08.03.15

That Ken Paxton Is Attorney General Proves Our Political System Has Failed

Posted in Around The State, Bad Government Republicans at 9:05 pm by wcnews

ken-paxton-mug

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been indicted on three felony charges.

His crime was known – he had admitted to it – before he won the general election in 2014. The people of Texas knew it, or should have, and still voted for him.

His crimes were also known before he won the GOP Primary before in March of 2014.  The GOP Primary voters knew it and didn’t care.

The media didn’t seem to see it as a disqualifying factor.

The Democrats were unable to do anything about it.

And we now have an indicted felon, three times over, as our Attorney General in Texas.

Kuff has the details.

 

07.27.15

TPA Blog Round Up (July 27, 2015)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 9:46 am by wcnews

The Texas Progressive Alliance is always on the side of equality as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff decries the Supreme Court ruling that will force a vote on whether or not to repeal Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance.

Harold Cook explains why the Republicans won’t nominate Donald Trump, but won’t be able to escape him, either.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos never ceases to be amazed by Rick Perry’s serial hypocrisy. Have YOU No Decency, Rick Perry?

Socratic Gadfly talks about the Dunning-Kruger effect and why many people think their local race relations are much better than national race relations.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes that many people in South Texas do not have clean drinking water. This should be a scandal, but, as Donald Trump has amply explained, Texas Latinos are nothing but piñatas to republicans.

Ben Hall and Steven Hotze, Ben Hall and Dave Wilson… a lot of prayers got answered for the Houston bigots and homophobes when the Texas Supreme Court ordered the City of Houston to either repeal its equal rights ordinance or put it on the November ballot. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs knows that we don’t need another HERO referendum, but we’re going to get one anyway.

With football season fast approaching in Texas, Neil at All People Have Value posted about the NFL’s refusal to allow Junior Seau’s family to speak at his Hall of Fame induction as Seau’s family sues the NFL over his terrible head injuries. Football is unsafe to play at any level. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

The Texas Election Law Blog tries to clear up some confusion about resignations and vacancies.

Ex-pat Texan Elise Hu-Stiles documents what it’s like to live and have children in Seoul, South Korea.

The TSTA Blog wishes our state leadership cared as much about schools as teachers, parents, and charities do.

Scott Vogel, editor of Houstonia, has some choice words for a couple of readers who objected to an ad showing a multi-racial family.

Tamara Tabo examines the problems of jail surveillance cameras.

Paradise in Hell knows that Texas is great in spite of Rick Perry, not because of him.

Eric Berger geeks out over the pictures from Pluto.

Grits for Breakfast tries to distill some lessons from the Sandra Bland tragedy.

07.20.15

TPA Blog Round Up (July 20, 2015)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 8:14 am by wcnews

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The Texas Progressive Alliance asks #WhatHappenedToSandraBland as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff looks at the lawsuit filed against the state for refusing to issue birth certificates to children of undocumented immigrant mothers.

Lightseeker at Texas Kaos makes a compelling argument as to why the Democratic Party needs to sharpen its message in a way in which it resonates with and motivates the majority of D voters. Why we need a better Democratic story and how Sanders’ candidacy underscores this point.

Socratic Gadfly says that if Obama is going to visit a federal prison and talk about commuting sentences, he ought to throw the long bomb by going to Florida and freeing Leonard Peltier.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants you to know Greg Abbott screwed up child support payment upgrade. Republicans don’t really care about kids. You can tell by action after action.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. The rotting fruit of one-party rule in Williamson County, County GOP Elected Officials Using Courts For Petty Political Battles.

The disruption at Netroots Nation’s presidential town hall forum by activists associated with Black Lives Matter was a clash between the politics of the old-school Social Democrats and that of the New Democrats’ identity politics. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs thinks there will a coming-together of the two movements or a cleaving of the Democratic Party as the dynamic unfolds.

Neil at All People Have Value discussed Obama’s role in taking away our freedoms through the New Horizons mission to Pluto. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

The Texas Election Law Blog celebrates its second anniversary, and reviews the case that led to its beginning.

