Lots of news going around yesterday and today. Some thoughts:
--No surprise that Dianne Wilkerson is pleading out, three weeks before her trial was set to begin. We probably won't know the sentence for a while yet, but it's sure to include prison time. To me, it's a sad, tragic personal story. I don't have much sympathy for her -- she's made her own bed -- but it's just sad that someone with so much potential failed so badly to live up to it. I've known Wilkerson for a long time, and I've praised and criticized her as she's deserved. She had many strengths, and many flaws. She had many enemies trying to bring her down, but she was too quick to blame them for problems of her own making, and in the end it was she, not they, who destroyed her.
--The state senate will reportedly unveil its own version of a gaming bill today, which will call for three resort casinos (two private and one Native American) and no slots for race tracks. The house version that passed earlier this year has two casinos and slots for four tracks. Not only is Speaker DeLeo a huge proponent of including the tracks, but in the past it's been unclear whether there's a majority in the house for a bill that doesn't include them. But there's never been any appetite in the senate for those "racinos," and this is a big gauntlet thrown down by senate president Murray that her side is not folding. Battle lines are drawn.
--The Boston City Council hearing on the firefighters' contract spilled over to today. I believe that union head Ed Kelly intends to offer some sort of concession when he speaks today, although I don't know what that will be. It might be enough to provide cover for the council to approve the contract -- my sense from discussions yesterday is that a number of them are genuinely torn, and would like to be given something to tip the balance one way or the other.
--There was also a lot of national political news floating around yesterday, from the big issues like the oil spill and Israel to imbroglios like the arrest of former Florida GOP chair Jim Greer and revelations that Illinois congressman and Senate nominee Mark Kirk has been misrepresenting his military record. Amid all of that, a big item may have fallen through the cracks: in a speech at Carnegie Mellon, President Obama promised to find the votes to pass Senator John Kerry's energy/environment bill this year, which includes a form of cap-and-trade to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. A similar bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Markey, passed the House late last year, but prospects have seemed dim in the Senate. For Obama to make such a public declaration is a big deal, and could indicate a major change in the odds of passage.