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The Herald's Matt Stout writes that longtime administrator Olga Roche may have been fired by Gov. Deval Patrick in April, but she didn't officially retire until last Friday -- 10 days after she turned 60 and moved into a higher payout category for her state pension.

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"Does #MAGOV14 have heart?" Maurice Cunningham, asks at WGBH's MassPoliticalProfs. Cunningham, a political science professor at UMass Boston, notes that Baker continues to defend himself against charges of being compassion-challenged.

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The state Republican Party has a data file on Massachusetts voters. It has a map showing that densely populated areas hold lots of people. What remains to be seen is whether Republicans are able to make either matter in a tightly-fought race for governor.

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Boston Herald columnist Holly Robichaud and Boston Globe columnist Shirley Leung are making news themselves today.

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No matter which side of the divide you may fall on, very few people will ever say being a cop is easy. But that's where the agreement ends.

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Like them or loathe them, the independent candidates for governor -- Evan Falchuk, Jeff McCormick, and Scott Lively -- have interjected some spice into the 2014 race.

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Charlie Baker enjoys an enormous cash cushion over his gubernatorial rival Martha Coakley right now. He's been, far and away, the biggest beneficiary of outside super PAC spending in the race for governor. And now, the rich are getting richer: Michael Bloomberg is moving his super PAC behind Baker's campaign.

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The Globe's Noah Bierman has a great look at Third Way, a centrist Democratic organization formed 10 years ago with heavy backing from Wall Street types, which is in a pitched battle with the party's liberal wing, now led by Bay State senator Elizabeth Warren.

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Eight years ago Republican gubernatorial candidate Kerry Healey was gaining in the polls on Deval Patrick by attacking his record on crime, particularly his advocacy on behalf of a convicted rapist named Benjamin LaGuer. Then Healey ran a TV ad that seemed to change everything.

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Given a choice, would you rather be viewed as racist or clueless? For most people, that's a no-brainer, but for a metropolitan newspaper, neither one are labels that editors and publishers want pinned on them or their outlets.

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Boston Congressman Stephen Lynch played a starring role in the perhaps the greatest display of bipartisan outrage of the past six years.

 

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South Boston city councilor Bill Linehan has a political base that stands on sand. He's an old-school Boston politician who represents the most rapidly changing area of the city, and the more his South Boston stronghold changes, the more it erodes his political prospects. Southie's own Peter Gelzinis wrote Linehan off three years ago, arguing that rapid demographic change was threatening to wash Linehan out into Pleasure Bay. But a surge in votes for new mayor Marty Walsh carried Linehan past his progressive challenger in November. And ever since, Linehan has been doubling down on the behavior that pushed him to the political brink in the first place.

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Attorney General Martha Coakley has been taking a pounding over her antitrust agreement with Partners HealthCare, but on Thursday she fired back with an amended deal and a carefully timed point-by-point response to her critics.

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"Okay this is going to be the last one, sweetheart." With that off-the-cuff - and brain-cramp - comment, GOP standard-bearer Charlie Baker has created himself the kind of swirling gender maelstrom he neither wanted nor needed.

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After the death of Jeremiah Oliver, a five-year-old in the care of the Department of Children and Families, several social workers were fired. The ensuing political firestorm cost DCF commissioner Olga Roche her job. The uproar that followed the revelations that former state chemist Annie Dookhan falsified the results from tens of thousands of drug samples forced out Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach.

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The pro-casino group opposing the ballot question repealing the state's casino gaming law is ramping up its spending. The group is up in the polls and it's only beginning to roll out a massive television ad campaign. Meanwhile, the anti-casino group hoping to repeal casinos in Massachusetts is already running on fumes, six weeks before Election Day.

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Climate change is a big issue that the powers-that-be are doing little about. Which is why more than 300,000 people converged on New York for Sunday's unprecedented "People's Climate March."

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One of the most perilous jobs in the media these days is reporting and editing business news. Not because of any inherent physical danger. Rather, it is fraught with risk by courting cynical readers who see a story of a potential advertiser and assume the piece is written or broadcast to curry favor with a sponsor.

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Cue casino aficionado Frank Sinatra's "Here's to the Losers" as Mohegan Sun executives exit the Massachusetts stage to contemplate their Bay State setbacks.

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With the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on the verge of selecting a Greater Boston casino licensee, all hell broke loose.

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Roger Goodell is learning just how tough it is to deal with domestic violence issues. The NFL commissioner is on the hot seat with everyone from the president of NOW to players to columnists to fans calling for his resignation in the wake of the former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice incident.

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Attorney General Martha Coakley is just one of the women who will take the blue standard into November as female candidates collectively made an impressive showing in Tuesday's Democratic primary races.

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Climate change activists Ken Ward and Jay O'Hara walked into a Fall River courtroom yesterday expecting to put coal power on trial. They walked out with an unexpected ally -- the district attorney who had been pushing criminal charges against the pair.

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The televised debates on Wednesday and Thursday featuring the Democrats running for governor provided a pretty good sense of the style and substance of the three candidates, but two exchanges stand out.

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There was a time, and it wasn't all that long ago, when a union endorsement in Massachusetts carried heft. Money, organization, votes, and bumper stickers pasted on pickup trucks added to the stature of a candidate in one of the most labor-friendly states in the union.

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With just a week until the September 9 primary, voters in an informal Globe check show a remarkable lack of familiarily with candidates for all offices other than governor. That's especially true for the post that is, constitutionally, the second-highest executive office in the state. Today, Globe reporter Akilah Johnson asks voters whether they can name the four candidates running for lieutenant governor. The answers she gets back include "I can't remember," "I don't know," and, more succinctly, "No."

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Labor Day hasn’t even arrived yet, and the Boston Globe is already moving on to the general election. The newspaper topped its front page with a poll story indicating Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker has closed the gap with Democrat Martha Coakley and is now leading her by one point.

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The longest-running and most intriguing corporate soap opera in memory is at endOr is it?

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If you're Mohegan Sun, and it's coming down to the wire in your showdown with Wynn Resorts over the sole Greater Boston casino license, yesterday was probably a pretty good day.

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"See what happens when you let everyone play."

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The Ferguson riots have spotlighted a disturbing development: the acquisition of military-grade weaponry by municipal police forces.

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Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera on Thursday tried to drive a stake through the heart of the man he narrowly edged out in last year's election by calling for William Lantigua to be prosecuted for botched street repaving jobs that will cost the city an estimated $600,000 to repair.

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If the fatal shooting in Missouri last weekend of 18-year-old Michael Brown was simply about a police officer’s use of deadly force, it would be like most of the estimated 400 or so cases in the country every year, with little notice outside of the community and very little public outcry.

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Federal prosecutors never went directly after House Speaker Robert DeLeo in the recently concluded Probation Department trial that snared three key department officials. But by labeling him an unindicted co-conspirator, they did just enough to mar his reputation going forward.

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Penn National just broke ground on its Plainville slots parlor, the Plainridge Park Casino, a few months ago. It won’t open until next spring. But the racetrack casino will begin hiring in September -- just in time to use newly-minted casino employees to beat back a casino repeal referendum in November.

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A Northeast Democratic governor determined to boost state revenue and job growth goes all-in on a push for four new gambling facilities. Nearby states are eating his state’s lunch when it comes to gambling revenue, and it’s time to do something about it.

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Needham in 2005 raised the smoking age to 21, establishing a public policy on teen smoking that appears to be gaining momentum in Massachusetts and across the nation.

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In addition to the polarizing debate over whether or not Boston can and should host the 2024 Summer Olympics, there’s more than a few people on both sides wondering what actually prompted the bid.

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Republicans knew early in 2012 that they were staring at demographic obsolescence, and that the only way to stave off a prolonged trip to the electoral wilderness was to broaden their base, and adopt a more liberal stance on immigration. Instead, the party tacked to the right, and handed President Obama a second term in the White House. The cause and effect were obvious long before Election Day, and the GOP deliberately chose a losing path -- both for the short and the long term. Two years later, Republicans face a strikingly similar choice. They’re doing everything they can, nationally, to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. And in Massachusetts, there’s a clear undercurrent pushing the GOP’s brightest political hope, Charlie Baker, to follow suit.

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What do you get when you jam an 18-month legislative session into a frenzied final few hours of votes? Well, you get what you deserve, but thankfully for the Legislature, the Red Sox took the heat away with their own dizzying deadline deals, albeit much less chaotic.

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As the Arthur S. Demoulas clan continues to fiddle while the Market Basket legacy burns, there is another entrant quietly moving into in the lucrative Massachusetts grocery store sector.

This fall, Wegmans, a popular, upscale supermarket chain will land on Market Basket's turf in Burlington. The chain, which already has a store in Chestnut Hill, will also open a store in Westwood. (Alas, no stores in once-again-slighted western Massachusetts.)
 

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House Speaker Robert DeLeo has been on the offensive recently, and very little of it has relied on charm. DeLeo has made the rounds with television reporters. He's battering the state judiciary's point man on corruption inside the state Probation Department, and swiping at one-time legislative lieutenants. DeLeo's current offensive isn't all that different from the fights he was waging two or three years ago. He's still surrounded by clouds from the mess in Probation. And he's still arguing that, because he hasn't been called a crook in court, he's a choirboy.

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Jurors went with their heads rather than their hearts in finding former Probation commissioner John O’Brien and two of his top aides guilty of mail fraud, racketeering, and conspiracy.

