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Hometown: Austin, TX
Home country: U.S.
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 18,063
Hometown: Austin, TX
Home country: U.S.
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 18,063
Huffington Post 1/16/13
EPA's Water Contamination Investigation Halted In Texas After Range Resources Protest
WEATHERFORD, Texas (AP) — When a man in a Fort Worth suburb reported his family's drinking water had begun "bubbling" like champagne, the federal government sounded an alarm: An oil company may have tainted their wells while drilling for natural gas.
At first, the Environmental Protection Agency believed the situation was so serious that it issued a rare emergency order in late 2010 that said at least two homeowners were in immediate danger from a well saturated with flammable methane. More than a year later, the agency rescinded its mandate and refused to explain why.
Now a confidential report obtained by The Associated Press and interviews with company representatives show that the EPA had scientific evidence against the driller, Range Resources, but changed course after the company threatened not to cooperate with a national study into a common form of drilling called hydraulic fracturing. Regulators set aside an analysis that concluded the drilling could have been to blame for the contamination.
For Steve Lipsky, the EPA decision seemed to ignore the dangers in his well, which he says contains so much methane that the gas in water pouring out of a garden hose can be ignited.
"I just can't believe that an agency that knows the truth about something like that, or has evidence like this, wouldn't use it," said Lipsky, who fears he will have to abandon his dream home in an upscale neighborhood of Weatherford.
Posted by sonias | Wed Jan 16, 2013, 11:54 AM (4 replies)
Talking Points memo 11/29/12
Swift Boat Backer Bob Perry Funded Mysterious Super PAC
A mysterious super PAC that dumped close to $1 million into Senate races in Montana and North Dakota just before the election was funded by a Texas homebuilder who underwrote the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacks on John Kerry in 2004, according to a filing this week.
Bob Perry, the 80-year-old billionaire who founded Perry Homes, gave $1 million to Freedom Fund North America on Oct. 16, according to a filing the organization made with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday. The donation came just a day after the organization was formed.
Freedom Fund North America spent $990,000 on advertisements opposing Democrats Sen. Jon Tester in Montana and Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota as well as an ad in support of Heitkamp’s opponent, Rep. Rick Berg (R). Both Tester and Heitkamp won their races.
Way to blow $1 million asshole Perry!!
Too bad that most of that money comes from Texans who buy your crappy homes.
Posted by sonias | Thu Nov 29, 2012, 08:48 PM (4 replies)
Andrade resigns as Texas secretary of state
AUSTIN, Texas — Secretary of State Hope Andrade announced Tuesday she is stepping down after four years as the chief elections officer in Texas and the first Hispanic woman to hold the office.
Andrade was the fourth-longest serving secretary of state in Texas history. In her resignation letter to Gov. Rick Perry, who appointed he in 2008, she said the "time has come for me to step down" but did not elaborate.
Rich Parsons, spokesman for the secretary of state's office, reiterated that Andrade felt it was time to leave but would not comment further.
"As the first Latina secretary of state, Hope has a permanent place in our state's history books and her personal commitment to making Texas a place of unlimited opportunity will leave a lasting impression on our state's future," Perry said in a statement.
Andrade's last day is Friday.
Can't say she was very good for Texas voters, so I'm not shedding any tears for her. She probably has some cush job waiting for her thanks to Perry cronies.
Posted by sonias | Tue Nov 20, 2012, 05:22 PM (5 replies)
State senator from Houston dies of liver disease
AUSTIN, Texas — State Sen. Mario Gallegos Jr., a long-serving Texas lawmaker and retired Houston firefighter, died Tuesday from liver disease at the age of 62.
Gallegos' political consultant, Harold Cook, released a statement saying the state senator passed away in a Houston hospital surrounded by his family.
"The Senator's family is enormously grateful for the outpouring of support, thoughts, and prayers expressed during the last few days, and respectfully requests media to continue respecting their privacy as they work through this difficult time," Cook said.
Gallegos was running against Republican R.W. Bray in the November general election. It's too late to remove his name from the ballot. If Gallegos wins, the governor will need to schedule a special election to replace him.
