Home » 2024 » 04 » 01
Categorieslatest

How Republicans texted and emailed their way into a money problem

In the years after Donald Trump lost the presidency to Joe Biden, Trump sent so many emails and text messages asking for money that Republican consultants warned his mailing lists could become useless. The former president’s friends told him that they were being asked for too much, too often, and Trump himself ordered aides at one point to slow the solicitations. Some of his fans, pockets emptied, mailed handwritten letters apologizing for not being able to give more.

Categorieslatest

Lapointe: ‘Romney’ McDaniel takes her turn driving the GOP clown car

Before poking the Ronna Romney McDaniel piñata, let’s pause for this brief recollection of a joke about basketball and racial stereotypes once told on TV by a young, Black comedian. I can’t remember his name, but I sure do recall the gist of his humor. He said: You white people. You’re so prejudiced. You racially profile us all the time. Say you’re sitting at the airport. And you see a group of 12, young, seven-foot-tall, Black men walk by you. So you immediately just assume we’re a basketball team, don’t you? Many a truth is spoken in jest. Ironically, Michigan State Rep. Matt Maddock of Milford could have saved face last week with such simple-minded stereotyping. Instead, he took knee-jerk racism up a notch and added a new twist that drew hoots of scorn from national critics both left and right. As a result, Maddock challenged Romney McDaniel and others of their ilk for the title of “Most Embarrassing Michigan Republican for the Month of March.” The bronze medal went to Congressman Tim Walberg, whose cute quips about mass slaughter will be discussed in a moment. Maddock did his bit by posting online a photo of the Gonzaga basketball team’s private airplane and chartered buses at the Detroit airport. He seemed to think this was a scheme by who-knows-who to ferry undocumented immigrants to the Motor City. “. . . Illegal invaders at Detroit Metro,” Maddock wrote. “Anyone have any idea where they’re headed with their police escort?” Turns out they were headed downtown to play in the regional round of the NCAA tournament at Little Caesars Arena. On Friday night, they lost to Purdue, ending their invasion. Maddock refused to apologize. How will this poor buffoon cope in two years when World Cup Soccer comes to the U.S.? Happening right now. Three busses just loaded up with illegal invaders at Detroit Metro. Anyone have any idea where they’re headed with their police escort? @petehoekstra pic.twitter.com/3xFhIP1jf1— Matt Maddock (@matthewmaddock) March 28, 2024 By driving the Michigan Republican clown car late in the week, Maddock snatched the steering wheel from Romney McDaniel, whose shabby treatment from both former President Donald Trump and by NBC News made her almost — but not quite — a sympathetic figure. A late, dark-horse challenge to both Romney McDaniel and to Maddock came from Walberg, the U.S. Representative from the Fifth Congressional District in southern Michigan. He recently told a town hall meeting that America should not aid Gaza’s citizens with humanitarian supplies while Israel attacks. Instead, he said, suffering Palestinians should be massacred with atomic weapons. “We shouldn’t be spending a dime on humanitarian aid,” Walberg said in Dundee, according to The Detroit News. “It should be like Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Get it over quick.” Horrific as his comments were, the winner for the week was still Romney McDaniel. On her debut as an NBC news commentator a week ago Sunday on Meet the Press, she wore a snazzy jacket of Democratic blue — not Republican red — and a flouncy paisley blouse with the dominant color of blue. This was to be her first day in a two-year gig for $600,000 in total. She first paid props to her home state and the chip always on its shoulder. “I come from a state that’s been overlooked,” said the former chair of the Michigan Republican party. “I don’t see my state represented in a lot of news media.” Casually but expertly, she blended local concerns into boilerplate Republican talking points. “When I look at my state of Michigan and I look at the cost of food, the cost of rent, the cost of insurance, I feel less safe,” she said. “Crime is on the rise. We’re seeing fentanyl coming across our border. We’re seeing an open border.” Welker quickly corrected her by pointing out that crime is down and most drugs come through established ports. She kept returning to Romney McDaniel’s mortal sin: Her support of former President Donald Trump’s Big Lie that he won the 2020 presidential election over current President Joe Biden. Those two probably will meet in the rematch this November. Weeks after the election four years ago, Romney McDaniel and Trump telephoned two Wayne County canvassers urging them not to certify legitimate votes in the Detroit area, where Biden was a big winner. “We will get you attorneys,” she told them. Although defending her actions then, Romney McDaniel conceded to Welker that Biden is really president — Stop the presses! — and she also criticized Trump’s Jan. 6 lynch mob that tried to kill then-Vice President Mike Pence and keep Trump in power illegally through violent insurrection. Trump has vowed to pardon and release the imprisoned felons who stormed the capitol that day after his menacing speech behind the White House. He calls these convicts “hostages” and “patriots.” Romney McDaniel disagreed on NBC, a network Trump often denounces. “I don’t think we should be freeing people who violently attacked Capitol Hill police officers,” Romney McDaniel said. Her Campaign ’24 sideshow reached critical mass immediately after her appearance with Welker. Chuck Todd of NBC — on camera — led a mutiny of his colleagues on the main network as well as those who work on its liberal-leaning cable cousin MSNBC. Over there, hosts like Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell loudly and proudly refused to use Romney McDaniel not because Romney McDaniel is a Republican but because she was an election denier who supported most lies Trump told. Trump, after all, had lifted her from leading the Michigan GOP to chairing the national committee in 2017. But he dumped her a few weeks ago, replacing her with his daughter-in-law and some other guy named Michael Whatley. After two days of both incoming flak and friendly fire, NBC executives also unloaded Romney McDaniel. So the least we can do is to give her back her real name. As part of her oath of fealty to Trump, she had stopped using her maiden name “Romney” in the middle because her uncle, Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, had fallen from favor with Trump. He also forced her to stop public support for LGBTQ+ causes. That’s how Trump chews up and digests his allies before excreting them. In his usual, graceless way, Trump dismissed Romney McDaniel the same way he brushed off Pence and other high-level Republicans after using, abusing, and discarding them. “Wow!” wrote the large, loud, orange-faced, yellow-haired demagogue on an internet post. “Ronna McDaniel got fired by Fake News NBC. She lasted only two days . . . It leaves her, in a very strange place, it’s called NEVER NEVERLAND, and it’s not a place you want to be.” Few will shed tears for Romney McDaniel. At worst, she will be paid all that money by NBC for two years of work that was condensed into 20 minutes. Or, perhaps she’ll cut a deal to comment elsewhere. As election day nears, right-wing TV channels, radio shows, and internet streams are flowing with half-truths, full lies, and shameless propaganda. There’s always room for one more skilled spinner. She could always write a book, perhaps assessing her place in her own family legacy. Her grandfather, the auto exec and Republican George Romney, was a respected Michigan governor who knew how to deal with Democrats when the companies and the unions were flush with lots to go around. Her uncle, Mitt, was one of few Republicans with the conscience and courage to stand up to Trump. Perhaps that cost Mitt his career. Might his niece ever write or say or do anything to bring honor to a Michigan-rooted political family that still carries a prominent name? Perhaps she can come back here to help repair the steaming mess of the Republican Party in her Great Lakes State. Despite its disarray, the red team could win both the open U.S. Senate seat and take the state in the presidential vote. Romney McDaniel could start by speaking quietly and with sanity to half-cocked zealots like Maddock and Walberg and to all the other local yokels and paranoid crackpots who have turned the Michigan GOP into both a national punch line and local punching bag. Happy landings, Ronna. Welcome home.

