Keller at Large
Reading the body language in the U.S. Senate debate
In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller says there were indeed major differences between candidates Joe Kennedy and Ed Markey during Tuesday night’s U.S. Senate debate — differences in their body language. And Kennedy definitely won that non-verbal portion of the debate.
Gaming Commission, BU reopening protest, and more –
– Cape Cod Reopening Task Force holds a media call to discuss COVID-19 cases on Cape Cod, school reopenings and Barnstable County’s new ‘Beach Well’ guidance, 9 a.m.
— Mass. Gaming Commission meets, with interim executive director Karen Wells planning to give an update on casino reopenings and a request to resume craps, roulette and poker games, 10 a.m.
— Boston University faculty, students, and labor members plan a ‘car rally’ to protest the school’s fall reopening plans, 2 p.m.
— MBTA staff host a virtual public meeting to discuss upcoming bus and route service changes set to take effect on Aug. 30, 6 p.m.
— Somerville Democratic City Committee holds a Zoom forum with Sen. Patricia Jehlen and primary challenger Gary Fisher, 7 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.
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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 coronavirus numbers: 18 new deaths, 8,547 total deaths, 229 new cases
MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts .
Too late? State issues metrics-based school reopening guidelines that seem destined to be ignored and/or contested
This seems to be coming a little late in the process, i.e. state education officials have finally released metrics-based guidelines for school reopenings in Massachusetts, based on those color-coded maps the Baker administration released on Tuesday regarding community-by-community virus-test rates. MassLive’s Melissa Hanson and the Globe’s James Vaznis have more, including how the move could “dramatically limit the use of remote learning and potentially throw an 11th-hour wrench into reopening plans” days before districts are required to submit their re-start proposals, as Vaznis writes.
But expect resistance. From CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg: “Not every school district is buying Baker’s guidance/Local officials say more goes into reopening decisions than a colored map.” Meanwhile, the state’s two largest cities, Boston (WCVB) and Worcester (Telegram), sure look like they’re headed down the remote-learning path, at least initially.
Some sample headines from around the state, starting with the Salem News: “Salem schools shift to remote only due to rise in illness.” From the Berkshire Eagle: “Pittsfiled schools to go fully remote at first.” From the Eagle Tribune: “Lawrence school leaders endorse remote learning.” But there are some attempt to get in-person classes going. From MassLive: “Chicopee students will phase into in-person classes, a divided school committee decides.”
BU announces new policy on posthumous degrees – just as student return to campus
We’ll just let the Globe’s Jeremy Fox explain this one: “Boston University was criticized on social media Wednesday for the timing of an announcement about a new policy over the conferring of degrees posthumously just as students prepare to return to campus amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A university spokesman quickly apologized.”
Btw: BU faculty and students etc. are planning a “car rally” today to protest BU’s reopening plans. See our Happening Today item above. Btw II: Still on the subject of colleges, CHNI’s Christian Wade has interesting story about the shortage of SAT and ACT testing sites for high-school students across Massachusetts.
Community colleges to parents: Do we have deal for you
Speaking of colleges, SHNS’s Chris Lisinski reports on the bargain tuition prices some community colleges are offering and advertising these days. We’re sure more than a few parents, as well as students, will find the price comparisons interesting.
Brockton mayor on impromptu 350-person keg party: ‘It’s asinine. It’s asinine’
It was supposed to be a volleyball-competition gathering. It turned into a massive keg party. And Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan, whose city is suffering from one of the highest coronavirus-test rates in the state, isn’t happy. “It’s asinine. It’s asinine,” he says, as the Enterprise’s Marc Larocque reports.
Child-care is reaching crisis point in Massachusetts
The Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert and SHNS’s Chris Van Buskirk (pay wall) report on a dire shortage of child-care spots in Massachusetts, as the economy and schools slowly reopen and working parents seek child care for their kids. The culprit: The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic downturn that’s devastated the child-care industry.
MCAS, RIP? Bill to halt test for four years gaining support on Beacon Hill
So long-time critics may have finally found a way to kill off MCAS. And that’s what we’re really talking about here – effectively killing, not suspending, MCAS. From the Herald’s Erin Tiernan: “A bill that would place a four-year moratorium on MCAS as schools struggle to recover from the coronavirus pandemic is earning widespread support on Beacon Hill, a sign that momentum to permanently do away with the standardized exam could be building.”
Markey’s momentum: Incumbent opens up big lead over Kennedy, poll says
This latest poll was taken before Tuesday’s debate, but we’re not sure that would have made a difference. From WCVB’s David Hurlburt: “A new Massachusetts U.S. Senate Democratic Primary poll found incumbent Sen. Ed Markey gaining momentum over challenger Rep. Joseph Kennedy III. The UMass Amherst/WCVB poll of likely Democratic voters asked, if the 2020 Democratic Senate primary here held today, who would you support? Fifty-one percent of the respondents said Markey, while 36% chose Kennedy and 13% responded, ‘Don’t Know’ or ‘Other.’”
Getting personal: Markey ramps up attacks on Kennedy-clan ties
Before release of the latest poll (see above), we weren’t sure if the following was a sign of desperation or a smart move by Ed Markey in an era when the Kennedy name doesn’t have the magic it once did. Anyway, the Globe’s Victoria McGrane reports on Markey’s attempt to turn U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy’s famous family connections into a Little Lord Fauntleroy negative.
