Happening Today

Gaming commission, retirement board, and more

— Gov. Charlie Baker this morning delivers opening remarks at the launch of MIT’s Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing, Kresge Auditorium, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge.

Massachusetts Gaming Commission meets to privately discuss litigation related to the Steve Wynn case, followed by an open meeting at which it will get an update from executive director Ed Bedrosian and review quarterly reports from Plainridge Park Casino and MGM Springfield representatives, 101 Federal Street, 12th Floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

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

— Sen. Adam Hinds and the Massachusetts Rural Schools Coalition will host Rural Schools Advocacy Day, with Rep. Natalie Blais and Michael Buoniconti, the chair of the Massachusetts Rural Schools Coalition, among those speaking, Room 222, 10:30 a.m.

— The Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Caucus holds a briefing on sentencing reform, with co-chairs Sen. Jamie Eldridge and Rep. Mary Keefe delivering remarks, Room 437, 11 a.m.

— Senate President Karen Spilka speaks at the Women’s Suffrage Celebration Coalition of Massachusetts’ Commemoration of the Boston Protest of 1919, Grand Staircase, 12 p.m.

For more calendar listings, check out State House News Service’s Daily Advances (pay wall – free trial subscriptions available) and MassterList’s Beacon Hill Town Square below.

Today’s Stories

Stars of the day (besides Michael Cohen): Steve Lynch and Ayanna Pressley

In case you didn’t know, Michael Cohen, the former attorney for President Trump, testified in Washington yesterday, accusing the president of the United States of lying, cheating, breaking the law and spewing racist remarks. Cohen was the unmistakable star of the show yesterday. But our very own U.S. Reps. Stephen Lynch and Ayanna Pressley were also stars, of the supporting actor kind.

Spencer Buell at Boston Magazine reports on the “distinct Boston charm” of Lynch’s you-can’t-handle-the-truth confrontation with Republicans. Meanwhile, Jacqueline Tempera at MassLive reports on Pressley’s now already mini-classic question to Cohen: “Would you agree that someone who has denied rentals to black people, referred to the African diaspora as s—hole countries, and called white nationalists very nice people could have a black friend and still be racist?”

The Globe’s Jaclyn Reiss has a summary of the local contributions to yesterday’s dramatic hearing. All in all, it was a pretty amazing day.

Rats, rats and more rats

It seems everyone’s talking about rats this morning, as in the Michael Cohen type of rat. The Herald’s Michael Graham knows that Michael Cohen is a rat. But he still believes what he said yesterday in Washington. The Globe’s Joan Vennochi asks the eternal question: “Can a lying rat ever tell the truth?” The answer, basically, is yes, she writes. Meanwhile, the Herald’s front-page headline this morning reads simply: “RAT POISON.”

Connecting the Cohen hearing and Robert Kraft dots …

The Globe’s Yvonne Abraham pulls off the seemingly near impossible: Convincingly connecting the gawkers outside the Orchids of Asia Spa in Florida, where a certain NFL owner was allegedly seen frequenting, and yesterday’s hearing in which Michael Cohen testified that the president of the United States ordered the payment of hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels. Powerful men. Money. Prostitutes. Carnival-like atmosphere. Yes, you can say they’re connected.

Boston Globe

Closing the ‘bodyworks loophole’ in Massachusetts

Speaking of l’affaire Kraft, the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports that state Sen. Mark Montigny and others are supporting legislation that they say will close a loophole in state law that allows bodyworks establishments – similar to the one in Florida that a certain NFL owner was allegedly seen frequenting – to go unlicensed and thus unregulated. They say the bill would help combat human trafficking.

Btw: Bob Kraft can rest assured. From the Sun Chronicle: “Hockomock YMCA still embraces relationship with Kraft.”

Boston Herald

Rosenberg’s husband seeks dismissal of charges because, as we all know, a ‘kiss is just a kiss’

Speaking of sexual affairs of a different kind, from Laurel Sweet at the Herald: “The estranged husband of former Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg is lobbying to get two of 10 sexual misconduct charges he was indicted on dismissed ahead of his June trial. ‘Sometimes a kiss is just a kiss,’ Bryon Hefner’s attorney Tracy Miner said in Suffolk Superior Court Wednesday on behalf of dropping one of five indecent assault and battery charges her 31-year-old client faces.”

