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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: 77,765

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

Nuclear waste bill advances to House, could push forward storage site in New Mexico

A federal bill to alter policy for nuclear waste advanced to the full U.S. House of Representatives and could support the case for temporary storage of high-level waste at a facility like the one Holtec International proposed to build in southeast New Mexico.

The Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act was advanced by a unanimous voice vote to the House by the Energy and Commerce Committee on Nov. 20.

The bill, if passed, would move forward with safety licensing for a permanent nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, while providing the U.S. Department of Energy the authority to proceed with a program for consolidated interim storage (CIS) while the Yucca Mountain project progresses.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the Carlsbad Current-Argus.

It also prioritized the transportation of spent nuclear fuel from generator sites in seismically active areas, and ensured the DOE has the funds to build and operate a repository.

Read more: https://www.lcsun-news.com/story/news/local/2019/11/27/nuclear-waste-bill-advances-house-may-support-new-mexico-holtec-site/4297822002/
(Las Cruces Sun-News)

Money pouring into congressional race for seat held by Torres Small

With party primaries still more than six months away, nearly $3 million has been raised by four candidates in the 2020 2nd Congressional District race in the southern half of the state for the seat currently held by Democrat Xochitl Torres Small.

That’s about $1 million more than has been raised in the crowded 3rd Congressional District race, which has had as many as 15 candidates seeking to replace Democrat Ben Ray Luján, who is running for Senate, and five times the amount raised in the 1st Congressional District race, where Democrat Deb Haaland is seeking a second term.

And the amount doesn’t include thousands of dollars being spent by outside groups seeking to influence the race. One group, the American Action Network – affiliated with Republican House leadership – recently spent $168,000 in television advertising and $50,000 in digital ads targeting Torres Small on impeachment, urging her to vote against impeaching President Donald Trump.

Members of Congress have weighed in on the race. Torres Small has received donations from the campaigns or PACs backed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall and California Reps. Ted Lieu and Adam Schiff. Former state Rep. Yvette Herrell has received support from North Carolina Republican Congressman Mark Meadows and Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan. Roswell oil and gas executive Claire Chase has received support from a PAC led by Oklahoma Republican Congressman Markwayne Mullin.

Read more: https://www.abqjournal.com/1396307/money-pouring-into-congressional-race-for-seat-held-by-torres-small.html

Judge finds prominent attorney circumvented state law for his benefit

Late last month, a judge blasted a prominent Albuquerque attorney and businessman, finding that he manipulated the law in an attempt to sidestep paying hundreds of thousands of dollars and surrendering assets in a judgment over a botched vehicle tune-up in 2017.

Judge Victor Lopez, of the 2nd Judicial District, found that William Ferguson transferred the title to a Ferrari between companies that he controlled and claimed unsupported liens to avoid paying a verdict in 2018 in favor of plaintiff Creig Butler.

Ferguson’s action related to the Ferrari “reveals his disregard of New Mexico corporate and other laws in avoiding creditors and taxation,” the order states.

“This conduct demonstrates a pattern of circumventing New Mexico laws for his attempted personal benefit that counsel was trained and sworn to respect,” Lopez wrote in the order.

Read more: https://www.abqjournal.com/1396329/judge-finds-prominent-attorney-circumvented-state-law-for-his-benefit-ex-william-ferguson-says-he-plans-to-fight-the-ruling-and-has-filed-an-appeal.html

A Slippery Slope

The New Mexico Educational Retirement Board refuses to divest from private prison companies despite both their underperformance in the stock market and a growing number of educators in Santa Fe who oppose the investments.

Even though Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education recently voted to support divestment in conjunction with Horizons Sustainable Financial Services and the Santa Fe Dreamers Project, a local immigrant rights group, the Dreamers say the board won't give them an audience to discuss other investment options. That's despite both The Geo Group, Inc. and CoreCivic, two major private prison firms, trailing behind the investment index the board uses.

The ERB's total portfolio as of June 30 was $13.3 billion. Of that, $3.1 billion—or 23.6%—is managed by the board's staff members, but the balance of the portfolio is managed by outside investment managers. The outside managers are hired by ERB's investment committee, says Jan Goodwin, the board's executive director.

