Keller at Large

Masshole narcissism unmasked

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller has discovered a new and distinct Masshole species, a sort of genetic offshoot of our incorrigible Masshole drivers: The mindless narcissism of those who don’t give a damn they’re endangering others by not wearing face masks.

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Nomination signatures, Higher Ed Board, and more

— Today is the new deadline for a range of candidates to file nomination signatures needed to ensure access to the Sept. 1 primary ballot and Nov. 4 general election ballot.

— The Judiciary Committee is accepting written testimony on five bills related to the COVID-19 pandemic – including decarceration, price gouging and protections for institutions that provide emergency aid – and a domestic violence prevention bill, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Board of Higher Education meets via Zoom, with plans to vote on fiscal 2021 tuition rates for community colleges and state universities, 10 a.m.

Pension Reserves Investment Management Board holds a remote meeting of its Investment Committee, with Treasurer Deb Goldberg participating, 9:30 a.m.

Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business holds a virtual hearing on two bills, one that would create a Massachusetts Paycheck Protection Program for businesses ineligible for the federal program and the other that would create an electronic MassMakers networking database, 11 a.m.

For the most comprehensive listing of calendar items, check out State House News Service’s Daily Advances (pay wall – free trial subscriptions available), as well as MassterList’s Beacon Hill Town Square below.

Today’s Stories

Reminder to readers: SHNS Coronavirus Tracker available for free

A reminder to our readers as the coronavirus crisis unfolds: The paywalled State House News Service, which produces MASSterList, is making its full Coronavirus Tracker available to the community for free on a daily basis each morning via ML. SHNS Coronavirus Tracker.

The numbers: 86 new deaths, 4,090 total deaths, 1,000 new cases

MassLive has the latest confirmed coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts, showing a large one-day drop in deaths and cases.

Discouraging and encouraging numbers, II: National numbers, bad; local numbers, looking better

First, the discouraging national news, via the Washington Post: “Draft report predicts covid-19 cases will reach 200,000 a day by June 1.” And possibly 3,000 deaths a day nationwide. … But now some encouraging local news, besides the one-day case numbers in the post immediately above. From Angus Chen at WBUR: “After Weeks Of Social Distancing, COVID-19 Hospitalizations In Mass. See A Slight But Steady Drop.” … From CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl: “COVID-19 benchmarks continue in good direction.” … From WCVB: “Hopeful Walsh says Boston ‘may be on the verge of a downward slope’ in coronavirus outbreak.” … From MassLive: “‘Light at the end of the tunnel’ — Springfield sees positive trends in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations.”

But the stats still have the ability to shock: 54 dead at Medford nursing home

The local coronavirus numbers may be trending, ever so slowly and slightly, in a more encouraging direction. Then you read headlines like this on the Globe’s front page: “Coronavirus outbreak at Medford nursing home kills 54 residents.” 

Then there’s this, via WCVB: “Worker at Quincy Walmart dies of coronavirus, officials say.” And from WBUR: “Worcester Walmart Now Has 81 Confirmed Coronavirus Cases Among Employees.” Bottom line: It’s not over, folks. Far from it.

Boston Globe

Poll: Mass. residents back lockdown measures – and Charlie Baker

As we suspected, a new poll shows overwhelming public support for Gov. Charlie Baker’s emergency lockdown measures despite economic hardships – and overwhelming support for the governor himself. The Globe’s Victoria McGrane and WGBH’s Adam Reilly and Saraya Wintersmith have the latest Suffolk/WGBH/Globe survey numbers.

The administration is definitely enforcing the closure rules. From the BBJ’ Greg Ryan: “State targets dozens of businesses over alleged Covid-19 violations.” Meanwhile, Baker yesterday reiterated: Any reopening of the economy will be done slowly and methodically, reports the BBJ’s Gintautas Dumcius.

Btw, for comparison purposes, via the NYT: “Cuomo’s N.Y. Reopening Plan: 10 Regions, 4 Phases, Many Caveats.”

Still, hundreds protest outside State House demanding reopening of economy (and cheering Donald Trump)

Speaking of the reopening issue, MassLive’s Steph Solis reports hundreds of people rallied outside the State House yesterday to protest Gov. Charlie Baker’s coronavirus closure orders and demanding a reopening of the economy. A quick scan of photos at confirms, among other things: 1.) A lot of the protesters were pro-Trump and 2.) Social-distancing and wearing protective masks are not their forte.

The Globe’s Anissa Gardizy reports the rally was promoted by the same right-wing folks behind last year’s Straight Pride Parade. Our bottom line: See poll numbers above.


Tee time: Golf course owner says she’ll open despite order

Here’s another closure critic. The owner of two central Mass. golf courses tells Joseph Wulfsohn at Fox News that she plans to open for business in the next few days despite close restrictions. She might want to be a little more  patient. It seems golf-course reopenings are on Baker’s radar, as MassLive’s Benjamin Kail reports.

