Wednesday, June 25, 2014

More From Texas

In Lone Star state news, we learned that Johnny Football's career options continue to multiply.

Johnny Manziel drives for a (missed) layup
during halftime of a Charlotte Bobcats game
vs. the Atlanta Hawks.

SAN ANTONIO - Former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel now has two career fallbacks if the NFL does not work out. 
After being drafted earlier this month in the 28th round by the San Diego Padres in the 2014 MLB draft, the Harlem Globetrotters decided to pick Manziel in their eighth annual player draft. 
Manziel was drafted in the first round, 28th overall, by the Cleveland Browns on May 8. 
In a news release, the Globetrotters said "The team searches the four corners of the world to find superb athletes with a flair for entertainment who are also able spread joy and goodwill outside of the athletic arena," the Globetrotters said in a news release about the Aggie alum. 
Sweet Lou Dunbar, the Globetrotters' director of player personnel, said that Manziel "is a fantastic athlete that knows how to be entertaining. 'Johnny Basketball' has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?"
I'm thinking that Johnny is fodder for the Washington Generals, which are still looking for their second victory after all these decades.

Looking south and east, Texas plans on sinking ships.
SAN ANTONIO - Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials are planning to sink a ship in the Gulf of Mexico near Galveston to create another artificial reef for conservation and research.
The agency is searching for a steel ship, at least 200 feet long, to sink on a proposed 80-acre site about 67 miles off the coast of Galveston in 135 feet of water, according to project summary from the Texas Parks and Wildlife and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The Texas Clipper being hauled out ot sea for its
final service as an artificial reef in 2007.
The $4 million project is funded through oil and gas company donations, including $1.8 million from the Natural Resource Damage Assessmenet Funds that were awarded as a result of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill,
said Chris Ledford, a reef specialist with the agency.
Large steel ships work with interesting or complicated structures on deck are ideal because they provide sturdy surfaces which marine life can attach, he said.
"And they make really cool dive sites," Ledford said. "It's pretty impressive how quickly critters show up."
The project is on schedule to be completed in fall 2015 or spring 2016, said Brooke Shipley-Lozano, cheif scientist for the artificial reef program for the agency.
The TPWD will seek bids from companies within the next few months for a ship to sink and will subsequently strip the ship to bare metal and remove all oil, fuel and electronics.
In 2007, the TPWD sank the 473-foot Texas Clipper, a training vessel at Texas A&M University at Galveston, 12 miles off South Padre Island. The ship hauled troops during World War II.
In Austin, an alternative newspaper columnist offers some interesting and apt spin on the government's monthly job creation reports.


The Hightower Report

What job creation numbers don't tell us


Have you noticed that the powers that be employ an entirely different standard for measuring the health of America's job market than they use for the stock market?
They're currently telling us that, "The job market is improving." What do they mean? Simply that the economy is generating an increase in the number of jobs available for workers. But when they say, "The stock market is improving," they don't mean that the number of stocks available to investors is on the rise. Instead, they're measuring the price, the value of the stocks. And isn't value what really counts in both cases?
As a worker, you don't want to know, not merely that 200,000 new jobs are on the market, but what they're worth – do they pay living wages, do they come with benefits, are they just part-time and temporary, do they include union rights, what are the working conditions, etc.? In other words, are these jobs ... or scams?
So, it's interesting that the recent news of job market "improvement" doesn't mention that of the 10 occupation categories projecting the greatest growth in the next eight years, only one pays a middle-class wage. Four pay barely above poverty level, and five pay beneath it, including fast-food workers, retail sales staff, health aides, and janitors. The job expected to have the highest number of openings is "personal care aide" – taking care of aging baby boomers in their houses or in nursing homes. The median salary of an aide is just under $20,000. They enjoy no benefits, and about 40% of them must rely on food stamps and Medicaid to make ends meet, plus many are in the "shadow economy," vulnerable to being cheated on the already miserly wages.
To measure the job market by quantity – with no regard for quality – is to devalue workers themselves. Creating 200,000 new jobs is not a sign of economic health if each worker needs two or three of those jobs to patch together a bare-bones living.

SAN ANTONIO -A Northeast Side homeowner says he feels lucky to be unharmed after he was nearly struck by an SUV that crashed into his living room Monday evening.
Police said the SUV driver initially struck a car wash on Nacogdoches Road, then drove over a metal rail, through a fence and into the home in the 3300 block of John Glenn Drive.
George Vasquez said the SUV missed him by a few feet.  "I was watching the news. It sounded like an explosion at first, couple seconds after that, here's comes a car right into my living room," Vasquez said. 
Vasquez said he asked the driver if he was "OK," and the driver asked to use his restroom.
San Antonio police took the driver in for questioning, but have not said if would face any charges or why he lost control of the SUV.

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And from the University of Texas in Austin, the student newspaper published (the Daily Texan) student loan balance data that show the students who amass the greatest debt are enrolled in departments which yield degrees and education that are least suitable to secure jobs that will generate incomes sufficient to repay the loans. The student loan system in this country is going dead broke. Perhaps we can enlist Hillary Clinton to "write" a book or give a speech on its behalf.

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