Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Roundup January 11, 2016

The Texas Progressive Alliance wouldn’t trust Greg Abbott to write a grocery list as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff interviewed Harris County DA candidates Morris Overstreet and Kim Ogg.

Libby Shaw contributing to Daily Kos has had it. The Governorís call for a constitutional convention deserves the lampooning and mockery it receives. The Texas Blues: Living in a place run by drunk monkeys and petulant teenagers.

Having grown up in the West and been to that area SocraticGadfly surveyed the details of the Oregon Standoff and he then, seeing the #BundyEroticFanFic hashtag, took time to write some purple prose.

Dan Patrick is on a crusade to kill public education. CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme doesn’t want the Koch brothers or any religious using our tax dollars to force the indoctrination our children.

The sudden and untimely vacancy on the Harris County Commissioners Court has been covered extensively by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Consistent with what Houston is all about, Neil at All People Have Value took a picture of contrasting things in close proximity to one another. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Lone Star Ma documents some no-open-carry businesses.

The Makeshift Academic frets over labor’s prospects in 2016.

BOR is looking for writers.

The Dallas Observer has some helpful etiquette tips for the open carry era.

The Current provides a comprehensive list of Texas businesses that have said No to open carry.

The TSTA Blog is wary of new Education Commissioner Mike Morath.

The Lunch Tray reports that school kids today are making better lunch choices thanks to the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.

The Texas Election Law Blog surveyed scholarly coverage of Evenwel v. Abbott.

Finally, the TPA extends its thanks and best wishes to Texas Civil Rights Project founder Jim Harrington on his retirement.

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Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Roundup December 21, 2015

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes Ag Commissioner Sid Miller a happy holiday as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff reviews who filed for what in the Democratic primaries in Texas.

The Green Party of Texas filed almost sixty candidates for state and local offices for the 2016 election, reports PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

SocraticGadfly dips into the archives and offers up thoughts on that Christmas chestnut “It’s a Wonderful Life,” including what a remake might look like, and a follow-up post about all of what’s wrong with the original.

Greg Abbott reacts to children coming to America by sending troops. Obama looks at solving problems in Central America. CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is disgusted that the only tools Republicans have are military force, fear and hate.

Neil at All People Have Value said that we would be better off with the values of Christmas rather than with the values of commerce. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Mean Rachel wishes Rep. Elliott Naishtat a fond farewell.

Texas Watch is pressing the TEA for more information about school bus safety.

Next City believes that urbanists will like Houston Mayor-elect Sylvester Turner.

Christopher Hooks analyzes the recent mock mass shooting.

Chris Brantner has some advice for cable cord cutters.

John Wright proposes five New Year’s resolutions for the LGBT movement.

Paradise in Hell tries to distinguish between Ted Cruz’s lies.

Kyle Jack lists outgoing Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s top ten snarky tweets.

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Snapshots from Abby Fisher’s Childhood*

*This is not really a history of her childhood. This is satire. Normally, I would just rely upon you to figure that out, dear reader, but these are dark times, and it is entirely unclear what is and isn’t real when someone like Donald Trump is actually taken seriously.

Abby Fisher filed a lawsuit in 2008 when she was not accepted to The University of Texas at Austin.

Technically, actually, she was accepted to a program which would have allowed her to enter UT Austin in her sophomore year if she maintained a decent enough GPA at another school, but that was not good enough for ol’ Abs. So she sued, claiming that it was unfair to her that some minority students were accepted, but she was not.

The facts surrounding her failure to get in and the subsequent lawsuit have been well-documented, so I thought I’d take a look at her earlier history to find out where she gained the courage of her convictions.

December 27, 1989
A child is born. She misses Christmas by two days. She is given the name Abigail Noel anyway, so that December holidays will always be about her.

August 31, 1995 
Abby comes home from the end of her day of kindergarten with a special note about several classmates with serious allergies, and instructions on what can and cannot be packed in lunches.

October 31, 1995, 8:05 a.m. halloween costume abby
Abby arrives in her kindergarten classroom looking adorable in her Pocahontas costume, holding a plastic pumpkin full of her favorite Halloween treat to share with her classmates—mini Baby Ruths.

October 31, 1995, 8:13 a.m.
Abby’s kindergarten teacher frantically phones 9-1-1 to request an ambulance after plunging an Epi-pen into the thigh of George, one of Abby’s classmates, who is deathly allergic to peanuts.

July 2, 1999
Abby arrives at summer camp on the Guadalupe River, and is assigned the bottom bunk.

