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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: 77,765

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

Texas Democrat: 'There's a special place in hell' for leaders who didn't stop family separations

FORT WORTH -- Texas Democrats are among those heading to the border this weekend.


Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa kicked off the state convention saying that history will judge those responsible for this immigration policy that tore countless families apart.

"There's a special place in hell for them," he said. "I’m going to stand up and fight but I need all of y’all to stand up and fight. When immigrants are under attack, we need to stand up and fight for them.

"It’s on us to show ... that, in our Texas, we care for each other."

Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article213532094.html

Texas lawyer who filed fraudulent hail-damage lawsuits sentenced to 5 years

A former attorney who took advantage of Texas hailstorms to file fraudulent roof claims lawsuits will serve five years in prison, a Tarrant County judge decided Friday.

R. Kent Livesay will also be required to surrender his law license, testify against other participants in the scheme and pay restitution to his victims.

A Texas Department of Insurance investigation found multiple cases where Livesay filed lawsuits against home-insurance companies without the knowledge or consent of the homeowners.

The State Bar of Texas' disciplinary commission previously found that Livesay violated professional-conduct rules by sending case-runners to solicit clients with homes damaged by hail.

Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/2018/06/22/texas-lawyer-filed-fraudulent-hail-damage-lawsuits-sentenced-five-years

Walmart loses appeal over $1.39M award to woman injured by falling box at Farmers Branch store

An appeals court denied an appeal from Walmart to toss out a verdict awarding $1.39 million to a Texas woman injured by merchandise that fell from a shelf.

Dawn Bishop was shopping at a Walmart in Farmers Branch in July 2012 when a box that she estimated weighed 15 pounds fell on her head.

After the incident, she went to an urgent care facility and was diagnosed with a cervical strain and a head contusion. Bishop testified that she was still in pain after the incident despite lengthy physical therapy, steroid injections and visits to more than five doctors.

The original jury had found that a Walmart employee who was stacking shelves near Bishop was negligent and his negligence caused Bishop’s injury. The employee worked mainly as a cashier and testified he had not been trained to stock shelves.

Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/business/retail/2018/06/21/walmart-loses-appeal-139m-award-woman-injured-falling-box-farmers-branch-store

Former ER doctor who signed bogus documents found guilty with 2 nurses in $13M health care fraud

Dr. Kelly Robinett was a semi-retired emergency room doctor with more than 30 years of experience who didn't want to see patients much anymore when he took a job for about $400 a week signing medical paperwork.

That decision cost him his livelihood, his reputation and quite possibly his freedom. The 70-year-old Carrollton man was convicted Friday of four fraud charges for his role in a $13 million home health care scam made possible by what prosecutors called his rubber stamp signature on fraudulent documents.

Jurors issued their verdict after several hours of deliberations following a weeklong trial before U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor in Dallas.

The jury also found Robinett's co-defendants — nurses Kingsley Nwanguma, 47, and Joy Ogwuegbu, 42 — guilty of health care fraud. Sentencing will be later.

Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/2018/06/22/former-er-doctor-2-nurses-found-guilty-13-million-health-care-fraud

Lupe Valdez urges Democrats to unite behind her in the 'battle for the future of Texas'

FORT WORTH — Holding back tears at times, Lupe Valdez urged thousands of the state's most fervent Democrats to get behind her in her uphill battle to unseat Gov. Greg Abbott and become the first Latina, openly gay governor of Texas.

Speaking at the party's biennial convention right before the headliner — Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who is challenging Ted Cruz for his Senate seat — the former Dallas County sheriff brought the crowd to its feet with the story of her family's immigrant success.

"Lupe! Lupe! Lupe!" the crowd chanted.

"She killed it," Austin Rep. Celia Israel said after the speech, adding that Valdez was upbeat and energetic, showing an improvement in delivery that she's developed on the campaign trail.

Brushing off criticisms that she has no shot against the highly popular Republican governor, Valdez pushed back, saying she has been an underdog her whole life.

Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2018/06/22/lupe-valdez-urges-democrats-unite-behind-battle-future-texas

Beto O'Rourke vows to 'show up' for all Texans as he thrills delegates at state Democratic conventio

Beto O'Rourke vows to 'show up' for all Texans as he thrills delegates at state Democratic convention

FORT WORTH — In a rousing speech to thousands of delegates at the Texas Democratic Party Convention, Rep. Beto O'Rourke called for Democrats to "show up" for Texans that have been under siege from leaders who don't act in their best interests.

His expansive remarks touched on many progressive themes as he urged Democrats to fight for teachers, women, farmers, veterans, transgender residents and others.

"I want to make sure that we're talking everyone, every day in the state of Texas," O'Rourke said. "That everybody is treated with respect and dignity in the state of Texas, in the United States of America, everyone, everywhere, every single day. We show up in every county, in every community within every county ... we show up for everyone."

O'Rourke also lamented that America — under the administration of President Donald Trump — had separated migrant children from their families in the name of border security and called on the nation's leaders to do the right thing.

Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/2018-elections/2018/06/22/beto-orourke-vows-show-up-for-all-texans-thrills-delegates-texas-democratic-party-convention

Texas Supreme Court strikes down Laredo's plastic bag ban, likely ending others

by Emma Platoff, Texas Tribune

The Texas Supreme Court handed a loss to local government on Friday, striking down a Laredo ban on plastic bags. The decision imperils about a dozen other cities' bans across the state.

