How did Puerto Rico’s electric system become so chaotic? Experts weigh in

JoelLago/iStock

(NEW YORK) — “Luma out” and “If I can’t breathe, Luma shouldn’t charge us,” read some of the banners held by hundreds of Puerto Rico’s residents as they marched on a main highway Friday in protest against Luma Energy, the island’s power company.

Puerto Rico has had a long history of instability with its electric system, even prior to the devastation Hurricane Maria wreaked in 2017, which left millions on the island without power for nearly a year.

Still, blackout and brownouts are a part of daily life for Puerto Rico’s citizens, with a recent power outage now affecting thousands.

‘Perfect storm’

The combination of Luma’s late response to failures in the transmission and distribution that have left thousands without power in the last months, and the weak infrastructure of the power plants has made Puerto Rico’s electric service the worst among the U.S.’ states and territories, experts say.

“Most of these power plants should have been decommissioned many years ago. But when you decommission something, you need to have something new,” Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority former executive director Ricardo Ramos told ABC News.

ABC News requested a comment from Luma Energy and has yet to receive a response.

PREPA’s gas power plants are over 40 years old. The average lifespan of these power plants is about 20 years, according to one report by National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Ramos, who says he has worked in the energy industry all his life, told ABC News that the situation with Puerto Rico’s power is the result of a “perfect storm” of failures that perpetuate the island’s electricity woes.

PREPA’s operational hurdles

Problems with electricity have been reported since PREPA was established in 1941, Ramos said.

In the1960’s Puerto Rico began building power plants, but amid the island nation’s industrial revolution plus a then-predicted business boom, those power plants were built larger than the country could manage.

“At that time, bunker type C oil was extremely cheap. So it was chosen to use that fuel in order to have a competitive, let’s say, electricity tariff,” Ramos told ABC News.

More businesses actually began leaving the island, and Puerto Rico ended up with a majority of its larger power plants located in the southern area of the island, while the most electric consumption has been in the north, Ramos said.

That has resulted in a complex geographical situation for the island’s transmission and distribution, now managed by Luma, he said.

Prior to Luma’s takeover on June 1, 2021, the government entity, PREPA, was in charge. Today, the government only owns the system that generates electricity while Luma oversees transmission and management.

Financial Problems

The mix of an expensive system, mismanagement and lack of maintenance drove PREPA into a more dire situation, according to energy financial expert, Tom Sanzillo.

“You can look at it as unfunded maintenance over a long period of time,” Sanzillo told ABC News.

Sanzillo is the director of financial analysis of the Institute of Energy and Economics and Financial Analysis, and is a former New York State comptroller.

“You can look at it as the misuse of the revenues that have come in from the ratepayers over a number of years,” Sanzillo told ABC News.

Both Sanzillo and Ramos say that effective energy projects take time, can be complicated, and must include collaboration between key players from stakeholders to politicians.

“A power system is very hard to work on, decisions have to be made years prior,” Sanzillo added.

In addition, financing energy projects involves a large amount of investment, he said, and that PREPA’s investment came from the bond market and loans.

As the electric utility issued bonds to finance energy projects that typically take over six years to build, the island’s politics got in the way.

“If you’re changing the management every four years, and you already have, let’s say, immediate bonds for a project, and the project doesn’t exist, it can quickly become a mess,” Ramos told ABC News.

“You have a combination of a system and disrepair and political mismanagement at the top of the agency, and you have a recipe for a real problem,” Sanzillo from IEEFA said.

The island filed for bankruptcy in 2016 under Title 3 known as Puerto Rico’s Oversight Management Economic Stability Act.

In 2017, the financial oversight board imposed by Congress filed Title 3 papers for the bankruptcy process of PREPA.

Bankruptcy proceedings are still underway, according to local media reports.

Amid Hurricane Maria’s destruction, the Trump administration designated one of the biggest federal funds with nearly $10 billion for PREPA’s reconstruction. As of today only $7.1 million has been disbursed, according to Puerto Rico’s government.

Sanzillo says using funds for the expansion of a solar system on the island could help change the situation.

“You would have less stress on what is clearly a fragile system,” he added.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Jan. 6 committee recommends holding Bannon in contempt

Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot on Tuesday moved to punish Trump adviser Steve Bannon, recommending the full House hold him in contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with a subpoena for records and testimony.

