Keller at Large

Jaylen Brown’s slam dunk analysis

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller praises Celtics star Jaylen Brown’s analysis of Kyrie Irving’s recent race baiting of Boston fans and the “trivialization of racism” that distracts from genuinely profound problems.

Keller at Large

Happening Today

PFAS Task Force, Extending COVID-19 policies, and more

— Attorneys representing three groups are scheduled to appear before the Supreme Judicial Court to press for regular COVID-19 testing of non-symptomatic people at Massachusetts county jails, 9 a.m.

PFAS Interagency Task Force will hear informational briefings from the Department of Environmental Protection at its first meeting to investigate water and ground contamination of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, 10 a.m.

— U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern is among the speakers at a Pioneer Valley Workers Center news conference about a U.S. Supreme Court decision that organizers say could overturn millions of existing deportation cases, 10 a.m.

Joint Committee on Cannabis Policy holds public hearing on three bills dealing with hemp products, 11 a.m.

Senate Ways and Means Committee is accepting testimony through 5 p.m. on a pair of bills extending COVID-19 policies beyond the June 15 end of the state of emergency, 5 p.m.

For the most comprehensive list 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.

‘I forgot’: Baker acknowledges he met with center chief before Holyoke tragedy

He says he forgot. And the media is all over Gov. Charlie Baker for forgetting, or for not telling the truth in the first place, about his meeting with Bennett Walsh before he was appointed director of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home – and before last year’s COVID-19 deaths of scores of veterans at the home. A three-reporter team at the Globe haw more on the governor’s apparent recall problems.

The SHNS’s Katie Lannan and the Herald’s Erin Tiernan also have more.

They weren’t quite singing in the rain but …

The weather didn’t cooperate. But no matter. It was a glorious Memorial Day weekend for many who finally got to shed their protective masks, open their businesses to full capacity and/or do most other things as a result of Saturday’s lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in Massachusetts.

A sampling of some headlines from around the state, starting with Matt Reed at WCVB: “Fans flock to Garden-area bars, restaurants as restrictions lifted.” From MassLive: “Encore Boston Harbor celebrates Massachusetts lifting COVID restrictions with mask-tossing countdown.” Also from MassLive: “’This does us good’: Veterans take satisfaction as big crowds gather for renewed Memorial Day traditions.” There was some hesitancy out there, but not much. From Quincy Walters at WBUR: “As Mass. Loosens Pandemic Restrictions, People ‘Get Back Out There,’ But Caution Remains.”

And SHNS’s Colin Young reports that Gov. Charlie Baker says the coronavirus is definitely “on the run.”

Sitting it out: Venus de Milo postpones opening due to lack of workers

Not all was well on the reopening front – and this also doesn’t bode well for economic recovery in general. The iconic Venus de Milo restaurant and banquet facility in Swansea was unable to open its doors this weekend to join in the reopening fracas, with owner Monte Ferris saying the venue has been unable to find enough experienced food-service workers. Linda Murphy at the Herald-News has the details. 

Herald News

Sale: Discounted face masks! Hurry while they last!

Stores stocked up on protective masks – and now they’re stuck with them. Universal Hub has the photographic proof. And Lysol wipes? Have fun selling those too, as one commenter notes.

Universal Hub

Teachers union head: It’s ‘premature’ to remove school restrictions this fall

The head of the Massachusetts Teachers Association is criticizing the state’s move to eliminate COVID-19 restrictions when all schools return to in-person learning this fall, calling it “premature,” reports Melissa Hanson at MassLive. But a four-reporter team at the Globe reports that some superintendents are hailing the return to in-person classes and the guidance given to schools by the state.


Going down fighting: White battles to save his job via family testimonials

Suspended BPD commissioner Dennis White isn’t going quietly – and he’s enlisted his oldest daughter and sister-in-law to help via videos of them saying White’s former wife was the violent one in their stormy relationship. 

The Herald’s Joe Dwinell and Rick Sobey and the Globe’s John Hilliard have more on the video affidavits from family members. From the Globe’s Kevin Cullen: “In the Dennis White case, the city may be about to fire the wrong cop.” But Acting Mayor Kim Janey isn’t budging from her decision to can White. 

