TPA Blog Round Up (September 21, 2015)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 7:55 am by wcnews

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes everyone a happy and balanced equinox as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff stands with Ahmed.

Socratic Gadfly turns a bit of a skeptical eye to European panic over the “refugee crisis” and provides some critical analysis of how it’s being handled.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos tried her very best to watch the second GOP Presidential debate but she just couldn’t take it anymore. She hung in there for two hours and twenty minutes. GOP Presidential Debate: A Trip Back to the Twilight Zone

Tired of watching Bernie Sanders surge, Clinton surrogates grabbed the ‘socialist’ brush and started smearing him. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs is pretty certain that this is how it’s going to go until the Sanders campaign no longer represents a threat to her coronation nomination.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. It’s becoming clear that the GOP in Texas has no problem with the cuts to Medicaid therapy. They just don’t want to be blamed for it, Abbott, GOP Want Cuts, But No Blame.

Neil at All People Have Value said that Alexander Hamilton should remain on the $10 bill. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.


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

The TSTA Blog salutes education reporter Terrence Stutz on his retirement.

Paradise in Hell annotates Donald Trump’s Texas speech, and celebrates its first year of blogging.

Texas Clean Air Matters explains why parents should care about climate change.

David Ortez reports from a Houston Mayoral forum on issues facing younger voters.

Danyahel Norris illustrates the importance of Houston’s equal rights ordinance.

Finally, the TPA congratulates Lize Burr on her new positions as Editor and Publisher of the Burnt Orange Report.


TPA Blog Round Up (September 14, 2015)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 11:12 am by wcnews

The Texas Progressive Alliance knows that no one has a constitutional right to be a County Clerk as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff takes a look at the very high stakes of the voter ID appeal.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos asks why the U.S. cannot have high speed rail that is common in Europe and Asia? Why? The do-nothing GOP, of course. Republican Are Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.

Socratic Gadfly, linking to the first piece he has written for an in-depth philosophy and social sciences webzine, explores the parallels between Constitutional originalism and religious fundamentalism.

The best debate in the Houston mayoral contest happened last Thursday night, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs blogged about it.

Texas Leftist agrees with President Obama… the economic future of the United States may soon be inextricably linked to the world’s next great power player. Here’s why it’s time for Texas to take a new look at Africa. Plus some coverage as the Houston Unites Campaign kicks into high gear.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. The Texas GOP has a problem with health care. They hate it and it shows, Common Sense Conservatism Is Bad For Your Health.

Neil at All People Have Value was glad to see outreach by the Harris County Green Party on Labor Day. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.


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

Juanita unloads on Houston Mayoral candidate Ben Hall.

Grits for Breakfast calls out Dan Patrick for misleading and incendiary rhetoric about crime and the police.

The TSTA Blog rebuts a Wall Street Journel op-ed on the recent SCOTUS charter school ruling.

Liz Goulding looks back on three years of being a one-car household.

The Bloggess celebrated World Suicide Prevention Day.


TPA Blog Round Up (September 7, 2015)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 10:47 am by wcnews

The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes everyone enjoyed the three day weekend provided by the labor movement as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff reported on a busy week at the State Supreme Court, which heard the school finance appeal as well as a case involving the city’s of Houston’s anti-pollution ordinances.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos is disgusted by the right wing’s politicization of a horrible tragedy in Houston. Harris Co. (Houston) TX Needs a New Sheriff.

SocraticGadfly, having edited photos from last month, shares National Parks’ geographic beauty, wildlife, history and astrophotography, in photos, narrative and photo album links from his most recent vacation.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme thinks Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau should be ashamed of herself for inviting death threats and hate on the TV station that broadcast video of her deputies shooting a man. Now we’re supposed to trust her investigation of the incident?

PDiddie at Brains and Eggs finished posting about Houston’s citywide races on the November ballot with At Large 4, At Large 5, and the controller’s contest.

Looking for a balance in a complicated world, Neil at All People Have Value visited the place were Deputy Darren Goforth was killed in Harris County and the location in Prairie View of the incident that led to the police death of Sandra Bland. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.