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Gov. Deval Patrick's bid to shelter immigrant children in Massachusetts is creating some interesting plot lines in the race to succeed him. The Democratic candidates for governor -- Attorney General Martha Coakley, Treasurer Steve Grossman, and Don Berwick -- all support Patrick's plan. So does Republican Charlie Baker. But independent Jeff McCormick has come out against the plan, a move that could sap support from Baker.

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When GateHouse Media, the conglomerate that owns scores of smaller daily and weekly papers across Massachusetts, entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year, it did so with an eye on getting bigger. Yesterday, GateHouse's successor made its first big post-bankruptcy buy, gobbling up the Providence Journal for $46 million.

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Thousands of angry Market Basket workers have elevated ousted Market CEO Arthur T. Demoulas as close to god-hood as a man can get. More than 5,000 employees turned out to proclaim their loyalty to their former CEO at a Tewksbury rally Monday, double the size of a protest last week.

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In McCullen vs. Coakley, the US Supreme Court obliterates the 2007 Massachusetts law that set up a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics. The justices, who usually stake out distinctive positions along the volatile liberal-conservative divide, rallied around the First Amendment 9-to-0.

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Gov. Deval Patrick puts his John Hancock to the legislation, Massachusetts will have the highest state minimum wage in the country. By 2017, minimum wage workers can look forward to earning $11 an hour. Ten other states have raised their minimum wages above the current federal minimum of $7.25 an hour. Continue Reading
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All the recent polls have been indicating support for casinos in Massachusetts is slipping, but a new Boston Globe survey indicates voters would back the state gaming law by an 11-point margin if it came up for a vote in November.

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With the passing of the 60s and 70s, it seemed the attention paid to narcotic use, if not the actual use itself, died off, giving way to stories of recreational use of drugs such as cocaine and club drugs such as Ecstasy.

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You'd be hard-pressed to find another state law and initiative that has been botched the way the rollout of the casino gambling law has been.

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Richard Cook is a fisherman who wants to build an oyster farm in Mashpee. His farm is in danger, not because he can't get the right permits, which he can, but because he's unwittingly stumbled into a legislative street fight. Cook's oyster farm is up against a familiar Beacon Hill cocktail: wealthy people with powerful friends, hidden interests, and a legislative process that rewards loyalty to leadership and quashes debate.

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At the end of April's Sexual Assault Awareness Month, an unidentified Mass.gov contractor tweeted, "Sexual assault is always avoidable." After a torrent of criticism, Gov. Deval Patrick labeled the message a "dumb mistake" and Geoff Kula, the director of Mass.gov, quickly apologized.

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As Howie Carr constantly points out, you know someone is on their way out once they start being described as "embattled." And it was hard to find anyone in the state more embattled than Olga Roche, the now-former embattled head of the embattled Department of Children and Families.

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The years of legislative infighting that led up to the legalization of casinos in Massachusetts were supposed to be the hard part. When Gov. Deval Patrick signed casinos into law in late 2011, the rest was supposed to be downhill. It hasn't been. Casinos have been legal in Massachusetts for two and a half years now, and their fate is more uncertain than ever.

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Like Massachusetts, Rhode Island is struggling to cope with a sharp increase in overdose deaths. But, unlike Massachusetts, Rhode Island appears to know far more about what it's up against because the state does a much better job tracking overdose deaths.

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The state's casino law, though not even three years old, is starting to look a little like an old sweater. Start pulling at that loose thread and it's not clear where the unraveling will stop.

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Scott Brown 's move to New Hampshire, and his impending run against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, have set area political circles aflame. That's the power of Brown's political celebrity. He plays well in the press because the guy loves the camera and he delivers fantastic copy. Just this week, he told the AP, "Do I have the best credentials? Probably not. 'Cause, you know, whatever. But I do have strong ties to this state." But at this stage, it's looking like the legacy of Brown's political comeback tour will come in the form of impressive Twitter photo-ops, not in a changed Senate map. Politically, it doesn't look like Brown's New Hampshire Senate run has changed anything.

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Jawbones rattled to the floor across the Commonwealth last week when state lawmakers likely set a legislative speed record with a new law that criminalized upskirting.

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When Sen. Ed Markey urged federal regulators in January to investigate a weight loss company, he thought he was heading off a pyramid scheme. It turns out that he'd put himself in the middle of an ugly war between Wall Street billionaires -- one in which community groups and big-name politicians were a means to a lucrative payday.

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Another day, another juicy installment in the soap opera that is doubling as the office of the Suffolk County Register of Probate office.

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Gov. Deval Patrick has a serious problem on his hands. Some state agencies are in full grip of the Peter Principle.

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There are some real differences between Republican and Democratic candidates for governor as well as for the North Shore congressional seat held by longtime incumbent John Tierney. Abortion rights, gay marriage, and the wisdom of wacky Tea Party positions, however, are not really among them.

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With the Sochi Olympics as a backdrop, the Legislature’s Olympics special commission ponders whether the state’s capital city is up to the challenge of hosting the world’s premier sporting event in 2024.

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History did not repeat itself. With visions of dollars to city coffers dancing in their heads, Springfield voters weren’t about to chuck away MGM International’s $800 million casino opportunity.The MGM agreement got Springfielders’ seal of approval in Tuesday’s referendum campaign, 58 percent to 42 percent.  

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As was the case a couple of hundred years ago when the question centered on a struggle for sovereignty from royal rule, in the battle for same-sex marriage rights, it was in our small Commonwealth that was sounded the shot heard  ’round the world.

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If casino developers don’t “wow” the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, they might as well pack up and go home.

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Every year Attorney General Martha Coakley issues a report on charities that hire professional fundraisers and every year a smattering of stories are done about how most of the money at some of the charities goes to the fundraiser and almost nothing to the cause itself. The Tampa Bay Tribune now takes the story national, identifying the 50 worst charities in America in terms of money going to the actual cause.

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Few state audits in recent memory have triggered the kind of attention now being paid to state Auditor Suzanne Bump’s report on the welfare system’s apparent issuing of payments to dead people. Bump’s office says nearly 1,200 dead people got $2.4 million in benefits for four to 27 months after they died. In addition, the audit reports finding another $15.6 million in “questionable or suspicious” activity on electronic benefits cards.

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The funeral home director at the center of the storm over what to do with Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body is one of those people you can’t help but admire.

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While the Globe is fixated on the Washington blame game and the Herald is aghast at welfare benefits going to a suspected bomber, newspapers from outside Boston are starting to correct the record of what happened during the massive manhunt for the Brothers Tsarnaev.

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It’s inevitable that the horrific events of the last week, after reaching a certain denouement on Friday night, would give way to follow-up musings that look for some broader message. Or that we would hear of once implausible scenarios that are suddenly very credible because Everything Has Changed.

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A survey of any major domestic tragedy of the past 25 years will turn up numerous examples of stellar news reportage. But combine the 24/7 news cycle with an industry culture often predicated on scooping the competition, and the news media is bound to get things flat out wrong, especially during a crisis when that self-imposed pressure to publish first ramps up.

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WHAT WE KNOW

A pair of bomb blasts near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed three people Monday afternoon, and sent more than 140 to several nearby hospitals. The explosions, which occurred several hours into the race, tore through crowded Boylston Street sidewalks. The Globe reports that medical tents intended to treat race-weary runners immediately became triage centers, as volunteers “suddenly found themselves treating life-threatening lacerations and lost limbs, as a high holiday in Boston, Patriots Day, turned into an epic tragedy. Emergency workers rushed to the scene, despite the very real possibility of more blasts.”

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Nearly a century after women got the right to vote and several generations after they became mainstays in the workforce, it seems society – at least the male half – is learning there is no one box in which to place women when it comes to work and business.

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More than 63 percent of Massachusetts voters last November said okay to medical marijuana dispensaries. The ballot question passed easily in every county and the law took effect on Jan. 1, with the state Department of Public Health directed to formulate regulations within 120 days.

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Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. President Nixon is roaming the halls of the White House in the midst of the Watergate scandal when he is visited by the ghost of Abraham Lincoln. “How can I get the people on my side?” the beleaguered president asks the apparition. Lincoln replies, “Go to the theater.”

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One of the most touching moments in a courtroom occurred on Thursday when Malcolm Astley walked over and embraced the parents of the Wayland High football star who had just been convicted of brutally murdering his daughter.

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Scott Brown’s sabbatical from electoral politics shows that he still has much to learn if he aspires to sit in the Corner Office.

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Beacon Hill spent all of last year looking over one shoulder, waiting for federal probation indictments that never came. Former probation boss John O’Brien got hauled into the House of Pain on Fan Pier last spring, but a second shoe has yet to drop. Mike McLaughlin, the embattled former head of the Chelsea Housing Authority, didn’t stand up nearly as well as O’Brien. The former Merrimack Valley power player was cooperating with federal prosecutors before his indictment ever got rung up. He pleads guilty today. Like the stalled inquiry into O’Brien’s legislative ties, McLaughlin’s plea isn’t about what happened in Chelsea. It’s about the bigger game that prosecutors are chasing.

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Former Sen. Scott Brown made his debut on Fox News last night and the interest may not be in what he said but more in what it means for his political fortunes.

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Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

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Legal services want to be free. College degrees want to be free. Food wants to be free. Information wants to be free.

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As Janis Joplin wailed, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” One look at the unchained president and his similarly unshackled good pal, the Massachusetts governor, and you’d have to say there is truth in song.

