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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: 76,959

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

Follow-up: Anything Is Possible With Dallas County DA Susan Hawk's Removal Trial

The trial that could remove Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk from office is developing, but it isn't really coming into focus. It has a judge, David Peeples, who was assigned the case after two local judges removed themselves. It has filings on both sides that indicate where the case's arguments are heading. The plaintiff — Hawk's former employee Cindy Stormer — will claim that information about Hawk's mental illness and addiction issues was not made available to voters in the run-up to Hawk's election, and she is unfit to do her job. Hawk will argue that her illness and her addiction were pre-existing, that voters elected her as she was and in seeking treatment for severe depression, she has shored herself up to fulfill her duties.

Still, because removal suits are so rare, it's impossible to know what will happen. Peeples has overseen several, including one of the most recent and highest profile, the 2013 trial to remove Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg from her post after she was convicted of DWI. Lehmberg's case differed from Hawk's for a couple of reasons, the biggest of which was that she admitted to doing something that put her at the mercy of the removal statute. Her attorneys, led by Dan Richards, didn't oppose the Travis County plaintiff's contention that the district attorney had been intoxicated — which is a potential cause for removal in and of itself. Instead, the defense argued that she was never incompetent to perform her duties, and that she remained competent even after her conviction. Peeples agreed, and Lehmberg kept her job.

Stormer will have to prove that Hawk's illness or addiction rendered her incompetent and continues to make her incapable of performing her duties as district attorney. The fact that Stormer's filings contain repeated assertions — and supporting affidavits — of erratic and paranoid workplace behavior by Hawk makes her case different from Lehmberg's, whose job performance was not questioned.

"There was no evidence put on at trial and there was none produced in discovery that indicated that there were any competency issues for DA Lehmberg," Richards says. "The record was clear on that. There was a ton of evidence that she was above and beyond on competence."

Read more: http://www.dallasobserver.com/news/anything-is-possible-with-susan-hawks-removal-trial-7723897

Earlier threads:
Friends, colleagues say Dallas County DA Susan Hawk spent time in drug rehab March 27. 2015
Dallas County DA absent for three weeks; addiction rumors start swirling August 23, 2015
Dallas Democrats: DA Susan Hawk ‘needs to do her job or resign’ August 24, 2015
Dallas County DA Susan Hawk takes leave to battle depression August 25, 2015
Dallas County DA Susan Hawk is at Texas facility for depression treatment August 26, 2015
Dallas County DA Hawk battled paranoia, had ‘break with reality,’ friend says August 27, 2015
Update: Dallas DA may remain out of office longer than announced September 15, 2015
Dallas County DA Susan Hawk fends off allegations of financial misconduct September 20, 2015
Fired Dallas prosecutor levels more accusations about Dallas County DA Hawk’s behavior September 22, 2015
Follow-up: Dallas County DA Susan Hawk faced suicidal thoughts, wanted to resign October 4, 2015
Fired employee files petition to remove Dallas DA Susan Hawk from office October 13, 2015
Follow-up: San Antonio judge appointed to handle suit to remove Dallas DA Susan Hawk October 26, 2015

Texas’ Abysmal Vaccination Rate is Putting Us At Risk for A Preventable Epidemic

The use of vaccines to prevent diseases is one of the greatest public health achievements in recent history. The CDC has estimated that the vaccination of each US birth cohort prevents 20 million cases of disease, and 42,000 deaths.

Despite this well-established scientific fact, vaccines still face a great deal of scrutiny from those on both the left and the right who are steadfastly unwilling to accept science. We’ve seen this most recently in the current cohort of Republican presidential candidates, where actual medical doctors are continually repudiating science in favor of “individual choice,” because that’s what they think the voters want to hear. But the consequences aren’t just seen in political rhetoric — destructive anti-science beliefs are leading to substantive public health threats. And one of the worst places for that threat is right here in Texas.

