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Profile Information

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: 84,480

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

Hurricane Hanna likely did not knock down Trump border wall, feds say. Here's what we know

AUSTIN — A video gone viral Sunday said to show a section of the border fence being blown down by Hurricane Hanna was likely taken a month before the storm slammed the South Texas Coast, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Monday.

"The video circulating on social media appears to be from June 2020 when high winds caused several border wall panels that were pending additional anchoring to fall over at a construction site near Deming, New Mexico," the federal agency said in a statement. "That project is funded by the Department of Defense using 2808 Military Construction Funds, so any questions regarding the incident should be directed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The video, posted Sunday and now deleted, quickly caught the attention of CBP officials.

Roderick Kise, a spokesman for the agency in the Rio Grande Valley, said he had received "seven or eight" media inquiries about the tweet from a journalist in Mexico showing a 39-second clip of workers in vests and hard hats watching a section of the fence being knocked over by high winds.

But it did not ring true, he said.

"The hurricane hit us at nighttime, but looks like it was shot during the day," Kise said in an interview.

Read more: https://www.caller.com/story/news/local/texas/state-bureau/2020/07/26/hurricane-hanna-trump-border-wall-damage-rio-grande-valley-texas/5516199002/

COVID-19 outbreak reported in Beeville nursing facility

More than 20 residents of a nursing home in Beeville have tested positive for COVID-19.

An automated message to Hacienda Oaks Nursing & Rehabilitation alerts callers of 21 residents who have tested positive for the virus. None of the residents have recovered. Three additional COVID-19 tests for residents are pending, the message says.

There are also 23 nursing home employees who have tested positive for the virus, two of which have recovered. There are six employee COVID-19 tests pending, according to the message.

No COVID-19 related deaths have been reported at the facility.

"We have isolated all of those residents who have tested positive from the remaining residents in a separate wing of the building and removed the positive employees from the facility," the message says. "Those unaffected residents are being attended to in their rooms to avoid infection."

Read more: https://www.caller.com/story/news/local/2020/07/29/covid-19-outbreak-reported-beeville-nursing-facility/5534876002/
(Corpus Christi Caller-Times)

Texas Renaissance Festival adjusts ticket sales, other policies for COVID-19 safety

TODD MISSION -- Organizers of the 2020 Texas Renaissance Festival are making some changes for this year’s event as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

According to festival marketing manager Marlena Solomon, tickets must be pre-purchased for a specific date to keep numbers manageable for social distancing. While the festival normally attracts as many as 450,000 visitors each fall, this year a maximum of 225,000 tickets will be made available. Tickets go on sale online Saturday and can be purchased in-person at H-E-B stores starting Sept. 1. The festival opens Oct. 3.

Solomon added that if the fair is canceled during its nine-week run, ticket holders can retain their tickets for redemption at the 2021 festival or receive a refund.

“We’re two months away from opening day, and so many things could change, because things are changing daily with mandates and things like that,” Solomon said. “We will have a more definitive answer a month from now on whether we’re opening.”

The festival hosted a flash sale for early ticket purchases two weeks ago. The event usually sells out at 75,000 tickets in a matter of hours, Solomon said, but only 25,000 tickets were purchased this year. She said a portion of the festival’s 400 regular vendors have opted not to return this year.

Read more: https://theeagle.com/news/local/texas-renaissance-festival-adjusts-ticket-sales-other-policies-for-covid-19-safety/article_2ab03d2a-d218-11ea-8571-cb298c28ba5d.html
(Bryan-College Station Eagle)

Trump downplays West Texas energy worries, attacks Democrats

MIDLAND, Texas (AP) — President Donald Trump took sweeping digs at “crazy left radical Democrats” on a trip Wednesday to the fracking fields of West Texas, launching unsubstantiated claims that a Democratic administration would destroy everything from the country's suburbs to the U.S. energy industry.

Trump, speaking in front of stacked oil barrels, also played down the difficulties of the U.S. oil and gas industry, which is still struggling with the pandemic economic downturn and global oversupply that briefly drove oil prices into negative territory this spring. Prices have rebounded to around $40 a barrel, still below what some producers here need to break even.

“We’re OK now. We’re back, we’re back,” Trump said to a crowd scattered with people wearing cowboy hats and face masks. He sought to contrast his support for oil and gas with Democratic rival Joe Biden's more climate-friendly energy plan, though Biden himself has stopped short of calling for a ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the production method that spurred U.S. oil and gas to a yearslong boom that started under President Barack Obama.

"If they got in, you would have no more energy coming out of the great state of Texas,'' warned Trump, whose poll numbers for the 2020 election are lagging. He claimed the same, without evidence, for Ohio and Pennsylvania, two fracking states that also are battlegrounds in the presidential race.

Read more: https://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/article/Trump-seeks-out-loyal-donors-in-West-Texas-15441570.php

Orangevale man named as alleged white power leader called a 'danger to community'

The shadowy online white supremacist leader who is alleged to be a 27-year-old Orangevale man is one of the most violent extremists in the movement today, but his unmasking may result in his followers fleeing his influence, a researcher into American hate movements says.

