Happening Today

Hands-free law, Lechmere Station closure, and more

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller to make an announcement about MassWorks funding for the City of Newton, Telegraph at Upper Falls, 1234 Chestnut Street – Telegraph B Entry, Newton, 9:15 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller, Tranportation Secretary Stephanie Pollock, and police and highway safety advocates alert motorists that the new hands-free law goes into effect this Sunday, Feb. 23, Newton Police Headquarters, 1321Washington Street, Newton, 10:30 a.m.

— The organization I Have a Future holds a youth justice rally and then march to the State House to lobby lawmakers on issues including youth jobs, juvenile justice reform, gun violence prevention, housing reform and climate change, Parkman Bandstand, Boston Common, 11 a.m.

— Kendall Square Association and MBTA staff host a discussion of the upcoming Lechmere Station closure, The Link, 255 Main St., 8th Floor, Cambridge, 12 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

Warren comes out swinging against Bloomberg

When she refers to Michael Bloomberg as “a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians,” yeah, you can say U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren came out swinging during last night’s Dem presidential debate in Nevada. The Globe’s Jess Bidgood and Liz Goodwin and the NYT have the details of last night’s wild Dem debate in which Bloomberg, to put it mildly, was the center of most attention. 

And who won last night’s debate? The Globe’s James Pindell and the Washington Post have no doubt: Elizabeth Warren. But the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld writes that all of the candidates were losers last night: “Democrats’ circular firing squad must have made Trump smile.”

Super PAC to Warren’s rescue in Nevada

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has rejected campaign donations from various bigwigs and corporate-tied types. But a new super PAC is determined to help her campaign nevertheless, independently sinking $1 million into television and other ads in the final days before the Nevada caucuses, reports the Washington Post.

David Bernstein at WGBH has more on the Super PAC gambit – and whether it can really help Warren at this point.

Washington Post

Rep. Nangle steps down from leadership post after arrest

From Steph Solis at MassLive: “Massachusetts Rep. David Nangle, who is accused of stealing campaign funds for personal gain, stepped down from the House Committee on Ethics and his other leadership positions. The Lowell Democrat, who has served on the House since 1999, sent an email to the House clerk Tuesday at 11:01 a.m. announcing his decision.”

SHNS’s Colin Young and Matt Muprhy (pay wall) report Nangle “appears set to attempt to ride out the storm as a member of the House,” albeit not as a chamber leader, despite his “recent, unfortunate events.”


The latest lawmaker to call it quits: Rep. Petrolati

Is it a mere political coincidence or a sign of something else stirring in the House? In any event, Rep. Thomas Petrolati of Ludlow is now the latest House member to announce he’s not running for re-election this year, bringing the count to at least nine representative who have opted to call it quits on Beacon Hill, as SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) and Western Mass. Politics & Insight report.

Baker-tied PAC backs moderates in two GOP primaries

Speaking of legislative races, Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine reports that a Super PAC with ties to Gov. Charlie Baker is now backing two moderate Republicans in special legislative primaries next month, in the latest sign of a growing moderate-conservative schism in the state GOP.


Harvard’s two divestment battles: Over prisons and fossil fuels

NBC News reports that a group of Harvard students filed a lawsuit yesterday demanding that the university withdraw its investments from companies that “profit from the prison industry.” 

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Deirdre Fernandes has an update on Harvard climate activists’ all-out push to get the university to divest from fossil-fuel companies.

NBC News

Meanwhile, Caroline Kennedy quits board at Harvard’s JFK School

In other Harvard news, the Globe’s Deirdre Fernandes and the Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss report that Caroline Kennedy, daughter of President John F. Kennedy, has abruptly resigned from the governing board of an institute at Harvard’s Kennedy School. The departures of Kennedy and another board member “suggest that tensions between the committee members and Harvard’s administration reached a boiling point, according to sources at the school,” Fernandes writes.

One if by land, two if by sea: How Boston is dealing with rising sea levels

As Universal Hub suggests, it sure looks like all those former Boston Globe staffers now at the Washington Post haven’t forgotten our fair city. In this case, the Post has a major piece about Boston’s rather extensive (and somewhat impressive) efforts to deal with rising sea levels caused by climate change.

Washington Post

Massport submits plan for East Boston commuter-boat service

Speaking of the sea, the Globe’s Jon Chesto reports that Massport has taken a preliminary step towards possibly building a new dock in East Boston, potentially reviving commuter boat service on the east side of Boston Harbor.

Boston Globe

From Black Sabbath to bible lessons: WAAF to switch from rock to Christian format

OK, maybe WAAF didn’t play a lot of Black Sabbath. But the Worcester-based station has definitely been known over the decades as a hard-rock haven – and now it has a new owner: A Christian broadcaster. Universal Hub has the preliminary format-change details. Meanwhile, the Herald’s Jessica Heslam laments the loss of yet another iconic rock station in Greater Boston.

