Monday, September 1, 2014

Slow Saturday Special: IRS Health Forms Will Tax You

You might need help filling them out.

"US must issue new health care tax forms" by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar | Associated Press   August 30, 2014

WASHINGTON — The federal agency that had trouble launching a health insurance website last fall has a massive new project. Any glitches on this one could delay tax refunds for many Americans.

That will be after the elections, but it will put this country in an uproar like no race-baiting ever has!

Because of complicated connections between the new health care law and income taxes, the Department of Health and Human Services must send out millions of new tax forms next year. They’re like W-2s for people getting health insurance tax credits under the law.

The forms are called 1095-As; they list who in each household has health coverage and how much the government paid each month to subsidize those insurance premiums.

Nearly 5 million people have gotten subsidies through HealthCare.gov.

If the forms are delayed past their Jan. 31 deadline, some people may have to wait to file tax returns — and collect their refunds.

So the GOVERNMENT gets to HOLD ON TO MONEY it should NOT EVEN HAVE, huh?

Well, if they can't tax it out of you they will keep it! 

What do you mean the information was wrong?

A delay of a week or two may not sound like much, but many people depend on their tax refunds to plug holes in family finances.

What a nice government withholding what you need now.

The uncertainty is unnerving to some tax preparation companies, which try to run their filing season operations like a military drill. The Obama administration says it is on task, but won’t provide much detail.

(Blog editor shakes his head at the disingenuous of this administration)

States operating their own health insurance marketplaces will also have to send out the new forms, even if they had website problems.

Obummer broke ours.

But the biggest job belongs to the federal exchange serving 36 states.

Health and Human Services will have to manage that while in the midst of running the 2015 health insurance sign-up season, when millions more are expected to try to get coverage. 

That's right during election time when voters will be reminded of this flop.

‘‘It’s very unrealistic to expect that they would be able to implement a process that distributed these forms in the middle of open enrollment, and on time,’’ said George Brandes, vice president for health care programs at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service.

The average tax refund is about $2,690, and people who count on getting money back often file early.

Liberty Tax Service vice president Chuck Lovelace said his company is giving the feds the benefit of the doubt but the possibility of delays ‘‘is not something we can turn a blind eye to.’’

‘‘It could have a dramatic impact on our customers,’’ Lovelace said. ‘‘The tax refund is the largest check many consumers get.’’

At least the elections will be over by then.

--more--"

What do you mean I OWE MONEY?

"Tax refunds may get hit due to health law credits" by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar | Associated Press   August 25, 2014

WASHINGTON — Taxes? Who wants to think about taxes around Labor Day?

But if you count on your tax refund and you’re one of the millions getting tax credits to help pay health insurance premiums under President Obama’s law, it’s not too early.

Here’s why: If your income for 2014 is going to be higher than you estimated when you applied for health insurance, then complex connections between the health law and taxes can reduce or even eliminate your tax refund next year.

OMG, they are going to SEIZE all the TAX REFUNDS!

Maybe you’re collecting more commissions in an improving economy. Or your spouse got a better job. It could trigger an unwelcome surprise.

What if you are doing worse like the 99% of the rest of us?

The danger is that as your income grows, you don’t qualify for as much of a tax credit. Any difference will come out of your tax refund, unless you have promptly reported the changes.

Thanks for the heads-up.

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

Having to pay back even as little as 10 percent of your tax credit can reduce your refund by several hundred dollars.

Tax giant H&R Block says consumers whose incomes grew as the year progressed should act now and contact HealthCare.gov or their state insurance exchange to update their accounts.

All this hassle for something we didn't want in the first place!

They will pay higher health insurance premiums for the rest of this year, but they can avoid financial pain come spring.

That and the re-enrollment requirement this fall is really going to sour people on Democrats -- all happening during an election season. 

See: 

Obamacare Plans Forecast Unhealthy Fall For Democrats
Court Erases Obummercare Subsidies
Obummercare Plans Too Complex

Voting against him is not.

‘‘As time goes on, the ability to make adjustments diminishes,’’ warned Mark Ciaramitaro, H&R Block’s vice president of health care services. ‘‘Clients count on that refund as their biggest financial transaction of the year. When that refund goes down, it really has reverberations.’’

The Obama administration says it’s constantly urging newly insured consumers to report changes that could affect their coverage. But those messages don’t drive home the point about tax refunds.

‘‘What probably isn’t clear is that there may be consequences at tax time,’’ said Ciaramitaro. 

And down goes the approval rating into unheard of territory for what will be the most hated president ever.

Aaron Albright, a spokesman for the US Health and Human Services Department, said the administration plans to ‘‘ramp up’’ its efforts.

More taxpayer dollars wasted on public relations propaganda? 

Why do you guys think a pr campaign will heal everything?

Concern about the complex connection between the health law and taxes has increased recently, after the Internal Revenue Service released drafts of new forms to administer health insurance tax credits next filing season.

The forms set up a final accounting that ensures each household is getting the correct tax credit. Various factors are involved, including income, family size, where you live, and the premiums for a ‘‘benchmark’’ plan in your community.

The IRS now in the proctology bu$ine$$.

Even experts find the forms highly complicated, requiring month-by-month computations for some taxpayers.

If the "experts" find it difficult how are the addled brains of Americans going to respond?

Taxpayers accustomed to filing a simplified 1040EZ will not be able to do so if they received health tax credits this year.

Hey, calm down, buddy. You better get to a doctor.

Some highlights:

■ If your refund isn’t large enough to cover the tax credit repayment, you will have to write the IRS a check.

Thank God there is no chance of mistakes or bad software.

■ If you overestimated your income and got too small a tax credit for health care, the IRS will increase your refund.

I'll bet there will be a lot less people in that pool.

--more--"

Related3 ways insurers can discourage sick from enrolling

Won't that be a penalty?

I'm sure the IRS will sort it all out:

"IRS failed to background check contractors" by Stephen Ohlemacher | Associated Press   August 15, 2014

WASHINGTON — The IRS failed to do background checks on some private contractors who handled confidential taxpayer information, exposing more than a million taxpayers to an increased risk of fraud and identity theft, a government investigator said Thursday.

I'm feeling so good that they now have you and your families' health information.

In one case, the IRS gave a printing contractor a computer disk with names, addresses and Social Security numbers of 1.4 million taxpayers, but did not require a background check for anyone who worked on the job, said a report by the Treasury inspector general for tax administration.

In another case, to transport sensitive documents the IRS used a courier who previously had spent 21 years in prison on arson and other charges. In other cases, contractors underwent background checks but were not required to sign agreements not to disclose sensitive information, the report said.

‘‘Allowing contractor employees access to taxpayer data without appropriate background investigations exposes taxpayers to increased risk of fraud and identity theft,’’ the inspector general, J. Russell George, said.

IRS policy requires contractors with access to confidential taxpayer information to undergo background checks, though the policy was not always followed, the report said.

About 10,000 private contractors have access to such information.

The report did not examine whether any of the private contractors misused taxpayer information. But the issue of identity theft has been gaining attention at the IRS and elsewhere.

In recent years the IRS has reported a big jump in thieves trying to fraudulently claim tax refunds using stolen Social Security numbers.

Related: Melancholy Monday 

They can't pick up the phone?

In 2012, the IRS issued $4 billion in fraudulent tax refunds to people using stolen identities, according to an inspector general’s report released last year. That same year, the IRS blocked more than $12 billion in fraudulent refunds from going to identity thieves.

Just wondering what good all that data collection by the NSA is.

In a statement, the IRS said it takes seriously its responsibility to protect taxpayer information, ‘‘and we expect the same from our contractors.’’

The agency said it was committed to ensuring that all contractors with access to sensitive information undergo thorough background checks. Also, the IRS said it issued more explicit guidance over a year ago to ensure that contractors submit nondisclosure agreements.