The nine-member panel voted unanimously Tuesday evening to send a report recommending contempt charges to the full House. If approved by the full chamber as soon as this week, the matter would then be referred to the Justice Department to decide whether to pursue criminal charges.

“Our goal is simple: we want Mr. Bannon to answer our questions,” Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in the meeting. “We want him to turn over whatever records he possesses that are relevant to the select committee’s investigation. The issue in front of us today is our ability to do our job.”

The Justice Department has declined to comment on how it might act on a criminal referral for Bannon or others who may be held in contempt.

After President Joe Biden said recently that the Justice Department should prosecute Bannon, White House press secretary Jen Psaki attempted to distance the White House from that action, telling reporters on Monday that Biden “believes it’s an independent decision that should be made by the Department of Justice.”

The matter could take months, if not years, to litigate, and could result in a fine of up to $100,000 and up to one year in prison.

Robert Costello, Bannon’s attorney, told committee members that his client would not cooperate with the probe given Trump’s executive privilege concerns, or without a court order to do so.

“Though the Select Committee welcomes good-faith engagement with witnesses seeking to cooperate with our investigation, we will not allow any witness to defy a lawful subpoena or attempt to run out the clock, and we will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt of Congress referral,” Thompson and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said in a statement earlier this month.

Thompson said Bannon “stands alone in his complete defiance” of the committee.

“We have reached out to dozens of witnesses. We are taking in thousands of pages of records. We are conducting interviews on a steady basis,” he said.

The committee’s report argues that the committee’s efforts to seek information from Bannon are justified because he “had specific knowledge about the events planned for January 6th before they occurred.”

“Mr. Bannon was a private citizen during the relevant time period and the testimony and documents the Select Committee is demanding do not concern discussion of official government matters with the President and his immediate advisors,” the panel wrote in the report, in response to Trump’s claims of privilege.

Cheney, one of two Republicans on the committee, said that Bannon and Trump’s claims of privilege “suggest that President Trump was personally involved in the planning and execution of January 6th.”

She also warned Republicans that Trump’s continued lies about widespread election fraud are “a prescription for national self-destruction.”

“You know that there is no evidence of widespread election fraud sufficient to overturn the election; you know that the Dominion voting machines were not corrupted by a foreign power. You know those claims are false. Yet President Trump repeats them almost daily,” she said.

“The American people must know what happened. They must know the truth. All of us who are elected officials must do our duty to prevent the dismantling of the rule of law, and to ensure nothing like that dark day in January ever happens again,” Cheney said.

Several other former Trump aides and associates, including former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Kashyap Patel, who served as a senior Pentagon official, continue to negotiate with the committee over cooperation after receiving subpoenas.

It’s not clear if Dan Scavino, one of Trump’s longest-serving aides, will cooperate with the panel’s investigation.

On Monday, the former president announced he was suing the committee, as well as the National Archives, to block lawmakers from receiving Trump White House records.

The Biden administration had refuted Trump’s of claim executive privilege, saying that the invocation “is not in the best interests of the United States,” White House counsel Dana Remus wrote in a letter to the National Archives.

As a result, the National Archives notified Trump’s attorney last week that it planned to turn over dozens of records to the committee on Nov. 12, “absent any intervening court order.”

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Vaccinations help protect families: National Institutes of Health

PeopleImages/iStock

(NEW YORK) — Getting a COVID-19 vaccine isn’t just about protecting yourself, it goes a long way toward protecting your family, according to a new blog post by the director of the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Francis Collins also noted in his Tuesday post that the data shows adults getting vaccinated helps protect those who can’t get vaccines, especially children.

“This is a chance to love your family — and love your neighbor,” Collins wrote.

Collins reiterated that studies have shown vaccinated individuals are significantly less likely to spread coronavirus to family members within a household. He cited a Swedish study published in JAMA Internal Medicine Journal last week that looked at 1.8 million people from more than 800,000 families “who acquired immunity from either previous COVID-19 infection or full vaccination.”

“The data show,” Collins wrote, “that people without any immunity against COVID-19 were at considerably lower risk of infection and hospitalization when other members of their family had immunity, either from a natural infection or vaccination.”

Specifically, the study found that households with one immune family member had a 45% to 61% lower risk of a COVID-19 infection, and that when a household included two immune family members the risk dropped 75% to 86%. With three or more immune family members, the risk of infection dropped almost 97%.

