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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: 76,960

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

The day after Chapter 11, EFH reports $2.3 billion loss in 2013

As negotiations around Energy Future Holdings bore out over recent weeks, the company was sitting on more bad news.

In a long delayed regulatory filing Wednesday, the company reported financial losses in the fourth quarter of 2013 of $1.7 billion. That put them $2.3 billion in the red for 2013.

Relatively speaking, that’s not all that bad for EFH. In 2012 they reported $3.4 billion in losses, its worst year since the company’s shareholders were bought out for $45 billion by KKR & Co., TPG and the private equity arm of Goldman Sachs in 2007.

2013 wasn’t so bad, part of a wider trend in the power sector that has enjoyed modest increases in natural gas prices – and ergo power prices – over the last two years. Revenues at EFH were up about 5 percent in 2013, hitting $5.9 billion.

More at http://bizbeatblog.dallasnews.com/2014/04/the-day-after-chapter-11-efh-reports-big-loss.html/ .

Texas Judges at Federal Courts Struggle As Bench Vacancies Grow

Texas has some of the busiest federal courts in the nation – and some of the most judicial vacancies. That means judges who are on duty in Texas are struggling.

Right now, seven seats are vacant at federal district courts in Texas. Four more vacancies are expected by 2015. That’s more than 20 percent of federal judgeships in the state.

The administrative office of the U.S. Courts has listed four of the current vacancies as judicial emergencies. Meanwhile, three of Texas’ nine seats at the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans are vacant. Those are also listed as emergencies.

"Just think about it this way. If the Dallas Mavericks or the San Antonio Spurs or the Houston Rockets had to take the court with four players instead of five, they wouldn’t be very successful. They couldn’t get the job done. And that’s really where our federal courts are now."

More at http://kut.org/post/texas-judges-federal-courts-struggle-bench-vacancies-grow .

Spotlight on Mexico state after violent eruption in Reynosa, Tamaulipas

CIUDAD MIER, Mexico (AP) — Once again, the bodies are piling up.

At least 14 people died Tuesday in several firefights between federal forces and gunmen in the city of Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas. The dead included 10 alleged gunmen, two federal police officers and two bystanders, Tamaulipas state authorities said.

Gunmen blocked some of the industrial city's main avenues with buses in the afternoon and then ambushed federal police officers on patrol, officials said.

Earlier this month in the border town of Ciudad Mier, gunmen peppered the facade of the main hotel, leaving at least 20 bullet holes in the two-story building. The next day, soldiers killed four of the alleged attackers. A day after that, three other gunmen were found dead near the Rio Grande.

More at http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/texas/article/Spotlight-on-Mexico-state-after-violent-eruption-5438576.php .

Tex. Faith: After the Rel. Right, will the Rel. Left reassert itself with focus on economic justice?

The recent history of religious activism in our politics has been largely about the Christian right. Robust new churches and growing congregations are part of the success story of conservatives who have focused on social and family issues. At the same time, something else has happened. Young Americans today are less affiliated religiously than any time in our history. Fully one-third of Americans under 30 are unaffiliated with a formal religious group, according to Public Religion Research Institute. One in five 18- to 29-year-olds say that religion is not important in their lives, compared to only 10 percent of those 50 and older who say that.

A new report from the Brookings Institution suggests there is an opportunity at the moment for the Religious Left to reassert itself. How? By a concerted focus on economic justice.

The report, “Faith in Equality: Economic Justice and the Future of Religious Progressives,” outlines big challenges for religious political witness: growing secularization, divisions between religious and secular Americans, our polarized politics and a weakened infrastructure for many mainstream churches. According to a Brookings blog post: “The Religious Right spoke to the country’s worries about social change. The religious progressive movement speaks to the country’s desire for economic change. The persistence of poverty, the decline of social mobility and rising inequality all demand new departures in policy and politics. There is wide room for social action but there is no consensus on what form new approaches to poverty, mobility and opportunity should take. “

There’s a counter-view, of course. Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy says “Religious Left dead-end activism” has contributed to problems, not solved them. “The old Religious Left is mostly faded, having helped marginalize the once mainline churches whose elites sustained it. Now liberal religious activism depends on evangelicals falling away from the core of their faith.” Sounds like political polarization.

Recognizing the virtue of helping the poor and promoting equality – which no one disagrees with, at least in principle – is Brookings right? Is the time ripe for an active push for social justice by the Religious Left, including active government involvement, active church engagement? And if so, would that actually stem our growing secularization, help close divisions between religious and secular Americans, and strengthen the weakened infrastructure of liberal churches?

More at http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/2014/04/after-years-of-religious-right-will-the-religious-left-reassert-itself-with-focus-on-economic-justice.html/ .

Lone Star Q is on the move

Lone Star Q is off to a fabulous start — attracting more than 100,000 unique visitors in just our fourth month. This figure is higher than I dreamed possible and on par with LGBT news outlets that have been around for decades.

In May, I plan to take Lone Star Q to the next level by moving the site’s base of operations from Dallas to Austin, which will allow me to better focus on the mission of covering statewide LGBT news.

Posts may be sporadic over the next three weeks as I execute this move, but things should return to normal in plenty of time for LGBT Pride Month.

