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TexasTowelie

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: 77,597

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

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 (0 replies)

UT's Pi Kappa Phi fraternity shut down following hazing allegations

The University of Texas chapter of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity has been shut down following a university investigation into hazing allegations.

The closure, first reported by the Dallas Morning News, stems from allegations of hazing during the 2018-19 school year. A document issued Oct. 23 from UT’s Office of the Dean of Students reported the findings and recommended the chapter be canceled for four years and placed on probation for two years after reinstatement.

In a release, Pi Kappa Phi’s national headquarters said it was informed of the investigation into its UT chapter in June and placed the members under an interim suspension pending final determination.

“Upon learning the details of the university investigation, the Pi Kappa Phi Board of Directors agrees with the university administrative disposition that closing the chapter was the only appropriate action,” CEO Mark E. Timmes said in a news release. “Hazing has no place in the fraternity and is contrary to our fraternal values.”

Read more: https://www.statesman.com/news/20191031/utrsquos-pi-kappa-phi-fraternity-shut-down-following-hazing-allegations
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Nov 1, 2019, 05:06 AM (0 replies)

Texas Democrats in the U.S. House split on presidential nominee

WASHINGTON — The two Texans running for president aren’t getting much help from their congressional delegation as they attempt to project strength in their strategically important home state.

Just three of the state’s 13 Democratic members of Congress have endorsed a Texas candidate — one for former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke and two for former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro. Both trail Joe Biden in Texas endorsements. The former vice president has the support of three U.S. representatives from Texas, giving him the most Texan congressional supporters.

Seven out of the 13 Texas Democrats in Congress made official endorsements for the 2020 presidential primary election. The other six — nearly half of the delegation — have stayed neutral so far.

O’Rourke’s lone endorsement comes from freshman U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso, the member of Congress who replaced him in 2018. Castro, meanwhile, counts his twin brother, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, as one of his two Texas congressional backers. The other is freshman U.S. Rep. Colin Allred, D-Dallas.

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2019/11/01/texas-delegation-endorsing-2020-election/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Nov 1, 2019, 04:08 AM (0 replies)

Mining the Resistance -- Pecos residents expand the reach of opposition to new mining activity

"The majority of the visitors we get into the Pecos area actually live in Santa Fe. Santa Fe needs to be on this and we do need more people on this, though we already have tremendous support from many," Frank Adelo, president of the Upper Pecos Watershed Association, tells SFR outside Hondo Volunteer Fire Department No. 2 on Saturday. He had just attended the most recent community meeting about a mine proposed by an Australian company, New World Cobalt, through its US-based subsidiary Comexico LLC.

The fire station sits about 11 miles from the Santa Fe city center, just past the intersection of Old Pecos Trail and Highway 285. While many of the more than 100 attendees drove from Pecos and Las Vegas, up to an hour away, organizers say part of the purpose of holding the meeting there was to make it easier for Santa Feans to attend. Getting people in Santa Fe to see the potential mine as their problem, too, is part of a grassroots strategy to oppose the development.

Comexico's original proposal speculated that the site near the Pecos Wilderness Area could potentially hold more than 5 million metric tonsof extractable ore at sites near the old Tererro mine. But the path from a proposal to full-fledged mining operation is a long one, and Comexico is still in the first stage of applying for a prospecting permit to drill for ore samples at 30 spots across the proposed site to confirm to investors and regulators that the site can bear out the claimed potential.

Even if the Forest Service approves the prospecting permit, Mike Haynes, general manager and CEO of New World Cobalt, told the Santa Fe New Mexican in August that there is only a "1 in 200 or 1 in 300 chance that there is enough mineralization there to look into a mining feasibility study," adding that residents were responding to "hysteria and misinformation."

Read more: https://www.sfreporter.com/news/2019/10/30/mining-the-resistance/
(Santa Fe Reporter)
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Nov 1, 2019, 03:54 AM (0 replies)

New Mexico's health insurance exchange costs stay about same

As New Mexico’s online health insurance exchange prepares to open its enrollment period Friday for 2020 coverage, officials said residents seeking policies will find a new provider in the mix and average rates close to those offered in 2019 — including premium decreases for some plans.

Two events will be held in Santa Fe in the next couple of weeks for those planning to enroll in insurance policies through one of the four providers participating in the exchange. “You can ask your questions,” said Katrina Smith, a broker relations specialist for the network, called beWellnm. “… We will have one-on-one assistance.”

BeWellnm is now in its seventh year of connecting New Mexico residents with health insurance coverage. It was created in 2013 through the federal Affordable Care Act and has 47,000 people enrolled, according to Smith. That’s down from more than 51,000 in 2017.

While the federal law initially mandated insurance coverage, or imposed a penalty on taxpayers’ IRS returns, the penalty no longer applies.

Read more: https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/business/new-mexico-s-health-insurance-exchange-costs-stay-about-same/article_987eb038-3f26-5077-aef6-43bd7cd76109.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Nov 1, 2019, 03:34 AM (0 replies)

Actor James Cromwell Arrested At Texas A&M Regents Protest

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Actor James Cromwell and another man have been charged with disorderly conduct after police said they disrupted a meeting of the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.

The two were part of a demonstration Thursday by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to protest A&M's use of dogs for medical research. The 79-year-old actor, who is an animal welfare activist, and 34-year-old Jeremy Beckham were released after posting bonds of $5,000 each. Hindering proceedings by disorderly conduct is punishable by up to a year in jail.

In a statement issued before the demonstration, Cromwell said that "caging and hurting golden retrievers is unethical and bad science, and it needs to end now."

