Monday, April 6, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: Krafty Call

"Patriots owner Robert Kraft adds surprise to late wife’s legacy of giving" by Sacha Pfeiffer, Globe Staff  April 04, 2015

Finally, the dawning realization that the man on the line bearing gifts is, indeed, New England Patriots owner and billionaire businessman Robert Kraft.

Many people of great wealth give away money, of course, and some give away even more than Kraft. But his unusually personal philanthropy of recent months — he is also quietly visiting some of the nonprofits, and inviting them to meet with him in his private suite at Gillette Stadium — is part of his evolving effort to put his own imprint on a job he never thought would be his.

Kraft’s surprise grant-giving comes nearly four years after the death of his wife of many years, Myra, who made the sharing of her family’s riches her life’s work.

The death of a spouse often leaves the one left behind with new and unfamiliar tasks: the widow who has never had to balance a checkbook, the widower who has no idea how to turn on a washing machine.

Bob Kraft does his own laundry?


It wasn’t that Myra Kraft’s death meant the family’s charitable giving came to a halt. Robert Kraft has continued to buy tables at charity galas and make large donations to organizations of many kinds, from his alma maters to Jewish causes to the arts. Last year, the family’s $70 million charitable foundation made $6 million in gifts.

It's all $elf-$erving charity!

But Myra Kraft had done more than just write checks. She sat on the boards of nonprofits, worked the phones to help charities raise money, and did strategic planning for organizations she supported. She was also a hands-on volunteer, occasionally serving meals at the Women’s Lunch Place on Newbury Street in Boston.

“Robert wasn’t just standing on the side, but Myra had a very special role,” said Barry Shrage, president of Boston-based Combined Jewish Philanthropies. “She had an eye for the underdog. She had her heart on her sleeve. When people were hurting, she was hurting along with them.”

Yes, thankfully the benevolent Jews have taken care of us all -- as wealth inequality soars in Bo$ton and this state and poverty has reached pre-War on Poverty levels.

Without Myra at the helm, the family’s giving became more traditional, less intimate. Although Robert continued making donations, it took him awhile and it took some help to make the work of philanthropy feel more his own. “We tried to figure out a way for him to do it that’s comfortable to him,” said Josh Kraft, one of Robert and Myra’s four sons [and] who is CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston.

Robert Kraft declined multiple requests to speak with the Globe because, according to a consultant he hired to help design his new grant program, “he wants the focus to be on the nonprofits and not on him.”

They seem to be doing a good enough job for him as the perform this blow job rivaled only by that given Netanyahu by the U.S. Congre$$.

The Globe agreed not to identify the consultant because the person makes the first calls to nonprofits on behalf of someone he calls “an anonymous donor.” Kraft wants to maintain the element of surprise.

The consultant, who was hired last spring, first spoke broadly with Kraft about his philanthropic interests, which included a desire to aim more of his giving at “nonprofits doing good work but that may not be getting the attention they deserve.” Kraft did not want to cut back on his more traditional philanthropy, the consultant said, but “wanted to do even more, and the question was: What was that more?” 

Initially, the consultant suggested that Kraft get involved in “microfinancing for nonprofits with a business bent,” an idea Kraft didn’t warm to.

Eventually, Kraft agreed to the new program focused on relatively small nonprofits. As the Kraft family finds organizations that fit the definition, the consultant researches them. Those that make the cut typically receive a grant of $100,000....

For a total of $1.3 million since last summer. 


So how is Ricki, Globe? She didn't want to talk on the phone?

Seems gross to me, but not to the elite masters in Bo$ton. 

Someone who will no longer be making calls:

"Norman Leventhal at 97; enhancer of lives and landmarks" by Bryan Marquard, Globe Staff  April 05, 2015

As a developer, Norman B. Leventhal shaped Boston’s skyline and dug deep below the city’s surface to ensure what remained at street level enhanced the lives of those who, like him, savored stepping briskly through each urban day.

Mr. Leventhal, who was 97 when he died Sunday, molded Boston just as significantly through years of philanthropy as he contributed millions to an array of institutions, from education and health care to the arts and Jewish causes.


A prominent jewel in Mr. Leventhal’s crown is Post Office Square, where he turned a 2½-story parking garage many considered an eyesore into a 1,400-car structure that plunges seven stories underground. Atop it rests a lush 1.7-acre park that bears Mr. Leventhal’s name and offers respite from the Financial District’s granite, glass, and pavement.

