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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: 76,028

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

Austin man sentenced to prison for Ponzi scheme

In Austin yesterday morning, 72-year-old Robert Roland Langguth, of Austin, TX, was sentenced to 48 months confinement in federal prison for conducting a “Ponzi” scheme whereby he solicited over 150 investors into legitimate and fictitious construction projects and investments worth over $10 million dollars. Langguth conducted his scheme from 2002 to 2009, and in many instances, the money invested with Langguth was diverted to support his lavish lifestyle. In addition, Langguth’s investors typically did not receive any monthly dividends from the advertised investment, but were in actuality receiving payments from newly solicited investors in keeping with a classic “Ponzi” scheme.

On November 20, 2012, Langguth pled guilty to an information which charged him with one count of Wire Fraud, and one count of Money Laundering, all in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1943 and 1957. In addition to the prison term, United States District Judge Leroy Yeakle ordered that Langguth pay restitution to the victim investors in the amount of $10,253,203.00. Furthermore, Judge Yeakle ordered Langguth be placed under supervised release for a period of three years after completing his prison term.

This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division, and the Texas State Securities Board. Assistant United States Attorney Sharon Pierce prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

Source: http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/courts/entries/2013/03/22/austin_man_sentenced_to_prison.html/

[font color=green]Another one bites the dust![/font]

George P. Bush Keeps it Simple in Political Debut

Source: AP

George Prescott Bush is off to a safe but also unpolished start as a political candidate in Texas.

Bush on Friday stumbled over his words and sometimes appeared nervous in his first public speech since announcing his run for Texas Land Commissioner.

A luncheon of about 200 people at a policy conference near Austin nonetheless treated Bush to enthusiastic applause.

The 36-year-old nephew of former President George W. Bush didn't take big risks in his political debut. He urged Texas lawmakers to continue prioritizing education and pledged to take a special interest in the welfare of veterans.

Read more: http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/politics/George-P-Bush-to-Make-First-Speech-as-Candidate-199513321.html

More at link.

FAA to Close 149 Air Traffic Towers Under Cuts, 13 in Texas

Source: AP

The Federal Aviation Administration says it will close 149 air traffic control towers at small airports around the country because of federal budget cuts.

The agency announced the decision Friday, a month after it released a preliminary list of facilities that could be closed.

In Texas, 13 towers will close. Two of those towers are in North Texas -- Dallas Executive and Collin County Regional at McKinney. To see a full list of closures, click here.

All of the affected airports will remain open. Pilots will be left to coordinate takeoffs and landings among themselves over a shared radio frequency with no help from ground controllers. That's something they are trained to do, but airport directors have raised concerns about the potential impact on safety.

Read more: http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/FAA-to-Close-149-Air-Traffic-Towers-Under-Cuts-13-in-Texas-199584921.html

List of closures: http://www.faa.gov/news/media/fct_closed.pdf

Scooter Store tracked, tagged doctors

The Scooter Store used a coding system to tag doctors across the country for their willingness or reluctance to prescribe patients power wheelchairs, according to two ex-employees.

The coding system allowed Scooter Store representatives to steer potential customers to doctors with a track record of prescribing power-mobility devices if the patients' own physicians wouldn't write the prescriptions.

The system was revealed in a just-released e-book by Theresa M. Jones, 24, a four-year Scooter Store employee who was among the approximately 1,500 workers permanently laid off this week.

A company database displayed a colored dot next to doctors' names.

“Green signified we had great success with the doctor,” Jones said in an interview.

Read more at http://www.mysanantonio.com/business/article/Scooter-Store-tracked-tagged-doctors-4375276.php .

[font color=green]Doctor shopping is a viable business model.[/font]

Republicans Have an Image Problem Because They Insist on Acting Like Republicans

What about all these women? Why would they be worried about the GOP? Here in Texas, the GOP marches proudly beneath the virtual banner of [font color=red]Great Electric Dildo[/font], the vagina wand that Republicans insist the state must stick inside any woman who asks for an abortion.

Is any physical object that the government sticks way up inside the body of an actual person, female or male, a perception problem? Isn't a government dildo way up inside your body pretty real? Is there any conceivable way to get a person to stop perceiving it as real? If so, wouldn't that be even more scary?

