September 28, 2007

Misguided Focus

Misguided Focus

Seeing the world through the prism of white racism as the cause of all things
bad is misguided and itself racist. Shea says, "the growing black prison
population is eroding African-Americans' confidence in the rule of law." What
about the four white men and their families who spent 30 years in Jail (two died
in prison) after an FBI frameup? (Christopher Shea, "Life sentence," Boston
Globe, September 23, 2007)
Peter Limone, and Joe Salvati (Tamelo and Greco died in prison) lived to
see their freedom. They were initially sentenced to death for a murder they did
not commit. Why is this only a black issue? It is a matter for all Americans.
Making the issue a race issue shuts out all non African Americans who were
harmed by the same courts, police, judges and lawyers.
Spineless politicians get elected by the same interest groups who have an
economic interest in keeping the system as it is or making it worse.
Police, corrections officers, lawyers, construction corporations, social
workers, drug companies and psychiatrists (to keep the list manageable) enjoy
the way it is.
Just because "Black Americans interpret [the trends] as evidence of stark
racism," does make it so. Many prominent black people see racism as the cause of
all unpleasant events in their lives. They are obsessed with racism as the
explanation for all evil.
At the same time liberal politicians promoted and implemented policies
which encouraged the causes of increased crime and incarceration. As recently as
1995 Princeton Professor John Iulio noted that there were 4 million young men
who would be teenagers in the beginning of the 21st century. He said they are
fatherless, godless and jobless. 12 years after that observation (See Fox
Butterfield, NYTimes Nov 19 1995) and the country is reaping what it sowed
over the past 40 years.

Roy Bercaw, Editor ENOUGH ROOM

Life sentence
It's a government program whose impact rivals the New Deal. It pushes whole
communities out of society's mainstream. It costs tens of billions of dollars a
year. Scholars are just beginning to understand how prison is reshaping the
Boston Globe
By Christopher Shea
September 23, 2007

WHAT if America launched a new New Deal and no one noticed? And what if, instead
of lifting the unemployed out of poverty, this multibillion-dollar project
steadily drove poor communities further and further out of the American

That's how America should think about its growing prison system, some leading
social scientists are saying, in research that suggests prisons have a far
deeper impact on the nation than simply punishing criminals.

Fueled by the war on drugs, "three-strike" laws, and mandatory minimum
sentences, America's prisons and jails now house some 2.2 million inmates -
roughly seven times the figure of the early 1970s. And Americans are investing
vast resources to keep the system running: The cost to maintain American
correctional institutions is some $60 billion a year.

For years sociologists saw prisons - with their disproportionately poor, black,
and uneducated populations - partly as mirrors of the social and economic
disparities that cleave American life. Now, however, a new crop of books and
articles are looking at the penal system not just as a reflection of society,
but a force that shapes it.

In this view, the system takes men with limited education and job skills and
stigmatizes them in a way that makes it hard for them to find jobs, slashes
their wages when they do find them, and brands them as bad future spouses. The
effects of imprisonment ripple out from prisoners, breaking up families and
further impoverishing neighborhoods, creating the conditions for more crime down
the road. Prisons have grown into potent "engines of inequality," in the words
of sociologist Bruce Western; the penal system, he and other scholars suggest,
actively widens the gap between the poor - especially poor black men - and
everyone else.

"This is a historic transformation of the character of American society," says
Glenn Loury, a Brown University economist who has begun to write on this topic,
most recently in the Boston Review. "We are managing the losers by confinement."

The shift isn't just academic. In national politics, concern about the people
who actually go to prison has been drowned out by tough-on-crime rhetoric, but
today the issue is getting a hearing from some politicians, and not just
hard-left liberals. On Oct. 4, Congress's Joint Economic Committee will hear
testimony from Western, Loury, and others on the economic and social costs of
the prison boom. The session will be chaired by Jim Webb, the gruff, moderate
Democratic Senator from Virginia. Cities including Boston and San Francisco are
changing their hiring practices to destigmatize prisoners, and there is
detectable momentum in Congress toward reducing the extraordinarily harsh
minimum sentences for possession of crack cocaine, which disproportionately
affect poor black Americans.

The issue has arrived on the public agenda in part because of the work done by a
handful of leading sociologists. Western's 2006 book "Punishment and Inequality
in America" is a key work in this new scholarly movement. Devah Pager, a
Princeton sociologist, has been making headlines since her dissertation,
completed in 2002 at the University of Wisconsin, demonstrated how a criminal
record - even for nonviolent drug offenses - made it nearly impossible for black
ex-convicts in Milwaukee to land a job. This month, a book based on that work,
"Marked: Race, Crime, and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration," appears
in bookstores. And the sociologist Lawrence Bobo, who left Harvard for Stanford
two years ago but is returning in January, has been investigating how the
growing black prison population is eroding African-Americans' confidence in the
rule of law.

For years, the penal system was a marginal topic among sociologists, catching
the interest chiefly of professors with an interest in hard-core criminology.
But in the past decade, discussion of incarceration has moved to the center of
the field, in the work of respected scholars at top institutions who are
interested in a broad understanding of American inequality.

"My sense of it is just that the sheer mass, the weight of the reality of what's
happening, has sunk in," says Loury.

With black men in their early 30s more likely to have been in prison than to
have graduated from college, and with 700,000 ex-prisoners reentering society
each year, the trends cannot be ignored. The current US rate of some 750
prisoners per 100,000 citizens is several times higher than rates in Europe -
higher, even, than the rates in formerly repressive states like Russia or South

In "Punishment and Inequality in America," Western documented the degree to
which poor black communities across America live in a penitentiary shadow. Of
black males born in the late 1960s who did not attend college, 30 percent have
served time in prison, he pointed out. For high-school dropouts, the figure is a
startling 59 percent. "I don't think the really deep penetration of the criminal
justice system into poor and minority communities has been fully understood by
people outside these communities," says Western.

Mass incarceration, Western argues, also renders invisible a substantial portion
of American poverty. At the height of the tech boom in 2000, he points out, 65
percent of black male high school dropouts weren't working. Government
statistics, however, said the unemployment level of this group was 33 percent,
because government surveys exclude prisoners.

At the root of prison's broader social impact lies its lingering effect on
individual lives. In an ideal penal system, prisoners might exit the system
having paid their debt to society and be more or less restored to their previous
status as free men and women. But Pager's book demonstrates just how detached
from reality that view is. She had four college students, two black and two
white, pose as applicants for low-level jobs in Milwaukee (excluding jobs where
a criminal record would have disqualified them).

They used résumés that were nearly identical - high school degrees, steady
progress from entry-level work to a supervisory position - except that in some
cases the applicant had a drug conviction in his past (possession with intent to
distribute) for which he served an 18-month sentence and then behaved perfectly
on parole.

In surveys conducted by Pager, 62 percent of Milwaukee employers said they'd
consider hiring an applicant with a nonviolent drug offense in his past. But in
her field study, Pager found that her black applicants with criminal records got
called for an interview - or to interview on the spot, as they applied in person
- a mere 5 percent of the time. That compared with 14 percent for the black
applicants without a criminal record. Meanwhile, the white applicants with a
record were called back 17 percent of the time, compared with 34 percent for the
white men lacking the blotch on their résumé. "Two strikes" - blackness and a
record - "and you're out" is how Pager summarizes her findings. (Pager has
replicated this study in New York City, with similar results.)

Job prospects for black ex-prisoners in Milwaukee may be even worse in the
future, Pager argues in "Marked," because while the vast majority of job growth
is in the suburbs, the gap between employers' receptiveness to black and white
ex-convicts is even wider there.

Western explores the same set of post-prison issues on a broader statistical
canvas. He found that whites, Hispanics, and blacks all face a hit in their
wages of about a third, relative to their peers, when they emerge from prison,
and also work fewer weeks per year. Their peers will see significant raises from
ages 25 to 35, but the ex-prisoners won't, widening the gap. Former prisoners,
too, are far less likely ever to marry, but no less likely to have kids, meaning
that prisons contribute to the epidemic of female-headed, single-parent
households. (Some 9 percent of all black children now have a father in jail.)

Sociologists and a few politicians are not the only ones aware of these trends,
argues Lawrence Bobo. Black Americans interpret them as evidence of stark
racism, according to surveys he's done. Seventy-nine percent of white Americans,
for example, think drug laws are enforced fairly, compared with 34 percent of
black Americans.

Black Americans' concerns about the justice system burst to the fore in Jena,
La., last week when thousands protested prosecutors' tough treatment of six
black teenagers after an assault on a white student. When Bobo looks broadly at
black attitudes about the justice system, he doesn't find them irrational.

"We as a society," Bobo wrote last year, "have normalized and, for the time
being, depoliticized a remarkable set of social conditions."

Policy makers are slowly beginning to reckon with some aspects of these
developments. In 2004, President Bush, in his State of the Union address,
acknowledged some of the challenges caused by mass incarceration, Pager points
out, describing the hundreds of thousands exiting prisons annually as a "group
of Americans in need of help." And this year liberals like Senator Joseph Biden
(D-Del.) and conservatives like Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) have cosponsored
the so-called Second Chance Act. It would provide $192 million for drug
counseling, family counseling, housing, and mentorship for ex-offenders to
assist their reentry into their communities.

A handful of cities, including Boston, no longer ask applicants for city jobs
whether they have a criminal record, although their backgrounds can still be
checked later. A growing "Ban the Box" movement - referring to the check-off box
on an application, signaling a conviction - is designed to reduce the kind of
upfront discrimination Pager identifies. San Francisco and St. Paul have also
signed off on the idea, while Los Angeles is pondering it.

To these ideas, Pager would add a policy modeled on how we treat debtors: After
a certain amount of time, records of most convictions, especially for nonviolent
offenses, would be expunged. Stigma would have a deadline.

Such proposals would do nothing to roll back prison populations, but bills
introduced by Senators Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Biden
to raise the amount of crack cocaine that triggers automatic five- and ten-year
sentences might do so. (The possession of crack - typically a drug of the poor,
and specifically the black poor - is penalized far more harshly than the
powdered cocaine preferred by middle- and upper-class drug users.) Bruce Western
advocates ending mandatory minimum sentences for drug conviction, and adds some
further thoughts about reducing prison populations: "We could be spending money
and social services to reduce the risks that make people likely to go to prison
in the first place - on drug addiction, on mental-health services, on housing."

In a campaign year, the prison issue is a tough one - such arguments don't have
the easy pull on voters that "tough on crime" policies do. Yet with Congress
calling prison experts to testify about their research, and coverage in the
mainstream media of the protests in Jena, "I do sense there is a public
conversation beginning," Western says.

Christopher Shea's column appears regularly in Ideas. E-mail

Cheating is Pervasive

Cheating is Pervasive

The pervasive cheating in America is nothing new. (Drake Bennett, "Bad
sports," Boston Globe, September 23, 2007) David Callahan wrote "The Cheating Culture," wherein he explained how the practice is embedded in scientific research, Ivy league students, lawyers, doctors, and everywhere there are humans. Bennett
focuses on sports which is of minor concern.
If you cannot trust what is published in scientific journals what can you
trust? How many journalists were caught at The New York Times, the Boston Globe
and the Washington Post making it up or plagiarizing? Too many for sure. It is
not just politicians who lie for a living.

