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Gender: Male
Hometown: Texas
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Current location: Red Hell Texas
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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

Columbia Gas Announces $143 Million Dollar Settlement In Class Action Lawsuit For Merrimack Booms

Columbia Gas Announces $143 Million Dollar Settlement In Class Action Lawsuit For Merrimack Gas Explosions

Columbia Gas and it's parent company, NiSource, announced this morning they've reached a $143 Million dollar settlement in the class action lawsuits for the Merrimack Valley gas explosions.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit includes thousands of residents and businesses in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover that were impacted by the September 13 natural gas explosions.

"Families suffered for months in the gripping cold. Businesses shuttered, and lives were upended," Elizabeth Graham, co-lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement. "To this day, the people most impacted by the explosions are not fully back on their feet, but we believe this settlement is the quickest and most just method to ensure that residents and businesses are made whole again."

The explosions were blamed on over-pressurized natural gas lines and displaced about 8,000 people, killed one man and injured two dozen others. The settlement will compensate those that suffered losses and hardships, as a result of the explosions and fires.

Read more: https://www.wgbh.org/news/local-news/2019/07/29/columbia-gas-announces-143-million-dollar-settlement-in-class-action-lawsuit-for-merrimack-gas-explosions

Once considered a 'can't-miss' to be mayor of Providence, councilman resigns in disgrace

PROVIDENCE – Luis Aponte broke a lot of barriers during his time in Providence politics. He was the first Latino to be elected to the City Council, the first Latino majority leader, and later became the first Latino council president. At one point, his supporters thought he’d be mayor someday.

But Aponte’s political career came to a crashing end Monday when the Democrat agreed to plead no contest to embezzling from his campaign account and resign the Ward 10 council seat he’s held since 1999. Rhode Island law requires elected officials who are convicted or plead no contest to a felony charge to step down from their position.

The abrupt plea deal came just over a month before Aponte was scheduled to go to trial in a two-year-old case that earlier cost him his post as council president. But he was still re-elected by voters in city’s Lower South Providence and Washington Park neighborhoods last year.

Aponte, 56, did not respond to multiple requests for comment Monday. But those who know him best said they were disappointed to see a once-promising politician come unraveled in recent years as elections officials and prosecutors started scrutinizing his finances.

Read more: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/rhode-island/2019/07/29/once-considered-can-miss-mayor-providence-councilman-resigns-disgrace/KOwvZRekO6N4gsS8DKIoVJ/story.html

Massachusetts took in an additional $1.9 billion in taxes in last fiscal year

State tax collections will need to grow by less than 1 percent in fiscal 2020 to hit the benchmark lawmakers included in the $43.1 billion budget that Governor Charlie Baker is reviewing.

The Department of Revenue on Monday reported that final fiscal 2019 tax collections totaled $29.69 billion, only $200 million less than the upwardly revised $29.89 billion estimate that lawmakers used in the fiscal 2020 budget they approved last week.

Tax receipts of $3.18 billion in June were up by only 1.5 percent over June 2018 collections, but capped a fiscal year during which collections rose nearly 7 percent and eclipsed budget benchmarks by $1.1 billion.

Capital gains taxes drove up non-withheld income tax revenues by $387 million over benchmark, according to Revenue Commissioner Christopher Harding, while corporate taxes soared $566 million over benchmark last fiscal year and estate tax collections beat benchmark by $151 million. Harding described all three revenue categories as volatile revenue sources that broke in a “positive direction” in the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Read more: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2019/07/29/massachusetts-took-additional-billion-taxes-last-fiscal-year/CID5nmzeR9RCI70uKlsPkO/story.html

Warren and Sanders could be targets of moderates instead of each other in debate

DETROIT — For the first time since the Democratic presidential campaign began, the race’s two leading liberal candidates — Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — will appear on the same debate stage here Tuesday night.

But despite signs of tension between the campaigns in recent months, the debate is unlikely to feature a clash between the two for the mantle of the left. Instead, the self-proclaimed longtime friends may be too busy warding off attacks from five more moderate candidates they’ll also be sharing the stage with — all of whom are desperate for a breakout moment.

Those candidates, including Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, and Montana Governor Steve Bullock, could try to push out of the lower tiers of the large pack by launching themselves at Warren, or — more likely — Sanders.

Their goal is to avoid being cut from September’s debate because of low support in the polls or donations. With little to lose, those candidates could attack the two New Englanders for pushing liberal proposals that, they argue, could hurt the party’s chances in 2020.

Read more: https://www.bostonglobe.com/2019/07/29/warren-and-sanders-could-targets-moderates-instead-each-other-debate/chJRpNsm0cFLUWb10NHgPL/story.html

Stephenville hospital just days away from suspending labor and delivery services

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville is just days away from temporarily suspending labor and delivery services because of upcoming retirements and departures of obstetricians on the hospital’s medical staff.

The E-T spoke with Chris Leu, president of Texas Health Stephenville, who is working to reassure the community that the hospital and the THR system are fully committed to restoring the service as soon as possible.

