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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: 78,351

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

On edge: 2020 Dems face prospect of being cut from debates

MIAMI (AP) — The largest presidential field in modern Democratic politics could quickly shrink as more than half of the contenders are in real danger of failing to meet tougher requirements to participate in the fall round of debates.

Short on support and money and bound by tough party rules, once soaring politicians may soon be seen as also-rans. They include Julian Castro, who is seeking to capitalize on his strong debate performance last week; Kirsten Gillibrand, one of her party’s most outspoken feminists; and Cory Booker, who rose to stardom as the energetic mayor of Newark, New Jersey.

A difficult period lies ahead as the party begins to sort through its expansive roster of candidates. The process will help Democrats zero in on someone to challenge President Donald Trump. But it is also forcing candidates to burn through cash to stay competitive and could result in a field that’s older, whiter and more male — an uncomfortable development for a party that says it prizes diversity.

“There are some campaigns that are in something of a Hail Mary mode,” said technology entrepreneur Andrew Yang, one of the lesser-known White House hopefuls who expressed confidence in his own chances.

See who is in, who is on the borderline, and who needs something good to happen: https://www.apnews.com/11be2611cecc4be4bc7a59bebfae9829
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Jul 1, 2019, 05:37 AM (3 replies)

First ever Pride Day held in Lead

Note: The article is about a week old, but if an event like this can happen in a western South Dakota town with a population of about 3,000 then we are winning the battle for the hearts and minds of many in this country

LEAD — The newly formed Lead-Deadwood High School Democrats hosted Lead’s first ever Pride Day celebration at Manuel Brothers Park Sunday.

“We’re just designed to bring the community together in what ever way possible, also encouraging political activism,” said Daniel Egemo, chairman of the Lead-Deadwood High School Democrats. “So getting people out to vote, obviously, but also making sure people feel comfortable within their own beliefs.”

Egemo, who will be a senior at Lead-Deadwood High School this year, said that the group of about 10 to 15 students started in April and in May held their first fundraiser bringing in nearly $500.

“It was a dinner that we hosted, and it was totally donation based so there was definitely a lot of interest in people coming out and donating to us,” he said.

After the fundraiser, the group decided they wanted to host a Pride Day event.

Read more: https://www.bhpioneer.com/local_news/first-ever-pride-day-held-in-lead/article_ec1ec4ac-9760-11e9-9d7d-ab204f0be9a5.html
(Black Hills Pioneer)
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Jul 1, 2019, 04:55 AM (1 replies)

Republicans Abandon "Diversity", Demand Closure of Diversity Offices and Hiring of Conservative Prof

Republicans Abandon “Diversity”, Demand Closure of Diversity Offices and Hiring of Conservative Professors

The Board of Regents spent the day hearing from Republican legislators’ out-of-state conservative allies who jetted here to whine they don’t receive the same civil rights protections for their chosen opinions as actual oppressed minorities in the United States receive against active racism, sexism, and other forms of genuine, unjust discrimination.

Let us be clear from the top: Suppression of intellectual diversity on South Dakota campuses is a figment of the imagination of Republican Fox News watchers and their out-of-state conservative allies. It didn’t exist when legislators passed and the Governor signed House Bill 1087; it doesn’t exist now.

Regental President and conservative Republican Kevin Schieffer said so. Actual South Dakota students said so. As was the case last winter during Legislative debate over their out-of-state-influenced and fake intellectual-diversity bill, not one person speaking to the Board of Regents today provided any evidence of actual institutional suppression of political views:

But Board of Regents President Kevin Schieffer said he didn’t think South Dakota’s university system had a problem. Schieffer, who called himself a “conservative Republican” during the hearing, served as chief of staff to Republican Sen. Larry Pressler.

“I do think there is an issue out there,” Schieffer said. “But I do worry about blowing this out of proportion.”

“I just haven’t seen it in South Dakota,” he added.

…While some students testified that conservatives self-censor their beliefs because of fears of retaliation, other students testified that there was already intellectual diversity. Allyson Monson, the South Dakota State University Student Association president, said the student union contained signs from groups promoting meetings and events from across the political spectrum [Jonathan Ellis, “Regents Grapple with How to Implement Intellectual Diversity Law,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2019.06.26].