“These results show quite clearly that vaccines offer protection for individuals who lack immunity, with important implications for finally ending this pandemic,” Collins wrote.

Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and an ABC News contributor, said Collins’ message is important because there needs to be more emphasis on how getting a vaccination is an altruistic act for the entire community.

“We get a lot of focus on individual risk and side effects, and it takes our eye off the ball for the real reason we can and want the population to get inoculated,” he said.

MORE: COVID-19 vaccine shots for kids under 12 may be available in November: 6 things to know
Brownstein said it’s imperative that every eligible person gets vaccine shots as soon as possible since it may take a while for tens of millions of American children to be fully protected.

“Vaccines create a cocoon that ultimately protects those who aren’t eligible,” he added.

Anyone who needs help scheduling a free vaccine appointment can log onto vaccines.gov.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

White House defends Rahm Emanuel’s ambassadorial nomination against liberal backlash

Stacy Revere/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — Amid a fresh wave of criticism from liberal activists and lawmakers, the White House on Tuesday defended President Joe Biden’s decision to nominate Rahm Emanuel for U.S. ambassador to Japan.

The former congressman and chief of staff to President Barack Obama has faced questions over how, as mayor of Chicago, he handled the fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014.

Emanuel faces his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday, which is also the seventh anniversary of McDonald’s killing — prompting renewed outcry this week.

He’s one of dozens of Biden ambassadorial nominees still stuck in the confirmation process. Biden has seen a single-digit handful of his ambassadorial nominees confirmed by the Senate, leaving key vacancies in foreign capitals and at the highest ranks of the State Department that some analysts warn pose a national security threat.

Republican senators, especially Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, have put holds on dozens of nominees over Biden’s refusal to sanction the German company behind Russia’s pipeline, Nord Stream 2. But the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., secured confirmation for 33 nominees on Tuesday, sending them to the Senate floor for a final vote.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki pushed back against new calls for Biden to withdraw Emanuel’s nomination on Tuesday.

“The president nominated Rahm Emanuel to serve as ambassador to Japan because he’s somebody who has a record of public service, both in Congress, serving as a public official in the White House, and certainly also as the mayor of Chicago, and he felt he was somebody who could best represent the United States in Japan,” she told reporters.

No Democratic senators have spoken out against Emanuel’s nomination. Instead, powerful Democratic senators like Dick Durbin, the Senate Majority Whip and a fellow Illinois Democrat, have backed him. Durbin tweeted back in August that Emanuel “has a lifetime of public service preparing him to speak for America. … I will do all I can to help Rahm become America’s voice in Japan.”

Some House Democrats, however, have urged the White House to reverse course, although they do not vote to confirm nominees.

“This nomination is deeply shameful. … That the Biden administration seeks to reward Emanuel with an ambassadorship is an embarrassment and betrayal of the values we seek to uphold both within our nation and around the world. I urge the Senate to vote NO on his confirmation,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said in a statement last month.

This week, Kina Collins, a Democrat running for Congress in Emanuel’s home state of Illinois, has been leading advocacy against him.

“We can’t say Black Lives Matter and plan to build back better by appointing the man who covered up a police murder to a cushy job as an ambassador — a job the man is completely unqualified to hold,” tweeted the community organizer and activist, running again against Democratic lawmaker Danny Davis, who has held the Chicago district’s seat for over two decades.

At issue is the accusation that Emanuel, a longtime Democratic power player, helped cover up the 2014 killing of McDonald, a black teenager shot 16 times by Jason Van Dyke, a white policer officer.

Chicago police had said McDonald ignored warnings and approached the officers, but video, released 13 months later by a judge’s order, showed McDonald veering away from Van Dyke before the officer shot him.

The city reached a settlement with McDonald’s family, and in October 2018, Van Dyke was found guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.

Emanuel had said the city could not release the video because of a Justice Department investigation, said he did not see the video until shortly before its release, and has denied any wrongdoing. The video was released in Nov. 2015, seven months after Emanuel won reelection as mayor.

Asked whether Biden and Emanuel have spoken, including about the McDonald case, Psaki told reporters, “I don’t have any record of him speaking with him necessarily through the process. … Obviously, he’s somebody who he was familiar with. He knew his record of long standing prior to the nomination. And the president has made his own comments about that case, which I would point everyone to.”

Emanuel, a former ABC News contributor, was reportedly under consideration for a Cabinet secretary position during the transition last winter, but ultimately, he was not nominated for a role. The White House announced his nomination for ambassador to Japan on Aug. 20 after months of speculation.

