Thursday, December 31, 2015

Times Square to Explode Tonight

In just less than a couple of hours, in fact:

"William J. Perry, the 88-year-old former defense secretary, is on a mission to warn of a ‘‘real and growing danger’’ of nuclear doom. Perry outlines a nuclear terror scenario, which he calls ‘‘my nuclear nightmare, born of long and deep experience.’’ In his scenario, a small group gets enough uranium for a crude nuclear bomb, flies it undetected to Washington’s Dulles International Airport and slips it into a warehouse in the District of Columbia. From there it is loaded onto a delivery truck and a suicide bomber drives it onto Pennsylvania Avenue midway between the Capitol and the White House. When detonated, it kills 80,000 people instantly, including the president. The news media report a message claiming that five more bombs are hidden in five different US cities, and one will be set off each week. The US plans to spend hundreds of billions to update its nuclear arsenal."

Such a thing occurring as the ball drops will certainly provide an opening for more agenda-pushing and mind-manipulation from a searing event seen live on television. At least the U.S. is ready to respond

It's been a long time since I raised the alarm regarding a nuclear explosion in an American city, and I have always thought it would be in Chicago (to send Obama a message and to tell the American people that the terrorists could hit Middle America). And yet I'm told security is tighter than ever:

Times Square end-of-year preparations in full swing

"N.Y. police gear up for New Year’s Eve in Times Square" Associated Press  December 30, 2015

NEW YORK — With the nation still jittery over shooting massacres in California and Paris, New York City officials sought to assure revelers Tuesday that the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square will be the safest place in the world.

The square will be heavily secured by thousands of New York Police Department officers, including a new specialized counterterrorism unit.

‘‘Leave the worrying to the NYPD,’’ said James O'Neill, chief of the department. ‘‘People should feel safest this New Year’s Eve because we’re there.’’

Police Commissioner William Bratton said there were no credible threats to the city ahead of the holiday. Yet officials also acknowledged that there were limits to what they could do to ensure security, especially outside the tightly controlled blocks at the heart of the celebration.

They didn't see Paris or San Bernardino coming, either!

In much of the city, the focus will be on fast responses to any emergency rather than preventive measures like security checkpoints.


Revelers trying to get close enough to see and hear the musical acts that perform throughout the evening will be screened with hand-held metal detectors twice — once when they enter one of the 14 access points to the secure zone and once when they enter pens where they must stay lest they lose their spots. 

Sure smells like freedom to me!

Outside that zone, revelers and vehicles can come and go as they please.

‘‘On New Year’s Eve, the department will be out in force,’’ Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday in Times Square. ‘‘There will be a tremendous number of officers you will see and many you won’t see.’’

Let's pray they don't work for Craft International.


Oh, no smoking and watch where you step.

"N.Y. mayor’s supporters voice frustration over his failure to promote policies" New York Times  December 29, 2015

NEW YORK — In the last month, Bill de Blasio, Democrat mayor of New York, has blamed public relations for his problems with homelessness (“I have not communicated sufficiently”) and the backlash to his affordable housing plan (“We’re not explaining it well enough”).


NYC announces $2.6 billion investment to fight homelessness

Middle class wins in NYC housing deal

Coming to $ave BoSton, too.

Facing the lowest approval ratings of his tenure, de Blasio has said the problem is packaging, not substance. He has stood fast on his liberal policies, saying he is convinced that he is changing New Yorkers’ lives for the better.


But in interviews, numerous supporters of de Blasio say they remain concerned about the mayor’s messaging instincts, saying he has failed to capitalize on his accomplishments.

“It’s not enough to do the work,” said Sid Davidoff, a lobbyist and one of de Blasio’s close friends in government. “You also have to tell the story.”

Several supporters said they were dismayed on Tuesday when de Blasio, just a day after pledging to better explain himself, unveiled a major workers’ rights policy and did little to promote it personally.

In a week when politicians try to bury news amid the Christmas rush, de Blasio said that he would grant six weeks of paid parental leave to 20,000 city employees, one of the most generous policies of its kind.

But he held no rally or news conference for the occasion....

Yeah, he “needs to communicate better.” 



‘‘This is really a monumental day for the city,’’ Mayor Bill de Blasio told hundreds of guests at the inauguration for the gleaming No. 7 station that’s part of the transformation of a once-desolate industrial area. The mayor called the neighborhood ‘‘a whole new city being created within our city, connected with thousands of jobs.’’ The $2.4 billion extension was funded by the city under de Blasio’s predecessor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg."

That better? (Explains the low poll numbers)

Also see3 brothers to become N.Y. police officers, following dad

Real-life Blue Bloods?

Time to start the festivities:

"Ex-tennis star hurt in false N.Y. arrest" New York Times  September 11, 2015

NEW YORK — The New York Police Department commissioner apologized Thursday for the mistaken arrest of James Blake, a retired top-10 professional tennis player, who said he was slammed to the ground outside his hotel in Midtown Manhattan after being confused for a suspect in a credit card fraud investigation.

The commissioner, William J. Bratton, said he had been trying to contact Blake, “to extend my apologies for the incident which he found himself involved in yesterday.”

The undercover detective who detained Blake has been stripped of his gun and badge and placed on desk duty, a tacit acknowledgment that video of the arrest raised serious questions about his actions.

Bratton, speaking at a news conference Thursday, said he had concerns about “the inappropriateness of the amount of force that was used during the arrest.” An initial review of video evidence of the arrest, he said, led him to believe that it may have been excessive.

Blake must be white.

Bratton said the team of six undercover detectives involved in detaining Blake failed to report the incident, a breach of department practices.

The detectives who approached Blake were relying in part on an Instagram photo of someone believed to be involved in a credit card fraud ring that Bratton said looked like “the twin brother” of the former tennis star. That person turned out to have nothing to do with the scheme, police officials said, and they refused to make the photo public.

Blake, who was in New York to make appearances for corporate sponsors at the US Open, was leaving the Grand Hyatt New York around noon Wednesday when an undercover detective ran toward him. He said the detective never identified himself and did not answer his questions. He was detained for 15 minutes, Blake said, and the encounter left him with cuts and bruises.

Robert K. Boyce, the chief of detectives, told reporters that the operation was part of an investigation into credit card fraud. Detectives set up a controlled delivery of designer shoes Wednesday to the concierge desk of the Grand Hyatt.

See: White Collar Gangs

A British man, James Short, 27, staying in New York on a student visa, met the courier to get the delivery of shoes and was arrested, police said. Then the courier pointed to Blake from 8 feet away, Boyce said, identifying the former tennis star as someone who had previously bought items from him.

The detective was not wearing a visible badge because he was undercover.


At least the rape kits came in.

N.Y. governor’s aide ruled brain dead

Labor Day shooting.

"Police are investigating a series of shootings across the city that left six people dead Saturday evening and Sunday morning."

Prison worker who helped inmates escape gets up to 7 years

He made us Sweat out Jade Helm, remember?!

Another gay group to march in N.Y. St. Patrick’s parade

"A woman believed to have given birth in the bathroom of her boyfriend’s apartment before tossing her newborn daughter to her death from a seventh-story window was being held without bail Wednesday on a murder charge, police and prosecutors said."

Baby girl dies after being tossed from sixth-floor window in New York City

That was the third child killed that way in the city in three months.

"NYC police expanding program to document use of force by officers" by Tom Hays Associated Press  October 02, 2015

NEW YORK — Amid concerns about excessive force, the New York Police Department unveiled a program on Thursday to document physical encounters officers have with the public and to discourage using force in the first place.

Tell it to Blake.

The 35,000-officer department, the nation’s largest, touted the initiative as a way to track and analyze all instances when force is used and said it will use the data to adjust training and identify problem officers. Police officials conceded that under current procedures, instances of force sometimes go unreported.

Under the new policy, the department will not wait for a death or serious injury or an allegation of abuse to initiate an inquiry, Assistant Chief Kevin Ward said at a news conference.

‘‘If we use force, we will document it,’’ said Ward, who is spearheading the effort. ‘‘We will investigate it.’’

Police officials likened the approach to one they credit with dramatically reducing instances of when officers fire their guns. Those shootings totaled 79 in 2014, a record low.

According to a summary, the new guidelines will emphasize ‘‘the duty of all members to protect human life, including people in their custody’’ and promote the use of verbal techniques to head off a physical encounter.

The overhaul ‘‘sends a message to all New Yorkers that we’re going to enforce the law, but we’re going to do it in a way that only uses that force which is necessary,’’ Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which represents officers, criticized the guidelines, saying that adding paperwork and second-guessing to an overworked, understaffed police force was a ‘‘formula for disaster.’’

‘‘No amount of new training or additional paperwork will make necessary force that is lawful and properly used by police officers acceptable to those who want to return to the hands-off, reactive policing strategies that sent crime soaring in the past,’’ association president Patrick Lynch said in a statement.

The measures were announced the same day the city’s inspector general, Philip Eure, released a report faulting the NYPD for not doing more to combat excessive force. At a separate press briefing, Eure told reporters that compared to some other big-city police departments, the NYPD ‘‘was living a little bit in the Dark Ages with respect to its use-of-force policies.’’

Asked about Eure’s comment, Police Commissioner William Bratton insisted the department has been aggressively revamping its policies for well over a year.


I just hope you can make bail:

"New York judge takes action to revamp bail rules" by James C. McKinley Jr. New York Times  October 02, 2015

NEW YORK — The New York state chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, who retires at the end of the year, said the human cost of the bail system was brought into focus by the suicide in June of Kalief Browder, a teen who could not pay his $3,000 bail and spent three years at Rikers Island, much of it in solitary confinement, awaiting trial on a stolen a backpack.

