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Political Happy Hour with Joshua Miller

Thursday, April 25, 2019
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Here’s your modified Vesper (3 oz Rogue Society gin, 1 oz Ciroc vodka, ½ oz Lillet Blanc, shake with ice, strain, add lemon) martini glass of politics, from Joshua Miller of the Boston Globe at the Massachusetts State House.

After three-and-a-quarter years, today’s edition of Political Happy Hour is the last one. I’ll be devoting more of my day to in-depth reporting here at the Boston Globe.

Thank you, dear readers, for your emails, tweets, letters (including ones from abroad!), phone calls, and in-person chats. I’ve had such fun writing this newsletter because of you. I’m in your debt for indulging my obsessions with vessels for booze, old photos, the Massachusetts state budget, creative nonfiction longreads, Maine Governor Paul LePage’s antics, and silly internet memes.

Many thanks to Globe editor Brian McGrory for greenlighting my pitch to start a cheeky, booze-themed political newsletter back in 2014. And thank you to my direct bosses over the years — Cynthia Needham, Felice Belman, and Shira Center — for helping it grow and turning it into a live event series.

Thanks also to my colleagues who most frequently penned this digital epistle in my absence including: State House bureau buddy Jim O’Sullivan, ever-inimitable and always a fount of wisdom, history, and the latest on local pols’ machinations; and Michael Levenson, whose joie de vivre comes through his lyrical writing, and whose vocal mimicry of politicians is so good, I’ve sometimes been fooled by his phone calls (once I started furiously taking notes because I truly believed the voice on the other end to be a certain local elected official).

Please stay in touch: and @jm_bos on Twitter.

OBAMACARE REPEAL LURCHES BACK FROM DEAD, via Robert Pear of the New York Times: “Just when the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act appeared to be dead, a last-ditch push to obliterate the law could be nearing a showdown vote in the Senate, and a handful of Republicans insist they are closing in on the votes.

The leaders of the latest repeal effort, Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, say their drive is gaining momentum. But it is still a long shot. Under their bill, millions could lose coverage, Medicaid would see the same magnitude of cuts that earlier repeal bills extracted, and insurers in some states could charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions. ...

The authors of the bill say they intend to reduce expected federal payments to high-cost states like Massachusetts and increase federal payments to states that have not expanded Medicaid.

‘Right now, 37 percent of the revenue from the Affordable Care Act goes to Americans in four states’ — California, New York, Massachusetts and Maryland, Mr. Cassidy said. ‘That is frankly not fair.’ ...”

CHARLIE BAKER [ANGRY EMOJI]. Here’s a statement from Lizzy Guyton, the governor’s communications director: “Governor Baker continues to oppose the Graham-Cassidy proposal, which would be damaging to the people of Massachusetts and cost the state billions of dollars in lost federal revenue. Governor Baker has been discussing his opposition with other governors and members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation in hopes this legislation can be defeated and Congress can move forward with bipartisan health care reform that improves access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans.”

FISHING MATTERS, via Katie Lannan of the State House News Service: “The U.S. Interior secretary is calling for the return of commercial fishing to a year-old marine national monument about 130 miles southeast of Cape Cod. After reviewing 27 national monuments, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke outlined recommendations in a memo obtained by the Washington Post. Zinke said the September 2016 proclamation establishing the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument should be amended ‘to allow commercial fishing ...’ ” Behind paywall:

HARVARD COACH IN THE SPOTLIGHT, via Jimmy Golen of the AP in Cambridge: “When Harvard sophomore Seth Towns awoke in his riverside dorm room Wednesday morning, he had options.

He could work out at the gym to prepare for the upcoming Ivy League basketball season. He could slog downstairs for another dining hall breakfast with his roommates. Or he could head over to Harvard Square to eat instead with civil rights activist Harry Edwards, sportscaster James Brown, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and philosopher Cornel West.

Towns chose to stretch his mind instead of his muscles. ...

At a monthly event dubbed the ‘Breakfast Club,’ tucked away in the private dining room of a Harvard Square hotel restaurant, Towns and senior Chris Egi joined coach Tommy Amaker this week to mingle with a few dozen leaders in the city’s financial, political and intellectual communities. ...

The Crimson basketball team had never won an Ivy League title, beaten a ranked team or cracked The Associated Press Top 25 before Amaker arrived in 2007. ... While other schools built barbershops or miniature golf courses for their athletes, Amaker name-dropped Harvard’s academic credentials to attract top talent, landing a 2016 recruiting class that was ranked in the top 10 nationally — unheard-of for an Ivy school. He has also used it to lure politicians, Hall of Fame basketball players and coaches, and business and thought leaders to speak to his players on issues more important than bounce passes or boxing out. ...

MUNICIPAL LOL, via Zuri Berry of the Boston Herald: “Boston City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George is upset that a clown is on the ballot running for one of the city’s four at-large council seats. ...”

