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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

NC lawmakers override veto of bill that makes allegations of campaign finance violations secret

RALEIGH -- Republican lawmakers on Thursday held off Gov. Roy Cooper’s attempt to muster enough Democrats to thwart an override of his veto of an elections law bill.

The state House overrode the veto on a vote of 68-40, followed by the Senate overriding on a vote of 28-12.

A large majority of Democrats had voted to approve the bill earlier this month, as it reflected changes in state election law that Cooper achieved in a lawsuit. But despite negotiations with legislative leaders over how to accomplish those changes, Cooper focused the argument on keeping accusations of campaign finance violations secret.

Cooper opposed a provision in the bill that will require allegations of campaign finance wrongdoing to be probed by the State Ethics Commission and its findings to be referred to the State Board of Elections. The elections board could then refer the matter to local prosecutors to consider bringing criminal charges, all in confidence.

Read more: https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article223615415.html

Social worker left surprise $11M to children's charities

SEATTLE (AP) — Alan Naiman was known for an unabashed thriftiness that veered into comical, but even those closest to him had no inkling of the fortune that he quietly amassed and the last act that he had long planned.

The Washington state social worker died of cancer this year at age 63, leaving most of a surprising $11 million estate to children's charities that help the poor, sick, disabled and abandoned. The amount baffled the beneficiaries and his best friends, who are lauding Naiman as the anniversary of his death approaches in January.

That's because the Seattle man patched up his shoes with duct tape, sought deals at the grocery store deli at closing time and took his best friends out to lunch at fast-food joints.

Naiman, who died unmarried and childless, loved kids but also was intensely private, scrimping, investing and working extra jobs to stockpile money that he rarely spent on himself after seeing how unfair life could be for the most vulnerable children, his friends say.

Read more: https://www.fredericksburg.com/news/news-wire/social-worker-left-surprise-m-to-children-s-charities/article_18c5bce3-d5be-5cb4-be28-bfaf3a00be9c.html

Virginia to again consider marijuana decriminalization

RICHMOND — When it comes to marijuana, Virginia has lagged behind many states where the drug has been decriminalized or legalized for recreational use.

With lawmakers approving an expansion of the state’s medical marijuana program in 2018, supporters of decriminalization are hoping that momentum will continue in 2019. But Virginia Republicans don’t appear willing to support decriminalization.

As the General Assembly gears up for a new legislative session starting Jan. 9, Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, has submitted a bill to decriminalize simple marijuana possession — defined as ½ ounce or less — and provide a maximum civil penalty of $50 for a first violation. The current law carries a jail sentence of up to 30 days and a maximum $500 fine for a first offense.

“Will Virginia eventually decriminalize personal possession of marijuana? Yes. Will it be in 2019? That’s very unlikely,” said Jenn Michelle Pedini, executive director of the Virginia chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Read more: https://www.roanoke.com/news/politics/general_assembly/virginia-to-again-consider-marijuana-decriminalization/article_26355d8e-192a-5450-a651-f8c6ed0545cc.html

Renewed effort at UVA will try to 'tell a new history' of Charlottesville after slavery

CHARLOTTESVILLE — In July, the University of Virginia published the results of five years of research into the extent to which slavery was entrenched in building and maintaining Grounds.

That effort, though, studied roughly a half-century. A new President’s Commission on U.Va. in the Age of Segregation aims to tackle the 150 years at U.Va. that followed Emancipation.

After the Civil War, a statue honoring Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was placed in a park on the site of a former African-American neighborhood. U.Va. professors and administrators promoted eugenics. Poll taxes blocked residents of Vinegar Hill from voting against their neighborhood’s demolition. Widespread segregation at U.Va. and local schools persisted. Commissioners say they haven’t decided yet how wide and how far their research will go; as the commission closes its first year, they are still working on defining its scope.

“I have high hopes,” said John Edwin Mason, an associate professor of history at U.Va. who is on the commission.

Read more: https://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/renewed-effort-at-uva-will-try-to-tell-a-new/article_c2b63a06-fab5-5f81-91fe-b64a01fbca71.html

Museum dedicated to WWII homefront opens on Georgia coast

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - One exhibit contains a hinged wooden box that held a bottle of champagne before it was smashed across the bow of a newly launched cargo ship built to carry supplies to American troops overseas. Another displays the ship's bell and a life ring from the S.S. Esso Baton Rouge, which sank off the Georgia coast in a deadly torpedo attack from a German U-boat.

The artifacts recall moments of tragedy and celebration during World War II in Glynn County, where sailors and airmen trained for battle overseas while civilians - including many women - labored at the shipyard in support of the war effort. More than seven decades later, their stories are the subject of a museum that re-creates the war's pervasive effect on the American homefront by focusing on a single East Coast community.

The World War II Home Front Museum opened earlier this month on St. Simons Island, about 70 miles (115 kilometers) south of Savannah. Its exhibits are housed inside the island's former Coast Guard station, which was in charge of shore patrols for German submarines lurking off the Georgia coast during the war.

The Coastal Georgia Historical Society raised $3.7 million to build the museum as a repository for its growing collection of World War II artifacts and memorabilia donated by local residents, including more than 2,000 photographs from the period. The society collected dozens of oral histories and had its exhibits designed by Gallagher & Associates, the same firm that helped develop the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

Read more: https://www.wsbtv.com/news/georgia/museum-dedicated-to-wwii-homefront-opens-on-georgia-coast/894552653

State Study Committee Recommends Georgia Schools Start Later

A state study committee has recommended that schools in Georgia return to school later than the current school calendars prescribe.

