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Gender: Male
Hometown: Texas
Home country: United States
Current location: Red Hell Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 76,959

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

Dallas rattled by 3.1-magnitude quake Friday morning, the first in more than a month

Best I can tell the earth hasn’t quaked ’round these parts since January 23, when the U.S. Geological Survey recorded two micro-quakes along what they later determined to be a two-mile-long fault line stretching from West Dallas to Irving. But on this Winter Weather Advisory Friday morning, they have returned.

The U.S. Geological Survey confirms: At 6:18 this morning a 3.1-magnitude quake rattled Regal Row near the Trinity River. Of course, if we’ve learned anything from these quakes in recent months, it’s that locations tend to change.

Though relatively small, the 3.1-magnitude return of the quake was impressive enough to awaken the slumbering all the way from Irving and Northwest Dallas and Carrollton to parts of East Dallas, if Twitter is an accurate gauge of anything.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service says we’re looking at around two inches of snow today, followed by a glazing of freezing drizzle. I think we all know what that means.

Read more: http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2015/02/dallas-rattled-by-3-1-magnitude-quake-friday-morning-the-first-in-more-than-a-month.html/

Former Gov. Rick Perry: Obama has made the world less safe

OXON HILL, Md. — Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Friday blasted President Barack Obama's record on foreign policy, calling for a harder-line approach in the Middle East and accusing the administration of "making grave calculations that make the world less safe."

Speaking on the second day of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, the likely Republican presidential contender said, "Our country has entered a time of testing, and our political leadership has failed the test."

"At no time in the last 25 years has the future been more uncertain and the world more dangerous than it is today," he said, calling the Islamic State group seizing territory in the Middle East "the worst threat to freedom since communism."

Perry, who has been studying up on foreign policy and trying to reintroduce himself to voters after a poorly received 2012 run, also took a hard line on Iran, saying that barring the country from developing nuclear weapons should be non-negotiable.

Read more: http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2015-02-27/former-gov-rick-perry-obama-has-made-world-less-safe#.VPCljS7y1Z8

How Much Will Israel/Adelson Spend To Kill Rand Paul's Presidential Run?

Sheldon Adelson says he won't pick the GOP presidential nominee until next year. But that doesn't mean he and Miriam are sitting around clipping coupons now. As Israel's top political enforcer for the American Republican Party, Adelson's work is never done. Even if they haven't decided who to get behind for the presidency yet, they know one Republican Israel hates even more than Obama: Rand Paul. And Adelson isn't having any of it. Note: Paul would, in all likelihood, make an abysmal president, one of the worst imaginable. But that doesn't mean he's wrong about everything. In fact, many of the things Adelson and Israel fear the most from the Kentucky Republican are among the more alluring prospects around his campaign.

He doesn't buy into the rote right-wing tyranny and suppression of civil liberties that has become part and parcel of the dominant Adelson wing of the GOP. And, whatever else you can say about Paul, his primary loyalty is to the United States and the American people, not to Israel. Adelson is determined to nip this one in the bud-- and he has the money to do it-- and growing backing for an aggressive foreign policy from the Republican base pushed, as usual, by our corporate yellow journalists.

Nearly three-quarters of Republicans now favor sending ground troops into combat against the Islamic State, according to a CBS News poll last week. And in Iowa and South Carolina, two early nominating states, Republicans said military action against the group was, alongside economic matters, the most important issue in the 2016 election, according to an NBC survey released last week.

...(T)he hawkishness now defining the early campaign could imperil the presidential hopes of Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, the libertarian-leaning Republican who embraces a more restrained approach to American engagement with the world.

Read more: http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2015/02/how-much-will-israeladelson-spend-to.html

If passed, 'campus carry' could bring cost UT System $39 million

The UT System estimates “campus carry,” if passed, would cost UT campuses $39 million in additional security measures, but a UT-Austin fiscal note said the bill would have no significant fiscal impact for the school.

According to UT-Austin’s fiscal note, which estimates expenses associated with campus carry, the policy would not cost the University any additional funds. The System gathered the documents and submitted them to the Legislative Budget Board for review.

