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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: 85,773

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

Judge allows challenge to Alabama Democratic Party rules changes to proceed

A federal judge in Montgomery ruled today that former Alabama Democratic Party officials can intervene in a lawsuit settled 30 years ago to pursue their claims challenging new bylaws adopted by the party in 2019.

The lawsuit is the most recent development in a Democratic Party split that surfaced in 2018 and led to changes in the party’s leadership.

Today, U.S. District Judge Austin Huffaker Jr., ruled that former party officials Randy Kelley and Janet May can proceed with their claims that the 2019 bylaws violated a 1991 federal court consent decree. The consent decree was intended to make Black representation in the party’s leadership proportional to the Black share of Alabama’s Democratic voters.

Huffaker made no decision on the merits of the claims by Kelley and May, who alleged that the 2019 changes reduced the voting power of the Black members of the State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC). Kelley and May claim the bylaws violated the 1991 consent decree, the Voting Rights Act, and the 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution.

Read more: https://www.al.com/news/2021/07/judge-allows-challenge-to-alabama-democratic-party-rules-changes-to-proceed.html

Selma Police Officer Marquis Moorer "ambushed," murdered in his home

Selma Police Office Marquis Moorer was killed by a gunman while on duty. According to Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson, Moorer was approached outside his apartment in the Selma Square Apartments and ambushed. A suspect is in custody and has been charged in the murder.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall mourned the tragic loss:

“Once again, one of Alabama’s law enforcement heroes has been tragically struck down,” Marshall said in a statement. “Early this morning, Officer Marquis Moorer was on duty with the Selma Police Department and had stopped by his home for a lunch break when shots were fired from outside. Officer Moorer was killed, and another person inside the residence at Selma Square Apartments was injured and has been hospitalized.”

“Every day, officers routinely risk their lives simply by putting on their uniforms and performing their duties to protect their fellow citizens,” Marshall said. “We must honor them and never take for granted the sacrifices they make on our behalf. I ask you to join me in prayerful gratitude for Officer Moorer as we hold his loved ones in our hearts.”

Marshall concluded: “Please pray for his family, friends, and fellow officers.”

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said on Twitter: “I extend my prayers for the family of Officer Marquis Moorer. A memo to lower the flag will be distributed to honor this hero as soon as his funeral is announced.”

Read more: https://www.alreporter.com/2021/07/28/selma-police-officer-marquis-moorer-ambushed-murdered-in-his-home/

Texas chemical plant leak in La Porte eaves 2 dead, 30 hospitalized

LA PORTE, Texas (AP) — Two people are dead and 30 were hospitalized after a chemical leak at a Houston-area plant, officials said.

LyondellBasell said that about 100,000 pounds (45,359 kilograms) of a mixture that included acetic acid was released in the leak that started Tuesday evening at its La Porte Complex. The company said that the “all clear” was given early Wednesday, and that the leak had been isolated and contained.

The company said air monitoring was ongoing and hasn’t shown “actionable levels."

Two contractors were killed and 30 workers were taken to local hospitals for evaluation and treatment, the company said. Of those, it said 24 were treated and released. The names of the contractors who died were not immediately released.

Read more: https://theeagle.com/news/business/texas-chemical-plant-leak-leaves-2-dead-30-hospitalized/article_009b306f-bd5f-5698-af04-163457a053b6.html

Angelo State University student sues Texas Tech University System over COVID-19 response

An Angelo State University student filed a class action lawsuit against the Texas Tech University System to reclaim portions of tuition and fees paid by students in the 2020 Spring semester that was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lawsuit was filed on July 20 on behalf of students of the Texas Tech University System who enrolled in the Spring 2020 semester and seeks more than $1 million in damages.

In her lawsuit, Peggy Bryan says school officials failed to provide the university experience promised to her and other students when they drastically changed the school's operation to curb the spread of the virus, which has so far killed more than 600,000 people in the United States.

"In short, as to tuition, Plaintiff and the members of the Class have paid tuition for a first-rate education and educational experience, with all the appurtenant benefits offered by a first-rate university, and were provided a materially different product, which constitutes a breach of the contracts entered into by Plaintiff and the Class with the Universities," the lawsuit states.

Read more: https://www.lubbockonline.com/story/news/2021/07/26/student-sues-texas-tech-university-system-over-covid-19-response/5376152001/

'They were manipulated': Pharr produce workers protest unpaid wages, terminations

PHARR — Nearly three dozen people gathered outside the Premier Produce warehouse Wednesday morning to protest the termination and unpaid wages of nearly two dozen former employees.

The protest was organized by La Unión del Pueblo Entero (LUPE), a nonprofit that the former employees reached out to in order to consult with attorneys from the Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.

“We’re here to stand by workers that have been exploited,” Elizabeth Rodriguez, Farmworker Justice Advocate for LUPE, said as protesters marched on the sidewalk just outside the warehouse on South Sugar Road in Pharr.

“They were lied to about their rights,” she continued. “They were worked 60 to 80 hours a week without overtime pay, and then abruptly they were let go. They were worked days without the intention of being paid those final days.”

Read more: https://myrgv.com/local-news/2021/07/28/they-were-manipulated-pharr-produce-workers-protest-unpaid-wages-terminations/

Uncertainty follows governor's order to pull over vehicles transporting migrants

McALLEN — Troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety were instructed Wednesday to stop, even impound, civilian vehicles used to transport migrants via a ‘vague’ executive order that stakeholders — including attorneys, congressmen, city leaders, nongovernmental organizations, and even commercial entities — do not yet know how to interpret or how it will be enforced.

