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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: 78,357

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

Texas Democrat pumps the brakes on the left's new rallying cries

WASHINGTON — Texas Democrat Joaquin Castro has plenty of ideas for the future of his party. So far, they don’t include embracing the left’s calls to impeach the president or abolish the agency in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Castro, 43, represents a San Antonio-area district where more than 60 percent of his constituents are Latino. He also serves on the serves on the congressional committee that oversees the U.S. intelligence community, and has spoken out aggressively about concerns with foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election.

In a Wednesday night recording of CBS News podcast “The Takeout,” Castro, considered a rising star in his party, bucked some of Democrats’ newly-embraced stances on immigration and President Donald Trump.

Both subjects have ignited intense passion among the party’s liberal wing in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, even bleeding into Texas’ high-profile Senate race.

Read more: https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article215630765.html

Consumer advocate barred from insurance rate hearing; state won't say why

Vermont’s health care oversight board blocked the designated public health care advocate from weighing in on affordability during a hearing Monday on insurance rates for the coming year.

The Green Mountain Care Board, the quasi-judicial body that regulates health care on behalf of Vermonters, yielded to a request from the state’s largest insurers to block Mike Fisher’s testimony.

Kevin Mullin, chair of the Green Mountain Care Board, confirmed Monday afternoon that the board upheld a motion from insurance companies to exclude a report and testimony by Fisher, the state’s designated health care advocate, from hearings this week on rate changes. He declined to say why.

Mullin and Judy Henkin, the board’s general counsel, again declined to explain the decision in a phone call Monday evening. They said a transcript from the hearing would be available for review later this week.

Read more: https://vtdigger.org/2018/07/23/consumer-advocate-barred-insurance-rate-hearing-state-wont-say/

Slain woman's family sues Minneapolis police for $50M

July 25 (UPI) -- The family of a woman shot dead by a Minneapolis police officer last year after she made a 911 call has filed a civil suit against the department that seeks $50 million in damages.

The family of Justine Damond says in the suit the officers involved "deprived" investigators and jurors of audio and video evidence related to the July 15, 2017, shooting by intentionally leaving their body cameras switched off.

The lawsuit names both officers, the Minneapolis Police Department, former Police Chief Janee Harteau and current Police Chief Medaria Arradondo as defendants.

It faults the department for a lack of body camera training and "policies to avoid the improper use of deadly force."

Read more: https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2018/07/25/Slain-womans-family-sues-Minneapolis-police-for-50M/5801532512905/

SpaceX launches, lands rocket in challenging conditions

July 25 (UPI) -- SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket carried 10 Iridium satellites into orbit on Wednesday. The rocket blasted-off early Wednesday morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

"All 10 satellites have deployed into an on-target orbit," Spaceflight Now's Stephen Clark reported at 8:53 a.m. ET.

As usual, SpaceX safely landed the rocket's reusable first stage. The rocket stage landed on the spaceport drone ship "Just Read the Instructions." Though SpaceX's rocket reusability has become routine, Wednesday's weather conditions made the feat more difficult.

"Despite challenging weather conditions, Falcon 9 first stage booster landed on Just Read the Instructions," SpaceX wrote on Twitter.

Read more: https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2018/07/25/SpaceX-launches-lands-rocket-in-challenging-conditions/9091532522773/

Hospital workers go on strike in Rhode Island

More than 2,400 nurses, mental health workers, technicians and therapists at Rhode Island Hospital and its associated Hasbro Children’s Hospital have gone on strike this week, with hundreds picketing the hospital in Providence. Workers called the strike after rejecting a new contract by vote last week, along with demands made by management in a federal mediating session on Monday morning.

The workers are striking against attacks on their raises, pensions and working conditions. The three-year contract that recently expired guaranteed 3.5 percent yearly step increases for each worker. These steps cover the first 10 years of a worker’s tenure, and no additional cost of living increase has been given to them for the last eight years.

In the recent negotiations, management sought to “restructure”—that is, weaken—the steps, with raises as low as 2.25 percent per year over a four-year contract.

A striking nurse told WPRO, “I’m doing everybody else’s job with very little resources, poor equipment, and the people are getting sicker and sicker. I’m incapable of doing my job, at this point, safely.”

Read more: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/07/25/hosp-j25.html

The NAACP Does a Disservice to Puerto Rico

The 109th annual convention of the NAACP recently approved a resolution supporting statehood for Puerto Rico. The text refers to a similar statement adopted by its previous annual convention a year ago and ratified by its National Board of Directors in October 2017.

This resolution is a disservice to the struggle for decolonization in Puerto Rico and for equality for everyone in the United States. It should be critically examined by all groups committed to social justice in the United States to better understand Puerto Rico’s situation and what a truly just and democratic response to it could and should be.

