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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: 83,341

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

Trump's claims about auto industry hyperbolic but not entirely untrue

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump included a shout-out to Detroit's auto industry in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, saying he "halted government mandates that crippled America's great, beautiful autoworkers, so we can get the Motor City revving its engines once again."

Michigan's auto companies had been in the midst of a resurgence before Trump was elected in November 2016, having had record sales that year, topping seven years of growth after General Motors and Chrysler were steered through structured bankruptcies — and aided by billions in federal investment — during the Obama administration.

Trump wasn't specific about which regulations he was referring to, but his administration has moved to relax fuel efficiency standards mandated under earlier rules for cars and light trucks in model years 2021-2025 — help that carmakers said they wanted, though environmentalists and state officials in California have protested the change.

Whether that has led to any increase in auto production is questionable — U.S. sales dropped slightly in 2017 and further slippage is expected this year — but what is not is another mention made by Trump about Michigan — that Fiat Chrysler was moving production from Mexico to the state. Earlier this month, FCA said it was investing more than $1 billion to modernize the Warren Truck Plant and add 2,500 jobs as it moves production in 2020 of its Ram Heavy Duty trucks. The company said that move was made possible by a new federal tax law pushed by Trump that slashed the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%.

Read more: https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/01/30/state-union-fact-check-trumps-claims-revving-auto-industry-hyperbolic-but-not-entirtrumps-auto-indus/1081531001/

'Birther Tactics' -- Abdul El-Sayed Reacts to Ballot Ineligibility Question

Political newcomer Abdul El-Sayed, seeking this year's Democratic nomination for governor, expected rough stuff during the campaign.

"But here's something we didn't expect," his communications director writes Tuesday in a hastily emailed letter to backers and others on a contact list. "Establishment Democrats [are] resorting to the type of birther tactics that opponents to Barack Obama used to discredit his run for the presidency," says the letterhead message -- part damage control and part fund-raising appeal.

The email blast is a response to a Bridge magazine article that says El-Sayed may not meet the requirement of being a "registered elector in this state" for four years before November's vote. That's "completely baseless," the letter says. (Details from the article are in the original version of this article below.)

The candidate himself uses the same hot-button phrase in a six-tweet thread. "Establishment Democratic insiders . . . [are] resorting to the kinds of Trump birther tactics that the GOP used against @BarackObama. It’s really heartbreaking," posts El-Sayed, who claims unnamed party opponents "feel so threatened by my run."

Read more: http://www.deadlinedetroit.com/articles/19215/update_birther_tactics_--_abdul_el-sayed_reacts_to_ballot_ineligibility_claim#.WnHVR3xG3RY

The Odd Case of a U-M Program, Middle East Money and Two Accused Professors

Attorney Margaret Cone set out to create a leadership program in 2008 for emerging religious scholars and leaders in the U.S and Middle East at her alma mater, the University of Michigan. The idea was to help American and Muslim students understand each other’s culture better.

After shuttling back and forth to the Middle East and Washington, Cone secured $2 million for the World Leadership Program from the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, and nailed down a commitment from U-M Professor Sherman Jackson to run the program at the university's International Institute.

But in a federal lawsuit scheduled for trial later this year, Cone says Jackson, who is no longer at the school, and two others -- Professor Mark Tessler and administrator Dave Howell -- took about $300,000 of the funds to create and administer the program at U of M, but did no work and never intended to.

The program for 32 people -- 16 from the Middle East and 16 from the U.S. -- never began at the school and was moved to Georgetown University in Washington in the summer of 2010.

The unusual case involves an agreement that fell apart, spiced with ingredients not typically part of a contract dispute -- two professors and an administrator accused of duplicity, a university defending them and a foreign prince's funds being shifted around.

Read more: http://www.deadlinedetroit.com/articles/19219/the_odd_case_of_a_u-m_program_middle_east_funds_and_2_accused_professors#.WnHLLXxG3RY

Two Servicemembers Found Guilty of Attempting to Have Sex with a Minor at Lackland AFB

Two San Antonio servicemembers have been found guilty of attempting to have sex with a minor.

Mark Antonio Pazmino, a retired member of the Army and linguist for the National Security Agency, and Mark Richard Hardin, an active duty Navy member and medical technician at San Antonio Military Medical Center, were sentenced this month by a federal judge. They will each spend a decade in prison.

In 2016, Pazmino responded to a personal ad that he believed was written by a 14-year-old girl living on Lackland Air Force Base. According to court records, Pazmino told the girl in chat messages as well as in phone conversations that he wanted to "engage in sexual activity" with her. The 14-year-old was actually an undercover agent with the Air Force.

