Scott Brown’s secret

Two stories tucked inside the metro section of The Boston Globe this morning help explain why US Sen. Scott Brown is going to be hard to beat.

The first story is a bit of fluff, but the picture of Brown in combat fatigues being met by his wife at Logan Airport as he returns from weeklong military training in Afghanistan is political gold. The story notes Brown has been a member of the National Guard (he’s currently a lieutenant colonel in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps) since 1979, but this is the first time he has deployed to a war zone. He asked for the assignment last spring.

In the second story, Boston Mayor Tom Menino tries to explain Brown’s popularity and, in his own unique style, express the uneasiness that exists in some quarters about the expected candidacy of Elizabeth Warren.

“Scott Brown has something about him that people gravitate to,” Menino said. The mayor, I think, sees a lot of himself in Brown, a politician who is repeatedly underestimated. “He’s out in the neighborhood, he’s out talking,” said Menino. “It’s like he’s running for City Council. He’s out shaking hands. At every event that’s possible, Scott shows up.”

Warren is also out talking to people on a carefully arranged listening tour around the state, but Menino expresses an uneasiness with the Harvard Law School professor and the media’s fascination with her.

“You know, the media can’t make you. You have to be saleable. Do I know she can be saleable? I don’t know that…. But I think you have to be out there and squeeze the flesh and see how they feel.”

Hmmm, I think I get it.

                                                                                                                                                                            –BRUCE MOHL


Gov. Deval Patrick, examining storm damage caused by Irene in the western part of the state, flew into the tiny town of Heath by helicopter because of closed roads in the region, including a seven-mile stretch of Route 2. The Globe looks at how relief efforts are going in the hard-hit Western Mass. town of Colrain.

Lawmakers representing many of the estimated 42,000 people still without power in Massachusetts stepped up their calls for answers from utility companies, State House News Service reports, via the Lowell Sun. NECN reports only 20,000 are without power. Lawmakers say they will seek legislation to ensure utilities are adequately prepared for future disasters or face consquences. The Christian Science Monitor looks at which states restored power the quickest and why.

Not surprisingly, US Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont doesn’t much like US Rep. Eric Cantor’s disaster-funds-for-budget-cuts formula. And the Democrats plan to take advantage of it.  Nicole Gelinas, a contributing editor at the right-leaning Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, writes on the Globe op-ed page that Tea Partiers and the GOP presidential contenders should be careful before blistering federal hurricane relief spending.


Rep. Jay Kaufman, the House chairman of the Legislature’s Revenue Committee, is turning into a skeptic on the state’s film tax credit. “It’s time to stop flying blind,” he writes  in CommonWealth.

State Rep. David Torrisi, who represents Lawrence, writes a blistering letter to the editor criticizing sloppy reporting by the Eagle-Tribune. He doesn’t mention Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua, but writes: “Slowly, the city is getting its fiscal house in order but there have been tough cuts made for the city to live within its means.”

CommonWealth’s Back Story examines the fight between automobile insurance companies and agents over the use of credit scores, occupation, and education in setting rates.

Casino opponents have lost their big guns on Beacon Hill with the departure in recent years of several key anti-casino lawmakers. The biggest departed anti-casino force decrying the social ills of expanded gambling was Sal DiMasi. Paul McMorrow captures the irony of that given the ex-speaker’s current predicament.

Boston convention center honcho Jim Rooney is wooing state lawmakers to get behind plans for a $2 billion expansion of the South Boston center.


State officials said New Bedford and surrounding towns are at a “high risk” of West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis after infected mosquitoes were found in all four of the city’s collection sites.

A report prepared for the city of Peabody finds the city’s municipal light plant is woefully inefficient in managing its finances, the Salem News reports.

The first Cambridge City Council candidates’ debate centered on a man not on the ballot — city manager Bob Healy.


Eugenie Beal, writing in CommonWealth, offers some suggestion to the Gang of Twelve.

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown explains why the global arithmetic of youth unemployment makes for frightening reading.

Stop us if you’ve heard this one: The American Spectator has determined Chicago activist Bill Ayers and his wife are lifelong Marxists who advocate the violent overthrow of the United States government and have a closer relationship to President Obama than any of them have acknowledged.

Obama is wisely keeping his distance from his recently arrested uncle, with a White House spokesman saying the president expects the deportation case to be treated “like any other immigration case.”

Paul Krugman batters Rep. Eric Cantor over disaster relief.


Republican voters are concerned about illegal immigration.

More on Mitt Romney’s tea party woes. Here’s Romney’s strategy for getting the group on his side — describe its members as the inclusive, welcoming bunch they say they are.

The Wall Street Journal endorses Jon Huntsman’s economic plan, which would lower tax rates while closing loopholes, and says the package should earn him more traction than he’s been enjoying lately.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry takes heat from the right and the left over his use of job-relocation funds.

Sarah Palin won’t quit pretending she might run for president.

The Wall Street Journal looks at the Senate map in 2012. Scott Brown’s reelection campaign looms large for both parties.


Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have been bailed out to the tune of $141 billion, will sue a dozen big banks, including Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan, over billions in bad mortgage securities. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is asking Bank of America how it plans on paying for its fresh litigation headaches while still remaining a going concern. The Fed is also turning up the heat on Goldman.

Homelessness is not a new phenomenon in California, but what is new is that more and more of the homeless families once believed they were secure members of the middle class, Time reports.

Just days after getting the green light from an environmental review, software developer Meditech announced it is canceling plans for a five-story office building in a Freetown office park because of demands by the Massachusetts Historical Commission to have archeologists sift through, inspect, and preserve more than 21 acres of the planned site. The expansion would have created more than 800 jobs.


A Lynn mother has launched a petition drive to overturn a 1988 school policy that she says gives preference to nonwhite students who want to switch schools. The policy, which prevented her daughter’s transfer, was put in place to prevent racial isolation of minorities, but now whites are the minority in Lynn. The Lynn schools are 25 percent white, nearly 50 percent Latino, and 12 percent black, the Item reports.

Springfield may want back money it paid as a housing bonus to School Superintendent Alan Ingram but the city actually owes him money.

If the University of Massachusetts at Amherst  wants the best and the brightest, the state is going to have to allocate more money to build a campus and faculty that is worthy of them, says the Springfield Republican.

A proposed relocation of one of Boston’s entrance exam schools, Boston Latin Academy, to Hyde Park is drawing heated opposition from parents and staff, the Globe reports.


Drilling around the I-90 sinkhole will begin next month.


The British parent company of a proposed 350-megawatt power plant in Brockton purchased the Internet domain — of the main opponent of the controversial plant and shut the site down until the Enterprise began making inquiries.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission cited Entergy for inadequate training and lax enforcement of standards during an unplanned shutdown of the company’s Pilgrim power plant in Plymouth in May.


The small Record Searchlight newspaper in California awards points to readers who view stories, comment on stories, or share news on Facebook. The result: more readers are competing for points and getting involved, reports the Nieman Journalism Lab.

It’s one of those annoying galleries, but The Daily Beast offers up 21 must-read books for the fall, including Joan Didion’s Blue Nights, Ron Suskind’s Confidence Men, and a Stephen King novel about the assassination of JFK.

The paraphrasing of a Martin Luther King Jr. quote on the side of the civil rights leader’s memorial in Washington makes him look like a twit, says poet Maya Angelou. Time gives its analysis.