July 3, 1999
Abby pitches a fit in the camp office, threatening to hold her breath until she turn blue unless she is allowed to call home. After speaking with her mother, she hands the phone to the camp director, crosses her arms, and tilts her head to one side.4th of july hair

July 4, 1999
Abby wakes up in the top bunk and leaps to the floor, shouting USA! USA! USA! Sprains her ankle. Gets to ride to activities on a golf cart for the rest of camp.

June 23, 2001 
At Abby’s half-birthday (please bring gifts from the registry only!), guests are sent home with 10 boxes each of Girl Scout cookies from the Fishers’ deep freeze, each one bearing a sticker announcing that Abby was the top cookie salesgirl for her troop.

sisters cousins auntsJanuary 4, 2002 
The drama instructor posts the cast list for the middle school production of H.M.S. Pinafore. Abby is the fourth girl listed in the chorus of Sisters, Cousins, Aunts.

January 7, 2002
Abby quits drama. Mrs. Fisher meets with Mr. Hughes, the band director, who reluctantly agrees to transfer Abby into band class.

May 24, 2002 
Abby comes home early from school and has dinner in bed, feeling a bit tired. The middle school cast of H.M.S. Pinafore soldiers through. No one notices the band is down a cello.

September 14, 2005 vote for abby
Abby and the principal agree to disagree about the need for a recount in the student elections.

September 15, 2005 
The principal and Mr. Fisher agree to disagree about the need for a recount in the student elections. 

September 17, 2005
Mr. Fisher, sitting with another band dad in the bleachers, jokes that the principal went to Prairie View and couldn’t risk having anyone check her math.

April 18, 2006 
Mrs. Fisher calls the principal to complain about how confusing the science homework instructions have been for the past few weeks. The principal asks if Abby has spoken to the teacher. Mrs. Fisher says no, that the teacher won’t return Mrs. Fisher’s calls any more, which is really unacceptable.

June 24, 2007 
Abby reports for her first summer as a counselors-in-training at camp. She’s been assigned to teach archery and war canoe.

July 2, 2007 
Campers arrive and receive their activities list. Abby welcomes the senior campers and explains she’ll be seeing them at the riding ring and in the lodge for drama.

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Greg Abbott Willfully Misrepresents How Law Works

Photo by Gage Skidmore used under creative commons license.

Photo by Gage Skidmore used unaltered under creative commons license.

Gov. Abbott is all a-twitter, claiming that he can finally prove why we need a voter ID law:

Your first thought might have been mine—interesting that the story source is a reputable publication, US News & World Report. Their logo looks like this:

us news world report

In fact, when you look closely, the source is not the well-known national periodical, but an online newsletter and blog, described:

US World Report provides information on current US news and world events. We aim to share stories that are not covered by traditional media.

The blog’s About Us page contains no information or names of publishers, editors, or the like, but does provide basic guidelines for people who’d like to submit stories, like the suggestion that being able to cite sources for stories is useful and more likely to get those stories published. Their logo, by the way:

US World Report

The Dallas/Fort Worth NBC affiliate cited in the US World Report blog post outlines the story:

  • A Grand Prairie woman was arrested and held on bond under charges of illegal voting in Dallas County.
  • Married to a citizen and in the country legally, she first attempted to register to vote but checked the box on the application indicating that she was not a citizen. When she was turned down, she submitted a new registration, this time, indicating she was a citizen.
  • She voted five times: first, in the 2004 Republican primary, and the final time, in the 2014 Republican primary runoff.

The conclusion that the blogger draws from this story, and that Gov. Abbott appears to draw from it and gleefully present to anyone following his Twitter feed? That voter ID would have prevented this woman from voting.

Here’s why that is not true. The Texas voter ID law would not have prevented this woman from voting.

In Texas, someone who is not a U.S. citizen but who resides in the country lawfully can apply for and receive a Texas Driver’s License, which is one of the seven forms of ID that are acceptable as proof of identity under the current voter ID statute.

The key phrase in that last sentence is as proof of identity. Here’s how the state outlines how that ID card will be used when presented at the polls:

When a voter arrives at a polling location, the voter will be asked to present one of the seven (7) acceptable forms of photo ID. Election officials will now be required by State law to determine whether the voter’s name on the identification provided matches the name on the official list of registered voters (“OLRV”). After a voter presents their ID, the election worker will compare it to the OLRV. If the name on the ID matches the name on the list of registered voters, the voter will follow the regular procedures for voting.

The error in this instance was that Dallas County allowed the non-citizen to appear on the official list of registered voters. The only reason that the election official looks at the ID presented is “to determine whether the voter’s name on the identification provided matches the voter’s name on the official list of registered voters.”

