Sunday, June 30, 2019

Sunday Globe Special: Just Biden Time

It's the right-hand corner, above the fold lead:

"Slammed for his comments on race, Biden challenged by a changing party" by Jess Bidgood and Liz Goodwin Globe Staff, June 29, 2019

MIAMI — Since he joined the presidential race in April, there has been one overarching question about Joe Biden: Can he convince millions of Democratic primary voters that he alone is the best bet, among a field brimming with candidates younger, more liberal, and more diverse than he, to be the standard-bearer for his party?

Despite his lead in the polls, last week’s debates revealed how difficult that could be for Biden.

On Thursday night, the former vice president grew defensive and rambled when Senator Kamala Harris confronted him in stark and personal terms on his record on race. Standing under the bright lights, as he haltingly told the second black woman ever elected to the Senate that his opposition to federally mandated busing did not affect her childhood, the former vice president did not exactly seem like the heir apparent to a party that has transformed around him during his decades in public life.

Biden, 76, has cultivated an image as a powerful front-runner with close ties to former president Barack Obama, but he is entering a tougher stage of the primary — one in which he may be forced to rethink his strategy of meeting critiques with defiance or a laugh, especially on charged issues such as race.

Having a bit of deja vu, the turn-in was at tougher, and I'll pick it up on page A8.

The front-page center feature is in regard to the “the era of the employee activist,” just the kind of thing you want to see in the bastion of corporate liberalism that is the Bo$ton Globe:

Wayfair walkout is part of a new era of employee activism

Time to go back to work, though, and rising up to snag a small spot above the fold were these articles:

One Dalton, Boston’s commanding new skyscraper, conjures architectural magic

Guards at the MFA speak out

I already spoke out on what I think, and the contrived non-events for mind-manipulation and agenda-pushing purposes becomes so tiresome as my pre$$ diverts any talk of cla$$.

Nothing below the fold in terms of articles, just what's inside with brief weather report.


So I opened the over-priced puppy up and was met with these on page A2:

Trump and Xi agree to restart trade talks, avoiding escalation in tariff war

I saw it was New York Times and I quickly scanned it. Like much of today's Sunday Globe, it's filler.

Below it was this "news analysis":

Trump’s offer to say ‘hello’ to Kim at DMZ carries risks and rewards for both

I saw it was New York Times again, and I quickly scanned it. Like much of today's Sunday Globe, it's filler. No offense, but I view the the events as irrelevant. No there there, just more photo-op garbage presented as a reflection of reality.

What I cared about seems to be missing from the Globe web version, and that was the trio of briefs in the right-hand column:

Palestinian forces arrest participant in US Mideast workshop

Sudan’s army warns protest leaders of violence at rallies

US, Taliban open Doha talks in fresh bid to end war

Interestingly enough, when I went into the World headlines to search I found this on the heels of those alleged peace talks:

Taliban attack kills 8 election officials in Afghanistan

You can set your watch by the stuff, whatever it is. 

[Page A3 was a full-page advertisement wishing Cardinal O'Malley of Boston a happy 75th birthday. Glad to see it's far from the Spotlight]

Page A4:

Italy arrests captain of ship that rescued dozens of migrants at sea

I saw that it was another, you guessed it, New York Times byline, and I quickly lost interest.

Below it was this:

What’s it like to live in Barcelona’s most famous Gaudí home?

Once again, a New York Times byline, and that obviou$ly appeals to a certain cla$$ of people -- not that there is anything wrong with that, but it's feel-good filler and not the kind of news reporting I'm looking for. The pre$$ has become worse than the TV.

[The rest of page A4 contained advertisements for a donation of your car to Make-A-Wish, Seasons Four patio furniture, and for fur storage of all things by Glama Furs, while the flip to page A5 brought a full-page advertisement for Total Wine, a stalwart of advertising in the Globe]

At the bottom of page A6 I found this:

UK couple ends weeks-long joint hunger strike

Looks like the beating of the Iran war drum over an MI-6 spy, and the byline was, yeah, New York Times.


Page A7 begins the National coverage:

Judge orders swift action to improve conditions for migrant children in Texas

I hate to say it, but the byline is, yeah, New York Times, and for whatever reason as soon as I see it I lose all interest in what propaganda they are promoting.

[The full bottom of the page is a promotion for something called "JFK Moonshot," an augmented reality experience that will help you relive the Apollo 11 launch at the JFK library. They can't be more in your face with that colossal production than that. Received history is a fake, a fraud, a lie. You are told to take the Red Line to JFK/UMass (better give yourself some extra time) and the "mission," get this, is co-sponsored by Raytheon and Boeing -- who have everything to gain from NASA continuing to run cover for the MIC, and it might even be part of the merger strategy on Raytheon's part while Boeing needs a boost after their faulty jets crashed and killed people. One wonders where are the murder charges, if for nothing but negligence]

[Forget about the above; however, for you can get away from it all by flipping to the end of first part of the A-section with a full-page A8 ad for Sandals in the Caribbean, where I'm told Love is All You Need, Everything Else Included]

Page A9:

NC redistricting fight turns to state courts after ruling

Was an AP byline, but I still wasn't interested.

[The full bottom of the page was an ad for Walden Local Farms]

Page A10 puts me back on the campaign trail:

“I think he needs to remember that he’s running in 2019 and not 1988,” said Joseph Darby, a pastor from Nichols AME Church in Charleston, S.C., and an official with his city’s NAACP. “The political discourse is a little bit different now,” said Darby.

Harris’s surgical and carefully planned attack laid bare the differences between Biden and many of his competitors — in age, life experience, and the way they believe Democrats should talk about race, a defining and unavoidable issue for many of the voters who will choose the party’s nominee in 2020. Biden has longstanding relationships with black leaders, but he does not seem used to the careful tone that may be required of an older white politician in a party that now has people of color decades younger than he is also seeking the presidency.

Biden didn’t appear prepared for Harris’s slam on his past work with segregationist senators to prevent federal support for busing, despite the fact that his praise of working with those senators had dominated the news for the week leading up to the debate.

He thinks they are just going to hand it to him, and maybe they are. The fix is already in the machines.

He told Harris she was wrong about his position, took a swipe at her career as a prosecutor — a critique that did not seem to land in the moment — and then cut himself off as he enumerated his civil rights record. “My time is up,” he said. “I’m sorry.”

That last part probably helped him, since it stopped him from inserting his knee into his mouth.

Biden’s attempts to defend himself made for a sharp contrast with the way Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., responded on the same stage when he was asked why there are so few black police officers in his city, which is reeling after a white police officer fatally shot a black man there this month.

It’s unclear if the lackluster performance will eat away at the former vice president’s commanding 15-point lead in the polls, or whether Harris’s pointed criticisms of Biden’s record on race will siphon away his deep well of support from older black voters, many of whom find his eight years serving under the nation’s first black president deeply compelling.

“They’re going to forgive a lot of things and they’re going to forget a lot of things,” said Bill Clyburn, an African-American state representative from South Carolina who has endorsed Biden.

“They’re going to do that because of the confidence that they have in Biden and the confidence they have in Barack, who chose him,” added Clyburn, who is a cousin of the powerful Congressman Jim Clyburn.

Indeed, some of the controversies that play out in the news media don’t appear to register on the campaign trail, as when Biden joked about accusations from some women that his physical campaigning style made them uncomfortable. Many voters appear to trust him when he suggests his heart is in the right place on race, and appreciate his unstudied style, but for months, operatives in early voting states have worried Biden is too reliant on the sheen from his role as vice president in the Obama administration in a wide-open primary where the party is wrestling with fundamental questions about identity and values. Biden keeps a lighter schedule than many of his rivals, has done fewer in-depth interviews with the press, and often reacts defensively when presented with criticisms of his comments or past positions on issues.

He's a “straight shooter and very sincere,” but a bit thin-skinned.

“They’ve been acting sort of aloof and like he’s stratospherically above everyone else, but I don’t think that’s sustainable for much longer,” said Brian Fallon, a former top aide to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

Harris moved quickly to capitalize on her clash with Biden, selling T-shirts that commemorate the moment and announcing on Saturday she had raised $2 million in the 24 hours after the debate.

Biden initially acted like a front-runner with no desire to quickly clean up the mess. As his competitors grabbed more camera time post-debate, Biden had to be chased by a TV reporter through the debate hall. He reiterated his belief that Harris mischaracterized his views. Then on Friday, in a speech at a labor luncheon for a civil rights group in Chicago, Biden took a softer tone in defending his commitment to racial equality.