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

Scott Braddock explains how Texas Republicans are sending mixed signals to business interests.

Better Texas Blog is ready for a school finance solution.

TransGriot gives you some reasons to fight for the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.

The Texas Election Law Blog fears that with redistricting still unsettled, the 2016 primaries could be a mess.

Newsdesk looks back at the Austin smoking ban, ten years after its implementation.


Carter’s Comments on Social Security, Gas Tax Are Misguided

Posted in Around The Nation, Around The State, Commentary, District 31 at 9:58 am by wcnews


In a recent article Rep. John Carter (R-Round Rock) had this to say at a business event about Social Security and gas taxes.

Carter spoke at the Texas Association of Business Central Star Chapter luncheon Wednesday at the Wildflower Country Club. Carter answered questions posed by Bill Hammond, chief executive officer of the Texas Association of Business and members of the audience.

The first question was on the sustainability of Social Security and if it would be around when Carter’s grandchildren reached retirement age.

It won’t be without some changes, Carter said. “You have to have the courage to fix it.”

The majority of people in government don’t want to touch the subject. The most recent number indicates that Social Security disability payments will exceed retirement payments next year, Carter said.

One way to help the program remain solvent is to raise age eligibility, he said.

When the Social Security Bill was enacted in 1935, most people didn’t live to 65. Carter’s grandfathers died at age 60 and 54.

“Most of the people in this room will live into their 80s,” Carter said.

Short-term highway funding has been put in place and Hammond asked if a long-term highway bills is in the offing.

“We’re going to try,” Carter said.

One item that should be considered is the fuel tax, which is used to fund highway projects, he said. The mileage vehicles get continues to increase, resulting in less money for the highway trust fund.

Carter wants to stop taxing fuel and instead tax mileage.

“It’s not popular, but it could work,” he said.

First his comments on Social Security.  There’s a quick easy and painless (except for the wealthy) way to fix Social Security.  Currently Social Security has an earnings cap of $118,500/yr.  If that cap was raised significantly or taken off altogether Social Security would have no sustainability problems as far as the eye can see.

Keep in mind that raising the eligibility age is the same as a benefit cut.  Social Security is not going broke, if left unchanged, it will not be able to pay out 100% of benefits as it does today.  It will still be able to pay out a significant benefit though, and that’s if nothing is done.

Of course Carter talks about the “courage” it takes to fix the problem.  But the only one’s that are supposed to have courage are the future recipients.  No courage required from those who exceed the cap it would seem.

As far as the gas tax goes, it simply needs to be raised at the state and federal level.  It’s been over 20 years since the gas tax has been raised at the federal level and in Texas.  How would your family budget be if you hadn’t had a raise 20 years?  There’s no reason to try a new tax that “could” work, when we have a tax in place that can be raised that we know works.

Carter’s talk of courage falls flat when he veers off into this sort of misguided rhetoric.

Bernie has much better ideas for the middle class in America.

TPA Blog Round Up (August 31, 2015)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary, Uncategorized at 7:50 am by wcnews


The Texas Progressive Alliance remembers the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and honors the spirit of its survivors as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff recaps Ken Paxton’s first day in court. It won’t be his last.

Libby Shaw writing for Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos scolds the Republican Party for its cruel war on immigrants. Earth to the GOP. Stop picking on immigrants and do your jobs.

Socratic Gadfly turns a skeptical eye to Constitutional-era pop historian Joseph Ellis, and rakes him over the coals for writing something barely historical, but that adds to Constitutional myth-making.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme watches the Republican war on Latinos continue with throwing attorneys out of detention centers and denying birth certificates to citizens.

Houston city council races dominated PDiddie’s Brains and Eggs this past week, with At Large 1, At Large 2, and At Large 3 all profiled and prognosticated.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s troubles are not going away anytime soon, Paxton’s Problems Pile Up.

Neil at All People Have Value expressed distress over how we drive in Harris County, Texas and asked that we be careful on our roads. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.


