Monday, June 30, 2014

Breaking News: Kim Jong Un Assassinated

Not even the idea is funny, sorry.

"After warning on film, N. Korea fires 3 missiles" New York Times   June 27, 2014

SEOUL — North Korea fired three short-range projectiles off its east coast Thursday, a day after it warned of retaliation against an American comedy film involving a plot to kill the North’s leader, Kim Jong Un....

North Korea often fires short-range missiles or rockets off its east coast during military exercises or when it wants to raise tensions, analysts say.

Yeah, it's always the other guy starting the wars. 

It remained unclear whether the firings Thursday were linked to the North’s threat Wednesday that it would take “a decisive and merciless countermeasure” unless Washington stopped the release of “The Interview,” a Columbia Pictures movie scheduled to open in October. The movie features a fictional scenario in which an American talk show host and his producer visit North Korea for an interview with Kim and plot with the CIA to assassinate him. North Korea said it would consider the release of the film “an act of war.”

I'm sure they have their plans, but he's a hard guy to get to

Pyongyang has raised regional tensions in recent months by launching rockets and threatening to conduct a new nuclear test.

Nothing about the U.S. war games, 'eh?

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"N. Korea fires 2 short-range missiles" Associated Press   June 30, 2014

SEOUL — North Korea fired two short-range Scud missiles into its eastern waters Sunday, a South Korean official said, in an apparent test days after the country tested what it called new precision-guided missiles.

A South Korean military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing department rules, said the missiles were fired from Wonsan and are presumed to be short-range Scud ballistic missiles. The official added that the military is determining what kind of Scud missiles they were.

South Korean media quoted officials as saying the missiles are presumed to be Scud-C missiles, the same as ones fired in March. North Korea fired the missiles without designating no-sail zones, which the South Korean military views as provocative.

North Korea has in recent days criticized alleged South Korean artillery firing drills near a disputed maritime boundary in the Yellow Sea that has been the scene of several skirmishes between the rival nations in recent years.

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Hong Kong Phooey

Thought I would chop this post off before the month ends:

"Big turnout in Hong Kong political poll" Associated Press   June 30, 2014

HONG KONG — An informal referendum aimed at bolstering support for greater democracy in Hong Kong wound down Sunday after drawing nearly 800,000 votes and the ire of Beijing, which denounced it as a political farce.

Hong Kong residents used the straw poll to express their desire for greater say in choosing their leader.

The vote is part of a campaign by activists in the southern Chinese city to ratchet up the pressure on authorities that could ultimately lead to a mass protest paralyzing the city’s financial district.

Smells like agenda-pushing assets to me.

Hong Kong, a freewheeling capitalist enclave of 7.2 million, passed from British to Chinese control in 1997 with the promise that it could retain a high degree of control over its own affairs under the principle of ‘‘one country, two systems.’’

Beijing has pledged to allow Hong Kong residents to elect their next leader in 2017 but is balking at letting them nominate candidates.

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Related: China Transformed!

So has Taiwan:

"Protesters lob paint at China diplomat

TAIPEI — A Chinese envoy on a historic visit to Taiwan on Saturday canceled two events after protesters, who are opposed to closer ties with Beijing, threw paint on his motorcade. China’s Taiwan Affairs Office minister Zhang Zhijun skipped visits to a fishing harbor and another village but kept the rest of his schedule. His visit marks the first time a ministerial-level Chinese official has visited the self-governing island since the Chinese civil war 65 years ago (AP)."

Indian Post Collapses

I'm sorry these posts suck.

"5 detained, 26 dead in two India building collapses" Associated Press   June 30, 2014

NEW DELHI — Police in southern India detained five construction company officials Sunday as rescuers using gas cutters and shovels searched for more than 50 workers believed buried in the rubble of a building that collapsed during monsoon rains.

It was one of two weekend building collapses that killed at least 26 people....

Earlier Saturday, 11 people died and one survivor was being treated in a hospital after a four-story, 50-year-old structure toppled in an area of New Delhi inhabited by the poor, said fire service officer Praveer Haldiar.

Related"A dilapidated building and another under construction collapsed Saturday in India, killing at least 15 people as rescuers sought dozens of others feared trapped, officials said. In New Delhi, a four-story 50-year-old structure fell in an area inhabited by the poor, killing 11 people. Four construction workers were killed in a collapse on the outskirts of the southern city of Chennai (AP)."

Most homes in that part of the capital were built without permission and with substandard materials, police Officer Madhur Verma said.

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It's been such an upheaval, this new government. They definitely seem anti-American, what with the deportations and all (what is Bush doing in there with Hitler and bin Laden?), and nothing has changed for women, domestic or foreign.


Skipping the Parade

I think you know why: Gay pride parades across US celebrate same-sex marriage wins

Killing two birds with one post.

Just Another Mars Monday

I do wish it was Sunday....

Mars spacecraft passes NASA test

MIT students seek to send slivers of life to Mars

Related:

Mars Madness
Mars a Matter of Life or Death
Parachuting to Mars

Also see: Monday MERS Threat

Green With Artway

I'm not enviou$ at all.

"Grants bring whirl of public art for Greenway" by Geoff Edgers | Globe Staff   June 25, 2014

Earlier this year, the Institute of Contemporary Art got disappointing news: It would no longer be in charge of painting the massive Dewey Square wall mural, at the head of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. The job would instead go to the more mainstream Museum of Fine Arts.

Other Greenway changes, perhaps more universally welcomed, are in the works. On Wednesday the nonprofit funder ArtPlace will announce a $250,000 public art grant for the Greenway, a 15-acre network of parks in downtown Boston. That follows by just a few days the announcement of plans for a $1 million public art expansion that will include the installation next year of a huge, billowing fabric work meant to hover over the park, by Brookline-based artist Janet Echelman. The Greenway is even hiring its own art curator.

It’s an unprecedented burst of activity in a city not known for its public art. And the surge has not gone unnoticed.

The most influential space has been the Dewey Square wall, where the Brazilian twins known as Os Gemeos created a colorful, cartoonish boy in pajamas in 2012. The project, paid for in large part by the conservancy but overseen by the ICA, drew raves — and also some unexpected criticism, when commenters on a Fox Boston website questioned whether the figure resembled a terrorist.... 

Then just erase it.

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The art of deception as practiced by the former champions:

"Giving increases for some sectors, not for others" by DAVID CRARY | AP National Writer   June 18, 2014

NEW YORK — Wealthy donors are lavishing money on their favored charities, including universities, hospitals and arts institutions, while giving is flat to social service and church groups more dependent on financially squeezed middle-class donors, according to the latest comprehensive report on how Americans give away their money.

That's so charitable!

The Giving USA report, released Tuesday, said Americans gave an estimated $335.17 billion to charity in 2013, up 3 percent from 2012 after adjustment for inflation.

Reflecting the nation’s widening wealth gap, some sectors fared far better than others. Adjusted for inflation, giving was up 7.4 percent for education, 6.3 percent for the arts and humanities, and 4.5 percent for health organizations, while giving to religious groups declined by 1.6 percent and giving to social service groups rose by only 0.7 percent.

Experts with the Giving USA Foundation and its research partner, the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, said it was the fourth straight year of increased overall giving, and predicted that within two more years the total could match the prerecession peak of $347.5 billion.

Except I was told the wealthiest philanthropists did not give as much in 2013 as they gave before the Great Recession, even as a strong stock market and better business climate have continued to concentrate American wealth in the top 1 percent of earners

Go figure.

During and immediately after the recession, some wealthy donors shifted their giving to social service groups working to combat hunger and homelessness, according to Patrick Rooney, associate dean of the school of philanthropy. Now, many of those donors are refocusing their attention on higher education, the arts, and other sectors long patronized by the affluent, he said.

Meaning it is ALL $ELF-$ERVING CHARITY! 

Related: 

"Struggling with a fall in donations, theaters, orchestras, and other arts groups appear to be retrenching. Workers in the broad category of art, entertainment and recreation, including actors, writers and musicians, earned 1.1 percent less in the first quarter than a year earlier, according to a PayScale survey."

I was told that two weeks ago, and I really no longer know what to say.

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RelatedMost of the benefits of the economic recovery have been concentrated in Greater Boston

Yeah, the “story for the Massachusetts economy, if you ignore high levels of unemployment and inequality, is the economy has been performing very well.” 

And you wonder why I'm ignoring so much of the Globe these days?

No Longer Harboring This Post

"Plan for harbor towers wins fresh look at City Hall" by Casey Ross | Globe Staff   June 25, 2014

Revived plans to build a pair of skyscrapers along Boston Harbor are finding a newly receptive audience in City Hall, signaling a possible end to a long-running real estate feud that has for years stalled the redevelopment of prime waterfront.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s administration said Wednesday that it is open to tall buildings on the site of the Harbor Garage, as long as developer Donald J. Chiofaro’s plan also provides adequate open space and public access to the water.

The 600-foot-tall complex of buildings proposed by Chiofaro includes a 70-foot public arcade that would give visitors the rare opportunity to walk down steps directly into the harbor. And the arcade would have a retractable roof allowing for lush landscaping in summer and ice skating in the winter.

