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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: 89,028

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

An open letter to Scrooge McTrump

Happy Holidays
By Jeremy Rutledge

It's a cold holiday season in America. Not in terms of the weather in the Lowcountry, where our winters are so mild we can barely put on our coats and scarves without overheating, but in terms of the overall climate in the country. Last weekend the Republican Senate passed a tax bill designed to redistribute wealth to the very richest while kicking kids off the Children's Health Insurance Program and passing them a one trillion dollar tab. It's hard to think of a more Scrooge-like piece of legislation, but apparently Fox News and Breitbart don't do literary allusions. Dickens who?

Just after the bill passed, the White House was decorated to look like the spitting image of the white witch's castle in Narnia. Outside the Christmas tree was lit to a half-empty gathering reminiscent of that dismal inauguration in January. The president, for his part, continues to threaten war and evade prosecution for everything from the sexual misconduct he once boasted about to the Russian collusion his former national security adviser may have just copped to. And his response to this bleak moment in our history is to wish us all Merry Christmas.

Of course, the president doesn't really mean Merry Christmas in either the Dickensian or the Christian sense — the former requiring a change of heart from miserliness to mercy, the latter spreading the distinctly counter-cultural messages of Peace on Earth and Good Will to All. What the president means is to divide us by culture and creed. When he says Merry Christmas, he's throwing red meat to his base of white evangelical Christians while throwing shade at the rest of the country. Our best response to this divisive tactic is to answer his Merry Christmas with a Happy Holidays.

Saying Happy Holidays acknowledges that we are a people of many faiths, philosophies, and traditions. It says that we embrace our pluralism and find in it a greater wisdom. In my own life in Charleston, my dearest friends are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, and humanist. We say different things in our houses of worship or during significant seasons, but in our life together we say Happy Holidays. This unites us in well wishing and common acts of kindness. The other day after checking out at the pharmacy, the woman at the register, who I see often, smiled brightly and wished me Happy Holidays. I wished her the same. And it was a lovely, human moment. I do not know her religious preference or her cultural background, but I know that I wish her well this season and wish to express it.

Read more: https://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/charleston/an-open-letter-to-scrooge-mctrump/Content?oid=13761150

Gastonia Walmart cleared of holiday shoppers after 'civil disturbance'

A reported “civil disturbance” cleared a busy Walmart on Myrtle School Road Sunday afternoon, creating a sense of panic although no injuries were reported.

Gastonia Police were called to the retail store at 3:20 p.m. over reports of a “civil disturbance.” There were unconfirmed reports of someone also possibly slashing tires in the parking lot.

Leah Hedgpath and her sister, Leslie Hedgpath, were in the back of the store in the baby clothes department when police came into the store and evacuated the building of shoppers and employees.

“They came through holding their rifles and everything, yelling at us to get to the front of the store,” Leah Hedgpath said.

Read more: http://www.gastongazette.com/news/20171217/walmart-cleared-of-holiday-shoppers-after-civil-disturbance

John Bolton: US may have to attack North Korea despite danger to South

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The time may come soon when the U.S. will have no other option but to attack North Korea militarily, former American ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said here Saturday night.

Negotiations have not stopped North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and China has not done what it could to deter the North from proceeding with work that would allow it to hit U.S. cities with a nuclear weapon, Bolton told about 450 at the annual holiday dinner hosted by former Republican Congressman Charles Taylor. The event attracts Republicans from across Western North Carolina.

"Nobody wants to use military force against North Korea because of the risks to South Korea. Nobody wants to see this happen," Bolton told the crowd at the Crowne Plaza Resort Asheville.

But he said the risks to the United States of North Korea having nuclear weapons may outweigh that concern.

Read more: http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2017/12/17/bolton-us-may-have-attack-north-korea-despite-danger-south/958388001/

Did Fayetteville stretch the law with 3-hour closed meeting?

For three hours earlier this month, the Fayetteville City Council met behind closed doors for a discussion that included a baseball stadium parking deck whose cost is ballooning and a proposed deal with the county to build a joint 911 center.

City officials say they adhered to the state’s open meetings law, which specifies narrow exemptions for the types of discussions that public bodies can hold in private.

But The Fayetteville Observer and a media lawyer are questioning whether the council reached beyond those exemptions.

The council cited “attorney-client privileged matter and economic development related to Project Home Run” as the reasons for going into the closed session on Dec. 7, city spokesman Kevin Arata said. Project Home Run refers to the public-private partnership with Prince Charles Holdings LLC, the investors who are committed to more than $60 million in projects connected to the minor league baseball stadium that the city is building on Hay Street.

Read more: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20171216/did-city-stretch-law-with-3-hour-closed-meeting

More than $23,000 went to GOP causes from Wake County leader charged with embezzlement

he N.C. GOP announced Thursday that it plans to send the Wake County government a check for the amount of money – $383 – it received from a county leader accused of embezzling money.

If the local Republican Party wants to do the same, they’ll need a bigger check.

