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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: 83,349

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

S.C. Rep. Joe Wilson duped by Sacha Baron Cohen in sketch highlighting political obsession with guns

Rep. Joe Wilson and his colleagues will support your cause if you ring the right bell

Last week, South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson joined a few current and former politicians trying to convince the public they should not be held responsible for saying on camera that toddlers should be armed with guns in schools in order to prevent school shootings.

Wilson claims to have been the victim of a prank that was actually part of Sacha Baron Cohen's new Showtime series, Who is America? In this particular segment, Cohen poses as Col. Erran Morad (a.k.a., the "Terrorist Terminator" ), an Israeli touting his "Kinder Guardians" initiative to American politicians. The groundbreaking program, Cohen would like to have you believe, introduces children age 4-16 to pistols, rifles, and even heavier weapons. More than that, though, Cohen's dubious program trains these children to operate these weapons for the purpose of being able to use them in classrooms for the prevention of future school shootings.

One of a handful of politicians to appear during the promo, Wilson says straight to camera, "A 3-year-old cannot defend itself from an assault rifle by throwing a Hello Kitty pencil case at it. Our founding fathers did not put an age limit on the Second Amendment."

While being interviewed by Morad, Larry Pratt, a prominent gun lobby leader with the Gun Owners of America, says he knows of several politicians that might be amenable to the program's cause — after he laughs as Cohen's character jokes that "it's not rape if it's your wife."

Read more: https://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/charleston/rep-joe-wilson-and-his-colleagues-will-support-your-cause-if-you-ring-the-right-bell/Content?oid=20761635

Road lawsuits could cost North Carolina hundreds of millions

The state owes landowners for imposing restrictions on their property without paying for it

Two jury verdicts from Fayetteville this past spring could signal that North Carolina will have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to many dozens of property owners across the state for taking partial control of their land without paying for it.

The two verdicts were rendered in April in lawsuits that two families filed against the N.C. Department of Transportation. Statewide, more than 500 similar lawsuits have been filed, including about 80 in Cumberland County and Robeson counties, the plaintiffs’ lawyers said.

The litigation stems from a law called the Map Act.

The law is now repealed, but when it was in effect, the NCDOT used it to try to hold down the state’s costs of acquiring land for road and highway construction. If a piece of property was along a proposed route, the department put tight restrictions on what property owners could do with it.

Read more: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20180730/road-lawsuits-could-cost-north-carolina-hundreds-of-millions

Trump campaign flag on NC ferry triggers social media squabble, DOT investigation

A photo showing a Trump 2020 campaign flag flying atop a state-operated ferry on the Outer Banks has rubbed some people the wrong way since it hit social media.

Catherine Mitchell posted the photo in the community section of the North Carolina Ferry System Facebook page Thursday evening, saying it was taken aboard the MV Frisco ferry.

“I love our ferries. I love our ferry personnel. This does not make me happy,” Mitchell’s post said. “I’m sorry, but is this legal? How would the person who flew this flag feel about a Hillary Clinton flag instead? I thought that government services were supposed to serve everyone and not be political.”

The post, which drew a couple hundred comments, has since been deleted. But others reposted the photo on Facebook and Twitter.

Read more: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20180728/trump-campaign-flag-on-nc-ferry-triggers-social-media-squabble-dot-investigation

New political party sues over NC over candidate restriction law, says it is unconstitutional

RALEIGH — A new official political party in North Carolina says a law blocking some of its nominated candidates from standing for election this fall is unconstitutional.

The Constitution Party of North Carolina and three individuals picked to run under the party's banner in November are suing the state elections board in Raleigh federal court.

The Constitution Party met official party requirements in June and nominated by convention ten candidates for various offices. But the General Assembly passed a law preventing the party from fielding candidates who also lost in the May primaries for the same office.

The elections board disqualified three Constitution Party candidates for that reason. The lawsuit — filed July 20 but announced by the party Monday — alleges the restriction prevents them from fully participating in the election.

Read more: https://www.greensboro.com/news/north_carolina/new-political-party-sues-over-nc-over-candidate-restriction-law/article_b9e46dbf-e5f8-5f22-9913-b76670b355b0.html

Greensboro rocked by another shooting at City Hall

GREENSBORO — Access to City Hall was already down to one entrance after a May shooting rattled people in and around the government and courthouse complex off Washington Street.

