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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 77,712

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Luxor Capital to own Atlantic City's Ocean Resort Casino

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A New York hedge fund that lent money to Atlantic City's Ocean Resort Casino is assuming ownership of it.

Luxor Capital Group was identified as the new owner in a press release Monday from the casino. The company, which is not related to the Luxor casino in Las Vegas, will take over the ownership interest of Bruce Deifik (DIE'-fick) and his family.

Luxor Capitol will assume control once it receives interim authority to own a casino. Until it gets that approval, which could come within three to four months, a trust will be created for the casino's temporary ownership.

Once Luxor Capital completes a promised $70 million investment into the property, a trustee will be appointed to oversee the trust until the company is deemed suitable to hold a casino license in New Jersey.

Read more: https://www.valleymorningstar.com/entertainment/luxor-capital-to-own-atlantic-city-s-ocean-resort-casino/article_84582ada-2f28-54ef-b339-f75713d45029.html

PG&E files for bankruptcy amid wildfire lawsuits

Source: AP

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The largest utility in the U.S., Pacific Gas & Electric Corp., filed for bankruptcy Tuesday as it faces billions of dollars in potential damages from wildfires in California.

The utility filed documents in a U.S. court seeking Chapter 11 reorganization despite state investigators determining last week that its equipment was not to blame for a 2017 fire that killed 22 people in Northern California wine country.

The company cited hundreds of lawsuits from victims of that blaze and others in 2017 and 2018 when it announced this month that it planned to file for bankruptcy. The fires included the nation's deadliest in a century — a November blaze that killed at least 86 people and destroyed 15,000 homes in Paradise and surrounding communities.

The cause of that fire remains under investigation, but speculation has centered on PG&E after the utility reported power line problems nearby around the time it started.

Read more: https://www.valleymorningstar.com/news/us_news/pg-e-files-for-bankruptcy-amid-wildfire-lawsuits/article_4dc07ddc-7ece-59fd-a973-d7d601451b3f.html

Connecticut Democratic Party received $116,000 from Sacklers

HARTFORD — Since 2002, the Connecticut Democratic Party has received a total of about $116,000 from the Sackler family, owners of Stamford-based Purdue Pharma, the opioid-producing company now being sued by Connecticut and many other states.

“If we knew then what we know now, of course, we never would have taken the money,” said Nancy Wyman, who was elected chair of the state party last week, after serving as lieutenant governor for eight years.

Eight of the Sacklers were closely involved in false marketing of opioids, contributing to the nation’s deadly opioid crisis, a lawsuit by Connecticut’s attorney general alleges. The lawsuit states “They had the authority to stop the deadly misconduct, and they failed to stop it.”

Purdue Pharma denies the allegations.

After reviewing the Sackler contributions and calculating the $116,000 total, the Democratic party, also known as the Democratic State Central Committee, will donate $5,000 to a substance abuse treatment nonprofit in the state, Wyman said Monday. They have not yet selected which one.

Read more: https://www.stamfordadvocate.com/politics/article/CT-Democratic-Party-received-116-000-from-13568666.php

Blumenthal leads effort to make Mueller report public

WASHINGTON — Sen. Richard Blumenthal has partnered with a powerful Republican, Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, in an effort to ensure the final report by special counsel Robert Mueller becomes public.

On Monday, Blumenthal and Grassley, a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate president pro tempore, placing him third in line of presidential succession, introduced the Special Counsel Transparency Act, which would require Mueller — or any future special counsel — to submit a final report of his investigation directly to Congress and the public. The requirement would also apply if the special counsel is fired or resigns before the the report is finished.

Mueller is leading the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. That investigation has already resulted in criminal charges against more than two dozen people, including President Donald Trump’s longtime attorney, national security advisor, campaign chairman and campaign advisors.

“The Special Counsel Transparency Act is about a simple, bipartisan principle: the public’s right to know,” Blumenthal said. “A Special Counsel is appointed only in very rare serious circumstances involving grave violations of public trust. The public has a right and need to know the facts of such betrayals of public trust.”

Read more: https://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Blumenthal-leads-effort-to-make-Mueller-report-13568044.php

Underfunded teacher pension fund could hinder future budgets

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A state-run pension fund for public school teachers is $13 billion out of whack, a slow-ticking time bomb that needs to be defused before it blows up the state budget.

The question of how to solve the nagging and astronomically costly challenges to the viability of the Teachers' Retirement System now falls to Gov. Ned Lamont and the state legislature, as a new state budget must be crafted during the next five months.

A number of possible solutions to the fiscal conundrum have been outlined, and any response that state leaders devise is likely to involve a combination of approaches.

Some potential actions include transferring lottery proceeds and other state assets to the pension fund; adjusting the rate of investment returns; higher member contributions; revising cost-of-living adjustments; restructuring benefits; moving new teachers to Social Security or establishing a new retirement plan; having cities and towns contribute to teacher pensions; and paying off pension obligation bonds issued in 2008 early and re-amortizing the debt.

