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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: 84,614

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

College bribery scandal: Ex-Pimco CEO wants out of prison after 29 days in solitary

Former Pimco chief Douglas Hodge, who received the longest sentence of all the parents so far in the U.S. college-admissions scandal, complained to a judge that he’s endured almost a month in solitary confinement, nearly twice as long as what the United Nations defines as “torture.”

Hodge, 62, was sentenced in February to nine months in federal prison after he admitted paying $850,000 in bribes to get four of his kids into the University of Southern California and Georgetown University as phony soccer and tennis recruits, part of a sprawling case in which three dozen parents have been charged.

After twice winning delays on his start date, Hodge reported to the federal prison in Otisville, New York, on June 23, to begin serving his term.

While he knew he’d have to spend two weeks in medical quarantine as a new arrival at the facility, Hodge says his stay in solitary has been repeatedly extended and that prison officials say it could be “indefinite.” Hodge, a Laguna Beach resident before his incarceration, says he’s been held alone in a 7-foot by 11-foot cell almost continuously since his arrival, only allowed out for less than 15 minutes a day.

Read more: https://www.ocregister.com/2020/07/28/college-bribery-scandal-ex-pimco-ceo-wants-out-of-prison-after-29-days-in-solitary/

California Legislature to consider new tax on millionaires for schools, other services

SACRAMENTO — Democrats in the California Legislature have unveiled a new effort to significantly raise tax rates on taxable income of $1 million and higher, an effort they say would provide billions of dollars to improve K-12 schools and a variety of government services vital to the state’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill, jointly introduced by 15 Democrats Monday in the Senate, is the clearest sign so far that liberal legislators and interest groups intend to put pressure on business-aligned lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom for new tax revenue before the legislative session ends Aug. 31 — arguing that California’s deep-seated racial and socioeconomic inequities, exacerbated by the current recession, can’t be addressed without more government resources.

“When you take a look at the state, there’s a lot of pain and suffering out there, and we need to put every idea on the table,” said Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), the bill’s author.

Assembly Bill 1253 lays out three new surcharges on income tax for California’s highest earners. It would impose a new 1% surcharge on adjusted gross income starting at $1 million, increasing to 3% for those who earn more than $2 million and rising to 3.5% for taxpayers with income above $5 million.

Read more: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-07-28/california-legislature-tax-hike-millionaires-schools-other-services

Watchdog group accuses Trump campaign of hiding $170 million in spending

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s reelection effort hid nearly $170 million in spending from mandatory public disclosure by routing payments through companies tied to his former campaign manager, a government oversight group alleged Tuesday.

The use of firms linked to former campaign manager Brad Parscale masked the ultimate recipients of the money, which the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center described as a “laundering” effort that violates election law, according to a complaint the group filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Trump communications director Tim Murtaugh disputed the allegations and said the “campaign complies with all campaign finance laws and FEC regulations.”

Most of the payments by Trump’s campaign committees were made to American Made Media Consultants, which has received at least $177 million since 2018, according to FEC records. The other firm, Parscale Strategy, has collected at least $32 million during that period, the records show.

Read more: https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-07-28/watchdog-group-trump-campaign-improperly-masking-payments

TABC investigating Fort Worth bar at the center of 'Freedom Fest'

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission conducted 1,600 inspections and suspended liquor licenses at 18 bars last weekend after owners across the state said they would open in defiance of Gov. Greg Abbott’s shutdown order.

The effort, dubbed Freedom Fest, was organized by Chris Polone, the owner of the Rail Club Live, a Fort Worth bar and music venue. The Rail Club Live opened Saturday, Polone said, with about 40 people in attendance.

Polone said before the event that he was “trying to highlight a double standard” that certain businesses can remain open in Texas while others cannot. “If COVID is truly that bad, shut everything down. Don’t pick and choose. I think [Gov. Abbott] understood that bars are the little guys in the service industry.”

Experts say bars can promote the spread of COVID-19 because they’re often cramped and loud, leading patrons to yell and stick close together as they socialize.

Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/food/restaurant-news/2020/07/28/tabc-investigating-fort-worth-bar-at-the-center-of-freedom-fest/

California could create its own $600 weekly unemployment benefit

SACRAMENTO — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to damage the California economy, state lawmakers are weighing whether to provide a supplemental unemployment benefit with the extra $600 per week provided by the federal government expiring this month.

Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), the leader of a legislative working group, said there is support among Democratic lawmakers for providing up to $600 weekly to jobless Californians if Congress fails to act on extending the federal pandemic benefit.

“There are so many people who are relying on that money to pay rent, to buy food. I think the state has to do everything possible to help them pay their bills,” said Ting, chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee.

With the end of the federal supplement on July 25, state unemployment checks will go back to the weekly average of $340 unless the state or federal government restore supplemental benefits.

Read more: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-07-28/california-coronavirus-unemployment-benefit-congress

San Joaquin Valley company 'encouraging' COVID-19 infected employees to work, lawyer says

Maria Pilar Ornelas felt she was suffocating when she asked her supervisor at Central Valley Meat Company in April to go home and test for the coronavirus, according to the lawsuit she filed last week.

