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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
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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

ABA Passes Resolution Proposed by USVI Bar in Support of 4th Amendment Protections

American Bar Association Passes Resolution Proposed by USVI Bar in Support of Fourth Amendment Protection Against Unreasonable Search and Seizure

The American Bar Association has once again expressed its support for recognizing that U.S. citizens in the territories should be entitled to the same constitutional protections as U.S. citizens anywhere, announced Equally American, a nonprofit that advocates for equality and voting rights for the nearly 4 million Americans living in U.S. territories.

On Monday, the ABA’s House of Delegates passed a resolution, proposed by the Virgin Islands Bar Association, that supports recognizing the full application of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure to people and goods traveling between the U.S. territories and other parts of the United States.

Though the Supreme Court has identified the Fourth Amendment’s protection from unreasonable search and seizure as a right that extends to the U.S. territories, a decision last year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit deviated from this precedent, according to Equally American. In United States v. Baxter, the Third Circuit applied the international “border search exception” to searches of people and goods traveling between the mainland United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In January, the Supreme Court denied a petition to review this decision, leaving unresolved whether the Fourth Amendment allows the warrantless search of people and goods, even in the absence of probable cause or reasonable suspicion, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.

“The ABA resolution recognizes the injustice of having a rule for the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures that protects citizens living in the 50 states and Puerto Rico but does not protect citizens living in other territories,” said Neil Weare, president and founder of Equally American. “We are grateful for the ABA’s ongoing support of equal rights for residents of U.S. territories, and we appreciate the consistent leadership of the Virgin Islands Bar Association in raising these issues on the national stage."

Read more: https://viconsortium.com/vi-government/virgin-islands-american-bar-association-passes-resolution-proposed-by-usvi-bar-in-support-of-fourth-amendment-protection-against-unreasonable-search-and-seizure

Palm Beach County says it won't follow Gov. DeSantis' order to fly flags at half-staff to honor Rush

Palm Beach County says it won’t follow Gov. DeSantis’ order to fly flags at half-staff to honor Rush Limbaugh

Palm Beach County won’t follow Gov. Ron DeSantis’ order to lower flags at the county courthouse to honor the late conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, officials said late Tuesday.

The governor ordered the U.S. and Florida state flags to be flown at half-staff Wednesday at Florida’s Capitol, the Palm Beach County courthouse in West Palm Beach and at the town hall in Palm Beach.

Limbaugh, who DeSantis called “America’s anchorman,” died Feb. 17 from lung cancer at age 70. He was a long-time resident of Palm Beach.

Last week, DeSantis said he would order flags lowered at all state offices. Democratic leaders swiftly lashed out at the decision, saying DeSantis had politicized an honor usually reserved for the death of prominent government officials, police officers or firefighters who die in the line of duty, members of the armed forces or tragic events such as the mass shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.

Read more: https://www.orlandosentinel.com/politics/fl-ne-desantis-rush-limbaugh-flag-20210224-vifbkidytzhzxli5df4hsggrf4-story.html

The success of Puerto Rico's recovery depends on transparency and input from its people

Finally, three and a half years after Hurricane María’s destruction in Puerto Rico, a year of continuous earthquakes and the COVID-19 pandemic, hurricane recovery funds have been released by the Biden administration. Now there is hope that needed aid will flow with more ease.

Yet, amid so many debates about federal and territorial governments’ failures and challenges to promote recovery on the island, it is clear that by merely releasing funds or assigning additional monies will not result in crucial efficiency, transparency and resiliency. In order to “build back better,” jump-start the island’s stalled recovery and aid its faltering economy, we should shine the light of transparency into funding and rebuilding, inviting civil society into the planning and decision-making processes.

Currently, only 27 percent ($18 billion out of $67 billion) of the money allocated for all post-2017 disasters have been disbursed, and it is possible to see that this small percentage has not been efficiently spent. Only half of individual and family recovery management cases have been addressed; only a quarter of the applications for home reconstruction have been processed; and only 258 homes have been repaired; and only two rebuilt. Contracts mostly have been given to outside consultants and contractors, and therefore have not helped local economy to recover or build capacity to face future disasters.

Large contracts for planning and management have been awarded to big mainland firms such as Horne ($122.5 million from the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Relief program) and ICF International ($188 million of FEMA funds). They frequently rely on local officials’ and organizations’ expertise and work to execute their duties. But they don’t stimulate local entities’ growth or capacity-building, because they are not formally engaged or remunerated.

Read more: https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article249426190.html

Rick Scott wants National Guard out of U.S. Capitol

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott drilled down on the continued National Guard deployment at the U.S. Capitol Tuesday, saying he was “flabbergasted” and bemoaning a detail he claims has lasted for “months on end.”

By mid-afternoon, Scott was calling for those troops to return to their home states.

“Thankful for the [troops] keeping us safe. These brave individuals have been away from their homes & families for weeks. But no one from today’s Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing seemed to know why. It’s time to reevaluate the rationale for keeping them in D.C. & get them back home,” Scott tweeted.

Scott’s tweet followed up comments in that hearing Tuesday afternoon in the Senate on the Capitol Riots, in which he asked various law enforcement officials who were in place that fateful day about the decision to have an ongoing National Guard presence.