“We are confident that the unprecedented benefits we can provide will more than offset the impacts,” Chiofaro told a waterfront planning committee Wednesday afternoon.

His $1 billion proposal would demolish the hulking Harbor Garage on Atlantic Avenue and move its 1,400 parking spaces underground. He would replace it with two towers — one 600 feet tall, the other 550 feet, both far higher than the property’s recommended height limit of 200 feet. The towers would contain up to 300 hotel rooms, 120 luxury condominiums, and three levels of retail and restaurants.

Wednesday’s meeting was the first step in a revival for Chiofaro, one of the city’s most colorful developers, and his highly ambitious project. His previous versions — with taller towers, one reaching 780 feet — had been blocked by Thomas M. Menino, the former mayor. The two men became locked in an unusually public feud over the project.

But the Walsh administration is striking a different tone, saying it would consider building proposals that exceed the area’s recommended height limit if they provide the open space and waterfront access required by law....

The project must clear a number of hurdles before construction could begin. Although Chiofaro’s proposal drew considerable praise Wednesday, neighbors and members of the waterfront planning committee questioned the density of the development, impacts on traffic, and the shadows it would cast on surrounding property and the water.

Any new buildings would need to be approved by the BRA and state environmental officials who enforce requirements that waterfront developments devote half of the site to open space, among other rules....

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Related: Fishing Around

Sudanese Woman Seeks Sanctuary at U.S. Embassy

Related: African Friday

"Sudanese woman held on new charge" by Ahmed Feteha | Bloomberg News   June 25, 2014

KHARTOUM, Sudan — A Sudanese woman was arrested again Tuesday, a day after a local court overturned her death sentence for apostasy and was charged with forging travel documents, her lawyer said.

RelatedDeath term for Christian mother tossed

Meriam Yehia Ibrahim, 27, was detained with her husband, Daniel Wani, and two children by members of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service at the airport in the capital, Khartoum, as she tried to board a flight to leave the country, Thabit al-Zubair Soliman, one of her lawyers, said by phone. The security agents filed the charge against the couple after questioning them for about six hours, he said.

Ibrahim was traveling on a travel document issued by the South Sudanese Embassy in Khartoum, he said. South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011.

‘‘The reason for these charges is to find a legal reason to keep Meriam inside Sudan,’’ Soliman said.

Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman said he had no details about the event.

Ibrahim was released Monday when an appeals court canceled the death sentence she received in May after refusing to recant her Christian faith in favor of Islam.

Ibrahim was arrested in August after men who said they were from her father’s side of the family reportedly accused her of adultery because of her marriage to Wani, a Christian. An apostasy charge was added when she said she followed the Christian faith of her Ethiopian mother and was never a Muslim, contradicting the court, which considered her to be sharing her Sudanese father’s religion.

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"Sudanese Christian woman released" Associated Press   June 27, 2014

KHARTOUM, Sudan — A Sudanese Christian woman whose death sentence for apostasy was overturned was freed again on Thursday after being detained on accusations of forging travel documents.

Wearing a traditional white and green dress, Meriam Ibrahim, 27, walked out of a Khartoum police station carrying her newborn baby hours after lawyers said she was ordered released. Ibrahim and her husband, who is disabled, got into a vehicle with their other child and sped away, followed by police cars and two vehicles with diplomatic plates.

Earlier, Ibrahim’s lawyer, Eman Abdul-Rahman, said she had been released after foreign diplomats pressed the government to free her.

Ibrahim was sentenced to death over charges of apostasy. A daughter of a Muslim father, Ibrahim was raised by her Christian mother. She married a Christian man, Daniel Wani, who holds American citizenship and is from South Sudan, in a church ceremony in 2011.

As in many Muslim nations, Muslim women in Sudan are prohibited from marrying non-Muslims. By law, children must follow their father’s religion.

Sudan’s penal code forbids Muslims from converting to other religions, a crime punishable by death.

The sentence drew international condemnation. The US State Department said it was ‘‘deeply disturbed’’ by the sentence and called on the Sudanese government to respect religious freedoms.

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"Sudanese Christian woman at US Embassy" Associated Press   June 28, 2014

KHARTOUM, Sudan — The Sudanese Christian woman whose death sentence for apostasy was overturned but who was detained again this week is now at the US embassy for her own ‘‘safety,’’ her lawyer said on Friday.

ElShareef Ali Mohammed said that 27-year-old Meriam Ibrahim left a Khartoum police station the night before where she had been detained, along with her two children and husband, on charges of forging travel documents.

He added that she headed to the embassy for fear of ‘‘assault’’ by relatives or angry residents.

A US official confirmed Ibrahim is at the embassy and said diplomats are trying to arrange her departure from Sudan. The official spoke on condition of anonymity for lack of authorization to speak to the media.

Her husband, Daniel Wani, who holds American and South Sudan citizenship, said authorities accused his wife of forging the documents as a pretext to justify her detention ‘‘without an arrest warrant.’’

‘‘Does it make sense that we try to fly all the way to the United States with forged passports?’’ he told the Associated Press over the phone. He declined to elaborate on details of the case.

Wani was granted US citizenship when he fled to the United States as a child to escape the civil war, but he later returned.

The Tuesday arrest took place at Khartoum airport where the family was departing the country, a day after Sudan’s Cassation Court overturned a death sentence against Ibrahim and ordered her release.

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Iran Shot Coming

"Iran’s Parliament took a step closer this week to criminalizing permanent forms of contraception, a move intended to turn around a decreasing population rate....

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Also see: Iranian Litter

The Mother of All Goals

It's France

"France may reduce maternity stays" Associated Press   June 27, 2014

PARIS — France is considering reducing the time mothers spend in maternity wards as part of efforts to cut spending.

Un-phoqueing-believable! 

This as the $ociali$t government sends French forces further into Africa and continues to slash the safety net in service to bankers. Sacre bleu!

On average, French mothers spend 4.2 days in the hospital during and after giving birth, compared to two days in the United States and 1.6 in Britain, according to statistics from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

A report Thursday by the French state health care agency says there could be ‘‘significant’’ cost savings if maternity wards reduced the average length of stay and the numbers of beds. At the same time, a plan to help new mothers at home is to be developed.

The government plans to cut $68 billion in public spending by 2017, including $13.6 billion from health care.

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That's a violation and the goal should be di$allowed!

Phil Collins Performs in Texas

Phil Collins donates revolution artifacts to Alamo

Taunton You With This Whale of a Post

"Beluga whale sighting reported in Taunton River" by Jacqueline Tempera | Globe correspondent   June 26, 2014

It is an adventure few have attempted. But one brave beluga whale has been spotted in local waters.

“This whale is at least 1,000 miles from the closest known habitat,” said Brian Sharp, the manager of the marine mammal rescue division of the International Fund for Animal Welfare. “We have no idea what it is doing here.”

Beluga, or white, whales generally live in Canadian waters, but residents have sent the International Fund for Animal Welfare multiple cellphone photographs and videos of the animal in Gloucester Harbor and the Taunton River, Sharp said.

On June 15, the whale was spotted for the first time in the river. People reported it again on June 18, Sharp said. He said the sighting was exciting because beluga whales have only appeared in the state three times in the past 10 years.

A beluga whale was spotted again, on June 21, this time in Gloucester Harbor, said Maggie Mooney-Seus, a public affairs officer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

She said she is not sure if it is the same one that was seen earlier swimming in the Taunton River.

“It’s something different,” Sharp said in a phone interview. “We’re excited, but of course we are worried about the animal’s safety.”

The 2,000-pound animal seems healthy, according to Sharp. It may be shedding its skin, according to Mooney-Seus.

“It’s something we call molting,” Mooney-Seus said by phone. “They rub their bodies along the bottom of the water. It’s possible it traveled here to do this.”

Though researchers are unsure what the gender and the age of the whale are, they said it is an adult. Sharp said while it is rare that the mammals travel this far, it is possible the visiting whale is just adventurous. “She may have just wanted to explore new water,” Sharp said.

Whether Taunton’s guest is searching for new waters or just wandered too far from home, researchers ask that anyone who spots it report the sighting. The International Fund for Animal Welfare is available at 508-743-9548. People are asked to stay at least 150 feet from the animal.

“This is for both the safety of the whale and citizens,” Sharp said. “We want to make sure it doesn’t get stranded or stuck.”

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Lowell Cops on Safari

"Lowell mayor to raise police visibility after shooting; Calls incident ‘act of gang violence’" by Catalina Gaitan and Jacqueline Tempera | Globe correspondents   June 26, 2014

Lowell’s mayor vowed to increase police visibility on city streets after five people were shot at a barbecue late Wednesday in what officials called “an apparent act of gang violence.”

Mayor Rodney Elliott said the backyard shooting was the result of a fight between two local gangs.

“We will hunt them down and hold them accountable,” Elliott said in a telephone interview Thursday....

Elliott said he wanted residents to know that investigators are not taking this lightly.