In a decision viewed as one of the court’s most highly politicized of the term, justices ruled unanimously that a state law on solid waste disposal pre-empted the local ordinance. That decision drew immediate responses from both sides of the aisle, with high praise from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican who had weighed in against the bans, and condemnation from environmental groups, which had argued the ban kept at bay the harsh environmental damage brought by plastics.

The court’s ruling resolves a long-standing question over whether local governments may impose such bans, as cities including Austin, Fort Stockton and Port Aransas have in recent years. Friday’s unanimous holding makes those bans unenforceable as well, and likely tosses the issue over to the Texas Legislature for debate.

The court said in a unanimous holding that its intent was not to wade into the "roving, roiling debate over local control of public affairs" but simply to resolve the legal question at hand.

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2018/06/22/texas-supreme-court-rules-bag-bans/

Texas high court says Xerox can't blame dentists in $2B Medicaid fraud case

The Texas Supreme Court on Friday ruled that Xerox alone is on the hook for a reported more than $2 billion worth of fraudulent Medicaid losses and damages that Texas is seeking to recover. The company, since renamed Conduent Business Services, had sought to share blame with dentists and orthodontists who performed the procedures.

The finding represents a significant blow to Xerox, which was responsible for pre-authorizing dental and orthodontic treatment for children between 2004 and 2012, when Medicaid spending on the procedures soared. The company had sought to share some of the cost with the providers, claiming they knowingly gamed the system.

The lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial next year.

The ruling is the latest development in a thicket of legal actions that aim to assign blame for hundreds of thousands of procedures that regulators say did not meet the criteria to be covered by Medicaid, the federal health program for poor people and children. As of last summer, the actions had generated millions of pages of documents; 50 state lawyers were working on it.

In addition to suing Xerox for failing to act as a reliable gatekeeper for prepayment requests, Texas also has sought to recover money from scores of dentists and orthodontists for what state inspectors say were procedures that were cosmetic rather than medically necessary, the standard to qualify for the government program. While dentists have prevailed in actions brought in administrative court, several lawsuits remain pending in district courts.

Read more: https://www.mystatesman.com/news/state--regional/texas-high-court-says-xerox-can-blame-dentists-medicaid-fraud-case/UI9wpIpLNMSrR4AFCPClgL/

Texas Democrats poised to back legalization of marijuana

FORT WORTH — Last week, the Texas Republican Party at its convention in San Antonio approved a platform plank that called for decriminalizing marijuana. Not to be outdone — or more accurately, not to be matched — the Texas Democratic Party appears on its way to embracing legalization of marijuana when it approves its platform here Saturday.

“The 2012 convention was the first time our platform recognized that marijuana needed to be decriminalized. It’s not till 2018, six years later, that we are finally moving from decriminalization to legalization,” said Pedro Villalobos, an Austin member of the platform advisory committee, which drew up the draft language that the committee seemed agreeable to Thursday. Villalobos works as an assistant county attorney in Travis County.

The draft states that Texas Democrats “support Texas legislation to legalize possession and use of marijuana and to regulate its use, production and sale as is successfully done in Colorado and Washington and other states.”

The platform would also “urge release of individuals incarcerated for possession of marijuana and expungement of criminal records of persons convicted or receiving deferred adjudication for misdemeanor offenses.”

Read more: https://www.statesman.com/news/state--regional-govt--politics/texas-democrats-poised-back-legalization-marijuana/ZzUIhBEeHbZsZrh1AF3vRL/

South Dakota Wins Bigger Government, Bigger Sales Taxes in Wayfair, Can Now Afford Food Tax Relief

Marty Jackley lost the primary to the less-qualified Kristi Noem, but he can celebrate winning his big Supreme Court case. Despite Jackley’s shaky performance in April, the highest court in the land today decided in South Dakota v. Wayfair to accede to the wishes of the conservative Republican South Dakota Legislature and allow us to enforce our state laws beyond our state borders and collect more tax dollars from people who’ve never set foot in our state.

I’m not the only one who finds this ruling ideologically confusing. The 5–4 ruling found usually conservative but today judicial activist Justices Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch joining centrist Kennedy and liberal Bader Ginsburg overturning the Quill 1992 decision and greenlighting extraterritorial government authority and higher taxes, while liberals Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined conservative Chief Justice Roberts in defending stare decisis, limited state government, and lower taxes.

Jackley cheers today’s decision as “a win for South Dakota and for Main Street businesses across America that will now have a level playing field and tax fairness.”

Bread for the World South Dakota celebrates, too, because this victory means that if all those out-of-staters we now get to draft as tax collectors do their jobs well, the extra revenue they collect for us may lead to a lower sales tax rate.

Background: A little-known section of a 2016 law says that if the Supreme Court approves, as just happened, the collection of tax on online sales, and then if that tax revenue goes up at least $20 million, then one-tenth of a percent must come off the state’s general sales tax rate. It’s the law [Bread for the World SD, press release, 2018.06.21].

Read more: http://dakotafreepress.com/2018/06/21/sd-wins-bigger-government-bigger-sales-taxes-in-wayfair-can-now-afford-food-tax-relief/
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