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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: 84,696

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

IRS chief: Inappropriate screening was broad

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Internal Revenue Service's screening of groups seeking tax-exempt status was broader and lasted longer than has been previously disclosed, the new head of the agency said Monday.

An internal IRS document obtained by The Associated Press said that besides "tea party," lists used by screeners to pick groups for close examination also included the terms "Israel," ''Progressive" and "Occupy." The document said an investigation into why specific terms were included was still underway.

In a conference call with reporters, Danny Werfel said that after becoming acting IRS chief last month, he discovered wide-ranging and improper terms on the lists and said screeners were still using them. He did not specify what terms were on the lists, but said he suspended the use of all such lists immediately.

"There was a wide-ranging set of categories and cases that spanned a broad spectrum" on the lists, Werfel said. He added that his aides found those lists contained "inappropriate criteria that was in use."

More at http://www.chron.com/business/article/IRS-chief-Inappropriate-screening-was-broad-4619093.php .

Abigail Fisher says she’s confident UT ‘won’t be able to use race in the future’ (re SCOTUS ruling)

Abigail Fisher, a 23-year-old at the center of this year’s Supreme Court case on affirmative action, predicts that today’s decision will mark the end of race-based admissions at the University of Texas.

Just hours after the court sent her case back to the district level, Fisher said the decision brought the nation “closer to a day when student’s race isn’t used at all in students’ admissions.”

“Of course we’re happy about it. They gave us everything that we asked for. And I’m very confident that UT won’t be able to use race in the future,” Fisher, flanked by her parents and counsel, said.

Edward Blum, director of the non-profit Project on Fair Representation, also claimed victory for Fisher, and said he strongly believed the Fifth Circuit courts would strike down the college’s policies upon further review.

More at http://blog.chron.com/txpotomac/2013/06/abigail-fisher-says-shes-confident-ut-wont-be-able-to-use-race-in-the-future/ .

Critical government survey interrupted at Parkland Memorial Hospital for unknown reasons

As reported last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services launched a critical survey a week ago of Dallas County’s public hospital that would decide the fate of its state and federal funding.

The survey was supposed to be “24/7″ and take as long as needed to determine if Parkland Memorial Hospital had made the necessary changes to assure patient safety.

But without explanation, the survey team left the hospital Friday before concluding its work.


... Parkland could lose its state and federal funding, which amounts to more than $400 million annually in Medicare and Medicaid dollars or roughly a third of its income.

More at http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2013/06/critical-government-survey-interrupted-at-parkland-memorial-hospital-for-unknown-reasons.html/ .

[font color=green]I have never witnessed any type of audit halted during the evaluation process. It can't be good news for this to occur and someone discovered something that would either have a devastating impact on patient care or a large scale case of a crime such as embezzlement or fraud.[/font]

Senate passes House redistrict maps

The Texas Senate approved political boundary maps for the House on Sunday, completing the initial task of the special legislative session that ends Tuesday.

The House-passed version of Senate Bill 3 makes at least six changes in the House boundary maps earlier approved by the Senate, ones that were drawn as interim maps by a San Antonio court. Republican leaders at the State Capitol now want to adopt those maps in hopes of avoiding a delay in primary election dates for the 2014 elections.

The vote was along party lines, 18-11, with Democrats voting no.

Sen. Kel Seliger, an Amarillo Republican who heads the Senate redistricting committee, said the changes were minor and agreed to in the House. The Senate generally goes along with changes the House wants in its political boundary maps, and vice versa.

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/senate-passes-house-redistrict-maps/nYSZM/ .

Democratic tactics delay abortion debate

AUSTIN – Procedural questions and objections by House Democrats stalled legislation Sunday to ban abortion at 20 weeks and impose tighter regulations on the procedure.

"We may not be in the majority, but unity trumps division any day," said Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, who raised an objection that delayed consideration of a measure concerning youthful capital offenders that preceded the abortion bill on the House agenda.

While the objection wasn't raised specifically about the abortion measure, the delay pushed back consideration of the abortion measure and a transportation proposal behind the crime measure on the House agenda.

With Tuesday's looming end of the special session making every minute count, lawmakers worked under the watchful eye of advocates on both sides of the abortion issue, who lined the second-floor lobby outside the House chamber.

More at http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Democratic-tactics-delay-abortion-debate-4617535.php .

Monetizing Life Versus Creating Value

By Carol Morgan

Because my business is career counseling, I tend to view a great deal through that prism. Prism or not, it’s a fact that career decision making involves far more than choosing a profession based upon a money exchange for services rendered.

