The debaters and the teacher

It started when former Housing and Urban Development secretary Julián Castro questioned Joe Biden’s memory over what he had said minutes before about automatically enrolling uninsured people into a Medicare-type program. Castro appeared to have either misunderstood or misheard what Biden said,  but pundits are interpreting the exchange as an attack on the former vice president’s age.

“This is why presidential debates are becoming unwatchable,” said South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. “This reminds everybody of what they cannot stand about Washington — scoring points against each other, poking at each other…” 

Castro didn’t buy Buttigieg’s sermonizing. “That’s called the Democratic primary election,” he said. Sen. Amy Klobuchar weighed in with an Abraham Lincoln quote — “a house divided cannot stand” — but that fell flat.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren was noticeably silent while Biden was coming under fire. She focused instead on what she called her dream job — teaching.  She recounted how she completed her bachelor’s degree in speech pathology at the University of Houston, not far from where the debate was held at Texas Southern University. She then went on to New Jersey where she taught children with disabilities for a year, before enrolling in law school.

“I’ve had the same dream since I was in second grade — I wanted to be a public school teacher,” Warren said. “I’ve lived my dream job. I’ve been a special needs teacher.”

She added: “I’m the only person on the stage who was a public school teacher.” 

The Boston Globe suggested Warren may have benefited by staying above the fray, while David Bernstein at WGBH saw a candidate evolving away from her “I have a plan” persona to try to connect with voters on a more personal level.

Biden attempted to mix it up with Warren at one point by aligning himself with Barack Obama’s health care plan and his idea of adding a public option to the Affordable Care Act. Biden suggested Warren didn’t know how to pay for Medicare for All, which is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’s signature proposal. “The senator says she’s for Bernie, well I’m for Barack,” he said.

Warren responded by defending the plan, and defending her proposal to tax high income earners. She sounded a lot like a teacher educating her students.

Peter Kadzis and Adam Reilly at WGBH called Warren’s debate work a higher-caliber performance. While  many wonder how Warren would stand up against President Trump’s often unforgiving character attacks (he called her Pocahontas again last night at an event), her performance at the very least gained her some notice on a night where 10 presidential candidates were vying for their moment on camera.

SARAH BETANCOURT


MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Former Walsh administration aide John Lynch pleaded guilty in federal court to taking a $50,000 bribe to try to influence a zoning board vote on a South Boston condo project. (Boston Globe) Deja vu: Shady doings when city workers peddle influence around zoning and permitting deals are nothing new in Boston, as Chris Lovett recalls in this look at another case involving a $50,000 payout from a Dorchester city employee during Kevin White’s final term, in 1981. (Dorchester Reporter) 

Former state rep Evandro Carvalho is named executive director of the Boston Human Rights Commission. (Dorchester Reporter)

Worcester is starting to change the way it deals with prostitution (WGBH)

A Globe editorial says Boston’s archaic liquor license regulations are part of what killed Doyle’s Cafe in Jamaica Plain.  

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

New York health officials subpoena documents from a number of businesses, including one in Amherst, that sell ingredients used in the manufacture of vaping products. New York Gov, Andrew Cuomo wants to get to the bottom of what’s causing health problems. “The rise in vaping-associated illnesses is a frightening public health phenomenon,” he said. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

ELECTIONS

Secretary of State William Galvin backs an overhaul of preliminary elections that would scrap most partisan races. (WBUR)

Brockton mayoral candidates battled on the debate stage. (Brockton Enterprise) 

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The US Labor Department accuses two central Massachusetts businesses of failing to comply with an order pay $2.3 million in overtime pay to their employees. (MassLive)

EDUCATION

MIT and Harvard both revealed further ties with Jeffrey Epstein. (Boston Globe

A Holyoke public school kindergarten teacher under investigation for child pornography resigns after the FBI raids the church rectory where he lives. (MassLive)

Bill Gibbons, the women’s basketball coach at Holy Cross for 34 years, sues the school for $750,000 over his dismissal because of a verbal altercation with an assistant coach. (MassLive)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

The Department of Public Health has set a new mandate that requires health care providers in the state to report suspected cases of unexplained vaping-associated lung illnesses. (NBC 10 Boston) 

ARTS/CULTURE

The Hanover Theatre in Worcester receives a $250,000 grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation to support an outdoor performance space (Telegram & Gazette)

TRANSPORTATION 

Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack is famous for her love of data, but in making her comments about HOV lanes not working she relied on anecdotal evidence and not a report with a different conclusion from three years ago. (CommonWealth) A Gloucester Times editorial says Pollack was largely accurate with her anecdotal take on HOV lanes — “they don’t really work.” 

The advocacy group TransitMatters says a number of relatively simple and inexpensive changes in operations could increase the number of trains moving in and out of South Station and make a planned $2.5 billion track expansion at the facility unnecessary. (CommonWealth

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission visited Plymouth on Wednesday looking for suggestions from the public on the formation of citizens advisory boards to provide input into the decommissioning of nuclear plants in their regions. (Cape Cod Times) 

Concerns are growing about trace amounts of a toxic chemical found in drinking water in several Massachusetts communities, including at schools that have shut off drinking fountains as a result. (Boston Globe

CASINOS/MARIJUANA

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission takes a pass again on a Brockton casino proposal and the company behind the iproject says it won’t be sticking around. (State House News) The Brockton Enterprise has more on how public officials in the city reacted after the decision. 

Officials from INSA, a marijuana firm seeking to open in Springfield, say a $100,000 donation to the Forest Park science program was personal and not part of any agreement with the city. (MassLive)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Dana Pullman, the former head of the State Police union, and lobbyist Anne M. Lynch were formally indicted. (MassLive)

Embattled Mayor Jasiel Correia II is due back in federal district court this morning, this time for a bail review hearing. (Herald News) 

Joyce Ferriabough Bolling says Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins has been on the receiving end of too many unwarranted attacks from others in the criminal justice system. (Boston Herald

MEDIA

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of Virginia sues CBS for $400 million, alleging the network smeared him by airing interviews with two women who accused him of assault. (New York Times)

A study finds four major US newspapers regularly use dehumanizing labels in referring to immigrants.