Happening Today

Affordable Care Act discussion

U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III and state Rep. Patricia Haddad hold a roundtable to discuss the Affordable Care Act and how its repeal would affect local residents, Charlton Memorial Hospital, Jackson Conference Room, 363 Highland Ave., Fall River, 10 a.m.

‘Ask the mayor’

’Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is scheduled to appear on his monthly “Ask the Mayor” segment on Boston Public Radio, WGBH-FM 89.7, 11 a.m.

China’s expansionism

Vice Admiral Umio Otsuka, president of the Staff College Japan Maritime Self Defense Force, vistits Tufts University to discuss ‘Expansion of China’s force in South and East China Seas,’ Tufts University, Curtis Street, Medford, 12 p.m.

Press rights

Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan speaks about current challenges to press rights at the 7th annual New England First Amendment Awards luncheon, Boston Marriott Long Wharf, 296 State St., Boston, 12:30 p.m.

Walsh and Islamic Society

Mayor Martin Walsh and the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center host an immigrant and refugee community forum to address communities impacted by recent federal executive orders, 100 Malcolm X Blvd., Roxbury, 7 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Baker: ‘Thou shalt’ not declare sanctuary state. Walsh: Thou should

At a Tufts University event that was repeatedly disrupted by student protesters, Gov. Baker made clear his opposition to declaring Massachusetts as a “sanctuary state,” saying such decisions should be left to local governments, reports the Globe’s Laura Krantz and John Hilliard. “We don’t want to be the ‘thou shalt’ people,” Baker said. “You get into this ‘thou shalt’ business and what happens when somebody is in charge who you disagree with, and they ‘thou shalt’ you into something that you think is just fundamentally wrong for your community? … I mean, we wield a very heavy stick in government. We should be very careful about how we swing it.’”

But earlier in the day, Baker’s good buddy, Democratic Mayor Marty Walsh, said ‘thou shalt’ is just fine with him, as he threw his support behind declaring Massachusetts a “sanctuary state,” reports Paris Alston at WGBH. On Baker’s opposition to a sanctuary state, Walsh said: “He makes his own decisions, I make my decisions. I know that he’s not happy with what’s going on. The actions of this week aren’t making his job or our job easy.”

About those Tufts University interruptions of Baker …

In the same Globe story, Laura Krantz and John Hilliard report that protesters interrupted Gov. Baker three times during a forum at Tufts University, in particular “pressing him to take a stronger stance against President Trump’s plan to increase deportations of immigrants in the country illegally.” Many students also stormed out of the meeting. The Tufts Daily has more on the interruptions, chants and walk out and how Baker apparently didn’t back down.

Spicer comments signal potential marijuana clash with Massachusetts

As the Washington Post reports this morning, White House press secretary Sean Spicer says he expects states to be subjected to “greater enforcement” of federal laws against marijuana use. The Globe’s Josh Miller reports that “Spicer’s statement sent ripples of worry and confusion through the marijuana industry in Massachusetts and across the country, and added to fears that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a longtime foe of cannabis, will take a harder line on the drug than the Obama administration did.”

Boston Globe

Protesters, Baker express disappointment in Trump’s transgender order

A couple hundred people rallied in downtown Boston last evening to protest President Trump’s executive order that rescinds federal guidelines allowing transgender students to use the bathroom matching their gender identity, reports the Globe’s Jacob Geanus.

Meanwhile, Gov. Charlie Baker expressed disappointment in Trump’s roll-back order, saying it sends the wrong message, reports Gintautus Dumcius at MassLive. “Thankfully, here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we’ve had in place standing administrative guidance on this issue for school districts in Massachusetts for the better part of four or five years and we signed, as you know, legislation last year protecting transgendered individuals,” Baker told reporters yesterday.

Suffolk Law professor among those filing misconduct charge against Kellyanne Conway

Suffolk Law School professor Ilene Seidman is among 15 law professors who have filed a professional misconduct complaint against White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, the Washington Post reports: “The letter, filed with the office that handles misconduct by members of the D.C. Bar, said Conway should be sanctioned for violating government ethics rules and ‘conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.’” Here’s the full letter with the signatures at the bottom. 

Washington Post

The Guns of February: Two parties prepare for all-out war

For those hoping that things might politically calm down a bit, forget about it, as the NYT and Washington Post report this morning that Democrats and Republicans are vowing all-out war on the national level.

