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TexasTowelie

Profile Information

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: 66,024

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

Pit Stop: Nordheim inherits the waste, and few of the profits, from the South Texas oil boom

If you’re in Nordheim on a Thursday morning, chances are you’re heading to Elo Pfeifer’s place on Broadway. That’s the day Pfeifer smokes the sausages that some say are the best for miles around. They sell out fast. Unless you’ve ordered them beforehand, you’re probably out of luck.

Pfeifer has been cooking barbecue and selling goods from his non-air-conditioned general store since he sold the bar across the road in the early 1970s. Broadway Grocery has now become something of an institution in this tiny South Texas outpost of about 300 residents, an hour southeast of San Antonio.

Aside from Pfeifer’s store, and the bar that has stood on the corner of Broadway and First Avenue since 1933 and a school that teaches through 12th grade, there isn’t much to Nordheim except for shuttered-up storefronts and a population in decline.

But it shouldn’t be this way—and perhaps won’t be this way for much longer. Nordheim is surrounded by oil. A few years ago, DeWitt County, situated over the Eagle Ford Shale, exploded with one of the biggest oil booms in the country. As the Observer noted in 2011, nearby Cuero went from quiet ranching town to oil boomtown in just a few years. Cuero attracts about $250,000 a year in sales taxes from local businesses and makes $30,000 a month selling its water to oil companies for use in the fracking extraction process.

Read more: http://www.texasobserver.org/nordheim-fracking-waste-pits/

Related thread:
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Nov 7, 2014, 02:12 AM (1 replies)

Voters May Have Spoken But The Message Makes No Sense

By Carol Morgan

My 91 year old mother is always right. Always…

After every election she makes her routine pronouncement that goes something like this: Voters go to the polls not knowing why they’re voting or who will best represent their views. They don’t even know what they want, much less, who’s going to do it for them.

The number crunchers, bean counters, and data miners are frantically disaggregating the data from Tuesday and it echoes my mother’s wisdom.

Arkansas, Kentucky and West Virginia, the states that saw substantial drops in the proportion of their residents without insurance? They all elected Republican Senate candidates who oppose the Affordable Care Act.

Weird…

Reuters’ Mike Corones wrote an article on this bizarre post-election revelation mentioning all the holy crap moments in the world of America’s confused voters. The voters spoke, but we have no clue what the message was.

This observation from a Twitter political watcher: @bencasselman: “So voters want a higher minimum wage, legal pot, abortion access and GOP representation. Ok then…”

Yes, Ben, it’s confusing…I felt the same way. It does not compute.

And another: @jodyavirgan: “5/5 vote to raise the minimum wage; 3/4 to legalize weed; 6/7 to elect Republican senators. America, you’re a very interesting place”.

The issues on the ballot and the politicians who will administrate them do not match. The policies that voters embrace are the very issues that the GOP is against.

It reminds me of the cover of the UK’s Daily Mirror, the day after GWB’s reelection, which asked, "How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?

Why is this happening?

Just look at PoliTech’s video of Texas Tech students and how little they know and then, you’ll understand. Students couldn’t name the vice-president or who won the Civil War, but they knew everything about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.



Media should be educating voters and parsing issues, but they’re not. They eschew uncomfortable confrontations that would a shine a light on what matters, because it might anger one of their corporate sponsors.

A free press should be the lifeblood of a democracy, but I’m afraid it’s bled out. That lifeblood is somewhat anemic now. Afraid of losing their livelihood, many journalists are afraid to offend. It’s easier to go along to get along and make nice with people, than to lift the veil from unpleasant truths.

With very few exceptions, the majority of local reporters have willingly become Lubbock’s newest eunuchs, because journalistic courage has consequences. Much of the local post-election coverage read like an advertorial for the winners. The only thing lacking was “I approve this message”. No difficult questions asked, no specific answers offered.

Over the next few months, voters may be scratching their heads. They will claim they didn’t vote for cuts in Social Security and Medicare or tax cuts to billionaires or a blank check for energy to foul our air and deplete our water supply, but they did.

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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/2014-11-06/voters-may-have-spoken-message-makes-no-sense#.VFxcwxbuPoE

Permission granted to post this blog in its entirety.

Occupy America GOP Style

By Carol Morgan

Late last night, when it became apparent that a complete Republican occupation was taking place, I felt like the weeping Frenchman in George Mejat’s iconic photo; he watched through tears as German troops and tanks filed in to occupy Paris.

I’m not sure that voters realize what they just did, but in the months ahead, they will.

This election cost $3.67 billion, the most expensive midterms in history and most of that sum was used as legislative insurance for megadonors to protect their interests. Did all those television ads motivate voters to go to the polls? Certainly not, but the really big winner in this election was corporate television.

The 30% that turned out in Lubbock County is nothing to brag about and it makes me angry at those groups of newly-registered voters and other groups who aided and abetted last night’s defeat.

Every single year, we depend on them and year after year after year, they disappoint. They dishonor the noble concept of civic engagement, responsibility and commitment, as well as themselves.

