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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: 87,750

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

Wisconsin's GOP budget now shifts to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. Here's what he could veto

MADISON - Tony Evers in the coming days will get to make the most consequential decisions so far of his governorship.

At issue: How much of the Republican-written state budget to keep.

Wisconsin governors have extensive veto powers that allow them to trim words and numbers from budgets at will.

Mindful of that, Republicans were careful to use the word "cannot" instead of the phrase "shall not" throughout the budget. If they hadn't done that, Evers could have transformed "shall not" to "shall," and thereby gotten the opposite of what lawmakers wanted.

Read more: https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2019/06/28/gop-state-budget-moves-tony-evers-heres-what-he-could-veto/1562057001/
(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Nation's largest coal producers look to merge mines that supply nearly 60% of Wisconsin coal

The nation’s largest coal producers want to merge two Wyoming mines that supplied more than half the coal burned last year in Wisconsin power plants, raising questions about the potential impact on ratepayers.

Peabody and Arch Coal last week announced plans to form a joint venture that would control seven mines, including five of the most productive mines in the country. The companies said the move would allow them to cut costs in order to compete with natural gas and renewable energy sources.

The keystone of the plan would combine the nation’s largest mine — Peabody’s North Antelope Rochelle mine — with the second-largest, the Black Thunder mine, which is operated by Arch.

The two mines, which share a 7-mile property line in the Powder River basin, last year produced more than 10.4 million tons of coal delivered to Wisconsin power plants, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Read more: https://madison.com/wsj/news/local/environment/nation-s-largest-coal-producers-look-to-merge-mines-that/article_dd2033bb-30d2-509c-8ee3-ae5ceb754f65.html

We Ranked Each 2020 Candidate by How Sweaty They Got in Miami Weather

Miami summers have a way of defeating the weak-willed. Locals, who already don't go to the beach that much, truly stop sitting by the ocean. You start ordering takeout for dinner every night because it's too hot to carry groceries outside. Walking your dog for 15 minutes will annihilate any hairstyle you've bothered with and force you to take a shower before doing anything else that day. For six months of the year, Miamians sorta constantly feel like they're breathing through a damp sock.

So when an extremely large and mostly boring slate of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates came to town this week, we noticed something: Many of them were clearly unprepared for the heat. To be fair, it was one of the hottest weeks in Miami history, according to University of Miami scientist Brian McNoldy. Some candidates held strong on days when the heat index felt, quite literally, like 110 degrees. But others, e.g. pallid California bot Eric Swalwell, utterly wilted under the literal and figurative heat. Thus, the Sweat Index, a definitely scientific ranking of the 2020 Democratic candidates based on their relative preparation for and imperviousness to Miami humidity, was born.

For the record, this list wound up skewing along gender lines for unfunny reasons — female candidates face an unfair double-standard by which they're judged more harshly on their looks and thus must work harder to keep up appearances — and funny reasons, in that guys like John Hickenlooper and Tim Ryan are huge oafs who look like their skin is rotting even in perfect conditions.

(These rankings also very clearly are not political endorsements and have zero bearings on whether anyone deserves to be president.)

Read more: https://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/miami-2020-democratic-debates-all-the-candidates-ranked-by-sweatiness-11207292

Ron DeSantis signs bill legalizing cannabis drug for epileptic kids

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed into law a bill expressly allowing a drug for child epilepsy patients that contains CBD, a ‘non-euphoric’ chemical from cannabis.

The Governor approved the measure (HB 7107) without comment. It applies to a drug known as Epidiolex, the “first FDA-approved drug that contains a purified substance derived from marijuana” and is used to treat seizures in children.

The bill, passed unanimously by both chambers this Session, specifically changes the drug’s classification in state law from a Schedule I substance to Schedule V.

The former means a “high potential for abuse, with no accepted medical use, and high potential for addiction,” while the latter means a “low potential for abuse, an accepted medical use, and a mild potential for addiction,” according to a staff analysis.

Read more: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/300085-desantis-cannabis-drug-epileptic-kids

Deputy under investigation after comment about gay pride parade

SAN JACINTO COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A captain with the San Jacinto County Sheriff's Office is under investigation over a comment he made on Facebook.

It was on a Harris County Sheriff's Office post concerning the Pride Parade.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office shared a photo of their vehicle decked out in the parade.

The comment from Joe Schultea read, "Hummm have worked 'Side' jobs, 'Road' jobs, but it looks like HCSO is now working... (a lewd innuendo)! Sad state of affairs for my old alma mater."

Read more: https://abc13.com/deputy-in-hot-water-over-gay-pride-comment/5366604/

Fort Worth firm allegedly violated payday loan laws for years. Now it's paying $39.7M.

In times of desperation or financial uncertainty, a payday loan can be a way to get cash, quick — so long as the applicant accepts the terms and conditions set by the lender.

