TPA Blog Round Up (May 21, 2012)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 8:53 am by wcnews

The Texas Progressive Alliance reminds you that early voting for the 2012 primaries continues through Friday as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff sincerely hopes there’s am an uprising among parents and educators over the way public education was treated last session, but he’s still waiting for the campaign rhetoric to match the reporting about it.

BossKitty at TruthHugger was moved by an award winning documentary and saw the connection to the current state of mental health in Texas, and everywhere else. Here are Lessons of The Weeping Camel for Texas.

BlueBloggin had not anticipated how long America would engage in war. Enough men and women have been exposed to combat, cruelty and death, to populate a small country. Americans must be prepared for When They Come Home – Critical Update.

There aren’t many Democrats earning the endorsement of PDiddie at Brains and Eggs, but the most important one of the 2012 primary cycle in Harris County is Lissa Squiers for Congress. And Sean Hubbard for US Senate. Oh, and Rachel Van Os for state party chair (election to be held at the state convention in Houston in June). And maybe a few more coming in the week before Election Day.

This week in GOP infighting. Should Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst win his bid for the US Senate, picking his replacement will be a proxy war between Gov. Perry and Speaker Straus. WCNews at Eye On Williamson has the rest of the story, The tie-breaker.

Libby Shaw puts Repug redistricting in prospective in her latest posting: The Gerrymander Cowards. Check it out at TexasKaos.

Neil at Texas Liberal posted a picture of a cigarette machine that he saw last week in Houston. If you can imagine, the cigarettes cost $10 a pack in this machine.

Justin at Asian American Action Fund Blog strongly supports Gene Wu in the race to succeed Scott Hochberg in HD-137.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes that Texas is #1 - in workplace discrimination complaints.


Early voting turnout and other primary ramblings

Posted in 2012 Primary, The Economy, Williamson County at 1:06 pm by wcnews

Turnout in Williamson County has been around 1,200 per day, (along with 1,300 in mail-in ballots), and through Thursday the 17th turnout is at 2.55%.

In the GOP primary races for County Commissioner the county’s debt has become an issue. It’s always interesting when GOP candidates, and their apologists, try to justify debt to other wing nuts. But the reality is that in a growing county like Williamson infrastructure has to be built, and that takes money. And our current elected leaders have made a choice never to raise taxes. If that’s the case it leaves only one choice, to borrow money, which creates debt.

The reality is we, the tax payers, pay either way. But at least right now interest rates are low and continuing to borrow keeps people employed and the economy humming. Now if we could only get the GOP at the state and national level to understand this economic argument the economy would be humming along at all levels.

The “job creators” lie exposed….again

Posted in Around The Nation, Around The State, Inequality, Right Wing Lies, Taxes at 9:19 am by wcnews

Two videos today from Digby on the wealthy are “job creators” lie, The aristocracy of money: don’t be rude to the noble job creators. From capitalist Nich Hanauer.

Here’s an excerpt:

It is astounding how significantly one idea can shape a society and its policies. Consider this one.

If taxes on the rich go up, job creation will go down.

This idea is an article of faith for Republicans and seldom challenged by Democrats and has shaped much of today’s economic landscape.

But sometimes the ideas that we know to be true are dead wrong. For thousands of years people were sure that earth was at the center of the universe. It’s not, and an astronomer who still believed that it was, would do some lousy astronomy.

In the same way, a policy maker who believed that the rich and businesses are “job creators” and therefore should not be taxed, would make equally bad policy.

I have started or helped start, dozens of businesses and initially hired lots of people. But if no one could have afforded to buy what we had to sell, my businesses would all have failed and all those jobs would have evaporated.

That’s why I can say with confidence that rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is a “circle of life” like feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion this virtuous cycle of increasing demand and hiring. In this sense, an ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than a capitalist like me.


So here’s an idea worth spreading.

In a capitalist economy, the true job creators are consumers, the middle class. And taxing the rich to make investments that grow the middle class, is the single smartest thing we can do for the middle class, the poor and the rich.


