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TexasTowelie

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: 78,263

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

Walnut Creek leopard reveals its spots


Courtesy of Nancy Myerhofer
Walnut Creek’s “leopard” is really just a beautiful house cat roaming the neighborhood.


A report of a possible leopard prowling the streets of a Walnut Creek neighborhood had some people on edge. Even though it was highly unlikely the cat was a leopard, people were concerned and puzzled about what it might be.

The cat, seen near the quiet neighborhood Arbolado Park, was described as having a fawn colored coat with dark spots. It also had a long tail and seemed too large for a house cat, leading to speculation it was a leopard cub.

After I reported the sighting in my column and offered the strong possibility that it was one of a few house cats that have leopard markings, other readers suggested it was a bobcat known to frequent the neighborhood or a mountain lion cub.

It was all a lot of speculation on everyone’s part, mine included, until reader Nancy Myerhofer sent in some photographic evidence.

Read more: http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/03/30/walnut-creek-leopard-reveals-its-spots/


The “leopard” unmasked. Courtesy of Nancy Myerhofer

Is Trump's epic downfall coming soon? Watch your phone

Are you one of the millions of Americans facing a new and sickening peril? It’s called “home screen fatigue,” and it’s what happens when the relentless firehose of Trump-stabbed news alerts seem to turn your device into a single-minded spigot of misery and moral dread, interspersed with the weather.

As someone working in (well, near) MSM for nearly two decades, I’m probably more of a glutton than most: I currently allow more than a dozen news and culture outlets to throw alerts onto my iPhone’s home screen, from the NYT to WaPo, Slate to Apple News, and I can fully attest: reaching for the thing every morning has become a bit like inhaling a fistful of broken glass for your first morning yawn. And that’s before I open my Twitter feed. Holy god.

It’s easy to feel trapped, crushed, overwhelmed. It is easy to wish to avoid the frantic, newly supercharged media entirely, going so far as to turn it all off and go play in the woods lest your soul shrivel into a numb raisin of quivering dread.

Here’s my advice: Don’t do it. Not completely. Not just yet. Because you might miss something good. Really good.

Like, say, #RussiaGate. Like, say, the biggest and most fantastically uproarious, devastating scandal in all of American political history, the moment when it all comes crashing down and Trump and his cronies are led away in handcuffs to die in prison. It’s going to be a grand ol’ party indeed, and it could happen, quite literally, any minute.

Read more: http://blog.sfgate.com/morford/2017/03/29/is-trumps-epic-downfall-coming-soon-watch-your-phone/

Former Oakland charter schools director charged with fraud

The former director of three Oakland charter schools was arrested in North Carolina on Thursday and charged with fraud, federal prosecutors said.

Ben Chavis, who ran the American Indian Model Schools in Oakland, was charged with mail fraud and money laundering, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in San Francisco.

Chavis allegedly obtained federal grants worth more than $1 million that he said would be used for the charter schools. Instead, according to an indictment, Chavis used the grant money to pay for leasing properties for two companies he owned that were not connected to the schools.

A 2012 California audit uncovered $3.8 million in improper payments to Chavis and his wife through real estate deals they struck as they operated the charter schools.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Former-Oakland-charter-schools-director-charged-11040033.php

President Jerry Brown? Don't rule it out

Gov. Jerry Brown went to Concord on Thursday to promote a plan to fix the state’s roads and highways, acknowledging that the $52 billion plan may be a “heavy lift” for some motorists but promising he’s motivated only by a desire to improve transportation.

“I don’t think I’m running for office,” he quipped during a news conference as he stood on an unused Concord road flanked by by a sea of orange-vest-clad construction workers and more formally dressed politicians, including state Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount (Los Angeles County).

“I only have lieutenant governor, treasurer and controller left,” Brown said.

Someone in the crowed shouted out: “President.”

“But I’d be 82 then,” he said, pausing. “Don’t rule it out.”

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Governor-lawmakers-tout-transportation-plan-in-11039530.php

Republicans take aim at California's retirement dream

Nancy Harvey has a goal. "I'd like to retire before dying," she said.

Harvey, 55, has almost nothing saved for retirement. She's a child-care provider in Oakland, California, and there isn't much left over at the end of the month. "It's not a lucrative field," she said.

She was looking forward to a new way to save, courtesy of her home state's government. The California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program would create state-sponsored individual retirement accounts. Employers would be required to offer their own retirement plans or sign workers up for the voluntary IRAs. Four other states-Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, and Connecticut-are launching similar programs, also designed to make it easier to save on the job through payroll deductions.

Now, lawmakers in Washington are threatening to end the states' auto-IRA programs before they start, setting up another likely confrontation between the Trump administration and Democrat-run state governments such as California's.

