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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: 87,655

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

Victoria College helps area students explore health careers

VICTORIA – A handful of high school students and recent graduates gave up fun in the sun to spend four days discovering health careers in Victoria.

Ten students from Goliad, Refugio, Austwell-Tivoli and Gonzales attended the annual Health Careers Exploration & Observation Days event. The event is geared toward students who participated in a year-long health careers class at their school, according to Jody Sanders, senior program coordinator for the Texas Area Health Education Center East - Victoria Region.

“Our focus for this school year was to provide students in our rural areas who may not have specialty clubs or organizations with the opportunity to network with like-minded students who want to enter health professions,” Sanders said. “These students met once a month at their respective schools to learn about health careers and the healthcare industry. The culmination of the year is attendance at the Health Careers Exploration & Observation Days event so they can meet students from the other schools and experience four days of healthcare learning together.”

Sanders said the students explored Citizens Medical Center and DeTar Navarro and were exposed to the educational programs offered at Victoria College and the University of Houston-Victoria.

More at http://mysoutex.com/view/full_story_landing/22955043/article-Victoria-College-helps-area-students-explore-health-careers?instance=landing_2nd_news_lead_story .

[font color=green]The outreach is needed in an area of the state that lacks health services.[/font]

International musicians descend on Festival Hill in Round Top

[font color=green]Note: The reporter that wrote this article apparently does not understand the concept of paragraph breaks; therefore, I have inserted those breaks where I feel are reasonable. Since this was only a two paragraph article, I am not breaking any of the rules set by DU regarding copyright violations.[/font]

It’s summer and once again an international community of musicians has descended on Round Top to take part in the 43rd season of the Round Top Festival Institute.

Founded by James Dick, the institute brings world class students together with world-class musicians/teachers for 30 days of music. The noted weekly magazine The Economist lists the Round Top Festival Institute as one of the best of the summer arts events around the world. They earned a high ranking even though the next smallest venue can host twice as many visitors.

This year the festival is flying flags of 14 countries as well as the European Union. Students from across the United States, Europe, South America and Asia come together and, like any other exceptional camp, quickly bond while enduring intense practices and performances. With dozens of faculty and almost 100 performers in attendance students receive instruction in small groups with artists who have performed on some of the greatest stages of the world.

Helping keep order is Brenham intern Dancy Lukeman. She admits, “I have a different perspective of the institute because I try to help things run smoothly. It’s a lot of work and a lot of fun.”

Violin player Pio Molina is from Florida and in his first camp at Round Top. “I wanted to come because I heard great things from people I went to high school with who attended the institute. These are great players and orchestra and the faculty is awesome,” Molina said.

From St. Albans, Vermont, cellist Joshua Morris is experiencing Texas for the first time. “It’s a lot warmer than Vermont,” he noted of the spring weather. But the weather is something he barely notices. “It has been great to work with such high caliber conductors. And playing such large works with a full orchestra is very demanding but worth it to get to the next level,” Morris said.

Christiano Rodrigues has played the violin since age 4 and comes from a family of musicians in his native Brazil. Attending for the third time, Rodrigues said he keeps coming back “because I just love it here. It works for me because it is a small camp and the work is very intensive. Everything done is inclusive, not separate but one community which makes it a special place. Very warm and welcoming.”

“This festival is the most unique” said bass player Milad Danari. From Dallas but attending school in New York, he noted, “Students and teachers share the same space and this breaks down barriers.” That was echoed by Alana Shannon, a cellist from San Francisco, who said, “It’s a wonderful opportunity to work with such renowned faculty.” The pace is brisk, as students are constantly practicing on their own as well as in groups. Additional time is spent with students on different instruments and then together as an orchestra, learning the next piece they will play.

Kate Nichols, a flute player from Claremont, Fla., said, “The institute has given me the most well rounded experience I have ever had. We learn a new concert program every weekend. Doing different parts with different musicians makes this by far my favorite summer program I have ever had.” The students seem to thrive on the fast pace of the institute.

