Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Russian Robocop Shorts Out in Downpour
Carry Permit Holder Accosted by Police for Carrying in Public
Let us hope the IAD complaint generates an attitude adjustment.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Incest For Fun and Profit, Part Two of a Series: David A. Vogt
One other point and this is true of ALL the board members. The board is an unpaid position, but somehow, the district has decided to give each and every board member FREE medical/hospitalization/dental insurance. But the Governor has vetoed it and John Pickelman is none too happy about it...
From: Pickelman, John
Sent: Mon 6/18/2007 9:37 AM
To: All Employees
Cc: 'email@example.com'; Campbell, Richard; Daniel, Chris; Holsey, David; Flotte O'Neill, Maria; Fox, John; Kelly, Priscilla; Maria at Work; Marquard, Stephanie; Priscilla Kelly; Bates, Randy; Vogt, David A
Subject: Governor's Veto
Last Friday, the governor vetoed the second year appropriation for community college health insurance premiums. The amount for all community colleges is $154 million dollars. NHMCCD’s portion of that figure is $10 million dollars. The governor’s rationale is that state law does not allow health insurance premiums to be paid for employees whose salaries are not paid by state funds. The intent of this law is to ensure that employees whose salaries are paid by grant funds, auxiliary funds or physical plant accounts do not receive state funds for health insurance premiums. NHMCCD has strictly abided by this provision. However over the years as the level of state funding for community colleges decreased, community colleges have had to raise local taxes and tuition and fees to make up the difference and meet increased demands from enrollment increases. Since 1991 the state’s share of our operating budget has decreased from 65%^ to 28%. During this time period the contributions from the state for health insurance premiums have continued. It is interesting to note, that the governor’s calculations do not include tuition and fees, yet tuition and fees are considered when calculating the health insurance premiums for universities. Why has the governor taken such action? We believe that he has received bad advice. What is most disturbing is that the official statement justifying the veto for health insurance premiums accuses all 50 college districts as “falsifying” their appropriations requests. Of course, this is absurd.
What can be done? The Texas Association of Community Colleges of which I am the Chairman of its Board of Directors believes that the governor has no statutory authority for this line item veto. We are currently consulting with legal experts to determine if our opinion has merit. That opinion will dictate next steps. If that effort fails we will do all in our power to inform legislators, community and business leaders, friends of community colleges to share with the governor their position on this veto. Hopefully, members of the legislature will agree with our position and include community colleges in an emergency appropriation in 2009 to restore the funding if legal action is improbable. I am confident that our Board of Trustees will do all it can to ensure that this veto will not affect the health coverage our employees now have. It is certainly a challenge. We have had them before and we have met them. We’ll do it again.
We will keep you posted.
Happy birthday to us.....
Friday, June 15, 2007
US Senate has it's Oh Sh!t moment
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Incest for Fun and Profit, Part One of a Series: Maria Flotte O'Neil
You see, her husband, at the time she was appointed to fill out an unexpired term back in the late 90's through 2005 was Senior Manager at Gilbane Building Company (see page 60). He wasn't a floor sweeper or low level peon, he was one of the movers and shakers. Did he have decision making authority over NHMCCD's contracts? That is sort of like saying Bill Gates works for Microsoft, it kind of understates the position a bit. Gilbane is one of those companies that, were it not for schools and other government buildings, they would actually have to work for a living. They build almost exclusively school and government buildings. Mrs. O'Neil failed to list her husband's position at Gilbane on her conflict of interest form. Her husband has since left Gilbane, but where he is working now is unknown. Is he an independent contractor? Has he gone to work for another Construction firm? Has he gone to work for one of Gilbane's vendors? There are no records filed with the College district to indicate what he is doing for a living now. But then again, she wasn't exactly forthright and forthcoming about the work he did for Gilbane either....
To make matters worse, at the time she was appointed, the conflict of interest laws had just been changed so that her conflict of interest would not have precluded her appointment as l;ong as she abstained from voting on conflicting matters. The law was revised again since then to also require the filing of a conflict of interest questionnaire.
Gilbane happens to be the construction manager for ALL construction in the district, as well as the general contractor on most of the District's construction projects. Which means that they get a 3% commission on all contracts, plus they make between a 15-25% profit on any contracts that they award to themselves. A number of contractors have stopped bidding on NHMCCD projects because when the bids are opened, somehow, the Gilbane bids or Gilbane preferred vendor bids are always lower, in many instances, the Gilbane/Gilbane vendor bid has been written in by hand for only a thousand or so below the next lowest bid, almost as if the bidder was given a second chance to bid after the competing bids were known. And some claim that the bid openings are not public the way they would be if the contract was being let by the district itself, since Gilbane is the construction manager, they do not have to (and don't) open the bids publically. The only have to be able to show that the lowest bid was chosen.
