Friday, January 30, 2009

EVENT: Tues., Feb. 10---Change Realized

In celebration of Black History Month, Benjamin Chavis, Jr., an African American Civil Rights Leader and former president of the NAACP, will speak as a part of the African American Studies Program's Spring 2009 Lecture Series.

His presentation, entitled "Change Realized," will focus on the African American struggle and the surge in leadership among African Americans, particularly in the hip hop community.

The BU African American Studies Program's Lecture Series meets on Tuesday afternoons from 4-6pm in the African American Studies Building at 138 Mountfort Street.

When: Tuesday, Feb 10, 2009 at 4:00pm until 6:00pm on Tuesday, Feb 10, 2009
Where: 138 Mountfort Street (Seminar Room)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


The state Retirement Board and Treasurer Timothy Cahill's financial education division host a free seminar for state employees as part of the "SMART Retirement and Beyond" series.

(Thursday, 5:30 pm, Gardner Auditorium)

EVENT: Thurs., Jan. 29---2009 PINNACLE AWARD

2009 PINNACLE AWARDS: First Lady Diane Patrick, a partner at Ropes & Gray LLP, and New England Patriots Charitable Foundation President Myra Kraft are honored Thursday with Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce 2009 Pinnacle Awards. Other honorees include Julie Kahan, vice president at Entercom; Mass Highway Commissioner Luisa Paiewonsky; The Freedom Trail Foundation President Mimi La Camera; HouseWorks co-founder and CEO Andrea Cohen; Urban College of Boston President Linda Edmonds Turner, and Susan Esper, partner at Deloitte & Touche LLP.

(Thursday, 11:45 am, Westin Copley Place Boston, 10 Huntington Ave., Boston)

EVENT: Thurs., Jan. 29---AIDS LOBBY DAY

A coalition of AIDS service providers and advocates gathers Thursday to call for maintained HIV/AIDS funding in fiscal years 2009 and 2010. Project ABLE (AIDS Budget Legislative Effort) will be lobbying lawmakers to restore HIV/AIDS funding that was cut $1.5 million in the fiscal 2009 budget and to include a $500,000 initiative in the fiscal 2010 budget to reduce the "explosive HIV/AIDS epidemic" among gay and bisexual men.

(Thursday, 10 am, Nurses Hall)

Sunday, January 25, 2009


U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern and Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray update the Worcester community on the city-wide effort to plant 30,000 trees and replace the ones destroyed because of the Asian Long-horned beetle infestation.

(Thursday, 4:30 pm, Harrington Learning Center, Room 109, Quinsigamond College, 670 West Boylston St., Worcester)

EVENT: Thurs., Jan. 29---AIDS LOBBY DAY

A coalition of AIDS service providers and advocates gathers Thursday to call for maintained HIV/AIDS funding in fiscal years 2009 and 2010. Project ABLE (AIDS Budget Legislative Effort) will be lobbying lawmakers to restore HIV/AIDS funding that was cut $1.5 million in the fiscal 2009 budget and to include a $500,000 initiative in the fiscal 2010 budget to reduce the "explosive HIV/AIDS epidemic" among gay and bisexual men.

(Thursday, 10 am, Nurses Hall)


Organizers of a rally on Boston Common Thursday afternoon say they expect at least 500 people to turn out and demand adequate funding for hospitals and community health centers that serve disproportionate numbers of poor and minority residents. Since December, more than 45 community organizations have enlisted in the Put Patients First Coalition, which delivered 5,000 signed postcards to Gov. Deval Patrick's office last week protesting midyear cuts in state funding for Boston Medical Center and Cambridge Health Alliance. Fearing a step backwards in the state's effort to reach universal health care, coalition members are urging Patrick to resist further health care cuts this week. They are also calling on him to devote, and not to divert expected federal funds targeted to reinforce the MassHealth program.

(Thursday, 4 pm, Boston Common, fountain near Park Street Station)

Saturday, January 24, 2009


The Department of Public Health, the Mass. Medical Society and Jane Doe Inc. host a training forum for health care providers, include physicians and nurses. The forum is a follow-up to Gov. Patrick's issuing of a public health advisory on domestic violence. Homicides related to domestic violence have tripled in the last three years, according to Jane Doe, an advocacy group. In 2007, there were 42 murders and 13 suicides - averaging almost one a week and the highest rate since the early '90s - up from 2005, there were 15 murders and four suicides.

