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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
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Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 02:57 AM
Number of posts: 96,676

About Me

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!

Journal Archives

Swanton employees resign after Confederate flag mask controversy

SWANTON — Officials are promising reforms after a town employee wore a mask bearing a Confederate Flag to a public meeting.

The employee, Derick Billado, the animal control officer and first constable, resigned this month after wearing the mask to a June selectboard meeting, which triggered a slew of citizen complaints. In protest and solidarity, Billado’s parents, who also worked for the town, stepped down.

In a sharply worded letter to the Town of Swanton selectboard, Billado’s parents cited “personal attacks” on their family and decried the impact of “transients” in the community.

Selectboard members told a packed meeting July 21 that they would enhance educational and training opportunities for employees and also were looking into instituting policies around their use of social media.

Read more: https://vtdigger.org/2020/07/30/swanton-employees-resign-after-confederate-flag-mask-controversy/

Union that includes Bath Iron Works employees endorses Gideon

BATH — House Speaker and US Senate candidate Sara Gideon received an endorsement from the Maine State Council of Machinists, which represents Bath Iron Works’ largest unions, on Friday.

The council represents BIW’s Local S6, which has been on strike for six weeks, and Local S7.

Gideon has visited Local S6 union members at the picket line multiple times since the strike began when the union rejected a contract offer from the shipyard. During a strike rally last Saturday Gideon said she has supported the union “for every one of the 34 days of this strike, and we will continue to do so until you are able to go back to work with the contract and benefits that you deserve.”

“When you go on strike, making sure that a fair contract and good jobs and strong benefits are available, you’re not doing it for you, you’re doing it looking backwards at the young men and women who have just started at Bath Iron Works and want to make a career here,” she said.

Read more: https://www.pressherald.com/2020/07/31/union-that-includes-bath-iron-works-employees-endorse-gideon/
(Portland Press Herald)

Pastor John Hagee's CUFI Church Association Filed to Collect Up to $1M in Federal PPP Funds

Pastor John Hagee of Cornerstone Church may not like the government telling him when he can reopen his 1,300-pupil private school or giving handouts to his flock.

But, apparently, he doesn't mind asking Uncle Sam for cash to keep his political objectives in play.

In April, Hagee's CUFI Church Association, the nonprofit arm of his powerful pro-Israel lobbying apparatus, received a loan valued at $350,000-1 million through the federal Paycheck Protection Program, according to a Washington Post analysis of U.S. Small Business Administration records.

CUFI Church Association, listed in SBA records as a religious organization, said it would use the money to protect 51 jobs. The PPP program, approved by Congress during the pandemic, was largely intended to help small businesses avoid layoffs.

Hagee's group sought the funds despite the televangelist's long record of preaching that God-fearing Christians need to provide for themselves, not seek government assistance.

Read more: https://www.sacurrent.com/the-daily/archives/2020/07/29/pastor-john-hagees-cufi-church-association-filed-to-collect-up-to-1m-in-federal-ppp-funds

Hospital employees call on MaineHealth to take concrete steps to address systemic racism

Employees at MaineHealth are circulating a petition calling on Maine’s largest health care organization to take concrete steps to address the systemic racism that creates health disparities for Black, Indigenous and other people of color.

The health care group is being asked to develop policies to address the disportionately high rates of COVID-19 and lack of health insurance within communities of color.

The petition was posted on July 24 by a group of staff and concerned community members calling themselves Mainers for Public Health Justice. It has been signed by over 330 people so far.

The group said they are asking the organization for specific action steps in response to a company-wide letter MaineHealth CEO William Caron sent in response to the George Floyd protests.

Read more: https://mainebeacon.com/hospital-employees-call-on-mainehealth-to-take-concrete-steps-to-address-systemic-racism/

Mills to double rental assistance, fund efforts to address COVID-19 racial disparity

Gov. Janet Mills announced Thursday a $5 million infusion into Maine’s rental assistance program, allowing for a doubling of the monthly payments, as well as an additional $1 million aimed at addressing the massive racial and ethnic disparity in COVID-19 cases.

Beginning Monday, MaineHousing will accept applications from renters for payments of up to $1,000 per month for three months, which is double the current $500 assistance authorized in April as the coronavirus pandemic hit Maine’s economy. Payments will be paid directly to landlords who, in turn, must agree to not evict tenants.

In announcing the expanded rental assistance, Mills said more than 6,700 renters or families have been approved for payments since April to the tune of $3.3 million, with thousands more applications pending. But Mills called the $5 million “just a starting point” and said that she hopes the federal government will provide states with additional funding that can be used for rental assistance.