Ken Janda asks how can Texas continue to ask for billions of dollars in uncompensated care payments to hospitals for uninsured patients coming to emergency rooms, when more than one million of those people could be put into Medicaid Managed Care?

The TSTA Blog warns of “dangerous anti-educator” Scott Walker.

Texas Vox cheers the forthcoming end of coal.

Grits for Breakfast is pleased to see that funding has been allotted for research into the underlying scientific bases for the forensic tools and methods currently used in the criminal justice system.

David Ortez gives a graphical representation of the Houston Mayoral fundraising race.

Rachel Pearson explains why that video hit job on Planned Parenthood is “pure applesauce”.

Texas Clean Air Matters documents the trend towards clean, affordable power.

07.17.15

County GOP Elected Officials Using Courts For Petty Political Battles

Posted in Bad Government Republicans, Criminal Justice, Williamson County at 8:32 am by wcnews

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It would appear from this AAS article that Williamson County GOP political squabbles are now being handled in the courts, Hearing scheduled as DA fires back at Williamson County judge.

An administrative judge ordered Monday that a hearing be held over whether District Judge Rick Kennon should be recused from presiding over a contempt of court hearing against Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty.

The order came after Duty filed a motion Friday asking that Kennon — who four years ago announced he would run against her — be removed from presiding over the contempt of court hearing against her because he is not impartial.

Kennon declined Monday to comment about Duty’s motion because the case is pending in his court.

Billy Ray Stubblefield, the presiding judge of the Third Administrative Judicial Region, said Monday that Kennon had declined to “voluntarily recuse himself,” according to a court document. Stubblefield appointed another district judge to hear the motion over whether Kennon should be recused, the document said.

Kennon filed a motion in May to hold Duty in contempt of court for violating a gag order in the Crispin Harmel capital murder case. Her contempt of court hearing has been set for July 23.

The motion that Duty filed Friday said Kennon was not impartial because he announced previously that he was running for election against her and he had also run in another race against a candidate that she actively campaigned for, the motion said. Most recently he has treated her with hostility during court proceedings in the Harmel case, the motion said. [Emphasis added]

It’s long past time for Williamson County to elect some people who are not members of the GOP. The GOP using our courts to fight their petty political battles has to stop.

07.13.15

TPA Blog Round Up (July 13, 2015)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 7:35 am by wcnews

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The Texas Progressive Alliance does not put peas in guacamole as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff notes the first appearance of lawyers bound and determined to help a few recalcitrant County Clerks deny marriage licenses to same sex couples in Texas.

Horwitz at Texpatriate says farewell as he enters the next chapter of his life.

Lightseeker at Texas Kaos exposes Rick Perry and Greg Abbott’s myth that tort reform ensures more public access to affordable healthcare. In GOP Texas tort reform means insurance companies and corporations are the winners while real people pay the price. Abbott and Perry: Tort Reform as a Trojan Horse.

SocraticGadfly discusses the decline and fall of Walmart, especially in small towns and rural areas.

Should Sen. Bernie Sanders ultimately be eliminated from contention for the Democratic nomination, what’s the best choice for progressives moving forward, PDiddie at Brains and Eggs asks.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants everyone to know that Jeb Bush’s son is following the GOP anti-environment playbook in ploy to kill songbirds. The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree.

Neil at All People Have Value posted a number of interesting pictures from his trip this past week to beautiful Cincinnati, Ohio. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

2012 saw the Republican Party lose the Presidency once again, mostly because of their complete refusal to learn from their mistakes, and evolve. As we inch ever closer to 2016, Texas Leftist is left to wonder if the GOP learned anything from the last cycle. Given the dominance of Media Harlot Donald Trump, the answer is a likely “no”.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Mike Tolson hears the echoes of Loving v. Virginia in the arguments made by same-sex marriage opponents.

Paradise in Hell counts down the last days of freedom in Bastrop until the inevitable Obama/UN takeover of Texas.

Charlotte Coyle confesses her reluctant patriotism.

