Keller at Large


In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller marvels at U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ability to lift accusatory tactics straight out of the Trump political playbook, as she goes after centrist Dems for daring to question her progressive policies.

Keller at Large

Happening Today

House budget debate, T service cuts, and more

— The Massachusetts House begins deliberations on its $46 billion fiscal 2021 budget bill, 10 a.m. 

— Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President and CEO Eric Rosengren discusses the ‘different aspects of, and factors affecting, financial stability’ in a virtual presentation to Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, 4 p.m. 

MBTA staff host the first in a series of virtual public meetings aimed at soliciting feedback on plans to cut service significantly amid a pandemic-era budget crunch, with today’s meeting focusing on bus and commuter-rail service in MetroWest communities, 6 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

Reminder to readers: SHNS Coronavirus Tracker available for free

A reminder to our readers as the coronavirus crisis unfolds: The paywalled State House News Service, which produces MASSterList, is making its full Coronavirus Tracker available to the community for free on a daily basis each morning via ML. SHNS Coronavirus Tracker.

The coronavirus numbers: 13 new deaths, 9,936 total deaths, 1,184 new cases

NBC Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

T’s proposed service cuts: They’re as bad as feared

The MBTA yesterday unveiled its proposed service cuts in reaction to the pandemic-era plunge in ridership and revenues – and they’re as bad as transit advocates feared. We’re talking elimination or reduction of weekend and weeknight commuter rail, bus routes, and peak-time rapid transit and ferry services, not to mention a handful of commuter-rail station closures. The BBJ’s Greg Ryan, SHNS’s Chris Liskinski, the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro, the Telegram’s Cyrus Moulton and the Patriot Ledger’s Joe DiFazio have the full list of proposed service cuts, scheduled to start next year. 

Which leads to the question: What will Gov. Charlie Baker and lawmakers do to avert the transit carnage? Does this breathe new life into stalled transportation-funding bills on Beacon Hill?

Could we soon have two COVID-19 vaccines?

Pfizer Inc. created huge news yesterday by announcing that testing of its coronavirus vaccine shows it’s more than 90 percent effective at protecting people, as the Washington Post reports.

But the BBJ’s Allison DeAngelis reports that Cambridge’s Moderna Inc. saw a huge surge in its share prices yesterday as a result of rival Pfizer’s announcement. Why? Because it’s developing a vaccine using a similar experimental approach, prompting Dr. Anthony Fauci to say it “gives you hope we might even have two vaccines.”


Biden’s new pandemic task force: The Massachusetts connections

It’s begun. Joe Biden has made his first appointments as president elect, creating a new coronavirus advisory board that has multiple members on it with ties to Massachusetts, including Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, reports Jackson Cote at MassLive.

But here’s some discouraging transfer-of-power news, via the Globe’s Liz Goodwin: “Trump delays transition to Biden as COVID-19 pandemic worsens.”


Add Kennedy and Kerry to list of local Dems up for Biden jobs. But cross off Warren?

Speaking of local Biden appointments, the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld has an updated local list of all those who may end up with jobs in a new Biden-Harris administration. Former U.S. Sen. and Secretary of State John Kerry may be in line for secretary of defense, national security advisor or even his old post at Foggy Bottom, reports Battenfeld, who adds Mayor Marty Walsh is indeed interested in a Biden gig.

SHNS’s Katie Lannan and Matt Murphy (pay wall) have compiled their own list of who may be D.C.-bound soon – and they note that Rep. Mindy Domb has filed a state budget amendment that’s clearly aimed at making sure Democrats retain control of Elizabeth Warren’s U.S. Senate seat should Warren get tapped to serve in the Biden administration. But will Warren get tapped? She apparently has a formidable competitor for the treasury secretary post: Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard, who looks like she’s the inside favorite, as the Washington Post reports.

Boston Herald

Welcome to Beacon Hill: 19 new senators and representatives to join the legislature in 2021

SHNS’s Chris Lisinski reports that there will be 19 new senators and representatives on Beacon Hill come January, thanks to last week’s elections, and the freshman class “features numerous local officeholders and legislative aides.” Lisinski has brief profiles on all 19 newbies.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Double duty: Newly minted state lawmakers look to keep council seats

Speaking of Beacon Hill newbies, two future legislators are ready to multitask. State Rep.-elect Orlando Ramos and state Sen.-elect Adam Gomez both indicate they’ll look to serve out their terms on the Springfield City Council even after they are sworn in on Beacon Hill, Peter Goonan of MassLive reports. 

