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Gender: Male
Hometown: Texas
Home country: United States
Current location: Red Hell Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 76,960

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

White House denies Rick Perry’s “end-run” allegation on Voting Rights

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. –The White House pushed back this afternoon against allegations from Texas Republicans that the Justice Department is overreaching its authority by trying to reimpose preemptive U.S. oversight of Texas elections.

Not so, Obama spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters traveling with the president aboard Air Force One to Florida.

Earnest noted that Texas political maps for years “have attracted quite a bit of controversy… I don’t think it’s a surprise to anybody that’s been following this that that’s attracted the attention of the Department of Justice.”

Attorney General Eric Holder’s announced this morning that he would seek a court order forcing Texas to submit any and all election changes for federal review. The Supreme Court lifted that burden last month when it struck down a key part of the Voting Rights Act.

More at http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2013/07/white-house-denies-rick-perrys-end-run-allegation-on-voting-rights.html/ .

Cross-posted in Politics 2013 forum.

Caribbean nations to seek slavery reparations from European colonial powers

Source: AP

MIAMI — Caribbean nations are joining together to seek reparations for slavery from three former colonial powers.

The prime minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is leading the effort. Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves tells The Associated Press that the 14 nations of the Caribbean Community organization have enlisted help from a British human rights law firm. Gonsalves says Caricom is also creating a special commission to pursue what he calls an "honest, sober and robust conversation" with Britain, France and the Netherlands about the legacy of slavery and the genocide of native people.

Individual nations and organizations have sought reparations in the past but this is the first push by Caricom. The British High Commissioner to Jamaica said in a radio interview Wednesday that his government opposes reparations.

Read more: http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2013-07-25/caribbean-nations-seek-slavery-reparations-european-colonial-powers

Rio Grande Valley scooter vendor sentenced in $11.1 million Medicare, Medicaid scam

McALLEN – A federal judge Wednesday handed a biller for a defunct McAllen durable medical equipment business a prison sentence of more than 11 years and ordered him to pay back more than $5 million for his part in a Medicare and Medicaid fraud conspiracy.

Ramon De La Garza, 52, of Mission, was a biller for DME RGV — a company that made $11.1 million worth of fraudulent claims to Medicaid and Medicare — for almost seven years, according to a news release from a spokeswoman with the U.S. District Court for South Texas. The prison sentence will be followed by a three-year term of supervised release.

De La Garza pleaded guilty – along with co-conspirators Marcelo and Carla Herrera – in February, when he admitted to filing fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid claims for more than $9.6 million, which eventually amounted to payments of more than $5.5 million.

Two years of the 11-year sentence was assessed for a charge of aggravated identity theft for using someone else’s identity to bill Medicaid and Medicare for a $5,000 power wheelchair that was never needed, requested, prescribed, ordered or delivered.

More at http://www.themonitor.com/news/local/article_47c35fae-f4d1-11e2-826a-0019bb30f31a.html .

[font color=green]The Herreras declared in court that fraudulent claims made up approximately 85 percent of their business.[/font]

The cost of Ken Anderson’s mistake endures

Hopefully the cost of a mistake like Ken Anderson’s – both to him personally as well as to the state of Texas and Williamson County – will make prosecutors think twice about what they’re doing in the future. At least that seems to be the hope. Here’s Grits on a recent Statesman article, (Legal bill brings cost of Morton case to nearly half a million dollars for Williamson County), about how much the false conviction of Michael Morton is costing them, Williamson County getting off light financially for Michael Morton exoneration.

Considering the state paid nearly two million dollars to Morton in a lump sum and that Texas taxpayers created a lifetime annuity for Morton in a like amount, quite honestly, it seems to me the county is getting off light. One of Morton’s unrequited reform suggestions was for counties to bear at least part of the burden for compensating exonerees since local officials were fundamentally responsible for most false convictions. That idea didn’t move forward, but it would be folly to think the county would get off scot-free while Judge Ken Anderson, who prosecuted Morton and was arrested this spring for allegedly secreting exculpatory evidence in the case, remains on the bench. For that matter, “If a trial is held, the county will face more expenses.”

Here’s the lead from the Statesman article:

By the time Williamson County pays the latest legal bill, it will have spent almost half a million dollars stemming from the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton, who was freed after serving 25 years in prison for the murder of his wife.

The latest bill of $339,492 is for attorney Rusty Hardin, who presented evidence and questioned witnesses in a special hearing back in February over the original prosecutor’s handling of the 1987 case. At the end of that “court of inquiry,” State District Judge Louis Sturns found then-district attorney Ken Anderson hid potentially exculpatory evidence to secure Morton’s conviction.

The suffering of people convicted of crimes they did not commit is hard to fathom. There is no monetary compensation that can make up for what was done to them. Read what Anthony Graves recently wrote about his time on death row. The only way we can try and make up for this is to do our best to make sure this never happens again.