The resolution is based on the results of a plebiscite sponsored by the administration of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló in June 2017, in which statehood received 97 percent of the votes cast. But it fails to consider that only 23 percent of eligible voters participated in this plebiscite. The ballyhooed 97 percent vote for statehood corresponds to around 22 percent of eligible voters. Supporters of other status options (independence, free association, a modification of the present status) denounced this plebiscite. Their call for voters to boycott this plebiscite was evidently successful.

The 2017 plebiscite was the fifth held by the government of Puerto Rico. Previous plebiscites were held in 1967, 1993, 1998 and 2012. The statehood option received 39 percent of the votes in 1967; 46.3 percent in 1993; and 46.5 percent in 1998. In 2012, under pro-statehood Gov. Luis Fortuño, it received 61.3 percent, but if the nearly 500,000 blank and defaced protest votes cast are counted as rejecting the options included on the ballot, the percentage of votes for statehood drops to 44 percent, close to the 46 percent received in 1993 and 1998. No overwhelming mandate for statehood exists, contrary to what the NAACP’s resolution suggests. Why did the NAACP ignore so many in Puerto Rico that prefer options other than statehood?

Read more: https://socialistworker.org/2018/07/24/the-naacp-does-a-disservice-to-puerto-rico

Trump's Momentary Support of LGBT People During Campaign Was 'Empty Payback for a Political Favor'

Sean Spicer is out with a new book and unsurprisingly he reveal the then-candidate Donald Trump's momentary support of LGBT people during the campaign was, as PEOPLE magazine calls it, "nothing more than empty payback for a political favor."

Why was Trump so focused on the LGBTQ community for about a nanosecond during the 2016 campaign and why did he promise to "do everything" in his power "to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology"?

Trump needed one last delegate's vote to win the GOP nomination.

And once again, LGBT people were used. A means to an end.

One last name stood in the way between Trump and the nomination, according to Spicer: Washington, D.C. GOP delegate Robert Sinners.

Read more: https://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/2018/07/trumps-momentary-support-of-lgbt-people-during-campaign-was-empty-payback-for-a-political-favor/

Massachusetts candy company plant abruptly closes

REVERE, Mass. (AP) — The owner of a company that makes candies such as Necco wafers and Sweethearts has unexpectedly shut down operations at its Massachusetts plant.

The Boston Globe reports Round Hill Investments LLC announced Tuesday it is selling Necco brands to another confection manufacturer and closing down its Revere plant.

The company had recently purchased Necco for $17.3 million at a bankruptcy auction in May.

Round Hill did not identify Necco's new owner or say if candy production will resume. The closure came as a shock to the close to 230 workers at the plant who say they were told to pick up their final paychecks Friday.

Read more: https://www.valleymorningstar.com/news/us_news/massachusetts-candy-company-plant-abruptly-closes/article_d738c9f6-7e8a-57a8-be0c-8fd911ec64b7.html

Investigation opened into alleged fraud at Nacogdoches airport

An investigation into alleged fraud by a pilot at the A.L. Mangham, Jr., Regional Airport was opened Tuesday.

The Nacogdoches Police Department received a report alleging that a pilot there had been giving flying lessons without an instructor's license, according to a statement issued by the department Tuesday morning.

"An officer took a complaint of a subject who made fraudulent entries to a government document," according to the department's activity log.

The log lists the time in which the offense occurred as between May 29, 2018, and June 12, 2018.

Read more: http://dailysentinel.com/news/article_a21b2d72-8f56-11e8-8cea-2febb8a5254f.html

Italians are tired of living under austerity. That could be a big problem for Europe.

Will Italy’s new government be able to reboot the economy? With national debt at 131.8 percent of GDP, unemployment at 11.2 percent and one of the slowest growth rates in the euro zone, the Italian economy has been struggling for some time.

Italians are struggling as well. Austerity measures mandated by the European Union since the beginning of the decade failed to sort out longtime structural problems. Rome has few economic tools to jump-start the economy because euro-zone countries agree to follow E.U. monetary guidance aimed at stabilizing the currency for all euro-zone members.

Despite some E.U. concessions obtained by former prime minister Matteo Renzi, the country is still obliged to severely reduce its budget deficit and public debt to respect the European guidelines and avoid heavy economic sanctions.

Tensions are rising between Italy and the E.U. leadership over the lagging economy, resulting in a drastic shift in Italian public opinion. Italians are tired of living under the E.U.’s strict fiscal rules. That is our finding, which is based on data from surveys in 2013 and 2017 carried out by the University of Siena for the Istituto Affari Internazionali.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2018/07/25/italians-are-tired-of-living-under-austerity-that-could-be-a-big-problem-for-europe/?utm_term=.ba616b2e3085
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