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TexasTowelie

Profile Information

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: 69,560

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

Beto O'Rourke returns to Austin, now as a presidential candidate

The blustery wind gave the night air a bite that made it feel far colder than the low 50s, and by 8:15 p.m. Saturday, 45 minutes before the Beto O’Rourke rally was set to begin, there was not much of a crowd to speak of, leaving one to wonder whether, somewhere between his upbeat morning rally in El Paso and his afternoon rally at Texas Southern University in Houston, the political phenomenon’s bubble had burst.

But, by the time O’Rourke ascended the ersatz stage that had been constructed on Congress Avenue for his return to Austin for the first time as a candidate for president at just after 10:30 p.m., thousands of people had filled the streets in every direction, and the former congressman from El Paso, removing his jacket and rolling up his sleeves, seemed buoyed higher than ever.

“Austin, how you doin’?” O’Rourke asked. “We love you Austin. It is so good to be back here in Austin, the source of what is good for Texas and for the United States of America.”

The three rallies Saturday were in the campaign’s description, kick off rallies, the official launch of his presidential campaign. But that came with a tweeted video way back on March 14, a seeming eon of political time ago, and these three rallies in the friendly terrain of his hometown of El Paso, in Houston, and in the shadow of the Capitol were homecomings for a favorite son who, after enduring a loss, had contemplated what that meant and what to do next and decided to reach higher.

Read more: https://www.statesman.com/news/20190331/beto-orourke-returns-to-austin-now-as-presidential-candidate

One of Russia's richest women dies in plane crash

Frankfurt, Germany – One of Russia’s richest women, S7 Group co-owner Natalia Fileva, died Sunday in a plane crash in Germany, the airline operator said.

Fileva, 55, was aboard a single-engine, six-seat Epic LT aircraft that crashed and burned in a field as it approached the small airport at Egelsbach, a town in southwestern Germany, at about 3:30 p.m. (1330 GMT), the airline said in an email.

German police said there appeared to be three people aboard the plane, including the pilot of the flight, which originated in France. They said the two passengers were believed to be Russian citizens but that positive identification of the occupants would require further investigation.

German aviation authorities were probing the cause of the crash. Egelsbach is about 10 kilometers (six miles) south of Frankfurt.

Read more: https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/world/2019/03/31/wealthy-russian-woman-fileva-plane-crash/39282179/

Halting Line 5 tunnel is 'shameful.' Prepare for a lawsuit, GOP leader says

LANSING — A political clash over Enbridge Energy’s plan to build a tunnel around its Line 5 oil pipeline could result in the state suing itself, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey told Bridge Magazine.

The Clarklake Republican said the GOP-controlled Senate will make sure the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority, the board that approved Enbridge Energy’s plan to build a tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac, has the resources to make the case for its existence in court if necessary.

Shirkey’s comments Friday came one day after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered state agencies to halt action on the tunnel project. Whitmer’s order followed a legal opinion from Attorney General Dana Nesssel, a fellow Democrat, calling the 2018 law creating the Corridor Authority unconstitutional.

Speaking to Bridge, Shirkey called Nessel’s move “shameful,” and he defended Republicans’ lightning-quick approval of the tunnel plan in December, which critics have called poorly vetted.

Read more: https://www.bridgemi.com/michigan-environment-watch/halting-line-5-tunnel-shameful-prepare-lawsuit-gop-leader-says

VA professor Marc Edwards, once a hero of the #FlintWaterCrisis, loses lawsuit suing local activists

Virginia professor Marc Edwards, once a hero of the #FlintWaterCrisis, loses lawsuit suing local activists for $3 million


It was, perhaps, one of the most unexpected stories to spring out the tragedy of the Flint Water Crisis. Virginia Tech professor Marc Edwards, once hailed as one of the true heroes of the story, began to lose credibility with local activists like Melissa Mays. In their estimation, Edwards began to presume he spoke for the citizens of Flint and the state of Michigan at the national level, all but declared the crisis to be over even as Flint residents continued to experience rashes and other water-related issues, and even blamed an outbreak of shigella on Flint residents’ poor bathing habits.

Edwards also filed a bizarre complaint against Wayne State University researcher Shawn McElmurry, claiming McElmurry was misrepresenting himself in his research on the dramatic increase of cases of Legionnaires’ disease during the crisis and had “appropriated ideas that were not his”. This was seen by many as Edwards attacking a rival for grant funds related to the catastrophe in Flint.

