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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 85,724

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

New charge filed in Tomball hospital standoff

A Pinehurst man who was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after a Tomball hospital standoff last weekend now faces an additional charge of aggravated assault on a family member.

Officials say George S. Pickering Jr. wielded a handgun and threatened a nurse at Tomball Regional Medical Center after expressing dismay that his adult son might be taken off life support.

Pickering was admitted to Tomball Regional Medical Center after surrendering late Saturday night but was in the Harris County Jail on Monday. The 59-year-old is being held on $30,000 bail in the first case and no bail on the second. Both charges are felonies.

The second criminal complaint, filed Monday, accuses Pickering of threatening his ex-wife, Teresa Pickering, "with imminent bodily injury by using and exhibiting a deadly weapon."

Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/New-charge-filed-in-hospital-standoff-6010884.php

Proposed pilot contract would raise American’s 2015 labor costs by $650 million

A proposed contract with pilots would increase American Airlines Group Inc.’s 2015 labor costs by $650 million if approved by pilots, American told investors Monday.

In addition, retroactive pay raises to Dec. 2 would add $50 million to American’s 2014 expenses, the Fort Worth-based company said.

However, if pilots don’t approve the “joint collective bargaining agreement,” no increase in pilot labor costs are expected, the company said. The Allied Pilots Association told members Monday that two weeks of voting will begin Friday and conclude at 9 a.m. Jan. 30.

American also said its new flight attendant contract will add $200 million in costs in 2015, $80 million more than was disclosed in previous guidance.

Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/business/airline-industry/20150112-proposed-pilot-contract-would-raise-americans-2015-labor-costs-by-650-million.ece

Texas Monthly’s Paul Burka, hailed as best, scourge of ‘worst,’ retiring

Paul Burka, the dean of the Texas State Capitol press corps who has led Texas Monthly’s political coverage for 40 years, spearheaded its influential and closely observed roundup of the Best and Worst Legislators each biennium, and wrote the magazine’s widely-read Burkablog since 2006, announced Monday he is retiring March 1.

“I joined the staff of Texas Monthly on October 1, 1974, and after much consideration, I have decided to retire in March,” Burka wrote Monday on Burkablog, which will continue to bear his name. “I have had a rich and rewarding forty-year career as senior executive editor of Texas Monthly and have been enabled by my editors to do what I love most: cover Texas politics. I will continue to be engaged with Texas Monthly on several fronts, including coverage of the 84th Legislature.”

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/texas-monthlys-paul-burka-hailed-as-best-scourge-o/njmnS/ (subscription required)

His announcement at the Burkablog: http://www.texasmonthly.com/burka-blog/last-forty-years-and-future

Comptroller predicts better-than-expected growth in Texas economy

Plummeting oil prices have incited much speculation in recent weeks about how much Texas’ coffers might suffer and how much less money might be available to a Republican-dominated Legislature that wants to cut taxes significantly and also spend on things like roads.

On Monday, freshman Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar settled the deliberation with his much-anticipated official estimate of how much the state will bring in and have to spend over the next two years. And it was higher than many expected it to be, although tempered because of low energy prices.

Hegar’s approximation – formulated, he has said, under much and diverse advisement – showed that state lawmakers, who convene at noon on Tuesday, will have $113 billion in general revenue to spend on the 2016-17 budget. That is a sizable $18 billion more than general revenue spending in the current two-year budget cycle, which ends Aug. 31.

The estimate assumes oil prices – currently at less than $50 a barrel – will be $64 per barrel on average for current fiscal year, which ends Aug. 31, and to nearly $70 per barrel by the end of 2017. The last revenue estimate, released in 2013, assumed taxable oil prices of about $80 per barrel.

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/comptroller-releases-better-than-expected-revenue-/njmSB/

Tuesday in Texas: Bad Bills and Educational Robin Hood for the Rich

By Carol Morgan

Tuesday marks the beginning of the 84th Texas Legislative session, a reality show for those who seek entertainment, something akin to dog fighting for others, and a boon for political bloggers.

The class of the 84th is an ambitious group: the first day of filing saw 350 potential pieces of legislation and as of today, that count climbed to 758. That won’t be the final number because the last day to file is March, 13, 2015.

