Tom Menino, the Cartoon Version

October 31, 2014

As we have noted on numerous occasions, Boston is lucky to be not only a two-daily town, but a two-cartoonist town as well.

And both weigh in on the death of former Mayor Tom Menino in similar style today.

The Boston Globe’s Dan Wasserman:

 

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The Boston Herald’s Jerry Holbert:

 

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Two for the road, yes?


Boston Dailies: Charlie Baker Has Sex Change!

October 30, 2014

When Cryin’ Charlie Baker turned on the waterworks during Tuesday night’s gubernatorial debate with Martha Coakley, he gave the local media all kinds of grist for their mills. Both Boston’s dailies,for instance, had the same basic thought: What if Charlie were Charlene?

Boston Globe Metro columnist Yvonne Abraham framed it this way:

Turning the tables

Watching Charlie Baker dissolve in tears in Tuesday night’s debate — a moment that defied Democrats’ attempts to cast him as a heartless technocrat — I couldn’t help wondering: What if he were treated the way women candidates so often are? What would it be like if we focused on his fragility under pressure, his manner, his appearance, as we do on theirs? What if we pinned the same labels on him as we do on them?

The reaction to that debate might look like this:

Do we really want a weepy governor?

Republican Charlie Baker was going along nicely in Tuesday night’s debate, exuding competence, speaking with authority about taxes and paid sick leave.

Then the gubernatorial hopeful came apart, telling of meeting a fisherman ruined by federal catch rules. “I may not make it through this story,” he began, promptly succumbing to tears.

This is why it can be so hard to imagine men as leaders.

 

Hah!

Crosstown, the Boston Herald recruited local business consultant Judith Bowman to put the pump on the other foot.

No crying not a choice for Martha Coakley

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What if it were Martha Coakley who cried?

Charlie Baker broke down 
in tears on the gubernatorial 
debate stage as he told the story of a fisherman’s family plight.

It was received by most, including me, as a genuine, justified show of human emotion. A real moment in the artificial world of politics.

But what if it were Martha?

No such luck. Professional women don’t cry. Not if they want to be leaders.

 

Well, one thing we’re sure of: That Herald headline should make any writer cry.

Sorry – sniff – we have to go now.


Boston Herald Tears Up Over Charlie Baker

October 29, 2014

Republican gubernatorial wannabe (Two-Time) Charlie Baker may have turned on the waterworks in last night’s debate with Democratic gubernatorial wannabe Martha Coakley, but today’s Boston Herald turned the firehose on.

Start, as usual, with Page One.

 

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That’s just an appetizer. Here’s Joe Battenfeld’s piece:

Fluffy debate finale was a crying shame

Martha Coakley, Charlie Baker

Forget about Charlie Baker crying. The ones who should be crying are the voters.

Would you rather win the Lottery or the election?

What’s your signature dish in the kitchen?

What’s the best Halloween costume for your opponent?

Those were actual questions in a debate that will be the last time most voters see Baker and Democrat Martha Coakley in a televised, face-to-face confrontation.

Baker’s cry will get the most attention in this bizarre debate showdown. And that’s not a bad thing for a Republican accused of being a heartless budget cutter. Baker’s cry did not look contrived — he looked like a dad watching the last scene of “Field of Dreams.” And it certainly won’t hurt him among the most important voters in this race — women.

 

Former Boston mayor and current chinstroker Ray Flynn went even further.

Candidates show heart, give hope

The real winners of last night’s final gubernatorial debate were … the voters.

Both Charlie Baker and Martha Coakley gave real insight into their character and heart. It was the best political moment I ever saw.102814debateTA003

They proved that politics is not about hate and division, but about decency and love. Call it naive on my part, but last night’s showdown was the best example of what government should be about. When a teary-eyed Charlie Baker told the story of a beleaguered New Bedford fisherman and his two sons trying to keep the family business from going under because of the burden of federal fishing regulations, I could identify with that hard-working father, and it reminded me of why elections are so important.

 

Yeah, except if the family business couldn’t support the old man, how was it gonna support the three of them? We were confused.

But we did mist up a bit.


Just Desserts for Two Landmark Local Restaurants

October 28, 2014

Two legendary Boston boîtes that couldn’t be more different are getting appropriate sendoffs, each from the appropriate local daily.

Start with this Metro Page One Devra First piece in today’s Boston Globe:

More than just a good roast chicken

Last week I had the famous roast chicken with garlic, lemon, and parsley at Hamersley’s Bistro for the last time. After 27 years, the South End establishment closes its doors on Wednesday with a fund-raiser for the Boston Center for the Arts.

