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

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After Dewhurst loss, it seems Perry might have problems in 2014

AAS 7/31/12
After Dewhurst loss, it seems Perry might have problems in 2014

HOUSTON — Well, this could be different. Texas government now is led by a couple of losers whose undefeated streaks at the ballot box have come to ugly ends.

Gov. Rick Perry's White House dream died in Iowa and New Hampshire. And Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst's once-promising path to the U.S. Senate was dead-ended Tuesday by his own party in his own state. Ouch. That could leave a mark.

So, barring unexpected resignations, Perry and Dewhurst, who both dearly wanted to be in Washington, will be in Austin when the Legislature convenes in January.

Dewhurst's GOP runoff loss to rookie candidate Rafael Edward Cruz (you know him as Ted Cruz, if you know him at all) also was a significant setback for Perry, who backed Dewhurst and effectively loaned him his campaign team.

The pain for Dewhurst was multiplied by the $24.5 million of his own money he poured into the race.

We can only hope that this is Perry's last term as our governor. And as for Dewhurst/Cruz - a pox on both their houses!

Perry says no to exchanges, Medicaid expansion

Postcards from the Lege blog AAS 7/9/12

Perry says no to exchanges, Medicaid expansion

Gov. Rick Perry said today that he would not set up a state-run health insurance exchange or expand Medicaid, two key provisions in President Obama’s health care plan.

Emily Ramshaw of The Texas Tribune reported this morning that Perry would be sending a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to advise her of Texas’ position.

“I stand proudly with the growing chorus of governors who reject the Obamacare power grab,” Perry said in a statement. “Neither a ‘state’ exchange nor the expansion of Medicaid under this program would result in better ‘patient protection’ or in more ‘affordable care.’ They would only make Texas a mere appendage of the federal government when it comes to health care.”

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month that the federal health insurance overhaul was constitutional, the justices also said that states could not be punished for declining to expand Medicaid to cover more people.

Oh you knew that little ricky wasn't going to miss the crazy train. Once bobby jindal jumped on board, little ricky had to buy in too.

And Texas with the worst health care coverage in the country will let the situation just get worse.

The Curious Case of the Poisoned Cows

Wired Magazine - Science Blog 6/29/12

The Curious Case of the Poisoned Cows

On a bright morning in early June, a Texas rancher named Jerry Abel turned his small herd of cattle out to graze. The 18 cows moved hungrily into that field of fresh grass. Within a few hours, only three were still alive.

Abel’s 80 acre ranch sits just a little east of Austin and the story was strange enough that on Sunday a local CBS affiliate picked it up. “There was nothing you could do,” Abel told KEYE about his desperate efforts to save the animals. “Obviously, they were dying.”

The television reporter apparently saw the evil hand of science at work in the episode, at least that was definitely the message in the story: “Genetically modified grass linked to cattle deaths.“ Alternatively, she just didn’t do her homework because the grass in question – Tifton 85 - is not a GM product. It’s a decades old hybrid grass developed by Georgia agricultural scientists as a high-protein, easily digestible forage.

The CBS story was immediately circulated – and by circulated, I mean embraced – by anti-GM activists and bloggers. I wrote a summary of this for the Knight Science Journalism Tracker earlier this week which detailed both the activist enthusiasm for the story (one suggested that GM grass was practically producing chemical warfare agents) and the rapid corrective response from science writers who knew what “hybrid” actually meant. The you-got-this-wrong message was so strong that CBS News corrected the story within a day.

Heat and drought stress are very, very bad for plants.

Texans Reacts to Health Care Ruling

Texas Tribune 6/28/12

Texans Reacts to Health Care Ruling


State Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston: "I am extremely thankful that the U.S. Supreme Court did the right thing and upheld the Affordable Care Act. While not perfect, this law was passed overwhelmingly by both chambers of Congress after months of deliberation and was supported by virtually every major health organization in the nation. It is the greatest step toward universal access to affordable health care since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid, and it will help millions of uninsured Americans receive the care they need and deserve. People may disagree on the law, but one fact is indisputable - many people have and will benefit from the Affordable Care Act."

State Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston: “I am extremely proud that the PPACA has been given the go ahead by the Justices. This legislation is not only long overdue, but Republicans need to realize now that this is a critical step to ensure Americans can continue working, continue goingto school, and continue making America and Texas prosperous. Without basic healthcare, the livelihood of many is in jeopardy.”

Lance Armstrong Foundation President and CEO Doug Ulman: “Today, cancer survivors throughout the U.S. are celebrating. The Supreme Court ruling means they will retain protection from insurance discrimination for pre-existing conditions. Parents of young cancer survivors will continue covering their kids on their insurance until they are 26. Life-saving preventive services, like breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings, will be covered with no co-pays or deductibles. The Affordable Care Act’s life-saving measures, so critical to cancer survivors and their families, will be preserved and we are enormously relieved that justice has prevailed.”

Texas Democratic Party spokeswoman Rebecca Acuña: “Today’s Supreme Court decision is a victory for Texans. The health care law is the only lifeline for many Texans and Americans who had nowhere to turn when they got sick. Women can celebrate that their gender is no longer considered a pre-existing condition. Texans can have the peace of mind that they won’t be shoved off their policies when they need it most. Republicans like Rick Perry railed against the health care law but never offered a plan that would help save lives. Instead Texas Republicans put government between a woman and her doctor and ended preventive care for thousands of Texas women."

I only picked up the good ones or the Democratic side.

The Rs can go F themselves. Haters!