For now, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and if you’d like to contribute to the cost of building a statewide LGBT news site, donate by going here.

Thank you for your support.

John Wright, Publisher


Mayor Mike Rawlings: Dallas ISD is why Toyota picked Plano over Dallas

Toyota considered moving its national headquarters to Dallas but decided on Plano because it wanted a better public school system, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said Tuesday.

Rawlings said Dallas’ pitch to Toyota matched that of Plano, but it lost to the suburb because of Dallas ISD.

“We don’t get Toyota in Dallas because of the school system. We’ve talked to them. They want to be in Plano,” Rawlings said during a live broadcast of Think on KERA-FM (90.1) .

Rawlings said it’s difficult to sell a company on moving to Dallas when it has so many low-performing schools that produce few graduates. He said that was a factor in 7-Eleven’s decision last month to move its headquarters from Dallas to Irving. “The 7-Eleven CEO said, ‘I need to be where our families are sending their kids to school, and they are not sending them to DISD.’”

Toyota declined to comment about other cities the company considered. Through a spokesman, Toyota said it looked at several criteria, including cost of living, access to an airport and educational opportunities. It considered both K-12 schools and higher education, the spokesman said.

More at http://www.dallasnews.com/news/education/headlines/20140429-mayor-mike-rawlings-dallas-isd-is-why-toyota-picked-plano-over-dallas.ece .

Abbott addresses education, personal attacks over phone after cancellation of Lubbock campaign stop

Gusty winds and brown skies prohibited Attorney General Greg Abbott’s plane from landing in Lubbock Tuesday where he was scheduled to present the second portion of his Educating Texans platform.

The cancellation led supporters of Abbott’s Democratic opponent in the gubernatorial race, Wendy Davis, to speculate he cancelled due to controversy. As attorney general, Abbott is representing the state in a lawsuit filed by school districts, including the Lubbock Independent School District, concerning inadequate school funding.

Davis supporters took to social media, making a play on words that Lubbock was too “Wendy” for Abbott, a Republican.

But Abbott made time for a phone interview with A-J Media from Abilene, where skies were clearer and he was able to make his next scheduled campaign stop. Abbott explained the sky was getting more and more orange as they flew closer to Lubbock for his 1:10 p.m. presentation at Lubbock High School, and what he thought to be a good ol’ fashioned West Texas dust storm turned into zero visibility, like a dense fog.

More at http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2014-04-29/abbott-addresses-education-personal-attacks-over-phone-after-cancellation .

Students for Justice in Palestine reinstated at Northeastern University

SIX WEEKS after Northeastern University's unprecedented suspension of the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (NU-SJP), members of the group were informed on April 22 of their full reinstatement as a campus club. The university also promised the NU-SJP chapter increased funding for future semesters.

This victory is an inspiring achievement, especially considering the relentless attack by the university that has gone on for more than two years.

NU-SJP was suspended on March 7 for allegedly violating campus codes of conduct while distributing mock eviction flyers highlighting the expulsion and displacement of Palestinians from their homes.

Two of the group's youngest members, both women of color, were threatened with expulsion from school, and police individually harassed them, along with other NU-SJP members of color or members with Arabic-sounding names. The publicity and climate of fear perpetrated by the university also led to death threats against chapter members.


'Keep It Red' Fights Democrats to Keep Texas Republicans in Power

[font color=blue size=5]Logo
To Avoid

It was the big news immediately after the 2012 Presidential election: some of Pres. Barack Obama's top campaign generals were on their way to Texas to turn the solidly conservative state into a purple state – and eventually a Democratic stronghold.

Battleground Texas leader Jeremy Bird was grilled on the plan by Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert:


But for every Texas Democrat who got excited about what changes could lie ahead, there's a Republican who wants to make sure that doesn't happen.

Conservatives started by giving their prediction for what "turning Texas blue" would mean for the state: doom and gloom – higher taxes and fewer jobs– as forecast by Sen. John Cornyn and his side project Keep It Red.

More at http://kut.org/post/keep-it-red-fights-democrats-keep-texas-republicans-power .

U.S. Supreme Court upholds power plant pollution rule; Texas led opposition

The U.S. Supreme Court bolstered President Barack Obama’s environmental agenda, upholding a rule designed to curb emissions from coal-fired power plants in 28 states.

The justices, voting 6-2 to overturn a lower court, said the rule was within the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority under the Clean Air Act. The regulation targets air pollution that crosses state lines.

The decision may prompt utilities such as Southern Co. and American Electric Power Co. to shutter coal-fired power plants, as it would require them to install more pollution-control systems, according to Rob Barnett, an energy analyst for Bloomberg Government. The administration says the rule will prevent as many as 34,000 premature deaths a year.

Attorneys general from 14 states, led by Texas, challenged the rule alongside Energy Future Holdings Corp.’s Luminant, Entergy Corp., Edison International, Peabody Energy Corp., AEP, Southern and the United Mine Workers of America.

More at http://www.dallasnews.com/business/energy/20140429-u.s.-supreme-court-upholds-power-plant-pollution-rule-texas-led-opposition.ece .

Related thread in LBN: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1014791145
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