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Gender: Male
Hometown: Texas
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Current location: Red Hell Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
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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

Bill tightening abortion clinic rules advances

A Republican-backed bill imposing tougher licensing standards on abortion clinics was sharply criticized Tuesday as a cynical attempt to craft a backdoor ban on the procedure by forcing most Texas clinics to close.

But the bill’s author said he is seeking to protect women by requiring that abortion clinics be licensed as ambulatory surgical centers, mandating upgraded facilities to better treat potential complications.

“I make no secret of the fact that I don’t think abortion should be legal. But I also face the reality that they are, and given that fact, I think that we should take all precautions to make sure that an abortion, which is a surgical procedure, is done in the best manner possible,” said Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville.

“I would respectfully say that anyone that’s opposing this bill is basically stating that they do not think that women who make the decision to have an abortion should have the very, very best in medical care,” he said during a Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing on the bill.

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/bill-tightening-abortion-clinic-rules-advances/nWxqY/ .

[font color=green]The Repuke's war on women continues.[/font]

State agencies defend executive pay

With top executives drawing the highest management pay in state government, officials from the Texas Department of Transportation and the Employees Retirement System told a new legislative oversight committee on Tuesday that those salaries are needed to keep pace with the private sector.

The House Select Committee on Transparency in State Operations, named by Speaker Joe Straus less than two months ago, is charged with shining “a bright light” on the operations of state government, said its co-chairman, Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Canton — although it remains unclear how the committee will make that happen.

Also appearing before the committee Tuesday was the leader of a third agency, Department of Public Safety Executive Director Steven McCraw, who endorsed the job being done by his emergency management chief, Nim Kidd, under an unusual contract that was not made public until the American-Statesman disclosed it more than two years after the fact.

“I’m the one” who picked Kidd in 2010, when Kidd was managing San Antonio’s homeland security department, McCraw told the committee. “I’m very proud of him.”

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/state-agencies-defend-executive-pay/nWxtW/ .

Perry Wants Medicaid Recipients to Pay More While He Leaves $100 Billion on the Table

Rick Perry has spent most of his current term delighting in the rejection of the Affordable Care Act wherever possible - most recently in his rejection of a Medicaid expansion that would allow Texas to draw down $100 billion in federal funds and insure 2 million more Texans. It comes at a time when Texas has the highest uninsured rate of all time, with 28.8 percent of Texans lacking coverage. And while Republican governors around the country are caving on the Medicaid expansion after realizing how much their states stand to gain, Rick Perry is doubling down.

Last week, Perry sent a letter to Texas's congressional delegation reaffirming his opposition to expanding Medicaid and asking them to fight for flexibility in how the state runs its Medicaid program. Among his requests is the flexibility to increase cost-sharing for Medicaid recipients. This means that the people eligible for Medicaid - people already below or just above the federal poverty line - would have to pay more for their co-pays and deductibles. It adds another barrier to health care for low-income Texans while Perry leaves $100 billion on the table.

Fortunately, there are reasonable Texas lawmakers. State Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) responded: "Governor Perry's letter to the Texas Congressional delegation contains Medicaid changes that he has wanted for a long time. Applying those changes to the current Medicaid program is a non-starter because they would harm children, the elderly, and the disabled. His letter is ambiguous as to whether he would consider a Medicaid Expansion with these parameters. If so, some of them are feasible, but others are unlikely to be approved."

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX-20th) also responded: "Mr. Perry is hard-pressed to explain why the governor from the state with the most to gain is dead-set on standing in the way of Texas families having access to healthcare."

Source: http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/13233/perry-wants-medicaid-recipients-to-pay-more-while-he-leaves-100-billion-on-the-tab

Metroplex Atheists Square Off Against Rowlett's Mayor. The Mayor Says He'll Pray for Them.

This week in godlessness brings us to Rowlett, where Mayor Todd Gottel is feeling pretty good. He'll be running unopposed soon for his second term as mayor and third term on the City Council. The rest of the time, he owns a "sales and marketing" company, per the city of Rowlett's website, is a precinct chair for the Dallas County Republican Party, and runs the sound boards over at First Baptist Church of Rowlett, from whence he posts frequent Facebook updates. And he's not about to let a bunch of atheist malcontents take that away from him.

"Interesting visitors at the Rowlett Council Meeting tonight," Gottel wrote on Facebook on March 5. "The Metroplex Athiests [sic] came to protest our Council Invocations before our City Council meetings begin. Please pray for them that they may be open to God's love and His word."

The Metroplex Atheists contend that Gottel seems to have missed the point of their visit.

The Rowlett City Council (like the Dallas City Council) chooses to begin each of its meetings with an invocation -- a prayer, and one that's directed in Jesus' specific direction, rather than some general, fuzzy Supreme Being. The prayer itself isn't illegal: the Supreme Court ruled back in 1983, in Marsh v. Chambers that legislative prayer could be constitutional and not a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, provided " there is no indication that the prayer opportunity has been exploited to proselytize or advance any one, or to disparage any other faith or belief."

