Happening Today

Baker testifies in Washington, Senators off to Vermont, SJC hears church-state case

Gov. Charlie Baker and other governors testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on insurance markets and other health-care issues, Hart Senate Office Building – Room 216, Washington, D.C., 9 a.m. … Senate’s health-care working group begins a series of meetings in Vermont to discuss cost containment strategies, Vermont State House, 115 State St., Montpelier, Vt., 9 a.m. … The Supreme Judicial Court will hear the case of George Caplan and others v. the Town of Acton, a controversial case centering on town grants to the Acton Congregational Church for the refurbishment of stained glass windows, John Adams Courthouse, Courtroom One, Second Floor, Pemberton Square, 9 a.m. … The Governor’s Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts meets, McCormack Building, One Ashburton Place, 21st Floor Conference, Rooms 1 & 2, 9 a.m. … Gov. Baker participates in a Research!America National Health Research Forum discussion panel on the opioid crisis, Newseum Knight Conference Center, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., 11:45 a.m. … House Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets holds an oversight hearing with the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, Executive Office of Health and Human Services and Massport to review each agency’s capital borrowing and spending plans, Hearing Room A-1, 1 p.m. … U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano is a guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 1 p.m. … Registrar of Motor Vehicles Erin Deveney is live on ‘NightSide with Dan Rea’ to hold a drawing for the registry’s 2017 low number license plate lottery, WBZ NewsRadio 1030, 8 p.m. … The New England Patriots return to the regular-season gridiron for the first time since their stunning Super Bowl LI victory in February, Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, 8:30 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Let’s hope: Hurricane Irma may spare New England

As Florida Gov. Rick Scott warns that Hurricane Irma could be the worst natural disaster to hit his state in 25 years – possibly even worse than Hurricane Andrew – the National Weather Service is cautiously, very cautiously, saying New England may dodge an Irma bullet, the Globe is reporting. “As best we can tell right now, as of right now, there is no immediate threat to New England,” said Glenn Field, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Taunton. “I think we’re OK. I don’t want to give the all-clear. … But there’s no cause for alarm at this point.”

Baker to admonish lawmakers over tenor of health-care debate in Washington

Gov. Charlie Baker heads to Washington today to testify on health-care issues – and he plans to use his time at the microphone to criticize the tenor of debate over health care in the nation’s capital and push for a two-year extension of federal subsidies for health-care programs in Massachusetts, according to a report by SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the BBJ. Whether his criticisms will make a difference is doubtful. But it’s good that he’s airing complaints that so many others, left and right, share about the hyper-partisan discourse these days in Washington.


Referendum battle lines drawn between progressives and business groups

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey yesterday certified that 21 proposals have passed constitutional muster and can move forward in the ballot question process – and that all but means multi-front initiative battles next year between progressives and business groups over paid family leave, the minimum wage, nursing-staff levels, a sales-tax cut, the millionaire’s tax and other issues. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive and SHNS’s Katie Lannan at the BBJ have more on what initiatives were – and weren’t – approved by Healey. Assuming advocates now gather enough valid signatures to get their initiatives on the ballot, it’s shaping up to be a very busy, heated and expensive 2018 – on top of next year’s races for governor and U.S. Senate etc. 

John Harrington defends Yawkey legacy against ‘malicious and baseless’ charges

In a letter to the editor at the Globe, John Harrington, the former Red Sox CEO and chairman of the non-profit Yawkey Foundation, takes aim at a recent Globe editorial (‘Tom Yawkey was no hero’), saying that it “perpetuates inaccurate statements and mischaracterizations” about Tom Yawkey, the former Sox owner, and that speculation about why the team was the last MLB club to hire African-American players “has been malicious and baseless.” He has more, including how and why Yawkey Way got its name – a name current Red Sox and Boston Globe owner John Henry wants to drop.

