Occupying the campus auditorium

It had a whiff of the 60s about it, and that was no accident. Yesterday’s “Reclaiming Our Economy” teach-in at Northeastern University was the brainchild of Northeastern economics professor Barry Bluestone, who told the Globe he organized one of the first teach-ins on the Vietnam War while a student in the 1960s at the University of Michigan.

The all-day teach-in, inspired by the Occupy movement that is now protesting economic inequality in hundreds of cities in the US and abroad, drew students as well as a slew of elected officials, including Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino. “I’m a capitalist, but I am not a market fundamentalist,” declared Patrick, who told the crowd it is not “a radical or socialist” idea to believe that the government has a role in tempering the effects of the economy.

Leaders of the teach-in, which had sessions looking at various aspects of economic inequality, said they hope these sessions spread to campuses across the country. Among those who addressed yesterday’s conference was former governor Michael Dukakis, who is now a professor of public policy at Northeastern. At a Friday evening panel discussion on urban issues in Dorchester, Dukakis praised the Occupy activists but said things like the Northeastern teach-in are needed to take things “up a few notches” by bringing into focus a policy agenda for the movement.

Are we witnessing the initial stirrings of something will be shaping the political dialogue for years to come? An NPR report over the weekend seemed to cast some doubt on that, suggesting that the national mood has been prone to great swings in recent years. From the 2008 election of Barack Obama to the Tea Party-fueled congressional victories of 2010 and now the Occupy movement and backlash against the Tea Party seen in last week’s pro-labor ballot question vote in Ohio, the country seems to be veering sharply to the left and the right all within a a short time span.

Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs, however, argued in yesterday’s New York Times that Occupy is no flash-in-the-pan. Like Dukakis, he says the movement “needs to build a public policy platform.” Sachs suggests. But, likening it to the Progressive Era of the late 19th century or the New Deal following the Great Depression, Sachs says Occupy and “its allied movements around the country are more than a walk in the park. They are most likely the start of a new era in America.”   

                                                                                                                                                     –MICHAEL JONAS


In a strange twist of identity irony, former attorney general Scott Harshbarger, who has burnished a reputation as a good-government reformer over three decades in public life, angered Gov. Deval Patrick by telephoning him last week on behalf of the disgraced former director of the Chelsea Housing Authority, Michael McLaughlin. Dan Kennedy sees the makings of a conspiracy behind the story leak, noting in a tweet that Harshbarger is a casino opponent. The Somerville Journal recalls the first time McLaughlin tried to take over a municipal housing authority: Three decades ago, McLaughlin tried to secure a lifetime job running Somerville’s public housing, and he had the votes to pull it off. In an editorial entitled “What were you thinking, Luther,” the Lowell Sun says Harshbarger had a Rick Perry moment when he came to the defense of McLaughlin.

The MetroWest Daily News finds fault with the crime bill that the Senate passed last week.

Lawmakers scramble to finalize casino legislation before their extended Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year’s break. Gaming lobbyists are already spreading money around at the municipal level.

Freshman state Rep. Jerald Parisella, who shipped out to Iraq in January, is on his way home.


A controversial measure that would have restricted aquaculture along Mattapoisett’s coast has been withdrawn from tomorrow’s Town Meeting warrant by its sponsors because it conflicts with state law.

Holyoke mayor-elect Alex Morse gets national attention courtesy of the CBS Evening News.

The Berkshire Eagle questions the motives of a health organization that is suing Pittsfield to open a methadone clinic in the middle of the city’s arts and culture district.


With the clock ticking toward the November 23 deadline, the debt reduction supercommittee is no closer to an agreement on how to cut spending and raise revenues. The committee wants an agreement to raise revenue, but would prefer to defer hard decisions on how to raise that revenue until next year. Massachusetts universities and hospitals are mounting an all-out campaign to stave off the nearly 9 percent cut to their federal research dollar allotment that would automatically take effect if the congressional supercommittee is unable to reach an agreement on a deficit reduction plan.

Officials around the country crack down on “Occupy” camps for health and safety reasons.

A new book suggests members of Congress use their insider knowledge to make money in the stock market, Newsweek reports. 60 Minutes also has a report.

Alan Blinder takes on the flat tax.

At the National Review, Michael Barone compares the Tea Party to a lefty movement — the ”peaceniks” of the 60s and 70s — and likens the ways that the peace movement changed the face of the Democratic party to what the Tea Party is attempting with the GOP.


Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have more in common than you might think. Bill Keller charts Romney’s path to victory.

Is Rick Perry’s Oops moment the worst political gaffe, ever?

Herman Cain says that God told him to run for president. Meanwhile, Gloria Cain decides to stand by her man. The Wall Street Journal’s pollsters re-interview recent poll respondents after Cain and Perry’s very bad weeks, and find a sizable shift in support toward Romney and Newt Gingrich. To which the Atlantic asks, “Newt Gingrich, really?”

Elizabeth Warren lays the blame on Congress for failing to create jobs, telling Keller@Large they’ve had three chances to vote for jobs bill and punted each time. New York magazine profiles Warren’s campaign, and finds anti-Obama overtones. The Wall Street Journal checks in on the race as well. Roughly 1,000 attend rally to support Elizabeth Warren, NECN reports.

The Weekly Standard looks at the defection of the working class — central to Republican victories in 2010 — in many of last week’s elections and posits that mega-rich guy Mitt Romney may not be the one to woo them back into the fold.


US Sen. Charles Schumer, the New York Democrat, goes on a crusade against layaway plans, saying they are more costly than credit cards.

Across the country, stalled subdivisions give way to farmland.


Education Secretary Arne Duncan pens an op-ed for US News & World Report attacking a study by a pair of conservative think tanks that says teachers are overpaid by 50 percent. Duncan says the study asks the wrong questions and is an “insult” to teachers and their profession.


Maternity hospitals ban early elective baby deliveries, WBUR reports.

Maryland experiments with a global payment health care system that is similar to what many health care organizations in Massachusetts are trying and the Patrick administration is pushing, the Washington Post reports.


The US Department of Transportation fined American Eagle nearly $1 million for tarmac delays in Chicago earlier this year.


The attorney general’s office is investigating HomeServe, a heating, electrical and plumbing service contractor who has an agreement with National Grid to service the utility’s customers, after getting about a dozen complaints that HomeServe is sending out notices that resemble National Grid bills.


In Sunday’s final installment of its three-part Spotlight Team series on drunken driving, the Globe looked at the legal representation advantage enjoyed by defendants who hire seasoned lawyers who specialize in OUI cases to go up against overworked, underpaid assistant district attorneys. Blue Mass Group poster “Ernie Boch III” was less than bowled over by the piece.

A Globe story asks: Are minimum security prisons too risky, with nearly all the escaped state convicts in recent years bolting from these least secure facilities, or is that risk a necessary part of efforts to prepare prisons for reentry to society?


NBC hires Chelsea Clinton as a special correspondent.

The National Park Services decides not to allow sales of Bill O’Reilly’s book about the assassination of President Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington due to “factual errors.” For example, O’Reilly refers to the Oval Office, which wasn’t built until 1909.