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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: 78,484

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

Cyber attacks loom as threat to state's computer systems

This week’s viral computer attack on several state government computer servers is by no means an isolated incident. Cyber security officials say there are hundreds of thousands of attempts to hack into state computer systems every day, and the attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated.

“What we have is, although the numbers may be large, the ones we are really predominantly worried about have a tremendous amount of sophistication behind them,” Maine Chief Information Officer Fred Brittain said.

Maine is subject to relentless attempts to access its computers, Brittain said. The hackers are often connected to sophisticated international efforts that are spending millions of dollars, he said.

“Many folks are still of the mind that when they think of hackers they think of a teenager in their parents’ basement, you know, eating Cheetos and trying to steal a social security number,” Brittain said. “And that really is not the case anymore; it is nation-states.”

Read more: https://bangordailynews.com/2019/09/28/politics/cyber-attacks-loom-as-threat-to-states-computer-systems/

Steel mill with mayor's son as an owner on track for $5 million Miami-Dade subsidy

MIAMI -- The administration of Mayor Carlos Gimenez is recommending county commissioners approve a $5 million subsidy package for a $224 million steel mill proposed for the Homestead area by a company partially owned by one of the mayor’s sons.

Linked to future hiring, the money for the “micro” mill would be paid out over 10 years if the Esteel facility meets hiring and investment requirements included in the county agreement. The county program is available to all businesses either expanding or moving to Miami-Dade, but applications can be rejected by the administration or County Commission.

Gimenez formally recused himself in 2017 when son Julio Gimenez began pursuing a county-owned site for the factory, which would use electric-powered machinery to convert scrap metal into rebar and other raw building materials. The recommendation for the $4.9 million incentive package released Thursday night came from Jack Osterholt, one of four deputy mayors under Gimenez.

If approved by Miami-Dade commissioners next week, the incentive package could be the largest of its kind awarded under Gimenez, who took office in 2011.

Read more: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article235538372.html

PETA to Feds: Stop SeaQuest Plan to Open in Fort Lauderdale

Early Thursday, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed a request calling for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to stop SeaQuest, an aquarium and petting-zoo operator, from opening in Fort Lauderdale.

In a letter to Robert M. Gibbens, the USDA's director of animal welfare, the animal-rights group contends that SeaQuest has violated the requirements of Animal Welfare Act exhibitor licensing and that any additions to SeaQuest's current federal authorization would fly in the face of what PETA says are multiple cases of animal abuse, violations of the Animal Welfare Act, and failure to abide by state and local laws at SeaQuest's parks across the country.

SeaQuest is seeking approval to add a new Fort Lauderdale operation to its AWA license, along with new locations in Woodbridge, New Jersey; Lynchburg, Virginia; and Stonecrest, Georgia.

Ongoing efforts against SeaQuest, which was issued a city permit in February to open in The Galleria mall on East Sunrise Boulevard, include a lawsuit against the City of Fort Lauderdale regarding zoning laws.

Read more: https://www.browardpalmbeach.com/news/peta-urges-feds-to-stop-seaquests-plan-to-open-in-fort-lauderdale-10345410

Donald Trump's trip to The Villages is back on for Thursday

To the golf carts!

Despite (or perhaps because of) impeachment proceedings launching in Washington D.C., President Donald Trump is taking his show on the road next week.

Thursday finds the President in the Villages, where he will sign an Executive Order vowing to protect Medicare, a program important to residents.

Trump’s visit was originally scheduled for August but was postponed after the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

Sumter County GOP chair John Temple told the Orlando Sentinel that the event will be held at 1:30 p.m. at the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, the same venue as the planned August trip. That event was to be invitation-only, Temple said, and those with invitations from August will be notified about attending Thursday’s event.

Read more: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/306853-impeachment-trump-rally-villages

Jeb Bush pines for the days of civility

Former Democratic President Bill Clinton and former Republican Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are pining for the days when the two parties worked together.

The two appeared together to talk about strengthening America’s commitment to education on Friday at the University of New England.

Partnering with the George & Barbara Bush Foundation, the university used the 30th anniversary of the late President George H.W. Bush’s 1989 Education Summit as the jumping off point for the discussion.

Clinton and Bush also spoke of the elder Bush’s “kinder, gentler” brand of politics during an era of bipartisan achievements.