Ms. O'Neil is supposed to abstain from voting whenever any construction issues are voted on. Whether she has always done so has yet to be determined, but it does beg the question: If well over half the board's business pertains to construction, and facilities issues, what is the point of having her on the board if she cannot vote on half the business before the board? Obviously her appointment was a favor to a high level manager at Gilbane, and College district board member being a somewhat anonymous political office, once she was in, she had a reasonable expectation of being there a while. She has on many, many, occasions been a cheerleader for building projects, even if she did not vote on them, so her influence on construction matters was far from absent.
Speaking of cheerleading, Mrs, O'Neil makes a very big deal of her Hispanic heritage during board meetings, wanting Hispanics in every position she can find, but here is the curious thing about that, you'd think that being an Hispanic herself, she would have filled out her election forms by checking off "Hispanic" under race. She did not, she marked Anglo/white. You would also think that she would be a member of one of the many Hispanic political organizations such as La Raza, or LULAC, or the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Her name does not appear on any of the membership lists. You'd think that she would hail from Aldine or some other heavily Hispanic part of the district. She does not, she lives in "The Thicket" which is a small enclave of $350,000 homes in heavily Anglo Klein ISD bordered by Louetta and Cypresswood to the north and south and Mirror Lake and Ella Blvd to the east and west.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Yet another plea to kill HB 2564
In Lake Travis ISD, a couple by the name of Lovelace had a disagreement with school district officials about their child. I am not privy to the details, but to make a long story short, The Lovelaces apparently decided that they would inundate the school district, in part to punish them, and in part to try to find some dirt on some of the officials, with numerous open records requests. To my knowledge no wrongdoing on the part of the school district has been discovered. This case would appear to be truly a case of abuse of the open records system
In Eanes, a couple of parents were concerned about spending priorities of the district. Monies were being spent on other priorities (such as a Jumbotron, astroturf, and new lights for the HS football stadium) and were not being spent on educating special needs kids. This IS a valid use of the Texas Public Information Act (TXPIA).
Eanes ISD approached Todd Baxter during the 79th legislature to introduce HB 2264, but it never found a Senate sponsor thanks to a number of taxpayer watchdog groups that lobbied to kill the bill. During the 80th legislature it was reintroduced in the Senate as SB 889 By Senator Jeff Wentworth R-San Antonio and similar bill in the House as HB 2564 By Rep. Kelly Hancock R-Ft. Worth. SB 889 was killed through the efforts of the same watchdog groups, but HB 2564 was flying under everyone's radar. The only people arguing against it in the Senate Committee were Ken Whalen of the Texas Newspaper Association and Bruce Bower from the Texas Legal Services Center. In the House Committee only Whalen argued against it. Whalen's objections were apparently bought off by writing into the bill an exception for newspapers and broadcast media, one in which Whalen wrote the text of. The bill was passed without a whole lot of debate late in the evening for both houses. Now it is sitting on the desk of the Governor awaiting his signature.
Here is the problem with the bill, it imposes a YEARLY CAP of 36 hours of document preparation time per requester. If the cap is exceeded, the government entity may impose large fees for document preparation. And this bill does not just apply to school districts, it applies to ALL government entities subject to the TXPIA law. This includes MUD districts, METRO, DART, the City of Houston, Harris County, you name it, even the State itself.
Recently a number of corruption allegations have surfaced around the state. Most of which did NOT originate from investigations by the media. TSU's scandal did not, DISD's credit card and bribery investigations did not. HISD's embezzlement was turned up internally by HISD. These investigations took weeks and months to tease apart. There is no way that a realistic investigation could possibly be done in only 36 hours a year.
TSU's scandal came from three students that became concerned about expenditures. They risked their academic careers trying to expose it. they shopped the story all over town before the Houston Press became interested.
DISD's scandal was broken open by investigations by Allen Gwinn at www.dallas.org beginning 2 years ago. It is only recently that the Dallas Morning News became interested, and then they fail to credit him with doing most of the legwork.
FIOA and TXPIA were written into the law so that government entities could not hide their activities from the public. This bill turns back the clock to the bad old days when government could do anything it liked and the public was not allowed to know how it's tax money was spent and what was done in their name. I encourage the Governor to VETO this bill.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Jason's got a new gig!
Today Jason is a Sergeant...
Now, how did I find this out? Did I wander over to Jason's blog and find this out the way everyone else did? Of COURSE not, you see, I was graced with a comment from that vile retch Michelle castigating me for failing to congratulate him. How I could possibly have done that without knowing about it in the first place is outside her realm of possibility, I guess I needed a tinfoil hat to help concentrate the psychic waves or something.... You know because it is completely impossible that I might not have even turned the computer on since yesterday afternoon....
Monday, June 11, 2007
The REAL reason why the immigration bill refuses to die.
