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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 85,805

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

DPS arrest 11 at the state Capitol

According to preliminary information, this afternoon at approximately 4:00 p.m., DPS troopers along with the Austin Police Department and the Travis County Sheriff’s Office responded to a group of individuals blocking a pedestrian crosswalk near the intersection of 11th Street and Congress Avenue in downtown Austin. The group was directed by law enforcement to remove themselves from the roadway/passageway, and upon refusal were subsequently arrested. Each of the 11 individuals arrested were charged with “obstructing highway or other passageway,” (a Class B misdemeanor), and were transported to Travis County Central Booking. No additional details are available at this time.


Lawmakers take action to improve nursing home care

AUSTIN -- State lawmakers took action Wednesday that could hold nursing homes more accountable for abusing residents. It involves recommendations from lawmakers who sit on the Texas Sunset Commission.

"It's sad that there were numerous elderly [people who] died in the care of nursing homes and it's taken this long," said Martinez.

Earlier this week, a KVUE Defenders investigation profiled her late father, Paul Trevino. Martinez says Trevino's former central Texas nursing home neglected him, including not giving him his medicine to treat his Parkinson's disease.

Among many changes, the commission approved a "three strikes rule," recommended by Senator Charles Schwertner, a Republican from Georgetown.

More at http://www.kvue.com/story/news/investigations/defenders/2014/08/13/lawmakers-take-action-to-improve-nursing-home-care/14028787/ .

Candidates for lieutenant governor agree to debate

The two main candidates vying to be the next Texas lieutenant governor agreed to debate one another, but haven’t settled on a date.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that state Sen. Dan Patrick, the Republican in the race, and state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, the Democrat, will face off at the studios of KLRU-TV in Austin on Sept. 27.

But as it turns out, only Patrick and the AP were planning to be in attendance.

Emmanuel Garcia, spokesman for the Van de Putte campaign, said his boss had never agreed to the Sept. 27 date.

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/candidates-for-lieutenant-governor-agree-to-debate/ng2gR/ .

[font color=green]I hope that Van de Putte and Patrick agree to about three debates because I think that Leticia will smack Patrick every time.[/font]

On the Issue of Sexual Assault, Wendy Davis Draws Clear Distinction with Her Opponent

Davis has been visiting cities across the state this week to speak about an issue where the contrast with her opponent couldn't be more clear: advocacy on behalf of sexual assault survivors.

In an ad that went up this week, Davis pointed to a case that came before the Supreme Court while Greg Abbott was a member. Abbott sided against the victim, who had been assaulted by a salesman whose position was only possible because the company who hired him failed to do a routine background check. If they had, they would have discovered he was a sexual predator on probation.

Davis' commitment to sexual assault survivors is clear. In 2011, she filed and passed a bill aimed at eliminating the backlog in rape kits - some of which had gone untested for over ten years. In Houston, a survivor whose rape kit went untested for 20 years, said:

Senator Wendy Davis listened to survivors, and then she fought for us. But when Greg Abbott had a chance to help, he sided against a rape survivor. Some of you may have seen the new advertisement about Abbott's ruling in that case. As voters, it is our job to hold our elected officials accountable. This ad empowers me and survivors like me with the information we need to make the right choice in November. I see the clear stakes in this election, and I know that my vote can hold Greg Abbott accountable.

Davis continued to work on improving the rape kit processes in Texas in the 2013 session through bipartisan legislation that secured funding to allow the testing of backlogged rape kits to continue. She also passed a law to ensure that survivors of sexual assault can no longer be denied treatment at certain hospitals, which had been the practice prior to her legislation. Davis also expanded her work on rape kits to include a law that notifies survivors when the evidence that is collected from their assaults moves in the prosecutorial process.

More at http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/15569/on-the-issue-of-sexual-assault-wendy-davis-draws-clear-distinction-with-her-opponent .

5 Tips for Rick Perry if He Insists on a 2016 Run

[font color=green]This is not personal advice from me; however, I thought I would post it to see if Perry makes any of the suggested changes.[/font]

Image by Monica Fuentes
Perry without his hair just feels wrong.

Fish swim and birds fly and politicians run for political office - these truths are pretty self-evident. But it still comes as a faint shock that Gov. Rick Perry popped up in Iowa this week lambasting President Obama. He's been sharing his views on troops in Iraq, he's been spouting off opinions on Israel. He is sending the National Guard to the border to deal with the "terrorists" (aka the kids that have been finding the border patrol and turning themselves in for months.) In short, he has been doing and saying all the things one traditionally does and says when one is planning to make another run for the White House.

