Political Happy Hour: August 17, 2016

Posted by on Aug 18, 2016 in Voice-Over | 0 comments

Here’s you Martha-Stewart-coconut-water-vodka-cocktail glass of politics, from Joshua Miller of the Boston Globe, sipping on pure water at the Massachusetts State House.

SJC SAYS NO ON PIPELINE CHARGE IN BLOW TO GOV, via Jon Chesto on BostonGlobe.com: “The state Supreme Judicial Court on Wednesday rejected the Baker administration’s proposal to impose a charge on electricity customers to help pay for new natural gas pipelines. The court’s decision is a blow for Governor Charlie Baker, who had made it a priority of his energy policy to increase the amount of natural gas coming into New England, and as well to the state’s two major electric utilities. …


Wednesday’s court ruling, meanwhile, was hailed as a victory by environmental groups that have vigorously opposed gas pipeline expansions. … Attorney General Maura Healey and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg were among the public leaders who praised the court’s ruling. … But Eversource spokeswoman Caroline Pretyman said the court ruling leaves the region in a precarious position …” http://bit.ly/2beclgz

WALSH SAYS LIFTING CHARTER CAP WOULD BURDEN BOSTON’S FINANCES, via James Vaznis on BostonGlobe.com: “Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh voiced his opposition once again Wednesday morning to lifting a state limit on the number of charter schools that can operate in Boston and other low-performing districts, arguing that the city’s school system cannot afford to have more state aid diverted to running additional charter schools. … ‘Charters schools are not bad; they are not our enemies,’ he [said]. ‘The enemy is that this ballot question doesn’t give us a funding source and that money is going to have to come from somewhere.’ …” http://bit.ly/2bcWa3Y

“The enemy” is a notable phrase for the mayor to use, don’t you think?

MASS. DEMS AGAINST CHARTER BALLOT PUSH, via Jim O’Sullivan on BostonGlobe.com: “The state Democratic Party sounded a loud note of opposition Tuesday night to a ballot initiative that would increase the number of charter schools in the state, voting overwhelmingly for a resolution harshly critical of the charter-school movement. At a state party committee meeting in Lawrence, the resolution encountered just a smattering of opposition during the voice vote, several attendees said. Pro-teachers union committee members had been lobbying others for support, while charter school advocates had hoped to block the measure from passing. … Democrats for Education Reform, a pro-charter group, assailed the vote. … Opponents of the ballot, measure, though, hailed the vote as a defense of traditional public schools. …” http://bit.ly/2aZBgYm

TWEET FROM SENATE PRESIDENT STAN ROSENBERG’S COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR @MaraDolan “This just in: Democrats in Massachusetts turn out to be real Democrats after all, vote to oppose increasing charter schools. #mapoli” http://bit.ly/2bsCc2W


REPLIES LIAM KERR, Massachusetts state director of Democrats for Education Reform: “Who is going to break the news to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton?”

NATIONAL REVIEW OFFERS A POSITIVE PROFILE OF CHARLIE BAKER, via Stephen D. Eide in the August 29, 2016, issue: “Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker is the anti–Donald Trump. He is even-tempered, skilled at working with his political opponents, compassionate, and quite possibly the most wonkish governor in America. He is certainly the most popular, a remarkable accomplishment for a Republican in one of the bluest states in the Union. That Baker should be going so strong in the age of Trump attests to the strange varieties of American federalism and should encourage Republicans who still believe that the path to power runs through serious policymaking. …

In short, Baker is trying to govern, not revolutionize, Massachusetts. This approach reflects his mandate from voters, who elected him to improve on a status quo with which they are largely satisfied. In recent decades, American conservatism has tended to be defined in ideological terms, but a more traditional understanding cast it as an attitude. Baker in many ways embodies that older understanding. He once described his governing style as ‘relentless incrementalism’ — Baker prioritizes modest improvements over radical change. His approach to problems such as the T compares favorably with the national scene, where self-interest tends to trump the traditional goals of safety and prosperity. Charlie Baker, by virtue of his government experience and sense of responsibility, is likely to leave Massachusetts in a better position than the one he found it in. And that is no small achievement for conservatism.” http://bit.ly/2bo8BdG

EDZO! via @BostonFire on Twitter this afternoon: “Congratulations to Firefighter Ed Kelly on his election as General Secretary Treasurer of the IAFF” http://bit.ly/2aZFPvP

HEADLINE I DIDN’T CLICK ON TODAY on WBUR.org: “I Fear I’m Becoming A Masshole”

