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Gender: Male
Hometown: George West, Georgetown, Austin, Brenham and Irving, Texas
Current location: Irving
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 10,129

About Me

BS - Mathematics from Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX. Statistical Analyst. Played trumpet in college. Middle-aged white guy.

Journal Archives

Texas kittens in costume still hope to find forever homes (Squee Warning)

Princess Leia


Daenerys Targaryen

Jon Snow



Doctor Who

Three of the seven of the Texas kittens who went all out in a bid to find forever homes by dressing up as stars from movies and TV, are still waiting in the wings.

The cats were made famous around the globe as they posed in costumes as the likes of Princess Leia, Gandalf and Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.

Cleveland photographer and part time rescuer of strays, Wendy Robbins, 37, came up with the idea after being swamped with 17 little balls of fluff back in the spring. By the end of May she had her feline stars all dressed up and ready, but three still have nowhere to go.

Gandalf and Frodo both got lucky as people called in from all over the U.S. The tiny grey wizard cat, who was born without eyes, is flying off to Michigan in the coming weeks to his new family.

"Games of Thrones" duo Daenerys Targaryen and John Snow also found new owners.

It's the cute and cuddly cat versions of Princess Leia, Dorothy and British favorite Doctor Who that are still up for grabs.

More at http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/texas/article/Texas-kittens-in-costume-still-hope-to-find-5644503.php#photo-6637851 .

Fake Democrat Gavin Newsom Is Only Lt. Governor Now, But He Can Do A Lot Of Damage In The Future

Note: I am not very familiar with Newsom so I am presenting this article without expressing an opinion. However, I can see his attraction as far as being a possible running mate on a presidential ticket or a future presidential candidate. I am hoping that other people will express some opinions so that everyone on DU has additional information in the future.

Gavin Newsom presents well. When he still thought he was running for governor, he called a meeting of L.A. political bloggers in some sleek West Hollywood hotel and did a free-flowing Q and A. He was as sleek as the hotel and everyone swooned. Except me. Having recently exited the corporate world, Newsom's glitz and studied expertise in everything didn't impress me. Good hair, yes... but I could sense that guy at the head of the table was a quintessential Republican no matter what party label he worse and no matter San Francisco gay couples he had married. Jon Ward wasn't at that meeting, but he's got Newsom's number as well-- and he shared it this week at HuffPo-- The Right's Strange New Hero: Gavin Newsom.

After he was elected Lt Governor, Jerry Brown told him to keep out of his hair and go find some ribbons to cut. Instead he wrote a book, Citizenville, although I'm not certain if the proceeds are owned by the state government which was paying his salary while he wrote it. As Ward explains, "the ideas he espouses in the book have Washington conservatives sitting up and taking note." Like Newt Gingrich: "It is a tremendous book which I recommend all the time."

Ward's article goes well with the Tim Donovan piece at Salon we've been looking at, Clueless rich kids on the rise: How millennial aristocrats will destroy our future. Newsome was born in 1967, so he's not a millennial, just ahead of his time. And he isn't from a rich family, but a very politically connected one. He was appointed, rather than elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and when he ran he ran in the most Republican district in town-- Pacific Heights, the Marina and Sea Cliff-- and ran on both the Democratic and Republican slates. when people weren't thinking of him as just an opportunistic Republican calling himself a Democrat, he's just been considered a conservative and a part of the Republican wing of the Democratic Party.

His personal wealth-- he's a multimillionaire-- comes from his connections, particularly to oil heir Gordon Getty who was the primary investor in 10 businesses Newsom started, almost all of them bars, cafes and wine shops. And his policies are the policies that serve the interests of business rather than families. Citizenville is an anti-government screed that any Ayn Rand fan would happily recognize and, according to Ward, the "central premise is that government can be better, more relevant, more engaged with the public by embracing technology-- and getting out of the way." Newsom, channeling his inner Republican: "Government can do best by simply getting out of the way."

