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TexasTowelie

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Texas
Home country: United States
Current location: Red Hell Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 76,962

About Me

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!

Journal Archives

New episode of Star Trek: New Voyages released Monday night

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A fan film production. Other episodes at http://www.startreknewvoyages.com/?category_name=episodes&orderby=title .
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Dec 2, 2014, 03:49 AM (4 replies)

December 6th special election: Gary Gates (R) calls State Rep. Lois Kolkhorst a "liberal"



The gloves are coming off a week before voters head to the polls in Senate District 18 as Gary Gates calls Rep. Lois Kolkhorst a damning word in this deeply red district: “liberal.”

Gates, seen as Kolkhorst’s most credible challenger in next Saturday’s special election, has launched a new radio advertisement picking apart Kolkhorst’s 14-year record in Austin and casting her as soft on border security and immigration. Those issues have dominated the race to replace Sen. Glenn Hegar, especially since President Barack Obama announced he would take executive action to shield 5 million immigrants from deportation.

“She let conservatives down with her liberal record,” the narrator says in the second half of the 60-second radio spot, Gates’ first negative ad. “Lois Kolkhorst — she’s not a conservative, and we can’t trust her.”

Gates coupled this attack with a pre-Thanksgiving website, liberallois.org, that hits her on the same votes. Gates cites Kolkhorst’s vote for in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants as evidence that she is a “friend of illegal immigration.” Kolkhorst told the Chronicle editorial board this week that she would vote differently if the bill came up again today.

Read more: http://blog.chron.com/texaspolitics/2014/11/gates-closing-message-kolkhorst-is-a-liberal/?cmpid=rrpolitics

[font color=green]Normally that would make me run to the polls to vote for Lois, but I know that there are at least two Democrats also running so one of them will get my vote instead.[/font]
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Dec 1, 2014, 10:35 PM (1 replies)

Longtime Texas Senate secretary dies

AUSTIN — Betty King, the longest-serving secretary of the Texas Senate in Texas history who guided the Upper Chamber's business over four decades, longer than any other secretary , died Monday after a long illness. She was 89.

King , who worked at the Capitol in various positions for more than a half century, served as secretary from 1977 until her retirement in 2001, perhaps the longest Capitol tenure in both legislative chambers. She had started as a House Appropriations Committee clerk in 1947.

As secretary, she called the roll for every recorded vote – reading every senators' names thousands during her tenure – and her office oversaw the 31-ssenators' budgets. That was a key job that required her to deal adeptly with strong and sometimes difficult political personalities over the years, which she did with grace and patience, and one reason that she was an indispensible presence in the Senate under four lieutenant governors and working for 97 different senators – a record.

A committee room behind the Senate Chamber and a public service award were named for her when she retired.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/politics/texas/article/Longtime-Texas-Senate-secretary-dies-5928424.php
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Dec 1, 2014, 10:29 PM (1 replies)

Texas Public Utility Commission calls on EPA to drop CO2 rule

The Texas Public Utility Commission called a new EPA law capping carbon dioxide emissions by power plants “unworkable” and an “unlawful intrusion” in comments submitted to the federal government Monday.

“The rule establishes completely unachievable timelines for this fundamental remaking of the power industry, creating great threats to the ability of Texas to manage and operate our electricity system,” the power agency wrote.

Under President Obama’s climate change initiative, the Texas power industry must cut their carbon emissions by 38 percent. Last month the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the state’s grid, estimated the law could force the closure of close to half Texas’ coal plants and raise power rates in Texas by as much as 20 percent.

Of the state’s total power generation, 37 percent comes from coal, 41 percent from natural gas and 10 percent from wind, with the rest coming from the state’s two nuclear plants and other forms of generation.

Read more: http://bizbeatblog.dallasnews.com/2014/12/public-utility-commission-calls-on-epa-to-drop-co2-rule.html/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Dec 1, 2014, 10:21 PM (1 replies)

New Culprit Threatens a Park's Rebirth Years After Fire


photo by: Martin do Nascimento

Greenery has begun to cover the scars of a devastating fire that ripped through 32,000 acres of Central Texas three years ago. Feeding on tinder and trees withered from a searing drought, the Bastrop County Complex Fire burned for nine days, destroying more than 1,600 homes, before it was brought under control.

Also lost to the blaze was 96 percent of Bastrop State Park, a 6,565-acre home to the loblolly Lost Pines Forest and the endangered Houston toad.

As shrubs and seedlings have taken hold in the scorched park, however, park officials face a new quandary. An abundance of whitetail deer, they say, is threatening the new growth. Park officials will soon begin allowing the deer to be hunted, saying it is necessary if the park is to bounce back.

