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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: 78,471

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

South Texas leaders: Abbott is opening up economy too soon

MCALLEN, Texas – South Texas leaders say the coronavirus has not been beaten back sufficiently to “open up” the local economy.

The owners of a local restaurant, Wing Barn, agree. They say they have too much concern for their employees than to open up the dinning rooms.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued new executive orders on Monday that allow retail stores, restaurants and malls to re-open from Friday, May 1, provided they operate at 25 percent capacity.

“This strategic approach to opening the state of Texas prioritizes the health and safety of our communities and follows the guidelines laid out by our team of medical experts,” Abbott said.

Read more: https://riograndeguardian.com/south-texas-leaders-abbott-is-opening-up-economy-too-soon/

Denied stimulus checks, mixed-status families file suit against Trump administration

MISSION, Texas – The Trump Administration, Commerce Secretary Steve Mnuchin and the Internal Revenue Service have been named as plaintiffs in two separate lawsuits involving so-called mixed families where a spouse is included on joint tax returns.

The lawsuit has been filed because such families are administratively excluded from receipt of COVID-19 stimulus monies. The first of these were filed last week.

The suit, filed by a U.S. citizen and Illinois resident identified only as “John Doe,” alleges that the ban violates the Constitution and is a form of discrimination “based solely on whom he chose to marry.”

The second was filed yesterday by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Read more: https://riograndeguardian.com/denied-stimulus-checks-mixed-status-families-file-suit-against-trump-administration/

Dallas Restaurateurs Say 25 Percent Capacity Isn't Worth the Risk

As much of the local news media has been anticipating, Gov. Greg Abbott today announced reduced restrictions on certain businesses, including restaurants. Beginning May 1, restaurants across the state of Texas can reopen at 25 percent capacity occupancy. Restaurants are not required to open, but those who choose to must adhere to the following health protocols from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The guidelines are very similar to the Texas Restaurant Association Promise, points out David Denney, president of the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association. “And no restaurant—and I have talked to a lot of them—nobody wants to put employees or guests at risk,” he says. “And people don’t have to. It’s not mandatory. It’s completely voluntary.”

Denney acknowledges that “there are a lot of people still nervous and a lot of people still eager to [reopen].” For some, this is carefully measured step in the right direction. For others, the news does not come as welcome or anything near a panacea.

In response to the Georgia’s swift reopening last week, restaurateur Brooks Anderson spoke to the realities of reopening even at 50 percent. (Anderson is co-owner with his brother Bradley, of Rapscallion, Boulevardier, Hillside Tavern, and the wine room Veritas. The latter is the only business that remains open; all others are closed temporarily.) Even with 100 percent occupancy “most ‘successful’ restaurants are running 5, 10, 15 percent profit at any time,” he says.

Read more: https://www.dmagazine.com/food-drink/2020/04/texas-governor-restaurants-25-percent-capacity-covid19-risk/?ref=mpw

ConocoPhillips slashes Alaska production amid glut, pandemic

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — ConocoPhillips Alaska will cut production on the North Slope by 100,000 barrels a day, or nearly half its total output, beginning in June but no layoffs were anticipated with the reduction, the company announced Thursday.

The company said it decided to curtail production “in response to unacceptably low oil prices resulting from global oil demand destruction caused by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with a global oversupply of oil.”

The company will ramp down production in late May. Any extensions past June will be determined on a monthly basis, the Houston-based company said. Operation of the 800-mile, trans-Alaska pipeline was not expected to be affected.

“At this time, based on our current outlook, we chose to maintain organization capacity so we can resume programs in the future,” company spokeswoman Natalie Lowman said in an email to The Associated Press.

Read more: https://www.oaoa.com/news/state/article_c8f2b9aa-b7bd-5e32-9dcb-81627734cd01.html
(Odessa American)

Florida senators Rubio and Scott ask USDA to stop new rule allowing citrus imports from China

Voicing support for the state’s struggling citrus industry, Florida Republicans and Democrats are opposing a federal decision to allow the importation of certain fruits from China.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Sen. Rick Scott on Tuesday sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asking him to reverse a decision to let five varieties of citrus fruits be imported from China.

“In recent years, Florida’s citrus growers have suffered the impacts of hurricanes, unfairly priced imports, and from citrus greening, a disease which originated in China, and spread to the U.S. from imported citrus,” the Republican senators wrote. “Risking the introduction of invasive species and diseases into the U.S. is irresponsible, especially given our knowledge of how citrus greening previously entered our country by imported citrus and is spread by an invasive pest species.”

Florida’s citrus industry has been struggling for more than a decade in large part because of citrus greening, which is fatal to fruit.

