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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

Extending marriage to same-sex couples could add $182 million to the Texas economy

Extending marriage to same-sex couples in Texas could generate $181.6 million for the state economy, according to a study released today by the Williams Institute, a liberal think tank that’s part of the University of California School of Law in Los Angeles.

The money would come from same-sex couples spending to arrange their weddings and out-of-state guests buying goods and services in Texas. The $181.6 million economic boost includes $14.8 million in sales tax revenue to state and local coffers, according to the report.

“This study confirms that all Texans benefit from marriage for same-sex couples, not just the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] community,” study co-author and Williams distinguished scholar M.V. Lee Badgett said in a statement.

Texas was home to 46,401 same-sex couples, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, the latest data available. Williams estimates that half of those couples (23,200) would marry in the first three years of a same-sex marriage law, based on patterns in Massachusetts and other places.

More at http://bizbeatblog.dallasnews.com/2014/07/extending-marriage-to-same-sex-couples-could-add-182-million-to-the-texas-economy.html/ .

Media Consortium Plans More Exit Polling in Texas

Two years ago, a consortium of news outlets that conducts nationwide exit polls during every November election announced it was scaling back efforts in Texas and 18 other states. The move left political researchers with little data to study shifts in the Texas electorate.

This year, with a high-profile gubernatorial race on the November ballot, the National Election Pool confirmed on Tuesday that it plans to conduct more robust exit polling in Texas this year, giving researchers and political analysts the means to better examine the outcome.

“The current plan is to do a full-state exit poll in Texas,” said Joe Lenski, executive vice president of Edison Research, the New Jersey firm that conducts polling for the National Election Pool, a consortium that includes The Associated Press, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News and NBC News.

Every two years, Edison hires nearly 3,000 people to interview more than 15,000 voters around the country after they cast their ballots. The surveys ask not only about how participants voted but also about their opinions on major issues and about their backgrounds, including age, education, income, religion and ethnicity. In Texas, the NEP has traditionally conducted a mix of in-person exit polling and telephone interviews to account for early voters, who can cast more than half of the ballots in some races.

More at http://www.texastribune.org/2014/07/23/media-consortium-plans-more-exit-polling-in-texas/ .

Drinking Water Systems Draw Federal Concerns

More than 310 public drinking water systems in Texas — nearly 4.5 percent of the state's regulated public water systems — have quality issues that haven’t been adequately addressed, federal officials told the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality this year. That is the highest percentage in the nation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Most are small public water systems, like mobile home parks, serving a few hundred people or fewer. But a few are larger and serve thousands.

TCEQ officials say the federal estimate is outdated and high; by their account, about 4 percent of systems have issues that need more attention. The agency said it has dramatically stepped up its enforcement in the past year, training more staff and pursuing more than 100 public water systems in recent months for clean water violations.

Still, the EPA’s concerns and additional data suggest that keeping up with the 7,000 public water systems subject to state regulation in Texas has been a huge challenge. The TCEQ's enforcement division now has 107 full-time employees, compared with 117 in 2007, though its annual expenses have stayed relatively constant at about $5.5 million.

More at http://www.texastribune.org/2014/07/23/texas-lags-behind-addressing-drinking-water-proble/ .

24 arrested in North Texas human trafficking sting

DENTON, Texas — Investigators say two dozen suspects have been arrested in a North Texas human trafficking sting related to sex and juveniles.

The Denton County Sheriff's Department on Tuesday said two 17-year-olds were rescued last week. The arrests happened in Denton and The Colony.

Officials say more arrests are expected in the case involving juveniles forced into the sex industry. Sheriff Will Travis says operations will continue to protect children from sexual exploitation.

Names of the suspects and further details on charges weren't immediately released.

More at http://www.statesman.com/ap/ap/texas/texas-police-24-arrested-for-human-trafficking/ngk5Z/ .

Another article: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/headlines/20140723-dozens-arrested-in-prostitution-human-trafficking-sting-in-the-colony.ece

McLennan County deputies get $2 million in lawsuit settlement

Nine current and former McLennan County sheriff’s deputies will receive $2 million after a discrimination lawsuit was settled, and the county must pay almost $600,000 of that sum.

The commissioners court approved Tuesday paying $575,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit brought by the nine deputies against the county and Sheriff Parnell McNamara.

The rest of the settlement will be paid by the Texas Association of Counties Risk Management Pool, the county’s insurance group, which the county contributes to, along with other Texas counties.

Herbert Bristow, the attorney representing the county, said the settlement comes as a result of a compromise and not an admission of guilt. Bristow said there were more than 200 witnesses in the case, which has been ongoing for about 18 months.

The plaintiffs alleged McNamara fired or demoted them in retaliation because they supported his 2012 primary opponent, former Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Randy Plemons. They claimed their First Amendment rights were violated and were seeking damages including back pay and lost wages.

More at http://www.wacotrib.com/news/politics/deputies-get-million-in-lawsuit-settlement-almost-of-which-comes/article_45bbdf42-f18e-53b3-8de5-ff164f12a7be.html .

[font color=green]While there is always the risk of a larger judgment, it seems that for the sake of transparency a jury should decide a verdict and the amount of damages awarded. If the court award is excessive, then a reduced settlement offer could be offer on the threat of appeal.

Allowing 40% to pay for the plaintiffs attorneys, there is $1.2 million split among nine people or about $130,000 each. That is equal to 3-4 years of salary for a deputy. IMHO, it seems like a sweetheart deal for everyone except for the Texas Association of Counties and the county taxpayers. It might be time to elect some Democratic county commissioners who would be better stewards of taxpayer money in McLennan county.

