Happening Today

Biden and Harris inauguration

— Amid tight security, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris take the oath of office in the 59th inaugural ceremony that marks the end of the presidency of Donald Trump.

Mass. Gaming Commission meets to select topics for future business meeting agendas, 10 a.m.

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority Board of Directors holds its January meeting virtually, with members expected to receive a fiscal year 2021 financial update, 1 p.m.

— Treasurer Deb Goldberg holds a private virtual orientation session for new legislators to give them an overview of the treasurer office’s duties, 3 p.m.

Progressive Massachusetts hosts a virtual Zoom event to celebrate the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and to review legislative updates, 7 p.m.

For the most comprehensive list 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: 45 new deaths, 13,469 total deaths, 2,567 new cases

WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Presidential Inauguration: An historic day of hope and fears

It’s supposed to be a day of democratic pageantry – the swearing in of a new president and vice president, the latter the nation’s first female vice president. But the backdrop of today’s inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is thousands of troops and police officers standing guard in the event of right-wing extremist violence in the nation’s capital.

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton says the threats are “very, very specific,” based on law enforcement briefings he’s received, reports WCVB. Still, most members of the state’s congressional delegation plan to attend today’s events, reports the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky.

Meanwhile, here’s a sampling of the hopes and fears from around the state. From the Greenfield Recorder: “Locals nervous but excited for inauguration day.” … From the Cape Cod Times: “Cape Cod people of color have renewed hope with Biden-Harris inauguration.” … From the Globe: “Galvin calls for celebration of democracy on Inauguration Day.”

The roundup continues: Natick Town Meeting member and Straight Pride Parade organizer arrested for alleged Capitol-riot ties

The Globe’s Travis Andersen and Tonya Alanez and MassLive’s Michael Bonner report on the latest local arrests of those allegedly involved in the storming of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. Some of the apparent evidence against them: ‘digital breadcrumbs,” as Bonner notes.

Some residents are happy in Natick over the arrest of one of their own, calling it a ‘great first step,’ report MetroWest Daily News

Coming soon to Fenway Park and local pharmacies: Coronavirus shots

Faced with mounting criticism over the inconvenient locations of existing vaccination sites and the slow rollout of vaccinations in general, the Baker administration yesterday announced Fenway Park will be used as a mass-inoculation site – and shots will also be given out at CVS and Walgreens pharmacies across the state, reports Asher Klein at NBC Boston.

And here’s more good news, via MassLive: “UMass expanding COVID vaccinations.”

NBC Boston

Help (really) wanted: Barnstable virus assistance line flooded on day one

And here’s why new vaccination sites will be so desperately needed. On its first day in operation, a new Covid-19 help line in Barnstable County fielded close to 1,000 calls, many of them from older residents wanting to know when, how and where to get vaccine shots, reports Cynthia McCormick at the Cape Cod Times.

Cape Cod Times

Are we bending the second-surge curve? Looks like it

SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) reports on some encouraging statistical signs that the current post-holidays surge may be ebbing, based on weekend case data. And WCVB reports that yesterday’s case count of 2,567 was the lowest since Dec. 7. But here’s a warning shot via GBH: “New COVID Variant To Become ‘Dominant’ Strain In Massachusetts, Says Rep. Jon Santiago.”

National Guard dispatched to Pittsfield nursing home after major outbreak

The overall coronavirus case numbers may be improving in Massachusetts. But the virus is still raging out there – and a Pittsfield nursing home has been hit particularly hard by an outbreak, reports Larry Parness at the Berkshire Eagle.

Berkshire Eagle

Dems refile climate bill, setting up clash with Baker

The Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports that Democratic lawmakers yesterday “made good on their promise to forge ahead with wide-ranging climate legislation, refiling an identical bill to one vetoed by Gov. Charlie Baker last week.” 

But leaders aren’t saying when a vote might be taken. Which leads to … might they try to work out a compromise with the governor over some of his objections to items in the bill? Or are they truly in a defiant mood (CommonWealth)? Just thinking aloud. 

