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Gender: Male
Hometown: Texas
Home country: United States
Current location: Red Hell Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 76,957

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

Exclusive: Iowa's state medical director received 45% pay raise

Monday, Aug 3 2020
Laura Belin, Bleeding Heartland

The base pay for Iowa’s medical director and state epidemiologist Dr. Caitlin Pedati increased by 45 percent as the current fiscal year began on July 1, records obtained by Bleeding Heartland show. The additional $3,144 that Pedati began receiving per two-week pay period would translate to an extra $81,744 in base salary over twelve months.

The doctor leading the state’s COVID-19 pandemic response also received more than $55,000 in overtime pay from March through early July, even though her job class would not normally be eligible for overtime compensation.


Pedati’s base pay was $7,050.40 per two-week pay period from March through late June. It rose to $10,194.40 during the pay period that ran from June 26 through July 9, according to Department of Administrative Services records. That agency’s spokesperson Tami Wiencek confirmed via email the information reflects raises in the pay period including July 1.

State employees typically receive modest salary increases at the start of a fiscal year. Pedati’s biweekly pay had increased from $6,844.80 when she joined the Iowa Department of Public Health in 2018 to $7,050.40 the following fiscal year. The 30 other state employees whose recent records Bleeding Heartland reviewed–all of whom earn more than $100,000 annually–saw their biweekly pay increase by amounts ranging from $85 to $122 as the 2021 fiscal year began.

Read more: https://www.bleedingheartland.com/2020/08/03/exclusive-iowas-state-medical-director-received-45-pay-raise/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Aug 4, 2020, 10:56 PM (0 replies)

State tournaments in a pandemic: 'It's made these kids stronger'

By John Naughton, Iowa Capital Dispatch

August 3, 2020

Fort Dodge softball coach Andi Adams looked across the diamond last week and saw players keeping their distance, fans wearing cloth masks and teams spread out across the town’s Rogers Sports Complex.

This is what playing in a state tournament during a pandemic looks like.

Iowa high school softball and baseball teams were awarded state championship trophies to end a shortened season. They played the nation’s first state tournaments since COVID-19 swept across the nation in March.

Yet Iowa, which canceled spring track, tennis, golf and soccer, allowed high school athletes to practice softball and baseball June 1 and return to competition June 15. As the only state with sanctioned summer sports, the kids played through with safety precautions for both teams and fans..

Read more: https://iowacapitaldispatch.com/2020/08/03/state-tournaments-in-a-pandemic-its-made-these-kids-stronger/

Cedar Rapids Kennedy players celebrate their class 5A softball championship 5-1 win over against the Fort Dodge Dodgers at Harlan & Hazel Rogers Sports Complex Park in Fort Dodge, Iowa, on Thursday, July 30, 2020. (Photo by Matthew Putney)
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Aug 4, 2020, 07:54 AM (3 replies)

Fauci cites Minnesota's 'insidious' increase in positive test rate

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Monday told the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that Minnesota’s “insidious” rising percent of positive COVID-19 tests suggest a future surge like outbreaks that have slammed the southern U.S.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also said a pause on reopening is worth considering. Minnesota’s seven-day rolling positive case average is 5.1 percent, up from 5.0 percent this weekend and 4.9 percent on Wednesday. The rate has generally increased slowly since June.

Said Fauci: “It’s become clear now as you look back at the states in the southern region that have surged up … that prior to the surge you could detect an early increase in the percent positive for any given state. Even if it goes up by 1 to 1.5 percentage points, and it continues to go up. It generally does not spontaneously come down.”

State officials, he said, “may need to pause” reopening or “drop back a little bit.”

Read more: https://www.minnpost.com/health/2020/08/the-daily-coronavirus-update-fauci-cites-minnesotas-insidious-increase-in-positive-test-rate/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Aug 4, 2020, 03:56 AM (2 replies)

Citing budget shortfalls, Department of Corrections to close two Minnesota prisons

The Department of Corrections plans to shutter operations at its two smallest prisons in greater Minnesota, an unprecedented cost-saving measure that will result in the layoffs of 100 more employees to help reduce a projected $14 million deficit.

Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell on Monday announced his intent to close minimum-security facilities in Togo and Willow River, which host the popular Challenge Incarceration Program (CIP), a military-style boot camp for nonviolent inmates to earn early release. About 150 prisoners housed at those sites will be transferred to other facilities starting this fall, when that program is slated to resume.

"Our budget is in crisis," Schnell wrote in a departmentwide e-mail obtained by the Star Tribune. "With each week that passes without taking these steps, the hole only gets deeper, potentially leading to more needed savings. We have to take strong decisive action now."

The disclosure comes just two weeks after the department cut 48 jobs across the state to meet "unforeseen budget shortfalls" related to the corona­virus pandemic. A senior official told lawmakers last month that contractual salary increases, ballooning overtime for officers and loss of revenue from the agency's industrial MINNCOR program all contributed to the deficit — which is expected to nearly double in the next biennium without significant cuts.

Read more: https://www.startribune.com/citing-budget-shortfalls-doc-to-close-two-minnesota-prisons/571994242/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Aug 4, 2020, 12:57 AM (0 replies)

Judge extends vote-by-mail changes prompted by coronavirus to November election

A Minnesota judge Monday approved changes easing Minnesota absentee ballot rules during the coronavirus pandemic for the November general election.

An agreement approved by Ramsey County District Judge Sara Grewing allows voters to submit their mail-in or absentee ballots in the Nov. 3 general election without witness signatures. Election officials also will count ballots that arrive within seven days of the election, as long as they are postmarked by Nov. 3.

The changes are the result of an agreement between DFL Secretary of State Steve Simon and citizen groups that filed a lawsuit against the state, including the Minnesota Alliance for Retired Americans Educational Fund. Plaintiffs celebrated the decision as a win for voters worried about the health risks of voting in person during a pandemic.

“All voters should be able to vote by mail and know that their ballot will be counted,” said Richard Fiesta, executive director of the national Alliance for Retired Americans. “This is especially critical for seniors, who are the most at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, and need to be able to vote by mail to protect their health.”

Read more: https://www.startribune.com/minn-judge-extends-vote-by-mail-changes-to-november-election/571998322/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Aug 4, 2020, 12:50 AM (1 replies)

Activists protest CEO of Cargill -- 'worst company in the world' -- at his Edina home

Minnesota-based agricultural giant Cargill vows to end deforestation in its supply chain. It’s just unclear how long they'll take to do it.

Cargill, which trades in agricultural commodities like soybeans, buys from farmers all over the world, including the ones razing forests to make way for farm fields. This is especially troubling in Brazil, simultaneously the world’s top exporter of soybeans and home to most of the Amazon rainforest. Slash-and-burn farming in Brazil has already destroyed a fifth of the Amazon. Last year, it contributed to wildfires that consumed 2.2 million acres.

In 2014, Cargill signed on to the United Nations' New York Declaration on Forests, pledging to stop purchasing products grown on deforested land by the end of 2020. That deadline is just around the corner, and the company’s not going to make it. Last year, after receiving corporate sustainability awards and conciliatory praise from environmental groups, Cargill announced it would actually give itself until 2030 to stop sourcing from deforesters. By then, more than half of the Amazon would be lost, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

In addition to farms in the Amazon, Cargill also buys soy from farmers who are rapidly clearing another massive Brazilian biome of woodlands and savannah called the Cerrado, which has already been reduced by half. In 2017, dozens of Brazilian and international brands signed an agreement, the Cerrado Manifesto, to halt deforestation in the region.

Read more: http://www.citypages.com/news/activists-protest-ceo-of-cargill-worst-company-in-the-world-at-his-edina-home/571955121
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Aug 4, 2020, 12:44 AM (0 replies)

Truck guy attacks Black Lives Matter sign that got Mary Kay lady fired

There are two possibilities for the video you'll see below.