Bronx prosecutors dismissed the case because the victim had left the country. But in the meantime Browder’s schooling and social life were derailed; he slipped into a deep depression and killed himself.


Related: "New York agrees to overhaul solitary confinement in prisons, but ‘‘massive culture change is a challenge.’’

It starts in the schools.

Also seeNew York City to pay $3.8 million settlement in death of inmate

Got treated better than the elderly:

"N.Y. bills for costs of care after alleged cases of abuse" Associated Press  November 24, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. — At least three times in recent years, New York has pursued Medicaid reimbursement of $1 million or more from those who allegedly suffered devastating, even deadly, mistreatment while in state care. In two of those cases, the state eventually dropped its claims after the families contested them.

National experts say New York’s pursuit of such claims appears to be highly unusual and is a misapplication of the 1993 federal law that requires states to recover, or “claw back,” certain Medicaid costs from people’s estates after their death.

“It’s serious overreaching to attempt to recoup funding from people who have been abused in the system,” said Susan Dooha, executive director of the Center for Independence of the Disabled, a nonprofit group in New York. “It’s very cynical, to say the least.”


Time to make a frisk stop.

"Judge dismisses conviction in 1990 NYC tourist killing" Associated Press  October 06, 2015

NEW YORK — A man imprisoned for a quarter-century in a notorious tourist killing was granted a new trial Tuesday when a judge overturned his conviction in a case that helped crystallize an era of crime and fear in the nation’s biggest city.

State Supreme Court Justice Eduardo Padro cited new evidence, including testimony from two witnesses and a codefendant saying Johnny Hincapie wasn’t involved in the crime. Padro stopped short of declaring Hincapie innocent, as he and his lawyers had hoped the judge might but agreed to release him on $1 bail while awaiting a retrial.

‘‘After 25 years of suffering, after 25 years of injustice, after 25 years of sleepless nights, God just revealed his justice,’’ said Hincapie’s father, Carlos. His son couldn’t immediately be freed because of an immigration complication, which his lawyers are working to resolve.

Prosecutors said they were committed to retrying the case, if necessary.

Hincapie said he was a bystander who was wrongfully swept up in the case and then was coerced into a false confession. Prosecutors said his claims aren’t credible.

The killing became a symbol of random violence in a city that was reeling from it, after the 1989 rape and beating of a woman known as the Central Park jogger and a spate of bloodshed in the summer of 1990.

Utah tourist Brian Watkins’s death — one of a record-setting 2,245 in 1990, compared to 333 last year — brought a public plea from his family for better subway safety and helped prompt former Mayor David Dinkins to propose a program designed to increase police presence.

Print ended there.

Watkins, 22, and his parents were in town from Provo, Utah, for the US Open tennis tournament.

Someone tell Blake.

They were heading to dinner when they were jumped by a group of youths looking to rob people to get money to go to a dance hall, police said. After his father was slashed and robbed of $200 and his mother was punched and kicked, Watkins was stabbed in the chest yet chased the attackers up two stairways before collapsing under a turnstile.

“Why did they do this to me?’’ he said, according to his father’s testimony at the trial of Hincapie and several co-defendants. ‘‘We’re just here to have a good time.’’

Hincapie, a Colombian immigrant, was one of seven young men convicted in the case. Another defendant was accused of actually stabbing Watkins, but authorities said the whole group bore responsibility for his death.

Hincapie, now 43, has long maintained he was in a different part of the subway station when the stabbing happened.

‘‘I had nothing to do with this,’’ he wrote in a 1990 letter to his lawyer at the time. ‘‘I am innocent.’’

After unsuccessfully appealing his conviction, Hincapie brought another challenge in 2013. It relied partly on a sworn statement from an exonerated co-defendant saying Hincapie played no part in the attack. A man who was convicted, and a witness who came forward only in the last two years, also said during the hearing that Hincapie wasn’t involved.

Meanwhile, Hincapie testified that a detective beat him to get him to sign a confession.

Prosecutors said there was ‘‘no credible newly discovered evidence’’ in the case.

But Padro wrote that the new evidence would ‘‘create a probability that had such evidence been received at trial the verdict would have been more favorable to the defendant’’ — a legal standard for tossing out a conviction.

Hincapie has finished high school and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees while serving 25 years to life in prison. He has never despaired of being cleared, said his lawyer, Ron Kuby.

‘‘He always maintained an optimism and a certain hope that this day was going to come for him.’’

Like a New Year beginning.


Time to get back to the security:

"Federal appeals court says lawsuit over NYPD surveillance of Muslims can proceed; Muslims were allegedly targeted" by Mark Berman Washington Post   October 14, 2015

A US court said Tuesday that a civil rights lawsuit accusing New York City police of improperly singling out Muslims for surveillance could proceed, reversing a lower court’s decision last year to dismiss the case.

In its opinion, a three-judge US Court of Appeals panel rejected the city’s call to have the case dismissed and brushed aside any suggestion that media reports about the surveillance, rather than the surveillance itself, caused any harm.

Judge Thomas Ambro, who wrote the 59-page opinion for the panel, also cited dark chapters in American history — such as the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, for which the United States later apologized — as times when national security issues, civil liberties, and wartime fears inexorably collided.

Or torture?

‘‘We have learned from experience that it is often where the asserted interest appears most compelling that we must be most vigilant in protecting constitutional rights,’’ Ambro wrote.

The lawsuit contends that surveillance of Muslim people in New Jersey discriminated against them due to their religion. It was filed by Muslim Advocates, a legal advocacy group, and later joined by the Center for Constitutional Rights, another legal organization, on behalf of several Muslims who say they were unconstitutionally monitored by the New York Police Department.

‘‘I am so pleased the court recognized our claim that the NYPD is violating our basic rights as Americans and were wrong to do so,’’ Farhaj Hassan, lead plaintiff of the lawsuit, said in a statement released by the Center for Constitutional Rights. ‘‘No one should ever be spied on and treated like a suspect simply because of his or her faith, and today’s ruling paves the path to holding the NYPD accountable for ripping up the Constitution.’’

The New York City Law Department said it was reviewing the circuit court’s decision.

Last year, the NYPD disbanded the unit involved in the surveillance activities, a move that Mayor Bill de Blasio praised at the time as ‘‘a critical step forward in easing tensions between the police and the communities they serve.’’

So we are told. What did they do, change the name?


Did you know the NYPD was now a national force? 

They create then capture the terrorists.

"Republican campaign rhetoric angers Muslims in US; GOP talk leaves a scar, they say" by Josh Cornfield Associated Press  November 25, 2015 

Why worry? 

Obama Has Destroyed the Democratic Party

A Globe Thanksgiving 

It's a 1% voting block.

TRENTON, N.J. — Muslim-Americans who sued the New York Police Department over a surveillance program launched after 9/11 say calls from the Republican presidential campaign to put them under more scrutiny are recklessly seizing on public fears and distressing Muslims in the United States as national security has become a focus in the 2016 race after the Paris attacks.

The Associated Press revealed in 2011 how New York police, in a since-disbanded demographics unit, infiltrated Muslim student groups, put informants in mosques, and otherwise spied on Muslims as part of a broad effort to prevent terrorist attacks. A federal appeals court last month reinstated the lawsuit challenging the surveillance, comparing the spying to other instances of heightened scrutiny of religious and ethnic groups, including Japanese-Americans during World War II.

A lower court last year had concluded the police could not keep watch ‘‘on Muslim terrorist activities without monitoring the Muslim community itself.’’ That came after New York City argued that any harm suffered by Muslims was ‘‘self-imposed, based on subjective fears’’ that may have dissuaded them from gathering with other Muslims after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The city called the intelligence-gathering an appropriate and legal antiterrorism tactic and said it never spied on people or businesses solely because they were Muslim.

Imagine if they said that about Jews. What an uproar there would be.

Wahy-ud Deen Shareef, president of the Council of Imams in New Jersey, said news of the demographics unit made some reluctant to gather at places that had been under surveillance, including mosques and businesses. He said it also hurt the trust that Muslims had developed with law enforcement after 9/11, something they’re still working to rebuild.

Now, he said, comments in the 2016 campaign are playing on people’s ignorance both of Islam and of what Muslim communities have done to cooperate with law enforcement.

‘‘When you trample upon the rights that are entitled to all just because you have suspicions of a group, then you are trampling on the rights of all of the citizens,’’ Shareef said.

In addition to pushing for monitoring and a registry, Trump has alleged that ‘‘thousands and thousands’’ of Muslims in Jersey City across the river from Manhattan celebrated from rooftops in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, a scene at odds with the recollections of local officials and for which he has offered no proof. Carson made a similar allegation, then retracted it.

Didn't happen at all, but Jewish war press leaves impression that it did. 

Someone was doing some dancing, though.


"N.Y. emergency responders go through active shooter drill" Associated Press  November 23, 2015

NEW YORK — Hundreds of New York emergency responders simulated a coordinated terror attack Sunday, days before one of the city’s biggest public events: the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The long-planned drill at a Manhattan subway station got a last-minute update in the wake of the deadly attacks in Paris. Officials added an ‘‘attacker’’ wearing a suicide vest.

‘‘In New York City, we are, at this time, very well-prepared and continually improving that preparedness,’’ Commissioner William Bratton said outside the abandoned Bowery station in Lower Manhattan.