What is the Republican line on that one, again? "We have a sonogram law in Texas that values and protects life," Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle said last year. "Governor Perry is proud of the steps we've taken in Texas to protect the unborn and ensure women have access to all the facts before making a life-ending decision."

Sure. That's all about the information and the decisions and the values and stuff. But what about the thing way up inside your body? Maybe the "Growth and Opportunity Report" could have been more persuasive had it included some graphic photos of the government dildo in use, faces blanked out of course. The caption could have been, "Here's our growth. What's our opportunity?" Then again, we must fear the answer.

The complete article at http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2013/03/republicans_have_an_image_prob.php .

$58M verdict in death suit could be New Mexico record

A Santa Fe jury has awarded what’s believed to be the largest verdict in New Mexico history to the family of a man killed three years ago when a semi truck slammed into his car near Carlsbad.

The jury early Wednesday afternoon awarded Kevin Udy’s wife and children $58.5 million in damages — $47 million of it in punitive damages.

Bill Robins, the lead trial attorney for Udy’s estate, said the punitive damages were assessed against Standard E&S, Zia Transport and Bergstein Enterprises because the jury agreed that the firms’ truck driver, Monte Lyons of Carlsbad, had been inadequately trained, and that the firms had a record of past safety violations. He said Bergstein Enterprises, the company responsible for the safety of the other firms, is run by Peter Bergstein of Lubbock, Texas.

Udy, a senior mechanical engineer for Intrepid Potash, was killed March 3, 2010, when his westbound pickup was hit by Lyons’ eastbound tanker trailer as it turned into the Standard E&S shop about three miles east of Carlsbad. Lyons “was hauling produced water from oil wells,” Robins said. “He just dropped off his last load and was coming back to the E&S shop and was turning into their driveway and cut right out in front of [Udy].”

More at http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/article_ae2d5ecd-688c-5441-b5d8-3319f5d30c30.html .

Jindal's tax proposal could cost Louisiana $500 million to $650 million in revenue, think tank says

Louisiana could lose between $500 million and $650 million in revenue from Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to swap sales tax for the state's income tax, according to an early analysis of the proposal released by the Public Affairs Research Council on Thursday. The report from the non-partisan Baton Rouge think tank calls into question the methods used by the Jindal in reaching its conclusion that the plan would be revenue-neutral, or continue to bring the same amount of money into state coffers as the existing tax structure.

"As this discussion of tax reform begins, lawmakers, government leaders and staff, the media and the public must insist on objective and realistic assumptions about the costs and gains of each proposal on the table," according to the report.

Tim Barfield, the executive counsel for the Department of Revenue, disputed the report's findings in a news release Thursday, arguing that the methods used by his agency were valid and had been shared with PAR.

Jindal's tax proposal would completely eliminate personal income and corporate taxes and replace them with a higher, broader sales tax. The state's sales tax rate would increase from 4 percent to 5.88 percent under the proposal, which includes taxes on services and the elimination of some existing tax exemptions.

More at http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/03/jindals_tax_proposal_could_cos.html#incart_m-rpt-2 .

Primates, Politics and Evolution

In the March 2013 issue of National Geographic is an article by David Quammen, “The Left Bank Ape”, that discusses the differences between bonobos and chimpanzees, both are some of Homo sapiens closest cousins. The social structures and behaviors of both species ironically bear some semblance to that of their more advanced cousins (human beings).

The bonobos, in case you haven’t heard, carries a reputation as the “make love, not war” member of the ape heritage, far lustier and less bellicose than its close cousin, the chimpanzee. Modern studies of zoo populations by the Dutch-American biologist Frans de Waal and others have documented its easy, pervasive sexuality and its propensity for amicable bonding (especially among females), in contrast with chimpanzee dominance battles (especially among males) and intergroup warfare.

Bonobos are a distinct form of the chimpanzee unique to the Left Bank of the Congo River that have slightly smaller proportions than chimps.

The major distinctions between bonobos and chimps are behavioral, and the most conspicuous do involve sex. Both in captivity and in the wild, bonobos practice a remarkable diversity of sexual interactions. According to de Waal: “Whereas the chimpanzee shows little variation in the sexual act, bonobos behave as if they have read the Kama Sutra, performing every position and variation one can imagine.” For instance, they mate in the missionary position, something virtually unknown among chimpanzees. But their sexiness isn’t just about mating. Most of those variations are sociosexual, meaning that they don’t entail copulation between an adult male and an adult female during her fertile period. The range of partners include adults of the same sex, an adult with a juvenile of either sex, and two juveniles together. The range of activities include mouth-to-mouth kissing, oral sex, genital caressing by hand, penis-fencing by two males, male-on-male mounting, and genito-genital rubbing by two estrous females.

