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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: 78,425

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

Magnolia man given permission to vote while wearing MAGA hat

MONTGOMERY CO. — A Magnolia man is given permission to vote with his MAGA hat on, after hours of debating with police.

Tyson Taylor says he was prepared to take it to the courts if he needed to, once law enforcement showed up to escort him out of the Mitchell Library in the Woodlands.

Placed 100 feet from the polls, Taylor began to make his argument for why he should be allowed to vote, regardless of the hat.

A hat that while controversial, Taylor never saw as political. All candidates he says should believe in the concept of making America great, no matter what your political affiliation.

Read more: https://www.khou.com/article/news/local/magnolia-man-given-permission-to-vote-while-wearing-maga-hat/285-609777572

Whole Foods' Labor Market

Austin's favorite Amazon unit got unwanted attention last week from two idols of its fan base: Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who'd like Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to explain a recent Whole Foods Market team-leader training on "the tools that you need for success when it comes to labor organizing." The animated video, first leaked to Gizmodo in September, is clearly an Amazon product but follows in the grocer's long tradition of tetchy labor relations, dating back at least to founder John Mackey's "Beyond Unions" broadside in the early 1990s.

"We do not believe unions are in the best interest of our customers," the cartoon narrator (wearing an Amazon-fulfillment-center reflective vest) tells managers. Those team leaders are warned to avoid clearly illegal behavior like threatening or spying on employees, but also to listen for "warning signs" of incipient organizing. These include workers using terms like "steward" or "living wage" or displaying "an unusual interest in policies, benefits, employee lists, or other company information."

The team leaders are assured they can say anything, no matter how derogatory, about unions short of directly threatening workers, but the senators disagree, citing multiple ways in which the content described by Gizmodo would likely violate the decades-old National Labor Relations Act. Sanders and Warren want Amazon to ship their entire order of WFM union-busting material, and any legal opinions used to justify Amazon's approach, to them by Nov. 1.

(no more at link)

COTA Withdraws Support From IndyAustin--Pepe the Frog gaffe costs anti-stadium drive big bucks

Circuit of the Americas, which had been one of the largest financial backers of IndyAustin, has withdrawn “all financial support” from the political action committee after Pepe the Frog found his way into an IndyAustin video attacking Mayor Steve Adler over the effort to bring Major League Soccer to town.

The video in question was sent out Friday, Oct. 26 in an email with the subject line, “Video of Steve Adler's Shall [sic] Game on Austin.” The now-deleted silent animated video shows a shell game while scrolling text lambastes Adler for the McKalla Place soccer stadium deal; IndyAustin is both electioneering against Adler in this election and conducting a petition drive aiming to force “Adler’s sucker stadium” onto a future ballot.

At the end of the video, when the shells are lifted, the “pea” is revealed to be Pepe, the cartoon frog who became a favorite of Trump-loving anti-Semites during and after the 2016 election campaign. The use of a widely recognized hate symbol in an ad attacking the city’s Jewish mayor proved a step too far for COTA.

Also on Friday, COTA had blogged its support for IndyAustin’s petition in no uncertain terms: “Austin cannot keep giving special deals to out-of-town businesses with no connection to the community, while local businesses and homeowners struggle to afford to be here … By seeking a public vote - not unlike what has occurred in stadium deals elsewhere - IndyAustin is trying to do what is best for the taxpayers and the school district.” This was the most explicit statement yet that COTA, which will host the Austin Bold squad in the United Soccer League (a level below MLS), has been directly and financially involved in the opposition to the McKalla Place deal.

Read more: https://www.austinchronicle.com/daily/news/2018-10-29/cota-withdraws-support-from-indyaustin/

TXDOT offers timeline on rebuild of collapsed 2900 Bridge in Kingsland

Plans take shape to replace the collapsed RR 2900 Bridge in Kingsland, as Texas Department of Transportation coordinate engineering meetings, draft designs and seek an emergency contract to potentially begin the process in December, officials say.

On Oct. 16, flood waters from Junction swept into the Llano River eventually slamming into the Highland Lakes at the mouth of Lake LBJ, washing away the structure.

“We're going to be working under an emergency timeline which allows us to speed these construction processes,” said TXDOT spokeswoman Diann Hodges. “Obviously this is a priority for TXDOT that we get this bridge rebuilt as quickly as possible.”

The bridge was not only a main thoroughfare of the community in Llano County but also served as a venue for large-scale celebrations such as the annual AquaBoom Fourth of July event.

Read more: https://www.highlandernews.com/articles/2018/10/26/txdot-offers-timeline-rebuild-collapsed-2900-bridge-kingsland

EDITOR'S NOTE: Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) officials conducted a press conference in Austin Oct. 26, revealing the bridge could be completed as early as April 2019.

U.S. Rep. Beto O''Rourke's visit to Brownville on Thursday moved to the Ringgold Civic Pavilion

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s visit to Brownville on Thursday will now take place at the Ringgold Civic Pavilion at Dean Porter Park, located at 501 E Ringgold St.

