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Gender: Male
Hometown: Texas
Home country: United States
Current location: Red Hell Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 76,296

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

One Federal Agency Was Suing Him for Fraud. Another Paid His Company Millions for Masks.

Desperate to acquire masks to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, two federal agencies gave nearly $20 million in contracts to a newly formed California company without realizing it was partly run by a man whose business activities were under sanction by the Federal Trade Commission, court records show.

On Tuesday, a U.S. District Court judge froze the company’s assets, most of which had come from the Department of Veterans Affairs in a $5.4 million mask deal. A story by ProPublica revealed Jason Cardiff’s role in operating VPL Medical LLC in June.

Cardiff was sued by the FTC in 2018 in connection with an alleged fraudulent scheme involving smoking cessation strips and male sexual enhancement pills and was under court order to report his income to a receiver. Cardiff was recently held in contempt for violating that court order. By not disclosing his involvement with VPL, court records allege Cardiff was essentially hiding information from the FTC about money his company was getting from another federal agency, the VA.

California business filings show that VPL was incorporated just four days before it won the VA deal in April, and it went on to win a $14.5 million no-bid contract the next day from the federal office in charge of the national stockpile. Those filings do not mention Cardiff as a company owner. The FTC alleges in court records that Cardiff and a partner, Bobby Bedi, were equal partners and had each paid themselves at least $420,000 from the VA money.

Read more: https://www.propublica.org/article/one-federal-agency-was-suing-him-for-fraud-another-paid-his-company-millions-for-masks

'All the Hospitals Are Full': In Houston, Overwhelmed ICUs Leave COVID-19 Patients Waiting in ERs

HOUSTON — Houston hospitals have been forced to treat hundreds of COVID-19 patients in their emergency rooms — sometimes for several hours or multiple days — as they scramble to open additional intensive care beds for the wave of seriously ill people streaming through their doors, according to internal numbers shared with NBC News and ProPublica.

At the same time, the region’s 12 busiest hospitals are increasingly telling emergency responders that they cannot safely accept new patients, at a rate nearly three times that of a year ago, according to data reviewed by reporters.

The increase in ambulance diversions, coupled with the spike in patients being held indefinitely in emergency rooms, are the latest indicators that Houston hospitals are straining to keep up with a surge of new coronavirus patients. ProPublica and NBC News have previously reported that a public hospital in Houston ran out of a medication to treat COVID-19 patients and that a spike in at-home deaths from cardiac arrest suggests that the death toll from the coronavirus may be higher than official statistics show.

On Thursday, 3,812 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the region, including more than 1,000 in intensive care units, a record since the pandemic began. At the same time, since Texas officials have not issued another stay-at-home order to slow the virus’s spread, hospitals are also still seeing a steady flow of patients in need of care as a result of car accidents, violent crime and heat-related medical emergencies.

Read more: https://www.propublica.org/article/all-the-hospitals-are-full-in-houston-overwhelmed-icus-leave-covid-19-patients-waiting-in-ers

'These Cases Can Move Very Quickly': Former Acting Solicitor General Says 'If I'm Donald Trump I'm

‘These Cases Can Move Very Quickly’: Former Acting Solicitor General Says ‘If I’m Donald Trump I’m Scared Right Now’

Former Acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal says Thursday’s Supreme Court rulings in the Trump tax cases are not, despite what some are claiming, a “mixed bag.”

“If I’m Donald Trump I’m scared right now,” says Katyal, an award-winning litigator who is a professor of national security law at Georgetown University Law Center.

“I love my MSNBC colleagues and analysts but I profoundly disagree with almost everything that’s been said,” Katyal said on the cable news network late Thursday morning. “This is not a ‘mixed bag,’ or a ‘victory’ for Trump. Trump shouldn’t be happy about this. The fact is he lost. Her lost resoundingly, 7-2, including his own appointees to the court – Kavanaugh and Gorsuch.”

“The court by seven justices rejected his broad claims of immunity, and for a president who’s sworn to take care that the laws be faithfully executed in our Constitution, the Supreme Court is saying, ‘These are bogus claims.'”

