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Profile Information

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: 78,270

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

Abbott says he was “unaware” his office acted to keep chemical sites secret

Greg Abbott is being blasted by the media, online activists and Texas citizens for his decision to side with chemical producers like the notorious Koch Industries and against Texas families. And today, Democratic attorney general candidate Sam Houston will begin a series of briefings explaining why Abbott's ruling was not just bad policy but a bad interpretation of law.

Abbott reversed the requirement that companies must inform the public when they are storing dangerous chemicals that might burn or explode—like what happened in West, Texas just last year.

Rather than admit his mistake, apologize for putting Texas families in danger and reverse his decision, Abbott pathetically tried to dodge responsibility by saying that he was “unaware” that his office had made the decision to let companies keep their dangerous chemical stockpiles secret.

In the weeks ahead, Greg Abbott will be called on to explain and justify a whole series of actions he has taken that benefit his insider friends and donors while hurting Texas men, women and their families. We expect he will attempt to dodge responsibility with misleading statements and weak excuses unfitting of a person seeking to lead the state of Texas.

Here are just a few of the decisions made and/or actions taken by Abbott that hurt Texans and call for accountability on his part:

Abbott’s green light to predatory lenders

Abbott donors ripped off cancer research center

Abbott allowed Child Sexual Abuse at the Texas Youth Commission

More at http://lonestarproject.net/abbott-says-he-was-%E2%80%9Cunaware%E2%80%9D-his-office-acted-keep-chemical-sites-secret .

GOP Congresswoman: Men Must Talk 'Down To A Woman’s Level' If They Want To Be Understood

Republican Congresswoman Renee Ellmers says that men need to dumb down their conversations because women aren't able to understand pie charts.

On Friday, a group of the more conservative Republican women in the U.S. House of Representatives attended an RNC Women conference focused on how to talk to women voters about Republican policies. Most of the attendees were members of the ultra-conservative Republican Study Committee, a group of 170 House Republicans who think the GOP-led House isn't tough enough on the budget and are opposed to same-sex marriage and abortion for any reason. As there are only 19 women Republicans in the House, it wasn't a large meeting, which may be why there mainstream media ignored it.

Among those attending was Rep. Renee Ellmers, a two-term Congresswoman from North Carolina who made a name for herself last fall by opposing Obamacare on the cable news channels with such fervor -- and false facts -- that even her constituents took to her Facebook page to lambast her for embarrassing them and their home state.

North Carolina Congresswoman Renee Ellmers telling us women can turn our country around. #rncwomenssummit pic.twitter.com/UHRFvsulDs
— Kim Reem (@KimReem) July 10, 2014

Rep. Ellmers on Friday had a few words of advice for her Republican colleagues on "Taking Back the Future." Perhaps its best to let the Washington Examiner's Ashe Schow explain, as she did in "The Republican plan to change the 'war on women' narrative needs work."

“Men do tend to talk about things on a much higher level,” Ellmers said. “Many of my male colleagues, when they go to the House floor, you know, they’ve got some pie chart or graph behind them and they’re talking about trillions of dollars and how, you know, the debt is awful and, you know, we all agree with that.

First she’s saying that men (perhaps only Republican men) don’t know how to connect with people. Second, she’s saying people are too stupid to understand pie charts.

Ellmers then said that women mainly want more time in their lives (don’t men as well?) and the first example she gave was that women wanted “more time in the morning to get ready.”

As for connecting to women specifically, Ellmers drove it home with a line that, had there been liberals in the audience, would have made the news.

“We need our male colleagues to understand that if you can bring it down to a woman’s level and what everything that she is balancing in her life — that’s the way to go,” Ellmers said. (Emphasis added.)

More at http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/_gop_congresswoman_men_must_talk_down_to_a_woman_s_level_if_they_want_to_be_understood .

