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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: 68,418

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

Groups still pushing for changes to Texas social studies textbooks

A week before the State Board of Education is set to adopt new social studies textbooks for Texas public schools for the first time in a dozen years, groups that have taken issue with the books’ content still are calling on some publishers to make revisions.

Academics and environmental education groups reiterated an argument Wednesday that elementary and intermediate school social studies textbooks by mega-publishers McGraw-Hill and Pearson contain “inaccurate and misleading information about climate change” and the role humans have played in it. They also warned that adopting the texts as they are now could have national implications because Texas — as one of the country’s most populous states with one of the largest textbook markets — has a major influence on the textbooks that end up in schools in many other states...

The 15-member elected education board will adopt social studies textbooks for all grades on Nov. 21, along with hundreds of other instructional materials covering other subject areas, including online tools. The books will be used for at least a half-dozen years, if not longer, and will appear in classrooms starting next fall. The public will have another chance to comment on the textbooks Tuesday before the education board takes its final vote later in the week.

-snip-

Two of the four publishers that the left-leaning education watchdog group Texas Freedom Network targeted in September over climate change-related issues in their textbooks have since made sufficient changes, a spokesman for the group said. However, the other two — McGraw-Hill and Pearson — have not, Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller said Wednesday, contending that the companies are unwilling to do so because they are trying to increase their odds of gaining approval from an education board that used to be dominated by staunchly conservative Republicans.

Read more: http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/groups-still-pushing-for-changes-to-texas-social-s/nh6FW/?icmp=statesman_internallink_invitationbox_apr2013_statesmanstubtomystatesmanpremium

Rick Perry avoids holding rifle in South Carolina

Outgoing Texas Gov. Rick Perry wasn't photographed holding a gun while touring a gun factory Tuesday in South Carolina, and one key ally of his says that was intentional.

The possible 2016 presidential candidate stopped by the gun manufacturer PTR Industries in Aynor for a Veterans Day event, where a special rifle was presented to a wounded veteran involved with the Special Operations Wounded Warriors charity.

Perry was intentional about putting the veteran — not himself -- front and center during the ceremony.

Katon Dawson, a close Perry ally and former chairman of the state's Republican Party, told the Sun News in South Carolina that Perry wouldn't handle the rifle because he's involved in a court case in Texas, where he was indicted on counts alleging coercion of a public servant and abuse of his official capacity.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/12/politics/rick-perry-gun/index.html?hpt=po_c2

Stockman, aides get federal grand jury subpoenas

Retiring U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman and three of his Capitol Hill aides notified Congress on Wednesday that they have been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in an ongoing criminal investigation.

Stockman, a Clear Lake Republican who lost a primary election for U.S. Senate this year, did not divulge the nature of the federal probe.

The House Ethics Committee has been looking into allegations of illegal campaign contributions and falsified payroll records brought to light by watchdog groups, the Houston Chronicle and congressional investigators.

In a formal statement read by a clerk on the House floor, Stockman acknowledged the subpoenas and said he was conferring with his lawyers to determine whether compliance would be “consistent with the privileges and rights of the House.”

Read more: http://blog.chron.com/txpotomac/2014/11/75288/

Sen. Charles Perry files bill to make it easier to get a concealed handgun license in Texas

AUSTIN – State Sen. Charles Perry said Wednesday he wants to make it easier for some Texans to get a concealed handgun license.

Perry, R-Lubbock, filed a bill that would reduce the minimum caliber training for concealed handgun licensing, from .32 caliber to .22 caliber.

“As a strong advocate for Second Amendment rights, I am always looking for ways to simplify handgun licensing and make access easier for all,” Perry said after filing Senate Bill 179. “This bill allows for individuals looking to carry a smaller caliber weapon the flexibility to practice and test on the weapon they will actually be carrying day-to-day.”

