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TexasTowelie

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Texas
Home country: United States
Current location: Red Hell Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 76,962

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

Justices testy as Texas pushes to end use of ‘disparate impacts’ in housing discrimination cases

Source: Dallas Morning News

WASHINGTON—Supreme Court justices treated harshly Texas’ arguments this morning that the Fair Housing Act should allow lawsuits for discrimination only when the plaintiffs can prove the policies that harm them were intentionally racist.

It’s no guarantee that Texas will lose its appeal, which seeks to strike out the widespread uses in federal courts the doctrine of ‘disparate impacts’ as a grounds for lawsuits alleging housing discrimination. (See our preview story, here.) Oral arguments are always just a chance for the justices to use the lawyers before them as vehicles to argue with each other, trying to win over wavering colleagues and flesh out the arguments they hope will prevail when they discuss the case later.

But the strong acceptance by many of the justices — including conservative Justice Antonin Scalia — that the statute as written in 1968 and amended in 1988 seems to clearly indicate Congress’s intent to allow the suits is hard to see as anything but optimistic for the plaintiffs from Dallas that initiated the case in 2008.

In 1968, during the week that many American cities burned as protests flared following the killing of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Congress passed the Fair Housing Act. In it, it prohibited policies that intentionally discriminate against renters or buyers on the basis of their race and a handful of other characteristics.

Read more: http://bizbeatblog.dallasnews.com/2015/01/justices-testy-as-texas-pushes-to-end-use-of-disparate-impacts-in-housing-discrimination-cases.html/

Irving rattled by four quakes Tuesday, including a 3.0-magnitude this afternoon

Update at 4:14 p.m.: The Russian judge — pardon, the U.S. Geological Survey — confirms our fourth quake of the day was a 2.2-magnitude offering at 2:43 p.m. And it was between Regal Row and the Trinity River. Technically, the fourth was in Dallas.

That’s our 43rd since April. If you lost count.

Anyway. There’s that Irving City Council town hall meeting at the Irving Arts Center tonight at 6:30. Good timing, I guess?

Update at 2:54 p.m.: It’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve had a three-quake day. But the U.S. Geological Survey says there was indeed a third quake today, this one a 3.0 magnitude temblor recorded at 2:25 p.m. And if you need to be told where it was at this point, then clearly nothing has fallen off of your shelves yet.

Read more: http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2015/01/another-minor-quake-the-40th-since-april-2014-rattled-the-old-texas-stadium-site-monday-morning.html/

Report: 1 dead, 1 injured in overpass collapse in Cincinnati

Source: AP

CINCINNATI (AP) — Officials say one person died and another person was injured when a highway overpass collapsed in Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati Fire Department says the bridge was undergoing demolition at the time of the collapse.

The Cincinnati Enquirer (http://cin.ci/1zsUAS1 ) reports that according to a police dispatch the southbound interstate 75 was closed indefinitely after the collapse of an overpass north of the old Hopple Street bridge.

It happened at about 10:30 p.m. Monday. The newspaper reports at least one tractor trailer was damaged by the collapse.

Read more: http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2015-01-19/report-1-dead-1-injured-overpass-collapse-cincinnati#.VL3lcnvy1Z8

Supreme Court to hear Dallas housing discrimination case this week--Fair Housing Act under scrutiny

WASHINGTON — What if the way Texas has awarded federal tax credits to low-income housing developers in Dallas has helped keep black residents out of heavily white neighborhoods?

Should it matter if the policies responsible weren’t intended to be racist? Or do they violate federal civil rights laws based solely on the fact that they’ve routinely limited housing choices for poor blacks?

Those questions are at the core of a closely watched case out of Dallas to be argued Wednesday before the Supreme Court. It’s a slow-moving dispute from 2008 that could alter the way discrimination claims are handled nationwide.

For nearly half a century, plaintiffs in civil rights lawsuits have challenged policies when their impact has been discriminatory, even if that wasn’t their purpose. Texas is asking the Supreme Court to bar such suits over housing discrimination unless plaintiffs show that the discrimination was on purpose.

Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/metro/20150119-supreme-court-to-hear-dallas-housing-discrimination-case-this-week.ece

North Dallas doctor’s $10.7 million jury verdict overturned on appeal

The Texas 5th District Court of Appeals has overturned a $10.7 million jury verdict in a case in which a North Dallas neurologist accused a fellow physician and a business associate of intentionally deceiving him about the finances of two medical imaging centers in Plano.

The Dallas appeals court ruled that the trial judge made critical errors that unfairly and negatively affected the jury’s decision.

Dr. Erwin Cruz accused two co-investors — Dr. Michael Taba and Mehrdad Ghani — of negligence and fraud in the management and eventual dissolution of two medical facilities, including North Dallas Medical Imaging. Cruz claimed his partners kept information from him about the dire financial situation of the centers.

Members of the medical and legal communities have closely monitored the litigation because, they say, there are scores of similar business disputes pending throughout Texas that pit doctors against doctors after their jointly owned medical centers struggled financially.

Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/business/headlines/20150119-north-dallas-doctors-10.7-million-jury-verdict-overturned-on-appeal.ece

[font color=green]I don't know what to feel about this verdict. While I am a proponent for justice being duly served, the fact that the case involved multiple doctors in adversarial roles has a tinge of "what comes round, goes round" to it. However, I'm sure that the real winners are the attorneys raking in the money on both sides.[/font]

Norwood's appeal rejected--Murder verdict upheld in Morton slaying

Mark Alan Norwood’s battle to overturn his 2013 conviction and life sentence for murdering Christine Morton in her south Williamson County home in 1986 seems to have hit a dead end.

