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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: 83,342

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 Bills a Dead Jail Inmate for an Ambulance Ride

On October 28, 2013, Brian Hunter received an invoice in the mail from the city of Dallas. One week earlier, Hunter was in solitary confinement in the City Detention Center. At 2:15 in the morning, a jailer found him unresponsive. An ambulance came and took Hunter to Baylor Hospital. At 2:48, he was dead.

But Dallas apparently didn't make a note of Hunter's death in city custody when it sent over the invoice one week later. The medical bills were sent to the home address of Hunter's father, where he was living at the time. The cost of treating Hunter in that brief time came to the grand total of $1,040, the invoice states. The highest charges listed are $800 for the ambulance and a $100 "non-resident fee." Yet the city's charges were relatively small compared to the next bill that arrived two weeks later, from a Philadelphia-based company called "Dallas Emergency Physicians." The group had provided treatment to Hunter at Baylor University Medical Center and were also billing Hunter. They wanted $3,477.

A police investigation has cleared the jail staff of any wrongdoing in Hunter's death. The Dallas Police Department officer who investigated said Hunter died from the toxic effects of meth, not anything wrong that the jailers did. Hunter was arrested for a traffic offense, and squad car footage shows him swallowing something as his hands are behind his back, according to both his family and the DPD report. But the DPD's report doesn't address why Hunter was put in solitary confinement, something that continues to bother his father and aunt. They say they were shown footage from the jail in which Hunter complains about feeling ill. Afterward, his family says, an officer takes him out of the regular holding cell and moves him to solitary confinement, which did not have cameras. He was found unconscious a few hours later. (We recently filed an open records request with the DPD to get a copy of the jail footage).

The hospital bills are a lesser concern to his family than the circumstances of his death, but they reveal a window into the way the city of Dallas handles its jail deaths and Baylor Hospital's billing practices. Apparently, no more than 30 minutes of medical care may put you over $4,000 in the hole, even if it was the city who called the ambulance for you while you were unconscious in their custody, and even if you're dead.


Texas A&M-Galveston professor fails entire class, quits course

One college professor found his students so hopeless that he flunked them all and quit the course. In an email to his management class at Texas A&M Galveston, professor Irwin Horwitz came down hard.

"I am frankly and completely disgusted. You all lack the honor and maturity to live up to the standards that Texas A&M holds, and the competence and/or desire to do the quality work necessary to pass the course just on a grade level," he wrote, according to Inside Higher Ed. "I will no longer be teaching the course, and {you} all are being awarded a failing grade."

In the message, Horwitz said students had cheated, told him to "chill out," called him a "{expletive} moron" and spread false rumors about him online. He told KPRC news he even felt unsafe in the classroom at times, and had never thought so low of a class in his 20 years as a college professor.

"None of you, in my opinion, given the behavior in this class, deserve to pass, or graduate to become an Aggie, as you do not in any way embody the honor that the university holds graduates should have within their personal character," he wrote to the students.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/education/article/Galveston-professor-fails-entire-class-and-quits-6226206.php

[font color=maroon]Texas A&M has standards?[/font]

Update: Activists push for Harris Co. Sheriff to resign after mentally ill man left alone for weeks

HARRIS COUNTY - Community activist Quanell X joined forces with the parents of inmate Terry Goodwin demanding Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia resign.

"He was treated like an animal," said Mashell Lambert, Goodwin's mother.

Lambert is a mother on a mission. She's taking the fight right to Sheriff Garcia. She blames him for what happened to her son Terry inside a cell at the Harris County Jail.

"He's not garbage," said Lambert. "And they treated him like garbage, so I will not allow it."

Read more: http://www.khou.com/story/news/2015/04/27/activists-push-for-sheriff-garcia-to-resign/26436755/

Related thread:
6 Texas jailers fired after inmate left alone for weeks


Two Houston attorneys appointed to AG Paxton's felony case after Collin County DA’s recusal

Two longtime Houston defense attorneys have been appointed as special prosecutors to handle any criminal case involving Attorney General Ken Paxton in connection with his admitted securities law violations.

District Judge Scott Becker appointed the pair Tuesday after Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis filed a motion to recuse himself from the case involving Paxton, his longtime friend and business partner.