UT-Austin spokesman Gary Susswein said the note operates under the assumption that students would fund any storage costs for guns in residence halls. Susswein said it is early in the legislative session, and the University budget for campus carry is not official and may change as the session continues.

“If our decision ends up different than our assumption, there could be some costs to the University,” Susswein said.

Read more: http://www.dailytexanonline.com/2015/02/26/if-passed-campus-carry-could-bring-cost-ut-system-39-million

Lege Lines: HHSC Chief Janek gets grilled, transportation moves, and more

Schadenfreude: a German term, literally translated as "harm-joy," meaning taking pleasure in the discomfort of others. It's hard not to imagine that anyone who faced a tough grilling from Kyle Janek when he was a senator was feeling a little glee when the Health and Human Services commissioner took a roasting on Feb. 18 from the Senate Finance Committee over the infamous 21CT contract. The attack began, unsurprisingly, with Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, who has already called for Janek's resignation (see "Whitmire: Janek Must Go From Health and Human Services," Jan. 15). The dean of the Senate bluntly asked, "How can this committee have confidence in your oversight of these agencies?"

However, this was just the beginning of a blistering bipartisan cross-examination that centered on the no-bid contract deal with 21CT, an Austin-based IT firm that was supposed to detect Medicaid fraud, but ended up costing Texans $110 million for little return. And this was not the only contract under scrutiny. Lawmakers also pushed hard on a telecommunications deal with AT&T that exploded from $1 million to $105 million. Then there was a second, separate no-bid deal – this one with Accenture to process Medicaid claims – a contract that only existed because the state fired Xerox from doing the same job. Then there were the massive pay raises for politically connected employees, and a hair-raising dissection of nepotism: Janek's chief of staff, Erica Stick, was de facto supervisor to chief counsel Jack Stick, her husband, and approved a highly unusual $97,020 academic reimbursement to Jan­ek's deputy chief of staff, Casey Haney, who also happened to be Stick's chief of staff back when he was a state rep. "That's a pretty obvious conflict," said Whitmire.

Voices were raised as Janek became confrontational with Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Hous­ton, after she pressed him on his relationship with Haney. There was a personal tinge, since Haney was with a campaign running against Huffman in a 2008 special election to replace none other than Janek (Huffman described Haney as "a hitman". Janek banged his hand on the desk repeatedly as tempers frayed, and by the end of the meeting, Huffman said that "I just don't think he's in a position to lead a multibillion-dollar agency."

In a moment of contrition, Janek admitted he had made personnel decisions that were "poorly handled," but he ended on a pugnacious note. "I find problems, I fix them, and if they get me into hot water because I now demonstrated there's a problem some place, so be it."

Read more: http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2015-02-27/lege-lines/

Roswell Newspaper Suggests Blacks And Latinos Should Leave Town

Rosewell Daily Record/Facebook
An editorial cartoon published by the Roswell Daily Record questions the merit of naming local street names after national civil rights figures.

Well, the above cartoon should clear up any confusion, Mexicans should head to California because César Chávez is from there and blacks should go to Atlanta because it's Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthplace.

Like the cartoon tried to clear up confusion, so did an unnamed staffer on the Roswell Daily Record's Facebook page, saying the editorial cartoon actually references a hyper-local street-naming issue in Alien City.

"The intent was that just as Larry Bird has no connection to Roswell, neither do MLK nor César Chávez. The cartoonist meant that if we are going to have honorary street signs, the individuals named on those signs should have connections to Roswell. The intent of the cartoon was that the idea of renaming streets here in Roswell is mostly considered superfluous," according to a newspaper staffer.

Larry Bird also stands as no comparison to Chávez or King, neither of whom ever earned an NBA championship ring, though they influenced society for the better as champions of civil rights.

Read more: http://www.sacurrent.com/Blogs/archives/2015/02/20/roswell-newspaper-suggests-blacks-and-latinos-should-leave-town

Former Maverick County commissioner sentenced to prison for 10 yrs, ordered to pay $560K restitution

DEL RIO, Texas (AP) — A former South Texas county commissioner has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison as part of an ongoing federal corruption probe of the county government and its contractors.