No one had been arrested in the Wednesday attack, but police continue to search for those responsible.

The mayor asked the public for help.

“We are looking for people in the city to tell us what they know,” the mayor said.

State and local police will keep a careful watch on the city this weekend, Elliott said.

“We work hard to make sure people feel safe,” Elliott said. “We are moving quickly and swiftly to make sure we find out what happened.”

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What they are not saying -- because it would be racist and against the agenda-pu$hing pre$$ goals of world homogenization -- is the gangs are likely illegal immigrant gangs.

Also see: Sorry I'm So Late With This Post About Lowell

High Ride Home For Hynes

"Rider ate, sniffed drugs on bus, T police say" by Martin Finucane | Globe staff   June 26, 2014

A 22-year-old South Boston man is facing charges that he sniffed and ate drugs from a candy tin while riding in the back seat of an MBTA bus.

Robert Hynes will be arraigned in South Boston District Court, MBTA Transit Police said.

Transit Police said a witness who had been riding on a Route 10 bus at about 4 p.m. Wednesday approached police at Andrew Square Station.

The witness told police that a man in the back of the bus had been openly sniffing and eating what appeared to be cocaine from a tin can of candy.

Nose candy.

Officers boarded the bus and found a man matching Hynes’s description in the back seat and observed an Altoids breath mint tin can in his lap, Transit Police said.

Officers allegedly found in the can a small clear bag containing a brown powdery substance believed to be heroin, a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana, and two pills believed to be a Class B narcotic, Transit Police said.

He was getting high one way or another.

Hynes was arrested and taken to Transit Police headquarters nearby on Southampton Street.

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Try This Post on For Size

Didn't fit meSarah Flint’s shoes earn a place on the shelf

Lawn is a Library in Kansas

Where is the card catalog?

"Kan. boy seeks OK for library on his lawn" Associated Press   June 26, 2014

LEAWOOD, Kan. — A 9-year-old boy and his parents will ask a Kansas City suburb to reconsider its order that he take down a small structure in the family’s front yard that encouraged people to read and share free books.

Spencer Collins’s ‘‘Little Free Library’’ — a little blue box on red stilts — is part of a worldwide movement to promote reading through the free exchange of books.

Books! Who reads books!

The family installed the structure at their Leawood home on Mother’s Day but was told to take it down because the city said neighbors had complained and it violated an ordinance prohibiting structures in front yards.

No good deed ever goes unpunished by tyranny.

Spencer and his parents, Sarah and Brian Collins, said the libraries promote reading and community spirit.

‘‘We all don’t seem as able to just get out and meet each other, but the library helped us meet neighbors and form community,’’ Sarah Collins said. ‘‘One couple walks with their young daughters every day, and they started walking by our house just to see the books. It has been wonderful to get to know them.’’

Leawood officials said the Collins family will ask the city council in July to make an exception for the little libraries in the ordinance, The Kansas City Star reported.

Mayor Peggy Dunn said she hoped the council could resolve the issue. The process of changing an ordinance is time-consuming but a moratorium could be put in place quickly, which could allow little libraries to go up in Leawood as soon as July 8.

However, Councilman Jim Rawlings said he would not support changing the ordinance.

‘‘This is different than a one-day Kool-Aid stand; it’s a permanent structure,’’ Rawlings said. ‘‘This question is, where do you draw the line on front-yard structures?’’

The Kansas City region has about 30 Little Free Libraries, according to the nonprofit Little Free Library. The nonprofit said there are about 15,000 registered little libraries in 62 countries.

Gwyneth Jones of nearby Mission said she still likes the idea even though her two little libraries were ransacked this month and an estimated 100 books were stolen.

Why steal books? They ain't worth nuthin'!

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It would have been better if I had learned not to read; I wouldn't be here doing this shit.

Your Guess Is As Good As Mine in Georgia

"Ga. father charged in death of son in car" Associated Press   June 26, 2014

ATLANTA — The investigation of a toddler’s death in a hot SUV in Georgia hinges on a key question: Was the boy the victim of a horrific accident after his father simply forgot to take him to day care, or did the man know the child was inside when he left him strapped in for seven hours?

An arrest warrant supporting the murder charge against the father states that 33-year-old Justin Ross Harris stopped with his son for breakfast and also returned to put something inside his vehicle around lunchtime while the child was inside it.

Harris has told police he was supposed to drive his 22-month-old son to day care but drove straight to work on June 18 without remembering the boy was strapped in his seat until the ride home. After spending the day at work, he pulled into a shopping center parking lot and hysterically asked for help for his son.

Harris was being held without bond Wednesday. Jail records didn’t list an attorney for him.

The new warrant filed late Tuesday also downgrades one charge Harris from first-degree child cruelty to second-degree child cruelty.

Harris put the toddler in a rear-facing car seat in the center of the back seat of his Hyundai Tucson after eating at a Chick-fil-A restaurant the morning of the boy’s death, the new warrant says. He then drove to work and left the child strapped into the car seat when he went inside, the warrant says.

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Also seeToddler Photo From Georgia

Any charges yet?

New Mexican Nun a Saint

"Her encounters with Old West outlaws later became the subject of a CBS series ‘‘Death Valley Days’’ episode, ‘‘The Fastest Nun in the West.’’

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Breaking News: Vatican Evacuated

Early reports indicate it is under attack from ISIS:

"Vatican defrocks archbishop on child sex abuse charges" by Laurie Goodstein | New York Times   June 28, 2014

The Vatican has defrocked its former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, an archbishop from Poland who was accused of sexually abusing boys while he served as the pope’s representative in the Caribbean nation.

The former archbishop, Jozef Wesolowski, 65, is the first papal nuncio known to be removed from the priesthood because of accusations of child sexual abuse. The Vatican announced Friday that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles abuse cases, had recently completed his canonical trial. He has two months to appeal the decision.

He still faces a criminal trial by the Vatican because, as a diplomat, he is a citizen of the Vatican city-state. It would be the first such trial held under new rules for criminal procedures implemented by the Vatican last year and a test of Pope Francis’s resolve to turn a page on the long-running sexual abuse scandal.

Francis will reportedly meet next week in Rome with abuse survivors from Ireland and other countries — the first time as pope that he will personally hear the testimony of those who have suffered abuse by Roman Catholic priests. Abuse survivors and their parents in Buenos Aires, where Francis served as archbishop, said in interviews that they had requested meetings with him to share their stories and were consistently turned down.

The former ambassador’s case has brought international scrutiny to the Vatican’s procedures for handling charges of sexual abuse. Two United Nations panels looking into the church’s handling of sexual abuse cases this year closely questioned Vatican representatives in Geneva about whether the church would discipline him.

See: Persecuted Catholics 

The ambassador was suddenly recalled to Rome in August after the archbishop of Santo Domingo, Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez, traveled to Rome to report the allegations against him. Dominican authorities opened an investigation after the ambassador had left, and they say they forwarded their report to the Vatican. But they said they could not prosecute him there because he was protected by diplomatic immunity.

The case has also reverberated in Poland, where the ambassador was raised and ordained as a priest by Cardinal Karol Jozef Wojtyla, later Pope John Paul II, who was canonized as a saint in April at a massive ceremony in Rome.

John Paul made him a bishop in 2000. The ambassador was reported to have been seen in the company of another Polish priest serving in the Dominican Republic, the Rev. Wojciech Gil (known to his parishioners as Father Alberto), who was accused of sexually abusing altar boys in his rural parish in the Dominican Republic.

Gil fled to Poland last year, and in February he was indicted there on four counts of sexually abusing children in the Dominican Republic, according to news reports.

A spokesman for the Vatican has not said where the ambassador is living, how to contact his legal representatives in either the canonical or criminal proceedings, or how he responded to the charges.

--more--"

Related: Defrocking This Post

Also see: 

Vatican Vacation

On sex abuse, pope’s problems both simple and complex

Vatican concedes divide on sexuality

Some want to pump poopers, others do not.

Soccer Match Monday: Maduro Misses Penalty Kick

"Venezuela’s president facing socialists’ claims of betrayal" by Hannah Dreier | Associated Press   June 27, 2014

CARACAS — Already grappling with street protests led by the right, President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela is facing a new threat from an unlikely place: old-school leftists who accuse him of betraying the socialist legacy that carried him to power.

Maduro was tapped by Hugo Chavez as his preferred successor to the presidency and is quick to invoke the late leader’s name, but orthodox socialists are grumbling about liberalized currency reforms they say are counter to the revolution.

The tensions came to a head last week when Maduro fired Planning Minister Jorge Giordani, a Marxist economist whose spartan lifestyle and anti-capitalist doctrine earned him the nickname ‘‘The Monk.’’ Giordani is not going into forced retirement quietly.

In a lengthy tract published on several websites, he has accused Maduro of undoing Chavez’s gains and failing to control his administration, implying corruption and incompetence. It is, he said, ‘‘painful and alarming to see a Presidency that does not convey leadership.’’

