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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: 105,891

About Me

Retired/disabled 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

Beto O'Rourke yard signs are everywhere. Where are Ted Cruz's?

By Abby Livingston and Patrick Svitek, Texas Tribune

GEORGETOWN – The conversation unfolding before a campaign event for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz here last week echoed similar ones popping up among Republican groups around Texas. With a mixture of frustration and bewilderment, attendees were discussing the proliferation of black-and-white yard signs in their neighborhoods brandishing a single four-letter word: BETO.

The signs have become a signature calling card of Democrat Beto O'Rourke's bid to unseat Cruz. While Democrats posting yard signs for candidates is nothing new, even when it happens in some of Texas' most conservative enclaves, what's been different this summer is the extent to which O'Rourke's signs have seemingly dominated the landscape in some neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, Cruz signs are far tougher to spot, and many Cruz supporters have become increasingly agitated by their inability to obtain signs to counter what they see on their daily drives.

Once the event in Georgetown got started, one of the earlier speakers — a candidate for county office — jokingly pleaded with the crowd to quit asking him for Cruz signs because he could not provide them.

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2018/08/29/beto-orourke-ted-cruz-yard-signs/

Skilling out of prison; sent to halfway house in undisclosed location

Source: Houston Chronicle

Jeffrey K. Skilling, the former Enron CEO sentenced to a long prison term for his role in one of most notorious corporate fraud cases in history, was recently released from a minimum security federal prison camp in Alabama to a halfway house at an undisclosed location.

Enron's spectacular collapse cost investors billions of dollars and wiped out the retirement savings — not to mention the jobs — of thousands of employees. Skilling, 64, was convicted of 12 counts of securities fraud, five counts of making false statements to auditors, one count of insider trading and one count of conspiracy in 2006 for his role in hiding debt and orchestrating a web of financial fraud that ended in the Houston company's bankruptcy.

He was sentenced to 24 years in prison and fined $45 million, the harshest sentence of any former Enron executive. Five years ago, Skilling's sentence was reduced to 14 years by U.S. District Judge Sim Lake. He is scheduled to be released Feb. 21, 2018, according to the Bureau of Prisons.

Federal prisoners are often released from prison several months early to a halfway house, a highly restricted dormitory-like setting that helps inmates ease back into society. They must maintain curfews, find work and stay out of trouble. A. Kelley, assistant residential re-entry manager for the Bureau of Prisons in San Antonio, said the bureau would not say where Skilling is living.

Read more: https://www.chron.com/business/energy/article/Skilling-out-of-prison-sent-to-halfway-house-in-13194674.php

After pleading guilty, Wake Co. Register of Deeds Laura Riddick to lose some pension

RALEIGH -- Despite pleading guilty to six counts of felony embezzlement last week, former Wake County Register of Deeds Laura Riddick still receives $89,000 a year from the state’s pension system.

But that may soon change.

Dale Folwell, North Carolina’s State Treasurer, told the N&O in an interview Monday that his office plans to apply the state law for ceasing pension payments to Riddick.

Riddick pleaded guilty Aug. 24 to stealing more than $926,000 from the deeds office over a six-year period. Riddick, who retired last fall after leading the office for 20 years, still receives a pension of $7,428 a month — $5,928 from the fund for local government employees and an additional $1,500 from a fund for Registers of Deeds. (Under state law, registers of deeds with 10 years in office are eligible for a supplemental pension that’s not available to most other local government employees.)

Read more: https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article217389005.html

UNC Asheville plans improvements at dorms deemed fire safety concern

ASHEVILLE - UNC Asheville acknowledged Thursday setting an aggressive timeline for completing construction on five apartment-style dorms now deemed a safety concern by state and local fire inspectors.

That timeline and a spring and summer filled with rain bogged down the $34 million project, which state records show drew warnings from inspectors reaching as far back as May.

But the university has since overcome the challenges and continues to believe the dorms in The Woods complex are safe, despite lingering concerns from other agencies over fire prevention measures, John Pierce, vice chancellor for administration and finance, said during a press conference.

The buildings meet state code now, but UNCA will make changes to ease concerns by local firefighters and the state Department of Insurance, which includes the State Fire Marshal's Office.

Read more: https://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/2018/08/30/unc-asheville-improve-dorms-deemed-fire-safety-concern/1145278002/

Godwin minister charged with enslaving children dies

GODWIN — To some, John C. McCollum was a Christ-like father figure who took in downtrodden, struggling people and gave them a hand up from their hard lives.

To others, he was a charlatan minister who abused and exploited children and young people for decades at his compound out in the country northeast of Fayetteville — enslaving some to work at his fish markets and other businesses in and around Fayetteville and Cumberland County.

On Wednesday, McCollum died of congestive heart failure, his lawyer said. He was 67.

Any justice he’ll get following his arrest in December on accusations of involuntary servitude of children, conspiracy, and other crimes is in the hands of God.

Read more: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20180829/godwin-minister-charged-with-enslaving-children-dies

Fayetteville man charged in bomb threats against 3 Cumberland County buildings

A Fayetteville man is accused of making a bomb threat against three county buildings in June.

Justin Michael Oxendine, 33, of the 5200 block of Morrozoff Drive, was charged Wednesday with making a false bomb report for a public building.

