Cosby goes over the Cliff

Two people who you’d never think you’d see in jail or say a bad word in public? Bill Cosby and Cliff Huxtable. But that’s just where the 80-year-old actor and comedian and his alter ego may just spend the last years of his life after being convicted of sexual assault in a Pennsylvania courtroom.

One of the lasting images of Cosby will be his eruption after the conviction when he called the prosecutor an “a-hole,” without the dashes, when he moved to have the judge revoke Cosby’s $1 million bail.

Cosby’s conviction is a seminal moment in the #MeToo movement, mostly because women have always pointed to the difficulty of being believed when accusing rich and powerful public figures (See: Donald Trump), especially those with a well-developed persona of likability (See: Matt Lauer).

When the jury handed down its verdict of guilty against Cosby on three counts of indecent assault for drugging and raping a woman 14 years ago, the relief of many in the court was palpable. It was the second time the Shelburne Falls resident faced prosecution on the charges, the first time ending in a mistrial.

But to say that the #MeToo movement was the catalyst for the conviction would be to undermine the severity of the crimes and the evidence presented. What the new awareness did was empower women who previously felt they had to bite their tongues because, after all, who would believe a man with so much money and power had to resort to force and drugs to have sex?

It was just last year that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was revealed to be a serial predator and since then, the floodgates have opened. Those who had accused Trump during the campaign never really went away and now they’re being viewed in a new light.

But while it seems that the tide has turned at a rapid pace, that view would miss the decades of those who had been speaking truth to power, going back to Anita Hill and her accusations against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. At the time, polls showed the majority of Americans thought Hill was a woman spurned and was lying to get revenge against her former mentor. But soon after, the perception shifted and more people believed Hill over the recalcitrant justice.

Thomas begat Cosby; Hill begat Andrea Constand, the Cosby victim, one among dozens. It just took time. And fortitude.

“The seismic change that seems so sudden didn’t happen overnight,” writes Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan. “And the verdict that centered on one brave woman’s truth-telling required the courage of hundreds.”

JACK SULLIVAN


BEACON HILL

The House passed a $41 billion budget for fiscal 2019. (MassLive)

The Massachusetts Lottery prepares to crack down (sort of) on repeat winners who defy the odds. (WBUR)

The heads of 12 Massachusetts environmental groups urge Gov. Charlie Baker to move more quickly on offshore wind development. (CommonWealth)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Leominster paid a $10,000 bitcoin ransom to cyber extortionists who took control of the school department’s computer system during school vacation week. (Telegram & Gazette)

Opportunity zones are coming — here’s how they work. (Governing)

Mayor Marty Walsh said the decision to strip former Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey’s name from the street alongside Fenway Park will not solve the city’s race problems. (Boston Herald)

Quincy officials will reopen a controversial locked gate at a pedestrian crossing at the Quincy Adams MBTA station in September to allow foot traffic to resume from the back side of the station. The gate had been closed after residents complained about parking congestion but the area will be designated for residents-only parking. (Patriot Ledger)

New Bedford police, who have been without a contract since 2016, have agreed to a two-year contract with the city. Union officials called “by far the worst contract” in years. (Standard-Times)

The Brockton City Council will consider a proposal to establish a system to track code enforcements in neighborhoods to keep residents informed of actions and violations. (The Enterprise)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Ronny Jackson withdrew his bid to run the Veterans Affairs administration amid reports he drank on the job and overprescribed medications — allegations he labeled false. (Time)

The New Hampshire legislature approved the repeal of the state’s death penalty but Gov. Chris Sununu vowed to veto the measure. (Eagle-Tribune)

Forgive me, father, but you’re fired: House Speaker Paul Ryan gives the House chaplain the boot, but won’t explain why. (New York Times)

ELECTIONS

Grumbling from the kids’ table: Some of the candidates for Congress in the Third Congressional District angrily denounced UMass Lowell and the Boston Globe for developing a debate format that splits the crowded field into two groups based on support in a recent poll. Those who ended up in the lower-support group noted that 60 percent of those surveyed had not made up their minds yet. (Lowell Sun)

