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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: 77,641

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

California man accused of killing former classmate trained with neo-Nazi group, ProPublica reports

The 20-year-old Newport Beach, Calif., man accused of killing a former high school classmate is an avowed Neo-Nazi and trained with a notorious extremist group committed to violent overthrow of the U.S. government, according to a newly published report.

Samuel Woodward is charged with murder in the killing 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein, a University of Pennsylvania student who went missing this month while visiting his family in Orange County. Prosecutors say Woodward stabbed Bernstein 20 times and then buried his body in a Lake Forest park, where it was found days later.

Bernstein was Jewish and gay, and police are investigating his killing as a possible hate crime.

Woodward is scheduled to be arraigned in Orange County Superior Court Friday.

Relying on “three people with detailed knowledge of Woodward’s recent past,” the investigative news website ProPublica said Woodward was a member of the group Atomwaffen — which has been tied to other killings and a bomb plot in recent months — and traveled to Texas to attend the group’s three-day training camp.

Read more: http://www.sfexaminer.com/california-man-accused-killing-former-classmate-trained-neo-nazi-group-propublica-reports/

Should Legislature's employees be unionized?

Four-plus decades ago, the Legislature and Jerry Brown, then in the first stages of his two-part governorship, decreed that public employees had the right to join unions and bargain for salaries and other working conditions.

The argument for extending collective bargaining rights to state and local government workers, including teachers, was that they should have the same rights as other wage earners.

It was and is, however, a questionable rationale, because public employees differ markedly from those in the private sector.

For one thing, they already had civil service status, which was not changed when collective bargaining was enacted.

Read more: http://napavalleyregister.com/news/opinion/columnists/dan-walters/dan-walters-should-legislature-s-employees-be-unionized/article_5175b763-9d2e-57fc-90e3-c58e84db6275.html

San Leandro City Council places city manager on paid administrative leave

San Leandro City Manager Chris Zapata was placed on paid administrative leave Tuesday night pending the results of an investigation into claims of sexual misconduct by a local non-profit leader.

The San Leandro City Council, voted 6-0, to put Zapata on paid leave. Assistant City Manager Jeff Kay becomes interim city manager, the council announced following the nearly two-hour closed session meeting.

In a statement issued by San Leandro Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter shortly after Tuesday's vote, she acknowledged an investigation into the claims against Zapata is underway and "the City Council was not aware that the City Manager intended to publicly address the allegations in detail," a reference to a 23-page memorandum Zapata released to the public on Jan. 16 to rebut the claims against him.

"The council determined today that it is best for all parties involved that the City Manager remain on leave until the independent investigation is concluded," Cutter added.

Read more: http://www.ebcitizen.com/2018/01/san-leandro-city-council-places-city.html

Oakland Officials Call for Probes of Sewage Leaks

Oakland Public Works Department officials say they plan to hire an outside consultant to conduct a "full review" of the city's broken sewer line problems, which have resulted in repeated sewage spills into Lake Temescal and other local bodies of water. In addition, Councilmember Dan Kalb, North Oakland, has requested a report from public works and an examination of evidence that the city submitted official reports to state and federal regulators that contained false information about sewage spills. State officials are already investigating Oakland's compliance with environmental laws.

The city's actions come in response to a Jan. 10 Express investigation that exposed serious shortcomings with Oakland's sanitary sewer system, including a history of city officials underreporting sewage spills, a repeated failure to alert the public about raw sewage flowing into Lake Temescal, and the city's continued reliance on a private contractor that Oakland workers said does shoddy work (see "Broken Pipes, Broken System".

"It is a very serious issue that the city should not sweep under the rug," Kalb said in an interview. "It appears that there needs to be some type of investigation that brings everything to light and answers the questions — whatever those answers may be. I am not making any pre-judgment of something nefarious. But there are valid questions, and there needs to be a thorough set of answers, and we don't have that yet. I am hoping we get that eventually." Kalb was joined in his request for a probe of public works by Councilmembers Annie Campbell Washington and Abel Guillen.

However, it's not clear if Oakland Public Works will thoroughly investigate its problems. The department's director, Jason Mitchell, continues to downplay the city's serious sewer-line issues and maintains that his agency has done nothing wrong — even as more spills occur in the city. On Jan. 15, raw sewage started spewing into Lake Merritt for the second time in a month. Residents at 1200 Lakeshore Ave. on the eastern side of the lake said they could see and smell the untreated wastewater flow out of a manhole cover in front of the property and stream into the tidal lagoon and wildlife sanctuary.

