Mass Lottery’s flawed cash game: Please don’t tell hedge funds The Lottery’s CashWinFall game is mathematically flawed, allowing big-time bettors to make almost guaranteed money by buying up hundreds of thousands of tickets. Highly trained computer scientists from MIT and Northeastern are also getting involved.
Hmm. What does this sound like? It’s perfectly legal. It relies on little guys taking the hit without any realistic chance of winning. It funnels millions of guaranteed dollars toward inside players. Hmm. What does this sound like? … I know! …
It’s probably only a matter of time before some lowly hedge fund manager gets involved and later brags he discovered a new “investment innovation.” Seriously, what’s the fundamental difference between this and the antics going on on Wall Street every day? …
FYI: Hub Blog watched Charles Ferguson’s “Inside Job” last night. It’s way over the top at some points. At the least, someone should have edited out the porn and hookers accusations. But it was definitely a “devastating expose of the staggering Wall Street swindle,” as one Amazon reviewer puts it.
And it was all done in the name of preserving the “free flow of capital” – the exact same rational now used by those sucking funds out of the Lottery. … Steve Grossman, shut the damn game down. OK? The gig’s over. They’ve effectively cornered the market.
A Boston reporter turned press agent who helped blow the lid off of America’s original Ponzi scheme nearly a century ago is finally getting recognition for his work more than 40 years after his death. ...
It was 91 years ago this week that McMasters wrote an expose for the old Boston Post newspaper revealing that one of his clients, Hub financier Charles Ponzi, was running a scam.
Boston is NOT on the 15 Most Suicidal Cities List Boston may be the meanest and worst-dressed city in the USA. But at least we're not on the 15 Most Suicidal Cities List, indicating we're quite content with our mean, poorly dressed ways. ...
¶ 11:42 AM
Sunday, July 17, 2011
The meanest, worst dressed city So Boston is both the meanest and worst dressed city. C’mon, tell us something we don’t already know. … It all comes down to our seven championships in ten years. They’re just jealous. Next up: They’ll call us arrogant. But we already know that too.
¶ 6:23 AM
Saturday, July 16, 2011
‘Was John F. Kennedy the flat-out absolute worst U.S. president of the 20th century?’ Tom Ricks is being more than a little unfair. But JFK’s sycophants were no better in the opposite sense, spinning him into the mythological Camelot figure following the assassination. … See the note at the bottom of Rick’s post about his Massachusetts and Democratic credentials. He’s covering his flanks well. …
A different parlor game that might produce a more reasonable result: Which 20th Century presidents were better than JFK? My obvious choices:
FDR Truman Ike Teddy Roosevelt Ronnie
After those five, it’s a big fall off. Some might argue for Woodrow Wilson being up higher. But I can’t do it. There were some truly ugly sides to Wilson’s presidency (and personality). … Spare me the “LBJ signed the civil rights act” argument. The civil rights movement started long before LBJ got loose out of Texas. And, of course, there’s Vietnam, a war LBJ undeniably escalated. …
Bottom line: JFK, at best, was probably a high middle-of-the-pack 20th Century president.
¶ 3:56 PM
Rupert’s scandal – and the familiar ideological fault lines Reading, watching and listening to all the discussions about the scandal swirling around Rupert Murdoch, it’s interesting (though not terribly surprising) how the controversy has become a hot ideological topic. For the record, let’s see if we can all agree on a few points:
-- Of course the voice-mail hacking/bribery/invasion-of-privacy charges are serious and shocking.
-- Of course liberals, including many MSM journalists, are taking particular glee in seeing Rupert’s conservative-media empire taking a beating.
-- Of course conservatives, including many bloggers and pundits, are trying to change the subject and/or downplay the controversy.
-- Of course the reaction of liberals and conservatives would be exactly reversed if such a scandal hit NPR or the New York Times.
OK, finished. Just straightening out and clarifying the ideological battle lines.
Btw: Small confession - I initially felt an odd sense of satisfied awe (not to be confused with glee) in seeing the News of the World closed. It was tied to a sense of justice, i.e. NOTW had it coming. It's behavior was that egregious. But I think the empire bashing should end there, assuming no similar allegations emerge involving Rupert's other holdings. Does anyone really want the Times of London to close? The NY Post? The Wall Street Journal? Fox News? OK, so some would want to see the entire News Corp. empire collapse or seriously weakened (see ideological fault-line clarifications above). But Rupert has created and saved more journalism jobs in recent years than most other media companies combined. The money-losing Times and Post are alive today for one reason and one reason alone: Rupert keeps them going as trophy holdings. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs at stake. Eliminating them is not something to cheer for.
Update -- Obviously, I should have also pointed out Rupert's local holdings: The Cape Cod Times, The Standard-Times (New Bedford), The Portsmouth Herald (N.H.) and a slew of weeklies in southeast Massachusetts. His News Corp. also owns WFXT-Channel 25 in Boston. ...