We've been pondering all this and we have to say that if it must happen again, we have a few suggestions for the guy with the best hair in politics as he gears up (somehow, despite all good sense and with a very short memory) to most likely throw his hat in the presidential ring once more.

5. Bring back the cowboy boots. As the governor of the great state of Texas, Perry always wore fancy boots, because that's what the governor of the Lone Star State does. But Perry recently ditched the boots, at about the same time he started sporting his heavy black-framed "smart guy" glasses. A change in footwear probably wouldn't be that big a deal in, let's say, California, but this is Texas and we do note these things. Perry's decision to stop wearing cowboy boots made actual news around these parts. His bootmaker even offered to figure out a way to make his boots so that he wouldn't hurt his back (the official reason he has switched to more "metrosexual" footwear according to the Austin American Statesman.) But it's not like the rest of the country is going to forget he's from Texas because he got rid of the boots. We strongly advise bringing them back, because if he must do this again, he ought to be himself and potentially embarrass Texas while wearing proper Texan footwear.

4. Stop flirting with other states. Perry may surprise us all and snap out of that presidential thrall long enough to opt out of running. If he does he might face a certain awkwardness around here. See, Perry, in the middle of all his politicking in California announced that he's such a big fan of the state he's thinking of retiring there. Come on dude. Trying to get states with a ton of electoral votes to consider liking you in an election-esque way is one thing, but doing it by saying you plan on ditching the state you're currently at the helm of just comes off as flaky at best and slutty at worst. Plus, someone might call his bluff and then he'll have to actually move to California.

The countdown continues at http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2014/08/5_tips_for_rick_perry_if_he_insists_on_a_2016_run.php .

EXCLUSIVE: Texas anti-gay leader Jonathan Saenz’s ex-wife left him for another woman

Mere months before Jonathan Saenz became president of the anti-gay group Texas Values, his wife left him for another woman, according to Hays County district court records obtained by Lone Star Q.

The revelation could help explain Saenz’s seemingly abrupt transformation from socially conservative lobbyist to homophobic firebrand.

Saenz, a devout Catholic, has been a right-wing operative in Texas for many years — working on abortion and religious liberty cases as a staff attorney for the Plano-based Liberty Legal Institute as far back as 2005.

However, it wasn’t until recently that Saenz emerged as one of the state’s best-known — and most extreme — anti-LGBT voices.

More at http://www.lonestarq.com/texas-values-president-jonathan-saenz-anti-gay-activism-become-personal/ .

[font color=green]My favorite remark in the comments section: "HE TURNED HIS WIFE INTO A LESBIAN!!!!!"[/font]

In lawsuit against Texas law, judge explores how far is too far to travel for an abortion

Final arguments over new abortion restrictions that would close all but six of the state’s 20 remaining abortion facilities begins at 10 am in federal court.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel is likely to decide the fate of the law before it is set to go into effect Sept. 1. Both sides – the state and abortion providers – are likely to appeal his decision if they lose.

Yeakel requested that the closing arguments focus on the evidence at the center of the case rather than “emotional” issues.

The trial is the second challenge of a sweeping law passed last year that placed new restrictions on abortion providers, which have forced 20 clinics to close since July 2013. In addition to the facilities requirements, the law bans abortion after 20 weeks, limits the use of abortion pills and requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

More at http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2014/08/closing-arguments-heard-today-over-latest-abortion-restrictions.html/ .

Behind the Scenes at a Texas Pro-Life Meeting

Almost five minutes of audio, posted in full below, obtained by Naral Pro-Choice Texas and Progress Texas, shows the tactics Texas anti-abortion activists are using in order to exploit recent court decisions -- like McCullen v. Coakley, which outlawed buffer zones around health clinics that provide abortions -- and prevent abortions.

The audio was recorded during an August 4, 2014 training session hosted at the State Capitol by anti-abortion groups. It outlines the techniques used by the groups to track abortion providers and women seeking abortions, keep women who arrive at clinics from actually going inside.

"You track license plates," Karen Garnett of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas says on the tape, "the license plates that are coming into any abortion facility. We have a very sophisticated spreadsheet."

This allows the groups to track whether or not a woman returns after being turned away by sidewalk protesters -- or, as they insist on calling themselves, counselors -- and to "identify if you've got a new abortionist," Garnett says. Later in the tape, Abby Johnson of Live Action describes how she dug through tax appraisal records to figure out the potential locations of a new Ambulatory Surgical Center -- something all abortion providing facilities will be required to be as of September 1 -- in Austin.

