The Supreme Court has ruled on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, ruling that although the constitution doesn't allow for a mandate to purchase healthcare coverage, the penalty is a tax:
"The Affordable care act's requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably characterized as a tax. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness," said the ruling.
The 5-4 decision was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, with Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissenting.
Yesterday, we were honored by a visit to the LTJ offices by Lewisville Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Leroy Vaughn, who shared his thoughts with us on the proposed ban on restaurant and bar smoking in Lewisville. Here's the video:
This morning, I'm on the edge of my seat, and feeling an impending sense of dread about today's Supreme Court ruling. It's unfortunate not to have confidence that they will rule based on the law and the constitution.
The differences between the Texas Democratic Party and the Republican Party of Texas could not be more stark, when you look at their platforms. If you want to see social darwinism at work, look at the Republican Platform and search for "Education". My personal favorite (and it's hard to pick just one):
Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.
Really? You're going to go after schools for trying to teach critical thinking? It doesn't get much more knuckle-dragging stupid than that. I think perhaps these rabid ideologues who have taken over the Republican party fear that critical thinking will weaken their hold, and reduce their ability to peddle irrational fear.
Texas Democrats strongly support the Texas Constitution’s recognition that a free, quality public education is “essential to the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people.” Texas Democrats believe a world class education system is a moral imperative and an economic necessity that requires parents, educators and community leaders to work together to provide our children the skills needed to compete and succeed in a global economy.
Texas Democrats believe all children should have access to an exemplary educational program that values and encourages critical thinking and creativity, not the “drill and kill” teach-‐to-‐the-‐test policy Republicans have forced on students and teachers.
So just yesterday, I got an email from the Texas Republican Party announcing their new website: "Texas GOP Jobs". What, did you think it would actually be about real jobs for people who work for a living, and are suffering from the economic collapse brought on by the Republican-led deregulation of the financial industry? Nah, those folks don't matter. These jobs are for Republican campaign staffers, operatives, and lobbyists. That's who the GOP cares about, first and foremost.
This afternoon, sometime around 4:40, power was knocked out in Southern Lewisville for the second time this month. Although Texas was in the process of setting a record for power usage, TNMP said that the problem was not related to rolling blackouts, but instead was the result of what appeared to be a big transformer tripping. Lewisville police stayed busy directing traffic at intersections along F.M. 3040 and S.H. 121. TNMP had restored some power (including my house) by 6:30 p.m., but other neighbors are still without power as I write this, and TNMP is estimating an 8:30 p.m. restore.
The heat apparently is getting to people, judging by the number of disturbances that LPD is responding to in the past few hours. (BTW, thanks to LJ and LF who heard our frustration about our old staticky police scanner, and chipped in to buy us a new one. We're Lima Charlie now.)
Aside from the pesky problem of being without our own power, we can all pop the champagne corks and take a little Texas pride, because Texas set an all-time June record for electricity peak usage Monday, then again on Tuesday. Electric use averaged 65,047 megawatts between 4 and 5 p.m., which was still 500 megawatts less than had been predicted for Monday. Texas' all-time peak usage was set last August 3rd, at 68,379 megawatts. In off-peak hours Monday, electricity was going for $20 - $30 per megawatt hour, but in West Texas, some rates were as high as $438.54. On Tuesday, we hit 66,583 megawatts, and Reuters reports that prices briefly hit the $3,000 maximum.
Why the Water Tastes Funny In case you missed the post on Facebook, the City of Lewisville answered a citizen question about the funny taste in our city water right now: Quote:
"This is caused by the natural churn in local lakes seen each year when the temperatures rise at the start of summer. It is experienced by every city drawing water from lakes (as opposed to wells from the aquifer). It usually lasts about a week, but the water remains perfectly safe to drink. Our water plant has made adjustments to the treatment process to address the taste and odor issues. Residents should see an improvement within the next couple of days."
We have two suggestions: 1. Drink beer instead. 2. Put lots of sugar in the iced tea.
OK, you could also get one of those fancy pitchers or faucet filters.
Speaking of spelling things out, we updated our posting rules the other day to make it clear that it's considered spam when people post the same comment repeatedly in multiple threads. Seems like we could name each rule after a different commenter. Wish we could just get away with the golden rule.
Baby boomer divorce rates double. "Sanctity of marriage", my ass. People change, and sometimes it just doesn't work out. It won't stop me from trying to make mine last a lifetime, but I certainly won't hold it against others if their ideas on marriage are different. (Unless they go around sanctimoniously preaching and condemning others for it. Looking at you, Limbaugh.)
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. didn't lose $2 billion because of hubris, regulation, or market forces. It lost $2 billion because Ted Kennedy died.
J.P. Morgan's CEO, Jamie Dimon, explained it differently to the Senate Banking Committee the other day: "To achieve [reduced risk] in the synthetic credit portfolio, the CIO could have simply reduced its existing positions. Instead, starting in mid-January, it embarked on a complex strategy that entailed any positions that it did believe offset the existing ones. This strategy, however, ended up creating a portfolio that was larger and ultimately resulted in even more complex and hard to manage risks."
Translation: "We have rules against doing what we did because it's too risky, but I thought we could make a lot of money. Oops."
It's the Senate Banking Committee's job to hold people who gamble with our money accountable. But when Dimon showed up, the Republican members acted like Trekkies who'd been granted a private audience with Leonard Nimoy.