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

Chip Brown calls out Baylor President Ken Starr in the Art Briles/Sam Ukwuachu case.

Juanita gives the idiots protesting at the HISD Arabic language immersion school a piece of her mind.

Stephanie Stradley explains why the Deflategate case matters.

Ryan Holeywell and Stephen Klineberg debunk myths about Hurricane Katrina evacuees in Houston, while Ethan Raker shows how interacting with Katrina evacuees affected opinions about them.

The Makeshift Academic builds a model to estimate how many people would benefit from Medicaid expansion.

Paradise in Hell observes a rite of passage for George P. Bush.

Erica Ciszek explains her anxiety about bathrooms.


TPA Blog Round Up (August 24, 2015)

Posted in Around The Nation, Commentary at 7:06 am by wcnews

The Texas Progressive Alliance liked it better when politicians wanted to kiss babies and not deport them as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff took a closer look at who votes in City of Houston elections.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos notes that when the GOP opened its house to dog whistles it ushered in the wolves. The GOP Deserves Its Monster.

Fresh off his vacation, and as it approaches its centennial, SocraticGadfly casts a critical eye at what he describes as the decline and fall of the National Park Service.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes that Donald Trump is exposing the world to the racism consuming the GOP along with its authoritarian, 2nd amendment mindset.

It was all Houston mayoral elections all last week for PDiddie at Brains and Eggs, who attended a forum in his back yard, smelled some oligarchy in the HGLBT Caucus endorsement, covered the two adverse developments for the HERO, and witnessed Chris Bell’s smackdown of Adrian Garcia.

Sometimes it takes great distress to reveal greatness of leadership. As the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches on August 29th, Texas Leftist reflects on the extraordinary role Houston played in the storm’s aftermath and recovery.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. The Texas GOP’s latest cruel move, When They Show You Who They Are Believe Them.

With Bernie Sanders running strongly for 2016, Neil at All People Have Value wrote that polling data reports more and more Americans are open to Socialism. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.


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

Paradise in Hell previews the fried delicacies that await us at this year’s State Fair of Texas.

The Lunch Tray confirms that Americans do indeed want kids to eat healthier food at school.

Texas Watch tells you what’s really driving the cost of your car insurance bill.

Alexa Garcia-Ditta takes you on a tour of San Antonio’s new HB2-compliant abortion facility.

Tamara Tabo explains why you haven’t heard more about all those bikers who were arrested in Waco in May.

The Makeshift Academic reports that Arkansas has fully embraced Medicaid expansion.

Pamela Coloff awards the title of Worst Lawyer in Texas to disgraced and now disbarred former prosecutor Charles Sebesta.


TPA Blog Round Up (August 17, 2015)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 7:46 am by wcnews

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes former President Carter all the best for a full and fast recovery as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff reports on another Voting Rights Act lawsuit, this one filed on behalf of low English proficiency voters who have been denied the ability to bring a translator of their choice to the ballot box with them.

For a time, many Houstonians considered it a point of pride that the city repealed the use of Red Light Cameras in 2010. But as Texas Leftist has recently discovered, a Houston without camera accountability has become much more dangerous for all transit users…Even deadly.

Not a trace of irony has been found to be present in the recent pronouncements of a certain Democratic so-called frontrunner for the 2016 presidential nomination. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs — with an assist from the biting cartoons of Ted Rall — illustrates some of the things making Clintonites so nervous of late, none of which have anything to do with e-mail servers or sagging poll numbers.

Socratic Gadfly runs Kinky Friedman’s old Five Mexican Generals border control plan through a Donald Trump filter, just for a bit of fun.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is sorry to say Nueces County thinks a husband can kill his wife’s lover with impunity. Stand your ground just the way a Republican likes it. Your wife is your property.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. There is so much Texas could do for those in need, but our GOP state leaders choose to do nothing. As a consequence Only Texas Remains above the 20% uninsured rate.

Neil at All People Have Value asserted that the nine bikers shot dead in Waco this past May may have been wrongly killed. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.


