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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: 83,575

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

Texas Windstorm Insurance Association Proposes New Rules

[font color=green]The following are excerpts (with minor editing) from an article in the Brownsville Herald.[/font]

Proposed new rules for the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association could impose surcharges on automobile and property insurance policies in coastal counties in the event of catastrophic storms.


The surcharges would be placed on policies of coastal residents only as opposed to spreading the cost around the state to all residents.

According to DOI spokesman Jerry Hagins, the surcharge provision — created by House Bill 4409 in 2009 and amended in 2011 by House Bill 3 — would kick in only if claims from a catastrophic storm-damage exhausted TWIA’s available funds, including the first level of “post-event” bonds: public securities issued to cover excess claims.

Money from the surcharges would be used only to repay the second level of post-event bonds, he said. In some cases, policy holders could be reimbursed for a portion of the surcharge, according to the Department of Insurance.


Elected officials from the coast argue that the burden of covering hurricane damage claims shouldn’t be borne by coastal residents alone, since economic development generated by the coast benefits the state as a whole and not just the coast.

The complete article is at http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/local/article_45b882b4-c449-11e3-9105-001a4bcf6878.html .

Affected areas:

Aransas County
Brazoria County
Calhoun County
Cameron County
Chambers County
Galveston County
Harris* (partial)
Jefferson County
Kenedy County
Kleberg County
Matagorda County
Nueces County
Refugio County
San Patricio County
Willacy County

*When located inside city limits and east of Highway 146, the following portions of Harris County are also included:

Morgan's Point
Shore Acres

Tornado shelters face dilemma with pet lovers

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Jerry Starr thought he was taking the safe approach when a twister was reported heading toward his suburban neighborhood outside Oklahoma City last May. He grabbed his teenage daughter Dyonna and his dog and drove to the local City Hall, which serves as a public storm shelter.

But when he arrived, a police officer told him that the only way they could come in was if Tobi, his shih tzu-yorkie mix, stayed outside. No pets allowed. So Starr and Tobi rode out the storm in his car, one of the most dangerous places he could be.

"I love her and there's no way I was going to live knowing I was abandoning her," said Starr, of Del City.

Modern forecasting technology now gives residents hours of notice of threatening conditions and precise projections of a storm's likely path. Residents are bombarded with broadcast warnings to take shelter.

More at http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/texas/article/Tornado-shelters-face-dilemma-with-pet-lovers-5428583.php .

Obesity forcing dude ranches to get bigger horses

Wranglers in the West who have for decades cashed in on the allure of getting on a horse and setting out on an open trail say they have had to add bigger horses to their stables to help carry larger tourists over the rugged terrain.

The ranches say they are using draft horses, the diesels of the horse world, in ever greater numbers to make sure they don't lose out on income from potential customers of any size who come out to get closer to the West of yesteryear.

"Even though a person might be overweight, or, you know, heavier than the average American, it's kind of nice we can provide a situation where they can ride with their family," said wrangler T. James "Doc" Humphrey.

Humphrey's 10-gallon hat, goatee, black vest and spurs are a tourist favorite at Sombrero Ranches, east of Rocky Mountain National Park, where they have 20 draft horses, including Belgians and Percherons, and 25 draft horses mixes.

More at http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/article/Obesity-forcing-ranches-to-get-bigger-horses-5426914.php .

Lender forecloses on ex-New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's Texas home

A lender has foreclosed on convicted former Mayor Ray Nagin’s townhome in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, Texas, according to recently filed public records.

The Collin County "Notice of Substitute Trustee's Sale" indicates that Nagin and his wife Seletha’s home in the Bella Casa subdivision of Frisco is slated for a foreclosure sale on May 6.

The Nagins bought the townhome in May 2007 and had a deed of trust with Everbank of Jacksonville, Fla., for $157,490. Collin County records show that the the deed of trust was assigned by Whitney Bank to Everbank in February, shortly after Nagin was convicted on 20 of 21 federal corruption counts in New Orleans.

The townhome on Grosseto Street is one of two properties that Nagin and his family lived in rent-free following Hurricane Katrina. The former owner testified at Nagin's trial that Nagin saved nearly $22,000 in rent by living there for free. The government counted that money as some of the former mayor’s ill-gotten gains and unreported taxable income for two counts of tax evasion.

More at http://www.shreveporttimes.com/article/20140424/NEWS01/140424005/?nclick_check=1 .

Some might call it bribery: Perry aides offered Lehmberg a job for resignation

AUSTIN — Aides to Gov. Rick Perry offered Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg continued employment in the district attorney's office if she resigned her elected post following a drunk-driving arrest, officials familiar with the offer said Thursday.

The offer came after Perry threatened and then vetoed $7.5 million in funding for the office's anti-corruption unit, known as the Public Integrity Unit, because Lehmberg had refused to step down.