And the damage that income inequality does to countries.

McBlogger has his take too, Now, if this doesn’t sound familiar…


The tie-breaker

Posted in Around The State, Commentary, The Lege at 3:43 pm by wcnews

????????After writing this post a few weeks ago, Deeply unhappy Republicans? Don’t be so sure, there have been a few new developments in the Texas GOP. Some of which is highlighted by the recent Ross Ramsey article, Factions Are Forming Among Texas Republicans. The factions are forming, it’s the corporate Republicans on one side and and the social/tea party conservatives on the other.

Not this year. And these people’s differences are an early warning of friction in next year’s legislative session.

East Texas has an easy example. There’s Representative Wayne Christian, Republican of Center, defending himself in a redrawn district packed with voters he has never represented. The governor and the attorney general and the comptroller have endorsed Mr. Christian.

But many of the big trade associations that might normally be with those heavyweights are instead with Chris Paddie, a radio station manager and personality who has also served as Marshall’s mayor. Mr. Paddie has endorsements from trade groups for doctors, manufacturers, real estate brokers, law enforcement groups and even Senator Kevin Eltife, Republican of Tyler, whose Senate district overlaps the House district. While Mr. Christian has been a reliable vote for social conservatives, the business groups say that — for a variety of reasons — they can no longer count on him.

Another way the factions are setting up is the Straus Republicans and the Perry Republicans.

Here’s Speaker Joe Straus visiting El Paso late last year, talking about government services instead of the price of government services. “We have no choice, unless we want to continue to try to grow our population and continue to shrink spending significantly,” he told The El Paso Times. “I think at some point you can’t cut your way to prosperity.”

Keep in mind that he was talking on the eve of the election season, trying to set the stage for the political conversation to follow.

Gov. Rick Perry was nearing the end of his 15 minutes of presidential exposure. But he dusted himself off this year, offering a budget compact that deals not with the quality of government services but with the price of those services, limiting the growth of the budget and holding taxes at or below current levels.

Mr. Straus was obliquely critical, avoiding a direct confrontation with the governor while showing Mr. Perry the back of his hand. “We welcome the input of the executive, but the Legislature needs to assert itself from time to time as well,” he told a Washington group, as reported by The Dallas Morning News. “It’s important that we remember the separation of powers and remember some of the lessons that we all learned or should have learned in civics class.”

That should help you find the fault line between the House and the governor’s office when lawmakers meet in January, and the institutional Republicans and trade groups now picking sides in the elections are intentionally or accidentally showing how they lean: more toward the House than the governor.

More on the Straus and Perry factions forming here, Perry cool on question of endorsing Straus.

Gov. Rick Perry is unequivocal in his support of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s bid for U.S. Senate, even going with him to vote early this morning at a public library in Tarrytown, an upscale neighborhood near downtown Austin.

And while Perry was scathing in his criticism of presidential candidate Mitt Romney when he was battling him in the primary – and even is leaving the door open for another bid himself in 2016 – he also proclaimed his enthusiasm for the former Massachusetts governor: “On a scale of 10, show me as a 10.”

Perry even endorsed a candidate for U.S. Senate in Minnesota, and he’s been active in Texas legislative endorsements.

But when it comes to the race between House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, and challenger Matt Beebe, Perry was decidedly cool: “I don’t endorse people until I get asked.”

Where this fight is likely to break out into the open is if Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst wins his bid for US Senate and the Texas Senate if forced to choose his successor. Actually it already has, John Carona has never said Dan Patrick was gay.

This is uproarious. Two Republicans in the state Senate jockeying for the day a when Texas needs a new lieutenant governor are hurling rotten tomatoes at each other.


Carona went on to blame Patrick’s political ambition for the e-mail.

Carona is a potential candidate for lieutenant governor if Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is elected to the U.S. Senate and senators choose an interim replacement, and also in the 2014 statewide election for the seat. Patrick is a potential lieutenant governor candidate in 2014.

