No record yet for Manning. 1 TD so far, 4 minutes to play. … In other news, I’m here! Yay!!!
I’m at Albuquerque airport, watching the Colts-Ravens game while I wait for my flight. Payton Manning needs two touchdown passes to tie Dan Marino’s single-season TD record. None so far; it’s 3-3 early in the second quarter.
Seems a nonexistent group with no known financing has placed the winning bid — oddly enough, the ONLY bid — in the government-mandated Auction for Back Taxes of Russia’s biggest oil producer, whose imprisoned founder is a political critic of Tsar Vladimir —
…agreeing to pay $9.3 billion and gaining control of one of Russia’s most prized assets for half of what foreign auditors say it was worth.
The sale of Yuganskneftegaz reduces the once-giant Yukos to a shadow of its former self, one of the heaviest blows to a company which has been the target of a persistent government campaign. The government says it only wants to collect $28 billion in back taxes. Yukos officials say the Kremlin - President Vladimir Putin in particular - is punishing the company for the politics of its now-jailed founder.
It was not known from where or if the buyer, BaikalFinansGroup, had accumulated the financing for the deal, and several analysts suggested the previously unknown company might be nothing more than a quickly formed front for Gazprom, the Russian state natural gas conglomerate that was the expected high bidder. Gazprom denied any links.
…Yukos’ founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Russia’s wealthiest man, has been in jail since his arrest Oct. 25, when Black-uniformed special forces swept onto his airplane at a Siberian airport. He has been charged with fraud and tax evasion and is now on trial. The American oil executives he hired have fled the country.
…Virtually nothing is known about the winner except that it was registered in the city of Tver, in western Russia, and applied to join the bidding only after a Houston, Texas, court issued an injunction against the sale because of Yukos’ U.S. bankruptcy filing. The ruling caused Western banks to freeze financing that was in place for the expected Gazprom bid. Gazprom , the state-controlled natural gas behemoth, was seen as the Kremlin’s favorite to buy the Yukos subsidiary.
…The Russian government said the American court injunction was irrelevant.
Questions immediately centered on BaikalFinansGroup’s relationship, if any, to Gazprom.
…Paul Collision of the Brunswick brokerage said that Gazprom or not, the true buyer was undoubtedly Kremlin-connected and had used an unknown company in hopes of avoiding litigation.
…As for Yukos, the billions of back tax claims that remain mean it is unlikely to survive, Weafer said.
“It’s only a question of weeks. Without government good will, Yukos is dead,” he said.
After a requiem poem and solemn ceremony, the truffle was due to buried under a tree believed to have been planted by Italyâ€™s famous 15th century explorer Amerigo Vespucci.
Teacher Pact Raises Ire
Objections Voiced Over Two Benefits
December 19, 2004
By MARYELLEN FILLO, Courant Staff Writer
NEWINGTON — Most contractual health benefits are far from controversial or cutting-edge. But two newly negotiated additions to this town’s teachers contract are both.
Effective July 1, 2005, school district employees covered by a new three-year pact will be eligible for medical insurance for same-sex partners and contraceptives coverage.
[Is the Objectionability of the latter a popish Humanae Vitae thing? Or, do They just want to make sure the Straight teachers perpetuate their morally-upright Kind? / - the guestblogger :]
The addition of those benefits - especially the same-sex medical insurance coverage - drew public opposition after the school board and union approved the contract and the details were publicized in late October. “I still can’t believe that the school board would agree to a benefit that is morally questionable,” said Helen Swiatek, president of the Newington Seniors Club.
Swiatek is one of dozens of residents who signed a petition and attended town meetings to oppose the contract’s new provisions, especially the benefits for same-sex partners.
Hugh Manatee just got repeatedly poked and prodded by a TSA employee during a security search! Hee hee!
The sun had come out by this morning in South Bend, but here a few miles west of town, it’s a very different story. Ah, lake effect.
I particularly enjoyed the references to Ayn Rand, Star Trek, Noam Chomsky, and Ted Nugent.
I’m watching the basketball game on ESPN between #3 Georgia Tech and unranked Gonzaga. Right now, the Zags are up by 15 with 10 minutes left in the game. Go Gonzaga! Pull the upset!
In other news, it’s snowing pretty heavily outside. We’re under a Lake Effect Snow Warning. It’ll be quite a welcome change to spend a few weeks in Phoenix, where Sunday’s forecast high is 73Â° (as opposed to 18Â° here).
My bus to Midway leaves campus at 12:10 PM EST tomorrow and arrives at 2:30 PM CST. My flight departs at 4:50 PM CST, connects in Albuquerque from 7:00-8:15 PM MST, and arrives in Phoenix at 9:25 PM MST.
UPDATE: Gonzaga 85, Georgia Tech 73, final. Woohoo!
CORRECTION: Gonzaga is #22 in the AP poll; they were only unranked in the ESPN/USA Today poll, which, as all good Trojan fans know, is not the real arbiter of teams’ success. :) At any rate, the Zags will surely be in the Top 20 in both polls next week. (They’re 8-1, and their only loss is to #1 Illinois!)