Newsom's critique of government’s failures and weaknesses dovetails with the narrative that some on the right are crafting to critique the Democratic Party and spark a revival of the moribund GOP. A loose coalition of thinkers-- including Yuval Levin, the editor of National Affairs magazine, and Alex Castellanos, a veteran political consultant working on rebranding the GOP-- have been busy promoting the idea of "reform conservatism."

Levin and Castellanos, in particular, are each working independently to craft a way of talking about conservatism that can change perceptions of the right, even among those Americans who don’t pay close attention to politics. It’s a significant ingredient in the GOP’s hopes for resurgence. Their argument is that liberalism is a top-down, antiquated approach to modern governance.

Devolving decision-making power and authority to local institutions is a better way, they say, to approach a technology-driven world that is increasingly complex, diverse and bottom-up.

Put more simply, they say Democrats are the party of old ideas, and conservatives-- who have struggled with being identified as the party of old, white men-- are actually the best fit for the future... Newsom’s steady cultivation of Silicon Valley moguls should help him raise funds for any statewide run.

- See more at: http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2014/07/fake-democrat-gavin-newsom-is-only-lt.html

Hospital Slumlord Update: Jurors find Texas hospital chain owner guilty on all 15 counts

Update at 4 p.m.:

Jurors have found Dr. Tariq Mahmood guilty on all 15 counts.

Mahmood faces up to 20 years in prison when he’s sentenced next spring.

Original entry:

Dr. Tariq Mahmood did not wield a “Charles Manson-like” power over employees, forcing them to alter Medicare billing codes for his Texas hospitals, his defense lawyer told jurors in the closing argument of his federal fraud trial this morning.

The Dallas businessman was merely a boss making “suggestions” to his billing coders, said attorney Michael Khouri. The staffers were the ones who made the “final decision’’ to change underlying diagnosis codes in claims for government reimbursements.

Just before jurors began their deliberations around noon, Khouri spent 45 minutes attacking prosecutors’ case that Mahmood orchestrated a scheme to defraud Medicare by submitting more than $1.1 million in bogus billing claims. It was the attorney’s first real salvo. In the previous three days of trial testimony, he only called one witness. Prosecutors put on more than a dozen.

Khouri portrayed Mahmood, who at one time owned six hospitals, as a good man and doctor who rescued hospitals from bankruptcy.

More at http://watchdogblog.dallasnews.com/2014/07/tx-hospital-chain-owner-is-not-charles-manson-his-attorney-says-jurors-now-deliberating.html/ .

I don't understand why they are postponing the sentence until next spring. He belongs in prison NOW.

Prior thread with additional links:


Univ. of Texas suspends two players charged with sexual assault

University of Texas football players Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander were charged with sexual assault, a second-degree felony, on Thursday for an incident in the early morning of June 21, the American-Statesman has learned.

Sanders is also facing an additional charge of improper photography.

It’s unclear when both Sanders and Meander will be arrested, but bail has been set at $75,000 for both players. Sanders has an additional $20,000 bail for the improper photography charge.

“It’s a shame that a mere allegation can effect a young man’s life to the extent this will,” said Austin attorney Brian Roark, who represents Sanders. “He is innocent though and eventually, that will be proven.”

More at http://www.statesman.com/weblogs/bevo-beat/2014/jul/24/two-texas-players-charged-sexual-assault/ .

The article is graphic about the description of the alleged sexual assault.

Texas governor's startup fund is not all it seems

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry has distributed $205 million in taxpayer money to scores of technology startups using a pet program designed to bring high-paying jobs and innovation to the nation's second most-populous state.

But a closer look at the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, one of Perry's signature initiatives in his 14 years as governor, reveals that some of the businesses that received money are not all they seem. One actually operates in California. Some have stagnated trying to find more capital. Others have listed out-of-state employees and short-term hires as being among the jobs they created.

A few have forfeited their right to do business in Texas by not filing tax reports.

