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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: 84,562

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

Dr. Steven Hotze Confronts Gay Protester at Anti-Mask Rally

Local waiter’s pro-mask sign ripped up by the anti-LGBTQ activist.

Norman Earle’s pro-mask sign was stolen and ripped in half by Dr. Steven Hotze on Saturday, June 27 (screengrab via KPRC-TV Channel 2).

The June 27 downtown protest against the Harris County order requiring people to wear masks inside businesses almost turned violent when Dr. Steven Hotze knocked a sign out of a pro-masker’s hands, ripped it up, and threw it on the ground.

“I was so shaken up,” says Norman Earle. “I could not believe he just did that.”

About 60 anti-maskers showed up at Market Square Park to protest, as well as a dozen or so attendees who were in favor of the new mask order. Several police officers were also there.

Earle learned about the protest online.

“My friend posted it on Facebook,” he says. “At first we just laughed about it, because it showed a picture of the Statue of Liberty wearing a mask. But the more I thought about it, the more I decided to make a ‘wear a mask’ sign and go down there myself.”

Read more: http://www.outsmartmagazine.com/2020/06/dr-steven-hotze-confronts-gay-protester-at-anti-mask-rally/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Wed Jul 1, 2020, 12:07 AM (3 replies)

Update! TWC, again, suspends job searches for those collecting unemployment benefits

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) on Tuesday said that it is suspending a plan that would require those individuals who are receiving unemployment benefits to take part in weekly work searches.

Normally the TWC requires those receiving unemployment benefits to actively search for a new job each week that they request unemployment benefits.

The TWC had suspended the work search mandate earlier this year when stay-at-home orders were initiated, and the state was dealing with a weak overall economy.

As the Texas economy begin to slowly reopen in mid June, TWC officials made the decisions to resume work searches beginning on July 6. At least three work searches were to be required each week in order for someone to retain their unemployment benefits.

Read more: https://www.jacksonvilleprogress.com/news/twc-again-suspends-job-searches-for-those-collecting-unemployment-benefits/article_53ffa558-bb02-11ea-af81-4f01ae8ea619.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Wed Jul 1, 2020, 12:01 AM (0 replies)

Dallas County Posts 601 New Coronavirus Cases, 20 Deaths

Dallas County crossed two grim thresholds Tuesday in its ongoing surge of cases of the novel coronavirus.

County health officials reported 601 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday afternoon, marking the first time the county has reported more than 600 cases in a single day. The county also reported 20 coronavirus-related deaths, a new single-day record for the county.

The two youngest victims were men in their 30s, one from Richardson and the other from Dallas. The Richardson man died in a hospital, where he had been critically ill. The Dallas man, who didn't have any underlying conditions that placed him at higher risk, was found dead at home.

The oldest victims were two women in their 90s, both of whom lived in long-term care facilities in Dallas. Both women died in hospitals. Of the county's 373 coronavirus-related deaths reported since the beginning of the pandemic, more than a third have been associated with long-term care facilities, health officials said.

Read more: https://www.dallasobserver.com/news/dallas-county-record-coronavirus-cases-11923238

Jenkins Urges Statewide Safety Requirements in a Letter to Abbott

Dallas County’s new coronavirus cases continues to rapidly climb. June 1, the county counted 220 new cases. Sunday, the number jumped to 570.

The disturbing trend prompted Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins to write a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday. In it, he urges Abbott to impose statewide social distancing and mask-wearing mandates.

“Our ability to control the spread and impact of COVID-19 in our community is critical to our ability to allow our shared constituents to stay safe and thrive,” Jenkins wrote.

Throughout the pandemic, Jenkins and Abbott have butted heads over the capacity of local and state governments to enforce safety requirements. Jenkins has condemned Abbott for being too lax with regulations. Abbott has criticized Jenkins for measures that landed Dallas hair salon owner Shelley Luther in jail.

Read more: https://www.dallasobserver.com/news/jenkins-abbott-texas-coronavirus-restrictions-11922894

Without rapid behavior change, Austin heads for stage 5 shutdown

After a record number of Covid-19 cases reported over the weekend, the city is urging residents to comply with requirements for social distancing, personal hygiene and wearing masks over the July 4 weekend in an effort to avoid pushing the region into stage 5 (red) of virus spread and requiring a prolonged citywide shutdown.

“The hope is that we can put in place measures to slow transmission that are effective before we get to the point where we have to enact a stricter measure,” said Lauren Ancel Meyers, leader of the Covid-19 Modeling Consortium and professor at the University of Texas.

The city has been under a stage 4 (orange) alert for the past two weeks, but the growing surge in both cases and hospitalizations could push the city to the next stage, threatening the area’s total hospital bed and health care personnel capacity as soon as mid-July.

The seven-day moving average hospitalization rate has multiplied by five since June 1 under Gov. Greg Abbott’s containment approach, resulting in an average of 53.4 new admissions as of Monday compared to the average of 10.4 on June 1. With records of 728 cases reported between Friday and Saturday, 636 on Sunday and 508 new cases Monday, Austin Public Health interim Medical Director Dr. Mark Escott said Austin is in a “very, very dangerous spot right now,” quickly approaching the stage 5 threshold of an average of 70 daily hospital admissions.