To date, only nine Biden ambassador picks have been confirmed by the Senate, with dozens of others held up by Cruz, Hawley, and others over foreign policy disagreements with the White House, especially on Nord Stream 2.

“There have been unprecedented delays, obstruction, holds on qualified individuals from Republicans in the Senate,” Psaki said Monday. “The blame is clear. It is frustrating. It is something that we wish would move forward more quickly.”

After months of battle, however, there was a breakthrough Tuesday, with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voting to send 33 nominations to the Senate floor for a vote.

“As the United States faces an unprecedented confluence of challenges on the world stage, our security, interests, and ability to advance our values and assert global leadership should not be imperiled by the obstructionism of those infatuated with playing politics with our entire national security infrastructure,” Menendez said Tuesday.

Among those approved by the committee are Cindy McCain, John McCain’s widow, for U.S. envoy to the United Nations agencies in Rome; former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, an outspoken Trump critic, as ambassador to Turkey; famed pilot Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger as U.S. envoy to the International Civil Aviation Organization; and former Delaware Democratic Gov. Jack Markell as U.S. envoy to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris.

ABC News’s Sarah Donaldson contributed to this report from the White House.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Jan. 6 committee expected to recommend holding Bannon in contempt

Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) —  The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot is expected to recommend holding longtime Trump adviser Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with the panel’s investigation.

Committee members will vote Tuesday evening on whether to send a report recommending contempt charges to the full House. If approved by the full chamber on Thursday, the matter would then be referred to the Justice Department to decide whether to pursue criminal charges.

After President Joe Biden said recently that the Justice Department should prosecute Bannon, White House press secretary Jen Psaki attempted to distance the White House from that action, telling reporters on Monday that Biden “believes it’s an independent decision that should be made by the Department of Justice.”

The matter could take months, if not years, to litigate, and could result in a fine of up to $100,000 and up to one year in prison.

“Though the Select Committee welcomes good-faith engagement with witnesses seeking to cooperate with our investigation, we will not allow any witness to defy a lawful subpoena or attempt to run out the clock, and we will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt of Congress referral,” Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said in a statement earlier this month.

The statement came after Robert Costello, Bannon’s attorney, told committee members that his client would not cooperate with the probe given Trump’s executive privilege concerns, or without a court order to do so.

The committee’s report argues that the committee’s efforts to seek information from Bannon are justified because he “had specific knowledge about the events planned for January 6th before they occurred.”

“Mr. Bannon was a private citizen during the relevant time period and the testimony and documents the Select Committee is demanding do not concern discussion of official government matters with the President and his immediate advisors,” the panel wrote in the report, in response to Trump’s claims of privilege.

Several other former Trump aides and associates, including former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Kashyap Patel, who served as a senior Pentagon official, continue to negotiate with the committee over cooperation after receiving subpoenas.

It’s not clear if Dan Scavino, one of Trump’s longest-serving aides, will cooperate with the panel’s investigation.

Earlier Tuesday, the former president announced he was suing the committee, as well as the National Archives, to block lawmakers from receiving Trump White House records.

The Biden administration had refuted Trump’s of claim executive privilege, saying that the invocation “is not in the best interests of the United States,” White House counsel Dana Remus wrote in a letter to the National Archives.

As a result, the National Archives notified Trump’s attorney last week that it planned to turn over dozens of records to the committee on Nov. 12, “absent any intervening court order.”

 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Biden admin backs down on tracking bank accounts with over $600 annual transactions

OlegAlbinksy/iStock

(WASHINGTON) — The Biden administration on Tuesday backed down on a controversial proposal to direct the IRS to collect additional data on every bank account that sees more than $600 in annual transactions, after widespread criticism from Republican lawmakers and banking industry representatives, who said the tax enforcement strategy represented a breach of privacy by the federal government.

Instead, the administration and Senate Democrats are proposing to raise the threshold to accounts with more than $10,000 in annual transactions, and any income received through a paycheck from which federal taxes are automatically deducted will not be subject to the reporting. Recipients of federal benefits like unemployment and Social Security would also be exempt.

The IRS would collect the total sum of deposits and withdrawals from bank accounts with more than $10,000 in non-payroll income. Information on individual transactions would not be collected.

The changes were announced Tuesday by the Treasury Department.

