Saturday, July 1, 2017

Slow Saturday Reboot

Perfunctory matter as this post will push all titles below under the heading of June.

"South Station could get upgrade" by Tim Logan Globe Staff  June 30, 2017

Ashkenazy Acquisition, a New York developer of retail properties, has agreed to buy a 98-year lease for the transit station’s concourse and upstairs office space for nearly $125 million, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The deal, which is set to be completed later this summer, is separate from a plan by another developer to build an office and condominium tower over South Station’s tracks.

Boston’s train stations are fast becoming hubs for development.

Ashkenazy owns several high-profile buildings in Manhattan, as well as busy urban marketplaces in Miami, Baltimore, and San Antonio. Since 2007, it has operated Washington’s Union Station — one of the nation’s busiest train stations — which doubles as a large shopping center. It has brought in national retailers, restored the station’s historic main hall, and is planning a boutique hotel.

The company has had a presence in Boston since 2011, when it took over Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Plans for major renovations there stalled amid opposition from longtime merchants, but Ashkenazy has brought in new local management and has begun pushing ahead with more modest tweaks designed, in part to attract more local shoppers to the tourist destination.

How shameful.

While sources said Ashkenazy is just beginning to figure out what it might do at South Station, people who have spoken with company officials say they hope to bring in more retail and restaurants designed to serve nearby residents and office workers, not just people getting on or off trains and buses.

Beyond the Ashkenazy deal, an even bigger transformation could be ahead for South Station. Houston-based developer Hines wants to build a 51-story office and condominium tower over the train tracks. The 677-foot skyscraper, which would rise above the train shed behind the historic station with an entrance along Atlantic Avenue, would be the biggest new office building in downtown Boston in decades.

The complicated project has been in the works for more than a decade, but in the last year Hines has refined it, brought in new investors, and pushed the plans through the city permitting process. Now it’s negotiating details with MassDOT. Recently, the state extended Hines’s development rights through the end of this year, a company spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, state transportation officials are planning a rail expansion that would add seven more tracks, enabling more trains to stop, and commuters to pass through South Station.

All of it, said David Begelfer, president of real estate trade group NAIOP Massachusetts, will make South Station an even busier place. If Ashkenazy is smart, he said, it will take advantage of the heightened level of activity.

“I think they’re looking to transform the place, and good for them,” he said. “It’s a vibrant area, at the confluence of so many different parts of the city, and you have so many people going through. There’s a lot of room to invest.”


All the properties are being bought up by the billionaires.

Might want to slow down a little:

"MBTA hits pause on commuter rail WiFi plan" by Adam Vaccaro Globe Staff  June 30, 2017

The MBTA hit pause on a plan to improve wireless Internet service on Greater Boston’s commuter rail trains Friday amid opposition from several nearby communities.

Gives you something to do when they are stalled or late. The system is bankrupt and falling apart and they are concerned about WiFi spying on you.

The T announced it would step back and conduct a 30-day “assessment” of the project, which would involve installing more than 300 75-foot towers along the rail lines that would create better wireless and cellular connections, but leaders in some cities and towns have been protesting the plan, arguing the towers would disrupt historic and residential areas. Additionally, elected officials and members of the public were given little opportunity to weigh in on the proposal, critics said.

Now they’ll have the opportunity, the T said Friday.

Oh, how gracious of the self-anointed tyranny of the public service.

The MBTA declined to make anyone available for an interview, and officials did not respond to e-mailed questions, but Alex Vispoli, a selectman in Andover, celebrated the T’s announcement Friday.

One of the pre$$'s boasts over bloggers is that authority must answer them. HA! They will eagerly pick up the phone for their next handout, 'er, story, and if they cross the li9ne their source will dry up. They run cover for corporate and authority, folks. It's a rich man's mouthpiece.

David Perry, an Ashland resident and activist for better commuter rail service, said he is looking forward to the wireless connectivity upgrade. Rail line abutters should understand that “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,” Perry said.

What country have you been living in? This isn't Star Trek!

InMotion would install the system, shouldering the $140 million cost, and share 7.5 percent of revenue from sponsorships, infrastructure leasing, and a premium wireless service with the T. The system would include a free service for commuters.

InMotion was acquired this year by another telecommunications firm, BAI Communications, which did not respond to a request for comment.

When the T began notifying cities and towns of the upcoming project, some decried the project due to the size of the towers, while others criticized the T’s communication and outreach strategy.....

Yeah, we are doing this. No thought or concern for how you would feel.

That's government in AmeriKa these days.


Stop your bickering!

"City worker was put on leave after altercation outside his Dorchester home" by Meghan E. Irons Globe Staff  July 01, 2017

A city employee was put on paid leave for five days in June, Boston officials confirmed, following allegations that he attacked a man outside his Dorchester home.

