Happening Today

SJC confirmation hearing

The Governor’s Council holds a confirmation hearing for Elspeth ‘Ellie’ Cypher, an appeals court senior associate justice nominated to the Supreme Judicial Court by Gov. Baker, Hearing Room B-1, 9 a.m.

Health care coverage testimony

Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, is scheduled to testify before the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce on ‘Legislative Proposals to Improve Health Care Coverage and Provide Lower Costs for Families,’ Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2175, Washington, D.C., 10 a.m.

Public Higher Education Advocacy Day

Students from the five UMass campuses, nine state universities and fifteen community colleges rally for greater investment in public higher education and then officials from the schools and the Massachusetts Teachers Association and PHENOM speak at the annual Public Higher Education Advocacy Day gathering, Great Hall, rally at 10:15 a.m. and speeches at 10:30 a.m.

Biosafety research ban

Boston City councilor Tito Jackson hosts a press conference to announce the introduction of an ordinance that would prohibit research designated as biosafety level 4 in the city, Curley Room, 5th Floor, City Hall, Boston, 11 a.m.

Walsh at Research Bureau

Mayor Martin Walsh is scheduled as the guest speaker at Boston Municipal Research Bureau’s 85th annual meeting, Seaport Hotel – Plaza Ballroom, One Seaport Ln., Boston, 12 p.m.

AIM addresses senators

Senate Democrats and Republicans meet in a joint caucus to hear from representatives of the Associated Industries of Massachusetts in the second in a series of meetings intended to build better relationships between businesses and the Senate, Room 428, 12 p.m.

White Ribbon Day

Gov. Charlie Baker serves as the honorary chair for Jane Doe Inc.’s White Ribbon Day to call attention to domestic violence and encourage men to speak out against violence toward women, Faneuil Hall, Boston, 1 p.m.

Prevention Trust campaign

Prevention Trust Coalition kicks off a campaign to call for legislative action to continue the work of the Massachusetts Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund, Room 428, 2 p.m.

Day of Empathy’

‘MassINC holds an observance of the national ‘Day of Empathy’ at the State House to ‘generate empathy on a massive scale for millions of Americans impacted by the criminal justice system,’ Nurses Hall, 3 p.m.

Walsh on the air

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is a scheduled guest on ‘Radio Boston,’ WBUR-FM 90.9, 3 p.m.

‘When They Go Low, We go Local’

Rep. Chynah Tyler, Boston City Councilor Anissa Essaibi-George, Northwind Strategies vice president Rosy Gonzalez and Natalie Kaufman, the chief of staff to Rep. Liz Malia, participate in a Simmons College panel titled ‘When They Go Low, We go Local,’ Linda K.Paresky Center, 300 The Fenway, Boston, 3:30 p.m.

UMass Impact reception

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg and House Speaker Robert DeLeo attend the University of Massachusetts Impact reception hosted by the UMass Student Trustees, UMass Club, 1 Beacon Street, Boston, 5 p.m.

Federal Reserve speech

Lael Brainard, a member of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, will deliver the Malcolm Wiener Lecture in International Political Economy, Institute of Politics, Harvard Kennedy School, 79 JFK St., Cambridge, 6 p.m.

Mass.gov redesign

As part of an upcoming relaunch of the Mass.Gov website, MassIT and the Boston chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts hold a ‘public design critique’ of the state website, District Hall, 75 Northern Ave., Boston, 6 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Has the Trump ‘pivot’ arrived?

Definitely check out James Pindell’s excellent take on Donald Trump’s head-spinning speech last night before Congress, with all of the president’s twists and turns on policies, the surprises and non-surprises, the contradictions and affirmations. As Pindell writes at one point on a seemingly non-Republican pronouncement, “What? Yes, that happened. Just wait.”

All of which leads Pindell to conclude (if summary conclusions are possible for last night’s speech): “Trump may have been inaugurated on Jan. 20, but he might as well become president on Feb. 28. While his inauguration speech will be known for its gloomy words like ‘carnage,’ this speech will be remembered for his upbeat tone about the promise of America.” Herald columnist Joe Battenfeld’s critique of the speech: “It’s the moment Donald Trump actually became president.”

Sorry, we’re not going there. A one-time upbeat speech doesn’t make for a pattern. If anything, the speech fit into another type of presidential pattern: Wild inconsistency.

Boston Globe

Local reactions to the president’s speech

 Bernie Sanders hated Donald Trump’s speech because it didn’t address income inequality, Elizabeth Warren said Trump’s immigration policies have already caused too much damage to the nation’s social fabric, Ed Markey said the speech was “long on rhetoric, and short on details” but Maine’s Susan Collins actually liked some parts of the speech, reports the Globe. See Susan Collins post, btw. Any words she mutters, pro or con Trump, can and will be used against her.) Reps. Niki Tsongas and Seth Moulton say they liked aspects of the speech, but the president’s past actions speak louder than his words, reports the Lowell Sun.