“If you look around downtown anywhere, you will see a monument to this man,” Lawrence DiCara, a real estate lawyer and former city councilor, once observed.

Though Mr. Leventhal rose to pinnacles of power and accumulated enormous wealth, he was quick to remind all who listened that “Boston also knows poverty and despair. Cities have always been that way. But that is not the way they always have to be.

“We must constantly work to find ways to make the riches of Boston available to all of her citizens, not just the most fortunate among us,” he said in the 1997 Globe interview. “That we haven’t yet succeeded in doing that is no excuse for not continuing our efforts.”

I stand by my links and comments above, and am a little $ick of this narrative from the propaganda pre$$. The benevolent billionaires, yes sir.

Among Mr. Leventhal’s efforts were gifts of time and money to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he was on the board for decades, and Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston. He was a founder of Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, which built rent-subsidized apartments in Brighton, Brookline, and Newton. With his relatives, Mr. Leventhal led development of the Jewish Community Center in Newton, which bears the family’s names.

He also served as president, chairman, trustee, or board member for organizations including the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley and the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. An alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he was a life member emeritus of the MIT Corporation, and was awarded honorary degrees from Brandeis and Boston universities.

“I am the luckiest guy in the world. I have been very fortunate,” he told the Globe in 2007. “I’ve been associated with wonderful people, got to know a lot of people at all different levels and in different areas. I’ve learned a lot from these people and gotten support from these people.”

Jews constantly under existential threat, of course, but you know.... $till lucky.

Indeed, rather than embark on solo flights when launching some large-scale projects, he was known for his adroit touch at enlisting a squadron of politicians and other developers. In Mr. Leventhal’s eyes, business and community interests went hand-in-hand....

That's when I let go of this fawning piece of $h....


I've said it before and I'll say it again: the $elf-centeredne$$ and supremacism bothers me.

Almost passed over this:

"Unusually long Hernandez trial appears headed for fast wrap-up" by Travis Andersen, Globe Staff  April 06, 2015

When lawyers for Aaron Hernandez begin calling witnesses Monday, one thing is certain: Their case will be far shorter than the government’s.

Prosecutors in the murder trial of the former New England Patriots star called 131 witnesses over nine weeks before resting on Thursday. Defense attorneys, by contrast, have indicated they will need just one day to present their case. Jurors could start deliberating Wednesday.

It is unusual for murder trials in Massachusetts to stretch beyond a month.


In the Hernandez case, inclement weather — snowstorms halted the trial multiple times in February — and relentless attorneys on both sides battling over circumstantial evidence have slowed the pace, said Martin G. Weinberg, a prominent Boston defense lawyer.

Bad weather will be blamed for all maladies until they need to fart forth more agenda-pu$hing BS regarding AGW.

“There is nothing typical about the intensity of the Hernandez prosecution and defense,” Weinberg said. “This is a circumstantial case, and the defense is challenging virtually every piece of evidence. So you have an unusually active and impassioned defense team, and an unusually intensive and wide-ranging prosecution.”

I'm sure it is a much better defense than that other kid is getting.

Both sides have questioned several witnesses at length, including an employee with the Glock firearms company who testified for roughly six hours over two days. Hernandez’s fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, also spent two days on the stand, prompting criticism from her lawyer, who accused prosecutors of peppering her with irrelevant questions.

The trial’s grinding pace — with the prosecution’s presentation alone spanning nine weeks — is in contrast to other recent high-profile cases in Massachusetts.

Closing arguments in the federal trial of admitted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are scheduled for Monday, after 16 days of testimony. The trial of James “Whitey” Bulger, who was convicted in the same courthouse of participating in 11 murders, took just eight weeks in the summer of 2013.

Related: Whitey Bulger in Jail

At the state level, the trial of two men charged in the so-called Mattapan massacre of September 2010 — a quadruple killing that claimed the life of a toddler — took five weeks in 2012. A retrial for one defendant lasted about six weeks.

Hernandez, 25, has pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges in the June 2013 slaying of Odin L. Lloyd, 27, of Dorchester, whose bullet-riddled body was found in an industrial park near the athlete’s $1.3 million home in North Attleborough.

In the absence of a murder weapon or an eyewitness who will testify, prosecutors hope to convict Hernandez largely on the strength of video surveillance and phone records that they say tie him to the killing; DNA and forensic evidence; and a pattern of suspicious behavior before and after the slaying.

