Happening Today

Iwo Jima Day, Democratic presidential debate, and more

— After the Gaming Commission meets to select topics for discussion at future meetings, the commission’s Horse Racing Committee meets, followed by a public hearing on two proposed regulations, 101 Federal St., 12th floor, Boston, with the first meeting starting at 9:30 a.m. the second at 11 a.m. and the third at 2 p.m.

— Marine Corps League Department of Massachusetts marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima with its annual Iwo Jima Day ceremony, featuring Marine Corps Deputy Commandant Lt. General George Smith. Gov. Charlie Baker and honorees General Joseph Dunford and New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft, Memorial Hall, 11 a.m.

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s board meets, with an agenda that calls for the election and appointment of officers and committee assignments, five contract awards, and approval of the 2020 affirmative action plan, 100 First Avenue, 2nd Floor, Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, 1 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Mayor Marty Walsh, Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, Rep. Jon Santiago and others participate in an announcement relative to funding for the Urban Agenda grant program, Black Market, 2136 Washington Street, Roxbury, 1:30 p.m.

— Democrats vying for the 2020 U.S. presidential nomination, including U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, participate in a televised debate ahead of the Nevada caucuses on Saturday, NBC News, MSNBC, 9 p.m.

For the most comprehensive listing of calendar items, check out State House News Service’s Daily Advances (pay wall – free trial subscriptions available), as well as MassterList’s Beacon Hill Town Square below.

Today’s Stories

Senate debate: So tell us again why Kennedy is running?

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey and U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy finally faced off last evening, in their first televised debate since Kennedy announced he was challenging the Democratic incumbent, as WGBH’s Arjun Singh and the Globe’s Victoria McGrane and Zoe Greenberg report. The two Democrats agreed on most domestic issues, but there were some sharp disagreements over foreign policy issues, as the Globe reports. Here’s the full video of the WGBH-hosted debate.

But here’s the headline that caught our attention this morning, via CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl: “Kennedy’s rationale for run remains fuzzy/ Promises to upend DC power structure in debate with Markey.” And the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky pursued the same angle, reporting that “Kennedy faced a reckoning of his own Tuesday, when he was repeatedly asked by WGBH moderators during the debate — and afterward by the press — why he would make a better senator than the incumbent.” 

Rep. Nangle’s arrest: Just the latest official to run afoul of the feds

The big news on Beacon Hill yesterday was actually huge news: The arrest of state Rep. David Nangle, a top House leader and a member of the Ethics Committee, on a long, long list of corruption charges that add up to a “systemic pattern of theft and fraud,” as U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling’s office announced. CommonWealth magazine’s Sarah Betancourt and SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) have more on the charges, allegedly and ultimately tied to the Lowell Democrat’s “extensive gambling” debts.

Here’s a sampling of some of the headlines: “Nangle spent over $111K in campaign funds at three restaurants to conceal debts he owed them” (MassLive) and “Cash withdrawals, casino trips and golf club memberships” (also MassLive). From the Lowell Sun: “Nangle arrives in federal courtroom in handcuffs and shackles, pleads not-guilty.” Meanwhile, from CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg: “DeLeo calls Nangle allegations ‘serious and troubling.’”

Needless to say, the Herald’s Howie Carr is having a field day. And the Globe’s editorial board argues “it shouldn’t always take the Feds to fight corruption at the state level.”

Practice round: Warren plans to go after ‘egomaniac billionaire’ tonight

Michael Bloomberg as sparring partner? From CNBC: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren tore into rival Mike Bloomberg on Tuesday, forecasting that his appearance on the Democratic debate stage in Las Vegas (tonight) will allow his rivals to demonstrate their skills at taking on an ‘egomaniac billionaire’ such as President Donald Trump.”

The Globe’s Jess Bidgood has more on how Dem candidates like Warren are “champing at the bit” to confront Bloomberg tonight. The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld thinks Warren’s sole job at this point, whether she likes it or not, is to siphon progressive votes away from Bernie Sanders.


Bloomberg touts his Medford roots in video (without mentioning Medford)

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York who’s now surging in Dem presidential polls,  has released a new video touting his humble roots growing up in Medford, WCVB reports. There’s a note on the video mentioning “Medford” but Bloomberg himself never mutters “Medford” and certainly not “Massachusetts,” and so the world is denied the chance, at least for now, to determine whether he’s dropping the “r” in his home town.


After court ruling against equity program, Cambridge says no new pot shops

That’s it. No one gets a license. That’s the new stance of Cambridge officials who say they will halt opening of all new pot shops after a judge ruled that it could not steer adult use licenses exclusively to social equity applicants, i.e. minorities. Jessica Bartlett at the Boston Business Journal has the details.  

Meanwhile, even as pot shop openings have become a matter of routine in many places, a proposed East Lynn dispensary has many residents fired up. Gayla Cawley at the Lynn Item reports some 200 people stormed City Hall Tuesday night to protest its approval, creating a scene described by one official as ‘complete chaos.’ 


