Spring 2012

Spring 2012

Society’s lepers

Society’s lepers

The state classifies 2,400 sex offenders as dangerous and likely to reoffend, but some question the accuracy of those judgements

on a chilly night in early February, the Massa­chusetts website that informs the public where the state’s most dangerous sex offenders are living indicates 41 of them are staying at Boston’s Pine Street Inn. The homeless shelter’s guests, according to their website profiles, include men who have raped and abused children, committed indecent assault and(...)

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Calling for backup

Mental health clinicians work with police officers in Framingham to make referrals instead of arrests

the framingham police officer called for a different sort of backup. He was at a department store in a local mall where a woman suspected of shop­lifting was acting strangely. She was visibly upset and didn’t seem to be a sophisticated criminal, so the officer called in the department’s mental health clinician. By the time(...)

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Log-on learning

Log-on learning

Could online learning transform American education?

   Brynn Wetherbee, an eighth grader from Clinton, is a student at the Massachusetts  Virtual Academy, the state’s first full-time online school. school books, papers, and two laptop computers are spread out on the dining room table of the Wether­bee family home in Clinton, a small town 15 miles northeast of Worcester. Taryn and Brynn,(...)

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The Haiti-Boston connection

The Haiti-Boston connection

Union workers from Massachusetts help build a new teaching hospital in an impoverished country

jim ansara looks out over the sprawling 180,000-square-foot National Teaching Hospital under construction in Mirebalais, a town in the central plateau of Haiti. Audacious in conception, innovative in execution, the hospital is a joint effort of the Haitian Ministry of Health and Partners In Health, the Boston-based global health organization founded by Paul Farmer.  (...)

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Beacon Hill’s army of influence

Beacon Hill’s army of influence

special interests spent more than $67 million last year lobbying on Beacon Hill, the equivalent of about $335,000 per lawmaker, according to state records. The Massachusetts Teachers Association was the top spender at $964,000, followed closely by Part­ners HealthCare at $913,000. There was a sharp drop-off in spending after the top two, but the group(...)

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Chasing the middle class

Chasing the middle class

Brown and Warren campaign as defenders of the middle class

the 2012 massachusetts Senate election is shaping up as a competition for the hearts and minds (and votes) of the Bay State middle class. Both US Sen. Scott Brown and his leading Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren, are furiously spinning themselves as both members of and advocates for the middle class, while disparaging the other’s middle-class(...)

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Closed-door government

Closed-door government

the machinery of government, whether it’s a regulatory proceeding or the route a bill takes to become law, is de­signed to give members of the public the chance to voice their opinions, to let them evaluate the positions taken by their elected officials, and to give elected officials the chance to reach consensus through the(...)

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Spring 2012 Correspondence

Museum defends $1 per year lease Your article, “Freeloading” (Winter ’12) raised concerns over a number of state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) leases, including one with the Museum of Science. Colman Herman correctly points out that the Museum of Science has a 99-year, $1 dollar-per-year lease for the property on which it is(...)

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The great divide

The great divide

Charles Murray spotlights an important gap, but goes looking in all the wrong places to explain it

Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960 – 2010By Charles MurrayNew York, Crown Forum, 407 pages Reviewed by Ralph Whitehead, Jr in the america of 1960, writes Charles Murray in Coming Apart, the lives of white people with a bachelor’s degree or better and the lives of white people with a high school diploma(...)

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Rock star science

Rock star science

Nobel Prize winner Craig Mello is about to step on to a new stage

  Craig Mello and UMass Medical School Chancellor Michael Collins, with the Albert B. Sherman Center in the background. craig mello is sitting in a chair outside the office of UMass Medical School Chancellor Michael Collins. Mello is dressed casually, his hair stylishly long. I introduce myself and within seconds the famed biologist is talking(...)

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