‘‘The IRS is committed to clarifying policies and procedures to ensure appropriate security provisions are included in all appropriate solicitations and contracts,’’ the agency said.

George’s investigators reviewed 34 IRS contracts that were active in May 2013. They found five contracts in which no background checks were required, even though contractors had access to confidential information, which is labeled ‘‘sensitive but unclassified.’’ The contracts were for courier, printing, document recovery and sign language interpreter services.

The document recovery contract was to salvage sensitive documents and personal belongings of IRS employees after a single-engine plane crashed into an IRS office building in Austin, Texas, in 2010. An IRS employee in the building was killed in the crash.

Related: Stack Attack

George’s report said background checks were required as part of 12 contracts, but workers were allowed access to sensitive information before the checks were completed.

Investigators also identified 20 contracts in which workers did not sign agreements not to disclose sensitive information.

--more--"

Also seeLerner's Love Letters 

They couldn't recover all those "lost" e-mails, huh?

Looks like Lowell got one:

"Lowell family pleads guilty in $25m IRS tax fraud scheme" Associated Press   August 30, 2014

LOWELL — Four members of a Lowell family have pleaded guilty to charges that they schemed to hide $25 million in wages from the Internal Revenue Service, federal prosecutors said.

The family ran a temporary employment agency from 2004 to 2009, during which time they reported to the IRS that their employees made about $2.2 million in wages, when in fact they had made $30 million, the US attorney’s office in Boston announced Thursday.

They also defrauded their company’s workers compensation insurer of $880,000 in premiums by hiding the true number of employees, according to The Sun of Lowell.

Margaret Mathes, 67, Boseba Prum, 47, Sam Pich, 63, and Thaworn Promket, 52, pleaded guilty Thursday. Prosecutors did not disclose the exact family relationships. They are scheduled for sentencing Nov. 24.

Each pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to defraud the IRS, mail fraud, and violation of laws against structuring money transactions to avoid reporting requirements, as well as other charges.

The defendants, who operated the International Temp Agency and JP Company, covered up unreported wages by withdrawing cash from about 20 bank accounts and paying their workers under the table.

If so, the federal government had to have known all about it. NSA would have been collecting all that, so WTF?

They structured the bank transactions, numbering more than 4,300, so they could withdraw the cash needed to pay the workers without triggering federal reporting requirements. 

It might not have been reported by the bank, but the NSA data collection operation certainly scooped it up.

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Sunday Globe Special: Medicare Murder Committees

I'm getting sick to death of being called a nutcase when warning of things years in advance and then watching them come true.

"Medicare considers funding end-of-life talks" by Pam Belluck | New York Times   August 31, 2014

DUNDEE, N.Y. — Five years after it exploded into a political conflagration over “death panels,” the issue of paying doctors to talk to patients about end-of-life care is making a comeback, and such sessions may be covered for the 50 million Americans on Medicare as early as next year.

And there it is. They were in Obummercare from the start, the people who pointed it out at the time were pounced upon and denounced, and here we are years later and they were right.

Bypassing the political process, private insurers have begun reimbursing doctors for these “advance care planning” conversations as interest in them rises along with the number of aging Americans.

People are living longer with illnesses, and many want more input into how they will spend their final days, including whether they want to die at home or in the hospital, and whether they want full-fledged life-sustaining treatment, just pain relief, or something in between. Some states, including Colorado and Oregon, recently began covering the sessions for Medicaid patients.

But far more significant, Medicare may begin covering end-of-life discussions next year if it approves a recent request from the American Medical Association, the nation’s largest association of doctors and medical students. One of the AMA’s roles is to create billing codes for medical services, codes used by doctors, hospitals and insurers. It recently created codes for end-of-life conversations and submitted them to Medicare.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would not discuss whether it will agree to cover end-of-life discussions; its decision is expected this fall. But the agency often adopts AMA recommendations, which are developed in meetings attended by its representatives. And the political environment is less toxic than it was when the “death panel” label was coined; although there are still opponents, there are more proponents. 

Therefore they thought they could just slide this by you!

If Medicare adopts the change, its decision would also set the standard for private insurers, encouraging many more doctors to engage in these conversations.

“We think it’s really important to incentivize this kind of care,” said Dr. Barbara Levy, chairwoman of the AMA committee that submits reimbursement recommendations to Medicare. “The idea is to make sure patients and their families understand the consequences, . . . so they can make the best decision for them.”

Yeah, it SOUNDS GOOD coming from this government but consider what we are dealing with here. 

Look, maybe these conversations are needed but they should be between your doctor and you when the time is right. Government, especially this one, should not be involved.

Now, some doctors conduct such conversations for free or shoehorn them into other medical visits. Dr. Joseph Hinterberger, a family physician in Dundee, N.Y., wants to avoid situations in which he has had to decide for incapacitated patients who had no family or stated preferences.

Recently, he spent an unreimbursed hour with Mary Pat Pennell, a retired community college dean, walking through advance directive forms. Pennell, 80, who sold her farm and lives with a roommate and four cats, quickly said she would not want to be resuscitated if her heart or lungs stopped. But she took longer to weigh options if she was breathing but otherwise unresponsive.

“I’d like to be as comfortable as I can possibly be,” she said at first. “I don’t want to choke, and I don’t want to throw up.”

With reimbursement, “I’d do one of these a day,” said Hinterberger, whose 3,000 patients in the Finger Lakes region range from professors to Mennonite farmers.

If Medicare covers end-of-life counseling, that could profoundly affect the American way of dying, experts said. But the impact would depend on how much doctors are paid, the allowed frequency of conversations, whether psychologists or other nonphysicians could conduct them, and whether the conversations must be in person or could include phone calls with long-distance family members.

Paying for only one session and completion of advance directives would have limited value, experts said.

The government wants to lead you to the coffin.

--more--"

Why did a certain movie just come to mind?

Sunday Globe Special: Teacher's Lounge

It's crowded!

"Boston schools bypass internal hiring of some teachers; Newcomers sideline some system veterans" by James Vaznis | Globe Staff   August 31, 2014

School administrators in Boston have long wanted the freedom to fill classroom posts with teachers of their own choosing, passing over internal candidates and hiring from outside the system if need be. This year, relying on a loophole in the union contract, they have done just that.

But freedom has come with a considerable cost: With the opening of schools just days away, more than 100 veteran teachers have no class assignments at all, sidelined despite a cost in salary and benefits of more than $10 million.

Related: Boston's Schools Go Begging 

It's all right because they are saving that money someplace else(??).

Though lacking classes to teach, the 110 teachers will remain on the payroll because they have earned “permanent” status. It is largely not an issue of competence: In most cases the teachers’ performance evaluations were satisfactory.

WTF?!

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

School officials say they made the change in hiring to ensure that each school can choose the best teachers, ones who match its approach to education. And they stress that the unchosen teachers will not be sitting around with nothing to do while collecting a paycheck. Instead, the school system said, it is assigning the teachers “suitable” temporary tasks, such as filling in as substitutes or working along side another classroom teacher.

How disrespectful and humiliating.

The teachers could eventually land their own classrooms during the course of the year, officials said, as resignations or retirements pop up.

Like they used to have?

The average annual teacher salary in Boston is $88,000.

“It’s a small cost for us, overall, to make sure we have a great teacher in every classroom,” said Ross Wilson, assistant superintendent for human capital. “Instead of forcing the placement of teachers in the classroom, we are allowing schools to choose the teachers they want.”

So no one wanted the others, huh? Even with the shortages?

Richard Stutman, president of the Boston Teachers Union, said the mostly positive evaluation data on the sidelined teachers raise questions about why the School Department is hiring teachers from outside when they have veteran teachers who clearly know their craft and are getting results.