Ranking Republican Richard Shelby hails from Jefferson County, Alabama, which was recently forced into the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history by J.P. Morgan. You'd think that Shelby would have sharp questions for Dimon. But Shelby also took $25,000 from Dimon and J.P. Morgan's PACs, so instead we got this non sequitur: "You were managing risk. What were you managing on this?"
It's very hard to dodge a question if you can't understand it, but Dimon rose to the challenge with this bit of blue-sky balderdash: "What it was meant to do was to earn, in benign environments make a little money, but if there was a crisis, like Lehman, like Eurozone, it would actually reduce this dramatically by making money."
As North Texas enters a second day of triple-digit temperatures, ERCOT is urging conservation during peak hours to reduce demand on the state's electric grid. ERCOT, the state's grid regulator, expects that today's peak load will be 65,560 megawatts, and that the system should be able to handle the load without any emergency alerts.
As the load nears capacity, additional megawatts cost more per megawatt, and any unplanned loss of generation can cause problems more quickly.
ERCOT recommends the following conservation steps to take between the peak hours of 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.:
Turn your thermostat up by two or three degrees in the late afternoon.
If you will be away from home throughout the day, turn your thermostat up before leaving home in the morning.
Set pool pumps to run late at night or early in the morning.
Avoid using large appliances, especially hot stoves and clothes dryers, during the peak.
Lewisville Texan Journal hereby grants our readers the excuse not to cook or do laundry between the hours of 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., because we know that you all like to do your part.
Eagle Gun Range provided a construction update on their new indoor range in Lewisville. They expect to begin demolition in the building in the next couple of weeks, with construction commencing July 16th or 23rd. That puts the timeline for completion in October or November. I guess we won't be able to schedule a birthday party for my youngest son, who turns 12 on July 5th.
I got an email from these idiots, claiming there has been a massive underground nuclear explosion in Michigan, set off by the Russians, who are trying to set off the New Madrid Fault. Why do I collect crazy people? I used to have a category here for crazy emails. I think it would be fun to collect and catalog them. Of course, the compassionate side of me says we just need to double-down on efforts at public mental health services.
Denton Record Chronicle says that retired Precinct 5 Constable Ken Jannerith didn't appear to actually work during the last year he was in office. He's been prevented from drawing a retirement check. He simply drew a paycheck, but never showed up for work. Jannerith had also been convicted of criminal mischief for repeatedly destroying a barrier that his homeowners' associate had installed. What never ceases to amaze me is how voters will elect scoundrels like this simply because they have an "R" after their name. A local connection is mentioned here, in that one of Jannerith's last actions before he was forced to resign, is that he fired a deputy and attempted to hire Barry Minoff to take his place.
At the 46th annual meeting of the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) on Friday, June 15, 2012, member governments elected a new Executive Board, which will be chaired by Bobbie Mitchell, Commissioner with Denton County. Ms. Mitchell was first elected to the Denton County Commissioners’ Court in 2000, after serving as Mayor for the City of Lewisville from 1992 – 2000.
Commissioner Mitchell brings many years of service to the Council of Governments and has served as a Director and Secretary/Treasurer before her election in 2011 as COG’s Vice President. In addition to the Executive Board, Commissioner Mitchell is also the voting representative for Denton County.
Four new members – Plano Deputy Mayor Pro Tem, Lissa Smith, Lancaster Mayor, Marcus Knight, Joshua Councilmember, A. J. Mathieu, and Sachse Councilmember, Jared Patterson -- were also elected to the NCTCOG Executive Board. The Honorable Jim Jackson, Texas State Representative, District 115, was elected as the Ex Officio Member.
Members rotating off the Board were Holly Gray-McPherson, Roanoke Mayor Pro Tem; Grand Prairie Councilmember, Ron Jensen; Cedar Hill Councilmember, Cory Spillman; C. Shane Wilbanks, Mayor Pro Tem in Grapevine; and Tarrant County Commissioner, Andy Nguyen.
NCTCOG’s 2011 – 2012 President, Linda Koop, Councilmember in the City of Dallas, presided over the General Assembly, which included election of officers and directors to NCTCOG’s 2012 - 2013 Executive Board; presentation of three regional awards: The Linda Keithley Award for Women in Public Management, The William J. Pitstick Regional Excellence Award, and The Regional Cooperation Award. The Keynote speaker was The Honorable Chairman Jim Pitts, Texas State Representative, District 10.
NCTCOG’s Executive Board is the policy approval body for all activities of the North Central Texas Council of Governments.
From out of the green mist enveloping the campaign doldrums they come. Relentlessly. Doggedly. Cattedly. Trudging, blank-faced and soulless. Armies of cash-hungry zombies brandishing partisan pickaxes, shovels and crowbars, with only one goal rattling around their feverish brains. Campaign booty. Pieces of eight. Entire 8s. Eight-figured 8s.
We're in that lazy seam that marks the home stretch to the National Conventions, with little else to occupy opposing squads than raising moolah to prepare for the epic upcoming battle. Negative ads don't grow on trees, you know.
The peripatetic participants are as frenzied as reef sharks in shallow, tuna-rich waters trying to raise a little bit of money here, some more money there, how about all that money -- everywhere. At this point, the staffs are so laser-focused you'd think they were being pursued by the hounds of fund-raising hell. Maybe they are. Or the ghost of John McCain's '08 late October.
In May, President Obama picked up a measly $60 million versus $76 million for the presumptive Republican nominee ,and those figures were considered by most experts to be a drop in the Suck-It bucket. Slack City. Chump change. Must have been distracted. Weren't really trying. Had their minds on other things. It was Sweeps Week.