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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
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Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
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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

Some Kentucky schools could fail under Gov. Matt Bevin's proposed budget

Gov. Matt Bevin's proposed budget would put a strain on resources needed for students – and leave some districts flat broke, education advocates say.

"We're already at a bare minimum," said Linda Rains, superintendent of Leslie County Schools.

Bevin has said he's not out to "rob" students and that his proposal keeps per-student K-12 funding the same at $3,981 in fiscal years 2019 and 2020.

But the proposal, now in the hands of legislators, would shift millions of dollars in transportation and health insurance costs to local school districts and eliminate state funding for several programs, including some offering educator training, and erase a $16.7 million annual outlay for textbooks and instructional materials.

Read more: https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/education/2018/01/18/gov-matt-bevin-proposed-budget-k-12-education/1043409001/

Judge dismisses right-to-work lawsuit; labor groups will appeal

FRANKFORT — Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit by labor groups challenging the constitutionality of Kentucky’s right-to-work law, passed in the opening days of the 2017 General Assembly.

The Kentucky State AFL-CIO and Teamsters Local 89 who brought the suit said they will “promptly appeal” the ruling.

Gov. Matt Bevin who championed the law and credits its passage for the location of a major aluminum rolling mill near Ashland hailed the ruling.

“The court’s ruling confirmed what we already knew: Kentucky’s right-to-work law rests on a sound legal bedrock and is an essential economic driver for our state, bringing unprecedented job growth and a record $9.2 billion in corporate investment in 2017,” Bevin said in a statement released after Wingate’s ruling.

Read more: http://www.richmondregister.com/news/judge-dismisses-right-to-work-lawsuit-labor-groups-will-appeal/article_c1ef9b00-013b-11e8-8eb4-830376c5934f.html

Bill regulating naming of state property advances

FRANKFORT – The time-honored tradition of naming state buildings and roads after living politicians in Kentucky would be curtailed under a bill approved by a state Senate committee today.

“It also reminds us that when we make decisions on using public funds to build things those funds were provided through the sweat and toil of the citizenry,” bill sponsor Sen. Stephen West, R-Paris, said while testifying before the Senate State and Local Government Committee. “When we appropriate money, we are simply moving money over to build these things that were paid for by the people.

“We really don’t need any special recognition for that. We are just doing our job.”

Known as Senate Bill 72, the legislation would specifically prohibit the naming of any state building, transportation project, program or initiative after a living statewide current or former constitutional officer, state legislator, state judge or state employee.

Read more: http://www.themoreheadnews.com/news/bill-regulating-naming-of-state-property-advances/article_b0d51e90-013f-11e8-8812-cf78f2d14c21.html

Update on shooting at Marshall County High School

BENTON — A county prosecutor sought to head off criticism from his traumatized community on Wednesday as he explained why a 15-year-old charged with murder in the shootings of two classmates doesn't yet face attempted murder charges as well, even though more than a dozen other students have bullet wounds.

Instead, the preliminary charges for wounding the other classmates will be first-degree assault, Assistant Marshall County Attorney Jason Darnall said, stressing at a news conference that it carries the same penalty.

"The reason for that is based on information we have right now. Attempted murder is an offense which takes into account motive and specific intent," but why he did it is still being investigated. Assault, on the other hand, simply requires a "serious physical injury by means of a dangerous instrument," Darnall said.

The young man's handgun was dangerous enough to kill two classmates, wound 14 other students and seriously injure four more as hundreds of teenagers scrambled to escape. All the victims were between 14 and 18 years old, Kentucky State Police Detective Jody Cash said.

Read more: http://www.richmondregister.com/news/mother-school-shooting-took-life-of-a-perfect-sweet-soul/article_5d2afd16-0151-11e8-a4d5-efdec557b388.html

'Devastating' cut could mean some retired Kentucky teachers pay thousands more in insurance

FRANKFORT, Kentucky – Many retired teachers would pay thousands of dollars per year more for health insurance under Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed 2018-20 state budget, say advocates for retired teachers.

While Bevin’s proposed budget fully funds pension benefits for teachers for the next two years, it provides no state dollars for retired teacher health insurance.

This budget cut would hit teachers who have retired since July 1, 2010, and are not yet 65 – when teachers qualify for Medicare coverage.

“In 2010 we passed a ‘shared responsibility’ plan that required all of us to share a part of retiree health care so that this would never have to have this happen again,” said Stephanie Winkler, president of the Kentucky Education Association. “…Now this proposed budget would strip away the state funding and it means that anyone who retired after 2010 could potentially have to pay all of their health insurance costs.”

