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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: 78,351

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

Common gestures that could get you in trouble elsewhere

Domestic and international airlines are increasing their service to exotic locations overseas and abroad, and while your wallet may be ready, are your manners up to par as well?

Online travel data website WanderBat has compiled a number of gestures that are fairly common and innocuous in the United States, but taboo in other countries.

Do you give OK signs wherever you go? Refrain from doing so in Greece or Turkey.

See which behaviors are a no-no while traveling abroad in the gallery {at link}.


Jury convicts TV actor Dustin Diamond of misdemeanors in stabbing

PORT WASHINGTON, Wis. (AP) — TV actor Dustin Diamond was convicted Friday of two misdemeanors stemming from a barroom fight, but a Wisconsin jury cleared the former "Saved by the Bell" actor of the most serious felony charge.

The jury's verdict came just hours after the 38-year-old actor testified that he never intended to stab anyone in the fight last Christmas Day. He had pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of recklessly endangering public safety, plus two misdemeanors — carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct.

The first misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of nine months in prison, the second a maximum of 90 days in prison.

Diamond didn't display emotion at the jury's decision Friday night. He told reporters he couldn't comment as he left the courtroom after a 13-hour day of testimony and jury deliberations.

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/crime/article/TV-actor-Dustin-Diamond-to-testify-during-trial-6294082.php

Texas Legislature approves decriminalizing skipping school

AUSTIN, Texas -- Skipping school would no longer be a criminal offense, under a bill that has cleared both chambers of the Texas Legislature.

Instead, accumulating unexcused absences would mean civil punishments with fines starting at $100, under a proposal the Senate and House passed Saturday. The measure now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott.

Rep. James White, a former teacher, said the Texas Education Agency will come up with better ways and minimum standards to "assist our school districts in enhancing school attendance."

In fiscal year 2014, nearly 100,000 Texas students received misdemeanors for too many unexcused absences.

Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/state/texas/article22703697.html

Venezuelans mass for year's largest anti-government protests

Source: AP

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Thousands donned white and took to the streets in cities across the country Saturday in the biggest show of frustration with Venezuela's socialist administration since a wave of bloody anti-government protests a year ago.

The day of marches was called less than a week ago by imprisoned opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. In a video leaked from his prison cell, Lopez urged demonstrations to demand a firm date for this year's legislative elections and freedom for jailed opposition politicians like himself who human rights groups consider political prisoners.

A Harvard-educated former mayor, Lopez has been jailed for 15 months in connection with his leadership of the spring of 2014 protests that resulted in dozens of deaths on both sides of Venezuela's yawning political divide.

The opposition coalition did not endorse Saturday's rallies, underscoring longstanding fissures among critics of the country's 16-year socialist government. Before his imprisonment last year, Lopez clashed with other high-profile politicians, including moderate opposition leader Henrique Capriles, about the wisdom of organizing nationwide protests.

Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/nation-world/world/article22704276.html

Activists say Syrian army strikes kill 70 people in Aleppo

Source: AP

BEIRUT -- Syrian army airstrikes killed at least 70 people, most of them civilians, and wounded scores in attacks Saturday in the northern province of Aleppo that struck civilian areas, including a packed market in a town held by the Islamic State group, activists said.

The deaths occurred in two separate incidents when helicopters dropped explosives-filled barrels. One barrel hit the rebel-held Shaar neighborhood of the city of Aleppo, killing at least 12 people, most of them from the same family. They included three children and four women, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The other attack was far deadlier, hitting a busy market known as Souk al-Hal in the Islamic State-held town of al-Bab in Aleppo's countryside. The Observatory said at least 59 people were killed and dozens wounded, calling it the one of the worst massacres perpetrated by President Bashar Assad's army this year. It said the number of dead likely would rise because many of the wounded were in critical condition.

The Local Coordination Committees reported more than 50 people killed and around 70 wounded in the al-Bab attack. Both groups document violence through a network of activists on the ground in Syria.

Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/nation-world/world/article22680822.html

Negotiators agree to create new research fund, close technology fund

Texas House and Senate negotiators reached agreement Saturday on two signature initiatives of Gov. Greg Abbott: establishing a fund to recruit prominent academic researchers to Texas universities and abolishing one used to assist innovative startup companies.

The proposals are related because $40 million of the unspent balance of the Emerging Technology Fund would be conveyed to the proposed Governor’s University Research Fund. The new fund would provide matching grants to help Texas institutions of higher education recruit Nobel laureates and members of the National Academy of Sciences and its sister organizations in engineering and medicine.

The Republican governor proposed the initiatives in January following an audit that criticized some of the technology fund’s operations and some high-profile bankruptcies of startups it had helped. That combination soured state leaders on using taxpayers’ dollars to underwrite risky ventures.

Part of the technology fund’s balance would go to the Texas Enterprise Fund, a deal-closing fund used to encourage companies to relocate or expand in Texas.

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/negotiators-agree-to-create-new-research-fund-clos/nmRdQ/

Senate OKs $3.1 billion in campus construction; measure goes to Abbott

The Texas Senate on Saturday approved legislation authorizing $3.1 billion in bonds for construction and renovation projects at 64 campuses of public universities, health-related institutions and technical colleges. The measure, which was approved Friday by the House, now goes to Gov. Greg Abbott, who is expected to sign it.

It has been nine years since lawmakers have approved a major round of construction projects at higher education campuses, and university leaders had made the matter one of their top priorities for the legislative session.

House Bill 100, authored by Republican Rep. John Zerwas of Richmond and sponsored in the upper chamber by Republican Sen. Kel Seliger of Amarillo, would provide $75 million to the University of Texas to renovate Welch Hall, a chemistry building, and the same amount to Texas A&M University to build a biocontainment research facility. Texas State University would get $63 million for construction of an engineering and sciences building at the San Marcos campus and $48.6 million for a health professions building in Round Rock.

The measure calls for the schools to pay back the bond debt using tuition revenue, but the Legislature’s longstanding practice is to cover those costs using tax dollars. The budget has set aside $240 million for the first year of debt payments.

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/senate-oks-31-billion-in-campus-construction-measu/nmRby/

Public Integrity Unit changes sent to Abbott

The Texas House and Senate gave final approval Saturday to legislation creating a special process to investigate and prosecute corruption by state officials, legislators and state employees.

House Bill 1690 would remove corruption cases from Travis County’s Public Integrity Unit, instead creating a special process with the Texas Rangers investigating allegations of corruption and home-county prosecutors deciding whether to pursue the cases.

Read about those changes in more detail here.

Republicans pressed to remove corruption cases from the Public Integrity Unit, saying they had lost faith that Democratic leaders of the Travis County district attorney’s office could impartially handle cases against GOP officials.

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/news/public-integrity-unit-changes-sent-to-abbott/nmRb4/

Obama signs Texas disaster declaration

President Barack Obama has signed a disaster declaration for Texas after severe flooding this week.

The White House said Obama declared that he ordered federal aid to supplement other recovery efforts in the area affected by severe weather since May 4.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had earlier requested a presidential disaster declaration to get federal help for the counties affected.

Obama’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Harris, Hays, and Van Zandt counties.

Read more: http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=post&forum=1014

Cross-posted in LBN.

Obama signs Texas disaster declaration

Source: Austin American-Statesman

President Barack Obama has signed a disaster declaration for Texas after severe flooding this week.

The White House said Obama declared that he ordered federal aid to supplement other recovery efforts in the area affected by severe weather since May 4.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had earlier requested a presidential disaster declaration to get federal help for the counties affected.

Obama’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Harris, Hays, and Van Zandt counties.

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/weather/obama-signs-texas-disaster-declaration/nmRYr/

Cross-posted in the Texas Group.
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