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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

At the Alamo, Protesters Get Up in Arms

You can only imagine what unwitting tourists visiting the Alamo on Saturday must have thought.

There were hundreds of Second Amendment enthusiasts gathered at San Antonio’s Alamo Plaza, many carrying loaded rifles and assault weapons to the public square. They stood before one of the most revered sites in Texas to protest what they see as unconstitutional curbs on displaying weapons in public.

The highest-profile speakers at the event were current land commissioner and lieutenant governor candidate Jerry Patterson, who carries a handgun in his boot, and conspiracy purveyor Alex Jones, an assault rifle on his back. Patterson and Jones reflected the inherent tension between the two camps at the rally: gun-owners who struck a more conciliatory tone and emphasized personal responsibility mingled with fringe elements who expressed a more profound anger at the government, and hinted at a dark future.

Patterson has waged his campaign primarily on the strength of his gun-rights credentials — he authored the state’s concealed carry law in 1995. But the surreal nature of Saturday’s event allowed Patterson to play something of a moderate. He asked the protestors not to carry their guns inside the Alamo’s walls, and he urged the crowd to respect the San Antonio police officers.

More at http://www.texasobserver.org/alamo-protesters-get-arms/ .

Congressional candidate Neal Marchbanks: District 19 ready for change (no mo' Neugebauer)

A retired meteorologist who once bowled a perfect 300 wants to be your next congressman.

Neal Marchbanks is currently unopposed in this spring’s Democratic primary for the District 19 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

And when critics point out the routine ballot success of Republican incumbent Randy Neugebauer, Marchbanks responds that’s partly because the congressman has lacked a viable opponent in past elections. In fact, District 19 could be more blue than some assume, the long-time Lubbockite added.

“I think Mr. Neugebauer’s popularity is beginning to wane, and I have a very good chance of beating him,” he said. “I don’t believe Lubbock is heavily Republican — it’s pretty well split.”

More at http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2013-10-21/congressional-candidate-neal-marchbanks-district-19-ready-change .

Let Them Eat Cake: The Poverty of Libertarianism

The GOP's ill-fated strategy to defund Obamacare via a government shutdown ended in a political defeat for the Republicans. But the Libertarian Party was happy:

"Elected Republicans in the House can stimulate the productive private sector by slowing down Big Government," said Geoffrey J. Neale, chair of the Libertarian National Committee.

"Why?" Neale asked. "Because a government-sector slowdown equals a private-sector growth speedup of small businesses and jobs. Americans should welcome a government slowdown -- and fear the opposite: allowing politicians to continue irresponsible, reckless government overspending."


In the final analysis, libertarianism is a sophistic political philosophy -- at first blush, seductive, but upon further inspection, it would result in a society where the income inequality would be analogous to a banana republic, a non-existent to paper-thin social safety net, where people allegedly get what they deserve (meritocracy!), pollution goes unregulated and the "free market" (i.e., greed) reigns. Libertarians dream of a utopia, in practice libertarianism would bring about a dystopia.

The complete article is at http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2013/10/let_them_eat_cake_the_poverty.php .

Texas' Prison Agency Reportedly "Came Unglued" When Its PR Guy Talked to Press About Execution-Drug

They don't last long these days in the media relations office at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. First, longtime public information director Michelle Lyons resigned last year after being demoted and accused of fudging her time sheets. This was after she responded to a media request from a blog critical of the department. According to the lawsuit she filed for gender discrimination, male colleagues who logged their time the same way went unpunished. The case is currently being appealed.

Her replacement, John Hurt, was a veteran flack for the Texas Department of Transportation. Relations with the brass got chilly following a frank but unsurprising interview with TIME in August about Texas' widely reported lethal-injection drug shortage. The moment the story hit the web, Hurt wasn't long for the department.

"When they found out, they positively came unglued that I did what I was getting paid for," Hurt told The Backgate, a Texas prisons blog. "They even admitted the interview read well, they just didn't want the issue in the media. They just wanted to keep issues like the CO shortage and the outdated execution drugs as far out of the media as possible."

The administration's insular, knee-jerk inclination toward opacity in media relations is troubling enough, particularly on a subject in which the horse has already long fled the barn. It's the closed-circuit culture of the TDCJ that really seemed to irk Hunt. "The (administration) suffers from intellectual incest. They all live in a little town, went to the same little college in Huntsville and are terrified of new ideas."

More at http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2013/10/intellectual_incest_in_texas_p.php .