In her first tour in Round Top, Marta Xavier from Portugal says she is is constantly playing her clarinet. “We play a lot and this helps us learn to play together, which is very challenging,” said Xavier. When asked if she has been to the city, meaning Austin or Houston, she laughed and admitted to seeing “downtown Round Top a couple times” but spends most of her time working.

Students bond, like many do while attending a summer camp, but one of the bonds is the time and effort they spend on practicing and performing. Signup sheets for extra practice are quickly filled and students perform several times each week during the festival, which lasts from June 6 to July 13.

Violin player Queenie Edwards is from Tampa and admitted loving her first time at the Round Top Festival. “I enjoy working and getting to make music. Everyone pushes and inspires us to be better, especially the conductors,” said Edwards.

Bulgarian violin player Dorisiya Yositova admitted to being amazed, “There is a place like this in the middle of nowhere. We come together and make something great like one big happy family,” Yositova said. Asked her impression of Texas she said with a laugh, “There are bugs, lots of bugs and they bite me. I think they call them chiggers.”

In addition to a great venue and some of the top instructors and conductors in the world, the town of Round Top is a draw for many students. A “small, friendly Texas town in the middle of nowhere,” as they call it. The community plays a large part in the favorable reviews the institute receives year after year. Surprisingly, big city students especially seem to enjoy the small town atmosphere.

From the Manhattan School of Music in New York, french horn musician Alexander Lane is happy to be away from the big city for a while. “It’s a unique situation to be in such a small town and have the opportunity to play music with a lot of really talented players. It’s awesome,” said Lane.

Sarah Evins is from Las Vegas, plays the viola and emphatically stated that while the viola is similar to the violin, viola players are “more, well adjusted.” Back for a second year at the institute, with a big smile she offered, “I love it here. I had one of the best summers of my life last year and this year is topping it.” She added with a disarming giggle, “Participating in this camp is life changing. The Round Top community act so happy to have us here that it makes us glad to be here as well. We work so hard because we love being here.”

Xiaoying “Jenny” Chen is from Guangzhou, China, about 75 miles northwest of Hong Kong. She is attending her first Round Top Festival Institute. She speaks English without an accent and continuously smiles. After learning to play the violin she switched to the viola and admitted with her new instrument, “Our music parts are easier. We are more focused on sound and I can express my emotions. The institute is pretty challenging with sight reading and practices and some of it drives me crazy.” She laughed and added, “But crazy good. Having fun. Everyone here is super friendly and laughs a lot. I’ve also met a lot of people here who speak Chinese.”

Oakridge, Tenn. would seem to be a hotbed of country musicians but Alex Shor plays an eclectic collection of instruments, including the cello, piano and accordion. Back for his second year at the institute, Shor relates he has been to many camps but the Round Top event is special. The mingling between faculty and students makes the relationship unique from other festivals, he said. “They treat us as equals and that makes the festival very special,” said Shor, who admitted Texas bugs are a tougher group than what he is used to back home. However he pointed out, “Bug bites and blisters on your fingers are known as Round Top scars and considered badges of honor.”

The schedule of performances can be found at: http://festivalhill.org/events/round-top-music-festival-2/

Source: http://www.brenhambanner.com/news/international-musicians-descend-on-festival-hill/article_f567b6c8-ddb1-11e2-bf04-0019bb2963f4.html

Texas prepares to execute 500th inmate

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — Jim Willett remembers the night of Dec. 6, 1982, when he was assigned to guard a mortuary van that had arrived at the death house at the Huntsville prison.

"I remember thinking: We're really going to do this. This is really going to happen," says Willett, who was a captain for the Texas Department of Corrections.


What was unusual then has become rote. On Wednesday, barring a reprieve, Kimberly McCarthy will become the 500th convicted killer in Texas to receive a lethal injection.

