Archive | January, 2011

The immigration issue.

I really think we’re starting to get the hang of this.

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TPA weekly round-up

The Texas Progressive Alliance is ready to retire the phrase “blue norther” for another year as it brings you this week’s blog roundup.

Off the Kuff took an early look at fundraising for 2011 city of Houston elections.

The Big Gas Mafia says it’s impossible but hydraulic fracturing causes gas to migrate threatening life…AGAIN. TXsharon puts 2 and 2 together at Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

Bay Area Houston has a press release from Rick Perry titled Rick Perry Asks Republican Voters to Quit Their State Jobs.

Texas republican at the forefront to kill Medicare. CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is not surprised.

This week at Left of College Station, Teddy calls out Congressman Bill Floresí health care hypocrisy for voting to repeal health care reform that ensures health care for millions of Americans while voting against repealing his own government health care. Left of College Station also covers the week in headlines.

The Texas Cloverleaf highlights the TX state house GOP vote against open government.

Ryan at TexasVox asks “Where’s the outrage?” from TCEQ approving another polluting power plant despite local opposition, warnings from the EPA, and rulings from two SOAH hearings, this time the ironically named Las Brisas plant in Corpus Christi.

During the voter I.D. legislation fight on the floor of the Texas Senate last week, a new problem emerged on the policy. And it’s not what you think this time – potential problems for minorities, or the elderly, or rural Texans, or poor folks. This time, it’s a problem with your right to vote. Yes, you. Letters From Texas explains why.

Eye On Williamson, points out that the GOP’s proposed budget is asking for huge sacrifices from poor and working Texans, but little or nothing from the wealthy and corporations, the Texas GOP budget proposal is morally bankrupt.

Ever been broken down on the side of the road and everybody in the car is arguing about who’s going to get out in the rain and try to fix what’s wrong? Well, that’s where the state’s highway fund is. And our Austin representatives are “ready to have a discussion” about it. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs double-checked, and no, nobody has a roadside assistance plan, either.

At TexasKaos, Libby Shaw serves up a heaping helpin’ of snark, in Governor Rick Perry Urges Republican Voters to Abandon Public Schools. By the reactions she got, she ruffled a few feathers. You go girl!

Neil at Texas Liberal had jury duty in the past week. Neil dressed well for jury duty and feels that you should do the same when you are called. What merits greater respect than our common society?

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During the voter I.D. legislation fight on the floor of the Texas Senate last week, a new problem emerged on the policy. And it’s not what you think this time – potential problems for minorities, or the elderly, or rural Texans, or poor folks. This time, it’s a problem with your right to vote. Yes, you. Letters From Texas explains why.

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Picture me this

On the issue of this voter ID dust-up, here’s something interesting that came out of the debate in the Texas Senate last night: even if you have the necessary photo I.D., you still might not be accepted to vote.

Ray Martinez, Drivers License

The reason is simple: too many people simply do not look like the photo on their drivers license.

Senator Zaffirini was the one who brought it up. She shared a photo from a drivers license, and challenged Senators to name the person whose photo it was. None of the Senators had a guess.

She then asked the person whose photo it was to stand up. Her Chief of Staff, Ray Martinez, stood up. At the time, Ray had been sitting next to Zaffirini, in plain sight of all the Senators who couldn’t guess that it was his photo.

Ray Martinez, yesterday

The fact is, a drivers license is valid for 6 years. Under certain circumstances, drivers are enabled to renew it online for an additional 6 years. That means some Texans are running around with drivers licenses with photos taken up to 12 years ago.

Check out how the Texas Democratic Party is having fun with this. And if you think this might apply to you, send in your pictures to them, because after the Senate gets done today, the House gets its turn. But for the Texan who will be rejected for voting some day, it’s no laughing matter.

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What does your state suck at?

We’re certainly doing our part here in Texas. Check out The United States of Shame.

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TPA weekly round-up

The Texas Progressive Alliance congratulates the Packers and the Steelers as it brings you this week’s roundup.

WhosPlayin helped organize a cleanup for an historic African American cemetery dating back to about 1845 that had been the target of litterbugs and illegal dumpers. Respect for the dead, and respect for the land are still values that people from left and right can agree on.

Off the Kuff analyzed the initial Republican budget proposal and the utter havoc it would wreak on the state.

TXsharon reported on two important developments on hydraulic fracturing: 1) the EPA is confident gas in Parker County water wells is from Barnett Shale, and 2) the media took a lie about the EPA and regulating diesel fuel and repeated it without fact checking.

At Letters From Texas, Harold points out that Rick Perry keeps calling things “emergencies” that aren’t, and continues to ignore emergencies that are.

Capitol Annex takes a look at a study showing that Texas gets an “F” when it comes to reporting outbreaks of food-borne illness and wonders why the media wasn’t paying attention last year when candidates were making an issue of food safety in Texas.

There’s a muddy, grunting scrum developing among the Republicans coveting the US Senate seat Kay Bailey is vacating, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs posts an update at a safe distance from the bottom of the pile.

