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TexasTowelie

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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: 66,091

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

Could first U.S. offshore wind farm be in Texas?


The Ormonde offshore wind farm off the coast of England was developed by Baryonyx CEO Ian Hatton, who is leading the GOWind project off South Padre Island. The Texas wind turbines will be similar in design to those in Ormonde. (Baryonyx)

Five miles off the coast of South Padre Island lays the beginning of the Gulf Offshore Wind Project, which developers like to refer to by the optimistic acronym GOWind.

Right now the only thing marking the 41,000 acres in the Gulf of Mexico that have been leased is a buoy recording the paths of the birds and bats flying overhead. But in three years' time, a team including university professors and a former British oil executive is hoping to have the nation’s first commercial scale wind farm installed and eventually generating enough power for 1.8 million homes – at least when the wind is blowing.

“It makes the most sense for Texas to have the first offshore wind farm. It’s already the leader in onshore wind power,” said Heather Otten, chief development officer for Austin-based Baryonyx, the company leading the project. “But there’s a lot more work that goes into an offshore project than an onshore project, I can tell you that.”

While offshore wind power has taken off in countries like Denmark and Japan, the United States has yet to get past the starting line. A wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod was supposed to be the nation’s first, but after more than a decade-long fight with the likes of powerful residents like the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy and billionaire William I. Koch, that project remains mired in litigation.

More at http://res.dallasnews.com/interactives/2013_November/offshorewind/ .



Cross-posted in Texas group.

Could first U.S. offshore wind farm be in Texas?


The Ormonde offshore wind farm off the coast of England was developed by Baryonyx CEO Ian Hatton, who is leading the GOWind project off South Padre Island. The Texas wind turbines will be similar in design to those in Ormonde. (Baryonyx)

Five miles off the coast of South Padre Island lays the beginning of the Gulf Offshore Wind Project, which developers like to refer to by the optimistic acronym GOWind.

Right now the only thing marking the 41,000 acres in the Gulf of Mexico that have been leased is a buoy recording the paths of the birds and bats flying overhead. But in three years' time, a team including university professors and a former British oil executive is hoping to have the nation’s first commercial scale wind farm installed and eventually generating enough power for 1.8 million homes – at least when the wind is blowing.

“It makes the most sense for Texas to have the first offshore wind farm. It’s already the leader in onshore wind power,” said Heather Otten, chief development officer for Austin-based Baryonyx, the company leading the project. “But there’s a lot more work that goes into an offshore project than an onshore project, I can tell you that.”

While offshore wind power has taken off in countries like Denmark and Japan, the United States has yet to get past the starting line. A wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod was supposed to be the nation’s first, but after more than a decade-long fight with the likes of powerful residents like the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy and billionaire William I. Koch, that project remains mired in litigation.

More at http://res.dallasnews.com/interactives/2013_November/offshorewind/ .



Cross-posted in Environment & Energy group.

Today's kids can't run like their parents could, study finds

Today’s kids can’t keep up with their parents. An analysis of studies on millions of children around the world finds they don’t run as fast or as far as their parents did when they were young.

On average, it takes children 90 seconds longer to run a mile than their counterparts did 30 years ago. Heart-related fitness has declined 5 percent per decade since 1975 for children ages 9 to 17.

The American Heart Association, whose conference featured the research on Tuesday, says it’s the first to show that children’s fitness has declined worldwide over the last three decades.

“It makes sense. We have kids that are less active than before,” said Dr. Stephen Daniels, a University of Colorado pediatrician and spokesman for the heart association.

More at http://www.dallasnews.com/lifestyles/health-and-fitness/fitness/20131119-today-s-kids-can-t-run-like-their-parents-could-study-finds.ece .

Ken Anderson’s law license officially canceled

The Texas Supreme Court canceled Ken Anderson’s law license Tuesday.

Anderson had agreed to give up his law license to settle a civil lawsuit, filed by the State Bar of Texas, that accused him of professional misconduct in his prosecution of Michael Morton in 1986-87.

In an order signed by all nine justices, the Supreme Court determined that accepting Anderson’s resignation was “in the best interest of the public and the profession.”

“The court deems the professional misconduct (of Anderson) conclusively established for all purposes,” the order read. “Ken Anderson must immediately surrender his state bar card and Texas law license to the clerk of the Supreme Court of Texas.”

Without a license, Anderson is barred from practicing law, giving legal advice or describing himself as an attorney.

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/ken-andersons-law-license-officially-canceled/nbxtf/ .

