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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

Australia wants more Samoan workers

Australia has assured the government that they want to hire Samoans to work under their Seasonal Workers Program, (S.W.P); an identical program to the New Zealand Recognised Seasonal Workers (R.S.E.).

The assurances was made this week via telephone by Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Julia Bishop to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi.

“Providing new jobs for our people is a must and a priority in my administration,” Tuilaepa said.

“I have been informed that for this year 120 Samoans are presently employed in Australia by two employers through the S.W.P and a third employer has expressed his interest.

Read more: http://www.samoaobserver.ws/en/31_03_2017/local/18510/Australia-wants-more-Samoan-workers.htm

StarKist and Longline Service tell Samoan fishery management of their challenges

Although no specific details were released, StarKist Samoa official Taotasi Archie Soliai told a fishery management meeting in Honolulu that negotiations are ongoing with the government for land to build the cannery’s cold storage facility in Satala and that negotiations are expected to continue again early this week.

Early this year, StarKist Co. officials from headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania were on island to meet with ASG officials. Negotiations, which included Taotasi, for land space at the shipyard didn’t reach an agreement, but are continuing.

Taotasi along with Christinna Lutu-Sanchez of Longline Service Inc. presented a briefing on the territory’s canneries and fishing industry, last Thursday, during day-three of the final day of the 169th Meeting of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council in Honolulu. Taotasi and Lutu-Sanchez along with Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources are American Samoa’s members on the Council.

For StarKist Samoa, “business is continuing although the challenges have basically not changed,” Taotasi said, and noted that in 2016, the cannery had four weeks of unplanned closures “most of which are attributed to supply and not being able to have supplies.”

- See more at: http://www.samoanews.com/local-news/starkist-and-longline-service-tell-fishery-management-their-challenges

2% wage tax inadvertently not deducted from some American Samoan government paychecks

For American Samoa workers: No you didn’t get an increment raise, and no the 2% wage tax has not been repealed, and yes — you are paying it back, if it wasn’t deducted.

With the roll out of a new ASG computer system, the 2% wage tax was not deducted from payroll checks for some American Samoa Government employees, says Human Resources director Eseneiaso Liu, who has also set a deadline for submission of employees’ time sheets to ensure they are paid come payday.

Liu made the revelation in two separate memos — both dated Mar. 24 — as well as a verbal explanation during the governor’s cabinet meeting on Tuesday at the Agriculture Department conference room.

Payroll Division has been under the jurisdiction of the Department of Human Resources for about two years, based on a directive at the time from Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga.

See more at: http://www.samoanews.com/local-news/2-wage-tax-inadvertently-not-deducted-some-asg-paychecks

What Duncan Hunter is saying about the Justice Department probe into his campaign finances

In an interview Wednesday, March 29, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine denied breaking any laws but wouldn’t say who is responsible for tens of thousands of dollars in charges to his campaign account that spurred an ongoing criminal probe by the Justice Department.

In what may be his first in-person public comments since news of the investigation broke last week, Hunter, who represents most of Temecula, told POLITICO: “I was not involved in any criminal action. Maybe I wasn’t attentive enough to my campaign. That’s not a crime.”

Since last year, Hunter has faced increasing scrutiny over his campaign expenses, from charges from online video games – he said his son mistakenly used a campaign credit card – to expenses for an oral and facial surgeon, money that went toward tuition for his children’s private school to grocery bills, fast food meals, costs tied to purchases in Italy and Disneyland and charges made at a surf shop and repairs to a garage door at his home.

Federal law forbids spending campaign money on personal expenses. Hunter, who commissioned an outside audit of his campaign account, later took out a personal loan to repay about $49,000 in expenses and has reimbursed his campaign to the tune of $60,000 total.

Read more: http://www.pe.com/articles/laws-828588-breaking-thousands.html

California Democrats seek congressional gains, but turnout is key

California’s Democratic Party leaders can be confident that their candidates will once again sweep statewide elections next year and retain strong majorities in the Legislature.

They can also hope for more — that a blue state backlash against President Donald Trump’s so-far-erratic performance and a Republican-controlled Congress, keyed to hot-button issues such as immigration and health care, will shrink the California GOP’s already thin congressional ranks — just 14 of 53 seats.

Nationwide, Democrat Hillary Clinton won in 23 Republican-held congressional districts and seven of those were in California, which puts their incumbents in the cross-hairs next year.