The local guest list

The president’s speech was also a night to bring guests to make a point, according to published reports. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s guest for the evening was Tiba Faraj, an Iraqi refugee, while U.S. Rep Jim McGovern, invited Dr. Babak Movahedi, a surgeon and Muslim, and U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas hosted Susan West Levine, the CEO of Lowell Community Health center and ObamaCare backer. Of course, others, including President Trump himself, had their own guests, to highlight their priorities, reports the AP at ABC News. 

ABC News

Kellyanne’s kneeling on the Oval Office couch is the last straw for columnist

The Herald’s Adriana Cohen is fed up with Trump aide Kellyanne Conway and says she must go. The final straw? Conway kneeling on an Oval Office coach – with her shoes on! – during a presidential ceremony, attracting undue and undignified attention, once again. A photo of the outrageous kneeling incident accompanies the outraged Cohen’s column.

Boston Herald

Rep. Adrian Madaro: Suffolk Downs reportedly sold

The Herald is reporting that Rep. Adrian Madaro and a union official believe that an agreement is in place to sell Suffolk Downs, a prime piece of land that could eventually see a mega-huge redevelopment. “‘It’s my understanding there is’ a purchase-and-sale agreement, Madaro said. ‘I’m not sure if it’s been signed yet.’” Track officials are not confirming or denying the sale reports.

Boston Herald

Report: High housing costs exacerbate racial and economic segregation

It’s now stating the obvious, but it can’t be reiterated enough, as the Globe’s Laura Krantz reports: “Even as Greater Boston becomes more racially diverse, the high cost of housing has left the region increasingly racially and economically segregated over the past five years, a report released Tuesday by a regional planning group said.” 

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s now huge swaths of eastern Massachusetts now effectively off limits to non-upper-middle-class people, due to their high housing costs and, equally important, sky-high property taxes. And it’s indeed a form of racial and economic segregation.

Boston Globe

Former Newburyport mayor killed in plane crash

The former Mayor of Newburyport was killed when his home-built aircraft crashed into a Methuen condo building while attempting to land at a Lawrence airport on Tuesday afternoon. Officials in Newburyport remembered Alan P. Lavender—who was mayor in 2002 and 2003 and also a longtime member of the city council—as a man of integrity whose work on behalf of the city continues to bear fruit today, the Eagle-Tribune reports. 

Eagle Tribune

Lottery looking to leave Braintree

SHNS’s Colin Young at Wicked Local is reporting that the Massachusetts Lottery is looking for a new home outside Braintree, preferably closer to Boston. But Braintree officials want to keep the Lottery in their town, the Patriot Ledger reports. Bottom line: The Lottery is looking to sign a 10-year lease with the option to extend the lease another five years, according to executive director Michael Sweeney.

Felix’s son says whole Arroyo family is ‘under attack’

The son of suspended Suffolk County Probate Register Felix D. Arroyo is rushing to his father’s defense, firing off an email to supporters declaring his entire family is “under attack” from an unjust system – and he’s asking supporters for more money, reports Jack Encarnacao at the Herald.

Boston Herald

Baker shrugs off third Connecticut casino

Gov. Charlie Baker sought to strike an optimistic tone when asked about the decision by Connecticut officials to open a third casino in East Windsor, a short highway ride away from the MGM resort under construction in downtown Springfield, Gintautas Dumcius of MassLive reports. “MGM has said all along, to us anyway, that they feel very good about the site, they feel very good about the plan and they fully expect that they’re going to be successful no matter what happens,” Baker said. 

He might be right to shrug it off. But the economic rules of supply and demand still apply, as does the old real estate ‘location, location, location’ axiom when it comes to business and competition.


Reports warns of critical shortage of human service workers

From Jessica Bartlett a the BBJ: “According to a new report by the Providers’ Council, there is a massive and growing worker shortage in Massachusetts, namely in the human services jobs that provide care to the elderly, the disabled, veteran communities, domestic abuse victims and individuals with substance abuse problems.”


Holyoke, Lawrence and Springfield see huge declines in school dropout rates

This is impressive. Over the past five years, Springfield saw a 57 percent decrease in the dropout rate in its public schools, while Holyoke saw a 54 decline and Lawrence experienced a 51 percent decrease in students dropping out of the city’s four high schools, reports Michelle Williams at MassLive. “The reductions in the three of Massachusetts’ urban school districts follows a statewide trend of more students graduating from high school in four years,” Williams writes.


