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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: 77,720

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

Earthquakes can’t be linked to XTO drilling activity, railroad commission finds

A wastewater disposal well operated by XTO Energy cannot be linked to the rash of earthquakes that rattled Reno and Azle residents more than a year ago, state officials reported.

Following hearings that were conducted in June, Texas Railroad Commission examiners concluded in a preliminary report issued Monday that “the evidence in the record does not support a finding” that the well “is likely contributing to seismic activity.”

In the report, the hearing examiners also discount a study released in the spring by Southern Methodist University researchers that linked the oil and gas process to the flurry of earthquakes that hit the Azle and Reno area from November 2013 to January 2014.

The findings of the SMU-led study were “not sufficient to reach a conclusion,” the report states, but rather “a start toward understanding the issue” of injection wells and seismic activity. The report also admits that there is nothing in the record to say that the earthquakes were caused naturally.

Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/barnett-shale/article33224445.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Sep 1, 2015, 06:07 PM (2 replies)

Updated: Deal struck to fund state’s horse and greyhound racing regulator

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced late Tuesday that he reached an agreement with House leaders to fund the briefly shuttered Texas Racing Commission, allowing track operators to resume racing — and betting — at Texas tracks.

Effective immediately, the authorization permits the commission to operate for the next 90 days, Patrick said. House Appropriations Chairman John Otto, R-Dayton, had held firm until Tuesday evening that the agency should be funded for two years, as is normal, to ensure that races can run in a properly regulated way.

The lack of consensus between the two chambers led to a one-day closure of the commission, which couldn’t operate without funding in the new fiscal year that began Tuesday. Also as a result, six horse and greyhound tracks ceased all betting operations, too.

For Patrick — along with Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound — the move to block funding was a response to the commission’s recent refusal to bow to the Senate leadership’s wishes to repeal a rule to allow a new form of betting called historical racing.

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/news/deal-struck-to-fund-states-horse-and-greyhound-rac/nnWnQ/

Earlier thread:
Texas Racing Commission Closed, Tracks Suspend Races

The Texas Racing Commission ceased operations Tuesday and directed racetracks to stop all live and broadcast racing, according to the agency.

The commission, which regulates dog and horse racing in the state, notified tracks Monday night that it had not received the money necessary to remain open. Texas House and Senate members of the Legislative Budget Board failed to reach an agreement Monday to avert a shutdown.

"I hope and think any shutdown will be brief and temporary," commission spokesman Robert Elrod wrote in an email to reporters late Monday. "In the event of a brief shutdown, the agency has the capability to resume operations very quickly and, if it does come to that, we’ll all be back on the job as soon as possible."

The commission’s $7.7 million annual budget comes from licensing and fees paid by the racetracks, but the budget board must appropriate that money.

Read more: http://www.texastribune.org/2015/09/01/racing-commission-closed-tracks-suspend-races/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Sep 1, 2015, 06:05 PM (1 replies)

State Asks Supreme Court to Drop School Finance Lawsuit

“Money isn’t pixie dust” when it comes to improving public schools, lawyers for the state of Texas told the state Supreme Court on Tuesday, arguing an appeal in what has been described as the most far-reaching school finance case in state history. They urged the high court to either dismiss or remand the lawsuit brought four years ago by nearly two-thirds of the state's school districts.

Lawyers for those 600-plus districts meanwhile argued the state had not given them enough money to achieve higher goals state lawmakers have set for the state’s more than 5 million public school students, imposing them “without knowing the true cost” by relying on decades-old cost estimates that do not account for the growing population of disadvantaged students who are more expensive to educate.

Districts sued the state in 2011 after state lawmakers slashed $5.4 billion from public education to help balance a post-recession budget shortfall. During the long-running lawsuit, they have argued that the Legislature is violating its constitutional duty to provide an adequate and efficient public school system, enacting large cuts even as rigorous new testing and accountability systems raised the bar on expectations.

Since making those cutbacks, however, lawmakers have added back more than 90 percent of what they took away — albeit unevenly — while also enacting policy measures aimed at reducing the burden on student performance.

Read more: http://www.texastribune.org/2015/09/01/one-year-later-school-finance-appeal-back-court/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Sep 1, 2015, 05:49 PM (0 replies)

Texas A&M locates unopened package with radioactive item

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M University has located a box containing radioactive research material after the FedEx package was missing since last month.

KBTX-TV (http://bit.ly/1KpozjP ) school officials Tuesday announced the package was located in an A&M secure hazardous material storage facility.

An A&M statement says the package was unopened, undamaged and in its original shipping container. School officials say the package is safe for transportation and storage and that the community was never in any danger.

KBTX reported Monday that records show someone signed for the package Aug. 21, but it never reached A&M's Radiation Safety Office in College Station.

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/ap/ap/texas/texas-am-on-lookout-for-package-with-radioactive-i/nnWQM/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Sep 1, 2015, 05:42 PM (0 replies)

Gays Are Trying to Ruin the Boy Scouts for U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, But He Won’t Leave

Texas Republican Congressman Pete Sessions, an Eagle Scout, says he disagrees with the Boy Scouts of America’s recent decision to lift its ban on gay adult leaders, but plans to remain part of the organization anyway.

Presumably referring to LGBT advocates, Sessions says the policy change was the result of “outside factors trying to literally ruin the Boy Scouts of America.” He also blamed the decision on nondiscrimination laws designed to allow people to file lawsuits against the Scouts and “take us to our knees.”