“I heard and I listened to and I respect Senator Harris,” he told the crowd. “But we all know that 30 seconds to 60 seconds on a campaign debate exchange can’t do justice to a lifetime commitment to civil rights,” but another comment he made at the same event, about how a “kid wearing a hoodie” could be the next poet laureate and not a “gangbanger,” drew a fresh round of criticism, underscoring the scrutiny Biden is likely to face when he discusses race in the coming weeks of his campaign.

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, who is black, posted a retort on Twitter. “This isn’t about a hoodie. It’s about a culture that sees a problem with a kid wearing a hoodie in the first place,” said Booker, another Democratic contender who has been sharply critical of Biden on racial issues. “Our nominee needs to have the language to talk about race in a far more constructive way.”

Adrianne Shropshire, the executive director of BlackPAC, a progressive group that funds efforts to mobilize black voters, said Harris’s deft highlighting of Biden’s associations with segregationists could prompt some black voters to take another look at his record on race. She suggested Biden reckon with the issue directly.

“He needs to either make a major policy speech or in some other way articulate his evolution on issues,” Shropshire said. “He needs to discuss why he took certain positions that frankly were problematic,” but such a move would require Biden to curb his instincts to dismiss criticism out of hand.

The former vice president has been prickly on the campaign trail, explicitly refusing to apologize after critiques of issues from his past treatment of Anita Hill when she accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, to his minimalist campaign schedule. He also punches down, responding to barbs from minor rivals and thus elevating the controversy, and last week, when Booker slammed Biden for joking about a segregationist senator using the word “boy,” Biden told reporters Booker should apologize to him, not the other way around.

He is living in the past.

Biden has survived a long career in politics, and facing down criticism aggressively is not always a political liability — he appears to have put the controversies around his physical style of campaigning to rest by mocking the issue, for example..... 

Then he is a fool.


It is now looking like a two-woman race as the Democrats are having a moment, but it won’t last long enough to win the Electoral College.

"Trump consultant is trolling Democrats with Biden site that isn’t Biden’s" by Matthew Rosenberg New York Times, June 29, 2019

AUSTIN, Texas — For much of the past three months, the most popular Joe Biden website has been a slick little piece of disinformation that is designed to look like the former vice president’s official campaign page, yet is most definitely not pro-Biden.

From top to bottom, the website,, breezily mocks the candidate in terms that would warm the heart of any Bernie Sanders supporter: There are GIFs of Biden touching women and girls, and blurbs about his less-than-liberal policy positions, including his opposition to court-ordered busing in the 1970s and his support for the Iraq War. Pull quotes highlight some of his more famous verbal gaffes, like his description of his future boss, Barack Obama, as “articulate and bright and clean.” The introductory text declares, “Uncle Joe is back and ready to take a hands-on approach to America’s problems!”

So what is the actual disinformation there?

All the site says about its creator is buried in the fine print at the bottom of the page. The site, it says, is a political parody built and paid for “BY AN American citizen FOR American citizens,” and not the work of any campaign or political action committee.

The Globe's is usually at the bottom of the op-ed page.

There is indeed an American behind the website — that much is unambiguously true, but he is very much a political player, and a Republican one at that. His name is Patrick Mauldin, and he makes videos and other digital content for President Trump’s reelection campaign. Together with his brother Ryan, Mauldin also runs Vici Media Group, a Republican political consulting firm in Austin whose website opens with the line “We Kick” followed by the image of a donkey — the Democratic Party symbol often known by another, three-letter, name.

When I saw he was based in Austin, my first thought was government disinformation or controlled opposition (is also where Ron Paul was from, casting doubt upon that campaign).

The Biden website was intended to help Democrats “face facts,” Mauldin said in an interview. He kept his name off it because “people tend to dismiss things that they don’t like, especially if it comes from the opposite side,” he said, yet in anonymously trying to exploit the fissures within the Democratic ranks — fissures that ran through this past week’s debates — Mauldin’s website hews far closer to the disinformation spread by Russian trolls in 2016 than typical political messaging. With nothing to indicate its creator’s motives or employer, the website offers a preview of what election experts and national security officials say Americans can expect to be bombarded with for the next year and a half: anonymous and hard-to-trace digital messaging spread by sophisticated political operatives whose aim is to sow discord through deceit. Trolling, that is, as a political strategy.

Looks more like Israel's modus operandi.

Mauldin, who has not been previously identified as the creator of the website, said he had built and paid for it on his own, and not for the Trump campaign, but the campaign knows about the website, raising the prospect that the president’s reelection effort condoned what is, in essence, a disinformation operation run by one of its own.

Inside the campaign, Mauldin, 30, is seen as a rising star, prized for his mischievous sense of humor and digital know-how, according to two people familiar with the operation. He also appears to be very much on point in his choice of targets: Biden is the Democrat polling strongest against Trump and has been repeatedly singled out on Twitter by the president.

Biden’s campaign knew about the fake website for months, but had not been of aware of who was behind it, said T.J. Ducklo, a campaign spokesman. “Imagine our surprise that a site full of obvious disinformation,” he said, “is the handiwork of an operative tied to the Trump campaign.”

Unlike much of the Russian disinformation, which often has been crude and off-key — remember the Facebook ad promoting Sanders as a gay-rights superhero? — the faux Biden site has been a viral hit. Mauldin even started selling mock Biden 2020 T-shirts through the website to capitalize on its success.

Selling T-shirts like Harris, huh?

For decades, conventional wisdom in politics held that trying to undermine your opponent’s base would only motivate that group to vote against you, but in 2016, Russian disinformation and the Trump team’s own targeting of disenchanted Democrats led many campaign veterans on the left and the right to conclude that sowing dissent inside an opponent’s ranks could work. It worked especially well if the criticism appeared to come from their own side.

Like what the Democrats did to Roy Moore.

Are you sure it was the Russians and not someone else?

With websites like the faux Biden page, “essentially you’re trying to sow chaos and you’re trying to basically do voter suppression,” said David Goldstein, the chief executive of Tovo Labs, a Democratic digital consulting firm in New York.

You mean preventing fraud, right?

“You want their supporters to get sad, to get angry, to get turned off from their chosen candidate,” he continued. “The way voters tend to work: They don’t turn off from a candidate and pick up someone else; they turn off from a candidate and turn off politics.”

No, it's the ma$$ media coverage that has turned me off to the wre$tling match that is politics now.


They are the prime reason!

Page A11:

Faithful reflect on church’s move to scrap a moniker

It's New York Times again, and I already made the mistake of reading one of their articles.

"Oregon Republican senators end walkout over carbon bill" by Andrew Selsky and Sarah Zimmerman Associated Press, June 29, 2019

SALEM, Ore. — Some Republican lawmakers returned to the Oregon Senate on Saturday, ending a walkout over a carbon-emissions bill they said would harm their rural constituents.

Nine of the 12 minority Republicans returned after Senate President Peter Courtney said the majority Democrats lacked the votes to pass the legislation aimed at countering climate change. Democrats have an 18 to 12 majority in the Senate but need at least 20 members — and therefore at least two Republicans — to vote on legislation.

Democrats had said the climate legislation was critical to make Oregon a leader in the fight against climate change and will ultimately create jobs and transform the economy. They made dozens of concessions to respond to concerns from conservatives and industry leaders, but they didn’t go as far as Republicans hoped.

The GOP senator walkout began June 20. Many left the state after Governor Kate Brown ordered the state police to bring them to the Capitol.

‘‘Our mission in walking out was to kill cap and trade,’’ Senate Minority Leader Herman Baertschiger told reporters Friday. ‘‘And that’s what we did.’’

At least for the current session, which ends today, and more than 100 bills and dozens of measures remain to be addressed before the legislative session ends. That's called literally waiting until the last minute, and one wonders how Oregonians are getting to get f***ed.

The Republicans wielded power disproportionate to their numbers this session. They walked out of the Senate last month to block a school funding tax package. They returned only after Brown brokered a deal in which Democrats dropped legislation on gun control and children’s vaccination requirements, upsetting backers of those measures and leaving gun-control proponents and those concerned about disease outbreaks feeling betrayed.....

I'm told ‘‘this is not how our democracy is supposed to work,’’ and that they are ‘‘heartbroken over the state of their Legislature,’’ but no one complains -- or even mentions -- the disproportionate power wielded by Zioni$t Jews.


