Texas Governor Promises Safe Schools

In the wake of yet another massacre of young children in their classrooms, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) proposed a sweeping reform to guarantee school safety. Noting that murderers are safer in prison than children in school, the governor proposes a massive swap.

By the start of the 2022-2023 school year, all children who attend public school and all people in prison will trade places. “That way,” the governor explained, “no one will care if there’s a mass shooting at a school site. Our children will be safely locked away in a maximum security fortress where they can learn about the history of the Second Amendment in an environment free from worry about outside attacks.”

The GOP controlled legislature initially signaled its approval, but then squabbles erupted over the fact that each “classroom” had only one toilet. A committee was proposed to study the bathroom issue and submit a report by the end of June.

The Texas Prison authority had no comment, but a prisoner’s rights group immediately complained – about meals. “Anyone who’s ever had a school lunch knows,” a spokesperson said, “it’s inedible. To force prisoners to eat school cafeteria food morning, noon, and night is cruel and unusual punishment and violates the Eighth Amendment.”

The Watering Hole, Saturday, June 25, 2016: Texit Is No Brexit

Great Britain stunned the world when a referendum on whether or not to leave the European Union resulted in the Leave forces winning. The EU’s reaction was to say, “Fine, then let’s get it over with as quickly as possible,” with the word “quickly” meaning “following a two-year negotiation”. This has spurred Danial Miller, of a group called the Texas Nationalist Movement, to push their own bid to secede from the Union, which they are cleverly (not really) dubbing “Texit.” Here’s the problem with it: It won’t mean anything. Unilateral attempts to secede from the Union are unconstitutional, according to a SCOTUS decision handed down in 1869. In it, the Court said a state cannot unilaterally secede. They must either achieve their goal through revolution (like the Civil War) or with the consent of Congress (which won’t ever happen.) I can think of several reasons why Texit is a bad idea, but that’s only because unlike the people in favor of this movement, I can think.

There are dozens of military bases in TX belonging to the federal government. Should Texans choose to secede through revolution, those bases would remain in “enemy hands.” And, no, a bunch of guys in pickup trucks are not going to storm the base and take it over. I know. I’ve seen one of those bases. I spent six weeks in one. They have aircraft that can beat anything the rebels might put up. As one State Republican Executive Committee member said during a discussion of secession (from a link later below), “I’m not sending my grandson out with a 12-gauge shotgun to take on the 82nd Airborne.” And the federal forces fighting back wouldn’t just come from Texas. We have military forces in every state surrounding Texas. The rebellion would be crushed in months, if not weeks. Everything in Texas might be bigger, but not necessarily the ability to think ahead.

Like many Conservative states (and, yes, a few Liberal ones, too), Texas gets more back from the federal government than it puts in. (Miller is totally wrong on this point.) If they secede, they’ll lose all those federal dollars, many of which go to paying the salaries of Texans. Do you really think the Department of Defense is going to hire someone from a foreign country, hostile to the US, to work in any of its other bases in the rest of the country? That’s billions of dollars taken out of circulation in the Texas economy. Less money around means less money being spent, which means businesses start failing and more and more people are out of work. And now they won’t get their earned Unemployment Benefits, despite paying into the system for years. Because they’re foreigners now. Given Conservative hostility to dependence on government, I don’t see the Neutered Republic of Texas (or whatever they’ll officially name themselves) setting up a welfare-type program to help its less fortunate citizens. That’s one of the many reasons they wanted to secede in the first place. Which, again, is ironic since they depend so much on the help of their fellow Americans.

Speaking of which, if they somehow successfully secede they’ll no longer be able to call themselves our fellow Americans. Because they’ll no longer be Americans. And if they’re anything like the Texans of 1861 I’d be fine with letting them ago. The first time Texas seceded it was over White Supremacy and the defense of the Institution of Slavery, points clearly spelled out in their Declaration of Secession. When their citizens voted on the ordinance to ratify their secession, it passed by a vote of 46,153 to 14,747. (76% to 24%) Today those percentages would likely be reversed, so even having a Texit vote would be a colossal waste of taxpaying Texans’ money.

Here is Miller explaining how Texit and Brexit are alike, but not exactly alike.

Besides being wrong about Texas being a a Giver state rather than the Taker state it actually is, Miller was confused about at least a couple of other things. In the beginning of this video, Miller talks about the Orlando Pulse massacre. But he was still pushing the idea that this mass shooting had any real connection to ISIS. Though this video was made about two days after the massacre, the only connection to ISIS was the shooter’s telling 911 that he was doing it for them, even though ISIS never told him to do anything. We now know the killer was known to frequent that same nightclub, and known to have had sex with men in the past. IMHO, it was done either out of self-loathing or because he had a failed relationship with another man. But ISIS had nothing to do with it, and would not have approved of a gay man fighting on their behalf. Later in the video, Miller invoked Sam Houston in his talk about whether or not the people should have a vote on independence. Houston opposed the convention to decide secession in 1861 and stayed silent throughout. And when they overwhelmingly voted yes, he told them they were not being reasonable. I’m sure he would say the same thing today. BTW, when Houston refused to swear an oath of allegiance to the Confederate States of America, they replaced him as governor.

