Keller at Large

As GOP threatens to cut aid, Massachusetts may need to go guerilla

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller notes how President Trump and Congressional Republicans are threatening to block further relief funds to blue states hit hard by the coronavirus. What to do? Go guerilla. Jon explains.

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Offshore wind, coronavirus updates, and more

State House News Forum hosts a virtual panel discussion with offshore wind experts to discuss industry updates, grid integration challenges, and other issues, with panelists from Tufts University, the Brattle Group, and the Responsible Offshore Science Alliance; register for the free event here, 10 a.m.

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and MITX co-host and event to discuss how companies plan to maintain or rebuild employers’ workforces, 10 a.m.

Joint Committee on Election Laws holds a virtual hearing on vote-by-mail legislation and other bills involving election administration in response to COVID-19, 1 p.m.

Mass. Gaming Commission meets for a roundtable discussion with licensees about proposed casino reopening protocols, 2 p.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: 174 new deaths, 5,315 total deaths, 1,165 new cases

WCVB has the latest confirmed coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts, including a big one-day jump in deaths compared to earlier this week.

‘A good day’: Boston reports no deaths on one day but …

The statewide coronavirus numbers seem to be jumping up and down lately, with confirmed new deaths spiking again yesterday after a major plunge the day before. Yet there’s some definite good news to report (which probably won’t last), via CBS Boston: “‘A Good Day’: Boston Reported Zero Coronavirus Deaths On Tuesday, Walsh Says.”

Still, the medical battle rages on, even though officials report the coronavirus trend numbers appear to be improving in general. From CBS Boston: “Boston Doctor On Coronavirus Frontlines: ‘Like A Triage Officer In A War.” Meanwhile, the Globe’s Deanna Pan has an update on the mysterious inflammatory illness hitting a small number of children. And from the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter: “Chelsea, Brockton rates still lead town-by-town breakdown.”

CBS Boston

Baker: Full reopening would be ‘incredibly irresponsible’

In his strongest words yet since the reopen-versus-closure debate intensified earlier this week, Gov. Charlie Baker made clear yesterday he’s not going to be rushed into a fast and widespread reopening of the economy, saying it would be “incredibly irresponsible” to do so after nine weeks of lockdown sacrifice. SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) and MassLive’s Tanner Stening have more on the governor’s “go slow” approach to a reopening that’s tentatively set to start next week.

Mayor Marty Walsh is in agreement. From WGBH’s Joe Mathieu: “Walsh: Reopening Boston’s Economy Won’t Be A ‘Flip The Switch Situation.’” Yet some are still complaining that the governor’s reopening plans are just too vague, especially with his lockdown order set to expire on Monday. But the governor is holding firm. From the Herald’s Erin Tiernan: “Businesses hoping for May 18 end to coronavirus shutdown can wait for answers: Charlie Baker.”

And, finally, the Globe’s Shirley Leung and Larry Edelman have an excellent piece on how there really is middle-ground on the issue: “Saving lives or saving the economy? Reopening doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition.”

Healey: ‘True Patriot’ will abide by Baker’s orders

Attorney General Maura Healey, a Democrat, has Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s back, at least when it comes to coronavirus closure-vs-open orders. SHNS’s Katie Lannan reports Healey, in a recent ‘GBH interview, adamantly rejected the notion that Baker should be held accountable for the state of the local economy due his closure orders and she added: “If you’re a true patriot, right now the best thing you can do is abide by what the governor is asking us all to do.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Does this make MassMutual patriotic? Giant insurer announces its offices will remain closed through summer

From Michelle Williams at MassLive: “Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., one of the largest employers in Massachusetts, will keep its offices closed through the summer. CEO Roger Crandall announced the decision during an all-staff meeting. Employees will return to their offices no earlier than the beginning of September.”


