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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: 78,351

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

Boston officials, sex-trafficking survivor support groups express concerns over Rep. Ayanna Pressley

Boston officials, sex-trafficking survivor support groups express concerns over Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s plan decriminalizing prostitution

By Jackson Cote

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and local organizations that work with survivors of sex trafficking expressed concerns this week over a proposal by U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley to decriminalize sex work.

The Massachusetts congresswoman’s provision was put forth in November as part of a wider criminal justice reform bill. A section of it calls for reducing jail and prison populations by decriminalizing “consensual sex work and low-level offenses, which are byproducts of poverty, homelessness, discrimination and/or addiction,” according to the House resolution.

Walsh told reporters on Tuesday after a hearing at the State House about affordable housing that he is worried how such a provision would impact Boston and sex-trafficking victims. The mayor said he would like to have a conversation with Pressley before any legislation is filed.

“My concern is I want to make sure that we protect the victims here, and the victims here are the people being sold, in slavery basically, sex slavery,” Walsh said, according to a recording of his statements provided by the mayor’s office. “The decriminalization of prostitution across the board, I have concerns about that.”

Read more: https://www.masslive.com/boston/2019/12/boston-officials-sex-trafficking-survivor-support-groups-express-concerns-over-rep-ayanna-pressleys-plan-decriminalizing-prostitution.html

Elizabeth Warren releases climate plan with goal of creating 10.6 million jobs

By Christina Prignano

Senator Elizabeth Warren on Friday released a climate change plan that aims to create 10.6 million new jobs through nearly $11 trillion in public and private spending, calling the need to transition the United States to a green economy a top priority if she is elected president .

Citing a recent study that shows there’s just over a decade left to avoid irreversible damage to the planet, Warren wrote in her latest campaign proposal that major action is needed to reduce global emissions. The Cambridge Democrat framed the threat as an opportunity, pointing to American successes in World War II and the space race, and arguing for investment in green policies that would spur private sector investment and create jobs.

“America has a long and proud history of rising to the challenges that have faced this country — and defeating the cliamte crisis is no exception,” Warren wrote in a Medium post Friday, the morning after the latest Democratic presidential debate.

As the early state contests rapidly approach, Warren is continuing to aggressively roll out detailed policy plans as she looks to regain some lost ground in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire. Since the beginning of December, she’s released plans to strengthen work protections for part time employees, combat warming oceans, and crack down on financial corruption.

Read more: https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2019/12/20/elizabeth-warren-releases-climate-plan-with-goal-creating-million-jobs/ptGVH7b0XsO9WmzEVK5DbM/story.html

Many health care workers are refusing flu shots, endangering patients, regulators say

Hundreds of workers who care for some of the state’s frailest residents, including those in nursing homes and dialysis centers, are failing to get their annual flu shot, placing patients with weak immune systems at risk of serious illness or death, health specialists said.

A new state report, which tracked vaccination rates during last year’s flu season, found that many clinics, ambulatory care facilities, dialysis centers, nursing and rest homes, and adult day health centers reported worker vaccination rates well below 90 percent, the state and federal goal for health facilities.

Among the lowest vaccination rates in Massachusetts facilities were nursing homes with 72 percent; clinics 68 percent; rest homes 64 percent; and 61 percent at day health programs, which provide community-based nutritional, rehabilitative, and other services to disabled adults.

In response, Massachusetts regulators are now intensifying efforts to improve vaccination rates — sending reminder letters to dozens of facilities that failed to report their numbers, visiting dialysis centers to review their process for vaccinating workers, and even offering cash to nursing homes as an incentive to improve their rates.

Read more: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2019/12/20/many-health-care-workers-are-refusing-flu-shots-endangering-patients-regulators-say/7o71o3yYtTEm8Bsoq2zSlJ/story.html

Kentucky's ex-governor pardoned a child rapist because the 9-year-old victim's hymen was intact

By Antonia Noori Farzan

When the Louisville Courier-Journal revealed earlier this month that former Kentucky governor Matt Bevin (R) had pardoned a slew of violent criminals during his final weeks in office, he cited his belief in second chances.

But on Thursday, Bevin offered a different explanation for one particularly controversial pardon: He said he didn’t believe that a 9-year-old girl was raped, because her hymen was intact.

“There was zero evidence,” Bevin told talk-radio host Terry Meiners of WHAS.

Already under fire for handing out pardons to relatives of his supporters, Bevin is now facing an onslaught of criticism from medical and forensic experts. Scientists have debunked the notion that inspecting an alleged victim’s hymen can prove whether they were sexually assaulted, and found that most survivors of child sexual abuse do not have any physical damage. George Nichols, an expert in evaluating child abuse who also served as Kentucky’s chief medical examiner for 20 years, told the Courier-Journal on Thursday that Bevin “clearly doesn’t know medicine and anatomy.”

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/12/20/matt-bevin-micah-schoettle-child-rapist-hymen-intact-pardon/

Mineral Wells Mayor Perricone indicted on felony perjury charge

By David May

PALO PINTO – Mineral Wells Mayor Christopher Perricone (R) is facing a third-degree felony charge of aggravated perjury following his indictment Thursday by a Palo Pinto County grand jury.

If convicted, the 38-year-old Perricone faces a possible punishment of 2-10 years incarceration and a fine up to $10,000. However, with no known prior felony convictions, the mayor would also be eligible for probation.

Perricone was at the courthouse Thursday when the case was presented by a special prosecutor from Johnson County to the regularly seated, randomly selected grand jury that has been hearing local cases for months. The case was reportedly scheduled for presentation last month, but the special prosecutor had a scheduling conflict.