Page A13:

NASA reopens Apollo Mission Control room that once landed men on moon

The bigger and longer the lie, and I remember seeing the aluminum foil toy at the Smithsonian once wondering how in the world that made it.

Fatal lion attack nets 3 ‘serious’ violations for North Carolina center

[After that there were seven pages of obituaries, and that, dear ladies and gentleman, is where my two-sectioned A-section ended]


My B-section came with a flip-flap in front of the front-page:

Don’t let the roller coaster excitement around bitcoin distract you from the basics of investing

Trump to name Tomas Philipson, a health care expert, as his next chief economist

Both are Washington ComPost copy, and when I peeled those away, I found these:

Wife thrilled with husband’s rescue from White Mountains

I wonder if they will be criminally charged and billed for the heart-warming success.

"The long-struggling MBTA pension fund is in ‘the danger zone’" by Matt Stout Globe Staff, June 29

The MBTA’s pension system is less than 50 percent funded for the first time in at least three decades, deepening concerns over the long-troubled fund as it mulls handing some financial control to the state.

At the close of last year, the MBTA Retirement Fund’s liabilities climbed past $2.91 billion, more than double the $1.45 billion it reported in assets, according to several documents the fund quietly posted to its website.

That imbalance means the system is just 49.7 percent funded. A fund spokesman said Friday he did not know if it’s ever been that low in a single year, and it’s the first time it’s fallen below 50 percent since at least 1987, according to public records available online.

I $mell another money grab!

“That’s the danger zone,” said Mark T. Williams, a Boston University professor who has closely tracked the fund as it has continually spent more than it has brought in. “Then the issue is you can’t continue paying the benefits that you’re paying because you’re going to drain the overall pension, and you’re not going to meet the obligation of future retirees. It’s hard to recover.”

The T pension fund’s gloomy financial picture darkened in 2018, thanks in part to a struggling financial market. The fund reported a negative 3.08 percent return — far below its 7.5 percent target — which helped push its unfunded liability to more than $1.46 billion.

I'm told to turn in to page B7 while wondering WTF? 

How can they be so far off track when the stock markets are at record highs?

Jarheads rely on their brotherhood to confront tragedy

The kid is now Public Enemy #1.

[flip to below fold]

Bernie Sanders, Seth Moulton court LGBTQ voters at Nashua Pride Festival

At least they are open about it.


"Alexander Pangborn, 41, a transgender man from Western Massachusetts who says he was repeatedly denied insurance coverage for a gender-affirming surgery filed a complaint last week with the state’s commission against discrimination, according to his lawyer....."

Dominican officials arrest 14th man in David Ortiz shooting

That was a lead New England brief in my printed paper, followed by these:

Woman dies after stabbing during Brockton ‘traffic confrontation’

Mass. mother accused of driving SUV into R.I. reservoir with 3 kids inside

Police seeking shooter that injured 5 at house party


Markey, Pressley, Kennedy propose federal grants for states that adopt Mass. gun laws

Looks like a bribe attempt to me.


Woman injured in Esplanade stabbing released from hospital

The suspect in the attack is also being charged with an unrelated outstanding warrant, but State Police have not released information about it -- leading one to believe it's connected to his immigration status -- and by Saturday, there was no apparent sign that anything had happened less than a week before throngs of tourists are expected to celebrate the Fourth of July and the stabbing shouldn't affect the festivities “at all” because there is “so much State Police there.”


Oddly enough, on this day in history they also drew out the long knives.


Steve Crawford, a fund spokesman, said officials view the system’s level of funding over five years, not one, where he said it’s slightly better at 53 percent, but even in that context, it’s the lowest since at least the late 1980s, records show.

Crawford argued that the fund is “back on track” this year, when it reported a 9.9 percent net return through the end of April, and is benefiting from “the assistance of greater contributions by members and the authority.”

The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority is slated to give the fund $118.1 million next budget cycle, according to T officials. That’s up significantly from this fiscal year, when it contributed $103 million in taxpayer- and rider-funded cash.

“We are confident the long-term health of the fund is good,” Crawford said.

Denial is a wonderful thing.

T officials forcefully disagree.....

They say it is a wake-up call.


I guess you will just have to walk:

Boston officials approve ‘Straight Pride Parade’ application; event to be held Aug. 31


Maybe you can get a boat out of the port:

The next global tech disruption will happen where few expect it

Did you know modern cargo ships are hundreds of feet longer than the largest aircraft carrier?

I'm also left wondering how globalization has contributed to the climate change we are all supposed to be worried about, or does it not matter when it is the military or trade at $take?

Chernobyl reminds us of the tragic cost of lies

I know it is none of their concern, but the credibility of the whole series was called into question, and when I think of the tragic cost of lies the word that immediately comes to mind is Iraq.

Soros and Koch brothers team up to end US ‘forever war’ policy 

I used to at least respect Kinzer because he was about as much dissent as the Globe allowed; however, he has become a cartoon caricature.

Maximum pressure has been a failure

It's the Globe calling for a different approach with Iran and Cuba, as they call for Trump to reenter the nuclear deal and then try to negotiate an extension, and enhancement, of the agreement while letting travel, tourism, and commerce promote change from within in Cuba.

And with that, I am out of time for today.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Slow Saturday Special: Deja Vu at the DCF

It's on the front page:

2 more arrested in David Ortiz shooting

The official story is a case of mistaken identity, and so much for the bad booze.

Joe Biden defends his 1970s position on school busing

The controversy that sprang from Thursday night’s debate raised questions about whether the 76-year-old Biden can maintain his front-runner status in the 2020 race amid a series of incidents that have left him appearing to some as being out of touch with today’s Democratic Party, but it is unclear whether those events will erode Biden’s strong support among African-American voters, some of which comes from his having served with Barack Obama.

Biden spoke Friday at the annual convention in Chicago of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, a civil rights group founded by Jesse Jackson, who is its president. Earlier on Friday Jackson told CNN that Biden had been “on the wrong side” of the busing issue, but in introducing Biden at the convention, Jackson said he has “the stuff that it takes to make America better.” Biden said he respects Harris, but “30 seconds to 60 seconds on a campaign debate exchange can’t do justice to a lifetime commitment to civil rights,” he said.

That still might be it for him.

[flip to below fold]

As Cape Cod readies for tourist season, last year’s deadly shark attack is on everyone’s mind

Welcome to the Encore Boston Harbor hotel

The room co$ts $600 a night and doesn’t overlook the harbor, but you do get a 55-inch HDTV, plus a 24-inch flat screen over the bathtub (let's hope no one is watching).

"Why does it take DCF so long to release information on child deaths?" by Kay Lazar Globe Staff, June 28, 2019

The troubled state agency in charge of protecting children can’t yet say how many kids died of abuse and neglect last year. Or this year. Nor can it say how many children in its care, all told, have died so far in 2019, whether by accident, injury, or some other means.

A spokeswoman for the Baker administration said that data was “not readily available” Friday, a day after the Essex district attorney’s office announced it is investigating three unrelated deaths since mid-April of children in the care of the Department of Children and Families.

The administration said it will eventually report that information to the state’s child advocate, who is responsible for issuing annual reports, but the time lag between children’s deaths and the public release of information about them can be significant.

Child welfare advocates say the lack of prompt reporting makes it difficult to understand the plight of children in the state’s care in real time, or how the department could swiftly correct emergent problems.

The latest deaths are still under investigation by the state medical examiner.

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a cause of death.

DCF has long been plagued by a lack of transparency and accountability, and despite episodic efforts by the governor and Legislature to fix it, problems remain.

Yeah, they are more worried about seed-to-sale tracking of pot than they are the most vulnerable children. Not only do you get sick of the excuses, but you start to wonder what's really going on. This is all in the hands of those who lecture upon their moral superiority as the state, too.

Earlier this year, the department acknowledged it relies on a largely paper-based system to track thousands of children in foster care. The department vowed to rectify that with a new computer system by this fall.

Yeah, keep in mind the paper system still in place for later, and let's pray there are no glitches like with the DMV, welfare, and unemployment updates.

See: Sunday Globe Special: For the Children

Is it?

State lawmakers were fed up with delays and a lack of context in DCF’s data in the aftermath of a string of children’s deaths about five years ago. They ordered the creation of a task force to develop more timely and complete data on the welfare of children and families in DCF care. It gave the task force until early 2022 to get the job done.

That's what we call a lot of hand-waving and arm-flailing to show they are doing something about the problem, without actually doing anything about the problem. 

