Happening Today

Budget hearing, DOT-MBTA meeting, and more

— Students, educators, business leaders, community groups and lawmakers will gather to advocate for additional investment in vocational technical education and passage of a bill that would increase access to such programs, with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Joint Committee on Education House Chair Alice Peisch and state Sen. Eric Lesser expected to attend, Great Hall, 10:30 a.m.

Joint Ways and Means Committee holds fiscal 2010 budget hearing with plans to hear from Baker administration officials about proposed education and local aid spending, Bristol Community College, Building G777, Elsbree Street, Fall River, 11 a.m.

— The Department of Transportation‘s Board of Directors and the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board will hold a joint meeting, State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 12 p.m.

— ‘Radio Boston’ features both sides of the debate over a bill, sponsored by Democrat Rep. Paul Schmid and Republican Rep. Bradley Jones, to ban organized tackle football in Massachusetts through the seventh grade, WBUR-FM 90.9, 3 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, Massachusetts Convention Center Authority Executive Director David Gibbons and Gloucester Economic Development Director Sal DiStefano attend a reception highlighting Gloucester at Seafood Expo North America, Northeast Lobby, Level 1, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, 415 Summer Street, Boston, 1:30 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

Get your St. Patrick’s Day breakfast fix here …

For all you who love wince-inducing political humor, NECN has all the video snippets from yesterday’s annual St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in Boston, featuring Sen. Nick Collins, Gov. Charlie Baker, Senate President Karen Spilka, U.S. Sen. Ed Markey and others. The Herald’s Laurel Sweet and the Globe’s Jeremy Fox have more on the breakfast, including the numerous DNA jokes at a certain senator’s expense.

NECN (videos)

Warren’s southern strategy: Brilliant, desperate or both?

The Globe’s Jess Bidgood and Liz Goodwin report on U.S. Elizabeth Warren’s latest “bold” and “unorthodox” campaign move: Focusing more on southern primary contests that follow the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary. Exhibit A of Warren’s emerging southern strategy: She participates in a CNN Town Hall event in Mississippi tonight.

The southern shift may indeed be a smart move by Warren. But it also looks liked it’s a partly necessary move by Warren. The bottom line: She’s not polling all that well in Iowa and New Hampshire, and she needs some sort of firewall, it would appear, if Bernie Sanders or someone else prevails in earlier states like NH, where, as the Globe’s Victoria McGrane, reports there’s already a ridiculous number of candidates crisscrossing the state. Not that Warren is abandoning New Hampshire, as the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports.

Btw: There’s no doubt Warren’s public unveiling of specific policy proposals is impressing a lot of people, or at least impressing a lot of opinion-page writers, the latest being David Leonhardt at the NYT and Brianna Wu at the Globe.

Hampshire College enrollment estimated to plunge as much as 46 percent

They might want to double check their math. We don’t see how this adds up to survival. From Jim Russell at the MassLive: “Enrollment at financially struggling Hampshire College is expected to plummet, according to President Miriam Nelson, but the organization expects to remain in business as the search for a partner continues. ‘We anticipate that we’ll enroll 600 to 700 students next year, Nelson wrote in to the college community dated March 8.”


To be clear: The NAACP’s convention in Boston is not a stamp of approval for the city

David Bernstein at WGBH goes over some of the behind-the-scenes wrangling it took to get the NAACP to hold its 2020 convention in Boston. And the local chapter of the NAACP wants everyone to know that the convention is not some sort of pat on the back for Boston’s handling of racial issues in the past.


Moulton’s weight-loss company: A failure or a successful failure?

He opened himself up to these type of stories the second he openly admitted he’s mulling a run for president, to wit: The Globe’s Joshua Miller takes a look at U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton’s involvement in a not-so-long-ago weight-loss company that sought to open same-day obesity surgery centers in the Middle East. The start-up, which arguably never even reached the start-up phase, was either a failure or one of those “successful failures” that entrepreneurs love to talk about. Moulton, needless to say, falls into the latter category.

Btw: Another potential candidate is eyeing a possible run for Moulton’s Congressional seat should he seek higher office: “A working-class dude who’s fed up” with America’s political system, reports Ray Lamont at the Salem News.

Boston Globe

Biden and Walsh: Bro pols to the end

Speaking of presidential politics, Hillary Chabot at the Herald reports that there’s one pol in Boston eagerly anticipating the entry of Joe Biden into the Dem presidential race: Marty Walsh, who looks poised to stiff Elizabeth Warren if Biden indeed enters the race.

Boston Herald

Closing the education achievement gap: Fifty years of no progress?

