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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

To Save Lives, Close the Falfurrias Border Patrol Checkpoint

As early spring in Texas brings the return of bluebonnets, as August marks the beginning of high school football, early summer ushers in the dying season in Brooks County. In the last decade, hundreds of migrants have perished in the unforgiving ranchland of Brooks County, cut down by heat and exhaustion while trying to circumvent a Border Patrol checkpoint on U.S. 281, 70 miles north of the border. By the thousands they slog—old, young, Mexican, Central American—across the sizzling sand, often equipped with little more than a bottle of water and a snack, lied to by their coyotes, pursued by vigilantes with dogs and ATVs. Dehydration can do crazy things to a person: Some strip naked and then roast in the sun. Others lose all sense of thirst and die with a water jug next to them.

Often, the bodies aren’t found for weeks, or months, or years. Some are presumably never found. Unidentified bodies recovered by the perpetually broke Brooks County Sheriff’s Office are sent to a cold-storage facility at Texas State University. In 2012, the most fatal year on record, the sheriff’s department recovered 129 bodies. In 2013, the death toll was 87. Last year, the figure was 61, but by mid-April of this year, authorities had already recovered 23 bodies, putting 2015 on pace to exceed 2013.

The causes of this humanitarian crisis—and that’s precisely what it is—are fairly well studied and understood: Ever-increasing border militarization has funneled migrants into narrower, more remote and more dangerous routes into the U.S. interior. Drug cartels have consolidated control of human smuggling and turned it into a ruthless business. Finally, in the case of Brooks County, the location of the Border Patrol checkpoint near Falfurrias forces migrants into el monte, the wilderness. Deaths began increasing in the mid-’90s, when the checkpoint expanded and border policies became stricter. The checkpoint—or more precisely its location—is the proximate cause of the crisis. Without the checkpoint, many more migrants would survive.

Solving the border security puzzle—if it can be solved—is a momentous task. But moving or abandoning the checkpoint is within the realm of possibility. It is strange that such a proposal is rarely contemplated. Everyone laments the senseless loss of life and yet there is a solution, albeit an imperfect one, within reach. Scrap the checkpoint; save lives.

Read more: http://www.texasobserver.org/end-the-falfurrias-border-patrol-checkpoint/

Analysis: Conservatives See Payroll Deduction Bill as Key on Two Fronts (Texas)

Texas is hardly a union state, but a payroll deduction bill that is stuck in the Texas House is getting attention from conservatives who think it could undermine financial support for unions — and Democrats — if it passes.

It’s a flip on the idea of money as speech: If you can cut off the money, you can hush the speakers.

Public employees in Texas are allowed to pay their dues to unions or nonunion employee organizations by having them deducted from their paychecks. Senate Bill 1968 by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, would prohibit those deductions for everyone except employees in certain police, fire and emergency medical services organizations.

It’s the union version of automatic bill payments, like the ones that ping your credit card or bank account each month on behalf of the phone or cable or utility company. They have a couple of reasons for being. Automation unburdens payers and payees from processing bills, checks and whatnot every 30 days. And it takes what might be a monthly decision away from the person who would be writing checks; they’re less likely to cancel a bill they don’t have to look at every month.

Read more: http://www.texastribune.org/2015/05/19/analysis-conservatives-two-birds-one-stone/

Cross-posted in the Texas Group.

Analysis: Conservatives See Payroll Deduction Bill as Key on Two Fronts

Texas is hardly a union state, but a payroll deduction bill that is stuck in the Texas House is getting attention from conservatives who think it could undermine financial support for unions — and Democrats — if it passes.

It’s a flip on the idea of money as speech: If you can cut off the money, you can hush the speakers.

Public employees in Texas are allowed to pay their dues to unions or nonunion employee organizations by having them deducted from their paychecks. Senate Bill 1968 by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, would prohibit those deductions for everyone except employees in certain police, fire and emergency medical services organizations.

It’s the union version of automatic bill payments, like the ones that ping your credit card or bank account each month on behalf of the phone or cable or utility company. They have a couple of reasons for being. Automation unburdens payers and payees from processing bills, checks and whatnot every 30 days. And it takes what might be a monthly decision away from the person who would be writing checks; they’re less likely to cancel a bill they don’t have to look at every month.

