Saturday, April 30, 2016

Getting a New Gig

Don't expect a tip....

"New rules for a new economy" by Curt Woodward and Katie Johnston Globe Staff  April 23, 2016

Score one for the “gig economy” — a slice of the working world where young companies offering products and services through mobile apps rely on independent contractors long on flexibility and short on benefits.

A pair of federal lawsuits, brought by a Boston labor lawyer on behalf of drivers in California and Massachusetts, sought to force Uber Technologies Inc. to classify the drivers as employees, an enormously expensive change that would have threatened the ride-hailing company’s business model and sent ripples through the start up world, but the legal challenge fell short.

The Uber cases had been closely watched for their potential to rein in the use of contractors by on-demand companies, a trend that some business thinkers predict will replace 9-to-5 employment for many workers. But because the cases were settled, rather than decided by a judge or jury, it’s not clear whether all companies will plow forward along with Uber.

Some venture capitalists have pulled back from the on-demand sector, spooked by the potential for huge legal bills. At least one well-funded startup, cleaning service provider Homejoy Inc., said it shut down partly because of lawsuits over its labor practices. Other startups have bucked the Uber trend, deciding to make their workers official employees.

For Uber, a company with a private market value of $62 billion in December, the $100-million settlment was seen as a relatively small price to pay to avoid the costs of health care, payroll taxes, and other expenses that come with full-fledged employees....

That's why there is Obummercare.


RelatedUber drivers say $84m settlement is too timid

The deal failed to extract any meaningful concessions and drivers are likely to receive only a few hundred dollars.

Ride-hailing firms react to driver demands

Lyft Inc. has agreed to pay $12.25 million and change how it treats its California drivers.

Uber drivers protest NYC price cuts

Also see:

"Uber is making waves, and the taxi industry is taking on water. As lawmakers on Beacon Hill continue to debate whether ride hailing companies should be held to similar regulatory standards as their old-school, medallion-holding competitors, a record number of Lyft, Fasten, and Uber drivers are working the Boston streets, poised to respond within moments to a user’s digital request for transport. So how can a taxi compete? Two companies that together supply all the credit card processing systems in Boston cabs, Creative Mobile Technologies and VeriFone Taxi Systems, over the next few weeks will both be rolling out their own Uber-esque apps in the Boston marketplace in an effort to modernize how riders order up, and pay for, a taxi cab."

Scrap taxi medallions

You can always find a new gig


Now what car to drive:

"General Motors invests $500m in Lyft, forms partnership" by Mike Isaac New York Times  January 04, 2016

NEW YORK — The founders of Lyft, the ride-hailing service, have long imagined that the future of transportation would involve fewer cars on the road. Now General Motors is helping the start-up reach that goal.

On Monday. Lyft announced that GM has invested $500 million in the company, or half of its latest $1 billion venture financing round. The funding, which recently closed, values Lyft, which is based in San Francisco, at about $4.5 billion.

GM’s support includes more than financial backing. As part of its investment in Lyft, the automaker will work on developing a so-called autonomous on-demand network of self-driving cars, an area of research to which companies like Google, the carmaker Tesla, and Uber, another ride-hailing service, have all devoted enormous resources in recent years.

GM will also work with Lyft to set up a series of short-term car rental hubs across the United States, places where people who do not own cars can pick up a vehicle and drive for Lyft to earn money. Daniel Ammann, president of GM, will join Lyft’s board of directors.

“We strongly believe that autonomous vehicle go-to-market strategy is through a network, not through individual car ownership,” John Zimmer, Lyft’s president, said in an interview.

GM’s investment is a vote of confidence in Lyft, which faces a competitive ride-hailing field. Founded in 2012, Lyft helped promote the so-called ride-sharing craze, positioning itself as a superior alternative to owning a car or using public transportation. Lyft users can summon a private or shared car with a few taps of an app.

But Uber, Lyft’s largest and most formidable rival, has raised more than $10 billion to date, and it is valued at $62.5 billion, roughly 14 times Lyft’s new valuation. Uber operates in hundreds of cities in 68 countries. The company also operates its own research center for self-driving cars in Pittsburgh and is steadily recruiting engineering talent from Carnegie Mellon University as well as from competitors like Google, whose efforts in autonomous vehicle research have been well publicized.

Lyft and GM did not give a timeline for when they expect their autonomous vehicle network to become publicly available.

A mix of existing investors, including the Asian e-commerce giants Rakuten and Alibaba, also contributed to the most recent financing round, as did the Chinese ride-hailing startup Didi Kuaidi.

Lyft has been working to catch up to Uber. The company recently teamed up with ride-hailing competitors in Asia like Didi Kuaidi, Ola, and GrabTaxi to expand. It has also struck deals with major brands like Starbucks and pop stars like Justin Bieber to broaden its reach.

The alliance with GM is surprising because automakers could consider ride-hailing companies like Lyft as long-term threats to auto sales. In an interview, Ammann said that GM wanted to be part of the changing business models in transportation.

“We think there’s going to be more change in the world of mobility in the next five years than there has been in the last 50,” he said.

Ammann noted that the core profit from GM’s business comes from cars sold outside the urban environments where Lyft primarily operates, especially sales of sport utility vehicles in suburban areas.

“From a GM perspective, we view this as much more of an opportunity than a threat,” he said.


Also see:

GM gears up to take on Uber, Zipcar

Did you see who is driving?

"General Motors CEO Mary Barra adds chairman title" by Tom Krisher and Tom Murphy Associated Press  January 04, 2016

DETROIT — General Motors CEO Mary Barra is taking on the added role of chairman at the nation’s largest automaker.

On Monday, the company’s directors unanimously elected her to lead the board, effective immediately.

She replaces former Cummins Inc. chairman and CEO Theodore Solso as GM’s chairman. He will stay on as the lead independent director, the company said.

Barra, 54, took over as chief executive in January 2014, becoming the first woman to lead a global automaker. Her appointment came shortly before GM became embroiled in a scandal over faulty small-car ignition switches. But she led GM through the crisis and a related series of embarrassing safety recalls.

Barra replaced Dan Akerson, a former telecommunications and private equity executive, who also held the chairman and CEO roles before leaving GM.

GM’s leadership consolidation runs counter to the trend in corporate governance, according to the proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services. Corporate governance experts often recommend separating the chairman and CEO roles to keep the board more independent. But Solso said in a statement that the board determined it’s best to combine the chairman and CEO roles again ‘‘at a time of unprecedented industry change.’’

He said that under Barra’s leadership, the company consistently has delivered on its earnings targets and has led in breakthrough vehicles and technologies. Having Barra in the dual roles, he said, will ‘‘drive the most efficient execution of our plan and vision for the future.’’

However, Charles Elson, director of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware, sees the consolidation as ‘‘a real step backward’’ for GM.

The director of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware said boards have been separating the chairman and CEO roles because they are now viewed more as monitors of a company, not advisers.

‘‘The board is there to oversee the CEO, and the person who is chairing the board shouldn’t be the person overseen by the board,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s a conflict.’’

Barra joined General Motors at age 18 as a co-op student, working for several months at a time at GM’s Pontiac division while studying for her engineering degree at General Motors Institute, a Flint, Mich., college that was at the time owned by the company.

She graduated from GMI, now Kettering University, in 1985, and GM eventually sent her to Stanford University to earn a master’s degree in business administration.

When she returned, she rotated through a number of jobs, including executive assistant to then-chief executive Jack Smith, a role that was often given to rising stars. She headed mid-size car engineering and managed GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant.

Just after GM’s 2009 bankruptcy, then-CEO Ed Whitacre put her in charge of human resources, a stop that isn’t normally along the CEO track.

In 2011, Akerson plucked Barra from HR to run GM’s worldwide product development, an operation he says was in chaos at the time.


Can't get it started:

"GM ignition defect case dismissed"  New York Times  January 23, 2016

The first federal civil trial that General Motors has faced over its defective ignition switch ended abruptly Friday after the plaintiff agreed to dismiss his claims.

The case became troubled after allegations from GM cast doubt on testimony given by the plaintiff, Robert Scheuer, an Oklahoman who was injured after his 2003 Saturn Ion crashed in 2014.

On Thursday, after evidence emerged showing that Scheuer might have provided misleading testimony about his finances after the accident, Judge Jesse Furman of US District Court in Manhattan, the judge in the case, suggested that the parties settle or otherwise resolve the matter.

The claims were dismissed with prejudice, meaning that Scheuer will not be able to refile his claims. Scheuer agreed not to take any money on his claim, according to documents filed in court.

The trial was the first of six so-called bellwether cases that the automotive company is facing. The allegations in this first case, one of three that were chosen by the plaintiffs’ lawyers, made this case an “outlier,” the judge said Thursday, implying that it would not be as useful as a model for other similar cases.


"General Motors cleared in latest ignition switch case" by Bill Vlasic New York Times  March 31, 2016

NEW YORK — General Motors not responsible after a two-week trial that is one of six so-called bellwether trials being conducted to resolve a variety of legal claims against GM.

All of the cases were consolidated in New York for the bellwether purposes, and the first was dismissed in January because of accusations that the plaintiff had given misleading testimony about his health and financial situation.

GM said the verdict Wednesday reflected evidence that the accident was not caused by ignition problems.

“The jurors studied the merits of the case and saw the truth,” the company said in a statement. “This was a very minor accident that had absolutely nothing to do with the car’s ignition switch.”

A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Randall Jackson, objected to the outcome.

“We definitely disagree with the overall verdict,” he said in comments reported by the Associated Press. “But we’re pleased with the findings that the jury made with regard to the fact that our client’s car was unreasonably dangerous.”

After admitting in early 2014 that it had failed for a decade to fix millions of small cars with faulty ignition switches, the company fired 15 employees, overhauled its engineering operations, and ultimately recalled about 30 million vehicles for various defects.

GM has paid about $600 million in compensation to settle 399 ignition-switch claims, including 124 death cases.

That $ettles that.

It also announced a settlement of $275 million covering an additional 1,385 death and injury cases and a $300 million payment to settle a class-action suit by shareholders. Last year, the automaker agreed to pay $900 million to settle a criminal investigation conducted by the Justice Department.


