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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: 78,484

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

How Democrats Are Working to Build Statewide Victory

Of the fifteen most populous counties in Texas, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won eight last year. She carried three congressional districts and ten state House districts over Republican President Donald Trump. Her big showing in Dallas provided the coattails needed for a Democrat to ride to a House seat held by a Republican, and the Democrats swept the Harris County elections. Topping it all, the Republicans have a president whose poll numbers with independents and moderate voters are tanking—more than half the moderates in one recent state poll disapproved of the job Trump is doing as president.

All that sounds like a formula to put the long-suffering Texas Democratic Party onto the comeback trail. And, yet, the party could not find a candidate with statewide name recognition to challenge Governor Greg Abbott. The leading candidate for lieutenant governor lost a 2014 race for a lower office. The likely nominee for a challenge to U.S. Senator Ted Cruz—Beto O’Rourke—at least has brought enthusiasm to the contest.

As candidate filing came to a close Monday, the two most interesting primary races look to be the Republican challenges to Land Commissioner George P. Bush and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller.

Part of the seemingly bleak Democratic landscape comes from the party’s changing game plan. Following Abbott’s wipeout of Wendy Davis in the 2014 gubernatorial election, the party reverted to an approach it had in place before Davis’ filibuster against abortion restrictions propelled her to national prominence—and created Democratic dreams of winning a statewide election for the first time since 1994. The party is now attempting to build from the county level up instead of depending on a superstar to carry it from the top.

Read more: https://www.texasmonthly.com/burka-blog/democrats-working-build-statewide-victory-local-level/

State officials steamroll toll lanes out of I-35 plans in Austin

AUSTIN -- The Texas Transportation Commission drove the Capital Express into a bar ditch on Thursday morning.

Despite a full-court, bipartisan press from local political and business leaders, the commission voted unanimously to strip from the Texas Department of Transportation’s 10-year construction program the recently debuted plans for four tolled express lanes on Interstate 35 in Austin.

Just before motioning to approve the 2018 Unified Transportation Program, an exhaustive list of mobility projects to be funded within the next decade, without the toll lanes for I-35, Commissioner Jeff Austin declared, “Our leaders, our governor and our lieutenant governor, have spoken and they’re the ones that we take guidance from. We listen to them and they’re the ones that help dictate and guide transportation policy.”

Austin was referring to the abrupt offensive against toll lanes mounted by Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick last month. Both men maintain that two constitutional amendments that redirect money from the state gas and sales tax back into TxDOT’s coffers preclude the spending of those funds on toll projects.

Read more: https://www.austinmonitor.com/stories/2017/12/state-officials-steamroll-toll-lanes-35-plans/

Alaska oil companies settle dispute over Trans-Alaska Pipeline tariff charges

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - The state of Alaska will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in a settlement with oil companies over the value of North Slope crude oil shipped through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline (TAP), officials announced.

The settlement between Alaska and the companies that own the 800-mile oil artery concerns transportation tariffs charged by the pipeline owners between 2009 and 2015.

Alaska claimed that the Alyeska owner companies, including BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Koch Industries and Unocal, overstated the tariffs and improperly devalued the oil delivered by the pipeline, thus reducing state income.

“This settlement is a great result for the State,” Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth said in statement. “It creates certainty going forward, avoids future litigation, and will provide additional taxes and royalties -- bringing needed money to the state treasury.”

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-alaska-pipeline-settlement/alaska-oil-companies-settle-dispute-over-trans-alaska-pipeline-tariff-charges-idUSKBN1EA02X?il=0

Austin city council greenlights new pedestrian mall on Congress Avenue

City Council paved the way Thursday for a major state project that will transform three blocks of downtown from roadway into a grass-covered pedestrian mall.

Council voted to give the Texas Facilities Commission the OK to seize control of city right of way on Congress Avenue between 16th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to construct the “Texas Mall” and the underground parking garage underneath.

The mall is the centerpiece of phase one of the Texas Capitol Complex Master Plan. The plan will also include two new state buildings on Congress Avenue that are expected to serve 3,500 state employees who currently work in leased office space elsewhere in the Austin area. Phase one of the plan will cost $581 million, over $100 million of which will be spent on the mall and parking garage.

The state’s website for the master plan describes the future mall as a “tree-lined, pedestrian-oriented civic event space” that “will serve as a cultural gateway” between the Capitol and a new “museum district” comprising the existing Blanton Museum of Art, the Bullock Texas State History Museum and a yet-to-be-determined future cultural facility.

Read more: https://www.austinmonitor.com/stories/2017/12/council-green-lights-new-pedestrian-mall-congress-ave/

Stagg Bowl (Div. III Championship): Mount Union defeats Mary Hardin-Baylor for 13th championship

The 45th Stagg Bowl is history. Mount Union is DIII football's 2017 national champion after defeating Mary Hardin-Baylor 12-0 Friday night in Salem, Va.

There was plenty to watch for in the 2017 Division III Football Championship. It was the final Stagg Bowl played at Salem Stadium, its home for the past 25 years. It pitted Mount Union, who has more Stagg Bowl championships than any other program, against Mary Hardin-Baylor, the reigning DIII champions. It was the No. 1 offense (Mount Union) against the No. 1 defense (UMHB).

It was everything a championship football game should be, and ended as the lowest scoring Stagg Bowl in history.

It was a defensive battle from start to finish, with both teams totaling a mere 200 yards of net offense in the first half. Yards and points came at a premium, as a 31-yard Alex Louthan gave Mount Union entered the 3-0 halftime lead.

