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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: 85,934

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

Health insurance fair draws thousands to downtown Dallas

Downtown Dallas was the final stop for the Be Covered Texas information forum, sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas.

Earlier this month, the campaign traveled to Houston, drawing about 4,600 people. Attendance in Dallas was more than twice that. Even before the fair ended, the turnout was estimated at nearly 10,000.

Free flu shots and screenings for diabetes, cholesterol and dental care were also available Saturday, though those services weren’t connected to insurance enrollment.

People got help navigating the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplace, healthcare .gov, and learned about their insurance options.

More at http://www.dallasnews.com/news/metro/20131026-health-insurance-fair-draws-thousands-to-downtown-dallas.ece .

Austin Film Industry Could See Big Growth

As the Austin Film Festival and Conference celebrates its 20th year this weekend, the city's film industry is gearing up for the potential for big growth thanks to an expanded incentive program and the reputation filmmakers have been building for years.

The State Legislature voted last session to expand incentives to the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program, almost tripling funding for the program, from $32 million this year to $95 million next year. The incentive program provides film, television, commercial, visual effects and video game projects and companies cash grants based on a percentage of how much the project spends in Texas, including wages.

“It’s reasonable to expect that the increase in the incentives for gaming and film will create more business in Texas and in Austin,” said Jim Butler, who works in the film division of the City’s Economic Development Departments, adding that although the department doesn’t have a hard projection, “our expectations are that those changes will have major positive influence.”

Since 1910, more than 1,800 projects, from films to television shows to commercials, have been filmed in Austin. The Texas Film Commission formed in 1971, and three years later, the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre came out. However, the industry started receiving major attention in the 1990s with Richard Linklater’s Slacker. The low-budget cult hit set the stage for Austin to become known as a hub of independent filmmaking, producing other local talent like University of Texas graduates Wes Anderson and Robert Rodriguez.

More at http://www.austinpost.org/austin-film-industry-could-see-big-growth .

Fmr. Fort Bend County Chair Stephen Brown (D) Exploring Railroad Commissioner Bid

In a Burnt Orange Report exclusive, we can report that former Fort Bend County Democratic Party Chairman, Stephen Brown is considering a bid for Texas Railroad Commissioner in 2014.

In our exclusive interview, Mr. Brown spoke with me about his political history, including having served in the Clinton White House and how he was elected as chair of the Fort Bend County Democratic Party in 2010. He resigned the Chairmanship earlier this year when he began considering a run for elected office. He stated that he wanted to run for Texas Railroad Commissioner because the Commission needs an advocate for regular Texans while making sure people who are doing the right things in regards to oil and gas production are not being punished.

Mr. Brown stated his preference to see the Commission change its name to reflect that it is a regulatory commission over the energy sector, and not railroads. He also stated his desire to see stronger ethics rules implemented over the Commissioners. When asked about Republicans who cited federal oversight was a job killer, Mr. Brown responded that people who used that excuse were not being creative when it came to finding solutions. He pointed out again that one of the roles of a Commissioner is to punish bad actors who violate laws, not to give everyone a free pass.

Stephen Brown has been a great advocate for the Texas Democratic Party as Fort Bend County's Chairman and served the Party with distinction and honor.

More at http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/14288/fmr-fort-bend-county-chair-stephen-brown-d-exploring-railroad-commissioner-bid .

Despite sales restrictions, Tesla is building a small base in Texas

Most young car buyers like Brad Holt can barely afford to fantasize about luxury sedans such as the ultra-chic $70,000 Tesla Model S.

Moreover, the all-electric Tesla — a long, slinky new sedan that is probably the highest-profile electric vehicle ever — can’t even be sold in Texas technically.

But the 26-year-old Holt, an independent film producer in Dallas, wanted one so much that he took all the money he earned from his first big job and poured it into a deposit on a Model S — before he had even driven one.

“I’m very interested in gadgets and techie stuff, and the transition to renewable energy,” said Holt, who also does video production for the University of North Texas. “This is all my favorite stuff in one package.”

More at http://www.dallasnews.com/business/autos-latest-news/20131026-despite-sales-restrictions-tesla-is-building-a-small-base-in-texas.ece .

Condoms for football players get cheerleaders benched

The Wharton High School cheerleaders had nothing to cheer about Friday night.

That's because, according to reports on KHOU.com and Yahoo! News, the squad was forced to sit out the varsity football game after cheerleaders placed condoms inside "spirit bags" for the team.

Some called it a silly teen prank, but Wharton ISD didn't find it funny and punished the cheerleaders. The condoms were placed inside the bags just before the Tigers' homecoming game last week, the reports said.

Wharton ISD said the condoms incident violated the code of student conduct. The cheerleaders got a one-day, in-school suspension and were banned from Friday's game at Bellville, KHOU says.

More at http://www.chron.com/sports/highschool/article/Condoms-for-football-players-get-cheerleaders-4927343.php?cmpid=hpbn .

