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TexasTowelie's Journal
TexasTowelie's Journal
December 1, 2018

Operators of Tent City for Migrant Kids Say They Want Out But 'Can't Abandon the Children'

The San Antonio-based nonprofit that is operating a controversial West Texas tent city for migrant children wants out of the job. But the government isn’t revealing the future of the facility in Tornillo, a farming community southeast of El Paso, that currently holds about 2,300 children.

“We don’t want to be there, but we can’t abandon the children,” Evy Ramos, a spokeswoman for BCFS Health and Human Services, which has operated the Tornillo facility since June, told Texas Monthly. The company has agreed to a short-term contract with the federal government despite long-stated misgivings about managing the complex. “We have not agreed to another extension, which is not to say that at some point we might,” Ramos said about the company’s contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The fate of Tornillo comes as, once again, the issue of border security and what to do with Central Americans fleeing to the United States because of violence in their homeland, is heating up. On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security asked the Pentagon for a 45-day extension for the deployment of U.S. Army forces along the border. The troops are scheduled to withdraw by December 15, but the Pentagon is expected to approve the DHS request.

“Given the ongoing threat at our Southern border—today the Department of Homeland Security submitted a request for assistance to the Department of Defense to extend its support through January 31, 2019,” DHS spokeswoman Katie Waldman said in a statement to the Washington Post.

Read more: https://www.texasmonthly.com/news/operators-tent-city-migrant-kids-say-want-cant-abandon-children/

December 1, 2018

The Expectations and Realities of Six-Man Football in Small-Town Texas

On the afternoon of August 31, New Home School football players had just rallied to edge out the cheerleaders in a team hula-hoop competition when junior Riley Stokes—dressed as a leopard—grabbed a cordless microphone. It was the first pep rally of the 2018 season, and the crowd of students, teachers, and families didn’t need much coaxing to cheer. “The Leopards are starting a new season!” Stokes yelled, bending her knees and waving her free arm with a mascot’s trademark excitement. “And now, they’re playing eleven-man football!” The gym burst into cheers.

A few hours later, New Home sent eleven Leopards onto a football field for the first time since 1982. For more than three decades, the town of a little more than 350—located about 20 miles south of Lubbock—has been represented by a six-man football team, the University Interscholastic League’s special concession to its smallest schools.

The current minimum enrollment to qualify for UIL eleven-man play is 104.9 high school students, and New Home stood at 93 when the bi-annual state reclassification took place last February. But as Lubbock’s population balloons and families move out of the city for more elbow room, the New Home school system has grown. It’s on pace to outgrow UIL’s smallest enrollment category, Class 1A, likely by the next reclassification in 2020. So according to Athletic Director Koby Abney, the administration decided last fall “to turn the inevitable into the immediate” and go eleven-man beginning in 2018. Eighteen other UIL schools joined New Home in “playing up” to Class 2A, but 137 others will play six-man the next two academic years.

Hundreds of miles away from New Home, down in a picturesque southwest corner of the Hill Country, the town of Leakey (pronounced LAY-key) isn’t growing. The Frio River flows down the town’s east side and attracts visitors in the summer who enjoy rafting, tubing, and vacation properties. But Mayor Harry Schneemann, who played football for Leakey in the early 1960s, noted the lack of a true industry in the 410-person town. “There’s no reason to move here, especially if you have a student playing sports,” he said. “But as long as there’s a river, there will be a Leakey.”

Read more: https://www.texasmonthly.com/the-culture/expectations-realities-six-man-football-small-town-texas/

December 1, 2018

Legally, Beto O'Rourke Can Run for President and Senate in 2020

Congressman Beto O’Rourke has risen to superstar status. He is now widely known by a single name—Beto—like Prince, or Cher, or Elvis. Enthused by Beto’s near miss against Cruz, Democrats in Texas and around the country are urging Beto to run for president in 2020, egged on by a news media hungry for ratings, sales, and social media clicks. Beto’s media presence is even eclipsing the one Texan poised to seek the Democratic presidential nomination: former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro. Along with his congressman brother, Joaquin, Julian Castro not so long ago was touted as the youthful Hispanic future of Texas. Who better to lead the state’s Democrats out of the Republican wilderness of the past two decades than one of the Castro brothers? But in the afterglow of this year’s election, “The Castro Brothers” sounds more like a reality TV show about flipping houses than about flipping the partisan tilt of Texas. Beto now is the guy who can fill the arena.

