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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, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 78,263

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

Human Rights Organizations Nationwide Request Help for Puerto Rico

A letter sent by 186 human rights organizations to Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), and to Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat of the Committee, asks the Committee to hold hearings on the education and health crisis in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A broad coalition of human rights organizations signed the letter. Organizations include labor unions; religious and educational groups and institutions; Hispanic Federation, LULAC, Puerto Rico Equality Forum , NAACP, and other heritage groups representing Hispanic and other ethnic groups; Oxfam and other charitable groups; and political groups.

The letter began with a clear statement asking the committee to help Puerto Rico:

The undersigned organizations strongly support the bipartisan request for the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to hold hearings to assess and address the ongoing education and health crisis in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands from the destructive hurricanes Irma and Maria.

It has been well over 100 days since the hurricanes made landfall, and American citizens are still struggling to regain basic living essentials. While some progress has been made, the U.S. territories are not only in recovery mode, their citizens are fighting to survive.

The request referenced in the first paragraph is a letter from Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI, Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Christopher Murphy (D-CT), and Tim Kaine (D-VA). This letter, addressed to Senator Alexander, asks that the HELP committee begin hearings on the affected territories immediately.

Read more: https://www.puertoricoreport.com/human-rights-organizations-nationwide-request-help-puerto-rico/#.WmwVk3xG3RY

Former Employees Who Leaked Explicit Images Of VI Del. to Congress And Her Husband Plead Guilty

Two former employees of Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett pleaded guilty on Tuesday to District and federal charges for distributing explicit images of Ms. Plaskett and her husband, in an effort to harm her reelection.

Juan R. McCullum, 36, of Washington, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and cyberstalking crimes, while co-worker Dorene Browne-Louis, 45, of Upper Marlboro, Md., admitted to conspiracy and being an accessory after the fact.

Mr. McCullum faces one year and 361 days in federal prison, all suspended except for one year and one day, after agreeing to a plea deal with prosecutors. His sentencing will occur on March 8 before U.S. District Judge John Bates of Washington. Ms. Browne-Louis faces up to six months on each count. Her sentencing has been set for April 23.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tejpal Singh Chawla said Ms. Plaskett intends to attend the sentencing, according to the Washington Post.

Mr. McCullum and Ms. Browne-Louis were indicted in July 2017. According to the indictment, both aides had worked for the delegate to Congress for over a year before leaving in mid-2016. The indictment said that in March 2016, Ms. Plaskett asked Mr. McCullum to take her iPhone to an Apple store for repairs. While he had her phone, however, he created Hotmail and Facebook accounts under a fictitious name to distribute and post nude images of Ms. Plaskett and her husband. The indictment alleged that Mr. McCullum used the social media accounts to encourage others to spread the images and videos in the U.S. Virgin Islands, whose people Ms. Plaskett represents.

Read more: http://viconsortium.com/featured/plaskett-ex-staffers-plead-guilty/

Seventh Circuit Rules Against Expanding Voting Rights To USVI, PR And Other U.S. Territories

Late Thursday {January 18}, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled against expanding territorial voting rights in Segovia v. United States, according to We The People Project, a non-profit that advocates for equal rights and representation in U.S. territories.

The case presented an equal protection challenge by plaintiffs in Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands who would be able to absentee vote for president and voting representation in Congress if they lived in other U.S. territories or a foreign country, but are denied such rights based solely on their ZIP code.

In a surprising move, the panel concluded that plaintiffs lacked legal standing to even challenge federal overseas voting laws, a potentially far-reaching conclusion that has previously been rejected by other courts. On the merits, the panel concluded that state overseas voting laws may constitutionally extend absentee voting rights to residents of American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands while withholding them from residents of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The panel also embraced the suggestion of the Trump Administration that even if a constitutional violation was found, the remedy would be to contract rather than expand voting rights in U.S. territories.

“The right to vote should not depend on your zipcode or where you happen to live. We are disappointed the court found no issue with laws that extend absentee voting rights to citizens living in the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa or a foreign country, while denying these same rights to citizens living in Guam, Puerto Rico, or the Northern Mariana Islands,” said Neil Weare, President and Founder of We the People Project. “There is simply no basis for treating residents of one territory differently from those of another when it comes to something as basic as the right to vote.”

Read more: http://viconsortium.com/featured/us-territories-voting-rights/

Mapp On Salary Increase For Teachers: 'I Can't Say What Month And What Year Well Be Able To Do That

ST. CROIX, VIRGIN ISLANDS — The Dept. of Education is losing teachers at an unsustainable rate. As of earlier this month, it had 137 teaching vacancies. Since August, it had 60 separations: 17 teachers from the STTJ District and 13 from the STX District, and the remaining 30 in support staff. The problem? Educators continue to leave en masse for better opportunities elsewhere, decrying the low pay and unendurable number of deductions from the already low pay.

So they leave, looking to better their lives. “After much thought and trial in trying to make ends meet here, I must inform you of my intent to depart from the D.O.E. .. This is by no means a hasty decision, however, due to the fact I have $500 coming out of each paycheck, I can no longer keep up with my bills,” one departing teacher told D.O.E. in a letter announcing her resignation.