But the complete absence of one bogeyman doesn’t stop certain South Dakota Republicans from attacking another bogeyman: campus diversity offices. Even as they claim to be fighting for diversity, seven Republican legislators submitted a letter threatening to shut down our public universities’ diversity offices unless they stop promoting cultural diversity and instead promulgate the seven Republicans legislators’ preferred, narrow, assimilationist (and yes, whisper it with me, white-privileged) worldview:

Read more: http://dakotafreepress.com/2019/06/26/republicans-abandon-diversity-demand-closure-of-diversity-offices-and-hiring-of-conservative-professors/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Jul 1, 2019, 04:32 AM (1 replies)

Davison County Squelching Anti-CAFO Speech

Note: A concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO), as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is an animal feeding operation (AFO) in which over 1000 animal units are confined for over 45 days a year.

The Davison County Commission clearly prefers the smell of money to free speech. Gail Hahne, who runs Purr ‘N Ruff Rescue in Mitchell, asked the Davison County Sheriff to host her September seminar on investigating animal cruelty. The Sheriff’s office said sure, fine… but the cops and the county commission are warning her not to say anything bad about Davison County’s factory feedlots:

Davison County Commission Chairwoman Brenda Bode said she was skeptical about the county endorsing the event without knowing what would be discussed, and said she didn’t want to have an event that was attacking local livestock agricultural producers. Bode said a number of local producers called her concerned about the event.

“This is an agricultural county. We are fortunate and we have good animal caretakers and we want to make this is something that wouldn’t do something negative to that industry,” she said.

…“The sheriff and I talked about this and it’s going to be a strictly dogs and cats seminar, and if it’s not, I’m going to personally put a stop to it,” Harr said.

“As long as people know our agricultural producers are off limits,” added Commissioner Denny Kiner [Marcus Traxler, “Animal Cruelty Event Hits Nerve with County Officials,” Mitchell Daily Republic, 2019.06.25].

CAFOs pollute our air and water, make people sick, produce inferior meat, hurt economic growth in rural South Dakota, and crowd small family farms out of the market, all with the support of state tax dollars. And animal cruelty happens in some agricultural production facilities as surely as it happens in some pet production facilities.

Read more: http://dakotafreepress.com/2019/06/29/davison-county-squelching-anti-cafo-speech/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Jul 1, 2019, 04:19 AM (0 replies)

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

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

Three years ago, Dr. C. Dustin Bechtold and Dr. Bryan Wellman sued Sanford neurosurgeon Wilson Asfora and Sanford Health in the U.S. District Court of South Dakota for defrauding the federal government and us, the taxpayers. The court almost immediately sealed the case to keep individual health information confidential.

On Thursday, after United States Department of Justice notified the court that the feds are intervening and going after Dr. Asfora and Sanford as well, the court unsealed a redacted version of the original 2016 complaint.

(PDF Document at link)

The complaint is big—111 pages. Here’s my summary of the main points of concern.

Drs. Bechtold and Wellman allege that Dr. Asfora, Sanford Health, Sanford Clinic, and Asfora’s medical device company Medical Designs, LLC committed “violations of the Federal False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§3729–3733 et. seq. and the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute related to causing improper payments from Medicare, Medicaid, and other federally and state-funded government healthcare programs. The 2016 complaint says Dr. Asfora committed a variety of naughties:

1. submitting false claims for services;
2. implanting his devices in patients who didn’t need them, just to make a buck;
3. fraudulently and improperly billing and coding;
4. telling lies (the formal term is “misrepresentations”) to the FDA and others;
5. falsifying medical records;
6. systematically violating the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute; and
7. defrauding Uncle Sam;

…and Sanford Health and Sanford Clinic management “were aware of, permitted, actively encouraged, and financially benefitted from” all of Asfora’s fraud.


The complaint alleges that Asfora stated that “he makes $3.5 million a year off his various implants.”

Read more: http://dakotafreepress.com/2019/06/30/doctors-allege-sanford-made-millions-on-medicare-medicaid-fraud-with-implanting-unnecessary-bone-screws/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Jul 1, 2019, 04:05 AM (0 replies)

Couple goes from flower girl, ring bearer to bride, groom

MANDAN (AP) — A North Dakota couple who were kids at a wedding ceremony nearly 20 years ago are tying the knot themselves.

Renae Zachmeier and Daniel Schimetz were to take their vows Saturday at the Church of St. Joseph in Mandan.

Renae and Daniel are getting married in the same church where they met in 1999 when she was a flower girl and he was ring bearer.

Daniel was about 8 years old and Renae about 4 at the time. The Bismarck Tribune reports the couple only vaguely remembers the wedding and sharing their first dance.

The couple started dating in August 2017 and got engaged in June 2018. Renae says, “If it wasn’t for that wedding, none of this would have ever happened.”

