The bare facts
Friday, October 7, 2011
The country is an economic basket case and Washington is in political gridlock, but media coverage of the race for US Senate in Massachusetts is focused on a couple of jokes about nudity.
started the ball rolling. At Tuesday night’s debate in Lowell, a questioner asked how she put herself through college, noting Sen. Scott Brown
did it by posing nude for Cosmo.
“Well, I kept my clothes on,” she quipped, drawing laughter from the audience.
Yesterday, Brown was asked during a WZLX radio interview
to respond to Warren’s comment about how she didn’t take off her clothes. “Thank God,” Brown quipped, drawing laughter from the radio host.
Once a spokesman for the state Democratic Party complained that Brown’s joke was the sort of comment you’d expect to hear in a frat house and not a US Senate race, a media frenzy ensued. The Boston Herald
couldn’t resist, splashing the story
across its front page with the headline: “She’s no me…Brown exposes self to criticism for body shot at Warren.” The Globe
ran its more neutral story on the bottom of the metro front, including some interesting reaction from Senate President Therese Murray
, called Brown’s remark a “mean-girl snark” under the headline: “Senator Scott Brown (R-Jerksville).” GOP analyst Todd Domke
and Democrat Jesse Mermell
gave their take
on the bare-all banter. NECN jumped into the clothes off
. Two of Brown’s Republican female colleagues said no one should judge his removal of clothes
for money unless they’ve walked in his shoes (or should that be in his barefoot steps?). Joe Battenfeld says
the quip shows that Warren has caught Brown’s attention, and the senator needs to get his campaign, and not his abs, in shape. And Michael Graham
, in the Herald
, blamed Warren
for starting the fight and said the story plays to the Republican’s strengths. “He is a regular guy running against a Harvard Yard, handpicked-by-Washington opponent,” Graham wrote.
Brown’s comments at the radio station seemed to reinforce that message. “I went to the school of hard knocks,” he said. “And I did whatever I had to do to pay for school….But for not having that opportunity [in Cosmo
] I never would have been able to pay for school, and never would have gone to school, and I wouldn’t probably be talking to you.”
This incident will pass quickly, but the media firestorm shows just how eager reporters are to dispense with the primary and get on to a Warren-Brown head-to-head match-up. --BRUCE MOHL BEACON HILL
On Greater Boston
, Gov. Deval Patrick touches on a range of subjects
including the challenge to him by Republican sheriffs to get on board the federal Secure Communities
program and the Occupy Boston camp out
State Sen. Michael Rodrigues
has filed a bill that would limit the powers of the Massachusetts Historical Commission
after a ruling from the panel on archeological preservation forced a medical software company to abandon plans to build its headquarters, which would employee 800 people, in Freetown
. Secretary of State William Galvin
, whose office oversees the commission, is opposed to the legislation.
A Boston Herald
House Speaker Robert DeLeo
and his leadership team for refusing to advance a GOP-sponsored ethics bill from committee. The editorial calls the notion of an ethics bill “a lay-up for leadership,” and says DeLeo has chosen to “pretend that the House is all stocked up on ethics.”
The Senate rejects
an amendment to strip a slots parlor from the pending casino gambling
legislation. Ed Glaeser says
the state is inviting trouble with the way pending casino legislation
proposes to award licenses. Howie Carr hands
former secretary of state Michael Connolly
his 2011 Nobel Prize. Connolly recently filed to collect $500 per month in unemployment, on top of his public pension, after not being reappointed to the Boston Licensing Board
. Richard Vitale
, who was acquitted as a codefendant in Sal DiMasi’
s federal corruption trial, will enter a plea today to three state charges without admitting guilt. The unusual “Alford plea” will allow him to “maintain his innocence while conceding that if the case went to trial prosecutors would probably convict him,” the Globe reports
. Vitale is charged with violations of campaign finance and lobbying laws. MUNICIPAL MATTERS
Former Lawrence School Department
worker Charles Birchall
was fined $8,500 by the state Ethics Commission for accepting a bribe in connection with a school purchase order. Birchall says he doesn’t agree but can’t talk more because he is a witness in the fraud and embezzlement trial of former Superintendent Wilfredo Laboy
, the Eagle-Tribune reports
The state’s supplemental budget provides $2 million for new water lines along Route 1
, the Lynn Item reports
The scandal-plagued Essex Regional Retirement Board
, after more than a year of being overseen by a state team of monitors, is ready to run itself again, the Salem News reports
officials will ask voters to approve a plan to use Community Preservation funds purchase land
from a developer that cuts a 40B project
in half and preserves about 12 acres of open space.NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON
Proposed cuts to tax deductions could cost charities at least $2.9 billion and as much as $5.6 billion
, according to a study funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
set to be released at a conference in Washington today.Time’s
Massimo Calabresi says
the Democratic Party may be on to something with its tax-the-millionaires pitch.