Roy Bercaw, Editor ENOUGH ROOM

Bad sports
Why people cheat when they don't have to
Boston Globe
By Drake Bennett
September 23, 2007

IT'S BEEN A tough month for fair play in New England.

Three weeks ago, a police prosecutor in Hanover, N.H., announced that he might
bring felony charges against nine students accused of breaking into their high
school to steal advance copies of AP exams. The taping scandal that engulfed the
New England Patriots after their season opener was finally resolved last week,
with no penalties beyond the $750,000 in fines and probable loss of a
first-round draft pick. And the Patriots remain without safety Rodney Harrison,
suspended until Oct. 2 for violating the league's policy on
performance-enhancing drugs.

All of which has left people scratching their heads. Why would smart students
steal a test? Why would the favorites to win the Super Bowl break a rule,
especially when they had already been warned about the behavior? Why, in other
words, do people cheat in situations where there is little to gain - one good
grade, a slight edge in a game - and so much to lose?

This irrationality may be the rule, rather than the exception, when it comes to
cheating, according to a group of scholars who have turned their attention to
the mysteries of the cheating mind. Cheating is often thought of as something
that is done after cold calculation. But, the new research has found, people are
prone to cheat even when it is not in their best interest. Instead of carefully
weighing the costs and benefits of breaking the rules, people can be heavily
swayed by peer pressure, their mood, their image of themselves. Sometimes,
people even cheat out of a sense of fairness.

"A lot of the time people are thinking about the broader costs and benefits, but
there are biases or blind spots or other psychological factors that are actually
driving their behavior," says Maurice Schweitzer, an associate professor at the
University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School who studies deception.

The new research into the psychology of cheating comes at a time when others,
largely economists, are finding stark evidence that cheating is a widespread
part of sports, and not merely in the sort of cases that make the news. Using
economics as a forensic tool, they're arguing that foul play, either by referees
or players, is common in sports as varied as figure skating, basketball, and
sumo wrestling.

Whether it's corporate malfeasance, academic dishonesty, tax fraud, or point
shaving, researchers are looking with renewed interest at the motivations behind
breaking the rules - and whether we fully understand what we're doing when we do
it. Cheating has always interested social scientists, but increasingly today
they're trying to find ways around the secrecy and obfuscation that surrounds
cheating, and designing experiments that expose telltale patterns.

Drake Bennett is the staff writer for Ideas. E-mail

Celebrating Provocateurs

Celebrating Provocateurs

John Dean is celebrated as a hero exposing wrongdoing by his own political
party members in the Nixon Administration. (Anna Mundow, "Warping the lessons of
Watergate," Boston Globe, September 23, 2007) Some history books portray Dean
and James McCord as infiltrators who deliberately encouraged wrongdoing. Dean
allegedly promoted the first break-in at the Watergate complex to retrieve an
address book with his name in it. McCord was White House security who replaced
the tape on the door of the break-in. Clearly history is written by the victors.
It is no more reliable because Democrats won that battle.

Roy Bercaw, Editor ENOUGH ROOM

Warping the lessons of Watergate
Boston Globe
By Anna Mundow
September 23, 2007

John Dean, who was White House legal counsel to President Richard Nixon,
famously identified "a cancer growing on the presidency" when he testified as
the government's key witness in the Watergate trial. In 2004, in the damning
analysis "Worse Than Watergate" he made a similar diagnosis about the
Bush-Cheney administration, and now "Broken Government" (Viking, $25.95)
examines, with great precision and even greater urgency (in the words of the
subtitle), "how Republican rule destroyed the legislative, executive and
judicial branches."

Dean spoke from his home in California.

Q. Did you plan this indictment of Republican rule as a trilogy?

A. I did not. I started to write about the Bush-Cheney administration in my
weekly column for, and that evolved into "Worse Than Watergate." I
kept thinking, these people are going to get their act together, but then I
realized this was their act. In "Conservatives Without Conscience" I reported on
research examining why they act as they do. After that, so many people asked me
what damage has been done by this administration. That was the genesis of the
third book, "Broken Government."

Q. Has your writing style changed along the way?

A. No, I guess it's still the lawyer's approach. You never know how much the
judge (or the reader) is going to know, so you try to be explicit without being
insulting and detailed without being dull. I generally have somebody in mind
that I'm writing for, a friend perhaps. Also I try to write books that I want to
read. This is often information that I had been trying to find and I wish
somebody had written the book; then I wouldn't have to.

Q. Was there a critical moment during this administration when you perceived
American democracy to be in danger?

A. When I wrote "Worse Than Watergate" I was deeply troubled by the truly
excessive secrecy of this presidency and the efforts [Vice President] Cheney was
making to keep things secret. I look at it as someone who has been on the
inside. There's a reason for that secrecy; it's because you don't want people to
know what . . . you're doing. It's not because you're trying to gain
presidential powers; it's because you don't want people to know what you're
doing with those powers. When I was writing the postscript to "Worse Than
Watergate" I asked the Kerry campaign, off the record, why they had given Bush
such a free pass on all this secrecy. And they said "It's a process issue." I
said "Right, it's a process issue. Everything that's going on in that town is a
process issue, and you're ignoring it." But they insisted that voters don't like
process issues. I knew the opposite to be true, and I eventually found
groundbreaking, empirical studies carried out by political scientists at [Univ
ersity of] Nebraska that showed how important process is to a large segment of
American voters. You see, people don't need to know what a motion to recommit
is; they understand at a gut level when they're getting screwed by the process.
That was a great revelation and comfort to me.

Q. Why does Watergate still matter to you - and to Dick Cheney?

A. It clearly matters to Cheney because he thinks as a result of Nixon not
staying, fighting, and prevailing, somehow the presidency was weakened. As I
show in "Broken Government" that's just not true; it's a ruse. Reagan took the
presidency way beyond where Nixon ever hoped to take it. A massive amount of the
work of the Senate Watergate Committee was on preventing just what Cheney,
[Karl] Rove et al. have so successfully accomplished. That is, to totally
politicize the process. So it shows that Watergate really had no lasting effect.
I think it established some sort of standard of what was not acceptable - I
don't think those were bad standards - but we've gotten around them. Today, the
lessons of Watergate really come down to "Don't get caught."

Q. In what sense is this a "neo-Nixonian" presidency?

A. In the sense that Nixon gave us what Arthur Schlesinger appropriately labeled
"the imperial presidency," but these people have gone way beyond that Nixonian
standard. They have given us the imperial presidency on steroids. This is
Cheney's legacy, and I have real concerns that a Democratic president would be
unlikely to send all those powers back to Congress. When they're in power, they
too would use these powers.

Q. Of all the problems and abuses you identify, which demands the most urgent

A. The Democrats have already started to repair the damage in the legislative
branch. With the executive branch, if the expanded powers are not misused it's
not quite as dangerous. To me the most troubling abuse and what should be
focused on in 2008 is what the Republicans have done to the federal judiciary by
making political the nonpolitical branch. It's a conservative Supreme Court
today. It's clear that if Bush were to get another appointee, he would appoint
another legal fundamentalist who would embrace a supreme executive with strong
military inclinations. It's a remarkable authoritarian vision of America that I
don't think the majority of Americans want. The Democrats have the power to
block that.

Q. You're optimistic?

A. I am. I think that if you give Americans the information, they do the right
thing. Just think of an average jury. You put them in a room and 99 percent of
the time they come out with the right judgment. It happens with voters too.

Anna Mundow is a correspondent for the Irish Times. She can be reached via
e-mail at

News Is Not For Everyone

News Is Not For Everyone

CYA is so pervasive at Universities that a student has a better
understanding of events than university administrators. (Peter Gelzinis, "D’oh!
Play explosive could’ve detonated a tragedy with pranks gone wild," Boston
Herald, September 23, 2007) The MIT spokesman called the wearing of a circuit
board reckless. A student noted it was due to lack of common sense.
Criminal intent is necessary for criminal liability. The MIT student had
none. Having no street sense is not a crime. Many academics do not read
newspapers. Sorry to disappoint you Peter.
In this day of government paranoia it is no wonder we have the highest
incarceration rate in the world. Have the terrorists won? They diminished our
freedoms knowing the mentality of the government leaders who lack self
knowledge. The President of Iran knows the politics of America better than most

Roy Bercaw, Editor ENOUGH ROOM

D’oh! Play explosive could’ve detonated a tragedy with pranks gone wild
By Peter Gelzinis
Boston Herald
Sunday, September 23, 2007

“What was the Play-Doh all about?”

The state cop who posed the question was not on duty at Logan International
Airport on Friday morning when his colleagues trained their machine guns on Star
Anna Simpson, a 19-year-old goofball genius from MIT.

But his intimate knowledge of Logan’s fail-safe procedures left him more
disturbed by the Play-Doh than the circuit board or blinking lights fastened to
the front of the sophomore’s sweatshirt.

“You train for hours and hours,” the cop explained, “you train against the
possibility of numerous (explosive) devices. And when it comes to preparing for
plastic explosives, what we use to simulate C-4 is Play-Doh. It’s the same

“That’s one of the things that amazes me about this incident,” he said. “Bad
enough she decides to walk into the same airport where two sets of terrorists
boarded two separate jets and flew them into New York’s two tallest buildings,
with wires attached to a battery and a circuit board.

“Even if she says the board, the blinking (LED) lights and the battery were only
art,” the cop said, “what was the Play-Doh all about? Of all the things she
could have been holding in her hand, she walks in with a hunk of Play-Doh? What
did she think was going to happen?”

It’s true that geniuses often come in wildly eccentric packages. Still, it’s one
thing for Star Simpson, a beguiling tinkerer from Hawaii, to make a fashion
statement during MIT’s career fair by accenting a black sweatshirt with a 9-volt
battery attached to a circuit board.

And it’s quite another to wear that sweatshirt into Terminal C at Logan Airport
while holding a hunk of Play-Doh. She went there to pick up her boyfriend,
another electrical engineering genius, who was flying in from California.

But did Simpson also go to Logan in search of a YouTube moment, not unlike the
one created a few days earlier at the University of Florida by unctuous
self-promoter Andrew “Don’t Tase me, bro” Meyer?

There was nothing stupid about what Andrew Meyer did during a
question-and-answer session with Sen. John Kerry. The solo riot he generated
with a bunch of campus cops was little more than a shameless attempt to show how
easy it is these days to grab 15 minutes of cheap fame.

Indeed, less than a day after Meyer quite deliberately asked a friend to video
the moment when he essentially begged campus cops to zap him, more than 400,000
suckers were clicking on this fool.

Today, you can buy several types of “Don’t Tase Me, Bro,” T-shirts on the Web.

I don’t know if Simpson’s journey to Logan on Friday was quite as calculating.
On the other hand, I can’t buy the pixie genius defense her court-appointed
lawyer used at her arraignment in East Boston on Friday.

Simpson was a freshman at MIT last year when a couple of freelance bozos,
looking to make a few extra bucks, sent this city into Def-Con 4 with a handful
of cartoon circuit boards that gave everyone the finger.

Sure, maybe we weren’t hip enough to appreciate a little guerrilla marketing.
But that doesn’t matter, because the city still got the last laugh with a $2
million apology from Turner Classic Movies for our frayed nerves.