At least they got their pay raises that will buffer their pensions and perks!

Two years later, progress has been slow. Susan Elsen, a child welfare policy advocate at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, a member of that task force, says she is optimistic it will eventually “bring about the data transparency that’s needed, but we have our work cut out for us.”

Why? I mean, they can track all the cars moving around, cameras are ubiquitous, we have fusion centers in case of security threats, electronic data collection of all kinds, but the thing the state is most charged with and what they say they take with utmost seriousness -- the protection of vulnerable youth -- and it's we don't know. It almost makes one think the incompetence is a cover for something far more nefarious.

Oh, and about those new computer systems:

DCF’s problems precede Baker. Five years ago, the public was outraged about missing children in DCF care after the department acknowledged it wasn’t tracking teens who’d run away from foster homes. Governor Deval Patrick’s administration promised to upgrade technology in order to do a better job of tracking runaways — and all the children under the supervision of DCF.....


Nothing was done, huh? 

Just threw a lot of contracts out to well-connected contacts and consultants and we will get back to you.


Page 5 Related: Mother recalls final visit with child who died in DCF care

How awful.


The Globe is really waving the kids at us these days.

Page 2:

"‘Flawed’ study shows possible lasting effects from drug exposure in the womb" by Felice J. Freyer Globe Staff, June 28, 2019

A new study involving thousands of Boston families found that children exposed to multiple drugs in the womb are more likely to face physical and mental difficulties as they grow up.

The study, published Friday in the online journal JAMA Network Open, is the first to examine a large group of opioid-exposed children over many years and seek to identify the developmental consequences. Yet the research fails to untangle the host of factors that affect how children fare, and several specialists in newborn medicine said it does little more than point to avenues for future research.

Lead author Romuladus E. Azuine, director of epidemiology research at the US Health Resources and Services Administration, said the study provides “very shocking and troubling” insights into the potential aftereffects of the opioid crisis.

“The opioid epidemic is not an epidemic of the present. It is an epidemic of the future,” Azuine said. “We have shown long-term consequences for children.”

The study found that drug-exposed youngsters were more likely than their peers to be born small or premature, have growth problems and conduct disorders as preschoolers, and suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder when they get to school.

Is this another bogus, agenda-pu$hing, $elf-$erving study that is really saying nothing because that is where this thing goes.

All the women took opioids (heroin, oxycodone, or methadone) while pregnant — but most also smoked, drank alcohol, and used other illicit substances. The analysis did not tease out the effects of the different substances. It also provided no information about the children’s home environment, which research has shown to be at least as influential as drug exposure during pregnancy.

So this is basically crap. Agenda-pushing crap.

Significantly, the study does not reveal the number of children who suffered bad outcomes. It shows that the drug-exposed children had higher odds of having certain problems, but not how prevalent those problems were.

The questions the study raises are critical because increasing numbers of babies have been born dependent on opioids in recent years. The number of women who were addicted to opioids when they delivered babies quadrupled across the nation from 1999 to 2014, according to a federal study last year. In Massachusetts, one of the states hardest hit by the opioid crisis, the increase was even greater: more than sixfold from 1999 to 2013, the most recent year measured.

To better understand the effects of such trends, researchers from the Health Resources and Services Administration, Johns Hopkins University, and Boston Medical Center delved into the medical records of 8,509 mother-infant pairs who agreed to participate in a study starting in 1998. Called the Boston Birth Cohort, the group consists of low-income urban mothers who delivered babies at Boston Medical Center. Of them, 454 children, about 5 percent, were exposed to opioids in the womb.

The ultimate goal should be zero, but once again we have a mountain being made of a molehill and being presented as an urgent mainstream problem.

The authors acknowledge that their work doesn’t separate the effects of opioids from the alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, and other illicit substances the women also took.

I mean, c'mon!

For example, it’s already well-known that babies born to smokers are more likely to be undersized or premature. Because the mothers who took opioids were also more likely to smoke, it’s not clear whether the opioid exposure made any difference.

Dr. Stephen W. Patrick, a Vanderbilt University specialist in newborn medicine who has studied opioid-exposed babies, said the study fails to answer the burning questions about the long-term effects of opioid exposure in the womb.

“What the study shows us is that polysubstance exposure can be associated with adverse outcomes,” he said. “It highlights the need for close follow-up for substance-exposed newborns.”

BPH out of the plastics yet? 

How about the lead in the water?

EPA looking out for any of that?

Dr. Barry Zuckerman, a Boston Medical Center pediatrician and one of the study’s authors, acknowledged the study’s limitations. How each substance contributes to the bad effects remains an unanswered question, he said.

“Any implications for prevention have to go beyond just stopping opioids,” he said. “In the real world, we need interventions to address all substances and risk factors.”

That's what this is. A big push for the total surveillance society under the guise of your health.

Let's pray the kid doesn't get sent into foster care.

Decades of research into the lives of children exposed to cocaine and methamphetamine in the womb has shown that it’s not the drugs alone that affect how the children fare — it’s the environment where they grow up and the stresses they endure. Poverty, violence, and trauma have at least as much influence on a child’s future as the chemicals the child was exposed to during gestation, said Barry M. Lester, director of Brown University’s Center for the Study of Children at Risk.

Are opioids somehow worse for babies than cocaine and methamphetamine? Lester said it remains unknown, and the recent study, in his opinion, sheds no new light, but Zuckerman, while acknowledging that the study is “flawed,” said opioid use may amplify the negative effects of a person’s life circumstances. It’s known that they affect the brain because opioid-exposed infants suffer from withdrawal at birth, something not seen with cocaine, he said.

Right, there is no cocaine addiction or withdrawal. 

Maybe someone should piss test the doctors who put their name on this pos.

The study, he said, provides “documentation of what we clinically have always seen,” he said. “It adds evidence to the concern that all of us clinicians have had for these mothers and babies.”

Oh, yeah, it backs up what they have spewing, I gotcha.

Dr. Jonathan M. Davis, chief of Tufts Medical Center’s division of newborn medicine, said the study provides “important information” about the complexities of patients’ lives.

Opioid use, he said, occurs amid a web of social, emotional, and economic factors. It can be a sign of a troubled life across generations, starting with childhood trauma — which leads many women into addiction — and continuing into adult lives afflicted with poverty, violence, and stress.

Imagine what living in a place like Gaza does to the kids, huh? 

Or Iraq. Or Afghanistan. Or Libya. Or Syria. Or Yemen.

The new research points to the importance of taking care of the children after they leave the hospital, he said.

Just don't leave them in the hands of the DCF.

“We’re sending them home and wishing them good luck,” Davis said. “Every one of these opioid-exposed babies should be referred for early intervention and tracked and followed.”

Is it just me, or do the incongruous contradictions and mixed messages of this $lop make you wanna cry like a baby?

Dr. Munish Gupta, a pediatrician specializing in newborns at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, reacted to the study with alarm, saying he feared it would scare pregnant women away from necessary treatment because it doesn’t distinguish between women who used illicit opioids and those who took prescribed opioids to treat their addiction.

Doctors strongly recommend that pregnant women who are addicted to opioids, rather than simply stopping all drugs, take a different type of opioid, either methadone or buprenorphine. These drugs control cravings and prevent overdoses, enabling women to stabilize their lives, focus on health and nutrition, and deliver healthier babies, but inevitably the fetus is exposed to the drugs and often will undergo withdrawal at birth. That’s considered better than the alternative: Some 90 percent of pregnant women who stop heroin use will relapse, exposing the fetus to high and irregular doses of opioids and risking overdose and death.

Yeah, just keep taking the pre$cription pharmaceuticals! 


Dr. Davida M. Schiff, medical director of a Massachusetts General Hospital clinic for women with opioid use disorder and their children, says her patients are often reluctant to take the recommended medications because they fear the effects on their babies. She worries this latest study will make it even harder to persuade them.

“We know that these families are very high risk,” she said. “Can we pour the resources into actually supporting them as opposed to providing more judgment and stigma and shame?”

They don't have to worry, it's not them I'm judging.


If only we had more female leaders, huh?

"Female candidates make history, waves in debate" by Stephanie Ebbert Globe Staff, June 28, 2019

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar was the candidate most likely to invoke He Who Must Not Be Named in the first night’s debate, positioning herself as a fierce contender who is willing and eager take on Trump, said Betsy Fischer Martin, executive director of the Women & Politics Institute at the American University School of Public Affairs, but Mary Anne Marsh, a Democratic strategist, thought Klobuchar came off as calibrated in her debate persona, while some of the other women presented what today’s voters demand — authenticity. Women candidates — like Hillary Clinton — have often been encouraged to be themselves, even as they’re criticized at every turn for being too tough or not tough enough.