Ex-Maverick County Commissioner Rodolfo Bainet Heredia of Eagle Pass also was ordered Monday to pay more than $560,000 in restitution to the county after he pleaded guilty last summer to a bribery count.

Heredia, 56, admitted that he manipulated the county's bidding process in 2010-2011 to guarantee that contractors he favored would receive county construction contracts. He also admitted that he directed the contractors to submit inflated bids to the county to assure sufficient funds for a profit for the contractor and bribes for himself.

U.S. District Judge Alia Moses of Del Rio also sentenced ex-county employee Alejandra Garcia and contractors Marcelo Alvarez, Salvador Casillon and Saul Lombrana on Monday for their guilty pleas to bribery. All were from Eagle Pass.

Read more: http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/texas/article_8dda1599-cc42-56d9-b477-05ae8d0001b2.html

Ted Cruz a conservative star at CPAC, but he’s not alone

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Sen. Ted Cruz warned conservative activists Thursday not to buy rivals’ claims that they’re true conservatives. None, he said, would ever actually stand up and confess ahead of the 2016 race, “Actually, I’m a squishy moderate who stands for nothing.”

Better, he said, to find a candidate who bears the scars of ideological combat. In other words, someone like him.

“Demand action, not talk,” Cruz told thousands of activists at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, a critical stop on the way to the GOP nomination.

Anyone looking for signs that Cruz is serious about running for president — and that he has some traction among the GOP base — could find them at the massive Gaylord National resort outside Washington. Cruz’s tart rhetoric has made him a star at the annual gathering since before his election in 2012.

Read more if you have the intestinal fortitude: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/national-politics/20150226-ted-cruz-a-conservative-star-at-cpac-but-hes-not-alone.ece

UT/Texas Tribune Poll Validates the Effectiveness of Texas GOP Propaganda

By Carol Morgan

I’m not surprised at all at the results of the new UT-Texas Tribune political poll, but you need to read it for yourself.

The overall take-away is that most Texans see the Federal Government as the enemy; 57 percent of Texans, to be exact. And I’m not shocked even one bit, given the fact that Texans have been repeatedly subjected to anti-Fed talking points since the Reagan era which gave way to 14 years’ worth of false propaganda and twisted facts from our former Governor.

Perry bluffed his way through more than a decade with half-truths about the Texas Miracle; claiming that there was an exodus of Americans to Texas that accounted for Texas’ population growth, when truthfully, it was due to Texans having babies.

And I didn’t see him rejecting stimulus funds either. As a matter of fact, the Guv accepted more stimulus funds than any other governor except the governors of California and New York. During the 2011 Texas wildfires, he happily accepted federal aid, to the tune of $23 million dollars and then lied about it. I didn’t see him turning down Federal funds for help with the rush of Hurricane Katrina survivors who fled to Texas, nor Hurricane Rita in 2005 or Ike in 2008.

When Governor Abbott served as Texas Attorney General, he spent over $65 million dollars of your money playing “who’ll-blink-first” with Washington. It wasn’t because he had a good reason; it was merely a continuation of a propaganda strategy that’s worked successfully for over 30 years.

And Texas has been paying for this high-priced duel ever since.

The Federal Government as bogeyman is nothing more than the tired overused trope of targeting a common enemy to knit the masses together out of fear. Conservative Texas politicians proudly equate themselves with Moses leading the herd out of the wilderness. It’s laughable, but the cheering crowds loved it.

If you’re familiar with history, the common enemy technique has been used repeatedly since the glory days of Rome. It was used in the Cold War and every preemptive strike, military initiative, or war since. The ISIS even uses it today against the West.

Unfortunately for us and fortunately for GOP politicians, it also distracts citizens from politically inconvenient issues and just like a common pickpocket, they use the colorful diversion to line their own pockets.

All the while, Texans devote their attentions to half-truths and trigger words like liberty, freedom, patriot, government overreach, socialism; not to mention religious references intended to serve as a kind of “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval”.