Fox News

‘Crying on the job’

It seems Maine’s Ed Muskie was ahead of his time. The NYT reports that “crying on the job” by pols in no longer a political negative, not during these coronavirus times. It certainly hasn’t hurt Charlie Baker, who’s featured in the Times piece and whose poll numbers are through the roof (see post above).


So what are residents spending their stimulus checks on? Not consumer goods

Economists and politicians had hoped Americans would spend those $1,200 stimulus checks in a way that would help boost the economy. But WBUR’s Zeninjor Enwemeka reports that many local residents are apparently using the cash to pay down household debts and taxes, as well as making charitable donations and stashing money aside in savings accounts. In the end, the prudent moves will help the economy, just not in the way some had envisioned.


Delay the new education-funding law?

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation goes there, i.e. suggesting that the state delay implementation of the landmark school-funding law recently passed by legislators, as well as reducing a planned boost in state pension-system contributions, reports SHNS’s Chris Young. The reason: Plunging state tax collections amid the coronavirus crisis.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

DeLeo wins his dare: House agrees to remote session rules

House Speaker Robert DeLeo was prepared to call lawmakers back into session, in person, to break the partisan deadlock over parliamentary rules for holding future remote sessions, going so far as to put social-distancing tape on State House marble floors to show he meant business. Yesterday, House Democrats and Republicans remotely reached a deal on future remote sessions. MassLive’s Steph Solis and SHNS’s Matt Murphy and Chris Van Buskirk have the details.

See what traffic decongestion gets you? Empty roads, faster speeds, more fatal crashes

Christian Wade at CHNI News reports how state roads and highways may be less crowded these days amid the coronavirus lockdown. But the state Department of Transportation is warning that empty roads have led to a spike in the rate of fatal auto accidents in Massachusetts. Bottom line: Speed really does kill.


MBTA prepares for full pre-pandemic service that it knows won’t be fully needed

Speaking of transportation, the MBTA is preparing for the day when it can resume full pre-COVID-19 transit service – even though it knows that ridership won’t be returning any time soon. The reason: It’s preparing for social-distancing restrictions on trains and buses. CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl has more.


Busted budgets: Cities, towns try to balance books in the dark

The only question is how bad it’s going to be. Communities across the state are trying to finalize already delayed municipal budgets amid an uncertain outlook on tax collections and state aid.  In Peabody, Mayor Edward Bettencourt says some layoffs or furloughs are all but inevitable, Gayla Cawley reports at the Lynn Item. 

Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux tells Tom Reilly at the Sun Chronicle that avoiding laying off workers is his top priority as he drafts a spending plan while leaders in neighboring communities are holding out for state aid that lawmakers say may not be coming any time soon. And in Easthampton, Mayor Nicole LaChapelle will unveil a bare-bones budget this week that avoids layoffs for now and relies on lessons from the Great Recession to guide how much revenue will drop, Bera Dunau reports at the Daily Hampshire Gazette. Finally, from the Globe’s Danny McDonald: “Walsh: ‘As of now, we are not considering furloughs or layoffs for city workers.”

So it turns out a police superintendent, not a rank-and-file cop, tweeted insults aimed at Kennedy and Markey

Cambridge Police Supt. Jack Albert was outed Monday as the one who tweeted a vulgar insult aimed at U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy and a “clown” insult against U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, reports Universal Hub. Albert has apologized. 

Universal Hub

Two months into coronavirus crisis, first ICE detainee tests positive for Covid-19 in a state jail

After all the lawsuits, court hearings, press releases, headlines, protests etc.– and only now they’re reporting the first ICE detainee has tested positive for COVID-19 in a Massachusetts jail? Something’s proportionately not right here, considering all the attention heaped on the ICE issue and the thousands who have perished in nursing homes across the state. Anyway, Shannon Dooling at WBUR has the first-positive-test news.

To be clear: We think federal, state and county officials could have, and should have, acted more aggressively in releasing prisoners and detainees in general. So we agree, in general, with Nancy Gertner’s Globe op-ed this morning: “Coronavirus can mean a death sentence to prisoners.” But …

Btw, from MassLive’s Steph Solis: “After Bristol County jail incident over coronavirus testing, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker says don’t draw conclusions so quickly about what happened.”


If it isn’t forthcoming, it isn’t legal: Legal Sea Foods sues over denied insurance coverage

Keep an eye on this one. It could be huge if he wins. The Globe’s Larry Edelman and Janelle Nanos report that Legal Sea Foods CEO Roger Berkowitz is suing his insurance company for not covering his company’s coronavirus-related damages – and Berkowitz says his suit could provide a “road map for others” seeking money from insurers.

