|Opinions We Have and Can
Memory Lane- Fireworks Yes or NO -Fourth of July Freedom of Speech
Saturday, July 04, 2015
The weather has been so nice lately, a little cool, some rain, and it looks to be a great day for fireworks. My family is planning to get some from Uncle George's and set them off tonight, with plenty of hoses, etc around. Saw some last night being set off in the country around here. I definitely have put up the dogs since this holiday is the one that most pets go missing due to fear of the noise. So, here was an interesting post from some years ago regarding fireworks in our county and whether it should be permitted or there should be a burn ban. During the drought, although Somervell County banned fires in general, they didn't ban fireworks. In 20009, a poster named Humanbeing put as her opinion that we should ban the personal use of fireworks. Another instance
We should ban the personal use of fireworks and restrict this activity to approved venues in non-wildlife areas only.
Unlike Humanbeing, although I think a case could be made for not having fireworks during a drought such as the one we had a few yearsr back, I like fireworks and hope all are safely using them.
Humanbeing was a valued poster who started posting not only top level posts around 2009 (528), but also many many comments (1346). We agreed about many things. She is prochoice, voted for President Obama, as did I (including finding the argument regarding Barack Obama's birth certificate ridiculous) , was against the 2 nuclear reactors that were proposed for Somervell County by Comanche Peak. We had a difference of opinion regarding the passing of the hospital district and frequently argued with each other about it in our postings. She had no issues with higher taxes and I did, amongst other things. At some point I politely requested of her that I would like her not to post about the hospital district anymore, since it's my blog, I was simply tired of arguing about it. As I discussed with her at the time, there were far too many occasions in which she would assert something, I would counter, and she would not bother to look at the source, but keep on arguing. For example, she asserted that any resident could simply walk into Pecan Plantation and go to the clinic. I telephoned the clinic and was told that the clinic was for Pecan Plantation residents. I was also told directly via a phone conversation with Dr Justus Peters that the other physician (at the time Bruce Carpenter) didn't even take patients that didn t live in Pecan Plantation. She didn't bother to make a simple phone call for herself but kept arguing about it for another 2 weeks. She said another time that it was fine for Somervell County to spend money outside of our district because Hopkins County does it. I CALLED Hopkins County and talked to a board member, found out that they had to explicitly change their district definition to include territory in two other counties that didn't even have their own hospital districts. I frankly don't understand someone keeping on arguing about something once the premise is found to be false. It was tiring. What finally did it for me was her arguing about whether Mike Ford, who was then a county commissioner, not judge, broke the law about the vote for the $14.4 million dollars. I have the audio for that meeting and despite having posted about it umpteen times, she apparently couldn't bother to even listen to it. I don't mind having a discussion with people, but if they aren't ever going to attempt to look or listen or find out for themselves, it's just a waste of time. I told her I appreciated the other subjects she wrote about but she decided to leave the site, on her own; I obviously didn't kick her off because I very much liked other subjects she wrote about, but the arguments about the district were wearying, so she left. She decided to use Facebook as her outlet, as well as writing frequent letters to the local Glen Rose Reporter. Quite a lot of these letters disparage my husband, based on misinformation, but of course she is exercising the American value of freedom of speech, however mistaken I personally believe her to be. There is, of course, a difference between journalism that reports strictly the facts and opinions that include how a given person feels or thinks about those facts. Under our American democracy, citizens can freely express themselves, even where we do not agree. What sort of silly and misguided person would try to prevent, contest, or take police action against a letter to the editor simply due to, say, thin skin?
Incidentally,Here is a letter to the editor I myself wrote in September 2013. This was about the time I had sent in a complaint to Greg Doyle, Sheriff, regarding both spending money outside of the district in Hood County, as well the use of shortfall money without accountability. I spoke first with Darrell McCravy, who is now in the Johnson County DA office, and then, later, Greg Doyle sent this to Andy Lucas to look into. This was that letter-you can see the actual name on the website, but I am blocking out both the writers name and mine here because this is the internet.
Ms. G***** and I have had a running discussion for several years about the desirability of a hospital district. She is for one and I am against, although we both agree regarding a single-payer system, with universal health care. Both of us have been very vocal about our opinions, but we do not agree on the district.
Glen Rose Medical Center asked for - and was denied - a government grant some years back, because there are too many hospitals within about 25 miles. Then private, their management asked Chet Edwards for an earmark, he got half of the amount he hoped to give them. The county commissioners then made a decision to loan GRMC $14.4 million (which amount doesn’t include the interest). Then-commissioner Mike Ford pushed for a vote before holding a required IRS hearing about whether the public wanted to lend taxpayer money to a private entity. GRMC, at that time run by appointed hospital authority, was supposed to keep that money in a separate account, but instead put it into their operating account - you may remember then-judge Walter Maynard’s surprise when there was an over $1 million shortfall in the accounts.
