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Political Happy Hour with Joshua Miller

Friday, July 03, 2015
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Here your afternoon American flag koozie covered can of politics, from Joshua Miller of the Boston Globe — who offers this unsolicited advice: You should already be on the road now if you’re leaving for a long weekend!

DIMASI’S LEGACY, a talker of a column by the Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan in tomorrow’s paper: “It took a federal court to cement Sal DiMasi’s legacy. And, this time, almost no one noticed. It wasn’t the Moakley Courthouse, the one where DiMasi had to answer for his crimes born of greed and corruption. But rather the big one across the street from the US Capitol, where DiMasi’s lasting impact was, over the course of the past week, writ large. While he rots in a prison cell in Butner, N.C., the two causes that Sal DiMasi went to the wall for — maybe more than anyone else — passed from controversial wayposts to the virtually unshakable law of the land.

President Obama likely wouldn’t have had the chance to pass his 2010 federal health care expansion if DiMasi, the former Massachusetts House speaker, didn’t stick to the left during the 2006 debate here. ... A year later, gay marriage was at the gallows on Beacon Hill. It had been law here for three years, but a few votes or a slip of the foot in either direction would have dealt it a blow that might have frozen the whole movement ... DiMasi went to the wall for gay marriage, in old-school, arm-twisting fashion ...” Come for the lede, stay for the kicker:

BIG WIN FOR VERTEX, via Robert Weisman on “Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. won long-awaited US regulatory approval Thursday for a genetic-based medicine that eventually could treat roughly half of the estimated 30,000 Americans who suffer from the life-threatening lung disease cystic fibrosis. The two-drug therapy, called Orkambi, is expected to generate billions of dollars in annual sales and help Vertex finally become a consistently profitable company. ...”

SCOTT BROWN, ‘DISTRIBUTOR,’ via Stephanie Ebbert on “It was not the sight of their former senator bare-chested that ignited fiery indignation in Scott Brown’s Facebook followers last week. ... It was the sales pitch accompanying the before-and-after photos of his physique, which credited his recent, dramatic weight loss to a commercial diet and fitness plan. Brown’s testament to the merits of AdvoCare’s ‘24-day challenge’ was met with guffaws by many followers, prompting Brown to swiftly post a disclaimer that he is not a paid spokesman for the supplement company. But he didn’t explain that he’s a distributor. ...”

DEPARTMENT OF WHAT IF WE USE THE SAME INITIALS AND CHANGE THE WORDS, via statement today from US Senator Edward J. Markey: “Five years ago, BP stood for Bayou Polluter. Today, with this settlement, BP stands for Begin Payments. The company responsible for the worst environmental disaster in our history deserves to pay the highest settlement in our history. ...”

FORMER SECRET SERVICE OFFICIAL JOINING BAKER ADMINISTRATION, via Michael Norton of the State House News Service: “A veteran U.S. Secret Service official who was assigned to the presidential protective division and the agency’s headquarters was named this week as the Baker administration’s undersecretary for homeland security. ...” Link via Fitchburg Sentinel and Enterprise:

TWEET DU JOUR, with amazing photo, via astronaut Scott Kelly: “Good morning #Boston. What you looked like 10 minutes ago (9:39:37 ET). From @Space_Station. Who’s in this picture?” Click:

WIKIPEDIA TO THE RESCUE — LEDE THAT CAUGHT MY EYE ON THE WIRES, via Reuters in Lisbon: “A Portuguese actor humming a prayer as he meditated to a sacred Tibetan text onboard a plane awaiting takeoff from Paris was mistaken for a terrorist by alarmed passengers and taken off the flight by police. ... He was released after six hours of questioning during which police ... checked his profile on Wikipedia, which states that he is a Buddhist.” Link via Yahoo! News:


- “Elizabeth Warren: ‘I love what Bernie is talking about,’ ” via Chris Cassidy of the Boston Herald:

-“Is Bail Unconstitutional? | Our broken system keeps the poor in jail and lets the rich walk free,” via Leon Neyfakh on

-“A Quick Puzzle to Test Your Problem Solving,” via the New York Times:

-“53 Books You Won’t Be Able To Put Down | What happens next? There’s only one way to find out,” via Lincoln Thompson of BuzzFeed:

YOUR POWERFUL MBTA-DELAY LONG READ, “Nicholas Winton, Rescuer of 669 Children From Holocaust, Dies at 106,” via Robert D. McFadden of the New York Times: “... It was only after Mr. Winton’s wife found a scrapbook in the attic of their home in 1988 — a dusty record of names, pictures and documents detailing a story of redemption from the Holocaust — that he spoke of his all-but-forgotten work in the deliverance of children who, like the parents who gave them up to save their lives, were destined for Nazi concentration camps and extermination. ...”

YOUR SPORTS MBTA-DELAY LONG READ, “Thriving in a Barren Land | Sports, like most aspects of life, are not easy in the Canadian Arctic,” from Jeré Longman of the New York Times in Iqaluit, Nunavut in Canada: “The boys’ soccer team from Clyde River arrived hours before the most important tournament of the year in the Canadian Arctic. At the airport, the players climbed into taxis and pickup trucks, their luggage piled like rocks on the surrounding tundra. Seventeen teams were scheduled for the indoor territorial tournament here last weekend in one of the world’s coldest and most remote soccer hotbeds. ... Extreme isolation meant that available soccer gear, like food, must be bought locally at exorbitant prices (a takeout pizza can cost $29), flown in or shipped on barges that arrived in Iqaluit from late July to early October. ...”

Did I ever tell you about that time I was in Iqaluit?

HELP ME MAKE A LIST OF THE TOP 20 MOMENTS IN MASSACHUSETTS POLITICAL HISTORY. I’m compiling the suggestions so many of you sent in and I’ll starting counting down next week. But, sitting in traffic, if you’re struck by an idea of a pivotal event from any era — well known or mostly lost to history — hit me up:

A GOOD START, via John Hancock and others in 1776: “... We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed ...”

May your Independence Day weekend be filled with relaxation, joy and a celebration of the United States of America. I’ll be back on Monday, after some hiking in the White Mountains.