Columnist uses his imagination

In his recent columns, Lowell Sun columnist Peter Lucas seems to be letting his imagination run a little wild.

A week ago he posted a column based on a WGBH interview with Senate President Stanley Rosenberg in which Rosenberg talked at length about his “shared leadership” style. In one paragraph of the WGBH story, Rosenberg noted that former Senate president William Bulger delegated authority to his committee chairs. “Not that he didn’t, when he had an opinion, express it and have some capacity to be influential,” Rosenberg said. WGBH introduced that single reference to Bulger with a section headline that said “one of [Rosenberg’s] leadership role models is….Bill Bulger.”

Lucas seized on that one paragraph and said it was laughable for Rosenberg to view Bulger as a role model. He said Bulger ran the Senate “like the tyrant that he was with an iron first for 17 unchallenged years.” Lucas also went on to make the claim that “Rosenberg, who was raised as an orphan, apparently looked up to Bill Bulger as the older brother that he never had when he entered the Senate in 1991.” That’s some pretty fanciful psychoanalyzing about a view of Bulger never actually articulated by Rosenberg, who, by the way, was not an orphan, as Lucas says, but was separated from his family and raised in the state’s foster care system.

In his Tuesday column, Lucas referred to a Boston Globe story earlier this month on US Rep. Joseph Kennedy II holding between $180,000 and $450,000 of stock in Gilead Scientific, the maker of the $1,000-a-pill hepatitis C drug Sovaldi. Then he drew some dots between Kennedy’s holdings in Gilead and a letter Attorney General Maura Healey sent to the company back in January threatening legal action over its high prices.

Lucas’s conclusion? Healey and Kennedy are on a “political collision course.”

“It appears that Healey had Kennedy in mind when she released her Gilead letter, which indicates that she had advance knowledge about Kennedy’s questionable investment,” he wrote.

It’s unclear how Lucas reached that conclusion, although the leap allowed the conservative columnist to take shots at Healey, Kennedy, and even US Rep. Seth Moulton. Every columnist is entitled to their opinion, but they’re not entitled to make things up.

–BRUCE MOHL

 

BEACON HILL

Gov. Charlie Baker sees “something really big” coming in criminal justice reform. (State House News)

Baker pledges to boost funding for affordable housing. (Boston Globe)

A study suggests female prison inmates in Massachusetts are being illegally shackled while giving birth. (Masslive)

A Boston Herald editorial says legislators with “an ounce of fiscal sense” will vote against the so-called millionaire’s tax at tomorrow’s Constitutional Convention gathering of the House and Senate.

The Legislature advances a bill that is intended to be a compromise limiting noncompete agreements in business hiring, but it includes a provision that big employers aren’t happy with. (Boston Globe)

An Eagle-Tribune editorial takes aim at professional licensing boards, saying someone shouldn’t need a license to cut hair.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

A superior court judge has ordered the Walsh administration to release data on the race and ethnic background of city employees, something the administration vigorously resisted despite Mayor Marty Walsh taking office with a pledge to increase diversity and transparency at City Hall. (Boston Globe)

A skating complex in Worcester’s Canal District wins the backing of a business group and a developer active in the area. (Telegram & Gazette)

A Quincy city councilor failed to get support from his colleagues in his attempt to cut new management positions and departments proposed by Mayor Thomas Koch in the fiscal 2017 budget. (Patriot Ledger)

Medway selectmen approved an agreement with the operator of a proposed marijuana cultivation facility in exchange for funds for firefighting equipment, youth programs, and substance abuse curricula in schools, as well as money for the town’s general fund. (MetroWest Daily News)

New Bedford officials rescinded their plan to issue parking tickets on Saturdays after it met with intense opposition from downtown business owners. (Standard-Times)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

The Supreme Court, trying to avoid 4-4 deadlocks on a major issues, sent a case back to the lower court to find a compromise involving religious groups opposed to the Obamacare mandate to provide contraception coverage. (New York Times)

