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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: 69,569

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

Foreign-Born Teens Less Likely to Commit Crimes Than Those Born in U.S., Study Suggests

We’ve been hearing a lot lately from politicians and public figures about crimes committed by immigrants to the U.S., but a new study by a group of researchers, including a University of Texas at Austin professor, suggests foreign-born teens are actually much less likely to commit crimes than those born in the U.S.

The study found this group is also less likely than U.S.-born youths to get involved in bad behavior like fighting, drug selling, gun carrying, use of alcohol and illicit drugs.

"We also found in our study that immigrant youths tended to have more cohesive parental relationships, more positive school engagement and to be more disapproving with regard to adolescent substance use," says Christopher Salas-Wright, a professor at UT Austin’s School of Social Work.

Youths who immigrated later on, at 12 or older, however, were less likely to get into trouble, he says.

Read more: http://kut.org/post/foreign-born-teens-less-likely-commit-crimes-those-born-us-study-suggests
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Sep 4, 2015, 05:48 AM (0 replies)

Keller School Board Met Illegally Ahead of LGBT Protections Vote, Experts Say

When Keller school board members agreed to cancel a vote on LGBT protections last month, they temporarily defused an explosive controversy in the conservative, affluent suburb of Fort Worth.

They also broke the law, according to three experts on the Texas Open Meetings Act.

Hours before the board’s August 13 meeting, Keller ISD Superintendent Randy Reid sent a group text message to all seven trustees. Reid recommended that the proposal to add sexual orientation and gender identity to anti-bullying and nondiscrimination policies be pulled from the agenda. Five trustees responded with their feedback, with three agreeing to Reid’s recommendation and two opposing it.

The private group text message exchange, obtained by the Observer through a Public Information Act request, constituted an illegal meeting of the board, according to Wanda Garner Cash, a University of Texas journalism professor and former executive director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. The act prohibits a quorum of a governmental body from discussing public business behind closed doors.

Read more: http://www.texasobserver.org/keller-school-board-met-illegally-ahead-of-lgbt-protections-vote-experts-say/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Sep 4, 2015, 05:36 AM (0 replies)

Texas Doctors Ask SCOTUS to Stem Tide of Abortion Restrictions

Texas abortion providers on Thursday called on the nation’s highest court to answer questions that have plagued legal challenges to restrictions on abortion care for decades: What constitutes an “undue burden” on people who seek abortion, and to what extent can states rely on claims about protecting health and safety in order to regulate the procedure?

“The state of Texas, as it was during Roe v. Wade, is at the heart of the battle,” said Nancy Northup, the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), which is representing a group of independent Texas abortion providers in their ongoing legal challenge to House Bill 2, the state’s highly restrictive anti-abortion law.

“It is going to have an enormous impact, not just for Texas, but for women across the nation,” if the Supreme Court does not rule in abortion providers’ favor, said Northup. “Copycat laws around the nation will proliferate.”

Texas abortion providers’ writ of certiorari follows that court’s June ruling temporarily blocking major pieces of Texas’ abortion law. Lawyers for CRR told reporters that SCOTUS could take up the Texas abortion case as early as mid-October, though the court has no obligation to grant review in the case at all.

Read more: http://www.texasobserver.org/texas-doctors-ask-scotus-to-stem-tide-of-abortion-restrictions/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Sep 4, 2015, 05:34 AM (0 replies)

All 15 Dallas Council Members Sign Letter Supporting Gay Pride



For the first time in recent memory, if not ever, the Dallas mayor and all 14 council members have signed a letter in support of the city’s LGBT Pride celebration (above).

The letter appears in the Dallas Tavern Guild’s 2015 Pride Guide previewing the Sept. 20 parade and festival.

“Our city is honored to have the Dallas Tavern Guild and its commitment to diversity, inclusiveness and support for the rights of all people,” the letter states. “Once again, congratulations on your 32nd anniversary.”

