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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, 02:57 AM
Number of posts: 96,733

About Me

Retired/disabled 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

Democrats drop lawsuit aimed at keeping scandalized GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold on ballot

WASHINGTON -- Seeking maximum pain from the collapse of Rep. Blake Farenthold's career in Congress, Texas Democrats sued Wednesday to force Republicans to keep his name on the ballot.

Within hours, they dropped the effort.

Republicans were eager to remove the Corpus Christi lawmaker, beset by allegations of sexual harassment and abusive behavior in his office. He announced last week that he would not seek a fifth term.

But the decision came three days after the deadline. He didn't formally ask the state GOP to keep his name off the ballot until day four. And Texas election law provides no mechanism for a candidate who files lawfully and on time to withdraw from the March primary ballot.

Even so, on Tuesday, the Texas GOP asked a court in Austin for permission to keep his name off the ballot. The secretary of state's office — run by a Republican appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott — argued that doing so would be illegal, but acknowledged it has no way to force a political party to submit an accurate list of candidates who followed the rules and qualified for spots on the ballot.

Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2017/12/20/no-insist-democrats-sue-keep-scandalized-gop-rep-blake-farenthold-ballot

Amarillo-area Boys Ranch apologizes for decades of physical, sexual abuse of at-risk youths

Leaders of a Texas institution for at-risk kids have acknowledged and apologized for decades of physical and sexual abuse, the Amarillo Globe-News reported.

The abuse at Cal Farley's Boys Ranch, northwest of Amarillo, endured through the early 1990s, made public Wednesday in a report published by The Guardian. The newspaper interviewed eight men who accused former Boys Ranch staff members of propagating systemic abuse that affected hundreds of children.

Later that afternoon, according to the Globe-News, officials issued a statement from Dan Adams, president and CEO of the nondenominational organization, saying its board of directors was aware of the claims.

"Thousands of people have found hope and healing at Cal Farley's Boys Ranch, both past and present," Adams wrote. "Tragically, not everyone who participated in our programs through the years was helped by them. No words by me or anyone else will change that. For those who left Boys Ranch having experienced abuse of any form, I am truly sorry."

Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/texas/2017/12/20/leaders-amarillo-area-boys-ranch-admit-apologize-decades-abuse

Florida lawmaker files anti-LGBTQ bill so business owners 'don't live in fear of social justice zeal

Florida lawmaker files anti-LGBTQ bill so business owners 'don't live in fear of social justice zealots'

Earlier this month, in a typical move by low-level lawmakers vying for a promotion, Rep. Jay Fant, R-Jacksonville, filed a bill that would allow business owners to refuse service to LGTBQ individuals without legal consequence.

Fant is currently running for Florida attorney general.

Called the "Free Enterprise Protection Act," House Bill 871 was written with the First Amendment Defense Act in mind, which prohibits the government from taking any "discriminatory action" against a business because of its "personnel and employee benefit policies."

Florida doesn't have laws on the books that protect LGBTQ individuals from discrimination, so it's still perfectly legal "to fire someone, evict them from housing or deny them service at a restaurant" because of their sexual orientation or chosen gender, according to Equality Florida. That means Fant's bill essentially leaves the backdoor open so that any and all businesses are allowed to openly discriminate at their own convenience, whether out of religious conviction or plain old garden-variety hate.

Read more: https://www.orlandoweekly.com/Blogs/archives/2017/12/20/florida-lawmaker-files-anti-lgbtq-bill-so-business-owners-dont-live-in-fear-of-social-justice-zealots

Disney union workers reject company's latest offer on wage increase

To the sounds of gleeful cheers, thousands of Disney union workers in Orlando overwhelmingly rejected the theme park company's proposed pay raise, which union leaders called "poverty wages."

Workers belonging to six local unions that make the Service Trades Council Union voted Tuesday and Wednesday on Disney's contract offer. Out of the 38,000 Disney cast members that make up the STCU, 9,117 voted against against accepting the contract (93 percent), while 643 voted to move forward with Disney's proposal.

When negotiations started earlier this year, union leaders originally wanted an increase for workers to $15 per hour. Out of the 38,000 cast members the unions represent, 23,000 workers make less than $12 an hour, and out of those, 8,000 earn $10 an hour. Disney estimates the average hourly wage for one of its workers is about $13.34 including overtime and premium pay, and its starting wages are almost $2 more than Florida's minimum wage.

In its latest contract offer, Disney proposed an increase of 6 to 10 percent raise over two years for non-tipped full-time and part-time workers. That means cast members who made $10 per hour would only get a 50-cent raise in their first year. Other workers who earn more would get a 3 percent raise in the same time frame. Disney also offered its employees a one-time $200 bonus and promised no increase in health care costs. Orlando Weekly reached out to Disney representatives for a comment, but did not receive an immediate response.

Read more: https://www.orlandoweekly.com/Blogs/archives/2017/12/20/disney-union-workers-reject-companys-latest-offer-on-wage-increase

Fort Lauderdale Pizza Hut Caught Refusing to Deliver to Black Neighborhood at Night

Pizza Hut brands itself as a family-friendly chain with speedy delivery and more than 16,000 locations worldwide. But if you're ordering dinner, whether your local store will deliver can depend upon where your family lives. In minority neighborhoods, Pizza Hut has a history of refusing delivery.

