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Hometown: Texas
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Current location: Red Hell Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
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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

Johnstown progressives are sick of national media painting them solely as Trump Country

On Nov. 8, Politico published a story many in the Pittsburgh region have seen too many times. Reporter Michael Kruse traveled to Johnstown, in Cambria County, to talk to the same people he interviewed for a story published prior to Donald Trump being elected president. The reporting investigated whether Trump voters had soured on the president, and Kruse sought their input on the ongoing political and cultural wars nationwide. Like many dispatches from the Rust Belt by national publications, the story painted Johnstown as a no-hope town, overrun by drugs and blight, and still in love with Trump.

Since its publication, the Politico story has spread widely on social media, thanks to the explosive final quote in which a white, elderly Trump voter says NFL players are “N****rs for life.”

But progressives in Johnstown aren’t happy. Indivisible Johnstown, a progressive group that has held candidate forums for 2018 Democratic congressional candidates, responded on Facebook: “We are OUTRAGED that this POLITICO reporter and EVERY reporter who comes to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, is only looking to tell a story of American Carnage. … Many, many citizens here are not misogynistic, racists like the Neanderthals in this article. They are working hard to make a difference.”

Mary Lou Davis, of Indivisible Johnstown, says stories like these are stereotyping Johnstown negatively. “There is such a media slant, and I am getting tired that Johnstown is getting portrayed that way,” says Davis. She says Johnstown isn't only filled with racists and cynical residents. Davis notes that the night before the Politico article was published, Johnstown elected two African-American council members, both of whom are Democrats.

Read more: https://www.pghcitypaper.com/Blogh/archives/2017/11/10/johnstown-progressives-are-sick-of-national-media-painting-them-solely-as-trump-country

New book alleges gay sex in Vatican dorm, shady banking

ROME >> The Italian journalist who was put on trial by the Vatican for publishing confidential documents has written a new book alleging a host of Catholic sins, including gay sex in the Vatican’s youth seminary.

Gianluigi Nuzzi’s “Original Sin” went on sale Thursday. At a news conference, Nuzzi said his lawyers had hand-delivered a copy to the Vatican’s criminal prosecutor, saying at least one of the seminarians was a minor at the time of the alleged escapades.

The Vatican didn’t immediately comment.

The book reproduces documents from the Vatican’s scandal-marred bank, showing multi-million-dollar accounts in the names of Popes Paul VI and John Paul II and their private secretaries. And it alleges that hidden powers in the Vatican were blocking the reforms of Pope Francis and his predecessor, Benedict XVI.

The book delves into the case of one of the Vatican’s biggest mysteries, the 1983 disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi, the 15-year-old daughter of a Vatican employee.

Read more: http://www.trentonian.com/general-news/20171109/new-book-alleges-gay-sex-in-vatican-dorm-shady-banking

NJ Weedman remains jailed as jury renders partial exoneration verdict

TRENTON >> What a drag.

Ed “NJ Weedman” Forchion will remain locked up after his witness tampering trial ended Thursday in a partial verdict that failed to convict him of any crimes.

A jury of Forchion’s peers found him not guilty of one count of witness tampering but could not reach a unanimous decision on the other count.

Forchion, better known as the NJ Weedman, represented himself pro se with technical assistance from a stand-by counsel as he used his layman charms in a semi-successful effort to introduce reasonable doubt into the minds of the jury members.

“Thank you!” Forchion shouted as the jurors left the courtroom Thursday afternoon.

Read more: http://www.trentonian.com/general-news/20171109/nj-weedman-remains-jailed-as-jury-renders-partial-exoneration-verdict

New Jersey politician who joked about women's march defeated by female newcomer

MAYS LANDING — A New Jersey politician who shared a meme on Facebook during January's Women's March in Washington asking whether the protest would be "over in time for them to cook dinner" is eating his words.

Democrat Ashley Bennett, a first-time candidate who was angered by Republican John Carman's remarks, defeated him Tuesday as he tried to win a second term as an Atlantic County freeholder. The board oversees government in Atlantic County, a region of about 275,000 people that includes the struggling Atlantic City seaside gambling resort.

"Ashley Bennett's victory proved that democracy works best when ordinary people speak out, vote, and run for office," said Caseen Gaines, who serves as her communications director. "Ashley is looking forward to restoring dignity to the freeholder seat, and doing all she can to help strengthen Atlantic County's crumbling economy, reverse the uptick in foreclosures, and improve access to medical assistance for those in need. She is ready to put in the hours to improve the lives of everyone in her district — and she doesn't plan on making it home in time to cook dinner any time soon."

Prior to the election, Bennett had noted how the meme inspired her candidacy.

"I was angry about (the Facebook meme), because elected officials shouldn't be on social media mocking and belittling people who are expressing their concerns about their community and the nation," said the 32-year-old Bennett, an Egg Harbor Township resident who works as a psychiatric emergency screener in the crisis department at Cape Regional Hospital.

Read more: http://www.northjersey.com/story/news/politics/elections/2017/11/08/john-carman-who-joked-womens-march-defeated/844475001/

NJ Transit official warned feds of staffing crisis 2 months before Hoboken crash

A top official at NJ Transit wrote a letter to federal safety regulators warning them about a staffing shortage at the agency two months before a deadly commuter train crash last year, federal and state officials have confirmed.