O’Rourke was originally scheduled to appear from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at the TSC {Texas Southmost College} Performing Arts Center, but will now be at the new location during the same times.

The public is invited but attendees are being asked to register for the event.

Read more: https://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/local/o-rourke-s-visit-moved-to-dean-porter-park/article_3e5207d0-dc6c-11e8-849c-e3fde6978518.html

Related article from the Brownsville Herald:
O’Rourke to visit TSC for town hall

While it isn't mentioned in the article, the fact that the event was moved to a park most likely means that so many people registered that the event had to be moved outdoors. Cruz better not count on a Latino enthusiasm gap if he wants to return to office.

O'Rourke conducts Amarillo campaign rally

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke visited Amarillo for the seventh time on Monday morning, as he greeted supporters and touched upon a wide range of issues during a campaign rally at Six Car Pub & Brewery downtown.

O’Rourke, who is facing Republican incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz and Libertarian Party candidate Neal Dikeman, addressed the gathering for just over 20 minutes before attendees walked to the Santa Fe Building to participate in early voting.

“I want to make sure this divided country comes together, that Texas, that Amarillo helps to lead the way,” he said. “We’re not defined by our party affiliation, we’re defined by what we want to do for this country going forward. Being there for veterans, ensuring that those who cannot see a doctor have insurance, making sure our public school teachers, many of whom are working a second job, are making a living wage so they can work just that one most important job. These are things we can come together on and lead.”

During his address O’Rourke also discussed universal healthcare, immigration, education, public service, mental healthcare resources availability and appreciation for military service. He also expressed gratitude for the role Amarillo has played in his campaign.

Read more: http://www.amarillo.com/news/20181029/orourke-conducts-amarillo-campaign-rally

Ige, Tupola Spar In Final Debate Before Election Day

Trailing by a wide margin in the polls, Republican state Rep. Andria Tupola had nothing to lose going into her final televised debate Monday night against Democratic Gov. David Ige.

Her answers were polished for the most part, and she was clearly more in her element than Ige fielding questions on more than a dozen issues from KITV anchor Paula Akana. But as the governor was quick to point out, Tupola didn’t answer all of them.

She hammered Ige for wanting to raise taxes to fund certain programs when she said state departments should instead look for efficiencies and ways to cut fat.

She didn’t specify what tax increase she was talking about, but in the past has criticized Ige for supporting a proposed constitutional amendment allowing the state to levy property taxes to help fund schools. The ballot measure has been invalidated by the Supreme Court.

Read more: https://www.civilbeat.org/2018/10/ige-tupola-spar-in-final-debate-before-election-day/

Officials recover 6-foot-long snake on Hawaii Island

HAWAII ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - On the Big Island, Animal Control Officers recovered a six-foot-long snake in Keaau.

Department of Agriculture officials said they took the snake into custody on Sunday.

According to a report by the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, the snake was found at a Keaau home over the weekend.

The Herald also reports that the snake was a boa constrictor, though state officials were not able to provide many details.

Read more: http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2018/10/31/officials-recover-foot-long-snake-hawaii-island/

Volcano eruptions result in a 14% drop on Island of Hawaii tourist visits and spending.

From page 4 of the Hawai‘i Visitor Statistics Released for September and First Three Quarters of 2018 published by the Hawaii Tourism Authority:

Island of Hawai‘i: In September, visitor spending declined (-14.1% to $140.5 million) due to
lower daily spending (-7.5% to $182 per person) and decreased visitor days (-7.2%) versus last
year. Visitor arrivals were down (-14.0% to 102,635), with fewer visitors from Canada (-34.3%),
Japan (-29.5%), U.S. East (-15.4%) and U.S. West (-6.5%). Fewer visitors (-27.2%) took day
trips compared to a year ago. The average daily census decreased 7.2 percent to 25,671 visitors
in September. For the first three quarters, continued growth was realized in both visitor spending
(+5.1% to $1.84 billion) and visitor arrivals (+0.6% to 1,321,174) compared to last year.


Hawaii Oil Dependence to Boost America's Highest Power Bills

Paradise is about to get pricier.

Hawaii, which already struggles with the nation’s highest electric bills, could see them jump by as much as 20 percent in just two years thanks, oddly enough, to new regulations on fuel use in oceangoing ships.

The state depends on mostly low-sulfur fuel oil for about 70 percent of its power. In 2020, though, demand for that fuel is expected to surge, pushing up prices. The reason: New maritime rules that require ships worldwide to lower the amount of sulfur in their fuel. Meanwhile, Hawaii’s shift to 100 percent renewables isn’t slated to happen until 2045.

“The average person has no clue,” said Shasha Fesharaki, the Honolulu-based executive vice-chairman at FGE, an energy industry consultant. “The rates are going to have to go up."

Individually, Hawaiians paid 32.4 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity in August, more than 40% more than the amount paid by residents in number two Alaska, according to U.S. Energy Department data. That could easily rise by 20 percent, Fesharaki said.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-30/hawaii-oil-addiction-set-to-boost-nation-s-costliest-power-bills
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