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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

U.S. Flies B-52s Over Korea in Show of Power Against North

Source: Bloomberg News

A U.S. B-52 bomber will fly over the Korean peninsula today for the second time this month as part of the Pentagon’s effort to send a signal to North Korea after it threatened preemptive nuclear strikes.

“Just having the B-52 near the Korean peninsula and pass through means that the U.S. nuclear umbrella can be provided whenever necessary,” South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min Seok told reporters in Seoul, declining to disclose the flight time. The bombers carry air-to-ground missiles with a range of up to 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) and “are believed to deliver nuclear warheads,” he said.

The first B-52 flight came on March 8 as part of joint U.S.-South Korea military drills, Defense Department spokesman George Little said yesterday in a statement, adding such flights “are routine.” Deputy defense secretary Ashton Carter in Seoul yesterday reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to deter North Korea independent of its multi-billion dollar defense budget cuts.

The U.S. is increasing its defense capability against North Korea since the regime this month threatened preemptive nuclear strikes against its enemies in response to tightening United Nations sanctions. Tensions on the peninsula are the highest since at least 2010, and China yesterday criticized U.S. plans to bolster its regional anti-missile shield.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-18/b-52-bomber-flew-over-south-korea-in-training-pentagon-says.html

Clergy deliver concerns about tax overhaul to Gov. Bobby Jindal

Two groups of clergy, unbeknownst to each other, came to the State Capitol on Monday to express the same concerns about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s efforts to swap income taxes for sales taxes.

At issue is the governor’s plan to eliminate state income tax, raise state sales tax and tax more services. Both groups of ministers say raising sales taxes would harm low- and middle-income workers.


Dr. Jay Hogewood, pastor at Ingleside United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge, expressed concern for how the governor’s tax plan would affect families with low to moderate incomes.

Raising sales taxes means people would pay more for goods and services, said the Rev. Lee T. Wesley, pastor of Community Bible Baptist Church in Baton Rouge. Low- and middle-income people will need to spend a larger percentage of their incomes to buy essentials, he said.

More at http://theadvocate.com/home/5467931-125/la-clergy-deliver-concerns-about .

State seeks removal of Patton Village mayor from office for felony convictions


The embattled mayor of a Montgomery County town faced more legal troubles as the Texas Attorney General's Office filed suit to have Pamela Munoz removed from office.

According to the civil suit filed in Montgomery County, Munoz is a convicted felon and, according to Texas law, cannot hold public office. Harris County court records show Munoz pleaded guilty to third-degree felony theft charges in 1979.

According to officials with the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office, Munoz did not disclose her criminal record when she filed her state required election application. This is the latest legal battle facing Munoz, who is awaiting trial on a slough of felony charges.

Texas Rangers raided Patton Village City Hall and the police department in October 2011, carting away dozens of records. In February 2012, Munoz was indicted by a grand jury on charges stemming from the use of city funds for personal services at her home and taking out loans while [font color=red]using police vehicles as collateral.[/font]

More at http://www.click2houston.com/news/State-seeks-removal-of-Patton-Village-mayor-from-office/-/1735978/19369010/-/format/rss_2.0/-/27db7rz/-/index.html .

Scooter Store sued by worker

A furloughed Scooter Store employee has sued the company, claiming it failed to give workers 60 days' notice before they were put on unpaid leave.

The federal suit filed Friday by Anna Urbina, who has worked as a “mobility specialist” since April, seeks certification as a class action so other Scooter Store employees can be included in the complaint.

Urbina alleges the Scooter Store was required, under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, to provide at least 60 days' prior written notice of terminations.

Workers were notified they were placed on immediate furlough, or unpaid leave, late on March 8, in an email from CEO Martin “Marty” Landon. He instructed workers not to return to work unless they receive further notice from the company.

More at http://www.mysanantonio.com/business/article/Scooter-Store-sued-by-worker-4363443.php .

New tower to help show Midland as the ‘Oil Capital of America’

Energy Related Properties officially announced Energy Tower at City Center today during a press conference at Centennial Plaza, the future site of the proposed City Center.

The tower will be 53 stories with one underground retail floor and five basement parking floors, effectively making a total of 59 floors, according to the fact sheet given to the press.

Bill Meyer, a partner with Energy Related Properties, said during the conference the building is a “celebration of resuscitation.”

“Part of this is that we would rename, sort of, our logo and call Midland ‘the Oil Capital of America’ because it is,” Meyer. “It really is.

More at http://www.mywesttexas.com/top_stories/article_3d45e4f6-9000-11e2-ad2a-0019bb2963f4.html .

[font color=green]Fifty-three stories for a building in Midland? The tallest building there is only 24 stories. It seems like there will be a glut of office space on the market.[/font]

Scientists: Even with current harvest, feral pig population will double

In a recent report, Texas A&M scientists estimate there are about 2.5 million feral hogs in Texas.

But here is what is really interesting: If left unchecked, they found that the pig population will triple within five years. They are prolific, these pigs.

Of course the population will not be left unchecked. In 2010, an estimated 750,000 pigs were harvested, or 29 percent of the population. That sounds harsh, but it’s really not.

The scientists estimate with such a harvest the feral hog population will still double every five years. Even a high harvest — 41 percent of the population, annually — will allow the wild pig population to actually grow by 12 percent a year.