“As the Maine Supreme Judicial Court now plans to reopen courts for (eviction) filings next week, and as the federal government appears to be poised to reduce unemployment benefits … I am very concerned that Maine people will be facing a housing cliff, as it were, losing income and also losing rent relief and becoming subject to eviction,” Mills said.

Read more: https://www.sunjournal.com/2020/07/30/one-death-27-new-cases-of-covid-19-reported-in-maine/
(Lewiston Sun Journal)

Kanye West won't appear on Massachusetts ballot

BOSTON, Mass. — Rapper Kanye West won’t appear on the Massachusetts presidential ballot this fall, according to the office of Secretary of State William Galvin.

The deadline to submit the 5,000 signatures needed to get on the ballot was Tuesday, and no one representing West even took out nomination papers, Galvin spokeswoman Debra O’Malley said.

The nomination papers are required to include the candidate’s name, the name of a vice presidential candidate and 11 Massachusetts electors.

West, who once backed Republican President Donald Trump, announced earlier this month that he had broken with Trump and would launch his own presidential bid.

Read more: https://bangordailynews.com/2020/07/30/national-politics/kanye-west-wont-appear-on-massachusetts-ballot/

Why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Is Suing the Trump Administration

Over the past few weeks, the Trump administration has decided to close the door to engineers, executives, information technology experts, doctors, nurses and others who come to the United States on work visas.

It has attempted to ban international students from attending American colleges and universities that hold classes virtually in the fall. And it has shown an unwavering commitment to canceling the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

Taken together, these are the most restrictionist immigration policies in nearly a century. This is a fundamental mistake at a time when our nation’s economy is already suffering.

If you want businesses to grow and the economy to rebound, you allow skilled workers to come here legally to work and contribute to the well-being of our nation; you don’t lock them out. If you want the next revolutionary start-up to be founded in America, you welcome foreign students; you don’t threaten to upend their lives and send them home during the middle of a pandemic. And if you want children to grow up to reach their potential and live their American dream, you give them the tools and certainty to succeed; you don’t kick them out of the only country they’ve ever known.

Read more: https://riograndeguardian.com/why-the-u-s-chamber-of-commerce-is-suing-the-trump-administration/

RGV COVID-19: Cameron County Reports Highest Single-Day Increase At 731 New Cases

As of July 30, over 29,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed across the Rio Grande Valley's four counties.

A South Texas region exhausted by a months-long struggle with COVID-19, drought and economic distress now marshaled its resources to endure one more massive challenge: Hanna, the first Atlantic hurricane of 2020. The cyclone made two landfalls Saturday evening with damaging winds, over 15 inches of torrential rain and flooding in some parts of the region.

On Thursday, Hidalgo County reported 271 new COVID-19 cases and 40 additional deaths.

The latest reported fatalities include a male in his 20s from Alton, a male in his 30s from Weslaco, a female in her 40s from Donna, and seven people in their 50s. The remainder of the group were seniors in their 60s or older.

Read more: https://www.tpr.org/post/rgv-covid-19-cameron-county-reports-highest-single-day-increase-731-new-cases

GBRA Reaches Deal With Some Lake Property Owners Over Dams, Spill Gates

The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority has reached a settlement agreement with about ten property owners on Lakes McQueeney and Placid over aging dams and spill gates.

Two groups of property owners sued GBRA after it announced plans to drain four lakes following spill gates collapses at Lake Wood in 2016 and Lake Dunlap in 2019.

The new agreement will include contracts with the proposed Water Control Improvement Districts on each lake. The contracts will include spill gate replacement and dam repairs and leave water levels where they are .

The settlement was with a smaller group of plantiffs represented by San Antonio attorneys Ricardo Cedillo and Les Strieber.

Read more:

Former president who brought direct elections to Taiwan dies

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui, who brought direct elections and other democratic changes to the self-governed island despite missile launches and other fierce saber-rattling by China, has died. He was 97.

Taipei Veterans General Hospital said Lee died Thursday evening after suffering from infections, cardiac problems and organ failure since being hospitalized in February.

Lee strove to create a separate, non-Chinese identity for Taiwan, angering not only China, which considers the island part of its territory, but also members of his Nationalist Party who hoped to return victorious to the mainland.

Lee later openly endorsed formal independence for the island but illness in his later years prompted him to largely withdraw from public life.

Read more: https://kdhnews.com/news/world/former-president-who-brought-direct-elections-to-taiwan-dies/article_b448c19e-d1cd-5ac5-8743-af4561725733.html
(Killeen Daily Herald)
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