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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

State treasurer reveals Kentucky was target of $5.3 million fraud attempt

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball says the state was targeted by a sophisticated fraud attempt which attempted to steal millions in taxpayers dollars.

In an interview with Kentucky Newsmakers' Bill Bryant, Ball revealed that the scheme attempted to defraud the state of more than $5.3 million in one attempt and several thousands of dollars in other attempts since then.

Ball said the state was targeted right before Christmas.

"They looked legitimate," Ball said. "I'm so very proud of my staff because one of the things I made them go through a lot of was training on cybersecurity and how do you know when something is fraudulent and something didn't pass the smell test."

Ball said the scheme may have worked if state employees had not received proper training on these types of schemes. The investigation into the scheme is ongoing.

Read more: https://www.wkyt.com/content/news/State-treasurer-reveals-Kentucky-was-target-of-53-million-fraud-attempt-503616571.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Jan 1, 2019, 09:49 PM (0 replies)

6th Circuit panel decision strikes down Tennessee cap on 'punitive' damage awards

NASHVILLE — A 2011 Tennessee law that caps punitive monetary damages in civil lawsuits is unconstitutional, a 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled in a recent split decision.

In the 2-1 ruling involving a West Tennessee case, the judges cited the Tennessee Constitution, which was adopted in 1796 and borrows liberally from North Carolina's, as well as state case law reaching well back into the 19th Century to show awards of punitive damages are historically a "finding of fact" that are in the hands of jurors.

The 25-page appellate decision in the case, released Dec. 21, stems from a 2013 lawsuit filed by Tamarin Lindenberg on behalf of herself and two minor children against Jackson National Life Insurance Co.

She charged the insurer had breached its contract to pay out a life insurance policy after the death of her ex-husband.

Read more: https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/breakingnews/story/2018/dec/27/6th-circuit-panel-decision-strikes-down-tennessee-cap-punitive-damage-awards/485678/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Jan 1, 2019, 07:19 AM (0 replies)

State AG Defending Accused Lawmaker David Byrd in First Amendment Suit

The Tennessee attorney general is now defending a state representative accused of violating students’ free speech rights when they were told to wear shirts advertising his re-election campaign on a field trip to the state Capitol.

An anonymous student sued Waynesboro Republican Rep. David Byrd in November, alleging that Wayne County school officials told students to wear Byrd campaign shirts on the October trip to Nashville. Byrd’s nephew, Ryan Franks, is the principal at Wayne County High School, and three women earlier this year said Byrd had sexual relationships with them when he was their basketball coach at the same school. Byrd never denied the accusations, and despite calls from some Republican leaders for his resignation, he easily won re-election in November.

Earlier this month, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Janssen filed notice with the court that he would be representing Byrd in the case, and earlier this week he asked for permission to file a response to the allegations by the end of January.

“The issue in the case concerns whether the plaintiff student’s First Amendment freedom of speech rights were violated,” AG’s office spokesperson Samantha Fisher tells the Scene, while also pointing to publicly available court filings. “We do not have a comment beyond that.”

Read more, including the Tennessee Democratic Party response:
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Jan 1, 2019, 06:47 AM (0 replies)

Audit stirs debate about costs of private and state prisons in Georgia

While the growth in Georgia’s prison population has slowed after years of changes in the state’s criminal justice system, the inmate count is still expected to rise by more than 1,200 inmates in the next half-decade, according to a new state audit.

“Had we not been doing criminal justice reform, that 1,200 number would probably be 7,500 or so,” said House Appropriations Chairman Terry England, R-Auburn, whose panel requested the audit.

But the report also raises a broader question about who should house those new inmates.

The audit says it costs the state more to house comparable inmates in private prisons than state facilities, which is contrary to long-held beliefs of lawmakers supportive of increased privatization of government.

Read more: https://politics.myajc.com/news/state--regional-govt--politics/audit-stirs-debate-about-costs-private-and-state-prisons-georgia/wYBq2jXJxXmXLYKk5u03bL/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Jan 1, 2019, 06:08 AM (0 replies)

Couple sentenced for stealing $1.6 million in bank fraud scheme

BURLINGTON, Vt. -- A Vermont couple police say stole $1.6 million in loans through bank fraud have been sentenced to prison.

The Bennington Banner reports Alison Gu was sentenced Thursday in federal court to a year in prison. Matthew Abel was sentenced to six months. They were also ordered to pay restitution.

Gu was found guilty in November 2017 of multiple charges, including bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Abel pleaded guilty to last year.

Prosecutors say they stole money from banks using fake mortgage loan applications. Investigators say they bought homes in Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Florida and Texas.

Read more here: https://www.star-telegram.com/news/state/texas/article223761250.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Jan 1, 2019, 06:03 AM (0 replies)

Report: Amazon plans to build, expand Whole Foods stores across U.S.

E-commerce giant Amazon plans to build and expand Whole Foods Market stores across the country in an effort to reach more customers with its two-hour delivery service, according to a new report.

The move would put Whole Foods in more suburbs and regions where the natural grocery chain has been adding shoppers following Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The Journal notes that’s a shift from layoffs and slowing store growth that Whole Foods went through for several years before Amazon bought the Austin-based grocery chain for about $13.5 billion.