Lawmakers seek money to bury COVID-19 dead

It’s the least we can do. Christian Wade at CNHI News reports that a group of Beacon Hill lawmakers have proposed a $5 million fund to help cover the burial expenses for those who have died from the coronavirus, with individual grants targeting families of deceased “essential workers,” such as health care, grocery store and other frontline employees.

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Marcela Garcia has a poignant piece this morning: “Latinos, hit hard by the coronavirus, struggle to bury their dead.” And they deserve our help too.


College doomsday alert, Part IV: Struggling Pine Manor College to merge with BC

WBUR’s Max Larkin and the Globe’s Laura Krantz report that Pine Manor College has become the first local college to effectively call it quits as a result of short-term coronavirus financial pressures combined with long-term demographic challenges, announcing it has entered into an “educational partnership” with Boston College. Meaning: BC is taking over the school.

Look for more of this to happen here and elsewhere. From WGBH’s Kirk Carapezza: “Colleges, Staring Down Financial Losses, Seek Philanthropy From Donors, Alumni.” And from the Globe’s Deirdre Fernandes: “Colleges anticipate big drop in international student enrollment due to coronavirus pandemic.”

Harvard medical and dental schools going remote

Yet more proof that tele-medicine’s time has come. From Universal Hub: “Deans at Harvard’s medical and dental schools told students today that due to Covid-19, the fall semester for incoming students will start with only online classes – a couple weeks after a Harvard University official said that the main Harvard campus would be open to students in September.”

Universal Hub

Fed chair effectively sides with Dems, warns of long downturn if Congress doesn’t approve more relief

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, who yesterday was pushing the Dem plan for additional massive federal aid to states and others (MassLive), has a new ally, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell, who yesterday warned of dire economic consequences if Congress doesn’t approve more relief funds for Americans, the Washington Post reports. Note: Powell didn’t specifically embrace the $3 trillion Dem plan. He just talked in generalities.

Meanwhile, from U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark at CommonWealth magazine: “Congress must act on child care crisis.”

Legitimate capitalist price increases versus outright price gouging, Part II

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr is leading the charge on this one. From SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall): “With Massachusetts businesses preparing for the first wave of reopening to begin Monday, price-gouging risks, especially in the area of cleaning supplies, speak to the need for a new law to protect consumers and employers, the top Senate Republican said Wednesday.”

Forget cleaning supplies. Have they looked at the dairy section of supermarkets lately? From WCVB: “$10 for a gallon of milk? New bill would impose fines on price gouging.” And from the Globe: “Grocery prices in April had biggest monthly jump in nearly 50 years.”

More businesses sue insurers for Covid-19 coverage

The BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports additional businesses are suing insurers for not covering their coronavirus-related losses, joining Legal Sea Foods LLC in the legal fight over coverage issues.


End of the parades? More communities halt first-responder processions

They’re needed elsewhere. More cities and towns are winding down the first-responder parades that have become a staple of quarantine-era birthdays and other celebrations, saying police and fire personnel will be needed back at their regular jobs as the economy starts to reopen.  Joe DiFazio at the Patriot Ledger reports most South Shore towns have already ended the practice or have plans to phase them out.  

Meanwhile, the Standard-Times reports New Bedford police say they have to stop accepting birthday-parade requests because there’s just too many coming in.

Patriot Ledger

Progressives give low grades to everyone else for not being progressive

From SHNS’s Michael Norton: “An advocacy group that pushes a progressive agenda on Beacon Hill is out with its new, election-year legislative scorecard and they are not too pleased with the Democrat-controlled Massachusetts Legislature.” There’s an awful lot of C grades in the House, needless to say.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Take the Kennedy name out of Kennedy and what to do you got?

Michael Damiano at Boston Magazine tries to answer the eternal political question: Just who is Joseph Kennedy III — and why is he running for U.S. Senate? We get some answers from the candidate. Whether they’re adequate answers is another matter.

