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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: 78,410

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

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez responds to 'hateful' video at Fresno Grizzlies baseball game

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responded Tuesday to a Memorial Day tribute video shown by the Fresno Grizzlies that equated her with Kim Jong-un and Fidel Castro – a video that team representatives say was shown by mistake.

Ocasio-Cortez, the high-profile and self-described progressive, responded on Twitter to the video and similar attacks, saying such messages pose a threat to her safety.

“What people don’t (maybe do) realize is when orgs air these hateful messages, my life changes bc of the flood of death threats they inspire,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

“I‘ve had mornings where I wake up & the 1st thing I do w/ my coffee is review photos of the men (it’s always men) who want to kill me.”


Read more: https://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article230903884.html

Oakland council may board magic bus by decriminalizing natural psychedelics

Oakland could become the second city in the country to decriminalize certain natural psychedelics — including “magic mushrooms” — if elected leaders approve a resolution that would instruct law enforcement to stop investigating and prosecuting people using the drugs.

The resolution is scheduled for its first public hearing before the City Council’s public safety committee Tuesday night and could go before the full council as early as June 4. It applies only to psychedelics that come from plants or fungi, not synthetic drugs like LSD or MDMA, also known as ecstasy.

Councilman Noel Gallo, who introduced the resolution, said he hopes that the decriminalization of natural psychedelics could help people with mental health issues.

“We need all the help we can get to deal with the mental health issues that we have,” Gallo said. “If I can bring it publicly and talk about the benefit and talk about (how it can) deal with the mental illnesses that we have in the city, why not?”

Read more: https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Oakland-could-become-second-US-city-to-13899611.php

A Nazi sympathizer pleaded guilty to defacing a synagogue. His lawyer says conservatives helped

A Nazi sympathizer pleaded guilty to defacing a synagogue. His lawyer says conservatives helped radicalize him.

After Nolan Brewer pleaded guilty to charges in connection with painting swastikas on an Indiana synagogue and setting the yard ablaze, his attorney argued in court documents that the 21-year-old man did not deserve prison time.

He had been influenced heavily by his wife, Kyomi Brewer, his attorney wrote in a sentencing memo filed last week, and putting Nolan Brewer in prison would further stoke the prejudiced beliefs that had inspired the couple to commit those acts.

Prisons are hotbeds for brainwashing by white supremacists, Nolan Brewer’s lawyer, Samuel Ansell, wrote in a sentencing memo filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Probation and significant community service were more appropriate punishments, Ansell wrote.

But a federal judge sentenced Nolan Brewer to three years in prison for conspiring to violate the civil rights of Congregation Shaarey Tefilla in Carmel, Indiana, a crime to which Nolan Brewer pleaded guilty.

Read more: https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2019/05/28/conservatives-helped-radicalize-nazi-sympathizer-lawyer-says-2/

A garbage shed spray-painted with a Nazi flag and iron crosses on the grounds of the Congregation Shaarey Tefilla synagogue in the Indianapolis suburb of Carmel, Ind. (Justin Mack/The Indianapolis Star via AP)

Private border wall's owners ordered to stop construction

(CNN) — City officials in a New Mexico city have delivered a cease-and-desist order to the owners of land where a private border wall is being built.

The project doesn’t have proper permits to proceed, Sunland Park spokesman Peter Ibarbo told CNN.

“The rules apply to everyone,” Ibarbo said. “That’s the process.”

The city’s chief inspector is scheduled to visit the site Wednesday to help determine the next steps, Ibarbo said.

Brian Kolfage, whose GoFundMe campaign raised more than $20 million to build the wall on private property, disputed the city’s assessment, describing the order as political intimidation.

Read more: https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2019/05/29/private-border-walls-owners-ordered-to-stop-construction/

La Honda: Pipe bomb, 'illegal assault rifles' found in same room as 1-year-old

LA HONDA — A 40-year-old La Honda man was arrested last week on felony charges including child endangerment after San Mateo County sheriff’s deputies allegedly found “illegal assault rifles” and a pipe bomb in a room where his 1-year-old son was present.

Deputies went to a home on the 900 block of Portola State Park Road on May 23 to conduct a parole search and serve an arrest warrant for 33-year-old Sean Collins, the sheriff’s office said in a news release Tuesday. Items believed to be used in the manufacture of firearms were allegedly found in a common room belonging to his roommate, Karl Waltenbaugh.

A second search warrant was authorized and deputies discovered a “large amount of illegal assault rifles, high-capacity magazines, body armor, an active pipe bomb and equipment for manufacturing firearms” in Waltenbaugh’s room, according to the sheriff’s office.

Waltenbaugh’s son was allegedly present in the room where the illicit items were found.

Read more: https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2019/05/28/la-honda-pipe-bomb-guns-found-in-same-room-as-1-year-old/

Pharmaceutical Company to Pay $3.5M to Resolve Allegations of Paying Kickbacks to Doctors

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain announced that pharmaceutical company Almirall, LLC, formerly named Aqua Pharmaceuticals, LLC (“Aqua”), will pay $3.5 million to resolve allegations that it employed illegal kickbacks to incentivize physicians to prescribe Aqua’s dermatology pharmaceutical drugs.