Exactly why does Governor Perry want to insist that you can cut spending and maintain services? McBlogger’s pretty sure it’s a case of cognitive dissonance.

Libby Shaw gets it dead right whem she tells Goodhair to Man Up Governor Perry. Of course he won’t. He has already double-downed on completing the demoliiton of Texas public education according to everything coming out about the new state budget.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants to know why Republicans hate people so very much.

TexasVox welcomes guest blogger Jim Hightower as part of a one-two punch on the nuclear waste dump in West Texas: Hightower’s Dumping on Texas for Fun and Profit and an expose of Harold Simmons’ last minute contributions to Texas politicians in 2010.

Neil at Texas Liberal wrote on the massive budget deficit in Texas. In this fine post, Neil offers up the view that Republican mismanagement of Texas is not the only reason for the shortfall. Neil also cites poor citizenship by the many Texans who don’t want to pay taxes in a state with no income tax, but who at the same time kick up a fuss when government services they use are cut.

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At Letters From Texas, Harold points out that Rick Perry keeps calling things “emergencies” that aren’t, and continues to ignore emergencies that are.

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The Governor’s emergencies

Dispatcher: Thank you for calling 9-11, what’s your emergency?

Caller: I need help immediately! Can you help me please??

Dispatcher: Yes sir, what is your name and where are you calling from please?

Caller: What do you mean who am I? This is your Governor, Rick Perry. I’m calling from my office, you snit.

Dispatcher: Yes Governor Perry, what’s the nature of your emergency please?

Caller: I saw a guy walking down the road. I’m pretty sure he’s a Mexican, he was carrying a weed eater and everything. I watched a cop car drive right by, and they didn’t give him a second look. Clearly we have a sanctuary city situation in progress. I need somebody on this immediately!

Dispatcher: Was this man injured in any way?

Caller: No, but…

Dispatcher: Was he acting in a threatening manner?

Caller: That’s not the point.

Dispatcher: Is the man on fire perhaps? They’re telling me there may be a fire somewhere, are you witnessing a fire?

Caller: You’re missing my point. The fact that he’s here and the cops didn’t stop and check him out constitutes an emergency!

Dispatcher: was the man acting suspiciously at all?

Caller: Did you hear the part about the weed eater?

Dispatcher: Sir, with all due respect, you’re not describing an emergency situation. And I’m afraid I can’t hold this line any longer, there’s a fire alarm coming in at….

Caller: Hold on, hold on, that’s not the only reason I called – there’s another emergency too.

Dispatcher: Oh, go ahead please.

Caller: Well, there’s this town, and they’re going to build a road…

Dispatcher: Build a road? Right now?

Caller: Well no, not right now, it’s planned for five years from now. But I hear that in order to build it, they’re going to buy this old guy’s property, and they’re already arguing about what it might be worth…

Dispatcher: Sir, let me stop you right now. That’s not an emergency either. And really, they’re telling me this fire has progressed to a second alarm and I really must get…

Caller: WAIT – ok here’s something else: the Federal Government’s budget isn’t balanced. You need to tell them to cut that crap out, because…

Dispatcher: Mr. Perry, really, you can’t be calling 9-11 with things that don’t constitute emergencies…we’ve got this fire raging and I really need to…

Caller: Damn it, you’re not listening to me. OK, look, you HAVE to help me on this one: I heard there’s somebody voting illegally. I need you to stop that right now before he and his friends screw up the whole election.

Dispatcher: Oh, why didn’t you say so? We can send an officer right now. This is in progress as we speak, right?

Caller: Well, no.

Dispatcher: Oh? When did this happen?

Caller: I don’t know.

Dispatcher: Any idea where it happened, or how many people are involved?

Caller: No idea at all, but damn it, you’re missing the point again. I don’t even know if it’s happened yet, and I’ve had the entire dad-gum Attorney General’s office working on it for 8 years and those numb nuts haven’t come up with anything, I only know you need to stop it immediately before it happens again!

Dispatcher: …so you’re saying it’s going to happen, and we need to intervene immediately?

Caller: NOW you’ve got it, can you send somebody over?

Dispatcher: That sounds reasonable; election fraud is a crime after all. When is the next state election – is it today?

Caller: Uh…it’s in November.

Dispatcher: November?? Sir, are you aware this is January?

Caller: Don’t be a smart-ass or I’ll have your job. Of course I know it’s January.

Dispatcher: Sir you cannot possibly call something an emergency if you cannot identify that a crime has been committed, when it isn’t even possible to commit a crime of that nature for another ten months.

Caller: But…

Dispatcher: Mr. Perry, with all due respect, you keep calling things emergencies that aren’t, and I’m very sorry but I’m going to have to terminate this call now.

Caller: Why? Is that fire completely out of control or what?

Dispatcher: No sir, that house already burned down, you never gave me the opportunity to send the fire department. I have to terminate the call because my supervisor just informed me that because of state budget cuts I’ve just been laid off.

Caller: Jesus H. Christ-On-A-Freakin-Crutch, state budget cuts??! As if THAT’S important! What the hell does it take to get some service around he……

**CLICK**

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A little tribute to our soldiers overseas

It’s a hard job, but somebody’s got to do it.