Early Vote vs. Election Day Primary Turnout

Nifty little interactive map at the Texas Trib. You can filter for the differences in voting patterns between Ds and Rs and also by county. With this kind of turn out for Rs, I can't see them cutting back early voting in Texas.

Texas Tribune 6/13/12
Interactive: Early Vote vs. Election Day Primary Turnout

The state's big urban counties were split between early and election day voters. But there were wide differences across the state. These interactive maps show where Texas voters tended to show up early and where they waited until May 29. Overall, Democrats were more likely to vote early; 51.6 percent cast their ballots during early voting. Most Republicans — 52 percent — waited until election day to vote.

Bexar, El Paso, Collin, Hidalgo, Fort Bend and Denton were the biggest counties where early voters made up more than half of the combined primary electorate. But in some of the biggest counties in the state — Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Travis — the majority of voters waited for May 29 to cast their votes.

Texas prepares for court over voter ID law

San Antonio News Express 6/10/12
Texas prepares for court over voter ID law

WASHINGTON — Texas is preparing for a legal showdown next month in federal court over a new voter photo ID law passed by the Legislature.

The law was blocked by the Justice Department over claims that it discriminates against minority voters.

“We objected to a photo ID requirement in Texas because it would have had a disproportionate impact on Hispanic voters,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder explained to a conference of black clergy in a speech about the continued need of protections under the Voting Rights Act.

Despite legal maneuvering by Texas and Justice Department lawyers, a three-judge U.S. District Court panel has cleared the docket for a July 9 trial. And it remains questionable whether the new law can be implemented in Texas by the November general election.

I object as well. I'm right ight there with Eric Holder on this one. go DOJ!

Watch out for voter registration cancellations

Houston Chronicle 6/4/12

Watch out for voter registration cancellations

Walter Pinkston, a Friendswood retiree and faithful Harris County voter, got a letter in late March asking his family to confirm that he was dead - which he was not - and warning that he was about to be purged from Texas voter rolls.

Retired Houston Baptist University Professor Trilla Pando received a similar notice of her death from voter registration officials in 2010.

Even Sylvia Garcia, a former Harris County commissioner, got suspended - not because anyone thought she was dead - but because county officials questioned the validity of a P.O. Box the Houston native had used on her voting card for years.

More than 300,000 valid voters were notified they could be removed from Texas rolls from November 2008 to November 2010 - often because they were mistaken for someone else or failed to receive or respond to generic form letters, according to Houston Chronicle interviews and analysis of voter registration data.


"How can you suspend someone without notice? To me we should be actively engaging people - we should not be adding any barrier to vote," said Garcia, who works to boost voter participation of Hispanics nationwide as president of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

This is what republicans do when they're in charge - They purge the rolls of elgible voters - especially if they've been known to vote for Democrats.

GOP’s Rogers faces felony assault charge

The Burnet Bulletin 5/31/12

GOP’s Rogers faces felony assault charge

Johnnie B. Rogers, a member of the Texas Republican party’s executive committee from Burnet County, has been charged with third degree felony assault following an election night altercation with a reporter for the Burnet Bulletin.

Rogers turned himself in Friday morning at the Burnet County jail, where he was booked on the third degree felony and release on a $5,000 cash bond, set by Marble Falls Municipal Judge Cheryl Pounds.

Burnet Police Chief Paul Nelson explained that state law automatically classifies cases of assault involving a victim 65-years-old or more as felony crimes, punishable by 2-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. James Walker, the newspaper’s community editor, is 65.

What a thug! Oh wait, he's a Texas republican so of course he's a violent thug.

‘Exceptional’ drought nearly gone in Texas

AAS Salsa Blog 5/31/12

‘Exceptional’ drought nearly gone in Texas

The latest drought monitor released today shows less than 1 percent of Texas is in the worst form of drought while 97 percent is at least “abnormally dry.”

Drought conditions have been improving steadily statewide thanks to a wetter-than-normal winter (and in some parts of the state, the spring, too). On May 2, the National Weather Service declared La Niña, the Pacific Ocean-induced weather pattern that typically creates drier-than-normal winters and hotter-than-normal summer in Texas, officially over.

Thursday’s drought report, a snapshot of statewide conditions from Tuesday, is the first once since March 29, 2011, to show less than 1 percent of the state in exceptional drought. That report had zero percent. This also comes after a bruising 2011 drought that peaked with 87.99 percent of the state in exceptional drought in October and left the entire state in some form of drought from September to November.

I pray to all the rain/water gods & deities and mother nature that we continue to receive the life saving water we need to live.

And to all Texans out there - don't let this fool you. You still need to conserve and change your water wasting ways. This is only a temporary reprieve.

Community Comes to Aid of Jailed Texas Honor Student

Yahoo News 5/31/12

Community Comes to Aid of Jailed Texas Honor Student

A 17-year-old Texas honors student who was jailed for missing too much school because she had to work two jobs to support her siblings, refused to accept the more than $100,000 a website raised for her.

"We saw her trying to work and trying to go to school and trying to do all these things and then to have the judge put her in jail for missing school just seemed a little harsh," said Paul Dietzel, who helped raise the money for Diane Tran. HelpDianeTran.com is a project of the Louisiana Children's Education Alliance.

But Tran didn't want the money: "There's some other kid out there struggling more ... than me," she said.

The 11th-grader's story sparked national outrage last week after a Houston judge charged her with contempt and sent her to jail after 10 unexcused absences in a six-month period, which is the law in the state of Texas.

"If you let one of them run loose, what are you going to do with the rest of them?" Judge Lanny Moriarty told ABC News affiliate KHOU. "A little stay at the jail is not a death sentence," he said.

The good news is that the judge has reversed his decision to send her to jail!
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