Saturday, November 08, 2014

No Coupons Required

As goes Wal-Mart, so goes the United States.

Perhaps that’s the best sum-up of last week’s mid-term and gubernatorial elections. 

How do I know?

Wal-Mart stock is trading at nearly $80 a share and its revenues increased more than 16 percent from 2010 to 2014 to just over $476 billion.[i] 

Who knows, maybe they’ll cross the $500 billion mark this year, which is another way of saying half a trillion dollars if you're suffering from innumeracy.

That might not be too surprising because, according to the company’s latest annual report, its nearly 5,000 U.S. stores serve about 140 million customers every week,[ii] nearly half of the country’s population.  More than 70 percent of the company’s revenues – about $279 billion – is made right here, in the good ole’ USA.

If you bought Wal-Mart stock when President Obama was first inaugurated, in January 2009, and you still own it, you’re doing okay.  It’s up about $30 a share since then.[iii] 

So for all of Friday’s news about how the unemployment rate is below 6 percent – another way of saying Americans were so stupid they traded in the Democrats for the Republicans – Wal-Mart’s numbers tell a very different story.

Americans are worried!

They’re shopping Wal-Mart because they fear the paycheck they received last week won't be there next week, next month, even next year.

Even if they’re aware of Wal-Mart’s negative stories, their immediate anxiety is they’ll be nickel and dimed – by their employer.

Plus, as Barron’s Gene Epstein reports, there’s been little wage growth in the United States and there remains a dearth of men working, especially those between the ages of 25 – 54.[iv]

I’m no Wal-Mart fan.  But my travels with Tribune Media Services, peddling comics, columns, crossword puzzles and news services, over the course of 13 years, taking me to 40-odd states and a lot of small towns, showed me its power:  Wal-Mart changes the economic fabric of small towns and cities.[v]

But, you know, I’m not so proud to say I’ve never shopped Wal-Mart either.

It’s had products our household needed that no one else offered, from a particular size drip pan for our stove to diapers that fit my sons when they were babies.
I didn’t like going there.  The place gave me the heebe jeebes.  But I always noted the parking lot was full.

So for all the whining from the liberals, whether they’re friends or commentators in the press, about last Tuesday’s results  – and for all of the celebrations from the conservative ones – everyone missed the boat.

Wal-Mart won the election.

I’m worried.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Politics of You, Me and Us

My 12-year-old precocious son asked me about last night’s election results, just before he went off to school today.

In particular, he asked about my party affiliation.  When I was 18, I said, I registered with the Democrats but soon, thereafter, realized that was a mistake. 

“Because you thought they were a little nutty,” he asked.

“Maybe,” I replied. “But it didn’t make me run into the arms of the Republican Party either.”

Then I said I’m with the Democrats when they talk about civil and human rights but I’m with the Republicans when they talk about money.

“So, really, I’m more Libertarian,” I said.  

What I didn’t tell him – because time was running short – was that I also support same-gender marriage and women’s reproductive rights. 

Elections are pictures of a moment in time.  People vote for whom they vote for many reasons.

Part of it might be because they read up on the issues, deciding one candidate fits their views better than another.  Some of it, as Wall Street Journal op-ed columnist Joseph Epstein[i] suggests, might be due to circumstances few consider – family, parents, siblings, how they were brought up, where they live, what they do, the education they received.

So we might consider – outrageous as it might seem – that we’re all brainwashed or, if you prefer in this digital age, hardwired, for certain beliefs long before we leave the confines of where we grew up.

Matt Miller, a columnist I once syndicated, and a candidate himself recently for U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman’s seat, taught me one of the best lessons about why one politician is elected over another:  It’s all in the looks.

Turn down the television’s volume when they’re debating or when their ads appear, he said, and it’ll allow you to better study their facial features and expressions, telling you whether they’re happy or angry.

As I recall, he said, the happy ones tend to hold an advantage.  Not always, of course.  But often.

So perhaps it was Martha Coakley’s face that led to her second significant defeat in a statewide contest.  It’s narrow and constricted, not warm enough to win. 

And while you might think that’s sexist, Coakley’s facial disadvantage was the same one that hindered Charlie Baker four years ago when he tried to unseat Gov. Deval Patrick. 

I hope the politicians assembling in Washington and the country’s state capitals in January follow the lesson my mother taught me:  Hold any political view you want, but, remember, life’s solutions are found in the middle.

As for Matt Miller, unfortunately, he didn’t secure his party’s nomination for Waxman’s seat.