Lawyers Brian Wice and Kent Schaffer have been named as Collin County Criminal District Attorneys Pro Tem “for the purposes of assisting in the investigation and, if warranted, the prosecution of Ken Paxton for the securities law complaints currently under investigation by the Texas Rangers,” according to the order.

The order leaves open the possibility of appointing others if warranted.

Last year while still a state senator, Paxton admitted violating state securities laws by soliciting clients for an investment firm without a license. He paid a civil fine of $1,000. The Public Integrity Unit, which was asked to investigate Paxton, said late last year that it lacked jurisdiction. It referred the case to Willis and Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk. Hawk has said she won’t pursue it. Recently, a Collin County grand juror sought more information about the matter from the Public Integrity Unit.

Read more: http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2015/04/two-houston-attorneys-appointed-to-paxton-case-after-collin-das-recusal.html/

[font color=green]Oops, I missed this story from last week.[/font]

Fox News and Daily Caller trying to spin story about Seattle Council Member Kshama Sawant

Fox News and Daily Caller are running an article that indicates that Sawant is exploiting five campaign staff employees as independent contractors — thus evading the payment of payroll taxes, overtime, social security and other insurance. Thus far, Sawant has paid $12,000 to those contractors.

For obvious reasons, I am not including links to those sites so I'll let those that are curious do their own searches to learn more.

Here is an excerpt from the article on Daily Caller:

Phillip Locker, one of the Sawant’s contractors, defended his boss by saying that the practice of paying campaign employees as independent contractors is typical among American politicians.

At the same time, Sawant’s reelection website stresses that she is not a typical politician.

“Kshama does not take a penny in corporate cash,” her volunteer-sign-up page explains, for example. “We are building a grassroots alternative to corporate politics.”

Locker also noted that Sawant doesn’t want large corporations to pay employees exactly the same way she pays her own employees.

“We are absolutely against that,” Locker said according to KIRO. However, he rationalized, there are “times when it is appropriate for someone to be an independent contractor.”

The article continues with other attacks on Sawant. I wanted to provide fair warning for my friends in the Seattle area.

New Mexico leaders push for high-level nuclear waste

At first glance, the barren stretch of desert between Carlsbad and Hobbs in southeastern New Mexico seems unfit for any kind of industry. But this rugged, nondescript patch of land is poised to be the focus of the next national conversation about how to dispose of the country’s most dangerous nuclear waste.

The state took a crucial step this month toward accepting such waste, which other Western states have shunned, when Gov. Susana Martinez quietly signaled to the Obama administration that New Mexico would welcome it.

In an April 10 letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, which was obtained by The New Mexican, Martinez urged the administration to look to southeastern New Mexico to store the spent, highly radioactive fuel rods left over from electricity production at nuclear power plants. The desolate 1,000-acre parcel is not far from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, the nation’s only underground nuclear waste repository, which accepts only lower-level radioactive waste.

“Time and time again, the citizens of southeastern New Mexico have impressed me with their hard work ethic and willingness to tackle national problems that many others consider to be unsolvable,” Martinez wrote. “In one of the most remote areas of the state, they have had the ingenuity and fortitude to carve out a niche in the nuclear industry to broaden their economic base. They understand the benefits not only to their local economy, but also to our country.”

Read more: http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/new-mexico-leaders-push-for-high-level-nuclear-waste/article_c1aba5cb-6b7d-551b-aae9-443e81556021.html

The “War on Cash” in 10 Spine-Chilling Quotes

The war on cash is escalating. As Mises’ Jo Salerno reports, the latest combatant to join the fray is JP Morgan Chase, the largest bank in the U.S., which recently enacted a policy restricting the use of cash in selected markets; bans cash payments for credit cards, mortgages, and auto loans; and disallows the storage of “any cash or coins” in safe deposit boxes. In other words, the war has moved on from one of words to actions.

Here are ten quotes that should chill the spine of any individual who cherishes his or her freedom and anonymity:

1. Kenneth Rogoff (from the intro to his paper The Costs and Benefits to Phasing Out Paper Currency):

Despite advances in transactions technologies, paper currency still constitutes a notable percentage of the money supply in most countries… Yet, it has important drawbacks. First, it can help facilitate activity in the underground (tax-evading) and illegal economy. Second, its existence creates the artifact of the zero bound on the nominal interest rate.

