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

Journal Archives

Rush Limbaugh Compares Rick Perry To Fidel Castro

Huffington Post 1/11/12
Rush Limbaugh Compares Rick Perry To Fidel Castro

Rush Limbaugh lashed out at Rick Perry on Wednesday, comparing the Republican presidential candidate to Fidel Castro for his attacks on Mitt Romney.

Limbaugh has been aghast at the attempts by many GOP hopefuls to tarnish Romney's tenure at Bain Capital, the company he helped found. On Wednesday, he played a clip of Perry strongly criticizing Romney.

After hearing Perry attack so-called "vulture capitalism" and hit Romney for presiding over layoffs at companies Bain helped buy out, Limbaugh was incensed.

"That is indefensible!" he fumed. "It's absurd...this is the language of leftists! This is the way Fidel Castro thinks, or says he thinks."

Keep on attacking each other!!!

Cool first post with new DU editor. I likes it!

Texas can enforce sonogram law while case proceeds, federal court says

Postcards from the Lege AAS 1/10/12

Texas can enforce sonogram law while case proceeds, federal court says

Texas can enforce a new law requiring doctors to show sonograms to women seeking abortions, a federal appeals court ruled today.

From The Associated Press:
A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks’ temporary order against enforcing the law, saying Sparks was incorrect to rule that doctors had a substantial chance of winning their case.

Sparks ruled in Austin in August that several provisions of the state law violated the free-speech rights of doctors who perform abortions by making them show and describe the images and describe the fetal heartbeat — all of which doctors have said is not necessary for good treatment.

The appeals court cited a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that “upheld an informed-consent statute over precisely the same ‘compelled speech’ challenges made” in the current Texas case.

Texas Keeps Close Eye on Mexico's Presidential Race

Texas Tribune 1/8/12

Texas Keeps Close Eye on Mexico's Presidential Race

Texas economists are confident that the financial upheavals long associated with Mexican elections are a thing of the past. Still, they are closely watching what this summer's presidential contest means for the peso and, in turn, Texas' symbiotic business ties to Mexico.

Texas politicians are paying close attention, too — to whether the trade, security and energy policies of President Felipe Calderón’s successor will affect illegal immigration or the state’s robust trade relationship with Mexico.

Three Texas customs districts, Laredo,El Paso and Houston, rank among Mexico’s top four trading partners. Collectively, they accounted for roughly $235 billion in trade between Texas and Mexico from January to September 2011, according to United States Census data analyzed by WorldCity, which tracks global trade patterns. The figures show an increase over 2010 despite the American recession and unprecedented violence in Mexico because of warring drug cartels.

Is gun running trade legitimately figured into this robust relationship?

I just hope that who ever wins can get a hold of the drug cartels and save Mexico.

A Viewer’s Guide to the Supreme Court Case

Texas Redistricting blog 1/9/12

A Viewer’s Guide to the Supreme Court Case

The start of a “January to remember” kicks off Monday afternoon at 1 p.m. (ET) with arguments in the Supreme Court about the interim legislative and congressional maps drawn by the San Antonio panel.

Here’s a preview of the case:

What will the Supreme Court decide?

There are three interlinked core issues.

The first, and most basic issue, is whether the San Antonio panel abused its discretion in drawing interim maps that did not hew closely enough to the maps adopted by the Texas Legislature.

Then, if the Supreme Court concludes that was the case, the court will have to explain to the San Antonio panel what it needs to do to fix the maps – or how it should draw new ones.

Related to that, the Supreme Court will need to decide whether there is enough time to fix any problems that it finds in the interim maps or whether it should just order the elections to go forward on the state’s maps (as the state argues) or the court-drawn interim maps.

Mixed in with those more pedestrian issues is the lurking and potentially explosive issue of whether the preclearance process under section 5 continues to be constitutionally viable nearly 50 years after enactment of the Voting Rights Act.

Great explanation of the case today before SCOTUS. Lots more at the link above. Michael Li breaks it down for us once again.

May the force be with us!

'This is a get-rich deal,' consultant says of Perry

On why Perry is running for President and why he's still in the race. Money, money, money and more money....

Houston Chronicle 1/6/12

Kilday Hart: 'This is a get-rich deal,' consultant says of Perry

Back in July, when Gov. Rick Perry was evaluating a presidential race, the Chronicle's Richard Dunham interviewed an Austin political consultant whose words now seem prescient.

"Anytime people are telling you that you're the salvation of the country … it's the high water mark," said lobbyist and consultant Bill Miller. "Before you get in, it's a perfect moment. Enjoy it, because it's fleeting."

Now that Perry's dignity has been shredded by the debate circuit and the Iowa Caucuses, it's worth exploring the wise warning. Miller left unsaid, but heavily implied, that advisers advocating a presidential campaign might have hidden agendas. Like their own personal fortunes.

When Perry announced he would continue his campaign in South Carolina, I doubt there was a George Christian in the room. Instead, the biggest factor in the decision was likely the $3 million to $4 million left in the $17 million Perry has raised (at least that's what Karl Rove estimated in a Wall Street Journal column Thursday). Somewhere, there's a consultant willing to advocate continuing the campaign - at least, until the money's all spent.