The three-hour active-shooter exercise took place in the pricey Soho neighborhood populated by art galleries and boutiques. Members of the police, fire, and federal Homeland Security departments went into action after a mock call reporting a gunman on the station platform. 

Yes, if there were drills going on the propaganda pre$$ would surely tell us.

Of about 30 simulated straphangers in the station, a dozen suffered ‘‘critical wounds’’ from weapons firing blanks. Firefighters removed them on thick yellow plastic sheets and law enforcement personnel took on the threat.

First responders from various emergency departments worked as a team, with communication and coordination between agencies an important goal.

‘‘There have been very significant improvements in that capacity since 9/11, also the coordination with the fire department,’’ Bratton said.


The Department of Homeland Security used the exercise to test technologies including GoPro-like cameras worn by first responders and acoustic gunshot detection systems designed to give police and firefighters information to coordinate their responses. Such systems are being developed for surveillance of the subway system, the commissioner said.

Sunday’s drill was funded by Homeland Security.

Bratton said New York law enforcement authorities, together with Homeland Security, are working closely with Paris investigators studying details of the Nov. 13 attacks there, aiming to prepare for similar suicide-bomber terrorism that New York has never experienced.

Is that what we are going to get tonight?


Also see:

Suspect in officer’s killing should have been in prison, NYC chief says
Police divers find gun in Harlem River, connect it to slaying of officer

"Court says officer committed no crime" Associated Press  December 04, 2015

NEW YORK — A former New York City police officer committed no crime when he fantasized online about committing horrific acts of sexual violence against his wife and others, including bizarre exchanges about kidnapping and eating women, a divided federal appeals court said Thursday. 

See: Sick Cops and Their Sex Games

The Second US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said in its 2-to-1 ruling that a lower-court Manhattan judge correctly reversed a 2013 jury’s guilty verdict on a kidnapping conspiracy charge against Gilberto Valle, 31, that could have sent him to prison for life.

‘‘We are loath to give the government the power to punish us for our thoughts and not our actions,’’ wrote Circuit Judge Barrington D. Parker for the majority.

‘‘That includes the power to criminalize an individual’s expression of sexual fantasies, no matter how perverse or disturbing. Fantasizing about committing a crime, even a crime of violence against a real person whom you know, is not a crime.’’

The decision acknowledged that fantasies of violence against women ‘‘contribute to a culture of exploitation, a massive social harm that demeans women,’’ but the court added that ‘‘not every harm is meant to be addressed with the federal criminal law.’’

The ruling upheld US District Judge Paul Gardephe’s decision to reverse the jury verdict after finding no genuine agreement to kidnap.


So what would you like to eat tonight?

Time to stop toying around:

"Explosion in Brooklyn home kills.... Councilman Brad Lander said the woman who died was in her 60s and was from the Dominican Republic. He said she lived in a third-floor apartment with her daughter, who was away at the time."

At least Bo$ton is safe.

So have you found a place to flop for the night?

New Year's Eve Party

You are all invited. 

Maybe you would like to go out to the bar first?

"Who’s On First bar faces another hearing before licensing board" by Jan Ransom Globe Staff  December 18, 2015

Since 2001, the owner of the Who’s On First bar has appeared before the city’s Licensing Board at least eight times to address public safety concerns that included assaults, shootings, and stabbings inside and outside the bar, city records show. The board moved to suspend the owner’s license three times for incidents of violence, once for up to four days.

But problems have continued to erupt at the popular Fenway bar, which will once again appear before the Licensing Board on Friday following the shooting death of 29-year-old Jephthe Chery just outside its doors early Thanksgiving morning.

See: A Globe Thanksgiving

“Why is the place not shut down?” said Lauren Dewey Platt, president of the Fenway Community Center’s Board of Directors.

Bars and clubs are rarely permanently shuttered in Boston, according to a Globe review....


"Who’s On First promises to boost security after shooting" by Jan Ransom Globe Staff  December 18, 2015

The owner of the Who’s On First bar in Fenway promised to step up security measures by purchasing ID scanners and cameras after a Thanksgiving Day shooting left one man dead and three others wounded, an attorney for the bar told the Licensing Board during a hearing Friday.

Boston police said about 200 people were in Who’s On First the morning 29-year-old Jephthe Chery was killed. A man was captured on surveillance footage provided by the Boston Red Sox leaving the bar, returning moments later with a firearm, and then shooting at the victims, Sergeant John Wright told the board.

A new five-point security plan the bar is pledging to implement for promoted events calls for it to obtain metal and hand wand detectors, hire a police detail, and install two security cameras at the front door. Staff must check patrons for weapons every time they enter the bar. Boston police Captain Paul Ivens, the commander of Area D-4, must be notified at least two weeks in advance of all promoted events.

Screw it. Let's go home.

The security plan was hashed out between the bar and Boston police, said Jack Diamond, the attorney for Who’s On First. The bar’s owner, Robert Paratore, declined to comment after the hearing.

The board will decide Wednesday whether there was any connection between Who’s On First and the shooting and whether the bar was at fault, said Christine Pulgini, chairwoman of the board, during the hearing.

City Councilor Josh Zakim sent a letter to the board Friday calling for the panel to revoke the bar’s license.

He said in the letter that Chery’s death was “the tragic endgame of a decade-long pattern of mismanagement and blatantly disrespectful behavior towards the Fenway neighborhood.

“There is no reason whatsoever to believe that any punishment short of license revocation will result in meaningful change,” Zakim wrote.

Zakim said neighbors have expressed concern that they could be victims of violence near the bar.

Chery’s mother, Rose Relise Chery, who attended the hearing with her husband, Jean, relatives, and her son’s friends called the proposed security plan “garbage.”

“They’re talking about cameras . . . there are already cameras,” she said. “They talk about police . . . The police was there! It’s not going to be good enough. They’re supposed to shut it down.”

But Diamond said his client was not at fault, and the night of the killing was uneventful.

“Nothing occurred inside or anything of a violent nature that would give anybody any kind of notice that 15 minutes later there was going to be someone firing shots,” he said.

Diamond said two calls were made from Who’s On First to police moments after gunfire erupted.

Police had been on the scene that night, but left to respond to another call.

As the officers were making their way back to the area shots rang out.

Who’s On First has a long history of violent incidents and has generated 43 violations since 1991. Two women were shot outside the bar in September. The board ruled in October that the bar was not at fault and did not violate its liquor license.

Friday’s hearing was at least the ninth time the bar has appeared before the board to address public safety concerns that included assaults, shootings, and stabbings since 2001.

Chery, a commuter rail conductor who lived in Hyde Park, was killed on Nov. 26 outside the bar after he stopped by to say hello to a friend. Boston police have said he was not the intended target.

Dominique L. Carpenter-Grady, 26, of Dorchester, was arrested on Dec. 2 in connection to Chery’s death. He pleaded not guilty and was held on $250,000 cash bail at his arraignment in Roxbury Municipal Court.



City board declines to revoke license for Who’s On First bar

Roggie’s owner pleads guilty to interfering with police investigation

Also see:

Indiana allows Christmas alcohol sales, but many aren’t celebrating

Americans are drinking themselves to death at record rates

Sav-Mor Liquors selects winner of sign competition

Feeling Booz-y!

"Consultancy Booz Allen plans Boston expansion into big data" by Jon Chesto, 7 days ago

Booz Allen Hamilton’s roots go back 101 years. But that hasn’t stopped the management consulting giant from trying to play a key role in the Financial District’s emerging innovation hub, dominated by much younger entrepreneurs.

Booz Allen, the McLean, Va., company, is planning a major downtown expansion as it makes its Boston office an important center for its data science and analytics operations.

“There’s such a rich talent pool here in the Boston space,” Booz Allen’s executive vice president, Fred Blackburn, said. “We really see this as a key innovation hub for us as we go forward. There just flat out isn’t the quality and richness of the talent pool anywhere else.”

Booz Allen’s local expansion can be traced back nearly three years, when its executives embarked on an aggressive strategy to pursue private-sector clients. At the time, nearly all of its revenue came from the federal government. That’s because the consultancy had split up in 2008, with Booz Allen retaining the government-focused workers. The commercial-sector teams were placed under the Booz & Co. banner (and later acquired by PwC).

Booz Allen managers saw the data analytics practice in Boston as a prime resource, one that could make the firm more attractive to private-sector clients by showing them ways to use data-crunching to solve real-world business problems. So they began ramping up local staffing levels.

Recently, Booz Allen has made a point of embedding itself within Boston’s innovation community, chief scientist Alex Cosmas said.

One example: The company just set aside $10,000 for a prize for the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition, to award a team in the business plan contest that most effectively uses data analytics for business innovation.

Another example: Last year, Booz Allen bought Epidemico, a nearly 30-person Boston firm that specializes in analyzing population health data.

“There are Booz Allen consultants volunteering their time willingly to go to meetups, to go to seminars, [to visit] local universities every single day,” Cosmas said.

Cosmas said Booz Allen considered the Seaport District and Cambridge for its new Boston-area office. But the Cambridge Innovation Center’s expansive startup space on the other side of Post Office Square.

Stas Gayshan, managing director at the center, said, “Large companies are really good at scaling innovation. It’s the way you take innovation to the world.”

Blackburn said that Booz Allen focuses on big companies for traditional consulting revenue. But he sees opportunities among startups for revenue-sharing agreements or to take small equity stakes in these young firms, he said.

And, of course, there’s the hunt for talent. Mixing with recent college graduates can only help as Booz Allen looks to fill positions in its rapidly expanding local staff. (In total, it employs about 180 people in Greater Boston.