Read more: https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/politics/2018/01/23/retired-kentucky-teachers-health-insurance/1055545001/

Lenoir City chiropractor pays $1.45 million for operating pill mills

A Lenoir City chiropractor has paid more than $1.45 million for allegedly operating a "pill mill" in which he used Medicare and TennCare to fill prescriptions for pain killers, including opioids, that were not medically necessary.

The allegations were brought to light by a former office manager at one of Matthew Anderson's clinics who acted as a whistle blower, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

“The opioid epidemic has had a crushing effect on patients and families across middle Tennessee,” said Derrick Jackson, special agent in charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General in Atlanta, in the release. “Pill mills like these billed medically unnecessary services to Medicare and TennCare and contributed to problems of opioid abuse and addiction.”
Billing Medicare and TennCare for prescriptions and services not necessary

From 2011 through 2014, Anderson and his company, PMC LLC, were allegedly asking pharmacies to bill Medicare and TennCare for pain killers, including opioids, to be dispensed via prescriptions written from the Cookeville Center for Pain Management.

Read more: https://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/crime/2018/01/26/lenoir-city-chiropractor-pays-1-45-million-operating-pill-mills/1068921001/

University of Tennessee Chancellor Beverly Davenport condemns hate speech on the Rock

University of Tennessee Chancellor Beverly Davenport issued a statement Friday calling on the university community to condemn hate speech that has become increasingly common on campus.

In the last month, the Rock, a boulder that serves as a campus message board, has been painted several times with messages from a racial separatist group.

"I know many of you have been offended by their presence on our campus and what they have written on our Rock," Davenport said in a message posted on her webpage Friday and shared with the campus community. "Please know I share your sentiments entirely. I find their values and teachings despicable, hateful, divisive, and incendiary, and as I have said before, they are completely at odds with our Volunteer values and ethics."

Davenport did not name the group responsible for the hate speech in her message, but the letters TWP, which stand for Traditionalist Worker Party, have shown up in recent weeks.

Read more: https://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/education/2018/01/26/university-tennessee-chancellor-beverly-davenport-condemns-hate-speech-rock/1069259001/

(Photo: Submitted/ Alleah Vassell.)

Phil Bredesen names campaign team for U.S. Senate run

Tennessee U.S. Senate candidate Phil Bredesen will lean on some of his closest advisers from his time as governor and a new crop of Democratic aides as he launches his first campaign in more than a decade.

He's also brought on the same political advertising and polling firms that he used during his past gubernatorial runs.

Bredesen, who entered the race last month, named his campaign team on Thursday, appointing businesswoman Gina Lodge, former commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Human Services, campaign treasurer.

Dick Lodge, a longtime advisor, lobbyist and attorney at Nashville's Bass, Berry & Sims, will serve as campaign finance chair to oversee fundraising efforts.

Read more: https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2018/01/25/phil-bredesen-names-campaign-team-u-s-senate-run/1065062001/

Education top issue in gubernatorial race, SCORE poll finds

Education remains the top issue for Tennesseans in this year's gubernatorial election, according to a new statewide poll released Friday.

The poll, conducted by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education, found that one out of five respondents listed education as the answer to an open-ended question on what is most important and one out of four parents offered it as the answer.

“SCORE regularly conducts surveys about voter views on education issues, and it is clear from the latest results that Tennessee voters understand the importance of public education, especially as providing a foundation for success after high school,” SCORE President David Mansouri said in a statement. “Voters also are eager to hear candidates for governor talk about the policies they favor for improving education in Tennessee.”

The poll, commissioned by the education-focused nonprofit, was conducted Dec. 14 to Dec. 17 by the firms Fabrizio, Lee & Associates and Beneson Strategy group. The two firms interviewed 500 likely Republican primary voters and 501 likely Democratic primary voters, respectively.

Read more: https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2018/01/26/education-top-issue-tennessee-gubernatorial-race-score-poll-finds/1068971001/

Democrats Doubling Up in Primary Races

Tennessee may be a certifiably red (i.e., Republican) state, and, indeed election results in recent years, even in Shelby County, which has a theoretical Democratic majority, have generally been disappointments to the once-dominant Democratic Party.

And the official Party itself has only been reconstituted in the county for a few months after various internal fissures and dissensions caused it to be decertified by the state party in mid-2016.

But none of that has stopped a veritable flood of would-be Democratic office-holders from declaring their candidacies for election year 2018 as the filing season gets going in earnest. Most unusually for a minority party, in fact, many of the races on the ballot this year are being contested by multiple Democratic entries.

That starts at the top of the ballot, as two name Democrats — former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and current state House minority leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley — are vying for the office of governor. (Even more Republicans are running: six gubernatorial candidates in all, most of them with serious networks and campaign funding at their disposal.)

Read more: https://www.memphisflyer.com/memphis/democrats-doubling-up-in-primary-races/Content?oid=10650638
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