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TexasTowelie

Profile Information

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: 76,961

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

Coerced Abortion Bill Sent Back for Rewrite

The craftsmanship of a bill authored by state Rep. Molly White, R-Belton, intended to prevent women from being coerced into having abortions was met with skepticism on Wednesday by the chairman of the House State Affairs Committee, who suggested the freshman lawmaker get some "real legal folks" to help draft a better measure.

White’s House Bill 1648, which came before the committee, would make it a crime to coerce or force women to have abortions, and create a 72-hour waiting period for women who indicate they are being coerced or forced. But state affairs Chairman Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, left the measure pending after other lawmakers and some anti-abortion advocates raised concerns about the details of the bill.

“This committee has passed out a number of landmark pieces of legislation in this area, and the one thing I think we’ve learned is they have to be extremely well-crafted,” Cook said in a directive for White to beef up the bill’s language so it can withstand additional scrutiny and possible legal challenges. “My suggestion is that you get some real legal folks to help engage on this, so if you can keep this moving forward you can potentially have the success others have had.”

Cook’s remarks came after Republican state Rep. Dan Huberty of Houston, the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops and Texas Alliance for Life — all of whom supported the premise of the bill — raised concerns about the unintended consequences of the legislation.

Read more: http://www.texastribune.org/2015/04/29/chairman-says-coerced-abortion-bill-needs-rewrite/

[font color=green]Republican nut-job Molly White was slapped down by her fellow Republicans.[/font]

Cruz: Obama Has "Inflamed Racial Tensions"

Sen. Ted Cruz said Wednesday that President Obama has aggravated racial tensions around the country rather than unifying the nation.

"President Obama, when he was elected, he could have been a unifying figure. He could have chosen to be a leader on race relations," Cruz said at a U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce event in Washington. "And he hasn’t done that. He’s made decisions that I think have inflamed racial tensions. That have divided us rather than bringing us together."

Cruz cited a comment made by Vice President Joe Biden, who told a crowd in Virginia that Mitt Romney's proposed policies would put people "back in chains."

The Texas Republican was asked about race relations in the U.S. after days of protests, which turned violent Monday night, in Baltimore. People took to the streets after the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died of a severe spinal injury April 19 while in police custody.

Read more: http://www.texastribune.org/2015/04/29/cruz-obama-has-inflamed-racial-tensions/

In Houston, Bush Makes Personal Appeal to Latino Evangelicals

HOUSTON — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush made an impassioned and personal appeal here Wednesday to the Hispanic evangelicals whose support he hopes will make him a unique presidential prospect in a GOP field grappling with how to reach the growing voting bloc.

Stressing a biography filled with connections to the Spanish-speaking community, Bush took the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference on a tour of his gubernatorial record on education, meshing it with his broader message of his nascent 2016 campaign.

“We should have a country where it doesn’t matter where you come from, it doesn’t matter where you were born, it doesn’t matter if you have a vowel at the end of your name, it doesn’t matter the color of your skin, it doesn’t matter the level of income of your family. Every American – every person in this country – should have a right to rise up, a right to pursue their own dreams,” Bush told an audience that included his parents, former President George H.W. Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush.

Bush emphasized his efforts to overhaul the education system in Florida — especially for low-income students — by introducing school choice, grading schools on an A-F scale and providing more early-education opportunities. The initiatives, he said, ultimately helped close the achievement gap between Hispanic and white students in Florida, leading to record increases in high school graduation rates and the number of students going on to college.

Read more: http://www.texastribune.org/2015/04/29/houston-bush-makes-personal-appeal-latinos/

Tea party support revives Democrat’s bill to kill controversial fees (drivers license surcharges)

Sudden and unexpected support from tea party Republican state senators revived a liberal Democrat’s going-nowhere bill Wednesday, giving hope to almost 1.3 million Texans whose driver’s licenses have been suspended under a controversial state program.

Senate Bill 93 would scrap the 12-year-old Driver Responsibility Program, which tacks on additional fees for those convicted of driving while intoxicated, without a valid license or without insurance. Drivers who accumulate at least six points for moving violations also pay a surcharge.

http://www.statesman.com/news/news/tea-party-support-revives-democrats-bill-to-kill-c/nk59F/ (subscription required)

Lawmakers vote to exempt thousands of high school seniors from graduation exams

High school seniors would be able to fail two of the state’s five high school graduation tests and still receive a diploma under a bill approved by the Senate and sent to the governor on Wednesday. The measure would make it possible for thousands of seniors to be exempted from graduation requirements this year.

Under the bill by Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, those students would have to pass at least three of the exams and get a passing average in all their core classes. In addition, they would have to get the testing waiver approved by a special graduation committee appointed for each affected student.

Sponsors said the measure is aimed at the 28,000 seniors from the Class of 2015 who are in danger of not graduating because they have not passed one or more of the STAAR end-of-course tests. That figure represents about 10 percent of the class.

Three of the five EOC exams – Algebra I, English I and biology – are typically given in the first year of high school and another test – English II during sophomore year. The fifth exam, in U.S. history, is mostly taken in junior year. For Algebra I and biology, students only have to get 37 percent of the test items correct to pass.

