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TexasTowelie's Journal
TexasTowelie's Journal
December 1, 2014

Republican State Rep. Files Unconstitutional Bill to Allow Texas Legislature to Nullify Federal Laws

Texans like to pride ourselves on our fiercely independent nature, but one veteran Republican state legislator is trying to turn that independent streak into an unconstitutional law. State Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Van) has filed a bill to allow Texas’ state house speaker and lieutenant governor to have the power to “suspend any federal law within Texas’s borders.”

As ThinkProgress summarized, Flynn’s bill lays out the following structure for the legislature to review federal laws:

The legislation creates a 14 member “joint legislative committee on nullification” that is co-chaired by the speaker and lieutenant governor. Half of the dozen remaining members are appointed by one of the committee’s chairs, while the other half are appointed by the other chair (although only eight of the committee’s fourteen total members may belong to the same political party). A bare majority of the committee, eight votes, may temporarily declare that a federal law “has no legal effect in this state.” If that declaration is ratified by the state legislature in the next legislative session, it becomes permanent.

Under Flynn’s proposal, the state house speaker and lieutenant governor could create a committee stacked with loyal right-wing supporters, and use that to choose which federal laws they want the state to follow. In a state where Dan Patrick was just elected lieutenant governor, the idea is a truly terrifying prospect. Patrick is staunchly anti-immigrant and anti-choice, and if he had the power to void the federal laws that protect the rights of women and minorities, Texans could face a bleak future indeed.

Fortunately Flynn’s bill has one major problem. It’s blatantly unconstitutional.

Read more: http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/28689/republican-state-rep-files-unconstitutional-bill-allow-texas-legislature-nullify-federal-laws
December 1, 2014

A Careless Solution

Terrell State Hospital needs help, badly. So why is Texas privatizing the psychiatric facility—and picking a notorious company to run it?

As they filed into the Rockwall and Brin Church of Christ on November 3 for a town hall meeting about privatizing the local psychiatric hospital, attendees were handed a purple flier from the Texas State Employees Union. It said, “THIS IS NOT A DONE DEAL!”

But over the next three hours, the 250 or so men and women present, many of whom had worked at Terrell State Hospital for years if not decades, would trickle back out to the dark parking lot in silence as, one by one, they realized this wasn’t true.

They were angry, worried, and most of all confused about why privatization was coming to Terrell at all. The hospital has labored to improve since 2012, when a patient died after being restrained for 55 hours. Ann Simmons, 62, was only at Terrell three days before being killed by pulmonary thromboembolism—a blood clot that formed in her immobilized limbs, broke free, and lodged in an artery to her lungs.


Equally troubling is the state’s choice of contractor, selected without input from employee unions or patients’ rights advocates. Last month, state officials announced that they’d awarded a five-year contract to run the hospital to Correct Care Solutions, a Nashville-based correctional healthcare corporation. The company’s track record in other states includes allegations or confirmed reports of rape, suicide, neglect and medical malpractice that make Simmons’ cause of death look almost merciful.

The complete article is at http://www.texasobserver.org/terrell-state-hospital-geo-care-privatize/ .
December 1, 2014

DuPont Says Plant Leaked 23,000 Pounds of Toxic Gas

About 23,000 pounds of a flammable, foul-smelling toxic gas leaked from the DuPont chemical plant in La Porte where four workers died earlier this month, the company said Saturday.

That’s significantly more than the 100 pounds of methyl mercaptan that DuPont estimated had escaped the plant in its initial report, and was enough to asphyxiate the four workers and hospitalize another.

Companies are required to report all releases of at least 100 pounds of the gas to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. DuPont said it revised its initial estimate after determining how much gas was in the plant’s pipes and vessels before and after the tragedy.

“The release occurred inside a process building at the site’s Crop Protection unit and dissipated from openings in that structure over time,” the company said in a statement.

Read more: http://www.texastribune.org/2014/11/29/dupont-says-plant-leaked-23000-pounds-toxic-gas/

November 30, 2014

Researchers developing breath test for pot

Researchers at Washington State University are working on a breath test to determine if a driver is under the influence of marijuana.

The News Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/15KK247 ) that law enforcement officers have a test for alcohol, but they don't have a tool to test for marijuana impairment. Right now, officers must use blood tests to determine if THC is present in a driver's blood.

But WSU chemistry professor Herbert Hill says existing technologies like those used by airport security agents to detect drugs and explosives can be altered to test breath for THC. Hill says his team hopes to start testing on humans early next year.

The Washington State Patrol says it welcomes anything that gets impaired drivers off the road.


November 30, 2014

Abbott seeks new spending but wouldn’t raise tax revenue

AUSTIN — Gov.-elect Greg Abbott has proposed some new education, border policing and social services programs, which would expand Texas’ general-purpose spending by slightly more than 1 percent.

Over the next few years, he also wants to increase highway spending by several billion dollars.

But Abbott takes a hard line against any increase in tax revenue to pay for them. He wants to fund his spending priorities from existing revenue, which is bountiful because of the state’s strong economy. Abbott also is promising to scrap wasteful programs, though he hasn’t offered details.