“It was refreshing to see Elizabeth Warren as a woman candidate stand up there and be the same Elizabeth Warren you’ve seen every day,” Marsh said. “That is a major step forward for women in general.”

Fischer Martin was a producer for the 2000 US Senate debate in which Republican Rick Lazio unexpectedly left his podium and charged toward Clinton asking her to sign a pledge, looking aggressive and more than a little too macho. Fischer Martin didn’t spot gender-based missteps of that caliber this time around, but she was struck to hear Washington Governor Jay Inslee try to distinguish himself as the only candidate who passed a law protecting abortion rights, and taking sole credit as the “one candidate that’s actually advanced the ball.”

“If you’re going to mansplain something,” Fischer Martin questioned, why would you choose reproductive rights, on a stage with three women?

In doing so, he set up Klobuchar to deliver her best line of the debate: “I want to say there are three women up here who fought pretty hard for a woman’s right to choose.”

US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand also tried to make the case that she was being talked over by the men onstage, and even offered the floor to Marianne Williamson, a spiritual author and lecturer who is also running for president and hadn’t yet gotten a chance to speak.

“It struck me as being frustrated,” said Fischer Martin, who noted that Gillibrand got less speaking time than most of the candidates but that her frequent attempts to cut in were largely unsuccessful.

“I think she rubbed some people the wrong way, for sure,” she said.

Conversely, Kamala Harris owned the debate stage, interjecting, running over time when necessary and even using the clamor kicked up by Gillibrand to her advantage.

“Hey guys, you know what? America does not want to witness a food fight,” Harris said, to applause. “They want to know how we’re going to put food on their table.“

To Marsh, the women’s performance — and the audience’s receptivity — proved a different lesson than some took from the 2016 election.

“Women are more political and more empowered than ever,” she said. “The perfect way to defeat Donald Trump is to have a woman do it.”

And if not, it will be 0 for 2 and a worse trauma than in 2016. 


You guys are better off letting Bernie take the loss.

Page 3:

Another ‘Varsity Blues’ defendant pleads guilty

Page 4:

"Haverhill man held without bail in killing of 82-year-old Groveland man" by Emily Sweeney and John R. Ellement Globe Staff, June 28, 2019

HAVERHILL — Leedell L. Graham left his Cedar Street home last Friday and walked some 4 miles into neighboring Groveland, where he allegedly went into the home of Patsy Schena and killed the 82-year-old man when Schena walked in minutes later, prosecutors said Friday.

Graham, 48, was arraigned in Haverhill District Court on Friday on a charge of murder. He appeared in court wearing a gray T-shirt and looked calmly around the courtroom. For a moment, he stared in the direction of a woman who was crying.

Graham was ordered held without bail. A probable cause hearing is scheduled for Aug. 1.

Essex Assistant District Attorney John DePaulo said in court that surveillance camera footage showed Graham arriving at Schena’s home at 4:16 p.m. on the day of the murder, June 21.

Further video footage showed Schena arriving at his house at 4:23 p.m., the prosecutor said.

Graham left the house at 4:30 p.m., the prosecutor said. He is 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 280 pounds.

Police discovered Schena’s body around 11:46 p.m., officials said.

DePaulo said a bag was found about a 10th of a mile from the house that contained the handle of a knife, Schena’s car keys, and a lamp that State Police believe is the murder weapon.

A second bundle was found about a half mile from the house that included clothing Graham was allegedly seen wearing along with a piece of jewelry that authorities allege had been taken from Schena’s house, he said.

DePaulo said investigators have stitched together images from various surveillance cameras in Haverhill and Groveland, and they were able to track Graham as he walked the 4 miles or so to Schena’s home.

“There is a series of surveillance cameras that pick him up — some of them private, some of them public cameras — that have him walking from Haverhill over to Groveland,” DePaulo said. “The defendant can be seen walking to the house.”

They sure do make a strong case for the total surveillance society, 'eh? 

A no crime society -- at least in the streets.

Earlier Friday, officials spoke with reporters outside the Groveland police station. During the press conference, Blodgett disclosed that Graham and Schena had “various business dealings” with each other, but he declined to be more specific.

“The defendant in this case knew the victim through various business dealings,’’ Blodgett said. “I am not going to speculate about a motive.’’


What kind of business dealing?

He said the medical examiner concluded the cause of death was “blunt and sharp force trauma.”

Oh, they got that one done quick.

Schena was a longtime building inspector who worked for the town from 1979 to 2015. Blodgett said the business between the murder victim and the man accused of killing him did not involve town matters. 

Take care of your own, I see. An important person.

Through Blodgett’s office, Schena’s family issued a brief statement prior to Graham being arraigned.

“We appreciate the hard work and diligence of the Essex County DA’s Office, the Essex State Police detective Unit, the Groveland Police Department and the Haverhill Police department,’’ the statement reads. “We are especially grateful for the outpouring of support from the community.”

Boy, do they have their hands full, what with the DCF deaths in same county.

The family also added that “we request privacy from the media at this time as we lay our beloved father, and grandfather, to rest.”

Schena, according to his online obituary, had his own home building company for nearly 40 years, and also loved the antique business.

“His hobby of antiques became his retirement business and you could find him on the field every Sunday at Todd Farm in Rowley,’’ the obituary reads. “Always greeting people with his beautiful smile, he was known for mentoring many local builders and helping his community.”

The family described him as a “devoted father who taught his girls how to snowmobile, ski, skate, fish, clam dig, build treehouses and go-carts, throw a punch, a strong work ethic and how to be successful in life.”

Why would anyone want to kill him? 

Or was it just a robbery gone bad?

According to court records and the Essex County sheriff’s department, Graham was released from the Middleton House of Correction on April 26 after he completed a six-month sentence imposed in the Haverhill courthouse last Dec. 17.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of distributing Class B drugs, records show. 

I sure hope that wasn't the business they were in together.

Graham also was prosecuted in Essex Superior Court in 2006 on armed robbery and illegal firearms charges. He pleaded guilty in September 2006 to a felon being in the possession of a firearm and armed robbery, among other charges, and was sentenced to a three-to-five year term in state prison, records show.

Old revolving door.

Graham completed his state prison sentence and was released on Oct. 18, 2013.

The math doesn't add up.

Groveland Police Chief Jeffrey Gillen said the arrest of Graham may help the town start to recover from the shock of Schena’s murder, the first in the town of 6,400 people since 1992.

“I personally knew him,’’ Gillen said of Schena. “He was very popular, very well known. This cuts to the core of our community. It was shocking.”

Gillen expressed condolences to Schena’s family.

“He was a wonderful man,” Gillen said. “On behalf of the board of selectmen, I know they also wanted to extend their thanks and their sympathy to the family.’’


"Man stabbed near Boston City Hall" by John R. Ellement and Emily Sweeney Globe Staff, June 28, 2019

A man believed to be in his early 30s was stabbed in an alley just off City Hall Plaza early Friday following an argument with another man, Boston police said.

The optics of that are awful!

The man is being treated at Massachusetts General Hospital after suffering multiple stab wounds in the wide alley that runs between Court Street and the side of the plaza lined by a string of stores and the Moakley Veterans Quarters, police said.

The incident took place around 5:16 a.m. and the suspect ran from the alley onto Court Street, said Boston Police Superintendent Paul Donovan, chief of the Bureau of Investigative Services. Police are reviewing multiple security cameras that line the alley, he said.

“The ongoing investigation has determined that the victim was in a dispute in the alley with the unknown male. That unknown male then fled out onto Court Street,’’ Donovan said, while asking the public to share any information they may have with police.

Donovan said police are trying to determine whether the violent act involved any area residents.

The man is in critical condition, Donovan said.

A portion of the plaza between the MBTA’s Government Center Green Line station and the alley was sealed off with both yellow and red police tape while homicide detectives and the department’s evidence collection team scoured the area.

Police expected to complete their on-scene investigation Friday morning.

Brad Porter, a 69-year-old Vietnam-era US Navy veteran, said he was in his apartment at the Veterans Quarters on the seventh floor when the stabbing took place, but did not hear any sound indicating an act of violence was unfolding below.

Porter, who has lived in the veterans’ quarters for two years, said he frequently spends his days sitting at different locations in the plaza. “It’s like my backyard.’’

