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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: 77,884

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

McAuliffe proposes more funding for workforce development

Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s upcoming state budget proposal includes expanded funding for workforce development programs.

At Piedmont Virginia Community College on Friday, McAuliffe said his proposal for the two-year budget that would go into effect July 1 would add $6.8 million to workforce programs. The programs are used to fund associate degrees, certificate programs and apprenticeships, and often prepare workers for new technology-intensive jobs.

“What breaks my heart is when students are graduating with all this debt, and no skills to match the jobs that are open,” McAuliffe said.

The $6.8 million would bring total funding for workforce development to $19 million statewide.

Read more: http://www.roanoke.com/news/politics/mcauliffe-proposes-more-funding-for-workforce-development/article_24921c2c-a05c-59a6-be2f-b24131f933ad.html

Would-be Va. House speaker announces support for 12 weeks of paid parental leave for state employees

The Republican hoping to be the next speaker of Virginia’s House of Delegates announced Thursday that he supports changing state policy to give state employees 12 weeks of paid parental leave.

Del. M. Kirkland Cox, R-Colonial Heights, said he wants to start by offering 12 weeks of leave to full-time, benefited House employees within one year of the birth or adoption of a child.

“As a society, we have to do more to strengthen families and encourage women to remain in the workplace,” Cox, whom House Republicans named as “speaker-designee” earlier this year, said in a prepared statement.

The policy described by Cox would rank Virginia as one of the most generous states in the country when it comes to giving new mothers and fathers cost-free time off. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act only requires large employers to offer 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave.

Read more: http://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/government-politics/would-be-va-house-speaker-announces-support-for-weeks-of/article_9c8c67d1-5867-5b5b-aff4-bfa2553c9e4c.html

Virginia's women's monument will include a new Confederate statue to 'the angel of the Lost Cause'

As Virginia’s next governor, Ralph Northam will take part in the 2019 dedication of the Virginia Women’s Monument on Capitol Square, which is to include a statue of a Confederate captain.

Sally Louisa Tompkins, a Richmond hospital administrator renowned for her facility’s low mortality rate, was one of 12 women from 400 years of Virginia history chosen in 2013 for bronze statues as part of the monument.

Northam, like members of the Virginia Women’s Monument Commission interviewed for this story, appears to see a distinction between Tompkins and other Confederate officers.

“The governor-elect recognizes that the women who were selected for this monument contributed to Virginia at different times in our history and in different ways,” said Ofirah Yheskel, Northam’s press secretary.

Read more: http://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/government-politics/virginia-s-women-s-monument-will-include-a-new-confederate/article_4cf6a6fa-7fa2-5725-b533-0492ad52aabd.html

Dominion's Thuggish Tricks on Full Display on Day #1 of Atlantic Coast Pipeline Hearing

Dominion’s tricks to oppress opposition and sway opinion in its favor, ranging from simply coordinating supposedly independent supporters to something as reprehensible as photographing the opposition, were on full display during the first day of the State Water Control Board meeting on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).

The company’s influence showed itself early when the first three speakers, State Senator Frank Wagner (R) and House Delegates Roxann Robinson (R) and Buddy Fowler (R) gave outlandish endorsements for the ACP. Senator Wagner claimed that our national defense depended on the pipeline (!), while Delegate Robinson said the ACP would improve our air quality (!!), despite a study showing that the pipeline will result in emissions equivalent to around 20 coal plants. The politicians’ support is not altogether surprising, though, considering that they have collectively received over $125,000 in donations from Dominion, and that the corporation’s corrupting influence in Virginia politics is well-documented.

What is surprising is how much was done to increase Dominion’s support platform in the meeting, while reducing the platform of those there exercising their constitutional right to speak out and oppose the pipeline.

Those in opposition to the ACP arrived to stand in line and reserve a right to speak before the venue doors opened, some as early as around 6 am. This was in contrast to the August public hearings for the ACP, where Dominion bused in pipeline supporters early so that they could speak first. The reason for this soon became clear: speakers were made to indicate whether they opposed or favored the pipeline when signing up to give testimony, and then speakers were called in an order that made it so that testimonies of alternating viewpoints were given in succession.

