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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: 66,212

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

La Feria school district faces transgender yearbook dispute

LA FERIA — A civil rights group Wednesday demanded that the La Feria school district allow an 18-year-old transgender student to wear a tuxedo in his high school yearbook photograph.

The Southern Poverty Law Center accused the school district of violating federal law when it denied Jeydon Loredo his right to wear the tuxedo in the yearbook, said Alesdair Ittelson, an attorney with the Alabama-based organization.

“I want to be in the yearbook like everybody because it shows who I really am and down the road I don’t want people to forget me,” Jeydon said in an interview.

The law center said in a press release: “Though Jeydon was assigned a female gender at birth, his gender identity — his internal sense of gender — is male.”

More at http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/local/article_16c2980c-4cdd-11e3-9b20-001a4bcf6878.html .

Cross-posted at Texas Group.

La Feria school district faces transgender yearbook dispute

LA FERIA — A civil rights group Wednesday demanded that the La Feria school district allow an 18-year-old transgender student to wear a tuxedo in his high school yearbook photograph.

The Southern Poverty Law Center accused the school district of violating federal law when it denied Jeydon Loredo his right to wear the tuxedo in the yearbook, said Alesdair Ittelson, an attorney with the Alabama-based organization.

“I want to be in the yearbook like everybody because it shows who I really am and down the road I don’t want people to forget me,” Jeydon said in an interview.

The law center said in a press release: “Though Jeydon was assigned a female gender at birth, his gender identity — his internal sense of gender — is male.”

More at http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/local/article_16c2980c-4cdd-11e3-9b20-001a4bcf6878.html .

Cross-posted at LGBT Group.

Pink diamond sold for more than $83 million



An enormous diamond known as "The Pink Star" sold for more than $83 million at auction Wednesday night, far surpassing its expected price.

Sotheby's says the sale the vivid and flawless 59.60-carat pink diamond is the highest price ever paid for a gemstone at auction.

Prior to the sale to the successful bidder, representing an anonymous buyer, the diamond was estimated to fetch more than $60 million. The bidding opened above $52 million, and it closed with the playing of the "Pink Panther" movie's theme music.

The exact sale price of "The Pink Star" was 76.325 million Swiss francs, or $83.425 million. It had been introduced prior to the bidding as "one of the most remarkable gems ever to appear at auction."

More at http://www.theeagle.com/news/world/article_6d67ddc7-3a5e-5e86-ae51-14f756dacbf8.html .

Ken Anderson begins serving jail sentence in Michael Morton case

Former Williamson County prosecutor Ken Anderson was booked into jail Tuesday to begin his 10-day sentence for contempt of court in connection with the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton. Anderson already has one day of credit for time served.

District Judge Kelly Moore found Anderson in criminal contempt of court on Nov. 8 for telling Morton’s trial judge in a 1987 pretrial hearing that he had no evidence favorable to Morton. Morton spent almost 25 years in prison after he was falsely convicted of murder for the death of his wife.

Kelly also ordered Anderson to pay a $500 fine and serve 500 hours of community service within five years.

Anderson was Williamson County’s district attorney for 16 years before he became a district judge in 2002. He was accused of hiding two pieces of evidence in the Morton case that fit with the defense’s theory that Morton’s wife, Christine, was killed by a stranger who entered their home through an unlocked back door.

More at http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/ken-anderson-begins-serving-jail-sentence-in-micha/nbrfH/?icmp=statesman_internallink_textlink_apr2013_statesmanstubtomystatesman_launch (subscription required).

Police fundraising group sues attorney general


Facing up to $1 million in fines, an Austin-based nonprofit is going to court to keep Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott out of its business.

The Texas State Troopers Association filed a lawsuit in federal court last week asking a judge to grant an injunction ordering Abbott’s office to stop its “course of intimidation and discrimination against the nonprofit.”

The group has come under fire by the state for years for spending the majority of its money on telemarketing instead of services to members. Abbott’s office has warned people to think twice before supporting the troopers association. The Department of Public Safety has advised donors to stay away from groups whose names include “state troopers.”

In its lawsuit, the troopers association accuses the attorney general’s office of trying to bully the group into signing an agreement that would force executive director Claude Hart to resign, as well as board members Lee Johnson, Anne Johnson and Herschel Henderson. Those leaders would also be banned from working for or volunteering with any Texas organization that purports to benefit public safety, the document states.

More at http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/local/police-fundraising-group-sues-attorney-general/nbrd6/ (subscription required).

[font color=green]The story continues with information that indicates that the group returns only a small percentage of donations back to its members with the bulk of expenses going to a telemarketing firm. The AG's office is trying to force the current leadership of the group to resign by enticing the group with a reduction of their fine from $1 million to $150,000 if they comply with the terms of the settlement.[/font]

Nearly 3,000 Texans enrolled in marketplace insurance plan

In Texas, 2,991 people successfully signed up for private health insurance plans in the first month of the federally run marketplace.

That compares with about 6 million Texas residents who are uninsured and an estimated 2 million Texans eligible for tax credits to buy health insurance.

