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?


Boston Herald Gets Selfie Centered

December 11, 2013

Our feisty local tabloid is a bit selfie-absorbed today thanks to Barack Obama’s shutterbug diplomacy at Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

Start, as so often, on Page One, lower right:

 

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Head straight from there to the Inside Track.

Critics click over Obama selfie saga

Have you ever thought, “I wonder what kind of person poses for a selfie at a funeral?”

Well OMG, we now know the answer: President Obama!

The Leader of the Free World photo-bombed the interwebs yesterday when he was caught taking a cellphone pic with Denmark Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and her British counterpart, David Cameron — all three of them smiling happily — in the middle of Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

But perhaps the best part of the selfie saga is stone-faced first lady Michelle Obama sitting 
nearby, focusing on the tributes to the late South African icon, refusing to taking part in the 
festivities!

Wethinks Michelle had had it at that point, because there’s an earlier photo of the first lady looking less-than-pleased as her hubby yukked it up with the 
attractive, blond Danish PM …

 

That would be this one:

 

APTOPIX South Africa Mandela Memorial

 

That’s some frowny-face, eh?

But you know the Herald’s not selfie-satisfied yet, right? It also offers this Michael Graham op-ed.

Obama thinks world of ‘selfie’

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Oh yes he did.

President Obama, the (theoretical) leader of the free world, took a “selfie” with the leaders of the United Kingdom and Denmark during Nelson Mandela’s funeral service yesterday.

A “selfie,” for the less tech-savvy and/or self-absorbed among us, is a self-portrait taken with your camera phone — usually to be posted on the Web for the world to enjoy.

A news photographer caught Obama posing for Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s cell phone camera in the audience of the Mandela ceremony.

When the picture hit during my radio show yesterday, I immediately heard from listeners asking “Did the president really just take a ‘selfie?’ ”

Take a selfie? He lives the selfie.

 

From there Graham segues into a factory-installed rant about – wait for it – Obamacare.

Talk about selfie indulgence.


Globe Steals Herald Front Page

November 18, 2013

Today’s Boston daily double features a rarity: The Boston Globe front-pages what should have been the Boston Herald’s Page One.

First, here’s what the feisty local tabloid actually ran:

 

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That’s fine – gotta do the Pats when it’s Monday Night Football and Coakley’s jumping on the junkets is good (and it beat the Globe). But the Health-Connector-Is-Worse-Than-Obamacare story is thrice-told news at this point. It doesn’t really merit another front page hit.

Crosstown, the Globe’s Page One has the story the Herald should have had.

Boston police officers wary of GPS for cruisers

Fear too much scrutiny of police under city’s plan

The pending use of GPS tracking devices, slated to be installed in Boston police cruisers, has many officers worried that commanders will monitor their every move while supervisors insist the system will improve their response to emergencies.davis-big-10025

The change, a result of contract negotiations between the city and the patrol officers union, puts Boston in league with small-town departments across the state and big-city agencies across the country that have installed global positioning systems in cruisers.

Boston police administrators say the system gives dispatchers the ability to see where officers are, rather than wait for a radio response. Using GPS, they say, accelerates their response to a call for a shooting or an armed robbery.

 

Just think how that translates to the Herald’s front page, all donuts and dozing off. Can’t you see it?

Well, there’s always tomorrow.


Boston Herald Has Health Issues

November 9, 2013

From our One Town, Two Different Places desk

To the Boston Herald, Obamacare is melting down. To the Boston Globe, it’s just gearing up.

Page One of today’s feisty local tabloid:

 

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Inside story:

Mass. health care sign-ups lag among those forced to switch

 

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Just weeks before a Jan. 1 enrollment deadline, state officials admitted yesterday that just 1 percent of the 150,000 Bay Staters facing canceled heath insurance under Obamacare rules have signed up for new plans.

Massachusetts Health Connector officials told the Herald that only 549 applicants — out of the 150,000 Bay Staters forced to switch their health plans to comply with Obamacare rules — are poised to receive insurance through the new system.

Technically, officials explained, even those few haven’t actually enrolled in new health plans yet.

“No, nobody’s enrolled,” said Scott Devonshire, chief information officer of the Massachusetts Health Connector, “because enrollment … doesn’t happen until a (health plan) carrier receives payment. It’s a semantics issue, I guess.”

 

And we know how much the Herald loves semantics issues, being so fastidious about details and all.

The Globe, for its part, is more like oblivious. From today’s page B1:

Parity rules issued for mental health care

The Obama administration issued rules Friday requiring most health insurers to provide similar coverage for people with mental and physical health problems, even as Massachusetts regulators pushed insurers this week to show that they are already complying with the spirit of the law.