Amazon and Whole Foods declined to comment on new store expansion or other investments. In the Rocky Mountain region, one person familiar with the plans told the Journal that Whole Foods employees have visited possible retail spaces in parts of Idaho, southern Utah and Wyoming, where the grocery chain doesn’t currently have stores.

Read more: https://www.statesman.com/news/20181231/report-amazon-plans-to-build-expand-whole-foods-stores-across-us

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland Issues Call for More Citizen Involvement

MEMPHIS -- Politics as such was largely unspoken at Mayor Jim Strickland’s (D) annual New Year’s prayer breakfast on Monday morning — the 2019 edition on New Year’s Eve, actually — at the University of Memphis-area Holiday Inn on Central Avenue.

Dignitaries of all sorts — past, present, and on-the-way-to-being-future — were on hand for the event, which included some extraordinary singing and preaching, the latter notably including a passionate impromptu sermon on the value of persistence through adversity from the Rev.J. Lawrence Turner of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, who was filling in for the absent Rev. LaSimba Gray.

Another absentee was former Mayor Willie Herenton, who was the keynote speaker and guest-of-honor two years ago at Strickland’s New Year’s event, where Herenton called for “10,000 black men” to serve as mentors for the city’s youth population. Two years later, the call for mentors was reiterated by Strickland, who in brief remarks asked for volunteers to commit “one hour a week” to a variety of uplift activities, including “Team Read” and “Rise to Read, two programs to increase youth literacy.

The 79-year-old Herenton, meanwhile, has demonstrated his own persistence by becoming a declared challenger for the mayoralty again in this year of city elections. The only reference Strickland made on Monday to any previous mayor was indirect and early in his remarks, when he was celebrating the contributions to the city by its faith community, members of which, he noted, had been key supporters of those who “struck against my predecessor [Henry Loeb] 50 years ago.”

Read more: https://www.memphisflyer.com/JacksonBaker/archives/2018/12/31/strickland-issues-call-for-more-citizen-involvement
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Jan 1, 2019, 05:19 AM (0 replies)

Louisiana Chemical Association sues board, claims regulators biased in setting pilots' pay

The industries that pay pilots to guide their goods up and down the Mississippi River on seagoing ships have unsuccessfully tried to get the governor to remove regulators they say are biased. Then, they tried and failed to recuse the commissioners for being too beholden to the river pilots.

Now they’re asking the 19th Judicial District Court to essentially fire three commissioners.

The Louisiana Chemical Association claims the river pilots succeeded in packing the Louisiana Pilotage Fee Commission with compliant regulators who set the pay for the pilots, which in 2019 will average $473,692.

Only one of the three commissioners whose neutrality is being questioned is still on the board.

One quit almost as soon as she was appointed by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards in 2016. And retired Metairie businessman Daniel Kingston, said Thursday he abruptly resigned over the holidays for “personal and family reasons.”

Read more: https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/politics/article_efb43566-0ba6-11e9-a6c8-0744ff5a82e9.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Jan 1, 2019, 04:33 AM (0 replies)

Gov. John Bel Edwards makes teacher pay 2019 priority -- but other proposals haven't been so success

Pay raises for Louisiana teachers will be Gov. John Bel Edwards' priority heading into 2019, but there are some items on the governor's wish list that have remained elusive as he heads into the final year of his first term.

"I'm optimistic because if you talk to Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate, there is near universal support for the (teacher) pay raise," Edwards told reporters during a year-end news conference at the Governor's Mansion on Wednesday. "It's my No. 1 priority for the next year's session."

But the inability to address two other priorities — both coincidentally issues dealing with pay, as well — top the governor's list of disappointments during his first three years in office.

Edwards, a Democrat who took office in 2016 and is seeking re-election in 2019, had campaigned on support for an increase in the minimum wage and efforts to address equal pay.

Read more: https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/politics/article_03880d0c-0557-11e9-a4c9-931c2b0a64b5.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Jan 1, 2019, 04:14 AM (0 replies)

Santa Fe police union: Proposed bonus is a 'slap in the face'

A proposal by Mayor Alan Webber to offer bonuses to Santa Fe police officers in hopes of preventing them from leaving for better-paying jobs in other departments may not be going anywhere.

The president of the Santa Fe Police Officers Association, Detective Tony Trujillo, said Monday he doubts police officers will accept Webber’s proposition. Though he declined to disclose the amount, Trujillo called the city’s proposed retention bonuses “insulting” and “a slap in the face” to the department’s rank and file.

“The mayor indicated that he was going to do everything he could to stop the bleeding and to keep our officers from leaving, but the amount that the city agreed upon was nowhere near where we wanted it to be,” Trujillo said. “It’s not going to stop anyone from leaving, and if it’s any indication as to [potential] salary increases [under a new contract] in July, I hate to say it, but it’s not going to be a good year for Santa Fe police officers.”

Trujillo confirmed the union had requested a $15,000 retention bonus for each officer, but it was only meant as a starting point in its negotiations with the city, which he said countered with a fraction of the amount.

Read more: http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/santa-fe-police-union-proposed-bonus-is-a-slap-in/article_16603a42-c26f-59bb-ad41-ae80f3585ca1.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Jan 1, 2019, 03:52 AM (2 replies)
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