Happening Today

A look at right-wing think tanks

A panel explores the impact of right-wing think tanks on Massachusetts policy, hosted by Community Labor United, and will coincide with the release of a report by the left-leaning Political Research Associates titled ‘Privatizing Massachusetts: The Right-Wing’s Blue State Game Plan,’ Harvard University Faculty Club reading room, 20 Quincy St., Cambridge, 8:30 a.m.

STEM intern initiative

Gov. Charlie Baker joins STEM Advisory Council co-chairs U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy, Vertex CEO Jeffrey Leiden, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Education Secretary Jim Peyser and GE Foundation president Ann Klee for the launch of the MA STEM@Work program, an initiative to connect high school students to STEM internships, Vertex, 50 Northern Avenue, Boston, 9:15 a.m.

Anti-Defamation League event

The Anti-Defamation League of New England will ‘speak out against hate’ at an event attended by Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and other state and local leaders, State House steps, 11 a.m.

‘Ask the AG’

Attorney General Maura Healey is the scheduled guest on Boston Public Radio’s monthly ‘Ask the AG’ segment, WGBH-FM, 89.7, 12:30 p.m.

DOT and MBTA control board meeting

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation board of directors will hear an update on the Boston public heliport/helistop initiative and will also discuss a turnpike lease with Gulf Oil, then the board joins the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board to review issues related to the South Coast Rail program, the Green Line extension, commuter rail performance and other items, 10 Park Plaza, second floor, Boston, 12 p.m.

Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign

Salvation Army Massachusetts launches its annual holiday Red Kettle campaign with Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash, who is serving as the honorary campaign chair, Star Market, 53 Huntington Ave., Boston, 12 p.m.

Leadership meeting

Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg and House Speaker Robert DeLeo meet for their first leadership meeting since the presidential election, Governor’s Office, 2 p.m.

MBTA ridership

The MBTA Rider Oversight Committee holds a public meeting, 10 Park Plaza, Conference Rooms 1, 2, 3, Boston, 5 p.m.

Budd oath of office

Gov. Charlie Baker will deliver a ceremonial administration of the oath of office to Supreme Judicial Court Judge Kimberly Budd, Faneuil Hall, Boston, 4:15 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Target Walsh?

The Globe’s Mark Arsenault and Andrew Ryan reported over the weekend that federal wiretaps show Marty Walsh, while a labor boss before becoming mayor, discussing how to put pressure on a developer to hire union labor by getting a project “thrown off the docket” of the Boston Zoning Board of Appeal until the developer played ball. Ah, the old Boston Zoning Board of Appeal. Many people tend to think the old BRA (now the Boston Planning and Development Agency) was the powerhouse agency deciding weighty development issues in the city. But under former Mayor Thomas Menino it was actually the Zoning Board of Appeal that cracked the whip on developers to do the city’s bidding – or else. Now Walsh is tied to that agency’s antics.

The Herald’s Jack Encarnacao and Laurel Sweet report the mayor is dismissing the latest revelations in in the City Hall labor-muscling probe, even though it now appears Walsh may be a target of that fed investigation. We’ll soon see who’s right.

Boston Globe

Healey’s deepening ExxonMobil embarrassment

A federal judge in Dallas has taken the unusual step of ordering Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey to testify about her climate-change investigation of Exxon-Mobil, the Herald’s Laurel Sweet and Antonio Planas report. “It indicates that the judge suspects big-time political motives,” said Harvey Silverglate, a First Amendment and civil liberties attorney in Boston. “There is nothing really to be gained here (from the investigation) except to embarrass the company. There is no legislation in this country thus far making it a crime to oppose global warming.” A Healey spokeswoman said the the AG’s office is “surprised” by the order and vowed to continue its investigation into what Exxon-Mobil has known about climate change.

Meanwhile, as Healey deals with a Texas judge, the Herald’s Hillary Chabot is practically taunting the AG to run against Gov. Charlie Baker in 2018.