The staunch Democrat had represented Senate District 6 in Harris County since 1995, having served in the Texas House the previous four years. He developed a reputation for toughness in 2007 when he showed up in the Senate chamber shortly after a liver transplant to vote against a measure that would have required a photo ID in order to vote in Texas.
I admired him quite a bit when he came back to Austin to block photo ID during the 2007 legislative session. Against the advice of his doctors he traveled to Austin to be ready to hold the block on the bill. He was that kind of man.
Rest in peace, Senator Gallegos.
Posted by sonias | Wed Oct 17, 2012, 11:56 AM (5 replies)
Unmasking Reddit’s Violentacrez, The Biggest Troll on the Web
Last Wednesday afternoon I called Michael Brutsch. He was at the office of the Texas financial services company where he works as a programmer and he was having a bad day. I had just told him, on Gchat, that I had uncovered his identity as the notorious internet troll Violentacrez (pronounced Violent-Acres).
"It's amazing how much you can sweat in a 60 degree office," he said with a nervous laugh.
Judging from his internet footprint, Brutsch, 49, has a lot to sweat over. If you are capable of being offended, Brutsch has almost certainly done something that would offend you, then did his best to rub your face in it. His speciality is distributing images of scantily-clad underage girls, but as Violentacrez he also issued an unending fountain of racism, porn, gore, misogyny, incest, and exotic abominations yet unnamed, all on the sprawling online community Reddit. At the time I called Brutsch, his latest project was moderating a new section of Reddit where users posted covert photos they had taken of women in public, usually close-ups of their asses or breasts, for a voyeuristic sexual thrill. It was called "Creepshots." Now Brutsch was the one feeling exposed and it didn't suit him very well.
But Michael Brutsch is more than a monster. Online, Violentacrez has been one of Reddit's most reviled characters but also one of its most beloved users. The self-described "creepy uncle of Reddit" has played a little-known but crucial role in Reddit's development into the online juggernaut it is today. In real life, Brutsch is a military father and cat-lover. He lives with his wife in the Dallas suburb of Arlington, Texas. There are many sides to Violentacrez, and now that I had Michael Brutsch on the phone I hoped to find out where the troll ended and the real person began.
Posted by sonias | Tue Oct 16, 2012, 11:06 AM (7 replies)
Houston Chronicle 10/7/12
Dems expect to chip away at GOP House
AUSTIN - Democrats are virtually guaranteed to snatch back some legislative seats they lost in the 2010 election bloodbath, but Texas Republicans will retain a stranglehold on the state House after the November election.
The Democrats' horrendous election showing two years ago left them with only 49 seats in the 150-member state House. A South Texas Democrat changed parties last year to create a 102-48 GOP super majority.
Texas political experts expect Democrats will gain at least seven House seats.
"If the Democrats don't get to 55 seats or more, the party has committed malpractice," said GOP campaign consultant Eric Bearse.
Most of the competitive legislative races feature state House races. The lone state Senate seat in play involves a Fort Worth area district with Democratic incumbent Sen. Wendy Davis battling Republican state Rep. Mark Shelton. The GOP holds 19 of the Senate's 31 seats.
No where to go but up. I certainly hope that this is rock bottom for the Dems and we don't want to hit the floor again.
Posted by sonias | Sun Oct 7, 2012, 10:20 PM (7 replies)
Yahoo News 10/5/12
Daryl Hannah arrested in Texas protesting pipeline
HOUSTON (AP) — Actress Daryl Hannah of "Splash" fame was arrested in northeast Texas on Thursday, along with a 78-year-old landowner as the pair protested an oil pipeline designed to bring crude from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
"They've arrested Daryl Hannah and a rural Texas great-grandmother," said Paul Bassis, Hannah's manager.
Hannah and landowner Eleanor Fairchild were standing in front of heavy equipment in an attempt to halt construction of the Keystone XL pipeline on Fairchild's farm in Winnsboro, a town about 100 miles east of Dallas. They were arrested for criminal trespassing and taken to the Wood County Jail, Bassis said. Hannah also faces a charge of resisting arrest, according to jail records.
Hannah has long opposed TransCanada's construction of the $7 billion pipeline, which is designed to transport heavy tar-sands crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to Texas' Gulf Coast refineries.