The Texas State Rifle Association welcomes Perry’s proposal because some Texans have a difficult time handling .32 caliber weapons

Read more: http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2014-11-12/sen-perry-files-bill-make-it-easier-get-concealed-handgun-license-texas#.VGPyxhbuPoE

Feds Have New Leverage in Medicaid Showdown

If Texas wants to keep receiving billions of federal dollars to help hospitals care for uninsured patients, state lawmakers may have to look again at expanding Medicaid coverage for impoverished adults, some political observers say.

That's because in 2016, Texas will have to ask the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to renew a five-year waiver to pump $29 billion into state health care coffers.

Since landing its first such waiver in 2011, Texas leaders have defiantly refused to expand Medicaid as envisioned under the Affordable Care Act, leaving more than 1 million impoverished Texans with no health insurance.

With the waiver renewal nigh, observers said, there's some expectation that the federal agency will hold the waiver approval hostage in exchange for Medicaid expansion.

Read more: http://www.texastribune.org/2014/11/11/feds-consider-waiver-while-lawmakers-debate-medica/

Cowboys activate Josh Brent months after intoxication manslaughter conviction

Josh Brent became a member of the Cowboys’ 53-man roster Tuesday.

Linebacker Tim Dobbins was waived to make room for Brent, the defensive tackle just finished serving a 10-game suspension.

“He’s had a couple of good weeks of practice,” Dallas coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s too heavy right now. He’s trying to get his weight down. He’s done a good job making some gradual progress on that…He’s done a good job of coming back, getting himself in physical condition and practicing. This is the NFL. It’s a challenge and when the ball is snapped you better be ready to do it.”

Brent, 26, is eligible to make his 2014 debut in the Cowboys’ next game against the New York Giants on Nov. 23. He hasn’t played in 23 months.

Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/dallas-cowboys/headlines/20141111-cowboys-activate-josh-brent-months-after-intoxication-manslaughter-conviction.ece

First day of filing draws more than 350 bills in Texas Legislature

There might still be two months before the 84th legislative session starts, but eager lawmakers aren't waiting to get their legislation on the table.

On Monday, the first day that legislation can be submitted, Texas lawmakers filed more than 350 bills, addressing topics including guns, texting while driving, health, transportation and much more.

Monday’s filings do not guarantee that the Legislature would consider the bills, and the assigned bill numbers have no impact on how legislation is taken up in committees. But the early attention can be a benefit ahead of the session, which starts Jan. 13.

"I think getting a low number, getting an early scheduled hearing, I think that helps you," said state Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland. "When you get a bill filed early, it gives you a chance and it gives people a chance to kind of view it and know its there."

Read more: http://www.theeagle.com/news/texas/first-day-of-filing-draws-more-than-bills-in-texas/article_290abe36-69bf-11e4-9109-879b48e8cabb.html

[font color=green]The article provides a good summary of the bills being considered next year.[/font]

Greg Abbott names Mexican-born county judge secretary of state

Continuing his courtship of Hispanic voters and the Rio Grande Valley, Gov.-elect Greg Abbott Tuesday announced his intention to nominate Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos as secretary of state, the state’s top election official and the governor’s liaison on border issues and Mexico affairs.

Born in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Cascos immigrated to the United States as a child and became a permanent resident and citizen in adolescence. A Republican, he was just re-elected to a third term as Cameron County judge.

“On election night I made a promise to the people of Texas that I would begin work immediately to keep Texas the beacon of opportunity and the best state in the United States of America. I also promised that I would fight for all Texans and that I would unite our great state with key appointments that reflect both the geography and the diversity of our great state,” Abbott said at a late-afternoon press conference with Cascos at the Capitol. “Texans from every corner of the state need to feel that they are part of the state’s leadership, that they are co-authors of our future.”

Abbott noted that his first trip since his election was to the Valley Tuesday to meet with the Brownsville Economic Development Council, and that he had returned to Austin accompanied by Cascos, his wife and daughters to announce the judge’s appointment.