This high-profile criticism is on top of public complaints from union representatives and former Chavez advisers who have turned Aporrea, a popular pro-government website for policy discussion, into a forum for increasingly blunt attacks on the presidency.

Charges that Maduro is mishandling Chavez’s legacy have the potential to do real damage. The former bus driver and union leader squeaked out an electoral victory by riding the tide of admiration and mourning that followed Chavez’s death from cancer last year.

Related: Hugo Left 'Em Hungry 

I suppose you can take a scroll through Venezuela to try and find some food.

If Maduro loses support of the ideological left, he will be hard-pressed to continue reforms aimed at extracting the country from a spiral of economic chaos, said Max Cameron, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia.

Maduro is confronting a host of troubles as he moves into his second year in office. Opposition protests have left 43 dead by the official count, Venezuela’s bolivar has lost more than half its value during his term, and essential items such as toilet paper and flour have become impossible to find with any regularity.

In the last year, Venezuela’s central bank has rolled out several new parallel foreign exchange rates, which critics call stealth currency devaluations. The free-floating currency system, intended to curb the black market, allows individuals and companies to participate in daily trading.

On Wednesday, Maduro addressed his detractors directly.

‘‘I am just a son of Chavez trying to complete the task he left me in an honest, humble way, working every day to stay loyal,’’ he said.

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Soccer Match Monday: Philippines Can't Get World Cup™ Report

"Philippine journalist gunned down" Associated Press   September 06, 2013

MANILA, Philippines — A Philippine newspaper editor who recently wrote about illegal gambling has been killed, the second journalist slain in the country in a week, police said Thursday.

Vergel Bico was shot twice in the head Wednesday as he was driving his motorcycle in Calapan City in Mindoro Oriental province, said local police chief D’Artagnan Katalbas. The gunman fled on a motorcycle, which was driven by another man.

Katalbas said a motive was not known but investigators were ‘‘not discounting’’ that the killing was related to Bico’s work as a journalist.

Last week, radio commentator Fernando Solijon was fatally shot by a motorcycle-riding assailant in southern Iligan City.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said Solijon had criticized local politicians on his program and linked a village chief to illegal drugs.

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"US military task force in Philippines is being phased out; Elite unit set up to combat rebels after 9/11 attacks" by Floyd Whaley | New York Times   June 27, 2014

MANILA, Philippines — An elite US antiterrorist military unit that has been operating in the southern Philippines for more than a decade is being phased out, according to a US government official.

The Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines, which was formed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, was established to help the Philippines fight Al Qaeda-linked rebel groups in the country. The unit was one of dozens of similar outposts worldwide that attempted to fight potential terror groups at their source, before they could strike the United States.

 I'm sorry, but the shock value is no longer working with this charade.

The US government official, who asked not be named because he was not authorized to discuss the issue, said US Special Forces would continue to assist the Philippine military on a periodic basis. He said the elite unit had been successful in its mission.

“Our partnership with the Philippine security forces has been successful in drastically reducing the capabilities of domestic and transnational terrorist groups in the Philippines — to the point where they have largely devolved into disorganized groups resorting to criminal undertakings to sustain their activities,” the official said.

The phasing out of the antiterrorist unit comes two months after the Philippines and the United States signed a military cooperation agreement that would allow the construction of military facilities in the Philippines that could be used by the United States. The new deal would allow United States ships and aircraft, as well as military personnel, to be stationed in the Philippines — although officials have stressed that permanent US bases would not be established.

The agreement marks a change in focus of US military involvement in the Philippines. The Special Forces deployment in the southern Philippines was focused on the internal threat of extremist rebel groups. The new arrangement is focused on external threats, particularly in light of increased tensions between the Philippines and China over territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

That's at the back of the net.

--more--"

Related: US Troops Return to Philippines

"Filipinos to get mobile disaster alerts" Associated Press   June 28, 2014

MANILA — The Philippines has passed a law that requires cellphone companies to send warnings to millions of people in the path of deadly typhoons, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes in an effort to reduce the number of fatalities that occur almost every year.

The measure was in response to one of the deadliest typhoons ever to make landfall — Typhoon Haiyan, which killed over 6,300 people in the central Philippines last year.

The Free Mobile Disaster Act, signed last week by President Benigno Aquino III but announced Friday, directs cellphone operators to send alerts about calamities whenever required by national disaster agencies.

--more--"

Also see: Hopeless in the Philippines 

None in my Globe, either.

Soccer Match Monday: Indonesian Indecisiveness

Must be why they never make the tournament. 

Indonesia’s tobacco industry lax on using graphic labels

Indonesia has a long history of delaying tobacco regulations — the graphic warnings are part of health regulations that passed five years ago — and it is one of the few countries that has not joined a World Health Organization tobacco treaty. The order has taken years to reach President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s desk, and he still has not signed it. He will leave office in October after elections next month.

Still smoking in Indonesia. 

They took action in extra time, though:

"8 Indonesian soldiers guilty in killings" Associated Press   September 06, 2013

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia — An Indonesian military court sentenced eight soldiers from an army special forces unit to up to 11 years in jail Thursday for their involvement in the execution of four prisoners to avenge the murder of a fellow soldier.

Twelve well-trained troops wore masks as they broke into Cebongan prison in Yogyakarta province, on the main island of Java, on March 23, seeking out four men being held on charges of killing another member of their special unit, known as Kopassus.

After torturing and forcing several guards to open the jail cell, they shot the inmates with automatic weapons and destroyed surveillance cameras.

The case sparked a national outcry among Indonesians demanding that the military not be allowed to operate with impunity. In a rare acknowledgment of military abuses, the government issued a statement after the attack, promising justice would be served.

However....

--more--"

Maybe you want to scroll a cigarette now?

Soccer Match Monday: Cuban Corner Kick

Lift the embargo – but liberate Cuba first 

Goal kick.

Also see: U.S. Out of Contact With Cuba

I'm increasingly loosing touch with my Globe. Sorry.

Geese Genocide on Maine Beach

"Maine geese that befouled beach are killed

State officials said 18 geese whose droppings plagued an Oakland, Maine, beach have been euthanized. The Portland Press Herald reported Tuesday that town leaders rounded up the Canada geese and sent them to state officials in the hope of relocating them. State officials said an overabundance of geese in the state meant they had to be killed. The town called the state office of the federal Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Service after people complained about goose waste on a boat launch. Town Manager Peter Nielsen said the waste turned the beach ‘‘from a spot that’s pleasant place to be to one that is not.’’

Better watch where you goose-step then.

Also see: Blinded by This Holocaust 

Sorry. I forget to ™ that.

Beverly Hills Bank Robber in Maine

Thar's oil in them thar trees!

"Man in 60s or 70s robs Hallowell bank

Police are looking for a man they said appears to be in his 60s or even 70s who robbed a bank in town. Hallowell police said the man, wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat and carrying a briefcase, entered the Bank of Maine branch Monday morning and at first said he wanted to open an account. He then handed a teller a note demanding money and saying he had a grenade. Witnesses told police they did not see a weapon. He was given an undisclosed amount of money and fled on foot. The suspect is described as about 6 feet tall and about 175 pounds."

This Post a Real Cliffhanger

"Misspelling mars reopening of Sandy-damaged Cliff Walk in Newport

The governor’s name is misspelled on a new plaque unveiled in a ceremony to reopen Newport’s historic Cliff Walk. The plaque was unveiled Tuesday at the event, which Governor Lincoln Chafee attended. The plaque adds a second F to his name. The state Department of Transportation said the plaque will be removed Wednesday and a new one will be made and installed, probably in July. The DOT says the project contractor, John Rocchio Corp., made the plaque, in coordination with the Cliff Walk Commission and the project engineer. The Cliff Walk runs between the Atlantic Ocean and some of the city’s most spectacular Gilded Age mansions. It was reopened 20 months after Superstorm Sandy washed away whole sections."

Capsizing Killed Kayaker

"Mass. man was kayaker who died over weekend

New Hampshire State Police have identified a 64-year-old man from Athol, Mass., who died over the weekend after his kayak turned over on Lake Tarleton. Police said a call came in after noon Saturday that a kayak had capsized near the public boat launch on the lake near Piermont, N.H. The man’s daughter was in another kayak. Police said the man, identified as Bruce Phillips Sr., yelled for help and two nearby boaters responded; he was brought to shore and CPR was performed, but he did not survive."

O’Hern's Hernia

"Mashpee pediatrician arrested on child pornography charges

A semi-retired Mashpee pediatrician was arrested Tuesday on child pornography charges, said US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz’s office. Daniel J. O’Hern, 64, was charged in US District Court in Boston with distribution and attempted distribution of child pornography, as well as possession of child pornography, Ortiz’s office said. According to the criminal complaint, law enforcement traced O’Hern’s IP address while investigating online sharing of child pornography. Officers executed a search warrant at O’Hern’s Mashpee home and allegedly found him to be in possession of sexually explicit digital material involving children."

