Thursday, July 31, 2014

Whipping Walsh

He deserves one:

"Walsh’s weaselly defense of O’Brien" by Joan Vennochi | Globe Columnist   July 31, 2014

How would Marty Walsh feel if he spent many months campaigning hard for Boston mayor, but didn’t get the job because the city’s voting machines were rigged for his opponent?

Would he declare the person who did the rigging innocent? Or would he stand up in front of City Hall and demand a federal investigation into election fraud?

No because that would throw the whole system into peril. You accept the theft and move on with your political career.

A federal jury basically found John O’Brien, the former probation chief, guilty of rigging the Probation Department’s hiring system in favor of job applicants recommended by a slew of Beacon Hill politicians, including House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray.

Yet asked during a recent WGBH radio appearance if O’Brien is guilty of a crime, Walsh said, “I don’t think so.” With that pronouncement, the mayor — a former state representative who chaired the House Ethics Committee — made it very clear where his allegiance lies.

It’s with his former colleagues on Beacon Hill — not with fellow citizens, especially those defrauded of jobs they never had a chance to land because of O’Brien’s responsiveness to Beacon Hill’s desires.

In a statement clarifying his radio remarks, Walsh said he respected the jury’s judgment, but still called the results of the O’Brien case “distressing,” because he feels elected officials “have an obligation to be helpful to their constituents.”

What’s distressing is Walsh’s deference to politicians who recommend not just constituents, but less-than-qualified friends, godsons, and lovers for employment not available to others.

What’s even more distressing is Walsh’s response to this statement from radio host Margery Eagan, concerning O’Brien’s actions: “What you’re saying is that you don’t think rigging the system, which is what he was found guilty of, rose to the level of being criminal.”

Walsh said he didn’t “get all the facts” or “read all the testimony ... But I just think he went to work every day to do his job and somehow the system got the better of him.”

How could the system get the better of O’Brien? He invented it.

All the post-trial handwringing over prosecutorial over-reach has the feel of a campaign aimed at getting the lightest sentence for O’Brien — or maybe even getting the judge to set aside the verdict.

Sentencing is scheduled for November, so there’s time to send a pointed message to US District Court Judge William Young: The political establishment is outraged over the prosecution and verdict in this case — not outraged over what it shamelessly embraces as business as usual.

********************

A fraudulent hiring system takes a job from someone who deserves it and gives it to some who does not — just like a fraudulent election system steals from a candidate who deserves the victory and gives it to someone who does not. That’s a crime jurors understood and one that Walsh and others still do not. As David Bernstein points out in his Boston Magazine blog, Walsh’s reaction sends “a huge signal to current and potential employees of the city of Boston that the mayor considers the type of clearly fraudulent behavior laid out in court to be ‘above board.’ ’’

Walsh is still looking at this from the perspective of a politician eager to please the happily recommended job applicant. He doesn’t see it as a theft from others more qualified and less connected, who actually believed the system was fair until they learned it was not.

To the victims, it’s a crime. To the perpetrators, it’s just another day in Massachusetts politics.

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RelatedMarty Walsh misses the point in probation case

Also seeO'Brien's Conspiracy

Wanna nother wipe at his world

"Standing before a jam-packed meeting room Wednesday, developer Donald J. Chiofaro lifted the veil on his plan for one of the city’s largest development sites, showing a pair of angular skyscrapers that would redefine the downtown waterfront. The towers -- one clad in glass, the other in terra cotta -- would rise to 600 feet along Atlantic Avenue and infuse modern architecture into a corner of the city dominated by structures built many decades ago. “It’s not often the city finds itself with the opportunity for a transformative moment,” Chiorfaro said. “But that moment is now before us.”

Related:

No Longer Harboring This Post 

That means Fallon is out.

Walsh on the Waterfront
Seeing Stars on the Bo$ton Waterfront
Convention center expansion questions loom
BRA Has $mall Cup

They are towering above everything. 

BRA nominee was dismissed as head of architectural college
Walsh re-evaluates nomination to BRA board

Does that light a fire under you?

"The discovery was expected, and state officials said the ash borer is probably burrowing into trees across the state. The invasive insect cannot cover much ground on its own, but Ken Gooch, forest health program director for the Department of Conservation and Recreation, said the movement of firewood expedites the beetle’s spread across the state and country. “People are what is moving this insect so fast,” Gooch said. “The insect wouldn’t move so fast on its own.”

Time for me to get moving. 

Speaking of parasites:

"Controversial Boston landlord Anwar N. Faisal must appear at a City Council committee hearing next month or face possible arrest, after a formal summons was unanimously approved Wednesday. The summons was proposed by Councilor Josh Zakim. “Bring him in in irons,” City Councilor Stephen J. Murphy said."

Given that the slumlord is a Gazan refugee and Boston, well, see for yourself. No surprise at the thought from a thriving tribe in the city.

"Apple-picking has started to become a fruitless pursuit for thieves on the T — leading to fewer thefts of iPhones and other expensive gadgets on the region’s transit system. At the same time, aggravated assaults are becoming more common on the T even as less serious assaults have decreased, and officials say they don’t quite know why."

Bike thefts are surging, too, so it's time to leave and say bye-bye Boston. 

So what do you think will be his legacy?

Grossman Fires First Salvo in Governor's Race

"Super PAC backing Grossman releases ad targeting Coakley; Grossman backer raises gun issue" by Akilah Johnson | Globe Staff   July 28, 2014

The super PAC backing state Treasurer Steve Grossman’s bid for governor released its first television commercial Monday, and it tells viewers that Attorney General Martha Coakley is the “wrong choice for governor.”

And Coakley’s campaign was ready with a response: a 60-second Web video decrying the influence of outside money that it had waiting, ready for release when the first super PAC ad aired.

The ad by the Mass Forward political action committee, a pro-Grossman group, says Coakley, the front-runner in a three-way Democratic primary, is not fit to be governor because she does not support Governor Deval Patrick’s plan to limit gun purchases to one a month.

The 30-second spot features four Boston area mothers holding framed pictures of smiling young men who are now all dead.

“We’re all mothers who lost children to gun violence,” says Clarissa Turner, who narrates the video. “My son Willie was murdered in a gang shooting, except he wasn’t in a gang. They thought he was someone else.”

Turner says they all agree with Patrick’s plan as does Grossman but Coakley does not.

“She says it wouldn’t have any effect. She’s wrong. One less gun can save a life,” says Turner, looking directly into the camera while seated in a kitchen.

Grossman, Coakley, and Don Berwick are all pushing to be the top finisher in the Sept. 9 primary.

The ad is a first in several ways....

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"Martha Coakley, Steve Grossman step up dispute; Impact on primary voters uncertain" by Akilah Johnson | Globe Staff   July 31, 2014

With six weeks to go before the Democratic gubernatorial primary, the sniping between Attorney General Martha Coakley and state Treasurer Steve Grossman — and the political action committee that supports him — has dramatically intensified.

Over the past three days, a pro-Grossman super PAC ad attacked Coakley on gun control, followed by a response video by Coakley attacking Grossman for not disavowing the super PAC. Then there were suggestions of collusion, allegations of intimidation, charges of hypocrisy, and pleas for money to combat all of the above.

In a campaign where there are few stark policy differences among the three Democratic candidates — Coakley, Grossman, and former health care administrator Don Berwick — and polls show Coakley with a commanding double-digit lead, her opponents are trying vigorously to differentiate themselves.

But political specialists say all of this amounts to little more than political theater to most voters and will not necessarily capture their hearts — or their votes.