On June 13, Oxendine called Fayetteville Police Department’s 911 Communications Center and claimed that explosive devices had been placed in the Judge E. Maurice Braswell Cumberland County Courthouse on the 100 block of Dick Street, the Cumberland County Public Library and Information System on the 300 block of Maiden Lane, and the Systel Building on the 200 block of Green Street, the release said.

The buildings were evacuated and thoroughly searched, inside and outside, by law enforcement, but no explosives were found.

Read more: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20180830/fayetteville-man-charged-in-bomb-threats-against-3-cumberland-county-buildings

Officer's tattoo causes chief to 'question his ability to function effectively'

A Chapel Hill police officer has been put on paid leave following questions about a tattoo on his forearm of the Roman numeral three encircled with stars.

“The pervasiveness of the concerns raised by many regarding his display of a tattoo that is associated with the ‘3 Percenters’ has caused the Department to question his ability to function effectively as a police officer within this community,” Police Chief Chris Blue said in a statement.

The Three Percenters is an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as “antigovernment.” It has dozens of chapters nationwide and describes its goal as “to utilize the fail-safes put in place by our founders to reign (sic) in an overreaching government and push back against tyranny.”

The group eschews the labels “antigovernment” and “militia,” instead characterizing its members as “America’s insurance policy.” Members frequently show up in military-style gear at rallies with other far-right groups, such as Patriot Prayer events in Portland, Oregon; the Unite the Right rally last year in Charlottesville, Virginia; and a standoff with the federal government over a rancher’s grazing fees in Bunkerville, Nevada.

Read more: https://www.heraldsun.com/news/local/article217573000.html

The tattoo in question has 12 stars encircling the Roman numeral three whereas the Three Percenter logo has 13. Screenshot from Twitter.

3 people arrested as supporters and opponents of Silent Sam gather at UNC

CHAPEL HILL -- With a heavy police presence watching, opponents and supporters of Confederate monuments squared off Thursday night on the UNC campus spot where the Silent Sam statue was toppled last week.

Three people had been arrested by 10 p.m., according to UNC spokeswoman Carly Miller. Two people were charged with affray and one was charged with resisting an officer.

Police deployed pepper spray several times, and lots of people could be seen coughing.

Anti-Silent Sam protesters started a dance party to celebrate the fallen Confederate statue about 7:45 p.m. A few minutes later, about 40 to 50 members of the Southern heritage group ACTBAC, or Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County, were led into a fenced-off area near the empty pedestal where the bronze statue had stood.

Read more: https://www.heraldsun.com/news/local/article217604670.html

Pipeline fund battle continues: Lawmakers seek further review of Governor's deal with Dominion

The $57.8 million carrot is wilting.

The purpose of the voluntary fund, agreed to by Gov. Roy Cooper and Dominion Energy last January as part of a deal involving the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline, had already been derailed. But several factors, including some of the governor’s own making, have exposed the agreement to legislative outrage, a power struggle, and election-year opportunism — all on full theatrical display yesterday when Republican lawmakers formed an oversight committee to investigate how and why the fund and its memorandum came about.

“Why did Gov. Cooper think he had the right to appropriate and get these funds?” asked Sen. Paul Newton, a Cabarrus County Republican, at yesterday’s Joint Commission on Government Oversight. Among the lawmakers’ arguments is that Cooper has no constitutional right to raise or appropriate funds. “There have been inconsistencies and omissions.” (Newton also committed his own omission: He neglected to mention that he used to work for Duke Energy, a co-owner of the pipeline.)

“This is starting to smell,” added Sen. Ralph Hise, who himself has been the subject of an ethics complaint involving finances.

The fate of the funds has been in limbo since March when legislators passed a law redirecting the money to public school districts in the eight counties along the route: Northampton, Halifax, Nash, Wilson, Johnston, Sampson, Cumberland and Robeson. Since the original MOU was voluntary, it’s unclear if the utilities will still offer the funds when they are due.

Read more: http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2018/08/30/pipeline-fund-battle-continues-lawmakers-seek-further-review-of-governors-deal-with-dominion/

Two Years After Being Dropped by MSNBC, Duke Alum Melissa Harris-Perry Isn't Going Away

My life and work have been connected to political scientist Melissa Harris-Perry—who received her bachelor's at Wake Forest and her Ph.D. at Duke—ever since she wrote Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought, which was published in 2004. Among other things, the book examined how my sermons and columns influenced the political views of members of the congregation I served. I had no doubt that Melissa would rise to the top.

In 1999, I performed her first wedding ceremony. The marriage didn't last, but with Melissa, that's not an indication of failure, but more of a reflection of her ability to pull herself up when a person—or cable TV network—disappoints her.

Starting in 2012, she developed a following at MSNBC, where she hosted the Melissa Harris-Perry Show on weekend mornings. She called it "Nerdland"—an unrepentantly wonky exploration of the week's political happenings. She redefined what it meant to be a nerd and created space for conversations about black women in politics.

In February 2016, Melissa wrote a widely publicized email to her show's staffers announcing that her show was taken off the air "in the midst of a campaign season" without explanation. "I am not a token, mammy, or little brown bobble head," she continued, adding that she would only return if she were allowed to do substantive work. NBC responded that many of its daytime shows had been "upended" because of breaking political news, but the relationship was beyond repair, and Melissa never went back on the network.

Read more: https://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/two-years-after-being-dropped-by-msnbc-duke-alum-melissa-harris-perry-isnt-going-away/Content?oid=17186593
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