Read more: http://www.ncaa.com/news/football/article/2017-12-14/diii-football-championship-mount-union-defeats-mary-hardin-baylor

CNN's Chris Cuomo Embarrasses Republican Congressman Trying to Slander Robert Mueller (Video)

Since most Republicans couldn’t care less if Donald Trump colluded with an enemy to undermine our democracy during last year’s election, they view the special investigation being run by Robert Mueller looking into whether or not that actually happened as nothing more than a threat they’re trying to eliminate. It’s obvious since the information we know thus far isn’t going the way they’d like it to — with my personal belief being many on the right know Trump’s in a lot of trouble — their go-to move is now to undermine the credibility of Mueller, the Department of Justice, and the FBI just to protect this “president.”

It’s why I feel confident in my belief that most Republicans know Trump did something that could lead to his removal from office. Otherwise they wouldn’t be frantically trying to discredit Mueller, or push absurd conspiracies about the FBI while trying to protect him.

As I’ve said many times before, this is not how innocent people with nothing to hide behave.

Well, CNN’s Chris Cuomo wasn’t putting up with any of Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL) nonsense Friday morning when he embarrassed the congressman after he continued to insist that Mueller needs to be fired because he’s “clearly out to get Trump” over not being chosen to run the FBI again after the “president” fired James Comey.

“Bob Mueller interviews with the president considering a position in the administration,” Cuomo stated. “He has been a Republican longer than you have even considered being a Republican. He’s a decorated war veteran who ran the FBI and who everybody in your party said is an excellent choice for the investigation. What has changed?”

Read more: https://forwardprogressives.com/cnns-chris-cuomo-embarrasses-republican-congressman-trying-to-slander-robert-mueller-video/

New York woman attempted to send bitcoin to Islamic State, feds say

Dec. 15 (UPI) -- A New York woman was charged with several financial crimes in an effort to send bitcoin to the Islamic State, according to an indictment unsealed in federal court Thursday.

The U.S. Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of New York charged Zoobia Shahnaz, 27, with bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and three substantive counts of money laundering. Prosecutors said Shahnaz, "defrauded numerous financial institutions and obtained over $85,000 in illicit proceeds, which she converted to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. She then laundered and transferred the funds out of the country to support the [Islamic State]."

"As alleged, the defendant Zoobia Shahnaz engaged in a bank fraud scheme, purchased bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and laundered money overseas, intending to put thousands of dollars into the coffers of terrorists," Acting United States Attorney Rohde said in a statement.

Prosecutors said Shahnaz, a U.S. citizen, lied to obtain a $22,500 loan and fraudulently applied for more than 12 credit cards to buy Bitcoin and other currencies over the internet.

Read more: https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2017/12/15/NY-woman-attempted-to-send-bitcoin-to-Islamic-State-feds-say/9811513314687/

Masturbation Will Make You Gay, Mormon Document Warns

The Mormon church hates self-love.

Masturbation should be strictly banned because it can turn young people into homosexuals and criminals, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes, according to a leaked guidebook issued to members.

The 1981 guidebook, released this week by the transparency group MormonLeaks, provides some insights into what many young Mormons have been taught about sexual development and homosexuality over the years.

“Early masturbation experiences introduce the individual to sexual thoughts which may become habit forming and reinforcing to homosexual interests,” the guidebook claims. “Self-masturbation is almost universal among those who engage in homosexual behavior, and is a very difficult habit for most to overcome.”

The Mormon church believes homosexuality is “of grave concern” because it may involve violent or criminal behavior and is as sinful as heterosexual adultery and fornication, the guidebook says. The book also claims that homosexuality is a learned behavior influenced by unhealthy development in early childhood, and says that absentee fathers and dominant mothers are among the main culprits for these developmental problems leading to homosexuality.

Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/2017/12/masturbation-gay/

Oh my!

New Mexico lawmakers push for stolen vehicle bill

SANTA FE - A bipartisan coalition of state lawmakers will push again next year for the creation of a vehicle database aimed at combating auto theft in New Mexico.

They are asking Republican Gov. Susana Martinez to add the proposal to the agenda of next year's 30-day legislative session, which is otherwise dedicated to financial matters.

The bill would create a system for salvage yards and other auto recyclers to verify with the state Motor Vehicle Division that the vehicle they're purchasing isn't stolen.

The proposal comes after the Albuquerque area posted the highest per capita rate of auto thefts in the country for 2016, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Read more: http://www.lcsun-news.com/story/news/local/new-mexico/2017/12/14/new-mexico-lawmakers-push-stolen-vehicle-bill/952215001/

Feds probe Los Alamos National Laboratory 'near-miss' incident

Federal officials will conduct an investigation into some workers’ health and safety practices at Los Alamos National Laboratory after an incident the Department of Energy is calling a “near-miss to a fatality” involving an employee this fall.

On Sept. 13, a worker entered a laboratory room that had insufficient oxygen, indicating a potential deficiency in the room’s “pressure system design.” The incident was classified as potentially life threatening to the worker, and a regulatory violation of lab building requirements and its emergency response protocol, according to a letter sent to outgoing lab Director Charles McMillan by the Department of Energy’s Office of Enforcement.

Matt Nerzig, a spokesman for Los Alamos National Laboratory, said in an emailed statement that, “the worker and any other workers nearby were unharmed.”

“We are cooperating fully with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Enforcement,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the National Nuclear Security Administration also said the agency expects the lab to “cooperate fully with this investigation,” which includes an on-site inspection, interviews with personnel and a review of laboratory documents.

Read more: http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/feds-probe-lanl-near-miss-incident/article_67b3ea72-341b-5d77-baa0-8c5bed76aafb.html
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