An article from Dr. Peter J. Hotez of the Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response published in TribTalk this week highlighted just how great this threat has become. According to data from the CDC released last month, Texas now ranks last in the number of young children who have received their recommended vaccinations. Only 64% of Texas children are fully immunized, which is an 8% drop from 2013. To put that into perspective, the CDC’s immunization goal for the most common vaccine-preventable diseases stands at 95%. That’s the amount needed to achieve herd immunity, where enough of the population is immune to a contagious disease that it is unable to spread.

Why is Texas’ vaccination rate so low? A major reason is the Texas law that allows parents broad license to opt-out of mandatory vaccinations due to their “personal beliefs”, yet still send their kids to public schools. It is a law that Rick Perry signed back in 2003, and its results have been devastating. Perry’s law made it much easier for parents to opt out of vaccines, and since then the number of “personal belief” exemptions has skyrocketed. The number of vaccine exemptions in the 2014-2015 school year alone was nearly 41,000. As that number continues to rise, that means that more and more kids are not being properly protected against disease, putting more and more people at risk.

Read more: http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/31249/texas-abysmal-vaccination-rate-is-putting-us-at-risk-for-a-preventable-epidemic

As many as 27 women go on hunger strike at immigrant detention center

HUTTO -- As many as 27 women housed at the T. Don Hutto detention center are participating in a hunger strike, according to a news release from a pro-immigrant rights group.

The women, most of whom are fleeing violent and deadly circumstances back home, refused dinner Wednesday night and are demanding to be released immediately, according to the release from Texans United for Families.

A call placed to officials at the detention center went unanswered as of Wednesday evening.

TUFF, a volunteer-run organization, has been demanding the closure of the Hutto detention center, located in Taylor, outside of Austin, for more than nine years, when the facility was used as a family detention center, the release states.

Read more: http://www.themonitor.com/news/local/as-many-as-women-go-on-hunger-strike-at-immigrant/article_14140a88-7de5-11e5-b184-cf208095476c.html

NATO reveals plan for deploying 4,000 troops on Russia’s borders

Plans to deploy some 4,000 NATO combat troops in countries bordering Russia were reported Thursday amid escalating tensions between Washington and Moscow over conflicting US and Russian military interventions in Syria.

The deployment would represent a qualitative escalation of the US-led alliance’s encirclement and military buildup against Russia, heightening the threat of both war in Europe and a military clash between the world’s two largest nuclear powers.

Adding to the provocative character of the proposed deployment, the troops, drawn from various NATO countries, would be placed under formal NATO command, an arrangement that is put in place in the event of a NATO war against a common enemy. Such a command structure is virtually unprecedented in peacetime.

One proposal under discussion within the alliance would place troops in battalion strength—from 800 to 1,000—in Poland and the former Soviet Baltic republics of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. A less extensive plan would restrict the deployment to a single battalion for the region.

Read more: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/10/30/nato-o30.html

Albuquerque police officer Daniel Webster dies a little more than a week after being shot


Officer Daniel Webster. (APD)

When Ashleigh Webster gave her dad a hug and a kiss Wednesday afternoon, she knew it was for the last time.

After a week in the hospital’s intensive care unit, her father, Albuquerque police officer Daniel Webster, was hooked up to a breathing tube and other life support machines. He had gunshot wounds in his stomach, chest and jaw area. His eyes were closed.

“I gave him a hug and a kiss, and told him my kids love him. I got to say goodbye,” she said. “He looked like he was lying there in peace.”

Webster, 47, was taken off life support early Thursday. He died around 2:15 a.m.

Read more: http://www.abqjournal.com/667292/news/officer-daniel-webster-dies.html

P.I. who found alleged Vitter prostitute was at Normand breakfast meeting while Vitter's spy watched

It was “Spy vs. Spy” — for real.

When U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s gumshoe, Robert Frenzel, staked out the Royal Blend coffee shop in Old Metairie the morning before Saturday’s gubernatorial primary, one of the men he wound up spying on was a PI himself, who had been hired to dig up dirt on Vitter.