The Court of Criminal Appeals, Texas’ highest criminal court, refused Wednesday to review an August ruling by the Third Court of Appeals in Austin.

The higher court, which possesses the flexibility to select which cases it will consider, offered no explanation for its decision.

Appellants can ask the judges to reconsider, but such requests are not often granted.

Read more: http://www.etypeservices.com/SWF/LocalUser/Williamson1//Magazine75087/Full/index.aspx?id=75087#/1/zoomed

[font color=green]The story appears on the right side of page 1 of The Williamson County Sun and continues on page 5. Morton's husband, Michael, was wrongly imprisoned for 25 years for the murder due to misconduct by the prosecutor.[/font]

Shortfall: How an obscure amendment to the state’s property tax code helps corporations

Sometime in 2007, David Swinford, then a Republican state representative from the Panhandle town of Dumas, decided he’d had enough.

For five years running, the largest taxpayer in his district, Valero Energy Corp., had refused to pay all the property tax due on its McKee Refinery, which it acquired from Diamond Shamrock in 2003. Each year Valero sued the Moore County Appraisal District, claiming that the refinery’s appraised value—close to $300 million by 2007—was too high. As court proceedings dragged on, the company paid taxes to the Dumas school district, hospital district, county and other local entities based on the undisputed portion of its valuation—about half what Valero owed.

Now the unpaid bills added up to $11 million, and the school board had raised taxes to cover the school district’s portion of the shortfall. “The reality was, {Valero was} paying partial payment, the next year they would file again and it just kept running,” said Swinford, who chaired the House State Affairs Committee at the time. “At some point it’s got to end and settle up.”

At the time, Valero had filed hundreds of similar lawsuits all across Texas, seeking to lower the taxable value of billions of dollars’ worth of property—from pipelines to convenience stores to huge refineries. The potential loss of tax money would be felt by public schools, hospitals, community colleges and local governments in the refinery belt of Southeast Texas, where student enrollment is heavily minority and economically disadvantaged. And it would be felt in little Moore County, population 22,000, a featureless rectangle on the High Plains that was once nearly wiped out by a grasshopper plague.

Read more: http://www.texasobserver.org/property-taxes-texas-corporations-citizen-stretched-thin/

[font color=green]A long but excellent article providing details and citing examples about how corporations are able to use legislation for paying their fair share of property taxes in Texas.[/font]

Former Robertson County DA indicted

Former Robertson County District Attorney John Paschall has been indicted on the first-degree felony charge of misapplication of fiduciary funds.

Paschall is accused of misusing funds while serving as executor of Mariam Oscar’s estate. The Calvert resident died in 2004.

He turned himself into the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office shortly after the indictment was handed up Wednesday after a special prosecutor from the Texas Attorney General's Office presented his case. Paschall was released on a $30,000 personal recognizance bond.

The issue was first raised in lawsuit filed by attorney Ty Clevenger in 2011 on behalf of a distant relative of Oscar, and later on behalf of the Calvert Historical Foundation, which is the non-profit organization where Oscar wanted her remaining assets donated, according to her trust agreement. The civil suit was dismissed in August 2014.

Read more: http://www.theeagle.com/news/former-robertson-county-da-indicted/article_1c0d4be2-9c3a-11e4-86e1-3fd3d5319a53.html

Follow-up: Sad ending for prankster who flew Alabama flag at Texas A&M's Kyle Field

Bobby Livingston’s biggest prank was also his biggest career mistake. The 44-year-old father of five couldn’t find a job after the joke went viral, which led him to commit suicide in September, according to family members.

Now, his family and friends are speaking out about his depression, the notorious Alabama flag prank and how it all led to his death.

Livingston was lauded as the ultimate Crimson Tide fan in July when he flew a University of Alabama flag on the east side of Kyle Field during renovation work on the stadium, drawing headlines on hundreds of sports websites. He was the youngest of five children and found a way to outshine his siblings, his family said. For a moment, he had something his four sons and daughter, ages 5 to 24, could be proud of.

“The flag, at first, was so funny,” Livingston’s stepsister Brenda Lane wrote in an email. “We all sent him messages that he was a star. Then the negative comments started coming out.”

Read more: http://www.theeagle.com/news/a_m/texas-a-m-flag-prank-has-sad-ending--/article_1ab1c3ea-9faa-11e4-8b55-efed4e9a883a.html

Related thread:
Worker fired for hanging Bama flag on Kyle Field said he sabotaged stadium

http://www.democraticunderground.com/107819592

Tony Verna, inventor of instant TV replay, dies at 81

PALM DESERT, Calif. — Tony Verna, a television director and producer who invented instant replay for live sports games 51 years ago, has died.

Verna's daughter, Tracy Soiseth, said her father died Sunday at his Palm Desert, California, home after battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He was 81.

Verna introduced the concept of instant replay during the Army-Navy football game on Dec. 7, 1963, after developing a method to cue the tape to pinpoint the play he wants to immediately air again.

Instant replay quickly became a staple of sports games, but the concept was so new that the game's announcer had to warn viewers that the play was not live and that Army had not scored again.

Read more: http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2015-01-18/tony-verna-inventor-instant-tv-replay-dies-81#.VLyX_Hvy1Z8

[font color=green]While I express my condolences to his family and friends, I also wouldn't be surprised that there are some sports fans who might have different feelings after the recent reversed officiating calls.[/font]
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