TPA Blog Round Up (October 20, 2014)

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

“Voting freshens your breath, whitens your teeth, and improves your sex life.” — Molly Ivins

The Texas Progressive Alliance reminds you that EARLY VOTING HAS BEGUN as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff published an interview with John Cook, the Democratic nominee for Land Commissioner.

Libby Shaw writing for Texas Kaos and Daily Kos is sickened by the corporations are people Supreme Court of John Roberts for allowing Greg Abbott to disenfranchise 600,000 American citizens in Texas of their right to vote. TX GOP, Greg Abbott stand by Discrimination and Disenfranchisement.

Two special days in the blogosphere last week: Blog Action Day for inequality was a global initiative, and Texas blogs dropped a money bomb for Wendy Davis. PDiddie at Brains Eggs has details on both.

After this week’s big announcement, Texas Leftist is left to wonder… Did the Dallas Morning News editorial board incorporate facts into it’s Endorsed process for Governor? If so, maybe this week’s decision for Greg Abbott would have went the other way. Clearly DMN should’ve taken a few minutes to read their own paper.

Republican racism revealed in TWIA emails about storm damage to Brownsville ISD property. CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme encourages everyone in South Texas to go vote. You can stop the racism. VOTE!

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. Two campaign ads to check out, Must See TV – Great Ads From Mike Collier and Sam Houston.

Neil at All People Have Value wrote about things he is doing to make a difference in the 2014 elections in Texas. Neil says you can make a difference as well. APHV is one of many interesting things to see at NeilAquino.com.


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

Dan Solomon speaks from personal experience when he says that the Wendy Davis wheelchair ad shines a long-overdue light on the devastating effect tort “reform” has had on victims of medical malpractice.

The Lunch Tray keeps fighting the fight for healthier school lunches and snacks.

Grits for Breakfast calls on Texas jails to opt out of the Secure Communities program.

Texas Vox documents the big heat waves of 2013.

Socratic Gadfly was pleasantly surprised by the SCOTUS ruling that overturned the Fifth Circuit order allowing HB2 to go into effect pending appeals.

Helen Philpot would like for someone to explain to Greg Abbott where babies come from.

LGBTQ Insider compares Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott’s positions on LGBTQ issues.

Andrea Grimes has the GIF-based explanation of the HB2 timeline that you’ve been waiting for.

Early Voting Starts Today – Where To Early Vote In Williamson County

Posted in Election 2014, Williamson County at 5:00 am by wcnews


Early Voting Schedule General Election November 4, 2014                                                                                                                                                    

Williamson County Early Voting Schedule
Horario de la Votación Adelantada Del Condado de Williamson

Joint General and Special Elections– November 4, 2014
Elecciónes Generales y Especiales Conjuntas – 4 de noviembre del 2014

Dates for Full-Time Locations:
Fechas para localidades de tiempo completo

Monday, October 20 through Friday, October 31  
Del Lunes 20 de octubre al Viernes 31 octubre
7am to 7pm

Sunday, October 26
Domingo 26 de octubre
12pm to 6pm
Main Location: 
Localidad Central

Williamson County Inner Loop Annex, 301 SE Inner Loop, Georgetown

Branch Locations:

Otras localidades

Anderson Mill Limited District, 11500 El Salido Pkwy, Austin

Cedar Park Public Library, 550 Discovery Blvd, Cedar Park

Cedar Park Randalls, 1400 Cypress Creek Rd, Cedar Park

Cowan Creek Amenity Center, 1433 Cool Springs Way, Georgetown

Georgetown Parks & Recreation Admin Bldg, 1101 N. College St, Georgetown

Hutto City Hall, 401 Front St, Hutto

Pat Bryson Municipal Hall, 201 N Brushy St, Leander

Baca Senior Center, 301 W. Bagdad Ave, Round Rock

Brushy Creek Community Center, 16318 Great Oaks Dr, Round Rock

JB and Hallie Jester Annex, 1801 E. Old Settlers Blvd,Round Rock

Round Rock Randalls, 2051 Gattis School Rd, Round Rock

Taylor City Hall, 400 Porter St, Taylor

Mobile Temporary Locations, Dates & Times:
Fechas y horario de las Localidades móviles temporales:
Hours 10am -7pm
Horario 10am-7pm

