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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: 88,979

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

How NC failed to protect millions Cardinal spent on big payouts, parties

Long before Cardinal Innovations came under scrutiny this year for using taxpayer money for high-priced parties and retreats, chartered flights and pay bonuses, North Carolina officials had been warned that they needed to look into spending at the agency.

A 2012 audit recommended that the state Department of Health and Human Services thoroughly examine finances at Cardinal and other managed care organizations in North Carolina that receive hundreds of millions dollars a year to coordinate Medicaid services for people with physical disabilities, mental health issues and drug addiction.

But DHHS – which oversees Medicaid spending in North Carolina – took no significant steps to address investigators’ concerns, State Auditor Beth Wood told the Observer.

The inaction, Wood said, paved the way for Cardinal to boost its CEO’s pay to $635,000 – about three times higher than the state limit – and hand out more than $4 million in bonuses to employees.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/article189764604.html

Maps, mayhem and merriment: Where things stand with North Carolina redistricting

If the General Assembly were an army, their troops would be spread too thin.

Lawmakers made a tactical decision this year to redraw judicial district boundaries. On another battle front, they’re trying to correct several previous mapmaking mistakes: Unconstitutional legislative and congressional redistricting, the latter of which they’re still disputing in court.

Despite their own strategic stonewalling, lawmakers asked a federal court this week to expedite a hearing on a special master’s proposed plan for legislative redistricting. Lawmakers requested a Dec. 22 hearing, which is 10 days earlier than the scheduled date and three days before Christmas.

They justified the rush to help the state “seek meaningful Supreme Court review and take additional legislative action if necessary.”

However, the three-judge panel – President Barack Obama nominees U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Eagles and 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge James Wynn, as well as U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Schroeder, who was appointed by President George W. Bush – denied the request within a day.

Read more: http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2017/12/15/maps-mayhem-merriment-things-stand-north-carolina-redistricting/

Durham's Public Housing Is Aging and Deteriorating. Is Partnering with Private Investors the Answer?

"When you open your door and you look outside, do you like what you see?"

This is how Tameika Richardson gets to know her neighbors in the Cornwallis Road public housing neighborhood in Durham. Richardson moved in about a year ago and began working as a community organizer with Durham for All, a group that advocates for bottom-up governance.

To learn about her neighbors' needs, she goes from apartment to apartment asking this question.

So far, no one has said yes.

"A lot of people say no, they don't. Some people just feel like nothing's going to change, so there's no point in going out to vote or going out to any kind of meetings," she says. "They feel like Durham's been like this, and these projects have been like this, for so long you just get used to it."

Read more: https://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/durhams-public-housing-is-aging-and-deteriorating-is-partnering-with-private-investors-the-answer/Content?oid=10109977

Activists urge Unite the Right counter-protesters to resist grand jury summons

Left-wing activists are encouraging Unite the Right counter-protesters who have been subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury to not comply with the summons.

At a Wednesday morning protest outside the federal courthouse in Charlottesville, approximately two dozen people stood behind a large banner that referred to the alleged deliberations of the grand jury as a “witch hunt.”

Star Peterson, who was struck in the Aug. 12 car attack near the intersection of Fourth Street Southeast and East Water Street, said she has been subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury.

“I will not be bullied,” she said.

The attack resulted in the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer, 32, and scores of injuries. Members of the activist collective Solidarity Cville said they are alarmed that Peterson and others have been summoned to appear before the jury, and believe that their testimony could be used against the anti-racist activists who protested the white nationalist rally this summer.

Read more: http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/local/activists-urge-unite-the-right-counter-protesters-to-resist-grand/article_eea3e56e-e027-11e7-9378-4b03961fa529.html

McAuliffe expected to propose raises for state employees

RICHMOND — Gov. Terry McAuliffe plans to propose a 2 percent pay raise for state employees and teachers in the second year of the biennial budget he will introduce Monday, according to a source in the administration.

McAuliffe, preparing to submit his final budget proposal before leaving office on Jan. 13, also will propose a major boost to the state’s new cash reserve fund to create a balance equal to 2 percent of the general fund budget at $427 million by the end of the biennium in mid-2020, the source said.

The proposals would allow the departing governor to address concerns about the state’s ability to recruit and retain talented employees, as well as a negative outlook on Virginia’s finances by a national bond rating agency early this year because of overreliance on the state’s rainy day fund to balance the budget in the face of revenue shortfalls twice in the last four years.

McAuliffe is counting on projected increases in collections of major state revenue sources, such as taxes on individual income, sales and corporations to pay for the proposed increases, the source said.

Read more: http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/local/mcauliffe-expected-to-propose-raises-for-state-employees/article_bd00e3ea-e2c0-11e7-8b20-c72dec33a076.html

Gov. McAuliffe announces 405 new jobs at old Ball Corp. in Bristol

BRISTOL, Va. -- Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that American Merchant, Inc., a subsidiary of Merchant House International Ltd, a Hong Kong-based designer and manufacturer of home textiles, seasonal décor products, and leather shoes, will invest $19.9 million to establish its first U.S. manufacturing operation in the City of Bristol. The new textiles plant will expand the company’s home décor products division into the U.S. Virginia successfully competed against Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and South Carolina for the project, which will create 405 new jobs.

