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TexasTowelie

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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

Raimondo pushing for 'Amazon tax' to plug gaps in Rhode Island budget

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo is pushing for an expanded “Amazon tax” to help shore up growing holes in the state budget due to lagging revenues.

The Democratic governor’s budget team is asking state lawmakers to pass legislation allowing Rhode Island to collect an anticipated $11.5 million in state sales taxes from “remote sellers” who market their wares on Amazon and other internet sites.

The Providence Journal reports that state law already requires a 7 percent sales tax on goods ordered online from companies with a physical presence in the state.

Gaps in the budget are being attributed to personal income tax revenues through December being down $28.8 million from previous expectations.

Read more: https://www.newportri.com/news/20190128/raimondo-pushing-for-amazon-tax-to-plug-gaps-in-ri-budget

Social-workers union considers no-confidence vote in DCYF director

Unionized state social workers, upset that the head of the Department of Children, Youth and Families disciplined four co-workers following the death of a 9-year-old Warwick girl, are meeting Wednesday and may take a no-confidence vote in Director Trista Piccola, says the union president.

“They’re scared, they’re angry,” said Kathy McElroy of her membership. “They feel this director doesn’t have their back.”

Two weeks ago, Piccola placed one DCYF worker on administrative leave and three others on limited duty following the Jan. 3 death of Zah-Nae Rothgeb, one of eight special-needs children living in squalid conditions, police say, in the home of Michele Rothgeb.

McElroy said Piccola was “throwing front-line workers under the bus” rather than discipline an administrator who allowed Rothgeb to have so many children under one roof — despite at least one social worker raising concerns “that this mom was overwhelmed with so many children.”

Read more: https://www.providencejournal.com/news/20190128/social-workers-union-considers-no-confidence-vote-in-dcyf-director

Lincoln Chafee and family settling in Wyoming

PROVIDENCE — Former Rhode Island Governor — and U.S. Senator — Lincoln D. Chafee and his wife, Stephanie, are starting to put down roots in the state of Wyoming.

The Teton County town clerk has confirmed that former First Lady Stephanie Chafee registered to vote — and voted in the 2018 primary and general elections in Wyoming — from an address in Teton Village, not far from Jackson Hole, and that their son, Caleb Chafee, is also a registered Wyoming voter.

In an exchange of emails on Monday, Chafee — who is still registered to vote in Warwick — explained where things stand in his family’s life when, as he put it, he returned from “shoeing some broncos (kidding).”

“Lately,″ he wrote, “we are spending more and more time out here in Teton County. Reflective of that, Stephanie has declared residency here and I am contemplating following suit.

Read more: https://www.providencejournal.com/news/20190128/lincoln-chafee-and-family-settling-in-wyoming

Cross-posted in the Lincoln Chafee Group.

Lincoln Chafee and family settling in Wyoming

PROVIDENCE — Former Rhode Island Governor — and U.S. Senator — Lincoln D. Chafee and his wife, Stephanie, are starting to put down roots in the state of Wyoming.

The Teton County town clerk has confirmed that former First Lady Stephanie Chafee registered to vote — and voted in the 2018 primary and general elections in Wyoming — from an address in Teton Village, not far from Jackson Hole, and that their son, Caleb Chafee, is also a registered Wyoming voter.

In an exchange of emails on Monday, Chafee — who is still registered to vote in Warwick — explained where things stand in his family’s life when, as he put it, he returned from “shoeing some broncos (kidding).”

“Lately,″ he wrote, “we are spending more and more time out here in Teton County. Reflective of that, Stephanie has declared residency here and I am contemplating following suit.

Read more: https://www.providencejournal.com/news/20190128/lincoln-chafee-and-family-settling-in-wyoming

Cross-posted in the Rhode Island Group.

Wynn Resorts admits executives knew of sexual misconduct claims against founder Steve Wynn, agrees

Wynn Resorts admits executives knew of sexual misconduct claims against founder Steve Wynn, agrees to pay fine to Nevada regulators


Wynn Resorts has admitted to Nevada gaming regulators that top executives knew of sexual misconduct allegations against its founder and former CEO Steve Wynn -- and failed to report or investigate them.

The company, which is building its $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor gaming resort in Everett, acknowledged that it had failed to comply with Nevada gaming laws in a new settlement with the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The settlement includes an agreement by Wynn to pay an unspecified fine and a commitment by gaming regulators to not take action against current executives or the company’s gaming license.

News of the settlement comes as the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s investigation of the company remains in legal limbo. Steve Wynn, who resigned from the company and gave up his ownership stake following an explosive Wall Street Journal report on sexual assault and harassment claims against him, has sued the Gaming Commission to prevent the public release of its investigative report.

In a statement, Wynn Resorts described the end of the Nevada investigation as an “important remedial step” and said that every employee identified by the Nevada Gaming Board as failing to investigate or report the allegations is no longer with the company.

