National Democratic Convention
Members of the state’s Congressional delegation — U.S. Reps. Joe Kennedy III, Seth Moulton, Richard Neal, and Katherine Clark — are slated to speak at a joint breakfast for Massachusetts and Washington state delegates gathering in Philadelphia, Sheraton Society Hill, 1 Dock St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Attorney General Maura Healey introduces former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts for a speech to the Democratic National Committee’s LGBT caucus in Philadelphia, Philadelphia Convention Center, 1101 Arch St., Room 118, 1 p.m.
The Massachusetts Selectmen’s Association will discuss emergency management and natural disasters at a regional meeting in Plymouth, East Bay Grille, 173 Water St, Plymouth, 5:30 p.m.
Convention bedlam in Philly
So much for Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren unifying Democrats last night, as near “political bedlam” broke out yesterday at the Democratic National Convention, reports the New York Times. Both Sanders and Warren tried gallantly to rally the Dem troops, but many of Bernie’s backers were in no mood for their prime-time unity calls, adds the Globe’s Annie Linskey and Victoria McGrane. You know it was a rough night when even Warren, the darling of the progressive left who nevertheless has endorsed Hillary Clinton, couldn’t get through her speech without some hecklers chanting “We trusted you! We trusted you!” Concludes the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld: “Hillary Clinton will be lucky to escape Philadelphia without getting booed herself when she takes the stage Thursday night.”
The best line of the night? From Sarah Silverman, a comedian and Sanders supporter who said from the podium: “Can I just say to the ‘Bernie or bust’ people: You’re being ridiculous.”
Still, it was a good night for Massachusetts pols in general, as Joseph Kennedy III and Mayor Martin Walsh both acquitted themselves well during their speeches, according to numerous published reports. So the evening wasn’t a complete bust from that parochial perspective.
Was it ‘Mahty Mahty’ or ‘Mar-ty Mar-ty’?
By all accounts, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh delivered a moving DNC speech that opened with one of the more memorable lines of the night: “My name is Marty Walsh and I’m an alcoholic.” But what we want to know is whether Massachusetts delegates chanted “Mar-ty, Mar-ty” as he stepped on the DNC stage, as reported by the Globe, or whether they chanted “Mahty, Mahty.” State House News Service’s Andy Metzger clearly heard the latter, as he notes in this exclusive report to MASSterList:
“Mahty” chants from the Massachusetts delegation and then a screeching cellphone alert about thunderstorms greeted Boston Mayor Marty Walsh in his remarks on the DNC stage Monday night. From up in the nosebleeds what sounded like thunder could just barely be made out. The mayor, who had an unforgettable opening line – “My name is Marty Walsh and I’m an alcoholic” – appeared to revel in the cheers he received upon taking the podium before launching into a speech that credited labor and his family with helping him recover from alcoholism. The Massachusetts delegation, seated just off the floor, gave rousing cheers to Congressman Joe Kennedy and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, too.
Upon close review, a YouTube video of the speech clearly proves one thing: Walsh pronounces his name Mahty.
The Russkies angle
The Democratic National Committee’s claim that Russians were responsible for the embarrassing email leak that’s marred the opening of the Dem convention initially sounded far-fetched and even paranoid, sort of along the lines of Hillary Clinton’s claim of a vast right-wing conspiracy in the 1990s. But Fred Kaplan at Slate makes a very convincing case that, yes, the Russians probably were behind the DNC leaks: “It’s nothing new that the Russian government has hacked into the Democratic National Committee’s email. What is new—and alarming—is that it seems to have leaked the files in an attempt to influence an American presidential election. And so, along with other new eras ushered in by this bizarre election season, we have entered a new era of cyberwarfare.” He points to this Washington Post story from June outlining what authorities are sure were Russian hacks into the DNC system.
Walsh, lawmakers at odds over licenses
Even as Boston Mayor Marty Walsh had his moment in the spotlight at the Democratic National Convention, he remains at loggerheads with state lawmakers representing his city over control of liquor licenses, Jim O’Sullivan of the Globe reports. After Rep. Michael J. Moran wrote to lawmakers asking them to oppose a bill that would give Boston direct control over licensing issues, Walsh counter-lobbied, using his time with top Democrats on the train to the convention in Philadelphia to drum up support for the change.
Baker wobbles back-and-forth on Airbnb tax
After a Herald editorial warned that Gov. Charlie Baker was going “wobbly” by backing a proposed tax on Airbnb and other private home-rental companies, Baker wobbled in reverse yesterday, saying he made a “mistake” by so quickly embracing the tax idea last week. The governor apparently heard an earful from opponents of applying the state’s hotel tax to Airbnb and other firms – and he openly flip-flopped on the issue yesterday. “I’m not interested in raising taxes. I am interested in leveling playing fields,” said Baker, reports the Globe’s Curt Woodard. “At this point in time, on this particular issue, those two things seem to be in conflict.” According to the Herald’s Matt Stout, the governor added: ““Lesson learned … I made a mistake.” In a statement, Senate President Stan Rosenberg, whose chamber is pushing the Airbnb tax, said he was “disappointed” in Baker’s new stance.
