Keller at Large

If the doctor gets in

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller says state Rep. (and practicing physician) Jon Santiago would be a longshot candidate if he jumps into the Boston mayoral race, but his nascent bid has a rationale other candidates may struggle to match in this pandemic age.

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Soldiers’ Home hearing, Trump’s Senate trial and more

Special Legislative Commission on Ocean Acidification, chaired by Sen. Julian Cyr and Rep. Dylan Fernandes, holds a virtual press conference to release its report and recommendations, 10 a.m.

— Special Joint Oversight Committee on the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke COVID-19 Outbreak holds a virtual hearing focusing on the home’s board of trustees, 10 a.m.

Senate Democrats huddle privately in a virtual caucus ahead of a Thursday formal session where the chamber will debate internal rules for this General Court, 11 a.m.

— Attorney General Maura Healey holds a virtual roundtable to discuss promoting racial equity in treatment programs and recovery services for opioid use disorder in the state, 11:30 a.m. 

U.S. Senate is expected to begin the trial of former President Donald Trump, who was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives for incitement of insurrection connected to the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol.

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: 55 new deaths, 14,753 total deaths, 1,276 new case

CBS Boston has the latest coronavirus number for Massachusetts.

Neal and Baker’s bromance appeal: More fed money, please

A new bromance in the making now that Marty Walsh is leaving Boston? Anyway, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, a Democrat, and Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, yesterday jointly called for passage of a new federal relief package and more money flowing to Massachusetts, MassLive’s Steph Solis and SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) report.

It may take a while to get the funds flowing, perhaps mid-March, but Neal sounds confident a fed package will be passed, with or without GOP support in Congress.

‘Baker’s gooney bird has just landed’

Speaking of state revenues and the governor, the Globe’s Rachelle Cohen writes Gov. Charlie Baker has relied on every dubious trick in the budget book to raise state revenues while saying he hasn’t raised taxes to raise state revenues. And then along comes Joe Biden and … the $500 million gooney bird has landed. Rachelle explains.

Boston Globe

Dashed dreams: North Adams man tied to Capitol riot wanted to run for Congress against Neal

And speaking of Richard Neal, Heather Morrison at MassLive reports that Brian McCreary of North Adams recently harbored the dream of running for Congress against Neal, but he couldn’t get enough candidate signatures. So he apparently decided to storm Congress. … And the rest is history. … And, oh, he’s also been fired from his pizza delivery job (MassLive).


Mr. Fix-it flubs it

OK, things are starting to improve on the vaccine-rollout front, with more than 200,000 people 75 and older now having received vaccines, as SHNS’s Matt Murphy reports (pay wall). That’s nearly half of all people in the 75-plus category.

But the initial slow and frustrating rollout has definitely taken its toll on Gov. Charlie reputation as ‘’Gov. Fix-it,” as the Globe’s Matt Stout reports.

Mariano tries his hand at fixing it

House Speaker Ron Mariano thinks lawmakers can fix some of what Gov. Fix-it can’t seem to fix. SHNS’s Katie Lannan reports the speaker has outlined his own rollout priorities, including extending hours at the state’s vaccine call center, deploying new mobile vaccination sites and other steps.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Step aside, Charlie, Ron and Arlington mom: Bain associate has already built a new vaccine website

Speaking of fixes, an Arlington mom’s announcement that she’s building an easier-to-use vaccine website has drawn a lot of media attention of late. And Gov. Charlie Baker said his administration plans to talk with the software programmer about her venture, reports the Herald’s Erin Tiernan.

But the Globe’s Hiawatha Bray says a Bain Capital associate and others have already built a new and better vaccine-registration website (

More than half of prison workers have refused COVID shots

They were rushed to the front of the vaccine-priority line and … more than half of them declined to get a COVID-19 shot. GBH’s Jenifer McKim has more on the less-than-successful inoculation rollout at the Department of Corrections – a rollout that doesn’t bode well for achieving herd immunity in prisons or anywhere else.