A career choice which focuses only upon YOU and your needs eventually becomes empty and unsatisfying. Work has no meaning at all unless it creates value. The best careers are those in which the person believes in the value of what they are doing or selling.

You don't have to be a "do-gooder" to create value; just the realization that every career choice affects others in some way. A receptionist who answers the phone can make me want to do business with a certain store—or NOT. My doctor affects my health. My accountant affects my financial consequences. Every SUCCESSFUL career has some element of social consciousness involved in it.

When one’s self-interest and social good meet, everyone is happy; everyone benefits.

More at http://lubbockonline.com/interact/blog-post/carol-morgan/2013-06-22/monetizing-life-versus-creating-value .

[font color=green]Carol is an excellent writer and ran for the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat in one of the reddest areas of Texas.[/font]

Company drops plans for coal-fired plant

SWEETWATER, Texas — A company has dropped plans to build a coal-fired power plant in West Texas.

Omaha-based Tenaska says it will focus on the development of natural gas-fueled and renewable facilities.

The company had been pursuing plans for the plant near Sweetwater and one in Taylorville, Ill., more than five years.

The Texas plant would have used new technology to recover up to 90 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. The emissions would have been sold to oil companies for underground piping to help recover oil. Carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants are believed to contribute to global warming.

The proposed Sweetwater plant faced many hurdles, including scarcity of water.

More at http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2013-06-22/company-drops-plans-coal-fired-power-plant#comment-294830 .

Georgetown boys win world rocketry contest in Paris with 703 foot raw egg launch!

This onboard video was shot during the International Rocketry Challenge, held
June 21, 2013 at Le Bourget Airport during the Paris Air Show. Raytheon proudly
sponsored the United States team's trip to France to compete in the event.

See more photos, videos and articles from the show at http://rtn.co/178gkVT

The U.S. model rocketry team from Georgetown meets French President Francois
Hollande after winning the world meet in Paris.

Three members of the 4H club in Georgetown – and their egg-carrying rocket — bested the national champion teams of France and Britain Friday when their rocket carried a raw egg to a winning altitude of 703 feet. The egg returned to earth undamaged, a requirement of the contest.

The three-member team consists of brothers Mark Janecka, 13, his brother Matthew, 17, and teammate Daniel Kelton. The teams launched their rockets into a rainy sky during a break in the flying at Le Bourget Airport. The U.S. rocket reached 703 feet, 47 feet short of the target altitude of 750 feet.

"It was short -- but it worked, apparently," Kelton said. He said the longer launch rail used in international competition had slowed down the rocket's ascent. "And the rain, especially, didn't help anything," Kelton said. "It makes the air a lot denser, and the rocket gets wet."

However, the U.S. team's flight time made up for the lower flight. Their flight lasted 49.18 seconds, falling within the contest target of 48 to 50 seconds.

More at http://wilcosun.com/ .

[font color=green]Before anyone asks, the chicken that laid a 703 foot egg still has not been located!

Congratulations to the young men. I'm certain that their family, friends and the city of Georgetown, Texas is proud of you.[/font]

I learned about another way to use catnip!

Mosquitoes are naturally repelled by catnip, which is also known as Nepeta cataria. The plant can be grown in your garden to ward off common insect.

Texas insurance regulators look to new commissioner for a fresh start

The happiest place in Austin these days is not Sixth Street, but a couple of blocks away, at the offices of the Texas Department of Insurance. Folks there have a new boss.

At an introductory staff meeting, an employee asked the new boss, “What should I call you?” The new Texas insurance commissioner replied, “Call me Julia.”

Julia Rathgeber, a key behind-the-scenes player in the Legislature for the past decade as a top aide to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, is enjoying a honeymoon with TDI employees, the insurance industry and consumer advocates. She has spent four weeks on the job.

Her predecessor, Eleanor Kitzman, was the first insurance commissioner since the job was given to one person 20 years ago who lost it because of a lack of state Senate confirmation. Gov. Rick Perry appointed her two years ago, but when she failed in the job, he didn’t try to save her.

More at http://www.dallasnews.com/investigations/watchdog/20130622-the-watchdog-texas-insurance-regulators-look-to-new-commissioner-for-a-fresh-start.ece .

[font color=green]My opinion: The popularity of the insurance commissioner changes as the wind blows. Now that we are in the midst of hurricane season the honeymoon could end abruptly.

Some of the attitudes at the department employees also need to change (or the employees need to be removed) since they are oriented towards serving the insurance industry rather than consumers.[/font]
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