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The Download: Sen. Warren? (Elizabeth, that is)

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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.

After all, why would Warren willingly leave the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington – an agency the Harvard law professor spent much of her career advocating for, and one she is currently molding in her own image – just to take an outside run at the People’s Seat, against an incumbent who’s swimming in cash? The attraction on the Draft Warren movement is obvious (the Globe previously sketched out the rationale for a Warren candidacy).

Without a candidate hungry for the Senate seat, though, the whole thing is just an exercise in fantasy. And like state Democrats’ previous bout of anti-Brown star-candidate-lust, this very public search for a better candidate just serves to highlight the relative weakness of the current field lining up against Brown.

The dynamic may be changing, though.

Yesterday, Paul Krugman bemoaned Republicans’ long-running war against Warren. Warren was President Barack Obama’s first and only choice to run the new consumer protection bureau, but Republicans made it clear she wouldn’t win Senate confirmation. She was forced into the White House, where she’s shaping the new financial agency without technically running the thing. The administration’s hope was that, by buying Warren time to charm industry insiders, she would calm widespread fears about her hatred of capitalism.

Krugman’s column makes it clear that over the past six months, there’s been no softening toward Warren on the right. If anything, her time inside the White House has given her hardened opponents even more fodder to use in opposing her eventual nomination to head the financial bureau.

Warren’s agency is scheduled to launch in July. If Warren’s most recent appearance before Congress is any indication, it may have to launch without her. If it does, Republicans could hand Massachusetts Democrats the candidate they’ve been coveting ever since Scott Brown seized Ted Kennedy’s seat – a liberal darling with a national profile and nothing to lose.

                                                                                                                                                            --PAUL MCMORROW

BEACON HILL

Sen. Brian Joyce is pushing once again to privatize the state-owned Ponkapoag Golf Course in Canton.

Gov. Deval Patrick appoints Dr. Ira Lapidus as the chairman of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Board. He is the first person from western Massachusetts to head the council board.

The Boston Herald finds fault with the way Patrick and House Speaker Robert DeLeo have approached the latest round of the casino debate.

New Census data, the cornerstone of the redistricting effort, arrive at the State House today.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Local lawmakers express outrage over the revelation that the head of Lawrence’s anti-poverty agency was spending as little as 15 hours a week in the office, the Eagle-Tribune reports. The agency’s head, Phillip Laverriere, told the Tribune he would not step down.

Framingham municipal workers agree to an 84/16 percent split on health insurance, which will save the town about $2 million.

Community Development Block Grant funds help fill empty storefronts in downtown Attleboro.

WASHINGTON

A Herald editorial equates US Reps. Steve Lynch and Mike Capuano with Vladimir Putin and Hugo Chavez.

Social Security Disability Income will become the first major government fund to become insolvent.

ELECTION 2012

Vice President Joe Biden swings by the Hancock tower offices of Jack Connors to raise friends.

Tim Pawlenty makes his obvious candidacy official, with another video, because that’s his medium. Salon’s Alex Pareene likens the video to “some awful JJ Abrams film, with the shaky cam and the lens flare.” Pareene also wonders where the former Minnesota governor’s Southern accent came from. And one item from the Gotcha Dept: Pawlenty found most of the non-whites in his presidential announcement on Getty Images.

Haley Barbour test drives messages for overcoming his insider/lobbyist handicaps.

Good news, Democrats: One of your swing state incumbents in the Senate has tax troubles.

EDUCATION

The Globe editorial page thinks a state task force revamping teacher evaluations is a bit wimpy in its report due out today. The paper urges state education commissioner Mitchell Chester to give the new evaluations more teeth and less education mumbo-jumbo.

The director of Boston's school cafeteria services was given the boot after hundreds of cases of out-of-date food were found in 40 different schools. Okay, it's not quite Upton Sinclair-level stuff, but the expose is a big feather in the cap of City Councilor (and mayoral wannabe) John Connolly, who has single-handedly uncovered and driven this story.

The state’s Board of Higher Education today is expected to approve a change in admissions that would require four years of math for incoming students. But most Massachusetts high schools only offer the required three years of math and there’s little money to add on more teachers.  WBUR also look at the new plan.

Lobsang Sangay, a Harvard Law School fellow living in Medford (yes, the same workaday burg which gave New York its billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg) is favored to become the leader of the Tibetan-government-in-exile, the Globe reports.

Bill Gates talks to the Wall Street Journal about his quest to save education.

TRANSPORTATION

People living in compact urban areas with good mass transit will weather rising gas prices with fewer issues, according to a new study.

A draft report from the Army Corps of Engineers says the best option for the proposed South Coast Rail would be through Stoughton, the same conclusion the state has reached in two reports since 1993. Railroad opponents from Attleboro are thankful the train likely won’t run through their city, but they remain opposed to the project nonetheless.

US Rep. John Olver is in a prime position on the congressional subcommittee that will decide how to dole out the $2.4 billion in high speed rail funds the governor of Florida turned down.

ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT

Unable to block construction of a proposed power plant through zoning or the courts, Brockton city councilors approved a home-rule petition that would prohibit a stationary source of pollution within a mile of a church, school, housing or “environmental justice community,” densely populated neighborhoods of low-income minorities or non-English speakers.

Gloucester will have to build a secondary wastewater treatment facility if the EPA denies the city’s request to go without one, the Gloucester Times reports.

The town of Hookset, New Hampshire, will pay for the cleanup of plastic discs that escaped from the town’s wastewater treatment plant. Meanwhile, Lynn is the latest community to see the discs begin washing up on its beaches.

HEALTH CARE

WBUR looks at why infant mortality rates in Boston are so much higher among blacks than whites.

CRIME

The never-ending wallops of winter were good for something: the snow and cold are at least part of the explanation for a big dip in Boston crime over the first months of the year, the Globe says.

UNIONS

Goin' back to Indiana? Not yet: Democratic lawmakers in Indianapolis copy their Wisconsin brethren and flee to Illinois to protest the Republican legislative agenda. 

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Adhesive and sealant manufacturer Bostik is beginning its cleanup after a March 13 explosion at its Middleton plant.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

A legal tussle between the US and Russia over some old books has caused the Russian government to recall all its loaned exhibits currently in American museums. The State Department and Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton are defying the order.

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