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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: 77,848

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

Rauner, Pritzker differ on some criminal justice

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner made criminal justice reform and driving down the number of people the state imprisons a centerpiece of his first term. Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker says more must be done to stop gun violence.

Both major-party candidates for governor have made rehabilitation, sentencing reform, mental health, and more jobs and job skills key pieces of their criminal justice platforms. But they differ when it comes to legalizing marijuana, gun control and the death penalty.

Among his first acts as governor in 2015, Rauner formed a bipartisan commission assigned to come up with ways to reduce Illinois’ prison population by 25 percent by the year 2025.

That commission came up with 27 recommendations to reduce an Illinois prison population that has exploded over the past four decades and doubled since 1987. It recommended a combination of sentencing reform and improved rehabilitative services to send fewer people to prison and reduce recidivism rates that stand at nearly 40 percent. Among the recommendations were to use county jails instead of state prisons for short stays and probation more often for nonviolent offenses, and to reduce mandatory minimum prison terms.

Read more: http://www.sj-r.com/news/20181104/rauner-pritzker-differ-on-some-criminal-justice
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Nov 4, 2018, 09:43 PM (1 replies)

Trump and Ellen, debate quips and tent camps: defining moments in Ted Cruz-Beto O'Rourke contest

Every campaign has its defining moments.

In the nail-biter between Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Beto O’Rourke, it’s too soon to know which of the debate quips, attack ads and viral videos made the difference.

There were many ingredients in this epic battle between a tea party darling who was runner-up for the presidential nomination and a charismatic and unabashedly liberal congressman who managed to put a scare into Republicans in a state they’ve controlled for a quarter century, smashing the record for money raised by any Senate candidate ever, anywhere.

“I’m just amazed that this race is as close as it is,” said Randy Chambers, 59, a Cruz supporter who owns a business in Granbury.

Hardly any voters beyond the western tip of Texas had heard of O’Rourke.

Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/2018-elections/2018/11/04/trump-ellen-debate-quips-tent-campsdefining-moments-ted-cruz-beto-orourke-contest
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Nov 4, 2018, 10:18 AM (1 replies)

Troop deployment creates tension on South Texas border

BROWNSVILLE — As the first active-duty military troops sent to the U.S. border with Mexico installed coils of razor wire on a bridge and a riverbank Friday, a sense of unease spread across Texas’ Rio Grande Valley.

President Donald Trump’s portrayal of a border under siege by drug smugglers and other criminals is at odds with what many residents in towns along the 1,954-mile divide with Mexico see in their daily routines, with U.S. border towns consistently ranking among the safest in the country.

Some Valley residents question the need for a large military presence and fear it will tarnish the area’s image. And some are afraid of violence if the caravan of Central American migrants that the troops have been sent to confront reaches the U.S. border.

While the southern tip of Texas is the busiest corridor for illegal crossings, border agents make many arrests far from public view, on uninhabited banks of the Rio Grande and on nearby dirt paths and roads lined by thick brush.

Read more: https://www.statesman.com/news/20181103/troop-deployment-creates-tension-on-south-texas-border
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Nov 4, 2018, 10:04 AM (1 replies)

Preckwinkle's Democrats fund blue wave to swamp County Board Republicans

Democrats are bankrolling a blue wave they hope will wash three Republicans out of the Cook County Board.

Despite the flood of money — nearly $313,000 in a combination of donations from the county and state Democratic parties — incumbent Commissioner Gregg Goslin doesn’t expect to lose in Tuesday’s election.

The Glenview Republican is confident in his polling — and in his constituents.

“I believe I represent the values of my district on every level,” Goslin said. “They want a good, responsible government, a limit on taxation, and a responsible public official. I’ve been all those things and then some.”

Read more: https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/preckwinkle-dems-fund-blue-wave-cook-county-board-republicans/amp/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Nov 4, 2018, 08:35 AM (0 replies)

Far out! Illinois Democrats think they've dropped in on the big one (Bluenami!)