The settlement resolves allegations that, between 2012 and 2017, Aqua knowingly paid kickbacks to dermatology providers in order to induce prescriptions of their drugs. Aqua, through its sales representatives and other employees, allegedly provided physicians with improper in-office and out-of-office meals and food items, entertainment, trips, gift cards, and gifts. It also engaged health care providers for speaking engagements, advisory boards, and consulting services where one purpose of the compensation was to induce providers to prescribe Aqua drugs.

“Federal law is designed to ensure that doctors and other providers are not improperly influenced by pharmaceutical companies in deciding which drugs to prescribe,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Our office will do everything in its power to ensure that pharmaceutical companies and prescribers are playing by the rules and that they are not enriching themselves at the expense of patients’ well-being, especially those covered by Medicare and Tricare, the insurance for members of the armed services. This settlement is just the latest example of our office’s strong partnership with HHS-OIG and the Defense Health Agency to protect the integrity of our health care programs.”

“Pharmaceutical companies that ignore rules designed to protect patients will be held accountable. Patients must be able to trust that decisions made by their doctors are based on unbiased professional judgment and not personal gain,” said Maureen R. Dixon, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Philadelphia. “We will continue to work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in this District to root out all forms of waste, fraud and abuse in our federal health care programs.”

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-edpa/pr/pharmaceutical-company-pay-35m-resolve-allegations-paying-kickbacks-doctors

Portland failed to meet some of its promises on 10-cent gas tax, audit says

Portland has fallen behind in delivering dozens of transportation projects described in a 2016 voter-approved gas tax, failed to provide annual audits or updates to City Council and provided “incomplete, inconsistent, and outdated” information to a citizen group tasked with monitoring the projects.

That’s according to a report from Portland’s Audit Services division released Wednesday.

Auditors examined whether the Portland Bureau of Transportation is living up to commitments made before voters approved a 10-cent-per-gallon gas tax in 2016. According to the report, thus far the results are a mixed bag.

The report comes as the city, state and region are poised to see an unprecedented stretch of construction projects in coming years.

Read more: https://www.oregonlive.com/commuting/2019/05/portland-failed-to-meet-some-of-its-promises-on-10-cent-gas-tax-auditors-say.html

Oregon Senate approves cut to PERS, public employee retirement benefits

The Oregon Senate sent the House a short-term pension fix Thursday cutting public employee retirement benefits, a politically difficult vote for Democrats who say they were forced to choose between slashing benefits or letting employer interest rates rise.

Ultimately, some who were originally against the proposal reluctantly came around, saying higher interest rates would eat into budgets and lead to layoffs in the public sector.

"My heart is broken today because my back is against the wall," said Sen. James Manning, Jr., a Democrat who voted yes after signaling his opposition earlier this week. "I have two worlds that are colliding today__ how do I respond?"

The plan, which the Senate approved by a 16 to 12 vote Thursday, essentially refinances the $25 billion in debt incurred from the Public Employee Retirement System, known as PERS. It extends the state's repayment period from 20 to 22 years, which is meant to shield employers from an impending interest rate hike in the upcoming years.

Read more: https://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/politics/2019/05/23/oregon-senate-approves-cut-pers-public-employee-retirement-benefits/1211098001/

Pink chocolate is here. Is 'ruby' the next big thing?

CHICAGO (TNS) — The future of chocolate is looking rosy — literally.

Barry Callebaut’s ruby — a pink-hued cocoa with a slight berry flavor — officially launched in North America last week, promising to add a splash of color to cakes, bon bons, ice cream and all manner of sweets.

The Swiss chocolatier, which added no color or flavor to achieve the pink concoction, is billing its invention as the greatest innovation in chocolate since Nestle introduced white chocolate 80 years ago.

Now, if only it can get the Food and Drug Administration to agree.

Barry Callebaut, which has its North American headquarters in Chicago, has been waiting for more than a year to get permission from the FDA to market ruby as “chocolate,” with the hope of creating a fourth type of chocolate after dark, milk and white.

Read more: https://www.heraldandnews.com/news/local_news/community/pink-chocolate-is-here-is-ruby-the-next-big-thing/article_a64d3875-3dae-5aff-9aca-b643ccc39bee.html?block_id=1275161
(Klamath Falls Herald and News)

As Oregon House slowdown continues, lawmakers prepare bill to avoid government shutdown

SALEM – Legislative budget writers are preparing a backup plan in case lawmakers and the governor don’t finish up their work by the end of June.

While that plan, known as a continuing resolution, is a routine part of the legislative process, it comes as Republicans in the Oregon House continue to slow the pace of work by requiring bills to be read in their entirety.

With a new budget cycle starting July 1, any state agency without an approved budget would have to close its doors. House Bill 5048 would allow those agencies to continue operating at the spending level approved in the just-expired budget. The money they spend would effectively be borrowed from the new budget, once approved.

Democrats have insisted they’ll wrap up on time, despite the GOP-led slowdown. It would require a vote of approval by two-thirds of the House and Senate for lawmakers to continue working past their constitutional deadline of June 30.

Read more: https://www.oregonlive.com/politics/2019/05/as-oregon-house-slowdown-continues-lawmakers-prepare-bill-to-avoid-government-shutdown.html
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