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/gov-elect-abbott-names-mexican-born-county-judge-s/nh5Sj/

[font color=green]Abbott probably realized that he could pay him half of what an American-born judge would want for the same job.[/font]

‘You’ll see me again,’ outgoing Texas Gov. Rick Perry tells South Carolina audience

This week alone, Gov. Rick Perry spent two days in New Hampshire, the first presidential primary state, and two days in South Carolina, the second primary state.

And his frequent references to a future presidential campaign means new hints shouldn’t come as a surprise. But he did inch even closer to an announcement on Tuesday.

At a lunch sponsored by the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, he told the crowd on Tuesday that, “I’ve got about 60 more days of being the governor of the state of Texas and then I’m going to do something different.”

He concluded with, “You’ll see me again,” according to the Myrtle Beach Sun News.

Read more: http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2014/11/rick-perry-moving-on-to-something-different.html/

Predatory Lenders and Texas Legislators Still Taking Advantage of Military Veterans

By Carol Morgan

America will witness a lot of speeches and flags, free dinners and ceremonies to honor our veterans today. Our democratically-elected opportunists will be there too, obtaining plenty of free political mileage. Unfortunately, after the speeches and photo-ops are over, the brave men and women of our armed services will be out of sight, and out of the minds of those who govern.

In addition to low pay, inadequate medical treatment and few career opportunities upon their return, veterans and their families have another problem to contend with that’s not being addressed by our legislators, especially in Texas.

Predatory lenders and rent-to-own businesses have specifically targeted military veterans as some of their most valued customers by setting up office right outside of military bases. The Military Lending Act of 2006 was designed to stop this egregious practice, but the parasitic credit finance industry discovered ways to circumvent the law, by offering longer term loans or loans over $2000, which is not prevented by the MLA.

A Wall Street Journal piece elaborated on the flagrant abuses of finance companies that sometimes lead to disciplinary action or even a military discharge. Veterans don’t deserve this kind of robbery. Even the proposed cap of 36 percent interest is outrageously high, but a vast improvement over loans of 285 percent which effectively guarantee that the loan is never paid off; income for life for predatory lenders.

Little has been done in Texas to tamp down the viral contagion of rent-a-centers, car-title loans, and payday lending that keep people in perpetual debt.

The Texas Legislature has been kicking the can down the road to cities like Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston, forcing them to craft local ordinances to deal with the problem because they refuse to do so.

Perhaps, it’s the huge donations that the loan sharks give to legislators (or even Governors—predatory lenders loved Abbott to the tune of a quarter million in donations) or maybe it’s because there are legislators who made their millions from this unethical industry.

Republican House member Gary Elkins, who owns a long chain of predatory lending stores all across Texas, is facing prosecution in two different cities for his refusal to abide by the law.

Last week, in spite of his legal transgressions, Representative Elkins was handily re-elected to District 135.

Oh, and just a side note, former Republican Representative Vicki Truitt is now a lobbyist for Ace Cash Express.

These people have no shame.

In September, the Department of Defense announced a proposed overhaul of the MLA and they are still accepting comments and feedback.

So perhaps, a good way to honor all veterans is by adding your comments on the DOD Electronic Public Inspection desk at this link: http://tinyurl.com/pb8ar8y or adding your name to the list at Public Citizen.

These companies and their legislative partners need to feel the wrath of the citizens. To prey on veterans is a despicable act, even for a politician.

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Carol Morgan is a career/college counselor, writer, speaker, former Democratic candidate for the Texas House and the award-winning author of Of Tapestry, Time and Tears, a historical fiction about the 1947 Partition of India. Email Carol at elizabethcmorgan@sbcglobal.net , follow her on Twitter and on Facebook or visit her writer’s blog at www.carolmorgan.org

http://lubbockonline.com/interact/blog-post/carol-morgan/2014-11-10/predatory-lenders-and-texas-legislators-still-taking#.VGGl2hbuPoE

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