Group wants grass replanted at military cemetery

[font color=green]Note: Despite the obvious setup in the OP headline for TxT, this is not a thread about catnip.[/font]

EL PASO, Texas —

A group of veterans, relatives of buried soldiers and others are continuing their efforts to convince the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to replant grass a military cemetery in West Texas.

The landscape of the Fort Bliss National Cemetery in El Paso reflects that found in the rest of the city. As part of drastic measures to stabilize its water supply, El Paso in the last two decades has ripped up grass from many public places, installing rock and cactus gardens and encouraging residents to do the same in their homes.

The Fort Bliss National Cemetery in 2007 was transformed by a $4.2 million xeriscaping project, which incorporates gravel and rock designs with plants that are accustomed to the dry climate.

Earlier this year, the cemetery received the Texas Environmental Excellence Award for saving about $400,000 a year in reduced water costs, labor fertilizer and pesticides.

More at http://www.statesman.com/ap/ap/military/group-wants-grass-replanted-at-military-cemetery/nbSms/ .

Moody Foundation donates $50M to Univ. of Texas Communication Department

Communication Dean Roderick Hart at the University of Texas was plenty grateful for the $2.2 million donation from the Galveston-based Moody Foundation. Little did he know that an informal thank-you dinner with a couple of foundation officials would lead them to boost it to $50 million.

The pledge, being announced today, will create the largest endowment for the study of communication at any public university in the nation, according to UT officials. It is also among the largest gifts in the university’s history. And henceforth, the College of Communication will be known as the Moody College of Communication.

The manner in which the donation came about was “just magical, almost heavenly,” Hart said.

The Moody Foundation had donated the $2.2 million for a three-dimensional production curriculum at the college’s radio-television-film department. So Hart and Mike Wilson, the college’s director of development, took Ross Moody, a trustee of the foundation, and Allan Matthews, its grants director, to dinner in February at Eddie V’s Prime Seafood in downtown Austin. The conversation soon turned to the college’s goals and ambitions.

“I said the big enchilada was to name the college,” Hart recalled. “Ross said, ‘How much would that be?’

“I don’t think I ever used the phrase ‘$50 million’ before,” Hart said. “There was a pause. His response was, ‘How long would we have to pay it off?’

“Suddenly, I sat upright in my chair. It was something totally unexpected.”

The exchange prompted Hart to seek permission from UT President Bill Powers and the Board of Regents to pursue formal discussions. Hart said the college’s posture — very much outward-facing, with a traveling debate team, a civic life institute and myriad journalism programs — seemed to appeal to Moody Foundation officials.

The private, charitable organization, with assets of about $1 billion, is perhaps best known for funding civic projects in Galveston, but it has long awarded grants throughout the state.

“By making this gift, the Moody Foundation seeks to increase the presence of the university on a national and international basis and improve the quality of its education by recruiting the best professors, the best administration and in turn having the best students coming out of the Moody College of Communication,” Ross Moody, a UT alumnus, said in a statement.

The $50 million, expected to be paid out over 10 years, if not sooner, will underwrite research, faculty compensation, graduate student fellowships, a new honors program for first- and second-year students, and programs involving sports media, international journalism and speech-hearing disorders, among others.

A $5 million slice of the gift, coupled with an equal amount from the university, will be used to refurbish portions of the four-decade-old Jesse H. Jones Communication Complex and to build a pedestrian bridge between it and the Belo Center for New Media just across Dean Keeton Street.

The largest gift to UT — indeed, the largest gift to any college or university in Texas — was a bequest in 2003 from Dallas oilman John A. Jackson for geosciences; UT officials originally valued it at $232 million but later revised it to $245 million.

Last month, UT officials announced the donation of the Magnum Photos collection of 200,000 images, with a value estimated at $200 million, from Michael and Susan Dell, Glenn and Amanda Fuhrman, and John and Amy Phelan.

Other large donations to UT over the years include $55 million from Sarah and Ernest Butler to the music school, $50 million from Red McCombs for the business school and two $50 million donations from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, one for pediatric research, computer science and healthy living and another for a medical school that the university hopes to open in 2016.

UT has raised about $2.5 billion toward the $3 billion it hopes to amass in donations and pledges by the end of August 2014 as part of a fund drive that began Sept. 1, 2006.

Source: http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/local/50-million-donation-to-ut-a-case-of-serendipity/nbS32/?icmp=statesman_internallink_invitationbox_apr2013_statesmanstubtomystatesmanpremium

Next round in fight over abortion restrictions

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The next round in the fight over Texas' abortion restrictions begins this week, with Planned Parenthood challenging the law in federal court and a state agency transforming the law into regulations.