Btw: By our count, this is Baker’s third recent flip-flop, or minor policy reversal, or whatever you want to call his wobbling. The other two were: His saying Attorney Maura Healey had the authority to crack down on ‘copycat’ assault weapons, but then adding amidst vehement pro-gun protests that he wanted clarifications about Healey’s action, and his support of a State House lawn easement for a developer to build au pair suites at a nearby luxury condo project, but then dropping the proposed amendment amidst opposition from Secretary of State Bill Galvin.
Democrats’ war chests bulge despite lack of challengers
Members of Massachusetts’ Congressional delegation are stocking up on campaign cash, even though more than half of them will not face re-election challengers this fall, according to an Associated Press report carried by the Taunton Gazette. Richard Neal has accumulated the largest war chest, with $3 million, while Seth Moulton has $1.2 million. Neither faces an opponent in November.
Lawmakers agree to Baker’s version of ‘Real ID’ bill
In a little-noticed action over the weekend, lawmakers approved a measure bringing the state into compliance with the federal “Real” ID” law, amidst heated debate over whether illegal immigrants might be eligible for state driver’s licenses if the state adopted the federal ID policy, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan at the Telegram. Lawmakers effectively approved Gov. Charlie Baker’s recommended language that lawful presence in the country is required “for the issuance of any Massachusetts license or identification card.”
Meanwhile, Boston eyes issuing its own ID card …
Boston officials are mulling possibly issuing new city ID cards, called “Boston OneCard,” for all residents regardless of their immigration status, home status, or gender identity, reports the Globe’s Astead Herndon. The city is only in the early stages of developing the card, which would not be mandatory. Some activists say such ID cards would help immigrants and others with their every-day needs in the city, such as banking. But civil liberty advocates and others warn of potential fraud and privacy abuses if too much information is put on the cards.
Healey: Assault weapons are no longer flying off the shelves at gun stores
After Attorney General Maura Healey announced last week her controversial crackdown on “copycat” assault weapons, there was a huge spike in the sale of military-style guns in Massachusetts, as people sought to buy the weapons before Healey’s edict took effect by the end of Wednesday. But Healey, speaking in Philadelphia yesterday, said sales have declined big-time in recent days, indicating that gun dealers have “gotten the message” about her directive, reports SHNS’s Andy Metzger at MassLive.
T plans Red Line closures for winter prep work
The MBTA’s Red Line will see weekend closures for much of the fall after the T’s board approved an $18 million contract to perform additional winter resiliency, Mike Deehan of WGBH reports. T General Manager Brian Shirtsleeve said the ongoing work is a top priority for the agency and that the long-term gains will be worth the short-term inconvenience. “Nothing’s more important to the MBTA or to Governor Baker than making sure that we continue to execute on the program that we started last year,” he said.
The State Police’s Most Wanted Sex Offenders list definitely works
MassLive’s Lindsay Corcoran reports that since the State Police held a news briefing last week updating its Most Wanted Sex Offenders list, three of the newly added fugitives to the list have been captured. The latest: Pedro Munoz, 57, who was arrested yesterday in Philadelphia based on a tip. Munoz is a registered Level 3 sex offender after being convicted in 1982 of raping a 13-year-old in Worcester County. Two other men added to the list last week – Reggie C. Ellenwood, 58, and Scott A. Halle, 45 – have also been captured. Police continue to search for three other fugitives added to the list for failing to register as sex offenders, MassLive reports.
Worcester board balks on outdoor restaurant smoking ban
The Worcester Board of Health is putting the brakes on a proposal to ban smoking in outdoor seating areas at restaurants and bars, saying it wants more time to study the research on the topic, Nick Kotsopolous of the Telegram reports. Several business owners turned out for a hearing before the board, with some saying they already have extended smoking bans to patios to protect workers. But State Sen. Michael O. Moore told the board to consider the economic impact of such a move. “People have many choices for restaurants,” he said. “But you would be limiting the choices for those people who want to smoke a cigarette or cigar after their meal.”
Plainridge gets passing grade
The Globe’s Sean Murphy takes a look at the first year of operation of Plainridge Park Casino – and his report shows the slots parlor has been successful at stopping the flow of cash to casinos in Rhode Island and whetting the appetite of Bay State gamblers for more options. Still, the operation fell well short of revenue projections, bringing in $160 million compared to the $300 million forecast before it opened.
Dudley takes first step to buying would-be Muslim cemetery land
Selectmen in the town of Dudley began the multi-step process that could lead to the town buying the land where the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester wants to build a Muslim cemetery, a move that would effectively block the proposal, Debbie LaPlaca of the Telegram reports. The purchase—made possible because the land in the Chapter 61A tax rollback program—would also require approval from Town Meeting and a town-wide vote.
It’s official: Worcester’s Polar Beverages is now retro hip
Apparently we’re not the only ones wild about some of the bottled drinks produced by Worcester’s Polar Beverages. The Globe’s Janelle Nanos reports the 134-year-old maker of carbonated drinks is seeing unprecedented growth and its new mystery flavored “Unicorn Kisses” drink has even sparked a social media frenzy. We haven’t tried “Unicorn Kisses” yet. But have you tried its “Diet Orange Dry”? One word: Fantastic. Super low in calories and sugar — and it tastes great (and certainly not filling). But we shouldn’t be telling you this. One of our MASSterList consumer correspondents has already experienced occasional shortages of Orange Dry at certain local supermarkets.
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