Blaming the ‘political machine’ for his woes, Morse vows to fight on against Neal
MassLive’s Jim Kinney and WBUR’s Anthony Brooks report Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, whose progressive crusade to unseat U.S. Rep. Richard Neal has been thrown into turmoil by allegations against him of inappropriate sexual relationships with college students, is looking to refocus his campaign and vowing to fight on against Neal.
Some LGBTQ advocates (MassLive) and state Sen. Julian Cyr (CommonWealth) are standing by Morse. And from the Berkshire Eagle: “Morse backers in Berkshires largely hold firm on support.” But some in Holyoke are looking to change the city charter to allow recalls for elected officials (MassLIve).
Unrepentant: Mass. Bail Fund’s defiant response to rape controversy
Not an ounce of remorse or regret? Not even a mention of the recent controversial rape case involving a released prisoner? The AP’s Philip Marcelo at CBS Boston and the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter report on Mass. Bail Fund’s defiant response to criticism aimed at the group for bailing out a convicted rapist who then allegedly went on to rape again after released from jail.
We’re talking cold-hearted ideologues here.
Sumner Redstone, Boston native and media titan, RIP
Sumner Redstone, 97, a Boston native who turned a small Massachusetts theater company into a Viacom-CBS media empire, has passed away. The NYT and the Globe’s Mark Feeney have more on the life and death of Redstone.
Former Boston police union president arrested amid child rape allegations
WCVB reports that the former president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, Pat Rose, has been arrested on charges connected to child rape allegations. Rose was taken into custody on Wednesday after allegations involving child rape surfaced. The Massachusetts State Police confirm Rose’s arrest.
Sneak peek? Sparring between Walsh, Wu over ZBA could be 2021 preview
The Globe’s Danny McDonald reports a standoff between Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and City Councilor Michelle Wu over the pace at which appointments to the Zoning Board of Appeals are being processed could provide a glimpse into how a potential mayoral race between the two could unfold next year.
Boston Fed chief: States’ rush to reopen has slowed U.S. economic recovery
For the record, Eric Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, is pointing fingers at southern and southwestern states, not his home state of Massachusetts, for reopening their economies too fast and thus harming the U.S. recovery. The AP’s Christopher Rugaber has more.
A certain individual is taking exception to Rosengren’s views. From the Herald’s Rick Sobey: “Donald Trump responds to Boston Fed chief’s comments on slow recovery: ‘We got to open up’”
Self-defunding: Hampshire sheriff announces furloughs
Speaking of law enforcement officials, Hampshire County Sheriff Patrick J. Cahillane says 77 of his full-time employees will take 12-day furloughs over the next three months in a bid to save nearly $200,000 in labor costs, Michael Connors at the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports. The sheriff says he’s reducing his own pay over the period as well.
Out of reach: Housing report paints dire picture for front-line Worcester workers
They’re going to need longer weeks. A new report on housing costs in the Worcester area finds the average hourly wage-earner would need to work 76 hours a week, every week, in order to be able to afford the $1,400 rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the area, Cyrus Moulton at the Telegram reports.
Modest progress: Framingham sees more leadership diversity since becoming city
There’s good news and not-so-good-news. Framingham boards and commissions are generally more diverse now than they were before the town became a city in 2018. But seats on some of the most important committees–such as those that review development proposals–are still largely held by residents of the town’s wealthier neighborhoods, Jeannette Hinkle at the MetroWest Daily News reports.
Getting Back to Work: Keeping Your Staff and Customers Safe
Looking for guidance reopening your business? Join us for a program from experts at Newton-Wellesley Hospital designed to help small- and medium-sized businesses reopen their facilities in the safest way possible for employees and customers.
When will a woman be president? We’ll ask the one who nearly was, another working to get more conservative women to run, and the experts and academics working to debunk the electability myth.
On Race and Gender
Join us for a final day of programming to examine the intersection of race and gender in America and the role women must play in building a more equitable future.
Lawn vs. Leary: A conversation with the state rep candidates
Join us for a conversation with the two candidates competing for the Democratic nomination for the 10th Middlesex District House seat: incumbent Rep, John Lawn and challenger, Newton City Councilor Alison Leary.
Is Retail Really Open for Business? What our Merchants are Telling us
Back in April, when the COVID shut down had just begun, we assembled a panel of local merchants and asked them to share their thoughts about survival and the future of retail. It’s been four months and we’ve decided to call back our panel to see how their businesses are holding up and to share current concerns and challenges.
Join Senator Ed Markey for a Virtual Event with Ken Burns
Filmmaker Ken Burns and Senator Markey will be discussing some of the lessons learned from our country’s stories explored in Ken’s documentaries and how they inform our response to today’s challenges including addressing civil rights, achieving racial equality, fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, and combating the climate crisis with the Green New Deal.
Rally: Black Ribbon Day – Rejection of Extremism, Intolerance, and Oppression
Black Ribbon Day is an international day of remembrance for victims of totalitarian regimes, specifically Stalinism, communism, Nazism and fascism. It is observed on August 23rd and symbolizes the rejection of “extremism, intolerance and oppression.”
Jewish Voices, Jewish Values: Keeping the Faith in Our Democracy
In every generation there is a moment when we are called to fight against bigotry and anti-Semitism, to fight for democracy and our social justice values. This is our moment (and our movement). Support JALSA Impact — Engaging the MA Jewish Community in the fight to Hold the House, Flip the Senate and Win the White House!
Virtual 2020 Corporate Citizenship Awards
Join the Boston Business Journal for our annual Corporate Citizenship Awards.
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