They’ve had it: MassLive to end comments on website

Ed Kubosiak Jr., vice president of content at the popular MassLive news site associated with the Springfield Republican, announced yesterday that they tried, really and truly tried, to edit, referee, tone down etc. the sometimes vitriolic rhetoric in its comments sections accompanying MassLive stories. But … they’ve had it. And so MassLive is eliminating comments, as of tomorrow. And how did the public react to the decision? Nearly 1,000 comments as of early this morning.


Washington Post’s Marty Baron to deliver Harvard commencement address

Here’s one person who won’t be silenced. In a surprise – and highly welcome – move, Harvard University has announced that Martin Baron, the editor of the Washington Post and former editor of the Boston Globe, will give the university’s commencement address this spring. It’s quite an honor – and an honor he well deserves. The Globe’s Travis Anderson has the details.

Boston Globe

Another one? Rep. Vincent is latest lawmaker to call it quits

She’s the eighth. Or is she the ninth? Anyway, Revere Rep. RoseLee Vincent is the latest House member to announce she/he won’t be seeking re-election later this year, saying it’s just time after serving so many years at the State House as both a staffer and lawmaker, as SHNS’s Katie Lannon reports.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Tax credit to nowhere …

The Globe Jonathan Saltzman reports on the state’s cutting-edge “angel investor tax credit” passed by legislators and signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker in 2016 – and all the early-stage investors eager to take advantage of the economic-stimulus program. Except one thing: No money was ever appropriated for the program. So the tax credit just sits dormant on the state books … and sits there … and sits there.

Boston Globe

Ex-comptroller Shack throws his hat into Fourth Congressional ring

The Herald’s Rick Sobey reports that the already crowded Dem race to succeed U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III got a little more crowded yesterday, with former state comptroller and former prosecutor Tom Shack announcing his candidacy for the Fourth Congressional District seat. SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) has more on the Brookline Democrat’s first election foray.

Boston Herald

Ready for battle: Moulton’s campaign account towers over would-be challengers

Speaking of congressional races: If a fight breaks out up north, Seth Moulton is ready. With several would-be challengers from both parties lurking around, the Salem congressman has more than $600,000 in various campaign funds at his disposal as he prepares to seek a fourth term in Congress, Ethan Forman reports at the Salem News. 

Salem News

ICE takes PR aim at Brockton’s courts

Marc Larocque at the Enterprise reports how ICE officials, who recently got some SWAT-like reinforcements in Massachusetts and elsewhere, are openly criticizing the release of allegedly dangerous immigrant defendants via Brockton courts – and how ICE plans to “notify the public when a criminal threat is released back into their neighborhoods.”


‘Criminalizing dissent,’ UMass edition

As they say, there’s two sides to every coin – and we’re sure there’s a liberal side to this conservative American Thinker piece that raises campus-rights issues that we’re pretty may get some MSM attention one of these days, two wit: A nasty battle between a UMass student and professor over a stolen MAGA hat, legal accusations and counter-accusations, and questions once again about whether it’s safe to express unpopular opinions on campuses these days.

Rollins’ first year: The only surprising thing is that people are surprised

Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine reports on Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins’ first full year in office – and how she’s proceeded to implement the same controversial progressive agenda that she touted on the campaign trail in 2018. “I was very honest and transparent about who I was going to be,” Rollins tells CommonWealth. “It’s been surprising, the reaction, because I told everyone what was going to happen when I won.”


Packies vs Cumby’s: Is it a case of the little guys versus big guys?

Alysssa Vaughn at Boston Magazine takes a look at the battle between package stores and convenience stores (led by Cumberland Farms) over who gets to sell beer and wine in Massachusetts – and how package-store owners are now saying it’s really about family-owned businesses versus giant national/regional convenience store chains trying to muscle into their territory.

Boston Magazine

Please don’t dissolve the MBTA’s control board

Count Bradley Campbell and Jarred Johnson among those who think the MBTA Fiscal Management and Control Board’s term should be extended after it runs out later this year – and, if anything, the board should be given more powers. “The FMCB has spoken the unvarnished truth about the T’s needs, and now is not the time to weaken its influence,” they write at WBUR.


Baker administration planning to ban hydrofluorocarbons

From SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall): “A state regulation expected this spring would ban the use of greenhouse gas-producing hydrofluorocarbons, which are used in certain aerosols, air conditioners and chillers, refrigeration units and foams. The Baker administration announced its plans Tuesday, saying similar efforts were underway in Rhode Island and Maine.”

Mixed bag: January casino results clear as mud

There’s good news and not so good news. Gambling revenue rebounded from all-time lows at MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park last month but dropped at the state’s flagship resort in Everett, Peter Goonan reports at MassLive, citing state data. Encore Boston Harbor posted $49 million in gross gaming revenue last month, down from $54 million in December. 


Scout’s honor: Local troops promise they’re not going anywhere

Boy Scouts of America may have filed for bankruptcy protection to shield it from a mountain of sexual abuse claims, but local troops are eager to the word out that they are staying the course, reports Jim Hand at the Sun-Chronicle. Meanwhile, scout troops on the South Shore, on Cape Cod and in the Worcester area are eager to get the same message out to parents: They’re not going away. 

