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Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 13,761

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White guy, computer programmer.

Journal Archives

Small West Texas High School Sees Chlamydia Outbreak

An outbreak of chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease, has been reported at a small West Texas high school.

KOSA-TV of Odessa and Midland reports the Crane Independent School District sent a letter last week to parents of Crane High School students informing them that 20 cases of chlamydia had been confirmed at the school. Crane High School has an enrollment of about 300 students.

State health officials had notified the district of a significant number of chlamydia cases reported in Crane County and adjacent Upton County. District officials plan meet with the school's advisory committee of teachers, parents and school officials to discuss the situation Monday.

Chlamydia is curable, but if left untreated can cause permanent damage to women's reproductive systems.

Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon May 4, 2015, 06:03 AM (3 replies)

Does anybody remember this joke?

Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon May 4, 2015, 04:56 AM (0 replies)

The Good News About Healthcare In Texas For Everyone But Republicans

How far we’ve fallen. But first the good news. Uninsured rates plunge across Texas.

While Texas continues to lead the nation in the number of uninsured residents, the percentage lacking coverage has fallen significantly since the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplace began enrollments a year and a half ago, a study released Thursday shows.

The decline, to 16.9 percent from 24.6 percent, represents a reduction of nearly a third between September 2013 and March 2015, according to findings by the Episcopal Health Foundation and Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

“This is a dramatic drop that’s unprecedented in Texas,” said Elena Marks, president and CEO of the Episcopal Health Foundation and a health policy scholar at the Baker Institute. “It shouldn’t surprise me because this is what was supposed to happen. But considering the weak performance of the rollout of Healthcare.gov and the persistent drumbeat against the Affordable Care Act, I am pleasantly surprised.”

Certainly that’s good news, but let’s remember it could be better.

Some of the findings in Thursday’s report remain troubling.

As of March, Texans earning the lowest incomes remain almost four times more likely to be to be uninsured than higher-income residents.

This coverage gap has grown since 2013 because, under the Affordable Care Act, households above an established threshold can buy health insurance using subsidies and those below it were supposed to be picked up by an expansion of the Medicaid program, said Vivian Ho, chair in health economics at the Baker Institute and a Rice professor of economics. She co-authored the report.

Texas is one of 21 states whose leaders chose not to expand Medicaid coverage.

“Texas’ decision not to expand Medicaid leaves those at the lowest income levels with few coverage options,” the report said. The study further concluded that unless the state reverses its decision or finds another way to get coverage for the poor, they “are likely to remain uninsured.”

The 31 percent decrease in the rate of the uninsured in Texas is similar to drops in other states that did not expand Medicaid coverage, the report said. But it remains lower than the nation, which as a whole saw a 41 decrease, and “well below the rate of change for states that expanded Medicaid,” the report said. Those states had a 53 percent average reduction in the number of uninsured.

Read more: http://eyeonwilliamson.org/?p=14646
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon May 4, 2015, 03:07 AM (0 replies)

Texas Lege: Educational Entrepreneurs Rescue Texas Children From Godlessness, For A Price

By Carol Morgan

Elections have consequences and unfortunately those consequences are leading to the death knell for Texas’ public education system. Texans have thrown away their right to a public education system (which is guaranteed by the Texas Constitution) because they elected fools and charlatans like Dan Patrick, Donna Campbell, and Larry Taylor to the Texas Senate.

These three political prostitutes got where they are today through the love and determination of a teacher and free public schools. How dare they criticize the institution that bestowed the opportunities they enjoy today! They should be thanking teachers rather than criticizing and belittling with the words “godless” and “monstrosity”.

Even our local conservative representatives, Senator Charles Perry (who voted for the Senate voucher measures) and Representative Dustin Burrows (who voted against the Pre-K bill) are joining the “kill public education” movement.

