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Profile Information

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: 83,313

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

Even 'Turning Texas Blue' Won't Fix Us If We Don't Face Some Hard Truths

“This is like the Hunger Games!” some version of this exclamation, often peppered with curse words and red-faced anger emojis, was a common refrain in a now-defunct volunteer Slack group I spent a few hours in each week this spring, working alongside tech types trying to #disrupt a broken COVID-19 vaccine-distribution system. The group saw tens of thousands of people come through searching for their shots, monitoring the platform’s auto-updated appointment trackers, and seeking assistance from dozens of volunteer schedulers who navigated public and private systems to find vaccines for people with low computer literacy or unreliable internet access.

Of course, it shouldn’t be this hard to get a lifesaving vaccine. For anyone. But this pandemic year, combined with our Texas deep freeze in February, has laid bare an awful truth that many of us have never had to face in a real and present way: There are some services and resources—essential services and resources—that we’re generally OK with making hard or even impossible to get, depending on who is needing them. Many express surprise about the failures of “our” pandemic year, yet the crises haven’t hit all of us the same way. Our systems are not designed to distribute the burdens of death, destruction, and disenfranchisement equally, and for a lot of Texans, these frustrations aren’t new.

If you’ve ever tried to get an abortion in Texas or had to sign your family up for food stamps or Medicaid, you may be less surprised by how hard it has been to get a vaccine. You may be less inclined to wonder how state leaders could have designed a built-to-fail power grid, left people to freeze to death on the streets in single-digit weather, or forced service workers to choose between a paycheck and bringing the coronavirus home to their families.

It seems that Texans ought to have lost our capacity to be shocked and outraged by the way the people in charge, men mostly, have with every interminable day of this nightmare year become more and more outrageous parodies of themselves. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick suggests grandparents sacrifice themselves to COVID-19 (politician, avail thyself!). Senator Ted Cruz helps incite a white supremacist insurrection in Washington, D.C., then flies to Cancún during a deadly deep freeze in his home state and blames the asinine decision on his daughters. Governor Greg Abbott announces that he has bravely freed us from the grip of face-mask oppression at a Lubbock restaurant that … continues to require masks.

Read more: https://www.texasobserver.org/editorial-even-turning-texas-blue-wont-fix-us-if-we-dont-face-some-hard-truths/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Wed May 5, 2021, 04:32 AM (1 replies)

Actor indicted in $227M Ponzi scheme involving film rights

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An aspiring actor was indicted Tuesday in Los Angeles on suspicion of running a massive Ponzi scheme that solicited hundreds of millions of dollars from investors for phony Hollywood film licensing deals, federal prosecutors said.

Zachary Joseph Horwitz, who has appeared in low-budget movies under the screen name Zach Avery, was charged by a federal grand jury with multiple counts, including securities fraud, wire fraud and identity theft, the Los Angeles Times reported.

It wasn’t immediately known if Horwitz has an attorney.

From 2014 to 2019, Avery allegedly he lied to investors to secure $690 million in loans to his film company, 1inMM Capital, prosecutors said.

Read more: https://spectrumnews1.com/ca/la-west/ap-top-news/2021/05/05/actor-indicted-in-227m-ponzi-scheme-involving-film-rights
Posted by TexasTowelie | Wed May 5, 2021, 04:24 AM (0 replies)

Biden considering Mayor Eric Garcetti as ambassador to India

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — President Joe Biden is reportedly considering Mayor Eric Garcetti for an ambassadorship, possibly to India.

According to the news site Axios, which cited people close to the matter, Garcetti is one of multiple people being considered for the post.

"Today's Axios story is speculative," Garcetti's communications director, Alex Comisar, told City News Service. "We aren't going to engage in speculation. We're 100% focused on ending the COVID pandemic and passing a justice budget for the city."

Garcetti served as co-chair of Biden's campaign and said in December that he turned down an unspecified position in the administration to remain LA's mayor.

