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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: 85,805

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

UTEP student who was unwitting drug mule sues Ford

A UTEP student has filed suit against Ford Motor Co., claiming the automaker negligently handed out key codes that allowed smugglers to plant illegal drugs in his car in 2010.

The smugglers planted more than 500 pounds of marijuana in the vehicles of Ricardo Magallanes, the man suing Ford, and four others who lived in Juárez and worked in El Paso, FBI agents said in a 2011 affidavit. Once in El Paso, the marijuana was intended for distribution throughout the United States, the affidavit says.

Of the five vehicles FBI agents learned were targeted by the scheme, four were made by Ford. Agents were told by a locksmith that the automaker gave "widely available access to Ford-key cut codes" while the biggest American carmaker, General Motors Co., did not, the affidavit says.

The document also said the codes in the Ford database were accessed by a single account at a Dallas auto dealer that gave out more than 2,300 codes for cars and trucks all over the United States during an 18-month period. But the documents don't say whether that was suspicious -- or if federal law enforcement is investigating the system that put innocents' car keys into the hands of drug smugglers.

More at http://www.elpasotimes.com/news/ci_23751589/unwitting-drug-mule-sues-ford-says-company-too?source=rss_viewed .

Texas Women More Likely to Die in Childbirth than from an Abortion, and HB 2 will Make it Worse

Women's health has been at the forefront of Texas politics this summer. But with the main focus on abortion, you may have missed an important and troubling fact: women are more likely to die in childbirth than during an abortion.

A study published in the medical journal Obstetrics and Gynecology in February 2012 found that nationally, the pregnancy-associated mortality rate among women giving birth was 8.8 deaths per 100,000 live births while the mortality rate associated with abortion was only 0.6 deaths per 100,000 abortions. In other words, women carrying a baby to term are 14 times more likely to die than a woman who has a legal abortion.

These statistics are even worse in Texas. In 2010, the state's maternal mortality rate was 24.6 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Texas has roughly the same maternal mortality rate as Saudi Arabia, and it's worse than Iran and Turkey. That's right--women giving birth in Texas are as likely to die as women giving birth in Saudi Arabia, and are more likely to die than women giving birth in Iran and Turkey.

There are a variety of reasons why maternal mortality has increased in recent years. One reason is the general increased prevalence of chronic health conditions that affect maternal health. For example, rates of obesity and diabetes have steadily increased over the past decade. The prevalence of obesity and diabetes in Texas are both slightly higher than the national average, and obesity is associated with a higher risk of maternal death. Obesity is also linked to socioeconomic and minority status. These problems are also reflected in the maternal mortality rate for minority women in Texas-- black women are almost twice as likely to die giving birth than white women.

More at http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/13851/texas-women-more-likely-to-die-in-childbirth-than-from-an-abortion-and-hb-2-will-make-it-worse .

CBS and Time Warner Cable's Smear Campaigns Could Backfire

CBS and Time Warner Cable are each asking the public to take their side in a nasty carriage dispute that could black out the network in several major markets, the latest in a series of PR battles over the fees programmers charge pay-TV companies. But these kinds of appeals may be growing futile -- or worse.

"Running these ads side-by-side, really just cancel each other out," according to one pay-TV carrier. "It aggravates consumers. They don't really trust either side on these sorts of things."

Every new spat already tempts regulators and politicians to play hero. New York City Comptroller and mayoral candidate John Liu last week told CBS and Time Warner Cable to make peace "immediately" and promised to seek customer refunds if service is interrupted. The latest deadline for the parties to strike a new deal is 5 p.m. today.

"It is a mistake to engage in public arguments," said Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research. "Highlighting a dispute to consumers, which will ultimately result in their paying millions of dollars of incremental costs for video services, creates incremental risks around the prospects of unfavorable regulatory policies in the future. In other words, they both risk 'killing the goose that lays the golden egg.'"

More at http://adage.com/article/media/cbs-time-warner-cable-smear-campaigns-backfire/243341/ .

[font color=green]The deal between CBS and TWC affects the New York, Dallas and Los Angeles markets.

This statement from CBS was just dispatched from the retransmission-free battlefront:

“CBS and Time Warner Cable have extended their current deal through today at 8PM EST while the companies continue to negotiate.”

Time Warner Cable followed up moments later with this echo: “Since negotiations are ongoing, Time Warner Cable has agreed to extend the agreement until 8 pm EST.”[/font]

Legislators ready to roll on transportation funding (updated)

AUSTIN — Legislative negotiators have agreed on transportation funding, but the deal is not sealed, one said Monday.