The farewell was already in full swing when I was there. People took photos outside and inside the restaurant, selfies, portraits with spouses, portraits with chef-28hamersleypic08owner Gordon Hamersley, who runs the place with wife, Fiona. After one last dinner, a regular tried to slide in for a second last dinner before regular service ended Monday: “Gordon said to ask you about the possibility of a reservation for three,” he wheedled at the host stand. (She made it happen.) There were silver-haired men in suits and coifed women with statement jewelry, the people who came up with the restaurant and now must say good-bye. But also here: South End eccentrics, the city’s foodizens, young couples on their first visit, so they could say they’d been.

 

But wait – we’ve got second helpings. Also saying goodbye to Hamersley’s in today’s Globe is Boston Baron David Mugar, who took out this quarter-page ad on A7.

 

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Crosstown at the Boston Herald, it was a very different local establishment getting the Long Goodbye: Legendary watering hole Daisy Buchnan’s. Inside Track Gal Gayle Fee has this sad tale of Daisy’s demise.

Daisy Buchanan’s sign plucked from beloved bar

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So the end is truly near, because someone stole the Daisy’s sign from the side of the soon-to-be shuttered Hub meet market Daisy Buchanan’s.

Bar spokesman George Regan confirmed that the sign disappeared from the Fairfield Street side of the popular jock hangout over the weekend.

“We’re offering a $500 reward for the return of the sign, no questions asked,” Regan said.

Bar owner Joe Cimino didn’t report the theft to the police because, Regan said, “They have bigger things to worry about than someone stealing our sign.

“But if they see someone walking down the street with it,” he added, “it’s probably suspicious!”

 

Right farewells, right papers, yeah?


Boston Globe and Herald Merge!

October 27, 2014

It’s rare to find the two local dailies on the same page, but today it’s this one:

 

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The Boston Globe’s somewhat surprising endorsement of Charlie Baker comes one week after the Boston Herald’s entirely predictable one.

 

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The flirty local tabloid also ran this big wet kiss alongside the endorsement.

 

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As of today, that goes double for the stately local broadsheet. (The redoubtable Dan Kennedy helpfully compiles the Globe’s previous GOP gubernatorial flings here.)

Coakley’s response? The oldest (and lamest) dodge in the books (via USA Today):

Coakley’s campaign released a statement Sunday touting the endorsements she has received from labor groups and other organizations, while making reference to her bid for history. She is seeking to become the first woman elected governor of Massachusetts. “We know that the only endorsement that matters is the endorsement of the people of Massachusetts on Nov. 4,” said the Coakley statement in the Lowell Sun.

 

See ya next Tuesday.


Joe Fitz: True Love’s Bond Is Stronger Than Ever

October 26, 2014

It’s a sweet story that Boston Herald columnist Joe Fitzgerald tells in his latest piece.

He remembers the first time he saw her.

He was far from his Roxbury roots, living in a small northeast community that reminded him of Mayberry RFD, trying to establish himself in a career that had always been his heart’s desire.

He was sitting at one end of the counter in a popular local eatery when, at the opposite end, he saw her emerge from the kitchen and engage a customer in friendly banter.

He asked the townie next to him, “Who is that?”

He was told she was a college junior, home for the summer, waitressing.

Call it magic. Call it an epiphany. All he can tell you today is that he was swept off his feet that night, enraptured by someone he had yet to meet.

When he shook her hand that first time he did not want to let it go. He was captivated, yet clear-headed enough to ask her for a date.

Nine months later she became his wife.

He was 21, she was 19, and their marriage would flourish for 46 years.

 

He, of course, is Fitzgerald himself. And he lost his great love two years ago yesterday.

But still won’t let go of her.

Friends tell him he needs to get out more, maybe ask a lady out to lunch. He knows they mean well.

But sometime today he’s going to stand before the heart-shaped stone that bears their names and tell that stunning waitress that he loves her more than ever.

 

God love ’em both.


Lottery Winner Luckier in Herald Than Globe

October 25, 2014

Kenneth Stokes is hotter than the Kansas City Royals right now, having contracted a severe case of Lottery Fever.

From today’s Boston Globe:

Norwood man a double winner in lottery

Identical tickets used birthdays of family members

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Winning the lottery was twice as nice for a Norwood man who this week hit the jackpot with two Lucky For Life tickets.

Kenneth J. Stokes was ecstatic when he found out his lottery ticket had the winning numbers. Then he realized, minutes later, that he had another Lucky for Life ticket with the same numbers.

Stokes received a call from a Massachusetts State Lottery representative Monday notifying him that his Lucky for Life season ticket had won him a prize of $25,000 a year for life, according to a statement by the lottery.