Categorieslatest

Tainted water flowed to these Texans’ homes for 3 years.

Subscribe to The Y’all — a weekly dispatch about the people, places and policies defining Texas, produced by Texas Tribune journalists living in communities across the state. MIDLAND COUNTY — Leslie Borrego lives in a modest house south of the city limits, built 24 years ago by her late husband Raúl, who died unexpectedly from an aneurysm four years ago. The walls, decorated with framed portraits of Raúl, have provided shelter to Borrego and her growing family of six kids and three grandchildren. Like thousands of other Hispanic families who live in unincorporated parts of the state, often referred to as colonias, Borrego’s family water source is a nearby well managed by a third party. And for the last three years, the water piped into her home, as well as her neighbors, contained traces of arsenic and other chemicals above the mandated state standards, according to records from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, or TCEQ. Borrego and other residents say they never knew. The well’s former operator, Ramón González, never alerted them, residents say. Neither did the state agency supervising him. The commission said it did its part by issuing a $1,300 fine in 2013, along with a court order, which is currently pending at the state’s attorney general’s office, a spokesperson said. The agency said that under the Safe Water Drinking Act, individuals who operate a water system serving households have up to a year to issue a notice if the contamination doesn’t pose an immediate risk. “He never told us anything,” Borrego said. González resigned as operator in 2023. The Texas Tribune has been unable to reach him. Water quality, supply and infrastructure are tests for many communities in Texas — especially as the state’s population rapidly expands. The challenge is acute in the state’s rural and unincorporated areas, like Borrego’s Midland County community. Texas is on the cusp of releasing $1 billion to finance desperately needed water projects in all corners of the state in one of the largest investments since 2013, which voters approved last November. It’s unclear whether these funds will reach the 9,300 residents living in the Permian Basin’s colonias, who for decades have relied on a system that has largely left their water source to rot. The neighborhood consists of a handful of blocks. As is the case with many unincorporated communities in West Texas, the area has no paved roads — run-down properties neighbor brick homes, trailer homes outnumber concrete ones, and dogs run in packs, chasing out strangers. A mountain of discarded shingles on the horizon blocks the sunsets from view. One gravel road was in such disarray that neighbors on the block pooled $5,000 to buy enough caliche, a material made of gravel and sand, to cover the holes and make it drivable. Problems with the well predate González. The state has recorded almost 600 violations since 1997 — a staggering number considering a well about 20 miles north used by a trailer park has had no violations since 1996. Another four miles west has had only 46 during the same time period. Regulators do not keep an average number of violations per well. However, a 2022 report showed that just 4% of water systems were not compliant that year. A court appointed González to maintain the water well in 2005. Receivers “are generally only appointed when a water system is at risk of abandonment,” a spokesperson for the state’s environmental quality department said. As the Texas-appointed operator of the water well, González charged a $35 monthly fee to each home, which he collected in cash and money orders, according to multiple residents in the neighborhood. He was responsible for maintaining the water well and ensuring it was compliant with state standards, including regular monitoring and treatment. The well was a wreck when Lisa King and her company took over management of the well in late 2022. King is co-owner of New Water System, a Houston-based company that manages water wells in various states of disrepair. “We have extensive work to do after six years of neglect,” she said. “It was the Wild West, trying to figure out what was happening with the system.” Records show the well’s water from 2020 through 2023 had chemical levels that exceeded state standards. And in some cases, the levels were unknown due to a lack of testing. In 2020, multiple chemicals, including arsenic, atrazine and benzopyrene were present in the water. Ingesting these chemicals can lead to cancer and issues related to the heart and fertility. The same records show the consumers had not been notified that the water was contaminated. In 2021, González had not tested whether the water contained other chemicals, including chlorine, fluoride, lead and copper — which is mandated by state law. That year, the water had arsenic above the acceptable limit. In 2022, the operator again did not test for a majority of chemicals. Still, the report said the water contained arsenic, but no one except the operator knew. The TCEQ said it issued the standard violations to the operator in each case. When the commission identifies serious or continuing