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Howie Carr: Bulgers at it again in latest effort to swipe some cash

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Howie Carr: Bulgers at it again in latest effort to swipe some cash

How are the Bulgers going to make ends meet now that their $200-million wrongful-death suit against the Bureau of Prisons has been laughed out of federal court in West Virginia?

Let’s make it clear, the Bulgers weren’t looking for yet another obscene handout from the taxpayers, not after their decades of selfless, ahem, labor in the public sector.

No, the first family of South Boston were merely seeking justice for their noble kinsman, James J. “Whitey” Bulger, the serial-killing, cocaine-dealing, bank-robbing pedophile extortionist who was beaten to death in the federal prison in Hazelton, WV, back in 2018.

Cut down in his prime, at age 89.

The ruling to toss the case was made by Judge John Preston Bailey, a George W. Bush appointee who went to Dartmouth College. Dartmouth is also the alma mater of Brian Kelly, the former assistant U.S. attorney who was one of the prosecutors who convicted Whitey of 11 murders in 2013.

If Whitey were still around, you know damn well what would happen next.

This year’s Dartmouth Winter Carnival, which begins Feb. 10, would have been blown to smithereens, like they did with Joe Barboza’s lawyer’s gold Cadillac.

All the Bulgers wanted was another payday — and a mere $200-million one at that.

You think it’s been easy since Whitey took it on the lam, back in 1994? They never won another election. Nobody’s been buried in a shallow grave by a Bulger this entire century.

Jackie Bulger, the youngest brother, was stripped of his hack state pension after lying to a grand jury about visiting one of Whitey’s cash stuffed safe-deposit bank boxes in Florida. Like Whitey, Jackie ended up in custody of the Bureau of Prisons — 23986-038.

Whitey’s nephew and namesake, Jimmy Bulger, is this close to Hunter Biden, the president’s crack-addled, stripper-chasing alcoholic son who is now an “artist.” Google their names and “Thornton Group” for more information from Hunter’s laptop.

So at least one member of the family is still cashing in big time. Well, two actually. Jimmy’s dad, William M. Bulger, is the patriarch. Billy is Whitey’s little (in more ways than one) brother, the Corrupt Midget, as he was known back in the day when he was president of the Massachusetts state Senate.

He’ll be 88 in two weeks. Since 2003 Billy has been scrapping by on a state pension that is now $272,719 a year, or $22,727 a month.

There’s an old saying, it’s one thing to feed at the public trough. It’s another thing to lick the plate.

Their lawyer immediately announced he will appeal because … Bulger.

This lawsuit was always going to be a tough sell, claiming victimhood status for a mass-murdering cocaine dealer. So on the appeal, perhaps his family should stress Whitey’s humanity, his charitable instincts.

For instance, the man loved Christmas. It was the most wonderful time of the year. Remember his memorable words as he sat in the back room of the South Boston Liquor Mart every Yuletide, stuffing envelopes full of cash for all the crooked cops – mostly FBI agents – that he
was paying off.

“Christmas,” he would say, “is for cops and kids.”

Whitey took great joy in playing Santa Claus. One November, he murdered Paul McGonagle, the brother-in-law of his girlfriend, Catherine Greig. He’d already murdered her other brother-in-law, Donald McGonagle.

Paulie left behind a couple of young sons. The family was destitute, couldn’t collect on any life insurance because Whitey had made his body do the Houdini, down on Tenean Beach. One day just before the holiday, Whitey called the McGonagle household and got his 11-year-old son on the phone.

“Your father’s not coming home for Christmas,” Whitey rasped.

“Who is this?” the little boy asked.

“Santa Claus!” Whitey yelled.

That was testimony in federal court. This is the avuncular presence the Bulgers have been deprived of by a cruel twist of fate. Then there were Whitey’s pals. He always remembered them at Christmas too.