Stephen Bickerton Jr., an assistant director in the Public Facilities Department, and his accuser, Christopher Dahl, appeared Friday in a closed-door hearing in Dorchester District Court.

The hearing — in which both men presented their account of the altercation — was held to determine if there is probable cause for Dahl to proceed with his complaint. Dahl alleges that Bickerton attacked him and called him an offensive name, according to an incident report.

Bickerton — through his attorney, James F. Kelley of Acucity Law LLC — has denied the allegations.

The matter stems from a June 7 altercation that began around 1:30 a.m. outside Bickerton’s home. Dahl, in a report to police and an interview with the Globe, said he and his boyfriend were walking to the boyfriend’s home when Bickerton ran out of his house yelling and screaming. 

Nothing good ever happens after midnight, have you noticed that?

Two police officers who responded to the altercation reported that Bickerton told them that he and his girlfriend were awakened to the sound of two men screaming at each other outside Bickerton’s window, the police incident report said.

Bickerton said “he asked them to move along, but they started threatening him,” the report said.

He told police that he came outside to confront the two men, pushed one of them during an argument, and saw him slip on the sidewalk, the report said.

Wrong move.

Dahl said he told the officers at the scene that when Bickerton came out to confront them, Bickerton screamed and threatened the two men. Dahl said Bickerton punched him in the face before returning inside, according to the police report.

Dahl told the Globe that Bickerton was holding a golf club, and “he smashed it on the left side of my face,’’ injuring his lip.

In the police report, Bickerton stated “he did not threaten the men with a golf club,’’ and officers said they saw no visible injuries on any of the men. Bickerton’s lawyer said his client also did not use the club to attack Dahl.

Police Lieutenant Detective Michael McCarthy said Boston detectives, the Civil Rights Unit, and the police’s anticorruption division, which probes criminal cases involving city employees, investigated the allegations.

The hearing Friday was to determine if a charge of simple assault and battery, a misdemeanor, should be filed against Bickerton. The clerk magistrate continued the hearing until August “to allow more testimony,’’ Magistrate Anthony Owens said.

Bickerton declined to comment to a reporter at court.


Time for that guy to retire:

"More than 1,500 Fidelity workers take buyouts" by Deirdre Fernandes Globe Staff  June 30, 2017

More than 1,500 workers with Fidelity Investments, most of them long-time employees, have taken a voluntary buyout package, the first the company has offered in its history as it braces for dramatic shifts in money management.

More than half of the 3,000 workers who were offered voluntary buyouts took them, surpassing the company’s expectations, said Vincent Loporchio, a Fidelity spokesman.

Boston-based Fidelity targeted about 7 percent of its workforce, all of them employees who were age 55 or older and had been with the company for at least 10 years. The company employs 45,000 workers in all. 

The higher-paying, benefit-accruing, expecting their labor rights crowd. Now they can fill them with millennials who are getting in on the ground floor and have no $en$e of hi$tory.

In recent weeks, the company has held receptions for departing employees across the country, including one in Boston’s Seaport Hotel.

Fidelity would not say whether the buyouts eliminate the need for future cuts.

In 2016, Fidelity reported record revenue of $15.9 billion and profits topped $3.5 billion, helped by cuts to expenses, but the cornerstone of Fidelity’s investing model — actively managed mutual funds — has been waning in recent years. Fidelity built its reputation on the results of its legendary managers, such as Peter Lynch and Jeff Vinik, who handpicked stocks and outperformed market averages by wide margins.

However, after the financial crisis, investors who were spooked by the losses experienced by many money managers fled to passively managed funds, which are lower cost and rely on computer algorithms.

You getting the message?

Last year, Fidelity’s actively managed mutual funds saw $57.7 billion in outflows, according to its annual report. The company’s stock funds performance also slid, beating only 36 percent of their peers. Longer term, they have outperformed 68 percent of peers over five years.

Fidelity also launched several cheaper, exchange-traded funds in the past year and also reduced fees to undercut competitors.

Those are steps in the right direction, said John Bonnanzio, editor of the independent Fidelity Monitor & Insight, a newsletter in Wellesley, but the company still needs to be more aggressive in selling its funds and services, be quicker in removing underperforming managers, and offer more diverse portfolios, Bonnanzio said.

“In order for Fidelity to avoid another round of buyout offers, there’s a lot of things they need to get right,” he said.

Fidelity offered an extensive buyout package to attract volunteers, including at least four weeks of severance pay for each year of service with more veteran employees qualifying for as much as five or six weeks. The company also allowed workers to remain on the company health care plan for 18 months at the cost they now pay as employees. They could remain on the health care plan after that until age 65, for a higher cost.

The buyouts provide workers who want a career change with a buffer, Loporchio said.

