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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, 02:57 AM
Number of posts: 89,206

About Me

Retired/disabled 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

Arlington-area teens get lesson in compassion after taking LGBT flag from Kennedale home

KENNEDALE — Four teenagers may have thought they were pulling a mischievous prank this week when they swiped the LGBT pride flag off the front of a Kennedale home.

What they got in the end was a car chase by the shoeless homeowner, a visit to the police station and a tough-love lecture about bullying and intolerance.

“I explained to them why I fly the U.S. flag and the [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community] flag,” said Felipe Gutierrez, the homeowner and a community activist. “It’s not because I’m gay. It’s because people have lost their lives and taken their own lives because they couldn’t live with being bullied and abused over their identity.”

The incident began about 8 p.m. Wednesday when Gutierrez decided to step outside to see how much it had rained. Through a window he saw one of the teens run from his yard and jump into a car.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/08/02/5052419/arlington-area-teens-get-lesson.html#storylink=cpy

Cross-posted in Texas Group.
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Aug 3, 2013, 07:30 PM (0 replies)

Former Texas justice, congressman Hightower dies

AUSTIN, Texas —

Former Texas Supreme Court Justice Jack Hightower, a Democrat who also served a decade in Congress under three different presidents, has died. He was 86.

Osler McCarthy, a spokesman for the state's high court, said Hightower died Saturday in Austin. McCarthy said Hightower had Parkinson's disease.

"Texas has lost a true champion among its public servants and the Court has lost a colleague who at his very core was what a judge should be," Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson said. "Jack Hightower had integrity, wisdom and a singular purpose: to serve the public by the rule of law."

Hightower began his political career in both the state House and Senate before being elected to Congress in 1975. He won a seat on the court in 1988, stayed until 1996 and was the state's last justice with legislative experience.

More at http://www.statesman.com/ap/ap/legislative/former-texas-justice-congressman-hightower-dies/nZC58/ .

[font color=green]Note: This is not the former agricultural commissioner and progressive activist, Jim Hightower.[/font]
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Aug 3, 2013, 06:46 PM (5 replies)

Wrong-way driver who had 21 drinks sentenced to 38 years in prison (updated 8/3/2013 7:15 p.m.)

[font color=green]This is an update to an earlier thread:
Woman who consumed 21 drinks suddenly switches to guilty plea in drunk driving trial

Before being sentenced to 38 years in prison Friday, Nicole Baukus acknowledged from the stand that she had more reason than most to be painfully aware and well versed in the dangers of drunken driving.

Baukus' ankle is tattoed with the name of her first love, Stephen Robert Cage, who died six years ago at age 19 at the hands of a drunken driver in a college dorm parking lot. The last man she dated before pleading guilty in the case was a Houston police officer who regularly investigates such wrecks.

But Baukus, 24, entered last-minute guilty pleas on Thursday to one intoxicated assault and two intoxicated manslaughter charges, and she won't be eligible for parole for 34 years.

"I never wanted to put anybody through what I went through. But I have, and I'm sorry," a sobbing Baukus told jurors in Montgomery County's 435th district court before her sentencing. She initially balked at taking the stand on her own behalf, later saying "I deserve to be in jail."

More at http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Wrong-way-driver-sentenced-to-38-years-in-prison-4704366.php?cmpid=hpbn .

[font color=navy]UPDATE:

Warrant issued for bar patron in fatal DWI

Montgomery County officials issued an arrest warrant for a man who allegedly gave drinks to an already intoxicated 24-year-old Nicole Baukus before she drove away from a bar and caused a fatal accident.

Baukus, who pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of intoxication manslaughter and one count of intoxication assault in the July 29, 2012, accident, was sentenced Friday to 38 years in prison.

After a night of drinking at a bar then called On the Rox, Baukus drove her pickup the wrong way on Interstate 45, colliding head-on around 2:50 a.m. with a Chevrolet Aveo near FM 242. The crash killed Nicole Adams, 19, and Travis Saunders, 18, and injured David Porras, now 23.

As an outgrowth of the trial, a warrant was issued Friday for Kambiz Michael Duran, 29, who is in the Harris County Jail after pleading guilty last month to possession of marijuana. On July 10, he was sentenced to 180 days in a state jail.