Tuesday, October 21          Granger City Hall, 303 S Commerce St, Granger
Martes 21 de octubre

Wednesday, October 22     Clairmont Retirement Community, 12463 Los Indios Trl, Austin
Miércoles 22 de octubre

Thursday, October 23         Jarrell Memorial Park, 1651 CR 305, Jarrell
Jueves 23 de octubre

Friday, October 24             Seton Medical Center, 201 Seton Pkwy, Round Rock
Viernes 24 de octubre

Saturday, October 25         Liberty Hill Annex, 3407 RR 1869, Liberty Hill
Sábado  25 de octubre

Monday, October 27          ACC Cypress Crk Campus, 1555 Cypress Crk Rd, Cedar Park
Lunes 27 de octubre

Tuesday, October 28         Southwestern Univ McCombs Campus Ctr, 1010 McKenzie Dr. Georgetown
Martes 28 de octubre

Wednesday, October 29    Clairmont Retirement Community, 12463 Los Indios Trl, Austin
Miércoles 29 de octubre

Thursday, October 30        ACC Round Rock Campus, 4400 College Park Dr, Round Rock
Jueves 30 de octubre

Sujeto a cambios


Money Bomb For Wendy Davis

Posted in Around The State, Election 2014 at 8:52 am by wcnews

give to wendy png

Early voting starts on Monday, October 20th. There is also news of a record number of registered voters in Texas this year, 14 million.

There are clear differences between the candidates for Texas Governor in 2014.  Dave McNeeley points them out in his most recent column.

She’s for a $10.10 minimum wage. He’s against it.

She’s for mandated equal pay for women for equal work. He’s against it.

She’s for Texas expanding Medicaid, which the feds would pay for, would insure more than a million additional people and create 300,000 jobs. He’s against it.

She believes a woman in the early stages of pregnancy should be able to decide with her doctor and family whether to terminate the pregnancy. Abbott thinks pregnancies should not be terminated, even in cases involving rape and incest.

Texans at least certainly have a choice.

It takes money to run for office and win. If you believe in Davis and her candidacy for governor give what you can.

As has been said here many times the only way Davis and many other Democrats can win in Texas is by changing who shows up to vote on election day. It looks like the work of registering new voters has been done. The next step is harder turning these new voters out, along with many who don’t usually vote, and those who don’t usually vote in the mid-term elections.

AN effective GOTV effort is not cheap, so please help out if you can.

Be sure and check out Kuff and PDiddie on the money bomb.  And use the hashtag #GiveToWendy.


Must See TV – Great Ads From Mike Collier and Sam Houston

Posted in Around The State, Election 2014 at 9:26 am by wcnews

Likely the best campaign ad of this election cycle is this one from Democratic candidate for Texas Comptroller Mike Collier.

Crooked Ken Paxton. In the race for between Democrat Sam Houston and Republican Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General this year, every Texan must know before they vote on November 4th that Ken Paxton Broke the Law.

It’s truly stunning that the Texas GOP is allowing him to stay on the ballot.


TPA Blog Round Up (October 13, 2014)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 7:39 am by wcnews

The Texas Progressive Alliance celebrates the advance of marriage equality and looks forward to the day when it comes to our state as we bring you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff published his interview with Mike Collier, Democratic candidate for Comptroller.

Libby Shaw writing for Daily Kos wants to make sure Texas women voters remember in November. this ad about a guy in a wheelchair on teevee last week. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs thinks that people observing Texas politics that don’t live in Texas just don’t get it.

As crunch time arrives, Texas Leftist wants voters to know just how far out in the political fringe we have to put Republican Dan Patrick. So far out, this week he started running against Rick Perry. Plus, don’t miss my interview with the only sensible candidate in the Lt. Gov. race, Democrat Leticia Van de Putte.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. Of all the bad GOP statewide candidates, and there are many to choose from, Ken Paxton may be the worst, GOP AG Candidate Ken Paxton’s Legal Predicament, Will He Be indicted?

Vote this November with CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme if you want Latinas treated with dignity, people of African descent given life-saving efforts when ill, and Texas women to have proper health services.

Neil at Blog About Our Failing Money Owned Political System wrote about the two ebola cases in the United States. BAOFMOPS is one of many worthy pages to review at NeilAquino.com.


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

Unfair Park tallies the cost of assuaging irrational fears about Ebola.

