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Political Happy Hour with Joshua Miller

Saturday, April 29, 2017
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Here’s your cheddar cheese shot glass (no joke) of politics, from Joshua Miller of the Boston Globe, filing from Logan International Airport in East Boston.

ECONOMIC WARNING SIGN — SLOW GROWTH, via the Financial Times’ Sam Fleming in Washington and Adam Samson in New York: “The US economy expanded at its weakest pace in three years during the opening months of 2017, underlining the daunting task facing Donald Trump’s administration as it seeks to attain ambitious growth targets. 

Gross domestic product grew at a 0.7 per cent annual rate in the January-to-March period, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis ... [A] range of data indicators has remained weak in recent months, including retail sales, and the GDP data revealed the slowest growth of household spending since 2009. ... Despite the disappointing numbers, the US labour market has remained buoyant as the country continues its uninterrupted progress towards full employment. ...” This link should get you around the paywall: http://bit.ly/2oQ4SIz

HERE’S A FREE RIDE; VOTE FOR ME! via Nicole Dungca on BostonGlobe.com: “Members of Congress are sometimes judged by how much federal money they bring back to their district. But US Representative Michael Capuano is taking a more direct route.

In an unusual bid to boost ridership on the Fairmount Line, which runs through Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury on its way downtown, the congressman is donating $53,000 in campaign funds to the MBTA to subsidize free trips on the commuter rail line from May 8 to May 21.

It’s a personal effort to spur interest in the trains, which have frustrated many passengers with unreliable service. Last year, the Globe reported that Keolis Commuter Services, which runs the commuter rail system, had cancelled more trains on the Fairmount line than any other, often rerouting them to larger suburban lines. ...

‘It is unusual, but I’m always looking for ways to help my constituents,’ Capuano said. ‘I can’t think of a better way to use my money.’ ...” http://bit.ly/2qfl3Un

2020 REPORT via Matt Viser of the Boston Globe on Twitter: “Talking about potential 2020 Democratic opponents, President Trump says, ‘It may be Pocahontas.’ This is a reference to [Senator Elizabeth Warren]” http://bit.ly/2pqjnEC

FED’L GOV’T TO REMAIN OPEN, via the Washington Post: “A short-term spending agreement to keep the federal government open for another week overwhelmingly passed Congress on Friday. ...” http://wapo.st/2ppozsH

UMASS SOCCER STADIUM TALKS FALTER, via the Globe’s Jon Chesto: “University of Massachusetts officials have broken off talks with the Kraft Group to build a soccer stadium near the UMass Boston campus amid concerns from some local elected officials about its potential impact on the area. ...” http://bit.ly/2ppykH0

MORE UMASS BOSTON TROUBLES, via Laura Krantz on today’s Globe front page: “The nursing school at the University of Massachusetts Boston, one of the campus’s most successful programs, faces an uncertain future because of a logistical snafu caused by the myriad construction projects underway at the same time.

The program is housed in a building set to be demolished in the next few years, but the Baker administration has nixed a plan to fund a replacement building, leaving the nursing program looking for a new home. ...

This conundrum is just one of many that have resulted from the Rubik’s Cube of construction underway on campus and the 2015 gubernatorial transition from Deval Patrick to Charlie Baker. ...” http://bit.ly/2ppzXVk

THE DEVAL DIASPORA, via Jim O’Sullivan on today’s Globe front page: “On a recent evening, former administration staffers of Deval Patrick gathered at the Chestnut Hill home of one of his original acolytes.

They dined on ‘locally sourced’ hors d’oeuvres, pined for the old days of Democratic hegemony, and forked over checks for another former colleague, onetime budget chief for Patrick and current gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez.

The scene was the latest in a series of Patrick alumni reunions. Except now, more than two years after he left the governor’s office, the old gang is splintering, gathering around not one candidate’s campaign campfire but several.

The candidates include Gonzalez; his likely rival for the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nomination, Newton Mayor Setti Warren; and environmentalist Robert K. Massie, who joined the race this month and is likely to draw on Patrick supporters as well. ...

But whether the Patrick magic, which ended 16 years of GOP governors, remains is an open question. ‘An organization lives and dies with its candidate, and transferability is very difficult,’ said Larry DiCara, a former Boston City Council president and longtime observer of local politics. ...” http://bit.ly/2ppJvje

IS ONE LICENSE PLATE ENOUGH? (MASS. EDITION) via Jon Keller of WBZ: “When you see a car pass you with a front plate on it, what goes through your mind?

Perhaps you should be thinking – what a waste!

Nineteen states don’t require drivers to have a license plate on the front of their car. And Rich Carlson of Belmont, who’s been prodding Beacon Hill for years to reconsider the front-plate requirement, says there’s no reason why Massachusetts — which only started insisting on front plates in the mid-1980s — shouldn’t join them. ...

In a statement to WBZ, the Registry of Motor Vehicles insists: ‘Vehicles that have both front and rear license plates are more easily identifiable, which in certain instances helps to increase public safety.’ ...” There’s more (the green plates!): http://cbsloc.al/2qevGGW

IS ONE LICENSE PLATE ENOUGH? (VERMONT EDITION), via April McCullum of the Burlington Free Press: “Vermont lawmakers are wrestling over the necessity of front license plates.

A Senate bill would drop Vermont’s two-plate requirement and allow drivers to keep the commemorative ‘Vermont Strong’ front license plates that raised money after Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011. The House voted to keep two license plates and cancel Vermont Strong, overriding an executive order from Gov. Peter Shumlin that lets Vermonters use the commemorative plates indefinitely. Lawmakers from the two chambers are expected to settle the dispute in a special committee. ...” http://bfpne.ws/2pthGZe

LLAMA LLAMA LLAMA!, via the AP with a Russell, Mass., dateline: “Massachusetts State Police are praising the cowboy skills of one their troopers after he lassoed a llama that was loose on a state highway and led it to safety. ...” http://apne.ws/2qeJ6CX

There are two photos on MassLive.com: http://bit.ly/2qeMaPD

FEAR — TRUMP SPEAKS OF ‘MAJOR CONFLICT’ W/N. KOREA, via Reuters: “U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday a major conflict with North Korea is possible in the standoff over its nuclear and missile programs, but he would prefer a diplomatic outcome to the dispute. ‘There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely,’ Trump told Reuters in an Oval Office interview ahead of his 100th day in office on Saturday. ...” http://reut.rs/2qf1YyP

HOPE — YOUR MBTA-DELAY LONG WATCH, via Pope Francis’s TED Talk this month, with translation by Elena Montrasio: “... Feeling hopeful does not mean to be optimistically naïve and ignore the tragedy humanity is facing. Hope is the virtue of a heart that doesn’t lock itself into darkness, that doesn’t dwell on the past, does not simply get by in the present, but is able to see a tomorrow. Hope is the door that opens onto the future. Hope is a humble, hidden seed of life that, with time, will develop into a large tree. It is like some invisible yeast that allows the whole dough to grow, that brings flavor to all aspects of life. And it can do so much, because a tiny flicker of light that feeds on hope is enough to shatter the shield of darkness. A single individual is enough for hope to exist, and that individual can be you. And then there will be another ‘you,’ and another ‘you,’ and it turns into an ‘us.’ And so, does hope begin when we have an ‘us?’ No. Hope began with one ‘you.’ When there is an ‘us,’ there begins a revolution. ...” http://bit.ly/2pcfG70

Know hope.

Back Monday.


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