Maybe Star Anna Simpson thought she could saunter through Logan and return to
Cambridge with a helluva tale about how no one said a word to her. Or maybe she
thought a half-dozen machine guns would do wonders for her Web site profile.

“A couple of things struck me,” the state cop said, “I thought about what a
burst of machine gun fire might do to other people in the area. And then, of
course, if it had been a real device, what those bullets would have done to
everyone after the explosion.”
Article URL:

Activist Silenced for Fear of Surveillance

Activist Silenced for Fear of Surveillance

Jennifer Flynn says she's afraid after learning she was being
watched. ROCCO PARASCANDOLA, "Activist silenced for fear of surveillance,", September 24, 2007) Flynn was clueless that the FBI watches
everyone who influences others.
If the watchers were public officials she has less to fear than if they
were FBI or police informants who do harm and are seldom identified. In
Boston FBI informant and fugitive James Bulger is accused of murdering 19
civilians. Some went to the FBI to report him.
The FBI conducts character assassination and high tech harassment among
many programs. The FBI uses behavior psychologists to disrupt the lives of
people they target.
The freedom described in the US Constitution no longer exists. The FBI
believes they are the law. If Flynn is intimidated by surveillance she is weak.
Being able to continue activities in spite of surveillance is essential. Flynn
should be grateful that the FBI has not murdered or framed her. They do it to
many civilians.

Roy Bercaw, Editor ENOUGH ROOM,0,2760679.story
Activist silenced for fear of surveillance


September 24, 2007

Jennifer Flynn is not a rabble-rouser. She's not an aspiring suicide bomber. She
doesn't advocate the overthrow of the government. Instead, she pushes for
funding and better treatment for people with HIV and AIDS.

Better keep an eye on her.

Wait! Somebody already did.

On the day before a rally by the New York City AIDS Housing Network at the 2004
Republican National Convention - a rally by an organization Flynn co-founded,
and a rally that the NYPD had approved - she experienced something straight out
of a spy novel.

While visiting her family in Hillside, N.J., Flynn spotted a car with a New York
license plate parked outside the house. When she left to head back to her
Brooklyn home that evening, the car followed hers. Shortly after leaving
Hillside, two more vehicles, also with New York plates, seemed to be tailing
her, too.

Trying to assure herself she wasn't nuts, Flynn tested her hunch - changing
lanes, making turns, pulling over and parking. The drivers in those three
vehicles mimicked her actions.

At one point, she recalled, she slowed down and one of the other vehicles ended
up alongside her car. She looked over to see several men in the vehicle. She
gestured toward them. The men "threw up their arms as if to say, 'We're only
doing what we're told,'" she remembers.

On the New Jersey side of the Goethals Bridge, her followers pulled away. But
later, when Flynn pulled up in front of her Flatbush home, she spotted another
car, with two men inside, both with laptops. At 4 a.m., they were still there.

Is Flynn paranoid? Well, she is now. She did, however, jot down the license
plate number of one of the vehicles in Jersey - a blue sport utility vehicle.
When a reporter asked for the number, Flynn couldn't find it. Recently, it was
found in a file kept by Christopher Dunn, the civil liberties lawyer she called
that day in a panic.

The license plate number traces back to a company - Pequot Inc. - and a post
office box at an address far from the five boroughs. Registering unmarked cars
to post office boxes outside the city or to shell companies is a common practice
of law enforcement agencies to shield undercover investigators.

The NYPD, however, says it didn't follow Flynn that evening. And the
department's Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence David Cohen has said no federal
agency was involved in preconvention surveillance.

So who was following Flynn? And what, exactly, did they hope to learn about a
woman the NYPD knew well, as it had been in regular communication with her about
her organization's rally?

The answer - well, part of it - is a 99-mile road trip from NYPD headquarters:
uptown, into the Bronx, and onto I-87. A quick switch onto the Saw Mill River
Parkway, then the Taconic Parkway. Fifty more miles to go, past the leaves
turning color and the country club golf courses. After that, it's the winding
roads of tony Millbrook, with its horse farms and vineyards.

At last, we're in Amenia, population 1,115. It's so far from the city its dry
cleaners actually clean horse blankets.

The street named on the license-plate printout exists, though the address
doesn't. An auto-shop worker on the block suggests checking with the post
office. When Postmaster Bonnie Colgan and an assistant are shown the printout,
they stop dead in their tracks.

There's a Pequot Capital Management in midtown and a Pequot Construction in the
Bronx. But no Pequot Inc. in Amenia.

"That's not a real company," the assistant says. "The people who used that box,
they're from New York. They used to come here and get the mail, but not

Colgan is tempted to elaborate, but doesn't.

"I can't because of the sensitive nature of the issue," she says.

Back in the city, Flynn takes a seat at a Starbucks near City Hall and shakes
her head. She still feels as passionately about what she does as she did three
years ago. But she concedes the experience has taken its toll.

"I feel like I've stepped back, in a way," she says. "I feel I'm not as vocal as
I was. I'm still going to sign a petition. I'm still going to organize a rally.
I do it. But now I'm deathly afraid."

Flynn, 35, may one day learn who was following her. Activists have decried
police tactics at the GOP convention - 1,806 arrests, protesters hemmed in with
orange netting, people arrested and held for hours and hours in a West Side pier
warehouse. The New York Civil Liberties Union, which represents seven plaintiffs
suing the city over their arrests, is pushing for the release of raw NYPD
intelligence reports detailing police surveillance of activists and protest

Flynn says the damage is done. She sees it in the attitudes of other activists.
There's less desire. More trepidation.

"When you use scare tactics, you really are curbing our right to dissent against
the government," she said. "The only thing this is serving to do is squash
public dissent. By going after the organizers of a rally, you really are sending
a message - 'Don't hold a rally.'"

Copyright © 2007, Newsday Inc.

Holier Than Thou

Holier Than Thou

Regarding "the reports in Patrick's [casino] research packet." Reischel and
McMorrow ask "(Think the Department of Public Health deals much with
tobacco-funded research on cancer and nicotine addiction?)" (JULIA REISCHEL +
PAUL MCMORROW, "THE BIG BLIND," Weekly Dig, September 26, 2007, page 12) That is
what the FDA, state and US and legislatures do with psychiatric drug research.
Tobacco company sponsored research and casino industry sponsored research
is scrutinized by skeptics. But psychiatric and drug research gets approval from
industry experts and drug companies. Have the genes of psychiatrists and drug
company executives been cleansed of mendacity and greed?

Roy Bercaw, Editor ENOUGH ROOM

Why the argument for casinos in Massachusetts ain’t nothing but a mathquerade
September 26, 2007

This past March, Dr. Clyde Barrow, the director of the Center for Policy
Analysis (CFPA) at UMass Dartmouth, authored a paper outlining his
recommendations for how to introduce casino gambling into Massachusetts. It
detailed a very specific set of guidelines for how to "maximize the economic
impacts of expanded gambling in Massachusetts."

Barrow's blueprint called for "three commercial resort casinos," to be situated
in Suffolk Downs, southeastern Massachusetts and western Massachusetts. It
promised that, collectively, the casinos would generate $1.5 billion in revenue
and create 20,000 jobs. It recommended a 27 percent tax rate on gaming revenue,
which would generate "over $400 million" in revenue for the state, half of which
would be spent on local aid. It suggested that the state charge $600 million in
casino licensing fees every 10 years. It also recommended that the casinos
allocate 2 percent of their gross revenues to offset the costs of communities
near the new casinos.

In August, just as Governor Deval Patrick was retiring to the Berkshires to
study the research gathered by his Gambling/Gaming Internal Study Group, C.
Stanley McGee, the Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning in the Executive
Office at Housing and Economic Development, added a copy of Barrow's report to
the governor's packet of gambling research materials. The report was preceded by
a rather unusual disclaimer:

"As most of you know, the work of Professor Barrow and The Center for Policy
Analysis at UMass Dartmouth is not without some controversy, and many opponents
of expanded gaming question the rigor of the economic analysis and the
independence of the organization given its pro-gaming recommendations. All that
being said, we wanted to circulate the report for your convenience since some of
you have seen mention of it in the news and had asked for a copy."

Despite the warnings from his staff, a little over a month after receiving a
copy of Barrow's blueprint, Patrick returned from his sojourn in the woods to
deliver a gambling plan remarkably similar to Barrow's proposal: He recommended
three casinos taxed at 27 percent, and said the state would reap $400 million in
new tax revenues, $600 million in 10-year licensing fees, 20,000 jobs and a 2.5
percent allocation of gross funds to local communities. The end result would be
$2 billion in instant economic development, Patrick said. Casinos would allow
Massachusetts to surmount a fiscal crunch, advance an expensive gubernatorial
agenda and close a $15-$19 billion transportation funding gap without raising

Outside of Barrow's papers and studies that casinos have funded (some of which
rely on Barrow's research), hard numbers for casinos' economic benefits, by and
large, don't exist. And if it's problematic that Patrick built a major policy
decision on one man's research, it's doubly so that that research comes with a
warning from the governor's own staff.

Barrow, a highly public figure in the state's casino debate and local
journalists' go-to person for gambling quotes, pioneered a controversial
technique known as "patron origin" analysis. It consists of counting cars in
casinos' parking lots. Barrow estimates that the percentage of out-of-state
license plates equals the percentages of out-of-state residents gambling at the
casino, which, in turn, is equal to the percent of out-of-state money being
spent there. Barrow's research is the only apparent source for the
widely-repeated statistic that Massachusetts residents spent $1.1 billion at
out-of-state casinos last year, which is often used to point to more than a
billion dollars of "untapped demand" for gambling in Massachusetts.

Some Are More Equal Than Others No. 2723

Some Are More Equal Than Others No. 2723

The Cambridge City Council is consistently inconsistent. To cater to 12
whining football players and whining SAT test takers the City Council and its
chairman-mayor seek special consideration from hundreds of Malden citizens and
many Cambridge citizens who are to be inconvenienced. (David Abel, "Test for
Cambridge team will be getting to game," David Abel, Boston Globe, September 26,
At the same time Councilors tell advocates for disability rights that they
need 35, or 300 persons (The Mayor) in order for the city to enforce laws
regarding equal treatment of persons with disabilities.
Brian Murphy said one parent asked him if the City Council could try to get
the starting time of the football game delayed.
One parent seeking special treatment is a higher priority for Murphy than
the thousands of persons with disabilities who are denied rights and privileges
guaranteed by the US Constitution, the MA constitution, City policies, state
laws and US laws.
This is one more example that in Cambridge as in Animal Farm some people
are more equal than others. Shameless, clueless, lawless and careless pigs have
taken control of the City of Cambridge.

Roy Bercaw, Editor ENOUGH ROOM

Test for Cambridge team will be getting to game
Malden's gala plans vie with SAT exams
By David Abel,
Boston Globe Staff
September 26, 2007

A month into his senior year at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, Jerard Warren
is being recruited to play football for several universities, including Temple,
Maryland, Hofstra, and Northeastern. The 18-year-old tight end just has to keep
playing well, maintain his grades, and score high enough on the SAT exam.

But next month, he and a dozen of his teammates may be forced to choose between
academics and athletics when the team squares off against Malden High School
just after the SAT exam ends.