The number far outpaces the execution total in any other state. But it also reflects the reality of capital punishment in the United States today: While some states have halted the practice in recent years because of concern about wrongful convictions, executions continue at a steady pace in many others.

More at http://www.reporternews.com/news/2013/jun/25/texas-prepares-execute-500th-inmate-kimberly-mccar/ . (Abilene)

[font color=green]We're number one![/font] :shame:

Calling Abortion "Genocide," Protester Escorted from Texas Senate during Sen. Wendy Davis filibuster

3:04 p.m. by Alana Rocha

A couple of hours into state the filibuster of state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, SB 5, Mike Bradford, am abortion opponent took his lunch break from work to speak against abortion from his seat in the Senate gallery. He shouted, "History will show that we're on the wrong side of this debate," and was escorted out of the gallery.

Bradford called SB 5 "bandage legislation." He said abortions should be banned "because that's the only way you're going to solve the problem of killing innocent lives." He explains in this clip why he believes abortion is genocide.


[font color=green]Thanks, that gave Senator Davis a break from speaking.

Keep on talking Wendy![/font]

Domingo Garcia sues FEC after his congressional campaign gets hit with five-figure fine

His dispute with the League of United Latin American Citizens now in the rear-view mirror, Domingo Garcia now has a new adversary: the Federal Election Commission.

According to a lawsuit filed in Dallas federal court Monday, the commission says that during his run for Congress in 2012 Garcia’s campaign didn’t file so-called 48-Hour Notices in the days leading up to the primary. FEC rules say that committees have to file “special notices regarding contributions of $1,000 or more received less than 20 days but more than 48 hours before 12:01 a.m. of the day of any election in which the candidate is running,” including loans a candidate makes to his own campaign. But Garcia’s treasurer, Swati Patel, failed to note that the candidate slipped himself a quarter million leading up to the May primary; Garcia even admits as much in court documents.

As a result, the commission hit Garcia’s campaign with a $15,200 civil penalty in February.

Garcia’s campaign spent a few months fighting the fine. But on May 23, the FEC sent Patel a final-determination letter, which said she and the campaign had a handful of choices, among them: Pay the penalty or sue in federal court. The former Dallas city council member and state representative has gone the latter route.

More at http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2013/06/domingo-garcia-sues-federal-election-commission-after-his-congressional-campaign-gets-hit-with-five-figure-fine.html/ .

[font color=green]Note for clarification: Garcia lost the Democratic primary election to Marc Veasey by less than 1,000 votes in a district that was designed to be a seat for a black representative.[/font]

Texas voter ID law “will take effect immediately,” says Attorney General Greg Abbott

WASHINGTON — The implications of today’s landmark ruling could be swift and stunning.

With the Supreme Court suspending the mechanism that forced Texas to get a federal OK before it can implement any election law change, state Attorney General Greg Abbott asserts that nothing now can stop the state from activating its controversial voter ID law.

“With today’s decision, the State’s voter ID law will take effect immediately,” Abbott announced. “Redistricting maps passed by the Legislature may also take effect without approval from the federal government.”

Laughlin McDonald of the ACLU, on a call with reporters, conceded that Texas has “a very strong argument” that in light of today’s Supreme Court decision, it can implement the Voter ID law and other laws that previously required federal approval.

The Texas Department of Public Safety has announced that starting Thursday, “Photo identification will now be required when voting in elections in Texas.”

More at http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2013/06/texas-voter-id-law-could-start-now-attorney-general-greg-abbott.html/ .

Boy fatally impaled on statue outside Texas Tech's National Ranching Heritage Museum

A 14-year-old boy died early Saturday morning after becoming impaled on a bull statue’s horn at the National Ranching Heritage Museum.

The incident occurred at about 3 a.m., said Chris Cook, director of marketing and communications for Texas Tech University.

The boy, whose name has not been released, was playing hide-and-seek with friends and struck the statue while running on the museum’s lawn.

Texas Tech University police are investigating the death.

