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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: 85,722

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

Highland Park ISD parents start group to protest book suspensions

Highland Park ISD suspended seven books last week after parents objected to some of their content. Now, a group of parents is calling for the books’ return to the classroom.

Two Highland Park High School moms, Laurie Dodic Steinberg and Natalie Davis, are leading the effort. They organized a meeting with about forty parents and students Sunday night. The group will launch an email campaign to object to the books’ suspension and show support for high school English teachers.

The seven suspended books are The Art of Racing in the Rain; The Working Poor: Invisible in America; Siddhartha; The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian; An Abundance of Katherines; The Glass Castle: A Memoir; and Song of Solomon.

Superintendent Dawson Orr suspended the books from classroom use after some parents circulated emails about their sex scenes or references to mature themes such as rape, abuse and abortion.

Read more: http://parkcitiesblog.dallasnews.com/2014/09/highland-park-isd-parents-start-group-to-protest-book-suspensions.html/

SpaceX breaks ground on Texas rocket launch site


The commercial rocket launches that could begin as early as 2016 in the southernmost tip of Texas will be a critical step toward one day establishing a human presence on Mars, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said Monday.

With waves from the Gulf of Mexico crashing just over the dunes and crabs skittering around a tent erected for the groundbreaking, Musk said he expects SpaceX to invest $100 million in the world's first commercial orbital spaceport during the next three to four years.

The commercial satellite launch revenue Musk anticipates generating at the Boca Chica Beach site east of Brownsville will fuel California-based SpaceX's real objective. "The long-term goal is to create technology necessary to take humanity beyond Earth," Musk said. "To take humanity to Mars and establish a base on Mars. So it could very well be that the first person that departs for another planet will depart from this location."

Beginning as early as the third quarter of 2016, Musk said he expects the spaceport to handle at least 12 rocket launches per year. SpaceX will continue using government launch sites in Florida and California, but Musk said its manifest would outpace the available launch windows at those existing sites.

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/ap/spacex-to-break-ground-on-texas-rocket-launch-site/nhRkc/

Rick Perry prosecutor hires Austin lawyer to join him

A special prosecutor handling the case against Gov. Rick Perry has hired an Austin attorney to join his team as the case nears its next court date in mid-October, the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV have learned.

David Gonzalez, a Stanford University law school graduate, will join prosecutor Michael McCrum immediately and will be paid by Travis County taxpayers.

A Travis County grand jury in August indicted Perry on felony charges of coercion of a public servant and abuse of official capacity, both felonies for which he faces up to 109 years behind bars.

The indictment stems from Perry’s threat in June 2013 to Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg that he would veto $7.5 million in funding to her office if she didn’t step down following her drunken driving arrest. The money was appropriated for Lehmberg’s Public Integrity Unit, which investigates ethics complaints against state officials.

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/news/rick-perry-prosecutor-hires-austin-lawyer-to-join-/nhR2h/

Dallas dentist pouring his own money into U.S. Senate campaign

WASHINGTON — With the money he’s spent to unseat Sen. John Cornyn, millionaire Dallas dentist David Alameel could have bought two or three Camaros for every sitting senator.

But as with most wealthy candidates who fund their own campaigns, all that spending probably won’t buy him a win on Election Day.

Alameel has spent more than $9.5 million so far from his own pocket — all but 1 percent of his campaign’s expenditures. No congressional candidate has spent more from personal funds this year.

Since 2002, the Senate candidates who’ve chipped in at least $1 million have won only 10 percent of the time. Fewer than half made it past their party’s primary.

Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/headlines/20140921-dallas-dentist-pouring-his-own-money-into-u.s.-senate-campaign.ece

Patrick pitches tax swap; Van de Putte wants surplus to go to schools

AUSTIN — Republican lieutenant governor nominee Dan Patrick said Saturday that it’s time for the state to consider a tax swap — reduced property taxes in exchange for a higher sales tax — to fund schools. Democrat Leticia Van de Putte called for using the state’s projected multibillion-dollar revenue surplus to restore past cuts in education funding.

Patrick said property taxes have become excessive for too many Texans and the public would support a tax swap to spread out the burden of paying for schools and state programs. Texas schools are primarily funded with local property taxes and state revenue, including sales taxes.

“We need to transition from depending [so much] on property taxes to more of a sales tax base that requires more people paying,” Patrick said at a political forum in Austin.

School property taxes make up about 60 percent of the average property tax bill.

Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/headlines/20140920-patrick-pitches-tax-swap-van-de-putte-wants-surplus-to-go-to-schools.ece

High-Speed Rail Firm's Chief: Public Meetings Set for Proposal

A proposed high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston, already the subject of a federal environmental review, will soon be the focus of a series of public meetings in Texas, according to the president of the firm looking to build the line.

The Texas Department of Transportation will lead the six meetings next month in Dallas, Houston and other locations in between, Robert Eckels, the head of Texas Central Railway, said Saturday at The Texas Tribune Festival. Residents in the potentially affected regions will be invited to ask questions about the proposal. The meetings will be conducted as part of the federal environmental review.

“We'll talk about alternative routes and the impact on the communities and let people actually see the route on the map," Eckels said. "We'll talk about what our vision is."

Texas Central is attempting to build a multibillion-dollar direct line between Dallas and Houston that will transport travelers between Dallas and Houston in 90 minutes or less — without public subsidies. Eckels said Saturday that he expects the train to run daily every 30 minutes between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Read more: http://www.texastribune.org/2014/09/20/high-speed-rail-firms-chief-public-meetings-set-pr/

At TribFest, Patrick and Van de Putte Talk Education, Health Care

The stark differences between state Sens. Dan Patrick and Leticia Van de Putte, the Republican and Democratic nominees for lieutenant governor, were front and center Saturday as they participated in back-to-back interviews at the Texas Tribune Festival.

The two candidates discussed several key issues in this election cycle, including public education funding, immigration reform and improving health care in Texas.

Patrick, who took the stage first with Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith, said the state should transition from depending solely on property taxes for funding public schools and instead rely more on a sales tax.

“It’s not increasing, it’s a swap,” Patrick said, when asked whether this would affect his standing within the business community.

Read more: http://www.texastribune.org/2014/09/20/tribfest-lt-gov-candidates-present-differences-pos/

At TribFest, Cruz Talks Possible 2016 Run, Partisan Gridlock

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz hinted Saturday that he would make a decision on a possible run for the White House in the first half of 2015, but he said his focus for the next six weeks would be on helping Republicans take back the Senate.

The Texas Republican told Dan Balz of The Washington Post at The Texas Tribune Festival that the 2016 field would probably be defined between January and June of next year. But he did not offer up his name.

Balz introduced the topic by asking Cruz what would keep him out the 2016 presidential election. Cruz allowed that it was a clever way of asking him to disclose his plans. But he said that his focus is on the November midterm elections.

However, he added, Republicans in 2016 should nominate “whoever is making the case that the economic policies we’re seeing are not working, that the assault on constitutional liberties in Washington is unacceptable, that the retreat of American leadership in the world is making the world more dangerous and jeopardizing America.”

Read more: http://www.texastribune.org/2014/09/20/cruz-mum-presidential-run-now/

Cornyn: GOP Must Lead and Not Throw Tantrums

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said on Saturday that he lamented his party’s contribution to what he said was a dysfunctional government and said shutdowns are the wrong way to do business in D.C.

Speaking at The Texas Tribune Festival in Austin, Cornyn remained highly critical of President Obama and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada. But he said he didn’t support Republican efforts to defund the president’s health care overhaul, which led to a brief but costly shutdown last year. Asked by an audience member if he was specifically talking about U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, he would only say, "Among others.”

“It didn’t turn out so well. What people want is for the government to function and not to throw temper tantrums and say we’re not going to play ball,” he said.

Cornyn added that if the Republican Party hopes to maintain the success it’s had in the U.S. House, retake the majority of the U.S. Senate and field a successful candidate for the White House, the party cannot rest on its laurels and assume dissatisfaction with Democrats is enough.

Read more: http://www.texastribune.org/2014/09/20/cornyn-gop-must-lead-and-not-throw-tantrums/

Davis Intends to Use Executive Action, Veto Power if Elected

If elected governor, state Sen. Wendy Davis would consider using “executive action” to expand the state's Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act in the face of likely opposition from a Republican-dominated state Legislature, she said Saturday in a wide-ranging interview at The Texas Tribune Festival.

“There’s some indication that an executive action can achieve this,” Davis told Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith. “Sometimes you have to do hard things when they’re the right things.”

Had Texas expanded Medicaid to cover more adults under federal health care reform, the federal government would have covered 100 percent of the cost for three years, eventually reducing its coverage to 90 percent. Davis criticized Republicans’ opposition to the offer, which she noted was projected to create as many as 300,000 jobs in the state.

“Once again, we’ve got people who are more interested in partisan rhetoric than being leaders for our state,” Davis said.

Read more: http://www.texastribune.org/2014/09/20/davis-intends-use-executive-action-veto-power-if-e/
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