After the call, Stokes remembered that he had another season ticket that his family had bought him — which, as it turned out, had the same lucky numbers, which were based on several family birthdays.

 

Excellent!

But wait – Stokes got even luckier in the Boston Herald.

 

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Seems he won a cool hundred grand a few years ago. The story inside:

Call him Mr. Lucky

Norwood man claims $550,000 on ‘Lucky for Life’ double hit

Lightning has struck thrice for a Norwood man — twice on one day this week, when he scored a combined $550,000 with a pair of winning “Lucky For Life” tickets.Lottery

“In my whole life, I never had money where I could say I don’t owe anyone anything,” Kenneth Stokes told the Herald last night in front of CFM Variety, the Norwood convenience store where he bought the lucky tickets.

“Now, I’m going to pay off all my bills, my kids’ and my wife’s,” Stokes said, “and I’m just going to try and live a quiet life — until I hit again.”

It’s the third time Stokes, a Suffolk deputy sheriff, won big. A few years back, an MBTA bus cut him off while he was driving around Watertown. He saw the bus’ number, 0-0-7-1, played it at a local store and drove home with nearly $100,000.

 

Suffolk deputy sheriff, eh? Hey – arrest us. We’ll play our mugshot number.


Boston Dailies Have Different Answers to Ballot Questions

October 22, 2014

From our One Town, Two Different Worlds desk

With Election Day just around the corner, we’ve officially arrived at Endorsement Season, when the local dailies weigh in with their voting recommendations. (The Boston Herald, for example, endorsed Scott Brown for U.S. Senate today.)

Last week the frisky local tabloid made its recommendations on the four ballot questions facing voters this fall, starting with Yes on Question 1, which would repeal the automatic gas tax hikes Massachusetts lawmakers enacted last year.

What Question 1 seeks to do is merely repeal the automatic nature of that tax hike. It does not roll back the tax. It does not take a penny of existing revenue out of state coffers. It would simply require that in the future if lawmakers want to hike the gasoline tax they would have to vote to do that — just as they did in 2013.

They would have to go on record and be counted. Is that so very difficult? It’s what they are elected to do.

A “yes” vote on Question 1 will do nothing more or less than making our legislators vote in the open the next time they want to hike the gas tax.

 

Crosstown at the Boston Globe, today’s edition featured an emphatic No on Question 1.

Proponents of the ballot question say they aren’t against gas taxes, but instead have what is basically a philosophical objection to indexing the gas tax, or any other tax, to inflation. Each of the automatic increases, they argue, represents a separate tax hike — a form of taxation without representation, because the Legislature won’t vote each time.

But this argument is disingenuous. Characterizing the increases as a hike ignores how inflation affects buying power. Raising the cents-per-gallon tax in sync with inflation ensures that the pinch will feel the same as time goes on, not that it’ll go up.

 

Who’s right? Pick ’em.

Ditto for expanding the state’s existing bottle deposit law. The Herald says No on Question 2.

The environmental argument has long since gone by the boards as community after community has moved to curbside recycling for homes and businesses and put separate recycling barrels in parks and other public spaces. Those recycling programs provide cities and towns with yet another source of income.

Yes, there is money in those empties, money that communities will miss out on if this ballot measure passes with its myriad rules and regulations about who would be required to accept those millions of new empties.

The Legislature for the past several years has been getting this one right. Expanding the bottle bill is more than just another inconvenience; it’s another tax. And one this state doesn’t need.

 

The Globe counters with Yes on Question 2.

Opponents of the measure, funded largely by the bottling and beverage industries, claim that curbside recycling is already deeply ingrained in the Commonwealth, making the expansion of the current law a nuisance. But Question 2 opponents have been using questionable data to make their case, including claiming in an ad that 90 percent of Massachusetts residents had access to curbside recycling; in fact, the correct number is 67 percent. Regardless, promoting the recycling of beverage containers isn’t the only goal of the bottle bill; the availability of curbside recycling doesn’t particularly discourage litter.

There will be a cost to consumers, but only if they choose not to recycle. (It should be noted, unclaimed nickels would go to a dedicated fund to support environmental programs that would pay for parks cleaning and improve recycling.) And there are municipal savings: A 2009 study commissioned by the state Department of Environmental Protection estimated that savings due to reduced collection and disposal costs to cities and towns would be between $4 million and $7 million per year.

 

Okay then. Two down, two to go. Catch you on the flip-flop.


