Happening Today

‘Trouble in Toyland,’ Cannabis Commission, roadway safety

— Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development is expected to release local area unemployment statistics for October 2017.

— U.S. Rep. James McGovern early this morning starts the second and final day of Monte’s March, a 43-mile anti-hunger walk, with U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III joining McGovern in Sunderland; march starts at McGovern’s Northampton office and finishes at Magpie in Greenfield around 6 p.m.

Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition hosts a Thanksgiving luncheon – ‘Our Shared Table’ — to celebrate America’s immigrants past and present, State House – Great Hall, 11:30 a.m.

— Public interest research group MASSPIRG releases its 32nd annual Trouble in Toyland report highlighting dangers behind the toys that are popular this holiday season, with Rep. Jay Livingstone among those expected to speak, Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center, Ace’s Place Playroom, 8th Floor, 800 Washington St., Boston, 10 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Secretary of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennett and State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey to honor at the 28th annual “Firefighter of the Year” awards ceremony, Mechanics Hall, 321 Main St, Worcester, 10 a.m.

— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg chairs the Massachusetts Retirement Board meeting, One Winter Street, 8th Floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

Massachusetts Gaming Commission meets with an agenda that calls for a mid-year budget report and votes on various small business impact statements, 101 Federal St., 12th floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

Cannabis Control Commission meets to discuss the timeline to hire a director of communications and general counsel and the timeline the CCC expects for its drafting of regulations, One Ashburton Place, 21st floor, Boston, 10:30 a.m.

— U.S. Stephen Lynch appears on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 12 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker speaks at the 2017 Team Massachusetts Economic Impact Awards, Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, 606 Congress St., Boston, 12:45 p.m.

— The Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities meets to review about two dozen miscellaneous bills, including legislation regarding licensure and regulation of au pair and nanny agencies, Hearing Room A-1, 1 p.m.

— Attorney General Maura Healey is a guest server at the Table of Friends event on the TD Garden arena floor, TD Garden, 100 Legends Way, Boston, 1 p.m.

— The Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities reviews about two dozen miscellaneous bills up for a hearing, Room A-1, 1 p.m.

Cannabis Advisory Board’s Industry Subcommittee meets to discuss its recommendations relative to licensing, registration and packaging, seed-to-sale tracking and tier measurement, and social consumption, Saltonstall Building, 100 Cambridge St., 2nd Floor Meeting Room, Boston, 1 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver, Undersecretary of Public Safety and Security Jennifer Queally, and Massachusetts Highway Safety Director Jeff Larason to highlight legislation regarding safety on Massachusetts roadways, Highway Operations Center, 50 Trilling Rd, Boston, 2 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins cabinet members, legislators and others to sign legislation providing increased bond authorization, Room 360, 3:15 p.m.

— MSNBC ‘Hardball’ host Chris Matthews will discuss his new book ‘Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit’ at a special event hosted by O’Neill and Associates, Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowes Wharf, 6:30 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Collective punishment for fishermen tied to the ‘Codfather’

This sort of sounds extreme, though it’s odd some of the disgraced Codfather’s boats are still active. From David Abel at the Globe: “In an unprecedented punishment, federal regulators Monday ordered scores of commercial fishermen in Massachusetts to return their vessels to shore after the owner of many of the boats, a New Bedford fishing mogul known as ‘The Codfather,’ failed to account for the fish they caught and orchestrated a massive fraud. The move immediately prohibits 60 permit holders, including 22 active vessels, from going back to sea until at least the start of the new fishing season in May.”

Boston Globe

Fellowship of the Accused

The Globe’s Kevin Cullen, who once did a Harvard fellowship with Al Franken, relays a not-so-funny story about Franken when he was a full-time comedian and before he became an embattled senator fending off yet another groping allegation (as reported by NPR ). …

… Another day, another accusation, this time against PBS talk-master Charlie Rose ( NYT ). … Former WCVB-TV anchor Heather Unruh is keeping the public pressure on actor Kevin Spacey ( Globe ). … The Globe’s Joan Vennochi and the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld have columns about Bill Clinton – then and now.

The NYT’s baffling MBTA reliability statistic that left even the T gobsmacked

To make its point that the New York transit system is almost beyond hope, the NYT recently reported that, by comparison, transit agencies in Boston and elsewhere have far better service reliability ratings – and in Boston’s case, a 97 percent reliability rating. No one – and we mean, no one, not even the T – believes that the T’s service runs on time 97 percent of the time. Spencer Buell at Boston Magazine has the dumbfounded reaction in Boston to the Times story.

