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TexasTowelie

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Texas
Home country: United States
Current location: Red Hell Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 02:57 AM
Number of posts: 73,135

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

Like a Car Wreck in Slow Motion: A Party Divided and Dysfunctional

By Dr. Brian Carr
President, Behavioral Health Associates, Lubbock, Texas, 1991-Present
Chairman, City of Lubbock Board of Health, 2013
Submitted on August 24, 2013 - 8:13am


With the warning yesterday from Speaker John Boehner about the danger of using the threat of a government shutdown to stop the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, AKA Obamacare) we are witness to the division and implosion of the GOP.

Understanding that the best predictor of the future is the past the Speaker reminded his fellow Republicans of the political backlash they suffered in 1995 after forcing a government shut down.

Hedging his bets the Speaker emphasized that no final decision has been made on exactly how to oppose the rollout of the ACA. He appeared to be fearful of direct opposition to the Extreme Right of his party.

Just before the Speaker’s call for calm he received a letter from Majority Leader Eric Cantor, signed by a third of the Republican caucus urging him to oppose any annual spending bills that include funding for the ACA.

Championed by Republican leaders including Senator Ted Cruz the frenzy among potential presidential candidates in the party is rising to a fevered pitch. Without compromise between Congress and the President on new legislation to fund federal programs, the government will shut down on October 1. If such spending bills are proposed that remove funding for the ACA it is unlikely that the President will sign them. Neatly, the Extreme Right has now framed the argument as the President being the one responsible for the shutdown if he doesn’t gut the principle success of his administration.

Boehner advocated a plan in which Congress passes a short-term measure that funds the government until December while maintaining the steep cuts already occurring in the spending as a result of the “sequester.” Because of this sequester over 57,000 children are now without early education programs including Head Start.

Republicans are clearly committed to the repeal of the ACA without offering any solutions to the 48.6 million Americans without health insurance. A part of their current campaign is to ask that people forego health coverage as a form of protest. Do you think any of the Republicans are lacking health insurance. Will they get the checkbook out for those who heed their advice and then become sick without the ability to obtain regular care?

One idea under consideration is tying approval of an increase in the country's borrowing limit to agreement by the Obama administration to delay implementation of the measure.

An aide to Cantor, the No. 2 House Republican, told Reuters on Wednesday that the debt limit was a good "leverage point" to try to force action on Obamacare.

Taking an action so that the government doesn’t pay for services agreed to in the past is not the proper way to oppose the ACA. On the other hand the Extreme Right, if successful, will hand the President his best opportunity to refine and restore the ACA to the original design so that it is even a better solution to the problem of health coverage.

TAGS:

LubbockOnline Blog
City Council meetings need to include a cocktail hour
Even Perry is starting to look moderate
Free ECT for our politicians
Lubbock
no soup for you
school starts on Monday assuming we get someone to drive the bus
Texas

http://lubbockonline.com/interact/blog-post/dr-brian-carr/2013-08-24/car-wreck-slow-motion-party-divided-and-dysfunctional

Cross-posted in Good Reads forum.

Like a Car Wreck in Slow Motion: A Party Divided and Dysfunctional

By Dr. Brian Carr
President, Behavioral Health Associates, Lubbock, Texas, 1991-Present
Chairman, City of Lubbock Board of Health, 2013
Submitted on August 24, 2013 - 8:13am


With the warning yesterday from Speaker John Boehner about the danger of using the threat of a government shutdown to stop the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, AKA Obamacare) we are witness to the division and implosion of the GOP.

Understanding that the best predictor of the future is the past the Speaker reminded his fellow Republicans of the political backlash they suffered in 1995 after forcing a government shut down.

Hedging his bets the Speaker emphasized that no final decision has been made on exactly how to oppose the rollout of the ACA. He appeared to be fearful of direct opposition to the Extreme Right of his party.