Boston Herald

Foggy Bottom, here he comes … just maybe

Count us among those who were initially skeptical about last week’s news that Mitt Romney, who spent the better part of this past year ripping into Donald Trump, becoming Trump’s next Secretary of State. But judging by the remarks of the two following their weekend meet-up in New Jersey – here’s the Globe version and here the Herald version – you gotta wonder if such an appointment just might happen, similar to how President-elect Obama tapped his own chief party rival, i.e. Hillary, as secretary of state in 2008. We’re still skeptical, just not as much as before. 

A MASSster List reader wrote in about Mitt’s Foggy Bottom: “My hypothesis on Romney is: low probability he’s really interested in the State job; high probability that appearing to express interest rehabilitates his image. It also makes Trump look more magnanimous. As you say, a bit weird to have two consecutive former Mass. presidential candidates as Secy State.”

Bernie goes capitalist for a night

Bernie Sanders hit Boston’s Berklee Performance Center last night, whipping up the crowd like he was still on the presidential campaign trail and ripping into President-elect Donald Trump, reports Alyssa Meyers at BU’s Daily Free Press. But among other things that caught our attention was the fact the event was “sold out.” Turns out, according to Berklee College, the admission fee was $33, with each ticket purchase including a copy of Bernie’s new book “Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In.” So $33 X 500 attendees = 16,500 big ones to believe in.


‘The Bubble’

Speaking of diversity and denial, SNL had a brutal skit over the weekend about how progressives can deal with a new world order under Trump: Retreat to “The Bubble” and enjoy a “planned community of like-minded free thinkers – and no one else,” where hybrid cars, used book stores and “small farms with the rawest milk you’ve ever tasted” reign, along with one-bedroom apartments starting at $1.9 million. The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza called the skit “brilliant.”

SNL YouTube

Turning a deeper shade of blue in the suburbs

Election data may show western and central Massachusetts turning redder these days, but the same data also shows that Greater Boston’s suburbs have “turned a deeper shade of blue,” with Hillary Clinton winning 130 of 160 Greater Boston communities in the November 8 election, compared with 109 that voted for Barack Obama in 2012, reports the Globe’s Jacob Carozza and Vanessa Nason. 

Boston Globe

But the new Dem party chairman isn’t conceding central Massachusetts to GOP

Meanwhile, newly elected Massachusetts Democratic Party chairman Gus Bickford says he wants to make reclaiming ground lost to Republicans in central Massachusetts a priority, Brad Petrishen of the Telegram reports. Earlier this month, seven GOP incumbents ran unopposed in the region. “We’re going to try to challenge every office,” he said. “That helps us deliver our message.”

The Telegram

Coming very soon to Southie: Driverless cars

Driverless-car startup Nutonomy says it has reached an agreement with the city to begin testing its vehicles in the newly renamed Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park in South Boston in a matter of weeks, Jon Russell of TechCrunch reports. The MIT spinoff, which has been testing its electric-powered Renault vehicles in Singapore since last summer, will operate vehicles with engineers on board to take the wheel, just in case. 


Well, at least driverless cars don’t smoke pot

Police chiefs across the state are raising the alarm about a potential spike in impaired driving in the wake on Question 4’s legalization of recreational marijuana in the Bay State, Laura Crimaldi of the Globe reports. Impaired driving seems to top the list of law enforcement officials about marijuana legalization.  

Boston Globe

Deval’s ‘lone walk’ festivities cost $300K

Former Gov. Deval Patrick’s farewell festivities while he was leaving the Corner Office cost more than $300,000, all covered by donations from private citizens and corporations, and included expenditures on his ‘lone walk’ ceremony and an awards reception for his staff and a portrait of Patrick that now hangs in the State House, reports the Herald’s Matt Stout, who rummaged through filings by Patrick’s Governor’s Leadership Fund.

