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Political Happy Hour: Sept. 26, 2016

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Here's your "Has the world ended yet?" mug of politics, from Joshua Miller of the Boston Globe at the Massachusetts State House, readying for tonight's big debate.

NEW UMASS AMHERST/WBZ MASSACHUSETTS POLL — Some interesting findings here — including good news for the marijuana legalization ballot question: http://cbsloc.al/2cxfplx

TOPLINES (PDF): http://bit.ly/2cxddL9

BOSTON LATIN UH-OH, via Milton J. Valencia on BostonGlobe.com: "Shortly after students left classes Monday, US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz announced that a sweeping civil rights investigation at Boston Latin School found a pattern of race-based harassment and discrimination at the elite school, including a violation of the federal Civil Rights Act.


Ortiz said that a civil rights probe she commissioned in March confirmed reports of discrimination first raised by students, such as the perception that black students faced tougher discipline and more suspensions than non-black students for similar offenses. The report found that school officials 'did not consistently apply policies and procedures relating to student discipline.' ..." http://bit.ly/2cx5aOt

BOSTON LATIN UH-OH, PART II, via BostonHerald.com: "Mayor Martin J. Walsh today blasted the state's education board for downgrading the city's elite Boston Latin School after students opted out of a pilot program for a new statewide test. ..." http://bit.ly/2cx3Wm4

ELIZABETH WARREN TO VOTE NO ON CHARTER SCHOOL BALLOT QUESTION, via a statement from the senator I just got from her team: "I will be voting no on Question 2. Many charter schools in Massachusetts are producing extraordinary results for our students, and we should celebrate the hard work of those teachers and spread what's working to other schools. But after hearing more from both sides, I am very concerned about what this specific proposal means for hundreds of thousands of children across our Commonwealth, especially those living in districts with tight budgets where every dime matters. Education is about creating opportunity for all our children, not about leaving many behind. I hope that the Legislature, the teachers, and the parents can come together to find ways to make sure all kids in Massachusetts get a first-rate education without pitting groups against each other."


CONGRESSMAN LYNCH VOTING YES on the question which would allow for the creation or expansion of up to 12 charter schools per year, via press release: "Today, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-Boston) toured Boston Collegiate Charter School, then endorsed Question 2 in front of a crowd of parent supporters in Dorchester at a nearby location. ..."

ANOTHER DAY WITH PAUL LePAGE, via Scott Thistle of the Portland Press Herald: "The contents of a three-ring binder that Gov. Paul LePage said he was keeping to prove his point that most of the accused heroin dealers in Maine are blacks or Hispanics from out of state was released to the public Monday.

The 148-page document includes a variety of press releases, jail booking and courtroom photos of various individuals charged with trafficking crime in Maine since January. The photos in the book show men and women of a variety of races, and some pages of the binder include handwritten notes by LePage.

Of the 93 news and booking photos in the binder featuring people, 37 of them appear to be people who are either black or Hispanic, or about 40 percent of the photos in the binder, while 56, or about 60 percent, appear to be people who are white. ..." http://bit.ly/2dmyIzH


LOW-KEY, THOUGHTFUL FORUM TO ENLIGHTEN MILLIONS ON PRESIDENTIAL CHOICE, via the AP: "With millions watching and the American presidency on the line, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are poised for a must-see showdown Monday night, pitting the Democrat's call for steady, experienced leadership against the Republican's pugnacious promises to upend Washington. ..." http://apne.ws/2d3SOj8

FUNNY SATIRICAL POLITICAL VIDEO with pretty high production values, via Represent.Us, which bills itself as a grassroots anti-corruption campaign. "Lalalala engulfs the head in soundproof Kevlar, preventing all visual and aural aggravations caused by electoral dysfunction." https://youtu.be/JiWtOefBInk

RAISE UP MASSACHUSETTS COALITION STARTS SUPER PAC, from me on BostonGlobe.com: "Advocates of a 2018 constitutional amendment referendum to raise taxes on millionaires and funnel that cash to transportation and education are starting a super PAC to back legislators who support their cause — and, perhaps, attack those who do not. ..." http://bit.ly/2dePB20

TO TAX MORE OR NOT TO TAX MORE, THAT IS DeLEO'S QUESTION, via Michael Norton and Andy Metzger of the State House News Service: "With tax revenue growth falling short of levels needed to meet spending demands, House Speaker Robert DeLeo said over the weekend that he wants to hear from economists before rendering an updated opinion on higher taxes.

DeLeo's opinion on tax increases carries extra weight on Beacon Hill — tax hikes must originate in the House that he runs — and the Winthrop Democrat has alternated over the years between support and opposition for tax increases. Senators who favor tax increases this session have found an unwilling partner in DeLeo, who has aligned himself with Republican Gov. Charlie Baker among opponents of higher taxes. ..." Behind paywall, alas: http://bit.ly/2dxe1V8


ABOUT THAT OTHER GUY RUNNING FOR VICE PRESIDENT, via Matt Stout of the Boston Herald: "Libertarian vice presidential candidate Bill Weld said he was inundated with dozens of phone calls and emails last week telling him to drop out of his campaign for the White House, after rumors were 'planted' by Hillary Clinton's team that he might drop out of the race and endorse Clinton. 'Obviously the call had gone out from somewhere,' Weld, the former Massachusetts governor, said today during an appearance on Boston Herald Radio. 'And I've got to think directly or indirectly, it's from the Clinton campaign.' ..." http://bit.ly/2cx3Bjs