In other words, the election officials are not given the power, by the voter ID law or by any other law, to rule on whether or not the person presenting ID or showing up on the OLRV is a citizen or not.

Gov. Greg Abbott’s tweet, then, saying that this case proves why we need voter ID, makes no sense. Either he does not understand how either the voter registration process or the voter ID law work, which seems unlikely, or he is happy to intentionally and publicly misrepresent how the voter ID law functions, which seems like something no governor or elected official or member of the state bar should do.

This situation might prove that county tax assessor-collectors need to do a better job checking documentation, or might need access to better or more current databases to confirm that someone who claims to be a citizen is a citizen. What this situation does not prove is that if the voter ID law had been in effect in 2004, it would have stopped this woman from voting. It would not have stopped her from voting.

Recall that the anonymous About Us page on the US World Report blog strongly suggests that authors—and the author of this blog post is someone helpfully identified as Robert, no last name—cite other sources?

It did not make it clear, however, that in citing those sources, authors should actually read and understand them. Our intrepid reporter, Robert, diligently cited the capitol’s paper of record:

According to the Washington Post, non-citizens like Maria Ortega, who participated illegally in the election process, could have created enough of a presence to influence the election of Barack Obama’s in the first place.

Diligently cited it, but disregarded what the article actually said.

Following Robert’s link to the Washington Post, we discover analysis of how it might be possible, if non-citizens were proven to be voting in large enough numbers, that they might swing a very close race.

The article also contains a paragraph that spells out, bigger than Dallas, that:

We also find that one of the favorite policies advocated by conservatives to prevent voter fraud appears strikingly ineffective. Nearly three quarters of the non-citizens who indicated they were asked to provide photo identification at the polls claimed to have subsequently voted.

The article goes, for several paragraphs, to list a variety of limitations and caveats about the data and conclusions drawn from it that fuel the conjecture in the article.

I’m growing increasingly frustrated with Governor Abbott’s enthusiasm for spreading misinformation, which could also be called lies, about how Texas laws work. Where’s that personal responsibility and integrity he likes to talk about?

By the way, if you’re curious about Robert, the author of this blog post, I swiped his photo from the blog:

robert blog author

Posted in politics, Texas | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Roundup December 7, 2015

The Texas Progressive Alliance thinks we need fewer thoughts and more actions to curb gun violence as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff has been following the legal standoff between Greg Abbott and refugee relief organizations with increasing disbelief.

Libby Shaw contributing to Daily Kos is not the least bit surprised to learn the Texas Republican Party dances with the absurdity of secession again. We’re back in the silly season of elections. TX GOP: So it now it wants to secede?”

Socratic Gadfly heard about Mark Zuckerberg’s alleged shiny new charity, looked at it, and saw it was full of problems. Then, when some “pseudoskeptics” either claimed he was wrong, or else did special pleading for Zuckerberg, he took a closer look and found it was even worse.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme thinks Ted Cruz is a mansplaining *&% for saying condoms are all a women needs in the way of reproductive health care.

“Thoughts and prayers” as gun safety policy from too many Republicans who are responsible for crafting laws which protect Americans…. isn’t. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs would like to see something more effective to stop the carnage in this country.

Neil at All People Have Value took a good picture of Downtown Houston at night. Our everyday lives have a lot of value. We should assert this value each day. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

David Ortez gives three reasons why decriminalizing first-time marijuana possession cases will be good for Harris County.

Lone Star Ma highlights the Sustainable Development Goal of ending hunger.

Robert Rivard examines the science and denial of climate change.

TFN Insider asks why Greg Aboot is bullying faith-based organizations when he claims to support religious freedom.

Lize Burr delves into the Great Disappearing Condom Machine Mystery.

Grits for Breakfast discusses the role of plea bargains in unjust convictions.

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Five (More) Ways to Help Planned Parenthood If You Barely Have Any Money

I just saw an annotated listicle (is that what it’s called when it is a list with a paragraph or so plus an illustration for each numbered item?) on Bustle about 10 ways to help PP even if you’ve got a little free time.

The list was a little heavy on fundraising—and I say that as a fundraiser! Money helps, for sure, but I thought I’d add a few more ways to help Planned Parenthood if you have even a little bit of time to donate, but not much money.

1 – Register to vote. Then vote. Every time. Yes, elections happen yearly.
You’d think it wouldn’t need to be said, but vote. Vote every time. It is your right. And, it is free to vote. (If anyone tells you differently, call the Justice Department and the local news.)

