Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 121]: Maura Healey, what a doll!

Our fair Massachusetts Attorney General lady is no wallflower, that’s for sure. Assault weapons, corporate corruption, saving the environment: she continues to have her say on the big topics — and nobody even needs to ask!

She’s a firecracker, that Maura Healey. Imagine if you could package all that ambition into a gift for the holidays?

Ah, but you don’t have to — that’s what Hitch is here for. Check it out.

On Beacon Hill: Baker’s budget ax grinds DeLeo’s gears

From State House News Service

ON THE AGENDA

  • Baker’s $98 million move rankles State House leaders
  • Keefe, area legislators denounce governor’s broad budget cuts
  • Legal marijuana on tap this week as votes are ready for certification
  • McGovern gets down to business in Boston
  • DeLeo signs off on new Red Sox ace Chris Sale

Gov. Charlie Baker last week unilaterally slashed $98 million from the state budget to address flagging revenues.

Antonio Caban / State House News Service

Gov. Charlie Baker last week unilaterally slashed $98 million from the state budget to address flagging revenues.

TOP OF THE HILL

Baker’s budget ax grinds DeLeo’s gears

House Speaker Robert DeLeo and his band of not-so-merry Democrats tiptoed out on a limb last week made of brittle budget projections and the hopes of a snowless, crimeless, healthy winter full of Main Street shopping and large bonus checks.

Underneath, Gov. Charlie Baker sat with his calculator banking on the branch to crack.

Baker warmed an otherwise mild political off-season last Tuesday when he announced he would use his executive authority to trim $98 million from the state’s $39.25 billion state budget, a rather modest sum until lawmakers began to see where he applied his X-Acto knife.

From the governor’s perch, he decided he had seen enough of yo-yoing revenue reports — including a disappointing November — that had tax collections up one month and down the next. Rather than wait to see what December or January brings, he started paring back spending immediately.

Inbox [Oct. 23]: Unity Radio plans Monday announcement, city offers employment training on disabilities, Anna Maria Board appoints student rep to board, Clark lecture talks Holocaust

Have a release or a photo you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to info@worcester.ma. Be sure to include a link to the full release on your site or Facebook page so we can include it and send Sun members your way.

Unity Radio to announce premier show

“Recovery in Worcester” on Unity Radio will announce the future broadcast of its premier show and station debut at 4 p.m. Oct. 24 at the YWCA of Central Massachusetts, 1 Salem Square.

Together with grassroots support, Unity Radio aims to identify and raise awareness of community needs, create forums for public dialog, as well as promote a strong, engaged and inclusive community.

“In pursuing its goal of serving the public interest, the station will adopt an alternative programming format that combines interviews with treatment professionals and people in recovery with coverage of recovery events to spark public dialogue about substance use prevention and treatment, while demonstrating compassion regarding recovery,” said Ernie Floyd, executive producer.

Sina-cism: On protests, Michael Oppong and old-fashioned New England skepticism

It is a distinctively American impulse that has caused some football players to take a knee this fall. That distinctiveness is in part thanks to a Constitution that jealously guards free speech — which is decidedly not the case in much of our illiberal world today.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

But the distinctiveness of the protests this fall has other roots as well.

Even if those refusing to stand for the national anthem cannot fully articulate the reasons for their protests, their dissent is in keeping with a long and venerable American tradition of reflexively questioning authority. Sometimes we protest because it feels like the right thing to do.

Such contrariness — as was seen Sept. 9 at Foley Stadium when Doherty football player Michael Oppong knelt during the anthem; he’s been joined by teammates since — has often offered important correctives to a restless nation.

oppong


Last week’s Sina-cism: Save Our Sanity — anti-charter school lies and distortion


Sina-cism: Save Our Sanity — anti-charter school lies and distortion

As if the presidential candidates on offer this November were not already sufficiently painful to the human spirit, Massachusetts voters over the next seven weeks are in for additional lies and insults from Save Our Public Schools Massachusetts, a coalition of parents, unionized teachers and activists who have taken it upon themselves to oppose ballot Question 2, which would provide for additional public charter schools and enrollment.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

No sooner had the school buses and crisp autumn air returned than SOPS began distributing garish blue-and-yellow signs declaring “No on 2 / Bad for Our Schools,” thus planting the notion that the only schools worth the name are district public schools.