Following the panel's return of a true bill, Perricone opted to go across the street and be processed through the Palo Pinto County Jail. He was released Thursday evening on a $5,000 bond.

Read more: https://www.mineralwellsindex.com/news/perricone-indicted-on-felony-perjury-charge/article_09096c54-2346-11ea-9955-0f182bd637fe.html

Trial in massive fraud against troops' healthcare program ends in Dallas with mixed results

By Kevin Krause

A lengthy federal criminal trial in a large conspiracy that prosecutors say defrauded the military’s health-insurance program out of $100 million has ended with mixed results, with jurors convicting some defendants, acquitting others and remaining deadlocked on the rest.

The alleged kickback scheme centered on a Dallas compounding pharmacy called Trilogy Pharmacy. A total of 13 people were charged in a 40-count indictment and accused of conspiring to sell to soldiers expensive compounded products like pain and scar creams that were not needed.

Six of them went to trial in October. The six-week trial wrapped up this week. Seven others previously pleaded guilty in the case and await sentencing.

It’s one of Texas’ biggest federal criminal cases brought in connection with the government’s nationwide criminal investigation into compounding pharmacies and their marketing operations that have received federal money.

Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/2019/12/21/trial-in-massive-fraud-against-troops-healthcare-program-ends-in-dallas-with-mixed-results/

NCAA places TCU on probation after finding more than 30 student-athletes were paid for work they

NCAA places TCU on probation after finding more than 30 student-athletes were paid for work they didn’t do

The NCAA placed TCU on probation for one year after the school self-reported 33 athletes in football and basketball being paid for work they didn’t do.

The NCAA released the decision of the committee on infractions Friday.

TCU was also punished for practice violations in men's and women's swimming and diving, and a former coach in those sports was given a show-cause order.

TCU reported the violations in 2018 when it discovered athletes were not clocking out of their summer jobs with the school's physical plant. The payments totaled about $20,000 over four years and 22 athletes competed while ineligible.

The committee on infractions declined to vacate victories in which ineligible athletes competed after TCU successfully contested those penalties. TCU was fined more than $47,000, which included a portion of the revenue the school made from its men's NCAA Tournament appearance in 2018.

Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/sports/tcu-horned-frogs/2019/12/20/ncaa-places-tcu-on-probation-after-finding-more-than-30-student-athletes-were-paid-for-work-they-didnt-do/

Nestled in a poor Dallas neighborhood, Paul Quinn College aims to be a national model for overcoming

Nestled in a poor Dallas neighborhood, Paul Quinn College aims to be a national model for overcoming poverty

By Carrington Tatum, Texas Tribune

DALLAS — On a recent Sunday night, Paul Quinn College president Michael Sorrell kicked off an hourlong, unstructured group discussion during his problem-solving course with a question.

“What’s on your mind?” he asked the class composed of the school’s top 18 students.

Sophomore LaMontria Edwards promptly asked a question about Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War,” the ancient and seminal Chinese text about war and strategy assigned to the class. She inadvertently launched a meandering discussion that touched on everything from ancient Greek historians to reparations for American slavery and inequality in the modern criminal justice system.

Students then dove into a discussion about Rodney Reed, the Texas prisoner largely believed to be innocent of the murder that landed him on death row and who, at the time, was days away from an execution that has since been halted. Sorrell turned their analysis of the case, catapulted into the national consciousness thanks in part to celebrities’ posts on social platforms, into an impromptu lecture on media literacy.

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2019/12/19/how-dallas-paul-quinn-college-became-americas-first-urban-work-college/

Federal judge dismisses Houston ISD lawsuit seeking to avoid state takeover

By Aliyya Swaby, Texas Tribune

Handing a win to Texas education officials, an Austin-based federal judge Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Houston Independent School District in an effort to stop the state from seizing control of its troubled school board.

The lawsuit was one of the last weapons in the 200,000-student school district's arsenal to avoid a near-inevitable state takeover in the making for months, prompted by the continued dysfunction of the school board and repeated low performance of one high school.

In a final judgment, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel denied the district's request for a preliminary injunction to stop Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath from appointing a board of managers to replace the board. He also remanded to state court some of the district's claims that Morath had exceeded his authority as he moved toward a takeover.

The decision came down just two weeks after the parties argued their cases in front of Yeakel in early December.

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2019/12/19/texas-federal-lawsuit-houston-takeover/

Beto O'Rourke unveils PAC with focus on boosting Texas Democrats in 2020

By Patrick Svitek, Texas Tribune

Weeks after dropping out of the presidential race, Beto O'Rourke has launched a new political group to boost Texas Democrats in the 2020 election.

In an email to supporters Friday morning, O'Rourke said the group, Powered by People, will bring "together volunteers from around the state to work on the most important races in Texas." He named a few battles in particular: the fight for the state House majority, national Democrats' drive to flip six Texas congressional seats, the race to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and the presidential general election in Texas.

"Powered by People will organize grassroots volunteers to do the tough, necessary work that wins elections: registering Texans to vote (especially those that have just moved to Texas and those who are just turning 18), knocking on their doors, making phone calls, and connecting the dots so that we all understand that in order to make progress on the issues we care most about — like gun violence, healthcare and climate — we will have to register, volunteer and vote," O'Rourke said.

Powered by People is set up as a political action committee — notable given O'Rourke's long aversion to PACs in his campaigns. As a congressman, 2018 U.S. Senate candidate and 2020 presidential candidate, O'Rourke refused to accept PAC donations, denouncing the influence of big money in politics.

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2019/12/20/beto-orourke-launches-pac-focused-texas-2020-elections/
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