Texans should be dedicating their attentions to more complex and controversial events that highlight the unabated corruption within the Texas GOP and their agency appointees. It’s a betrayal of Texas citizens, but it goes completely unnoticed because it cannot be explained with the words "patriot" or "small government".

I put the blame solely on the citizens of Texas. They’ve swallowed this dumbest of dumb GOP conversation as if it were a tasty lunch and they’re asking for seconds.

Ask any Texan citizen about the 21CT corruption, $2100 desk chairs, outsourcing contracts with zero oversight, full tuition reimbursements for state employees, wrongdoing within the Texas Enterprise Fund, the CPRIT controversy of which Abbott was in charge, and the 2/3 Senate rule change that diluted your voice….I guarantee you'll be met with blank stares.

And it’s been a terrible, terrible fault within the Texas Democratic Party to let these things go unchallenged. What a missed opportunity! They should have taken hold of these crimes of the Texas GOP like a rabid pit bull and never let go. They should have been reminding Texans LOUDLY every day of the dishonesty of the Texas GOP. Texas Republicans should be feeling as if they've been beaten with a big Democratic baseball bat every. single. day.

Daron Shaw, a professor of government at UT-Austin and co-director of the UT/TT Poll had some very astute observations about this poll; voters don’t pay attention to the complex and detailed problems of governance until it’s an election year.

And that’s the crux of Texas’ voting problem. If Senator Cowboy Bob votes against local control of fracking during a legislative session, but uses “Give Back Local Control” as one of his campaign talking points next year and no one is paying attention...then they’ve failed to realize that Senator Cowboy Bob is an abject liar and probably in the back pocket of his energy donors.

People don’t pay attention until it’s time to vote, if then….Texans get all their political news as a part of a water cooler discussion or at some barbeque joint at lunch, or in a Twitter quip that’s less than 140 characters, then they pass around these murky epiphanies disguised as truth like the childhood game of gossip, the original message unrecognizable by the time it gets around the circle.

Always, always...nothing rooted in fact, no truth, but there’s plenty of dubious sources like Rush Limbaugh or that bastion of truthful journalism, Fox News. That’s IF they used sources at all.

People would be wise to remember Pericles, a wise and influential man in the Golden Age of Athens. Thousands of years ago, he remarked, “Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.”

The Republican kingmakers probably know you better than you know yourself. That’s why their political manipulations are so deep and effective.


Carol Morgan is a career/college counselor, writer, speaker, former Democratic candidate for the Texas House and the award-winning author of Of Tapestry, Time and Tears, a historical fiction about the 1947 Partition of India. Email Carol at elizabethcmorgan@sbcglobal.net , follow her on Twitter and on Facebook or visit her writer’s blog at www.carolmorgan.org


This blog is post in its entirety with permission.

States Are Blocking Local Regulations, Often at Industry’s Behest

Darren Hodges, a Tea Party Republican and councilman in the windy West Texas city of Fort Stockton, is a fierce defender of his town’s decision to ban plastic bags. It was a local solution to a local problem and one, he says, city officials had a “God-given right” to make.

But the power of Fort Stockton and other cities to govern themselves is under attack in the state capital, Austin. The new Republican governor, Greg Abbott, has warned that several cities are undermining the business-friendly “Texas model” with a patchwork of ill-conceived regulations. Conservative legislators, already angered by a ban on fracking that was enacted by popular vote in the town of Denton last fall, quickly followed up with a host of bills to curtail local power.

“The truth is, Texas is being California-ized, and you may not even be noticing it,” Mr. Abbott said in a speech at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, an influential conservative think tank, just before he took office last month. “Large cities that represent about 75 percent of the population in this state are doing this to us. Unchecked overregulation by cities will turn the Texas miracle into the California nightmare.”

His salvo caught Texas cities by surprise. But pre-empting the power of local governments is becoming a standard part of the legislative playbook in many states where Republicans who control statehouses are looking to block or overturn the actions of leaders, and even voters, in municipalities that are often more liberal.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/24/us/govern-yourselves-state-lawmakers-tell-cities-but-not-too-much.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share&_r=0
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