“The culture in Boston is to care about the public good, to solve tough problems, and not just create the next billion-dollar company [or] turn a quick buck,” Cosmas said.... 

I must be drunk or I wouldn't have read that.


One too many, a hundred isn't enough!

Need a ride home? She will call you a bus.

"School celebrates Hanukkah with parade through Boston" by Felicia Gans Globe Correspondent  December 08, 2015

More than 2,000 years ago, when the Maccabees were fighting the Syrian-Greek Empire in the area of modern-day Israel, the Jewish people were oppressed, forced to pray in private or face severe punishment.

It’s the story of Hanukkah, but it’s also a story that resonates with some modern Jews.

Not with me.

Rabbi Dan Rodkin, the 43-year-old leader of the Shaloh House Jewish Day School in Brighton, said that before he immigrated to the United States from Russia, he feared his professors or bosses could penalize him for being outwardly religious.

Things were beginning to change when he left Russia in 1991, but he was eager to start a new life here, to practice his religion publicly without fear.

Then why did they fight on the side of the British?

Also seeSecret Facts - Soviet & Jews 

I suppose the names Kaganovich and Yagoda don't mean anything to you?
It’s what makes Hanukkah special to him and other Russian immigrants, he said. Public celebration is encouraged.

“The idea behind it is to remind people that it’s Hanukkah. It’s our tradition to light [a menorah] near a window, so people can see that we’re lighting,” he said. “Usually, when we do holidays, we do it inside the house. But we want to teach people that light is better than darkness.”

That's why I'm here.

Rodkin and other leaders at the Jewish Day School brought celebration to the streets of Boston Tuesday night with their sixth annual “Grand Chanukah Hummer Parade,” where they were joined by Mayor Martin J. Walsh.

Thanks for helping out with the greenhouse gas problem!

The school, which doubles as a Russian Jewish community center, hosts the parade each year to recognize their members’ freedom to celebrate the holiday out in the open. Many of the center’s members are Russian immigrants like Rodkin, and they feel lucky that their religious practices are no longer oppressed.

“It’s very meaningful that now we can be in a free country,” he said. “We want to bring this message to the streets of Boston.”

Before the parade, attendees were invited to a public menorah lighting and a reception with music and traditional foods.

During the event, about 80 children rode in four Hummer stretch limos with menorahs attached to the top. About 30 to 40 other cars, driven by community members, followed in the parade with menorahs attached to their own roofs.

“We wanted to do something fun for kids,” Rodkin said. “We do a lot of exciting things. For Passover, Purim, every holiday, we do something. But this is the best.”

I think I'll pass over Purim.


Thank God Hanukkah is over.

"Faneuil Hall merchant hopes for deal to save ducklings" by Thomas Farragher Globe Columnist  December 08, 2015

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Faneuil Hall.

A grim-faced Adam Hirsch could be evicted in a few weeks.

Now you know how Palestinians feel.

Hirsch says he’s caught in the latest effort to reenergize the iconic Boston destination. A New York-based company is trying again to breathe new life into the 350,000-square-foot marketplace that is showing its age since its rebirth 40 years ago.

It's a $hamele$$ effort. 

There’s an economic needle that needs to be threaded here. Nobody wants a Faneuil Hall dominated by dowdy shops, pushcarts of tired tchotchkes, and barrooms musty from beer spilled during the days of the Kevin White administration, but the landlord has found a home for Cheers, the bar based on the 1980s TV show that gave life to unforgettable characters like Norm Peterson, the rotund beer-loving accountant.... 

That's where I shut him off.


Related shot:

"Adam Hirsch had seen it all in Harvard Square, until he could not see the basement floor. Hirsch, owner of the famous Curious George children’s store, arrived at the store at about 6:30 a.m. Friday to find the basement flooded, after a major water main burst a block away. “Part of the challenge of being in a place with old infrastructure is the old infrastructure,” Hirsch said. “It just comes with the territory.” Hirsch shrugged off the incident as another example of Harvard Square’s old charm. “We’ll endure, that’s what we do,” he said. “We love it here, and this is a minor blip.” Several businesses closed in the wake of the flooding, including Verizon Wireless, TIAA-CREF, Starbucks , Kaplan University, and Citizens Bank. Harvard bus routes were also being rerouted, police said."

Also see: Curious George owner questions BPL bid process

They gave the space to PB$

Maybe the yoga classes will help with the anger. 

Oh, look, we are at the party:

"In a 99-slide presentation sent to Yahoo’s board and published by Business Insider, Eric Jackson of the SpringOwl investment firm claimed that chief executive Marissa Mayer (left) spent $7 million on a Gatsby-esque ‘‘Roaring ’20s”-themed holiday party this year. A person familiar with the company disputes that figure, saying that the 4,000-attendee party really cost one-third of that price — roughly $2 million. Jackson also questioned Mayer’s spending on the most Silicon Valley of perks: free food. Jackson said it’s gone too far, estimating that Yahoo has spent $450 million over four years feeding its workers. The same person close to the company said that Jackson’s estimates for the food budget are overblown by a factor of 10, and that the company’s food budget has really been more around $45 million."

RelatedYahoo CEO Mayer gives birth to twin girls

They will eat a lot. Bad suit.

Here are some Christmas leftovers:

Christmas Cookies

Ever wonder what music gets President Barack Obama in the Christmas mood?


Quote of the day: Caitlyn Jenner

Who let that murderer speak?

"Families traveling from far-flung places, returning home for the holidays. That image of Christmas fits the perception of Americans as rootless, constantly on the move to seek opportunity — even if it means leaving family behind. Yet that picture masks a key fact: The United States offers less government help for caregiving than many other rich countries. Instead, extended families are providing it."

“It speaks to a class divide in the population,” but culture also plays a role.

(Ding dong) 

The FOOD is here!

"Former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle (right) is appealing the more than 15-year prison sentence he received for possessing child pornography and having sex with underage prostitutes, which was longer than the maximum term prosecutors agreed to pursue as part of his plea deal. Fogle pleaded guilty last month to one count each of distributing and receiving child porn and traveling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a child. As part of his plea deal, he agreed not to seek a sentence of less than five years in prison and prosecutors agreed not to push for more than 12½ years behind bars. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt sentenced Fogle to more than 15 years in prison, though, giving him grounds to appeal because it exceeded the maximum term prosecutors agreed to pursue."

What else you order?

"Pizza delivery man charged in fatal Stoughton crash" by Peter Schworm and John R. Ellement Globe Staff  December 14, 2015

STOUGHTON — For decades, Joseph Brady Jr. sold Christmas trees on the side of Route 27, just outside the town center. Drivers could pull off the road, choose their favorite, and be on their way in minutes.

On Friday evening, Brady, 71, was crossing the busy, fog-shrouded road beside his lot when he was struck and killed by a pizza delivery driver, a 33-year-old who was allegedly under the influence of drugs, police said.

Michael Burns was on his way back to the pizza shop after a nearby delivery when his car hit Brady, who was found lying face down in the road, prosecutors said. He was rushed to the hospital but did not survive.

Police said it was foggy at the time of the crash, and visibility was poor. The stretch of the road where the crash happened was quite dark....

What drugs was he on?


How many slices will you eat

Better get hungry first:

"Celebrities help brand newly legal marijuana" by Kristen Wyatt Associated Press  December 31, 2015

DENVER — As the expanding marijuana industry emerges from the black market and starts looking like a mainstream industry, there’s a scramble to brand and trademark products.

The celebrity endorsements are just the latest attempt to add cachet to a line of marijuana. The marijuana industry’s makeshift branding efforts, from celebrity names on boxes to the many T-shirts and stickers seen in towns with a legal marijuana market, show the industry taking halting steps toward the mainstream, but patents and trademarks are largely regulated by the federal government, which considers marijuana an illegal drug and therefore ineligible for legal protection.

The result is a Wild West environment of marijuana entrepreneurs trying to stake claims and establish cross-state markets using a patchwork of state laws.

So far, federal authorities have either ignored or rejected marijuana patent and trademark requests.

I'm sorry, what (cough, cough) were you $aying?

‘‘They haven’t issued a single patent yet. But generally speaking, there is broad agreement within the patent law community that they will,’’ said Eric Greenbaum, director of intellectual property for Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., which is seeking a patent for a strain of marijuana to treat seizures.

No, I'll pass, thanks.

Companies like Ligand are betting that if marijuana becomes legal nationally, they will be first in line to claim legal ownership of whichever type of marijuana they have already developed.

Marijuana companies also are filing state-level trademarks, thereby avoiding the snag in a federal trademark application: the requirement that the mark is used in interstate commerce.

Marijuana producers also are claiming everything they can that doesn’t involve the actual drug. So a marijuana company could trademark its logo or patent a process for packaging something, without mentioning that the ‘‘something’’ is marijuana.

What's in this again?



Marijuana case tests federal banking rules

Church-going marijuana users lose bid

They worship an evergreen tree.

Time to make a plate.

What do you mean you are not hungry?

"The lead singer of the Irish rock band the Cranberries, Dolores O'Riordan, pleaded guilty in Ireland Wednesday to assaulting three police officers and a flight attendant during an alleged psychotic episode last year. Judge Patrick Durcan ordered the singer to write letters of apology to those she attacked. Durcan said he would sentence her early next year. A cabin attendant testified that O'Riordan stomped on her ankle as an Aer Lingus flight from New York landed in Shannon, Ireland, in November 2014. Police said she spat in their faces, head-butted one, and kicked the others (AP)."

