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It's on: Brown-Warren rumble now full tilt

Posted in: Election 2012
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If anything was made clear by Saturday’s coronation of Elizabeth Warren at the state Democratic convention it is that the general election showdown between her and Sen. Scott Brown is now fully engaged.  

Marisa DeFranco will now become the answer to a Massachusetts political trivia question. The bloodless dispatching (bullying out, some say) of the immigration rights attorney means that Warren can train her sights fully on Brown. Delegates in Springfield were persuaded that a convention vote for Warren would mean the man some Democratic stalwarts view disdainfully as an accidental senator can no longer dodge debates until the Democrats officially settle on a nominee in the September primary.   

No sooner did Dems work that line to 95.7 percent effectiveness at the MassMutual Center than the dodging and weaving senator declared, “Bring it on.” Brown’s campaign said he’s ready to debate, and the two camps will now begin discussions on the matter.  Brown immediately invited Warren to join him for a debate on Dan Rea’s talk radio show on WBZ.  

Meanwhile, today’s Globe reports that after casting a vote in favor of the Dodd-Frank bill to rein in Wall Street excesses, Brown worked to weaken the regulatory hold of the law over banks. That’s exactly the line of attack Warren plans to use on Brown.  But will she be able to translate financial services arcana into a forceful message that wins over the middle-of-the-road independents who will be important to the outcome of the contest?  The question might be framed this way: Will listeners to Rea’s radio show get worked up about the Volker rule or “carried interest”?

A more immediate question may be whether Warren can get the race focused on Scott Brown’s record rather than her heritage and, more recently, real estate deals in Oklahoma.  Today’s installment: rumblings from two black ministers in Boston that they want a meeting with Warren and want to see settled the question of whether her claims of Native American ancestry played any role in her career advancement.  

It could be a long, hot summer.

                                                                                                                                                        --MICHAEL JONAS



BEACON HILL

A Globe editorial decries the fall-off in roll call votes in the Legislature and time spent in formal sessions documented by CommonWealth’s Gabrielle Gurley in the current issue of the magazine. The paper calls out Democratic lawmakers, all but three of whom have thus far shunned joining Republican colleagues in a coalition committed to voting to release for further debate bills that legislative leaders have kept bottled up.

Critics worry that a proposal to allow more electronic billboards will undercut communities’ efforts to regulate outdoor advertising.

The Berkshire Eagle praises a measure that would place a red stripe on the license of anyone convicted of drunk driving.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Thousands of tons of compost at a municipally-run site in Boston are now off-limits to gardeners after high levels of lead are found in the soil.  

Worcester rates an  unusually high number of relatively new buildings as obsolete, which lowered their assessed value and the taxes owed on them, according to an investigative report by the Telegram and Gazette.

A drive-by shooting in Cambridge claims the life of a teenage girl and leaves a second teenage girl in critical condition.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

Paul Krugman argues that the GOP fix for the economy -- low taxes and spending -- has actually been in effect for years, to little effect.

New York magazine profiles Michael Bloomberg, as the mayor contemplates his next move.

ELECTION 2012

State Democratic party chairman John Walsh talks about the Senate race and other areas of concern in November’s election.

Mitt Romney’s campaign is responding to accusations that Massachusetts ranked 47th in job creation while Romney was governor by arguing he came into a bad situation and made it better.

Political observers are decrying a “horrible lack of competition” in races for the Legislature.

David Bernstein questions where Marisa DeFranco’s 15 percent was supposed to come from, given that she had “no funding, no staff, little organization, and no noticeable presence at the vast majority of caucuses.“ Boston Mayor Tom Menino, who had held off endorsing Elizabeth Warren prior to this weekend’s convention, continues to hold off.

CASINOS

A rocky start to the casino era in Massachusetts, reports the Globe on Sunday.  And Lakeville becomes the latest community to say thanks, but no thanks, to the casino lure.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The Patriot Ledger looks at some business deals that the South Shore YMCA has had with board members as well as the larger issue of nonprofits steering business toward board members in general.

The American Spectator can’t find a lot of socially redeeming qualities to Facebook the stock or the site and compares its arc to that of MySpace. Ouch.

EDUCATION

A struggling Texas school district spends $20 million to buy iPads, Governing reports.

HEALTH CARE

Texas pushes abstinence sex education, but it has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country, the Daily Beast reports.

TRANSPORTATION

Several states are testing ways to assess taxes on vehicle miles traveled to raise money for road and bridge repairs, USA Today reports.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

A new report finds Massachusetts businesses have cut their use of toxic chemicals by 21 percent in the decade since a state law mandated companies track and report their use.

10 developers line up for a shot to build wind farms in an area south of Martha’s Vineyard, the Globe reports. CommonWealth reported on the Massachusetts Wind Energy Area in a story last week.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/PUBLIC SAFETY

The Washington Post continues a series on the threat of cyber attacks to government and business computer systems.

A Boston connection emerges in the case of a series of scams of elderly Chinese women in San Francisco.

MEDIA

Warren Buffett insists newspapers are a good investment, the Daily Beast  reports.

The Wall Street Journal can’t produce enough video to satisfy its advertisers, the Nieman Journalism Lab reports.

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