Monthly Archives: February 2011

Redacted: Kennedy Arranged To Rent Chilean Brothel

Published February 28, 2011

When the FBI released the Edward M. Kennedy files in June 2010, about 10 months after his death, a 1961 State Department memo about his visit to South America was heavily redacted. Now we know why.

A less-redacted version of the memo reveals that a young Kennedy arranged to “rent” a brothel in Santiago, Chile, in December 1961. The memo also says Kennedy insisted on meeting with “communists and others who had left-wing views,” whom he called “the angry young men” of the country.

A conservative Washington-based advocacy group called Judicial Watch fought to un-redact Kennedy files under the Freedom of Information Act. After battling with the FBI for months in litigation, Judicial Watch got its way.

“Our tough fight with the Obama administration shows that it was not keen on letting the American people know that Ted Kennedy, one of Obama’s leftist politician heroes, liked to hang out with communists and prostitutes,” the group said in a statement.

Judicial Watch says it uses FOIA laws to unseal corruption and unbecoming behavior.

Update: And now the FBI’s official page for the Kennedy files is 404’d.

Celtics Trade Perkins And Robinson To Thunder

Published February 24, 2011

So, how’s Shaq’s bum leg doing?

Boston Celtics' Nate Robinson, left, with injured teammate Kendrick Perkins in November 2010

Boston Celtics' Nate Robinson, left, with injured teammate Kendrick Perkins in November 2010 (Winslow Townson/AP)

That’s the question on everyone’s mind following reports the Celtics have shipped out center Kendrick Perkins and backup sparkplug Nate Robinson. Center Shaquille O’Neal will have to get back on the court — his latest ailment is an inflamed Achilles tendon — if the Celtics are to contend for banner No. 18.

As of early evening Thursday, Yahoo Sports and the Boston Globe report Perk and Robinson are headed to Oklahoma City in exchange for forward Jeff Green and center Nenad Krstic. The Globe reports that the Celtics will also receive the LA Clippers’ 2012 first-round pick.

Though not one of Boston’s four All-Stars, starter Perkins has established himself as an important cog, defensively and on the boards. Last year, before battling injuries this season, Perk averaged almost two blocks and almost eight rebounds per game. Perk has been especially important against other elite big men, such as Orlando’s Dwight Howard and LA’s Andrew Bynum.

Since being drafted out of high school, Perkins has spent all eight seasons in green.

As Donkey to Celtics forward Glen Davis’ Shrek, Robinson is known as a beloved teammate who can score in bunches. He has been used to spell point guard Rajon Rondo.

So far this year, Green averaged 15.2 points and nearly six rebounds per game. Krstic is averaging just over seven points and four rebounds per game.

The Celtics are also reportedly parting with rookies Luke Harangody and Semih Erden, for a Cleveland Cavaliers second-round pick, and Marquis Daniels, for cash from the Sacramento Kings.

Masstronaut Rides A Historic Mission Into Space

Published February 24, 2011

At 4:53 p.m., the official launch time of space shuttle Discovery, Cohasset native Steve Bowen became the first astronaut ever to fly consecutive NASA missions in space.

Bowen last flew on Atlantis in May 2010. He wasn’t even supposed to be on board Thursday, but Mission Specialist Tim Kopra got injured in a bike accident six weeks ago.

Bowen graduated from Cohasset High School in 1982. “He was an outstanding student,” said Assistant Principal Michael Gill, who was a health teacher there at the time, in a WBUR interview. “I don’t know if anyone really knows exactly what they’re going to do when they’re in high school, but he had an idea he wanted science and math.”

Gill said the would-be astronaut was a goalie on Cohasset High’s hockey team and a good athlete, too. Bowen went on to earn a degree in ocean engineering from MIT in 1993.

Today’s was the 39th and final launch of Discovery, which has racked up 142,917,535 miles on the odometer. The shuttle will dock with the International Space Station to deliver spare parts.

In 1984 and 2005, Discovery was first to “return to flight,” in NASA parlance, after the Challenger and Columbia accidents, respectively.

If You Missed It: Health Care Idiot

Published February 24, 2011

There is a lot of jargon in the debate to fix health care.

Gov. Deval Patrick announced a bill that would seek  “comprehensive payment reform” with a system of “global payments,” “accountable care organizations” and “medical homes.” You follow, right?

I (tried to) explain global payments, the buzzword of the moment, last week. The concept is hard to understand because it’s a fundamental change to the way we pay for health care.

WBUR’s All Things Considered host, Sacha Pfeiffer, quizzed me on some of the other buzzwords. I fared, well, OK.