“It's an honor to welcome American Merchant to Southwest Virginia and to our impressive roster of international manufacturing companies, which represent more than $118 billion in direct economic output across the Commonwealth,” said Governor McAuliffe, speaking at the event.

City of Bristol, Virginia Mayor, Kevin Mumpower stated, “This location has always been a mainstay in our city’s economy, providing good jobs and good wages and acting as a steward for our vision of Bristol, Virginia being a great place to live and work. We therefore are very excited to welcome a new employer to this location and we eagerly anticipate a continuation of this trend. We look forward to the new jobs created for our citizens and the increase in our local tax base. With the soon-to-happen building improvements, machinery and equipment investments, and employee hiring, we are looking forward to seeing this building busy with activity and we are extremely grateful for being the chosen location for this exciting new venture.”

American Merchant, Inc., a subsidiary of Merchant House International Ltd. (MHI Group), is a newly-formed company that will manufacture embroidered hand and bath towels in Bristol, Virginia. Merchant House International, listed on the Australia Securities Exchange, operates in three segments: home textiles, footwear manufacturing, and footwear trading. The company offers kitchen items, table top products, kitchen rugs, and decorative pillows; as well as footwear products, including: work boots, safety toe boots, waterproof footwear security boots, motorcycle boots, hunting boots, and farm and ranch western boots for men. It also engages in the export trading of its work boots and safety shoes. The company sells its products in the United States, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and China. Merchant House International is bringing textiles back to America due to plentiful cotton supplies, cleaner and more sustainable energy, and lower tax rates than China.

Read more: http://www.heraldcourier.com/news/gov-mcauliffe-announces-new-jobs-at-old-ball-corp-in/article_2e202c5e-df6d-11e7-8489-8b45700248d0.html

Planning board OKs Marriott's $600M Maryland headquarters

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — Marriott International's plans to open a new $600 million headquarters in suburban Maryland has been approved by a local planning board.

WTOP-FM reports that the Montgomery County Planning Board had approved the world's largest hotel company's plans to build near the Bethesda Metro station.

Marriott announced last year it would be staying in Montgomery after the county and Maryland offered the company a $60 million incentive package. The company also considered Washington and Northern Virginia.

The company hopes to break ground next year and move its 3,500 employees to the new location by 2022.

Read more: http://www.fredericksburg.com/news/news-wire/planning-board-oks-marriott-s-m-maryland-headquarters/article_9423af06-1d82-5f8b-ab04-a4560ffa1fd2.html

The one that got away: Not the fish, but the $2.8M prize

OCEAN CITY, Md. (AP) — Phil Heasley caught the fish of his life, but the $2.8 million in tournament prize money got away.

Heasley reeled in a 6-foot (1.8 meter) white marlin last year off Maryland's coast. But in a sign of how concerned some big money tournaments are about cheating, officials made him and his crew take lie detector tests. The officials said all four men failed.

Heasley is now in a protracted court battle over the winnings and his crew's reputation, pitting their integrity against that of one of the world's most lucrative angling contests.

The white-haired CEO of a financial software company had motored with his crew into the Atlantic before sunrise on a Tuesday in August in his 68-foot fishing boat, the Kallianassa, to compete in the 2016 White Marlin Open.

Read more: http://www.dnronline.com/associated_press/national/the-one-that-got-away-not-the-fish-but-the/article_4b75a60e-8179-5fbe-823f-9446b0937185.html

It's a crime in Virginia to swear in public. A lawmaker says that's . . . nuts.

RICHMOND —Virginia law demands that residents keep it clean, even in moments crying out for the foulest four-letter words.

It’s illegal in this state to curse in public.

“Profane swearing” is a Class 4 misdemeanor punishable by a $250 fine, right up there with public intoxication. It’s a law that predates the Civil War. Yet modern-day potty-mouths still get charged under it .


Del. Michael Webert, a Republican from Fauquier, is a cattle farmer who knows that stuff happens. And that when it does, only a few choice words will do.

“When you’re working [with] cows and a 1,400-pound animal doesn’t do what you want it to, or steps on your feet, every once in a while something colorful comes out of your mouth,” said Webert, 38.

Read more: http://www.roanoke.com/news/politics/it-s-a-crime-in-virginia-to-swear-in-public/article_83c981e3-9f4e-5d7a-866c-1ddcd4c8688b.html

Nevada Democrat, facing ethics probe, won't seek re-election

LAS VEGAS (AP) — First-term Democratic Congressman Ruben Kihuen of Nevada, who is at the center of sexual harassment allegations, announced Saturday he won't seek re-election.

Kihuen's announcement came a day after the House Ethics Committee opened an investigation into whether Kihuen "may have engaged in sexual harassment" with a campaign aide and a lobbyist.

"I want to state clearly again that I deny the allegations in question," Kihuen said. "I am committed to fully cooperating with the House Ethics Committee and I look forward to clearing my name."

The freshman congressman said the accusations would be distraction during a re-election campaign.

Read more: http://www.roanoke.com/news/wire_headlines/nevada-democrat-facing-ethics-probe-won-t-seek-re-election/article_8be0b2ce-f2d2-5e57-9f08-56b21192ecf1.html
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