“We will ensure the public sector doesn’t smother the private sector,” Abbott said early in his campaign, as he unveiled eight desired changes in budgeting procedures.

Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/state/headlines/20141129-abbott-seeks-new-spending-but-wouldnt-raise-tax-revenue.ece

[font color=green]In Republicanspeak, he will raise fees instead.[/font]

November 29, 2014

Hospitals grapple with challenge in caring for homeless--respite care facilities

The patient, a homeless man with substance abuse problems, had been hit by a car and was taken to a hospital for treatment. Upon discharge, he went back to the woods, where he’d been living.

Three days later, he returned to the hospital. This time, the ambulance crew stuffed him into a body bag because he was covered with his own feces.

“He was alive, but he had no ability to care for himself,” said Donna J. Biederman, an associate professor at the Duke University School of Nursing.

“It was just a really horrible, undignified situation, and he actually stayed at the hospital for probably 60 days,” said a recent study co-written by Biederman. The study looked at how homeless people were being released from hospitals in Durham, N.C., Duke’s home.

Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/metro/20141128-hospitals-grapple-with-challenge-in-caring-for-homeless.ece

[font color=green]The article continues with the situation in Dallas and the lack of respite care facilities. A poignant story since I was in a similar situation earlier this year.[/font]

November 28, 2014

Oregon police dog fired for poor performance

CANNON BEACH — Before the little fella had seen any action or gained any glory, the Cannon Beach Police Department chose to dismiss its K-9 officer, Cash, in early October.

The 2-year-old Belgian Malinois “ended up not being a good fit,” Cannon Beach Police Chief Jason Schermerhorn said.


Cash, it turned out, was fairly skittish, afraid of heights and had a barking problem. “Anything that would make noise would scare him,” Gregory said. “He would shut down.”

When the canine had to jump onto counters in search of drugs, he showed too much resistance.

Read more: http://www.dailyastorian.com/Local_News/20141121/k-9-officer-doesnt-make-the-grade

November 28, 2014

Lawyer of Accused Tutu Flasher Says His Client Was Wearing Underwear While Exposing Himself

There's nothing like getting caught with your pants...er...tutu down.

While it may be embarrassing, the attorney of a man accused of flashing a local salon says baring your balls from underneath a tutu is hardly indecent exposure. After all, his client, who has been accused of doing just that, had on some sort of "shielding" undergarment, too.

That accused tutu flasher is 51-year-old Richard James Staples, owner of a pest control business in Huntsville. Staples appeared in a Harris County court Tuesday on charges stemming from accusations that he flashed clients of a salon in Spring while wearing only a tutu, bustier, fishnets and stilettos.

Deputies say they were called to the Regency Hair Salon in North Harris County November 12th after a number of people reported a tutu-clad man exposing his genitals and buttocks. The incident was caught on tape by one woman, during which a man in a bustier and thigh-high fishnets can be seen walking toward a large red truck with his entire ass exposed.

According to police, they identified Staples after his massive red truck and that pesky unique license plate number were found on footage from security cameras at surrounding businesses. Three of the victims were also able to identify Staples from photo spreads, police say.

Read more: http://blogs.houstonpress.com/news/2014/11/tutu-clad_flasher_tells_houston_court_its_not_a_crime_if_youre_wearing_underwear.php

[font color=green]Me wonders if the victims were viewing the photos from his best side?[/font]
November 28, 2014

Cat show brings purr-fect cats to the Omni hotel in Corpus Christi

CORPUS CHRISTI - Looking for the purr-fect cat? Then head to the International Feline Showcase’s Catmas on the Beach this weekend.

Beginning Friday at the Omni Bayfront Hotel, about 150 pure bred cats will be judge for how they meet standards in front of 18 judges who are coming from as far as France and Canada. So these aren’t everyday house cats.

“The cat show validates confirmation on each cat,” said Leslie Hurley, entry clerk for the cat show. “In other words, if you’re breeding the judges will say that you’re doing the right thing and that you have a winning cat by written standard.”

The cats are not being compared to each other, Hurley said. They are judged based on their breed.

Read more: http://www.caller.com/entertainment/events/cat-show-brings-purrfect-cats-to-the-omni-hotel_92265800
November 28, 2014

Woman stole more than $6,000 of Kiolbassa sausage

SAN ANTONIO — Police arrested a woman Tuesday evening suspected of stealing a pallet of sausage worth more than $6,000 from the Kiolbassa Provision Company.

Regina Shaw, a former employee, was caught on camera Sept. 14 taking a pallet of meat with an estimated value of more than $6,400 dollars from the company, 1325 S. Brazos St., according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Shortly after the theft, a man who had purchased some of the hot meat wrote a letter to the company explaining that not only had he purchased a few boxes of sausage from Shaw, 45, but had also accepted additional meat to settle a debt that Shaw could not repay, the affidavit said.

Representatives from Kiolbassa supplied authorities with images of Shaw in the act along with the letter, seeking to press charges.

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/article/Woman-charged-with-theft-of-more-than-6-000-of-5919466.php

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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, 02:57 AM
Number of posts: 107,808

About TexasTowelie

Retired/disabled 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!

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