Over the last year, Geo Group has underperformed by 22% and CoreCivic by 13%, according to Morningstar, an investment data and analysis firm.

Read more: https://www.sfreporter.com/news/2019/11/27/a-slippery-slope/
(Santa Fe Reporter)

Look for Lujan Grisham to get VP consideration next year

Michelle Lujan Grisham has an impressive résumé. As governor she’s been highly visible by pushing New Mexico into national debates on hot topics like vehicle fuel efficiency and free college tuition. She isn’t afraid to take strong stands on issues when doing so will anger conservatives and sometimes even the progressive wing of her own party. She’s a female person of color.

And she appears to have boundless energy.

For all those reasons, there’s a good chance she will end up on the successful Democratic presidential candidate’s short list for vice president.

I hesitated for awhile to write this column. New Mexico’s last governor got lots of buzz in political discussions about vice president. The two governors before her ran unsuccessfully for president. The falls of Bill Richardson and Susana Martinez were swift and painful to watch, and no positive mark for New Mexico.

And to be clear, this column is no endorsement of Lujan Grisham for vice president. I don’t endorse. While I like some things she’s done as governor, I have concerns about others, including the way she has treated some employees — especially her firing, via proxy, her first education secretary, Karen Trujillo.

Read more: https://nmpolitics.net/index/2019/11/look-for-lujan-grisham-to-get-vp-consideration-next-year/

I was accosted by the Argyle Turkey

ARGYLE — His saunter was fantastic, but it was his sprint that keeps me up at night.

I parked between a Ford F-150 pickup and an empty space, and across it I walked, rehearsing a straightforward reporter question, “I am looking for the turkey,” as I headed toward the front door of Argyle Auto Care on Frenchtown Road in southern Argyle.

Wild turkeys around here had been making the news locally and in Dallas. I read one died of kidney failure after drinking antifreeze. Damn things even had a Twitter account, dormant since February 2018, but prolific enough.

I never deployed my question. As I took my first step across the parking space, the Argyle Turkey entered it, stage left from behind my SUV, suspiciously on time, having watched me drive in with a Michael Myers vacancy in its eye.

“Perfect,” I said to myself, and so I thought, pulling out my iPhone to record it. “I don’t wanna do much work this week anyway.”

Read more: https://dentonrc.com/news/i-was-accosted-by-the-argyle-turkey/article_0ef8c840-0e10-5c18-bc0f-2bfa869475f0.html
(Denton Record-Chronicle)

New Democratic governor in Kentucky faces GOP attempts to strip his power

Republicans at the state level of government are prioritizing maintaining their own power over any commitment to representative democracy just as much as their fellow party members in Washington DC have been.

The GOP has been remarkably adept at winning state elections during the past couple of decades, and they have proceeded to use the levers of power they control in state legislatures to gerrymander electoral districts to ensure their hold on majorities in the states where they control all the branches of local government.

While courts have finally begun to reverse the manipulated majority-ensuring districts to more accurately reflect the percentages of people voting statewide for each party and level the laying field for opposition candidates, the Republicans have continued to use other tactics to unethically maintain their electoral advantages, including voter suppression moves like limiting or eliminating early voting, closing polling places in heavily Democratic areas — making for more inconvenient travel to the ballot box and longer lines once people arrive there — and refusing to replace unsecured electronic voting machines with unhackable hand-marked paper ballots.

The political sentiment over Republican policies at the state level has begun to change during the Trump era, following the disastrous proof of the failure of the GOP’s mantra of small government — and even smaller taxes — in states like Kansas where the Republicans’ experiment with supply-side, trickle-down financial policy failed so miserably that it’s a wonder that it didn’t permanently put a stake through the heart of that public-resource-sucking concept.

Read more: https://washingtonpress.com/2019/11/26/new-democratic-governor-in-kentucky-faces-gop-attempts-to-strip-his-power/

Mental Health Agency Director Finally Answers For the Water Crisis At St. Elizabeths Hospital

D.C.’s mental health agency was asked to speak to several concerning incidents during a Council oversight hearing Wednesday night, including why the city’s sole public psychiatric hospital went without clean water for a month, and what systems are in place to prevent that from happening again. But the head of the agency could not provide satisfactory answers, as the department is still reviewing what exactly happened in September.