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The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy has had a tough year. The nonprofit that oversees 1.3 miles of Big Dig parkland was roughed up by the Boston Herald. It had its finances thrown into turmoil. Its state lease is up next year, but it has said it can’t meet the conditions the state has set for a lease extension. It lost a bid to maintain a half-acre park in the middle of its park system. And now the Conservancy is losing its director. Continue Reading
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The Census Bureau has caught up with reality and the numbers are grim. Continue Reading
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Gene Rivers has always been the skunk at the garden party, the guy who interrupts the echo chamber of chatter among the politically correct to offer an impolitic pronouncement that is often so jarring because it carries an uncomfortable truth.

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Anyone who’s ever been the target of bullying or taunting back in the day and later achieves some measure of success relishes that opportunity to go to the high school reunion to throw an unspoken “Ha!” – or, in some cases, a loud spoken “HA!” – back in the faces of the perpetrators and spectators.

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Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray is telling supporters not to believe “false rumors and wild speculation” about his pre-dawn automobile crash in early November. The problem for Murray is, it’s tough to tamp down false rumors and wild speculation when everything you’ve done up to this point has fanned those rumors.

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NOTE: The Download will be taking an end of the year break next week, and will return on Tuesday, January 3rd. Happy holidays!

If living well is the best revenge, Attorney General Martha Coakley should be feeling good this holiday season.

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Even Scott Harshbarger, the Bay State’s most irascible casino critic, could find little to quibble with in Gov. Deval Patrick’sinspired” selection of Stephen Crosby as the state’s first gaming commission chairman.

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Poor Mitt Romney.  Probably a poor choice of words. Which is exactly the problem for the once -- and perhaps future -- front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.  No matter what he does, Romney can’t seem to get away from the characterization of him as a rich guy out of touch with the problems facing most Americans.

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Here’s how Charley Murphy rings out the old year, and rings in the new: The calendar turns, and the ambitious Burlington Democrat gets knocked down another rung in the House power structure.

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Federal legislation requiring online retailers to collect state sales taxes from their customers is gaining momentum, picking up bipartisan support in Congress and the backing of one-time opponent Amazon.com.

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Filmmaker and lefty firebrand Michael Moore decided that Occupy Wall Street could benefit from serious storyboarding. To help rescue the movement from what critics across the political spectrum have dismissed as incoherence, Moore recently spent four hours with the occupiers coming up with a new vision and goals.

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Barney Frank totally could have won reelection to his new district. It’s just that he didn’t want to. So, he told reporters at Newton City Hall yesterday, he won’t be running anymore. Frank’s decision to retire from Congress “was precipitated by congressional redistricting, not entirely caused by it,” Frank said yesterday. “I’ve been ambivalent about running, not because I don’t continue to think the job is important but because there are other things I’d like to do in my life before my career is over.”

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There’s a certain irony in seeing the wealthiest man in the US Senate arguing against tax cuts for the richest Americans. US Sen. John Kerry stuck to the script as he and the rest of the not very supercommittee swept their unproductive deficit reduction efforts into the dustbin of history.

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Here’s a question for everybody out there who wants to be governor, as well as the people who are in the business of charging this first group of people several thousand dollars per month in consulting fees: If Massachusetts voters have a clear pattern of choosing political outsiders over ladder-climbing, machine-building pols, where’s the upside in playing crude politics?

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Did you note take note of the strong call last week by the state’s four Roman Catholic bishops for Gov. Deval Patrick to veto the casino bill now on his desk?  Didn’t think so.

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Just hours after members of the US Supreme Court decided to hear the challenge to President Obama’s health care reform, the Los Angeles Times reported, Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, two of the court’s most conservative jurists, were guests of honor at a gala dinner sponsored by the law firm which will argue the case against the law.

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There’s no better phrase than conspicuous consumption to describe the orgy of excess that is Black Friday. The first day of the traditional holiday shopping season had been creeping earlier into the predawn morning after Thanksgiving.

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The state’s proposed new congressional districts dice up Cambridge, to the benefit of the rest of the state. Or, as Rep. Alice Wolf puts it, “A lot of people are feeling that Cambridge is getting dissed again.”

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It had a whiff of the 60s about it, and that was no accident. Yesterday’s “Reclaiming Our Economy” teach-in at Northeastern University was the brainchild of Northeastern economics professor Barry Bluestone, who told the Globe he organized one of the first teach-ins on the Vietnam War while a student in the 1960s at the University of Michigan.

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Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong received a Martha Coakley-style shock to the system when City Councilor Joseph Solomito trounced her in the September preliminary election, 60 percent to 37 percent. But Wong energized her supporters and then some, riding a record voter turnout in yesterday’s election to stage a stunning comeback victory, thumping Solomito by a 56-44 percent margin.

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Opponents of charters schools, who have long complained about funds being lost to district schools when students enroll in charters, have opened a new front in the war they’ve been waging ever since charters were first authorized in the state’s landmark 1993 education reform. The new objection: the state-based approval process for granting charters. Opponents rallied at a State House hearing last month on behalf of bills that would require any new charter school to obtain local approval, either from a district school committee or via voter referendum.

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The Boston Herald's Howie Carr asks the question everyone has been wondering this week: What was Lt. Gov. Tim Murray really doing in the predawn hours on Wednesday when he totaled his state-issued car?

Murray says he was out surveying storm damage and looking for coffee and a Herald. He says he drove 23 miles from his home in Worcester up Interstate 190 to Route 2 before turning around and heading back. About halfway home, in Sterling, he says he skidded on some black ice and lost control of the car, which veered off the road and ended smashed against a rock ledge. The lucky-to-be-alive Murray escaped with minor cuts.

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It’s not exactly a full-fledged phenomenon yet but there is a noticeable trend amid the economic angst and anti-tax rhetoric: Voters in Massachusetts communities are choosing to reach deeper into their pockets to fund public construction and renovation projects through overrides and debt exclusions.

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With the demise of Beacon Power, Massachusetts has the dubious distinction of steering scarce state dollars to not one, but two, failed clean energy companies, firms that also pulled in significant federal stimulus grants and loan guarantees.

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Two Las Vegas gambling powerhouses, MGM Resorts and Boyd Gaming, are betting that Congress will legalize online poker -- a development that could have deep ramifications for the casino gambling bill currently pending on Beacon Hill.

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Bitter enemies are suddenly finding common ground on Beacon Hill.

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The term “scoop” in a journalistic sense has become a cliché, used far more by outsiders than those in the business, if it’s ever heard in newsrooms at all. But its most basic meaning – “to dig or shovel” – as well as its general usage as a colloquialism to describe an exclusive story that has a wide-ranging impact is most appropriate.

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It’s hard to know what the right metaphor is to capture all the absurd gyrations and policymaking-on-the-run that have characterized the mad dash to casinos and slots.  Sometimes it seems a balloon is the right image, with every effort to squeeze some sense into this thing merely causing another area of the casino balloon to bulge toward the breaking point.  Or maybe it’s the sweater metaphor, where each tug at a knot in the knitting only unravels things a little more.

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Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is built on his business acumen and turnaround skills. But what exactly does that mean? This week, New York magazine submits its answer. The magazine credits Romney’s former firm, Bain Capital, with helping to reshape the way American businesses look at corporate governance and productivity. It also credits Bain for helping to usher in an era of soaring executive compensation and widening income inequality -- with helping to create, in essence, the one-percent economy.

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Once again, Washington shows Western Massachusetts the love.  Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, Transportation Secretary Richard Davey, US Rep. John Olver, and other state and federal officials went to Greenfield recently to announce $73 million worth of stimulus-funded upgrades to the Connecticut River rail line from the Nutmeg State through Massachusetts to Vermont. The track improvements will speed up trips on Amtrak’s Vermonter service from Washington, DC, to St. Albans, Vermont. The route took in a large haul of federal dollars last year, too.

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What you think of Chief US District Court Judge Mark Wolf and his decision to overturn a death sentence for serial killer Gary Lee Sampson may depend on where you get your news. Continue Reading
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The main takeaway from Tuesday’s Special Joint Committee on Redistricting  announce-a-palooza was the explosion of new majority-minority voting districts, 10 for the House map, bringing the total to 20, and a new Senate district for Springfield, for a total of 3 majority-minority districts on the Senate map.

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The Globe reports today that a lawyer for Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s company drafted a zoning change over the summer that would have allowed for a casino on property The Kraft Group owns directly across from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

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Sunday’s Boston Globe led with the story that lottery officials tacitly accepted, and sometimes actively encouraged, high roller players in their manipulation the game Cash WinFall. The story also found that officials were unaware that a group led by an MIT graduate had essentially hijacked the game to its advantage in August 2010, winning almost all of the jackpot.

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Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Roderick Ireland yesterday praised the courage of House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray for approving emergency funds for the state court system, but said nothing about their decision to quash a court consolidation initiative.

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State Sen. Steven Tolman put off his resignation from the Senate until the end of today so he could beat back any attempts to water down the casino bill and throw his vote behind the passage. Incoming AFL-CIO president Steven Tolman, whose group is among the strongest supporters of casinos in the state, was pleased.

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The national punditocracy continues to salivate over a presumed Elizabeth Warren-Scott Brown match-up.

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It seems fitting that the case against alleged Mob capo Mark Rossetti gets thrown into doubt over a long holiday weekend dominated by speculation about the FBI’s Icelandic Whitey Bulger tipster: The two cases share unnerving similarities, but those connections have largely been left to veterans of the Whitey beat.

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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.