On many nights, he said, people congregate near the T station to drink and then use the alley as a public bathroom.

Oh, so Bo$ton is already becoming like San Francisco!

“That’s sad to hear,’’ he said when told about the stabbing.....

And using the alley as a toilet, too, right?


So what was it, another drug deal gone bad?

Shoulda ran for it:

"Police: He came at her with scissors while she was running on Esplanade" by Sophia Eppolito and Adam Sennott Globe Correspondents, June 28, 2019

A 23-year-old woman was hospitalized Friday after a man allegedly stabbed her with a pair of scissors in an unprovoked attack as she jogged along the Esplanade, according to police.

The incident touched off a foot chase with State Police, shattering the calm of a hot, sunny afternoon along the Charles River. Police said they eventually caught up with Luis Olivo, 37, who allegedly struggled with troopers before they used an electronic weapon to subdue him.

That's a polite way of saying they tased him.

The woman, who is from Allston, is expected to survive.

She was running on a stone footbridge spanning the Esplanade’s lagoon before the attack. The woman suffered a cut to her head, along with multiple other injuries to her head and body, after Olivo allegedly stabbed her in the head, tackled her, and then hit her “suddenly and without provocation,” according to State Police.

He then ran away, police said. Troopers converged on him near the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and Dartmouth Street and were able to “end the violent threat the man was posing,” State Police said.

Good thing the State Police were nearby(??).

Police said they found previous addresses for Olivo in Boston and Everett.

He faces charges including armed assault with intent to murder and is being held on $100,000 cash bail. Olivo is set to be arraigned Monday.

Along the busy waterfront on Friday evening, there were few signs of the mayhem that had unfolded earlier, but the incident left some visitors worried about their safety.

Yeah, business is booming over there.

“I thought I was safe. I felt safe until now,” said Fern Perera, 20. “I run here, too.”


Just another day in history.

Page 5:

"Dorchester man missing in White Mountains" by Jeremy C. Fox Globe Correspondent, June 28, 2019

Searchers scoured a section of the White Mountains for a fourth day Friday, seeking a Dorchester man missing since a hike Monday, a New Hampshire official said.

Christopher Staff, 70, set off early Monday morning to hike the 31-mile Pemigewasset Loop, known locally as the Pemi Loop, Lieutenant Jim Kneeland of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department said.

The number of searchers swelled to about 50 on Thursday and Friday, he said, with help from the Army National Guard, the Appalachian Mountain Club, the Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team, the Upper Valley Wilderness Response Team, New England K-9 Search and Rescue, Lakes Region Search and Rescue, and US Forest Service personnel.

Earlier this month, Sandra Lee, 63, of Mount Tabor, N.J., died at Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin, N.H., after she was rescued while showing signs of hypothermia as she hiked Mount Washington in high winds and bitter cold, authorities said.

Just hours later, 80-year-old James Clark, of Dublin, Ohio, was rescued on Mount Washington after his teenage grandsons left him hiking alone. New Hampshire Fish and Game has said it is considering criminal charges against the family, as well as a bill for the rescue.

See: Bo$ton Globe's Island

The area where crews are searching for Staff had rain earlier this week. It’s been warm and humid for the last couple of days, Kneeland said.....


RelatedNigerian community mourns loss of cab driver shot in Boston


Page 6:

Supreme Court will decide on continuation of DACA


"The Alabama law that would ban the most common method of second-trimester abortion has never gone into effect, because a district court judge and then a reluctant panel of the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit said that, under Supreme Court precedent, it placed an undue burden on a woman’s right to abortion before fetal viability. The law is distinct from the statute passed this year by the Alabama Legislature that would virtually outlaw abortion in the state. That law has yet to start its way through the legal process....."

They blame the father, it's as if the legal process itself is a pregnancy, and what do they mean a reluctant panel? 

It's either the law or not the law. 


Avowed neo-Nazi in Charlottesville car attack sentenced to life in prison for federal hate crimes

What struck me was the life term for one death (heck, half a million were worth it) whereas some only get 3-5 years, while others can murder and maim and you never hear about it. 

The deciding factor must have been "Fields’s professed admiration for the militarism and racial purity doctrine of Nazi Germany — a fascination that has been well documented over the past two years in court testimony and media reports. The memo offers new details, though, including about Fields’ trip to Germany with high school classmates. ‘‘When the group visited the Dachau concentration camp, the defendant said, ‘This is where the magic happened,’ and then skipped happily down the train tracks that transported Jewish prisoners to the camp,’’ Kavanaugh wrote about a classmate’s recollection."

Too bad he couldn't have been impeached:

"Representative Joseph Kennedy III is calling on the House to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump, adding his voice to a growing Democratic chorus calling for action in the wake of the scathing report by special counsel Robert Mueller..... "

Now it is a scathing report!

So who are you loyal to?

"City council members in St. Louis Park, a Minneapolis suburb, wanted to make sure that all residents felt welcome at their bimonthly meetings. So, last week, they voted to stop reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. ‘‘I hope it’s not too controversial,’’ St. Louis Park City Council Member Tim Brausen told the Star Tribune. ‘‘Our community tends to be a very welcoming and increasingly diverse community, and we believe our citizens will understand.’’ It did, in fact, prove to be controversial. ‘‘Anti-American much?’’ conservative talk show host Joe Pagliarulo tweeted on Wednesday. ‘‘St Louis Park should no longer be allowed to claim it’s in the United States of America.’’ Jacque Smith, the communications and marketing manager for the city, said the council plans to revisit its decision at a July 8 meeting."

Before they begin they are all going to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.


Page 7:

Trump tells Putin (with a grin) not to meddle in elections

The levity came at a time when Putin has felt emboldened on the world stage, flexing Russian muscle in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and even South America, before the New York Times starting its $elf-$erving whining about fake news.

US tells Europe: Choose between us and Iran

The US special representative for Iran said Friday that European companies have a choice: Do business with the United States, or do business with Iran amid intensifying sanctions that will continue until Iran becomes a ‘‘normal’’ state.

Wow, an ultimatum! How absolutist of him! Very Sith-like.

What, btw, is a "normal" state? 

One soaked in blood like the United States and Israel?

France experiences its hottest day on record

The heat is getting turned up on them all.

Pope offers Chinese clergy a way to register with civil agency

He at the G-20, too?


Page 8:

"Democrats confront divisions over health care in debate" by Abby Goodnough and Thomas Kaplan New York Times, June 28, 2019

WASHINGTON — It was a command as much as a question, intended to put an end to months of equivocating and obfuscating on the issue: Which of the Democratic presidential candidates on the debate stage supported abolishing private health insurance in favor of a single government-run plan? Show of hands, please.

Just four arms went up over the two nights — Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York on Wednesday, and Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Kamala Harris of California on Thursday — even though three candidates who kept their hands at their sides have signed onto bills in Congress that would do exactly that, and after the debate, Harris said that she had misunderstood the question, suggesting she had not meant to raise her hand either.

The response, and ensuing confusion, reflected one of the deepest fault lines among Democrats heading into 2020 — on an issue the party hopes to use as a cudgel against President Trump as effectively as it did last fall, when Democrats’ vow to protect the Affordable Care Act helped them recapture the House.....


What the Times never mentioned in the article was the show of hands regarding the undocumented.


Page 10:

Cadet program is a first step in diversity at Boston Fire Department

Beacon Hill at work on a new formula for school funding


I found the bu$ine$$ section in the $ports, and I'm sure there is a le$$on in there somewhere!

Page 6:

Long-vacant Kendall Square lot may finally be developed

Martha’s Vineyard bus drivers go on strike

"Third Point’s Dan Loeb slams United Technologies-Raytheon deal" by Scott Deveau and Richard Clough Bloomberg News, June 28, 2019

NEW YORK — Reaction to the Raytheon tie-up has been thoroughly mixed. United Technologies and Raytheon are facing increasing pressure to explain the “economic rather than just strategic benefits” of the combination, Nicholas Heymann, an analyst with William Blair & Co., said Friday in an interview. “They’re going to have to come up with a lot more granularity about the value of this transaction for shareholders.”

Investor opposition would appear to be the biggest threat to the deal. Analysts expect limited pushback from antitrust regulators given the small overlap between United Technologies and Raytheon.....


That's odd because ever since the deal was announced, the Globe gave a cold shoulder to the hot topic.