Read more: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/406421-flabbergasted

Considering that there are rumors of another attempt at an insurrection on March 4, having the National Guard spend a couple of weeks more at the U.S. Capitol appears prudent.

District Court orders David Rivera to pay $456K fine after campaign contribution violation

A U.S. District Court says former GOP Rep. David Rivera must pay a $456,000 fine after the Federal Election Commission accused him of engaging in an illegal campaign contribution scheme during his 2012 congressional bid.

That cycle, Rivera was defending his seat against Democratic candidate Joe Garcia. The FEC alleged Rivera funneled at least $69,000 to Justin Lamar Sternad, a Democratic primary opponent challenging Garcia for the nomination. Sternad attempted to pass off the donations as loans from his personal bankroll.

While those donations may have been made in an effort to weaken Garcia ahead of the General Election, it failed. Garcia went on to oust Rivera in November 2012.

Rivera has denied breaking the law and he avoided criminal charges. The FEC alleged Rivera worked with an associate, Ana Sol Alliegro, to funnel the cash to Sternad.

Read more: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/406534-court-rivera-456k-fine

FL's 2021 legislative session: A smelly storm of Bad Ideas

It’s that time of year, dear readers, when the Florida Legislature gets ready to descend upon Tallahassee like a flock of incontinent pigeons.

The 2021 Session will be a smelly storm of Bad Ideas, the likes of which you haven’t seen since Rick Scott, last seen on the U.S. Senate floor coloring in a blank map of Asia during Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, was governor.

Here are some preliminary pick hits:

The Almost Certainly Unconstitutional

HB1 would get tough on protests, especially the ones with too many people of color and young people, marching against, say, police brutality.

It’s already illegal to riot, destroy property, or assault people. This bill is intended to discourage that annoying freedom of assembly thing.

Read more: https://www.floridaphoenix.com/2021/02/23/fls-2021-legislative-session-a-smelly-storm-of-bad-ideas/

Black Lives Matter opens up about its finances

NEW YORK — The foundation widely seen as a steward of the Black Lives Matter movement says it took in just over $90 million last year, according to a financial snapshot shared exclusively with the Associated Press.

The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation is now building infrastructure to catch up to the speed of its funding and plans to use its endowment to become known for more than protests after Black Americans die at the hands of police or vigilantes.

“We want to uplift Black joy and liberation, not just Black death. We want to see Black communities thriving, not just surviving,” reads an impact report the foundation shared with the AP before releasing it.

This marks the first time in the movement’s nearly eight-year history that BLM leaders have revealed a detailed look at their finances. The foundation’s coffers and influence grew immensely following the May 2020 death of George Floyd, a Black man whose last breaths under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer sparked protests across the U.S. and around the world.

Read more: https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2021-02-23/ap-exclusive-black-lives-matter-opens-up-about-its-finances

California waiving millions of dollars in state business fees in new COVID stimulus

Hundreds of thousands of small businesses from restaurants to nail salons will not have to pay licensing fees until 2023, under California’s $7.6 billion stimulus measure signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom Tuesday.

Many of their professional employees also can skip state licensing fees.

About 59,000 restaurants and bars won’t have to pay annual fees to renew their Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control licenses, which can range from $455 to $1,235.

Some 53,000 beauty establishments such as barber shops will have their renewal fees waived, saving $40 every two years for the owners and of $50 every two years for the employees.

The fee waivers will cost the state about $70 million.

Read more: https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article249459875.html

Paulding County DA Donovan arrested on 4 felony charges

Paulding County District Attorney Dick Donovan surrendered Monday afternoon and was arrested on four felony charges, according to the county’s sheriff’s office.

The 75-year-old Donovan, who has served as DA since 2010, was indicted last week on charges of bribery, violation of oath by public officer and two counts of false swearing. The allegations stem from his relationship with a top female staff member.

A warrant was issued for his arrest Thursday, giving him a deadline of Tuesday at noon to turn himself in. Donovan was in custody shortly before 4:30 p.m. Monday, according to Sgt. Ashley Henson.

Donovan’s bond was set at $2,500 prior to his arrest, court documents show. He posted a cash bond and was released at 5:41 p.m., Henson said.

Read more: https://www.ajc.com/news/breaking-paulding-da-donovan-arrested-on-4-felony-charges/2QWJVZPRNZCCDNFVXV6ARZCLOA/

Rapper Killer Mike speaks out after South Fulton barbershop damaged in shooting

There were no injuries Saturday night when someone shot up several businesses along Roosevelt Highway, including a barbershop owned by Atlanta rapper Killer Mike.

The artist and advocate said he was thankful only property was damaged as it can be replaced. In a Sunday morning Instagram post, he made a public plea to the men responsible.

“Please consider what would have happened if one of y’all actually hit one another,” the rapper said. “The jail, the lawyer fees, the funeral cost and two Black families’ loss.”

He went on to express his relief the shooters could “not hit the side of a barn” with a shotgun, because the next morning “y’all all are alive.”

Read more: https://www.ajc.com/news/rapper-killer-mike-speaks-out-after-south-fulton-barbershop-damaged-in-shooting/3UI6S424XRGCRJM4DOVYK5G2GA/
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