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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: 76,961

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

4 Ways Texas Could Win Big Under New Climate Change Rules

The Obama administration proposed new rules last month that would take a first step in curbing carbon emissions from power plants in the U.S. Their target? Coal power plants. The response to the rules from Republican leaders in Texas was predictable: Gov. Rick Perry said the regulations “will only further stifle our economy’s sluggish recovery and increase energy costs.” And Attorney General (and candidate for Governor) Greg “I go into work to sue the Obama Administration” Abbott vowed to fight the “job-killing” rules just as he’s fought other rules from the EPA.

But Texas may want to sit the fight over the new carbon rules out: because they could be an economic windfall for the state, to the tune of billions of dollars a year.

When the rules were announced, Michael Webber, Deputy Director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, said they amounted to a “big hug” for Texas from Obama. Why? Because Texas is a major producer of natural gas, a switch away from coal (which Texas mostly imports from other states) to natural gas would be great for the Texas economy.

“Texas stands to benefit tremendously from these regulations,” Webber tells StateImpact Texas. ”Texas has a lot of natural gas, and natural gas has less than half the carbon footprint of coal. If you want to de-carbonize the power sector, shale gas is a major tool in that toolbox.”

And a new analysis by the Center for Strategic for International Studies goes into more detail about how it could work. Here’s four ways Texas stands to win economically under the proposed carbon rules:

1. Billions of Dollars in Additional Revenue: Thanks to fracking and horizontal drilling, Texas has unlocked massive amounts of natural gas — and could continue to do so, especially if the price is right. In the West South Central region, which includes Texas, the average annual revenue from natural gas production could go up anywhere from $4 billion to nearly $18 billion a year according to the CSIS report. Add in the savings from Texas not having to spend billions to buy coal from other states, and you’ve got a real “shot in the arm” for the Texas economy, Webber says.

2. Renewables Might Get a Boost as Well: In addition to plenty of fossil fuels, Texas is also a leader in wind power and has the potential to do the same with solar energy. “We have a lot of cheap, flat, sunny, windy land that’s connected to billions of dollars of transmission lines, so we can move that power to market easily,” Webber says.

3. Texas’ Power Could Be Sold to Other Markets: If Texas built up enough renewable energy, Webber says it could even sell it to other grids or as credits in a carbon offset market. “So we might be able to make a lot of money in a lot of places,” he says.

4. Tech Hubs like Austin May Drive Efficiency Innovation: A major source of new, carbon-free power that could come out of the rules could be power that we don’t use. Efficiency and consumption reduction programs like demand response could mean jobs and demand for energy efficiency services. “IT, software, automation — with Austin and our tech sector here, we stand to benefit from that demand as well. There should be a lot of winners in Texas from this,” Webber says.

The complete article is at http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2014/07/29/4-ways-texas-could-win-big-under-new-climate-change-rules/ .

Perry sees polling bump amid border crisis

Texas Gov. Rick Perry's (R) 2016 polling numbers have shot up as he hammers the Obama administration's handling of the border crisis, taking him to the front of the potential GOP field.

A Fox News poll released Monday night found 12 percent of registered Republican voters said they would like to see Perry as the GOP nominee for president in 2016 — tied with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.


Though Perry has hopped near the head of the pack in 2016 polling, six other candidates are within the margin of error.

Other potential GOP presidential candidates trailing close behind include Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (11 percent), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (10 percent), Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan (9 percent), Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (9 percent) and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (9 percent).

More at http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/213655-perrys-polling-numbers-increase-amid-border-fight .

[font color=green]Note: I know that this is a Fox News poll and that The Hill is generally considered to be a conservative site. I'm posting this article to indicate where the momentum in the GOP is at this time. Please take note of my "No Perry" avatar and steal it if you wish.[/font]

Texas AG Greg Abbott gives same-sex families ‘another symbolic slap in the face’

Children of same-sex couples pulled a wagon into the Texas attorney general’s office Monday carrying 5,200 petitions asking AG Greg Abbott to stop defending the state’s bans on same-sex marriage in court.

The delivery was arranged by Equality Texas on the same day Abbott’s office has a brief due to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court, appealing a federal district judge’s decision striking down Texas’ same-sex marriage bans. (As of this writing, the brief hadn’t been posted online.)

Equality Texas officials said they prearranged the petition delivery last week. However, when the children arrived with their parents and Equality Texas representatives in tow this morning, they were turned away. Representatives from the AG’s office reportedly told them the office doesn’t accept hand deliveries.

