Quick Comments

Sorry for the light blogging lately. Here are a few quick looks at what's been going on.

--Barack Obama got caught using some of Deval Patrick's rhetoric. No surprise to anyone who reads my colleague Adam Reilly. I've got no problem with it, except that like Adam suggests, you would think Obama would try to avoid obvious incidents like this latest one.

--MBTA general manager Dan Grabauskas admitted that the T has long been secretly cutting back on service because of budget problems. A loud "I knew it!" could be heard from everyone who has ever waited for a bus or train. This is part of a larger problem endemic in our government agencies: nobody wants to admit that their agency's services are not up to snuff, so they cover up the flaws and claim to be doing a heckuva job. Then they get frustrated when their pleas for more budget (or more broadly, a tax increase) go unheeded. Well, if you're doing fine, why do you need it? We could use a lot more honesty up front.

--Speaking of agencies pleading for more budget, those hearings are going on now and guess what? A lot of state agencies are having a tough time providing services at their current funding levels, according to State House News Service reports. Tuesday's budget hearing in Cambridge covered education. Ann Reale, commissioner of early ed and care, told legislators that the 23,000-family waiting list for state-assisted early education and care services was probably an underestimate, and that the real number could be triple that figure. Funding does not exist to do anything about it. I thought we were all about the children in the Bay State? Guess not. Acting Ed commissoner Jeffrey Nellhaus acknowledged a lack of classrooms for thousands on a waiting list for adult basic education. Board of Higher Ed Chairman Frederick Clark spoke of searching for "reasonable ways of protecting quality … despite weak state support for us" -- weak supporting that includes a $400 million revenue gap. Expect more of the same from today's budget hearing in Palmer, which focuses on public safety. Ditto Thursday, with health and human services in Westfield. And we already know about transportation, which will be covered Friday in Revere, along with energy and environment.

--Yesterday city councilor Michael Flaherty "announced" his "Kitchen Table Conversation Tour," which had been described four days earlier in the Boston Globe. Flaherty will apparently be doing this all year. Sure sounds like he's running for mayor, don't it? Check this quote from his release: "Instead of talking about issues like moving City Hall, we should be talking about getting City Hall moving again."

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