Political Happy Hour: June 19, 2017

Here’s your “I’D RATHER BE GERRYMANDERING” mug of politics, from Joshua Miller of the Boston Globe at the Massachusetts State House.

THE MOST IMPORTANT POLITICAL STORY TODAY, via New York Times SCOTUS scribe Adam Liptak: “The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it would consider whether partisan gerrymandering violates the Constitution. The case could reshape American politics.

In the past, the court has struck down election maps as racial gerrymanders that disadvantaged minority voters. But it has never disallowed a map on the ground that it was drawn to give an unfair advantage to a political party.


Some justices have said the court should stay out of such political disputes entirely. Others have said partisan gerrymanders may violate the Constitution. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy has taken a middle position, and the case could turn on his vote. ...”


Get Fast Forward in your inbox:
Forget yesterday's news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

(Context for my nerdy joke, via Merriam-Webster: “Origin and Etymology of gerrymander — Elbridge Gerry [1744–1814] + salamander; from the shape of an election district formed during Gerry’s governorship of Massachusetts”)

IN HONOR OF IT BEING MONDAY, I’VE SPRINKLED OLD MASS. PHOTOS FROM TODAY IN HISTORY THROUGHOUT THE NEWSLETTER. I DUG THEM UP FROM THE GLOBE ARCHIVES. Here’s one captioned: “Albert Einstein walks in the procession to commencement through the Harvard Yard at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., June 19, 1935.”

MASS. POT LAW REWRITE BILLS MOVE TOWARD INEVITABLE CONFLICT BETWEEN HOUSE AND SENATE, from your humble marijuana correspondent, me: “Mellow they were not.

Massachusetts advocates who legalized recreational marijuana by ballot question seven months ago savaged a House bill that would rewrite the pot law, saying Monday it ‘repeals the will of the voters.’ They instead endorsed a more modest Senate effort to adjust the referendum law. ...”


GOOD US SENATE HEALTH CARE BILL STORY, from the Globe’s Victoria McGrane in Washington: “To understand the dilemma facing Senate Republicans as they struggle to repeal President Obama’s health care law, just talk to Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

They represent the competing poles within the GOP caucus that majority leader Mitch McConnell must satisfy to piece together 50 votes. ...”

“GOP DATA FIRM ACCIDENTALLY LEAKS PERSONAL DETAILS OF NEARLY 200 MILLION AMERICAN VOTERS” — DON’T MISS THIS ONE IN THE BARRAGE OF NEWS, via Dell Cameron and Kate Conger of Gizmodo: “Political data gathered on more than 198 million US citizens was exposed this month after a marketing firm contracted by the Republican National Committee stored internal documents on a publicly accessible Amazon server.

The data leak contains a wealth of personal information on roughly 61 percent of the US population. Along with home addresses, birthdates, and phone numbers, the records include advanced sentiment analyses used by political groups to predict where individual voters fall on hot-button issues such as gun ownership, stem cell research, and the right to abortion, as well as suspected religious affiliation and ethnicity. ...

Deep Root Analytics, a conservative data firm that identifies audiences for political ads, confirmed ownership of the data to Gizmodo on Friday. ...


The Deep Root incident represents the largest known leak of Americans’ voter records, outstripping past exposures by several million records. Five voter-file leaks over the past 18 months exposed between 350,000 and 191 million files, some of which paired voter data—name, race, gender, birthdate, address, phone number, party affiliation, etc.—with email accounts, social media profiles, and records of gun ownership. ...”

FTC WANTS TO BLOCK DAILY FANTASY SPORTS MERGER, via Dan Primack of Axios, with great pith: “The Federal Trade Commission today announced that it plans to block the proposed merger between fantasy sports sites DraftKings [based in Boston] and FanDuel.

What the FTC is saying: ‘DraftKings and FanDuel are each other’s most significant competitor.’ ... What the companies are saying: ‘We are disappointed by this decision and continue to believe that a merger is in the best interests of our players, our companies, our employees and the fantasy sports industry. ...’ ”

GUV GOING, GOING, BACK, BACK, TO CALI, CALI, via Jim O’Sullivan and Robert Weisman on “Governor Charlie Baker will promote a new five-year, $500 million life sciences initiative this week at a biotechnology convention in San Diego, people familiar with his plans said Monday.

The move comes less than three months after Baker signaled at a meeting of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council that he would continue support for the industry — in what business leaders are calling ‘Life Sciences Initiative 2.0’ — when the current 10-year, $1 billion initiative launched under former Governor Deval Patrick expires at the end of next year.