Mark Phariss, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit seeking to overturn Texas’ ban on same sex marriage, urges the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to schedule oral arguments in that case already.

Nonsequiteuse reminds us that sneakers are made for blockwalking as well as filibustering. Pink is optional.

Christopher Hooks provides another example of Breitbart Texas being stark raving loony.

The Lunch Tray wrote a piece for the New York Times on the ongoing school lunch wars.

The TSTA Blog highlights another education cutter seeking to get back into office.

Greg Wythe teases his return with a promised look at how the early vote is going.

Mustafa Tameez condemns Dan Patrick’s “irresponsible” border ad.

Juanita speaks as a person with disabilities about that Wendy Davis ad.

Finally, the TPA congratulates Grits for Breakfast on its tenth anniversary of blogging.


The Davis Wheelchair Ad – Justice

Posted in Around The State, Election 2014, Uncategorized at 10:26 pm by wcnews

I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. This isn’t the first time Abbott has been attacked on this issue. It’s a pretty simple issue. Greg Abbott thought suing was fine when he was hurt, but pulled the rope up behind him so no one else could get the financial assistance he received. Via the Texas Tribune, Davis Pollster: Controversial Wheelchair Ad Working.

Davis pollster Joel Benenson, who advised Barack Obama in both of his presidential races, said the ad underscored the theme they’ve been hammering on for months: that Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott is an “insider” who sides with the rich and powerful over average Texans.

Asked about the use of the wheelchair in particular, Benenson noted that Abbott himself had “prominently featured himself in the wheelchair in his ads” in the Texas governor’s race.

“This ad is not about Greg Abbott in a wheelchair,” Benenson said. “This ad is about Greg Abbott’s behavior and actions with other victims after he had his opportunity and rightly sought justice and received a substantial amount of money.”

Abbott was injured in a freak accident while jogging in 1984. He was struck by a tree and left paralyzed from the waist down. Abbott later sued the homeowner and the tree company and received a multi-million dollar settlement.

The ad suggests Abbott is a hypocrite for seeking justice for himself in the court system while using his power as a judge and later attorney general to deny it to others, including a rape victim and a woman whose leg was amputated.

And all the pearl-clutching on the from the right wing is much ado about nothing. They’re just jealous they can’t do the same.  The ad is not making light of Abbott’s disability.  The ad points out that he is unwilling to show the same compassion for others that was shown to him.

The ad is called “Justice” and ends with the line “Greg Abbott, he’s not for you”.  Conservatism has always been a selfish ideology built on the premise that “I got mine, you get yours”.  That Abbott embodies that to a tee, is what the wheelchair ad is highlighting.

Further Reading:
Brains and Eggs, Wheelchair ads.


Voter ID Ruling Follow Up, Preclearance Bail-In

Posted in Around The State at 1:16 pm by wcnews

The discrimination was so blatant in the Texas Voter ID ruling that if could have a long lasting effect on Texas, The Biggest Aspect of the Texas Case: Texas To Be Covered Again by Section 5 (If Case Stands).

Justin noted a key aspect of the Texas id decision which I want to highlight: “Also extremely important: the court expressly finds intentional discrimination relevant to bail-in under the Voting Rights Act, and says it will consider a bail-in order in the days to come.  If the court indeed follows up with a bail-in order, Texas could become the first state brought back under a preclearance regime since Shelby County.”


If this works, it will be very important because it would mean that a variety of changes, such as voter id laws, registration laws, and redistricting, would again be subject to federal approval (either DOJ or a three judge court in DC).  Preclearance is a big stick for the federal government.

In Shelby County, 4 Justices said that preclearance had to be tied to current conditions to be constitutional. (Justice Thomas would have gotten rid of preclearance even for bail in). 4 Justices believe preclearance even under the old rules is ok. If the TX trial court has made credible findings that Texas has engaged in intentional racial discrimination in voting, even the conservative Justices could agree to preclearance. But that’s no sure bet, and you can be sure that Texas will litigate this question very, very hard.

The Texas GOP setting voting rights in Texas back 40 years.


Boom! Texas Voter ID Law Unconstitutional

Posted in Around The State at 9:28 pm by wcnews

Everything bad about the Voter ID law that was known when it passed has now been ratified by the courts. And worst of all, it’s a poll tax.

