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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: 78,419

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

Rural Texas is Struggling to Keep Doctors. A Proposed Medical School Wants to Change That.

Sam Houston State University {Huntsville} argues that an osteopathic medical school is the prescription for what’s ailing underserved communities in Texas.

Texas has almost a dozen medical schools, but it also has a rural healthcare worker shortage. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is set to vote tomorrow on whether to approve another medical school. Huntsville-based Sam Houston State thinks it can address Texas’ critical shortage of doctors in rural parts of the state. It’s seeking accreditation this week for its proposed college of osteopathic medicine.

Dr. Stephan McKernan is the Associate Dean for clinical affairs for the proposed school. He says the goal is to teach students from underserved, rural areas.

“What our model is going to be, if we’re successful, is to recruit students from those areas, so its natural for them to go back there. Not trying to recruit someone from an urban community and then try to convince them to go to, you know, east Texas.”

And he says a college of osteopathic medicine is best suited to do that.

Read more: http://www.texasstandard.org/stories/rural-texas-is-struggling-to-keep-doctors-a-proposed-medical-school-wants-to-change-that/

Nicaragua's Political Unrest and Its Unstable Future

April 19, 2018 was a normal Thursday for most Americans. But in Nicaragua it was a day of political uprising that has yet to subside.

The democratically elected president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, was ready to pass a policy changing social security for the country. The change would have essentially required more money to be put in by Nicaraguans, while those already on social security pensions would be getting five present less.

“This proved to be the straw that broke the camels’ back for people who had been really frustrated with the kinds of undemocratic governing that they’ve seen developing in the Ortega administration for the last 11 years,” says Courtney Morris, associate professor of African American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Pennsylvania State University.

“Nicaragua has been on a path of authoritarian drift for more than a decade. We see this in the ways that Daniel Ortega has really consolidated his control over the government. He controls all four branches of the government. He controls the executive branch, he controls the court system, he controls the national police and he controls the national assembly. His party, the Sandinistas party, controls all of those institutions,” Morris says.

Read more: http://www.texasstandard.org/stories/nicaraguas-political-unrest-and-its-unstable-future/

Prospects for "red flag" gun law in Texas plummet as Abbott sees "coalescence" against it

By Patrick Svitek and Jolie McCullough, Texas Tribune

The chances of Texas passing a so-called "red flag" law after the Santa Fe school shooting continued to drop Friday as Gov. Greg Abbott said he saw a "coalescence" against the proposal.

As part of his school safety plan released after the May 18 massacre, the Republican governor asked the Legislature to consider such a law, which would allow courts to order the seizure or surrender of guns from people who are deemed an imminent threat by a judge. But even then, Abbott's request for lawmakers to study the proposal drew the ire of some Second Amendment hardliners in the governor's party, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick declared Tuesday that he has never supported a "red flag" law and suggested it would be dead on arrival in the Senate.

Abbott, appearing Friday at an unrelated news conference in Austin, was asked if he still wanted lawmakers to consider the idea in the wake of Patrick's comment.

"If you go back and look at what I said in my plan, I suggested what the Legislature consider — whether or not the existing protective order laws in the state of Texas were adequate or whether or not they should be amended to add emergency risk protective orders," Abbott said. "And it seems like there's coalescence around the notion of not supporting what's categorized as a 'red flag' law. What is important is ... that we work together as a legislative body towards solution to make our schools safer and to make our communities safer."

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2018/07/27/red-flag-gun-law/

As changes loom over retired teachers' pensions, retirees look to Legislature for more money

By Sydney Greene, Texas Tribune

After teaching for 36 years in the Rio Grande Valley, Rosalva Reyna looked at her pension and health plan in July 2016 and decided she could live a comfortable life and finally retire.

Reyes thought "no more work." But that quickly changed, she said.

“At this point. I’m seriously considering going back to work," Reyna said. "A retired teacher going back to work — so I can pay my medical [bills].”

Texas has a number of retired teachers now worried that their pensions may be lowered next year. The state's Teacher Retirement System board voted on Friday to lower the expected rate of return on investments, meaning the state is predicting it will earn less money to use for benefits. Retired educators said they are now looking to the Legislature to make sure more funding is secured for the TRS pension fund in light of Friday's vote.

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2018/07/27/texas-teacher-pension-money-retirement/

BP buys big into Permian, U.S. shale with $10.5 billion deal

British energy major BP is a huge Texas player now after agreeing to pay $10.5 billion for the shale assets of Australia's BHP Billiton.

The sale represents a major turnaround for BP as it seeks to grow again after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico. The deal includes all of BHP's acreage in West Texas' booming Permian Basin, South Texas' Eagle Ford shale and Louisiana's Haynesville shale.

BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley said the deal is a transformative acquisition that gives BP a major presence in the onshore U.S., and not just the deepwater Gulf.

