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Profile Information

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: 77,735

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

Colorado passed anti-gerrymandering laws last year; former AG Holder says there's more work to do

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told local activists and elected officials Saturday that although Colorado voters passed redistricting measures intended to prevent partisan gerrymandering, the fight for fair elections is not over here.

“This needs to be a movement,” Holder said, “not just a moment.”

Holder, who served in the Obama administration, held a similar event over a year ago in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood to stump for Amendments Y and Z, the new redistricting measures. He returned today as part of a larger effort to ensure the new redistricting process is carried out correctly.

Redistricting follows the once-every-decade U.S. Census. The population count is the starting point for drawing the boundaries of Congressional and legislative districts, and for the distribution of government funding.

Read more: https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/10/26/colorado-redistricting-eric-holder-gerrymandering/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Nov 2, 2019, 10:08 PM (0 replies)

What you should know about drilling on federal land in Colorado

On Sept. 26, oil and gas companies logged on to EnergyNet and placed bids on 49 parcels of federal land in Colorado they may one day drill. The lease sales happen every quarter, as required by a 1987 federal law. About 42,000 acres were auctioned to drillers that day, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

The amount of land leased was not unusual for recent years. What was, however, was where the leases were located.

One company, Denver-based Woodbury Resources, staked out a parcel in a high-elevation basin in north-central Colorado for an annual rent of $2 per acre. That parcel fell within one mile of a greater sage grouse dancing site, where the imperiled birds mate. Under the 2015 sage grouse conservation plan, the BLM agreed not to lease that close to a so-called “lek.” The area would have been practically off-limits had the Trump administration not months earlier stripped protections for the sage grouse.

The state is trying to keep that one-mile barrier intact. And earlier this month, an order from a federal judge in Idaho reinstated the 2015 sage grouse protections across the West, including in Colorado. That order could delay when the BLM issues the leases from the September sale.

Read more: https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/11/01/colorado-oil-gas-federal-public-land-explainer/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Nov 2, 2019, 10:00 PM (0 replies)

Littwin: The pre-impeachment presidential rankings are in. And the leader is, who the hell knows?

Once upon a time, there was a Democratic presidential primary season that often dominated the news cycle, particularly on debate days. And sometimes even on days when a one-time phenom would drop out of the race (say, Beto O’Rourke).

That time is coming to an extended, and almost certainly dramatic, pause while impeachment season heads into the anything-can-happen-including-seven-consecutive-road-victories postseason. Now that the House has voted to approve the impeachment rules, basically on a party-line vote, we will move soon to public hearings, at which point everything else will likely come to a full stop.

I mean, the impeachment news is huge even now, and that’s before we open our pool for who will be this season’s John Dean. There’s Bill Taylor, the chief envoy to Ukraine who will testify that portfolio-free Rudy Giuliani was running a likely illegal misinformation campaign there. There’s Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, leading the White House National Security Council team on Ukraine, who will testify that the Trump-Zelensky July 25th call was so scary that it sent him running to the lawyers. And not only because the rough transcript somehow was altered from Zelensky saying “Burisma” — the company associated with Hunter Biden — to “the company that you mentioned in this issue.” And guess what the lawyers told Vindman? Not to mention the “perfect” call to anyone. Then there’s Fiona Hill, also of the NSC, who gave us this now-iconic quote from former NSC chief, John Bolton: “I am not part of whatever drug deal Rudy [Giuliani] and [Mick] Mulvaney are cooking up.” I’m considering betting on Bolton, who says he won’t testify without a subpoena and maybe not even then. But can he really resist the chance to be the star witness for truth and justice and never Trump?

So now as we await Donald Trump’s threat to do a live dramatic reading of the very rough transcript of his otherwise perfect call with Ukraine President Zelensky — this is such a bad idea that even the king of bad ideas would never attempt it — we have a slight window in which to update where the primary season stands. Because, to this point, no one has any idea whatsoever.

Read more: https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/11/01/littwin-warren-biden-bernie-buttigieg-beto/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Nov 2, 2019, 09:07 PM (0 replies)

Federal jury hears testimony in Medicare fraud case in Brownsville

A former administrator at Merida Healthcare Group testified Thursday morning against his former colleagues in a federal courtroom in Brownsville.

According to a federal indictment, the company is accused of billing Medicare more than $153 million for unqualified hospice beneficiaries, resulting in nearly $120 million in profits beginning in 2009.

Testifying Thursday, former Merida administrator Jose Garza implicated Rodney Mesquias, the owner of Merida, as the ringleader in the alleged conspiracy to commit Medicare fraud.

Henry McInnis, 47, Jose Garza, 40, both of Harlingen; Rodney Mesquias, 47, of San Antonio; and Francisco Pena, 82, of Laredo, were implicated in the indictment handed down by a grand jury on Jan. 10, 2018.

Read more: https://www.valleymorningstar.com/2019/10/31/federal-jury-hears-testimony-medicare-fraud-case/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Nov 2, 2019, 03:23 AM (0 replies)

At Least 800 Dallas Residences Were Damaged by Tornadoes

We’re now getting a better sense of how much damage last month’s tornadoes wrecked upon the city. About 800 residential structures suffered some degree of damage. About half of those were either destroyed or seriously damaged. Residences bore the brunt of the EF-3 tornado that stormed from the area north of Love Field on its way to Richardson and Garland, wrecking Preston Hollow in the process. Another 87 commercial structures were damaged as well. The Insurance Council of Texas estimates that the tornadoes caused about $2 billion in damages.

