Friday, March 16, 2018

..... Out Like a Lion

You can smell the fear throughout the place after this roar:

"Two state representatives excoriate Speaker DeLeo on House floor over non-disclosure agreements" by Joshua Miller and Matt Stout Globe Staff and Globe Correspondent   March 15, 2018

Two state representatives accused Speaker Robert A. DeLeo on Thursday of cloaking years of impropriety in the House through carefully worded nondisclosure and nondisparagement agreements tied to severance payouts. It was an extraordinary allegation and a brazen act of public defiance by two Democrats against the Legislature’s most powerful official.

Representative Diana DiZoglio, elected in 2012, and Representative Angelo M. Scaccia, the House’s longest-serving representative, made the charge on the House floor during a tense debate over an update to the House’s sexual harassment policies.

DeLeo said that since Jan. 1, 2010, 33 outgoing employees of the House “were offered a small severance payment in exchange for executing a written agreement.” He said none of the agreements were to settle complaints of sexual harassment.

But DiZoglio insisted that was misleading.

“I’m deeply disappointed,” DiZoglio charged from the House floor, “that it’s been said that these [sexual harassment] agreements don’t exist. It’s clearly not true. But the technical reason why that’s allowed to be said is because those responsible for requiring these NDAs in the past have been very careful in choosing not to document within the language of these agreements why certain employees have had to sign them. The process has been broken for a really long time.”

She later added, “These silencing tactics have no place in this House. They cover up misdeeds by politicians and others and they empower perpetrators to move from one victim to the next.”

Scaccia, who has long had a fractious relationship with DeLeo, wondered aloud how much public money had been spent “to silence 33 people.”

Addressing DeLeo, Scaccia said, “Mr. Speaker, there is a great song by Simon & Garfunkel. And it’s called ‘The Sound of Silence.’ And that’s what’s been happening in this chamber for too long.”

Scaccia, a Vietnam War veteran first elected in 1972, called on Attorney General Maura Healey to investigate the House’s use of the nondisclosure agreements, saying the House should “let her find out what happened in the past.” Healey’s office declined to comment.

In a statement, DeLeo disputed DiZoglio and Scaccia’s charge.

“The comments of the two representatives that agreements were used by the House to cover up wrongdoing are based on irresponsible speculation,” he said. “The fact that the House today enacted a provision that waives any non-disclosure or non-disparagement provision of any agreement executed prior to today directly refutes their irresponsible speculation. The rule adopted today specifically waives any non-disclosure or non-disparagement provision of any existing agreement and allows any current or former member, officer or employee of the House to report or discuss a claim of sexual harassment or retaliation based on sexual harassment.”

The speaker also dismissed the need for Healey’s office to step in, saying the House had previously consulted with her office.

The accusations came in the midst of a debate about an order updating the chamber’s human resources policies and creating a new office to investigate accusations of misconduct against elected officials and staffers.

The policy recommendations, which the House largely adopted Thursday, were the result of a monthslong investigation by the House’s top lawyer aided by outside attorneys.

The House passed an amendment, based largely on language proposed by DeLeo, that waived any previous nondisclosure agreements. But it kept open the possibility of others in the future.

DiZoglio told her colleagues the history behind what she described as her own nondisclosure agreement, an episode she had described earlier in the week to the Globe.

After DiZoglio, then a legislative aide, and a legislator entered an empty House chamber during a late-night party in the speaker’s office in April 2011, rumors began circulating that they had engaged in inappropriate behavior, sparking a House investigation.

No wonder the bill to help craft brewers has new life on Beacon Hill.

Don't worry; the gondola will take you home.

DiZoglio told the Globe this week that in the wake of that incident, her workplace became a hostile environment, with people in the State House gossiping about her sex life, calling her names behind her back, and even propositioning her. She said the hostility continued even after a House inquiry found that she and the legislator had not behaved inappropriately and had not broken any rules.

Though he was warned not to do so by the speaker’s office, her boss, then-representative Paul Adams, terminated DiZoglio. DiZoglio told the Globe that she informed the speaker’s office about the harassment and hostility and asked his office for help in finding temporary work, though DeLeo disputes the claim that she ever told him or his staff she was being harassed at the time — despite DiZoglio meeting three times with his staff.

As DiZoglio told her story on the floor, she was repeatedly interrupted by Representative Patricia A. Haddad, a top DeLeo lieutenant who was leading the proceedings. However, DiZoglio persisted.

Later, DiZoglio engaged in a heated back-and-forth with state Representative Marjorie C. Decker, who applauded her courage while opposing her push to ban all nondisclosure agreements. All the while, state representatives furiously texted, and at one point a male voice could be heard whispering, “Jesus!”