Pazmino was arrested by federal agents when he showed up at Lackland to meet the girl in July 2016. He has been in custody since, and pled guilty to attempted coercion and enticement of a minor in May 2017. He was sentenced on Jan. 29. In addition to a decade in prison, Pazmino will be under supervised release for 20 years.

Read more: https://www.sacurrent.com/the-daily/archives/2018/01/30/two-servicemembers-found-guilty-of-attempting-to-have-sex-with-a-minor-at-lackland-afb

San Antonio Reporter Target of Racist Harassment While On Assignment

On Tuesday evening {January 23}, Ashlei King, a reporter for KABB Fox29 and News4SA, was setting up in front of a school in San Antonio, getting ready to go live on the 10 o'clock show.

But minutes before her segment was set to air, King found herself in the midst of a racist outburst from complete strangers.

“They drove by and they yelled ‘F the government. You effing fake news. F you, you n-word.’ And they kept saying it, like you n-word, you n-word, you n-word,” King described in a Facebook Live video about the incident.

King said it wasn’t the first time people have yelled while she’s been filming a segment — but “this time, it was different.” She said at first, she decided to let it go, thinking maybe they were “some young punks.” Then, the car came back around a second time.

“They were like, f you you n-word, you effing n-word, f-you f-you you n-word n-word n-word. And at that time, I’m kind of angry, because you know, I’m like how, why would somebody do this? And I couldn’t really understand it,” King said.

Read more: https://www.sacurrent.com/the-daily/archives/2018/01/26/san-antonio-reporter-target-of-racist-harassment-while-on-assignment

How Texas Colleges Have Responded to the Hate Groups Behind All Those Racist Flyers

The first flyers appeared on November 9, 2016, plastered on lampposts and in bathroom stalls across Texas State University. “Now that our man TRUMP is elected and republicans own both the senate and the house — time to organize tar & feather VIGILANTE SQUADS and go arrest & torture those deviant university leaders spouting off all this Diversity Garbage,” read one. It happened again and again, not just at Texas State, but also at the University of North Texas, Rice University, the University of Texas at Dallas and others: “Look around, white man. Is this the country your ancestors died for?” “Imagine a Muslim-free America.” “A Notice To All White Americans: It Is Your Civic Duty To Report Any and All Illegal Aliens.”

Many of the flyers bore the logo and website of American Vanguard — a group whose manifesto begins, “White America is under attack” — or, later, those of a splinter group called Patriot Front. More than a year after the 2016 election, hateful messages paired with fascist and Nazi symbols continue popping up on college campuses across Texas, and administrators are still struggling with how to respond.

Records obtained by the Observer show how colleges attempt to balance campus safety, police resources and free-speech protections as they react to guerilla propaganda campaigns. Taken together, the hodgepodge of responses illustrate the outsized disturbance that a group of a few dozen angry young white men — led by a 19-year-old from the Dallas suburbs — have caused for Texas colleges.

Patriot Front, a neo-Nazi group led by Coppell native Thomas Rousseau, came out of a splintering of white supremacist and alt-right groups in the aftermath of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. Rousseau, a then-lieutenant of American Vanguard, wore the hate group’s uniform at the rally as he stood alongside James Fields, the murder suspect who allegedly rammed a vehicle into a crowd there, killing one and injuring 19.

Read more: https://www.texasobserver.org/nazis-go-school-texas-colleges-responded-hate-groups-behind-racist-flyers/

ICE Arrested Nearly Three Times as Many Immigrants During Last Years Austin Raid Than Previously...

ICE Arrested Nearly Three Times as Many Immigrants During Last Year’s Austin Raid Than Previously Reported

Last February, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid rocked the Austin area, sweeping up a broad swath of immigrants, including scores with clean criminal records, parents with young children, construction workers leaving their job sites and customers outside fast-food restaurants. At the time, ICE reported that the operation netted 51 arrests, but some media and activist reports suggested a higher number. Now, in response to a nearly year-old public information request, an internal ICE tally obtained by the Observer reveals that ICE nabbed 132 immigrants in the Austin area, nearly triple the number previously reported.

“This reflects what we saw on the ground, that ICE’s actions completely terrorized our community,” said Bob Libal, director of Grassroots leadership, an Austin immigrant rights group that reported receiving over a thousand calls to its deportation hotline during the operation. “It reflects the impact we saw in the community, which was that of a large-scale action.”

