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TexasTowelie

Profile Information

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, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 78,328

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

Troubled cancer agency readies $182 million in grants

AUSTIN - Despite identifying a problem with another of its grant awards, the state's embattled cancer agency prepared Thursday to move $182 million in grants out of politically imposed limbo.

In its first meeting since taking heat from numerous committees of the 2013 Legislature, the governing board of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas authorized staff to start negotiating contracts on 159 grants stalled by a moratorium called for by Gov. Rick Perry and other leaders. The board instructed staff not to sign the contracts.

"If the moratorium is lifted, we will be ready to move each of these grants forward without delay," said Wayne Roberts, CPRIT's interim executive director. "But) CPRIT staff will not execute any contracts with any grantees until we receive appropriate direction from the Legislature and state leadership."

The grants have been the source of much debate since they were frozen in mid-December. State legislators have warned agency leaders not to hand out more money until they've restored public trust in how they conduct business. At they same time, legislators have expressed concern the suspension of the announced grants could harm the state in the long run, particularly by causing it to lose prominent researchers recruited from out of state but unwilling to keep waiting.

More at http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/texas/article/Troubled-cancer-agency-readies-182-million-in-4307880.php .

Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp named Mr. South Texas

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp has long been a dominating presence in the Brazos Valley, and across the Lone Star State, but on Saturday he picked up the title of Mr. South Texas.

The Washington's Birthday Celebration Association announced the recognition of the Placedo native during a press conference in Laredo. The association could not be reached for comment, but a statement put out by the system said the designation is presented to an individual who has made a significant and lasting contribution to the growth and development of Laredo and the South Texas region.

The award celebrates Sharp's public service -- which started in the 1970s as a Texas state representative from Victoria.

"South Texas, where I am from, is a special place," Sharp wrote in an email to The Eagle. "It is almost as special as Aggieland. I was humbled and honored to receive this award."

More at http://www.theeagle.com/news/local/article_d5bf3de6-e365-52d6-ba92-d892efaf05bb.html .

[font color=maroon]Sharp racked up major points with the judges in the swimsuit competition, but his statements about world peace during the interview portion of the pageant were deemed to be cliché.[/font]

Veterans kicked out of bar

SAN ANTONIO -

A confrontation at a north side bar became violent after three veterans said they were asked to leave because of their service dogs.

However, managers at Rebar said Sunday that Saturday's incident had nothing to do with the dogs.

Carrie Ann Partch, who uses a service dog for post-traumatic stress disorder, said she used her cell phone to record an incident on Saturday where she and her two veteran friends were pushed and pepper-sprayed.

"We were there a couple of hours," said Partch. "Then, all of a sudden, it started picking up and the manager told us we had to leave."

More at http://www.ksat.com/news/Veterans-kicked-out-of-bar/-/478452/19065900/-/137o9qlz/-/index.html .

[font color=green]This should be interesting. Do the rights of the veterans to be accompanied by their service dogs trump the rights of the other customers? Should the customers on PTSD meds even be in a bar drinking alcohol?[/font]

Attendance 'scrubbing' tempts low-ranked schools

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A former superintendent went to prison in Texas for conspiring to remove low-performing students from classrooms to boost average test scores. Principals in Oklahoma and Missouri are out of their jobs after attendance-related scandals.

In Ohio, a recent state audit uncovered nine districts that withdrew students retroactively or improperly reported they were attending alternative programs. In one instance, Auditor Dave Yost said, a district ignored state rules "because they didn't like them."

It's all part of a percolating national saga in which grown-ups - not kids - are the ones accused of cheating. Temptations to "scrubbing," the process of improperly fixing enrollment or attendance data to somehow improve a building's situation, can include rosier district report cards, added state or federal funding and employee bonuses.

"I think it is influenced by the high-stakes accountability environment that we're in right now. It's raised the stakes," said Gary Crow, a professor of educational leadership at Indiana University. "It used to be when you take a standardized test and your students did well or didn't do well, it influenced your teaching, of course, but it didn't get connected directly to your pay, or your job security, or those kinds of things. Well, now, in a lot of places it does."

More at http://www.caller.com/news/2013/feb/24/attendance-scrubbing-tempts-low-ranked-schools/ .

Is voucher idea fizzling?



AUSTIN — It may not have been exactly the reception that Senate Education Committee Chairman Dan Patrick was looking for when he spoke to a Texas PTA rally at the state Capitol.

“No vouchers!” came shouts from the crowd. Patrick came right back with arguments for giving families more school choice.

“We have school choice today — let me finish,” he said, as shouts continued. “If you are rich enough, you can send your child to a private school. And if you are mobile enough, you can move to the suburbs to a great school district.”

Those options don't exist if “you're poor, and you're a hard-working single mom in an inner city,” said Patrick, R-Houston. He said he wants to change that, while contending his plan wouldn't take public money away from public education.

More at http://www.chron.com/news/news_columnists/peggy_fikac/article/Is-voucher-idea-fizzling-4304489.php

Insurance commissioner faces tough confirmation


[font color=2E8B57 size=3]Perry's Insurance Industry Pawn[/font]

Senate Democrats have torpedoed at least one of Gov. Rick Perry’s appointments during each of the past two legislative sessions. Texas Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman could be the next to fall.