Also see:

GM to recall 200,000 cars over faulty airbags

GM to recall more than 1 million pickups to fix seat belt problem

General Motors to recall police cars over steering

Now things are getting serious.

GM raising quarterly dividend 

General Motors says it will add $4 billion to its stock buyback program.

"If you’re an automaker, especially one from Detroit, conditions probably aren’t going to be better for you to make a lot of cash. For General Motors, that’s what happened last year as the company posted a record $9.7 billion net profit. Yes, a good chunk of that was a $3.9 billion one-time accounting gain due to better prospects in Europe, but the company still made billions on booming sales of its strong lineup of SUVs and trucks, mainly in North America. Earnings were so strong that most of GM’s 49,600 hourly workers will get $11,000 profit-sharing checks on Feb. 26. The checks were based on North American pretax earnings, which hit a record of just over $11 billion for the year."

General Motors to borrow to pay pensions


GM joins Toyota at top of J.D. Power dependability rankings 

Imagine how horrible are the rest then.

GM to invest $908m in Tennessee and Michigan plants

One wonders why they moved them away in the first place.


Volkswagen chief, speaking to US workers, vows turnaround
Volkswagen appeals ruling on union at Tennessee plant
Labor board rejects Volkswagen’s challenge of union vote
VW CEO ‘personally’ apologized to Obama in plea for mercy

He should be apologizing to customers and the people of Tennessee, not Der Obummer.

"VW refuses to provide e-mails" New York Times  January 09, 2016

Citing German privacy laws, Volkswagen has refused to provide e-mails or other communications among its executives to attorneys general in the United States, impeding US investigations into the company’s emissions-cheating scandal, according to officials in several states.

The revelation signals a turning point in the now openly fractious relations between Volkswagen and US investigators, after claims by the Justice Department, in its own inquiry this week, that the company had recently “impeded and obstructed” regulators and provided “misleading information.”

They lied?

Significantly, investigators say, Volkswagen’s actions limit their ability to identify which employees knew about or sanctioned the deceptions. Finding the people responsible for the cheating is important to the lawsuits: Penalties would be greater if the states and others pursuing Volkswagen in court could prove that top executives were aware of or directed the activity.

“Our patience with Volkswagen is wearing thin,” said New York’s attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman. “Volkswagen’s cooperation with the states’ investigation has been spotty.”

They had a nice Super Bowl 50 commercial though.



Justice Department sues Volkswagen over emissions cheating

VW chief executive plans to submit emissions fixes to EPA

Volkswagen’s top US executive resigns

Volkswagen sued by big investors over handling of emissions scandal

Volkswagen sued over diesel ads

Volkswagen case gives Calif. judge role of a lifetime

Volkswagen, government reach deal to pay owners of cheating diesels, source says

Volkswagen owners will get a choice: a buyback or repairs

What if they want money?

Lab tests also hid pollution from Europe’s diesels

Germany’s Volkswagen inquiry grows to 17 suspects

Winterkorn missed VW scandal warning signs in 2014 memos

Wasn't just VW.

Mitsubishi admits cheating on fuel-economy tests

Mitsubishi mileage-doctoring scandal widens

Is there not one honest car-maker?

Mexico fines VW $8.9 million

"VW, setting aside $18b for diesel scandal costs, reports record loss" by JACK EWING New York Times  April 22, 2016

FRANKFURT — Volkswagen reported a record loss for 2015 on Friday as it set aside more than $18 billion to cover the cost of fines, legal claims, and recalls in the United States and other countries related to diesel emissions cheating.

The figures show that the scandal will cost the company more than it previously acknowledged. But the sum was also less than some estimates for the cost of the US settlement, which ranged as high as $30 billion.

Volkswagen said it lost $6.2 billion last year, compared with a profit of $2.8 billion in 2014.

The company increased the amount of money it was setting aside for the scandal, to $18.2 billion. That was up from $7.6 billion previously.

The crisis “is having a huge impact on Volkswagen’s financial position,” Matthias Mueller, the chief executive, said in a statement.

There were also indications Friday that controversy about diesel engines was spreading to other carmakers....


Also seeVolkswagen and Audi recall 850,000 vehicles over air bags

Car just stalled.


Honda issues recall for Civics

"The US government has closed an investigation into Honda’s failure to report deaths and injuries, saying that the company has met all of its obligations. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says in documents posted on its website Monday that Honda paid a $70 million fine and took steps needed to make sure similar failures don’t happen again. The government fined Honda in December of 2014 in what then was the largest civil penalty levied against an automaker. The company admitted in a consent order that it didn’t report 1,729 complaints that its vehicles caused deaths and injuries, and that it didn’t report warranty claims. A small number of the deaths and injuries were related to air bag inflators made by Takata Corp."


"Published reports say that Ford plans to build an auto plant in Mexico, with plans to rev up production there. According to The Wall Street Journal, Ford will build a new assembly complex in San Luis Potosi and expand an existing facility near Mexico City. The Journal said the carmaker will add 500,000 units of annual capacity there, beginning in 2018. That would be more than double last year’s production in Mexico. The newspaper cited unnamed people briefed on the plan. Reuters also reported earlier on the San Luis Potosi plant. It cited Mexican officials. Neither Ford nor Mexico’s government would comment on the reports."

"Ford Motor Co. plans to build a new $1.6 billion auto assembly plant in Mexico, creating about 2,800 jobs and shifting small-car production from the United States at a time when moving jobs south of the border has become a major issue in the US presidential campaign. The company announced the plant in the San Luis Potosi state Tuesday without saying specifically what cars it will build there. But the United Auto Workers union has said Ford plans to shift production of the Focus compact and C-Max small gas-electric hybrid from suburban Detroit to Mexico, where the cars can be made at lower cost and more profitably."


Ford plans long-range electric car to compete with Tesla, GM

Customers form lines to reserve cheaper Tesla model
Orders for new Tesla model exceed 325,000
Tesla shares soar as orders for new model rush in

"Tesla Motors’ shares have come under pressure after Consumer Reports questioned the quality of its new Model X SUV. Consumer Reports says owners have reported that the Model X’s gull-wing rear doors don’t work. Others have complained about paint quality, malfunctioning seats, and issues with climate controls. Last week, Tesla recalled 2,700 Model X SUVs because the rear seats can fall forward in a crash. Tesla’s shares fell 3 percent on Tuesday. The Model X went on sale last fall. Tesla says it had some issues with early Model Xs, but it is working to solve them quickly. Tesla’s quality has been improving. The company based in Palo Alto, Calif., recently reported that it spent less on repairs for Model S cars produced in 2015 than in prior years." 

Is there any car company out there that doesn't make a pos?

Ford to make police cars that can stop armor-piercing bullets

Police get the safest cars.

Ford to recall 202,000 pickups, SUVs, and cars

Ford recalls vans over air bags

Investigation opened into Ford F-150 after brake failure reports

Time to hit them.


With SUV style and tech touches, Chrysler aims to revive minivans

"Federal regulators have intensified an investigation into about 856,000 Fiat Chrysler models, citing a concern that the vehicles could roll away when drivers think the automatic transmission is set on “park.” According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 121 accidents have been tied to the problem, with 30 injuries. In August, after 14 complaints from owners of 2014-15 Jeep Grand Cherokees, the agency began looking into the automatic transmission on models that use a 3.6-liter V-6 engine. Investigators said 306 of 314 rollaway complaints involved Jeep Grand Cherokees. The 2012-14 Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger with the 3.6-liter V-6 are also part of the investigation; those models had eight complaints, with reports of four crashes and two injuries. The three models use an electronic gear selector with a paddle shifter on the center console. The driver moves that paddle forward or backward to select a gear. Investigators said the system “is not intuitive and provides poor tactile and visual feedback to the driver.”

Now I've got a flat tire.

Time to shift gears.


"Low gas prices help US auto sales hit all-time high" by Dee-Ann Durbin Associated Press  January 06, 2016

DETROIT — Analysts expect sales could go even higher this year as unemployment continues to decline and more young buyers enter the market.

Low gas prices and historically low interest rates left more money in buyers’ pockets.

Employment numbers also improved last year, so more buyers — particularly the huge generation of under-34 millennials — found they could finally afford a new car.

Yeah, right.

People who held off purchases during the recession were also lured back into the market by enticing new vehicles like the Jeep Cherokee and the revamped Ford F-150 pickup.

Analysts say the growth should continue this year, but at a slower pace. One reason: Millions of cars will be coming off of two- and three-year leases and into the used car market, so some buyers who would have purchased new cars will go for used ones instead.

More details.

RelatedCar sales jump in February

"Automakers revert to tactics that hurt them before recession" by Neal E. Boudette New York Times  April 15, 2016

When the car industry collapsed in the recession, automakers pulled back sharply on aggressive leasing deals and other financial incentives that had artificially increased their sales for years.

But now, with carmakers under pressure to maintain last year’s record numbers, they are once again turning to the same tactics that got them into trouble a decade ago.

Automakers are offering increasing discounts on economy cars and luxury models alike, relying more on sales to fleets like rental-car companies and bloating dealers’ inventories. More and more auto loans are being stretched out over longer periods of time.

At the same time, automakers have cranked up leasing to record levels, but there could be a harsh payback in the future....

“I’ve seen this movie before.” 


RelatedBank of England worried about too many car loans

That means another bailout:

"Obama visits Detroit auto show, lauds industry’s rebound" by Angela Greiling Keane Bloomberg News  January 21, 2016

DETROIT — President Obama took a victory lap for righting the US auto industry Wednesday as he toured the North American International Auto Show and spoke to autoworkers in Detroit after the best year ever for car sales.

Despite record 2015 sales, the auto industry faces a challenge as fewer young people buy cars or get drivers’ licenses.

Hey, what's two weeks when it comes to the exact opposite of a message?

The trip is a touchstone as Obama establishes his legacy, including bailouts of General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group in 2009 that were among the first actions of his presidency. Unemployment in Detroit is at its lowest since 2003, and domestic manufacturers produced 12 million vehicles in 2015, double the 6 million built at the industry’s ebb, according to the White House.

“Today, factories are humming, business is booming, the American automobile industry is all the way back,” Obama said. “Seven years ago sales hit a 27-year low. Last year they hit an all-time high.”