The new war of words began Monday, with an anti-Coakley ad produced by Mass Forward, the super PAC supporting Grossman. It highlights a point Grossman has been trying to stress for months: that he supports a plan to restrict gun purchases to one per month, a policy Coakley opposes.

The 30-second, $250,000 ad features four Boston-area mothers holding pictures of their smiling sons, who are now all dead. The ad says Coakley is the “wrong choice for governor” because she does not support Governor Deval Patrick’s plan to limit gun purchases to one a month.

Coakley’s campaign had a response waiting: a 60-second Web video decrying the influence of outside money from super PACs, which must legally function independent of a candidate’s campaign but allow for unlimited contributions from people, corporations, associations, and unions.

The campaign went on to suggest in a statement that the timing and cost of the ad “could raise questions of collusion” between Grossman’s campaign and the PAC, a suggestion both Grossman and the PAC flatly denied — quickly pivoting back to their talking points.

And they kept going.

********

“Ms. Coakley made veiled threats against Mr. White, demanding that his group disclose information not legally required and insinuated that she would take action if it did not by including an arbitrary deadline for his response,” attorney Donald Glazer said in a statement provided by the PAC, which said he was asked to review the letter by Barry White, who started the pro-Grossman group with his wife, Eleanor, as a friend not as a lawyer for the group, and several of Coakley’s opponents described her as hypocritical for decrying special interest money, pointing to a $5,000 campaign contribution from a government employee union, which funds its own super PAC that launched an ad attacking Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker.

Coakley’s campaign dismissed the attacks, saying she “has a history of standing up to special interests on behalf of consumers and so it is no surprise special interests are attacking her candidacy for governor.”

********************

Amid all the fighting, Coakley tried to use the super PAC ad to her own advantage — asking supporters to send money to help fight back.

By midweek, Grossman’s camp had not persuaded Coakley to fully talk about the one-gun-a-month issue. Coakley had not managed to get Grossman to decry outside money in politics. But the argument showed no sign of stopping.

Clearly, the campaigns are engaged and are trying to convince their most ardent supporters that they are fighting the good fight. But political scientists caution them against going too far — for fear of turning off everyone else.

Voters care about big-picture issues but tune out when politicians and their operatives begin parsing the minutiae of the modern political process, said Erin O’Brien, a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

“Most voters think this is just noise,” O’Brien said. “People have little confidence in government, especially when it comes to campaigns and ethics and governance. This sort of thing just seems like politics as usual.”

Peter Ubertaccio, a political scientist at Stonehill College, said, “As soon as you start getting things like charge vs. counter charge . . . a lot of people turn that stuff off. It doesn’t grab voters. Politicians and consultants think it does, but really doesn’t.”

It’s also unlikely to end soon, not with the Sept. 9 primary 41 days away.

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I'm sorry, but my interest has more than collapsed here.

"Steve Grossman releases tax returns; Bulk of income from his family business" by Stephanie Ebbert | Globe staff   July 25, 2014

Democratic candidate for governor Steve Grossman earned an average of $828,154 in the three years after he stepped down from leading his family business to run for office, though his stake in the company continued to provide the bulk of his income.

Grossman, one of three Democrats running for governor, allowed the Globe to review his lengthy tax returns starting last Friday after a challenge from Charlie Baker, the Republicans’ endorsed candidate. The Globe published a story about Baker’s tax returns that day showing that he averaged $750,000 in income in each of the past three years.

Grossman released federal and state returns for the 2010, 2011, and 2012 calendar years, covering a period starting a year earlier than Baker. A spokesperson said Grossman sought an extension and has not yet filed for 2013.

Two other candidates for governor — Don Berwick, a Democrat, and independent Evan Falchuk — said they plan to release their tax returns Friday.

Grossman, who was elected state treasurer in 2010, stepped down from his position as president of Grossman Marketing Group early that year and became chairman of the board. After his election, he left the board. However, he continues to own nearly 50 percent of the fourth-generation company his sons now lead.

Filing jointly with his wife, Barbara, Grossman reported adjusted gross income of $881,990 in 2012, $680,210 in 2011, and $922,263 in 2010.

His salary as state treasurer contributed just over $128,000 of that sum, with additional income coming from Barbara’s work as a drama professor at Tufts University, and, in some years, small royalties from her books. According to her bios on the Tufts website and Amazon.com, she published two books, “Funny Woman: The Life and Times of Fanny Brice” (Indiana University Press, 1991), and “A Spectacle of Suffering: Clara Morris on the American Stage” (Southern Illinois University Press, 2009).

The bulk of Grossman’s income comes from a trust built from the business that bears the family name. Founded as the Massachusetts Envelope Co. by his grandfather in 1910, the Somerville company now handles marketing materials for businesses. The trust contributed $478,465 of Grossman’s investment income in 2012, as well as $18,131 in interest and $145,550 in ordinary dividends.

Likewise, the Massachusetts Envelope Company Trust provided the largest sources of his investment income and interest in 2011: $402,902 and $16,971, respectively.

In 2010, when he was still chairman of the company, he was paid $467,951 in wages alone, in addition to $230,590 and $11,864 in interest from the trust.

The tax returns show a treasurer whose personal fortune was affected by the recession. In each of the three years, Grossman claimed deductions for capital losses, reflecting the lost value of his investments. In 2012, though his taxes reflected a modest uptick in longterm capital gains, he was still carrying over short-term capital losses of $670,006 and longterm capital losses of $152,936. A capital loss can be carried over indefinitely, though the losses can only be deducted for tax purposes if the investments are sold. A $3,000 deduction is taken against other income.

The Grossmans, who own a home in Newton, also claimed $67,795 in rental real estate loss in 2012 on one of two houses they own in the Centerville section of Barnstable on Cape Cod. In 2011, they claimed a loss of $58,501 on the same property.

The Grossmans’ taxes show charitable giving worth 2.56 percent of their adjusted gross income in 2012 and 3.76 percent in 2011. In 2010, they gave $70,274 to charities, 7.6 percent of adjusted gross income. However, Grossman’s campaign noted that his family also established a fund through Combined Jewish Philanthropies that provided grants to area programs, schools, and other organizations over those years. Those grants totaled up to $160,000 in each year, according to the campaign. It was unclear why those contributions were not reflected on his returns.

Candidates are not required to release their tax returns to the public. Four years ago, neither Governor Deval Patrick, nor Baker, the Republican nominee who challenged him, provided the documents....

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Related: Mass. Politicians Misuse Campaign Money 

Really doesn't matter which party wins, does it? 

State is just like Washington D.C.

The Guns of North(iccup)ampton

"Northampton police find man’s ‘guns’ were biceps" by Trisha Thadani | Globe Correspondent   July 30, 2014

A concerned Northampton resident reported that a neighbor was boasting that he had a gun in his home Monday afternoon. When police arrived, they met an intoxicated man who said the only “guns” he had were his biceps.

The man, whose name was not released, then led police into his home on North Maple Street where police found a toy water gun sitting on the table, said Lieutenant Allan Borowski.

The 53-year-old man continued to flex his biceps for the officers, which, Borowski said, “probably once existed 30 years ago.”

“This isn’t the first time this has happened,” Borowski said, holding back laughter. “We usually just tell him to knock it off, and tell him to stop drinking for the night.”

Borowski said police do not perceive the man as a threat to the community — just a harmless irritation and slight waste of time. 

Like what I'm doing reading a Globe?

