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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: 77,884

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

Beto O'Rourke at Iowa State Fair

Beto O'Rourke
Aug 9, 2019, 11:15 a.m.
Iowa State Fair, 3000 E Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA

Beto O'Rourke will speak at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair. Candidates will receive a microphone and 20 minutes to address Iowans and other passers-by from a stage in front of the Horner Service Center on the Grand Concourse. Sponsored by The Des Moines Register.

Beto O'Rourke at Iowa State Fair

Beto O'Rourke
Aug 9, 2019, 11:15 a.m.
Iowa State Fair, 3000 E Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA

Beto O'Rourke will speak at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair. Candidates will receive a microphone and 20 minutes to address Iowans and other passers-by from a stage in front of the Horner Service Center on the Grand Concourse. Sponsored by The Des Moines Register.

Iowa 1 of 3 states praised for strict 'revolving-door' laws prohibiting lawmakers from lobbying

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska state officials who want to profit off their government experience and connections after leaving office face virtually no obstacles in becoming lobbyists, unlike most other states — including Iowa — that bar their leaders from immediately switching roles, according to a new national report.

Nebraska is among seven states with no restrictions on former lawmakers, governors or other elected officials working to influence their former colleagues, according to the analysis by Public Citizen, a consumer-rights advocacy group.

The result is clear during the legislative session, when on most days, a dozen or so senators-turned-lobbyists gather outside the chamber, ready to talk with lawmakers about bills that could help or hurt their clients. Nebraska also stands in sharp contrast to neighboring Iowa, which Public Citizen praised for having one of the nation's toughest "revolving door" laws.

"These folks were elected to serve the public. They're not elected to serve private interests," said Jack Gould, issues chairman of Common Cause Nebraska, a group that has fought for years to impose so-called revolving door restrictions. "For them to immediately leave office and sell their experience and connections to the highest bidder is not in the public interest."

Read more: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2019/07/28/state-lobbyists-iowa-1-3-states-praised-strict-revolving-door-laws/1852999001/

Warren outshines Biden in race to build Iowa 2020 ground game

Boxes of printers and office supplies lay scattered on the ground. Campaign staff sat on the floor in mostly unfurnished offices as they were just starting to occupy Joe Biden’s Iowa headquarters in Des Moines after weeks of working remotely in coffee shops around the city.

The delayed headquarters opening is just one of the many ways Biden is playing catch-up in the crucial first-in-the-nation caucus state where voters prize retail politics and sustained engagement.

An elected Democratic official in the state, speaking on condition of anonymity, complained that if Biden has a campaign in Iowa, he doesn’t know who’s working on it or how many.

In contrast, Elizabeth Warren, who jumped into the race four months before the former vice president, has built one of the most robust operations in the state, positioning her to capitalize on her surging national poll numbers and her steady rise in Iowa, Democratic operatives say.

Read more: https://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/elizabeth-warren-joe-biden-iowa-democrat-caucus-staff-20190727
(Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Mississippi River city ponders a wall it has long rejected

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — Hundreds of communities line the Mississippi River on its 2,348-mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico, but Davenport, Iowa, stands out for the simple reason that people there can actually dip their toes in the river without scaling a flood wall, levee or other impediment.

It’s a point of pride in Davenport, a city of 100,000 people that calls itself Iowa’s front porch and which has repeatedly tolerated the floods that have long since convinced all other major riverfront cities to build concrete or dirt walls.

“It’s the personality of the community,” said Kelli Grubbs, who runs a business a few blocks from the nearly half-mile-wide river. “There is just a great love of the river.”

That love is being tested this summer after record-setting floods broke through temporary barriers and for weeks inundated some of Davenport’s trendiest restaurants and shops with foul-smelling water. Now that the river has finally seeped back to its banks, business owners and city officials are confronting a painful question: Can they still remain connected with the river without being overwhelmed by it?

Read more: https://www.apnews.com/c074a4e4698a4e62a84d5e720461904d

Repair work to close breached Missouri River levee completed

HAMBURG, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Omaha, Nebraska, says repair work on a levee breach near Hamburg, Iowa, has been completed.

The agency said in a news release Friday that the breach was one of four priority breaches to be closed in the wake of historic flooding along the Missouri River in March. The Corps says the work, which began in early May, was completed Thursday.

Newt Marine Service of Dubuque, Iowa, was awarded the $12 million contract for the repair work.