(Wednesday, 8 am, Mass. Medical Society, Conference Center Auditorium, 860 Winter St., Waltham)


The Massachusetts School Building Authority meets. The News Service reported earlier this month Treasury officials sent letters to Beacon Hill leaders that asked to loosen current rules that demand communities provide 20 to 60 percent of school construction costs. The officials cited expected federal assistance through a stimulus package and said the move, along with "targeted investment," would help stimulate jobs and eliminate uncertainty over local funding votes.

(Wednesday, 10 am, 40 Broad St., Boston)


The biotech industry has found many friends within the Patrick administration and the state Legislature, securing a 10-year $1 billion investment package last session. On Wednesday, an industry-sponsored event at a Boston hotel will attract Lt. Gov Tim Murray, Mass Life Sciences Center President and CEO Susan Windham-Bannister, and Rep. Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport), in addition to executives from Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Wyeth, and Merck & Co. Mass. Biotech Council President Robert Coughlin offers opening remarks at the council's annual policy leadership luncheon, which is intended to "set the stage for the 2009 legislative sessions on Beacon Hill and Capitol Hill." The council will roll out a federal policy white paper outlining key issues that will affect the biotech and life sciences sectors in the 2009 Congressional session. Topics on the agenda include the future of health care and innovative medicines.

(Wednesday, 11 am, Parker House Hotel, 60 School St., Boston)


The Massachusetts School Building Authority meets. The News Service reported earlier this month Treasury officials sent letters to Beacon Hill leaders that asked to loosen current rules that demand communities provide 20 to 60 percent of school construction costs. The officials cited expected federal assistance through a stimulus package and said the move, along with "targeted investment," would help stimulate jobs and eliminate uncertainty over local funding votes.

(Wednesday, 10 am, 40 Broad St., Boston)


The Ocean Advisory Commission, a 17-member panel advising the energy and environment secretariat on the development of an ocean plan, meets to discuss a conceptual framework, draft goals and objectives.

(Wednesday, 1 pm, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, McCormack Hall, UMass-Boston, Dorchester)


MassEquality Executive Director Marc Solomon speaks at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government as part of the school's University Declaration of Human Rights Speaker Series. Solomon will discuss the right to marry. Pizza and refreshments will be served.

(Wednesday, 12 pm - 1:30 pm, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Carr Conference Center, Cambridge)


Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral headlines a discussion about women, race and incarceration, hosted by the Massachusetts Bar Association. According to a description of the event, "Rates of incarceration have soared over the last three decades, giving the United States the distinction of having the highest incarceration rate in the world. Incarceration and its after effects have become racial justice issues because rates of incarceration are higher for men and women in communities of color."

(Wednesday, 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm, 20 West St., Boston)


Housing resources and homelessness prevention are the focus of a legislative staff briefing on Thursday hosted by Sen. Susan Tucker and Rep. Kevin Honan. Tucker and Honan chaired the Housing Committee during the 2007-2008 session.

(Wednesday, 10:30 am, Room A-1)


In recent years, the news emanating from annual budget announcements on Beacon Hill has largely centered around which accounts would be infused with the largest amounts of new cash. Wednesday's announcements from Gov. Deval Patrick won't fall into that category, as the news will center on which dramatic steps the governor plans to take to push the fiscal 2009 back into the black and balance, at least on paper, a spending plan for fiscal 2010, which begins July 1, 2009.

EVENT: Tues., Jan. 27---DPU HEARING

The Department of Public Utilities holds the first in a series of public hearings ordered by Gov. Deval Patrick to examine utility companies' response to a December ice storm that left thousands of households without power. Companies under investigation include Unitil, National Grid, NStar and Western Massachusetts Electric Co.

(Tuesday, 4 pm - 10 pm, Memorial Middle School, 615 Rollstone St., Fitchburg)


House lawmakers meet Tuesday to continue their discussion of pension reform. A Temporary House Committee on Pension Reform agreed at its first meeting to further explore pension systems in other New England states, removing provisions that allow state employees to inflate their pensions, and the definition of compensation as it relates to how pension amounts are calculated. Tuesday's gathering is a meeting not a hearing but the public is welcome to attend.