Page 7:

"A federal appeals court heard arguments Friday over whether the securities fraud conviction against former drug company CEO Martin Shkreli, known as ‘‘Pharma Bro,’’ should be thrown out. Defense attorney Mark Baker urged the court in New York City to overturn a 2017 guilty verdict for Shkreli, claiming that the trial judge gave confusing instructions to jurors before their deliberations about whether it needed to find if his client intentionally set out to cheat investors. Baker noted that the same jury also acquitted Shkreli on related wire fraud charges, saying, ‘‘The split verdict speaks volumes.’’ Assistant US Attorney Alixandra Smith argued that the instructions were proper. The court is expected to issue a written ruling at a later date. A judge sentenced Shkreli to seven years in prison last year for his conviction on charges he looted a drug company he founded, Retrophin, of $11 million in stock and cash to pay back investors in two failed hedge funds he ran. At the trial in federal court in Brooklyn, investors took to the witness stand to accuse him of keeping them in the dark about huge losses as his scheme unfolded. The defense argued there wasn’t any harm done because in the end all of them got rich off Retrophin stock. Before his arrest, the 36-year-old Shkreli was best known for buying the rights to a lifesaving drug at another company in 2014 and promptly raising the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill. He also gained notoriety for attacking critics on social media under the moniker ‘‘Pharma Bro’’ and for being barred from Twitter for posts about a female journalist."

Better drop a pill before continuing with the flashback drafts:

"Martin Shkreli’s reputation precedes him, and it affects jury selection" by Stephanie Clifford New York Times  June 26, 2017

NEW YORK — A number of potential jurors in the fraud trial of Martin Shkreli were dismissed in quick succession Monday morning after calling the defendant “a snake,” “the most hated man in America,” and “the face of corporate greed.”

Shkreli is on trial at the US District Court in Brooklyn, N.Y., charged with eight counts of securities and wire fraud. He denies the charges, which relate to his time running two hedge funds and at Retrophin, a drug company, but he is much better known for instituting steep price increases on lifesaving drugs as a pharmaceutical entrepreneur.

Several potential jurors on Monday blamed Shkreli broadly for the problems of the pharmaceutical industry. Two potential jurors, for instance, castigated him for raising the price of the EpiPen. (He did not.)

Others said they had been affected personally by Shkreli’s price increases. The jurors were not identified by name in court.

A man said both of his parents took Daraprim, a drug for a rare parasitic infection. Shkreli raised the drug’s price to $750 a tablet, from $13.50, overnight in 2015 while running Turing Pharmaceuticals.

“The price has been going up in the last few years, so they can’t afford their drugs,” the prospective juror said of his parents. “They’re struggling to pay” for their daily medical routine.

Further, the man said, he has several friends with HIV or AIDS — people who may use Daraprim for infections — who cannot afford their drugs.

Another man told the judge, Kiyo A. Matsumoto, “This is the price gouger of drugs.” He added: “My kids are on some of these drugs. This impacts my kids.”

One woman mimicked throttling someone as she talked about Shkreli’s raising the price of “the AIDS drug.”

“Who does that?” she said. “A person that puts profit over everything else?”

When Matsumoto told prospective jurors that Shkreli’s work in pharmaceuticals was not on trial, prosecutor Alixandra Smith corrected her.

“If the defendant takes the stand and testifies,” she said, prosecutors may introduce some of his exploits in the pharmaceutical world, too.

“The defendant is the face of corporate greed in America,” another potential member of the panel said.

Other potential jurors had bad reactions to Shkreli himself.

One said she had not known what the trial was about when she walked in and saw Shkreli. “I looked right at him, and in my head, I said, ‘That’s a snake,’ ’’ the woman said.

After the potential juror had stepped down, Benjamin Brafman, a lawyer for Shkreli, said, “So much for the presumption of innocence.”

The potential jurors were questioned at a sidebar with Matsumoto, defense lawyers, prosecutors, and one reporter from a news pool.

The negative comments built up to the point that Brafman began to signal to Matsumoto when potential jurors had said enough that he could challenge them for cause, to stop them from going “on a tirade against Shkreli.”

He said Shkreli’s lawyers had objected to a reporter’s presence at the sidebar for that reason, among others.

“I’m anticipating an article, a piece, that will further complicate the already complicated job of defending someone so many people feel strongly about,” he said.

Jury selection is expected to continue at least through Tuesday morning.

Martin Shkreli, the former hedge fund manager, headed into federal court in New York on Monday for the start of his securities fraud trial.
Martin Shkreli, the former hedge fund manager, headed into federal court in New York on Monday for the start of his securities fraud trial (Sam Hodgson/New York Times). 

He still doesn't get it, and someone needs to wipe that smirk off his face.



"Martin Shkreli is a liar, a prosecutor told a jury at the start of a criminal fraud trial in which the former pharmaceutical executive is accused of ripping off investors. “Lying to get investors money. Stealing from a public company and its shareholders to pay back those investors,” said Assistant US Attorney Karthik Srinivasan. “Lies upon lies upon lies. This is what this defendant, Martin Shkreli, did for years.” Shkreli, who started on Wall Street as a teenager by working as an intern at a hedge fund operated by Jim Cramer, was arrested in December 2015 and accused of engineering several separate frauds tied to his control of two hedge funds he operated, MSMB Healthcare and MSMB Capital, as well as Retrophin Inc., a pharmaceutical company he founded in 2011. Prosecutors finally began presenting evidence Wednesday after a judge spent more than two days trying to find an unbiased jury of 12, with six alternates, to decide the case. Dozens of people were rejected after voicing contempt for the former executive who gained notoriety for raising the price of a potentially life-saving drug by 5,000 percent."

So that is who he learned it from, huh?

"Lawyer paints picture of Shkreli as ‘strange’ as fraud trial opens" by Stephanie Clifford New York Times   June 29, 2017

NEW YORK — An odd duck. Perhaps autistic. Weird. Maybe with Asperger’s. A guy who shuffled around his office in bunny slippers with a stethoscope around his neck because he felt comfortable that way.

This is how Martin Shkreli was portrayed Wednesday for his trial on fraud charges — by Benjamin Brafman, his own lawyer.

“Is he strange? Yes,” Brafman said of his client, but, he added, “every single government witness will concur that Martin Shkreli, despite his flaws and his personality, is brilliant beyond words.”

In a captivating opening statement, the lawyer sought to alter a narrative that the government had laid out to the jury seated in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.

Shkreli, 34, is best known for initiating a steep price increase on a lifesaving drug, and for his social-media antics that have drawn him enemies aplenty.

He is being tried, however, on eight counts of securities and wire fraud related to his time running two hedge funds, MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare, and a pharmaceutical company he founded, Retrophin.

“The question is going to be whether the case is nuts: Nobody was defrauded, nobody lost any money,” Brafman argued, telling the jury that the investors in fact made money because of Shkreli’s financial prowess.

Prosecutor G. Karthik Srinivasan said in his opening argument that Shkreli had convinced investors that “he was a Wall Street genius.”

“In reality, he was just a con man,” Srinivasan said.

Shkreli falsified investor statements, backdated documents, misled investors about his record as a fund manager and misstated how much money was in the funds, “telling lies on top of lies on top of lies,” Srinivasan told the jury of five men and seven women.

After Shkreli lost millions of dollars in a trade, draining the remaining money from MSMB Capital, a few days later he founded MSMB Healthcare, in early 2011, the prosecutor said. About the same time, he formed the pharmaceutical company Retrophin, and had MSMB Healthcare invest in Retrophin. “The defendant was on both sides of the deal,” Srinivasan said.

So he was like the banks during the MBS $windle.

When his debt for the trading loss came due, “he stole money from MSMB Healthcare” to pay the debt, which the health care fund did not owe, Srinivasan said. Shkreli then told investors that he was shutting down the two funds, and told them they could have stock in Retrophin or cash for their shares.

Like a robbing Peter to pay Paul Ponzi scheme.

Those who wanted cash could not get it and threatened to sue, Srinivasan said, and that is when Shkreli arranged for Retrophin to “pay off” the MSMB investors.

He Madoffed with the loot?

“Retrophin owed these investors nothing — the defendant owed these debts,” Srinivasan said. When accountants told him to stop, Shkreli arranged to hire the investors as consultants, a sham, the prosecutor said.

Investors may have made their money back, Srinivasan said, but Shkreli still committed fraud.

In his opening, Brafman flipped the setup that Srinivasan had constructed in trying to portray the investors and Retrophin board as victims and Shkreli as a villain.

