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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: 89,146

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

More than 200,000 Puerto Ricans fled to Florida. Their housing aid could soon run out

As Puerto Rico continues to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria, Florida legislators are calling on Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to seek additional federal aid for the hundreds of thousands of evacuees that have come to the state.

The lawmakers sent a letter Monday urging Rosselló to request that FEMA extend the federal hotel voucher program, known as the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program, so evacuees can continue to receive the assistance for hotel stays across the state. The program is set to end Jan. 15.

“There are tens of thousands of families living in Florida and if just one family becomes homeless due to lack of action by the federal government or those officials making decisions in Puerto Rico, it is one family too many,” Sen. Victor Torres, D-Orlando, said in a statement.

The exodus from Puerto Rico has brought more than 200,000 people to Florida, including tens of thousands of students in the state’s public schools.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/article190543634.html

Longtime San Antonio state Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon dies

SAN ANTONIO - State Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon (D), a staple of the East Side community, passed away Tuesday.

She was 74.

McClendon served District 120 in the Texas House before retiring in January 2016.

Health problems forced the representative to use a motorized wheelchair throughout the 2015 legislative session.
McClendon resigning her Texas House seat

McClendon chaired the House Committee on Rules and Resolutions, and served on the Appropriations and Transportation committees.

Read more: https://www.ksat.com/news/politics/longtime-san-antonio-texas-representative-ruth-jones-mcclendon-has-died

Republican Senator Defends Tax Bill by Citing Normal Couple Who Make $15K a Year Thru Corp. Shelter

Republican Senator Defends Tax Bill by Citing Normal Couple Who Make $15,000 a Year Through Corporate Shelter

Republicans have a problem: The big tax bill they are about to vote through is unpopular, with Americans opposing its passage by an average margin of 48-32 across a number of polls. This is likely because many Americans have heard that the bill is projected to add a staggering $1.5 trillion to the deficit and that this money will go, for the most part, toward gigantic tax cuts for corporations and the rich—more of the bill’s benefits in 2018, for example, will go to the top one percent of earners than to the bottom 60 percent of earners combined.

The party’s solution to this, PR-wise, has been to try to talk about the (relatively meager) benefits that the middle class will get from the bill instead of the breaks for high earners that comprise the majority of its price tag. This seems to be what Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the Senate’s majority whip, was attempting to do when he or his social media staff came up with whatever this is:

Senator John Cornyn‏Verified account @JohnCornyn

Under #TaxCutsandJobsAct a married couple earning $100,000 per year ($60,000 from wages, $25,000 from their non-corporate business, and $15,000 in business income) will receive a tax cut of $2,603.50, a reduction of nearly 24 percent.
7:10 AM - 19 Dec 2017

Folks, I’m not some sort of money scientist; as far as taxes, I pay a guy named Ed to do mine and usually don’t think much more about the subject. But I did run Cornyn’s tweet by Slate economics correspondent Jordan Weissmann, who was as perplexed as I was by the idea of a family having both a non-corporate business (plausible—could be, say, a landscaping company) and a chunk of separate and ostensibly corporate “business income.” His best guess was that the $15,000 in Cornyn’s hypothetical refers to income from an “S-corp” created in order to avoid self-employment tax.

It’s not an example, in other words, that really screams “Jane and Joe Sixpack”—the Tax Policy Center estimated in May, for example, that fewer than five percent of households in the middle income quintile would be affected by a reduction to taxes on “pass-through” businesses like S-corps. (The TPC said “more than three-fifths” of households in the top 0.1 percent would benefit, though.) In any case, the actual average tax cut under the GOP bill in 2018 for households in that middle quintile—the literal middle class—will be $980, a gain which could be offset by the cuts to federal retirement and health spending which Republicans now argue they must impose because the deficit is getting too big. (I promise that’s not an exaggeration of what they’re saying—read the article.) For the top one percent of earners, by contrast, the average cut next year will be $51,000. It’s good to be rich!


Rockport water tower comes crashing down

Earlier today, bystanders in Rockport gathered to witness the water tower come crashing down to the ground.

According to city officials, the tower had been damaged for a long time and needed some major repairs.

The city of Rockport does have six other storage tanks, so fortunately water supply is not an issue for the small community.

The debris from the old water tower will be put on trailers and hauled away, and the metal from the tower will be recycled.

See video at http://www.kztv10.com/story/37103695/rockport-water-tower-comes-crashing-down

Investigation concludes Florida Sen. Jack Latvala's conduct may be criminal

TALLAHASSEE -- A Florida Senate investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Sen. Jack Latvala has been referred to law enforcement after a retired judge found that the Clearwater Republican may have committed both sexual harassment and a sexual assault against multiple women, including allegations of “quid pro quo” physical contact or sexual intimacy “in exchange for support of legislative initiatives.”

