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OH MY GOD!

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Yes, that was my reaction when I read the small editorial in this morning’s Boston Globe about a small Catholic university in Pennsylvania rescinding its invitation to syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman to lecture on campus because of her support for abortion rights. Ironically, Goodman, a former Globe columnist, was planning to speak about civility, not abortion.

“After careful consideration, the university feels that the body of your work has reflected statements that are not in close enough alignment with some Catholic teachings and with the values and mission of the university as required for an event of this stature,” Saint Francis University Provost Wayne Powell wrote to Goodman.

The Cardinal Newman Society, which alerted Saint Francis to Goodman’s past transgressions, praised the college, calling the disinvite “a courageous step in favor of its Catholic identity.” Goodman’s reaction? “Imagine my disappointment at having my plea for civility returned with a pie in the face,” she said.

Michael Sean Winters, writing in the National Catholic Reporter, said he personally wouldn’t pay two cents to hear Goodman speak, but he wouldn’t stop her from speaking. “The folks at the Cardinal Newman Society would prefer Catholic colleges that never invite anyone who disagrees with anything the church teaches, which is to say they see universities not as places where knowledge is acquired but as places where propaganda is disseminated,” he wrote.

A blogger on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website said the university’s action was Taliban-like. “The handmaiden of civility is a sophisticated tolerance of others,” he wrote. “It is, after all, easy to be civil with those we agree with – the civilized trick is to tolerate people who do not share our views.”

                                                                                                                                                        --BRUCE MOHL
BEACON HILL

A federal grand jury in Worcester is looking into the Probation Department hiring scandal, CommonWealth reports. Among those who have been called to appear before the panel, according to a source: former House speaker Tom Finneran and Kathleen Petrolati, a Probation Department employee and the wife of Ludlow state Rep. Tom Petrolati.

Casino legislation will pour a huge amount of money into programs to treat the gambling addiction problems that the arrival of casinos and slots would create.

Pillow fight? Dorchester Reporter managing editor Bill Forry says casino legislation must be amended to allow for a citywide vote on the siting of any casino in a municipality. The editorial comes a week after Forry’s wife, state Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry, was one of 10 Boston legislators who voted for the bill despite its provision limiting local approval in larger cities to residents of the ward where a casino is being proposed.

The Berkshire Eagle editorializes in favor of stronger public records laws.

USA Today analyzes how state lawmakers pump up their pensions.

A federal judge tosses a lawsuit brought by Rep. Steve Howitt against Seekonk’s former police chief.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

A simmering battle is brewing between Boston and Quincy with state Rep. Bruce Ayers filing a bill for the state to close the Moon Island causeway, a dilapidated bridge that is the only road running from the Squantum section of Quincy to Boston-owned Long Island.

The Methuen City Council approved a plan to borrow $2.3 million to purchase new public safety vehicles and related equipment. The borrowing will cost the city $873,850 in interest over the life of the loan, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

Thievery at Boston community gardens is on the rise, the Globe reports.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

A report on the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps finds one in five alumni have worked primarily in the nonprofit sector since returning from their service and 58 percent say they volunteer “a great deal” in their community. Via Chronicle of Philanthropy.

The New York Times looks at the missed warning signs of turmoil at Solyndra, aka America’s Evergreen Solar.

House Speaker John Boehner regrets allowing his members to think for themselves.

ELECTION 2012

Romney and Perry pummel away, each citing the other’s book as flip-flop charges fly in both directions. Slate dubs former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson the night’s unlikeliest star. The Atlantic says the debate continued to show a subtle shift in momentum, from Perry to Romney.

US Rep. Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan has withdrawn from the Republican presidential race and endorsed Romney.  Umm, OK then.  

You don’t think Democratic state Rep. Tom Conroy has a prayer in the US Senate race? He wants to have a word with you on Blue Mass Group.

National Review editor Rich Lowry calls Elizabeth Warren the “Left’s great populist hope now that John Edwards has retired from the field,” and takes her to task for echoing President Obama’s plan to tax the rich. Paul Krugman lifts the class warfare accusation from Warren, and ties it to US Rep. Paul Ryan.

The Berkshire Eagle interviews Alan Khazei, who claims that it is too early to label Elizabeth Warren a frontrunner. State Senate President Therese Murray tells the Herald she can’t decide which Warren - Elizabeth or Setti - to back.

Rick Santorum is looking to Google to fix his search engine problem, but the company isn’t budging.

FISHING

A federal report on the first year of the controversial sector management of the fishing industry found groundfish landings and revenues were down as were job opportunities for crew members.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Another brutal day for stocks on Wall Street -- and on exchanges worldwide.

H-P sacks another CEO and replaces him with Meg Whitman, the former CEO of eBay and unsuccessful candidate for governor of California, The Daily Beast reports.

Standing on the Weymouth side of the “temporary” Fore River Bridge built nine years ago, Gov. Deval Patrick urged support of President Obama’s jobs bill which would provide 80 percent of the $285 million cost for a permanent structure and widening of the channel.

The MetroWest Daily News rounds up opinions from local economic experts about what to expect out of the Congressional supercommittee charged with cutting the deficit.

EDUCATION

A Wareham school bus driver was fired after failing to see a sleeping kindergartner and leaving the bus after dropping students off at school.

Initial tests at Fall River’s Talbot Middle School, closed down after PCBs were found in window caulking, found exposure levels of the chemical far below the maximum allowed under EPA safety guidelines.

President Obama plans to waive key elements of the No Child Left Behind law if states adopt certain education reforms he favors, the Washington Post reports.

The Cape Cod Times talks to Cape school superintendents about the No Child Left Behind Act, and finds support for the parts of the law that raise standards, but criticism for the way it measures school performance.

HEALTH CARE

WBUR’s CommonHealth blog reports that at least 23 hospitals are facing financial penalties because they are readmitting too many patients for problems that could have been prevented.

TRANSPORTATION

The CEO of Jet Blue, which is already the dominant carrier at Logan Airport, says the airline is eyeing Providence and possibly Worcester as it expands routes.  

No more free ride for T workers and retirees?

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

A state board voted against letting the owners of a proposed Brockton power plant use 2 million gallons of the city’s water a day for the plant’s cooling stacks, a move that could kill the project.

The Lowell City Council considers a sharp increase in the fine for illegal dumping of furniture and other items on city streets, the Lowell Sun reports.

After backing off an ambitious effort to regulate ozone, the EPA settles on enforcing a Bush-era ozone standard. Business lobbies remain unhappy.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

A Wayland man was arraigned on motor vehicle homicide charges yesterday following the death of the state trooper he hit when driving drunk 8 years ago.

A North Andover man is sentenced to 14 years in state custody after pleading guilty to stabbing his psychotherapist to death in 2008, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

A man arrested by Boston police for recording them with his cellphone making an arrest talks with Greater Boston about his civil rights lawsuit against the city and challenge of the statute.

COMMUNAL ANGST

Keller@Large has one word of advice for stressed-out Red Sox fans: chill. Easy for him to say.

MEDIA

Jacob  Weisberg, writing in Slate, says he doesn’t believe the reporting in Ron Suskind’s book Confidence Men. “There’s no journalist who sets off my bullshit alarm like Ron Suskind,” he says.


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