Read more: http://www.texastribune.org/2015/05/19/analysis-conservatives-two-birds-one-stone/

Cross-posted in the Labor Movement Group.

Retired San Antonio detective arrested in Waco Twin Peaks brawl has ties to Bandidos


Photo By McLennan County Jail
Martin Lewis, 62, was booked and charged with engaging in organized criminal activity in connection to a shooting involving motorcycle gangs at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco at around noon on May 17, 2015. The shooting left nine dead and 18 injured.


SAN ANTONIO — A retired San Antonio Police Department detective with ties to the Bandidos Motorcycle Club was among the 170 people arrested in Waco on Sunday after nine people were killed following a brawl between motorcycle clubs and gangs at a Twin Peaks restaurant.

Martin Lewis, 62, served 32 years with SAPD until his retirement in February 2004. He was charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and still being held on $1 million bond, according to McLennan County jail records.

Pictures posted to Lewis' Facebook identify him as a one-time member of the Patrons Motorcycle Club, however, other images show him wearing different red and gold club patches identifying him as a supporter of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, and that show he is based in San Antonio.

Other photos show Lewis posing with high-ranking members of the Bandidos, including the Austin chapter president.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/local/article/Retired-San-Antonio-detective-arrested-in-Waco-6274647.php

[font color=green]Did the guy run out of hair dye?[/font]

Officials find 318 weapons, describe surreal scene inside Twin Peaks restaurant

Nearly 72 hours after a shootout erupted at Twin Peaks, killing nine people and injuring another 18, officials have found 1,000 weapons tucked into kitchen areas, vehicles and toilets.

Weapons were hidden between sacks of flour and bags of tortilla chips, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said. They were in vehicles, tucked in benches, strewn across the floor and stuffed in toilets.

Swanton said officials found pocket knives, assault knives, batons, an AK-47 and body armor while combing through the scene, including the parking lot and suspects’ vehicles. He believes the majority of those were hidden or discarded during or after the melee. It was not immediately clear Wednesday where officials found the AK-47.

Among the weapons and blood spatters were half-eaten burgers, beer bottles covered in gang symbol coozies and half-drunk margaritas.

Read more: http://www.wacotrib.com/news/twin-peaks-biker-shooting/officials-find-weapons-describe-surreal-scene-inside-twin-peaks-restaurant/article_3e340568-934d-5a6b-87ae-788f55b0923a.html

Correction: The number of weapons found stands at 318.
http://crimeblog.dallasnews.com/2015/05/police-found-1000-weapons-at-waco-biker-gang-shooting-scene.html/

Dallas anesthesiologist with garage full of fancy cars indicted on 17 counts of health care fraud

Dr. Richard Ferdinand Toussaint Jr. is a licensed anesthesiologist who co-founded Dallas’ Forest Park Medical Center and started Ascendant Anesthesia, which has 16 practice locations scattered around the area. He’s also just been indicted by a Dallas federal grand jury on 17 counts of health care fraud.

The full indictment’s below, but the 11-page document unsealed today alleges that Toussaint submitted phony claims to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, United Healthcare and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. Says the indictment, during 18 months in 2009 and 2010, the 57-year-old “falsely” claimed he was doing his job when he wasn’t anywhere near the operating room — except for that time “he was under anesthesia undergoing surgery himself.” The indictment alleges that at other times he was out of the state, at another hospital or “flying on his private jet.”

“The indictment further alleges that Toussaint also inflated the amount of time the procedures took and pre-signed patients’ medical records representing the services were provided before the procedures even took place,” says the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “In addition to personally creating false medical records and inflating anesthesia procedure time, Toussaint directed others to do the same, representing he was present for procedures when he knew he was not.”

The indictment alleges that the scheme was a particularly profitable one: The feds allege that Toussaint billed Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, United Healthcare and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program for more than $8 million — “of which at least $5 million was fraudulent,” says the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The indictment also comes with a laundry list of nice things he’d have to turn over if convicted, including a 2016 Bentley Mulsanne (which was bought on April 1), a 2015 McLaren 650S, a 2012 McLaren MP4-12C and other extremely fancy rides.