Republican Party War Against Infrastructure And Growth

I suppose if a major bridge collapses-- 63,522 of them are obsolete or in need of crucial structural repair-- the Republicans will snap to and stop obstructing the transportation bill. Short of that… they'll give the president some crumbs to avoid a fuss in the media. The average additional cost of vehicle maintenance to motorists due to sub-par road conditions is around $440/year across the country. Here in L.A. it's $832 and it's $782 in San Francisco, $700 in Milwaukee, $625 in Seattle… And it's not just in blue areas where people are feeling the pain the GOP is inflicting on the nation again. In Tulsa the average annual additional cost/motorist is $784 and it's just $2 less in Oklahoma. In Colorado Springs they may think they can pray for better roads but the average additional cost per motorist is $589 and it's $601 in Metro Birmingham, Alabama. The congressmen from Tulsa (Jim Bridenstine), Oklahoma City (James Lankford), Colorado Springs (Doug Lamborn), and the Birmingham 'burbs (Spencer Bachus) all have something in common besides being over-the-top right wing extremists. They all oppose spending money on fixing the roads, bridges and transportation infrastructure.

In Tulsa the 11th Street Bridge over the Arkansas River-- completed in 1916-- is so structurally unsound that it was locked in 2008 so that not even pedestrians can walk across it. It was replaced by the I-244 bridges but those are no longer safe either and the westbound bridge was demolished in 2011. The new $41 million modern bridges are right alongside the Cyrus Avery Bridge, which is falling apart. It's supposed to open to traffic in 2015.

If Bridenstine was to vote to shut down funding for it, he might not be able to show his face in Tulsa again-- ever-- but he would be reelected, since the DCCC isn't even running anyone against him in November. Bridenstine's crackpot allies at Heritage Action (DeMint's crazy outfit) and Club For Growth have both come out against even the Republican pale compromise of a bill Obama has agreed to. They are threatening Republicans who vote for it, calling the legislation "a bailout."

In an attempt to compromise with the less insane right-wing Republican anarchists, Obama, who had requested $302 billion for 4 years worth of infrastructure and maintenance, has agreed to the niggardly House GOP offer of $10 billion through May.

“With surface transportation funding running out and hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk later this summer, the administration supports House passage of H.R. 5021,” the White House said in a statement. “This legislation would provide for continuity of funding for the Highway Trust Fund during the height of the summer construction season and keep Americans at work repairing the Nation's crumbling roads, bridges, and transit systems.”

The White House lamented that lawmakers have largely ignored Obama’s transportation proposal, which relies mostly on using $150 billion from closing corporate tax loopholes to close a shortfall in federal infrastructure funding that is predicted to be $16 billion per year.

“Congress should work to pass a long-term authorization bill well before the expiration date set forth in H.R. 5021,” the White House said before referencing Obama’s proposal.

The traditional source for transportation funding has been revenue that is collected from the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax. The tax has been stagnant since 1993, however, and has struggled to keep pace with infrastructure expenses as cars have become more fuel efficient.

The federal government’s current transportation funding level is about $50 billion per year, but the gas tax only brings in approximately $34 billion annually.

Lawmakers are considering using revenue from other areas of the federal budget like pension changes and custom fees to pay for a temporary extension of the current transportation funding level.

The White House said that Obama’s proposal, which would increase the annual funding level to about $75 billion per year, is “fully paid for through existing revenues and by reforming business taxes to help create jobs and spur investment while eliminating loopholes that reward companies for moving profits overseas.”

- See more at: http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2014/07/republican-party-war-against.html

UPDATE: Truncated Highway Trust Fund Bill Passes

The House, despite the demented threats from Heritage and Club for Growth, just passed the bill 367-55. Bridenstine voted no and so did the knucklehead from Oklahoma City, James Lankford, who's now running for the U.S. Senate.

My 10,000th post.

I was going to come up with something cute, but the truth is that nothing really good is happening with me. I'm stuck in a small town with no friends around, minimal job prospects, and hoping that SSDI will be approved since it looks like the only possibility to regain my independence and be with my pet cat AC that is pictured in the lower left corner.