Boston Magazine

As if on cue … MBTA train derails on the Haverhill Line

This must be one of those 3 percent of the times the T isn’t running like clockwork (snort). From WCVB-TV (with video): “An MBTA commuter rail train derailed in Andover on Monday morning. Train 208 inbound from Haverhill went through a misaligned switch between Ballardvale Station and Wilmington Station, which resulted in a slow speed, upright derailment of the two leading cars, the MBTA said. he 400 passengers on board were moved to bus shuttles at Ballardvale.”


Shortage of conductors causing rail delays?

We’re not quite sure how a shortage of conductors leads to T breakdowns and derailments, but we are sure a shortage can’t help. From the Herald’s Matt Stout: “The MBTA’s beleaguered commuter rail line — recently deemed the most breakdown-prone in the U.S. — is delaying trains and leaving commuters in the lurch because it doesn’t have enough conductors to check tickets, even as crucial plans to overhaul many aging locomotives are already months behind.”

Boston Herald

MBTA’s ‘two-pronged’ spending strategy

As expected, it was a big spending day yesterday at the T, with nearly $2B in contracts awarded for the Green Line extension and a new fare system. The moves show how the Baker administration is taking a “two-pronged approach” toward MBTA finances, i.e. reining in short-term operational costs while committing to big long-term capital projects, reports the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro.

Boston Globe

Report: Feds investigating Harvard over affirmative action policies, accuse school of not cooperating

From the Wall Street Journal: “The U.S. Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the use of race in Harvard University’s admissions practices and has accused the university of failing to cooperate with the probe, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.” This has ideology and anti-Ivy League written all over it.

Fyi: The NYT had a story over the weekend on Maine’s Edward Blum, the “one-man legal factory” who’s made it his mission to take on racial-preference programs across the country, including the current case involving Harvard University’s affirmative action policies.

WSJ (pay wall)

Formidable Attleboro councilor first to bid for Heroux seat

It may be Thanksgiving week, but this is Massachusetts, so it must be special election season somewhere: In the wake of the decision by Attleboro Mayor-elect Paul Heroux to step down from his House post, Attleboro City Councilor Julie Hall became the first candidate to declare for his legislative seat. Hall, a Republican and Air Force veteran, is considered a formidable candidate. Heroux has alluded to her popularity as one of the reasons why he originally didn’t want to give up his seat.

Sun Chronicle

Dems urge Baker to withdraw support for GOP candidate who’s not a clone of Baker

SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the Sentinel & Enterprise has the details on how some Dems apparently think Gov. Baker should impose some sort of socially liberal purity test on state GOP candidates who he backs. In this case, it’s a Republican candidate in a special Senate election in north central Massachusetts who differs with Baker on public funding for Planned Parenthood and the transgender-rights bill. Fyi: SHNS (pay wall) is reporting Baker is standing by Dean Tran.

Sentinel & Enterprise

Surrounded by Dems, Baker signs free contraception bill

Here’s why the above Dem strategy against Gov. Baker won’t work with average voters. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy at WBSM: “Gov. Charlie Baker signed a law Monday that insulates Massachusetts from federal changes to birth control coverage under Obamacare, protecting a woman’s right to free contraception in a move that supporters, including the governor, cheered as a message to Republicans in Washington.”


Obamacare enrollments up 41 percent in Mass.

Apparently, Mass. residents didn’t get the president’s memo that Obamacare is all but dead. More than 26,000 people have purchased insurance under the program for 2018, more than 40 percent ahead of last year’s pace at this time, Jonathan Dame of the MetroWest Daily News reports. 

MetroWest Daily News

Environmentalists laud Trump’s local EPA pick? Really?

It’s true. Read for yourself. From Mary Serreze at MassLive: “The Trump administration’s pick to lead Region I of the Environmental Protection Agency is drawing praise from environmental groups. Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, a Rockport native, will lead the agency’s Boston office, overseeing federal programs in the six New England states, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt announced Thursday. Conservation Law Foundation president Bradley Campbell referred to Dunn, 50, as ‘a superb choice.’”


Local Haitian immigrants at risk due to Trump order

This was sort of expected, but it still comes as a shock to many. From Shannon Dooling at WBUR: “The Trump administration announced Monday night that the temporary immigration status known as Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, will expire as of July 22, 2019 for the nearly 5,000 Haitians living in Massachusetts. … Senior administration officials say that conditions on the ground in Haiti have improved significantly since the 2010 earthquake that prompted the country’s TPS status.” It’s a long time till July 2019, so we haven’t heard the last of this.