It’s not that they’re super power hungry. Both ran unopposed in the most recent council election, meaning no voter-approved runners-up are ready to move into their city seats.  


Baker’s middle way: Merely middle way for middle-way’s sake?

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi writes that Gov. Charlie Baker’s moderate, middle-way ways may be popular. But is it about governing or about politics? She thinks it’s the latter, saying Baker’s style increasingly looks “less and less like bold leadership on every front, including the pandemic.”

Boston Globe

Reviving Tip and Ted’s old-school politics: Is it possible in the age of Trump?

Doug Fraser at the Cape Cod Times takes a trip down memory lane, recalling a time when Thomas ‘Tip’ O’Neill and Ted Kennedy could disagree with Republicans and yet still work with them. Can Joe Biden revive that old magic? Political experts aren’t so sure.

Cape Cod Times

Everett city councilor finds she’s not alone in battle with other board members

The Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert reports that allies of Gerly Adrien, the city’s first Black female councilor who recently came under fire from other members for attending meetings via remote hookups, are rallying to her defense, including U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III, Boston City Council President Kim Janey and others.

Boston Globe

DeLeo: House will tackle abortion bill during this week’s budget debate

House Speaker Robert DeLeo previously said debate on legislation that would expand access to abortions – including ending parental consent for abortion procedures – wouldn’t occur during budget deliberations. But now it appears there will be a debate on the bill this week. GBH’s Mike Deehan and SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) have the details on the coming debate over abortion access in Massachusetts.

Fyi: The House today begins deliberations on its own proposed $46 billion budget, which now has hundreds of amendments attached to it, including proposed hikes in corporate and capital gains taxes, as the Herald reports. CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg reports another amendment aims to protect hotel workers’ jobs during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Senate to fast-track its own state budget

Gov. Charlie Baker has one. So does the House. And soon the Massachusetts Senate will have its own fiscal 2021 budget, which it plans to unveil later this week, reports MassLive’s Steph Solis and SHNS’s Matt Murphy and Michael P. Norton (pay wall). SHNS says the Senate budget will probably be designed to win fast passage in both legislative chambers.

What now? Framingham to consult with Galvin after Census fraud allegation

Can this even be fixed? Officials who worked to mobilize Framingham’s response to the U.S. Census say they’ll meet with representatives from the office of Secretary of State William Galvin today to discuss how to react to news reports that Census workers were ordered to falsify their counts in the city, Jeannette Hinkle at the MetroWest Daily News reports. 

MetroWest Daily News

Sharing the wealth: Quincy developer slapped with fine for illegal campaign contributions

A Quincy real estate developer will pay a quarter-million-dollar fine after admitting to illegally reimbursing employees for political donations made to a host of pols, including Gov. Charlie Baker and Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch, Erin Tiernan at the Herald reports. Various campaigns will turn over more than $57,000 to the state’s treasury as well. 

Boston Herald

Welcome back, maybe: Holy Cross unveils spring semester plan

The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, which has all but shuttered its Worcester campus this fall, is the latest school to unveil tentative plans to return some students to campus in the spring semester, Scott O’Connell at the Telegram reports.  Meanwhile, Jacquelyn Voghel at the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports the number of cases tied to UMass Amherst is on the rise again after a brief respite. 


IRS to charities who lost tax-exempt status: Sorry about that

Christian Wade at the Eagle Tribune reports that hundreds of nonprofits across the state – including church groups, youth sports leagues etc. — may have lost their tax-exempt status, albeit temporarily, due to a pandemic-connected glitch that the IRS says it’s trying to fix.

Eagle Tribune

ICP – Breaking the crime-poverty cycle

Panel Debate – The event will feature an overview by Professor Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, Director, Center for Crime, Justice and Policing, University of Birmingham, a quick historical recap of antiquated laws and contributions by the panelists.

ESRC IAA – University of Birmingham

US Market Outlook Part II: Post Presidential Election and Covid-19

In this discussion, we will hear from experts at BlackRock as they examine where the market is, where it is going, and how to think about the macroeconomics of the new financial policies put into place in the US to address the current economic challenges. Register to receive the virtual meeting link.

Swissnex Boston

What’s Next for Energy & Climate Change Policy in the Wake of the U.S. Election?

This event will explore the implications of the U.S. presidential election for U.S. energy and climate-change policy. The speaker will explore, in particular, how various election outcomes might lead to quite different U.S. stances on climate-change and energy policy.

