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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: 78,438

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

Fallin sent budget cut bill

The budget bill that slashes $44.7 million from state agencies this year is headed to Gov. Mary Fallin's desk.

Fallin is expected to sign the bill, which passed the Senate on Wednesday on a 29-12 vote. It passed the House on Monday by 67-24.

House Bill 1020 closes out work on the fiscal year 2018 budget cycle that ends in July. If the bill is signed, most agencies must cut between 1 percent and 2 percent from their remaining spending plans.

The original 2018 budget was adopted in May as lawmakers wrapped up the last legislative session, but it was partially funded by a cigarette fee that the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional in August.

Read more: http://newsok.com/fallin-sent-budget-cut-bill/article/5584281

Oklahoma congressmen say fault for mass shootings falls on Hollywood, video games and societal ills

In a recurring cycle that has come to define modern American politics, a mass murder is followed by a plea for congressional legislation, followed by opposition to such legislation and, in nearly all cases, governmental inaction.

The question of what, if anything, Congress should do after 17 students were murdered at a Florida high school on Feb. 15 has divided the American electorate, as it did after 58 people were killed at a Las Vegas concert last October and 26 were killed at a Texas church in November.

For members of Congress from Oklahoma, all of whom are conservative Republicans, answers lie in slight modifications to existing gun laws, the healing of societal ills and religion.

Rep. Steve Russell, of Oklahoma City, owns a small rifle manufacturing company. In a newsletter to constituents a day after the Florida high school shooting, he wrote that “while it is important to discuss the implements and devices used to carry out these heinous acts, we cannot get to a solution simply by going after the tools."

Read more: http://newsok.com/oklahoma-congressmen-say-fault-for-mass-shootings-falls-on-hollywood-video-games-and-societal-ills/article/5584454

Oklahoma health department layoffs could mean hassles for patients

Patients and nurses in places like Creek County will bear the brunt of the pain.

It likely will take longer to get an appointment at the local health department, and the convenience of a walk-in clinic may disappear.

Some clinics will be only a few sick employees away from shutting for the day.

Services like family planning could be offered in fewer places, forcing some rural patients to make long drives.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health announced late last year that it would lay off about 10 percent of its workforce. The department is struggling with the aftermath of a financial crunch, allegedly caused by overspending and shifting federal money in questionable ways under former commissioner Terry Cline. He resigned last fall, as did several other top officials in the department.

Read more: http://newsok.com/state-health-department-layoffs-hit-clinics/article/5581972

UT-Austin Pres. Greg Fenves broke school rules by flying on premium airfare tickets, audit finds

by Shannon Najmabadi, Texas Tribune

University of Texas at Austin President Greg Fenves and his wife violated school policy by flying first or business class “multiple times” without a regularly approved reason, a University of Texas System audit says.

After the audit recommended that the president’s office stop “purchasing premium airfare,” the school promised that Fenves and his wife would comply with the rules going forward. A university spokesman, Gary Susswein, also told The Texas Tribune on Monday that Fenves will reimburse the university about $27,000 for the cost added by the premium airfare.

"The trips identified by the audit were taken for official university business," Susswein said. "They were not paid for with tax or tuition dollars, but with gift funds specifically donated for presidential expenses. We acknowledge the audit results and the need to follow university rules."

The February audit reviewed the travel expenses of Fenves and his spouse between June 2015 and June 2017 – a period in which Fenves also proposed back-to-back tuition increases for UT-Austin’s students. University officials said Fenves flew business class around 50 times during that span. His wife, Carmel, did so about 40 times.

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2018/02/26/ut-austin-president-greg-fenves-broke-school-rules-flying-premium-airf/

Austin police officer accused of drunken driving down Sixth Street at 65 mph, affidavit says

An Austin police officer was arrested early Monday on a charge of driving while intoxicated after a fellow officer spotted him doing 65 mph on West Sixth Street, according to an arrest affidavit.

Shawnn Williams, 34, was pulled over around 1:36 a.m. Austin police confirmed Williams is an officer with the Police Department.

The document says an officer was parking in a garage in the 1200 block of West Sixth Street when he heard a loud car approaching. The officer saw a red Corvette speeding by and rolled out on the street to catch up.