STUDY ABROAD HORROR, via Jeremy C. Fox, Rowan Walrath, and John Hilliard of the Boston Globe: “Four Boston College students studying abroad were outside a Marseille train station at the end of a weekend getaway to the southern French city when a woman whom police described as ‘disturbed’ sprayed acid at their faces, according to a spokesman for the college.

After the late Sunday morning attack at Saint Charles train station, the women were treated for burns at a local hospital and released, according to Jack Dunn, the spokesman for Boston College. One student plans to visit an eye doctor on Monday, he said. ...”

NO WAY, JOSE! — ABOUT THAT HURRICANE, via the National Hurricane Center: “Jose is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 3 to 5 inches over eastern Long Island, southeast Connecticut, southern Rhode Island, and southeast Massachusetts, including Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket through Wednesday. Jose is also expected to produce total rain accumulations up to 2 inches along the mid-Atlantic coast, and from southeast New York to coastal Maine. This rainfall could cause isolated flooding. ...” Get the latest info at


FLASHBACK TO ONE OF THE FIRST POLITICAL HAPPY HOUR NEWSLETTERS, dated June 17, 2014, which included this delcious item: “To stomp, or to stop, that is the question. US Representative John F. Tierney was displeased when he spotted a video camera-wielding Republican operative at a Democratic event on Friday evening. ‘Tracker?’ Tierney asks as he spots a man working for the state Republican Party recording a video of him. ‘You got to be kidding. In here? We ought to get the troops and stomp him,’ Tierney appears to say in the video. But a Tierney spokesman, Daniel Rubin, disputed that. ‘What he was saying, was not “stomp” but “stop,” ’ ...

Tierney ... faces [a] primary challenge from former Marine Seth Moulton ...” With video:

DON’T FORGET TO VOTE TOMORROW IF IT’S ELECTION DAY IN YOUR CITY OR TOWN, via press release: “Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin, the state’s chief election officer, reminds voters that polls will be open tomorrow in 21 communities across the Commonwealth for special primaries and local preliminary elections. All or parts of Attleboro, Barnstable, Brockton, Chicopee, Everett, Gloucester, Malden, Methuen, Newburyport, North Adams, Somerville, Springfield, and Waltham will be voting in preliminary elections tomorrow to select the candidates who will appear on their local election ballots in November. Ballots in six of those communities will include the office of mayor, including Attleboro, Brockton, Gloucester, Newburyport, North Adams, and Somerville. Voters in Foxborough, Mansfield, Medfield, Norton, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Walpole, and parts of Sharon will be voting tomorrow in a special state primary for state senate in the Bristol & Norfolk District. Parts of Attleboro are also in the district. ...”

ONE OF MY FAVORITE OLD PHOTOS THAT I DUG UP FOR THIS NEWSLETTER is this gem shot by Janet Knott. “John Goyette, 65, a retired truck driver who lives in South Boston’s D Street housing project, conserves energy while filling a child’s wading pool on a sticky summer afternoon, July 13, 1979.”

One of his great grandkids (!) saw the photo on Twitter and got in touch with me to get a copy.

LOCAL NEWSPAPER STILL FIGURING OUT HOW TO PUT INK ON PAPER, via Mark Arsenault on the Sunday front page of the Globe: “At 9 o’clock one recent weeknight at The Boston Globe’s new, $75 million printing plant, the powerful hum of one of the massive presses abruptly wound down to an anxious silence.

Something had gone wrong, again. A worker had to hit the red ‘stop’ button. And one more time, a team of veteran pressmen would spend the next 27 minutes fixing a problem and restarting the machinery, a time-consuming endeavor at a point in the night when every minute of the complicated journey from journalists’ fingertips to subscribers’ houses is vital.

The plant, in a Taunton office park, was envisioned as the centerpiece of the Globe’s strategy to address high printing costs at its former headquarters in Dorchester with a more modern facility, one that could also bring in revenue by printing other publications, such as The New York Times, the Boston Herald, and USA Today, as well as commercial print jobs.

But as the Morrissey Boulevard operation wound down this summer and more work was sent to Taunton, the new plant has seen a surge of problems, causing delays in getting the Globe and the other newspapers printed and out the door. ...”

WHO NEEDS NEWSPRINT WHEN YOU CAN HAVE NEWSLETTERS? Political Happy Hour is gone, but you can sate your political appetites by signing up for other Boston Globe missives:

Ground Game:

This Week in Politics:

This Week in Weed:

LEST this becomes like one of those happy hours that lurches on and on in perpetuity, I shall bid you all adieu.

But one final toast: May none of us blessed to be Americans take the honor for granted; may we all take the time to educate ourselves about our fellow citizens who seek to represent us and may we vote; may we hold our politicians accountable not to a super-human standard of infallibility, but simply to that most basic ethical maxim — that they love their neighbors and the strangers in their midst as they love themselves; and may we as voters, as citizens, peacefully hold them to account when they stray.


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