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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: 78,352

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

Michigan Democrats hope pot measure brings out youth vote

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — As both parties continue pumping money into the 2018 race, Michigan Democrats are hoping to cash in on another kind of green.

A proposal to legalize marijuana has sprouted on Michigan's November ballot, putting the state on the cusp of allowing recreational use of the drug for those 21 and older. It could also entice younger voters to show up to the polls, which could help the Democrats.

Legal weed boasts a 61 percent approval rating among Michigan residents, according to EPIC-MRA polling. The partisan breakdown showed three-fourths of Democrats favor legalization, while just under half of Republican respondents approve.

Michigan GOP spokeswoman Sarah Anderson says the party isn't worried because GOP candidates can be both personally anti-marijuana but still champion the will of the people in the ballot initiative.

(short article from the Galveston News)

I have a few more ideas that might get the youth to vote.

City of Alamo exec. secretary accused of leaking sensitive police information to drug traffickers

ALAMO — The boyfriend of the city’s executive secretary appeared before a judge Saturday after he was arrested for impeding the investigation into her alleged leaking of city information to drug dealers.

Eddie Bernal Ramirez, 36, was arrested on a tampering with physical evidence charge minutes before Crystal Denise Garza’s Friday arraignment on an engaging in organized criminal activity charge.

Alamo Municipal Court Judge Celia Garcia set his bond at $40,000, the same bond given to Garza, 35. Both have been charged with third-degree felonies carrying up to 10 years in prison, if convicted.

Ramirez's arrest stems from him trying to hide Garza's cellphone from law enforcement during the police investigation into Garza using her position as executive secretary to leak police department narcotics information to area drug dealers, according to Alamo Police Chief Baudelio Castillo.

Read more: https://www.themonitor.com/news/local/article_950e77dc-91aa-11e8-8f9b-3f3ad2ce68f4.html
(McAllen Monitor)

Busted water line closes federal courthouse in Beaumont

The Jack Brooks Federal Building shut down Friday morning as Beaumont Fire Rescue crews pumped water out of the basement, according to information from the department.

Beaumont Fire Rescue received an early morning call regarding a busted water line near the 300 Willow St. building, said public information officer Scott Wheat.

The extent of the damage, if any, is not yet known, Wheat said. Courthouse officials could not immediately be reached for comment regarding when the building would be open.

The building's tenants also include U.S. District Courts, U.S. Postal Service, Department of Transportation and the Department of Labor, according to the U.S. General Services Administration.

(brief article)

Trump's tariffs stifling Montana metal manufacturers, farmers; boosting lumber mills

From soda cans to spring wheat to solar panels, all sectors of the U.S. economy have been affected by President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imported materials and the resulting retaliations by foreign markets. In Montana, the tariffs have caused headaches for grain growers and metal products manufacturers, while the wood products industry has seen a resurgence.

An aluminum cargo trailer manufacturing company just east of Missoula in Bonner that employs 165 workers has had its ambitious growth prediction somewhat stifled as it deals with higher materials costs due tariffs imposed by Trump.

“We’re just paying 20 percent more on the exact same product we got before,” said Ron Neibauer, the plant manager for Alcom. “Unfortunately, that hurts everybody we do business with. If we see major price increases, we have a couple of choices. We can eat that part of the cost or pass it along to the consumer.

"I think that in general, the industry tried to absorb those costs as best as possible but eventually they end up going to the consumer, who ultimately ends up paying more.”

Read more: https://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/trump-s-tariffs-stifling-montana-metal-manufacturers-farmers-boosting-lumber/article_6be74e12-ca03-5e0a-a97c-65e68b868a51.html

Michigan Village Elects Cat -- Ceremonially -- as Mayor

OMENA, Mich. (AP) — Politics in a small northern Michigan village have gone to the cats and dogs and goats and even chickens.

Omena's newly elected mayor is a feline named Sweet Tart. Dogs Diablo Shapiro and Punkin Anderson Harder are vice mayor and second vice mayor.

An election committee named Harley the goat press secretary while Penny the chicken is special assistant for fowl affairs.

The seats are ceremonial. WPBN-TV reports that the election is a fundraiser costing $1 per vote and brought in more than $7,000 to the Omena Historical Society.

Read more: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/michigan/articles/2018-07-25/michigan-village-elects-cat-ceremonially-as-mayor

Montana health providers say damage is done after budget cuts

Montana health service organizations that eliminated staff and services amid state budget cuts cheered Thursday after Gov. Steve Bullock announced that funding will be partially restored, but they say that long-term damage already has been done.

Bullock said Wednesday that a brighter budget picture meant that $45 million will be given back to state agencies that cut spending to close a shortfall caused by lower-than-expected revenues and the most expensive fire season in state history.

Most, if not all, is likely to go to the hard-hit Department of Public Health and Human Services, which cut more than $49 million and left hundreds of jobs unfilled.

To meet those cuts, health officials reduced the reimbursement rate for Medicaid providers like nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, and ended contracts with four organizations that provided case management services to people with developmental disabilities.

Read more: https://billingsgazette.com/news/government-and-politics/montana-health-providers-say-damage-is-done-after-budget-cuts/article_bb68e9c6-f5d1-5c51-8ac5-a18269aa3a8a.html

Two Initiatives Certified for Montana Ballot in November

HELENA – The Montana Secretary of State’s Office has certified two citizen initiatives for the Nov. 6 election.

