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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: 77,641

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

A year after fiscal deal, Colorado may owe taxpayer refunds

DENVER — In a stunning turn from this time a year ago, Colorado’s state coffers are suddenly so flush with cash that lawmakers may be required to send more than $200 million back to taxpayers over the next three years.

For Democrats, it’s vindication for a deal struck in 2017 to exempt a state hospital fee from the state’s revenue cap — a deal that was supposed to clear out so much room under the cap that the state budget would have room to grow for years to come without sending any of it back to taxpayers.

Without the new law, Colorado would have owed taxpayers significantly more. And lawmakers never would have been able to afford the sizeable investments in schools, roads and the public pension that turned the 2018 legislative session into a success for leaders in both parties.

But for fiscal conservatives who opposed the maneuver, an unexpected revenue windfall generated by federal tax changes and a rebounding oil and gas sector makes last year’s spending deal even worse than they had imagined at the time.

Read more: https://www.denverpost.com/2018/07/16/fiscal-deal-colorado-taxpayer-refunds/

Former University of Colorado president John Buechner dies at age 82

Former University of Colorado president John C. Buechner died Saturday morning at age 82, earning praise for leading Colorado’s flagship university and for serving several local communities.

Buechner was in hospice care at the time of his death, a CU spokesman said.

Buechner served as CU’s 18th president from 1995 to 2000. Before that, he served as chancellor of the University of Colorado Denver, beginning in 1988. His CU career first took root in 1963 in Boulder, as a faculty member in the political science department, where he specialized in municipal government and local politics. He was director of institutional relations in the late 1970s.

“John Buechner was a longtime friend who made a significant impact on the University of Colorado, our communities and our state,” CU President Bruce Benson said. “He had an abiding love for CU and made his mark on the university in many ways — as CU president, CU Denver chancellor and faculty member and CU Boulder faculty member and administrator. He was also a dedicated public servant at mayor, city council member and state legislator.”

Read more: https://www.denverpost.com/2018/07/28/john-buechner-former-cu-president-dies-82/

Catholic clergy sex abuse investigation in Pennsylvania called 'bigger than Boston'

The grand jury report investigating sexual abuse across six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania names more than 300 "predator priests," according to a court order issued Friday.

A redacted report will be released to the public in August, the state Supreme Court said in an order issued Friday. The court order also revealed more details about the long-awaited report on clergy sex abuse.

Here are some key takeaways from the court order regarding the report.

1. Most priests will be named

The court order states repeatedly that the grand jury report names more than 300 "predator priests" accused of committing criminal or morally reprehensible conduct.

Read more: https://www.nola.com/religion/index.ssf/2018/07/catholic_clergy_sex_abuse_in_p.html

L.A. School Board in Limbo After Member's Felony Plea

The three-year scandal that has embroiled the Los Angeles Unified school board concluded anticlimactically this week when besieged District 5 board member Ref Rodriguez tendered his resignation. The bow-out followed a Monday court appearance in which Ref pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy and three misdemeanors connected to his laundering $24,000 of his own cash during his successful 2015 election campaign.

It ended an ethically challenged 10 months in which Ref’s legal bills were paid by his lone legal-defense fund donor – billionaire charter school enthusiast and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. The patronage had kept alive LAUSD’s slim, 4-3 pro-charter school board majority as it doggedly ticked off a dream list of California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) wins. Gut “district required language” for charter petitions? Check. Deny CCSA bête noire Ken Bramlett a contract renewal as inspector general? Check. Hire non-educator venture capitalist Austin Beutner as a disruption-prone superintendent? Check.

The suddenly even-split LAUSD board now has 60 days to either appoint a successor or to follow recent board precedent by letting District 5 voters decide in a special election.

One group paying close attention will be L.A. teachers, whose union on Tuesday submitted its “last, best and final offer” in contract talks that it says have again ground to a deadlock. “Anti-union, pro-privatization ideologues are currently running the school district but are setting us up for failure,” UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl charged in a statement. The district has 48 hours to respond to the LBFO.

Read more: https://capitalandmain.com/los-angeles-school-board-member-pleads-guilty-in-scandal-and-resigns-0726

3 dead, 7 injured in South Claiborne Avenue shooting Saturday night: NOPD

Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune

Three people have died and seven more have been injured in a shooting reported in the 3400 block of South Claiborne Avenue on Saturday night (July 28), according to the New Orleans Police Department.

Police first reported that two people had died and six had been injured in the shooting. That notice from NOPD came at 8:59 p.m. Saturday.

Jonathan Fourcade, EMS spokesman, said three of the seven injured people were taken by ambulance to University Medical Center's trauma center. The other four arrived at the hospital by private means.

Two bodies could be seen on the ground Saturday night in front of Chicken & Watermelon, a restaurant in the 3400 block of South Claiborne. In addition to NOPD, officials from the Housing Authority of New Orleans and ATF could be seen responding in the area.

Read more: https://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2018/07/shooting_claiborne_new_orleans.html

Republicans Betting Big on Colorado Into California Message

The Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) came out this week with its first General Election advertisement for 2018, attacking Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis by saying he “wants to turn Colorado into California.” The ad is…well, it’s not very good, but how about that message?

