Texas Wages Campaign to Preserve Its Installations

first_imgTexas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is counting on a pool of $30 million approved by the Legislature earlier this year to prevent the loss of any of the state’s 15 installations in a future BRAC round as well as strengthen some by attracting new missions.The governor’s Texas Military Preparedness Commission meets next month to review grant applications from communities, which can collect up to $5 million each over the state’s 2016-17 fiscal biennium. Grants are capped at $2.5 million yearly.“We have so much to offer as a state in the context of national security that you can’t duplicate,” Commission Chairman Paul Paine told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “The installations in Texas all have very high national security value,” said Paine, a former commander at Naval Air Station (NAS) Fort Worth.The host communities for NAS Fort Worth, a joint reserve base that grew out of the closure of Carswell Air Force Base, hope to secure $4.5 million to improve access into the facility’s east gate.“We want to be prepared if there is” another BRAC round, said Fort Worth Councilman Jungus Jordan, president of the Texas Mayors of Military Communities, the main group that persuaded state lawmakers to allocate the grant money.“We don’t have Fort in front of our name by accident. We’re a military town. We will always be a military town,” Jordan said.Leaders in the state’s other defense communities also are positioning neighboring installations for a new round of base closures. “It’s not a matter of if another BRAC will happen; it is when,” said Bob Murdock, director of San Antonio’s Office of Military Affairs.Nevertheless, the state’s installations should fare well in a future round, according to defense analyst Loren Thompson, CEO at the nonprofit Lexington Institute.“Texas doesn’t have a lot to fear from base closures,” Thompson told the Star-Telegram. “Nobody is going to close a place like Fort Hood or the Army depot in Corpus Christi.” Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more

Pentagon Reform Plan Would Prevent Future Savings Analysts Say

first_imgTwo analysts argue that House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry’s proposal to eliminate seven defense support agencies as part of an effort to cut $25 billion in annual spending from Pentagon overhead would have the paradoxical impact of hampering DOD’s ability to trim waste in the future. By shuttering the Office of Economic Adjustment, the plan would make it more difficult to close unneeded facilities, state William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, and Miriam Pemberton, a federal budgeting expert and an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, in separate op-eds.“Going after military waste, Rep. Thornberry wants to shut down the agency whose job it is to help the Pentagon get rid of expensive bases it doesn’t need or want. Tell me what sense this makes,” Pemberton says. OEA has helped communities convert excess military bases into new civilian uses while replacing most of the lost civilian jobs, both point out.“Eliminating the agency will enable waste writ large, on a scale larger than anything that might be saved by reducing bureaucracy alone,” Hartung says. He describes the proposal as “a faux reform plan that is the policy equivalent of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”DOD photo by Army Sgt. James McCann Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more

Senate Gives Approval To Two AbortionRelated Bills

first_imgMichael Stravato for The Texas TribuneA woman reflects quietly in the waiting room at Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast’s ambulatory surgical center in Houston Friday, August 2, 2013.The Texas Senate gave approval to two abortion-related bills on Wednesday.The upper chamber gave final passage to Senate Bill 8, which would ban what opponents call “partial-birth” abortions and put restrictions on donating fetal tissue, and gave initial approval to Senate Bill 415, which would ban doctors from performing dilation and evacuation abortions.Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, said he sponsored SB 8 because Texas law enforcement “lacks the authority to enforce the ban on partial-birth abortion.” The procedure is already prohibited by federal law, and Schwertner said he wants to align state and federal statute, allowing Texas law enforcement to prosecute cases.The other main function of SB 8 would be a ban on the sale of fetal tissue and increased restrictions on donations of such tissue for medical research. The sale of fetal tissue is illegal under federal law, but if a patient consents, abortion clinics may donate fetal tissue for use in medical research. Federal law allows clinics to be reimbursed for costs “associated with the transportation, implantation, processing preservation, quality control, or storage of human fetal tissue” for research purposes.While presenting his bill, Schwertner cited videos released in 2015 that showed Planned Parenthood officials across the nation, including in Houston, discussing how their providers obtain fetal tissue for medical research. Though the videos have been widely debunked, abortion opponents claim they are evidence of Planned Parenthood employees admitting to selling fetal tissue.The only debate the bill faced before confirmation was over an amendment by Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, which would allow a women whose pregnancy was terminated to request the donation of any aborted fetal tissue for medical research that could, she said, “save lives.” Though Schwertner agreed that “research is important,” he said his bill aimed to remove “any incentive of utilization of human fetal tissue for profit.”Zaffirini’s amendment was voted down.The bill received a Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing last month, which Schwertner chairs.“What we want to do is get away from profiting motive as well as middlemen dealing with fetal tissue,” Schwertner said at that hearing.The Senate also tentatively approved SB 415, by Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, which targets dilation and evacuation abortions — second-trimester procedures where doctors use surgical instruments to grasp and remove pieces of fetal tissue. Opponents call them “dismemberment abortions.”During a heated debate on the Senate floor, Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, asked Perry whether he had consulted with any obstetrics and gynecology groups before drafting the bill. Perry said no.Later, Sen. José Rodríguez, D-El Paso, told the chamber that medical professionals agree that the dilation and evacuation procedure is the safest way to perform an abortion after the first trimester and said the bill would potentially punish doctors who use the procedure to save a woman’s life.Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, then introduced an amendment that would allow doctors to perform the procedure if it is the safest available option for a pregnant woman. The amendment failed. The bill is scheduled for a final vote on Monday.Read more:Senate Health and Human Services Committee members heard emotional testimony last month from reproductive rights activists and abortion opponents over three measures that would further restrict the procedure.This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2017/03/15/texas-senate-abortion-bills/.Texas Tribune mission statementThe Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. Sharelast_img read more