Secretary Corey Stapleton wrote on Twitter that initiatives to raise the tobacco tax and set stricter cleanup standards for new hard-rock mines have qualified for the ballot.

Director of Elections and Voter Services Dana Corson confirmed Thursday that the measures will appear on the ballot.

One would raise the tax on tobacco products to pay for the state’s share of Medicaid expansion, which expires next year if state lawmakers don’t extend it.

Read more: https://flatheadbeacon.com/2018/07/27/two-initiatives-certified-montana-ballot-november/

As Montana begins training new community health workers, Haiti may offer a window to the state's hea

As Montana begins training new community health workers, Haiti may offer a window to the state’s health-care future

In late 2017, Montana legislators voted to substantially cut funding for mental health care, in response to a budget shortfall. Some of the effects on the state’s mental health system were immediate: Mental health centers in Livingston, Libby and elsewhere closed or contracted, leaving many, especially in rural Montana, stranded without care. Other services may be lost or weakened over time.

In the rural U.S., around 60 percent of residents already live in areas with a dearth of mental health professionals. The problem is particularly acute in the vast lands that make up the rural West. Most of Montana is ranked as a mental health shortage area by the Health Resources & Data Administration; in Glendive, Montana, for example, a single psychiatrist offers services on a part time basis. At the same time, Montana has higher-than-average rates of mental illness and suicide.

In the wake of the budget cuts, a group of newsrooms spanning western and central Montana, in collaboration with High Country News and the Solutions Journalism Network, explored how communities are responding to prevent the state’s mental health crisis from worsening. It’s our second project in The Montana Gap initiative, focused on the resilience of rural communities — and on the growing divide between those towns and the state’s growing urban centers.

What we found was a rise in informal treatment options: Rather than replacing the mental health workers whose jobs disappeared, communities are building on-the-ground care networks. In Anaconda, for example, trainers teach residents how to identify a friend or stranger facing potential mental health crisis and how to intervene. In Choteau, extension agents train teens on how to treat their mental health as they would physical health, with simple first aid tactics. Across the state, people who have struggled with addiction or mental health issues can become professional peer supporters.

Read more: https://missoulanews.com/coverstory/as-montana-begins-training-new-community-health-workers-haiti-may/article_0dd3a3a4-854e-11e8-bb7f-6b7f5735ba42.html

Matt Rosendale's self-dealing campaign loan highlights a finance loophole

For the past few weeks, Bryce Bennett has been knocking doors in Missoula for his state Senate campaign. A four-termer in the Montana House of Representatives, he’s accustomed to constituents talking about health care and education. But lately, he says, some have been raising the issue of campaign-finance law — and, more specifically, the criticism swirling around Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Rosendale.

“Clearly, our campaign-finance laws were intended to create campaigns that only receive a certain amount of money from individuals, so that nobody could be corrupted by an overwhelming amount of money coming from any individual,” Bennett says. “Matt has clearly found a way to sneak past the will of the voters of Montana, and we certainly have to do something about that.”

Over the past four months, a small collection of Republican donors from across the country, roughly two-dozen in all, have been helping Rosendale pay back a personal loan he made to his unsuccessful 2014 U.S. House campaign. The contributions, made to his 2018 Senate committee and earmarked for debt retirement, come from the likes of oil tycoon Wayne Laufer, political consultant Roy Pfautch and Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus. These out-of-staters’ awareness of Rosendale’s outstanding debt to himself was no coincidence. Before the June primary, his campaign produced a contribution form — obtained by the Daily Beast and posted online — directing recipients to the 2014 debt retirement and informing them that any donations to that cause would raise their allowable maximum individual contribution from $5,400 to $8,000, or $16,000 per couple.

On May 14, Rosendale put those debt-retirement collections to use, reporting a loan repayment of $32,831. The next day, May 15, Rosendale made a personal loan of $32,831 to his 2018 Senate committee.

Read more: https://missoulanews.com/news/matt-rosendale-s-self-dealing-campaign-loan-highlights-a-finance/article_867d4e90-9048-11e8-a8bb-fbb00cf23150.html#tracking-source=home-trending

Wyoming's struggling uranium industry presses president for quotas on imports

Two uranium companies with mines in Wyoming may get a boost from the Trump administration, forcing U.S. nuclear power plants to obtain more of their fuel from American producers.

Amidst sustained low prices for uranium, UR-Energy and Energy Fuels approached the Commerce Department with a proposal: investigate whether low-priced imports of uranium risk national security.

The department accepted that petition, noting the importance of uranium to domestic infrastructure and “weapons systems.” Officials have about nine months to offer a recommendation to the president on the companies’ contention of a national security risk and their proposed remedies: quotas on imports from countries like Russia and setting aside 25 percent of the domestic market for U.S. producers.

Wyoming’s uranium industry is the largest in the country, though just a handful of companies mine in the state. And it’s been under pressure.

Read more: https://trib.com/business/energy/wyoming-s-struggling-uranium-industry-presses-president-for-quotas-on/article_81cf72b5-8089-5504-b4ba-16df311f038d.html
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