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Profile Information

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: 78,425

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

Despite boom, Sandia Drilling Company faces bankruptcy

Midland, Texas -- While large and small oil companies alike are undoubtedly reaping financial benefits throughout the Permian Basin, one company is auctioning its assets in Midland after filing for bankruptcy.

Sandia Drilling Co., Ltd, LLP, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May 2013, about eight months after the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the company for allegedly committing several racist and discriminatory acts.

The lawsuit -- filed in September 2012 -- is not yet settled, EEOC spokesman Joseph Olivares said Monday. The EEOC and other creditors are now waiting for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to determine what will happen with Sandia Drilling’s assets, he said.

Many assets -- including four complete trailer-mounted drilling rigs and other equipment -- are scheduled for auction at 10:30 a.m. today at the La Hacienda Event Center, 12600 Highway 191.

More at http://www.mrt.com/business/article_19f43b2a-00ba-11e4-8e39-0019bb2963f4.html .
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Jul 1, 2014, 10:48 PM (0 replies)

13-year-old being held after Cass County fatal shooting of father and 12-year-old

HUGHES SPRINGS (AP) — A father and son have been shot and killed at home in rural Northeast Texas, and a 13-year-old also adopted by the father is being held in the case.

Cass County Sheriff Larry Rowe said deputies on Friday found the bodies of 32-year-old Damon Robisson and his adopted 12-year-old son in their kitchen. They were responding to a 911 call from his son's 13-year-old brother, who Robison also adopted.

The 13-year-old is being held at a juvenile center in neighboring Gregg County. He has not been charged. Rowe says there are no other suspects in the case, and that a murder-suicide has not been ruled out.

Authorities did not identify either boy.

Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Jul 1, 2014, 10:43 PM (2 replies)

Abbott: Ask Chemical Plants What's Inside

Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, under fire for blocking public access to state records documenting the location of dangerous chemicals, said Texans still have a right to find out where the substances are stored — as long as they know which companies to ask.

“You know where they are if you drive around,” Abbott told reporters Tuesday. “You can ask every facility whether or not they have chemicals or not. You can ask them if they do, and they can tell you, well we do have chemicals or we don’t have chemicals, and if they do, they tell which ones they have.”

In a recently released decision by his office, Abbott, the Republican candidate for governor, said government entities can withhold the state records — in so-called “Tier II” reports — of dangerous chemical locations. The reports contain an inventory of hazardous chemicals.

But Abbott said homeowners who think they might live near stores of dangerous chemicals could simply ask the companies near their homes what substances are kept on site.

More at http://www.texastribune.org/2014/07/01/abbott-ask-chemical-plants-whats-inside/ .
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Jul 1, 2014, 10:35 PM (4 replies)

Keep Workers' Comp Voluntary, Abbott Says

Texas is the only state that doesn’t require private employers to carry insurance for workplace injuries and fatalities, and Attorney General Greg Abbott signaled Tuesday that he wants to keep it that way if elected governor.

While some have called for reforms to the voluntary workers’ compensation law, Abbott said allowing private employers to decide what’s best for them has helped make Texas an economic powerhouse.

“There are several things that have led to Texas growing jobs more than any other state,” he said. “One was the reform that allowed employers to choose whether or not they were going to purchase workers’ compensation insurance.”

The campaign of Abbott’s Democratic opponent, state Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, called workers’ compensation “essential” but remained noncommittal about whether it should ever be mandatory for certain sectors of the private economy.

Since the early 1900s, Texas has let employers decide what’s best for them. A Texas Tribune investigation published this week detailed what can happen to workers who sustain injuries on the job in Texas, the only state that doesn’t require private employers to carry the state-regulated insurance or a private alternative. In many cases the workers are left to fend for themselves or rely on charities and taxpayers to pay for their care.

More at http://www.texastribune.org/2014/07/01/keep-workers-comp-voluntary-abbott-says/ .
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Jul 1, 2014, 10:28 PM (2 replies)

Mewsday Catblog: Sumrtiem Cativities

Feline teh heet.

Iff ur not friing wun n teh panther iz no excoos fur mizzin Caturday.

Prepurrin tu bate teh lyne.

Tigger showz hiz musicat abiliteez.

Catchin' sum rayz. Sinz nippels r cuverred NSFW knot kneaded.

Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Jul 1, 2014, 08:16 PM (3 replies)

Washington County approves Economic Development Program for Tempur-Sealy

Additions to the Tempur-Sealy plant in Brenham gained further traction this morning after the Washington County Commissioners Court approved an Economic Development Program, featuring a grant for the mattress company if they meet certain requirements.

In the new program, Tempur-Sealy would receive a grant after five years if they added 75 more workers and kept the current workforce at Tempur-Sealy, while paying the new workers a minimum of $36,500 per year, as well as make a half-million dollar investment in the plant.

Commissioner Kirk Hanath of Precinct Three was the lone vote against the program, saying that he feels it’s almost expected of governments to hand funds to businesses.

Luther Hueske, commissioner of Precinct Two, said that he understood Hanath’s point, but that without this plan available, it could lead to Tempur-Sealy moving and removing an additional 100-plus workers and taxpayers.

More at http://www.brenhambanner.com/news/washington-county-approves-economic-development-program/article_da19f521-a5a1-5dc2-bbf4-1c8d248a6e44.html . (subscription required)

[font color=green]Fairly decent jobs that don't require much education in a rural area. However, the article fails to mention the amount of the grant.[/font]
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Jul 1, 2014, 06:40 PM (0 replies)

Man charged with making threats against KLBJ staff

Austin police on Tuesday charged a man with a felony after being alerted to Facebook messages they said threatened the staff of radio station KLBJ-FM, including morning show host Dale Dudley from the morning show Dudley and Bob.

Police charged Scott Jeremy Schuster, 38, with making a terroristic threat, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Schuster has not been arrested, police said.

He is accused of sending several threatening messages to KLBJ’s official Facebook account, an arrest affidavit said.

KLBJ staff first came into contact with Schuster on June 10 after he made derogatory comments about a woman who had recently won the station’s “Rock Girl” contest, the affidavit said.

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/local/man-charged-with-making-threats-against-klbj-staff/ngXXc/ .
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Jul 1, 2014, 05:42 PM (1 replies)

Does anybody recall that the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act was Unconstitutional?

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, Pub. L. No. 103-141, 107 Stat. 1488 (November 16, 1993), codified at 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb through 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb-4 (also known as RFRA), is a 1993 United States federal law aimed at preventing laws that substantially burden a person's free exercise of their religion. The bill was introduced by Howard McKeon of California and Dean Gallo of New Jersey on March 11, 1993.[1] The bill was passed by a unanimous U.S. House and a near unanimous U.S. Senate with three dissenting votes[2] and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. It was held unconstitutional as applied to the states in the City of Boerne v. Flores decision in 1997, which ruled that the RFRA is not a proper exercise of Congress's enforcement power. But it continues to be applied to the federal government, for instance in Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal, because Congress has broad authority to carve out exemptions from federal laws and regulations that it itself has authorized. In response to City of Boerne v. Flores, some individual states passed State Religious Freedom Restoration Acts that apply to state governments and local municipalities.


Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Jul 1, 2014, 05:32 PM (4 replies)

SCOTUS, Hobby Lobby and Canned Worms

Belshazzar’s Feast by Rembrandt

By Carol Morgan

The SCOTUS/Hobby Lobby decision has given me a severe headache. Just like Citizens United or McCutcheon, today’s decision opens up a Pandora’s box of enormous proportions that can never be contained or controlled again.

This is becoming a habit with the Roberts Court.

Lawmakers, corporations, SCOTUS and world leaders…all of us, each of us…is a hapless victim to the illusion of control.

Control? The reality is this: We have none at all. For every action, there’s an effect; perhaps it comes sooner than later. And some of it, we can’t possibly predict or foresee at the time when a law is created or a strategy planned. Perhaps, the poet, Robert Burns, recognized man’s illusion of control long ago: “The best laid schemes of mice and men, often go awry.”

In America’s case, it’s more like “run amok”. We keep making very bad decisions with an eye toward solving the immediate, rather than the long term.

It’s called “unintended consequences”; effects we cannot see, results we cannot predict. It’s like the old Buddhist tale of the woodcutter who goes through a series of life events, only to remark, “Whether it’s a blessing or a curse, who would know? Only time will tell.”

Today’s court decision is reminiscent of Rembrandt’s painting, Belshazzar’s Feast; the handwriting’s on the wall and it’s blinding glare illuminates the fear of those in attendance at the banquet table.