Read more: https://spectrumnews1.com/ca/la-west/politics/2021/05/05/report--biden-considering-mayor-eric-garcetti-as-ambassador-to-india
Posted by TexasTowelie | Wed May 5, 2021, 04:15 AM (0 replies)

Vice President Kamala Harris focuses on jobs, research in Milwaukee visit

MILWAUKEE — Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday made her first trip to Milwaukee since taking office.

Harris toured two of UW-Milwaukee's clean energy laboratories when she arrived Tuesday. The first laboratory visit focused on wind tunnel research on wind turbines, and the second on sustainable energy research on microgrids and batteries.

Shortly after, the vice president participated in a roundtable discussion on the investments in research and development in President Joe Biden's American Jobs Plan and its impact on local communities. The American Jobs Plan contains a robust investment in research and development, electric vehicles, education and climate change. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Congresswoman Gwen Moore, along with researchers and school administrators, were involved in the discussion.

She emphasized the $180 billion in proposed funding for research and development. At the roundtable, Harris said that would be the largest amount spent on research and development, other than in the military, in the history of the United States. Harris has been touting the plan, unveiled in March, at different stops across the country.

Read more: https://spectrumnews1.com/wi/milwaukee/news/2021/05/04/vice-president-kamala-harris-visits-milwaukee
Posted by TexasTowelie | Wed May 5, 2021, 04:07 AM (1 replies)

Florida will spend $100 million to clean up, close Piney Point

PALMETTO, Fla. — State lawmakers have secured $100 million to permanently clean up and close the former Piney Point phosphate plant.

Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes made the announcement Tuesday during a meeting with both county government and the mayors of manatee’s towns and cities.

Hopes confirmed there haven’t been any major changes to the former plant’s status since April 8. He says the steel patch that was fixed to secure the leak is holding, and the plans to move forward with an injection well are still in the works.

Scientists from Manatee, Pinellas, and Hillsborough counties, as well as local colleges and Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection are continuing to monitor the water quality around Port Manatee and the bay. Maya Burke with the Tampa Bay Estuary Program says based on the data that she is seeing right now, she is cautiously optimistic.

Read more: https://www.baynews9.com/fl/tampa/news/2021/05/04/florida-lawmakers-secure--100-million-to-clean-up--close-piney-point
Posted by TexasTowelie | Wed May 5, 2021, 03:57 AM (2 replies)

State lawmaker responds to ongoing anti-Asian hate, calls for action

KENTUCKY — Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month comes at a time to reflect and celebrate the legacy of the culture.

According to the Asian Pacific Heritage, the month was picked to remember the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States on May 7 in 1843.

It also marks the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad that same month in 1869. A big portion of those who laid tracks were of Chinese descent.

During this In Focus Kentucky segment, we visit with a modern day lawmaker blazing a trail for others of Asian descent.

Nima Kulkarni (D), is the first Indian-American elected as a State Representative in Kentucky. Her story of resilience started when she moved from India with her family at the age of 6 to start building a life.

Read more: https://spectrumnews1.com/ky/louisville/in-focus-shows/2021/05/03/nima-kulkarni-on-in-focus-ky
Posted by TexasTowelie | Wed May 5, 2021, 03:50 AM (0 replies)

Louisville health officials expect post-Derby COVID-19 spike

LOUISVILLE, KY — A spike in new COVID-19 cases is expected following last week's Kentucky Derby, according to Louisville's Chief Health Strategist.

On Tuesday, Chief Health Strategist Dr. Sarah Moyer said she expects a spike in COVID-19 cases linked to Derby Week. On Saturday, more than 50,000 fans were spread throughout Churchill Downs. It's a third of a typical Derby crowd pre-pandemic but enough to be the largest sporting event turnout since the pandemic began.

“So we are expecting an increase number in cases post-Derby and we saw an increase in cases last week even from Spring Break and people traveling and being out and about more," Moyer said during a weekly COVID-19 briefing.

Whether it will be a significant spike remains to be seen.

The races began last Tuesday, "Champions Day," and attendance grew each day. On Saturday, the official attendance of the Kentucky Derby was 51,383. There are plenty of examples of people close to one another wearing and not wearing face coverings. Masks are currently required for outdoor events with more than 1,000 people.

