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TexasTowelie

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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

Dallas ISD Chief of Staff Jerome Oberlton Resigns Over Federal Criminal Probe (updated 6/3/2013)

Type Jerome Oberlton's name into Google, and one of the first things to pop up is a Baltimore Sun article detailing all the places he used the local school district's credit cards. These included businesses like Bath & Body Works and Ross, which would seem to provide little of use for the head of a public school district's technology department. A bit further down in the search results, you'll find mention of the $250,000 Oberlton spent renovating his executive suite.

Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles was aware of those reports when he hired Oberlton as his chief of staff in January. As district spokesman Jon Dahlander relayed to the Morning News at the time, Miles "has spoken with Mr. Oberlton about his entire tenure on numerous occasions, and he is aware of that story. He understands the sensitivity of the situation. He is still very comfortable with him coming on board."

Miles' comfort was misplaced. That much became clear this morning when word of Oberlton's departure began circulating. At first, it seemed like yet another in the series of high-profile defections that have marked Miles' first year in DISD. It soon became clear, however, that Oberlton's case is different. He announced to Miles he's the subject of a federal criminal investigation.

The investigation, according to DISD, stems from Oberlton's tenure with Atlanta Public Schools. That district is engulfed in a cheating scandal that's left many of Oberlton's former colleagues facing conspiracy charges. The specifics of Oberlton's case aren't yet clear, but one assumes it's related.

More at http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2013/05/disd_chief_of_staff_resigns.php .

[font color=navy]
Former DISD chief of staff Jerome Oberlton federally indicted for deal in Atlanta Public Schools


Former Dallas ISD chief of staff Jerome Oberlton has been indicted by a federal grand jury, accused of receiving at least $60,000 in kickbacks connected to a contract awarded by Atlanta Public Schools.

Oberlton resigned as Superintendent Mike Miles’ top lieutenant last week, after informing Miles that he was under federal investigation and expected to be indicted soon. Although he was indicted on seven counts on May 28, it was unsealed Monday.

His first scheduled court appearance is Tuesday morning before a federal magistrate judge in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The charges are conspiracy, conspiracy under color of official right, money laundering conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and bribery.

-snip-

After his departure, Miles requested a review of Oberlton’s work in DISD. A few days later, his previous school district, the Baltimore City Public Schools, launched an investigation of contracts awarded from the technology department he ran there.

More at http://educationblog.dallasnews.com/2013/06/former-disd-chief-of-staff-jerome-oberlton-federally-indicted-for-deal-in-atlanta-public-schools.html/ .[/font]

[font color=green]Oberlton's salary was $185,000 per year in case anyone is looking for a job.[/font]


Rick Perry Vetoes Bipartisan "Buy American" Bill

Remember this when Rick Perry announces his 2016 Presidential campaign of errors -- he vetoed a bill to support American workers and create American jobs that passed the Texas House and Senate with broad, bipartisan margins.

Perry vetoed the "Buy American" bill, HB 535, which would have established a preference for the purchase of Texas and American manufactured goods by the State of Texas when they are of equal cost and quality to foreign-produced products. It's common sense, and it's a great way to keep our tax revenue in Texas and in America.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Yvonne Davis, D-Dallas, and Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, passed the Senate 23-7 and the House, 145-0. That's some pretty broad support.

Despite his nationwide tour trying to lure businesses to Texas, Perry vetoed this bill because it turns out he doesn't actually care about American workers or American jobs.

More at http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/13582/rick-perry-vetoes-bipartisan-buy-american-bill .

New York congressman boycotts GOP dinner because Ted Cruz will be there

Further evidence that Sen. Ted Cruz didn’t go to Washington to make friends. New York Republican Peter King says he’s boycotting a state party dinner because Cruz will be there. Cruz has rankled his share of politicians in D.C. – including some in his own party. King is unhappy because Cruz voted against the Hurricane Sandy relief bill to help repair damage on the New York and New Jersey coast. King told BuzzFeed: “I don’t think we should be acknowledging people who are voting against us in our hour of need.”

The New York congressman has been particularly critical of Republicans who voted against hurricane relief for the state but visit for fundraising. The New York Republican State Committee dinner invitation says Cruz is “appearing at this event only as a featured guest,” not fundraising for himself. The blunt-talking Texas senator is a rising star on the GOP circuit. He says he voted against the Sandy relief bill because it including spending for other unrelated programs. Cruz and Cornyn did urge federal assistance when the West fertilizer plant exploded.

Source: http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2013/05/new-york-congressman-boycotts-gop-dinner-because-ted-cruz-will-be-there.html/

White powder in envelope at downtown Dallas office tower found to be hazardous

Dallas Fire-Rescue is investigating white powder found in an envelope at a downtown office tower.

The powder was found in an envelope about 11:20 a.m. at Lincoln Plaza, a 45-story building at the corner of Akard and Ross.

An hour later, two fire engines, two ambulances and a pair of hazardous materials teams remain there.

UPDATE:

It turns out that white powder found late this morning at a downtown office tower was hazardous.

Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans says the investigation will now be handed off to the FBI.

He could not say what the substance turned out to be or whether any of the handful of office workers quarantined were harmed.