violations, regulators can begin an enforcement process, which includes financial penalties of up to $25,000 and a lawsuit. Between 2011 and 2019, regulators sent four notices. On those four occasions, González said he brought the well to compliance, according to records by the regulators. The state said that González, as the manager of a public water system, was required to notify his customers of each violation and sign a letter certifying to the state he did. The TCEQ could not immediately confirm whether he notified the residents. Information about contamination of the well did not reach residents, the majority of whom are Hispanic and whose primary language is Spanish. Marcela Salcido moved to the neighborhood from Kermit, a nearby West Texas town, in 2008 after a divorce. The 63-year-old lives by herself in a house her sister left her before moving to Mexico. Over the years, Salcedo has expanded the house and added rooms for her two sons, their spouses and kids. Salcido paid her $35 well bill on time every month. She rarely complained when the water stopped running for days or even weeks at a time. She keeps jugs of water in the living room and cases of water bottles she replenishes weekly. She didn’t know the water from her faucets and shower had arsenic or other chemicals. And it wasn’t until March 2024 that Salcido learned the water system was under new management. In the months since the new owners took over, they have not contacted Salcido. “It’s an ugly thing,” Salcido said in Spanish of when she learned the water contained contaminants. “Sometimes I drank that water.” King and her husband said they had been gradually introducing themselves to the neighborhood as the new operators. The previous operator kept no records of the residents, so they went door by door. “It took us years just to find names,” King said. The state does not track the number of residents who get water from wells and other non-municipal water lines. Texas colonias have long been neglected. Residents live there often because the land is inexpensive and there are few regulations to build homes. It comes with a cost: There is little infrastructure propping up these communities, which typically line the state’s border with Mexico. Midland County Commissioner Luis Sánchez identified 12 neighborhoods in the county that met the criteria for being recognized as colonias by the state. A study prepared by Sánchez estimates that rehabilitating the water system across the 12,000 acres of the Midland colonias would cost $10 million. A sewer service, the study said, would cost the county $16 million. Other organizations are working to establish water lines in colonias. Kathryn Lucero, director of DigDeep’s Colonias Water Project, got running water to a community along the U.S.-Mexico border and aims to do the same for five additional colonias. Lucero said that for these projects to succeed, the residents need to be informed, engaged and involved in improving the infrastructure. The organization works with leaders in each community to understand their issues. Midland’s colonia residents were surprised to learn — from a Texas Tribune reporter — that their water contained chemicals. The information long confirmed what Borrego believed to be true, that the water running through her pipes was dangerous and undrinkable. The person who operated the well when she and her husband settled in Midland warned them not to drink the water. In the years since the water has felt oily and has smelled of chlorine, Borrego said. On a windy Monday afternoon in March, Borrego pushed the door twice into the frame, ensuring she had sealed it shut. She draped the windows. Windy days fill the interior with the dust from the gravel road. While her favorite novela played in the background, she looked at a bill the new water operators had sent her: $754, a charge that includes three months’ worth of use — the new fee is $85 per month — late fees, a residential and receivership fee. King, who said her company had spent more than $10,000 on the initial work of restoring the well, said the rate is one way the company can continue to finance repairs and upgrades for it, which had been drilled in 1986. That’s without accounting for the meters they plan to install in each household. Repairs are ongoing. A little over a year after King took over, the well is yet to be in full compliance with state standards. “It’s been a challenge to let them understand what was causing them to have water out of compliance,” King said. “I feel for them.” In the years she’s lived there, Borrego’s water has never run consistently. Sometimes, when she turns on the faucet, she gets that whiff of chlorine, which she figures is what happens when the water is being cleaned, but she can’t be too sure. No one tells her. “We need to pay whatever they say,” Borrego said. “We need the water.” We can’t wait to welcome you to downtown Austin Sept. 5-7 for the 2024 Texas Tribune Festival! Join us at Texas’ breakout politics and policy event as we dig into the 2024 elections, state and national politics, the state of democracy, and so much more. When tickets go on sale this spring, Tribune members will save big. Donate to join or renew today.