First, a couple weeks after Tom and Linda Bergerson took down a Black Lives Matter sign on the roadside in Grand Marais, some random guy was overcome by the same impulse, and did the same thing.

Second, the guy knew of the Bergersons' weasely little act of protest -- perhaps even knew it got Linda canned from the Mary Kay cosmetics pyramid scheme -- and did this anyway.

Either way, Andy DeLisi is pissed. DeLisi owns both the sign and Big Bear Lodge, the resort it's posted outside of, and where he's stationed a surveillance camera. Today, DeLisi shared two short clips of a man traveling as the passenger in a white pickup truck that pulled over next to the sign.

Read more and view video: http://www.citypages.com/news/truck-guy-attacks-black-lives-matter-sign-that-got-mary-kay-lady-fired/571968321
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Aug 4, 2020, 12:33 AM (0 replies)

Opponents of statewide mask mandate rally at Minnesota Capitol

A week after Minnesota’s face mask mandate took effect, opponents gathered on the grounds of the State Capitol on Aug. 1 to criticize Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order.

A few hundred people turned out for the rally, with some carrying signs, others American flags, and a few with firearms visible. In announcing the rally, organizers said they’re not opposed to people wearing masks — just any statewide rule or law requiring it.

One sign at the rally called the coronavirus pandemic a “fake crisis.” Another called the wearing of masks “dehumanizing.”

Ben Carrick, who said he’s from southern Minnesota, was among the crowd on the Capitol grounds.

Read more: https://www.southernminn.com/faribault_daily_news/news/state/article_d319d2e7-8efa-5b95-9759-4d294c2a95a0.html

Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Aug 3, 2020, 11:50 PM (5 replies)

Poaching among the plutocrats

A liberal education vs. student debt

In April 2019 the chewed-on leather boots, belt buckles and rifles of three rhino poachers were found in an African national park, evidently eaten by a pride of angry, hungry lions.

In another incident the partially-eaten body of a rhino poacher was found by a police patrol. This poor fellow had been crushed by an elephant but was not on the elephant’s menu so was later digested by a neighborhood lion.

And so the world goes. Rhino horn, thought to be a terrific medicine by many Asian cultures, although it is made of the same material as our finger and toenails, sells on the black market for about $30,000 a pound. The average rhino’s two horns weigh a total of about 10 pounds, so the average kill could bring in about $300,000. That’s a good pay day.

Rhino horn has been a part of traditional Asian medicine and myth, particularly in China and Vietnam, for hundreds of years. It has been used to treat fevers, arthritis, gout, headaches, high blood pressure, typhoid, snake bites, hallucinations, cancer, erectile dysfunction, and impotence.

Read more: http://duluthreader.com/articles/2020/07/30/21338_poaching_among_the_plutocrats
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Aug 3, 2020, 11:42 PM (1 replies)

Walz asks feds to free up loans for Minneapolis businesses following looting, fires

ST. PAUL — Gov. Tim Walz on Monday, Aug. 3, announced that he had again requested federal disaster aid to help rebuild Minneapolis following extensive arson fires and looting there following the killing of George Floyd.

In a letter Friday, Walz asked that the federal Small Business Administration declare a disaster for Hennepin County that would free up low-interest loans for business owners affected by the damage. The Federal Emergency Management Agency in July rejected a prior request for disaster assistance and Walz said he planned to appeal the decision.

“We need to work together to support Minnesotans who lost their homes and businesses to this destruction — that’s why we’ve asked our federal partners to step in,” Walz said in a news release. “We remain committed to working with the impacted communities to restore their vitality in the wake of this damage.”

The governor earlier this month wrote to the Trump administration noting that there were more than $15 million in damage and cleanup costs in Minneapolis and St. Paul that could qualify for federal reimbursement. More than 1,500 businesses were damaged or destroyed during the riots that lasted several days.

Read more: https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/government-and-politics/6601395-Walz-asks-feds-to-free-up-loans-for-Minneapolis-businesses-following-looting-fires
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Aug 3, 2020, 11:34 PM (0 replies)
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