“Now we have to take it to our respective bodies,” said Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, one of the negotiators.

Pickett said continued discussion is expected over a push by some Republicans who say they need to ensure that the rainy day fund keeps a solid balance despite the diversion of some funds to transportation. Others, including a number of House Democrats, have opposed that idea because they say the Legislature in any case gets to decide whether to take money from the fund.

Voters must approve a constitutional amendment in November 2014 for the money to be diverted away from the state's rainy day fund.

More at http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/politics/texas_legislature/article/Legislators-ready-to-roll-on-transportation-4693376.php .

[font color=navy]Update:

House fails to pass road funding measure

Updated at 5:25 p.m.: The Texas House has failed to approve a constitutional amendment to boost funding for roads and bridges possibly triggering a third special session.

The House adjourned Monday and with plans to return Tuesday, the last day of the second special session. Gov. Rick Perry has promised to call a third special session if the package to boost spending on roads and bridges by more than $840 million a year did not pass.[/font]


How I would campaign against Greg Abbott

Remember, Abbott isn’t used to talking to people who don’t habitually vote in Republican primaries. That’s why he thinks that wooing voters by bragging about the things he’s done that they don’t like is a good idea. He just has no experience talking to non-true believers. That’s all to the good, but we can’t count on that. More to the point, we can’t let Abbott get away with using his personal story as a way to smooth out his extremely rough and, well, extreme edges. To borrow a page from the Karl Rove playbook, we need to turn his strength into a liability.

How to do that? There’s no question that Abbott has overcome a great deal of adversity in his life, the kind of adversity that most of us are fortunate to never face. That speaks well of his character and inner strength, but there’s an aspect to his success at overcoming that adversity that I have not yet seen mentioned anywhere. I don’t know Abbott’s medical history, but I think it’s safe to say that it includes surgeries, medication, physical therapy, medical equipment, and other things that undoubtedly cost a lot of money to provide. I have to wonder where Greg Abbott might be today if he had been one of the millions of Texans that don’t have health insurance at the time of his awful accident. Medical bills force millions of people into bankruptcy every year. Many other people deal with the problem by simply not getting the help and treatment that they need. Last week, Dear Prudence ran a letter from a woman who lost several teeth during a prolonged stretch of unemployment for her and her husband because she just couldn’t afford to go to the dentist. I guarantee you, there are a lot more stories like that in Texas than there are stories like Greg Abbott’s, and it’s not because the people behind those stories lacked character.

Thankfully for Greg Abbott, he never had to deal with any of that. Yet he has spent the past three years doing everything he can to keep the millions of Texans who lack health insurance from getting it by his relentless litigation against the Affordable Care Act. If he has any alternate ideas how to alleviate this longstanding problem, he’s not talking about it now, and never once in his ten plus years as Attorney General has he used his platform – never mind his personal experience as someone who relies heavily on quality medical care – to advocate for those in that position. In short, he would deny the same type of care that he himself has benefited from to millions of people who could not now receive it. His personal story may be admirable, but it sure hasn’t helped him to learn empathy. If Democrats don’t start pointing that out now, he might just be able to get through this campaign without people realizing that. We cannot let that happen.

Note that I made it this far without mentioning the multi-million dollar award that the strongly pro-tort “reform” Abbott received after his injury. Lisa Falkenberg talked to him about that, and somewhat to my surprised threw him off his talking points a bit. I say “somewhat to my surprise” because Sen. Kirk Watson tried to make an issue of this in the 2002 AG race and it largely backfired on him. That was before the strict med-mal cap was adopted, though, so perhaps another go at it might be worthwhile. It’s clear from reading Falkenberg’s piece that Abbott has the same lack of insight about just how far removed his own experience has been from so many other people’s as he does with health insurance. The point remains that there are some very tough questions that Abbott can and should face, and the sooner the better.

The complete story at http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=54182 .

Arraignment for Saudi princess delayed after failure to show up for hearing

SANTA ANA, Calif. — A Southern California judge has delayed arraignment for a Saudi princess charged with human trafficking who failed to show up for the original hearing set for today.

The judge wasn't happy Meshael Alayban failed to appear, but he pushed back the arraignment to Sept. 20. Alayban's lawyers say she's complied with all court orders and will appear at her arraignment.

They didn't say where she is.

Alayban was arrested two weeks ago after a Kenyan woman claimed the princess hired her last year, took her passport, forced her to work excessive hours at an Irvine condominium and didn't allow her to leave.

More at http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2013-07-29/arraignment-saudi-princess-delayed-after-failure-show-hearing .