WILL MY DECISION TO TAKE FRENCH IN HIGH SCHOOL FINALLY PAY OFF AT MY JOB WHEN I CAN ASK THE PREMIER OF QUEBEC SOMETHING EN FRANÇAIS? via Katie Lannan of the State House News Service: “The heads of the six New England states and five Canadian provinces will gather in Boston later this month as Gov. Charlie Baker hosts the 40th annual Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers. … The meeting, intended to provide the leaders with a chance to explore common issues, will this year focus on ways that technological innovation, investment and ‘effective processes’ foster economic opportunities … The conference will be held at the Hynes Convention Center on Monday, August 29 …” Behind paywall: http://bit.ly/2aZANPW

BOSTON — METRICS ARE THE LIFEBLOOD OF WONKS AND ALSO POLITICS, story via Meghan E. Irons with the headline “City Hall is always above average — if you ask City Hall” on BostonGlobe.com: “Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s administration has weathered a string of controversies in the past eight months. But even on some of Boston’s bad days, City Hall has exceeded expectations and provided above average services to residents. At least that’s according to CityScore, an algorithm created by the Walsh administration designed to distill City Hall’s daily performance into a single data point. …” http://bit.ly/2b1wDtM

WHAT’S CHARLIE BAKER UP TO TODAY? A photographic answer from Dave Roback of the Republican newspaper: “Sheriff Michael Ashe chats with @MassGovernor Charlie Baker at #SpringfieldMA clambake.” http://bit.ly/2aW3MbX

MASS. ATTY GEN’L MAURA HEALEY ON YOUR TEEVEE. A worthwhile watch from Sharman Sacchetti of FOX25. About a 2½-minute package: http://bit.ly/2b02pue

Quotes of note from Sharman’s interview:

SACCHETTI (Voiceover): So what about her political future? I asked her.

SACCHETTI: “Are you running for reelection for attorney general?”

HEALEY: “I love what I’m doing. I’m hoping to do it to the best of my ability every day.”

SACCHETTI: “Are you ruling out a run for higher office?”

HEALEY: “Absolutely.”

SACCHETTI: “You’re ruling it out?”

HEALEY: “Absolutely.”

FLASHBACK from NECN in April of last year —

HEALEY: “I am not running for governor. I am attorney general and I’m grateful —”

HOST JOE BATTENFELD: “You will not run [for governor] in four years, three years?”

HEALEY: “No. You know — absolutely not.” Video via NECN: http://bit.ly/2bnqQ3X

Even if Charlie Baker’s astronomical approval rating slips, I believe her. Do you? joshua.miller@globe.com

BOSTON HERALD FRONT PAGE TODAY. The story by Joe Dwinell and Bob McGovern: “An Iranian refugee receiving welfare benefits in Maine while becoming self-radicalized before he fought and died for ISIS has an enraged Gov. Paul R. LePage calling for a sweep of all such taxpayer-funded payouts in his state and nationwide. Adnan Fazeli, 38, came to Freeport, Maine, in 2009 and was killed last year on the battlefield in Lebanon after abandoning his wife and three kids to join the terror army, according to federal court documents unsealed this week. …” http://bit.ly/2bHujLg

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY, HURRICANE BOB WAS CHUGGING TOWARDS US NEW ENGLANDERS. I’ve been spending time looking through the Globe archives and there are epically good photos. Here are a few.

-A board put up to protect a deli on Martha’s Vineyard carries a challenge to the elements ahead of Hurricane Bob. By Tom Landers: http://bit.ly/2bsE1fZ

-A woman runs for cover during Hurricane Bob along the waterfront in Falmouth, Mass., on Aug. 19, 1991. By Bill Greene: http://bit.ly/2aZWCoo

-A man holds onto a pole in downtown Boston during Hurricane Bob on Aug. 19, 1991. By Stan Grossfeld: http://bit.ly/2bsDmLP

WHAT’S THE WEATHER GONNA BE LIKE IN BOSTON OVER THE NEXT 10 DAYS? Weather.com has the projected answer. Nicer than a hurricane, surely: http://wxch.nl/2bnu4EH

STRANGE OLYMPICS STORY, via the AP in Rio: “The father of American swimmer Ryan Lochte said Wednesday his gold medal-winning son arrived back in the United States before a Brazilian judge ordered that Lochte and U.S. teammate Jimmy Feigen stay in Brazil as authorities investigate their claim they were robbed during the Olympics. Steve Lochte told The Associated Press by phone from his Florida home that his son called him Tuesday after arriving in the United States. The 32-year-old swimmer was going to pick up his car and buy a new wallet to replace the one that he said was stolen in the robbery. …

