Former Republican Governor’s bodyguard files suit as whistleblower


Then-governor Susana Martinez addressing 2016 Republican Convention
AP Photo/J Scott Applewhite

❝ A bodyguard for former Gov. Susana Martinez says in a new lawsuit that state police officials retaliated against him for raising concerns about misconduct by another member of her security detail, including concerns about the misspending of campaign funds.

New Mexico State Police Officer Tony Fetty claims officials around the governor instead sought to protect her ex-bodyguard, Ruben Maynes, and alleges the two had a personal relationship.

❝ The lawsuit adds to questions other state law enforcement officials have already raised in recent months about why Maynes received a $200,000 out-of-court settlement from the New Mexico government after leaving the governor’s security detail and what relationship, if any, he had with the state’s top elected official and her family…

❝ Fetty says in his lawsuit that colleagues told him Maynes was “protected” — that is, untouchable for political reasons.

The officer says: “Because of the overlapping of Agent Maynes’ personal life and frequency of non-professional concerns expressed by Gov. Martinez about Maynes, it became clear … that there was a personal relationship between Gov. Martinez and Agent Maynes.”

Surely, you didn’t think salacious tales of sex and corruption were limited to federal officials in Washington, DC.

Duke Energy to pay $7 million for coal ash pollution case

Duke Energy agreed…to pay North Carolina regulators $7 million to settle allegations of groundwater pollution at its coal ash pits and to perform accelerated cleanups costing millions of dollars at four sites.

The agreement came as lawyers for the country’s largest electric company and the state were preparing courtroom arguments regarding a $25 million fine over groundwater pollution at a Wilmington plant, the state’s largest-ever penalty for environmental damage.

The settlement resolves that case and any other groundwater contamination allegations by state regulators at Duke Energy’s coal ash basins around the state.

The settlement also triggers accelerated cleanup at the retired Wilmington plant and three other plants that showed signs of offsite groundwater pollution during recent assessments. The state estimated the cleanups would cost between $10 and $15 million total.

The state’s pursuit of groundwater violations represented one facet of stepped up regulations and enforcement after a 2014 coal ash spill at the utility’s Eden power plant coated 70 miles of the Dan River in toxic, gray sludge…

Of course, this “pursuit” didn’t start until public outcry forced the state into action. The state’s Republican governor was a loyal employee of Duke Energy for 28 years.

The agency said the settlement will save the state from a protracted court fight over the Wilmington fine and allow it to focus its resources on overseeing cleanup efforts.

What? You expected something more than a polite note from the state of North Carolina. Who owns whom, eh?

First same-sex wedding held at West Point Cadet Chapel

Cadet Chapel, the landmark Gothic church that is a center for spiritual life at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, hosted its first same-sex wedding Saturday.

Penelope Gnesin and Brenda Sue Fulton, a West Point graduate, exchanged vows in the regal church in an afternoon ceremony, attended by about 250 guests and conducted by a senior Army chaplain.

The two have been together for 17 years. They had a civil commitment ceremony that didn’t carry any legal force in 1999 and had long hoped to formally tie the knot. The way was cleared last year, when New York legalized same-sex marriage and President Barack Obama lifted the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy prohibiting openly gay people from serving in the military.

The brides both live in New Jersey and would have preferred to have the wedding there, but the state doesn’t allow gay marriage…

The NJ legislature passed a law allowing same-sex marriage. Republican Governor Christie vetoed it.

“It has a tremendous history, and it is beautiful. That’s where I first heard and said the cadet prayer,” Fulton said, referring to the invocation that says, “Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half-truth when the whole can be won.”

The ceremony was the second same-sex wedding at West Point. Last weekend, two of Fulton’s friends, a young lieutenant and her partner, were married in another campus landmark, the small Old Cadet Chapel in West Point’s cemetery.

Fulton has campaigned against the ban on gays in the military as a member of two groups representing gay and lesbian servicemen and servicewomen. She graduated from West Point in 1980, a member of the first class to include women.

She served with the Army Signal Corps in Germany and rose to the rank of captain, but left the service in 1986 partly because she wanted to be open about her sexual orientation. President Obama appointed her last year to the U.S. Military Academy’s Board of Visitors.

Nice to see the US Military continue to march into the 21st Century at a faster pace than some political chickenhawks. For those of us who lived through the end of Jim Crow in our military, the result isn’t a complete surprise. Unlike some politicians, the Pentagon accepts the law of the land – instead of trying to slink back into the past.

