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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: 85,724

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

Malice factor: Judge denies Huguely habeas petition

Just days before UVA graduation in 2010, Charlottesville—and the Washington, D.C., area—reeled with the news that fourth-year lacrosse player Yeardley Love was found dead in her apartment and her former boyfriend, George Huguely, had been charged with first-degree murder.

After a two-week jury trial in 2012, Huguely was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 23 years in prison. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear his appeal in 2015, and Huguely filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in January 2016. On August 10, Judge Rick Moore denied Huguely’s petition.

“Not a surprise,” says legal expert David Heilberg. “A very small percentage of habeas petitions succeed.”

A writ of habeas corpus is a civil lawsuit that alleges the petitioner is being wrongfully imprisoned. It typically hinges on errors made during the trial and inadequate counsel—in this case by Fran Lawrence and Rhonda Quagliana, arguably two of Charlottesville’s top criminal defense lawyers.

Read more: http://www.c-ville.com/malice-factor-judge-denies-huguely-habeas-petition/#.W4eXyM5KjRY

"I felt like he was trying to intimidate": NEW REPORT reveals Scott Taylor's personal involvement in

“I felt like he was trying to intimidate”: NEW REPORT reveals Scott Taylor’s personal involvement in Forgery Scandal

RICHMOND, VA — Another day, another bombshell in the Scott Taylor Forgery Scandal. This time it involves the Congressman himself.

Talking Points Memo reports that Congressman Taylor personally called one of his constituents and demanded she drop her (correct) claim that one of his staffer’s forged the signature of her former neighbor.

Among other revelations, the report found that…

• During a “frantic” phone call to a VA-02 woman who had tweeted she knew Scott Taylor’s staff forged her neighbor’s signature, Taylor told her he had instructed someone to drive past her house.

• In a botched effort to cover up his staff’s forgeries, Taylor- who days later claimed he knew little about the whole topic – texted the intimidated women a screenshot from the GOP voter file to try to disprove his staff’s forgery.

• In that same “very weird” phone call, Taylor threatened litigation against the constituent for the sake of one of his staffers who is accused of helping collect the forged petition signatures, telling her that the forging staffer should press charges.

• Taylor, in this “unusually personal intervention,” demanded that this constituent recant her statement regarding his staff’s forgery.

• After stating that he would fire anyone who committed wrong doing, it appears that one of the staffers that’s accused of forging the petition signatures is holding a campaign event for the Congressman this evening.

Read more: https://bluevirginia.us/2018/08/i-felt-like-he-was-trying-to-intimidate-new-report-reveals-scott-taylors-personal-involvement-in-forgery-scandal

Long hours, low pay and constant turnover: Social services agencies in Virginia struggle to keep sta

It takes two years to train a social worker at one of Virginia’s local social services departments so they can confidently help families, handle an interview with a recently traumatized child or recognize red flags that could suggest abuse or neglect.

But Virginia’s child welfare workers — those whose duties range from meeting with foster children to investigating claims of child abuse — are leaving after an average of 18 to 24 months on the job, according to Carl Ayers, director of family services with the state Department of Social Services.

The repercussions for children and families can be far-reaching. A child might just begin to develop trust and a rapport with a social worker before he or she leaves. A complicated case might be assigned to someone fresh out of college with no on-the-job experience.

“When you talk to families, you’ll hear: ‘I had three different social workers over the life of the case and the third social worker had no idea about the needs of my child,'” said Valerie L’Herrou, staff attorney with the Center for Family Advocacy, which is part of the Virginia Poverty Law Center. “I think it’s affecting the quality of foster care services and reunification services.”

Read more: https://www.virginiamercury.com/2018/08/27/long-hours-low-pay-and-constant-turnover-social-services-agencies-in-virginia-struggle-to-keep-staff/

During special redistricting session, will Republicans stall, play ball or both?

The General Assembly will reconvene at noon on Thursday, called back to Richmond by Gov. Ralph Northam to address a federal court order requiring lawmakers to redraw 11 House of Delegates districts.

The court ruled in June that the districts were racially gerrymandered to contain a set threshold of black voters, diluting their political influence elsewhere. They gave lawmakers an Oct. 30 deadline to fix them — a process that will almost undoubtedly benefit Democrats at a time when Republicans are hanging onto control of the General Assembly by a razor-thin margin.

But not much is likely to happen, at least this week.

Pretty much everyone agrees at this point that the Thursday session is unlikely to yield any substantial progress.

House Democrats and the governor have drawn up a redistricting plan on their own and will introduce it, but the Republican majority is likely to send it to committee, which is unlikely to act on it anytime soon, said Bob Holsworth, a former VCU political science professor.

Read more: https://www.virginiamercury.com/2018/08/29/during-special-redistricting-session-will-republicans-stall-play-ball-or-both/

FERC allows work to resume on Mountain Valley Pipeline, two commissioners voice concerns about decis

FERC allows work to resume on Mountain Valley Pipeline, two commissioners voice concerns about decision

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has allowed work to resume on nearly the entire length of the 300-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline, a decision that prompted two sitting FERC commissioners to voice “significant concerns” about allowing construction “while required right-of-way and temporary use permits remain outstanding.”

The natural gas pipeline was being built between Wetzel County, W.Va., and Pittsylvania County before a federal court invalidated key approvals for the project and FERC ordered a halt to construction.

The project still does not have those approvals, but FERC has determined that “the protection of the environment along the project’s right-of-way is best served” by allow work to resume. The decision was preceded by an analysis sent last by the Bureau of Land Management to FERC of other pipeline route alternatives “that offer collocation opportunities across federal lands.”