Read more: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/306934-jeb-bush-pines-for-the-days-of-civility

Raiding state housing funds hurts disabled Floridians who need homes

A modest brick house with a metal roof and white shutters in Bradford County is one way to look at the Florida Legislature’s annual debate over affordable housing funding.

Thanks to the state’s affordable housing program, The Arc of Bradford County received $210,000 to renovate the home, which houses six women with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

The renovations included a new roof, a heating and air system, a screen porch, handrails, updated bathrooms to comply with the American with Disabilities Act and a covered walkway. Carpeting was replaced with a tile floor to avoid falls.

“It was a tremendous amount of work,” said Sherry Ruszkowski, the executive director of The Arc of Bradford County.

Read more: https://www.floridaphoenix.com/2019/09/27/raiding-state-housing-funds-hurts-disabled-floridians-who-need-homes/

Texas meatpacking executives guilty of selling $1 million in altered beef to prisons

FORT WORTH -- Two Texas meatpacking executives pleaded guilty Tuesday to selling $1 million in altered ground beef to federal prisons.

The officials of West Texas Provisions Inc. in Amarillo tampered with the beef by including cow hearts and labeling it “ground beef,” according to federal officials.

West Texas Provisions President Jeffrey Neal Smith, 49, and operations manager Derrick Martinez, 43, pleaded guilty Tuesday afternoon to conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Martinez and Smith entered their plea in an Amarillo federal courtroom.

Read more: https://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/crime/article235466502.html

A dangerous red flower is driving record numbers of migrants to flee Guatemala

SAN ANTONIO, Guatemala – Surrounded by green fields of potatoes, oats and corn on his small farm, Carlos Lopez recalled the decent money he was earning before last year, cultivating a different crop he referred to simply as “the plant."

The plants, ones with the bright red flowers, “are worth a lot more than these other crops,” Lopez said, wearing a blue baseball hat, sitting on a plastic chair behind his two-room, mud-splattered house.

“Amapola,” said Lopez, speaking the Spanish word for poppy.

For years, Mexican drug cartels persuaded poor indigenous farmers in the western highlands of Guatemala to replace their crops with poppies. The plants produce a milky fluid used to make heroin, although farmers were often told the plant was used to produce “medicine.”

The Guatemalan government, under pressure from the United States, then came in and eradicated the poppy fields. With no other high-value crop to replace the poppies, and no program available to help replace farmers' income, the crackdown shoved indigenous farmers such as Lopez and his family back into poverty.

Read more: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/in-depth/news/nation/2019/09/23/immigration-issues-migrants-mexico-central-america-caravans-smuggling/2026039001/

Walmart where El Paso mass shooting occurred to reopen in November, will include memorial

The El Paso Cielo Vista Walmart store, where the Aug. 3 mass shooting took place, is tentatively set to reopen Nov. 6 after renovation of the store's interior is completed, a Walmart official said Friday.

The company announced Aug. 21 that the store would be renovated and reopened in three to four months because the store's employees and El Paso community leaders told Walmart officials they wanted it to reopen.

Construction inside the store is going smoothly and "Nov.6 is the date we're working toward. It's not an absolute date," said Randy Hargrove, a spokesman at Walmart's headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.

The interior of the store was gutted and is being redone with some of the newer design elements put into new Walmart stores, he said.

Read more: https://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/2019/09/27/el-paso-mass-shooting-walmart-opening-november-memorial/3789932002/

Briscoe Cain says his "My AR is ready for you" tweet benefited him, Beto O'Rourke

by Texas Tribune Staff

Republican state Rep. Briscoe Cain doubled down Saturday on a controversial tweet that many saw as a death threat against Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke.

"I don't regret it. I just checked Twitter again, and I still can't use it," Cain said at The Texas Tribune Festival in Austin, where he was speaking on a panel about millennials' involvement in politics.

"It was good for both of us," Cain added. "I trended [on Twitter]. I increased my name ID. It is what I believe. I don’t regret it at all."

The controversy began when O'Rourke, a former congressman from El Paso, called for a mandatory buyback program for assault weapons at a Houston presidential debate earlier this month — not long after mass shootings in Odessa and his hometown.

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2019/09/28/briscoe-cain-beto-orourke-gun-tweet/

And you also benefited the financial coffers of your likely Democratic opponent in the next election by $68,000 in one day.
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