Back to the future? Biden eyes ambassadorship for Vicki Kennedy

He’s going old school.  President Biden is considering naming two members of the Kennedy political dynasty as ambassadors as he begins to roll out his team of overseas diplomats this week, Hans Nicols at Axios reports. Vicki Kennedy, widow of late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, is being considered for a western Europe post while JFK daughter Caroline Kennedy, as previously reported, could be headed to the Pacific region.

Separately, Nicols reports that Biden is tapping the Bay State’s own Rufus Gifford, a former local congressional candidate and ambassador himself, as chief of protocol at the State Department.


Moving up? Legislators eye ‘changing of the guard’ at the political top

The Globe’s Matt Stout reports on the potential “changing of the guard” next year in Massachusetts – if certain constitutional officers opt to not run for re-election or run for another office. We’ll leave you in suspense about which statewide pols might do what. The fun part is all the names Stout drops when it comes to state senators eyeing higher office: Lesser, Eldridge, Rausch, Chang-Diaz, Hinds, DiZoglio, not to mention non-senator names like Edwards, Ryan, Curtatone, etc.

Meanwhile, from SHNS’s Katie Lannan: “Baker, Polito Families to Discuss 2022 Re-Election.” And the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld has more on those Markeyverse young ones threatening to target AG Maura Healey for her political impurities.

Boston Globe

‘Weaponizing party bylaws in a bid to oust the governor’

The Globe’s Emma Platoff reports on the ongoing battle for control of the state GOP between chairman Jim Lyons, a conservative, and Gov. Charlie Baker, a moderate, and how the former who couldn’t hang on to a legislative seat thinks he knows more about electability than the latter who’s won two statewide elections and maintains sky-high approval ratings.

Governor signs UI rate relief and COVID leave bill

SHNS’s Matt Murphy reports that Gov. Charlie Baker last Friday signed legislation that provides some relief for employers facing huge unemployment insurance rate hikes and that calls for creation of a $75 million emergency COVID-19 sick leave program, portions of which Baker previously tried (and failed) to amend.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Take your pick: Eastern equine encephalitis or contaminated drinking water

The Globe David Abel reports that some communities are opting to forgo state aerial spraying to reduce the spread of eastern equine encephalitis and other mosquito-borne diseases. The reason: A pesticide used for years by the state has been found to contain a significant amount of PFAS – the same “forever chemical” that’s been contaminating drinking water supplies across the state. Talk about an awful choice.

Boston Globe

Not home alone: Homeschooling more than doubles during pandemic

A lot of parents were home during the pandemic shutdowns and leery of remote learning for their children. So many took matters into their own hands. CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg reports on the rise of homeschooling during the coronavirus crisis.


Epidemic plus pandemic equals … spike in HIV cases among homeless

When the opioid epidemic meets the coronavirus pandemic, this is what you get. Also from Shira Schoenberg at CommonWealth: “Health office have identified a growing cluster of 134 HIV cases primarily among homeless people who inject drugs in the Boston area, a worrying sign for health officials who several years ago were talking about a goal of eradicating new HIV cases in the state.”  


Tarr: Time for patrols to protect whales

Christian Wade at the Newburyport Daily News reports that Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr wants to step up marine patrols for endangered North Atlantic right whales to “reduce collisions with boats, entanglements with fishing gear and prevent shutdowns of the state’s lobster fishery.”

Newburyport Daily News

Just in case: Brookline exploring gun shop restrictions as Newton wrestles with application

They’re hoping to avoid Newton’s fate. Brookline officials say they are exploring possible zoning amendments that would limit where gun shops could open in the community, a move that comes as neighboring Newton finds itself in a heated debate over a proposed gun store in that community, Abby Patkin at the MetroWest Daily News reports. 

MetroWest Daily News

Portions of Green Line’s D Branch to close this month for ‘fast-track’ work

From CBS Boston: “The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is fast-tracking work on the Green Line’s D branch in June that will require a full closure of the track for a total of 18 days, officials said. The MBTA’s Green Line D Track and Signal Replacement Project includes replacing 25,000 feet of track and 6.5 miles of signals — some elements of which date to the 1950s.”

CBS Boston

Watertown cop who took down marathon bomber to retire after 41 years

He earned it. Lisa Hughes at CBS Boston reports on the retirement of Watertown police sergeant Jeff Pugliese, who will forever be linked to tackling accused Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev after a dramatic shootout in Watertown in 2013.

CBS Boston

Navigating the Culture Wars with Douglas Murray and Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Join Douglas Murray, author of The Madness of Crowds, and feminist activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali as the pair discuss her new book: Prey: Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Women’s Rights.