Carona also called Patrick “a snake oil salesman” and “a narcissist that would say anything to draw attention to himself.”

Patrick, in response, suggested that Carona is “at a very dark place in his life for some reason” and said:

“I find Senator Carona’s response repulsive and unbecoming of a Senator. I stand by my statement. … He still owes my wife and my family an apology. Now he owes me an apology for his latest smear, another fabrication by Senator Carona.”

Paul Burka is solemn and sober in his judgment.

As pointed in a previous post, there are many issues that go into the Senate picking their next leader.

It took eight ballots, all secret, in a “committee of the whole” to elect the new Lt. Gov back in 2000. The Senate back then had a 16-15 GOP majority. Wikipedia states Bill Ratliff was elected by a vote of 16-15, with most of his votes coming from Democrats. Suffice it to say that an election like that, just before the legislative session, is likely to stir up passions, not just in the Senate, but those outside the Senate looking to run for Lt. Gov. in 2014. It would be like a Speaker’s race in the Senate.

Add to that what appears to be a looming battle between the Speaker and the Governor and it becomes a proxy war. Whoever becomes the next Lt. Gov., should Dewhurst move to the US Senate, will essentially become the tie-breaker in the battle between Straus and Perry for the soul of the Texas GOP.

Further Reading:
Top 12 Reasons to Oust Straus.
Texas Public Policy Foundation Rushes to Defend ALEC.


More information on Early Voting and an endorsement

Posted in 2012 Primary, Elections, US Senate Race, Williamson County at 2:17 pm by wcnews

Over 2,100 voters turned out on day one in Williamson County, (.90% for those scoring at home).

Sample ballots can be found here, just enter first and last name.

And here’s yesterday’s post on when and where to early vote.

There’s not much up for grabs on the Democratic side of the ballot in Williamson County. But the one contested race is for US Senate. And EOW is in concurrence with BOR and Harold Cook, My U.S. Senate endorsement, in supporting Sean Hubbard for US Senate.

Both Hubbard and Sadler comported themselves very well. Both articulated values with which I, as well as most other Texas Democratic primary voters, wholeheartedly agree. I believe either would make a fine U.S. Senator.

But here’s the deal: both Democrats in the race are under-funded. And unless one of ’em wins the lottery, there’s no particular reason to believe that each won’t remain underfunded, especially compared to the Republican nominee, who intends to buy this Senate seat.

To be sure, lightning does occasionally strike in politics, but it usually doesn’t. So barring some unforeseen circumstance which changes the financial game, the reality is that Texas is one of the most expensive states in the nation to get out a message, the Republican nominee will have the funding necessary to saturate that message, and the Democratic nominee won’t. And while that’s a terrible shame, it also makes it more likely that the Democrat won’t prevail this November.

This, in my view, makes who Democrats nominate no less important. We have a Party to build. It cannot be built without growing enthusiasm, and it cannot be grown without attracting new voters to us, while retaining the support we’ve maintained.

Paul Sadler
There’s no doubt Paul Sadler is a rock-solid guy, and always was. He has a deep understanding of policy details which I deeply admire. And the likelihood that he would attract few new voters to the Democratic column is more a reflection on the electorate than it is on him. During the debate, he was the quintessential policy wonk, explaining government to people, with deep knowledge and much wisdom. I’m the kind of dork who likes that stuff. Most voters’ eyes glaze over.

Sean Hubbard surprised me at the debate. He is no less articulate than Sadler. He demonstrates an open-mindedness about new ideas, while simultaneously making clear that he would not turn his back on Democratic values. And mostly, he oozes enthusiasm and positive energy from every pore.

At 31, he looks younger than that, and he pointed out that he’s already older than Joe Biden was when Biden was elected to the Senate. Hubbard would be more likely to garner an excitement in a general election which is greater than the sum of its parts - not just because of his age, but because of his infectious enthusiasm and unapologetic zeal for the race. Isn’t that the kind of Democratic candidate that grows more voters than the “smartest guy in the room” types Democrats have already tried?