Workers that were working for cash under the table might be cheap, but only as long as they continue to work for cash under the table. Once they become legal, they will pay Social Security and Income Tax and Workman's comp. All the things that make them cheap and disposable go away.
Another argument we are given is that we need new workers coming into the country to keep the Social Security Ponzi scheme going. But again, that argument falls apart too when you look at it with a critical eye. As long as illegals work using fake or stolen SSN's, they are paying money into the SS system with no chance at ever recovering the money. Once they become legal, the contributions they make will come with strings attached. They will be eligible to draw upon that money as well, increasing the deficit.
Therefore logically, it is clear then that the reasons we are being given are not the operative ones. So what possibly could be driving this then? I'm a firm believer in following the bouncing buck. And no cross-border business concern is richer than drug smuggling. They have so much money to spend that it would dwarf the operating deficit of any country on the planet, possibly even ALL of them. That is a lot of stinking money. Money enough that they can buy lots of political influence.
There is a military axiom that states that you must assume the enemy will use his resources to the maximum extent possible and you should therefore base your plans on what he CAN do, not what you think he WILL do. Therefore it is reasonable to assume that the drug cartels will use their massive bankroll to buy as many of our politicians as possible to ensure a favorable business climate. They may be evil, but they are not stupid. I have always suspected as much but I've never had real proof before. The travesty committed by Johnny Sutton against the border patrol agents has been strong circumstantial evidence but it was just that, circumstantial. But now I do have evidence. A Customs enforcement agent working to bust a major smuggling pipeline working through the railroads carrying between 5-9 TONS of contraband PER RAIL CAR was undermined and shut down by the customs agency itself. And the careers of the Customs agents that tried to buck the status quo have been ruined.
All the politicians fighting to undermine border enforcement need to have their campaign contributions looked at VERY CLOSELY.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Voter fraud myth dispelled a few weeks late...
Well the Chronicle finally got around to reporting it.... 3 weeks later.
Friday, June 08, 2007
Myths of global warming dispelled
First off, I'm going to concede that the Earth would appear to be warming at a rate of about half a degree centigrade per decade.
Now before all you Al Gore fans start falling all over yourselves writhing in ecstasy that a conservative agreed with you, you might want to hear me out.
CO2 increases have historically lagged behind temperature increases. The reason has always been that most CO2 is sequestered in the oceans. Solubility of CO2 in water is inversely proportional to the temperature. The higher the temp, the lower the solubility. That is why a can of Coke left in the sun will expand and burst. The CO2 is boiling out of solution and taking up more space in the can. This is not news, this has been known for a century or more.
Current climatologists insist that the old paradigm of CO2 lagging temperature is no longer valid because we are generating far more CO2 into the atmosphere than the Earth has ever seen before. While I will concede that we are releasing far more CO2 than ever before, I am not yet prepared to assign a value to the heating value of the excess CO2. The reason is that there are far more variables to account for than this one.
In prehistoric times when most of the planet was covered in vegetation and animals, not only was CO2 released quite abundantly, but methane was as well. Methane is 23 times more efficient as a greenhouse gas than CO2. So strictly comparing CO2 levels then and now doesn't begin to tell the whole story. But even if it did, there is a much larger elephant in the room. The Sun.
Back in the 19th century, a man by the name of James Croll postulated that orbital harmonics would set up cycles of heating and cooling. His calculations were off, but his reasoning was sound. In the 1920's and 1930's a Serbian working in Belgrade by the name of Milutin Milankovitch recognized that there were three orbital mechanics cycles with differing periods that interacted to seriously affect the amount of and location of incoming solar radiation. At the time, his theory was dismissed by geologists, but by 1965, after new techniques in radiocarbon and isotopic dating were available, Milankovitch's ideas were no longer so easily dismissed. In 1966, one of Milankovitch's defenders, an Italian working at the University of Chicago by the name of Cesare Emiliani, launched what became the "Global Cooling" scare by postulating that the current warming trend was coming to a close soon and that within a millennia, we would be in the throws of another Ice Age. Later in 1972, he postulated that CO2 generation by humans might be able to overcome the glaciation. So in a way we can credit Emiliani with both "Global Cooling' as well as "Global Warming".
But that is far from the end of the story when it comes to extraterrestrial influences.
The sun has yet another trick up it's sleeve and it has recently been discovered by a Dane by the name of Henrick Svensmark. Nuclear Physicists have used something called a cloud chamber for nearly a century to detect particle tracks from nuclear experiments. A super-cooled, super-saturated chamber held in a state with not quite enough energy to begin nucleation of the moisture. Any charged particles passing through would trigger nucleation along the track of the particle's path. Magnetic fields are used to separate positive vs negative particles.