Hundreds of UMass students face punishments for Covid violations

They seem to be living up to UMass Amherst’s old reputation, the one that rhymes with ‘boo,’ if you know what we mean. MassLive’s Jim Russell reports that 354 university students face possible disciplinary action for allegedly violating campus pandemic restrictions. The action comes as the town of Amherst takes emergency steps to contain a major virus outbreak on the campus.


NAACP and other groups file voting rights suit against Worcester’s at-large school board elections

Another at-large election system is under fire in Massachusetts, this time in Worcester, where the NAACP and a number of other individuals and groups representing people of color have filed a voting rights lawsuit against the city’s at-large elections of school committee members, saying the system racially discriminates, reports Cyrus Moulton at the Telegram.

And speaking of voting rights cases, via the Lowell Sun: “Voting rights plaintiffs respond to Lowell City Council attempts to further change election system.”


Touchy T board

The MBTA’s oversight board is in a touchy mood, taking exception to a recent Globe editorial that criticized “the small-bore thinking of the past six years” on transit matters. The board’s chairman, Joseph Aiello, called the editorial “uninformed” and “wrong” etc. – and thus guaranteed it will now be read by a much wider audience. Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth has more.


CharlieCard dispenser machines

Speaking of the MBTA, SHNS’s Chris Lisinski reports that coming soon to a T station near you will be brand-new CharlieCards dispensed from brand-new vending machines, making it easier for riders to pay fares, etc.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

MassGOP calls for ouster of ‘break their will’ climate deputy

The Herald is going full Herald this morning with front-page follow-up coverage of the controversial remarks by the state’s climate undersecretary about the need to “break” the will of motorists and homeowners in order to reduce carbon emissions. The state Republican Party and the conservative Mass. Fiscal Alliance are calling on the Baker administration to oust David Ismay. The Herald’s Howie Carr is all over the controversy.

Boston Herald

Pardon me: Dershowitz played major role in quests for Trump pardons

Behind the scenes, he was a busy man. Kenneth Vogel and Nicholas Confessore at the New York Times report Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz helped put a dozen requests for pardons or clemency in front of President Trump before he left office. 


Walsh to those who want to buy his Dorchester home: ‘We’re not selling’

As he prepares to leave Boston for Washington, Mayor Marty Walsh is apparently fending off flippers and others offering to buy his home in Dorchester’s Lower Mills, but he ain’t selling, reports the BBJ’s Gintautas Dumcius.


A toxic mix for shellfish: Acidity and ocean water

The Globe’s Gal Tziperman Lotan reports that a new study expected to be released today says the ocean’s growing acidity poses a grave danger to the state’s coastal waters and huge shellfish industries.

Boston Globe

‘Tarnished’: Fall River struggles to fill city administrator post

Thanks but no thanks. For the second time in six months, a candidate tapped by Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan to be the city administrator has turned down the job offer, Jo C. Goode at the Herald News reports. Without naming a certain former mayor with all sorts of legal problems, Coogan said the city’s reputation has been “tarnished” and that may be one reason the post has gone unfilled.

Herald News

‘Bowled’ over: Mass. firm sues newsletter founders over name

Hands off our punchbowl. A Framingham company that makes online greeting cards is suing Punchbowl News, the Washington insider newsletter recently launched by three Politico alums, saying the name and logo of the new publication infringes on its trademarks. Andrew Beaujon at the Washingtonian has details.


Pay up: Hinds readies bill to boost reform PILOT

State Sen. Adam Hinds says he’ll file a bill to revamp the way the state approaches payments-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, that go to communities with large swaths of state land, Bera Dunau at the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports. A December report from Auditor Suzanne Bump suggested the PILOT formula needs to be updated and the program funded at higher levels. 

Daily Hampshire Gazette

How the Turntables Have Turned! A Conversation about Hip-Hop & the Media

Hip-Hop has triumphantly emerged from the underground to take its place in the mainstream of popular culture; the influence of hip-hop extends to television, film, advertising, fashion, media, language, and more. In recent years, there has been a shift in tone in how media outlets consume and present hip-hop to their respective audiences.