Source: http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2013/05/dallas-fire-rescue-on-scene-of-white-powder-scare-at-downtown-office-tower.html/

Call to Houston Motel 6 leads to class-action lawsuit

A disabled Army veteran has filed a class-action lawsuit against the parent company of Motel 6, alleging that the hotel chain does not comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

In the lawsuit filed in the South District of Texas in Houston, plaintiff Dana Bowman alleges that he called a Motel 6 in Houston prior to a business trip and asked if the hotel's pools had access facilities for the disabled. The motel's staff informed him that there were no such facilities there, according to the suit.

Bowman, a retired Army sergeant first class, filed the class-action lawsuit on May 20 against G6 Hospitality Property LLC, parent company of Motel 6.

"The defendant's pools do not have a fixed pool lift or other acceptable means of entry for disabled persons, notwithstanding that such modifications are readily achievable," according to the lawsuit, filed by Dallas attorney Eric G. Calhoun of Travis & Calhoun.

More at http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Call-to-Houston-Motel-6-leads-to-class-action-4553739.php?cmpid=hpfsln .

Wal-Mart pleads guilty for Calif. hazardous waste

Source: AP

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will pay $81 million after pleading guilty to criminal charges the company dumped hazardous waste across California, a company spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Wal-Mart entered the plea in San Francisco federal court to misdemeanor counts of negligently dumping pollutants from its stores into sanitation drains across the state, spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said.

As part of the plea, the company will pay the substantial fine that also will cover charges in Missouri.

The plea agreements announced Tuesday end a nearly decade-old investigation involving more than 20 prosecutors and 32 environmental groups.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/science/article/Wal-Mart-pleads-guilty-in-Calif-hazardous-waste-4554116.php?cmpid=hpfsln

America’s oldest veteran, 107 year old Richard Overton, celebrates Memorial Day at Austin home

America’s oldest veteran, 107-year-old Richard Overton, plans to take it easy this Memorial Day.

Overton will spend the day relaxing at his East Austin home with some cigars and a glass of whiskey.

Overton is a World War II veteran. After the war, he returned to Austin and built the home that he lives in to this day.

Overton told FOX 7:

It makes me feel pretty good. It makes me think I’ve done something right. If I’d done something wrong, I wouldn’t be here.


More at http://digitaltexan.net/2013/austin-local-news/americas-oldest-veteran-lives-austin/article53835/ .

Special session called immediately, Dewhurst says

UPDATE:

Gov. Rick Perry called the special session for 6 p.m. on redistricting.

Original Post:

No sooner had the House and Senate adjourned the regular session than Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said they’ve been called back this evening to start a special session.

Gov. Rick Perry hadn’t yet issued a formal call, but Dewhurst announced to senators, “Good news, bad news. I just got word that we’re going to be called back into special session at 6 p.m.

One person could be heard to say, “What’s the good news?”

Source: http://blog.chron.com/texaspolitics/2013/05/special-session-called-immediately-dewhurst-says/?cmpid=hpfsln

Big Tobacco Wins, Texas Constitution Loses

The Legislature has passed House Bill 3536, forcing small tobacco companies to pay the penalties that big tobacco companies have paid since the 1998 Texas Tobacco Settlement. That case found that Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds and Lorillard Tobacco Company were misrepresenting and manipulating nicotine content, advertising to minors, and lying about their knowledge of tobacco's effects. Equalizing these penalties gives Big Tobacco an undeserved sales advantage by raising all cigarette prices in the state.

You don't have to be a fan of tobacco to understand that this is wrong. A company not involved in a lawsuit settlement should not have to pay the penalties of companies that are involved. That's common sense. The bill now threatens to put small tobacco companies out of business in Texas because they can't afford to pay the penalties dealt out to the big companies. Many tobacco stores that rely heavily on small tobacco sales may have to close their doors. Jeff Cotton, owner of three such stores in East Texas, told me, "This bill could possibly put me out of business. And I don't think it's fair."

The bill blatantly violates the Texas Constitution. The Equal and Uniform Clause requires reasons other than nature of the business to impose different taxes on the same kind of business. The Texas Tobacco Settlement clearly meets the "other" reason requirement. Former Texas Supreme Court Justice Craig Enoch testified in August: "Because a statute that would only tax tobacco manufacturers that were not parties to the Texas Tobacco Settlement (while exempting those that were part of the settlement) has no reasonable basis in the nature of the business and does not apply equally across all members of the class of tobacco manufacturers, it must be rejected as unconstitutional."

More at http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/13580/big-tobacco-wins-texas-constitution-loses .

Exxon Mobil shareholders to meet amid criticism

Exxon Mobil shareholders will meet this week in Dallas amid growing criticism for the company and its policies, particularly related to gay employees and climate change.

Though much of the scrutiny has come over the past week, after a complaint arguing that Exxon Mobil discriminated against a job applicant because of her sexual orientation, the company has also faced heat for other aspects of its policies and operations.

Among them is an apparent contradiction in Exxon Mobil’s benefits that extends coverage to the same-sex spouses of some employees, but not others.

“Benefit coverage for spouses is based on legally recognized spousal relationships in the individual countries where we operate,” the company says in its Corporate Citizenship Report.

More at http://fuelfix.com/blog/2013/05/27/exxon-mobil-shareholders-to-meet-amid-criticism/?cmpid=hpfsln .
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