Daryl Hannah you rock! Daryl!!
Posted by sonias | Fri Oct 5, 2012, 01:20 PM (9 replies)
State settles lawsuit on dead voter purge
Texas voters can no longer be removed from voting rolls based on incomplete government records that indicate they may be dead, according to a legal settlement reached Wednesday afternoon.
The settlement ends a lawsuit by four living voters who were told that their voter registrations would be canceled if they did not prove within 30 days that they are alive.
The legal fight revolved around rules, recently adopted by Secretary of State Hope Andrade, that directed county voting registrars to send letters asking about 80,000 voters to verify that they are alive. About 68,000 of the letters, however, were based on what Andrade called “weak matches” — targeting voters whose birth date and last four digits of their Social Security number match federal death records, or those whose complete Social Security number and birth date match death records, but whose names did not.
Imagine that! A republican SoS agreeing that weak matches of dead people's names is not a good rule. Kudos to lawyer David Richards and his 4 clients who took on the State and won!
Posted by sonias | Wed Oct 3, 2012, 07:08 PM (3 replies)
Judge orders Texas to halt purge of suspected dead voters
A Travis County judge temporarily barred Texas election officials from removing thousands of suspected dead people from voting rolls after four living voters complained that they had been improperly identified as "potentially deceased."
State District Judge Tim Sulak issued the temporary restraining order late Wednesday and directed all sides to find an acceptable hearing date within two weeks to determine if the order should be made permanent.
On Thursday, however, lawyers for Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott told Sulak that they intend to move the case into federal court, where a three-judge panel would determine how the lawsuit proceeds. Barring an order from that panel, Sulak's restraining order would remain in place, lawyers said.
The deadline to register for the Nov. 6 election is Oct. 9.
Thank you Judge Sulak!
Posted by sonias | Fri Sep 21, 2012, 10:40 AM (0 replies)
We are proud to announce that Progress Texas has joined the Clean Energy Works for Texas coalition as part of our first official environmental action. Joining with established environmental and labor groups like Public Citizen, Sierra Club, and the Texas BlueGreen Apollo Alliance, our coalition is urging the Public Utility Commission of Texas ("PUC") to make solar energy a priority for Texas.
If you believe solar energy - and the good jobs that come with it - should be a priority for Texas, sign the coalition's petition today.
Texas ranks 1st in solar energy potential, but only 10th in solar energy production. We can produce more solar energy and put countless trained electricians back to work in our state, but not until the PUC takes action.
Here's the background: in 2005, the Texas Legislature passed a bill empowering the PUC to create a market for energy created from renewable sources other than wind. To do so, the PUC must set solar energy production goals - as part of our state's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) - for Texas to meet. Seven years later, the PUC still hasn't created the necessary rulemaking guidelines to create these goals. As a result, we have yet to fulfill our true potential when it comes to renewable energy production in Texas.
Join Texans across the state in asking for more clean energy jobs and more power from sources that preserve our environment while supporting economic development in our communities.
There are three Commissioners on the PUC, and we need two of them to agree to adopt this rule. With this action, we are writing to Commissioner Kenneth Anderson, who could be open to creating the necessary rule that will grow the solar industry in Texas. When you sign our petition, you will join thousands of other Texans in urging Commissioner Anderson to adopt a non-wind RPS that will promote the solar industry here in Texas.
The potential benefits from solar energy are obvious:
Jobs - The Texas wind boom has created thousands of jobs for Texans. We can do the same if we support solar production.
Clean Energy - In 2007, wind accounted for 3% of Texas' electricity. By 2010, that number jumped to 8%. Increasing where we get our energy - and building drought-proof sources of energy - is critical to our state's future. We already produce twice as much wind energy as any other state in America - imagine how we could lead if we showed the same support for solar production.
Money Saved - A recent study showed Texas consumers could save $520 million if solar capacity was added to Texas' energy market.
If you believe Texas should make clean energy work for Texas, sign our letter now and join us in our fight to improve Texas' economy, electric market, and environment - all at the same time.
Posted by sonias | Mon Sep 17, 2012, 08:36 PM (0 replies)