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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

7th Circuit rules that Fair Housing Act protects against LGBT discrimination

A three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, Aug. 27, ruled that the Glen St. Andrew Living Community in Niles, Ill., can be held accountable for not protecting Marsha Wetzel, a senior lesbian living there, from anti-LGBT harassment, discrimination and violence inflicted by other residents.

The appellate court’s decision overturned a lower court that had dismissed the case.

Karen Loewy, senior counsel and seniors strategist for Lambda Legal who is lead attorney for Marsha Wetzel, called the ruling “a tremendous victory” for Wetzel, adding that “just like all people living in rental housing, whether LGBT or not, should be assured that they will at least be safe from discriminatory harassment in their own homes.”

Wetzel herself said, “The court today struck a blow for me and for all senior citizens — gay or straight — who deserve to feel safe and to be treated with respect. That’s not too much to ask. No one should have to endure what I endured because of who I am.”

Read more: https://www.dallasvoice.com/7th-circuit-rules-that-fair-housing-act-protects-against-lgbt-discrimination-10257128.html

Election Judges With Guns? OK by Ken Paxton.

Ken Paxton's political ambitions, at this point, are probably best served by the attorney general staying out of the spotlight and away from controversy, at least until his November general election contest with Justin Nelson is over. That's reality for a public official with low name ID and a bunch of things voters might not like, if they only found out about them, like three felony indictments for securities violations that should be dealt with after the new year.

Despite having the good political judgment to stay away from a debate with Nelson, Paxton can't seem to stay out of the headlines. Whether he's advocating for unpopular positions like ending Affordable Care Act protections for Texans with pre-existing conditions or getting rid of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which allows young, undocumented people in Texas to work without fear of immediate deportation, Paxton is far from the generic Republican who might hope to slip by voters on Gov. Greg Abbott's coattails in November.

Monday afternoon, Paxton ginned up another bizarre bit of news, declaring that he believes Texas election judges — the people who hand out "I voted" stickers and make sure campaign workers don't get too close to polling stations — should be allowed to arm themselves on the job.

"Section 46.03 of the Penal Code, which creates an offense for carrying firearms at multiple locations including a polling place, does not apply to presiding election judges," Paxton writes, summarizing a lengthy opinion.

Read more: https://www.dallasobserver.com/news/texas-could-have-armed-election-judges-in-november-11078763

Austin's Next Shot at Ending Homelessness

Thanks to an infusion of philanthropic cash, the city and its iTeam embark on a new effort

"It didn't used to be like this," says Judy, who last lived on the street back in the Eighties. "I was having a grand adventure being homeless, and I was having fun and had guys taking care of me. My significant other at the time didn't think rent was an important thing." He was also using heroin, and eventually Judy and her 18-month-old baby left for a year or so in the shelter-and-services system of the early Nineties, and then luckily got into housing via Section 8 that she's been in for 24 years. But now, "new managers have taken over, we're seeing the regentrification again, and I'm not secure at all. Now it's out of my hands, and I'm scared I'll be homeless again."

Judy met her current partner Bill, who has spent the last six years on the streets and in treatment and briefly in supportive housing, at the Homeless Navigation Center at Sunrise Community Church on Man­chaca Road. From Sunrise, the pair recently ventured into nearby encampments with a used suitcase from Goodwill filled with toiletries to distribute to people living there. "They were so excited and told [us] what they really needed – insect repellent, maybe mosquito netting, wipes," said Judy. Sadly, the suitcase was promptly stolen from Sunrise, but Judy is committed to trying again. "If it were just Bill and I, we'd still be just thinking about it. But it was these energetic kids who made it happen."

Those "energetic kids" are members of the iTeam, staffers and fellows in the city's Innovation Office, who since last fall, backed by a $1.25 million grant from Bloom­berg Philanthropies, have in Mayor Steve Adler's words "help[ed] us tackle problems in new ways that reflect who we are in Austin, and ... experiment with new ways to house the homeless." More specifically, in its own words, the iTeam "has worked with individuals and partners across the city of Austin to understand homelessness in Austin from the perspective of people living those experiences."

Defining its purpose as to "solve for homelessness," rooted in design and systems thinking, and taking many of its operational cues from the tech world, the iTeam doesn't shy away from disruption as a goal. Its work is well-timed in an Austin that is increasingly ready and willing to flip the script on homelessness. "In the short term, no one thing that any of us has done has solved the problem," says Ann Howard, executive director of the Ending Com­mun­i­ty Homelessness Coalition (ECHO). "But this is a moment in time where we're bringing together different technologies and sectors and systems, and I can say that nobody's working harder than Austin on this."

Read more: https://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2018-08-24/austins-next-shot-at-ending-homelessness/

Beto O'Rourke calls on Texas to decriminalize pot, stop arresting so many students

AUSTIN — While U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has aired ads questioning his Democratic opponent’s support for less punitive drug laws, Congressman Beto O’Rourke isn’t backing down.

On Tuesday, O’Rourke repeated his call for decriminalizing the possession and sale of small amounts of marijuana.

And the three-term U.S. House member linked current pot laws to what he described as too many arrests of students, a trend he said foolishly stunts young lives at a stiff cost to taxpayers.

“A school-to-prison pipeline has produced the largest prison population on the face of the planet,” O’Rourke said at a rally at the Texas Capitol.

Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2018/08/28/beto-orourke-calls-texas-decriminalize-pot-stop-arresting-many-students

More woes hit Lewistown mental health center

Officials at a state-run mental health and nursing care facility in Lewistown submitted a plan to the federal government on how to correct some issues after workers failed to properly notify a resident’s guardian, the facility administrator and certification bureau of an over-the-counter pregnancy test after the woman claimed she was impregnated by a staff member.

The resident was tested and determined not to be pregnant, officials said in a plan of correction. Also, the woman, who is described as being menopausal, having schizoaffective disorder, bipolar and epilepsy, has a pituitary tumor which can cause abdominal growth, according to the complaint.

In another incident staff failed to investigate a fracture and an allegation of sexual abuse, the survey found.

The 25-page complaint survey regarding the Montana Mental Health Nursing Care Center brought no fines, said a spokesman with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Read more: https://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/2018/08/27/more-woes-hit-montana-mental-health-facility/1087765002/

Montana lawmakers approve new sexual harassment policy

HELENA — A panel of Montana lawmakers approved a revamped harassment and discrimination policy Thursday, moving the state closer to joining others that have changed their rules in response to the #MeToo movement and the growing number of sexual harassment claims against lawmakers across the nation.

The policy unanimously approved by the Legislative Council during its meeting in Lewistown lays out a detailed process on how to report, investigate and discipline legislators and staff accused of all forms of harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

It expands the current policy to include definitions and examples of sexual harassment, includes confidentiality and reporting provisions and triples the categories under which a person can make a harassment and discrimination claim, including gender identity, disabilities and others.

The Legislative Council made one important change before voting for the policy: It dropped a requirement that would have made harassment and discrimination prevention training mandatory for legislators. The new version makes training optional for lawmakers and mandatory for legislative staff.

Read more: https://billingsgazette.com/news/government-and-politics/montana-lawmakers-approve-new-sexual-harassment-policy/article_78ef5ae3-184b-5a6f-b968-eb0fcc0353f6.html

Tester, a Montana farmer, says D.C. hasn't changed his values in third bid for Senate

BIG SANDY — There was a rock stuck in the blade of the tandem disc and Jon Tester had a sledgehammer.

“Son of a bitch, there’s the problem,” Tester said before climbing out of his tractor.

This was an easy fix. With a single swing, the rock fell out. Tester climbed back in the tractor, blades rotating freely again.

After the kind of morning Tester had, it probably felt good to knock the hell out of a problem.

Read more: https://billingsgazette.com/news/government-and-politics/tester-a-montana-farmer-says-d-c-hasn-t-changed/article_28a3a5a2-eadb-55c5-ab07-38f7064c01f5.html

Tribe, sheriff's office investigating 15 horses found dead on Ft. Peck Reservation

Officials with the Fort Peck Tribe are investigating the deaths of 15 horses that were found north of Wolf Point in a pasture on the reservation.

The horses appeared to have been dead about five days when a local resident reported the incident to tribal wildlife officials Friday afternoon, Fort Peck Department of Fish and Game Director Robert Magnan said Tuesday.

"It looks like they died of dehydration," Magnan said. "There were five colts and five mares right where the dam is, where they can get water, but it's all dried up."

Five more animals were later located "scattered around the pasture," he said.

Read more: https://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/tribe-sheriff-s-office-investigating-horses-found-dead-on-ft/article_39aa2931-ecfe-581a-87e3-46d35680863f.html

Bullock Trip to New Hampshire Sparks More 2020 Speculation

CONCORD, N.H. – Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s jam-packed two-day trip to the Granite State was officially about helping Democrats win in November’s midterm elections. But the two-term Democratic governor’s visit appeared to be as much about 2020 as it was about 2018.

Bullock’s appearance in New Hampshire, which holds the first primary in the race for the White House, came just one week after he made his third stop this year in Iowa, which kicks off the presidential caucus and primary calendar.

Bullock told The Associated Press that regarding a potential White House bid, he’s merely “listening quite a bit, trying to learn where things are not just here but around the country. And that, for now, is as far as it goes.”

He added that he hasn’t “set any timetables to do anything else.”

Read more: https://flatheadbeacon.com/2018/08/26/bullock-trip-new-hampshire-sparks-2020-speculation/

Nurses at Kalispell Regional Healthcare Launch Unionization Effort

Nurses at Kalispell Regional Healthcare are organizing an effort to unionize, citing an array of grievances related to unfair wages, loss of benefits, unsafe work conditions, low morale and suboptimal patient environments.

While some grievances have been simmering for years, the movement to unionize was spurred by news earlier this year of a lawsuit filed by the hospital’s physician network’s chief financial officer and a federal investigation into KRH for an allegedly illegal scheme of improper payments to certain physicians, and the hospital’s efforts to trim costs as it faces a pending $21.5 million settlement, according to interviews with nurses.

Nurses say they and other non-physician employees at the hospital have unfairly felt the brunt of cost-cutting efforts stemming from a settlement and allegations that have nothing to do with them. A half-dozen nurses spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.

As one example, they said their pay-raise ceiling was recently lowered, at a time when KRH nurses’ wages were already among the lowest in the state, according to their research. They add that raises are infrequently given, and that wages don’t adhere to a consistent or transparent scale, nor are they adequately increased when nurses secure certifications, as is expected.

Read more: https://flatheadbeacon.com/2018/08/28/nurses-kalispell-regional-healthcare-launch-unionization-effort/
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