No longer content with electing a “blue wave” of Democrats on Tuesday, Illinois Democrats are starting to talk about a “bluenami.”

That was the prediction Friday of Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza as she joined governor candidate J.B. Pritzker and the rest of the Democrats’ statewide ticket in a show of unity.

She offered only one caveat.

“On Tuesday we’re going to see a big beautiful wave crest in Illinois. It’s going to be a blue one, and if you work hard enough, it’s going to be a bluenami. You heard it here first,” gushed Mendoza, who apparently is so confident that she is perched safely atop the wave that she unwisely made a campaign video announcing her run for mayor — a video that leaked out, prematurely, later Friday.

It is a measure of the troubles that Illinois Republicans face this year that Mendoza was probably correct in her calculation that it will take a lot more than that to wipe out her re-election chances.

Read more: https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/brown-midterm-election-democrats-blue-wave-predictions-illinois-pritzker-mendoza/amp/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Nov 4, 2018, 08:22 AM (1 replies)

Retaliation Lawsuit Against Michael Madigan Moves Forward With Discovery

(ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK) – A lawsuit filed by a former campaign worker against the Democratic Party of Illinois alleging harassment and retaliation is moving forward after a judge denied the party’s motion to dismiss the case.

In March, former campaign worker Alaina Hampton sued House Speaker Michael Madigan’s political operation for allegedly retaliating against her after she made allegations of sexual harassment against a manager.

Hampton claimed Kevin Quinn, a high-level Madigan political operative, made repeated unwanted sexual advances. After reporting it internally, she said she was retaliated against and blocked from working on other campaigns.

A judge denied the Democrats’ motion to dismiss the case Tuesday. Hampton’s attorney, Shelly Kulwin, said she appeared Wednesday in front of the judge for an update on the discovery process.

Read more: http://rockrivertimes.com/2018/11/01/retaliation-lawsuit-against-michael-madigan-moves-forward-with-discovery/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Nov 4, 2018, 07:54 AM (0 replies)

Judge, prosecutor's office exchange notes

Citing emails between U.S. District Court Judge Colin Bruce and employees of the U.S. attorney’s office, the federal public defender’s office in Springfield says the judge is so biased that defendants can’t get fair shakes.

“Both Judge Bruce and the United States attorney’s office act as if Judge Bruce is still the first assistant United States attorney (the position he held immediately before taking the bench),” public defenders write in a motion for a new trial filed on behalf of Sarah Nixon, who was convicted of international kidnapping in 2016. “This is ‘smoking gun’ evidence of Judge Bruce working with prosecutors from the United States attorney’s office against criminal defendants.”

Furthermore, engaging in communications with a judge without the knowledge of defense attorneys amounts to misconduct by the staff of the U.S. attorney’s office, say Nixon’s lawyers, who also accuse the office of engaging in a coverup to prevent disclosures of emails that should either have been shared with defense attorneys or never written.

Bruce was removed from hearing any criminal matters after Illinois Times in August reported on emails exchanged between Bruce and Lisa Hopps, a paralegal in the U.S. attorney’s office, during Nixon’s trial. In the emails, Bruce criticized the performance of prosecutors, made suggestions on how to question the defendant and assessed odds of acquittal. “The content of Judge Bruce’s emails to Ms. Hopps regarding Ms. Nixon’s trial reveals a judge who has determined the defendant is guilty and should be convicted, is frustrated and angry that Ms. Nixon might not be convicted, and is willing to share with the prosecutor’s office how the prosecutors handling the case could improve their cross-examination to help ensure a conviction,” Nixon’s lawyers wrote in the Oct. 25 motion for a new trial. “It is impossible to overstate how improper Judge Bruce’s actions were.”

