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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: 68,626

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

North Texas mental health hospital pleads guilty to illegally detaining woman, agrees to $200K fine

An Arlington mental health hospital facing 26 criminal charges in Tarrant County avoided going to trial after pleading guilty Friday to a misdemeanor charge and agreeing to pay a $200,000 fine.

In exchange, Tarrant County agreed to waive the 25 other charges and not prosecute any of Sundance Hospital's individual owners.

"This is a groundbreaking conviction," Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson said. "Not just because a corporation has been found guilty of a criminal offense, but for the severity of their conduct — holding people at a mental health facility against their will for financial gain."

The hospital pleaded guilty to the indictment's seventh count, which alleged that a female patient was illegally detained for more than two weeks after two probate judges ordered her release.

Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/2019/08/30/north-texas-mental-health-hospital-pleads-guilty-to-illegally-detaining-woman-agrees-to-200k-fine/

Lancaster ISD employee accused of threatening student with deportation no longer an employee

A high school staffer accused of threatening a student with deportation is no longer an employee of the Lancaster school district, but officials have refused to release many details.

A 14-year-old told his parents that a district employee told him President Donald Trump was working on laws to deport the teen and showed the student a coin with the word "ICE" written on it, according to a report by KTVT-TV (Channel 11).

"He told him, 'Even though you are a citizen, Trump is working on a law where he can deport you, too, because of your mom's status,'" the teen's mother told KTVT in an interview where the family was not named.

The staffer at the Barack & Michelle Obama Ninth Grade Campus was put on leave Wednesday for potential misconduct. On Thursday, Lancaster officials said that the district's investigation had been completed and that the employee in question was no longer with the district.

Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/education/2019/08/30/lancaster-isd-employee-accused-of-threatening-student-with-deportation-no-longer-an-employee-district-says/

Trump's New Trade War Tool Might Just Be Antique China Debt

President Donald Trump’s next move in an increasingly fraught trade war with China could be one for the history books, literally. The Trump administration has been studying the unlikely prospect of reviving century-old claims on Chinese bonds sold before the founding of the communist People’s Republic.

The defaulted China bonds can be found in the attics and basements of thousands of Americans, or on EBay, where the certificates sell as collectibles for as little as a few hundred dollars each. The PRC, which succeeded the Republic of China after it replaced the imperial dynasty, has never recognized the debt, though that hasn’t stopped decades of attempts to collect payment on it.

Now, with Trump ratcheting up the trade rhetoric with China, holders of the antiquarian bonds are hoping he’ll press their case, even as other parts of the U.S. government are accusing people of fraudulently selling the same paper.

Perhaps the only thing more peculiar than the story of the Chinese debt and the bid to seek payment on it, is the cast of characters drawn into its orbit. President Trump, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross have met with bondholders and their representatives. Kirbyjon Caldwell, pastor of a Texas megachurch and spiritual adviser to George W. Bush, has been charged by the U.S securities regulator for selling the debt to elderly retirees. (Caldwell has pleaded innocent and maintains that the bonds are legitimate.)

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-29/trump-s-new-trade-war-weapon-might-just-be-antique-china-debt

China's ruling Communist Party to hold key meeting in October: state media

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s ruling Communist Party will hold a key leadership meeting in October to discuss ways to improve governance and perfect the country’s socialist system, state media said on Friday.

The report did not specify an exact date for what is formally called a plenum.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-politics-communist-party/chinas-ruling-communist-party-to-hold-key-meeting-in-october-state-media-idUSKCN1VK165?il=0
(no more at link)

North Carolina congressional do-over watched for clues to 2020

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump will travel to North Carolina next month to rally voters on the eve of a do-over of a 2018 congressional race that both parties expect to be close, with implications for Trump’s re-election bid and lawmakers campaigns in 2020.

Normally there would be little suspense over who would win the special election in the state’s 9th congressional district on Sept. 10. The area has elected Republicans to U.S. Congress for decades, and Trump won the presidential vote there in 2016 by nearly 12 percentage points.

But both political parties say they expect the House contest to be close after Democratic candidate Dan McCready lost by a slim margin last year before state officials ruled that the election was tainted by an absentee-ballot fraud scheme that benefited his Republican opponent, Mark Harris.

After a re-run was ordered, millions of dollars in campaign spending have poured into the district as both parties look for a victory to help set the tone for their prospects in 2020.

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-north-carolina/north-carolina-congressional-do-over-watched-for-clues-to-2020-idUSKCN1VJ2BL

Astronomers spot evidence of volcanically active exomoon

Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Scientists may have found a volcanically active moon outside our solar system.

Hints of the moon's presence were discovered hiding in the WASP-49 solar system. Astronomers likened the moon to Io, the most volcanically active body in our solar system.