Cambridge Public Library

Alone, Lonely, or Just Bored: Preventing Isolation During the Pandemic with Kathleen McInnis-Dittrich, PhD, ACSW

Join with the Boston Public Library in partnership with Beacon Hill Village for this online program. COVID-19 poses special challenges for older adults balancing their safety with the innate need to connect with other people. Dr. McInnis-Dittrich will explore the difference between being (happily) alone with the potentially dangerous state of being lonely.

Boston Public Library

Sybrina Fulton – The Purpose of Power: We Are All Trayvon – Lowell Lecture

The Boston Public Library welcomes Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, for an online conversation moderated by BPL President David Leonard. This program, presented in partnership with GBH Forum Network, is part of the Lowell Lecture Series sponsored by the Lowell Institute and the BPL’s Repairing America Series.

Boston Public Library

Just Mercy: The Work of the Equal Justice Initiative

The Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, founded in 1989 by Attorney Bryan Stevenson, is committed to racial justice and works on ending mass incarceration, economic justice, and protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable. EJI may be best known for the book and movie, Just Mercy, and for its lynching memorial, called the National Memorial for Peace and Justice.

Waltham Public Library

2021 Economic Outlook

Join us for this MassEcon overview of the state of the Massachusetts economy. This year’s overview and panelist discussion is more timely than ever, as it is set against the backdrop of the deep impact of the pandemic on the state, national, and global economies.


Black History Month Celebration: Three Contemporary Black Women Inventors

Three African American women inventors, Dr. Aprille Ericsson, Dr. Ayanna Howard, Dr. Arlyne Simon, will be celebrated in this Black History Month Celebration.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

The Coronavirus Exposes America’s Public Health Crisis: Racism

Corona-virus, Pandemic, Race. The Covid-19 pandemic is the most devastating health issue of this century. It has disproportionately impacted African Americans and other marginalized populations, heightening awareness of racism as the root of America’s public health crisis.

Museum of African American History

Bill Kristol: Is the Future “Grand” for the Grand Old Party? What Happened?

Join for an in-depth analysis of the future of the Republican Party by passionate Conservative, never-Trumper Republican, William Kristol. Kristol was a political analyst at Fox News but switched to the news division of ABC. Prior to his career in journalism, Kristol was a Professor of Political Philosophy at Harvard University where he received his BA, MA, and PhD.

Jews United for Democracy and Justice and Community Advocates

Economic Outlook & Recovery 2021

Keynote speaker Michelle Meyer, Head of U.S. Economics for BofA Securities, will provide her perspectives and economic outlook for 2021 along with addressing current national economic data/trends, issues related to unemployment and the impact on certain key industry sectors.

Worcester Business Journal

Virtual Film Screening & Panel Discussion | PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools

Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice invites you to a virtual film screening of the feature-length documentary, PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools.

Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice

19th Suffolk District Forum on Energy and the Environment

Join ELM and co-sponsoring partners for a virtual 19th Suffolk District Forum on Energy and the Environment on February 11, 5-6:30PM.

Environmental League of Massachusetts

What Does It Mean to Be at the Table?

A discussion about systemic racism at the top.

Boston-Suffolk County Family Resource Center, a program of The Home for Little Wanderers

Abraham Lincoln Assassination & Ford’s Theatre – Livestream Program

Our President’s Day livestream history program is on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, April 4, 1865. This program will focus on Abraham Lincoln, the assassination at Ford’s Theatre, including an overview of the site, and Lincoln’s legacy as our greatest president. This is a online/virtual version of our popular in-person tours we host at Ford’s Theatre.

Washington DC HIstory & Culture

Today’s Headlines


Boston’s in a lab-building boom. What will that mean for the city and its neighborhoods? – Boston Globe

MBTA Plans Vaccine Site For Workers In Quincy – WBUR


Lowell Police Department becomes largest certified city department in Mass. – Lowell Sun

Gloucester discusses steps to create affordable housing – Gloucester Times

St. Vincent nurses to take strike vote Wednesday – Telegram & Gazette


He’s the only governor up for reelection. The pandemic may haunt him. – Politico

Senate sets stage for rapid Trump impeachment trial – Washington Post

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