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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, 02:57 AM
Number of posts: 78,486

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

Gavin Newsom's first hires suggest the next California governor has big health care plans

Gavin Newsom might not be able to accomplish his ambitious campaign goal of bringing government-funded universal health care to California, but his first hires suggest he’s planning something big.

Incoming chief of staff Ann O’Leary helped develop the Children’s Health Insurance Program when she worked in the Bill Clinton White House.

His cabinet secretary — typically the second-highest-ranking cabinet member — Ana Matosantos helped lead negotiations to expand health insurance access under former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

And several other key appointees in the new administration have spent years advocating to make health care more affordable and expand immigrants’ access to insurance.

Read more here: https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article223531825.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Thu Jan 3, 2019, 05:30 AM (4 replies)

Wells Fargo pays fine, drops insurance license in California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Wells Fargo has agreed to pay California $5 million to settle allegations that it opened insurance policies for its customers and charged them without their consent.

The San Francisco-based company agreed to give up its insurance licenses for two years and to pay another $5 million if it ever wants to sell insurance in California again.

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones accepted the settlement on Wednesday. He says company representatives issued about 1,500 insurance policies without the consent of customers. The settlement is part of a massive fake-accounts scandal that has tarnished the reputation of one of the nation’s largest banks.

Wells Fargo spokeswoman Catherine Pulley says the company has worked to make things right for customers and earn back their trust. It previously stopped issuing new insurance policies.

Read more here: https://www.sacbee.com/news/business/article223833745.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Thu Jan 3, 2019, 04:55 AM (3 replies)

Ghost Ship attorney calls DA 'corrupt'; defendant expected to testify in trial

OAKLAND — At least one Ghost Ship warehouse fire defendant is expected to testify in the involuntary manslaughter trial, while another attorney called the district attorney “corrupt” after a Wednesday hearing.

Curtis Briggs, one of the attorneys for defendant Max Harris, called out District Attorney Nancy O’Malley for being “fundamentally corrupt” outside the courtroom on Wednesday. Harris and co-defendant Derick Almena are each charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the deaths of 36 people in the Fruitvale warehouse fire on Dec. 2, 2016.

Attorneys for both Harris and Almena have called for the arrest and charges against 14 other individuals related to the fire, including the Ng family, which owned the warehouse building, as well as fire and other city officials.

“I think any time you use your prosecutorial power to prosecute an underdog, someone who couldn’t likely defend themself if attorneys hadn’t stepped forward on a pro bono status, and you try to blame an entire tragedy on them when it was actually the city of Oakland’s fault, when it was the owners’ fault … that’s institutional corruption in its highest form,” Briggs said.

Read more: https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2019/01/02/ghost-ship-attorney-calls-da-corrupt-defendant-expected-to-testify-in-trial/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Wed Jan 2, 2019, 07:56 PM (2 replies)

Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom will propose almost $2 billion for early childhood programs

Seeking to frame his new administration as one with a firm focus on closing the gap between children from affluent and poor families, Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom will propose spending some $1.8 billion on an array of programs designed to boost California’s enrollment in early education and child-care programs.

Newsom’s plan, which he hinted at in a Fresno event last month, will be a key element in the state budget proposal he submits to the Legislature shortly after taking office Monday, a source close to the governor-elect’s transition team said Tuesday.

The spending would boost programs designed to ensure children enter kindergarten prepared to learn, closing what some researchers have called the “readiness gap” that exists based on a family’s income. It would also phase in an expansion of prekindergarten, and offer money to help school districts that don’t have facilities for full-day kindergarten.

“The fact that he’s making significant investments with his opening budget is really exciting,” Ted Lempert, president of the Bay Area-based nonprofit Children Now, said Tuesday. “What’s exciting is the comprehensiveness of it, because it’s saying we’re going to focus on prenatal through age 5.”

Read more: https://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-may-2018-gov-elect-gavin-newsom-will-propose-1546395091-htmlstory.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Wed Jan 2, 2019, 03:22 PM (1 replies)

Irvine Inflight Entertainment Business Faces $1 Billion Federal Fraud Case

An Irvine company that supplies extremely lucrative inflight entertainment systems to airlines around the globe is fighting a federal lawsuit in Southern California that accuses it of engaging in racketeering, unjust enrichment and fraud exceeding $1 billion.

According to officials at Wamar International LLC, they were hired in 2012 by Thales Avionics, Inc. to do what it couldn’t do after years of trying: unseat Panasonic as the dominant supplier of in-flight entertainment packages in the prized Middle Eastern air market.

“Over the span of seven years, Wamar senior management secured over $2 billion in contracts [for Thales] with large airline and transport companies in the Middle Eastern region,” the 100-page lawsuit states. “Instead of paying outstanding, agree-upon consulting fees, the defendants have conspired to induce Wamar’s continued performance with no intention of ever paying what is owed.”

Lawyers for Thales have responded by seeking a quick dismissal of the court action inside Orange County’s Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse.

Read more: https://ocweekly.com/thales-rico-lawsuit-airlines/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Wed Jan 2, 2019, 03:04 PM (0 replies)

Kaiser Mental Health Workers Launch Statewide Strike

Workers at Kaiser Permanente recently staged what is the largest mental health strike in history over the course of five days. Thousands of workers, at nearly 100 facilities across the state in protest of the healthcare giant’s continued refusal to provide what the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) considers to be adequate care. This is not the first time the NUHW has clashed with Kaiser Mental Health. In 2011, Kaiser employees complained to the California Department of Managed Healthcare (DMHC) that understaffing had led to unreasonably long wait times for patients. Following a 15 month investigation, the DHMC fined Kaiser $4 million, and in 2015, workers staged a five-day strike in protest of unchanging conditions, a continuing fight for employee contracts, and the retaliation by Kaiser against prominent whistleblowers.

