Month: May 2011

Texas Progressive Alliance Weekly Round Up

No matter what the Lege chooses to do, the Texas Progressive Alliance is ready for summer as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff suggests that maybe a Rick Perry Presidential campaign might not be such a bad thing after all.

The demise of the ‘sanctuary cities’ bill in the closing days of the Texas Legislature’s 82nd session represents a “strategic victory” for Rick Perry, according to Mark Jones at Rice University’s James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs also notes, in other news, that a Blue Angels-like formation of flying pigs is circling the state capital.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants to know why Bill Gates is helping republicans destroy our public education system. Could it be all of that potential revenue from computerized curricula?

The Texas Ledge-The Gift That Keeps On Giving has sunk to a new low. refinish69 is stunned that the budget appropriation for the homeless situation in Texas has been cut to ZERO!!!

This week at Left of College Station, Teddy asks the question who is the Texas Public Policy Foundation? Then he takes a look at the power, influence, and money at work on the Board of Directors on the TPPF, and the man behind the so-called “breakthrough solutions,” Jeff Sandefer.

McBlogger takes a look at the compromises Speaker Straus had to make to the Teabaggers and their allies, compromises that will more than likely return Texas to recession.

Neil at Texas Liberal noted that Democratic Houston Mayor Annise Parker has proposed a city budget that is balanaced on the backs of city workers and on citizens of Houston who are most in need of city services.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson has an update on What’s been happening in Williamson County.


The Texas Ledge- The Gift That Keeps On Giving

The Texas legislature is still working out the final details of the state budget for the next biennium. The cuts to service, education are staggering.  I won’t go into all of them because there are other bloggers who have so much more information on this than I do. The part that floors me is that the budget to deal with the homeless situation in Texas has been cut to ZERO!!!

That’s right. There is no funding to help with the homeless situation in Texas for the next 2 years. The estimated homeless population in Austin is over 4,000 a night. This number is much higher in Dallas and Houston and we don’t have a count for smaller communities.  In Austin, over 25% of the homeless are 18 or under but the Legislature doesn’t see a need to fund help in anyway. I am truly embarrassed to be a Texan.

Shame on Sen. Cornyn

Last night, Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) Tea Party-inspired budget didn’t even come close to passing the Senate. It was voted down 40–57.

But 40 senators, including Sen. Cornyn, voted for Rep. Ryan’s budget that would replace Medicare’s guaranteed health care funding for seniors with underfunded vouchers for private insurance—forcing a typical 65-year-old to spend $6,359 more a year in out-of-pocket costs by 2022.

Forty senators, including Sen. Cornyn, voted to make $4.3 trillion in drastic cuts—hitting everything from education and food aid for children to job training and Medicaid.

And 40 senators, including Sen, Cornyn, voted for $4.2 trillion in tax cuts, which go disproportionately to corporations and the rich.

Sen, Cornyn needs to be held accountable for this outrage. As Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said before voting “no” last night, “The Republican plan to kill Medicare is a plan to make the rich richer and the sick sicker.”

Let Sen. Cornyn know last night’s vote to end Medicare as we know it is inexcusable—and working people won’t stand for it.

Politicians like Sen. Cornyn clearly will work actively to further enrich the rich at any cost to working families, at a time when inequality already stands at historic levels.

There are no excuses for this vote. And no acceptable explanation. We all need to make sure voters know where Sen. Cornyn stands. That starts right now, with letting your senator know this vote will have serious consequences.

Act now: Let your senator know you’ll hold Medicare-scrapping politicians accountable.

Last night’s vote sent a loud and clear message to the American public that, according to Republican leaders in the House and Senate, sacrifice is for the weak, while the powerful and well-connected get tax cuts.

Politicians who forget that the majority of voters work for a living do so at their own political peril. We’ll make sure voters know the truth—and they’ll make the point at the ballot box, just as voters in New York’s 26th congressional district did Tuesday.

Act now: Let Sen. Cornyn know yesterday’s vote won’t be forgotten by working people.

Thanks for making it clear this shameful vote won’t go unnoticed.

In Solidarity,

Manny Herrmann
Online Mobilization Coordinator, AFL-CIO

New Report: Texas Seniors Health Care Cost Increase $6668.87 Under Representative Farenthold’s Plan

Press Release from DCCC
New Report: Texas Seniors Health Care Cost Increase $6668.87 Under Representative Farenthold’s Plan
According to a newly released report, Representative Blake Farenthold’s (TX-27) plan to end Medicare and instead protect Big Oil would raise Texas seniors’ health care costs by $6668.87. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich even called Farenthold’s plan “radical” and “too big a jump.”
“This report confirms that Representative Blake Farenthold’s disastrous plan to end Medicare and instead protect Big Oil would more than double Texas seniors health care costs,” said Jesse Ferguson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “While Farenthold’s plan to end Medicare would cost Texas seniors an additional $6668.87 a year in health care costs, he still protects taxpayer giveaways for Big Oil companies and tax breaks for the ultra rich.”
Farenthold’s Budget Increases Health Care Costs By $6668.87. According to a new report by the Joint Economic Committee, Farenthold’s budget would increase out-of-pocket health care expenses for Texas seniors by $6668.87.  [Joint Economic Committee, 5/11/11]
Farenthold Voted to End Medicare.  Farenthold voted for the House Republican budget plan, which, according to The Wall Street Journal, “would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills.” [H Con. Res. 34, Vote #277, 4/15/11; Wall Street Journal, 4/4/11]
Gingrich Blasts GOP Proposal for Medicare. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called the House Republican plan for Medicare “radical” and “too big a jump.” “I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” when asked about a Medicare plan championed by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.). [Meet The Press, 5/15/11]