Dozens of residents gathered at Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church in Southeast D.C. with lots of questions and demands for the Department of Behavioral Health, whose director was present for the hours-long hearing beginning at 5:30 p.m. Before Department of Behavioral Health Director Barbara Bazron testified, dozens of residents voiced concerns to her and Ward 7 Councilmember Vince Gray, who oversaw the hearing. Topics ranged from the city’s response to the soaring homicide rate to the overall mental health of students. But the troubles at St. Elizabeths Hospital dominated a discussion that lasted more than six hours.

The meeting was not live-streamed by the Council.

St. Elizabeth Hospital went without running water for more than a month, which public witnesses attribute to the city government’s overall neglect of a public hospital that primarily serves low-income black residents. This is the second time in three years that the hospital experienced a water outage. As first reported by City Paper, the hospital’s water supply tested positive for dangerous bacteria on Sept. 25. The hospital, that serves an average of 270 patients, wasn’t cleared until Oct. 23. For a month, patients and staff were without running water, using bottled water for drinking and cooking and wipes for bathing. The temporary fixes cost $1 million.

Disability rights lawyers also reported patient abuse at the hospital, namely the repeated use of seclusion and restraint. Indeed, the number of patients locked in secluded rooms more than doubled since 2014, according to the hospitals own records.

Read more: https://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/news/city-desk/blog/21102692/mental-health-agency-director-finally-answers-to-the-public-for-water-crisis-at-st-elizabeths-hospital

Patients and Workers Allege Mistreatment and Incompetence at Publicly Funded Mental Health Care

Patients and Workers Allege Mistreatment and Incompetence at Publicly Funded Mental Health Care Clinic

Dozens of providers in D.C. offer free or reduced-cost mental health care to residents who qualify for Medicaid. It’s also pretty easy to get connected: Prospective patients can visit D.C.’s Department of Behavioral Health in person or call the Access HelpLine to get matched with any one of the 40 city-certified community-based providers, or Core Services Agencies.

One such provider is Kinara Health and Home Care Services, LLC. It’s certified by DBH and received over $1.1 million in public dollars this year to provide care for some of the city’s most vulnerable patients. Kinara reports and bills to both DBH and Medicaid, the insurance program for people who are low-income or disabled.

But in interviews, eight former Kinara patients—all of whom were either experiencing homelessness or struggling with mental health problems—and two former workers describe troubling practices at Kinara:

• A patient says the housing liaison misled her into thinking he was a doctor.

• Two patients experiencing homelessness say an outreach worker threatened to beat them up for not turning down their music.

• Kinara outreach workers stand outside homeless shelters trying to recruit new patients, a practice seasoned experts in this work found odd. Meanwhile, Kinara’s founder says anyone can perform outreach.

• Patients believed they’d receive money or housing but left disappointed. (Kinara management denies the provider ever promises money or housing.)

• A patient experiencing homelessness says his case manager laughed at him while he was having a manic episode.

Read more: https://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/news/city-desk/article/21103065/patients-and-workers-allege-mistreatment-and-incompetence-at-publicly-funded-mental-health-care-clinic

Virginia Lawsuit Against Prominent White Supremacists Heads to Trial

A lawsuit filed on behalf of Charlottesville, Virginia, community members injured in white supremacist violence two years ago is headed to trial.

A federal judge set a trial date this week of October 2020 in the lawsuit against prominent white supremacists, neo-Nazis and hate groups that were involved with the August 2017 "Unite the Right" rally.

The civil lawsuit accuses the defendants of engaging in a violent conspiracy to violate the rights of peaceful counterdemonstrators.

Co-lead counsel Roberta Kaplan said in a statement Wednesday that her clients are eager to go forward with a public jury trial. She says it will show "how massive, how coordinated, and how dangerous" the defendants' conspiracy to commit violence was.

Read more: https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Virginia-Lawsuit-Against-Prominent-White-Supremacists-Heads-to-Trial-565576242.html
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