‘Backers of the Reggie Lewis Center can’t agree who should run it, but do agree the former director got screwed’

Once again an Adam Gaffin headline says it all, this time as it applies to the public hearing the other night on the turmoil surrounding the Reggie Lewis Center. Adam has more on the meeting. 

Universal Hub

A one-room charter school for Old Sturbridge Village? Aye, says board

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has given the green light to a charter for the proposed Old Sturbridge Academy Charter Public School – and the head of Old Sturbridge Village says that the school would be located inside the famous living history museum and have a partnership with Expeditionary Learning, reports Greg Semon at MassLive. The charter school plans to open in September.


NH Senator Hassan wants answers from Logan

From the AP at WGBH: “U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan’s office says it is looking into the case of a 14-year-old New Hampshire boy whose family says he was pulled aside this month for additional screening ahead of his flight to a baseball tournament in Florida.” Sounds like a case of the boy’s name being the same as someone else’s on a government watch list.


The Susan Collins lovefest may soon end in heartbreak

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, has become the darling of the anti-Trump left and many in the media because of her sharp criticisms of President Trump. But David Bernstein at WGBH writes it’s only a matter of time before those swooning for Collins catch on that she’s also reliably voting Republican on key issues, and nominations, and what she’s really doing is walking a political tightrope in politically divided Maine as she prepares for a possible gubernatorial run.


House Speaker Ryan to visit Rhode Island, protests planned

In other New England political news, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan is making a trip to Democratic-controlled Rhode Island to meet with supporters and attend various events on Thursday, reports the Providence Journal. Protesters are already planning to greet Ryan in a not-so-welcoming way, the paper says.

Providence Journal

Harvard professor: Academics and media elite duck debate on immigration trade-offs

George Borjas, a professor of economics and social policy at the Harvard and an immigrant from Cuba, is no fan of Donald Trump. But he writes in a NYT op-ed that Trump is at least dealing with the reality that immigration involves tough economic trade-offs. Borjas questions whether his colleagues in academia – and elite pundits in the media – can acknowledge that economic trade-offs even exist.


Fidelity offers buyouts to 3,000 workers

First, the bad news: Boston’s Fidelity Investments yesterday offered 3,000 of its employees buyout packages, a figure larger than expected and suggesting a major reduction in its overall workforce. Now the good news: The buyouts are voluntary, the packages are quite generous, and there are no current plans for layoffs if few employees take the buyouts, reports Greg Ryan at the BBJ.


Red Line zebra on the loose

The BBJ’s Don Seiffert on what one local company is doing to promote Rare Disease Day: “Cambridge BioMarketing, which specializes in rare disease communications, is launching a social media campaign to raise awareness for rare diseases and the need for research to find cures. As part of the campaign, the agency is wrapping the inside and outside of an MBTA Red Line train car with facts about rare diseases and zebra stripe branding. The term ‘zebra’ is used to denote a diagnosis of a rare disease.” Check out the photo. It’s a pretty cool looking train.


Gov. Baker and Ivanka Trump discussed opioid crisis at White House dinner

Every time we hear the name ‘Ivanka’ we think of the Herald’s Ivana Martini fashion column. In any event, the AP reports at CBS Boston that Gov. Charlie Baker said “he discussed America’s opioid crisis with Ivanka Trump during a National Governors Association dinner in Washington. Baker and his wife, Lauren, were seated next to President Donald Trump’s daughter during the White House dinner on Sunday.”

CBS Boston

Today’s Headlines


Housing costs aggravate area’s inequality, report says – Boston Globe

Report: Half of city school buildings in ‘fair’ condition – Boston Globe

Pair say Suffolk Downs sale reached – Boston Herald

Weak ‘Build BPS’ rollout angers parents – Boston Herald


State agrees to release engineering money to towns for rural broadband – MassLive

Springfield store gives out ‘free’ marijuana with $20 cover charge – MassLive

Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker weighs in on Connecticut’s bid for third casino – MassLive

‘Game changer’ flights from Worcester to NYC planned – Telegram & Gazette

State vows quick replies on Rattlesnake plan – Telegram & Gazette

Judge right to toss Framingham property tax suit, court says – MetroWest Daily News

Wampanoag tribe takes aggressive stance against opioids – Cape Cod Times

T expands Uber, Lyft paratransit options – CommonWealth Magazine

Boston police commissioner Evans: Police can’t prevent ICE immigration raids – WGBH

Mass. health care worker shortage is a ‘perfect storm,’ report says – Boston Business Journal

Anti-discrimination ordinance proposed by Brockton council – Brockton Enterprise


Trump tries on normal – Politico

American Jews on edge after threats and vandalism – New York Times

President Trump’s address to Congress, annotated – NPR

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