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Profile Information

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: 78,410

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

To win the fight against opiate addiction, experts say homelessness must be addressed

As Portland grapples with both a housing shortage and an opiate addiction crisis, a new bill was proposed last month to ameliorate some of its effects.

On January 17, Representative Drew Gattine (District 34, Westbrook) submitted emergency legislation aimed at addressing the intersecting issues of homelessness and opiate addiction.

Staff at the Preble Street Resource Center recently reported that last year they were reversing overdoses almost every week, and 100 percent of those they helped sought treatment elsewhere but couldn’t find it. In 2016, Bob Fowler, the executive director of the Milestone Foundation, said that his detox center turns away about 100 people in need every month.

Gattine’s legislation — LD 1711, Resolve To Save Lives by Establishing a Homeless Opioid Users Service Engagement Pilot Project (H.O.U.S.E.) — says it will provide access to a “medication first” system of low-barrier medication-assisted treatment and rapid housing (from existing housing stock) with “intensive support options to ensure paths to recovery.” The bill would also provide temporary housing assistance for clients until they can start working again.

Read more: https://www.conwaydailysun.com/portland_phoenix/to-win-the-fight-against-opiate-addiction-experts-say-homelessness/article_38819660-05ce-11e8-8816-97ad9df6e621.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Feb 3, 2018, 06:31 AM (0 replies)

Maine won't honor the will of its voters (and lead the way with cannabis social clubs)

Progress with Maine’s marijuana law has slowed to a crawl and it’s easy to get the important details hazy. Unless you were completely couch-locked all month, here’s a quick refresher of cannabis law in Maine and what the heck is up.

A bipartisan committee spent months last year working on a veto-proof rewrite of the Maine Marijuana Legalization Act that would have set up the retail market. It’s most notable additions were a provision allowing towns to “opt in” to marijuana and a 10 percent tax on recreational sales. Cannabis entrepreneurs were happy that the Department of Agriculture was written in as the regulatory agency instead of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, but there’s was a concern that LePage would work with his colleagues in the DOA to continue to kick the can further down the road than he already has. The concerns were valid— LePage vetoed the bill in November and House Republicans, led by Leader Ken Fredette, sustained his veto. They managed to impose a moratorium on the legislation until February 1.

Though the moratorium on recreational sales has by now expired, it’s still not legal to buy and sell cannabis because the framework for licensing still isn't in place. Meanwhile, lawmakers are determined to extend the moratorium until they can come to a consensus on how the product should be taxed, and where marijuana companies are allowed to do business. The Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee proposed extending the moratorium until May 1, but LePage and House Republicans want it to last even longer — until January 1, 2019.

Don’t expect any kush clubs or local marijuana cafes anytime soon either. On January 16, the Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee capitulated to LePage’s wishes and voted 5-1 to delay the role out of marijuana social clubs until 2023. They hope this will make it easier for the more hardline anti-marijuana lawmakers to pass the eventual rewrite of the original bill allowing regulated sales to adults 21 and over.

Read more: https://www.conwaydailysun.com/portland_phoenix/columns/maine-won-t-honor-the-will-of-its-voters-and/article_187fd746-05f1-11e8-9657-830d59eaab4e.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Feb 3, 2018, 05:32 AM (1 replies)

DFL governor hopefuls lead GOPers in fundraising so far, with no Pawlenty

Minnesota Democrats are walloping their Republican rivals in the fundraising race to be the state’s next governor by a more than 4-1 ratio.

The six Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidates vying to replace Gov. Mark Dayton raised a combined $2.8 million in 2017, according to campaign finance reports released Thursday. Five Republican gubernatorial candidates, including two who recently left the race, raised just under $600,000.

Top fundraisers for each party were Congressman Tim Walz, in the DFL, who brought in $1.1 million, and 2014 Republican candidate for governor Jeff Johnson, who raised almost $263,000. The next largest hauls went to Chris Coleman for the DFL and Keith Downey for Republicans.

The governor’s race is wide open because Dayton is not seeking a third term. Next week, Minnesotans will start to show which candidates they favor when they vote in straw polls during precinct caucuses.

Read more: https://www.twincities.com/2018/02/02/minnesota-fundraising-race-for-governor-by-the-numbers/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Feb 3, 2018, 02:21 AM (0 replies)

With St. Paul teacher strike looming, school board unwilling to 'swoop in and save the day'

A St. Paul Public Schools teacher strike sidelining more than 4,000 employees and some 34,800 students could be less than two weeks away.

The St. Paul Federation of Teachers said all three bargaining units voting Wednesday easily authorized their leadership to strike. That includes 85 percent of voting teachers, 90 percent of educational assistants and 82 percent of school and community service professionals.

The union said it would give notice of intent to strike Thursday, starting a 10-day cooling off period before a strike can begin. They’re considering walking off the job as early as Feb. 13.

Meanwhile, negotiators will continue meeting with state mediators Friday and Wednesday as they work toward a new two-year teacher contract.

Read more: https://www.twincities.com/2018/02/01/with-st-paul-teacher-strike-looming-school-board-unwilling-to-swoop-in-and-save-the-day/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Feb 3, 2018, 02:04 AM (0 replies)

Black Lives Matter Minnesota issues 'travel alert' for St. Paul

Black Lives Matter Minnesota is advising black visitors and other people of color to “exercise caution” while visiting St. Paul during Super Bowl LII.

“The St. Paul Police Department is the deadliest department in the state of Minnesota, killing more people annually than any other department in the state,” reads the BLM advisory, the first such advisory issued by the group.

A spokesman for the St. Paul Police Department declined to comment Thursday.