Read more: http://educationblog.dallasnews.com/2015/04/lawmakers-vote-to-exempt-thousands-of-high-school-seniors-from-graduation-exams.html/

[font color=green]Considering that these are multiple choice tests which normally have five choices theoretically students should get 20% correct by random selection so 37% is a very low bar to pass the exams.[/font]

Health inspectors found crickets, mildew at Blue Bell plant

State health inspectors found crickets in a storage room, dirty mop buckets and mildew at Blue Bell’s ice cream production plant in Brenham, according to records obtained by NBC5.

The Texas Department of State Health Services found more than a dozen issues during inspections conducted from Jan., 1, 2011 to April 15, 2015, according to documents NBC5 obtained under the Texas open records law.

A health department spokeswoman has repeatedly described the iconic Texas company’s inspection track over the years as “good” with “very few issues, and none that required a warning letter or penalty.”

Questions about the cleanliness at the ice cream maker’s four plants, including two in Texas, were raised after health officials found evidence of Listeria in some of Blue Bell’s products. The company has said it found traces of Listeria, a potentially deadly bacteria, on two lines in two plants – one plant in Brenham and one in Oklahoma.The company this week launched intensive training and cleaning sessions at all four of its plants. The move, which includes disassembling and swabbing equipment, comes one week after Blue Bell launched a recall of all of its products.

Read more: http://bizbeatblog.dallasnews.com/2015/04/health-inspectors-found-crickets-mildew-at-blue-bell-plant-report.html/

Fifth Circuit Hears Texas Voter ID Arguments

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals finally waded into the Texas voter ID law case on Tuesday, and based on how things went, it's almost impossible to guess how the Fifth will rule.

Texas has one of the strictest voter ID laws in the country. The law, Senate Bill 14, was passed by the state legislature and signed into law by then-Gov. Rick Perry in 2011, requiring all voters to present one of the listed acceptable forms of photo ID in order to vote.

Opponents of the law have maintained that the old voter ID requirements, where people could show up with any ID, down to a utility bill, worked perfectly and that people never used the loose requirements to do any sneaky voting.

The defendants argued that the law prevents voter fraud by ensuring that those who vote are who they claim to be based on their photo ID.

Read more: http://blogs.houstonpress.com/news/2015/04/fifth_circuit_panel_hear_texas_voter_id_arguments.php

Texas teacher receives National Teacher of the Year award at the White House



President Barack Obama presented Shanna Peeples of Amarillo, Texas with the National Teacher of the Year award at the White House Wednesday for her work teaching refugee students in a poor community.

Video of the ceremony at http://dallas.suntimes.com/dal-news/7/75/109204/texas-teacher-receives-national-honor

In Richardson Mayor Scandal, the Cover-Up Is Worse than the Crime

Richardson is supposed to be an orderly place, where a citizen can settle into a comfortable existence, which includes twice-weekly trash pickup and all the plastic grocery bags one can carry, and gaze dismissively down Central Expressway to the shit-show at Dallas City Hall while thinking, Not here.

And so things used to be, back before Mayor Laura Maczka threw her weight behind the Palisades, a mixed-use development along Central with 1,000 apartments adjacent to the NIMBY fortress of Canyon Creek; before rumors began circulating that she was in bed (literally) with the developer behind the project, JP Realty Partners' Mark Jordan; before she admitted in a March ethics filing that she had taken a job with the developer she was being accused of bedding; and before Brett Shipp cornered her with a vaguely flirtatious email between the two suggesting they take a jaunt together to NorthPark mall. Suddenly, Richardson city government has become a shit-show, too. The climax came -- or seemed to come -- Tuesday night, when the city unveiled the findings of an outside attorney's month-long ethics investigation spurred by Maczka's admission that she'd taken a job with Jordan.

But that summary undersells Tuesday night's drama. It is probably best described as a play in three acts, albeit one penned by a playwright who can't understand that the action is supposed to gradually crescendo into a climax and who inexplicably buries the crucial plot twist in a footnote.

Act I

Richardson's council chamber was packed. Five minutes before the scheduled 7 p.m. start time, a cop was standing at the door sending late-arriving citizens into an overflow room where the meeting would be broadcast. I pulled the I-write-for-the-Dallas-Observer card, but the officer rejected it on the grounds that all the seats were taken and that if he let me go in and stand and watch the meeting, he would have to let the rest of the people stand and watch the meeting which, I dunno, he feared would tire their legs or something. A scene was averted when a passing city staffer directed me to an open seat next to a gentleman in a Hawaiian shirt. Glancing behind me, I noticed that Brett Shipp had somehow secured permission to stand. His legs seemed to be holding up fine.

For more sordid details read at: http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2015/04/in_richardson_mayor_scandal_the_cover-up_is_worse_than_the_crime.php

Assistant Dallas DA Said He "Hoped He Got Fired" in DWI Arrest Video. Wish Granted.

Give former Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Justin Moore credit, the man sure knows how to make an exit.

Cops pulled him over after he was seen weaving in and out of traffic at more than 100 mph near Ledbetter Drive and Highway 67 in Dallas in January. Moore refused to get out of his car, so cops arrested him.

It was in the back seat of the police car that Moore would have his moment, though.

"You arrested the wrong person. I'm going to make sure you don't have a job on Monday," Moore told the officers, according to a warrant affidavit.

Then, after he was moved to the cops' car, he implied that the cops who arrested him were racist.

"Are you guys members of the Ku Klux Klan? Are you KKK?" Moore asks the cops in a video obtained by WFAA. "This is some Uncle Tom shit."

Read more: http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2015/04/fired_dallas_da_said_he_hoped_he_got_fired_in_dwi_arrest_video.php

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