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Member since: Wed Jan 9, 2008, 11:31 AM
Number of posts: 9,085

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The school shooting epidemic is traumatizing our kids daily!

I have two kids who are teachers so I am seeing the effects these shootings are having in our schools. The elementary school around the corner from me was put on lock-down last week when SWAT had to deal with an armed criminal holed up in his house around the corner from the elementary school and down the street from me. My son's HS in Austin was on lock-down yesterday and the following is his account of that traumatic event:

There was a lock-down at my school today and they have a suspect in custody. I am told we're safe now, but we still aren't leaving the classroom. I would appreciate if you took the time to read the thoughts I've penned as I sit in my classroom with my nervous students.

The announcement came on, “Turn off all your lights. We are on lockdown. Make sure your doors are locked.” Nervous laughs and whispers rippled through the room. Was it serious? Was it a drill? All of my students, my children, moved quickly to the corner. Except one. Mauricio (not his real name) walked in front of my desk, hidden from the door but next to it. He crouched down in a sprinter’s stance, ready. He didn’t hesitate for a moment. His earbuds were still in.
I wanted everyone to remain calm. I didn’t know if it was a drill or not, but I had a suspicion this was the real thing. I crouched down next to Mauricio. If this 17 year old was willing to sacrifice his life for his classmates, could I, a grown man with a full life behind me, stand in the corner, hiding behind him? I grabbed a pair of red scissors from the plastic cup on my desk and held them tight in my palm.
On the wall across from where we were crouched, I saw the paper plates with our core values we had stapled to the wall so many months ago, at the beginning of the year. Each student decided on a value they wanted to see in the classroom and wrote it on a plate. They stapled their plates to the wall so that each day we could be reminded of the values we strive to live up to: kindness; respect; empathy; honesty; and “Rise up.” One of them said “Joy,” and had a grinning happy face drawn on it in sharpie. I thought of the humans behind each value. The kids behind me now. The kid next to me ready to be a man, ready to sacrifice everything so others could live.
My fist tightened around the scissors, but I couldn't’t help but smile. I knew now what I was willing to do for them. The depths of my love laid bare in a moment of possible crisis. I felt pride mingled with fear for the ones I loved and for myself. Mauricio gave me a pat on the back and some advice to, “Watch for his shadow through the window.”
A child should never have to think such thoughts. No one should have to hide and wonder if death comes for them today--least of all children. We live in the wealthiest, most powerful country on earth, and yet we are too weak to protect our own children. Our hearts are too full of cowardice to give up the false security of a gun for the real security of law. And our weakness fills our children with fear, with anger, and sometimes with bullets.
The minutes ticked by in darkness and silence. My legs started to ache. I could smell the stale sweat collecting on my palms. I stared at the rectangle of light coming in through the window, waiting for the shadow that might end my life.
I checked my watch. It had been 40 minutes. We heard a key in the door and Mauricio jumped. Our principal walked in, “It’s just me guys. You can turn the lights on, but we’re staying in here for now.” Relief flowed through me. I turned to look back at my students. Some of them were drying tears from their eyes. And with their tears, my thoughts turned to anger. Columbine. Sandy Hook. Marjory Stoneman Douglas. How many others? So many that most of us can’t even remember their names, let alone the names of the children whose blood flowed across the tiles of their own classrooms, mingled with the tears of their friends.
Today, my class was going to read “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Out of all the powerful words Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in that letter, I was most excited for them to read the words, “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor. It must be demanded by the oppressed.” Little did I know the lesson would become much more personal for them today. But it did because today, our children are oppressed. They are oppressed by fear, by violence, by death, and yes, by guns. Those who advocate the status quo--more dead children day after day; more dark headlines; more thoughts and prayers; and more of the same tired politicians spewing the same tired lies--they only have the power we give them. After today, I am ready to take away the power that my inaction gives them. I know now that I would be willing to sacrifice my life for the lives of my students. So why would I not sacrifice my time, my energy, and the life still beating in my heart in exchange for a meaningful change?
Today, I join the courageous students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas in saying, “Never Again.” I hope you’ll join me too. I’m going to work to organize a protest at the Texas State Capitol, details pending. If you are willing to stand with me, then join us in saying, until we are finally heard, “Never Again.” #NeverAgain

Antitrust No Cure-All For Economic Ills, FTC Chief Says Share us on: By Melissa Lipman Law360, Ne

Antitrust No Cure-All For Economic Ills, FTC Chief Says
Share us on: By Melissa Lipman

Law360, New York (September 11, 2017, 6:41 PM EDT) -- Amid increasing calls for tougher antitrust enforcement to tackle concentrated industries, the Federal Trade Commission's Maureen Ohlhausen cautioned Monday that the Sherman Act is not the right tool to deal with income inequality.

After searching for a platform to appeal to voters on the losing end of rising income inequality, Democratic leaders called for a crackdown on market concentration as part of their "Better Deal" economic plan unveiled in July.

The line of thinking championed by high-profile lawmakers like Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., calls for a more muscular approach to antitrust enforcement against mergers and monopolies.