Boston Herald

Oh where, oh where will the combined DraftKings-FanDuel HQ be?

As expected, Boston’s DraftKings and New York’s FanDuel agreed to merge late last week, ending weeks of merger speculation but launching perhaps years of speculation about where its eventual headquarters – and the bulk of its corporate jobs – will be located. Right now, the two fantasy sports teams plan to have co-headquarters in the Hub and Big Apple, reports the BBJ’s Kelly O’Brien. But co-headquarters rarely last. Sooner or later, it will drift toward one or the other city. Don’t look for hints in the planned management structure. The new chief executive of the combined company will be DraftKings’ current CEO Jason Robins, but the chairman of the firm will be FanDuel’s current chief executive Nigel Eccles. So who knows? 


Hate crimes on the rise in Massachusetts

The number of hate crimes—those spurred by racial or religious bias—reported in Massachusetts rose in 2015 for the second straight year, Isaiah Thompson of WGBH reports. Hate crimes attributed to racial or ethnic bias rose 20 percent while those connected to religious bias were up 40 percent, Thompson reports, citing data the state sent to the FBI. Hate crime reports had been steadily falling since a spike after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Last week, Attorney General Maura Healey set up a hotline to field reports of such offenses in the wake of the election results. 


Rep. Dooley hits Bob Kraft’s commuter ‘pet project’

State Rep. Shawn Dooley, a Norfolk Republican, is none too happy to hear about a proposed pilot program that would run daily commuter rail trains between Boston and Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, reviving a similar idea that was shot down two years ago, reports the Herald’s Matt Stout. “I just don’t like the taxpayer taking it on the chin in order to increase (New England Patriots owner) Bob Kraft’s wealth,” said Dooley, calling the plan Kraft’s “pet project.”

Boston Herald

In case you missed it, Scott Brown really wants VA post

Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown made it pretty clear late last week: He’d take the post as head of the Veterans Administration if it’s offered to him by President-elect Donald Trump. “Well, it is a little premature,” said Brown, a long-time Army National Guard Reservist and a big Trump backer during the election. “He (Trump) said he was going to give me the strongest recommendation to his team. Then, obviously, you know, they’re going to get in touch with me. So, I’m not quite sure what that means exactly. But I know I’m now in the running to be the head of the V.A.”

CBS Boston

Baker to urge tech firms to hire high schoolers

Gov. Charlie Baker today plans to call on the state’s technology and life-science companies to hire more paid high school interns, Max Stendhal of the Boston Business Journal reports. The administration hopes to build on the success of a partnership between biotech company Vertex and the Boston Public Schools and is expected to announce that General Electric will be among the companies committing to the program. 


Today’s Headlines


Could money lead to scaled-down First Night fireworks? – Boston Globe

Rob Gronkowski’s Seaport bachelor pad – Boston Herald

Inquiry nearing end on union ties to City Hall – Boston Globe

Bostonians, Mayor Walsh talk race relations and divisions in city – WBUR


Rotting Monroe paper mill to be torn down for public park on Deerfield River – MassLive

Costly farewell party for Deval Patrick – Boston Herald

Hundreds march in Northampton to protest Trump – Hampshire Gazette

Some central Mass. communities may opt out of pot shops – Telegram & Gazette

New Dem chairman Bickford hopes to regain regional base – Telegram & Gazette

Early voting deemed success in Valley – Eagle-Tribune

Quincy city councilor says field dedication sends wrong message to abuse victims – Patriot Ledger

Reports of hate crimes rose in Mass. in last two years – WGBH

Baker to life science, tech firms: Hire more high school interns – Boston Business Journal


Elizabeth Warren fills the Democratic void – Politico

For partners of Trump in India: President-elect branded bump – New York Times

How one lucrative site stokes the alt right with by playing fast and loose with facts – Washington Post

Trump’s choice for top law enforcer has cannabis proponents fearing future – NPR

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