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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: 78,261

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

Texas' Most Beloved Beach is at the End of the Natural Gas Pipeline

Shallow-water fishing trips, dolphin-cove sightseeing tours, bird-watching excursions, sunning and playing on South Padre's velvety sand beach—these are some of the eco-thrills that draw more than a million tourists each year to the poorest metro-region of the United States, making tourism and eco-tourism the biggest economic driver here at the Rio Grande Valley's southern edge.

Chances are that any San Antonio resident reading this story has visited South Padre at least once, and if you've been there once, you've probably returned. Unlike Corpus Christi and Galveston beaches, South Padre Island, its bays, and estuaries, remain relatively pristine and free from fossil fuel development—though possibly not for long. Populated with merely 3,000 permanent residents, SPI offers the notable first-world amenities of restaurants, bars, retail shops and night clubs—yards away from world-class sport fishing, bird-watching and beach-combing. About 10 miles away from SPI, sharing a coastline and an economy, sits Brownsville, the nation's poorest city of 200,000 residents.

But politicians and energy industrialists are bull-nosing energy development that will threaten this region's eco-economy, promising another that's led the world to the brink of ecological ruin: the production, sale and use of fossil fuels.

Energy companies are looking for Texas ports where rent is cheap and space is copious, hoping to set up Leviathan-like matrices of smokestacks, refrigeration chambers and sewers that will cool natural gas into a liquid for export to China and beyond. Because Brownsville's deep-water channel is edged by plenty of inexpensive land, four liquid natural gas (LNG) conglomerates are trying to set up shop in this coastal zone that lies as far south as Texas gets, in an ecosystem that's populated by brown pelicans, ocelots, sea turtles, dolphins and a host of other endangered and protected wildlife. There are now over 30 proposed LNG export terminals in the U.S., though the only one under construction is in Sabine Pass, Louisiana. In Texas, in addition to Brownsville, LNG terminals are being proposed in Freeport and Corpus Christi. All have to go through a lengthy review and permitting process by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the federal entity that offers the final decision on a company's ability to export LNG to countries that are part of the World Trade Organization. The four Brownsville facilities in the works—Texas LNG, Annova LNG, Gulf Coast LNG and NextDecade LLC—have yet to clear Department of Energy and other federal hurdles that will make them candidates for a FERC permit.

Read more: http://www.sacurrent.com/sanantonio/texas-most-beloved-beach-is-at-the-end-of-the-natural-gas-pipeline/Content?oid=2354133

Three workers killed in fire at Thanksgiving Tower in downtown Dallas



Update at 4:45 p.m. by Robert Wilonsky, Claire Z. Cardona and Tristan Hallman: Jason Evans, spokesman for Dallas Fire-Rescue, says the body of three workers were found following this morning’s fire at Thanksgiving Tower.

The workers were in the basement of the downtown Dallas high-rise working in the thermal storage tank that is part of the heating, ventilating and air conditioning unit beneath the building. Said Evans, it was initially believed to be an electrical fire or a car fire because “the smoke was so thick” it was difficult to tell where it began.

“But when firefighters made their way to the source of the smoke, it turned out to be located in an equipment room, located at the bottom of a 35-foot hatch, on a lower parking garage level,” Evans says.

-snip-

Assistant Fire Chief Ted Padgett said Thanksgiving Tower’s permit for welding, cutting and hot works expired in March of this year. A contractor doing business as “Best Mechanical” at 1601 Bryan Street (the flip side of the same building) also hasn’t had a valid permit to do that kind of work since December 2009, he said.

Read more: http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2014/12/fire-reported-in-parking-garage-at-thanksgiving-tower-downtown.html/

Texas AG Greg Abbott Says Gay Marriages During Appeal Would Be 'Deeply Offensive'

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says it would be "deeply offensive" for same-sex marriages to be allowed during his appeal of a federal district judge's ruling striking down the state's marriage bans.

Abbott made the comments during a press conference Monday where he unveiled his agenda and staff as governor, the Associated Press reports:

The governor-elect didn’t mention gay marriage until he was asked about the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which next month will hear a case in which a judge in February struck down Texas’ ban.

Some advocates have asked other Texas judges to begin performing gay marriages pending the appeal, but Abbott said that would be “deeply offensive” since it “would be a clear rebuke of the 5th Circuit’s jurisdiction.”


U.S. District Judge Orlando L. Garcia stayed his decision striking down the marriage bans pending Abbott's appeal to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court, which has set the case for oral arguments Jan. 9.

However, last month same-sex plaintiff couples asked Garcia to lift the stay pending the appeal, and last week, some county clerks in Texas said they are prepared to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/2014/12/texas-ag-greg-abbott-says-allowing-gay-marriages-during-appeal-would-be-deeply-offensive.html#.VIiJMH0y5Go.twitter

State district judge runs Dallas County court with a purple passion


[font color=purple]Tom Fox/Staff Photographer
Purple is the new black in State District Judge Carter Thompson’s courtroom in the Frank Crowley Criminal Courts Building in Dallas. He does pull a black robe on when court is in session on Purple Thursdays.
[/font]

It must be Thursday.

Everyone in state District Judge Carter Thompson’s court is wearing purple.

The judge, who begins his third term in January, said he didn’t intend to start a fashion craze and inside joke. It just happened.

“Courthouses are by their nature grim. There’s no way around it,” Thompson said recently, wearing a plum shirt and a lavender tie. “This is something we do to lighten the mood around here.”

Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/metro/20141210-state-district-judge-runs-dallas-county-court-with-a-purple-passion.ece


[font color=purple]Tom Fox/Staff Photographer
Assistant District Attorney Danielle Uher (right) pulls copies from Community Supervision Officer Monique Armonm's printer in her purple office on Purple Thursday at the Frank Crowley Criminal Courts Building in Dallas.
[/font]

Grapevine-based Dallas Airmotive pays $14 million fine for bribing Latin American officials

Dallas Airmotive Inc. of Grapevine has admitted to federal prosecutors that it paid bribes to government officials in Argentina, Brazil and Peru in order to obtain lucrative airplane engine maintenance contracts.

As part of a deal struck with the U.S. Department of Justice, Dallas Airmotive agreed to pay $14 million in criminal penalties.

The bribes violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, according to records filed late Wednesday in federal court in Dallas.

Federal prosecutors said that Dallas Airmotive paid bribes to officials with the Brazilian Air Force, the Peruvian Air Force, the Office of the Governor of the Brazilian State of Roraima, and the Office of the Governor of the San Juan Province in Argentina.

Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/business/airline-industry/20141211-grapevine-based-dallas-airmotive-pays-14-million-fine-for-bribing-latin-american-officials.ece

Cross-posted in the Texas Group.

Grapevine-based Dallas Airmotive pays $14 million fine for bribing Latin American officials

Dallas Airmotive Inc. of Grapevine has admitted to federal prosecutors that it paid bribes to government officials in Argentina, Brazil and Peru in order to obtain lucrative airplane engine maintenance contracts.

As part of a deal struck with the U.S. Department of Justice, Dallas Airmotive agreed to pay $14 million in criminal penalties.

The bribes violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, according to records filed late Wednesday in federal court in Dallas.

Federal prosecutors said that Dallas Airmotive paid bribes to officials with the Brazilian Air Force, the Peruvian Air Force, the Office of the Governor of the Brazilian State of Roraima, and the Office of the Governor of the San Juan Province in Argentina.

Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/business/airline-industry/20141211-grapevine-based-dallas-airmotive-pays-14-million-fine-for-bribing-latin-american-officials.ece

Cross-posted in the Latin America Group.

Feds: SMU violated law on gender, sex harassment

Southern Methodist University violated federal discrimination laws and has agreed to provide a safer environment for students who allege sexual assault or other gender-based violence, the U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday.

SMU violated Title IX, a 1972 law that bars discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs or activities.

The Education Department earlier this year released the names of dozens of schools, including SMU, facing Title IX sexual violence investigations. Some have reached similar agreements. About 90 schools still face reviews, among them two other Texas schools — the University of Texas-Pan American and Cisco Junior College.

Between June 2011 and March 2013, the agency received three complaints alleging SMU did not promptly or equitably respond to reports of gender harassment, sexual harassment and/or sexual assault, according to a letter Thursday to SMU President R. Gerald Turner

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/ap/ap/texas/feds-smu-violated-law-on-gender-sex-harassment/njQfc/

After father's anger, Target adjusts sales price of black Barbie doll

CINCINNATI -- Like many little girls, Warren Johnson's daughter wants a Barbie for Christmas.

Specifically, she wants a Barbie Fashion Maker African American doll, one of the hot new toys this holiday season.

"So, we went to the Target website and looked for her Barbie," Johnson said.

What Johnson, who goes by @jayven07 on Twitter, saw after typing in his search Sunday prompted the following tweet:



http://www.caller.com/news/watercooler/barbie-fashion-maker-doll-after-fathers-anger-target-adjusts-sales-price-of-black-barbie-doll

[font color=green]Yes, white Barbie is $23.49 and black Barbie is $49.99. Please commence discussion.[/font]

A Christmas Crackdown on Texas Charter Schools

This was already going to be a record year for charter school closures in Texas. Before this week, state regulators had already moved to close eight charters in 2014. But on Tuesday, the Texas Education Agency announced 14 more were on the chopping block—the largest single revocation the state’s ever seen.

Sweeping new charter school legislation passed in 2013 encouraged new charters to open and made it easier to close struggling ones. But the charter growth promised in Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick’s bill—which lifted the state’s cap on charters and encouraged successful charters from out-of-state to come to Texas—hasn’t materialized so far.

The bill also required schools to give up their charters after three consecutive years of low student performance or financial accountability scores.

-snip-

All but one of the 23 charter revocations this year were mandatory under the new law. (Deion Sanders’ Prime Prep Academy is the other.) Texas has moved to revoke almost as many charters in 2014 as it did in all other years combined. In just this year, Texas has begun revoking more than one-tenth of the charters in the state.

The full story is at http://www.texasobserver.org/texas-revokes-14-charter-school-closure/ .

State Sued for "Stifling the Texas Craft Beer Renaissance"

Three Texas breweries filed a lawsuit against the state on Wednesday seeking to to overturn a 2013 law they say violates the Texas Constitution by forcing them to give away their territorial distribution rights for free.

In their complaint, filed in state district court in Austin, the heads of Live Oak Brewing in Austin, Peticolas Brewing Company in Dallas and Revolver Brewing in Granbury say that were it not for Senate Bill 639, they would be expanding. Instead, their plans to bring their beer to new markets around the state have been put on hold.

In the suit, they accuse the law of "stifling the Texas craft beer renaissance."

"This law is like the government forcing authors to give the rights to their books to publishers for free," said Matt Miller, managing attorney of the Texas office of the Institute for Justice, a Virginia-based law firm representing the brewers. "It is unconstitutional for Texas to force brewers to give distributors property that they never earned and don't deserve."

Read more: http://www.texastribune.org/2014/12/10/state-sued-stifling-texas-craft-beer-renaissance/
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