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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: 78,407

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

Domenici acknowledges having son outside marriage

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Former Sen. Pete Domenici disclosed that he fathered a secret child in the 1970s with the 24-year-old daughter of one of his Senate colleagues — a startling revelation for a politician with a reputation as an upstanding family man.

Domenici and Michelle Laxalt sent statements to the Albuquerque Journal that announced the relationship for the first time and identified their son as Nevada attorney Adam Paul Laxalt. They said they decided to go public with their decades-old secret because they believed someone was about to release the information in an attempt to smear Domenici.

"I deeply regret this and am very sorry for my behavior," Domenici, 80, said in his statement. "I hope New Mexicans will view that my accomplishments for my beloved state outweigh my personal transgression."

Domenici was the longest-serving senator in New Mexico history when he retired following the 2008 election after six terms. He was known for his unflagging support of the state's national laboratories and military installations, and he became a power broker for his work on the federal budget and energy policy.

More at http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/us/article/Domenici-acknowledges-having-son-outside-marriage-4293126.php .

[font color=green]Yes, he voted to impeach Clinton.[/font]

U.S.-European Union trade pact could add billions to Texas economy, study says

Texas exported more than $29 billion of goods and services to the European Union last year, but an economic projection released Wednesday suggests that figure could shoot significantly higher if U.S. and E.U. officials can hammer out a long-sought free-trade agreement.

If negotiators reach a pact to eliminate tariffs between the United States and the 27 E.U. member countries, Texas would stand to gain at least $9.1 billion in annual business activity by 2020, according to the report by the Perryman Group, a Waco-based economic consulting firm.

That number could rise as high as $17 billion if other trade obstacles are eliminated and if companies capitalize on the productivity gains that would likely arise from freer business interactions, according to the report, which was commissioned by the British Embassy.

Collectively, that activity could help generate anywhere from 89,000 to 166,000 Texas jobs, according to the report, which considered a range of factors such as trade flows, price responses and projected patterns of the state’s competitiveness in attracting European trade.

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/business/us-european-union-trade-deal-could-add-billions-to/nWTdp/ .

AG Abbott calls for strengthening Texans’ right-to-work

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott joined with legislators Wednesday to announce actions to strengthen the state’s right to work laws.

New legislation filed by state Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, and state Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson, R-Waco, would mandate a secret ballot before employees decide to unionize. Abbott called unionizing an “independent choice” for Texans, and asserted that the efforts would help employees feel comfortable to make their own decision.

“It ensures that every Texas worker is allowed to make the choice to unionize without coercion, without threats, without intimidation,” Abbott said.

Abbott, who is said to be considering a run for governor in 2014, also released a Texas Workers Bill of Rights, which emphasizes the right of Texans to not join a union. He encouraged employers to display the document to advise workers of this right.

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/abbott-calls-for-strengthening-texans-right-to-wor/nWTbS/ .

[font color=green]One of the comments to the article was quite interesting:[/font]

[font color=blue]"There's no one in Texas who knows less about the value of a hard day's work than our loser of an attorney general. He made his fortune when he laced up his sneaks and went jogging in a lightening storm through the richest neighborhood in Texas, under old rotting tree limbs. When one fell on him, pre-tort reform, he hired the best trial lawyers in Texas and settled with a big enough verdict that he'll never need to work again.

Abbott's mission since that point has been to put the screws to poor, working-class Texans. This anti-union garbage of his is squarely in the center of his campaign against the working men and women of Texas. Abbott is a I-got-mine-so-screw-you politician of the first order."[/font]

Stranded at school

BEEVILLE — The Beeville Independent School District finds itself between a school bus and a hard place.

Its transportation department — with 33 employees and an annual budget of a $1.36 million — has a full fleet of 18 buses, but not enough people to drive them.

“The district is short of drivers,” admits Assistant Superintendent Erasmo Rodriguez. “We can’t compete with the big boys.”

Meaning, a person with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) can get work in the Eagle Ford Shale program at significantly higher wages than what BISD pays.

More at http://mysoutex.com/view/full_story_landing/21766150/article-Stranded-at-school-?instance=landing_news_lead_story .

[font color=green]The district pays its drivers $11 to $14 an hour, Eagle Ford Shale drivers earn between $25 and $30 an hour.[/font]

Judge weighs claim that Texas Medical Board abuses its power

A long-running lawsuit that accuses the Texas Medical Board of abusing its power was left on Tuesday in the hands of U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel, who said he faces a tough decision.

Yeakel heard closing arguments in the December 2007 suit filed by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons against members of the medical board and its former president, Dr. Roberta Kalafut, who resigned in 2008 after complaints that she had overstepped her bounds.

“I find this case harder than any one of you do,” Yeakel said in court, explaining that each side had presented its arguments so well that he needs more time to consider the case before issuing a ruling.

The suit is part of a continuing challenge of the medical board’s authority by doctors who say they have been harassed or treated harshly during disciplinary proceedings. While the court fight continues, some state lawmakers who are sympathetic to the doctors are moving in the Legislature to restrict the board’s investigative methods.

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/doctors-claim-texas-medical-board-abuses-its-power/nWSxw/ .

Restaurateur: Obama mural is here to stay

Marcus Davis is resolute. As many times as vandals paint over a mural of President Barack Obama, he will repair the damage over and over again.

"There is an endless supply of paint," said Davis, 41, who opened The Breakfast Klub in 2001. "This mural is symbolic of the presidency of Barack Obama. He wakes up every day to obstacles and challenges far greater than a doggone mural being defaced. If he has the level of courage and type of character that causes him to continue to go on, I'll be damned if I stop."

Just days after Davis stopped a possible vandal from defacing a mural of President Obama, the restaurateur said he's not about to let his guard down.