Read more: https://www.masslive.com/news/2019/01/wynn-resorts-admits-executives-knew-of-sexual-misconduct-claims-against-founder-steve-wynn-agrees-to-pay-fine-to-nevada-regulators.html

Joe Kennedy III gains friends as Democrats ready for 2020

Establishment loyalist U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III is keeping his 2020 support under wraps amidst a young, progressive upheaval on Capitol Hill — even advising liberal superstar Beto O’Rourke while Bay State colleague Sen. Elizabeth Warren launches her race.

“I last talked to him probably a week ago, and he was trying to figure out what was the best thing for him and his family and whether it was the right time for him to launch a presidential campaign,” said Kennedy, who spent weeks in Texas during the 2018 midterms campaigning for the charismatic O’Rourke’s buzzworthy bid for U.S. Senate.

“Beto was on the road for two years and threw every fiber of his being into that race for Senate, and what he is basically contemplating at the moment is something that I think even he would acknowledge is far harder and far more demanding after being away on the road away from his wife and two young kids,” said Kennedy. The former Texas congressman is currently on a solo road trip talking to voters in Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico as he contemplates a presidential bid.

“The question is whether he has not just the drive but the desire to want to make that sacrifice and ask his family make that sacrifice all over again. And I think that takes some time trying to put those pieces, to try and figure that out,” Kennedy said.

Read more: https://www.bostonherald.com/2019/01/28/hillary-chabot-kennedy-gains-friends-as-dems-ready-for-2020/

To rise above other Democrats, Elizabeth Warren tries 'nerding out'

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The gym was hot. The lights malfunctioned. But the audience of nearly 1,000 people was engrossed as Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a presidential hopeful, did what she does best: “nerd out,” as she puts it.

After talking up gun control laws and criminal justice reform on a recent South Carolina campaign swing, Warren dug into the nitty-gritty of free market regulation and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal agency she helped create, which has returned more than $12 billion to people in refunds and canceled debts. Nothing made her more enthusiastic.

By the end, she had many in the audience cheering.

“You may leave here and say, ‘Oh my gosh, I must be turning into a nerd, I was applauding a government agency’ — how did that happen?” Warren joked with the crowd at Columbia College in South Carolina.

Almost one month into her presidential campaign, Warren’s passion for policy minutiae has become her way of standing out in an increasingly crowded Democratic field, establishing herself as a wonk’s wonk whose expansive ideas and detail-oriented speaking style are her bid for a good first impression on voters. While other Democrats have focused on sweeping themes of unity or change, as Senator Kamala Harris of California did Sunday at a campaign kickoff rally, Warren is making a personal and political wager that audiences care more about policy savvy than captivating oration.

Read more: https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2019/01/27/rise-above-democratic-pack-elizabeth-warren-tries-nerding-out/3pp5yR56Lt5izkWl5fE5jP/story.html

Former Quincy Man Sentenced for $1.9 Million Real Estate Fraud Scheme

BOSTON – A former Quincy man, who had been a fugitive for more than 20 years prior to his arrest in April 2017, was sentenced today in federal court in Boston in connection with a $1.9 million real estate investment fraud scheme in Quincy.

Scott J. Wolas, 69, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to 81 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,949,813 in restitution to the victims of his fraud scheme. Judge Saylor also ordered Wolas to pay restitution of $69,768 to Social Security and Medicare and $318,266 to the IRS. In June 2018, Wolas pleaded guilty to seven counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, misuse of a Social Security number and tax evasion.

From at least 2009 through 2016, Wolas, using the name Eugene Grathwohl, operated a real estate business known as Increasing Fortune Inc. and worked as a licensed real estate agent for Century 21 in Quincy. From 2014 through 2016, he solicited investments for the development of the Beachcomber Bar property on Quincy Shore Drive and for the construction of a single-family home on the adjacent property. He collected more than $1.9 million from at least 24 investors and promised each of them a significant return on their investments. He further promised to pay out at least 125% of the profits related to the single-family home construction. However, Wolas used the money mostly for personal expenses unrelated to development of the real estate projects.

Wolas was scheduled to close on the Beachcomber property on Sept. 15, 2016. A week before, however, he left Quincy and ceased all contact with his then-girlfriend, his co-workers, and his investors. Law enforcement then discovered that Grathwohl was actually Wolas, a former lawyer who had been a fugitive since 1997 after being charged with fraud and grand larceny in New York. The real Eugene Grathwohl resided in Florida and was known to Wolas.

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/pr/former-quincy-man-sentenced-19-million-real-estate-fraud-scheme

Why Gatehouse's Boston 'Megacluster" is a Threat to Democracy

In last week’s Apparent Horizon, “GateHouse Editorial Flacks for Mass Retailers,” I dissected an editorial, “The benefits of a teen minimum wage,” calling for a subminimum wage for Bay State teenage workers that turned out to have run in over two dozen eastern Mass newspapers owned by news industry behemoth GateHouse Media. Focusing on the article’s masked conservative slant—built, as it was, around a single report by a Koch-funded think tank—I walked readers through the political problems with that position and GateHouse’s support of it.