GRMC, for whatever reason, could not operate successfully without coming back to the county repeatedly for additional *shortfall/settle-up* money. If GRMC was scrupulous about their accounts, they wouldn’t have had an embezzlement problem and could also explain where the written contract is that allows them to transfer money without requisitions to the doctor 501a organization.
I believe GRMC spending taxpayer money at Pecan Plantation is definitely illegal. I have put in a formal complaint to the sheriff’s department and have been told by Deputy McCravey that he will look into it. Further, I believe were this to go to court, a judge would definitely see a problem with spending money in Hood County’s hospital district.
The question is not whether it’s okay to use Pecan Family Medical Center as a cash cow, as if being able to supplement one’s income from any source justifies the practice. IF that were true, then it would be fine for, say, a flower business to sell drugs to school children, because, after all, it’s bringing in additional revenue.
Here are the facts, and I suggest anyone that disputes this do some research: Somervell County Hospital District boundaries in the petition that was voted on comprise the county boundaries of Somervell County, not Hood County; the definition also indicates that tax money is to be spent in our district - “The boundaries of the District shall be coterminous with the boundaries of Somervell County. None of the territory in the district is included in another hospital district established pursuant to the laws of the State of Texas.”
Two districts cannot hold the same territory. Hood County has its own hospital district, but citizens there pay NO tax for it. That is because Hood County made a deal with private company CHS to operate Lake Granbury Medical Center. Although a district can enter into an interlocal agreement with another county to operate a clinic, there is no such agreement with Hood County
There is an example from Yoakum County in which a clinic, without permission, operated in another’s territory. However, that can only happen if a clinic meets a *hospital purpose*, which by definition means that the entity has a public purpose. L-097 says that a hospital district is charged with the purpose of providing medical care, particularly for the needy and use of public funds for private purposes is generally prohibited. But Pecan Plantation is a “gated community with controlled access.” A Somervell County resident cannot simply walk up to the clinic - you must get permission first from the guard at the gate.
It was the height of nerve to see so many letters to the editor during the GRMC district campaign from Pecan Plantation residents who sure did want Somervell County taxpayers to vote in a district, one that they will never pay for themselves (they can’t, they are already in a district where they pay no taxes).
County commissioners have said repeatedly they would not allow the hospital to close. Most of them expected the then-appointed hospital authority members to do due diligence in exploring all options for keeping a hospital going in the county, and one of those options included leasing it to a private entity.
Larry Shaw refused to consider that option and is on record saying so. The hospital board was appointed, not elected, so the ultimate responsibility for their actions or lack of, was at the feet of the county judge and commissioners.
The situation has been made more challenging now since budgets have been decided upon for the next year, but commissioners have said they could handle change.
Ms. G***** may see nefarious agendas by CHS, but the facts are that Lake Granbury representatives have said their intention would not have been to close the hospital. Many of us that live here are actually fine with a smaller hospital that offers good emergency services - isn’t the point of a public hospital to help out local residents and the needy who could not afford more expensive care? If the initiative to dissolve the hospital district succeeds, definitely the commissioners would have to scramble to figure out how to run the hospital, as the money to run it, no longer budgeted, would have to come from reserves. But that might light a fire under them to do what the appointed hospital authority board (who are mostly the same people that are now temporary, unelected board members on the district) did not.
I am not one that has the amount of tax as a central issue, but many do. Not only did county taxes go up, where you might expect that if the county no longer had to pay for certain items, like indigent care, your taxes would be lower, but you are now paying an additional 10.5 cents. I also note that Mike Ford, who is listed on the Secretary of State (SoS) website as being on the Roger Marks Foundation board, gave himself a raise, as did the commissioners. I would say that county residents that enjoy giving money to the hospital do it through the Roger E. Marks Foundation, but noticed that they are inactive on the Texas SoS website, due to tax forfeiture.
It’s amusing to see Ms. G***** push for market-oriented approaches to stay competitive, when she says, “Because patients can choose where they go for healthcare services, hospitals… compete with each other for new sources of revenue.” That’s the whole argument for having a private hospital, one that, like Lake Granbury, can operate clinics anywhere they like, and run a business to make money. In fact, that’s what Glen Rose Medical Center was several years ago, a private hospital, before they went on the public dole. Where are the private enterprise champions that believe in the free market now?
