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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: 85,804

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

Austin Restaurant Blames Obamacare For Margarita Prices

This story starts, as many do, with a tweet. A customer was at the Salty Sow and noticed a troubling item on the drink menu: the “Obama Care Margarita.”

David J. Neff @daveiam
Hey @SaltySow what's up w the @FoxNews sponsored menu crap? Really?

One tweet led to another, and soon, Eater Austin reported, Austinites were vowing to boycott the establishment and all of their tasty drinks.

JJ @jenztweets
@daveiam @SaltySow I guess they don’t like having to look out for their employees’ wellbeing.

Charles Potato Pie @charlesv
@daveiam @glasswar yikes - guess I'm not going to @saltysow again

The original tweet garnered over thirty responses, at least one of which expressed frustration with all of the fuss over a joke:

James Cameron @jcsie
Are people truly mad at the salty sow for a bad joke about Obamacare? So much for anyone in Austin having a sense of humor.

But clearly, the Salty Sow wasn’t going to take any chances with the previously mentioned humorless clientelle. They issued an apology (and took to Twitter, to cover all of their bases) after removing the drink from their menu. The Salty Sow said:

On last night’s menu, we made a tongue-in-cheek reference to a hot button topic. We apologized to those who were offended and have removed it from the menu.

Read more: http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/23772/austin-restaurant-blames-obamacare-margarita-prices

The real Thanksgiving story

By Caro Gonzales (Chemehuevi) and Brian Ward

EVERY YEAR, Americans sit down at the dinner table to celebrate feasts of friendship and cooperation. We make crafts in school, we eat pumpkin pie, we watch football, and we feel incredible love for our country. However, there's a side of Thanksgiving that we aren't taught.

Thanksgiving is a U.S. holiday that continues to perpetuate the myth of the discovery of America. Usually, folks think of the Pilgrims, also known as Puritans, and Indians sitting together at a table, peacefully sharing a meal, but this pleasant story is a half-truth at best.

Thanksgiving became a federal holiday in 1863, but it really began to be a firm, albeit not national, holiday during the presidency of George Washington--a president elected for his leadership as a general during the American Revolution. During the revolution, many Natives sided with the British out of fear of that a new central government on the continent would seek to expand.

Washington, like many early American military leaders, gained experience fighting Native Nations. Washington was also a land speculator and, upon independence, immediately started planning Westward expansion and land theft.

Read more: http://socialistworker.org/2014/11/26/the-real-thanksgiving-story

Will The Republicans Impeach Obama If He Moves Unilaterally To Stop Wage Theft?

The poll last week by NBC and the Wall Street Journal confirmed that most Americans support a progressive vision of our country beyond what the fractured, sclerotic Beltway Establishment Democrats have the guts to push-- and on another planet from the reactionary Republican vision of a mean, crabbed country divided in perpetual class war. 82% want to lower the cost of student debt. 75% want to spend more money on infrastructure. 65% want to raise the minimum wage. 59% support addressing climate change by limiting carbon emissions. Conservatives and Wall Street whores oppose all of these things. Only a third of Americans back the conservative push to raise the Social Security retirement age to 69 and only 41% want the Federal government to stop funding Obamacare, core Republican agenda items backed by more than a few from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party.

There isn't much President Obama can do to do about the progressive things, although it's likely he'll veto two years worth of Republican efforts to further annihilate the middle class with their Koch-inspired ideological extremism. But there is another piece of the progressive puzzle that Obama can and should move on unilaterally, one that has widespread support from the American people: overtime pay. "With a stroke of the pen," wrote venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, "President Obama can make sure you get what you earned, without any congressional action at all. If it feels like you're struggling harder than your parents did, working longer hours for less money, it's because you are. Meanwhile, a handful of capitalists like me are growing wealthy beyond our parents' wildest dreams."

When I first got into the workforce, over 65% of salaried workers earned overtime pay-- today, just 11% do. Overtime was a fact of life... a good fact of life and I used to relish those awesome time-and-a-half bumps in my paychecks when they came. Now workers are looking an an entirely different phenomenon, wage theft, "which occurs when an employer withholds pay rightfully earned by an hourly worker. It happens in a variety of ways, from not paying for overtime, to denying mandated breaks, to subtracting hours from employees' weekly total."

