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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: 85,659

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

Falling Infection Rates To Bring Opening of Religious Services

Connecticut officials plan to lift the public health restriction capping at 100 the number of people allowed inside a house of worship, Gov. Ned Lamont said during a Thursday coronavirus press briefing.

The announcement came as the governor released statistics suggesting a continued drop in the instances of COVID-19 in Connecticut. Amid an expanding effort to vaccinate the public, the state’s infection rate stood at 3.55%, the lowest in months. It was not a one-day anomaly. Lamont said the average infection rate for the week was near 4.4%.

And while an additional 44 COVID-related fatalities pushed the state over yet another somber milestone — the deaths of more than 7,000 Connecticut residents due to the virus — several key indicators seemed to be trending in a positive direction. The number of people hospitalized with the virus dropped under 1,000 for the first time this year and Lamont said there was ample capacity at area hospitals.

Asked about the state’s death toll, which now stands at 7,020, the governor said it was “frustrating as heck” but fatalities often lag behind other indicators of change in the virus situation.

Read more: https://ctnewsjunkie.com/2021/01/28/falling-infection-rates-to-bring-opening-of-religious-services/

Senate President Proposes 'Mansion Tax'

Every homeowner has to pay property taxes, but the amount varies from town to town. One lawmaker wants to change that with a statewide property tax on homes valued at more than $430,000. He calls it a mansion tax.

“The only positive thing about the property tax -- which most people find regressive and burdensome because it’s not tied to income or capacity to pay it’s just tied to homeownership -- it’s that at least it’s a reliable source of revenue,” Senate President Martin Looney said.

Looney wants to increase the property tax by one mill on every home valued at $430,000 or more. His proposal would redistribute the money back to some cities and towns that are struggling.

“It would generate at that one mill, at that level $73.5 million,” Looney said.

Looney sees it as a solution to inequality.

“You have a disparity in Connecticut where Hartford has a mill rate of 74 and Greenwich a mill rate of 11 and everything in between that Greenwich raises $30 million on a single mill other communities raise only a modest amount of $100,000 or so,” Looney said..

Read more: https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/senate-president-proposes-mansion-tax/2409038/

Mashantucket Pequots Ante Up With Landmark Venture in Puerto Rico

Escaping to one of Connecticut’s tribal-owned casinos has been a tradition for countless state residents over the last nearly three decades. By the end of the year, the Mashantucket Pequots are betting some of their audience will take advantage of walking out the casino door onto 15 acres of beach fronting warm turquoise waters – in Puerto Rico’s capital city.

Called Foxwoods El San Juan Casino, the planned venture announced Tuesday is a partnership between the LionGrove hospitality-investment firm and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, operators of the Foxwoods casino in Ledyard. The tribe plans to add a 15,000 square foot gaming and entertainment facility as part of the $137 million renovation of the Fairmont El San Juan Hotel, a landmark that required extensive reconstruction after Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Mashantucket Tribal Chairman Rodney Butler joined an array of officials including the island’s governor for a news conference at the hotel unveiling the project. Butler said the expansion, the tribe’s first outside the U.S. mainland, will present new opportunities not only for the casino and its patrons, but for Puerto Rico’s economy.

Business at Foxwoods and the Mohegan Sun casino has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced temporary closures last spring and has gutted revenues due to decreased attendance.

Read more: https://ctnewsjunkie.com/2021/01/26/mashantucket-pequots-ante-up-with-landmark-venture-in-puerto-rico/

Lamont to extend COVID emergency until April 20

Gov. Ned Lamont informed legislative leaders Monday he will extend from Feb. 9 until April 20 the public health and civil preparedness emergency that gives him sweeping powers to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leaders of the legislature’s Republican minority said the Democratic governor’s latest extension was premature and undercuts a GOP effort to outline a greater legislative role in managing the pandemic and future emergencies.

“We had a conference call at 1:30. This is the first discussion we had, and we’re being quick-pitched,” said House Minority Leader Vincent J. Candelora, R-North Branford.

In a letter quickly sent to Democratic legislative leaders and copied to the governor, Candelora and Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, proposed legislation limiting public emergencies to 30 days, subject to approval by a majority vote of the General Assembly.

Read more: https://ctmirror.org/2021/01/25/lamont-to-extend-covid-emergency-until-april-20/

Posted since April 20 (420) is an unofficial holiday for weed smokers. I guess that those that are still alive can take a huge bong hit.

House Democratic leaders want to repeal CT's 'poverty tax'

House Democratic leaders unveiled a proposal Wednesday to effectively end Connecticut’s longstanding practice of trying to recover public assistance by placing liens on the homes of former welfare recipients.

House Speaker Matt Ritter of Hartford and Rep. Toni E. Walker of New Haven said the measure would end an outdated procedure that amounts to a “poverty tax.”

“We treat it like a debt and not the temporary hand up it’s meant to be,” Ritter said during a mid-afternoon, live-streamed press conference. “These liens are the ultimate dream-crushers.”

Connecticut is one of 12 states that place liens on the property of recipients of any form of public assistance, according to a 2020 report from the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Research.