“Given their level of accomplishment, to have these folks unplaced is not only a disservice to students but it is waste of resources and scarce funds,” Stutman said.

I notice governments are real good at that!

The union has filed a grievance about the new hiring practice, which is now in arbitration.

You guys are always complaining about everything!

The change also may have had one unintended consequence, according to the data. A disproportionate share of veteran teachers without jobs are black, accounting for 32 percent of those in that predicament, although black teachers make up only about 22 percent of the teaching force.

OMG! 

Boston is STILL RACIST!

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

The problem comes as the school system is facing criticism that its revamped teacher evaluation system is disproportionately giving lower ratings to teachers of color and as the system continues to operate in violation of a federal court order that requires a quarter of its teaching staff to be black.

Letting schools hire the teachers they want represents a dramatic change. Union contract rules had long dictated where teachers get placed.

Well, it is a NEW WORLD when it comes to LABOR CONTRACTS! They MEAN NOTHING now!

It used to be that schools could not, in most cases, hire from outside the system until a pool of internal candidates had been depleted. Often principals and hiring committees were forced to take internal candidates who were a poor match.

Amazing how AmeriKa's fine ejewkhazional in$titutions can't turn out any good teachers. Must be the Zionist inculcation and indoctrination and politically-correct, agenda-pushing dogma the kids are taught.

The months-long process of placing internal candidates also pushed the hiring of new teachers into the summer, a less than ideal time to go on the open market because many of the most talented teachers have been snatched up by other districts.

What do they have to do, reapply for their jobs every year?

But last fall, John McDonough, the interim superintendent, revealed he would take advantage of a little-used provision in the teachers contract that would allow schools to bypass many of the hiring requirements spelled out in the contract. 

I'm surprised teachers could be so stupid.

That provision allows school officials to immediately consider outside candidates if they classify a position as requiring a special skill or extra duty. For instance, the winning candidate might have to do tutoring after school but would receive an extra $1,250 stipend in return.

This is about getting rid of veteran teachers who earn too much.

It is a pricey endeavor. In addition to covering the salaries of permanent teachers without positions, the stipends are adding up to $1.2 million. The school system has launched a $25 million fund-raising campaign to help cover the costs.

!!!!!!

School officials say the change has resulted in a successful reversal of the troubling trend of hiring most new teachers in the summer. This year, the system hired 83 percent of new teachers before July 1, compared with 9 percent the previous year, according to School Department data. Officials also say they slightly increased the diversity of teaching ranks.

“I think we’ve had a great hiring year,” Wilson said. “It’s a complete culture shift in how we post jobs.”

Were you teachers not paying attention in class?

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

The hiring season this year started off with approximately 1,000 vacant positions, one of the highest levels in year. Helping to swell the numbers, four underperforming schools, including two going into state receivership, dismissed nearly all their teachers, which in turn increased the number of internal candidates needing jobs.

The system employs about 4,300 teachers, serving 57,000 students at 128 schools. Most of the schools open Thursday.

Ultimately, about 350 teachers wound up in the school system’s long controversial “excess pool”— teachers without jobs because they had been on leave, were dismissed from an underperforming school, or their jobs were eliminated because of budget cuts.

School officials say teachers in the excess pool who were the most aggressive in applying for positions had the most luck in securing one. On average, the successful candidates sent out 19 applications compared with 12 for those not successful.

Some excess teachers did not submit a single application, school officials said.

I'm sure they said f*** this, I'm not putting up with this tyranny and went someplace else.

Education advocates critical of the city’s powerful teachers union joined many parents and administrators in applauding the new hiring approach.

“The previous system was really insane, and it did not serve the system well at all,” said Paul Grogan, president of the Boston Foundation, a charitable organization that is helping the school system with its fund-raising campaign and that has long called for giving schools more hiring autotomy. “I think it makes an enormous difference in the morale of the school that everyone is pulling in the same direction and wants to be there.”  

It's as I always thought. Teachers suck.

Kristin Barrali, who has a son at the Mendell Elementary School in Roxbury and another at the Bates Elementary School in Roslindale, recalls that under the old hiring system, schools sometimes took a gamble with internal candidates. She said one year the Mendell got an excellent veteran kindergarten teacher, but another time when she sat on the school’s hiring committee she cried after the interviews.

“I felt like we were forced to make a decision that was not good for kids,” she said. “Schools should be able to hire the teachers who are the best fit.”

Yeah, WAVE THE KIDS at us!  

That is what was WRONG with Massachusetts education, huh? Teachers didn't care about the kids in what I have been told is the greatest, bestes ejerkashun $y$tem in the world in Ma$$achu$hitts???

--more--"

Thank God all the rabble have been cleared out. Education lounge is empty now.

Are You Trying Out For the Football Team?

I'm looking forward to football Sundays this year.

"Parents wary of head injuries in youth sports" by Kurt Voigt | Associated Press   August 29, 2014

Parents are worried about their children playing football, but most haven’t decided to keep their kids from putting on a helmet and stepping onto the field.

According to an Associated Press-GfK poll, nearly half of parents said they had reservations about letting their children play football — and other contact sports — amid growing uncertainty about the long-term effects of concussions.

In the poll, 44 percent of parents weren’t comfortable with their children playing football. The same percentage was uncomfortable with ice hockey, and 45 percent were uncomfortable with wrestling.

Only 5 percent, though, said they have discouraged their children from playing in the last two years as concern over head injuries has increased.

The majority of parents said they are comfortable with participation in a host of other sports — including swimming, track and field, basketball, soccer, baseball, and softball.

The AP-GfK poll was conducted from July 24 to 28. It included interviews with 1,044 adults and has a sampling error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

The parents’ concern comes as several high-profile lawsuits have challenged how concussions have been addressed in pro and college sports.

Thousands of pro players sued the NFL, and a $675 million settlement that would compensate them for concussion-related claims is pending.

A tentative settlement with the NCAA, meanwhile, would create a $70 million fund to test thousands of current and former college athletes for brain trauma.

--more--"

Maybe the head injuries are responsible for this:

"Roger Goodell deserves credit for getting tougher on domestic abuse"  |    August 30, 2014

It is entirely to the credit of National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell to admit that he ‘‘didn’t get it right’’ when he handed down a paltry two-game suspension to Ray Rice, the Baltimore Ravens running back who allegedly beat his then-fiancee to the point that she became unconscious. In response, Goodell announced new rules, detailed in a letter sent Thursday to the owners of the NFL’s 32 teams. The commissioner now plans to suspend a player for at least 6 weeks for the first offense and banish him from the league for a second offense, although after a year the player can appeal the ruling. These rules finally make domestic violence more serious in the eyes of the NFL than substance abuse, which generally brings a four-game suspension.

Goodell will have a chance to show his new toughness in dealing with Carolina Panthers star Greg Hardy, who was convicted in July of assaulting his ex-girlfriend. Hardy has appealed and requested a jury trial, which won’t happen until after the season. But that may be merely a delaying tactic; if Hardy has a strong claim of actual innocence, Goodell would be justified in waiting until after the legal case is complete. If not, the commissioner can send a strong message by applying the six-game suspension immediately.

--more--"

Did I make your team, readers?

The Coercion of Dias Kadyrbayev

What happened here is the poor kid got caught up with this circle of friends and when the patsy label was to be applied to the Tsarnaevs they got caught up in the dragnet. 

So what they do is arrest these kids, pressure them (and their families) to sign confessions under the rubric of a deal and then use it to reinforce the copper story crapola. 

I mean, c'mon. All the foreign students that come here are visited by government agents of some sort or another to see how pliable they might be for providing information. I know there is the cover story regarding the Tsarnaevs and once again intelligence didn't connect they dots, blah, blah, blah. All part of the psyops crisis drills gone live to reinforce the narrative, I guess.

