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TexasTowelie

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Texas
Home country: United States
Current location: Red Hell Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 76,948

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

Collins staffer may have violated Senate rules by campaigning

One of Senator Susan Collins’ publicly-paid office staffers may have violated a Senate rule when she gave campaign updates to local Republican party members earlier this month, according to a legal expert familiar with the upper chamber’s ethical guidelines.

This month, Carol Woodcock, a representative in the Senator’s Bangor office, spoke on campaign matters to at least two Republican county chapters in Maine. On Wednesday, Beacon reported that Woodcock told Hancock County Republicans that Collins’ campaign is “working very closely” with the Trump administration.

According to the Senate Ethics Manual, office staff, whose salaries are funded by tax dollars, are barred from working on a senator’s political campaign in any official capacity. Office staff can, however, volunteer on their employer’s campaign, as long as they do so outside of their work time and do not use official resources, including their official title.

“I work in the senator’s Bangor federal office. So, I’m not a campaign worker. The senator’s campaign is just up and running a little bit, really on the fundraising side, but we don’t have any real campaign staff. But I’m going to give you a little bit of report on the campaign,” Woodcock told the Hancock County Republicans on June 13 in a video uploaded to YouTube.

Read more: https://mainebeacon.com/collins-staffer-may-have-violated-senate-rules-by-campaigning/

... Collins’ campaign is “working very closely” with the Trump administration.


Is that a smoke signal I'm seeing that's telling me that the GOP is going to steal the election?
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Jul 1, 2019, 07:29 AM (0 replies)

Texas AG Paxton to high court: Block abortion providers from suing to overturn laws

Hoping to make it harder to overturn abortion restrictions, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block abortion clinics and doctors from challenging state laws on behalf of their patients.

Such legal challenges have successfully overturned a number of restrictions, including a 2013 Texas law that would have left fewer than 10 clinics open in the state, and Paxton believes the situation gives abortion-rights advocates an unfair and unjustified advantage in the legal arena.

“Courts should no longer give abortion providers a free pass,” Paxton told the Supreme Court in a recently filed brief.

Abortion-rights advocates say Paxton’s position is an unreasonable and cruel attempt to avoid judicial review of abortion regulations.

Read more: https://www.statesman.com/news/20190630/paxton-to-high-court-block-abortion-providers-from-suing-to-overturn-laws
(Austin American-Statesman)
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Jul 1, 2019, 07:08 AM (3 replies)

After Argus Leader Supreme Court loss, fight for public records moves to Congress

Next stop: Congress.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Monday to eviscerate a 45-year legal test for public access to government records, open government advocates say they will work to fix the ruling in Congress. But the effort to address the court’s decision could take years, and it will be a battle waged against powerful business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s not a good day for transparency,” said Adam Marshall, an attorney for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, a media advocacy group. He noted that the ruling was at odds with longstanding jurisprudence that prioritized the release of government records over secrecy.

The court ruled 6-3 in Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader that the government can keep business records secret when businesses don’t customarily make them public and when the government has offered assurances that they will remain secret. The decision broadened the term of “confidential.” A 1974 appeals court had ruled that records could remain secret only if their release would cause a business substantial competitive harm, but the Supreme Court rejected that test.

The Argus Leader had sought the annual amounts that taxpayers paid to retailers who accept food stamps. The court’s opinion, authored by Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, ignored the Argus Leader’s contention that the information constituted taxpayer spending records. Nor, Marshall noted, did Gorsuch acknowledge that Congress in 2016 amended the Freedom of Information Act by adding a “foreseeable harm standard.” That standard, much like the competitive harm standard the court rejected, requires agencies to assess if releasing records would create a harm.

Read more: https://www.argusleader.com/story/news/2019/06/28/supreme-court-loss-public-records-foia-argus-leader-congress-journalism/1589255001/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Jul 1, 2019, 06:56 AM (0 replies)

Nebraska measure could tip the number of states with casinos

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska voters may decide next year whether to legalize casino gambling in a ballot measure that could tip the number of states that allow commercial gambling into the majority.

Supporters of legalized casinos have launched a petition drive to place the issue on the 2020 ballot with financial backing from the economic development corporation owned by the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.

Twenty-five states — including neighboring Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and South Dakota — allow commercial casino gambling with games such as slot machines, craps and roulette wheels, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Iowa casinos near Omaha, in particular, cater to Nebraska residents looking to gamble.

"Hundreds of millions of dollars go across the border every year," said Lance Morgan, the CEO of Ho-Chunk Inc., the corporation pushing the measure on the tribe's behalf. "For a Nebraskan to do gaming, you have to go half a mile. It's the height of paternalism to try to try to restrict it."

Read more: https://rapidcityjournal.com/news/state-and-regional/nebraska-measure-could-tip-the-number-of-states-with-casinos/article_8f08b10b-baea-5e2c-8907-6bc56cec1cb9.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Jul 1, 2019, 06:42 AM (0 replies)

Sanford Health to pursue merger with Iowa's UnityPoint

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota-based Sanford Health and Iowa's UnityPoint Health said Friday that the two health care providers plan to merge, in an agreement that would create a sprawling health system in the northern Plains and Midwest.

The Argus Leader reported that if the merger is approved by regulators, it could be finalized by the end of this year.

The providers said in a joint statement that the merger would place the company among the top 15 largest nonprofit health systems nationwide. The new organization would employ more than 83,000 staff members, 2,600 physicians and have more than $11 billion in revenue.

UnityPoint operates 32 hospitals and has relationships with 280 physician clinics throughout Iowa, western Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Sanford Heath's organization includes 44 hospitals, 1,400 physicians and more than 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care locations in 26 states and nine countries.