Spectator Events

Multilateral Cultural Diplomacy: A Conversation with UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay

In the third installment of the Future of Cultural Diplomacy Series, UNESCO’s Director-General Audrey Azoulay will offer her unique perspective on cultural diplomacy as the leader of one of the world’s largest multilateral agencies focused on education, scientific, and cultural issues.

Harvard Kennedy School

Biodiversity and Climate Crisis Summit – On the Road to COP26

UN COP 26 will take place in Glasgow in 2021, hosted by the United Nations and the UK Government. This International online event will take us closer to the UN Summit, and it’s about generating a wider dialogue on Climate Action. Net Zero by 2030? Can we make it happen?

United Nations Association Climate and Oceans

Dr. James R. Givens in conversation with Dr. Kim Parker – Fugitive Pedagogy: Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching

Join us, the State Library of Massachusetts, the Museum of African American History, and the Black Educators’ Alliance of Massachusetts (BEAM) for an online discussion with Dr. Jarvis R. Givens, author of Fugitive Pedagogy: Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching, and BEAM President Dr. Kim Parker. This conversation is part of the Boston Public Library’s Repairing America Series.

Boston Public Library

Climate Adaptation Forum — Climate Migration: International Pressures, Local Realities

Join the Climate Adaptation Forum for a conversation about migration — both international and internal. Hear from municipalities that are building infrastructure to welcome new residents and from experts at the international scale who are grappling with broad issues of displacement and migration.

Environmental Business Council of New England & the Sustainable Solutions Lab

Crypto Connection 2021

2021 will be known as the year Crypto went mainstream. The flood of institutional investors entering the asset class, the decision by traditional payment companies to offer crypto access and payment options, and the dynamism of listed (public) digital asset companies, futures contracts, and ETFs – all point to a sea change in our understanding and perceived value of cryptocurrency.

TABB Forum & Global DCA

President Bill Clinton and James Patterson Discuss The President’s Daughter

President Bill Clinton and author James Patterson’s new thriller, THE PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER, is a fast-action adventure, a certified nail-biter from the very first page, with details only a former president could write and action only Patterson could dream up. Just imagine the president as a superhero — all the fun without the cape!

Barnes & Noble

Corporate Welcome Reception

MassEcon is proud to welcome new businesses to Massachusetts at our Corporate Welcome Brunch, part of the Annual Corporate Welcome Reception Series! As we were unable to host this event in 2020 due to the onset of the pandemic, we look forward to this event as an opportunity to thank these new companies to Massachusetts for their investments in the Commonwealth in 2019 and later.


Reflections of Alan Turing

Dermot Turing is the author of the acclaimed biography Prof, about the life of his uncle, Alan Turing and X, Y & Z: the Real Story of How Enigma Was Broken. He spent his career in the legal profession after graduating from Cambridge and Oxford, and is a trustee of Bletchley Park. He has extensive knowledge of World War II code-breaking and is a regular presenter at major cryptology events.

The National Archives

Deborah Lipstadt and Rabbi Ed Feinstein: Anti-Semitism Today – What’s Really Going On?

Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, is one of the nation’s foremost experts on Holocaust denial and modern anti-Semitism. Rabbi Ed Feinstein is the beloved senior rabbi at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California, one of the largest Conservative congregations in the United States.

Jews United for Democracy and Justice and Community Advocates

Anne Frank’s Europe: Before, During & After Her Diary – Livestream Tour

Join us for an online/virtual tour of the places throughout Europe associated with Anne Frank. While the basics of Anne’s life as depicted in her diary are known to many, some of the most noteworthy aspects of this time are not well known.

Washington DC HIstory & Culture

Today’s Headlines


As Harvard Case Looms at Supreme Court, Study Tests Value of Diversity – New York Times

Uber, Lyft shortages make getting a ride in Boston an ‘extreme sport’ – Boston Globe


Going to pot? Legal weed sales in other states could affect industry in Berkshires, though not right away – Berkshire Eagle

Taunton’s Freshly Baked becomes first cannabis company in Massachusetts to get approval to start home delivery – MassLive


Texas Democrats Walk Out, Stop Republican’s Sweeping Voting Restrictions – NPR

An Arms Race in America: Gun Buying Spiked During the Pandemic. It’s Still Up. – New York Times

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