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Gender: Male
Hometown: Texas
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Current location: Red Hell Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
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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

GOP: Beshear should withdraw from pension case

FRANKFORT, Ky. - The Republican Party of Kentucky this week called on Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear to withdraw from a lawsuit against Gov. Matt Bevin initiated by former pension system trustee Thomas Elliott because of Beshear's personal association with Elliott.

“In 2012, Elliott paid a fine for violating campaign finance laws. Who was his lawyer in that case? None other than Andy Beshear,” Republican Party spokesman Tres Watson said in a news release. “Flash forward a few years, and who helps Beshear on his path to attorney general by maxing out to his campaign? None other than Tommy Elliott.”

Elliott was fined by the election registry in connection with his role in Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s 2010 campaign and inaugural committee in 2012. He later contributed $2,000 - the most allowed by state law - to Beshear’s 2015 campaign for attorney general.

If Beshear does not withdraw from the lawsuit, the GOP says his campaign should refund the contribution.

Read more: http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/politics/2016/07/20/gop-says-beshear-should-withdraw-pension-case/87336824/

Bevin wants foster care settlement thrown out

Gov. Matt Bevin's administration wants a judge to throw out a court settlement that is intended to ensure that church-run foster care programs don't try to proselytize to children in their custody.

The administration this week asked a judge to toss out the settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, saying that the state's position has changed because Bevin won last year's gubernatorial election.

"The Executive Branch of the Commonwealth of Kentucky underwent a change in administration and, in every respect philosophy, following Governor Matthew G. Bevin's election in November 2015," according to a court filing by the state Justice Cabinet and Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

The administration's stance first became apparent in a letter to involved parties in April, when M. Stephen Pitt, Bevin's general counsel, said the state doesn't believe the pact is "fair, adequate nor reasonable to the commonwealth or its private child care provider partners."

Read more: http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/politics/ky-governor/2016/07/20/bevin-seeks-renege-foster-care-settlement/87294142/

State slams JCPS, orders restraint review

The state's top education official has ordered a significant onsite management review triggered by concerns about how Jefferson County Public Schools conducts and documents physical restraints and seclusion of students in schools.

In a letter sent Wednesday to JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens, state Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt called the restraint and seclusion data issue a "significant deficiency" and said he is deploying staff from his department to conduct an onsite review of JCPS' management practices.

The Courier-Journal in March reported that JCPS had significantly underreported to the state the number of times students were physically held down or confined to a room in schools and that the district knew it had underreported those numbers.

Last month, the newspaper reported that JCPS paid $1.75 million to the family of a 16-year-old disabled boy who suffered two shattered thigh bones after a teaching assistant restrained him at the Binet School.

Read more: http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/education/2016/07/20/state-do-onsite-review-jcps-over-restraint-concerns/87345324/

Bevin's Medicaid plan protested before hearing

FRANKFORT, Ky. - As someone who works long shifts at a restaurant while putting in at least 20 hours each week trying to launch an outdoor adventure business, Tyler Offerman said he opposes Gov. Matt Bevin's proposed changes to Medicaid.

"To assume that people like me are lazy or mooching off the system is totally offensive," said Offerman, 27, of Lexington, who gained health coverage in 2014 after Kentucky expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. "The Bevin administration plan would be a disaster for me."

A dozen people - including a Roman Catholic priest, a nun, a physician, a farmer and others telling their stories about health coverage - gathered in Frankfort on Wednesday to protest Bevin's proposed changes to the federal-state health plan.

"Health care policy must protect human life and dignity," said the Rev. Dan Noll, a priest from Lexington representing the Catholic Conference of Kentucky. "Gov. Bevin's proposal is not a health care policy. We oppose it wholeheartedly."

Read more: http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/politics/2016/07/20/bevins-medicaid-plan-protested-before-hearing/87306254/

White House Won't Punish Julián Castro

U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro looks to be off the hook with the White House after the U.S. Office of Special Counsel found that Castro violated federal law.

At issue is the Hatch Act, a 1939 law that prohibits some of the political activities of federal employees, and a Katie Couric interview. In an April interview, Castro answered questions from the journalist of a political nature. The problem, according to the Office of Special Counsel, is that Castro gave the interview in his "official capacity" as a Cabinet member.

"I saw the statement from Secretary Castro, who acknowledged the inadvertent error," said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, when asked if a punishment was in store. "And he indicated that he would participate in some additional training and get an additional briefing to make sure that when he’s doing interviews in the future that he understands what the Hatch Act requires."

"I think to his credit, Secretary Castro acknowledged the mistake that he made," Earnest added. "He owned up to it, and he’s taken the necessary steps to prevent it from happening again. I think that’s the expectation that people have when you make a mistake, particularly in a situation like this."

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2016/07/19/white-house-wont-punish-julian-castro/

High court hears arguments in 'demon chipmunk' case

JACKSON — After hearing an hour-and-a-half of arguments Tuesday, the state’s high court is pondering whether it has jurisdiction in a legislative fight over a “demon chipmunk” computer speed-reading bills in the state House as a way to minimize filibuster.