Dr. Svensmark has performed an experiment called SKY (which means "cloud" in danish) where he showed that the very same thing happens in the stratosphere when cosmic rays impact the upper atmosphere. This would appear to be a major driver for the formation of cloud cover.
But cosmic rays are not constant. They ebb and flow depending on two things: the level of solar activity, as well as the geomagnetic field strength. Increased solar activity not only warms the earth more due to an increase in radiation but it deflects cosmic rays away from the earth more. The geomagnetic field also deflects cosmic rays to a lesser extent but since our magnetic field is collapsing with the impending pole flip, it is not deflecting as much as it used to. The result is that while our field is collapsing, currently the sun is overwhelming the effect because it is in an active cycle. But that cycle is coming to an end. Solar activity follows approximately an 11.1 year cycle (varying from 9-14 years). Magnetic pole flips are more irregular occurring between 1 and 5 times every million years.
There is one more mechanism in play that affects cloud cover: Aerosols. These can be dust from windstorms in the Sahara, ash from volcanic eruptions, forest fires, and here is another dirty little secret, they can come from human pollution as well. Since the 1940's scientists in Norway, the US, Russia, and Israel have all noted a 15% drop in solar radiation making it to the ground. They postulate that human pollution is helping to form cloud cover. As a result of that research an experiment was done. Utilizing GPS, satellite imagery, and calibrated radiometers. scientists took simultaneous solar radiation readings in the middle of the Pacific Ocean both under the pollution plume coming off the North American continent, as well as farther north where the sky was clear of the aerosols coning off North America. They found a 20% difference in radiation making it to the surface. As the Clean Air Act has taken hold, we have put fewer and fewer aerosols into the atmosphere. This has had the ironic effect of INCREASING the amount of solar radiation reaching the earth thereby INCREASING global warming.
None of these variables are part of the current climate models. If and when they are incorporated into the models, we may find we know far less about the climate than we think we do.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
The gloves are coming off and the brass knuckles are going on.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Anyone see a trend or two here?
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Men, we can be replaced.....
Consider the societal implications of that. All children derived in that manner would be female. Men would become scarcer and a much sought after commodity by those women who chose to procreate the old fashioned way. As a result, any genetic diseases that are passed down paternally will become more common. for that matter those diseases that are passed down to boys from their mother will remain in the gene pool, just waiting for the recipient to try it the old fashioned way.... The conventional monogamous relationship will become even more rare. children will grow up with little or no male role models. For girls that will be bad enough, but for boys conceived naturally, it will be even worse. Society will be vastly different from anything we have ever seen before. I'm fairly certain that the fabric of society would not be able to hold together were that to become commonplace.
What happens if males eventually die out? procreation would then rely entirely on technological means and once the y chromosome is gone, there will be no more unless it is technologically recreated.
So what happens if for one reason or another, that technology is lost? can you say instant extinction?
What if the opposite is also discovered? What if by similar means bone marrow can be coaxed to become ova as well? now either sex could become both mother and father (of course there is still that little thing about carrying the fetus to term, but it has been theorized that a man could carry a child abdominally and deliver it via C-Section. But of course there is the feminists other favorite research topic, artificial wombs, as well as the possibility of using Gorrillas as surrogate mothers....).
What sort of society would we have if procreation was no longer one of the drivers to bring people together in groups? What happens when the sexual urge is completely devoid of procreation? Would society look more like "A Brave New World", or would it look more like the Solarian society that Issac Asimov dreamed up?
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Pam Holm publically solicits a bribe and nobody notices
''I know there are a lot of restaurants that offer policemen meals just to have them park in their parking lot," said Councilwoman Pam Holm. "My guess is that there are a lot of car washes that would be happy to provide that service and, in return, they have the visibility of the police officers."Am I the only one that see this as a solicitation of a bribe? Clearly neither Pam Holm nor Alexis Grant did.
Further thoughts: 6-2-07 7:23 PM
What gets me is that Pam Holm said this with a straight face and clearly did not grasp that she was violating the law in even saying it. It is illegal to solicit a bribe. A bribe is giving someone something (including a service) of value for any sort of quid-pro-quo. A car wash is CLEARLY of some monetary value given that the city is planning to spend $1.25 Million dollars for a car washing contract for three years. Stop and Rob managers can't even give cops a free cup of coffee in order to get cops to stop in once in a while to discourage the MS-13 gangbangers. Granted they do so anyway and it is all ignored with a wink and a nod all up and down the management chain as long as we are only talking about coffee and nobody complains that they are being shaken down for said coffee.
Friday, June 01, 2007
Another one bites the dust.....
I'll be surprised if Ms. McBride doesn't find herself in front of a State Bar Grievance Committee explaining why she did not bother to even TRY to litigate two out of three cases.
Meanwhile, the foundation STILL has not complied with the OTHER two orders and has blown through the 10 day deadline to do so.