Brown: DiMasi charges the result of 1-party rule
NEWTON, Mass. — Sen. Scott Brown says federal corruption charges against former state House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi are the result of one-party rule by Massachusetts Democrats.
The Republican senator spoke Sunday at commencement ceremonies at Lasell College in Newton. He said DiMasi was enabled by what the senator called a go-along -to -get-along attitude of a one-party state. Brown, who is up for re-election next year, said unchallenged power grows arrogant and has resulted in several cases of graft.
DiMasi, a Democrat, is accused of steering two lucrative contracts to a software firm in exchange for $65,000 in illegal payments. He and two co-defendants have pleaded not guilty.
Brown told audience members that the trial will not end corruption in the state. He urged audience members to use their votes to bring change if they believe the system has failed.
Mass. AG presses anti-human trafficking initiative
Attorney General Martha Coakley is pressing lawmakers on an initiative to crack down on human trafficking in Massachusetts.
Coakley has filed a bill that would establish the state-level crimes of human trafficking in labor and sex and create an Attorney General-led task force to study the illegal trade. The bill also increases the penalties for so-called “Johns” to address the demand side of human trafficking. Massachusetts is one of four states without a state crime of human trafficking on the books
Sanitation company wins $100,000 MIT prize
A startup company creating affordable and hygienic toilets to help fight disease in developing countries has won the $100,000 first prize in the 2011 MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition.
Sanergy has developed toilets that can be placed in slums without sewage infrastructure, and the resulting waste can be converted into energy and organic fertilizer.
Sanergy’s founders, MIT engineering students and MIT Sloan School MBA candidates, say 2.6 billion people worldwide lack access to basic sanitation. The resulting disease kills 1.6 million children per year and costs developing countries as much as 6.4 percent of GDP in lost productivity.
Team member Ani Vallabhaneni says at each step of the process, Sanergy sanitation systems create jobs, opportunity and profit while addressing social and economic needs.
Sanergy is already working in Kenya.
Brownie containing melatonin draws criticism
Two mayors in Massachusetts want to ban a brownie that contains a sleep aid and features a cartoon character that critics say appeals to children.
A Lazy Cakes brownie contains 8 milligrams of melatonin, a sleep-inducing supplement.
Fall River Mayor William Flanagan calls the brownies despicable and has drafted an ordinance to ban them. New Bedford Mayor Scott W. Lang also wants a ban.
Caroline Apovian, director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at Boston Medical Center, says it’s not appropriate to put herbal supplements in brownies or other foods that could appeal to children. She calls the herbal supplement a drug.
Lazy Cakes spokeswoman Laura Finlayson says the label’s cartoon character, “Lazy Larry,” is not targeted to children. She says the brownies are labeled for adult use only.
Sen. Brown won’t say if he’ll see bin Laden photo
A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Scott Brown is declining to say whether the Massachusetts Republican is taking up the CIA on its offer to show select members of Congress graphic photos of Osama bin Laden’s corpse.
The CIA is allowing members of the House and Senate Intelligence and Armed Services committees to see the photos in a secure room at the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Va.
Brown is a member of the Armed Services Committee.
The offer comes after Brown acknowledged he was duped into believing he had already viewed the death photos.
Brown said in multiple television interviews last week he had “seen the photos” and they were bloody and gruesome. He suggested he saw them during an official briefing, but later said the photos were “not authentic.”
Fake death photos of bin Laden have circulated on the Internet. President Barack Obama has said the photos will not be released publicly.
U.S. Sen. John Kerry doesn’t sit on either committee.
The Massachusetts Democrat, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was scheduled to visit Pakistan earlier this week, amid worsening tensions between Washington and Islamabad following the U.S. raid that killed bin Laden on Pakistani soil.
Brown is planning to head to Afghanistan for his annual training as a member of the Massachusetts Army National Guard.