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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: 78,425

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

Thousands rally to 'save Texas schools'

Organizers of a rally aimed at addressing school funding and standardized tests estimated that more than 10,000 people from across the state gathered Saturday to “save Texas schools.”

The group spanned the length of Congress Avenue during a march that ended at the Capitol, where a series of speakers including former Texas commissioner of education Robert Scott and State Sen. Kirk Watson urged lawmakers to put more money toward public schools and criticized state assesment tests.

“The Texas school system isn’t adequate, it isn’t fair, it isn’t even constitutional,” Watson said.

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/local/scores-rally-at-capitol-over-school-funding-tests/nWX5s/

AUSTIN — Thousands have organized to rally at the Capitol Saturday in favor of restoring funding cuts to public education, minimizing the importance of standardized tests and improving the overall quality of public schools.

The rally began with protesters marching down Congress Avenue and culminates with an assembly on the south lawn of the Capitol. Education reform advocates including former United States Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch and former Texas Education Agency Chairman Robert Scott.

Large groups from San Antonio are making the trip including Edgewood, Northside, Northeast and San Antonio ISD's, as well as groups organized by state Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio.

“This rally is about saying (to the Legislature): 'You made a mistake, let's fix it and move on',” Villarreal said in a Friday interview. “Fixing it means restoring the cuts and lowering the emphasis on standardized tests because it is zapping the spirit of the classroom and taking educators' time away from our teaching our kids,” he said.

More at http://www.chron.com/news/local_news/article/Thousands-rally-to-save-Texas-schools-4302790.php .

[font color=green]The Austin American-Statesman article also mentions Arlene Wohlgemuth, the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s executive director advocated for “school choice” in the state’s education system, such as private school scholarships and allowing parents to transfer their children more easily among public schools. If my memory serves me correctly, Wohlgemuth was the legislator that literally killed numerous bills in the Legislature back in the 90's by filing points of order in the Calendars Committee.

I know that a number of people are still pissed off about that.[/font]

Reviewer Card Makes a Critic Out of all of Us

Casually drop that you're a power Yelper while you dine at a restaurant, and undoubtedly your service will improve. Perhaps an extra cocktail will come your way. And ah, is that a free dessert?

Of course some of us aren't as forward as others. It can be hard saying out loud that you're a force to be reckoned with, that moments after you leave an establishment you intend to dash home and describe in detail every shortcoming of your meal.

Enter the ReviewerCard.

Just flash this handy badge and say no more. Enjoy topnotch service and gratis appetizers, thus assuring your glowing prose on Yelp and your personal blog.

More at http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/cityofate/2013/02/reviewer_card_makes_a_critic_o.php?ref=trending .

USW: Bargaining with Libbey Glass inconclusive (200 tentative layoffs)

“Unusual” and “insulting” – two words used by a United Steel Workers Union representative to describe the first session of bargaining with Libbey Glass.

After announcing 200 tentative layoffs at the Shreveport Libbey Glass plant, the glassmaker sat down with the USW today (Friday) to examine the fate of those employees. USW representative David Broussard expected something quite different than he got.

“It’s just very unfair,” Broussard said. “They really have a valuable asset here in Shreveport. The union has bent over backwards for years to give them what they’ve asked for. And the company is making money, and they’re coming back to us for more.”

Broussard went into the meeting this morning expecting “effects bargaining,” a method for seeking terms, payment and benefits associated with mass layoffs. What he got instead, Broussard said, was a term he’d never heard before which Libbey Glass called “decision bargaining.”


Earlier related story: http://www.shreveporttimes.com/article/20130221/NEWS01/130221013/Libbey-Glass-reduce-Shreveport-employment-by-200

Libbey Glass’ master business plan calls for a body blow to the Shreveport job market.

About 200 local jobs are on the chopping block as the world’s second-largest producer of glass products continues its 2015 restructuring plan. Shreveport is the only Libbey facility slated to lose jobs this year as part of the corporate overhaul.

The downsizing was announced this morning during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report, which declared 2012 a record year for corporate gains. The company’s sales increased by 5 percent in its U.S. and Canadian markets.

But CEO Stephanie Streeter says there still is a long way to go to keep the company competitive in the global market. “Libbey 2015 is centered on reducing our costs and boosting efficiency across the company, refining our leadership positions in key segments — particularly in the U.S. food service and Mexico food service and retail markets — and accelerating our growth in China and reducing our liabilities and working capital required to operate our core business,” she said during the earnings report.

Budget proposal released

The Jindal administration kicked off a months-long state budget debate Friday by presenting a $24.7 billion budget that relies on the finalization of contracts involving public hospitals, property sales and other unresolved issues.


“We’re proud of this budget even though this budget certainly has been a challenge,” Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols told members of the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget.

Nichols said the Jindal administration had to hold the line on cost increases and find offsets because of a $1.3 billion shortfall in the revenue needed to keep state government services at their current level.

No new State Police troopers would be trained for another year. Several thousand state government workers could be out of a job. College tuition would rise by $75 million to help balance universities’ budgets. More than $1 million would be saved by no longer helping the elderly apply for free medicine through pharmaceutical company programs.

More at http://theadvocate.com/home/5256618-125/state-budget-proposal-released .

Texas A&M employee arrested in bomb scare

A Texas A&M University employee was arrested in connection with the bomb threat made at the Clayton Williams Jr. Alumni Center early Friday -- the second threat made to the university this week.

Michael Francis Thomas, 43, is charged with making a terroristic threat, a third degree-felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The word "bomb" was found written on a bathroom mirror in the alumni center by an employee around 9:26 a.m., university police Lt. Alan Baron said.