“Their social purpose seems to be communication of various sorts: expression of good will, calming of excitement, greeting, tension relief, bonding, solicitation of food sharing and reconciliation. To that list of benefits we might also add sheer pleasure and (for the juveniles) instructional play. Varied and frequent and often nonchalant, sex is a widely applied social lubricant that helps keep bonobo politics amiable. De Waal again: ‘The chimpanzee resolves sexual issues with power, the bonobo resolves power with sex’.”

“Sexiness isn’t the only big difference between bonobos and chimps, though it’s probably linked to other differences, either as cause or as effect. Females, not males, hold the highest social rankings, which they seem to achieve by affable social networking…rather than by forming temporary alliances and fighting as male chimpanzees do. Bonobo communities don’t wage violent wars against other bonobo communities adjacent to their territory.”

Bonobos do share one distinction with chimpanzees. Together they are the two closest living relatives of Homo sapiens. Back almost seven million years ago, somewhere in the forest of equatorial Africa, lived a kind of proto-ape that was both their direct ancestor and ours. Then our lineage diverged from theirs, and be about 900,000 years ago, these two apes had diverged from each other. No one knows whether their last shared ancestor resembled a chimp, in anatomy and behavior, or a bonobo—but solving that uncertainty might say something about human origins too. Do we come from a long line of peace-loving, sex happy, and female-dominant apes, or from a natural heritage of warfare, infanticide, and male dominance?

On the right bank of the Congo River where gorillas and chimps shared the forest the gorillas ate mainly herby vegetation and chimps ate a diet of mainly fruit, tree leaves and meat occasionally. On the left bank bonobos which did not share territory with gorillas lived on the richer chimpanzee diet when available and sustained itself with a diet similar to gorillas when it was not. The relative stability of foraging groups within a larger bonobo community means that vulnerable individuals usually have allies present at any given moment. This tends to dampen dominance battles and fighting. According to anthropologist Richard Wrangham of Harvard, “specifically, females have other females as well as males available to protect them from those that might want to bully them.”

In conclusion, I found the National Geographic article to have similar parallels to what Americans know as the left and as the right in America. Traits common among the left include females share power, conflicts are resolved with sex and strong female bonding occurs. Traits that the right exhibits include that males share power, conflicts are settled violently and there are strong male coalitions.

Have we reached an evolutionary stage in development among Homo sapiens as the political ideology between the Left and the Right widens? Will these differences in political ideology result in the evolution of a new improved sub-species? Will there be a parallel between how gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos evolved and how humans evolved from Neanderthals to Cro-Magnons and whatever we will become?

I am merely a lay person with no background in anthropology or sociology, but after reading the National Geographic article I’m interested in what others might think.

Slab of Marble Falls From Truck, Shatters on I-35E

Southbound traffic along Interstate 35E in Carrollton near Sandy Lake Road is slowed considerably due to a slab of marble that fell from a truck and shattered in the roadway.

The slab fell off of a truck at about 1:25 p.m. While the highway is not closed, debris is spread across three lanes and traffic is only able to pass on the shoulder.

Carrollton police have asked the Texas Department of Transportation to assist in the cleanup effort. Meanwhile, police and firefighters are at the scene attempting to clear the roadway on their own.

Source: http://www.nbcdfw.com/traffic/stories/Slab-of-Marble-Slows-Traffic-on-I-35E-in-Carrollton-199402231.html

More money for public schools in House budget

AUSTIN — Public schools would be boosted by $2.5 billion in the next two years on top of enrollment growth under a budget proposal approved unanimously by the House Appropriations Committee Thursday.

Committee Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, also wants to put another $500 million into schools in the current fiscal year. His panel hasn't yet voted on the idea.

Schools suffered a $5.4 billion cutback two years ago in the face of a projected revenue shortfall, and advocates have been pushing to restore the money.

A two-year budget proposal approved by the Texas Senate on Wednesday would restore $1.5 billion to education.

More at http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/More-money-for-public-schools-in-House-budget-4374001.php .
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