(Tuesday, 1 pm, Room 156)


The Massachusetts Republican State Committee, with a small voter base and an even smaller group of legislators on Beacon Hill, meets to elect its new chair. Current chairman Peter Torkildsen, a former Congressman, is not seeking re-election after two years at the helm, saying he wants to spend more time with his daughter. The race comes as the GOP, which lost the governor's office two years ago, holds five seats in the 40-member Senate and 16 in the 160-member House. Republicans shed three House seats in November. And while rumors persist of who will take on Gov. Patrick in 2010, no candidates have stepped up. As of last week, there were three contenders for the chairmanship: Jennifer Nassour, a Republican state committeewoman from Charlestown; Michael Franco, a Holyoke Republican who has unsuccessfully run for representative and Governor's Council; and Joseph Manzoli from Shrewsbury, who managed Jeff Beatty's 2008 campaign against U.S. Sen. John Kerry. Manzoli is a late entry into the three-way race, having announced his plans earlier this month. "We have to save this party from disaster," he said. "That's why I'm running." Manzoli said Beatty's campaign was the first that he had lost, but the campaign had 4,000 volunteers and collected $2 million in donations and 1 million votes. His plans include creating a "government in waiting," investing heavily in all media, recruiting new candidates and installing Khalil Byrd, a former campaign aide to Beatty and Patrick, as executive director. Nassour and Franco faced off earlier this month at the Point Bar in Boston, with both calling for a "full audit" of what town and ward committees are still active and increased fundraising. Nassour said she would use the position as a bully pulpit on Beacon Hill. "Small businesses are getting killed," she told a small crowd of GOP activists. "It's a very easy message. Our job is done for us by the Democrats." Nassour said she would go after top Democratic legislative leaders, some of whom have ethics clouds hanging over them. With the GOP in the minority on Beacon Hill, "We can do a hell of lot more to them than they can do to us," she said. A former Air Force officer, Franco touted himself as a social conservative, pushing for bringing back "true Americanism," with "strong families" that have a mother and a father. "I believe we can change hearts and minds," he said, adding, "I'm not going to run anybody out" of the party for different beliefs.

(Tuesday, 7 pm, 242 Adams Place, Boxborough)


HEALTH, HOUSING AND HUNGER PREVENTION: Advocates for children's health care, access to housing, and hunger prevention hold an event Monday to raise awareness of "the building blocks of childhood success." Speakers will include Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, Health Care For All; Helen Coulter-Harris, Springfield Department of Health and Human Services; Diane Sullivan, Homes For Families; Ellen Parker, Project Bread, and Debbie Frank, Children's Sentinel Nutrition Assessment Project. Event organizers include Health Care For All, Homes For Families, Project Bread, United Way, Children's Sentinel Nutrition Assessment Program, Boston Public Health Commission, Crittenton Women's Union, Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations.

(Monday, 9:30 am, Great Hall, State House)


A Temporary House Committee on Ethics holds a public hearing Monday on Gov. Deval Patrick's ethics and lobbying reform bill. Committee chairman Rep. James Fagan told the News Service Thursday that Patrick should not expect the Legislature to rubber stamp his legislation but the bill includes a "large number of common sense, very doable ideas." Patrick filed his bill Jan. 7 and called for legislative action on it within 30 days. While the bill is technically before a temporary House ethics panel featuring only House members - the Legislature hasn't yet established its permanent joint committees - Fagan said senators are welcome to join the hearing. Fagan said that in advance of Monday's hearing, he's reached out to parties that have been active in the debate recently, including Patrick legal counsel Ben Clements, Secretary of State William Galvin, Inspector General Gregory Sullivan, and State Ethics Commission Executive Director Karen Nober. Patrick's bill gives the attorney general new investigative and enforcement tools, expands the definition of lobbying, applies revolving door provisions to the executive branch, and increases penalties for violations of ethics and lobbying laws.

(Monday, 1 pm, Room A-1)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

EVENT: Thurs., Jan. 29---Rory Stewart: "The Places In Between"

Rory Stewart, Chief Executive of the Turquoise Mountain Foundation in Afghanistan, will speak on his memoir, "The Places In Between", a NY Times best seller which chronicles his walk across Afghanistan following the collapse of Taliban rule in 2002. He is currently the Faculty Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University.