This is pretty depressing. From Meghan Irons at the Boston Globe: “Despite decades of public education reform efforts, the national achievement gap between low-and high-income students has been stagnant for nearly a half century, according to research at Harvard and Stanford universities set to be published Monday in a new study. The achievement gap is as big today as it was for children born in 1954.” Separately, Ben Forman at CommonWealth magazine has an idea that he says could improve education results in general, particularly in Gateway Cities: More local oversight and accountability.

The tangled web they weave, Part II: The Chinese Communist Party angle to the Bob Kraft massage-parlor controversy

It keeps getting worse for Robert Kraft and his crisis-management PR team, assuming he’s hired such a team: The NYT is now reporting that the woman who founded the Florida massage parlor where Kraft allegedly got more than just a massage is involved in various groups and causes associated with the Chinese Communist Party, in addition to her being a big Trump supporter and fundraiser (of highly questionable tactics, it would appear).

Separately, Peter Lucas at the Herald surveys the damage to Kraft’s image and wonders if he can ever recover.


EPA, U.S. attorney sues Quincy over polluting Boston Harbor

From Gintautas Dumcius at the BBJ: “Federal prosecutors and environmental officials have accused the city of Quincy of dumping sewage and untreated wastewater into the harbor and its own beaches in a civil complaint filed in federal court on Friday.”


A tale of torment …

If there’s a classic example of why the proposed Healthy Workplace Bill should be more seriously considered, it’s the case of Marycatherin DeFazio, who, to put it mildly, endured unrelenting torment while working within the state prison system – and the torment, according to the Globe’s Jenna Russell, allegedly came from her own prison-worker colleagues. Nice co-workers, eh?

Boston Globe

Is Beacon Hill finally ready to tackle transportation funding?

The AP’s Steve LeBlanc at the Sentinel & Enterprise and Adam Vaccaro at the Globe report that Beacon Hill lawmakers, including House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Karen Spilka, appear open to tax hikes to fund transportation improvements in Massachusetts. The big question is whether Gov. Charlie Baker is open to the idea. Speaking of Spilka, the Globe’s Jon Chesto reports that the Senate president is seeking the business community’s help on a wide range of issues, not just transportation.

Worcester launches year of honoring Robert Goddard, developer of early rockets

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing, the city of Worcester is launching a year of festivities to honor one of the scientists most responsible for getting rockets off the ground in general: Robert Goddard. The Telegram has the deails.


Meanwhile, tribe and three countries band together to plan 400th anniversary of Pilgrims landing

Another upcoming historic anniversary. From the AP at South Coast Today: “Native American leaders are teaming up with groups in the U.S., Britain and the Netherlands to ensure next year’s commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrim landing showcases the harsh legacy of colonization. Events are planned in all three countries in 2020 to reflect on the Pilgrims’ arrival in 1620 in what is now Massachusetts.”

South Coast Today

Dominick J. Arena, police chief in Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick case, RIP

Despite a long career serving in a number of towns, Dominick J. Arena knew he would be publicly remembered for largely one thing: As the Edgartown police chief who initially investigated and arrested Sen. Ted Kennedy for leaving the scene of the Chappaquiddick accident that led to the death of Mary Jo Kopechne in 1969. Arena, 89, died earlier this month. The Globe’s Bryan Marquard and the Community Advocate have more.

The never ending fascination with Lizzie Borden

We’re mighty tempted to buy this book after the NYT’s positive review of Cara Robertson’s new “The Trial of Lizzie Borden.” The reviewer calls the book “enthralling” and gives a good description of the local reaction to the infamous murder in Fall River: “The case seized the town like a sickness. ‘Where to Look for Your Wife’ ran a headline in the Fall River Daily Globe, over an item describing the ‘crowd of morbid females who are storming the door of the county court house.’ Some locals called for the mystery to be solved lest the town go insane.”


Lawmakers and business officials seek ‘tweak’ to offshore wind contracts

We’re tempted to say ‘no need to fix what’s not broken,’ but this appears (repeat: appears) to be a minor request by 50 elected and business officials to “tweak” the contract process for procuring offshore wind in order to help “onshore development” investments, as Bruce Mohl reports at CommonWealth magazine.


Cambridge and Somerville to create immigrant ‘defense fund’

From the AP at Boston.com: “The Boston-area cities of Cambridge and Somerville are creating a fund to help pay the legal costs for immigrants. Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern and Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone say they’ll announce the creation of the United Legal Defense Fund for Immigrants on Monday at Cambridge City Hall along with community and regional immigrant advocates.


