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Coming next week: A new #LabDebate

Posted by Joanna Weiss January 28, 2014 10:25 AM

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We're pleased to announce a new series of Boston.comment #LabDebates, this time featuring the candidates for governor of Massachusetts. First up: the Democrats, who will join us in the Globe Lab on Wednesday, February 5, at 1 p.m. That's three days before the state party caucuses that will help determine who gets on the ballot.

Meet Joseph Avellone, Don Berwick, Martha Coakely, Juliette Kayyem, and Steve Grossman, in a casual conversation moderated by the Globe's Joanna Weiss and Brandeis's E.J. Graff. (Our house rule stands: No neckties.) Watch it live on, and join the Twitter conversation.

Should Justin Bieber Be Deported?

Posted by Noah Guiney January 24, 2014 11:03 AM

He's a one-man crime wave!

Americans tend to have a rosy image of our neighbors to the north, and for many it feels funny to say the words "Canadian" and "high-octane drag racing" in the same sentence. But thanks to Canadian teen pop sensation Justin Bieber, our perceptions might be changing. Yesterday, Bieber was arrested for racing a yellow Lamborghini in Miami Beach while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Days earlier, he allegedly egged his neighbor's house in Calabasas, California, causing $20,000 in damage.

As law-abiding American citizens, what are we supposed to do? Should we write his misdeeds off as youthful indiscretions? Or should we ship his butt back to Canada, where it belongs? And on a more serious note, if we're able to brush off a pop star's felony-level shenanigans, what happens to immigrants who aren't famous, or who are long-undocumented uncles of U.S. presidents? To help answer this question, we've collected some expert opinions from around the web. Whether or not you're a belieber, leave your opinion in the comments section below, or tweet it @BostonComment.


Buffer Zone: Does a 35-foot space hinder free speech?

Posted by Alex Pearlman January 15, 2014 03:25 PM


On the sidewalk in front of the Allston branch of Planned Parenthood, a bright yellow line paints a semi-circle 35 feet from the fortified entrance.

Pro-life protesters must stay behind that line, thanks to a 2007 state law enacting a "buffer zone" at women's reproductive health facilities. On most days, the only visitor is a 77-year-old grandmother who quietly counsels women out of their choice to get an abortion (sometimes successfully). She is Eleanor McCullen, and she sued Massachusetts, claiming the line violates her First Amendment rights. The Supreme Court heard arguments on both sides this week.

The state says the line safeguards patients and employees, who have faced violent protests, blockades, and two murders in 1994. Earlier attempts to keep the peace -- such as a faded white line, 18 feet from the door -- were ineffective. And 35 feet is close enough to hear a person speaking at a normal volume. (Boston.Comment tested it).

The Supreme Court itself has a buffer zone, as do reproductive health centers in Colorado. Do you think a buffer is necessary to protect reproductive rights? Or do you consider the Massachusetts law an assault on free speech? Read the opinions below -- some of them might surprise you -- then add yours to the comments, or tweet us @BostonComment.


Did Isis Parenting fail because we didn't buy enough?

Posted by Joanna Weiss January 15, 2014 11:40 AM

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If you were a relatively affluent thirty- or fortysomething who gave birth in the Boston area between 2004 and today, you probably know about Isis Parenting. Born as Isis Maternity, the fast-growing chain of parenting resource centers offered childbirth classes, breastfeeding support, new-mom-and-baby groups, and courses for dads and grandparents -- along with the opportunity to buy all sorts of retail products while you happened to be there.

Now, some are positing that a retail downturn was a key reason why the business failed. Others are lamenting the fact that Isis provided much more: Information, hands-on help, and a sense of community. Have you joined the Internet outpouring of regret that Isis has closed? Have you purchased your fair share of baby gear -- or cut back on your baby-centric buying? Check out this Storify of #thingsnancytaughtme, a collection of Isis nostalgia. Then add your thoughts to the comments, or tweet us @BostonComment.


Is there anything redeeming about Dennis Rodman?

Posted by Joanna Weiss January 8, 2014 07:17 AM

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So, it happened: The most anticipated exhibition-basketball-game-slash-international-incident in history. In Pyongyang, North Korea, a group of American former NBA players, led by Dennis Rodman, played an exhibition game on the occasion of dictator Kim Jong Un's birthday. Also, Rodman led the arena in a not-exactly-rousing version of "Happy Birthday."

It has been a tough week, mediawise, for Rodman and his team. But the players refused to back down. On CNN's "New Day," former Knicks star Charles Smith tried to make a case that this game is a version of grass-roots diplomacy on -- only to be upstaged by a bizarro rant from Rodman (who was holding a cigar at the time). Does Smith have a point? Has the Rodman trip done any good, by at least calling attention to the regime's human rights atrocities? Or is it a failure on every human level? We've compiled some thoughts below; add yours to the comments or tweet us @BostonComment.


What (not?) to name a storm

Posted by Joanna Weiss January 2, 2014 03:05 PM

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No, not this guy

Who named this storm Hercules, anyway? The Weather Channel, it turns out, which has a list of criteria for storms it finds deserving of names, plus a roster of Greek-themed monikers to choose from. (We might have preferred "Seneca," which reminds us of "The Hunger Games.")

Not everyone thinks naming storms is a good idea -- especially people who work for competing media outlets. But we'll grant the Weather Channel this: Hercules is a conversation-starter. What should you call a fluffy, steady storm that packs a final punch? We've collected some thoughts below; add yours to the comments when you've finished shoveling, or tweet us anytime @BostonComment.


About Boston.comment

weiss.jpegBoston.comment is an exchange for ideas about Boston and beyond, brought to you by the Boston Globe editorial page and edited by Globe columnist Joanna Weiss. We're the sponsor of's #LabDebates and the creator of the Choose Your Own Adventure mayoral game.

Our producer is Alex Pearlman, with contributions (and sea monsters) from Noah Guiney. To join the conversation, post a comment, tweet with our daily hashtag, or follow us on Twitter @BostonComment.

A note on comments: Be honest, be open, be polite. And be warned: Personal attacks will be removed.

Top comment

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