Sign up for Planned Parenthood action alerts so you know what the issues are, and check out voter guides from Planned Parenthood action funds. Both the national organization, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and local affiliates, like Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast or Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, have mailing lists. So, find the branch closest to you, then sign up to get their emails; you can see a list here. Then, sign up for PPFA and the PPFA Action Fund lists. You’ll be in the know. In Texas, you should also check out Planned Parenthood Texas Votes.

Vote for candidates who will support Planned Parenthood, access to healthcare, comprehensive health insurance reform, and abortion rights. Vote for politicians who support legitimate pro-life causes like universal pre-K, paid family leave, and more. Chances are, they’ll support PP if they support policies that help families thrive. 

A few extra seconds: PP isn’t the only organization that can give you the low-down on legislative and voting issues. Check out NARAL Pro-Choice America and its state affiliates, and sign up for their emails, too.

And hey, check them all out on Twitter, and Instagram, and probably 5 other social platforms I am forgetting right now.

2 – Put a sticker on your car.
Stickers are an outward and visible sign to the world that you are part of the majority of people who think that Planned Parenthood is a good thing. Let’s show everyone how many PP supporters are out there every day on the highways and byways of America

3 –  Get a t-shirt. Or make one.
Same concept as the bumper sticker, but this is one that will generate conversation. It is nice to have a message on the front and back, especially so people can look at it and read it without you wondering why they are looking at your chest. People always smile or give a thumbs up when I wear mine. Sometimes, someone will tell you thank you, because they have a story of how Planned Parenthood helped them out. But sometimes, you get a chance to talk to someone about PP who never otherwise would have had the conversation. By sharing your story and the facts, you can help demystify the organization so people really understand how many awesome things it does. You can also remind people they should vote and get their own t-shirts. 

Make your own. Call PP to see if they have any to sell. Or find a feminist vendor on Etsy and see what tickles your fancy.

4 – Share your story.
It is fine to keep anything you want private, but when you identify yourself as someone who goes to or used to go to Planned Parenthood, you put a face on the issue for people who might have otherwise assumed that no one they knew actually went there. Did you go with a friend to get tested for HIV in college? Rely on them when you were unemployed and had no health insurance? Get an abortion? Get life-saving treatment for cervical cancer that you could actually afford? Share your story.

5 – Send a postcard.
Props to Lizz Winstead for launching the #thankbank effort. Make a list of Planned Parenthood clinics. Near you, ones you’ve used, whatever parameters you want to use. Get a stack of postcards. Every so often, drop a postcard in the mail that simply says hey, great job, I appreciate you, thank you. Address it to the staff.

Why a postcard? Because it isn’t a security risk. As in, sadly, Planned Parenthood has to screen all mail that comes into their building, so don’t make their job any harder.

Extras for Experts – make a costume and show up at political rallies.
OK, I realize this one takes a little time, but in the larger scheme of the universe, it isn’t really that much time. And, you can use it next year as a Halloween costume.

Anyway, the idea is, you show up in costume because you will definitely get your photo in the paper, and will likely get to say something to the reporter. If you show up to a Ted Cruz or Jeb Bush rally, and the reporter feels obligated to mention Planned Parenthood, that’s great. You’ve seized control of the media narrative.

Pillamina is Planned Parenthood’s birth control pill pack mascot. She showed up earlier this year at a tailgate to put Carly “I’m a woman but I’ll throw the rest of you under the bus if it gets me elected” Fiorina on the spot.

Here’s Pillamina on her day off from protesting anti-PP political candidates, enjoying time in the park with friends.

Posted in advice you didn't ask for, feminists & feminism, politics, pro-choice activism, progressive | Tagged | 1 Comment

Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Roundup November 30, 2015

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with Planned Parenthood and encourages Houstonians to get out the vote as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff gave three more looks at the Houston electorate in 2015.

Socratic Gadfly is willing to go beyond Bernie Sanders and supports a selective use of corporate socialism.

The last Houston mayoral debate is scheduled for Saturday, December 5, and as early voting begins Wednesday, December 2nd, PDiddie at Brains an Eggs offered his P-Slate for the runoff.

Neil at All People Have Value took more pictures of Houston as part of making plain the value of everyday life. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

The TSTA Blog thinks school funding trumps test score concerns.

The Makeshift Academic considers the state of Medicaid expansion in the wake of the Louisiana election.

Lize Burr interprets Greg Abbott’s most recent bout of shameless base-pandering.

Texas Watch invites you to donate to important causes for #GivingTuesday.

The Lunch Tray has a Thanksgiving message about childhood hunger.

Beyond BONES relates a more complete history of Thanksgiving.

Michael Brick celebrates as more offensive team nicknames bite the dust.

TransGriot reveals the Secret Trans Agenda.

And finally, the TPA welcomes Swamplot back from its sabbatical.

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