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Hometown: Austin, TX
Home country: U.S.
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 18,063

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South Texas District Suspends Sports to Keep Afloat

Texas Tribune 1/26/12

South Texas District Suspends Sports to Keep Afloat

PREMONT — A plan to save a school district has come down to rows of yellow Post-it notes.

Dozens dot a wall in Premont Independent School District Superintendent Ernest Singleton's office, covering white poster boards labeled with the state benchmarks — 11 in total — that his district must meet in order to remain open next year. Each note points to a step toward the corresponding goal. Scrawled on one are two words that have brought national attention to the tiny 570-student school district in South Texas: "suspend sports."

Singleton came to Premont ISD in June. He received a letter from the Texas Education Agency in July saying that after years of financial disarray and lagging academic performance, the district would lose its accreditationand be absorbed into a neighboring district.

After the initial shock subsided — despite the district’s shabby record, Mr. Singleton said he did not expect closure so quickly — he took his case to Austin and asked for more time to turn it around. In November, Premont residents voted overwhelmingly for a 13-cent property tax hike to support the schools. A month later, the agency agreed to delay its decision by a year, setting out the stringent demands related to financial and academic improvement that now line the superintendent’s office.

The reprieve was hard-won. If Premont ISD fails this time around, there will be no appeal. With those stakes in mind, Mr. Singleton turned to a budget that he had already scrubbed bare and looked for more ways to save. The $150,000 that the district would spend during the next year on spring and fall sports, including football, stared him in the face.

Football takes a holiday in Texas. Freaking shocking. While it is sad that these kids will not have the same opportunities to compete in sports as other kids in districts nearby, at least they won't be doing a daily commute 20 or so miles to get to school. I could see that being much, much worse. And some families just making the decision not to send their kids to school.

This one belongs on the republican controlled legislature which has slowly been starving school budgets.

State rep asks Perry to pay back state for travel expenses

Postcards from the Lege blog 1/23/12

State rep asks Perry to pay back state for travel expenses

State Rep. Jessica Farrar asked Gov. Rick Perry today to pay the state back for the travel expenses he incurred during his presidential run.

Although his campaign pays for Perry’s travel, the state has picked up the tab for the travels of Perry’s security detail.

Farrar, D-Houston, sent a letter requesting that Perry write a check to the Texas Comptroller’s Office for $2,692,376, plus any other expenses related to his out-of-state campaign activity. Here’s the letter.

“As a fiscal conservative, I believe government is supposed to be a wise steward of tax dollars,” Farrar said in her letter. “I believe that if the government must spend money, it should be for essential public services, like education, infrastructure, health services for the young and elderly, and disaster relief. I believe that unnecessary government spending is not just morally wrong, it is criminal.”

Way to go Representative Farrar! That's speaking out for the people of Texas!

Rep. Farrar!

Greg Abbott Sues Feds to Get Voter ID Implemented

Texas Tribune 1/23/12

Greg Abbott Sues Feds to Get Voter ID Implemented

The Texas attorney general’s office today filed suit against U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice to have the state’s controversial voter ID law implemented without further delay.

The law, Senate Bill 14 by state Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, was scheduled to take effect Jan. 1. It requires that voters show a picture ID before casting a ballot. It has been tied up at the Justice Department since July. Under Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act, the department reserves the right to review laws that affect voter participation before they are enacted.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that voter identification laws are constitutional,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said in a prepared statement. “Texas should be allowed the same authority other states have to protect the integrity of elections. To fast-track that authority, Texas is taking legal action in a D.C. court seeking approval of its voter identification law.”

Abbott's office said that if the department grants the state's request for preclearance, it would dismiss the suit.

The lawsuit is the latest action by the state in its months-long face-off with the federal government, which has refused to render a decision on whether the bill will disenfranchise minority and low-income voters. Opponents of the measure allege those voters don’t have easy access to a photo ID.

The Texas a-hole of the day award goes to ---- Greg Abbott!

Stick a fork in Rick Perry - He's done

Postcards From the Lege blog 1/19/12
Perry will end presidential bid and endorse Gingrich

Gov. Rick Perry will end his presidential campaign today, the American-Statesman has confirmed from two Perry sources. He will endorse former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Perry has called a press conference for 11 a.m. Eastern time to announce his decision.

After poor finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, polls have shown Perry heading for another poor finish in the South Carolina primary on Saturday. Dropping out now allows him to avoid that embarrassment and skip tonight’s GOP debate.

An NBC/Marist poll conducted in South Carolina on Monday and Tuesday showed Perry in fifth place with support from just 4 percent of respondents.

Perry has been facing calls to drop out so that conservatives who are unhappy with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney could rally behind one candidate.