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Austin News Briefs

Perry, Dewhurst sworn in

Governor Rick Perry and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst were sworn in on the South steps of the Texas Capitol yesterday morning, amid the enthusiastic cheers of hundreds of really really white people.

During the celebration, dubbed the “Nothing To See Here, Everything Is Fine, Go About Your Business” inauguration, Perry proclaimed this to be a “Texas century.” He later denied that he was signaling to his supporters that he intends to keep running for Governor for the entirety of this century.

Dewhurst, for his part, delivered a wide-ranging speech lasting approximately three days. He touched on a wide range of issues of interest to Republican primary voters in, let’s say, a U.S. Senate race, and called on Washington D.C. to send more troops to the border until such time as Republican polling indicates otherwise.

The Republicans’ celebration was interrupted by the noise of what reporters described as a small airplane towing a congratulatory banner, but which most conservative attendees claimed was a black helicopter.

Republican budget draft released

State Representative Jim Pitts, the Republican Chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, released his initial budget draft yesterday evening. To the surprise of Capitol-watchers, the only funded line item remaining in Pitts’ proposal is $12. 53, to pay a guy to turn off the lights.

Pitts said there’s room for negotiation in the coming months, specifically citing several other unfunded items which lawmakers might want to consider backing. These include hiring a night watchman at the Department of Public Safety, whose job duties would include continuing to approve concealed weapons permits, and funding to continue the last remaining vestiges of the Texas Education Agency, tasked with firing all remaining public school teachers in the state and renaming the scaled-down agency as the “Department of Home Schooling and Creationism.”

Most Republicans hailed the budget draft, explaining that they were happy that Texas legislators were finally scrubbing the budget of wasteful luxuries such as food, clothing, and shelter.

However, the budget document stands in stark contrast to remarks given by state Senator Steve Ogden last week. Ogden, the Senate’s chief budget-writer, urged Senators to “leave politics at the door” this session, alter the under-performing franchise tax, fix public education and health and human services funding to better serve Texans, and use the state’s $9 billion rainy day fund.

Other Republicans privately denounced Ogden’s positions, angrily characterizing them as “a dirty bald-faced truth.”

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Weekly TPA blog round-up

The Texas Progressive Alliance celebrates the MLK Day holiday as it brings you this week’s blog roundup.

Off the Kuff wrote about Governor Perry’s sanctuary scam and what it says about his priorities.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes that Perry and his merry band of republicans play to the Tea Party/corporate polluters while the EPA starts doing its job.

Lightseeker over at TexasKaos offers some ideas on how you can become a civility warrior, starting today. Hint: think leading with good values and standing up for what you want among your friends and colleagues. Check out: How to inject civility when Uncle Joe Starts channeling Glen Beck.

This week, McBlogger takes a look at No Labels.

Letters From Texas published a powerful guest editorial from Jeff Rotkoff, on the issue of tea partiers’ claims that America is a tyrant state.

Bay Area Houston has a Perfect Picture of Palin, but not for children.

At Capitol Annex, Vince takes a look at the potential contenders for U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s seat now that her retirement has thrown the doors wide open for the 2012 primary.

After a two-part investigation last year on one town’s air quality problems WhosPlayin was happy to report that the Town of Flower Mound is increasing the scope and frequency of its air quality monitoring program as complaints continue by neighbors of natural gas facilities. A Lewisville neighborhood group facing gas well development in residential neighborhoods quickly followed suit, announcing increased testing and testing for sulfur compounds.

On the scene for the 82nd legislative session’s opening day, PDiddie managed to defy the Capitol’s tech support department with laptop connectivity issues, and then quickly ran his Android’s battery down Tweeting. Still, he managed a Brains and Eggs post about the day 24 hours after the fact.

TXsharon catches the Big Gas Mafia telling the truth. Gas does migrate up from the formation and it does so in a big way. Read about it on Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

After reading a Texas Tea party blogger who had just attended a Tea Party meeting, Neil at Texas Liberal wrote about the Tea Party vision of America. Will English-only require a federal language bereaucracy? Will deportation of all undocumented person mean government raids in our homes? Does the Ten Commandments posted every public building mean that Christianity can’t thrive without government support? Will repeal of Healthcare Reform allow insurance companies to once again cancel policies of people who get sick?

TexasVox reviews the showdown over greenhouse gas permits at an EPA public meeting in Dallas on Friday where over 100 local residents showed up to support the EPA and the Clean Air Act, demanding action on climate change because Rick Perry and TCEQ refuse to follow federal law.

George at The Texas Blue had been taking some time off post-election… but the reaction to events in Arizona finally pissed him off enough to write. (And just in time for the new legislative session!)

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Letters From Texas published a powerful guest editorial from Jeff Rotkoff, on the issue of tea partiers’ claims that America is a tyrant state.

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Concealed Weapon Permit entries into the state Capitol.

What could go wrong?

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My annual toast

Happy birthday, Edward Blumingfield, wherever you are.

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