Boston Globe

Two hundred years later, Harvard Law honors slaves owned by school founder

Harvard Law School has installed a stone memorial with a plaque honoring the slaves of one of the school’s founders, Isaac Royall Jr., whose wealth came from slave labor on a plantation in Antigua and a Massachusetts farm, the Associated Press reports. The plaque says of the slaves: “May we pursue the highest ideals of law and justice in their memory.”


Cannabis czar: Yes, we’ll try to hit all pot-related deadlines

Even though he voted against the Question 4 initiative that legalized marijuana in Massachusetts, Steve Hoffman, the new chairman of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, sounded like a man who’s keeping an open mind about future regulations. Among other things, he told reporters yesterday that implementation of the new law will be done “fairly, safely and on time,” reports Steve Brown at WBUR. Hoffman made clear there are no guarantees that all deadlines will be met – just a commitment he’ll try. Jessica Bartlett at the BBJ and SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) have more on Hoffman’s surprisingly flexible views on overseeing the new cannabis industry, which Hoffman, as a former Bain & Co. partner, compared to starting up a new firm.


Cannabis czar, Part II: Pot is ‘harmless’ – based on his own high school, college and retirement experiences

After briefing the media yesterday on all the boring stuff about legalized marijuana — pot-shop openings, Cannabis Control Commission budgets, blah, blah, blah – Steven Hoffman finally got to the interesting stuff, i.e. how he was a toker in high school and college and even lit one up last summer before watching fireworks in Colorado. “I personally believe marijuana is a harmless drug,” Hoffman told CommonWealth’s Jack Sullivan. “Just like alcohol, which can be overused and abused, I think it should be kept away from minors.”

The Globe’s Dan Adams and the Herald’s Matt Stout have more on Hoffman’s past smoking (and inhaling) of weed – and how his attitude towards pot appears to be disarming critics who thought he might be a Reefer Madness type.


Northampton activist on trial for disrupting Senate hearing

Northampton resident Paki Wieland is scheduled to go on trial before a judge Thursday on disorderly conduct charges in connection with the U.S. Senate’s confirmation hearing of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Emily Cutts of the Hampshire Gazette reports. A longtime activist with the rap sheet to prove it, Wieland was arrested at the February 1 hearing shortly after a fellow Code Pink demonstrator was hauled out of the room for laughing.  


Galvin: Tax-return bill will likely be challenged

A bill that would require presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns in order to get on the Massachusetts ballot – legislation clearly aimed at President Donald Trump – may be popular on Beacon Hill. But Secretary of State William Galvin, who generally favors the legislation, is warning that such a law will likely face a legal challenge down the road. SHNS’s Andy Metzger has the details.

SHNS (pay wall)

‘Senate candidate who claims he invented e-mail loses libel suit against Web site that claims he didn’t’

It’s not as shocking as first learning there’s no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny. But this is still a stunner, via Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub: “A federal judge in Boston today dismissed V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai’s libel lawsuit against a California tech Web site that published more than a dozen articles disputing his claims to have invented e-mail as a 14-year-old in 1978. At best, US District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor ruled today, Ayyadurai invented an e-mail system; whether he is the father of all e-mail, however, is a question that is open to legitimate public debate.”

Universal Hub

For Boston’s next neo-Nazi rally: Send in the Coup Clutz Clowns

Tina Rosenberg has a great piece, if you haven’t seen it already, in the New York Times about how the self-righteous and Antifa types have it all wrong when it comes to counterdemonstrations: Humor, and not indignation and anger, is called for when countering imbeciles. And if the Coup Clutz Clowns aren’t up to the job, bring on the dreaded Barbie Liberation Organization and Orange Alternative counter-counter-demonstrators.


Massachusetts joins other states in defense of DACA

As she vowed, Attorney General Maura Healey yesterday officially committed Massachusetts, along with 15 other states, in legally fighting President Trump’s controversial plan to abolish the DACA immigration program. The Globe’s Laura Crimaldi and SHNS’s Andy Metzger at Wicked Local have more on Healey’s action.

