Fast Forward: Intelligence agencies in the crosshairs, rallying for a minimum wage, remembering King Tut
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Here’s a rundown of what’s coming up today.
What’s it like outside? We’re getting a couple of inches of snow in Boston; more to the north, less to the south. Watch out for a slippery commute, but temps will climb into the mid to high 30s. Pretty windy.
Hey, sport: The red-hot Celtics (they’ve won 11 of the last 12) are in Chicago to play the Bulls (8 p.m. on TNT and 98.5 FM). They continue to pressure first-place Cleveland, who just lost forward Kevin Love for six weeks because of knee surgery. Last night, the Cs beat the 76ers for the third time this season, 116-108. Marcus Smart had eight steals.
Position players are due at Red Sox training camp in Fort Myers today, although several are already there, including second baseman Dustin Pedroia and shortstop Xander Bogaerts. Pitchers start their workout at 10 a.m.
In a move that members of the intelligence community believe is an effort to intimidate them, President Trump supposedly plans to install a New York billionaire with no experience in the field to conduct a review of intelligence agencies, The New York Times is reporting.
Trump’s reportedly been unhappy that facts and analysis produced by the agencies on topics such as the Iran nuclear deal and NATO’s usefulness often are at odds with his worldview. And Trump blames the intelligence community for the leak of Michael Flynn’s discussion of sanctions with the Russian ambassador and his mendacity with the vice president, which Trump had sat on for two weeks — getting rid of Flynn only after the developments became public.
David Friedman, the Orthodox Jewish bankruptcy lawyer (he helped Trump with several of his casino bankruptcies) nominated as ambassador to Israel, will get some tough questions during his confirmation hearing today. He opposes much of the decades-old US bipartisan policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including a two-state solution. He has financially supported Israeli settlements in the West Bank and wants to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He’s before the Foreign Relations committee at 10:30 a.m.
Talk about tough questions: Rex Tillerson makes his first overseas trip as secretary of State today, arriving in Germany for a two-day Group of 20 (known as G-20) meeting. His counterparts are anxious to ask him about Trump’s views on China, his closeness to Russia, and Middle East policy.
Don’t be surprised if you see restaurants and other businesses closed today; they may be taking part in the nationwide “Day Without Immigrants” protest against Trump’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants and a proposal by a GOP lawmaker to cut legal immigration in half.
Controversial drug executive Martin Shkreli — I should say former drug executive — speaks at UMass Boston at 3 p.m. He’s the sweetheart who raised the price of a life-saving drug from $13.50 per pill to $750 and also harassed a female journalist online, leading to his suspension from Twitter. He’s free on bail while he awaits trial on charges of securities fraud. His appearance at Harvard last night was disrupted several times by people walking out and calling him names. Plus someone pulled a fire alarm. He finished his talk, however, by calling for the federal government to regulate the prices of generic drugs, presumably so the makers of brand-name drugs can continue to gouge the sick.
Those snorting sounds emanating from Beacon Hill are House and Senate Democrats nosing up to the taxpayer trough. House Speaker Robert DeLeo decides who will hold what leadership posts and committee chairmanships today, assignments that carry newly enacted stipends that were doubled or almost tripled in the recent pay raise bill. Senate President Stanley Rosenberg made his assignments yesterday, but not before adding a leadership position to the top-heavy hierarchy so that yet another senator can get a $35,000 bonus on top of the base pay of $62,547.
While lawmakers inside the State House stuff their pockets, outside on the building’s steps people who make less than the minimum wage — waiters, waitresses, and others who rely on tips, as well as their supporters — will rally at 10:15 a.m. in support of a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021, and hike the subminimum wage over eight years until there is no such thing as paying people less than the minimum wage.
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the state agency that’s investing $1 billion in life sciences innovation and R&D, will unveil the details of a project it’s funding in Gloucester today. (The State House News Service says the project involves genomics research and workforce development.) Governor Charlie Baker will be on hand for the announcement, being held at 2 p.m. at the Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute. As part of the event, scientists will show off a genetic experiment involving a large cod. If they turn it into a cat, I’m pouring myself a tall Bloody Mary and going to bed.
Speaking of scientists, a whole bunch of them — along with engineers, teachers, and policy makers — descend on Boston today through Monday for the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) annual meeting at the Hynes Convention Center. It’s one of the largest global science meetings in the world, and a hot topic is sure to be communicating scientific facts in an era of fake news.
Three pieces of economic data today: 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rates, housing starts (new construction), and the state unemployment rate for January. Last week, mortgage rates were 4.17 percent, and in December, the Massachusetts jobless rate was 2.8 percent. Despite a stronger economy, experts expect that January housing starts will be slightly down because of higher interest rates.
Finally, on this day in 1923, English archeologist Howard Carter opened the door to the last chamber of the sealed burial tomb of Tutankhamen and found the mummified body of the ancient Egyptian ruler. The King Tut and his treasure trove tour of museums around the world was a sensation (remember Steve Martin’s musical parody of the phenomenon?).
BTW, Carter’s financial backer, Lord Carnarvon, accompanied him on several forays to explore the tomb after Carter first discovered it in November 1922. Carnavon’s family estate, Highclere Castle, is where Downton Abbey was filmed. And if you’re a fan of “The Crown,” Elizabeth’s horsie friend “Porchey” is an Earl of Carnarvon; Baron Porchester is a subsidiary title.
Tut and his trinkets reside at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, but he’ll soon have a new home in a Grand Museum being built near the pyramids on the Giza plains.
Thanks for reading. I think I’ll switch from cod to flounder. And if Tut ever gets tired of all those bangles, I’m happy to take something off his hands. Send questions, comments, or news tips to email@example.com, or follow me on Twitter @BostonTeresa. See you tomorrow.
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