Categorieslatest

Texas’ cash bail system creates turmoil for poor women

Sign up for The Brief, The Texas Tribune’s daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news. Long before Angela Collier knew why her moods seesawed or her thoughts raced, she knew one thing: Xanax and marijuana seemed to calm her like nothing else. She had both on her when Huntsville police pulled over her friend for running a red light in March 2020. Officers found the small amount of marijuana Collier had while searching the car. After arresting her for that, they found the Xanax pills while searching her pockets as she was being booked into Walker County jail. Collier knew it was against the law to have the marijuana and Xanax. But she also knows why she took them. “To feel better during certain times in my life when I’ve really been stressed and struggling, or going through something and it’s overwhelming for me,” Collier said. The amounts Collier had on her resulted in misdemeanor charges. And while police initially charged her with a felony for having a controlled substance inside of a police station, Walker County prosecutors later declined to pursue that charge. But the misdemeanor charges were enough to send Collier’s life into a four-year tailspin that she’s still recovering from — economically, physically and emotionally. Those long term ripple effects are largely because Collier is poor in Texas, a state where people with money have an easier time avoiding long stretches in county jails while they are legally presumed innocent, before their cases are resolved. Like most states, Texas uses a cash bail system that lets defendants pay to get released from jail while they wait for ​​adjudication. But the price of bail is often an insurmountable hurdle. Civil rights groups and inmates have unsuccessfully challenged Texas’ use of a cash bail system for years. Lawsuits targeting Dallas and Harris county jails alleged the practice was unconstitutional because it discriminates against poorer defendants. A federal appeals court ruled against the Dallas plaintiffs and the Supreme Court declined to take the case. The Harris suit was tossed. In 2021, Texas lawmakers changed the state’s bail system, but didn’t forbid a cash bail system. Instead, they required all defendants accused of violent crimes to pay cash for release from jail before their trials. Critics said requiring cash to get out of jail would continue to penalize low-income people and benefit the bail bonds industry. About three in every four Texans in county jails are awaiting the resolution of their cases, according to data from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, the state agency that oversees local jails. That number has surpassed pre-pandemic levels and is 14% higher than in January 2017. For women, the wait can be harder than for men. County jails, meant for short stays, commonly lack resources women need — like pregnancy care and mental health treatment. Women in county jails are also more likely to have mental health needs. And many are mothers separated from their children. Collier previously worked at Buc-ee’s, but in 2014 became a stay-at-home mom for several years before breaking up with her child’s father. At the time of her 2020 arrest, Collier was living with her father while she was a full-time student pursuing an online psychology degree from Houston Christian University. Following her arrest, Collier’s combined bond for the two misdemeanor charges was set at $8,000. When she couldn’t afford that, a friend loaned her over $700 to pay a bonds company so she could get out of jail. But two years later, while still awaiting her trial, she missed a required court hearing because she was receiving emergency care for pregnancy complications. A warrant was issued for her arrest in Walker County. In June 2022, officers from Madison County were sent to her home in Midway for a welfare check because someone reported she was having a miscarriage. When Collier came outside, she told police she was OK, but that she may go to the doctor the next day, according to video obtained by KFF Health News. Because of the Walker County warrants, police arrested her. Collier said she could not afford to pay thousands of dollars to bail out. Stuck in Walker County jail again, she says she experienced a miscarriage and received little medical attention while she waited a day for another friend to loan her money to pay a bonds company for her release. Collier later filed a formal complaint with The Texas Commission on Jail Standards about her miscarriage. In a September 2022 letter, the agency told Collier that Walker County Jail had not violated minimum jail standards. According to the commission, records from Walker County Jail show that Collier only submitted one medical request and did not advise jail staff of any other medical issues. Collier claims she asked for help multiple times. “We haven’t yet gone far enough to meet the needs of women who are in jail at the county level,” said Alycia Welch, associate director of the Prison and Jail Innovation Lab at The University of Texas at Austin, a research center dedicated to incarceration in Texas. Texas law requires the Texas Commission on Jail Standards to collect and report data on incarcerated women. But the Commission cannot provide the total number of women behind bars and waiting for their cases to be resolved in Texas county jails right now — or any time in the last two years. That’s because the agency is transitioning to a new system that will house data collected from all county jails, a project that began in 2022, according to commission Executive Director Brandon Wood. While the agency knows how many total people are waiting for their cases to be resolved in county jails, Wood said the current system, created in the 1990s, can’t break down how many of those people are women charged with misdemeanors — like Collier. That makes it impossible to fully keep count of women in jails, sentenced or awaiting the resolution of their cases. The Commission said they expect a new system to be operating by mid-May. April Towery, a formerly incarcerated woman and advocate at Lioness: Justice Impacted Women’s Alliance, said that incomplete data leaves her nonprofit that supports incarcerated people fighting to help a group they can’t see. “I would say that’s unacceptable, because how do we know where the needs are and how we can help and serve these women if we don’t have any information on them?” Towery said. After being released from jail a second time, Collier’s misdemeanor charge for marijuana possession was dropped and she was sentenced to probation for possession of the Xanax. But Collier owed hundreds of dollars in probation fees and money to the bond company. After she violated probation conditions — including leaving the county and failing to make probation payments — she was arrested for a third time in September 2023 on the same misdemeanor charge for having Xanax two years earlier. As she awaited a hearing on whether her probation should be revoked, the bond to get out of jail was again set at thousands of dollars. Only this time, Collier was out of friends with money to spare. “I felt like a nobody,” Collier said. “People around me are getting bonded out for more bond, and I’m like, I’m poor, so I’m going to lose all of this. I’m important, too. I should be able to get out, too.” A devastating miscarriage In Texas, bail is a form of leverage, meant to ensure defendants show up to their court hearings. Those who do are refunded their full bail amount, which is set by judges and can vary greatly depending on several factors. In some situations, judges can set a cashless bail. But Texas in 2021 