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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, 02:57 AM
Number of posts: 81,403

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

Republican lawmakers prepare to limit Indiana governor's emergency powers

For nearly 300 days, Indiana has been in a state of emergency due to COVID-19. That order was given by Gov. Eric Holcomb, who has extended the public health emergency nine times.

Since the start of the pandemic, Holcomb, a Republican, has pushed back on criticism from those on the far right of his party about his use of emergency powers to require face masks and impose restrictions on how businesses operate in order to stop the spread of the disease.

But when lawmakers come back to the Statehouse next week for the 2021 legislative session, it won't be just those on the fringes of his party that threaten his powers heading into his second term in office. Republican legislative leaders in both chambers also have promised to take a look at the emergency powers held by Hoosier governors.

That means there could be some tension between the two branches. Democrats have already sought to capitalize on any friction, with Drew Anderson, a spokesman for the Indiana Democratic Party, sending a press release calling the disagreement "a civil war within its ranks."

Read more: https://www.southbendtribune.com/news/local/republican-lawmakers-prepare-to-limit-indiana-governors-emergency-powers/article_83daf01a-49f1-11eb-b4be-f71f08419ac2.html

RI Senate task force recommends granting police chiefs more leeway in disciplining officers

The Rhode Island Senate task force charged with reviewing the Rhode Island Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights on Wednesday finalized recommended changes to the law, which include altering the composition of disciplinary hearing panels, authorizing police chiefs to comment on investigations, and increasing public access to police personnel records.

“There was a balance during our deliberations whether to keep LEOBOR as is, to abolish it in its entirety, or to reform it. And the consensus reached was for reform,” said Sen. Harold Metts (D-Providence), who led the task force.

Under the state’s existing Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, which has been criticized as being overly restrictive, police chiefs can suspend officers for two days without pay before the officer has the right to request a hearing. Legislation introduced this year by Rep. Anastasia Williams (D-Providence) would extend that summary judgement period up to 30 days.

The commission considered and ultimately rejected the possibility of a 30-day suspension period. The group struck a middle ground, recommending that police chiefs be allowed to suspend officers without pay for 14 days.

Read more: https://thepublicsradio.org/article/ri-senate-task-force-recommends-granting-police-chiefs-more-leeway-in-disciplining-officers

These 5 new Connecticut laws take effect on Jan. 1

Behavioral health assessments for police officers, lower taxes on pension income and allowing pharmacists to dispense emergency insulin supplies are among the new laws that will take effect on Jan. 1.

Due to the short legislative session in 2020, it’s a shorter list than most years. Here’s what to expect:

Police accountability law

Several provisions of the Act Concerning Police Accountability, which was passed during a special legislative session this past summer, have already gone into effect, including restricting police searches, penalizing civilians who report incidents based on race, and mandating that a police officer intervene if another officer uses excessive force.

Beginning Jan. 1, police officers who make arrests or interact with the public on a daily basis must also prominently display their badge and name tag on the outermost layer of their uniform. As a condition of continued employment, every police officer must submit to a behavioral health assessment every five years by a board-certified psychiatrist or psychologist experienced in diagnosing and treating traumatic stress disorder. Written copies of the assessment will go to the officer and his or her administrative unit leader.

Read more: https://www.courant.com/politics/hc-pol-new-laws-january-2021-20201229-hdb6u4frsvbwzejf6kviplp44u-story.html

Boycott Boston Pride, say activists who bolted for social justice

LGBTQ activists who blasted the leaders of Boston Pride for resisting inclusion and failing to embrace the Black Lives Matter movement last summer are calling for a boycott of the city’s largest parade, and planning to stage an alternative event for the second year in a row.

Most of the event’s volunteer workforce resigned last summer after Boston Pride’s board watered down its proposed statement on the racial protests roiling cities nationwide.

Since then, the board has hired a diversity consultant and pledged to appoint a “transformation advisory council” but has rebuffed demands for a complete overhaul of the nine-member board. Instead, the leaders have spoken of adding seats to the board, while letting four seats sit vacant since the summer.