Repeat: Baker thinks safe-consumption sites ain’t going to happen – so deal with it

The governor said roughly the same thing the day before last, but he was more adamant yesterday. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “Gov. Charlie Baker forcefully rejected the idea Wednesday that Massachusetts should experiment with safe drug injection sites, dismissing it as a waste of time after U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling has made clear he would prosecute any supervised drug use facility. … ‘I’m not going to stand around and wait for something that can’t happen,’ Baker said Wednesday after repeatedly being asked if he would consider the idea.”

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Felice Freyer reports on the legally murky and thorny idea of establishing safe-consumption sites here and elsewhere.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

L’Italien eyes Moulton challenge, citing his ‘stupidity,’ among other things

This got real in a hurry. Former state Sen. Barbara L’Italien says she may challenge U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton in the 6th District Democratic primary in 2020, even as Moulton himself tests the presidential waters, Thomas Grillo reports at the Lynn Item. L’Italien, who finished fourth in the massive Democratic primary to fill the state’s 3rd Congressional seat last year, said Moulton is “vulnerable because of the stupidity he engaged in” during the House speakership fight and because he “clearly has set his sights on the presidency.”

Lynn Item

Throwing down the revenue gauntlet: Councilors look at withholding funds till T improves service

In a post headlined ‘Potential Boston T party brewing,’ Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin reports that the Boston City Council yesterday agreed to examine whether city funds should be withheld from the MBTA until the transit agency meets set performance standards. We’re talking $85 million a year.  Meanwhile, the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter has more on the “class warfare” that’s broken out over the T’s proposed fare hikes. 

In an editorial, the Globe says the state should start thinking of other ways to help raise funds for the T, other than just raising fares, and it even suggests new tolls on I-93 and I-95. It’s a somewhat shocking proposal because, well, we’ve gotten used to people oh-so-bravely calling for ever higher tolls on current Pike/Tobin motorists, while letting everyone else drive free.

Universal Hub

Healey bans e-cigarette seller for marketing products to minors

From Max Reyes at the Globe: “Attorney General Maura Healey’s office has ordered an online electronic cigarette vendor to halt sales in Massachusetts because it advertised on a website frequented by minors and did not have a way of verifying a buyer’s age. … The attorney general’s office alleges California-based Kilo E-Liquids advertised its products on myhomeworkapp.com, an educational website frequented by students and school employees.”

Boston Globe

Pee Wee backlash: Parents and coaches blitz proposal to ban youth football tackling

Peter Jasinski at the Herald News and Rick Sobey at the Lowell Sun report on the growing opposition to legislation on Beacon Hill that would ban tackle youth football in Massachusetts. Tweets New England Patriots center David Andrews on the bill: “This is really sad to me as someone who has played this game since I was 6 years old.”

Our mind hippity-hops to yesterday’s Globe piece exploring the dark killjoy side of the Boston psyche. Different subject. But same idea: The region’s penchant for banning and restricting things people like.

Toxic-boss backlash: WBUR journalists approve union

Martha Bebinger at WBUR reports that journalists at the station yesterday overwhelmingly voted in favor of unionizing, a year after the high-profile firing of On Point host Tom Ashbrook, who reportedly had created an “abusive work environment” that partially led to the unionization drive.


Climate change: How a small change can lead to a big debate

The Globe’s David Abel reports that a seemingly small provision in Gov. Charlie Baker’s budget has sparked debate on how to deal with climate change. It comes down this: Should money go to prevent climate change or to deal with the effect of climate change, i.e. resiliency matters?

Yet another Springfield police video, yet another controversy

Dan Glaun at MassLive reports on the latest Springfield police controversy captured on video and he doesn’t mince words: The cop involved “filed a false report on the incident, according to documents obtained by MassLive.” Check out the video of the high-school incident. You decide. Glaun appears on safe journalistic ground when he writes the police officer’s written official report “departs from observable reality” in the video.


At last, the Platonic ideal of Boston driving, aka Worcester’s Kelley Square, is getting a makeover

The Telegram’s Steven Foskett Jr. reports that audience members last night generally liked what they say in terms of the state’s plan to redo one of the craziest intersections in Massachusetts: Worcester’s Kelley Square.

