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Profile Information

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: 78,354

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

Why Is a White Woman the Only One Playing Race Card in Local Democratic Ballot Litigation?

The race card is real. But it depends on who uses it for what purpose. Local case in point:

Ten days ago, Dallas County Republicans sued in Judge Eric Moyé’s 14th District Court to get 128 Democratic candidates kicked off a March election ballot because, according to the Republicans, there was a glitch in the Democratic paperwork. No surprise, the Democrats have been fighting back with more than eight court filings, depending on how you count.

Here is what strikes me as I peruse the filings. The black people who have filed responses to the Republican suit have cited all of these reasons why the judge should toss the Republican suit. The reasons sound compelling to me.

I mean, I guess they’re compelling. I’m not a lawyer. I thought the original Republican suit sounded compelling, too. Everybody on both sides sounds compelling to my layman’s ear, with one exception:

The only person in the deal who plays the race card in her filing is the white lady who either did or did not screw up the paperwork in the first place. Carol Donovan, chairwoman of the Dallas County Democratic Party, claims in her response to the Republican lawsuit that the Republicans are trying to “use publicity concerning this frivolous lawsuit to confuse voters in the hope of disenfranchising minority voters and deny Dallas County citizens the right to vote for the candidates of their choice.”

Read more: http://www.dallasobserver.com/news/dallas-county-chair-carol-donovan-plays-race-card-in-ballot-lawsuit-shes-white-10311953

TxDOT Fires Back, Blames Margaret McDermott Bridge Mess on Dallas and Calatrava

Someone decided to use thinner, cheaper materials to attach the cables to the bridge deck. Everybody involved says it was somebody else.
Photo: Jim Schutze

Within hours of publication by the Dallas Observer on Tuesday of a story detailing flaws in the unopened Margaret McDermott Bridge over the Trinity River, the Texas Department of Transportation fired off a heated response — but not to the Observer.

The three-page TxDOT letter sent yesterday, which alleged “inaccurate and incomplete statements,” was addressed to and aimed at Sarah Standifer, the Dallas official overseeing the bridge project. The letter pointedly rejects attempts by Standifer and architect Santiago Calatrava to blame the bridge failures on TxDOT’s construction contractor, and it makes it plain that TxDOT doesn’t intend to assume the cost of putting things right:

“The city of Dallas is responsible for any cost overruns associated with the Margaret McDermott Bridge,” states Ceason Clements, TxDOT project manager for an array of downtown Dallas expressway reconstruction projects.

An Observer story reported yesterday that the pedestrian and bicycle bridge designed by Calatrava, slated to open last summer, still has not been cleared for opening by the supervising engineer because of flaws that include repeated cracking of rods that are part of the cables that hold up the bridge. A trove of documents uncovered by City Council member Scott Griggs, never previously revealed to the full council, shows that Calatrava, Standifer and TxDot have been arguing for two years, sometimes heatedly, regarding blame for the cracked cable parts.

Read more: http://www.dallasobserver.com/news/txdot-officials-blame-dallas-and-calatrava-for-trinity-river-bridge-problems-10315262

Beto O'Rourke Is Polling Like a Generic Democrat. Can That Make Him a Threat?

Among political junkies, Public Policy Polling will probably never live down its 2009 survey that showed U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison leading Governor Rick Perry by 25 percentage points (56 percent to 31 percent) going into the 2010 Republican primary for governor. Soon after, Rasmussen Reports released a survey showing Perry well ahead, 46 percent to 36 percent. And of course, Perry ultimately won that contest without a runoff.

So, I’m not quite sure what to make of the new Public Policy Polling survey showing Democrat Beto O’Rourke trailing U.S. Senator Ted Cruz by just eight points (45 percent to 37 percent). The poll was paid for by End Citizens United, a Democratic organization that targets campaign finance reform, but many of the numbers are comparable with other surveys. For example, O’Rourke is polling like a generic Democrat: 61 percent of those contacted by Public Policy Polling didn’t have an opinion on O’Rourke. On the other hand, nearly everyone had an opinion on Cruz—a 49 percent unfavorable and a 38 percent favorable rating.

After the survey’s initial questions, though, it quickly pivots. It’s blatantly designed to elicit a specific response. For example, there are questions like, “Who do you think Ted Cruz is more responsive to: ordinary Texans, or his big campaign donors?”

And then: “Beto O’Rourke is not taking a dime from political action committees or special interest group PACS. His campaign is entirely funded by individuals. If elected, Beto O’Rourke will work for the people of Texas not special interests in Washington. Ted Cruz has accepted $1.3 million from corporate PACS and just voted to give them a huge tax break. Having hear this, let me ask you again: if the candidates for US Senate this fall were Republican Ted Cruz and Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who would you vote for?”

Read more: https://www.texasmonthly.com/politics/beto-orourke-polling-like-generic-democrat-can-that-make-him-threat/

Science friction: Austin Democrats look at growing clash between politics and facts

Perhaps the key to fighting fake news claims and a growing resistance to scientific research in state and federal policy decisions comes down to teaching scientists and engineers how to tell jokes.

The need for making scientific analysis accessible and relatable to everyday voters was one of the points discussed Wednesday at a panel of local Democratic candidates organized by 314 Action, a national pro-science advocacy organization. The 90-minute session saw three panelists – U.S. House candidate Joseph Kopser, Texas state Rep. Donna Howard and Austin mayoral candidate Laura Morrison – cover the ongoing debate over climate change, how ideology has become more important than fact in primary races, and how highly educated citizens can get more involved in the political process.

