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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, 02:57 AM
Number of posts: 81,245

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

Groups backing Gov. DeWine and his daughter received FirstEnergy cash funneled through dark money

Groups backing Gov. DeWine and his daughter received FirstEnergy cash funneled through dark money outfits


COLUMBUS – Cash from FirstEnergy Corp. and related businesses reached the coffers of dark money groups supporting Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and his daughter and Greene County prosecutor candidate, Alice DeWine, newly revealed tax documents show.

The documents shed new light on a key player in a federal bribery investigation that entangled the former Republican speaker of the Ohio House and four others in July. They also show for the first time where a dark money group supporting Alice DeWine's bid for county prosecutor got some of its funding.

A spokesman for the governor told The Enquirer on Wednesday night that DeWine spoke with FirstEnergy officials in 2019 and asked them to support his daughter's effort with independent expenditures. Independent expenditures are political ads that support or oppose a candidate without cooperation with that candidate or their campaign.

DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney said the Republican governor has made "this type of ask" for numerous groups over the years.

Read more: https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/politics/2020/12/23/ohio-house-bill-6-dark-money-groups-supporting-gov-mike-dewine/4022652001/

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost says email shows OptumRx was overcharging the state - and knew it

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost's office says it may have uncovered evidence in a court battle to show that a pharmacy benefit manager knowingly overcharged a state agency.

Among hundreds of thousands of emails obtained from PBM OptumRX as part of the litigation was one that appears to acknowledge that the multibillion-dollar corporation was not following the terms of its contract with the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation.

Starting with its predecessor, a company called Catamaran that OptumRX acquired, the PBM administered prescription drugs for workers injured on the job. In all, OptumRX overcharged the bureau on more than 1.3 million claims for generic medications, the lawsuit says.

The contract, in effect from mid-2009 until the fall of 2018, called for the PBM to charge the lowest of four potential prices for generic drugs, including a measure from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid known as the Federal Upper Limit, or FUL for short.

Read more: https://www.beaconjournal.com/story/news/healthcare/2020/12/27/ohio-dave-yost-says-pbm-optumrx-overcharges-shown-email-bureau-of-workers-compensation-suit/4028221001/

Judge Denies Blackjewel's Move to Liquidate

A federal bankruptcy judge has denied a petition from former Blackjewel coal executive Jeff Hoops to liquidate the company. The decision means the reorganization of the company will continue under Chapter 11 bankruptcy as former employees, creditors and state agencies seek to recover millions owed by the company.

Hoops cited “permanent negative cash flow” at his former company, which has accrued at least $80 million in administrative and other expenses since its bankruptcy filing on July 1 last year.

The nearly 3,000-filing-long Blackjewel bankruptcy docket demonstrates an 18-month scramble by the company’s creditors to recuperate as much money as possible from a too-small pot. According to court filings, Blackjewel also has multiple outstanding permit violations, an unknown amount of outstanding environmental reclamation liabilities, unpaid taxes totaling $2 million, tax liabilities of untold amounts, and millions in unpaid employee healthcare claims.

The request to liquidate, according to coal bankruptcy expert Josh Macey, was yet more proof that Blackjewel’s future was grim. “Given how long this bankruptcy has dragged on, how poor conditions for coal are right now, how speculative and unprofitable Blackjewel’s assets have been, it isn’t surprising that it’s moving to a liquidation,” Macey said.

Read more: https://www.wvpublic.org/economy/2020-12-23/judge-denies-blackjewels-move-to-liquidate

Judge Denies Blackjewel's Move to Liquidate

A federal bankruptcy judge has denied a petition from former Blackjewel coal executive Jeff Hoops to liquidate the company. The decision means the reorganization of the company will continue under Chapter 11 bankruptcy as former employees, creditors and state agencies seek to recover millions owed by the company.

Hoops cited “permanent negative cash flow” at his former company, which has accrued at least $80 million in administrative and other expenses since its bankruptcy filing on July 1 last year.