Bratyas IlaGurhoishaa A theatrical masterpiece

first_imgThe first show of ‘IlaGurhoishaa’ was staged on March 6 at the Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata. The audience gave a standing ovation to a peerless stage presentation of sheer finesse, precision and high quality. Theatre Platform, Khardah, since its inception in 1992 has produced more than 30 plays before and this is the latest. ‘IlaGurhoishaa’, the latest play written by the playwright Bratya Basu, is based on the story of a king, Maharaja Bir Narayan of the ‘Koch’ dynasty of seventeenth century Bengal and Assam. It is a tragic tale of the king which reflects the destiny of his lecherousness. Basu has again shown his remarkable flair of exploring complexities and controversies from the lost pages of history, this time from the history of the ‘Koch’ tribe of Cooch Behar. He admitted to have first conceived the idea from a book, Brihat Banga written by Dinesh Chandra Sen. Dinesh Chandra claimed to know about the history from the caretaker of the palace, Joynath in 1842, who had been advised by the chief advisor of King Harendranarayan, Kalichandra Lahiri, to write down the history.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The rich legacy and empire built by Maharaja Nara Narayan who died in 1621 was enjoyed by his successors and the practice of polygamy was prevalent. It was not unusual for the kings to ignore the consent of the girls or women they were attracted to before marrying them. The use of force in such cases was often practiced. In the narrative, Maharaja Bir Narayan got attracted to a young woman and used his shrewd tactics to propose her, knowing fully well that she was betrothed to a young disciple of her poor father. But she committed suicide soon, in the king’s palace and her lover and her teacher-father decided to take revenge of her death.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThey planned a disastrous end to the life of the king. Bratya Basu has expectedly entwined his imagery prowess with the historical backdrop to create this unbelievable saga of love, violence and death featuring the psychoanalytical complexities of human desires. The king with multiple wives is unable to keep any count over his children. The story reaches its literary climax when the king becomes a victim of his own lustful desires of objectifying any female that he gets attracted to. The playwright therefore uses his literary dexterity to oscillate between the logic of the psyche to the realms of imagination and fiction, thereby adding a different manifestation to the notion of Electra complex and naming it ‘IlaGurhoishaa’. Debasish, the director of the group, should be congratulated for pulling up another brilliant production on stage after ‘Kankra’. He admitted to having been bowled over by the play and the construction of the plot. He explained, ‘I tried to build the play frame by frame with the flicker of a Greek tragedy the way the playwright has penned the progress of the irreversible catastrophe.’ The treatment used in the direction of the play was similar to that of a Greek tragedy in theatre. The use of masks to create eerie and mystic effects was appropriate to generate the perfect feel of a tragic thriller. Some gruesome moments of killings of vengeance were performed intricately. The highlights of the production included the minimalistic use of props and sharply focused lights synchronised with digital background music and live music by Shuvodeep Guha. The detailed and technically strong sword-fight sequences with special effects pushed the audience to the edge of their seats. Tapan Das, the man behind the martial arts training, deserves a salute for making it possible on stage. The success of the action scenes reflects the professionalism of the actors and their relentless practice. The sharpness and strength of the script had a perfect resonance with the theatrical production. Goutam Haldar won the hearts of the audience by his aura and mannerism. The amazing combination of shrewdness and vulnerability, aggression and softness in the character drawn by the playwright was magnificently performed by this actor of great callibre. Senjhuti Mukherjee’s performance helped the play reach the height it did. Equally mesmerising was the level of performance of the new-comer Sumit Kumar Roy. He was the repository of tremendous energy and physical fitness on stage.last_img read more

Helicopter parenting may up depression risk in kids

first_imgParents who tend to get overly involved in the affairs of their kids, may kindly note: Crossing the line between supportive and too involved could indirectly lead to issues such as depression and anxiety for young adults, a study says.“Helicopter parents are parents who are overly involved,” said one of the researchers, Kayla Reed from Florida State University. “They mean everything with good intentions, but it often goes beyond supportive to intervening in the decisions of emerging adults,” Reed noted. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’For the study, the researchers surveyed more than 460 college students, aged 18 to 25, about how their mothers influenced their life decisions by asking the students how their mothers would respond to sample situations. They specifically looked at mothers because they are traditionally in the primary caregiver role.They also asked students to self-assess their abilities to persist in complicated tasks or adverse situations and then also rate their depression, life satisfaction, anxiety and physical health. Students who had mothers who allowed them more autonomy reported higher life satisfaction, physical health and self-efficacy.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixHowever, students with a so-called helicopter parent were more likely to report low levels of self-efficacy, or the ability to handle some tougher life tasks and decisions. In turn, those who reported low levels of self-efficacy also reported higher levels of anxiety and depression, and lower life satisfaction and physical health. The findings appeared online in the Journal of Child and Family Studies. “The way your parents interact with you has a lot to do with how you view yourself,” Mallory Lucier-Greer, Assistant Professor at Florida State University, said. “If parents are simply being supportive, they are saying things like ‘you can manage your finances, you can pick out your classes.’ It changes, if they are doing that all for you,” Lucier-Greer said. I think there are good intentions behind those helicopter behaviours, but at the end of the day you need to foster your child’s development,” she noted.last_img read more