The Detroit auto show is the marquee car show in the United States. Obama arrived on the show’s “education day,” when schoolchildren learn about the importance of the industry to the region. It was the first visit to the car show by a president since 1999.

Obama’s visit to the Ford booth was closed to reporters, unlike his other stops. Ford opposes the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that is one of Obama’s priorities. Ford has complained the deal doesn’t include stronger curbs on currency manipulation by US trade partners.

Obama dug out a movie reference for reporters:

 According to a University of Michigan study, in 2014 just 77 percent of people ages 20 to 24 in the United States had drivers’ licenses, compared with 92 percent in 1983.


I'm glad his gig is almost over.


Better call for a ride home:

"Carmakers embrace a digital, disruptive future" by Hiawatha Bray, Globe Staff  6 days ago

LAS VEGAS — The first major trade show of the year for the automotive industry used to happen in Detroit. But not lately.

These days, the world’s biggest carmakers spend the first week of January in the desert, at the giant consumer electronics trade show known as International CES. It makes sense, considering that today’s automobiles are the most sophisticated digital devices that most consumers will ever own.

And the same Internet-based technologies that have transformed computing and telecommunications are now disrupting the auto industry. The rise of ride-sharing, short-term rental services like Zipcar, cellular data links that connect vehicles to the Internet, and the impending introduction of self-driving cars have spawned a realization among automakers that people may soon no longer need to own cars at all.

So carmakers at CES are preparing for a future in which automotive mobility is a service rather than a product, and cars — or even taxis — drive themselves.

General Motors Corp. set the tone Monday, announcing a $500 million investment in the ride-hailing company Lyft. GM and Lyft say they’re going to build a new service that will use self-driving GM vehicles, rather than human drivers.

On Tuesday, Ford Motor Co. described its own pilot ride-sharing program, tested in London and several US cities last year, in which owners of Ford vehicles could rent them out for short periods to preapproved drivers.

Ford chief executive Mark Fields said his company was moving to become “an auto and mobility company.” Instead of just making cars, he said, Ford plans to offer transportation services for a generation of customers who may prefer to borrow vehicles rather than own them.

“Those two companies are signaling that they understand that it’s not about moving metal any more,” said Frank Gillett, an automotive technology analyst for Forrester Research in Cambridge. “It’s about having an ongoing relationship with the customer.”

In the future, Gillett said, people might become loyal Ford or GM customers simply by repeatedly renting one of their cars, without ever owning one.

Ford would not comment Tuesday on reports published in December that the two companies would team up on the manufacture of the self-driving vehicles Google has been developing.

But Ford did announce a partnership with, to include the company’s Alexa speech-control technology in its Sync vehicle voice control system. Amazon introduced Alexa last year in its Echo personal assistant device, which can play music or news broadcasts at users’ requests. Amazon plans to add Alexa to a host of household devices — appliances, televisions, home security, and heating and air conditioning systems.

Fields said when Alexa-enabled Ford cars become available later this year, drivers can use it to communicate with their homes, turning up the heat, for example, or opening the garage door.

No worry regarding hackers?

Meanwhile, Toyota of America described its new billion-dollar smart vehicle research initiative, headed by Gill Pratt, who previously headed robotics research at the Pentagon’s Advanced Research Projects Agency.


Toyota has recruited an exceptional array of talent, including two professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, John Leonard and Russ Tedrake.

Last year, Toyota announced a $50 million investment to set up research facilities at Stanford University and MIT. The Cambridge facility, in Kendall Square, is under construction.

Tedrake said his research would focus on efforts to make self-driving cars “fail-safe.” That means that if the car malfunctions, it does so in a way that doesn’t hurt people.

“I think it’s an incredibly hard problem,” said Tedrake, because it’s impossible to predict all the circumstances that could cause a self-driving car to make a mistake.

For example, he said the vehicle might normally “see” a pedestrian in the road and stop before hitting him. But if the same person is wearing a color that’s hard for the car to detect under certain lighting conditions, the vehicle might not stop.

Related(?): Pedestrians struck, killed by vehicles in Malden, South Hadley

Tedrake said he and his team will work to develop simulation software that can identify such problems in advance and come up with solutions before they arise in real life.

For virtually everyone at CES, talk of self-driving cars has lost its “gee-whiz” tone; they’re now regarded as inevitable.

J. Gary Smyth, GM’s executive director of global research and development, predicted self-driving cars will be immensely popular with millennials, many of whom, he said, regard driving as a distraction, and with elderly and disabled people who’ll get a new measure of mobility.

But what about those who cherish the experience of driving? Smyth said his company’s cars would still offer drivers the option to take the wheel.

“There will be times when you will want to drive your car, when you will love doing it,” said Smyth. “And you will always have that opportunity.”


RelatedGoogle self-driving car strikes bus in California

"Video shows Google self-driving car hit bus" by Justin Pritchard Associated Press  March 10, 2016

LOS ANGELES — Newly released video shows the moment a Google self-driving car learned the hard way not to tussle with a public bus.

The collision happened on Valentine’s Day, when a Google vehicle struck the side of a public bus in the Silicon Valley city of Mountain View. Footage recorded by cameras on the bus shows a Lexus sport utility vehicle edging into the path of the bus that was rolling by at about 15 miles per hour.

It was the first time in several years of testing on public roads that a Google self-driving car prototype caused a crash. Google has blamed other drivers for past collisions during testing, but, in a first, accepted at least partial responsibility for this crash.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority released the video and post-crash photos this week under a public records request.

Though it was a low-speed collision, the impact crumpled the Lexus’ front left side, flattened the tire, and tore off the radar Google installed to help the SUV perceive its surroundings.

The Lexus had to be towed. Neither the Google employee in the driver’s seat nor the 16 people on the bus were injured.


Also see:

"Google is about to embark on an old-school search, swapping its Internet algorithm for a custom-built van that will cruise across the US to find out how people use its online services and react to new features."

How come the headlights don't work?

Cambridge-based startup to soon test its driverless car tech

Experts caution self-driving cars aren’t ready for roads

That won't stop the federal government from approving them:

"Computer as driver? ‘Yes’ from feds boosts self-driving cars" by Tom Krisher and Justin Pritchard Associated Press  February 11, 2016

DETROIT — Computers that control cars of the future can be considered drivers just like humans, the federal government’s highway safety agency has decided.

The redefinition of ‘‘driver’’ by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is an important break for Google, which is developing self-driving cars that get around without steering wheels, pedals — or even the need for a person to be inside.

Though treating a computer like a driver for regulatory purposes helps Google, its cars have miles to go before they get on the road in great numbers. While the safety agency agreed with Google’s ‘‘driver’’ reinterpretation in a recent letter, it didn’t allow other concessions and said numerous federal rules would have to be changed to permit the cars.

Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., is testing dozens of prototypes in California, Texas, and Washington. The company has suggested they could be ready for the public in a few years.

In written requests over the past three months, Google asked the safety agency to interpret federal code in ways that would ease the path to market for its cars.

The agency agreed that the car can be a driver but, in a Feb. 4 response posted on its website, rejected the company’s claim that the cars comply with many related regulations including requirements for foot or hand brakes. Google said the requirement wasn’t necessary because the electronic driver can stop the cars. The government said regulations are clear and would have to be changed to allow that....


Time to put my foot down.


Here they come now:

"NAACP, Uber chide fingerprint proposal" by Travis Andersen Globe Staff   January 08, 2016

Civil rights groups and the ride-hailing service Uber on Thursday pushed back against a proposal to require drivers for the company and its competitors to be fingerprinted, despite strong support for the measure from police officials.

The proposal is pending in the state Legislature and has the backing of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, which said in a recent letter to lawmakers the initiative would ensure that applicants with criminal records cannot hide them by providing fake identities.

RelatedMass. police chiefs urge fingerprinting for Uber drivers

The NAACP and ACLU of Massachusetts say the proposal could bar minorities who have arrest records but no convictions from getting jobs in the rapidly growing industry. A federal database containing fingerprints of arrested individuals does not always contain information on whether or not the person was convicted.

Michael Curry, president of the Boston branch of the NAACP, said communities of color are “more engaged by police officers,” which often leads to arrests that do not result in convictions. “We don’t want to create more barriers to jobs,” Curry said, adding that the unemployment rate has historically been higher in minority neighborhoods.

Kade Crockford, director of the Technology for Liberty Program at the ACLU of Massachusetts, echoed those comments and stressed in a statement that arrests “are not convictions.”

She said the “database that municipalities across Massachusetts submit both civil and criminal fingerprints to is riddled with errors.’’

The police chiefs association could not be reached for comment Thursday night, but a spokesman for the Boston Police Department, which regulates taxi cabs and backs the fingerprinting measure, said an arrest record does not necessarily disqualify a driver.

“The purpose of fingerprinting is to make sure the person that’s applying for the job is in fact” whom they claim to be, said Lieutenant Michael McCarthy. “We have certain guidelines that are set up, [and] certain disqualifiers. ... an OUI conviction, habitual traffic offenders. We look at the sex offender registry, felony convictions. It’s a very thorough background check.”

He said “an arrest record is one thing we look at, but it’s not the only thing.’’

Boston police currently do not fingerprint cab drivers, but Commissioner William B. Evans told the Globe Wednesday that fingerprinting will begin in the city for current and prospective taxi drivers within a month.

However, Evans’s predecessor, Edward F. Davis, now a consultant for Uber, cautioned Thursday that “no database has perfect information in it.”

He said Uber is a boon for customers in minority neighborhoods, where cabs are not always available.

During his tenure as commissioner, Davis said, “a constant refrain from neighborhoods of color in Boston was that they couldn’t get cab service. ... Uber has solved that problem.”

He said current company protocols, which include background checks and constant customer feedback on drivers, already provide for a safe riding experience. Drivers who receive low ratings for safety and courtesy first receive intervention, then are terminated if poor evaluations continue.

“You’re going to find out if there’s a problem with someone, and action will be taken before there’s a major incident,” said Davis, who also provides security services for The Boston Globe.

McCarthy, the police spokesman, said that Uber’s practices may be effective for drivers who have been hired, but “it’s just as important to have a system to prevent criminals from getting on the job in the first place.”

