Happening Today

SJC hearings

The Supreme Judicial Court will hear four cases: Rockland Trust Company v. Robert Langone; Commonwealth v. Walter Shelley; Commonwealth v. William Hebb, and an impounded case, John Adams Courthouse, Courtroom One, Second Floor, Pemberton Square, Boston, 9 a.m.

Women’s Bar Association legislative breakfast

Women’s Bar Association hosts its 23rd annual legislative breakfast to discuss 2017 priorities, with scheduled speakers Rep. Patricia Haddad, Sen. Karen Spilka, Dr. Deborah Frank of Boston Medical Center and Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, Great Hall, 9:30 a.m.

Drought Management Task Force

Massachusetts Drought Management Task Force meets, 100 Cambridge St., Room 2-B, Boston, 10 a.m.

Pats Parade

The Super Bowl champions New England Patriots parade through the Back Bay and Downtown Boston, down Boylston and Tremont streets, to City Hall Plaza, 11 a.m.

Massachusetts Health Council

Massachusetts Health Council releases the ninth edition of its “Common Health for the Commonwealth” report on preventable conditions and social determinants of health, Room 428, 11 a.m.

ACLU’s Carol Rose on the air

Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, will be on ‘Boston Public Radio’ for her monthly segment, WGBH-FM, 89.7, 12 p.m.

Baker, Goldberg meet

Treasurer Deb Goldberg has her monthly meeting with Gov. Charlie Baker, Governor’s Office, Room 360, 4 p.m.

Commonwealth Conversations

The Massachusetts Senate launches the second Commonwealth Conversation of the year, this time focusing on issues important to residents of the South Coast, with events throughout the day in Taunton, New Bedford, Norton, Mansfield and at Bristol Community College.

Gonzalez on the air

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez is a scheduled guest on ‘Greater Boston,’ WGBH-TV, Channel 2, 7 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Welcome, State House News Service subscribers

MASSterList would like to welcome our new subscribers from the State House News Service. MASSterList is a proud free newsletter of SHNS, and we look forward to delivering the daily news to your inbox each morning.

‘God of persistence, God of … our own modern day patriots’

Speaking of SHNS, our friends there sent us this prayer that House Chaplain Father Rick Walsh apparently offered yesterday (bold emphases are his):

“House Prayer – February 6, 2017 — God of persistence, God of hope – we pray today for the members of our legislature. Today we celebrate and honor the historic achievement of our own modern day patriots. Just when our hopes were deflated, we witnessed a performance of super proportions. May the members of this House be ‘embradied’ to champion seemingly lost causes and to persevere in their team efforts to craft just legislation and to promote bills that are creative and strategic. May God continue to bless our Commonwealth.”


Bitter embarrassment: Globe’s early edition prints wrong Pats outcome

Far be it for MASSterList to point out others’ mistakes (see our last buried item today on our own Pats coverage), but this one is a whopper, as reported by Jen McCaffrey at MassLive: The Globe’s early editions in Florida got the Super Bowl outcome wrong, with the massive headline “A Bitter End,” apparently written and printed before the Pats’ spectacular come-from-behind Super Bowl victory on Sunday. … The Herald’s Howie Carr pounces on the blunder.


Skepticism greets Patrick’s ‘absolute privilege’ claim at SJC hearing

At least one Supreme Judicial Court justice at a court hearing yesterday didn’t appear overly impressed with claims by attorneys for Deval Patrick that the former governor is protected by “absolute privilege” from defamation suits connected with his duties as governor, reports the Herald’s Bob McGovern. “What if we had a governor who had no respect for the truth and in a situation like this said: ‘I fired this person because we found child porn on her computer?’ said SJC Chief Justice Ralph Gants. ‘It turns out to be totally false and absolutely defamatory.’” McGovern has all the details of the case.

Boston Herald

Healey shifts her focus west and beyond

Attorney General Maura Healey is throwing her support to a lawsuit in Washington state that’s seeking to block President Trump’s controversial immigration rules, now that a similar case in Boston appears moot, the Herald’s Chris Cassidy reports. The Globe’s Laura Krantz and Jim O’Sullivan, meanwhile, take a look at how Healey and other Democratic AGs across the country are emerging as a legal “thin blue line” against all sorts of Trump policies, not just on immigration.

Federal judge launches probe of fee padding by law firms

From the Globe’s Andrea Estes: “A federal judge plans to appoint a special master to investigate whether prominent law firms in Boston and other cities padded their legal bills by millions in a class-action lawsuit against State Street Bank, saying the lawyers may have to pay up to $2 million, in advance, to fund the investigation.” The fee of the managing partner’s brother jumped from $53 an hour as a court-appointed lawyer to $500 an hour, Estes notes.

Boston Globe

Won’t be missed: T gives heave to parking-lot operator

From CommonWealth’s Jack Sullivan: “The MBTA’s oversight board voted to approve a potential 15-year contract with one of the country’s biggest parking management companies, ending a troubled relationship with its longtime lot operator that resulted in missing revenues that went into the millions.” At least the vendor won’t be missed.