"Tsarnaev friend to plead guilty in obstruction case" by Patricia Wen | Globe Staff   August 20, 2014

A young man from Kazakhstan who was a close friend of surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is expected to plead guilty to obstruction of justice charges on Thursday, about a month after his roommate was convicted of similar charges.

The attorney for Dias Kadyrbayev, a former University of Massachusetts Dartmouth student, said Wednesday his client will plead guilty but did not say whether the plea is part of a sentence-reducing deal with prosecutors or whether Kadyrbayev will plead without having such an agreement, with hope that the judge will show leniency.

He had previously pleaded not guilty to accusations that he had removed evidence from Tsarnaev’s dorm room, and he was scheduled to go to trial Sept. 8.

In a telephone interview, Robert Stahl, who practices law out of Westfield, N.J., said the details of the guilty plea will be made clear Thursday afternoon in the Boston courtroom of US District Court Judge Douglas Woodlock. As recently as Tuesday, there had been a flurry of pretrial activity, such as the filing of proposed jury instructions.

The US attorney’s office did not return phone calls Wednesday seeking comment on Kadyrbayev’s expected guilty plea.

Kadyrbayev’s change of plea is not surprising to some veteran defense attorneys who followed the trial of his friend and off-campus roommate, 20-year-old Azamat Tazhayakov, also from Kazakhstan. Last month, Tazhayakov was convicted of conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice despite being widely portrayed by FBI agents as the less culpable of the two men, the follower, not the leader. Tazhayakov faces a maximum of 25 years in prison at sentencing on Oct. 16.

Martin Weinberg, a veteran criminal defense attorney in Boston, said Kadyrbayev and his attorney must have been crushed to see Tazhayakov convicted and likely believed their only option was to plead guilty and hope the judge reduces Kadyrbayev’s sentence in return for the admission and sparing the government from a full-blown trial.

“There were grave risks in continuing down the path of a trial,” Weinberg said.

Federal prosecutors recommend sentences based on a number of factors, including at least one working in favor of the two men, a lack of a previous criminal record. In Kadyrbayev’s case, his guilty plea will likely count as another factor toward reducing his sentence.

“Acceptance of responsibility gives you some benefits in the calculation of sentences,” said Kathy Weinman, a seasoned criminal defense attorney and former president of the Boston Bar Association.

Prosecutors said the two Kazakhstan men, along with a third student, entered Tsarnaev’s dorm room on April 18, 2013, hours after the FBI released photos of the two bombing suspects. Before entering the room, Kadyrbayev exchanged text messages with Tsarnaev, including one in which Tsarnaev wrote, “If yu want yu can go to my room and take what’s there.”

Subsequently, prosecutors said, Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov allegedly removed a number of items, including Tsarnaev’s backpack, containing fireworks and a laptop, while suspecting their friend was a fugitive. Kadyrbayev is accused of later discarding the backpack in a Dumpster behind their New Bedford apartment, while the laptop was left on a table. Both items were recovered by federal investigators.

Robel Phillipos, who grew up with Tsarnaev in Cambridge, is accused of being with Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov that night but is only charged with lying to investigators about his whereabouts and not with the removal of any evidence. His trial is scheduled for Sept. 29th.

The three young men had frequently socialized with Tsarnaev, who is accused with his older brother, Tamerlan, of planting two bombs that exploded near the Marathon finish line on April 15, 2013, killing three and injuring more than 260. Tamerlan died in a violent confrontation with police in Watertown in the early morning hours of April 19, just a few days after the bombing. Tsarnaev fled the scene, and was later found in a docked boat in the backyard of a Watertown home.

His trial is scheduled for November.

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"Tsarnaev friend pleads guilty in obstruction case" by Patricia Wen | Globe staff   August 21, 2014

Federal prosecutors have agreed to ask for no more than a seven-year prison term for a close friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after the friend pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice Thursday, about two weeks before he was scheduled to go to trial.

Dias Kadyrbayev, one of four former classmates of Tsarnaev to face federal charges related to the bombing case, appeared calm as he listened to a prosecutor read a 17-point chronological statement about how Kadyrbayev removed a backpack containing manipulated fireworks and a laptop from Tsarnaev’s dormitory room on April 18, 2013, a few days after the bombing.

“Is that all true?” US District Judge Douglas Woodlock asked Kadyrbayev, a native of Kazakhstan, after the statement was read.

“Yes,” replied Kadyrbayev, with his father seated several rows behind him in court.

The 20-year-old former University of Massachusetts Dartmouth student then formally pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice, which would expose him to a maximum 25-year prison term if not for the plea deal. The judge said he wants to review the Probation Department’s presentencing report before accepting the deal, which would limit the judge’s ability to go beyond a seven-year prison term.

The judge said he reserves the right to reject the deal’s terms. If he does so, Kadyrbayev is free to withdraw his guilty plea. The judge set sentencing for Nov. 18.

Kadyrbayev was taken away in handcuffs and returned to the Essex County jail in Middleton, where he has spent most of the past 16 months.

Kadyrbayev’s attorney, Robert Stahl of Westfield, N.J., later released a written statement saying that his client was “a young man, just 19 years old at the time, who made a terrible error in judgment for which he has paid dearly.”

Outside the courthouse, Stahl emphasized that Kadyrbayev was totally unaware that Tsarnaev was planning to bomb the Boston Marathon.

“He hopes that by accepting responsibility, people here in Boston and across the world will eventually understand that he did not [obstruct justice] out of malice or in any way condone what the Tsarnaevs have allegedly done,” Stahl said.

Kadyrbayev’s plea comes as federal prosecutors are busy preparing cases against two other friends of Tsarnaev and Tsarnaev himself. The 21-year-old former UMass Dartmouth student is accused, along with his older brother, Tamerlan, of planting two bombs that exploded near the Marathon finish line on April 15, 2013, killing three and injuring more than 260. On April 18, after the FBI released photos of the two suspected bombers, the brothers went on the run and allegedly killed MIT police Officer Sean Collier in what authorities say was an unsuccessful effort to get his service weapon.

Hours later, on April 19, Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a violent confrontation with police in Watertown. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev fled and was found later that day in a boat stored in the backyard of a Watertown home.

It was during the manhunt for the suspects that three of Tsarnaev’s closest friends from UMass Dartmouth — Kadyrbayev, Azamat Tazhayakov, and Robel Phillipos — allegedly began interfering with the federal investigation.

Tazhayakov, another native of Kazakhstan who lived in an off-campus New Bedford apartment with Kadyrbayev, was found guilty by a jury last month of being a coconspirator with Kadyrbayev in the removal of evidence from Tsarnaev’s dorm room, including throwing the backpack in a dumpster. He is scheduled to be sentenced in October.

Phillipos, 20, is charged with lying to investigators about being with the two Kazakhstan students on the night they entered Tsarnaev’s dorm room. His attorney, Susan Church of Cambridge, said she cannot comment on any potential plea negotiations in his case.

She said, however, that the charge that her client faces “is very different.” The trial of Phillipos, who has been free on bail since May 2013, is scheduled for late September.

Meanwhile, a fourth close friend of Tsarnaev, Stephen Silva, 21, who attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin with Tsarnaev and worked as a part-time Harvard lifeguard with him, was arrested last month on federal drug and gun charges.

Silva’s lawyer said he was told by investigators that the gun charge relates to an allegation that Silva provided a defaced pistol to Tsarnaev months before the Marathon, and that pistol was used in the killing of Collier. That gun was later recovered at the scene of the Watertown shootout.

Silva’s lawyer, Jonathan Shapiro, has said that his client had nothing to do with the bombing or the violence that erupted during the manhunt. Silva is being held without bail.

Nothing but silence since.

--more--" 

Sorry I'm dismissing the whole cover story.

"Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lawyers seek dismissal of indictment" by Travis Andersen | Globe staff   August 22, 2014

Lawyers for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev want a federal judge to dismiss the sweeping indictment against him, citing concerns about the selection of grand juries in federal court in Boston, where their client faces a possible death sentence, if convicted.

I would dismiss it over the axiom "if the government is shit, you must acquit." Case closed.

In a motion filed Friday, defense attorneys identified several concerns about the manner in which grand juries were selected between 2011 and 2013, including in his case. Among the issues was the fact that qualified jurors over 70 years old were automatically excused upon request.

More than 96 percent of prospective jurors older than 70 chose not to serve in the three-year period, and a nearly identical percentage opted out when Tsarnaev’s grand jury was selected, said the defense motion.

“Being over age 70 — like race, sex, and national origin — is an immutable characteristic — one cannot get younger — and exclusion on the basis of such a characteristic gives rise to the appearance of unfairness," Tsarnaev’s attorneys wrote.

They also argued that African-Americans have been underrepresented in the selection process.

“This underrepresentation, [Tsarnaev] submits, is constitutionally significant,” the lawyers wrote, adding that “underrepresentation in municipal resident lists is attributable to some form of official action or inaction in the jury selection process and is, therefore systemic exclusion.”

In addition, about 5 percent of the 400 summonses used to create the grand jury pool in Tsarnaev’s case were returned as undeliverable by the US Postal Service, and there were no draws from a supplemental group to fill the gap, defense attorneys say.

They are asking US District Court Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. to “dismiss the indictment returned in this case and stay further proceedings” pending changes to the selection process, according to the filing.

Prosecutors did not immediately file a response Friday, and a spokeswoman for US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz declined to comment.

O’Toole has yet to rule on a defense motion to move Tsarnaev’s highly anticipated trial to Washington, D.C., on the grounds that there is an “overwhelming presumption” of guilt in Massachusetts, among other factors.

You can thank the propaganda pre$$ mouthpiece for that.

Tsarnaev, 21, faces charges that could bring the death penalty for his alleged role in the April 15, 2013, bombings, which killed three people, including an 8-year-old boy, and wounded more than 260. He has pleaded not guilty.

Tsarnaev and his older brother and alleged accomplice, Tamerlan, are also accused of fatally shooting an MIT police officer. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a violent confrontation with police in Watertown days after the blasts.

--more--"

If you can't get it dismissed then try for a delay:

"Tsarnaev attorneys seek delay in trial

Lawyers for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are seeking a 10-month delay to his highly anticipated trial. In a court filing Friday in federal court in Boston, the attorneys requested that the start date of the trial, which is to begin in November, be pushed back to September 2015. The lawyers cited the “massive amount” of evidence that they must evaluate, among other concerns. Tsarnaev, 21, faces several charges that could bring the death penalty for his alleged role in the April 15, 2013, bombings, which killed three people and wounded more than 260."

That's how you bury things. 

And remember what I said about the families?

"Tsarnaev sister arrested in alleged bomb threat" by Milton J. Valencia | Globe Staff   August 28, 2014

A sister of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects was arrested in New York on Wednesday after allegedly threatening a woman in a domestic harassment case, saying, “I have people that can go over there and put a bomb on you.”

Ailina Tsarnaev of North Bergen, N.J., was arrested at a police station in New York City Wednesday afternoon, charged with one count of aggravated harassment. She was released with a summons to return to a criminal court in Manhattan on Sept. 3, said police Lieutenant John Grimpel.

Grimpel said the victim of Ailina Tsarnaev’s alleged threat has a child with the father of one of Tsarnaev’s children. Grimpel did not elaborate on the nature of the dispute.

Tsarnaev told police she is 21, though she is believed to be three years older.

Her brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, is awaiting trial in federal court, accused, along with his older brother, Tamerlan, of setting off the April 15, 2013, bombs at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured more than 260.

Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev are also accused of shooting and killing MIT police officer Sean Collier days after the bombing. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed during a violent confrontation with police.

Ailina and another sister, Bella Tsarnaev, have visited their brother at the federal prison in Fort Devens in Ayer, where he is being held. Defense lawyers have sought to have private conversations with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his sisters as they seek to learn more about their family. They expect to argue that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was pressured to participate in the bombings by his brother.

Ailina Tsarnaev has been arrested before. She was charged with impeding a 2010 investigation into counterfeiting, and later failed to appear in court. The investigation was based on the passing of a counterfeit bill at an Applebee’s restaurant in Dorchester. She is not accused of passing the fake currency, but police say she knew members of the group that did.

Talk about trumped up charges! Everything that comes of that Fed printing press is counterfeit!

The two Tsarnaev sisters are believed to be staying together in New Jersey, and New York media outlets recently reported that Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s widow, Katherine Russell, who had a child with him, recently moved in with them.  

Female suicide gang?

--more--"

Wow, she's cute! 

Nothing about the taxi driver or the man who murdered Ibragim Todashev, huh?

"US Supreme Court to consider hearing Mehanna terror case

The US Supreme Court will consider at a conference committee Sept. 29 whether to hear the case of Tarek Mehanna, the Sudbury man convicted of terrorism. Mehanna was convicted in 2011 in federal court in Boston of multiple counts of supporting terrorism, though his lawyers argued that he was prosecuted for expressing his own beliefs. protected by the First Amendment. He was sentenced to 17½ years in prison, and the First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction last year. His lawyers petitioned the high court to hear the case." 

I hope you don't speak Arabic because the court won't hear it.

I know you probably think I'm some sort of conspiracy theorist out on a lark, but I call 'em as I see 'em

Surprise Resignation by Suffolk President

Maybe you can get whipped up about it; I'm not.

"Suffolk University replaces its president, names interim" by Peter Schworm | Globe Staff   August 28, 2014

Just days before the start of the new school year, Suffolk University abruptly replaced president James McCarthy on Wednesday with a year remaining on his contract and tapped a veteran educator with a reputation for turning around struggling colleges to serve as interim leader.

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

The unexpected change in leadership comes as Suffolk seeks to stabilize its finances and attract students in the college-dense region. Facing a decline in enrollment and revenue, the university announced in June it would freeze employee salaries for the next fiscal year. It also offered buyouts to all law school faculty members with tenure or renewable long-term contracts.

This spring, the university came under fire for requiring tenured faculty to undergo performance reviews, a shift that critics said would undermine academic freedom.

Andrew Meyer, chairman of the board of trustees, praised McCarthy’s short tenure, which began in February 2012, but said the university needed a change to realize its full potential.

“Things are going in a very positive direction,” he said. “We’re ready for the next phase of that growth.” 

Not even the educators can tell the truth in AmeriKa.

Meyer described McCarthy’s departure as amicable, saying McCarthy had “accomplished what he felt he could” as president. He will receive a modest severance package and will pursue consulting opportunities, university officials said.

Through a university spokeswoman, McCarthy declined to comment.

University officials defended the school’s financial standing Wednesday, noting that the endowment has grown by 52 percent since 2011, and its operating surplus has increased.

Tuition has increased only slightly the past two years, they said.

Meyer said McCarthy had ably guided the university through a transitional phase after longtime president David Sargent stepped down in 2010 amid anger over his high compensation package, which once topped a national survey. But amid growing financial pressures, Meyer said it is crucial to act decisively.

You gonna check in or what?

“We need to face those issues now,” he said. “We’re not going to allow the school to float.”

Meyer said Suffolk is on solid financial footing, but that Norman R. Smith, 68, who is best known for his tenure at Wagner College in New York City where he led a small school on the brink of closing to new prominence, keenly understands the difficulties facing tuition-dependent schools with modest endowments.

“The board felt they didn’t have time to waste,” said one university source.

Meyer declined to provide Smith’s salary but said it was within the typical range for a college president.

The announcement came as a surprise to many faculty members, particularly given the timing. Stephen McDonald, chairman of the university senate and a professor in the business school, said the change will “create some anxiety.”