Farm workers win overtime in SJC ruling

Score one for the bean pickers over the bean counters. The Mass. Supreme Judicial Court on Friday sided with farm workers at a Whately bean sprout processing plant, saying they are entitled to overtime pay, Scott Merzbach reports at the Daily Hampshire Gazette. Advocates cheered the ruling, which found the processing work was not covered by an exemption in state law for direct agricultural work. 


Lawmakers seek to bar judges from sending lapsed drug addicts to jail

The Supreme Judicial Court has spoken. Now some lawmakers say it’s time for the Legislature to have its say on the controversial practice of judges sending defendants to jail if they fail mandatory drug tests while on probation, reports the Globe’s Maria Cramer.

The ‘free-spending’ cultural council requests another $2M

You know where the Herald stands on this request. From the Herald’s Joe Dwinell: “The free-spending Massachusetts Cultural Council is leaning on taxpayers for another $2 million budget hike — even as staffers continue to ring up hefty tabs for cross-country air travel, swank hotels, lavish meals and even gassing up the director’s take-home state-provided car.”

Boston Herald

Eyes in the sky: Post-explosions, Lawrence plans drone purchase

Lawrence is taking steps to launch a drone program for its police and fire departments, technology the city says could have helped it more quickly assess the scope of the gas explosion emergency that rocked the region last fall, Jill Harmacinski reports at the Eagle-Tribune. 

Eagle Tribune

Scary stuff: Weld says being Mueller’s boss ‘terrifying’

Bill Weld may have found a way to boost the relevance of his potential Republican primary challenge to President Trump: Talk more about a certain guy who used to work for him. Weld told CNN’s Michael Smerconish that supervising Robert Mueller while both worked for the U.S. Department of Justice was “terrifying” because of how well prepared and informed the Mueller was. By the way, Weld also got the ‘who is this guy’ treatment from Tim Dickinson in Rolling Stone over the weekend, complete with a Q&A in which Weld predicts his campaign will have access to plenty of cash and also drops the SAT word ‘contumacious’ to describe how President Trump views the rule of law.


Exploring Race Through Drama

Keith Hamilton Cobb, actor and author of American Moor, and David Howse, executive director of ArtsEmerson, examine the powerful role performance can play in catalyzing conversations on race, equality, and social challenges with Lizzy Cooper Davis, a professor at Emerson working at the intersection of arts and social justice.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

NOVA Science Café: Decoding the Climate from Ancient Lakes & Caves

Learn how studying ancient lakes and caves can teach us about modern climate change, and see samples of ancient algae and stalagmites from all over the world.

NOVA Science Café

Reimagining the Economic Future Is All About Technology

Engage in a discussion with Dr. Robert A. Gough, Jr. Managing Director of Chatham Hill, about the questions which now must be considered in understanding the economic landscape over the next several years at the North Shore Technology Council’s Annual Economic Forum. Wednesday, March 20, 2018, 7:00-9:00 AM, 100 Cummings Center, Suite 221E, Beverly, MA. Register at www.nstc.org.

North Shore Technology Council

Women’s Legislative Breakfast

The Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus will host our first annual Women’s Legislative Breakfast at the State House on Thursday, March 21, 2019 in celebration of Women’s History Month.

Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus

STEM and the Massachusetts Workforce Challenge

Already, the college degree pipeline in Massachusetts is inadequate to meet demand, and workforce supply, especially in STEM fields, must be better cultivated in the Commonwealth’s own backyard. Join us as we bring together business, education and public policy leaders to discuss the critical topic of the interconnection between STEM education, public policy and the changing needs in Massachusetts’ workforce.

State House News Forum

Kathy Kelly: Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan: What’s happening and what can we do?

Kathy is just coming off her fast to call attention to the need for the U.S. to end its joint war with the Saudis against Yemen. She is the founder of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, and for many years has visited the war-torn countries of the Middle East and supported those working for peace in those countries.

Massachusetts Peace Action

Fun in the Tropics at Franklin Park Zoo

Escape to the Tropics with the Zoo’s young professionals group, The Wild Things, at Franklin Park Zoo! Join us in your best luau gear as you dance and limbo your way through the Tropical Forest with friends!

Franklin Park Zoo

Today’s Headlines


Scooter startup Bird lays off 5 percent of employees – Boston Business Journal

Quincy on cutting edge of battling firefighter cancers – Patriot Ledger


Members of Mashpee Wampanoag tribal council face ouster – Cape Cod Times

Worcester may see first School Committee preliminary election in 38 years – Telegram & Gazette

SJC rules workers at Whatley farm entitled to overtime pay – Daily Hampshire Gazette


Bernie Sanders’ staff unionizes in presidential campaign first – CNN

Flawed analysis, failed oversight: How Boeing, FAA certified the suspect 737 MAX flight control system – Seattle Times

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