So many of contemporary conflicts and problems are the painful birth of our past actions, a quick and dirty, knee jerk reaction to solve a problem without thinking about the long term consequences; future results, cause and effect, karmic consequences--it doesn't matter the label, it comes from something as simple as not thinking things through or believing in the fallacy of the absolute and constant, the comforting myth that nothing will change. It's the illusion of control that we, as humans, believe we can exercise over an uncontrollable and constantly evolving universe.

To fully understand the concept of unintended consequences, look no further than Sociologist Robert Merton (1910-2003) who founded the sociology of science and coined the terms we use with great regularity; “role-model”, “self-fulfilling prophecy”, and “unintended consequences”.

Robert Merton was a genius. Every single lawmaker and world leader needs to read and reread his 1936 sociological paper: "The Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Social Action".

Merton believed that all social action has the possibility for three outcomes:

1. An intended solution that creates new and additional problems beyond the original problem.

2. An intended solution that creates an additional lucky benefit, outside and unrelated to the original problem.

3. An intended solution that creates a perverse effect to the originally intended effect.

Right now, we are reaping the unintended consequences of the actions, policies and legislation of the world leaders, lawmakers, corporations, and individuals in our past, some dating all the way back to the Industrial Revolution. Some specific examples:

1. This year marks the 100th anniversary of World War I which was supposed to be the “war to end all wars”, but in reality, the “Great War” merely led to new and ingenious methods of destroying each other, which led to other wars, which led to the redrawing of country borders which led to other wars, which led to the atomic bomb to stop the war which led to the Cold War, which led to Vietnam, et nauseam…as Winston Churchill remarked in hindsight, “We killed the wrong pig.”(Refer to Merton’s #1)

2. When we divided countries to stop wars and genocides, religious conflicts, to move away from colonialism or nation-building; we created new problems. We now see the bitter harvest of those strategies in Sudan versus South Sudan, Israel versus Palestine, Pakistan versus India, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. (See Merton’s #3)

3. Unintended consequences plays out closer to home in Texas. The Tea Party Conservatives hoped to make it harder for women to obtain abortions by passing a dubious women’s health law that, in reality, had nothing to do with women’s health at all. Those strategies have resulted in a new Texas phenomenon: Do It Yourself Abortions. Record numbers of women are seeking out the ulcer medication misoprostol (which induces an abortion in the early months of pregnancy) at flea markets and pharmacies skirting the border between Texas and Mexico. (See Merton’s #1 and #2)

The SCOTUS created more unintended future consequences today.

I shudder to think of the future possibilities emerging from today’s Hobby Lobby decision. Will religious preferences dictate our career possibilities and potential future employment? Will job seekers limit their employment search to only those employers who mirror their own religious and political philosophies? Could an Islamic employer force a Christian employee to abstain from eating or drinking at work during Ramadan? Could a Jehovah Witness employer eschew blood products and transfusions as a part of their group health plan?

Where does it end? Today’s decision demolishes many of the religious and personal boundaries that we took for granted and replaces them with ones that have the inherent potential to be more threatening and dangerous.

I certainly hope SCOTUS finds the can of worms they’ve opened up today to be a very tasty meal. They’re going to be eating it for a long time.

And so will we.


Posted with permission granted to present Ms. Morgan's blog in its entirety.
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Jul 1, 2014, 05:08 PM (3 replies)

The $400 Million in I-35 Fixes That Could Be Bundled With Urban Rail in Austin

Much attention has been placed on Austin City Council’s unanimous vote to endorse an urban rail plan for Austin. But $400 million of a proposed transportation bond that could reach voters in November is for road improvements as well.

Here's a breakdown of spending proposals, culled from the 2014 Austin Strategic Mobility Plan:

The largest chunk of the approved road package is $120 million to improve downtown access from I-35, with new access ramps and separate lanes for local and pass-through traffic. This portion would also cover improvements to an interchange at Riverside Drive.

The next biggest piece is $90 million of proposed spending would replace the overpasses at Oltorf, Stassney and William Cannon, relocating interstate lanes, adding U-turn lanes, and further safety improvements.

More at http://kut.org/post/400-million-i-35-fixes-could-be-bundled-urban-rail .
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Jul 1, 2014, 12:35 PM (0 replies)
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