But several officials and sources told the Express-News that Perry — through intermediaries — offered various options to Lehmberg to entice her resignation, culminating in promises to restore funding to the unit, another position in the District Attorney's office, and selection of her top lieutenant to serve as the new district attorney.

The offer was explicit; “they were clear,” the elected official said.

Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daughtery, a Republican, said he reached out to Perry's office following the veto to see if there was some way to restore state funding for the anti-corruption Public Integrity Unit. He said that negotiations eventually included allowing Democrats, who dominate Travis County politics, to essentially pick Lehmberg's replacement.

More at http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/politics/article/Perry-aides-offered-Lehmberg-a-job-for-resignation-5427558.php .

[font color=green]I just heard the sound of s**t hitting the fan.[/font]

UT Professor Jeremi Suri: 'The Best Way to Think of Putin is Mussolini'

Texas Standard host David Brown spoke with Jeremi Suri, professor at UT-Austin's Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and the Department of History on what could be next.

"My prediction is that we'll see more Russian aggression, not less, in Eastern Ukraine," Suri says. "There will be a call from our allies, Poland, the Baltic States, the Czech Republic – countries that have reason to fear – will be calling for more … American military action in the region. We should expect to see that."

Suri also placed Putin in a historical context.

"The best way to think of Vladimir Putin is Benito Mussolini," Suri says. "This is the leader of a state who has made himself into a dictator, popular at home, by thumping his chest and flexing his muscles. This is a society with an economy that's going in the wrong direction, and the way he builds support at home is by expanding around him."

"He does not have an aim for world domination as Hitler did, and he does not want to challenge the United States in all corners of the globe as the Soviet Union did," Suri continues. "He wants to be the dominant force in Eastern and Central Europe. We can't let that [happen] because we have too many of our own economic interests, and too many allies of our own in the region."

More at http://kut.org/post/ut-professor-jeremi-suri-best-way-think-putin-mussolini .

Probation for dad who broke 6-week-old daughter's bones in 16 places

SAN ANTONIO — A man accused of fracturing his 6-week-old daughter's bones in 16 places in December 2011 was sentenced Thursday to 10 years deferred adjudication probation, meaning if he has no violations during that time he won't have a conviction on his record.

John Anthony Guerrero, 26, pleaded no contest in February to a first-degree felony charge of intentionally causing serious bodily injury to his infant daughter in exchange for a deal that capped his possible punishment at 15 years.

The offense usually is punishable by up to life in prison.

State District Judge Mary Roman told Guerrero the crime was “very serious” before giving him deferred, adding that if he comes before a judge in the future for such an offense he's likely to be given the maximum punishment.

Defense attorney Tony Jimenez told the judge that Guerrero had stayed away from the child since the incident, that CPS had closed its investigation of his client and that Guerrero had continued to financially support the girl.

More at http://www.chron.com/news/local/article/Probation-for-dad-who-broke-6-week-old-daughter-s-5428169.php .

Perry's office: Don't mess with job-creating funds

AUSTIN, Texas —

Top aides to Gov. Rick Perry said Thursday that it would be unwise for the next Texas governor to uproot lucrative taxpayer-footed business funds that are legacies of Perry's 14 years in office but have become less popular among Republicans.

Their defense coincided with another of Perry's out-of-state trips to lure more companies to Texas, this time in New York.

With just eight months left in office, Perry's office is making a renewed case for two pet programs that have given a combined $600 million to small startups and restless businesses as his possible successors question whether the state has gotten its money's worth.

The Texas Enterprise Fund will run out of money to hand out by next year unless replenished, said Jonathan Taylor, the director of economic development in Perry's office. The Emerging Technology Fund has also been impacted by a waning financial commitment from the Legislature's budget-writers in recent years.

More at http://www.statesman.com/ap/ap/texas/as-perry-visits-ny-job-funds-set-for-new-scrutiny/nfgmK/ .

Texas appeals court halts ruling in gay-divorce case

A state appeals court Thursday halted divorce and child-custody proceedings for two San Antonio women who were legally married out of state.

The 4th Court of Appeals ruling came two days after state District Judge Barbara Hanson Nellermoe of San Antonio allowed the divorce case to continue because, she said in a five-page opinion, the state’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional and therefore invalid.

Attorney General Greg Abbott responding by asking the appeals court to grant an emergency stay delaying Nellermoe’s ruling, arguing that speedy action was needed “to avoid the legal chaos that would follow if the trial court’s broadly worded ruling is mistakenly interpreted as authorization for the creation or recognition of same-sex marriages in Bexar County or throughout the state.”

The San Antonio appeals court agreed Thursday afternoon, staying Nellermoe’s ruling while it considers Abbott’s request to vacate the decision as a violation of the district judge’s authority.

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/texas-appeals-court-halts-ruling-in-gay-divorce-ca/nfhC6/ .

Mental Health

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