Winter 2012

Winter 2012

Smart on crime

Smart on crime

Conservatives in such states as Texas and Mississippi embrace reforms that are tough sellers in liberal Massachusetts

several of the nation’s most conservative, tough-on-crime states are spearheading a growing reform movement that’s cutting both crime and prison costs. The dramatic changes taking place in Texas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Kansas, and Kentucky are designed to keep people out of jail, but they weren’t launched because of pro-prisoner compassion. They are emerging from a(...)

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Campaign not much of a contest

Campaign not much of a contest

Massachusetts elections are becoming a little more of a contest, but not much

two years ago, we had stories showing the Bay State was dead last in the country for the number of contested races for the Legislature, with less than 17 percent of the seats having a candidate from both major parties in the 2008 election. By comparison, every one of Minnesota’s 134 House seats gave voters(...)

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The Bonin story

The Bonin story

The political persecution of a chief justice and the lessons for today.

it is no small irony that history, which is the study of the past, may also be the best pathway to understanding current events and anticipating the future. It is with that perspective that I wrote The Vidal Lecture: Sex and Politics in Massachu­setts and the Persecution of Chief Justice Robert Bonin (Chilmark/Ashburton Hill, 2011).(...)

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A Gateway to unintended consequences

A Gateway to unintended consequences

Gateway City criteria and benefits unfairly cut out deserving communities in need

what’s in a name? According to the Commo­n­wealth of Massachusetts, everything. In 2007, MassINC and the Brookings Institu­tion issued a report that used the phrase “Gate­way City” to describe “the state’s once-humming mill and manufacturing towns.” The report, which highlighted the economic problems and potential of these communities, created a buzz. The Com­monwealth responded by(...)

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Rule of law triumphs in resolution to Occupy Boston

Rule of law triumphs in resolution to Occupy Boston

The end of Occupy Boston was a peaceful success because the protestors respected the law.

the rise and fall of the Occupy Boston encampment at Dewey Square has been hailed as a model of how police and city officials should respond to peaceful political dissent in the public sphere. Compared with video footage of cops pepper-spraying and clubbing protestors in Oakland, San Francisco, New York, and elsewhere, Boston looked pretty(...)

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Back to the trenches

Back to the trenches

Steve Tolman left the Massachusetts Senate to run the state’s biggest labor organization, bringing his political skills with him.

even in massachusetts, the bluest of blue states, labor unions are on the defensive. Union membership keeps slipping. High unemployment plagues unions in the private sector, while public-sector unions are seeing their health care and pension benefits trimmed by usually friendly Democratic lawmakers. Steve Tolman until recently was one of those lawmakers. He says he(...)

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Lawrence mayor, paper call temporary truce

Lawrence mayor, paper call temporary truce

mayor william lantigua’s successful appeal for the state to run the Lawrence Public Schools brought about another big development: the mayor sat down to talk with an Eagle-Tribune reporter who was writing about the takeover. It was a temporary cease-fire in the mayor’s long-running war with the newspaper, the Merrimack Valley’s largest regional daily. Equally(...)

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Two brothers, two sets of political viewpoints

Two brothers, two sets of political viewpoints

Rep.Vinny deMacedo, left, a Republican from Plymouth, and his brother Donald Macedo, a UMass Boston professor. Photo by Yawu Miller. contrasting experiences can give rise to sharply contrasting political views. Sometimes that happens even within a family. Vinny deMacedo, a Republican state representative, and his brother Donaldo Macedo, a professor at the Univer­sity of Massachusetts(...)

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