After all, the popular mural across the street from The Breakfast Klub at 3711 Travis has been defaced at least three times by vandals since last October, most recently in late January when someone splashed black and red paint across the 10-foot image of Obama. Artists redesigned and repainted the mural in late January, adding the image of a young, blue-eyed white girl next to the nation's first black president.

More at http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Restaurateur-Obama-mural-is-here-to-stay-4291368.php .

Texas Windstorm Insurance Association lost $180 million in 2012

AUSTIN — The state-run Texas Windstorm Insurance Association posted a $183 million loss in fiscal year 2012, prompting a board member on Tuesday to call it a “shame” for hundreds of thousands of policy holders.

The embattled windstorm and hailstorm insurer of last resort continues to slide backward on its road to fiscal recovery due in part to ongoing litigation related to Hurricane Ike, which as of Dec. 31 has cost the association more than $2.7 billion.

It is the first year since 2008, when Hurricane Ike and Dolly struck the coast, that the association has posted a net loss on underwriting. The association posted about $1.4 billion in losses in 2008.

Association executives briefed the board as part of the recurring, quarterly board meeting that opened with a few comments from Texas Department of Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman.

More at http://www.caller.com/news/2013/feb/19/texas-windstorm-insurance-association-lost-180m/ .

2014 Texas Governor's Race: Democratic Primary Preview

Who's On Deck for 2014?

State Representative Mike Villarreal:
Representing San Antonio in the Texas House since 1999, Mike Villarreal has gained a name for himself as a serious legislator with an appealing personality. After growing up in San Antonio, Villarreal went to Texas A&M and then Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and is now pursuing a PhD in public affairs at UT's LBJ School while teaching as an adjunct professor at St. Mary's University. He has spent the last three years focusing on education (a perfect issue to bring statewide) and budget transparency. Villarreal is young, a strong campaigner, and would certainly appeal to Texas's growing Hispanic voting population. The 123rd House District is safely Democratic, making Villarreal an even more appealing potential candidate for Texas Democrats.

Former Houston Mayor Bill White: The Democratic nominee for governor in 2010, Bill White has spent couple of years laying low in Houston while working in investments. White ran an impressive campaign all over Texas in 2010 that garnered national attention, and his loss is blamed in large part on the year's difficulty for Democrats nationwide. A poll released a few weeks ago by Public Policy Polling shows White leading Perry in a 2014 matchup, making a strong case for White's electability. White was a hugely successful mayor, and has a down-to-earth persona appealing to a broad swath of Texans. Earlier in 2010, White sought Kay Bailey Hutchison's Senate seat before she took back her promise to retire. So it's not impossible that White will seek Sen. John Cornyn's Senate seat in 2014. But no one knows what White will do yet - he hasn't said anything either way.

State Senator Kirk Watson: Austin's former mayor is a well-known, personable legislator who would appear to have the energy for a run at the governor's office. He ran for Attorney General in 2002, losing to Greg Abbott, but 2014 is a very different year. Watson might be able to capitalize on his ability to rev up Democrats, six years of experience in the Texas Senate, and plentiful ideas to make a serious run at the governor's office.

More at http://www.burntorangereport.com/ .

Ted Cruz says attacks on fellow Republican Marco Rubio are racial

Sen. Ted Cruz says some of the attacks on fellow Republican Sen. Marco Rubio by Democrats are motivated by race. Cruz said today the fact that Rubio is a Republican Latino poses a threat to political adversaries. “I think Democrats and the media are afraid of Marco Rubio because he is a smart, intelligent, conservative Hispanic. And they are looking for any excuse they can to attack him, because that threatens them,” Cruz told reporters during a tour of a Texas gun manufacturing plant north of Austin. “Look, he took a drink of water in a speech. And it dominated the news for days with one network saying it was a career ender.”

Cruz said the criticism of Rubio’s GOP response following last week’s State of the Union was about more than his being a promising young Republican. “It’s not just a promising Republican. I think the Democrats view Marco Rubio as a particular threat because of his background, his life story. I think it they believe it is in their interest to inflict as much damage as possible and blow things wildly out of proportion.”

During his tour of LaRue Tactical, which makes semiautomatic rifles, Cruz touted his sujpport of gun rights. He said the proposals to limit the size of gun magazines and ban semiautomatic weapons would infringe on the rights of Americans. And he said nothing under consideration in Washington right now would have prevented the Newtown, Conn., mass shooting at an elementary school. With workers applauding his remarks, Cruz said: “No amount of stripping the rights of the men and women here to defend themselves and defend their families will do anything to prevent violent criminals from carrying out horrific acts.”

On the issue of immigration, Cruz said he’s not optimistic Congress will pass immigration reform. He put the blame on President Obama. “In my opinion, the single biggest obstacle to passing immigration reform right now is President Barack Obama…His objective is not to get a deal, not to pass a serious improvement to our immigration system, but rather to force Republicans to walk away from the table to he can have a political issue to campaign on in 2014 and 2016.”

Source: http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2013/02/ted-cruz-says-attacks-on-fellow-republican-marco-rubio-are-racial.html/

‘Crash tax' raising eyebrows in Missouri City

MISSOURI CITY, Texas -- The Houston suburb of Missouri City is going to charge drivers extra to respond to wrecks.

It's known as a "crash tax." It’s a fee to cover the cost of first responders who come to help you out, and that fee could add up to a couple thousand bucks.

Starting March 1, Missouri City's Fire Department will charge a fee for responding to traffic accidents.


The charges range from $500 all the way up to $2,000. The amount depends on the severity of the accident. Those fees target drivers that are at fault, which is little consolation to those skeptical about how it's going to work.

More at http://www.khou.com/news/Crash-tax-raising-eyebrows-in-Missouri-City--191759481.html .
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