Here’s hoping lightning strikes. But even if it doesn’t, Sean Hubbard would be the kind of Democratic nominee more capable of attracting new folks to the Democratic column. It’s potentially important in that U.S. Senate race, it’s important in down ballot contests, and it’s important in future Party-building and elections.

To help you make your own decision, you can watch the Senate debate here. Also, while you’re listening to the Democrats, it’s also fun to watch the Republicans as they each explain why they’re totally for women’s freedom, even as they document why they’re not in favor of supporting any of those freedoms.


TPA Blog Round Up (May 14, 2012)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 10:35 am by wcnews

The Texas Progressive Alliance reminds everyone that early voting has begun as it brings you this week’s blog roundup.

Off the Kuff finished his interview tour of Texas with a conversation with Domingo Garcia in CD33.

BossKitty at TruthHugger will not weigh in, whether or not the truth was actually served in court, when a black lady fired a warning shot into a wall. Firing a gun in irresponsible ways is natural in Texas. But, Florida has contradictory laws that allow courts to pick and choose who gets punished for similar irresponsible behavior. You can decide for yourself how good a job of it they do.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry came to Williamson County this week, he endorsed John Bradley for DA. WCNews at Eye On Williamson has the rest of the story, Birds of a feather.

It was a good week to be gay if you were Barack Obama and John Carona, and a bad week to be gay if you were Mitt Romney and Dan Patrick. And if you think that’s confusing, wait until you read what PDiddie at Brains and Eggs said about Greg Abbott’s rose petals and Joe Arpaio’s pink panties.

Lewisville Texan Journal looks at Republican candidate for HD 106, Pat Fallon’s residence, and addresses whether he committed voter fraud by voting from an address where he apparently did not live.

At TexasKaos, lightseeker asks Could the Education Cuts be the beginning of the End for Texas Republican? Check out the details.

Neil at Texas Liberal endorsed Sean Hubbard in the Democratic primary for the open U.S. Senate seat.

Early Voting for the 2012 Primary starts today in Williamson County

Posted in 2012 Primary, Elections, Williamson County at 8:48 am by wcnews

Dates, times and locations for early voting for the 2012 Democratic and Republican primaries in Williamson County. Here’s the information from the Williamson County Elections Department.

Primary Early Voting Schedule
Primary Election
Early Voting Map
Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dates & Times for Full-time Locations
8am to 6pm Monday, May 14 through Saturday, May 19
12pm to 6pm Sunday, May 20
7am to 7pm Monday, May 21 through Friday, May 25

Primary Main Location

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

**Limited ballot available at this location

Primary Branch Locations

Anderson Mill Limited District: 11500 El Salido Pkwy, Austin
Brushy Creek Community Center: 16318 Great Oaks Dr., Round Rock
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 & Rec Admin Bldg.: 1101 N. College St., Georgetown
Hutto City Hall: 401 W. Front St., Hutto
JB and Hallie Jester Annex: 1801 E. Old Settlers Blvd., Round Rock
McConico Building: 301 W. Bagdad St., Round Rock
Pat Bryson Municipal Hall: 201 N. Brushy St., Leander
Round Rock Randalls: 2051 Gattis School Rd., Round Rock
Taylor City Hall: 400 Porter St., Taylor

Primary Mobile Locations
Hours for mobile 10am-6pm

Tuesday, May 15 Andice Community Center, 6600 FM 970, Andice
Wednesday, May 16 Seton Medical Center Williamson, 201 Seton Pkwy, Round Rock
Thursday, May 17 Jarrell Memorial Park, 1651 CR 305, Jarrell
Friday, May 18 Liberty Hill Annex, 3407 RR 1869, Liberty Hill
Saturday, May 19 Liberty Hill Annex, 3407 RR 1869, Liberty Hill
Monday, May 21 Thrall ISD Board Room, 201 S Bounds St, Thrall
Tuesday, May 22 Granger City Hall, 214 E Davilla, Granger
Wednesday, May 23 Florence VFD, 301 S Patterson, Florence


GOP would rather build bombs, protect wealthy, than feed the hungry

Posted in Around The Nation, Employment, jobs, Taxes at 2:33 pm by wcnews

The Poor Should Not Bear the Burden of a Deficit They Didn’t Cause.

