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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

Payroll fraud scheme yields another guilty plea

A former executive of a company that provided payroll tax services to small businesses pleaded guilty Thursday to mail fraud and money laundering charges over his role in a $110 million tax fraud.

Between 2003 and 2008, John E. Bean, a San Antonio accountant who now lives in Austin, owned a professional employer organization called Synergy Personnel and was involved with other PEOs in the fraud, court records said.

The companies claimed they collected and remitted to the IRS employment payroll taxes for small businesses that hired them but pocketed the money instead. Bean provided accounting services for executives of other PEOs implicated in the case.

<<< snip >>>

The scheme included creating new firms and walking away from the tax liability, which their clients were unaware of.

More at http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Payroll-fraud-scheme-yields-another-guilty-plea-4392706.php .

Half of Ted Cruz’s political claims are false, PolitiFact reports

Since his arrival on the national political scene, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has been making headlines.

He has become a hero to many on the right because of his relentless attacks on the Obama administration and his aggressive brand of constitutional conservatism. But liberals have likened the outspoken Houston Republican to the late Joe McCarthy, dubbed him the Senate’s “biggest loser” and, now point to the PolitiFact web site’s finding that he, well, often doesn’t tell the truth.

PolitiFact is a Pulitzer prize winning project that rates the claims of office-seekers and office-holders. Its Texas branch is headed up by the Austin American-Statesman’s Gardner Selby, one of the most respected political reporters in the state capital.

To assess Cruz’s accuracy rate, PolitiFact investigated 14 of the senator’s statements and found that he wasn’t telling the truth 50 percent of the time.

To read Teddy's list of lies click here: http://blog.chron.com/txpotomac/2013/03/half-of-ted-cruzs-political-claims-are-false-politifact-reports/

Bill proposes letting Aggies opt out of helping to fund GLBT Resource Center

The Texas A&M Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Resource Center could see its funding cut under a student-led proposal.

The Student Senate's "GLBT Funding Opt-Out Bill," is up for a vote on Wednesday. It would allow Aggies with religious objections to opt out of the portion of their student fee and tuition money that goes toward the center. The wording of the bill would let the students pocket the money, but it's unclear how much that could be.


According to a university spokesman, the center receives $100,000 in university funding. All of the money came from the student's university advancement fee, with the exception of $13,500 in university monies for a graduate assistant position.

Opponents of the bill said it is discriminatory and will add to the misconception that A&M is not an accepting place. Proponents argue the bill adds rights for religious persons.

More at http://www.theeagle.com/news/local/article_72ffccd6-ebec-57e3-a72a-1705138a636f.html

Texas redistricting fight resumes

The recently dormant Texas redistricting issue woke up Thursday with a disagreement between the state’s attorney general and a Latino legislators’ group.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has called on the Legislature to make the current — and interim — redistricting maps permanent.

Abbott’s letter to Texas House Speaker Joe Straus — which was dated March 8 and just uncovered by Michael Li, a redistricting expert and author of a redistricting blog — said if the interim maps become permanent, then further intervention from federal courts might not be necessary. That, Abbott’s letter said, could “ensure an orderly election without further delay or uncertainty.”

“Enacting the interim plans into law would confirm the Legislature’s intent for a redistricting plan that fully comports with the law, and will insulate the State’s redistricting plans from further legal challenge,” Abbott wrote.

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/redistricting-fight-resumes/nW64w/ .

Cypriot Banks to Open After Two Weeks as Customers Hunt Cash

Source: Bloomberg

Cyprus’s banks are preparing to open their doors today for the first time in almost two weeks, with new rules curbing access to the cash some customers have been struggling to find for food and bills.

The Central Bank of Cyprus’s capital controls will include a 300-euro ($383) daily limit on withdrawals and restrictions on transfers to accounts outside the country. Banks will open at midday and close at 6 p.m. local time, Yiangos Dimitriou, head of the central bank’s audit department, said yesterday in comments broadcast on state-run CyBC television.

“I only bought a few small items during these days to survive,” said pensioner Kyriakos Hadjisophocleos, 65, waiting on a bench in front of a Bank of Cyprus branch in Nicosia since 7:30 a.m. to get money to pay part of his 380-euro rent. “I had many coins saved up so I was using them. If the banks didn’t open today I would have had to borrow from some friends.”

Cyprus’s lenders have been closed since March 16, when the European Union presented a proposal to force losses on all depositors in exchange for a 10 billion-euro bailout. That plan touched off protests and political upheaval on the island, and was rejected by the country’s parliament. A subsequent agreement shuts Cyprus Popular Bank Pcl (CPB), the second-largest lender, and imposes larger losses on uninsured depositors.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-27/cypriot-banks-to-open-for-first-time-in-2-weeks-with-cash-curbs.html

Lost in the shuffle, nursing home care

Unfortunately it’s usually the voiceless that get lost in the shuffle, Texas Nursing Homes Plan Major Changes in Response to Budget Cuts.

