Fallen Heroes Memorial
Gov. Charlie Baker and Mayor Marty Walsh attend the dedication ceremony marking the opening of a permanent memorial “created for the sons and daughters of the Commonwealth who gave their lives since September 11, 2001 in service to the United States in the Global War on Terrorism,” 85 Northern Ave., Boston, 10:45 a.m.
Moulton at UMass Boston
U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton will give the address at the University of Massachusetts Boston’s undergraduate commencement; the university will also present an honorary degree to Suzanne Lee, a former Boston Public Schools principal and teacher, along with a posthumous honorary degree to the late Congressman Louis Stokes of Ohio, TD Garden, Boston, 9:30 a.m.
Shaheen at BC Law
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire will be the commencement speaker at Boston College Law School, Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, 10:30 a.m.
Memorial Day motoring and muttering
In case you’re a little annoyed about rising gas prices heading into the Memorial Day weekend, consider this: Sure, prices are up 14 cents a gallon over the past month alone, but they’re still 38 cents below last year’s prices heading into the holiday weekend, according the AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. So don’t fret too much. Motorists are still getting a bargain.
Sanders is poised to jump the shark
At first, we thought it was a joke: The guaranteed GOP presidential nominee winner, Donald Trump, squaring off in a debate against the nearly guaranteed Democratic presidential loser, Bernie Sanders. It probably won’t happen. But the two sides are definitely talking about it.
We get why Trump wants this: It would humiliate and isolate Hillary Clinton and prolong the Democratic Party’s infighting. Classic divide and conquer. We’re tempted to say that we don’t get why Sanders wants this. But we all know why he’s doing it: He’s a purist, an ideologue who has lived and breathed his cause all his adult life, a man who feels surrendering is a form of betraying that cause.
Then again, the Globe’s Renée Graham has a better description: “Senator Bernie Sanders has become the irascible child who flips the board and stomps the checkers to dust after realizing he can’t win.” The Herald’s Kimberly Atkins says its time for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren to intervene on Hillary’s behalf, before Sanders does irrevocable harm: “Several Dems point to Sanders’ feud with National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and his public banter about debating Trump for charity as evidence that Bernie has jumped the shark.”
Speaking of jumping the shark, the Globe’s Scot Lehigh says former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld’s quixotic run for vice president as a libertarian isn’t crazy as many think. Hint: He’s indirectly doing what Warren should be directly doing.
But is Bill Weld Libertarian enough?
Speaking of Bill Weld: With the Libertarian Party 2016 convention taking place over the long weekend, Adam Vaccaro of Boston.com poses the question of whether former Massachusetts governor is enough of a libertarian to win the party’s nod as its vice presidential candidate. Weld’s past positions on gun control and other issues have raised eyebrows, but he goes in as the VP favorite. “The bar is high,” said Dan Fishman of the Massachusetts Libertarian Party. “I believe he can meet that bar. But we’re not going to bend our standards.”
Thousands expected at funeral for slain Auburn police officer
Thousands of people – including police officers from far and wide and Gov. Charlie Baker and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren – attended yesterday’s sad wake for Auburn Police Officer Ronald Tarentino, who was murdered on Sunday by an ex-con during a traffic stop, reports Samantha Allen at the Telegram. And thousands more are expected at this morning’s funeral for the fallen officer.
Tighter restrictions coming for state nursing homes?
State lawmakers are pushing a measure that would tighten oversight of the state’s nursing homes, with senators voting to raise maximum fines on problem-plagued facilities from $50 a day to $10,000 and to require regulators to scour the homes’ finances, the Globe’s Kay Lazar reports. Though Gov. Charlie Baker’s office is signaling it can go along with tougher regulations, House Speaker Robert DeLeo is mum about the provision. Called “Preventing patient abuse in nursing homes,” the measure comes amid revelations of substandard care and short-staffing by an out-of-state nursing home chain, Synergy Health Centers, Lazar reports.