Harvard Kennedy School and Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Critical Conversations: Racial Justice and the Immigrant Rights Movement

The Binger Annual Immigration Law Forum brings together lawyers, students, advocates and community members to learn from each other and develop tools to continue the struggle to protect human rights, basic dignity, and the rule of law.

James H. Binger Center Annual Immigration Law Forum

Building a Better Business Through Diversity and Inclusion

In this panel discussion we’ll explore steps large and small organizations can make to further promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. How are companies going about building a more diverse and inclusive work environment, and what have been the major challenges, as well as best practices that assure a strong program.

Worcester Business Journal

Virtual Discussion – Women Who Lead: Navigating the Challenges of 2020 and Beyond

Join us for a virtual live-streamed panel discussion with four female business leaders moderated by Carolyn Jones, publisher of the Boston Business Journal. Women have unique perspectives to offer on leading through these current turbulent times from how to build organizational resilience to how to advocate for themselves in a politically charged environment to maintaining a work/life balance.

Boston Business Journal and Santander Commercial Banking

Virtual-Revolutionizing Retail: The Omnichannel Experience

Omnichannel is a word we’ve heard tossed around the industry, but what does it really mean? Some years ago, in-store was the only channel, then we moved into multi-channel and now it seems omnichannel is the way to go. Join us to learn about which technologies are supporting the omnichannel approach, how 5G is opening up a word of consumer insights, and how retailers can use those takeaways.


Baxter Lecture with author Nathaniel Philbrick: Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War

Join for an online talk with Nathaniel Philbrick about his book Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War as part of the BPL’s Baxter Lecture Series. Ryan J. Woods from NEHGS will be the moderator and a representative of the State Library will be a co-host. BPL President David Leonard will introduce this program. Registration is encouraged.

Boston Public Library, American Ancestors/New England Historic Genealogical Society, the State Library of Massachusetts, and the GBH Forum Network

Policymakers Live: Virtual Briefing with Representative Hannah Kane, Ranking Minority, Joint Committee on Public Health

MassBio is launching “Policymakers Live”, a series of virtual briefings with a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Massachusetts Senate, or a member of the Governor’s Alliance. Policymakers will outline initiatives they are working on and attendees will have the chance to ask questions.

MassBio (Massachusetts Biotechnology Council)

8th Annual 2020 Startup of the Year Summit

For the first time in its eight year history, the Startup of the Year Summit will be held online, allowing a global audience to participate from afar in the annual conference and have a behind-the-scenes experience for the 2020 competition. Date: November 16-18,2020. We are waiving all fees this year. We want you to join us.


Make Shift Happen with EDIE

Join MassBio’s Edie Stringfellow for a bi-weekly conversation on equity, diversity, inclusion, and engagement (EDIE). For the month of November, MassBio is dedicating Make Shift Happen to support and salute our life sciences colleagues who are service members in observation of November National Veterans & Military Families Month.

MassBio (Massachusetts Biotechnology Council)

Local Voices Network Conversation: Civic Engagement (Honan-Allston)

Join the Boston Public Library and Local Voices Network for an online discussion about civic engagement. LVN conversations are focused on sharing our lived experience, rather than beginning the conversation with our positions on issues. We are doing this in order to help build connections and to foster conversations that improve our understanding of one another.

Boston Public Library

Modern Mobility Aloft: Elevated Highways, Architecture and Urban Change in Pre-Interstate America

Join the Boston Public Library and the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library for an online talk with Amy D. Finstein, author of Modern Mobility Aloft: Elevated Highways, Architecture and Urban Change in Pre-Interstate America.

Boston Public Library

Managing Change to Grow Business – Part II: Growing Your Business in a Virtual World

Please join Middlesex Savings Bank and the Boston Business Journal for this conversation about managing business change in our new normal.

Boston Business Journal and Middlesex Savings Bank

Data + AI Summit Europe 2020

Data and AI are converging. The Success of Apache Spark has accelerated the evolution of data teams to include data analytics, science, engineering, and AI. Date + AI Summit brings together thousands of data teams to learn from practitioners, leaders, innovators, and the original creators of Spark. Delta Lake, MLflow and Koalas.


Climate Change, Survival, and Deepening Our Humanity

City of Boston’s Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola leads a panelist discussion on how the belief systems that define and maintain our societies impact the planet and influence our survival. Register for this free virtual Kennedy Library Forum to receive an email reminder with a viewing link before the event.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

MIT: AI and the Work of the Future Congress

Join MIT’s Task Force on WOTF, MIT CSAIL, and MIT Digital for this year’s Congress which will be a virtual event highlighting research findings from the MIT Task Force on WOTF’s final report that will be released in November. Given the rapidly changing environment brought on by Covid-19, this topic is more important and relevant that ever.

