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TexasTowelie

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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: 83,375

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

SpaceX conducts successful engine test

After weeks of delays, SpaceX at 3:02 p.m. on Thursday conducted a successful static-fire engine test of its SN5 Starship prototype at the company’s Boca Chica test/launch complex. The test, which lasted five or six seconds, paves the way for the first test flight of the SN5, which will mark the first flight of a full-size Starship prototype. Elton Musk, the company’s founder and CEO, tweeted a few minutes after today’s test that “Starship SN5 just completed full duration static fire. 150m hop soon.”

The SN5’s flight up to 150 meters, or 500 feet, could happen as early as Sunday, according to Temporary Flight Restrictions issued by the Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday for the Boca Chica site. The TFRs prohibit aircraft operations from the surface up to 26,000 feet in the area around Boca Chica from 8 a.m. on Aug. 2 to 8 p.m. on Aug. 4.

Also on Tuesday, Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. announced the closure of S.H. 4 near the SpaceX complex from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. today (Friday) as the primary date, and Aug. 1-2 during the same hours as alternate dates. A flight of the SN5 would be the second test hop to take place at Boca Chica. An earlier, smaller prototype — dubbed Starhopper — flew to an altitude of nearly 500 feet and landed again in a flight lasting slightly less than one minute on Aug. 27, 2019.

https://www.brownsvilleherald.com/2020/07/30/spacex-conducts-successful-engine-test/
(no more at link)


After weeks of delays, SpaceX at 3:02 p.m. today conducted a successful static-fire engine test of its SN5 Starship prototype at the company's Boca Chica test/launch complex. Courtesy: Elon Musk, Twitter

Months into pandemic, Texas reveals ravages of COVID-19 nursing home infections

State officials have released the names of all Texas nursing homes and assisted living centers that have had outbreaks of coronavirus, showing the devastation the pandemic has unleashed in some facilities.

Various news organizations requested the information months ago under the Texas Public Information Act. Texas Health and Human Services sought to withhold the records, citing privacy concerns. The Texas attorney general’s office, which reviews such cases, ruled earlier this month that case counts are not medical records and must be disclosed.

Delia Satterwhite, whose brother died of COVID-19 inside the Riverside Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Southeast Austin in April, said the release of the numbers serves as validation. The public now knows that he and multiple fellow residents succumbed to the disease.

“They didn't have to tell the public about their cases and the deaths, and it’s like my brother never existed,” Satterwhite told the Austin American-Statesman on Tuesday. “Now, people will know just exactly what kind of a nursing home it is.”

Read more: https://www.reporternews.com/story/news/2020/07/29/months-into-pandemic-texas-reveals-ravages-of-covid-19-nursing-home-infections/5535873002/
(Abilene Reporter-News)

Democratic congressional candidate Robert Underwood: Guam needs more action on military issues

Democratic congressional candidate Robert Underwood said Guam needs to be more involved with military spending on island, something he said hasn't happened during Del. Mike San Nicolas’ term.

“We must have concrete plans and advocacy,” Underwood told the Rotary Club of Guam Thursday, adding it is imperative that Guam’s delegate be engaged with the military, including membership on the House Armed Services Committee.

Underwood said every Guam delegate since Antonio Won Pat has been involved in the annual defense budget, making amendments to benefit the island.

“Every year that happened,” Underwood said. “It hasn’t happened in the past couple of years.”

Read more: https://www.guampdn.com/story/news/local/2020/07/29/democratic-candidate-underwood-guam-focus-military-spending-san-nicolas/5542817002/
(Guam Pacific Daily News)

Unemployment check batch on Guam held due to fraud concerns

The most recent batch of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payments has been paused due to the possibility of fraudulent claims getting paid out, according to the Guam Department of Labor.

The agency attempts to batch payments for cleared unemployment claims each Tuesday, but there was too much suspicious activity from the batch meant for July 28.

“This is a federal program. Rules are clear and concrete. People must understand that we don’t have the ability to make judgments. Either you qualify according to federal rules or you don’t,” said Guam Department of Labor Director David Dell’Isola. “We have no latitude for judgments. I also need to ensure we run one of the cleanest programs in the nation.”

Dell’Isola said the Office of the Inspector General has projected about $26 billion in fraud across the nation.

Read more: https://www.guampdn.com/story/news/local/2020/07/30/unemployment-check-batch-held-due-fraud-concerns/5543136002/
(Guam Pacific Daily News)

Trump administration waives NMI federal match requirement

WASHINGTON (Interior Department) — U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Douglas W. Domenech has approved the redirection of $366,000 in fiscal year 2019 capital improvement program funding provided last year to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to meet federal matching requirements to now be used for infrastructure development in the territory.

“Federal Emergency Management Agency projects require a local cost share, even from small territories, which is often untenable. While OIA’s CIP funding is flexible and can be used to meet these federal requirements, having to do so often diverts funding from important shovel-ready, infrastructure projects,” said Assistant Secretary Domenech. “By waiving the local cost share requirement for FEMA assistance related to Super Typhoon Yutu, the Trump Administration has opened the door for the CNMI to keep these funding resources in the territory and instead make needed infrastructure repairs to improve its resilience against future storms.”

On January 31, 2020, President Donald Trump announced through FEMA that an amendment (CNMI Amendment No. 4 to Notice of a Major Disaster Declaration), with conditions, had been granted to the CNMI adjusting federal cost sharing levels to a full 100% for Hazard Mitigation Grant Program disaster assistance related to Super Typhoon Yutu, thereby removing the federal match required of the CNMI.