More at http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Warrant-issued-for-bar-patron-in-fatal-DWI-4705159.php?cmpid=hpbn .
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Aug 3, 2013, 01:30 AM (3 replies)

Gay bars in Dallas, Fort Worth announce they’re dumping Stoli vodka

The boycott of Russian goods, mainly Stolichnaya Vodka, has gained momentum over the last week.

Despite the company speaking out against the boycott and explaining in a letter that it has always backed the LGBT community, bars across the U.S., Europe and Canada have stopped serving Stoli. And now local bars have decided to dump the vodka in protest of treatment of LGBT people in Russia.

Randy Norman, who owns Rainbow Lounge and Best Friends Club in Fort Worth and Randy’s Club Cherries in Dallas, posted on Facebook last night that the three bars will official dump Stoli tonight at 6 p.m. at the locations:

Howard Okon, who owns The Brick and Joe’s, also sends word that he’s stopped serving Stoli. He said the compnay continues to tout its LGBT support, but they didn’t sponsor Dallas’ June Pride event Razzle Dazzle Dallas this year after being the major liquor sponsor the past two year.

More at http://www.dallasvoice.com/dallas-fort-worth-bars-dumpstoli-10153895.html .
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Aug 2, 2013, 10:49 PM (3 replies)

Death of DOMA is good for gay couples and jewelers

[div style="width:20%;"]

The Supreme Court’s decisions involving marriage equality earlier this summer have meant a lot to couples anxious to express their commitment publicly and have it acknowledged and sanctified by their government. And no industry has seen the practical effects of those decisions quite as concretely as jewelers.

“It’s been pretty spectacular on a lot of different fronts,” says Kim Burgan, co-owner of the Uptown private jeweler Nine Eighteen. “It was an amazing step in the right direction. And it has already made a significant impact on our business.”

In fact, it took no more than a few days after the court decisions were announced before Burgan and her brother and business partner, Darin Kunz, noticed an uptick in gay couples seeking wedding bands and engagement rings.

“We’re at the front end of the trend,” Kunz says. “{Since the decisions}, for the first time since we’ve been in business we’re working with more gays and lesbians on bridals than straight couples — easily twice as many at any one time before. We can’t wait to be a part of this.”

More at http://www.dallasvoice.com/engaged-10154051.html .

Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Aug 2, 2013, 10:44 PM (8 replies)

Oystermen claim state regulations violate their privacy

Commercial oystermen in Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes are contending in a Baton Rouge court that the state-mandated vessel monitoring systems installed on their boats are illegal and should be removed.

They are claiming the state has no right to monitor their vessels while they are not on public oyster leases or reefs.

The oystermen say they are unable to disengage or power down the monitoring systems even when their vessels are not commercially taking oysters from Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries-managed and regulated public natural reefs or LDWF-designated oyster seed grounds.

“The Legislature did not authorize the LDWF to track, collect or use the VMS data from oyster vessels engaging in any activities unrelated to the commercial taking of oysters from the public natural reefs or oyster seed grounds or while the vessels are not on the oyster seed grounds,” their lawsuit, filed Thursday at the 19th Judicial District Court, states.

More at http://theadvocate.com/home/6676548-125/oystermen-claim-state-regulations-violate .
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Aug 2, 2013, 10:21 PM (1 replies)

Louisiana suing Texas Brine over Assumption sinkhole

The state of Louisiana and Assumption Parish’s Police Jury and Sheriff’s Office raced against a looming legal deadline Friday to file a lawsuit against Texas Brine Co. and a Dallas subsidiary of oil giant Occidental Petroleum over the Bayou Corne-area sinkhole that emerged a year ago Saturday.

State and parish officials are seeking to recoup the costs of their emergency response efforts, while the state also is suing over the environmental damage allegedly caused by the Texas Brine cavern failure that led to the sinkhole.

Louisiana government’s suit, which was filed on behalf of all state agencies involved in the response, makes a claim, in part, under state environmental quality laws. Those laws allow assessment of up to $32,500 in civil penalties for each day of a violation and up to $1 million per day for intentional and willful violations.