More at http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2014/08/behind_the_scenes_at_texas_alliance_for_life_meeting.php .

Dallas Cowboy Orlando Scandrick Suspended Four Games for Taking Crappy Ecstasy

News reports this morning indicate that one of the Cowboys' few defensive bright spots from last season, cornerback Orlando Scandrick, has been suspended for the first four games of the 2014 regular season for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing substance abuse policy. Scandrick has already lost his appeal in the matter, so it looks like the Cowboys will be stuck with whatever the mercurial Mo Claiborne can give the on the outside for the first quarter of the season.

The details of Scandrick's indiscretion -- if his agent and ESPN's Ed Werder are to be believed -- are pretty mundane. While on vacation in Mexico with an ex-girlfriend, Scandrick, or someone in his party, mixed a drug -- reported by Werder to be MDMA -- purchased from a street vendor into a cocktail he was drinking.

According to reporting by Fox Sport's Jay Glazer, Scandrick received a harsher punishment than a typical NFL MDMA user. MDMA, by itself, is classified as a drug of abuse, like marijuana, for which first-time positive tests result in enrollment in the league's substance abuse program rather than a suspension. But Molly is often combined with an amphetamine to form the less-pure ecstasy, something Glazer says happened in Scandrick's case. Amphetamines are considered a performance enhancing substance according to the policy.

So, to recap: No games for Molly. Four games for Molly's shitty cousin E. A year for weed, and two games for punching your soon-to-be fiance in the head until she is unconscious before dragging her out of an Atlantic City casino's elevator by her hair.

More at http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2014/08/orlando_scandrick_suspended_four_games_for_molly_the_nfls_disciplinary_system_is_broken.php .

Abbott on the Attack

I was inclined to think that the new Rasmussen poll showing Greg Abbott with a mere 8-point lead against Wendy Davis was an outlier until yesterday, when the campaign issued a statement dinging her as "out-of-touch with Texans" after the Houston Chronicle reported that in 2000, as a member of Fort Worth City Council, she had voted in favor of a resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty pending further study and possible changes. Today, Davis says that she supports capital punishment, and the Abbott campaign is suggesting that her previous support for the moratorium gives the lie to that. Her professed change of heart, the statement argues, is just a matter of political expediency, given that a whopping majority of Texans support the death penalty. Capital punishment is one of the relatively few policy areas where Texan public opinion is markedly more conservative than national attitudes. About three-quarters of Texans support the death penalty, as do about 60% of Texas Democrats, and, strikingly, 60% of African-Americans, a result that Rodger Jones puzzled over in the Dallas Morning News earlier this year.

This is both silly and slightly sinister on Abbott's part. Silly because--although it's not entirely clear to me whether Davis stands accused of opposing capital punishment or of flip-flopping or both--the evidence is flimsy. The resolution called for Texas's use of the death penalty to be examined, not abolished. (Also worth noting: it didn't pass, and Fort Worth City Council resolutions have no binding power in the Lege, so the whole thing posed no real risk to the provision of justice.)

More significantly, this was fourteen years ago. The intervening years have been eventful and her campaign spokesman's response this week--that her misgivings about the death penalty had been resolved--is completely plausible. Texas has passed a number of reforms since 2000--bipartisan reforms, signed by Rick Perry--that relate to the concerns at hand in the Fort Worth City Council meeting. The first that came to my mind is that in 2005, Texas authorized life without parole as a punishment for capital murder. That was a major reform that resulted in an immediate reduction in the number of death sentences handed down each year, as juries were spared the heavy choice of sending a fellow human being to the execution chamber or risk putting a murderer back on the streets. Other reforms include the provision of state funds for indigent defense and for DNA testing that has led to dozens of exonerations, including for people wrongly convicted of murder. Those are a couple of reasons why Perry got a surprisingly high grade for criminal justice on the report card we issued this summer. If Davis had qualms about the death penalty in 2000 and has come to the terms with the practice today, that's evidence of critical thinking, not flip-flopping.

And that's why Abbott's attack has a slightly sinister dimension, too. Is he the thought police now? Are we all okay with thought policing? Because that's what this is. He's criticizing Davis for a vote she cast fourteen years ago in favor of a nonbinding resolution calling for further study of a fairly serious issue. It's already the case that elected officials in both parties are far too often skittish about questioning the party line because they're afraid of the political fallout. The blame for that, to be clear, falls squarely on them. But it's hardly in the public interest to encourage our politicians to act like chickens.

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