Less than two weeks before the start of early voting, a federal judge ruled the state’s photo voter ID law unconstitutional late Thursday and ordered state officials to drop the new requirements.

“The Court holds that SB 14 creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose,” U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi wrote in a 147-page opinion. “The Court further holds that SB 14 constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax.

So no voter ID nonsense this November.


A Reminder Of Why Toll Roads Are Making Our Transportation Problems Worse

Posted in Around The State, Commentary, Transportation at 3:57 pm by wcnews

austin+trafficVia TribTalk, The trouble with toll roads in Texas.

But unfortunately, especially in Texas, tolls tend to be introduced for the wrong reasons. When elected leaders aren’t willing to fix major transportation funding problems, tolling can appear to create money out of thin air while actually wasting tax dollars and leading to poor decisions about what transportation projects to build and how to manage them.

The chief reason most toll projects get built is because the money used to build them is “off budget,” meaning it doesn’t appear on the state’s budget and revenue doesn’t come from general taxes. Politicians want to build new public works, repair infrastructure and get their picture taken at ribbon cuttings, but they also fear losing their jobs if they propose raising taxes to pay for these things. Texas lawmakers last session passed legislation that, if approved by voters in November, is expected to redirect billions of dollars over the next decade from the state’s Rainy Day Fund for transportation. But it won’t come close to fixing budget shortfalls.

Tolling raises revenue from the public akin to taxes or fees but uses off-budget private concessions or quasi-public agencies to collect the money and borrow against future tolls. The borrowing doesn’t count as public debt, and thus the costs seem to disappear, especially when public-private partnerships act as a middleman. It’s government accounting fiction. In reality, the private costs of financing toll roads are far more expensive than the rock-bottom interest rates the state pays when issuing tax-free public bonds.

Off-budget tolling can thus discourage public officials from confronting transportation funding questions directly, distorting public choices and enabling politicians to take credit for shiny new roads while remaining insulated from any blame. [Emphasis added]

That exactly like what the GOP has been doing in Texas for the last 12 years. Shiny objects, in the form of extremely expensive toll roads to nowhere, and were all still stuck in traffic.

Well the GOP politicians aren’t the only ones to blame. Those of us who keep buying the same BS that they’re selling certainly deserve blame. But it’s bigger then that. As this TTI study, (referenced at the beginning of the above article), makes clear. The public doesn’t want toll roads, but they don’t want to pay for new roads either.

Texans are most supportive of timing traffic signals more effectively and doing a better job of managing accidents as strategies to help resolve regional transportation issues. Timing traffic signals more effectively was clearly identified as the highest-rated strategy. Building more toll roads was, by far, the least-supported strategy. The lack of support held true in both metropolitan areas and rural areas, as well as areas with and without toll roads.


Nearly two-thirds of Texans believe there is a need to increase transportation funding in Texas. The data suggest a majority agreement on this sentiment across all socio-economic groups. Support was strongest among more highly educated Texans and Texans that primarily use modes other than the personal auto.


Respondents were asked to evaluate specific transportation funding mechanisms such as “increasing the state fuel tax by 5 cents per gallon.” The data suggest that the least attractive mechanisms are those that are more likely to require additional spending on the part of Texans, such as those mechanisms that are linked to inflation and funded by system users. The most attractive mechanisms are those associated with fees already being paid, such as the state vehicle sales tax, but are not currently dedicated to transportation funding. [Emphasis added]

Texans hate toll roads, know we need to spend more on transportation, but balk at any real solution to raise the money needed to fix our transportation problem.  Which is the main reason we have what we have.  A transportation system stuck in the 1990’s – the last time the gas tax was raised.

The politicians, as politicians do, are telling the people what they want to hear.  And the people know it’s not possible to have new roads without raising money to pay for it.  But the people are actually fooling themselves into believing it and letting the politicians get away with it.

We can’t even raise taxes to pay for the things we need. That’s not conservative, that’s just plain stupid.  Meanwhile we’re all still stuck in traffic.


GOP AG Candidate Ken Paxton’s Legal Predicament, Will He Be indicted?

Posted in Around The State, Election 2014 at 8:41 am by wcnews

It’s a very real possibility that Texas GOP Attorney General nominee Ken Paxton will be indicted, whether he is elected or not.  Via Gromer Jeffers.