Some non-voters even took to social media to brag about their non-participation with #whyvotemidterms. If you're one of those non-voting morons, you helped dig the hole to bury Democracy, especially in Texas.

Not voting as a form of protest is yokel-driven-stupidity in its purest form. NO ONE notices that you failed to vote and isn't that the crux of civil disobedience? To draw attention to a problem?

Look, kids, there is no such thing as a perfect candidate. There were some Democrats that I had to hold my nose as I voted for them, but when I considered the alternative, I knew it was a better choice. It’s true that sometimes you’re not voting "for" someone, as much as you are voting "against" the other.

All this B-movie political theater is too much for me, it’s evolved into corny verbal slap-stick that resembles professional wrestling. Unfortunately, we get the government we deserve. If you have any doubt about that, visit the KCBD Facebook page. It’s the dirty excrement-smeared bathroom wall for fools’ names and fools’ faces in public places.

Default voting will continue until we get money out of politics, excommunicate lobbyists from DC and Austin, and establish term limits. Unfortunately, none of this will be accomplished inside the Pink Dome or in the hallowed halls of the Capitol, but by populists and activists who operate outside of the 1% and the rubes who voted for them.

As for the next two years? Just you wait…a Dan Patrick Texas House will excoriate education further and allow more religious charter schools to siphon tax-payer dollars from public education. The good Christian Conservatives in Austin will enact more laws to protect the oil and gas industry and attempt an equal opportunity slavery redux, minus the black faces. The oil and gas attorneys, who masquerade as legislators, will pass more laws to negate local ones on water and fracking despite all their mantra-vows to local control.

Of course, they will use Tea Party rhetoric to sweeten and lessen the horrors: burdensome legislation, liberty, freedom, family values, hard-working men and women, etc.

You’d be wise to mark your calendar for Government Shutdown 2.0 very soon. This time it will be about ransoming the budget to obstruct immigration reform. Domestic terrorists like the uber-ambitious Ted Cruz learned that this strategy works. And just wait until the GOP cuts and privatizes Social Security and Medicare. We’ll be paying again for $50 million in hearings, not about the carefully orchestrated Benghazi lies, this time it will be about censures and impeachment.

The GOP is pretty rusty at governing. There’s a question mark as to whether they can legislate anything at all without some obstructionism or the word “no”.

I predict our country, especially Texas, is on a swift suicide course with deadly outcomes. You’d better gird up your loins, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

There will be plenty of buyer’s remorse going around, but too bad for you. There’s no return, exchange or refund policy for the poor and uninformed choices you made yesterday; no reset button or recall.

And I’m going to take a great deal of pleasure in saying, “I told you so.”

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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/2014-11-05/occupy-america-gop-style#.VFv2FhbuPoE

Permission granted to post this blog in its entirety.
Posted by TexasTowelie | Thu Nov 6, 2014, 06:36 PM (1 replies)

Gov. Rick Perry appears in court in abuse of power case


Gov. Rick Perry appears in court.

Update 10:25: Gov. Rick Perry’s lawyer argued Tuesday morning that the special prosecutor in the criminal case against the governor did not properly take an oath and should be disqualified.

Tony Buzbee said prosecutor Michael McCrum should have signed a so-called anti-bribery statement before taking an oath. He only signed the statement afterwards, “completely contrary to what the constitution requires,” McCrum said.

Buzbee asked state District Judge Bert Richardson to “interpret the state constitution and find Mr. McCrum with no authority to act in this case.”

“I don’t think it’s too much too much to expect that the rule of the law and letter of the law be followed if you’re trying to take away someone’s liberty,” Buzbee said.

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/perry-to-appear-in-court-at-10-am-in-abuse-of-powe/nh2ZM/

[font color=green]Updates will be posted throughout the day.[/font]
Posted by TexasTowelie | Thu Nov 6, 2014, 12:43 PM (2 replies)

Jury convicts Austin doctor of $2.1 million in Medicare fraud

After a seven-day trial, a Houston jury convicted Dr. Dennis B. Barson Jr., 44, of Austin, and his clinic administrator, Dario Juarez, 54, of Beeville, of conspiracy and health care fraud after they billed Medicare $2.1 million over a two-month period, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced Wednesday evening.

Co-defendant Edgar Shakbazyan, whose address and age were not provided, pleaded guilty Oct. 24 and was convicted of conspiracy to pay kickbacks, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.

Prosecutors said the fraudulent billing was for tests for urinary, bowel and sexual dysfunction that were never performed. The Houston FBI and the Texas Attorney General’s Office were among the agencies that worked on the case.

Barson and Juarez were convicted of 19 counts of health care fraud for filing false claims with Medicare for the procedures. The counts involved billings for 429 patients in just two months, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. In a single day, on July 13, 2009, they billed for 156 patients, prosecutors said.