limited the use of that type of bond, meaning most defendants have to pay for their release. While judges are supposed to consider someone’s ability to pay when they set bail, lawsuits — like the unsuccessful one in Dallas County — claim that doesn’t always happen. If they can afford it, defendants can pay their full bail in cash to get released. Otherwise, they can use a bail bondsman. These companies cover the price of bail for defendants so they can get out of jail — but charge them a smaller fee that they have to pay off. Release before trial comes with conditions from the court and bail bondsman. These include showing up at court hearings, calling the bondsman regularly and making payments on time. If a defendant fails to meet requirements, their bond is revoked — and they can be arrested. Between 2014 and 2017, Collier had been arrested and charged with public intoxication and possessing a small amount of methamphetamines. In 2016, she served 97 days for the meth possession charge, a state jail felony. While some misdemeanor crimes have pre-set bail amounts, Welch said those vary by county and judges can adjust them based on a number of factors. Those include the defendant’s perceived risk to the public, the likelihood of them appearing at hearings, and their criminal history. After Collier’s second arrest on the 2020 charges, she struggled to manage the grief of her miscarriage, keep up with schoolwork and find money for bond and probation payments. She’d felt anxious before — but panic attacks became a new constant. Even leaving the house felt impossible. For the first time in her life, Collier sought help. She started talk therapy and received multiple new diagnoses, including post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety disorder — which Xanax, one of the drugs she was arrested for having, is often prescribed to treat. She was also prescribed medication like Zoloft, a drug with similar effects to Xanax. And she started to make progress — the medications lessened the panic attacks. They eliminated her desire to take other drugs completely. “I didn’t know that there were medications, or exactly what may have been wrong with me,” Collier said. “I’d never went and talked to someone before. It was really out of desperation that I sought help there.” By the time of her third arrest — this time for probation violations, including missing multiple payments — she said she was thousands of dollars behind, tired and stressed. “[It felt like I was] running on a treadmill and falling backwards at the same time,” she said. Her bond was set at $5,000, and no one in her life could front the money. The running was over — she began the long wait behind bars for a court hearing on whether her probation should be revoked. “It’s belittling,” Collier said. “There’s people that come in there multiple times and bond right out — the same people. And meanwhile, us people that didn’t have money to bail out are all still sitting there. It’s like we’re a different class of people.” Living in limbo behind bars During her first few weeks in Walker County Jail last year, Collier didn’t have the daily medications she needed due to what she said are long wait times to see a doctor. She also couldn’t attend therapy. Collier said nearly all of the other women in jail were waiting for medications they needed. According to Welch, with the Prison and Jail Innovation Lab, incarcerated women have higher rates of past trauma experiences than men. That creates a large demand for mental health services in jails, including therapy and medication. And it’s one reason why nonviolent drug and property offenses are the most common crimes women commit. “Stepping back from it, those are all survival crimes,” Welch said. “They need to make money, they need to cope with an unidentified and unaddressed mental illness, they need to cope with trauma when there’s no other resource or access to services for people to find healthier means of doing so.” The state does not keep track of mental health needs in county jails, according to Wood, head of the Commission on Jail Standards. But nearly half of all women in Texas prisons received some form of treatment for their mental health in 2023, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice reported. Local jails — which are smaller than state prisons and commonly lack the same treatment options — often struggle to meet those needs for women held before their cases are resolved. “You don’t have a choice but to wait [for your medication], just like everybody else,” Collier said. “It’s so frustrating. It makes you feel irrelevant, like nobody cares about you or your wellbeing.” Walker County Jail officials did not respond to requests for comment. In jail, Collier only looked forward to Wednesdays, when the book cart occasionally rolled around. She read everything she could: the Bible, which every woman got a copy of; Steve Thayer’s “The Weatherman;” Tom Clancy’s “The Hunt for Red October.” But she had to pace herself. If she finished a book before the cart came again, she just sat, stuck in a room right next to the one she’d previously miscarried in. Sometimes she watched television. If she had her school textbooks and weekly therapy sessions, she thought, maybe she could work on herself. Maybe she could get ahead. “I felt like every day I was falling behind,” she said. Finding a path forward The ways in which defendants’ underlying issues like poverty, mental illness and trauma are addressed in jail can depend on where they’re locked up. Some urban counties are spending more on programs and facilities aimed at either keeping people out of jail or reducing the impact of incarceration on their lives. Travis County, for instance, is about to launch a new $23 million mental health diversion program to keep people in crisis out of jail. Harris County last year opened the Women’s Center Jail, which provides mental health care, substance abuse support and job training solely to incarcerated women. Wood, the Commission on Jail Standards director, said incarcerated women “have different needs without a doubt” than men. But he also acknowledged that jails in less populated counties may not have the resources to address those needs. “It’s probably just going to be what’s available to all pretrial inmates,” Wood said. After her third arrest on the probation violation for the Xanax charge, Collier waited 42 days in Walker County jail for a hearing on whether her probation should be revoked. It was and she was sentenced to 120 days in jail. With time she’d already served, that meant she had to remain in the county lockup for two additional months. She was released in January. She’s tried to regain some of what she lost. She restarted therapy, and hopes to restart school. “I’m going to be OK,” she said. “But it set me back mentally in a lot of ways.” Since her release, Collier has become dedicated to advocacy. She’s now involved with Lioness: Justice Impacted Women’s Alliance, the nonprofit led by formerly and currently incarcerated women that advocates for others in the system. “Mentally, it’s a whole realization of how important money is, and how I don’t have enough of it, and that in so many different ways, the system is messed up,” Collier said. Disclosure: University of Texas at Austin has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here. We can’t wait to welcome you to downtown Austin Sept. 5-7 for the 2024 Texas Tribune Festival! Join us at Texas’ breakout politics and policy event as we dig into the 2024 elections, state and national politics, the state of democracy, and so much more. When tickets go on sale this spring, Tribune members will save big. Donate to join or renew today.

