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Gender: Male
Hometown: Texas
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Current location: Red Hell Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
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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

Former Attorney General Eric Holder Pushes Redistricting Reform in Columbia South Carolina Stop

For six years, Eric Holder was the nation’s top law enforcement official, serving as U.S. Attorney General under President Barack Obama.

Now the former attorney general has taken up a new cause — ending gerrymandering and bringing reform to the way political districts are drawn — and he brought the fight to Columbia on Thursday.

Holder, who is serving as the chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, led a panel discussion on gerrymandering at Second Nazareth Baptist Church in the Edgewood neighborhood. Other Democrats on the panel included state House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, state Sens. John Scott and Mia McLeod and former state Democratic Party chairman and current U.S. Senate candidate Jaime Harrison. About 100 people attended the event at the 116-year-old church in the predominantly African-American neighborhood.

With the U.S. census set for 2020, and redistricting at all levels of government to follow in 2021, Holder is pushing for district maps to be drawn in a more fair manner, noting that maps are often manipulated along racial lines, and created in a way that protects incumbents.

Read more: https://www.postandcourier.com/free-times/news/local_and_state_news/former-attorney-general-eric-holder-pushes-redistricting-reform-in-columbia/article_569559d2-8df1-11e9-ac0c-57edc6fad271.html
(Columbia Free Times)

LGBTQ organizations sue Trump administration and S.C. after group denied lesbian couple's foster

LGBTQ organizations sue Trump administration and S.C. after group denied lesbian couple's foster care application

Various organizations are suing the state and federal governments on behalf of a married gay couple who was denied services at a Greenville foster care agency earlier this year.

S.C. Equality, Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the ACLU's South Carolina chapter filed suit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in downtown Charleston.

The complaint centers on Brandy Welch and Eden Rogers, a Unitarian Universalist couple who has been married for three years and has two daughters aged 7 and 10.

In April, they decided to open their home to foster children and submit an online application with Greenville-based Miracle Hill Ministries, according to S.C. Equality.

Read more: https://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/TheBattery/archives/2019/05/30/lgbtq-organizations-sue-trump-administration-and-sc-after-group-denied-lesbian-couples-foster-care-application

City Council commits to repeal of Lake Austin tax exemption

This week, Austin City Council members say, they will repeal a decades-old ordinance that made hundreds of waterfront homes on Lake Austin exempt from city property taxes.

The American-Statesman first reported last week that about 400 properties lining Lake Austin, many of them multimillion-dollar dwellings, have been exempted from city property taxes since at least 1986. The properties have an average value of $2.1 million and would have generated an estimated $3 million in tax revenue last year, according to initial estimates based on Travis County property records.

The discovery has prompted the City Council to move to repeal the ordinance Thursday during its regular meeting. The Statesman reached out to all 11 members of the City Council this week, and every one indicated directly or through a staff member a preference to do away with the tax exemption.

“To exclude certain people is unfair to other taxpayers,” Council Member Kathie Tovo said. “That is a situation that we need to right.”

Read more: https://www.statesman.com/news/20190614/city-council-commits-to-repeal-of-lake-austin-tax-exemption

College of Charleston will pay $20,000 to settle free speech lawsuit over rejected student club

The club and its founders were represented by an anti-gay conservative nonprofit

The College of Charleston has settled a lawsuit filed by two students whose club was denied official status last year.

The public college will pay the Alliance Defending Freedom, the group representing the students, $20,000 in legal costs and attorneys' fees, according to a settlement filed in U.S. District Court on Tuesday.

The college walked back its denial and recognized the group in question, the South Carolina Politics Club, as a registered student organization (RSO) in May, according to court documents. That status is important because it allows them to access meeting rooms, funds, and other resources reserved for official clubs, the suit argued.

The College of Charleston declined to comment on the settlement, which will be paid out from the South Carolina Insurance Reserve Fund.

Read more: https://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/TheBattery/archives/2019/06/05/college-of-charleston-will-pay-20000-to-settle-free-speech-lawsuit-over-rejected-student-club

Bad news that an SPLC designated hate group received recognition as a RSO.

North Carolina town's charter suspended to address sewer, financial problems

EUREKA — Lawmakers have suspended the charter of a tiny North Carolina town so that the state can step in and help with sewer system upgrades.

The Goldsboro News-Argus reports that the General Assembly voted Thursday to suspend the town charter for Eureka. That means all money and assets held by the town will be held by the state treasurer.

State Sen. James Perry filed an amendment to another bill that allowed for the five-year charter suspension. He and state Rep. John Bell, both of whom represent Wayne County, said they hope the move will allow the state to help the town of 200 upgrade its deteriorating sewer system.

Perry said the town's finances were in "dire shape."

Eureka Mayor Doug Booth said he thinks the suspension will help the town in the long run.

(no more at link) (Winston-Salem Journal)

Report says North Carolina may be ill-equipped for paying jobless benefits in next recession

North Carolina may be ill-prepared to adequately serve the needs of the jobless during the next recession because of the unemployment insurance benefit restrictions put in place in 2013.