: Is Occupy Boston
what democracy sounds like? Both the New York Times
and the Wall Street Journal
look at the potential benefits
to be had when politicians latch onto the movement. Democratic leaders have not figured out if they want to embrace or run away
from the Occupy Wall Street protests. Paul Krugman says
that, unlike the Tea Party
, the Occupy movement is “angry at the right people.” The Atlantic compares
the movement, unfavorably, to the last one to occupy Wall Street -- the anti-AIDS coalition ACT UP.
The Weekly Standard
is doing President Obama
’s bidding by avoiding making movies about the crushing economic times
. The story doesn’t mention that maybe people don’t want to pay the money to be reminded of it.
Congressional Democrats want to oust
the acting head of Fannie Mae
and Freddie Mac
’s federal regulator, complaining that he’s not doing enough to turn around a struggling real estate market.
Nearly half of all American households benefit
from a piece of the federal safety net. ELECTION 2012The Washington Post
looks at the rise and rise of Herman Cain. The Christian Science Monitor
also explores” the Herminator” phenomenon.Mitt Romney consolidates support
among heavyweight donors who had been sitting on the sidelines, waiting for something better to come along. Leveraging
connection. Michele Bachmann throws
a Hail Mary to the religious right.
Now that Sarah Palin
is officially gone, we can start deconstructing her legacy
. BUSINESS/ECONOMY Gordon van Welie,
the head of ISO New England, told the Associated Press that the region needs to think quickly about whether it is going to upgrade its aging electricity-generating infrastructure.
Steven Syre writes
of a mid-1980s Cambridge meeting of two iconic innovator minds, Edwin Land
and Steve Jobs
The debate over the establishment of municipal electric utilities intensifies.
The country added more jobs
in September than had been forecast, but the unemployment rate remains stuck at 9.1 percent.Inspector General Gregory Sullivan
has expressed concerns about financial controls
at OpenCape, a nonprofit broadband company that has received federal and state funds.
The FBI signs a lease
on its new Chelsea
The Gloucester Community Arts Charter School
cut spending by $200,00 and laid off an administrator after 60 fewer students enrolled this year than expected, the Gloucester Times reports
A presidential shout-out
for Jamaica Plain school teacher Robert Baroz
. HEALTH CARE Partners HealthCare CEO Gary Gottlieb
sits down with WBUR to discuss
the hospital’s deal with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Paul Levy is not impressed
with the deal.
Steward Health Care drops a planned deal to acquire Saints Medical Center in Lowell
, but now Lowell General is in the hunt, the Lowell Sun reports
in the National Review
lumps Evergreen Solar
in with Solyndra
and a list of other “green energy” projects to make a case for Solargate as a brewing national scandal
Area advocates say if President Obama’s
proposal to cut funding in half for the home heating assistance
program is enacted, it will have a “catastrophic” effect on the poor
in the frigid Northeast.
The EPA softens
proposed caps on emissions for 10 states. CRIMINAL JUSTICE & THE COURTS
The US District Court of Massachusetts is participating in a pilot program that will allow cameras in some federal court rooms.
The families of two alleged victims of mobster Whitey Bulger
were dealt a crushing blow
by a federal appeals court that ruled against their $8.5 million wrongful death award, concluding that the claim was filed too late.
doctor arraigned yesterday for nearly $4 million in Medicaid
fraud allegedly placed the managers of sober houses on his payroll
to hide the fact he was bribing him to use his lab for urine testing, according to prosecution documents.
Criminologists are beginning to believe that the election of President Obama
has had an effect on reducing crime. MEDIADan Kennedy
posts a video on Media Nation
from an MIT
panel discussion he moderated about local news in the digital age
. If you don’t have two hours to spend in front of your monitor, he also has a link
to an MP3 download. It’s worth a listen.Italian Wikipedia goes dark
voluntarily in a protest over a provision in a wiretapping law that requires a blogger to post a correction or pay a fine if the subject of an alleged defamation says it’s defamatory, the Nieman Journalism Lab reports