Last year, anti-LGBT Councilwoman Vonciel Jones Hill was the only member who declined to sign the letter. However, Jones was term-limited after six years and left the council in June. Casey Thomas II, who replaced Jones Hill in District 3, signed the 2015 letter.

http://www.lonestarq.com/all-15-dallas-council-members-sign-letter-supporting-gay-pride/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Sep 4, 2015, 05:30 AM (0 replies)

North Texas Legislators Cry Wolf Again About Sharia Law

Fariha and Mohammad Ashfaq's marriage was brief. They wed in their native Pakistan in December 2007 but spent only a few months together before Mohammed returned to his home in Fort Worth. They lived together for a few additional months in Texas after Fariha acquired a visa in June 2009, but when they returned to Pakistan that November to attend a wedding, the couple separated and Fariha moved back in with her family. They never reconciled.

There's nothing particularly remarkable about the Ashfaqs' split. People get into bad marriages, or else good marriages turn sour. What makes the demise of their union unusual is that it has become entangled in the perennial push by conservative Texas lawmakers to keep foreign law (that means Muslim, not, say Belgian) out of the state's courts. Recently a trio of state representatives from North Texas — Matt Rinaldi, Rodney Anderson and Kenneth Sheets — cited the Ashfaqs in a guest column they penned for The Dallas Morning News. The column, a response to a July 31 editorial castigating firebrand Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne for "pandering to the right," didn't run in the paper, possibly because the DMN is a liberal rag but more likely because the editorial, which portrayed Van Duyne as a demagogue skyrocketing toward national prominence on a spaceship made of the Tea Party's xenophobic fever dreams, was on point. It did, however, find a friendlier forum in the arch-conservative Empower Texans, which published an excerpt of their piece which reads, in part:

Contrary to the DMN’s erroneous claim that decisions rendered through a Sharia tribunal are “in no way binding in an American court and can’t trump American law,” Texas state courts, such as the Fort Worth Court of Appeals in Jabri v. Qaddura, allow parties to choose Sharia law, enforce rulings of Islamic tribunals in Texas courts, and waive appeal. This effectively allows an Islamic court to operate parallel to our state courts.

This parallel Sharia court system puts women at risk of laws that treat them unequally or sanction violence. For example, despite Texas’ common law prohibition on application of laws that violate public policy, in Ashfaq v. Ashfaq, the Houston Court of Appeals upheld a discriminatory Islamic law allowing a husband to divorce his wife by saying “I divorce you” three times outside her presence.


To be sure, having a husband say "I divorce you" three times — known as a talaq divorce — is a manifestly terrible way to adjudicate anything. But nothing about the Ashfaq case is nearly as clear-cut as Rinaldi et al make it seem. For one, Pakistani law on talaq divorces requires the husband, after saying his divorce mantra, to also provide a copy of the divorce deed to his wife, then the chairman of a "Union Council" who, after a 90-day period of arbitration with an eye toward reconciliation, will finalize the divorce, which isn't categorically different from an American husband declaring that he wants a divorce and then walking into the courthouse to file a petition in district court. And the Texas courts that considered the Ashfaqs' case weren't "uph[olding] a discriminatory Islamic law." They were deciding whether there was still a marriage for the Texas court to still dissolve, which necessarily involved the consideration of Pakistani family law.

According to court testimony, Mohammed told Fariha that he wanted a divorce eight days after they had arrived back in Pakistan in November 2009. Fariha denied that Mohammed had gone through the procedural steps necessary to finalize the divorce, but she acknowledged that she did receive divorce papers by November 23. In any event, they went their separate ways. Mohammed was back home in Fort Worth by the end of the month. Fariha stayed with her family for a few months but came back to the U.S. in April 2010 and settled in Houston. Five months later, Mohammed remarried in Pakistan and brought his new wife to Texas to live with him. The couple had been apart for almost two years when, in October 2011, Fariha filed for divorce in Harris County.

Read more: http://www.dallasobserver.com/news/north-texas-legislators-cry-wolf-again-about-sharia-law-7545882
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Sep 4, 2015, 04:55 AM (0 replies)

Bobby Jindal administration says jailed Kentucky clerk would be protected in Louisiana

Gov. Bobby Jindal believes a Kentucky clerk who is headed to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples would be legally protected in Louisiana.

"We believe the U.S. Constitution, Louisiana Constitution, Louisiana's Preservation of Religious Freedom Act, as well as our Executive Order prevents government from compelling individuals to violate sincerely held religious beliefs," said Mike Reed, spokesman for the governor, when asked if the Kentucky clerk would face the same legal problems in Jindal's home state.