All of that has cemented volunteers’ long-term concerns that Boston Pride does not make space for queer and trans, Black, and indigenous people, and people of color. Currently, there are no Black board members.

Read more: https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/12/29/metro/boycott-boston-pride-say-activists-who-bolted-social-justice/

New Hampshire Democrats decry drive-in voting session

A plan to assemble the New Hampshire House of Representatives in a parking lot and carry out a “drive-in” voting session next month has set off new concerns from Democrats, who say that it excludes members with disabilities – and could lead to a lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

House Republican leadership has announced an intention to hold the Jan. 6 “Convening Day” at the University of New Hampshire, this time by having each member sit in their own vehicle and listen to speeches and vote from there.

The 400 representatives would space their cars out using every other parking space, according to a plan from UNH distributed to House representatives on Monday by the Speaker's office. Lawmakers would listen to speeches using an FM radio broadcast.

But three House Democrats with disabilities have written letters to acting-Speaker Sherman Packard saying that sitting for several hours in a vehicle would not be feasible for them.

Read more: https://www.concordmonitor.com/New-Hampshire-Democrats-oppose-drive-in-voting-plan-Legislature-Republicans-38029204

New England Culinary Institute to close down in the spring

The New England Culinary Institute, a Montpelier-based cooking school, is closing its doors after 40 years.

“The pandemic proved to be the burden that we could not overcome,” NECI president Milan Milasinovic wrote in a statement posted to the school’s website. The school shuttered retail operations in March, he added, “which severely limited our ability to continue to deliver a college level, hands on culinary education, on an economically viable basis.”

Most NECI students graduated in December, Milasinovic wrote in an email to VTDigger. The five that remain have been placed in apprenticeships and are on track to graduate this spring. All students will be given the chance to finish out their programs.

Once the school closes for good, NECI student records will be kept at the North Coast College in Cleveland, Ohio, according to Milasinovic. NECI merged with the then-Virginia Marti College of Art and Design in 2017. VMCAD has since been rebranded as North Coast College and recently started its own culinary program.

Read more: https://vtdigger.org/2020/12/28/new-england-culinary-institute-to-close-down-in-the-spring/

Alumni include celebrity chefs Alton Brown and Gavin Kaysen.

Reproductive health clinics ensure essential services continue as many Mainers struggle amid pandemi

Back in March, life changed quickly for sexual and reproductive health organizations like Maine Family Planning and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.

With the coronavirus spreading through the state, the groups found themselves scrambling to continue to provide care in a vastly different environment in which many more people were struggling to make ends meet.

“We’re an essential service, so we were never going to close down,” said Evelyn Kieltyka, senior vice president of program services at Maine Family Planning, which provides sexual and reproductive health care at clinics around the state. “We needed to quickly transition to virtual visits.”

As a result, while Maine Family Planning remained open for in-person visits — with COVID-19 precautions in place — Kieltyka said the organization transitioned to seeing about 80 percent of its patients virtually after the pandemic struck, although she added that more patients started requesting to be seen in-person over the summer.

Read more: https://mainebeacon.com/reproductive-health-clinics-ensure-essential-services-continue-as-many-mainers-struggle-amid-pandemic/

Our clueless GOP Rep. Dusty Johnson thinks a $600 stimulus check is enough for people who are

Our clueless GOP Rep. Dusty Johnson thinks a $600 stimulus check is enough for people who are crushed by the pandemic.

Even with his president and party leader Donald Trump expressing frustration over the measly 600 bucks that the covid relief bill passes out to Americans, South Dakota’s lone U.S. House Rep. Dusty Johnson voted against a measure that would increase the payout to two thousand dollars. The measure itself passed the House 275 - 134, with 44 Republicans joining 231 Democrats supporting it.