Related(?):

How the FBI Uses Rapists and Child Molesters to Entrap Gullible People in Terror Stings 

Government-Hosted Porn
Porn On the Web 

Seeing as the NSA is scooping up all communications of the planet, how can child porn sites still exist? The only explanation, sadly, is they are all government-controlled traps for sick souls (if the whole thing isn't staged and scripted s*** that never even happened. Seen that before, too). 

Nothing sexy about it.

Goncalves Family Grief

"Family violence ends in the death of a Brockton father" by Zachary T. Sampson | Globe correspondent   June 24, 2014

BROCKTON — A family apparently fractured by years of domestic violence reached a fatal breaking point Monday night when a son stabbed his father near the heart, severing his aortic artery with a small kitchen knife, prosecutors said.

Amilton Goncalves, 21, is accused of killing his father outside the family home after a day of fighting among family members. About 3:30 Monday afternoon, authorities said, Goncalves punched his mother, Isabel, twice in the face. About six hours later, according to a police report, his father, Joao, was dead.

When officers caught up to Amilton Goncalves, he repeatedly asked if his father was OK, according to police. Told later that he was being charged with murder, the young man allegedly said, “That little knife killed my father? There’s no way. I can’t kill my father.”

The family argument began Sunday over the volume of music playing on Goncalves’s iPhone, prosecutors said Tuesday in Brockton District Court.

Related: Sour Notes From Florida

Goncalves’s defense attorney countered that the conflict actually began years earlier, when his client was subjected to persistent “domestic turmoil” as a child. According to the attorney, Liam D. Scully, Goncalves was retreating from his punch-throwing father Monday night when he swung the blade of a paring knife in self-defense.

“There’s ongoing friction that rises and falls in intensity,” Scully said in an interview. “That day, it was rising.”

--more--"

Also see: Bloody Brockton Breakfast

Moving a Little Slow This Morning

Must be the cold waterRescued turtles are released to sea in Va.

School's Out For The Summer!

It's enough to make parents cry:

"Turmoil is engulfing Boston Latin Academy, one of the city’s illustrious exam schools, long considered a golden ticket to a college education.

In a letter sent to the interim superintendent, dozens of teachers raised a series of issues, accusing the headmaster and other administrators of lowering academic standards, penalizing those who refuse to comply, and otherwise “creating fear and insecurity amongst faculty,” they say.

Who cares? School's out for summah!

--more--"

Looking forward to that bus ride home:

"Councilors plan to vote down Walsh’s budget proposal; Some members do not support mayor’s plan to put 7th-, 8th-graders on MBTA buses, subway" by Andrew Ryan | Globe staff   June 25, 2014

A bloc of city councilors is vowing to reject Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s first budget because of a cost-cutting measure that would eliminate yellow school buses for seventh- and eighth-graders and force the students to take MBTA buses and subways to school.

A final vote is scheduled for Wednesday, and at least six councilors have voiced significant skepticism. Walsh remained confident Tuesday that he could win a majority of seven votes to pass the spending plan, but his administration was pushing to negotiate a last-minute compromise and avoid a showdown.

“Without modification or changes, I would not be able to support it,” Councilor Tito Jackson said. “I think it’s really important that we make sure young people are able to get to and from school safely.”

The plan to give seventh- and eighth-graders T passes would save an estimated $8 million, according to the Walsh administration, but it has drawn criticism from some parents, who have expressed concern about travel on subways and public buses. Councilors are taking aim at the $975 million school budget, which requires a separate vote from the general operating budget for police, fire, and other city departments.

Other voices of opposition included Councilor Matt O’Malley, who described it as an “ill-conceived policy change.”

Councilor at Large Ayanna Pressley said she will be “voting it down” unless the administration makes changes. Pressley also expressed frustration at how the administration has handled the issue....

He acted like a dictator, can you believe it?

--more--"

Related:

Walsh's First Crisis

Middle-schoolers to ride MBTA under new city budget

Crisis resolved.

Then there was a moment of high council drama over what is literally a bunch of horse shit.

Time to say goodbye:

"College orientations for parents help ease separation pains; Colleges provide facts, offer advice on whether to let go" by Matt Rocheleau | Globe Correspondent   June 30, 2014

College orientation is a rite of passage for freshmen, a time to savor the first taste of independence. But the tradition is not just for students anymore.

Special orientations for parents, once a rarity, have in recent years become common on campuses.

“A lot of parents are living their lives through their children,” said the Rev. Joseph Marchese, Boston College’s orientation program director. 

Mostly at Little League games.

The one- or multi-day events for parents, held mostly in June and July, allow colleges to cover issues students tend to ignore during their own orientations, such as academic expectations. But some administrators say the sessions also help overinvolved, or “helicopter,” parents who might be having difficulty letting go, particularly amid increased concern over issues like school shootings, sexual assaults, and dangerous party and study drugs. 

Related: Snowplow Parents 

Climate change will melt their ass.

Boston College recently held an elaborate orientation for parents that spanned three days, five campus venues, and several meals — along with a wine and cheese reception.

Speakers assured parents their sons and daughters will be fine, telling anxious adults to essentially back off — don’t call, text, visit, e-mail, or post on their child’s Facebook page so often.

“Your kids, over the next four years, need you to be there for them and listen to them — not to judge them,” motivational speaker Norm Bossio told the 500-plus parents gathered in BC’s Robsham Theater. “You’ve worked hard to get here. Don’t wreck this by being a nervous wreck.”

He segued between jokes and heartfelt anecdotes, which caused some parents to well up....

 Excuse me, readers.

--more--"

I just hope the kid is living in a good place.

Related:

Landlord backs out of City Council hearing
Buildings given city’s OK, apartments not inspected

Where could the kids have been?

Also seeFriday Night Clubbing With the Boston Globe

I would be worried about that, too.

Also seeWorking parents fear family responsibilities will hurt careers 

It is all your fault, parents. 

Feels like a jailbreak doesn't it, kids?

Unprepared For Monthly Flip

It is a “heartbreaking tragedy’’ that the title will be soon submerged with the corpses.

"Crash kills couple on a stroll in Back Bay" by Nicholas Jacques and Faiz Siddiqui | Globe Correspondents   June 22, 2014

The couple had been strolling through the Back Bay Saturday evening, the end of an idyllic first day of summer. Less than two hours earlier, Jessica Campbell posted a photo online of the sun setting over the Charles River.

About 9:15 p.m., police said, one vehicle collided with another, flipped, and struck Campbell and her boyfriend, 28-year-old Jack Lanzillotti, near the intersection of Beacon and Fairfield streets.

Lanzillotti, an Emmy-winning production manager for the Red Sox, died at the scene.

One reason I found the story eerie was this.

Campbell, 27, a retail analyst who had been scheduled to run in a Boston Athletic Association 10K race Sunday morning, died at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said Boston Police spokeswoman Officer Rachel McGuire....

--more--"

RelatedPolice seek charges against driver in fatal Back Bay crash

"Woman freed, not charged in fatal crash in Back Bay" by Evan Allen | Globe Staff   June 24, 2014

Authorities are trying to determine who was driving the sport utility vehicle that struck and killed a young couple out for a stroll in the Back Bay on Saturday, arresting one woman early Tuesday morning but later releasing her without charges.

“I think it’s fair to say that there’s contradictory witness statements,” said Jake Wark, spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney. “We are conducting further interviews and analyzing physical evidence.”

Jessica Campbell, 27, and her boyfriend, John Lanzillotti, 28, both of Brookline, were killed Saturday night when a black Ford Explorer ran a red light and hit a Volkswagen Passat at Beacon and Fairfield Streets.

The SUV then rolled over and struck the couple, according to authorities.

A 29-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman were in the Ford Explorer, and authorities initially said that the woman — Ghuzlan Alghazali, who, according to state records, does not have a driver’s license — was behind the wheel. She was arrested early Tuesday.

Why did illegal immigrant just pop into my mind?

Authorities said Alghazali would be arraigned in Boston Municipal Court on two charges of motor vehicle homicide, one charge of negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and one charge of unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

But on Tuesday afternoon, Wark said that Alghazali had been released without being charged and that investigators are doing further canvassing and evidentiary analysis.

“We are approaching this as a criminal investigation,” Wark said.

On Monday, police said they were looking to charge the man in the SUV, Mohamed Alfageeh of Allston, with misleading investigators. Alfageeh allegedly told detectives he was driving at the time of the crash. On Tuesday, Alfageeh had not been charged, and Wark declined to speculate about whether he would be.

A Beacon Street resident who was about 10 feet from the crash Saturday night said she noticed a couple about to cross Beacon Street, looked away briefly, then heard a car speeding down Beacon Street and looked up to see a black SUV strike a car that had just pulled into the intersection from Fairfield Street.

The resident, who did not want to be identified because of the ongoing police investigation, said the SUV “popped up” in the air and rolled at least one and a half times, landing on its roof and striking the couple, stopping only when it hit a parked car. The man hit his head on the curb.

“They didn’t have a chance to react,” she said of the pedestrians.