GOP leaders in Congress who can’t stop talking about family values are proposing an array of deep cuts to food stamps, child tax credits, healthcare for the poor, and even block grants that help states with daycare and adoption assistance. Left untouched are military spending that has ballooned over the last decade and tax breaks for the richest Americans. This isn’t courageous or pragmatic. It’s fiscally irresponsible and morally wrong.


We should not pit national security against economic security. An effective military and a responsive government that doesn’t turn its back on vulnerable families are both achievable if we move beyond false choices. The working poor struggling in minimum-wage jobs, the elderly, and a squeezed middle class did not cause our deficits. They should not be asked to bear the greatest burden.

As economist Paul Krugman points out in the first chapter of his new book, economics is not just about money. There’s a human side to it as well. Providing those who want to work, and can’t find a job, with a job - the dignity of work - would go a long way to healing our long-term economic problems. How Bad Things Are.

Economists, the old line goes, know the price of everything and the value of nothing. And you know what? There’s a lot of truth to that accusation: since economists mainly study the circulation of money and the production and consumption of stuff, they have an inherent bias toward assuming that money and stuff are what matter. Still, there is a field of economic research that focuses on how self-reported measures of well-being, such as happiness or “life satisfaction,” are related to other aspects of life. Yes, it’s known as “happiness research”-Ben Bernanke even gave a speech about it in 2010, titled “The Economics of Happiness.” And this research tells us something very important about the mess we’re in.

Sure enough, happiness research tells us that money isn’t all that important once you get to the point of being able to afford the necessities of life. The payoff to being richer isn’t literally zero-citizens of rich countries are, on average, somewhat more satisfied with their lives than citizens of less well-off nations. Also, being richer or poorer than the people you compare yourself with is a fairly big deal, which is why extreme inequality can have such a corrosive effect on society. But when all is said and done, money is less important than crude materialists-and many economists-would like to believe.

That’s not to say, however, that economic affairs are unimportant in the true scale of things. For there’s one economics-driven thing that matters enormously to human well-being: having a job. People who want to work but can’t find work suffer greatly, not just from the loss of income but from a diminished sense of self-worth. And that’s a major reason why mass unemployment-which has now been going on in America for four years-is such a tragedy.

How severe is the problem of unemployment? That question calls for a bit of discussion.

Clearly, what we’re interested in is involuntary unemployment. People who aren’t working because they have chosen not to work, or at least not to work in the market economy-retirees who are glad to be retired, or those who have decided to be full-time housewives or househusbands-don’t count. Neither do the disabled, whose inability to work is unfortunate, but not driven by economic issues.

Now, there have always been people claiming that there’s no such thing as involuntary unemployment, that anyone can find a job if he or she is really willing to work and isn’t too finicky about wages or working conditions. There’s Sharron Angle, the Republican candidate for the Senate, who declared in 2010 that the unemployed were “spoiled,” choosing to live off unemployment benefits instead of taking jobs. There are the people at the Chicago Board of Trade who, in October 2011, mocked anti-inequality demonstrators by showering them with copies of McDonald’s job application forms. And there are economists like the University of Chicago’s Casey Mulligan, who has written multiple articles for the New York Times website insisting that the sharp drop in employment after the 2008 financial crisis reflected not a lack of employment opportunities but diminished willingness to work.

The classic answer to such people comes from a passage near the beginning of the novel The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (best known for the 1948 film adaptation starring Humphrey Bogart and Walter Huston): “Anyone who is willing to work and is serious about it will certainly find a job. Only you must not go to the man who tells you this, for he has no job to offer and doesn’t know anyone who knows of a vacancy. This is exactly the reason why he gives you such generous advice, out of brotherly love, and to demonstrate how little he knows the world.”

