Flashbacks: November 10, 2006

By FLASHBACKS  |  November 8, 2006

Going nowhere | 15 years ago | November 8, 1991 | Jon Keller reported on Governor Weld’s abortion-rights bill, which was awaiting legislative decision.
“It’s been nearly two months since Governor William Weld stunned both pro- and anti-choice factions by submitting a sweeping abortion-rights legislative package. And it’s hardly surprising, given the political volatility of the abortion debate and the onset of a legislative-election year, that Weld’s initiative has gone nowhere since.

“The Weld bill, filed in September with the legislature’s Joint Committee on the Judiciary, calls in its most controversial sections for strict criminal penalties for those blocking access to abortion clinics, allows 16- and 17-year-olds to get abortions without parental consent, and permits the use of public-employee health insurance to pay for abortion services.

“The legislation is almost certainly dead for this session. Though the House immediately concurred on assignment of the bill — a routine technical move merely indicating that the measure has been accepted for review by committee — the Senate has failed to concur. No further action can be taken on the bill until the Senate does so, yet there is no procedure for forcing that step: Senate President William Bulger (D-South Boston), a vehement opponent of abortion who in the past has often used parliamentary procedures to block abortion-rights bills, strikes again.

“Weld-administration sources say the bill will simply be re-filed for the 1992 legislative session, which begins in January. But there’s nothing preventing Bulger from exercising any number of different stalling techniques. Scores of incumbent legislators won’t mind. They’d rather not see the highly charged issue explode in the middle of their 1992 re-election campaigns. ‘It’s been a long time since they’ve had to vote on this subject,’ notes one top Weld aide.”

Tepees in Chinatown | 20 years ago | November 11, 1986 | Bruce Morgan searched for meaning in gallery installation art.
“The man in the gray suit leans down. ‘What’s the point of it?’ he says. I tell him I have no idea; to me it’s all about Boy Scouts circa 1961, six cots per tepee and a triangular flap open to the sky where the longs poles crossed. The man starts to walk off, then spins back to where I’m sitting. ‘I think this may be the low-income housing of the future,’ he says. ‘Or middle-income,’ he mutters as he drifts away.

“Six gauzy tepees fill the dim room in the old brick building at the edge of Chinatown; outside, a wino sprawls on the lead-capped front steps, using a torn paper bag for a pillow. The gash of the Expressway sends up a roar. Ah, the treasure chest of Boston — where invisible Indians meet deceased Yankees for chow mein and a nap. How can a person ever tire of this fabled metropolis? (When a man is tired of Boston he is tired of egg noodles.) We’ve dropped in to the Kingston Gallery on a Sunday afternoon to view an installation by artist Beth Galston entitled ‘Tepee.’ The opening reception is in progress. A dozen or more people are walking very deliberately around the room. Now and then someone steps inside one of the tepees and emerges instants later, wine glass in hand, looking much the same. It’s a ghostly little village here; the beige-and-blue skin of the tightly packed tents is alluringly sheer. My eyes keep adjusting and readjusting to the room’s suggestive depths.”

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