Monday, August 12, 2019

Fwd: Trump's getting rid of immigrants and wildlife, massive T closures are on the way, and Cleopatra's death

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Date: Mon, Aug 12, 2019 at 12:41 PM
Subject: Trump's getting rid of immigrants and wildlife, massive T closures are on the way, and Cleopatra's death
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Plus where in the world is Josh Gordon?
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Fast Forward The news you need for the day ahead by Teresa Hanafin
Monday, August 12   |  Follow Teresa Hanafin on Twitter
Trump's getting rid of immigrants and wildlife, massive T closures are on the way, and Cleopatra's death

By Teresa Hanafin, Globe Staff

It's Monday, Aug. 12, the 224th day of the year. The third Democratic debate is in 31 days in Houston. Sunrise in Boston was at 5:48 a.m.; sunset will be at 7:49 p.m. for 14 hours and 1 minute of sunlight. The waxing moon is 94 percent full.

The Old Farmer's Almanac says the great Perseid meteor shower, an annual event, is peaking tonight (and last night), but might be a bit difficult to see because of the near-full moon. The Globe's Dave Epstein says there could be 50 to 75 meteors per hour. But all is not lost: Epstein says that big fat moon will set at 4 a.m., and dawn doesn't break until 4:30, so you'll still have a nice window of dark sky to watch the meteor shower. So your only problem really is dragging yourself out of bed at 4 a.m.

What's it like outside? Sunny, mid-80s, with some clouds moving in this evening because it'll be rainy tomorrow.

Commuter alert: Oh boy, do I have a whopper for you. See below.

Breaking: It could become a whole lot harder for non-citizens who are here legally to stay under a sweeping new immigration policy the Trump administration revealed this morning. If you're a legal immigrant who is on Medicaid, receiving food stamps, living in subsidized housing, or getting some other type of public assistance, you could be denied a green card -- your ticket to eventual citizenship.

Immigration officials already look at education, household income, and health to decide whether to grant legal status to immigrants. But now, if you get certain kinds of help from the government to, say, tide you over while you find a job, you could be out of luck.

By the way, more than 87 percent of Medicaid recipients were born here, according to the Associated Press; only 6.5 percent are immigrants. Ditto food stamp recipients: More than 85 percent are native born; 8.8 percent are immigrants.

And another announcement today: Trump is significantly weakening the Endangered Species Act -- credited with saving the bald eagle, the grizzly bear, the American alligator and other species from extinction -- so that his big-money donors in the oil and gas industry can drill, baby, drill without worrying about destroying critical habitats.

While you were sleeping: Officials closed Hong Kong International Airport, canceling all departing and arriving flights, after thousands of pro-democracy protesters occupied the main terminal. For more than two months, residents fearful of China's increasing autocratic grip have been marching in the streets, occupying public buildings, and generally disrupting daily life as they demand democratic reforms and an independent inquiry into police conduct.

Hey, sport: After splitting the weekend series against the Angels, the Sox are in Cleveland to face Terry Francona and the surging Indians (7:10 p.m., ESPN, NESN, and WEEI radio). Cleveland, winners of eight of their last 10, are atop the AL Central in a tie with the Twins.

In contrast, the Sox are 7½ games out of the second wild-card spot. Oh well -- if you have tickets for a future game, there's always the free bobbleheads.

The Patriots had another public training camp session this morning. The Globe's Ben Volin went to Gainesville, Fla., looking for WR Josh Gordon, who has asked NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to reinstate him, eight months after he was suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy. No dice.
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Trump is still on vacation (and many of you have asked me, "How can you tell?"), spending his days at his New Jersey resort golfing, eating, retweeting deranged conspiracy theories, and hate-tweeting at the legions of people he thinks are out to get him.

The latest is former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, who lasted just 11 days in that job but has steadfastly supported Trump. But he committed a cardinal sin: He dared to criticize Trump's disastrous trips to Dayton and El Paso, calling them a "catastrophe" and a failed attempt at empathy. And so the Twitter attacks commenced.

This morning on CNN, Scaramucci went a step further, calling on Republicans to find another nominee for 2020. Yeah, right.

So here's the reason for the dramatic tease up in the Commuter Alert section: Your weekend travel on the T this fall is going to be a living hell. (And you thought you had it bad now.)

Under pressure to fix the aging system fast to prevent the sorts of train derailments, slowdowns, and second-rate service that plague the system, the T is accelerating its rehab schedule. What does that mean? Massive shutdowns, with buses replacing trains and trolleys. Here are the details, revealed by the Globe's Matt Stout late last night:
  • The T will close eight Orange Line stations, from Tufts Medical Center to Sullivan Square, for six consecutive weekends in October and early November.
  • After that, six Red Line stations, from Broadway to Kendall Square, will close for four weekends in late November and early December. Yes, that includes South Station.
  • On the Green Line, there will be closings on the B and C branches for four weekends.
  • This comes on top of closures already planned: 14 weeks on the Green Line D branch, weekend closures through September elsewhere on the Orange Line, one weekend closure in early October on the Mattapan section of the Red Line, and the ongoing repairs near the JFK-UMass station on the Red Line where a train derailed in June.
In other words, on every single weekend except Thanksgiving, some major section of the subway and trolley system will be shut down, replaced by buses, from Sept. 7 through the end of the year.

The T's rationale? Short-term pain for long-term gain. Given that the current motto is long-term pain over and over again, I suppose that's an improvement.

Even as the Justice Department investigates why accused child molester Jeffrey Epstein was taken off suicide watch at the Manhattan Correctional Center, prosecutors are turning their attention to any possible co-conspirators who may have helped him allegedly procure young girls for sexual abuse. After all, one of the charges against Epstein was conspiracy, and you need at least two to conspire.

At the top of that list is British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of the late publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, who's suspected of finding teenage girls for Epstein and his powerful friends.

Trump's national security adviser, John "the Hawk" Bolton, is in London trying to drive a wedge between Great Britain and the rest of Europe in keeping with Trump's efforts to weaken our allies. Bolton is twisting PM Boris Johnson's arm to get him and his party to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and to stop using equipment from Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, in its mobile networks. Washington says Huawei is a national security risk, but this also fits with Trump's efforts to undermine China to get it to cave to his trade demands.

One of my favorite stories from the weekend occurred in Norway, where a would-be mass shooter, a young white guy wearing body armor, a helmet, and black clothes, opened fire in a mosque in Oslo Saturday. But nobody was killed because he was overpowered by ... a 65-year-old member of the congregation. (It also helped that there were only three worshipers in the mosque at the time.) The suspect appeared in court today with two black eyes. There is a tragic element to this story, however: The suspected shooter's stepsister was found dead in his home later.

BTW, I sent out the full 2019 Summer Bookies reading list Friday night, so check your e-mail.

Finally, it was on this date (or maybe two days earlier) in the year 30 BC that Cleopatra killed herself rather than be captured by the Roman emperor Octavian. Cleopatra, who wasn't Egyptian (she was a Macedonian Greek), kept her country as independent as it could be as a client state of Rome through a combination of diplomacy, seduction, and ultimately, war. Alas, Cleopatra and Mark Antony broke with Octavian, and lost. Cleopatra likely poisoned herself; popular belief is that she used the deadly bite of an asp.

Thanks for reading. Send along any Sox bobbleheads you don't want. Hold the asps. Send comments and suggestions to, or follow me on Twitter @BostonTeresa. See you tomorrow.
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