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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: 78,484

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

Perry: ‘Quit playing politics, Mr. President’

Gov. Rick Perry slammed the looming federal budget cuts known as sequestration as a national “failure of leadership” Tuesday and said President Obama should “quit playing politics.”

Perry, talking to reporters after a speech to a National Federation of Independent Business/Texas conference, suggested there’s blame to go around but said Obama bears the brunt of it.

“Certainly I think both sides could stand in a circle and point to the left and get it right to say it’s their fault,” Perry said, “but Americans are begging for leadership.”

Perry said states like Texas approach accountability in government correctly.

More at http://blog.chron.com/texaspolitics/2013/02/perry-quit-playing-politics-mr-president/ .

Perry: Texting-while-driving ban is ‘government micromanagement’

A spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry, just hours after a tear-laden House committee hearing on a proposed texting-while-driving ban, said Tuesday that Perry continues to see education rather than regulation as the solution for the increasingly widespread but dangerous practice.

The reaction from Perry aide Lucy Nashed would seem to bode ill for state Rep. Tom Craddick’s second attempt to push through a law barring adult drivers from texting or emailing while driving a moving vehicle. Perry vetoed a similar bill by the Midland Republican and former House Speaker in 2011, calling it a “government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults.”

“Gov. Perry continues to believe texting while driving is reckless and irresponsible, and as he noted last session, current law already prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from texting or using a cell phone while driving,” Nashed told the American-Stateman in an email. “The key to dissuading drivers from texting while driving is information and education, not government micromanagement.”

Witnesses appearing earlier Tuesday before the House Transportation Committee, which was considering Craddick’s HB 63, shared a number of stories about loved ones who died in accidents involving texting. Education alone, some said, will not be enough.

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/perry-texting-while-driving-ban-is-government-micr/nWZz9/ .

Making a tax-free holiday for guns?

DALLAS — Guns are already selling at record levels across Texas. The state ranks among the highest in firearm sales.

A Plano lawmaker now hopes to make it even more enticing for Texans to become gun owners.

State Rep. Jeff Leach, a 30-year-old Republican from Plano, filed a bill (HB 1533) to make Texas Independence Day (March 2nd) a tax-free holiday for guns and ammunition.

“Gun owners and gun manufacturers in Texas need to know that Texas stands behind them,” Rep. Leach told News 8 on Monday. He said he filed his bill — called the Texas Gun Ownership Reinforcement Act — in response to calls to tighten federal gun laws.

More at http://www.kvue.com/news/Making-guns-tax-free-at-least-for-a-day-193310461.html .

Text of the bill:


relating to an exemption from the sales tax for firearms and hunting
supplies for a limited period.
SECTION 1. Subchapter H, Chapter 151, Tax Code, is amended
by adding Section 151.358 to read as follows:
PERIOD. (a) In this section, "hunting supplies" means ammunition,
archery equipment, hunting blinds and stands, hunting decoys,
firearm cleaning supplies, gun cases and gun safes, and hunting
(b) The sale of a firearm or hunting supplies is exempted
from the taxes imposed by this chapter if the sale takes place
during a period beginning at 12:01 a.m. on March 2 and ending at 12
midnight on the same day.
SECTION 2. The change in law made by this Act does not
affect tax liability accruing before the effective date of this
Act. That liability continues in effect as if this Act had not been
enacted, and the former law is continued in effect for the
collection of taxes due and for civil and criminal enforcement of
the liability for those taxes.
SECTION 3. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this
Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
Act takes effect September 1, 2013.

Senate confirmation of public insurance counsel delayed

Senate confirmation of Public Insurance Counsel Deeia Beck was put on hold Monday as the Senate Nominations Committee approved a list of gubernatorial appointees – but left Beck’s nomination pending. The other appointees will be voted on by the full Senate later this week. Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, had asked the committee to delay Beck’s confirmation until she met with Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, to resolve differences over a bill Hancock filed to abolish the Office of Public Insurance Counsel.

At a nominations committee meeting last week, Fraser suggested Hancock was “stood up” at a meeting he was supposed to have with Beck, but she denied that a meeting was ever scheduled. However, she subsequently met with Hancock and has talked with other senators to clear potential roadblocks to her confirmation, which requires a two-thirds vote of the upper chamber. Beck has generally received good marks for her job of representing homeowners and small businesses before the Texas Department of Insurance.

At a hearing last week, Beck was asked whether she had endorsed Hancock’s opponent in the GOP primary last year. She replied that she did not. Beck, a former Fort Worth lawyer, has been the state’s Public Insurance Counsel since her appointment by Gov. Rick Perry in August of 2008. The bill to abolish her agency was filed days after she moved to block a 20 percent increase in home insurance rates by State Farm, the largest property insurer in Texas.

Source: http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2013/02/senate-confirmation-of-public-insurance-counsel-delayed.html/

Kinky Friedman Says He May Run for Governor, and This Campaign Will Be "Serious"

In 2006, Kinky Friedman -- singer, songwriter, satirist, head Jewboy in charge -- ran as an Independent for governor of Texas. Although he ultimately received less than 13 percent of the vote, it was still a memorable campaign, featuring slogans like, "Why the Hell Not?" and "How Hard Could It Be?" -- both excellent questions, and ones we've often had occasion to consider, watching Rick Perry run things.

He took another shot, equally unsuccessful and slightly less publicized, in 2009. Now, in between hawking his Man in Black tequila and chewing that cigar to a soggy stump, it looks like he's pondering making another run at the big seat next year. For serious this time.