A judge will hear arguments Monday over whether enforcement of the law should be stopped until abortion rights advocates have a chance to argue their case at trial. The Texas attorney general's office will argue the law doesn't violate the U.S. Constitution and should be enforced.

The law restricts how, when and where a woman can obtain an abortion in Texas and was the subject of Fort Worth Sen. Wendy Davis' nearly 13-hour filibuster that brought her national attention. Thousands of protesters opposing and supporting the bill converged on the Capitol in June and July until the Republican-controlled Legislature eventually passed the measure. No other subject has attracted such large protests at the Capitol in at least 30 years.

Beginning Oct. 29, the law requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges within 30 miles of the clinic, that they follow strict instructions for pill-induced abortions and that they only perform abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy if health of the mother is in danger or the fetus is not viable.

More at http://www.chron.com/news/texas/article/Next-round-in-fight-over-abortion-restrictions-4911456.php?cmpid=hpts .

Cruz bashes Affordable Care Act at doctors’ event in Austin

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, brought his criticism of the Affordable Care Act to Austin on Saturday when he spoke to physicians and staff at the fall conference of the Texas Medical Association.

Fresh off his failed attempt in Washington, D.C., to defund the federal health insurance overhaul, Cruz outlined his arguments against the new law in his first public appearance in Texas since congressional leaders reopened the government.

At the beginning of his speech, Cruz promised not to talk for 21 hours — a joking reference to his marathon speech on the Senate floor in which he pleaded with his colleagues to remove the law’s funding, preceding the recently ended 16-day government shutdown.

“Not only is it not working. It’s not working badly,” Cruz told the few hundred people in attendance at the event at the AT&T Conference Center on the University of Texas campus.

Calling the law commonly referred to as “Obamacare” an “epic disaster,” Cruz noted in his speech that the rollout of the federally run health insurance marketplaces in Texas and other states was marred with glitches and that most consumers have been unable to shop for health plans.

While the technical issues will be worked out soon enough, the Affordable Care Act has bigger problems, Cruz said. Small businesses are suffering, and their owners are deciding not to expand, he said. Businesses also are reducing employee hours to avoid having to buy health insurance their workers, he said.

“We’re seeing jobs dry up,” he said.

One doctor in attendance, Richard McCallum of El Paso, said he was impressed with Cruz’s conviction, but he took issue with the senator’s logic.

“I’m a little concerned that he jumped ahead a little bit,” said McCallum, a gastroenterologist and professor at the Paul Foster School of Medicine at Texas Tech University’s Health Sciences Center in El Paso.

The Affordable Care Act is in its infancy, and employers with 50 or more workers will not be compelled by law to insure employees until 2015, the doctor noted.

“Let’s give it a chance,” McCallum said.

After Cruz’s speech, Austin King, an Abilene physician and the incoming president of the Texas Medical Association, said there are positive components of the Affordable Care Act and parts that need to be changed.

The piece of the law that prevents people with pre-existing conditions from being locked out of plans is important, King said, and so is the part that limits the portion of premiums that can go to insurance companies’ administrative costs and salaries. But the component of the sweeping law that drives doctors into the employ of groups and hospitals should be changed, he said.

Cruz’s visit wasn’t all about bashing Obamacare. He also took the opportunity to promote health reforms such as expanding the use of health savings accounts and allowing consumers to purchase insurance policies across state lines.

Source: http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/cruz-bashes-affordable-care-act-at-doctors-event-i/nbSR5/

Cadillac Ranch Creator Marsh 3 denies new child sexual assault allegations

Stanley Marsh 3 was the creator of the Cadillac Ranch.

An attorney representing Stanley Marsh 3 on Thursday filed a response denying claims filed in lawsuits by two unnamed men who claim Marsh 3 sexually assaulted them when they were teens and that other Marsh family members and associates helped cover up the abuse.

The suits, filed this month in 181st District Court in Potter County, name Marsh 3, his wife Wendy Marsh, Stanley Marsh IV, longtime Marsh associate David Weir, Amarillo Protective Services Inc., McCartt & Associates Inc, and two Marsh entities, SM3 and Barb Wire LP, as defendants.

The suits allege Marsh 3, 75, is a serial child molester who fed his sexual appetites by paying the then-teen boys to perform sex acts at his downtown Chase Tower offices. The suits said Marsh 3 offered $500 to each teen to get them to sign a “prospective release and waiver,” had the teens strip naked and then paid them for various sex acts.