So far, of the 108,410 Texans who applied for coverage under the Affordable Care Act, 80,960 people, or 75 percent, were deemed eligible to enroll in a marketplace plan. Meanwhile, 11,682 Texans, or 11 percent of applicants, were determined to be eligible for public assistance through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

The federal government estimated that 7 million Americans should be signed up by end of March. No one, however, seems willing to guess how many Texans will be enrolled by then.

Source: http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/nearly-3000-texans-enrolled/nbrf6/ (subscription required).

Sen. John Cornyn calls for halt to ACA 'navigator' program citing O'Keefe video

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn on Tuesday called for axing the Affordable Care Act’s “navigator” program that uses federal dollars to pay for workers to sign people up for health insurance. Cornyn, a vocal opponent of the health insurance law, cited a video by a conservative activist attempting to show fraud by federally funded workers in North Texas.

James O’Keefe, founder of the nonprofit Project Veritas, had investigators use hidden cameras to visit offices of the National Urban League in Dallas and Irving, where federally funded “navigators” worked to sign people up for health insurance under the law known as “Obamacare.” The navigators, who were funded by a $376,000 federal grant, appeared to tell an investigator to lie about his income in order to maximize the amount of federal subsidies he could get.

“Don’t get yourself in trouble by declaring it now,” one worker appeared to tell the investigator about off-the-books income. The video, which some liberal blogs have said was heavily edited, also showed another person telling the investigator to lie about his smoking to keep his premium lower.

The National Urban League in Dallas responded by firing or suspending some of the workers.

Cornyn said in a news release that the navigators’ actions are “yet another broken piece of a deeply flawed system,” and that President Barack Obama should halt the program, which has already been plagued by serious computer problems and insurance cancellations.

Meanwhile, supporters of the health insurance overhaul sought to remind the public that reputable organizations exist to help people buy health coverage through marketplaces set up by the law.

O’Keefe gained notoriety for videos made as part of his stated mission to expose corruption and fraud. Some of his targets include National Public Radio, which O’Keefe sought to show in 2011 provided slanted news coverage; the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, that O’Keefe said in 2009 engaged in behavior that promoted prostitution; and U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., whose staff O’Keefe wanted to prove ignored constituent calls.

News reports show that his endeavors have had mixed results. An NPR executive resigned after the Veritas video. But ACORN workers were cleared of wrongdoing following an investigation. Also, O’Keefe pleaded guilty of entering a U.S. government property under false pretenses in the Landrieu case.

The office of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who’s running for governor as a Republican, took the opportunity after the new video’s release to bash the federal health law and the navigators.

“Any program that suggests Americans lie to game the system is a program that is out of control, and out of touch with what taxpayers want and deserve,” Abbott spokesman Jerry Strickland said in a statement.

Affordable Care Act supporter Elizabeth Colvin, director of Insure Central Texas, said that O’Keefe’s video shouldn’t hinder the efforts of her group, which uses “certified application counselors” who do the same job as navigators but who don’t get federal grant money.

“It’s disappointing that people aren’t providing the same high-quality services that we are,” Colvin said.

Sherelyn Roberts, public relations coordinator for the Urban League of Greater Dallas, said that her organization doesn’t condone misleading the public and that some of the people in the video were terminated or suspended.

But the league was also defensive. “We will not sit idly or silently as agenda-driven individuals operating under false pretenses attempt to undermine our efforts to serve those who need it most,” the group’s statement said.

As for O’Keefe, he promised more video would come.

http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/sen-john-cornyn-calls-for-halt-to-aca-navigator-pr/nbqmB/

Wendy Can Win

[font color=green]A blog from that liberal bastion of Texas: LUBBOCK! Check out the comments to see the liberals pile on in support of Wendy Davis.[/font]


By Kenny Ketner

Today is the first day of the filing period for the 2014 Primary elections, and Wendy Davis officially filed for Governor in the Democratic Party Primary. Like many others, I’m fired up for Wendy at the top of the ticket!

But can she win? Yes she can, and here’s why.

She is a lightning rod of energy for her supporters

I have been active in Texas Democratic Party politics since 2004. It’s plain to see that Wendy Davis has generated more excitement than any Democratic candidate for Governor in that time, hands down. Tony Sanchez, Chris Bell, and Bill White were all excellent candidates in their own times, but none of them could create excitement like Wendy. In the moment of her successful filibuster, in front of hundreds of thousands watching live, Davis demonstrated that oppression can be resisted, that Texas Republicans can be beaten. She creates interest among the disinterested and gives voice to the voiceless. Existing activists will work harder and new volunteers will join the ranks as well.

Rick Perry and Ted Cruz are national embarrassments

Everything is bigger in Texas, and that is especially true of the political buffoonery of Perry and Cruz. Perry still pretends to run for President, perhaps blissfully unaware that he polls terribly even in Texas. Only three percent of Texas Republicans think Perry should run for President (http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/rick-perry-goes-bat-rick-scott-bobby-jindal-and-hits-iowa-2016-beckons). Ask Americans about Rick Perry, and they remember gaffes, goofy policy ideas, and obnoxious radio ads trying to poach businesses from other states. The only "Texas Miracle" is that Rick Perry is not booed off of every stage he goes to.

