Keller at Large

The speech Baker should give tonight, but won’t

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller says Gov. Charlie Baker, in his State of the Commonwealth address tonight, should consider giving an uncharacteristically blunt talk about what a lousy, stinking, no-good year we’ve just been through and if someone thinks they could do better, please specify the nonsensical alternatives or shut up.

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Special election hearing, Baker’s State of Commonwealth address

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meets with plans to discuss COVID-19 action steps, college access data for the class of 2021, educator diversity initiatives and education budget matters, 9 a.m.

Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Coalition holds a press conference to provide data and analysis in support of a new 280-bed facility, 10 a.m.

Mass. Lottery Commission meets to hear about last month’s sales and to take votes to authorize extensions of various contracts, with Treasurer Deb Goldberg chairing, 10:30 a.m.

Boston City Council holds a public hearing to consider changing rules that require a special mayoral election if Boston Mayor Marty Walsh resigns prior to March 5, 3 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker gives his annual State of the Commonwealth speech, with the speech live-streamed from his office, rather before a joint session of the Legislature, due pandemic precautions, 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, 13,889 total deaths, 3,477 new cases

WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

As hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses sit unused …

Lack of supply? Looks more like a lack of coordination. A four-reporter team at the Boston Globe reports that the Baker administration is now acknowledging that, amid a statewide clamor for coronavirus vaccinations, “hundreds of thousands of doses are sitting on freezer shelves in hospitals and the warehouses of pharmacies serving senior care sites.”

Well, at least Dr. Anthony Fauci is defending the administration (sort of), saying there really is a supply-and-demand vaccine imbalance across the nation, as he tells Radio Boston at WBUR. The latest evidence of a supply problem, via Cambridge Day: “Cambridge’s expected weekly share of vaccines cut to one-fifth, with state blaming U.S. supply.”

The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld isn’t defending the governor, that’s for sure, saying he’s been an “out of touch bureaucrat” slow to respond to events. But the governor is defending himself, reports CommonWealth’s Sarah Bettancourt.

Boston Globe

… Baker announces new vaccination sites, 65-plus residents moved up on priority list

Catching flak for the slow vaccination rate of residents in Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday announced that the state is expanding the number of sites where people can get inoculations, reports Eryn Dion at the Telegram.

Meanwhile, GBH’s Mike Deehan reports that residents 75 and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine after Feb. 1 – and 65-plus residents have been moved up higher on the state’s vaccination priority list. 

Moderna says its vaccine can handle variants (sort of)

The BBJ’s Don Seiffert reports that Cambridge-based Moderna is confident its COVID-19 vaccine can handle the new virus variants out there – or at least the U.K. variant. The South African one is a little more worrisome.


The T’s long list of woes: Employees testing positive, talk of ‘death spiral,’ climate transformation costs

First, the good news about the T, via SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall), who reports the transit agency is managing to sock away some savings, despite revenue woes that have led to service cuts. … Now for the bad news, also via SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall): “Virus Cases Among T Employees Hit Highest Recorded Level.” … They’re talking about a possible T ‘death spiral’ over at GBH, as well as discussing that recent NYT editorial taking digs at Gov. Charlie Baker. … And, finally, CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl reports on the daunting costs ahead if the T fully commits to transforming itself amid climate change.

This is only a test: State jury trials put on pause again

The Globe’s Tonya Alanez reports that court officials are putting jury trials on hold again, but it’s not because anyone has contracted COVID-19. Instead, officials want to assess how recent trials have gone amid all the pandemic safety precautions. It’s sort of like those old Emergency Broadcasting System interruptions — it’s only a test.

Boston Globe

Mass. National Guard returning to D.C. ahead of impeachment trial

The nation’s capital needs our help again. The Herald’s Erin Tiernan and MassLive’s Jackson Cote report that up to 700 state National Guard troops will be returning to Washington, D.C., this time to help with security around the U.S. Capitol during the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.

Fyi, from USA Today: “Feds track plans to attack members of Congress during Trump impeachment.”

Amazon plans to add 3,000 more jobs in a new Seaport building

Remember Amazon HQ2? We didn’t win it. But we still won. The Globe’s Tim Logan reports that Amazon plans to add 3,000 jobs in Boston, via a new office tower in the Seaport District, bringing its tech-focused job count here to 7,000. Not bad for a region that wasn’t very enthusiastic about the HQ2 sweepstakes in the first place.

Boston Globe

Climate bill showdown: Coming this Thursday?

SHNS’s Matt Murphy reports that Beacon Hill lawmakers may act as soon as this Thursday on the refiled climate bill, a previous version of which Gov. Charlie Baker vetoed earlier this month. We’ll see if Dems have their act together this time (see post immediately below).

Left unresolved: That $6 billion difference between what the administrations says emission reductions would cost versus what lawmakers say. CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl and the Globe’s David Abel have more on the $6 billion question.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

How Baker turned a supermajority disadvantage into a superminority veto advantage

Speaking of legislative action, the Globe’s Matt Stout revisits how Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, somehow managed to effectively veto so many bills and provisions even though Democrats hold an alleged veto-proof supermajority on Beacon Hill. Hint: Bad sense of timing.

Quincy’s Koch: Walsh can take his bridge with him to D.C.

Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch sat down with Mary Whitfill at the Patriot Ledger to discuss, among other things, his recovery from the coronavirus and to tout the restart of long-stalled developments. But our favorite line is Koch’s fare-thee-well to outgoing Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who has clashed with Koch over plans to rebuild the Long Island bridge. “I certainly wish him well and hope he takes the bridge with him.”

Patriot Ledger

Collecting dust, not data

It’s been three years since a sweeping criminal justice reform law was passed, requiring the collection of data on crimes and punishments in Massachusetts, etc. Care to guess how much data has been collected? CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg has the non-shocking answer. 


Vineyard Wind: It’s on again

It’s on. It’s off. It’s on. It’s off. And .. it’s on again. SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) and the Globe’s Jon Chesto have the latest on the on-again/off-again Vineyard Wind offshore wind project, now that a more friendly Biden administration is in control in D.C.

Harvard on ‘no-build’ Allston option: This is what we get for spending hundreds of millions of dollars?

CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl reports that Harvard University, in a recent letter to state officials, is basically saying it’s getting a raw deal if the state proceeds with a “no-build” option for the I-90 Allston project and expects the university to kick in yet more money for a less ambitious plan.


‘Pain in the pipeline:’ Report says Amherst should plan for long economic haul back to normal

There’s more hurt to come. That’s the message to the town of Amherst from the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, which says that even if the area’s colleges rebound to full enrollment by this fall, the local economy will likely feel the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic for some time.


Challenge accepted: Attleboro apparently has mayoral race developing

An Attleboro man who has twice run unsuccessfully for a seat on the city council has announced he will seek the mayor’s office this year, George Rhodes at the Sun Chronicle reports. Jim Poore, 49, says he’ll run on a platform of seeking unity in what he says is currently a divided city. Mayor Paul Heroux has indicated he’ll seek a third term. 

Sun Chronicle

That’s a wrap: Judge orders massage parlor video of Kraft destroyed

And, finally, he didn’t just win the case. He obliterated the case and its evidence. The AP at WCVB reports that a judge in Florida has ordered the destruction of video that allegedly shows New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft paying for massage parlor sex at at the Orchids of Asia, saying police obtained the video unlawfully.


Mindful Tuesdays with Josefina Bonilla & Daniel Gutierrez

How To Incorporate Mindfulness Into Your Life. Daniel Gutierrez, Mindful Leadership Expert/ Owner, Catalina Retreat Center Peru, Speaker. The ROAR Webinar Series on Tuesdays at 1:00 p.m. is inspirational and aspirational. Leaders discuss innovation and leadership, definition of success and the emergency of new leadership in trying times.


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

Vaccination Decisions: Rolling Out the Vaccine

Join us in the first in a series of three virtual Town Halls where we discuss the critical decisions our society faces as we begin vaccination rollout. This kick-off conversation will highlight the process of COVID-19 vaccination dissemination and vaccine distribution with experts answering questions. Moderated by Angus Chen, Health & Science Reporter at WBUR.

Museum of Science

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 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

ROAR Web Series with Josefina Bonilla and Special Guest Evelyn Brito

Guest Speaker Evelyn Brito, Founder, Bodega Makeover. Following Your Passion and Dreams. The ROAR Webinar Series is inspirational and aspirational. Join industry leaders as we discuss innovation and leadership, definition of success and the emergence of new leadership styles in trying times


Race, Work, and Leadership: New Perspectives on the Black Experience

This seminar will be given by Dr. Laura Morgan Roberts, speaking on her book, “Race, Work, and Leadership: New Perspectives on the Black Experience”. It is part of Mossavar-Rahamani Center for Business and Government’s webinar series, Registration is required.

Harvard Kennedy School

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

The State of Race: The Housing Gap

The State of Race: The Housing Gap is a virtual forum co-sponsored by The Boston Globe, NAACP Boston and GBH WORLD that addresses the impact racial disparities have had on key social issues. In January, join GBH host Dan Lothian and a panel of experts including Lisa Rice, President and Chief Executive Officer at National Fair Housing Alliance, Alex Ponte-Capellan a community organizer and housing advocate at City Life/Vida Urbana and Tim Logan, Reporter for The Boston Globe, as they explore the history of structural racism in the US housing system and its long-lasting impact on Massachusetts communities of color.

GBH, The Boston Globe, NAACP Boston, and WORLD

Art & Culture in Public Life Symposium

The Arts & Culture in Public Life Symposium is hosted by the Arts & Culture in Public Life Caucus, a student organization of Harvard Business School. The event will bring together high profile art leaders and policy makers to discuss the potential of the arts to create meaningful change in the world. Moderator is Ping Wang, MPA 2021

Harvard Kennedy School

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


Cambridge, Somerville could join Silver Line – Cambridge Day

Amazon plans to add 3,000 more jobs in new Seaport building – Boston Globe


Former San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz takes post at Mount Holyoke College – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Local LGBTQ advocates celebrate reversal of military ban – Berkshire Eagle

‘Slow decline’ in patient numbers at DCU Center field hospital – Telegram & Gazette


McConnell drops filibuster demand, letting Democrats assume full power – New York Times

Wall Street shrugs at Washington’s debt pileup – Politico

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