Keller at Large

Ed Markey’s disappointing disappearing act

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller boldly calls the U.S. Senate race in favor of  Ed Markey — 46 days before the election. And that’s why Markey should debate GOP rival Kevin O’Connor more than once, for Markey has absolutely nothing to lose.

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Fort Hood inspection, UMass convocation, and more

— U.S. Reps. Katherine Clark, Stephen Lynch and Ayanna Pressley participate in a three-day congressional trip to Fort Hood in Texas to discuss the recent spike in reports of sexual harassment, missing persons and deaths among military service members, including the recent death of a Brockton service member.

— A virtual panel with vaccine and scientific experts will explore how to safely and effectively accelerate clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccine, with MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence, MIT Media Lab’s Community Biotechnology Initiative and MilliporeSigma hosting the online event, 10 a.m.

Caroline Colarusso, Republican challenger to U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, holds press conference calling on Clark to participate in two debates before the election, Melrose Public Library, 11 a.m.

— UMass-Boston Chancellor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco will deliver his first convocation address at UMass Boston, virtually welcoming nearly 16,000 students to the fall semester, 11 a.m.

— Senate President Karen Spilka discusses municipal and business issues during the COVID-19 pandemic at a virtual webinar hosted by the 495/MetroWest Partnership, 11:30 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 coronavirus numbers: 20 new deaths, 9,036 total deaths, 295 new cases

MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbersfor Massachusetts.

Walsh leads Wu in first ridiculously early mayoral poll

Well, that was a fast. A poll within days of Michelle Wu’s official mayoral-campaign launch. But we’re all political junkies and love it. So, from GBH’s Adam Reilly: “A new GBH News poll conducted by the MassINC Polling Group shows that Mayor Marty Walsh would be the early favorite in a mayoral race with at-large city councilor Michelle Wu. But the poll also suggests that race would be more competitive than Walsh’s 2017 contest with Tito Jackson, which Walsh won by 31 points.”

The numbers you want to see: 46 percent for Walsh, 23 percent for Wu. Walsh is doing well with Black voters, fyi. Of course, Walsh hasn’t yet said if he’s even running. Now to other pressing matters. …


The number of high-risk COVID communities rises

Some stats definitely show the state, overall, doing well in combatting the spread of the coronavirus. But not all parts of the state are the same. MassLive’s Benjamin Kail and the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky and Sean Phillip Cotter report how the state now considers Worcester, Nantucket, Plainville, Saugus, Tyngsborough and Wrentham as “high risk” virus zones.

‘Egregious violation of the rules’: Parents sent virus positive student to Attleboro school and … mass quarantines ensued

If parents don’t get it, how can we expect kids to get it? Anyway, from Jennifer Eagan at WCVB: “More than two dozen Attleboro students were forced to quarantine after the parents of a COVID-19 positive student sent the child to class earlier this week.” Attleboro Paul Heroux is calling it “an egregious violation of the rules.” 


School reopening updates: Hundreds of schools start classes, more controversy in Sharon, ‘Hangry’ kids and Zoom bombings

Let it be known that most schools are indeed reopening this week without student-partying or parental-dunderhead controversies. WCVB reports on yesterday’s planned first-day-of-school activities in 70 communities across the state. … But there was indeed controversy in Sharon again, this time with the district’s superintendent accusing the school committee of racial discrimination amid numerous pandemic disputes in town, as NBC Boston reports. … From the Globe’s Steve Annear: “‘Hangry’ kids, IT nightmares, and Zoom bombings: Parents and students adjust to virtual classrooms.” … From GBH’s Meg Woolhouse: “Boston’s School Buildings Are Old. Can They Handle A Pandemic?” … Similarly, from GBHs Craig LeMoult: “Is Ventilation And Air Filtration In Massachusetts’ Classrooms Good Enough In A Pandemic?”

College reopening updates: MIT Sloan goes remote due to student gatherings, ‘Animal House’ inspection, Dan Kennedy gets his Starbucks

A lot is also happening on the college-pandemic front this morning. So we’ll go with headlines and quick summaries for this post too. From MassLive’s Steph Solis: “Massachusetts health officials start releasing statewide COVID-19 data on colleges and universities.” … From the Globe’s Christopher Muther: “Elegant or ‘Animal House’? What it’s like staying in Boston’s new breed of hotel dorms.” … From the Globe’s Jeremy Fox: “MIT moves business school classes online for a week in response to student gatherings.” … And, finally, WGBH media critic and Northeastern professor Dan Kennedy has returned to campus (mostly) and is impressed with the safety precautions taken by Northeastern and its students. He’s also had his first cup of Starbucks coffee since March.