Boston Globe

Standing by Joe: Warren says Biden’s sexual-assault denial credible

This is surprisingly unequivocal. From the the Globe’s Jess Bidgood: “Senator Elizabeth Warren on Monday defended former vice president Joe Biden in the face of a sexual assault allegation that has roiled the presumptive Democratic nominee’s campaign. ‘The vice president’s answers were credible and convincing,” Warren told reporters, referring to an interview Biden gave Friday in which he denied the allegations. ‘I support the vice president, I support his campaign, and I’m proud to endorse him for president.’”

Before Warren’s stand on Monday, the Herald’s Wendy Murphy was bemoaning those (including Dem women) who don’t stand by the accusers.

Boston Globe

Pandemic campaigning: Kennedy goes full Covid-19, Markey’s Hoop Dreams

WGBH’s Adam Reilly looks at the U.S. Senate race as both candidates, Joseph Kennedy III and Ed Markey, use COVID-19 activism to their respective advantage. The former is going full COVID-19. The latter is also pressing the coronavirus issue, but with a hoops and retro-sneakers spin.


Back in the ring: Ex-boxer Diggs announces Crocker challenge on Cape

He’s hoping for a knockout. Kip Diggs of Osterville, a world champion boxer in the mid-1990s, says he’ll run as a Democrat against state Rep. William Crocker in the 2nd Barnstable District this fall, Geoff Spillane reports at the Cape Cod Times.

Cape Cod Times

Join the Joint Committee on Community and Small Businesses at a virtual meeting

Legal cannabis operators and ancillary businesses were ineligible for federal loan and grant opportunities like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), established in the recent federal CARES Act. MassCBA has been asked to invite you to join the Joint Committee on Community and Small Businesses at a virtual meeting via Zoom.

Massachusetts Cannabis Business Association

ROAR Web Series with Josefina Bonilla and Special Guest Kamil Ali-Jackson

The ROAR Webinar Series with Josefina Bonilla and special guest Kamil Ali-Jackson, Co-Founder, Chief Legal Officer, Chief Compliance Officer, and Corporate Secretary of Aclaris Therapeutics Inc. Join industry Leaders as we discuss innovation and leadership, definition of success and the emergence of new leadership styles in trying times.


JALSA Schmoozefest

Social justice speakers, music, comedy, and more!

Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action

Re-Booting the Economy – Major Employer Issues: Part 1 “Bringing Employees Back to the Workplace”

Re-opening the Economy is such a big topic right now. We want to position the North Shore Chamber and our members as leaders, as plans become unveiled by Governor Baker on reopening the economy. The May 6th Seminar will focus on an internal perspective – “Bringing Employees Back to the Workplace.”

North Shore Chamber of Commerce

ROAR Web Series with Josefina Bonilla and Special Guest Jane Steinmetz

The ROAR Webinar Series with Josefina Bonilla and special guest Jane Steinmetz, Boston Office Managing Principal, Ernst & Young. Join industry Leaders as we discuss innovation and leadership, definition of success and the emergence of new leadership styles in trying times.


Leadercast 2020—Positive Disruption: Leadership lessons with Magic Johnson

Join Business Journal partner, Leadercast, digitally for Leadercast 2020 Positive Disruption the world’s largest annual one-day leadership event broadcasting on May 7, 2020.

Boston Business Journal & Leadercast

ROAR Web Series with Josefina Bonilla and Special Guest Phyllis Barajas

The ROAR Webinar Series with Josefina Bonilla and special guest Phyllis Barajas, CEO, Conexión. Join industry Leaders as we discuss innovation and leadership, definition of success and the emergence of new leadership styles in trying times.


Virtual event in support of Senator Ed Markey with Carole King

Please Join Us For a Virtual event in support of Senator Ed Markey with Carole King. This performance will be held on a video conferencing platform for everyone to enjoy safely from their homes. The link for the event will be available upon RSVP.

ActBlue / Senator Ed Markey

Virtual Duckling Day

Join Friends of the Public Garden on Sunday, May 10, at noon for a special “virtual” Duckling Day on Facebook!

Friends of the Public Garden

Building a New Era of Offshore Wind

The U.S. offshore wind industry finds itself at a crossroads, facing an array of opportunities and pitfalls as initial projects move forward and infrastructure-related challenges increasingly come into focus. A fundamental question persists: How can Massachusetts and New England most effectively scale its ocean resource? What policies do we need now to jumpstart the industry after the profound impact of the Covid-19 epidemic?

State House News Forum

Today’s Headlines


DA Rollins and Commissioner Gross issue unusual warning to gun violence suspects – Boston Globe

Flowers for mom: Baker loosens retail restrictions prior to May 18 – Boston Business Journal


Worcester pastor vows to continue services amid coronavirus pandemic at Adams Square Church saying ‘the bible doesn’t tell me to meet online’ – MassLive

Framingham school district, civil rights officials agree on resolution to Title IX complaint – MetroWest Daily News

Worcester allows three medical marijuana dispensaries to stay open until 10 pm – Telegram & Gazette


Treasury to borrow record-breaking $3T as pandemic costs skyrocket – Politico

With states moving to reopen, models predict US death rates rising – New York Times

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