Categorieslatest

Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS) is pleased to announce the Vacancy for the following post:

Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS) is pleased to announce the Vacancy for the following post: Interested candidates are encouraged to apply with the following required documents: 1. Application 2. Updated CV 3. Copy of valid Citizenship Identity card. 4. Copy of valid Security Clearance Certificate. 5. Copy of academic transcripts.( Class X, XII and Certificate ) 6. Copy of Medical Certificate (validity six months from date of issuance of MC). 7. No objection certificate from the Employer (if employed). The deadline for submitting your application is on 17th April, 2024 within p.m. You can also contact the HR Section at 322600 during office hours.

Categorieslatest

USNS Carson City rape allegation sparks worker’s comp claim fight

Should the alleged rape of a civilian mariner in her cabin aboard a military sealift ship be covered by workers’ compensation claims? That’s the argument being put forth by the U.S. government defense in an ongoing lawsuit filed by a woman mariner, Elsie Dominguez, who alleges she was raped in her bed aboard the expeditionary fast transport Carson City by its civilian captain in December 2021. In a February filing in the U.S. District Court of the District of New Jersey, the government cited a decades-old court ruling to argue that worker’s comp claims were how cases like Dominguez’s have been handled in the past, and that the mariner’s case should be handled as such. The government’s February motion to delay Dominguez’ case argues that the matter falls under the Department of Labor through the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act, or FECA. This motion follows a previous decision by the Navy, to whom Dominguez initially made an administrative claim last June. The government’s argument is based on a 1952 legal decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that FECA, which provides monetary benefits for job-related injuries and illnesses, was the only “remedy” available to civilian mariners aboard government ships. Attorneys for Dominguez, an assistant engineer who says she was sexually assaulted, call the suggestion “astonishing” and “offensive” in court filings. “It is inconceivable that the laws of the United States consider rape by a superior a natural, incidental, or anticipated risk of employment on a ship,” they wrote in a March 4 filing objecting to the government’s motion. Dominguez and her attorneys told Military Times they believe the details of her allegations will prompt the court to reexamine a 72-year-old case law that, they say, should not apply to victims of sexual assault. Dominguez alleges that her rapist, who is not named in the lawsuit and whose advances Dominguez said she had previously rejected, accessed her room with a Military Sealift Command-issued master code and began assaulting her while she lay unconscious. According to her lawsuit, the trauma continued for more than a year, as the two mariners remained aboard the Carson City. Dominguez alleges she was told by an MSC civilian advocate that she could not make a restricted, or anonymous, sexual assault report, and that she would be immediately removed from her job if she made an unrestricted report. Unable to obtain a deadbolt on her door for months as a work order remained unfilled, Dominguez began sleeping with a chair wedged against her door, the lawsuit states. Dominguez made a formal rape report in June 2023 to the Navy’s Office of the Judge Advocate General, MSC’s Office of Counsel, Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Coast Guard Criminal Investigative Service. This triggered NCIS and CGIS investigations; the captain was placed on administrative leave and returned to the U.S. for questioning. Both he and Dominguez remain employees of MSC. In a statement to Navy Times, NCIS spokesman Darwin Lam said the service “does not comment on, confirm details relating to, or confirm the existence of ongoing investigations that involve allegations of criminal sexual misconduct.” In a memo filed March 4 objecting to the motion to stay, Dominguez’s attorneys argue that the alleged rape had nothing to do with the job, and that a platonic relationship between Dominguez and her boss predated their time on the ship by seven years. The government responded in a March 11 memo, saying that while “being a victim of sexual assault is absolutely and unequivocally not ‘part of a mariner’s job duties aboard a U.S. Navy ship,’” similar cases, including those involving sexual assault, had been previously found to fall under worker’s comp. In their filings, the government attorneys cited cases where worker’s comp was found to apply when a government employee was allegedly assaulted in her hotel room at a work conference and when a Customs and Border Patrol agent was tied to a chair with green U.S. customs tape and subjected to an assault involving “simulated sex.” Dominguez’ lawyers contend that no case the government cites directly parallels Dominguez’s account, in which she claims she was raped off-duty, in her own quarters, by someone she’d known prior to her employment on the ship. In addition, they argue that rape should never fall into the category of workplace injury. Christine Dunn, an attorney with Sanford Heisler Sharp representing Dominguez, told Military Times that the 1952 Supreme Court Case, Johanson vs. United States, was “bad law” that was ripe for reexamination. “That’s a big part of why I do what I do is to help aid systemic change,” she said. “And I think that’s part of why Elsie is doing this: so that this won’t happen to other people.” The court has yet to rule on the latest filings.