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Put up for adoption at birth by a young unwed mother, college dropout, garage inventor, Buddhist capitalist, culture changer, genius, tyrant.

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When one state official does a superlative job, does anybody notice?

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Boston Mayor Tom Menino has made official what he’s been saying for months: There’s no way Wal-Mart is opening a store in his city. What he really means is, there’s no way he’s helping Wal-Mart open a store in his city. The retailer has to do that on its own. Continue Reading
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The sequence was almost as predictable as a September swoon for the Red Sox (how helpful to be able to dust that line off and get it back in circulation!).  A candidate gets elected to office pledging to bring a new day of integrity and good government to office.  Months into office that balloon gets popped by a news story reporting on all the campaign donations the official is raking in from special interests his office oversees. A finger-wagging editorial then follows, decrying the unseemliness of the fundraising haul.

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Yesterday’s announcement that Bank of America would begin next year charging customers $5 a month for the long-free privilege of using a debit card to make purchases could hardly have come at a worse time in Massachusetts.  The move, apparently being made in time for new profit-sapping regulations to kick in, came on the same day as reports of a sputtering Massachusetts economy. This news followed another report shedding new light on unemployment statistics: Many Massachusetts workers are settling for part-time jobs that don’t adequately pay the bills.

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How often do you hear about what the state’s county sheriffs are doing, except at election time or in stories about patronage hiring? In Massachusetts, the office has been marginalized as no more than an innkeeper for miscreants, one that is elected but whose budget is controlled by the state.

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A ProPublica investigation found that some independent groups promoting redistricting plans across the country are anything but. It’s probably no surprise that one of the organizations that they probed was Fair Districts Mass, a group formed by one-time Republican US Senate candidate Jack E. Robinson.

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If it’s election season, it’s time to ratchet up the rhetoric about immigration, and the fatter the target, the better. That’s why in-state college tuition for the children of illegal immigrants has been such a consistently hot point of contention in recent gubernatorial contests, and why it’s become a flashpoint in the showdown between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.  It’s a wedge that’s just too big and too effective to leave on the ground.

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It seemed like something from the Onion.  But stories about the antics of the Boston firefighters union often have the feeling of parody about them.

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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.

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The Massachusetts Democratic Party celebrated the demise of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ by putting Scott Brown on the defensive before what should have been a marquee moment for the Massachusetts National Guard solider.

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The verdict on charter schools has always been a mixed one. A major study in 2009, for example, by the National Center for Research on Education Outcomes, or CREDO, at Stanford University found that students at 17 percent of charters nationally performed better than students in the district schools where the charters were located, but students in 46 percent of charters did no better than their district peers while students at 37 percent of the charters performed worse.

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The Massachusetts Legislature continued to put fiscal concerns ahead of political loyalties as the Senate voted 24-10 for a bill that would make new public employees work longer for less benefits.

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Climate change skeptics are increasingly turning to a weapon many conservatives have over the years despised: Public record access.

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It’s official: Scott Brown can start worrying.

Elizabeth Warren is in. Prior to Warren’s announcement, smart money was on Brown to skate to re-election. After all, Brown is the most popular politician in Massachusetts. None of the seven Democrats vying to retake the late Sen. Edward Kennedy’s seat, a field that includes City Year co-founder Alan Khazei and Methuen Democratic City Committee straw poll winner Setti Warren, had shown any hint of the mojo required to propel them past the Republican favorite in the 2012 contest.

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As far as inevitable developments go, Beacon Hill’s consensus proposal to license three resort casinos and one slot parlor sure has a lot of questions hanging over it.

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The nation paused yesterday to reflect on the horrors inflicted a decade ago. The observance was moving, and it was hard not to be touched by it. The day of remembrance seemed to recapture the sense of national unity that came over the country in the days following 9/11.

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Gov. Deval Patrick consolidated his control over the 19-member University of Massachusetts board of trustees by reappointing its controversial chairman and naming six others who are political supporters and Democratic activists. The move was consistent with second-term efforts by the governor to move friends, allies, and supporters into vacant positions, a policy that was first identified last December in a CommonWealth Back Story.

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As the United States nears closer to the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the media has embarked on a collective national memorial in print, broadcast, and online. The coverage in the papers has been so extensive that some are questioning whether so much of it is really good for us. Much of the coverage, however, has been a fitting and beautiful tribute to those who lost their lives and a nation that won’t ever be the same again.

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Be grateful that Hurricane Katia is headed to out to sea rather than toward New England since the Federal Emergency Management Agency appears to be the next agency in line for a beat down by Republicans in Congress.

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Washington loves a good crisis, and it has had no shortage of them this year, from a near-shutdown of the federal government in April, to the 11th-hour negotiations over the federal debt ceiling that resulted in a downgrade of the US’s credit rating, to this summer’s brief and costly FAA shutdown. There are more fiscal crises on the horizon, too. Congressmen aligned with the tea party movement are threatening to let the federal gas tax expire at the end of September, putting transportation funding for highways and mass transit at risk.

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The Justice Department’s decision to sue to disconnect the conversation between AT&T and T-Mobile is being hailed by many consumer advocates as a victory for competition even as it comes at a potential cost of $3 billion to the company formerly known as Ma Bell.

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Jimmy Carter had brother Billy. Barack Obama has Uncle Omar. Carter’s headline-grabbing younger brother produced countless headaches for the White House as his elder brother fought for reelection in 1980. President Obama finds his family squarely in the middle of the debate over illegal immigration again just as the 2012 election campaign heats up.

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The weeks leading up to Labor Day are slow ones on the presidential campaign trail. Real news is scarce, with candidates spending most of their time cozying up to well-heeled donors in places like Martha’s Vineyard. (The exception, of course, is Rick Perry, who doesn’t even know where the Vineyard is.)

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With the benefit of hindsight, today’s Boston Globe headline gets it about right: “Tired Irene Slaps N.E.” That put a pithy -- and accurate -- coda on the killer-Hurricane-turned-whimpy-tropical-storm that was the subject of days of breathless anticipatory hype.

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Mother nature is pumping some life into the usually sleepy August news cycle. Earlier this week, an earthquake shook the East Coast and dominated front pages. But there’s nothing like a big hurricane, which provides days of anticipation (and stories) before you find out whether the storm is a disaster or a dud.

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CrazyKhazei has been outed and he’s none other than Eric Fehrnstrom, one of the architects of Sen. Scott Brown’s stunning victory last year and a key adviser to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

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Will the aftershocks from yesterday’s 5.8 Virginia earthquake that rumbled through the Northeast Corridor get people thinking more seriously about natural disasters as more than comic fodder for bloggers and the twitterati?

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It’s a good thing we’re a two-newspaper town -- especially when one of those two papers is the subject of a very public libel lawsuit.

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As part of her exploratory moves towards announcing a Senate bid, Elizabeth Warren has been avoiding the press. Her statewide listening tour among potential supporters has been reported only by the individuals who were invited. Accounts can be read on CW as well as BlueMassGroup.

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The editorial obituaries for Evergreen Solar, which filed for bankruptcy protection this week, varied depending on the politics of the newspaper.

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The shooting of a homeless man by San Francisco transit police prompted reactions that have propelled Bay Area Rapid Transit into the history books. Last week, BART's spokesman, (who apparently didn't realize that his job is to facilitate communication, not curb it), suggested that transit officials shutdown the system's cellphone service to disrupt the latest round of  flash mob protests against the July shooting.

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You have crossed the line of tastelessness when even Howard Stern, who has made a fortune personifying tastelessness, says you’ve crossed the line.

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Numbers are tricky monsters, especially in politics, where the only truth is that everything is up for debate. So it is that Texas Gov. Rick Perry can run for president as the biggest, baddest job-creator in the country, even though he really isn’t.

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T-Paw is gone and Rick Perry is the man.  Oh yeah, and the lady from Minnesota is popular with party die-hards in Iowa, but don’t take her too seriously. The first of these is fact; the next two are all conjecture, but that’s what political reporters seem to live for these days.

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Elizabeth Warren whipped the Massachusetts political world into a frenzy yesterday with a post on Blue Mass Group. She didn’t announce her candidacy for the US Senate, but her “Coming Home” note came about as close as you can get. It outlined her personal background, her views on the struggling middle class, and her low opinion of Washington politics. Continue Reading
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“A great deal has been said about the weather but very little has been done,” Mark Twain is said to have famously remarked. Sometimes, it feels like the cost of health care is a similar force of nature that cannot be reined in despite the constant gnashing of teeth.

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As Boston tries to figure out what went wrong at the recent Urban Music Festival at City Hall Plaza, major cities are facing fresh upsurges in another type of youth violence: “flash robs.”

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Mitt Romney wasn’t on vacation yesterday, and he wasn’t shaking secretive rich folks for huge piles of cash. Instead, he was sweating it out in New Hampshire, a full month before he was supposed to have been awkwardly mingling with common folk and spitting talking points at reporters in earnest and, you know, campaigning for president like he means it.

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Among liberals and Democratic-leaning voters, these have been dark days. The sense that their party -- and their president -- got played big time in the recent debt ceiling showdown has prompted much spleen venting and ruminating over what’s gone wrong with Barack Obama.

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Gov. Deval Patrick’s appointment of 38-year-old Richard Davey as his new transportation secretary won strong press reviews, but it was unclear whether Davey’s skills in running the T would translate to a bigger political stage where he will need to make the case for more funding.