It also gives the company more options for promoting younger workers and for managing its costs, he said.....

Who you looking at?


Where's Abby?

"SEC to let all companies file IPO documents secretly" by Chad Bray New York Times  June 30, 2017

Hoping to encourage more companies to go public, the Securities and Exchange Commission is expanding a program that has allowed smaller businesses and technology startups to keep some details of their finances and business strategies under wraps early in the process of an initial public offering of stock.

A number of companies were previously able to take advantage of confidential filing, including Snap Inc. and Twitter Inc. and the burger chain Shake Shack.

Meaning they can conceal the pump and dump schemes that are pouring money into the markets! Snap and Twitter, after initial highs, crashed before bumping along the bottom.

The companies would be required to file their paperwork publicly at least 15 days before any “road show” to meet with potential investors, the commission said.

The expansion is one of the first major actions by the regulator since Walter J. Clayton, a former partner at the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell, was confirmed as its new chairman.

In more than 20 years at Sullivan & Cromwell, Clayton, who is known as Jay, represented corporate executives, prominent hedge funds and large banks, such as Barclays and Goldman Sachs.....

Ticker tape kept going.



That bring us to..... (puke)..... and yet there he is on my front page again.

"The two hosts also injected an element of supermarket tabloid intrigue by asserting that top White House aides had contacted them to say that they could prevent The National Enquirer from publishing a negative article about them if they called the president, apologized for criticizing him on their show, and asked for his forgiveness. Trump soon fired back with a rejoinder, posting on Twitter that it was the other way around — that Scarborough had initiated an attempt to stop the Enquirer story — which the host then denied in a tweet of his own, saying he had records to prove he was right. The exchange kept the spotlight on the coarse and personal criticism Trump directed at the two hosts Thursday....."

You know what is reading like a tabloid these days (as blog editor waggles head from side to side)? 

Btw, Enquirer did get John Edwards love-child story right months before pre$$ acceptance after months of dismissals.

I know, I know, lighten up.

"Trump is very loyal to his friends.  Nobody wants to say it, but Mika was extremely close to Trump and Melania, and I believe Trump lashed out as he feared Mika was trying to talk Melania into leaving him.  Of course, Trump's big betrayal, in the world of entertainment, is publicly outing a face lift. I also think St. Clair should be more charitable to Trump, who actually seems to be the only thin reed holding his crazed staffers and cabinet and their Khazar masters back from starting WWIII." --xymphora

Trump gave his blessing in a Twitter post

It's on life support, and with little fanfare:

"Democrats say the measure comes too close to mixing church and state. They say religious leaders already have First Amendment rights, just like anyone else. But if they want to get political, they don’t have a right not to pay taxes. Some also worry that the measure could upend the system of campaign financing by allowing churches to use their tax-free status to funnel money to political candidates. Representative Richard Neal, Democrat of Massachusetts who represents Springfield and the western part of the state, recalled a speech that President Kennedy gave to religious leaders when he was running for president. ‘‘He said the pope wouldn’t tell him what to do, and the people in that audience shouldn’t be telling people on Sunday morning who to vote for,’’ Neal said. ‘‘I don’t think churches should be endorsing.’’ Some nonprofit groups want to avoid politics....."

That's a good idea!!! 

Court fights on travel ban expected

All of a sudden my Zioni$t war pre$$ has taken up the Iranian cause.

Sessions hopes Russia inquiry ends soon

The US-Russian relationship deteriorated during Barack Obama’s eight years in office when his administration slapped sanctions on Moscow over its annexation of Crimea.  Mueller was appointed FBI director by Republican President George W. Bush and held the position for 12 years.

They didn't annex Crimea (sigh), and Mueller is involved in so much nefarious sh** it is obvious he is a tool of the establishment. Not feeling nostalgic for Obummer, either.

Related: New York Times Forced To Retract Longstanding '17 Intel Agencies' Lie About Russian Hacking

Also see: Galvin rejects White House request for voter data

Here he is blowing his horn again:

"Chicago police and federal agents to team up to battle gun violence" by Mitch Smith New York Times   June 30, 2017

CHICAGO — Chicago, where more than 760 people were murdered last year, the most of any US city, has a tense relationship with Donald Trump.

It's not so great in New York or Pennsylvania, either.

Last year, a large protest scuttled Trump’s plans for a campaign rally there. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has frequently criticized the president’s policies, even while saying he would welcome more federal law enforcement.

“Apparently this morning the president saw fit to take a brief break from attacking journalists on Twitter to attack one particular major U.S. city instead,” a spokesman for Emanuel, Adam Collins, said. “If the president was as interested in taking action on public safety as he is in tweeting about it, we would have seen these resources months ago.”