(no more at link)

Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Jul 1, 2019, 03:38 AM (3 replies)

Dakota Miracle dies, National Buffalo Museum says

The National Buffalo Museum announced Friday, June 28, the unexpected death of the herd’s white bull, Dakota Miracle, who succumbed to injuries from an accidental fall into a ravine. Dakota Miracle was 13 years old.

The museum said Dakota Miracle's health was compromised due to leucism, a genetic condition resulting in lack of pigmentation. One of the setbacks Dakota Miracle faced due to his leucism included poor eyesight, a factor believed to have led to his fall, the museum said. Board President Don Williams and Executive Director Ilana Xinos found Dakota Miracle deceased during a routine herd and pasture inspection.

Dakota Miracle is the son of White Cloud, an albino bison who lived with the museum’s herd for almost two decades.

“While we mourn the untimely passing of Dakota Miracle, we know he had a full life as a part of the museum’s herd,” Xinos said. “He was a rare and beautiful animal, and we feel fortunate that so many people were able to see him roaming with the herd for the past 13 years. In the wild, we do not believe he would have lived this long.”

Read more: https://www.jamestownsun.com/news/science-and-nature/2734984-Dakota-Miracle-dies-National-Buffalo-Museum-says

Dakota Miracle, shown here, has died, the National Buffalo Museum announced Friday, June 28. Courtesy / National Buffalo Museum
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Jul 1, 2019, 02:06 AM (1 replies)

Legislator as landlord: Financial disclosures don't highlight state agency leases with North Dakota

Legislator as landlord: Financial disclosures don't highlight state agency leases with North Dakota elected officials

BISMARCK — At least several current or former elected state officials in North Dakota have an interest in property rented by state agencies, but those financial relationships weren’t readily apparent on campaign disclosure forms.

The officials defended the leases, which aren’t awarded through a formal competitive bidding process, as a byproduct of North Dakota’s citizen-run Legislature and said they don't affect their decision-making.

“Should a teacher not be in the Legislature because the state funds education?” said Bismarck Republican Sen. Michael Dwyer, who owns a building rented by the Housing Finance Agency. “I think you can carry that to the extent nobody could serve.”

Dina Butcher, who led the charge to pass last year's ballot measure etching new ethics rules into the state constitution, didn't directly criticize the state officials because the arrangements are not illegal and she wasn't aware of any leases being unfairly awarded. But she said the ethics commission created by Measure 1 may take up the issue once it's formed.

Read more: https://www.thedickinsonpress.com/news/government-and-politics/2725479-Legislator-as-landlord-Financial-disclosures-dont-highlight-state-agency-leases-with-North-Dakota-elected-officials

Patients face roadblocks 2 years after North Dakota voters approved medical marijuana

FARGO — Mike O’Connell shifted uneasily in his chair as he talked about the opioid addiction that gripped him for more than five years.

He used to take up to 12 prescription drugs daily for back pain and severe anxiety, and as his tolerance increased, he ramped up the doses to keep the pain and withdrawal symptoms away.

Now 8 months clean from pharmaceuticals, O’Connell said he’s found “new freedom” in medical cannabis.

“It’s the best thing ever, it is. And not to be sick, you know, is the best feeling ever too,” he said.

Read more: https://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/patients-face-roadblocks-years-after-north-dakota-voters-approved-medical/article_330242fa-abf7-5f35-a70b-556824df10d9.html

Pediatrician who sexually abused Blackfeet children could lose retirement benefits

An Indian Health Service pediatrician convicted of molesting children on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation could lose retirement benefits as federal officials weigh revoking the doctor’s honorable discharge.

The U.S. Public Health Commission Corps disclosed on Wednesday that it is launching a board inquiry into Stanley Patrick Weber.

In January, Weber was convicted by a U.S. District Court in Great Falls of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and two counts of attempted aggravated sexual abuse of a child, all felonies. The charges stem from his 1993 to 1995 employment as an IHS pediatrician on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. He faces a trial on separate child sexual abuse charges at Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Weber was honorably discharged by the IHS and receives more than $100,000 a year in retirement benefits. The honorable discharge has become a sticking point with U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., who earlier wrote Health Secretary Alex Azar asking that Weber’s retirement with honors be changed.

Read more: https://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/crime-and-courts/pediatrician-who-sexually-abused-blackfeet-children-could-lose-retirement-benefits/article—f90636c1-3d3a-5d52-9ee8-76a602f4995c.html
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