Wednesday Roundup: Today In T

Published February 23, 2011

Orange Line train in the snow

Orange Line train in the snow (biggie_robs/Flickr)

The T is introducing a plan to cover a projected $130 million deficit (a small piece of its multi-billion-dollar debt) without cutting service or raising fares, the Globe reports. The plan calls for the following:

  • Stop giving refunds to customers who wait 30+ minutes for a ride
  • Sell more advertising, right down to the Charlie Card
  • Keep staffing levels low, below 6,000 employees
  • Sell parking revenue to investors in exchange for cash upfront
  • Lease a parking garage below TD garden

People are really unhappy about that first idea, the Herald reports. Doing away with refunds would require an amendment to the T’s “Customer Bill of Rights,” which is framed in a display case at T headquarters. “The bottom line is that we cannot afford that program anymore,” MBTA General Manager Richard Davey said to the Herald.

The MBTA says it also plans to introduce countdown clocks for Red, Orange and Blue Line trains. It’s not clear how much that would cost.

What do you think?

Speaking of the MBTA, the woman who lost and then found her snake on a Red Line train is now stuck with a $650 bill. Workers had to disinfect and sterilize the trolley car where the snake was found. (“So, the MBTA only scrubs and disinfects trains when a snake is found on board? Gross.”)

Tuesday Morning: Teddy’s 79th, Quincy’s Innovation

Published February 22, 2011

Good morning! The late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy would have turned 79 today. A Boston man who idolized the Kennedy brothers would grow up to be on Kennedy’s staff — impersonating Teddy’s Portuguese water dog, Splash, in letters to constituents. His piece in the New York Times is a touching remembrance.

Peter Meade, the man Kennedy hand-picked to manage his legacy, will resign. Meade told the Globe he got the  late senator’s institute off the ground, but he doesn’t have the right skills for the job going forward.

The MBTA has taken steps to prevent its website from crashing when we need it the most. The site was unusable during this winter’s worst snowstorms, as thousands of people checked the status of delayed or disabled trains and buses.

Here’s a headline you don’t see every day: What Quincy Can Teach New York City. A New York Times editorial praises Quincy’s innovative pay-per-inch snow removal program, which has doubled in size since its inception. Quincy estimates savings of 5 to 10 percent compared to pay-per-hour services.

A teenager survived after being stabbed at the Park Street/Red Line platform Monday evening, prompting a police manhunt. About 24 hours earlier, on Sunday, a man apparently committing suicide was struck by a Red Line train.

What A Bill Russell Statue Might Look Like

Published February 18, 2011

Mockup of a Bill Russell statue

Imagine a Bill Russell statue in Boston. (Courtesy of Nate Morrow)

This morning, the Boston Herald reported it’s not a matter of if, but where. President Obama is calling on Boston to erect a monument to the legendary Bill Russell.

“I hope that one day, in the streets of Boston, children will look up at a statue built not only to Bill Russell the player, but Bill Russell the man,” the president said Tuesday, before presenting Russell with a Medal of Freedom.

Boston graphic designer and sports fan Nate Morrow (@nsmorrow) is taking the idea one step further: He mocked up a Russell statue in Photoshop.

Using Google Maps, Morrow found the perfect grassy spot in front of the Garden, over I-93. “I thought of the (Bobby) Orr statue, which went up last year outside the Garden,” he said. “So why not put a Celtic up near the Garden?”

The photo of Russell used in this mockup, by the way, is also on the Wheaties box.

Friday Morning: Charter Schools, Transgender Rights

Published February 18, 2011

Good morning! Do you have plans for the long weekend?

The state schools chief endorsed 17 new charter schools, including 10 in Boston.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston may sell seven former churches — churches that parishioners are still not willing to give up. The archdiocese is hearing public comment.

Gov. Deval Patrick signed an executive order banning discrimination against transgender people in state government.

Reactions are mixed to Patrick’s ambitious plan to make health care more affordable in Mass.

Tufts Medical Center CEO Ellen Zane is stepping down after seven years. She is credited with pulling the hospital back from the brink. Another CEO who thwarted the collapse of another Boston hospital, Paul Levy of Beth Israel Deaconess, resigned last month.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, says anti-government “Patriot” groups are on the rise, especially here in New England.

New Hampshire is the latest New England state in which the legality of gay marriage is in question. Conservative lawmakers there want to repeal it.

Support is pouring in for a statue of Celtics legend Bill Russell, two days after President Obama called on Boston to build one. Mayor Tom Menino says it’s not a matter of if, but where.

The hugely popular Boston Marathon is making it six minutes harder to qualify next year.