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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: 78,351

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

The Revolution Will Be Localized: National Political Battles Are Reaching Into Dallas Elections

Cold, quiet weekday afternoon. One of my favorite East Dallas sausage and egg places, Barbec’s on Garland Road, is still as the tomb, empty but for this table, where a waitress hovers over five of us with a pot of hot coffee. Here I am, chatting up a table full of communists.

No, I don’t mean East Dallas guitar instructors. I mean communists. These people are members of the Socialist Workers Party. One of them, Alyson Kennedy, is running for mayor of Dallas. She’s the one who tells me I can call her a communist or a socialist.

“I kind of use them interchangeably,” she says. “I don’t think there’s much difference.”

Except for one thing. She does not want to be confused with the better-known socialist who ran for president in 2016: “When we tell people we’re Socialist Workers Party,” she says, “some people say, ‘Oh, you’re Bernie Sanders.’ So we explain we’re not like Bernie Sanders.

Read more: https://www.dallasobserver.com/news/dysfunction-in-washington-gives-dallas-mayoral-race-added-importance-11535170

Civics testing debated; public pension privacy advances

Sen. Julie Slama introduced the civics education proposal, which would require schools to give students the same 100 question test new citizens have to pass. Slama, who’s 22, said she’s already forgotten a lot of what she learned in high school. However, she added “Civic education is a different story. I’ve used that knowledge every day since high school, in everything from reading the newspaper to voting in elections.”

“While not all students will strive to be an elected official, we should be giving them the basic knowledge and education to be informed citizens,” Slama said.

Doug Kagan of Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom supported the proposal, and gave an example of what he thinks is wrong with current civics education efforts. “Those who intend to destroy our way of life depend very much on the ignorance of our youth to create future generations of automatons, ready and even eager to embrace oppressive ideologies,” Kagan said. “Yes, socialism appeals to some of our youth because they think it a great way to get free stuff,” he added.

Slama’s proposal updates an existing law on the teaching of “Americanism.” It would have schools teach quote “the dangers and fallacies of forms of government that restrict individual freedoms or possess antidemocratic ideals such as, but not limited to, Nazism and communism.” After another supporter, S. Wayne Smith, suggested adding socialism to the list, Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks asked, why he wasn’t adding fascism as well. Smith agreed that would be a good idea.

Read more: http://netnebraska.org/article/news/1161241/civics-testing-debated-public-pension-privacy-advances

Senator says push to put 'In God We Trust' in public schools isn't about religion

"In God We Trust" first appeared on United States currency in 1864, at the height of the Civil War, before it was adopted as the national motto during the advent of the Cold War in 1956.

The text, which is part of the little-sung fourth verse of the "Star-Spangled Banner," appears in the U.S. House of Representatives and on the outside of the U.S. Senate chamber.

It didn't appear in impossible-to-miss, giant block lettering above the Adams County Treasurer's Office in Hastings until late 2018, however.

"I think, for the most part, everyone's been fine with it," said Melanie Curry, who just began a second term as the Adams County treasurer.

Read more: https://journalstar.com/news/local/education/senator-says-push-to-put-in-god-we-trust-in/article_7839a4ee-1ecb-5a2c-8dd5-c69964c5e9b1.html

Atheists, non-believers say 'In God We Trust' has no place in Nebraska classrooms

Call it an act of God — or don't — that a Tuesday snowstorm kept would-be testifiers on a bill requiring "In God We Trust" from filling up the Legislature's Education Committee hearing room.

In a marathon 2 1/2-hour hearing, all but two of the dozen people who testified on the first day of committee work called Sen. Steve Erdman's bill (LB73) a naked attempt to inject religion into Nebraska's public school system.

Erdman's proposal would require the national motto adopted by Congress in 1956 to be hung in all classrooms or school common areas.

It also allows schools to solicit private donations for the project, and, through an amendment, gives schools the option to ask the Nebraska Attorney General to defend them in court if they are sued over the signage rather than requiring the attorney general's participation.

Read more: https://journalstar.com/news/local/education/atheists-non-believers-say-in-god-we-trust-has-no/article_4e141ce5-8162-52bd-ad66-15ecb1795b60.html

Kansas lawmaker sues The Star, contributing columnist Steve Rose for defamation

TOPEKA -- Kansas Senate Republican Leader Jim Denning is suing The Kansas City Star and contributing columnist Steve Rose, alleging Rose falsely attributed statements to him about his views on Medicaid expansion.

Denning, of Overland Park, also released emails showing that Rose offered to resign as columnist if Denning’s office dropped its inquiry into comments that Rose attributed to Denning.

“The Kansas City Star has been made aware of a lawsuit filed in response to a column written by Steve Rose and published on Jan. 26,” said Colleen McCain Nelson, editorial page editor and vice president of The Star. “The column has been removed from kansascity.com while The Star investigates. Mr. Rose was a guest columnist and was not an employee of The Kansas City Star.”

