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TexasTowelie

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: 77,549

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

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer: Leaders should 'stop playing games' on roads funding

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called upon Republican leaders in the legislature to “stop playing games” and offer a road-funding solution that will fund necessary infrastructure repairs Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, Republican leaders said they plan to move forward with finalizing the state budget without funding for long-term road and bridge fixes after the governor rejected four plans they presented.

“I’m willing to continue to talk, but we have to pivot and also progress on a budget because the citizens of Michigan deserve the certainty of a budget being done,” Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said Wednesday. “I can assure you there is no reason other than a desire to create a crisis for even the contemplation of a government shutdown.”

If Whitmer, Shirkey and Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield don’t come to an agreement on how the state should spend its nearly $60 billion budget before Oct. 1, the government will shut down and any “non-essential” employees will face layoffs. Whitmer has said she’d agree to a temporary continuation budget if negotiations with the GOP leaders are ongoing in good faith.

Read more: https://www.bridgemi.com/michigan-government/michigan-gov-gretchen-whitmer-leaders-should-stop-playing-games-roads-funding
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Sep 3, 2019, 06:48 AM (0 replies)

Michigan House Democratic leader says Whitmer's 45-cent gas tax is probably dead

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposal to raise Michigan gas taxes by 45 cents per gallon is likely dead, said House Democratic Leader Christine Greig Thursday.

Republicans have said the proposal is a non-starter, so “I think we have to have these other options,” the Farmington Hills representative said.

Among them: taxing heavy trucks so they pay an extra cent per mile driven, which she estimated would raise an additional $400 million for roads or closing “corporate tax loopholes” to raise up to $500 million. Those proposals, plus a smaller gas tax increase, could close the gap for necessary road repair funding, she said.

“We have a pathway to lower the 45 cents,” Greig said. “But the important thing is we have to raise $2.5 billion in new revenue to fix the roads.”

Read more: https://www.bridgemi.com/michigan-government/michigan-house-dem-leader-says-whitmers-45-cent-gas-tax-probably-dead
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Sep 3, 2019, 06:40 AM (1 replies)

'Disgrace': Michigan House urges indicted lawmaker to resign

LANSING — The Michigan House approved a resolution Thursday urging the resignation of a lawmaker who is facing federal charges over an alleged scheme to trade votes for campaign money.

In the measure, which passed 98-8, the House reserved the right to take further disciplinary action if state Rep. Larry Inman does not immediately step down. House leaders who had previously called for his resignation declined to say if they will move to expel the Traverse City-area Republican, who was indicted in May.

“I’m still hopeful that he does the right thing,” said GOP House Speaker Lee Chatfield, who previously stripped Inman of his committee assignments. Inman also was kicked out of the Republican caucus following the announcement of charges.

The resolution was introduced in June, but the House waited months to vote to let Inman focus on getting treatment for an addiction to painkillers. A spokesman for Chatfield said Inman has completed his treatment.

Read more: https://www.cheboygannews.com/news/20190829/disgrace-michigan-house-urges-indicted-lawmaker-to-resign

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Michigan House urges resignation of Inman, who told donors ‘I need money’


The Michigan State House passed a resolution with a 98-8 vote Thursday urging indicted Rep. Larry Inman to resign from his post representing Grand Traverse County.

Lawmakers passed the measure without debate, and the Republican Inman wasn’t there. He hasn’t attended a single session since May, when he was indicted on federal charges of bribery, extortion and lying to the FBI. Inman has pleaded not guilty and has requested a federal judge dismiss all the charges. Earlier this month, the judge denied the motion to dismiss the charge of lying and said he would rule later on the charges of bribery and extortion.

Inman has repeatedly said he won’t resign. Expelling Inman from the chamber — which would require a two-thirds supermajority vote — is not yet on the table for Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield and Minority Leader Rep. Christine Greig, who have said they are hoping Inman chooses to resign on his own. Meanwhile, Inman continues to receive his $71,685 salary.

"We think he should do the right thing, we believe he should step down," Chatfield told reporters Thursday. However, he implied they do have the numbers for expulsion: "The right step to take today was asking him to resign and that's what we did. We had a supermajority in our request to ask him to resign."

Read more: https://www.bridgemi.com/michigan-government/michigan-house-urges-resignation-inman-who-told-donors-i-need-money

Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Sep 3, 2019, 06:30 AM (0 replies)

Audit: Michigan Office of the Great Lakes didn't keep track of money

LANSING — Michigan’s Office of the Great Lakes broke federal grant-writing rules, failed to keep track of money and hasn’t updated some plans to clean polluted sites in years, according to an audit published Friday.

