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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, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 85,593

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

Breitbart Texas: All Thunder, No Rain

When Breitbart Texas, the Lone Star “vertical” of the right-wing news and commentary site Breitbart.com, launched in February, I was privileged to be one of its first targets. The site ran what I believe it was trying to pass as a smear piece about my abortion politics.

“Ms. Grimes doesn’t just want abortion,” wrote then-columnist and self-described “Breitbart protégé” Lee Stranahan, about my work for the site RH Reality Check. “She wants it freely available and she wants the state to pay for it.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Except when I say it, there tends to be quite a bit more cussing. Perhaps that’s why Breitbart printed the piece—plucked from my extremely public Twitter feed—with this pearl-clutching advisory: “LANGUAGE WARNING: ANDREA GRIMES UNCENSORED.”

Stranahan kindly warned me on Twitter that a storm would soon be brewing about me. He implored his readers to “please treat [me] civilly.” But I heard nary a peep from any of them. I didn’t even get any nice church ladies threatening to pray for me.

Read more: http://www.texasobserver.org/breitbart-texas-thunder-rain/

Dan Patrick and Ken Paxton are Perfecting the Non-Campaign

In her 1988 campaign classic, “Insider Baseball,” Joan Didion wrote that political campaigns had little to do with democracy, and were not about “affording the citizens of a state a voice in its affairs.” Instead, “the process” was a “mechanism seen as so specialized that access to it is correctly limited to its own professionals”—policy experts, reporters, pundits, pollsters, advisors—”to that handful of insiders who invent, year in and year out, the narrative of public life.”

In her essay, Didion coolly dissects the 1,001 bullshit ways Michael Dukakis and George H.W. Bush are manufactured as candidates, abetted by a media all too game to play along. But the meta-narrative she documents emerged from public performances—no one involved tried to hide what they were doing. (The title of the essay comes from an “eerily contrived moment” in which Dukakis tosses a baseball to his press secretary on an airport tarmac while reporters and camera crews diligently take notes for stories on Dukakis’ authenticity and “toughness.”)

This is simply how modern political campaigns—at least high-level ones—are conducted. Didion’s complaints now seem a tad antiquated, though still righteously spot-on.

But now comes a new twist: the art of the non-campaign. The candidate who doesn’t even bother to put on a show, doesn’t even pretend to reach the broad middle of the citizenry and instead appears behind closed doors to small groups of like-minded voters, if he or she appears in public at all.

Read more: http://www.texasobserver.org/dan-patrick-ken-paxton-art-non-campaign/

State Auditor: University of North Texas Should Pay State Back $75.6 Million

According to a state auditor's report released Thursday, the University of North Texas should be required to pay the state at least $75.6 million over the next 10 years as repayment for state funding it should not have received.

The university was able to receive extra funding, according to the report, by manipulating payroll expenditures and using state funds to pay employees whose positions were not eligible for state funding.

"This report is accurate and it confirms what we presented at the state auditor and other state officials starting in February," University of North Texas System Chancellor Lee Jackson told The Texas Tribune. "This report has, after interviews with current and former finance administrators in Denton, confirmed the practices that we discovered and thought were inappropriate."

Documents examined by the state auditor's office found that these accounting practices, which the report describes as "not appropriate" and "not a typical practice at other higher education institutions," have been occurring since at least 2000.

Read more: http://www.texastribune.org/2014/09/25/state-auditor-unt-should-pay-state-back-756-millio/

U.S. judge orders Sam Wyly and Charles Wyly's estate to surrender more than $187M in fraud case

NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York has ordered a Texas businessman and the estate of his brother to surrender more than $187 million after a jury found that they engaged in a massive fraud to evade taxes.

Judge Shira Scheindlin on Thursday ordered Sam Wyly and the estate of his brother Charles to give up the money. She said the final amount including prejudgment interest could reach $400 million.

The judge said she knew the amount would be “staggering” and among the largest ever awarded against individuals, but it was necessary nonetheless.

A jury earlier this year found that the brothers evaded taxes from 1992 to 2002 on more than $500 million earned through offshore trusts set up to dodge taxes.


Related threads:
Rep. Jeb Hensarling's deep ties to billionaire Wyly brothers could bring trouble


Texas Republican Congressional Candidate’s Ad Features “Supporter” Who Is Actually His Spokeswoman

Republican Will Hurd, who is running against Rep. Pete Gallego in CD-23, unveiled his first television ad last week. Unlike his previous ads, this one featured people, not an SUV and doesn’t appear to be based entirely on lies.


The ad is part of the Republican party’s efforts to malign incumbent Rep. Pete Gallego. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has maintained that, since Mitt Romney won CD-23 in 2012, they see this race as winnable–even though Will Hurd is an weak candidate. Gallego has consistently led Hurd in fundraising, and has close to a 5-to-1 advantage in terms of cash on hand.

Because of this, several outside groups have poured money into the race, especially in support of Hurd. The NRCC booked $613,225 worth of television ads in San Antonio, and two conservative super PACS also pledged to spend a combined $1 million against Gallego. For his part, Gallego has drawn the support of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), with $1.2 million, and the House Majority PAC, with a $221,000 pledge.

The ad implies that the people featured are actual, unpaid supporters of Will Hurd. But it turns out that at least one of the “supporters” in Hurd’s ad is actually employed as a spokeswoman for his campaign.