The special master’s report, delivered to the Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday by retired Judge Ronald V. Swanson, concluded there is probable cause to launch an investigation and hearing by the Rules Committee to determine if Latvala is guilty of violating Senate conduct rules and should be sanctioned or removed from office.

In a stunning development, however, the special master also referred the case for criminal investigation, concluding “a witness other than Complainant, and seemingly confirmed in text messages” from Latvala that “appear to violate ethics rules, and may violate laws prohibiting public corruption.”

“The Special Master recommends these allegations be immediately referred to law enforcement for further investigation. An internal investigation pursuant to Senate Rules, referral to the Florida Commission on Ethics, and/or some other appropriate mechanism of investigation of the alleged ethics violations is also recommended,” Swanson wrote in a 33-page report.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article190624984.html

Florida may raise tobacco-buying age to 21

TALLAHASSEE — Young adults would no longer be allowed to buy tobacco products under a bill filed Tuesday by Central Florida lawmakers.

Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, is sponsoring SB 1288, which would increase the minimum legal age from 18 to 21 to buy cigarettes, tobacco chew and electronic vaping devices and products.

“Raising the age limit for smoking to 21 years is essential if we are serious about saving lives and reducing the cost of health care,” he said in a released statement. “In addition to the tragedy to smokers and their families caused by lung cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke, and emphysema, cigarette smoking burdens America’s health care system by nearly $170 billion annually in direct medical care for adults, according to the Center for Disease Control.”

The penalty would be 20 hours of community service for a first offense, and 40 hours for a second offense within a year.

Read more: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/os-smoking-age-ban-bill-20171219-story.html

Politician loses fight to get guardianship over her husband and his money

Broward Clerk of Court Brenda D. Forman has failed in her quest to convince a judge to declare her 71-year-old husband senile and name her as his guardian.

A committee of three independent examiners concluded that Howard C. Forman “is not incapacitated in any respect,” Judge Mark Speiser determined this month, dismissing the case.

The order notes that the panel of experts agreed unanimously. The word “unanimously” is emphasized in bold.

The decision is a victory for Howard Forman, a longtime Broward politician who served as Clerk of Court himself until he retired last year and helped get his now-estranged wife elected to his old job.

Read more: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/fl-reg-howard-forman-marriage-20171219-story.html

Grand jury investigates death of FSU fraternity pledge from Broward

A grand jury has recommended continuing the investigation into the death of a Florida State University fraternity pledge from Lighthouse Point.

The Leon County grand jury on Tuesday issued a 17-page presentment order that says the investigation into the death of Andrew Coffey is not complete.

County Medical Examiner Dr. Lisa Flannagan said in testimony that the 20-year old Coffey died of alcohol poisoning and had a blood alcohol level of .447 at the time of the autopsy.

Four members of Phi Kappa Phi and 38 pledges appeared before the grand jury. University President John Thrasher, Vice President of Student Affairs Amy Hecht and Coffey's mother, Sandy, also appeared.

Read more: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/florida/fl-reg-andrew-coffey-fsu-fraternity-death-20171219-story.html

12 passengers from cruise ships from Miami and Fort Lauderdale dead in Mexico bus crash

At least 12 passengers from cruise ships that departed from Miami and Fort Lauderdale were killed when a bus carrying them to Mayan ruins in eastern Mexico flipped over on a highway early Tuesday, officials said.

Seven Americans and two Swedes were among the injured, Quintana Roo state Civil Defense spokesman Vicente Martin said. He said authorities hadn't yet established the nationalities of the dead.

Video images from the scene showed the bus on its side in vegetation off the two-lane highway, with some survivors lying on the pavement and others walking around.

Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises said in a statement that passengers from two of its ships, the Celebrity Equinox and Serenade of the Seas, were involved in the crash. The company expressed its sympathies and said it was assisting with medical care and transportation.

Read more: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/florida/fl-reg-mexico-tourist-bus-crash-20171219-story.html

Push for nursing home generators after Irma stalls

TALLAHASSEE – Three months after 13 elderly residents in a South Florida nursing home died because of sweltering conditions following Hurricane Irma, lawsuits and legislative inaction are holding up efforts aimed at preventing such deaths in the future.

Some lawmakers are skeptical of imposing a costly requirement to buy generators to maintain power during emergencies on the nursing home industry, meaning elderly patients could remain vulnerable to extended power outages when the 2018 hurricane season begins in June.

Sen. Gary Farmer, D-Lighthouse Point, filed SB 896 last month to require nursing homes be equipped with generators and to impose more oversight on them. He said the deaths at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills “serves as a wake-up call.” But his bill hasn’t come up for a hearing.

“These are supposed to be special needs and special nursing care facilities,” Farmer said. “They’re not supposed to be death warehouses.”

Read more: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/political-pulse/os-nursing-home-generator-20171213-story.html
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