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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 83,403

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

Favorable New Mexico Health Connections ruling has national implications

A federal judge in New Mexico has ruled in favor of New Mexico Health Connections in a case that raises questions about billions of dollars in payments that have been made nationally to a federal program under the Affordable Care Act.

Health Connections filed a lawsuit in 2016 arguing, among other things, that the federal government's risk adjustment program — which redistributes money from insurers with healthier customers to those with sicker customers — relied on a flawed formula to determine how the money was disbursed.

U.S. District Judge James O. Browning agreed with Health Connections on that point and said the methodology used by the federal Health and Human Services department was "arbitrary and capricious."

The court ruled that the way the formula used statewide average premiums to calculate charges and payments in the program had not been adequately rationalized by the department. It rejected several other claims made by Health Connections.

Read more: http://www.lcsun-news.com/story/news/local/new-mexico/2018/03/02/favorable-nm-health-connections-ruling-has-national-implications/390119002/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Mar 3, 2018, 04:10 AM (0 replies)

New Mexico State University faculty concerned with recommendation to transfer $1.1M to athletics

LAS CRUCES —New Mexico State University faculty members have voiced opposition to ongoing discussions regarding the athletic department's $4.1 million debt ahead of next week's Board of Regents monthly meeting.

In recent months, Regents Chairwoman Debra Hicks tasked the Athletics Review Committee to "provide recommendations which address leveraging and sustaining the current "moment of success" in Aggie athletics.

That committee recently submitted its report, which is listed as an action item for Tuesday's meeting, following a work session earlier in the day. In the meantime, faculty groups and NMSU administrators have opposed the committee's suggestion of eliminating the debt and/or increasing the annual transfer of funds from the Instruction and General Fund to athletics.

Faculty Senate Chair-Elect Becky Corran told the Sun-News that faculty approved a memorial Thursday in opposition to those particular suggestions in the committee's report.

Read more: http://www.lcsun-news.com/story/sports/college/nmsu/2018/03/02/nmsu-faculty-concerned-recommendation-transfer-1-1-m-athletics/389851002/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Mar 3, 2018, 03:29 AM (3 replies)

Governor rejects increased pet food fees for spay, neuter programs

If the price of dog and cat food goes up in the near future, it won’t be because of state government.

Gov. Susana Martinez on Thursday vetoed House Bill 64, which would have imposed a new fee on pet food to help pay for spay and neuter programs to control animal populations.

“In spite of special interest groups’ efforts to spread misinformation, this bill is a tax increase,” Martinez, a Republican, said in her veto message to legislative leaders. “Although I fully support sensible efforts to spay and neuter pets, this approach is misguided. These procedures should be the responsibility of pet owners. This bill is bad for New Mexico and bad for business.”

In a separate statement, Martinez said she promised not to raise taxes and kept her word by vetoing the bill.

Read more: http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/legislature/governor-rejects-increased-pet-food-fees-for-spay-neuter-programs/article_fdd1173e-1153-5939-bb3e-f0a7d8b484eb.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Mar 3, 2018, 02:38 AM (2 replies)

Feds to review proposed waste site for nuclear fuel rods

The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission will begin a lengthy review of an East Coast company’s proposal to store up to 100,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel rods in underground casks on a nearly 1,000-acre parcel in southeastern New Mexico’s Lea County.

Florida- and New Jersey-based Holtec Inc. submitted an application about a year ago for what was described as interim storage of the highly radioactive rods, now mainly kept on-site at nuclear power plants because no permanent storage facility exists. The plan had strong support from the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance — a consortium that includes the two adjacent counties, as well as the cities of Hobbs and Carlsbad, home of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant where transuranic waste from nuclear weapons development is stored in underground salt caverns.

The Holtec project calls for carbon steel vessels full of the rods to be buried in a waste field on desert land that lies between the two cities.

“The NRC has determined the application is sufficiently complete for the staff to begin its detailed safety, security and environmental reviews,” the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in a news release issued Thursday, adding that the decision to move forward with the review “does not indicate approval of the application.”

Read more: http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/feds-to-review-proposed-waste-site-for-nuclear-fuel-rods/article_a4c7f877-f500-574b-bd09-ccee09d43c0e.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Mar 3, 2018, 02:35 AM (2 replies)

Rep. Steve Lebsock became a Republican minutes before being expelled from the legislature, meaning

Rep. Steve Lebsock became a Republican minutes before being expelled from the legislature, meaning GOP could get his seat

Steve Lebsock, minutes before he was expelled from the Colorado House of Representatives on Friday afternoon, changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican, according to state elections officials, setting up a scenario under which his newly vacated seat could fall into GOP hands.

Lebsock’s departing shot at his party won’t change the balance of power in the House, however. With Lebsock gone, Democrats currently hold 36 seats and the Republicans have 28.

The Colorado secretary of state’s office said Stephen James Lebsock, of Thornton, became a Republican at 3:17 p.m. Friday — roughly around the same time he took to the House floor to declare, amid tears, “I know the vote count right now.”

“It’s been the honor of my life to serve the people of Colorado, and I was willing to fight this year for the people of Colorado,” he then said. “Members, please remember that we should always strive to do the right thing.”

He was then expelled by a 52-9 vote. Lebsock, who was serving his third term in the state House, remains a candidate for state treasurer.