I came to know Matt during my time at Tribune Media Services and always found him to be one of the smartest commentators we syndicated.  He’s a centrist Democrat, a former Clinton White House staffer and would have been a solid operator not only for his party but also when it came to working with Republicans. 

His defeat sheds light on the kind of politics those elected must hold.  It illuminates us.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The doctor and The Disease

Infectious diseases – Ebola, AIDS, even the Flu – are always worrisome. 

My background includes covering the early days of AIDS, back in the 1983, when it was breaking out across New York City, as a young reporter that summer for United Press International.

Few understood the disease.  Was it limited to the gay community?  Was it only happening to people who had blood transfusions?  No one knew.

In an attempt to dampen public fear of donating blood, New York City Mayor Ed Koch, in a very public piece of showmanship, donated blood, showing that if he could survive the process, so could anyone else.

I interviewed the executive director of New York’s Blood Bank about whether donations were the same or down due to this new fangled disease.

“I’m getting a lot of interesting phone calls,” he said.

“Really.  What kind of calls,” I asked.

“I’m not really sure I should say.  I’m a pretty modest guy,” he said.

“I am, too, so you can tell me,” I said.

“Well, this one lady said she and her husband practice anal and oral sex, and she wanted to know if they were at risk of getting AIDS,” he said.

“What did you tell her,” I asked.

 “As long as the sexual activity was only between them, they were fine,” he said.

Needless to say, that didn’t make it out across the wire that day. 

But the story about the guy who walked into a bank one Saturday morning, holding it up by saying he had AIDS, did.  The teller was so petrified of the disease, she handed him every dollar she could find. 

Given how we live in the United States, it's highly unlikely anyone would come near Ebola.  While we're prone to shaking hands, we tend to keep our physical contact with others to a minimum.

That's not so much the case in West Africa, where, from what I read, locals hug the dead, even those who died of Ebola, which then puts the living at risk of coming down with the disease. 

And, unlike the Flu, Ebola isn’t an airborne disease.

The larger issue we’re facing in the United States is the example a nurse or doctor provides – especially to the rest of us who aren’t medical workers – when they refuse to be quarantined because they may have been exposed to Ebola. 

Yes, medical workers have rights.  But they also have an obligation.  And that's to demonstrate concern for a community's overall health.

So, yes, nurses and doctors, who've done a fantastic service in Africa, should be quarantined.  I don't know if it needs to be for 21 days, but they should show the same amount of concern for their fellow Americans' health as they have for those in Africa.

A nurse I know, who works at a local hospital, tells disturbing stories but what's really bothersome are the ones of her fellow healthcare workers. 

They have no qualms about eating fat-laden, cholesterol-rich foods, like cheeseburgers.  Seriously, why aren’t these people taking the advice their industry hands out – to work out and be careful what they eat?

Medical workers, I’m beginning to believe, are just like journalists – they’re arrogant!  The rules don’t apply to them.

So if I were advising Kaci Hickox, the nurse in Maine upset about being quarantined, I’d tell her to tone down her cries about her civil rights and, instead, increase her time being an example of someone concerned not only about her health but also that of her fellow citizens. 

But maybe in this age of one person’s rights superseding everyone else's, that's too much to expect, even from those who should know better.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review: The Pornographer's Daughter

It’s one thing to study movements that brought about social change, it’s quite the other to live them. 

That’s the crux of Kristin Battista-Frazee’s new book, The Pornographer’s Daughter:  A Memoir of Childhood, My Dad and Deep Throat.  She spares few details about the struggles and challenges her family faced while her father, Anthony, was tried and convicted of violating a number of obscenity laws, in the 1970s and early 1980s, as a distributor of the movie Deep Throat.

It caused arguments between family members and sent her mother to the hospital for depression. 

Her father, a good, Catholic boy with a degree from Villanova, was a Philadelphia stockbroker and was approached to distribute Deep Throat.  He accepted for reasons many might understand – to earn extra money.

Of course, there’s a mob connection, with Anthony making sure a local crime family received its share of the earnings from his territory. 

Before anyone, however, says this proves the criminal depths of the porn industry, Battista-Frazee also points out there were other beneficiaries:  Her dad and his partner bribed Philadelphia police $200 a week so they would respond to emergency calls from a stripper bar they jointly owned, the Golden 33. 

They also bribed other city officials – with “hefty envelopes of cash,” she writes – so the club received the licenses it needed to remain open.

