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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: 78,485

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

Green Mountain College to close at the end of the year

Green Mountain College officials announced Wednesday that the school would close at the end of the academic year due to declining enrollments.

The Poultney school also announced that Prescott College in Arizona has agreed to enroll students who want to finish out their degrees in the same area of study. The two schools are founding members of the EcoLeague consortium of environmentally-focused colleges.

Seven other schools, including three in Vermont, have agreed to “teach-out” agreements, which allow students to automatically enroll and finish their degrees, according to a public relations consultant representing the college.

Just next door in Rutland county, Castleton University has already organized information sessions this weekend for students who want to transfer. Marlboro College and Sterling College will participate in the “teach-out” plan.

Read more: https://vtdigger.org/2019/01/23/green-mountain-college-close-end-year/

Citizen lobbyists enter Maine's halls of power to represent the poor

Twelve volunteers with the Maine People’s Alliance, ranging from seniors to college students, stood Thursday morning in the busy hallway that connects the Senate and House chambers of the Maine State House, waiting for their chance to speak to lawmakers about where they stand on a proposed earned paid sick days bill that will be voted on this legislative session.

Some have nicknamed this hallway “the gauntlet,” as lawmakers must make their way past a line of reporters, advocates and lobbyists, each asking for a minute of their time, before they can enter the Senate and House chambers.

Many of these lobbyists are paid advocates for powerful corporations or interest groups.

“The biggest difference between corporate, paid lobbyists and citizen lobbyists is that they have direct experience with the issues they are talking about — whether it is having worked a job for minimum wage, or worked a job without benefits, or what it actually feels like to not have health insurance,” said Gen Lysen, an organizer with MPA, (which operates Beacon). “While the paid lobbyists probably have not had experience directly on any of those issues.”

Read more: https://mainebeacon.com/citizen-lobbyists-enter-maines-halls-of-power-to-represent-the-poor/

Maine House special election candidate has made racist and misogynist posts

Last week, Thomas White won the Republican Party’s nomination for the special election in House District 124, which includes parts of Bangor and Orono. White, a recent graduate of Maine Maritime Academy, is running for office for the first time but he isn’t new to politics. He has been an early and outspoken supporter of candidate and President Donald Trump.

White seems to have internalized some of Trump’s most vicious rhetoric, and in some cases has taken it a step farther. Screenshots of posts he has made to Facebook over the past few years show him using caustic language to attack some of the president and the alt-right’s favorite targets.

Last year White shared a post calling the #metoo movement “the weaponization of victimhood,” comparing it to the Salem Witch Trials. He blamed the allegations of sexual assault leveled against then-Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh on “the mob mentality of the left” and called Kavanaugh’s accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, “a [sic] emotionally unstable woman.”

Feminism is a common topic for White, who has shared several posts attacking feminist beliefs, including questioning the manhood of men who consider themselves feminists or support progressive politicians. In July of last year he shared a graphic criticizing women who have abortions for “escaping the consequences of your choices by taking all choices away from another human being.”

Read more: https://mainebeacon.com/maine-house-special-election-candidate-has-made-racist-and-misogynist-posts/

$115 million nuclear contract draws scrutiny on Perry; ties to Russia

WASHINGTON — Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s decision to award a $115 million no-bid contract to develop an advanced nuclear enrichment facility in Ohio is drawing scrutiny from Senate Republicans.

The Department of Energy said this month it would award the contract to Centrus Energy, a former government-owned contractor that ceased enrichment operations in 2013 before declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

In a letter to Perry this week, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said the company had a mixed history in fulfilling federal contracts for nuclear fuel and questioned whether the money it received would end up supporting the Russian state-owned firm TENEX, from which Centrus buys enriched uranium.

“This contract appears to use American taxpayer funding to bailout Centrus, an unsuccessful business that relies on commercial relationships with Russian state-owned corporations to stay in business,” Barrasso wrote. “Congress did not authorize or fund this project.”

Read more: https://www.chron.com/business/energy/article/115-million-nuclear-contract-draws-scrutiny-on-13562022.php

Historic buildings at Sam Houston Park in Houston need care

HOUSTON -- The 10 historic buildings of Sam Houston Park have long seemed exceptional in a town that has never shown respect for its past.

The Houston Chronicle reports including homes of various styles and a charming church, all restored and furnished in the styles of their eras, they serve as the primary exhibition spaces for a collection of more than 23,000 historic artifacts.

But their future is now in jeopardy because the nonprofit charged with their upkeep is struggling to stay afloat.

The Heritage Society manages the 19th and early 20th century treasures, which are owned by the city, and also maintains five other city-owned buildings in the park, including its museum.