Separately, Texas Brine filed suit on Friday against the Occidental subsidiary, Occidental Chemical Corp., and three other companies over the actions that Texas Brine claims the companies took leading up to the cavern failure. The three others are Vulcan Materials Co., Adams Resources Exploration Co. and Browning Oil Co. Inc.

More at http://theadvocate.com/home/6678266-125/louisiana-suing-texas-brine-over .
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Aug 2, 2013, 10:18 PM (1 replies)

Illinois university says professor who killed his Georgetown family will keep his job

Administrators at the private Millikin University in Illinois will allow a longtime psychology professor to keep his job after learning that he killed his family in Georgetown in 1967 and was committed to a state mental hospital until 1974.

The professor’s name was James Gordon Wolcott until he changed it to James St. James in Nacogdoches, after his release from the mental facility. He has taught at Millikin since 1986 and is the chairman of the university’s Department of Behavioral Sciences.

“Millikin University has only recently been made aware of Dr. St. James’ past,” says a statement issued by the university Thursday. “Given the traumatic experiences of his childhood, Dr. St. James’ efforts to rebuild his life and obtain a successful professional career have been remarkable. The University expects Dr. St. James to teach at Millikin this fall.”

The story of St. James’ past has been widely reported this week in the media. He is now 61 years old and declined to comment when reached by phone Wednesday.

He was 15 years old when he shot and killed his father, Gordon Wolcott; his mother Elizabeth Wolcott and his sister, 17-year-old Elizabeth Wolcott at their Georgetown home on Aug. 5, 1967.

Tried for the death of his father, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1968. He was committed to Rusk State Hospital and released after he was found sane in 1974. The indictments for the murder of his sister and mother were dismissed because it was determined that he was also insane at the time of their deaths, officials have said.

Source: http://www.statesman.com/news/news/local/illinois-university-says-professor-who-killed-his-/nZBYk/

[font color=green]However, this story failed to mention some vital information--namely the 15-year-old boy had huffed some airplane glue. A more detailed excerpt from the Georgetown Advocate:[/font]

In 1967, fifteen-year old James Wolcott lived with his family near Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. By all accounts, he was brilliant; he was an accomplished musician and had a voracious appetite for reading. His father, Dr. Gordon Wolcott came from a prominent New Jersey family and was the respected head of the Biology department at Southwestern. His mother Elizabeth was a vivacious woman from South Carolina, known for her participation in church circles around town. The fourth member of the Wolcott family was seventeen-year old Libby, a Georgetown High School class officer with a bright mind and a love of music. They were exceptional people living what seemed to be a typical suburban life.

On the evening of Thursday, August 4, 1967, James joined Libby and some friends on a trip to Austin to see a show. They returned home about 10 pm and life in the Wolcott house appeared to be normal. By midnight Libby and Elizabeth had retired to their respective bedrooms, while Gordon read in the living room. Inexplicably, just after midnight, James, by his own account, sniffed some airplane glue “to give him a boost,” loaded a .22 long-barrel rifle, walked to the living room and shot his father twice in the chest. He then walked to Libby’s bedroom and shot her once in the chest, and when she fell he shot her in the face.

Awakened by the blasts from the rifle, his mother Elizabeth called out from her bedroom. James then shot her twice in the head and once in the chest. He later admitted that he had decided to kill them a week prior and had made a plan the night before. Next, he hid the rifle in the attic crawlspace above the closet in his bedroom and ran out of the house toward University Avenue. Three college students traveling from Houston to Eden, Texas saw him there at about 1 am. James flagged down their car, crying that he needed help because someone had just shot and killed his entire family. Reluctantly, the three returned with James to the house to assess the situation. While James waited outside, the college students entered the grisly scene to find Gordon and Libby dead where they lay and Elizabeth barely breathing on her bed. According to police interviews, the students repositioned Elizabeth on the bed to make her more comfortable, called for an ambulance and the police, then waited outside with James. Later, in court, one of the students described James’ demeanor as “hysterical, pounding on the porch and wondering how this could happen.” None of the college students were entirely comfortable with the situation and they were hesitant to commit to any kind of empathy or reaction. Oddly enough, when they realized there might still be someone in the house with a weapon, they “high-tailed it out of there.” James, however, did not hesitate to go into the house with them.