Edwards’ loss of support from the activists fighting for justice in the beleaguered city culminated in an open letter sent on May 10th, 2018, addressed to “the Scientific and Engineering Communities”. Mays and the 60 signers of the letter sent it to as many groups as they could think of including administrators at Virginia Tech. In the letter, after laying out four specific complaints, they conclude with this:

Ultimately, Mr. Edwards’ focus, and the focus of any specialist claiming to “save” us, should be on our LIVES, our first-hand EXPERIENCES, our NEEDS, and on the fact that we are still suffering. Instead, Mr. Edwards goes around the country giving talks that dismiss our concerns and calls us “tribal” (https://www.swarthmore.edu/news-events/listen-engineer-marc-edwards-truth-seeking-age-tribalism, https://nicholas.duke.edu/about/events/truth-seeking-age-tribalism-lessons-flint-water-crisis-marc-edwards). Shockingly, Mr. Edwards has gone as far as to declare that the Flint Water Crisis was over 2 years ago (in 2016). We believe it would be best that Mr. Edwards now leaves our town alone. We need an end to his disruptive presence so that we can finally clean up the mess he has left behind him, focus on healing the rifts he has created between residents, and try to address the real problems plaguing us. Mr. Edwards’ choice to initiate drama distracts from the real suffering in Flint and needs to stop NOW.

We are reaching out to you, key representatives of the scientific and engineering communities who keep awarding and rewarding Mr. Edwards for his behavior, because we need full protection from Mr. Edwards immediately. We also need an immediate investigation that puts OUR voices at the center and demands evidence for all claims made by Mr. Edwards. We ask for a committee that includes academics, professionals, and Environmental Justice leaders who have expertise in abuses of professional power against poisoned communities like Flint.


Edwards responded first by using his blog FlintWaterStudy.org to refute the letter. The blog, which started out as a way to keep people apprised of the work he and his team were doing in Flint, began to devolve into rather erratic and defensive posts.

Read more: https://www.eclectablog.com/2019/03/virginia-professor-marc-edwards-once-a-hero-of-the-flintwatercrisis-loses-lawsuit-suing-local-activists-for-3-million.html

Betsy DeVos Wants More "Innovation" in Public Schools: How About Public School Food Trucks?

One of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ favorite “talking points” is that public schools are not “innovative,” and that the solution to our problems in education is to invest public tax dollars in creating more charter schools and voucher programs for private and religious schools:

“There’s still not enough innovation,” she said Tuesday, continuing her familiar focus on school choice and schools or networks working outside the traditional public system. “The reality is there are a number of challenges and opportunities facing American students, and Washington, DC does not have all the answers.”


I’d suggest that it is Ms. DeVos who “does not have all the answers,” and in fact isn’t really sure of what the questions are–but more on that in a minute.

In the meantime, I thought it would be helpful to share a story about an example of true innovation happening in Ohio, where the public schools are initiating a new program involving food trucks:

Last week saw Middletown Schools unveil the district’s first food truck, part of a $225,000 program to feed the district’s needy students by going to them on non-school days. The giant, brightly colored truck will travel to some of Middletown’s low-income communities this summer to deliver free lunches to children and teens who during the school year depend on such meals from their school cafeterias.


Read more: https://www.eclectablog.com/2019/03/betsy-devos-wants-more-innovation-in-public-schools-how-about-public-school-food-trucks.html

Former Oakley police chief sold guns to wealthy metro Detroiters for personal gain

Robert J. Reznick, the former police chief of the Village of Oakley, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of wire fraud and filing a false income tax return for 2012.

Reznick was the center of a bizarre scheme to create a self-funded police department by soliciting donations from wealthy or otherwise prominent metro Detroiters in exchange for allowing them to be unpaid "reserve officers" — what he called a "dream team," according to a 2015 Metro Times cover story. Reznick then used his position as police chief to purchase discounted weapons, which he sold to his "reserve officers" tax-free for his own personal gain, according to prosecutors.

Though Reznick has fought to keep the list of his reserve officers a secret, a list of applicants reveals a who's who of metro Detroit movers and shakers, including the likes of Kid Rock, Quicken Loans VP Adam Speck, Rock Ventures exec Matthew Cullen, Former Detroit Lion Jason Fox, Bacco Ristorante owner Luciano Delsignore, and the late Marvin Yagoda, the former proprietor of Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum.