Speaker(s): Rory Stewart, Chief Executive, Turquoise Mountain Foundation, Afghanistan

When/Where: Thurs., Jan 29 at 5:00pm until 6:30pm at The Castle, 225 Bay State Road

More Info:


Education Secretary Paul Reville heads to Blackstone Valley to speak on priorities for 2009. The education secretariat is bracing itself for more cuts, but Reville pledged "continuing commitment" to education goals after speaking to a crowd of early education advocates last week. Reville also noted it was "premature" to talk about raising revenue.

(Wednesday, 9 am, Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School, 65 Pleasant St., Upton)


Health and Human Services Secretary JudyAnn Bigby testifies on health disparities before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. The committee is chaired by US Sen. Edward Kennedy.

(Thursday, 9:30 am, Location TBD)

EVENT: Fri., Jan. 23 & Sat., Jan. 24---PATRICK AT MMA MEETING

This year's annual meeting of the Massachusetts Municipal Association falls at a pivotal moment for perhaps the most important Beacon Hill priority of cities and towns: local aid. The more than $5 billion in aid that Beacon Hill funnels each year to municipal governments is on the chopping block. Gov. Deval Patrick, who will alone decide how much local aid to cut, addresses municipal officials at the opening session of their annual meeting Friday. He'll speak at about 10:30 am. Award-winning author and presidential scholar Doris Kearns Goodwin will kick off the MMA's 30th Annual Meeting & Trade Show, which NBC financial correspondent Mike Jensen, award-winning actor Ken Howard, Attorney General Martha Coakley, and comedian Paula Poundstone are also featured attendees.

(Friday and Saturday, Hynes Convention Center and the Sheraton Boston Hotel; Gov. Patrick is expected to speak Friday at about 10:30 am at the Hynes with AG Coakley speaking shortly afterwards, also at the Hynes)

EVENT: Sat., Jan. 24---Stand for Children Summit

Stand for Children hosts its 5th Annual Statewide Education Summit to help advocate for children's education. "The current economic news is bleak - but our kids only grow up once," according to an announcement for the event. The conference includes workshops on helping kids in a tough economy, increasing the knowledge base for advocates, building advocacy skills and a discussion of the group's 2009 policy platform.

(Saturday, 8:30 am - 3:30 pm, Reading Memorial High School)

EVENT: Thurs., Jan. 22---Massachusetts Clean Energy Technology Center Meets

CLEAN ENERGY TECH CENTER: The board of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Technology Center meets. The quasi-public agency was created under the Green Jobs Act passed last summer and is focused on funding instruction, research and development of new clean energy technologies. The agency is receiving $65 million over five years for grants and research.

(Thursday, 10 am, 100 Cambridge St., Boston)


A top advocacy group that helped push through the 2006 health care law holds a briefing for lawmakers and staffers on their priorities for 2009. The briefing is hosted by Sen. Richard Moore (D-Uxbridge) and Rep. Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington).

(Thursday, 10 am, Room A-2)


When the Mass. Turnpike Authority board voted 4-1 on Nov. 14, 2008 to raise tolls by $100 million, former Transportation Secretary Bernard Cohen said the agency had run out of options and board members built expected toll revenues into the authority budget and said they expected to give the hikes a final stamp of approval on Jan. 22. Two months later, with fierce opposition still swirling, the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority is now preparing to hold "a discussion" on big toll increases at its meeting next Thursday. A final vote is not listed on the agenda. A spokesman said that whether a vote occurs is up to board members, who are grappling with intense opposition to the toll increases from proponents of a gas tax, who say it is a more equitable way to raise transportation dollars. The Senate has called on the turnpike authority to forgo its toll increase and wait until significant reforms are implemented first. Top state officials have outlined reform ideas, but no legislation has been filed. Gov. Deval Patrick, who has since replaced Cohen with James Aloisi, has suggested the toll hike revenue is desperately needed to pay turnpike obligations, but Patrick has also softened his once ironclad opposition to a gas tax hike. The plan under consideration would boost tolls in Allston from $1.25 to $2, with tolls in Weston also rising by 75 cents. Tolls at the Sumner and Ted Williams tunnels would rise to $7 from $3.50, under the turnpike's plan.