This as the government is trying to reintegrate prisoners into the population!



What’s gained by fingerprinting Uber and Lyft?

Arianna Huffington first woman on Uber board

A new GM for Uber’s Boston office

"Amazon and Uber need to grow up" by Dante Ramos Globe Columnist  April 26, 2016

One common thread is that both Amazon and Uber have become deeply enmeshed in the way people and goods move around today, at least in dense metro areas. Even so, older firms with a distinct physical presence make far more conspicuous targets for public officials and activist groups alarmed by yawning inequality. Walmart, the world’s largest retail chain, is a perennial target because of its labor practices; Verizon has been the subject of a major strike. Internet firms attract fewer protest signs, not least because their headquarters are so far away.

See: Boston's Verizon

In an alternate world, tech firms could be a more egalitarian force. Amazon’s expertise in selling a mind-boggling variety of products might be especially helpful to residents of Roxbury. An Internet retailer with a vast store of data should have no trouble identifiying underserved areas with unmet needs.

SeeDelayed Delivery

As for Uber, it’s already created a way for people to earn money without having to be formally hired by someone first. Maybe the company’s crack lobbying team can also help propose a fair legal and social insurance structure for workers who aren’t full-fledged employees but aren’t mere freelancers either.

These companies are in a position to soothe the problems that fray at our social fabric — or, if they’re not careful, to aggravate them....


Uber Boston announces partnership with disability advocates

Convention Center please:

"Proposed ban on Uber, Lyft at Convention Center raises worries" by Nicole Dungca Globe Staff  April 19, 2016

Thousands of out-of-town conventiongoers have gotten used to calling an Uber car from the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center to take them to a hotel or restaurant or back to the airport.

But new legislation could soon ban ride-hailing vehicles from picking up passengers there, a move that officials say could make it one of just a few major convention centers across the country with such restrictions.

As the Legislature seeks to regulate the companies, the House has approved a bill that introduces a five-year ban on Uber and Lyft picking up customers at convention center properties — and extending the current ban on many types of pickups at Logan International Airport. Convention center officials say they were blindsided by the proposal and are now pushing for the proposed ban to be eliminated in a future version of the bill when it is considered by the Senate.

“[Our customers] are taking the ride-sharing companies, and if you take that away, then our business will suffer,” said James Folk, director of transportation at the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority. “We’re trying to get as many people here for economic stimulus and everything else, and if we lose that, we’re going to lose customers.”

The pushback from the convention center authority underscores the political tensions that local officials must navigate as they seek to create rules for a now ubiquitous but still unregulated industry.

Convention center authorities said they want to continue their existing relationship with the traditional taxi industry, whose business still dwarfs companies such as Uber and Lyft on its properties.

But Folk said passing a ban on Uber and Lyft would make the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center and Hynes Convention Center less appealing for big industry groups shopping for conference locations and hurt local residents who flock to the convention center in South Boston for crowded events, including those on the Lawn on D.

Uber and Lyft vehicles currently are able to pick up customers from the convention center properties, but patrons still wait in lengthy lines for taxis during busy conferences, according to officials. One ride-hailing firm, which Folk declined to name, estimated that its drivers provided about 15,000 trips from the convention center properties during 2015.

“There’s more than enough business to go around,” he said.

But taxi industry supporters say that restrictions on ride-hailing companies are the only way to keep some of its drivers in business. Since the arrival of companies such as Uber and Lyft, taxi drivers have seen a big drop in revenue: From January to June of 2015, for example, taxi ridership in Boston dropped 22 percent compared with the year before.

Donna Blythe-Shaw, who represents a union of taxi workers, said that her industry doesn’t believe that Uber and Lyft have a right to the fares or passengers they can currently pick up at the convention center. The taxi industry, which helped finance the convention center when it was built, needs more protection, she said.

“We’ve already lost our hailing business, and the regular business that we’ve been depending on” from regular contracts with private businesses, she said. “They need that exclusivity at the convention center and the airport.”

Representative Michael Moran, a Brighton Democrat who supports the proposed bans and voted in favor of the bill, said the restrictions are necessary to temporarily help protect the small banks that helped finance taxi medallions that are now declining in value.

“We owe the medallion industry a little better effort than just saying, ‘Sorry, there’s new technology, and you’re out of luck,’ ” said Moran.

Like Blythe-Shaw, Moran pointed out that the sale of taxi medallions raised money that helped finance the convention center. “I love the convention center, but they wouldn’t be in that building if the taxi financing didn’t help put it together,” he said.

The bill passed by the House built off of a version that Governor Charlie Baker had filed. Baker’s version did not include restrictions for convention center properties or Logan.

Representatives from both Uber and Lyft protested the House’s version of the bill last month, criticizing the proposed restrictions. Chelsea Wilson, a spokeswoman for Lyft, said that the bill “limits consumer choice, restricts competition, and doesn’t serve the best interests of the state.”

If the Legislature approves the five-year bans for the airport and convention center, Massachusetts would be bucking a trend across the country — and in a way that convention center officials worry would make the city look unattractive to visitors.

To protect a failing industry.

Most airports have long had strict regulations about what kind of vehicles can solicit rides from people leaving the airport, which meant Uber and Lyft were often banned from airports from the start. But in recent years, major airports have turned a corner as the services have become more popular: Now, Los Angeles International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, and O’Hare Airport in Chicago are among the major hubs that allow Uber and Lyft to pick up from their properties, and Logan is one of the few major airports that still ban ride-for-hire firms.

The proposed five-year ban from Logan wouldn’t necessarily change Massport’s current practices.

Right now, Uber is able to dispatch some of its cars to the airport through its UberBlack and UberSUV services, which include livery cars that are registered with the Boston Police Department’s Hackney Carriage unit and pay for commercial insurance.

That still excludes the vast majority of Uber vehicles that most customers take: The service that most are familiar with is UberX, the lowest-cost version that is largely made up of drivers who use their personal vehicles and have not purchased commercial insurance or registered with the police department. (Some livery drivers, however, have chosen to charge UberX prices, which are significantly less expensive than UberBlack and UberSUV prices.)

Jennifer Mehigan, a spokeswoman for Massport, said the agency is not opposed to companies such as Uber and Lyft. “We are waiting to see what is finalized on Beacon Hill and are hopeful there will be a resolution soon,” she wrote in an e-mail.

On the convention center side, Folk said several agencies in other states are working with Uber and Lyft to accommodate ride-for-hire firms in some way, rather than banning the vehicles altogether. Officials said they have also heard concerns that nearby properties, such as the Westin Boston Waterfront hotel that sits adjacent to the center, could be affected by the ban.


Maybe they can fly you in by copter instead.

CarMax expanding into Greater Boston market

CarMax criticized for selling used cars with recalls pending

They used to call those lemons.

Maybe you can rent a car for the day.


Race ya!

IndyCar street races draw fans, but pose challenges for cities
Grand Prix race draws ire of South Boston condo owners
Designer says it was challenge to create Boston Grand Prix course
Top IndyCar driver likes what he sees on Boston course
Massport won’t help pay for IndyCar race
Sale of tickets for IndyCar race put on hold
Defending IndyCar race, Walsh bemoans Boston’s culture of ‘no’
Indycar reaches agreement with Seaport condo residents
Rally in Boston remembers victims of road crashes
Man convicted in Arborway crash that paralyzed 2
Accord imminent on IndyCar race
IndyCar race on track for Labor Day run
IndyCar opponents ask for environmental review
Grand Prix of Boston scoops up anti-IndyCar website name
Letter calls for cancellation of Boston IndyCar race
Petition in favor of Boston IndyCar race revs up
Boston IndyCar race executive has long history of tax, foreclosure woes
Grand Prix organizers face questions on noise, pollution, crowds
City employee follows suspect after alleged hit and run
Trooper helps arrest alleged wrong-way driver in Bourne
IndyCar race months away, but infrastructure is arriving
IndyCar promoters complete negotiations with officials
Ready, set, go: IndyCar tickets go on sale
Give Boston’s IndyCar race a green flag
Boston IndyCar race clears first regulatory hurdle
IndyCar, HubSpot might be on a Labor Day collision course 

Look out!

"IndyCar must now deal with city’s Conservation Commission" by Evan Allen and Jon Chesto Globe Staff  April 22, 2016

Mayor Martin J. Walsh said Friday that he is optimistic IndyCar race organizers would be able to hold their event in South Boston in September, despite new environmental concerns raised by the Boston Conservation Commission. 

I was wondering about those. You know, the greenhouse gases and all.

“I’m hoping to see it here Labor Day weekend,” Walsh told reporters at a morning event. “I think there’s a process now they can follow, and I think they have to follow that process and make their case.”

In a 4-to-1 vote this week, the commission, which has responsibility for protecting wetlands in the city, concluded that the route planned for the race travels through a 100-year flood zone, and that organizers had to apply for permits that consider the potential environmental impact of any construction.

Opponents of the race hailed the commission’s decision as a roadblock for a race they say will disrupt their neighborhood and damage the environment.

Race organizers said the ruling is likely to have minimal impact on their plans, but Larry Bishoff, cochairman of the Coalition Against IndyCar Boston, applauded the decision.

The Grand Prix of Boston is slated to take place Sept. 2-4 on a 2.2-mile course around the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center in South Boston.

The commission’s vote comes shortly after organizers and city and state officials reported they had resolved all outstanding issues, and that organizers could proceed with construction.

Walsh said the commission was simply following environmental regulations, and race organizers would have to follow the process, no matter how inconvenient. “The rules are there for a reason,” he said. “You have to live by the rules and work by the rules.”


They did a quick U-turn!

"Indycar race scratched for Seaport" by Mark Arsenault Globe Staff  April 29, 2016

Promoters of an IndyCar race in the Seaport this September are peeling out of Boston and will not race in the city.

“The relationship between us and the city is not working,” said John Casey, president of what had been called the Grand Prix of Boston, in a Globe interview Friday. “The relationship is untenable.”

The city’s inaugural IndyCar race had been scheduled for Labor Day weekend, on a 2.2-mile temporary street course around the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Promoters last May signed an agreement with Mayor Martin J. Walsh to hold the race in 2016, then annually for up to four more years.