On Monday, the city was rocked by yet another shooting at its very exposed nerve center, heightening fears and raising concerns.

The incident that injured one person in a parking lot across Washington Street from the Melvin Municipal Office Building has Mayor Nancy Vaughan worried about security for city and county buildings.

"It concerns me for our city employees and our city," she said.

Read more: https://www.greensboro.com/news/local_news/greensboro-rocked-by-another-shooting-at-city-hall/article_ed6091c9-9d4c-5268-ad48-cecaab47b2de.html

Puerto Rico reaches deal to restructure $3B of power debt

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO -- Puerto Rico's government reached a deal Monday night with a bondholder group to restructure more than a third of the debt owed by its troubled power company as the utility moves toward privatization.

A federal control board overseeing the U.S. territory's finances called it an "important milestone" and promised the deal would not hit Puerto Ricans with rate increases to cover debt service if there was a drop in power usage.

Officials said bondholders that hold more than $3 billion in debt from Puerto Rico's Electric Power Authority would exchange it for two new bonds. One would be exchanged at 67.5 cents on the dollar, while the other would be exchanged at 10 cents on the dollar and would be linked to Puerto Rico's economic recovery.

"That is absolutely huge," economist Vicente Feliciano told The Associated Press.

Read more: https://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article215816320.html

NC's newest ACA health insurer serves the neediest, but faces fines and lawsuits

RALEIGH -- A national health insurer that’s been fined $1.5 million by regulators in Washington and is the subject of a class action lawsuit in that state plans to enter North Carolina’s federal health care market.

Missouri-based Centene Corp., the nation’s largest provider of individual health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, is expanding its coverage throughout the country, including North Carolina where it will offer plans in Durham and Wake counties under the name Ambetter.

But the Fortune 100 company is also eying North Carolina for bigger spoils: a coveted contract to manage a part of the state’s $14.6 billion Medicaid market.

Health insurance advocates say North Carolina will benefit from a new competitor. The state is down to one ACA insurer that covers all 100 counties, Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Another, Cigna, is limited to just five counties: Wake, Johnston, Orange, Chatham and Nash. Centene’s entry will make Wake the only county in the state with three ACA options. Several years ago Blue Cross vied for ACA customers in numerous North Carolina counties against two national carriers, Aetna and UnitedHealthcare.

Read more: https://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article215665910.html

Black civil rights champion who helped desegregate UNC dies at 94

J. Kenneth Lee was one of the first black students to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His legacy has shaped the university, state and nation ever since.

Lee was one of four black students who joined a lawsuit in 1949 that would change history and lead to the desegregation of the UNC School of Law.

The university announced on July 30 that Lee had died at age 94. Lee died last week. His funeral was July 30 in Greensboro.

Lee and fellow plaintiffs were represented by Thurgood Marshall in the lawsuit. Marshall was the director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund at the time of the suit and would later become an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Read more: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article215773230.html

Beach nourishment bingo?

NC lawmakers bypass DEQ, allot $5 million coastal research grant to politically connected Winston-Salem nonprofit

A North Carolina nonprofit with deep political connections received $5 million in the state budget for a beach nourishment study and design project, even though it has never done that type of work and is headquartered more than 250 miles from the coast.

Lawmakers appropriated the funding to the Resource Institute, based in Winston-Salem, through a one-time “grant-in-aid” – pass-through money – from the state Division of Water Resources. The amount is the largest grant-in-aid from the Department of Environmental Quality since at least 2005, according to state budget documents.

Yet, DEQ said it did not request the earmark; in fact, lawmakers appropriated just $1.8 million to DEQ to conduct its own work related to GenX and emerging contaminants.

The budget language vaguely describes the purpose of the appropriation. Armed with the windfall, the Resource Institute “shall work with coastal local governments and engineering firms to explore opportunities for the development and implementation of emerging techniques that can extend the useful life of beach nourishment projects.”

Read more: http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2018/07/26/pw-exclusive-beach-nourishment-bingo/
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