Actually, Brafman said, Shkreli was pushed out of Retrophin because its board thought he did “not conform to their idea of what a public company CEO should look like or walk like or talk like,” he said.

Retrophin, he said, is now quite valuable — its market capitalization is more than $700 million — and the board is still “raping” Retrophin.

Chris Cline, a Retrophin spokesman, said: “The government has charged Mr. Shkreli with defrauding Retrophin. We will let the facts speak for themselves in court.”

Some board members at Retrophin, many twice Shkreli’s age, “bullied” and “frightened” Shkreli, Brafman said, and questioned his sexuality.

“Whether Martin is gay or straight or bisexual is irrelevant; it’s 2017,” Brafman said. “Get a life, board of Retrophin. The Retrophin board? A bunch of thugs.”

Meanwhile, the investors in Shkreli’s funds were sophisticates with money to burn, Brafman suggested.

They are “crybabies” and high rollers, not people who needed money for rent or food, he told the jury, which is largely made up of working-class people, judging from the job descriptions given during jury selection.

Yeah, so if you rip off your own cla$$ it's okay, huh?

These investors, he said, knew investing in hedge funds generally, and this hedge fund particularly, was risky; they also made a lot of money with Shkreli.

One “inherited a hedge fund from her daddy” and invested that with Shkreli. A “fabulously wealthy” couple was “on the dysfunctional spectrum” themselves, tried to “adopt” Shkreli (not formally, Brafman clarified) and gave him religious advice. One of the Retrophin board members, he said, “was flying to Mykonos or some other island and Martin Shkreli was like a hermit in his office” working away.

Once, after an investor encountered Shkreli in the slippers-and-stethoscope get-up when he dropped by the office, the investor said, “But Martin, you’re not a doctor,” according to Brafman. Shkreli responded, “I’m comfortable this way,” the lawyer said.

“Maybe he’s just nuts, but that doesn’t make you guilty,” Brafman said.

As for the government’s specific assertions, Brafman argued that some of the documents and arrangements in question were blessed by lawyers or board members, but allowed that Shkreli sometimes played loose with facts.

“Martin is Martin,” he said. “He sometimes said some things to an investor on a certain date, but not everything he said was 100 percent accurate, but he was truthful to the mission” of making Retrophin a success.

(Blog editor just shakes his head at the sophistry)

During the 2 1/2 days of jury selection this week, Brafman often appeared exasperated. Hundreds of jurors were dismissed overall, most for vacation or work conflicts.

Dozens, however, were excused for strong views of Shkreli. On Wednesday alone, various potential jurors said, “I have no sympathy for a defendant like this,” calling him “unethical” and saying “just looking at him kind of twists my stomach.” A 20-something prospective juror referred to the one-of-a-kind album from the hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan that Shkreli bought, and said he was “probably guilty,” not to mention that “he disrespected the Wu-Tang Clan, so.”

Brafman also sometimes described his client in negative terms, telling jurors that “joining team Shkreli comes with a lot of aggravation.”

Still Shkreli, who had sat through the government’s statement often rolling his eyes and making faces, sat straight up, smiling, looking like he was watching a terrific movie when Brafman ripped through his opening statement.

When the lawyer returned to the defense table, Shkreli stood, put his arm around him, and patted him on the shoulder.

“Buckle up your seat belts, ladies and gentleman; you’re in for a good ride,” Brafman told the jury.

Oh, yay!


"Shkreli vents at prosecutors, media in midst of fraud trial" by Patricia Hurtado Bloomberg News  June 30, 2017

Martin Shkreli apparently needed to vent as the first week of his criminal fraud trial in Brooklyn, New York, was nearing an end.

During a lunch break Friday, he walked into a sixth-floor courtroom set up for reporters to watch his trial on closed-circuit television and lambasted the media and the prosecutors, calling the US attorneys in Brooklyn “the junior varsity” to those in Manhattan. “They blame me for everything,” he said of the prosecutors. “They blame me for capitalism.”

Poor Marty, huh?

His five-minute tirade was interrupted by his lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, who came to the door of the courtroom and asked, “Martin, can I see you a minute?” He then led his client away.

Earlier, prosecutors began laying out for jurors Shkreli’s entire business career, a more than decadelong stretch allegedly marked by zeal and deception. Shkreli, 34, is fighting charges of operating two hedge funds like a Ponzi scheme. He is also accused of looting $11 million of a drug company’s assets. He faces as long as 20 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charges.


Says he was high on chocolate when he confronted the pre$$:

"Martin Shkreli’s impromptu trial discussions with reporters at the Brooklyn federal courthouse are over as the judge overseeing the case ordered the former pharmaceutical executive to stop talking about it in and around the building, but he can go on discussing it on the Internet. Shkreli, on trial for securities fraud, spent about five minutes on June 30 in a courtroom set up for an overflow crowd, including reporters. He criticized prosecutors and the media while denying he defrauded the first witness in the case. The government argued a gag order was necessary to prevent Shkreli from causing a mistrial by exposing jurors to his opinions. "

The bizarre case then sped to a close with the closing statements and a conviction:

"Shkreli found guilty on fraud charges" by Tom Hays and Larry Neumeister Associated Press  August 05, 2017

NEW YORK — Martin Shkreli, the eccentric former pharmaceutical chief executive notorious for a price-gouging scandal and for his snide ‘‘Pharma Bro’’ persona on social media, was convicted Friday on federal charges he deceived investors in a pair of failed hedge funds.

Shkreli, upbeat and defiant outside the Brooklyn courthouse afterward, called his prosecution ‘‘a witch hunt of epic proportions’’ but conceded that maybe the government had found ‘‘one or two broomsticks.’’

Maybe Trump will pardon him.

Asked about his client’s social-media antics, attorney Ben Brafman said it was something they would be working on.

‘‘There is an image issue that Martin and I are going to be discussing in the next few days,’’ he said, adding that while Shkreli was a brilliant mind, sometimes his ‘‘people skills’’ need work. As he spoke, Shkreli smiled and cocked his head quizzically in mock confusion.

He still didn't get it.

Within an hour of leaving the court, Shkreli was at home live-streaming on YouTube and calling the split verdict a victory, despite his conviction on two of the most serious counts. Prosecutors had a different take.

Prosecutors had accused Shkreli of repeatedly misleading investors about what he was doing with their money. Mostly, he was blowing it with horrible stock picks, forcing him to cook up a scheme to recover millions in losses, they said.

Shkreli, 34, told ‘‘lies upon lies,’’ including claiming he had $40 million in one of his funds at a time when it only had about $300 in the bank, Assistant US Attorney Alixandra Smith said in closing arguments. The trial ‘‘has exposed Martin Shkreli for who he really is — a con man who stole millions,’’ added another prosecutor, Jacquelyn Kasulis, but the case was tricky for the government because investors who testified said Shkreli’s scheme actually succeeded in making them richer, in some cases doubling or even tripling their money on his company’s stock when it went public.

‘‘Who lost anything? Nobody,’’ Brafman said in his closing argument. Some investors had to admit on the witness stand that partnering with Shkreli was ‘‘the greatest investment I’ve ever made,’’ he added.

For the boyish-looking Shkreli, one of the biggest problems was not part of the case — his purchase in 2014 of rights to a life-saving drug that he promptly raised the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill. Several potential jurors were kept off the panel after expressing disdain for the defendant, with one calling him a ‘‘snake’’ and another ‘‘the face of corporate greed.’’

Hey, he had to cover his losses!

The defendant also came into the trial with a reputation for trolling his critics on social media to a degree that got him kicked off Twitter. Among his other antics: boasting about buying a one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album for $2 million.

He was a trailblazer then!

Shkreli, who comes from an Albanian family in Brooklyn, was arrested in 2015 on charges he looted another drug company he founded, Retrophin, of $11 million in stock and cash to pay back the hedge fund investors. Investors took the witness stand to accuse Shkreli of keeping them in the dark as his scheme unfolded.

Shkreli’s lawyer agreed his client could be annoying but said his hedge fund investors knew what they were getting.

‘‘They found him strange. They found him weird. And they gave him money. Why? Because they recognized genius,’’ Brafman said, adding that they had signed agreements that his client wasn’t liable if they lost their money.

Shkreli didn’t testify..... 

But he's still smiling!


The jury deliberated for five days before the judge gave him seven years and made him cry by wiping the smirk off his face, but he was still able to run the company from prison.

He had the good life, but now it's gone.