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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 87,990

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

Texas senator pushes to abolish liquor store ownership limits once more

Sen. Brian Birdwell is unsure of how many times his package store bill has been introduced to the legislature, but he knows it’s been at least five times — three of them by other senators before he picked up the issue.

The Senate Business & Commerce Committee voted 5-0 Thursday to report SB 750 to the full Senate. The bill, similar to one filed by Sen. Kelly Hancock, eliminates two Alcoholic Beverage Code provisions that critics say maintain an unlevel playing field for liquor businesses.

Right now, the Alcoholic Beverage Code limits individuals to five package store permits, which allow permit holders to buy and sell liquor. There are two exceptions: the rule of consanguinity allows immediate family — parents, siblings or children — to pool their package store permits together into a single legal entity, and then they can obtain an unlimited number of permits. Businesses established before 1949 are also exempt from liquor store ownership limits.

Birdwell, who introduced SB 750, said this is the only place in Texas law where familial ties are relevant.

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2017/03/30/texas-senator-pushes-abolish-liquor-store-ownership-limits-once-more/

Bestiality isn't illegal in Texas. A Houston lawmaker wants to change that.

It's not a crime for people in Texas to have sex with animals. When law enforcement comes across animal sexual abuse cases, they often only prosecute offenders for animal cruelty or public lewdness, according to various officials.

A bill moving through the Texas House would officially outlaw bestiality, making participation in, promotion of or observation of any sexual contact with an animal punishable by up to two years in state jail. If an animal were to suffer serious bodily injuries or die because of the sexual contact, the offender would face a second-degree felony charge.

"There's nothing in the law that protects animals from sexual abuse," though 42 other states already ban bestiality, said state Rep. Carol Alvarado, the author of House Bill 1087.

Protecting animals from sexual abuse also protects children from pedophiles and partners from sexual violence, the Houston Democrat said. Alvarado pointed to a 2008 sexual misconduct study that concluded there's a higher risk for committing child sexual abuse if a person has engaged in bestiality.

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2017/03/31/bestiality-isnt-illegal-texas-lawmaker-houston-wants-change/

15 survivors ask $250M-plus in deadly Biloxi train-bus crash

A Houston attorney says 15 tourists from Texas have filed lawsuits asking more than $250 million in total damages over a train-bus crash that killed four people in Biloxi.

Tony Buzbee says in a news release that his clients include Tim Orr, whose wife died in the March 7 wreck.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, alleges that CSX Transportation Inc. knew its crossing needed attention, and that the train could have been stopped in time to prevent the crash. The tour company, Dallas-based Echo Transportation Inc., is also a defendant.

Biloxi police said earlier this month that their investigation does not indicate any criminal activity. They said Echo's bus driver, 60-year-old Louis Ambrose Jr., apparently was not familiar with the area.

A crossing sign warned that long vehicles might get stuck.


[font color=330099]I'm truly sorry that the seniors that survived the collision will have both the physical injuries and the mental anguish to deal with in the future. The survivors deserve to be compensated for their losses and mental anguish, and the attorneys also deserve their due share. However, this type of lawsuit makes me wonder if the portion of the trip where they went gambling didn't turn out very well so they are trying to win the lottery in court instead.[/font]

Missing cat from California ends up in Canada years later

This March, 2017 photo provided by the Guelph Humane Society shows BooBoo at the organization's facility in Guelph, near Toronto in Ontario, Canada. BooBoo had gone missing from her home in Watsonville, Calif., in August 2014. The brown tabby showed up in southeastern Canada, about 3,000 miles from home, last week. How the missing cat got to Canada remains a mystery. (Guelph Humane Society via AP)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A cat that went missing in California 2 ˝ years ago has shown up many miles away in Canada.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports (http://bit.ly/2nPdjH4 ) that BooBoo the cat went missing in August 2014 in Watsonville, California. Last week, the tabby showed up in southeastern Canada, about 3,000 miles (4827.81 kilometers) from home.

When BooBoo arrived at Guelph Humane Society in Ontario, she hardly looked like a grizzled traveler.

Humane society Executive Director Adrienne McBride says BooBoo is in "fantastic shape." In fact, she might need to go on a diet when she gets home.

Read more: http://www.lmtonline.com/news/article/Missing-cat-from-California-ends-up-in-Canada-11038979.php

[font color=330099]BooBoo left the country while the getting was good.[/font]

Rep. Beto O'Rourke to launch Senate run against Ted Cruz Friday

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke will launch a campaign to challenge U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018 on Friday, according to a colleague with direct knowledge of the El Paso Democrat's thinking

O'Rourke's campaign team sent an email to supporters Wednesday morning revealing that "a big announcement" was coming Friday.

"Together, we can do something really big, and really powerful for the state of Texas — and for this country," the campaign wrote. "Congressman Beto O'Rourke has a big announcement to make on Friday."

O'Rourke has spent the past several weeks traveling the state and has said in recent weeks that he is likely to launch a bid for U.S. Senate. Multiple Democratic leadership sources on Capitol Hill have been operating under the assumption that an O'Rourke Senate campaign is inevitable.

