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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: 85,595

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

Texas Lawmaker Files Bill to Gut State Funding of Film, TV and Video Game Production

A Texas lawmaker is making another attempt to dismantle the program that gives investment rebates to film, TV and video game projects produced in the state.

Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano, has filed a bill in the Texas legislature to strike down the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program, according to a report by Austin's KXAN-TV.

Shaheen filed a similar bill last legislative session, calling the program a waste of taxpayer dollars. However, he was met with no success. In October, though, he pledged to try again, citing the "allegations of rampant sexual abuse" by film producer Harvey Weinstein and other Hollywood types.

The Moving Image Industry program has helped attract an estimated $1.4 billion in production spending to Texas, along with 153,000 production jobs between Sept. 1, 2007 and Aug. 31, 2017, according to the Texas Film Commission's website.

Read more: https://www.sacurrent.com/the-daily/archives/2018/12/26/texas-lawmaker-files-bill-to-gut-state-funding-of-film-tv-and-video-game-production

ACLU sues Louisiana library over Drag Queen Story Hour ban

The ACLU of Louisiana filed suit Friday against a public library to end its ban on any program in which men in drag read to children.

Reserving a meeting room requires people to sign a form saying they won’t use the library for such purposes, Amber “Aimee” Robinson of Lafayette and Matthew Humphrey of Youngsville, who want to organize such an event at the Lafayette Public Library, say in the lawsuit.

“Lafayette library officials have imposed a gag order on their patrons,” said Katie Schwartzmann, legal director for ACLU of Louisiana.

The suit was filed in federal district court in Lafayette, about 120 miles (190 kilometers) west of New Orleans.

Read more: https://apnews.com/064bd8aac4fc4cd59668b8ce60973f09

Ever Heard Of Severance Tax? It's How Texas Makes Money Off Oil And Gas Drilling.

Taxes. They tend be something many of us avoid thinking about until a certain time of the year. But they are, of course, an everyday reality when you buy something at the store or when you fill up your gas tank.

But Texas taxes on oil and gas aren’t just limited to the local filling station. They’re also applied to the pumping of gas from out of the ground. Every last bit of oil and gas that comes out of Texas Land helps put money into the state budget. And because of the recent drilling boom, tax revenue from oil and gas is up 50 percent from last year.

The latest estimates from the Texas comptroller’s office show the state expects to collect a combined $6.7 billion from oil and gas industry taxes for the upcoming 2018-19 budget cycle. This money comes from something called severance tax.

Roman McAllen is the historic preservation officer in Denton County.

“The severance tax is a tax set by our Texas Legislature, and it has to do with the extraction of non-renewable resources from Texas land,” McAllen says.

Read more: http://www.texasstandard.org/stories/ever-heard-of-severance-tax-its-how-texas-makes-money-off-oil-and-gas-drilling/

Mounting costs in Seattle weigh on grocers, restaurants

Like many other Seattle businesses, Taco Time has seen a marked increase in costs that cut into profits at its restaurants in the city over the last three years.

Thanks to an accumulation of new and increased taxes, a rising minimum wage and the tightest job market in 40 years, the company says its costs for food, labor and taxes are 11 percent higher at its six Seattle restaurants than at most of its other locations around the state.

The Seattle sweetened-beverage tax alone, part of its food expenses, averages nearly $1,500 a month at each of the fourth-generation, family-owned chain’s locations in the city.

“It has been a shock to the system,” said Chris Tonkin, who leads the business with his cousin, Robby.

Read more: https://www.seattletimes.com/business/mounting-costs-in-seattle-weigh-on-grocers-restaurants/

Major Applewhite out as University of Houston head coach

The Houston Cougars have announced Major Applewhite is out as head coach.

Houston finished 8-5 this season, ending with a 70-14 blowout loss to Army in the Armed Forces Bowl.

“We’d like to thank Coach Applewhite and his family for their commitment to the success of the Houston Football program over the last four seasons including the last two as our head coach,” said University of Houston Vice President for Athletics Chris Pezman.

In two seasons as Houston’s head coach, Applewhite compiled a 15-11 record including a 10-6 record in American Athletic Conference action. The former Texas quarterback was co-offensive coordinator at UT in 2013 under Mack Brown.​​​​​​

Read more: ​https://www.khou.com/article/sports/major-applewhite-out-as-university-of-houston-head-coach/285-625430781

Spokane County Democrats will pay $47,300 for campaign finance violations

The Spokane County Democratic Party will pay nearly $50,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by Washington state alleging multiple violations of campaign finance reporting laws.

The Washington Attorney General’s Office announced the settlement in a news release Monday. The deal requires the Central Committee of the Spokane County Democratic Party to pay $47,300 in penalties for failing to timely report $104,000 in contributions and $110,000 in expenditures in 2016. The settlement also requires Jim CastroLang, the former chair of the party, to pay $1,500. Justin Galloway, the former party treasurer, will pay $500.

An additional $36,000 in penalties against the party will be suspended for four years, during which time there can be no new violations of state campaign finance laws.

Ed Wood, the current chairman of the local party, called the agreement “fair.”