So how does someone like Anthony become the poster child of pornography?  Easy.

After being arrested by the FBI for distributing Deep Throat in his stockbroker's office, he did the only thing he thought possible, joining a former client from his brokerage days at the Golden 33 and becoming a partner in the business.

Why?  Because he needed to earn a living, take care of his family, and pay his legal bills.

In time, Anthony oversaw everything from liquor purchases to the girls who entertained the Golden 33’s patrons.  Battista-Frazee details the lives of some of these entertainers, including Betty Jane Allsup, aka “Honeysuckle Divine.”

Betty demonstrated some – how to say this? – unique physical skills when entertaining Golden 33’s patrons but most readers will be stunned to learn another part of her past.

For those looking for a history of how U.S. obscenity laws changed, look elsewhere. 

Battista-Frazee writes about the legal rulings and decisions impacting her dad’s case but the most comprehensive book on how obscenity laws changed remains Gay Talese’s Thy Neighbor’s Wife with Chicago Federal Judge Richard Posner’s Sex and Reason as a nice complement.

With the exception of child pornography laws, it’s difficult to imagine how the others could be enforced.  Pornographic movies are available directly to the home, either through an internet connection or a cable television provider, often one in the same.

Today, Battista-Frazee’s parents are divorced.  Her dad owns stores in Florida that sell pornographic movies and products designed to enhance sexual stimulation, with the best seller being the “Pocket Rocket.”  Use your imagination, ladies.

At times, this excellent book reads like a therapy session.  I highly recommend it.  Battista-Frazee writes in an engaging style and tells a story few ever lived.

And what to make of pornography? 

A recent University of Nevada-Las Vegas study reports it generated $96 billion in worldwide revenues in 2006, with $12 billion from the United States.[i]  About 400,000 strippers work in the country’s 3,000 to 4,000 strip clubs, the report says, with Battista-Frazee writing the best ones earn $1,000 a night.

That means a stripper working five nights a week for, say, 50 weeks – and is good at it and attractive, too – possibly makes as much as $250,000 a year, much of it in cash.

For those convinced the industry’s female movie stars always come out on the short end, consider this:  According to, Jenna Jameson's net worth is estimated at $30 million.[ii]  That’s a far cry from Bill Gates’ money, but it’s an amount many would want.

Details on the book: 

The Pornographer’s Daughter:  A Memoir of Childhood, My Dad, and Deep Throat, written by Kristin Battista-Frazee, was published in August 2014 by Skyhorse Publishing, New York, New York.

Many thanks to the author for providing the jpeg of the book’s cover for

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Middle East peace: A modest proposal

Editor's Note:  This is the speech President Obama needs to give to the Middle East.

"My fellow Americans, citizens around the world, especially those in the Middle East, including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Kurdistan, the Gaza Strip, Saudi Arabia, Iran, the Gulf States of Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen, Somalia, as well as those in Malaysia and any other countries where Muslims or Arabs live:

"It’s time for the Arab World and the Muslim World to grow up!

"For the last sixty or so years, ever since the United States recognized Israel, you’ve acted like petulant two-year-olds, expecting the Western World, the United States and its Allies, in particular, to grant your every wish just so you wouldn’t throw a temper tantrum and then reach for your guns, your bombs and your knives.

"You kill your own people, even those who share your religious faith.  You outright murder innocent Americans trying to tell your story and – even more horrifying – those attempting to help you, like that Briton you recently beheaded. 

"Seriously, what gives with you people?

"I’m not going to tell you that U.S. policies in the Middle East have been perfect because, I, like so many others, know they haven’t been.  But one thing is for sure – more often not, certainly in the last 50 years, the United States has stood for equal rights, human rights and civil rights and, more importantly, the rule of law. 

"Women have voted in every U.S. presidential election since 1920.  And today many women hold top positions not only in government but also in industry.  Women – and this is critical for all you Arabs and Muslims to understand especially if you think your God-given mission is to put them down – are equal partners with men.  They drive cars, fly airplanes, are in the military, are doctors, scientists, stockbrokers, politicians as well as mothers and wives.

"For those of you who think you need to keep women down, well, all that shows me is how weak you really are.  Strong men never fear strong women.  So if you think Allah wants to you to keep her barefoot and pregnant or remain some third-class citizen, think again.

"This sectarian warfare you wage against those who share the basic tenants of your faith or those who don’t, needs to stop immediately.  Even Northern Ireland, once the scene of many battles between Christians in the Catholic and Protestant wings, is peaceful.  And, in a far earlier time, in the 1640s, Catholics and Protestants stopped fighting one another in Europe – for religious reasons.

