What’s the martyr with Warren?
If Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s intent was to make an example out of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, he better use some of his campaign war chest to buy himself a clue.
By leading a strictly partisan vote using an arcane and archaic Senate rule to rebuke Warren and cut off her criticism of Sen. Jeff Sessions, President Trump’s nominee for attorney general, McConnell managed to raise Warren’s profile among progressives even higher, if that’s possible.
Money, attention, and support have been flowing in for Massachusetts’ senior senator and solidified her position as the leading opposition voice to both Trump and the Republican majority. Warren – who may or may not harbor presidential ambitions, depending on who you talk to – will certainly reap benefits unforeseen by McConnell. Warren raised nearly $6 million in the two year period between January 2015 and the end of last year. And her new book, which is scheduled to come out in the spring, can pretty much be guaranteed to sell out.
As they did in the confirmation of new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Senate Democrats have been holding the floor to stall a vote on Sessions as long as they can. Warren read comments from the late Ted Kennedy into the record from 1986 fight to defeat Sessions’ nomination for a federal judge post, when Kennedy called the then-US attorney for Alabama a “disgrace to the Justice Department.” That departure from Senate comity got Warren a warning but it only appeared to energize, not mute, her.
He called for the rebuke of Warren that would silence her through the remainder of the debate. The tally was 49-43, strictly along party lines.
“The senator will take her seat,” said Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, who was presiding at the time.
The Internet of Things exploded in support for Warren and the rebuke garnered her far more attention that letting her continue ever would have. Warren went out into the hallway and read the entire letter on Facebook Live. While in the chamber on C-SPAN, Warren’s reading of the letter would have been seen and heard by a couple hundred thousand viewers, at most, her Facebook feed has been viewed more than six million times as of Wednesday morning and shared more than 135,000 times.
“The Republicans took away my right to read this letter on the floor — so I’m right outside, reading it now,” Warren wrote on her page.
The incident spawned a #LetLizSpeak hashtag that was immediately trending with many women, who are becoming more and more galvanized in the age of Trump, rushing to Warren’s side claiming silencing Warren and telling her to take her seat is what men have been doing to all women for years.
Interestingly, several male senators, including Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Tom Udall of New Mexico, read King’s letter in its entirety on the Senate floor early Wednesday with no repercussions.
Warren, it seems, has hit a nerve. The nerve of her.
Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins and former Essex County sheriff Frank Cousins pen an op-ed supporting legislation that would move 18-21 year-olds from the state’s adult court system to the juvenile justice system. (Boston Herald)
Massachusetts is one of a small number of states that does not require the licensing of private security guards, something a state senator says he may explore changing in light of reports that security guards at North Station regularly mistreated homeless people. (Boston Globe)
Mayor Marty Walsh defends Boston’s “sanctuary city” support for immigrants on The Daily Show. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno stakes out very different ground, declaring “enough is enough” about efforts to resettle immigrants in his city. (MassLive)
The cities of Lawrence and Chelsea plan to file suit today challenging an executive order by President Trump that would strip federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities. (Boston Globe)
Watchdogs are raising questions about Walsh’s selection of a lawyer from a high-powered Boston firm that handles lots of liquor license cases to be executive secretary of the Boston Licensing Board that oversees those permits. (Boston Herald)
Michael Lavoie, a 30-year veteran of the department, becomes Worcester’s new fire chief. (Telegram & Gazette)
The private St. Mark’s School in Southborough has sent a letter to town officials saying it will sell its 60-acre golf course, which has been eyed for a new public safety complex, unless the town moves to close the deal to buy it. (MetroWest Daily News)
A three-judge Appeals Court panel in California appeared skeptical of arguments by government lawyers that President Trump had the power to issue the executive order on the controversial immigration ban. (New York Times)
The Pentagon is looking at leasing offices in Trump Towers, once again raising the specter of conflict of interest with the president around his business holdings. (New York Times)
The Globe profiles Rhode Island native and presidential spokesman Sean Spicer.
Jay Gonzalez, the only announced Democratic candidate for governor, continues to make the rounds introducing himself to voters as the best alternative to Gov. Charlie Baker with a resume that is remarkably similar. (Greater Boston)
The powerhouse PR and lobbying outfit Rasky Baerlein is dissolving, with Larry Rasky buying out Joe Baerlein and renaming the firm Rasky Partners; Baerlein plans to open his own shop. (Boston Globe)
The developer of a smartphone app designed to help people locate various marijuana-related products and services is planning to put up billboards in Brockton, Bridgewater, and West Bridgewater. (The Enterprise)
Salem officials are looking at offering tax breaks to developers to spur more building downtown. (Salem News)
Dartmouth got the green light to use a $1 million state grant toward developing a revised plan for a maritime center after voters had rejected an earlier design that would have been built with the grant. (Standard-Times)
With House Speaker Robert DeLeo set to announce an early education initiative today, Governing magazine asks whether universal quality preschool is affordable or even effective.
Dentists are recoiling at plans by Delta Dental, the state’s largest dental insurer, to sell new low-cost plans that dentists say will set rates too low. (Boston Globe)
Health workers say immigrants increasingly aren’t showing up for appointments out of fear over Trump’s immigrant travel order. (WBUR)
Icy road conditions triggered a number of multiple car crashes along Route 128 during the Wednesday morning commute, including a 55-car pileup in Wakefield. (WCVB)
The two top leaders of a group set up to help survivors of clergy sex abuse have stepped down, though they insist it was unrelated to a lawsuit filed against the organization claiming it exploited victims and received kickbacks from lawyers. (Associated Press)
Another day, another problem at Pilgrim nuclear power plant, this time with a seawater leak into the condenser forcing plant operators to power down the facility to plug the leak. (Cape Cod Times)
The Army is expected to give the go-ahead Wednesday for construction of the controversial $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline to resume. (U.S. News & World Report)
New flood zone maps to replace the disputed ones for Marshfield, Duxbury, and Scituate could take up to two years to draw up, according to a consultant the three towns hired to deal with federal officials. (Patriot Ledger)
Mashpee is the latest Cape town to turn to shellfish as a natural way to improve water quality mandated by the state, using farmed and wild bivalves to absorb nitrogen in wastewater rather than turning to more expensive technologies. (Cape Cod Times)
State Rep. Christopher Markey of Dartmouth has introduced a bill to allow anyone accused of trafficking in fentanyl to be held up to 120 days without bail. (Standard-Times)A lawsuit accuses three Holyoke police officers of beating a 12-year-old boy unconscious when they responded to a shots-fired call in 2014. (MassLive)
A Lowell police officer is fighting his six-month unpaid suspension, with three months held in abeyance, for his use of excessive force on a 16-year-old student. (Lowell Sun)