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TexasTowelie's Journal
TexasTowelie's Journal
May 31, 2013

Austin officer found with prostitute fired

An Austin police officer was fired Friday after police say they found him with a prostitute who said he paid her $10 to perform oral sex, according to a memo from Police Chief Art Acevedo.

Police detained Officer Manuel Garcia about 7:15 p.m. on Feb. 2 at Fiesta Gardens on Comal Street in East Austin, where his car was parked in a dark, unlit parking lot known for drug use and prostitution, the memo says.

Garcia told police that he knew the woman, according to the memo, which describes her as a known prostitute and narcotics user. Garcia said he was taking her to get something to eat and that he had tried to help her out in the past because she was going through hard times.

He told police that he knew she was a prostitute but that he didn’t know she used drugs, the memo says.

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/crime-law/memo-austin-officer-found-with-prostitute-fired/nX75k/ .

[font color=green]$10! Maybe he could have bought her a lottery ticket instead?[/font]

May 31, 2013

Scalia Gives Obamacare a Big Boost

The Supreme Court has yet to decide this year’s attention-grabbing cases on same-sex marriage, affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act. But last week, a divided court decided Arlington v. FCC, an important victory for Barack Obama’s administration that will long define the relationship between federal agencies and federal courts.

The underlying question was this: If a law is ambiguous, who gets to interpret it? Federal judges or the agency that carries it out? Who interprets the crucial ambiguities in the Affordable Care Act, the Clean Air Act or the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act?

The divisions within the court defied the usual ideological predictions. In a powerful and convincing opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia, the court’s majority ruled that even when the agency is deciding on the scope of its own authority, it has the power to interpret ambiguities in the law. Scalia was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Clarence Thomas.

In an agitated dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by Justices Samuel Alito and Anthony Kennedy, contended that the courts, not the agency, must decide on the scope of the agency’s power. (Justice Stephen Breyer wrote separately and only for himself.)

More at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-29/the-biggest-supreme-court-ruling-you-haven-t-heard-of.html .

May 31, 2013

Irving High yearbooks recalled after offensive remark printed under student's photo

IRVING -- Irving Independent School District is investigating how a yearbook photo was altered to include a sexually-offensive remark.

The caption "Ugly Hoe" appeared instead of a cheerleader's name in a group photo.

The district has apologized and launched an investigation.

District spokesperson Leslie Weaver told News 8 the yearbook was checked by student and faculty editors before it went to print.

More at http://www.wfaa.com/news/education/Irving-High-yearbooks-recalled-after-offensive-remark-printed-under-students-photo-209584701.html .

May 30, 2013

Rep. Steve Stockman: ‘The right to keep and bear arms is granted by God’

Texas congressman Steve Stockman is about as strong a supporter of gun rights as there is.

He believes that the right to keep and bear arms is protected by the Bill of Rights. But he believes that gun rights run far deeper than the U.S. Constitution.

“The right to keep and bear arms is granted by God and protecting from government aggression by the Constitution,” he said today in explaining his opposition to the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. “It is not subject to the whims of global totalitarians massed in New York City.”

Stockman, a Republican from Friendswood, was one of 17 Texas Republicans to sign a letter to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry demanding they not sign the U.N. treaty. Another 113 lawmakers joined the conservative Texans.

More, including copy of the letter from Rep. Stockman to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry along with the signatories to the letter is available at http://blog.chron.com/txpotomac/2013/05/rep-steve-stockman-the-right-to-keep-and-bear-arms-is-granted-by-god/ .

[font color=green]Apparently God wasn't resting on the seventh day when he granted these rights.[/font]

May 30, 2013

Editorial: New Texas insurance boss must restore trust

Insurance commissioners don’t have to be loved, but they absolutely can’t be too cozy with the companies they regulate.

In nearly two years in office, Texas Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman did nothing to beat back the perception of favorable treatment, and as a result, state senators wisely blocked her from another two-year term. She vacated the office Monday, and Julia Rathgeber, a former deputy chief of staff to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, took over the job.

This newspaper has high hopes — and expectations — for Rathgeber, whose first task is to regain the pubic confidence. Kitzman burned bridges with lawmakers, who described her as unresponsive, and with consumer groups, who said she tuned out their input.

Not only is such aloofness a recipe for administrative ineffectiveness, but it also undermines the very core of insurance regulation, which is preserving the delicate balance between consumer and industry interests.

More at http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/latest-columns/20130529-editorial-new-texas-insurance-boss-must-restore-trust.ece .

The Cat Risk blog has the following statement on their Website: (emphasis mine)

Texas Governor Rick Perry has appointed Julia Rathgeber, formerly deputy chief of staff to Lietenant Governor David Dewhurst, as new Texas Insurance Commissioner. Commissioner Rathgeber replaces Eleanor Kitzman who failed to win confirmation from the Texas Senate. In addition to her work for the Lieutenant Governor, she has worked at the state’s General Land Office, the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission and at that agency’s successor, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Earlier in her career, Ms. Rathgeber worked for six years as Director of the Senate Research Center under Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock in January, 1992. The background of Ms. Rathgeber, a 1990 graduate of the University of Texas Law School, in insurance law and regulation is unclear at this point.

Let’s hope Ms. Rathgeber’s lengthy background in Texas politics makes her a quick study. And let’s hope she receives lots of fair minded assistance. And let’s hope she supports the suggestion of her former boss, Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst, that windstorm insurance reform be added to the agenda for a legislative special session. She takes charge, among many other responsibilities, of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, which oversees the largest insurer of property on the Texas coast and whose financial problems might explode if a significant tropical cyclone hits the Texas coast before significant reform occurs.

