Sunday, June 28, 2015

Ken Paxton issues a hateful opinion - and Reminds us of George Wallace

Ken Paxton, Texas’ criminally indicted attorney general, has issued an opinion that would, it seems, be an obstruction of justice and a contravention of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling making every citizen of this country equal under the law — allowing same sex partners to enjoy the rights of conferred with a state-sanctioned marriage.

Paxton’s opinion also assured those county clerks with religious opposition to issuing marriage license to same sex couples that a raft of lawyers are standing by to assist those clerks and Paxton in his obstruction of justice and violation of his and their oaths of office. The opinion arises out of a request for “guidance” from Dan Patrick, the hate-mongering lieutenant governor, although it’s unclear why and how Patrick would be impacted by this ruling. According to the hateful pressrelease, Paxton implies that religious freedom is threatened.

More Political Pornography

When the Local Government Corp. announced recently that it would join with the City Council, Downtown Amarillo Inc., Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone and others in a community meeting on July 1, TIRZ Chairman Richard Brown and others represented the meeting as one seeking input and discussion. It turns out now as a story unfolds in the AmarilloGlobe-News and on at least two Facebook pages (here and here), that this meeting is another ploy at propaganda to shove the Wallace Bajjali-Downtown Amarillo Inc. plan down our throats.

While the first clue that the meeting Wednesday wasn’t really for community input came from reports about Mayor Paul Harpole’s “Town Hall” meetings, at which he has been reported to reject an election on the Wallace Bajjali-DAI stadium, clear confirmation arrived Sunday with the story referenced above.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Waiting for an explanationi

The Supreme Court rulings on the Affordable Care Act on Thursday and on gay marriage have, rightfully, overwhelms the media — social, mainstream and lamestream. But in doing so, the local media have missed another story of some import, one that gives credence to the case that Downtown Amarillo Inc. and Amarillo City Council’s old guard has mislead us on downtown development.

In all the uproar Thursday, we received a press release from one Hayley Sitz, of the firm Weber Shandwick, announcing the commencement of construction of the new Xcel office building in downtown. The building is actually being developed by the Opus Group.

None of the local media have reported on this little announcement, despite the posting Thursday. So, I bring it up again. Why no coverage? And why no attempt to get DAI head Melissa Dailey and Mayor Paul Harpole and Councilman Brian Eades to reconcile their comments with the start of construction?

Love wins

To go on my blogs shortly:

An Open Letter to Greg Abbott, Ken Paxton and Myriad Others,

For the second time within a week, the United States Supreme Court has ruled on matters that you have strongly opposed. The first ruling was the declaration the Affordable Care Act was constitutional. Today, a majority of the justices ruled that the equal protection provisions of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution applied to everyone.

In your opposition to both of these measures, you have fomented hatred and lies, reflecting an indecency of human spirit and a hypocritical repudiation of the true message of Jesus Christ — a message which you try to convince us you so fervently embrace. Looking at your rhetoric, you fail.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Catching them in a lie?

We have heard repeatedly from the advocates of the Wallace Bajjali-Downtown Amarillo Inc. approach to revitalizing downtown that the ballpark is key to a full range of development, including being the deal breaker on a new building for Xcel Energy. The PR firm shilling for the Opus Group and Xcel announced this afternoon that contractors have are commencing construction of the 119,000-square-foot building. This means one of two things.

Either a secret deal exists to build the Wallace Bajjali-Downtown Amarillo Inc. ball park despite Amarillo voters clearly demanding more transparency and not proceeding on the park without the new City Council considering the project further.

Amarillo doc loses license

Directly from the Medical Board:

Shelton, Douglas Ray, M.D., Lic. No. J2325, Amarillo
On June 12, 2015, the Board entered a Final Order against Douglas Ray Shelton, M.D., which revoked Dr. Shelton's Texas medical license. The Board found Dr. Shelton engaged in violations of patient-physician boundaries with multiple patients, failed to meet the standard of care with respect to two patients' surgical procedures and their follow up care, failed to maintain adequate medical records, and was the subject of adverse peer review during which Dr. Shelton resigned his hospital privileges in lieu of disciplinary action. The action was based on the findings of two administrative law judges at the State Office of Administrative Hearings. This order resolves a formal complaint filed at the State Office of Administrative Hearings. Dr. Shelton has 20 days from the service of the order to file a motion for rehearing.