Trahern Crews, a spokesman for Black Lives Matter Minnesota, said the group is not discouraging tourists from visiting St. Paul, but they want greater professional repercussions for officers who use unnecessary force.

Crews also noted incidents of police brutality have been alleged across the metro.

Read more: https://www.twincities.com/2018/02/01/black-lives-matter-minnesota-issues-travel-alert-for-st-paul/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Feb 3, 2018, 01:48 AM (0 replies)

Vermont governor thankful for help in Jay Peak fraud case

MONTPELIER, Vt. — The Latest on a ski resort owner who agreed to pay back $81 million he was accused of using illegally (all times local):

7 p.m.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has expressed his appreciation for the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission's work investigating a ski resort owner who has agreed to pay back $81 million he was accused of using illegally.

Miami businessman Ariel Quiros was accused of massive fraud involving foreign investors' money in Vermont's Jay Peak ski area. He has agreed to give up ownership of two ski resorts and says he's pleased to be another step closer to resolving the claims against him.

The Republican governor and Democratic state Attorney General T.J. Donovan said Friday the SEC settlement with Quiros will provide a federal receiver with legal title to the Jay Peak Resort, the Burke Mountain Resort and other properties acquired by Quiros with investor money.

Read more: http://www.startribune.com/the-latest-vermont-governor-thankful-for-help-in-fraud-case/472423173/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Feb 3, 2018, 01:41 AM (0 replies)

Mississippi pushes abortion ban at 15 weeks, earliest in US

JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi lawmakers pushed ahead Friday with a bill to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which would be the earliest ban nationwide and create a possible court challenge.

Mississippi already bans most abortions after 20 weeks. It's tied with North Carolina for the nation's earliest ban.

Members of the Republican-controlled House on Friday passed House Bill 1510 by a vote of 79-31, with Republicans and some Democrats supporting it. The measure would allow exceptions if a woman's life is endangered or a fetus has a severe abnormality. The bill goes to the state Senate for more debate.

House Judiciary B Committee Chairman Andy Gipson, a Braxton Republican, said Mississippi wants to prevent women from being adversely affected by abortion.

"Women deserve real health care, not some fake health care that involves the destruction of human life and a woman's health," said Gipson, a lawyer and Baptist minister.

Read more: http://www.startribune.com/mississippi-lawmakers-debate-banning-abortion-after-15-weeks/472386273/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Feb 3, 2018, 01:33 AM (1 replies)

Another 2,000 Kentuckians could lose disability benefits

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Another 1,965 people in eastern Kentucky could lose their federal benefits because of a disgraced attorney who made millions by bribing judges and doctors to OK disability checks for his clients.

The Social Security Administration plans to notify nearly 2,000 people in eastern Kentucky that they will have to defend their status in court. All of them are connected to Eric Conn, a flamboyant attorney who billed himself as "Mr. Social Security" in television ads before his empire crumbled beneath the weight of a federal investigation. About half of those new cases involve Conn and a convicted former administrative law judge, according to Social Security Administration Acting Press Officer Mark Hinkle.

Hinkle said the new cases were identified by the Office of the Inspector General in November. U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers' office said notifications will go out soon, but in a piecemeal fashion instead of all at once. People affected will have a hearing before an administrative law judge to determine if they can keep their benefits. People will have at least 30 days to gather evidence and hire attorneys. Disability payments will continue throughout the redetermination process.

These new batch of cases are in addition to the 1,800 cases associated with Conn's law practice the federal government has already reviewed. Some of them have sued the government seeking to stop those redetermination hearings. That case is pending in federal court.

Read more: http://www.startribune.com/another-2-000-kentuckians-could-lose-disability-benefits/472406783/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Feb 3, 2018, 01:29 AM (2 replies)

Minn. Reps. Cindy Pugh, Kathy Lohmer, local GOP official warn of Muslims 'infiltrating' precinct ...

Minn. Reps. Cindy Pugh, Kathy Lohmer, local GOP official warn of Muslims 'infiltrating' precinct caucuses

Two GOP state legislators and a local Republican Party official warned on Facebook this week of a plot to “mobilize Muslims to infiltrate our Republican caucuses on Feb. 6.”

State Reps. Kathy Lohmer, R-Stillwater, Cindy Pugh, a third-term Chanhassen Republican, and Dave Sina, the chairman of the Fourth Congressional District GOP, posted to Facebook that “a friend” went to a caucus training held at a local mosque, where he witnessed Muslim-Americans being taught to “penetrate” and “infiltrate” American politics to enact a Muslim political agenda.

The posting drew a swift rebuke from fellow Republicans, the League of Women Voters and an interfaith religious group.

Jennifer Carnahan, chairwoman of the Minnesota GOP, said Muslim-Americans are welcome to caucus with the Republicans.

Read more: http://www.startribune.com/local-gop-official-warns-of-muslims-infiltrating-precinct-caucuses/471764094/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Feb 3, 2018, 01:05 AM (1 replies)

Super Bowl Live security firm fired after not conducting proper background checks

The Minneapolis-based firm that was providing security at Super Bowl Live was replaced Wednesday for insufficient background checks of its employees, according to sources familiar with the situation.

The Super Bowl Host Committee replaced EPG Security Group with G4S, another Twin Cities firm, sources said Friday.

Host committee spokeswoman Andrea Mokros declined to provide information about how the problem was discovered, how many EPG employees were involved or what their duties were.

But Minneapolis Police Lt. Bob Kroll said that the site that EPG was guarding was left shorthanded after several of its officers were yanked away by federal authorities. Mokros declined to comment on that characterization.

Read more: http://www.startribune.com/super-bowl-live-security-firm-fired-after-not-conducting-proper-background-checks/472420453/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Feb 3, 2018, 12:53 AM (0 replies)
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