Boston Phoenix RIP

                As many of you likely have heard, The Boston Phoenix (last year re-named simply The Phoenix) has ceased publication, a victim of the harsh economic times for print journalism. The remaining skeleton staff presiding over the sad burial rites has edited and published the final issue of the paper, available only in an on-line version that can be read at http://thephoenix.com.

 

                I have written my final column that will be of particular interest to those of you who have been reading this rather remarkable “alternative weekly” for years. But it should also be of interest to those who have not had the pleasure of such a long-term reading experience. Here is my piece:

 

http://thephoenix.com/Boston/news/153300-freedom-watch-my-final-phoenix-column/

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Political Wisdom in a Hypocritical Age

I’ve been asked many times of late where I stand in the current presidential race. This has raised for me larger questions, the answers to some of which have perhaps become evident in my writings of recent years. So when The Phoenix (successor, as of today’s inaugural issue now on newsstands, in street boxes, and at www.thephoenix.com,to the decades-old Boston Phoenix) asked me to write a “Freedom Watch” essay on the politics of the day, I made an attempt to compress many thoughts on numerous complicated issues into a brief essay. I hope that I’ve succeeded in enlightening rather than confusing my readers.

You can find some of the article after the jump.
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NightSide with Dan Rea

Last Wednesday, July 18, I appeared on CBS Boston's NightSide with Dan Rea, to discuss the plight of former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives Sal DiMasi. DiMasi was convicted in 2009 of committing "honest services fraud," a vague and dangerous law, and is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence. As I discussed in a column in the Boston Phoenix earlier this month, DiMasi's treatment at the hands of the Federal Bureau of Prisons has been unconscionable. And, in light of his recent delayed cancer diagnosis, DiMasi's treatment amounts to a type of torture, with the sole purpose of softening him up to give testimony more favorable to the government before a grand jury sitting in Worcester.

My NightSide interview is a wide-ranging discussion of the DiMasi debacle, and can be found on the CBS Boston website.
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Our AWOL Security State

Many on the left have cynically (or at least opportunistically) used James Holmes’s Aurora, Colorado rampage as an occasion to demand gun control. A more sensible and less constitutionally dubious response to this tragedy would be to enact universal reporting requirements that would allow for the aggregating of red flag-raising data, such as records of lawful but suspicious weapons sales in gun stores and unusually large online ammunition purchases. In my most recent “This Just In” piece for the Boston Phoenix, I point out that the Feds are good at inventing "terrorist" plots starring a cast of innocuous misfits, egged on by agents who don’t have enough real work to do and by informants working off some beef with the feds. Yet the feds appear less skilled at gathering accessible information that would help them uncover real crimes. We live, alas, in a national security state that is better at invading liberty than in actually providing protection.

The article after the jump...

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The 15th Annual Boston Phoenix Muzzle Awards, student edition

Sticks and stones might break your bones, but on college campuses in the Northeast, words can get you expelled. The Boston Phoenix gives its annual “Muzzle Awards” to the year’s worst free speech violators, with a sidebar highlighting the most egregious violators among academic institutions. The academic Muzzle Award winners this year—Boston College, Bridgewater State, and Harvard University—faced stiff competition. But, in the end, they stood out for their significant contributions to the culture of censorship now running rampant on our nation’s campuses. Click here to access Dan Kennedy’s “15th Annual Muzzle Awards” and here to access my “Muzzles on campus” sidebar. An excerpt after the jump...

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