Source: http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2013-06-24/boy-fatally-impaled-statue-outside-texas-techs-national-ranching-heritage

My 4,000 Post: An Ode to Catnip!

[font color=green size=3]
An Ode to Catnip!

Catnip. How you smell so nice!
I love you with furry toy mice.

Catnip. You are fun to eat.
Catnip is my favorite treat.

Catnip. You are so delish.
Catnip is my favorite dish.

Even when there's stress and strife,
A pinch of nip will fix my life.

So if you did not get my hint,
I'd really like some more Catnip.

Credit: http://www.catster.com/cats/741807/diary/Angrycat_chronicles/430945


I checked my profile and I've been busy lately, but I expected to be active with the Lege in session.

Account status: Active
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 02:57 AM
Number of posts, all time: 3,999
Number of posts, last 90 days: 1232
Favorite forum: The DU Lounge, 204 posts in the last 90 days (17% of total posts)
Favorite group: Texas, 598 posts in the last 90 days (49% of total posts)
Last post: Mon Jun 24, 2013, 07:53 PM

Paula Deen will continue to headline Houston food show

Paula Deen will continue to participate in Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Shows, including the show slated for Sept. 14-15 in Houston at Reliant Center, a spokesperson for the food show announced Monday.

Deen, who has been in the midst of a firestorm since she admitted to using racial slurs, also will continue to headline MetroCooking shows in Dallas and Washington, DC, this year.

In a statement from MetroCooking:
“Paula Deen has been a friend of The Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show for many years. She has apologized and we are taking her apology at her word and moving forward accordingly. The Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show does not condone or believe in the use of derogatory slurs by anyone. We abhor the words of hostility and hatred. This is a nation of forgiveness and second chances. In that spirit we intend to go forward with the MetroCooking Shows in Houston, Dallas and Washington, DC as planned with Paula as a presenter. At this time we have no plans to do otherwise.”

Deen headlined Houston’s MetroCooking show last year along with Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis and celebrity chef/cookbook author Jacques Pepin. She also headlined Houston’s first MetroCooking show in 2011.

The MetroCooking statement came about an hour after wire reports that Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, announced that it dropped Deen as a spokeswoman. The company said in a statement it “condemns the use of offensive and discriminatory language and behavior of any kind.”

More at http://blog.chron.com/29-95/2013/06/paula-deen-will-continue-to-headline-houston-food-show/ .

[font color=green]This may all be for the best. I have a feeling she might be uncomfortable visiting a social services office to file an unemployment claim.[/font]

Texas Republicans continue to to fight against Obamacare, 98 days before big Oct. 1 launch

Obamacare recently launched its own website to advertise that the “Health Insurance Marketplace” is coming soon, but many Texas Republicans hope to defund the program.

According to the website, a new way to get affordable coverage launches on October 1. With 98 days left until open enrollment, Texas Republicans continue to fight against the program.

Rep. Bill Flores and Rep. Pete Olson expressed their concern on Twitter:

The more we learn about #Obamacare, the worse it gets. That’s why I’m fighting to scrap it asap. http://t.co/OrmhmZWk1P

— RepPeteOlson (@OlsonPressShop) June 24, 2013

99 more days until the official start of Obamacare. #trainwreck http://t.co/tLERQPMurf

— Rep. Bill Flores (@RepBillFlores) June 24, 2013

Coverage won’t begin until January 1, but many Republicans fear the economic impact that Obamacare will have on the United States. Sen. Ted Cruz believes that small businesses will be more likely to hire illegal immigrants to save money under Obamacare:

#Go8 & Obamacare subsidize hiring illegal immigrants over citizens. In response, I proposed amdt to defund Obamacare & level playing field.

— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) June 24, 2013

More, including comments by Eddie Bernice Johnson in support of Obamacare and a video are at the link, at http://blog.mysanantonio.com/texas-on-the-potomac/2013/06/texas-republicans-continue-to-to-fight-against-obamacare-98-days-before-big-oct-1-launch/ .

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