The nearly 3,000-filing-long Blackjewel bankruptcy docket demonstrates an 18-month scramble by the company’s creditors to recuperate as much money as possible from a too-small pot. According to court filings, Blackjewel also has multiple outstanding permit violations, an unknown amount of outstanding environmental reclamation liabilities, unpaid taxes totaling $2 million, tax liabilities of untold amounts, and millions in unpaid employee healthcare claims.

The request to liquidate, according to coal bankruptcy expert Josh Macey, was yet more proof that Blackjewel’s future was grim. “Given how long this bankruptcy has dragged on, how poor conditions for coal are right now, how speculative and unprofitable Blackjewel’s assets have been, it isn’t surprising that it’s moving to a liquidation,” Macey said.

Read more: https://www.wvpublic.org/economy/2020-12-23/judge-denies-blackjewels-move-to-liquidate

Judge Denies Blackjewel's Move to Liquidate

A federal bankruptcy judge has denied a petition from former Blackjewel coal executive Jeff Hoops to liquidate the company. The decision means the reorganization of the company will continue under Chapter 11 bankruptcy as former employees, creditors and state agencies seek to recover millions owed by the company.

Hoops cited “permanent negative cash flow” at his former company, which has accrued at least $80 million in administrative and other expenses since its bankruptcy filing on July 1 last year.

The nearly 3,000-filing-long Blackjewel bankruptcy docket demonstrates an 18-month scramble by the company’s creditors to recuperate as much money as possible from a too-small pot. According to court filings, Blackjewel also has multiple outstanding permit violations, an unknown amount of outstanding environmental reclamation liabilities, unpaid taxes totaling $2 million, tax liabilities of untold amounts, and millions in unpaid employee healthcare claims.

The request to liquidate, according to coal bankruptcy expert Josh Macey, was yet more proof that Blackjewel’s future was grim. “Given how long this bankruptcy has dragged on, how poor conditions for coal are right now, how speculative and unprofitable Blackjewel’s assets have been, it isn’t surprising that it’s moving to a liquidation,” Macey said.

Read more: https://www.wvpublic.org/economy/2020-12-23/judge-denies-blackjewels-move-to-liquidate

Judge Denies Blackjewel's Move to Liquidate

A federal bankruptcy judge has denied a petition from former Blackjewel coal executive Jeff Hoops to liquidate the company. The decision means the reorganization of the company will continue under Chapter 11 bankruptcy as former employees, creditors and state agencies seek to recover millions owed by the company.

Hoops cited “permanent negative cash flow” at his former company, which has accrued at least $80 million in administrative and other expenses since its bankruptcy filing on July 1 last year.

The nearly 3,000-filing-long Blackjewel bankruptcy docket demonstrates an 18-month scramble by the company’s creditors to recuperate as much money as possible from a too-small pot. According to court filings, Blackjewel also has multiple outstanding permit violations, an unknown amount of outstanding environmental reclamation liabilities, unpaid taxes totaling $2 million, tax liabilities of untold amounts, and millions in unpaid employee healthcare claims.

The request to liquidate, according to coal bankruptcy expert Josh Macey, was yet more proof that Blackjewel’s future was grim. “Given how long this bankruptcy has dragged on, how poor conditions for coal are right now, how speculative and unprofitable Blackjewel’s assets have been, it isn’t surprising that it’s moving to a liquidation,” Macey said.

Read more: https://www.wvpublic.org/economy/2020-12-23/judge-denies-blackjewels-move-to-liquidate

Gov. Justice anticipates long-term care facilities to be fully vaccinated this week

During Gov. Jim Justice’s most recent press conference on Friday, he announced that he expected all long-term care facilities to be fully vaccinated by today as the state is among national leaders in distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Right now, we are leading the nation in getting all of our nursing homes and assisted-living facilities vaccinated,” he said. “We’re very, very hopeful to have that achieved by the 28th of the month. We, absolutely, should be complete by (today), and that means we would have offered vaccines to all 214 facilities in our state. Before some other states get out the blocks and even start giving people vaccinations and everything, I hope from the standpoint of our assisted care and our nursing homes, we’ll be done.”

As of Sunday at 10 a.m., the state has received 60,875 vaccinations and administered 29,675, according to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources website.