New wells proliferate across the Eagle Ford Shale

All of that oil field activity in South Texas is adding up to lots of new wells.

In the last four quarters, operators have drilled 4,092 new wells in the Eagle Ford Shale, according to a new quarterly count of U.S. wells from Baker Hughes.

In the second quarter of this year, there were 1,050 new Eagle Ford wells – which means each rig working in the region drilled 4.56 wells.

The quarterly well count is a new measure from the Houston-based Baker Hughes, which also releases a rig count on Fridays.

More at http://fuelfix.com/blog/2013/07/26/four-quarters-4092-new-wells-in-the-eagle-ford-shale/?cmpid=hpts .

Texas has not surveyed injuries from plant blast

Source: AP

DALLAS (AP) -- More than three months after a Texas fertilizer plant exploded killing 15 people and hurting hundreds, the state still has not started surveying blast injuries.

Federal and state officials suggest such a study could increase the understanding about how many others may be in similar danger.

As of now, the Dallas Morning News reports (http://dallasne.ws/1c1hbbU), the Texas Department of State Health Services cannot even definitively say how many people were hurt when the West Fertilizer Co. exploded in April. An unofficial count estimates more than 300 were injured.

In 1995, when a bomb went off in an Oklahoma City federal building killing 168 people, state officials immediately tracked casualties.

Read more: http://www.khou.com/news/texas-news/Texas-has-not-surveyed-injuries-from-plant-blast-217310351.html

The state didn't have proper regulations in the first place, why should they care now?

Racist KKK Tea Partiers Face Terrorism Charges!

by James Schlarmann
Americans Against The TeaParty

You’ve got to hand it to crazy Tea Party racists; they sure do know how to make headlines. Take for example the two geniuses who are now facing terrorism charges in upstate New York after conspiring to use an “X-Ray” gun that they built while working at General Electric to kill Muslims while they sleep. To make the story even more perfect, one of the men is both a member of the Ku Klux Klan and the Tea Party Patriots. You know, TEApublicans get really angry when you accuse them of having racists in their flock, you may want to bookmark this story and send it to them every time you hear one of them whine and moan about being unfairly portrayed in the media.

Glendon Scott Crawford and Eric J. Feight are now awaiting charges after constructing a weapon that the FBI said was never operable, but that was designed to essentially be a “Hiroshima on a light switch,” as it was so lovingly referred to by Crawford. Apparently these two have a major ax to grind against people of the Islamic faith because before starting this little project of his, Crawford went trawling around synagogues in his area, looking for people sympathetic to his Islamophobic campaign.

I feel almost kind of sad writing this story actually — it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Over and over again people on the left have warned that the Tea Party contained within it some of the most unsavory and racist elements. That is the place from which they embraced the “birther” nonsense. It’s racism that makes their mouths foam at the mere suggestion of immigration reform. It’s racism that’s at the heart of disenfranchising minority voters with voter ID laws. They represent systemic discrimination and have always viewed liberals as a threat to their tight-fisted control of the power.

Just why did Crawford refer to Obama in an email just after the Boston Bombing as “treasoness [sic] bedwetting [sic] maggot in chief?” Because in Crawford’s words Obama brought “the muzzies here without background checks.” This is the problem with spending ten years fighting faceless wars in far off countries. These idiots have no idea what they’re talking about, but they see “Barack Hussein Obama” and immediately their brain latches onto “Muslim” and they won’t let go. Obama calls himself a Christian, but that doesn’t matter to the simpletons who believe people like Donald Trump and Alex Jones. They have their chew toy, and they’re not letting go.

More at http://aattp.org/racist-kkk-tea-partiers-face-terrorism-charges/ .

New law attempts to curb payroll fraud in construction projects

DALLAS — Five construction workers labored for weeks at a federally funded, multi-housing project, expecting a paycheck at the end of each week. But as each Friday rolled around, the drywallers on the $31 million Buckeye Trail Commons project went home without one.

The men likely will never get paid.

The Florida-based general contractor on the project, Siltek Group Inc., contends it didn’t hire the workers and knew nothing about the subcontractor that had brought them to the job site. That subcontractor, known as “J&D Outdoor Creations,” was hired by yet another subcontractor at Buckeye Trail.

No paper trail exists to link the subcontractor to the federal job, said Soli Mercado-Spencer, an attorney for the Workers Defense Project, a construction workers’ rights group in Dallas that is attempting to get restitution for the five laborers.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/07/28/5034941/new-law-attempts-to-curb-payroll.html#storylink=cpy
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