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Political Happy Hour with Joshua Miller

Thursday, May 05, 2016
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Here’s your afternoon I’m-really-too-old-for-this Popov Vodka tumbler of politics, from Joshua Miller of the Boston Globe at the Massachusetts State House.

A TRANSGENDER BALLOT REFERENDUM?! via Globe State House Bureau Chief Frank Phillips: “With the long-stalled transgender rights bill suddenly getting some traction on Beacon Hill, some of its more savvy legislative supporters are nervously considering a potential hurdle: a referendum on the legislation on the November statewide ballot. Even if the bill were approved by the Legislature and Governor Charlie Baker, social conservatives, who are at the core of the opposition, would have a chance to try to overturn it by putting the issue before voters. They would have 30 days after the bill became law to launch a campaign that would require them to ultimately gather 43,167 signatures of certified voters — and they know it. ...” http://bit.ly/1VKoRGI

SCOTT ECK IS NOW KRISTEN ECK, via Owen Boss on BostonHerald.com: “Longtime WBZ traffic reporter Scott Eck is now Kristen Eck after spending nearly a year transitioning at Fenway Health transgender services, the station reported today. Though she’s just announcing her transition now, Eck, a 19-year veteran with the station, told WBZ the change is part of a ‘journey’ that she’s ‘been on for the last 40 years of my life.’ ...” http://bit.ly/1NWYWJq

JUST IN, via CNN: “The Justice Department has sent a letter to the governor of North Carolina notifying him that the state’s transgender law violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act, according to a Justice Department official.” http://cnn.it/1UzSA47

STATE DEPARTMENT DEPARTURE LOUNGE, via Jim O’Sullivan on BostonGlobe.com: “Drew O’Brien, the longtime senior aide to Secretary of State John F. Kerry, dating to Kerry’s time in the Senate, has left the State Department to join the Weber Shandwick communications firm as executive vice president of global partnerships. A veteran of the Menino administration and later deputy chancellor at the University of Massachusetts, O’Brien will work with public and private organizations ‘around the world to drive corporate social responsibility initiatives and develop partnerships that create market opportunity, facilitate social impact and generate high-profile brand enhancement,’ Weber officials said. ...” http://bit.ly/1W8oWE0

STORY TO WATCH — A STATE GOV’T DISASTER. Well-hewn piece by Evan Allen on the front page of the Globe today: “A state chemist at an Amherst drug lab got high on methamphetamines or other drugs almost every day at work for nearly eight years, consumed the lab’s own supply of drugs, and cooked crack cocaine in the lab after hours — actions that jeopardize an untold number of cases — according to an investigative report released Tuesday. ...” http://bit.ly/24rLjt9

MASS. STATE BUDGET UH OH? via press release: “Revenue Commissioner Michael J. Heffernan today announced that preliminary revenue collections for April totaled $2.941 billion, $92 million or 3.0 percent less than the state took in last April. ... April is a significant month due to collection of payments with tax returns and extensions, and first quarter estimated income tax payments. Revenues were $172 million below benchmark for the month largely due to lower than anticipated income collections with returns and bills and lower than anticipated estimated payments. Additionally, corporate and sales tax collections were less than expected and income tax refunds were greater than expected, contributing to the revenue gap. ...”

TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP IT’S ALL ABOUT TRUMP TODAY

SHOT — This back and forth of Governor Charlie Baker talking to reporters today. BAKER: “There are a number of issues that I disagree vehemently with Mr. Trump on, and I question whether he’s got the temperament to serve as president. But I think Secretary Clinton has some real believability issues. So, I think I’m probably going to hope that we have a positive campaign heading into the fall and I’m going to spend most of my time focusing on and working with folks who are running for office here in the Commonwealth.”

QUESTION: So is that a yes or no?

BAKER: “I’ve already said before that I’m not going to vote for Mr. Trump and I sincerely doubt I’ll be voting for Hillary Clinton either.”

Sorta sounds like he left the door open to voting for Clinton, huh?

CHASER — A statement from Baker spokeswoman Elizabeth Guyton: “Governor Baker will not be voting for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.”

So, if Baker were to write in a candidate for president this November 8, who might it be? joshua.miller@globe.com and @jm_bos

ONE OF THE BETTER PIECES I’VE READ ON CRUZ’S LOSS, via Amy Davidson on the New Yorker’s website: “... There is a lot of anger in the electorate, which Trump’s victory reflects. Yet one of the many problems that Cruz had in filling the stop-Trump role was that the anger he retailed came in packages of contempt that were too cunningly crafted and too widely strewn, like the mini-munitions in a cluster bomb, with too much indifference about whom he might hurt. Cruz’s misanthropy doesn’t seem to have been lost on voters. With his wife, Heidi, on one side, and Carly Fiorina, his play-acting running mate, on the other, Cruz ended his press conference by refusing to say whether he would support Trump as the nominee. They formed the same tableau a few hours later, when Cruz, in response to the Indiana results, unexpectedly stepped aside. ...” http://bit.ly/1Nk8EWb

BOSTON HERALD EDITORAL WEIGHS IN THE DONALD. Posted this afternoon: “ ... [E]ventually the name-calling and the hate-mongering, if continued over the course of the next six months, will grow wearying. Angry and fearful voters will begin to look not simply for someone who stokes their fears, but for someone who has answers — answers that amount to more than ‘trust me, I’m great.’ The Trump campaign Part II will have to provide those answers.” http://bit.ly/21xLle1

SUBJECT LINE OF AN EMAIL THAT CAME IN TODAY from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee looking for some $$$: “Elizabeth Warren LIVID”

WARREN TWEETSTORM, via Elise Viebeck on WashingtonPost.com: “If there’s one person you can count on to berate Donald Trump on Twitter, it’s Elizabeth Warren. ...” With the full set of tweets: http://wapo.st/1W9Hvs2

IF YOU’RE A CONNOISSEUR OF POLITICAL NEWS, ENJOY THE VAST AND VARIED SELECTION OF DONALD TRUMP STORIES YOU CAN READ TODAY, via Google News: http://bit.ly/1T263m0

I GUESS THIS COULD BE TRUMP RELATED. A man stands inside a balloon filled with air. It bursts. https://youtu.be/5nGaXY5Gxy4?t=4m40s

Back tomorrow.