NOTE: Event cancellations due to storm
Many planned civic, education and state events have been cancelled due to today’s expected snowstorm throughout the region.
State government offices are closed for “non-emergency, executive branch state employees.” The Legislature is also closed today.
Here’s a sampling of previously planned state, city and public policy-related events that also have been cancelled or postponed: Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court hearings; a morning UMass Boston tribute to Mel King at the Seaport World Trade Center; a Northeast Energy and Commerce Association renewable energy conference; Massachusetts Health Connector board meeting; a Massachusetts Water Resources Commission meeting; a Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Advisory Committee meeting in Westborough.
Please contact other institutions and organization to check on status of previously planned events.
Stormy weather interrupts political storm
At least in New England, Mother Nature is interrupting the political storm now swirling 24/7 around President Donald Trump and, to a lesser degree, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. The area is expected to get hit with around a foot of snow today, causing cancellations galore across the region. Here’s Dave Epstein’s updated forecast at the Globe. And the Globe is also running a list of statewide school cancellations.
From Gov. Charlie Baker to everyone, via MassLive: “Can’t emphasize this enough: If you have the capacity to work from home, you should seriously (consider) doing that,” reports MassLive.
Meanwhile, the Cape Cod Times is keeping a running tab on its area’s cancellations, as are other state newspapers, including the MetroWest Daily News, the Fall River Herald News, the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, the Lowell Sun, the Worcester Telegram, the Quincy Patriot-Ledger and Springfield’s MassLive.
Warning of ‘crisis,’ DeLeo pushes for early education funding
Though he hasn’t identified how much money is needed and where the funds can be found, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo yesterday called for more money to support early childhood education, describing the state’s system as being “in crisis,” writes the Globe’s Laura Krantz. WGBH’s Mike Deehan provides details on how much (or, more accurately, how little) early childhood educators are currently paid. Hint: It’s barely above the poverty line. Any wonder why there’s such extraordinary turnover within the profession?
Tough prescription: Mish Michaels dumped as ‘GBH science reporter over her vaccine views
And before getting into All Things Warren and Trump, here’s an interesting development: Mish Michaels, the former WBZ meteorologist, was hired and then, well, released as the science reporter at WGBH, apparently after ‘Greater Boston’ host Jim Braude brought up the fact that Michaels has been outspoken in her controversial belief that vaccines cause autism, reports the Globe’s Mark Shanahan. We’re in no position to confirm Braude’s roll in the sacking, but if it’s true then … good for him. It’s his show and ultimately his credibility on the line – and he acted.
Baker, Walsh, black leaders and other locals rally around Warren
Senate Republicans may have rebuked U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, but she’s being defended and/or embraced in Massachusetts, even by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker (“I do find it hard to believe that a letter from Coretta Scott King would be out of order in any public place or space”), as reported at MassLive. Mayor Marty Walsh says Warren should “absolutely” defy Republicans who tried to silence her, reports the Boston Herald. And local African-American leaders are expressing outrage over the Senate GOP’s actions, reports the Boston Globe. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton, last year’s Democratic presidential nominee, is also throwing her support behind Warren, as reported at MassLive. And the list goes on and on across the nation, at least in Democratic circles.
‘Republicans seized her microphone. And gave her a megaphone’
Both the Globe’s Victoria McGrane and the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld note how the U.S. Senate’s rebuke of Elizabeth Warren only makes her more powerful (Joe: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should be rebuked just for stupidity”). But it’s not just the Boston press trumpeting this narrative. The New York Times, among others, is also seeing liberals rallying to Warren, giving her the coveted role as “the avatar of liberal resistance in the age of President Trump.”
Massachusetts Bubble Alert: Boston area may be ‘ground zero’ to anti-Trump resistance but not necessarily Boise
As the Globe’s Nestor Ramos pronounces that the Boston area has become “ground zero” to a “vociferous resistance” to the Trump administration, it’s important to keep in mind that Boston isn’t, well, Boise or Baton Rouge, as Larry Sabato, a political science professor at the University of Virginia, makes clear in a piece by the Herald’s Chris Cassidy. In other words: what seems so obvious here in the bluest of blue states isn’t so obvious elsewhere.
T.J. Maxx to employees: ‘Immediately, please remove all Ivanka Trump merchandise’
Yet more local news emanating, and anticipated, from President Trump, who yesterday lashed out at Nordstrom over its decision to stop carrying his daughter’s fashion products and who may now have a new Twitter target to go after: Framingham’s TJX Cos. “Effective immediately, please remove all Ivanka Trump merchandise from features and mix into the runs,” reads an internal TJX note first obtained by the New York Times. “All Ivanka Trump signs should be discarded.”
Warren: ‘We may have a constitutional crisis here’
The day after being rebuked by Republican senators, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth was in a fighting mood yesterday, hitting the local airwaves to defend why she was so passionate about blocking Sen. Jeff Sessions’ nomination as attorney general, reports Tori Bedford at WGBH. “We really face the possibility that we may just have an out-of-control president,” Warren said. “We may have a constitutional crisis here. At that moment, we have got to have an attorney general that we can depend on … that we can count on to stand up to the president of the United States –– I don’t believe that’s Jeff Sessions.”