The problem was bluntly admitted by D.O.E. Commissioner Sharon McCollum last year: “Applicants’ interest quickly dissipates when they attempt to negotiate incentives and salary schedules. Our department is simply at a disadvantage and unable to compete with school districts nationally in regards to monetary compensation,” she said.

During The Consortium’s interview with Governor Kenneth Mapp on Thursday, where the publication chose most of its questions from the community, Mr. Mapp said he could not give a timeline on when teachers would see a pay increase.

Read more: http://viconsortium.com/featured/mapp-on-salary-increase-for-teachers-i-cant-say-what-month-and-what-year-well-be-able-to-do-that/

USVI to conduct feasibility study for processing and packaging plant

CHARLOTTE AMALIE, USVI — To analyze the potential for establishing a processing and packaging plant in the US Virgin Islands and within the enterprise zones of the territory, the Enterprise Zone Commission (EZC), in partnership with the University of the Virgin Islands – Institute for Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness (UVI-ILOE), will conduct a feasibility study on establishing this type of plant in the USVI.

The EZC, an entity of the US Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority (USVIEDA), applied for, and was awarded, a grant from the US Department of the Interior in the amount of $250,000 in September 2017 to conduct this study.

The study will determine the following, but will not be limited to, whether there

• is “sufficient produce and other raw agricultural materials [that is available and can be identified] for year-round production”;

• is an ability to the obtain equipment at a reasonable cost on each island;

• are locations that may be retrofitted into a processing and packaging plant, along with the requisite equipment, quality assurance expertise needed for consistent production;

• is an amount of trained production workers that is needed for efficient and consistent production at the plant.

Read more: http://wp.caribbeannewsnow.com/2018/01/25/usvi-conduct-feasibility-study-processing-packaging-plant/

Klamath Falls city councilor to contest $29,000 tax lien from state

A Klamath Falls City Councilor plans to contest a tax lien against him, which claims he owes more than $29,000 in personal income taxes to the state.

On Jan. 19, the Oregon Department of Revenue filed notice that Klamath Falls City Councilor Phil Studenberg owed $29,733.77 in personal income taxes to the state. Studenberg said he does not understand why this is now being released, adding that he has made timely payments of $2,000 a month to correct this for some time.

The lien references personal income taxes from 2014, public records show. Studenberg said he has already covered $10,000-$15,000 of the amount. Studenberg added that he intends to file an amended tax return and hopes to get a large amount of the money back.

Studenberg, who works as a criminal defense attorney, called it a state mix-up with one of his own businesses, a professional corporation he gets paid from. He said he’s on salary to his corporation and that he also draws from it.

Read more: https://www.heraldandnews.com/news/klamath-falls-city-councilor-to-contest-tax-lien-from-state/article_531056aa-f817-5705-90f0-11ab5a8a3640.html?block_id=1275161

Give Michele Bachmann A Sign From God

Famed civil rights leader Dolores Huerta visits Southwestern

Dolores Huerta, a longtime civil rights leader and a champion for farmworkers, immigrants and women, visited Southwestern University on Jan. 18 as part of “Remember, Honor and Act — MLK 50,” a celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy.

During her speech to a crowded room of students, teachers and community members, Huerta didn’t shy away from today’s hot topics, which she said parallel the social and political climate of the 1960s.

Racism, sexism, discrimination, and social and economic inequities continue dividing individuals of color from their white counterparts, women from men and the rich from the poor, she said. A better future can only be achieved, she said, through a grass-roots effort of organizing to demand change.

“We’re in a very critical moment not only in our country but in our world,” Huerta said. “When things are so bad that people start paying attention, I say that’s a good time to organize.”

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/local/famed-civil-rights-leader-dolores-huerta-visits-southwestern/O5ncV6rXc3bPInvbbKaRfM/

Full disclosure: I'm a Southwestern University alum.

Man sues tavern near University of Oregon campus for $3.75 million

A popular watering hole near the University of Oregon is being sued for $3.75 million by a man who says a freak injury at the bar has left him unable to pursue “a host of attractive, lucrative careers” in music and medicine.

Winston Martin asserts in a lawsuit filed in Lane County Circuit Court that he suffered severe cuts to his left hand when — at a Max’s Tavern bartender’s request — he tried to separate a pint glass from a metal drink shaker, and the glass shattered.

The bartender had used a pint glass, rather than the shaker’s lid, to mix a margarita for a female patron, but asked Martin for help when he was unable to loosen the glass from the shaker, the suit alleges.

The bartender had served Martin at least six alcoholic drinks before the injury occurred, according to the lawsuit.

Read more: http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/36380872-75/man-sues-tavern-near-university-of-oregon-campus-for-3.75-million.csp#

Portland schools chief financial officer out after only five months on the job

Portland Public Schools' chief financial officer is out after only five months on the job.

Mei Lee resigned on Jan. 17, according to The Portland Tribune. The Oregonian/OregonLive reached out to the district, but no one was immediately available for comment.

Lee wasn't one of Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero's hires. She took over Portland Public Schools' finances in August. Guerrero started in October.

According to The Tribune, Lee will help with a transition plan. Her abrupt departure comes just before the district's budget season.

Read more: http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2018/01/portland_schools_chief_financi.html
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