Read more: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2018/dec/24/spokane-county-democrats-will-pay-47300-for-campai/

A Trump-Loving Mayor Is Running SeaTac, a Majority-Minority Town Full of Immigrants

The majority-minority airport town of SeaTac boasts a robust and growing immigrant population. But it’s currently being governed by a Trump-loving mayor, Erin Sitterley, who was appointed by a mostly white city council in September shortly after the last mayor, Michael Siefkes, abruptly resigned and skipped town. According to The Seattle Times, Siefkes said he was leaving due to "health issues" and "other things," but he failed to mention that the Washington State Bar Association was threatening to disbar him for "wrongfully extract[ing] as much as $300,000 from a vulnerable client" at his law firm. The mayor before him, council member Rick Forschler, stepped down in 2016 after an independent investigation found that his hand-picked city manager wanted to create a “tactical map” of the city's Muslim residents.

A quick look at Sitterley’s Twitter feed reveals that she’s not much better, ideologically speaking, than Forschler’s old boy.

She unironically retweets Trump’s all-caps MAGA proclamations, seems to be with him on blocking funding to sanctuary cities (she retweeted Trump's "SEE YOU IN COURT" tweet, which was his response to a federal judge stalling his executive order), seems to be with him on building the unnecessary and racist border wall, and she appears to have approved of the appointment of Jeff Sessions, a guy who was literally too racist to be a Federal Judge in the 1980s. He further solidified his racist legacy when he helped implement and enforce the barbaric family separation policy, which has led to the detention of 14,000 children in camps.

Sitterley also retweeted "a traditional Conservative journalist" who characterized migration into Europe as a "Muslim invasion."

Read more: https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2018/12/28/37491405/a-trump-loving-mayor-is-running-seatac-a-majority-minority-town-full-of-immigrants

The King County Democrats have pledged to find an alternative for voters.

Man who yelled racial slurs at teenagers at Coeur d'Alene McDonald's not convicted of hate crime

Richard Sovenski, a Hayden, Idaho, man who was arrested days after yelling racial slurs and profanities at a group of teenagers while they were getting ice cream at a Coeur d'Alene McDonald's, was found guilty of committing misdemeanor battery but not of felony malicious harassment — a hate crime.

Last summer, the Inlander reported on the circumstances leading to Sovenski's arrest. On Jul. 12, a group of high schoolers with a Spokane youth group from Immanuel Church in West Central Spokane traveled to Coeur d'Alene to hear a guest preacher. Afterwards, the group, led by the church's former youth community director, Jose Ceniceros, took them to a local McDonald's for ice cream.

According to Ceniceros, as the group was leaving, Sovenski, 52, started yelling racial slurs and profanity at them. (A woman who was standing near Sovenski later told police that the kids were "being rude, dancing and running around causing a disturbance," a notion that Ceniceros disputes.) As they neared the door to leave, Sovenski punched Ceniceros and threw him to the ground. Once they were outside, Ceniceros took out his phone and began filming.

The recording, which was shared with the Inlander, shows Sovenski yelling the following at Ceniceros and the youth group: "Why don't you get a f—kin' job," and "I will f—k you up in a f—kin' heartbeat you f—kin' little faggot. Oh you f—k you, you f—kin' half breed."

Read more: https://www.inlander.com/spokane/man-who-yelled-racial-slurs-at-teenagers-at-coeur-dalene-mcdonalds-not-convicted-of-hate-crime/Content?oid=15615903

Spokane developer Ron Wells indicted in insurance-fraud scheme

SPOKANE -- A decade ago, a fraudster helped kill the Ridpath Hotel. In 2008, the complicated schemes of developer Greg Jeffreys contributed to the Ridpath not only closing, but being divided up into so many pieces that it was almost impossible to put back together again. In 2014, Jeffreys was sentenced to eight years in federal prison on wire fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy charges.

But last week, a federal indictment suggested the latest tragic twist in the Ridpath saga: The man who resurrected the Ridpath — against all odds and repeated setbacks — was also an alleged fraudster.

Ron Wells has been a widely respected downtown developer. In April, he was telling the Inlander about his plans to follow up the Ridpath apartment complex with a 40-story residential skyscraper downtown. But last week, a federal indictment alleged that he had been a part of a complicated insurance-fraud scheme.

Among the 17 counts against Wells: investigators suggest that on Oct. 16, 2016, a truck registered to Ron Wells was intentionally driven into a truck driven by a man named Christopher Frangella, towing a boat registered to suspected insurance fraud ringleader William Mize. Along with Mize's wife, they all allegedly falsely claimed they suffered injuries in the accident, garnering nearly $340,000 in insurance settlement payouts from Safeco.

Read more: https://www.inlander.com/spokane/developer-ron-wells-and-others-indicted-in-insurance-fraud-scheme/Content?oid=15661187

Medicaid expansion on the 'must address' list for lawmakers

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Despite legal challenges at the state and federal level, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is moving ahead with a citizen-directed Medicaid expansion effort.

Health and Welfare spokeswoman Niki Forbing-Orr said the agency expects to submit its amended state Medicaid plan to the federal government for approval by Feb. 15.

Voters authorized the move in November, after years of inaction on the part of the Idaho Legislature, when they approved the Prop 2 Medicaid expansion initiative by a margin of 61 percent to 39 percent.

The measure directs the state to expand Medicaid eligibility rules to include anyone earning less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level. That will provide access to preventative health care services for about 62,000 low-income Idahoans.

Read more: https://magicvalley.com/news/state-and-regional/medicaid-expansion-on-the-must-address-list-for-lawmakers/article_70e548e4-b02c-5a0b-9511-f1db516fb0b8.html
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