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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: 77,784

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

Enbridge's Line 3 project is becoming an issue in the 2020 presidential race

Democratic presidential candidate Jay Inslee has come out against construction of an oil pipeline proposed in northern Minnesota, elevating the project from a statewide issue to a national one in the race for the White House.

The Washington governor is the second candidate to take a stance on Enbridge’s Line 3, a $2.6 billion project that would cross the Mississippi Headwaters and tribal land over its 337-mile path in Minnesota. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders announced his opposition to the pipeline in January, a month before his presidential campaign began.

So far, the Line 3 project hasn’t drawn attention on the scale of the Keystone XL pipeline or the Dakota Access Pipeline, which sparked months of protests. But it has been a thorny political issue for DFLers in Minnesota, who are split over supporting the project. With Inslee’s announcement and Sanders’ opposition, Line 3 could become a litmus test of climate change policy and tribal solidarity in the Democratic primary. Several tribal governments have regularly challenged the project during the regulatory process.

On Line 3, Inslee and Sanders contrast with Minnesota’s own presidential hopeful, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who has not taken a clear position for or against the project. When asked what Klobuchar’s stance is on the pipeline and about dissent from tribal governments, her state director, Ben Hill, said only that the DFLer supports environmental review of the project to determine if Line 3 should be built. (State regulators have so far approved the pipeline, although a court recently ordered more environmental study.)

Read more: https://www.minnpost.com/environment/2019/07/enbridges-line-3-project-is-becoming-an-issue-in-the-2020-presidential-race/

Two tornadoes touch down in Twin Cities metro area

At least two tornadoes touched down in the Twin Cities metro area Sunday, July 28.

According to the National Weather Service, preliminary information indicated that a tornado touched down in Silver Lake in McLeod County about 3:40 p.m. and another west of Scandia about 4:30 p.m.

Damage reports were filing in Sunday night. In Scandia, a garage wall was taken off, and at another residence the roof of a pole barn was ripped off.

Posts on social media Sunday night showed pictures in Scandia of pontoons overturned in lakes, grills on their sides on decks and trees ripped out at their roots.

Read more: https://www.postbulletin.com/news/state/two-tornadoes-touch-down-in-twin-cities-metro-area/article_95ed5adc-b1a3-11e9-a8b0-1f41c7c179ef.html
(Rochester Post Bulletin)

Two hospitalized, 15 displaced by fire in Rochester on Sunday

A Rochester house fire displaced 15 people and sent two to the hospital for smoke inhalation Sunday.

Firefighters were dispatched to 3116 Oxford Lane shortly before 12:30 p.m.

Crews found flames and smoke coming from the home. Everyone who was in the home when the fire was noticed had gotten out, however four people were treated on the scene for smoke inhalation. Two were taken from the scene by ambulance for evaluation and treatment.

Fire crews applied water to the home from the outside until it was safe to enter. They then removed wall and ceiling coverings to extinguish the fire.

Read more: https://www.postbulletin.com/news/public_safety/two-hospitalized-displaced-by-fire-sunday/article_63e0a8b2-b178-11e9-8954-6b20aa9641a0.html
(Rochester Post Bulletin)

St. Paul district on hook for $4M after teacher union votes to leave health plan

St. Paul Public Schools is bracing for a $4 million bill from its health insurer because the teachers union voted to leave for a different health plan before the contract was up.

The decision by the St. Paul Federation of Educators and Teamsters Local 320 to leave HealthPartners for the state-run Public Employees Insurance Program (PEIP) has pit their 4,500 members against school district leaders and the other 1,500 full-time workers, who will see their insurance costs soar.

Superintendent Joe Gothard and school board chairwoman Zuki Ellis wrote a letter to teachers union leaders Thursday, asking them to stay with HealthPartners for one more year.

The letter noted the $4 million early termination fee will eat up about one-quarter of the additional money the district will receive in 2020 thanks to the voter-approved tax increase that teachers pressed for last year.

Read more: https://www.twincities.com/2019/07/23/st-paul-district-on-hook-for-4m-after-teacher-union-votes-to-leave-health-plan/

Carleton College football player expelled for sexual assault after secret society initiation sues

Carleton College football player expelled for sexual assault after secret society initiation sues college

A former Carleton College football player who was accused of sexually assaulting a fellow student after their initiation into a secret society is suing the college for expelling him.

Taariq Vanegas, 21, claims his accuser was the aggressor and that the college in Northfield, Minn., failed to give him a fair disciplinary hearing.

The Seattle resident alleges Carleton violated the federal Title IX law, which prohibits sex discrimination at schools and colleges.

“The erroneous outcome of the hearing and purported appeal can only be explained by gender bias against males in cases involving allegations of sexual assault,” according to the complaint filed last week in U.S. District Court.

Read more: https://www.twincities.com/2019/07/26/carleton-college-football-player-expelled-for-sexual-assault-after-secret-society-initiation-sues-college/

Associated Banc-Corp is acquiring an Illinois bank for $76.3 million

Associated said the purchase of The First National Bank of Staunton and its parent company, First Staunton Bancshares Inc., will increase Associated's presence in Illinois and position the Green Bay-based bank to make further investments in the St. Louis metro market. Staunton is located between St. Louis and Springfield, Illinois.

