Speaker of the House Tom Finneran tightened his grip on that body last week when he abolished the limit on how many terms a legislator can serve as Speaker (he was coming up on his final term). Members of the House who voted against abolishing the limit, as well as several who refused to go along with Finneran's attempt to gut the voter-approved Clean Elections law, were punished with the loss of desirable committee assignments.

Finneran's comment on the term limits debate: "This is not about me. I've consciously stayed away from the [House] floor just so there's no semblance of pressure." (Wavering legislators reported being threatened by Finneran's henchmen, so this may well be true.)

I asked several people if they were aware that this image of Finneran is based on the Doctor Evil character in the Austin Powers movies. Nobody over the age of 45 had even seen an Austin Powers movie, but they all said they liked the cartoon anyway.

For background on Finneran's record of high-handedness, see cartoons from July 15, 2000 and May 20, 2000. For more on Finneran's battle with the Clean Elections law see April 29, 2000 and October 30, 1999.

View the January 20, 2001 cartoon.

View other Globe cartoons.

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