Scott Brown as president?

Ed Markey must be breathing a little easier today. Ever since he won his US Senate seat in June, Markey has been worried about Scott Brown coming after him. Brown’s charisma and fund-raising potential could make him a formidable rival for Markey, but it’s been hard getting a read on Brown’s political ambitions. He has dropped hints that he might run for governor of Massachusetts or for a US Senate seat from New Hampshire, but now he’s jumped the shark and announced that he’s testing the waters for a White House run.

Traveling through North Dakota on his way to Iowa, Brown told the Des Moines Register on Saturday that he wanted to see if there’s interest in “my brand of politics, being a strong national security hawk and a fiscal conservative.” He sent the Boston Herald into a tizzy by phoning from Iowa and saying he wants to see if there’s room in the party for a “bipartisan problem solver.”

The Herald’s Kimberly Atkins says Bay Staters may be tempted to roll their eyes about a Brown presidential bid, but then asserts that Brown may not be as big an underdog as we think. The Globe’s Adrian Walker is more skeptical, saying he doesn’t want to make light of Brown’s presidential prospects but then questions whether he really has any.

Time reports that Iowa has become a battleground for the heart and soul of the Republican Party, with Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz all struggling to gain control of the party’s warring factions. Apparently Brown now wants to be a part of that fight, too, but it’s still too early to say what his end goal really is.

                                                                                                                                                                           BRUCE MOHL

BEACON HILL

An online unemployment benefits system is full of bugs.

AP does a study of of the $118 million lobbying business in Massachusetts — nearly twice the budget of the Legislature — and finds the number of lobbyists more than doubled between 2005 and 2012, about eight lobbyists to each legislator.

The Herald editorial page applauds the pluck of seniors who protested fare hikes on the MBTA’s Ride last week, but notes that if the protesters got the equity they’re asking for, they’d be paying a lot more than 6.9 percent of the cost of their transit service.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

The Lawrence pension system is underfunded by $204 million, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

Some local officials on the South Shore are lining up behind a proposal that would give cities and towns control over how many liquor licenses they issue.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory vetoes legislation requiring drug testing for welfare recipients, Governing reports.

A panel of religious leaders set up by US Sen. Charles Grassley to advise him on tax matters concerning nonprofits has issued a report proposing to ease restrictions on political activity by churches and other charities.

Paul Krugman, on the Affordable Care Act: “We have this system in which Congress passes laws, the president signs them, and then they go into effect.” Sounds simple, no?

ELECTIONS

Boston mayoral candidates go after the gay vote. Michael Jonas looked at the issue last week for CommonWealth.

Boston mayoral hopeful Mike Ross talks up transit, and throws an elbow at rival Marty Walsh while he’s at it. CommonWealth recently looked at Ross’s uphill climb for votes.

Mayoral hopeful John Connolly has trouble using Boston’s website.

The Dorchester Reporter looks at the late-breaking candidacy of Boston activist Jamarhl Crawford, who’s taking on city councilor Tito Jackson.

Republicans discover Spanish.

New York’s newspapers complete the anti-Eliot Spitzer endorsement sweep.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

A proposed 2.1-million square foot project in Westwood that has been held up for six years because of a dispute over the traffic impact in Canton has been resolved after Canton selectmen approved a traffic mitigation agreement with the developer.

EDUCATION

The MetroWest Daily News supports a bill that would remove the charter cap in struggling school districts and expand administrators’ ability to make drastic changes in turnaround schools.

HEALTH CARE

CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has a one-hour documentary on the benefits of medical marijuana, which he says has caused him to rethink and apologize for his past zealous opposition to legalizing pot.

TRANSPORTATION

Is the French bidder for the MBTA’s commuter rail contract up to snuff?

California experiments with congestion pricing on expressways and also rewards drivers who take public transit with credits toward tolls, Governing reports.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

The Conservation Law Foundation and ISO-New England, the entity that manages the New England power grid, take opposing stances on the need for a new gas-fired power plant in Salem, the Salem News reports.

Seals on the Cape attract sharks and sharks attract tourists. Meanwhile, a shark is spotted in the waters off of Wellfleet, which leads to some brief beach closings.

An environmental group is trying to stop the Department of Recreation and Conservation from logging in the Freetown-Fall River State Forest, which the agency says is needed to clear the forest from trees damaged by off-road vehicles.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Republican state Rep. James Lyons Jr. calls on Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan to resign for allowing Jared Remy to walk free after a domestic dispute and then allegedly killing his girlfriend two days later, NECN reports.

MEDIA

The five-member Beat the Press panel discusses the age-old question: Is journalism a viable career choice? And the answer from the three working journalists and two journalism professors on the panel? Of course it is.

The partner of Glenn Greenwald, the reporter for the Guardian who has been writing about the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden,  is detained traveling through London under a British counterterrorism law, the New York Times reports.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Bill Clinton corrects what he says are errors in a New York Times piece on the financial difficulties of the Clinton Foundation, Media Matters reports.

In a Globe oped, former US Sen. John Sununu pans the proposed journalist shield law in Congress but Dan Kennedy can’t figure out what the heck he’s saying.