Winter 2012

Winter 2012

State checkbook

In December, state Treasurer Steven Gross­man followed through on his campaign promise to put the state’s checkbook on­line at www.mass.gov/opencheckbook. After some fits and starts, the site is up and running, with improvements expected in the future. The content is not all that different from what’s available on some other web­sites, but the information is(...)

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Game on

Game on

The video game business is trying to move to the next level in Massachusetts. How much of a helping hand will state government offer?

  Baker College junior Matthew Herard, dressed in a suit festooned with sensors,moves in front of a green screen as cameras record his actions. His moves will beused to make a digital avatar that is more life-like. Herard says he’d like to go to work for Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios in Rhode Island after graduation.(...)

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An outside-the-Beltway strategy

An outside-the-Beltway strategy

Northampton-based Free Press has become a force in Washington by stoking public uprisings and refusing to compromise

most washington advocacy groups are based in Washington on the theory that it’s easier to influ­ence the federal government from the capital itself. But Free Press, an up-and-coming advocacy group that is an antagonist of media and Internet companies and thorn in the side of the Federal Communications Commission, is headquartered 400 miles away in(...)

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Smart on crime

Smart on crime

Conservatives in such states as Texas and Mississippi embrace reforms that are tough sellers in liberal Massachusetts

several of the nation’s most conservative, tough-on-crime states are spearheading a growing reform movement that’s cutting both crime and prison costs. The dramatic changes taking place in Texas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Kansas, and Kentucky are designed to keep people out of jail, but they weren’t launched because of pro-prisoner compassion. They are emerging from a(...)

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Campaign not much of a contest

Campaign not much of a contest

Massachusetts elections are becoming a little more of a contest, but not much

two years ago, we had stories showing the Bay State was dead last in the country for the number of contested races for the Legislature, with less than 17 percent of the seats having a candidate from both major parties in the 2008 election. By comparison, every one of Minnesota’s 134 House seats gave voters(...)

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The Bonin story

The Bonin story

The political persecution of a chief justice and the lessons for today.

it is no small irony that history, which is the study of the past, may also be the best pathway to understanding current events and anticipating the future. It is with that perspective that I wrote The Vidal Lecture: Sex and Politics in Massachu­setts and the Persecution of Chief Justice Robert Bonin (Chilmark/Ashburton Hill, 2011).(...)

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A Gateway to unintended consequences

A Gateway to unintended consequences

Gateway City criteria and benefits unfairly cut out deserving communities in need

what’s in a name? According to the Commo­n­wealth of Massachusetts, everything. In 2007, MassINC and the Brookings Institu­tion issued a report that used the phrase “Gate­way City” to describe “the state’s once-humming mill and manufacturing towns.” The report, which highlighted the economic problems and potential of these communities, created a buzz. The Com­monwealth responded by(...)

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Rule of law triumphs in resolution to Occupy Boston

Rule of law triumphs in resolution to Occupy Boston

The end of Occupy Boston was a peaceful success because the protestors respected the law.

the rise and fall of the Occupy Boston encampment at Dewey Square has been hailed as a model of how police and city officials should respond to peaceful political dissent in the public sphere. Compared with video footage of cops pepper-spraying and clubbing protestors in Oakland, San Francisco, New York, and elsewhere, Boston looked pretty(...)

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Back to the trenches

Back to the trenches

Steve Tolman left the Massachusetts Senate to run the state’s biggest labor organization, bringing his political skills with him.

even in massachusetts, the bluest of blue states, labor unions are on the defensive. Union membership keeps slipping. High unemployment plagues unions in the private sector, while public-sector unions are seeing their health care and pension benefits trimmed by usually friendly Democratic lawmakers. Steve Tolman until recently was one of those lawmakers. He says he(...)

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