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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: 83,350

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

Coatesville man sentenced to state prison for racist, anti-Semitic graffiti

On the night of Aug. 22, 2017, George Rissell downed a 750 milliliter bottle of Everclear grain alcohol. Inside his Coatesville home, he chased shots with a bottle of coconut rum, he said, and snorted six high-dosage “bars” of the anti-anxiety medication Xanax. His last memory, he said, was blasting heavy metal music in his kitchen.

Before the night was over, the 25-year-old would commit what on Wednesday he called “a horribly ignorant crime:” spray-painting anti-Semitic and racist messages — including the phrase “Kill all n–” — on several locations in the Chester County city.

On Wednesday, a Chester County judge sentenced Rissell to seven to 14 years in state prison, exceeding the five to 11 years recommended by prosecutors, on charges of ethnic intimidation and criminal mischief.

“The bottom line: being drunk, that doesn’t excuse being racist,” Judge Patrick Carmody said. “You’re both trying to scare [people] and you’re trying to incite violence.”

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/pennsylvania/coatesville-man-sentenced-to-state-prison-for-racist-anti-semitic-graffiti-20180627.html

Officer charged in death of black teen who was shot in back

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A white police officer was charged Wednesday with homicide in the death of an unarmed black teenager who was shot in the back while fleeing a traffic stop, a shooting that has fueled daily protests around Pittsburgh.

Prosecutors cited officer Michael Rosfeld's inconsistent statements about whether he saw a gun in the teen's hand.

The officer first told investigators that the teen turned his hand toward him when he ran from the car and the officer "saw something dark he perceived as a gun," according to the criminal complaint .

During a second recap of last week's shooting, Rosfeld told investigators he did not see a gun and he was not sure if the teen's arm was pointed at him when he fired at 17-year-old Antwon Rose Jr.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/pennsylvania/20180627_ap_f721e40873ef4b06ac2c5e6c0200d0f8.html

U-Haul to pay $160M in Feltonville food-truck blast that killed 2

U-Haul Co. of Pennsylvania will pay a record $160 million in a settlement after a Feltonville food truck exploded nearly four years ago, killing a mother and daughter and injuring 11 people. The amount is the highest pre-verdict settlement in Pennsylvania, attorneys for the plaintiffs said Wednesday.

Killed were Olga Galdamez, 42, and her daughter, Jaylin Galdamez, 17, who operated the food truck, La Parrillada Chapina, on Wyoming Avenue near Third Street.

Robert Mongeluzzi, an attorney for one plaintiff, said that the July 1, 2014, explosion was caused by a ruptured propane tank, which was attached to the truck and was overfilled. Galdamez and her daughter died three weeks later.

Galdamez’s son, Uliser Galdamez, filed one of the lawsuits against U-Haul, which regularly refills propane tanks but “maintains that it did not fill the propane cylinder involved in this tragedy,” a corporate spokesperson said.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/feltonville-food-truck-explosion-lawsuit-settlement-u-haul-alan-feldman-robert-mongeluzzi-olga-galdamez-20180627.html

Jury orders man who injured Scarpetta waitress to pay $3 million

The men had been dining and drinking at Rittenhouse Square’s Scarpetta for several hours when waitress Kristin Lisi walked down a hallway. There she came face to face with customer Gregory Englesbe and two other men.

“You’ve been walking by me all night, and I want a kiss,” said Englesbe, the head of a South Jersey-based mortgage bank, according to court documents. Then he grabbed Lisi, spun her around and forcibly kissed her, documents said. Next, one of the other men leaned in and said, “Now it’s my turn.”

Last week, a Philadelphia jury awarded Lisi $3 million following a lawsuit over the October 2016 assault at the upscale restaurant, which Lisi said resulted in nerve damage from a torn rotator cuff.

Attorneys for Englesbe did not respond to requests for comment. According to court papers, Englesbe admitted to the kiss and accepted blame for harming Lisi, but said he didn’t believe his actions could have led to such extensive injuries.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/pennsylvania/philadelphia/scarpetta-waitress-lawsuit-kiss-20180626.html

Philadelphia History Museum is closing to the public as Temple walks away from proposed partnership

The Philadelphia History Museum, mandated by the City Charter as Philadelphia’s official attic for things made and owned here — whether President George Washington’s desk or Mike Schmidt’s batting helmet — will close to the public Monday for an undetermined period of time, museum officials said Tuesday evening.

The closing comes as Temple University has withdrawn from talks about a possible partnership with the museum, surprising city officials who had expressed optimism about such an alliance as recently as April.

Michael DiBerardinis, city managing director, said he found out about Temple’s change of heart and the breakdown in talks by reading a story Wednesday on Philly.com.

“I’m upset,” said DiBerardinis. “We thought we had a partner, and now we don’t.”

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/arts/philadelphia-history-museum-closing-atwater-kent-20180627.html

Puerto Rico pushes for statehood, calling it a civil rights issue

Puerto Rico is making its biggest push for statehood in years, filing legislation in Congress that would make the island the 51st state by 2021.

Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón, a Republican, filed a bill on Wednesday that would pave the way for the island to become a state no later than January 2021. The measure is co-sponsored by 21 Republicans and 14 Democrats and fulfills the promises of González-Colón and Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, who campaigned on a statehood platform and said statehood is a civil rights issue for Puerto Ricans.

“No longer do we want ambiguity. No longer do we want this kicked down the road,” Rosselló said at a Capitol Hill news conference. “In Congress you’re either with us or you’re against the people of Puerto Rico.”

The aggressive push for statehood comes less than a year after the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria, and residents who feel ignored by the federal government are still in the middle of a humanitarian crisis, wondering if the lights will turn on. The island is also mired in a financial crisis after declaring a form of bankruptcy last year, and its finances are under the oversight of a board based in the mainland United States.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/nation_world/puerto-rico-pushes-for-statehood-calling-it-a-civil-rights-issue-20180627.html

Top New Jersey Democrats propose sales tax for shore rentals to balance state budget

New Jersey lawmakers Wednesday delivered Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy a counteroffer in budget negotiations, including a proposal to add a sales tax on short-term rental properties along the shore.

Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney unveiled the proposal days ahead of Saturday’s budget deadline alongside other Democratic state senators in the Statehouse. He said Democratic Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin is behind the proposal. Murphy, a fellow Democrat, declined to comment, according to his office.

State legislators in Atlantic and Cape May counties, both Republicans and Democrats, blasted the proposal and said they would never support a tax on short-term rentals that could hurt shore towns..

“They just don’t get it. It’s hard enough for working families and retirees to afford to live in New Jersey,” state Sen. Chris Brown, R-Atlantic, said in a statement. “As if raising the income tax, corporate business tax and sales tax while cutting the homestead rebate wasn’t bad enough to make New Jersey less competitive and harder to afford, the latest scheme to tax summer rentals is counterproductive and will hit South Jersey working families and retirees the hardest.”

Read more: https://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/top-nj-democrats-propose-sales-tax-for-shore-rentals-to/article_ee16a7fc-7756-5c55-952c-3c603ed4c047.html

Atlantic City Hard Rock, Ocean Resort open early

In a Boardwalk surprise, two new casinos that were due to open Thursday started taking bets from gamblers a day early.

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino both received permission Wednesday afternoon from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to begin full operations, and both immediately started letting gamblers inside, according to a press release.

The two properties still plan elaborate events Thursday, which along with a weekend beach concert have city officials bracing for nearly one million visitors over a historic four-day stretch.

Jim Allen, Hard Rock International chairman and CEO, told The Press of Atlantic City on Wednesday night the grand opening of Hard Rock is still set for Thursday morning “with a few surprises” but they were excited to be open Wednesday night.

Read more: https://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/press/casinos_tourism/atlantic-city-hard-rock-ocean-resort-open-early/article_beb1aca3-e8a8-59bb-850b-686e88efd9c0.html

Paper or plastic? NJ lawmakers approve 5-cent fee on both, angering environmentalists

Single-use plastic and paper bags would be slapped with a 5-cent fee under a bill that was rushed through the Legislature this week amid frenzied negotiations over a roughly $37 billion state budget.

Sponsors say the measure is a step in the right direction after years of unsuccessful attempts to limit use of the bags, but many environmental groups are adamantly opposed because it would also prevent cities and towns from enacting tougher restrictions — such as outright bans — in the future.

“This legislation cuts the knees off of towns and cities that want to protect their communities,” said Doug O'Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. “Just as we’re generating momentum to eliminate plastic bags, the Legislature is going to stop that.”

The measure, A-3267/S-2600, was first considered by legislative committees on Tuesday and approved by the full Senate and Assembly on Thursday. The votes were 23-16 in the Senate and 41-32 in the Assembly.

Read more: https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/new-jersey/2018/06/21/nj-lawmakers-push-impose-5-cent-fee-both-paper-and-plastic-bags/717437002/

How the New Jersey Legislature almost made a $7 billion tax mistake

Last Thursday, as Democratic lawmakers scrambled to pass a $36.5 billion spending plan in defiance of Gov. Phil Murphy, they also rushed through an inscrutable, 24-page bill meant to raise the corporate tax rate and help balance the budget with about $915 million in new revenue.

Lurking in the legalese and abstruse references to federal tax law, however, was language that would have forced New Jersey’s corporations to pay billions more than intended — as much as $7 billion in one year, according to some estimates.

Lawmakers were made aware of the mistake and immediately started working on a fix. But they went ahead and voted on the faulty bill anyway.

How could that happen? Well, welcome to June in Trenton.

The story of bill A-4202, although it will likely prove inconsequential, sheds a light on how New Jersey’s future laws can be thrown together hastily and with inadequate vetting, especially when the Legislature is running up against deadlines like the end of a fiscal year or a legislative session.

Read more: https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/new-jersey/2018/06/27/new-jersey-legislature-7-billion-tax-mistake/735638002/
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