Read more: https://bluevirginia.us/2017/12/dominions-thuggish-tricks-on-full-display-on-day-1-of-atlantic-coast-pipeline-hearing

No, Rep. Dave Brat, Small Businesses Are NOT All Your Constituents

In recent interviews. Representative Dave Brat (R-VA07) seems to be under the impression that every citizen in the 7th Congressional District of Virginia either owns a small business or is employed by one. Last week, Brat referenced the small-business lobbying group “NFIB” and their opinion just to say, “That’s all my constituents.” He then followed this up the next day during John Fredericks’ radio show stating, “My whole district is small businesses, I’ve been fighting for small business since I’ve been up there.”

Well, Representative Brat, reality check: the facts do not bear this out. According to the 2010 Census Report’s profile of the 7th District of Virginia, the single largest employment by industry is actually – that’s right – government. Local government employees such as teachers and first responders drive this. As for the second-largest employment by industry in the 7th district, that would be health care, with a close third being retail trade.

Sure, some of these retail businesses are small business employees, but it’s definitely not the vast majority that Representative Brat claimed. The bottom line: Rep. Brat’s statement that all of his constituents are small business is factually incorrect. Actually, a large number of citizens in the 7th are employed by large businesses as well. And close to 20% of Brat’s constituents are retired. Perhaps the Congressman may have recently discovered this, as he stated on Fredericks’ show that he has been visiting retirement homes.

Now, it may very well be true that Rep. Brat spends all of his time speaking and listening to small business employers and employees. It may also be true that Rep. Brat receives a majority of his donations from small businesses. Based on Rep. Brat’s recent statements, it is surely true that his policies and votes reflect the small business constituents he listens to the most. However, the fact remains: the majority of citizens in the 7th district do not own a small business, nor do they work for one.

Read more: https://bluevirginia.us/2017/12/no-rep-dave-brat-small-businesses-are-not-all-your-constituents

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA03) Denies Charges of Sexual Harassment by "a Republican operative known for

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA03) Denies Charges of Sexual Harassment by “a Republican operative known for dabbling in outlandish conspiracy theories”

See below for Rep. Bobby Scott’s statement on these allegations against him. I certainly hope that these charges are false, as Rep. Scott has been a strong progressive representing VA-03 for years. I guess we’ll just have to see, and I’m very suspicious given that the accuser seems to have been represented by a right-wing operative previously and that the far-right “Free Beacon” seems to be pushing this, but for now, here’s Rep. Scott’s statement (see below the P.S.), in which he categorically denies the charges…

P.S. Also, watching the press conference video, I’m immediately put off by the fact that the accuser’s standing right next to Jack Burkman – yeah, this Jack Burkman (“Republican lobbyist says murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich linked to Russian operatives”). And yeah, this Jack Burkman (“Burkman heads the organization American Decency, a conservative organization that claims to have 3.62 million members. The organization drew media attention when Burkman announced plans to protest the Dallas Cowboys signing of Michael Sam, the first publicly gay player to be drafted in the NFL, stating “We cannot just stand idly by as Christian values and morals are trampled. We will do whatever we can to preserve family values in this country.” Burkman called for legislation that would prohibit gays from playing in the NFL”). Gack!

Today, a former Congressional Black Caucus Foundation fellow, backed by a Republican operative known for dabbling in outlandish conspiracy theories, falsely alleged an act of sexual harassment against me. I absolutely deny this allegation of misconduct. I have never sexually harassed anyone in my 25 years of service in the United States Congress, or in my 40 years of public service, or at any other time. Sexual harassment and assault are serious issues deserving of critical attention and review. No one should be subjected to sexual harassment or be treated unfairly. I have fought to promote and ensure that in my political and professional life and I live by it personally. The recent national discussion about sexual harassment is valued and important to our work to continue to make the workplace free from harassment and discrimination. False allegations will squander this momentous opportunity for dialogue on meaningful change in the workplace. I am confident that this false allegation will be seen for what it is when the facts are adequately reviewed.