A recent poll commissioned by labor group Fast Food Forward estimates that a stunning 89 percent of fast-food workers have experienced at least one form of wage theft. A previous study, conducted in the first half of 2008 before the recession, found 68 percent of low-wage workers had been victims of wage theft in their previous work week, and estimated that wage theft cost workers an average of $2,634 annually.

...Wage theft can become increasingly common in times of high unemployment, experts say. "When people are desperate for jobs, they're afraid to risk them by taking on their boss," said Ross Eisenbrey, of the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank.

And because the amounts of wages being withheld are often small, it can be hard for a low-wage worker to find an attorney willing to take their case.

For their part, fast-food managers are under "tremendous pressure" to keep labor costs low, especially when sales are sluggish, said Nelson Lichtenstein, the director of the Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy at the University of California Santa Barbara.

Companies may also engage in the practice when the risk of getting caught is low. There aren't nearly enough U.S. Department of Labor investigators to enforce the laws, said Gebreselassie. He added, "The chance any worksite will be investigated is miniscule."

Nevertheless, the issue of wage theft has been getting increased attention in recent months. In March, the owner of seven McDonald's restaurants in New York was ordered to pay almost $500,000 to more than 1,000 employees who performed work off the clock and had other pay illegally withheld.

Now back to our friendly, enlightened capitalist Nick Hanauer and his suggestion to President Obama to remedy this without letting conservatives stand in the way. He;s working with DFA, which has a petition you can sign if you agree. Hanauer wants the Department of Labor to simply raise the overtime threshold to $69,000. In other words, if you earn $69,000 or less, the law would require that you be paid time-and-a-half for every hour worked over 40 hours a week.

See more at: http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2014/11/will-republicans-impeach-obama-if-he.html

Court: Drawing DWI suspect blood without warrant unconstitutional

It’s unconstitutional for police officers to draw the blood of drunken driving suspects without a warrant, an appeals court has found.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals concluded Wednesday that the nonconsensual search of a DWI suspect’s blood without a warrant violates the Fourth Amendment, which protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Police officials did not immediately respond to questions about the ruling Wednesday, but during past no-refusal weekends, a magistrate judge has been available to sign warrants for officers wanting to draw blood from a suspect.

The decision comes after the state filed an appeal challenging a decision by the trial court and another appeals court to suppress the analysis of a blood sample taken from David Villarreal when he was arrested and charged with DWI in 2012 in Nueces County.

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/news/crime-law/court-drawing-dwi-suspect-blood-without-warrant-un/njGYD/

Family of slain University of Incarnate Word student win preliminary court battle (killed by police)

Cameron Redus

SAN ANTONIO -- A federal judge handed the family if slain University of the Incarnate Word student Robert Cameron Redus a partial victory Tuesday when he ruled during a pre-trial hearing that their wrongful death lawsuit should return to state district court.

Redus, 23, was fatally shot outside his Alamo Heights apartment in December by Cpl. Christopher Carter, a campus police officer who said he followed the student after noticing erratic driving along Broadway.

Redus’ family filed a lawsuit in state district court earlier this year against the university and the officer. But the university had pushed for the litigation to be decided in federal court. Its lawyers argued that the suit belongs there because the student’s family allege that his civil rights were violated.

Senior U.S. District Judge David Alan Ezra disagreed with the university, telling the parties Tuesday that the allegations against the university and the officer “don’t give rise to a federal cause of action.”

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/crime/article/Family-of-slain-UIW-student-win-preliminary-court-5916965.php

Related Threads:
Additional toxicology ordered in Redus case (University of Incarnate Ward slain by police officer)

University of Incarnate Word: Student slain by campus officer was irresponsible

Family of Cameron Redus files wrongful death lawsuit against University of Incarnate Word, officer

Autopsy: UIW student shot in the back

Univ. of the Incarnate Word police officer involved in fatal shooting of student in traffic stop

Hundreds in Austin join Ferguson protests across the nation

Angry chants of “Hands up, don’t shoot” permeated the air at Austin police headquarters as hundreds of protesters gathered Tuesday evening in response to a grand jury’s decision Monday not to indict the white police officer responsible for the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., earlier this year.