From the New York Time on Democrats: “Reduced to their weakest state in a generation, Democratic Party leaders will gather in two cities this weekend to plot strategy and select a new national chairman with the daunting task of rebuilding the party’s depleted organization. But senior Democratic officials concede that the blueprint has already been chosen for them — by an incensed army of liberals demanding no less than total war against President Trump.”

From the Washington Post on Steve Bannon and conservatives: “The reclusive mastermind behind President Trump’s nationalist ideology and combative tactics made his public debut Thursday, delivering a fiery rebuke of the media and declaring that the new administration is in an unending battle for ‘deconstruction of the administrative state.’”

Energized local Dems map their way forward – and it runs through the Corner Office

While national Democrats and Republicans are drawing political and ideological lines in the sand, local Democrats are still grappling with their approach, though the liberal base of the party is clearly energized like never before and have their eye on a local target in particular – Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, reports the Globe’s Akilah Johnson.

Boston Globe

Markey fires up crowd in Northampton

Count U.S. Senator Ed Markey as among those Democrats vowing all-out war against the Trump administration, if his appearance at a Northampton rally yesterday is any indication, as reported by Mary Serreze at MassLive. “This is an incredible moment in history,” Markey said. “I’m fighting twenty-four-seven. I’m fighting harder now than I ever have in my whole career.”


Ortiz: ‘We are living in dangerous times’

From Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive: “Carmen Ortiz, who recently stepped down as the top federal prosecutor in Massachusetts, on Thursday defended law enforcement officials’ actions during her tenure and voiced concerns about the current national climate amid President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.” 

And, oh, she mentioned she won’t be a candidate for governor. “I have no interest in running,” she said. “I’m not planning to and I have no interest.”


Caught on live Stoughton TV: ‘(Expletive) ’em, meeting adjourned’

First, it should be noted that the Stoughton selectmen’s meeting was running late and everyone was getting tired, when things started to get a little testy toward the end, all caught on live Stoughton Media Access TV, including the cursing and walk outs and final “(Expletive) ’em, meeting adjourned.”

Wicked Local

Romney denies treasonous interest in buying NY Yankees shares

He would be cutting his last remaining ties to Massachusetts if he ever went through with this. From O’Ryan Johnson at at the Herald: “Former Bay State governor and U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney wants to buy a stake in the New York Yankees, according to a writer for Fanragsports.com. Romney — a Red Sox fan — denies the claim, according to the story’s author, Jon Heyman.” The issue apparently revolves around an investment firm run by Mitt’s son and chaired by Mitt.

Boston Herald

MBTA: ‘Transit Police officers do NOT enforce Federal Immigration laws’

It seems recent pre-faregate inspections by MBTA Transit Police prompted concerns by some that the T might be enforcing immigration laws on behalf of ICE, as Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub reports. But transit officials were quick to tweet: “Transit Police officers do NOT enforce Federal Immigration laws. We are here to serve EVERYONE. Security Inspection Program has nothing to do w/immigration laws/enforcement. Counterterrorism layer only.”

Universal Hub

Bias in favor of hydro over wind and solar?

From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “Environmental advocates say a 1,200 megawatt clean energy solicitation developed by the Baker administration is biased in favor of large-scale hydro projects favored by some of the state’s utilities.” Says George Bachrach, the president of the Environmental League of Massachusetts, “It’s an energy diversity bill that stifles diversity.”


The ‘back-end’ versus the ‘front-end’ of criminal justice reform

Daniel Medwed at WGBH has a good explainer piece on how Gov. Baker’s recently unveiled criminal justice reforms deal mostly with ‘back-end’ reforms (i.e. people already in prison) versus “front-end” reforms (keeping people out of jail in the first place). He likes Baker’s reforms. He just doesn’t think they went far enough.


‘Anti-fascist’ protesters plead not guilty in Worcester

The Worcester ‘anti-fascist’ march over the weekend that led to arrests and political finger pointing may not have been as nasty and violent as previously reported (and re-reported here), judging by Gary Murray’s report at the Telegram on protesters’ court appearance yesterday. Yeah, they’re annoying revolutionary wannabes playing out heroic roles in their own minds, trying so hard to look menacing with handkerchiefs over their faces and many shouting derogatory remarks at police. But they were ultimately arrested on disorderly conduct charges for walking in the middle of the street and blocking traffic. Maybe we’re missing something.