“Luckily, once in a while you can laugh about things,” Borowski said.

Except I'm rarely laughing here.

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Boston Martyr's Killer Busted

"Father relieved arrest is made in his son’s death" by Todd Feathers | Globe Correspondent   July 31, 2014

Since his 23-year-old son Daniel P. Taylor was shot and killed in Dorchester last February, the Rev. Moses J. Taylor had become used to phone conversations with the detectives assigned to the case.

The calls were devoid of happiness, or the answers he sought. They usually ended with a promise that no one had forgotten his son, and that the detectives were still looking.

So when the phone rang Wednesday and Taylor learned that the man suspected of shooting his son was in Boston police custody, he had to hang up and compose himself before calling the Police Department back for the rest of the details.

“I’m happy to know that they’ve caught the person, but I’m sad that another young person — the devil is just taking our children away,” said Taylor, 53.

Police arrested Marquis Smith, 23, of Boston, at his workplace around 2 p.m. Wednesday without incident and have charged him with the murder, Officer James Kenneally said.

Daniel Taylor was a caring, religious young man and a role model for the youth in his community, his father said.

He would have turned 24 last week. To celebrate his memory, more than 70 family and friends gathered at his grave on his birthday, ate cake, and sang his praises, Taylor said.

In the aftermath of his son’s death, Taylor, pastor of The Anointed Church in Dorchester, has launched an informal campaign to convince youth that they should never pick up a gun or other weapon because they are angry.

“I can’t be angry no more,” he said. “Anger won’t reverse the hurt and everything — forgiveness will.”

On Father’s Day, Taylor led a group of marchers carrying “Families Against Guns and Violence” signs past the scene of his son’s murder on Boston Street. He was joined by police Superintendent in Chief William Gross and other officers.

Gross said the department supports Taylor’s youth campaign and would like to work with community groups to teach young people how to peacefully resolve conflicts.

“It’s up to the village as a whole to tackle this problem of senseless violence,” Gross said.

Unless it happens to be the cops wasting the kids after their training course in Israel.

In some respects, the arrest of a suspect in his son’s death changes much for Taylor — he finally has some closure. But he said he did not know how he would sleep Wednesday night, knowing that in the days ahead he would look into the faces of his son’s alleged killer and that man’s family.

In the meantime, he is looking for ways to spread his message.

Globe giving him a bug help, huh?

Taylor has printed shirts with the slogan “Put the Gun Down” and is looking for sponsors to help his group distribute them to schools. He would like to see the shirts sent to every family in the city.

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No offense to this father, but Gaza and its fathers.... ?????

Haitian Voodoo at Harvard

Well, after the black mass stuff I see Harvard as one of the gates to Hell. That's where all their trainees are leading us.

"Harvard health aide killed in visit to Haiti" by Faiz Siddiqui | Globe Correspondent   July 31, 2014

A Harvard University health worker was killed last week as she was just starting a visit to her native Haiti, friends and colleagues said Wednesday.

A US State Department spokesman confirmed the death of Myriam SaintGermain but was unable to provide details.

Friends and relatives said they believe SaintGermain, 40, who was known locally by the last name Durand, was gunned down Friday by armed bandits en route to her hometown of Les Cayes, in the south of Haiti. SaintGermain was killed shortly after leaving the Toussaint Louverture International Airport, said Jacques Jean, president of Mattapan Technology Learning Center, where she volunteered....

Jean said: “We don’t have that much help. We’re just waiting for the government to tell us exactly what happened.”

That's the last place I would expect to see such a thing.

Marjorie A. Brunache, general consul of Haiti in Boston, said she did not know details of the case. A State Department official said embassy officials are in contact with the family and are connecting relatives with the Haitian consulate.

“The Department of State expresses its deepest condolences to Ms. SaintGermain’s family and friends,” the department said in an e-mail....

Jean said his relatives and members of his organization are postponing a planned mission trip to Haiti because of SaintGermain's death. The State Department issued a travel warning in August 2013 urging US citizens to exercise caution when visiting the country given its weak emergency response infrastructure. An updated warning was issued in March....

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Any hatchets in Haiti?

Sugar Post $ucks

"Judge says Crystal CEO should testify in lawsuit" by Dave Kolpack | Associated Press   July 31, 2014

FARGO, N.D. — American Crystal Sugar Co. chief executive David Berg should testify in a federal lawsuit pitting the refined sugar makers against the corn syrup industry, a federal judge ruled Wednesday after presiding over a hearing in the case.

Berg, head of the largest sugar beet processor in the country, had contested a subpoena to testify in the case, in which the refined sugar makers are suing over the corn syrup industry’s marketing claim that sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are nutritionally the same....

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In the Belly of the Boston Globe Beast

Whale watch lurches into overnight ordeal

Coast Guard investigating whale-watch boat stranding

Look on the bright side; you could have gotten a tan while waiting on deck.

North Korea Preparing For War

"North Korea marks war anniversary" Associated Press   July 28, 2014

PYONGYANG, North Korea — The 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, meaning the two Koreas remain technically at war. But in North Korea, the anniversary of the agreement ending the hostilities is commemorated as ‘‘Victory in the Fatherland Liberation War,’’ a major national holiday.

Sunday’s 61st anniversary was low-key. There were no large-scale military parades or public appearances by leader Kim Jong Un, who privately paid his respects just after midnight at the mausoleum where his father and grandfather lie in state.

Veterans, now in their 70s and 80s, many wearing uniforms laden with medals and clutching bouquets of flowers, were celebrated in patriotic events around the country.

Estimates for the war dead vary between 2.5 million and 4 million, and the border between the two Koreas remains one of the most heavily fortified in the world.

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Looks like the KIDS are even PRAYING FOR IT, huh?

Related: North Korea Leading the Cheers For War 

They even shot down a helicopter to try and get one going, but the U.S. wouldn't bite.

Maybe a ship sinking would do it (although that was already tried a few years ago):

"Students testify in Korean ferry trial" Associated Press   July 29, 2014

ANSAN, South Korea — Students who survived the South Korean ferry disaster testified Monday they were repeatedly ordered by loudspeaker to stay in the sinking ship but eventually helped each other flee after finding their cabins were flooded.

The six girls spoke at a court session for 15 crew members responsible for the ship’s navigation. The workers face charges of negligence and failing to perform their duties to rescue passengers, with four of them facing homicide charges.

The students from Danwon High School near Seoul revealed how chaotic the scene on the ferry was, saying they wore life jackets and were helped by friends to float out and leave flooded rooms. One of them said she saw some schoolmates swept away by the waters....

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You can scroll through the Globe's Korean waves and decide for yourself whether they did a good job keeping the ferry afloat.

Filipino Population Explosion

Must be a quick f***....

"Philippines census reaches 100 million" Associated Press   July 28, 2014

MANILA — The Philippines is the world’s 12th most populous country and has one of Asia’s fastest-growing populations.

The most populous country in the world is China, with about 1.4 billion people, followed by India, with about 1.2 billion.

Is that why USrael is so eager to start a war with the China?

The United Nations Population Fund said the milestone offers both challenges and opportunities to the Philippines....

Nearly half of the country’s people live in cities as more Filipinos migrate from rural areas to look for better opportunities elsewhere, fostering problems such as trafficking in girls and women that have to be addressed, said Klaus Beck, the UNPF’s Philippines representative.....

All about "reproductive health services," which is code for population control and reduction. Really pushing for that stuff hard these days, what with the ebola loose and all.  