Meanwhile, Ted Cruz spent the Summer terrifying American voters as the Senate’s Son of Sam-I-Am. His extremism, obstruction, and McCarthyite tactics have made him the poster child of everything wrong with the United States Congress. Americans are connecting the dots from Cruz back to Greg Abbott, the political mentor of Ted Cruz and the most likely Republican challenger to face Wendy Davis in 2014. It’s no stretch to say that righteous fury against Ted Cruz will translate into national support for Wendy Davis.

The Texas GOP has gone out of its way to alienate women

You know the Texas GOP has a problem relating to women when the highest elected woman in Texas (who happens to be a Republican) tells them so. Texas Comptroller Susan Combs gave an interview that took Texas Republicans to task regarding their attitude toward women. She said:

"Tell me that you give a flip about women’s interests. If all you want to talk about is my biology,
‘Gee what happened to my brain?’ That is my point. It is not all south of the waistline."


Watch the whole 40-second clip for the full effect of her words. Unlike Texas women who have been voting Republican, you won’t be disappointed.

Republicans present no solutions, only hot-button wedge issues

As Texas right-wing pundits pat themselves on the back for their cleverness at referring to Davis as "Abortion Barbie," sensible voters shake their heads and wonder what happened to American political discourse. As Republican leaders push science denial and culture wars in the classroom when Texas schools are still billions of dollars short, Texas parents wonder why Republican leaders refuse to tackle public education every single legislative session. As Texas Republicans rant about sanctuary cities, Texas workers wonder where all the good jobs are. The GOP leadership in Austin has had every opportunity to make progress on the core issues that Texans really care about. But, they would rather punt on jobs, education, and health care in favor of whatever wedge issue is playing on talk radio that week. Wendy can win with straight talk to Texas families about what’s really important in their lives.

Young voters overwhelmingly reject the Republican Party

Expanding on the results of a March RNC report, a June report commissioned by the CRNC concluded that the GOP outreach to young voters sucks. Like really, really sucks. People under 30 reject the Republican worldview, even in red states like Texas. For example, the report asks persuadable voters what words come to mind associated with the GOP: "closed-minded, racist, rigid, old-fashioned" were common responses. The next generations are not voting Republican, and the GOP is running out of demographics to build its base.

All eyes are on Texas in 2014

For the first time in decades, Texas will be a national issue.

The GOP cleaned up in 2010 because the Tea Party movement made a national issue front and center in a Governor election year. Now that same Tea Party movement is eating the GOP alive and turning off American voters. To drive a stake through the Tea Party vampire’s heart, Democrats need to win Texas. This is well-understood nationally; making Texas a battleground state is therefore a top priority. Money and volunteers from outside of Texas will flow into Texas Democratic campaigns, not the other way around.

I feel pretty confident about my first steak dinner bet (with my friend and co-host Wade Wilkes of AM580 of course) of this election cycle: Wendy can win in 2014.

Election Day 2014 is already less than a year away. What will you do to turn Texas blue?


Kenny Ketner is the Lubbock County Democratic Party Chair. Follow him on twitter @lubbockleft or email him directly at kenny.ketner@gmail.com

http://lubbockonline.com/interact/blog-post/lubbockleft/2013-11-09/wendy-can-win

Perry faces tough opponent in possible presidential run: himself

DES MOINES, Iowa — When a swaggering, confident Rick Perry entered the presidential race two years ago, he was ahead in the polls and glancing over his shoulder at the field of opponents.

Now, as he rebuilds his reputation and tests if he can be competitive again, the first contestant he faces is in the mirror.

“He’s going to have to spend his time proving himself to people,” said Steve Grubbs, a Republican political strategist and former chairman of the Iowa state party. “The challenge is that people will be looking for major gaffes. It may not be fair. But for the time being, that seems to be his Achilles’ heel.”

Perry returned last week to Iowa, home of the nation’s first presidential contest, in full campaign mode — delivering speeches, meeting business leaders and shaking hands with state politicians.

More at http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/headlines/20131109-perry-faces-tough-opponent-in-possible-presidential-run-himself.ece

Vice President John Cornyn? Mitt Romney thought about it

The Texas senator was closer than he knew to becoming Mitt Romney’s running mate last year. After Romney aides gave him a list of two dozen potential picks, Romney picked 11, including Cornyn, according to a new book on the 2012 campaign, “Double Down,” by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. The aides provided the candidate with “preliminary research books” — something short of full fledged vetting material.

The next cut pared the list to five, the book reported, and Cornyn was eliminated at that point. No explanation is given.

Texas’ senior senator, now the No. 2 Senate Republican, said he only learned he was under consideration when the book was published this month.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit flattered to be on a list of distinguished Americans who Gov. Romney was considering for service as vice president,” Cornyn said Wednesday on his weekly call with Texas reporters.. “But I was never contacted by the campaign. Didn’t ask to be considered.”

More at http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2013/11/vice-president-john-cornyn-mitt-romney-thought-about-it.html/ .
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