Under pressure from city and school officials in Cambridge, Malden has agreed to
delay the Oct. 6 game from noon until 1 p.m. but has refused the 3 p.m. start
time requested by Rindge & Latin.

Warren, who has a learning disability and has been given an additional two hours
to complete the test, doesn't want to miss the game. But he knows he can't rush
the SATs to play football.

"I feel like it's really unfair to put us in this situation," Warren said. "I'm
going to try to take my time, but I want to be there for the team. It's really
stressful. It would be nice if they could make the game later in the day."
Message Board YOUR VIEW: Are Malden officials or Cambridge officials being
unreasonable or unfair?

But officials at Malden High, which is celebrating the school's homecoming and
150th anniversary that day, have told Cambridge officials that they have already
spent too much time and money on the weekend's festivities to start the game any
later than 1 p.m., an hour after the exam is scheduled to end.

"Thousands of hours of work went into planning events, the football game being
one of the keystone events," said Michael Dube, athletic director of Malden
public schools. "Things had been planned, purchased, and scheduled.

"There was plenty of time to communicate this issue," he said. "Had it been
communicated in a timely matter, we could have accommodated them. We have made
the accommodations we're able to make at this point."

He blamed Rindge & Latin for not raising the issue until little more than a week
ago, months after the schools agreed to the time, when Cambridge parents began
realizing the conflict and asking for the game to be rescheduled.

Dube said that Malden planned around the conflict and that most of its players
have either already taken the exam or have registered for another date.

To compromise, Dube said, Malden initially agreed to delay the game until 12:30

But Cambridge officials said the delay was insufficient, especially for players
such as Warren, who will be given until 2 p.m. to finish the exam. On Monday,
the Cambridge City Council passed a resolution, by a vote of 8 to 0, calling on
Malden to postpone the game until 3 p.m.

Yesterday, after the mayors of both cities and superintendents of both schools
discussed the conflict, Malden agreed to delay the game until 1 p.m.

Mayor Richard Howard of Malden said he thought the hour delay was a fair
compromise. "We're accommodating them as much as possible while maintaining the
schedule we set a while back," said Howard, explaining that the school has to
fit the game between a buffet, a performance by the school's marching band, and
various homecoming gatherings.

Cambridge officials said an hour delay is barely enough time for the students to
make the trip from Cambridge to Malden.

"If we could get it to 3 p.m., it would make it a lot better for the students,"
said Brian Murphy, the Cambridge city councilor who sponsored the resolution.
"I'm worried they're going to just try to get through the test as quickly as
they can to get to the big game. We should be able to accommodate both."
David Abel can be reached at

September 22, 2007

Cambridge MA Crime Task Force

Cambridge MA Crime Task Force

Members of the Crime Task Force and City Councilors speak as if Cambridge
is the first city to ever have a crime problem. (Matt Dunning, "Crime task
force to hold public forum," Cambridge Chronicle, September 20, 2007)
They conveniently ignore major causal factors. In 1995 Princeton Professor
John J. DiIulio cautioned, [there are] "40 million kids 10 years old and under"
who are about to become teen-agers, the biggest group of adolescents in a
generation, and many of them "fatherless, godless and jobless." (FOX
BUTTERFIELD, "Crime Continues to Decline, but Experts Warn of Coming 'Storm' of
Juvenile Violence," The New York Times, November 19, 1995) The prediction was
that these young men would create a serious increase in crime. Twelve years
later the Cambridge City Council wonders what to do. Does government corruption
contribute to high levels of crime?
Why did City government hold its head in the sand all these years? If they
were unable to solve this with ten years notice what will they propose after 14
months with amateurs? The Councilors have eyes but cannot see. They have ears
but cannot hear. The City Manager speaks no evil, hears no evil and sees no
evil. He is not a monkey.
Perhaps Decker's idea will work. Brief the Council on what the Task Force
is doing. Yes, that sounds like a workable solution to crime.

Roy Bercaw, Editor ENOUGH ROOM

Crime task force to hold public forum
By Matt Dunning/Chronicle Staff
Cambridge Chronicle
Thu Sep 20, 2007, 06:00 AM EDT
Cambridge -

The task force charged with presenting the City Council with a long-term plan to
curb violent crime in the city plans to hold a citywide public forum next week.

A week ago, it looked as if the same task force had painted itself into a bit of
a corner.

By seeking the input of the City Council on when to hold a public forum —
scheduled for Sept. 25 in the Sullivan Chamber at City Hall — the task force
could have inadvertently delayed the release of its final report.

Two weeks ago, the task force that focuses on how to lessen crime in Cambridge
spent more than an hour of its regular meeting trying to decide when, where and
under what circumstances to hold a public forum to gather input as it prepares
its report to the council. The task force has been working since the beginning
the summer on a comprehensive safety report — due Oct. 22 —aimed at stemming
violence in Cambridge, in response to a rash of shootings last summer.

Last Monday, Mayor Ken Reeves — who co-chairs the task force with City Manager
Bob Healy — told his fellow councilors that the task force wanted the council’s
opinion on what the proper format of the public forum would be.
In response, Councilor Marjorie Decker said she felt as though the council
hadn’t been given nearly enough information about the task force’s progress
throughout the summer, and requested that the council be briefed on the status
of the report before making a recommendation for a public forum.

Blight is in the Eyes of the Beholder

Blight is in the Eyes of the Beholder

Jane Jacobs' explained blight in her book "The Death an Life of Great
American Cities." Government officials and professional planners declare
thriving, exciting and safe neighborhoods blighted. Bankers refuse to grant
loans to residents of those neighborhoods.
If they are allowed to survive the "blighted" neighborhoods can unslum
themselves without outside help. But if the power of eminent domain is applied
to destroy a neighborhood there is no defense. Has Columbia adopted the
practices of Robert Moses?

Roy Bercaw, Editor
Cambridge MA USA

New York Post

September 19, 2007 -- TO realize its planned expansion in Manhattanville,
Columbia University will need the power of eminent domain - that is, the ability
to force property owners to sell at a "fair" price, below what they'd otherwise
hold out for. The prospect of such takings has probably caused more resentment
than any other part of the school's plan.

Technically, the power would be exercised by the state-run Empire State
Development Corp. (ESDC) - which must first reach a formal finding that the area
is "blighted."

But the ESDC has subcontracted the study that will make that determination to
the consulting firm of AKRF - which Columbia itself has already hired to help
sell its overall plan to city officials.

This arrangement inspired locals like Nick Sprayregen to sue - demanding the
ESDC produce its communications with AKRF to see if the consulting firm is truly
acting as an independent arbiter.

A judge agreed: "While acting for Columbia, AKRF has an interest of its own in
the outcome of [ESDC's] action, as AKRF, presumably, seeks to succeed in
securing an outcome that its client, Columbia, would favor." But ESDC's appeal
of that ruling won't be heard until December, so everything's going ahead for

Complicating matters is the fact that AKRF, which specializes in
environmental-impact statements, has been the government's go-to consultant for
just about every major development over the last six years.

One-Party Probe

One-Party Probe

The Post Editorial asks, "So what was the point of the probe?" ("SOARES
WIMPS OUT," Editorial, New York Post, September 21, 2007) In a one party
government it is for show business, to make it appear as if there is
If there ever was an argument for at least two strong political parties
here it is. A one-party system exhibits Lord Acton's observation that "Absolute
power corrupts absolutely."
A Democrat saying "This office found no illegal conduct," (KENNETH
2007) is not believable. Soares should have appointed a special prosecutor to do
the investigation. Why do only D.C. Democrats recognize the need for two strong
parties which have an interest in exposing abuses of power?

Roy Bercaw, Editor ENOUGH ROOM

By KENNETH LOVETT Post Correspondent
New York Post

September 21, 2007 -- ALBANY - Albany County District Attorney David Soares
yesterday cleared the Spitzer administration of any wrongdoing in the
dirty-tricks scandal.

"This office has found no illegal conduct," Soares said in a statement
announcing the conclusion of the seven-week investigation.

"To the contrary, we found that the governor, his staff and the New York State
Police were acting within their authority in compiling and releasing documents
to the media concerning the use of state aircraft," Soares added.

Soares - who closed the investigation after probers interviewed Gov. Spitzer
Wednesday - said he will release a detailed report today.

"The governor is gratified by the conclusions reached by [Soares] and looks
forward to reading the report," said Spitzer spokeswoman Christine Anderson.

Republicans and other critics of the scandal yesterday questioned how Soares
could find no criminal wrongdoing when his investigators did not subpoena
records or place anyone interviewed - including the governor - under oath.

They say one reason they wanted Soares, who like Spitzer is a Democrat with
strong support from the minor Working Families Party, to conduct the probe is
because he had subpoena power that Attorney General Andrew Cuomo lacked in his

While Cuomo also found no criminality, he concluded that top Spitzer aides acted
improperly in using the State Police to compile damaging information for the
press on the use of the state air fleet by Spitzer's top political foe, Senate
Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.

New York Post

September 21, 2007 -- Albany County DA David Soares seems set to throw Eliot
Spitzer a life raft: Soares will release a report today claiming that the
governor and his staff engaged in "no illegal conduct" in their Dirty Tricks

But if Spitzer, Soares or anyone else thinks such a report will absolve the
governor in the minds of the public and restore confidence in him, they're badly

Instead, the report may be seen for exactly what it was no doubt intended to be:
a whitewash of the governor's office's Dirty Tricks campaign.

In a statement late yesterday, Soares hinted at what he'll likely say today.

"This office has found no illegal conduct," it said. "To the contrary, we found
that the governor, his staff, and the New York State Police were acting within
their authority in compiling and releasing documents to the media concerning the
use of state aircraft."

The statement is bizarre on its face.

Soares apparently placed no one under oath - even though he clearly had the
power to do so. And his statement fell well short of what Attorney General
Andrew Cuomo's report found in July:

* That the governor's staff directed State Police to manufacture documents
smearing state Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno.

* That the staff used the rationale that a newspaper asked for the documents in
a Freedom of Information Law request - but the only such requests, from The
Albany Times-Union, came long after document-gathering had begun.

* That the governor's staff had engaged in, at the least, unethical conduct that
warranted disciplinary or other action.

The real story seemed even worse - because Spitzer and his staff refused to
cooperate with Cuomo. And Cuomo lacked subpoena power to compel them to testify
and hand over documents.
So what was the point of the probe?

Jesse Jackson, Racist

Jesse Jackson, Racist

Saying Barack Obama is "acting like he's white" (GEOFF EARLE, "RACIAL
SHOCKER," New York Post, September 20, 2007; Charles Hurt, "Obama slinks from Jackson's surly rip," NYPost, September 21, 2007, page 8) is one more example of the
racism of Jesse Jackson who claims bona fides from Martin Luther King, Jr.
Jackson distorts King's legacy of seeking a nation where his children will be
treated according to their character and not the color of their skin. This issue
as so many others are portrayed as racial. It is a matter of right and wrong,
and the dysfunctional legal system.
Why do Jackson and Sharton remain silent when innocent white people are
jailed? They oppose only one kind of racism and speak up for only blacks harmed
by the judicial system. Where are their apologies for the four white students
wrongfully accused by DA Nifong in North Carolina at Duke University?
Black racism is acceptable to these exploitive demagogues. Why do
journalists treat these charlatans seriously and give them coverage?