I take great offense to the “godless” education remark and so did our LISD Board of Trustees. Thank you, Dan Pope! There have been a couple of Texas pastors, Charles Foster Johnson (the former pastor of Lubbock’s Second Baptist Church) who didn’t like it either. He took to the {Austin American-}Statesman to call out the lies that conservatives are pedaling:

“Pastors for Texas Children are compelled to strenuously confront this lie. As ministers and faith leaders mobilizing in support of our neighborhood and community schools, we have been silent too long while those purporting to speak for God demean, belittle and slander Texas teachers as “Godless. This could not be further from the truth.”

In another piece by Pastor Kyle Henderson, he defended teachers and remarked about his loss of confidence in our state lawmakers. He remarked that as he set through the school hearings his “rose-colored” glasses were smashed. He thought legislators were supposed to help and they weren’t helping, but demonizing public education in order to implement vouchers.

If men of God are supporting our public schools, how can our schools be Godless?

Some children might not know Divine Love (sans the religious rhetoric and honor badges) without the love and care of a teacher or counselor in Texas’ public schools. A selfless attitude of service needs no words nor rhetoric. Divine Love is modeled in our schools, rather than bragged about. I’ve seen teachers who’ve cared for their students as much as they would for their own sons and daughters.

Conservatives Senators and House members keep chanting, “Texas’ Failing Schools, Texas’ Failing Schools” like obedient monks in an ashram, but hard data shows that the voucher mantra is a lie fabricated by their wealthy donors (the liars who are on Dan Patrick’s “advisory” board).

Around 8.2 percent of public school campuses are classified as failing, but nearly 17 percent of charter schools are designated as failing. In fact, within three years of being included on the low-performing list, only seven out of approximately 8,500 traditional public schools are still designated as failing. If you are mathematically inclined, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of all Texas public school campuses are rated IR or AU for more than three years.

Do we have any data about private religious schools that are failing? Shhh….it’s a big secret since they have little oversight and are exempt from any state regulations such as class size, curriculum, or teacher qualifications.

Texas’ failing schools are more a metric of child poverty than a black mark against public education. Texas has the lion’s share of children in poverty: 25% according to the National Center for Children in Poverty. Years and years of research shows that socioeconomic level is STILL the best predictor of academic success.

With that in mind, Texas’ schools are doing pretty well, considering they have no choice in who enters the building, unlike private schools which have an admissions’ selection process and a trial probation for six weeks or more. Public education doesn’t enjoy that luxury.

And just think…all of this was accomplished with precious little help from the Texas Legislature as shown by the fact that Texas is 46th in educational funding. Our state lawmakers would rather give a tax cut to business than fund our schools. Lawmakers brag about the Texas economy, but would never think of parting with the money to prepare the future workers of Texas.

All of this nonsense going on in the brazen-{filtered word}-show in Austin makes it clear what our lawmakers (and their campaign donors) value—eloquent speeches and memos are completely unnecessary.

That tired overused conservative line, “We shouldn’t throw money at the problem”? How would we know if that’s true or not? Texas has NEVER adequately funded public education; we’ve wasted more money on educational reforms, the conservative code-phrase for allowing educational entrepreneurs to mine public education with the intention of increasing their personal wealth.

Didn’t Texans learn a lesson from the Governor Bush-Sandy-Kress-Pearson-lovefest in the late nineties?

Teachers must start to think and act politically. The survival of your profession depends on it. Educators could be the largest voting bloc in the state if they awakened from their political illiteracy. If Dan Patrick’s advisory groups have their way, Texas children attending public schools will soon be a small minority.

Educational entrepreneurs fear a teacher awakening. North Carolina, whose public education has been decimated and corrupted by the voucher system, is contemplating a law that prohibits political activism by educators. Teachers are organizing, but it’s too little, too late. And please don’t tell me it can’t happen here.

If we allow the extreme right to take over our schools, they won’t be satisfied. Next year, it will be a demand for a state check to homeschooling parents. These people won’t be satisfied until they have completely dismantled public education and we go back to the days of the one room school house.

