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TexasTowelie's Journal
TexasTowelie's Journal
December 31, 2016

Vice President Joe Biden And Wife Ringing In New Year On St. Croix, Virgin Islands

It is well documented that Vice President Joe Biden loves St. Croix. He sometimes makes multiple visits to the island annually, and it has become somewhat of a tradition for the U.S. government’s second in command to ring in the New Year on the Big Island.

This year is no exception, as Mr. Biden and his wife Jill landed at the Henry E. Rholsen Airport on Tuesday afternoon. His arrival was made abundantly clear by the heightened police presence and the sightings of Secret Service vehicles.

The Bidens, arriving from the vice president’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, will be on St. Croix until Jan. 2, according to the White House (via New York Post).

President Barack Obama and his family, who have been vacationing in Hawaii where the president was raised, will also return to Washington on January 2. The leaders of the free world will have 18 days left in office when they return to Washington.

Read more: http://viconsortium.com/featured/joe-biden-on-st-croix/

December 31, 2016

US Virgin Islanders Should Continue Fight For Full U.S. Citizenship In 2017

As the U.S. Virgin Islands commemorates 100 years as part of the United States, and its residents U.S. citizens, Virgin Islanders should be able to vote for President and have voting representation in Congress. In 2017, one of our New Year’s resolutions during this centennial year should be to fight for recognition of the right to vote, wherever you live.

Together, over 4 million U.S. citizens live in the Territories, a population greater than nearly half the States. Yet while these Americans have a proud history of military service, pay billions in federal taxes, and are required to follow restrictive federal laws, the only political participation that is afforded is in the form of non-voting Delegates to Congress.

Failure to advance the issue of voting rights for residents of the Territories during this centennial year would be a tremendous missed opportunity.

A bi-partisan consensus is beginning to form in support of territorial voting rights at a national level. The 2016 Republican Platform declares: “We welcome their greater participation in all aspects of the political process and affirm their right to seek the full extension of the Constitution with all the rights and responsibilities that entails.” And the 2016 Democratic Platform provides: “All Americans should be able to vote for the people who make their laws, just as they should be treated equally. And all American citizens, no matter where they reside, should have the right to vote for the President of the United States.” President-elect Donald Trump has also made a powerful statement to Americans in the Territories, saying it is time to “restore equality and fairness to all citizens, especially those that have been ignored for too long.”

Read more: http://viconsortium.com/top-stories/us-virgin-islanders-should-continue-fight-for-full-u-s-citizenship-in-2017/

December 31, 2016

As Puerto Rico moves closer to debt restructure, the Virgin Islands may need a similar lifeline

ST THOMAS, USVI -- As Puerto Rico moves closer to restructuring its $70 billion debt after the US federal board overseeing its finances issued a framework to pull the island out of crisis and resumed talks with creditors, another US Caribbean territory, the US Virgin Islands, is grappling with some of the same forces that pushed its regional neighbour into a cascading series of defaults.

With interest rates edging higher, the USVI – which has more debt per person than Puerto Rico – is finding it more difficult to borrow, Bloomberg reported.

The territory shelved a $219 million bond issue last week amid a spike in yields triggered by the post-election selloff in credit markets. That prompted S&P Global Ratings to place its debt on a negative watch for up to 90 days, warning that the government may find it difficult to meet its debt obligations if it struggles to access credit markets.

According to Bloomberg, the two Caribbean territories are facing similar fiscal issues: shrinking populations, cash-strapped pensions, histories of borrowing to paper over budget shortfalls and unemployment rates that are twice as high as in the US mainland.

Read more: http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-As-Puerto-Rico-moves-closer-to-debt-restructure%2C-the-USVI-may-need-a-similar-lifeline-33007.html

December 31, 2016

Three new Florida laws go into effect Jan. 1

A statewide prohibition on people younger than 18 buying certain over-the-counter cough suppressants is one of three new laws that will hit the books with the arrival of the New Year.

The other changes to state laws involve insurance policy coverage of opioid medications and how financial institutions may receive summonses and subpoenas.

The three are the last of the bills signed by Gov. Rick Scott from the 2016 legislative session to take effect. Lawmakers sent 272 bills to Scott, who vetoed three and signed the rest.

The majority of the new laws, including the state's annual budget, went into effect July 1, on Oct. 1 or immediately upon receiving Scott's signature.

Read more: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/fl-nsf-new-year-laws-20161228-story.html

December 31, 2016

Another politician charged with bribery in corruption-weary Opa-locka

An Opa-locka politician at the center of the FBI’s investigation into City Hall corruption surrendered on a bribery charge Friday, making him the fourth defendant to be prosecuted in the still-widening probe.

Luis Santiago, 55, lost his city commission seat in November after a series of Miami Herald stories reported he was the main target of an alleged extortion scheme involving payoffs for official favors.

News of his arrest spread quickly through Opa-locka, a poor city whose government since June has been under the control of a state oversight board that must approve all spending by the city commission due to a financial emergency. Santiago, perhaps best known around Opa-locka for sponsoring bingo nights and raising money for the city’s Fourth of July celebration, was once an influential member of the commission because of his alliance with Mayor Myra Taylor.