In this column, I’ll take a look at the structural crisis of media consolidation—and why it makes the GateHouse teen wage editorial even more disturbing than it looked at first glance.



Since the 1980s there have been a number of profound shifts in the economics of the American newspaper industry. One of them was the phenomenon of large companies treating news publications more and more like any other profit center—buying them up in larger and larger numbers, eliminating as many of their full- and part-time staff positions as possible while slashing wages and benefits for those that remained, increasing their use of contractors, and consolidating business operations among outlets in the same geographic area. These groups of newspapers came to be called clusters. Which differed from traditional chains in the physical proximity of their constituent outlets. And made their new owners a great deal of money.

In the interim 30 years, according to the excellent ongoing work of former Knight Ridder editor Ken Doctor in his “Newsonomics” columns for Nieman Journalism Lab and other publications, companies like GateHouse, Tribune Publishing, and Digital First have bought so many papers that those clusters have turned into something new: megaclusters, as they were dubbed by “major newspaper business broker Dirks, Van Essen & Murray.” They function the same way clusters do. But operate over larger geographic areas with ever more daily and weekly newspapers (and specialty publications) under their control. As of 2017, about 50 percent of all local papers in the US were part of a cluster or megacluster.

Those newspapers bear only passing resemblance to their namesakes. Mainly because the wage and staff cuts that began in the 1980s never stopped. To the point where a local paper like the Cambridge Chronicle—in which I first noticed the editorial under discussion—owned by a media giant like GateHouse (and in turn by other companies and investment groups) is now down to one lone staff person.

To really understand the significance of this development, it’s necessary to turn back the clock. Fifty years ago, the Cambridge Chronicle was an independent newsweekly. It had several staffers—including reporters, editors, salespeople, and a production crew. It was the go-to news source for coverage of all issues and happenings in Cambridge, and it was read regularly by most literate city residents, from teenagers to pensioners.

Read more: https://digboston.com/why-gatehouses-boston-megacluster-is-a-threat-to-democracy/

Cross-posted in the Massachusetts Group.

Why Gatehouse's Boston 'Megacluster" is a Threat to Democracy

In last week’s Apparent Horizon, “GateHouse Editorial Flacks for Mass Retailers,” I dissected an editorial, “The benefits of a teen minimum wage,” calling for a subminimum wage for Bay State teenage workers that turned out to have run in over two dozen eastern Mass newspapers owned by news industry behemoth GateHouse Media. Focusing on the article’s masked conservative slant—built, as it was, around a single report by a Koch-funded think tank—I walked readers through the political problems with that position and GateHouse’s support of it.

In this column, I’ll take a look at the structural crisis of media consolidation—and why it makes the GateHouse teen wage editorial even more disturbing than it looked at first glance.



Since the 1980s there have been a number of profound shifts in the economics of the American newspaper industry. One of them was the phenomenon of large companies treating news publications more and more like any other profit center—buying them up in larger and larger numbers, eliminating as many of their full- and part-time staff positions as possible while slashing wages and benefits for those that remained, increasing their use of contractors, and consolidating business operations among outlets in the same geographic area. These groups of newspapers came to be called clusters. Which differed from traditional chains in the physical proximity of their constituent outlets. And made their new owners a great deal of money.

In the interim 30 years, according to the excellent ongoing work of former Knight Ridder editor Ken Doctor in his “Newsonomics” columns for Nieman Journalism Lab and other publications, companies like GateHouse, Tribune Publishing, and Digital First have bought so many papers that those clusters have turned into something new: megaclusters, as they were dubbed by “major newspaper business broker Dirks, Van Essen & Murray.” They function the same way clusters do. But operate over larger geographic areas with ever more daily and weekly newspapers (and specialty publications) under their control. As of 2017, about 50 percent of all local papers in the US were part of a cluster or megacluster.

Those newspapers bear only passing resemblance to their namesakes. Mainly because the wage and staff cuts that began in the 1980s never stopped. To the point where a local paper like the Cambridge Chronicle—in which I first noticed the editorial under discussion—owned by a media giant like GateHouse (and in turn by other companies and investment groups) is now down to one lone staff person.

To really understand the significance of this development, it’s necessary to turn back the clock. Fifty years ago, the Cambridge Chronicle was an independent newsweekly. It had several staffers—including reporters, editors, salespeople, and a production crew. It was the go-to news source for coverage of all issues and happenings in Cambridge, and it was read regularly by most literate city residents, from teenagers to pensioners.

Read more: https://digboston.com/why-gatehouses-boston-megacluster-is-a-threat-to-democracy/

Cross-posted in the Media Group.
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