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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: 82,713

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

We should be celebrating passage of mental health tax. Instead, we're holding our breath

They always needed five.

For as long as the Pierce County Council has been debating the potential passage of a one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax increase to fund behavioral health services — which dates back years and several iterations of the elected body — that’s always been the magic number.

Five has always been the sticking point.

Until Tuesday evening.

That’s when — at long last — a solid, across-the-aisle agreement was finally reached. Generously, it wasn’t a Christmas miracle as much as it was the overdue culmination of too many studies, too much talking and too much wasted time.

Read more: https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/matt-driscoll/article248044855.html
(Tacoma News Tribune)

Okanogan County prosecutor resigns, citing budget woes and 'racially motivated attacks'

The elected prosecuting attorney in Okanogan County will resign next month, citing an inability to handle caseloads with existing staff and “racially motivated attacks” from the community.

Arian Noma drafted a resignation letter earlier this month that was released to the public and news outlets in Okanogan County. The resignation takes effect Jan. 15, two years after Noma assumed office as the Republican in charge of the county’s legal office.

Noma, in a phone call Wednesday, deferred further comment on his resignation until after it takes effect in mid-January. The resignation letter expresses exasperation with budgetary constraints preventing him from hiring new attorneys to handle cases, as well as a coordinated effort on social media to attack Noma and his family.

“I routinely received vile attacks about my race, ancestry, and even the color of my skin,” Noma wrote in his resignation letter. Noma’s ancestry includes Native American, immigrant and Black heritage.

Read more: https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2020/dec/27/okanogan-county-prosecutor-resigns-citing-budget-w/
(Spokane Spokesman-Review)

For one pivotal month, the eyes of the nation were fixed on the upstart city on Spokane Falls, where

For one pivotal month, the eyes of the nation were fixed on the upstart city on Spokane Falls, where labor and capital went to war

Though it may be hard to imagine today, Spokane was once a hotbed of labor radicalism. And for a month — November of 1909 — all eyes of the nation were trained on the city for outlawing speaking in public. Hundreds of men and women who came to the city to challenge the seemingly un-American policy were thrown in jail.

Well before 1909, the West had ceased being the land of opportunity advertised in railroad circulars; the fertile farmland and hillsides filled with gold had long since been locked up by big business. The thousands of immigrants, then, were left to working whatever wages were available. Thus the tension between labor and capital — a tension as old as the idea of private ownership — came out West.

In the early 1890s, there were individual unions representing specialized industries. But it became more and more clear to union leaders that the workers willing to work for the lowest wages not only had a natural, common bond but were also in need of a union more than any profession.

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) was hatched in Chicago at a 1905 founding convention. Later, the members became universally known as Wobblies. The chairman of that convention was William D. Haywood, known as Big Bill; he was also a key figure in the Western Federation of Miners. Two years after the formation of the Wobblies, Haywood was accused of hiring an assassin to kill former Idaho Gov. Frank Steunenberg, who had been murdered at his Caldwell, Idaho, home in late 1905. Haywood was defended by Clarence Darrow and acquitted in a widely publicized Boise trial. The whole episode — from the labor unrest in the Coeur d'Alene mining district that started it all to socialist radicals on the streets of New York City — was retold in the book Big Trouble by Anthony Lukas.

Read more: https://www.inlander.com/spokane/for-one-pivotal-month-the-eyes-of-the-nation-were-fixed-on-the-upstart-city-on-spokane-falls-where-labor-and-capital-went-to-war/Content?oid=20842606
(Spokane Inlander)

Sound Transit testing new light rail vehicles

Passengers may catch a glimpse of Link’s new light rail vehicles (LRVs) during service hours as Sound Transit conducts burn-in testing necessary to introduce the trains into full service.

Largely operating during weekends and late on weekdays, the new LRVs will not board passengers, instead displaying an “out of service” message, according to a Sound Transit news release. Operators will also announce at each station that the train is out of service. Testing began Dec. 19.

This phase of burn-in testing is one of the last steps before deployment of the vehicles for passenger service. The LRVs will have previously undergone significant qualification testing during non-service hours to reach this milestone in the testing phase.

The first LRV must undergo 1,000 miles of burn-in testing, which is expected to be complete in first quarter 2021. Subsequent trains undergo 300 miles of burn-in testing.

Read more: https://www.seattleweekly.com/northwest/sound-transit-testing-new-light-rail-vehicles/

Washington's COVID-19 Numbers Are About to Drop--But Only If You Don't Fuck It Up!!

The best holiday gift you can give the new Washington State Secretary of Health, Umair Shah, is the promise that you'll stay the fuck home for the holidays and that you'll keep wearing a mask and keep social distancing.

On the whole, things are looking hopeful for the COVID-19 response in Washington. Shah said Washington was headed into the "second half" of the pandemic and that the vaccines were the "light at the end of this long tunnel." However, the situation is still precarious.

Washington's COVID-19 cases spiked this fall. After new restrictions and public health officials' pleas to stay-the-fuck home for Thanksgiving, cases are plateauing again, State Epidemiologist for Communicable Diseases Scott Lindquist said in a press conference this morning. Public health officials are striking the same chord with Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year's coming up.