MIT Work of the Future Task Force; MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab; MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy

Disinformation and Digital Citizenship: Disinformation and Election Psychology

Disinformation and Digital Citizenship is a Learning Circle that meets weekly to discuss disinformation and its effect on civic institutions and society during an election year. Learning circles are small groups of individuals who explore and area of shared interest through discussion in a collaborative, friendly and mutually supportive environment.

Boston Public Library

Managing Climate Risk in the US Financial System

This webinar will be given by Robert Litterman, Chairman of the Risk Committee and Founding Partner, Kepos Capital, and Stephen Moch, MBA and MPP candidate at HBS and HKS. It is part of M-RCBG”s weekly Business and Government Seminar series. Registration is required.

Harvard Kennedy School of Business/Mossavar-Rahmani center for Business and Government

Interrupting Hatred Can Save Someone’s Life

This presentation, part of the Town of Lexington’s No Hate November series, will focus on lessons learned after the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and Vincent Chen. The event is co-sponsored by the Lexington Human Rights Committee, Association of Black Citizens of Lexington, Chinese American Association of Lexington.

Town of Lexington

The Future of Higher Education

As schools around the country plan, react, and adapt during the Covid-19 pandemic, the presidents of Greater Washington’s top universities will gather virtually to discuss health and safety, diversity and inclusion, and budgeting and development of the future of higher education. Join the Washington Business Journal for a look behind the scenes with the decision makers.

Washington Business Journal

AARP Innovation Labs’ Innovation Challenges

AARP Innovation Labs and Mass Challenge HealthTech are excited to offer themed innovation challenges. Do you have an innovative entertainment solution that curates the fun in life for older adults? We are highly encouraging our 50+ entrepreneurs and founders to apply to this challenge.

AARP Innovation Labs and Mass Challenge HealthTech

Virtual Job Fair: MassHire Central Region Honors Our Veterans

Virtual Job Fair featuring 45 employers from diverse industries throughout Central Massachusetts. Free and open to the public and veterans!

MassHire Central Region Career Centers

17th Annual Team Massachusetts Economic Awards: Celebrating 2020’s Massachusetts Corporate Heroes

With our Corporate Heroes Award, MassEcon will honor a sampling of employers, large and small, in every region of the state, that reflect the spirit of Massachusetts businesses to solve problems, serve their communities and provide for the livelihoods of their workers. Register:


Inno on Fire

The Inno on Fire Awards is our annual celebration of innovators, big and small, people, and organizations in Boston. What makes a company or individual on fire? We are looking at startups that have had a banner year, people and companies with hew funding, recent product launches, hot hires, innovative approaches to solving problems, and creative leaders who think out of the box.

Boston Business Journal

WBJ Central MA Health Care Forum

Healthcare Post Pandemic: The Covid-19 pandemic has not only claimed over 200,000 lives in our country, but has been a disruptive force to many industries, including healthcare. Join us for this timely and informative webcast where our panel of experts will discuss what has changed since the beginning of the pandemic and what lies ahead.

Worcester Business Journal

The State of Innovation: Electrification presented by Analog Devices

Across the network, Innos State of Innovations meetups focus on a specific industry, category, theme or individual and will feature a keynote, fireside chat, panel, pitch, demo or a combination of the five. Join us for a conversation with local innovators and experts.

The Boston Business Journals

2020 Women Who Mean Business

Join us as we celebrate outstanding women at our fourth Women Who Mean Business awards program. These women represent the scale of business in Greater Boston and have demonstrated significant growth in their companies.

Boston Business Journal and Webster Bank

Today’s Headlines


Police: At Least 11 People Were Shot In Boston Neighborhoods Since Friday – WBUR

College endowment disclosures highlight growing disparities between wealthiest schools and the rest of higher ed – Boston Business Journal


Williamstown police chief apologizes to community for past failings – Berkshire Eagle

Potholes filled with Christmas trees in Massachusetts town as residents get into holiday spirit early, police say – MassLive

Mansfield high goes full remote for week, cites shortage of essential workers – Sun Chronicle


White House, escalating tensions, orders agencies to rebuff Biden transition team – Washington Post

Thanksgiving will soon empty college campuses. WIll students bring coronavirus home with them? – New York Times

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