Mort Zuckerman, who owns the rival New York Daily News, made a good point last night on the McLaughlin Group that U.S. television licenses stipulate they can't be held by convicted criminals. If Rupert or his company is ever criminally convicted in the U.K., News Corp.'s broadcast TV empire here could be in jeopardy, Mort suggested.
¶ 8:11 AM
Friday, July 15, 2011
3-D printers: They're actually here
Z Corporation of Burlington is now the corporate star of a video gone viral. It's so incredible, I almost hesitate to post the video, thinking it must be a hoax. But here it is anyway: Printing out a workable wrench. ... It is a hoax, right?
Update -- A reader points out that NECN ran a story on the Z Corp. printer last night. Since NECN is never wrong, then it can't be a hoax. ... It's simply amazing. ... The same reader added: "I can only assume it one day will produce true Fembots." I think it's safe to say it's only a matter of time.
¶ 12:45 PM
'Blaming Fannie for Crash Gives Banks Free Pass' The recently published 'Reckless Endangerment' has re-stoked the old argument about the 2008 financial crisis: Was it the fault of government or the fault of the private sector? Of course it was caused by a combination of both. But some conservatives, desperate to confirm their preconceived notions on how the world works, are seizing on 'Reckless Endangerment' as proof the crisis was primarily the result of government policies. William D. Cohan -- whose post-meltdown book 'House of Cards' should be mandatory reading for those interested in the subject -- begs to differ. ... It's always amazed me how people who saw Wall Street collapse with their own eyes can't bring themselves to acknowledge that Wall Street had something major to do with its own collapse. ... With that said, I'm looking forward to reading 'Reckless Endangerment,' for government did play a huge role in setting the stage for the dramatic events of 2008.
¶ 7:40 AM
George Kimball, RIP Michael Gee remembers George Kimball. … Dan has more. … During our brief overlap as reporters at the Herald, I used to see George now and then in the newsroom, hanging out by the sports desk and chatting with the editors. Somewhat new to the Herald, I was always a little star struck whenever I saw him and hesitant to introduce myself. That’s how much I admired his sports writing over the years, both at the Phoenix and Herald. I finally got to chit-chat with him a few times, and all I can say is that he was always a gentleman. He was one of those legendary newspaper guys you were honored to call a colleague, even if he barely knew who you were. …
Coincidently, a friend of mine recently got a copy of George’s “Four Kings: Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Duran and the Last Great Era of Boxing.” My friend says it’s great. I'll get the book after he’s finished. I’m sure I’ll be reading it with more than a little sadness.
¶ 2:19 PM
Thursday, July 07, 2011
Rupert on the defensive -- big time, Part II Holy mackerel. News Corp. is now shutting down News of the World. This is beyond Rupert being on the defensive. It's not even a retreat. It's complete capitulation. And it still may not be enough. ...
Update -- Tabloid Fodder in Reverse: There's a newsroom "lynch mob" out to get former editor Rebekah Brooks, who is now reportedly surrounded by security bodyguards.
Update II -- Front page at right courtesy of Wikipedia, which has a good history of the paper and past controversies, including a legal case stemming from the infamous 'Sick Nazi Orgy With 5 Hookers" story.
¶ 1:19 PM
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
Rupert on the defensive – big time Journalistically, it's hard to get lower than this:
There were reports that hackers working for News of the World, owned by News Corporation, listened to the voice-mail messages left on the phones of murder and terrorism victims. One was a 13-year-old girl who was abducted and murdered in 2002. Additionally, Scotland Yard detectives are also investigating whether the voicemail accounts of relatives of victims of the bombings of three London subway trains and a double-decker bus on July 7, 2005, had also been hacked, according to some of the relatives. …
(This) week, the extent of the alleged hacking has broadened dramatically with reports that the newspaper hacked the cellphone of the slain 13-year-old girl nine years ago, deleting some messages to make room for more in a move that added to vain hopes that she was still alive.
Too Big To Follow Patent Laws Sigh. ... Why don't we just exempt Wall Street firms and employees from all civil and criminal laws? ... Jeez. After landing hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer bailouts, they now want to be effectively exempt from many patent laws -- and Congress is all too willing to oblige. ... Patents laws. They're for little people.
¶ 6:41 AM
‘Boston pities us for what McCourt has done to Dodgers’ Bob Ryan has been ripping into Frank McCourt both at the Globe and on ESPN, prompting an L.A. blogger to headline a post, “Boston pities us for what McCourt has done to Dodgers." Here’s a transcript of Ryan’s brutally glorious takedown of Ballpark Frank on ESPN:
We in Boston tried to warn the good people of L.A. that allowing Frank McCourt to enter their lives was a very big mistake. We knew him for the charlatan he is - a parking lot owner and alleged real estate developer. . . How did MLB not see through him? … Now the War-of-the-Roses-style divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt has brought all the sordid dealings of this disgraceful McCourt regime into public view and has accelerated the demise of the team. But that is actually a good thing, because with this action by the commissioner, the long, difficult process of extricating this golden franchise from these evil caretakers can begin. It takes a special skill to turn one of baseball's top 5 franchises into a dysfunctional mess of an operation. But Frank McCourt is a special man.