Budget cuts impacting Medicare and Medicaid will leave Texas nursing home providers no choice but to scale back on staffing among other changes, the communities say.

Nursing homes in Texas say state and federal funding cuts to are presenting a “dangerous strain” on their ability to care for older, more medically complex patients.

In a survey of 100 nursing homes representing 10% of the state’s nursing home population, the Texas Health Care Association found more than 65% have made staff changes, more than 72% have reduced staff hours, wages and benefits, and 60% have canceled or postponed facility improvements already in response to Medicare and Medicaid cuts.

More at http://eyeonwilliamson.org/?p=12534 .

Perry asks TxDOT to temporarily fund control towers

The Texas Department of Transportation may dampen the fiscal turbulence shaking the state’s small airports and potentially fund 13 Texas air traffic control towers slated for closure in the next few weeks.

Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday asked the Texas Transportation Commission to consider providing emergency assistance to keep the control towers open for the next 90 days, calling them a “vital safety network.”

Cities across the state, including Georgetown and San Marcos, have been scrambling to find funding over the past few weeks to keep the towers open. The Federal Aviation Administration recently slashed funding for 149 control towers nationwide to trim about $600 million from its 2013 budget under the across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration.

The commission gets the final say on whether the Transportation Department can use its $193 million aviation budget to fund the control towers. Officials estimate keeping the 13 towers open would cost a total of $7 million a year.

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/gov-perry-asks-transportation-commission-to-tempor/nW55t/ .

Cornyn, Cruz to join Perry to rally against Texas Medicaid expansion

Gov. Rick Perry and Texas’ two U.S. senators will join forces at the state Capitol on Monday to reassert their opposition to expanding Medicaid, a central tenet of federal health reform that has been a subject of much debate among state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

The details of the Monday morning press conference, which will also include representatives from the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), a conservative think tank, are still being worked out. But a source involved in planning the event who wasn’t authorized to announce it said Perry and Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn will stand together to demand greater flexibility from the Obama administration to operate the state’s existing health care system for poor children and the disabled as Texas sees fit.

In a report released last week, TPPF suggested that Texas, which currently spends a quarter of its budget on Medicaid, could use a federal block grant to cut costs and fundamentally reform the program without expanding it. The group’s proposal includes using those federal block grant dollars to subsidize private health savings accounts so Medicaid recipients could manage and pay for their own health services.

Perry’s own desires for Medicaid reform closely mirror TPPF’s plan, and include a system of co-pays, deductibles and premium payments on a sliding scale for poor patients, using asset testing to ensure services are going to people who truly need them.

More at http://blog.chron.com/txpotomac/2013/03/cornyn-cruz-to-join-perry-to-rally-against-texas-medicaid-expansion/ .

USA Soccer, Mexico Tie, 0-0: U.S. Earns Point At Estadio Azteca In World Cup Qualifying

MEXICO CITY -- The Americans were clinging to a scoreless tie, seconds away from earning a rare point in Mexico, when Angel Reyna's shot darted perilously close to the goal.

Brad Guzan lunged, smothering the ball with his body.

"It's always going to be a bit hectic and a bit crazy, especially late in the game," Guzan said. "You're never going to come to a place like Azteca and go out and have it nice and easy. So we knew at some point, it was going to come, the pressure was going to come, and we were able to deal with it."

Guzan swatted away shot after shot, young defenders Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler showed the poise of veterans and the Americans hung on for a 0-0 draw Tuesday night, earning only their second point in a World Cup qualifier at Azteca Stadium.

More at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/27/usa-soccer-mexico-tie-azteca_n_2960375.html .

Elected Republicans' Anti-Gay Stance Out Of Touch With Actual Texans

Equality is on the march, despite the best efforts of elected Texas Republicans to prevent it.

According to polling by The University of Texas and Texas Tribune, a majority of Texans support either civil unions or full marriage equality. In February 2013, 37% of Texans surveyed supported marriage equality and another 28% supported civil unions. Only 28% of Texans surveyed oppose both. Heck, a majority of Republicans support one or the other -- 41% of Republicans support civil unions and another 13% support marriage equality, making for 54% on the side of some form of progress.

Today, the Vice President of the College Republicans (yes, the College Republicans) at the University of Texas published an op-ed yesterday in The Horn entitled A Conservative Case for Marriage Equality:

It is important for conservatives to get this right: allowing same sex civil marriage does not necessarily undermine the foundation of heterosexual marriage. Marriage in the public sphere is an institution that encourages social stability. ... If we desire a stable and prosperous nation, shouldn't we encourage responsible pursuit of stable, nuclear families, regardless of their gender makeup?

More at http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/13266/elected-republicans-antigay-stance-out-of-touch-with-actual-texans .
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