“We are actively and aggressively recruiting OBGYN candidates and are currently speaking to several of them,” Leu said. “We are not closing these services. In fact, our four labor and delivery rooms are currently under construction and are all being updated.”
The remodel is expected to be complete this fall.

Leu said deliveries will continue at the hospital through the end of July, then only a handful of babies will be delivered by Dr. Janie McMillion through mid-August.

Read more: https://www.yourstephenvilletx.com/news/20190726/hospital-just-days-away-from-suspending-labor-and-delivery-services
(Stephenville Empire-Tribune)

More Than 400 Mumps Cases Confirmed In Texas Immigrant Facilities

More than 100 new mumps cases have been identified in Texas immigrant holding facilities in the last five weeks, according to data obtained by News 88.7.

The Texas Department of State Health Services has confirmed 436 total cases of mumps since the outbreak started in October 2018.

The count of mumps cases includes all federal facilities that hold immigrants, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and shelters that hold unaccompanied migrant children, according to state officials.

Immigration lawyer Jodi Goodwin said some of her clients detained in the Rio Grande Valley have been quarantined because of the outbreak.

Read more: https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/politics/immigration/2019/07/29/340973/more-than-400-mumps-cases-confirmed-in-texas-immigrant-facilities/

Houston Becomes Candidate City for WorldPride 2023

Space City is in the running to host WorldPride 2023.

Pride Houston, a nonprofit that organizes Houston’s LGBTQ festival and parade every June, announced that it was a finalist to host WorldPride (an international Pride celebration that occurs every few years in a different location) via Facebook on Friday, July 26. The LGBTQ Houston organization will throw a party at Pearl Bar on September 8 to celebrate.

“Houston is officially a candidate city to host WorldPride 2023, and we want to celebrate with you!” Pride Houston wrote on Facebook. “This free event is for anyone and everyone that wants to see WorldPride 2023 right here in Houston!”

On July 17, Pride Houston announced that a bid to host WorldPride 2023 was sent to InterPride, the organization that founded international LGBTQ celebration. Other cities in the running are Sydney, Australia, and Montreal, Canada.

Read more: http://www.outsmartmagazine.com/2019/07/houston-becomes-candidate-city-for-worldpride-2023/

Farmers struggle to find hay for animals as wet spring creates shortage

EVANSVILLE, Ind., July 30 (UPI) -- Historically heavy rains across the Midwest this year have hindered hay production, leading to a troublesome shortage in many farming communities.

Hay stocks across the Midwest this spring were down 24 percent from last year, said Lance Zimmerman, a research and data manager at Cattle Fax, which monitors and informs the cattle industry. And last year's stocks were below the norm, he said.

"It does put producers, especially dairy producers, in a tough spot," Zimmerman said. "They are the ones in most need of hay. Typically, beef cattle are put out to pasture this time of year. But dairy cows need to be fed."

As stocks dwindle, the price for hay is shooting up. The average price for alfalfa hay topped $200 per ton in July, the highest in five years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Read more: https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2019/07/30/Farmers-struggle-to-find-hay-for-animals-as-wet-spring-creates-shortage/5891564417562/

Layoffs mount as slump in world auto industry deepens

Note: The article from World Socialist Website is written with a socialist slant.

The global downturn in the auto industry is continuing with warnings of further massive job losses ahead as sales continue to slump in key markets and companies are seeking to put aside cash to carry out research and development of electric and self-driving vehicles. The escalating trade tensions between the US and China are putting additional pressure on automakers.

The global character of the attack on jobs exposes the reactionary nationalism promoted by the unions and big-business politicians around the world including the US Trump administration. The threat to jobs is not a product of the trade policies of this or that country but the failure of the capitalist system itself, which is hurtling toward another major economic downturn.

This week, a leading industry figure in India warned that the continuing sales slump in India could lead to as many 1 million jobs cuts in the auto components sector out of a total employment of around 5 million in the country.

According to Ram Venkataramani, president of the Automotive Components Manufacturers Association of India, passenger car sales in India fell 18.4 percent in the first quarter of 2019 and sales in June were at the lowest level in 18 years. The auto sector accounts for almost half of all manufacturing in India and the downturn in auto is a major reason for slowing growth in that country. About 35 million jobs are dependent directly or indirectly on auto production.

Read more: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/07/30/auto-j30.html

Disability rights advocate launches campaign to unseat Rep. Sharice Davids in Kansas

WASHINGTON -- A former national disability rights advocate on Monday officially kicked off a campaign to unseat Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids in Kansas.

Sara Hart Weir, 37, stepped down as president and CEO of the National Down Syndrome Society earlier this year to explore a campaign for Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District and on Monday will officially file paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run as a Republican.

Weir’s campaign team includes former Rep. Lynn Jenkins, who represented the adjacent district and was a member of the GOP leadership when Republicans still controlled the U.S. House.

The Johnson County native said women need to play a prominent role if Republicans are to take back the House in 2020.

Read more here: https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/congress/article233252573.html
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