The governor's presidential campaign also expressed sympathy for Kim Davis, who makes $80,000 per year as an elected clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky.

"Every person should be able to follow their conscience, and clerks who cannot in good conscience participate in same-sex marriage should not be forced to violate their beliefs," Jindal campaign spokeswoman Shannon Dirmann told The Associated Press.

Read more: http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/09/bobby_jindal_says_kentucky_cle.html#incart_most-read_
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Sep 4, 2015, 03:33 AM (9 replies)

No-spin zone: Freeway stunts a bad idea (trucks doing doughnuts on I-25)

MONTGOMERY -- I really, really don’t like the idea of knuckleheads blocking freeway traffic so they can spin doughnuts with their silly old pickup trucks.

Besides the inherent danger, it’s just wrong on so many levels.

But don’t just take my word for it. You just know there are many good reasons for feeling the same way. And Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales was kind enough to spend a few moments this week articulating some of them.

I certainly wasn’t impressed by the video recordings from Aug. 23 showing what looked like at least a dozen pickup trucks whose drivers first blocked all the lanes of traffic on Interstate 25 near Montgomery and then took turns spinning out on the freeway surface.

Read more: http://www.abqjournal.com/639113/news/nospin-zone-freeway-stunts-a-bad-idea.html

Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Sep 4, 2015, 03:24 AM (2 replies)

Judge to hear union’s request for suspension of teacher evaluations (Santa Fe)

A Santa Fe judge has scheduled a hearing for mid-September on a teachers union’s request for an order suspending the state Public Education Department’s oft-criticized system for evaluating teachers.

State District Judge David Thomson said Thursday the department and the American Federation of Teachers will present arguments on Sept. 16 and 21, signaling movement in a case that’s been stagnant since mid-June.

The hearing is to determine whether Thomson should grant a preliminary injunction. A hearing to decide if a permanent injunction is warranted is set for April 4, 2016, in Thomson’s courtroom.

The complaint centers on flawed data that the state used in the first round of teacher evaluations, which led the agency to later issue a new set of reports.

Read more: http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/judge-to-hear-union-s-request-for-suspension-of-teacher/article_c5070301-1c91-5319-9b1f-2fd846367e79.html

Cross-posted in the New Mexico Group.
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Sep 4, 2015, 03:16 AM (0 replies)

Judge to hear union’s request for suspension of teacher evaluations (Santa Fe)

A Santa Fe judge has scheduled a hearing for mid-September on a teachers union’s request for an order suspending the state Public Education Department’s oft-criticized system for evaluating teachers.

State District Judge David Thomson said Thursday the department and the American Federation of Teachers will present arguments on Sept. 16 and 21, signaling movement in a case that’s been stagnant since mid-June.

The hearing is to determine whether Thomson should grant a preliminary injunction. A hearing to decide if a permanent injunction is warranted is set for April 4, 2016, in Thomson’s courtroom.

The complaint centers on flawed data that the state used in the first round of teacher evaluations, which led the agency to later issue a new set of reports.

Read more: http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/judge-to-hear-union-s-request-for-suspension-of-teacher/article_c5070301-1c91-5319-9b1f-2fd846367e79.html

Cross-posted in Omaha Steve's Labor Group.
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Sep 4, 2015, 03:16 AM (0 replies)

Republicans say politics could interfere with probe of EPA spill on Animas River

BILLINGS, Mont. — Some members of Congress say they’re concerned that politics will influence the U.S. Interior Department’s investigation of a toxic mine spill caused by another federal agency.

An Environmental Protection Agency cleanup team triggered the spill of 3 million gallons on Aug. 5 while doing excavation work on the Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado. Interior officials are reviewing the accident, which contaminated rivers in three states.

In a letter sent Thursday to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Republicans questioned whether the agency’s review would be independent.

It was signed by Representatives Jason Chaffetz and Rob Bishop of Utah and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming. Chaffetz chairs the House Oversight Committee, and Bishop chairs the Natural Resources Committee.

Read more: http://www.abqjournal.com/639211/news/nm-news/republicans-say-politics-could-interfere-with-probe-of-epa-spill.html (Albuquerque Journal)
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Sep 4, 2015, 02:51 AM (0 replies)
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