Texas Clean Air Matters envisions Houston as a leader in zero-emission cargo transport technologies.

Better Texas Blog celebrates beautiful, messy democracy.

Grits for Breakfast analyzes Rick Perry’s speech on race relations and criminal justice reform in the context of his time as Governor.

07.06.15

TPA Blog Round Up (July 6, 2015)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 9:25 am by wcnews

The Texas Progressive Alliance congratulates the USWNT on its awesome FIFA Women’s World Cup win as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff reports that thousands more Texas state employees are now eligible for spousal benefits thanks to the SCOTUS ruling on same sex marriage.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos observes that it should be obvious the state’s government has become a gathering place for crooks, crony capitalists, religious fanatics, homophobes, racists and misogynists. Texas Governor Cruel.

SocraticGadfly takes a look at American exceptionalism, and the subject of counterfactual history, to produce some musings about the Fourth of July and American independence.

There are two things that will probably keep Sen. Bernie Sanders from acquiring the Democratic nomination for the US presidency, writes PDiddie at Brains and Eggs in the first of two posts on the topic. Clue: one of them isn’t money, and the other isn’t the questionable intelligence of the average American voter.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

The Lunch Tray updates us on her “pink slime” legal case and her use of Texas’ shield law.

Eric Berger explains why some rocket launches fail.

Elizabeth Rose has no trouble reconciling her Christian faith with same sex marriage.

Cody Pogue finds no good reason to oppose same sex marriage.

Two Houston Tomorrow interns share their bus-riding experiences.

06.29.15

TPA Blog Round Up (June 29, 2015)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 9:28 am by wcnews

The Texas Progressive Alliance is still celebrating love’s victory as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff discusses the next steps for equality advocates.

Lightseeker at Texas Kaos shares personal stories about the heartbreaking impact of overt racism. And though he has come to hate prejudice and racism with a white hot passion, Lightseeker said the time has finally arrived for sharing the truth, change and healing. Time for Truth, Change and Healing is NOW.

Lost in the earth-shaking Supreme Court developments last week was a report from a former Harris County deputy sheriff that Adrian Garcia did not tell the truth when he said he did not know about the mentally ill jail inmate in a littered, feces-filled cell over a year ago. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs says it’s a headache for the Houston mayoral contender, but shouldn’t damage his prospects… unless things take a turn for the worse.

Socratic Gadfly notes that new polling from Yale shows that people concerned about global warming are NOT a minority, even in a red state like Texas, even to the point of supporting a carbon tax, and suggests there are political activism and outreach lessons to be learned.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. No surprise in SCOTUS ruling on Obamacare, ACA, aka, Obamacare Subsidies Upheld By SCOTUS.

Neil at All People Have Value said that the 14th Amendment–cited this week by the Supreme Court to allow gay marriage–is the product of blood and sacrifice. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Scott Braddock adds up the success rate for getting bills passed for legislators who opposed Speaker Joe Straus.

Texas Watch responds to Rick Perry’s claims about his record on health care.

BEYONDBones explains why we should eat bugs. No, really.

Juanita Jean updates us on the activities of one of Dan Patricks’s citizen advisors.

The Lunch Tray says we all have a Sid Miller problem now.

The Texas Election Law Blog highlights a respected federal judge’s change of heart on voter ID.

Better Texas Blog evaluates the legislative session.

Paradise in Hell bids an un-fond farewell to the ideals of the Confederacy.

Lone Star Ma addresses some of the crazy objections that have been made to the SCOTUS same-sex marriage decision.

06.25.15

ACA, aka, Obamacare Subsidies Upheld By SCOTUS

Posted in Around The Nation, Around The State, Good Stuff, Health Care at 12:49 pm by wcnews

ACA

I never really thought this challenge to the ACA had much of a chance, and here’s whey.  I’m not sure where I actually heard it, but since the 1970’s or so, SCOTUS makes it’s decisions based solely on what’s best for corporations.

