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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
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Current location: Bryan, Texas
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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

Texas A&M plans unity event at same time as speech by white nationalist who led 'Hail Trump' chant

Texas A&M University will hold an event next week that highlights unity on campus at the same time a white nationalist leader is scheduled to speak at the school.

In a statement that does not mention Richard Spencer by name, Texas A&M president Michael K. Young announced an event called "Aggies United" at Kyle Field from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 6. Young said the event, which is open to students, faculty, staff and the public, will allow people to add their names to a wall "expressing their commitment to unity."

Spencer, 38, a leader of the so-called alt-right movement, was invited by a former Texas A&M student to speak at the school about his political beliefs.

The "alt-right" is a conservative movement that combines white nationalism, racism and populism. Though Spencer claims he is not a white supremacist, he supports a white ethno-state — a nation without people of color, Jews, Muslims or anyone else who does not share a common European heritage.

Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/higher-education/2016/11/30/texas-am-plans-unity-event-time-speech-white-nationalist-led-hail-trump-chant

Veteran news anchor Bob Schieffer: Presidential election was a 'stain on everything and everyone'

Veteran TV news anchor Bob Schieffer said Wednesday in Dallas that the presidential campaign "left a stain on everything and everyone that it touched."

"I'm not sure anyone or any institution came out of this campaign looking the better for it," he said.

Schieffer, a Texan who has covered every presidential election since 1964, gave his autopsy of the 2016 race in a discussion with his colleague, CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley, who is also a Texan. The event was part of the Dallas Citizens Council's annual meeting at the Dallas Omni Hotel.

Former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison introduced the pair and called the 2016 campaign "a presidential election that defies description."

Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2016/11/30/veteran-news-anchor-bob-schieffer-presidential-election-stain-everything-everyone

Exxxotica, banned from Dallas, wants to return to convention center in 2017

Exxxotica, the sex expo banned from the convention center, is eyeing a return to Dallas next year — if, that is, it can convince a federal judge that the city-owned venue is a "designated public forum" protected by the First Amendment and available to anyone who can afford to rent space there.

In February, the Dallas City Council banned the porn expo, and two months later, U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater denied the expo's request to throw out the ordinance keeping it out in the cold. The judge ruled that the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center wasn't a "quintessential public forum" open to anyone.

But Fitzwater's ruling came with a caveat: If Exxxotica could prove him wrong, it could re-argue the case.

On Tuesday, Exxxotica's attorneys, including Dallas' Roger Albright, filed for that new hearing.

Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/dallas-city-council/2016/11/29/exxxotica-banned-dallas-wants-return-convention-center-2017

Jury finds priest guilty in molestation case

After a two-day trial and two hours of deliberations, a Meade County jury found Louisville Catholic priest Joseph Hemmerle guilty Tuesday of one count related to sexually molesting a young boy in a summer camp in the 1970s.

Hemmerle, 74, a former Trinity High School teacher, was convicted on one of two counts of immoral or indecent practices with a child following his 2014 indictment on charges of sex abuse and sodomy.

His accuser, Michael Norris, 53, of Texas, had testified that at Camp Tall Trees near Otter Creek Park in 1973, Hemmerle told him to report to his cabin one night to treat poison ivy. Hemmerle told him to strip and stand on a stool before touching him sexually with his hands and mouth, he said.

After the jury foreman read the verdict after 5 p.m. Tuesday, Norris broke out in tears and sobs as he hugged family members who came out to support him, including his mother and wife. Hemmerle just stared straight ahead.

Read more: http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/local/2016/11/29/jury-weighs-priests-fate-molestation-case/94615748/

Kentucky university funds may be based in part on number of degrees

Frankfort -- For the past few months, Kentucky’s university presidents and policymakers have tried to create a way to tie some of their state funding to outcomes like higher graduation rates and more degrees in science and technology.

What they have come up with, however, is far more sweeping: A new statewide funding formula that could determine how all state appropriations are handed out. On Monday, the presidents held their final meeting at the Council on Postsecondary Education, and said they were close to a plan that they could present to Gov. Matt Bevin and the General Assembly by the Dec. 2 deadline.

“My hope is we can present a model with enough merit and consensus that the General Assembly can have confidence that it will work,” said Western Kentucky University President Gary Ransdell, who’s been chairing the task force. “There’s a lot at stake for Kentucky and our institutions, that’s why concerns and emotions have run deep.”

The formula will have to divide up $49 million, the 5 percent that Bevin appropriated to outcomes in the next fiscal year. But depending on what kind of legislation is written in the upcoming session in January, the formula could quickly encompass all funding.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/education/article117548993.html

State education board open to idea of charter schools for Kentucky

Members of the Kentucky Board of Education appear open to charter schools for Kentucky, although the panel did not take a position after a daylong study session Monday.

