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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: 66,145

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

Rot from Dallas’ police and fire pension fund spreads to further bond ratings downgrades

For the third time in nine days, Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez has sent the city council a memo about a bond ratings downgrade — in this instance those affecting the city entities that funded the Omni Dallas and the Mercantile Building. Both were downgraded this week from A+ to A by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services.

The two new downgrades won’t cost the city a dime — unlike the recent general obligation bond downgrades. Those will slightly increase interest rates that Dallas must pay back on hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of capital improvement bonds the city expects to sell this month and in coming years.

Though Dallas won’t pay more in interest, the latest downgrades are yet another signal of wobbling confidence in the city’s financial state.

Although Standard and Poor’s still considers Dallas a “stable investment,” the firm views the beleaguered Dallas Police and Fire Pension Fund as a heavier and heavier drag on City Hall’s credit worthiness.

Read more: http://cityhallblog.dallasnews.com/2015/11/rot-from-dallas-police-and-fire-pension-fund-spreads-to-further-bond-ratings-downgrades.html/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Nov 6, 2015, 11:41 PM (3 replies)

Frustration mounts as rock throwing cases along I-35 continue

AUSTIN -- Out of nowhere, a rock the size of a softball came crashing down on Kenneth Johnson’s windshield while he was driving on the lower deck of Interstate 35 near Manor Road.

The rock hit his head, causing him severe brain damage.

Today, more than a year since he was injured on June 14, 2014, Johnson is still unable to talk and generally cannot walk without a cane, said his friend Alison Queen.

The incident was just one of 41 reported cases of rocks of different sizes being thrown onto the lower deck of I-35 in the past year and a half, with the latest one happening Thursday around 12:30 a.m. between Manor Road and 32nd Street, police said.

Read more: http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/crime-law/frustration-mounts-as-rock-throwing-cases-along-i-/npHx5/?icmp=statesman_internallink_referralbox_free-to-premium-referral
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Nov 6, 2015, 11:33 PM (1 replies)

Customs and Border Protection staff won't require officers to wear body cameras

Source: AP

SAN DIEGO — Customs and Border Protection staff concluded after an internal review that agents and officers shouldn’t be required to wear body cameras, positioning the nation’s largest law enforcement agency as a counterweight to a growing number of police forces that use the devices to promote public trust and accountability.

The yearlong review cited cost and a host of other reasons to hold off, according to two people familiar with the findings who spoke on condition of anonymity because the findings have not been made public. It found operating cameras may distract agents while they’re performing their jobs, may hurt employee morale, and may be unsuited to the hot, dusty conditions in which Border Patrol agents often work.

The findings, in an August draft report, are subject to approval by Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske, who last year announced plans to test cameras at the agency that employs roughly 60,000 people.

The staff report doesn’t rule out body cameras but questions their effectiveness and calls for more analysis before they are widely distributed.

Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/local-news/20151106-customs-and-border-protection-staff-won-t-require-officers-to-wear-body-cameras.ece
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Nov 6, 2015, 09:36 PM (4 replies)

Texan can sue Scientology for harassment, appeals court rules

A Texas woman can sue the Church of Scientology International and several church members for harassment, a state appeals court ruled Friday.

The 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin rejected the church’s request to throw out the lawsuit by Monique Rathbun, who alleged that Scientologists conducted a three-year harassment campaign when her husband, Marty Rathbun, began speaking out against church activities in 2010.

-snip-

Wife of former church member complained of surveillance cameras, spread of false information.

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/news/texan-can-sue-scientology-for-harassment-court-rul/npHnp/ (subscription required)
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Nov 6, 2015, 09:25 PM (2 replies)

In security breach, Russian programmers wrote code for U.S. military communications systems

The Pentagon was tipped off in 2011 by a longtime Army contractor that Russian computer programmers were helping to write computer software for sensitive U.S. military communications systems, setting in motion a four-year federal investigation that ended this week with a multimillion-dollar fine against two firms involved in the work.

The contractor, John C. Kingsley, said in court documents filed in the case that he discovered the Russians’ role after he was appointed to run one of the firms in 2010. He said the software they wrote had made it possible for the Pentagon’s communications systems to be infected with viruses.

Greed drove the contractor to employ the Russian programmers, he said in his March 2011 complaint, which was sealed until late last week. He said they worked for one-third the rate that American programmers with the requisite security clearances could command. His accusations were denied by the firms that did the programming work.

“On at least one occasion, numerous viruses were loaded onto the DISA {Defense Information Systems Agency} network as a result of code written by the Russian programmers and installed on servers in the DISA secure system,” Kingsley said in his complaint, filed under the federal False Claims Act in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., on March 18, 2011.

Read more: http://www.publicintegrity.org/2015/11/04/18828/security-breach-russian-programmers-wrote-code-us-military-communications-systems
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Nov 6, 2015, 08:31 AM (3 replies)

Grand jury to start hearing Twin Peaks biker cases next week

WACO - A McLennan County grand jury headed by an Iraq War combat veteran will begin hearing evidence next week in cases related to the May 17 Twin Peaks melee in which nine bikers were killed and 177 were jailed, according to courthouse sources.