Quite. Also, about those McDonald’s applications: in April 2011, as it happens, McDonald’s did announce 50,000 new job openings. Roughly a million people applied.

If you have any familiarity with the world, in short, you know that involuntary unemployment is very real. And it’s currently a very big deal.

How bad is the problem of involuntary unemployment, and how much worse has it become?

The U.S. unemployment measure you usually hear quoted in the news is based on a survey in which adults are asked whether they are either working or actively seeking work. Those who are seeking work but don’t have jobs are considered unemployed. In December 2011 that amounted to more than 13 million Americans, up from 6.8 million in 2007.

If you think about it, however, this standard definition of unemployment misses a lot of distress. What about people who want to work, but aren’t actively searching either because there are no jobs to be had, or because they’ve grown discouraged by fruitless searching? What about those who want full-time work, but have only been able to find part-time jobs? Well, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics tries to capture these unfortunates in a broader measure of unemployment, known as U6; it says that by this broader measure there are about 24 million unemployed Americans-about 15 percent of the workforce-roughly double the number before the crisis.

Yet even this measure fails to capture the extent of the pain. In modern America most families contain two working spouses; such families suffer, both financially and psychologically, if either spouse is unemployed. There are workers who used to make ends meet with a second job, now down to an inadequate one, or who counted on overtime pay that no longer arrives. There are independent businesspeople who have seen their income shrivel. There are skilled workers, accustomed to holding down good jobs, who have been forced to accept work that uses none of their skills. And on and on.

There is no official estimate of the number of Americans caught up in this sort of penumbra of formal unemployment. But in a June 2011 poll of likely voters-a group probably in better shape than the population as a whole-the polling group Democracy Corps found that a third of Americans had either themselves suffered from job loss or had a family member lose a job, and that another third knew someone who had lost a job. Moreover, almost 40 percent of families had suffered from reduced hours, wages, or benefits.

The pain, then, is very widespread. But that’s not the whole story: for millions, the damage from the bad economy runs very deep.

The GOP wants to cut things like food stamps, Medicaid and Meals on Wheels, instead of the bloated defense budget, or by taxing the wealthy more. House To Vote On GOP Bill Framed As Guns Vs. Butter.

Republicans who control the House want to block some $55 billion worth of automatic cuts to the Pentagon budget next year. Instead, they want to cut funding for social programs such as food stamps, Medicaid and Meals on Wheels. It’s a choice that has been framed as guns versus butter, and this time, guns are expected to win.


Texas Democrat Lloyd Doggett says there would be less money for vaccinations, prenatal care and quality nursing homes for seniors.

“It’s shifting all the cost onto the most vulnerable people that don’t have a strong enough lobbyist to stand up for themselves, and I think it is a terrible wrong,” Doggett says.

Republicans on the Budget Committee approved the cuts to social programs, setting up Thursday’s vote in the full House. Texas Rep. Bill Flores defended the cuts in the name of fiscal responsibility.

“We talk about values. Deficit spending is not a value, ladies and gentlemen. Deficit spending is what’s going to bankrupt the future for the children that you say you care so much about,” Flores says.

But as Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen points out, Thursday’s vote isn’t really about the size of the deficit. It’s just about who bears the cost of government spending cuts: the military or the needy.

“The issue is not whether we should implement a plan to reduce the deficit in a steady, credible and predictable way,” Van Hollen says. “We should. The issue is how should we do it?”

The reality is that the best way to deal with the long-term deficit is to put people back to work. And the best way to put people back to work is by reversing austerity, raising taxes on the wealthy, and rebuilding our dilapidated infrastructure. The GOP in 2010 ran on jobs, jobs, jobs…remember?!


Birds of a feather

Posted in Right Wing Lies, Williamson County at 4:35 pm by wcnews

Today Texas Gov. Rick Perry was in Cedar Park campaigning today. He was again pushing his budget “suicide” pact and endorsing candidates,Perry pushes budget compact in Cedar Park.