Local mayors hail fund ruling on sanctuary cities

Speaking of immigration matters, Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera are happy sanctuary-city campers this morning after a federal judge in San Francisco blocked President Trump’s order to cut funding to communities that explicitly protect immigrants. The Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo has more.

Boston Herald

Ropes & Gray names its first female chair

Amid all the news of sexual harassment and misconduct, this is welcome glass-ceiling news, via the city’s largest law firm. From the BBJ’s Greg Ryan: “Boston-based Robes & Gray LLP partner Julie Jones will become the law firm’s chairperson in 2020, making her the first woman to hold that position in the firm’s 152-year history. Jones will replace current chair R. Bradford Malt, who plans to retire at that time, the firm said Monday.”


Baker says legislative legal fees need review

From the Herald’s Bob McGovern: “Secretive taxpayer-funded attorneys fees paid to outside law firms for matters involving state lawmakers and staff need to be examined — and possibly ended — Gov. Charlie Baker said yesterday in the wake of a Boston Herald report on the payments totaling nearly $1 million. ‘I do think it’s worth taking a look at whether there should be some sort of structure in place that requires these fees to be publicly noted with respect to what they’re for,’ Baker said”.”

Boston Herald

Farewell to an FCC rule that sparked epic media and political battles in Boston

The Federal Communications Commission has killed an old rule that banned common ownership of newspapers and TV and radio stations in the same city – and WGBH’s Dan Kennedy takes a trip down memory lane on how the regulation caused a sort of rolling, decades-long donnybrook in Boston involving the Kennedys, Tip O’Neill, Robert “Beanie” Choate of the Herald, the Globe’s Taylor family, Globe staffers, Rupert Murdoch and anyone else foolish enough to get in the way.


Treating inmates and ex-cons with common-sense decency

Tucked into the various criminal-justice reform bills passed by the House and Senate are provisions that would A.) allow the families of murder victims who may have had criminal records to qualify for state burial assistance (SHNS – pay wall) and B.) require prisons and jails to offer inmates all approved addiction medications (Boston Globe). Maybe we’re reading these provisions wrong, but they strike us as reasonable acts of common-sense decency. Re the second provision, we understand prison officials’ legitimate concerns about contraband, but do we really want people released from prisons and jails still hopelessly addicted to drugs and more prone to commit new crimes as a result? Again, maybe we’re reading this provision wrong.

UMass Medical sticks with VC vet to run its business spinoff program

Max Stendahl at the BBJ reports that the University of Massachusetts Medical School has named Jim Glasheen, a veteran venture capitalist, to lead its business development efforts, replacing Brendan O’Leary, another former venture capitalist who joined the school three years ago when the post was first created.


L’Italien makes it official in 3rd District

The worst-kept secret in Massachusetts politics is now officially out in the open. Barbara L’Italien has officially announced her candidacy for the 3rd District congressional seat, Kelsey Bode of the Eagle-Tribune reports.

Eagle Tribune

Sorry, Boston: You’re only a C+ student at Amazon U

Here is one list of potential Amazon HQ2 landing sites that doesn’t put Boston among the finalists, or even ranks it as much more than a middle-of-the-pack contender: CNBC gave Boston a grade of C+ on the things the e-retailer is likely looking for in a host city. That puts Boston behind Atlanta, Washington D.C., and the Texas megapolis, but it’s a better grade than New York City (D) and Chicago (D+). Boston’s report card is marred by an F in location and a D+ in ‘stability.’


Presinar: Everblue Presents: Sparks Fly! Onsite Renewable Energy Production in Boston

CIC Boston

Tech-Based Training for Health Care Workers on the Move

Commonwealth Corporation

Criminalizing Poverty in America

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Today’s Headlines


Curious George store gets long-term home in developer’s revised Harvard Square plan – Cambridge Day

Tiny units, but with luxury extras, are newest South End housing strategy – Boston Globe


3 Lenox residents appeal judge’s ruling in Berkshire Museum art sale case – Berkshire Eagle

Latest performance report for Pilgrim lists 7 violations – Cape Cod Times

Braintree mayor wants a year’s ban on marijuana production facilities – Patriot Ledger

Virgin Pulse moving global HQ from Framingham – Boston Business Journal


FCC is said to plan full repeal of net neutrality rules – New York Times

Leading Trump census pick causes alarm – Politico

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