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Bloomberg urges police strike

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New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has found the solution for a political culture that responds to a gun massacre by stampeding away from any debate about gun laws. Bloomberg is arguing that law enforcement officers should go on strike to force Congress to start talking about guns. “The police officers across this country [should] stand up collectively and say, We're going to go on strike,” he said on CNN yesterday.

Bloomberg is the outlier here, as he usually is. The New York Times has a piece today in which the campaigns of President Obama and Mitt Romney flee from any talk of opening up a debate about gun laws, despite the fact that both had embraced stricter regulations of firearms in the past.

Obama called for an assault weapons ban four years ago, while then-Gov. Romney signed an assault weapons ban in Massachusetts in 2004. The Massachusetts ban even criminalized one of the rifles allegedly used in the recent Aurora, Colorado, theater massacre. Still, the Times has been unable to drum up any enthusiasm for reopening a debate on gun control.

Obama’s spokesman told the Times that the president “believes we need to take steps that protect Second Amendment rights of the American people but that ensure that we are not allowing weapons into the hands of individuals who should not, by existing law, obtain those weapons.” Romney played a variation on that theme, telling CNBC, “I still believe that the Second Amendment is the right course to preserve and defend and don’t believe that new laws are going to make a difference in this type of tragedy.”

US Sen. Scott Brown has stepped even further out on the tightrope, saying he supports the existing assault weapons ban in Massachusetts, but arguing that such decisions should be left to the states. Of course, state borders are permeable -- a fact former Globe columnist Steve Bailey highlighted when he famously drove to New Hampshire, charged a weapon to his Globe expense account, and brought it back to Massachusetts. One state’s gun laws do little to slow gun traffic when firearms can easily be bought in bulk and driven across state lines. That flow is likely to continue, with Governing reporting that the passage of national gun control legislation highly unlikely.

Which is why Bloomberg is now talking up a nationwide law enforcement strike. “I think there is a perception among the political world that the NRA has more power than the American people. I don't believe that,” Bloomberg said. Real political power doesn’t lie in the NRA, he argued. It rests with people who have to police maniacs with guns -- or, Bloomberg argued, it would, if they would say, “We're not going to protect you unless you, the public, through your legislature, do what's required to keep us safe.”

                                                                                                                                    --PAUL MCMORROW

BEACON HILL

Six district attorneys urge Gov. Deval Patrick to restore provisions they favor to the crime bill, the Sun reports.

Nonunion contractors criticize Gov. Patrick for restricting repairs of a bridge on I-95 to unionized companies, the Sun reports. The Salem News calls the restriction political payback.  As does the Globe, which editorializes against the governor’s policy.

Lawyers for former Treasurer Tim Cahill made a request Monday to see documents from the prosecution’s investigation, arguing that the charges against Cahill are vague, the Patriot Ledger reports.

Herald columnist Joe Battenfeld takes the Kennedy boys to the woodshed for dispatching a friend to gripe anonymously about their stepmother, Vicki Kennedy, to the Globe. The family feud is “about Kennedy kids getting even with a strong woman who stood between them and the family patriarch,” Battenfeld argues.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone explains the city’s anti-obesity initiatives on WBUR’s Here and Now.

And CommonWealth’s Paul McMorrow, in his weekly Globe column, explains why Somerville is better off without an Ikea store coming to Assembly Square.

The Globe checks in on Holyoke’s 23-year-old mayor, Alex Morse, six months after he took office. CommonWealth profiled Morse earlier this year.  

Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua returns to the Dominican Republic, without telling the Eagle-Tribune.

The Brockton Housing Authority is under fire after authority officials for two weeks failed to look into a worsening smell that turned out to be coming from a veteran who had passed away in his apartment.

In an environmental filing, the Mashpee Wampanoags estimate that annual revenue from their casino will be around $511 million per year, the State House News reports. Via the Brockton Enterprise.

New Bedford city councilors give themselves a 44 percent pay raise, reports the New Bedford Standard Times.

The Atlantic finds that Boston’s economy is larger than that of Greece. Via Universal Hub.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

Former Globe reporter John A. Farrell has an account in National Journal of George McGovern’s 90th birthday party celebration on the rooftop of Washington’s Newseum. Bay State congressmen Jim McGovern and Barney Frank were among those offering testimonials to the liberal warrior. A less welcome birthday present: this New York Times retrospective on the VP pick debacle that helped sink McGovern in 1972.

ELECTION 2012

The Globe reports that, despite his vows of complete transparency, most key records from the 2002 Winter Olympics that Mitt Romney oversaw were destroyed.

The New York Times sums up the financial hurdles facing the middle class, and argues they get muddled by the back-and-forth of presidential campaigns. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Boston Properties CEO Mortimer Zuckerman argues that the election will still turn on unemployment.

A debate is held in Methuen for the First Essex state Senate seat, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The Republican wants to see sales taxes levied on online retailers.

The Wall Street Journal previews the massive patent trial between Apple and Samsung.

Condo prices in Boston’s central core neighborhoods reach an all-time high, while home sales across the state had their best June in two years.

EDUCATION

The Dracut School Committee imposes music fees with an annual family cap of $600, the Sun reports.

UC Berkeley will join the Harvard-MIT partnership that plans to put free college courses online.

HEALTH CARE

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan are looking to expand their out-of-state business as people are required to buy insurance under the federal health care law.

TRANSPORTATION

The transportation bond bill that the Senate will take up today is loaded up with earmarks.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

The Wall Street Journal is confounded by the sudden embrace of biomass power plants, since the plants can easily exceed emissions regulations.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

A Maine man stopped for speeding tells police he took a loaded gun to a screening of The Dark Knight Rises the night before, NECN reports.

Lynn police shoot and kill a man who slammed his vehicle into an unmarked police cruiser in a bid to escape a traffic stop, the Item reports.

MEDIA

The Globe lays off 10 non-newsroom employees and offers buyouts to 43, including 20 in the newsroom, Boston.com reports.

Eight people are expected to be charged in the British phone-hacking scandal, the Guardian reports.

Lynn Sherr offers a tribute to Sally Ride at The Daily Beast.

A new French film is inspired by a 2008 incident in Gloucester where teenage girls allegedly made a pact to get pregnant at the same time, the Gloucester Times reports.

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