SOPA Author Lamar Smith (R-TX) Breaks Copyright Law on His Own Website

Burnt Orange Report 1/18/12

SOPA Author Lamar Smith (R-TX) Breaks Copyright Law on His Own Website

Texas Congressman Lamar Smith is clearly a man of principle. He authored the Stop Online Piracy Act because he believes that copyright violators must be punished, whether they're individual citizens or websites that have copyrighted content or link to such content.

Vice journalist Jamie Taete traced that background image to photographer DJ Schulte. Taete asked Schulte if he had given Smith permission to use the image, and Schulte responded that he had never done so.

Apparently the SOPA author is not a man of principle after all. According to SOPA, legal action must be taken against its own author.

"I do not see anywhere on the screen capture that you have provided that the image was attributed to the source (me)," DJ Schulte said. So my conclusion would be that Lamar Smith's organization did improperly use my image. So according to the SOPA bill, should it pass, maybe I could petition the court to take action against www.texansforlamarsmith.com."

Note: Smith and his staff have quickly changed the background image obviously after hearing/seeing the original report from Jamie Taete. But it just goes to show you how little this idiot knows about how easy it is to get caught in a stupid game like this. All Smith knows is that the big money corporations want this and Smith is willing to deliver.

What a huge asshole he is!

Things That Are Less Steep Than Rick Perry's Drop In The Polls:

Talking Points Memo 1/16/12
Things That Are Less Steep Than Rick Perry's Drop In The Polls:

Rick Perry's campaign has had a lot of ups and downs. And lately, the downs are coming fast. The red line in this slideshow represents Perry's trajectory in South Carolina since September 22. Here are other things less steep -- and sometimes as steep as Rick Perry's decline in the polls.

If, as the Mayans predicted, 2012 really is the end of the world, Rick Perry is really going out in a blaze of glory.

Just for a good laugh at Goodhair's expense!

Texas Fracking Disclosures to Include Water Totals

Texas Tribune 1/16/12

Texas Fracking Disclosures to Include Water Totals

Starting Feb. 1, drilling operators in Texas will have to report many of the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing. Environmentalists and landowners are looking forward to learning what acids, hydroxides and other materials have gone into a given well.

But a less-publicized part of the regulation is what some water experts are most interested in: the mandatory disclosure of the amount of water needed to “frack” each well. Experts call this an invaluable tool as they evaluate how fracking affects water supplies in the drought-prone state.

Hydraulic fracturing involves shooting water, sand and additives deep into the earth to retrieve oil or gas. Under the new rule, Texans will be able to check a website, fracfocus.org, to view the chemical and water disclosures.

“It’s a huge step forward from where we were,” Amy Hardberger, an Environmental Defense Fund lawyer, said of the water-reporting rule.

One step in the right direction.

Perry gets a kick in the pants from VA Judge on ballot appeal

AAS 1/13/12
Judge in Va. rejects GOP primary ballot appeal

U.S. District Judge John Gibney ruled Friday that the candidates should have challenged Virginia's primary qualifying rules earlier. Gibney said they knew the rules months ago.

Perry sued last month after failing to submit enough signatures to get on the ballot. Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman also failed to qualify and later joined Perry's lawsuit. They asked Gibney to declare Virginia's law unconstitutional and add their names to the March 6 ballot.

Oh the week Perry is having! Can't help but laugh at his expense.

Perry Gets the Names of Three Agencies He'd Cut Wrong Again

Talking Points Memo 1/13/12

Perry Remembers Three Agencies He'd Cut... But Includes The Wrong One!

In a moment that harkened back to his infamous mental lapse during a November debate, Rick Perry blundered once again when an interviewer asked which federal departments he would abolish.

““Three right off the bat, you know, commerce, interior and energy are three that you think,” said Perry in an interview this morning with Bill Edwards on WTKS Radio in Savannah, GA.

The problem: he replaced the Department of Education, one of the most frequent targets of his criticism, with the Department of Interior.

What a maroon!

We’re No. 1: Texas leads states in global warming emissions

Texas Climate News 1/12/12

We’re No. 1: Texas leads states in global warming emissions

It should surprise no one who follows climate issues at all closely that new data released by federal officials on Wednesday showed Texas far surpasses other states in industrial emissions of global warming gases.

Earlier estimates had already put Texas at the top of state rankings for those emissions, which largely flow from the state’s many electric power plants, oil refineries and petrochemical facilities.

The data released this week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, reflecting industry-reported emissions during 2010, were far more detailed, however, and easily accessible and sortable on an interactive map that the EPA placed online.

Texas had 673 facilities (about a tenth of the national total) that reported emitting a total of 294 million metric tons (MMT) of greenhouse gases (mainly carbon dioxide) in 2010, according to the EPA. Pennsylvania ranked second, with 129 MMT, and Florida third, with 125 MMT.

PA was second but we still spew twice as much CO2 as they do. We are the worst polluting state in the nation.

Not that the republican leaders of our state give a crap. They'll all eventually move somewhere else when they have finished running the state further into the ground.
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