“When there’s uncertainty on the top floor, it’s disconcerting,” he said. “It’s certainly disconcerting because of the timing.”

McDonald said McCarthy was well-regarded on campus as “someone who made a real commitment to communicate,” and said his departure was probably the result of philosophical differences with an active board of trustees.

“The faculty concern has been overmanagement by a board of trustees that is looking at the college as if it were a purely commercial enterprise,” he said.

Smith, who most recently was president of Dowling College on Long Island, is a member of the Registry for College and University Presidents, which matches veteran educational leaders to interim positions. Interims cannot become candidates for the permanent position, giving them more latitude to make changes and unpopular choices.

Smith said he would stay as long as needed as the university searches for his successor.

“I will stay as long as things are rolling along well, or leave as soon as they are ready to move on,” he said. “I’m very at home in Boston.”

Interim presidents typically stay on for a year, specialists said.

Smith, who studied at Harvard and was the assistant dean of Harvard’s graduate school of education, said Suffolk had made great gains over the past two decades, and is well-positioned to build on them.

“I have been very impressed with kind of progress Suffolk has made,” he said. “I think they are ready to move to a higher level of regional and national visibility.”

Smith said that while improved fund-raising takes time, he would make a point of cultivating potentially major donors to give the university greater financial flexibility.

“I will be pushing very hard to get people in the pipeline,” he said.

During Smith’s 15 years at Wagner College, the college doubled enrollment and rose from the bottom tier of college rankings to the top, Smith said.

He was president of Richmond The American International University in London, and held leadership positions at Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia, Philadelphia University, and Drexel University.

His most recent book, “What College Trustees Need to Know,” was written with George J. Matthews, chairman emeritus of Northeastern University, and Bryan Carlson, president of the Registry for College and University Presidents.

Like many private colleges, Suffolk is struggling to hold down costs to compete with public colleges, and faces sharp competition in the Boston area, Smith said.

Given the general decline in law school enrollment, Smith said he would expect to take a “quality over quantity” approach in assembling new classes.

“I don’t think there’s growth there,” he said, referring to enrollment.

Richard Ekman, president of the Council of Independent Colleges, a Washington D.C. group representing small and mid-sized colleges and universities, said Smith’s experience at Wagner College would serve him well at Suffolk, another city school in a crowded educational market.

“I think it’s a great move,” he said. “He’s very talented.”

Smith would be able to capitalize on “distinctive opportunities” for the university without “trying to be all things to all people,” he said.

Ekman said that while he was not familiar with the situation at Suffolk, replacing a president so close to fall was unusual.

--more--"

"Harvard alums criticize endowment pay" by Beth Healy | Globe Staff   August 28, 2014

In a letter to Harvard University president Drew G. Faust, a group of alumni that has long been critical of high pay for the school’s endowment managers complains that the compensation levels have increased since the financial crisis.

In advance of their upcoming reunion, members of Harvard’s class of 1969 wrote in their letter, dated Aug. 20, that they were “astonished by what we have discovered.”

Total pay for the five highest-compensated managers at the world’s largest university investment fund rose to $28.8 million in 2013 from $25.2 million in 2009. In between, in 2011, pay for that group dipped to $18 million, the result of reduced three-year payouts after sharp losses during the financial crisis.

“We certainly think they should pay less,’’ David Kaiser, a historian and one of the authors of the report, said in an interview. “We think the relationship between performance and pay is not strict enough.”

In fact, Harvard’s endowment was the worst performer among all Ivy League colleges, with a 1.7 percent average annual return over a five-year period ended in 2013, according to data compiled by Charles A. Skorina & Co., an executive search firm that serves the investment management business. Columbia University recorded the best five-year performance among the Ivy League schools, with a 6.8 percent annualized endowment return, the firm reported.

Harvard said the five-year average ending June 2014, when finalized, will be between 11 percent and 12 percent....

--more--"

Well, at least Harvard isn't going broke.

New School Year

It already started

"As students move in, city vows vigilance on safety" by Matt Rocheleau | Globe Correspondent   September 01, 2014

As thousands of students return to America’s college capital this week, Boston city officials are vowing, as they have in years past, to step up code enforcement of crowded, frequently shoddy off-campus housing.

But they are facing a set of stiff realities: The city has fallen short of promises to increase the number of inspectors. Some landlords and tenants have resisted efforts to follow city housing codes. And students themselves say they are forced to share crowded apartments simply to afford the rent.

One is Joohmahn Kim, a Boston University junior, who said last week he knows that he and six roommates will be violating a city rule banning more than four full-time undergraduates from sharing a house or apartment.

“Even if the city does enforce it, I don’t think they will be able to for at least a few years anyway, so I’ll be fine,’’ the 21-year-old California native said as he prepared to carry a case of bottled water into his new apartment in Allston.

The city, in response to a recent Globe Spotlight Team series on unsafe, crowded, and sometimes illegal off-campus apartments, has vowed to more stringently enforce the 2008 rule limiting the number of undergraduates in each apartment.

This year, city officials say, is going to be different.

“We’re better prepared, we have better strategies, we have better data,’’ said William Christopher Jr., whom Mayor Martin J. Walsh named as the new commissioner of inspectional services in May, days after the Spotlight series. “Everybody’s aware that this is a priority for the mayor and we’re going to be very aggressive, and it’s a positive message: ‘We’re here to help.’ ”

Uh-oh! That's the last thing you want to hear from government!

Over the weekend, city officials issued citations for infractions as they scoured the student neighborhoods while renters moved in and out.

On Sunday, housing inspectors Iris Jones and Marcio Fonseca Jr. carried lists of addresses where problems were suspected as they walked up and down Linden Street in Allston. The two took note of debris left outside buildings, toured apartments, stuffed informational pamphlets in door jambs, and chatted with movers.

City officials say they will soon have a new database to identify overcrowded apartments. The Boston City Council voted two weeks ago to require that colleges with buildings in Boston provide the city with a list of off-campus addresses where students are living.

However, the city has fallen short in some of its housing commitments. Walsh had vowed to increase the number of inspectors, but that has not happened yet. And the city this summer was only able to inspect a very small fraction of units suspected of student overcrowding. 

That's why I'm cutting so many Globe classes. Sick of seeing, reading, and typing about the $ame old $hit. Besides, all this is crapping on the glorious gleam of Menino so stop it.

After a fire at an off-campus apartment in Allston in April 2013 killed Binland Lee, a 22-year-old Boston University student, community activists called on colleges in Boston to release the addresses of their off-campus students to enable the city to detect overcrowded living conditions.

That's what got the Globe fired up about college residencies.

Most universities, citing privacy concerns, resisted until June , when Walsh met with college leaders, who largely agreed to disclose the addresses. The City Council formalized the regimen on Aug. 20 by amending the city’s University Accountability Ordinance, which requires colleges to provide a breakdown of the number of students living in each ZIP code.

Now institutions must include the address and unit number for student apartments, as well as whether the individual is an undergraduate or graduate student, by Nov. 15 each fall, and within 45 days of the beginning of each semester or quarter. It is an anonymous report and no student names will be included, but it will help inspectors identify potential trouble spots.

“Some folks may think this is a bureaucratic issue, but really it is a matter of life and death, since without that data it is almost impossible for the city to track and discover student overcrowding and unsafe housing conditions,” Richard Giordano, civic engagement director of the Fenway Community Development Corporation, recently wrote Fenway residents.

Nonetheless, numerous students surveyed last week while lugging boxes and furniture into their new apartments said they plan to live with five or more undergraduates. They said landlords and real estate agents continue to turn a blind eye and that units are unaffordable unless shared by more than four undergraduates.