I invite Dusty to explain the rationale for his vote, but in the meantime find it hard to accept that he believes this pittance of a payout will seriously help millions of Americans who are on the brink of financial disaster. Talk about being out of touch. Average monthly apartment rent in the United States is $967.00, with South Dakota’s coming in at $722.00. The 600 bucks won’t even cover a month’s rent. Distributed to the average-sized American household of 3.23 people, it won’t even cover two month’s rent in most of the country

A lot of people are out of work and need enough money to scratch along for a few months until we all get vaccinated and the worst of the pandemic is behind us.

Taking in the various factors that go into compiling unemployment statistics, the financial information website Marketplace computes that about 30 million Americans are unemployed. Six hundred bucks a person won’t stretch very far for these folks. Dusty needs to explain why he thinks that’s enough to get them through a crisis that was no fault of their own in the first place, and aggravated by the GOP’s refusal to take it seriously in the second.

Read more: https://www.sdstandardnow.com/home/our-clueless-gop-rep-dusty-johnson-thinks-a-600-stimulus-check-is-enough-for-people-who-are-financially-crushed-by-the-pandemic

Alleged axman accused of vandalizing GOP senator's Fargo office spouted left-wing views, charges say

FARGO — A Lisbon, N.D., man accused of taking an ax to a Republican U.S. senator’s office windows in Fargo last week was "very vocal" about his left-leaning political views, according to court records.

Thomas Alexander Starks, 30, is under federal criminal investigation for allegedly smashing two glass windows and an intercom system next to the door of Sen. John Hoeven’s office, U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley told The Forum on Tuesday, Dec. 29. The federal prosecutor for North Dakota declined to say what federal charges Starks could face, if any.

Wrigley said his office plans to “aggressively investigate” the incident “to its logical conclusion,” and is working to determine the motivation for the vandalism.

Starks has been charged in Cass County with a Class C felony of criminal mischief in connection to the Dec. 21 incident at 123 Broadway N. Video shows a man wearing a black mask, dark sweater and jeans walk up a set of stairs to Hoeven’s door around 9 a.m. at Suite 201, according to an incident report. He rang the intercom but walked away after several seconds, the court document said.

Read more: https://www.inforum.com/news/crime-and-courts/6820695-Alleged-axman-accused-of-vandalizing-GOP-senators-Fargo-office-spouted-left-wing-views-charges-say

Former North Dakota blogger takes center stage in Trump election fraud lawsuit

Terpsehore "Tore" Maras-Lindeman, a right-wing blogger, podcaster and former Minot, N.D., resident, has become an unlikely witness in two presidential election fraud complaints by White House-affiliated attorney Sidney Powell. Photo provided by Maras-Lindeman.

BISMARCK — A right-wing blogger and former Minot resident has become an improbable player in one of the lawsuits alleging that widespread voter fraud contributed to President Donald Trump’s defeat in the November election.

Terpsehore Maras-Lindeman, an ardent Trump supporter and prolific podcaster and blogger, has a history of legal skirmishes with the state of North Dakota, but she has assumed a national profile in the last week after a Washington Post investigation revealed her to be a secret witness in two of attorney Sidney Powell’s election fraud lawsuits.

Powell’s complaints against election operations in Wisconsin and Arizona both draw on a 37-page affidavit written by Maras-Lindeman which pushes a theory that the November election was rigged in favor of president-elect Joe Biden by a conspiracy between the Canadian voting machine company Dominion Voting Systems and the Spanish election software company Scytl. Maras-Lindeman has formerly claimed expertise drawn from time working under former CIA director John Brennan, and in her affidavit she touts extensive academic credentials, expertise as “a trained Cryptolinguist,” and refers to herself as “a private contractor with experience gathering and analyzing foreign intelligence.”

In an interview with The Forum on Monday, Dec. 28, Maras-Lindeman stood by the claims of her affidavit and lamented the Washington Post's focus on her personal credibility. "In North Dakota, I've been going after corruption on both sides," she said. "We're talking Republicans and Democrats. It's not my first rodeo."

Read more: https://www.inforum.com/news/government-and-politics/6819438-Former-North-Dakota-blogger-takes-center-stage-in-Trump-election-fraud-lawsuit
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