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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: 68,626

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

How Breitbart, Trump and Texas Politicians Spun a Tale out of a Border Patrol Agents Death

On the night of November 18, two Border Patrol agents lay badly wounded at the bottom of a 14-foot deep culvert near Van Horn, Texas. Thirty-six-year-old El Pasoan Rogelio Martinez died hours later from his injuries. Perhaps, as right-wing news outlets have trumpeted, the pair was attacked by rock-wielding foreign drug smugglers, or maybe, as at least two government officials have suggested, they fell by accident into the drainage tunnel. Federal investigators insist they don’t yet know what occurred that night, but neither lack of facts nor prudence could dissuade the president and top Texas Republicans from seizing on this tragedy for political advantage.

“Border Patrol Officer killed at Southern Border, another badly hurt. We will seek out and bring to justice those responsible. We will, and must, build the Wall!,” tweeted President Donald Trump on the evening of November 19. Trump also stated later that the surviving agent had been “badly beaten.”

That morning, the virulently anti-immigrant site Breitbart had claimed to break the story with a story headlined, “Border Patrol Agent Killed, Another in Serious Condition in Texas.” The story quoted Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC), the union for Border Patrol agents — which is not a part of the government agency. A few sentences below the unambiguous headline, the Breitbart authors acknowledged that “details on the matter are scarce.”

A few hours later, Texas Senator Ted Cruz seemed to echo the Breitbart story, announcing that the agent had been “killed” and labeling the incident “a stark reminder of the ongoing threat that an unsecure border poses to the safety of our communities and those charged with defending them.” (When asked by reporters about gun control in the wake of the Sutherland Springs shooting, Cruz replied, “We don’t need politics right now.”)

Read more: https://www.texasobserver.org/breitbart-trump-texas-politicians-spun-tale-border-patrol-death/

Homelessness in Texas Public Schools is a Suburban and Rural Problem, Too

Gage Kemp was 16 when he and his father were evicted from their home in Allen, a suburb of Dallas, and had to move into a motel. Kemp’s father, who struggled with alcoholism, urged him to drop out of high school and get a job to help pay the bills. Kemp was one of more than 100,000 homeless students attending Texas public schools, and therefore was eligible for assistance in getting transportation to and from class, buying supplies and clothes, and other services.

But Kemp didn’t know help was available, and no one at Allen High School told him. Eventually he dropped out. “If you watch the gradual course of my grades from elementary to high school, I was a straight-A kid and then it was Bs, and then to Cs,” said Kemp, now 23. “Learning about history didn’t matter to me. I was learning how to survive at home.”

There are approximately 113,000 homeless students in Texas public schools, according to a joint report released this month by advocacy groups Texas Appleseed and Texas Network for Youth Services. Many of those students live in urban areas, but some, like Kemp, live in suburbia and still more are in smaller towns across the state.

The report identifies a number of factors — including insufficient housing and “woefully inadequate” funding for homeless intervention at schools — as contributing to the problem. The findings also challenge the popular notion that student homelessness is a purely urban phenomenon. Though the highest number of homeless students were counted in Houston, San Antonio and Dallas, schools in the Abilene, Corpus Christi, Amarillo, Victoria and Midland regions reported some of the highest rates of homeless students.

Read more: https://www.texasobserver.org/homelessness-texas-public-schools-suburban-rural-problem/

Fans Melt Down After Supply Of Blue Bell's Christmas Ice Cream Dries Up

Blue Bell is in hot water again.

The Brenham-based creamery is getting a cold shoulder from fans looking for its newest, Yuletide-themed flavor. After a objectively early launch a week before Halloween, it seems Blue Bell’s Christmas Cookies Ice Cream won’t be home for the holidays for many rabid fans.

The company announced the flavor in a Facebook post on Oct. 23, touting the combination of sugar cookie, chocolate chip and snickerdoodle flavors paired with red sprinkles and a green icing swirl.

Then, like a flash, the supply dried up. Customers could no longer find it in stores, and while it was originally offered online, the flavor doesn’t seem to be available anymore.