“If you look at the listings for all of the houses in this neighborhood online, they’re all marketed as six and seven bedrooms,” said Kim, pointing at the houses across the street from his new home. “I don’t think it’s the tenants’ fault. It’s the landlords’ fault.”

Always, and don't worry, we will get those bastards

So how is all that student loan debt?

Kim said he and all six of his roommates signed the lease to rent the house and that he does not remember their realty agent ever mentioning the city rule banning more than four undergraduates from living together in off-campus housing.

???? 

No one making a $tink about that!

Given the Nov. 15 deadline, it will be more than two months before anyone has a better handle on how widely the zoning rule is being violated, but a Spotlight Team survey last year found that nearly one-third of 266 students questioned said at least five undergraduates were sharing living quarters.

Over the summer, city inspectors attempted to investigate overcrowding in 137 apartments but were able to get tenants or landlords to let them into only six units. 

This public relations, put a good face on Bo$ton is all for SHOW! 

Nothing new about that!

Even so, officials found eight emergency violations of the state sanitary code in those six apartments. Inspectors planned to revisit the 131 properties where they could not gain access.

Consider it a success then!

Valerie K. Frias, associate director of the Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation, who has been pushing for the student address database, said she wishes the city was further along in its efforts to inspect potentially overcrowded units. But she said she is hopeful that progress will be made in the coming months as the city compiles its database.

“I think the city takes this issue seriously, but I think they have limited resources,” said Frias.

Related: Bye-Bye, Boston 

Look, there are priorities and then there are priorities.

The Globe series also uncovered widespread sanitary problems in Allston, Brighton, Fenway, and Mission Hill, where students were living with a host of indignities and hazards, from rodent and pest infestations, to doors without working locks, to missing smoke detectors, and bedrooms crammed illegally into basements or firetrap attics.

One of the most notorious landlords of college students, Anwar N. Faisal and his Allston-based company Alpha Management Corp., have been defendants in at least 22 lawsuits and 11 criminal complaints in Boston Housing Court, according to court and city records. In the same period, he has received 469 code enforcement tickets totaling $51,720 for violations outside his buildings, including overloaded trash bins, but paid only $3,010 in fines.

Faisal’s business practices have drawn intense scrutiny from city and state officials since the Spotlight series.

In August, Faisal appeared before a City Council committee and said he was “extremely disappointed” to be accused of being one of the city’s worst landlords and insisted that he was improving how he maintains his apartments and handled tenant complaints.

Some student tenants near Northeastern University said that Alpha has improved maintenance and made repairs over the past month or so. But one outgoing tenant said an Alpha worker told him the improvements were made only to appease inspectors scheduled to visit and not to address longstanding complaints.

Northeastern junior Patrick Burden, 21, of Lynnfield, moved out of an Alpha-owned unit at 115 St. Stephen St. He said he and a roommate last fall needed housing on short notice and had few other options aside from a tiny one-bedroom in the basement that still cost them $1,800 a month.

When they moved in, the bathroom floor tiles were shattered and mold was growing, he said. The unit’s smoke detectors were stuffed in a kitchen cabinet. The old dishwasher broke and still does not run, he said. Roaches and ants are common.

Burden said that, for the first few months, he regularly reported the problems to Alpha, which has a management office near the building’s entrance. No maintenance workers ever came by. He eventually gave up.

A couple of weeks ago, an Alpha employee finally visited to install smoke detectors.

“He said sorry that he hadn’t come by sooner, but that he was here now because the inspectors are coming soon,” recalled Burden.

Nothing is ever damn good enough, is it? 

Sorry to doubt the account, but really who is going to say that? 

Of course, the Globe would never, ever, fabricate, lie, or distort anything.

Joshua Krefetz, a lawyer for Faisal, could not be reached for comment.

I'll bet I know why, and I wouldn't want to talk to the Globe either.

--more--"

Related: Slumming Around Boston 

Sorry I fell asleep at your flop.

"Foreign students flocking to Boston" by Megan Woolhouse | Globe Staff   August 29, 2014

Greater Boston is among the top destinations in the country for foreign students, whose spending on tuition and living expenses pumps hundreds of millions into the local economy annually, according to a report released Friday. 

It's the trickle then ripple effect.

The Boston metropolitan area ranks third in the number of foreign students studying at local colleges, behind New York and Los Angeles, and second only to New York in the amount they spend on tuition, according to the report, by the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank and the Wall Street bank JP Morgan Chase & Co.

I give the report an F then, and the wastebasket is over there. 

Nothing new about corporate $pew ma$king itself as news in my paper.

Between 2008 and 2012, foreign students in the Boston area spent $1.8 billion on college tuition, according to the report. They also spent $933 million on living costs, such as rent.

For a crowded, piece of s*** apartment. 

At lea$t the kids are being educated in the power of the market.

The study, which examined student visa data, underscores the importance of higher education as one of Boston’s leading export industries, attracting new money and investment that helps the regional economy to grow. Greater Boston’s colleges and universities employed an average of about 90,000 people in 2013, according to the Labor Department.

“The health and welfare of these institutions is incredibly dependent on their ability to attract students to support their mission,” said Michael Goodman, director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. “Demographically in the US, the native population, the number of people coming of traditional college age is flat, so the growth areas in terms of all but the most elite colleges are in nontraditional students.”

The report also calls for overhauling immigration rules that would make it easier for foreign students to become permanent US residents after earning degrees.

Oh, it's just another agenda-pu$hing pos.

Critics of such changes contend it would limit job opportunities for US-born workers and depress wages while also contributing to a “brain drain” in developing nations.

Or they might be terrorists, right?

But the report argues that easing immigration restrictions would further build a skilled and educated workforce needed to compete in a global economy, helping fuel economic growth and fostering international ties.

Sick of the $elf-$erving $cam yet, kids? 

I think you are. Were about three years ago and got beaten down.

“Metropolitan economies can potentially benefit if the federal government reforms the immigration system to increase retention of America’s foreign students,” the report said.

You American kids will be sent to foreign lands to fight wars.

The report called the United States a “preeminent global hub for academic training,” and Eastern Massachusetts is a key contributor, home to 85 colleges and more than 50,000 foreign students. About 40 percent of foreign students come here for bachelor’s degrees, 48 percent for a master’s, and 12 percent for Ph.D’s.

That is about three times the national average, according to the report. Greater Boston had 65 student visa approvals per 1,000 students, compared to the national average of 22 visas per 1,000 students.

The colleges and universities in Eastern Massachusetts that accepted the most foreign students between 2008 and 2012 were: Northeastern University (9,279), Boston University (8,413), and Harvard University (7,112).

Boston also ranked third nationally in the number of foreign students studying science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. Twenty-seven percent of visa approvals went to students enrolled in those programs.

More than half of the foreign students in Greater Boston decided to extend their students visas for up to 2½ years after graduation to work in the United States on temporary visas.

--more--"

The New Welfare

I'm not going to spend too much time on this because I once remember a furor over a girl by the name of Rebecca Riley and much consternation that things would be reformed.

"Aid to disabled children now outstrips welfare; As SSI expands, debate intensifies" by Patricia Wen | Globe Staff   August 28, 2014

WASHINGTON — A controversial federal benefits program provided about $20 billion to low-income families with disabled children over the last two years, quietly eclipsing traditional welfare programs to become the biggest source of monthly cash for the nation’s poorest families, new data shows.

The dramatic growth of the children’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program has led some researchers to suggest it has simply replaced welfare as a primary source of cash for many families who lost benefits due to the much-touted welfare reforms of the mid-1990s.

The expansion also comes amid a growing recognition among lawmakers and policy analysts that children’s disabilities, especially harder-to-assess ones like ADHD, have become a gateway to receive the best government cash benefits available today, and this trend deserves closer study.

How many years ago were those links I provide at the top of this post? 

And now, years later, we are being told needs more $tudy.

