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TexasTowelie

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Texas
Home country: United States
Current location: Red Hell Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 75,398

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

Missing virus vial raises concerns at UTMB facility

A vial containing a potentially harmful virus has gone missing from a laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch, officials said.

The missing vial, which contains less than a quarter of a teaspoon an infectious disease, had been stored in a locked freezer, designed to handle biological material safely, within the Galveston National Laboratory on UTMB's campus, officials said. During a routine internal inspection last week, UTMB officials realized one vial of a virus called Guanarito was not accounted for at the facility.

Scott Weaver, the laboratory's scientific director, said Guanarito is an emerging disease that has caused deadly diseases in Venezuela. The federal government prioritizes it for research because it has the potential to be used a weapon for terrorists.

On Tuesday, an investigator discovered that only four out of five vials were stored of the virus in the grid system. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was notified immediately.

More at http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Missing-virus-vial-raises-concerns-at-UTMB-4380346.php .

Cross-posted in Texas Group.

(Former Dr.) Michael Brown Says He Got E. Coli in Jail, So He Needs Out -- Now!

Michael "Simply Give Him His Ten Minutes of Pleasure"Brown has asked a judge to spring him from his six-month Harris County Jail sentence because he allegedly contracted E. coli, and because every day in jail for him will hurt his estranged wife and children financially.

Yeah, it makes about as much sense the thousandth time you read it, too.

The motion doesn't explain how Brown supposedly contracted the dreadful bug, only that he has "suffered severe physical side effects as a result. It is important to his physical health that he be released and allowed to pursue private medical attention to address any medical concerns that may still exist as a result of his custody in the Harris County Jail. (For the record, we heard that E. coli stings like a bitch -- like, imagine getting your face bashed in by a broken bedpost after being dragged up the stairs by your hair with such force that the hair comes out in clumps by the roots. Yeah, it's even worse than that!)

Family Court Judge Sheri Dean sentenced the ex-surgeon to 180 days in jail for multiple violations of a court order regulating his spending abilities during his never-ending divorce proceeding with Rachel Brown.

More at http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2013/03/michael_brown_ecoli_jail.php .

[font color=green]As the world churns...[/font]

Former Obama Organizers Meet In San Antonio; Texas Turns a Shade Bluer

On Saturday a statewide grassroots coalition tentatively dubbed "Texas Obama Leaders" met in San Antonio to discuss all of the great volunteer opportunities within the progressive movement of our state. The daylong think tank-styled forum is a follow up to a similar one held in DC with the White House Office of Public Engagement during the "fiscal cliff" discussions. The group is not officially sanctioned by the Democratic Party but is more an organic group of Obama volunteers and campaign alumni from around the state who want to maintain momentum and some organizational structure to help push progressive causes in Texas.

The speakers included Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa and special assistant to the Chair Glen Maxey, Battleground Texas Executive Director Jenn Brown, Southern Regional Director of Organizing for Action Gregory Jackson, and State Director of Engage Texas Katrina Mendiola. All of the participants, about 60, were split into 4 rotating breakout groups, each with a timekeeper and facilitator, to conduct more intimate question and answer discussions with each speaker and each other. The event co-chairs and lead organizers of this event, Ian Davis and Judy Hall, said the purpose of this effort was to identify all of the opportunities to engage our networks in a way that uses all of our resources more efficiently and to allow Democrats from around Texas the ability to share ideas.

Glen Maxey said the TDP and its new VAN Director are focused on getting the VAN set up for grassroots organizers and precinct chairs to be able to get the data they need to organize within their community - including more cell phone numbers and email addresses. Chairman Hinojosa said the party would also like to capture more data from its organizers. He plans for the party to hold more VAN trainings around the state to show county parties and local activists how to utilize the tools that are currently available and introduce others being developed to update the TDP's organizing database in real time. Connecting and supporting organizers is important, but we must also have good candidates to support in order to win. Maxey and Hinojosa said that the party would aggressively move to fill out the Democratic ticket down ballot, especially in places like Amarillo where Republicans dominate local politics but demographics suggest Democrats are competitive.

Engage Texas is a 501c3 organization that works behind the scenes to coordinate, organize and help seek funding for nonprofits that share progressive goals, but because of campaign finance laws they can not work directly with the Democratic Party. Their communications for partner organizations comes largely through Progress Texas.

More at http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/13255/former-obama-organizers-meet-in-san-antonio-texas-turns-a-shade-bluer .

Life often is lonely in the 'trailerhood'

KENEDY — If the Lonesome Creek RV Resort were any more lonesome, it could at times pass for a graveyard of manufactured housing. On a recent midmorning visit, the only signs of life were a skittish stray cat and a turkey buzzard wandering among the trailers.

Only during the early morning and late afternoon shift changes in the oil field, when the welding trucks and dusty, oversized pickups come rolling in off FM 2509, does the park stir from its stupor.

Even during what passes for the evening rush hour, it's rare to see more than a few tired workers, waiting with towels in hand to use the office showers, or drinking beer with buddies on their trailer stoops.

“This is basically a place to sleep. People get out of work, sleep, get up and do the same thing all over again,” said Samantha Mirelez, 23, the assistant manager, who barely knows some of the renters and sometimes goes all day without a visitor.

More at http://www.mysanantonio.com/eagleford/article/Life-often-is-lonely-in-the-trailerhood-4379846.php .

Missing virus vial raises concerns at UTMB facility

A vial containing a potentially harmful virus has gone missing from a laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch, officials said.

The missing vial, which contains less than a quarter of a teaspoon an infectious disease, had been stored in a locked freezer, designed to handle biological material safely, within the Galveston National Laboratory on UTMB's campus, officials said. During a routine internal inspection last week, UTMB officials realized one vial of a virus called Guanarito was not accounted for at the facility.

