Happening Today

Bump on the radio

Auditor Suzanne Bump is a guest on Boston Herald Radio’s Morning Meeting with Hillary Chabot and Jaclyn Cashman, 70 Fargo St., Boston, 9:30 a.m.

Gaming Commission

Massachusetts Gaming Commission meets to plan agenda for future action with topics to be scheduled including marijuana legalization, a 12-month Lottery analysis, table game regulations, the Gaming Commission enhanced code of ethics, and a baseline online panel survey report, 101 Federal St., 12th floor, Boston, 10:30 a.m.

Senate global warming committee

The Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change holds an oversight hearing on the proposed greenhouse gas emission reduction regulations, Room 222, 11 a.m.

‘Acoustic on Main’

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and City Council President Michelle Wu sign the “Acoustic on Main” ordinance allowing small businesses in designated districts to feature acoustic performers without having to obtain a city live entertainment license, Suya Joint, 185 Dudley St., Roxbury, 12:30 p.m.

Criminal justice review

Researchers from the Council for State Governments Justice Center will meet with a 25-member working group as part of their ongoing review of the state’s criminal justice system, One Ashburton Place, 21st floor, 1 p.m.

Menorah lighting

State House officials hold their annual ceremonial lighting of a 15-foot menorah for Hanukkah, with House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Secretary of State William Galvin, Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Auditor Suzanne Bump, and members of the Legislature attending, Grand Staircase, 4 p.m.

Protest against Islamophobia and racism

Jewish Voices for Peace-Boston joins members of the Muslim and Palestinian communities as well as Black Lives Matter and other faith groups for a march to protest Islamophobia and racism, State House sidewalk, 5 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Probation repercussions: City Hall and other corruption cases may be in jeopardy

The Boston Globe’s Milton Valencia and the Boston Herald’s Bob McGovern both have good stories this morning on how an appeals court’s ruling to overturn the convictions of former Probation Department officials may have short-term and long-term repercussions for prosecutors trying to bring corruption charges against local pols and government workers. “The [appeals court] has set the same cautionary tone the US Supreme Court has recently offered, that federal prosecutors should not be trying to make a determination of what is good government or bad government,” ex-US Attorney Michael Sullivan tells the Globe. McGovern gets down to specifics, as in how the ruling may impact US Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s ongoing case against City Hall workers caught up in the union-strong-arming case.

Healey: ‘No place for patronage hiring in state government’

The appeals court may have overturned the Probation Department patronage-machine convictions, but Attorney General Maura Healey notes that the same ruling painted an ugly picture of a misrun department in which patronage hires were routinely concealed. “That’s just wrong,” Healey said during an interview on Boston Public Radio yesterday, as reported by SHNS’s Michael Norton at SouthCoastToday. “There’s no place for patronage hiring in state government or any government.” 


‘The legislature ought not to take a victory lap’

Brad Bailey, a Boston defense attorney, was absolutely delighted by this week’s appeals court ruling that overturned the convictions of three Probation Department employees for running a hard-core patronage operation out of their agency. But former Attorney General Scott Harshbarger is far from delighted, as reported at WBUR. “This did not vindicate, in any way, the individuals involved or the system that was involved here, a very clear pay to play system that ran for years,” he said of the ruling. “The leaders in the system ought not to take a victory lap here. The legislature ought not to take a victory lap because we cannot go backwards in this state.”


Blacks and Latinos push to delay criminal-justice report

Fearing a new criminal-justice report won’t go far enough in recommending reforms, the state’s Black and Latino Legislative Caucus is calling for a delay in the release of a long-awaited report, the Globe’s Milton Valencia writes. “The report must include meaningful components of sentencing reform,” states a letter to the heads of a Justice Reinvestment Steering Committee, which is scheduled to release its findings as soon as today.

Boston Globe

Markey, environmentalists vow scorched-earth policy toward Trump, figuratively speaking

From the Herald’s Jordan Graham: “Bay State U.S. Sen. Edward J. Markey and local environmental groups are vowing to spend the next four years fighting tooth and nail against President-elect Donald Trump’s environmental policies, beginning with the confirmation hearing of expected Secretary of State nominee and ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson. ‘Rex Tillerson will come before our committee, and I am going to put him under very close, tough questions,’ Markey said yesterday.”

Boston Herald

The case for online Lottery games: The scratch ticket evidence

Here’s more political ammo for Treasurer Deb Goldberg as she tries to convince Beacon Hill lawmakers to approve online Lottery games: Sales of Lottery scratch tickets were down 3 percent over the first five months of the fiscal years, reports SHNS’s Colin Young at the Herald News.

Herald News

Sad safety vigil

Days after a Texas diver drowned inside a water tank in Braintree, dozens of workers and their families held a candle-light vigil at the State House yesterday to draw attention to those who have died while working and to call for tougher workplace safety standards, reports the Globe’s Travis Andersen. Fyi: David Scott, the 47-year-old diver from Texas, died in the presence of his 14-year-old son, a horrible fact on top of a horrible tragedy.

Boston Globe

For the record, Healey likes ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ just fine

To her credit, Attorney General Maura Healey refused to get pulled into the ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’/date-rape debate now raging across, well, we didn’t know there was a debate raging until we read about it in a Gintautas Dumcius piece at MassLive. “I like the song,” Healey said on Boston Public Radio, after being asked if ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ is indeed a “date rape” song. “I like all of these songs and I love this time of year when we’re hearing all these songs.” 