[font color=green]My brother is living in Wharton and watches high school football religiously. I wonder if he noticed the absence of the cheerleaders?[/font]

Cat Writing Is Totally A Real Profession, Says this Dallas Conference

Had I known that "cat writer" was a legit title I wouldn't be here, chained to this newsroom desk. I'd be out in the wild grabbing life by the scruff. Chasing my dreams like they were goddamn laser pens on curtains.

I'd bask in Internet sunbeams and let that money pour in.

But the CWA's 20th Annual Cat Writer's Conference happens in Irving next weekend, and is completely real. Now, I question everything.


This is the 20th Annual Cat Writer's Conference. 20 years. That was the dial-up era, at best. Back when cats were just a twinkle in the Internet's eye, CWA dug its claws in and waited. Now for its two-decade anniversary "Cat Writing: Reinventing Yourself for the Digital Age," offers fledgling and established cat writers opportunities to visit with "top names in the field of pet communications," and maybe make a little money off of all that cat erotica, slam poetry and Garfield fanfiction they've been drafting.

More at http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/mixmaster/2013/10/cat_writing_is_a_totally_real.php .

[font color=green]For the authors who have writers block, I'll remind them of the wonders of consuming catnip...

It is a shame that the weekend that is picked for the conference coincides with Homecoming at my alma mater; otherwise, I would attend the event.

Houston Traffic Watch: (I-10) Katy Freeway at Grand Parkway closed in all weekend

Interstate 10 at Texas 99, the Grand Parkway, will be shut down in both directions this weekend during construction of connectors between the two highways.

The closure starts at 9 p.m. Friday and is scheduled to end at 5 a.m. Monday, according to an announcement from the Texas Department of Transportation.

Lone Star Construction workers will be installing beams for the direct connector between the Grand Parkway and westbound I-10.

During the closure, drivers will exit the main lanes at Texas 99 and go through the intersection on the frontage road before re-entering the main lanes.

More at http://www.chron.com/neighborhood/katy/article/Katy-Freeway-at-Grand-Parkway-closed-in-all-4925734.php?cmpid=hpts .

Greg Abbott Supporters Make Public Death Threats Against Wendy Davis

The comments on Greg Abbott's Facebook posts are getting very, very ugly.

Abbott's male supporters are routinely making death threats against Wendy Davis.

In the image to the right, a man demands that someone shoot Davis. There are far too many examples of this kind of rhetoric up and down Abbott's official campaign Facebook page. This escalates the disgraceful rhetoric his campaign has already promoted -- Abbott personally thanked someone who called Davis "retard barbie" and the campaign's top strategist publicized an article calling Davis "too stupid to be governor".

Worst of all, the Abbott campaign appears not to moderate its comments at all to weed out such hateful, violent remarks. But removing them isn't enough.

More at http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/14279/greg-abbott-supporters-make-public-death-threats-against-wendy-davis .

Hypocritical Texas GOP Consultant and SREC Member Has Years of Unpaid Taxes

Republicans like to preach about fiscal responsibility. However, not all of their consultants like to pay their taxes.

Russ Duerstine is a person few people know about, but his influence within the Republican Party of Texas is strong.

He has prominent roles within the state's party, and is currently representing Senate District 28 for the State Republican Executive Committee and as a member of the Republican Party of Texas' Officials Committee. Duerstine also served as Chairman of the Tom Green County Republican Party until 2012.

As a political consultant, previous clients of Duerstine include Dallas mayor Tom Leppert, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate; Warren Chisum, a candidate for Railroad Commissioner; and Tom Mechler, candidate for RPT Chair.

More at http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/14266/hypocritical-texas-gop-consultant-and-srec-member-has-years-of-unpaid-taxes .

Lt. governor candidates: Move ethics-watchdog office to AG

CONROE — Texas’ four Republican candidates for lieutenant governor on Wednesday endorsed moving the state’s ethics enforcement unit from the Travis County district attorney’s office to the attorney general.

The status of the Public Integrity Unit that polices violations by state officials and lawmakers has been at issue since Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg was arrested on drunk-driving charges last spring and served time in jail.

In June, Gov. Rick Perry vetoed state funding for the unit after Lehmberg refused a demand that she resign. Travis County officials have since restored some funding to keep the unit operating at a reduced level.

A Travis County special investigation is now reviewing a complaint that Perry may have violated state law with his veto promise.

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/local/lt-governor-candidates-move-ethics-watchdog-office/nbXM8/ .

[font color=green]In this instance, having the separation of county resources from the direct influence of state officials appears to be appropriate. If the governor (or lt. gov.) and the AG are of the same party then motions could be easily quashed. If the official and the AG are of different parties then it makes the scenario ripe for vendettas.

This idea is more of the same from the repugnant LG candidates trying to cover their collective asses.[/font]
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