Instead, the promoters will turn to Plan B and try to hold a Labor Day race in a backup city in the Northeast, Casey said. The promoters have had contact with two other cities, he said, one of which is in New England.

“They are both willing to do it without the headaches of Boston,” he said, declining to name the cities.

Boston is 0-2 recently on new, attention-grabbing sporting events, with the demise of the race coming less than a year after Boston’s bid for the 2024 Olympics collapsed.

Opponents on Friday cheered the end of the Grand Prix.

Casey said city officials made relentless and unrealistic demands on the promoters that eventually just became too much to bear.

“I’m writing a book about this whole process,” he said. “It’s so ridiculous, it’s hysterical.”

Casey’s announcement comes after months of negotiations with city and state officials on agreements governing the conduct of the race.

Patrick Brophy, chief of operations for Boston, said in a statement that race organizers “were unwilling or unable to meet the necessary requirements to hold an event of this size.”

In a Globe interview, Brophy said the city insisted on protections for the taxpayers and the neighborhood.

“They didn’t want to do it, and we’re OK with it,” he said.

“I’m sure there will be plenty of good things to do in Boston over Labor Day weekend.”

The race promoters, he added, were highly disorganized.

Governor Charlie Baker’s office said that “planning this race was complex from the beginning, and the administration was pleased to work closely with race promoters and our city partners on mutually agreed upon protections for public safety and taxpayers while even extending key deadlines at the promoters’ request. The Baker administration looks forward to continuing the productive relationship with the City of Boston to promote the Commonwealth on the world’s stage.”

LogMeIn CEO Bill Wagner signed on early as a major sponsor for the event, in part because of the positive attention he said the race would bring to the city and to the neighborhood. “We’re really disappointed.”

Wagner noted that ticket sales were off to a stronger-than-expected start, and employees at his high-tech company were enthusiastic.

“The level of excitement among our employees [about the race] had exceeded my expectations,” Wagner said. “It had a much broader appeal than a lot of people expected.”

The long-term impact to the city, Wagner said, could involve ripple effects that go well beyond the loss of the Labor Day weekend race.

“It’s going to send a signal to other people trying to bring events to Boston,” Wagner said. “If anyone else brings an event to Boston, I’m sure they’re going to call IndyCar and ask what their experience was. I would hate to hear what that call was [like].”


They will be refunding you the price of the ticket.


Time to get back to work:

"The workforce of tomorrow will be fine without a dedicated desk or cubicle, by the way, Pandya said, because they’re comfortable plugging in their laptops anywhere. As for photos and other mementos that workers put up to personalize their workspace, Gen Z has no need for those either. All that stuff is in their phones. As work and leisure continue to blend, young workers expect even more from their offices, Pandya said. In between e-mails and conference calls, they want places to interact with coworkers, eat, exercise, play games, and take walks. The new motto, as Pandya sees it: “There’s no place like work.”

"The gig economy is coming. You probably won’t like it. Say goodbye to salaries, health insurance, and vacation days. Forty percent of America’s workforce could be freelance by 2020" by Brandon Ambrosino   April 20, 2016

The “gig economy,” the hip-sounding term used to describe those Americans who make their livings in nontraditional ways.

While there is considerable disagreement over this projection, what is clear is that “more and more jobs are being moved to independent contractor status,” says Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford University.

To be clear, employers are driving the change, but that’s not to say most independent workers aren’t happy with their job situations.  Even when freelancers do lock in a gig, the money doesn’t always pan out.

“Seven out of ten freelancers experience trouble getting paid by clients, often waiting months for a check — and sometimes getting outright stiffed,” explains Sara Horowitz, founder and executive director of the Freelancers Union.

Not to mention, says Pfeffer, that “in the US, every benefit comes through your employer — your 401k, health insurance, unemployment insurance. To the extent that you don’t have an employer, you have no access to any of these things.”

To remedy this, Steven Hill, author of Raw Deal: How the “Uber Economy” and Runaway Capitalism Are Screwing American Workers, has proposed an Individual Security Account, which would stay with gig workers wherever their careers took them.

The gig economy doesn’t treat everyone fairly, says Hill. “This economy leans to certain personalities,” he says, noting that making it largely depends on being able to hustle and market yourself 24/7.

No wonder I'm stuck doing this gig.

THOUGH RESEARCHERS HAVE LONG STUDIED workplace psychology — the field even has its own name, industrial and organizational behavior — the growing gig economy hasn’t received the same attention. That’s a shame: According to a recent paper from Roosevelt University, many freelancers regularly experience anxiety, frustration, anger, and depression, which is not surprising given the demonstrated benefits of regular employment on mental health.

Spencer Harrison, associate professor in the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, says that although gig workers face financial anxieties, the bigger issue can be an existential one. “Because we spend so much of our lives at work, work is a place where we find out who we are and craft our identities,” he says. “When we’re moving from one thing to the next, some people might sense a difficulty cobbling together ‘Who am I?’ ”

Gianpiero Petriglieri, a psychiatrist and associate professor at INSEAD, an international graduate business school, studies independent workers with colleagues Sue Ashford and Amy Wrzesniewski. They’ve noticed a unique double bind adding to the anxiety of freelancers. “On one hand, the work is precarious, but at the same time, it’s very self-defining,” says Petriglieri. “So work is becoming more and more important to who you are, and at the same time it’s becoming less secure.”

But there’s a hidden cost to this kind of flexibility. Because gig workers are never “on the clock,” they’re never really off it. A 2004 study concluded that because of the cyclical nature of independent work and the 24/7 brand management it requires, gig markets actually “place more rather than fewer constraints on workers’ time.”

So why, in light of all these anxieties, do most freelancers seem to prefer gig work? “That’s the million-dollar question,” says Wilma B. Liebman, former chair of the National Labor Relations Board. But one thing’s for sure, she says: “There is deep discontentment among working people — what do you think is fueling [Bernie] Sanders’s and [Donald] Trump’s campaigns?”

The hard part for researchers who study gig work is knowing whether someone is pursuing a genuine narrative of passion — “I’m doing this job because it gives me purpose” — or as more of a temporary Band-Aid, says Harrison. In either case, workers may speak positively about their jobs. And that makes sense, says Jeffrey Pfeffer. “There’s a process called cognitive dissonance, so you come to terms with where you are,” he says. “Humans have a way of not being chronically unhappy.”

Yes, we will put up with a lot of misery before acting to change things.

But perhaps, says Petriglieri, some academics who spend their lives in established institutions might find it hard to look at freelance work as anything other than a bump in the road on the way to traditional employment. “It’s as if we can’t imagine people might actually choose to have a working life outside of an organization — and thrive.”

Whether they see the workplace changes as fundamentally positive or negative, experts agree that they need more research, because the gig economy isn’t going away. In any economy, the name of the game is getting work done efficiently at the lowest cost.

That just about says it all.

Sure, you’re great at your job — but an independent worker could do just as well, and your boss wouldn’t have to give her benefits. Or pay for her water-cooler time....


It's all part of the Good Life, and you will get nothing more from me.

Gone Fishing

"Fishing monitors to accompany fewer trips" by David Abel Globe Staff  April 29, 2016

After protesting for months about having to pay for the government observers who monitor their catch, the region’s fishermen are catching a break.

The National Marine Fisheries Service on Friday approved a measure that will ease the financial burden on fishermen by reducing the number of times observers must accompany them to sea.

They will now have to take monitors on only 14 percent of their fishing trips, down from nearly a quarter of all trips.

The decision has raised concerns among environmental advocates, who argue that the government should be doing more to monitor the catch of vulnerable species such as Atlantic cod.

Fishermen are required to bring in all the fish they catch, and must pay a penalty if they exceed the limits. By discarding the extra fish, they avoid the payment and make it impossible for regulators to keep an accurate count of their catch.

Goebel said the agency will continue to monitor the catch closely and could revise the percent of trips that have to be covered by observers. 

So the government was just throwing them some chum, 'eh?

The Fisheries Service “also has the authority to raise coverage levels, if the levels that result from the changes are not expected to reliably monitor groundfish catch.”

The move comes after federal regulators last year decided to end the multimillion-dollar subsidy that paid for the observer program, passing the cost to the fishermen.

A federal report found the new costs could cause 59 percent of the boats in the region’s once-mighty groundfishing fleet to lose money. Many of the estimated 200 remaining fishing boats are already struggling amid reduced quotas of cod and other bottom-dwelling fish.

But environmental advocates say the observer program — even in its current form — doesn’t do enough to monitor the catch and blame regulators for waiting too long to protect overfished species.

The answer is do not eat fish.

Oceana, a Washington-based advocacy group whose lawsuits against the federal government spurred many of the current observer rules, say fishermen in the Northeast have been illicitly discarding millions of dollars a year in fish they shouldn’t be catching because of lax oversight.

“It is unbelievable that the federal government thinks the solution to this problem is gutting oversight measures that ensure fishermen do not catch too many fish to allow the populations to actually rebuild, said Gib Brogan, a fisheries policy analyst for the group. “This decision is akin to pouring gasoline onto a burning house.”

The share of monitored trips had previously been slated to climb to 41 percent for the upcoming fishing season, Brogan and others noted.

Matt Tinning, senior director of the US oceans program at the Environmental Defense Fund, called the agency’s decision “an abdication of their legal duty … to end overfishing and rebuild overfished stocks.”

“A comprehensive and effective monitoring program is essential to maintain accountability, aid in fish stock recovery, and produce vital information about what fish are being caught and discarded, and where,” he said. “The current program achieves none of these goals.”

But fishing groups applauded the reduced requirements, noting that it costs them hundreds of dollars every time they take an observer to sea. They said the agency’s decision was based on sound science.

“The agency has used better statistical methods every year to create a more most efficient monitoring system,” said Robert Vanasse, executive director of Saving Seafood, which represents the fishing industry. “This year’s regulations are a reflection of an effort to make the system as efficient as possible.”

“This should be something that’s applauded by both the environmental community and the fishing industry,” he added....

Did you smell that catch?


So who do you trust to look after the water?

Harpooning Harvard

"Harpoon president apologizes for remarks on Harvard club" by Michael Levenson Globe Staff  April 13, 2016

A prominent Boston beer executive found himself on the defensive Wednesday after he suggested that admitting women to one of Harvard’s exclusive final clubs could lead to more sexual assaults.