Read more: https://www.ctpost.com/news/education/article/Underfunded-teacher-pension-fund-could-hinder-13567571.php

6 states backed Colorado River plan; Arizona faces deadline

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona is facing a deadline to become the last of several states in the U.S. West to approve a plan ensuring shared water from the Colorado River doesn't dry up for millions of farmers, cities, tribes and developers that depend on it.

The other six states have agreed to plans that recognize a long-running drought, the dwindling supply of water and how they intend to cope with it. Arizona's plan has broad support but hasn't been approved by the Legislature, a factor that has made the negotiations on the drought contingency plan more complex. No other state required lawmakers to sign off.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation expects an agreement from all seven states Thursday. If the deadline isn't met, the agency will ask the states to weigh in on how the overtaxed river water should be allocated ahead of a projected shortage in August. Without a consensus plan, the federal agency has said it will make the rules.

"To date, Interior is very supportive and extremely patient with the pace of progress" of the drought contingency plan, the agency said in a statement. "The delay increases the risk for us all."

Read more: https://www.ctpost.com/news/science/article/Western-states-near-deadline-for-Colorado-River-13566250.php

Police cite more than 100 for underage drinking at bar

HAMDEN, Conn. (AP) — Police have issued more than 100 citations for underage drinking at a Connecticut bar.

Authorities say they conducted a liquor compliance check at The Clubhouse Cafe in Hamden Friday night after they received several complaints about underage drinking on their tip line.

Police Capt. Ronald Smith says officers issued in excess of 100 infractions to patrons that were under 21, and the State Liquor Commission has been notified.

The bar is located near Quinnipiac University's Mt. Carmel campus.

Read more: https://www.nhregister.com/news/article/Police-cite-more-than-100-for-underage-drinking-13569166.php

UConn declines to return Sackler family donations amid furor over opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma

The University of Connecticut, which has received about $4.5 million in philanthropic contributions from the Sackler family, will not return any of the donations, despite growing controversy over gifts connected to opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma.

"None of the funds that were established by Raymond and Beverly Sackler and none of the activities they support at UConn are connected to research, teaching, or programs related to opioids, pain management, the marketing of prescription opioids, or influencing what physicians prescribe,'' said Stephanie Reitz, a spokesperson for UConn.

Universities, museums, hospitals and politicians are under growing pressure to return contributions from the wealthy Sacklers, who own Purdue Pharma, the Stamford-base drugmaker that has reaped billions of dollars from the sale of OxyContin, a powerful opioid.

“Anyone who reaped financial rewards while misleading doctors and patients about the highly addictive nature of prescription opioids should consider devoting their financial resources to addressing the nationwide epidemic these drugs helped to cause,'' said Reitz. She called the latest accusations about the marketing and sale of OxyContin “deeply disturbing.”

Read more: https://www.courant.com/politics/hc-pol-connecticut-democrats-sackler-money-20190128-jxy5omyrkbdh3a4s3pirulwdsm-story.html

There's no sales tax on groceries in Connecticut. But Gov. Ned Lamont's budget could change that.

Gov. Ned Lamont wants to end Connecticut’s cycle of budget deficits, deliver property-tax relief and amass a fiscal bulwark against the next recession. But to do it, he may push wary legislators to extend the sales tax for the first time to groceries, medications and other long-exempt items.

Lamont pledged during the 2018 campaign that he would not raise the income tax or empty the state’s budget reserves to close a shortfall of $1.5 billion projected for the coming fiscal year, saying neither of those measures would bring fiscal stability to a state that has struggled to balance its budget in every year but one from 2007 to 2017.

While removing these exemptions could generate hundreds of millions more a year for the state’s coffers, Lamont would find it extremely difficult to sell lawmakers on the idea of taxing bread, milk, and medicine — even with the lofty goal of fiscal stability.

“In order to build a better budget — one that will attempt to provide the much-needed stability for economic growth through the next two years and through the next decade — we need to explore new and different options,” said Chris McClure, spokesman for the governor’s budget office. “This means leaving no stone unturned, and engaging in all necessary conversations so we can evaluate and analyze ways to achieve and retain balance.”

Read more: https://www.courant.com/politics/hc-pol-ned-lamont-tax-groceries-20190128-ebn2q2qhfjgcracg4o2x62o2vu-story.html

Regionalization and Consolidation of School Districts Has Towns on Edge

HARTFORD, CT — The concept of regionalizing and consolidating school districts to save the cash-strapped state is not a new one, but two new bills pushing the initiative have moved the issue front and center this legislative session.

Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, proposed a bill which would force school districts in towns with less than 40,000 residents to consolidate with a neighboring district.

Senate bill 454 would force the regionalization of a large number of towns in the state, merging their school districts with larger municipalities or cities. Only 24 municipalities in Connecticut have a population over 40,000.

The law, if enacted, would become effective starting in July 2021.

Read more: https://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/20190128_regionalization_and_consolidation_of_school_districts_has_towns/
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