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Political Happy Hour with Joshua Miller

Friday, August 18, 2017
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Here’s your Barcelona, Spain skyline coffee mug of politics, from Joshua Miller of the Boston Globe at the Massachusetts State House.

SPAIN TERROR LATEST, via the AP wire: “A white van jumped up onto a sidewalk and sped down a pedestrian zone Thursday in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district, swerving from side to side as it plowed into tourists and residents. Authorities said 12 people were killed and 80 were wounded, 15 of them seriously, in what they called a terror attack.

The afternoon attack in the northeastern Spanish city was the country’s deadliest since 2004, when al-Qaida-inspired bombers killed 192 people in coordinated attacks on Madrid’s commuter trains.

It left victims sprawled out in the street, spattered with blood or crippled by broken limbs. Others fled in panic, screaming or carrying young children in their arms. ...”

DEVAL PATRICK’S 10-YEAR, $1B LIFE SCIENCES PLAN BEARS FRUIT IN MASSACHUSETTS, via Steve LeBlanc of the Associated Press in Boston: “In his offices at Boston Children’s Hospital, Leonard Zon is busily developing cutting-edge stem cell therapies surrounded by fellow researchers, lab equipment and 300,000 striped, transparent zebrafish.

Zon’s lab — and the zebrafish — are the results of an initiative begun nearly a decade ago to make Massachusetts one of the country’s premier life sciences incubators.

That 2008 initiative, signed by former Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick, committed Massachusetts to spending $1 billion over 10 years to jump-start the life sciences sector — attracting the best minds, research facilities and the venture capital funding.

By most yardsticks, Patrick’s gamble has paid off. Massachusetts, and the greater Boston area in particular, are now seen as a top life sciences hub.

For Zon, and other life sciences leaders, the support has been transformative. ...”

FLASHBACK FROM EARLIER THIS MONTH, via Edward-Isaac Dovere of Politico: “Barack Obama is nudging him to run. His inner circle is actively encouraging it. Obama world’s clear and away 2020 favorite is sitting right here, on the 38th floor of the John Hancock Building, in a nicely decorated office at Bain Capital.

And Deval Patrick has many thoughts on what he says is Donald Trump’s governing by fear and a dishonest pitch for economic nostalgia, while encouraging a rise in casual racism and ditching any real commitment to civil rights. ...”

MASS. POLITICAL LEADERS GATHER TO CONDEMN NAZIS, VOICE SUPPORT FOR AMERICAN VALUES, via the estimable Jim O’Sullivan of the Boston Globe: “Beacon Hill’s three most influential figures, backed by a crowd of lawmakers from both parties, delivered a resolution Thursday denouncing white nationalism and neo-Nazism, issuing a bipartisan response to last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, Va. ...”

MASS. GUV, BOSTON MAYOR PEN OP-ED, via Charlie Baker and Martin J. Walsh writing in the Globe: “... As a Democrat and a Republican, we don’t agree on every issue. But we are unified on this matter because public officials must denounce evil ideas and guard against the threats to safety and democracy that they present. For that reason, we were shocked by the president’s failure to take a clear stand in the aftermath of the events in Charlottesville, and we are disturbed by his subsequent defense of white supremacists. It is a sad state of affairs when the leader of a nation that went to war to defeat Nazism gives rhetorical aid and comfort to its latter-day domestic adherents. ...

In addition to saying what we stand against, let’s remind each other what we stand for, in Boston and across the Commonwealth.

We stand for civil rights and equality. We stand for unity in our diversity. We stand for love and we stand for justice — for all.

And nothing and no one can change that.”

VANDALISM AT N.H. GOP HQ, via Nick Reid of the Concord Monitor: “A vandal spray painted the word ‘Nazis,’ surrounded by the shape of a heart, on the New Hampshire Republican State Committee headquarters Friday, police said. ...”

TALKER THAT’S HOT ONLINE — RENAME FANEUIL HALL? LEADER SUGGESTS CHANGE DUE TO SLAVERY TIES, via WCVB: “There is a new push to change the name of a Boston landmark inspired by the recent removal of Confederate statues across the country.

At a press conference with Boston religious leaders Wednesday, Kevin Peterson, of the New Democracy Coalition, said Faneuil Hall should be renamed.

Peterson said Peter Faneuil shouldn’t be memorialized on one of Boston’s historic sites because he was a slave owner and trader. Faneuil was a wealthy man who donated the building to the city of Boston right before his death in 1743. ...”

STATE GOP PROPOSAL COULD HELP BAKER, via Frank Phillips of the Boston Globe: “The Massachusetts Republican Party is mulling a plan to double the number of ‘super’ delegates at its April convention — a move that would give the GOP establishment considerable muscle in shaping the US Senate primary and the statewide ticket in 2018. ...”

MBTA PANEL PONDERING HANDOFF OF PENSIONS, via the Boston Herald’s Matt Stout: “Under pressure to hand its investments over to state control, the long-secretive MBTA pension fund says it’s in the midst of an internal review on whether to make the shift, leaving critics to wonder how soon — or even whether — they’ll make the ‘right decision.’

The state budget Gov. Charlie Baker signed last month allows — but does not mandate — the state’s Pension Reserves Investment Management board to take over oversight of the MBTA Retirement Fund’s investments, leaving it to the fund’s board to decide. ...”


There’s a clear winner in this trial. Equal Justice Under Woof.

Back tomorrow.

Bark at me in the interim: and @jm_bos on Twitter, where I posted an old photo of then-governor Michael Dukakis greeting Gabe Kaplan, star of “Welcome Back Kotter,” at the Massachusetts State House in Boston on Aug. 17, 1976.

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