They are the Real Deal

So what drugs was she on, or is it in the genes (or is that jeans?).

Need a sip of water?

"Person falls through ice in Littleton trying to rescue drone" by Steve Annear Globe Staff  December 30, 2015

Drones may have been a popular Christmas present this year. But don’t risk your life for them, the Littleton Fire Department said.

On Wednesday, rescue crews rushed to Mill Pond for a report of a person falling through the ice while trying to retrieve a drone that had landed on the partly-frozen surface.

After suiting up in special gear to protect themselves from the cold waters, members of the department determined that no one was in immediate danger or in need of rescue.

But firefighters did spot the drone sitting roughly 100 feet away from the shallow area that was searched.

As firefighters looked around the area, they noticed footprints in the mud leading away from the pond, said Littleton Fire Chief Scott Wodzinski.

Firefighters then followed the footprints, he said, which brought them to a nearby housing development.

Officials spoke there with an individual who confirmed that he and a friend had been flying the drone near the pond Tuesday, when the drone suddenly landed on the ice.

Wodzinski said the individual told firefighters that he and his friend had tried to retrieve the drone Tuesday night, but the ice was too thin, and their efforts were unsuccessful.

“Whoever fell through the ice was able to get out on their own,” said Wodzinski.

To be sure that no one else tried to retrieve the drone from the pond, Wodzinski said, the department sent a firefighter in a special suit, tied to a rope, out onto the ice on his stomach. Once the firefighter was close, he was able to grab the drone before being reeled back in by first responders.

“There were no problems retrieving it,” the chief said.

Wodzinski said the department later returned the drone to its owner. But he cautioned others flying drones in the area to steer clear of Mill Pond, and not to risk their lives for the pricy devices....


Maybe they were trying to delivered a Christmas gift. 

At least they were nowhere near the airport.

First Night is set, so let’s focus on July 4

Yes, it's already 2016 in other parts of the world:

"Belgium arrests two in alleged holiday terror plot" by Milan Schreuer New York Times  December 29, 2015

PARIS — In a series of raids on Sunday and Monday around Brussels, authorities found Islamic State propaganda and military-style uniforms, hardware, and computer equipment in the homes of two suspects.

Same style as Paris.

No arms or explosives were discovered, prosecutors said, the authorities did not identify the suspects, and they have not established any links to the Paris attacks. Four other people were held for questioning before being released.

The authorities said they had found evidence of “serious threats” to multiple locations in Brussels, including the Police Headquarters for the city center and the nearby Brussels central square known as the Grand Place or Grote Markt. It is the city’s biggest tourist attraction, and it is packed with crowds around Christmas.


Tired of the mind-manipulating fear being constantly promoted by authority yet?

Brussels’ alert level was raised to the highest one possible for several days after the November attacks in Paris, which killed 130 people and were carried out mainly by attackers who had connections to Belgium.

Turns out that was all a crisis drill gone live.

On Wednesday, Brussels city leaders are expected to decide whether the annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display, scheduled for another large public square near the Grand Place, should go ahead as scheduled, the AP said.

I wouldn't attend anyway.

The city has since returned to relative normalcy. But the New Year’s Eve festivities, which could draw as many as 50,000 visitors, will be closely guarded by police officers and soldiers, a spokesman for the mayor said. Visitors will not be allowed to bring bottles, pets, or their own fireworks.

Nine men have been charged in Belgium in connection with the Paris attacks, and a global search continues for Salah Abdeslam, a Belgian-born Frenchman who is believed to be the only survivor among those who directly participated in the attacks.

One week after the attacks in Paris, the Belgian authorities expressed concern that the threat of a similar terrorist attack in Brussels was “serious and imminent.”

NATO met in between and nothing happened!

The police raided several homes throughout the country and arrested 16 people, 15 of whom were released the next day without being charged. Although no arms or explosives were found during those raids, the authorities said they had averted a major terrorist attack.

The Paris massacre was carried out by suicide bombers and gunmen equipped with Kalashnikov-style assault rifles. Those attacks were claimed by the Islamic State extremist group.

Benoit Ramacker, spokesman for the government crisis center, said heightened security measures are planned for the New Year’s Eve celebration at Grand Place, but that at the moment, the Belgian government sees no reason to cancel the popular event, the AP reported.

“We want life to continue despite this risk,” Ramacker said. “So we take security measures that are adapted. But I repeat: If it’s ever necessary, we'll take the decision [to recommend cancellation], even if it’s a difficult one.”

In Britain on Tuesday, a husband and wife who were trying to help the Islamic State were convicted of planning a bombing of civilian targets in London to mark the 10th anniversary of the July 7, 2005, attacks on the city’s transit system.

Mohammed Rehman, 25, and his wife Sana Ahmed Khan, 24, were found guilty at the Old Bailey court. Rehman was also convicted of possessing an article to be used for terrorist purposes. The pair will be sentenced later this week.

The July 7 attacks carried out by four British Muslim suicide bombers killed 52 civilians and injured hundreds more.

It's no laughing matter.


"Ninth person is detained in Belgium over Paris attacks" by Sewell Chan New York Times  December 24, 2015

LONDON — The investigation into the extensive involvement of Belgians in the Paris terrorist attacks widened Thursday with news that a 30-year-old Belgian man had been arrested on terrorism charges.

After weeks of withering criticism of Belgium’s government, the king appealed for unity Thursday, while also warning that there would be “zero tolerance” of extremist preachers. At least 500 Belgians are believed to be fighting alongside Islamic State militants in Iraq or Syria — the most, as a proportion of the population, of any country in the European Union.

The man facing terrorism charges, identified only as Abdoullah C., was detained Tuesday just outside the Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels, where many of the attackers lived or had ties.

An investigative judge issued an arrest warrant for involvement with “terrorist murders and participation in the activities of a terrorist organization,” according to the federal prosecutor’s office in Brussels. Officials said they had not announced the arrest right away to avoid tipping off possible accomplices.

In addition, a global manhunt continues for Salah Abdeslam, 26, a Belgian-born Frenchman believed to be the only direct participant in the attack who is still alive, and Mohamed Abrini, 30, who was seen on video driving with Abdeslam two days before the attacks.

The Paris attacks prompted intense scrutiny of ineffective and convoluted governance in Belgium, where a vast majority of the attackers had ties.

In his annual Christmas message, which was prerecorded but broadcast on Thursday, King Philippe offered exceptionally blunt remarks....

Who cares what the f***ing king has to say?


"Turkey foils New Year’s terrorist plot, arrests 2" by Suzan Fraser and John-Thor Dahlburg Associated Press  December 30, 2015

ANKARA, Turkey — With less than 48 hours left in 2015, Turkey on Wednesday became the latest country to announce the foiling of a holiday attack plot, detaining two suspected Islamic State militants believed to be planning suicide bombings during New Year celebrations in the capital city’s heart.

‘‘They were caught before they had the opportunity to take action,’’ said the office of the chief prosecutor of Ankara, Turkey’s capital.

In other words, they were betrayed by their government handlers.

In Belgium, an investigation was continuing into what authorities characterized as a ‘‘serious threat’’ of holiday season attacks directed at police, soldiers and popular attractions in the capital city of Brussels. An official close to the investigation, speaking on condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing, told The Associated Press both suspects belong to a motorcycle club, the Kamikaze Riders, which is known for illegal stunts on public roads.


At least one other member of the Kamikaze Riders is known to have been investigated in the past for possible links to Islamic radicalism, but his former lawyer said Wednesday nothing was ever proven.

The pre$$ is killing itself with this laughable garbage!

Abdelouafi Eloussaki, a founding member of the Kamikaze Riders who died in a motorcycle crash in May 2013, had two younger brothers who were members of the radical group Sharia4Belgium. The group recruited fighters for the Islamist cause in Syria and has been designated a terrorist organization in Belgium. Both brothers also went to Syria, were one was killed and the other badly wounded. Attorney Abderrahim Lahlili told the AP his former client was jailed for a time in Belgium after going to Turkey to fetch his wounded sibling and bring him home. But he said Belgian authorities never definitively linked the older Eloussaki to extremist causes.

Belgian media accounts said Eloussaki had once boasted about being caught in France driving at a speed of 146 mph. He reportedly showed no signs of radical extremism, but was a childhood friend of the biker group’s founder, who has been convicted of several holdups and has been named by some Belgian media as one of the attack suspects arrested this week.

Four other people have been questioned in the case but released, Belgian authorities said without providing details.

Belgium has been one of Europe’s leading recruiting grounds for foreign jihadi fighters, and was home to four of the Nov. 13 attackers who killed 130 people in Paris, including suspected ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud and fugitive Salah Abdeslam. Nine other people have been arrested in Belgium in investigations linked to the Paris attacks, which were claimed by Islamic State.

On Wednesday, another police search linked to the Paris attacks was carried out in the Molenbeek area of Brussels, and a person detained for questioning, said Thierry Werts, a spokesman for the Federal Prosecutor’s Office.

In France, authorities were also clearly preparing for a possible worst-case scenario on New Year’s. About 60,000 police and troops were to be deployed throughout the country Thursday. The previously scheduled New Year’s Eve fireworks show in Paris has been canceled....


Gee, the terrorists missed the E.U. meeting last month in Turkey, too. 

Happy New Year, readers.


A novel technique to restore a cherished mural at BPL

Dozens take part in free yoga class at Boston Public Library

Calling Avon


Must be the guests beginning to show up to the party.