On February 13, amid panic in the Austin immigrant community, ICE released a fact sheet stating that 51 immigrants had been arrested during the operation on February 9 and 10. But this week, ICE San Antonio field office director Daniel Bible confirmed the higher figure in an email and explained that the agency made an additional 81 arrests on February 11 and 12. Bible explained the discrepancy by saying that a two-day national operation overlapped with a separate four-day regional operation aimed at “additional criminal targets.” Of the 81 arrested on February 11 and 12, just 49 had any criminal conviction.

Immigrant advocates question why ICE didn’t come clean about how many people it arrested a year ago, and express skepticism about the agency’s explanation of overlapping operations. “The fact that ICE can’t keep their story straight on what they did is reflective of ICE lying about their intentions and the scope of their actions,” said Libal. “If this is their excuse, when they’re pressed on what they did, it’s ridiculous. Honestly, it’s bullshit.”

Read more: https://www.texasobserver.org/ice-arrested-nearly-three-times-as-many-immigrants-than-previously-reported/

Texas Senate Committee Examines Free Speech On College Campuses

Members of the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee will exam this question Wednesday: Are students’ freedom of speech rights being squelched on state college campuses? The special legislative hearing at Texas State University in San Marcos follows the school's own high profile free speech conflict.

This past fall, campus leaders at Texas Southern University in Houston cancelled a speech by State Rep. Briscoe Cain, an outspoken member of the House’s Freedom Caucus, after dozens of protesters filled the event area to disrupt the speech.

Around that same time, Texas State University had its own student First Amendment rights conflict brewing. Rudy Martinez, a columnist for the University Star student newspaper, had written an opinion piece titled, “Your DNA Is An Abomination.” The college's student government criticized the piece as “anti-white.”

Under pressure from university officials, the newspaper fired Martinez and his editors. Texas State University President Denise Trauth condemned the article as “abhorrent.” In a statement, Trauth said while she appreciated the free exchange of ideas the student newspaper represented, she still expected student editors to use good judgment in the type of content they print.

Read more: http://tpr.org/post/texas-senate-committee-examines-free-speech-college-campuses

Texas Rangers To Investigate Famed Karolyi Ranch In Wake Of Larry Nassar Trial

Nearly a week after prominent USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to prison for the sexual assault of several female gymnasts, Gov. Greg Abbott has asked the Texas Rangers to investigate misconduct allegations at the famed Karolyi Ranch, the U.S. Olympic training facility in southeast Texas, north of Houston, where Nassar treated athletes.

“The public statements made by athletes who previously trained at the Karolyi Ranch are gut-wrenching,” Abbott said in a statement Tuesday. “Those athletes, as well as all Texans, deserve to know that no stone is left unturned to ensure that the allegations are thoroughly vetted and the perpetrators and enablers of any such misconduct are brought to justice. The people of Texas demand, and the victims deserve, nothing less.”

Abbott ordered the Texas Rangers, the state’s top criminal investigations unit, to look into the Karolyi Ranch. It hosted training camps for more than a decade until earlier this year. The Walker County Sheriff’s Office is already investigating.

Several gymnasts have said Nassar abused them at the ranch.

Abbott called the allegations “gut-wrenching.” He ordered the state investigation because the claims involve multiple jurisdictions and states.

Read more: https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/2018/01/30/264703/governor-abbott-orders-criminal-probe-of-texas-gymnastics-ranch/

LULAC Houston Clubhouse Will Undergo Repairs After National Treasure Designation

A Houston building connected to the Mexican-American Civil Rights movement has been designated as a National Treasure and will share part of a $450,000 grant in an effort to raise money for restore historic buildings damaged by last year’s Hurricane Harvey, the National Trust for Historic Preservation announced Tuesday, January 30.

The LULAC Council 60 Clubhouse in Houston, along with an historic doctor’s office in Miami and a nature preserve in Puerto Rico, will share the grant. All of the sites were damaged by Harvey, Irma or Maria.

The clubhouse served as a meeting place beginning in the 1950s for Mexican-American civil rights leaders who plotted out key school desegregation cases and efforts to fight discrimination. Legendary leaders such as attorneys Gus Garcia, John J. Herrera and Tex-Mex restaurateur Felix Tijerina attended meetings at the clubhouse.

The building sits in a revitalized area outside of Houston’s downtown. For years, advocates have been trying to raise money to fix the roof and interior of the building, which was damaged by Harvey and previous storms. LULAC — the acronym for the League of United Latin American Citizens — is the nation’s oldest Hispanic civil rights organization.

Read more: https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/2018/01/30/264676/latino-civil-rights-site-in-houston-named-national-treasure/
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