“I’m disappointed with the rejection,” Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith told Austin’s Fox 7. “I think it is yet another symbolic slap in the face for Texas parents and families and their children. The adults who brought their children today to deliver these petitions — the rejection they got today is the same as the rejection they get every day of the attorney general in the state of Texas not recognizing their families.”

More at http://www.lonestarq.com/greg-abbot/ .

Related story:
Texas AG Greg Abbott appeals federal judge’s ruling striking down state’s same-sex marriage bans


Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is hoping the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will buck a trend of 29 consecutive state and federal rulings in favor of same-sex marriage.

Abbott’s office filed its initial brief Monday appealing U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia’s February decision, which found that Texas’ marriage bans violate the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Abbott’s appeal was filed on the same day that the 4th U.S. Circuit Court struck down Virginia’s ban as unconstitutional, becoming the third federal appeals court to rule in favor of marriage equality. In its 42-page brief filed Monday, Abbott’s office argues that the issue should be settled by voters and state legislatures, not the courts.

“This case is not about whether Texas should recognize same-sex marriage. It is about the question of who decides,” the brief states. “There are rational, thoughtful arguments on both sides of the political debate about whether to legalize same-sex marriage. That debate should be allowed to continue among voters and within democratically elected legislatures. Under the United States Constitution, the decision belongs to the people of Texas and their elected representatives, not the federal courts.”

More at the link posted.

Wendy Davis Needs to Be a Hero Again

Wendy Davis
Photo: Patrick Michels

In July, Wendy Davis went on a seven-city campaign tour to call attention to Greg Abbott’s “decision to keep explosive chemical locations secret from parents.” In case you weren’t following along, Abbott decided in May to block public access to information about hazardous chemicals stored at certain facilities, including fertilizer plants like the one that exploded in West last year. Quizzed by reporters later, Abbott said citizens need only “drive around” their neighborhoods and ask companies for the information. It was a hilarious and stupid thing to say. One imagines weary moms and dads packing the kids into the car after a long day: “Dinner will have to wait, kids. We’ve got a full tank of gas and a long list of light-industrial facilities to cruise.”

Reporters and political wags had a field day with it. Local TV crews visited industrial sites, cameras in tow, to show the absurdity. Rachel Maddow ran a 22-minute segment on the issue. The Observer sent letters to chemical facilities, asking for a list of chemicals reported on what are called Tier II forms—two of the four fertilizer plants we contacted refused. “Who the hell is Greg Abbott?” one owner asked us.

Davis decided to make it a major issue. Ahead of her tour, she announced a proposal to strengthen the Texas Community Right to Know Act, the primary law requiring businesses to disclose the location and quantity of certain dangerous chemicals.

There’s no doubt that Abbott screwed up. And you can’t fault Davis for seizing on the issue. How could she not? The media jumped all over the story because nothing pisses off the press like being denied access to information. But while Davis’ emphasis on a fairly obscure issue—We Want Our Tier II Reports!—generated headlines and won a few news cycles, it seems unlikely to excite the electorate, much less bring to an end two decades of losses for Texas Democrats.

More at http://www.texasobserver.org/wendy-davis-needs-to-be-hero-again/ .

The Companies Whose Fertilizer Blew Up West Say West Should Share in the Blame

Photo: Francisco Antonio Ceron Garcia

In the year-plus since the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion, the tragedy has made its way where to it was always destined: the courts. Around 200 plaintiffs, mostly people who had family members killed or property destroyed, have filed suits.

El Dorado Chemical Company and CF Industries are two fertilizer suppliers that have been hit with a barrage of lawsuits alleging their malfeasance, with victims arguing that the suppliers provided fertilizer chemicals that were unnecessarily dangerous. But the two companies are now fighting back.

In a recent motion, they argue that the city of West should be party to the lawsuits, since a state investigation has shown that the city failed to properly train its volunteer firefighters. They also claim that city safety standards failed to match other chemical plant regulations.

In a report from last May, the Texas State Fire Marshal's Office concluded that the explosion at the Bulk Processing Plant, which resulted in the deaths of 15 first responders, could have been prevented. The report highlighted a "lack of adherence" to national safety standards.

More at http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2014/07/fertilizer_companies_allege_explosion_deaths_could_have_been_avoided_if_west_had_better_safety_stand.php .