The day marked a milestone for mental health advocates across the country who have been waiting five years since President George W. Bush signed the mental health parity law for its patient protections to go into effect.

“This final rule breaks down barriers that stand in the way of treatment and recovery services for millions of Americans,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a press release.

 

Not a word about healthcare signup problems for Massachusetts residents. On the other hand, though, “Massachusetts is seen as further ahead than many states in providing access to mental health care.”

That’s good news for the Heraldniks, because Obamacare’s driving them crazy.


Op-Dread Columns in the Boston Dailies

October 18, 2013

Interesting his-and-his guest op-eds in the local dailies today.

Start with MSNBC video savant Chris Matthews in the Boston Globe:

Yes, politics was once friendly

A NEW NBC/Wall Street Journal poll finds that 78 percent of us think the country’s headed in the wrong direction. The true surprise is the 14 percent who think that things are getting better.matthewsoped1018

Government shutdowns that once amounted to a couple of days are now more than a couple of weeks. And who knows how to measure the possible cost of the threat to stop payment on the national debt?

There was once a man who personified the very opposite of this political dysfunction.

Kirk O’Donnell was chief counsel and partisan consigliore to Speaker of the House Thomas P. O’Neill. He was, by the great man’s own estimate, “hard as a rock.” Young in years, he knew the rules of the old crowd and employed them with brio.

 

And what was the Golden Rule of politics?

It’s applicable to marriage, work relationships, and most especially to rivalries: “Always be able to talk.”

 

Yes, well tell that to University of Maryland professor Peter Morici crosstown at the Boston Herald’s op-ed page, who writes this about the end of the government shutdown.

[Obama’s] doomsday rhetoric made the U.S. government appear inept and irresponsible, has eroded the primary standing of U.S. securities in global markets, and will weaken U.S. economic leadership in global forums for many years to come.

Senate negotiators hammered out a bill acceptable to the president that reopened the government and raised the debt ceiling, and House Democrats and moderate Republicans voted for it.

The president’s victory was accomplished through deception and demagoguery, by violating the will of voters expressed in the 2012 congressional elections and the Constitution, and damaging U.S. global standing.

 

Yeah – don’t see a whole lot of pillow talk happening between those two sides anytime soon.


WGBH Herald Hostage, Day 4

October 11, 2013

As the hardreading staff has previously noted, the Boston Herald is on the WGBH/David Koch rumpus like Brown on Williamson.

Today’s installment:

Protesters say fight not over as WGBH brass stand by David Koch

Environmental activists say they have not yet begun to fight against WGBH, after the public TV station’s brass yesterday said they “appreciated” the protesters’ concerns about trustee David Koch, but they have no intention of booting the conservative lightning rod David Kochbillionaire donor.

“Just as our viewers and listeners reflect a full spectrum of political and cultural views, so do our board members,” WGBH spokesman Michael Raia said in a statement yesterday to the Herald.

“While the Board appreciated hearing the perspective of those who attended the meeting, they plan to make no changes.”

 

The protestors – all 50 of them – say they “plan to lobby the board’s 31 other trustees individually and ‘get them on the record on how they feel.'”

And some protestors will withhold donations to WGBH.  Brad Johnson of Forecast the Facts, “the group that helped gather 119,000 signatures calling for Koch’s ouster, citing his stance on global warming,” said the protestors “don’t want to be in a position where they’re supporting David Koch, and lending their legitimacy to his work.”

Meanwhile, the Boston Globe still isn’t covering the protest. Ditto for WGBH News.

Long live the feisty local tabloid!

 


WGBH Herald Hostage, Day 3

October 10, 2013

The Boston Herald has been on the WGBH/David Koch rumpus like Brown on Williamson, but today they’ve really outdone themselves.

Start with Page One.

 

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The inside story (print headline):

Tough climate as WGBH faces protest over board member over conservative David Koch

WGBH board bigwigs were squirming yesterday as David Koch, one of the station’s biggest benefactors, was ripped by environmental activists — including one dressed as David KochElmo — who decried the conservative billionaire as a “climate 
denier” and demanded his resignation from the panel.

“This board would not tolerate a Ku Klux Klansman,” the Rev. Fred Small, a WGBH member and 
senior minister at First Parish Cambridge, told the trustees of the PBS flagship station. “It would not toler-
ate a notorious racist or 
anti-Semite. Yet you tolerate a man who has spent millions subverting democracy and disseminating lies about climate change in order to protect the profits from his own polluting industries.”