On Saturday, Kinky stopped by Lakewood Medallion Discount Liquors to sign bottles of his tequila. While he was there, he told NBC-DFW that he's considering a possible run. His platform would consist of two main planks, both of them aimed at increasing tax revenue for the state: legalizing casino gambling and legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana.

"If we can accomplish those two things, we won't be talking about any kind of taxes for 30 years," he said.

More at http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2013/02/kinky_friedman_on_taking_anoth.php .

[font color=green]Kinky wants to run as a Democrat. Considering his past political history, my reaction is .[/font]

Ted Cruz Stands By His Claim That Harvard Law Was Crawling With Pinkos

At a 2010 Fourth of July-weekend rally in Austin sponsored by Americans For Prosperity, Cruz described the ideological makeup of the Harvard Law School faculty when he was a student: "There were fewer declared Republicans in the faculty when we were there than Communists! There was one Republican. But there were twelve who would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government."

Cruz attended Harvard Law from 1992 to 1995, and as Mayer reports most reps from Harvard aren't sure where he got his numbers. A spokesman for the school called it "puzzling."

Charles Fried, a solicitor general under Ronald Reagan who taught Cruz at Harvard, says, "I can right offhand count four 'out' Republicans (including myself), and I don't know how many closeted Republicans when Ted, who was my student and the editor on the Harvard Law Review who helped me with my Supreme Court foreword, was a student here."

But Senator Cruz was good enough to clear everything up on The Blaze via spokesperson Catherine Frazier. The explanation: Harvard was full of Commies and why are you asking?

"It's curious that the New Yorker would dredge up a three-year-old speech and call it 'news,'" Frazier said in a statement to TheBlaze late Friday. "Regardless, Senator Cruz's substantive point was absolutely correct: in the mid-1990s, the Harvard Law School faculty included numerous self-described proponents of 'critical legal studies' -- a school of thought explicitly derived from Marxism - and they far outnumbered Republicans."

More at http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2013/02/sen_cruz_stands_by_his_claims.php .

San Antonio council candidate failed to pay workers overtime

District 8 candidate Rolando Briones has said he runs a “very cost-conscious” business and watches “every single dollar.”

Unfortunately, he has applied this frugality toward denying his employees lawfully earned wages, according to documents obtained from the U.S. Department of Labor under the Open Records Act. A former employee of Briones Consulting and Engineering Ltd. filed a complaint in 2007 with the federal agency, which conducted a “full investigation.”

The employee wrote that the “owner/boss has informed me that he does not pay 'overtime'; rather, he pays 'straight time.'” In the same document, an official wrote, “Pay stubs show (overtime) paid, but (employee) claims (overtime) hours are reduced so (straight time) is paid.”

A federal law applies here. It's called the Fair Labor Standards Act. Unless they're exempt, employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek “must receive overtime pay ... at a rate not less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay,” according to the agency's website.

More at http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/news_columnists/brian_chasnoff/article/Council-candidate-failed-to-pay-workers-overtime-4308065.php .

[font color=green]Briones covers all his bases by donating to BOTH political parties. Still, Eric Cantor would be proud of him.[/font]

Perry: Texas will never turn blue

WSJ: To question, “Could Texas become a blue state?” Gov. Rick Perry “emits a hearty guffaw”

“The University of Texas will change its colors to maroon and white before Texas goes purple, much less blue.”

Gov. Perry was in D.C. Friday and Saturday. He met with Republican governors, most of whom - but not Perry - also attended the winter meeting of the National Governors Association, which included a Sunday night dinner at the White House. (Perry returned home Saturday.)

The Wall Street Journal interview with Perry noted that, “Many political pollsters and demographers predict the state could get wobbly sooner than many Republicans think, possibly going blue by as early as 2020.

More at http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/firstreading/entries/2013/02/25/perry_texas_will_never_turn_bl.html/ .

Senator wants broader oversight of major events fund

Austin Sen. Kirk Watson said he wants to infuse some “healthy skepticism” into oversight of a state incentive fund that is used to recruit major events such as Super Bowls, All-Star games and Formula One racing to Texas.

To do so, Watson has filed legislation that would force Comptroller Susan Combs to share authority over the Major Events Trust Fund with at least two others: the state auditor and a representative of the host city or county.

Senate Bill 765 also would cap at 5 percent the cost of infrastructure improvements that taxpayers would pay for, if the owner of the venue gets a long-term benefit from the improvements. That provision was prompted by reports that more than $8 million in taxpayer money was used for a new scoreboard to attract the NBA All-Star game to Houston this year.

A similar video scoreboard also was purchased when the NBA All-Star game came to Dallas three years ago. In both cases, the scoreboard remains in the venue after the event.

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/business/senator-wants-broader-oversight-of-major-events-fu/nWZMT/ .

[font color=green]One of my friends from college is the Senior VP of Events and Attractions for the NBA. I imagine that he will be disappointed to learn that corporate welfare is being reigned in by Senator Watson.[/font]

Voting rights case has Texas implications

Race and politics are at the center of a major case with Texas implications that’s scheduled to be heard Wednesday by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Although it originated in north-central Alabama, the case of Shelby County v. Holder holds potentially profound consequences for politics and civil rights in Texas, a state where minority groups taken together now outnumber whites.

The issue before the high court is the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It requires just about every southern state in the country — including Texas — and several other governments around the U.S. — such as the one in Shelby County — to get approval from the federal government before making any changes to their election practices. The jurisdictions covered by Section 5 must endure the “preclearance” process through the Justice Department or a federal court in Washington, D.C. because of their histories of discrimination.

Various officials and groups in Texas will be watching closely as the justices ponder the Shelby County case.

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/voting-rights-case-has-texas-implications/nWZTf/ .
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