Read more: https://www.austinmonitor.com/stories/2020/06/without-rapid-behavior-change-city-heads-for-stage-5-shutdown/

Court blocks timber sale in Alaska's Tongass Forest

A federal judge blocked what would have been the largest timber sale in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest in decades.

Wednesday’s ruling ends the U.S. Forest Service’s plan to open 37.5 square miles of old growth forest on Prince of Wales Island to commercial logging, CoastAlaska reported.

The ruling by Judge Sharon L. Gleason also stops road construction for the planned 15-year project.

Conservationists had already successfully blocked the federal government’s attempt to clear large amounts of timber for sale without identifying specific areas where logging would have occurred.

Read more: https://www.juneauempire.com/news/court-blocks-timber-sale-in-alaskas-tongass-forest/

Upstream portion of BP Alaska sale to Hilcorp is on track for state approval

BP and Hilcorp are hoping to close the upstream portion of their $5.6 billion Alaska deal by the end of the month while state regulators continue to evaluate Hilcorp’s financial wherewithal to take a large stake in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.

State Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation department officials said they are also on track with their reviews of the sale to hit the companies’ preferred closing date during a June 19 meeting of the Governor’s Oversight Committee on the transaction.

DNR Commissioner Corri Feige said staff in her department should finish their fit, willing and able test of Hilcorp’s ability to operate the large Prudhoe Bay oil field that is the heart of the deal by June 26.

“We still do in DNR’s shop have the secondary liability of upstream guarantee for both DEC and their contaminated sites and DNR’s (removal and restoration) obligations pending so that one is still very much active,” Feige said.

Read more: https://www.adn.com/business-economy/energy/2020/06/25/upstream-portion-of-bp-alaska-sale-to-hilcorp-is-on-track-for-state-approval/
(Anchorage Daily News)

Dunleavy administration issues illegal permit for American flag on Flattop Mountain in closed door

Dunleavy administration issues illegal permit for American flag on Flattop Mountain in closed door meeting to Republican State Legislator

As scores of Alaskans prepare to climb Alaska’s most climbed peak this Saturday June 20 to celebrate the summer solstice — Flattop Mountain in Chugach State Park east of Anchorage — they will come face-to-face with yet another abuse of power and public process by the Dunleavy administration — an illegally permitted American flag on the summit.

It was just disclosed that the Dunleavy administration’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR), in a closed, non-noticed meeting between DNR senior officials and a Republican State legislator, issued the legislator a permit, in violation of state policy, to place a permanent American flag on the summit of Flattop in the state park. Rep. Laddie Shaw (R, Anchorage) requested the permit to place the permanent flag atop Flattop, which the Park Superintendent had (correctly) previously denied.

The closed meeting (almost certainly a violation of the state’s Open Meetings Act) was held in 2019 between three state officials — DNR Deputy Commissioner Brent Goodrum, CSP Superintendent Kurt Hensel, and Rep. Shaw — at which the Deputy Commissioner overruled the Superintendent Hensel’s previous denial of the permit, and ordered the Flattop flag permit application be approved, without public notice or process. The superintendent had previously (correctly) denied the permit, as permanent flags are not permissible in state parks under long-standing state policy.

But instead of abiding state policy and public process, the Dunleavy administration directed (bullied) the park superintendent to issue the permit, and the flag has been there, illegally, ever since. This shady backroom deal is just one more example of good-old-boy politics at their worst.

Read more: https://www.anchoragepress.com/columnists/dunleavy-administration-issues-illegal-permit-for-american-flag-on-flattop-mountain-in-closed-door-meeting/article_813133b2-b17e-11ea-aab5-b31b3e489139.html

Seward band urges testing for Fairbanks concert-goers after members test positive for COVID-19

Two members of a popular band based out of Seward tested positive for the coronavirus and performed an in-person show while at least one of them was potentially infectious, according to a band member.

Blackwater Railroad Company played three public shows in Seward, Palmer and Fairbanks over June. Band member Tyson Davis, who tested positive this week said that the state health department informed him that it is likely that he was only potentially infectious during a June 19 show at The Boatel in Fairbanks.

Davis said that he started showing symptoms on Tuesday, June 23.


In a Facebook post, The Boatel wrote that the restaurant “kept a barrier between the stage and customers and of course a limited capacity.” Davis said that the show was outdoors. No one answered the phone at the venue on Friday afternoon for comment.

Read more: https://www.alaskapublic.org/2020/06/26/seward-based-folk-band-urges-testing-after-members-test-positive/

Anchorage businesses report an uptick in masks following mandate, though compliance isn't universal

On Monday, Anchorage joined a growing number of U.S. cities by requiring masks for indoor public spaces to address the spread of COVID-19.

Whether it was a bandana, surgical mask or homemade cloth masks, Anchorage business owners interviewed Monday said customers ran their errands with face coverings in greater numbers than seen the past few months. Compliance was not universal, something Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz predicted when announcing the order on Friday.

Visits to several businesses in Spenard, Midtown and South Anchorage on Monday found most customers were wearing masks, although usage varied from store to store.

“Out of respect, we need to wear masks,” said Carol Statton, a nurse who was shopping at Over the Rainbow Toys on Monday. “It’s the least we can do. It’s not 100%, but it’s pretty good.”

Read more: https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/anchorage/2020/06/29/anchorage-businesses-report-an-uptick-in-masks-following-mandate-though-compliance-isnt-universal/
(Anchorage Daily News)
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