Sun Chronicle

Can the U.S. Export the First Amendment?

Panelists will address the question of whether USA-style freedom of speech is a viable model for countries such as China, Iran, and Turkey. Related topics will include the challenges posed by the rise of (electoral) authoritarianism around the world.

The Freedom Project

WLP Scholar Series: Yu-jin Chang

Join us for a Scholar Research Series event with Yu-jin Chang: “Political Diabology: Apologies for God.” The relationship between the political and the theological is not exactly established. Where precisely does one begin and the other end?

Emerson College Writing, Literature, and Publishing Department

Starr Forum: The Philosophy of Human Rights

A book talk with Anat Biletzki, Albert Schweitzer Professor of Philosophy, Quinnipiac University. Anat Biletzki is the Albert Schweitzer Professor of Philosophy, Quinnipiac University; research affiliate and co-director of the Human Rights and Technology Fellowship Program, MIT Center for International Studies.

MIT Center for International Studies (CIS)

Boston Speaker Series: Peter Diamandis

Fortune named Diamandis one of the “World’s Greatest Leaders.” A space entrepreneur turned innovation pioneer, he founded the XPRIZE Foundation to fund big money competitions to inspire groundbreaking developments in science and technology, and to solve some of the planet’s most pressing challenges.

Lesley University

Author Talk and Book Signing with Christian Di Spigna

Author Talk and Book Signing with Christian Di Spigna, author of: Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution’s Lost Hero.

State Library of Massachusetts

The Future of the Republican Party

As the nation’s demographics continue to shift, hear from Republican leaders about how the party can build a broad, sustainable coalition. Panelists include George P. Bush, Texas Land Commissioner; Evan McMullin, executive director, Stand Up Republic and former Policy Director for House Republicans; and Mark Sanford, former governor and congressman from South Carolina. Moderated by Betsy Woodruff.

Northeastern University, Office of External Affairs

Being a Republican on College Campuses

Come and hear Jamie Gass of the Pioneer Institute who will present 2019 Math and English Common Core disappointing results and explain why, as well as Kaila Webb from Wellesley College present her non-profit which aims to bring diversity of thought on college campuses.

Wellesley Republican Town Committee

Boston Speaker Series: Peter Diamandis

Fortune named Diamandis one of the “World’s Greatest Leaders.” A space entrepreneur turned innovation pioneer, he founded the XPRIZE Foundation to fund big money competitions to inspire groundbreaking developments in science and technology, and to solve some of the planet’s most pressing challenges.

Lesley University

Getting to the Point with Richard Blanco

Presidential inaugural poet Richard Blanco will visit the Institute to discuss the themes in his poetry collection, How to Love a Country.

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

U.N. Perspective Series: Gender Equality (International Women’s Day)

Celebrate International Women’s Day with Impact Hub Boston and United Nations Association of Greater Boston.

United Nations Association Of Greater Boston

Mikhail Minakov: Post-Soviet Eastern Europe: A Comparative Analysis of the Six Eastern Neighborhood Nations

Please join the Fletcher Eurasia Club for a lunch conversation with Mikhail Minakov about the Eastern Partnership initiative and the political environment of Eastern European countries after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Fletcher Eurasia Club

Mikhail Minakov: Political Development of Post-Euromaidan Ukraine

Please join the Russia and Eurasia Program at The Fletcher School for a conversation with Mikhail Minakov about revolutionary cycles of independent Ukraine and post-Euromaidan political development of the country.

Fletcher Russia and Eurasia Program

Authors@MIT | Benjamin J. Pauli presents Flint Fights Back

MIT Press author Benjamin J. Pauli discusses his new book Flint Fights Back.

The MIT Press Bookstore

ADL’s Breaking Barriers Speaker Series Presents: An Evening with Andrea Campbell

Please join us on Thursday, March 5, 2020 to hear from City Councilor Andrea Campbell.

ADL New England

Today’s Headlines


Coronavirus shouldn’t stop Boston Marathon, Walsh says – Boston Herald

Washington Post editor Martin Baron to deliver Harvard commencement address – Boston Globe


Holyoke City Council OKs tax abatement for deployed National Guard members – MassLive

Methuen police chief supports audit of his department – Eagle-Tribune

Chief of staff position proposed for Worcester city council – Telegram & Gazette


Susan Collins Faces Tough Re-Election Race in Maine, Poll Suggests – Wall Street Journal

How Do You Get from the Trailer Park to a White House Job? Give Money to Trump’s Spiritual Adviser – Mother Jones

How to Contact MASSterList

Send tips to Matt Murphy: Editor@MASSterList.com. For advertising inquiries and job board postings, please contact Dylan Rossiter: Publisher@MASSterList.com or (857) 370-1156. Follow @MASSterList on Twitter.

Subscribe to MASSterList

Start your morning with MASSterList’s chronicle of news and informed analysis about politics, policy, media, and influence in Massachusetts. Plus, get an inside look at Beacon Hill’s hottest new job postings.