Just before the Speaker’s call for calm he received a letter from Majority Leader Eric Cantor, signed by a third of the Republican caucus urging him to oppose any annual spending bills that include funding for the ACA.

Championed by Republican leaders including Senator Ted Cruz the frenzy among potential presidential candidates in the party is rising to a fevered pitch. Without compromise between Congress and the President on new legislation to fund federal programs, the government will shut down on October 1. If such spending bills are proposed that remove funding for the ACA it is unlikely that the President will sign them. Neatly, the Extreme Right has now framed the argument as the President being the one responsible for the shutdown if he doesn’t gut the principle success of his administration.

Boehner advocated a plan in which Congress passes a short-term measure that funds the government until December while maintaining the steep cuts already occurring in the spending as a result of the “sequester.” Because of this sequester over 57,000 children are now without early education programs including Head Start.

Republicans are clearly committed to the repeal of the ACA without offering any solutions to the 48.6 million Americans without health insurance. A part of their current campaign is to ask that people forego health coverage as a form of protest. Do you think any of the Republicans are lacking health insurance. Will they get the checkbook out for those who heed their advice and then become sick without the ability to obtain regular care?

One idea under consideration is tying approval of an increase in the country's borrowing limit to agreement by the Obama administration to delay implementation of the measure.

An aide to Cantor, the No. 2 House Republican, told Reuters on Wednesday that the debt limit was a good "leverage point" to try to force action on Obamacare.

Taking an action so that the government doesn’t pay for services agreed to in the past is not the proper way to oppose the ACA. On the other hand the Extreme Right, if successful, will hand the President his best opportunity to refine and restore the ACA to the original design so that it is even a better solution to the problem of health coverage.

TAGS:

LubbockOnline Blog
City Council meetings need to include a cocktail hour
Even Perry is starting to look moderate
Free ECT for our politicians
Lubbock
no soup for you
school starts on Monday assuming we get someone to drive the bus
Texas

http://lubbockonline.com/interact/blog-post/dr-brian-carr/2013-08-24/car-wreck-slow-motion-party-divided-and-dysfunctional

Cross-posted in Texas Group.

Investigations Launched Into Reported UT-Austin Bleach Bomb Attack



Yesterday, Burnt Orange Report broke the story about a bleach-filled balloon thrown at University of Texas student Bryan Davis. After Davis bravely came forward, the public responded with a overwhelming demand for an investigation.

The Austin Police Department has now opened an investigation into the incident. Though an APD case on numerous bleach bomb attacks against students of color a year ago did not yield results, Austin Police Department Cpl. David Boyd told Fox 7 that the department is determined to get to the bottom of it.

"They (detectives) might be able to go out and look in the area and see who had surveillance cameras out there or any potential witnesses that were in the area that could have seen something," Boyd said. "If anybody were to get bleach thrown at them in their eyes it could be a very serious situation where it could potentially blind you," he added.

"We want to catch whoever's doing this and make sure it doesn't happen anymore," Boyd told KVUE.

More at http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/13987/investigations-launched-into-reported-utaustin-bleach-bomb-attack .

[font color=green]People need to stop people![/font]

Work-related deaths in Texas highest in a decade

Texas recorded more than 500 work-related fatalities in 2012, the highest number for the state in a decade. And that follows two years of decreases in fatalities.

That’s according to preliminary data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor of Statistics.

A total of 531 fatalities were reported in 2012, an increase of more than 20 percent over the previous year.

The deadliest occupation in Texas was driving heavy and tractor-trailer trucks “with a 57 percent increase in fatal injuries,” according to a statement from the Texas Department of Insurance. Construction deaths also increased.

More at http://crimeblog.dallasnews.com/2013/08/work-related-deaths-in-texas-highest-in-a-decade.html/ .