Read more: https://rapidcityjournal.com/news/state-and-regional/sanford-health-to-pursue-merger-with-iowa-s-unitypoint/article_e7e285ac-0e5f-5ce9-bc7e-a02ac5ef7204.html

I wonder if the merger plans might get derailed because of this news:

Doctors Allege Sanford Made Millions on Medicare/Medicaid Fraud with Implanting Unnecessary Bone Screws

https://www.democraticunderground.com/1238597

Cross-posted in the South Dakota Group.
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Jul 1, 2019, 06:28 AM (1 replies)

Sanford Health to pursue merger with Iowa's UnityPoint

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota-based Sanford Health and Iowa's UnityPoint Health said Friday that the two health care providers plan to merge, in an agreement that would create a sprawling health system in the northern Plains and Midwest.

The Argus Leader reported that if the merger is approved by regulators, it could be finalized by the end of this year.

The providers said in a joint statement that the merger would place the company among the top 15 largest nonprofit health systems nationwide. The new organization would employ more than 83,000 staff members, 2,600 physicians and have more than $11 billion in revenue.

UnityPoint operates 32 hospitals and has relationships with 280 physician clinics throughout Iowa, western Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Sanford Heath's organization includes 44 hospitals, 1,400 physicians and more than 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care locations in 26 states and nine countries.

Read more: https://rapidcityjournal.com/news/state-and-regional/sanford-health-to-pursue-merger-with-iowa-s-unitypoint/article_e7e285ac-0e5f-5ce9-bc7e-a02ac5ef7204.html

I wonder if the merger plans might get derailed because of this news:

Doctors Allege Sanford Made Millions on Medicare/Medicaid Fraud with Implanting Unnecessary Bone Screws

https://www.democraticunderground.com/1238597

Cross-posted in the Iowa Group.
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Jul 1, 2019, 06:28 AM (1 replies)

3,000 Black Hills acres targeted for thinning to reduce wildfire risk

Black Hills National Forest officials are proposing to thin nearly 3,000 acres of forest in a portion of the southern Black Hills they say is especially vulnerable to catastrophic wildfires.

The Tepee Canyon Project would be conducted on 2,669 acres (about 4 square miles) located 17 miles west of Custer, along the south side of U.S. Highway 16 between Jewel Cave National Monument and the Custer Highlands residential area.

Matthew Daily, the acting timber program manager for the Black Hills National Forest, said the area targeted by the project is prone to dry conditions and is densely forested, making it susceptible to the kind of wildfire that spreads quickly and climbs to the treetops, wiping out everything in its path.

That kind of fire could endanger lives and property in the neighboring residential area and at the national monument, so Forest Service officials hope to thin the area with methods including selective logging of larger trees and the removal of smaller trees. Project documents say the project would create a “defensible space.”

Read more: https://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/black-hills-acres-targeted-for-thinning-to-reduce-wildfire-risk/article_70c066dc-70fa-5064-9980-dcce37dbab82.html

Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Jul 1, 2019, 06:16 AM (0 replies)

2020 Sturgis rally schedule has some bikers scrambling

While the 79th annual Sturgis motorcycle rally is all set to rumble into the Black Hills less than five weeks from now, confusion over dates for the milestone 80th event in 2020 has rally-goers and hosts scrambling more than a year in advance.

Some rally websites, including rallysturgis.com, list the 2020 rally as starting on July 31 and continuing through Aug. 9. The correct dates are Aug. 7 through Aug. 16.

A release from the Buffalo Chip Campground said it was the city of Sturgis that had incorrect 2020 dates listed on its website and changed that earlier this week, which the city denies.

Buffalo Chip spokeswoman Nyla Griffith said hundreds of campers have already reserved their spots within the incorrectly listed dates.

Read more: https://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/sturgis-rally-schedule-has-some-bikers-scrambling/article_ffb145dd-73a5-509c-a449-c0f0343b7cd8.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Jul 1, 2019, 06:08 AM (0 replies)

Former Microsoft Employee Gets 2 Years For Embezzlement

SEATTLE (AP) — A former Microsoft sports marketing director has been sentenced to more than two years in prison after admitting he tried to embezzle $1.5 million — including $240,000 worth of Super Bowl tickets.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez sentenced Jeff Tran to 28 months Friday. Tran, who oversaw Microsoft's promotional relationship with the NFL, stole tickets to the 2016 and 2017 Super Bowls and sold them to a broker for his own gain.

He also persuaded a vendor to create a fraudulent $775,000 invoice and turn the money over to him. When he asked the vendor a second time, the vendor reported him.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle noted Microsoft paid Tran hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Tran has paid the company more than $1 million in restitution.

https://pro32.ap.org/publicopinion/article/former-microsoft-employee-gets-2-years-embezzlement
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Jul 1, 2019, 05:55 AM (0 replies)

Powerful Bomb Blast Rocks Afghan Capital, Scores Wounded

Source: AP

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A powerful bomb blast rocked the Afghan capital early Monday, rattling windows, sending smoke billowing from Kabul's downtown area and wounding at least 65 people, including nine children hurt by flying glass, officials said.

The Taliban claimed the attack, which came as the insurgents were holding their latest round of talks with U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in the Gulf state of Qatar, where they have a political office.

The explosion occurred as the streets in the capital were packed with morning commuters. Officials and police were at the scene of the blast and few details were available. Ambulance sirens screamed throughout the downtown area.

Mohammad Karim, a police official in the area of the attack, said a car bomb exploded outside a Defense Ministry building. Militants then ran into a nearby high-rise located in a crowded market and began firing down on the ministry. Police and special Afghan security forces poured into the area and cordoned it off.

Read more: https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2019-07-01/powerful-explosion-rocks-afghan-capital-kabul
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Jul 1, 2019, 05:46 AM (3 replies)
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