From this ruling it’s pretty clear that health insurance corporations are making money on the ACA.  If they weren’t this ruling would be reversed.  Tax payer money going to health insurance corporations.  Why in the world would they want that to end?  Which is why the subsidy will continue.

Via TPM, Supreme Court Upholds Nationwide Obamacare Subsidies.

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide tax subsidies under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, in a ruling that preserves health insurance for millions of Americans.

The justices said in a 6-3 ruling that the subsidies that 8.7 million people currently receive to make insurance affordable do not depend on where they live, under the 2010 health care law.

The outcome is the second major victory for Obama in politically charged Supreme Court tests of his most significant domestic achievement.

It’s great that millions of Americans will not lose their health care and won’t have to wait for a GOP-led Congress to act, or more likely not act.

In Texas we still have millions needlessly going without health care because the Republicans in this state won’t allow them to have health insurance.

The drop in the number of uninsured Americans has come across the economic and racial spectrum, which can be partially attributed to the expansion in Medicaid. States that expanded their Medicaid coverage had 13.3% of uninsured adults under 65 while the states that did not expand their coverage had 19.6% of uninsured adults.

Among the states that did not expand their Medicaid coverage are Texas and Oklahoma, which had two of the highest rates of uninsured adults at 25.7% and 26.6%, respectively.

Texas Republicans show no signs of changing their cruel stance on Medicaid expansion in Texas.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was hoping that SCOTUS would have taken away health care from those that had gotten relief from the ACA, Abbott wants Obamacare gone.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday urged his fellow Republicans not to “rescue” President Barack Obama’s signature health care law if it’s torpedoed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

No matter the reason, it’s good that SCOTUS ruled the way it did. This law is better then what we had, but is not what we need. We still need single-payer and an expansion of Social Security.

06.22.15

TPA Blog Round Up (June 22, 2015)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary, Uncategorized at 3:28 pm by wcnews

The thoughts and prayers of the Texas Progressive Alliance are with the families and friends of the victims of the horrible shooting in Charleston as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff looks at the latest developments in the ongoing investigation against AG Ken Paxton.

Letters from Texas advises Capitol staffers how to respond to the Texas Monthly Best and Worst Legislators list.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos spanks the GOP for its craven use of dog whistles and thinly veiled racism. Come and Take the Truth About Playing the Race Card, GOP.

Will the outcome of Houston’s mayoral race be similar to San Antonio’s — abysmal turnout, two Democrats in a runoff, one going after Republican votes in order to win? PDiddie at Brains and Eggs would prefer almost any other scenario besides that one.

Moving towards offering an accessible and comprehensive way to view all of life, Neil at All People Have Value added a page of pictures he has taken out in everyday life to his website. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

Socratic Gadfly says that, although the symbolism of the Confederate flag is offensive, the First Amendment protects offensiveness, and the Supreme Court got it wrong in ruling Texas can ban Sons of Confederate Veterans vanity plates.

With municipal elections looming large in the background, Texas Leftist tried to keep up with intense political theater that was this year’s Houston City Budget”… the last ever of the Annise Parker Mayoralty.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

The TSTA Blog has plenty of reasons to fear a Scott Walker presidency.

Better Texas Blog measures the impact in Texas of an adverse SCOTUS decision in King v. Burwell.

Juanita Jean marvels at the story about Texas’ own Fort Knox.

Texas Vox calls on the CFPB to end forced arbitration.

The Lunch Tray bemoans Ag Commissioner Sid Miller’s decision to lift a decade-old ban on deep fat fryers in schools, ironically done as part of an initiative to fight childhood obesity.

And finally, the TPA congratulates Scott Henson of Grits for Breakfast on his new gig as Executive Director of the Innocence Project of Texas.

06.16.15

What Happened In San Antone?

Posted in Around The State at 10:53 am by wcnews

SATX

This is pretty bleak, Taylor’s San Antonio Win a Wake-Up Call for Democrats.

On Sunday, the day after Ivy Taylor narrowly defeated former state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte for a full term as mayor of San Antonio, answers to that question varied dramatically. But even Van de Putte’s supporters, who played witness to her second high-profile loss in seven months, were sounding the alarm that the outcome spelled more doom for Texas’ beleaguered minority party.

