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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: 77,597

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

Under New Florida Bill, Broward Has Already Blocked Seven People From Having Guns

In a truly surprising sequence of events, it took less than one month from the massacre at a Parkland high school for Florida lawmakers to take actual legislative action. March 9, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill allowing law enforcement to petition the courts to take guns away from people thought to be a danger to themselves or others. It was the first firearm restrictions supported by Florida Republicans in more than 20 years.

Though the law is only three weeks old, court records show it's already having a real-world effect in South Florida. In Broward County, law enforcement has successfully petitioned the courts to take guns away from seven people, including a mentally ill man who kept a "diary of delusions," a teenager whose peers were concerned he could be the next school shooter, and a disgruntled employee who threatened to shoot up his office. (No cases have been filed so far in Miami-Dade, according to a judicial spokesperson.)

New Times reviewed five of the seven cases in Broward to learn more about how the new law works and who it targets. (Because the other two cases involved juveniles, the details of those petitions are not public record.) Those court records paint a disturbing picture of people who, until recently, were within their legal right to possess firearms.

The case generating the most headlines involves Zachary Cruz, brother of Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz. After Zachary was found trespassing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, the Broward Sheriff's Office petitioned the courts to ensure he didn't have any guns. Though no firearms were found at the teen's residence, the court order now prevents him from obtaining them.

Read more: http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/under-new-florida-gun-bill-broward-has-already-blocked-seven-people-from-having-firearms-10218571
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Apr 1, 2018, 09:06 PM (1 replies)

Lunatics Are Blaming the Parkland Teens for "Bullying" Mass Murderer Nikolas Cruz

The pro-Second Amendment right wing officially broke its brain last month. Instead of civilly disagreeing with the Parkland-surviving teens who organized the March for Our Lives, Breitbart has accused David Hogg of giving a Nazi salute (didn't happen), commentators and sitting lawmakers have utterly misrepresented Cuban politics and accused Emma Gonzalez of supporting the Castro regime, the Daily Wire wrote an article making fun of David Hogg's actually very-good 4.2 grade-point-average, and social-media users have spread all sorts of memes comparing school-shooting survivors to Hitler.

Did you assume that photoshopping Hogg's face onto the body of a Hitler Youth member was the lowest the public discourse about this could go? Think again! A burgeoning take on right-wing pockets of social media seems to be that the Parkland kids actually caused the Stoneman Douglas massacre by bullying poor, poor Nikolas Cruz.

To be clear: There's little evidence that Cruz was bullied. Douglas students have consistently described Cruz as a frightening individual that most people steered clear from, and he was evaluated multiple times for psychiatric issues and threats of violence.

And even if any students bullied someone, that doesn't give anyone the right to walk into a school with an assault rifle and murder people. The meme here seems to stem from one of Gonzalez's speeches, where she says she and others "ostracized" Cruz — but the clip is ripped out of context and she is very clearly explaining that Cruz's actions (threatening others, taking tons of photos of his guns, drawing swastikas on his belongings) terrified people and made them want to avoid him.

Read more: http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/right-now-blaming-parkland-teens-for-bullying-nikolas-cruz-10221533
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Apr 1, 2018, 09:00 PM (3 replies)

Audit questions Florida's anti-fraud efforts in Medicaid program

Florida’s Medicaid program has been rapped by auditors who questioned what the state got for millions of dollars spent with a company whose lobbyists included two former Republican House speakers and a former top health-care regulator.

State auditors additionally raised questions about how aggressive the Agency for Health Care Administration has been in trying to clamp down on fraud. The newly released audit said the agency’s Office of Medicaid Program Integrity never forwarded leads regarding potential fraudulent activity to 11 HMOs under contract with the state.

The audit released this week by the state auditor general questioned why Florida spent more than $5.5 million on an advanced data analytics system and renewed the vendor’s contract five times despite the company’s inability to include data on the majority of people enrolled in the Medicaid program.

Between 2014 and 2017, when SAS Institute was working for the state, the company listed a cadre of well-connected Tallahassee lobbyists, including former Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary and Medicaid director Tom Arnold and former House speakers Dean Cannon and Larry Cretul.

Read more: https://www.orlandoweekly.com/Blogs/archives/2018/03/30/audit-questions-floridas-anti-fraud-efforts-in-medicaid-program
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Apr 1, 2018, 08:50 PM (0 replies)

Sparks fly at Georgia GOP debate for governor

All seven Republican candidates for Georgia governor shared a stage for the first time Saturday in a forum that touched on the state’s hunt for Amazon, a surprisingly busy legislative session and the ongoing “religious liberty” debate.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, the GOP frontrunner, was targeted with the bulk of attacks by rivals who painted him as a career politician who failed to effectively push conservative legislation. He bristled at those charges, accusing his critics of “grandstanding” while pointing to his record.

Former state Sen. Hunter Hill, who is in second or third place in several polls, was also on the receiving end of several attacks critiquing his agenda. He touted his plan to eliminate the state income tax and slash state spending, calling himself the only “true conservative leader” in the race.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp leaned on his populist blend of polices, pledging to “fundamentally reform” state government and crackdown on illegal immigration. He was largely unscathed throughout the event, as other opponents traded barbs with one another.

Read more: https://politics.myajc.com/blog/politics/sparks-fly-georgia-gop-debate-for-governor/2aPOUojqvEWpyKdAOhd15H/

The article lists the stances of the candidates on various issues so it is worth examining.
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Apr 1, 2018, 07:35 AM (6 replies)

Budget passes, Hidden Predator law lingers on last day

As the hour ticked toward midnight on the final day of Georgia’s 40-day legislative session, members of the House and Senate worked furiously to pass dozens of bills.

