Keller at Large

Counterproductive Nonsense on Managing the Pandemic

In his latest Keller at Large on MASSterList, Jon Keller dissects Rep. Shawn Dooley’s attack on Gov. Charlie Baker’s COVID-19 emergency orders, in which Dooley referred to the governor as “Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Baker.” After Dooley wrote that he had been “sipping on a margarita” while writing the column, Keller also cautions against engaging in political commentary while under the influence.

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Galvin on mail-in voting, final Senate debate, more

Secretary of State William Galvin holds a media availability at the State House to discuss mail-in voting and in-person voting for the Sept. 1 state primary election. Galvin plans to speak about how many voters have requested mail-in ballots, the process of returning and counting the ballots, and what voters can expect if they vote in person, 10 a.m.

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern holds a press conference at the USPS Central Massachusetts Processing & Distribution Center in Shrewsbury to announce new postal service legislation he plans to bring to the House floor this week, and to call for U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to resign, 10 a.m. 

U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch will be joined by the American Postal Workers Union, the National Association of Letter Carriers AFL-CIO and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union at his own press event on the postal crisis. Postal Service Mail Facility at South Station, 225 Summer St., Boston 12 p.m. 

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton will also hold a “Save Our Postal Service” rally with former Lynn Postmaster Thomas Costin. Costin Post Office, Lynn, 12 p..m.

Boston Mayor Walsh hosts a media availability to share updates relating to COVID-19 in the City of Boston. Boston City Hall, 3 p.m. 

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton and his Democratic primary challengers Jamie Belsito and Angus McQuilken face off in a forum on Facebook and Zoom moderated by WBUR’s Tiziana Dearing and sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus Educational Fund. 5:30 p.m.

Two weeks before primary day, U.S. Sen. Markey and his challenger Congressman Joe Kennedy are scheduled to square off in their final live debate, hosted by WCVB in a consortium that includes The Boston Globe, WBUR and the University of Massachusetts Boston’s McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies. 7 p.m.

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. 

State House News Service

The coronavirus numbers: 4 new deaths, 8,611 total deaths, 213 new cases

MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.  

High stakes: Markey, Kennedy joust on multiple fronts ahead of final debate

The stakes don’t get much higher. As Sen. Ed Markey and U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III prepare for their final head-to-head debate ahead of the Democratic senate primary, the candidates made it clear they have plenty of attack material ready for launch in what a new poll suggests is a dead heat. 

The Globe’s Victoria McGrane reports a new Survey USA poll gives Markey a lead well within the margin of error, while Chris Van Buskirk of State House News Service reports Kennedy used a press availability Monday to slam Markey on social justice issues and to defend his own family from what he called ‘attacks’ on the Kennedy legacy. 

Erin Tiernan of the Herald reports that press conference–where no questions were taken–was briefly interrupted by an outburst from Rayla Campbell, a Republican seeking to unseat U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley. 

Separately, Christian Wade of the Salem News reports Kennedy is accusing Markey of ‘watering down’ a gas pipeline safety bill prompted by the Merrimack Valley explosions to make it more palatable to Republicans. 

What scandal? Morse allegations a footnote in heated debate

Plenty more political pugilism in the 1st congressional district, but maybe not the kind observers expected. 

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal finally faced off in a debate on Monday in what has quickly become a bitterly contested race for the House, but explosive allegations that Morse engaged in inappropriate relationships with UMass students got only a passing mention, Stephanie Barry of MassLive and CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl report.  

But that doesn’t mean it was a friendly face-off, with Larry Parnass of the Berkshire Eagle reporting Morse slapped Neal for being a tool of wealthy special interests while Neal in turn told Morse to focus on being a better mayor before trying to wrest away his seat in Congress. 

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Matt Stout reports dozens of members of the Massachusetts Democratic state committee are pushing for an independent review into the allegations against Morse and claims they were trumped up with the help of party operatives. 

Happening here: Postal workers say sorting machines removed in Bay State

Now it’s really hitting home. Saraya Wintersmith of WGBH reports postal worker unions say at least a dozen high-capacity mail sorting machines have been removed from facilities in Massachusetts as part of a large plan at the U.S. Postal Service. 

Meanwhile, Attorney General Maura Healey is seeking to shore up confidence in voting by mail even as she pledged to use the courts if necessary to halt President Trump’s effort to hamstring postal operations, WBUR reports. 

And Democrats are clearly sensing a winning political argument: The Washington Post reports U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren joined with fellow senators to call for the USPS board to halt any more changes until after the election, while several members of the Mass. congressional delegation have media events planned for today aimed at drawing attention to the situation.

Also: On Martha’s Vineyard, about 50 protesters took to the streets to support the mail getting through, Lucas Thor of the Martha’s Vineyard Times reports. 


First impressions: Virtual DNC is reminder that it’s no longer politics as usual

As expected, it was weird. James Pindell of the Globe and Ryan Lizza of Politico report that the first night of the first-ever virtual Democratic National Convention offered a stark reminder that we are in entirely new territory for both parties. And there were Bay State cameos: A brief appearance by U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton and a posthumous nod to late Boston PR pro and Joe Biden confidante Larry Rasky. 

The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld, meanwhile, argues the real question of the week is how far to the left Biden will be pulled by the party’s progressive wing.  

