Wednesday, July 12, 2017


In the history of legislative public hearings has any official ever changed their mind as a result of what he heard at the public hearing? #Iknowitsoundslikedemocracy

Over my life time government's thirst for more of our money has not diminished, yet its interest in helping ordinary people has greatly diminished. These days it mostly just likes to help itself.

Ever get that feeling you are called a "grumpy old man" for a valid reason?




Reyes v. North Texas Tollway Authority No. 16-10767

Before STEWART, Chief Judge, HIGGINBOTHAM, and COSTA, Circuit Judges.

AFFIRMED. (June 27, 2017).

Posted in Constitutionality, Due Process, Fourteenth Amendment

Gated toll booths are becoming a thing of the past. The North Texas Tollway Authority, a regional agency established to administer toll roads in north Texas, in the move away from gated booths, created the first system in the United States that allowed drivers without either change in their pockets or TollTags (sometimes called EZTAGs) affixed to their windshields to still use toll roads. Of course, those drivers are supposed to pay their share at some point, so the Authority used cameras to take pictures of the vehicles' license plates and mailed a bill to the owners. If the drivers did not pay the tolls within 35 days of the invoice, administrative fees started to accrue. The fees increased to $25 per violation once the Authority sent a third bill to the driver. The plaintiffs in this case, drivers who were assessed fees totaling hundreds and in some cases thousands of dollars after they repeatedly refused to pay tolls, contended that the $25 administrative fee violated their right to substantive due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. The District Court held that the fee was not unconstitutional, reasoning that there was a rational relationship between the $25 administrative fee and the Authority's interest in recovering costs spent to collect unpaid tolls. The District Court cited another interest - using high fees to encourage drivers to switch to the more efficient TollTag system - that allowed the fees to withstand Fourteenth Amendment scrutiny. Plaintiffs appealed. The Fifth Circuit affirms that the $25 fee is rationally related to the government's interest in recovering costs spent to recover uncollected tolls. Additionally, the Court countenances incentivizing drivers to switch to TollTags as a legitimate interest.

On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas (A. Joe Fish).
Attorney for Appellant - Steven Dominic Sanfelippo, Dallas, TX
Attorney for Appellee - W. Scott Hastings, Dallas, TX

New executive director appointed to troubled Texas liquor agency
By Shannon Najmabadi
A lawyer with a lengthy military background has been tapped to clean up the embattled Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, which has been dogged by controversies and high-level departures in recent months. 

Clementinum in Prague is the most beautiful library In the world

Arguably, one of the most beautiful and admired cultural centers in Europe is the city of Prague in the Czech Republic, founded circa 880. The capital of Bohemia is home to the oldest university in Central Europe, dating back to 1348.
With culture and education this old, it’s only natural that Prague would be full of old libraries, and the most beautiful of them all is the Clementinum Library.

The Clementinum (Klementinum in Czech) which is a historic complex of buildings housing the national library, is not considered only the most beautiful library in Prague but in the world, as well. The complex was founded when the Jesuits arrived in Bohemia in 1556. The name comes from the chapel dedicated to St. Clement, built in the 11th-century. Later, in the medieval period, a Dominican monastery was founded in the same place, providing a home to the Jesuits.
In 1622, the monastery was promoted to a university which later became the third largest Jesuit university in the world. In 1653, 31 years after its establishment, the Jesuits began with the reconstruction and expansion of the complex, which lasted for more than 170 years, employing some of the most prominent architects of the time. The Clementinum was expanded on over 2 hectares, becoming one of the largest building complexes in Europe. It is today the second largest complex in Prague after Prague Castle.
Although it is still a beautiful example of Baroque architecture, you can find various kinds of architectural styles in the complex, due to its long renovation period. Besides the classrooms, the Jesuits built bedrooms, a print room, church buildings, a pharmacy, and of course, the library. In 1654, two years after the library from Charles University was transferred there, the Clementinum college and university were merged. The complex was run by the Jesuits until 1773 when their order was dissolved. Two years after the Jesuits left, the oldest weather recording lab in the Czech Republic began operating as a part of the Clementinum University, and it is still functional to this day.
Officially, the library was opened in 1722. The book collection dates back to the time of the Jesuits, and it still has books with white spines and red marks left by them. Currently, the library is a home to more than 20.000 books, most of which are foreign theological literature, with writings dating from the 17th century up until today. Some of those rare books were given to Google for scanning and will soon be available on Google Books.

The interior of the library is of a baroque style, and the magnificent frescoes on the ceiling are made by Jan Hiebl. The frescoes depict Jesuit saints, patrons of the university and motifs of education. The interiors have been untouched since the 18th century, with the portrait of Joseph II mounted at the head of the library hall, the Emperor who transferred the books from the abolished monastic libraries to the Clementinum Library. The library has a remarkable collection of terrestrial globes and astronomical clocks.
In 1777, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria declared the university and library as open to the public. In 1781, the director of the library Karel Rafael Ungar established a collection of Czech literature, which he called Biblioteca Nationals. This has triggered the idea of creating a national library.
His collection still stands in the same place, at the head of the library hall. One year later, in 1782, it was transformed into a legal deposit library. In 1990, the Clementinum became known as the National Library. Besides the magnificent examples of Czech literature collected by director Karel Rafael Ungar, the library houses pieces written by Tycho, Brahe, and Comenius
Today, the library is still functional. For several years there was a debate about expanding the space for future library collections as it was expected that the library would fill its capacity by 2010. So, in January 2006, the Prague authorities made a decision to sell one of the city-owned property to the National Library.
In the same year, an international architectural competition was started to get a design for the new National Library building. The architect Jan Kaplicky won the contest, and the final project is in the process of being realized.


Russian Dirt on Clinton? 'I Love It,' Donald Trump Jr. Said


Email exchanges reviewed by The Times offer a detailed unspooling of how an eager Donald Trump Jr. came to meet with a Kremlin-connected lawyer.

President Trump leaving Hamburg, Germany, on Saturday after the G-20 conference.

News Analysis

Rancor at White House as Russia Story Refuses to Let the Page Turn


Every time the president tries to put the furor behind him, more disclosures thrust it back to the fore, and people close to him are anonymously blaming one another. 



Today no one wants to even think of this.  Not fake news.

Horrible. Disgusting. Shameful. Savagery.





Houston congressman files article of impeachment against Trump

Congressman Al Green and a California Democrat have filed an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump Wednesday in a longshot bid to remove the president from office.
Read more 
National Geographic
science stories you can geek out about



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