In May, the Texas State Securities Board said Paxton violated state law by soliciting clients, for pay, for a company that dispenses investment advice even though he had not registered with the board. He was fined $1,000. It can be a crime, but Paxton describes it as an administrative error.

“We resolved the issue in the spring,” Paxton said in Allen. “They have been saying that [indictment was possible] ever since. I continue to work on my campaign. That’s something we took care of in the spring.”

But Paxton’s Democratic rival, Houston attorney Sam Houston, said the Republican is unfit for office, a mantra that Paxton’s GOP primary opponents also tried to trumpet. He and others say it’s possible that Paxton will face criminal charges.

“He admitted to committing a felony, and he may or may not be indicted,” Houston said. “He wants to be the state’s top law enforcement officer, and he broke the law. He needs to answer to it.”


Paxton said he’s not worried that his securities violation would derail or affect his role as attorney general.

But his critics predict, or hope, that his admission and regulatory fine to the Securities Board will prompt a criminal investigation.

Texans for Public Justice, a Democratic-leaning group that filed the complaint that led to the indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry on abuse of power charges, has also submitted a complaint against Paxton to the Travis County district attorney.

“It’s likely he did commit a felony,” said Craig McDonald, the group’s director. “Just because he entered into an agreement with regulator for a small fine and a slap on the wrist doesn’t exonerate him for the underlying crimes.”

Paxton said he hired a lawyer to help him settle the issue and hasn’t focused on it since the spring.

“Hypotheticals are tough for me. I’ve dealt with what I could deal with by resolving this in the spring,” he said of rumors about an indictment. “We wanted to make sure we were doing things legally correct, so we had a lawyer to resolve the issue. We have one ready, if anything does happen.”

McDonald conceded that filing a complaint against Paxton was a low priority for his organization. He said he did so because no other candidate or group stepped up.

“The agreement he signed in essence is a confession to breaking securities law,” he said “We were kind of surprised that no district attorney and no opponent, no one else, came forward to try to hold him accountable.”

Republican voters were unfazed by the incident. Paxton easily won a runoff against state Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, to take the GOP nomination.

The base of the GOP has no problem with their nominee being an admitted criminal. That’s interesting. Erica Grieder is thoroughly confused with Paxton’s statements about his illegal actions, An Update on the AG Race.

My second point of confusion is why Paxton’s presenting himself as the victim here. I get it, as a political gambit, but this is not, let’s say, an argument one would take to appellate court. The suggestion that Paxton could possibly face indictment over actions that violated the law and that he’s already admitted to isn’t a “narrative” being pushed by political rivals. It’s a factual comment about a possibility, a possiblity that Paxton himself acknowledged to Jeffers: “We have [a lawyer] ready, if anything does happen.” It’s arguably a possiblity that should concern Republicans more than Democrats; the last time I heard someone raise a concern about this, in fact, it was a conservative lawyer, and the concern was that the looming possibility of an indictment would potentially give the federal government leverage against the Texas attorney general. And for that matter Paxton’s actual political rival–the Democratic candidate for attorney general, Sam Houston–did tell Jeffers that Paxton might be indicted, but his main point was about the action itself, the failure to register as an investment advisor: “He wants to be the state’s top law enforcement officer, and he broke the law.” [Emphasis added]

The GOP always loves to play the victim. This sounds like nothing more than a politician spinning bad situation and hoping enough foolish voters will by his lame explanation. It’s no secret that Paxton’s hiding as much as he can during this campaign.. He’s still likely to win and that’s the truly sad part.  It’s likely never been more true that the only reason Paxton has a chance is because he has an “R” next to his name.

His opponent, Democrat Sam Houston, will be is running to bring the Texas AG’s office back to doing what Texas need, and not just suing the federal government on behalf of campaign donors. Via Kuff’s interview with Sam Houston.

The stark contrast between Houston and his underqualified opponent has been noticed by the press, whose attentions Paxton has been diligently ducking ever since he secured the Republican nomination. Houston has been racking up the endorsements, and should have a clean sweep when all is said and done. He’ll be a breath of fresh air and a return to the original purpose of the office of Attorney General, which at one time represented the interests of the state of Texas and not just the Republican Party.

Listen to the entire interview here.  Houston is obviously the best choice for Texas.

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