During the election, Beto was adamant that he would not run for president. If he lost the Senate race, he said, he just wanted to go home and spend time with Amy and his children Ulysses, Molly, and Henry. Any decision on challenging Republican U.S. Senator John Cornyn in 2020 would also have to wait. Then this week Beto cracked the door on a possible presidential run by no longer ruling it out.

When I first started contemplating this article, my idea was that if Beto wanted to help the Democrats retake the White House, he probably would better serve his party by running for Senate against Cornyn to put Texas into play. Texas has not gone for a Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter in 1976. In no small part, that’s because national Democrats have refused to spend money on Texas. If Texas with its 38 Electoral College votes had gone for Hillary Clinton in 2016, she would have won the presidency just with the states she actually carried. Her campaign spent $100,000 in Texas. On the other hand, Beto raised $70 million for his Senate race against Cruz. A viable Democrat challenging Cornyn easily could put the state’s electoral votes into the kill zone for a dynamic Democratic presidential candidate.

Then I thought: Why doesn’t Beto run for both the presidency AND the U.S. Senate?

Read more: https://www.texasmonthly.com/politics/technically-beto-orourke-can-run-president-senate-2020/

December 1, 2018

Hightower Hits a Wall

Austin-based pundit and progressive activist Jim Hightower is a fountain of agit-prop and activism, impulses combined in his regular columns and appearances for various media outlets across the country and his shorter “Hightower Lowdown” (formerly a weekly Chronicle staple).

Among those efforts, he provides a weekly newspaper column for distribution firm Creators Syndicate (“I took that slot over when Molly Ivins passed on”), and says he has always been happy with the partnership.

Not so this week, when Creators editor Maxine Mulvey called Hightower staffer Melody Byrd and told her they wouldn’t be distributing the Nov. 27 column entitled, “Free the free press from Wall Street plunderers.” Byrd says Mulvey told her she liked the column, but that Creators could not risk retaliation from two named “plunderers”: Gatehouse Media and Digital First Media. Together the two mega-corps own some 1,500 newspapers (Gatehouse recently acquired the Austin-American Statesman), many of which use Creators’ material.

Here’s some of what Hightower wrote about the companies: “They know nothing about journalism and care less, for they’re ruthless Wall Street profiteers out to grab big bucks fast by slashing the journalistic and production staffs of each paper, voiding all employee benefits (from pensions to free coffee in the breakroom), shriveling the paper’s size and news content, selling the presses and other assets, tripling the price of their inferior product – then declaring bankruptcy, shutting down the paper, and auctioning off the bones before moving on to plunder another town’s paper.” (For background, Hightower cites the Dec. 27, 2017 American Prospect story, “Saving the Free Press from Private Equity.”)

Read more: https://www.austinchronicle.com/daily/news/2018-11-30/hightower-hits-a-wall/

Jim Hightower served as elected commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture from 1983 to 1991.

December 1, 2018

Dallas Cop Arrested on Controversial Revenge Porn Charges

A 32-year-old Dallas Police Department senior corporal has been arrested on revenge porn charges, DPD announced in a brief statement Thursday. Tarrant County authorities have charged Alexander Cleland with Unlawful Disclosure or Promotion of Intimate Visual Material, a Class A misdemeanor.

Cleland turned himself into Tarrant County officials in Keller on Wednesday. As of Thursday evening, he remained in Tarrant County Jail on $750 bond. He is on administrative leave from the DPD.

Texas' revenge porn statute, S.B. 1135, forbids anyone from distributing images or video showing "a person's intimate parts exposed" or engaging in sexual contact without the person being depicted's knowledge or consent. A conviction under the law is punishable by up to a year in jail and $4,000 fine.

Tarrant County officials did not respond to a request for more information about the charges against Cleland, who was assigned to the Northwest Patrol Division, or his arrest.

Read more: https://www.dallasobserver.com/news/dallas-cop-arrested-for-revenge-porn-11394694

December 1, 2018

Anti-gay group denounces Drag Queen Story Hour in Houston

A parade of speakers attended the Nov. 27 meeting of the Houston City Council to complain about the city’s libraries hosting Drag Queen Story Hour events, even though a judge has already dismissed the lawsuit brought by businessman challenging the reading events.

The lawsuit had argued that LGBT activists viciously and violently oppress Christians and claimed that the drag queens are indoctrinating children in secular humanism, so allowing the reading events to continue would be allowing religion in a public facility. The suit also claimed they expose children to sexual immorality and obscene speech that violates community standards of decency.