Roy Bercaw, Editor ENOUGH ROOM

By GEOFF EARLE Post Correspondent
New York Post

September 20, 2007 -- WASHINGTON - The Rev. Jesse Jackson slammed presidential
candidate Barack Obama for "acting like he's white" because he failed to take a
tough enough stance on the prosecution of six black Louisiana teenagers whose
case has become a civil-rights flashpoint.

The explosive accusation Tuesday immediately lit up the fight for political
position on the arrest of the "Jena Six" in the presidential campaign, as Obama
and Hillary Clinton jostle for critical support among black Southern voters.

Jackson, who has endorsed Obama, nevertheless questioned whether Obama was doing
all he could to fight the arrest and prosecution of the Jena HS students, even
though Obama has put out strong statements on the subject.

"If I were a candidate, I'd be all over Jena," Jackson told The State newspaper
in South Carolina on the eve of a major march protesting the arrests. "Jena is a
defining moment, just like Selma was a defining moment."

Jackson, who later said he didn't recall making the comment "acting like he's
white" to The State, said Obama needed to be "bolder" to fight Clinton's lead.

September 19, 2007

Anyone and Everyone?

Anyone and Everyone?

In the report of "Son of Snake," (Selim Algar, "Snake-bit spree-kill
suspect," New York Post, September 18, 2007, page 24) mother, brother and uncle make
psychiatric diagnoses. Expressing opinions is an American tradition and right.
But that does not make it news.
If anyone can make these diagnoses, who needs psychiatrists? Contemporary
journalists lack skepticism, when it comes to psychiatry. They make no
distinction between experts and ordinary citizens. If an expert made the
statements what is the connection between having a disability and crime? This is
pure prejudice by ignorant journalists toward persons with disabilities. It is
irrational to suggest that mental illness causes crime.
It is good for the psychiatric industry. Is that why this keeps happening
in the New York Post in spite of my many letters about this abuse?

Roy Bercaw, Editor ENOUGH ROOM

September 15, 2007

Ethical Journalism?

Ethical Journalism?

Adam Reilly says "The safeguard [to remaining objective] is an abiding
sense of journalistic detachment [to ensure] reporting on reality, not
manipulating it." (ADAM REILLY, "House pest," Boston Phoenix, September 14,
2007, Page 14 News)
Undermining this argument are the daily doses of advocacy journalism
published by The New York Times and the Boston Globe. TV and radio outlets
regularly shape the news to fit journalists' own views, the views of the
publishers or the views of their advertisers. This objective "luxury of writing
with a strong point of view" was not applied to Peter Kenney and his colleague
citizen journalists. Kenny does not pretend to be objective. The Times and the
Globe do.
He says "there are" ethics taught in school but the courses usually omit
persons with disabilities (an issue for another time).
The dictionary says a journalist is a person whose occupation is
journalism. If a blogger is paid is he a journalist? There are many forms of
One Boston Globe columnist told me that bloggers write opinion, they are
not reporters. He did not answer when I asked him if he is a blogger because he
writes opinion pieces. Nor did he reply to my query about video clips of public
events that "journalists" do not report or how a video blog is opinion.
In Manufacturing Consent Noam Chomsky showed how the number of column
inches varied according to the priorities of the editors of the New York Times.
Many stories do not appear in print or over the airwaves. Kenny refers to this
as "an accommodation."
Is there a growing source of indignation that professional journalists are
missing stories (or not reporting stories) that are being exposed by citizen
journalists like Matt Drudge used to be and Peter Kenney? Is Reilly objective
about bloggers?


Roy Bercaw, Editor
PO Box 400297
Cambridge MA 02140 USA

House pest
One Cape Cod blogger is getting the scoops and setting the pace for
Massachusetts casino coverage — for better or worse
9/12/2007 4:08:31 PM
FLY OFF THE HANDLE: Peter Kenney’s scoops jeopardized the future of casino
gambling in Massachusetts.

The biggest political story in Massachusetts right now is the state’s ongoing
dalliance with casino gambling — but the biggest scoops haven’t been coming from
the Globe or the Herald. Their source, instead, has been Yarmouth resident Peter
Kenney, a/k/a the “Great Gadfly,” a sexagenarian carpenter and
public-access-cable star who writes for

On August 20, Kenney blogged that Glenn Marshall — the leader of the Mashpee
Wampanoag tribe, which received federal tribal recognition in February and
struck a casino deal with the town of Middleborough in July — had lied about his
military record. Marshall previously claimed he’d received a Silver Star for
service in Vietnam; in fact, Kenney noted, Marshall’s name wasn’t listed on a
Web site that tracks Silver Star recipients. Two days later, in an addendum to
his original post, Kenney reported that Marshall’s three Purple Hearts were
fabrications, too. Then, on August 23, Kenney produced his most damning piece
yet — revealing, among other things, that Marshall had been convicted of rape in

These exclusives have already thrown the Mashpee Wampanoags into disarray.
Marshall stepped down as the tribe’s chairman on August 24, the same day that
the Cape Cod Times reported on his rape conviction and sundry fabrications; he
also copped to additional transgressions, including an arrest for cocaine
possession. Now, two long-time Marshall opponents — the mother-son team of
Amelia and Steven Bingham — are vying with Shawn Hendricks, Marshall’s successor
and ally, for tribal control. But the implications of Kenney’s reportage are
much, much bigger. Without Marshall calling the shots, the tribe might try to
build a casino on the Cape instead of in Middleborough — or (Kenney’s personal
preference) decide not to build one at all. What’s more, Governor Deval Patrick
is still weighing whether or not to support casino gambling. Marshall’s
implosion and the chaos it created could help convince the governor to take a
[. . .]
Kenney is very good at what he
does. But he’s right: he’s not a journalist.

September 10, 2007

Captain Louis Renault

Captain Louis Renault

Expressing shock at John Edwards' proposal for mandatory health care
screening Boston Herald editors show they are clueless about what the
psychiatric industry has been doing for many years. (Herald editorial staff,
"Big Brother health care," September 9, 2007) Saying "mandatory medical checkups
would be a step toward a repellent dictatorship" shows there is no awareness
that began many years ago.
Civil commitment statutes show that campaign contributions created a system
of taking freedoms based upon personal opinions. Psychiatrists have been
"empowered and dangerous" for many years.
Illinois has a law requiring pregnant woman and all persons zero to 18
years to be evaluated for mental health. George Bush has a New Freedom
Initiative which has only been minimally funded to do the same for all citizens.
Why are the nefarious machinations of psychiatrists and their drug company
mentors been ignored by the watchdogs of American freedom, the journalists? Is
there a prejudice among us?
Asking "What will happen to them? (people who don’t choose to see a doctor
when there’s nothing wrong) Prison terms?" Well, that already happens when there
are allegations and accusations of mental illness. Why not do it for rashes and
broken legs too?
The editors lament "the government would make medical decisions." Well,
duh. They already do that with accusations of mental illness. Police make
medical diagnoses now. Relatives, neighbors, lovers make psychiatric diagnoses
that are reported by journalists. Why not for real illnesses too? Why
discriminate against the psychiatrists? They claim to be human too.

Roy Bercaw, Editor ENOUGH ROOM

Big Brother health care
By Herald editorial staff
Sunday, September 9, 2007

John Edwards wants to coerce us all into good health. He’s said so flat out and
practically nobody has called him on it.

This isn’t another nanny-state proposal. If he could pull it off, it would be
Big Brother in the saddle, empowered and dangerous.

In Tipton, Iowa, last week, discussing the health plan he would try to get
enacted, Edwards said, “It requires that everybody get preventive care.” And he
elaborated a little bit, “If you are going to be in the system, you can’t choose
not to go to the doctor for 20 years.”

For example, women would be required to have regular mammograms in an effort to
find the “first trace of problem.” (Edwards’ wife has breast cancer.)

These quotes come from an Associated Press story that was ignored by the
gatekeeper newspapers in Washington and New York. Even so, candidates monitor
each other and you’d think one of them, especially a Republican, would have
raised questions. (The Captain’s Quarters blog alerted us to the issue.)

Edwards left a host of questions screaming for answers. If his $120 billion
system (which hasn’t been specified in detail) covers “every single American,”
as he has been at pains to stress, it can’t expel people who don’t choose to see
a doctor when there’s nothing wrong, can it? What will happen to them? Prison
terms? Fines? Bigger co-pays? Getting thrown into a police car for a trip to a
physician, where the hapless miscreants have to read gardening magazines from
1999 until the doctor could see them?

This would mean the government would make medical decisions - and waste
resources right and left, since most checkups will find nothing wrong. At what
age would doctor visits for adults have to begin? Where professional societies
disagree on what should be done and when (as they have with breast cancer), who

Requirements may well be an essential part of arranging health care - an
individual mandate to carry insurance is the heart of the new Massachusetts
health plan for example, just as auto coverage is mandatory in many states. But
mandatory medical checkups would be a step toward a repellent dictatorship.
Article URL:

Pundits Ignore Vulnerable Groups

Pundits Ignore Vulnerable Groups

[This letter was published in the Boston Herald on Wednesday September 12, 2007]

Pundits from Robert Putnam to Pat Buchanan share the same limited notion of
diversity. (Jose De La Isla, "Not quite bowled over," September 8, 2007) Nowhere
in this article are the populations of persons with disabilities and elders
mentioned. Is it because they lack a political action committee to make campaign
Upper class persons of color, upper class women and upper class homosexuals
show they are diverse. The ethnic lobby shows their diversity as well. But they
exclude poor persons, persons with disabilities and older citizens.
That is bad enough. But upper class journalists who ignore this overt bias
show that they too share the prejudices toward those two groups and have no
shame about doing so.

Roy Bercaw, Editor, ENOUGH ROOM

Not quite bowled over
Gutterball by Harvard’s diversity detractor
By Jose De La Isla
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Opinion & Editorial

Forget presidential politics. The real debate might be taking place outside that
arena. And a good thing, too. The dumbed-down, lightning-fast, popular vanity
answers by presidential aspirants might be irrelevant.

In August, The Wall Street Journal’s deputy editorial page editor, Daniel
Henninger, brought up an important concern about the times we live in. The
header boldly read, “The Death of Diversity.”

He reported that Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam, author of the best seller
“Bowling Alone,” claims after 30,000 interviews in 41 U.S. communities, “People
in ethnically diverse settings don’t want to have much of anything to do with
each other.”

This doesn’t sound very promising for those who believe we can all not only get
along but thrive when real and imagined barriers come down.

That typically happens when our social networks (called “social capital”) do
their job and provide economic and cultural security. But that type of
solidarity seems to go down when immigration is up.

Henninger, who otherwise appears to be sort of middle-of-the-roadish, has a
definite spin on all this. He thinks advocates for campus, corporate and media
diversity “gave short shrift to assimilation” and elevated “differences” to
another category by challenging the old ways in court.

Because the diversity issue (ethnic, race, gender, sexual orientation) was
unnerving, “little wonder the immigration debate is riven with distrust.”

I disagree with Henninger’s perspective.

Diversity issues, at least since the 1970s, have been about fairness standards.
Why should all citizens pay for higher education when their own kids don’t stand
a chance there, or how fair are glass ceilings for our educated, well-qualified

Pitting diversity concerns with immigration movements implicitly looks at social
change from a xenophobic point of view. It makes the traditional populations
seem as if they are under jeopardy of some kind because they might feel they are
losing power.