Lochte and three of his teammates said they were robbed at gunpoint in a taxi Sunday morning as they returned to the athletes village from a party, several hours after the last Olympic swimming events were held. Police have found little evidence so far to support their accounts, and say the swimmers were unable to provide key details in police interviews. …” http://apne.ws/2bnMnZm

YOUR MBTA-DELAY LONG READ, via Abe Streep in the California Sunday Magazine: “… I spent time with the paramedics of Laredo this past spring … because they have an unusually clear view of the most politicized stretch of land in the country: the U.S.-Mexico border. …

Like all border towns, Laredo is swamped by law enforcement. Uniforms are everywhere: the olive green of Border Patrol, or La Migra, which has about 1,600 agents in the area; the navy blue of Customs and Border Protection, whose agents check the documentation of people crossing Laredo’s five bridges. There are sheriff’s officers, constables, and highway patrol; in less public view, three for-profit detention facilities employ a small force of correctional officers. Working for La Migra or in a private prison can be a complicated arrangement in a town that’s almost entirely Latino — steady employment with the whiff of betrayal. Paramedics, on the other hand, are legally bound to treat anyone in need. The only questions they ask concern a patient’s medical history. Border Patrol agents get spit as a topping at a local takeout joint; paramedics get discounts.

A blue light lit up overhead and an automated female voice intoned, ‘Ambulance, special duty.’ Fred rose. He sometimes calls himself the Angel of Death, because when he is on the R.Q., or rescue unit, bad things tend to happen. Two nights earlier, he had transported two patients who eventually died. The electronic voice above continued, ‘Patient with a low sugar dose,’ and everyone sighed. It was just a frequent flier — a regular, someone who occasionally calls in with low blood sugar, dizziness, or general exhaustion.

Fred left, lights flashing and sirens wailing. The [middleweight title] fight started [on TV], and calls sped up. A boy was hit in the face with a baseball bat. A woman complaining of fatigue turned out to be a heroin addict. Fred had to break down a door to reach a guy who’d been beaten to a pulp. Cars wrecked. Then a call came in. Something about a girl at the mouth of Chacon Creek. Something down by the river.

The medics have a saying for nights like this: Se suelto el diablo. The devil is loose. …” http://bit.ly/2bsY4eh

PEOPLE INSTALL UTILITY POLL AT HOME TO GET BETTER POWER FOR THEIR SOUND SYSTEM, via Juro Osawa of the Wall Street Journal in Tokyo: “Takeo Morita wanted absolutely the best fidelity possible from his audio system, so he bought a utility pole. The 82-year-old lawyer already had a $60,000 American-made amplifier, 1960s German loudspeakers that once belonged to a theater, Japanese audio cables threaded with gold and silver, and other pricey equipment.

Normal electricity just wouldn’t do anymore. To tap into what Mr. Morita calls ‘pure’ power, he paid $10,000 to plant a 40-foot-tall concrete pole in his front yard. On it perches his own personal transformer—that thing shaped like a cylindrical metal garbage can—which feeds power more directly from the grid.

‘Electricity is like blood. If it is tainted, the whole body will get sick,’ says Mr. Morita. ‘No matter how expensive the audio equipment is, it will be no good if the blood is bad.’

Demonstrating his power’s purity, he mounts a turntable with a vinyl record of Queen’s ‘I’m in Love With My Car,’ settles into his sofa and beams. Pre-pole, he says, the vocals didn’t sound as lively as this. ‘Now, it feels like Queen is in this room, just for me.’ …” I think this link should get you around the paywall: http://bit.ly/2byFmU0

I know audiophiles might consider this profane, but Queen songs sound pretty good to me in my Apple EarPods.

Is someone you know the political equivalent of an audiophile who would install their own utility poll? Have I got the weekday political newsletter for them! Free and wicked easy to sign up for: http://www.bostonglobe.com/politicalhappyhour

You know what else is a piece of cake to subscribe to? The Boston Globe. Get a digital subscription and access to powerful, well-written journalism for just a few bucks for the first few weeks and then $3.99 per week for the rest of the year. http://bit.ly/2aH1xX5

I feel like I’m forgetting to tell you something.

Oh, yes. My email is joshua.miller@globe.com and my Twitter handle is @jm_bos and I’ll be back tomorrow and the next day, which is Friday.

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com.

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