Charles M. Storey, graduate board president of the Porcellian Club and president of Harpoon Brewery, made the assertion as the secretive clubs face calls to admit women and to rein in what a university task force has called a “culture of male control and exclusivity” that encourages the marginalization of women and sexual entitlement.

But hours later, after Storey’s remarks were criticized by US Representative Katherine Clark as well as by a Harvard dean, Storey released a statement on the Harpoon Brewery website, apologizing for his comments.

“Unfortunately, I chose my words poorly and it came out all wrong,” the statement said. “This failure has led to extreme and unfortunate misinterpretations, which were not my intentions at all. I take the issue of sexual assault extremely seriously, and I am truly sorry to those I have offended.”

The flareup underscored the growing tension between Harvard’s final clubs, long regarded as bastions of privilege, and college administrators under pressure to combat sexual assaults.

The clubs — most of which are all-male — are not officially affiliated with the university and are known for fiercely guarded traditions and raucous parties.

Last month, a university task force made up of 18 faculty, staff, and students singled out the clubs as a key force in perpetuating sexual assaults among students....

That's when I shut the door.


RelatedHarvard stance on assaults rebutted

By clubs known for fiercely guarded traditions and raucous parties.

Is that what gave 'em the mumps?

"Former Harvard president suggests school should curb endowment payout" by Rich Miller Bloomberg News  April 18, 2016

Former Harvard University President Lawrence Summers, a former US Treasury secretary who is now a professor at Harvard, suggested that the school consider curbing annual payouts from its world-record $37.6 billion endowment to reflect the likelihood of lower investment returns.

Harvard disbursed $1.8 billion from its endowment in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2015. Most endowments are seeing lackluster investment gains in the most recent year and some paid out more than they earned, raising chances that schools may have to review how they operate with less income from holdings.

At the same time, the funds’ high values have drawn interest from Congress as returns aren’t taxed and the cost of college skyrockets. Two congressional committees that determine tax policy sent a letter of inquiry to the richest 56 private schools about their endowments....


Is he going curb his $peaking fees? How much is he being paid for the professor$hip?

Maybe you would be better off just dropping out and going to work for the CIA.

Harvard to welcome Air Force ROTC back to campus

That's a start.

"Harvard Law student’s remarks to Israeli decried" by Travis Andersen Globe Staff  April 21, 2016

A Harvard Law student called former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni“smelly” during a recent forum, drawing a broad condemnation of anti-Semitism from administrators, faculty, and a Jewish student group.

The student, who school officials have not identified, made the statement last Thursday during a question and answer period following a panel discussion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict organized by the school.

I'll bet I know why.

Harvard Law Dean Martha Minow decried the incident as offensive and said it “violated the trust and respect we expect in our community,” in an e-mail sent to faculty and students on Tuesday.

The remark was an “ad hominem attack in the form of a ‘question’ to our Israeli guest,” Minow wrote in the e-mail, which a school spokeswoman provided to the Globe on Wednesday.

She described the question in detail.

‘My question is for Tzipi Livni — how is it that you are so smelly?” The student added, “It’s regarding your odor — about the odor of Tzipi Livni, very smelly,’” the e-mail stated.

Yes, what an odd e-mail.

“Many perceive it as anti-Semitic, and no one would see it as appropriate,” Minow wrote.

“It was an embarrassment to this institution and an assault upon the values we seek to uphold. ... I urge all members of this community to treat all others as they wish to be treated themselves and to respect the dignity and feelings of all, even those with whom they disagree most strongly on any given issue. The legal profession expects nothing less of its future members.”

Poor, victimized Jews again.

The e-mail did not say if the student would be disciplined.

Livni, a prominent Israeli leader still serving in the Knesset, the country’s legislative body, did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment on Wednesday night.

She has held several Israeli government positions, including minister of foreign affairs, acting prime minister, minister of justice, and head of the Israeli team in the peace process negotiations with the Palestinians in 2008 and 2013, Harvard Law said in promotional materials prepared for the event.

Minow urged the school community to reflect on the incident.

“This is a moment for each of us to pause, and perhaps ask, “Who am I?” — and, more importantly, “What kind of person do I wish to be? And what kind of community can we make together?”

Michelle Deakin, a spokeswoman for Harvard Law, would not identify the student, or any potential discipline.

The incident, first reported in the Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, drew widespread criticism from Jewish authorities.

Yehuda Yaakov, consul general of Israel to New England, said in a phone interview that the incident at the Law School forum is “just another in a sea of incidents that we’ve been seeing in which our detractors show that being anti-Israel and anti-Semitic are the same.”

This is now starting to carry the stench of another false flag, folks.


"Six people who chained themselves together in the lobby of the Boston building that houses the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee to protest Israeli policies toward Palestinians were arrested by Boston police Tuesday night. The arrests on trespassing charges took place shortly after 6 p.m. when the three men and three women refused repeated requests from the building management and police to leave the building, Boston police spokeswoman Officer Rachel McGuire said. Police cut the chains that connected the protesters before taking them into custody, she said. The protesters are members of a group called IfNotNow, which is demanding change in Israeli policies toward Palestinians. In a statement, the group described itself as a “new movement of American Jews working for freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians.” An AIPAC spokesman declined to comment."

It was happening the same day, and was overwhelmed by the stench of the incident at Harvard.

The Harvard Jewish Law Students Association, an organizer of the event, blasted the attack in a letter posted on the website of the Harvard Law Record, an independent newspaper affiliated with the school.

“We are writing to condemn what we view as blatantly anti-Semitic rhetoric,” the association leaders wrote.

“We demand a public apology to Ms. Livni, the Jewish students of HLS, and Harvard Law School at large. Further, we demand respectful behavior from students at our events in the future.”

Nancy Gertner, retired federal judge who teaches at Harvard Law, said the student’s remark “resonated as anti-Semitic with everyone who read it and heard it.”

“There’s really no set of facts that would justify making a comment like this at all,” said Gertner, who did not attend the forum. “No set of facts.”

Robert Leikind, Boston regional director of the American Jewish Committee, issued a statement Wednesday night denouncing the attack.s

“This kind of (comment) has been a feature of anti-Semitic thinking for more than two centuries, during which the suggestion that Jews smelled was used to suggest that they are an inferior people, who are worthy of contempt,” Leikind said in a statement.

“We are witnessing a decline in civility and an incapacity of some to engage in serious discourse about difficult ideas.”


The crying of anti-Semitism has become science.


"St. George’s administrator on leave after allegations of ‘boundary issues’" by Bella English Globe Staff  April 08, 2016

A top administrator at the embattled St. George’s School has been on paid leave since January pending an investigation of allegations about “boundary issues” with students, headmaster Eric Peterson and board chair Leslie Heaney told the St. George’s community in an e-mail on Wednesday.

Robert Weston, the associate head for external affairs, served along with his wife as longtime “dorm parents” in a girls’ dormitory. “The Board of Trustees and the Administration were advised of second-hand allegations concerning Mr. Weston observing appropriate boundaries with students,” the letter said. “These allegations relate specifically to his work as a dorm parent at St. George’s in the late 1990s.”

Through his lawyer, Weston rejected the allegations and expressed frustration with what he had thought would be a brief leave. Lawyer Paul V. Kelly told the Globe that Weston “served as dorm parent at the school for 16 years — without a single student complaint or expression of concern.”

“He was a loyal and good soldier for the school and agreed to what he understood would likely be a very short period of administrative leave while the independent investigator reviewed the specious allegation against him. It has now been four months, and unfortunately he is still in limbo,” Kelly said.

Since December, more than 40 alumni of the elite Episcopal prep school in Middletown, R.I., have told lawyers that they were victims of sexual abuse there from faculty or other students, mostly in the 1970s and 1980s. In January, Martin Murphy was appointed by the board and the victims to investigate abuse allegations.

“Since the independent investigation was beginning at this same time, we asked Mr. Murphy and his team ... to include [the Weston] matter in their inquiry,” Peterson and Heaney wrote in their e-mail. “As always, our paramount concern is to ensure that St. George’s is a healthy and safe environment for all. It is important to note, however, that we also believe in due process.”

Weston, who has been at the school for 26 years, has also served as a classroom teacher and associate head of school. His wife, Ann, is events coordinator in the development office. He was a dorm parent in Auchincloss Dormitory from 1990 until 2006, when he and his wife moved off campus.

Kelly said Weston is the victim of “a several-year-old issue originating from a disgruntled former faculty member.”

“My understanding of the allegation is that,while he was serving as a dorm parent, in the 1999-2000 school year, he failed to abide by appropriate privacy or boundary” guidelines, Kelly said. “That he inadvertently may have seen one of the students changing or coming out of the shower wrapped in a towel. Mr. Weston says that is ridiculous.”

Kelly said Weston told him: “For 16 years, my house was such that I came to the (dorm) doorway that immediately had a shower room on the right. I always told the girls, close the door, close the door. The notion that I was somehow intentionally lurking trying to see girls changing is ludicrous, and there was never a complaint from them along those lines.’” Peterson was told of the allegations against Weston, Kelly said, within the last couple of years.

Attorney Carmen Durso, who along with Eric MacLeish is representing some of the St. George’s victims, said they turned over complaints about Weston to the school’s attorneys in January.

A year ago, St. George’s launched an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by staff and students at the hilltop school after pressure from a MacLeish client who says she was raped by the athletic trainer in the late 1970s. The investigator, Will Hannum, was dismissed in early January when it emerged that he is not only the law partner of the school’s then-counsel but also her husband.

Kelly said that Weston spoke to Hannum, whose investigation resulted in a December report documenting 26 victims of sexual abuse at the school. Weston has not yet spoken to the new investigator, Murphy.


"St. George’s cancels “healing” session on sex abuse scandal during alumni weekend" by Bella English Globe Staff  April 23, 2016

After threats of boycotts and other protests from angry victims of sexual abuse, St. George’s School is altering its plans to hold a “Hope for Healing” session on its Rhode Island campus during an alumni reunion weekend next month.

