By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Finally, interesting news about Whitey Bulger

Whitey Bulger

I have a confession: the Whitey Bulger story has always bored me. No, not heart of it — the murders, the corrupt dealings with the FBI, the bad brother/good brother dynamic between Whitey and former Massachusetts Senate president Bill Bulger. That’s all incredibly compelling. But the years of incremental stories on various attempts to arrest him have left me cold.

Earlier this week, I barely glanced at the headlines over the FBI’s latest ruse — commercials on daytime televisions shows aimed at women who might recognize Bulger’s girlfriend, Catherine Greig. Someone who has followed the case much more closely than I dismissed it, saying it was pretty clear to him that Bulger was dead.

Well, he wasn’t, and the ads worked. Pretty amazing. As a few people have commented on Twitter, first Osama bin Laden, now Whitey Bulger.

Rather than directing you to specific news stories from today’s papers, I suggest you keep visiting the and Boston Herald home pages, where the story is being continuously updated.

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  1. Mike Benedict

    This is so exciting, I might not get anything else done today.

    And I’m less interested in what happens to Whitey — who will no doubt get a shiv in the gut the minute he is finally sentenced — but rather what he might spill about his even-bigger crook of a brother. (My guess is he says nothing.)

    Also, how about all those jokers in South Boston who still view Whitey as some sort of Robin Hood? Round ’em all up and ship ’em to Alabama, I say.

  2. Christian Avard

    I remember back in 1990 or 1991 when Whitey Bulger won the Mass Millions … and then fled. How could that not be fixed?

    The downside to all of this is that Howie Carr won’t shut up now and the media is flocking to him for comments, as if his ego needs all of this.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Christian: Howie writes, “And who will be the first Globe columnist to write, ‘Well at least Jimmy kept the drugs out of Southie.'” That is a pretty obvious reference to Mike Barnicle, who was last ween writing for — that’s right, the Herald.

  3. Dan Kennedy

    @Mike Benedict: “His even bigger crook of a brother”? Whitey Bulger has been implicated in 19 murders.

  4. Matt Kelly

    I’ve seen the preliminary rumors that Whitey has Alzheimer’s Disease– let’s all hope that proves not to be true. It would be a travesty if this monster of a human being isn’t cognizant of what he’s done when we all finally hold him accountable.

  5. Al Fiantaca

    I have a hard time believing that the Catherine Grieg ads had anything to do with the finding and capture of Whitey Bulger, regardless of what the FBI is saying on their victory lap. Coincidence maybe, but that’s all. They have had too many “oops sorry” incidences to be believed now, with the real facts dribbling out later in uncontrolled leaks. Of course, it’s great that he’s in custody, but too bad that their poor performance gave him 15 years of additional freedom.

  6. Mike Benedict

    @Dan: You heard me.

    Whitey’s crimes by and large affected other gangsters and lowlifes. Billy’s crimes affected the entire state.

  7. Jack Sullivan

    @Christian, just to clarify: Whitey never “won” the Lottery. Another poor schmuck in Southie did and Whitey and Flemmi told him he needed a partner and “bought” half of his $14.3 million ticket as a way to launder some of their money.

  8. Jack Sullivan

    @Mike, I don’t think Debra Hussey, Debbie Davis, Roger Wheeler or Michael Donohue qualify as “gangsters and lowlifes.” Feel like saying that to their families’ faces?

  9. Diane Patry

    I rather agree with Mike Benedict that brother Billy is of the same rotten cloth. Not only refused to help locate his criminal brother, but violated thousands of Mass citizens, just more indirectly; gets to live on a huge public pension as his reward.

    As for Mike Barnicle: he deserves scorn from many more of our media types than he’s even gotten (ditto with Billy Bulger. It always helps to be an insider.

  10. Peter Sullivan

    “Also, how about all those jokers in South Boston who still view Whitey as some sort of Robin Hood? Round ‘em all up and ship ‘em to Alabama, I say.”

    Hey Mike, have you been to South Boston lately?

    Spoken like a true, elitist, suburban, Liberal schmuck.

  11. Brad Deltan

    What exactly made you describe Billy Bulger as the “good” brother?

    More like bad brother/worse brother. At least Whitey only destroyed a few dozen people’s lives.

  12. Mike Benedict

    @James Sullivan: Oh great, a pissing contest!

    As Dick Lehr noted in “Black Mass,” Wheeler was aware of the mob’s presence before he bought into World Jai Alai but thought he could manage them. Not clean. Debra Hussey and Debbie Davis were girlfriends of a gangster (Flemmi) whom they knew 1) was married and 2) a gangster. Pretty lowlife, if you ask me. Donahue didn’t deserve what he got, except for the fact that he lived in Southie, where everyone is pretty much guilty of something in some shape or form.

  13. Mike Benedict

    @Peter: I’m sorry, did I mention politics? No, that’s just your imagination running wild. But come to think of it, I guess thinking a murderer of 19 people should be scorned is pretty farfetched.

    Now had he killed 25 people, well heck, now that’s someone worth arresting!

    @Dan: Teeth are elitist!

  14. BP Myers

    @Mike Benedict says: Whitey’s crimes by and large affected other gangsters and lowlifes.

    You have no idea what you’re talking about, because if you did, you’d understand just how despicable what you’ve posted in this thread is.

    Guess the lesson is that even when folks are forced to post under their own names, it can’t save them from themselves.

  15. Jack Sullian

    @Mike, you’re a lost cause and as bad as many of the people you despise. You are as arrogant as Billy Bulger and often just as wrong. But, like him, you just don’t know it. If guilt by association, or in the case of Wheeler, knowledge, is your rule of thumb, well, hell let’s kill ’em all and let God sort it out. And Hussey and Davis were barely teenagers when Flemmi got his hook in them and tried to get out when they grew up and grew wise. Shall we label you based on teenaged decisions? And it’s Jack, not James. But I’m sure you’ll think of a snarky comeback to justify that.

  16. Mike Rice

    I’m disappointed that Seal Team 6 wasn’t sent in to do a “bin Laden” on Bulger.

  17. Peter Sullivan

    Yes Dan, was adept at finding a couple of old school Southie folks that spin a Good Whitey tale. Let’s ship them off to Alabama.

  18. Christian Avard

    @Jack Thanks for the clarification.

  19. Jim Chiavelli

    Y’know, Whitey may’ve killed 19 people and extorted scores more, stolen more than the U.S. middle class has in its bank accounts today … but Billy PLAYED POLITICS WELL.

    Homer: Remember when I got caught stealing all those watches from Sears?
    Marge: Hmm.
    Homer: Well, that’s nothing, because *you* have a gambling problem! And remember when I let that escaped lunatic in the house ’cause he was dressed like Santa Claus?
    Marge: Hmm.
    Homer: Well *you* have a gambling problem!

  20. Dan Storms

    Whitey was mythic because the press and the locals made him so (otherwise, he was just another smart punk with a gun or a baseball bat). I still remember in the early ’80s getting an apartment in Southie when my roommate, a native, put down as references “James Bulger, Louise Day Hicks, and Ray Flynn.” Probably better than Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in getting us the place. By the by, are any of the Angiulo crew still running around, or did Whitey rat them all out?

  21. Mike Benedict

    @BP and Jack: Your opinions are as cheap as mine, only less well put.

  22. john stewart

    is it cricket for the herald to scroll globe reporter twitter feeds in the right column of the website

    • Dan Kennedy

      @john stewart: I’d say yes, absolutely. I don’t see it now, but they were probably just running everything tagged #whiteybulger.

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