Texas Progressive Alliance Weekly Round Up

The entire membership of the Texas Progressive Alliance was actually raptured this past weekend, but thanks to our foresight and the scheduling capabilities of our blogging software we were able to put together a weekly roundup for you anyway. Because that’s the kind of bloggers we are.

The Lege reached a budget deal on Friday. Off the Kuff explains why it is a bad deal for Texas.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson in stating that “ and large, Republicans aren’t as racist as they are greedy” makes the point that we must adopt a new form of populism in Texas.

At TexasKaos, lightseeker seeks to explain why Snake Oil is not a cure for evaluating teachers of for improving public education. Check out Snake Oil, Classrooms and Teacher Evaluations.

Nat-Wu of Three Wise Men takes another in-depth look at Irving politics.

This week, McBlogger says that Democrats joined with Republicans in the House in a bipartisan effort to screw every Texan.

Public school funding and the Texas legislature get set to go back to the future — as in litigation. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs finds a twelve-year-old column from Mollly Ivins that both rehashes and pre-cogs the details.

refinish69 asks WTF? President Obama is Now Talking Drill, Baby, Drill?

Neil at Texas Liberal noted a new study that said billions of planets are flying around the galaxy that are not in the orbit of any star.

WTF? President Obama is Now Talking About Drill, Baby, Drill

I campaigned my ass off for Obama and will most likely vote for him again in 2012 but he is really starting to piss me off on certain issues. I am stunned that he is now siding with Republicans on drilling and selling off drilling rights again. One of his campaign issues was developing alternative sources of power and to stop relying on oil. He also said(correctly) that drilling at home would not reduce prices at the pump for a minimum of 10 years.

So why the change of heart? The election in 2021 and since the change he promised has yet to appear and he has to play to those who are middle of the road instead of the progressives who elected him.  I guess instead of being a statesmen, he would rather be a politician.

Is Cost of Runoff Election Cost of Democracy or Randi Shade’s Pride?

In the Place 3 Race for Austin City Counsel, Randi Shade received only 32.05% of the vote while her opponent, Kathie Tovo received 48.88%. Texas elections call for a 50% +1 for a winner but the second place candidate can decline a runoff election if they chose to.

I am calling on Randi Shade to prove she is a true community leader by conceding defeat while also saving Austin $528,400 that it would cost for a runoff election. In times of budget cuts that are affecting social services and education plans through out the area, a true community leader would stand down instead of adding more expense to the City Budget.

Randi, is this really about Democracy or is it your hurt pride because you did not win as an incumbent?

Texas Progressive Alliance Weekly Round Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance salutes the final voyage of the “Endeavour” as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff took a look at the proposed new map for the State Senate and the effect it could have on incumbent Senators.

The guy in charge of the Letters From Texas blog, which isn’t the Capitol Annex blog, published a guest post entitled “Caught in the zipper,” written by the guy in charge of the Capitol Annex blog, which isn’t the Letters From Texas blog. Confused yet? Our work here is done.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson has the latest installment of My Congressman is an idiot – John Carter praises Socialism.

refinish69 at Doing My Part for The Left is getting fed up with The Texas Ledge…The Gift That Keeps On Giving. The only cure for the Herpes that is the Texas Ledge is to vote the jerks out of office.

Why Osama’s porn stash matters, at least according to PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Libby Shaw over at TexasKaos helps us understand how and why the GOP stands by its men over at Big Oil.

Stace at DosCentavos reports on a press conference put on by a coalition of 16 pro-migrant organization who slammed the Texas Legislature’s HB12–the bill to ban nonexistent sanctuary-cities. It’s worse that Arizona, believe it or not.

Neil at Texas Liberal posted about a furniture designer in the Netherlands who asked if he could use a picture posted at Texas Liberal to showcase a table he was designing. You never know when the efforts you make in life will be of benefit to someone else.

This week, Nat-Wu at Three Wise Men takes a look at the surprising results of the elections in Irving.

The Texas Ledge…The Gift That Keeps On Giving

After the stupidity of the Texas Ledge this year, I am ashamed to admit I live in Texas much less actually vote.  Texas voters have to be some of the dumbest people who have ever lived!!! They gave the Republicans in Texas a bigger majority than they have had in years and this is just a few of the things they are getting for their votes.

The Texas legislature has passed a bill making Sanctuary Cities illegal even though there were none in Texas.

A bill was proposed to make sure their were clean bathrooms at all gas station and auto service centers as long as they were not the ones run by Walmart or HEB.