Universal Hub

Pats players and biotech exec launch professional rugby team

One more entertainment-related item: The BBJ’s Allison DeAngelis reports that longtime New Patriots players Patrick Chung and Nate Ebner and the CEO of Lexington’s Alloy Therapeutics are among those backing a new Major League Rugby team: The New England Free Jacks. DeAngelis has more on the Weymouth-based team that starts playing next month.


‘Force Multiplier’

Sounds like a Clint Eastwood-Dirty Harry movie: ‘Force Multiplier.’ But it’s not. It’s how a local ICE official is describing the new U.S. Customs and Border Protection “tactical team” that will be assisting ICE in rounding up undocumented immigrants roaming Boston-area streets. Shannon Dooling at WBUR has the force-multiplier details.


Moody’s issues credit warning to Simmons about debt

It’s not the only school receiving such warnings. From the Globe’s Deirdre Fernandes: “A key rating agency has warned Simmons University about its financial outlook as the Fenway school embarks on ambitious construction projects and prepares to change leaders. Moody’s Investors Service revised its outlook for Simmons from stable to negative, a signal that the university’s bond rating could be downgraded if financial pressures worsen in the next year and half.”

Republican attorney announces bid for U.S. Senate

It looks like there will be two competitive primary races for the U.S. Senate this year in Massachusetts, after Republican attorney Kevin O’Connor of Dover announced yesterday he’ll indeed be running for the Senate, the AP reports at CBS Boston. O’Connor will face Shiva Ayyadurai, who ran as an independent in the 2018 Senate race, in the GOP contest, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall). Needless to say, Ed Markey and Joseph Kennedy are battling it out in the Dem primary.

CBS Boston

Barney Frank: Give me Bloomberg’s cash and I’ll beat Trump

Did former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank just toss his hat into the presidential ring? Not exactly, but in a lengthy interview with Sam Stein of the Daily Beast, Frank did say that with Michael Bloomberg’s nearly unlimited finances, he could take down Donald Trump. Frank also criticizes some Democratic candidates for their unrealistic ideas and whacks party voters for being “too unforgiving” toward candidates who have lengthy records to defend. 

Daily Beast

Devil you know: Officials who signed off on GE deal face irate residents

It could have been worse. That’s the message elected officials gave to an angry, sign-waving crowd of some 300 residents upset about leaders’ sign-off on the ‘Rest of River’ cleanup agreement between General Electric and the EPA. Amanda Drane at the Berkshire Eagle reports several of those who eventually agreed to the deal did so because they worried that GE would prevail in court, which could have meant the Berkshires would end up hosting three PCB soil dumps instead of just one.

Berkshire Eagle

Rock of ages: Plymouth comes together after monument defaced

It might be just a rock, but it’s their rock. Rich Harbert at the Patriot Ledger reports that since graffiti was discovered on Plymouth Rock earlier this week, the community has rallied in response, with volunteers offering to clean off the spray paint and others contributing $2,000 to a GoFundMe aimed at offering a reward for anyone helping to identify the vandals.

Patriot Ledger

Molly Bish is not forgotten

The unsolved Molly Bish case served as inspiration for this legislation. From SHNS’s Katie Lannan: “A state senator from central Massachusetts hopes a bill she recently filed will give police a new tool to investigate long-unsolved violent crimes. Sen. Anne Gobi’s bill would task the director of the state crime laboratory with developing regulations to allow familial DNA searching … in certain unsolved cases involving homicides, burglary and violent felonies.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

And remembering Iwo Jima

The State House yesterday hosted its annual Iwo Jima Day – and this year was special, marking the 75th anniversary of the brutal World War II battle. SHNS’s Sam Doran (pay wall) and the Herald’s Mary Markos report on yesterday’s solemn ceremonies that included the appearance of Iwo Jima veteran Kristo Apostol of Norwell. 

In case you missed it, the Globe’s Linda Matchan had a poignant piece the other day on one local veteran, Stanley Berman, who’s still grappling with what he endured 75 years ago.

Sony backs out of Boston’s PAX East, citing coronavirus fears

Despite coronavirus fears, Mayor Marty Walsh has said it will be business as usual for the Boston Marathon this spring. But you have to wonder if there won’t be some disruptions, after reading this Herald piece by Rick Sobey and Erin Tiernan about Sony pulling out of next week’s PAX East gamer conference in Boston due to coronavirus concerns.

Boston Herald

Hudson, Mass.: Hipper than hip

We knew it. Hudson, the home town of the late Gov. Paul Cellucci, is hip. And not just hip. But ‘hipsturbia’ hip, as a result of the regional housing crunch and Worcester’s own overflowing hipness. Sarah Connell at MassLive has more on the spreading ‘hipsturbia.’


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


Caroline Kennedy quits advisory board at Harvard school named after her father – Boston Globe

More than a dozen arrested at Weymouth compressor station protest – Patriot Ledger


Thunderbolt Ski Race returning to Mount Greylock – Berkshire Eagle

Molly Bish cold case an inspiration for Gobi bill to expand DNA use – Telegram & Gazette


Trump’s budget gives Greenland another try – Politico

What drove Trump’s 11 clemency orders: Friendship, fame and connections – New York Times

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