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TexasTowelie

Profile Information

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: 95,440

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

Texas students, frustrated by limited COVID-19 protocols, turn to petition drives and walkouts

by Brooke Park, Texas Tribune


For Texas high school students, keeping up with class work was hard enough before the pandemic.

But then the pandemic hit, and with it came debates over everything having to do with Texas schools. Masks or no masks? Will online classes be available?

Schools reopened last fall but are struggling to remain open in the midst of a coronavirus surge caused by the omicron variant. The semester has barely started, and so far, there have been 192,145 student COVID-19 cases and 61,142 staff cases, according to the Texas Education Agency. That appears to be the highest case level since the pandemic began in 2020, although the data collected by the state is often incomplete.

At the same time, there’s been a scaling back of coronavirus precautions, prompting many students to take action with petition drives and class walkouts.

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2022/01/31/texas-students-covid-19-walkouts/

USM ran ads recruiting white students in Maine and minorities in Massachusetts

Maine’s second-biggest public university used a software platform to promote itself to white students in northern New England while targeting minority students in Massachusetts, a practice that the institution said it no longer uses.

The University of Southern Maine did that targeting in 2016 through a contract with the company that owned Naviance, a college readiness software provider that also runs an advertising platform. The $27,000 contract was first published earlier this month in an article by The Markup detailing how Naviance markets colleges and universities to prospective students.

The granular look at one piece of the public university’s past recruiting efforts comes amid a reckoning around race-based admissions at American institutions. The conservative-led U.S. Supreme Court agreed last week to hear a case challenging race-based admissions at the private Harvard University in Massachusetts and the public University of North Carolina.

Naviance allowed schools to tailor what type of student might see advertising based on several demographics, including race and location. In USM’s case, it advertised the university to Black, white and Hispanic students in Massachusetts and only white students in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Read more: https://bangordailynews.com/2022/01/30/news/portland/usm-ran-ads-recruiting-white-students-in-maine-and-minorities-in-massachusetts-joam40zk0w/

'People feel unheard': Lawmakers search for more answers to Maine's housing crisis

“It’s a horrible system that I got caught in,” said Lewiston resident Amy Sanchez, who spent three years on a waitlist for a federal Section 8 rental assistance voucher after leaving an abusive marriage. “I was on a waitlist for forever long.”

After navigating a gauntlet of means testing and twice appearing before a judge, she finally was able to secure a voucher and now pays $509 per month in rent. Sanchez also collects $1,700 per month in disability.

“In order to qualify for these programs, you need to have very little income,” she said. “For disability, you can’t work at all. So then you have to go through all of these steps to get help to pay for electricity, the cell phone, the internet, or qualify for food stamps. It’s a horrible way to help low-income people. It’s either all or nothing.”

Sanchez is just one voice in a sea of Mainers struggling to afford shelter. The state continues to grapple with a shortage of about 20,000 affordable housing units, with an estimated 27,000 Maine households on the waitlist for Section 8 vouchers.

Read more: https://mainebeacon.com/people-feel-unheard-lawmakers-search-for-more-answers-to-maines-housing-crisis/

Mapping error raises question of location of 9 islands

BANGOR, Maine (AP) — The Maine Legislature is getting involved in a dispute over which county can claim a string of coastal islands.

Waldo County officials say a 70-year-old mapping error led to nine small islands being considered part of Knox County over the years. They say the islands are part of the Islesboro archipelago and should be part of Waldo County.

A legislative committee last week instructed the two counties to try to reach an agreement on the facts. A meeting is tentatively scheduled for early February.

https://www.mainepublic.org/maine/2022-01-30/mapping-error-raises-question-of-location-of-9-islands
(no more at link)

John Tuttle, a longtime state lawmaker from Sanford, dies at 70

John Tuttle (D), who spent nearly 30 years representing Sanford in both chambers of the state Legislature, has died.

Tuttle also spent ten years as a selectmen in Sanford and, more recently, as a city councilor after Sanford changed its charter in 2012

Tuttle was a champion high school and collegiate wrestler and worked as an Emergency Medical Technician.

Gov. Janet Mills, in a statement, praised Tuttle for "his unwavering commitment to improving he lives of the people of Maine."

The Sanford Springvale News reports John Tuttle died Thursday night after a period of ill health.

https://www.mainepublic.org/politics/2022-01-28/john-tuttle-a-longtime-state-lawmaker-from-sanford-dies-at-70
(no more at link)

Maine Legislature to continue virtual committee meetings amid pandemic

Both chambers of the Maine Legislature will convene for floor sessions at least three times next month. But legislative committees will continue to meet virtually because of the pandemic.

Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, said that committees still have so much work on their plates that it doesn't make sense for the entire House and Senate to gather more often in February.

“While it would be good to see friends and colleagues, it would not be a good use of time or taxpayer dollars,” Jackson said in a statement. “We ought to be doing what we can to limit the stress on our hospitals and frontline workers and support our schools and teachers to ensure our kids can continue with in-person learning.”