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People over 30 remember that the ABC late night news show Nightline started under a different title -- America Held Hostage -- before morphing into its current incarnation.  Each night during the Iran hostage crisis, which stretched from November 1979 to January 1981, the opening of the show with ominous trumpet blaring would give the number of days Americans had been held in Tehran before Ted Koppel gave a sober 15-minute update of the day’s news regarding the situation.

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The MBTA sucks all the air out of the room when it comes to mass transit funding, leaving scarcely any oxygen for the commuters who rely on the state’s 15 regional transit authorities to get from point A to point B. The smaller systems face some of the same woes as the MBTA ,like budget shortfalls and maintenance issues, but these agencies suffer in relative silence.

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The Big Dig took 25 years to complete, from initial planning to final wind-down. It looks like one mass transit expansion that was tied to the highway project’s environmental permits will best that mark by at least a few years.

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Boston is all atwitter with the arrival of Hubway, the new bike sharing program launched last week. The arrival of Hubway certainly is an important milestone in what has been an increasing embrace of bicycling culture here in the Athens of America. Mayor Menino, who took a fancy to two-wheel workouts himself before being sidelined by recent injuries, has installed a “bike czar” in City Hall, and bike lanes are sprouting all over city streets. Notwithstanding the protests of the occasional cranky columnist trying to get a rise out readers during the summer doldrums, the growth of city cycling is a great development that could lessen automobile traffic and help people get in shape and get to work all at once.

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In a five-part series this week carried by WBUR, National Public Radio examines the cost of dropping out of high school through the stories of five people scattered around the country. Three of them dropped out years ago, and two teenagers are struggling to stay in school.

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This morning the washingtonpost.com’s debt countdown clock reads 5 days and 13 hours until a government default. The news media and politicians are wading into the murky water of what could happen if Congress cannot agree on a plan and the federal government runs out of money come next Tuesday.

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In the 35 years since National Urban League conventioneers last ventured into Boston, the city has made galactic strides in race relations. Boston is finally getting control of the one troubling narrative that has permeated the Hub’s modern history. With tensions far less searing than they were during the busing era, educational and professional opportunities for African-Americans here have broadened.

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In Washington, politicians are fighting over debt. Closer to home, it’s groceries they get all worked up about.

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The breakdown in American civic culture and community has been well documented. The definitive treatise on this, of course, is Robert Putnam’s 2000 book Bowling Alone, which painted a picture of an increasingly atomized America, in which we belong to fewer organizations, know our neighbors less well, and even get together with friends and family less often.

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In this continuing era of reduced resources, it is both noteworthy and newsworthy when a newspaper devotes time, space, and manpower to examine in depth an issue that is critically important to its readers.

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Voters settled the latest battle over the state’s affordable housing law last November when they soundly rejected a ballot question that would have repealed the 42-year-old statute known as Chapter 40B.  But the debate over the law apparently never ends.

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State Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Mullan is leaving his job later this year because Gov. Deval Patrick refused to give him a raise.

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If the recent report on secrecy in the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the subsequent suspension of engineer Helmut Ernst tell us anything, it’s that access to public records and documents might be only part of the Massachusetts government’s transparency problem.

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With the passing of Ted Kennedy, it appears the family’s well-known ability to circle the wagons and protect the familial legacy as well as each other may also be slipping away.

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Just a couple months ago the leaders of public sector unions in Massachusetts were up in arms about attempts on Beacon Hill to curb their collective bargaining rights. They threatened to withhold union support in the next election. They vowed to fight to the bitter end.

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The political class in Massachusetts, birthplace of the American Revolution, has a rather inglorious record when it comes to practicing some of the basic tenets of the open democratic government that its18th century forebearers so eloquently preached. That was the message of a Boston Globe story last Friday, which painted a picture of a state government that operates far more secretively than most in the country. Continue Reading
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It’s been a week now, and as of this morning Gov. Deval Patrick still hadn’t decided whether he’s going to go along with a provision in the Legislature’s budget that would strip municipal unions of some of their health care collective bargaining rights.

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Tomorrow night’s Megabucks jackpot is an estimated $4.3 million. If you’re under 40 and not feeling particularly lucky but still like the sound of that much money, you could run for state representative and then get an appointment as a clerk-magistrate. If you keep the $110,000-a-year job until you’re 80 – which is not hard to do – you would make at least $4.4 million if the Legislature never passes another raise for you.

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Whatever the future of news is, Jack Shafer of Slate doesn’t think it will include Patch.

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We’re getting close to allowing same sex marriage throughout the country -- or banning it altogether -- depending on who you ask.

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Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua isn’t the first American mayor to run into trouble with shipments of city-owned vehicles to the Dominican Republic.

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The Legislature likes working like a harried college freshman, with the bulk of its work coming in late-night bursts just before a looming deadline. The body is famous for the frenzied pace that precedes the end of its two-year legislative session, when reams of bills that have been bottled up in committee are rushed to the floor in a race against midnight. Now the cram-session mentality seems to have trickled into the state budget deliberations - normally one of the few pieces of business lawmakers pride themselves on passing punctually.

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While Whitey Bulger was at the center of the spectacle that played out Friday afternoon at the Moakley courthouse, the lead supporting actor in the day’s drama was undoubtedly his brother, William Bulger, who strode in and out of the courthouse with two of his sons, with a pack of eager reporters in hot pursuit.

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Lost in the din of Whitey Bulger’s capture is the latest effort to legislate ethics among elected and appointed officials at the state and local level. But you can bet that Republican backers of the move will not let it die.

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Odds are Mitt Romney doesn’t much care what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid thinks about the Republican presidential nomination battle turning into a face-off between Romney and Jon Huntsman, the latest entrant in the GOP presidential-palooza. Continue Reading
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If you thought convicted Beacon Hill lobbyist Richard “Dickie” McDonough couldn’t look like more of a snake than he already does, think again. Inspector General Gregory Sullivan is now alleging that McDonough arranged for one of his lobbying clients, the state-funded Merrimack Special Education Collaborative, to give him a no-show, no-work job. That job inflated McDonough’s state pension and gave him access to the state’s public employee health care system.

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With all the complaints about partisan gridlock and the polarized political atmosphere in Washington, Peter Baker asks in yesterday’s New York Times “Week in Review” section, “Is this any way to run a country.”  His answer to his own question: “As it happens, yes.”

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It seems so unfair. First, Kathy Sorabella of Natick learned she had lung cancer and her prognosis wasn’t good. Then Carl Sorabella, her husband, told his boss that he might need a more flexible work schedule to get his wife to chemotherapy treatments and doctor visits. Despite 14 years with the company, and a raise last November, his boss fired him.

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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.

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For all of its inglorious history when it comes to matters of race, Boston is now a national leader in diversity and multiculturalism.  That’s the finding from a new look at racial demographics by Robert Sullivan that appeared yesterday in the Ideas section of the Boston Sunday Globe.

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Nonprofits, it seems, are in the official cross hairs and under assault.

A bill filed by state Sen. Mark Montigny of New Bedford to stop health plans from paying “volunteer” board member exorbitant stipends could also impact compensation to board members at some of the state’s oldest and largest charities.

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Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Scott Brown and Martha Coakley squaring off for the Senate seat once held by the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

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Could other Massachusetts towns facing a Proposition 2 1/2 override drum up a “yes” vote like Arlington did yesterday? Doubtful, but it’s worth considering the reasons that barely carried the day in this northwestern Boston suburb of more than 42,000. Nearly half of registered voters turned out, with 7,726 voting yes (53 percent); 6366 voting no (47 percent), according to unofficial tallies. Homeowners’ tax bills will rise about $450 per year.

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The school reform wars have taken a dramatic turn in New York City, where 2,500 parents and students – overwhelming black and Hispanic – rallied last week to protest the NAACP’s involvement in a lawsuit against the city’s effort to close 22 low-performing schools and allow charter schools to occupy surplus space in city public school buildings.

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He went by Chris Gerhart, Christopher Chichester, Christopher Crowe, CCC Mountbatten, and ultimately Clark Rockefeller, but his real name was Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, one of the strangest and most successful con men in the annals of history.

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Last year, Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua spent more money on printer toner ($1,545) than he spent on political catering ($1,525). In fact, according to reports on file with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance, Lantigua only paid for two fundraisers all of last year -- a year in which he hauled in $38,615 in donations. If those numbers appear to strain credulity, it’s because they do: According to a Sunday Globe report, Lantigua’s campaign finance disclosures are littered with “yawning gaps in his records and potentially serious violations of campaign finance law by both the candidate and his contributors.” Continue Reading
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In his column yesterday, the Herald’s Howie Carr skewered US Rep. Barney Frank for recommending his then-partner Herb Moses for a job 20 years ago at Fannie Mae, a housing agency his legislative committee oversees. Carr ended the column by asking: “When do you think El Globo will report this story?”

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Instead of coming to grips with the changing face of America, the Republican Party appears to be dead set on alienating every minority group in the country. Mother Jones writer Tim Murphy examines how the Republican Party has managed to put off Muslim Americans, who flocked to the GOP in 2000.

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On the same day Tim Pawlenty made his presidential candidacy official, Mitch Daniels said he was out of the race. Daniels was polling right next to Pawlenty – low-single digits nationally, and in New Hampshire. Daniels’s retreat engendered much wailing and gnashing of teeth, while Pawlenty’s official announcement was greeted by a collective shrug. As they gazed at the door, waiting for Chris Christie to waltz in, the wailing, teeth-gnashing Republican Party faithful gave themselves a halfhearted pep talk. That reaction, as much as anything else, should sum up the prospects of the closest thing Mitt Romney has to a serious challenger from within the traditional (i.e. non-Palin) wing of the GOP.