Some are ho-hum-underwhelming bills commemorating holidays or special events taking place on the legislator’s home turf. Have you ever heard of March for Jesus Day, Massage Therapy Awareness Day or Grapefruit Month?

Some are a waste of time and money. Does anyone think that Texas needs our own version of Fort Knox? Southlake’s Giovanni Capriglione (R) thinks so. He filed a bill to create the Texas Bullion Depository; that’s gold, not soup.

And a bill that guarantees the Second Amendment?

Or a bill which creates an "In God We Trust" specialty license plate? (written by a Democrat?!)

Or James White’s HB 547 to establish covenant marriage?

Or a bill (written by another Democrat!) that prevents the punishment of any child who chews his/her pastry into gun shapes.

You can't make this up.

There have been some excellent bills filed relating to classroom size and reining in outsourcing contracts, but the 84th seems to be mainly fixated on handguns.

34 bills relating to weapons have been filed and most of those include various versions of open-carry.

There are plenty of hateful bills: Senator Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, and Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, would allow businesses to refuse service to LGBT customers or fire LGBT employees based on religious beliefs. In reality, this bill has nothing to do with religion and plenty to do with discrimination.

Bills to drug test welfare recipients and bills to stop the poorest Texas from getting health insurance and the hate goes on ad nauseam.

The award for the most damaging and frightening bill that’s a guaranteed game changer for Texas children (and not in a good way) is Senate Bill 276, filed by the newest queen of mean, Senator Donna Campbell. She calls it “taxpayer savings grants”, but it’s merely a new name for a voucher scheme which will transfer hundreds of millions of dollars from the public schools in Texas to the state’s private schools and religious schools. Think educational Robin Hood for the rich.

The voucher strategy would be the cherry-on-top of the assassination of public education that took place in 2011. Four years ago, Texas Republican lawmakers cut $5.4 billion from the public education budget, resulting in a job loss of 49,000 education jobs; it caused professional staff to fulfill part-time transportation and custodial duties, and increased class sizes. That money has NEVER been restored and Texas still must face a solution on its unconstitutional state funding formula.

I guess it will be ok, because Ken Paxton, our new Attorney General, claimed, “We survived, and we are fine”. And of course, it is enthusiastically supported by our new Lieutenant Governor, Dan Patrick.

I’d like to hear from Senator Perry, Representative Frullo, or Representative Konkler to get their opinions on this piece of legislation. Surely, this bill cannot pass.

All of this potential mess was put in play by voters who didn’t turnout in November or those who blindly voted straight ticket without considering the candidate’s character or legislative history and their stance on important issues.

This is why we have legislators like family values candidate Tony Tinderholt who’s been married five times and lied about his employment history.

Or the re-election of Rodney Anderson who wants to do away with the minimum salary schedule for teachers. Or Senator Bob Hall who has a history of domestic violence.

Or Paul Bettencourt who left office under a cloud of suspicion for using his office as Harris County Tax assessor for GOP business and was sued for obstructing Hispanic voter registration.

Bad bills and broken lawmakers…how does this happen?

A very important man, who you probably never heard of, died on December 30th. In 1960, Dr. Phillip E. Converse co-authored an academic piece entitled “The American Voter”, which concluded that most American voters were remarkably uninformed and nonideological, and that they based their preferences largely on party affiliation.

Something about his theory sounds familiar, eh? Perhaps it’s the only explanation for the third rate Barnum and Bailey Show which begins on Tuesday.


Carol Morgan is a career/college counselor, writer, speaker, former Democratic candidate for the Texas House and the award-winning author of Of Tapestry, Time and Tears, a historical fiction about the 1947 Partition of India. Email Carol at elizabethcmorgan@sbcglobal.net , follow her on Twitter and on Facebook or visit her writer’s blog at www.carolmorgan.org


Permission granted to post Carol's blog in its entirety.

Lawsuit: Breast implant popped by unwanted massage

AUSTIN -- A Travis County woman who claims that an unsolicited deep-tissue massage with a fitness product caused her breast implant to deflate is suing the product manufacturer and its founder.

Kim Delgado filed the suit Jan. 2 in Travis County against Trigger Point Performance Inc. and its founder and president, Peter Leonard Cassidy Phillips of Austin. The suit also names Implus Footcare LLC, which bought Trigger Point Performance in October.