Boston Magazine

Plugs for Warren as VP: They keep coming

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren remains in the news these days as a top contender to be Joe Biden’s vice presidential running mate. Benjamin Kail at MassLive has the latest poll results showing Warren has solid approval numbers among Dems. Meanwhile, the NYT’s Jamelle Bouie gives a big plug for Warren as the best candidate to push for New Deal II.

Largely missing (though not entirely) from the analyses: How does she help Biden win a general election? The election isn’t for president of the Blue States of America. Right?

Patrick launches PAC to support Biden and other Dems

He may no longer be a presidential candidate, but he’s still a player in presidential politics. From Michelle Williams at MassLive: “Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has announced a new effort to help shape national politics: funding. Patrick launched the TogetherFund, a political action committee created to support Democratic candidates. In the PAC announcement on Thursday, the TogetherFund committed to supporting Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign as well (other Dem candidates).”


Spots secured: Four qualify for ballot in 12th Suffolk

Four Democrats have managed to collect the signatures needed to secure a spot on the Sept. 1 primary ballot for the right to succeed state Rep. Dan Cullinane in the 12th Suffolk district, Katie Trojano writes at the Dorchester Reporter. Cameron Charbonnier, Stephanie Everett, Brandy Fluker-Oakley, and Jovan Lacet all cleared the court-lowered bar for getting their names on the ballot. 

Dorchester Reporter

ROAR Web Series with Special Guest Christina M. Greer, PhD

The ROAR Webinar Series with Josefina Bonilla and special guest Christina M. Greer, PhD, Associate Professor of Political Science and American Studies at Fordham University.


COVID & National Security w/ Juliette Kayyem

Jake Auchincloss, Democrat for Congress, will be joined in conversation by Juliette Kayyem, Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security under President Obama, where she played a pivotal role in the handling of the H1N1 pandemic. On Thursday, she will speak to the national security challenges that accompany COVID-19.

Jake Auchincloss, Democrat for Congress

Virtual Taste of Forum Meeting: Navigate the Crisis with Trusted HBS Peers

For the last eleven years HBS Association of Boston’s alumni forums have offered members that kind of safe port in a stormy world. Current forum members appreciate their monthly meetings now more than ever, and this special program invites all Boston-area alumni to a “pop-up” one-time forum meeting.

Harvard Business School Association of Boston

How Nonprofit Leaders are Weathering the COVID-19 Storm

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on nonprofits’ programs and operations–and on the communities they serve–are immense. This free webinar will feature a moderated panel discussion with Bob Gittens of Cambridge Children’s and Families Service, Priscilla Kane Hellweg of Enchanted Circle Theater, and Celina Miranda of Hyde Square Task Force on the impacts of COVID-19 on their organizations.

Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) and State House News Service

Affordable ways to find new customers now.

Attracting customers doesn’t have to be expensive. Small business expert Steve Strauss talks with host Julie Hyman to share easy, affordable ways you can find new customers, even in these challenging times.

Verizon Small Business Webinar Series

Coronavirus and the 2020 Elections

EJ Dionne, Washington Post columnist and political commentator, and Janet Hook, staff writer at The Los Angeles Times, discuss implications of the novel coronavirus for the 2020 elections.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Brands With A Purpose Series: “Redefining Success with Social Impact” – Virtual Fireside Chat with CEO, David Heath

David Heath the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bombas will discuss the evolution of product offerings and how Bombas’ mission plays into the company’s culture and social impact.

Harvard Business School Association of Boston

Today’s Headlines


Suffolk pushing to reopen former Ames Hotel as a dorm this fall – Boston Globe

In Saugus, Kowloon goes back to the future with drive-in – Lynn Item


New Bedford suspends city-permitted events of more than 10 people through Labor Day – Standard-Times

UMass students receive $8.3M in coronavirus emergency aid – MassLive


FBI serves warrant on senator in investigation of stock sales linked to coronavirus – Los Angeles Times

Fed chair warns of economic hit ‘without modern precedent’ – New York Times

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