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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: 87,074

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

$27 million verdict in McDonald's case to stand for now

BRYAN, TEXAS -- A Brazos County jury’s $27 million verdict against McDonald’s will stand after 361st District Judge Steve Smith ruled Friday he would not overturn the decision made in July concerning the February 2012 deaths of two Blinn College students.

The fast food giant was sued by the families of the students, Denton Ward, 18, and Bailey Crisp, 19, who were killed after being involved in a car accident while en route to a hospital to be treated for injuries suffered in a fight at the McDonald’s on University Drive in College Station.

Both parties involved in the case hired a former Texas Supreme Court chief justice to argue opposing sides in court Friday afternoon.

Tom Phillips, who served on the Supreme Court from 1988 to 2004, joined the team of attorneys representing McDonald’s and argued that the fast food giant could not have foreseen the fight that caused the teens to rush to the hospital.

Read more: http://www.theeagle.com/news/local/million-verdict-in-mcdonald-s-case-to-stand-for-now/article_7df945f8-71ca-11e4-971c-dff6918fc232.html

Related threads:
Former TX SC chief justices to make arguments in McDonald's lawsuit on Friday ($27M verdict)


Jury awards parents $27 million in College Station McDonald's negligence lawsuit (July 30, 2014)

State Board of Education adopts new social studies textbooks on party-line vote

State Board of Education members on Friday gave final approval to a new generation of social studies textbooks and e-books that will reflect a more conservative view of U.S.history than books used for the past dozen years. The 89 books on the list were adopted along partisan lines, with all 10 Republicans voting yes and all five Democrats voting no.

Board member Mavis Knight of Dallas and other Democrats said they were not unhappy with publishers over their new books, but were very dissatisfied with the curriculum standards that publishers were required to meet, particularly for U.S.history. Those standards were originally adopted four years ago over the objections of Democrats, who complained they highlighted more conservative figures in history and were tilted toward a conservative point of view.

One digital publisher was penalized by the board, which voted Friday to remove their six proposed social studies e-books from the adoption list. That publisher, WorldView, came under fire for initially resisting suggestions for changes from the board and the public. WorldView submitted hundreds of proposed changes on Thursday in an effort to keep its materials on the adoption list, but it was too late. Only three board members voted to approve their books.

Although some members wanted to delay action because of all the late changes submitted by publishers this week, the board is under a Dec. 1 deadline to present their list of recommended textbooks and digital books to school districts. Current social studies books were adopted 12 years ago, so many of them are incomplete or out of date.

Read more: http://educationblog.dallasnews.com/2014/11/state-board-of-education-adopts-new-social-studies-textbooks-on-party-line-vote.html/

Arizona sheriff sues Obama over immigration moves

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona sheriff who has often clashed with the federal government over the enforcement of immigration laws has filed a lawsuit to stop new policies announced by President Barack Obama.

The suit filed Thursday in federal court in Washington on behalf of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio contends Obama acted outside his constitutional authority by not going through Congress.

It asks the court to block the changes that include making an estimated 5 million immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally eligible for work permits and for protection from deportation.

Arpaio said he went to court on behalf of himself and all Americans.

Read more: http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2014-11-21/arizona-sheriff-sues-obama-over-immigration-moves

[font color=green]The article also states that this idiot hired another idiot, Larry Klayman, as the attorney to file the lawsuit.[/font]

Russia Can Survive An Oil Price War

After a frosty reception at the G20 summit in Australia this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin required some much needed rest, at least according to the official explanation given for his conspicuously early departure from the proceedings. All things considered it could have been a lot worse. Russia finds itself in familiar territory after a controversial half-year, highlighted by the bloody and still unresolved situation in Ukraine. Nonetheless, the prospect of further sanctions looms low and Russia’s stores of oil and gas remain high.

Shortsighted? Maybe, but Russia has proven before – the 2008 financial crisis for example– that it can ride its resource rents through a prolonged economic slump. Higher oil price volatility and sanctions separate the current downturn from that of 2008, but Russia’s economic fundamentals remain the same – bolstered by low government debt and a large amount of foreign reserves. Moreover, Western involvement in Russian oil and gas plays is more pronounced than ever.

Economic diversification has not come easy for Russia, arguably for a simple, but effective reason; oil and gas are a source of tremendous wealth for the country. However, the dire straits of the 2008 global crisis illustrated the importance of financial diversification. Since then, Russian state-owned oil and gas giants Rosneft and Gazprom have increasingly allowed Western majors like BP, Eni, Exxon, Shell, Statoil, and Total access to some of Russia’s underdeveloped, but prized projects. Western companies have an estimated $35 billion tied up in Russian oil with hundreds of billions more planned and service providers Halliburton and Schlumberger each derive approximately five percent of their global sales from the Russian market.

The Western majors remain committed to their extra-national ventures and these powerful relationships ultimately limit the sanctions’ scope. Still, with their cooperation put on hold, Russia has been forced to look elsewhere, and increasingly within. Rosneft is set to announce new Arctic partners by the end of the year, a role formerly dominated by Exxon. China appears a likely suitor as the two countries have already embarked on a promising oil partnership in Russia’s Far East in addition to the highly publicized long-term gas deals. Domestically, Rosneft and Gazprom have strengthened their alliance and Putin has approved the creation of a state-owned oil services company.