I'm still looking for employment even though it would probably work against me as far as trying to claim SSDI. However, I've only had one interview via Skype in the past three months and nobody follows up on the other job applications that I submit. I've fallen a generation behind on my technical skills as a data analyst due to the gap in my employment record. There are very few mid-level career opportunities available with most job openings wanting people with 2-5 years of experience and I have over 20 years experience. Combine those factors with an unemployment rate of about 13% in the IT sector and it seems reasonable to believe that no opportunities will ever develop in my career field.

My overall health (both physical and mental) remains in poor shape. I've been running out of breath when I go for short walks or bike rides and make frequent stops to avoid fainting. When I arrive home from my excursions it takes about 20 minutes sitting in front of a fan to cool off and for my heart rate to drop, then I end up collapsing on the air mattress to sleep since I'm exhausted. My mental health situation is also aggravated when dealing with social services and medical practitioners since I seem to fall through the gaps for social programs. I'm about to enter the gap where I will likely lose SNAP benefits while I wait for the determination of SSDI benefits.

In addition, when I spoke with other people seeking SSDI, I learned that some of the applicants waited 3 to 4 years before approval. Needless to say, this added to my deteriorating mental state and intensified my depression. After hearing those stories I hired an attorney as an advocate. SSDI benefits will not provide for a lavish lifestyle, but if they are approved I should regain my independence and not be a burden on my family.

I'm surprised that I made it through to my 10,000th post after my episode back in early April. Several people here at DU have been very helpful to me and I appreciate all the assistance and support that they provided. This is one of the few places that I can turn to and be involved with people who shared wisdom, lived through similar experiences, and are of like philosophies. I'm doing my best to remain hopeful and be patient. In the meantime, I'll conclude the post in LOLCatese and say kthxbai!

Denton Council expects overflow crowd at fracking hearing

DENTON, Texas —Registration opened at 1 p.m. today for residents who want to address the City Council about a proposed citywide ban on hydraulic fracturing.

City staff will set up on the west side of the courtyard at City Hall, 215 E. McKinney St., and continue registering speakers through the public hearing itself.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. The agenda includes the council’s consideration of two specific-use permits and a consent agenda before the public hearing on the ban begins.

Under the city charter, the council must hold a public hearing on the initiative petition that proposed the ban. A group of Denton residents organized the initiative in the spring, delivering the signatures of nearly 2,000 registered voters supporting a ban. If the council passes the ban tonight, Denton would be the first city in Texas to ban fracking inside its city limits.

Industry groups have been circulating fliers in Denton and surrounding communities to alert mineral owners and others to the possibility of the ban and urging them to attend the meeting to oppose it. A petition management company has been circulating a plebiscite petition in support of fracking that is expected to be presented tonight. Outgoing Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman wrote a letter to Mayor Chris Watts and the City Council on Friday urging them to not approve the ban, calling oil and gas drilling a pillar of the Texas economy.

More at http://www.dentonrc.com/local-news/local-news-headlines/20140714-council-expects-overflow-crowd-at-fracking-hearing.ece .

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Undocumented Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas Arrested At South Texas Border

Pulitzer Prize-winning, undocumented journalist, Jose Antonio Vargas, came to the Rio Grande Valley last week to visit and report on the children refugees being sheltered in McAllen. Vargas was able to interview and film the young refugees, wanting to share their story with the rest of the country.

"I flew into the valley Thursday morning to visit a shelter for unaccompanied Central American refugees and participate in a vigil in their honor. Outraged at the media coverage of this humanitarian crisis (these children are not "illegal," as news organizations like CBS News and the New York Times call them), and frustrated by the political ping-pong centered on border security and increased enforcement, I also came here to share my own story of coming to the United States as an unaccompanied minor from the Philippines. I wanted to help change the narrative of the conversation and, with a camera crew, share stories from the shelter and its volunteers," Vargas wrote on Politico.

Yet, for all residents, traveling outside the Valley requires passing inspection by Border Patrol at the Falfurrias checkpoint or at the airport. Procedures Vargas was not aware of.