Another resident, who also asked not to be named because of the investigation, said he was walking down Fairfield Street when the crash occurred, and immediately ran to help. He heard someone shouting not to touch the victims, so he went back to the SUV and said he peered in the driver’s-side door. A woman climbed out about three-quarters of the way. He said he ran to the other side of the vehicle and saw a man crouched in the back seat. The man climbed out the back passenger-side door, the witness said.

The woman who emerged from the SUV was upset and wailing as police questioned her, the witness said.

Speeding has been a big problem at the intersection, he said.

By Tuesday afternoon, a memorial had grown at the curb where Campbell and Lanzillotti were killed. Flowers, Red Sox gear, and letters had been left, beneath pictures of Lanzillotti and Campbell posing together and with family.

“Please know that neither of you were alone,” read one note written by a nurse who ran to the couple after the crash and whispered to them that help was coming. “You may not have been able to see or hear me, but I was praying for you. Our Back Bay neighborhood will forever keep you and your families in our hearts and memories.”

And then it was removed.

The district attorney’s office said it had let the victims’ families know of the decision to postpone charging anyone in the crash “and assured them that every step we take in this probe is with the intention of seeing justice done for them and their loved ones.”

--more--"

RelatedCouple in fatal Back Bay crash cooperating, lawyer says

Also see:

3 killed when Amtrak train hits car in Mansfield
Three victims in vehicle hit by Amtrak train in Mansfield were in their 20s, official says
Music fueled lives of 2 killed in Amtrak collision

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday Globe Special: Finishing the Month Where I Began

SeeBoston Sunday Globe Business Section Not For Me

Turns out it was for me today:

"Greenfield feels optimism amid uncertainty; Four communities show the uneven recovery since the recession ended in June 2009" by Sarah Shemkus | Globe Correspondent   June 29, 2014

GREENFIELD — “I would say that the recovery hasn’t reached people who live with low income,” Clare Higgins, executive director of social services agency Community Action of the Franklin, Hampshire, and North Quabbin Regions.

That would be the 99% of us then!

But many residents, civic leaders, and business owners sense the economy has turned around.

Pffft!

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

Manufacturers that survived the downturn are hiring again. Greenfield Community College and local technical schools are working with companies to train workers in the math and machine operation skills needed in modern precision manufacturing....

“If you’d asked me six months ago, I would say we’ve seen no sign the recession has ended,” said Patricia Crosby, executive director of the Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board, the area’s workforce development agency. “Then, things started to feel better.”

We were told it had been over for five years before!

RelatedMost of the benefits of the economic recovery have been concentrated in Greater Boston

In the upper cla$$es.

In January, the city released a plan to revitalize vacant commercial buildings, lend money to growing businesses, and market the area as a tourism and recreation destination. The strategy calls for shaping Greenfield’s picturesque brick-and-stone downtown into a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood that includes a variety of businesses and market-rate rental housing.

You know, the same failed strategies after deindustrialization that we have seen all across this country.

Also driving optimism is a plan for restored train service to Greenfield, making the city more easily accessible and bolstering its tourism efforts. The project, partially funded by federal stimulus money, will connect southern Vermont to New York through Greenfield and Springfield. Construction has already begun.

That stimuloot was six years ago.

About 30 businesses, including restaurants, bars, boutiques, and music stores, have opened in the downtown since the economic downturn was at its worst.

I don't believe that, and all I need do is walk Main Street. 

I mean, who are you going to believe, a lying, agenda-pushing paper of and for the one-percent or someone who lives here?

Scott Seward opened his used record shop, John Doe Jr., in 2009 and said his business has increased steadily since then.

He added that he’s noticed a distinct change in the downtown vibe over the past five years as more young people — the core of his customer base — have moved into town.

“It just feels like there’s more buzz,” he said. “There’s definitely been a turnaround.” 

And because he says that and thinks it, it must be true! After all, it's in my Globe!

--more--"

Turns out it was not for me after all

In keeping with the theme of this post I am going to retire for the evening and watch a ball game while preparing tomorrow's posts.

"Ex-manager charged with stealing from Greenfield tire shop

The former assistant manager of a Greenfield tire shop — who was described by his boss as a trusted, well-mannered employee — has been charged with embezzling $33,000 from the business. David Ovitt III of Montague was released on personal recognizance after pleading not guilty to larceny over $250. Prosecutors said that while Ovitt, 24, worked at Tire Warehouse last year, he skimmed cash from the shop’s night deposits, then discarded the original deposit slips and wrote out new ones. The shop’s owner said Ovitt sometimes just took the entire cash deposit."

Just $pinning my wheels, folks.

"29 mailboxes stolen in Greenfield, Deerfield

Police are investigating after someone stole some 29 residential mailboxes here and in Deerfield and tossed them off an overpass onto Interstate 91. Officers responded to the overpass about 4 a.m. Monday after getting a report that youths were tossing rocks off the overpass onto the highway below. The youths were gone by the time police arrived, but 29 damaged mailboxes were recovered. It appears as though some had been flattened by vehicles, but police did not receive reports of accidents or injuries."

Is that why there was no Globe out there today?

Sunday Globe Special: The DEA's Heroin Hustle

This piece is nothing more than a public relations pitch for the agency as well as limited hangout regarding where the evil poisons are coming from. Wait until you see where they point!

"DEA details path of deadly heroin blend to N.E.; Potent painkiller fentanyl believed added in Mexico" by Brian MacQuarrie | Globe Staff   June 29, 2014 

Really? It's not what local dealers are cutting it with?

Nearly all the heroin that has plagued New England with fatal overdoses in recent months is produced in Colombia and shipped to Mexico, where authorities believe drug cartels add the painkiller fentanyl to make a potent combination destined for the United States, the region’s top drug enforcement official said.

Yeah, right, sure. I thought Colombia was cocaine and marijuana, not opium

They are pointing everywhere but, readers!

Ruthless drug organizations are including fentanyl, an opioid 30 times more powerful than heroin, to provide a new, extreme high for addicts who often are unaware the synthetic painkiller has been added, said Michael Ferguson, acting special agent in charge of the New England division of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

I wrote in the margin of my paper "Why kill your customers then?"

“They’re in business for one reason and one reason only. They’re in business to make money,” Ferguson said of the drug lords producing the concoction. “If you mix fentanyl in with the heroin, it’s there for one reason — to make it more powerful.”

In an interview with The Boston Globe last week, Ferguson provided an unusually detailed depiction of the journey that fentanyl-spiked heroin takes before landing in New England. 

Meaning this all crap propaganda.

After being laced with fentanyl, the drug mix is smuggled across the border to traffickers in the United States, Ferguson said. Some of those traffickers drive more than 2,000 miles from New England to the US Southwest border and return directly with the drugs to cities such as Boston, Hartford, and Providence, he said.

Well, if you KNOW WHERE THEY ARE and HOW THEY ARE GETTING HERE, then GO GET 'EM! 

Does anyone see the inherent contradictions here? 

Related: 

U.S. Government and Top Mexican Drug Cartel Exposed as Partners

The DEA Struck A Deal With Mexico's Most Notorious Drug Cartel 

Oh, so the DEA itself was enabling and facilitating drug smuggling, 'eh? 

Also see: US Government Brings Drug War to US Cities 

Explains a lot, really. All agendas interlock.

Ferguson did not rule out that some fentanyl is added to heroin after it reaches the United States, but said the agency had uncovered little evidence of that.

Once in New England, heroin and its fentanyl-laced version are parceled out to dealers in smaller cities, in affluent suburbs, and in isolated towns. To reach those communities, the Colombian and Mexican drug organizations funnel heroin through contacts in “virtually every major city and town in New England,” Ferguson said.

Although drug users have become more aware of the dangers of fentanyl-laced heroin, many addicts desperate to ease the pain of withdrawal do not care about the consequences, substance-abuse workers say.

And for other drug users, the thrill of a fentanyl-propelled high is a lure in itself.

“They’re chasing the ultimate high, and if it happens to be heroin that is mixed with fentanyl, then so be it,” Ferguson said. “They’re willing to risk using that heroin with very serious consequences.”

It's a craving, and turns out I have some sympathy. Young kid who plays ball with us was an addict and he's a good kid and player, so....

Although New England has grappled with heroin abuse for decades, the region has been afflicted by a startling rise in overdose deaths since late last year....

More than 200 in Massachusetts, 91 in Rhode Island.

Anthony Pettigrew, a DEA special agent in Boston, said fentanyl was found frequently — but not invariably — in a recent collection of drug samples taken from the South Shore of Massachusetts....

The spread of heroin is fueled by its cheap cost compared with prescription opioids, which can serve as a gateway drug to heroin, DEA officials said.

Not the dreaded demon weed?

Another concern is that many users no longer regard injecting heroin as a shameful symbol of addiction. “We’re losing the grip on that stigma,” Ferguson said. 

That is a stigma we should not lose. It's an evil drug.

John Merrigan, register of probate in Franklin County, said that tracing fentanyl production to Mexico seems plausible.

The technical expertise to mix heroin and fentanyl probably is more available outside his sparsely populated county in Western Massachusetts, Merrigan said.

I call it home.