"Human remains identified as man who was kidnapped two years ago" by Peter Schworm Globe Staff  December 30, 2015

UPTON — Nearly two years ago, James J. Robertson was driven away from his family’s Avon home by two men dressed as constables, who said he needed to take a surprise drug test for his probation.

Robertson, who was 37, never returned, and was presumed dead. The man accused of orchestrating his bizarre kidnapping told authorities his body would never be found.

But on Wednesday, authorities announced that human remains found last week in woods in Upton had been identified as Robertson, an unlikely discovery that brought a measure of closure to his loved ones.

“It’s somewhat of a relief to the family,” Michael Morrissey, the Norfolk district attorney, said during a news conference at the Upton Police Department. “They had always feared the worst.”

Three men have been charged in connection to Robertson’s kidnapping, authorities said. Authorities said it was too early to say whether they will face murder charges.

“We have to follow the evidence,” Morrissey said.

James M. Feeney, an alleged drug dealer from Dedham, is accused of having hatched the kidnapping plot as revenge for Robertson’s romantic involvement with his former girlfriend. He also suspected that Robertson had informed against him, according to court records....


Related: Who Rubbed Out James Robertson?

Time to put that case to rest.

"Avon selling business in N. America to Cerberus" by Nick Turner and Lauren Coleman-Lochner Bloomberg News  December 18, 2015

NEW YORK — Avon Products Inc. will split off its North American business as part of a $605 million deal with private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, letting the beleaguered cosmetics giant focus on its more promising international business.

Cerberus will acquire an 80 percent interest in the North American division for $170 million, according to a statement Thursday. That business, which has struggled to attract new sales representatives, has been a drag on the company. Operating income in the unit has fallen four years in a row, including a 14 percent decline last year.

This in an age of alleged economic recovery.

The move follows reports earlier this month that Avon was close to selling the North American business — a deal that drew concern from some investors. A shareholder group led by Barington Capital Group urged Avon to pursue a restructuring plan instead, rather than unloading its North American division at a “fire sale” price. Barington reiterated those concerns on Thursday, though other investors seemed satisfied with the deal, sending the shares up as much as 17 percent.

As part of the Cerberus agreement, the investment firm will make a $435 million investment in the parent company. The North American business will assume about $230 million in long-term debt from the parent company, which will contribute $100 million in cash to the new entity. It’s a novel approach, according to Carol Levenson, an analyst at Gimme Credit LLC.

“Hiving off one region of such an interconnected business seems the opposite of synergistic,” she said in a note to clients. “But perhaps the hope is that if Cerberus can turn around North America, it could set a pattern for turning around the rest of the world.”

The company also suspended its quarterly dividend, saying it would reinvest that money in the business. Avon is on track for its fourth straight year of sales declines, hurt in part by a consumer shift in North America. Fewer customers there are buying products from door-to-door salespeople — Avon’s hallmark. Shedding the domestic business will make it easier for the company to grow profitably overseas, said Avon Chief Executive Officer Sheri McCoy. Avon will use about $250 million from proceeds to pay down debt.

The shares fell to $4.03 at the close in New York Thursday. Even after the deal discussions sparked a rally in recent weeks, the stock has still lost more than half its value this year.

Avon also is shaking up its board as part of the deal, with Cerberus bringing on several directors.

“The separation of Avon North America is the best way to ensure that both businesses have an unencumbered path to profitability and growth,” McCoy said. “This was a key principle as we considered alternatives.”

Barington, meanwhile, voiced reservations about the deal.

“Cerberus clearly recognizes, like us, that Avon is an extremely valuable brand,” Barington chief executive James A. Mitarotonda said in a statement. “The Avon board apparently does not — it has sold 80 percent of its North American business and a 16.6 percent stake in the company at what we believe are ‘fire sale’ prices.”

The firm, which has previously called for management changes at Avon, said it would explore “all available options.”

“While we are pleased that six existing board members have agreed to step down, we are astonished that Sheri McCoy remains as CEO,” Mitarotonda said....


This might astonish you:

Catholic Caritas Makes Deal With the Devil 

Six years years later Cerberus is on life support.

Holiday Bowl Game

Look whose playing!

"UMass has little to show after leaping into big-time football" by Bob Hohler Globe Staff  December 24, 2015

On a brilliant day for football, as the marching band’s silver and brass glistened in early November’s glow, the University of Massachusetts team sprinted into action at Gillette Stadium, the school’s home away from home.

With a capacity of 66,829, the stadium was too small to accommodate even a quarter of the 22,000 undergraduates at the school’s Amherst campus and the 400,000 alumni of the state’s flagship university who live in Massachusetts.

Yet by the time the last ticket-holders were scanned through the gates on Nov. 7, the Minutemen were playing the University of Akron in an echoing canyon of concrete and steel where more than nine of every 10 seats remained empty.

The crowd of 6,228 cast in sharp relief the financial risks of the school’s multimillion-dollar gambit.

Four years into the new era, UMass has fielded one of the worst teams in big-time college football, at 8-40 overall. The school has split from the Mid-American Conference, opting to operate as an independent team with no promise of big-time television money or bowl revenue.

They are at the bottom of the pile?

Attendance has all but bottomed out, and the university has fallen short of meeting its projections for reducing millions of dollars of public support the team receives from students and taxpayers.

But they can't find the money for contractually negotiated raises.

Hard-core fans remain, but for many longtime supporters, hope has yielded to resignation.

“I’m afraid the [upgraded] program might be running its course,’’ said Susan Whitbourne, a psychology professor whose long history as a Minutemen fan includes traveling to Chattanooga, Tenn., in 1998 to watch them win a national championship in the lower division.

In June, two weeks before Martin T. Meehan assumed the presidency of the state’s public university system, he told more than a dozen members of the UMass Intercampus Faculty Council that the Minutemen’s jump to the elite ranks of collegiate competition was “the dumbest idea,’’ according to attendees.

Meehan, through a spokesman, denied making the comment. In his previous role as chancellor of UMass Lowell, Meehan elevated that school’s sports teams to the highest level of competition. But UMass Lowell had no football program, which would have considerably increased the transition’s costs.

Meehan insists he stands by UMass Amherst’s upgraded football program, along with chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy and athletic director Ryan Bamford.

“I have total confidence in Chancellor Subbaswamy’s leadership of our flagship campus and in Ryan Bamford’s ability to guide UMass Amherst’s athletics program to great success,’’ Meehan said in a statement. “I know many people are working hard to build the football program in Amherst, and I am sure this team effort will bear fruit in the years ahead.’’

Students and taxpayers subsidize nearly $5 million of the Minutemen’s estimated $8 million budget, and the annual subsidy has increased by about $2 million since UMass moved from the NCAA’s Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division 1-AA) to the Football Bowl Subdivision (previously Division 1-A) in 2012.

UMass initially projected that the football program’s public subsidy would begin decreasing this year. But the school has missed the target, largely because of waning interest. 

Field goal wide right, huh?

Subbaswamy struck an optimistic chord as UMass prepares to join Notre Dame, Army, and Brigham Young among the nation’s largest independent football teams.

“We will continue to manage our football program in a responsible manner, always keeping the best interests of the entire campus in mind,’’ he said in a statement. “Our athletics leadership is focused on improving our competitiveness on the field, finding a good fit with a conference, and building enthusiasm for the football program.’’

These guys are delu$ional!

Bamford vowed to turn around the program’s fortunes. He arrived at UMass in March from Georgia Tech, a Football Bowl Subdivision school, where he was a senior associate athletic director.

“I’m not here to fail,’’ Bamford said.

Gillette vs. McGuirk

Amid the growing pains, the Amherst campus is divided. Sionan Barrett, president of the UMass Amherst Student Government Association, said the debate pits those who consider fielding a major football team essential for the state’s flagship university against those who believe scarce public dollars should be dedicated to strengthening the research institution and improving its aging infrastructure.


Barrett advocated a full-time return for the football team to its traditional home at McGuirk Stadium on campus.

“I think there will continue to be low attendance until all the home games are moved to McGuirk instead of being two hours away in Foxborough,’’ she said. “We need to recreate a football culture on campus.’’

Of which the military is a big part.

The administration initially projected drawing average crowds greater than 20,000 to Gillette. But four years into the school’s five-year lease at the stadium, the average attendance through 18 games is 13,616. The turnout dropped this year to an average of 9,717 over three games in Foxborough.

By most accounts, the two-hour commute from Amherst to Gillette, by far the longest to a home game in American college sports, has alienated much of the student body as well as many fans in Western Massachusetts. The large alumni base in Eastern Massachusetts also has yet to respond as the school had hoped.

I wasn't going anyway.

In an unexpected twist, the turnout at McGuirk this year topped the attendance at Gillette, bolstering arguments for UMass to play its entire home schedule at the 17,000-seat stadium in Amherst. In three games at McGuirk, the Minutemen played before average crowds of 12,527, 22 percent larger than at Gillette.

The administration took notice.

“College football is meant to be played on campus,’’ Bamford said. “We’re going to do everything we can to get our games back on campus.’’

NCAA rules call for sanctioning FBS teams that fail to meet minimum home attendance averages of 15,000 at least every other year, and UMass finished this year with a combined average of 11,124. Should the school fall below 15,000 again next year, it faces 10 years of probation. 


That scenario is unlikely to occur because UMass is scheduled to play Boston College next year in a home game at Gillette. Even though BC this year logged its lowest average home attendance (30,204) since 1991, the Eagles and Minutemen attracted a crowd of 30,479 when they last played at Gillette in 2014 and are likely to draw well again next year.

UMass is scheduled to play three other games at Gillette next fall, against Mississippi State, Tulane, and Louisiana Tech. Only two games are scheduled for McGuirk.