 

According to the Herald, WGBH board chairman “Amos Hostetter defended Koch, telling the protesters there’s no ‘political litmus test’ for board members. ” But, at least today, there is a Howie Carr test:

HOLY WAR FOR P.C. CRUSADERS

First of all, let’s call this WGBH-David Koch brouhaha what it really is.XSTU6785.JPG

It’s not a political fight, it’s a religious war.

Koch has blasphemed the Church of Climate Change, formerly known as the Church of Global Warming, except the P.C. shamans had to change the name 
because they couldn’t “hide the decline” in worldwide temperatures, to use a 
famous phrase from one of their prophets.

To those moonbats who were out on Guest Street yesterday — including the one dressed in an Elmo costume — David Koch is not a political foe, he’s an apostate, a heretic.

So they have declared a fatwah against him.

 

It gets more, well, inflammatory from there.

Crosstown the Boston Globe had no news coverage of the protest, but columnist Joan Vennochi did weigh in on The two David Kochs.

THIS IS a tale of two Kochs — the one who weeps for lab researchers in need of day care, but not for Americans in need of health care.181700483

David Koch, the philanthropist, was so moved by the pleas of MIT lab workers who said they needed day care that he ponied up $20 million for a child-care center at MIT.

Then, there is also the David Koch who, with brother Charles, helped to bankroll what President Obama described as a “cynical ad campaign” to discourage Americans from signing up for Obamacare. “These are billionaires several times over” said Obama, in what was reported to be a presidential reference to the politically active, conservative siblings and their effort to derail the Affordable Care Act.

 

He is also “the current target of environmental activists, who want WGBH to kick him off its board because of his climate change views,” Vennochi writes. “Koch helps fund Nova, the acclaimed PBS science show — but, according to the activists, has also worked to defund PBS.”

Sounds like double trouble to us.

 


Herald: WGBH Goes Better Without Koch

October 4, 2013

The Boston Herald scoops its crosstown rival with this story in today’s edition:

David KochActivists put heat on ‘GBH to oust donor, board giant

Angry environmental activists say they have more than 70,000 signatures and plan to flood a WGBH trustees meeting next week calling for the ouster of conservative lightning-rod billionaire David Koch from the board — but the public TV and radio station for now is standing by the longtime PBS mega-donor.

“David Koch has essentially dedicated himself — and tens of millions of dollars — to deliberately mislead the public about climate change,” claimed Emily Southard of environmental group Forecast the Facts. “That’s completely incompatible with an organization like WGBH, which is dedicated to public education.”

 

Koch represents the ATM wing of the Republican party, pouring megamillions into groups such as Americans for Prosperity and Generation Opportunity (both of which are major players in the Obamacare ad war). He’s also poured big bucks into WGBH according to the Herald. (Full disclosure: The hardreading staff used to work at the World’s Greatest Broadcast House, but we drifted.)

Koch, a prominent Mitt Romney fundraiser last year, has donated $18.6 million to WGBH since 1982 and $10 million specifically to the science program NOVA, according to Koch Companies spokeswoman Melissa Cohlmia. He’s also one of the station’s 32 trustees.

 

An untrusted trustee, according to the activists: “His steady, heavy contributions could cause WGBH to commit acts of ‘journalistic self-censorship’ and influence programming, [their] petition claims.” (Forecast the Facts petition here; MoveOn.org petition here.)

Two things to watch: Will the Boston Globe hitchhike coverage on the Herald report, and will WGBH News cover it as well?

Stay tuned . . .

 


Boston Herald: What Can We Do for Brown?

October 1, 2013

Our feisty local tabloid is a regular fanzine for former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Elsewhere). Yesterday he hit the trifecta in the Herald. Today it’s the daily double.

First he gets the full-page treatment in his burgeoning feud with New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-Fundraiser).

 

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The lede has Brown accusing Shaheen of casting “the deciding vote” on Obamacare. Oldest trick in the book: you can say the same of every one of the other 59 votes that got the Affordable Care Act passed.

Nut graf:

I think it’s shameful that she would do that … because I’m not a declared candidate, and for her to infer anything differently is misrepresenting me and her intentions to the people that are allegedly and supposedly giving her money,” he added.

 

Ten bucks to anyone who can diagram that sentence. And, not to get technical about it, he meant “imply.” Fortunately for Brown, a firm grasp of the English language is no longer a prerequisite for high office.

But wait – there’s more in the Boston Brown & Gazette.  For the second straight day the Herald is acting as Brown’s co-broker in the sale of his Wrentham home.

 

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And they say newspapers don’t carry classified ads anymore.

Crosstown at the Boston Globe, the story is less hyperventilating and doesn’t mention Shaheen deciding Obamacare.

 

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But the piece did note that Brown arrived at the New Hampshire function hall “in a dented GMC pickup truck.”

To each his own, eh?