The T’s on-again, off-again commitment to late-night service is on again

Speaking of the MBTA, the agency’s control board is signaling its cautious support for subsidies to restore late-night bus service, following recent surveys showing the service would be popular with overnight workers, airport passengers and late-night commuters, CommonWealth’s Jack Sullivan also reports. We’ve lost track of how many times the T has experimented with, then backtracked, then re-backtracked on late-night service.


State Rep. apologizes for his very old Facebook words …

Rep. Dylan Fernandes apologized Monday for Facebook posts, some as much as 10 years old, that began resurfacing over the weekend, Geoff Spillane of the Cape Cod Times reports. Fernandes said disparaging words he used in the posts—some of which date to his teenage years— “do not reflect my views today,” and says political opponents are behind the resurfacing of the old posts. 

Cape Cod Times

… while another legislator turns his past musings into a book

Rep. Paul Heroux has self-published a book on the Middle East and terrorism, collecting work he began while a graduate student a decade ago into “The Aftermath of Intention,” Jim Hand reports in the Sun Chronicle. 

Sun Chronicle

Why is the left embracing the right-wing’s anti-Warren meme?

WBZ’s John Keller, writing in the Globe, isn’t overly surprised that conservatives are bashing away at U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. But why are many liberals also bashing away? From Jon: “The irony is striking. Amid a golden age of political trash talking, the leading female critic of the political establishment is cast as a somewhat unhinged hypocrite by the right, a meme now being channeled by the left.” The answer, we think, is partially tied to the fact that most of her critics, left and right, are ideological purists.

Boston Globe

Lynch hears it loud and clear from constituents: Start opposing Trump — or else

The moderate U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, who faces a primary challenge from the left next year in the Democratic primary, got an earful from constituents in Milton last week, some of whom demanded to know what’s he doing to do to oppose President Trump, reports Mike Deehan at WGBH. “You are in a very safe district,” one constituent told Lynch. “We have a strong history of liberal causes and fighting tyranny. … Be out there, and we want to see you. Take this guy and hold this guy’s feet to the fire.”


‘Journalists can’t run around with their hair on fire for the next four years’

Medic critic Dan Kennedy has been following the harsh criticism of Donald Trump by conservative Tom Nichols, a professor at the Naval War College and Harvard Extension School, and thinks he’s earned the right to also criticize the media’s often over-the-top coverage of Trump. Dan: “There are multiple reasons to think that Trump represents a unique threat to democracy. But journalists can’t run around with their hair on fire for the next four years. The best way to cover Trump is with calm, fact-based reporting — not with hyperbole that does not hold up to scrutiny.”

Fyi: Here’s a Washington Post piece by Nichols on the overreactions to Trump’s policies and how they’re playing into the hands of Trump’s base.

Dan Kennedy

Watertown historian: Bannon not only thrives on crisis, he firmly believes in its historic inevitability

Instead of running around with their hair on fire, maybe members of the media can slow down to actually try to understand what makes Trump’s supporters tick. Dana Forsythe at Wicked Local has done just that by interviewing Watertown historian David Kaiser, who discusses how he once talked with current White House aide Steve Bannon for Bannon’s documentary “Generation Zero,” which basically follows a theory by amateur historians that says America is hit about every 80 years with some sort of catastrophic crisis. The idea is key to understanding Bannon, Kaiser says.

Here’s a recent Time column by Kaiser, who has taught at Harvard, Carnegie Mellon and the Naval War College, and a YouTube link to Bannon’s “Generation Zero.”

Wicked Local

Connecticut lawmakers can relax: Aetna talks cooling down

Gov. Charlie Baker’s attempt to lure Aetna to Boston from Hartford seems to be stalling, at least for the time being. The Herald’s Matt Stout explains why a possible corporate relocation is no sure thing, which should come as a relief to Connecticut lawmakers afraid they’re about to lose another major company to the Bay State.

Boston Herald

Vocational schools: Their time has come

Former Senate President Tom Birmingham, in an op-ed at CommonWealth magazine, rightly touts the huge success story of vocational-technical high schools in Massachusetts and is urging increased funding to reduce the waiting list to attend the schools.


House Dems may act to block inmate work on Trump’s wall

Massachusetts House Democrats are planning to caucus later this week to discuss what they can, and can’t, do about Republican President Donald Trump, according to a report at MassLive. “Folks really want to talk about this and want to talk about what we could do as a commonwealth, how we could express our displeasure,” said House Speaker Robert DeLeo. One idea beyond talk, SHNS reports (pay wall), is taking legislative steps to block Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson’s offer to send prisoners to the southern border to help build President Trump’s proposed border wall.


Carbon pricing gaining support on Beacon Hill

From Matt Murphy at SHNS: “More than a third of state lawmakers have signed onto legislation that would put a price on carbon emissions as a way to address global warming, a sign of growing support for a policy that Gov. Charlie Baker has seemed cool to in the past.” Meanwhile, SHNS (pay wall) is also reporting how the power industry is warning about the side effects of the administration’s own greenhouse gas plan.