Appointed by Perry in 2011 to lead the state’s insurance regulatory agency, Kitzman “has serious problems” in the Capitol, said state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin. The commissioner has been criticized for being too soft on the insurance industry, neglecting consumers and hiring expensive consultants.

Kitzman, appointed between legislative sessions, now faces her first confirmation process, starting with the Senate’s Nominations Committee in early March, then a vote by the full Senate.

Several Democrats — and at least a couple of Republicans — have said the commissioner faces long odds against keeping her $175,240-a-year job.

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/insurance-commissioner-faces-tough-confirmation/nWYbP/ .


Banks' support of payday lenders under scrutiny

Major banks have quickly become behind-the-scenes allies of a raft of Internet-based payday lenders that offer short-term loans with interest rates sometimes exceeding 500 percent.

With 15 states banning payday loans, a growing number of the lenders have set up online operations in more hospitable states or far-flung locales such as Belize, Malta and the West Indies to more easily evade statewide caps on interest rates.

While the banks, which include giants such as JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, do not make the loans, they are a critical link for the lenders, enabling the lenders to withdraw payments automatically from borrowers' bank accounts, even in states where the loans are banned.

In some cases, the banks allow lenders to tap checking accounts even after the customers have begged them to stop the withdrawals.

More at http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Banks-support-of-payday-lenders-under-scrutiny-4303453.php .

[font color=green]The major banks benefit from the revenue stream due to overdrafts that are caused by EFTs. Preying on the poor exacerbates the downward spiral of the high-interest loans.

Where are the RICO laws when they are needed?[/font]

Cross-posted in Texas Group.

Banks' support of payday lenders under scrutiny

Major banks have quickly become behind-the-scenes allies of a raft of Internet-based payday lenders that offer short-term loans with interest rates sometimes exceeding 500 percent.

With 15 states banning payday loans, a growing number of the lenders have set up online operations in more hospitable states or far-flung locales such as Belize, Malta and the West Indies to more easily evade statewide caps on interest rates.

While the banks, which include giants such as JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, do not make the loans, they are a critical link for the lenders, enabling the lenders to withdraw payments automatically from borrowers' bank accounts, even in states where the loans are banned.

In some cases, the banks allow lenders to tap checking accounts even after the customers have begged them to stop the withdrawals.

More at http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Banks-support-of-payday-lenders-under-scrutiny-4303453.php .

[font color=green]The major banks benefit from the revenue stream due to overdrafts that are caused by EFTs. Preying on the poor exacerbates the downward spiral of the high-interest loans.

Where are the RICO laws when they are needed?[/font]

Cross-posted in General Discussion.

Attorney General Greg Abbott denounces gun-control efforts in speech to Texas State Rifle Ass

MESQUITE — Attorney General Greg Abbott on Saturday denounced gun-control efforts by President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress, saying the best way to deal with gun violence is to put more firearms in the hands of citizens.

“More guns equals less crime,” Abbott told the Texas State Rifle Association,

Subscription required: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/headlines/20130223-attorney-general-greg-abbott-denounces-gun-control-efforts-in-speech-to-texas-state-rifle-association1.ece

Les Rita Mitsouko - Marcia Baila

Les Rita Mitsouko was a French pop rock group formed by guitarist Fred Chichin and singer Catherine Ringer. The duo first performed as Rita Mitsouko at Gibus Club, Paris in 1980. They went on to become one of the most acclaimed musical acts in France.

According to the French Wikipedia the name of the group was chosen to reflect the band's extremely diverse musical reference: Rita refers to the South American music (and cult actress Rita Hayworth). Mitsouko is a Japanese first name and is also the name of a perfume by Guerlain. The group originally went by the name "Rita Mitsouko" but in 1985 "Les" was added when they realized that many people believed the name of the group was that of the singer.

Rita Mitsouko began performing in the early 1980s in alternative spaces such as the Pali-Kao, a squatted factory building in Belleville, Paris.

The band first achieved major popular success in 1985, with the release of the second single from their first album: "Marcia baila" rose to number 2 on the French record charts that summer. Philippe Gautier directed a vibrant and widely viewed music video to accompany the record. "Marcia Baila" is an homage to Argentine choreographer and dancer Marcia Moretto, with whom Catherine Ringer had studied and performed in the 1970s. Moretto died of cancer in 1981 at the age of 32.

On Wednesday 28 November 2007, Fred Chichin died from cancer while the band had just cancelled their previous concert dates in Paris. He was only diagnosed with the disease two months before.

Catherine Ringer toured under her own name following the death of her partner and Les Rita Mitsouko collaborator, Fred Chichin.

The song hit #27 on the US dance charts in 1985.

--Wikipedia

[font color=green]This was heard on the club scene back when Ecstasy was still legal. The video includes unusual choreography, multiple costume changes, cheesy French video effects, the strong vocals of Ringer (esp. at the 3:30 mark through the end), and COWBELL![/font]



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