Read more: https://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/oakland-officials-call-for-probes-of-sewage-leaks/Content?oid=12743329

Tustin Podiatrist Accused of Insurance Fraud

A former Tustin podiatrist is accused of insurance fraud for billing several patients for medical services she never performed, according to prosecutors.

Dr. Renae Louise Witt, 47, of La Pine, Oregon, was awaiting extradition after being charged on Jan. 16 with seven felony counts of insurance fraud with sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime over $100,000 and loss of over $65,000, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA).

While practicing in Tustin between May 12, 2015, and March 31, 2017, Witt allegedly submitted fraudulent billing for services not rendered on six patients after their treatment was complete, prosecutors say.

She billed Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Cross/Blue Shield $174,395 for various medical services she never performed and deposited large sums of money from the insurance transactions into her business bank account, the OCDA alleges. Witt moved to Oregon this past Nov. 6.

Read more: http://www.ocweekly.com/news/insurance-fraud-alleged-8726015

Dennis Rodman Charged with Misdemeanor Drunken Driving. Again

UPDATE, JAN. 26, 10:48 A.M.: Alleging Dennis Rodman had a blood-alcohol content three times the legal limit in California when he was pulled over Jan. 13 in Newport Beach, the Orange County District Attorney's office on Thursday charged the NBA Hall of Famer with misdemeanor drunken driving.

Meanwhile, Rodman's lawyer Paul Meyer reportedly says that after his client's arrest, the 56-year-old immediately entered a residential treatment program and committed to long-term outpatient treatment.

The Orange County Register quotes a statement issued by Meyer:

“He recognizes the problem and is working hard. No one questions his big heart and care for others. In recent months, he completed his community-service obligation (for a previous case) by donating many hours in long-term care facilities and making a real difference in people’s lives. I think the responsible way that Dennis is facing his current situation will be an inspiration to many others.”

ORIGINAL POST, JAN. 17, 5:50 A.M.:
The latest word from Wormland is that Dennis Rodman could go to prison for up to two years because of his recent DUI arrest.

Read more: http://www.ocweekly.com/news/trade-rodman-8707764

Japan raps Coincheck, orders broader checks after $530 million cryptocurrency theft

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s financial regulator said on Monday it would inspect all cryptocurrency exchanges and ordered Coincheck to get its act together after hackers stole $530 million worth of digital money from its exchange in one of the biggest cyber heists on record.

The theft highlights the vulnerabilities in trading an asset that global policymakers are struggling to regulate and the broader risks for Japan as it aims to leverage the fintech industry to stimulate economic growth.

The Financial Services Agency (FSA) on Monday ordered improvements to operations at Tokyo-based Coincheck, which on Friday suspended trading in all cryptocurrencies except bitcoin after hackers stole 58 billion yen ($534 million) of NEM coins, among the most popular digital currencies in the world.

Coincheck said on Sunday it would return about 90 percent with internal funds, though it has yet to figure out how or when.

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-cryptocurrency/japan-raps-coincheck-orders-broader-checks-after-530-million-cryptocurrency-theft-idUSKBN1FI06S

The State of the Union is F***ed.

Usually, presidents stand before Congress and the national TV audience to give their "State of the Union" speech and say "The state of the Union is strong." It's showmanship. It's a designed cheer and applause line no matter what the real state of the union happens to be at the time. I suspect that, on Tuesday night, our psychopathic 300 pound fartbag of a president will say something to the same effect, maybe even the exact same words, if he is having a good night reading his teleprompter, that is. But, what will happen is anybody's guess. He could say those magic bullshit words. It would be in keeping with his propensity to lie. He is incapable of a true statement. To him, truth is a disease. Even his name isn't his name.