“It ought to scare every Democrat in Bexar County,” said Christian Archer, Van de Putte’s campaign manager. “If you’re a Democrat and in Bexar County, you better wake up.”

“We keep putting the blinders over our eyes and saying, ‘Oh, no, no, no, it’ll go away.’ And it’s not going away,” added Archer, a veteran of San Antonio mayoral politics. “What’s not happening is the kind of turnout that we need.”

I didn’t pay too much attention to this race and thought that a long-time Democratic politician like Leticia Van de Putte would be able to win this race. But, if this is true, it’s easy to see why she lost.

To be clear, Taylor — the interim mayor and former councilwoman — was never seen as a long shot. Van de Putte was never considered unbeatable either, though her homecoming was premised on the idea that the mayoral race would be less of a climb than the lieutenant governor’s contest she lost to Dan Patrick in a landslide last year.

Taylor’s strength, meanwhile, was expected to come from a Republican-leaning coalition of voters looking to move the city further away from the era of her predecessor, Julián Castro, a period marked by an activist city government and bright national spotlight.

Van de Putte’s campaign worked hard to undermine that coalition. The candidate zeroed in on a report that Taylor and her husband were unwilling to pursue charges after a shooting at his bail bonds business, hoping to spook law-and-order voters backing Taylor. Van de Putte trotted out endorsements from elected officials representing Taylor’s native East Side, looking to cut into Taylor’s most oft-cited base of Democratic support. And at one point, a mailer surfaced that cut straight to the chase, calling Van de Putte the most conservative candidate in the race. [Emphasis added]

But none of it was enough to counteract Taylor’s crossover appeal, anchored in the chorus that Van de Putte was a career politician simply on the hunt for her next job. Both women had initially denied interest in the race, but it was Van de Putte who did so while campaigning for lieutenant governor, just two years after running for re-election to the Senate — a sequence Taylor’s campaign was happy to point out.

“She didn’t know what she wanted to be when she grew up,” Robinson said.

Generally speaking Democrats lose when they run as Republicans.

Any way this is sliced it’s more bad news for Democrats in Texas. The GOP outworked Democrats in San Antonio, again.

Weston Martinez, a conservative leader in San Antonio, said Taylor’s win was “delivered by the social conservatives, evangelicals, Protestants and Catholics,” groups encouraged to see she “doesn’t leave her faith at the door when she goes into the mayor’s office.” More broadly, though, he said her victory chips away at the presumption that big cities are hotbeds of solidly Democratic leadership.

“If you’re not all-in liberal, you can’t be elected” in a major city, Martinez said. “She just broke that mold.”

Van de Putte’s campaign had expected Republicans to factor prominently in the race, though Archer said Sunday the campaign may have underestimated the extent of that support. The GOP, he added, “want San Antonio to be a battleground, and they’re working hard at making that happen.”

It was the type of possibility Van de Putte raised herself the same night state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer lost the runoff for her Senate seat, according to the latter lawmaker. Martinez Fischer, who was defeated in February by then-House colleague José Menéndez, had fallen in the crosshairs of Texans for Lawsuit Reform, a powerful tort reform group that attacked him in an effort to drive up GOP turnout.

“I remember her saying, ‘This could very well happen to me,'” Martinez Fischer recalled.

Yet he is not ready to draw broad conclusions about the fate of his hometown’s Democratic Party. While the mayoral race was “a little bit of deja vu all over again,” he said it provides a moment for reflection, not alarm.

“Of course voter engagement can be better, but this isn’t the end of the world for Bexar County Democratic politics,” Martinez Fischer said. “I will measure the future of the political party during a partisan race, and this clearly wasn’t one of them, but it was a clear example of voters needing to be a little more informed about candidates who hold themselves out as Democrats but run with Republicans.”

It doesn’t sound like Van de Putte gave the people of San Antonio much of an alternative from what they already have. And didn’t inspire Democrats to turnout.

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