Plain and simple, vouchers are bad for these reasons:
1. Vouchers fragment the Texas population along religious, political, ideological, class, ethnic and other boundaries. We would be re-living Jim Crow all over again.
2. Vouchers violate the Texas constitution (Article 1,sections 6,7; Article V11, Section 5)
3. Vouchers violate taxpayer's religious freedom by forcing them to bankroll religious teaching that might be in opposition to their own.
4. Vouchers will undermine the teaching profession and make it less attractive and low-paying. Many private schools do not require teacher certification. Parents often barter teaching services to pay for their child’s tuition.

My fear is that Texans are complacent and blind to the unintended consequences of the Texas Legislature’s extreme educational bills and will awaken when it’s over. By then, the conservative mindset will rule everything and our school systems resemble something like the Amish (who only educate until grade 8) or Afghanistan, where education is forbidden for females.


Carol Morgan is a career/college counselor, a freelance writer, and former Democratic candidate for the Texas House. She is the award-winning author of two books: Of Tapestry, Time and Tears and Liberal in Lubbock. Email Carol at elizabethcmorgan@sbcglobal.net , follow her on Twitter and on Facebook or visit her writer’s blog at www.carolmorgan.org


Permission granted to post Carol's blog in its entirety.
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon May 4, 2015, 01:23 AM (0 replies)

America’s Police Will Fight the Next Riot With These Stink Bombs

As protestors and police officers clash on the streets of Baltimore and other divided cities, some police departments are stockpiling a highly controversial weapon to control civil unrest.

It’s called Skunk, a type of “malodorant,” or in plainer language, a foul-smelling liquid. Technically nontoxic but incredibly disgusting, it has been described as a cross between “dead animal and human excrement.” Untreated, the smell lingers for weeks.

The Israeli Defense Forces developed Skunk in 2008 as a crowd-control weapon for use against Palestinians. Now Mistral, a company out of Bethesda, Md., says they are providing it to police departments in the United States.

Skunk is composed of a combination of baking soda and amino acids, Mistral general manager Stephen Rust said at the National Defense Industrial Association’s Armament Systems Forum on April 20. “You can drink it, but you wouldn’t want to,” said Rust, a retired U.S. Army project manager.

Read more: http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2015/04/americas-police-will-fight-next-riot-these-stink-bombs/111430/?oref=d-mostread
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun May 3, 2015, 08:47 PM (5 replies)

6 people shot outside Houston nightclub

Six people were injured in a shooting outside a Midtown club early Sunday morning.

According to Houston police, an argument between two groups broke out inside Club Empire earlier Saturday night. Around 1 a.m., one group was standing outside the club, when the other group drove by and opened fire on the first group.

The victims were transported to area hospitals with minor injuries and were in stable condition.

Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun May 3, 2015, 08:19 PM (0 replies)

It's Debatable: Freedom 'of' or 'from' religion

This week, Arnold Loewy and Donald May (aka Mr. Conservative) debate Religious Freedom Restoration Acts. Donald has been a candidate for Congress and writes an independent blog on lubbockonline.com and Arnold is the George Killiam Professor of Law at Texas Tech University School of Law.

Donald: RFRA protects
liberty from radical minority

Liberal activists are now strongly renouncing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that was signed into law in 1993 by President Bill Clinton.

The federal RFRA was enacted to protect the religious liberties of the people from the power of the politicians and the coercion of a radical minority. The 1993 RFRA bill had strong bipartisan support and passed the House unanimously and the Senate 97-3. It was the 1993 RFRA that directed our Supreme Court to protect Hobby Lobby and others from the Obamacare mandates to purchase birth control and abortion coverage in their health care policies.

The Indiana RFRA was essentially a copy of the federal 1993 RFRA, with 31 other states previously passing almost identical religious liberty protections. The left attacked the Indiana RFRA because it needed a target. The left has become intolerant of the religious liberties of the American people, which allow people to legally, personally and politically oppose same-sex marriages and unrestricted abortions on the basis of their moral beliefs. It became the intent of liberal activists that the tolerance of diverse opposing religious beliefs was to be terminated in Indiana.