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/news/jury-convicts-austin-doctor-of-21-million-in-medic/nh2Kz/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Wed Nov 5, 2014, 09:55 PM (4 replies)

Texas US Rep Races: Only Close Race is in District #23, other incumbents reelected

District #23

Will Hurd REP 40,134 51.07%
Pete P. Gallego - Incumbent DEM 36,650 46.64%
Ruben Corvalan LIB 1,794 2.28%
----------- -----------
Race Total 78,578
Precincts Reported 123 of 334 Precincts 36.83%
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Nov 4, 2014, 11:27 PM (9 replies)

DFW Area Election Officials: Rain Not Deterring Voters

Tuesday's wet weather was not ideal for election day, but election officials said they hope numbers will remain high.

At the Riverside Community Center on East Belknap Street in Fort Worth, turn out remained high despite the weather. Tarrant County Election Administrator Frank Phillips said rain usually keeps some people from voting.

"I am encouraged our early voting numbers were high, so I think the governor's race is driving that," Phillips said. "Hopefully that will still get people to come out today regardless of the weather."

Phillips said they are prepared just in case the weather does get worse.

http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/politics/Election-Officials-Rain-Not-Deterring-Voters-281462451.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Nov 4, 2014, 06:51 PM (1 replies)

Heavy voter turnout in Travis County

3:30 p.m. update: Approximately 60,000 Travis County residents had voted as of 2 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Travis County clerk’s office.

Officials said that voter turnout is heavy and causing long lines at some poll sites.

Election administrators in Williamson and Hays counties did not immediately respond to queries about turnout or possible problems at the polls there. Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said no problems have been reported in the county.

However, Leander resident Greg Jones said that he was given the wrong provisional ballot Tuesday when he went to vote at Leander High School. The ballot included elections for Round Rock elections, he said.

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/news/local/travis-county-clerk-no-problems-at-the-polls/nhzHL/

[font color=green]This should result in some good news for Democrats.[/font]
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Nov 4, 2014, 06:21 PM (6 replies)

In Williamson County, hating gays is a prerequisite for political appointments, plaintiff alleges

Last year, Robert Lloyd brought a federal lawsuit against Williamson County commissioners alleging he was asked numerous illegal questions when they interviewed him for the Precinct 3 constable position.

The lawsuit alleged Lloyd’s interview with commissioners, all Republicans, included questions about his voting record as well as his views on same-sex marriage, abortion and religion. Lloyd, a decorated law enforcement officer of 26 years, further alleged that his answers to the questions resulted in him not receiving the appointment.

“Mr. Lloyd was disturbed by the questions,” Lloyd’s lawsuit states. “He answered them, but felt they were inappropriate. Mr. Lloyd felt that his political and religious positions had nothing to do with whether he would do a good job as the new constable. He said to the commissioners it was tough to answer the question about gay marriage. Defendants did not approve of this attitude, and even told Mr. Lloyd he needed a better answer to their questions about gay marriage.”

According to the Texas Civil Rights Project, which is representing Lloyd, the questions violated his privacy rights as well as his rights under the 1st and 14th amendments to the US Constitution.

Read more: http://www.lonestarq.com/in-williamson-county-hating-gays-is-a-prerequisite-for-political-appointments-plaintiff-in-lawsuit-alleges/

Related threads:
Religious test for constable applicants in Williamson County (updated 11:37 p.m.) (May 2013)
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10788873

Two join hiring lawsuit against Williamson County commissioners (March 2014)
http://www.democraticunderground.com/107816504

Cross-posted in the Texas Group.

In Williamson County, hating gays is a prerequisite for political appointments, plaintiff alleges

Last year, Robert Lloyd brought a federal lawsuit against Williamson County commissioners alleging he was asked numerous illegal questions when they interviewed him for the Precinct 3 constable position.

The lawsuit alleged Lloyd’s interview with commissioners, all Republicans, included questions about his voting record as well as his views on same-sex marriage, abortion and religion. Lloyd, a decorated law enforcement officer of 26 years, further alleged that his answers to the questions resulted in him not receiving the appointment.

“Mr. Lloyd was disturbed by the questions,” Lloyd’s lawsuit states. “He answered them, but felt they were inappropriate. Mr. Lloyd felt that his political and religious positions had nothing to do with whether he would do a good job as the new constable. He said to the commissioners it was tough to answer the question about gay marriage. Defendants did not approve of this attitude, and even told Mr. Lloyd he needed a better answer to their questions about gay marriage.”

According to the Texas Civil Rights Project, which is representing Lloyd, the questions violated his privacy rights as well as his rights under the 1st and 14th amendments to the US Constitution.

Read more: http://www.lonestarq.com/in-williamson-county-hating-gays-is-a-prerequisite-for-political-appointments-plaintiff-in-lawsuit-alleges/

Related threads:
Religious test for constable applicants in Williamson County (updated 11:37 p.m.) (May 2013)
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10788873

Two join hiring lawsuit against Williamson County commissioners (March 2014)
http://www.democraticunderground.com/107816504

Cross-posted in the LGBT Group.




Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Nov 4, 2014, 12:11 AM (0 replies)
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