There is a still more offensive website, saveourpublicschoolsma.com, which alleges “privately operated charter schools” “siphon off” some $450 million in funds annually.

Never mind that public charter schools are public, and arguably more accountable than district public schools. Charters, after all, must defend their performance every five years in order to have their charter renewed, whereas district public schools that fail to make the grade simply get more funding and sometimes new leaders.

Save Our Public Schools website (screenshot)

Save Our Public Schools website (screenshot)


Last week’s Sina-cism: Foreclosure myths WAFT through Worcester


Editorial: A protest, a backlash and support — Michael Oppong and Maureen Binienda stand tall

It started a month ago. Unnoticed then.

Colin Kaepernick, a backup quarterback for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, sat during the playing of the national anthem before his team’s first preseason game on Aug. 14. He did so again six days later. Neither instance captured attention; Kaepernick did not play in his team’s first two preseason games, according to the website sbnation.com.

It was noticed on Aug. 26. A photo tweeted by Jennifer Lee Chan of Niner Nation contained the proof. Zoomed in it shows Kaepernick seated between two Gatorade coolers while everyone else stood.


Source: Twitter / Jennifer Lee Chan (SB Nation)


Within a day the player’s protest became national news. He told NFL Media, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said.

With CTHRU state officials eye greater transparency in government

Massachusetts Comptroller Thomas Shack is poised to give anyone interested the opportunity to take a closer look at the digital innards of state government with a new transparency website aptly called CTHRU.

Rather than going the traditional procurement route, Shack has taken the innovation vibe and run with it, choosing to enter into a subscription with a company called Socrata that takes a no-frills approach to serving up public information on state spending and payroll in a user-friendly manner.

It may soon be easier for the public -- and the media -- to gain access to public documents in Massachusetts.

pixabay.com

Searching for public documents in Massachusetts? Forget stacks of paper — soon more digital options, and openness, will be available, state officials say.

The site, set to go live Sept. 14, was assembled from start to finish this year and the subscription cost, $175,000 to $200,000 per year, is less than what the state might have paid a vendor as part of a long-term, customized contract.

Bay State officials rebuke Paul LePage as Maine governor scrambles to tamp down racial controversy

Leaders in Lowell and Lawrence are blasting Maine Gov. Paul LePage after the controversial Republican put some of the blame for his state’s opioid epidemic on black and Hispanic drug dealers from both Merrimack Valley cities, as well as cities in Connecticut and New York.

The fresh criticism of the Maine governor comes as LePage may be reconsidering his political future, including the possibility of resigning less than two years after he was reelected to a second term. LePage told a local Maine radio station WVOM Tuesday morning, Aug. 30, that he met with Maine House and Senate Republicans on Monday night after leaving a conference in Boston to discuss his next steps.

Paul LePage, Maine governor

Wikimedia Commons

Paul LePage, Maine governor

“I’m looking at all options,” Lepage told the Bangor, Maine, talk radio station. “I think some things I’ve been asked to do are beyond my ability. I’m not going to say that I’m not going to finish it. I’m not saying that I am going to finish it.” He later added, “If I’ve lost my ability to help Maine people, maybe it’s time to move on.”

He subsequently went on Twitter and posted: “Regarding rumors of resignation, to paraphrase Mark Twain: ‘The reports of my political demise are greatly exaggerated.'”

Ex-Fox News host Andrea Tantaros levels sexual harassment allegations at Scott Brown

From State House News Service

A new lawsuit filed by former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros against the network and several senior executives describes an encounter with former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown as an example of a culture at the cable channel that tolerated sexual harassment.

Then-U.S. Sen. Scott Brown talks to WRKO's Howie Carr in a 2012 radio interview. No longer a senator, Brown today faces different questions.

State House News Service / file

Then-U.S. Sen. Scott Brown talks to WRKO’s Howie Carr in a 2012 radio interview. No longer a senator, Brown today faces different questions.

Brown, a frequent contributor as a political commentator on the news network, allegedly made inappropriate comments to Tantaros last summer while on set for an appearance on “Outnumbered.” Brown called the claims “completely and totally false” in a statement to Politico on Tuesday, Aug. 23, and he was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

Fox News has been roiled by claims of sexual harassment by former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, who was forced to resign after several high profile female employees came forward with complaints about their treatment at the network.