Items of interest from around Texas

Posted in Around The State, Bad Government Republicans, Commentary, Corruption, Right Wing Lies, SD 5 at 11:17 am by wcnews

CNN on Perry’s cover-up.

Also Glenn Smith has a great wrap-up of the latest in the Willingham case.

Jay Root asks, Is KBH conservative enough?

Still, a couple of Hutchison’s votes, and past comments in support of individual abortion rights, have earned her the enduring ire of many activists and voters on the far right. In June of 2004, during the Republican state convention, she told reporters she supported a woman’s right to have an abortion early in a pregnancy.

“My position is I think there can be an ability for a woman, until viability, to make a choice,” Hutchison said. A year earlier, Hutchison expressed the same sentiment in a non-binding Senate vote in support of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court decision that made abortion legal. The resolution stated that Roe v. Wade “secures an important constitutional right” to the procedure and that it should not be overturned.

For some conservative activists, it was an unpardonable act of defiance that drew support from only nine Republican senators. (Five of those seats are now held by Democrats).

“The vote on Roe v. Wade to me seemed like that she was showing her true colors. She’s never renounced that vote,” said Joe Pojman, a Perry supporter and director of the anti-abortion group Texas Alliance for Life.

Hutchison also riled evangelical conservatives by bucking President George W. Bush on a bill aimed at easing restrictions on embryonic stem cell research funding — legislation that prompted the very first White House veto in 2006. A decade earlier, it was Bush — then as Texas governor — who rushed to Hutchison’s side when GOP anti-abortion activists nearly denied her credentials to the 1996 Republican National Convention. They were angry about Hutchison’s abortion views back then, too, though she retained her spot a delegate after party leaders rallied behind her.

Perry, like Bush, opposes abortion in all cases except rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother. Almost 70 percent of the Republicans surveyed in the UT Texas poll this summer agreed abortion should be limited to those circumstances — or never allowed.

Social issues like abortion and stem cell research have not been a prominent feature of the governor’s race so far. Job losses, health care and fiscal issues have been far more dominant, and current polls indicate economic concerns are foremost on voters’ minds.

Henson, the UT expert, said literature attacking Hutchison on those social issues is sure to land in the mail boxes of GOP voters before March — compliments of the Perry campaign.

But he said Perry, who has made his share of verbal gaffes and policy goofs on his way to becoming the longest serving governor in Texas history, can’t treat social issues or anything else at this point as a silver bullet in what otherwise has been an extremely competitive race.

“It’s not like (Hutchison) has been some kind of flaming liberal in Congress,” Henson said. “A close primary race is extremely hard to call. This is a close race.”

Flaming liberal has nothing to do with it. Her stance on that one issue is a complete deal breaker for most of the GOP base in Texas.

Perry campaign enlists FBI in finding out if his web site was hacked, Slater compares it to Rove “dirty trick” in ’86.

The episode recalls another episode in Texas politics in which the FBI was famously called into to investigate a charge of political dirty tricks in the 1986 Mark White-Bill Clements race. In that case, Karl Rove - an aide to Republican Clements - reported finding an electronic eavesdropping device in his campaign office and blamed Democratic opponent Mark White. The kerfuffle damaged White’s standing in the race and he eventually lost to Clements. Evidence - including the FBI inquiry - subsequently suggested that Rove himself had planted the bug. But no charges were ever filed in the case.

When Texas deregulated the retail power market in 2002 a safety net was put into place to protect the least among us. But with deregulation comes scam artists. The first part of a DMN series on deregulation shows how many of poor and disabled have been scammed in pre-paid electricity “market”, Cutoffs, complaints abound with Texas’ prepaid electric providers. And then try and make excuses when they gut the safety net, Low-income electric consumers’ fund used to help balance Texas budget.

One of the key provisions of the law that deregulated the Texas retail electricity market was a state fund to subsidize charges to qualified low-income consumers.

But a year after the law took effect, the Legislature began diverting much of the System Benefit Fund to help balance the state budget. Not even half of the $1.1 billion raised by surcharges to all Texans’ electricity bills since 2002 has been spent.

“That fund was hijacked by the Legislature,” said state Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston. Turner said a major reason he supported deregulation was the creation of the benefit fund.

Former state Rep. Steve Wolens, co-author of the deregulation law, was dismayed when the Legislature diverted much of the fund. “They started to pull it apart like a Christmas turkey and ate into it so that now, it’s become almost meaningless,” he said.

State Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, was the chief architect of the diversion. Ogden, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

He told the San Antonio Express-News recently that he considered complaints about his decision to redistribute the fund to be political posturing.

“If you are going to criticize that,” he said, “then go tell me what other parts of the budget I’m supposed to cut.”

I know, how about a fair tax system instead, that leaves the safety net intact? That would make too much sense.

More problems for Tom Craddick, TPJ Files Complaint Against Texas Jobs PAC — Says PAC Laundered Craddick Money in 2008 [.pdf].

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