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2017/03/29/beto-orourke-senate/

Former Eagle Pass City Manager Pleads Guilty to Making A False Statement to An FBI Agent

Former City of Eagle Pass, Texas City Manager Hector Chavez, Sr. plead guilty to Count Four of a four count indictment pursuant to a Plea Agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office on Thursday, March 30, 2017, before United States District Judge Alia Moses for the Western District of Texas, Del Rio Division, in Del Rio, Texas.

Chavez was indicted on April 15, 2016 by a federal grand jury in Del Rio, Texas, charging him with four counts, including paying a bribe of approximately $20,000 to a Maverick County Commissioner for allegedly intending to influence the Commissioner to secure a contract for a Maverick County landfill project during May 2012 through June 2012; forging a personal services contract to conceal from authorities the alleged kick-back paid to the Maverick County Commissioner; provided this falsified personal services contract in response to a federal grand jury subpoena in order to obstruct justice; and making false statements to a Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) concerning the legitimacy of this personal services contract.

Chavez resigned as City Manager of Eagle Pass, Texas in writing by letter dated April 15, 2016, after being arrested on the federal grand jury indictment.

The City of Eagle Pass, Texas accepted Chavez’s resignation as City Manager and appointed former City Manager and Eagle Pass Water Works System General Manager Roberto Gonzalez as Interim City Manager at an April 25, 2016 Special City Council Meeting.

Read more: http://www.epbusinessjournal.com/2017/03/breaking-news-former-eagle-pass-city-manager-hector-chavez-sr-pleads-guilty-to-making-a-false-statement-to-an-fbi-agent/

University of North Texas professor files discrimination lawsuit

Yolanda Flores Niemann, a professor and former vice provost at the University of North Texas, has filed a federal lawsuit alleging racial discrimination by university officials.

Niemann was an administrator at Utah State University when UNT lured her to Denton in 2012 as senior vice provost. She alleges UNT assured her that she would make 75 percent of her administrator salary if she ever went back to teaching full time, but it didn't happen when she got demoted three years later.

Margarita Venegas, a UNT spokeswoman, said the university did nothing wrong.

"The university denies discriminating against Dr. Flores Niemann, and will vigorously defend against this lawsuit," Venegas wrote in a prepared statement.

Read more: http://www.dentonrc.com/local-news/local-news-headlines/20170329-unt-professor-files-discrimination-lawsuit.ece

Texas Senate approves scaled-back school voucher plan

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas Senate on Thursday approved a major voucher plan offering state funding to children attending private and religious schools — but only after slashing its potential cost by limiting the number of eligible families and exempting rural areas, which opponents argue can least afford losing students.

Sen. Larry Taylor's bill creates publicly sponsored education savings accounts for parents while offering tax credits to businesses that sponsor private schooling via donations. It appeared stalled before the Republican from Friendswood agreed to make wholesale changes.

"Our public schools have all the incumbency advantages. They have the facilities, they have the activities and, frankly, for many places, it's the center of the town's activities," Taylor said Tuesday. "But there are some students in those schools that that's not the best environment for them."

His overhauled proposal no longer applies to communities with fewer than 285,000 residents and includes caps ensuring that only low-income families are eligible, except in cases of students with special needs who could get funding to enroll in private schools regardless of their family's income.

Read more: http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/texas/article_8b048462-47c3-5498-9124-c197acb75f60.html

Judge moves, pushes Texas attorney general's criminal trial

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — On the brink of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton facing a jury on criminal securities fraud charges, a judge Thursday ordered a delay until the trial can be moved from the Republican's hometown where prosecutors have accused conservative allies of trying to derail the case.

Among those prosecutors have singled out is Rick Santorum, the former U.S. senator and GOP presidential candidate, who told a Dallas television station earlier this year that the felony indictments against Texas' top prosecutor were a witch hunt.

It is now unclear when Paxton — who has spent the majority of his two years in office under indictment — will stand trial over allegations that he improperly steered investors toward a tech startup without disclosing that he was being paid by the company. The trial was set to begin in May.

But state District Judge George Gallagher sided with special prosecutors who argued they couldn't get a fair trial in suburban Collin County, outside Dallas, where Paxton lives and where his supporters have publicly railed against the case. One Paxton ally has succeeded in tying up $200,000 prosecutors say they're owed after filing a lawsuit claiming that their fees are exorbitant.

In turn, prosecutors have threatened to quit if they don't get paid, in what legal observers say may be an unprecedented courtroom twist.

Read more: http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/texas/article_874918fd-c985-535d-af48-8122bf4db029.html

[font color=330099]Charge the prosecution expenses back to the Texas Comptroller. Since this is a case involving a state elected official all of the taxpayers need to share in the cost rather than having one county pick up the expense.[/font]

Cuban man sentenced to prison for conspiring to commit wire fraud

McALLEN — A Cuban man was sentenced to prison Thursday for conspiring to commit wire fraud.

U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced Jorge Ernesto Blanco-Rodriguez, a Cuban and Spanish citizen, to 135 months in federal prison for selling stolen credit card numbers, according to a news release.

Blanco-Rodriguez sold stolen credit and debit card numbers over the Internet in a scheme affecting more than 12,000 accounts and about $788,000 in fraudulent transactions, according to the release. The 43-year-old man, who is expected to be deported upon his release from prison, pleaded guilty in mid-April to the charge, according to the release.

The man will remain in custody pending his transfer to a federal prison, the release states.

Read more: http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/valley/article_687a16d1-1d54-5268-9533-208e689c40f5.html
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