Santiago’s political loss to a reform-minded newcomer, coupled with his arrest in the long-running federal case, has stirred the passions of a community yearning for normalcy after years of corruption and mismanagement at City Hall.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-gardens/article123780429.html

December 31, 2016

Fired Miami cops joked about using black neighborhoods for target practice

Three rookie Miami police officers fired two days before Christmas joked in a group chat with other cops about using predominately black neighborhoods for target practice, an internal affairs investigation found this month.

“Anyone know of an indoor shooting range in Miami?” one officer asked.

“Go to model city they have moving targets,” replied another.

“There’s a range in overtown on 1 and 11. Moving targets and they don’t charge,” added a third.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article123630154.html

December 31, 2016

Decades in Congress leave U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown awaiting vote by jurors

U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown will close an epic political career next week without knowing the verdict that can define it.

The week after the 12-term Jacksonville congresswoman leaves office Tuesday, she’ll be due in federal court for a hearing involving the fraud charges she’s scheduled to stand trial on in April.

Two things helped shatter her long political career in 2016: boundary changes that stretched her congressional district west past Tallahassee and the federal indictment accusing her of pocketing thousands of dollars from a bogus scholarship fund.

Since her indictment in July, Brown has painted the charges as payback for decades of her advocacy for the dispossessed.

Read more: http://jacksonville.com/news/2016-12-30/decades-congress-leave-us-rep-corrine-brown-awaiting-vote-jurors

December 31, 2016

Gun issues to get quick airing in Senate

State lawmakers next month will have their first chance to discuss a controversial measure that would expand how and where Florida's more than 1.67 million concealed-weapons license holders can carry handguns.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Greg Steube, is scheduled Jan. 10 to take up the measure (SB 140), which would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to openly carry handguns in public and also would allow them to be armed on college and university campuses. Under the bill, they also could carry guns at airport passenger terminals; in elementary and secondary schools; and at legislative and local government meetings.

Steube is sponsoring the bill, which is matched in part by separate proposals in the House. During the 2016 session, open-carry and campus-carry measures failed to advance through the Senate Judiciary Committee, which was chaired by former Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami. He lost a re-election bid in November.

The campus-carry proposal has been opposed by university and college leaders, campus law-enforcement officials and faculty members. Also on the Jan. 10 agenda is a measure (SB 128) that would shift the burden of proof in "stand your ground" self-defense cases. The bill would shift the burden of proof to prosecutors during evidentiary hearings in such cases.

Read more: http://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/politics/2016/12/30/gun-issues-get-quick-airing-senate/96014472/

December 31, 2016

DEP overreaching legislative authority in issuing 24-hour notification rule

A proposed state rule requiring the media be told of a spill or release of pollution within 24 hours of the event has been struck down as an over-reach of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's legislative authority.

DEP came up with the “Public Notice of Pollution” rule following a 200-million-gallon spill at the Mosaic fertilizer plant in Mulberry that threatened the public’s drinking water. The company notified DEP immediately, but the public didn’t learn about it until almost three weeks later, leading Gov. Rick Scott to direct the agency to implement an emergency rule.

A similar lack of notification occurred in Tallahassee when a 1.6-million gallon sewage spill during Hurricane Hermine was reported to DEP but not to potentially affected residents.

“Protecting Florida’s pristine environment is DEP’s top priority and they will continue the public pollution notification process to ensure all Floridians and visitors are notified of pollution incidents,” said McKinley Lewis, deputy communications director for Gov. Scott. “Gov. Scott has been clear that the current law is outdated and needs to be changed.”

Read more: http://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2016/12/30/dep-overreaching-legislative-authority-issuing-24-hour-notification-rule/96009356/

December 31, 2016

Hey, Florida, It's Time to Stop Blindly Adoring Publix

If a huge company like Best Buy or Walmart had a history of anti-LGBT accusations, fought Miami Beach's attempt to ban Styrofoam, had ties to someone donating hundreds of thousands of dollars against medical marijuana, and battled a proposal to raise the minimum wage, protests would rage in the streets of Miami.

But despite having a hand in all of those things, Publix — Florida's most blindly beloved company — appears to be made of Teflon. The company remains one of the most respected brands in the Sunshine State despite a string of actions this year that should force consumers to pause before shopping there.

Publix is adored in Florida. The Lakeland-based chain is the state's most valuable homegrown brand (besting even Burger King) and is the most profitable chain of supermarkets in America, according to Forbes. The company is employee-owned (which means its workers get a cut of its stock shares) and pulls in more than $30 billion in revenue a year. Forbes regularly names Publix a "great place to work" for reasons that largely stem from its employee-ownership model and its nebulously defined workplace "culture."

Much of the love heaped on Publix comes from its own marketing campaigns. Floridians love repeating the store's slogan, "Where shopping is a pleasure," and defend the chain from criticism with the relative fervor of Sun Myung Moon devotees. When the satirical website Fark.com called Publix the "Walmart of the South" in 2015, Floridians swarmed the site with angry comments. The chain also leans on schmaltzy commercials around holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas that remind everyone that their grandmothers used to buy cakes and tomatoes at Publix on Christmas Eve.

Read more: http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/hey-florida-its-time-to-stop-blindly-adoring-publix-9003039

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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
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About TexasTowelie

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!
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