While the marriage of a natural male to a natural female has been historically foundational in all current major religions, the battle to legitimize and legalize same-sex marriages has become an intense culture war with Christians as the prime target. The left can no longer tolerate any opposition to same-sex marriages and seeks to make criminals of Christians and all others who oppose them.

Continued at http://lubbockonline.com/editorials/2015-05-03/its-debatable-freedom-or-religion

Please take time to read the comments.
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun May 3, 2015, 07:59 PM (3 replies)

Vice President Joe Biden Tells LGBT Leaders, 'This Is No Time To Let Up

If the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of nationwide marriage equality in June, Obergefell v. Hodges will be remembered alongside the landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education, according to Vice President Joe Biden.

Biden made the statement Saturday night during his keynote speech at the Gill Foundation's annual OutGiving Dinner in Dallas, which was also attended by attorney Mary Bonauto of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, who argued for the Obergefell plaintiffs at the high court last week.

"If the court does the right thing, this is going to be as consequential, and Mary is going to be as remembered as Brown versus school board and Thurgood Marshall, it's that fundamental," Biden said, referring to the NAACP's lead counsel in Brown, which ended state-sponsored segregation.

Biden credited the LGBT community for the dramatic cultural shift of the last decade, pointing out that in 2004, 11 states passed same-sex marriage bans when President George W. Bush was re-elected. Today, same-sex marriage is legal in 37 states that are home to 224 million Americans, Biden said.

Read more, with audio of the speech at http://www.towleroad.com/2015/05/vice-president-joe-biden-tells-lgbt-audience-this-is-no-time-to-let-up-audio.html .
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun May 3, 2015, 06:20 PM (1 replies)

The Dollar Joins the Currency Wars

NEW YORK – In a world of weak domestic demand in many advanced economies and emerging markets, policymakers have been tempted to boost economic growth and employment by going for export led-growth. This requires a weak currency and conventional and unconventional monetary policies to bring about the required depreciation.

Since the beginning of the year, more than 20 central banks around the world have eased monetary policy, following the lead of the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan. In the eurozone, countries on the periphery needed currency weakness to reduce their external deficits and jump-start growth. But the euro weakness triggered by quantitative easing has further boosted Germany’s current-account surplus, which was already‎ a whopping 8% of GDP last year. With external surpluses also rising in other countries of the eurozone core, the monetary union’s overall imbalance is large and growing.

In Japan, quantitative easing was the first “arrow” of “Abenomics,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s reform program. Its launch has sharply weakened the yen and is now leading to rising trade surpluses.

The upward pressure on the US dollar from the embrace of quantitative easing by the ECB and the BOJ has been sharp. The dollar has also strengthened against the currencies of advanced-country commodity exporters, like Australia and Canada, and those of many emerging markets. For these countries, falling oil and commodity prices have triggered currency depreciations that are helping to shield growth and jobs from the effects of lower exports.

Read more: https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/dollar-joins-currency-wars-by-nouriel-roubini-2015-05
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun May 3, 2015, 04:37 AM (0 replies)

Long-term galactic cosmic ray exposure leads to dementia-like cognitive impairments

What happens to an astronaut's brain during a mission to Mars? Nothing good. It's besieged by destructive particles that can forever impair cognition, according to a UC Irvine radiation oncology study appearing in the May 1 edition of Science Advances.

Charles Limoli and colleagues found that exposure to highly energetic charged particles -- much like those found in the galactic cosmic rays that bombard astronauts during extended spaceflights -- cause significant damage to the central nervous system, resulting in cognitive impairments.

"This is not positive news for astronauts deployed on a two- to three-year round trip to Mars," said Limoli, a professor of radiation oncology in UCI's School of Medicine. "Performance decrements, memory deficits, and loss of awareness and focus during spaceflight may affect mission-critical activities, and exposure to these particles may have long-term adverse consequences to cognition throughout life."

For the study, rodents were subjected to charged particle irradiation (fully ionized oxygen and titanium) at the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory at the Brookhaven National Laboratory before being sent back to Limoli's Irvine lab.

Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150501151608.htm
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun May 3, 2015, 04:35 AM (2 replies)
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