So, naturally, people had a lot of problems with that and took to the internet for an especially lengthy airing of grievances. While a sprinkling of the 8,000-plus commenters on Facebook and Instagram clamored for revivals of flavors of Christmas past – like Gingerbread House and Hot Chocolate – many of them lamented the scarcity of the Christmas Cookies flavor in grocery aisles nationwide.

Read more: http://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/2017/11/28/253175/fans-melt-down-after-supply-of-blue-bells-christmas-ice-cream-dries-up/

Houston Doesn't Have Money To Build Third Reservoir: Mayor Turner

Before the Houston City Council could debate the issues on today’s agenda, a 40 minute discussion on Hurricane Harvey relief efforts took place at City Hall. Mayor Sylvester Turner was quick to point out that the city of Houston doesn’t have the money needed to build a third reservoir. Mayor Turner said the cost of a third reservoir is around $500 million.

Turner wants financial assistance from Washington D.C­. but is concerned that Texan’s independence and resiliency following ­Hurricane Harvey may portray Texas as not needing federal assistance. He’s urging everyone to email and send pictures of the damage Houston is still dealing with to Congressmen, Congresswomen and Senators in the Capitol.

In order to help Houston avoid major flooding the next time it faces significant rainfall, Mayor Turner believes that Texans need the same kind of federal assistance that Louisiana received after Hurricane Katrina, and New York and New Jersey got following Hurricane Sandy.

Council Member Dwight Boykins from District D asked Turner if the city was ready to commit the necessary ten percent of local funds the federal government is requiring before committing the remaining ninety percent for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts and prevention of future flooding.

Read more: http://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/2017/11/29/253230/houston-doesnt-have-money-to-build-third-reservoir-mayor-turner/

NASA's Voyager Golden Record Now Available to the Public

It's been 30 years since NASA scientists launched the famed Golden Records — described by NASA as a mixed tape "intended to communicate the story of our world to extraterrestrials" — on Voyager spacecrafts 1 and 2, and while aliens have had the opportunity to give the records a listen as the spacecrafts have drifted deeper into space over the years, the public has never had the chance to own these records, until now.

The contents of the records were selected for NASA by a committee chaired by famed physicist Carl Sagan and the records were intended to give extraterrestrials an idea of what life on Earth means. To accomplish this, the record includes the sound of wind, rain, whales, birds, the brain waves of a woman falling in love (that of Sagan's not-yet-but-soon-to-be-second-wife Ann Druyan, a writer who met Sagan while working on this project) and spoken greetings from Earth in 55 languages.

“The chances of aliens finding the Voyagers in the vast emptiness of space are small — some say infinitesimal — but we took our jobs seriously,” Druyan said, according to NASA. “From the moment when [Sagan] first broached the project to Tim Ferris and me, it felt mythic.”

They chose to use records as their format because eight-track tapes would degrade in space due to radiation, opting for a copper record dipped in gold because it would hold up against both the radiation and the extreme temperatures of space.

Read more: http://www.houstonpress.com/news/nasa-voyager-records-launched-in-1977-now-available-to-the-public-9992426

Former La Marque Mayor Geraldine Sam Is Cruz's Latest Challenger

At first blush, it appeared that former La Marque Mayor Geraldine Sam filed as a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate because she was mad at incumbent Ted Cruz. As a delegate to the Republican National Convention last summer, she unloaded on Cruz when he made a prime-time speech and declined to endorse Donald Trump as the party nominee. Instead, he urged delegates to vote for their conservative principles.

“You lied to me. You lied and said you were going to support the party nominee, and you won’t. Then you lied to me. And I’m very upset at this time,” Sam told a reporter at the convention. “I came to this convention as a Cruz delegate, and I’m leaving supporting Donald Trump as the party nominee.”

Cruz did endorse Trump two months later, and Sam has since forgiven him. “After a while I started looking at things as to why Ted was angry and did not endorse Trump at that time,” Sam told me. During the presidential campaign, Trump had called Cruz “lyin’ Ted,” insulted his wife’s looks, and said Cruz’s father was involved in a 1963 plot to kill President Kennedy.

Now, Sam’s anger is directed at Trump. “I just look at some of the things the president is doing, and I just don’t agree with those things. I want him to be presidential. I want him to stop tweeting at all hours of the morning, calling mother’s children SOBs. Those are things a lot of us don’t agree with.”