The Makeshift Academic reviews the landscape in Texas on the Affordable Care Act.

Nancy Sims considers the value of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus’ Mayoral endorsement.

The Houston Justice Coalition calls for an investigation into the actions of three sheriff’s deputies who forcibly conducted an illegal body cavity search publicly on a woman in Harris County.

Scott Braddock knows the real reason why Ken Paxton is still in office.

The Texas Living Waters Project reminds us that the best time to plan for a drought is when you’re not in one.


Only Texas Remains

Posted in Around The State, Commentary, Health Care at 9:50 am by wcnews


As the next Texas budget goes into effect let’s keep in mind who is going to pay for the tax cuts that our GOP state leaders just had to have.  Tax cuts which will do nothing to help the majority of Texans.  Via the Texas Tribune, Families of Disabled Children Sue Texas Over Medicaid Cuts.

Relatives of children with disabilities are joining therapy providers in a lawsuit against the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, weeks before the agency is scheduled to slash payments to a therapy program for the poor.

The families and therapy providers have asked a Travis County judge to stop the state from implementing the budget cuts on Sept. 1, alleging they will cause “immediate and irreparable injury” to thousands of kids in the state’s Medicaid program.

“Those rates will force Texas Medicaid providers to cease providing services critical to the health and development of Texas’ most vulnerable residents, its children,” the suit reads.


The state budget crafted by lawmakers directs Medicaid, the state’s insurance program for the poor and disabled, to cut roughly $260 million in payments to the therapy program over the next two years and to find another $130 million in savings from “medical policy reductions.” Combined, that’s a 28 percent reduction to the therapy program’s current two-year budget of about $1.4 billion.

Today we learn about more bad health care news for the people of Texas, Study: Only Texas still has more than 20 percent uninsured.

When the Affordable Care Act took effect in October 2013, there were 14 states in which more than 1 in 5 adults lacked health insurance; today only Texas remains, according to data from a Gallup survey.

At the other end of the scale, only five states’ populations were so well-insured in 2013 that fewer than 1 in 10 adult residents lacked insurance. Today, more than half the states have achieved that goal.

The state-by-state insurance levels, which detail how rapidly the insurance picture has changed since President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform started, come from a large-scale, twice-a-year survey by Gallup. The survey included more than 178,000 adults in 2013, before the law took effect, and 88,667 in the first half of 2015, allowing unusually precise estimates of the effect the law has had at the state level.

Texas, whose officials have strongly resisted cooperation with the new law, had the highest level of residents lacking insurance before the law took effect and has made among the least progress of any state. Its uninsured rate fell from 27 percent in 2013 to just under 21 percent in the first half of this year, making it the only state that has more than one-fifth of its residents uninsured.

By contrast, in Arkansas and Kentucky, both of which started above 20 percent uninsured, just 9 percent of adult residents lack insurance.  [Emphasis added]

When Arkansas and Kentucky are making you look bad that’s a very bad sign.  The key to remember is that this is what the very small percentage of Texans that reliably show up to vote want, Abbott at RedState: Texas “Ground Zero” for Tea Party.

The speech was among Abbott’s highest-profile appearances outside of Texas since the end of the most recent legislative session. He wasted no time bragging about what lawmakers accomplished under his watch, including increased spending on border security, millions of dollars in tax cuts and open carry of handguns.

The governor received two standing ovations accompanied by thunderous applause during his speech at the RedState Gathering, a conservative grassroots political conference being held over two days in Atlanta.

It’s hard to understand how a man who has received so much assistance since his tragic accident is so willing to cut other people off from assistance. But he, along with the Texas GOP, have one goal, Texas governor signs tax cuts worth $3.8 billion.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law tax cuts for homeowners and businesses Monday worth $3.8 billion over the next two years.

The Republican governor also approved a bill repealing $250 million worth of professional fees in 2016-17.

The $4 billion package for the next two-year budget will help Texas “be a more prosperous state,” Abbott said after signing the package at the sleek campus of tech company Advanced Micro Devices on the outskirts of Austin.

