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Former Democratic Texas Gov. Mark White Dies at 77

Jamie Florence

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Former Democratic Texas Gov. Mark White Dies at 77

 

“It was probably the broadest-based education program in modern U.S. history,” White said. “I was very proud of what we accomplished.”

White appointed Dallas billionaire Ross Perot to lead a special panel on education that developed some of the key changes. The no-pass, no-play initiative, which barred students from playing school sports if they were failing a class, was a politically tricky and unpopular move in a state crazy about its high school football. It had to survive a challenge in the state Supreme Court.

White underestimated the passionate resistance to no-pass, no-play that sparked protests and a few threats of violence.

“It was horrible,” White said. “I misread the intensity of it until I saw it for myself in West Texas. My security people thought I should go by myself: ‘Here’s my gun. You go.'”

A state district judge blocked the provision before the state Supreme Court ruled it was a legitimate function of the state’s goal to provide quality education. But White still had to defend the rule during his losing campaign in 1986.

“Leave it alone,” he implored state lawmakers as he left office in 1987. “Let’s be real: Anyone who can study a playbook can study a textbook. Americans didn’t get to the moon on a quarterback sneak.”

Lawmakers heeded his advice — and no-pass, no play remains the rule in Texas high school sports.

“He cared about Texas deeply,” Andrew White, one of the former governor’s three children, said Saturday. “He realized that this wasn’t about getting re-elected. This wasn’t about being popular. This was about making Texas a better place.”

White also pushed Texas to move further from its agricultural roots and ties to the oil economy by trying to attract new industries. During his term, dropping oil prices worldwide shook the state’s economy.

White considered himself the symbolic leader of new breed of Texan who embraced the emerging era of high technology and warned the state’s residents they would not find their future at the bottom of an oil well.

On his inauguration day, White dramatized his opposition to what he called the “privileged class” by walking a block in a cold rain to the Governor’s Mansion. Once there, he used gold-painted bolt cutters to cut a chain that had been strung across the front gate and shouted “Come on in,” to followers. Several hundred did, forcing White to stop them at the stairs leading up to the master bedroom.

White struggled with many of the same issues that have faced Texas governors for generations. Drought plagued West Texas, and a Christmas freeze in 1983 wiped out citrus crops and most of the winter vegetables in fields that normally employed thousands of workers.

Plunging oil prices walloped the state economy, and drug smuggling on the border led White to implore the federal government to help control the border with Mexico. He also pushed for Texas’ seat belt law, which went into effect in 1985.

White grappled with staggering unemployment on the Mexico border that was blamed on the poor economy, the devaluation of the peso and immigration.

“I learned it’s a lot harder to govern the state when the price of oil drops to $9 a barrel,” White said in 2011.

Despite the struggling state economy, White pushed for and won the big tax increases he needed to pay for education and roads, breaking a campaign pledge not to raise taxes.

“I asked for a tax increase and said, ‘Blame me,’ and you did,” White told state lawmakers on his way out of office. “So much for guts and glory. Whatever happens in the next four years, don’t blame me.”

As governor, White supported the state’s use of the death penalty. While Texas executed 20 inmates during his administration, White later said the death penalty was most distasteful thing I had to do” as governor.

By 2009, White had reservations about capital punishment. He urged lawmakers to reconsider its use and the risk that the state could send an innocent person to their death. White worked with the Innocence Project on behalf of wrongfully convicted inmates.

Mark Wells White Jr., was born in Henderson on March 17, 1940. His family moved to Houston where he attended public schools before attending Baylor University, where he earned degrees in business administration and law.

After several years as an assistant attorney general, White went into private practice. He was appointed secretary of state by Gov. Dolph Briscoe in 1973 and was elected state attorney general in 1979.

After returning to private law practice, White made a last stab at public office by running for governor again in the 1990 Democratic primary but was defeated by Ann Richards, who went on to become governor. He also went into private business as owner of a security company.