Michael Capuano’s seniority in the House and Ayanna Pressley’s face-of-change as an African-American woman are both arguments for their candidacies, but each is walking a fine line in touting the assets, the loud trumpeting of which could also have some downsides in their Democratic primary showdown in the 7th Congressional District. (CommonWealth)

Some conservative Republicans, unhappy with his moderate ways, plan to try to embarrass Gov. Charlie Baker at tomorrow’s Republican State Convention in Worcester, writes Joe Battenfeld, including by waving signs reading “Stuck with Chuck.” (Boston Herald) Globe columnist Scot Lehigh urges delegates to deny a spot on the gubernatorial ballot to “virulent homophobic hate-monger” Scott Lively.

Republican Senate hopeful John Kingston has hired Ron Bell, a veteran black Democratic operative, in an effort to boost his campaign in “urban areas,” a move that is rankling some Republicans. (Boston Herald)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

US Rep. Joseph Kennedy took to the House floor to lambast Philips Lighting for profiting from the GOP tax cuts while closing the company’s Fall River facility and moving those 200 jobs to Mexico. (Herald News)

Workplace deaths in the state reached an 11-year high last year, with 74 lives lost due to work-related accidents or illnesses. (Boston Globe)

EDUCATION

A Globe editorial says the state’s Board of Higher Education needs to exercise more oversight of the fiscal health private colleges in the wake of the abrupt announced closure of Mt. Ida College. In a Globe op-ed, state Rep. Jay Kaufman says the state’s public higher education system is in need of consolidation and he proposes something akin to the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission used to shutter military bases to weigh which of the 29 public higher campuses should go.

Joan Wasser Gish said the state needs a holistic approach to students in trying to improve academic outcomes. (CommonWealth)

Middlesex Community College hikes student fees 9 percent. (Lowell Sun)

At an Andover School Committee meeting, many residents don’t believe the superintendent’s claim that he accidentally emailed a confidential memo about the volleyball coach to a reporter. Many called for the superintendent to be fired.(Eagle-Tribune)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Partners HealthCare CEO David Torchiana has been part of a group of top health care officials advising the Trump administration on ways to improve the Veterans Affairs system. (Boston Globe)

TRANSPORTATION

Beacon Hill lawmakers upped funding for the state’s 15 regional transit authorities. (CommonWealth) Meanwhile, the Worcester Regional Transit Authority passed a “budget of hope” — a spending plan that is counting on additional state funding to keep the buses operating for the entire year. (Telegram & Gazette) The Worcester authority is also proposing a penny gas tax to raise money for regional transit authorities. (Telegram & Gazette)

A MassINC report highlights enormous potential for transit-oriented development near commuter rail stations in Gateway Cities, including Worcester. (Telegram & Gazette)

A new report from AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says the number of hit and run fatalities in 2016 hit an all-time high nationally, an increase of 60 percent since 2009. (U.S. News & World Report)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

The state Division of Marine Fisheries has extended a three-month ban on lobstering, designed to reduce whale entanglements. The action was taken because of a surge in the number of right whales off the South Shore coast. (Patriot Ledger) Meanwhile, a noted conservation activist has filed suit in federal court against NOAA seeking an injunction to prohibit lobster pot and gill net fishing that may endanger right whales. (Cape Cod Times)

CASINOS

MGM says it will open its Springfield casino in August, a month ahead of schedule. (Boston Herald)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

The state did not pay federal income tax on millions of dollars of payments to State Police troopers that they received for commuting to work in their own vehicles. (Boston Globe)

A Suffolk Superior Court judge rules that a manslaughter case can proceed against the owner of a drain company charged in connection with the death of two workers on a South End project his firm was carrying out. (Boston Herald)

MEDIA

A former NBC anchor accused Tom Brokaw of sexual harassment; he denied the allegation. (Variety)

The longtime executive director of the New England Newspaper Association, whose name is used for the group’s annual First Amendment award, is accused of lying for years about his World War II service record. (MetroWest Daily News)

PASSINGS

Former Boston police commissioner Robert di Grazia, who oversaw the department during the school busing crisis, has died at the age of 90. (Boston Globe)