'The United States has had strong presidents but never once has it had – and never will it have – a dictator.  We vote and adjust our policies based on those in political power.  And as a result, we’re successful.  You buy our products.  You use our social media. 

"The only thing we get from you is oil.  And given what we’re doing in the United States – what with fracking and developing alternative energy sources – soon the United States and the West won’t need the only thing you have to offer.

"Which means if you don’t change your ways, there won’t be a single reason to invest in your part of the world.  Which means more of you will be unemployed and many more of you will be impoverished.  And if you think turning to your guns, your bombs and your knives – and hijacking your religious faith – is going to solve your problems, keep something in mind.

"The American people have limits.  If we feel pressured, whether it’s to end a war in the Middle East or elsewhere around the globe, any president, including this one, has an arsenal that includes some quite nasty weapons that will end any conflict – quickly!

"Of course, no speech is complete without a proposal.  Therefore, today, I’m suggesting that all the Arab and Muslim nations in the Middle East as well as Iran, Israel, Turkey and the Kurds, come to together to write and agree on their version of the Treaty of Westphalia. 

"For those of you who don’t know about this Treaty, way back in the 1640s, it ended thirty years of fighting between Catholics and Protestants in Europe.  It was the beginning of international law and forced each country to recognize each other’s religious preferences – even if they disagreed with it.  Even if they didn’t like it.  It also recognized the rights of religious minorities in those countries. 

"The United States is prepared to host this meeting or, if necessary, we can find another country, a neutral one, where this meeting can take place.  For the sake of your children, for the sake of your very own lives, for the sake of peace, I highly suggest you take me up on this proposal.

"If you don’t want to come together, then the Middle East will remain what it’s been recently – nothing more than a backwater ghetto.

"The choice is up to you.  And know this – it’s time for the Arab World and the Muslim World to grow up!

"Thank you for listening."

Saturday, September 06, 2014

ItsFourthandLong is credited in The Journal Gazette

Many thanks to Craig Klugman, editor of The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, Indiana, for using my last blog piece.  This is how it was displayed:

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Victory's price

This is not a strategy for victory.  It’s a terror tactic.  And it never stopped the Allied march to Tokyo during the Second World War.

Actions like the above picture, of a Japanese soldier about to decapitate an Australian one, Leonard Siffleet, only compel the Western World to resolve the conflict. 

Eyewitness accounts say the Japanese officer cut off Siffleet's head with one fell swoop of his sword,[i] making the jidhadist carrying out a similar deed, whether it was against James Foley or Steven Sotloff, look like an amateur butcher.

Without question, the pictures and videos scare the bejesus out of people, which is the intent.  But similar pictures never stopped the U.S. military from crushing another, including a ragged band of terrorists.[ii] 

The Western World, the United States in particular, handles suicidal enemies the only way it knows – they kill them.  The West is often slow to respond to national security crises.  But in time, as an enemy shows its brutality, it develops a strategy that unleashes far more destruction than the enemy ever imagined it could suffer.

So terrorists, take note.  You may win a few opening rounds with your shock and awe of slicing off heads, but you’ll lose the most critical one – the last.  You’ll pay a price you never considered.

Update:  One diligent reader pointed out that the picture's copyright is held by the Australian War Memorial.  I checked the Memorial's website and learned the picture is in the public domain.  Click this url if you're curious --

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What's the war plan, Mr. President?

“And it’s one, two, three,
What are we fighting for?”
                                                                        ~ Country Joe McDonald

So now the Obama Administration, which came into office promising
to “reset” relations with Russia and persuade Middle Eastern terrorists
to convert their weapons into plowshares, is taking the United States
into war.

Teed up is Syria, which is being overrun by numerous anti-state
fighters, and whose condition – that of a failed country – poses
a threat to U.S. and global security unseen since Afghanistan
was under Taliban rule.

Also inside American crosshairs is ISIS, the terrorist group
dominating headlines since it brutally killed American freelance
reporter James Foley and made, until U. S. Navy fighter planes
started bombing them, significant gains in Iraq. 

Not only is ISIS so extreme it makes Al Qaeda look rational,
it’s also highly ambitious, with one member of its ranks saying his
organization won’t rest until its flag flies above the White House.[i]

Seriously, what’s a peace-leaving, smarter-than-you Democrat,
like Barack Obama, to do?