The Corps says more than 500 miles of levees on the Missouri, Platte and Elkhorn rivers, as well as other tributaries, experienced significant flood damage this year.

(no more at link)

Vulnerable House Democrats amass cash, adding to GOP challenge

WASHINGTON — The Republican pathway for recapturing House control in next year's election charges straight through the districts of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents, especially freshmen. Judging from early but formidable cash advantages those lawmakers have amassed, ousting them won't be easy.

Each of the 62 freshmen House Democrats has raised more money than their top opponent. The same is true for all 31 Democrats from districts President Donald Trump had won in 2016, and all 39 Democrats who snatched Republican-held seats last November.

In nearly all cases it's not even close. While there's overlap among the categories, most of these Democrats' war chests are multiples of what their leading challengers have garnered. That's testament to the historic ability of both parties' incumbents to attract contributions and Democrats' strategy of aggressively collecting money quickly to seize on the anti-Trump enthusiasm that fueled their House takeover last year .

"The more you can raise early on, the more you're going to be able to solidify your seat and show that it's not worth investments on behalf of Republicans" by GOP donors, said freshman Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif.

Read more: http://www.startribune.com/vulnerable-house-dems-amass-cash-adding-to-gop-challenge/513325752/

How Big Pharma and insurers are leaving Minnesotans sick, hospitalized, even dead

Quinn Nystrom’s inbox is a repository of despair for Minnesota’s diabetics.

There’s the dispatch from the bride-to-be wondering if Nystrom has any insulin to spare. The woman can’t afford insurance and wishes not to be sick, if only for her wedding day.

There’s the father of a diabetic 8-year-old. He works multiple jobs, yet is unable to cover his deductible.

Then there’s the pregnant woman who makes $35,000 a year, too little to stay healthy. “She begged me to bring back insulin from Canada,” says Nystrom, where it sells for one-tenth of the U.S. price.

Read more: http://www.citypages.com/news/how-big-pharma-and-insurers-are-leaving-minnesotans-sick-hospitalized-even-dead/513102451

Twin Metals quietly moves its waste storage closer to the Boundary Waters

Twin Metals, a Minnesota company owned by Chilean mining giant Antofagasta Minerals, is closing in on building its new copper mine. The location: Ely, right next to Minnesota’s treasured stretch of silent lakes and untouched wilderness, the Boundary Waters.

Environmental groups are, frankly, upset. This kind of mining produces sulfide-bearing ore. It’s pretty much harmless if it stays in the ground, but once it comes into contact with air, rain, or snow, whatever runs off becomes toxic sulfuric acid.

Opponents fret the mine could end up contaminating the lakes, the groundwater, and the animals, leaving the Boundary Waters irrevocably damaged.

Antofagasta has experienced a few spills while attempting similar mining operations in Chile—including dumping some 130,000 liters of copper concentrate into the Choapa River in 2009.

Read more: http://www.citypages.com/news/twin-metals-quietly-moves-its-waste-storage-closer-to-the-boundary-waters/513149241

'A different type of vibe': What does Tulsi Gabbard's 2020 run say about America?

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, as she often does, suspected foul play. After Google searches for her name spiked following the first Democratic debate in June, her campaign sought to capitalize on the moment by buying ads on the platform - only to find its Google Ads account had somehow been suspended.

So Gabbard, D-Hawaii, on Thursday announced a $50 million lawsuit against Google, alleging the tech giant was discriminating against her campaign. "Google (or someone at Google) didn't want Americans to hear Tulsi Gabbard's speech, so it silenced her," the complaint says.

The lawsuit was one more example of how Gabbard, 38, is not like other Democratic presidential candidates: She's a proud veteran, but one who harshly attacks U.S. military operations. She joined Republicans in criticizing President Barack Obama for not using the term "Islamic" in condemning terrorism. She has downplayed Robert Mueller's special counsel report into Russian interference in the 2016 election and has resisted calls to impeach President Donald Trump.

Yet, the congresswoman has attracted more than 100,000 donors so far in her bid to become the Democratic presidential nominee. If Gabbard's approach doesn't fit into a traditional Democratic worldview, it in many ways matches this political moment: fractured, restless, sometimes untethered to either side of the left-right divide. Although she has struggled in the polls, Gabbard appears to embody a desire by some voters to break out of long-standing categories.

Read more: https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/nation/4042536-A-different-type-of-vibe-What-does-Tulsi-Gabbards-2020-run-say-about-America
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