SJC to review prison assignments of juvenile murderers

From Bob McGovern at the Herald: “The state’s highest court will consider whether the Massachusetts Department of Correction is conducting fair hearings when it decides whether or not to move a prisoner convicted of murder as a juvenile to a minimum-security facility. The case is the latest bid to expand the due process rights owed to those who were convicted of murder before they were adults.”

Boston Herald

Answer: Yes, H-1B visas can help firms and hurt workers at the same time

WBUR’s Asma Khalid has a good story on how H-1B immigrant-worker visas are taking center stage, especially in the tech-heavy Boston area, amid the political uproar over immigration. From Khalid: “The crux of the H-1B debate is this: On one side tech companies insist there’s a shortage of talent, but on the other side, some Americans insist H-1B workers are taking away their jobs. Can both of these arguments be true at the same time?”

The answer to his question: Yes. We’ve known of local tech entrepreneurs genuinely desperate to hire software engineers. We’ve also known of non-tech firms (in finance and retail etc.) that have wiped out their entire IT departments and replaced them with H-1B visa holders. The distinction is between the H-1B needs of tech firms trying to build companies versus the H-1B needs of non-tech firms trying to cut costs. 


Report: Massachusetts sees spike in family homelessness

From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “Since 2008, Massachusetts has experienced one of the highest increases in family homelessness in the U.S., according to a report released Thursday by the Boston Foundation. Massachusetts is one of just two states — the other being New York — where more than half the homeless population is comprised of families. There are also a growing number of families with two spouses entering the state’s shelter system.” We suspect part of the cause is the absurd cost of housing in Massachusetts.


Why not an anti-Trump pop-up newspaper like the U.K.’s anti-Brexit sensation?

A MASSterList reader gave us a heads up on a piece by Joseph Lichterman at Harvard’s Nieman Labs, on how somebody started an anti-Brexit paper in the UK and now it’s going from pop-up to permanent. From our reader: “The reporter who started it says someone should start an anti-Trump paper – I think he’s right in terms of a potential market.” Who knows? Definitely check out Lichterman’s story.  

Neiman Lab

‘Let’s talk shark attacks. Where and when do they bite?’

Perhaps motivated by this week’s unseasonably warm weather, the Cape Cod Times was obviously limbering up yesterday for its upcoming Great White Shark coverage later this summer. From the story’s lead (accompanied by the headline above and a photo of a monstrous, evil-looking shark): “My, what giant, sharp teeth you have. You ripping, tearing, biting and killing bad-boy you. We fear you. We’re fascinated by you. We’re talking sharks, of course. Particularly the great white kind.”

Cape Cod Times

Sunday public affairs TV

Keller at Large, WBZ TV Channel 4, 8:30 p.m. WBZ Newsradio’s Joe Mathieu and host Jon Keller discuss town hall protesters, the fall of Milo Yiannopolous, the emerging field of Massachusetts gubernatorial candidates, and other topics.

This is New England, NBC Boston, Channel 10, 9:30 a.m. With host Latoyia Edwards, this week’s topics: The Flu and Black History Month, with guests Dr. Michael Docktor of Boston Children’s and Aunt Herlda Senhouse, who celebrates her 106th Birthday.

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Massachusetts Health and Hospitals Association CEO Lynn Nicholas weighs in on the immigration ban and the impact on the medical community; state Gaming Commission chairman Steve Crosby on the casino projects around the state, and Boston Business Journal editor Doug Banks on the other top business stories of the week.

CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. Jobcase founder and CEO Fred Goff talks about the mission of his company, which works as a sort of hybrid between a Facebook and Linked-in for job-seekers.

On the Record, WCVB TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, who talks with anchor Ed Harding and co-anchor Janet Wu.

CityLIne, WCVB TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s topic: The Oscars and Supporting the Arts.

Today’s Headlines


Transgender rally draws hundreds to Post Office Square – Boston Globe

Charlie Baker speaks at Tufts, prompting walkouts and protest – Tufts Daily

Dr. Mildred Dresselhaus, much-honored MIT physicist, dies – Boston Globe


Mayor Walsh Supports Making Massachusetts A Sanctuary State – WBUR

Gov. Charlie Baker says Trump administration sends wrong message with rollback of transgender protections – MassLive

Massachusetts sees large increase in family homelessness, report finds – MassLive

Spicer: Feds could step up enforcement against marijuana use in states – Washington Post


Weakened Democrats Bow to Voters, Opting for Total War on Trump – NYT

Bannon vows a daily fight for ‘deconstruction of the administrative state’ – Washington Post

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