Changes possible

Yet changes may be looming after 2016, but Bamford said playing nearly full-time at McGuirk could require upgrading the amenities and adding as many as 8,000 seats. That alarms critics, who contend UMass already is spending $2.4 million a year more than the football team’s budget to pay debt service and operating costs on a new football performance facility, the centerpiece of a $34.5 million building and stadium renovation project completed in 2014.

Related: UMass Built Upon Debt

Bamford predicted that the school’s football subsidy will begin decreasing in the next year or two, regardless of where the games are played. He said the program will fare better financially in part because of so-called guarantee games the Minutemen have scheduled. Major college teams pay guaranteed fees to lesser opponents, often described as “cupcakes,’’ to fill out their schedules while reducing their chances of losing those contests.

Next year, UMass will receive $1.5 million to play at the University of South Carolina, $1.25 million to travel to the University of Florida, $400,000 to visit the University of Hawaii, and $250,000 to play Brigham Young in Utah.

After breaking ties to the MAC and committing to compete for at least three years as an independent program, UMass is free to schedule games against higher-visibility teams as well as negotiate its own media rights contracts. But Andrew Zimbalist, a Smith College economist who specializes in the financing of sports, said the barriers to FBS success for newcomers such as UMass are formidable and growing.

“At this point, they’re kind of stuck,’’ Zimbalist said. “Once schools like UMass get in the top division, they try to chase the holy grail of being able to compete with schools like Alabama and Ohio State, and they just can’t do it.’’

Bamford said the recipe for success is no secret: winning. The scope of the challenge will be evident when the Minutemen open the 2016 season with a David-vs.-Goliath contest at Florida, a perennial powerhouse.

In a similar matchup this past season, UMass absorbed a 62-27 drubbing at Notre Dame. But UMass officials estimated that the game, broadcast nationally on NBC, generated free media exposure that would have cost the school $11.3 million to achieve through advertising.

Sort of makes it all worth it, doesn't it?

Bamford considered that alone a kind of victory.


RelatedWhat UMaine can teach UMass

Their football team sucks!

Time to fill out your roster:

"Top fantasy sports player uses software, analytics to reap millions" by Curt Woodward Globe Staff  December 23, 2015

Every Sunday during football season, Saahil Sud is up with the sunrise.

While most fans relish a few more hours of sleep, Sud fires up a custom software program that crunches vast amounts of data in search of the ideal team to field in that day’s games.

By the first kickoff, he’s assembled hundreds of finely tuned rosters. Only then can he sit back and, from a sleek apartment 24 floors above downtown Boston, watch his football fantasies play out.

The 27-year-old Sud is a professional fantasy sports player — in fact, he’s considered the best in the world. He’s built a huge lead atop the leader board at RotoGrinders, a fantasy-sports website that publishes the rankings of players who win most often.

So far in 2015, Sud said, he’s made more than $3.5 million. Earlier this year he moved into a penthouse apartment once occupied by ex-Boston Celtics star Rajon Rondo.

“He’s one of the legendary players,” said Cal Spears, cofounder of RotoGrinders. “He’s on the Mount Rushmore.”

A former marketing analyst with a degree in math and economics, Sud eschews the idea of luck or gut instinct in favor of cold, hard data. It’s helped him dominate the field in fantasy sports, in which contestants build rosters of real-life athletes and score points based on those players’ on-field performance.

Professionals such as Sud play a high-volume game powered by software, using computers to find promising players and to submit hundreds of rosters for a single contest, eliminating what might have been hours of laborious work.

It's as if he bought up all the lottery combinations.

Sud’s home-built analytical program looks at a wide array of factors — for a baseball game, for example, he might look at statistics, the weather forecast, and the dimensions of each game’s ballpark.

“Once you have that data, you think that David Ortiz is going to hit 0.3 home runs today on 0.6 RBIs and 0.2 doubles, or whatever it is,” Sud said. “Using that information, I can know that he’s going to score 10 DraftKings points. ... Then, you have a list of every single player in the MLB, and you can use that data to construct your lineups.”

Playing under the screen name “maxdalury,” Sud had a memorable night in May when he won more than $221,000 submitting hundreds of baseball rosters on DraftKings Inc., according to a RotoGrinders analysis.

His ace that day? L.A. Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who was in 884 of Sud’s 888 lineups. The tall lefty returned the confidence with a 10-strike out, no-run performance in an 8-0 win over the Atlanta Braves.

You need a big stake to play at this level. The May contest on DraftKings that Sud swept cost $27 to enter each roster, meaning he spent nearly $24,000 on that one day.

But such proficiency and notoriety comes at a price. Sud was called an “apex predator” and “shark” in a lawsuit filed in Florida by other fantasy players who alleged that he and another professional’s use of software tools gives them “an unfair advantage.”

And in his home state of Massachusetts, some of Sud’s methods are under threat by Attorney General Maura Healey, whose proposed fantasy-sports regulations would ban software that allows players to automatically enter hundreds of rosters.

The industry itself is under attack elsewhere, with New York’s attorney general suing to ban DraftKings and its top competitor, FanDuel Inc., as illegal gambling operations. 

States want their cut.

Far from being intimidated, Sud is going deeper into the fantasy sports business. On Wednesday, he will launch a startup that offers fantasy sports software to other players, giving less-experienced fans the opportunity to use some of the same tools he’s used to dominate the field.

After he's made his money!

His company, RotoQL , is the latest entry in a field of startups founded by professional fantasy players. “Don’t follow the herd,” RotoQL’s website teases. “Lead it.”

Sud grew up in northern New Jersey, a big Yankees fan. As a professional, though, his fandom is a liability. Sud is focused on finding patterns in data, and allowing a rooting interest to interfere would undoubtedly lead to junking up his rosters with Yankees who might not be the best selection.


“I’ve given up most of my fanhood, because you have the biases that you’re subconsciously always rooting for your players, your teams. And if you’re doing this at a high level, you can’t have those biases. Otherwise, it’ll affect who you choose,” Sud said.

A former squash player at Amherst College, Sud adopted the online pseudonym “maxdalury” after the real name of another squash player he knew in high school. He also liked the sound of it.

They still called the Lord Jeffs?

Sud had dabbled in fantasy sports for several years after college and eventually got good. After the Cambridge company where he was a data scientist was acquired, Sud decided to turn pro.

At first, he couldn’t bring himself to tell his parents he was a professional player. Now they’re fully on board, even if they couldn’t quite tell you what he does.

Software tools have been controversial, with some fantasy players questioning whether they give high-powered players an unfair edge. Sud declined to discuss the debate over software, citing pending lawsuits. His lawyer, Jordan D. Hershman of the firm Morgan Lewis, said Sud has become so good by working hard and building his skills.

“I could have quit my job and tried to do it, but I would have failed,” Hershman said. “He’s turned himself into the best player in the whole world by playing the game by the rules and winning fair and square.”

And flooding the system with rosters.

Justin Park, Sud’s close friend from college and a co-founder of RotoQL, said making a version of Sud’s software available to the average player could help combat the charge that only a handful of hot shot professionals can win at fantasy sports.

Oh, it's a $elf-$erving money-making enterpri$e!

“People don’t have the time and the know-how to build the software and do the research,” Sud said. “I think that’s one of the fundamental issues ... that plenty of people play when they have an hour. And a person like me, I can spend many hours a day.”

Most people only submit one team, too.



"Two-thirds of New York voters agree with state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that daily fantasy sports games constitute gambling and are illegal in the state, according to a poll released Monday."

Also see:

DraftKings and FanDuel sue to keep operating in Illinois

Fantasy sports put in limbo in Illinois

DraftKings delays launch in UK

What’s next? Here’s a look.

"Lottery looks for possible partners in digital, daily fantasy worlds" by Curt Woodward Globe Staff  December 31, 2015

The Massachusetts Lottery is looking for companies that could help it roll out daily fantasy sports and other digital games, hoping to reach young people who are more likely to tap on a smartphone screen than scratch off a paper ticket.

The Lottery is still in the early stages of studying the market for digital games and doesn’t plan any new contests without backing from elected state officials, Lottery director Michael Sweeney said.

But the Lottery, which supplies a key stream of revenue to Massachusetts cities and towns, needs to grapple with technological and demographic trends that could eat into its next generation of players, he said.

Some would call it preying on the kids and the poor, but you know.

“We’re trying to avoid getting so far behind the changes in technology and consumer preferences that revenues and sales start to get marginalized,” Sweeney said Wednesday. “I don’t see that happening now, but I could see that happening in five to six years.”

In an information request issued Tuesday, the Lottery sought interest from private vendors of software systems, payment processing, data management, and other services that could help it offer digital games with cash prizes.

No worries about hackers, notice that?

Daily fantasy sports games are among the specific games mentioned in the document, which is not a request for formal bids or business proposals.

The Lottery’s interest in daily fantasy sports reflects the sector’s fast growth in recent years into a multibillion-dollar industry backed by investors such as Google Ventures, Fox Sports, the NBA, and Wellington Financial Management.

They want their cut!

Two companies, Boston-based DraftKings Inc. and New York-based FanDuel Inc., account for more than 90 percent of the market. The daily fantasy sector is projected to collect about $3.1 billion in entry fees this year from a player base that is overwhelmingly male and largely between the ages of 18-35, according to estimates from Eilers Research LLC.