Boston Herald

Regarding all those vetoes: Lawmakers have no one else to blame but themselves

It came down to bad time management. SHNS’s Michael Norton has a good story on all those gubernatorial vetoes of various bills and line items, big and small, and notes lawmakers left themselves vulnerable to override-proof vetoes due to leaving so much legislative business until the end of the session.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Still, we have the most popular legislature in the country

Speaking of lawmakers, they may not be good at time management, transparency and other assorted parliamentary matters. But they’re still liked by the good people of Massachusetts, where voters hold the legislature in high regard, making it the most popular legislature in the country and nearly rivaling the popularity of Gov. Charlie Baker. Steve Koczela at CommonWealth has the poll numbers to prove it.


Globe to Baker: Either overthrow Lyons – or leave the GOP

This is interesting. The Globe’s liberal editorial board is advising Gov. Charlie Baker, a moderate Republican, to either oust conservative Jim Lyons and other pro-Tumpsters running the state GOP – or the governor should leave the party. Which, if the latter is the case, would admittedly “spell extinction for two-party politics in Massachusetts.” And which, we ask, would accomplish what? 

Boston Globe

Taking their toll: Protests outside Baker’s home are trying Swampscott’s patience and resources

GBH’s Adam Reilly takes a look at all the recent protests outside Gov. Charlie Baker’s home in Swampscott and finds they’re stretching town resources, not to mention the town’s patience. One woman of color even says she’s afraid when she walks out her door.


For some councilors, canceling special mayoral election is no slam dunk

Gov. Charlie Baker, Secretary of State Bill Galvin and some legislative leaders have signaled a willingness to let Boston forgo a special mayoral election this year. But first the city council has to ask – and there’s debate among councilors whether the idea is fair or not, reports Michael Jonas and Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth.

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Marcela Garcia is giving state Rep. Jon Santiago, who’s also an emergency-room physician in Boston, a big plug this morning, saying he “seems to be perfectly positioned to meet the current moment and run for mayor.”

Political pillow fight: Wayfair and other retailers reportedly drop MyPillow products over founder’s stolen-election claims

Take it from us: The pillows are overrated anyway. The BBJ’s Lucia Maffei reports that Boston-based Wayfair and other retailers have dropped the sale of MyPillow products due to founder Mike Lindell’s vocal embrace of stolen-election conspiracy theories. Or at least Lindell claims he’s the victim of a vast retail boycott.


Upheaval: Two of three Wenham select board members call it quits

It’s extra lonely at the top right now. The town of Wenham’s select board is down to a single member after two others abruptly resigned in the wake of a municipal employee’s discrimination complaint against one of them. Julie Manganis at the Salem News reports the board could be shorthanded until the next local election, currently scheduled for May. 

Salem News

Protecting their turf: Pot shops sue over new marijuana delivery regulations

They warned they would. And they did. The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett reports that marijuana dispensaries have indeed filed suit over the Cannabis Control Commission’s recent approval of new pot delivery licenses that may, theoretically, cut into the profits of pot shops.


State Street says 1,200 jobs on the block in 2021

They held off as long as possible. After keeping its CEO’s pledge to avoid cutting jobs during a brutal 2020, State Street Corp. is now saying as many as 1,200 positions could be cut during the coming year, Jon Chesto at the Globe reports.

Boston Globe

FBI arrests Watertown political scientist charged with secretly working for Iran

Local academics allegedly taking money from Chinese operatives. Now this. From Benjamin Kail at MassLive: “Federal prosecutors allege a Watertown political scientist and author posed for more than a decade as a neutral expert on Iran while peddling propaganda to American lawmakers and journalists on behalf of the Iranian government.”

Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi, 63, who says he’s taught at local schools, was arrested on Monday.