And Franklin County’s proximity to Interstate 91, which helps link the drug markets of New York City, Hartford, and Springfield, puts the area in convenient reach of traffickers.

See: The Iron Pipeline Between Massachusetts and Vermont 

I try to avoid it whenever possible.

Merrigan helps lead the hard-hit county’s fight....

Oh, I'm getting a headache.

The DEA is targeting both the top echelons of the drug network and lower-level traffickers who bring their products to New England. “We’ll try to eliminate the entire organization from the distributor on up,” Ferguson said.

Agents are working inside Colombia and Mexico. Closer to home, the DEA is partnering with state and local police in cities such as Springfield, Worcester, and New Bedford to dismantle the operations there.

“We’re dealing with some very sophisticated organizations” whose leaders have long, violent criminal histories, Ferguson said. “The streets are mean out there, and it’s about competition.”

The partnership has been effective, said State Police spokesman David Procopio.

“These joint efforts allow us to conduct larger-scale operations that target mid-level sources of narcotics, including those suspects who are point men for or conduits to international drug networks,” he said. “These operations also allow us to build wide-ranging cases that culminate in multidefendant sweeps.

“Working with the DEA also helps identify the routes through which drugs are smuggled into Massachusetts, which is a valuable source of intelligence.” 

Listen to them!

In May, the DEA sponsored a New England-wide meeting on the heroin trade attended by 150 law enforcement officers from across the region. Intelligence was shared from the ground-level perspective of local police and from the bird’s-eye view of DEA headquarters, Ferguson said.

Ferguson declined to discuss DEA staffing or whether the agency needs more resources to combat the heroin trade. However, he did say that a key component of the fight is broad, heightened awareness.

“An issue like this is a public health issue,” he said. “It has to be addressed by education, treatment, and law enforcement as well.”

Drug War Redux! 

Related: Obama's War on Medical Marijuana Comes to Massachusetts 

Appareently, that is not a public health issue, it's a criminal justice issue. 

--more--"

Sphincter. 

Also see: New England Newborns Hooked on Heroin

So when is your home to be raided in the name of the drug war?

Sunday Globe Special: U.S. Tax Code Prescribes Irish Inversion For Covidien

$uch $weet mu$ic....

"Medical device maker nears takeover proposal" by Michael J. de la Merced | New York Times   June 15, 2014

NEW YORK — Medtronic is nearing a deal to buy a competitor, Covidien, for at least $45 billion in a deal that would help lower its corporate tax rate, people briefed on the matter said Saturday.

The two medical device companies are in advanced discussions, and a transaction could be announced as soon as Monday, these people said.

A takeover would be likely to value Covidien at between $45 billion and $50 billion. Talks are ongoing, however, and may still fall apart.

Medtronic and Covidien both have operations in Massachusetts. Representatives for the companies declined to comment.

If the deal is completed, Medtronic would be the latest big US company to reincorporate abroad through a so-called inversion.

As Covidien is based in Ireland, where the tax rate is substantially lower than it is in the United States, Medtronic would be likely to relocate there.

Inversions, in which a US company acquires an overseas competitor, allow acquirers to substantially reduce their tax rates and make it easier to access cash held overseas.

Several US corporations have inverted in recent years, with health care companies leading the way.

Earlier this year, Pfizer attempted to complete the biggest-ever inversion with its aborted attempt to buy AstraZeneca for $119 billion. 

I had a bunch of clippings and notes regarding that. Looks like I will be throwing them out now.

Other drug companies, including Endo Health Solutions of Malvern, Pa.; Perrigo, of Allegan, Mich.; and Actavis, based in Parsippany, N.J., have all relocated to Ireland through inversions.

Companies in other industries, including technology and industrials, have also inverted.

Even Chiquita, the banana grower and distributor, struck a deal in March to reincorporate abroad through an inversion.

But in recent months, political resistance to inversions has been growing.

Election year maneuvering and a cash grab at the same time.

Lawmakers in the House and Senate have proposed bills aimed at curbing inversions, and the budget President Obama recently submitted to Congress included language that would effectively bar the process.

None of those efforts has gained traction, however. And the threat of a crackdown has inspired companies to look for overseas targets that might allow them to invert, while investment bankers have made inversions a core pitch to many potential clients.

And those are the guys running the $how, so....

A resurgent mergers and acquisitions market has also further emboldened US companies looking to buy foreign competitors.

Combined, these factors are likely to lead to a continued wave of inversions, as companies attempt to lower their tax rates through deals before it is too late.

News of talks between Medtronic and Covidien was reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal.

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Of course, it's all good in the Globe:

"Medtronic agrees to buy Covidien for $42.9b in cash, stock; Takeover among biggest ever for a Mass. company" by Robert Weisman | Globe Staff   June 16, 2014

The medical device giant Medtronic Inc. has agreed to acquire the Mansfield-based health care supplier Covidien PLC for $42.9 billion in cash and stock, making it one of the largest takeovers of a Massachusetts company in history.

The price tag on the deal, disclosed Sunday night, is more than twice the $20.1 billion that the French drug maker Sanofi SA paid for Genzyme Corp., a Cambridge biotech, in 2011. That was previously the richest buyout of a Bay State business in recent years.

Covidien, formerly known as Tyco HealthCare, has about 38,000 workers globally, including about 1,800 in Massachusetts. While its corporate staff and US headquarters are in Mansfield, the company is incorporated in Dublin. That enables it to pay less in taxes, because Ireland taxes companies at lower rates than does the United States, where the corporate tax rate of 35 percent is among the world’s highest.

The deal is likely to result in an unspecified number of job cuts in Massachusetts. “It’s expected that there will be some synergies in headquarters jobs, and the companies will address that as part of the integration planning,” said Covidien vice president Peter Lucht.

That means layoffs.

Medtronic, based in Minneapolis, competes with Natick’s Boston Scientific Corp. in the global market for cardiac equipment and other medical devices. By purchasing Covidien, which sells a broad range of products, from sutures to ventilators, and has itself bought more than a dozen smaller medical gear companies over the past seven years, Medtronic will create an industry goliath. It will have 87,000 employees, a presence in more than 150 countries, and combined annual revenue of $27 billion.

“This acquisition will allow Medtronic to reach more patients, in more ways and in more places,” its chief executive, Omar Ishrak, said in a statement released Sunday night.

A Cambridge health care industry consultant, Harry Glorikian, said the pace of consolidation is picking up in the medical supply sector as hospitals and doctor practices race to join forces and deliver more integrated care.

“Everyone needs more muscle now,” Glorikian said. “Suppliers have to sell into larger health care systems under the Affordable Care Act. These two companies coming together gives them a broader footprint in the US and globally. Companies are finding it harder to make as much as they did in the past, so they have to be able to offer more products and services.”

The combination will establish a “commercial powerhouse,” said Jonathan Gertler, managing partner and chief executive at Back Bay Life Science Advisors in Boston. That will be particularly helpful in the medical device market, where the products are highly segmented, he suggested.

“Although there are blockbuster devices, a lot of the sales in that business are devices used in very specific therapeutic applications,” Gertler said. “You unite two companies like this and you have remarkable therapeutic coverage in the hospital setting.”

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

One factor driving Medtronic’s interest in Covidien apparently was its desire to undertake a so-called tax inversion, effectively switching its incorporation from Minneapolis to Dublin to take advantage of Ireland’s lower rates.

More than a dozen US companies have adopted that strategy in recent years, using the acquisition of foreign companies or US companies incorporated abroad to reduce their tax liability. The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc.’s pursuit of London-based AstraZeneca PLC, a $120 billion bid that collapsed last month, was an attempt to lower its corporate tax rate through an inversion.

They said no but Pfizer is committed. Pfizer raised its offer they still said no, and that led to job cuts. Damn ba$tards finally took no for an answer -- for now!

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

Covidien last fall began a five-year restructuring aimed at cutting costs and improving efficiency. As part of that plan, it has eliminated about 150 jobs worldwide, including about 70 in Mansfield.

The company spun off its drug-making business last summer and has been working to consolidate its manufacturing and distribution sites worldwide. The company said its plan aims to save $250 million to $300 million a year.

Tyco International Ltd., which had its headquarters in Bermuda, divested its health care division in 2007.

RelatedCovidien was once just a piece of giant Tyco

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"Medtronic sees big savings in deal for Covidien; Says an $850m benefit over two or three years will boost R&D effort" by Robert Weisman | Globe Staff   June 16, 2014

Medtronic’s buyout of Covidien, unveiled late Sunday, is the largest in the history of the medical technology industry.

***********

Under the deal, Medtronic will be able to shift its legal domicile to Ireland, where Covidien is now officially incorporated. Ireland taxes companies at much lower rates than does the United States.

Medtronic agreed to pay $93.22 for each share of Covidien in a stock-and-cash deal that would create the world’s second-largest medical device company, after Johnson & Johnson. The price represents a 29 percent premium over Covidien’s closing stock price on Friday....