"When my friend Mony Ruiz-Velasco, an immigration lawyer who used to work in the area, saw on my Facebook page that I was in McAllen, she texted me: "I am so glad you are visiting the kids near the border. But how will you get through the checkpoint on your way back?" A curious question, I thought, and one I dismissed. I've visited the border before, in California. What checkpoint? What was she talking about?" wrote Vargas.

More at http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/15456/pulitzer-prizewinning-undocumented-journalist-jose-antonio-vargas-stuck-in-south-texas-border

ETA: Video available from the McAllen Monitor at http://www.themonitor.com/news/breaking/immigrant-activist-journalist-detained-at-mcallen-airport/article_0ced9814-0c30-11e4-8a9c-001a4bcf6878.html .

Planned Parenthood to open new Dallas abortion clinic that meets ambulatory surgical center standard

Planned Parenthood will open a new abortion clinic in Dallas in August that meets the structural standards of an ambulatory surgical center, as required by the state’s new law.

In September, all abortion clinics will have to meet the structural requirments — such as specific room and doorway sizes, air sterilization systems, backup generators, blood supplies and male and female locker rooms.

Including the new Dallas clinic, seven of the 21 abortion clinics operating in the state meet the requirements.

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit on behalf of several abortion providers in Texas challenging the structural requirements.

More at http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2014/07/planned-parenthood-opens-new-asc-abortion-clinic-in-dallas.html/ .

Starr County Sheriff's Office: Girl stabbed 20 times by father

RIO GRANDE CITY — A father stabbed his 11-year-old daughter 20 times in her legs and chest before stabbing himself twice in the neck Tuesday morning, according to the Starr County Sheriff’s Office.

Starr County Sheriff’s deputies responded to to the Las Lomas colonia at about 7 a.m. Tuesday in reference to the stabbing, according to a sheriff’s office news release.

Both the girl and her father were transported to a local hospital and are expected to make a full recovery. The sheriff’s office is currently investigating the case, according to the news release.

More at http://www.themonitor.com/news/local/starr-county-sheriff-s-office-girl-stabbed-times-by-father/article_76ae2322-0c4e-11e4-b034-001a4bcf6878.html .

Police reports detail South Texas appellate judge's arrest

Bad day.

Good day.

McALLEN - A 13th Court of Appeals judge apparently attempted to avoid arrest on suspicion of drunken driving Saturday by flashing her badge at a McAllen policeman and saying he “was ruining her life and career,” according to police records.

Officer Jesus Regalado arrested Justice Nora L. Longoria (D), of Edinburg, anyway and she was booked on driving while intoxicated, a Class B misdemeanor, according to police records that detail the Saturday morning arrest. Driving while intoxicated is considered judicial misconduct by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct and grounds for public or private sanction, depending on the circumstances.

Longoria, 49, didn’t respond to requests for comment Monday or Tuesday morning at the 13th Court of Appeals or the telephone number listed on jail booking records. Harlingen-based KGBT-TV first reported the incident.

The patrolman stopped Longoria at 1:21 a.m. Saturday after observing her silver convertible speeding north on 23rd Street near the intersection with Freddy Gonzalez.

More at http://www.caller.com/news/local-news/crime/police-reports-detail-appellate-judges-arrest_88647126 .

[font color=green]The 13th Court of Appeals encompasses the following counties: Aransas, Bee, Calhoun, Cameron, De Witt, Goliad, Gonzales, Hidalgo, Jackson, Kenedy, Kleberg, Lavaca, Live Oak, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria, Wharton and Willacy.

Private medical school planned for NMSU

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Plans announced Monday call for a public-private partnership to create a medical school that would be privately financed and operated but located at New Mexico State University’s main campus in Las Cruces.

The Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine would produce a projected 150 doctors annually starting in 2016, and NMSU President Garrey Carruthers said that would help address the state’s shortage of primary care physicians, especially in rural areas.

“This is an outstanding day for New Mexico,” Carruthers said.

Carruthers said the project is a “private deal” that will not require any commitments for public money.

More at http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2014-07-14/private-medical-school-planned-nmsu#.U8TJrrFCz2Q .
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