Republican lawmakers and financial industry lobbyists argue that the state auto-IRA programs put an extra burden on employers, could end up charging high fees, and improperly skirt strict regulations governing retirement plans.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Republicans-take-aim-at-California-s-retirement-11038965.php

San Francisco signs up sponsors for 4/20 weed fest in Golden Gate Park

San Francisco’s favorite pot party has finally gotten the official go-ahead from the city.

The Recreation and Park Department is issuing its first-ever permit for next month’s 4/20 marijuana-smoking blowout on Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park. For years, the event has drawn tens of thousands of weed aficionados to the park and the city has been stuck with the costs, including paying for hauling away tons of trash that the crowds leave behind.

This year, a handful of Haight Street merchants and local cannabis businesses, including the Diamond Supply Company, Cookies SF and the Green Door dispensary, have taken on the job of sponsoring the festival. They will pay for fences and gates, portable toilets, and traffic and emergency plans for the formerly unsanctioned celebration April 20. The permit fee will also help cover policing and trash-removal costs.

“The way it used to be was a free-for-all,” said Alex Aquino, a sponsor who owns Black Scale, a clothing shop on Haight Street. He declined to say how much the sponsorship cost, only that it was “very expensive.” A typical permit for an event of 4/20’s size costs around $100,000, according to Rec and Park figures.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/SF-signs-up-sponsors-for-4-20-weed-fest-in-Golden-11039958.php

Newsom shreds Pence over vote to block Planned Parenthood money

The second-ranking politician in California is calling out the No. 2 official in the federal government for "astounding" hypocrisy after a United States Senate vote on Planned Parenthood funding.

California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom sounded off on Facebook after Republican legislation letting states deny federal family planning money to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers squeezed narrowly through the Senate on Thursday. The legislation was rescued by an ailing GOP senator who returned to the Capitol after back surgery and a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence.

In Congress' latest clash mixing the politics of abortion, women's health, and states' rights, Pence cast the decisive vote in a 51-50 roll call. The tally had been tied after two GOP senators, Alaska's Lisa Murkowski and Maine's Susan Collins, joined Democrats opposing the measure.

"Yesterday: Pence led a forum on empowering women," Newsom wrote on Facebook. "Today: Pence led a group of males in a vote to strip access to birth control & cancer screenings. The hypocrisy is astounding."

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Gavin-newsom-mike-pence-planned-parenthood-11039859.php

San Diego may change sidewalk policy in wake of $5M injury settlement

In the wake of a nearly $5 million city payout to a bicyclist injured by damaged sidewalk, San Diego Councilman David Alvarez wants a new policy shifting the responsibility of repairing sidewalks almost entirely to the city.

Alvarez says the existing policy, which makes adjacent property owners responsible for repairs in all but a small number of circumstances, has resulted in too many damaged sidewalks and large injury payouts by the city.

The council approved such a payout early this month to a man who was launched 28 feet on his bike by tree-damaged sidewalk in Del Cerro. The man, who got $4.85 million from the city, tore spinal cord ligaments, lost several teeth and suffered a possible stroke during the 2014 crash.

Such payouts and injuries can be avoided or made much less frequent by having the city take more responsibility for repairs, Alvarez said.

Read more: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/politics/sd-me-government-0322-story.html

Brexit leader Nigel Farage wants to split California in half next

On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May made Britain’s exit from the European Union official nine months after voters in the United Kingdom narrowly approved what is now known worldwide as “Brexit.”

May said “this is a historic moment from which there can be no turning back.”

EU Council President Donald Tusk said it was no a “happy day” for him or the EU.

So where was the man who led the successful “Brexit” campaign? Nigel Farage was enjoying a beer and probably pondering his latest plan: to make a similar political move across the pond in California.

Read more: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/the-conversation/sd-brexit-leader-nigel-farage-california-20170329-htmlstory.html

Muslim doctor enters race for California lieutenant governor, vows to fight Trump

Asif Mahmood, a Democrat and Muslim doctor from Los Angeles, on Wednesday announced his run for California lieutenant governor – with fighting President Donald Trump the centerpiece of his campaign.

“As a Muslim immigrant from the great blue state of California, I’ll be a triple threat to Donald Trump,” Mahmood said at a press conference outside Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters downtown Los Angeles. “I’m running for office to fight against him, and to fight for our families.”

Mahmood, a political newcomer, is the second candidate to officially join the 2018 race for lieutenant governor.

Democratic state Sen. Ed Hernandez, chair of the Senate Health Committee and a doctor himself, is also running to succeed Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is running for governor in 2018. Unlike Mahmood, Hernandez isn’t positioning himself as a counterbalance to Trump.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article141550869.html
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