Late start, because I didn't think I'd have time to do Ask Me Anything today, but plans changed so let's have a go at it.
No shortage of topics these days, so hit me up with your Qs, in the comments here or via email to email@example.com (let me know if you want me not to use your name).
I'll do my best to answer in posts throughout the day.
Looking forward to it!
Update: Glen Johnson updates with the big news that Sheriff Andrea Cabral will resign to become Patrick's public safety secretary.
It's been expected -- and most of the changes had been in the rumor mill for weeks -- but it's still a big freakin' deal when the governor replaces a whole bunch of cabinet secretaries at once.
The jury acquitted Scott Campbell and was deadlocked on Tim Cahill, resulting in a mistrial; Attorney General Martha Coakley will hold a press conference in an hour or so at which she may or may not indicate whether he office will attempt to re-try Cahill.
My initial reactions on what all this says and means:
--Cahill probably won't be going to prison, which is a great relief for him and his family, but also probably ensures that this entire episode fades quickly in the public memory and means nothing in the long run.
I just watched Scott Brown give his farewell floor speech (thanks C-SPAN2!), which for the most part sounded like what you may have heard at the end of the televised campaign debates, or in his election-night concession speech. He mostly stressed the need for independence and bipartisanship, and praised himself on that score: "I'm proud that I did keep that promise to be independent."
Two years ago, I wrote that Republicans were opting out of the conference for new congressional members, hosted every two years by the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government's Intitute of Politics (IOP) -- despite the fact that many top Republicans had attended in the past.
That year, just 16 of the massive GOP class of 83 newcomers -- 19% -- came to the notorious liberal mecca of Cambridge.
Michelle Wu (@WuTrain) via Twitter
Boston will get its first official challenger for an at-large seat on the Boston City Council, when 27-year-old South End resident Michelle Wu opens a campaign account tomorrow.
Wu, who worked for the Elizabeth Warren campaign, says she's running regardless of the intentions of the four incumbent at-large councilors.
Former Governor and perhaps future something-or-other William Weld has moved back to the Commonwealth, and decided to plunge back into the public eye yesterday via a sit-down with, apparently, everybody employed at the Boston Herald at once. (Note: pols don't have to wear lapel mics at Phoenix ed boards.)
In what Joey Batts correctly calls "a surprising slap to law enforcement," Weld used the opportunity to side with Tim Cahill against AG Martha Coakley, and with the Beacon Hill probation patronage patronizers against US Attorney Carmen Ortiz.
The jury is heading into deliberations on the Tim Cahill (and Scott Campbell) charges this afternoon. I have not followed the trial and evidence in minute detail, so I'm reluctant at this point to say whether they should, or will, return guilty verdicts.
But I will say how I've more or less viewed this prosecution all along, which is a pretty ambivalent position.
The recent stealth transfer of Tom Menino to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital underscored the jarring fact that the public has not laid eyes on the mayor in more than a month. And, despite assurances from Menino's doctors and aides that nothing should deter him from maintaining and extending his rule over the city indefinitely, this latest development was the last straw for a couple of vital local commentators.
Governor Deval Patrick's office has announced that chief of staff Mo Cowan is leaving, to be replaced by current director of communications Brendan Ryan.
Expect this to be the first* of several senior-staff changes, as the guv puts together his team for the final two-year stretch. The whispered word is that he's asked for commitments through the end of his term from senior staff who want to stay on.
In 2008, Massachusetts passed a highly restrictive ban on pharmaceutical and medical-device companies giving gifts to physicians. This year, industry interests succeeded in easing those rules. Wording to allow those companies to give doctors "modest" meals and refreshments was tucked into the budget that passed in July, and in October the Public Health Council (under the state's Department of Public Health) issued draft regulations on how to interpret that pliable term "modest."
It was another big year for turnover in the US Senate, with 12 members being replaced. But, lest you think we're finally getting the Baby Boomer generation to relinquish its power, and seeing Generation-X take its place, sorry but no.
In fact, Boomers made a net gain in the Senate.
Only four of the 12 departing Senators are Boomers -- Scott Brown of Massachusetts (born 1959), Kent Conrad of North Dakota ('48), Olympia Snowe of Maine ('47), and Jim Webb of Virginia ('46).
The Washington Post is reporting tonight that Senator John Kerry is under consideration for Secretary of Defense under Obama's second term, rather than State, which is the usual rumor.
If true, it could mean a special election later in 2013. It is widely assumed that a new Secretary of State will be named soon, with Hillary Clinton itching to go home.
You might be seeing a lot of reporting about the huge successes of women candidates in this year's election. Year of the Woman, etc.
If you read me regularly you know what I'm gonna jump in with, right?
There are two stories here. One is that the Democratic Party is, slowly but steadily, making gains toward gender parity in elected office.
With the election season and legislative session winding down, Mike Deehan of MassterList and I decided to step back from the ugly side of Massachusetts politics and celebrate the beautiful people of the state house.
After taking nominations, and convening a secret panel of judges, we present our gallery of Beacon Hill's Most Beautiful in this week's issue of The Phoenix