Boston Dailies: Tsarnaev Jury’s In

March 5, 2015

From our Late to the Hanging Party desk

After an initial pool of 1373 potential jurors (who filled out a 28-page questionnaire) was whittled down to 256 by presiding US District Judge George A. O’Toole, whose interviews yielded 75 possibly unbiased jurors who then shrank to the Elite Eighteen – 12 jurors and six alternates – Boston now has an actual jury for the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people – Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, and Lingzi Lu (along with MIT police officer Sean Collier) – and wounded over 200.

And the finalists had their cotillion in Wednesday’s local dailies.

Boston Globe:

 

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Boston Herald:

 

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This is shaping up to be one hellacious bakeoff between the two local dailies.

Fasten your seat belts, as Bette Davis would say. It’s going to be a bumpy trial.

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Herald Pounds Away at GruberGaffe

November 15, 2014

It’s Day Five of the Jonathan Gruber rumpus and the Boston Herald is still on it like Brown on Williamson.

Today’s front page of the frenzy local tabloid:

 

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Inside, the dustup gets the high-priced spread:

 

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The derail Obamacare piece is especially noteworthy, since it is – as the great Raymond Chandler would say – thinner than the gold on a week-end wedding ring.

MIT professor’s gaffes could derail Obamacare

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Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber — the MIT brainiac caught on video admitting the law’s “lack of transparency” was meant to dupe a gullible American public — could end up becoming Obamacare’s demolition man, with congressional Republicans threatening to hold hearings and experts saying his bombshell comments could impact the Supreme Court case challenging the Affordable Care Act.

 

Those “experts” turn out to be one guy from a conservative think tank.

“Justices and their clerks read the news like everybody else does,” said Joshua Archambault, a health care expert at the Pioneer Institute. “I think it will be in the back of their minds.”

 

Then again, maybe not, since the subterfuge was meant to keep Obamacare’s penalties from looking like a tax, while the Supremes have already declared it is a tax.

Whatever.

Crosstown, the Boston Globe has studiously avoided GruberGaffe, with only one report so far, buried in yesterday’s A section. But tomorrow we get this Joan Vennochi column.

‘Stupidity’ comments create new problems for ACA

GIVEN THE ongoing frenzy over photos of Kim Kardashian’s rear end, it’s easy to understand why some people might underestimate the intelligence of the American public.

Yet Jonathan Gruber did more than underestimate it. The MIT economist and architect of the Affordable gruberCare Act trashed his fellow citizens, by attributing the ability of Democrats to pass the law to deliberate duping, aided by the “stupidity of the American voter.”

Those videotaped comments, distributed via social media, created a new problem for an administration dealing with plenty of old ones. Thanks to Gruber, the anti-Obamacare gang suddenly has fresh fodder. As a result, the GOP’s campaign against the health care law “gained new momentum,” reported the Washington Post, and Gruber may be called to testify about remarks he retroactively explained as “off the cuff.”

 

And now Gruber’s getting cuffed – by Vennochi, by the Herald, by the GOP, probably by Pope Francis in the next few days.

Who’s stupid now, eh?


Herald Has Healthy Edge in Obamacare Dustup

November 12, 2014

There’s a nifty little rumpus underway over a gaffe by a local healthcare guru who sort of told the truth by accident.

It all got started a few days ago when an outfit called American Commitment posted this video:

 

 

In yesterday’s edition, the Boston Herald was on it like Brown on Williamson.

Obamacare architect blasted for ‘deliberate deception’

An MIT professor considered one of the architects of Obamacare is being blasted by critics over a video they say shows him admitting the law’s “lack of transparency” was designed to dupe a gullible American public.

Jonathan Gruber, an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, made the explosive comments that have now gone viral on the Internet as a panelist during a lecture on “The Role of Economics in Shaping the ACA” at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School on Oct. 17, 2013

 

Gruber then hied himself to the friendly confines of MSNBC for damage control.

 

 

But that did nothing to mollify the projectile pundits on the right.

 

 

Today the feisty local tabloid ran this follow-up:

Regrets over remarks on ‘stupidity’ of voters

George Gosner Jr, Spring Insurance Group     Jonathon Gruber, Massachusetts Institute of Technology     AndrŽs L—pez, AJL Consultants     Louis Malzone, Massachusetts Coalition of Taft-Hardly Funds     Nancy Turnbull, Harvard School of Public Health     Celia Wcislo, 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East     Ian Duncan, Solucia Inc.

Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber yesterday walked back his controversial remarks that a “lack of transparency” triggered by the “stupidity of the American voter” helped pass the embattled health care law, saying he “spoke inappropriately.”

“The comments in the video were made in an academic conference,” Gruber told MSNBC yesterday. “I was speaking off the cuff, and I basically spoke inappropriately. And I regret having made those comments.”

Gruber declined a Herald request for an interview.

 

Big surprise, yeah?

Also not surprising: The Boston Globe has ignored the whole donnybrook.

 

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So what else is news?


Jury’s Out on Carmen Ortiz

January 17, 2013

Not-quite-matching her & her columns in the local papers on the topic of U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and her (over?)zealous prosecution of Aaron Swartz.

Start with Margery Eagan’s column in the Boston Herald:

IMG_6554.JPGOutrage over zealous feds

Statement too little, too late

Just days ago, speculation was rampant. Gov. Carmen Ortiz? U.S. Sen. Carmen Ortiz?

Well, that’s all over now.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz is done. Finished. Forever linked to bringing the full and frightening weight of the federal government down upon a 26-year-old computer genius — and a suicide risk.

 

If that’s not tough enough for you, how about this, regarding the six month/guilty plea deal Swartz was offered :

“Oh, so you’re innocent. Do only six months in jail,” said a sarcastic Harvey Silverglate, Boston civil liberties 
attorney and author of “Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent.” He accused Ortiz’s office of being “drunk with power” and said up to now the media had “protected” Ortiz 
because “she’s a Hispanic woman.”

 

Ouch.

Crosstown at the Boston Globe, the view was quite different in Joan Vennochi’s op-ed piece.

Swartz case is sad, but not an overreach

WHEN IT comes to the prosecution of Aaron Swartz, the 26-year-old computer prodigy who killed himself, US Attorney Carmen Ortiz has explaining to do.

But there are also questions for Swartz’s lawyer, Elliot Peters.

Why reject the government’s offer of a four-to-six month prison sentence? That’s much less than the 35 years and $1 million fine allowed under the federal law that Swartz was charged with violating.

Peters told the Globe that Swartz didn’t believe he was a felon; he was acting on the principle that information on the Internet should be free when he downloaded academic journals from an MIT computer system. But defending principle was not his lawyer’s job. It was to provide Swartz with the best legal advice, given the charges and the government’s refusal to back down.

 

Vennochi says “the widespread revulsion directed at the US attorney’s office is overreach by cyber-bullies.”

So take your pick – did Oriz bully Swartz or are Internet thugs bullying her?

Or both?