Summer 2011

Summer 2011

Social impact bonds

Social impact bonds

Boston company is looking for capitalists willing to invest in government social programs

tracy palandjian looks and acts like many of the other hotshot dealmakers in Boston. She dresses in upscale chic, occupies a 14th-floor office on State Street with panoramic views of the city, and peddles bonds to private investors. What sets her apart from most of her colleagues is the type of deals she’s pursuing. She’s(...)

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Liquor battle brewing

Liquor battle brewing

With Massachusetts law on wine shipments overturned, Congress struggles with who should regulate alcohol distribution

massachusetts has long guarded its unique rules for regulating alcohol, so state officials weren’t happy last year when the federal appeals court in Boston struck down a 2006 state law that barred large wineries from shipping their products directly to Bay State consumers. The three-judge panel ruled that the law violated the Constitution’s guarantee of(...)

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Mooring mess

Mooring mess

Private businesses are cashing in on access to public waters while boaters wait years for affordable mooring sites

Robert Guimond is like a lot of retirees who stay in Massachusetts. The biggest attraction for him is the ocean, which is why the former salesman for General Motors and his wife left New Hamp­shire and took up residence in their one-time vacation home in Bourne. Guimond’s pride and joy, aside from his family, is(...)

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Cracks in cap and trade

Cracks in cap and trade

the same carbon tax concerns that have stymied climate change legislation in Washington are now starting to gain some traction in the Northeast. Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, says he plans to pull his state out of the Regional Green­house Gas Initiative by the end of this year. The Republican-controlled House in(...)

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Mixed media

Mixed media

Dueling documentaries underscore the great divide in American education

the trend at first seemed heartening. The problems in the US education system had become so compelling that filmmakers recently produced several documentaries on the topic, with some even enjoying commercial success at theaters. It suggested that the critical issues facing schooling in America might finally be registering on a broad scale. But after attending(...)

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Criminal capacity

Criminal capacity

gov. deval patrick wants to close two prisons this year to save money, but the Legislature isn’t enthusiastic about the idea, partly because of fears about violence stemming from cramming too many prisoners into tight spaces. According to 2009 data from the US Department of Justice, Massachusetts has one of the 10 most overcrowded prison(...)

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Transparency missing from government

Transparency missing from government

MuckRock finds Public Records Law isn't working

For more on the Public Records Law, see CommonWealth’s updated guide to public records. last november i received an email from an attorney working at the Department of Transitional Assistance informing me that if I didn’t remove from my website information I had received from his office through a public records request, I could “be(...)

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Public records makeover

Public records makeover

CommonWealth long has focused on the need for greater transparency in government. We’ve highlighted the needless secrecy surrounding the recipients of state tax credits and the shortcomings of the financial disclosure forms filed by government officials. We’ve even had some success in addressing those issues. The state plans to start identifying the recipients of certain(...)

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Down the drain

Down the drain

Infrastructure needs a cheering section

infrastructure degrades slowly, indeed imperceptibly. The bus arrives a little less frequently; the subway breaks down a bit more often; the water pipe loses water through leakage; the sewer system adds a bit more pollution to the environment. For the most part, there is no political consequence from a deteriorating infrastructure. In contrast, investment in(...)

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Morphing Malcolm

Morphing Malcolm

Change was the one constant in a complicated life

Malcolm X: A Life of ReinventionBy Manning MarableNew York, Viking, 594 pagesReviewed by Kevin C. Peterson during the final weeks of his life, Malcolm X, the voluble and acerbic American Muslim evangelist, was in a veritable tailspin. No longer tethered to the Nation of Islam and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm’s tragic end was attended(...)

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