While picking up pizza in Fort Lauderdale recently, writer Adam Weinstein noticed his local Pizza Hut at 1239 S. Federal Hwy. had a clearly displayed policy of not accepting nighttime deliveries in the district including Sistrunk Boulevard, a historically black community:

The prominently displayed note instructs employees not to deliver to addresses in the northwest district, an area north of Broward Boulevard and west of NW Ninth Avenue. The neighborhood is home to many important historical places in the African-American community, including the Old Dillard Museum, which memorializes the city's first school for black children, and the Dr. James F. Sistrunk Historical Marker, named for Broward County's first black doctor. To this day, the area remains predominantly black.

When New Times asked the Pizza Hut about the policy, a manager said the delivery cutoff, which begins each night at 7, is a corporate policy. Pizza Hut's corporate headquarters did not respond to a request for comment.

Read more: http://www.browardpalmbeach.com/news/fort-lauderdale-pizza-hut-wont-deliver-to-historically-black-neighborhood-at-night-9104116

GOP Tax Bill Could Make 873,000 Floridians Drop or Lose Health Insurance

Let's get one thing out of the way: It's objectively bad if people don't have health coverage. "Choosing" not to enroll in a health-care plan means someone looked at the cost of plans, thought about how healthy they are now or might be in the future, and agreed it's better to gamble that they won't fall ill with a catastrophic ailment in order to pay next month's rent. The only people who "choose" not to have health insurance are people who cannot comfortably afford rent, groceries, and medical care all at once.

With that in mind: The GOP tax bill passed today! And it repeals the "individual mandate" written into the Affordable Care Act, AKA the Obamacare provision that mandated that all people buy health insurance. Though Obamacare was far from a perfect program, the mandate repeal that's sneakily included in the draconian, monstrous "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" today is expected to destabilize all sorts of insurance markets and ultimately force millions of people off of their health plans.

According to a study the center-left Center for American Progress (CAP) released earlier this month, that means roughly 873,000 Floridians will either be forced off their insurance plans or elect not to buy coverage. The study received a bit of media traction when it was released earlier this month, but it's worth repeating the figures today, just to drive home the fact that this bill is horrific.

CAP also broke down the estimated coverage losses stemming from the bill by congressional district — constituents of Republican Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Curbelo, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen are set to lose 41,000, 39,900, and 40,800 health policies, respectively. All three lawmakers voted for the tax bill.

Read more: http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/gop-tax-bill-cuts-health-care-from-873000-floridians-9927277

Sheriff: Tampa lawyer used Pinellas jail to film porn videos

A Tampa lawyer had sexual relations with a female inmate inside the Pinellas County Jail several times in a private room reserved for attorneys to meet with their clients, investigators said.

He is also accused of soliciting sex from another incarcerated woman, according to deputies, offering to put money in her commissary account and saying he was filming the acts for a pornographic video titled Girls in Jail.

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Andrew B. Spark, 54, may have performed the same scheme with multiple women in county jails across the Tampa Bay region and Central Florida.

In Pinellas, the sheriff said, Spark lied and said he was representing the women to gain access to the room, which does not have recording equipment and only has a small window in the door.

Read more: http://www.tbo.com/news/publicsafety/crime/Sheriff-Tampa-lawyer-used-Pinellas-jail-to-film-porn-videos_163713261

New Mexico candidate paid ticket after arrest warrant issued

SANTA FE, N.M. -- An arrest warrant was issued in August against a Democratic New Mexico candidate for governor because he failed to pay a speeding ticket for two months.

Candidate Jeff Apodaca says he later paid the citation for driving above the speed limit by 11-15 m.p.h. Apodaca campaign spokesman Eric J. Martinez said Tuesday that the speeding ticket was paid after a notice came in the mail.

Martinez says Apodaca initially forgot to pay the ticket while caught up in business and campaign activities across the state. He says it was the first ticket Apodaca received in over eight years.

Previously, Apodaca failed to pay taxes on his property in Santa Fe County for eight consecutive years until selling the vacant lot last year.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article190694359.html

Wisconsin man who stole guns, wrote manifesto faces prison

MADISON, Wis. -- A Wisconsin man who stole a cache of firearms from a gun shop and sent a rambling anti-government manifesto to the White House before going on the run faces sentencing.

Joseph Jakubowski was convicted in September of two charges stemming from the April 4 theft. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison when he's sentenced Wednesday.

The thefts of guns, magazines and bullets from Armageddon Supplies in Janesville set off a 10-day manhunt in April. Jakubowski confessed during his trial before being found guilty by a jury.

His public defender, Joseph Bugni, told the judge in a letter Tuesday that Jakubowski plans to ask either that he be sentenced to death or be set free. Bugni said he didn't join him in that request.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article190691974.html

Puerto Rico governor vows to make Florida Republicans pay for supporting tax bill

WASHINGTON -- For weeks, Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and his associates tried to play the Washington game, meeting with politicians and lobbyists across Capitol Hill to argue against provisions in the tax overhaul bill that treat the U.S. territory like a foreign country.

But having failed to force a change, Rosselló is changing tactics now that the Republican tax overhaul bill is headed toward a final vote. Rosselló said Florida Republicans will pay at the ballot box in 2018 due to their support of a bill that he says hurts Puerto Rico in its time of need.

“Everything is on the table,” Rosselló said. “We will analyze those who turned their back on Puerto Rico, who passed a bill that goes against the spirit of the law.”

Thousands of Puerto Ricans have moved to Florida since Hurricane Maria knocked out power to the entire territory in September, and Rosselló said that the new tax bill will cause thousands more to relocate when jobs dry up on the island.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article190319584.html
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