The Globe’s Nestor Ramos has a fun piece this morning on Kelley Square, a true masterpiece of roadway mayhem, a “Platonic ideal of Boston driving (which, yes, happens to be in Worcester).” He thinks the state ought to put up a commemorative plaque in Kelley Square after the reconfiguration work is finished.


House approves $135M in supplemental spending

From SHNS’s Colin Young: “The House of Representatives passed its first significant bill of the young legislative session Wednesday, unanimously endorsing a bill that adds $135 million in mid-year spending at a time when tax collections are trailing behind projections.” Young has all the spending details, including extra funds for home-heating programs.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Rembrandt levels? Whitey Bulger’s letters from prison fetch staggering high of $1,430

Newly found Rembrandts may have the art world all excited (NYT). But they got nothing on this. From AP at WGBH: “Letters written behind bars by notorious Boston gangster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger have sold for as much as $1,430 at an auction. The letters auctioned Sunday provide a glimpse into Bulgers life behind bars before he was killed by fellow inmates last year.”

Think about it: That’s about one winter season’s worth of heating oil. Simply staggering.


Why Biden should be shouting ‘Run, Bernie run!’

The Herald’s Hillary Chabot says that former Vice President Joe Biden should welcome a hotly contested Democratic presidential primary in New Hampshire between progressive darlings Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. The obvious reason: A split progressive vote will only help a centrist, like him, if he ever enters the race.

Meanwhile, Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports that not all members of the state’s congressional delegation are rushing to endorse Warren for president. She has the MIA names.

Cashing in: Mashpee tribe still paying Taunton as casino project idles

Despite stalled construction, multiple legal issues and dire financial conditions, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe continues to make annual payments to the city of Taunton, including more than half-a-million dollars delivered in recent days, Tanner Stening reports at the Cape Cod Times. The payment is the third the tribe has made in connection with a 2012 agreement with Taunton to host the casino on tax-exempt land the tribe claims as its own.

Cape Cod Times

Rollins: DAs have got the real power

This feels like it could rub some on Beacon Hill the wrong way. Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins says she and the 10 other district attorneys across the state are the ones with the real power to reform the criminal justice system. Speaking at Massasoit Community College, Rollins said unlike other elected officials who have built-in checks on their actions, DAs answer only to voters, Ben Berke reports at the Enterprise.


Boston Divest/Reinvest Hearing

The Boston City Council will hold a hearing on pension fund disclosure, socially responsible investment and reinvestment. Join the Divest/Invest Campaign to raise issues of divestment from fossil fuels, private prison companies, weapons manufacturers and the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and of the need for productive investment in Boston jobs and neighborhoods.

Massachusetts Peace Action

NAIOP @ Night at Bully Boy Distillers

Join NAIOP at Bully Boy Distillers, Boston’s first craft distillery, specializing in Whiskey, Rum, Gin, Vodka and Amaro.

NAIOP Massachusetts

Chamber Networking Group

This free, members-only event is designed specifically for our member companies who want to expand their network of contacts, generate new business leads, and learn the most effective strategies for networking. Attendees take part in a group “speed networking” and leave with at least twenty new business contacts. Don’t forget your business cards!

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

Venezuela: Sanctions, Elections and Attempted Coup

Will the crisis lead to a major new war? The US is trying to overthrow the Maduro government with military threats, economic warfare and diplomatic isolation. But the solutions for the problems in Venezuela are for the Venezuelans to decide. The peace movement must oppose US intervention and support a resolution through peaceful dialogue!

Massachusetts Peace Action

The Breakfast Club

Please join us for this event which features a speaking program, salutes to area businesses and a networking breakfast. More than 300 area professionals attend.

Worcester Chamber of Commerce

Author Talk and Book Signing with Dina Vargo

Author Talk and Book Signing with Historian Dina Vargo, Author of Hidden History of Boston

State Library of Massachusetts

Today’s Headlines


What’s next for GE’s headquarters site in Boston? – Boston Business Journal

Satanic temple co-founder accuses Boston City Council of discrimination – Boston Globe


Hampshire faculty table vote of no confidence – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Attorney: Defendant in Falmouth MAGA hat dispute in US legally – Cape Cod Times

Framingham: FSU police investigate ‘bias note’ left for student – MetroWest Daily News


House passes most significant gun bill in two decades – NPR

Trump, Kim abruptly cut summit short – Washington Post

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