DeLeo, a Winthrop Democrat, has served as speaker since January 2009, and the House got rid of an eight-year term limit on the position in 2015 at his behest. He tightly controls the chamber and public dissent is rare. 

I wouldn't want to be in his shoes.

Scaccia, during his own floor speech, chided DeLeo for not being in the chamber.

“Mr. Speaker, where are you?” Scaccia said. “Come out. Come out of your office.”

Come out, come out, wherever you are, and meet the young lady who fell from a star!

After the session, Scaccia told the Globe he spoke out, in part, because he took umbrage with the conduct of Haddad and other lawmakers who spoke out against DiZoglio’s amendment on the floor.

“I thought they mistreated her. They cut her off at every avenue,” Scaccia said.

In arguing against DiZoglio’s amendment, state Representative Sarah K. Peake, a Provincetown Democrat, noted the date.

“We sit here on the 15th of March,” she paused for a moment. “The Ides of March,” Peake added, referring to the day on the Roman calendar for settling debts — as well as the day when a powerful leader, Julius Caesar, was betrayed by those closest to him.

Happened to Trump, too.


Did they mention that “these are public tax dollars that are being used to silence people?”

"A lawmaker said the State House’s General Hooker sign is ‘tone deaf.’ Social media responded" by Steve Annear Globe Staff  March 15, 2018

A state elected official is facing blowback on social media after she called for a State House sign dedicated to Civil War General Joseph Hooker to be taken down or modified because she believes his last name is a “double entendre.”

Why? We gotta erase all memory of that painful time in AmeriKan history.

On Wednesday, as students from around the state marched on Beacon Hill as part of the national “Walk Out” protests to call attention to gun violence, state Representative Michelle DuBois posted a photograph of the “General Hooker Entrance” sign on the building to social media and called it “tone deaf” and “patriarchal.”

Those shots will be/are fired above.

“Are you a ‘General Hooker’? Of course not!” DuBois, who represents Brockton, West Bridgewater, and East Bridgewater, wrote on Facebook.

DuBois tied the name “Hooker,” a term that’s commonly used to describe a female sex worker, to the “Me Too” movement, and said the golden-lettered sign should be removed.

“#Metoo — It’s not all about rape and sexual harassment,” she said. “It’s also about disregard for the majority of women’s feelings and dignity for the raising up and false-protection of a statue of a long dead general.”

The entrance to the State House is named after Joseph Hooker, a major general and commander who was born in Hadley and was part of the Peninsula Campaign and the Battle of Antietam during the Civil War, according to a biography on

Historians recall Hooker “as the Union general who led 138,000 troops to bloody defeat” by Confederate General Robert E. Lee during the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863, according to Globe archives.....

Then why was he given a statue? 

I mean, if Lee has to be removed after having won the battle.


I hate to say this, but you gotta take it like a man.

At least city government treats you better.

"The College of the Holy Cross says it will stop using the image of a knight as a logo and mascot even though trustees last month decided to keep the nickname Crusaders for its athletic teams. The president of the Jesuit college, the Rev. Philip Boroughs, wrote in a letter to students, alumni, and staff Wednesday that the depiction of a knight with the moniker Crusader is an inevitable reminder of the religious wars and violence that marked the Crusades. Boroughs says such imagery ‘‘stands in contrast’’ to the college’s stated values’’ but notes the word ‘‘crusader,’’ in its modern sense, means someone who stands for positive principles. In place of a knight, Holy Cross will use an interlocking HC on a purple shield as its primary logo (AP)."


Yeah, what's in a name?

Family that found 7 baseball cards worth millions finds 8th

Just wondering when Cobb's name is going to be removed from things for being such a virulent racist and dirty player.

Paz arrested on assault charge at his home

Man gets 30 years for road rage killing of ex-NFL player

So much for the star treatment of athletes.

Prosecutors drop assault charges in Penn State hazing death

At least it wasn't, you know.....

Cosby women allowed to testify in new trial

Conductor Levine, ousted after sex abuse inquiry, sues Met

He behaved like a caveman.

Swampscott won’t renew contract for transgender principal

Harvard plan for Allston research campus gets boost from city agency

BU-Wheelock merger brings more than 110 layoffs

I'd say they should have formed a union, but.....

"Leaders of a Malden nonprofit accused of harassing and retaliating against employees amid a union drive pushed back against the federal allegations Wednesday, arguing their internal directives to employees are being mischaracterized. Triangle Inc. officials said they vehemently deny allegations leveled in a National Labor Relations Board complaint that they orchestrated a monthslong campaign of harassment, surveillance, and coercion in an attempt to quash union organizing....."

RelatedBoston-area doctors among lowest paid in nation, report says

It's not chump change, but time to form a union or it is over.

