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TexasTowelie

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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: 78,357

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

O'Rourke unveils criminal justice reform plan

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke would end mass incarceration by repealing portions of the 1994 crime bill and investing $500 million into a pilot program to develop alternatives to incarceration, his campaign said in a plan released Monday.

The former Texas congressman focuses on ending mass incarceration while reforming the criminal justice system to prioritize rehabilitation.

“It’s unacceptable that America, the home of the free, locks up more of our own than any other country on the face of the planet, as we continue to have the world’s largest prison population — disproportionately comprised of people of color,” O’Rourke said.
In addition to calling for a repeal of portions of the 1994 crime bill, O’Rourke said he would ban private, for-profit prison systems and end the cash bail system.

O’Rourke joins many of his fellow 2020 candidates in calling for the private-prison ban, including former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

Read more: https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/467683-orourke-unveils-criminal-justice-reform-plan

O'Rourke unveils criminal justice reform plan

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke would end mass incarceration by repealing portions of the 1994 crime bill and investing $500 million into a pilot program to develop alternatives to incarceration, his campaign said in a plan released Monday.

The former Texas congressman focuses on ending mass incarceration while reforming the criminal justice system to prioritize rehabilitation.

“It’s unacceptable that America, the home of the free, locks up more of our own than any other country on the face of the planet, as we continue to have the world’s largest prison population — disproportionately comprised of people of color,” O’Rourke said.
In addition to calling for a repeal of portions of the 1994 crime bill, O’Rourke said he would ban private, for-profit prison systems and end the cash bail system.

O’Rourke joins many of his fellow 2020 candidates in calling for the private-prison ban, including former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

Read more: https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/467683-orourke-unveils-criminal-justice-reform-plan

In chat at Creighton, Bob Kerrey challenges notion of secularism being 'the enemy of religion'

Religion is not the sole path to morality for people or society, former U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey told a Creighton University audience Tuesday night.

Kerrey, a Democrat who was governor of Nebraska and represented the state in the U.S. Senate, challenged the notion recently espoused by U.S. Attorney General William Barr that nonreligious people are out to destroy morality in the country.

Kerrey quoted Winston Churchill, who was asked why he rarely attended church. Churchill said he was like a buttress to the church. “I support it from the outside,” Kerrey quoted Churchill as saying.

Kerrey spoke Tuesday night at Creighton’s Harper Center, his first talk at Creighton since his invitation to give the commencement address in the spring provoked Republican outrage. Some Republican leaders said it would be wrong for a pro-choice speaker to give the commencement address at the Catholic-affiliated university.

Read more: https://www.omaha.com/news/local/in-chat-at-creighton-bob-kerrey-challenges-notion-of-secularism/article_80fe25ec-ef9c-5cb0-9a29-153f93e36492.html

Forecast of state tax revenues gets $266 million rosier, setting off budget battles

LINCOLN — Gov. Pete Ricketts declared Thursday that new, rosier predictions of state tax revenues should allow property tax relief to move “full steam ahead” next year.

But others said lawmakers need to weigh the best uses for the $266 million added to projected state revenue for the current budget period.

“Property tax is a huge issue in Nebraska, but I also think we have to look at other priorities we have in this state,” said State Sen. Robert Hilkemann of Omaha, an Appropriations Committee member. “How can we be good stewards of this money?”

The Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board set the stage for a 2020 budget battle by increasing its prediction for Nebraska tax revenue for the two-year budget period ending June 30, 2021.

Read more: https://www.omaha.com/news/state_and_regional/forecast-of-state-tax-revenues-gets-million-rosier-setting-off/article_6da127ae-6d2d-5a1c-8286-2c5db4eae1da.html

Proposed Medicaid expansion plan released today raises significant concerns

LINCOLN—Today, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services released their proposed plan for implementing Medicaid expansion, a Section 1115 waiver known as the Heritage Health Adult Program. The proposed waiver includes a two-tiered benefits system, work and wellness requirements, and changes to retroactive eligibility.

“Nebraskans are needlessly waiting for lifesaving coverage while the Department chooses to experiment with a Section 1115 waiver that is incredibly confusing and imposes additional barriers and reduced benefits. It is especially concerning that work requirements have been included in this proposal, especially when work requirements have been shown to be expensive, burdensome, and legally suspect.” said Molly McCleery, Nebraska Appleseed’s Health Care Access Program Director. “Nebraskans voted to implement Medicaid expansion with their neighbors, friends, and family in mind. It’s time to honor the vote of the people and swiftly begin the program without barriers or unnecessary experiments.”

For the next month, Nebraskans have the opportunity to raise their concerns on the proposed waiver at public hearings held across Nebraska and through written comments. The hearings are at the following times and locations:

Tuesday, October 29 in Scottsbluff: Scottsbluff High School, Board Room (313 E. 27th St.), 7-8:30pm MT
Wednesday, October 30 in Kearney: Kearney Public Library, South Platte Room (2020 1st Ave.), 6:45-8:15pm CT
Thursday, November 7 in Norfolk: Norfolk Public Library, Meeting Room A (308 W Prospect Ave.) 6-7:30pm CT
Tuesday, November 12 in Omaha: UNO College of Public Affairs and Community Service, Room 132 (6320 Maverick Plaza), 7-8:30pm CT

Read more: https://neappleseed.org/blog/28530

At Omaha event, Pelosi says impeachment inquiry is about the Constitution

OMAHA — "This is about our Constitution," Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told Nebraska Democrats.