Freshman state Rep. Jay Hughes, D-Oxford, sued Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn over the reading of House bills by a computer cranked up to illegible speed during the 2016 legislative session. A provision in the state’s 1890 constitution — included, it’s now surmised, because some lawmakers back then couldn’t read — grants any member of the Legislature the right to have a bill read aloud in its entirety before a final vote. For decades, this provision has been used as a method of protest and filibuster, to slow legislative works to a crawl by forcing bills to be read.

Several years ago, legislative leaders bought software to allow a computer to read bills, so clerks didn’t have to spend hours doing it. Over the last couple of years, House leaders had cranked up the speed a little on the computer — thus the coining of the “demon chipmunk” term. But this session, when Democrats angered at Gunn started forcing all bills be read as a deadline for assage approached, Gunn cranked the speed up so high the words were unintelligible. It still droned on for hours on lengthy bills.

“I’m not sure what a demon chipmunk sounds like,” state Supreme Court Justice Dawn Beam said during arguments Tuesday.

Read more: http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com/story/news/politics/2016/07/19/high-court-hears-arguments-demon-chipmunk-case/87320568/

Lawsuit: Harrison County steers business to white-owned funeral homes

Gulfport -- The owners of six black-owned funeral homes claim in a federal lawsuit that Harrison County, the Board of Supervisors and Coroner Gary Hargrove discriminate by consistently sending bodies to two white-owned competitors.

The black funeral home owners are asking for a jury trial, damages to compensate them for their losses and punitive damages against Hargrove. One of their attorneys, Michael Kanovitz of the Chicago firm Loevy & Loevy , said the law does not allow for assessment of punitive damages — designed to deter future bad behavior — against counties.

The lawsuit also says Hargrove misled the black funeral home owners by telling them he assigns bodies to funeral homes on a rotating basis.

“That’s the way it should be done in our business,” one of the plaintiffs, Eddie Hartwell of Hartwell Family Funeral Home said Monday. “That’s the way Mr. Hargrove had been telling the Board of Supervisors and others he did it. That’s not true.”

Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/news/local/counties/harrison-county/article90315882.html

Big 12 decision means moment of truth for Memphis

It's here, ladies and gentlemen. The moment of truth for University of Memphis sports is upon us.

As early as next year at this time, Memphis football coach Mike Norvell could be preparing for his first season in the Big 12. The Memphis football schedule could include games against Oklahoma and Texas. The Memphis basketball schedule could include games against Kansas and West Virginia. Memphis president David Rudd could be planning a future that includes annual checks from the Big 12 conference worth in excess of $30 million.

All that is possible now. All that is no longer a fantasy.

University of Oklahoma president David Boren announced Tuesday that the Big 12 has directed commissioner Bob Bowlsby to reach out to expansion candidates who could join the conference as early as the 2017-18 season.

Read more: http://www.commercialappeal.com/columnists/geoff-calkins/big-12-decision-means-moment-of-truth-for-memphis-3805079d-eca0-5f2a-e053-0100007f3608-387544551.html

Univ. of Tenn. Office for Diversity most egregious waste of taxpayer money

The University of Tennessee Office for Diversity and Inclusion has been named the biggest waste of taxpayer money in a report released Tuesday by the independent Beacon Center of Tennessee.

"There are plenty of examples that are more costly to taxpayers, but it's about what's the most egregious use of (the office's) dollars," said Beacon Center President and CEO Justin Owen.

While the Office for Diversity and Inclusion was not deemed the largest "waste" of taxpayer money in terms of quantity spent, it was chosen the most egregious waste by readers of the Beacon Center's website. Citing the controversy around memos the office released suggesting that faculty and students use gender-neutral pronouns, Owen praised the state Legislature for diverting the office's funds to minority scholarships last session. UT disbanded the office and eliminated its four staff positions soon after the funds were diverted.

"Fortunately, the Legislature properly reprimanded this office and has since been shuttered, but not before it spent over $400,000 last year in taxpayer money," Owen said.

Read more: http://www.knoxnews.com/news/politics/university-of-tennessee-office-for-diversity-most-egregious-waste-of-taxpayer-money-beacon-pork-rep--387515561.html

Costs of Title IX Lawsuit to Univ. of Tennessee Surpass $3M

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The costs of attorney fees and the settlement of a Title IX lawsuit to the University of Tennessee have grown to more than $3 million.

Tennessee is paying $2.48 million to settle the lawsuit filed in Nashville by eight unidentified women who said the school had violated Title IX regulations and fostered a "hostile sexual environment" through a policy of indifference toward assaults by athletes.

Tennessee's athletic department and the school's central administration are splitting the settlement's cost.

The Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/2abHQtt) reports the cost for university lawyers was about $540,000 as of July 6. Officials say that amount is paid by the state and then billed back to the university.

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