NECN ends DiMasi’s wife’s TV book show
New England Cable News (NECN) has said it has canceled the TV book show of Deborah DiMasi — the wife of former House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi.
NECN President and General Manager Charlie Kravetz said in a statement last Friday that the regional news network is aggressively covering the federal case against DiMasi, who was indicted last Tuesday on federal corruption charges. Kravetz said the network wanted to avoid any “perception of a conflict of interest.”
Deborah DiMasi co-hosted “The Open Book Club” with Christy Scott Cashman.
Deborah DiMasi and Cashman paid NECN to air their show and received minimal advertising revenue.
The DiMasis married in 2001.
The Massachusetts governor’s race is attracting some well-known national political talent.
Barack Obama’s campaign manager David Plouffe is going to serve as a consultant to incumbent Gov. Deval Patrick. Meanwhile, Republican consultant and commentator Dick Morris is going to assist GOP candidate Christy Mihos.
Word of Plouffe’s involvement, first reported in The Boston Globe, came as he traveled to Boston last Friday for a Patrick fundraiser. He was also the keynote speaker at last Saturday’s Democratic Party issues convention in Springfield.
His involvement in Patrick’s campaign underscores the connection between the governor and Obama, fellow Chicagoans and Harvard Law School graduates.
It also renews a connection that existed during the 2006 campaign, when Obama adviser David Axelrod and Plouffe, to a lesser extent, assisted Patrick’s campaign.
Treasurer Timothy Cahill, a Democrat considering challenging Patrick in their party’s primary or running as an independent, said the hiring “sounds like a good move on his part.”
Cahill said Patrick’s strategic decisions will not affect whether he runs and whether he abandons his longtime party, decisions which the treasurer expects to make by the end of the year.
“It’s just an option that I have to consider, given I have a governor of my own party who is, as of now, planning to run for re-election,” Cahill said after addressing Suffolk University Business School graduates at the State House.
Cahill added: “I can guarantee you if I make the decision, it will be a better reason and more thought out than the reason that [Pennsylvania Sen.] Arlen Specter gave for switching parties, which is that, ‘I can’t win one; I’m going to do the other.’”
HHS Secretary: Stimulus money can go to recruit doctors
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced that $200 million in federal stimulus funds will be used to recruit more doctors and clinicians to underserved areas.
In a visit to Boston last Friday, Sebelius said the money will be used to repay student loans for primary care doctors, as well as medical, dental and mental health clinicians. In exchange, participants will make a two-year commitment to the National Health Service Corps, which provides services in areas with uninsured or underserved patients.
Sebelius said the money would boost the corps by 3,300 health care providers.
Sebelius’s visit to Boston came as the Obama administration began ramping up efforts to pass a national health care reform package.
HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut’s governor last week vetoed legislation that would have abolished the death penalty.
Gov. Jodi Rell said the state cannot tolerate people who commit the most violent of murders.
The Republican had expressed her opposition to the measure all along and issued her promised veto last Friday.
Supporters in the Democrat-controlled General Assembly have said they do not have the necessary two-thirds majority of votes to override her veto. The bill, which would have replaced capital punishment with life in prison, passed 19-17 in the Senate and 90-56 in the House last month.
Connecticut has 10 death row inmates. It has executed one inmate since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed states to reinstate capital punishment in 1976.
Top Mass. court backs MBTA in union dispute
Massachusetts’ highest court last week gave the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) a legal victory by ruling that the agency can bypass union rules when trying to end employment discrimination.
The state Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) ruled last Thursday that protecting people from discrimination overrides seniority rules.
The case dates to 1999, when a man was denied a T job after he failed a hearing test because he was barred from wearing his hearing aid.
The man filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, and the T agreed to hire him in 2004 and give him five years of seniority. A T union considered the hire a contract violation, and a Superior Court judge and arbitrator agreed.
But the SJC unanimously ruled that the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority was in the right.