Texas’ execrable, repulsive and deplorable attorney general

Americans who face potentially devastating medical problems have found succor in the Affordable Care Act and, with today’s United States Supreme Court decision, will continue to do so. The 6-3 ruling affirmed the constitutionality of the law, also known as Obamacare, with the three most ignorant, corporatist shills on the bench dissenting.

The right wing’s ideological knee-jerk sure to follow has already begun with Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general currentlyunder investigation for securities fraud, quick with a pressrelease — as he usually is — to condemn the federal government for “overreach,” clearly forgetting his oath to uphold the constitutions of the United States and Texas. This poor excuse for a law enforcement officer squanders taxpayer money to rail against those acts of government that don’t capitulate to his corporatist overlords. Like almost all politicians of the right wing, he fails to understand basic health care economics, the multiplier effect of funding health care and ignores the national interest in having a healthy society.

Further, the content of the press release is populated with right wing lies, perpetuated on right wing “news” sources and blogs since February 2014 when the Congressional Budget Office released a report on the ACA. Economist Paul Krugman pointed out what the CBO report really stated; so did Newsweek, among other emphasizing that the ACA didn’t cost American jobs.

Whatever our political persuasions, Texans have the highest regard for honesty, revering such symbols of integrity as sealing a deal with nothing more than a handshake. With Paxton, we have a traitor to this state’s righteous history. Texas deserves better.

What big media will call his cards on this as we have? 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Government must reclaim its integrity

About three weeks ago, ABC 7 News ran a story about allegations that Amarillo Police Department officers beat a black man, Robert Johnson, during an incident on the north side of town. Today, the Amarillo Globe-News reports that Blackburn and Brown, a law firm headed by civil rights advocate and attorney Jeff Blackburn, has asked for DNA testing on bags that APD officers allege they found on Johnson during that incident. The cops allege that the bags contained marijuana. The implications in the article are clear. Johnson’s attorneys are suggesting that the cops planted the weed on Johnson.

But wait, there’s more — more dots to connect.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

From the Texas Tribune: When Guards Demand Sex

Preying on Texas Prisoners: When Guards Demand Sex
  by Alysia Santo, The Marshall Project
  June 17, 2015

As a prison nurse, Domenic Hidalgo had access to prescription medication, a highly coveted commodity among the inmates at the Clements Unit in Texas, the state prison where Hidalgo worked.

He tried to use that access to get what he wanted: sex with Matthew, a prisoner at the facility. When Matthew reported Hidalgo’s advances to prison staff in April of 2011, officers wired him with a recording device and told him to prove it.

In audio obtained by The Marshall Project, Hidalgo can be heard handing Matthew a Bupropion pill, a type of antidepressant, and asking to perform oral sex on him in exchange. “This is the best time,” said Hidalgo, but Matthew demurred, saying he’d come back soon. “Let me just mess with you,” Hidalgo insisted. He then pulled down Matthew’s pants and masturbated him. (The full names of victims have been withheld to protect their privacy.)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Texas Paid Millions for Unallowable Medicaid Orthodontic Services

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (State agency) did not ensure that requests for prior authorization of Medicaid orthodontic services were approved in accordance with State Medicaid guidelines. On the basis of our sample results, we estimated that the State agency paid at least $191.4 million ($133.4 million Federal share) for unallowable orthodontic services. Of 106 sampled orthodontic prior-authorization requests, 17 were approved by the Texas Medicaid & Healthcare Partnership (TMHP) in accordance with State Medicaid guidelines and 89 were not. Of the 89 improperly approved prior authorizations, 78 did not qualify for orthodontic services and 11 did not have sufficient documentation to determine whether they qualified.