Those numbers were provided by Phil Crone of the Dallas Builders Association, who got them from the city. I’m awaiting further details from City Hall and will update accordingly. Those numbers are just for the city of Dallas; when you factor in the other cities that were hit by tornadoes—10 of them tore through Dallas, Garland, Rockwall, and Richardson, among others—the property damage easily sails above 1,000 structures. Here’s how this all breaks down:

Affected: 156 – Very minimal damage

Minor: 356 – Damage to the exterior only. No structural members involved

Major: 287 – Damage to structural members

Destroyed: 106 – Loss of structural integrity

(no more at link)
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Nov 2, 2019, 02:59 AM (1 replies)

National Diabetes Month focuses on Heart Disease in November

November is National Diabetes Month; and this year the National Institutes for Health is highlighting the link between diabetes and heart disease.

According the NIH: “When blood sugar is high and moving through blood vessels, the vessels and nerves that control the heart can be damaged, causing heart disease.”

“We think of diabetes as having to do with elevated blood sugar levels and heart disease with elevated cholesterol levels; and that is true, but the combination of the two diseases increases the impact of both conditions,” said David Leal, Program Specialist for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s Healthy South Texas Initiative.

“We feel as though they are separate diseases, but they very much go hand in hand.”

The NIH reports that we are more likely to develop heart disease and have a greater chance of heart attack or stroke with diabetes. People with Diabetes are also more likely to have certain conditions like high blood pressure or high cholesterol that increase the chances of heart disease or stroke, which is why smoking and the use of tobacco should be stopped.

Read more: https://www.corsicanadailysun.com/news/national-diabetes-month-focuses-on-heart-disease-in-november/article_c411cec4-fc27-11e9-bdb3-57283e771169.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Nov 2, 2019, 01:14 AM (0 replies)

Montgomery County Doctor Agrees to Pay $1.4 Million to Resolve Allegations of Improper Opioid

Montgomery County Doctor Agrees to Pay $1.4 Million to Resolve Allegations of Improper Opioid Prescribing After Pleading Guilty to Related Criminal Charges

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Montgomery County physician Spiro Y. Kassis, M.D., of Plymouth Township, PA, has agreed to pay $1.4 million, has committed to never obtaining a controlled substance registration, and has consented to a 15-year exclusion from Medicare and Medicaid in order to resolve allegations that he improperly prescribed Schedule II controlled substances to patients between July 1, 2014 and February 14, 2017. This civil settlement is announced after Kassis already pled guilty to criminal charges for illegal distribution of controlled substances and awaits sentencing.

The settlement resolves allegations that Kassis wrote improper Schedule II prescriptions, including opioids, for his patients when those prescriptions had no legitimate medical purpose and were not issued in the usual course of professional practice. In addition, it resolves allegations that Kassis deposited and commingled the proceeds from the sale of improper Schedule II prescriptions into various bank accounts.

Kassis has already pled guilty to 14 counts of illegal distribution of controlled substances in a related criminal case, for which he is scheduled to be sentenced in January 2020. Kassis claimed to be a specialist in psychiatry and addiction medicine, and operated medical offices in East Norriton Township, PA and Scranton, PA. He used his offices to operate a prescription “pill mill,” whereby he sold medically unnecessary prescriptions for opioids such as oxycodone. Kassis sold prescriptions to so-called patients for approximately $200 cash each. At the East Norriton office, he saw approximately 45 “patients” per day. As each person came in, he collected $200 cash from the patient, counted the money, and then issued the requested prescriptions electronically to the patient’s pharmacy. Often, Kassis issued dangerous combinations of prescriptions including oxycodone, methadone, and buprenorphine, all to the same patient.

“This settlement illustrates my Office’s dedication to ensuring that physicians who engage in illegal distribution of opioids and other controlled substances are held accountable using all of our enforcement tools, including powerful civil ones,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “This case is an excellent example of how collaboration between our civil and criminal divisions, as well as our federal and local law enforcement partners, can lead to just results. We will continue our aggressive pursuit of doctors who violate their duties and break the law by engaging in illegal opioid prescribing.”

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-edpa/pr/montgomery-county-doctor-agrees-pay-14-million-resolve-allegations-improper-opioid
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Nov 1, 2019, 11:33 PM (2 replies)

Jimmy Kimmel Live: House Votes to Formalize Impeachment Process Against Trump on Halloween

Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Nov 1, 2019, 11:21 PM (0 replies)


I just saw the news that Beto decided to withdraw so at some point I will no longer be the host of this group as my preferred candidate will say "Undecided". I truly believe that Beto would have been a great president and I hope that he will have another opportunity to run in the future.

The Democratic Party will be at a loss without Beto in the race and his withdrawal may have locked up Texas for the Republican Party in 2020.
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Nov 1, 2019, 05:56 PM (0 replies)

Beto O'Rourke plans Iowa push as deadline to qualify for next debate nears

With just about three months until Iowa begins voting in the first-in-the-nation caucuses, Democrat Beto O’Rourke is planning a big push in that state as he continues to struggle to qualify for future presidential debates.

O’Rourke, who has already visited the state more than most of the Democratic contenders, has 12 events planned over 5 days in 10 cities starting on Friday in Iowa, the state that will be first to vote on Feb. 3, 2020.

The push comes as the former El Paso Congressman has struggled in polling both nationally and in Iowa. Earlier in 2019, O’Rourke was polling over 10 percent and considered one of the front runners. Now, he’s struggling to hit 3 percent — a key requirement to qualify for the next presidential debate in Atlanta. Candidates need to hit 3 percent in four recognized national polls to make the debate stage in November. O’Rourke has hit that mark in two polls since Sept. 13. He needs to hit 3 percent in two more polls before Nov. 13. In December, candidates will have to hit 4 percent or more.

O’Rourke has been in all four of the previous debates.

Read more: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/texas/article/Beto-O-Rourke-plans-Iowa-push-as-deadline-to-14639637.php
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Nov 1, 2019, 04:56 PM (9 replies)
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