"About our Constitution — and the facts."

The current House impeachment inquiry is "not about whether you like or disagree with" President Donald Trump, Pelosi told an overflow crowd of more than 1,000 Democrats who gathered in Omaha for the party's annual fundraising celebration on Saturday night.

"We take an oath to protect the USA from all enemies, foreign and domestic," Pelosi said.

And the time has come, she said, to recall Benjamin Franklin's words to a woman who inquired at the close of the constitutional convention of 1787 whether the framers had given Americans a republic or a monarchy.

"A republic, if you can keep it," Franklin responded.

Read more: https://journalstar.com/news/state-and-regional/federal-politics/at-omaha-event-pelosi-says-impeachment-inquiry-is-about-the/article_20e46f8e-55f5-5a9b-857a-13c01fc6c856.html
(Lincoln Journal Star)

Local elections are nonpartisan by law. So why is the Republican Party campaigning?

Wichita’s local elections are supposed to be nonpartisan, but that hasn’t stopped the local Republican Party from reminding voters who its favored candidates are.

Splashed across the top of a mailer sent out earlier this week by the Sedgwick County Republican party is a message: “Let’s re-elect Republican Mayor Jeff Longwell.”

Lest there be any doubt, the mailer says “Paid for by Sedgwick County Republican Party.”

Longwell is in what is expected to be a close race against Rep. Brandon Whipple, a Democrat.

Longwell isn’t the only Republican in the race. Fellow Republican Lyndy Wells, who was narrowly defeated in the primary by Whipple, is running a late-addition write-in campaign.

Read more: https://www-1.kansas.com/news/politics-government/election/article236602668.html

Chanute hospital CEO: Kansas needs Medicaid expansion, not more donation pickle jars

Chanute hospital administrator Dennis Franks bore witness to consequences of crushing poverty and serious illness among uninsured patients in southeast Kansas.

“They put big jars out at gas stations asking for help,” Franks told state legislators. “If you need a lung transplant, you put a pickle jar out and maybe, if you’re lucky, you might get your transplant.”

Questions about access to affordable, quality health care in rural areas of the state drew considerable attention this week during two days of meetings by a special Kansas Senate committee exploring ideas for securing health insurance for low-income Kansans through expansion of Medicaid eligibility or adjustment of the private insurance marketplace. The committee agreed to forward a bill aimed at both goals to the 2020 Legislature.

Franks, chief executive officer of Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center, said the facility absorbed $6 million annually in charity or uncompensated health care costs. He said Neosho County has a poverty rate of 20.7%, compared to a state average of 12.8%. People worked multiple jobs in that part of southeast Kansas, he said, but many still couldn’t afford health insurance.

Read more: https://www.cjonline.com/news/20191025/chanute-hospital-ceo-kansas-needs-medicaid-expansion-not-more-donation-pickle-jars
(Topeka Capital-Journal)

Presidential candidate Julian Castro vows to be 'fearless and bold' in quest

KEOKUK, Iowa — It’s 13 minutes into his town hall in the city perched between the Des Moines and Mississippi rivers that borders Illinois, and Julian Castro has the crowd enthralled.

Not because of any fist-waving histrionics, but actually the opposite: a personal story about his mother struggling to raise him and his brother as a single parent.

“In 1985, I would have been about 11 years old, taking the bus with my mom and my brother to get a wig for my mom because all of her hair had fallen out and the doctors didn’t know why,” he said. “They ultimately told her that it was stress related.”

The 45-year-old Democratic presidential candidate from Texas — perhaps because he’s gone too deep? — pulls back from that memory and offers a joke: “Fortunately for her it took a long time for it to get to gray when she got it back.”

Read more: https://www.cjonline.com/news/20191026/contenders-presidential-candidate-julian-castro-vows-to-be-fearless-and-bold-in-quest
(Topeka Capital-Journal)

Rural Kansas Loves Its Hospitals, But Keeping Them Open Only Gets Harder

ANTHONY, Kansas — Few things signal a rural community’s decline more powerfully than the closure of its hospital.

Like shuttered schools and empty Main Streets, an abandoned hospital serves as a tangible reminder of the erosive power of decades of population loss and unrelenting economic trends.

“Our rural communities are challenged and, because of that, our small hospitals are challenged as well,” said Tom Bell, the head of the Kansas Hospital Association. “It’s sort of a chicken-and-egg thing.”

In just the last 15 years, 160 of the nation’s rural hospitals have closed, including six in Kansas.

Read more: https://www.kcur.org/post/rural-kansas-loves-its-hospitals-keeping-them-open-only-gets-harder#stream/0
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