In fact, Putnam says in the first line of his scholarly paper that new ethnic
and social heterogeneities pose both challenges and opportunities not just in
the United States, but in most advanced countries.

In this changing of the guard, especially in Western Europe, the traditional
networks to find a job, get a mate, raise children, enjoy status and even have
prominence within a circle of acquaintances is changing.

Simply put, Putnam says ethnic diversity will increase substantially.

In the short to medium term, immigration and ethnic diversity will challenge the
established social solidarity.

In other words, “different” people will be trying to get into our networks or
will be forming networks of their own.

So far, so good. But now comes Pat Buchanan and others with another
interpretation. They wrongly claim Putnam says greater diversity causes greater
distrust in our country. Imagine that! The increasing lack of trust researchers
have reported since the 1960s happened because of immigrants of the 2000s.

Conveniently misunderstanding what Putnam says misleads the country about an
important insight.

Yes, “bonding” within social groups becomes less solid in the face of diversity
and immigration. But that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of “bridging” with
non-traditional groups. That’s why Putnam says immigrant societies dampen the
negative effects of diversity by constructing new, more encompassing identities.

Negative-oriented people, like Buchanan, will never get it. They can only look
at a situation and think about what was “lost.” They can’t see all the new

Or, as Putnam puts it, the main challenge is “to create a new, broader sense of

Now of those running for president, which candidate is enough of an intellectual
to understand the big picture and lead us there instead of scaring us?
Article URL:

Olympic Spin Doctors

Olympic Spin Doctors

Leave it to a Harvard Law Professor to make exploitation of persons with
disabilities into a benefit. (William P. Alford and Timothy P. Shriver, "For
disabled, China has risen to the challenge," Boston Globe, September 8, 2007)
The dominant paradigm of support for persons with disabilities at Harvard, at
the Boston Globe and in Massachusetts is the health care model, or the business
model. Persons with disabilities are thought of as consumers or clients, not
citizens with rights. This is particularly offensive coming from a Harvard Law
Special Olympics is one of the more prominent not for profit services
provided to persons with disabilities. Like the human services industrial
complex (MA State Rep. Marie Parente) the Special Olympics keeps persons with
disabilities in a dependent relationship with their mentors.
Saying "Special Olympics, [will] improve the quality of life of Chinese
citizens with intellectual disabilities." is unsubstantiated. There is no doubt
that "Sino-American team[s] of social scientists ha[ve] done unprecedented
research on popular attitudes toward the intellectually disabled." In the US The
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill claims to fight stigma. But their fight
benefits the drug companies which fund NAMI. NAMI promotes drug treatment, not
the rights of persons with disabilities.
They say "materials focused on diversity, tolerance, and integration have
been developed." Huh? By whom and for whose benefit? This idea is unknown to
Cambridge MA host city for Harvard Law School. The Superintendent of Schools for
Cambridge released his affirmative action report to the City Council on Monday
September 10, 2007. In it persons with disabilities are not mentioned. This is
after ten years of my complaints that the city ignores the rights of persons
with disabilities, 34 years after the Rehabilitation Act prohibited disability
discrimination. No persons with disabilities are the focus of the two
affirmative action officers of the city who earn more than $80,000.
The Cambridge Human Rights Commission excludes persons with disabilities
from their forums on discrimination. The Cambridge Police Reveiw Board excludes
persons with disabilities from forums on police profiling. But we are to believe
that China which kills prisoners and sells their body parts is more humane than
Cambridge MA?
Alford and Shriver refer to "a spirit and imagination similar to that we
have found in the United States and elsewhere." Is that the spirit which the
City of Cambridge has toward persons with disabilities, i.e. they ignore them?
When it comes to spinning the facts there are few more adept than Harvard
lawyers and their PR flacks.

Roy Bercaw, Editor ENOUGH ROOM

For disabled, China has risen to the challenge
Boston Globe
By William P. Alford and Timothy P. Shriver
September 8, 2007

THESE ARE not the happiest of times in the US-China relationship.

Stories of tainted foods and dangerous products have been news for weeks.
Controversies continue over exchange rates, labor conditions, outsourcing, and
intellectual property infringement. And long-standing issues regarding human
rights, the environment, and foreign policy remain prominent.

The media in China are far from reserved in articulating Chinese concerns about
the relationship. While they acknowledge problems surrounding sub-standard
products (from which Chinese citizens suffer more than we do), they also express
anxiety regarding the United States. Some Chinese observers suggest that
enmeshed in legitimate US concerns is a desire of today's superpower to check
the rise of a China that might otherwise be the world's next dominant power.

Nor does this picture look likely to change in the year before the 2008 Beijing
Olympics. Foreign media and human rights groups understandably see this as
providing an unparalleled opportunity to scrutinize China. At the same time, the
Chinese authorities are determined to present the most positive picture they can
of their nation and its accomplishments - even if, in so doing, their actions
have the unintended effect of heightening, rather than abating, foreign

These tensions have largely obscured an increasingly powerful, if little
noticed, form of interaction that holds much promise for the future of
Sino-American relations. In recent years, China and a number of nongovernmental
organizations have found ways to work together to advance shared goals in areas
such as education, healthcare, and disability. Without glossing over the many
challenges that persist, this cooperation and the learning it has spawned is
building a basis for a different type of bilateral engagement.

One such example is the work that Chinese and Americans (and a host of others)
have been conducting over the last several years, under the auspices of the
Special Olympics, to improve the quality of life of Chinese citizens with
intellectual disabilities. Since it first became involved in China in the
mid-1990s, Special Olympics has enlisted hundreds of thousands of individuals
with intellectual disabilities in athletic and other programs situated in
locales, urban and rural, rich and poor, throughout China - along the way
involving comparably large numbers of their fellow citizens as coaches,
volunteers, and supporters.

This initial phase of the Special Olympics work in China will culminate in early
October as more than 7,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities from more
than 160 countries gather in Shanghai for the Special Olympics World Summer
Games. But there is far more to this work than an olympiad. China's first
national medical and legal centers devoted to intellectual disability have been
launched, while a Sino-American team of social scientists has done unprecedented
research on popular attitudes toward the intellectually disabled. New curricular
materials focused on diversity, tolerance, and integration have been developed,
and a national campaign is underway to raise public consciousness. And, at a
more human level, family support networks are being nurtured, and every
participant in the Shanghai Games will receive free head-to-toe health
examinations and whatever medical, dental, optical, nutritional, and other
assistance they need.

These undertakings would not have been possible without the efforts of many
thousands of Chinese and other volunteers - which itself represents an
enormously important development. When Special Olympics first embarked on its
work in the PRC, many observers (including a number of old China-hands)
counseled that we would find little interest in the disabled and even less in
volunteerism. Happily, our experience suggests otherwise, as Chinese citizens
have thrown themselves into the endeavor with a spirit and imagination similar
to that we have found in the United States and elsewhere. Over the long term,
this energy displayed in promoting the dignity of society's most vulnerable
individuals is a powerful tool in building common ground.

The problems of product safety and political economy remain. But so, too, do the
inroads volunteerism has made and the outlets that it is creating. We would be
naive to think that these joint efforts at building civil society have fully
addressed the challenges that confront Chinese with intellectual disabilities
(or their American brethren), let alone ameliorated the many tensions that mark
the US-China relationship. That said, it would be no less naive to allow those
tensions to cause us to overlook what has already been accomplished and what may
yet be accomplished when citizens join hands in common endeavor.

William P. Alford is vice dean and Henry L. Stimson Professor of Law at Harvard.
Dr. Timothy P. Shriver is chairman of the board of the Special Olympics.

September 2, 2007

Trusting Politicians and the Biotech Industry

Trusting Politicians and the Biotech Industry

Can a responsible journalist question the ethics of a lawyer, a politician
or a biotech corporation? (Joan Vennochi, "Troubling beginnings for biotech
council chief," Boston Globe, August 30, 2007, page A9) This is the biotech
industry. They bring more food to poor people. They cure illnesses. They can do
no wrong. And even if they do wrong the benefit to society outweighs any harm to
individuals. That was the defense of the Nazi doctors at Nuremberg.
This is another administration led by a Harvard lawyer. Is there a question
about the integrity of Harvard corporate lawyers too? The biotech industry wants
taxpayer funding for research. They will share those funds with the politicians.
They are not greedy.
Vennochi discusses the connections of politics to human services
corporations, which are not for profit. Ahem! Are there abuses in the industry
which employs the caring professions? Are they suspected of wrongdoing? I am

Roy Bercaw, Editor, ENOUGH ROOM

Troubling beginnings for biotech council chief
Boston Globe
By Joan Vennochi
August 30, 2007

FOR THE MASSACHUSETTS Biotechnology Council, the desire for political access is
also a prescription for political controversy.

The council's new president, Robert K. Coughlin, is already defending himself
against charges that he violated the state conflict-of-interest law. Coughlin
just replaced former speaker of the House Thomas M. Finneran, who was forced to
quit as president after pleading guilty to a felony obstruction-of-justice

Whoosh! Talk about a revolving door. In about six months, Coughlin went from a
job as one of the governor's top liaisons to the biotech industry to talking
about a job as that industry's top advocate. Then, it took Coughlin six weeks to
disclose those discussions to the state. At the same time, he was working on
major state biotech initiatives.

A former state legislator, Coughlin is well connected. He is related to Jack
Connors Jr., chairman of Partners Healthcare, the powerful umbrella organization
for Harvard teaching hospitals. Connors served as an employment reference for
Coughlin, who is his second cousin; so did Joe O'Donnell, a prominent Boston
businessman who runs The Joey Fund, a charity named after his son, who died of
cystic fibrosis. Coughlin, who also raises money for the charity, has a
5-year-old son who has the disease. That could make him a compelling advocate
for the industry.

But whether he followed the law still matters.

Coughlin first met with members of the biotech council's search committee on
June 11. He had a second meeting on June 13. But not until July 19 did he inform
his immediate boss, Secretary of Housing and Economic Affairs Daniel O'Connell,
of his discussions. On July 20, he notified Governor Deval Patrick, according to
Cyndi Roy, a spokeswoman for the governor. On July 24, he filed a formal
disclosure with the state ethics commission. He was hired Aug. 13.

The state's conflict-of-interest law requires disclosure when a state employee
participates in a matter "in which he . . . or any organization with whom he is
negotiating . . . concerning prospective employment has a financial interest."

Coughlin's lawyer, Thomas R. Kiley, told the Globe's Frank Phillips that the
June 11 meeting wasn't an interview or negotiation; it was a "meet and greet."
Kiley told me that once Coughlin became a job candidate, no matter was discussed
"in which the Massachusetts biotech council has any financial interests." Asked
about Coughlin's financial interest in landing a job that could pay up to
$500,000, Kiley said, "That's not what the statute is about." He then declared
himself too busy for further conversation and ended the telephone call.
Joan Vennochi's e-mail address is

Trust Us, We're Biotech!

Trust Us, We're Biotech!