Securities analysts said the mega-deal may foreshadow an acceleration of mergers and acquisitions in the medical technology sector as companies try to improve their bargaining clout with the hospitals and doctor practices to which they sell products and services.... 

I think the Globe prescribed the wrong thing because this is making me sick.

Medtronic’s chief financial officer, Gary Ellis, told analysts that the cost savings from the Covidien acquisition will come initially from combining administrative and back-office operations and later from consolidating manufacturing plants and information technology systems around the globe.

“A lot of it is public company costs that have to be eliminated,” Ellis said....

While promising to invest more aggressively in new products and innovation, especially in the United States, Medtronic executives downplayed the move of their headquarters to Ireland in an effort to reduce corporate tax liability. The company already has registered in Ireland as Medtronic PLC through a so-called tax inversion that allows it to take advantage of Covidien’s tax status there.

Covidien’s chief executive, Jose E. Almeida, told analysts the buyout will be “good for employees, good for our customers, and most important good for patients.”

He did not discuss the fate of Covidien’s corporate staff, though Ishrak said Medtronic hopes to retain many executives and managers from Covidien.

“This is one plus one equals five,” Almeida said. “This is a force multiplier that we could not have achieved by ourselves.”

Even the field of medicine and healing is a war!

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"Covidien purchase could have tax benefits for Medtronic" by Jack Newsham | Globe Correspondent   June 16, 2014

Among the more valuable assets Medtronic acquired with its $42.9 billion purchase of Covidien PLC:

Covidien’s Irish address.

*********

Normally, when a US-based company buys a smaller foreign one, the foreign company becomes a part of the American entity that acquired it. Profits generated by the foreign business of the American company would be sent back to the United States and taxed at the US corporate tax rate of 35 percent.

But Medtronic’s purchase is what’s known as an inversion, a particular type of corporate buyout deal that is attracting much scrutiny in Washington.

In an inversion, the process is flipped: Although the American company is doing the acquiring, it is reincorporated in whatever low-tax or no-tax country its target is located in, subject to a few requirements....

Medtronic executives have denied that their primary goal with the acquisition was to gain the tax benefit that comes with inversion, characterizing it as a “slight benefit” in a conference call on Monday morning.

“The first thing we looked at was, from a strategic perspective, what kind of opportunities are there,” Medtronic chief executive Omar Ishrak said during the call.

Ireland’s baseline corporate tax rate is 12.5 percent, compared to 35 percent in the United States. Although the taxes levied on Medtronic and Covidien weren’t very far apart after various other taxes and write-offs were factored in — Medtronic’s effective tax rate was 18.4 percent in its most recent fiscal year, and Covidien, which faced an inflated tax bill in 2013 owing to ongoing disputes with the IRS, paid an effective tax rate of 14.7 percent in 2012 — shaving just a few percentage points off its tax bill could save billions of dollars in the long run for Medtronic.

So that 35% figure is really bogus, isn't it? Just another con and distortion, right? Meant to manipulate the mind?

The company recorded a profit of $12.5 billion in its last fiscal year.

Inversions were “initially something that people weren’t too worried about, from a tax policy perspective,” said Daniel Berman, a principal at the Boston offices of McGladney LLP and a former Treasury official. But regulators in the United States and Europe are looking into changing the laws to curtail their tax losses, he said, as “people start to wonder what the tax law is allowing that it shouldn’t allow in order to make this so popular.”

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting if I were you.

No estimates have been made of how much Medtronic stands to save on its taxes after reincorporating itself in Ireland, but the larger issue of tax losses from corporate inversions has gotten the attention of the federal government.

After 30 years of enabling?

Under changes passed in 2004 that sought to crack down on the kind of inversion that prevailed in the 1990s, the foreign company in an inversion must control at least 20 percent of the combined company for the American company to change its address.

But a bill submitted by Senator Carl Levin, a Democrat from Michigan, would make shareholders in the foreign company own at least half the shares in the combined company.

The bill would be retroactive to May 2014, which would prevent Medtronic and many other companies from getting a tax benefit....

The Levin bill, called the Stop Corporate Inversions Act of 2014, has 20 cosponsors. A report by the Senate Banking Committee has estimated the bill would generate an additional $19.5 billion in tax revenue over the next 10 years.

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Related:

Covidien agrees to acquisition by rival
Top Covidien executives in line for nearly $80m after buyout 

I, too, would be smiling.

"EU investigates tax breaks for Apple, others" by James Kanter | New York Times   June 12, 2014

BRUSSELS — The European Union’s top antitrust official opened an investigation Wednesday into the way that countries, including Ireland, provide tax arrangements that enable multinational corporations such as Apple Inc. to reduce their tax bills worldwide.

If it leads to changes, the inquiry, begun by JoaquĆ­n Almunia, the EU’s competition commissioner, could undermine the tax strategies pursued by many US technology companies that have their international headquarters in Ireland and in other countries in the bloc.

The inquiry also covers Starbucks Corp. in the Netherlands and Fiat Finance and Trade in Luxembourg.

Ireland has become a preferred place for giant technology companies to place their international headquarters, largely because of concessions from the government allowing businesses to obtain further breaks on corporate tax rates that, at 12.5 percent, are already low.

“In the current context of tight public budgets, it is particularly important that large multinationals pay their fair share of taxes,” Almunia said in a statement. “Under the EU’s state aid rules, national authorities cannot take measures allowing certain companies to pay less tax than they should if the tax rules of the member state were applied in a fair and non-discriminatory way.”

The investigation represents a particular threat to a business model finessed by Ireland, which has used its tax strategies and light-touch regulation to attract major multinational corporations, providing prestige and jobs that might otherwise end up elsewhere in the European Union.

To at least headquarter there.

“The company in question did not receive selective treatment and there was no ‘special tax rate deal,’ ” the Irish government said in a statement on Wednesday, apparently referring to Apple. “We are very confident that we will successfully defend our position.’’

Similar tax inducements offered by the Netherlands and Luxembourg are also expected to be examined by EU officials, who have previously said that tax avoidance and evasion in the European Union cost governments huge sums each year.

In March, Almunia’s officials threatened to take Luxembourg to court in a bid to force it to provide information that would allow the officials to assess whether certain tax practices violated the bloc’s rules.

There are no fines in such state aid cases, which are mainly aimed at stopping unfair competition between nations within the European Union. But if the commission finds that illegal aid was given, governments found to have doled out the unfair subsidies can be ordered to recover the money from the recipient companies.

The effort by the EU authorities is part of a global crackdown on loopholes that have allowed giant companies such as Apple and Starbucks to use complex tax structures to pay small amounts of tax on their operations outside the United States. The maneuvers, critics say, allow corporations to operate as virtually stateless entities.

I couldn't have said it any better.

Apple, despite being among the most profitable US companies, has avoided billions in taxes in the United States and around the world through a web of complex subsidiaries, according to US lawmakers.

See: 

An Apple For Lunch
An Apple a Day the Globe Way
Bad Apple Avoids Taxes
Google Gets Around British Taxes

In another widely cited example, Starbucks has paid low corporate taxes in Britain despite operating several hundred stores in that country.

The Irish government’s handling of corporate taxation has become a delicate matter between Dublin and Washington.

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Related: "Cross-border deals are accelerating as US companies seek lower taxes and ways to spend almost $2 trillion protected from US taxes in overseas cash."

Look what they found under the mattress:

"Ireland investigating maternity homes" by Douglas Dalby | New York Times   June 11, 2014

DUBLIN — The Irish government said Tuesday that it would begin an investigation into allegations of neglect and criminality at so-called mother-and-baby homes over several decades.

RelatedGhastly Discovery in Ireland

It is about to get worse.

The inquiry is expected to examine a range of issues, including high mortality rates, burial practices, child trafficking, and secret vaccine trials, the government said.

They were using the kids as guinea pigs.

The decision to mount an inquiry followed the revelation that the remains of 796 children, mainly babies, were secretly buried in a home that was run by the Sisters of Bon Secours in Tuam, in County Galway in the west, between 1925 and 1961.

It wasn't only there, nor was it only in Ireland.

Charlie Flanagan, Ireland’s minister for children, said in a radio interview on Tuesday that it was important “that a light be shone on these dark periods.”

Just for a day or two, though. It's not like this is an agenda-pushing overthrow or anything.

He added, “I believe that Tuam should not be looked at in isolation because over the last century we have had mother-and-baby homes right up and down the country.”

The pressure for an investigation grew after news reports that the nuns had disposed of the bodies in a disused septic tank. The whereabouts of the remains are still unknown; on Tuesday, it emerged that the records from the home contain no information on the location of the children who died there, leading to renewed calls to excavate the site.

In total, an estimated 35,000 unmarried mothers passed through the 10 homes operated by religious orders from the 1920s. All but one of the homes was Roman Catholic.

The Tuam home closed in 1961 but some of the institutions were still operating well into the 1980s.

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Also seeGerry Conlon, 60; wrongly convicted of IRA bombing

Gerry Conlon an innocent, good man

Set up by Britain's FRU, was he?

Fishing buoy returned from Ireland

Time to get back to the $hire.