The 12-person panel, summoned in a specially-called meeting, will assemble Tuesday morning, and prosecutors will begin presenting evidence from the Twin Peaks incident, the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

Grand juries in McLennan County routinely meet twice a month on Wednesdays. But, because Wednesday is Veterans Day, the grand jury was asked to meet Tuesday.

If the grand jury wasn’t going to meet until the next regular meeting on Nov. 18, that would be more than six months after the bikers were arrested and possibly set off a flurry of motions from attorneys seeking relief for their clients.

Read more: http://www.wacotrib.com/news/twin-peaks-biker-shooting/grand-jury-to-start-hearing-twin-peaks-biker-cases-next/article_993a859c-03b4-5d48-b746-dff352d4e9eb.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Nov 6, 2015, 06:09 AM (0 replies)

Colorado Votes To Fire Education Board Conservatives Who Tried To Mess With History Books

Here’s a history lesson three Colorado Board of Education members learned the hard way: Don’t try to change public school history books to better suit your conservative ideology. If you do, you’ll be out of a job.

In Jefferson County, Colorado, voters made that clear on Tuesday, when they chose to oust three conservative board members after growing tired of the constant attempts to subvert children’s education. The three members – Ken Witt, Julie Williams and John Newkirk – had a reputation for attempting to whitewash American history and remove all the uncomfortable parts. All three had been swept into office during the heady Tea Party years, but like many other ultra-conservative politicians around the country have found, voters who once thought the Tea Party was a great idea quickly grew tired of the novelty of having a bunch of right-wing fanatics in office.

Witt, Williams and Newkirk were right-wing fanatics to the very end. The Associated Press documented some of the destruction they left in their wake.

The board members facing recalls cruised to victory in 2013, but their arrival quickly caused a stir. The superintendent of the school district, Cindy Stevenson, left days after their election, saying she felt disrespected by them and couldn’t do her job anymore.

Then came a decision to tie teacher pay increases to performance rather than seniority, and accusations that the three conservatives on the five-member board were meeting privately before scheduled meetings. Ken Witt, Julie Williams and John Newkirk have repeatedly denied holding secret meetings.


Read more: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2015/11/04/colorado-votes-to-fire-education-board-conservatives-who-tried-to-mess-with-history-books/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Nov 6, 2015, 03:45 AM (0 replies)

Bobby Jindal administration files appeal of Planned Parenthood ruling

Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has appealed a federal judge's order that the state continue funding Planned Parenthood clinics that serve an estimated 5,200 women in the state.

The appeal notice was filed Wednesday at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal in New Orleans.

Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast and some of its clients sued to block Jindal from cutting off Medicaid funding for cancer screenings, gynecology exams and other health services.

U.S. District Judge John deGravelles in Baton Rouge ordered that the funding continue.

Read more: http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/11/bobby_jindal_administration_fi.html#incart_river_home
Posted by TexasTowelie | Thu Nov 5, 2015, 11:59 PM (0 replies)

Crossing party lines has happened before in Louisiana - a look at the 1979 governor’s race

Republican Jay Dardenne’s break with party ranks Thursday to endorse Democrat John Bel Edwards for governor brought back a time 36 years ago when the same thing happened.

In 1979, four unsuccessful Democratic candidates for governor jumped onto Republican Dave Treen’s runoff campaign team — snubbing Louis Lambert, the Democratic Party candidate who had made it into the general election.

Back then, Lt. Gov. Jimmy Fitzmorris, Secretary of State Paul Hardy, Louisiana House Speaker E.L. “Bubba” Henry and state Sen. Edgar “Sonny” Mouton incurred the wrath of the state Democratic Party, much as Lt. Gov. Dardenne did among GOP brass on Thursday by favoring the Democrat over Republican David Vitter.

Henry and Mouton ended up being censured by the state Democratic Party, which almost four decades ago dominated Louisiana’s politics like the GOP has for the past decade.

“You’ve got to have standards of loyalty in the party,” longtime Democratic Party Chairman Jesse Bankston chastised at the time.

Read more: http://theadvocate.com/news/acadiana/13898747-123/crossing-party-lines-circa-1979
Posted by TexasTowelie | Thu Nov 5, 2015, 11:55 PM (0 replies)

Jay Dardenne's endorsement of John Bel Edwards stirs up gov’s race

In politics, not all endorsements are created equal.

Many are perfunctory, simple reminders of overlapping agendas between the politician on the ballot and the person or group providing the plug. Endorsements in this category rarely resonate because they are entirely expected. Put business group endorsements for Republicans and labor for Democrats in this column.

Some come off as obligatory. Examples here include endorsements based on shared membership in a political party.

Some are clearly the result of negotiated deals, even if the terms don’t surface until after Election Day.

And some are just ridiculous, including the occasional all-is-forgiven runoff nod from a losing primary contender who’d just spent months depicting his or her chosen candidate as a truly terrible choice.

Then there are the rare endorsements that actually cause people to sit up and take notice. Put Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne’s decision to back Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards over Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter for governor in this category.

Read more: http://theadvocate.com/sports/outdoors/13890190-172/stephanie-grace-dardenne-endorsement-stirs
Posted by TexasTowelie | Thu Nov 5, 2015, 11:53 PM (0 replies)
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