SHNS (pay wall)

Plymouth station may to be sold to the nuclear-industry equivalent of a scrap metal company

From Christin Legere at the Cape Cod Times: “Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station may be sold to a company whose sole focus is the efficient decommissioning of nuclear power plants. That could mean the difference between the old retired reactor and accompanying buildings sitting abandoned on a contaminated site for another 60 years – the likely scenario under its current owner Entergy Corp. – or the property being cleaned up and ready for reuse about a dozen years after the plant closes.” Reuse? Well, if it’s possible, we suppose.

Wicked Local

There will be repercussions

Many lawmakers may be whistling past the graveyard in thinking there won’t be repercussions for their recent votes in favor of pay raises. But the Globe’s Joan Vennochi says it’s only matter of time when, not if, repercussions come – although what triggers those repercussions isn’t clear yet.

Boston Globe

Bill would raise juvenile court age from 18 to 21

How they’ll square this with 18 year olds having the right to vote and forced to fight in wars, we don’t know. From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “Massachusetts lawmakers this session will consider raising the age of offenders sent to juvenile court from 18 to 21. … It is one of a series of reforms to the state’s criminal justice system that lawmakers will consider this year. Massachusetts would be the first state to make this change, although Vermont, Illinois and Connecticut are considering it.”


Harvard’s looming administration-versus-faculty battle

Civil liberties attorney Harvey Silverglate, writing at WGBH, says there’s a tentative truce in place between Harvard’s administrators and faculty members, but it may not last for long. Some faculty members are pushing back against a recent unilateral move by University President Drew Faust and Dean Rakesh Khurana to bar undergraduate members of private single-gender social clubs from eligibility for campus leadership positions and Rhodes and Marshall scholarships. Silverglate makes clear he’s rooting for the faculty in this and other campus power struggles.


Gorsuch’s Harvard pro bono claims go unverified

Journalists are having a hard time finding anyone who can actually remember whether Supreme Court nominee Neil Grouch actually did the pro bono work while at Harvard Law School that he listed in his official biography, Spencer Buell of Boston Magazine reports. 

Boston Magazine

Northbridge blasts DCR on clear-cut

Selectmen in Northbridge gave Department of Conservation and Recreation officials an earful for what they say was lax oversight of a massive clear-cut of a hillside that resulted in at least three violations of the state’s Wetlands Protection Act, Susan Spencer of the Telegram reports. 


Don’t forget Doug Flutie’s Miracle Pass of ’84 – and, sigh, we got the Harvard-Yale score wrong

A couple of astute MASSterList readers responded to our post yesterday boldly asserting that the New England Patriots’ stunning come-from-behind Super Bowl victory ranks right up there with other iconic moments in Boston sports history, such as Carlton Fisk’s Game 6 World Series home run and Bobby Orr’s flying goal to win the Stanley Cup, etc. But one reader notes: “You forgot the Flutie pass game.” And we did forget Flutie’s iconic Hail Mary pass against the University of Miami in 1984. Sorry. It ranks up there too. 

And, worse, as reader BM notes, there was an inaccuracy in our mention of the famous Harvard-Yale game: “Harvard was victorious (at least in the Crimson) over Yale in a 29-29 football game. But maybe there was a long-forgotten, but sloppy victory achieved over Yale in Bright Arena by a 10-10 margin years ago.” Actually, the score of the 1968 game was indeed 29-29, not 10-10. Hey, we stayed up late the previous night. That’s our lame excuse.

Today’s Headlines


T finds demand for late night – CommonWealth Magazine

Neil Gorsuch’s history at Harvard isn’t adding up – Boston Magazine

Boston police did not turn over immigrants to ICE in 2016 – Boston Globe

Aetna talks cool off – Boston Herald


Supreme protection for Bay State gov? – Boston Herald

Northbridge Selectmen slam DCR over logging project – Telegram & Gazette

Diners spent $95 million at Northampton restaurants in 2016 – MassLive

Worcester’s downtown renewal plan under review – Telegram & Gazette

State: Quincy’s punishment for Clash of the Ash was too harsh – Patriot Ledger

Quincy council OKs ordinances addressing ‘underground economy’ – Patriot Ledger

Fernandes apologizes for past Facebook posts – Cape Cod Times

Needle exchange mobile unit to roll out – Taunton Gazette

Act act of fand-dalism? Taunton man arrested after spray painting Pats victory message on street – Taunton Gazette

Mass. sees record Obamacare signups on state website – Boston Business Journal

Westford imposes new rules on legal settlements – Lowell Sun

Waschusett Mountain attendance up 67 percent – Worcester Business Journal

Attleboro state rep pens book on history of Middle East, terrorism – Sun Chronicle


Melania Trump missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make millions, suit says – Washington Post

LL Bean CEO offers help to employees affected by Trump travel ban – Politico

White House rattled by McCarthy’s spoof of Spicer – Politico

Trump claims the media is covering up terrorist attacks – Washington Post

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