SJC to handle ‘blockbuster’ case on immigration
From the Herald’s Bob McGovern: “Amid the ongoing controversy surrounding President Trump’s hard-line stance on immigration, the Supreme Judicial Court is preparing to hear a blockbuster case that could reshape how Massachusetts officials work with federal immigration authorities. The high court next month will consider whether the Bay State has the authority to temporarily hold a person on the basis of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer after criminal charges have been dropped.”
Lawsuits by Lawrence and Chelsea go after, you guessed it, President Trump
From the Associated Press at WBUR: “Two Massachusetts cities with large Latino populations have sued President Donald Trump over his threat to cut federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities. The lawsuit filed by Chelsea and Lawrence in federal court in Boston on Wednesday says Trump’s executive order to withdraw funding from communities that decline to cooperate with federal immigration authorities ‘constitutes unconstitutional coercion’ and is ‘a major affront to basic principles of federalism and the separation of powers.’”
Trump brainstorming session cancelled due to storm
This one you can’t blame on Trump: House Speaker Robert DeLeo yesterday called off a planned House Democratic caucus – at which Dems were going to try to figure out how they might respond to all things Trump – due to yesterday’s icy conditions, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the Salem News.
Walsh backs Pats players snubbing Trump
Donald Trump is even burrowing deep into our local sports psyche: Mayor Walsh said yesterday he thinks Patriots players who are refusing to attend any meet-and-greet with the president after their Super Bowl victory are well within their rights, reports the Herald’s Antonio Planas. “They have strong personal feelings, and you know, I support them,” Walsh said of tight end Martellus Bennett and safety Devin McCourty. “I commend them for it. If they don’t want to go, they don’t have to go.” Btw: Walsh said he wouldn’t go either if invited.
Got raw milk? Rep. Paul Schmid has the bill for you
Thank you, Rep. Schmid, for getting us away from the topic of Donald Trump. From SHNS’s Andy Metzger at the Fall River Herald News: “Raw milk is back on the legislative menu this session, with a majority of the House signing onto a farm bill that Westport Rep. Paul Schmid said would benefit legislative districts from the urban cores to the rolling pastures and forests far from Boston.” Among other things, the wide-ranging bill would make it easier for dairy farmers to sell their milks sans pasteurization, Metzger writes.
RFK’s son announces bid for Illinois governor
The Kennedys will always be our local guys and gals, no matter where they may reside. So from the Chicago Tribune’s Rick Pearson: “Democratic businessman Chris Kennedy entered the Illinois governor’s race Wednesday, assailing Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner for ‘destroying’ the state’s economy and failing to lead state government out of its financial mess.” Kennedy, 53, is the son of the slain Robert F. Kennedy.
Imitation is the greatest form of flattery: Following lead of state, city eyes its own pay hikes
From the Herald’s Dan Atkinson: “Hard on the heels of a controversial Beacon Hill pay hike, a Walsh administration board is quietly laying the groundwork for the mayor to dole out hefty raises to top city officials that could go into effect this fall after what is expected to be a hotly contested mayoral election.”
So long, O’ Pioneer Valley, hello West Mass
The Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau is spearheading an effort to rebrand the region as “West Mass,” Jim Kinney of MassLive reports. The $80,000 blitz is a move away from the old “Pioneer Valley,” a name bestowed by travel writers decades ago and one boosters say calls to mind covered wagons and prairie dogs more than colleges, mountaintops and microbreweries.
Haverhill council president’s son arraigned on rape charge
The son of Haverhill City Council President John Michitson has been arraigned in Essex County Juvenile Court in Lawrence after he was accused of “rape and strangulation or suffocation,” reports Mike Labella at the Eagle-Tribune. The 17-year-old, who was previously indicted by an Essex County grand jury, was given a bail warning, ordered to stay away from the alleged victim and is currently on a GPS bracelet while under house arrest other than to attend school .
Worcester looks to the state to help restore Hadwen Park
Worcester Mayor Joseph M. Petty and City Councilor Gary Rosen are eyeing the pursuit of state conservation funds as a possible way to restore the city’s bedraggled Hadwen Park, reports the Telegram’s Nick Kotopoulos, who writes the park was “once considered one of the gems of Worcester’s parks system.”
Pollster: Please don’t give up on polls
MassINC Pollling Group President Steve Koczela knows that pollsters got a black-eye for how they handled and called the November election. But he lays out the case for why polling matters now more than ever. “Polling is an act of political resistance,” he writes at CommonWealth magazine. “Most of the political trends in recent years have been toward disempowerment of everyday voters. Polling pushes in the other direction.” He has a strong Donald Trump angle, in case you were wondering.
‘A Falcons team that had a 99.8 percent shot of claiming its first Super Bowl’
A MASSterList reader sends in this excellent piece by Bill Barnwell at ESPN on the mathematical unlikeliness of the Pats’ come-from-behind Super Bowl win on Sunday (a “zero-point-two percent” win expectancy when the score was 28-3). We don’t know how Barnwell calculated the “win expectancy” odds at each stage of the come-back surge, but we agree with our reader: “It’s so satisfying to read/digest all of these critical details and re-live that evening.”
Worcester seeks common ideas for Common events
Officials in Worcester want residents to help come up with enough ideas for the city to host 100 events on the city’s Common in 2017, Tom Quinn reports in Worcester Magazine. One of the first events already in the works? A party marking the anniversary of the Blizzard of 1978 on Feb. 10. How timely!
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