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Bill Gates has made improving US schools one of the cornerstones of the work of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and he’s put his considerable stash of money where his mouth is. The foundation ponied up some $373 million for education efforts in 2009 alone, the last year for which full records are available, according to this front-page story in Sunday’s New York Times.

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Howie Carr, the one-man media empire, knows how to promote himself.

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Despite a national publicity tour and appearances on all the major television shows, Gov. Deval Patrick’s memoir “A Reason to Believe” is selling like cold hotcakes, according to Nielsen Bookscan, with just under 4,300 copies sold so far.

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US Rep. Michele Bachmann is contemplating tossing her hat in the ring for the Republican presidential nomination. With Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee out, the Minnesota Republican says her telephone is ringing off the hook, money is pouring in, and Facebook is “lit up” with people clamoring that she run.

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US Sen. Scott Brown doesn’t want to talk about Osama bin Laden. He does, however, have plenty to say about the disgraced former speaker of the House, Sal DiMasi.

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The Boston Globe yesterday wrote another chapter in the ongoing saga that chronicles failures at the MBTA, this time regarding the T’s relationship to Mass Bay Commuter Rail, the company that manages the commuter rail that serves 134,000 people daily. A three-month Globe investigation found that the T approved a number of contract changes that essentially rewarded the company for running trains on time and minimized financial penalties when it did not. The result: “millions in bonuses for “on-time performance’ even when the system’s overall service is lousy.”

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In 1988, the Eagle-Tribune won a Pulitzer Prize for its relentless coverage of Willie Horton and the Massachusetts prison furlough program. The paper published nearly 200 stories detailing how Horton, a convicted murderer sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, was able to walk away from prison on a weekend furlough and rape and assault a couple in Maryland.

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What’s next, Howie Carr sporting a bowtie? Frank Phillips and Brian Mooney acknowledging their Herald roots? The Inside Track finding something interesting in the Boring Broadsheet? The Globe writing a follow-up story and giving the Herald credit?

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The most popular governor in the North is from the South.  

There was lots of carping in 2009 when Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor only got a measly $112 million in high-speed rail funds. But Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s decision to send back more than $2 billion originally destined for an Orlando-Tampa link was a game-changer. He opened the way for the Obama administration to kiss and make up with Northeast intercity rail supporters.

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When the needle moves on Beacon Hill, it tends to move quickly. Last Tuesday, one member of the Governor’s Council was warning his colleagues that if they didn’t stop attracting so much attention, they’d all be swept right out of the State House. A day later, Senate President Therese Murray lined up against the body’s continued existence, bringing the council’s abolition from inside joke to serious policy in no time. And tomorrow, Murray will gavel in a constitutional convention with not one, but four separate proposals for eliminating the Governor’s Council on the convention agenda.

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He's now made it official: former Boston city councilor Michael Flaherty wants his old job back. Actually, he doesn't really want his old job at all. He wants the job that he had to give up his old job in order to pursue. But he figures he needs his old job in order to again take a shot at the new job he really wants. Continue Reading
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One by one, state government’s biggest patronage havens are being shut down. The state’s Probation Department, long an employment agency for politically connected friends of state lawmakers, got a makeover last year after rigged hiring practices were documented by an independent counsel. And now state Auditor Suzanne Bump is cleaning house at her office, turning out many of the employees hired by her predecessor, Joe DeNucci, who the Herald, in an editorial, says ran “a personal job bank for friends and relatives.”
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“We don’t need to spike the football,” President Obama said in his decision to not release photographs of Osama bin Laden’s dead body. “That’s not who we are.”

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The death of Osama bin Laden changed little for Boston’s Logan International Airport, the launch point for the September 11 attacks almost ten years ago. Gov. Deval Patrick advised “an excess of caution,” and Boston police and transit officials stepped up security measures at the airport, the metro transportation network, and large sports and entertainment venues. Continue Reading
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It’s now the second day of Osama bin Laden stories, which means the narrative has turned to stories detailing how the daring weekend raid came together, and to stories speculating about what the raid means for the political fortunes of the commander in chief who ordered it. Continue Reading
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In the world of high-achieving urban charter schools, seeing graduates ultimately go on and finish college has always been the Holy Grail, the goal that school leaders say truly represents the ticket into the middle-class for students who have grown up in poverty.  For the vast majority of students in this country who grow up in poverty – some 92 percent of them to be exact – the dream of a four-year degree will never be realized. All of this is what makes a new study of college graduation rates among those who attended KIPP charter schools so important.

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For years, New Hampshire has been like an oasis in the desert to antitax forces.  The “Live Free or Die” state has no income or sales taxes, and yet it seems to survive and at times even thrive. In a new report, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s New England Public Policy Center asks: “How does New Hampshire do it?”

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As much of America is fixated on a wedding in the royal family -- except, believe it or not, viewers of Fox 25 -- that harkens back to the time when we were colonists, yet another vestige of long ago is making its voice heard in our own backyard.

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The coda has yet to be written on the political career of Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua.   But attracting the attention of federal law enforcement officials never bodes well, as Sal DiMasi, Dianne Wilkerson, and Chuck Turner can attest.
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Jury selection begins today in the corruption trial of former House Speaker Sal DiMasi, and the former king of Beacon Hill is already looking and talking like a beaten man. Continue Reading
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According to a New York Times/CBS poll released last week, 25 percent of adults surveyed believe that President Obama was not born in the US. Among Republicans, the figure soars to 45 percent.

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Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter says flourishing cities have sex appeal. I hadn’t thought about cities that way, but she’s got a point. The good ones have a certain magnetism about them, attracting people, resources, opportunities, and ideas. “Cities are one big dating game,” she says. Continue Reading
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With the price of oil topping $112 a barrel, the highest price in nearly three years, it won’t be long before we see $4 a gallon here in Massachusetts, perhaps by the end of the month at the current rise. Continue Reading
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With Earth Day on the horizon, Phil Primack, a CommonWealth contributing writer, turned on the wayback machine, lamenting in a recent Boston Globe Magazine column that the passion that marked Boston’ first Earth Day has faded. Instead of 1970-style protests, such as a “die-in” at Logan Airport to protest supersonic jets, people today gravitate toward “product-placement bonanza[s] of ‘green living’ festivals, cleanup campaigns, and special events.” Continue Reading
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Standard & Poor’s tried to goose Washington into tackling its financial problems yesterday. The ratings agency lowered its outlook on government debt, effectively saying that unless Congress and the White House can agree to raise the country’s debt ceiling and cut the deficit, the federal government’s AAA credit rating is history.

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Sherry Vargson lights a match, sticks it near the water coming out of her kitchen faucet, and watches as a flame shoots upward. As this multimedia story from Time magazine makes clear, the boom in natural gas exploration in Pennsylvania is having some unusual side-effects.
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Who blinked? Who will blink? And is blinking overrated?
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Another hearing, another round of mea culpas from Bay State transportation officials. This past winter’s commuter rail problems set the stage for Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Mullan to put a new label on problems facing the debt-ridden sector when he told the Transportation Committee on Tuesday that the state’s transportation assets were “undercapitalized” to the tune of about $1 billion.
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As the Boston Herald hits the midway point in its tour through Gov. Deval Patrick’s wobbly early years in office, the governor is showing he’s now a far different politician than he was at the start of his first term.

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Saturday's Boston Herald carried a story that is the kind Mayor Tom Menino loves to see. It chronicled how the city's new digital constituent service effort, which lets residents file complaints about potholes or burned out street lights using a smart-phone app, now also lets them check online to see what action has been taken on the case. “The city is holding itself publicly accountable,” Chris Osgood, who helps run the city's office of New Urban Mechanics, told the paper. Continue Reading
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As everyone knows, slot machines and casino gambling haven’t been approved by the Massachusetts Legislature. But what most people don’t know is that devices that closely resemble slot machines have been popping up in small shops across the state for the past few years, sidestepping the legal ban by masquerading as sweepstakes.

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It’s never too early to speculate. Has conservatism run its course? Is the middle the new “silent majority?” Will the left start gaining some traction? And who will take over in 2012?

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Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll is the first of the Democratic water-testers to wisely pass on taking on US Sen. Scott Brown. By way of explanation, Driscoll pledged her fealty to the Witch City (and the demands of a young family), but it doesn’t take a passel of political consultants to tell a smart woman with virtually no statewide name recognition that she didn’t have a prayer against an incumbent senator with high-voltage star power.

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It’s a running joke on Beacon Hill that this current incarnation of the Governor’s Council may finally be the one that takes the whole institution down. That theory should be put to the test soon, as Gov. Deval Patrick’s latest history-making pick for the Supreme Judicial Court runs headlong into a confirmation process that the Big Apple Circus, now playing on Boston’s City Hall Plaza, may not be able to hold a candle to.

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A new study on schooling in America, a new round of charges and counter-charges about overblown claims of charter school success, skewed data sets, and incomplete analyses. Put it all together and it's no wonder that research on what's happening in US schools often generates more heat than light.

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The Boston Globe, in its review of US Sen. Scott Brown’s new book, Against All Odds, described it as “an incredible life story, told in the safest and most surface-level terms possible.” Reviewer Craig Fehrman said the book recounts the many commendable choices Brown made during his life, but never connects them or tries to make sense of them. “Brown’s only insight seems to be: work harder.” Continue Reading
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Libya, budget stalemates, government shutdowns. Earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear meltdowns. Fleeing jobs, local aid cuts, spiraling health care. And yet another snow storm is expected to hit the region tonight and tomorrow, with snow removal budgets long depleted.