A bill has been passed to make cheating in a Fishing Contest a misdemeanor or a felony depending on how big the cheat is.

Soon students with concealed weapons permits will be allowed to carry guns on campus. This same bill will allow Elected officials to carry weapons even where it is prohibited such as banks and hospitals.

These are just a few of the wonderful gifts the Texas Ledge have given us this session. Is it their fault? Hell NO!!! It is the voters of Texas who have brains the size of a miniature pea if they have a brain at all.

Do I think anything we can do about this? Hate to say it but no. We have a Democratic State Party that cannot pull its head out of its own ass long enough to elect anyone. The Party always wants to run a Republican Lite as a candidate because they “think” they can get cross over vote. Why the hell would anyone vote for a candidate who sounds just like the other party?  It is time for the Texas Democratic Party to grow a pair of balls and find their backbone. Stop acting like losers and you might actually win a damn election!!! Find a candidate who is smart, attractive, believes in something and supports the Party Ideals.

But oh no, we have to play it safe and keep losing elections. We have to accept what the National Party tells us to do even though they only use Texas as an ATM. Well, keep doing that and this will be a Republican State because the Democrats will just stop going to the polls at all. If the state party doesn’t change their strategies, we might as well throw a victory party for the Republicans and be done with it. It would save time, tired feet, frustration and a hell of a lot of money. It’s cheaper to throw a party than a shitty losing campaign.

Ricardo Sanchez??? Really????

By guest author Vince Leibowitz

I read with bemused interest Wednesday’s Houston Chronicle story formally announcing the candidacy of Ricardo Sanchez for US Senate.
About all I could muster up the energy to say initially was, “Really? This sh*t again?”
After thinking about this more, I decided it was worth a far more extended commentary.
Aside from whether or not you have an issue with Abu Ghraib stuff or the rest of his record or not, Texas Democrats, especially progressives and the politically astute should have an issue with his candidacy in general.
Where should I begin? Check this paragraph from the Chron story:

“National Democrats worked to recruit Sanchez into a race they think he can make competitive in a solidly Republican state because of his appeal to the state’s ballooning Hispanic population. Democrats also believe a congested Republican primary will weaken the eventual nominee.”

Thank you, so much, “National Democrats.” Remind me to add you to my Christmas card list for once again playing the role of benevolent father figure since we Texas Democrats just aren’t qualified to actually pick our candidates after campaigns and primaries and for dropping yet another flaming bag of dog poo on our doorsteps. We will be forever in your debt.

“National Democrats”–whoever the Hell that means–should stick to dragging their sacks through Texas and whoring for our dollars because, clearly, they have a disastrous track record of picking winners, understanding our electorate, and taking the pulse of our base–which, by the way, you cannot win a general election without exciting to encourage them to actually turnout. And this guy excites the base about as much as a wet match in a muddy swamp.

Next, who among Texas Democrats has met or heard Ricardo Sanchez speak? Where has he been campaigning, even to see if he could muster enough support to get out of a contested primary?
Too, a Facebook post and this story isn’t exactly a promising start to a campaign in the 21st century. No website, no YouTube video, no barnstorm across Texas to get earned media and actually bother to engage with a single voter. Not a single endorsement from a prominent legislator or Texas Democrat. It is more of a dumped afterthought than a start to a real campaign. I see here no early indication that signals that of a decent campaign (since it takes more than money to have one).
Now, what about that record of “National Democrats” picking our candidates? Mikal Watts was one of those, if I recall correctly. The base–particularly progressives–showed their distaste for him and he bailed well before the filing deadline; then, of course, “National Democrats” didn’t really go that far out of their way to help aide the candidate Texas Democrats actually picked (who was, by the way, both Hispanic and military) in a primary.
Finally, have those “National Democrats” perhaps bothered to realize that, maybe, just maybe, running the same, centrist, Republican Lite candidates they’ve been foisting on us or encouraging to run for years simply isn’t working and that maybe it is time to try something else–and actually make sure that the “something else” has the same resources they promise the candidates they keep sending our way?
He also claims to be a progressive. Great, care to articulate a position or two? That also seems to be window dressing since he also uses the buzzwords “Independent Voice,” which, with this type of candidate usually means, “conservative enough you can’t really tell the difference between me and a Republican, but not owned by their donors.”
These “National Democrats” also think being a Hispanic candidate in Texas is somehow a gateway to a win. Sorry, wrong again. Another candidate named Sanchez, Rick Noriega, and others have proved that isn’t enough. Without independent efforts and millions of dollars spent on Hispanic GOTV and registration independent of any campaign, at this point, a candidate that was Polish, purple, orange, black, Swedish, or made of green cheese would poll about the same. (Yes, I will no doubt catch Hell for that one, but it is reality.)
We have, in spite of the bloodbath of 2010, Democrats–prominent ones–in the Legislature and elsewhere more fully vetted both politically, policy-wise, and personally who would make better candidates, start with a greater base in our own party and outside it, and stand a greater chance of being successful than Sanchez. I could name at least five.
I’m not opposed to hearing the guy out and seeing if he is more worthy of support than he seems, but so far, I can’t say it looks promising.
We’ll see.