In the letter, Robert Lavell, the agency's vice president and general manager of rail operations, detailed the losses: 93 non-union employees had retired from NJ Transit, or sought work elsewhere, between January 2014 and July 2016. Combined, their experience totaled 2,339 years.

The letter was sent to the Federal Railroad Administration, which at the time was conducting a safety audit of NJ Transit, the nation's third-largest mass-transit agency.

Ten weeks later, on the morning of Sept. 29, 2016, an NJ Transit commuter train from Spring Valley, New York, crashed into an end-of-track barrier at Hoboken Terminal, collapsing part of the station platform and hitting the station building.

Read more: http://www.northjersey.com/story/news/watchdog/2017/11/10/nj-transit-official-warned-feds-staffing-crisis-2-months-before-hoboken-crash/841313001/

Russia probe involves alleged scheme to remove cleric tied to New Jersey charter schools

Federal investigators are probing an alleged plan involving former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to remove a controversial Islamic cleric from the United States and bring him to Turkey for millions of dollars, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper reported Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the alleged proposal in which Flynn and his son were to be paid as much as $15 million for delivering Fethullah Gulen to the Turkish government.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pushed the U.S. to extradite the cleric who he accuses of masterminding a failed coup in his homeland.

According to the report, FBI agents have made inquiry to at least four people about a December meeting in New York City between Flynn and representatives of the Turkish government where removing Gulen from the U.S. on a private jet was discussed. It said the investigation is part of Mueller’s probe of Trump campaign advisers and Russian election interference.

Read more: http://www.northjersey.com/story/news/watchdog/2017/11/10/report-russia-probe-involves-alleged-scheme-remove-cleric-tied-nj-charter-schools/852091001/

Outgoing New Jersey senator and Christie friend gets job on Horizon board

TRENTON -- Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday appointed longtime friend and outgoing state Sen. Joseph Kyrillos to the board of directors of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey -- the insurance company that has been the target of the governor's verbal attacks for most of the year.

Kyrillos, who declined to seek reelection to an eighth term, would earn $77,000 a year as a part-time board member for Horizon, if the Senate approves the nomination. Christie also named one of his most trusted confidantes, Michelle Brown, the CEO of a pro-economic development group, to the board in June.

Christie tried to exert control over Horizon last winter by ridiculing the $12 billion nonprofit for greedily keeping $2.4 billion in reserve, hoping Horizon would donate $300 million to aid his efforts to combat opioid addiction. Horizon resisted, and the administration publicly sparred with top executives into the spring.

The fight led to a budget impasse embroiling the Legislature and a three-day state government shutdown in July. The matter was settled by Christie signing a bill that added two Legislative-appointed board members to improve government oversight.

Read more: http://www.nj.com/healthfit/index.ssf/2017/11/outgoing_nj_lawmaker_and_christie_friend_gets_job.html

Scrap metal company owner says he scammed customers out of millions

SECAUCUS -- One of the owners of a Secaucus-based scrap metal business has admitted to his role in a roughly 17-year conspiracy to scam customers out of millions of dollars, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced in a statement.

Craig Cinelli, 47, of Allendale, the minority owner of Cinelli Iron & Metal Co. (CIMCO), pleaded guilty on Thursday to a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

David Barteck, 53, of Wood-Ridge, who was the former chief financial officer of CIMCO, and Michael A. Valenti III, 43, of Hasbrouck Heights, who was the former senior vice president of sales at CIMCO, pleaded guilty for their roles in the conspiracy earlier this year.

Cinelli's brother, Joseph Cinelli, was arrested and charged in August for his alleged role in the scheme. However, those charges remain pending, the statement said.

Read more: http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2017/11/owner_of_nj_scrap_metal_company_admits_to_scamming.html

Did the NJEA waste $5M trying to oust Sweeney? Here's what union members said.

ATLANTIC CITY -- The state's largest teachers union went all in on its bid to push out state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, spending more than $5 million to help defeat the powerful Democrat in his home district.

It didn't work. Sweeney was easily re-elected Tuesday and he blasted New Jersey Education Association leaders for their "waste of money" in the costliest state legislature race in New Jersey history.

NJEA leaders praised the failed effort to oust Sweeney, saying the campaign "energized NJEA members" and electrified state politics.

What do rank-and-file NJEA members think?

NJ Advance Media randomly polled 100 union members Thursday as they picked up their registration badges at the start of the NJEA's annual teachers convention in Atlantic City.

Read more: http://www.nj.com/education/2017/11/did_the_njea_waste_5m_trying_to_oust_sweeney_heres.html

Christie names new Democratic prosecutor replacing the one who's been there 15 years

TRENTON -- Gov. Chris Christie -- with about two months left of his eight years in office -- has nominated a new Democratic prosecutor for Gloucester County, ousting the current one who has held the job since before Christie was elected.

Christie named Williamstown attorney Charles Fiore to serve as the next Gloucester County prosecutor, replacing Sean Dalton, also a Democrat.

Fiore has practiced law for three decades and has served as a municipal prosecutor in addition to maintaining a private practice.

Dalton was appointed in 2002 and reappointed in 2007 to a second five-year term. He has served since the expiration of that second term as a "holdover" appointment.

Read more: http://www.nj.com/gloucester-county/index.ssf/2017/11/gov_christie_nominates_new_gloucester_county_prose.html
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