“Marsh 3 clearly communicated to each boy that he would pay cash, lots of it, for their compliance with this sexual whimsy,” the suits said. “He employed pornography, prescription Viagra, alcohol and other drugs to assist him in his routine. He would also inquire if they needed drugs, and then gave them money to go out and acquire them.”

More at http://amarillo.com/news/local-news/2013-10-18/amarillo-millionaire-marsh-3-denies-allegations-latest-child-sex-lawsuits .

Related threads:

Stanley Marsh 3 (creator of Cadillac Ranch), family, associate settle teen sex lawsuits

Millionaire Stanley Marsh 3 indicted on 14 counts alleging sex with underage boys

Marsh 3 sex suit: Attorneys spar as millionaire's lawyers seek delay

Oil up the Bow: The Extreme Right wants to Play the Violin Again

By Dr. Brian Carr
President, Behavioral Health Associates, Lubbock, Texas, 1991-Present
Chairman, City of Lubbock Board of Health, 2013
Submitted on October 18, 2013 - 6:34pm

After calmer minds prevailed and the government was re-started one would think that we might look forward to more bi-partisan cooperation in Washington, particularly given the negative ratings that both parties received in this fiasco. Despite having cost 24 billion dollars and lingering damage that will likely lead to higher interest rates and economic slowing the stage seems to be set to only repeat the exercise again in early 2014.

Extreme Right Republicans are doubling down on their failed strategy. Rather than conceding that they’re out of chances to get rid of Obamacare, conservatives are simply changing their tune. Now, GOPers say they won’t give up the fight:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): The Tea Party lawmaker was the primary architect of the GOP’s shutdown strategy. But now that it’s failed, Cruz won’t admit defeat. “I would do anything, and I will continue to do anything, to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare,” he said on Thursday. He has also hinted that he hasn’t ruled out pushing for another government shutdown over Obamacare.

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA): Vitter tried to use the funding negotiations to push through an Obamacare-related amendment that would ultimately force Congress members and their staff to pay more for their health plans under the law. He was unsuccessful, and the final agreement didn’t include his amendment. But Vitter isn’t fazed and promises to keep pushing to amend the law anyway. “I’m not going away, and this issue is certainly not going away,” Vitter said on Fox News this week.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL): Speaking on the Senate floor over the summer, Rubio told his colleagues that shutting down the government represented “our last chance and our last best chance” to undermine Obamacare. Now, the senator is saying that Republicans will keep fighting anyway. This week, he told Fox News that there is going to an “all-out revolt” next year, once the rest of Obamacare’s major provisions take root. “And that is, I think, the moment to absolutely act and say we are going to get rid of this law and then look for opportunities in the future to replace it,” Rubio said.

The Heritage Foundation: During the shutdown battle, Heritage’s political arm told its supporters that it needed their support because “we only have one more chance to repeal Obamacare.” The group didn’t deliver. Now, Heritage is simply assuring its supporters that it won’t stop fighting the law. The group’s president, Jim DeMint, published an op-ed this week claiming that most Americans’ lives “are not dominated by the electoral cycle,” so those people “shouldn’t have to wait three more years for Congress to give them relief from this law.”

FreedomWorks: The right-wing group recently claimed that shutting down the government “may be the last best chance to defund Obamacare before it goes into effect.” Rather than adjusting their strategy, the group is now planning rallies to discourage young Americans from signing up for health coverage. The group says that Obamacare will still be a losing issue for Democrats up for re-election in red states — although outside polling has shown that the shutdown fiasco has made more than a dozen House seats more winnable for Democrats.

It is sad to see the dismantling of the GOP and I am uncomfortable with the idea of one political party dominating in Washington regardless of whether it is Republican or Democrat. The crazy point is that this shutdown has helped boost public opinion about Obamacare and likely ensured a successful rollout.

If the Republican Party cannot neuter Cruz and others who are enriching their wallets while driving the Party into the ground then we will likely witness a repeat of these last two weeks played out in January. Cruz made over $800,000 in donations to his PAC so this obstruction is very profitable for him.

In the upcoming local congressional primary it will prove interesting to see how fast and furious Randy Neugebauer and Don May will race to the extreme right. If Randy leads the country into default in January then I am concerned that May will have an appeal to the low information voter. This could result in, as the old saying goes, “jumping from the frying pan into the fire”.

LubbockOnline Blog
Cruz has his xmas money covered in blood
Hernandez is not backing down
LP&L has a back room
Obamacare is going well
Perry kicks the poor


Cross-posted in Texas Group.
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