The nation’s highest court also refused to hear an appeal of the parishioners of St. Francis X. Cabrini in Scituate, who have occupied the building for 11 years in an effort to block the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston from shutting it down. (WBUR)

Memphis develops a new anti-blight strategy. (Governing)

Goldie Michelson of Worcester becomes the oldest person in America at the age of 113. (Telegram & Gazette)

RELIGION

A group of Scituate parishioners will abandon their 11-year vigil at a shuttered church and form their own “independent Catholic church” after the Supreme Court refused to hear their appeal to keep the Boston Archdiocese from closing and selling the property. (Patriot Ledger) Peter Gelzinis talks to some of the dejected parishioners who fought the fight for their church. (Boston Herald)

A judge in Rhode Island ruled the congregants are the rightful owners of the nation’s oldest synagogue in Newport and its valuable ceremonial bells, rejecting a claim by the Congregation Shearith Israel in New York that they hold title. (Associated Press)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Officials from Verizon and the union representing 39,000 workers will return to the bargaining table in an effort to resolve the six-week strike. (Associated Press)

The owner of the Major League Soccer team in Orlando, Florida, is using the controversial EB-5 visa program to help fund construction of a new stadium. (New York Times) The program, which allows foreign investors to gain residency in the US with a minimum $500,000 investment, was the subject of a CommonWealth story last year.

Employers around the country are having a hard time finding workers who can pass pre-employment drug tests. (New York Times)

EDUCATION

A Lowell High School senior has resorted to crowdfunding her college tuition costs because her parents are in financial straits and she only has $1,000 saved from summer jobs. (Boston Globe)

Bristol Community College is part of a nationwide pilot program funded by the federal government to allow low-income students to take some college courses while still in high school. (Herald News)

Boston Public Schools students, who walked out in March to protest budget cuts, plan another walkout today over budget issues. (Boston Globe)

Schools in Massachusetts are struggling to come up with ways to help students who are confronting mental health issues. (Boston Globe)

Some activists say the US attorney’s probe of race issue at Boston Latin School, announced three months ago, should have some answers by now. (Boston Herald)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Doctors and nurses at Partners HealthCare hospitals say a new electronic medical records system meant to streamline operations is instead making huge demands on their time and detracting from their patient encounters. (Boston Globe)

Marcia Angell, a former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, makes the case for Medicare-for-all. (Boston Globe)

TRANSPORTATION

The MBTA’s Fiscal Management and Control Board is briefed on “parking revenue discrepancies” at two lots. (CommonWealth)

Danvers Police Chief Patrick Ambrose says the intersection at Route 128 at Route 62 is a “horrible design that does not work.” The number of accidents in the area has increased dramatically since changes were made at the intersection. (Salem News)

Cape and Islands harbormasters, fearful of groundings by larger vessels, are concerned about the Coast Guard’s decision to remove or relocate more than 30 buoys for cost-saving measures. (Cape Cod Times)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Two South Boston brothers who beat a homeless Hispanic man and urinated on him while yelling racial epithets receive two to three year prison sentences plus probation for their deeds. (Boston Globe)

In an oped, Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz defends his office against criticism that he waited too long to inform the public of the murder of a 78-year-old Plymouth woman earlier this month. (The Enterprise)

MEDIA

A federal judge has ruled in favor of Comcast, saying WHDH-TV, the Boston NBC affiliate, has no right to demand that NBC, which Comcast owns, engage in contract renewal negotiations. (Boston Globe)

About 30 media outlets in San Francisco, led by the San Francisco Chronicle, will pool resources and join forces for a one-day flood of stories on the homelessness crisis in the city. (New York Times)

Twitter may ease its 140-character rule. (Reuters)

Los Angeles Times music critic Sasha Frere-Jones is leaving after 10 months on the job amid reports about controversial expenses, including a $5,000 strip club visit. (The Wrap)