The affidavit says the officer first clocked the car with front-moving radar at 65 mph on West Sixth Street between Lamar Boulevard and Mopac Boulevard (Loop 1).

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/breaking-news/breaking-austin-police-officer-accused-drunken-driving-down-sixth-street-mph-affidavit-says/Gv3Rlv04bME4cPVJFKBwJO/

U.S. Reps. Doggett, Castro call for audit of immigrant detention center

Two U.S. congressmen representing Texas called for an “expedited audit” of the T. Don Hutto immigrant detention center in Taylor, citing a female asylum seeker’s allegations that she was sexually assaulted by a guard and similar allegations from two other detainees.

U.S. Reps. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, and Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, wrote to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials asking them to “direct an investigation of ICE’s handling of sexual assault cases in Texas immigration detention facilities.”

Additionally, five detainees reported sexual assault at the T. Don Hutto center from 2007 to 2011, the letter says.

In total, 44 other members of Congress co-signed the letter, according to Doggett’s office.

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/local/reps-doggett-castro-call-for-audit-immigrant-detention-center/5n4wCnmqd72jGaNDoQUxSN/

In split vote, Austin ISD approves removing Confederate school names

In a split vote, the Austin school board Monday night approved stripping Confederate names from five of its schools.

Seven trustees voted for changing the school names. Trustees Ann Teich and Julie Cowan voted against.

Trustee Ted Gordon, the only black member of the board who has been been a staunch supporter of renaming schools, said no African American had any determinate say in naming Austin schools after Confederate figures.

“I will be the only African American who has had the opportunity to vote on the appropriateness of naming AISD schools after such Confederate associated individuals in our district’s history,” Gordon said. “With this motion I mean to correct this injustice.”

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/local-education/split-vote-austin-isd-approves-removing-confederate-school-names/qjgZJebaBNZi8tFp9HISRI/

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital pays $1.65M fine for false claims

BRATTLEBORO — Brattleboro Memorial Hospital paid $1,655,000 to the United States and the state of Vermont to resolve civil claims that it "knowingly" presented or caused to be presented "false claims for payment to Medicare and Medicaid."

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Vermont, from approximately January 2012 through September 2014, "BMH knowingly submitted or caused to be submitted a number of outpatient laboratory claims lacking documentation necessary to support reimbursement by Medicare and Medicaid." Doing so was a violation of the federal False Claims Act and the Vermont False Claims Act, stated a press release issued Monday afternoon.

The $1,655,000 will be divided between the federal Medicare, federal Medicaid, and Vermont Medicaid programs to which BMH submitted the alleged false claims.

"Pursuant to the settlement agreement, the settlement and payment are neither an admission of liability by BMH, nor a concession by the United States or State of Vermont that their claims are not well founded," stated the press release.

Read more: http://www.reformer.com/stories/bmh-settles-false-claims-allegation,533175

Transgender wrestler Mack Beggs is booed after second straight state title win

Mack Beggs has captured his second straight state wrestling title.

And once again his state gold medal ceremony included a mix of cheers and jeers from the crowd.

On Saturday at the Berry Center in Cypress, Texas, the transgender male wrestler capped a perfect 36-0 season by claiming his second straight UIL girls Class 6A state title in the 110-pound weight class by decision, 15-3, against Chelsea Sanchez of Katy Morton Ranch High School.

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Last season, Beggs also defeated Sanchez, 12-1, in the girls Class 6A championship last year. As a junior. He finished with a perfect 56-0 record.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/latest-news/article202001904.html

Roger Goodell plans to demand millions of dollars from Jerry Jones, report says

The public feud between Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell could soon take another turn.

The New York Times reported Monday that Goodell plans to "demand millions of dollars" from Jones and to label his actions last year as detrimental to the NFL.

The root of the discipline was Jones’ challenging of Goodell’s contract extension and public opposition to the six-game suspension for Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

Jones will be ordered to pay the legal fees that the league's compensation committee incurred defending itself over Goodell's contract, as well as the legal expenses the NFL spent defending its decision to suspend Elliott.

Read more here: https://www.star-telegram.com/sports/nfl/dallas-cowboys/article202232854.html
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