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I wouldn't worry about overpopulation. Israel and U.S. drones are wiping out those little critters as fast as you can replace them.

"TENSION IN THE PHILIPPINES -- Filipino police shielded themselves against protesters while President Benigno Aquino spoke to legislators in Manila on Monday. The Supreme Court this month declared partly illegal a $3.34 billion economic stimulus fund that Aquino created in 2011, prompting a political crisis for the country (Boston Globe July 29 2014)." 

The photograph is reminiscent of Thailand and makes me wonder: could another U.S. report be in trouble? 

Chinese Leftovers

Related: Another Rotten Chinese Dinner 

"Product safety is unusually sensitive in China following scandals over the past decade in which infants, hospital patients, and others have been killed or sickened by phony or adulterated milk powder, drugs, and other goods. Sheldon Lavin, chairman and chief executive of Aurora, Ill.-based OSI Group, said in a statement."

And they are worried about the pork over here? 

And where is product safety not a sensitive issue?

Also see:

Chinese officials visit Microsoft offices" by Andrew Jacobs and Chris Buckley | New York Times

China reports deadly attack in northwest

Crackdown on corruption in China targets ex-security chief" by Chris Buckley and Andrew Jacobs | New York Times

I have to get a new menu.

Obama's Country Perfume

For anyone who lives out in one they know exactly what I mean:

"The White House was announcing the loan money Thursday as part of a rural conference it is holding this week. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has made revitalizing rural America a priority as small towns have been losing population and political clout in recent years. He said leveraging private money is a new approach. "USDA and other agencies invest in infrastructure through a variety of federal initiatives, but our resources are finite," Vilsack said, adding that there was a backlog of projects in many parts of the economy."

Globe not smelling to good either since the website scrubbed my print.

I know I should be happy because it is not the usual millions in chump change portioned out to the American people, but it looks like a little-too-little a little-too-late in adre$$ing neglect. And that pre$umes the money will not be thieved away.

Free of Telex

As predicted:

"TelexFree owners charged with fraud, conspiracy" by Beth Healy | Globe Staff   July 23, 2014

A federal grand jury on Wednesday charged the owners of TelexFree Inc. with nine counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, alleging the two Massachusetts residents misled investors in a vast scheme to enrich themselves and others involved in the business.

James Merrill of Ashland and Carlos Wanzeler of Northborough knowingly devised “a scheme and artifice to defraud” in the alleged $1 billion global pyramid scheme, according to the indictment, filed in federal court in Boston.

If found guilty, each man faces up to 20 years in prison. The indictment also identifies $140 million in assets that could be available to alleged victims if Merrill and Wanzeler are found guilty, including bank accounts, 30 properties in Massachusetts and Florida, plus several luxury cars and boats.

The indictments are the first stemming from the case involving TelexFree. Based in Marlborough, the company sold Internet phone service plans, but that business accounted for just a tiny slice of the company’s revenue, the indictment said. The company allegedly made the vast majority of its money by recruiting tens of thousands of people around the world to invest with it, and relied on a steady stream of newcomers to help pay prior participants.

Merrill and Wanzeler said they did nothing wrong.

Merrill’s lawyer, Robert M. Goldstein, said, “Mr. Merrill steadfastly maintains his innocence and, in the strongest terms possible, disputes the government’s allegations.”

Wanzeler’s lawyer, Paul Kelly, said in a statement, “There is nothing new in this indictment that we were not already aware of or prepared to defend. These are allegations only, and when the actual evidence is produced, it will demonstrate that the government’s theories are unsupported and that Mr. Merrill and Mr. Wanzeler are not guilty.’’

Then why is he hiding out in Brazil?

“Our clients are genuinely concerned for their customers and business partners, and look forward to working with them to once again offer the company’s valuable telecommunications products to the public,” Kelly added.

The indictments come three months after TelexFree filed for federal bankruptcy protection and state and federal securities regulators filed civil fraud charges against the company and its principals. In May, Merrill and Wanzeler were charged with criminal fraud, and federal agents arrested Merrill. But Wanzeler had fled to his native Brazil, where he remains today in his hometown of Vitoria and is considered a fugitive by US authorities.

They spy on them so the U.S. officials should know where is he.

Merrill, who has deep ties to the Worcester area, was released in June on $900,000 bail with a GPS tracking bracelet, plus his promise to be home every night by 8.

The owners’ lawyers have insisted the business was legitimate, and participants from Boston to Brazil and as far away as Uganda were persuaded the model worked. But the grand jury found the owners misled TelexFree’s promoters about the true nature of the company, and later deceived regulators investigating the operations.

Participants were promised 200 percent returns for investing $1,375 — without having to sell any phone plans, according to the indictment. People merely had to click several online ads each day, purportedly to help promote the company.

They could also earn bonuses and other payouts for recruiting new members.

From February 2012 to April of this year, the indictment said, “TelexFree took in substantial sums, not from genuine retail sales of its [voice over Internet protocol] product, but from new promoters buying into the TelexFree system.’’

Even as TelexFree was unraveling, court papers said, it continued to lure investors. At company extravaganzas like one on a cruise ship in Brazil last December, Merrill and Wanzeler were treated like celebrities, promising their members riches if they only worked hard.

TelexFree started in Brazil, but Merrill and Wanzeler’s Brazilian partner, Carlos Costa, was not named in the US indictment. The company also is under investigation in Brazil, where its operations were shut down by a judge in 2013. But Costa, who recently filed papers to run for public office in Brazil, has often appeared in YouTube videos rebutting stories about the company’s problems.

The business took off in the United States once it was shut down in Brazil. In Massachusetts alone, victims are believed to have lost $90 million. Most of those people are in Brazilian and Dominican immigrant communities here. Across the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission has said, alleged victims believe they lost $300 million.

But investors will be lucky if they can recoup the sums they originally put into TelexFree. It is unknown whether the $140 million in assets identified by federal authorities will cover those losses.

But as with the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, prosecutors may be targeting other parties for assets as well.

Haven't seen his name very much since prison.

For instance, eight of the wire fraud charges in the indictment involve money transfers to Merrill or Wanzeler through Fidelity Bank, a Leominster institution where Merrill’s brother is president.

Secretary of State William F. Galvin, who is overseeing the state’s investigation, said the banker, John F. Merrill, is to appear in his office Thursday for further questioning.

“We’re very interested in the bank,’’ Galvin said. “The transactions couldn’t have occurred without the cooperation of the bank.’’

But Karen Schwartzman, a spokeswoman for Fidelity Bank, said, “This is simply not true. The bank had no knowledge of any fraud at any time. The accounts were treated according to the bank’s normal banking procedures and they were opened and closed within a very short period of time.”

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Also seeTelexFree execs’ homes searched

TelexFree co-owner pleads not guilty in alleged fraud

Enough wandering.

Another Kid Left in a Car

"A Boston health official has filed a complaint alleging that a Boston police sergeant wrongfully reported her for possible child neglect after she accidentally locked her 11-month-old son inside her air-conditioned car....

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RelatedWoman forgives husband who left son in hot car

Also seePhilly SUV Carjacking Kills Kids 

They just vanished.

The Boston Globe's Scrambled Eggs

Good breakfast food for you.

Related: Globe Puts All Its Eggs in Market Basket 

And they are rotten, readers:

"Boredom sets in amid slow business at Market Baskets" by Jack Newsham | Globe Correspondent   July 31, 2014

Protests continued and although many workers got their weekly paychecks, deliveries of new groceries are rare — and in some cases, managers say, botched, containing expired food and some cases that are just not what store directors said they ordered.