‘First to go, last to come back’: State’s big-events industry still in lockdown limbo

SHNS’s Katie Lannan has a good story on how many of the state’s entertainment/big-event companies – from concert promoters to wedding planners – are barely holding on these days as they continue to await Phase 4 word they can restart their businesses. And that word won’t come until there’s a coronavirus vaccine. And that’s not coming anytime soon by the looks of it.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Will the state also extend a lifeline to Faneuil Hall merchants?

SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) reports that the state is extending a pandemic-relief deadline for hard-hit small businesses to pay some of their owed taxes in Massachusetts.

Speaking of small businesses in need of help, the Globe’s Joan Vennochiwrites that Kevin White’s glory is Marty Walsh’s nightmare these days, i.e. the struggling retailers at the once booming Faneuil Hall Marketplace. And, btw, it looks like one retailer won’t be filling any empty stalls at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. From the Herald’s Erin Tiernan: “Pot shop a no-go in Quincy Market after landlord’s cease and desist.”

More bad economic news: Raytheon to cut 15,000 jobs as aerospace business suffers

Speaking of struggling local businesses, the BBJ’s Lucia Maffei confirms that Waltham’s Raytheon Technologies plans to lay off far more employees than previously projected, largely thanks to its struggling aerospace business amid the pandemic crisis. No mention of possible local cuts, but you almost have to assume there will be some when you’re talking 15,000 layoffs. 


Massachusetts flag football league fined by N.H. for bringing in teams from outside the region

There’s a New England Flag Football League? We had no idea. Anyway, they’re in trouble. From Jackson Cote at MassLive: “A Massachusetts-based flag football league was fined by the New Hampshire attorney general’s office this week after bringing in teams from outside of New England in violation of restrictions issued in response to the coronavirus pandemic.”


Report: MBTA facing possible ‘devastating’ capital crisis

The latest on the MBTA’s pandemic-era financial woes, from SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall): “The MBTA has made progress increasing the amount it spends on maintenance and modernization, but a business group warns in a new report that funding shortages on the horizon could create a ‘potentially devastating outcome for public transit.” The business group is the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, btw.

New voter guide tones down glowing references to Galvin

After he was admonished for publishing a taxpayer-funded state voter guide that mentioned his own name in glowing terms a little too often, Secretary of State Bill Galvin has issued his latest “Information for Voters” booklet that seems to tone down the self-congratulations, reports Christian Wade at the Newburport Daily News.

Newburyport Daily News

Libel litigation alerts: As Cambridge lawyer goes after Netflix, Dershowitz takes on CNN

Can’t lawyers and the media just get along? Apparently not. Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin reports that a Cambridge attorney, Nicholas Louisa, is suing Netflix, program producers, the right-wing Boston Broadside and a local attorney for, as UH puts it, “allegedly ruining his life by portraying him as an evil money grubber out to defraud an elderly Needham man.” It has to do with various articles and an episode of ‘Dirty Money.’

Meanwhile, Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz has filed a $300 million libel suit against CNN for portraying him as an ‘intellectual who had lost his mind,” as Law & Crime and the Boston Globe report.

Remembering Ralph Gants – and speculating who might replace him

Tributes to the late Supreme Judicial Court Chief Ralph Gants, who died suddenly on Monday, continue to stream in from around the state. From SHNS’s Sam Doran (pay wall): “Council That Confirmed Gants Pays Tribute to Former Top Judge.” At CommonWealth magazine, George Bachrach, the former head of the Environmental League of Massachusetts and former state senator, has a nice tribute that includes this line: “Long before black lives mattered, they mattered to Ralph.”

Meanwhile, WBUR’s Deborah Becker and CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg have pieces on who Gov. Charlie Baker might pick to replace both Gants and retiring SJC Justice Barbara Lenk, based on Baker’s past judicial-pick track record and amid calls for more diversity on the SJC bench. Separately,from SHNS (pay wall): “Baker Taps Government Attorneys for Appeals, Juvenile Court.”

Silence of the Generals: Douglas MacArthur had something to do with it

The Globe’s Brian MacQuarrie takes a look at why many active-duty and retired generals – including the Boston area’s very own Joseph Dunford and John Kelly – prefer to remain silent amid calls for them to speak out about President Trump’s alleged contemptuous comments about those in the military. It’s a good piece. But it’s missing something: Mention of U.S. Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who was famously fired by President Truman for openly challenging the president’s conduct of the Korean War.