She had a headache, blurry vision and difficulty breathing, but her supervisor denied Ornelas a test and told her to keep working, despite having been exposed to a person who tested positive for the virus, according to the lawsuit.

By the time she got home after her shift, Ornelas was coughing, struggling to breathe, and developed a high fever, the lawsuit says. Her fever persisted the next day, she said, but unable to contact human resources, her supervisor told her to come into work anyway. She did not, according to the lawsuit, and the company punished her for it.

Ornelas tested positive for COVID-19 days later and infected her boyfriend, who ended up at the hospital, according to the lawsuit.

Read more: https://www.fresnobee.com/news/coronavirus/article244518132.html

Oakland elementary school principals come out against 'pandemic pods'

OAKLAND, Calif. - A group of Oakland elementary school principals wrote an open letter discouraging families from creating 'pandemic pods' as the school year is set to start next month completely online.

The principals wrote that they realize these are "extraordinary" times, but that creating in-person pods can create safety concerns, as well as exacerbate inequities between those who can afford to hire a private teacher and those who cannot.

Their letter comes after parents have been writing to principals asking for their children to be assigned to their teachers based on their own pod groupings."

Therefore, the principals wrote, at least the following OUSD schools will not be honoring requests to place students in classes together based on pandemic pods or teacher preference: Montclair, Chabot, Sequoia, Joaquin Miller, Thornhill, Glenview, Sankofa United, Emerson, Peralta, Melrose Leadership, Crocker Highlands, Redwood Heights, Hillcrest K-8, and Laurel Elementary.

Read more: https://www.ktvu.com/news/oakland-elementary-school-principals-come-out-against-pandemic-pods

After 171 years, San Francisco's oldest restaurant will go dark until indoor dining resumes

You’ve got until Friday to order the Tadich Grill’s famous cioppino for takeout.

With PPP loan monies gone and no additional government aid forthcoming, the owners of San Francisco’s oldest restaurant have announced that they will shutter the California Street institution until indoor dining resumes.

During the four months of the COVID-19-forced closure, “We have been immensely grateful for the response of our loyal customers who have ordered takeout and nationwide delivery, purchased gift cards and merchandise online and donated through our Go Fund Me page to help us ride the wave as we chased the date for reopening,” the Buich family posted on the Tadich Facebook page.

“As you’re aware, that date continued to change and today we have no visibility into when that day will come. In parallel, the temporary relief from our PPP loan has dried up and without additional government aid, we’ve made the difficult decision to temporarily hit pause.”

Read more: https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2020/07/28/after-171-years-san-franciscos-oldest-restaurant-will-go-dark-until-indoor-dining-resumes/

Owner of Richmond construction company sentenced to house arrest, ordered to pay more than $2M for

Owner of Richmond construction company sentenced to house arrest, ordered to pay more than $2 million for insurance fraud

MARTINEZ — The owner of a Point Richmond construction company must pay more than $2 million in restitution and fees, and serve a year of home detention, as part of a plea deal to settle a criminal case involving charges of insurance and payroll tax fraud.

Maurosan Milhomem, the owner of Viking Pavers Inc., agreed to the plea deal Monday. He was formally sentenced to 364 days in jail, though he is eligible to serve the term on house arrest, prosecutors said.

Milhomem was charged with six felonies alleging he evaded more than $2 million in insurance premiums and taxes over seven years. A news release from the Contra Costa District Attorney’s office says Milhomem used a “complex” scheme to avoid making the payments, including using a shell company to employ unlicensed workers.

The crimes were discovered after two employees were involved in a car accident, and Viking Pavers never reported them as employees or subcontractors. That ultimately triggered an investigation by the Fraud Division of the California Department of Insurance, Criminal Investigation Division of the Employment Development Department, and the DA’s Office.

Read more: https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2020/07/28/owner-of-richmond-construction-company-sentenced-to-house-arrest-ordered-to-pay-more-than-2-million-for-insurance-fraud/

Coronavirus: Researchers identify six different 'types' of COVID-19

Symptoms developed within the first week of the onset of a COVID-19 infection can determine the likelihood of a patient requiring serious medical attention by the end of week two, according to researchers at King’s College in London.

The new study, which wasn’t peer-reviewed but was replicated in an independent data set, could help doctors identify the patients who require care and treat them earlier, possibly saving lives. It showed a wide variety of outcomes and symptoms, some of which hadn’t previously been strongly connected to COVID-19.

“These findings have important implications for care and monitoring of people who are most vulnerable to severe COVID-19,” Dr. Claire Steves, of King’s College, said in a release. “If you can predict who these people are at day five, you have time to give them support and early interventions … simple care that could be given at home, preventing hospitalizations and saving lives.”

There were six distinct “types” of the virus that appeared in different “clusters” of symptoms in patients by the fifth day symptoms set in, according to an analysis of about 1,600 patients in the U.S. and U.K. who logged their symptoms during March and April. Most COVID-19 patients who require breathing support first visit a hospital around the 13th day after their first symptoms, researchers said, potentially shaving eight days off the typical timeline before medical intervention.

Read more: https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2020/07/28/coronavirus-researchers-identify-six-different-types-of-covid-19/
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