Delgado's injury occurred Aug. 10, 2013, at the IDEA World Fitness Conference in Los Angeles, where some Trigger Point products were being marketed to potential vendors, according to her petition filed in the 126th State District Court.


She is seeking between $200,000 and $1 million in monetary relief and is represented by Scott F. DeShazo and Thomas A. Nesbitt of DeShazo & Nesbitt of Austin.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/texas/article/Lawsuit-Breast-implant-popped-by-unwanted-massage-6004322.php

[font color=green]Yes, I'm having a boring Saturday night. First the porn star wanting to buy a Whataburger franchise and now this story.[/font]

Whataburger to Mia Khalifa, a popular porn star with Texas ties who wants franchise: No thank you

University of Texas at El Paso graduate Mia Khalifa, a Lebanese American, has skyrocketed to fame in the last few weeks, earning news stories in national media outlets like Newsweek, creating an international firestorm that drew death threats and rising to the top of her profession.

But it seems there is one thing the 21-year-old Khalifa — listed as the most popular porn star on Pornhub, which is the 71st most popular website in the world (in front of the websites for the New York Times and CNN) — wants that she can't have: her own Whataburger franchise.

According to the actress' Instagram and Twitter profile, which is totally NSFW, she is a "future Whataburger franchise owner."

A statement released to the San Antonio Express-News by Whataburger's Corporate Communications office Thursday regarding the actress' desire for ownership suggests otherwise.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/entertainment/article/Lebanese-pornstar-Mia-Khalifa-wants-to-own-a-6001822.php

Judge seeks trial by November for suspect in fatal SXSW crash

AUSTIN — A judge is pushing attorneys for a trial by November in the capital murder and aggravated assault case against the driver accused of smashing into a crowd of South By Southwest festival goers, killing four.

State District Judge Cliff Brown told attorneys at a hearing in Austin on Friday to appear before him every 1½ months to report the status of their preparations for the trial of 22-year-old Rashad Owens. He set the next hearing for Feb. 23.

Investigators say Owens was fleeing police in his car after an attempted late-night traffic stop last March when he crashed through a barricade and into a crowd attending the music festival. The crash also left nearly two dozen people injured.


[font color=green]I think that 21 months is more than enough time to get ready for trial.[/font]

The 21st Century Will Be The Most Unequal Period In Human History

Progressives think Obama could have done more-- much more-- to further the legitimate economic interests of the American working class. Others think he did as much as he could under the political constraints in Washington. His record is a mixed bag. Yesterday, the unemployment continued its downward trend, dipping to 5.6%, the best numbers since Bush tanked the economy in 2008...in fact, the best numbers since Bill Clinton was president. Despite dogged, systematic obstruction by the GOP, Obama's policies have worked to drag the country back from the brink of Republican apocalypse. On the other hand, he has continued coddling Wall Street banksters instead of prosecuting them and his race-to-the-bottom, job-destroying trade agenda is straight out of Wall Street boardrooms and Republican Party think tanks. Obama's plan, also announced yesterday, to make two years of college as free and universal as high school is clearly meant to close gaps that lead straight to the unconscionable wealth disparity that threatens American democracy.

Had McCain or Romney won it would have been far worse in every way. If Jeb Bush wins, he'll prove that once again. But we don't need to speculate or peer into a crystal ball to see the toxic impact of conservative governance on working people. Just look at our pals the British. They have a Conservative government and their own income and wealth inequality is, if anything, even worse than our own! In fact, David Cameron's trickle-down policies have made the U.K. the most attractive location as a tax haven for the super-rich. Parasites from around the world are flocking to Britain-- and buying up everything. Jacques Peretti investigates why in a new 3-part BBC series, The Super-Rich and Us, Part 1 embedded above.

How about this little factoid? "Since the '08 Crash, there's been 80 billion pounds ($120 billion dollars) of Austerity cuts, the same amount bankers will have been given in bonuses." Or this one, which sounds a lot like a Bernie Sanders speech: "In 2013 the UK’s thousand richest people saw their wealth increase by a sum equivalent to the combined earnings of the country’s fulltime workforce: £70 billion." The reviews have been pretty scathing. This is from yesterday's New Statesman:

It’s not the vulgarity that makes you want to puke so much as the asininity. The super- rich, it seems, really are different from the rest of us, their stupidity extending to the purchase of such fatuous me-treats as £30,000 sessions at the spa and brassieres encrusted with diamonds. Here’s an image for you. On a private Caribbean island, a pink, bald, loaded Brummie slashes the sand again and again with a golf club, every ball flying straight out into the ocean where, being made of fish food, it soon dissolves to nothing. As several novelists have discovered to their detriment just lately, this is a world far beyond satire, the symbolism so powerful and obvious that it requires not the slightest literary gussying-up.

