Daily Archives: May 6, 2011

The League Of Women Voters Takes Sides

Published May 6, 2011

Ever since U.S. Sen. Scott Brown excoriated the League of Women Voters for taking sides in the congressional battle over whether the Environmental Protection Agency should have the power to regulate greenhouse gases, I’ve been thinking he’s got a point.

I had this image of the League as that organization that organizes debates and takes sides in issues that have to do with how the electoral process is run. The League was one of the biggest backers of the citizen-passed Clean Elections Law, for instance, before the Legislature overturned that law.

In case you missed the tit-for-that between Brown and the League, here’s the Brown press release:

Today, U.S. Senator Scott Brown issued the following statement in response to the partisan attack advertisement being run by the League of Women Voters:

“This ad reeks of political demagoguery and exposes the League of Women Voters as nothing more than a pawn in the Massachusetts political machine. It is outrageous for an allegedly non-partisan group to use sick children to misrepresent a vote about jobs and government over-regulation. These type of over-the-top distortions have no place in our political discourse.”

And here’s the ad Brown is so upset about:

[youtube url=”7vTd9nmSpbI”]

But it turns out that the League of Women Voters often takes sides on issues it cares about.
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Boston University Dean Takes Charles River Plunge

Published May 6, 2011

You can call Boston University Dean of Students Kenneth Ellmore a man of his word.

Ellmore made good on a pledge he made to jump into the Charles River if the class of 2011 was able to reach a goal of 2,011 donations to its class gift in time for commencement on May 22.

Although this year’s graduating class has yet to hit that benchmark, Ellmore, tuxedo and all, took the plunge today after the class of 2011 set a university record of finding more than 1,600 donors.

For Mysterious Downed Plane, Call Woods Hole

Published May 6, 2011

In this June 8, 2009 file photo released by Brazil's Air Force, Brazil's Navy sailors recover debris from the missing Air France Flight 447 in the Atlantic Ocean. (AP)

In this June 8, 2009 file photo released by Brazil's Air Force, Brazil's Navy sailors recover debris from the missing Air France Flight 447 in the Atlantic Ocean. (AP)

In June 2009, Air France Flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil. All 228 people on-board died. Nearly two years later, authorities have no idea why the plane went down.


David Gallo, a researcher at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, hopes to change that. He was the co-leader of the team that found the sunken plane last month, nearly three miles below the ocean’s surface.

Call Woods Hole

There has been no explanation as to why the plane crashed — it simply vanished from air traffic control radar screens somewhere between South America and Africa. No distress signal, no Mayday call.

A day after the plane vanished, Brazilian Air Force pilots found small pieces of the plane in the middle of the Atlantic, but the rest of the plane had sunk. Authorities hoped the answers to their questions would be contained in the on-board flight recorders that keep data on planes, but no one knew where exactly the plane (and the recorders) went down.

The crew prepares a Remus submarine to search the ocean floor. (Courtesy Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

The crew prepares a Remus submarine to search the ocean floor. (Courtesy Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Enter Gallo and his team from Woods Hole. Turns out, if you lose something deep in the vast ocean, they’re the people you want to call.

“It was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, somewhere in the range of about two to three miles deep, we knew that much,” Gallo said. “We knew that it had come down somewhere on the flanks of an underwater mountain range. And the group of people on this planet that can work in that kind of area — that deep and that kind of rugged terrain — is very small. At Woods Hole, our teams have been doing that for about 30-40 years.”

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Woods Hole scientists have been exploring the ocean for a long, long time. The institute was founded in 1930. In the 1970s, they explored the vast deepwater ecosystem. In the ’80s, they’re the ones who found the Titanic. They now have more than 1,000 ocean researchers.

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Tell Us Your Teacher Stories

Published May 6, 2011

(Old Shoe Woman/Flickr)

(Old Shoe Woman/Flickr)

What makes an A+ teacher? That’s the subject of our upcoming series at the end of May.

We’ll be looking at such issues as how teachers are evaluated and whether it’s fair. We’ll be looking at teacher pay: If you pay teachers more, will they really be better teachers? We’ll be looking at whether good teaching is teachable.

But we also want to hear from you. You have a few weeks to send us your stories about your personal experiences with great teachers and your experiences with not-so-great teachers. For example:

  • If you’re a parent and your child had a bad teacher, what did you do about it?
  • If your child had a great teacher, was that teacher rewarded?
  • If you’re an administrator, how do you reward good teachers?
  • If you’re a teacher, what do you do to make yourself better?

We want to hear from you. Share your stories in the comments or email teachers@wbur.org.

Friday Morning: DiMasi Heads To Court

Published May 6, 2011

Sal DiMasi, former speaker of the Massachusetts House, and two co-defendants went on trial in federal court in Boston yesterday. As WBUR’s David Boeri reports, DiMasi’s “My Pal Sal” image is about to clash with the prosecution’s portrayal of “Sal the Thief.” The big recent news is that Gov. Deval Patrick is expected to testify in the trial.

Nurses and administrators at Tufts Medical Center reached a contract agreement early Friday, just hours before a planned strike was to begin.

The controversy over a Cambridge-based consulting firm’s work with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi continues to broil, after the company admitted it should have registered as a lobbying group. The Monitor Group enlisted several prominent Harvard professors for its work with the Libyan government.

More than a year after Phoebe Prince committed suicide, five former classmates received sentences of community service and probation as punishment for bullying the 15-year-old girl. The criminal prosecution that prompted a national debate about how the law should deal with bullying is now over.

Some members of Congress from New England are pushing the military to extend its stipulation that all military gear be made in the U.S. to sneakers. The only company that still manufactures sneakers stateside is Brighton-based New Balance, so they’d stand to pick up a lot of business if the mandate is put into practice.

A Boston-area woman is suing Sony over the theft of personal information from the company’s PlayStation Network. Dawn Thompson is seeking in excess of $5 million for herself and other gamers. The PlayStation Network was discovered to have been compromised by hackers on April 19.

What we’re following: We’ll continue to report on the shakeup at the auditor’s office, the 9/11 widow who met the president at Ground Zero and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement at Harvard this afternoon.