SCENES FROM NEW ENGLAND'S DROUGHT: DRY WELLS, DEAD FISH, AND AILING FARMS — a worthwhile read from Jess Bidgood of the New York Times that just posted. The first among several datelines is Center Conway, N.H: "The Saco River flows lazily here, from New Hampshire into Maine, ridged with sandy banks and lush forests, luring eager families in canoes and rowdy flotillas of young adults. But after a hot, dry summer, a 10-mile canoe trip to Fryeburg, Me., from Center Conway, N.H., this month was interrupted, time and again, by the scrape of boat on sandy riverbed, and the grudging acceptance that the only way to get the canoe across certain stretches of shallow river would be to drag it.


The low river is one of countless signs of dry weather that has settled over much of New England. ...

Some private wells have dried up. Farmers face millions of dollars in lost crops, and federal agricultural officials have declared much of New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut a natural disaster area. ..." With more scenes from Kingston, N.H., Ipswich, Mass., Acton, Mass., and other New England spots: http://nyti.ms/2cx2Kz0

ANIMAL VIDEO BREAK — BUNNIES IN CUPS. http://i.imgur.com/sjQ2C2c.gifv

DON'T MISS THIS SOX STORY, 'Scoreboard operator tells the inside stories of Fenway's Wall,' via Stan Grossfeld: "... For a quarter of a century, [Christian Elias] has had the best seat in the house. He has operated the scoreboard for more than 1,800 games. That's more games than the great Carl Yastrzemski played at Fenway. Enough games that he doesn't even have to look to know what occurs on the field. ... He recently met Red Sox president Sam Kennedy and announced that he is retiring at the end of the season. ..." Truly, don't miss the laugh-out-loud Manny Ramirez anecdote: http://bit.ly/2dmW10O

GOOD READ FROM PETER LUCAS — his political column on Charlie Baker last week. Via LowellSun.com: "By the time Massachusetts Democrats come up with a candidate for governor for 2018, there is not going to be any campaign money left to finance a decent campaign. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker will have scooped it all up. It is similar to what former GOP Gov. Bill Weld, Baker's mentor, did 25 years ago. The popular governor, who will be running for re-election, has already raised and banked $4 million in campaign contributions to date. ..." http://bit.ly/2cx5s7I


ME: Governor, you've raised an expletive-worthy amount of money since you took office. Millions and millions of dollars. Are you running for re-election?

BAKER: "[The lieutenant governor] and I have talked a lot about this issue, but have always said that we weren't going to make any decisions about this until the first part of next year."

YOUR MBTA-DELAY LONG READ and, by far, the most disturbing piece I've read today. Via Thomas Meaney in the forthcoming issue of the New Yorker: "You can tell well in advance when Frauke Petry, the leader of Alternative für Deutschland, a burgeoning new right-wing party, is going to give a speech. AfD members put up posters all over a town's main streets declaring, 'Frauke Petry Is Coming.' As the appointed hour approaches, police assemble, and usually demonstrators, too, protesting against a woman known to her enemies as 'Adolfina' and 'die Führerin.' ...

Petry, who is forty-one, with a pixie haircut and a trim, athletic build, frequently arrives late. She travels continually, often without any immediate electoral aim—the next federal elections won't be till the second half of 2017—but simply to publicize the Party and herself. Like most German politicians today, Petry observes the national moratorium on charisma, but her appearances have the feel of a celebrity tour. ...

For decades, the German far right has been a limited force, with easily recognizable supporters—nicotine-stained ex-Nazis in the sixties and seventies, leather-clad skinheads in the eighties and nineties. Petry is something different, a disarmingly wholesome figure—a former businesswoman with a Ph.D. in chemistry and four children from her marriage to a Lutheran pastor. ...

Petry is not a gifted orator. Her speeches tend to be dull, with ornate sentences and technocratic talking points, and she is more comfortable citing economic studies than discussing the lives of ordinary people. Her manner belies the extremism of the AfD's views. At the start of this year, Petry said that, in the face of the recent influx of refugees (many of them fleeing the war in Syria), the police might have to shoot people crossing the border illegally. In April, the Party said that head scarves should be banned in schools and universities, and minarets prohibited. Party members called for a referendum on whether to leave the euro; for the expulsion of Allied troops, who have been stationed in Germany since 1945; and for school curriculums that focus more on 'positive, identity-uplifting' episodes in German history and less on Nazi crimes. Most contentious of all was the declaration 'Islam does not belong in Germany.' ..." Worth your read: http://bit.ly/2cwue85

NOW FOR SOMETHING FUN — "These Guys Tried A $4 Burger And A $777 Burger Dinner To See If It Was Worth It," via Keith Habersberger and Steven Lim of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures. I was skeptical, but it was pretty funny and watching that ultra-fancy burger be made was stunning. Also, it made me hungry for a burger. Seven minutes: https://youtu.be/wduZHtRbSkY BuzzFeed web version: http://bzfd.it/2cwwxbb

What food will you be eating as you watch the debate? joshua.miller@globe.com

For me, it might be a late liquid lunch.

Glug, glug: joshua.miller@globe.com and @jm_bos

Back tomorrow.

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