They also likened the moon to a satellite from Star Wars, the planet Mustafar, where Darth Vader's castle is located.

"It would be a dangerous volcanic world with a molten surface of lava, a lunar version of close-in Super Earths like 55 Cancri-e, a place where Jedis go to die, perilously familiar to Anakin Skywalker," Apurva Oza, postdoctoral fellow at the Physics Insitute of the University of Bern in Switzerland, said in a news release.

Read more: https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2019/08/29/Astronomers-spot-evidence-of-volcanically-active-exomoon/3071567100872/

The NRA Used Funds to Settle a Sexual Harassment Claim Against a Top Official -- And Then He Was

The NRA Used Funds to Settle a Sexual Harassment Claim Against a Top Official — And Then He Was Accused Again


The National Rifle Association over the past two years has grappled with two separate sexual harassment allegations against Josh Powell, a senior official, including a case involving an employee.

The employee’s complaint was settled in 2017 using the nonprofit’s funds, according to three sources familiar with the matter. Earlier that year, Wayne LaPierre, the organization’s leader, had promoted Powell to executive director of general operations.

ProPublica could not confirm the settlement amount, which is not noted in the nonprofit’s public filings. In a statement, John Frazer, the NRA’s general counsel and secretary, told ProPublica that Powell denied the allegations.

“The NRA opted to confidentially resolve the matter in the best interest of all involved,” Frazer said.

Read more: https://www.propublica.org/article/nra-wrestled-with-harassment-allegations-against-top-official

The Extortion Economy: How Insurance Companies Are Fueling a Rise in Ransomware Attacks

On June 24, the mayor and council of Lake City, Florida, gathered in an emergency session to decide how to resolve a ransomware attack that had locked the city’s computer files for the preceding fortnight. Following the Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Stephen Witt led an invocation. “Our heavenly father,” Witt said, “we ask for your guidance today, that we do what’s best for our city and our community.”

Witt and the council members also sought guidance from City Manager Joseph Helfenberger. He recommended that the city allow its cyber insurer, Beazley, an underwriter at Lloyd’s of London, to pay the ransom of 42 bitcoin, then worth about $460,000. Lake City, which was covered for ransomware under its cyber-insurance policy, would only be responsible for a $10,000 deductible. In exchange for the ransom, the hacker would provide a key to unlock the files.

“If this process works, it would save the city substantially in both time and money,” Helfenberger told them.

Without asking questions or deliberating, the mayor and the council unanimously approved paying the ransom. The six-figure payment, one of several that U.S. cities have handed over to hackers in recent months to retrieve files, made national headlines.

Read more: https://www.propublica.org/article/the-extortion-economy-how-insurance-companies-are-fueling-a-rise-in-ransomware-attacks

At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Preserving the Reputations of Sexual Harassers

By the time officials at the University of Illinois’ flagship campus in Urbana-Champaign found that an assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine had engaged in sexual harassment, three women had come forward to raise concerns about his behavior.

All three said he had showed up at their homes uninvited.

Though the professor, Valarmathi Thiruvanamalai, denied doing anything wrong, the university office that investigates harassment and discrimination claims ruled against him. “When three different complainants, who have no prior relationship and no significant commonalities other than the lab in which they work, all assert the same type of interaction, one must question Respondent’s credibility and honesty in responding to the allegations,” a specialist in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Access wrote in February 2015 following an investigation. She recommended that Thiruvanamalai face discipline and possibly termination.

Instead, the university took a series of steps that helped keep Thiruvanamalai’s reputation intact.

First, the head of the Department of Comparative Biosciences placed Thiruvanamalai on paid administrative leave for the remainder of his contract with the school and banned him from the lab and other university workspaces.

Read more: https://www.propublica.org/article/university-of-illinois-urbana-champaign-sexual-harassment-professor-faculty

In New Mexico, schools struggle to address a teen suicide crisis

Just before dawn, as the Albuquerque sky filled the house with thin, pale blue light, 16-year-old Aurra Gardner took the small handgun out from behind the bed in her mother’s bedroom.

Kerianne Gardner, Aurra’s mother, sat in the living room, typing an email, listening idly as her other daughters tied their shoes and packed their lunches. She heard what sounded like a door slam and assumed it was Aurra’s cello case falling over.

She walked down the hall and tried the door of the bedroom. It was locked. No one in the Gardner house ever locked a door. When there was no response, Kerianne started to panic. She ran and found a pin to unlock the handle, but she couldn’t unlock the door. She asked Brian, her partner, to do it.

The lock clicked. He went in the room and emerged seconds later, pale and shaking.

“Do I need to call 911?” Kerianne asked from the hallway.

Read more: https://www.hcn.org/articles/public-health-in-new-mexico-schools-struggle-to-address-a-teen-suicide-crisis
(High Country News)
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