Read more: https://www.denverpost.com/2018/03/02/steve-lebsock-republican-colorado-legislature-expulsion/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Mar 3, 2018, 12:53 AM (2 replies)

Albuquerque mayor fears taxes will have to increase

Faced with an anticipated $40 million budget deficit, Mayor Tim Keller said on Thursday he may be forced to renege on his campaign promise to raise taxes only with voter approval.

“I remember my stance on that, and I want to try and keep that stance and I believe in that stance,” Keller said in a meeting with Journal editors and reporters. But, “it would be fiscally irresponsible for me to say we should wait three years to get funding for law enforcement.”

Keller had said during the mayoral race that he would raise taxes only as a last resort for public safety and only with voter approval.

City Council President Ken Sanchez and Councilor Trudy Jones introduced legislation last month to impose a three-eighths percent gross receipts tax increase to help patch the deficit and address the city’s public safety problem. Keller said Thursday that if the council voted for the increase in March, it would go into effect as early as July 1.

Read more: https://www.abqjournal.com/1140271/mayor-fears-taxes-will-have-to-increase.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Mar 3, 2018, 12:48 AM (0 replies)

Martinez signs legislation for holiday tax break

SANTA FE — One of the busiest shopping days of the year will come with its own tax break under legislation signed by Gov. Susana Martinez.

Martinez estimated the bill — co-sponsored by House Majority Whip Doreen Gallegos, D-Las Cruces, and Sen. Steven Neville, R-Aztec — will result in about $3 million in tax relief.

The legislation, House Bill 79, creates a gross receipts tax deduction for retail sales at small, local businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Supporters call it “Small Business Saturday.”

The tax break means shoppers won’t have to pay gross receipts taxes on their purchases that day, though there are restrictions.

Read more: https://www.abqjournal.com/1140567/martinez-signs-legislation-for-holiday-tax-break.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sat Mar 3, 2018, 12:38 AM (0 replies)

Stairway to Nowhere

As the Santa Fe University of Art and Design prepares to close, lawsuits try to recoup some of what students lost

The flames were visible clear across the 64-acre campus. City police suspect that somebody used an accelerant last May to feed the blaze at the World War II-era barracks on the edge of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and the arson case remains open.

If set by a student, as former faculty and students allege, the act would have fit the broader mood they describe as anger, fear and ennui that had gripped the school in the weeks since its interim president emailed students on April 12 announcing SFUAD would close after the following school year.

In the months to come, the school's corporate operator, the for-profit education company Laureate International, would bring collegiate representatives to SFUAD in what students say felt like a rushed attempt to connect them with other schools. That did little to alleviate the sense of loss permeating the campus—to say nothing of all the money and time students had sunk into a place that would soon not exist.

A few took their anger out on school property, stealing a projector and other items from classrooms. The school's president, Maria Puzziferro, eventually sent a campus-wide email on May 5 telling students the school would beef up its security to deter what she described as "inexcusable and destructive acts." Noting that students were enduring "an emotional time," Puzziferro added that counseling was available "to anybody who would like to seek it."

Read more: https://www.sfreporter.com/news/coverstories/2018/02/27/stairway-to-nowhere/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Mar 2, 2018, 11:51 PM (0 replies)

Payne campaign getting stronger in final days before primary

The following was sent to Dallas Voice by the Payne campaign. On his campaign website, Jeffrey Payne shows he’s campaigning in the Valley through the weekend. We’re expecting to hear from the Valdez campaign today and we’ll post her latest update when we do.

Running the long race

Sometimes labeled a “dark horse,” Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate, Jeffrey Payne is used to running a long race. Starting his campaign in July when he informally announced his run for Governor of Texas, he gained media notoriety because he was an openly gay man running for the top of the Democratic ticket.

“The Democratic Party was not delighted to hear our plans,” says Jeffrey. “They never said it directly, but they did everything in their power to discourage me from running.”

“That only gave me more resolve.”

Since then Jeffrey has worked to make his name better known in Texas. He has traveled over 29,000 miles so far, visiting Democratic groups from the largest cities to counties with only a handful of residents and Texans have responded well.

Read more: https://www.dallasvoice.com/payne-campaign-getting-stronger-final-days-primary-10249891.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Mar 2, 2018, 11:22 PM (3 replies)

Dallas judge throws out anti-marriage equality lawsuit

U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay of Dallas has thrown out a lawsuit filed against Gov. Greg Abbott, Attorney General Ken Paxton and Democratic Dallas County Clerk John Warren that found the two Republicans in the odd position of defending marriage equality.

Chris Sevier sued Texas because a county clerk wouldn’t issue him a license to marry his computer. After the suit was dismissed, he promised he would re-file with additional anti-marriage equality plaintiffs.

Sevier argued that Texas was arbitrarily allowing same-sex couples to marry but not giving the same right to polygamists, “zoophiles” or “objectophiles,” which is how how he identifies himself.

“The right to marry one’s computer is not an interest, objectively, deeply rooted in the nation’s history and tradition such that it qualifies as a protected interest,” Paxton told the court. By inference, Paxton was implying same-sex marriage was deeply rooted in the nation’s history, since the purpose of the lawsuit was to challenge same-sex marriage.

Read more: https://www.dallasvoice.com/dallas-judge-throws-anti-marriage-equality-lawsuit-10249913.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Mar 2, 2018, 11:11 PM (0 replies)
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