Moulton, Kennedy join Dem push to win back State Houses across country

It’s going to be a hard slog for Democrats, but U.S. Reps. Seth Moulton and Joseph Kennedy III, both Massachusetts Dems, have signed on to a new Forward Majority campaign to help Democrats win back state legislative seats across the United States, reports Shannon Young at MassLive. After last November’s elections, Republicans took control of 4,170 state legislative seats, compared to 3,129 seats held by Democrats, for a swing of 1,000 seats over the past ten years, reports The Hill.


Breaking news: No Middleburg College-like violence at Harvard last evening

Sadly, it’s now news when controversial campus speakers aren’t subjected to over-the-top harassment and sometimes even violence. The Globe reports that author Charles Murray, who was lucky to escape serious injury after a violent protest over his appearance at Middlebury College earlier this year, was indeed allowed to speak last night at Harvard University – and about 100 protesters were peaceful.

Boston Globe

Worcester Magazine editor reinstated

Walter Bird Jr. is back in the editor’s chair at Worcester Magazine after the weekly said it had conducted an investigation into sexually suggestive Facebook messages that were revealed by a city councilor,  reports Steven Foskett Jr. at the Telegram. WoMag indicated it had taken “appropriate” steps to discipline Bird, but offered no details, and also suggested it was making internal changes to avoid a similar issue in the future. 


Senate putting finishing touches on cost containment bill

We missed this one yesterday from the Globe’s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey: “Massachusetts Senate leaders say they are developing an extensive bill aimed at curbing health care costs in the state budget and for consumers, in what could shape up to be the biggest state health care legislation in five years. Senators expect to finish drafting the bill in coming weeks and file it in October, after several months of research, including meetings with health officials in other states.” Fyi: Senators are in Vermont today to consult with officials there about the Green Mountain State’s own cost-containment efforts.

Boston Globe

Councilor: Worcester being ‘used’ in PawSox stadium negotiations

City leaders in Worcester say they won’t divulge details of their negotiations with the Pawtucket Red Sox about relocating to the city until at least the broad strokes of a deal are in place, alarming at least one member of the city council who feels Wormtown is being played by Sox ownership to get a better deal out of the Rhode Island legislature, reports Nick Kotsopolous at the Telegram.


Baker’s ‘curious and potentially costly’ MBTA appointments

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi isn’t impressed with the Baker administration’s recent appointments at the MBTA, specifically the naming of Luis Manuel Ramirez as the T’s new GM and the re-hiring of former-GM Dan Grabauskas as a high-paid consulting. 

Boston Globe

Sanctuary Cities, the Massachusetts Safe Communities Act and Federal Efforts to Block Funding – A Discussion

Omni Parker House Hotel

MHSA YPG 2nd Annual Homecoming: Let’s Bring Our Neighbors Home!

La Fábrica Central

Fearless Compassion: Buddhism in the Modern World

Old South Meeting House

The Call of Esther: Christians in the Middle East, Israel, & Islam


BSONE 2017 Walk For Advocacy and Awareness in Charlestown

Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

2017 South Shore Irish Festival

Marshfield Fair

Third Annual Chicken Barbecue to Support Senator Anne Gobi

South Barre Rod and Gun Club

Harvey Sanford 2017 Scholarship Event

The New England Chapter Tuskegee Airmen and The Collings Foundation

Today’s Headlines


Slave money built Harvard Law. A new memorial recognizes that – Boston Magazine

Poll: Don’t give raises to Boston’s unwanted teachers – Boston Herald


Worcester council backs ban on sexual-orientation conversion therapy – Telegram & Gazette

AC Produce adds parking, improves look anticipating MGM Springfield – MassLive

Framingham State to move commencement to Worcester – Framingham Source

Staples finalizes its sale, beginning a new chapter – Boston Globe

Pot in, funeral home out in Provincetown – Cape Cod Times


Facebook says Russians may have bought political ads – New York Times

Trump suddenly aligns with Democrats on fiscal issues, confounding GOP leaders – Washington Post

National Cathedral is removing stained-glass windows honoring confederate leaders – NPR

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