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Massachusetts may sue federal student loan servicer, judge rules

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By Nate Raymond

Massachusetts’ attorney general may move forward with a lawsuit claiming that one of the largest student loan servicers in the United States has engaged in practices that have undermined a federal debt forgiveness program, a state court judge has ruled.

Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Salinger in a decision made public on Thursday denied Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistant Agency’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

PHEAA had argued that as a quasi-governmental agency originally established by the state of Pennsylvania to provide student loans to its residents, it enjoyed sovereign immunity that protects it from being sued.

But Salinger noted that a federal appeals court in Virginia in 2015 had in a different case concluded that PHEAA did not enjoy the same immunity as Pennsylvania from being sued for damages.

“The doctrine of issue preclusion bars PHEAA from relitigating this issue yet again,” Salinger wrote.

The Boston judge also rejected PHEAA’s contention that the lawsuit could not proceed because Healey had not also sued the U.S. Department of Education, which retained the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based agency to service federal student loans.

PHEAA had noted the U.S. Justice Department, on the Education Department’s behalf, in January filed papers arguing that to the extent state law claims asserted by Healey, a Democrat, conflicted with federal law, they were preempted.

Salinger, though, said the Justice Department’s position “is much narrower than it may appear at first blush,” as it did not actually contend Healey’s claims were indeed preempted or that any of PHEAA’s alleged misconduct was allowed under federal law.

PHEAA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In August, Healey sued PHEAA, which does business as FedLoan Servicing and manages over a fourth of the nation’s $1.4 trillion student loan debt on behalf of various lenders.

The lawsuit accused PHEAA of deceptive practices that caused public servants to lose benefits and financial assistance under two federal programs, including one that forgives student loans after about 10 years of public-service work.

That program is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness. The other is the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant program, which provides grants to borrowers pursuing teaching careers in low-income schools for at least four years.

The lawsuit alleged that PHEAA prevented borrowers from making qualifying monthly payments that count towardloan forgiveness and also overcharged students.

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Dickhead Jogger Arrested for Throwing Homeless Man’s Belongings in Lake

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A video went viral of a jogger taking time out of his day to throw a homeless man’s belongings into a lake. The jogger has since been identified as 31-year-old Henry William Sintay by The Mercury News and was arrested. He’s currently being held on $100,000 bail.

The dickhead move made by the dickhead jogger happened by Meritt Lake in Oakland, California, on Friday, June 8. A witness named JJ Harris filmed the incident as a woman tried to stop the dickhead jogger. This video is messed up on so many levels — and not only because his thicc dad bod doesn’t suggest he has time to stop mid-jog to try to end homelessness.

Watch this:

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Starbucks will close 8,000 stores May 29 for racial-bias training

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Starbucks says it will close its 8,000 company-owned stores in the United States for one afternoon to educate employees about racial bias.

“I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement.

“While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution,” he said. “Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.”

The announcement follows the controversial arrest of two black men who were waiting for a friend at a Philadelphia Starbucks last week after the store manager called the police. They were arrested for trespassing. The customers said they were waiting for another man to arrive. That person arrived at the store just as they were being arrested.

Starbucks’ CEO publicly apologized repeatedly following the arrests, which he called “reprehensible.”

Sherrilyn Ifill, the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, will be among the help to design the program, as will executives from the Equal Justice Initiative and Demos, to roughly 175,000 Starbucks employees.

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8 Facts About the Late, Great Barbara Bush

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Former first lady Barbara Bush died in Houston on Tuesday. She was 92 years old. The wife of former president George H.W. Bush, and mother of former president George W. Bush, had been battling congestive heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and had recently decided not to seek any further treatment.

The matriarch of the Bush family was known for her bluntness and advocacy, but many young people know little about her. So, here are 8 straight up facts about the former first lady of the United States.

1. She was born Barbara Pierce in New York City on June 8, 1925.

2. She met met George H.W. Bush at a school dance in 1941, at the age of 16. After dating for a year and a half, the couple got engaged before he went off to World War II to serve as a Navy torpedo bomber pilot. When he returned on leave, she dropped out of Smith College in Northampton, Mass. and they got married two weeks later on Jan. 6, 1945, in Rye, N.Y.

3. Barbara gave birth to six children: George W. (in 1946), Pauline “Robin” (in 1949), Jeb (in 1953), Neil (in 1955), Marvin (in 1956), and Dorothy (in 1959). She lost her daughter “Robin” at the age of three to leukemia. 

4. She served as second lady of the United States when George H.W. Bush was vice president to Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1989. 

5. She alarmed conservatives when she revealed she was pro-choice. 

6. Describing Geraldine Ferraro, her husband’s opponent for vice president in 1984, she said: “I can’t say it, but it rhymes with ‘rich.'”

7. She was first lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993.

8. She helped to develop the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, which seeks to improve literacy in the U.S. through programs directed toward pre-school children and parental literacy while cementing her legacy. She spoke regularly on “Mrs. Bush’s Story Time,” a national radio program that stressed the significance of reading aloud to children. 

Political affiliation aside, the death of Barbara Bush is a reminder that class in Washington is dying, too.

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