Meanwhile the Lottery is grappling with slow growth of its traditional drawings, and Sweeney is worried fantasy sports may be siphoning off customers. In a presentation to the state Lottery Commission in early November, he identified daily fantasy sports as “the biggest current challenge facing the Lottery.” Adding a competing product, the report said, could bring in new revenue without threatening its existing games.

What $cum!

The Lottery’s interest in daily fantasy also coincides with a period of intense legal scrutiny for the private daily fantasy sector.

The Lottery’s revenues topped $5 billion in the last fiscal year, which concluded in June. But sales grew at just 3.1 percent, which Sweeney said was part of a troubling trend of slow growth.

“If I was in private industry, that’s not a number that I’m going to bed at night feeling comfortable about,” he said....

Even though that was a record haul for the lottery.


And today's winner is....

"Man charged with scamming elderly residents out of $800,000" by Milton J. Valencia Globe Staff  December 24, 2015

It was described by police as a textbook scam of the elderly, the kind law enforcement officials repeatedly warn about. And still, authorities said, Vladimir Wilder Merelan was able to make off with more than $800,000.

Merelan, 28, originally from New York, was charged in a complaint unsealed this week in US District Court in Boston with mail and wire fraud for allegedly scamming elderly residents, ages 60 to 90, by telling them they had won millions of dollars in a lottery sweepstakes. All they had to do was pay the taxes on the winnings before the funds could be released.

But, “None of them have received any of their purported winnings,” officials said in court documents.

Merelan, who worked as a telemetry technician at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., made an initial appearance in the Boston court Wednesday. He was released on unsecured bond and must report to pretrial probation officials in his home state of New York.

Authorities said the arrest was the result of an investigation of a scam that dates back to 2012 and appears to have roots in Jamaica....


"Two men were shot Wednesday afternoon in the Bromley-Heath housing development in Jamaica Plain, police said, and a third person was shot hours later in the South End. All three victims are expected to survive."

They got lucky.


Time for a shift change:

"BU hockey player off team amid gambling claim" by Bob Hohler Globe Staff  December 21, 2015

For the first 18 games of its men’s hockey season, Boston University has competed without junior forward Nick Roberto, his absence described only as a “coach’s decision.’’ That decision, it was disclosed Monday, followed an investigation into allegations that a BU player was involved in gambling.

The school announced that Roberto, 21, a junior forward from Wakefield, will not return to the ice this season.

Beyond that, BU said, “federal privacy laws prevent us from discussing his status.’’

Several people familiar with the situation told the Globe that Roberto and a small number of former BU players bet on sports contests last season.

The Globe has not determined the amount of money involved nor confirmed the names of other players who allegedly bet on games. The National Collegiate Athletic Association bars athletes from gambling on any sports event, including fantasy sports leagues, sports pools, and March Madness brackets. Penalties range from a suspension to permanent ineligibility.

BU’s statement also described how, several months ago, the school “heard rumors that a BU hockey player had engaged in gambling.’’ The statement continued: “Although the rumors did not involve gambling on either college or professional hockey games, we nonetheless immediately conducted a thorough investigation and turned the results over to the appropriate authorities at the NCAA. Based on that investigation, the NCAA made its own findings and took remedial action, and we would refer you to that organization for further information.’’

The NCAA declined to comment.

BU’s statement was first published by the College Hockey News in a story that cited sources alleging Roberto and possibly others participated last season in gambling.

The Globe’s attempts to reach Roberto through the athletic department, his school e-mail address, and his family were not successful.

Roberto played for Malden Catholic and Kimball Union Academy before he entered BU in 2013.

The incident comes three years after allegations of sexual assault involving two BU hockey players rocked the campus. The charges against one player were dropped. The other player, Corey Trivino, pleaded guilty to two counts of battery and one count of trespassing. The hockey program’s longtime coach, Jack Parker, and the school’s athletic director, Mike Lynch, have since left the school, Parker retiring, Lynch resigning.

With Roberto in action last season, BU’s team, led by freshman phenom Jack Eichel, won the Beanpot Tournament and the Hockey East title before losing to Providence College, 4-3, at TD Garden in the NCAA championship game.

Eichel departed BU after the season and was selected second overall in the NHL draft. At 19, he is a rookie star for the Buffalo Sabres....


I'm sorry, wrong sport.

At least we know what he didn't bet on:

"Plainridge casino now slotted for disappointment" by Sean P. Murphy Globe Staff  December 27, 2015

PLAINVILLE — The band capped off a cover of a hit 1970s rock tune with a stylish guitar flourish, but nobody clapped, not one of the nine people glued to video poker screens at the bar, nor any of two dozen others arrayed in ones and twos at the nearby slot machines.

“Anyone for blackjack?” a woman’s voice called out, while the smiling likeness of a comely dealer looked out from the giant high-resolution screen of a gambling machine, in search of customers. But on this recent Thursday night at Plainridge Park Casino, none approached.

It was a far cry from the opening in June, when more than 10,000 people paraded through the state’s first casino, and Plainridge’s video blackjack dealers had all the customers they could handle.

Those now-lonely virtual dealers epitomize an apparent miscalculation made by the planners of Plainridge, who figured a smallish slots parlor would be enough to lure Massachusetts customers away from a larger casino with more offerings just over the border in Rhode Island. Massachusetts residents interviewed recently at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I., said they found Plainridge too small, too focused on slot machines, or too stingy.

See: Tuesday's Turn of the Wheel

“Not enough variety,” in the slot machines at Plainridge, said Joseph Gagnon, a retiree from Uxbridge who along with his wife gambles at Twin River about once a week. “We tried Plainridge. We didn’t like it. Too small.”

Eladio Sanchez of Taunton concurred. At Twin River, he said, “you can get up and walk around. At Plainridge, there’s no place to go.”

Gambling marketing consultants hired before the gala opening predicted as much as almost $300 million in Plainridge’s first year. Even under a “worst case” scenario, Plainridge would take in upward of $210 million a year, they said. Last month, the Massachusetts state budget office cut back that figure to $160 million, as Rhode Island’s counterpart increased its estimates of casino revenue by $35 million in that state.

Plainridge owners declined to comment for this story. They have previously said the holiday season is historically a slow period for all casinos and said they expect business to pick up in the late winter. The owners have also acknowledged that they have moved out some of their video blackjack machines because gamblers aren’t using them.

But outside observers say Plainridge, limited by Massachusetts law to 1,250 slot machines and no table games, might have fallen behind the curve in gambling tastes between the time it was conceived four years ago and its opening in June.

Like whole thing, but at least horse tracks got loot.

“A slots parlor — that just doesn’t cut it anymore,” said Richard McGowan, a Boston College professor and gambling specialist. “Plainridge is going after 60-year-olds, 70-year-olds, 80-year-olds. It’s a nice little crowd to go after, but it’s certainly limited.”

Back in 2011, lawmakers mapping out the state’s entrance into legalized gambling considered a slots parlor a relatively inexpensive and fast way to generate tens of millions of dollars in new taxes, while awaiting the much bigger payoff of resort casinos that would take much more time and money to build.

At the time, more than half of Twin River’s patrons came from Massachusetts, and state officials figured that Plainridge would become a “last line of defense” to keep gamblers at home, said Clyde W. Barrow, a University of Texas professor who has studied the New England casino market.

But Twin River saw it coming and evolved from a gritty slot parlor at an aging horse track into a modern complex that includes 4,000 slot machines, table games, a steakhouse, and a 3,000-seat arena, all surrounded by acres of parking. Last month, it introduced poker tables, considered the current hottest draw for younger adults.

“Plainridge got outflanked by Twin River,” Barrow said.

On that recent Thursday evening at Plainridge, only a couple hundred people spread out across the cavernous casino, which has a fire-department-imposed capacity of 3,750. Hundreds of slot machines blinked and blustered and beckoned, but mostly to no avail. The looping, prerecorded entreaties of the video blackjack dealers blathered on, mostly unheeded.

In the food court, three people sat amid scores of empty tables and chairs. Servers at the two restaurants stood with arms crossed. Cocktail waitresses walked the carpeted aisles asking, “Beverages?”

The band struck up another tune, still stuck in the 1970s.

“It’s a little dead here,” Carl Smith of Stoughton said as he arrived at Plainridge. “A bit too quiet.”

Smith said he enjoys staying at casinos in Las Vegas and elsewhere for a few days to gamble and go to shows.

“But there just ain’t much here,” he said.

Slot machines at one time were so lucrative that Connecticut’s Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun were in a constant state of expansion, adding about 6,250 machines to their existing stock of about 8,500 in one 10-year period, the equivalent of five Plainridges.

But the heyday of the slot machine might be over.


Since 2009, slot revenue at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun has plummeted by about $500 million, which casino specialists attribute in part to a growing preference for other forms of gambling, including with daily fantasy sports companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel.

OMG (is gambling despite awaiting a ruling).

Plainridge’s performance has caught the attention of House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who pushed in 2011 for a slot parlor along with the three resort casinos favored by former Governor Deval Patrick. It is “something the House is watching closely,” a spokesman said.

The state Gaming Commission released a statement that it “will continue to closely monitor and evaluate the performance” of Plainridge. “At this point, it is unclear if there is any one reason as to why revenue is currently lower than expected.”

John E. Taylor Jr., chairman of Twin River Management, thinks he has the answer.

“Plainridge is a nice place, but we have a lot more to offer,” he said.


Also see:

Plainridge low numbers could be start of a state codependency

Plainridge casino is ‘long term play,’ gaming commissioner says

Looks like we have reached a tiverton point

So who won the game?

UMass awarded $320,000 in grants

Plainridge operators, don’t ask for tax reductions