In February, shortly after Trump’s inauguration, the ATF announced that it would send more agents to Chicago. And this week, police officials said the ATF was stationing a mobile ballistics lab in the city for part of the summer, the season when violence traditionally peaks. But the practical impact remains unclear.

Through Friday, 1,360 shootings had been reported in the city, about 200 fewer than during the same period in 2016. The number of murders — 320 so far this year, compared with 322 at this point last year — has hardly changed.

It is unclear how many officers, prosecutors and ATF agents will be involved in the new effort. The ATF and other federal law enforcement agencies already have large field offices in Chicago.....

The first foray into full-blown martial law?


I don't remember the last time I was in Chicago, and they can't even get a budget together.

"The fire, which is about 100 miles north of Phoenix, triggered evacuations for thousands of residents in a half-dozen communities and came close to consuming the town of Mayer....." 

Those fires not drawing nearly as much attention as the item at the top of the page.

Speaking of fires:

"St. Paul’s School investigating new allegations of ‘concerning’ behavior" by John R. Ellement Globe Staff  June 30, 2017

Administrators at St. Paul’s School are once again turning to an outside investigator after students reported “concerning” behavior at the elite private boarding school, just weeks after the school admitted that 13 staffers engaged in sexual misconduct with students over four decades.

In a statement provided Friday by the school’s public relations department, Rector Michael G. Hirschfeld said an outside investigator has been hired to “get to the bottom of what took place.’’

The Concord Monitor reported Thursday that about eight boys in the same dormitory competed in a “game of sexual conquest” where the winners would get their names on a crown. The newspaper’s account broadly mirrors the “senior salute” sexual contest among St. Paul students that played a role in the sexual assault case against former student Owen Labrie.

So the tradition continues, and Labrie has to wonder why he was singled out.

Labrie was acquitted in 2015 of raping Chessy Prout — who was 15 years old at the time — but convicted of misdemeanor sexual assault and child endangerment and was sentenced to a year in prison. A conviction on a felony computer charge required him to register as a sex offender for life.

Prout later spoke out publicly and is writing a book with Boston Globe reporter Jenn Abelson, a member of the newspaper’s Spotlight team, about her experiences.

Cui bono, huh, and now we know who finked on him.

In the wake of the Monitor report, the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence questioned why school administrators have not done more to try to change the culture at the school.

“This school has more than a 60 year history of documented sexual assault on its campus,” coalition spokeswoman Amanda Grady Sexton said in a statement.....

It's a different cla$$ of people, and don't you want them to be prepared for the world they will inherit?


Time to mop this up.

"They’ve tuned out the real news. They don’t have to verify.

Gulf of Tonkin? Babies thrown out of Kuwaiti incubators? Iraq's WMD? Chemical weapons attacks in Syria?

People vote irrationally, against their interests, time and again. Despite being an obvious demagogue and charlatan, in a democracy, people get what they deserve.

Actually, the American people have been consistently voting for the -- what appeared to be anyway -- the more antiwar candidate. That's what brought Obama and Trump to power. So we are not getting what we deserve, we are getting hoodwinked my a massive propaganda operation with accompanying imagery and illusion from the pre$$.

The Democratic Party used to fight for increases in the minimum wage. Hillary Clinton was raised as a Republican. She did not talk much about raising the minimum wage or raising the standard of living for the bottom rung of American workers. What does it mean to be a Democrat in America anymore? Who and what does the Democratic Party represent right now?

They represent the party of identity politics, playing to $pecial intere$ts, and they are nothing more than Republican-lite. That's why it's the social issues that are the focus; they can't do anything about the corporate fa$ci$m (that provides the campaign loot) or ceaseless war machine grinding down the planet.

Who and what does the Republican Party represent right now? Given the two choices, I’ll take the Dems every time. 

The reason Republicans and conservatives are ascendent and the Democrats leaderless is because, as Harry Truman said, given the choice between a Republican and a real Republican, the American people will take the real Republican every time. They stab you in the heart from the front; the Democrats clap an arm around your shoulders and then shove the shiv between your shoulder blades. And no one stands up to Israel.

So instead of featuring a serious and thoughtful rebuttal to all the anti-Trump and anti-Republican rants this paper usually publishes, it instead chooses to publish a snarky and satirical list of perceived qualities a “Trump voter” is assumed to value in this administration. What is the sense of having a coherent debate or conversation with people who may have other political leanings, right Boston Globe? I’m not a fan of President Trump, but I sure am sick of all these shallow and arrogant takes on people who may not hold liberal political views. 

I couldn't have said it better myself, and I'm not even a Trump voter.

Once again, Ralph Nader is the smartest guy in an empty room. The only thing funnier than his sarcastic column is the idea that a third-party candidate can win an election.....

They gave him an op-ed after hating the man 15 years ago.


Have a Good Life, readers.