Perry also threw his support behind Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley, who faces County Attorney Jana Duty in one of the most hotly contested races in the county’s history.

But the main purpose for Perry’s visit was to press his budget compact, a five-piece pact that calls for “truth in budgeting,” stricter constitutional limits on spending, no new taxes, preserving the state’s rainy day fund — made up of some tax revenue from oil and gas production — and cutting “unnecessary and duplicative” government programs and agencies.

To much applause, Perry told the audience — mostly made up of similarly minded local elected officials — that the “common sense” compact is necessary to keep businesses like Corvalent coming to Texas. He finished off by asking the crowd to take out their cell phones and text their support for the compact.

Perry’s Cedar Park appearance was the last of a handful of stops across the state where the governor gave similarly themed speeches this week.

That’s right Perry and Bradley go way back.

But the thing to keep in mind about Perry and the GOP in Williamson County is they have much in common. Both would rather run up huge sums of debt instead of taxing the wealthy, and pay for our government as we go. That’s been the GOP way since Reagan afterall.

Further Reading:
Republicans, the Anti-Stimulus


Voter ID update

Posted in Around The State, Elections at 11:43 am by wcnews

In the pre-trial phase leading up to the trial for Texas’ Voter ID law the State of Texas, aka Greg Abbott and the GOP legislators, are acting like they have something to hide. Via Texas Redistricting, Court not happy with Texas in voter ID case; says it will give State one last chance for July trial.

In a harshly worded order issued this afternoon, the court in the Texas voter ID case reprimanded the state for what it said were “well-documented” discovery violations “that can only be interpreted as having the aim of delaying the Defendants’ ability to receive and analyze data and documents in a timely fashion.”

The court said:

Texas has repeated ignored or violated directives and orders of this Court that were designed to expedite discovery, and Texas has failed to produce in a timely manner key documents that Defendants need to prepare their defense. Most troubling is Texas’ conduct with respect to producing its key state databases, which are central to Defendants’ claim that S.B. 14 has a disparate and retrogressive impact on racial and/or language minority groups. The record reflects that these databases are voluminous, complex, and essential to the preparation of the opinions of Defendants’ expert witnesses. Yet, according to Texas, the full production of such databases to the United States was only complete on May 4, 2012 - 35 days after they were initially due. The production to Defendant-Intervenors is still not complete.

The court told Texas that “[b]ased on the record to date, this Court would be well within its discretion to continue the July 9 trial date, to impose monetary sanctions against Texas, or to keep the July 9 trial date and impose evidentiary sanctions such as an adverse inference upon Texas.”

But the court is giving them one last chance to comply.

The conditions imposed by the court’s order include mandates that Texas not require subpoenas for appearance of any current legislators or state employees and that Texas not assert any additional claims of privilege other than those already raised with the court.

The order also directed that Texas complete database production by Thursday, May 9, and production of all other non-privileged documents by this Friday, May 11,

The court’s order can be found here.

It’s looked all along, as the state has been dragging its feet in this case, that they know if they released what the DOJ is asking for the law wouldn’t be found legal. This is just more evidence. It’s still likely that the state will, begrudgingly, comply. But it’s still unlikely the law will make it through legal scrutiny.

The Texas GOP enacted their dream voter ID law, having big majorities in both chamber in the legislature, and overreached. They could have passed a Voter ID bill that would have passed legal scrutiny, they chose not to. Voter ID has always been a fix for a problem that doesn’t exist.

See Kuff, Voter ID trial likely to be delayed, and, Brains and Eggs, Greg Abbott is either incompetent or defiantly ignorant.

Here’s the statement from the Texas Democratic Party:

The Court is getting tired of the State’s games on voter ID. The State of Texas continues to drag its feet and hide information on the effects of their voter suppression legislation. Texas refuses to furnish key data because it will prove beyond a doubt that the voter ID law violates the Voting Rights Act. The absolute intent of the Republican voter suppression legislation is to disenfranchise voters, and it will be difficult for the State to prove otherwise. The State of Texas needs to stop playing games on discovery.

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