An annual harvest rate of 66 percent is required to hold the feral hog population in check, the scientists believe.

More at http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2013/03/scientists-even-with-current-harvest-feral-pig-population-will-double/ .

Antoine Flowers’ made-up résumé and another Dallas hiring malfunction

The last department within the city of Dallas that could handle another hiring controversy is Communications and Information Services. Only 18 months ago, the department’s director, Worris Levine, resigned after a Dallas Morning News investigation uncovered seven fellow church members from The Chosen Vessel Cathedral, a Fort Worth Pentecostal church where Levine was an associate pastor, had been hired to work in his department.

Many of the hires were done without the customary documentation. Some were hired as temporary workers, allowing them to bypass civil service rules, and then quickly moved up to become managers. Others were hired at elevated starting salaries.


Those lessons apparently weren’t learned.

Last month, Antoine Deon Flowers was arrested and charged with stealing 12 city-owned iPads worth $10,000 and trying to pawn them. Flowers was manager of the city’s desktop computer systems — which is in the Communications and Information Services department.

The complete story at http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/editorials/20130318-editorial-antoine-flowers-made-up-resume-and-another-dallas-hiring-malfunction.ece .

[font color=green]If I had only known to lie on my résumé!

An $83,000 per year job with minimal relevant experience seems like a dream to me.[/font]

DWI suspect State Rep. Naomi Gonzalez gets standing O from lawmakers

State Rep. Naomi Gonzalez, D-El Paso, received a standing ovation after apologizing to colleagues in the state House for hitting some people while driving drunk.

“I made a mistake, and I am deeply, deeply, sorry for it,” Gonzalez told her fellow lawmakers.

Those Texas lawmakers cheered in support and gave the El Paso politician high-fives. Someone even left the suspected drunk driver flowers on her desk in the chamber.

It’s bizarre that the legislative body responsible for ratcheting up the DWI laws during the last session would cheer a lawmaker who was drunk and hit two people.

More at http://digitaltexan.net/2013/austin-local-news/dwi-suspect-state-rep-naomi-gonzalez-standing-lawmakers/article50000/ .

Tax relief is seen as carrying a price

Rick Perry's tax relief website invites Texans to advise state leaders how to distribute $1.8 billion that the governor feels should be returned to their pockets.

“While the federal government and some states are trying to figure out how to get their hands on every last taxpayer dollar, in Texas we're trying to determine the best way to provide added tax relief,” the website explains. “That's because in Texas, we respect that it's your money, not the government's. You earned it — the government didn't.”

But lots of government officials in Texas — Democrat and Republican — feel that state tax relief simply would send unpaid bills down to local taxpayers, putting even more burden on local property taxpayers.

From the rise of the mentally ill in county jails to neglected roads, local officials say their budgets are feeling the effect of a decade of austerity in Austin.

More at http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/politics/article/Tax-relief-is-seen-as-carrying-a-price-4360486.php .

Right and Left in Democratic Politics: The Long View

Here’s a pet peeve of mine. It’s when people refer to the “democratic wing of the Democratic Party.” Or who say of a Democrat who makes consistent moves to the right, “Why doesn’t he just join the Republicans?” It’s not the underlying sentiment; I want Democrats to stop doing right-wing stuff as badly as anyone. The problem is descriptive—and, ultimately, strategic. The fact is that the Democratic Party in modern times has always had a conservative wing, one frequently as strong or stronger than its liberal wing, and as such, when progressives speak of the party as a vehicle that naturally belongs to them, as if by right—until conservatives stole it from them—they weaken progressivism. The fact is, the history of the Democratic Party has always been one of ideological civil war. And if you don’t realize you’re in a war, how can you win it?

Let’s review the game tape. Take it all the way back to 1924—when both parties had both left- and right-wing factions (before that year, the great progressive reformer Robert “Fighting Bob” Lafollette of Wisconsin was a Republican), when there was no reason to believe the Democrats would be the ones to become the nation’s established left-of-center party, and when at the presidential nominating convention the civil war came down to 103 ballots (and gubernatorial fistfights on the convention floor) over issues like Prohibition and whether the party should be for the Ku Klux Klan or against it.

It was of course with the ascension of Franklin Roosevelt in 1932 and after that the idea of the Democrats as an institutionally liberal party became credible, though many delegates who voted for him at the convention didn’t necessary think or know they were voting for a liberal. Many voters didn’t think so, either, but just marked the ballot for him because he had a “D” beside his name: They were Southerners, and saw the Democrats as the only political bulwark against the racial mongrelization of America. The progress of the New Deal, we now understand, rested on a fragile and complicated coalition joining visionary progressives and the most fearful reactionaries—and when an overconfident Roosevelt overreached to try to put the reactionaries in their place, in 1938, he almost lost control of the whole thing.

With the coming of the civil rights era, the war played out against that precise template: Northern progressives asserting themselves, Southern reactionaries threatening to pack up their votes and go elsewhere—a melodrama that began with a bang in 1948 when Strom Thurmond led Dixiecrats out of the convention and into his own segregationist presidential run, and reached its apotheosis in 1964 when five Southern states went for Goldwater. That, of course, truly began the slow steady transition to ideological realignment, with more and more Southern Democrats voting Republican in each election.

More at http://www.thenation.com/blog/173393/right-and-left-democratic-politics-long-view# .
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