What ungrateful bastards!

*****************

Still, managers are hopeful. At a Market Basket in Lowell, a manager told the Globe that he was placing orders every day to get his grocery shelves restocked, although none were arriving. Workers are continuing to come in to work and many protest on their days off.

But with no customers and business at a standstill, some employees are outright bored. In Manchester and Newburyport, managers said workers have cleaned the stores several times overin some cases, using toothbrushes.

The military-industrial-corporate culture complex has been firmly embedded.

“We did paint this week,” said Stephanie Schwechheimer, who runs a Market Basket in Haverhill. “Changed light bulbs, ceiling tiles, all kinds of things. You’d be amazed how busy we can keep things.”

Yeah, I know. I've been on the receiving end of that kind of slave labor that I am told Americans will not do. That's why the illegals are here.

--more--"

You know what? I quit.

"Market Basket vows to replace dissident workers" by Casey Ross, Taryn Luna and Jack Newsham | Globe Staff | Globe Correspondents   July 31, 2014

Market Basket moved Wednesday to break up the walkout by employees and stem millions of dollars in daily losses at the fractured grocery chain, warning that the company would begin replacing workers unless they returned to their jobs next week.

The threat to remove uncooperative employees ratcheted up the pressure to reach a broader deal between warring factions of the Demoulas family on the potential sale of the company.

*******************

The company’s cochief executives who replaced Arthur T. Demoulas said in a statement that they “need to have associates working to support stores, customers and vendors. We need associates to return to work on Monday, Aug. 4.”

The executives said Market Basket would begin hosting a job fair Monday to find new store directors, accountants, buyers, and other associates to help run the 71-store chain. Those job categories account for more than 600 positions at the company, current and former managers said, though it was unclear Wednesday night how many new employees the company needs.

The announcement drew an emotional reaction from employees who have refused to work as a demonstration of their solidarity with Arthur T. Demoulas. He was fired by his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas, in late June, touching off a war for control of the company and a series of loud employee rallies.

Some employees said Wednesday that they will not budge in the face of possible termination.

“Everybody knows how all the employees feel, that we’re going back to work when Arthur T. Demoulas is reinstated as president of the company,” said Mike Maguire, director of produce operations at Market Basket. “We’re a pretty rigid bunch here at Market Basket. We’ve lived through plenty of adversity. Our demands are few.”

Others said they have continued to go to work every day, but the company’s managers appeared to be targeting their jobs anyway.

“We’re still cleaning the stores. We’re painting. We’re doing all that we can do,” said Brian McCullough, an assistant director of the Woburn store. He said the company would not accomplish anything by replacing workers because many customers have vowed not to shop at Market Basket until Arthur T. returns.

“Threaten us all you want, but customers aren’t going to come back to the building,” he said. “They are pulling up and telling us they aren’t coming back until Artie T. comes back.”

A company spokesman reiterated that Market Basket will not fire any employees willing to work.

The employee rallies on behalf of Arthur T. constitute an extraordinary show of support for a multimillionaire chief executive in an era when most corporate workers barely know their CEOs and would be loath to risk their jobs on behalf of top executives. Market Basket employees do not belong to a labor union.

The hero CEO in my corporate pre$$! That's the reason for the coverage. Just $erving their reader$hip!

The protests and customer boycott have left stores with hardly any fresh food or shoppers. Negotiations to resolve the dispute are not proceeding fast enough to prevent massive financial losses.

Arthur T. declined to comment Wednesday on the threat facing his former employees, citing a strict confidentiality agreement surrounding the negotiation of the potential sale of the company.

Arthur T. has offered to buy the shares of Arthur S. and other relatives, who own 50.5 percent of the company. The company’s board, whose majority favors Arthur S., has said it was still evaluating Arthur T.’s bid and offers from other suitors. People familiar with the talks said discussions Wednesday continued to focus on Arthur T.’s offer.

The anger surrounding the standoff — extending from employees to both sides of the Demoulas family — is threatening to unravel a company worth billions of dollars that provides more than 25,000 jobs in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire.

Business specialists said the effort to replace protesting employees could further inflame emotions during the already tense negotiation, especially given the volatility of family members who have been fighting about Market Basket for 30 years.

“Management is playing hardball,” said Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University. “I think the way out of this dispute . . . is to show conciliatory gestures. They’re doing it wrong.” 

Sorry I'm not giving a s***, readers.

Other observers said the move appeared to reflect a practical necessity for a business that is losing millions of dollars because of a lack of workers to carry out essential tasks. “The cochief executives are being very tolerant of the situation, but they understand that they have a business and they have to run it,” said Ted Clark, director of the Center for Family Business at Northeastern University. “This is one of the laws of physics in businessevery action has an equal and opposite reaction.”

Very interesting to saw, because whenever the laws of physics are invoked I can not help but think of that terrible day in September 2001 when the laws of physics were suspended three times, according to the government and the ma$$ media.

John Garon, a manager at the Burlington store, said 68 of Market Basket’s 71 store managers have signed a pledge that they won’t work for anyone but Arthur T. Demoulas. The three managers who didn’t sign, he said, are on vacation.

Though he’s attended rallies and protests in support of Arthur T. Demoulas, Garon said he has otherwise clocked in for his shifts. “We’ve been at work all week,” he said. “There are no customers in the stores. They’re boycotting.”

Even if they were not, there is NOTHING THERE to BUY!

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Globe has even set up a special section for this so it must be of prime importance.

Also see:

"Protesters voice unease over pipeline" by David Abel | Globe Staff   July 31, 2014

The possibility that a multibillion-dollar natural gas pipeline could soon cut through her property, over nearby aquifers and other water sources, has sparked such fear in Lindsey Sundberg that the 29-year-old from Ashburnham joined more than a hundred others who came to Boston Common on Wednesday from communities across the state to protest the project.

In addition to concerns about spills, she and others said they worried that the pipeline, which would stretch 418 miles from shale gas fields in Pennsylvania to Dracut, could lower property values and stick ratepayers with the bill. They also raised concerns about the way the gas is extracted from the ground through hydraulic fracking, and the potential for contaminating water supplies.

“The environmental impact could be devastating,” said Sundberg, who joined the crowd in chanting “No Pipeline! No Pipeline!” “It would go through watersheds and along ridge lines. We need to stop this.”

As envisioned, the $6 billion pipeline would pass through an estimated 45 communities and potentially increase the amount of natural gas supplied to the region’s electrical grid by 15 percent, or enough to power about 1.5 million homes, according to Kinder Morgan, a Houston-based energy company that proposed the project.

The company seeks to fill a looming gap in energy needs as coal, oil, and nuclear plants in the region close. The demand for natural gas — which now produces the electricity for more than half the state’s homes — and the constraints in supply have led to shortages and prices that nearly quintupled last winter compared with a cold spell two years ago. 

After we were $old on tracking as a cheap and plentiful solution to all our energy problems.

Kinder Morgan plans to submit an application in September for approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates gas pipelines between states, and expects the project to start operating by late 2018.

“We are continuing outreach . . . conducting surveys where we have received permission from landowners to do so,” said Richard Wheatley, a spokesman for Kinder Morgan. “No decision has been made yet on the ultimate size or ultimate capacity of a pipeline.” Nor, he added, has a final route been selected.

In recent months, environmental advocates have raised increasing concerns about the pipeline. On Tuesday, three members of an environmental advisory committee for the Patrick administration resigned in part to protest the administration’s potential support for the pipeline, which they said would hinder the state’s goals of making substantial cuts to greenhouse gases that cause climate change.