Global demand: The international community has a TTD list for John Kerry

Get the pom-poms out. As former Secretary of State John Kerry prepares for his new role as Joe Biden’s climate czar, a team of Politico reporters asked international leaders to assemble a to-do list for Kerry. Job one? To be a high-profile cheerleader for responding to climate change, both in the U.S. and around the world. 


Glimmer of hope? Federal panel says Weymouth compressor project should get hearing

‘What took you so long?’ That’s the reaction from neighbors who have spent six years battling a natural gas pipeline compressor station to news that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted to find the agency improperly denied residents’ requests for a hearing on the facility before issuing a permit, David Abel at the Globe reports. 

Boston Globe

Lost Wonderland: The Brief and Brilliant Life of Boston’s Million Dollar Amusement Park

Stephen R. Wilk, author of Lost Wonderland, will discuss the story of Wonderland’s creation and wild, but brief success which is full of larger-than-life characters who hoped to thrill attendees and rake in profits.

Boston Public Library

2021 Economic Outlook

Join the Boston Business Journal and CIBC for an expert look at the latest information concerning global, national and regional trends impacting the economy. The 2021 Economic Outlook will offer unique access to economic insights from world-class experts and professionals to help translate economic trends into competitive intelligence to grow your business and find opportunity in the coming year.

Boston Business Journal and CIBC Commercial Banking

Practical Tips to Ensure Personal Security and Avoid Cyber Crime

Fidelity Security Service VP and former FBI special agent Gary Rossi will explain how to protect ourselves and our loved ones from cyber threats. What you will learn: Learn where cyber crimes take place; how cyber criminals operate and who they target; strategies to protect ourselves; and how to protect elders from scams.

Ashland Business Association

Live Chat with Google Product Manager

Join in and get all your product questions answered during our online event with Neil Joglekar, Product Manager at Google. He is a product manager at Google where he leads teams to improve consumer experience. He is also a YC founder.

Product School

Alex Zamalin – Against Civility: The Hidden Racism in Our Obsession with Civility

Join the Boston Public Library in partnership with the Museum of American History for an online conversation with author Alex Zamalin moderated by MAAH Direcror of Education and Interpretation L’Merchie Frazier. This program is part of the BPL’s Repairing America Series.

Boston Public Library

Defense Project Series: Dr. Peter Mansoor Discusses, “How cultural biases influence success or failure in war”

Join us as Dr. Pete Mansoor Mason Chair of Military History, The Ohio State University, discusses the influence of culture on U.S. and international militaries and the resulting impact on war strategies and the prospects for success.

Harvard Kennedy School

Light, Land, and Water; Native and non-Native Visions of New England

This lecture will attempt to honor diverse definitions of :landscape” by examining Wabanaki baskets and beadwork alongside canvases by New England painters such as Fitz Henry Lane and Martin Johnson Heade, It will raise questions about depictions (or embodiments) of natural resources, relationships between humans, and the environment and entanglements of Native non-Native histories.

The Courtauld Research Forum

Human Trafficking 101

The Key2Free is committed to education and increased awareness with the goal of preventing trafficking before it starts. Across all states, victims of sex trafficking are enslaved every day through force, fraud, or coercion. Together, we can call attention to and fight the shocking realities of the injustice happening right here in our communities.

The Key2Free

The History of the Big Dig with David Kruh

David Kruh returns with another exciting talk, this time on a history you might remember – the Big Dig. Get the scoop on one of the country’s most expensive and ambitious construction projects, from a former spokesperson of the project. Brought to Cary Library in partnership with the Lexington Historical society.

Cary Memorial Public Library

Live Chat with fmr Netflix Senior Product Manager

Join in and get all your Product Management questions answered during our online event with Johnny Chang, Product Manager at Netflix. Chang is a Senior Product Lead who focuses on users, bringing leadership and vision and simplifying the chaos and chunk vague problems. He was passionate about computer software from a young age and studied computer science in college and grad school.

