Monthly Archives: June 2022


How do you get from baseball and other kinds of ball to politics when you’re talking about Paul Epstein. Who is Paul Epstein anyway? Well, Paul is the twin brother of Theo Epstein. You know, the smart GM who brought World Championships to the Red Sox and the Cubs after droughts of close to a century or more. Best GM in history probably. There is always a power behind the throne and here it is Paul to whom Theo always looks up to, not only because he’s taller, maybe more handsome (both are handsome), but because Paul is one helluva guy! When I met him twenty years ago just before I interviewed him on my TV show, I was knocked out by Paul’s magnetic appearance and personality. You’ll hear all about Paul’s’ calling as a social worker in the Brookline schools, how he brought a family with ten kids from Rwanda to live here, his work as a Big Brother nurturing teens to success, and his successful effort to found the Brookline Teen Center where friendships are found, how he got me a photo of Theo playing rock for my baseball book, and his work at the iconic Home for Little Wanderers, where his boss was the beautiful Saskia. Now there was a conflict when Paul started dating his boss. Paul solved that one. You’ll find out how. You’ll also hear how Paul and Theo caused chaos in their teen years batting balls over the “Blue Monster,” playing sewer hockey, gutter ball, tenny ball, and baseball, in the open air, then taking those sports at night into the tighter confines of their apartment, driving their neighbors, the Markells, crazy, along with Mom, Dad, and their sister. Such are the underpinnings of success, which got Jordan and I talking about Paul and Theo’s grandfather, Philip Epstein, and their great-uncle, Julius Epstein, who wrote the screenplay for “Casablanca,” whom many think is the greatest movie ever made. Jordan was surprised I had never seen “Fiddler on the Roof,” (I soon did), which sparked movie buff Jordan asking me why I had rejected movies for a while, then returned to the fold, sometimes with odd but fascinating choices like “Contempt,” with sexpot, Brigitte Bardot. It featured a well remembered true to life twenty-five minute scene which could only have been done in a French movie, of a marriage dissolving before our very eyes, which caused me to exclaim in a falsetto voice as my wife, Lois, and I watched it at home, “This is us!” Well, no marriage is perfect. If you want our take on why movies enchant and beguile us, here is the place. Somehow, while ending up with how Paul and Theo parlayed running amok on Brookline’s playing fields into consummate success as adults, we digress to talk about Representative Jamie Raskin’s keen view from the catbird seat of House Manager of Trump’s second impeachment trial, of threatened American democracy in his best seller, “Unthinkable,”

People, Always People.


I would ask you to read that title two ways, first as to what makes a person a model public servant, and second as to a public servant known to all of us who fits that description. Reading this note and then listening to this podcast about Massachusetts State Treasurer, Deborah Goldberg, will be my attempt to answer that question as an impartial apolitical observer. When I interviewed Deb on TV for my book “Voices of Brookline,” over nineteen years ago on February 6, 2003, as she lovingly held in her arms her small dog “Sawyer,” one more clairvoyant than me might have discerned that day the background and characteristics that have propelled her to her present and long held position as the State Treasurer of Massachusetts: love, family, hometown, civic responsibility, public service, commitment, inventiveness, and more. From that day to this Deb has developed, developed, and developed, and that shows no sign of stopping as she contends for her third term in that office. We will examine more closely from where Deb has emerged. Her mother Carol is a Rabb, a family famous in the state for parlaying a small grocery store in the North End of Boston into the famous chain known as Stop and Shop, under the guidance of the late Sidney Rabb, and that family’s commitment to charity and public responsibility. Carol herself, a woman whose independence and insistence on the right of women to be equal, rose to the be the COO of Stop and Shop. Certainly Carol was a key factor in her daughter’s development. Deb herself credits working as a youngster in a family run market honed her family and public values. Her father, the late Avram Goldberg, himself an astute businessman who became the Chairman and President of the company working in tandem with his wife, was the son of Judge Lewis Goldberg who served an incredible 41 years as a Massachusetts Superior Court Judge. These two families merged their attributes from the time Deb was a little girl. Little wonder she grew up committed to her family, town, and state, aiming at public service “as the right thing to do.” As an exampe of this you’ll hear that when  her mother received a dog as a present, both Carol  and Deb became lovingly attached to that dog, engendering in Deb an empathy for all dog lovers, and a sense that such folks could contribute to Brookline community. Later, as a Selectperson, Deb would support the now well established Green Dog Program which provides a place for dog owners to allow their dogs freedom to exercise, socialize with other dogs, and to themselves make new friends. One of its many venues was the Still Street Playground where JFK and later estimable attorney, Charles Kickham, played ball when they were alter boys at close by Saint Aidan’s Church, now converted into condos. Deb’s passion for that relatively small program shows in all of her public endeavors whether in Brookline or as State Treasurer, and whether the issue is small or large, such as announcing on November 18, 2021 new draft rules that would allow the State Pension Fund, which controls 95.7 billion dollars, to vote against directors of companies that are nor aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement. Certainly that innovative approach to her office marks Deb as a woman who loves her job. When I interviewed Deb back in 2003 she was already alert to the coming changes to be wrought by the so-called Communications Revolution, and whether our values would survive that revolution, Finally my esteemed interlocutor, Jordan Rich asks me whether Deborah Goldberg is a model of what a public servant should be. By now, my answer is a foregone conclusion.

People, Always People.