The board is going to review other states’ laws and is expected to come to a consensus at its December meeting in advance of the 2017 General Assembly.

No legislation had been prefiled in the General Assembly by Monday. In 2016, a bill failed in the legislature that would have allowed charter schools as a pilot in Fayette and Jefferson counties, urban districts that are grappling with an achievement gap between minority, disabled and low-income students and other students. But a charter school bill is much more likely to pass in the coming legislative session after Republicans won control of the state House in the election earlier this month.

“What I’ve not heard from anybody is absolutely we don’t want this to be part of the agenda,” Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt told state board members at Monday’s meeting in Frankfort. Pruitt said department officials would come back with recommendations “around what we’ve heard today.”

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/education/article117559328.html

Kentucky leaders sued for teachers' pension woes

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Worried about irreparable damage being done to their retirement benefits, a group of public school teachers on Tuesday asked a judge to order Kentucky's top political leaders to "perform their constitutional and statutory duties" by adequately funding the pension system.

The plaintiffs — a group of current and retired teachers — filed the lawsuit in Franklin County Circuit Court in Frankfort.

Named as defendants are Gov. Matt Bevin, Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers and outgoing House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

The legal salvo came a day after an oversight panel was told Kentucky's troubled pension systems continued their downward slide in 2016, with plans covering teachers and state employees losing more than $1.8 billion in value while obligations are increasing.

Read more: http://hosted2.ap.org/KYELI/17d86d55771f487888e4caf787b1e0bd/Article_2016-11-29-KY--Teachers%20Pension-Lawsuit/id-f63a12542757418fb744744c82829893

AG Andy Beshear sued by former staffer alleging sex discrimination

FRANKFORT, Ky. – A former assistant attorney general has filed suit against Attorney General Andy Beshear alleging sex discrimination and violations of Kentucky’s Whistleblower Act.

Lainie Kaiser had been involved in some high-profile cases on behalf of the attorney general’s office since she hired in a year and a half ago, including one that led to a $24 million settlement from Purdue Pharma, the drugmaker that produces the addictive painkiller OxyContin, which has been widely abused in Kentucky.

Kaiser said in the lawsuit filed earlier this month in Franklin Circuit Court that she went to her supervisors seeking a merit raise in April and was told there was no money in the budget. In July, she met again with a supervisor, and asked why male attorneys were given raises while female attorneys were denied.

On August 10, Kaiser said she spoke with the attorney general’s human resources office to express concerns about workload, work stress, and “preferential treatment towards men over women in raises and work assignments.”

Read more: http://kentuckytoday.com/stories/beshear-sued-by-former-staffer-alleging-sex-discrimination,5997

Kentucky retirement systems continue downward slide

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky's troubled pension systems continued their downward slide in 2016, with plans covering teachers and state employees losing more than $1.8 billion in value while obligations are increasing.

The Kentucky Retirement Systems said the debt for its largest plan covering most state workers increased by $1.5 billion while its assets decreased by $347.5 million for the fiscal year that ended June 30. That leaves the system with just 16 percent of the money it needs to pay retirement benefits over the next 30 years, putting it among the worst funded public pension plans in the country.

Compounding the problem is the state has far more retirees receiving benefits than employees paying into the system.

"Our workforce is so retiree oriented, we are running out of time to fund it," said David Eager, the systems' interim executive director. "If you think of it in a medical sense, we are in triage. It's a serious funding problem."

Read more: http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/politics/2016/11/28/kys-retirement-systems-continue-downward-slide/94569518/

Tennessee legislators to pursue lawsuit blocking refugee resettlement

NASHVILLE – The election of Donald Trump as president may change United States policy on refugees but is no reason for Tennessee legislators to stop pushing a lawsuit aimed at blocking resettlement in Tennessee, Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris said.

Speaking to the Senate Republican Caucus last week, Norris said some have questioned whether the “Trump effect” makes the lawsuit unnecessary.

“My response is full speed ahead,” said Norris, who earlier this year sponsored a resolution adopted by the Legislature that called on Attorney General Herbert Slatery to file a lawsuit against refugee resettlement in the state after President Obama announced plans to allow 10,000 Syrian war refugees into the county.

Slatery declined to do so, saying such an effort would be “based upon untested, novel theories” of law. The Thomas Moore Law Firm, which regularly advocates in courts for conservative causes, has been named to act on Tennessee’s behalf in pursuing the lawsuit at no cost to the state.

Read more: http://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/politics/2016/11/21/tenn-legislators-pursue-suit-blocking-refugee-resettlement/94132962/
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