“In response to considerations about scope, it [Congress] has crafted a new approach to include an exemption for wage and salary earners and federal program beneficiaries. Under this revised approach, such earners can be completely carved out of the reporting structure. This is a well-reasoned modification: for American workers and retirees, the IRS already has information on wage and salary income and the federal benefits they receive,” a Treasury Department fact sheet on the changes said.

The changes would exempt millions of Americans from the reporting requirement, and help the IRS target wealthier Americans, especially those who earn money from investments, real estate, and other transactions that are more difficult for the IRS to track.

“Under the current system, American workers pay virtually all their tax bills while many top earners avoid paying billions in the taxes they owe by exploiting the system. At the core of the problem is a discrepancy in the ways types of income are reported to the IRS: opaque income sources frequently avoid scrutiny while wages and federal benefits are typically subject to nearly full compliance. This two-tiered tax system is unfair and deprives the country of resources to fund core priorities,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement.

“Today’s new proposal reflects the Administration’s strong belief that we should zero in on those at the top of the income scale who don’t pay the taxes they owe, while protecting American workers by setting the bank account threshold at $10,000 and providing an exemption for wage earners like teachers and firefighters,” Yellen said.

The fact sheet says, “Imagine a taxpayer who reports $10,000 of income; but has $10 million of flows in and out of their bank account. Having this summary information will help flag for the IRS when high-income people under-report their income (and under-pay their tax obligations). This will help the IRS target its enforcement activities on those who are actually evading their tax obligations—decreasing costly and burdensome audits for the vast majority of taxpayers who pay what they owe.”

The proposal is a long way from being enacted. It’s currently included in a multi-trillion dollar social spending package lawmakers and the White House have been negotiating for months. If that package is passed into law, this requirement wouldn’t begin until December 2022.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden D-Ore., who spearheaded the effort to revise the proposal, dispute Republican claims that the goal is to snoop on Americans’ financial transactions.

“The bottom line is, wealthy tax cheats are ripping off the American people to the tune of billions and billions of dollars per year. Tax cheats thrive when the reporting rules that apply to them are loose and murky. Democrats want to fix this broken approach and crack down on the cheating at the top,” Wyden said in a press conference on the announcement Tuesday.

Wyden made clear that even Americans who might make a large purchase over $10,000 wouldn’t be subject to the additional reporting.

“If you don’t have $10,000 above your paycheck, Social Security income, or the like coming in or going out, there’s no additional reporting. We’ve also addressed the scenario where an individual spends a significant amount of savings for a major purchase. There will be no additional reporting in this scenario, as long as the amount of money coming into the account does not exceed wages +$10,000,” Wyden said.

The administration did not specify if the changes will impact the additional tax revenue they might be able to collect through enforcement. The administration has estimated improved tax enforcement could net up to $600 billion in additional tax revenue over the next decade.

The initial proposal, which would have affected nearly every non-dormant bank account in the U.S., raised the ire of Republican lawmakers, who called it a breach of privacy and an example of government overreach. Even with the revisions to the proposal, Republicans in the Senate remained critical.

“So how long is it gonna take for them to say, ‘Well you know we need a little bit more information because we really can’t make much of this.’ Then they’re going to want individual transactions and who knows what,” Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., told reporters.

Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, cited President Biden’s commitment not to raise taxes on any American making less than $400,000, suggesting that threshold ought to be applied to IRS reporting.

“Why don’t they just put a ban in there that bans the IRS from snooping in the accounts of people who make less than $400,000? That’s the question I think that should be asked with the sponsors of this approach,” Crapo said.

Crapo was hard-pressed to give an example of an alternative way to close the tax gap other than to say mention “closing loopholes.”

Banking industry representatives remain skeptical of any additional reporting requirement, saying it will create a burden, especially for smaller community banks.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Imagine Dragons livestreaming upcoming acoustic charity performance

Credit: Eric Ray Davidson

This Friday, Imagine Dragons will be playing an acoustic set at the Rise Up Gala in support of the Tyler Robinson Foundation, the pediatric cancer founded by the band. If you’re not in Las Vegas to attend the event, you can still watch the performance live online.

A livestream of the concert is set to premiere October 22 at 9:30 p.m. PT. You can watch via the Bandsintown Twitch channel.

Imagine Dragons first created TRF in 2013 in honor of Tyler Robinson, a fan who passed away from cancer at age 17. The organization has since been raising money for families who’ve been affected by a childhood cancer diagnosis. The annual Rise Up Gala is now in its seventh year.