The First National Bank in Staunton, with assets of about $543 million and almost 130 employees, posted net income in 2018 of $6.7 million, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. records.

Associated Banc-Corp is the parent company of Associated Bank. With assets of $33.3 billion, it is the largest bank headquartered in Wisconsin.

Also on Thursday, Associated reported second-quarter earnings of $80.9 million, or 49 cents per share. That compared with $86.9 million, or 50 cents, in the second quarter of 2018.


Democrats push bills to fund UW tuition freeze, direct more money to tech colleges

Democratic lawmakers are championing legislation to allocate more money to University of Wisconsin System campuses and ensure any ongoing tuition freeze is funded with state dollars.

The effort, one of the bills' co-authors said Friday, presents a "positive alternative" to legislation pushed by a key Assembly Republican that would set up a contingency plan if Wisconsin’s freeze on in-state undergraduate tuition goes away, among other things.

The package of six Democratic-backed bills, from Rep. Katrina Shankland and Sen. Dave Hansen, began circulating for co-sponsors Thursday. They include measures to direct more than $60 million to the Wisconsin Technical College System, as well as the UW System to compensate campuses for lost revenue under the freeze and allocating $90 million more for student financial aid.

The legislation comes after Rep. Dave Murphy received media attention this week for his planned bills to tie UW in-state tuition to the consumer price index if the freeze ends and implement cohort pricing and put limits on what student segregated fees can be used for, among other things.

Read more: https://madison.com/ct/news/local/govt-and-politics/democrats-push-bills-to-fund-uw-tuition-freeze-direct-more/article_d1399388-87e2-5379-b335-0b974f982ade.html

GOP Targets Governor's Veto Power Because Evers Dared To Use It!

As part of passage of the Wisconsin State Biennial Budget, Governor Tony Evers (Democrat) used his veto pen a number of times to change items in the Republican drafted budget to better fit his vision for the state.

Wisconsin’s governors have the most powerful budget veto pens of any of the governor in the US. Using the veto, a governor can cross out words or sentences to change the meaning of budget items.

In this case Governor Evers crossed out a few things that actually allowed for an increase in spending in some areas. And the whole GOP leadership in the state legislature came unglued…despite the fact that governors of both parties have been doing the same thing for decades.

Republican lawmakers want a longtime — if controversial — power of Wisconsin governors to be taken away from Tony Evers, whose predecessors in both parties for decades have used their veto pen to increase spending in state budgets over what lawmakers approved.

Governors used vetoes to increase state spending above levels set by lawmakers 31 times since 1991 and increased bonding levels seven times during that time, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau.

Republicans are proposing to amend the Wisconsin Constitution to bar Evers and future governors from issuing such vetoes after Evers steered $65 million more in funding to schools in the state budget than what lawmakers approved.

Read more: http://bloggingblue.com/2019/07/gop-targets-governors-veto-power-because-evers-dared-to-use-it/

Illinois eliminates statute of limitations on major sex crimes

Prosecutors in Illinois will no longer face a time limit on bringing charges for major sex offenses, regardless of the alleged victim’s age, under a measure Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law Friday.

The new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, removes the statute of limitations on criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Previously, prosecutors had 10 years to bring charges if an offense was reported to law enforcement within three years after it occurred.

The change comes as victims are coming forward with allegations of sexual assault and abuse dating back years or even decades, prompted in many cases by the #MeToo movement. The measure was sponsored by Republican state Rep. Keith Wheeler of Oswego and Democratic Sen. Linda Holmes of Aurora and passed unanimously in both chambers of the General Assembly this spring.

Illinois eliminated the statute of limitations on major sex offenses against anyone under 18 in 2017 after it came to light that former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert had abused several boys while working as a wrestling coach at Yorkville High School in the 1960s and ’70s.

Read more: https://www.chicagotribune.com/politics/ct-sexual-assault-statute-of-limitations-20190726-pe7hwzphovf2vnvtfoddhmhlby-story.html

Chicago is counting on a casino windfall, but Indiana gambling rivals are renovating, expanding

As Chicago considers five possible locations for a casino, an Indiana gambling facility just across the state line is making expansion plans of its own.

Spectacle Entertainment, which owns two Lake Michigan riverboat casinos in Gary, announced plans earlier this month to move those gambling operations to a 40-acre site adjacent to Interstate 80/94.

It will partner with Hard Rock to manage the new $400 million casino property, which will be just 18 miles from the “Harborside” location at 111th Street and the Bishop Ford Freeway, one of the five possible casino sites Chicago has selected for consultants to study.

The timing of Spectacle’s announcement, just a month after Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill that expands gambling in Illinois and allows for the construction of a large Chicago casino, is no coincidence.

Read more: https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-chicago-casino-faces-competition-with-indiana-20190725-6ok4wnepg5dgfdfw23xti6gb5y-story.html
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