Since the bureau determined “that the route previously approved by all federal agencies provides the greatest level of
collocation for an alternative crossing that is also practical, the specific route of the project no longer seems in question,” FERC wrote.

Read more: https://www.virginiamercury.com/2018/08/29/ferc-allows-work-to-resume-on-mountain-valley-pipeline-two-commissioners-voice-concerns-about-decision/

Immigration raid targeting employer near Paris nets 160 suspected undocumented workers

PARIS — Federal agents raided a northeast Texas manufacturing plant Tuesday and detained about 160 alleged undocumented immigrant workers as part of an ongoing criminal investigation into a company that makes vehicle trailers.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations office in Dallas said the operation was thought to be one of the largest of its kind nationally in a decade.

The raid was part of a criminal investigation into the Sumner-based company Load Trail for illegally employing foreign workers — a rare enforcement move reserved for repeat violators.

Katrina Berger, special agent in charge of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations office in Dallas, said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference that while the primary focus was the criminal investigation, "We can't turn a blind eye to those illegal workers."

Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/2018/08/28/immigration-officials-descend-north-texas-company-allegedly-hired-undocumented-immigrants

Corporations Can't Make Medical Decisions. Doctors Say A St. David's Contractor Is Doing Just That.

A federal lawsuit filed by a group of doctors in Austin is accusing a company hired by St. David’s of violating a state law that prohibits non-physicians from practicing medicine.

Hospital Internists of Texas (HIT), a group of doctors working at St. David’s HealthCare in Austin, filed the federal lawsuit on May 31 against the Tennessee-based hospital-staffing company called TeamHealth.

According to Luke Redman, the CEO for HIT, St. David’s partnered with TeamHealth a couple of years ago to staff St. David’s, because administrators didn't want to "disturb the footprint of doctors within the hospital."

So, TeamHealth became an intermediary for the hospital. For example, when doctors delivered care to patients, they would bill TeamHealth, which would then handle the billing issues with patients.

Read more: http://www.kut.org/post/corporations-cant-make-medical-decisions-doctors-say-st-davids-contractor-doing-just

Texas Nurse Loses Job After Apparently Posting About Patient In Anti-Vaxxer Group

A hospital in Texas has cut ties with a nurse who apparently posted about a young patient with the measles in a Facebook group dedicated to "anti-vaxxers," people who reject the scientific evidence of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.

Screenshots show a self-identified nurse saying the sick child's symptoms helped her understand why people vaccinate their children, but that "I'll continue along my little non-vax journey with no regrets."

Texas Children's Hospital tells NPR via email that a nurse "posted protected health information regarding a patient on social media." The hospital did not name the nurse.

"We take these matters very seriously as the privacy and well-being of our patients is always a top priority," hospital spokeswoman Veronika Javor-Romeis tells NPR. "After an internal investigation, this individual is no longer with the organization."

Read more: http://www.kut.org/post/texas-nurse-loses-job-after-apparently-posting-about-patient-anti-vaxxer-group

Dispute over State Senator Sylvia Garcia's Intent to Resign Continues

The dispute over State Senator Sylvia Garcia’s intent to resign continues.

Weeks ago, Garcia, who is a Democrat, sent a letter to Texas Governor Greg Abbott announcing her intent to resign effective January 2. She wanted Abbott to call a special election to fill her Senate seat and have it coincide with the regular November election.

Abbott’s office said her letter didn’t meet the legal standards of an official resignation. His office asked Garcia to submit a new letter and remove the word “intent.”

However, instead of writing a new letter, Garcia’s camp asked Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart to call the special election, and threatened to sue him if he didn’t do it.

Stanart, who is a Republican, responded Tuesday through a statement. He said that, after consulting with the Texas Secretary of State and Harris County’s legal department, everyone is in agreement that he doesn’t have the authority to call elections.

Read more: https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/2018/08/28/302054/dispute-over-state-senator-sylvia-garcias-intent-to-resign-continues/

Republican Voter Registration Challenge Has Several of Houston's Homeless Shelters On It

A detailed look at the list of challenges to the voter registration rolls filed by Harris County Republican Party Ballot Security Committee Chairman Alan Vera reveals that individuals using facilities dedicated to the homeless as residency addresses were among the 4,000 people targeted.

The challenges were filed by Vera on July 30 with Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector and Voter Registrar Ann Bennett Harris’ office. Texas election laws state that any registered voter may challenge the legitimacy of any other voters he or she may suspect are not using their home address on their official paperwork. Vera’s list included office parks, warehouses and UPS stores.

In addition, the challenge list had a startling number of facilities used by homeless people in the Houston area. The Beacon at 1212 Prairie had 15 such challenges. When contacted, The Beacon said that they partner with COMPASS, a group dedicated to helping the disadvantaged through employment and other means, to allow people staying at the shelter to receive their mail, including government documents such as voter registration paperwork. The Beacon is also where many of the people temporarily staying with the Salvation Army on North Main Street are referred to. The Salvation Army was listed in 23 challenges, despite the fact that the organization does not allow people to use it as a mail service.

Star of Hope Mission, Healthcare for the Homeless and The Hope Center were also among the challenged addresses. Aable Bail Bonds had 18 challenges, likely because they formerly ran a bunkhouse for homeless clients on the second floor.

Read more: https://www.houstonpress.com/news/houston-homeless-have-voting-status-challenged-10798033

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