MacArthur’s firing in 1951 was a seminal moment in the history of civilian-military relationships in America – and it largely explains why so many generals to this day, active and retired, avoid public criticisms of civilian leaders. 

Boston Globe

Simple snafu: Berkshire DA says she didn’t know her license had been suspended

Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington took to Facebook to explain how she ended up driving on a suspended license: She says the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles failed to notify the court that she had in fact paid a speeding ticket, Heather Bellow at the Berkshire Eagle reports. 

Harrington also suggested the entire story–including the fact she was stopped and let off with a verbal warning–came about as a result of a tip off from a “local right-wing blogger.” In other words, she’s trying to kill one messenger (blogger) but not the other (the Eagle).

Berkshire Eagle

Extreme measures: New Bedford officials protects Trump sign with electric fence

Six is enough. New Bedford school board member John Oliveira has installed an electrified fence around the Trump campaign sign in his front yard after the first six signs he put up were stolen, Jackson Cote at MassLive reports. 


The state’s tragic history of failing to keep dangerous drivers off the road

You’d think it would be rather easy — flag dangerous drivers, yank their licenses, and keep them off the roads. But it hasn’t been easy in Massachusetts – and it’s led to numerous tragedies, as the Globe’s Laura Crimaldi reports this morning, as part of the paper’s ongoing coverage of the failure to keep dangerous drivers off the roads in Massachusetts.

Boston Globe

Halted: Framingham council overrides veto, reinstates apartment moratorium

It wasn’t even close. The Framingham City Council unanimously voted to override the veto of Mayor Yvonne Spicer on a temporary moratorium on large-scale multi-family housing projects, saying the city needs time to study impacts of such developments on city services, Jeannette Hinkle of the MetroWest Daily News reports.

MetroWest Daily News

Tiny bottles, big impact: Falmouth liquor stores fret after town meeting passes nip ban

Liquor store owners in Falmouth say they stand to lose as much as 20 percent of their sales after Town Meeting voters there approved a ban on nip-sized bottles, Jessica Hill at the Cape Cod Times reports. The group that pushed for the ban says the single-serving bottles make up more than 30 percent of the litter found along the town’s roadways. 

Cape Cod Times

The Citizens’ Choice: Ranked Choice Voting

Join the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate and the Higher Education Consortium of Central Massachusetts for Constitution Day forum on Massachusetts’s Ballot Question #2. The moderated discussion will cover both sides of the Ranked Choice Voting initiative as Commonwealth voters prepare to head to the polls in November.

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

Envisioning Equity Part I: Equitable Education through the Crisis

This fall, MassBudget is hosting Envisioning Equity, a series of community conversations examining how our state budget can help build economic and racial justice in Massachusetts.


Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy

Award-winning journalist Larry Tye discusses his new book Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy with Pulitzer Prize-winning former Boston Globe columnist Eileen McNamara.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Virtual 2020 Best Places to Work

The BBJ hopes you can join us as we celebrate the Best Place To Work!

Boston Business Journal

Faith and the National Elections: A discussion of how faith informs our voting

Join us for a discussion with faith leaders and the media to discuss: How faith shapes the issues that matter most to us; Balancing issues, political party and personal attributes when deciding how to vote; Accurate and reliable reporting in the age of social media; and The impact of a candidate’s own faith.

A Faith That Does Justice

100th Anniversary Virtual Awards Gala

We will stand together, virtually, to celebrate our 2020 Health Care Stars who, while deserving the utmost praise and recognition pre-COVID-19, have maintained their commitment to improving and protecting the lives of MA residents since the outbreak began. We are planning a showcase of celebration and resilience and ask for your sponsorship support of our 2020 honorees and of MHC’s work.

Massachusetts Health Council

Today’s Headlines


MIT moves business classes online for a week in response to student gatherings – Boston Globe

‘Where is the evidence?’ Appeals court challenges claim that Harvard discriminates against Asian American applicants – WBUR


Springfield to use $3.9 million grant to curb homelessness caused by Covid-19 pandemic – MassLive

Worcester board of health chair is asked to resign, and refuses, in wake of police chief interview – Telegram & Gazette

Lawmakers want seniors-only hours at western Mass. RMVs – Daily Hampshire Gazette


Senate Republicans signal openness to working with Biden – The Hill

Baltimore’s Camden Yards to become voting center – Baltimore Sun

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