Categorieslatest

Packers News: Jordan Love Believes Green Bay is True Super Bowl Contender

The 2023 season for the Green Bay Packers was a very successful one, even if it started slowly. Green Bay won six of their last eight games to end the year, helping them to clinch a wild-card spot in the NFC playoffs. They entered the postseason having to go on the road to face off against the Dallas Cowboys but made quick work of them.Green Bay dominated the Cowboys by a score of 48-32, giving young quarterback Jordan Love his first playoff win in his career. Love went 16-21 in the game, throwing for 271 yards and three touchdowns, showing major improvement. He stepped up massively for the Packers last season, giving them a glimpse into the player the organization always believed he could be.Now, entering the 2024 season, the Packers are a trendy pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. With the experience gained last year, Green Bay has all the tools to make a deeper playoff run. Love himself believes that the team can contend for a championship, echoing many pundits’ thoughts.”We’re all very hungry for this upcoming year,” Love said on a recent episode of The Pivot Podcast. “The confidence from top to bottom is there. The organization believes that it’s the perfect time to have a chance to win a Super Bowl this year. Those conversations we had after the 49ers game were, ‘Man, work harder. Try and find ways to get better because next year we’re gonna do it.’ “If Love can step up even more, the Packers will be tough to deal with this season. The former first-round pick entered the league under much scrutiny, sitting behind future Hall-of-Famer Aaron Rodgers. But he has learned a thing or two from the veteran and it showed in his play last year.”There’s no more, ‘We’re a young team.’ There’s no more of those what ifs,” Love said on The Pivot Podcast. “People know what we’re about now. Obviously, we’ll have that target on our back. People want to beat us. We’re hungry. I know everybody in that locker room is hungry and ready to get backIn 17 games last season, Love put up 4,159 yards with 32 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His development was apparent, especially in his ability to read opposing defenses throughout the year. The Packers offense looked much more confident as the year went on, which is the direct result of Love growing his game.2024 will be another step in the overall growth of Love. He needs to show that he can be productive in consecutive seasons, but there is no reason to think it won’t happen.