Read more here: https://www.star-telegram.com/news/state/texas/article224970885.html

Texas Health Resources begins layoffs, expects to cut more than 700 employees

Fort Worth -- Texas Health Resources announced Thursday that the system began laying off 3 percent of its workforce.

According to a news release, Texas Health employs more than 24,000 people, and the layoffs won’t be centered at one hospital or location. That means around 720 people will be let go.

“While we regret having to take these actions, we want to be clear that onlay a small number of employees were affected,” Chief People Officer Michelle Kirby said in a release. “There are job opportunities in other areas of Texas Health and we have a long track record of placing impacted employees in other roles in our system. We are working hard to do so for these individuals.”

According to the system’s quarterly financial reports submitted to Becker’s Hospital CFO Report, Texas Health ended the first three quarters of 2018 with net income of $333.4 million, a 45 percent drop from the $605.3 million in net income from the first three quarters in 2017.

Read more here: https://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/article225053350.html

After Stone arrest, is Mueller probe targeting Austin's Alex Jones?

“Alex, I can say I’ve had better moments, better mornings.”

With that, Roger Stone, the latest target of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, began an exclusive interview Friday morning with Alex Jones, the Austin-based conspiracy theorist who was in the middle of the biggest story in the country.

Stone works for Jones, helped elect President Donald Trump and introduced Trump to Jones to their mutual benefit.

“This is the most epic thing I’ve ever been involved in,” Jones said.

It was Stone’s first interview after his predawn arrest by what looked like more than two dozen FBI agents accompanied by a CNN camera crew at his Fort Lauderdale, Fla., home.

Read more: https://www.statesman.com/news/20190125/after-stone-arrest-is-mueller-probe-targeting-austins-alex-jones

Georgetown psychiatric hospital facing whistleblower lawsuit, state fine

Nicola Seahorn was working at Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute when she saw video that showed an employee punching a patient in the face.

It was June 2018 and Seahorn, then the clinical services director, had been at the facility for just a few months. But she was already worried about patient care.

So when she learned a male staffer had hit a young patient, Seahorn said she called state regulators.

Two weeks later, she was fired. Seahorn filed a whistleblower lawsuit that details the incident, and said she’d been axed for reporting the hospital to authorities.

Read more: https://www.statesman.com/news/20190124/psychiatric-hospital-facing-whistleblower-lawsuit-state-fine

As it ponders where to put a Confederate plaque, a Texas state board faces backlash for removing it

By Alex Samuels, Texas Tribune

What started Friday as a public State Preservation Board hearing on where to place a controversial Confederate plaque that was recently removed from the Texas Capitol quickly turned into a heated debate over whether the marker should’ve been taken down in the first place.

Two weeks prior, the board voted unanimously to remove the “Children of the Confederacy Creed” plaque, which falsely states that the Civil War was “not a rebellion, nor was its underlying cause to sustain slavery,” from its location near the Capitol rotunda.

The board did not determine a final location for the plaque Friday, but unanimously voted in favor of a motion to temporarily store the plaque in the Capitol collection — which consists of artifacts from the Capitol and state history — and allow a 90-day period for public comment on where the plaque should end up.

Many who testified at the hearing, however, took issue with the fact that the six-member board, chaired by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, voted in favor of removing the plaque — and did so without seeking public testimony on the matter.

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2019/01/25/texas-state-board-faces-backlash-removing-confederate-plaque/

Texas officials flag tens of thousands of voters for citizenship checks

By Alexa Ura, Texas Tribune

The Texas secretary of state's office announced Friday it would send local election officials a list of 95,000 registered voters who the state says counties should consider checking to see whether they are U.S. citizens and, therefore, legally eligible to vote.

In an advisory released Friday afternoon, the office said it was flagging individuals who had provided the Texas Department of Public Safety with some form of documentation — including a work visa or a green card — that showed they were not a citizen when they were obtaining a driver’s license or an ID card. Among the individuals flagged, about 58,000 individuals cast a ballot in one or more elections from 1996 to 2018, the secretary of state's office said.

It’s unclear exactly how many of those individuals are not actually U.S. citizens and whether that number will be available in the future. In its notice to counties, the secretary of state's office said the names should be considered "WEAK" matches, using all capital letters for emphasis.

That means counties may now choose to investigate the eligibility of the individuals who were flagged, which would require them to send a notice asking for proof of citizenship within 30 days, or take no action. By law, the counties aren't allowed to automatically revoke a voter's registration without sending out such a notice.

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2019/01/25/texas-flags-tens-thousands-voters-citizenship-check/
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