Easy – borrow from the playbook of every president since 1980,
maybe even earlier.

Sure, the White House diatribe sounds good.  We’re going to bomb
ISIS wherever we find it.  Our drones will fly over Syrian cities and
long stretches of Iraqi desert.  If they lack sufficient capabilities to kill
terrorists and destroy weapons, no worry.  Navy and Air Force jets
will be on call.

Parts of our Navy’s surface fleet might even get in on the action
by launching cruise missiles.  Let’s also hope for numerous
opportunities to keep our elite, special forces on top of their
game with plenty of dangerous combat missions.

If only this war were the real thing and not a live-fire exercise.
It’s a few bombs here, a few bombs there, spiced with some
intoxicating, edge-of-the-seat, missions from Delta Force, the
 Seals, maybe even the Green Berets.

But that’s where it stops.

A plausible case can be made that U. S. military operations in
World War II’s Pacific Theater could have come to halt once
Japan’s progress was stopped with two critical battles, Coral
Sea and Midway.

In Europe – for a few years at least – the fighting could have
been left to the Army Air Corps as it bombed factories, towns
and military installations in Nazi-occupied Europe and Germany.
That is, until their advance stopped and we figured out a time and
a place to work out a peace treaty with Berlin and, eventually,

And what would we be dealing with these many years later?  The
fifth generation of Nazi leadership and the 21st century version
of Japan’s militarists!

And there’s the problem.  President Obama has no more of
strategy to beat the terrorists, whether they’re ISIS, Al Qaeda or
anyone else – in other words, to solve the problem – than
President Johnson did for winning the Vietnam War.

Or than Jimmy Carter did for releasing our hostages in
Tehran.  Or than President Reagan did for winning in Lebanon,
or than President George H. W. Bush did for eliminating
Saddam Hussein or than President Clinton did for outright
defeating Osama bin Laden.

And, frankly, blame can also be left with President George W.
Bush, whose two wars were left unfinished.

Come to think of it, had Presidents Truman and Eisenhower
fought for a victory in Korea, today we wouldn’t be contending
with the third generation of the family running North Korea.

So the question we need to ask – as posed by 1960s music star
Country Joe McDonald – is what are we fighting for?  A total
elimination of the terrorists in Syria and Iraq or is Obama
creating a quagmire the next five to 10 generations of Americans
will deal with?

This same kind of thinking came from Martin Dempsey, the
U.S. military’s top officer.

“They can be contained (but) not into perpetuity,” he said,
referring to ISIS, during last week’s news conference.[ii]

Airstrikes can do so much, Dempsey said.  They alone
cannot stop a determined force, like ISIS.  What we need, the
general inferred, is a plan, something that includes all out
American force, both a military and diplomatic.

The President and his advisors need to craft a strategy similar
to what U. S. Army General Winfield Scott proposed at the
outbreak of the Civil War.  Call it Operation Anaconda, just 
like the general called his plan.

It would surround Syria and Iraq and, through airstrikes, special
operations and conventional infantry forces, destroy ISIS and
every other terrorist movement in those two countries, maybe
even Bashar al-Assad’s government. 

In other words, we need to fight a real war with one objective
– total victory.

Then, of course, we’ll need something along the lines of a
Marshall Plan to win the peace.

If there’s anything President Obama should know, it’s
this:  Failure to eliminate ISIS and restructure Syria and
Iraq will create more costly problems in the future, possibly 
in American and allied lives.

Did you really think Obama was brighter than the rest?

 “Don’t ask me why,
Don’t give a damn,
My next stop is Islam!”
~ with apologies to Country Joe

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Memo to Hillary Clinton

To:              The Honorable Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

From:           Doug Page, freelance writer, blogger, registered

Date:            June 18, 2014

Re:              Iraq

Dear Madam Secretary:

You better be texting POTUS about this situation, telling him to
make damn sure he doesn’t lose Baghdad to those crazed terrorists
in the ISIS.  If you're not, you’re hardly a serious contender for
becoming the next president of the United States – book or no book!

Sure, the Iraq War under President George W. Bush wasn’t popular
but if Baghdad falls on President Obama’s watch, the former president
will look like the best commander in chief since Ronald Reagan.

The average American voter will see in the Democrats exactly what
you don’t want them to perceive – a political party so run by its
peaceniks that it’s prepared to surrender any ally, even questionable
ones, to anyone, including a band of renegades who, according to
The Economist, make al-Qaida look reasonable.[i]

Anyone associated with the Democratic Party, regardless of what
office they’re running for this year or two years from now, will be
considered suspicious on national security.