More at http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2013/03/metroplex_atheists_square_off.php .

Personality traits linked to high college grade point averages

Rice University researchers say there is a link between a personality trait and high grade point averages among college students.

A recent study examines research that analyzes how the "big five" personality traits - agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism and openness to experience - affect college grade point averages.

The researchers discovered a link between higher levels of conscientiousness and high grade point averages. No correlation to grade point average was discovered with the other personality traits.

Sam McAbee, a psychology graduate student at Rice and the study's lead author, said the new study could be used among college admission offices and employers, who use personality tests to measure potential for success.

More at http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Personality-traits-linked-to-high-college-grade-4367717.php .

Perry: I'll Decide on Presidential Bid Late This Year

During a sit down interview with the Shark Tank, we asked the no-nonsense Texas Governor Rick Perry if he had any future plans runs for office. Perry said in regard to running for a fourth term as Governor of Texas, “check me in June, I’m gonna make an announcement in June.” Regarding another run for President, Perry in the same breathe said that he would make another announcement “sometime later in the year about 2016.”

Perry was a favorite in 2012 before he had the infamous “Oops!” moment, but was able to rebound back. Unfortunately for him, it was just a little too late.

Video at http://shark-tank.net/2013/03/19/gov-perry-to-announce-possible-2016-presidential-run/ .

Pelican Bay councilwoman contends arrest politically motivated

A member of the Pelican Bay City Council who is a constant critic of how the city is managed was arrested last week after attending a budget meeting where she raised questions about the city's precarious financial condition.

Robin Finstad was arrested Wednesday night on charges of driving with a suspended license and attempting to flee police. She was taken into custody, but before her transfer to the jail in Blue Mound she complained of chest pains and was taken to an Azle hospital.

She was subsequently released without bond.

Finstad contends that her arrest is politically motivated because of questions she has raised about finances in the city, which is near Eagle Mountain Lake.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/03/18/4712410/pelican-bay-councilwoman-contends.html#my-headlines-default#storylink=cpy

Senate approves some statewide term limits

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Statewide officeholders would be limited to two consecutive terms under a proposed constitutional amendment advancing in the Capitol.

In a 27-4 vote on Tuesday, the Texas Senate approved the amendment that would apply to future governors, attorneys general and state agency commissioners. It would not apply to judges or the legislators themselves.

It also would not apply to current officeholders such as Gov. Rick Perry, who has been elected to three consecutive terms since 2000.

Republican Sen. Kevin Eltife said his proposal would bring "new ideas" to government. He ran for the legislature after local term limits prevented him for running for re-election as mayor of Tyler.

More at http://www.chron.com/news/texas/article/Senate-approves-some-statewide-term-limits-4367340.php .

The Legislature's Considering Creating a Public Drunk Driver Registry. Should They?

Publicly shaming convicted sex offenders is nothing new. Relatively few people object to their names and photos being plastered on the Internet as a scarlet letter tattooed to their foreheads for all to see. There's a plausible argument to be made that this helps promote public safety by alerting neighbors and the community to a potential threat.

But what about drunk drivers? Do they deserve to bear the same mark of shame as child molesters and rapists?

That's the question being debated today in Austin as the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee considers state Representative Richard Raymond's HB 133, which would create a searchable database -- names, photos, addresses and birthdays included -- of anyone convicted of certain "intoxication-related" offenses.

The offenses that would earn such a public shaming are: DWI; DWI with a child passenger; intoxication assault; and intoxication manslaughter. Raymond offers a rather conspicuous exemption for anyone convicted under the Texas penal code of assembling/operating an amusement ride while intoxicated, a clear pander to the drunk carnie lobby.

More at http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2013/03/the_legislatures_considering_m.php .

Brazil Billionaire Batista Said to Face Collateral Calls

Eike Batista, the Brazilian billionaire whose oil-company shares fell to a record low last week, is close to selling a stake in MPX Energia SA (MPXE3) as he faces demands from creditors to boost collateral, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Among Batista’s biggest creditors is Sao Paulo-based Itau Unibanco Holding SA, with about 5.5 billion reais ($2.8 billion) in loans outstanding, said two of the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Batista borrowed about 4.8 billion reais from Banco Bradesco SA and 1.6 billion reais from Grupo BTG Pactual, not counting a credit line of $1 billion BTG provided earlier this month, the people said.

Batista, 56, used shares of his publicly traded companies as collateral for loans that helped build his empire of commodities and energy businesses, held as units of his EBX Group Co., the people said. Shares of his oil and gas company, OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes SA (OGXP3), plunged about 85 percent in the past year, and Batista is trying to reduce collateral requirements by selling assets to pay debt, the people said.

“A big part of investors’ mistrust now comes from the fact that Eike may be forced to cover margin calls on his debts,” Leonardo Brito, an equity analyst at hedge fund Teorica Investimentos, said in a telephone interview from Rio de Janeiro. “Doubts about the group continue.”

More at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-18/brazil-billionaire-batista-said-to-face-collateral-calls.html .
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