“Before the fire, we had a closed canopy forest where there wasn’t a lot of new plants sprouting that the deer like to eat, so we had a really stable population,” said Jamie Hackett, the park’s superintendent. “Since the fire, it is much more open, and there are lots of things growing. There are new oaks and shrub sprouts. Deer love to eat that, so their population is on the rise, and with that we want to make sure we keep a healthy and balanced ecosystem.”

Read more: http://www.texastribune.org/2014/12/01/new-culprit-threatens-parks-rebirth-after-fire/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Dec 1, 2014, 10:12 PM (4 replies)

Republican State Rep. Files Unconstitutional Bill to Allow Texas Legislature to Nullify Federal Laws

Texans like to pride ourselves on our fiercely independent nature, but one veteran Republican state legislator is trying to turn that independent streak into an unconstitutional law. State Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Van) has filed a bill to allow Texas’ state house speaker and lieutenant governor to have the power to “suspend any federal law within Texas’s borders.”

As ThinkProgress summarized, Flynn’s bill lays out the following structure for the legislature to review federal laws:

The legislation creates a 14 member “joint legislative committee on nullification” that is co-chaired by the speaker and lieutenant governor. Half of the dozen remaining members are appointed by one of the committee’s chairs, while the other half are appointed by the other chair (although only eight of the committee’s fourteen total members may belong to the same political party). A bare majority of the committee, eight votes, may temporarily declare that a federal law “has no legal effect in this state.” If that declaration is ratified by the state legislature in the next legislative session, it becomes permanent.

Under Flynn’s proposal, the state house speaker and lieutenant governor could create a committee stacked with loyal right-wing supporters, and use that to choose which federal laws they want the state to follow. In a state where Dan Patrick was just elected lieutenant governor, the idea is a truly terrifying prospect. Patrick is staunchly anti-immigrant and anti-choice, and if he had the power to void the federal laws that protect the rights of women and minorities, Texans could face a bleak future indeed.

Fortunately Flynn’s bill has one major problem. It’s blatantly unconstitutional.

Read more: http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/28689/republican-state-rep-files-unconstitutional-bill-allow-texas-legislature-nullify-federal-laws

A Careless Solution

Terrell State Hospital needs help, badly. So why is Texas privatizing the psychiatric facility—and picking a notorious company to run it?


As they filed into the Rockwall and Brin Church of Christ on November 3 for a town hall meeting about privatizing the local psychiatric hospital, attendees were handed a purple flier from the Texas State Employees Union. It said, “THIS IS NOT A DONE DEAL!”

But over the next three hours, the 250 or so men and women present, many of whom had worked at Terrell State Hospital for years if not decades, would trickle back out to the dark parking lot in silence as, one by one, they realized this wasn’t true.

They were angry, worried, and most of all confused about why privatization was coming to Terrell at all. The hospital has labored to improve since 2012, when a patient died after being restrained for 55 hours. Ann Simmons, 62, was only at Terrell three days before being killed by pulmonary thromboembolism—a blood clot that formed in her immobilized limbs, broke free, and lodged in an artery to her lungs.

-snip-

Equally troubling is the state’s choice of contractor, selected without input from employee unions or patients’ rights advocates. Last month, state officials announced that they’d awarded a five-year contract to run the hospital to Correct Care Solutions, a Nashville-based correctional healthcare corporation. The company’s track record in other states includes allegations or confirmed reports of rape, suicide, neglect and medical malpractice that make Simmons’ cause of death look almost merciful.

The complete article is at http://www.texasobserver.org/terrell-state-hospital-geo-care-privatize/ .
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Dec 1, 2014, 02:42 AM (0 replies)

DuPont Says Plant Leaked 23,000 Pounds of Toxic Gas

About 23,000 pounds of a flammable, foul-smelling toxic gas leaked from the DuPont chemical plant in La Porte where four workers died earlier this month, the company said Saturday.

That’s significantly more than the 100 pounds of methyl mercaptan that DuPont estimated had escaped the plant in its initial report, and was enough to asphyxiate the four workers and hospitalize another.

Companies are required to report all releases of at least 100 pounds of the gas to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. DuPont said it revised its initial estimate after determining how much gas was in the plant’s pipes and vessels before and after the tragedy.

“The release occurred inside a process building at the site’s Crop Protection unit and dissipated from openings in that structure over time,” the company said in a statement.

Read more: http://www.texastribune.org/2014/11/29/dupont-says-plant-leaked-23000-pounds-toxic-gas/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Dec 1, 2014, 02:37 AM (0 replies)
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