Michigan’s auditor general, Doug Ringler, examined how the office charged with protecting and restoring Michigan’s Great Lakes works with universities, nonprofits and others to remove contaminants and restore wildlife habitats in 14 “areas of concern” — lakes and rivers facing heavy pollution from industry and other development.



Ringler found the program, which doled out $10.4 million in grants from 2016 to 2017, “moderately effective.” He flagged a litany of deficiencies but did not list some specifics about grants, including parties involved. The audit found:

• The Office of Great Lakes awarded one unnamed university a $328,000 grant through an informal, poorly documented process that lacked a work plan. The office “could not assess whether a grant agreement met its needs.” The grantee created two classes to teach graduate students about the pollution program and its public outreach.
• The office failed to comply with federal and state grant requirements, prompting the state to issue $13,667 in unallowable or unsupported costs — such sponsorship of a watershed festival, including advertising and charter boat trips. The office accepted financial and program reports from six grantees weeks and even months past deadlines.
• The office seldom updated “remedial action plans” for the polluted sites despite vowing to do so in agreements with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
• The office hadn’t updated its plan for remediating Houghton County’s Torch Lake since 2007, and it hadn’t updated plans for the Detroit River, St. Clair River and Rouge River since 2008. The lack of updates limits the public’s involvement in efforts to clean up those sites and delist them from the program, the audit found.
• The office did not consistently notify the public about its removal of certain restrictions on waters in the program as conditions improved — including those related to dredging or eating fish and wildlife, for example.

Read more: https://www.bridgemi.com/michigan-environment-watch/audit-michigan-office-great-lakes-didnt-keep-track-money
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Sep 3, 2019, 06:19 AM (0 replies)

Why We Need Molly Ivins's Wisdom Now More Than Ever

Perhaps better than anyone, political commentator and journalist Molly Ivins could describe the absurdity of Texas and its politics with unabashed candor.

“There are two kinds of humor,” she said in a 1991 People magazine story. “One kind that makes us chuckle about our foibles and our shared humanity…the other kind holds people up to public contempt and ridicule—that’s what I do.”

Ivins, who grew up in a conservative household in Houston, is best known for her work in the Texas Observer and as a columnist at the Dallas Times Herald and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The response to her column, which was eventually syndicated in hundreds of newspapers nationwide, prompted a billboard ad that read, ”Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She?”

Ivins died in 2007 after a battle with breast cancer. Now a new documentary is introducing Ivins to a whole new generation. Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, which premiered at January’s Sundance Film Festival and played South by Southwest in March, is getting a theatrical release beginning August 30. We spoke to the film’s director, Janice Engel, about Ivins’s fierce spirit and the lessons today’s young people can take from her legacy about taking political action.

Read more: https://www.texasmonthly.com/the-culture/molly-ivins-raise-hell-film-janice-engel-politics/

Beto's Last Chance at a 2020 Revival

After five months mired in the day-to-day grind of a struggling presidential campaign, the El Paso massacre shook something loose in Beto O’Rourke.

Two days after the shooting, which was carried out by a white supremacist who was motivated by what he called an Hispanic invasion, O’Rourke was in his hometown surrounded by a sea of reporters. Someone asked him how President Donald Trump should respond; O’Rourke was having none of it.

“He’s been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. Members of the press, what the fuck?” O’Rourke implored. “It’s these questions that you know the answers to. I mean, connect the dots about what [Trump’s] been doing in this country. He’s not tolerating racism; he’s promoting racism. He’s not tolerating violence; he’s inciting racism and violence in this country.”

It was these sorts of unfiltered, from-the-gut responses that animated his 2018 Senate campaign and made him a political folk hero in Texas and across the country. It was also the sort of thing that seemed to be far less common as O’Rourke tried to figure out how to be a top-tier presidential contender.

Read more: https://www.texasobserver.org/betos-last-chance-at-a-2020-revival/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Sep 3, 2019, 05:19 AM (0 replies)

Beto's Last Chance at a 2020 Revival

After five months mired in the day-to-day grind of a struggling presidential campaign, the El Paso massacre shook something loose in Beto O’Rourke.

Two days after the shooting, which was carried out by a white supremacist who was motivated by what he called an Hispanic invasion, O’Rourke was in his hometown surrounded by a sea of reporters. Someone asked him how President Donald Trump should respond; O’Rourke was having none of it.