Sessions, who represents a Dallas-area district, told NBCDFW.com:

“Let’s put it this way: I disagree with it, but I’m sticking with Scouting. … Scouting is there for the young man and the boy, and there are outside factors trying to literally ruin the Boy Scouts of America over something they don’t understand. We are an organization that is about taking young boys and getting them prepared for their future. … I disagree with it. I would not have done it, and I think if we keep dwelling on this inside the organization, we do ourselves harm. We now need to move forward. It was done because of a series of laws across the United States that were designed to sue the Boy Scouts of America and take us to our knees. I think we’ve better alive even if I disagree with exactly what that policy is.”

As Think Progress notes, the Scouts’ decision to lift the ban on gay adult leaders had little, if anything, to do with nondiscrimination laws. Rather, the policy change was the result of pressure from corporate donors and leaders such as President Barack Obama, as well as rapidly shifting public opinion on LGBT equality.

Video and more of the article: http://www.towleroad.com/2015/08/pete-sessions-boy-scouts/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Sep 1, 2015, 05:32 AM (1 replies)

Squee Alert: Alabama Fishermen Go Catfishing, End Up Rescuing Two Swimming Kittens

This wins the cutest video of the day award hands down.

“You are not going to believe what is swimming towards our boat,” said Jason Frost to the camera while on Warrior River in Alabama with his fishing bud Brandon Key.

Enter two kittens making a beeline for the boat a la the infamous Jimmy Carter rabbit.

“Never in my life,” said Brandon incredulously.


Texas Church Refuses to Back Down After Gay Pride Flag Stolen 4 Times

CEDAR PARK -- A Texas church has erected a gay Pride flag outside the congregation for the fifth time after it was stolen the previous four.

The Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Church in Cedar Park, outside Austin, first flew the Pride flag from its sign about a year ago. The Rev. Joanna Crawford, minister of the church, installed the flag for a fifth time during a service on Aug. 23, after delivering a sermon titled, “You Don’t Have Whisper That Here.”

In a video from the service posted by The Austin Statesman, Crawford says:

“One of the things that we refuse to whisper is that we are a deliberately welcoming, inclusive place of worship, and we celebrate the lives and loves of those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer. Sometimes we shout that welcome with our voices, or with cowbells, and sometimes we shout it with the flutter of a rainbow flag blowing in the breeze. Our flag has again for the fourth time been ripped down and stolen, so immediately after this service, I hope that you will join me in coming outside as we put up flag No. 5. We will not be quiet. We will not whisper. We will celebrate our pride. …

“We hereby install this rainbow flag on our church sign so that those who drive by can see that this is a church that is deliberately welcoming and inclusive to all. This is a symbol that has stood for Pride for the LGBT community. We take our own pride in being part of this. May this sign, may this flag, serve as a beacon to all who drive by to know that they are welcome here.”

Watch the video below (link will not embed).

Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Sep 1, 2015, 05:08 AM (4 replies)

Following Waco, Cossacks finally make debut in DPS gang report

The Cossacks Motorcycle Club has roots going back to the 1960s, but it took a recent deadly clash at the Twin Peaks in Waco for the group to make its debut in the Department of Public Safety’s annual Texas Gang Threat Assessment.

The new report, which was released Monday, hits the streets a bit late this year, but includes a few lines about the Cossacks, and the melee with the Bandidos Motorcycle Club. The Bandidos have for years been considered by law enforcement to be among the largest “Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs” in the United States.

In the motorcycle world, the Bandidos are considered to be on par with the Hell’s Angels. In the DPS report, they are listed in the same classification as the Bloods, Crips and the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas.

While the Bandidos have been in the report for years, this appears to be the first mention of the Cossacks. It is unclear if the report was re-worked after the Waco clash, and prior to public release, to note the Cossacks.

Read more: http://blog.mysanantonio.com/atlarge/2015/08/following-waco-cossacks-finally-make-debut-in-dps-gang-report/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Sep 1, 2015, 04:29 AM (0 replies)

Suspect in Harris deputy’s death was once committed to state mental hospital

HOUSTON -- The man accused of ambushing a Harris County sheriff’s deputy Friday evening, shooting him 15 times while the deputy was stopped to put gas in his patrol car, has history of mental illness and once lived in an Austin homeless shelter, authorities said Monday.

Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson appeared at a court hearing Monday for the suspect, Shannon J. Miles, 30, who has been charged with capital murder in the slaying of Deputy Darren Goforth, 47.

Goforth, a sheriff’s deputy for 10 years, was shot at a convenience store-gas station in the Houston suburb of Cypress.

Miles is being held without bail.

Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/state/texas/article33039066.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Sep 1, 2015, 04:14 AM (0 replies)

Update on Lubbock's Mr. Conservative -- Judge denies petition to depose in sexual harassment case

Dr. Donald R. May, alleged sexual harasser

Donald May filed Monday a defamation suit against a Texas Tech law student after a judge denied his petition for a pre-suit deposition.

May, who writes a conservative blog for Lubbockonline.com, seeks damages between $200,000 and $1 million against Kristen Vander-Plas, whom he accused of making false accusations of sexual harassment to get him banned from the Tech law school.

May’s attorney Fernando Bustos said the lawsuit is the next best alternative to get justice for his client after a visiting judge denied his request for a pre-suit deposition.

“It’s the only way that we can try to get justice for what’s been done against him and get to the bottom of exactly what’s she has told to Texas Tech and others that has led him to be banned from the Texas Tech law school campus,” Bustos said.

Read more: http://lubbockonline.com/crime-and-courts/courts/2015-08-31/judge-denies-donald-may-petition

Earlier threads:
'Mr. Conservative' May seeks to depose sexual harassment accuser, files petition June 1
Update: Attorney of law student says Mr. Conservative's petition aimed at shaming client June 2
San Angelo judge assigned to Donald May (aka Mr. Conservative) hearing re sexual harassment June 30
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Sep 1, 2015, 01:58 AM (1 replies)
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