Scott Weaver, the laboratory's scientific director, said Guanarito is an emerging disease that has caused deadly diseases in Venezuela. The federal government prioritizes it for research because it has the potential to be used a weapon for terrorists.

On Tuesday, an investigator discovered that only four out of five vials were stored of the virus in the grid system. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was notified immediately.

More at http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Missing-virus-vial-raises-concerns-at-UTMB-4380346.php .

Cross-posted in General Discussion forum.

Chevron fuel spill in Utah much worse than thought

WILLARD, Utah (AP) — A Chevron fuel spill near a northern Utah bird refuge is much worse than originally thought as up to 27,000 gallons might have leaked, authorities said.

A split in a pipeline that runs from Salt Lake City to Spokane, Wash., is suspected of releasing diesel fuel into soil and marshes at Willard Bay State Park, according to the U.S. Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

The agency has filed a corrective action order against Chevron Pipe Line Co. that requires it to gain government approval before the pipeline can reopen. The order also requires Chevron to operate the pipeline at only 80 percent of normal pressure once it reopens.

The Texas-based company must "take the necessary corrective action to protect the public, property and the environment from potential hazards" associated with the pipeline failure, the agency directive says.

More at http://www.chron.com/news/texas/article/Chevron-fuel-spill-in-Utah-much-worse-than-thought-4380552.php .

What if Texas really did secede?

Some 177 years after a violent divorce from Mexico, some unhappy Texans are again touting separation from the motherland, this time after a presidential election didn't favor one of the reddest states in the country.

Perhaps it's no surprise. Texas is the only state that has twice tried breakaways, experiencing the spoils of victory in 1836 but the torment of defeat in 1865.

"Let each go her own way," Peter Morrison, Hardin County's Republican treasurer, wrote in a recent Tea Party newsletter, calling those who voted to re-elect President Barack Obama "maggots."Critics consider that sentiment nothing but bravado.

Still, the state's Republican leaders are in no mood to repair a fractured relationship with the federal government.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/03/24/4724519/what-if-texas-really-did-secede.html#storylink=cpy

Syncora Opposes Forcing Jefferson County to Pay Warrants

Source: Bloomberg

Syncora Guarantee Inc. objected to a request on behalf of creditors of Jefferson County, Alabama, that would force the bankrupt county to make immediate payment on about $792 million of its sewer warrants.

Syncora, a bond insurer, said in a filing yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Birmingham that a group of creditors, who bought the warrants at a discount and who have refused to forbear from receiving principle payments on warrants that can be mandatorily redeemed, are trying to exert pressure on the company and other insurers of the bonds.

“Disturbing the status quo, and trying to coerce the insurers to suffer near-term exposure that would otherwise be resolved pursuant to a plan of adjustment will do nothing for achieving consensus,” Syncora said in the filing.

The Bank of New York Mellon Corp., the trustee for Jefferson County’s $3.2 billion in sewer bonds, last month sought a judge’s ruling it’s entitled to seek accelerated payment on the county’s debt.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-23/syncora-objects-to-forcing-jefferson-county-to-pay-warrants-1-.html



I'm shocked that an insurance company would refuse to pay a claim.

Dallas Hopes to Head Off Future Occupy Protests by Tightening Anti-Camping Rules

Occupy Dallas, the local champion of the 99 percent, persists in vestigial form as small band of activists who stage occasional temporary demonstrations. The semi-permanent-City Hall-squatter's-camp version of the movement died in November 2011 when it was raided by police as part of a nationwide crackdown on Occupy.

Since then, the city of Dallas has apparently been mulling ways to head off any repeats of 2011, when an Occupy encampment sprung up at City Hall. They've finally arrived at a solution, arrived at after 16 months of careful study: a more restrictive anti-camping ordinance.

The council's Public Safety Committee will meet Wednesday to discuss the measure, which would expand the current ban on overnight camping in parks to include City Hall, the library, the convention center, and other city-owned land. The new rules also wouldn't be limited only to overnight stays but would bar tents or any other "temporary shelter" from being set up at any time.

In a presentation (below) set to be delivered Monday, Dallas Police Chief David Brown argues such measures are needed to combat unsanitary conditions, fire hazards, property damage and crime that crop up during semi-permanent gatherings. The presentation does not specifically name Occupy Dallas but cites "confusion" that arose from certain "Spontaneous Encampments." The accompanying photos show the Occupy encampment that took root behind City Hall.

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

Ted Cruz on Toilet Seats

Bet you didn't think you'd be reading a story about toilet seats on this fine Friday. But when covering Ted Cruz, the topics of focus are rarely sensical or easily understood.

At CPAC last week, Ted Cruz said: "We have a federal government that thinks they have the authority to regulate our toilet seats." PolitiFact checked this out, and it's true. For example, the Mine Safety & Health Administration says, "sanitary toilets shall have an attached toilet seat with a hinged lid and a toilet paper holder together with an adequate supply of toilet tissue."

...And that's a good thing. No one wants toilet seats that bleed toxic chemicals into your body. Or easily collapse. Or aren't there. These are issues of basic human safety and decency. The role of our self-governance is to protect those.

So why is Cruz railing against something as silly as toilets? What else can you talk about when your party refuses to change any of its positions on important issues, despite its growing losses in both elections and national opinion? These days, the Republican Party resorts to bombastic rhetoric against socialism or some other boogeyman, or ridiculous tirades against completely sensible regulations. It's a party where the toilets have spilled all over the house, and Americans are leaving in droves.

Source: http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/13249/ted-cruz-on-toilets

[font color=green]Okay folks, I'm waiting for some great toilet humor...[/font]
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