Trust us we're biotech companies! How can the Cambridge Chronicle question
the methods and procedures of a biotech company? Are any reporters experts? Huh?
(Editorial, "We deserve to know GateHouse News Service, Aug 30, 2007) Biotech
companies improve the health and welfare of all persons. Biotech companies make
more food and more varieties available to poor people. Biotech companies cure
illnesses. Biotech companies employ only high-minded ethical researchers who
only do good. Biotech companies never harm humans or rodents.
What is wrong with the people at the Cambridge Chronicle questioning how a
concerned compassionate company stores its chemicals? There are no dangers, only
benefits from the way we store our chemicals. We support diversity, and equal
We are biotech companies and we want your money. Support Harvard's
Corporate lawyer and Governor, Deval "Cadillac" Patrick's $1 billion promise or
we will leave Cambridge. We want your money. We are biotech companies. If you
can't trust us who can you trust? We'll share your money with the politicians.
We're not greedy.

[See e.g.,

Drug co.: Pass biotech $$ plan or else
By Scott Van Voorhis
Boston Herald Business Reporter
Friday, August 31, 2007 - Updated: 03:30 AM EST

British pharmaceutical giant Shire PLC yesterday warned that plans for a major
drug manufacturing complex in Boston’s suburbs could be in jeopardy unless
Beacon Hill passes a trumpeted, $1 billion incentive package for the life
sciences industry.

Roy Bercaw, Editor, ENOUGH ROOM

Editorial: We deserve to know
GateHouse News Service
Thu Aug 30, 2007, 06:08 AM EDT
Cambridge -
What’s really going on at Idenix Pharmaceuticals?

We couldn’t tell you because we don’t know. The company won’t tell neighbors,
either. Idenix, which develops drugs for viral and infectious diseases, wants to
increase its storage capacity of unknown solvents from 165 gallons to 2,000
gallons in its Hampshire Street facility. It’s a heck of an increase for any
chemical. The company says it isn’t required to make the information public; at
the same time, it’s seeking a license from the city to store 12 times the volume
of solvents it currently has. The reason? Homeland Security.

While we realize such sensitive information might be a risk to the public
safety, we think the risks of withholding that information would be even more
damaging. One unconfirmed chemical that neighbors have been tossing around as
one that could be in storage is dichloromethane, a known carcinogen commonly
used in pharmaceutical manufacturing. The company would neither confirm or deny
its existence at the site.

Covering Cambridge MA Lightly

Covering Cambridge MA Lightly

[This letter was published in the Boston Phoenix on September 14, 2007.]

In two weeks of articles about Mass politics David Bernstein leaves us
bewildered about what candidates think. (DAVID S. BERNSTEIN, "Cambridge
vs. Anthony Galluccio," Boston Phoenix, Aug 31 2007; and "Taking the Fifth," Aug
24 2007) He says, "It's not clear that voters are paying attention to the race
Meehan's seat]" But even if they are paying attention he provides no information
about three of the Democratic candidates and nothing about the two Republicans.
He reveals the identity of the two women Democrats, i.e. they are women,
but little else. Bernstein helps keep the voters educated how?
Regarding Anthony Galluccio, he dwells on allegations of a motor vehicle
charge, which he calls, "serious accusations," and "his drunk driving charges."
Then he states "a clerk magistrate ruled in April 2006, that evidence was
insufficient for a DUI charge." So why is this an issue for Galluccio? If
Bernstein does not believe what the clerk ruled, isn't that an issue for the
courts? Why blame Galluccio? For Bernstein, no charge is a charge? Not helpful
at all.
He compares the degrees of Galluccio and Flaherty not to Ross or
Nowicki two other candidates but to Birmingham who is not running. This helps
He reveals a conviction of Flaherty's father. Does Bernstein hold the sins
of the father against the son?
Bernstein says, "Barrios pummeled Galluccio [in 2002]." Huh? Barrios got
48 percent of the primary vote. Galluccio (32) and DeMaria (20) shared 52
Bernstein's analysis is spin for Barrios rather than reality.
Bernstein confuses the import of two facts. Rent control was repealed. He
appears to be unaware that the demographics of Cambridge changed. There is
little opposition left in Cambridge to Harvard. Most of Galluccio's supporters
moved out due to increased rents and taxes.
For press starved Mass voters these reports distort political information
"keeping the herd bewildered" as Chomsky says. What a waste of good newsprint.

Roy Bercaw, Editor, ENOUGH ROOM

Cambridge vs. Anthony Galluccio
Will Brattle Street torpedo him again?
Boston Phoenix, News
Aug 31 2007 2:56:34 PM

LEAST FAVORITE SON: Cambridge’s 02138 voters haven’t forgotten Anthony
Galluccio’s tough races against Alice Wolf and Jarrett Barrios.

Cambridge city councilor Anthony Galluccio is still working to fulfill the
promise he showed 10 years ago, when Boston magazine named him one of its “40
most powerful under 40 years old.” Now, after almost continuously chasing higher
office since 1994, unsuccessfully, he is considered by many to be the
front-runner for the State Senate seat vacated by Jarrett Barrios, who resigned
in July to become president of the Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts

More than a decade of campaigning — including two previous shots in the
gerrymandered Senate district that includes portions of Boston, Cambridge,
Everett, Somerville, Revere, Chelsea, and Saugus — has given Galluccio strong
name recognition, political organization, and fundraising ability, which may
help him to finally achieve his thus-far elusive victory.

But his repeated campaign efforts also have created bad blood in a city that
takes its politics very seriously, all the more so since Galluccio has dared to
run against two of Cambridge’s favorite politicians: Barrios, and
former-mayor-turned-state-representative Alice Wolf.

Galluccio is exactly the kind of hands-on, bread-and-butter, shoe-leather son of
immigrants preferred by voters in much of the working-class Senate district, say
current and former officeholders in the area. Yet for all his potential success
in Everett, Saugus, and Charlestown, his campaign’s weak link may lie in his
home base of Cambridge. Running for council, he has been able to draw from the
city’s working-class, relatively moderate neighborhoods. But those are not the
portions of Cambridge contained in Barrios’s former Senate district. Instead,
Galluccio is looking smack at the heart of 02138 land, the Harvard-dominated
center of liberal intelligencia. Of the 13 Cambridge precincts voting in the
September 11 State Senate election, nine are represented by Wolf.

To make matters worse, the perennial candidate has been saddled with serious
accusations of drunk driving that won’t go away.

As the election approaches, Galluccio now finds himself stalked by three
competitors, including Tim Flaherty, a Cambridge attorney with a famous
political name, solid liberal credentials, at least as much funding as
Galluccio, and the tacit backing of Wolf. The Cambridge lefties, it seems, are
not going to let Galluccio win without yet another fight.

Schizophrenic district
Galluccio’s trouble with Cambridge liberals dates back to his strong support for
ending rent control in the 1990s, a position which he defends as an attempt to
work out a pragmatic solution, rather than turn it into a black-and-white issue.
In the end, the state’s voters killed the policy altogether through a 1994
ballot initiative. Thirteen years later, though, Cambridge residents still
remember Galluccio as being on the “wrong” side in that battle.

Galluccio was also slow to support gay marriage and in-state tuition for
immigrants, two articles of liberal faith, evolving on both between his 2002
Senate campaign and this year’s. And his attempts to work with Harvard on its
expansion plans have drawn criticism from those who want a harder line of
opposition against the university, none of which might endear him to liberal

Still, Galluccio can claim to have helped form the Cambridge Health Alliance and
Energy Alliance. And in his literature targeted to Cambridge voters, the word
“progressive” appears prominently; readers are told of his support for Cape
Wind, marriage equality, reproductive freedom, “progressive tax reforms,”
closing corporate tax loopholes, and in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.

Galluccio has even landed endorsements from two progressive groups: Mass
Alliance and Progressive Democrats of Cambridge. But his opponents are
downplaying the importance, and even the liberal bone fides of those groups.

Often, however, this animosity from the left seems more personal than
ideological — due, in part, to the fact that many have simply never forgiven him
for running against Wolf in 1996, when Wolf, the city’s former mayor, prevailed
against Galluccio to first become a state representative.

“The left doesn’t like him, because he ran against Queen Alice,” says one
elected official who is remaining neutral in the race.

In fact, Galluccio not only ran, he ran tough and aggressively — dirty, some
still say. Then he ran another tough campaign against Barrios in 2002, for the
open State Senate seat. Barrios pummeled Galluccio in the Cambridge precincts by
a two-to-one margin, and won that race.

For his part, Galluccio attributes his 2002 loss to his concentration on other
areas of the district where he had never before run. “I let Jarrett roam free in
Cambridge,” he says. “And you can never, never, let Jarrett roam free. He’s too

But the other candidates running against Galluccio this time suggest that he
simply isn’t popular in the Senate district’s portion of Cambridge.

The question is: do Cantabrigians have another Barrios to vote for instead?

That is, can another candidate appeal to the Harvard Square set, while also
drawing in voters from Everett and Chelsea? Could another candidate “connect
02138 with the blue-collar communities north of Boston,” as Galluccio puts it?

That’s where Flaherty comes in.

Sources close to both Flaherty and Barrios say that Wolf, along with progressive
activists Avi Green, Mark Puleo, and others, encouraged Flaherty to enter the
race. (Wolf, who is on vacation, could not be reached for comment.)

Flaherty, whose father represented Cambridge and served as Speaker of the House
on Beacon Hill in the early 1990s, describes himself as a liberal,
well-educated, regular guy from a blue-collar background. That’s the ideal
profile for the district, and an excellent description of the two men who have
held the seat since it was re-shaped through redistricting: Barrios and Tom

It also fits Galluccio; in fact, Flaherty and Galluccio, just a year apart in
age, are remarkably similar on paper. While Flaherty pursued his triple-Eagle
education — BC High, Boston College, and BC Law — Galluccio was attending
Cambridge Rindge and Latin, Providence College, and Suffolk Law. (Neither,
however, can quite match the educational pedigree of Birmingham, a Rhodes
Scholar with degrees from Harvard University and Harvard Law, or Barrios, who
studied at Harvard and Georgetown Law.)

There is one major difference between the two candidates, though. While
Galluccio has been a regular candidate for office, and never misses a chance to
mix and mingle to raise his profile, Flaherty has kept a low public profile
aside from his one other campaign, in 1998, when he lost the Middlesex District
Attorney race to Martha Coakley.

“I like to be the guy who shows up at the graduation the year he isn’t running,”
says Galluccio, who says voters in the district expect to meet and get to know
candidates personally.

Flaherty argues that his years spent as a Norfolk County prosecutor and running
his own private law practice mean more to voters than glad-handing. He has
helped people professionally and personally, out of genuine concern, “not just
because I was trying to get elected,” he says.

Will it get dirty?
Many local political observers suspect that Galluccio holds the advantage,
exactly because of those repeated visits to every corner of the district. “I
think the people of Everett think Galluccio lives in Everett,” says one pol in
that city, where Galluccio has gained the support of Mayor John Hanley, and
former mayor David Ragucci.

“This is a district you win by shoe leather,” says Barrios. “The candidate who
meets the most voters, knocks on the most doors, will be the winner.”

“If I was giving free advice to candidates, I would say spend all your time in
Everett knocking on doors,” Birmingham says. Personal contact, not issues,
matter most in the city, he adds. “In Everett, politics is not an amateur sport
— it’s very, very serious.”