Texas A&M University announced recently that it was reducing its breeding of dogs for medical research.

https://hosted.ap.org/rdrnews/article/ef22d679dd6e420cb84bd9dd265deb61/actor-james-cromwell-arrested-texas-am-regents-protest
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Nov 1, 2019, 03:27 AM (1 replies)

F-16 crashes near Holloman, pilot safe

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE – An F-16 assigned to Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo crashed Tuesday night.

The pilot, who was not named, ejected from the plane and was taken to a local hospital.

The crash happened about 7:16 p.m. Tuesday about 80 miles from Holloman.

The fighter jet was assigned to the 49th Wing, which is based at HAFB.

Read more: https://www.alamogordonews.com/story/news/local/community/2019/10/30/f-16-fighter-aircraft-holloman-air-force-base-hafb-plane-crashes/4096462002/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Nov 1, 2019, 02:59 AM (0 replies)

Governor Lujan Grisham urges probe of Otero County Processing Center

SANTA FE – New Mexico’s governor is urging federal immigration authorities to open an investigation of conditions at a privately-managed processing center where Cuban migrants reportedly have attempted to kill themselves.

The office of Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham released letters Monday calling for an internal investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement of conditions at the Otero County Processing Center in southern New Mexico.

Lujan Grisham is requesting a probe by ICE’s inspector general and urged acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan to intervene. She describes signs of cruel conditions and despair at the processing center 30 miles north of the U.S. border with Mexico at El Paso.

She says ICE’s internal watchdog found egregious problems with unannounced visits last year to holding facilities in four other states.

Read more: https://www.alamogordonews.com/story/news/2019/10/28/michelle-lujan-grisham-otero-county-new-mexico/2491604001/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Nov 1, 2019, 02:09 AM (0 replies)

Gainesville Physician And Ex-Wife Convicted Of Health Care Fraud Conspiracy, Health Care Fraud, And

Gainesville Physician And Ex-Wife Convicted Of Health Care Fraud Conspiracy, Health Care Fraud, And Money Laundering


GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA –Lawrence Keefe, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, today announced the convictions of Erik M. Schabert, 48, a physician, and his ex-wife, Mika Kamissa Harris, 49, both of Gainesville, Florida, on health care fraud and money laundering charges involving more than $8 million. The convictions came after a three-week federal jury trial that involved more than 45 witnesses and over 850 exhibits introduced into evidence.

The jury heard evidence that, while owning and operating Reliant Family Practice in Gainesville, Harris and Schabert attempted to defraud health care benefit programs of more than $8 million by submitting fraudulent claims. Evidence showed that between January 2013 and July 2016, Reliant Family Practice received $4.4 million from Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield for chemical peels and dermabrasions following false diagnoses of rosacea and actinic keratosis. The jury heard evidence that Harris engaged in numerous financial transactions in which she laundered approximately $3.1 million dollars in proceeds from the health care fraud scheme.

"Americans struggle every day with the high costs of health care, and they are as much the victims of this kind of fraud scheme as the programs that suffered financial losses," Keefe said. "These convictions were the result of a concerted effort by federal law enforcement, and the United States Attorney’s Office will pursue these types of criminals as aggressively and diligently as possible."

"It’s not every day you see a crime so audacious that it results in a 90-count guilty verdict, but Erik Schabert and Mika Kamissa Harris earned their fate. Through a sizeable fraud scheme, these two offenders cheated federal health care programs and used the ill-gotten proceeds to fund their own lavish lifestyle," said Special Agent in Charge Omar Pérez Aybar of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. "Our agents, working diligently with our law enforcement partners, will continue to investigate such costly schemes to bring such criminals to justice."

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndfl/pr/gainesville-physician-and-ex-wife-convicted-health-care-fraud-conspiracy-health-care
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Nov 1, 2019, 02:00 AM (0 replies)

Pharmacy Owner Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Role in Largest Health Care Fraud Case Ever in

Pharmacy Owner Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Role in Largest Health Care Fraud Case Ever in Mississippi


Hattiesburg, Miss. – Thomas Edward Spell, Jr., 51, a pharmacy owner in Ridgeland, Mississippi, was sentenced today to 10 years in federal prison for his involvement in a $243 million compounding pharmacy fraud scheme, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, Michelle A. Sutphin, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Mississippi, Thomas J. Holloman III, Special Agent in Charge of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation’s (IRS CI) Atlanta Field Office, and Cynthia Bruce, Special Agent in Charge of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s (DCIS) Southeast Field Office.

“This defendant ripped off every single military service member, veteran and American taxpayer when he defrauded TRICARE. The special agents, DOJ trial attorneys, our AUSAs and other law enforcement partners who investigated and prosecuted this case are to be commended for their diligence and fortitude in bringing this criminal to justice. We will continue to be vigilant in detecting, arresting and prosecuting those who defraud government services that benefit our military and our veterans,” said U.S. Attorney Hurst.

"Fraud against government funded health care systems like TRICARE not only costs taxpayers billions each year, but deprives funding for critical medical care and benefits for our current and former military members who bravely serve our country," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Sutphin. "Schemes like these are a plague on the nation's health care systems. Individuals and organizations that participate in this type of fraud will continue to be high priority investigations for the FBI."

“Thomas Spell systematically defrauded the government and the taxpaying public,” said IRS CI Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Holloman III. “His desire for money, along with the power and material items it buys, drove him to perpetrate crimes against our healthcare system and prey upon many of the vulnerable in our society. Thanks to the financial expertise and diligence of IRS-CI special agents, who worked side-by-side with other federal and state law enforcement officers to uncover these schemes, Spell will now face the consequences of his actions.”

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdms/pr/pharmacy-owner-sentenced-10-years-prison-role-largest-health-care-fraud-case-ever
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Nov 1, 2019, 01:31 AM (0 replies)
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