Fort Worth’s Think Finance LLC, according to lawsuits filed over the past several years across the country, capitalized on people’s vulnerabilities by repeatedly servicing loans with interest rates sometimes more than 15 times legal limits. And to fight away the allegations, the company used Native American tribal laws like a shield, the lawsuits allege.

The business, which was formed in 2001 as Think Finance Inc. and declared bankruptcy in 2017, purports to be a financial services firm providing software technology, analytics and marketing services to clients. But, according to lawsuits, the entity engaged in an illegal “rent-a-tribe” payday loan scheme, adopting Native American tribes as partners to evade state and federal laws.

The firm in 2016 was accused of being part of a scheme with Plain Green LLC, a lender “owned by the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation, Montana,” according to a complaint filed in Vermont. In 2018, according to a complaint in North Carolina, Think Finance was accused of giving out loans with illegal interest rates through an entity called Great Plains Lending.

Read more: https://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/article231999877.html

One of the last Klan halls in America faces the wrecking ball. Should it be saved?

FORT WORTH -- Once the home of secret meetings and burning crosses, the 1924 Ku Klux Klan hall north of downtown may be six months from the wrecking ball.

A city commission is scheduled to decide July 8 whether the owners can demolish it in 180 days, but supporters of a local arts and service organization want time to propose a cultural center devoted to artistic expression and racial healing.

The brick auditorium at 1012 N. Main St., built in 1924 and rebuilt after an early firebombing, is on a prime location that will overlook downtown from the water’s edge when the future Trinity River flood control and development project is completed.

Nobody wants the Klan hall to somehow fall into the wrong hands. But Fort Worth needs the tax money. We’re better off if that land is kept on the tax rolls and redeveloped.

Read more: https://www.star-telegram.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/bud-kennedy/article232025272.html

Former Chipotle manager accused of stealing $626 is awarded $8 million

Jeanette Ortiz - a 14-year Chipotle veteran before she was fired in 2015 - was awarded nearly $8 million by a California jury in Fresno County Superior Court for loss of wages, as well as damage to her reputation and emotional and mental distress.

On Monday, she and her attorneys settled with Chipotle for a separate, confidential amount - apparently in lieu of punitive damages, which could have run as high as nine times the nearly $8 million award. This put an end the three-year ordeal that had branded the mother of nine a criminal.

"She's the American Dream, she's just a hard-working person. And when you call somebody a thief, you destroy their life," Ortiz's attorney, Warren Paboojian, said after Monday's verdict. "That's the ultimate. You're not going to be able to get a job anywhere with that label hanging over her head."

Ortiz could not be reached for comment. Paboojian said she worked 50 hours a week as a general manager at the Mexican fast-casual chain, making $72,000 a year. When Ortiz was fired in January 2015, she was up for a promotion under which she would have been paid $100,000 a year. For years, Ortiz had received glowing performance reviews.

Read more: https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-chipotle-manager-damages-award-20180515-story.html

Public unions in Illinois continue on a year after Janus decision

How have public sector unions fared in the year since the historic U.S. Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME Council 31?

During the debate leading up to the June 27, 2018, decision that proclaimed forced unionization as a condition of employment in public service infringed on free speech rights, unions and others foretold of collapse if they weren’t able to require “fair share dues” from nonunion workers who paid for administrative representation.

In reality, unions in the 22 states without right-to-work laws essentially lost the dues of those who had already expressed their desire to not be associated with them, a financial hit, but far short of the disaster that was predicted. In some cases, unions have reported membership gains.

The losses that hit the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 31, which represents almost 40,000 state workers and was the defendant in the decision, were mostly due to the union's failure to convince non-dues paying members to join the union after the Janus ruling came down. The Chicago Sun-Times, which is owned in part by unions, reported AFSCME Council 31 lost about 6,000 fee-payers but added 1,100 full members. Other public sector unions in Illinois reportedly fared about the same.

Read more: https://www.thecentersquare.com/illinois/public-unions-in-illinois-continue-on-a-year-after-janus/article_b5a246c2-98fc-11e9-91dd-ff48f9534a81.html

Illinois pharmacies support bill for oversight of pharmacy benefit managers

Illinois pharmacies are supporting House Bill 465, which would establish new state oversight of pharmacy benefit managers if signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Garth Reynolds, executive director at Illinois Pharmacists Association, said the bill establishes an oversight enforcement mechanism for pharmacy benefit managers in Illinois for the first time.

“Pharmacy benefit managers are subcontractors of health insurance, mainly the medical side,” Reynolds said. “Being the subcontractors, they have not really fit into the current insurance code the way it is in Illinois.”

Reynolds said pharmacy benefit managers have been able to establish reimbursement rates, contract terms and formulate decisions with no oversight or regulation.

Read more: https://www.thecentersquare.com/illinois/illinois-pharmacies-support-bill-for-oversight-of-pharmacy-benefit-managers/article_9a88b2c8-99e1-11e9-817d-5f30dcfdca62.html
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