Darrell Issa, the combative and controversial Republican congressman from San Diego and Orange counties, is widely regarded as the nation’s most embattled GOP incumbent, and he knows it. Once a Trump backer, he is now scrambling to put distance between himself and the president.

Read more: http://www.sfexaminer.com/california-democrats-seek-congressional-gains-turnout-key/

Gov. Brown proposes $52B transit investment package

Gov. Jerry Brown announced Wednesday a landmark transportation investment package that, if approved by state lawmakers, will funnel billions of dollars in funding to transportation infrastructure improvements and safety.

Brown was scheduled to be in Concord Thursday to discuss the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, which proposes investing $52.4 billion over the next decade, with the funds split equally between state and local investments.

At the local level, funds will be used to fix streets and transportation infrastructure, including road repairs, potholes, and public transit improvements. Statewide, funds will be used to improve highways, bridges and culverts, as well as reduce congestion on major commute corridors.

According to Brown, the $5 billion-a-year program will cost most drivers less than $10 a month and will be funded, in part, by a gas tax.

Read more: http://www.sfexaminer.com/gov-brown-proposes-52b-transit-investment-package/

Laguna Beach doctor gives up license after hiding millions in overseas account

A Laguna Beach doctor who pleaded guilty in 2015 to diverting $8 million to an overseas bank can no longer practice medicine.

Baruch Fogel, an obstetrician and gynecologist, agreed to surrender his medical license in a settlement with the California Medical Board, effective this week. The board had accused Fogel of dishonesty and unprofessional conduct stemming from his conviction.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Fogel willfully failed to report on his taxes that he had an account in Luxembourg. He was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay restitution and a fine.


Orange County court clerk pleads guilty to illegally fixing more than 1,000 DUI, traffic cases

SANTA ANA – A former Orange County Superior Court clerk pleaded guilty on Wednesday, March 29, to fixing more than 1,000 misdemeanor criminal cases and traffic offenses in exchange for bribe money over five years.

In all, he took in $250,000 to $500,000.

Jose Lopez Jr., 36, could face up to 20 years in federal prison when sentenced on Sept. 22, but prosecutors will ask for nine years behind bars under a plea agreement signed this month, said his attorney, Brian Gurwitz.

Standing next to his attorney on Wednesday, Lopez pleaded guilty to a federal racketeering charge for running a network that collected bribes from defendants to tweak 1,034 cases, including 69 misdemeanor DUI cases and 160 other misdemeanor charges.

Prosecutors said Lopez employed middlemen to collect bribe money, sometimes charging up to $8,000 per case.

Read more: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/cases-747954-court-guilty.html

Laguna Beach to crack down on bad behavior at Thousand Steps and other nearby beaches

LAGUNA BEACH -- City officials are stepping up plans to deal with illegal parking, rowdy behavior and trash – problems that have plagued South Laguna residents who live near Thousand Steps, West and Table Rock beaches.

City Council members on Tuesday, March 28, approved plans for more parking enforcement and beach patrols, made changes to the city’s trolley routes in South Laguna and proposed a review of parking strategies after the summer.

They also asked city staff to look into what it would cost the city to take over the county-run South Laguna beaches and parking lots after this summer.

“We are stepping up parking control, motor patrol and watching for people running across the road,” Laguna Beach police Chief Laura Farinella told the council.

Read more: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/laguna-747950-south-parking.html

Mountain lion kills 8 pygmy goats raised by Trabuco youth club

A mountain lion looks through the fence where the Trabuco Trailblazers 4-H group keeps their pygmy goats on Tuesday night. Eight goats were killed overnight Monday. (Winston Vickers, wildlife veterinarian with UC Davis Wildlife Health Center)

SILVERADO – Members of the Trabuco Trailblazers 4-H Club discovered this week that eight of their prized pygmy goats had been killed by a mountain lion sometime late Monday night or early Tuesday morning, according to news reports.

One goat survived the attack, but was injured, said Winston Vickers, a wildlife veterinarian who was called out to investigate the area Tuesday.

Vickers, who has been studying mountain lions in the Santa Ana Mountains since 2002, said the mountain lion likely got into the pen where the goats were held through holes and gaps along the perimeter or roof. And that could have led to a frenzy, he said.

“They’re trapped,” Vickers said. “A common characteristic of cats in that situation is to go into a frenzy of grabbing every animal that runs by. It’s not unusual to have animals killed, it’s a behavioral characteristic.”

Read more: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/mountain-748048-lion-vickers.html

[font color=330099]Preparing for the cabrito cookoff?[/font]
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