In other words, cash (not money) is the source of all evil and must be destroyed because governments can’t trace its every movement, and it represents a limiting factor on central banks’ ability to continue their insane negative-interest-rate experiment.

Read more: http://wolfstreet.com/2015/04/25/don-quijones-war-on-cash-quotes-to-cashless-society/

$58,000 Finnish speeding ticket based on millionaire’s income

HELSINKI — Getting a speeding ticket is not a feel-good moment for anyone. But consider Reima Kuisla, a Finnish businessman.

He was recently fined 54,024 euros ($58,000) for traveling a modest, if illegal, 64 mph in a 50 mph zone. And no, the 54,024 euros did not turn out to be a typo, or a mistake of any kind.

Kuisla is a millionaire, and in Finland the fines for more serious speeding infractions are calculated according to income. The thinking is that if it stings for the little guy, it should sting for the big guy, too.

The ticket had its desired effect. Kuisla, 61, took to Facebook last month with 12 furious posts in which he included a picture of his speeding ticket and a picture of what 54,024 euros could buy if it was not going to the state coffers — a new Mercedes. He said he was seriously considering leaving Finland altogether.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/world/article/58-000-Finnish-speeding-ticket-based-on-6224056.php

[font color=green]Call out the waaahmbulance.[/font]

Texas immigration bills imperiled by time constraints, friction within GOP

AUSTIN — The clock is starting to run out on contentious immigration legislation offered this year by tea party Republicans in the Legislature.

With five weeks left in lawmakers’ session, hard-line measures — including bills on college tuition for those in the U.S. illegally and on “sanctuary city” policies — are languishing in the Senate and lacking traction in the House.

But the prospect that those efforts could fade away with a whimper doesn’t mean they’ve lost their emotional punch. If anything, the impasse highlights a simmering divide in the GOP.

Some Republicans, hoping to boost outreach to Hispanic voters, view the measures as unnecessary and needlessly inflammatory. Others, responding to the GOP’s conservative base, see an all-out response to illegal immigration as a key part of border security.

Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/state/headlines/20150426-texas-immigration-bills-imperiled-by-time-constraints-friction-within-gop.ece

Lauer, DeGeneres team for racy Daytime Emmys opening

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Matt Lauer and Ellen DeGeneres helped the Daytime Emmys make a gender-bending return to television with a comedy bit involving pasties and black stockings — and not worn by DeGeneres.

"General Hospital" and "The Young and the Restless" were the top winners Sunday with three trophies each, while the latter shared the best drama series award with "Days of Our Lives."

The ceremony opened with a pretaped segment in which Lauer and DeGeneres agreed to end their faux feud. The punchline: DeGeneres had sneakily edited the tape to put Lauer's head atop a man's chiseled body clad only in tasseled pasties, briefs and lace-topped stockings.

The "Today" host, or his shimmying facsimile, agreed to donate a thousand dollars to an unspecified charity each time he was thanked by winners during the ceremony.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/entertainment/television/article/Craig-Ferguson-wins-Daytime-Emmy-as-best-game-6225306.php

Betty White accepts the lifetime achievement award at the 42nd annual Daytime Emmy Awards at Warner Bros. Studios on Sunday, April 26, 2015, in Burbank, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Anthony Geary, left, and Genie Francis present the award for outstanding drama series at the 42nd annual Daytime Emmy Awards at Warner Bros. Studios on Sunday, April 26, 2015, in Burbank, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Craig Ferguson poses in the pressroom with the at the award for outstanding game show host for “Celebrity Name Game” 42nd annual Daytime Emmy Awards at Warner Bros. Studios on Sunday, April 26, 2015, in Burbank, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Maura West poses in the pressroom with the award for outstanding lead actress in a drama series at the 42nd annual Daytime Emmy Awards at Warner Bros. Studios on Sunday, April 26, 2015, in Burbank, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Freddie Smith poses in the pressroom with the award for outstanding younger actor in a drama series at the 42nd annual Daytime Emmy Awards at Warner Bros. Studios on Sunday, April 26, 2015, in Burbank, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Host Tyra Banks speaks at the 42nd annual Daytime Emmy Awards at Warner Bros. Studios on Sunday, April 26, 2015, in Burbank, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
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