Cancer researchers “discover” Medicaid patients survive less time


Measured concern from Republican governors

Looking only at highly treatable types of tumors, researchers found Ohio Medicaid enrollees were between 1.6 and 2.4 times as likely as other patients to die of their disease within five years…

“While Medicaid is potentially lifesaving, it is better to be able to support yourself and have insurance that protects at a higher level than just Medicaid,” added Dr. Derek Raghavan, who heads the Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina.

And how likely is that while job-hunting amid the carnage leftover from the Great Recession?

Raghavan and colleagues looked at eight different cancers, such as testicular cancer and early-stage colon and lung cancer, in patients from an Ohio cancer registry. With treatment patients typically survive more than five years with those diseases, so doctors often refer to them as “curable…”

Of the non-Medicaid patients, fewer than one in 10 died within five years of their cancer diagnosis.

By comparison, more than one in five Medicaid patients died during that period, and those who enrolled in Medicaid later survived the shortest time…

Continue reading

Republican governor wants apology from high school student who says “he sucks” – proving she is correct!


Dipshit self-righteous governor — high school student Emma Sullivan

A high school senior, who faces a Monday morning deadline to apologize to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback for a disparaging tweet, has said she will not write the apology letter…

Sullivan said her parents and many of her peers support her decision…

Bravo! And kudos to your parents for backing you up.

During a Kansas Youth in Government field trip to the state Capitol on November 21, Sullivan wrote: “Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot.” The Shawnee Mission East senior said she did not actually talk to Brownback, and the post referenced a joke she had with a student on the trip.

The next day, she was called into high school principal Karl Krawitz’s office. A Brownback staffer had notified the principal, she said.

“My principal told me he needed to do damage control and was really upset,” Sullivan said. “He said I was an embarrassment to the school and the school district and that I had been disrespectful.”

The principal then asked her to write a letter of apology to Brownback and his staff. He set Monday as the due date for the letter.

Sullivan said she did not know what will happen when she does not turn in the letter Monday. But she hopes the tweet will bring attention to the issue of free speech.

“I hope there won’t be any consequences and that my principal and the governor’s office can move on,” she said. “The issue is relevant and, if anything, is a starting point of dialog with the governor about his policies and how our First Amendment rights can be taken away…”

Brownback – and the school principal – are egregious, reactionary cowards. They have no respect for freedom of speech. Brownback is notorious for his misogynistic politics in the first place. That a young woman voiced her opinion of his dolthood makes it all the worse in the peabrain of this political fossil.

Emma Sullivan is standing up for her right to have an opinion. One she voiced via her personal Twitter account – not anything that officially represents some jerkwater Kansas school that probably is still arguing over whether or not evolution can be taught.

Class president? Whites only at this Mississippi school!

Children running for class officer posts at a Mississippi public school are only allowed to compete for certain positions based on their race, according to a memo handed out last week to students.

The Nettleton Middle School elections are divided between offices pegged for black and white students, according to the memo, which was provided to TSG by a parent. The document was handed out to every student in the school’s sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, and it details the race requirements for each of four class officer spots (president, vice president, secretary-treasurer, and reporter).

Of the 12 offices for which students compete, eight are earmarked for white students (including the three class president spots), while four are termed “black” seats. Middle school administrators have not returned TSG phone calls, so it is unclear how this policy was established, or whether the number of offices apportioned for each race changes annually. Additionally, it is unknown how children who are not black or white would run for student government offices.

Students seeking class office were directed to return their election applications, complete with the petition signatures of 10 classmates, to science teacher Jenny Payne by August 24. The Nettleton middle school has about 400 students, and about 72 percent are white, according to a source familiar with the school board’s operation. The majority of the remaining students are black.

The city of Nettleton has a population of 2013 and is located 15 miles south of Tupelo, the birthplace of Elvis Presley. The middle school’s policy was first reported this week by Suzy Richardson, who operates Mixed and Happy, a blog about mixed-race families.

Suzy Richardson is to the point over at her blog – as we all should be. Email the presidential-wanna-be Republican governor of Mississippi, Hayley Barbour – governor@governor.state.ms.us – and tell him to get his butt on the phone to the racist fools running the schools in Nettleton. Tell them to join up with the United States of America.