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Nothing to see here, folks

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There’s probably no more happy sports fans in Massachusetts than Beacon Hill lawmakers that the Bruins won the Stanley Cup. Not just because it’s yet another feather in the city’s championship cap but because by the time the euphoria and parades die down, the media will have moved on from the immediacy of former Speaker Sal DiMasi’s conviction on seven counts of conspiracy, fraud and extortion.

Most news cycles today and tomorrow will be about the Bruins and with the high Suffolk County holiday of Bunker Hill Day giving government officials a break from the State House, there will be little worry that former colleagues – particularly those who voted for DiMasi as speaker even as allegations swirled around him – will be put on the spot for their reaction.

But at The Download, we realize it’s our civic duty to round up and direct you to the news you may have missed. House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray both issued statements that took great pains to distance themselves from DiMasi, particularly DeLeo whose bristling statement did not mention his former mentor by name.

NECN has State House reaction and the Globe has a story about lawmakers dodging and weaving and swearing it isn’t everyone doing the things DiMasi did. The Herald chooses to feature the Alfred E. Neuman “What, me worry?” attitude among some legislators. Gov. Deval Patrick says the rest of Beacon Hill shouldn’t be convicted by association with the former speaker.  DiMasi’s former constituents in the North End expressed fondness for their former rep but most said they weren’t surprised by the verdict. NECN has State House reaction.

Not all elected officials want the story to die so quickly, however. Sen. Scott Brown blasted the “go along to get along” air in his former workplace. Jim Braude has former federal prosecutor Dan Small on to discuss the verdict. For the verdicts on each count, check out WBUR’s scorecard.  

Peter Gelzinis says the term “honest services” is completely lost on a guy who’s spent his life clawing up the Beacon Hill food chain. As for what’s next, Alan Dershowitz, who made a courtroom appearance last week, says he can’t comment on whether he’ll take up the
appeal.

As the duck boats piled high with Bruins snake their way around the city Saturday morning, you can bet many a legislator will raise a toast to the championship parade – from the solitude of their living rooms.

                                                                                                                                                                  --JACK SULLIVAN




BEACON HILL

State Rep. Mark Cusack, who was cleared of wrongdoing in a late night dalliance in an empty House chamber, said he would never answer questions about the incident. Gauntlet thrown. The Herald takes a run at the freshman rep while he waits in line for a grilled cheese at the State House cafeteria.

TORNADO AFTERMATH

Hampden and Worcester counties get federal disaster relief.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

The Lawrence City Council pares back Mayor William Lantigua’s budget (cutting a position in the mayor’s office in the process) to restore some police cuts, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

Middleboro Selectman Stephen McKinnon said a worker for the town’s ambulance service harassed him about the new company that is taking over the contract while McKinnon’s unconscious wife was being rushed to the hospital.

The Bay State Banner examines how the prospect of a new Whole Foods in Jamaica Plain struck a nerve and sparked the debate about the gentrification of the neighborhood.

Ayer and Shirley weigh a meals tax to close a school budget deficit.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

Writing in Time, Joe Klein says Mitt Romney is the GOP frontrunner, but there’s a sense he may be a straw man.

ELECTION 2012

Five ways President Obama can lose in 2012. First and foremost: It’s the economy, stupid.

Mitt Romney’s comments in Monday’s debate about US involvement in Afghanistan are stirring talk among GOP heavies, not all of it favorable to the putative Republican frontrunner. The Atlantic speculates that if Romney waltzes to the nomination, he’ll feel enormous temptation to put a rogue Palin-ish element on the ticket.

Tim Pawlenty’s tax plan makes George W. Bush look like Robin Hood.

Gary Johnson was shut out of Monday’s GOP debate, so he sat in a room, answered all the questions put to the candidates on TV, and uploaded the thing to YouTube.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Harvard, in a shift, is planning for a large commercial research component as part of the build-out of its land in Allston, the Globe reports. The thinking calls for dividing the stalled project into small pieces and having private developers take the lead on some initiatives.

Raynham selectmen are threatening to shut down American Spring Water after learning the local company hasn’t had state-mandated health testing on its product in two years. The owner said tough economic times have caused him to forego the testing.

The Borders bookstore in Downtown Crossing might not close after all.

EDUCATION

A Fitchburg middle school decides to survey students about sex and drugs (but not rock and roll) without asking for parental consent and, predictably, gets plenty of criticism.

HEALTH CARE

The Los Angeles public schools becomes the nation’s largest school district to ban chocolate and strawberry milk in order to help fight obesity in children.

TRANSPORTATION

Young people in Boston persuade MBTA General Manager Richard Davey to pilot a youth pass.

Meanwhile, the Globe reports that the T has rejected a request from an environmental group to buy ad space in stations for a campaign criticizing US Sen. Scott Brown’s recent vote on an amendment that would have curtailed the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Voters at Lakeville’s town meeting approved warrants to make the town the first on the South Coast to receive the “green community” designation by the state for energy consumption savings.

As the Nuclear Regulatory Commission hears tough testimony on nuclear safety, the Tennessee Valley Authority plans to reactivate a mothballed nuclear plant.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian says he is bringing transparency to the office. The Lowell Sun reports that the former rep from Waltham has invited in state Auditor Suzanne Bump, banned campaign contributions by employees, and ended holidays on Bunker Hill Day and Evacuation Day for contractural employees. The MetroWest Daily News account is here.

WBUR’s On Point discusses whether citizens filming police in action should be subject to arrest.

MEDIA

Joshua Benton, writing for the Nieman Journalism Lab, analyzes a new report that paints a gloomy picture for local online news sites. The report itself, “Less of the Same: The Lack of Local News on the Internet,” was written by Matthew Hindman of George Washington University.

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