"Holmes surrenders Theranos, pays $500K after ‘massive fraud’" by Ken Sweet Associated Press  March 14, 2018

NEW YORK — Elizabeth Holmes, a Stanford University dropout once billed as the ‘‘next Steve Jobs,’’ has forfeited control of Theranos, the blood-testing startup she founded, and will pay $500,000 to settle charges that she oversaw a ‘‘massive fraud.’’

Under an agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Holmes is barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company for 10 years.

No jail?

The settlement comes two years after the SEC, prompted by a Wall Street Journal investigation, began looking into claims that Theranos had made about its potentially revolutionary blood-testing technology.

They got the last drop of blood out of her that they could.

The Journal quoted former employees that suspected the technology was a fraud, and it found that the company was using routine blood-testing equipment for the vast majority of its tests. The story raised concerns about the accuracy of Theranos’s blood testing technology, which put patients at risk of having conditions either misdiagnosed or ignored.

Holmes, 34, founded Theranos in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2003, pitching the company’s technology as a cheaper way to run dozens of blood tests. Once considered the nation’s youngest female billionaire, Holmes said she was inspired to start the company in response to her fear of needles.

At the center of Theranos’s mystique was its ‘‘Edison’’ machine, which the company claimed could test for a variety of diseases through only a few drops of blood from a person’s finger. Despite the hype and company claims, Theranos shared few details on how its Edison machine — named after the inventor — worked.

Theranos attracted extraordinary interest and loaded its board with huge names, mainly elder Washington statesmen, including two former US secretaries of state, Henry Kissinger and George Schultz.

(Blog editor just shakes his head)

Holmes kept strict control over her image, wearing only black turtleneck sweaters in public, much like Steve Jobs, and was the subject of several fawning profiles in business magazines and tech-focused news outlets.

Theranos’s intrigue went beyond just investors and the media. In 2015, Holmes was able to convince the Arizona State Legislature and Governor Doug Ducey to pass a law allowing patients to get blood tests without a doctor’s order, for the direct benefit of Theranos. The company got Walgreens to open store-within-a-store concepts where customers could get their blood tested by Theranos.

After the Journal’s investigation, Theranos and Holmes pushed back hard, and for months refused to acknowledge that its machines were effectively a sham.

Yeah, stick to your lies, 'er, guns.

In late 2016, Theranos began shutting down its clinical labs and wellness centers and laid off more than 40 percent of its full-time employees. The company is rumored to be close to bankruptcy.

Along with the fine announced Wednesday, Holmes agreed to return 18.9 million shares of Theranos that she obtained during the fraud. If the company is sold or liquidated in bankruptcy, Holmes will not profit from any remaining ownership in the company until at least $750 million in proceeds are returned to investors, the SEC said.

Who cares about her?

Theranos said Wednesday that neither the company nor Holmes admitted or denied wrongdoing.

‘‘The company is pleased to be bringing this matter to a close and looks forward to advancing its technology,’’ Theranos said in a prepared statement.....

I'm stunned at the delusional denial. 

Thankfully, the bleeding stopped.


Also seeCambridge biotech startup to pay $150m to license rare disease drug

The next Liz Holmes?

"Flagship Pioneering, one of the biggest local venture firms involved in life sciences, said Wednesday that it has committed $50 million to a biotechnology startup that wants to use a new approach to develop medicines for diseases ranging from cancer to schizophrenia. The Cambridge company, Foghorn Therapeutics, was created in 2016 but has kept a low profile....."

You know, all things be equal:

"A Salem Superior Court judge found a 24-year-old Lynn woman guilty Wednesday of endangering her 4-month-old son, who died after being left “largely unattended” in a homeless shelter, according to the Essex district attorney’s office. Judge Thomas Drechsler found Laci Kirk, who is also known as Laci Brand, guilty of wanton or reckless endangerment of a child and sentenced her to 2.5 years in the House of Corrections, according to the DA’s office....."

She was headed to the mall.

Place your bets:

"Steve and Elaine Wynn got divorced years ago, but their fight over a $4 billion stock fortune ended only this week. Wynn Resorts said in a filing Thursday that the pair, who together control 21 percent of the company, told a Las Vegas court they no longer consider a 2010 agreement between them valid. That frees both to sell their shares in one of the world’s glitziest casino chains after a bitter six-year battle for control of the stock. It was an ugly fight, with Elaine Wynn accusing her ex of reckless spending and worse: covering up a sexual assault allegation brought by an employee through a secret, multimillion-dollar payment. That revelation ultimately led to Steve Wynn’s downfall, with a series of news accounts alleging sexual misconduct. The allegations have triggered probes into the billionaire’s conduct by regulators in Nevada, Massachusetts, and Macau. Steve Wynn has denied assaulting anyone. In court pleadings, Elaine Wynn also questioned her ex-husband’s judgment regarding the promotion and retention of senior officials at the company. Managers were promoted based on loyalty, more than integrity and ability, she said. Wynn claimed her ex-husband misused company resources to support his ‘‘legendary lifestyle.’’ There was no effective protocol, or at least none approved by the board, to oversee his entertainment and travel expenditures, she said. Thursday’s filing said the onetime King of Las Vegas may seek to sell all or a portion of his shares. A spokeswoman for Elaine Wynn declined to comment on her plans."