Denning filed the lawsuit on Monday in Johnson County District Court. In his complaint, he alleges one count of defamation, saying that Rose and The Star knew the comments attributed to him were false and that he has been exposed to public hatred, contempt and ridicule. Attached to the suit as an exhibit is a profanity-laced email sent to Denning.

Read more here: https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article225208765.html

Kansas drops Kris Kobach's appeal of contempt ruling, ACLU accepts $20,000 for legal fees

The Kansas attorney general said Tuesday the state agreed to drop former Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s appeal of a federal court judge’s contempt order in exchange for the American Civil Liberties Union accepting only $20,000 for attorney fees and expenses.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt said the negotiated deal reduced from $26,200 the state’s obligation to the ACLU. U.S. District Court Judge Julie Robinson had found Kobach in contempt of court while he was serving as secretary of state in Kansas. Robinson sanctioned Kobach for failure to comply with her instructions.

Mediation involving ACLU lawyers and the attorney general’s office Jan. 25 also led to dismissal of Kobach’s appeal of the contempt ruling. It didn’t alter status of the state’s appeal of Robinson’s underlying election law decision, which found Kansas’ proof-of-citizenship statute unconstitutional.

The $20,000 payment to the ACLU must be drawn from accounts at the secretary of state’s office led by Scott Schwab, who was elected in November to replace Kobach. In January, Kobach left the statewide office after losing the 2018 campaign for governor.

Read more: https://www.cjonline.com/news/20190129/kansas-drops-kris-kobachs-appeal-of-contempt-ruling-aclu-accepts-20000-for-legal-fees

Kansas Gov. Kelly Goes With Medicaid Expansion Plan That Almost Worked Before

Kansas Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s Medicaid expansion proposal is a retread.

It’s virtually the same bill that former Republican Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed in 2017.

An attempt to override that veto in the House failed, but only by three votes.

A bipartisan working group appointed by Kelly to provide “input” met once and decided against making any major changes.

In a statement Tuesday announcing the release of her bill, Kelly said it was “long past time” to expand eligibility for KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program. The proposal would provide health coverage to an additional 150,000 low-income, disabled, and elderly Kansans starting in January of 2020.

Read more: https://www.kcur.org/post/kansas-gov-kelly-goes-medicaid-expansion-plan-almost-worked#stream/0

Kansas Cost-Cutting Forced Kids Who Need Urgent Psych Care Onto Waitlists

Nicole Nesmith’s voice shakes a little when she recalls the night her child, Phoenix, revealed a painful secret.

“Phoenix got really quiet and was like, ‘I have something to tell you and I’m really sorry I didn’t tell you sooner, but I’ve been cutting for about a month now.’”

Nesmith was working on a social work degree, so she was familiar with self-harming — she just hadn’t expected to deal with it so close to home.

Phoenix’s confession started a cycle familiar to families who have kids with severe mental illness — therapy, crisis hospitalizations, medication, more therapy, new meds when the old ones stopped working well, more hospitalizations.

Read more: https://www.kcur.org/post/kansas-cost-cutting-forced-kids-who-need-urgent-psych-care-waitlists#stream/0

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Donald Trump's Shutdown Defeat & Roger Stone's Arrest

Not just teachers: Lawmakers want to consider education policy, too

Educators are going into the legislative session that begins Monday looking for more money.

Lawmakers, though, may be more inclined to first look closer at the money already allocated to schools.

There may well be more money for common education by adjournment in May. It may not be the $400 million for pay raises and school operations or the 8 percent cost of living increase for retirees the Oklahoma Education Association says it wants, but lawmakers seem to think it’ll be something.

Sen. Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, chairman of the Senate Education Committee and the Senate’s senior member, said he hopes to get common ed half of whatever new money is available for the coming budget year. But the final revenue estimate isn’t due until Feb. 20, and appropriations bills usually aren’t even introduced until the late stages of the session.

Read more: https://www.tulsaworld.com/homepagelatest/not-just-teachers-lawmakers-want-to-consider-education-policy-too/article_7c0cbf87-775d-5bfd-b731-9977b31183f4.html

Oklahoma City apartment complex lost $200,000, laid off employees due to the government shutdown

A northwest Oklahoma City apartment complex that offered free rent to furloughed Federal Aviation Administration students during the partial government shutdown says it lost $200,000 in profits and was forced to lay off at least 20 employees as a result.

“It's been extremely difficult,” said Kristy Koon, general manager at Isola Bella Apartments. “We've had to do that and cut hours because at the end of the day, we have bills also. That was a very, very hard decision.”

When parts of the federal government shut down Dec. 22, the FAA Academy in southwest Oklahoma City was among the casualties. Students from around the country, training to be air traffic controllers, were furloughed and told to go home without pay.

Isola Bella, which caters to FAA Academy students, offered to let them live rent-free during the shutdown. Koon assumed at the time, as many in Washington did, that the shutdown would not last long. Instead, it stretched on for more than a month.

Read more: https://newsok.com/article/5621250/oklahoma-city-apartment-complex-lost-200000-laid-off-employees-due-to-the-government-shutdown
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