Read more: https://ctmirror.org/2021/01/27/house-democratic-leaders-want-to-repeal-cts-poverty-tax/

Trump's pardons included health care execs behind massive fraud

At the last minute, President Donald Trump granted pardons to several individuals convicted in huge Medicare swindles that prosecutors alleged often harmed or endangered elderly and infirm patients while fleecing taxpayers.

“These aren’t just technical financial crimes. These were major, major crimes,” said Louis Saccoccio, chief executive officer of the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, an advocacy group.

The list of some 200 Trump pardons or commutations, most issued as he vacated the White House last week, included at least seven doctors or health care entrepreneurs who ran discredited health care enterprises, from nursing homes to pain clinics. One is a former doctor and California hospital owner embroiled in a massive workers’ compensation kickback scheme that prosecutors alleged prompted more than 14,000 dubious spinal surgeries. Another was in prison after prosecutors accused him of ripping off more than $1 billion from Medicare and Medicaid through nursing homes and other senior care facilities, among the largest frauds in U.S. history.

“All of us are shaking our heads with these insurance fraud criminals just walking free,” said Matthew Smith, executive director of the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud. The White House argued all deserved a second chance. One man was said to have devoted himself to prayer, while another planned to resume charity work or other community service. Others won clemency at the request of prominent Republican ex-attorneys general or others who argued their crimes were victimless or said critical errors by prosecutors had led to improper convictions.

Read more: https://ctmirror.org/2021/01/23/trumps-pardons-included-health-care-execs-behind-massive-fraud/

CT budget panel leaders pledge to reverse years of eroding funds for social service safety nets

Leaders of the legislature’s budget-writing panel pledged Friday to dramatically bolster Connecticut’s community-based social services and reverse more than a decade of eroding funding for the nonprofits that run these programs.

Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, and Rep. Toni E. Walker, D-New Haven, said the relief plan likely would be phased in over five or six years, similar to a pitch made last year by the state’s largest nonprofit coalition.

The co-chairwomen of the Appropriations Committee also wouldn’t rule out legally exceeding the state’s statutory spending cap to provide this aid for thousands of disabled and abused children, and people struggling with drug addiction.

This could put them at odds with Gov. Ned Lamont, as well as the legislature’s Republican minority, both of which have strongly opposed exceeding the limit on budget appropriations.

Read more: https://ctmirror.org/2021/01/29/ct-budget-panel-leaders-pledge-to-reverse-years-of-eroding-funds-for-social-service-safety-nets/

UW study finds Amazon promotes vaccine lies, especially to already misinformed users

Findings from University of Washington researchers’ audit of Amazon algorithms point to a dire situation: The tech giant’s search engine promotes misinformation about vaccines.

The consequences, researchers fear, could prevent the United States from controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Achieving herd immunity requires the vast majority of the population to get vaccinated, said Prerna Juneja, the doctoral student at UW’s Information School who authored the study with Tanu Mitra, a UW professor of social computing.

If some people’s reluctance about the COVID-19 vaccine is reinforced through Amazon or social media, she said those companies have a social responsibility to intervene.

Read more: https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2021/jan/29/uw-study-finds-amazon-promotes-vaccine-lies-especi/
(Spokane Spokesman-Review)

N. Providence doctor, suspended for exposing patients to COVID, faces federal allegations

PROVIDENCE — The North Providence doctor whose medical license was suspended this month amid allegations that he deliberately exposed patients and staff to COVID-19 is facing federal claims that he and the manager of his four practices willfully violated fair labor laws by failing to pay overtime to more than 100 employees.

The U.S. Department of Labor lodged a complaint against Dr. Anthony G. Farina Jr.; his sister, Brenda DelSignore, who handles payroll and billing as operations manager; and four of Farina’s practices: North Providence Primary Care Associates Inc., North Providence Urgent Care Inc., Center of New England Primary Care Inc. in Coventry, and Center of New England Urgent Care Inc. in West Greenwich.

The government accuses them of willfully and repeatedly violating the Fair Labor Standards Act from July 2015 through at least last fall, according to a memorandum filed in October in U.S. District Court.

Farina, DelSignore and the other parties deny the allegations and have asked the court to dismiss the complaint. They are seeking a judgment in their favor, plus costs and attorney fees.

Read more: https://www.providencejournal.com/story/news/courts/2021/01/30/n-providence-doc-suspended-covid-violations-faces-new-allegations/4322709001/

RI public-employees pension fund reached an 'all-time high' with $9.5B in assets in 2020

PROVIDENCE - Rhode Island's public-employees pension fund "reached an all-time high" at the end of 2020, with $9.495 billion in assets, according to state Treasurer - and anticipated 2022 candidate for governor - Seth Magaziner.

More specifically, he said: The fund grew by $302 million in 2020, "despite COVID-19 market volatility."
Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner

Crediting his own "back to basics'' investment strategy for the gains, Magaziner said:

"The Rhode Island Pension Fund has consistently outperformed its peers; it performed better than 87 percent of similar funds in the 2020 fiscal year. And with 2020 at a close, the Pension Fund has now significantly outperformed its own plan benchmark, earning 11.87% on the year compared to the plan benchmark return of 11.49%."

Read more: https://www.providencejournal.com/story/news/politics/2021/01/28/ri-public-employees-pension-fund-hit-all-time-high-9-5-b-2020/4291722001/
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