“He’s been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. Members of the press, what the fuck?” O’Rourke implored. “It’s these questions that you know the answers to. I mean, connect the dots about what [Trump’s] been doing in this country. He’s not tolerating racism; he’s promoting racism. He’s not tolerating violence; he’s inciting racism and violence in this country.”

It was these sorts of unfiltered, from-the-gut responses that animated his 2018 Senate campaign and made him a political folk hero in Texas and across the country. It was also the sort of thing that seemed to be far less common as O’Rourke tried to figure out how to be a top-tier presidential contender.

Read more: https://www.texasobserver.org/betos-last-chance-at-a-2020-revival/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Sep 3, 2019, 05:19 AM (8 replies)

Dallas ATM Remains Open, Pays Out for Kroger This Time

Dallas is taking its next best shot at solving the food desert crisis that has plagued southern Dallas for years. Wednesday, the City Council unanimously signed off on handing $5.7 million in tax incentives and city bond funds to Kroger and grocery-delivery company Ocado Solutions if the grocery giant builds a 350,000-square-foot delivery warehouse at the intersection of Telephone and Bonnie View roads in southern Dallas.

“This deal represents a big step forward for southern Dallas, and I’m hopeful it can be a transformative partnership for our entire city,” Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said after the council approved the incentives.

As part of the potential deal, Kroger will be required to bring 410 $15-per-hour jobs to Dallas. The company will also partner with Dallas ISD and Richardson ISD workplace learning programs and with local colleges to "discuss workforce collaborations."

“I believe we are offering a robust, detailed and competitive incentive package, and I commend the staff, my council colleagues, and Kroger and Ocado for their work on it,” Johnson said. "It would provide for hundreds of jobs that pay living wages. It would reward the hiring of Dallas residents. It would bring hundreds of thousands of dollars back to the city for services for our residents every year. And it would facilitate community engagement with our higher education institutions.”

Read more: https://www.dallasobserver.com/news/south-dallas-getting-kroger-delivery-fulfillment-center-11743565
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Sep 3, 2019, 05:02 AM (3 replies)

Austin police pension fund facing trouble

The Austin Police Department’s retirement system is in considerable trouble, with actuaries predicting that the fund will run out of money within 50 years unless the city and the officers who are members of the system reach an agreement to change current contribution levels, benefits and/or try a more novel approach.

Like other retirement funds, the Austin Police Retirement System suffered a significant loss in 2018. That loss, at $43.6 million, put the system’s rate of return in negative territory for 2018, at -6.18 percent, according to the report released Aug. 21.

Pattie Featherston, executive director of the Austin Police Retirement System, told the Austin Monitor via email, “The global stock markets were all down for 2018. The broad-based domestic Russell 3000 Index was down -5.24 percent, midcap growth was down -4.75 percent, midcap value was down -9.06 percent, small cap value was down -12.86 percent, and international markets were down -13.78 percent. Returns were looking good until December 2018, but they experienced a significant downturn that impacted the calendar year.”

The Police Retirement System portfolio of investments was valued at $718.5 million at the end of 2018 after those losses. Fortunately for the system, 2017 was an excellent year for stock market investors.

Read more: https://www.austinmonitor.com/stories/2019/08/austin-police-pension-fund-facing-trouble/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Sep 3, 2019, 04:48 AM (0 replies)

Sen. Cory Booker Tells Austin to Embrace the "Moral Moment" We're In

Under the hazy purple lights of Cheer Up Charlies, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker talked gun violence, civil rights, and the urgency of love in front of a packed crowd Wednesday night, Aug. 28.

It was the New Jersey senator’s first visit to Austin as a presidential candidate, and his latest since delivering the keynote address at the Texas Democratic Party’s annual Johnson-Jordan dinner last September.

The candidate was introduced by Dyana Limon-Mercado, the chair of the Travis County Democratic Party, who noted that she couldn’t endorse any particular candidate but praised Booker’s platform.

“One of the things I appreciate most about Sen. Booker is that he was paying attention to Texas when a lot of other people weren’t,” Limon-Mercado said. “He was here over a year ago rallying with Texas Democrats, he was here years ago investigating for-profit prisons in West Texas, and it says a lot to me about what people are doing when nobody’s looking.”

Read more: https://www.austinchronicle.com/daily/news/2019-08-29/sen-cory-booker-tells-austin-to-embrace-the-moral-moment-were-in/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Sep 3, 2019, 04:30 AM (2 replies)
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