On Wednesday, headmaster Eric Peterson wrote to alumni about a gathering to “address this deeply troubling and painful chapter in our school’s history.” The session was to be held in the chapel of the Episcopal prep school, during Alumni Weekend, scheduled for May 6-8.

But late Friday afternoon, board chairwoman Leslie Heaney sent out a second letter to alumni, stating that the initial letter about the proposed “Hope for Healing” session had “upset many survivors.”

St. George’s now plans to provide alumni with an update on the investigation into the sex abuse scandal and will have “a gathering to acknowledge the terrible and irreparable harm that occurred to some of our alumni,” the letter stated....

“It is premature to talk about healing.”


St. George’s board committee meets with victims’ group

I'm wide awake now.

"Worcester police arrested a 22-year-old man Thursday morning for allegedly harassing three teen girls on their way to school the day before, officials said. Fredy Cruz, 22, is scheduled to return to court May 5."


"A federal judge lashed out at a Pennsylvania man Thursday for “sextorting” a young woman from the Boston area that he met on the Internet. James F. Connor V, 20, befriended the then-teenaged girl in 2012 and convinced her to carry out sexually explicit acts on Internet video chats. He preserved those images without her consent, then threatened to release them to her parents and friends when she sought to end their relationship. He also ordered her to carry out more acts under the same threat. US District Judge William G. Young sentenced Connor to time served — he spent 27 days in prison, and ordered him to pay a $5,000 fine and perform 500 hours of community service at a shelter for battered women."

RelatedEx-State Department worker gets nearly 5 years in ‘sextortion’ case


"Milford school waited to tell police about abuse, report finds" by Jeremy C. Fox Globe Staff  April 07, 2016

An aide at a Milford residential school for children and adolescents with severe developmental disabilities struck a teenage boy in the face so hard that it ruptured his eardrum, according to a report released Thursday by the Disability Law Center.

Doctors found that the 17-year-old, while in off-campus housing provided and staffed by the Evergreen Center, had suffered a blunt force trauma and had 18 new and older bruises on his face, all four limbs, and his buttocks, according to the 13-page report.

That would be keeping me up.

Medical staff who treated the teen were “really quite aghast at how brutally he was hurt,” said Stanley J. Eichner, litigation director for the Boston-based law center. The law center did not find evidence that other students were abused. But it faulted the school for investigating the incident internally before notifying authorities.

The aide was quickly placed on leave, then fired by the school Nov. 4. The Worcester district attorney’s office did not return calls asking whether the aide had been charged.

The investigation by the law center, an independent group empowered by the federal government to protect the disabled, showed that school workers found bruises on the boy for about two weeks leading up to the incident, which occurred on Halloween.

The worst injuries apparently occurred at bedtime that night, when the teenager refused to put on his pajamas, and were inflicted by an aide who recently had been demoted and had complained about the reassignment, as well as being required to work on his weekend off, the report says.

The school did not immediately call the state Department of Children and Families when it became apparent the teenager had been abused, instead waiting a day until it completed its internal investigation.

The law center contends that the school violated state law by waiting, and that the delay and the school’s failure to notify police constitute neglect for the safety of other students.

Evergreen denies that any students were in danger after the Oct. 31 incident and said its policy for reporting suspected abuse is reasonable because students with disabilities often injure themselves intentionally or accidentally.

The law center also says the school neglected the victim by failing to respond to bruises noticed earlier. The school acknowledges that the bruises should have raised a red flag but says its inaction does not legally constitute neglect.

The Evergreen Center said it has since introduced a new staff training on behavioral issues, added additional team meetings, and modified several job descriptions to include a six-month probation with greater supervision. It also has clarified its policy on notifying police of abuse and begun requiring demoted staff members to discuss new roles with a supervisor.

The law center called on the school to pay closer attention to workers who might be disgruntled....

So take it out on the mentally-challenged who are helpless.



"BU professor accused of sexually harassing students" by Laura Krantz Globe Staff  April 12, 2016

A current and former Boston University student have filed a lawsuit that accuses a prominent music professor of sexually harassing them and that says the college failed to rein in his behavior.

The complaint, filed Tuesday in Suffolk Superior Court, says administrators knew that Eric Ruske, an internationally recognized French horn player, had a propensity to harass young women based on previous reports.

The women, Erin Shyr and Maria Currie, accuse Ruske of harassing them in person and via e-mail and text messages, including asking for photos of them. Ruske allegedly harassed Currie in 2013, then Shyr the following year, at BU’s College of Fine Arts.

Shyr, 21, is still a BU student and Currie, 22, attends the New England Conservatory. The women seek unspecified damages and attorneys’ fees.

“The problem is that this is a habit and a behavior of his,” Shyr said in a phone interview. “[Administrators] were excusing him by saying this is just his personality.”

Ruske, who is out of the country, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Ruske has played with top orchestras around the country and won international horn competitions. He has taught at BU since 1990, and was approximately 50 years old when he taught the two students, according to the complaint.

Ruske had a reputation for making “offensive, vulgar, and sexually charged statements to students,” the complaint said, which male students found funny and women found offensive.

In a meeting with Currie, according to the suit, Ruske compared her trumpet performance to sex, saying that listening to her play made him feel like the two were having intercourse.

At one point, Currie told Ruske she would have a recital the following semester. “And the last thing you need is some creepy old guy in the front row,” Ruske texted, according to the complaint. “You can always send pix. . . ”

A few weeks later, Ruske apologized for his comments. “I probably owe you an apology . . . I’m really sorry if I made you uncomfortable,” he wrote, the complaint alleges.

The following semester, Shyr experienced similar behavior from Ruske, the complaint says, when she was in a woodwind chamber group that he coached.

Ruske e-mailed Shyr during spring break and said “maybe you’ll share a cute pic with me. . . ,” including a winking emoticon, according to the complaint.

A few weeks later, Ruske began to greet Shyr with hugs and kisses on the cheek, and once his hand grazed her lower back, the complaint says.

Ultimately, both women reported the incidents to administrators in the fine arts college and in other parts of the university, according to the complaint. The university did not punish Ruske or find ways to ensure he would not interact with them, the complaint says.

Officials in the fine arts college who handle sexual assault complaints told both women that because of Ruske’s “vibrant and effusive” personality, he might have been unaware that he violated the school’s sexual harassment policies, the lawsuit says.

“It was really angering, honestly, to learn that I had reached out to them multiple times and that what I didn’t want to have happen — that Ruske harass someone else — it literally happened again” Currie said in a phone interview.

The psychological effects of the harassment affected the academic performance and well-being of both women, the complaint says.

BU is among the 11 Massachusetts colleges under investigation by the Department of Education in relation to its compliance with Title IX, which governs how schools should respond to claims of sexual harassment....


RelatedOrchestra rescinds invitation to BU professor

Also see:

Boston University reaches $1b fund-raising goal

BU, adjuncts reach contract settlement

"The death of a Boston University student is under investigation after his body was found on campus Wednesday. BU officials said the body was found on the roof of the lounge on the first floor of Kilachand Hall, a dormitory near Kenmore Square. The ninth-floor study hall was closed because of the investigation, officials said. BU spokesman Colin Riley said the student did not live in the dorm. He referred other questions about the death to Boston police, saying they were the primary investigative agency. Police received a call about the body at 8:54 a.m., a department spokeswoman said. No details on the student or the death were released."


"BYU’s treatment of rape victims questioned" by Hallie Golden Associated Press  April 20, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY — Madeline MacDonald was an 18-year-old freshman at Brigham Young University when she was sexually assaulted by a man she met on an online dating site.

She reported the crime to the school’s Title IX office. That same day, she says, BYU’s honor code office received a copy of the report, triggering an investigation into whether MacDonald had violated the Mormon school’s strict code of behavior, which bans premarital sex and drinking, among other things.

Now MacDonald is among many students and others, including a Utah prosecutor, who are questioning BYU’s practice of investigating victims, saying it could discourage women from reporting sexual violence and hinder criminal cases. Tens of thousands have signed an online petition calling on the university to give victims immunity from honor code violations committed in the lead-up to a sexual assault.

This week, BYU announced that in light of such concerns, the school will reevaluate the practice and consider changes....


RelatedPolice criticize BYU investigations into sex assault victims


Baylor University claims no sex offenses in 4 years, raising skepticism

"When Texas’s conservative Legislature passed a law requiring public universities to allow concealed guns on campus, it also gave the state’s private institutions of higher learning the chance to follow suit. None has so far. More than 20 private schools have said they won’t lift their gun bans when the law takes effect this August, including the state’s largest private universities that have religious affiliations and often align with the type of conservative values espoused by the politicians behind the law. The opposition reflects a widespread belief even among conservative university leaders that guns have no place in the classroom. ‘‘My own view is that it is a very unwise public policy,’’ Baylor President Ken Starr, a former prosecutor and judge best known for his work on the Whitewater investigation involving President Bill Clinton, said late last year."

"It was the kind of rhetoric that seemed out of place at an institution of higher learning, but such advice was not part of the debates about issues of race, class, and sexuality."


$15 million gift to help bolster Tufts’ Tisch College

Tufts Health Plan lifts restrictions on hepatitis C drugs

They have seen the light.


Suffolk University faces renewed tension

A cloud of discord is still looming and a series of recent events raises new questions about the future of the besieged school, and in addition, the school faces renewed scrutiny from accreditors and professors say morale has plummeted.

Suffolk trustees approve new bylaws

‘Congrats, you’ve been admitted to Suffolk University!’

You know who runs it?


"Buried coffee can of child porn may implicate teacher" by Michael Melia Associated Press  April 15, 2016

HARTFORD — Lawyers descended on a Connecticut boarding school with shovels last fall, and may do it again when the ground thaws this spring, in a search for what a former student says is proof against a child-molesting teacher: a buried coffee can containing sexually explicit photos from more than 30 years ago.

The dig is just the latest development in a cluster of sexual abuse allegations against the 250-student Indian Mountain School that are now making their way toward trial....



"Former WPI fraternity brother charged with rape" by J.D. Capelouto Globe Correspondent  April 22, 2016

A former student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute was charged with rape Thursday, nearly three months after his fraternity brothers reported the alleged sexual assault to school officials, authorities said.

