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

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Rest in peace, Senator Mario Gallegos

AAS 10/16/12

State senator from Houston dies of liver disease

AUSTIN, Texas — State Sen. Mario Gallegos Jr., a long-serving Texas lawmaker and retired Houston firefighter, died Tuesday from liver disease at the age of 62.

Gallegos' political consultant, Harold Cook, released a statement saying the state senator passed away in a Houston hospital surrounded by his family.

"The Senator's family is enormously grateful for the outpouring of support, thoughts, and prayers expressed during the last few days, and respectfully requests media to continue respecting their privacy as they work through this difficult time," Cook said.

Gallegos was running against Republican R.W. Bray in the November general election. It's too late to remove his name from the ballot. If Gallegos wins, the governor will need to schedule a special election to replace him.

The staunch Democrat had represented Senate District 6 in Harris County since 1995, having served in the Texas House the previous four years. He developed a reputation for toughness in 2007 when he showed up in the Senate chamber shortly after a liver transplant to vote against a measure that would have required a photo ID in order to vote in Texas.

I admired him quite a bit when he came back to Austin to block photo ID during the 2007 legislative session. Against the advice of his doctors he traveled to Austin to be ready to hold the block on the bill. He was that kind of man.

Rest in peace, Senator Gallegos.

Here's a Texas troll I'm not going to feel sorry was exposed

Gawker 10/12/12

Unmasking Reddit’s Violentacrez, The Biggest Troll on the Web

Last Wednesday afternoon I called Michael Brutsch. He was at the office of the Texas financial services company where he works as a programmer and he was having a bad day. I had just told him, on Gchat, that I had uncovered his identity as the notorious internet troll Violentacrez (pronounced Violent-Acres).

"It's amazing how much you can sweat in a 60 degree office," he said with a nervous laugh.

Judging from his internet footprint, Brutsch, 49, has a lot to sweat over. If you are capable of being offended, Brutsch has almost certainly done something that would offend you, then did his best to rub your face in it. His speciality is distributing images of scantily-clad underage girls, but as Violentacrez he also issued an unending fountain of racism, porn, gore, misogyny, incest, and exotic abominations yet unnamed, all on the sprawling online community Reddit. At the time I called Brutsch, his latest project was moderating a new section of Reddit where users posted covert photos they had taken of women in public, usually close-ups of their asses or breasts, for a voyeuristic sexual thrill. It was called "Creepshots." Now Brutsch was the one feeling exposed and it didn't suit him very well.

But Michael Brutsch is more than a monster. Online, Violentacrez has been one of Reddit's most reviled characters but also one of its most beloved users. The self-described "creepy uncle of Reddit" has played a little-known but crucial role in Reddit's development into the online juggernaut it is today. In real life, Brutsch is a military father and cat-lover. He lives with his wife in the Dallas suburb of Arlington, Texas. There are many sides to Violentacrez, and now that I had Michael Brutsch on the phone I hoped to find out where the troll ended and the real person began.

Dems expect to chip away at GOP House

Houston Chronicle 10/7/12

Dems expect to chip away at GOP House

AUSTIN - Democrats are virtually guaranteed to snatch back some legislative seats they lost in the 2010 election bloodbath, but Texas Republicans will retain a stranglehold on the state House after the November election.

The Democrats' horrendous election showing two years ago left them with only 49 seats in the 150-member state House. A South Texas Democrat changed parties last year to create a 102-48 GOP super majority.

Texas political experts expect Democrats will gain at least seven House seats.

"If the Democrats don't get to 55 seats or more, the party has committed malpractice," said GOP campaign consultant Eric Bearse.

Most of the competitive legislative races feature state House races. The lone state Senate seat in play involves a Fort Worth area district with Democratic incumbent Sen. Wendy Davis battling Republican state Rep. Mark Shelton. The GOP holds 19 of the Senate's 31 seats.

No where to go but up. I certainly hope that this is rock bottom for the Dems and we don't want to hit the floor again.

Daryl Hannah arrested in Texas protesting pipeline

Yahoo News 10/5/12

Daryl Hannah arrested in Texas protesting pipeline

HOUSTON (AP) — Actress Daryl Hannah of "Splash" fame was arrested in northeast Texas on Thursday, along with a 78-year-old landowner as the pair protested an oil pipeline designed to bring crude from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

"They've arrested Daryl Hannah and a rural Texas great-grandmother," said Paul Bassis, Hannah's manager.

Hannah and landowner Eleanor Fairchild were standing in front of heavy equipment in an attempt to halt construction of the Keystone XL pipeline on Fairchild's farm in Winnsboro, a town about 100 miles east of Dallas. They were arrested for criminal trespassing and taken to the Wood County Jail, Bassis said. Hannah also faces a charge of resisting arrest, according to jail records.

Hannah has long opposed TransCanada's construction of the $7 billion pipeline, which is designed to transport heavy tar-sands crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to Texas' Gulf Coast refineries.

Daryl Hannah you rock! Daryl!!

State settles lawsuit on dead voter purge

AAS 10/3/12

State settles lawsuit on dead voter purge

Texas voters can no longer be removed from voting rolls based on incomplete government records that indicate they may be dead, according to a legal settlement reached Wednesday afternoon.

The settlement ends a lawsuit by four living voters who were told that their voter registrations would be canceled if they did not prove within 30 days that they are alive.

The legal fight revolved around rules, recently adopted by Secretary of State Hope Andrade, that directed county voting registrars to send letters asking about 80,000 voters to verify that they are alive. About 68,000 of the letters, however, were based on what Andrade called “weak matches” — targeting voters whose birth date and last four digits of their Social Security number match federal death records, or those whose complete Social Security number and birth date match death records, but whose names did not.

Imagine that! A republican SoS agreeing that weak matches of dead people's names is not a good rule. Kudos to lawyer David Richards and his 4 clients who took on the State and won!

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