Read more: https://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/2020/07/these-cases-can-move-very-quickly-former-acting-solicitor-general-says-if-im-donald-trump-im-scared-right-now/

FedEx Shitcans Hater Over "Faggots Are Maggots" Tour

From my February 2020 report:

Mike Heath, a long–time anti-LGBTQ activist in Maine who now runs Helping Hands Ministries, has been a regular participant in Dave Daubenmire’s daily program. On Friday, Daubnemire turned the mic over to Heath so that he could announce his plans.

“I’m going to do a world tour,” Heath announced. “The theme is ‘Faggots are Maggots.’ The tour is inspired by the work of Donald Trump. This isn’t satire. I’m serious. I started supporting Donald Trump early in the 2016 primary for one reason: He insults his enemies. He makes things personal that deserve to be personal.

And one week later that month from Heath:

“For a bit over a week I’ve been salting my COLUMNS with the English words “faggot” and “maggot.” I started doing it with a promise that I’d do a World Tour because it is a fact that Faggots are Maggots. I probably won’t do the Tour. Not because I don’t want to do it. I won’t do it because Tony Perkins, Tim Wildmon, Franklin Graham, Jim Dobson and Pope Francis won’t help me.”

Below is today’s fun update from Right Wing Watch.


Read more: https://www.joemygod.com/2020/07/fedex-shitcans-hater-over-faggots-are-maggots-tour/

North American bats may be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2

After the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, late last year, scientists rushed to uncover the disease’s origins. Studies showed that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, likely arose in the Chinese horseshoe bat, jumped to another animal, and then spread to humans. Now, researchers are concerned that humans, ironically, might spread SARS-CoV-2 to a new host: bats in North America. This is bad news for bats if the virus turns out to be deadly. And if bats can transmit the virus back to people, it’s bad news for humans, too.

As the virus continues to spread nationwide, scientists are ramping up their efforts to protect local bats. “Immediately, researchers started asking, ‘Do our bats have this? If not, could we give it to them?’ ” said Lauri Hanauska-Brown, chief of Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks Nongame Wildlife Management Bureau.

This spring, experts in fields including virology and wildlife disease assessed whether SARS-CoV-2 can harm North American bats, which include over 40 different species. The results, released in June, indicate that the virus could spread from humans to bats. However, there are still many questions that scientists must answer in order to protect these animals from a potentially fatal virus.

Bats have a reputation for being virus reservoirs, partly because they have specialized immune systems that allow them to carry viruses without becoming sick. Most of these viruses, including many types of coronaviruses, have evolved alongside the animals for millions of years. But a new virus can still harm bats; consequently, scientists worry that North American bats may be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, which humans could transmit through handling bats or going into caves.

Read more: https://www.hcn.org/articles/north-wildlife-north-american-bats-may-be-susceptible-to-sars-cov-2
(High Country News)

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the cave.

Trump's New Hampshire Rally Postponed Due to Tropical Storm

President Donald Trump’s political rally Saturday in New Hampshire will be postponed as Tropical Storm Fay batters the Eastern Seaboard, the White House said.

The event -- which was the first rally planned after the president’s event in Tulsa drew lower-than-expected attendance amid fears over the coronavirus pandemic -- will be rescheduled in the coming weeks, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters traveling with the president to Florida on Friday.

The tropical storm made landfall along the Jersey Shore on Friday, prompting flash flood watches throughout the New York metro area.

Models from the National Hurricane Center show the storm expected to progress through the Northeast over the weekend, but current projections show that tropical storm strength winds of 39 mph or higher are unlikely to hit Portsmouth, where the rally was scheduled. The National Weather Service forecast for Portsmouth on Saturday calls for showers and a possible thunderstorm before 3 p.m., with a chance of rain in the late afternoon and evening and total rainfall between a half and three quarters of an inch.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-10/trump-s-new-hampshire-rally-postponed-due-to-tropical-storm

Donald, It's Not About You

Trump looks at every issue through the lens of whether it makes him look good or bad. And he projects this premise onto his critics. Thus, the Democrats are delaying school openings in order to make him look bad.

As the Twit-in-Chief tweeted, “The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families.”

Actually, the nation’s governors, mayors, and school officials (many of them Republicans) are trying to balance agonizing choices. On the one hand, kids need face-to-face learning. And their parents rely on schools as safe places for their children while they go to work.