Also, we did a little web background check on Ms. Rathgeber, who now becomes a bit more of a public figure. She has been involved in Meals on Wheels, the Seton Hospital, and the Shelter for Battered Women and lists various lobbying groups as “Likes” on her Facebook page. One curious fact emerges: although Ms. Rathgeber passed the Texas bar in 1990 upon her graduation from law school, and although no disciplinary violations are reported against her, she is currently suspended from the practice of law in Texas. Possible reasons for this suspension are listed here. It could well be as innocent as failing to pay membership dues or failing to complete Continuing Legal Education requirements. And, an active license may not have been necessary in her recent jobs as she likely was not representing clients.

ADDENDUM: May 31, 2013. The Texas bar has changed the status on Ms. Rathgeber. When I wrote what I did, it is quite true that she was listed as suspended. But, Ms. Rathgeber is no longer listed as “suspended from the practice of law” but is now listed as “Inactive.” I do not know whether the earlier designation represented an error by the State Bar or whether Ms. Rathgeber took appropriate steps to get an earlier suspension removed. There is absolutely nothing wrong having an “inactive” law license assuming one is not representing clients.

May 30, 2013

Moody's downgrades Texas 130 toll road company, TXDoT loan

Moody's Investor Service has downgraded the credit rating of the private company that built and operates the Texas 130 toll road extension, a rating that could continue to drop unless traffic “aggressively” grows on the road in the next two years.

Moody's issued the rating April 12 after putting the SH 130 Concession Co., a partnership between Spanish-based Cintra and San Antonio's Zachry American Infrastructure, on review in March.

The toll road, from Seguin north to South Austin, was billed as the nation's fastest when it opened to drivers in late October, boasting an 85-mph speed limit.

But traffic counts on the road are about half the initial projections, the Moody's report said, forcing the company to dip into its financial reserves to make loan payments and raising concerns about the possibility of future default.

More at http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Moody-s-downgrades-toll-road-company-4559116.php .

[font color=green]The article states that the company faces a negative outlook after the four step drop in its credit rating on a $686 million secured bank loan. In addition, a $430 million loan from TXDoT was dropped three steps. Both loans are lowered to B1 status which is considered to be junk bond status.[/font]

May 30, 2013

Patrick still eyeing lieutenant governor’s race

Sen. Dan Patrick said Thursday he’s still weighing whether to run for lieutenant governor.

Patrick, a Houston Republican and talk-radio host, said he’s ruled out a bid for either comptroller or U.S. Senate.

The post of lieutenant governor, he said, is where he could advance “my conservative vision” and achieve the most.

“That’s why I would run. It has nothing to do with David Dewhurst,” Patrick said.

More at http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2013/05/24840.html/ .

[font color=green]It looks like Dewhurst's loss to Cruz in the primary last year is coming back to haunt him. Too bad that Dan Patrick has myopia.

May 30, 2013

Immigration Reform Could Produce 3 Million New Home Buyers

We often hear about the immigrants who build our houses. But we don't often hear about the immigrants who buy them.

The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals recently estimated that legalization of undocumented immigrants could result in up to 3 million new home buyers, generating up to $500 billion in new real estate transactions.

Of the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S., they estimate that 6 million will pursue legalization or citizenship. Half of these would pursue homeownership based on average salary and home prices, as well as historic patterns of home buying among naturalized immigrants.

Hispanics, who make up 80 percent of the undocumented immigrant population in the U.S., are the fastest-growing group of first-time homebuyers, with over 1 million purchasing homes from 2010 to 2012.

More at http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/13591/immigration-reform-could-produce-3-million-new-home-buyers .

May 30, 2013

Pentagon awards funds to spinal cord injury research

The United States Department of Defense awarded a $2 million grant to help further research that will help people living with spinal cord injuries, MethodistHospital officials in Houston announced this week.

The grant will support the expansion of translational research to find treatments for individuals living with spinal cord injury, including servicemen and women. It’s a type of research that uses basic science to create practical applications that can be used in the real world. i.e. drug studies.

Specifically, the grant will help fund the second and third phase of clinical trials for Riluzole, a neuroprotective drug that is the only Food and Drug Administration-approved drug used in the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Laboratory studies have shown it to be effective in limiting traumatic damage to the spinal cord.

The two-year, peer-reviewed grant was awarded the North American Clinical Trials Network or NACTN.

More at http://blog.chron.com/healthzone/2013/05/pentagon-awards-funds-to-spinal-cord-injury-research/ .

May 30, 2013

Cruz doesn't rule out filibuster on immigration bill

NEW YORK – Will Sen. Ted Cruz filibuster the immigration bill? He won’t rule out the possibility.

Cruz danced carefully around the question of whether he’ll use a senator’s biggest gun to block the legislation when asked –twice – about his intentions Wednesday night.

“What I have been doing in the course of the Judiciary Committee hearings, and what I expect to do on the floor of the Senate, is to introduce amendment to improve the bill so it actually fixes the problem,” Cruz said when I asked the first time.

The committee voted resoundingly, 13-5, to reject a Cruz amendment that would have stripped path to citizenship from the bill.

More at http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2013/05/on-immigration-sen-ted-cruz-coy-on-filibuster-option.html/ .

Profile Information

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: 110,181

About TexasTowelie

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!

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