Campaign finance reports show that Laura Riddick, the former Wake register of deeds charged with embezzling $900,000 from the office, donated at least $23,589 to Republican candidates and organizations since she was first elected 20 years ago.

Of those donations since 1996, $9,680 went to the Wake County Republican Party, $2,361 went to Wake County Republican Women, $2,000 went to the Republican National Committee and about $8,718 went to 19 candidates.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article190009409.html

Jessica Hahn, woman at center of televangelists fall 30 years ago, confronts her past

It’s been three decades since the world found out about the 15 minutes she spent in a Florida hotel room with televangelist Jim Bakker. But Jessica Hahn says it’s only been in the last two years that she’s finally confronted her anger about what happened, and how it’s affected the rest of her life.

She says she’s angry at Bakker, founder of the onetime PTL empire near Charlotte, for using his power and his image as a man of God to manipulate her, then a 21-year-old church secretary, into having sex.

“He just believed that everybody should serve him because he was serving God,” she said of Bakker.

She’s also angry at herself for being in the hotel room. And for reacting to this experience and the sudden media glare by making “maybe not the best choices” over the years that followed – including posing nude three times in Playboy.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/living/religion/article189940794.html

Gov. Wolf calls for resignation of Sen. Daylin Leach following allegations of inappropriate behavior

Gov. Tom Wolf Sunday became the first major public official to call for Sen. Daylin Leach (D) to resign from office in the wake of newly-published allegations about inappropriate treatment of staff.

Wolf's statement, issued by his press office shortly after 4 p.m., came in response to a lengthy Philadelphia Inquirer report detailing complaints from several former female staffers about a history of sexually suggestive jokes and a number of instances of inappropriate touches.

Leach, in a statement on his own Facebook page, has denied any intentional wrongdoing.

"This disturbing behavior is absolutely unacceptable," Wolf said in his statement. "Senator Leach should resign. While he has been a leader on important policy issues, this conduct cannot be excused.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/12/gov_tom_wolf_calls_for_resigna.html

Lewis: Judicial reforms may not fly in January session

Raleigh, N.C. — Lawmakers may not find enough consensus on judiciary reforms to pass anything when they gather again for a special legislative session next month, House Rules Chairman David Lewis
said Friday.

Lewis, R-Harnett, a key leader in the House, said legislators haven't coalesced behind proposals to redraw election districts for judges or to move instead to an appointments system. There has been a divide between the House and the Senate on this, but there also are indications House Republicans aren't all on board with proposed new districts for judges, which could prove important given the possibility of veto from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

"If we can't get agreement, and that was one of the main things we were going to do, it may be a very short session," Lewis said.

He also said there's no plan, at the moment, to approve potential constitutional amendments during the coming session. That would include a voter ID proposal.

Read more: http://www.wral.com/lewis-judicial-reforms-may-not-fly-in-january-session/17188362/

GenX no longer on agenda for legislative panel overseeing environment

Raleigh, N.C. — As state regulators ordered chemical maker Chemours on Wednesday to supply bottled water to 30 more households near its Bladen County plant, the General Assembly's major environmental oversight commission didn't even address the water contamination problem associated with the plant.

Out of about 350 private wells near the Chemours plant tested so far, two-thirds have had GenX in them, and half of those had levels of the chemical above the state's goal of 140 parts per trillion. Overall, 115 households have been found to have contaminated wells.

GenX is an unregulated compound used to make Teflon and other items. It has been found to cause cancer in mice, but because it hasn't been studied extensively, the health effect of long-term exposure in humans is unknown.

Chemours and its predecessor company, DuPont, have dumped GenX into the Cape Fear River for years until state officials asked them to stop this summer. Chemours and the state Department of Environmental Quality have since been fighting over renewing the wastewater discharge permit at the Fayetteville Works plant.

Some House lawmakers want to take up legislation on GenX during a special session scheduled for Jan. 10, but the issue wasn't even mentioned Wednesday at the Environmental Review Commission, the top oversight body on the matter.

Read more: http://www.wral.com/genx-no-longer-on-agenda-for-legislative-panel-overseeing-environment/17183957/

Board of Governors approves free-speech policy for UNC campuses

Chapel Hill, N.C. — The University of North Carolina's Board of Governors approved without debate Friday a policy designed to limit disruptions of speakers and meetings on UNC campuses.

State lawmakers this spring passed a measure calling for the Board of Governors to adopt a policy to "restore and preserve campus free speech." Backers of the legislation said public speakers on college campuses have sometimes been shouted down by protesters who didn't agree with their ideas.

"Students, staff and faculty shall be permitted to assemble and engage in spontaneous expressive activity as long as such activity is lawful and does not materially and substantially disrupt the functioning of the constituent institution," the policy reads.

"Substantial disruption" is defined as violating a trespass notice or an established curfew or taking an action considered disorderly conduct or a disruption under state law.

Read more: http://www.wral.com/board-of-governors-approves-free-speech-policy-for-unc-campuses/17188508/
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