“We in the scientific community can do a much better job of being in the conversation,” said Kopser, a military veteran who founded the tech company that became RideScout and is challenging Rep. Lamar Smith in the U.S. House’s 21st district. “Take an improv class, go to an open mic night and learn how to speak out. All of us have a responsibility to go beyond what we’re comfortable with.”

All three panelists shared the view that bringing issues such as climate change and energy policy to a ground-level conversation has to become a more commonplace tactic in political brokering.

“Take these really hard science problems we have, take them to people who don’t think about those things very often, and create a bridge to their values, so we can get out of a discussion about whether the climate is changing,” Kopser said.

Read more: https://www.austinmonitor.com/stories/2018/01/science-friction-austin-democrats-look-growing-clash-politics-facts/

Indiana House GOP kills bill to raise smoking age to 21

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana House Republicans killed a bill on Tuesday that would have increased the legal age for buying tobacco products from 18 to 21.

The measure by Democratic Rep. Charlie Brown, who is retiring this year, was supposed to be a capstone achievement after more than 30 years representing Gary in the General Assembly. Instead, Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma used a procedural maneuver to kill the bill — just one day after the House Public Health Committee approved it on a 9-0 vote.

Indiana consistently ranks poorly among states when it comes to key measures of public health, including smoking rates. Increasing the smoking age could create a powerful disincentive in a state where one-in-five people smoke, supporters of the bill said.

House Republicans justified their decision, stating that their own calculations indicate it would cost the state $14 million a year in lost cigarette tax revenue.

Read more: http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/local/indiana-house-gop-kills-bill-raise-smoking-age/LyYHMsTahq7sYZrklB2B7L/

Despite state, local efforts, human trafficking jumps by 38% in Ohio

Ohio law enforcement agencies are identifying an increasing number of potential human-trafficking victims involved in forced labor or sex.

A total of 208 potential victims statewide were identified last year by law enforcement officials, according to the annual report of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Human Trafficking Commission released Monday.

That number represents an increase of 57 victims or 38 percent from the trafficking numbers reported in 2016.

The victims are called “potential” because they include those in criminal cases that have not yet been resolved with a conviction of the suspect or other outcome.

Read more: http://www.dispatch.com/news/20180130/despite-state-local-efforts-human-trafficking-jumps-by-38-in-ohio

Pillich slams Rich Cordray, repeats call for GOP lawmaker resignations

Former Ohio Rep. Connie Pillich took the gloves off Tuesday, taking a shot at one of the men she’s running against in the Democratic gubernatorial primary and calling on two Republicans in the legislature to resign.

During a campaign visit to Tommy’s Diner in Columbus, Pillich appeared with former Pennsylvania Gov. and Democratic National Committee Chairman Ed Rendell. And she took a not-so-veiled swipe at another Democrat who is likely to pile up some national endorsements of his own: former U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray.

“If we want to win in Ohio in 2018, Democrats have to understand that we cannot beat (Ohio Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate) Mike DeWine with our own version of Mike DeWine,” she said. “We need something fresh.”

Pillich, of suburban Cincinnati, backpedaled when she was asked if she was saying Cordray was a Democratic DeWine.

Read more: http://www.dispatch.com/news/20180130/pillich-slams-rich-cordray-repeats-call-for-gop-lawmaker-resignations

Kentucky official: State prisons to run out of space by 2019

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Kentucky’s top public safety official says the state’s prisons will run out of space by May 2019, possibly forcing the early release of thousands of nonviolent inmates as the state continues to grapple with the effects of a nationwide opioid epidemic.

Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary John Tilley told state lawmakers Tuesday the state’s prison population is expected to grow by more than 4,400 inmates over the next decade. His comments come as lawmakers are deciding how to spend taxpayer money over the next two years.

The state’s prisons are full, with officials resorting to double-bunking inmates in rec rooms and any other space they can find. It’s worse at county jails, which house state inmates convicted of low-level felonies.

Corrections Commissioner Jim Erwin said 19 jails are at 150 percent capacity and four jails are at 200 percent capacity. In Bell County, tucked in the Appalachian mountains in one of the areas hardest hit with opioid addiction, the local jail is at 300 percent capacity.

Read more: https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2018/01/30/kentucky-official-state-prisons-run-out-space-2019/1081396001/

Trump effect in Northern Kentucky? Dems in every state legislative race for the 1st time since 1994.

Democrats in Northern Kentucky will give Donald Trump credit for one thing.

For the first time since 1994, every state House and Senate race in Northern Kentucky has a Democrat running.

Democrats believe Trump's polarizing presidency played a role in motivating historic numbers of Northern Kentucky Democrats to run for the state legislature.

"Democrats are fired up like crazy," said Kathy Groob, a Democratic strategist from Covington.

Read more: https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2018/01/29/trump-effect-nky-dems-every-state-legislative-race-first-time-since-1994/1067419001/

What Richard Cordray built, President Trump is remodeling drastically

WASHINGTON - Things have gotten personal.

President Donald has been reversing Obama White House policies since the moment the former real estate tycoon took office last year. But rarely was there personal criticism directed from this White House to the former department heads and agency directors.

But from the lips of Trump to the computer keyboard of his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, leading Republicans have now personally blamed one Obama appointee - Richard Cordray - for representing so much of what they are trying to change.

Technically speaking, Mulvaney did not use Cordray's name in an "all hands" memo last week to the staff of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, which the budget chief has been running on an interim basis since Cordray's November resignation. (See the full memo at the bottom of this article.)

But by pointedly stating his philosophical and enforcement differences from those of "my predecessor," by paraphrasing and attempting to quote that predecessor, and by spelling out dramatic change, Mulvaney made it clear.

Read more: http://www.cleveland.com/nation/index.ssf/2018/01/post_140.html
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