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TexasTowelie

Profile Information

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: 78,448

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

Abbott Says Texas Will Work to Follow Prison Rape Law

In a shift away from his predecessor, Gov. Greg Abbott has informed the U.S. Justice Department that Texas plans to comply as much as possible with a federal law that aims to prevent prison rape.

Last year, former Gov. Rick Perry said Texas would not follow some requirements of the Prison Rape Elimination Act, calling it a "counterproductive and unnecessarily cumbersome and costly regulatory mess." But in a recent letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Abbott made clear the state is now working to put in place every part of the law that it can.

"I cannot yet certify that the state is in full compliance with Prison Rape Elimination Act ("PREA", because our PREA audits are still ongoing," Abbott wrote. "But every facility that has completed the PREA audit process has been certified as fully compliant. And I can assure you that we will fully implement DOJ's PREA standards wherever feasible."

Abbott's letter to Lynch was dated Friday, the last day governors had to tell the Justice Department whether their state was in compliance with the law or working to bring it up to speed.

Read more: http://www.texastribune.org/2015/05/21/abbott-says-texas-will-follow-prison-rape-law/

Final tax-cut snag cleared by House committee vote

AUSTIN --The Texas House Ways and Means Committee approved a break for homeowners from school property taxes Thursday, addressing the last sticking point in negotiations on a tax-cut deal.

"We are incredibly close to a deal" on a $3.8 billion, two-year package that also would slash business taxes, said Ways and Means Chair Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton.

The timing of the school property tax break had been called the final hangup in tax-cut negotiations between the House and Senate.

The measure approved by the committee would allow it to start with school taxes owed for 2015, allowing the cut to be in effect for both years of the coming biennium, as sought by senators.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/politics/texas_legislature/article/Tax-deal-6278902.php

Louisiana House wants Bobby Jindal's office to pay for his travel expenses

The Louisiana House of Representatives wants Gov.Bobby Jindal's office to have to absorb the cost of providing the governor's security detail on out-of-state trips this year. Currently, that expense comes out of the Louisiana State Police's annual budget.

The House voted 55-35 to add an amendment onto the overall state budget bill (HB 1) requiring Jindal's state office to cover his police protection for travel outside the state.

In March, the head of state police, Col. Mike Edmonson, said his agency had spent $2.2 million on travel expenses for the security detail during this budget cycle already, even though the fiscal year doesn't end until June 30.

Edmonson said out-of-state travel expenses for the governor have risen significantly while Jindal has been in office. In 2008, Jindal's first year in office, out-of-state travel cost the state police $1.8 million.

Read more: http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/05/bobby_jindal_travel_paying.html

House advances bill shielding pastors, churches from suits for refusal to assist gay weddings

AUSTIN — The House tentatively approved Thursday a bill saying that Texas pastors, churches and religious institutions can’t be sued by private parties or penalized by government for spurning gay weddings.

Many clergy, especially Southern Baptist ministers opposed to gay marriage, have testified they very much need the legal shield.

“Maybe pastors won’t be sued. But we need some protection in case they are,” said Rep. Patricia Harless, R-Spring, bill supporter.

The bill’s critics, though, have expressed skepticism that same-sex couples would try to coerce a reluctant religious leader to officiate at their unions. Even if some did, the U.S. Constitution and the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1999 already protect pastors, opponents have said.

Read more: http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2015/05/house-advances-bill-shielding-pastors-churches-from-suits-for-refusal-to-assist-gay-weddings.html/

FBI gave Garland ample warning ahead of jihadi attack on cartoon contest, McCaul says

WASHINGTON – The May 3 attack in Garland by would-be jihadists was a prime example of terrorism gone viral, House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul said on Thursday. And, he said, Garland police had ample warning from the FBI that the prophet Mohammad cartoon contest had inflamed passions and could be a target.

“This is a new age of terrorism where they will just send out a directive and hope that out of those thousand people on their Twitter accounts, they’re going to get a couple who’ll say you know what, I’ll sign up for that,” said McCaul.

The Austin Republican praised the FBI for providing warning well in advance of the attack, despite a complaint from the Garland police chief afterward.

“I’ve been critical of the FBI in the Boston {marathon} bombing and the sharing of information with the Joint Terrorism Task Force. In this case, the FBI did its job and they properly shared that information with the Garland police,” McCaul said during a breakfast with reporters hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

Read more: http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2015/05/fbi-gave-garland-ample-warning-ahead-of-jihadi-attack-on-cartoon-contest-mccaul-says.html/

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp confirms it is top tax risk, ducks Senate questions

News Corporation Australia has admitted that it is the only company in the Tax Office's high-risk category for tax avoidance, while refusing to answer further questions put by the Senate economics references committee.