In an interview Wednesday with WBZ-TV, Governor Deval Patrick said he was well aware of the concerns about the project and said he was “a little skeptical of it.”

“One wonders why they want to use a new right of way when they have an existing right of way,” Patrick said. “I’m not one who believes we shouldn’t have any new natural gas,” he continued, citing the need “to bridge to a carbon-free future as coal goes offline.”

“People do want to be able to have the lights come on when they flick the switch, and having some additional natural gas is helpful,” he said. “That is not an endorsement of a particular proposal, and certainly not the Kinder Morgan.”

He added: “There is an awful lot of local opposition, homeowner opposition, and when the process starts, all those folks who have a point of view will have an opportunity to be heard.”

Who cares what he says? He's on his way out.

At the rally on Boston Common, protesters held signs such as “Natural Gas is Bridge to Nowhere!” and “No Fracking Way!”

Julie Jette, 60, of Dracut, called the proposal “dangerous” and said she worried about potential leaks.

“At my age, I don’t want to leave behind the mess we have made,” she said. “I’d like to leave the planet in better shape.”

John Hutchinson-Lavin, 66, is concerned the pipeline could pass through his property in Ashby and argued that much of the demand for natural gas could be met by reducing leaks from existing pipelines.

He and others said they expected much of the gas would eventually be exported.

That's what third-world, resource-rich countries that have desperate poverty and yawning wealth inequality look like.

“This pipeline isn’t necessary,” he said. “It would be terrible.”

Jim Cutler, 59, of Ashfield, said the pipeline would destroy an old tree where his mother’s ashes are buried and cut a 100-foot swath through his land.

He said he was disappointed that the administration and lawmakers were not doing more to block the proposal.

“We do not have a crisis in energy,” he said. “We have a crisis in leadership.”

--more--"

Related: Power Protests

And the protests against Israel sweeping nations throughout the world? 

Nothing about it in my Boston Globe, not one word, and that is perfectly understandable. The calls for boycott, either.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ebola Loose in Boston

Boston hospitals say they’re ready for Ebola cases

Related: Ebola Now in Nigeria

"Ebola kills prominent doctor in Liberia as outbreak spreads; Two Americans being treated for deadly virus" by Jonathan Paye-Layleh | Associated Press   July 28, 2014

MONROVIA, Liberia — One of Liberia’s highest profile doctors has died of Ebola, officials said Sunday, and an American physician was being treated for the deadly virus, highlighting the risks facing health workers trying to combat an outbreak that has killed more than 670 people in West Africa, the largest ever recorded.

A second American, a missionary working in the Liberian capital, was also taken ill and was being treated in isolation there, said the pastor of a North Carolina church that sponsored her work.

Dr. Samuel Brisbane was treating Ebola patients at the country’s largest hospital, John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center in Monrovia, when he fell ill. He died Saturday, said Tolbert Nyenswah, an assistant health minister. A Ugandan doctor died earlier this month.

The American, 33-year-old Dr. Kent Brantly, was in Liberia helping to respond to the outbreak that has killed 129 people nationwide when he fell ill, according to the North Carolina-based medical charity, Samantha’s Purse.

Brantly, from Fort Worth, Texas, is the medical director of the aid group. He is in stable condition, receiving intensive care in a Monrovia hospital, according to a spokeswoman for the aid group, Melissa Strickland.

‘‘We are hopeful, but he is certainly not out of the woods yet,’’ she said.

Early treatment improves a patient’s chances of survival, and Strickland said Brantly recognized his symptoms and began receiving care immediately.

There is no known cure for the highly contagious virus, which is one of the world’s deadliest. At least 1,201 people have been infected in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, according to the World Health Organization, and 672 have died, not including a death in Nigeria reported last week.

Besides the Liberian fatalities, 319 people have died in Guinea and 224 in Sierra Leone. The Nigerian death was the first in that country. Nigerian authorities said Friday that a Liberian man died of Ebola after flying from Monrovia to Lagos via Lome, Togo.

The Nigerian case underscored the difficulty of preventing Ebola victims from traveling given weak screening systems and the fact that the initial symptoms of the disease, including fever and sore throat, resemble many other illnesses. The disease escalates to vomiting, diarrhea, and internal and external bleeding.

Health workers are among those at greatest risk of contracting the disease, which spreads through contact with bodily fluids. The WHO says the disease is not contagious until a person begins to show symptoms.

Besides Brantly and the two doctors in Liberia, Sierra Leone’s top Ebola doctor and a doctor in Liberia’s central Bong County have also fallen ill.

Brantly’s wife and children had been living with him in Liberia but flew home to the United States about a week ago, before the doctor started showing any signs of illness, Strickland said. 

Have they been screened?

--more--"

"Liberia president orders new anti-Ebola measures" by Jonathan Paye-Layleh | Associated Press   July 29, 2014

MONROVIA, Liberia — Liberia’s president has closed all but three land border crossings, restricted public gatherings, and quarantined communities heavily affected by the Ebola outbreak in the West African nation.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf described the measures late Sunday after the first meeting of a taskforce she created to contain the disease, which has killed 129 people in the country and more than 670 across the region.

A top Liberian doctor working at Liberia’s largest hospital died on Saturday, and two American aid workers have fallen ill, underscoring the dangers facing those charged with bringing the outbreak under control.

Last week a Liberian official flew to Nigeria via Lome, Togo, and died of the disease at a Lagos hospital. The fact that the official, Patrick Sawyer, was able to board an international flight despite being ill raised fears that the disease could spread beyond the three other countries already affected — Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.

There is no known cure for Ebola, which begins with symptoms including fever and sore throat and escalates to vomiting, diarrhea, and internal bleeding.

The disease spreads through direct contact with blood and other bodily fluids as well as indirect contact with ‘‘environments contaminated with such fluids,’’ according to the World Health Organization.

‘‘No doubt, the Ebola virus is a national health problem,’’ Sirleaf said. ‘‘And as we have also begun to see, it attacks our way of life, with serious economic and social consequences.’’

Sirleaf said all borders would be closed except for one that crosses into Sierra Leone, one that crosses into Guinea, and a third that crosses into both. Experts believe the outbreak originated in southeast Guinea as far back as January, though the first cases were not confirmed until March.

That country has recorded the most deaths, with 319. Sierra Leone has recorded more of the recent cases, however, and has seen 224 deaths in total.

Liberia will keep open Roberts International Airport outside Monrovia and James Spriggs Payne Airport, which is in the city.

Sirleaf said that ‘‘preventive and testing centers will be established’’ at the airports and open border crossings and that ‘‘stringent preventive measures to be announced will be scrupulously adhered to.’’

Other measures include restricting demonstrations and marches and requiring restaurants and other public venues to screen a five-minute film on Ebola.

--more--"

"Top doctor dies from Ebola after treating dozens" by Clarence Roy-Macaulay and Krista Larson | Associated Press   July 30, 2014

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — A leading doctor who risked his own life to treat dozens of Ebola patients died Tuesday from the disease, officials said, as a major regional airline said it was suspending flights to the cities hardest hit by an outbreak that has killed more than 670 people.

Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan, who was praised as a national hero for treating the disease in Sierra Leone, was confirmed dead by health ministry officials there. He had been hospitalized in quarantine.

Health workers have been especially vulnerable to contracting Ebola, which is spread through bodily fluids such as saliva, sweat, blood, and urine. Two American health workers are currently hospitalized with Ebola in neighboring Liberia.