Stevie Flemmi, for example. He and Whitey were partners in crime. When they were murdering “bleepsters,” as Whitey called anyone who crossed him, everyone in the mob had their own job. Whitey strangled or shot the victims. Kevin “Two” Weeks dug the hole in the basement, a guy named Phil Costa brought the lime to make the flesh decompose more quickly.

Stevie’s job was pulling the teeth of the victims, so that their bodies couldn’t be identified from dental records. He had a pair of trusty pliers, but they got rusty. Plus, he and Whitey had begun strangling young women – Stevie’s girlfriends – and it was hard to force the pliers into those smaller mouths.

Stevie was griping about his lack of proper equipment. So Whitey went to his gal pal Catherine Greig (the McGonagle kid’s aunt). She was a dental hygienist, so he told her to go to her boss’ dental catalogue and purchase a pair of the most modern tooth extractors available.

“Merry Christmas pal,” Whitey said as he presented the state-of-the-art upgrade to Stevie. It was a holly jolly Christmas all around at Triple O’s that year.

At Whitey’s trial, it was Stevie who pointed out how much he liked to give presents to all the children of Southie, whether it was Christmas time or not.

“He had a young girlfriend, 16 years old, that he took to Mexico. That’s a violation of the Mann Act.”

One man’s perv is another man’s benefactor. Bulgers, you can have that line. Consider it a belated Christmas gift, in honor of you-know-who.

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Magic looking for luck to turn their way in NBA’s draft lottery

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Magic looking for luck to turn their way in NBA’s draft lottery

The Orlando Magic know as well as any other team the luck and misfortune that can come with the NBA’s draft lottery.

They’re hoping luck will turn their way for the first time in over a decade during Tuesday’s 38th installment of the lottery. The lottery will start at 8 p.m. in Chicago and will be broadcast on ESPN.

The Magic were on the receiving end of a lot of luck in their infancy, winning back-to-back No. 1 picks in 1992 and ‘93 — selections that led to Orlando drafting Shaquille O’Neal and acquiring Penny Hardaway, the linchpins of the Magic’s early success in the mid-90s.

The Magic later won the ‘04 lottery, leading to the drafting of Dwight Howard, the backbone of six consecutive playoffs appearances, including the 2009 Finals.

Since then, the Magic have either stayed at or fallen from their pre-lottery positioning.

While it isn’t known if this year’s draft class will have the kind of franchise-changing prospects that could propel the Magic to similar success they’ve experienced in previous decades, better positioning in the lottery — or even winning it — would help set them up for greater success after finishing the 2021-22 season with their worst record since 2012-13.

“Our goals remain the same, which are to develop these young guys,” Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said during an interview on FM 96.9 The Game’s Open Mike with the Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi. “Everybody says you need stars in this league. Sometimes stars don’t always reveal themselves instantly.

“There are still evaluations to be made. There are still a lot of improvements that our guys have to make and that’s going to take a lot of work. And it’s going to take time. I don’t really think we recalibrate our goals going into the season. We ramp them up, we challenge our guys to get better, and from a team-building standpoint, obviously, we’ll look to add more. We’ll [soon] find out in about a month where we sit in the lottery and it’ll be an exciting offseason.”

Here are three things to know ahead of Tuesday:

Magic’s lottery odds

The Magic are tied for the best odds (14%) of winning the No. 1 pick in the draft.

With the league’s second-worst record at 22-60, Orlando has a 52.1% chance of securing a top-four pick in the June 23 draft. The pick won’t fall below No. 6.

The Magic’s odds for landing in spots No. 1-6: No. 1: 14.0%; No. 2: 13.4%; No. 3: 12.7%; No. 4: 12%; No. 5: 27.8%; No. 6: 20%.