[font color=green]But we're #1 for small business job creation.[/font]

Weird Day: The house is on the real estate market and I was hit riding my bike

We recently put the house of my deceased father on the real estate market because of the tension between my brother and I who live here. Our three sisters are married and live elsewhere. The "For Sale" went up in the front yard yesterday and an investor arranged for an appointment to show the house this afternoon. The property just got listed on the Internet today.

I left the house on my bike to eat at a local restaurant so that the house would be vacant. The realtor called after the appointment and said the buyer like the house and the backyard. As I left the establishment, I called my sister who lives in Houston to discuss the situation and relay the good news.

As I was leaving the restaurant I unlocked my bike and started riding home. As I looked to my left I saw a PT Cruiser heading in reverse gear towards me as it was backing away from the entrance/exit to the parking lot. I hadn't built up any speed so I tried to swerve to the right to avoid getting hit. I thought for a moment that I was going to avoid a collision because it looked like the vehicle paused, but I ended up being hit by the vehicle and it was probably going about 10 mph and I estimate that she backed the vehicle away from the entrance about 25 feet without looking behind her.

The driver didn't realize that she hit me and I believe there was a female passenger that heard me yell. The driver got out of the PT Cruiser and ran up to me to say she was sorry and apologized for hitting me. She asked me how I was while I was still on the ground and I told her that I didn't know yet, but I definitely felt the brunt of the impact and fell on my right side. My immediate instinct was to look at the license plate and burn it into my memory. Since I didn't have pen or paper, the next thing I thought about was getting my cell phone out to take a picture of the license plate.

I told the driver that I didn't know what injuries I might have sustained other than a couple of visible abrasions on my right knee and my left elbow so I asked to see her proof of insurance. The passenger fumbled through the glove box and pulled it out. I was still fiddling my phone to get it in camera mode because it was bright and I couldn't see the display. Anyway, I asked if I could take a photo of her proof of insurance and license plates in case I needed to contact her insurance company. She refused to let me actually see the card from a close enough distance to read any of the information and when I asked for the insurance carrier she only provided me with the name of her insurance agency--not the underwriter.

I could see that she was being evasive and she didn't offer to contact EMS or anything else so again I thought about getting her license plate information. As I moved to the back of the car, I still didn't have my cell phone in camera mode but I memorized her license plate number as she sped away from the scene. Although she stopped, I believe that under Texas law it qualifies as a hit-and-run since she provided no identifying information and didn't render aid.

I should of called 911 from the scene, but I was in a bit of shock and didn't want to forget the license plate number so I rode back home. I gave a police report and had EMS come out to check me out for documentation purposes.

I know that I also have some bruises and nerve twinges, particularly since my right forearm took the brunt of the fall and I broke that arm near the elbow a couple of years ago. My fingers are tightening up as I've been typing today's events.

FWIW, we received an offer from the investor that toured the property and it was a lowball offer which will be rejected and countered. Hopefully, we'll get a flurry of activity now that it is listed on the Internet since it appears to be a seller's market in the area and the Blue Bell creamery is expanding.

My apologies for the long-winded OP, but it was a weird day and DU has been my proxy family over the past couple of years.

Texas Supreme Court takes same-sex divorce cases

The Texas Supreme Court announced Friday that it will determine whether same-sex couples, legally married in other states, can be granted a divorce in Texas.

The cases, involving couples from Austin and Dallas, will be the first test of Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage since the U.S. Supreme Court determined this summer that marriage laws can be unconstitutional if they relegate legally married same-sex couples to second-class status.

Oral argument will be Nov. 5, and a ruling isn’t expected for months afterward.

Attorney General Greg Abbott argues that Texas law not only limits marriage to opposite-sex couples, it forbids any action — including divorce — that recognizes or validates a same-sex marriage obtained out of state.

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/texas-supreme-court-takes-same-sex-divorce-cases/nZZy2/ .

Cross-posted in Texas Group.

Texas Supreme Court takes same-sex divorce cases

The Texas Supreme Court announced Friday that it will determine whether same-sex couples, legally married in other states, can be granted a divorce in Texas.

