Michael Moore occupies Wall Street

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.

The Cape Cod Times learned about the meeting from a Dennisport reader and devoted Wednesday’s editorial, “Occupy the goals,” to Moore’s proposal, “10 Things We Want.” The points range from specific demands, such as calling for a permanent end to Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act banking regulatory framework, and a formal investigation into the 2008 crash, to more lofty (and politically problematic) demands, including a constitutional amendment for a Second Bill of Rights. As originally envisioned by Franklin Roosevelt, the bill would give “every American…a human right to employment, health care, a free and full education, breathe clean air, drink clean water and eat safe food, and be cared for with dignity and respect in their old age.”

The Cape paper did not agree with all the planks, but said that “several make sense” and asked readers to comment on the ones that appealed to them.

Moore’s effort comes at a make-or-break time for a movement that struck a chord with its message of economic inequality, but threatens to dissolve into irrelevance due to its public-spaces takeover tactics.  

Occupy Boston has so far avoided the scale of violence faced by its Oakland brethren. But that could change. Lawyers for Boston Mayor Thomas Menino argue in court that the city can oust Occupy Boston protesters because their camp in Dewey Square violates health and fire codes, Channel 5 reports. A court hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

Meanwhile, police in Los Angeles evicted Occupy protesters and left the campsite a mess, the Los Angeles Times reports. Philadelphia also forced its Occupy encampment out of City Hall plaza to make way for a scheduled renovation project.

Confrontations detract from the Occupy Wall Street message, but Moore’s effort shows that the movement still has legs. It’s getting a financial shot in the arm, too. The nonprofit Yes! Magazine has published a book called This Changes Everything: Occupy Wall Street and the 99% Movement and will donate the profits to the Occupy encampments around the country.

The move to get funds flowing to the groups comes on the heels of rapper Jay-Z’s “Occupy all Streets” T-shirt fiasco. Jay-Z created the shirts but occupied 100 percent of the profits, outraging occupiers nationwide and forcing the rapper to pull the goods from his online store.

His T-shirts may be headed for deep discounting in some off-the-beaten path dollar stores, but new forces are coming together to tap into Occupy Wall Street’s broad and deep appeal. If its original architects can’t come up with new strategies and tactics to get the movement through its winter of discontent, clearly others will.

                                                                                                                                                –GABRIELLE GURLEY

BEACON HILL

State education officials placed the Lawrence schools in receivership and are preparing to  appoint a new administrator, the Eagle-Tribune reports. The E-Trib runs the numbers on student performance, provides a timeline, and talks to students at Lawrence High.  The state already pays 98 percent of the Lawrence school budget, WBUR reports.  Here is the account from the Globe, which says this marks the first time the state has ever taken full control over a district school system.

The 2012 Massachusetts primary is scheduled for September 6, which coincides with the last night of the Democratic National Convention, when President Obama is likely to accept the party’s nomination, the Lowell Sun reports.

Former House speaker Sal DiMasi continues to claim his innocence as he heads off to jail, Channel 5 reports. “I absolutely did not break any laws,” he said.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Haverhill becomes the 13th community in Massachusetts to accept the state’s municipal health care reform law, the Eagle-Tribune reports. Lowell is negotiating with its public unions on health care changes, but if those talks break down the city manager says he will push to embrace the state law, the Lowell Sun reports.

Gloucester chalks up a $3.2 million fiscal 2011 surplus, the Gloucester Times reports.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

Republicans dig in over their opposition to a payroll tax cut extension.

Former treasury secretary Hank Paulson tipped inside information about the implosion of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to a small group of Wall Street execs.

ELECTION 2012

Barney Frank, offering a remarkable window into the backroom jockeying by incumbents in the congressional redistricting process, complains to the Globe that State House mapmakers redrew district lines in a way favorable to Ed Markey and Steve Lynch and harmful to his political fortunes. The Springfield Republican calls Frank’s retirement “a loss for Massachusetts and America.” The Newton Tab is also “sad.” The American Spectator continues the conservative dance over Frank’s departure, saying the decision not to make his case to new voters is in keeping with his inability to be accountable for anything.

Two Republicans, Elizabeth Childs of Brookline and Bristol Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, tell Emily Rooney why they are eyeing a run for Frank’s congressional seat. Republican State Sen. Richard Ross, who holds Scott Brown’s old State House seat, is also mulling a run. Asked about a possible congressional run, Joseph Kennedy III tells the Herald, “We’re not there yet,” but doesn’t explicitly rule out running for Frank’s seat. He tells the Globe he’ll “give it some thought in the coming days and weeks.”

The National Review was on the conference call Herman Cain made to his staff about “reassessing” his candidacy.

Another verbal stumble by Texas Gov. Rick Perry. NECN has the report.

Newt Gingrich ramps up his campaign in South Carolina.

Mitt Romney has let down Brian McGrory — yet again. Scot Lehigh isn’t too taken with the former governor’s latest moves, either.

The New York Times checks in with bitter, guns- and religion-clinging Pennsylvanians.

Jon Huntsman may run as an independent.

Republicans are losing ground in Tea Party strongholds, according to a new Pew Research Center report.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The Federal Trade Commission settles a sweeping privacy investigation with Facebook.

Continued tough sledding for the state housing market.

MIT has big plans for Kendall Square.

EDUCATION

The $195,000 salary of the superintendent-director of the North Shore Technical High School in Middleton stirs concern. The school has 450 students, the Salem News reports.

HEALTH CARE

Cholesterol-lowering Lipitor, the top-selling drug in the country, goes generic today.

Pittsfield moves to ban drug clinics downtown.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

The state’s effort to suspend the Pilgrim power plant’s relicensing review until the implications of the Japan nuclear disaster can be studied was rejected by the three-judge Nuclear Regulatory Commission panel overseeing the review.

The US is on track to become a net exporter of fuels for the first time in 62 years.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

The former president and secretary-treasurer of the MBTA’s inspectors union were indicted on charges of stealing nearly $350,000 from the union’s account.