Lee H. Rosenthal, chief U.S. district judge for the Southern District of Texas, dismissed the suit in two sentences: “There is no basis to support the requested relief. The application is denied.”

But that didn’t stop a parade of speakers addressing the city council on Tuesday.

Read more: https://www.dallasvoice.com/anti-gay-group-denounces-drag-queen-story-hour-in-houston/

December 1, 2018

Police Officers' Union Sues Houston, Firefighters' Union Over Pay Parity

The Houston Police Officers’ Union (HPOU) has filed a lawsuit against both the City of Houston and the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, in an effort to block implementation of a charter amendment granting firefighters pay parity with police officers of equivalent rank. Houston voters approved the amendment, also known as Proposition B, earlier this month.

On Friday evening, State District Judge Kristen Brauchle Hawkins granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) at the request of the HPOU, the Houston Chronicle reported. The TRO blocks for now the implementation of the charter amendment.

According to the petition filed with the Harris County District Clerk, the police union is seeking an injunction to have the amendment declared unconstitutional. Among the reasons, the police charge that existing state law specifically prohibits tying Houston firefighters’ pay to that of other municipal workers. In effect, they argue, requiring pay parity limits the police union’s own collective bargaining rights.

The police union also contends that state law bans the setting of firefighter pay by ballot measure. This last argument is one that Mayor Sylvester Turner has made both before and since the passage of Proposition B. Earlier this week, Houston City Council voted to hire the law firm of Norton Rose Fulbright, as a first step in filing its own suit to block the charter amendment.

Read more: https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/2018/11/30/313730/police-officers-union-sues-houston-firefighters-union-over-pay-parity/

December 1, 2018

Arson Ruled As Cause Of San Marcos Apartment Fire

Federal investigators are offering a $10,000 reward for help in tracking down those responsible for setting fire to a San Marcos apartment complex in July, leaving five dead.

Special Agent In Charge Fred Milanowski, with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosive, said at a news conference in San Marcos on Friday that the agency did its best to recreate fire conditions at its national lab in Beltsville, Maryland.

Samples and witness interviews were collected over 10 days at the Iconic Village Apartments fire on July 20, he said.

"As a result of all that, we are here to announce that the ATF is classifying this fire as incendiary,” Milanowski said. “That means it was intentionally set. That means this is a criminal investigation now."

Read more: http://www.tpr.org/post/arson-ruled-cause-san-marcos-apartment-fire

December 1, 2018

DNA Vaccine From UT-Southwestern Could Be A Game-Changer In Fight Against Alzheimer's

A radical new vaccine that reduces the two proteins linked to Alzheimer's disease should give the public hope, says the founding director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Roger Rosenberg's research team has gotten international attention for the new DNA vaccine, which has shown positive results in animal testing.

The disease affects six million Americans. After billions of dollars have been spent on research, and after countless journals have been stuffed with studies — Dr. Rosenberg alone has spent 30 years studying neurodegenerative diseases, Alzheimer’s in particular — there is currently no effective treatment.

But Dr. Rosenberg says the DNA vaccine could be a game-changer for aging brains, and he's ready to begin testing with humans.

Read more: http://www.kut.org/post/dna-vaccine-ut-southwestern-could-be-game-changer-fight-against-alzheimers

December 1, 2018

Dolce & Gabbana Ad (With Chopsticks) Provokes Public Outrage in China

Despite its persistent rural poverty, China is a country of new wealth. And of ancient traditions.

And as international brands seek to make money off of China, sometimes things go awry.

In mid-November, Dolce & Gabbana, the Italian luxury fashion brand, launched three short videos on the Chinese social media network Weibo to promote its upcoming Shanghai runway extravaganza, dubbed "the Great Show," on Nov. 21.

The videos feature an Asian woman in a lavish Dolce & Gabbana dress attempting to eat pizza, spaghetti and cannoli. With Chinese folk music playing in the background, a Mandarin-speaking voiceover kicks in: "Welcome to the first episode of 'Eating with Chopsticks' by Dolce & Gabbana" — pronounced incorrectly on purpose in a way that mocks Chinese speech.

The male voice proceeds to mansplain how to "properly" eat the dishes. "Is it too big for you?" mocks the voiceover when the woman doesn't know what to do with the gigantic cannoli. "Let's use these small stick-like things to eat our great pizza margherita," he instructs in another video.

Read more: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2018/12/01/671891818/dolce-gabbana-ad-with-chopsticks-provokes-public-outrage-in-china

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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: 110,270

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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