Overall, it's a great country we live in and today is a wonderful day to remember Article 1 of the constitution, where we can agree, disagree, write letters to the editor, express ourselves on social media, etc.
salon | 7/4/2015/12:06:36 PM |
Tags: glen rose somervell county letter to the editor freedom of speech
From July 4 1876- Before Women Could Vote |
Saturday, July 04, 2015
Important to recall that 100 years after the country's founding, women were disenfranchised. Declaration of Rifhts of the Women of the United States. Here are a couple of the items enumerated that men, but not women, enjoyed.
Universal Manhood Suffrage, by establishing an aristocracy of sex, imposes upon the women of this nation a more absolute and cruel despotism than monarchy; in that, woman finds a political master in her father, husband, brother, son. The aristocracies of the old world are based upon birth, wealth, refinement, education, nobility, brave deeds of chivalry; in this nation, on sex alone; exalting brute force above moral power, vice above virtue, ignorance above education, and the son above the mother who bore him.
The Judiciary of the Nation has proved itself but the echo of the party in power, by upholding and enforcing laws that are opposed to the spirit and letter of the Constitution. When the slave power was dominant, the Supreme Court decided that a black man was not a citizen, because he had not the right to vote; and when the Constitution was so amended as to make all persons citizens, the same high tribunal decided that a woman, though a citizen, had not the right to vote.16 Such vacillating interpretations of constitutional law unsettle our faith in judicial authority, and undermine the liberties of the whole people.
Even now, there are still subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) attempts to keep women in their *place*, to deny them the right to be full citizens treated as individuals, even when married. But thanks to the efforts of women such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony, eventually, in 1920, women got the right to vote. Other rights came slowly over years.
And now, at the close of a hundred years, as the hour hand of the great clock that marks the centuries points to 1876, we declare our faith in the principles of self-government; our full equality with man in natural rights; that woman was made first for her own happiness, with the absolute right to herself – to all the opportunities and advantages life affords to her complete development; and we deny that dogma of centuries, incorporated into the codes of nations – that woman was made for man – her best interests, in all cases, to be sacrificed to his will. We ask our rulers, at this hour, no special favors, no special privileges, no special legislation. We ask justice, we ask equality, we ask that all the civil and political rights that belong to citizens of the United States, be guaranteed to us and our daughters forever.
So happy on THIS July 4, 2015 to see the progress that has been made for women, people of color and LGBT. Truly wonderful to live in America.
salon | 7/4/2015/9:30:31 AM |
Rick Perry's Faux Reachout to Black People (2015) |
Friday, July 03, 2015
Washington Post. Rick Perry went to the National Press Club yesterday and gave a speech that pretended to reach out to black people.
Let’s be clear about one thing: The GOP didn’t “give up” trying to win the black vote. It spent decades building and maintaining electoral majorities on the encouragement and exploitation of racism. It was a sin of commission, not a sin of omission. And the reason the party is now reevaluating the “Southern strategy” isn’t that it had some kind of moral epiphany, it’s because the strategy doesn’t work anymore.
While we’re on this topic, permit me a digression on this “party of Lincoln” business, which is something Republicans say when they’re trying to convince people they aren’t actually hostile to black people. As Antonin Scalia would say, it’s pure applesauce. Here’s the truth: One hundred fifty years ago, the Republican Party was the liberal party, and the Democratic Party was the conservative party. They reversed those positions over time for a variety of reasons, but the Republicans of today are not Abraham Lincoln’s heirs. Ask yourself this: If he had been around in 1864, which side do you think Rick Perry would have been on? If you took more than half a second to answer, “The Confederacy, of course,” then you’re being way too generous to him, not to mention the overwhelming majority of his fellow Republicans.
salon | 7/3/2015/5:23:55 PM |
Tags: rick perry black people national press club
So.. High and Mighty Katie Lang Tries to Keep Media Out of a Public Building |
Friday, July 03, 2015
The drama continues, Hood County News supposed to have a big article on these antics tomorrow. Get the popcorn.
County Clerk Katie Lang attempted to order from her office a contingent that included media and a gay couple seeking to fill out a marriage license application. “I’m a taxpayer,” James Cato said in response to Lang’s order. Cato is seeking to marry his longtime partner, Joe Stapleton. Lang then said that the media had to go. The building that houses her office is a public building. Sheriff Roger Deeds and several deputies responded to Lang’s call for assistance, but simply stood outside the door without ordering anyone to leave.
Hahah. Maybe this lady needs to go into her own PRIVATE business where she can be Queen.
salon | 7/3/2015/3:50:52 PM |
Tags: granbury hood county katie lang
Sunday, July 05, 2015