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Information may want to be free, but journalists and publishers want to get paid. Since the Internet destroyed the advertising model that fueled newspaper profits, finding a new online profit generator has become the El Dorado for media managers. Only a few publications (The Wall Street Journal comes to mind) have succeeded in charging readers for content.

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Veterans deserve our gratitude and all the benefits to which they are entitled. They do not deserve duplicative, unaccountable bureaucracies that dole our services with no oversight.

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The recent sale of the Huffington Post to AOL and the New York Times’s implementation look like very different moves by very different media entities. But scratch below the surface and they have more in common than one might think. When it comes to news and information sites on the Internet, traffic is still king.

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It hasn’t appeared on the Federal Election Commission filings yet, but it can’t be long before President Obama and his aides send campaign contributions to Mitt Romney. It would only be the latest bit of love the current White House occupant is tossing the wannabe’s way.

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Robert Groves, the director of the US Census Bureau, is a man in demand. While state demographers mull over why people are fleeing Lincoln, Stockbridge, and Provincetown, advertisers are trying to make sense of what new Census data mean for their big picture: marketing products and services to American consumers.

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Up until now, the nascent movement to draft Elizabeth Warren to challenge Sen. Scott Brown has had one glaring deficiency – a willing participant.

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The NCAA men's basketball tournament carries the right nickname, but not because of the excitement it generates. The madness is the big-money pursuit of top basketball talent by colleges and universities where education takes a back seat to victory on the court. Globe columnist Derrick Jackson has made a mission of the issue – with a particular focus on black players, whose graduation rates badly lag behind their white counterparts. His Saturday column was the latest installment, and Jackson is hoping some attention to the problem at very high places might make a difference.

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Who could have guessed the third week in March would be a bad one for alcohol sales in Boston?

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Maybe it’s the defensiveness engendered by the decades-long moniker of Taxachusetts or the relentless hammering by Republicans and corporations about the inhospitable business atmosphere in the state, old perceptions that officials have worked to overcome. Massachusetts has always had a “thank you sir, may I have another” approach to rejection by those who have received breaks and then taken the money and run.

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Fears about nuclear power increase with each new, catastrophic development in Japan. In Germany, people took to the streets after last week’s earthquake to protest against nuclear power. Not needing any further prodding, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the physicist-turned-politician, quickly ordered the immediate shutdown of seven pre-1980 built plants. The Washington Post rounds up public reaction in Europe and Asia to Japan’s nuclear crisis here.

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Two years ago, when House Speaker Robert DeLeo made his first address to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, he distanced himself from his embattled predecessor and burnished his reputation as a hard-working guy from Winthrop. Last year, it was all casinos, all the time.

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The Department of Public Utilities ruling yesterday on the proposed NStar-Northeast Utilities merger is about as clear as mud.

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Once the purview of shock jocks, 10-year-olds with a phone and time on their hands and MSNBC, prank calls, punks, and set-ups are now becoming the de rigueur method to oust – and out – political opponents.

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Over time, solar will trump wind. So says James Rogers, the CEO of Duke Energy, one of the country’s largest electric power utilities. During a question-and-answer session after his keynote address at a recent MIT Energy Conference in Boston, Rogers told the audience that solar has an edge over wind since energy from the sun can be distributed to the electric grid at times of peak demand. Named by Newsweek as one of the “50 most powerful people in the world,” Rogers is a big believer in renewable energy and supported the Obama administration’s failed cap-and-trade plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Larry Summers gave his first local speech since leaving the White House yesterday. He began his address by joking that Washington, DC, offered a respite from the brutal politics of Cambridge. He ended it indulging a question about that Facebook movie. And in between the two, President Obama’s former economic adviser told a room full of Boston business leaders that capitalism as we’ve known it is irreparably broken.

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“No matter how cynical you get, it’s impossible to keep up,” Lily Tomlin famously said.  That’s especially so if your news consumption consists of a steady diet of Boston Herald coverage.  Boston’s tabloid daily can stir outrage and deliver a welcome populist punch with the best of them. But nuance and perspective have never been the strong suit on Wingo Way.

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Microsoft founder Bill Gates is deep into state finances these days, worried that government officials are using so many accounting tricks to balance their budgets that precious public education dollars will be squandered.

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Union matters seem to dominate the 24-hour news cycle these days. From Wisconsin’s governor looking to eviscerate his state’s public sector unions; to Ohio being on the verge of doing the same thing; to conservative New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie unexpectedly holding out an olive branch to his unionized workers; to Gov. Deval Patrick showing his love for collective bargaining here, it’s all anybody’s talking about.

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What makes Newton Mayor Setti Warren think he can beat US Sen. Scott Brown? Evidently, the same supreme confidence that made Brown think he could take on Martha Coakley. Ever since Coakley’s disastrous fall to earth last year, Democrats have been wondering which politico would have the chutzpah to try a run against Brown.

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Gov. Deval Patrick spent the weekend in Washington, DC, raising his national profile, raising cash, and getting some practice in the role of campaign surrogate for President Obama. The trip allowed him to plant an unwanted kiss on the mug of one Willard Mitt Romney, but it also caused a stir back home when the governor took it upon himself to formally announce challengers to Sen. Scott Brown. Continue Reading
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If this has been the winter of our discontent, we are now entering the slush season of high anxiety for high school seniors, who will soon learn which colleges have extended an admissions offer and which have politely said no.  Nothing has done more to reinforce the significance of the admissions game than US News, whose college rankings have become the bible of the higher education hierarchy. 

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It was more of a shouting match than a vote, but the Republican-controlled Assembly in Wisconsin early this morning approved legislation cutting the collecting bargaining rights of public sector workers and sent the measure to the Senate. NECN has video of the shoutfest and AP has details on the 60-hour debate. The Senate can’t pass anything at the moment, with its Democrats hiding out in Illinois to prevent the chamber from attaining a quorum.

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President Obama has turned the favored sports axiom on its ear by showing the best offense is not a good defense but actually no defense.

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Cheeseheads of the world, unite!  In these times of fiscal stress, Gov. Scott Walker would probably be just another unknown Midwestern state executive had he taken aim at public employee wages and benefits alone. Instead, he went for the whole enchilada, collective bargaining rights. (That is, his proposal would allow collective bargaining for  pay increases only, and only those that are pegged to the consumer price index.)

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Now that nearly everyone in Massachusetts has health insurance, Gov. Deval Patrick is filing legislation to rein in its cost. It’s one of those big, complicated policy stories that few in the media do well anymore. Continue Reading
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Florida Gov. Rick Scott decided on Wednesday that he couldn’t be bothered to use the $2.4 billion in federal high-speed rail stimulus funds to build a link from Orlando to Tampa. His explanation: anemic ridership projections and the potential for cost overruns made the project too much of a risk. But Tampa officials say the governor didn’t even wait for a state transportation department to finish its ridership study.

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There is no end to the constant drumbeat of health care as a public policy issue and a private dilemma. Yesterday, the well-respected Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation released a first-of-its-kind report on the unfunded liabilities for municipal retiree health care and the numbers are staggering.

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The just-concluded Conservative Political Action Conference marks the unofficial start of the presidential campaign season, and the months ahead will be full of fundraising, speechifying and quiet outreach. That’s the old model for running for president, anyway: Raise a ton of money, create an aura of inevitability (or at least possibility), and use both to wrap up key staffers and supporters in strategic early primary states. After all, it’s only a year until the New Hampshire primary.

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Just how broken is the budget process in Washington, where President Obama today releases his proposed 2012 spending plan? The White House budget director has pretty much conceded that the proposal avoids tackling the deficit with the full degree of seriousness needed because such a move would simply open up Obama to withering partisan attack.

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Deval Patrick’s top political strategists are making the case that the governor’s reelection victory last year offers a road map that other Democrats and even President Obama can follow in 2012.

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Today’s Boston Globe and WBUR’s Martha Bebinger report on cost-conscious employers queuing up to purchase health plans that have tiered or limited networks that require subscribers to seek care from lower-cost providers or pay added charges. It’s a story we wrote about in CommonWealth in our most recent issue.

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Why is meeting with members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation the first order of business for Beacon Hill’s point men on redistricting, Rep. Michael Moran and Sen. Stanley Rosenberg?

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Right-wing budget hawks in Congress could hold the planned Green Line extension hostage. That’s the terrifying vision state transportation secretary Jeff Mullan raised yesterday. Amid a day filled with talk of weather-driven delays and tchotchke sales, Mullan pronounced himself “nervous” that budget-slashing Congressional Republicans might try to scuttle the federal funding the MBTA needs to extend the rapid-transit line from Lechmere to Somerville.

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It has become an article of faith that American students need more education to make it in today’s knowledge-based global economy. In school districts throughout the county, that has translated to a message that all students today must aim for college. But has the “college for all” mantra gone too far? That’s the conclusion of a new report that’s making big waves nationally throughout education and skill-training circles.

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The US Tax Court is making it easier to turn tax credits into cash.

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With four major storms under the region’s collective belt and area snowfall totals poised to break the Shaq-o-meter, state lawmakers and municipal officials are bringing increased attention to snow removal infractions.

