The Phoenix’s Web goodbye

Last week the Boston Phoenix published its last print edition. This week brings the last online edition, featuring interesting stories by David Bernstein on Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s emerging profile in Washington and by Bill McKibben on how the Keystone Pipeline is the key issue for voters in the Democratic Senate primary in Massachusetts.

Bernstein’s piece says Warren is not following Hillary Clinton’s playbook in the Senate, which called for new senators to shun the media, keep their head down, and earn the respect of their peers. Warren, Bernstein writes, is making a name for herself by speaking out forcefully during Senate hearings but also tending to business back home by meeting with constituents of all types. Bernstein gets a little carried away arguing that Warren is so knowledgeable and so popular that no one can threaten her. He says she’s too big to fail.

McKibben’s article is about single-issue politics. He says environmentalists need to support Ed Markey instead of Stephen  Lynch in the Democratic primary because Markey opposes the Keystone Pipeline while Lynch supports it. What I liked about McKibben’s article is that he provides some valuable context. Most people have come to think that the pipeline itself is the environmental threat, but McKibben notes that the real problem is the tar sands in Alberta from which the oil would be extracted. McKibben calls the giant mines in Alberta a “carcinogenic, toxic, smoking horror — a technical name for it would be ‘Mordor.’” He also quotes climatologist James Hansen as saying the release of the carbon in the tar sands would be “game over for the climate.”

One last thought: The Phoenix may be leaving us, but the soft-porn ads it is famous for are not going away. They have been packaged into a free handout dubbed Boston at Nite that is available every Thursday in news boxes around town. There is also ThePhoenixAdult.com for those who like to read their porn reviews and personals online. It’s a sad commentary on what readers prefer today.

                                                                                                                                                                        –BRUCE MOHL

BEACON HILL

House Speaker Robert DeLeo directs the House Ethics Committee to look into allegations of misconduct brought against a lawmaker by a member of the Legislature’s staff. The Telegram & Gazette reports speculation that the lawmaker is Rep. John Fresolo of Worcester.

Senate President Therese Murray, who made her bones on welfare reform in her early years, says too many people receive waivers who don’t qualify for them.

Gov. Deval Patrick takes his campaign for new taxes to the Merrimack Valley and gets mixed reviews. Freshman Rep. Diana DiZoglio of Methuen calls it “too ambitious,” the Eagle-Tribune reports. Meanwhile, House Speaker Robert DeLeo says a hike in the cigarette tax may make sense.

The Globe editorial page says imprisoned — and ailing — former House speaker Sal DiMasi should be considered for “compassionate release.”

Keller@Large says the state has dragged its feet too long in the decisions on where and when to open casinos and says the opportunity to cash in has faded away.

Drew Bledsoe, one time Patriots quarterback and current West Coast vintner, is on a long drive that landed yesterday on Beacon Hill.

The MetroWest Daily News doesn’t begrudge lawmakers who move on to lucrative private sector positions, but the paper suggests that they should make those moves after their terms in office are over.

State Rep. Colleen Garry of Dracut is fined $5,000 (with $2,500 suspended) by the Office of Campaign and Political Finance for inadvertent errors on her fundraising statements, the Sun reports.

State Rep. John Keenan of Salem says he will probably leave the Legislature after his term ends and either enter the private sector or run for DA or attorney general, the Salem News reports.

State lawmakers and local leaders tussle over whether commercial casino operators should be allowed to bid for the southeastern license while the Mashpee sort out their federal recognition issues.

New public safety secretary Andrea Cabral cashed out nearly $12,000 in sick time when she left the Suffolk County sheriff’s office, even though, the Herald notes, she never had to log her use of vacation days.

The Herald makes a story out of its failed attempt to crash a closed-door ethics training for lawmakers.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino sits down with Emily Rooney to talk about his health issues, going home, and his handle on city affairs, though he still dances around the question of whether he’ll run again. As Menino dithers, would-be successors like Tito Jackson and Ayanna Pressley start raising money in earnest.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

With furloughs set to begin because of sequestration cuts, the Army Corps of Engineers has sent out a video of a rap song called “Furlough Fridays” that is being shared in a number of federal agencies extolling the virtues of the unpaid days off.

The National Review says lowering the drinking age to 18 should be “a libertarian’s dream issue,” statistics be damned.

Colorado legalizes same-sex civil unions, Bloomberg reports.

The New York Times spotlights the rise of women in the Senate, including Elizabeth Warren.

ELECTIONS

The Globe looks at the bruising battle over union support playing out in the Democratic primary race for US Senate pitting former union ironworker Steve Lynch against Ed Markey.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

A new Revenue Department report says film spending is back on the rise in Massachusetts, but a lot of that money is flowing out of state, CommonWealth reports. CommonWealth also has a story on legislative efforts to rein in the film tax credit money flowing to Hollywood stars. In New York, meanwhile, a special tax credit designed to lure Jimmy Fallon and the Tonight Show back to the Empire State is slipped into the budget.

EDUCATION

Twitter is the new worry in efforts to guard against cheating on the MCAS exam.

The Taunton School Committee has voted to eliminate the February school vacation from next year’s calendar because recent years of snow days have pushed the school year close to July, which is barred by state law. The Globe reports on other districts considering how to make up school days lost to snow.

Chicago is closing more than 50 public schools, the Chicago Tribune reports.

HEALTH CARE

A new nationwide health survey measuring numerous factors including health care accessing costs, and water quality ranks Dukes County the state’s healthiest while Hamden County comes in last, just behind Suffolk County. Via the Patriot Ledger.

Morton Hospital in Fall River, owned by Steward Health Care, is closing its pediatric unit and reducing staff because of low patient volume.

The Senate repeals a tax on medical devices.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Plum Island homeowners are building giant barriers on the beach to protect their homes. The problem is that’s against the law, WBUR reports.

In his State of the City address, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell vowed to fight for offshore wind development, which he says is key to the Whaling City’s resurgent waterfront plans.

The Department of Conservation and Recreation is inviting artists to compete for a chance to paint the Iron Rangers in state parks and forests, those metal containers that collect donations from visitors.

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse worries about the planned slowdown of the Mt. Tom Power Plant

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

MEDIA

Google pulls the plug on printed Frommer’s guidebooks.