Product School

Lindsay Peoples Wagner – The Pandemic & Black Lives Matter: How Young People Are Building A New Normal

The Boston Public Library welcomes Editor-in-Chief of New York Magazine’s The Cut, and former Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue, Lindsay Peoples Wagner, for an online conversation moderated by BPL President David Leonard.

Boston Public Library

Malcolm Gladwell and the New Normal after COVID-19

Join Arent Fox for a one hour virtual event with Malcolm Gladwell, the celebrated journalist and best-selling author of Tipping Point, Outliers, and Talking to Strangers, who will talk about life after COVID-19. There will also be a Q&A with Arent Fox Partner Anthony V. Lupo.Malcolm Gladwell and the New Normal after COVID-19 JAN 27 2021 12:00 PM Hosted by: Arent Fox LLP Online Event www.eventbrite.com/e/malcolm-gladwell-and-the-new-normal-after-covid-19-tickets-132113604347?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch Join Arent Fox for a one hour virtual event with Malcolm Gladwell, the celebrated journalist and best-selling author of Tipping Point, Outliers, and Talking to Strangers, who will talk about life after COVID-19. There will also be a Q&A with Arent Fox Partner Anthony V. Lupo.

Arent Fox LLP

Condition of Education in the Commonwealth

Join the Rennie Center for a conversation on the state of learning in this unprecedented time, including a panel discussion with all three MA education commissioners—Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley, Early Education and Care Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy, and Higher Education Commissioner Carlos Santiago—and remarks from Secretary of Education James Peyser.

The Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy

lo T in Sports: Changing the Game

Join us as we hear from industry experts about the integration of lo T in the world of live sports, how major leagues like the NFL are utilizing wearable technology and connected devices, what features fans can expect from stadiums as they become more connected, and how 5G & MEC are changing the game for years to come.


Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings & James Dale – “We’re Better Than This”

Join the Boston Public Library for an online talk with distinguished political expert, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings and longtime non-fiction writer James Dale, co-authors of We’re Better Than This: My Fight for the Future of our Democracy, primarily authored by the late Elijah Cummings.

Boston Public Library

Community Read Book Group: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

Let’s read together! Join your friends, family and fellow Yearlong Reading Challenge participants at the Boston Public Library as we discuss the January Community Read for adults: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. The discussion will be moderated by a librarian and will take place on Zoom.

Boston Public Library

Global Mobility and the Threat of Pandemics: Evidence from Three Centuries

Researchers at the Center for Global Development test predictions across four global pandemics in three different centuries: the influenza pandemics that began in 1889, 1918, 1957, and 2009. They find that in all cases, even a draconian 50 percent reduction in pre-pandemic international mobility is associated with 1-2 weeks later arrival and no detectable reduction in final mortality.

Harvard Kennedy School

Human Rights and the Future World Order

Speakers include Hina Jilanni, former United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders; Samuel Moyn, Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence, Yale Law School and Professor of History, Yale University; Zeid Ra’ad, Perry World House Professor of the Practice of Law and Human Rights, University of Pennsylvania.

Harvard Kennedy School and Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Social Media for Government Agencies and the Public Sector: Everything You Need to Know but are Afraid to Ask, a Digital CP

Come learn the basics of the Social Media platforms and how you can use them effectively to achieve your goals. Whether you’re a Tik Tok influencer or just learned that the symbol # isn’t a “pound sign”. This workshop is open to all levels.

Harvard Kennedy School

Today’s Headlines


South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade again canceled due to coronavirus – Boston Herald

Winthrop police chief to investigate Marblehead Swastika incident – Lynn Item


JetBlue Worcester to NYC flight could be lost in airline agreement – Telegram & Gazette

After losing $35 million, Berkshire Health Services leaders hopeful for better 2021 – Berkshire Eagle

Worcester residents may be eligible for up to $3,000 in rental assistance through program launched by city amid COVID pandemic – MassLive


‘Like a Ghost’ in the White House: The Last Days of the Trump Presidency – Politico

Trump has discussed forming a new political party – Wall Street Journal

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