Read more: http://oilprice.com/Energy/Oil-Prices/Russia-Can-Survive-An-Oil-Price-War.html

Austin cops suspended less than a week after joking about rape on dashcam video

An investigation by the internal affairs unit at the Austin Police Department found that a rape joke caught on video while two officers were talking in a patrol car did not reflect the quality of their police work, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said Wednesday.

Acevedo said the department audited every contact the officers have had with sexual assault victims and that they have been empathetic and professional.

But their “cavalier attitude” and what he described as gallows humor is “embarrassing, inappropriate and absolutely is not going to be tolerated by this department,” he said.

He suspended Mark Lytle — who has been with the department for 11 years — for five days, and Michael Castillo — who has been with the department for three years — for three days, saying that this is a learning opportunity for them and the department.

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/news/crime-law/disciplinary-hearing-wednesday-for-officers-making/njBDm/

They Took Our Job

The Republican reaction to President Obama's speech.

Gov. Perry to speak at Texas A&M commencement convocation

Texas Gov. Rick Perry will be the speaker at Texas A&M's commencement convocation Dec. 18.

Texas A&M University Interim President Mark Hussey said in an email that Perry had accepted the university's invitation.

“Gov. Perry will undoubtedly present a message that will resonate with those Aggies who will be entering the next phases of their lives—be it beginning their careers, continuing their education at graduate or professional schools, entering the military or pursuing other endeavors” [font color=green](like abuse of official power or coercion of a public servant).[/font]

The convocation is set for 5:30 p.m. in Rudder Auditorium. It is open to the public. Admission is free with no ticket requirements.

Read more: http://www.theeagle.com/news/a_m/gov-perry-to-speak-at-texas-a-m-commencement-convocation/article_06e43d58-70d8-11e4-ab4d-3317df8d42d9.html

TXU Hits Duncanville ISD With $1.2 Million Electric Bill

Duncanville ISD thought it was getting a great deal when, one year ago this month, it switched electric providers and signed on with the State Power Program through the state's General Land Office. Just like that, Duncanville ISD's price-per-kilowatt hour dropped almost 20 percent, from 7.3 cents to a maximum of 6 cents.

But Duncanville school officials overlooked one important maxim when it comes to selecting an electric provider: You don't fuck with TXU.

Duncanville ISD had been contracting with the electric utility since 2009. The deal, thanks to an extension signed in 2012, was locked in through 2016. Now that the deal's been broken, TXU says in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday that the district owes $1.2 million.

Materials from the November 2013 school board meeting don't mention it, but Duncanville ISD was apparently chafing at being charged a fee for using too little electricity. Under the terms of its contract, it was supposed to pay TXU if it deviated from historic usage patterns by more than 15 percent. In May 2012, Duncanville ISD stopped paying for its unused electricity.

Read more: http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2014/11/txu_hits_duncanville_isd_with_12_million_electric_bill.php

Senate panel okays openly gay U.S. attorney for federal bench to serve Texas

U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman of Austin is one of three Texas judicial nominees to clear a major hurdle Thursday when the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee approved their names to get a vote on the Senate floor.

The decision puts him one step closer to filling the longest-running judicial vacancy in the state, a San Antonio position in the Western District of Texas that has remained empty for six years.

Pitman, who took office as the top prosecutor for the district in October 2011, was nominated by President Obama in June and must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate in a December vote before he can be sworn in.
Senate panel OKs U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman for federal bench photo
U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman

A Fort Worth native and graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Pitman is a former assistant U.S. attorney, was the acting U.S. attorney for the district after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and has served as an adjunct professor at the UT School of Law. He previously served as a U.S. magistrate judge in Austin.

He is the first openly gay U.S. attorney to serve Texas.

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/news/crime-law/senate-panel-oks-us-attorney-robert-pitman-for-fed/njB5g/

Update: Former TX SC chief justices to make arguments in McDonald's lawsuit on Friday ($27M verdict)

BRYAN, TEXAS -- Two former Texas Supreme Court chief justices hired by opposing sides in a lawsuit that resulted in a $27 million verdict against McDonald's will be in court Friday for arguments surrounding the judge's decision to uphold or overturn the jury's verdict.

The hearing will be the first time 361st District Judge Steve Smith has met with parties involved in the case since a Brazos County jury rendered the $27 million verdict -- the largest amount in damages awarded by a local jury -- in July after a seven-day trial concerning the February 2012 deaths of Blinn College students Denton Ward, 18, and Bailey Crisp, 19.

Since then, Wallace Jefferson, who served as chief of the Supreme Court from 2004 to 2013, has joined the team of plaintiffs attorneys hired to sue McDonald's, and Jefferson's predecessor as chief justice, Tom Phillips, who served on the Supreme Court from 1988 until 2004, has been hired for appeals purposes by McDonald's.

Ward and Crisp were pronounced dead after being involved in a car accident while Samantha Bean, Crisp's roommate, was attempting to get Ward and another friend, Tanner Giesen, to the hospital to be treated for injuries suffered in an assault at the McDonald's on University Drive in College Station.

Read more: http://www.theeagle.com/news/local/former-texas-supreme-court-chief-justices-to-make-arguments-in/article_a7b87ba8-7238-56ba-b8c8-0e6cb15fa248.html

Related thread:
Jury awards parents $27 million in College Station McDonald's negligence lawsuit (July 30, 2014)

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