How they’ve fared in the past

After early success with the lottery, the Magic haven’t had success moving up the draft order in their last nine tries. Here’s Orlando’s history with the lottery:

2021 — 5th (3rd in pre-lottery positioning); 2018 — 6th (6th); 2017 — 6th (5th); 2016 — 11th (11th); 2015 — 5th (5th); 2014 — 4th (3rd); 2013 — 2nd (1st); 2006 — 11th (11th); 2005 — 11th (11th); 2004 — 1st (1st); 2000 — 5th (3rd); 1998 — 12th (12th); 1993 — 1st (11th); 1992 — 1st (2nd); 1991 — 10th (10th); 1990 — 3rd (4th).

Lottery format

Drawings are done to determine the draft’s first four picks. The remainder of the lottery teams will get draft picks in spots 5 through 14 in the inverse order of their regular-season records.

Under the format that started with the 2019 draft, the team with the worst record (Houston Rockets) will receive no worse than the fifth pick.

The Magic, along with the Rockets and the Detroit Pistons — the team’s with the three-worst records — all have a 14% chance of winning the lottery under the current format.

During the previous format, the team with the worst record had a 25% of getting the No. 1 pick.

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Candidate in hospital, others scrambling before Pa. primary

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Candidate in hospital, others scrambling before Pa. primary

By MARC LEVY and MICHAEL RUBINKAM

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — The last full day of campaigning in Pennsylvania’s hotly contested primaries for governor and U.S. Senate began Monday with a top Senate candidate in the hospital and establishment Republicans trying to stave off victories by candidates they worry will be unelectable in the fall.

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who is leading in polls and fundraising in the Democratic Party’s primary for U.S. Senate, remained in the hospital Monday after suffering a stroke right before the weekend.

His campaign said he won’t appear at Tuesday’s election night party in Pittsburgh, though Fetterman said Sunday that he is feeling better, expected to make a full recovery and will resume campaigning after getting some rest.

Meanwhile, new attack ads are airing against late-surging Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kathy Barnette as many in the Republican Party establishment have begun trying to consolidate their support to prevent Doug Mastriano from winning the party’s gubernatorial nomination in the presidential battleground state.

Some Republicans fear Barnette and Mastriano are too polarizing to beat Democratic opponents in a general election. Barnette and Mastriano have campaigned together, endorsed each other and promoted conspiracy theories, including former President Donald Trump’s lies that widespread voter fraud cost him the 2020 election.

They also have spent a fraction of the money that some of their rivals have.

The scrambling reflects the high stakes of Tuesday’s elections in Pennsylvania and the uncertainty that has rattled the campaigns in the last week amid news of Fetterman’s hospitalization and last-minute jockeying in the Republican primaries.

In the governor’s race, an organization that has reported spending about $13 million to boost Republican candidate Bill McSwain, a lawyer who was Donald Trump’s appointee for U.S. attorney in Philadelphia, switched its allegiance to former congressman Lou Barletta barely two days before polls close.

Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs, a business advocacy group whose political action committees are conduits for cash from billionaire Jeffrey Yass, said it believes Barletta has the best chance to beat Mastriano. The group is now calling on McSwain to drop out and endorse Barletta.

Mastriano, newly endorsed by Trump, belittled efforts by Republicans to defeat him and characterizes Democrats, including President Joe Biden, as far-left radicals.

“The swamp struck back, but they struck and they failed, they missed, and Donald Trump came in in the midst of their conspiring with each other’s swamp-like creatures and endorsed me and cut the legs out from underneath them,” Mastriano said in an interview Monday with the Light of Liberty podcast.

Meanwhile, in the hard-fought Republican primary for U.S. Senate, Barnette worked to fend off growing attacks from former hedge fund CEO David McCormick and heart surgeon-turned-TV celebrity Mehmet Oz, Trump’s endorsed candidate.

Barnette said on conservative Breitbart Radio on Monday that “I’m not a globalist, both of them are” and that they have “very strong ties to the World Economic Forum,” an organization that has been the subject of right-wing conspiracy theories.

They are pretending to be “Trump card-carrying members of the patriot party,” she said, and she called Oz — he was born in the United States to parents who emigrated from Turkey and holds dual citizenship — “not only an American, but Turkish as well.”