We’ve heard this “turning Colorado into California” narrative from Republicans since at least the beginning of the year — GOP nominee Walker Stapleton used it regularly during Republican gubernatorial debates — and it continues to get a lot of use. Critics of new vehicle emissions standards being pushed by Gov. John Hickenlooper have been taking a similar approach in their finger-wagging responses.

Republicans no doubt have some kind of polling and/or focus group data telling them that “turning Colorado into California” is a winning message in 2018. They seem determined to push this narrative at all costs, though it’s unclear how effective it might become. Sometimes these cute slogans can be winners, but just as often they fizzle because they are too overdone. The “Frontier Fairness” slogan that Mike Johnston briefly promoted in early 2017 was probably tested and re-tested, but once you get outside of focus groups where you don’t have the luxury of providing more context, the words lose meaning in a hurry.

Maybe we’re completely wrong here and “turning Colorado into California” is a home run of a message. It just sounds a bit…silly.

Read more: https://www.coloradopols.com/diary/110589/republicans-betting-farm-on-colorado-into-california-message

At Least 100 People to Walk on Sidewalk for Trump

We’re not sure why this is news, but we got a kick out of this story from Oscar Contreras at Denver7:

A group of northern Colorado residents will take to the streets Saturday in support of President Donald Trump and “his stated goal to ‘Make America Great Again.'”

So far, 181 people have indicated they’ll be participating in the “I Stand with Trump – Make America Great Again” rally scheduled to take place on July 28 on the southeast corner of Highway 34 and Lake Loveland, across from Dwayne Webster Veterans Park.

There will be no speakers or planned agenda. Instead, the event will be utilizing the First Amendment right to demonstrate on public sidewalks, said rally organizer David Huntwork. [Pols emphasis]

We’ll be curious to see how many folks actually “take to the sidewalks” for Trump on Saturday, since the number of people who show up is never anywhere close to the number of people who sign up for something like this. Republican rallies in Colorado haven’t tended to do all that well anyway, even with the lure of free food.

Saturday’s MAGA “rally” in Loveland stands in stark contrast to events like the “Women’s March” in Denver in January 2017 (and again in 2018), which drew hundreds of thousands of people to Civic Center Park. The MAGA rally won’t even come close to the crowd of thousands that attended the “March for Our Lives” rally in March 2018, or the “RedForEd” day in April.

Read more: https://www.coloradopols.com/diary/110717/at-least-100-people-to-walk-on-sidewalk-for-trump

University of Colorado President Bruce Benson retires

University of Colorado President Bruce Benson will retire in July 2019, after more than 10 years leading the state's largest university system. The advance announcement will give the university's Board of Regents "ample time to find a successor who can continue the tremendous positive momentum at CU," Benson said in a statement July 18.

Benson led the university through the aftermath of a 2017 settlement involving accusations that the university's culture led to the rape of two women by football players and recruits, and through the global financial crisis, which resulted in drastic cuts to higher-education funding, the Boulder Daily Camera notes. Despite the effects of the recession, the Daily Camera adds, enrollment and fundraising increased, and the university system's budget doubled under his leadership.

"The University of Colorado has been a part of my life since I was an undergraduate some 55 years ago," Benson's statement reads. "It will remain an important part of my life. It will also remain critical to Colorado's success and will continue to address the critical issues facing our nation and world."

(short article)

Stapleton must wish his KKK-stained great-grandfather was his biggest problem

It had to happen. Denver’s KKK-stained history has gone national. A New York Times story Tuesday, written by the excellent Julie Turkewitz, questions whether Walker Stapleton’s election run for governor will be affected by the state’s “grappling with his family’s past.”

I had a different question. What grappling?

As you may know, Stapleton’s great-grandfather, Ben Stapleton, was a five-term mayor of Denver. And when he was mayor, he was also a member of the Ku Klux Klan, which, shockingly, ruled the state. Many people are probably unfamiliar with this shameful period in the 1920s or the hooded Klansmen who paraded down Denver’s streets.

But does anyone really believe that it will matter in Stapleton’s race against Jared Polis? Do you think Polis will make it an issue – or even mention it?

In the Times story, Turkewitz notes that Colorado may not be so great at dealing with the shameful parts of its past. Is that changing? It is true that as Southern states argue over what to do with Confederate monuments, the Stapleton neighborhood did vote on whether to change the neighborhood organization’s name, given its namesake’s KKK membership.

Read more: https://www.coloradoindependent.com/171254/littwin-stapleton-kkk-tancredo-muslim-immigrant

Arkansas utilities told to submit plans following tax cut

LITTLE ROCK—The Arkansas commission regulating utility rates has ordered the state's eight investor-owned utilities to explain how they plan to pass tax savings on to their customers.

The Arkansas Public Service Commission told the utilities Thursday that they have 30 days to file their plans, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported .

Lawmakers in December passed the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which reduces the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson asked the commission in January to pass on benefits of the federal corporate tax rate cut to Arkansas ratepayers "as expeditiously as possible."

Read more: http://www.texarkanagazette.com/news/arkansas/story/2018/jul/28/arkansas-utilities-told-submit-plans-following-tax-cut/736379/
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