Read more: https://illinoistimes.com/article-20591-judge-prosecutor%25E2%2580%2599s-office-exchange-notes.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Nov 4, 2018, 07:46 AM (1 replies)

Cook County judicial elections stir up unusual public scrutiny

Twenty-eight years. That's how long it's been since the last time a Cook County judge was voted out of office. This election year, as on every even year when we hit the polls to pick a president or governor, Cook County voters are also asked to vote on 39 candidates trying to join the judiciary for the first time and vote "yes" or "no" to keep another 61 judges already on the bench.

Judicial elections have traditionally garnered little public interest or scrutiny—even though, of all the elected officials on any ballot, it's the judges we're all most likely to come in contact with. You could be the victim of a crime or be accused of one. You could need a divorce. You could wind up in eviction court. You could need to settle an inheritance dispute. Most of these legal issues will require judges. After a nearly three-decade hiatus, Cook County voters seem poised to remind at least a couple of them—Matthew Coghlan and Maura Slattery Boyle, both 18-year veterans of the bench—that their jobs aren't guaranteed for life.

First, a little background: the Circuit Court of Cook County is the largest unified court system in the country. Every year, in 16 courthouses around the county, 400 judges preside over hundreds of thousands of criminal and civil cases—from murder trials to medical malpractice lawsuits to traffic ticket contestations.

Two-thirds of these judges are elected, either to "countywide" seats (for which voters from all of Cook County get to cast a vote) or to "subcircuit" seats (for which only voters in a particular area of the county get to vote—think of these as wards or congressional districts, but for judges only). The other third of the judges are appointed by the elected judges, and it's a competitive process. Hundreds of attorneys who've been practicing law for at least six years apply for a handful of appointment slots that become available every other year. A nominating committee of the circuit court's presiding judges (the head judges of every division) pick two candidates for each slot after evaluating their credentials and reviews by various bar associations. The finalists are chosen through a vote by the elected judiciary. These appointed judges—known as associate judges—serve four-year terms and then have to survive a retention vote cast by their colleagues to stay on the bench.

Read more: https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/you-be-the-judge/Content?oid=61584420
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Nov 4, 2018, 07:29 AM (0 replies)

Push Continues For Rail Line Connecting Chicago And Columbus, Ohio

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — A proposed passenger rail line that would run from Chicago to Columbus, Ohio, could see between 387,000 and 765,000 passengers annually, according to an engineering firm's analysis.

The Northern Indiana Passenger Rail Association and engineering firm HNTB argued Thursday that the proposed Amtrak line would connect cities that don't have convenient connections, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported .

The proposed line includes several stops across northern Indiana, including Valparaiso, Plymouth, Warsaw, Columbia City and Fort Wayne. Stops in Ohio include Van Wert, Lima and Columbus.

"This service is very competitive with auto travel on this corridor," HNTB Associate Vice President Caron Kloser said.

Read more: https://www.wfyi.org/news/articles/push-continues-for-rail-line-connecting-chicago-columbus
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Nov 4, 2018, 07:11 AM (0 replies)

Indiana University Law Professor Raising Concern Over Police Treatment With Lawsuit

A long-time Indiana University law professor and his wife are suing the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and one its officers over a 2016 traffic stop. Kevin Brown says the officer involved violated several of the couple’s constitutional rights.

The traffic stop occurred just outside of downtown Indianapolis as Brown and his wife were traveling home to Bloomington from Ohio.

Court documents indicate Officer Emily Perkins pulled them over for several alleged traffic violations around 9 p.m. But Brown, who was driving, continued driving until he found what he thought to be a safe exit, where he could pull over. Brown says Perkins approached the vehicle agitated, yelling at the couple, and with what Brown says appeared to be a drawn weapon.

Brown says he attempted to explain why he didn't stop immediately, but says Perkins put him and his wife in handcuffs. An IMPD Sergeant eventually arrived on the scene, who Brown says apologized to the couple and had them taken out of the handcuffs. But Brown was eventually put back in handcuffs and informed he was being taken into custody.

Read more: https://www.wfyi.org/news/articles/iu-law-professor-raising-concern-over-police-treatment-with-lawsuit
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Nov 4, 2018, 06:53 AM (0 replies)
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