Categorieslatest

Rafah is Netanyahu’s last fig leaf

Rafah is not a military base, nor does it have any geopolitical significance. It is, however, Netanyahu’s last chance for political survival and exoneration from criminal charges. Rafah’s only symbolic importance is being a potential gateway to forcibly exile Palestinians from Gaza. Thus, Netanyahu’s vision of “total victory” entails the complete occupation and then the systemic ethnic cleansing of as many Palestinians as possible through the only international crossing connecting Gaza with an Arab country. Over the past five months, the population in the city of Rafah has ballooned five folds. Like the Israeli-induced famine in Gaza, the increase of population was also by an Israeli design. At the onset of the Israeli genocidal campaign, Rafah, located at Gaza’s southernmost edge along the border with Egypt, was dubiously designated as a “safe zone.” Civilians were coercively instructed by Israel to relocate southward under the guise of cynical pretexts. Early during Israel’s genocide campaign and during an interview with MSNBC last November, Mark Regev, “chief disinformation” adviser to Israeli Prime Minister, told his interviewer “We’re asking people to relocate … we don’t want to see civilians caught up in the crossfire.” He further underscored his confidence stating that he was “pretty sure” they “won’t have to move again.” READ: Netanyahu approves Rafah attack plans despite international warnings In his trademark disingenuous display of compassion, Regev explained that by relocating people to the border with Egypt, close to the Rafah border crossing, aid could reach them “as quickly as possible.” Just as in Israel’s false claim of a command centre to justify a military raid on Gaza’s main hospital, Regev’s brazen remarks during the interview displayed shameless insolence, banking on the American mainstream media, particularly MSNBC, reluctance to challenge his blatant lies. Those who dared to, Mehdi Hasan for example, found his show on MSNBC canceled. It took the West four months following Regev’s false assurances, and more than 100,000 Palestinians killed or injured, and the imminent starvation of 2.4 million before they realised they were taken for a ride by the Israeli hasbara. It is this reality that could possibly explain the sudden apprehension among American and Western officials regarding Israel’s real intention in the city of Rafah. On Sunday 24 March, the French President Emmanuel Macron warned Netanyahu that any forceful displacement of people from Rafah would constitute “a war crime.” Almost simultaneously, and marking a significant departure from past positions, the United States refrained from vetoing a UN Security Council resolution for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. This was also followed by strong statements from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday, 26 March, who conveyed to his Israeli counterpart, “… the number of civilian casualties is far too high and the amount of humanitarian aid is far too low … Gaza is suffering a humanitarian catastrophe and the situation is getting even worse.” Although there is a noticeable shift in tone among leaders who lined up to bless Netanyahu’s genocidal war in response to the 7 October revolt— much like Nat Turner’s rebellion against injustice in 1831— one cannot help but question the sincerity of their change of heart. Where was Macron three months earlier when 1.4 million civilians were forcibly displaced from their homes in northern Gaza, only to have their residences destroyed? Did he seriously believe Regev’s false-hearted grace to bring people closer to the (blocked) aid? Regarding the Biden administration, which had previously vetoed every UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution calling for a ceasefire, it took no time to appease and placate Netanyahu’s expressed wrath. Immediately after the UN vote, National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby stepped up to the podium backpedalling asserting that the UNSC resolution held no significance, deeming it “non-binding” with “no change to what Israel can or can’t do.” WATCH: ‘Why do you support genocide in Gaza? You and the entire Biden administration!’ Despite this, the ingrate Israeli leader scolded the White House by cancelling a scheduled trip for Israeli officials to Washington to discuss Israeli plans in Rafah. Instead of retaliating by sending back Netanyahu’s war minister, Pentagon officials obediently listened to the Israeli minister’s long shopping list for additional US weapons to sustain the genocidal war. Meanwhile, the White House scrambled to assuage Netanyahu and reschedule the Israeli visit. . Netanyahu rubbed Biden’s nose in a manner unprecedented among US allies, especially considering Israel’s status as the foremost beneficiary of US foreign aid and its access to cutting-edge weapon technology as soon as it enters the US military’s inventory. It’s mind boggling how Netanyahu can get away with insulting the US without facing any consequences. Yet, Netanyahu’s arrogance didn’t happen in a vacuum. He once boasted in a video that “America Is a thing you can move very easily.” While it’s a fact that Netanyahu has been manipulating and milking American taxpayers for decades, he wasn’t the first Israeli leader to do so. In 1967, Israeli defence minister Moshe Dayan told a visiting American Zionist leader “Our American friends offer us money, arms and advice … We take the money, we take the arms, and we decline the advice.” More than any other Israeli leader, Netanyahu has mastered the art of humiliating American officials to get his way and ultimately exert control over them by portraying them as inept and weak. Case in point, in 2010, then Vice President Biden was blindsided during his visit to Tel Aviv when Netanyahu challenged US opposition by announcing plans to construct hundreds of new homes in the “Jewish-only” colony of Ramat Shlomo in East Jerusalem. More recently, Secretary of State Antony Blinken faced another humiliating moment when Israel welcomed him with the seizure of 2000 acres for a future “Jewish-only” colony on occupied Palestinian land. Even though Blinken travelled from Saudi Arabia as part of US diplomatic efforts to normalise relations between the Kingdom and the Zionist entity, Netanyahu sidelined American pains to reward Israeli genocide with the Saudi normalisation when the Secretary of State expressed concerns regarding Israeli plans in Rafah. According to news reports, Netanyahu, with a sense of entitlement, cut Blinken short telling him: “US support for Rafah op welcomed but not needed.” READ: Biden quietly signs off on more bombs, warplanes for Israel To that end, the US Administration as well as Israeli military leaders such as ex military chief of staff, and current war cabinet minister Gadi Eisenkot, believe that Netanyahu’s assertion of “total victory” by invading Rafah is a hogwash. But irrespective of the US position, Netanyahu treats American advice like a buffet, cherry-picking what suits him and leaving the fallout of his actions for the US to clean up. Regrettably, AIPAC castrated American politicians have an abject proclivity to clean after Israel no matter how reprehensible or morally repugnant. A version of this article appeared on Al Mayadeen TV on 31 March 2024. The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

Categorieslatest

French diplomat: Relations with Egypt “strong”, trilateral talks important for settling Gaza crisis

ALEXANDRIA – France’s Consul General in Alexandria Lena Blin affirmed the strength of the relations between Cairo and Paris, which encompass various political, economic, social, and cultural fields. In statements to MENA, the diplomat said that there is constant and ongoing coordination between Egypt and France regarding regional and international issues, emphasising Egypt’s pivotal role in enhancing security and stability in the region. Blin underscored the importance of the trilateral talks held by the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, and France in Cairo on Saturday, regarding the situation in Gaza and joint action plans to achieve a permanent ceasefire and alleviate the humanitarian crisis affecting the inhabitants of the Strip. She added that this strengthened the close coordination to resolve the regional crisis, affirming that the war in Gaza must come to an end, noting that France has repeatedly called for a ceasefire. She continued, saying, “Pressure must be exerted to bring in more humanitarian aid and reach a ceasefire that can protect all civilian populations.”

Verified by MonsterInsights