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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: 77,550

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

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot calls on Ald. Edward Burke to resign following federal indictment

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called on longtime Ald. Edward Burke to resign after a federal indictment Thursday charged the longtime politician with racketeering, bribery and other misdeeds.

In an interview with the Tribune, Lightfoot said Burke has to resign. In her opinion as a former federal prosecutor, Lightfoot said, it’s a strong case built on recordings and a cooperating witness.

“He used the levers of government (to enrich himself),” Lightfoot said. “As you can see in reading the indictment, he was essentially calling up and muscling commissioners, line people and everything in between to get his way in order to ingratiate himself with a potential paying client for his legal business.”

Among other things, the 14-count indictment accused the powerful Democrat of abusing his power for personal gain.

Read more: https://www.chicagotribune.com/politics/ct-met-ald-ed-burke-indicted-chicago-mayor-lori-lightfoot-reaction-20190530-story.html

Federal grand jury subpoenas Gillum campaign, Forward Florida PAC

A federal grand jury in January subpoenaed former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum for records dating back to 2015 related to an apparent investigation into three individuals and three non-profits associated with his gubernatorial campaign and Forward Florida political committee.

The Tampa Bay Times reported Thursday that the subpoena was issued by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida and ordered Gillum to provide “documents, electronically stored information, or objects” from his campaign and committee by May 7, less than two weeks after Gillum was fined $5,000 to settle an ethics complaint before the Florida Ethics Commission.

The subpoena demands Gillum provide information on:

* John H. Jackson, president and CEO of Massachusetts-based Schott Foundation for Public Education, where Gillum served on the board.
* The non-profit Opportunity to Learn Action Fund that Gillum served as president of until 2017.
* Hedge-fund manager philanthropist Donald Sussman, who donated $1.5 million to Gillum's gubernatorial campaign.
* Harris Parnell, a donor who worked for Sussman.
* Sharon Lettman-Hicks, CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition, an LGBTQ advocacy group, and owner of P&P Communications, a public relations firm Gillum reported income of $71,000 from in 2017. His 2018 campaign paid Lettman-Hicks’ firm nearly $45,000 to rent office space.

It is uncertain if the grand jury’s subpoena is related to the three-year, $500,000 FBI investigation into Tallahassee corruption during Gillum’s time as mayor that resulted in three arrests and dogged his gubernatorial campaign or if it is a new probe.

Read more: https://www.thecentersquare.com/florida/federal-grand-jury-subpoenas-gillum-campaign-forward-florida-pac/article_1ffa4aae-8397-11e9-b7fc-87dc02a50a1d.html

Senate approves bill to combat teacher shortages

A bill with several measures intended to lessen Illinois’ teacher shortage will now go to the governor.

Senate Bill 1952, sponsored by Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, would eliminate the basic skills test, allow school districts to pay student teachers and let teachers in underfunded schools recoup the cost of a teaching assessment called the edTPA. Critics of the basic skills test have said it contributes to the teacher shortage by holding students back from entering the profession since they are costly and difficult.

Another part of the bill would have reinstated the 6 percent cap for teacher salary increases to be covered by the state, but it was taken out with a House amendment.

Rep. Kathleen Willis, D-Addison, who sponsored the amendment removing the salary cap increase, said it is her caucus’ policy not to move any bills affecting the budget until a budget is sorted out, and she wanted the rest of the bill to move.

Read more: https://www.sj-r.com/news/20190529/senate-approves-bill-to-combat-teacher-shortages
(Springfield State Journal Register)

Illinois Democrats introduce vote-by-mail enhancements, legitimize GOP spoiler party

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration has introduced legislation crafted by the State Board of Elections that Republicans say would legitimize a third party to play spoiler to the GOP’s chances of regaining seats in the General Assembly.

The bill that passed in a House committee Thursday morning would allow for the Conservative Party to field candidates for state representative or state senator in any district where Sam McCann, the Conservative Party gubernatorial candidate who was supported by unions angry with Gov. Bruce Rauner for his right-to-work stance, got more than 5 percent of the vote.

State Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, called the legislation a direct shot at the minority party.

“You come down with omnibus elections bills that screw the other party,” he told Majority Leader Greg Harris. “That’s what you’re doing.”

In the months leading up to the November election, McCann’s campaign sent out mailers criticizing GOP House candidates in close races, calling them “Republicans in name only” or “RINO’s.”

Read more: https://www.thecentersquare.com/illinois/illinois-democrats-introduce-vote-by-mail-enhancements-legitimize-gop-spoiler/article_a11a8156-82fe-11e9-845c-bf13871a6832.html

Illinois lawmakers close to requiring $40,000 teacher minimum pay

Illinois lawmakers are now one vote away from sending legislation to Gov. J.B. Pritzker's desk that would mandate a minimum $40,000 annual salary for the state's teachers. Opponents say it will result in property tax hikes, particularly in downstate school districts.

Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, ushered Senate Bill 10 out of the Senate last month. House Bill 2078 was amended to match Manar’s earlier bill that would require the $40,000 minimum salary by 2023.

The legislation passed along partisan lines Wednesday.

“It would establish a minimum teacher salary in the state beginning in the 2020 school year of just over $32,000 and phase that up over the next four years,” Manar said.

Read more: https://www.thecentersquare.com/illinois/illinois-lawmakers-close-to-requiring-teacher-minimum-pay/article_e58960d8-8320-11e9-a63d-774295e09672.html

$160 million O'Hare Airport design contract awarded to joint venture led by renowned Chicago

$160 million O’Hare Airport design contract awarded to joint venture led by renowned Chicago architect Jeanne Gang

Mayor Lori Lightfoot was not happy with the secretive City Hall selection process that culminated in the choice of renowned Chicago architect Jeanne Gang to design the new $2.2 billion global terminal at O’Hare Airport that will be the centerpiece of a massive expansion project.

But, she apparently was not upset enough to order a do-over.

On Thursday, the Lightfoot administration went ahead and awarded a $160 million contract to Gang-led Studio ORD.

It’s a partnership that includes: Solomon Cordwell Buenz; Corgan; Milhouse Engineering and Construction, and STL Architects.

Read more: https://chicago.suntimes.com/city-hall/2019/5/30/18646221/ohare-expansion-global-terminal-jeanne-gang-160-million-contract-approved

Supreme Court Gives Indiana Win And Loss On 2016 Abortion Lawsuit

The Supreme Court delivered both a win and a loss to Indiana anti-abortion activists Monday with decisions on a 2016 lawsuit.

An anti-abortion measure from 2016 signed into law by then-Gov. Mike Pence required medical facilities to bury or cremate fetal remains, rather than dispose of them as medical waste. It also banned abortions performed solely because of a fetus’s characteristics, such as gender or disability.

Planned Parenthood sued to strike down those portions of the law, and both a federal district judge and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the health care organization.

But the Supreme Court says the fetal remains provision doesn’t create an undue burden on women who seek an abortion. And so that part of the law will now take effect.

Read more: https://indianapublicradio.org/news/2019/05/supreme-court-gives-indiana-win-and-loss-on-2016-abortion-lawsuit/

Ted Cruz and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have an odd-couple plan to drain the swamp, and we love it

When Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez agree on something maybe it is time to declare victory. Or the Apocalypse.

It all started when Ocasio-Cortez tweeted “if you are a member of Congress + leave, you shouldn’t be allowed to turn right around&leverage your service for a lobbyist check.”

Quickly, Cruz responded. “Here’s something I don’t say often: on this point, I AGREE with @AOC Indeed, I have long called for a LIFETIME BAN on former Members of Congress becoming lobbyists. The Swamp would hate it, but perhaps a chance for some bipartisan cooperation?”

And that brought this retort from AOC: “Let’s make a deal.” And she laid out some very simple conditions. A clean bill, no poison pills, “just a straight, clean ban on members of Congress becoming paid lobbyists — then I’ll co-lead the bill with you.”

Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/editorials/2019/05/30/ted-cruz-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-odd-couple-plan-drain-swamp-love

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg addresses city questions in town hall

SOUTH BEND — It was not your typical Mayor’s Night Out, but these aren’t typical times for Pete Buttigieg.

During his more than seven years as mayor, before announcing he was exploring a run for president in late January, Buttigieg had tried to host Mayor’s Night Out every other month, intended as a way to periodically bring his office to the people rather than requiring them to visit him on the County-City Building’s 14th Floor.

He usually does them in school gymnasiums or city recreational centers, where he sets up a card table and gives anyone with a comment, question or complaint about city business up to five minutes of one-on-one time, usually drawing about 50 people.

On Thursday night, about 180 people came to the South Bend Civic Theatre’s 200-seat Wilson Theatre for the first Mayor’s Night Out in more than four months.

“For some reason, attendance has picked up a little bit,” Buttigieg quipped to the crowd.

Read more: https://www.southbendtribune.com/news/elections/south-bend-mayor-pete-buttigieg-addresses-city-questions-in-town/article_1f67cbc5-d7b0-506c-9222-f3622cfd8b4c.html

Dig in! $400M Corpus Christi Ship Channel expansion begins

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) — Let the digging begin.

Ceremonies were held Wednesday to kick off expansion of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel in a bid to attract larger oil tankers to Texas.

Illinois-based Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company won the $92 million contract to deepen and widen the channel as part of a more than $400 million project. The federal government and the Port of Corpus Christi are funding the upgrades, to be completed in 2022.

The Corpus Christi Ship Channel depth will increase from 47 feet (14.33 meters) to 54 feet (16.46 meters). The width will expand from 400 feet (121.92 meters) to 530 feet (161.54 meters).

Corpus Christi's Harbor Bridge, which opened in 1959 with a 138-foot (42.06-meter) clearance, is being replaced with a larger span.

(no more at link)
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