T. Boone Pickens, Mesa awarded $136 million in lawsuit of West Texas investment

The El Paso court of appeals has awarded T. Boone Pickens and Mesa Petroleum Partners about $136 million in a lawsuit relating to his investment in a West Texas oil and gas play.

In the final judgment entered Dec. 8, Mesa was awarded approximately $136 million against Delaware Basin Resources and Baytech of Midland.

In a nearly four-week trial that ended Nov. 23, 2016, the jury unanimously voted in favor of Mesa and found that one of the defendants – J. Cleo Thompson operating company of Dallas – liable for gross negligence and willful misconduct and gave Mesa $146 million against Delaware Basin resources, Baytech and J. Cleo Thompson.

Mesa had also brought a mandamus action in the El Paso court of appeals when nearly a year had passed after the trial and original jury verdict, with no final judgment by the court. The El Paso court of appeals issued conditional mandamus, directing the trial judge to enter judgment.

Mesa has also sued Occidental Petroleum to get back its title to 15 percent of the properties; that case is currently pending.


Texas restaurant criticized for featuring blackface caricature on wall

LUBBOCK -- A restaurant in Texas is being called racist for using an offensive sign to decorate its wall.

The controversial sign at Cook's Garage in Lubbock features a neon caricature of an African-American male with the words "Coon Chicken Inn" written inside its mouth.

Jessica Rios, a customer who ate at the diner, angrily shared the image on Facebook Wednesday night. The next day, the complaint reached Cook's Garage via social media.

"We did not put this sign up to be derogatory, racist or to offend anyone," wrote Cook's Garage in a Facebook post. "This is part of Americana History... just like everything else hung in our collection and buildings."

Read more: http://www.lmtonline.com/news/houston-texas/texas/article/Texas-Lubbock-racist-blackface-racism-cooks-garage-12432197.php

Paul Pressler, former Texas judge and religious right leader, accused of sexually assaulting teen

Paul Pressler, former Texas judge and religious right leader, accused of sexually assaulting teen for years

by Emma Platoff, Texas Tribune

A former Texas state judge and lawmaker has been accused of sexually abusing a young man for several decades starting when the boy was just 14, according to a lawsuit filed in October in Harris County.

The lawsuit alleges that Paul Pressler, a former justice on the 14th Court of Appeals who served in the Texas state house from 1957–59, sexually assaulted Duane Rollins, his former bible study student, several times per month over a period of years. According to the filing, the abuse started in the late 1970s and continued less frequently after Rollins left Houston for college in 1983.

In a November court filing, Pressler “generally and categorically [denied] each and every allegation” in Rollins’ petition.

The abuse, which consisted of anal penetration, took place in Pressler’s master bedroom study, the suit alleges. According to the lawsuit, Pressler told Rollins he was “special” and that the sexual contact was their God-sanctioned secret.

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2017/12/12/paul-pressler-former-texas-judge-and-religious-right-leader-accused-se/

Republican Party of Texas sues to keep U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold off 2018 ballot

by Patrick Svitek, Texas Tribune

The Texas GOP is suing the Texas secretary of state to keep embattled U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold off the 2018 primary ballot — one day after the Corpus Christi Republican announced he will not seek re-election in 2018.

Farenthold, who's facing a raft of allegations that he sexually harassed staffers and created a hostile work environment, had filed for re-election by the Monday deadline and missed the deadline the next day to withdraw. Still, he asked Texas GOP Chairman James Dickey on Friday not to include him on the ballot, according to the lawsuit, which notes Dickey has until Tuesday to submit the names of all primary candidates to the secretary of state.

Filed late Friday in federal court, the lawsuit calls into question the "incongruity" between the separate deadlines to withdraw and to hand over the names, while arguing Farenthold's appearance on the ballot at this point would violate the "First Amendment associational rights" of the party.

"In short, the State cannot constitutionally force any political party to be represented on the primary election ballot by a candidate with whom it does not wish to associate," the lawsuit said.

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2017/12/15/texas-gop-sues-keep-farenthold-ballot/
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