More than likely, "Trump" will say "The state of the Union is strong" and then he will start rambling about how we are strong because of his own tremendousness and magnificence, his deal-making, his leadership, his indisputably stable genius... you know how it goes. He will claim to have "signed more legislation than any previous president"; still not understanding that signing executive orders is not signing legislation. He will say all this and the obsequious republicans in the hall will stand up and stomp and cheer. All the while, Mike Pence will be sitting on the dais in back of Trump praying to his fake Christian god that his boss will just keel over dead right then and there so he can take over the big podium and start bringing his dreams of Christian jihad to full flower at a faster pace. Right next to him will be a smirking Paul Ryan, applauding Trump's every utterance and white power hand gesture, while he also prays for Trump's sudden demise and adds Pence's demise, too; not that he disagrees with anything Trump or Pence say or do, but but because he has his own dreams, the darkest dreams of all dreams.

Yes, Republicans will cheer whatever their beloved leader has to say. They will cheer his batshit insanity as if it is there own, because it is their own. If Trump says we need more pedophiles in government, they will applaud that. If Trump says no more black or brown, no matter how many billions they contribute to our economy, they will of course, applaud that. If, after nodding to Pence, he announces a government taxpayer-funded program of "gay conversion," they will applaud and cheer that; even the self-loathing closet cases among them. If Trump starts talking about closing down public schools and replacing them with Trump Universities, they will applaud that. Selling the Grand Canyon? Yeah, they will applaud that. Yosemite? That, too. Make DACA children build "The Wall" for a dollar a day? Total Republican bliss! Even more deficit-multiplying redistribution of wealth up to the top 1% via more tax scams? C'mon do ya have to ask? The benefits of coal ash and lead in our water? You bet. If Trump says he wants to join with Russia in a new USSR and sell all our resources to Russia for 10 cents on the dollar, they will applaud that, and the TV cameras will pivot to the guest section where they will find a beaming Vladimir Putin. For extra measure, Putin will be flanked by an American porn star on one side and a Russian porn star on the other, all in a display of the new unity.

Then, in a consolation prize nod to China, he will announce that helping Puerto Rico recover is no longer an American problem (not that he ever thought that it was) because Jared has dealt the island to China in return for cash for his New York real estate ventures.

Read more: http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2018/01/midnight-meme-of-day_29.html

Cape Town, South Africa to become first city in the developed world to run out of water

Authorities in South Africa’s drought stricken city of Cape Town are predicting that only 74 days are left until it becomes the first major city in the developed world to run out of water. The countdown to what is being called “Day Zero” is based on calculations for when the water supply in the dams will collectively drop below 13.5 percent, rendering the water system unusable.

While the city has been in a severe drought for three years, the reality of the impending shutdown hit home on January 18 when the mayor announced in a press conference that, “We have reached a point of no return.” The water level currently stands at only 17 percent.

Over the last year, increasingly drastic measures have been taken to delay the water shutoff. Collecting the water used during a shower—known as “grey” water—for reuse, for example, has become common practice. Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said in a statement last week, “No one should be showering more than twice a week at this stage. You need to save water as if your life depends on it because it does.” Dirty cars, and oily hair from limited showers, are now symbols of social responsibility. Signs litter the city reminding residents, “Every drop counts!” and the new slogan adopted for restroom use has become: “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.”

A bucket and jug are essential items for completing every basic task that requires water, including the 90 second showers residents are discouraged from taking. Businesses which provide alternative water sources, such as borehole drilling and rainwater tank suppliers, have waiting lists running into months. The water scarcity has affected nearly every aspect of life.

Read more: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/01/29/cape-j29.html

Gus Kenworthy Agrees That Mike Pence Has No Business Leading the Olympic Delegation

Gay skier Gus Kenworthy agrees with out U.S. figure skater Adam Rippon that homophobic Vice President Mike Pence shouldn’t be leading the Olympic delegation to PyeongChang for the Winter Games next month.

Said Kenworthy to USA Today: “I actually found out about it from Adam Rippon’s quote about it. I feel the same way as him. I think it’s not the person I would have expected, and I think it sends mixed messages because this is the first time we’re seeing out U.S. Olympic athletes competing in the Winter Olympics, and then we have someone leading the delegation that doesn’t support that, and doesn’t support the LGBT community, and has spoken against it. I think it doesn’t send the right message. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is.”

Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/2018/01/gus-kenworthy-mike-pence/ (NSFW)

The full interview: http://ftw.usatoday.com/2018/01/gus-kenworthy-thinks-mike-pence-leading-olympic-delegation-doesnt-send-the-right-message
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