Read more: https://www.texasmonthly.com/burka-blog/former-la-marque-mayor-geraldine-sam-cruzs-latest-challenger/

Trying to decipher Republican logic is a mind numbing experience.

A sick leave ordinance is coming to Austin, but details are unclear

A coalition of city leaders and advocacy groups is pushing for Austin to join many of the nation’s largest cities in requiring employers to provide employees with a certain number of paid sick days.

On Nov. 15 at the People’s Community Clinic in Northeast Austin, a group of small business owners assembled to lend their support for the effort, which is being led in City Council by Council Member Greg Casar.

Amanda May, the owner of the Purple Fig Eco Cleaning Company, said paid sick leave is one of the many benefits she provides her staff of 15 home cleaners, along with a low-deductible health plan, paid vacation and a 3 percent 401(k) match.

“Before employees are employees, they are people,” she said. “And people get sick. To be sick without worrying about bills can allow people to heal.”

Read more: https://www.austinmonitor.com/stories/2017/11/sick-leave-ordinance-coming-details-unclear/

Unlike Its Neighbor, Microsoft Opts to Stay Home in Washington State

SEATTLE — While Amazon is hunting for a second headquarters away from its hometown, its neighbor in the Seattle area — Microsoft — is doubling down on the region, with plans to invest billions of dollars in redeveloping its existing campus.

The project, which Microsoft plans to announce at its annual meeting of shareholders Wednesday, amounts to a major overhaul of the company’s 500-acre campus in Redmond, Washington, the Seattle suburb that it has called home since 1986.

The company will take a wrecking ball to 12 buildings, replacing them with 18 taller ones with more open work environments. The construction will add about 2.5 million square feet of space to the roughly 15 million it has in the area, enough room for an additional 8,000 employees.

Microsoft’s redevelopment, which will take five to seven years to complete, would not ordinarily stand out — lots of technology companies outgrow their offices and need new space. But this is Microsoft, a company that spent years fumbling new initiatives, laying off employees and retrenching from key markets. The bet on a bigger, more modern campus is a symbol of its resurgence over the past few years under its chief executive, Satya Nadella.

Read more: https://www.inlander.com/spokane/unlike-its-neighbor-microsoft-opts-to-stay-home-in-washington-state/Content?oid=6935526

Brown, Buehler could set spending record in race

SALEM — Gov. Kate Brown and Republican Rep. Knute Buehler together have raised $5.3 million in the 2018 race for governor, putting them on pace to exceed the most expensive governor’s race in state history.

Democrat John Kitzhaber and Republican Chris Dudley raised and spent more than $17.7 million in their 2010 race for governor, won narrowly by Kitzhaber. At this point in 2009, the year before the election, neither had even announced they were running. Both filed in early February 2010.

Brown and Buehler each have already surpassed the $2 million fundraising mark. Buehler has raised $1.96 million this year, the Bend Bulletin newspaper reported. When added to the $141,000 he carried over from last year, his total is $2.11 million. He’s spent just over $549,000 and currently has $1.55 million in the bank.

Brown has raised $1.89 million this year. When added to the $1.2 million she rolled over from last year, it gives her a total of just under $3.15 million. She has spent $1.17 million and has $1.96 million in the bank.

Read more: http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/36197762-75/brown-buehler-could-set-spending-record-in-race.html.csp

Former Bank of Oswego CEO, CFO convicted of conspiracy

The former top two executives of the Bank of Oswego were convicted Tuesday of orchestrating a years-long conspiracy to conceal the bank's shaky financial condition, capping one of the longest and most expensive federal trials in Oregon history.

The jury also found Dan Heine, the bank's co-founder and former chief executive, and Diana Yates, the chief financial officer, guilty of 12 counts of making false entries in the bank's books to hide bad loans.

Heine, 70, once named Lake Oswego's citizen of the year, could spend much of the rest of his life in prison. Each count is punishable by 30 years imprisonment.

Both defendants seemed stunned after the verdict was read in U.S. District Court in Portland, remaining in the courtroom with their legal teams long after the judge, jury and observers had departed.

Read more: http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2017/11/bank_of_oswego_trial_verdict.html
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