Source: http://eyeonwilliamson.org/?p=13095

The perfect fit: Wonderbra maker to buy Maidenform


Two of the world's top bra makers are coming together in the biggest development in the $11.5 billion underwear industry in years.

Hanesbrands, which makes the Wonderbra, said Tuesday that it agreed to buy bra and underwear company Maidenform Brands Inc. for about $547 million. The deal would add brands like Maidenform, Flexees and Self Expressions to the Hanesbrand roster that includes Playtex, Bali, Champion, Wonderbra and its namesake Hanes.

The merger comes as traditional bra and underwear makers are facing tough competition from specialty stores such as Victoria's Secret that focus on frilly designs and newer rivals like Spanx that make shapewear that promises to control and smooth out bulges.

"Maidenform has great brands that consumers trust," said Hanes CEO Richard A. Noll. "Combining the complementary strengths of both companies creates a lot of growth opportunities."

More at http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2013-07-24/perfect-fit-wonderbra-maker-buy-maidenform .

Former GOP Legislator Reports Aggressive Treatment at Valley Traffic Stop

[div style="width:50%;"]

Aaron Peña

Former State Representative (and former Democrat) Aaron Peña received some attention earlier this week in the Texas Tribune concerning an unpleasant stop by local and federal law enforcement on his way to Austin from Edinburg last weekend.

He was stopped in Robstown, right outside of Corpus Christi, due to expired license plates. He was questioned not only by local police officers, but Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agents as well. They impounded his vehicle and wrote him a ticket for lacking proof of automobile insurance. He reported to be questioned excessively, and handled very aggressively.

Peña explains the experience:

"I don't mind that they pulled me over. I don't mind that they gave me a ticket. I do mind with great personal offense that they treated me like a drug dealer and accused me of lying."

"They assumed I was guilty, and they expected me to prove that I was innocent."

While he does not state it in the article explicitly, given the situation it's easy to assume the aggressive treatment towards the former representative was racially motivated.

More at http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/13829/former-gop-legislator-reports-aggressive-treatment-at-valley-traffic-stop .

[font color=green]Yes, the same Aaron Peña who voted for a bill that encourages the aggressive treatment of people based on race. The article also mentions his ties to Greg Abbott's political campaigns.

The Tea Party Is Over

Left to Right: Michele Bachman, Paul Ryan, Allen West, Grover Norquist, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell, and Ann Coulter.

Hillary trounces Rick Perry in presidential match-up; Perry, Ted Cruz lag behind in GOP primary

Texas Gov. Rick Perry fares worse against Hillary Clinton than any other potential Republican presidential candidate, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.

Perry, who says he is thinking and praying about a possible 2016 presidential candidacy, trails the former Secretary of State by 16 percentage points — 52 percent to 36 percent — in a hypothetical general election match-up. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan also trails Clinton by 16 points, 53 percent to 37 percent.

The strongest Republicans included in the McClatchy-Marist poll were New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (6 percentage points behind Clinton) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (down by 8 points).

In a GOP primary contest, Perry places a poor seventh at 4 percent. Freshman Texas Sen. Ted Cruz finished sixth with 7 percent.

More, including infographic, at http://blog.chron.com/txpotomac/2013/07/hillary-clinton-trounces-rick-perry-in-presidential-match-up-perry-ted-cruz-lag-behind-in-gop-primary/?cmpid=hpts .

Austin pot smokers attempt to dispel the “stoner” stereotype

There are a lot of really physically fit people in Austin.

There are also a lot of people who smoke pot in Austin.

An Austin group called Team Hope through Cannabis (THC) hopes to marry the two camps by organizing “runs and walks around Austin, including 5K’s and 10K’s and also goes to various sporting events.”

The athletic pot smokers from Team Hope through Cannabis hope to dispel the public’s perception that smoking weed makes you lazy, slow minded, and hungry.

The group is for athletic potheads. If the majority of your free time is spent on a couch and your carpet has bong water stains, then this group is probably not for you.

More at http://digitaltexan.net/2013/austin-local-news/austin-pot-smokers-attempt-dispel-stoner-stereotype/article55875/ .

[font color=green]I don't know how to respond, but I'll sure get back with a comment after I eat--maybe.[/font]

Bush 41 shaves his head to support a 2-year-old with leukemia

George H.W. Bush shaved his head this week to show his support for the 2-year-old son of a security detail member who is being treated for leukemia. (Office of George Bush)

Bush poses with the members of his Secret Service detail. (Office of George Bush)

Former President George H.W. Bush shaved his head in solidarity with 2-year-old son of a member of his 20 person security detail.

The young boy, named Patrick, is undergoing treatment for leukemia and has lost his hair. He was diagnosed this spring.

The 89-year-old Bush donated money to the cause and even volunteered to shave his head, according to Bush spokesman Jim McGrath.

It was a member of Bush's security team that had the honor of shaving the former president's head.

More at http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Bush-41-shaves-his-head-to-support-a-2-year-old-4684576.php?cmpid=hpbn .

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