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Gender: Male
Hometown: Texas
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Current location: Red Hell Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 76,962

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

Bill would allow for firework sales year-round

A bill submitted by a Houston lawmaker last month would add more than 90 religious and other holidays throughout the year to when firework sales are authorized, with additions such as Ground Hog Day, Mardi Gras, Passover, Tax Day, Cinco de Mayo, Juneteenth and Wright Brothers Day.

Another proposal simply would add Labor Day to the short list of dates when pyrotechnics can be sold in Texas. In addition to the original big two — New Year’s and July Fourth — the Texas Legislature in recent years also has allowed fireworks sales for Texas Independence Day, San Jacinto Day and Memorial Day.

The 85th Legislature convenes Jan. 10 for its biennial 140-day session, during which time lawmakers could be asked to review several aspects of fireworks regulation.

Changes to the list of authorized sales dates have been slow and hard-fought over the years, making the prospects uncertain for the measure (House Bill 412) pre-filed Nov. 18 by Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston. It lists 92 holidays, without specified dates, when sales would be permitted, starting with the Roman Catholic feast of the Epiphany and ending with Kwanzaa.

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/article/Bill-would-allow-for-firework-sales-year-round-10825639.php

Midland's New Spaceport Aims to Make Space Travel Accessible to All

Drive down a windy, muddy road, hidden on the backside of Midland airport’s southernmost tarmac, and you’ll find a shiny new hangar and office building: XCOR Aerospace’s Texas headquarters.

Most people associate the Permian Basin with oil and gas. But some Midlanders are hoping to make the region synonymous with space travel. Two years ago, Midland’s airport became the first commercial airport also licensed for flights into space. Today, it’s called Midland International Air and Spaceport.

Midland Native and City Councilman J. Ross Lacy, president of the Spaceport Development Corporation, says this is just the beginning of a new era for the city.

“We are the only commercially operated air and spaceport in the world,” Lacy says. “We are the only one where you can fly in on Southwest but then also take off on a horizontal take off of a spacecraft. No other place in the world can say that.”

Read more: http://www.texasstandard.org/stories/midlands-new-spaceport-aims-to-make-space-travel-accessible-to-all/#

Paxton, federal judge tussle over foster care fix

In the latest turn in a long-running tussle between a federal judge and Texas officials over how to fix the state’s troubled foster care system, state lawyers on Thursday said nearly all group foster homes were providing 24-hour supervision even as the judge appeared to reprimand them over the issue.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton notified U.S. District Judge Janis G. Jack of Corpus Christi that all but one of 58 foster group homes with seven or more children have 24-hour supervision.

The Thursday filing came two days after Jack had clarified her 2015 sweeping order calling the foster care system unconstitutional and seeking to ensure that foster kids are “free from an unreasonable risk of harm.”

The judge said that during a “telephonic hearing” on Dec. 21 “it came to the court’s attention” that her 2015 order “was being incorrectly interpreted” by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

Read more: http://www.mystatesman.com/news/paxton-federal-judge-tussle-over-foster-care-fix/MVNCLrsmukmz2wKDMVKrTJ/

Julian Castro goes into political attack dog mode on his way out the door of Obama's Cabinet

WASHINGTON — Outgoing Housing Secretary Julián Castro was a regular presence on the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton, but in recent weeks he has taken his criticism of President-elect Donald Trump to the next level.

Julián Castro Verified account

Trump is so corrupt that if Democrats controlled even one chamber of Congress, he'd be done before he even got started. #2018

Julián Castro Verified account

So Trump-- the shadiest, most corrupt guy to take the Oval Office, will have no strong federal checks and balances. Has to change. #2018

The fiery tweets have put the San Antonio Democrat back in the spotlight on his way out the door of President Barack Obama's Cabinet, attracting media attention around the country and beyond, and suggesting he may assume a new role as a political attack dog.

Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2016/12/29/julin-castro-goes-political-attack-dog-mode-way-door-obamas-cabinet

North Texans breathing easier as Blue Cross, Texas Health reach agreement

More than 150,000 North Texans can finally breath a sigh of relief. They won’t need to spend the first few months of 2017 shopping around for new in-network health care providers.

Late Thursday the state’s largest health insurer and the region’s biggest hospital system agreed to renew a contract that they had been disputing in a bitter and public tug of war.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas members will continue to be covered for services received from providers and hospitals in the Texas Health Resources network, the companies announced in a joint statement.

"Through determined efforts on both sides of the table, the agreement will keep Texas Health Resources in the HMO Blue Texas (Blue Essentials), Blue Choice PPO (BCA), Blue Advantage HMO (BAV) and Blue Cross Medicare Advantage PPO networks with no disruption in service."

Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/business/health-care/2016/12/29/agreement-reached-blue-cross-texas-health-contract-dispute

State Ethics Commission investigating indicted Lower Southampton deputy constable

For the past five years, a Lower Southampton deputy state constable charged with using his private businesses as part of a money laundering scheme hasn't filed mandatory documents that require the listing of outside financial interests of publicly elected officials, according to the Pennsylvania Ethics Commission.

The executive director of the commission on Thursday said the agency has opened a formal investigation into whether Bernard Rafferty, 62, intentionally avoided filing the disclosures to conceal a conflict of interest. Intentionally withholding information in a statement of financial interest is a misdemeanor crime that carries a potential penalty of a $2,500 fine or a year in prison.

Rafferty opened at least two businesses after he stopped filing the required financial disclosure forms, according to state business and ethics commission records. One of the businesses — Raff’s Consulting — figures prominently in the U.S. Attorney's money-laundering case involving Rafferty and two co-defendants.

Rafferty, along with District Judge John Waltman, 59, of Lower Southampton, and Lower Southampton Director of Public Safety Robert P. Hoopes, 69, of Doylestown, were indicted by a grand jury earlier this month in federal court in Philadelphia for conspiring to launder $400,000 believed to be proceeds of health care fraud, illegal drug trafficking and bank fraud, according to an indictment.

Read more: http://www.theintell.com/news/local/state-ethics-commission-investigating-indicted-lower-southampton-deputy-constable/article_c4c530ff-46dc-5263-a88c-bd693fdf2bad.html

Lancaster resident says treasurer broke law by refusing coins as payment for fine

Alfredo Santiago agrees it was a valid parking ticket.

The 34-year-old Broad Street resident also admits he was working out some frustration when he took a bag of loose change to the city treasurer’s office, at 39 W. Chestnut St., to pay the $20 fine.

But Santiago says the clerk accepting payments at the office on Dec. 19 broke the law when she refused to take his money.

“The lady didn’t want to count it up, so she wouldn’t take my ticket,” he says. “You can’t refuse me just because you don’t want to be inconvenienced.”

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/legal-tender-city-resident-says-treasurer-broke-law-by-refusing/article_9851d832-c954-11e6-84ff-9340a53b3e0f.html

Pa. Supreme Court rejects appeal by property owners fighting land seizures for Mariner East II pipel

The Mariner East II pipeline would cut through Cumberland County as it courses across souther Pennsylvania. (Sunoco Logistics) (Sunoco Logistics)

Pa. Supreme Court rejects appeal by property owners fighting land seizures for Mariner East II pipeline

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Thursday refused to hear an appeal by Cumberland County property owners who are fighting the drive by Sunoco Logistics to seize their land for the Mariner East II natural gas transmission pipeline.

The decision by the state's highest court comes five months after a divided Commonwealth Court panel rejected a plea by the three couples. The Supreme Court justices did not state a reason for refusing to hear the landowners' appeal of the Commonwealth Court ruling.

The pipeline opponents - R. Scott and Pamela Martin and Douglas and Lyndsey Fitzgerald of North Middleton Township, and Harvey and Anna Nickey of Lower Mifflin Township - have lost every round of the court fight.

They went to Commonwealth Court after county President Judge Edward E. Guido dismissed objections they filed to try to bar Sunoco from taking parts of their land through eminent domain.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/news/2016/12/pa_supreme_court_rejects_appea.html

Former Pa. commissioner charged with indecent assault for groping 103-year-old woman in nursing home

A former Pennsylvania commissioner was arrested and charged with three counts of indecent assault on a person with a mental disability after police said he groped a 103-year-old woman with dementia.

Bill Spingler, a 75-year-old Chester County resident who previously served as a commissioner in Radnor Township and Delaware County, is accused of touching the victim's breasts during three visits this month, according to court documents.

Staff at Wayne Nursing Home in Delaware County observed the incidents on Dec. 15, 17 and 23, Radnor police said.

Police were first called to the nursing home on Dec. 16 for reports of an assault after two employees said Spingler put his hand under a blanket and touched the victim's breasts.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/news/2016/12/former_pa_commissioner_charged.html

Pennsylvania layoff fight looks like prelude to 2018 governor's race

In the state Capitol, nothing moves legislation as quickly as a deadline, and nothing screams failure as loudly as a missed deadline.

The Dec. 19 layoff 521 of state workers, including 88 in Allentown, personifies those deadline truths.

And the impacted workers can expect to relive their indignity over and over as their plight becomes fodder for the finger-pointing already starting ahead of the 2018 gubernatorial campaign.

The layoffs came after the Republican-controlled Senate failed to vote on a Republican House bill providing some, but not all, of the money Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf had requested. Their jobs, ironically, are handling citizens' unemployment claims.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/mc-pa-wagner-wolf-state-worker-christmas-layoffs-20161220-story.html
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