News Corp had repeatedly declined to comment since The Australian Financial Review revealed on May 11 that News was the only remaining company still in Q1, the Tax Office's high risk category, and that it faced continual audits and reviews as a result.

"We understand that the 'high' categorisation given to us denotes the complexity of the company and therefore the time and resources required to monitor the complex taxation issues," News Corp Australia's chief financial officer, Susan Panucci, said in a response to questions on notice from the committee, which is investigating corporate tax avoidance.

She said this did not mean that News was not paying the correct amount of tax.

Read more: http://www.afr.com/news/policy/tax/rupert-murdochs-news-corp-confirms-it-is-top-tax-risk-ducks-senate-questions-20150519-gh54kr

Europe's Altice enters US cable frenzy with Suddenlink deal

NEW YORK — There’s a new player in the U.S. cable dating game.

European cable and mobile phone operator Altice, controlled by founder Patrick Drahi, is fixing its sights on the U.S. market starting with a $9.1 billion deal for St. Louis-based Suddenlink.

There are likely to be more attempts at U.S. purchases. Altice, which has grown through a series of acquisitions over the past dozen years, said Wednesday that it envisions U.S. operations making up about half its business.

A wave of consolidation has swept the cable and satellite TV industry as U.S. viewers increasingly turn to Internet providers like Netflix for their TV fix. At the same time, the cable companies’ costs for the channels have grown.

Read more: http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2015-05-20/europes-altice-enters-us-cable-frenzy-suddenlink-deal#.VV2Jikby3SI

Texas judge rapped for disparaging comments about ‘New York Jews’ and ‘Muslim-looking’ beards

A Texas judge has been reprimanded for showing bias against Jewish and Muslim people, KCBD reports.

A complaint was filed against Judge Carter Schildknecht, 74, and submitted to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct last year. The commission signed a sanction last week, which finds that the judge violated the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct on several separate occasions.

One occasion occurred last July, when Schildknecht called District Attorney Michael Munk “a New York Jew” during a private conversation with Munk’s secretary in the judge’s office, according to the documents recently obtained by KCBD.

The judge admitted to making the remark, but claimed that it wasn’t meant to discriminate but to explain the district attorney’s perspective “may be different from that of someone who has been reared in West Texas,” according to the commission.

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/2015/05/texas-judge-rapped-for-disparaging-comments-about-new-york-jews-and-muslim-looking-beards/

Map Reveals The Distinctive Cause Of Death In Each State

There's no getting around the strangeness of a map that shows the most distinctive cause of death in each of our 50 states and the District of Columbia.

In Texas, it's tuberculosis. In Maine, it's the flu. And in Nevada, it's the ominous "legal intervention."

But what does it mean to label a cause of death distinctive?



I asked Francis Boscoe, a researcher with the New York State Cancer Registry, who came up with the analysis and the map published last Thursday by Preventing Chronic Disease, an online journal from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since then, the map has gone, well, viral.

Read more: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/05/20/408011861/map-reveals-the-distinctive-cause-of-death-in-each-state?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20150520

Ted Cruz: Gays Should Stop Advocating For Equal Rights Because, ISIS

Ted Cruz thinks the existence of ISIS should make same-sex marriage supporters realize just how good they have it now.

Ted Cruz spent time with high-value donors in a private meeting Tuesday but was confronted by the media after the event. Reporters asked the 2016 Republican presidential candidate several questions about gay people and same-sex marriage, eliciting a rambling and frustrated response.

"Is there something about the left — and I am going to put the media in this category — that is obsessed with sex?," Cruz asked, as the Texas Tribune reported. Reporters actually weren't asking about sex, but rather same-sex marriage, which may reveal a clue about Cruz's thought processes on the issue.

"ISIS is executing homosexuals — you want to talk about gay rights? This week was a very bad week for gay rights because the expansion of ISIS, the expansion of radical, theocratic, Islamic zealots that crucify Christians, that behead children and that murder homosexuals — that ought to be concerning you far more than asking six questions all on the same topic."

Salon labeled Cruz's response "an amalgam of Islamophobia, religiosity, and a not-particularly-sensible shot at the left that included something about The Children."

Read more: http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/davidbadash/ted_cruz_says_gays_should_stop_advocating_for_marriage_because_isis
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