Besides advising Washingtonians against swapping spit with anyone over some holiday hams, here's what else public health officials touched on Wednesday morning:

Read more: https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2020/12/23/54458171/washingtons-covid-19-numbers-are-about-to-drop-but-only-if-you-dont-fuck-it-up

As monarch butterflies face extinction, U.S. wildlife officials opt not to protect them

Despite being perilously close to extinction, monarch butterflies will not receive federal protection because 161 other species are a higher priority, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last week.

“We conducted an intensive, thorough review using a rigorous, transparent science-based process and found that the monarch meets listing criteria under the Endangered Species Act. However, before we can propose listing, we must focus resources on our higher-priority listing actions,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Aurelia Skipwith in a news release.

The announcement highlights the severity of the ongoing extinction crisis, said Sarina Jepsen, the director of endangered species and aquatic programs for the Portland-based Xerces Society. The Xerces Society is a nonprofit environmental organization that focuses on the conservation of invertebrates. It is named after the first butterfly to go extinct due to human activity in North America.

“I think this really underscores how poorly funded the Fish and Wildlife Service is for the job they have in this age where we have so many species of animals and plants facing extinction,” she said.

Read more: https://www.idahostatesman.com/news/local/environment/article247896665.html

Jim Hightower: Special Gifts for Special People

Ho-ho-ho, wait till you hear about the gifts I gave to some of America’s power elites for Christmas.

To each of our Congress critters, I sent my fondest wish that from now on, they receive the exact same income, health care and pension that we average citizens get. If they receive only the American average, it might make them a bit more humble — and less cavalier about ignoring the needs of regular folks.

To the stockings of GOP leaders who’ve so eagerly debased themselves to serve the madness of President Donald Trump, I added individual spritzer bottles of fragrances such as “Essence of Integrity” and “Eau de Self-Respect” to help cover up their stench. And in the stockings of Democratic congressional leaders, I put “Spice of Viagra” and “Bouquet du Grassroots” to stiffen their spines and remind them of who they represent.

For America’s CEOs, my gift is a beautifully boxed, brand-new set of corporate ethics. It’s called the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Going to pollute someone’s neighborhood? Then you have to live there, too. Going to slash wages and benefits? Then slash yours as well. Going to move your manufacturing to sweatshops in China? Then put your office right inside the worst sweatshop. Executive life wouldn’t be as luxurious, but CEOs would glow with a new purity of spirit.

Read more: https://magicvalley.com/opinion/columnists/jim-hightower-special-gifts-for-special-people/article_c13ca944-efc2-57c4-9aa6-153593b2411b.html

Energy Department: Idaho top choice for new test reactor

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho is the top choice for the first new nuclear test reactor in the country in decades, the U.S. Department of Energy said Monday.

The agency released a draft environmental impact statement naming the Idaho National Laboratory as its preferred site for the proposed Versatile Test Reactor, or VTR.

Officials say the reactor is needed to help revamp the nation’s fading nuclear power industry and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by developing safer fuel and power plants.

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee is an alternative for the new reactor if further study finds the Idaho site doesn’t work.

Read more: https://www.idahostatejournal.com/news/state/energy-department-idaho-top-choice-for-new-test-reactor/article_1cde6fa2-140f-548e-93c0-9f816ef55438.html

Fines dismissed over President Trump's Northern Nevada rally

MINDEN — The Nevada agency that oversees businesses compliance with state coronavirus directives has dismissed fines it imposed after President Donald Trump held a September political rally at the Minden-Tahoe Airport in Douglas County.

The Douglas County District Attorney, representing the county and the airport management contractor, reached agreement with Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration monitors to dismiss the fines, arguing they amounted to selective enforcement and violated the First Amendment, the Gardnerville Record-Courier reported.

After the rallies, health officials said they anticipated the gatherings with mostly maskless people would lead to an uptick in coronavirus cases.

In October, OSHA monitors slapped Douglas County and ABS Aviation with $2,950 and $2,603 fines, saying allowing an event in violation of Gov. Steve Sisolak's prevention measures violated the agreement the county signed to receive coronavirus relief funds.

Read more: https://lasvegassun.com/news/2020/dec/18/fines-dismissed-over-president-trumps-northern-nev/

Virus, other problems threaten to throw off homeless census in Las Vegas

The swanky, billion-dollar casinos of Las Vegas are bedecked with shining towers, neon signs and eye-popping extravagance. But directly beneath the glitter, hundreds of homeless people live out of sight, in the dark, in a network of stormwater tunnels running below the city.

When census takers tried in September to count the nation's homeless for the 2020 census, safety concerns prevented them from venturing into the Las Vegas tunnels.

The tunnels offer just one example of the difficulty in counting the portion of the homeless population that does not stay in shelters. A half dozen census takers around the U.S. told The Associated Press that they experienced problems that could cause the homeless to be undercounted — a situation that may cost some communities political representation and federal money.

America DePasquale, who lived in the tunnels from May 2018 until she moved into a detox facility last month, said she never saw census takers visit the area underneath the Las Vegas Strip.

Read more: https://lasvegassun.com/news/2020/dec/27/virus-other-problems-threaten-to-throw-off-homeles/
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