Including you if you’re the Democratic presidential nominee!

Say what you want about national security – that it’s only near and
dear to the Tea Party and other assorted right-wing extremists – but
if the ISIS wins in Iraq, enough Americans will feel threatened to
prevent you from winning a key state, like Ohio or Michigan, and
sending the Republican presidential nominee into the White House.

In fact, the next time you speak with President Obama, you might tell
him that if he doesn’t save Baghdad, Jeb Bush may be the biggest
beneficiary. Not only will it elevate his candidacy for his party’s
presidential nomination it will also improve his chances of winning
the general election in November 2016.

And if Baghdad goes down, it could put you in a very uncomfortable
position, one likely not seen since Hubert Humphrey ran for president
in 1968.  You’ll be forced to distance yourself from the White House.

Like Humphrey, it's highly unlikely you'll be considered believable
since you worked for President Obama.  Most American voters won’t
be able to separate you from him.

Don’t forget Benghazi.  Any fall of Baghdad piles onto that situation,
making you look less credible on national defense.

Finally, you need to control the far left in your party, reminding
them the world is filled with danger.

As British historian Jeremy Black reminds us in his book, War and
The New Disorder in the 21st Century, “One prediction seems safe:
talk of obsolescence, even end, of war will prove misplaced, and will
be mocked by the rictus on the face of the dead.”[ii]

[ii] Jeremy Black, War and The Disorder in the 21st Century, London: Continuum, 2004, page 173.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Desperately to the demagogues

History shows that when people think times are desperate – like they did in Germany in the early 1930s, or in Russia during World War I, and Americans right now, which is why U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va) lost his party’s nomination to a Tea Party candidate last night – any demagogue will do. 

So it’s no wonder that people in Massachusetts, upset as Margery Eagan says they are (Boston Herald, June 10), think the fanciful, emotional-laden proposals of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) will save them.[i]

The Massachusetts Miracle is long gone and, according to two different studies, one from a UCLA professor and another from United Van Lines, which studies where people are going since they’re in the business of moving them, the Bay State ranks 8th among states that people are leaving.[ii][iii]

This means the remaining Bay Staters, especially the middle class ones, might face an increase in their state taxes because there are fewer citizens to pay the state’s bills.  As always, the rich can afford the advisors who tell them where to hide their money. 

Massachusetts’ biggest industries – the ones that drive the economy – says one state government website, include advertising, architecture, financial services, information technology, life sciences, fishing and renewable energy.[iv]

None of them are about to put the middle class, like Joe and Josephine Six Pack, back to work because, with the exception of fishing, they all require considerable amounts of education.

To put Joe and Josephine back to work – or give them opportunities to earn more money – the state needs more employers.

But the only thing in the hopper to improve the state’s economic woes is a proposed casino for either Everett or Revere and that’s not looking so good.

What Gov. Deval Patrick and his cohorts need to do – and where Senator Warren could stand out – is to start attracting more businesses, like manufacturers, which have traditionally employed the middle class.

More regulations might make some of Senator Warren’s constituents feel good – we showed them, damnit! – but let’s call it what it is:  A full employment program for college-educated regulators in government and college-trained lawyers in private industry to make sure their clients are following the rules.

It doesn’t do a thing for the Six Pack family.

I spent nine months in Texas in the mid-80s.  Every time I turned around, the governor or a mayor was on an economic development mission to sell the state or their city as a place to do business.

In other words, they wanted a company’s jobs in Texas because they knew something that appears to escape Bay State politicians:  More jobs will beget more jobs.

That mission continues to this day, with The Washington Post reporting recently that Texas has done an outstanding job of producing jobs that are equitable across the pay scale.[v]  In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Texas’ unemployment rate of 5.2 percent[vi] is lower than that of Massachusetts’ 6 percent.[vii]

Tragically, for the Bay State, there’s something in the DNA of its public servants. They don’t give off any signals they’re interested in new businesses moving here, unless it’s a quick hit, like the possibility of hosting the Winter Olympics in 10 years in Boston, or has the potential to addict, like casino gambling. 

So it’s no wonder, as Margery Eagan says, people in Massachusetts are upset.  Their junior senator is so angry and distracted with Wall Street and big banks that she hasn’t the time to do the one thing that will help the Six Pack family – making the Bay State business friendly so jobs that may very well employ Joe and his wife are created here.