Read more: https://spectrumnews1.com/ky/louisville/coronavirus/2021/05/04/louisville-health-officials-expect-post-derby-covid-spike
Posted by TexasTowelie | Wed May 5, 2021, 03:43 AM (0 replies)

'They know it's un-American': Sen. Brown takes aim at GOP lawmakers over voting rights bill

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Sen. Sherrod Brown voiced his concerns over a GOP-backed voting rights bill, taking aim at Ohio Republicans for wanting to “choose who the voters are.”

Brown responded to a Ohio GOP effort to introduce a voting rights reform bill, speaking Tuesday as he toured the Celeste Center mass vaccination site in Columbus.

Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, plans to propose a bill that would make residents request online absentee ballots and move the request deadline to 10 days before the election instead of the Saturday before, according to the Associated Press. The bill would also limit the number of ballot drop-off boxes to one for each county, and they would be available for just 10 days before election day.

Democrats, including Brown, have been pushing to increase the number of drop-off boxes across the state. The Ohio Democratic Party filed a lawsuit in August in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, asking to allow local boards of elections to install more. The move came as a precautionary measure during the pandemic to avoid crowds at the polls and create more accessible locations for residents to cast their ballots.

Read more: https://spectrumnews1.com/oh/columbus/news/2021/05/04/brown-takes-aim-at-republican-lawmakers-over-voting-rights-bill
Posted by TexasTowelie | Wed May 5, 2021, 03:36 AM (1 replies)

Jill Biden to visit Utah school as US moves toward reopening

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — First lady Jill Biden plans to speak at a Salt Lake City school Wednesday as the U.S. makes uneven progress toward reopening classrooms during the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden, a teacher herself, is visiting Glendale Middle School, which has a diverse student body and returned to in-person instruction a few months ago. The stop is part of a swing through the U.S. West that also includes Nevada and Colorado.

The visit comes shortly after President Joe Biden’s self-imposed deadline to reopen most U.S. elementary schools in his first 100 days. The school-tracking site Burbio found 62% of schools were offering in-person learning every day by then, though it wasn't clear how many were elementary schools.

But a Biden administration survey of U.S. schools last month found striking variations in how students of different races and ethnicities were learning. Among fourth-graders, more than half of white students were being taught fully in person. By contrast, less than a third of Black and Hispanic fourth-graders were back in classrooms full time, along with just 15% of Asian students.

Read more: https://www.mynews13.com/fl/orlando/ap-top-news/2021/05/05/jill-biden-to-visit-utah-school-as-us-moves-toward-reopening
Posted by TexasTowelie | Wed May 5, 2021, 03:13 AM (0 replies)

Montana tribe gifts vaccines to neighbors across the border

BABB, Mont. (AP) — On a cloudy spring day, hundreds lined up in their cars on the Canadian side of the border crossing that separates Alberta and Montana. They had driven for hours and camped out in their vehicles in hopes of receiving the season’s hottest commodity — a COVID-19 vaccine — from a Native American tribe that was giving out its excess doses.

The Blackfeet tribe in northern Montana provided about 1,000 surplus vaccines last month to its First Nations relatives and others from across the border, in an illustration of the disparity in speed at which the United States and Canada are distributing doses. While more than 30% of adults in the U.S. are fully vaccinated, in Canada that figure is about 3%.

Among those who received the vaccine at the Piegan-Carway border crossing were Sherry Cross Child and Shane Little Bear, of Stand Off, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of the border.

They recited a prayer in the Blackfoot language before nurses began administering shots, with Chief Mountain — sacred to the Blackfoot people — rising in the distance. The prayer was dedicated to people seeking refuge from the virus, Cross Child said.

Read more: https://www.mynews13.com/fl/orlando/ap-online/2021/05/05/montana-tribe-gifts-vaccines-to-neighbors-across-the-border
(Spectrum News)
Posted by TexasTowelie | Wed May 5, 2021, 03:06 AM (0 replies)
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