Printed Globe even provided a photo (2nd one in the roll) of happier times!

Matt Damon moving to Australia


7 Days in Entebbe

I'm so sick of Hollywood and its bulls**.

"In 2003, American activist Rachel Corrie, 23, was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer while trying to block demolition of a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip."

They going to make a movie about that? They can title it "Saint Rachel."

"The former president of ESPN said he resigned from the sports network after an extortion plot by someone who sold him cocaine. John Skipper told the Hollywood Reporter in an interview published Thursday that the drug seller, whom he did not name, tried to extort him in December. He said he hadn't had dealings with the seller before, and previously had been "careful" about buying cocaine. He said he discussed the situation with Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger on Dec. 15, 2017, and they agreed Skipper "had placed the company in an untenable position. He said he used drugs recreationally and that it never impacted his work at ESPN.  He also said "rumors and speculations" that mistreatment of women contributed to his resignation were untrue, and he denied having any inappropriate relationships or sexually harassing anyone. Skipper said he has received drug abuse treatment and therapy, and that process is ongoing. He hopes to re-enter sports media as a consultant....."

Yeah, some people can come through it unscathed (sigh!!). 

I remember all the anchors practically weeping that he was gone, and why did the Globe ignore the sex harassment charges?

They say he got hooked on a DARE:

"DARE officers, their ranks thinned, face legal pot and opioid crisis" by Jessica Contrera The Washington Post  March 13, 2018

WEST BRIDGEWATER — The police-run program on “Drug Abuse Resistance Education” was seemingly everywhere in the 1980s and ’90s. Then multiple studies showed that it did nothing to stop kids from doing drugs. In the 2000s, states slashed it from their budgets. It revamped its curriculum to focus less on drugs and more on smart decision-making. Still, it’s a shadow of its former self. In Massachusetts, which once had 800 DARE officers, about 140 remain.

They wanted you to snitch on your parents.

“You want to blame something, blame MTV,” the president of Massachusetts DARE told a Boston Herald reporter in 1997. The country was in the middle of a contentious debate over its best-known drug-reduction effort. Various public health studies had concluded that DARE did not decrease drug use among students and may have even increased it. Politicians and police argued that the program’s benefits, such as familiarizing students with law enforcement, couldn’t be quantified.

By 2010, DARE had taken the word “drugs” out of its mission statement; the program’s goal is now to “teach students good decision-making skills to help them lead safe and healthy lives.”

It's purpose now is acclimating the kids to the constant presence of authority.

But last summer, when DARE leaders met in Texas, their highest-profile speaker was fonder of what the program used to be. “DARE is the best-remembered anti-drug program,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the officers. “Your DARE team is ready to meet this next challenge. Just like you did in the 1980s and ’90s.”

Dominic DiNatale, the current head of Massachusetts DARE, heard about the speech. In the past year, his state has been working to introduce marijuana retail sales and combat the opioid epidemic all at once. Some districts that had eliminated their DARE programs contacted him, asking what it would take to get it back.

With no state funding, he answers, it frequently requires a local police department, which may already be low on resources, to be willing to forgo a patrol officer. It requires principals who are under pressure to get students to pass standardized tests to give up teaching time.

The glory days of DARE, it seemed to DiNatale, were long gone. The program’s success would come down to the DARE officers who were left.

Must be something going around.

“Here’s the problem,” Officer Kenneth Thaxter told the students at the end of his lesson. “You’re at a party. Some of the kids there are smoking marijuana. OK? Nobody has really asked you to try it, but it’s available. What do you do?”

“I would run for the hills,” a boy named Josiah told a group in the corner of the classroom.

“What if it’s like, the last-day-of-school pool party?” asked Chelsea.

“Push them into the pool,” Josiah said.

“They’re high,” said Rachel. “They wouldn’t be able to swim, and they would drown, and then you just committed a murder.”

Kids say the damndest things!

It was best, they decided, either to leave the party or just hang out with the kids who weren’t smoking. Thaxter flipped the lights on and off to tell them time was up.

“OK,” he said. “What are you going to do?”

He posed the question to three more sixth-grade classes that day, 92 students in all. “All right, guys, you did a great job,” he told the last class, and then the bell rang and the students ran for the buses that would take them to places where, one day, they would make a choice about what parts of DARE they would listen to, and what they would ignore.....