“According to Bloomberg, West Virginia still has the highest administration rate of any state in the country,” Justice said during Friday’s press conference. “We are now — with 60,000 doses we have here – we are now 47.01%, and the closest to us is Maine with 28%. West Virginia is doing a great job there, and that is all a tribute to our health care people and all our great work by our National Guard. Just keep it up everybody.”

Read more: https://www.journal-news.net/journal-news/justice-anticipates-long-term-care-facilities-to-be-fully-vaccinated-this-week/article_aef02ecc-d92c-59ed-b64b-cc841a877cdc.html
(Martinsburg Journal)

DEP cancels Christmas tree recycling events due to COVID-19 pandemic

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has announced it will not be offering its annual Christmas tree recycling events in January 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Safety concerns amid the pandemic have prompted the DEP to cancel recycling events that were to be held at Charleston’s Capitol Market and in Bridgeport, where a collection site was added last year, the DEP said in a news release last week.

The tree recycling event has been a mainstay at Capitol Market for many years and sponsored by the DEP’s Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan in conjunction with the state Division of Natural Resources, according to the DEP.

Hundreds of Christmas trees are collected and repurposed as fish habitat in lakes around West Virginia, according to the DEP, which noted that DNR officials placed trees in Cheat, Tygart, Stonewall Jackson, Stonecoal, Burnsville, Sutton, Summersville, Big Ditch, Sherwood, R.D. Bailey, Beech Fork and East Lynn lakes last season, with the Apple Grove Hatchery in Mason County also receiving trees.

Read more: https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/dep-cancels-christmas-tree-recycling-events-due-to-covid-19-pandemic/article_48bb892e-bacc-57ba-b8c5-f6720cb52261.html

Daughter of late state Sen. Jerry Relph who died of COVID-19 calls on Senate GOP leader to apologize

Daughter of late state Sen. Jerry Relph who died of COVID-19 calls on Senate GOP leader to apologize for his role in father’s death


The daughter of the late state Sen. Jerry Relph, R-St. Cloud, is calling on the Minnesota Senate majority leader to apologize for holding an in-person election victory party last month, which is how her father likely contracted COVID-19 weeks before he died, she said.

“It was a frivolous and vain action,” said Dana Relph, referring to the Nov. 5 dinner party at a Lake Elmo event center hosted by Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake. “I’m sorry, but celebrating holding onto the Senate in the middle of the pandemic? They were spending money on something like that and then putting people in danger.”

Relph, 42, spoke with the Reformer a day after her father succumbed to complications from the disease, the first Minnesota lawmaker to do so. COVID-19 is particularly deadly to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. Jerry Relph was 76.

She said the event put not only senators at risk, but also staffers and event employees. “It fills me with rage that it happened.”

Read more: https://minnesotareformer.com/2020/12/21/daughter-of-late-state-sen-jerry-relph-who-died-of-covid-19-calls-on-senate-gop-leader-to-apologize-for-his-role-in-fathers-death/

Republicans won in rural Wisconsin again, now comes the hard part -- governing

In a time of overlapping crises, rural Wisconsin shifted further to the right in 2020, voting overwhelmingly for President Donald Trump by often higher margins than in 2016.

But in just over a month, President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in and the hard work of governing, amid gridlock in Congress and intransigence in the Wisconsin State Legislature, will begin. That governing will take place as many rural Wisconsinites lack adequate housing or internet access, wages in many jobs remain low and family farms are dying every day.

Rural areas across the country swung toward Trump in 2020, in what became a wave election for both Democrats and Republicans — driving turnout up across the board, according to Matt Hildreth, executive director at RuralOrganizing.org.

Hildreth’s organization works to advocate for progressive policies in rural communities across the country. He’s found that there can be a disconnect between the politicians rural voters support and the policies they want to see enacted. For example, in this election voters in Florida and South Dakota selected Trump while voting to raise the minimum wage and legalize cannabis — two causes Trump opposes.

Read more: https://wisconsinexaminer.com/2020/12/23/republicans-won-rural-wisconsin-governing/
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