None of the 145 applicants live anywhere near the small Saginaw County town.

Read more: https://www.metrotimes.com/news-hits/archives/2019/03/27/former-oakley-police-chief-at-center-of-bizarre-reserve-officers-plot-pleads-guilty-to-wire-and-tax-fraud

Reznick failed to report over $87,000 in income to the IRS.

Student banned from suburban school because he was shot in Detroit

A 17-year-old black student has been banned from the grounds of Walled Lake Western High School because he was shot in Detroit last month.

In a letter obtained by Metro Times, school officials told the student’s parents that he can’t return to school because the unknown shooter “is still out there and potentially armed.”

“It’s in everyone’s best interest that Michael complete the required courses for graduation online,” the letter states.

Michael, who asked that his last name not be released, told Detroit police that he was shot in the arm while dropping off clothes at a friend’s house. He said he has no idea who shot him or why. When he spoke with WXYZ, Michael said he doesn't have any plans to press charges against his shooter.

Read more: https://www.metrotimes.com/news-hits/archives/2019/03/28/student-banned-from-suburban-school-because-he-was-shot-in-detroit

5 bullshit claims at Trump's raucous rally in Grand Rapids

President Trump swooped into Grand Rapids on Thursday and was in true form – derisive, arrogant and full of shit.

In his first rally since Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted his report on alleged Russian collusion, Trump claimed the auto industry was roaring back, Democrats are executing newborn babies and liberals want to eliminate airplanes and cows.

Sound absurd? Not to the sea of red hats that cheered him on and booed the media and Democrats.

Here are five bullshit claims Trump made in Grand Rapids:

1. “The Democrats are now advancing an extreme $100 trillion government takeover called the Green New Deal. But I'd rather not talk about it tonight because I don't want to talk them out of it too soon because I love campaigning against the Green New Deal. … I want them to make that a big part of their platform — no more airplanes, no more cows, one car per family. One car!”

No one is suggesting eliminating airplanes, cows or cars. The Green New Deal is an aspirational resolution to address the terrifying consequences of climate change.

Read more: https://www.metrotimes.com/news-hits/archives/2019/03/29/5-bullshit-claims-at-trumps-raucous-rally-in-grand-rapids

Democrats legal challenge halts work on Mackinac Straits oil, gas pipeline

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday issued an executive directive ordering all state departments to stop any activity related to an oil pipeline replacement project in the Great Lakes bed.

The move followed an opinion issued by Attorney General Dana Nessel that challenged the constitutionality of a GOP-supported law that created an authority to oversee the project, called Line 5. It was one of the more controversial bills that Michigan Republicans rammed through during December's lame duck session.

The law created a Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority to work with Canadian oil giant Enbridge to build a $500 million, 4-mile-long tunnel 100 feet beneath the straits' bed. The tunnel will replace dual gas and oil pipelines originally installed in 1953 that run along the bottom of the straits.

The law was approved in December and the authority approved a new pipeline agreement before the Jan. 1 inaugurations of Whitmer and Nessel. The opinion and Whitmer's order sets up a legal battle between the GOP-controlled Legislature and Nessel's office.

Read more: https://www.metrotimes.com/news-hits/archives/2019/03/29/dems-legal-challenge-halts-work-on-mackinac-straits-oil-gas-pipeline

Poll shows Warren's Mayor Fouts is hemorrhaging support ahead of election

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts (R) has been so popular that he won his past two elections with more than 80 percent of the vote – the largest margins of victory in the city’s history.

But a new poll obtained by Metro Times shows Fouts, who has been plagued by scandals and allegations of racism, is shedding support as he vies for a fourth term in the nonpartisan election in November.

The poll conducted this month by the independent Ross Group Research asked more than 300 likely voters whom they would support in a theoretical race between Fouts and former state Sen. Steve Bieda, a popular Democrat who’s considering challenging the embattled mayor.

Of those polled, 37.8 percent said they would vote for Fouts, while 29.6 percent would cast a ballot for Bieda. With a margin of error of 5.6 percent, Bieda is well within striking distance.

Read more:
https://www.metrotimes.com/news-hits/archives/2019/03/28/poll-shows-warrens-mayor-fouts-is-hemorrhaging-support-ahead-of-election
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