BP has largely shrunk this decade since the 2010 Gulf rig explosion, which killed 11 workers, spilled nearly 4 million barrels of oil, and cost the company billions of dollars to settle claims.

Read more: https://www.chron.com/business/energy/article/BP-buys-big-into-Permian-U-S-shale-with-10-5-13108882.php

No deal yet: Ted Cruz digs in as Beto O'Rourke pushes for 6th debate, more town halls, and not all

No deal yet: Ted Cruz digs in as Beto O'Rourke pushes for 6th debate, more town halls, and not all on Friday nights when Texans are busy

WASHINGTON — Rep. Beto O'Rourke countered Sen. Ted Cruz's proposal for five Friday night debates between Aug. 31 and Oct. 12, reiterating his demand for six debates and pressing for significant tweaks to the schedule and format that Cruz quickly rejected.

O'Rourke wants all of the debates to be town hall format. Cruz wants only two town hall-style debates.

O'Rourke wants a debate in his hometown, El Paso. Cruz's proposal includes one event on his own turf, Houston.

There is as yet no deal for debates in the closely watched race, already the most expensive Senate contest in the country.

Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2018/07/27/beto-orourke-counters-ted-cruz-debate-offer-town-hall-style-six-not-five-not-friday-nights-texans-busy

Largest police group in Texas endorses Greg Abbott over former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez

AUSTIN — The state's largest law enforcement organization has endorsed Gov. Greg Abbott over his Democratic opponent, former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez.

The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, or CLEAT, made the announcement with Abbott on Friday morning.

"The governor and I aren't always going to agree," added Harrison, a sergeant with the Austin Police Department. "But here's what this man said: that he will at least listen to the concerns of my members."

Valdez served as Dallas County sheriff from 2005 until late last year, when she stepped down to run for governor. When she won her primary in March, she became the first Latina and first openly gay person to win a major party's nomination for the state's top job.

Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/2018-elections/2018/07/27/largest-police-group-texas-endorses-greg-abbott-former-dallas-county-sheriff-lupe-valdez

The grass really is greener: Rep. Michael McCaul used more water than any other Austin resident

AUSTIN — In Texas, having lots of green in the bank means having a lush green lawn, too.

Austin Republican Michael McCaul, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, used more city water than any other resident last year, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

The McCaul family chose to have some data about their usage redacted, the newspaper reported, but the house behind him on the list used 1,400,900 gallons. In Austin, average residential use is about 70,000 gallons a year, the Statesman reported.

It’s common for wealthy areas in Texas to use the most water. In 2012, Highland Park residents used about three times as much water per day than the average Dallas resident, most of it for landscaping.

Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/texas-politics/2018/07/27/grass-really-greener-austin-rep-michael-mccaul-used-water-resident

Six Texas Republicans Sponsor Proposed Ban on LGBTQ Pride Flags at U.S. Embassies

Six Republicans from Texas, including three who represent the Houston area, have co-sponsored legislation that appears to be aimed at barring U.S. embassies from flying LGBTQ Pride flags.

Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) quietly introduced H.R. 6450 on July 19. Although the text has not been made public, the title of the legislation states that it would “prohibit the flying of any flag other than the United States flag over United States diplomatic and consular posts, and for other purposes.”

Ian Thompson, legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union, told the Washington Blade that he believes the measure is designed to prevent U.S. embassies from flying Pride flags, which has become a common practice to show solidarity with LGBTQ communities overseas.

“I don’t believe it is specific to rainbow/Pride flags, but that is clearly the motivation for this ridiculous, petty bill,” Thompson said. “It is telling that many of the most doggedly anti-LGBTQ members of the House of Representatives are co-sponsors.”

Read more: http://www.outsmartmagazine.com/2018/07/six-texas-republicans-sponsor-bill-to-ban-lgbtq-pride-flags-at-u-s-embassies/

Progressive group canvassing for Bill Nelson, other Democrats on Saturday

Saturday marks 100 days until voters head to the polls and a progressive advocacy group plans to spend the day knocking on thousands of doors throughout the Sunshine State.

For Our Future Florida said it aims to knock on 20,000 doors during its “Statewide Canvass Day of Action,” which consists of 72 separate events in all corners of the state, from smaller cities such as Apopka and Gainesville to major metros including Miami and St. Petersburg.

The group added that it aims to “turn the groundswell of enthusiasm from newly engaged voters into action at the polls in 2018.” There’s some math behind that mission — according recent reports, young voter registrations have soared in the months since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

While Democrats running for regional seats in the state Legislature and U.S. House will get plenty of attention during the canvassing drive, the group said the game plan is for all volunteers to make the case for re-electing U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson to a fourth term and sending a Democrat to the Governor’s Mansion for the first time this century. FOF-FL has not officially endorsed one of the five Democratic candidates for Governor.

Read more: http://floridapolitics.com/archives/269806-progressive-group-canvassing-for-bill-nelson-other-democrats-on-saturday
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