UT Young Conservatives call off ‘catch an illegal immigrant’ stunt

After denunciations from both major political parties and University of Texas President Bill Powers, the UT chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas has called off a “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” event set for Wednesday.

In a statement, Lorenzo Garcia, the group’s chairman, said members were concerned “that the university will retaliate against them and that the protest against the event could create a safety issue for our volunteers.”

The event was to have featured students catching other students posing as illegal immigrants and then turning them in for a $25 gift card. The group said the event would be staged to provoke discussion about illegal immigration, which it certainly did.

In a statement, Powers said, “I ask YCT … to not demean their fellow students.” The matter even became an issue in the race for governor because Garcia recently worked for Attorney General Greg Abbott. The Abbott campaign called the event “repugnant.”

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/local-education/ut-young-conservatives-call-off-catch-an-illegal-i/nbxjN/ .

Too much money to lend: Banks must tackle a new problem of the Eagle Ford Shale



BEEVILLE – South Texas banks continue to flood with money thanks to Eagle Ford Shale and local landowners who have leased their land and mineral rights to energy companies.

While the amount of growth and new wealth in the area is undeniable, can too much money be a bad thing? Many of the banks that are based in the core of the Eagle Ford Shale are now having trouble finding ways to lend the influx of money.

-snip-

Renato Ramirez, CEO and chairman of the board at International Bank of Commerce (IBC), said that many banks in the Eagle Ford Shale area became undercapitalized after the money started pouring in, as regulators increased the required capital to as much as 12% of assets, and banks saw historically low interest rates on investment alternatives.

-snip-

Ramirez said that seasoned loan officers are no longer available and loans have become more difficult. “Banks in rural America have very limited loan demand and must rely on government agency or government guaranteed bonds for the majority of their investments,” he said.

More at http://mysoutex.com/view/full_story_progress/24062921/article-Too-much-money-to-lend--Banks-must-tackle-a-new-problem-of-the-Eagle-Ford-Shale?instance=local_area (subscription required).

[font color=green]Now that the farmers and ranchers in the area are flush with royalty money there isn't a market for loans from the banks; therefore, they have to rely on funding from the government to meet their profit margins. Who would expect that in that in this conservative area of the state that the bankers are "damn socialists!"[/font]

Texas officials from both parties want to extend high-risk insurance pool

Following the tumultuous rollout of the federally run health insurance marketplaces, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Monday asked Texas’ insurance commissioner to delay the termination of the state’s high-risk pool.

Dewhurst said in a letter to Insurance Commissioner Julia Rathgeber that health care for some Texans “is now threatened by Obamacare mandates” and that the failure of the federal law overhauling health insurance in the U.S. “has left far too many vulnerable citizens with no clear path to coverage.”

-snip-

The Texas Health Insurance Pool, which is slated to go away Jan. 1, was created by the Legislature to give coverage to Texans who were locked out of conventional health plans due to pre-existing conditions. The 23,000 people who enrolled in plans through the pool were supposed to be able to enroll in policies offered on the federally run marketplace established by the Affordable Care Act.

-snip-

By Monday evening, Rathgeber had not made a final decision on Dewhurst’s request. The commissioner must sign off on any plan to terminate the high-risk pool, according to a bill passed last legislative session.

The complete article is at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/texas-officials-from-both-parties-want-to-extend-h/nbxN4/ (subscription required).

[font color=green]About 3,000 people in Texas have been enrolled through the federal government Website. Rep. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) also asked the insurance commissioner to extend the risk pool. However, Rep. Garnett Coleman (D-Houston) accused Dewhurst of playing politics and pointed out that the cost of insurance via the high-risk pool is twice as expensive as it is in the marketplace under the ACA.[/font]

San Antonio Baptist Health System pays $3.7M to settle Medicare fraud suit

SAN ANTONIO — Baptist Health System has paid nearly $3.7 million to the Justice Department to settle a whistle-blower lawsuit that alleged that the medical provider defrauded the Medicare program, U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman announced Monday.

More than $660,000 of the settlement goes to Norma G. Rivera, a former insurance auditor for Baptist who filed the “qui tam,” or whistleblower, lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in San Antonio under seal and made public Monday after the settlement had been reached.

“The settlement resolves a qui tam action alleging certain claims submitted to Medicare from 2003-2008 were submitted to Medicare without complete information about other payer sources,” Baptist said in a statement Monday. “The settlement was unrelated to the health care services, which met quality and medical necessity standards.”