At approximately 3 am, Williamson County Sheriff Henry Matysak arrived on the scene, and was joined shortly thereafter by Texas Ranger Jim Riddles from Austin, and Williamson County Attorney Timothy Maresh. A family friend took a very distraught James to the hospital where his mother was fighting for her life. They were soon joined by another family friend, Reverend Wallace Chappell, pastor of First Methodist Church of Georgetown. Witness reports indicate that James was very anxious at the hospital and the Reverend asked the doctor to provide him with a tranquilizer, believing him to have been traumatized by the event. Upon receiving the news that his mother had died from her wounds, James simply said, “Thank you.” Reverend Chappell, a neighbor of the Wolcott family, took James back to the parsonage while the authorities processed the crime scene. Ranger Riddles and Reverend Chappell began reviewing the evening’s events with James who still maintained that “someone” had shot his family. According to his report, Ranger Riddles idly chatted with James about his activities with his father. Then he asked James directly, “Did you kill your parents, son?” With only a brief hesitation and a sigh, James replied “Yes, sir,” and went on to describe each of the shootings in detail. Although there are variations of the subsequent exchange, court and police reports agree that James indicated that he hated his parents, giving motive to his actions. After he was informed of his Miranda Rights, James stated he did not want a lawyer and was willing to show the investigators where he hid the rifle.

The complete article is at http://wilcoonline.com/what-happened-to-jim-wolcott-lingering-questions-span-four-decades-p820-1.htm .

Fort Hood shooting suspect renounces citizenship

Source: AP

FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — Days before he's set to go on trial, the Army psychiatrist charged in the Fort Hood shooting rampage released more of his writings about America and Islam.

Foxnews.com on Thursday posted documents in which Maj. Nidal Hasan renounced his U.S. citizenship and soldier's oath and denounced democracy. Hasan is charged in the November 2009 rampage that killed 13 soldiers and wounded more than 30 people at the Texas Army post. His court-martial is scheduled to start Tuesday.

The renunciation of U.S. citizenship is contained in a handwritten note dated Oct. 18, 2012, Fox News reported. A typewritten note that does not have a date says it is not "permissible" for someone to prefer American democracy over traditional Islamic Sharia law, the network also reported. Hasan wrote that Muslims should not "compromise their beliefs" for the sake of non-Muslims.

Hasan also wrote about Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical U.S.-born Islamic cleric killed by a drone strike in Yemen in 2011. The government has said that Hasan, a U.S.-born Muslim, had sent more than a dozen emails to al-Awlaki starting in December 2008. Hasan described al-Awlaki as his "teacher, mentor and friend," Fox News reported.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/texas/article/Fort-Hood-shooting-suspect-renounces-citizenship-4701795.php?cmpid=hpbn

Students at Prairie View A&M Claim County Violates Voting Rights Act

Students at Prairie View A&M University are among the latest Texans to demand a remedy for ongoing voter discrimination.

Priscilla Barbour, the Student Government Association president of the university, recently sent a letter to Texas Secretary of State John Steen explaining how the lack of voting locations on campus violates Section II of the Voting Rights Act.

Over 8,000 students are enrolled at the historically black university, yet the polling location for state and federal elections is located a mile away. Without access to transportation, voting is time-consuming and difficult for students.

Despite repeated pleas from students, Waller County refuses to open a polling location on the school's campus.

More at http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/13873/students-at-prairie-view-am-claim-county-violates-voting-rights-act .

[font color=green]This is the first time Prairie View A&M has been in the headlines for voter discrimination. In 2006, thousands of the students marched seven miles to the county courthouse to protest voter disenfranchisement. The county was forced to terminate their discriminatory policies by the DOJ.

This is just one more example demonstrating the importance of the Voting Rights Act and why AG Holder is correct in filing suit against the state.[/font]
Posted by TexasTowelie | Thu Aug 1, 2013, 07:08 PM (1 replies)
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