Meanwhile, Imagine Dragons released a new album, Mercury — Act 1, in September. And just last Friday, the group unearthed a trio of EPs featuring some of their earliest recordings, including previously unreleased demos.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Watch lyric video for new Billy Idol song “Rita Hayworth” from his ‘The Roadside’ EP

Credit: Steven Sebring

Billy Idol has debuted an official lyric video for “Rita Hayworth,” one of the four brand-new songs featured on the pop-punk veteran’s recent released EP, The Roadside.

The clip, which you can watch now on Idol’s official YouTube channel, mixes grainy footage apparently taken from the car driving around the streets of Hollywood mixed with ominous cartoon animations depicting the song’s theme of a young woman navigating the seedy side of the movie business.

In the hard-driving tune, Idol sings about the woman being approached by “some nothin’ producer” who tells her she looks like Hollywood legend Rita Hayworth. “You’re swimming with Jaws/ This dream town will swallow you whole,” Billy belts out in the chorus. “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

Idol co-wrote “Rita Hayworth” with his longtime lead guitarist Steve Stevens, along with songwriters Sam Hollander and Grant Michaels.

The Roadside was released on September 17, and also features songs titled “Bitter Taste,” “U Don’t Have to Kiss Me Like That” and “Baby Put Your Clothes Back On.”

The bulk of the EP was written, recorded and mixed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The record, which was produced by Butch Walker, is Idol’s first collection of new original songs since his 2014 album Kings & Queens of the Underground.

Idol currently is halfway through a four-date Las Vegas residency at The Cosmopolitan that will wrap up this week with shows on Friday and Saturday. Billy then will head to Playa Mujeres, Mexico, for an October 26 performance at the star-studded 80s in the Sand festival. Idol also has acoustic duo gigs with Stevens in four U.S. cities in late November and early December.

Visit BillyIdol.net for his full schedule.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Don McLean launching 50th anniversary “American Pie” tour this January in Hawaii

Credit: David Abbott

A long, long time ago — 50 years ago this Sunday, to be exact — Don McLean released his classic anthem “American Pie” and his studio album of the same name.  Now the singer/songwriter has announced initial dates for a 2022 U.S. tour that will commemorate the milestone anniversary.

The trek kicks off with a three-show engagement, January 28-30, at The Blue Note club in Honolulu, and currently is mapped out through a February 24 concert in Tucson, Arizona, with more dates expected to be announced soon.

Among the confirmed shows is scheduled on February 3 — the 63rd anniversary of “The Day the Music Died” — at the historic Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. The Surf Ballroom is, of course, the venue where Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper performed on February 3, 1959, before perishing in a plane crash later that evening. The date of the tragic incident is now known as “The Day the Music Died,” and served as an inspiration for McLean to write “American Pie.”

Besides “American Pie,” fans at the tour shows can expect to hear McLean hits including as “Vincent (Starry Starry Night),” “Castles in the Air,” “And I Love You So” and his cover of Roy Orbison‘s “Cryin’,” as well as newer material.

Details of the U.S. tour follows Don’s recently announced plans for a 2022 European trek marking the 50th anniversary of “American Pie” that will run from September to November. Check out his full schedule at DonMcLean.com.

McLean also was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in August.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Snoop Dogg sued for posting viral video

ABC/Randy Holmes

Snoop Dogg is being taken to court for allegedly posting a viral video on Instagram without permission.

The “Drop It Like It’s Hot” rapper is being sued by FreedomNews.TV for using copyrighted footage of a protestor scaling a New York City office building, according to Billboard.

The lawsuit filed Monday in Los Angeles federal court stems from an incident in April during which a protester fell to the ground while attempting to climb the façade of JPMorgan Chase’s headquarters in Manhattan.

The post, which Snoop titled “Dummy of the Week,” has been viewed more than 4.5 million times. He’s being accused of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which prohibits the removal of “content management information” used on copyrighted works.

“Defendant purposefully failed to include the video credit originally conveyed with the video in order to mislead the public into believing that defendant either owned the video or had legitimately licensed it,” FreedomNews.TV wrote in the lawsuit.

As previously reported, the hip hop icon is joining Martha Stewart to host Snoop and Martha’s Very Tasty Halloween special, which debuts October 21 on Peacock

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.