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Short Fuse

July 23, 2009

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Budget:Move the money around

In tough times, managers in state government need the latitude to put money where it’s needed most. To its credit, the Legislature, which has a history of micromanaging the court system, passed a measure this year allowing the chief justice for administration to transfer funds between line items. But it exempted the Commissioner of Probation and the Office of Community Corrections from such transfers. Governor Patrick kicked the provision back, asking lawmakers to remove the exemption. The House voted down his suggestion. The Senate has yet to follow suit, not least because minority leader Richard Tisei, who supports the governor’s approach, has sought to delay a vote - while also criticizing Patrick for not lobbying harder for his proposal. Whatever the politics, the reform makes sense, and both houses ought to adopt it.

Sanford: Diminishing returns to navel-gazing

Normally it’s nice to see some introspection in a prominent politician, but Mark Sanford doesn’t know when to stop. The family-values governor of South Carolina, once a rising star in the Republican Party, famously wrecked his political career last month by abandoning his state and sneaking off to Argentina to see his mistress. And his efforts to explain himself - from his description of his affair as a love story between soul mates to his talk of trying to fall back in love with his wife - have been cringe-worthy. On Sunday, Sanford struck again, with an op-ed in South Carolina’s largest newspaper. He tells how he’s grown in the weeks since “the tragedy that has unfolded,’’ and calls the experience part of God’s “larger work of changing me.’’ But neither psychobabble nor ostentatious displays of religiosity will solve his political predicament.

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