More at http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/article/Baptist-pays-3-7M-to-settle-Medicare-fraud-suit-4991573.php .

A Generation Struggling: Rich Kids are Losing

By Dr. Brian Carr
President, Behavioral Health Associates, Lubbock, Texas, 1991-Present
Chairman, City of Lubbock Board of Health, 2013
Submitted on November 18, 2013 - 8:11am


It is somewhat surprising that the offspring of the affluent today are more distressed, more reactionary to problems, than other youth. High rates of substance abuse, depression, anxiety, cheating and stealing give a new meaning to “having it all”.

Suniya S. Luthar, Ph.D. in the December issue of Psychology Today notes that it is widely accepted in America that youth in poverty are at-risk for being troubled. Low family income is a major determinant of stress and problems.

But increasingly, significant problems are occurring at the other end of the socioeconomic spectrum, among youth who are on the fast track to the most prestigious universities and well-paying, high-status careers in America. Their parents’ annual income may be double or more the national average. Even with these advantages this group shows serious levels of maladjustment as teens and young adults.

Substance abuse, including hard drugs, may be much higher in this privileged group as they binge-drink and use marijuana at rates higher than their matched peer group who are less well-funded. Crime appears to be higher with the difference between rich and poor being the types of rule-breaking—wide spread cheating and random acts of delinquency, such as stealing from parents or peers, are more common among the rich, while inner-city teens are apt to commit crimes related to self-defense, such as carrying a weapon.

Research tends to find that affluent youths are not more troubled than others prior to adolescence. In my own practice the difference in behavior problems found in the older child versus those who have entered their teen years is significant. The younger child usually is responding simply to the lack of parental controls and will not engage in major infractions. However, the teenager may become involved in behaviors and actions that are gross violations of both their parent’s rules as well as the laws of the land.

I believe that some of this acting-out behavior is due to the pressure that is started to be applied when the child starts in middle school and life-goals start to be identified. What are their plans after high school? The child begins to focus on what is seen as important…primarily how to make lots of money!

Pride in performance becomes paramount and negative responses are heaped on the child who is not achieving. Criticism is often the principle communication between parent and teenager with good performance being rated as “only to be expected”. Parents serve as blocking guards in prompting the advance of their son or daughter. The expectation is that high marks are to be given even with marginal effort as the child is labelled as “being from a good family”.

Unfortunately, upon graduating from high school, a growing percentage of these affluent youth will discover the world is not circling around them. For those who enroll in college the message is “Work Hard and Party Hard” which may be their academic undoing as they fail to attend class or turn in assignments. Expectations for good grades may create stress on the student as they (or their parents) can no longer bully the professor into assigning a higher grade.

Seeing the success of their parents these young adults are frustrated by their own lack of attainment. They do not want to accept that it may take strong persistent effort over many years to set the stage for their ultimate success. They may have difficulty in seeking out other forms of self-definition that are not based on salary or material items.

We need to change our focus on performance as the exclusive measure of success among our people. If competition is the primary form of achievement than the appreciation of the commitment of friendship is difficult as goals become more important than friends. This is not a problem for someone else but instead is a threat to our society as these affluent children will become the leaders of tomorrow with their values shaping our society. In many ways I think we are already seeing the “me-first” attitude among those who are well off. The disdain for those who have achieved less is seen in the rise of the demands made against those are less successful.

We are losing our children to unrealistic expectations and setting the moment for class warfare if we don’t stop our exclusive focus on what we do rather than who we are.

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http://lubbockonline.com/interact/blog-post/dr-brian-carr/2013-11-18/generation-struggling-rich-kids-are-losing

New Mexico: We won’t let the Rio Grande River flow into Texas anymore

SANTA FE — No water for you. That’s the message the state of New Mexico delivered to Texas in a statement Friday, saying it will no longer allow the Rio Grande River to continue its course into the Lone Star State.

“We were just sitting around, wishing we had something to do when we came up with this idea,” said New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez. “We’ve never liked Texans anyway, so we always think it’s fun to come up with ways to tick them off. They come over here to our ski resorts, flashing their big money and ordering us around. Well, we’ll see how they like this.”

Engineers for the state say they will change the river’s course, diverting it to California instead. Why California?

“They’ve been really good to us, what with them making movies here and all,” Martinez said. “We thought this would be a nice way to say ‘thanks for your business.’”

More at http://www.dallasvoice.com/mexico-rio-grande-river-flow-texas-anymore-10161607.html .
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