The Ebola outbreak is the largest in history with deaths blamed on the disease not only in Sierra Leone and Liberia, but also Guinea and Nigeria. The disease has no vaccine and no specific treatment, with a high fatality rate.

Binyah Kesselly, chairman of the Liberia Airport Authority board, said police are now present at the airport in Monrovia to enforce screening of passengers.

‘‘So if you have a flight and you are not complying with the rules, we will not allow you to board,’’ he said.

In a statement released Tuesday, airline ASKY said it was temporarily halting flights not only to Monrovia but also to Freetown, Sierra Leone. Flights will continue to the capital of the third major country where people have died — Guinea — though passengers departing from there will be ‘‘screened for signs of the virus.’’

Passengers at the airline’s hub in Lome, Togo, also will be screened by medical teams, it said. ‘‘ASKY is determined to keep its passengers and staff safe during this unsettling time,’’ the statement said.

The measures follow the death Friday of a 40-year-old American man of Liberian descent, who had taken several flights on ASKY, causing widespread fear at a time when the outbreak shows no signs of slowing in West Africa.

Patrick Sawyer, who worked for the West African nation’s Finance Ministry, took an ASKY Airlines flight from Liberia to Ghana, then on to Togo and eventually to Nigeria, where he was immediately taken into quarantine until his death.

His sister had died of Ebola, though he maintained he had not had close physical contact with her when she was sick. At the time, Liberian authorities said they had not been requiring health checks of departing passengers in Monrovia.

The World Health Organization says the risk of travelers contracting Ebola is considered low because it requires direct contact with bodily fluids or secretions such as urine, blood, sweat, or saliva. Ebola can’t be spread like flu through casual contact or breathing in the same air.

Patients are contagious only once the disease has progressed to the point they show symptoms, according to the WHO. And the most vulnerable are health care workers and relatives who come in much closer contact with the sick.

Still, the early symptoms of Ebola — fever, aches, and sore throat — mirror many other diseases including malaria and typhoid, experts say. Only in later stages of Ebola do patients sometimes experience severe internal bleeding and blood coming out of their mouth, eyes, or ears.

At the Finance Ministry where Sawyer worked, officials announced they were temporarily shutting down operations. All employees who came into contact with Sawyer before he left for Nigeria were being placed under surveillance, it said. In West Africa medical facilities are scarce and some affected communities have in panic attacked the international health workers trying to help them.

--more--"

Also seeEbola outbreak at a glance

‘He Could Have Brought Ebola Here’

"As Ebola races across Africa, it appears that the United States Government's attitude towards the crisis is rather lackadaisical at this point. Certainly it is being treated as a lower priority than sheltering the illegal immigrants flooding across the Mexican border (who given enough time, will bring Ebola with them), providing weapons and money to Israel, and trying to provoke a potentially nuclear war with Russia.

The US Government's inaction could be attributed to the fact that the politicians can;t really do anything about it, cannot get votes out of it, and so, like with Fukushima and the Gulf Oil Disaster, their plan is to ignore Ebola and pretend it just is not important.

But there may be another agenda at work; one that dates back to the Nixon Administration. In 1974, Henry Kissenger prepared a study for the President which suggested US Government policy should work for depopulation of the third world, in particular the resource-rich regions, to make those resources available to the US and to prevent the rise of a sufficiently large population able to resist US incursions.

Nixon adopted this policy, but his successor, Gerald Ford, alarmed by scandals involving covert sterilization under the guise of global vaccination programs, ended the policy. Whether it has been revived in secret is not known.

But there is no question that an Ebola epidemic, raging through the very nations the US AFRICOM is seeking ton control, plays right into that agenda of depopulation to reduce nations' ability to resist US control, and that may be the reason the US Government has done little more about the emerging Ebola crisis than flap their gums for the corporate media cameras!"-- whatreallyhappened.com

NEXT DAY UPDATES:

"Ebola forces Liberia schools to close" Associated Press   July 31, 2014

MONROVIA, Liberia — President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf issued an order Wednesday calling for the nation’s schools to shut down and most civil servants to stay home as an ebola outbreak that already has killed more than 130 people in the country deepened.

Meanwhile, the US Peace Corps said it was evacuating its volunteers from Liberia and neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone as the regional death toll topped 670 people.

The ebola outbreak is now the largest recorded in history.

Sirleaf, who is skipping a summit of African leaders in Washington this week, also called for the closure of markets in an area near the borders with infected countries Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Ebola has no vaccine and no specific treatment, with a fatality rate of at least 60 percent.

But specialists say the risk of travelers contracting it is considered low because it requires direct contact with bodily fluids or secretions such as urine, blood, or sweat.

Patients are contagious only once the disease has progressed to the point they show symptoms, according to the World Health Organization.

It does amaze me that the same organization that screamed swine flu to get a needle in your arm is so blasé about this.

The most vulnerable are health care workers and relatives who come in much closer contact with the sick.

In a statement released Wednesday, the Peace Corps said that 340 volunteers in the three affected countries were being evacuated, and that ‘‘a determination on when volunteers can return will be made at a later date.’’

Reuters reported that two volunteers were isolated and under observation after being exposed to a person who later died of ebola.

--more--"

"33 die in Guinea concert stampede" Associated Press   July 31, 2014

CONAKRY, Guinea — Hundreds of people leaving a late-night rap concert on a beach in Guinea rushed to leave through a single exit, creating a stampede that killed at least 33 people, officials said Wednesday.

The victims included children as young as 10, and most bodies brought to an overflowing morgue in the capital were still dressed in bathing suits and swim trunks.

Some had bled from their mouths after their bodies were trampled, causing internal bleeding.

‘‘We are not used to seeing such a large number of bodies at the same time. It’s such a tragedy, these young victims killed in the prime of their life,’’ said an employee at Donka Hospital, where bodies awaited burial.

The hospital’s director, Dr. Fatou Sike Camara, announced the toll of 33 deaths.

President Alpha Conde went on national television to declare a week of national mourning and promised a full investigation.

The capital’s beaches also were ordered closed until further notice.

--more--" 

Little out of tune with the rest of the articles, isn't it?

Boston Globe Blowing Bubblews

"Get paid for posts? Social networking’s new twist" Associated Press   July 24, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook and most other social networks are built on the premise that just about everything should be shared — except the money those posts produce.

At least two services are trying to change that. Bubblews, a social network that came out of out of an extended test phase last week, pays users for posts that attract traffic and advertisers. Another company, Bonzo Me, has been doing something similar since early July.

‘‘I just feel like everyone on social networks has been taken advantage of for long enough,’’ says Michael Nusbaum, a New Jersey surgeon who created Bonzo Me. ‘‘Facebook has been making a ton of money, and the people providing the content aren’t getting anything.’’

********************

Bubblews’ compensation formula is complex. It’s based on the number of times that each post is clicked on or provokes some other kind of networking activity. To start, the payments are expected to translate into just a penny per view, comment, or like.

I would be cleaning up here every day then!

Bubblews plans to pay its users in $50 increments, meaning it could take a while for most users to qualify for their first paycheck unless they post material that goes viral.

‘‘No one should come to our site in anticipation of being able to quit their day job,’’ Bubblews chief executive Arvind Dixit says. ‘‘But we are trying to be fair with our users. Social networks don’t have to be places where you feel like you’re being exploited.’’

Or spied upon.

Bubblews is also trying to make its service worthwhile for users by encouraging deeper, thoughtful posts rather than musings on trifling subjects. To do that, it requires each post to span at least 400 characters.