Read more: http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/18326/texas-republican-congressional-candidates-ad-features-supporter-actually-spokeswoman

Rick Perry’s management skills in serious question after auditor’s report

Christy Hoppe’s blockbuster story about the first independent audit of the Texas Enterprise Fund contains quite a few shocking revelations, the biggest of which is how lax Gov. Rick Perry was in his financial oversight. The fund handed out $222 million to entities that hadn’t even bothered to submit applications. I wonder how that worked, exactly. If you have good contacts in the governor’s office, do you just call up and say, “Hey, could you funnel a few million my way?” And suddenly, poof, it’s yours.

For a governor who is making no secret of his presidential ambitions, his mismanagement of this fund is certain to play front and center in presidential debates as other candidates — Republican and Democrat — question whether he’s got the stuff to run our nation.

After reviewing the 98-page report, the governor’s office acknowledged that weak controls were in place when the fund first began in 2003, Hoppe reports. But now they’ve implemented the recommendations made by the auditors. I wonder, if the audit hadn’t happened, would these shoddy practices still be happening?

The “process and policies of the TEF have evolved” and it has now adopted “a more standard operating procedure,” Perry aides told the auditor.

Read more: http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/2014/09/rick-perrys-management-skills-in-serious-question-after-auditors-report.html/

Central Michigan University launches beer-making program

DETROIT — Colleges and beer have a long shared history. A university in Michigan is taking that partnership to a new level with the creation of a program to train and certify experts in “fermentation science.”

Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant this week announced plans to launch the program in fall 2015, aimed particularly at supporting and boosting the state’s fast-growing craft brewing industry, now a $1 billion-plus annual business.

“As of 2013, Michigan ranked fifth in the nation in number of breweries, behind only California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington,” said Ian Davison, dean of the College of Science and Technology at the Mount Pleasant school.

Central Michigan bills its undergraduate program as the first in the state specifically aimed at providing a “hands-on education focused on craft beer.” Similar programs operate at the University of California’s Davis and San Diego campuses and at Oregon State and Central Washington universities.

Read more: http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2014-09-24/university-launches-beer-making-program

[font color=green]Here's to higher education![/font]

Top Texas Democratic candidates address disabled voters; Republicans are no-shows

Democrats Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte vowed Wednesday to defend the rights of disabled Texans if elected to the state’s top offices by increasing funding for disabled care, accepting Medicaid expansion and raising wages for caregivers who serve them.

Davis, running for governor, and Van de Putte, running for lieutenant governor, criticized their Republican opponents for not attending the Texas Disabilities Issues Forum hosted {by the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, ADAPT of Texas, the Disability Voting Action Project (DVAP), the Arc of Texas, and Texas Parent to Parent} in downtown Austin, where a crowd of about 300 came to hear the candidates speak. Sam Houston, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, also spoke.

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/top-texas-democratic-candidates-address-disabled-v/nhTfG/ (subscription required)

Houston, disability advocates slam Paxton for forum no-show

AUSTIN – Republican front runner for attorney general state Sen. Ken Paxton was a no-show at the Texas Disability Issues Forum in Austin on Wednesday, an absence that is increasingly symptomatic of his candidacy.

“We extended several invitations to him that he absolutely did not respond to at all. We did not appreciate that,” said Dennis Borel, executive director of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities. “These are just factual statements, not judgmental.”

The McKinney Republican wasn’t the only GOP candidate absent at the nonpartisan issues forum this week. Gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott and Sen. Dan Patrick, the Houston Republican running for lieutenant governor, also were not to be found.

“Two of these candidates even declined to fill out the survey,” added Borel, referring to Patrick and Paxton. It’s all part of what the Texas Observer just this week dubbed the “non-campaign,” and it’s increasingly common in Texas politics.

Read more: http://blog.chron.com/texaspolitics/2014/09/houston-disability-advocates-slam-paxton-for-forum-no-show/

Legal tab nears $90,000 in Williamson County constable lawsuit

The legal bills are approaching $90,000 for the Williamson County commissioners accused of asking questions about religion, abortion and gay marriage while interviewing constable candidates last year, but in detailed court filings this week, attorneys for the county said commissioners had every right to pose those questions.

The lawsuit, filed in June 2013 in U.S. District Court in Austin, alleges that Williamson County commissioners asked inappropriate questions of candidates who were interviewing for the vacant Precinct 3 constable’s position. The Texas Civil Rights Project filed the lawsuit on behalf of constable applicant Robert Lloyd.

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/news/legal-tab-nears-90000-in-williamson-county-constab/nhTdD/ (subscription required)

More background on the lawsuit at: http://www.texascivilrightsproject.org/blog/archives/366

Related thread
Two join hiring lawsuit against Williamson County commissioners


Erotica chain to sell goods to pay back taxes

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An online sale of sex toys could give Kansas a boost of revenue.

The sale is being held so the owner of five adult stores can pay off a tax debt to the state.

The Kansas Department of Revenue seized items in July from the stores — operated by United Outlets LLC, under the name Bang — for failure to pay sales, income and withholding taxes of $163,986, spokeswoman Jeanine Koranda said. Two stores were in Topeka and one each was in Junction City, Wichita and Kansas City, Kansas.

Koranda said the assets were released back to the owner to auction the property.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat, used the auction to make a dig at Gov. Sam Brownback, saying the Republican leader was “so desperate to fill the massive hole in the state budget caused by his reckless income tax cuts that the state of Kansas is now in the porn business.”

Read more: http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2014-09-24/erotica-chain-sell-goods-pay-back-taxes#.VCO1_BbuPoE
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