...“We used to call it divine right,” said Nick Hanauer, a Seattle-based entrepreneur who earns £12,000 an hour. “Now we call it trickle-down economics.” Wealth like his own, he pointed out, just doesn’t convert into jobs, or even into high-street sales (though he earns a thousand times more than other people he doesn’t buy a thousand times more stuff). A lone voice among the super-rich, Hanauer would love to pay more tax. You could say that he regards doing so as a matter of life or death, because he fears the pitchforks will be coming for his kind pretty soon. But his government, like our own, won’t allow it. For the time being, the thinking goes, the gates-- electronic, 24-hour CCTV, panic buttons-- are plenty sturdy enough to keep out the barbarians.

- See more at: http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-21st-century-will-be-most-unequal.html

Crackpot Utopia: The Year in Republican Crazy, Part 13 (With Award of the Year Winner!)

Crackpot Utopia: A dream world as envisioned by republicans; a manifestation or expression of the deranged, warped alternate universe inhabited by republicans, at least in their minds. See also: Bachmannism, Boehneresque.

1. TV for Dummies: Sarah Palin launches her own channel

America's biggest, most strident attention whore (eat your heart out Louie Gohmert) just couldn't get enough. It wasn't enough for her to have ruined any chance (thankfully) that John McCain ever had of becoming president. And it wasn't enough that FOX "News" gave her a platform for her brand of incoherent babble from the republican alternate universe. It also wasn't enough that she'd already had some sort of Sarah Palin's Alaska show that apparently appealed to those who watch things like Gator Boys,Swamp People, and Ancient Aliens. Nope. She had to go and announce the formation of her own Internet TV channel.

Here in New York we already have what is known as Public Access Television, which basically consists of shows like Tele-Psychic, where viewers can call in and get their fortune told. There are also all manner of interview shows replete with ranters and cranks that any of us would quickly sidestep on the sidewalk, but hey, presumably at least a few people do watch these things. On my TV, it comes with my regular Time Warner Cable.


2. Crazyspeak of the Year nominee No. 17: Arizona schools superintendent John Huppenthal (rhymes with Neanderthal)

For a long time Huppenthal, the Arizona superintendent of public instruction, was cowardly, throwing out his vitriolic bigotry behind a secret Internet identity. Calling himself Falcon9 -- among other noms de spam, apparently -- this Internet troll offered, among other genius utterances:

• "The Mexican American Studies classes use the exact same technique that Hitler used in his rise to power. Take an historical example of injustice, cast it in racial terms, and fan the flame of resentment."

• "I don't mind them selling Mexican food as long as the menus are mostly in English."

• "We all need to stomp out balkanization. No Spanish radio stations, no Spanish billboards, no Spanish TV stations, no Spanish newspapers."


3. And now, the final Crazyspeak of the Year nominee -- and also the winner!

Former Reagan aide Douglas MacKinnon

Douglas MacKinnon is not only a former aide to one of the worst presidents this country has ever had, he is the author of The Secessionist States of America: The Blueprint for Creating a Traditional Values Country . . . Now. In his book MacKinnon describes his vision for a new country made up of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. It's a country based on the warped, twisted republican definition of Christianity. He even claims to speak for the Founding Fathers when, in full flaming paranoia mode, he bitches about rights for gay people.

His easy fix for all of this? Secession by those three carefully chosen states. Perhaps the only surprise is that he does not include Texas, but he has his reason. Even though he declares himself "a big fan of Texas," he notes, "There have been a number of incursions into Texas and other places from some of the folks in Mexico." Impure! Impure! Mongrelized! Shame on you, Texas! So for him the three nutball states he has chosen will be just fine, thank you.

Read more: http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2015/01/crackpot-utopia-year-in-republican_5.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Jan 9, 2015, 11:58 PM (1 replies)
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