Unlike the reaction in Ferguson – where protests turned violent, cars and buildings have been set on fire, and hundreds of National Guard troops were deployed – Austin police said the demonstration was always peaceful.

Read more: http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/hundreds-in-austin-join-ferguson-protests-across-t/njGFG/ (subscription required)

Photo gallery: http://www.statesman.com/gallery/news/local/austinites-protest-ferguson-decision-112514/gCPjs/

Karla Held/FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN. The crowd at the protest for the Ferguson ruling at the Austin Police Department Tuesday evening, November 25, 2014.

Ferguson protests close Interstate 35 near downtown Dallas

Photo: Julie Fancher
Interstate 35 traffic was closed in both directions Tuesday after Ferguson protesters marched onto the highway.


More than 100 protesters made their way to Interstate 35 as the Ferguson protests continued Tuesday night.

Dozens of people stood in the middle of the interstate near downtown with signs and chanting, as the highway was closed about 9:30 p.m.

The Dallas crowd continues to chant “No justice, no peace.”

Dallas police are struggling to control the crowd.

Read more: http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2014/11/dozens-gather-peacefully-to-pray-for-ferguson-mo.html/

GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson deems Ted Cruz “too right wing”

WASHINGTON – There are donors, and then there are megadonors. On Monday, Sen. Ted Cruz got some quality time with a GOP financier in a league of his own: casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

Cruz sat next to the Las Vegas billionaire Sunday night at the Zionist Organization of America dinner in New York. The next morning, according to the New York Observer, they met privately for two hours at the Palace Hotel.

“According to one source close to Mr. Adelson, the casino owner liked Mr. Cruz but found the senator `too right wing’ and concluded he is a longshot to win the nomination,” the Observer reported.

With a net worth of $32.4 billion, Adelson is the 12th wealthiest American on Forbes’ list. He would be a great friend for any presidential aspirant to have. In 2012, he and his wife Miriam Adelson gave $92.8 million to GOP causes and candidates. Almost single handedly, he bankrolled former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s effort. Any number of 2016 hopefuls have been courting him in what has been dubbed the “Sheldon primary.”

Read more: http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2014/11/report-gop-megadonor-sheldon-adelson-deems-ted-cruz-too-right-wing.html/

Former TCU student gets 4 months in jail for overdose death of T. Boone Pickens’ grandson

A former TCU student who faced a murder charge in the overdose death of the grandson of billionaire T. Boone Pickens has been sentenced to 10 years’ probation as part of a plea deal.

Brennan Trainor Rodriguez, 23, pleaded guilty Monday to delivery of a controlled substance resulting in death of 21-year-old Thomas “Ty” Boone Pickens IV, the Tarrant County district attorney’s office said. Authorities say Rodriguez injected heroin into Pickens’ arm.

Rodriguez must serve four months in jail as part of the agreement for deferred adjudication probation.

“This agreement was reached after considering all the facts and consulting with the family,” prosecutor Kevin Rousseau said in a written release. “No outcome can give them back their son, but hopefully with this plea, they can at least begin to heal.”

Read more: http://crimeblog.dallasnews.com/2014/11/former-tcu-student-gets-10-years-probation-4-month-in-jail-for-overdose-death-of-t-boone-pickens-grandson.html/

Gay Couples Ask Texas Judge To Allow Same-Sex Marriages To Begin Immediately

Attorneys for two same-sex couples are asking a federal district judge to lift his stay of a February ruling striking down Texas' marriage bans.

If U.S. District Judge Orlando L. Garcia agrees to lift the stay, it could allow same-sex marriages to begin in Texas immediately.

In a motion filed Monday morning, attorneys for the couples argue that the basis for the stay is no longer valid, since the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review rulings striking down marriages bans from four federal appeals courts.

Garcia struck down Texas' marriage bans in February but stayed his decision pending the state's appeal to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court in New Orleans, which has scheduled oral arguments for Jan. 9.

Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/2014/11/gay-texas-couples-ask-judge-to-allow-same-sex-marriages-immediately-in-texas.html
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