Lucrative sick-time payouts would still be the norm at many state agencies
Even if Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposed crackdown on sick-time payouts is enacted, the measure still wouldn’t apply to thousands of state workers at various independent and quasi-public state agencies, such as, oh, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, reports Greg Ryan of the Boston Business Journal. From Ryan: “In fact, even though the Gaming Commission has only existed for a short number of years, some of its current employees are in line for unused sick-time payouts that total in the tens-of-thousands-of-dollars. And the value of those cashouts will continue to expand unless more reforms — in addition to those proposed by Baker — are adopted.”
Face it: Plastic bag bans are a reality, so come up with a workable idea
The Retailers Association of Massachusetts, as reported by SHNS’s Andy Metzger at Wicked Local, and Boston Herald editorial writers are right to be miffed about a Senate measure, tucked in as a rider to the state budget, that effectively micro-manages what type of shopping bags, plastic or paper, can be used in certain stores under certain circumstances, etc. Banning plastic bags has most definitely become the local PC issue of the season. But here’s the thing: Plastic bag bans are spreading, democratically approved by voters at the local town and city levels. The latest town to approve a plastic-bag ban: Amherst, now the 24th community to do so, as reported at MassLive. More will undoubtedly follow. So the long-term issue isn’t that the state has a “big government I-know-better-than-you attitude,” in the words of the retail association’s Jon Hurst. The issue is whether a more pragmatic approach can be forged that deals with the reality that plastic bag bans are already here.
Time to spike New Balance’s ‘corporate welfare’ provision
Somehow, U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas’s provision that all but mandates that the Pentagon buy running shoes from Boston-based New Balance has survived the byzantine legislative process in Washington, D.C. The measure, buried deep within the huge defense authorization act, requires enlisted personnel to wear only made-in-America footwear. And who is the only made-in-America footwear maker in the US? New Balance. The footwear company deserves enormous credit for keeping manufacturing jobs here. But as a Globe editorial notes, it doesn’t deserve special procurement treatment: “The New Balance provision is the kind of special-interest earmark that fuels Americans’ distaste for Congress. Corporate welfare has no place in a spending bill — certainly not in one that provides for the national defense.”
A New Hampshire-Massachusetts primary two-fer?
With the Republican Party pondering changes to its primary calendar in the 2020 election cycle, Steve Koczela of MassINC Polling Group says a proposal to combine the New Hampshire and Massachusetts presidential primaries “makes a good deal of sense.” Koczela writing at WBUR: “Putting the natural pair together on the same day would give a moderate candidate a shot at two friendly states early in the calendar, and make it more worthwhile to camp out in New England early in the process.”
Watchdog calls Walsh budget ‘thoughtful’
In the Dorchester Reporter, Samuel Tyler, the president of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, combs through Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s latest budget proposal and finds it “more thoughtful” than earlier spending plans, with an emphasis on new initiatives and service consolidations designed to improve the efficiency of city government.
Does Massachusetts need a state climatologist?
The Senate budget finalized last night includes funding for a state climatologist, a position that has been vacant for several years and one that Gov. Charlie Baker has opposed filling, Christian Wade of the Eagle-Tribune reports. Massachusetts and Tennessee are the only states without a climatologist on the payroll and some environmental groups want the position restored or even elevated to a cabinet-level post.
Waltham’s Raytheon plans to ‘hot-rod’ old M60 Patton battle tanks
For military history buffs on this Memorial Day weekend eve, here’s a cool item: Even though the U.S. military adopted the M1A1 Abrams battle tank a couple of decades ago, there’s still thousands of the previous Raytheon M60 Patton tanks in service around the globe in places like Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, but spare parts for the aging wonders are getting pretty hard to find. So now the Waltham defense company is offering a “M60A3 Service Life Extension Program (SLEP)” that allows countries to “hot-rod” the Patton via kits supplied by Raytheon and its partners, Popular Mechanics reports.
We’re talking more horsepower, upgraded turrets, a new 120mm M256 smooth bore cannon – the works!
Have a glorious Memorial Day weekend – and see you on Tuesday
MASSterList will be taking Monday’s Memorial Day holiday off like most everyone else, so we’ll see you first thing Tuesday morning. Have a wonderful holiday weekend, everyone.
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