The strategy could ultimately win over the jury, according to Rosanna Cavallaro, a Suffolk University law professor.

“Jurors like being asked to solve a puzzle,” said Cavallaro, a former assistant state attorney general. “What [prosecutors] are hoping for is a jury that is willing to say, ‘Maybe there are other possible explanations, but I’m going to go with the most plausible.’ ”

The above quote obviously stuck out to me because it shows how the tyrannical pukes running the state think. Just gotta sell the jury a story and maybe they'll go for it! 

Ummm, it's a murder case and therefore the verdict must be BEYOND a REASONABLE DOUBT and not just "plausible." It really is AmeriKan JU$tu$ wherever you go! 

Defense attorneys, however, have doggedly cross-examined witnesses in an effort to raise doubt in the minds of jurors.

That's as close as the Globe comes to mentioning reasonable doubt!

The perception battle was thrown into stark relief on March 11, when Kyle Aspinwall, a manager with the Glock firearms company, testified that Hernandez’s home security system appeared to show the athlete carrying a Glock pistol inside his residence around 3:30 a.m. on June 17, 2013. A Glock .45-caliber firearm was used to kill Lloyd minutes earlier, prosecutors say. 

Perception has NOTHING TO DO with a COURT of LAW and VERDICT! Sorry! It's supposed to be EVIDENCE PRESENTED and TESTIMONY! No wonder the state dragged its heels on this case. Hernandez may well be guilty, but THEY HAVE NOTHING TO PRESENT!

And not to coin a phrase or anything, but if the PUZZLE PIECES DON'T FIT, you MUST ACQUIT!

Defense attorney James Sultan attacked Aspinwall’s testimony on several fronts, accusing him of changing his opinion about the grainy video footage to help prosecutors, even asking mockingly whether Aspinwall possessed “supernatural powers of vision.”

Well, you can see which section of the court the Globe is sitting in.

More recently, both sides clashed Friday over how to instruct jurors about certain portions of Aspinwall’s testimony.

“It’s a pivotal witness, and the prosecutor is trying to expand his opinion to put the murder weapon in Hernandez’s hands,” Weinberg said. “The defense, correspondingly, has a compelling need to shrink that opinion and to diminish its certitude. This is pivotal evidence.”

If the whole case pivots on that.... sigh!

At times, the government has gotten bogged down in less important details, including the question of friendship between Hernandez and Lloyd, which the defense stressed during opening statements, according to Robert Bloom, a Boston College Law School professor.

It's called diverting the jury and appealing to emotion rather than logic and fact.

“People kill their good friends,” said Bloom, a former prosecutor and civil rights attorney. “You want to present as clear of a case as you can, in the most expeditious way that you can. The whole friendship thing, quite frankly, I thought was the prosecution getting sucked into the defense’s theory” that Hernandez would not harm his friend.

Really isn't much of a motive (he saw Hernandez with some guys?), and the poor prosecutors getting sucked in, yup.

Prosecutors tried unsuccessfully to use that theory against the defense, arguing that they should be allowed to rebut it by introducing evidence that Hernandez allegedly shot a friend in February 2013 during a trip to Florida. Judge E. Susan Garsh barred any mention of the incident, and the state’s highest court upheld her ruling.

That's long-standing, can't bring in other alleged charges that were never brought or were not convictions for crimes. Prosecutors should know better, and it smacks of of a Hail Mary pass.

However, Alexander Bradley, the now-former friend, took the stand last week and told jurors that Hernandez handled a gun that resembled a Glock in a Florida hotel room during the trip.

When the defense in the Hernandez trial presents its case Monday, one possible witness is Dr. David J. Greenblatt, an expert on the effects of PCP use on the brain.

Hernandez’s lawyers have signaled they may argue that one of his codefendants, who will be tried separately, killed Lloyd in a drug-induced state.

Defense lawyers asked multiple prosecution witnesses whether the codefendants used PCP and appeared jittery around the time of the killing. Prosecutors countered with video footage of all three men calmly exiting a vehicle soon after the slaying.

Prosecutors have objected to Greenblatt’s testimony, and he will be questioned out of the jury’s presence Monday before Garsh rules on whether he can take the stand.


Related: No Paradis for Aaron Hernandez 

Not even Kraft can help him.

NDU: Hernandez trial heads to closing arguments

They called less witnesses than the Tsarnaev team!

Sorry, but I just wasn't liking the narrative, if you know what I mean.

Jack and Suzy Welch give advice on navigating workplaces