Read more: rimeblog.dallasnews.com/2015/05/dallas-anesthesiologist-with-garage-full-of-fancy-cars-indicted-on-17-counts-of-health-care-fraud.html/


The 2016 Bentley Mulsanne, because you’ve probably never seen one

Liberal groups dig for dirt on Bush, other GOP candidates

Jeb Bush was in New Hampshire, talking to voters about the education standards called Common Core.

Back in Washington, ears perked up on a team that spends all day, every day, scouring television and the Internet for appearances by Republican presidential candidates. A check of the team’s vast video archive unearthed a 2011 clip of Bush seemingly saying something different.

Days later, a 30-second video of the clips appeared on a political blog under the headline: “Jeb Bush’s shifting words on Common Core.”

The quick hit by the Democratic political action committee American Bridge was the latest shot from an opposition war room in the digital age. As their counterparts do on the other side, liberal and Democratic groups such as American Bridge are working to turn every move and utterance by a burgeoning field of Republican presidential hopefuls into a viral tweet, a damaging video or a scathing TV or newspaper story.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/nation-world/national/article21454773.html#storylink=cpy

Another squee alert! Endangered clouded leopard cubs in Tacoma receive round-the-clock care



TACOMA, Wash. —

Four Clouded leopard cubs are healthy, growing, and adorable at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. Their eyes are still closed, and the practiced hands of caring zookeepers guide their eager mouths to the bottles.

Click here to see photos.

The smallest of the cubs weighs just 11.11 ounces and the largest is12.41, which is about the same weight as a box of corn flakes. Two of them will fit in the palms of a zookeeper's hands.

Staff biologist Andy Goldfarb, who has worked with exotic cats for three decades, is pleased with their progress.

"They are eating and gaining weight," he said. "All four are active and moving around well."

Read more: http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/endangered-clouded-leopard-cubs-tacoma-receive-rou/nmKFD/

LeTourneau University bans dating for gay athletes and bans support for marriage equality

LONGVIEW -- LeTourneau University, an NCAA Division III school in Longview, has specifically banned any gay student-athletes attending the school from dating, and has banned vocal support among students for marriage equality. Any athlete caught engaging in such “immoral behavior” could be kicked off his or her team.

According to OutSports.com: “The school’s student-athlete handbook, complete with NCAA logo, now reads:

“Consistent with our desire to celebrate and model a Scriptural approach to sexuality, the University prohibits same-sex dating behaviors and public advocacy for the position that sex outside of a biblically-defined marriage is morally acceptable.”


LeTourneau Univ. is an inter-denominational Christian school with an enrollment of about a couple thousand students. The school has a history of being anti-gay, having once brought in “ex-gay” speaker Christopher Yuan to talk about how God can make people not be gay.

Read more: http://www.dallasvoice.com/letourneau-bans-dating-gay-athletes-support-marriage-equality-10196317.html

Bringing Marxism to a new generation

If you haven't already, it's time to make plans to be at Socialism 2015 in Chicago.



A RECENT YouGov.com poll found that socialism is as popular as capitalism among people under 30--which isn't surprising given that this group of people has spent its entire adulthood living in the shadow of the world economic crisis of 2008-09.

That crisis, triggered by the widespread thievery of the mega-banks and Wall Street, led in turn to a political crisis that has continued to this day, with political leaders across the world--liberals and conservatives, dictators and elected officials--all forcing their people to pay the price for bailing out the criminal bankers.

Seven years later, the economic crisis is over, and "our" economy has supposedly recovered, but the blatant injustice of the bank bailouts has persisted. The rich and powerful and their protectors don't even pretend they can't get away with whatever they want: Politicians buy elections, corporations don't pay taxes, and police murder unarmed people on camera in broad daylight.

Meanwhile, the rest of us are realizing that layoffs, pension cuts, multiple wars and increased surveillance that many hoped were temporary until things got back to normal aren't going anywhere--because this is the new normal.

Read more: http://socialistworker.org/2015/05/19/marxism-for-a-new-generation
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