On the other hand, a reversion to normal school schedules obviously isn’t safe.

Trump isn’t making these awful trade-offs any easier. He’s denying schools extra funding in the face of a collapse of state and local revenues. And he’s doing nothing to relieve the extra pressure on child care systems, as more learning is necessarily done remotely.

Read more: https://prospect.org/blogs/tap/donald-its-not-about-you-pandemic-school-openings/
(American Prospect)

Unsanitized: Labor Repression in Mexico and Dangers in the COVID Workplace

In a world without coronavirus, this would have been a big week for Trump’s re-election. He had planned to host the leaders of Mexico and Canada to celebrate the updated NAFTA agreement coming into force on July 1. Instead, Justin Trudeau didn’t show up and few paid attention to Andrés Manuel López Obrador showing up. Even fewer have paid attention to the fact that the new NAFTA (the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA), designed to improve labor rights in Mexico and therefore create a more level playing field for North American workers, appears doomed to not accomplish that goal.

Throughout Mexico, workers and worker advocates trying to assert the rights given through USMCA and in the country’s new labor law are being harassed, fired, and arrested. And coronavirus is being used as a smokescreen to facilitate these subjugations. Manufacturing wages in Mexico are 40 percent lower than wages in China, according to Public Citizen’s Lori Wallach, and the resistance from mostly U.S.-owned manufacturing sites along the border ensure that things will stay that way.

On Wednesday, Wallach hosted a remarkable event with Rep. Chuy Garcia (D-IL) and Susana Prieto Terrazas, whose story the Prospect has previously covered. Prieto, a labor attorney, was arrested and held for a month in a Matamoros prison for “leading a riot” at a labor court. In reality, it was a protest that Prieto didn’t attend. She was put in jail because she represents one of the first independent labor unions in Mexico, not the sham “protection unions” that the USMCA was supposed to eliminate. Prieto helped workers in Matamoros win wage hikes last year, and therefore she must be punished.

The main thing that Prieto was organizing at the time of her arrest was workplace and wage protections due to COVID-19. Most of the border manufacturing sites, known as maquiladoras, have not shut down or even slowed down their assembly lines. Masks or other protective equipment were not distributed, and travel on packed buses to the factories continued. Prieto alleged that 25 percent of workers in the maquiladoras have fallen ill, and “death has begun in Matamoros.”

Read more: https://prospect.org/coronavirus/unsanitized-labor-repression-in-mexico-and-dangers-in-the-co/
(American Prospect)

I, Pastafari: A Flying Spaghetti Monster Story

With millions of believers worldwide, The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the world's fastest growing religion. Followers of the faith, Pastafarians, have been preaching the message of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) since The Prophet Bobby Henderson's 'Open Letter to the Kansas School Board' went viral in 2005. In response to a decision to teach evolution alongside creationism as equivalent theories in science classes statewide, he argued that it would then only be fair to teach other creation beliefs in science as well. Specifically, his belief: that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. I, Pastafari is a story about a few brave Pastafarians evangelizing the message of the FSM, while confronting intolerant skeptics for the freedom to access privileges in law granted to other "real" religions. In a time of anti-vaxxers, flat-earthers, fake news, and alternative facts, the Pastafarians may be the savior the world has been waiting for.

Texas-sized brand: Why are the Longhorns so valuable?

Although Texas football won its last national championship 15 years ago and hasn't contended for a title since 2009, the Longhorn brand still reigns.

Texas posted just one 10-win season in the last decade, unlike juggernauts Alabama, Clemson and rival Oklahoma. Still, the Longhorns, valued at a nation-high $1.1 billion in 2018, are among college football’s top earners, according to an annual study by Ryan Brewer, an associate professor of finance at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus.

UT football's decline in the 2010s doesn’t erase its historic success or Texas’ dominance in other sports and areas, said 2008 alumnus Kyle Umlang, who shares Longhorn sports data with his 10.6 thousand Twitter followers.

“It’s only been mediocrity for the last decade, but we’ve been playing football for 125 years, and the majority of that we’ve dominated,” Umlang said. “But we’re not just a football school; I like to call us an everything school.”

Read more: https://thedailytexan.com/2020/07/05/texas-sized-brand-why-are-the-longhorns-so-valuable
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