Here’s one YouTube version the Academy Award-winning ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside,’ sung by Ricardo Montalban and Esther Williams. And here’s the Wikipedia entry on the old song.


Are Russian hackers also trying to destroy poor Aaron Hernandez?

First, Hillary Clinton. Now Aaron Hernandez? Yes, the attorney representing Hernandez, the ex-Patriots star and convicted killer, is suggesting that it might have been diabolical Russian hackers who hacked into Aaron’s phone, reports Spencer Buell at Boston magazine. Yes, he really said it, with a “who knows” caveat thrown in at the end.

Boston magazine

Just in time: HUD awards state $69.4 million to help the homeless

As the Baker administration fends off legal action over its homeless policies, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development has stepped in by announcing $69.4 million in grants to help the homeless. A large chunk of the funds, as reported by the Globe, will go to Boston, or $24.2 million. But money is also being distributed far and wide across the state, including in Lynn, reports ItemLive.com, and on the Cape, reports the Cape Cod Times.

Amazon expanding Uber delivery to Boston

Amazon is in the market for Uber drivers willing to join its Flex delivery program, which uses drivers in their own vehicles to deliver packages to customers, Jordan Graham of the Herald reports. Not everyone is a fan of the program, which one Boston attorney says deprives drivers of gas mileage and overtime pay—which may mean some drivers are essentially working for less than minimum wage. 

Boston Herald

In Springfield, police oversight battle rages on

The Springfield City Council voted to override the mayoral veto of a plan to bring back a five-member citizen commission to oversee the police department. But Mayor Domenic Sarno is calling the action “invalid,” Peter Goonan of MassLive reports. It’s not clear what, if any, action Sarno may take, but the city has some time to work it all out: The commission won’t go into effect until mid-2019.


‘How Liberal Professors Are Ruining College’

‘Chris Sweeney has a provocative cover story in the January issue of Boston magazine, noting how once solidly liberal colleges are now overwhelmingly liberal in New England, so much so that the ratio of liberal to conservative professors now stands at 28 to 1, by one calculation.

Boston magazine

Healey sounds alarm on sex trafficking

Attorney General Maura Healey is hopeful that last week’s takedown of a human trafficking ring that operated through massage parlors in various cities will drive home the message that sex trafficking is a real and present danger in the Bay State. In a Boston Public Radio interview, Healey said law enforcement must work to stop the growing demand for buying sex online, saying that in one recent two-day period about 20,000 attempts were made from Boston computers to buy sex.


Sick time law survives first challenge

The earned sick-time law passed by Massachusetts voters in 2014 has survived a legal challenge, with the U.S. Court of Appeals backing the law and Attorney General Maura Healey against a challenge from construction companies and employer associations that said their union employees should be exempt, Greg Ryan of the Boston Business Journal reports. The court left the door open to future challenges, however, saying it was tossing the case out largely because no one has yet tried to use the new law to sue an employer. 


Taunton’s Simas to head Obama Foundation

President Obama has tapped David Simas—a Taunton native and onetime deputy chief of staff for ex-Gov. Deval Patrick—to head the Obama Foundation, Lynne Sullivan reports in the Taunton Gazette. Simas, the son of Portuguese immigrants, had served as White House political director for the past few years.

Taunton Gazette

‘Makes you wonder how long until a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s moves in’

The Old Southie death watch continues, as reported by Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub: “In August, a Starbucks go approved in City Point. Now it looks like another frou-frou coffee chain is moving in, specifically, Caffe Nero, at 416 W. Broadway. Now, granted, that’s a bit closer to the part of Southie already irredeemably lost to yuppies, but still, makes you wonder how long until a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s moves in.”

Universal Hub

Today’s Headlines


Boston is among top 8 immigrant-friendly cities – Boston Magazine

Walsh says race backlash in part led to Trump win – Boston Globe

Amazon going all Uber in Boston – Boston Herald


Springfield Mayor Sarno: City council’s override vote on reinstating citizens police commission invalid – MassLive

Amherst select board raises concerns about recreational marijuana sales, asks for more local control – MassLive

Probation ruling sets new standard for prosecutions – Boston Globe

Appeal ruling just latest in string of humbling defeats for U.S. Attorney – Boston Herald

North Quincy T development moves forward – Patriot Ledger

Homeless programs get $1.76 million boost – Cape Cod Times

Baker cuts $150K from 1Berkshire tourism – Berkshire Eagle

Taunton native David Simas named CEO of Obama Foundation – Taunton Gazette

AG Healey: Sex trafficking is a growing problem in Mass. – WGBH

Appeals court rejects challenge to Mass. sick-time law – Boston Business Journal

Annual Worcester job growth among strongest in state – Worcester Business Journal

Lowell snowplow operator fired after vulgar Facebook post – Lowell Sun


Rex Tillerson’s lucrative about-face on Russia – New York Times

Clinton allies rip into FBI after search warrant unsealed – Politico

Obama bans oil drilling in large parts of Atlantic, Arctic oceans – Washington Post

New England senators poised to grill Trump’s cabinet nominees – WGBH

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