[font color=green]Privatize the profits, socialize the losses.[/font]

Criminal Complaint Filed Against GOP Attorney General Candidate Ken Paxton

At the beginning of the month, it was becoming clear Republican State Senator and nominee for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton could become toxic to the entire Texas Republican slate. Paxton admitted to violating the Texas Securities Act when he failed to register as an investment advisor when soliciting clients and paid a fine as a result of his violation. However, Paxton's actions may have also been criminal. To find out, an investigation would need to be held by Texas' Public Integrity Unit.

It is rare for Texas' Public Integrity Unit, led by the incumbent District Attorney of Travis County, to open an investigation on their own. Often, formal criminal complaints must be filed for an investigation to begin. Recently, such a criminal complaint was filed against Senator Paxton by the watchdog group Texans for Public Justice.

The criminal complaint lays out a direct case of what it is believed Paxton did and how the law was violated. The complaint is now expected to be reviewed by a staff lawyer for the Public Integrity Unit to determine if the Public Integrity Unit has jurisdiction and if a formal investigation is warranted should the Public Integrity Unit have jurisdiction.

Should Ken Paxton be convicted of committing a felony, he will be unqualified and ineligible to serve as Texas Attorney General.

More at http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/15513/criminal-complaint-filed-against-sen-ken-paxton .

McRaven Named Sole Finalist for UT System Chancellor

William H. McRaven
US Navy

On a conference call Tuesday evening, the University of Texas System Board of Regents unanimously named Admiral William H. McRaven the sole finalist to be the next chancellor of the system.

McRaven, a Navy Seal and current commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, is perhaps best known for designing and coordinating the successful operation to kill Osama bin Laden.

“He just seemed to fit the bill extraordinarily well,” said Paul Foster, the chairman of the board of regents, noting the admiral had managed a large organization with a massive budget and logged many hours dealing with high-ranking politicians. “It seemed to be a perfect fit.”

McRaven will take over for outgoing Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, who plans to head the pediatric transplant surgery unit at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. But the transition won’t be immediate. McRaven will hand over the reigns of USSOCOM, which he has led since 2011, on Aug. 28, but Foster said he is not expected to take over at the UT System until the beginning of 2015.

More at http://kut.org/post/mcraven-named-sole-finalist-ut-system-chancellor .

Proposed West Texas shelter would be largest in US

CLINT — Authorities are considering a bid to build a shelter in West Texas that would be the largest in the U.S. to hold unaccompanied children who enter the country illegally.

A number of sites in Texas and elsewhere are being considered as detention facilities for many of the more than 57,000 unaccompanied children who have entered the U.S. since October.

But with 3,500 beds, the proposed Abraham Lincoln Transitional Lodge southeast of El Paso would be far larger than other centers. A temporary processing facility in McAllen holds about 1,000 children.

The lodge's marketing director, Charles McGuire, tells the Houston Chronicle (http://bit.ly/1AmXUMR ) that the principal backers of the bid previously have invested in housing for oil workers in Texas.


[font color=green]Clint, Texas has a population of 926.[/font]

Van de Putte proposes 5 lieutenant governor debates

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio proposed today a schedule of five debates between her and fellow candidate for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston.

The final debate in Van de Putte's proposal would be in the Rio Grande Valley and sponsored by The Monitor on Tues., Oct. 21 — two weeks before Election Day.

A representative of Van de Putte's campaign contaced Monitor Editor Carlos Sanchez this morning to gauge his interest in hosting the debate, and he expressed his willingness to do so.

Patrick has not yet publicly responded to the Democrat's proposal.


1-800-Adopt-A-Dude: Because Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dudes Struggle Each Day

[font color=green]Okay ladies, I'm available and have more skills than any of these dudes. Adopt me NOW!!! NSFW photo available on request if you PM me.

Marketable skills: Reconcile checkbooks, wash dishes, remembers that when using a screwdriver it's righty-tighty and lefty-loosey, fluent in LOLCatese, provides hugs when appropriate.[/font]

Melissa Hunter is an LA-based comedian who noticed a little something about boys. Namely, how they seemed to stay… boys. Bros living with a dozen roommates. Guys eating Pop-Tarts for dinner. Dudes never buying toilet paper. Even when, perhaps, they should be men. Because they are 33 years old. Hypothetically speaking. Channeling her frustration into hilarity, Hunter, along with writer-actress Megan Rosati, wrote and filmed “1-800-Adopt-A-Dude,” which asks us, “Will you be an angel for a fully grown, yet utterly helpless man?”

More at http://thinkprogress.org/culture/2014/07/25/3464370/1-800-adopt-a-dude/ .

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