According to both union officials and picketing workers, the issues that sparked the conflict in 2015, especially those involving understaffing, remain central to last week’s strikes. According to NUHW, the ratio of clinicians to patients at Kaiser is one per 3,000–the same disproportionate ratio that existed in 2015. “They say they hired more people, but there’s a high rate of attrition,” says Anne Rose, a behavioral health clinician in Laguna hills. “People retire, people leave Kaiser because the workload is so big that a lot of people just don’t want to do it . . . What we had hoped for is that Kaiser would follow through on their goal of making Kaiser the best place for mental health care, and we haven’t seen that happen.”

NUHW began negotiations with Kaiser in May but no progress has been made. NUHW president Sal Roselli argues that Kaiser has more than enough money to address their concerns. “Kaiser is filthy rich, with over $46 billion cash reserve and investments,” Roselli says. “They can afford to provide adequate care, and so they should do it.”

Last year, Kaiser reported $3.8 billion in profits and $2.9 billion for the first nine months of 2018. The shortage of clinicians has real consequences for Kaiser Permanente patients, which means that new patients often have to wait up to six weeks to meet with a mental health professional, with repeat patients waiting up to 12 weeks.

Read more: https://ocweekly.com/kaiser-mental-health-workers-launch-statewide-strike/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Wed Jan 2, 2019, 02:21 PM (1 replies)

Report: Vermont wages are stuck at 2010 levels

Vermont’s economy is growing, but that growth isn’t helping many Vermonters move ahead, according to a new report from Public Assets Institute.

The Montpelier-based think tank has been putting out its State of Working Vermont report for more than a decade, and the trend of slow growth, low wages, and high costs hasn’t changed in that time, said Paul Cillo, the nonprofit’s executive director. Vermont is one of 10 states where median household income actually dropped in 2017, the report says.

“The surprise is that there is no surprise” in the findings of the report, said Cillo. “We’re now at 10 years since the Great Recession began. There has been recovery, and it has been slow and steady. But wages are low.”

The report, released in late December, outlines Vermont’s overall economic growth and who has gained the most from it; the ability of average Vermonters to make ends meet; and the state’s job market and wages.

Read more: https://vtdigger.org/2019/01/01/report-vermont-wages-stuck-2010-levels/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Wed Jan 2, 2019, 05:10 AM (1 replies)

Bill would make Oregon second in nation to enact .05% DUII law

Utah on Sunday will become the first state to lower the limit for driving under the influence of alcohol from .08 to .05 percent.

Sen. Peter Courtney, D-Salem and president of the Oregon Senate, hopes Oregon becomes the second.

Courtney is gearing up to introduce a bill during the upcoming legislative session -- which starts Jan. 22 -- that would make it illegal for drivers to get behind the wheel with a blood alcohol content of .05 percent or greater.

“Alcohol is a deadly weapon,” Courtney said.

Read more: https://www.oregonlive.com/news/2018/12/bill-would-make-oregon-second-in-nation-to-enact-05-duii-law.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Wed Jan 2, 2019, 04:57 AM (2 replies)

Portland Man Locked in Burger King Bathroom Says Company Reneged on Offer of Free Whoppers for Life

When a faulty lock trapped Curtis Brooner in the restroom of a Northeast Portland Burger King for an hour, he says the foul experience came with a windfall: The fast-food restaurant's manager offered him free meals for life.

Now Brooner is suing Burger King in Multnomah County Circuit Court, saying the company reneged on the deal.

The lawsuit, filed today, seeks a court order forcing Burger King to honor its offer, or damages of $9,026.16. That's the cost of buying one Whopper combo a week for the next 22 years.

"It's an honor issue," Brooner tells WW. "They could have said, 'The next meal is free,' and that would have ended it. But that's not the deal they made."

Read more: https://www.wweek.com/news/courts/2019/01/01/portland-man-locked-in-burger-king-bathroom-says-company-reneged-on-offer-of-free-whoppers-for-life/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Wed Jan 2, 2019, 04:16 AM (8 replies)

Clatsop County prosecutor blasts student's records request as 'spam'

In early 2018, journalism students at the University of Oregon sent public records requests to all 36 district attorneys in Oregon, seeking specific records about how the DAs themselves handle public records cases. Most were helpful. But one of district attorneys, Clatsop County's Josh Marquis, was at times defensive and hostile toward William Mallery, the then-UO student journalist who sent him a public records request. Marquis called the student's request as "spam" and offering some unsolicited advice about journalism and the law.

The emails mention the Catalyst Journalism Project is a reporting program at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication that teaches students to use investigative reporting and solutions journalism.

Here's the unedited email exchange between Marquis and the student.

• Feb. 1, 2018: The student sent the original public-records request to Marquis. The request followed a standard format for such requests and was similar to those sent by other UO journalism students to all district attorneys in Oregon.


• Feb. 2: Marquis responded the next day. He didn't acknowledge the student's detailed case for a fee waiver and suggested the student was demanding records, which was not the case.

Read more: https://pamplinmedia.com/pt/9-news/415875-318129-county-prosecutor-blasts-students-records-request-as-spam-
Posted by TexasTowelie | Wed Jan 2, 2019, 04:01 AM (0 replies)
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