But Ohlhausen, the acting FTC chairman, warned in a speech Monday in Washington, D.C., against trying to wield the antitrust laws too broadly, saying that they are "not a panacea."


The article goes on to quote from the Acting FTC chairman that that they have to approach dealing with this issue of income inequality with more "humility". She believes in "Economic liberty and regulatory humility." Trump has yet to name the chairman and 3 empty seats on the commission for the FTC.

Looks like we have another great wedge issue to use against the Republicans!

Why are Republicans going unchallenged by the media and still talking about

instituting massive tax cuts in the face of massive hurricane recoveries?

Shouldn't tax cuts be discussed only when the economy is humming and government revenue is up?

I know it is all about Donors, but it is frustrating to see the need for tax cuts go unchallenged by the corrupt, advertising driven corporate media.

FEMA deadlines and tips for Texas and Florida!

I took a webnar yesterday, but left my notes at the office. The biggest take-aways are:
1. Most of the deadlines are 60 days from the event/damage (filing claims with FEMA and the Small Business Administration (SBA);
2. Shortage of FEMA staff means they will give up to $20,000 without a visit. The attorneys emphasized taking pictures of everything before, during, and after. They said "document, document, document." FEMA will follow up later and expect to see the documentation and that the money was spent FOR WHAT IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE SPENT FOR!
3. The FEMA cap is now $33,300 which includes any money or rent paid, anything you get;
4. The SBA is the biggest flood aid and does more than just small business loans. Disaster unemployment and food stamps too. Everyone should apply to them as well. Generally the less your income and worse your credit the lower your interest rate. Really good for self-employed and small business, but also employees;
5. Check your area's legal aid when you get denied. They said that FEMA frequently denies against the rules so "...all you do is site the correct rule and you win."

Wish I had more, but your State Bars of Florida and Texas will have this information on their websites.

We had 2 feet of rain here in Beaumont yesterday and still fighting to stay dry!!!

Harvey will not die, anyone have Buffy the Vampire Slayer's number? Maybe the guy guy from Texas Chainsaw massacre?

The ditch behind my house has been my mortal enemy for three days. It comes up and threatens me and then runs away for awhile. It tries to sneak up when we go for some rest. I am beginning to hate it almost as much as Trump, and that says a lot! My two dogs are so pissed at me for not making this go away so they can go outside and play, I caught them trying to ask the Mooch to have some wise-guy to wack me!

Harvey can kiss my ass we ain't giving up. Thanks for the support DU. Now can someone please turn off the spigot?

Please spread the word: Texas residents have until before September 1st to

grandfather their hurricane claim or it will fall under under a new more insurance company friendly law passed last Spring and signed by Republican Governor Greg Abbott. It limits the interest charged against the insurance company from when they should have paid the claim to when they finally do. From 18% to prime plus 5% (roughly 10%). It makes it next to impossible to file in state court so almost all will go into federal court which can get stuck in one court (MDL) and tied up. Also new notice requirements before you can file suit...

Lastly, please notify your representatives to make sure the National Flood Insurance Program gets reauthorized and properly funded next month. The Trump administration wanted to gut it and it is already $24 billion in the hole due to Katrina, Rita, Sandy and others.

Please tell your friends on FB and especially your friends affected in Texas!!!

Thank you Texas Republicans! (sarcasm)

Just East of Houston - wish us luck!

I live in Beaumont where we have had one of the wettest Summers on record, especially the last mont. All of our rivers and creeks were full before Harvey. I have a large drainage ditch right behind my house that drains half of our town out to the bayous. It has never breached. As long as we get breaks in the rain it can catch up, but tonight and this morning has been non-stop heavy rain with no end in sight.

My 80 year old mom lives with me and is scared to death. I have flood and windstorm insurance which is great but doesn't replace all of her memories should this thing flood. My heart goes out to everyone in Houston, some of whom are friends and family. This will be a very long ordeal with the rest of the story yet to be written.

We will hang in there and get through whatever comes, I would just prefer not too much to come!

Anyone seeing paid political ads on tax reform?

I am seeing them anytime the TV is on which is admittedly not much.

These ads talk about how America has the highest corporate tax of all nations with of course, no mention of the tax deductions and loopholes that make our BIG corporations pay one of the lowest net taxes in the world. It is why GE and many others, along with the super rich and their maze of trusts and corporations pay zero in taxes.

Is there any group that can counter some of these ads? The low information Americans are going to be calling their politicians to tell them what the Donors have already told them to do. We need to counter this by letting the Donors politicians know we understand the game and will punish them for this at the voting booth!

Given that Trump continues to support Russia despite being investigated for his ties,

do you believe they have some massive leverage they are still holding over his head?

What will Hannity do when Trump goes down?

Will he have his Cronkite moment where Trump says "We've lost Hannity, we have lost the Presidency?" Or, will he ride Trump all the way down like Slim Pickins on the nuke?

Is Hannity a shrewd huckster who has parleyed far right and liberal doses of lies into a fortune, or is he an ideologue willing to lie, cheat and steal to spread his message? I hope he rides Trump all the way down, defending him every step of the way, his credibility with his own base evaporating!

Hope to see a lot of opinions.
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