Relatively robust: With limited options, casinos clawed back $45M in July

They came back. After a months-long hiatus following the coronavirus shutdown in March, the state’s three casinos outperformed expectations, drawing in $45.4 million in gross revenue, CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl and Colin Young of SHNS report. That’s 56 percent below last year but considering pandemic restrictions on everything from table games to how drinks are served, a sign that underlying demand remains relatively robust. 

Expedited overhaul: Soldiers’ Home upgrade process on fast track for fed funds

The Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, where 76 veterans died this spring after contracting Covid-19, is about to get an extreme makeover on a fast deadline. State officials on Monday announced they have hired Boston architecture firm Payette to examine the facility with an eye to recommending first steps towards renovating or expanding the building, Jeanette DeForge of MassLive reports. 

CommonWealth Magazine’s Shira Schoenberg reports state officials hope to have plans ready in time for a round of federal grant funding slated to be released next spring. 

Long-term pain: T facing $400 million shortfall as ridership sags

Just wait until next year. The MBTA could face a $400 million budget hole next summer as federal coronavirus aid runs out and service cuts may have to be on the table, the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro reports.  

Boston Globe

Gauntlet thrown: State Rep. candidate releases taxes, calls on challengers to match

From Geoff Spillane of the Cape Cod Times: Republican state Rep. candidate Steven Xiarhos made public copies of his recent tax returns and challenged both his GOP primary opponent and his potential November election Democratc rival in the 5th Barnstable County seat being vacated by the GOP’s Randy Hunt to follow suit. 

Cape Cod Times

Drop it: Boston Bar urges feds to drop death penalty pursuit in Boston bombing case

The Boston Bar Association has waded into the debate over whether federal prosecutors should attempt to retry the death penalty case against Dzhokar Tsaranev, urging Attorney GEneral William Barr to drop the pursuit of capital punishment and “let the case rest.”

Boston Globe

Should bail itself be on trial?

All that anger at the Massachusetts Bail Fund after a rapist on pretrial release allegedly struck again? It might better be directed toward changing the way cash bail is used altogether, Catherine Elton writes in Boston Magazine.

Boston Magazine

Undercount? Data suggests Brockton’s Covid death toll may be much higher

This debate will probably not be settled for a while. The city of Brockton’s official coronavirus death tally of 277 people may be as much as 40 percent below the actual figure, Ben Berke of the Enterprise reports. The number of deaths recorded in the city in April and May alone outpaced the average yearly total. 

Brockton Enterprise

‘Fully complicit’: Prosecutors press for jail time for Loughlin

The Globe’s Travis Andersen and the Herald’s Joe Dwinellreport that federal prosecutors are telling a judge that actress Lori Loughlin and her husband both should serve prison terms for their role in the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal. The couple will be sentenced Friday and prosecutors didn’t hold back in their recommendation, calling for “meaningful terms of incarceration.” A plea deal on the table would put Loughlin behind bars for two months and her husband for five months. 

Open source: Amherst seeks input on starts new policing model

They’re looking for some insights. Members of the Amherst Town Council are asking the public–especially those who have been impacted by traditional policing–to offer suggestions on how to revamp the town’s police department, Scott Merzbach of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports. 

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Magic number: Are developers downsizing to avoid affordable housing rules?

Hmmm. Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin reports the Boston Zoning Board has been handling an unusually large number of nine-unit condominium conversion proposals and some are starting to question if it might have something to do with the fact that any project of 10 units or more triggers affordable housing set-aside requirement. 

Universal Hub

Cool breeze: Worcester to spent $15M to upgrade schools’ air systems

Scott O’Connell of the Telegram reports the Worcester public school district plan to invest $15 million to upgrade the HVAC systems inside its facilities. The funds will be enough to install ionization systems in all its schools before the end of the calendar year. 

Telegram & Gazette

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.

Newton-Needham Regional Chamber

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.

Ed Markey for Senate

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.”

Boston Broadside

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 Author Talk with E. Dolores Johnson

Virtual author talk with E. Dolores Johnson, author of Say I’m Dead: A Family Memoir of Race, Secrets, and Love

Boston Public Library and American Ancestors/NEHGS, together with the State Library of Massachusetts and the Museum of African American History

Creating Equity in Education in the Age of COVID: New Data on Early College

The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on inequality in Massachusetts, particularly in educational opportunities and outcomes. Join us for a presentation of compelling new Early College outcomes data prepared for the Early College Joint Committee, and a discussion with state policymakers and program leaders about how Early College is driving greater equity in education.

Mass Business Alliance for Education & MassINC

Virtual 2020 Corporate Citizenship Awards

Join the Boston Business Journal for our annual Corporate Citizenship Awards.

Boston Business Journal

Today’s Headlines


Letter from Cambridge Education Association denounces hybrid reopening plan for schools – Cambridge Day

Wu calls to reject Walsh’s Zoning Board appointments – Boston Herald


Worcester councilors, chief vow to seek community input on police body camera policy – Telegram & Gazette

UMass sets up Covid testing site – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Worcester Red Sox reveal jerseys, hats – MassLive


Trump retweets known Russian disinformation – CNN

DNC Chairman calls for end to presidential caucuses – The Hill

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