(Thursday, 2 pm, Rooms 5 and 6, Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza Boston)


The Governor's Council may vote on Gov. Patrick's nomination of Superior Court Judge Ralph Gants to the Supreme Judicial Court. At his hearing last week, councilors focused on his work in connection with a pair of sexual dangerousness hearings and his preliminary injunction against sub-prime lender Fremont Investment & Loan. Only one complaint against his conduct has surfaced in his ten years on the bench, he said during questioning: a person who was upset with the outcome of a case involving the kidnapping of a Siamese cat. "Your questions were all fair," he said at the end of the three-hour hearing. If confirmed, Gants would fill the seat held until recently by Justice John Greaney who left the court as he approached the mandatory judicial retirement age of 70.

(Wednesday, noon, Council Chambers)

EVENT: Wed., Jan. 21---Temporary House Committee on Pension Reform Holds Public Hearing

PENSION REFORM: There's not bill before it, but the Temporary House Committee on Pension Reform holds a public hearing on the topic on Wed. Some lawmakers, prodded by media reports on pension system abuses, say they're intent on making a push to eliminate laws that allow for such abuses.

When/Where: Wednesday, 11 am, Room 156

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Calling All College Students! Be a Student Correspondent at the 2009 Oscars

**Greetings celebs, opportunity knocks via Tarrah Curtis, a COM alum in LA**

DEADLINE: Jan. 23, 2009

The Academy has partnered with mtvU to find the best college journalists nationwide. Three finalist teams will be flown to Los Angeles to participate in pre-Oscars events. One grand prize-winning team will be given positions on the red carpet and in the backstage press rooms to interview nominees and guests alongside the best entertainment journalists in the world.

For more information on how to apply:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

PRESS RELEASE: Wednesday, Jan. 7: Opens Voting for the Top 10 Ideas for America Opens Voting for the Top 10 Ideas for America

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, January 5, 2009 --, the leading online platform for social change, today announced it has opened voting for the Top 10 Ideas for America, to be presented to the Obama Administration at an event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., just days before the Inauguration. Each winning idea will form the basis of a national advocacy campaign organized in collaboration with leading nonprofits to translate each idea into real policy.

The voting process comprises the second and final round of the "Ideas for Change in America" competition, which was launched by and MySpace in November 2008 in partnership with more than 50 leading nonprofit organizations and a dozen online political communities and voter registration groups, including TechPresident, Netroots Nation, Declare Yourself, Student PIRGs, and HeadCount.

Since the launch of the competition more than 7,500 ideas have been submitted, addressing major challenges ranging from global warming to the economy to education. More than 30,000 comments have been added and 250,000 votes have been cast to discuss and identify the best among these ideas. This first round finished last week, and voting to select the 10 winning ideas from 100 finalists will run from January 5th through January 15th at also today announced it has partnered with the Case Foundation to host an event at the National Press Club on January 16, 2008 to unveil the Top 10 Ideas for America. At the event, and the Case Foundation will announce the launch of national advocacy campaigns in support of each idea in partnership with leading nonprofit groups. Following the announcement, a panel that will include Chris Hughes, co-creator of, will discuss how new technology such as that used by the Obama Campaign can help to advance greater levels of civic participation in America.

"The inauguration gives every American a renewed opportunity to get involved and make a difference," said Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation. "Just by voting for's Top 10 Ideas for America people across the country can help decide what some of our initial steps are and become a critical part of making those ideas a reality."

The Ideas for Change in America competition was launched in response to President-elect Barack Obama's call for citizen involvement in government, and the overwhelming response has shown the extent of the interest people across the country have in participating in the policymaking process in the same way they were able to get involved in the 2008 campaign.

"The Obama campaign showed the power of the internet to get millions of Americans to participate in politics in ways never before possible," said founder and CEO Ben Rattray. "Our aim is to demonstrate how the same technology can be used to create a more participatory form of democracy and engage the American public, leverage a diverse range of voices to generate innovative ideas, and build momentum for specific policy change. We hope this is the first of many efforts to use new models of online collaboration and organizing to effect the change that so many millions across the country seek."

ABOUT CHANGE.ORG is an online hub and media network for social issues and collective action. The San Francisco-based social entrepreneurship venture operates a network of blogs covering more than a dozen major social issues and has partnered with more than 3000 leading nonprofit organizations to provide outlets for powerful action. was founded by two former classmates from Stanford, Ben Rattray and Mark Dimas, in 2006.


The Case Foundation, created by Steve and Jean Case in 1997, invests in people and ideas that can change the world. The Foundation champions initiatives that connect people, increase giving, and catalyze civic action. For more information, visit