“SSI is becoming a much bigger part of the safety net that serves low-income families,” said David Wittenburg, a senior researcher who studies disability programs at the independent research firm Mathematica Policy Research in Princeton, N.J. “It means we have to start thinking about that as a part of the whole system of supports that address poverty.”

What $afety net? It's been $hredded in favor of $erving the 1%!

In 2012, the SSI program for children paid out $9.7 billion, roughly $700 million more than the nation’s welfare programs, which have long given out the most cash for indigent children. Last year, the SSI program distributed even more, paying out about $10 billion, $1.3 billion more than the welfare programs.

The children’s SSI program now serves roughly 1.3 million youngsters, most of whom have behavioral, mental and learning disorders, and is passionately defended by its supporters as one of the last remaining programs for poor families that hasn’t yet faced draconian cutbacks on Capitol Hill.

How $ad when Obama is sending billions overseas to support overthrows, coups, and juntas.

It started in 1974 as a little-known program that served largely indigent children with severe physical disabilities and cash aid was meant to help parents who were prevented from working because of their disabled child’s needs.

Just as the poisoned vaccines that cause autism were ramping up. Hmmmmm!

The program nearly doubled its rolls in the past two decades, as it accepted broader definitions of what was a qualifying disability and as the nation’s welfare benefits shrunk. The children’s SSI program now serves six out of 10 children who qualify based on conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, delayed speech in young children, autism spectrum disorders, depression, and learning problems.

Enrollment in the children’s SSI program still does not surpass the number of welfare cases, but because of SSI’s superior cash benefits of up to $720 a month per child, it now distributes more money.

It's not that much money; however, it encourages poor parents to declare disability, doesn't it?

Critics say the program, as it now operates, creates perverse incentives for poor families to obtain – and maintain – disability diagnoses for their children even when symptoms may improve. The program, they say, has become an alternate welfare system without the work requirements and time limits that were hallmarks of the 1996 welfare reforms that passed with bipartisan support and hailed as one of President Clinton’s signature achievements.

In some states, particularly in the South where state welfare benefits are more limited, SSI enrollments for children have surged.

Well, that explains a lot. 

Let the prejudices and stereotypes fly from the hub of production!

A Cornell professor of policy analysis, addressing an Institute of Medicine panel in Washington D.C. last month, invoked the Hippocratic Oath in calling for bold reforms to the SSI program. “Doing nothing will cause harm,” Richard Burkhauser told the group of about a dozen pediatricians, child psychiatrists, and public health experts, which is studying the rise of mental disability cases on the children’s SSI rolls.

Now here's your pill and water, Bobby.

Others have said they are disturbed to see that some teenagers on SSI avoid part-time jobs, worried their pay stubs will bump their family into a slightly higher income category that jeopardizes — or reduces — their cash benefits.

What jobs, and at least that opens a position for someone else in this age of a roaring economy.

These issues, among others, were detailed in a three-part Boston Globe series in 2010 about the children’s SSI program.

And the problem has only gotten wor$e!

Officials from the Social Security Administration, which administers SSI, later approved $1.1 million to fund a study of the program by the Institute of Medicine, the nonprofit health research wing of the National Academy of Sciences.

Are these people on drugs? We don't need another $tudy!

But supporters of SSI say it is a well-managed critical lifeline for poor families raising disabled children. They note that the program rejects more applicants than it accepts and that eligible children must show “marked and severe” limitations. Its current enrollment represents about 2 percent of all American children.

Kathy Ruffing, senior fellow at the nonprofit Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said SSI has introduced programs to encourage parents and teenagers to work and exempt some income when calculating benefit amounts. She said the criticism that SSI discourages parents and teenagers from working is “overstated.”

That's good to know because we all know this lying, looting government loves us.

Supporters say the program’s expansion largely reflects the nation’s growing sophistication in detecting disabilities in children, especially behavioral, emotional and mental disabilities. They say indigent parents of disabled children — some struggling to maintain jobs amid their child’s emergencies – need extra income to provide basic needs.

It's called OVER-DIAGNO$I$, complete with kickbacks.

“Cash is what actually matters for these families, as a baseline, before you can even start talking about supports and services,” said Rebecca Vallas of the Center for American Progress, a nonprofit think tank, at the Institute of Medicine hearing.

Who do they think they are, in need of bailout banks?

SSI payments are higher – and generally longer lasting and more flexible – than welfare. Of the 1.3 million children on SSI, the federal government pays on average $640 in federal funds a month for each child who qualifies, and the overwhelming majority receives the maximum $720 monthly payment per child.

Also, more than one child per family can qualify, and parents with disabilities can also receive aid through the adult SSI program.

Do they ask about immigration status?

Once recipients are enrolled, disability examiners are supposed to re-evaluate their cases every few years to see if they have improved and no longer qualify, though those reviews are frequently skipped, data show.

That's a fancy way of saying but. 

So there really is no over$ight, huh?

About 1.6 million households receive welfare benefits under a program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Households receive on average about $450 a month, with huge variations state to state that can more than halve or double that amount.

The disparities exist because, under welfare reform, each state determines how much of their total welfare funds is used for cash aid to families and how much supports other programs for struggling families, such as child care and job training. Last year, federal and state funds under the TANF program totaled about $32 billion, of which on average about 25 percent was allocated toward cash benefits.

The discretion given to state authorities has resulted in vast differences in the maximum welfare payments families can receive in different states, ranging from $170 a month in Mississippi to $923 in Alaska, according to 2012 data from the Urban Institute, a nonprofit research group that studies social policies.

And, many states that offer lower welfare payments have higher SSI caseloads for children, underscoring critics’ concerns who say SSI is becoming the alternative welfare.

For instance, in Texas, where maximum monthly welfare benefits in 2012 were relatively low at $260 a month for a family of three, there were about 144,000 children receiving SSI, three times as many families receiving welfare payments. (SSI accepts cases per child, while welfare accepts cases by household.)

Perry has connections with the pharmaceuticals, doesn't he?

But in Massachusetts, which pays a maximum welfare benefit of about $630 for a family of three, there were about 50,000 households on welfare, more than twice as high as the number of children on SSI.

We are no better than Texas?

Elizabeth Lower-Basch, policy coordinator for the Center for Law and Social Policy, an advocacy group for low-income families, said the state-to-state disparities in SSI participation mayhave something to do with each state’s network of legal aid lawyers, disability advocates, and social service workers, and the degree to which they help poor families navigate the complex SSI application process.

States have an incentive to get a welfare-receiving family, with a disabled child, onto the SSI rolls. If that family drops welfare for SSI, the states save money because SSI is virtually entirely funded by the federal government with no matching state amount needed.

Some public policy analysts say the country’s two major cash assistance programs for poor families ought to be working together, perhaps on the state level, as they largely serve similar low-income families that struggle with physical and psychological issues and are typically headed by single mothers.

Wittenburg of Mathematica said he wants to see greater focus on ensuring that youth on SSI get work training and experience, helping them toward a life of “long-term independence.” He said more than six out of 10 teenagers on SSI qualify for and receive cash benefits in the adult SSI program when they turn 18.

Dr. James Perrin, a pediatrician at Massachusetts General Hospital and a member of the Institute of Medicine panel studying mental disorders among children on SSI, said he recognizes his panel is being given a special opportunity to address important issues around this program.

The group is scheduled to release its report by early next year. “If we’re spending $10 billion a year,” Perrin asked, “is this the right way to spend it?”

So doped up by the Globe it knocked me out.

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What you begin to realize is the diversion into this program gets the government to pay for increasingly prescribed pharmaceuticals, otherwise the kid doesn't qualify. You $tart to put together the connection of $ervices on our $y$tem and realize none of this is for "us." Welfare is for the rich and corporations now.

And then official authority "wonders" why our adolescents are so f***ed up after years of vaccines and medications?