___

Associated Press writer Nomaan Merchant contributed to this report from Houston.

 

Via: NYTimes

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Harvey Weinstein to TWC Board, ‘I’m Sorry, I Have a Real Problem’

Jamie Florence

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Harvey Weinstein to TWC Board, ‘I’m Sorry, I Have a Real Problem’

 

 

Harvey Weinstein was apologetic and contrite during the Board of Directors meeting Tuesday when he resigned under pressure from the Board … sources connected to the meeting tell TMZ.

We’re told there was no screaming, no yelling, no anger. Harvey Weinstein told the Board, “I have a real problem,” and then apologized for the “trouble and confusion” he caused TWC.

We’re told Weinstein, who was on speaker phone from Arizona, told the Board he needed to build a new life and move on.

Our sources say everyone sounded conciliatory … partly because the handwriting was on the wall.  The Board made it clear Weinstein had a legal obligation to resign from the Board after it ratified his firing from TWC. He did just that.

Harvey, we’re told, was “peaceful” during the meeting and Bob was subdued.

We’re told the sense of the Board is that Harvey Weinstein will not force his firing to arbitration or court.

Our sources say both Harvey and Bob Weinstein have an overriding interest in making sure Colony Capital succeeds in restructuring the company — money. The each have roughly 21% equity interest in TWC, and if the company fails, they walk away with nothing.

As one source put it, “Harvey and Bob have a huge stake in making sure Colony Capital can put Humpty Dumpty back together again.”

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Trump’s Net Worth Plummets By $600 Million

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Trump’s Net Worth Plummets By $600 Million

 

As much as Donald Trump loves to brag about how rich he is, turns out he’s a lot less wealthy than he was a year ago.

Forbes magazine has just released their annual ranking of the 400 richest Americans has some very bad news for the Donald: His net worth has fallen drastically by $600 million, meaning he’s only worth an estimated $3.1 billion. That drops him 92 spots on the Top 400 list, from #146 to #248.

Ouch!

What led to the sudden drop in Trump’s worth? Forbes notes:

“A tough New York real estate market, particularly for retail locations; a costly lawsuit and an expensive presidential campaign.”

Ironically, America’s richest people are richer than they were in 2016, but not Trump.

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For the 24th year in a row, Bill Gates tops the list, with an estimated net worth of $89 billion. Here’s the rest of the top 10:

  • Jeff Bezos, Amazon, $67 billion
  • Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway, $65.5 billion
  • Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, $55.5 billion
  • Larry Ellison, Oracle, $49.3 billion
  • Michael Bloomberg, Bloomberg LP, $45 billion
  • Charles Koch, Koch Industries, $42 billion
  • David Koch, Koch Industries, $42 billion
  • Larry Page, Google, $48.5 billion
  • Sergey Brin, Google, $37.5 billion

And Trump fared even worse on the Bloomberg’s worldwide billionaires list, which rates his worth at $2.86 billion. That doesn’t even qualify him to be named as one of the 500 richest people in the world.

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Expect a Trump Twitter meltdown before the end of business Tuesday.

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Trump Just Spread This Horrible Lie About the Last Few Presidents

Riot Housewives

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Trump Just Spread This Horrible Lie About the Last Few Presidents

 

ust a day after Donald Trump’s controversial blatantly false remarks that former President Barack Obama and the other presidents didn’t call the families of soldiers killed in action ignited the internet, the president is at it again. At a radio event at the White House, Trump doubled-down on his comments, telling Fox News Radio host Brian Killmeade, “I mean, you could ask General [John] Kelly did he get a call from Obama. You could ask other people. I don’t know what Obama’s policy was.”

By General John Kelly, Trump was referring to his beleaguered chief of staff, who tragically lost his son in 2010. First Lieutenant Robert Michael Kelly was leading a unit when he stepped on a concealed explosive device.

Kelly – *understandably* – didn’t comment on Trump’s allegations, and while former White House aides can’t remember Obama calling him, they do remember that the former president did something even better than call…

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