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More and more, the state’s fishing industry has been in the news and very little of that news is good for those who farm the seas. Continue Reading
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Much of Beacon Hill thought casino gambling was yesterday’s news. The past week has proved that, as far as the guy who runs the House goes, gambling remains a top priority. And so, less than six months after their last apocalyptic showdown, Gov. Deval Patrick and House Speaker Robert DeLeo are once again on a collision course. Continue Reading
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All sorts of factors contribute to the relative performance of students in different school districts. Household income and parent education levels often stand out as the most obvious: Students in wealthier communities with highly educated parents invariably score higher on achievement tests than those from lower-income communities with low adult educational attainment levels.

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Gov. Deval Patrick is struggling with how to rein in municipal health care costs. Those costs are eating up city and town budgets, and most voters think public sector union workers are living high on the hog. Many mayors are pressing for the authority to unilaterally cut the benefits of their workers.

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Everyone knows the annual unveiling of House 1, the governor’s budget message to the Legislature, is just the first step in the six-month marathon that will likely conclude late in the evening on June 30. But Gov. Deval Patrick’s $30.5 billion budget plan still opens the door for some questions to be answered, such as: How the heck are you going to do that? Are you serious about that? How do you figure that adds up? And the most obvious: Does any of this stand a chance?

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The national news media has finally discovered that most states are bleeding a lot of red ink. Washington has so far rebuffed calls for bailouts. But California state treasurer Bill Lockyer isn’t worried about the Golden State or any other state going bankrupt.

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Today, former Boston city councilor Chuck Turner learns whether he’ll be going to jail for taking a $1,000 bribe, and then mouthing off to the prosecutors trying to punish him for that act. If there’s one person who should be perspiring more heavily than Turner today, it’s former House speaker Sal DiMasi.

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Massachusetts voters narrowly approved a term limits law in 1994, but two years later it was overturned by the Supreme Judicial Court because of the way it was crafted. Governing magazine, in its latest issue, offers a glimpse of what might have been.

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Massachusetts is not the only state rethinking its tax lure for films. With a partisan shift in governors’ offices and legislatures around the country, a number of states are reexamining film tax credits that many think do more to enrich Hollywood stars and producers than boost the local economy.

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Massachusetts continues to fume over Evergreen Solar’s decision to decamp to China, throwing more than 800 people out of work and squandering most of a $58 million package of incentives from the state.

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House Speaker Robert DeLeo really, really wants to show he’s not tone deaf. Really. After laying low in the wake of the devastating Ware report on patronage in the Probation Department, and then claiming the report, which named him frequently, had exonerated him, only to be told by its author that it did no such thing, the speaker has been in active damage control mode for several weeks now.

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Many American parents are nervous about what the future holds for their children. Jobs are scarce and the good ones go to the most qualified candidates. Parents see Chinese students excelling in math, English, history, and other school subjects, while their children seem to be excelling at Facebook and Call of Duty.

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Cape Wind dominates the debate on wind energy, but the push for onshore wind is a study in contrasts.

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The horrific shooting that took place Saturday morning in a Tucson parking lot has set off wide-ranging debate on everything from the toxic tone of political discourse in the country to gun laws so lax that a deranged loner was able to able to walk in a purchase a semi-automatic handgun a little more than month before unleashing his fury at US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others.

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It couldn’t be termed a constitutional crisis but the decision by the new Republican-controlled House to read the Constitution into the Congressional Record was as much hysterical as historical. Continue Reading
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We’ve all heard the green energy debate. Critics say projects like Cape Wind are too costly, even with heavy subsidies. But the greenies counter that the projects are needed to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. They also claim that green energy subsidies are miniscule compared to the subsidies flowing to fossil fuels.

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Glamour hasn’t gone out of style during the Great Recession. It’s just gone quiet as Jaguar dealers and wealth management gurus see their customers making more prudent purchases. But business owners serving a less privileged clientele have different stories to tell.

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Kevin Cullen, in a column in today’s Boston Globe, shines a light on how Gov. Deval Patrick is insisting on political loyalty as he assembles his leadership team for a second term. There’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting to reward your political supporters, but it’s a risky time to be overt about it, particularly with the patronage scandal brewing at the state’s Probation Department.

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It's hardly news that higher levels of educational attainment bring greater pay and economic security. But it's one of those truths, like the benefits of regular exercise, that probably can’t be invoked too often because the stakes are so high and the number of people that would benefit from taking action based on it is so large.

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Massachusetts is leading the way into a new Guilded Age. The Bay State has one of the largest income gaps between the rich and the poor in the country. The first installment of a two-part report in the Worcester Business Journal details how this yawning divide has affected business in Central Massachusetts.

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Another week, another round of head-scratching and hand-wringing over just who Scott Brown (Wrentham resident, truck owner, and current occupant of the People’s Seat in the US Senate) really is.

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It's hard to know whether to regard the steady drip of stories on patronage abuses in the state's Probation Department as utterly predictable or maddeningly outrageous. Both reactions are probably in order, and that's just the problem.  The calls made by politicians and court officials on behalf of probation job candidates are so much a part of how things work that it’s simply not that shocking to learn of new examples. Yet each case adds to the feeling that these and other public sector jobs are often wired for those with connections to inside players.

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Michelle Rhee has certainly landed on her feet. Rhee stepped down as chancellor of the Washington, DC, public school system in October after the mayor who hired her was tossed out by the voters, a defeat for which she says her policies are to blame. Rhee, who spent a couple months mulling her future, has launched an education reform organization called StudentsFirst.org with a goal of attracting 1 million members and $1 billion within a year.

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Few, save the most minimalist proponents of small government, think there’s much left to cut in the state budget without inflicting pain, so it’s now a matter of whose priorities get spared and where to find those reductions to close the projected $1.5 billion gap in the next budget.

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While Sarah Palin goes the reality show route to boost her popularity and reduce her negatives, Mitt Romney takes a more conventional path to building presidential gravitas: holding forth on the issues of the day in the op-ed pages of the country’s leading newspapers and news websites.

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There was tough talk aplenty in Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.

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Headlines about housing woes are usually followed by tales of low-income families squeezed by the sky-high cost of housing in Greater Boston. But that very difficult reality has obscured a very different housing story that is playing out in the state's Gateway Cities, where subsidized housing has taken over local housing markets and is holding back the recovery of these second-tier cities.

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Well-educated people tend to congregate together, and sometimes so do high school dropouts.

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Suspended, and likely to be soon ousted, commissioner of Probation John O’Brien is fighting back.

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When it comes to taxes, presidents can’t get a break and Barack Obama is no exception. Obama is on the defensive after the announcement of a tax deal that includes a 13-month extension of unemployment benefits and a two-year extension of tax cuts for the middle class and the wealthy.

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The midterm elections last month presented the country with the prospect of a deadlocked Congress, one that had been birthed by obstructionism, and one whose leadership measured success in terms of a zero-sum caged death-match.

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Whooping cough, an infectious bacterial disease that causes uncontrollable coughing, used to be one of the most common childhood diseases in the United States and a major cause of childhood deaths. Then a vaccine was developed and the disease became something of an oddity. But not in California.

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The Cambridge City Council fired up its version of the Wayback Machine last night and transported us all the way back to the dark days of early 2009. At the time, the economy was a wreck, unemployment was sky-high, and everybody knew exactly whom to blame for the mess: bankers. Thus, protests raged on Wall Street, and mobs piled into buses and spit venom at AIG execs. Even the president tossed around words like “outrage.” Continue Reading
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Another Monday, another impressive spread on the Boston Globe op-ed page devoted to the thoughts of retired Boston high school teacher Junia Yearwood. Continue Reading
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By Paul McMorrow

The last time Charlie Baker trumpeted the endorsement of a celebrated defector, it didn’t go so well.  After picking off Tim Cahill’s erstwhile running mate, Paul Loscocco, the Republican gubernatorial candidate staged a show of force at his South Boston campaign headquarters. Baker’s handlers thought they were finally close to ridding themselves of Cahill; instead, their candidate was widely panned for rolling around in the muck of closed-door politics. Continue Reading
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Gabrielle Gurley

Wind siting reform legislation continues to go nowhere fast. 

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By Michael Jonas

Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich’s fate is now in the hands of a federal jury.  The Chicago press has had a field day with the circus-like corruption trial of Blago, who has often served as ringmaster at what could be his own wake, working the crowd with handshakes when he arrives in court each day like it’s a campaign stop. There has been no better chronicler of the courthouse follies than Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass, who dubbed the defendant Dead Meat as soon as Blago was first charged.  Read his latest offering here

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By Michael Jonas

It is a mild understatement to say there is plenty that initial media reports and the Obama administration had wrong about Shirley Sherrod.  But the lessons involve more than just the unconscionable failure to conduct even the most basic vetting of the story, which was peddled by a right-wing blogger with a history of loose attachment to facts and balanced reporting.

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By Gabrielle Gurley

US Sen. Scott Brown continues to gain national prominence as Washington’s new go-to guy. All it takes these days is a letter from Brown to signal the way the legislative winds are blowing on Capitol Hill. So says Washington Post reporter Perry Bacon Jr in a Friday profile of the freshman senator’s ballooning influence on inside the Beltway politics and policy. Continue Reading
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By Bruce Mohl

I went to the Boston Common this morning because I was curious about Sarah Palin. I wanted to see for myself whether she was the vacuous caricature I laughed at on Saturday Night Live or a politician of some substance whose image is distorted by the mainstream media. Continue Reading
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