House Speaker Ryan Fecteau, D-Biddeford, says that high COVID-19 case rates and hospitalization figures in Maine justify continuing to hold virtual committee hearings and work sessions, at least for now.

Read more: https://www.mainepublic.org/politics/2022-01-28/maine-legislature-to-continue-virtual-committee-meetings-amid-pandemic

Louisiana unveiling 2 new Civil Rights Trail markers

NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana is unveiling two new Civil Rights Trail markers — one at the room where three Black first graders integrated a New Orleans school in 1960, and the other honoring an African American tank battalion formed during World War II.

Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser will lead ceremonies Tuesday at the former McDonogh 19 Elementary School, for the marker to Gail Etienne, Leona Tate and Tessie Prevost, and Wednesday at Camp Beauregard in Pineville, paying tribute to the 761st Tank Battalion. Each marker on the trail is a 6-foot-tall steel silhouette of a human with a sign explaining the events that took place at the site.

The school is now being developed as a civil rights museum named the Tate, Etienne, Prevost Center. The girls were its only students for months because white parents pulled their children out.

Starting Nov. 14, 1960, U.S. marshals escorted them to school every day. "The girls had recess indoors, ate under staircases, and the windows were covered at all times," a news release recounted.

Read more: https://www.phillytrib.com/news/across_america/louisiana-unveiling-2-new-civil-rights-trail-markers/article_995acba2-8223-11ec-b52f-c340ea7054fc.html

Proposed Pa. Constitution amendment to limit abortion access has rights advocates concerned

A proposed amendment to Pennsylvania's constitution that would prevent the courts from making any unilateral decisions on abortion rights and limit access to the procedure, passed in the Senate's Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday.

Gov. Tom Wolf has made clear he would veto any legislation impacting abortion rights passed by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, in this instance he would have no say due to to the legislators pursuing this change via a change to the state constitution. The bill still has to pass two separate votes in the House and Senate and then would be added as a ballot question and ultimately decided by voters.

The proposal comes abortion rights advocates are concerned the U.S. Supreme Court could undo Roe v. Wade. The landmark case provides much of the precedent behind the legalization of medical abortion in the country. If it is overruled, more than 20 states would be able to immediately ban abortion.

In Pennsylvania, Sen. Judy Ward and Rep. Donna Oberlander brought the joint resolution for the amendment to state constitution to the legislature. They cited the legal battle over abortion funding for those on a Medicaid insurance plans as the reasoning.

Read more: https://www.phillyvoice.com/pro-choice-abortion-pennsylvania-constitutional-amendment-state-senate/

Proposed Pa. Constitution amendment to limit abortion access has rights advocates concerned

A proposed amendment to Pennsylvania's constitution that would prevent the courts from making any unilateral decisions on abortion rights and limit access to the procedure, passed in the Senate's Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday.

Gov. Tom Wolf has made clear he would veto any legislation impacting abortion rights passed by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, in this instance he would have no say due to to the legislators pursuing this change via a change to the state constitution. The bill still has to pass two separate votes in the House and Senate and then would be added as a ballot question and ultimately decided by voters.

The proposal comes abortion rights advocates are concerned the U.S. Supreme Court could undo Roe v. Wade. The landmark case provides much of the precedent behind the legalization of medical abortion in the country. If it is overruled, more than 20 states would be able to immediately ban abortion.

In Pennsylvania, Sen. Judy Ward and Rep. Donna Oberlander brought the joint resolution for the amendment to state constitution to the legislature. They cited the legal battle over abortion funding for those on a Medicaid insurance plans as the reasoning.

Read more: https://www.phillyvoice.com/pro-choice-abortion-pennsylvania-constitutional-amendment-state-senate/

Murphy says New Jersey will replenish fund for immigrant workers

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Thursday he will replenish the $40 million fund created for workers who were excluded from COVID-19 relief aid, a move that comes a week after the state said 85% of the fund had been redirected to state payroll expenses.

Immigrant activists celebrated news of additional funds for the state’s 460,000 undocumented immigrants — and an extended deadline for them to file for the aid — but remain critical of the administration’s handling of the matter. A four-week extension and minor changes to the application process won’t be enough to help a marginalized population that largely hasn’t received a cent in direct federal or state aid, they said.

Activists also believe immigrants are being blamed for what they believe are the administration’s failures.

“The Murphy administration and Department of Human Services, it’s their responsibility to make this fund accessible to the community. It’s not the responsibility of this community or the fault of people living in the community. If we don’t see more people applying and being approved, then my read is nothing has changed,” said Jorge Torres of the National Day Laborers Organizing Network.

Murphy announced the replenishment and month-long extension on WNYC Thursday, days before the deadline to apply for the pared-down relief fund.

Read more: https://newjerseymonitor.com/2022/01/28/murphy-says-n-j-will-replenish-fund-for-immigrant-workers/
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