The rush can lead to dramatic last-minute changes to legislation, some intentional and some by accident.

By Thursday evening, lawmakers had given final passage to a wide range of proposals, including a state budget that fully funds the state’s K-12 education formula. Other bills were still hanging in the balance, including a measure that would give victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to confront their abusers.

Read more: http://evans.allongeorgia.com/georgia-state-politics/budget-passes-hidden-predator-law-lingers-on-last-day/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Apr 1, 2018, 07:17 AM (0 replies)

Georgia bill aiming to help child sex abuse victims fails

As Georgia’s legislative session ended, lawmakers closed the door on a bill that would have expanded the rights of survivors of childhood sexual abuse to sue their alleged abusers.

The Hidden Predator Act of 2018 would have expanded on a law passed in 2015. Different versions of the legislation had passed the House and Senate, but the two chambers of the Georgia General Assembly failed to agree on a compromise before this year’s legislative session ended shortly after midnight Friday morning.

State law says victims must file lawsuits seeking damages before they turn 23. The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Jason Spencer, sought to extend that by 15 years to age 38. He also wanted to open a one-year window during which victims older than that could sue their alleged abusers. And he wanted to allow lawsuits against organizations accused of knowing about or covering up abuse.

Spencer said the Senate gutted the bill. It extended the age for filing lawsuits to 30, rather than 38. It also eliminated the one year window for older victims and toughened the requirements for suing organizations.

Read more: http://evans.allongeorgia.com/georgia-state-politics/georgia-bill-aiming-to-help-child-sex-abuse-victims-fails/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Apr 1, 2018, 06:26 AM (0 replies)

Records detail business dispute between Athens mayoral candidate Richie Knight, former employees

Amid questions about living wages at the Athens candidate forum on March 26, one audience member stood up and directed a tough question to Athens mayoral candidate Richie Knight.

“Richie, you run a business campaign. You’re a businessman. You mentioned living wages,” Emily Dardaman said. “How many employees are currently suing you to get wages that they should’ve had? Where is the money?”

Dardaman is the wife of Eric Daniel, a former employee of HW Creative Marketing, Knight’s business. At the forum, Dardaman mentioned concerns that HW Creative Marketing sometimes failed to pay employees.

Knight said he is “taking care of anyone that had missing wages,” and added that claims which were not taken care of have been turned over to an attorney.

Read more: https://www.redandblack.com/athensnews/records-detail-business-dispute-between-mayoral-candidate-richie-knight-former/article_43a95a9a-32cf-11e8-ad8f-7f7d7e6a1ac1.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Apr 1, 2018, 06:06 AM (0 replies)

Teacher pay in South Carolina falls behind, contributes to teacher shortage

Suzanne Billings had to take on a few extra jobs early in her career. At various times she worked nights and weekends as a waitress, sales associate and security guard at a gated community.

That was all while teaching full time on weekdays in the demanding environment of an elementary school.

It's not a unique story in a state where wages for educators have fallen behind national and regional averages, and where, according to state education officials, a teacher shortage threatens to grow worse in the coming years.

The state's current average teaching salary of $48,769 is about $2,200 less than the 16-state Southeastern average and almost $10,000 less than the national average, according to the Southern Regional Education Board, an Atlanta-based nonprofit funded by states in the region.

Read more: https://www.independentmail.com/story/news/education/2018/03/30/teacher-pay-south-carolina-falls-behind-contributes-teacher-shortage/395599002/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Apr 1, 2018, 04:54 AM (9 replies)

Ex-Myrtle Beach flight operators convicted of bank fraud

Two former executives of a defunct Myrtle Beach charter airline were found guilty of stealing millions in a years-long scheme.

This week, a federal jury in New Jersey found Judy Tull and Kay Ellison guilty of various crimes related to bank fraud, according to court records. The indictments were handed down in 2015.

The two co-founded Myrtle Beach Direct Air & Tours in 2006 and, in 2012, the company filed for bankruptcy.


As part of the scheme, Tull and Ellison made "ghost reservations" to make it seem there were like more passengers on flights and more revenue was generated. They would then submit fraudulent reports to the bank and cancel the "ghost reservations." As a result, they took more than $8 million in fraudulent transfers.

They also took more than $12 million from the bank by requesting money from the bank before the flights, calling them a "membership fee," and then made requests after the flights landed for the same money, according to court documents.

Read more here: http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/news/local/crime/article207479034.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Apr 1, 2018, 04:38 AM (0 replies)

Top SCANA official said utility executives botched nuclear project in 2016 voicemail

COLUMBIA, SC -- A top SCANA accountant ranted in an early-2016 voicemail that her utility's executives were mismanaging their multibillion-dollar nuclear construction project and "breaking every friggin' law that you can break."

SCANA's executives were propping up the failing V.C. Summer construction project so they could meet profit goals and collect millions of dollars in bonuses, Carlette Walker, then SCANA's vice president of Nuclear Finance Administration, said in a voice message to Santee Cooper nuclear manager Marion Cherry.

In a five-minute-long voicemail, Walker urged Cherry to encourage Santee Cooper, the project's minority owner, to stop paying SCANA any more for the project's escalating construction costs.

“Whatever they’re telling y’all is just bulls--t," Walker fumed. "But anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I know the truth now, and I don’t want you and Santee to get screwed any more by the executives of SCE&G and SCANA."

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/news/politics-government/article207332349.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Apr 1, 2018, 04:31 AM (0 replies)
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