An Associated Press review of the program found that some of the same companies credited with creating a share of the program's 1,600 new jobs have actually stalled and in some cases blamed Perry's office for their struggles.

More at http://www.chron.com/news/texas/article/Texas-governor-s-startup-fund-is-not-all-it-seems-5643053.php .

July 24th is National Tequila Day so here are the cat pictures!

July 24 is National Tequila Day (not “to-kill-a”) which means that it’s time for LOLCats to party. The cats are going to gather tonight at the speakeasy, so remember to grab a bottle (or two) of Gato Wabo, Jose Cuervcat or Catrón and that the password is “meow”.

Jefferson Co. DA expects Beaumont ISD indictments next week

Jefferson County District Attorney Cory Crenshaw told members of Beaumont's Rotary Club this afternoon that he expects indictments involving fraud at Beaumont ISD to be handed down next week.

Crenshaw started a Beaumont ISD hotline earlier this year for people to report any crimes they observed happening in the district.

The district attorney said two grand juries have been investigating evidence, including a special grand jury impaneled by Judge John Stevens in May to focus solely on the school district. The special grand jury will serve through November, three months longer than a regular grand jury.

Crenshaw would not specify which grand jury would pass down indictments next week or the nature of the indictments. He did say that believed fraud at BISD goes back at least seven years based on his office's investigation.

More at http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/article/Jefferson-Co-DA-expects-BISD-indictments-next-5641557.php .

Rep. Louie Gohmert: Israel’s invasion of Gaza means ‘it is time to bomb Iran’

Just one day after international watchdogs said Iran was complying with demands to scale back its nuclear program, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) called for the country to be bombed because of the conflict in Gaza.

“Mr. Speaker, in Israel right now, there is a battle for peace,” he said Tuesday on the House floor. “They are being embattled by a group who teach their children, in the educational materials we help pay for, to hate Jews, to hate Israelis. They teach the people to hate Israelis as well. They name streets and holidays after people who kill innocent people.”

“It is time to cut off every dime of American money going to anyone who has any kind of relationship with Hamas or those killing in the Middle East, and especially in Israel,” the congressman continued.

“It is time to bomb Iran’s nuclear capabilities,” Gohmert concluded. “It is time for the United States, if we are not going to stop Iran’s nukes, then let Israel do it. A friend will not put another friend in this kind of jeopardy.”


Imagine how this headline would be viewed if it was for a city in Colorado?

Weedeater theft stumps Lubbock police


Texas Education Commissioner Wants to Push New Teacher Evaluation Rollout Back Another Year

Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams wants an additional year to study a new state teacher evaluation system. The additional period would delay the official roll out for two years.

Commissioner Williams wrote a letter to federal education officials Wednesday, where he also requested the federal government extend a waiver from No Child Left Behind requirements.

In a statement, Williams said:

“Texas educators understand the need to update the current evaluation system to one that better reflects what’s occurring in today’s classroom. Texas is to develop an evaluation system that truly supports our teachers, we need time to complete the pilot year and then utilize the constructive feedback we will receive from our school districts, charters and educators.”

The pilot evaluation program will still start this school year, but the TEA will now have an additional year to evaluate the new system. When state education officials accepted a waiver from the No Child Left Behind requirements last September, it was required to develop a new teacher evaluation system that focused on student achievement. If not, the state risked losing billions in federal funding.

Now, officials say the timeline was too tight. Halfway through the pilot program, the 2015 legislative session begins and teacher evaluations are expected to be a hot- button issue. The new evaluation system has caused controversy because 20 percent ties teacher evaluations to student performance – including standardized tests. The other 80 percent is based on classroom observation, feedback and self-assessments. It’s the first time the state has changed teacher evaluations in 17 years.

More at http://kut.org/post/texas-wants-push-new-teacher-evaluation-rolllout-back-another-year .

In other words, we know that we failed but we don't want to lose the federal money. Since Rick Perry thinks that the Department of Education should be abolished, I wonder if he will step up to the plate and say "no" to taking the federal funds also?
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