of the district’s schools ranking in the bottom 10 percent statewide.

Story of the Week: Cara and Gerard reflect on the George Floyd murder, police brutality, and racial injustice across America, and the important role of school leaders and teachers in facilitating constructive dialogue. How can education policymaking help with this ongoing crisis? They discuss the benefits of increasing access to high-quality educational opportunities and early literacy programs; engaging in conversations about our broken criminal justice system; improving the preparation of police officer candidates; and ensuring that people of all races feel empowered to speak up in support of human dignity and against injustice.

Pull up a stool!  There’s lots to discuss following Tuesday’s poorly run debate in South Carolina. First, Jim and Greg discuss how CBS allowed the debate to descend into an incoherent mess with multiple candidates talking over one another on multiple occasions, but they also highlight Elizabeth Warren’s latest howitzer aimed at Mike Bloomberg, Joe Biden’s latest statistical fiction, and Pete Buttigieg’s attempt to claim the anti-socialist high ground.  In addition, they slam the Charleston Democratic Party for charging outrageous prices for tickets to the debate.  And they analyze Sanders’ decision to leave South Carolina early in order to campaign for two days in Elizabeth Warren’s home state of Massachusetts, which votes on Super Tuesday.

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How long has the anti-incumbent trend been going on and “they” are still shocked? I don’t know Michael Capuano, though I recall hearing his name a few times, and I don’t know Ayanna Pressley, but at this point and in the current environment, “shock” is not a word that comes to mind. There were, apparently, […]

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PTO Displays Trump Tombstone for Elementary School Fundraiser


A Gloucester, MA parent teacher organization held a fundraiser at their elementary school — and one of the members decided to make an ugly political statement. An unnamed parent at West Parish Elementary School brought a Halloween-themed bean bag game decorated with tombstones. The one in the center bore the name Don Trump.

One annoyed parent took a photo of the display and sent it to Massachusetts Republican Party committeewoman Amanda Orlando Kesterson, who shared it on Facebook.

I was sent this photo which depicts decorations from last night’s Halloween party at West Parish Elementary School. As you can see, the middle tombstone has the name of the president on it.

Neither Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump Are Talking Education. Why Not?


School ChoiceWhile Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton fight about events from 20 years ago and their approval ratings continue to fall, there are important issues worth discussing and debating. Education has only been brought up in the context of secondary education and it’s been Hillary Clinton preening about “free” college tuition. Donald Trump has largely ignored the issue.

Education is largely a state and local issue so it doesn’t rise to the level of importance in presidential elections as it might in a gubernatorial election. Still, it is an issue that resonates. School choice, whether it is access to private schools through opportunity scholarships or the expansion of charter schools, is quickly becoming an issue that is consistently finding approval, even in geographic areas that might have rejected it ten years ago.

For example, in Massachusetts:

Trouble in the Progressive Utopia


imageAsk a liberal to describe his ideal society, and you won’t have to wait long to hear about everyone attending a four-year college and being subsequently rewarded with a high-paying job in the professions, or the high-tech or service industries (and commuting to work via public public transit, of course). No place in the country is this closer to reality than Massachusetts, which is, unsurprisingly, where many of the people who peddle this vision get started on the path they think everyone else should take. Overall, it’s worked out reasonably well here: the Greater Boston Area may be expensive and the state may be highly regulated, but it out-preforms the nation on a number of economic metrics and is a growing leader in the technology, healthcare, biotech, and education industries; the I-495 corridor is awash in construction, development, and expansion much of it in the aforementioned glitzy industries. We’re not quite Scandinavia, but we try.

But according the Boston Globe, there seems to be a problem: we’re seriously short of people with vocational skills:

Most of the projected job openings in Massachusetts over the next seven years will not require a four-year college degree, but an already strained vocational education system will be unable to train enough people to fill those vacancies, according to a report to be released Monday. It warns that the state faces severe labor shortages in health care, manufacturing, and other key industries as an expanding economy and retiring baby boomers create some 1.2 million job openings by 2022.

Pain and Suffering in New England


imageHere in New England, it’s hard to get through a news cycle without at least one mention of the region’s opioid epidemic. Every media outlet covers it; governors are creating task forces faster than you can count; and the presidential candidates expect daily questions on the matter, often from parents who lost a child to an overdose. (Notably, Jeb Bush’s daughter has struggled with addiction for years, and Carly Fiorina’s stepdaughter died of an overdose.)

Is the problem worthy of the hype? More so than I had thought. In Massachusetts last year, there were nearly 1,100 confirmed deaths from opioid poisoning, and that number is likely to crawl higher as some investigations are completed. That’s up from 711 deaths in 2012, which constituted very nearly 30 percent of all accidental deaths in the state. Most depressingly, confirmed overdose deaths have increased every year since 2010, when the number was just 555. New Hampshire has only a fifth as many people as Massachusetts, but almost a third as many fatal cases. These rates are significantly higher than national averages.

Now, statistics like this are only a reflection of reality and often a distorted one: It’s wholly possible that the increase in the number of recorded incidents reflects, at least in part, a growing awareness of such causes of death (when you start looking for things, you tend to find them). Still, that’s a staggering number of deaths, both in absolute numbers and as a proportion of preventable deaths. I’m hesitant to use the word “epidemic” to describe things short of the Spanish Flu, but there’s a undoubtedly a very serious problem here.