Abbott reiterated his plans to travel the country and globe to urge corporate executives to move to Texas. One of the targets, he acknowledged, is the corporate headquarters of General Electric in Connecticut.

“This happens at a time when other states around the country are raising taxes and increasing the cost of doing business — whereas here … we are focused on lowering taxes and making the state more affordable for everybody,” he said.

Business tax cuts for all, health care for the few.  It would be nice if we had a government in this state that cared half as much for the poor and disabled as they did for big business and corporations.

This can change if the people of Texas, who don’t show up and vote, want it to change.  Other then that we’ll continue to get more of the same.  Only Texas remains….


TPA Blog Round Up (August 10, 2015)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 10:50 am by wcnews

The Texas Progressive Alliance thinks that big GOP candidate debate needed more balloon animals and seltzer bottles as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff gives his campaign strategy for defending Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance.

Harold Cook presents the GOP Presidential Debate Drinking Game, which will come in handy for the next debate, if you ever recover from the first one.

Socratic Gadfly looks at the hoo-hah over Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments and his eventual $70,000 salary for employees, and has a mix of cautious applause and skeptical concerns.

A blogger started a petition to have the NFL relocate the 2017 Super Bowl away from Houston if the HERO is defeated by the voters in November. And then a Houston television station picked up the story. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs is in wonderment at how things can snowball — or go viral, as the kids say these days — so quickly.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants everyone to know that Texas Republicans are denying birth certificates for Hispanic babies born in Texas.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. More GOP mug shots this week, That Ken Paxton Is Attorney General Proves Our Political System Has Failed and Wilco DA Jana Duty.

Neil at All People Have Value spent the past week in Chicago and the Chicago area. Neil’s blog has interesting pictures of that great American city.


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

Texas Clean Air Matters urges state leaders to meet the Clean Power Plan with innovation and not resistance.

The TSTA Blog reminds us that long before he was indicted on felony charges, Ken Paxton was bad news for public education.

Media Matters captures video of Houston LGBT activist Noel Freeman shooting down lies about the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.

Lone Star Ma celebrates World Breastfeeding Week 2015.

Kevin Walker says Dallas needs a 21st century blueprint for building a better city.

Rafael McDonnell reports on a training program he attended for LGBTQ people running for political office.

The Houston Justice Coalition lays out its goals for addressing police brutality at the root.

Honorary Texan The Slactivist advises Texas politicians on the best way to pose for their future mug shot.


TPA Blog Round Up (August 5, 2015)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 4:25 pm by wcnews

The Texas Progressive Alliance prefers Attorneys General who aren’t themselves lawbreakers as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff is dismayed but not surprised by the business community’s apathy about the coming effects of climate change in Texas.

Ken Paxton’s indictments broke news on Saturday afternoon, about 24 hours later than PDiddie at Brains and Eggs predicted. The one remaining question is: how long does our lazy-eyed attorney general twist in the wind before Gov. Greg Abbott cuts down his stinking carcass?

Nonsequiteuse is concerned we may never get back through the looking glass. She realizes that facts are a quaint vestige of simpler times, but cannot resist offering not one but five of them, plus a conclusion, an opinion, and even a bonus prediction about Ken Paxton’s pending felony indictment, words that give her great delight to type over and over and over again.

Socratic Gadfly talks about the initial rollout of Congress’ “new” energy plan and how so little of it is new.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme say you can thank Ronald Reagan and his greedy friends for all of the mentally ill people out on the streets. An Edinburg woman is a widow thanks to Ronnie and the new, militarized police.

Neil at All People Have Value made note of former President Carter referring to the U.S. as an oligarchy. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.


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

Scott Braddock analyzes the Donald Trump-inspired proxy war between Rick Perry and Ted Cruz.

Lone Star Ma prays for peace and justice.

David Ortez explains what the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance is and why it matters.

Street Smart shows how sacrificing the local street grid for highways can be devastating to the surrounding area.

The Texas Election Law Blog has some hope for restoring regulatory balance to the voting rights process.

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