I'm doing the best I can considering the material I am given.

Tech analyst Rob Enderle thinks Bubblews, or something like it, eventually will catch on.

‘‘I don’t think this free-content model is sustainable,’’ Enderle says. ‘‘You can’t sustain the quality of the product if you aren’t paying people for the content that they are creating. And you can’t pay your bills if all you are getting are ‘likes.’’’

I won't have this blog polluted by money. I'll quit first.

Gerry Kelly of San Francisco has already earned nearly $100 from Bubblews since he began using a test version in January. His Bubblews feed serves as a journal on the lessons he has learned in life, as well as a forum for his clothing brand, Sonas Denim.

Though Facebook is by far the largest social network, it has a history of irking users. People complained when Facebook changed privacy settings in ways that exposed posts to a wider audience. They have criticized Facebook for circulating ads containing endorsements from users who did not authorize the marketing messages.

More recently, people were upset about a 2012 experiment in which Facebook manipulated the accounts of about 700,000 users to analyze how their moods were affected by the emotional tenor of the posts. Facebook apologized.

RelatedFacebook’s mind game was a violation of trust

They are sorry, but.... she sure doesn't look sorry.

Also see: Is the internet now just one big human experiment?

Kelly still regularly posts on Facebook to stay in touch with friends and family, but says he is more leery of the service.

‘‘They just take all your information and make all the money for themselves. It’s insane,’’ Kelly says.

Despite the occasional uproar, Facebook Inc. has been thriving while feeding off the free content of its nearly 1.3 billion users. The Menlo Park, Calif., company now has a market value of $175 billion, and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg ranks among the world’s wealthiest people with a fortune of about $30 billion, based on a Forbes magazine estimate.

Advertisers are pouring more money into social networks because that is where people are spending more time. Facebook’s share of the $140 billion worldwide market for digital ads this year is expected to climb to nearly 8 percent, or $11 billion, up from a market share of about 6 percent, or $7 billion last year, according to the research firm eMarketer.

Bubblews wants to make money, too, but it also wants to ensure that everyone using it gets at least a small slice of the advertising pie. 

Just popped.

--more--"

Related:

"Facebook posted sharply higher earnings on Wednesday as revenue from mobile advertising continued to grow, along with its user base. The company’s shares climbed nearly 4 percent in extended trading after the results came out. Facebook Inc. said Wednesday that it earned $788 million in the April-June period. That’s up from $331 million in the same quarter a year ago.Facebook’s revenue jumped 61 percent to $2.91 billion from $1.81 billion in the same quarter a year ago."

Litvak Stole TARP Funds

"Former trader gets 2 years in prison for fraud" AP   July 24, 2014

NEW HAVEN — A federal judge sentenced a former Wall Street trader to two years in prison on Wednesday for securities fraud, saying he took advantage of a government bailout program.

The judge also fined Jesse Litvak $1.75 million.

‘‘This was a market that was dead in the water,’’ Judge Janet Hall told Litvak. ‘‘This was a market that existed because of taxpayer money and you were in effect taking advantage of it through fraud.’’

Litvak was found guilty in March of securities fraud, Troubled Asset Relief Program fraud, and making false statements to the federal government.

They must have took offense. Only we can lie to people!

He was the first person convicted of a crime related to the program that used bailout funds in the financial meltdown to restart trading markets for mortgage-backed securities. 

Related: The Rent-Backed Securities Swindle 

That was after they caused such a mess with all the fraudulent foreclosures.

Litvak defrauded private investment funds and funds established by the US Treasury with government bailout money in response to the 2008 financial crisis, prosecutors said. They say Litvak duped 35 victims into paying artificially increased prices or accepting artificially decreased prices for bonds they were buying or selling, netting $6.3 million in fraudulent profits for the company for which he worked.

‘‘The government hopes that this sentence and this prosecution sends a strong message to Wall Street and those on Wall Street that lie to their customers and cheat the investors,’’ US Attorney Deirdre Daly said.

Litvak not too big to jail. Message received.

Litvak’s attorney, Patrick Smith, argued during the trial that his client sold bonds at great prices to sophisticated buyers.

He said Litvak engaged in typical sales tactics and followed company rules.

--more--"

Also see: SEC $ettles With Jeffries Group

Almuniating Post on Google Search

"Pressure grows on EU regulator to rethink Google settlement" by James Kanter | New York Times   July 24, 2014

BRUSSELS — During the past five years, Google has taken a gingerly approach to fighting its antitrust battles in the European Union, nurturing a working relationship with Joaquín Almunia, the bloc’s competition commissioner, and patiently presenting him with three sets of proposals to settle antitrust complaints that it favored its own business over that of rivals in search results.

But lately pressure has mounted on Almunia to delay — or even jettison — parts of a carefully crafted antitrust settlement. It is a worrisome development for Google that could spin out an investigation into its search engine and advertising business for many years to come in Europe, where attitudes toward American technology giants have hardened as concerns about their market power and use of private information have mushroomed.

“The political demand in Europe for scalps from Google is enormous, including in the area of antitrust enforcement,” said Nicolas Petit, a law professor at the University of Liège in Belgium.

Almunia is expected to make a final decision on the Google case in September. He could still complete the provisional deal he announced in February and ignore the flurry of new complaints that have landed on his desk in recent months. But a more aggressive decision by Almunia, derailing that proposed settlement, would be far from a complete surprise.

Without a settlement, Google could be fined up to 10 percent of its nearly $6 billion in annual global sales. Fines have never gone that high, but such penalties look set to rise.

Asked about opposition to the settlement, including from consumer groups and even Almunia’s colleagues, Google pointed to a comment by a senior executive welcoming the provisional deal.

************

For months, rivals of Google — including longstanding complainants like Microsoft, and those not associated with Microsoft’s campaign, like Yelp, a US company that lets people find and review local services like restaurants, plumbers, or pharmacies — have complained that the current deal will do very little to make the online search market more competitive. 

RelatedMicrosoft to cut up to 18,000 jobs

Looming over Almunia are hearings that his successor will face at the European Parliament.

Many lawmakers want tougher action against Google rather than a five-year deal that would forestall scrutiny of important areas of Google’s business until the end of the decade.

That could add to pressure on Almunia to abandon the settlement and allow his successor to make a decision.

--more--"

Milne is the Man in Vermont

"Republican Milne formally launches campaign" Associated Press   July 24, 2014

BARRE, Vt. — Republican Scott Milne, 55, a travel agency executive from Pomfret, is considered the favorite in this year’s Republican primary against two other candidates who do not have the party establishment’s backing. Shumlin also faces a little-known primary challenger.

If money matters, Milne faces tall odds. Campaign finance reports filed last week showed him with less than $20,000 in his campaign coffers, versus more than $1 million for Shumlin. But Douglas, who stepped down as Shumlin took office in 2011, said the defeat of the US House majority leader in a primary last month by an upstart candidate provides an example of overcoming those odds.

‘‘The size of the war chest doesn’t necessarily mean the outcome of the race. I have two words: Eric Cantor,’’ Douglas said in remarks introducing Milne, referring to the former House majority leader.

Related: Cantoring Through Politics

Milne has not run previously for statewide office, but comes from a political family. Both his father and mother served in the Vermont House; his father is still the clerk of that body.

He said his late entrance into the campaign is an advantage because it will allow him to keep up momentum and get by with less campaign cash....

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But don't you let that ruin the mythical narrative of the Green Mountain state.