Andrew Richard Casarez, who allegedly posted online for years as the “Vic Mackey,” the leader of a Dylann Roof-worshipping group known as the “Bowl Patrol,” is under investigation by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office for alleged hate crimes and earlier this month had a 9 mm firearm seized by detectives who obtained an emergency restraining order.

But public reports of his identity — first by the website Anonymous Comrades Collective on July 7 and then by the Huffington Post a week ago — may scare off followers of the Bowl Patrol, said Cassie Miller, a senior research analyst with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Bowl Patrol is a group that posted podcasts advocating violence with about 1,000 online followers that is named for the distinctive haircut Roof sported when he killed nine Black people at a Charleston, South Carolina, prayer meeting in 2015, Miller said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

Read more: https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article244572717.html

California's backlog of unemployment claims will take 2 months to clear, Gov. Newsom says

Gov. Gavin Newsom doesn’t expect California to get through a backlog of unemployment insurance claims for two more months despite a push to hire thousands of temporary workers and improve state technology.

Newsom announced new efforts Wednesday aimed at short- and long-term improvements at the Employment Development Department, which has struggled to keep up with a surge of unemployment insurance claims since the coronavirus outbreak arrived in March.

The department has processed 8 million unemployment insurance claims since then and distributed about $49 billion in benefits, according to the release.

Yet nearly 1 million claims that might be eligible for payment are sitting in a backlog. The state’s efforts will focus on eliminating the backlog of those “actionable” claims by the end of September, according to the release.

Read more: https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/the-state-worker/article244587787.html

Guilty plea in Northern California Ponzi scheme that fooled Warren Buffett, NASCAR drivers

DC Solar, a Benicia company that made solar-powered mobile generators, ran one of the largest and most audacious Ponzi schemes in Northern California history — a $1 billion ripoff that took in the likes of paint manufacturer Sherwin-Williams, two NASCAR drivers and a coast-to-coast collection of banks.

This week a seventh defendant pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme, admitting he signed fraudulent documents to get a telecommunications company to invest in DC Solar.

Alan Hansen, 49, of Vacaville, a onetime employee of DC Solar, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and aiding-and-abetting charges Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Sacramento. He faces up to 15 years in prison at sentencing Nov. 3 before Judge John A. Mendez.

DC Solar was the brainchild of Jeff and Paulette Carpoff, a Martinez couple that pleaded guilty in January and awaits sentencing. Starting in 2009, they began making mobile generators and reaching out to investors. DC Solar was pitched to investors mainly as a tax shelter: By investing in solar-powered products, they could reap major benefits through a provision in the federal tax code designed to spur green energy.

Read more: https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article244573037.html

South Dakota's GOP Gov: Students 'Will Definitely Be In The Classroom" This Fall

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) said students “definitely” will be returning in the fall for live classes, according to the Hill.

• This comes as the nation debates sending students back to school amid the pandemic. “Well, for us, our kids are going back to school on time,” she said on Fox & Friends. “They will definitely be in the classroom.”
• She reiterated that the risk of transmitting coronavirus among students is very low and said “that accommodations will be made for teachers who are older or have preexisting medical conditions.”

“We have proven that distance learning is not as effective as being in the classroom. We think that kids have only achieved about 70 percent of the learning that they could have, had they been in school,” she said.

“And then also, we have a lot of kids that don’t have a stable home environment. They don’t have parents that are really being responsible to make sure that they're learning. Those are the kids that are getting hurt the most. And in South Dakota, in some districts, it's up to 30 percent of the children.

Read more: https://mavenroundtable.io/theintellectualist/news/south-dakota-s-gop-gov-students-will-definitely-be-in-the-classroom-this-fall-ZAO-Lo0nhUapH7dUBOIP-Q

Help. I'm having difficulty coming up with a name for this band.

The big risks and potential rewards in CalPERS' new investment strategy

The California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) recently announced that the pension fund will take a new investment approach to increase the odds that it will hit its assumed investment return target and help ensure it has adequate dollars available to pay for retiree benefits.

CalPERS’ new approach—dubbed “More and Better Assets”—is the latest decision by the CalPERS board over the past few years intended to strengthen the resiliency of the pension plan, which is currently just 71 percent funded. The strategy involves a new two-pronged investment approach that combines a push towards higher earnings and riskier assets, with the ability to leverage the fund when there are market opportunities and borrowing costs are low.

“Better assets” refers to CalPERS’ intention to increase the share of its portfolio allocated to private equity and debt assets that the plan hopes will generate higher long-term returns. Given the current low growth environment, CalPERS is betting that private equity is among the few asset classes with a long-term expected return above their currently assumed 7 percent.

“More assets” refers to the CalPERS governing board authorizing administrators to pursue leverage—essentially borrowing money from private banks at preferred rates—of up to 20 percent of their portfolio value (or $80 billion dollars). There appear to be no immediate plans to use this expanded borrowing capacity, nor any guarantee that the system would actually borrow at such levels.

Read more: https://www.ocregister.com/2020/07/28/the-big-risks-and-potential-rewards-in-calpers-new-investment-strategy/
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