That’s the conclusion of a report released last week by the nonprofit National Employment Law Project.

The group examined how state UI programs have been weakened by benefit cuts and policies that discourage unemployed workers from even applying for aid.

The benefits are drawn mostly by people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

Read more: https://www.journalnow.com/business/report-says-north-carolina-may-be-ill-equipped-for-paying/article_4144217b-b02e-5cc0-8c97-fda9ce1d3ce0.html
(Winston-Salem Journal)

As North Carolina House and Senate disagree over licensing issue, teacher jobs are in limbo

RALEIGH -- Teachers across North Carolina face losing their jobs in less than three weeks as state lawmakers try to work out a deal over whether to give educators more time to pass their licensure exams.

The state Senate voted Thursday not to back a bill passed by the House on Wednesday that would give teachers additional time to meet licensure requirements. Now a committee made up members of both bodies will try to work out a compromise before the June 30 deadline passes for some teachers who need a legislative extension to avoid losing their jobs.

Sen. Tom McInnis, a Republican from Richmond County and one of the bill’s primary sponsors, told his colleagues Thursday that the House had made too many changes to the version the Senate had passed in May.

“They massaged it a little bit too heavy over there, and we need to work on it a little bit,” McInnis said.

Read more: https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article231522088.html
(Raleigh News & Observer)

Former NC Sen. Cal Cunningham giving 'serious thought' to Democratic race for US Senate

Former state Sen. Cal Cunningham said Friday he’s giving “serious thought” to a run for U.S. Senate.

Cunningham, who had been running for lieutenant governor, is expected to switch gears for a Senate run.

“A lot of folks in North Carolina have asked me to think about running for Senate and I’m giving it very serious thought,” Cunningham texted the Observer Friday.

Democrats have been looking for a candidate with name recognition and fundraising ability to run for the seat held by Republican Sen. Thom Tillis. Tillis faces a primary challenge from Raleigh businessman Garland Tucker and Pitt County resident Sandy Smith.

Read more: https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article231554983.html
(Raleigh News & Observer)

Organizing the South

The Southern United States has always been averse to the idea of unionized workforces. At its core, much of that is born out of the agrarian history of the region. From the nation’s inception, the South has been an economy driven by agriculture.

In fact, the “peculiar institution” of slavery allowed the South to compete with the manufacturing base of the Northeast. While lowering costs of labor in the 19th century, and apart from its obviously wicked treatment of human beings as disposable tools, the practice has repercussions in the region that reverberate today. The nature of vocations in the region did not require extensive education; that is not to diminish the difficulty of the work, but working in textile mills or operating farm equipment are better learned by practical experience than in classrooms.

The region began making inroads into varied forms of work by the early 20th century. In a recent Wall Street Journal article examining the recent decline of the South, Seth Herald writes:

Rural Adams County in the southwest corner of Mississippi exemplifies the typical story of the South’s rise and fall. It once attracted thousands of higher-paid factory jobs, particularly in the 1930s, when a big tire and rubber plant arrived. But the major factories began closing in the 2000s; the tire plant shut down in 2001. “Friends and family that have been here for 20 years…were packing up and leaving,” says Chandler Russ, who grew up in Adams.

The income gains the county notched against the rest of the country from the 1950s to the 2000s have completely reversed.

The county population peaked in 1982 at 39,172, and has declined about 20% since. Factory jobs, 18.5% of the county’s total in 1992, were just 5% in 2017. Per capita income is now 56.8% of the national average.

Wall Street Journal

The refrain heard throughout the region during its growth in the 20th century remains today: lower taxes will draw businesses to the region. Of course, in many ways this has worked. Companies from the Midwest and Northeast relocated or opened new locations in the South, capitalizing on both the lower costs of living and tax burdens.

Read more: https://www.politicsnc.com/organizing-the-south/

The case of the vanishing budget: How N.C.'s secretive budget "process" is bad for the public good

If, in this precise moment, you’re wondering where North Carolina’s multi-billion dollar budget is, the same one that sets crucial policy and spending parameters for state agencies, that dictates classroom funding levels for 1.5 million schoolchildren, that sets pay levels for thousands of state employees, retirees and teachers, it’s in the same place it’s always been.

Not, I fear, in a public space – a mic’d up committee room or in a clerk’s trusty hands – it exists, without hyperbole, mostly in Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger’s brain.

And, to a lesser extent, in the care of the most powerful lawmakers atop a GOP-dominated House and Senate conference committee, a committee that, as of this moment, has yet to schedule a single public meeting, or a single hearing to listen to the public, in all its wild, untamed glory.

It’s a committee composed, as it were, of Republicans one and all, if you exclude the pair of Democrats selected, perhaps, because at points along the way, they voted for the GOP’s budget in the first place.

Read more: http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2019/06/13/the-case-of-the-vanishing-budget-how-n-c-s-secretive-budget-process-is-bad-for-the-public-good/
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