From the moment he began thinking about running for president, Gov. Rick Perry's decision-making scales have been heavily skewed by enormous stacks of cash.

on Perry and his whole money grubbing staff!

What's Going on with Voter ID in Texas?

Burnt Orange Report 1/5/12

What's Going on with Voter ID in Texas?

Last Sunday, New Year's Day, was the day that Texas' new photo voter ID law (SB 100) was supposed to go into effect.
It didn't.

Instead, Texas is still waiting to see whether the Justice Department signs off on the new law - a required step known as 'preclearance.'

That's a step that Texas and 16 other (mostly southern) states, or parts of states, have to go through under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act before any new voting law goes into effect because of their history of discriminating against minority groups.

But Texans may have gotten a preview of what's coming with the DOJ's eve of Christmas Eve rejection of a very similar voter ID law in South Carolina on the basis that the law had a disproportionate impact on African-Americans.

And when he was in Austin just a few days before that, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder delivered a much heralded speech at the LBJ Library on voting rights in which he expressed serious concerns about efforts to erode the franchise around the country:

Despite our nation's long tradition of extending voting rights - to non-property owners and women, to people of color and Native Americans, and to younger Americans - today, a growing number of our fellow citizens are worried about the same disparities, divisions, and problems that - nearly five decades ago - LBJ devoted his Presidency to addressing. In my travels across this country, I've heard a consistent drumbeat of concern from many Americans, who - often for the first time in their lives - now have reason to believe that we are failing to live up to one of our nation's most noble, and essential, ideals.

As Congressman John Lewis described it, in a speech on the House floor this summer, the voting rights that he worked throughout his life - and nearly gave his life - to ensure are, "under attack... [by] a deliberate and systematic attempt to prevent millions of elderly voters, young voters, students, [and] minority and low-income voters from exercising their constitutional right to engage in the democratic process."Not only was he referring to the all-too-common deceptive practices we've been fighting for years. He was echoing more recent concerns about some of the state-level voting law changes we've seen this legislative season.

Excellent recap by Michael Li, the attorney who also posts to the Texas Redistricting blog.

Texas Payday Lenders Face New Rules, Scrutiny

Texas Tribune 1/5/12

Texas Payday Lenders Face New Rules, Scrutiny

Payday lenders are about to come under the microscope.

New laws aimed at curbing predatory lending take effect this week, meaning payday and auto title loan businesses will have to be licensed by the state and post a schedule of fees in a visible place, similar to the overhead menus seen in fast food restaurants.

Proponents of the new regulations passed by lawmakers during the 2011 session say they're needed because the practice of offering short-term, high-interest loans to consumers has led thousands of Texans into a cycle of debt and dependency. Lawmakers heard horror stories about consumers being charged interest rates in excess of their initial loans.

Absent these regulations, the number of payday loan businesses in Texas has more than doubled, from 1,279 registered sites in 2006 to more than 3,500 in 2010. Opponents say this industry has flourished because of a 1997 law intended to give organizations flexibility to help people repair bad credit. A loophole allowed payday lenders to qualify, giving them the freedom to operate without limits on interest rates.

Though the new laws took effect on Jan. 1, state regulators have been working for months to finalize the language of the rules, and businesses are in the process of coming into compliance. Eventually, lenders will be required to disclose more information to their customers before a loan is made, including the cost of the transaction, how it compares to other types of loans and interest fees if the payment is not paid in full.

This won't rein them in enough. It's just showing them a collar, but it least it is a start. Pay day loan lenders are some of the absolute worst criminals in finance.

Goodbye to the Brazos River?

Texas Observer 1/4/12

Goodbye to the Brazos River?

Over the decades, the river has been increasingly drawn on by cities and the Comanche Peak nuclear power plant, and plagued by fish-killing golden algae. But perhaps the greatest threat to the river comes from the agency charged with overseeing it: the Brazos River Authority.

For the past seven years, the authority has been angling to lock up every last drop of water left in the Brazos. In 2004, the authority filed for a permit with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for the right to withdraw up to a million acre-feet per year from the Brazos and use it however it sees fit.

The plan is an audacious, perhaps unprecedented, water grab by a quasi-public entity in Texas. In October, an administrative law judge—after five years of legal proceedings—recommended that TCEQ either deny the permit or require the Brazos River Authority to explain its plans more thoroughly. The judge agreed with interested parties like Friends of the Brazos River and Dow Chemical, which relies on river water at its coastal Freeport facility, that the authority has failed to show what impact its plans would have on cities, industry, agriculture and the environment.

Now it’s up to three Perry appointees at TCEQ—not known for their environmental sensitivities—to accept the judge’s recommendation or grant the river authority’s water rights request.

If it's up to the Perry clones at TCEQ, it's surely a permanent death sentence for the Brazos! The Brazos River Authority will suck it dry.

Perry says he will go to South Carolina

Postcards from the Lege blog 1/4/12

Perry says he will go to South Carolina

In a surprising development, Gov. Rick Perry said today he’s heading to South Carolina — presumably to continue his presidential campaign.

“And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State…Here we come South Carolina!!!” Perry wrote on Twitter.

What an idiot - he doesn't know when to fold them, at all!

On the other hand he's just wasting someone else's money anyway.
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