The four-day BIO 2017 conference is expected to draw officials from more than 25 countries. ... Baker will address the confab and invite guests to next year’s conference in Boston.

The trip will take Baker to a state that frequently competes with Massachusetts for life sciences business. California is also a verdant political fundraising venue, where Baker’s brand of middle-of-the-road Republicanism has flourished. ...”

FOR MA STATE HOUSE INSIDERS ONLY — WHO ELSE IS GOING TO CALI? Matt Murphy of the State House News Service has a list: “Gov. Charlie Baker isn’t the only state worker headed west this week to attend a life sciences convention in San Diego.

Massachusetts Life Sciences Center President and CEO Travis McCready, House and Economic Development Assistant Secretary for Business Growth Mike Kennealy, senior advisor and Chief Secretary Tim Buckley and Deputy Chief of Staff Mike Vallarelli are joining Baker on his trip to California. And acccording to McCready, the life sciences center is sending director of business development and regional strategy chief Ben Bradford, senior business development associate Sandhya Iyer, senior associate for industry programs Monica Anc and director of government affairs Colin Donnelly. ...” Behind paywall:

WANT TO $UMMER WITH CHARLIE BAKER? BRING YOUR CHECKBOOK, via Jim O’Sullivan on “Come clink glasses with Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito at some of the state’s toniest seasonal hot spots!

Chat over cocktails about education empowerment zones, the intricacies of the state’s Medicaid waiver, and queue streamlining at the Registry of Motor Vehicles!

That’s the slightly extrapolated pitch from Baker to potential donors in an email over the weekend that invited the prospectively generous to a spate of summer fundraisers on Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard. Baker’s fund-raising team has set out to have $10 million cash on hand by September, part of a broader goal of raising $30 million for his as-yet-unannounced reelection bid. ...”

OLD PHOTO — Senator Edward M. Kennedy poses with Dominican nuns of St. Francis De Sales Church on June 19, 1963. Photo via Paul J. Connell:

T TROUBLE, via Matt Stout on “The MBTA is slated to contribute $94 million to the MBTA Retirement Fund next fiscal year, even as T officials fret that the fund’s fiscal health is ‘deteriorating rapidly’ beyond what they expected.

The annual share the T gives to the privately run pension fund has been steadily growing in recent years and the latest spike is expected to add to the cash-strapped agency’s projected budget gap for the new fiscal year, which begins on July 1. ...”

COLLEAGUES MOURN LOSS OF STATE REP, via Scott Stafford and Kevin Moran of the Berkshire Eagle: “Gailanne M. Cariddi, the 1st Berkshire District state representative from North Adams and the first woman to hold that seat, died Saturday morning at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston following a brief illness, according to North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright. She was 63.

In a statement, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said Cariddi was ‘one of the warmest and most gracious people I’ve had the pleasure of working with.’ ...”

OLD PHOTO — “Beth and Jean Harrington, both of Plymouth, Mass., stick their feet towards the sun at Plymouth Beach, Mass. on June 19, 1975.” Photo via Joe Dennehy:


-TENSIONS FLARE IN SYRIA, via the AP with a Beirut dateline: “Russia on Monday threatened aircraft from the U.S.-led coalition in Syrian-controlled airspace and suspended a hotline intended to avoid collisions in retaliation for the U.S. military shooting down a Syrian warplane. ...”

-FINSBURY PARK ATTACK: WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR, via the BBC: “A man has been arrested on suspicion of terror offences after he drove a van into a group of worshippers close to a mosque in north London. One man, who had taken ill before the attack began, died and nine others were taken to hospital, some of whom were critically injured. ...”

-PARIS ATTACK THWARTED, via France24: “A car loaded with gas canisters rammed into a police van on the Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris on Monday, leaving the driver dead in what the interior minister said was an ‘attempted attack’ ...”

HAPPY OLD PHOTO — “Seattle Mariners player Ken Griffey Jr., right, interacts with Boston Red Sox player Roger Clemens, left, after Griffey hit a foul ball in the fourth inning of a game at Fenway Park in Boston on June 19, 1991.” Photo via Bill Brett:

I’M GREEN WITH ENVY THAT I DIDN’T COME UP WITH THIS LEDE, from the AP with an Oxnard, Calif., dateline:

“Police are calling it grand theft avocado. Three produce company workers have been arrested in the theft of up to $300,000 worth of avocados, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. ...”

This newsletter will return on the morrow.

Joshua Miller can be reached at