Luke Brady, 19, of Ridgefield, Conn., was released after posting $2,000 bail following his arraignment in Worcester District Court, said Tim Connolly, a spokesman for the Worcester District Attorney’s office.

Judge Paul L. McGill also ordered Brady to have no contact with the victim, a female student at the school. Brady must also not contact any witnesses and must stay away from all WPI property, Connolly said.

Brady, who was also brought before the school’s judicial system, no longer attends WPI, Philip Clay, vice president of student affairs and dean of students, said in a statement.

“WPI takes the issue of sexual assault very seriously,” he said.

“We are committed to the health and well-being of our students, and we do not tolerate violence of any kind.”

On the morning of Sunday, Jan. 31, Brady’s fraternity brothers reported to a school official that “one of their brothers allegedly sexually assaulted a female WPI student at some point the night before,” Clay said in the statement.

The fraternity was not identified. The report was made to a deputy coordinator of Title IX, the law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program.

Clay would not comment further, citing federal privacy laws.



"A sex-abuse scandal at Phillips Exeter Academy widened on Tuesday, as police said they are investigating “multiple allegations of misconduct and abuse” involving former faculty members at the prestigious New Hampshire boarding school."

"The revelations could affect Governor Maggie Hassan’s bid to unseat Republican US Senator Kelly Ayotte, a first-term lawmaker challenged by running during a presidential election year in a state that has voted Democratic in the past three White House contests. The censure of former principal Tom Hassan, husband of New Hampshire’s governor, is part of the growing fallout. Hassan, locked in a closely watched US Senate race in New Hampshire, sought to inoculate herself Friday from any connection to Schubert. In 2012, when she ran for governor, Hassan listed Schubart as a member of her campaign’s Rockingham County Steering Committee. He has also been a regular contributor to Hassan’s campaigns. Phillips Exeter canceled a major fund-raiser planned for next week."

The name has been disgraced, and another sex scandal at an elite private school isn't helping.

Time to put her campaign to rest.


Speaking of $crewings:

"College students dig deep to donate to candidates" by Akilah Johnson Globe Staff  April 22, 2016

Some were graduate students with cash reserves. Others were surviving on student loans and summer jobs. And a few acknowledged that their donation actually came with help from mom and dad.

Naomi Bernstein, a creative writing student at the University of Pennsylvania, was vacationing with her parents on Nantucket this summer when they heard Clinton speak at a fund-raiser. She gave Clinton $2,700 — or at least her parents did.

“My parents were supporting me,” the 22-year-old said. “I was like gung-ho, 100 percent voting for Hillary Clinton.”

Laura Brindley, a senior at Wellesley College who says Clinton inspired her to attend the women’s liberal arts college, went to a fund-raiser with her mother when she was home in Seattle for the summer.

“My mom gave enough to take me,” said the 22-year-old French and political science major at Clinton’s alma mater. “I would never turn down an opportunity [to] meet Hillary.”

Although Bernstein’s and Brindley’s money is with Clinton, they say their loyalties are now with Sanders. Both said they changed their minds about whom to support after they donated.


Third-party contributions — that is, a donation given on behalf of someone else — are usually considered illegal, according to campaign finance experts. But those experts also caution the law is tricky when students give donations at an age when they remain an extension of their parents’ finances.


Former Federal Election Commission chairman Michael E. Toner said there are three basic requirements for individual political contributions: It has to be the donor’s money, the donor must be old enough to know what he or she is doing, and he or she can’t be reimbursed for the contribution.

“It gets more challenging with kids who are giving max contributions and they have no jobs and their parents are major donors who have contributed the max themselves,” Toner said. “It’s a tough scenario.”


That wasn’t the case for Andrew Bernstein, a biology major at Carleton College in Minnesota, who gave Clinton $2,700, basically emptying his savings account of the money he earned at his summer job.

“It’s hard to be a Hillary supporter,” said Bernstein, 20, noting that many of his schoolmates support Sanders.

John Dolan, a senior at Boston University, cut a check for $500 for Clinton.

“My mother — thank God — money for birthdays and stuff, she never let me spend it,” the 22-year-old said, adding that he also works as a waiter. “A lot of kids aren’t donating because they think their $5 or $10 doesn’t matter.”

Phillip Geer, a graduate student at UMass Amherst, has given Sanders a total of $310. He acknowledges it’s “a lot to me. Right now, I’m on loans.” He gives when the mood strikes: When Sanders won the New Hampshire primary, or when he’s just “thinking about it.”

GOP front-runner Donald Trump received just 16 student donations — none at the maximum amount — for a total of $2,376. US Senator Ted Cruz of Texas received nearly 800 student donations — including 18 at the maximum amount — and Ohio Governor John Kasich had about 115 donations from students, six for $2,700.

Sanders’ popularity runs deep among younger voters, especially among millennials. Polls show Sanders has overwhelming support among voters under 30 years old. Clinton has acknowledged that enthusiasm gap, saying young people “may not support me now, but I support them.”

It’s possible that both campaigns raised more from students than donation reports show. The federal government doesn’t require campaigns to itemize contributions under $200, meaning they don’t have to collect and report the name, address, occupation, and employer of donors who give small amounts.

Clinton’s campaign said it does not itemize individual contributions under $200, but plenty of them still show up on campaign fund-raising reports. Campaign fund-raising records show the smallest contribution Clinton and Sanders received was $1.

“The reality is today most contributions are made with a credit card or online or with a check, so that means the candidate gets the name of even very small donors,” said Paul S. Ryan, the deputy executive director of the Campaign Legal Center, a watchdog group for campaign finance law.

Campaigns often list their small donors because it helps shape political narratives, political analysts said.

Sanders’ campaign aides did not return an e-mail seeking comment about whether they listed all of their small donors, but his campaign finance reports are filled with $3 and $27 donations — odd-numbered amounts frequently suggested in his fund-raising e-mail pleas for cash.

Lucas Benjamin, a 20-year-old at Brown University, has given Sanders $5 here and there, occasionally giving a $50 or $20 donation, according to campaign finance reports. The Pittsfield native said his small donation feels like a tangible connection to something larger and important.

“As a student, normally I never donate,” said Benjamin, a sophomore with a work-study job. “A dollar I give to Bernie goes a lot further than a dollar I would give to anyone else because I know that he needs it.”

Then there are those students like Christopher Eaton, whose periodic giving to Sanders adds up to a lump sum of $986, federal campaign fund-raising reports show. The 21-year-old political science major at Clark University has given 60 times to Sanders between November and February.

“Sanders’ message of moving America more to a socialist democracy is really appealing to me,” Eaton said. “If Bernie were to become president, it would, in a certain kind of weird way, feel like I would also be part of the White House.”


The state is also going to help them kick a contribution their way!

Millennials can’t afford down payments for homes

Must be the campaign contributions.

Millennial women save less than men for retirement

Must be the position.

"The term ‘‘millennial’’ comes with many different connotations. They like socialism. They don’t eat much breakfast cereal. They save more money than previous generations. They enjoy a work-life balance, and they often don’t think they’re millennials. Now, they’re the largest living generation in the United States. The number of millennials is rising partly due to an influx of young immigrants. A 2014 White House report on millennials stated, ‘‘Millennials are immigrants or the children of immigrants who arrived in the United States as part of an upsurge in immigration that began in the 1940s.”


The White House is trying to blame immigration in the 1940s for today's problem? 

Have they no shame? 

Yeah, everything is great if you are a millennial!

"Millennials don’t like socialism or capitalism, poll says" by James Pindell Globe Staff  April 25, 2016

I was just told.... never mind.

A national poll of millennials found a majority of those surveyed don’t support capitalism or socialism, and they generally have a negative view about the future of the United States.

The Harvard Institute of Politics survey, released Monday, showed that the 18- to 29-year old generation, struggling with student debt and an uneven economy, had a dire outlook on the country.

“Young Americans are sending a strong message. They care deeply about the future, but are concerned that the current state of our institutions and our politics is not sufficient to meet our nation’s challenges,” said institute polling director John Della Volpe. “We hope that in the remaining months of the campaign, candidates from both parties work to rebuild the trust that’s been eroded and inspire millennials to not only vote, but engage in civic life.”

The kids aren't as dumb as you thought.

In the presidential race, the Democratic Party appeared to be the better option among the more than 3,000 surveyed over three weeks in late March and early April.

In a hypothetical match-up between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, Clinton has a 36-percentage point advantage. Clinton leads Trump, 61 percent to 25 percent, with 14 percent of respondents saying they were unsure about the race.

Trump is hurt by his lack of support from young Republicans in the poll. His score is lower than a generic Republican candidate.

The poll showed US Senator Bernie Sanders was the only candidate who was more liked than disliked by survey respondents.

The survey showed that millennials were also distrustful of institutions in general. They expressed distrust for Wall Street, Congress, the president, and most of the media.

The one institution that more than 50 percent of respondents said they trusted was the military.

The millennial age group also largely rejected labels in the poll. Less than half identified themselves as feminists or patriots, though 57 percent said they backed the concept of patriotism.

What’s more, fewer than half of the millennial respondents expressed confidence that the criminal justice system was fair and without bias....



"A Massachusetts college student who was arrested for drunkenly entering a home in Santa Fe simply made an unfortunate mistake, his attorney said Sunday. Stephen Aarons is disputing allegations that 22-year-old Garrett Curran started a physical fight when confronted by the homeowner. Police say Curran wandered into a home around 3 a.m. Saturday, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican. He then fell asleep at the foot of a bed occupied by a 7-year-old girl. The child woke up and got her father. Authorities said Curran initiated a fight with the father, who held him down until police arrived. But he was not in a condition to fight, Aarons said. Curran was booked on suspicion of breaking and entering, criminal trespass and child abuse for fighting in front of the girl. The Worcester Polytechnic Institute student was scheduled to be in Santa Fe for the next two months to work on a school project."


Brockton High student gets into 7 Ivy League schools

He left out Yale.

How dispute over Bayside Expo sign is thwarting development

Lawyer says public deserves to see Mont. records

“We don’t care” just about sums it up.

Parents cause clashes at Easter egg hunts in Conn., Vt.

Easter egg hunts turn ugly after being ‘bum-rushed’ by parents

I think I just laid one.