Read more: https://www.orlandoweekly.com/Blogs/archives/2020/04/30/florida-senators-rubio-and-scott-ask-usda-to-stop-new-rule-allowing-citrus-imports-from-china

Marco Rubio joins Rick Scott, says too many of the unemployed don't want to work

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is the latest Florida Republican to suggest that employers can’t hire because unemployment benefits are too fat.

On a Wednesday appearance on Fox and Friends, Florida’s senior Senator joined his junior colleague in expressing concern about overly attractive jobless benefits hampering the economic recovery.

“A lot of people are having trouble re-hiring workers because the workers are saying to them ‘I’m making more on unemployment,’” Rubio said. “Not everybody, most people would prefer to have a job obviously, but that’s an issue we’re hearing reports about.”

When asked, Rubio’s communications staff would not assign an actual numeric value to what “most” means, instead saying that many businesses are complaining that federal payments are more than what they pay.

Read more: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/330382-rubio-unemployment

What happened at the treasured Big Cypress National Preserve was "horrendous"

Damage done at Big Cypress National Preserve by Burnett Oil Co., Inc. Photos provided by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Quest Ecology.

The Big Cypress National Preserve is a soggy wonder — a place that is, as nature writer Jeff Ripple once noted, one of the few left in Florida where you can stand still and hear nothing but the sounds of nature.

Forty-six years ago, when the federal government bought the Big Cypress Swamp and created the 729,000-acre preserve, the government left a loophole that makes the word “preserve” somewhat misleading.

Although the National Park Service took charge of the land, which is a haven for some of Florida’s most endangered wildlife species, the feds did not buy the mineral rights under the land.

Those are overseen by the Collier Resources Company, which three years ago dispatched a Texas oil company into the preserve. The oil company used a massive, 33-ton machine that sends sound waves into the ground to determine how much oil might be under 110 square miles of the preserve.

Read more: https://www.floridaphoenix.com/2020/04/30/what-happened-at-the-treasured-big-cypress-national-preserve-was-horrendous/

Federal appeals court OKs law giving Republicans top spots on FL's election ballots

A federal appeals court has overturned a trial judge who struck down Florida’s system of naming members of the governor’s party first on the ballot, citing insufficient evidence that voters and political organizations suffered any injury that the courts can repair.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit lifted an injunction imposed in November by U.S. District Judge Mark Walker blocking the state from continuing to use the system, which is mandated under a state law enacted in 1951, when Democrats controlled state government. Republicans now control the governor’s office and Legislature.

The plaintiffs, including private citizens and Democratic and progressive political organizations, had cited evidence that voters favor the top name on a ballot by as much as five points. They called it the “primacy effect” and said it amounted to an unfair windfall for candidates belonging to the governor’s party.

In Florida, where statewide elections can hang on a razor’s edge, the effect theoretically could prove significant. The 2018 margin between Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum was 0.4 percent.

Read more: https://www.floridaphoenix.com/2020/04/29/federal-appeals-court-oks-law-giving-republicans-top-spots-on-fls-election-ballots/

Experts warn that widely used surgical masks are putting health care workers at serious risk

With medical supplies in high demand, federal authorities say health workers can wear surgical masks for protection while treating COVID-19 patients — but growing evidence suggests the practice is putting workers in jeopardy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently said lower-grade surgical masks are “an acceptable alternative” to N95 masks unless workers are performing an intubation or another procedure on a COVID patient that could unleash a high volume of virus particles.

America’s health care workers are dying from the coronavirus pandemic. These are some of the first tragic cases.

But scholars, nonprofit leaders and former regulators in the specialized field of occupational safety say relying on surgical masks — which are considerably less protective than N95 respirators — is almost certainly fueling illness among front-line health workers, who likely make up about 11% of all known COVID-19 cases.

Read more: https://ohiocapitaljournal.com/2020/04/29/experts-warn-that-widely-used-surgical-masks-are-putting-health-care-workers-at-serious-risk/

You Said It: Readers sound off after DeWine's mask reversal

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Tuesday his administration would not require any customer or worker to wear face coverings when businesses reopen in May, just a day after saying they would be required to do so.

Ohio Capital Journal readers were heavily critical of DeWine’s decision, though a few defended him. Here are a selection of responses:

Ann Bennett: “I am really sorry he backed away from this. If Ohio can mandate seat belts to save lives it can mandate safety masks or alternative protective gear for the same reason. I get that some people with autism, PTSD and similar issues have a real problem wearing such things. In that case, work with medical and behavioral experts to find safe alternatives.”

Sherry Dyke: “(DeWine) really dropped in my respect. I work were [sic] everyone wears a mask, customers as well as employees. It is great. Really disappointed.”

Read more: https://ohiocapitaljournal.com/2020/04/30/you-said-it-readers-sound-off-after-dewines-mask-reversal/
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