The Senate Study Committee, which included four state senators, one state school board member, and a number of citizen appointees, convened several times around the state over the last several months to hear public comments, expert testimony, and other feedback on the possibility of starting school a later date.

Georgia has 181 independent school districts which include county-wide and city-wide school districts and lawmakers have said differing school calendars negatively impacts the toursim industry in the Peach State. Members also say breaks throughout the year hurt families who need childcare or the free/reduced lunch program.

That’s why they’re proposing recommendations to the Georgia General Assembly to set state guidelines for the local school districts.

Read more: http://evans.allongeorgia.com/georgia-state-politics/state-study-committee-recommends-georgia-schools-start-later/

Local Group Pushes for 100 Percent Clean, Renewable Energy in Athens

When it comes to climate change, if the federal government won’t do something about it, then, kind of like Thanos, we have to do it ourselves.

Not by killing off half the population, of course (although the big purple guy did have a point—that would go a long way toward solving the problem). A new group called 100% Athens, which includes members of Athens for Everyone and the Georgia Climate Change Coalition, is pushing the Athens-Clarke County government to commit to ensuring all of the electricity consumed in Athens comes from clean, renewable sources.

“Paris is a really, really good first step, but it is not enough,” Ted Terry, director of the Georgia chapter of the Sierra Club, said at a recent forum, referring to the climate accords that President Trump pulled out of earlier this year. “We have to do more.”

The forum, held at the ACC library Dec. 16, drew about 50 people, including Mayor-elect Kelly Girtz, commissioners Mariah Parker and Melissa Link, and commissioners-elect Patrick Davenport, Tim Denson and Ovita Thornton.

Read more: https://flagpole.com/news/city-dope/2018/12/26/local-group-pushes-for-100-percent-clean-renewable-energy-in-athens

South Carolina Women Increasingly Terminate Pregnancies in Other States

Many women in South Carolina who choose to terminate pregnancies continue to go to other states to do so, according to a report from Lauren Sausser at The Post and Courier.

The report says that 5,600 South Carolina women had abortions outside of the Palmetto State in 2015, a number that was higher than anywhere else in America.

Last year, about 11,000 women who claimed South Carolina as their residence had abortions, but less than half of those were performed in South Carolina.

The Post and Courier notes numbers from a Centers for Disease Control report and the state's health department indicate "that decades’ worth of legislative attempts to reduce abortions in South Carolina have not stopped women from terminating their pregnancies. In fact, the rate of South Carolina women who had abortions last year was exactly the same as it was 20 years ago. Increasingly, though, it appears women are getting the procedure done outside the state."

Read more: https://www.free-times.com/news/local-and-state-news/sc-women-increasingly-terminate-pregnancies-in-other-states/article_113abaee-078c-11e9-a5f1-bf27bf28e166.html

So. Carolina is poised to be a big player in determining the 2020 Democratic presidential contender

With the Palmetto State's primary set to be in February 2020 before March Super Tuesday primaries across the country, South Carolina will be the first early state where candidates will face off among a diverse blend of voters. Iowa and New Hampshire, the mostly white states that kick off the presidential process, don't have the diversity that characterizes South Carolina and most of the rest of the nation.

South Carolina is also historically more conservative than other states, which could be a good thing for the process, even for Democrats, as I related earlier in the week to an Australian journalist who called to chat about the election.

There will be all flavors of Democratic leaders running for president, from liberals like Sens. Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders (who actually isn't a Democrat) to more mainstream leaders, possibly including former Vice President Joe Biden. Just as Republicans had more than a dozen candidates in 2016, Democrats in 2020 will have a panoply from which voters can choose, potentially including big names like Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala Harris of California, Kristin Gillibrand of New York and Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Also mentioned have been everyone from Oprah Winfrey to two former mayors: Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans and Michael Bloomberg of New York.

But the ideal candidate, I suggested to the national reporter, would be someone who was not the "I am not Donald Trump" candidate, meaning that the best candidate likely would be someone who didn't run on being against everything Trump is as president.

Read more: https://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/charleston/south-carolina-is-poised-to-be-a-big-player-in-determining-the-2020-democratic-presidential-contender/Content?oid=25874294

Note: The phrase "Bernie Sanders (who actually isn't a Democrat)" is a statement made by the author of the editorial.

United Daughters of the Confederacy requested custody of Silent Sam

The United Daughters of the Confederacy requested custody of the Silent Sam Confederate monument just days after it was toppled by protesters at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, According to an August e-mail.

The e-mail was obtained by activist Heather Redding of Hillsborough Progressive Taking Action. It shows Peggy W. Johnson, president of the North Carolina division of the UDC, reached out to UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees Chair Haywood Cochrane on August 22.

As Policy Watch has reported, the United Daughters of the Confederacy is the group responsible not just for Silent Sam’s installation in 1913 but for many of the Confederate monuments that sprung up throughout the country as white supremacist campaigns disfranchised Black Voters and brought about legal segregation.

It is not clear whether UNC, its board of Trustees of the UNC Board of Governors would have the authority to return the statue to the group.

Read more: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2018/12/27/united-daughters-of-the-confederacy-requested-custody-of-silent-sam/
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