The cases, involving couples from Austin and Dallas, will be the first test of Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage since the U.S. Supreme Court determined this summer that marriage laws can be unconstitutional if they relegate legally married same-sex couples to second-class status.

Oral argument will be Nov. 5, and a ruling isn’t expected for months afterward.

Attorney General Greg Abbott argues that Texas law not only limits marriage to opposite-sex couples, it forbids any action — including divorce — that recognizes or validates a same-sex marriage obtained out of state.

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/texas-supreme-court-takes-same-sex-divorce-cases/nZZy2/ .

Cross-posted in LGBT Group.

Cynicism is Corporate America’s Greatest Weapon. Disarm It.

September’s coming up fast, and we know what that means. Soon Congress will be back in session and we’ll be inundated with fresh evidence that our democracy is broken. That makes this a good time to reflect on the powerful forces arrayed against the public interest – and to remind ourselves that they can still lose.

If you’re a citizen who’s willing to take action, you have more power than you realize. As the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington approaches, it’s a good time to remember that, too.

Granted, my perspective may be a little skewed. I spent several years of my professional life working primarily behind the Iron Curtain – before, during, and after the fall of European Communism. That experience, for someone interested in economics, was something like what an astronomer might feel at the birth of a star. And for anyone who believes in political activism, it was inspiring and enlightening. In a few short months the impossible became the imaginable, the imaginable became an opportunity, and an opportunity was turned into the event that transformed the world.

The cynical view says that there were hidden forces behind that transformation. And it’s true: when it comes to the course of world events, the unseen is often far more significant than the seen. But who knows what we’re not seeing right now? How will we know how broad our horizons of opportunity are today unless we test them?

More at http://ourfuture.org/20130821/cynicism-is-corporate-americas-greatest-weapon-disarm-it .

Attorney for Dewhurst Niece Slams Attention on Shoplifting Arrest

The attorney for the niece of Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst is calling the attention surrounding his client and her shoplifting arrest a "miscarriage of justice."

Allen police arrested Ellen Bevers on Aug. 3 on suspicion of shoplifting. Her uncle's call to dispatch asking for help in getting her out of jail has made national headlines.

According to a police report, Bevers tried to leave a Kroger grocery store in Allen with $50.23 of merchandise that she had not purchased. The items included household cleaning products, lightbulbs and shampoo.

Her attorney, Todd Shapiro, said his client is mortified, saying the incident was a simple mix-up at a self-checkout station. He said Bevers offered to pay for the items, but was turned over to Allen police.

More at http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Attorney-for-Dewhursts-Niece-Says-She-Made-Mistake-220725791.html .

The Rise of Bullshit Jobs

Back in the early-1930s, renowned economist, John Maynard Keynes, predicted that technical innovations and rising productivity would mean that advanced country workers would be able to work only 15 hours and still enjoy rising living standards.

In a highly amusing, but also somewhat depressing article in Strike! Magazine, David Graeber asks why Keynes’ prophecy has not come true and instead we find ourselves working a range of meaningless “bullshit jobs” that many of us hate:

There’s every reason to believe he [Keynes] was right. In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn’t happen. Instead, technology has been marshaled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. In order to achieve this, jobs have had to be created that are, effectively, pointless. Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.

-snip-

So the bullshit tasks are not intrinsically bullshit. Work is work because you are paid to do it. There’s a certain amount of coercion even if you pretend to like the work (talk to book authors, I doubt you will find many who say they love writing books. They are more likely to like having written a book, which is a different state of affairs). But my belief is that the “bullshit” that Graeber bemoans is simply another face of income disparity. As wage gaps widen, the people who do lesser-paid work are seen as having less intrinsic worth as humans. The not surprising corollary is anyone who has work that is stigmatizing, even if subtly (cube farms!) is likely to resent it.

The complete article is at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/08/the-rise-of-bullshit-jobs.html .
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