ETA: Please note that Texas is also an "at will" state. The deputies had an average of about 15 years of experience which means that they would receive about 15-18 months of severance if they were dismissed from their jobs in the private sector. Some of the plaintiffs are still employed with the county so it is difficult to determine if they suffered any substantial loss of income.[/font]

Former Cowboys RB Robert Newhouse dies at 64

Robert Newhouse, the former standout fullback who played in three Super Bowls for the Cowboys, died Tuesday after an extended battle with heart disease.

He was 64. Newhouse died at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., with his immediate family by his side. Newhouse, who suffered a stroke in the summer of 2010, had been at the Mayo Clinic the last few months. Arrangements for a funeral in Dallas are pending.

“The mental picture everyone had of Robert Newhouse of going for that last yard was absolutely everything he did. He fought until the very end,” said his son, Roddrick. “He would not quit.”

Newhouse is also survived by his wife, Nancy; twin daughters, Dawnyel and Shawntel; and another son, Reggie, who played receiver for the Arizona Cardinals in 2004 and 2005.


Newhouse played in three Super Bowls for the Cowboys in the 1970s. He helped them beat Denver in Super Bowl XII, with his most-famous play coming in the fourth quarter. Newhouse became the first running back to throw a touchdown pass in a Super Bowl when he fired a 29-yard scoring strike to Golden Richards on a halfback pass to put the game away.

More at http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/dallas-cowboys/headlines/20140722-robert-newhouse---whom-drew-pearson-calls-1-of-toughest-cowboys---dies-at-64.ece .

US arrests 192 on immigrant-smuggling charges in Texas, seizes $625,000 in 'Operation Coyote'

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Homeland Security Department said Tuesday it arrested 192 people along the Mexican border in South Texas on immigrant-smuggling charges and seized more than $625,000, part of the Obama administration's efforts to discourage and disrupt the flood of tens of thousands of people crossing the border illegally.

The arrests, which took place under a crackdown called "Operation Coyote," took place over the last month and were part of a 90-day effort targeting smuggling groups.

The White House has complained that smugglers are exploiting U.S. policies that, in practice, allow Central American kids to stay for years or indefinitely once they arrive, and it has proposed increasing penalties for smugglers.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it also took into custody 501 immigrants in the country illegally. It said it seized the money from 228 bank accounts held by suspected human- and drug-smuggling groups.

More at http://www.newser.com/article/5a66c49a7759437d88146c426f10a600/us-arrests-192-on-immigrant-smuggling-charges-in-texas-seizes-625000-in-operation-coyote.html

Human smuggling ring busted - Mathis PD, federal agencies grab 49 illegals, 8 vehicles seized

MATHIS - A coordinated effort between the Mathis Police Department and several federal agencies culminated Tuesday {7/15/2014} with the arrests of 10 persons and the apprehension of 49 illegal aliens {39 adults, 10 children}.

Police Chief Gerald Arismendez said the operation broke a human smuggling ring that was using Mathis as a staging area. The Department of Homeland Security, ICE and the U.S. Border Patrol were also involved.

"In the past, Mathis has been used as a place for illegal activities; people thought they could get away with it," Arismendez said. "Now, we're trying to send the message that criminals can't come to Mathis...if you do, you're gonna get caught."

Arismendez said the ring would leave cars parked at the Texas Star truck stop overnight, while the drivers spent the night in a local motel. Illegals were hiding out in the brush outside the city limits with "brush guides" to assist them in meeting the vehicles.

Read more: http://mysoutex.com/view/full_story_sanpat_free/25463729/article-Human-smuggling-ring-busted---Mathis-PD--federal-agencies-grab-49-illegals--8-vehicles-seized?instance=sanpat_news (Mathis News)

[font color=green]Mathis is located along Interstate 37 that runs from Corpus Christi to San Antonio.[/font]

Murder suspect 'presumed dead' after 2 Edinburg officers wounded in La Joya shootout, standoff

LA JOYA — A capital murder suspect who shot at least two Edinburg police officers is "presumed dead" after several exchanges of gunfire Tuesday evening, Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said.

The hours-long standoff ended after authorities rammed the door, deployed tear gas and exchanged gunfire, Guerra said.

The shooter, Joaquin Cibrian, is assumed to be dead, but authorities will not have that confirmed until they clear the house of explosives he said he'd rigged inside.

"The threat has been taken care of and he's presumed dead at this time," Guerra said at about 9 p.m. Tuesday.

More at http://www.themonitor.com/breaking/murder-suspect-presumed-dead-after-edinburg-officers-wounded-in-la/article_dcf80630-11ed-11e4-a7a3-0017a43b2370.html .

Real estate heir charged for urinating on candy

Robert Durst

HOUSTON — A New York City real estate heir who admitted killing his neighbor a decade ago in Texas is facing a new charge in Houston that accuses him of urinating on candy at a drug store.

Authorities say 71-year-old Robert Durst was arrested Sunday after arguing with store employees. They say he was charged with criminal mischief after urinating on at least $100 worth of candy.

His attorney, Chip Lewis, said in a statement Tuesday that they will address the allegations in court.

In 2001, Durst was arrested as a fugitive and admitted killing his neighbor and dumping the remains in Galveston Bay. He claimed self-defense and was acquitted of homicide charges.

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/ap/top-news/troubled-nyc-real-estate-heir-arrested-in-texas/ngkgC/ .

Some more background about the cross-dressing, pot-smoking Mr. Durst: http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/classics/robert_durst/1.html
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