A Code Maroon alert was issued to students, faculty and staff, and officers were immediately sent to the location to evacuate and search the building.

More at http://www.theeagle.com/news/local/article_ba2326f5-eff8-5ea8-8918-5eb727c44c8c.html .

[font color=maroon]And for the Saturday bonus:[/font]

Aggies vote against increasing fees

Texas A&M University students made it clear in a referendum conducted Thursday and Friday: They'd rather not have their fees and the cost of sports passes raised to pay for a portion of the planned $425 million renovation of Kyle Field.

Results of the referendum released Friday night showed that 8,049, or 65.16 percent, of the 12,532 ballots cast were against increasing fees and the cost of sports passes and instead favored paying for students' share of the renovation out of funds generated by the existing University Advancement Fee.

Only 4,303, or 34.84 percent, supported funding the renovation through an increase in the University Advancement Fee of $1.55 per credit hour and a hike of $139.20 in the cost of student sports passes.

A&M students are being asked to pay for $75 million of the $425 million total.

More at http://www.theeagle.com/news/local/article_069fb4c3-b6e4-5c68-89f7-eab859b4fcbf.html .

[font color=maroon]That comes as somewhat of a surprise considering that Texas A&M has the Heisman Trophy winner and the football program finished in the AP Top 5 this year. Have keg parties knocked off football as the #1 past time in Aggieland?[/font]

Court lets stand Obama's China wind farm ban

Source: AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge said Friday she can't overturn President Barack Obama's decision to revoke a Chinese company's purchase of four wind farm projects in the vicinity of a U.S. naval facility's restricted airspace.

However, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said the Ralls Corporation has a right to a hearing over whether the White House should be forced to explain its decision.

In his September decision, Obama ordered Ralls Corporation, a company owned by Chinese nationals, to divest its interest in the wind farms it purchased earlier this year in Oregon. The wind farm sites are all in the vicinity of restricted air space near the Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility Boardman. The administration cites unspecified national security risks as the reason for blocking the transaction.

Ralls sued. Its CEO, Wu Jialiang, said in Beijing in October that his company would "never do anything that threatens U.S. national security."

Read more: http://www.wfaa.com/news/national/192598251.html

More at link.

Man charged with felony in Obama mural defacing

Source: Houston Chronicle

A suspect has been charged in a recent defacing of a mural of President Barack Obama near a popular midtown restaurant.

Michael Dale Kroetsch, 58, was charged Friday with felony criminal mischief in the 339th State District Court. He was not in custody late Friday afternoon, Houston Police Department spokesman John Cannon said.

The charge against Kroetsch stems from an incident in the early hours of Jan. 28, in which someone defaced the larger-than-life mural with paint. Surveillance video of that incident helped lead police to file charges against Kroetsch, Cannon said.

It was the second act of vandalism against the mural, which is on a building at Alabama and Travis, across the street from The Breakfast Klub.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Man-charged-with-felony-in-Obama-mural-defacing-4301303.php

More at link.

Another Code Maroon: Texas A&M building evacuated following bomb threat

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Authorities at Texas A&M University say no threat was found at the Williams Alumni Center after they had been notified earlier of a bomb threat.

About 100 people who were evacuated Friday from the center were allowed back into the building shortly after 11 a.m.

Officials at the school in College Station were notified of the threat about 9:25 a.m. and a "Code Maroon" advisory was issued.

It's the second bomb threat on campus this week. Kyle Field and adjacent buildings were evacuated Wednesday after a threatening message was found scrawled on a wall. Nothing was found.

Source: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/texas/article/Texas-A-M-building-evacuated-following-bomb-threat-4300403.php

Gov. Rick Perry heckled in DC as he rules out Medicaid expansion

WASHINGTON — Gov. Rick Perry faced hecklers this morning as he made clear that despite mounting pressure, he won’t expand Medicaid, even though that could cut the number of uninsured Texans by as much as 1 million.

“We are not going to be expanding Medicaid in Texas,” he told the Texas State Society, over the shouts of protesters filtering through the windows of the Republican-run Capitol Hill Club. ““I’m not going to send my state on a path that is sure to bankrupt the state.”

On the sidewalk, roughly 30 people shouted “Rick, Rick, You make me sick!” and “You will never be president.”

Inside, four people who paid $30 for a breakfast of scrambled eggs and chicken fried steak blended in with more than 100 members and guests of the Texas group, popping up to interrupt Perry at regular intervals.

More at http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2013/02/gov-rick-perry-heckled-in-dc-as-he-rules-out-medicaid-expansion.html/ .

Gov. Bobby Jindal's budget anticipates LSU hospital savings

BATON ROUGE — Gov. Bobby Jindal said Thursday his proposed $24.7 billion budget for next year relies heavily on privatization plans for LSU's charity hospitals to offset the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Medicaid funding.

Congress cut Louisiana's Medicaid payment rate last year, and the drop in federal financing is a significant factor in the state's more than $1 billion budget gap next year.

Jindal said his budget will include "significant savings" in the LSU hospitals by turning many of them over to private management, under deals that aren't complete and with financing arrangements that haven't been explained in detail.

The Republican governor gave a brief overview of his spending proposals for the upcoming 2013-14 fiscal year that begins July 1. The full details will be outlined Friday to lawmakers.

"We're presenting a budget that's balanced, that protects our priorities," Jindal said.

More at http://www.shreveporttimes.com/viewart/20130221/NEWS01/130221051/Gov-Bobby-Jindal-s-budget-anticipates-LSU-hospital-savings- .
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