Accordingly, the Commonwealth government requested to redirect funds previously awarded in fiscal year 2019 as matching funds toward the repair and renovation of CNMI Department of Finance facilities. Renovations will incorporate features for resilience against future natural disasters. Improvements include, but are not limited to, the replacement of windows and doors, new ADA-compliant restrooms, repair and strengthening of roof surfaces, new water/sewer piping, new emergency lights, and new electrical wiring and fixtures to comply with the latest National Electrical Code.

Read more: https://www.mvariety.com/cnmi-local/73-local/5525-trump-administration-waives-nmi-federal-match-requirement

American Samoa has succeeded in fighting covid-19 while the U.S. government failed

To date, American Samoa remains the only place in the United States without a confirmed case of covid-19.

In contrast to the uncoordinated federal response to the novel coronavirus, the territorial government in American Samoa acted quickly and decisively. On March 18, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga (I), declared a public health emergency across the entire island territory.

While President Trump’s national declaration of emergency on March 13 included few concrete steps to control the virus, Moliga’s declaration less than a week later had an immediate impact. Schools were closed, travelers from affected countries faced full quarantine upon arrival, and all public gatherings were suspended until further notice. Citing the territory’s limited health facilities, Moliga warned that “inordinate challenges expose the Territory of American Samoa to epic vulnerabilities subjecting all its residents to unprecedented health, economic, and social risks.” A subsequent declaration from June 1 prohibited crew members of cargo and fishing vessels from disembarking in American Samoa.

Recent virus outbreaks — including Zika in 2016, dengue fever in 2017 and 2018, measles in 2019 — had prepared most American Samoans to be vigilant and follow official health guidelines. In fact, Moliga’s declaration continued the state of emergency that had been put in place following a measles outbreak in fall 2019 that had killed 83 people in neighboring independent Samoa and added a separate state of emergency for the new coronavirus. But more strikingly, the U.S. territory in the South Pacific has been so successful in keeping covid-19, the coronavirus’s disease, at bay because policymakers remembered the islands’ extraordinary escape from a previous global pandemic, just over a century ago.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/07/27/american-samoa-has-succeeded-fighting-covid-19-while-us-government-failed/

Oahu Bars To Close For Three Weeks Starting Friday

In the first major rollback of Oahu’s effort to reopen the economy, Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced the island’s bars will be shuttered again for three weeks starting on Friday.

All bars will be closed completely, and restaurants that serve alcohol won’t be able to do so after 10 p.m., the mayor said.

The reversal comes just weeks after Honolulu bars reopened on June 19, when cases were relatively low. In recent days, however, numbers have soared, setting new records for Honolulu. Hawaii marked 124 new cases on Thursday, nearly all of them on Oahu.

“We don’t want to reverse our reopening that we’ve worked so hard on,” Caldwell said at a press conference Thursday. “We ranked the lowest level for a long period time among our states. We need to get back to that place, and we need to do it immediately.”

Read more: https://www.civilbeat.org/2020/07/oahu-bars-to-close-for-three-weeks-starting-friday/

Ige Waiting On Congress To Act Before Boosting Unemployment Benefits

A program that would have tacked on an extra $100 a week for those left jobless from the pandemic is in limbo after Gov. David Ige struck certain provisions involving federal relief from the state budget Thursday.

A federal “plus-up” of $600 that people have come to rely on is expected to end Friday. Without help from the state, people on unemployment benefits may be looking at increasingly devastating financial situations.

The $100 a week benefit from the state would have come from a $230 million chunk of federal relief funds that the Legislature set aside in June. But the governor wants to wait on Congress to pass another round of stimulus money before he acts.

“If Congress provides no additional benefits, then we could look at doing the additional $100 plus-up that the Legislature has proposed,” Ige said during an afternoon press conference.

Read more: https://www.civilbeat.org/2020/07/ige-waiting-on-congress-to-act-before-boosting-unemployment-benefits/

Hawaiian Airlines prepares for layoffs, says it's nowhere near declaring bankruptcy

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some 2,000 union employees at Hawaiian Airlines have received layoff notices, but the CEO and flight attendants union say it’s not an automatic cut.

Even so, employees are facing the reality that Hawaiian Airlines will become a smaller company to survive this pandemic.

"The fate of the economy in Hawaii is really closely aligned to the fate of Hawaiian Airlines," said Hawaiian Airlines CEO Peter Ingram.

He told Hawaii News Now the 2,000 layoff notices include 35% of the company’s flight attendants and 25% of its pilots.

Read more: https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2020/07/30/hawaiian-airlines-employees-try-cope-with-layoff-notices/

Ige wants tighter rules after surge in COVID-19 cases

Because of the recent surge of COVID-19 cases, Gov. David Ige during a news conference Wednesday said he is proposing Hawaii’s four counties reinstate measures — initially implemented to curb the spread of the virus — that have been relaxed in recent weeks.

That includes limiting social gatherings to 10 or fewer people, re-closing bars, limiting social gatherings on beaches and within parks and re-evaluating guidelines issued for sports activities.

Wednesday’s news conference came hours after the state reported a record-high one-day total of 109 cases of COVID-19 — 98 on Oahu, nine on Maui, and two on Kauai. It is the first time Hawaii’s daily case count has hit triple digits since the pandemic began.

“We continue to be able to manage this infection safely in our communities, but I am very much concerned with what we see happening,” Ige said. “It is a dropping of our vigilance in implementing the mandates that we had to distance and to wear masks. We are seeing infections occurring at personal gatherings of family and friends, and funeral services and other activities, which is alarming, and we must redouble efforts to take personal responsibility and fight against the spread of COVID-19.”

Read more: https://www.westhawaiitoday.com/2020/07/30/hawaii-news/ige-wants-tighter-rules-after-surge-in-covid-19-cases/
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