By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Talking swaptions on NECN

And no, I don’t know what they are. But here’s last night’s “NewsNight” segment from NECN in which former Boston Globe reporter-turned-communications consultant Tom Palmer, host Jim Braude and I discuss tolls, gas hikes and investigations.

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Media Nation on NECN tonight


(Expletive deleted) genius


  1. Ani

    When I hear about the revolving door between the public and private sectors and the lack of effective oversight from both sectors, it gets me thinking about the idea that privatization is the magic answer or that government buy-out is the magic answer — as if these the option opposite to the one currently in place will somehow be staffed by some new species of people who will not fall into the same patterns of behavior. I don’t disagree with the point that lack of accountability is a problem, but to me the big issue is how to get people to engage in better behavior in the first place. Knowing they are accountable certainly shapes some people’s behavior, but maybe we also need a different cultural climate and system of values to support better financial (for example) behavior in the first place.

  2. LFNeilson

    The primary concern about raising any tax is how it places the (any) state in relation to surrounding areas. We all know what happens to anyone trying to do business within ten miles of NH. People will drive that extra distance to avoid the sales tax. Well, businesses act similarly. When looking to locate, expand or shut down, they “shop” among various locations, examining all sorts of factors. And taxes are usually a primary consideration.Massachusetts has long had the research community as a tremendous drawing card. But even that can become dust, if key components, personnel or assets are drawn to other areas. And the state’s tax picture is part of the magnet. Remember: if you reverse the polarity, a magnet can repel.I’m not saying don’t raise the gas tax. But before you do, study where it would put the state in the regional picture, looking at the overall tax burden.zzzzz

  3. Bill H.

    I’m with Ani on this one. Any approach is only as good, efficient, moral, etc., as the people who are engaged in advancing it. And I’ll add that, to me, the general cynicism/apathy of people toward the government is just as troubling as the lack of accountability/cynicism of some, few, officials toward their constituents.

  4. O'Reilly

    If bills are due, then it is only fair to know what these bills paid for. Tell us what these bills are for, then we can decide how they should be paid. Also, the delays are a function of having three toll takers on duty when eight are needed. Who is the communications guy and who is he speaking for?

  5. Shelly

    Just how far is Tom Palmer in the satchel when it comes to the firm of Parson, Brinkerhof, Concretus and Falonus building the new parking garage? Does anyone buy his line-o-crap?

  6. Sean Roche

    Why is it even remotely acceptable on a news program to have a host and two guests discussing something that they all acknowledge they don’t understand?Doesn’t Jim Braude know anyone who understands “swaptions”, can explain them, and discuss the policy implications of the current situation?This is punditry run amok!And, Dan, tolls provide a tremendous public good. (See just under 7:00 to go.) Arguments for tolls here and here.The good news is that, in the last minute, both Dan and Tom Palmer express the (mostly) right solution: no or small toll hike and a gas-tax hike that will take care of both short- and long-term transportation needs.

  7. Dan Kennedy

    Sean: Think you’re going to get a couple of swaption experts to go on NECN for no pay on Thanksgiving Eve? I like Braude’s show, but let’s not kid ourselves about how many people are banging down the door to go on.

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