Boston Globe Red Lines Boston Herald on China Cars

October 22, 2014

Start at the start:

Last Saturday’s Boston Herald featured this front page:

 

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The story inside (as the hardreading staff noted at the time):

Activists want T bid derailed

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Human rights and labor activists are voicing outrage that the Patrick administration could soon award a staggering $1.3 billion subway contract to a rail enterprise owned by the repressive Communist Chinese government, saying the deal would be a “terrible disgrace.”

“If the left-leaning Massachusetts blue staters love to boycott things that break the wrong way on issues of rights, why does China get a pass on all of that?” said Tom Cushman, a human rights activist and professor at Wellesley College.

“If this were an entity that was known to be hostile toward transgendered people or gay people or who violated the rights of minorities, people would be up in arms over a contract like this. But (they) do all those things. They are hostile toward all those people, but China doesn’t register on the screen of the morally outraged.”

 

Now comes the Boston Globe with this front page piece in yesterday’s edition.

T job’s top bid is from China

Subway car plan draws concerns on human rights

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A railcar and locomotive manufacturer controlled by China’s government has emerged as the top bidder for a $566.6 million contract to supply the MBTA with new cars for the Red and Orange lines.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation board of directors is scheduled to vote Wednesday on the contract for CNR MA Corporation, which is a venture of China CNR Corporation Limited and CNR Changchun Railway Vehicles Co., according to the board’s agenda.

The contract for 284 subway cars will include the construction of an assembly plant in Springfield, according to a person with knowledge of the contract. The MBTA said last year it expected to begin delivering Orange Line cars in the winter of 2018, and the Red Line cars in the fall of 2019.

 

The Globe piece has a number of new details, but nowhere does it credit the Herald for catching this train first.

Bad form, Globeniks. Bad form.


Boston Globe Has Come-to-Jesus Moment with Bernard Baran, Louise Woodward

October 20, 2014

Something interesting is happening in the Boston Globe’s editorial pages. The paper is doing a sort of media culpa regarding some high-profile – and highly debated – criminal convictions in the ’80s and ’90s. And it’s been uncharacteristically emphatic in its positions.

Begin with the redoubtable Harvey Silverglate’s Globe op-ed a week ago.

Justice system failed Bernard Baran

There should be consequences

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BERNARD BARAN of Pittsfield died a free man on Sept. 1 at age 49. But for an act of God, he would likely have died in prison, forever deemed guilty of raping children at a day care center where he’d worked.

Convicted amid the national panic over supposed sexual abuse of preschool children, Baran fell victim to homophobia, hysteria, and arguable prosecutorial misconduct. While many now recognize these prosecutions as modern-day witch hunts, those responsible for his incarceration remain unapologetic and unpunished.

 

That was followed by this editorial in yesterday’s Boston Sunday Globe.

When miscarriages of justice occur, prosecutors must answer for actions

TWENTY-NINE YEARS ago, a Berkshire County prosecutor named Daniel A. Ford made at least one awful decision: On the skimpiest baranB-1797249evidence he charged a 19-year-old man with multiple counts of child rape. That may not be the worst of it; there are indications he may have played fast and loose with trial rules in order to get a conviction. Although Ford denies he did anything wrong, trial records suggest the defense attorney was unaware of significant exculpatory evidence held by the prosecution. In an atmosphere of homophobia and hysteria, the defendant, an openly gay teenager named Bernard F. Baran Jr., didn’t stand a chance. Convicted, he spent 21 years in prison for crimes he didn’t commit.

 

In his op-ed, Silverglate “raised the possibility of removing Ford from his current job as a Superior Court judge, a position he has held since 1989.” The Globe editorial calls that “premature,” but says “Silverglate and Baran’s other supporters are right to seek a full, public inquiry into both the prosecution’s conduct and its decision to try the case in the first place.”

Further down Memory Lane, yesterday’s Globe also featured this op-ed by Lee Scheier, an investigative reporter working on a book about shaken-baby syndrome.

Martha Coakley, stop lauding bad science for self-promotion

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AFTER COMING under attack in an political ad for not doing enough to protect children, Martha Coakley, the Democratic candidate for governor, defended her record. In a large above-the-fold photograph published in the Globe Oct. 3, Coakley is seen standing next to Deborah Eappen, mother of Matthew Eappen, the baby whom Louise Woodward was charged with shaking to death in 1997.

Coakley, the prosecutor in that infamous trial, set up the photo op ostensibly to remind the public of her commitment to protecting children. If so, Coakley must think Massachusetts voters have short memories.

 

Because, Scheier asserts, “[t]he truth is that Martha Coakley’s deft misuse of science actually came very close to sending an innocent caretaker to prison for life.”

Who’s right here? Roll your own.

But one thing’s clear: Ellen Clegg, the Globe’s interim editorial page editor, has certainly added some juice to those pages.