No surprise then that Everett is seen by many as the battleground in the race.
Of the other candidates running for Barrios’s vacated seat, Paul Nowicki, a
long-time Chelsea city councilor, is expected to do well in his home base, in
Revere, and in Charlestown. And Jeff Ross, a Cambridge immigration attorney,
could draw a number of votes from the left. Nobody in the race can claim Everett
as his own — and with roughly 30 percent of the district’s vote count, that city
is the big prize for the taking.

Galluccio, who made his announcement speech in Everett, is certainly aware of
this, and is working the city doggedly. “Nobody will outwork Anthony in this
race,” says one neutral pol in the district.

But hard work might not be what decides the race. After all, it is pretty clear
— one need only skim the Blue Mass Group Web site for evidence — that the
anti-Galluccio progressives will make sure his drunk-driving charges follow him.

That scandal, which broke in February 2006, occurred when Galluccio was running
for this same State Senate seat (at the time, Barrios was running for Middlesex
District Attorney rather than re-election.) WCVB-TV’s Janet Wu reported that
three witnesses described Galluccio as drunk when he caused a four-car collision
in downtown Boston at 2 am the previous December 18. Galluccio had not, however,
been charged with any alcohol-related offense.

In light of Wu’s evidence, Boston police re-opened the investigation, and a
clerk-magistrate ruled in April 2006 that evidence was insufficient for a DUI
charge. It was less than a complete exoneration, however: the court found that
Galluccio had been drinking, which Galluccio had strongly denied; an emergency
medical technician testified that Galluccio showed some signs of intoxication;
and police officers said that they had to put him in restraints at the hospital.

Perhaps most important, reporting of the incident revived consideration of
Galluccio’s two previous DUI convictions, one pardoned by Governor William Weld
in 1993, and another in 1997.

Galluccio ultimately withdrew from the race and endorsed Barrios, in a
face-saving public appearance arranged by then–senate president Robert
Travaglini, another former Galluccio supporter now noticeably quiet about the

Galluccio tells the Phoenix that going through the media grinder on the
drunk-driving charge this past year was “one of my most horrible and meaningful
experiences.” But he is not going the Patrick Kennedy admission-apology-rehab
route. Galluccio insists that he did nothing wrong, and has no demons to work

Still, he is noticeably lacking the public support of a number of pols who had
formerly championed him — most notably, US Congressman Michael Capuano and
former State Senate president Robert Travaglini. He’s not quite toxic, but it’s
as if high-profile officials want to keep some distance from Galluccio — in case
there’s another shoe yet to drop.

The other candidates in the race, including Flaherty, are straining to avoid
discussion of the drunk-driving issue. They — and perhaps Flaherty more than the
others — don’t want to be the one throwing the stones. After all, Flaherty’s
father left office in a swirl of scandal, pleading guilty to federal criminal
charges of tax evasion.

That, and the fact that Flaherty’s father is now a high-powered lobbyist to the
very legislature he is seeking to join, have so far been taboo subjects on the
campaign trail. And Flaherty would like to keep it that way.

Family aside, Flaherty still faces an uphill battle. In addition to Galluccio’s
other advantages, he has a well-organized, district-wide operation to identify
and bring out his voters — an organization boosted further by the recent
endorsement of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.

The importance of the campaigns’ get-out-the-vote organizations is one thing
everyone agrees on, with voter turnout expected to be low in this special
election. “The hard thing in a race like this is getting people to the polls,”
says Shea.

But Flaherty might have a wild card in his pocket: Alice Wolf.

Wolf has not endorsed in the race — yet — but several well-connected Cambridge
political insiders tell the Phoenix that she wants Flaherty to win. She may yet
endorse him publicly, if he shows that he has a real chance of success. After
all, Wolf represents nine of the 13 Cambridge precincts in the State Senate
district, and some observers believe she could single-handedly cause Galluccio
to lose the city.

Even if that isn’t enough to give Flaherty the victory, it might hand Galluccio
the defeat for which many in Cambridge seem eager. Then again, Galluccio might
get the votes he needs in the rest of the district to finally reach the next
level — with or without his home town’s help.

Taking the Fifth
The race for Marty Meehan’s congressionalseat is running below the radar, but it
could hold the answers to a couple of burning political questions
Aug 24 2007 3:02:12 PM
Boston Phoenix
[Pictures] Donoghue, Tsongas, Eldridge, Finegold, Miceli

Signs would certainly suggest that, on the national stage, a political family
heritage is as valuable as ever (see: George W. Bush), and that women can
successfully exploit the connections. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, whose
father was a congressman from Maryland, is one of four daughters of former
members of Congress now serving. Four widows of former members are also in
Congress. And of course, Hillary Clinton became a US senator, and may become

But in Massachusetts, the last two women elected to Congress — Margaret Heckler,
who served from 1967 until 1983, and Louise Day Hicks, who served one term
beginning in 1971 — made their own names. The same is true of other prominent
elected women in the state, including Senate President Therese Murray and
Attorney General Martha Coakley.
The upcoming special election to determine a successor to Marty Meehan — who,
after 15 years in Congress, is leaving to become chancellor of UMass Lowell —
may lack the glitz of the Clinton vs. Obama showdown and the nastiness of the
Romney/McCain/Giuliani brawl. But the September 4 Democratic primary does have
compelling interest beyond the borders of the Fifth Congressional District,
since front-runner Niki Tsongas, the widow of the late senator and one-time
presidential aspirant Paul Tsongas, may serve as a litmus test for two
developing political uncertainties:

1) Whether American politics will continue to take on a royalist flavor — with
the likes of the Kennedys, Bushes, Cuomos, and Clintons besting those who lack
recognizable names. And,

2) Is Tsongas — who, if she were to win, would become just the fourth woman that
Massachusetts has ever sent to Washington — part of a rise in female power
within the Democratic Party, along with stars such as Hillary Clinton and Nancy

Tsongas’s four opponents for the Democratic nomination complain that her name
recognition alone shouldn’t decide the race. And that’s a reasonable, but
futile, point to make in a state that for 200 years has swooned over the scions
of Adams, Davis, Everett, Lodge, and O’Neill.

On the other hand, this is not your grandfather’s Massachusetts, and none of the
state’s leaders — including Governor Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese
Murray, and House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi — was born with a silver gavel in his
or her hand.

Congressman Barney Frank, a Tsongas supporter (who, coincidentally, defeated the
last woman to represent Massachusetts in Congress, Margaret Heckler, when their
districts were combined after the 1980 Census cost the state a seat), has said
that this race will capture national attention as a referendum on the Iraq War
and the 2006-elected Democratic Congress. But so far, the attention has settled
on two decidedly different issues: Tsongas’s late husband and her gender.

Careful references
Tsongas is unabashed about playing the gender card, even though one of her chief
rivals is Eileen Donoghue, a former mayor of Lowell. (The other Democrats
running are state representatives Jamie Eldridge, Barry Finegold, and Jim

Despite Donoghue’s presence, Tsongas has gained the endorsement and fundraising
support of EMILY’s List, which backs female candidates nationally, and the
Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus. Many of the most prominent women in
Massachusetts political circles also have endorsed Tsongas, including Kitty
Dukakis, Patricia McGovern, Swanee Hunt, Evelyn Murphy, Cheryl Jacques, Angela
Menino, Barbara Lee, Lois Pines, Margaret Xifaras, and Andrea Silbert, as well
as three state senators and five state representatives.

In June, her campaign gathered 350 women in support of Tsongas, including
businesswomen and community activists. There are “Tsisters for Tsongas” events.
And the Lowell headquarters of her campaign feature prominent reminders that the
state has had more than two decades of exclusively male representation.

Tsongas’s campaign is, however, far more discreet about referring directly to
her late husband. He is mentioned in few materials, and his instantly
recognizable, cherubic Greek face is nearly absent. The TV ad she’s been airing
speaks of her father, a World War II hero, more than her late husband.

But indirect references are constant. Tsongas is actively trading on Paul’s
popularity, boasting of the Washington connections she made during his time in
office and while he ran for president in 1992. She paints herself as his
political partner — one campaign promo piece even says that, in 1978, “Paul and
Niki won” the election for US Senate. And she took some grief for a comment made
during a recent debate, which some have interpreted as her claiming to have, as
Paul’s wife, represented the district and then the state in Washington, DC.

But today’s Democratic Party, which is rallying behind Clinton, has largely
accepted the legitimacy of the “political spouse” experience. Political partners
such as Elizabeth Edwards are becoming the norm; spouses disengaged from their
husband’s work, such as Dr. Judy Dean (wife of Howard), are a rare curiosity.

Given the party’s attitudes toward Clinton and George W. Bush, it’s fair to
guess that “wife of” is given more credence than “son of” in contemporary
Democratic politics. The power of American political royalty has not diminished,
but it may have found a different path of succession.

If any Democrat is going to beat Tsongas, it is likely to be former Lowell mayor
Donoghue, who neutralizes the gender issue and would seem to perfectly counter
Tsongas’s perceived weaknesses: her lack of experience in elected office, and
her cozy relationship with “insider” Washington politicos.

Donoghue hit on both themes in an interview with the Phoenix this past Thursday,
in which she insisted that chalking up actual accomplishments in an elected
political office is different than talking about “what you read in a briefing
paper.” Tsongas is supported by “the establishment and insiders,” says Donoghue,
who have “decided there really isn’t a need for an election here.”

“The notion that people outside the district should choose the next
congressperson,” says Donoghue, “is not only presumptuous but even offensive to
people in the district.”

But Tsongas is not so easy to dismiss, and neither are the endorsements of
dozens of high-profile pols. She has been active in the Lowell community, and
can, at times, speak insightfully about the public–private collaborations that
are transforming the city.

She and her supporters are well-practiced at reciting her involvement with the
Tsongas Arena Commission, the Lowell Plan, the Fallon Community Health Plan, a
foundation for children of 9/11 victims, and her current job as dean of external
affairs at Middlesex Community College.

“It’s all been public without necessarily being political,” says Brian Martin,
former Lowell city manager, of Tsongas’s experience.

“She’ll hit the ground running,” promises Ellen Murphy Meehan — the
congressman’s wife, and Tsongas’s campaign chair.

In any event, it’s not clear that voters are paying enough attention to the race
to care about any of that — or anything beyond the recognizable name. In
Haverhill, where Donoghue chatted up senior citizens before their bingo game
this past week, several of them mistook her for her opponent.

Diverse district, similar candidates
The upcoming primary is scheduled for Tuesday, September 4, the day after Labor
Day. Which means that the campaign is taking place in the doldrums of summer,
with voting occurring on a day when families are also shuttling their children
off to their first day of school. Thus, turnout is expected to be low — possibly
fewer than 10 percent of the district’s 800,000 registered voters.

That could be a good thing for the front-runner. Low turnout and low interest,
many believe, will work to the advantage of the best-known name on the ballot —
that is, Tsongas. In fact, it’s been widely speculated that this schedule,
precipitated by the timing of Meehan’s departure, was set up by the congressman
and state Democratic insiders to help ensure Tsongas’s election.

The other candidates, unable to buy widespread name recognition in this race,
are trying to cobble together winning totals from small slivers of the
electorate and aggressive get-out-the-vote efforts.

Tsongas starts with most voters holding the pen over her name — she merely needs
to reassure them that there’s no reason to vote against her. That is a much
easier task, and one she appears to be achieving.

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