“Globalist” is a derogatory term with an antisemitic origin adopted by Trump and others in his orbit to conjure up an elite, international coterie that doesn’t serve America’s best interests.

Barnette also suggested on Breitbart Radio that she would not support Oz or McCormick if they win the primary, saying, “I have no intentions of supporting globalists.”

However, she later seemed to contradict herself, telling reporters in Scranton: “I do believe they are globalists, and I find that very unnerving. But … I will do everything I can for the GOP in order to make sure we win, and make sure Democrats do not win.”

Trump’s endorsements of both Mastriano and Oz have twisted Pennsylvania’s Republican establishment into contradictions, as some warn that Mastriano is too far to the right to beat Democrat Josh Shapiro in the fall general election.

Trump himself has warned that Barnette cannot win in the fall — yet Mastriano is campaigning with her. In a telephone townhall Monday night with Oz, Trump warned that when Barnette is “vetted, it’s going to be a catastrophe for the party.”

With polls showing a late surge for Barnette, Trump’s attacks reflected an eleventh-hour behind-the-scenes scramble by Trump allies and rival campaigns to discredit her. If elected, she would be the first Black Republican woman to serve in the Senate.

On Monday, the Oz campaign sent out a 90-second robocall to Republican voters featuring Trump urging them to vote for Oz and attacking McCormick and Barnette as “not candidates who put America First,” Trump’s label for his governing philosophy.

In addition to new attack ads targeting Barnette, she is being asked about a history of incendiary comments, which include disparaging Muslims and gays. She said her Islamophobic tweets were taken out of context.

She is also being asked whether she was involved in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol after participating in Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally that day. She was not, she said.

“It’s confusing to understand Kathy Barnette. Every time she answers a question, she raises many more,” Oz said on the “Brian Kilmeade Show” on Fox News Radio.

Barnette, speaking to several dozen supporters at a Scranton hotel Monday evening, said her rivals are lying about her because she is winning.

“Do you really want to hear more smear attacks, more attacks, throwing people under the bus, using leftist-like tactics to try to destroy one of their own?” Barnette questioned.

McCormick, a decorated U.S. Army combat veteran who has strong connections to the party establishment going back to his service in President George W. Bush’s administration, has also been criticized repeatedly by Trump in the last two weeks.

Nevertheless, McCormick is closing the campaign by airing a TV ad showing a video clip of Trump in a private 2020 ceremony congratulating McCormick, saying “you’ve served our country well in so many different ways.”

“You know why he said that,” McCormick says in the TV ad. “Because it’s true. I risked my life for America and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. … I’m a pro-life, pro-gun, America First conservative and damn proud of it.”

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Follow AP for full coverage of the midterms at and on Twitter at

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Levy reported from Harrisburg, Pa. Follow Marc Levy on Twitter at

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Gophers make top four schools for prized recruit Jaxon Howard

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Gophers make top four schools for prized recruit Jaxon Howard

The Gophers football program made the top four options for prized in-state recruit Jaxon Howard on Monday.

The four-star prospect from Robbinsdale Cooper High School put Minnesota alongside Miami (Fla.), Louisiana State and Michigan. He plans to take official visits in June and make a decision in July.

“The past three years, I’ve been blessed to be offered by over 60 amazing colleges,” Howard wrote on social media. “I built genuine relationships with so many coaches and value all the time they have spent with me. After 41 unofficial visits and much prayer, I have narrowed my top four.”

RELATED: How Gophers are making case for Jaxon Howard’s commitment 

If Howard, the No. 1 recruit in the state of Minnesota, committed to Minnesota, he would be the second-highest rated pledge, behind only Minneapolis Washburn running back Jeff Jones, per 247sports.com’s composite rankings.

Howard, who could play tight end or defensive end in college, is listed at 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds; he is the son of Willie Howard, who played defensive end at Stanford and was drafted in the second round by the Vikings in 2001.

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