In a state that’s nearly bankrupt, the first week of the runoff campaign has been dominated by a circuslike sideshow, as Vitter and his foes argue over the meaning of an explosion of espionage that feels a bit like a miniature Cold War being fought in Jefferson Parish and New Orleans. Vitter, a Republican, will face Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards in a Nov. 21 runoff.

Frenzel actually was after John Cummings — the “man with the white beard” whom Vitter’s gubernatorial campaign had wanted him to watch — and Frenzel was right on his heels when Cummings entered the coffee shop.

As Cummings joined his regular coffee klatch at a large table, Frenzel sat down nearby. Among the others present were Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand, state Sen. Danny Martiny and private eye Danny DeNoux.

Read more: http://theadvocate.com/news/neworleans/13827457-148/private-eye-behind-the-resurfacing

Bobby Jindal ordered to continue funding Planned Parenthood for foreseeable future

A federal judge has ordered Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration to continue paying Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast's Medicaid reimbursements for the foreseeable future.

The ruling was not unexpected: U.S. District Judge John W. deGravelles issued a temporary restraining order against the Jindal administration earlier this month. But because temporary restraining orders cannot be appealed, deGravelles needed to convert the temporary restraining order to a more permanent order that Jindal has vowed to take to the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

The judge issued the more permanent order, known as a preliminary injunction, late Thursday (Oct. 29). Neither side objected to deGravelles converting the original ruling, which could have been subject to the discovery process and a new round of legal wrangling before deGravelles.

Both sides are likely to do the wrangling at the U.S. Court of Appeals rather than at district level. The Jindal administration is being represented by the governor's former executive counsel, Jimmy Faircloth.

Read more: http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/10/planned_parenthood_injunction_1.html#incart_river_home

New Orleans firefighters' union votes to approve $75 million pension deal

The New Orleans firefighters' union and other members of the class-action lawsuit against the city voted overwhelmingly Thursday (Oct. 29) to accept a landmark settlement agreement with Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

The class, which includes active and retired firefighters as well as their widows, voted 350 to 115 in favor of accepting the deal, which will see the city satisfy their $75 million court judgment in exchange for pension concessions.

Nick Felton, head of the union, shared by phone the results of the vote, which took place during two closed-door meetings.

The favorable election results clear the way for Civil District Court Judge Kern Reese to bless the deal and oversee its execution.

Read more: http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/10/firefighters_approve_75_millio.html#incart_river_home

Cross-posted in the Louisiana Group.

New Orleans firefighters' union votes to approve $75 million pension deal

The New Orleans firefighters' union and other members of the class-action lawsuit against the city voted overwhelmingly Thursday (Oct. 29) to accept a landmark settlement agreement with Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

The class, which includes active and retired firefighters as well as their widows, voted 350 to 115 in favor of accepting the deal, which will see the city satisfy their $75 million court judgment in exchange for pension concessions.

Nick Felton, head of the union, shared by phone the results of the vote, which took place during two closed-door meetings.

The favorable election results clear the way for Civil District Court Judge Kern Reese to bless the deal and oversee its execution.

Read more: http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/10/firefighters_approve_75_millio.html#incart_river_home

Cross-posted in Omaha Steve's Labor Group.

David Vitter campaign doesn't expect Bobby Jindal's endorsement

U.S. Sen. David Vitter doesn't expect Gov. Bobby Jindal's endorsement in the Louisiana gubernatorial race, especially since the two men don't get along.

"Based on their strong disagreements, I can't imagine that happening," said Vitter spokesman Luke Bolar in an email when asked about a potential Jindal endorsement.

It would be unusual for Jindal, the sitting Republican governor, not to officially back another Republican seeking to replace him, especially Vitter faces state Rep. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, in the gubernatorial election on Nov. 21.

Still, Jindal and Vitter can't stand each other, and the governor has declined to endorse the Senator against a Democrat once before. Jindal also hasn't wanted to say one way or the other whether he plans to back Vitter in the runoff yet.

Read more: http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/10/david_vitters_campaign_doesnt.html#incart_2box_nola_river_orleans_news
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