Gov. Greg Abbott’s order gives DPS the authority to restrict the ground transportation of migrants who have crossed illegally into the country or those who would have been subject to expulsion under the federal public health code known as Title 42 by anyone other than federal, state or local law enforcement officials.

Under his orders, troopers would be able to reroute the driver to their point of origin, like a shelter or a port of entry, and have the ability to impound the vehicle.

“We’re going to start getting into legal issues that are going to be hard to enforce, and how do you do that,” McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos asked Wednesday. “I understand the sentiment. I understand the intent. I just don’t see how we’re going to do it.”

Read more: https://myrgv.com/local-news/2021/07/28/uncertainty-follows-governors-order-to-pull-over-vehicles-transporting-migrants/

Buying sex will soon be a felony in Texas. Will law enforcement go after the buyers?

Weeks after Texas Democrats fled the state to avoid casting a ballot on a voting reform bill, pundits are still arguing about whether the legislators’ move was novel.

Whatever the case, Texas lawmakers did do something unprecedented this session: They made Texas the first state to curb the demand for commercial sex with a substantial, punitive measure.

Tucked into H.B. 1540, the Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force’s bipartisan omnibus bill, is a provision that makes sex buying from an adult a felony offense. (Solicitation of a minor was already a felony.)

Ty Bowden, who serves as the associate director of The Net, a Fort Worth anti-trafficking nonprofit, characterized the change as a significant step in the effort to transform the approach of law enforcement to the sex industry and the plight of trafficked individuals.

Read more: https://wacotrib.com/opinion/columnists/cynthia-allen-buying-sex-will-soon-be-a-felony-in-texas-will-law-enforcement-go/article_1f7ccec2-ebe0-11eb-a14c-03a8cfdfdf68.html
(Waco Tribune-Herald)

Criminal Case Against Texas Attorney General Hits Six-Year Mark

It’s been six years since Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was indicted on three felony charges related to securities fraud violations ,and yet no trial on those charges has commenced. In the meantime, there’s an FBI investigation into Paxton’s interactions with a key donor.

And then there’s next year’s reelection. It’s a lot to keep track of, but one person who has been doing just that is Lauren McGaughy, an investigative reporter in The Dallas Morning News’ Austin bureau. She talked to Texas Standard about what’s next for the state’s attorney general.

The initial criminal case dates back to 2015, she explains. Paxton is accused of duping people in a McKinney, Texas,-based investment scheme. He was indicted and released on bond, but thanks to a range of delays, the case has yet to face trial. The case has been transferred from Collin County to Harris County and then back to Collin, after Hurricane Harvey forced courts to close at the time.

“At this point, we are still in a fight over where any of the potential trials should take place,” McGaughy said.

Read more: https://www.texasstandard.org/stories/criminal-case-against-texas-attorney-general-hits-six-year-mark/

I-40 bridge over Mississippi River to begin reopening

MEMPHIS — The Interstate 40 bridge linking Arkansas and Tennessee that was closed after a crack was found in the span will begin reopening to traffic next week, transportation officials said Wednesday.

The Arkansas and Tennessee departments of transportation said the eastbound lanes of the Hernando DeSoto Bridge over the Mississippi River will reopen to limited traffic Monday morning. The span's westbound lanes are slated to reopen Aug. 6.

"We know having the bridge closed has been incredibly inconvenient," Tennessee Transportation Commissioner Clay Bright said in a statement. "We appreciate the public's patience while our team made the repairs and performed extensive inspections to ensure it's structurally sound for many years to come."

The I-40 bridge was shut down May 11 after inspectors found a crack in one of two 900-foot (275-meter) horizontal steel beams critical for the bridge's structural integrity. Road traffic had been diverted to the nearby Interstate 55 bridge during the I-40 bridge's repairs.

Read more: https://www.texarkanagazette.com/news/national/story/2021/jul/29/i-40-bridge-over-mississippi-river-begin-reopening/881156/

D.C.'s problems with vacant, blighted properties haven't gone away, residents and officials say

Thousands of properties in the District are vacant or in need of repairs, but the city has lost out on millions in tax revenue because it is not charging the owners the higher tax rate for blighted properties.

The D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has flagged nearly 3,000 properties in the city as being blighted or empty, but only 189 are taxed at the blighted rate — the highest tax rate for a property — and 359 are considered vacant but have tax exemptions as of this month.

The rest are taxed the same as an occupied home or business in good repair. Most of these blighted or vacant properties are centered in the District’s poorest neighborhoods in Wards 7 and 8, in neighborhoods such as Deanwood and Congress Heights. Other areas with a high concentration of vacant or blighted properties include Columbia Heights, Shaw, NoMa and areas along the H Street corridor.

The District has been aware of the issue since 2017, when D.C. Auditor Kathleen Patterson found that the DCRA had not strictly regulated unoccupied or derelict buildings, frequently granted exemptions to those rules with no justification and utilized poor information systems. The audit, which focused on a case study of 31 properties, found that the lapses led to $1 million in lost tax revenue from those properties that year — and that the city could be losing out on significantly more.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2021/07/28/dc-vacant-blighted-properties/
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