Texit is not a good idea, and just because a small percentage of Texans think it is does not justify pursuing it further. But it’s not a good idea because it has no power to it, and would mean nothing if Congress does not approve. I wish they would, but they won’t. Sure I think Texas is an embarrassment to the nation, but if they’re going to leave the union, let it be done peacefully and totally. We’ll take our military equipment and other federal property with us and blow up what we leave behind. We’ll erect a huge border wall around Texas (but not Mexico) to make sure their more radical citizens stay in their own country. And let’s make sure we never let them in the union again. To be fair, citizens of the United States residing in Texas now can remain citizens of the United States, but cannot have dual citizenship and continue to live in Texas. One or the other. We’ll give you time to find a place to live here, and you can go back to work in Texas if they permit Americans to do so. But if you decide to live in Texas, you’ll be treated as an expatriate, without the rights and protections of our Constitution. (If you’re lucky, the new Texas will grant you the same Constitutional rights. If you’re unlucky, they’ll also bring back Slavery.) Oh, and you’ll need a visa to enter the US. Welcome to America. We hope you enjoy your visit here. Check your weapons at the door.

This is our daily open thread.

Tuesday March 18, 2014 Watering Hole – Environmental News and Food Politics – Open Thread

Paris implements a partial ban on driving carsBus riding is free during pollution event. Seems there are too many cars on the road. Can you imagine a ban on cars here in the good old freedom fighting US of A?

Winners and losers. Seems that are too many buckets at the Texas well and farmers are getting turned away. Rain, rain, don’t go away, pretty please.

Cryogenics worksIf you start as moss, you’ll come back as moss.

Divers find 65 foot long crack in Columbia River dam. There’s only one thing to say about this – oh shit!

Baseball season is approaching. Dining during the national pastime: The top ten vegetarian friendly ballparks. Philadelphia may not win the pennant this year, but we’re number 1 in something!


Music Night: Then and Now

The passing of Reg Pressley of the Troggs took me back to the summer of 1966. I was 18 years old at the time and Wild Thing bent the borders of radio at the time. Chip Taylor wrote the song, as well as Angel in the Morning among many others. It wasn’t until 2004 when Chip Taylor got on my radar again. Cat’s and I caught him and Carrie Rodriguez at the Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival. Bluegrass, of course is where the money ain’t, but when you blow a cool fortune on a gambling habit, you gotta start over somewhere. Then and now- Chip Taylor, a damn good songwriter.

The Watering Hole: Monday, December 17, 2012 – Can We PLEASE Talk About Guns In Our Society Now?

On the morning of December 14, 2012, it was Newtown, Connecticut.
Before that it was Clackamas Town Center, Oregon.
Before that it was Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Before that it was Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
Before that it was Aurora, Colorado.
Before that it was Seattle, Washington.
Before that it was Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Before that it was Oakland, California.
Before that it was Seal Beach, California.
Before that it was Carson City, Nevada.
Before that it was Tucson, Arizona.
Before that it was Manchester, Connecticut.
Before that it was Fort Hood, Texas.
Before that it was Binghamton, New York.
Before that it was Carthage, North Carolina.
Before that it was Northern Illinois University, Illinois.
Before that it was Kirkwood, Missouri.
Before that it was Omaha, Nebraska.
Before that it was Virginia Tech, Virginia.
Before that it was Salt Lake City, Utah.
Before that it was Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Before that it was Seattle, Washington.
Before that it was Red Lake, Minnesota.
Before that it was Brookfield, Wisconsin.
Before that it was Meridian, Minnesota.
Before that it was Fort Worth, Texas.
Before that it was Atlanta, Georgia.
And before that, on the morning of April 20, 1999, it was Littleton, Colorado.

These are all places where someone, or several someones, took a gun, or several guns, and began shooting people at some location, or several locations. Does this list strike you as being rather long? These are just ones since Columbine. There were others in between and before that. Many people died in those mass shootings. Too many. And too many were children. Far, far too many. And yet, we can’t seem to have that talk about all these mass shootings and the prevalence of guns in our society.

How many people have to die in mass shootings before we are allowed to talk Continue reading

The Watering Hole: Tuesday May 29 – Learning.The Hard Way.

Diane Tran.

She is too young to vote.
She is too young to drink alcohol.

She’s old enough to work her butt off to support her siblings and old enough to be thrown in jail if she misses school, because of that.

So please tell me. What is the difference between a third world country and Texas again? Well, she may not have faced jail, there they wouldn’t bother.

I am not glorifying her as a hero. She is a strong kid, but I want to stress the cruelty of a society that doesn’t provide for her and her siblings, so they can finish school. Just imagine, what she could achieve if she was allowed to put all this energy and strength she shows into her own education.

And don’t get me started on her parents.

This is our Open Thread. Check in!

The Watering Hole: March 16 – Sam Houston

What few Texans refuse to acknowledge is that Sam Houston, the hero of San Jacinta (Jacento?)  in a battle that lasted but 18 minutes, was removed as governor of Texas on this date in 1861 when he refused to join the Confederacy.

Surrender of Santa Anna to a wounded Sam Houston

Bottom line is that not all Texans are traitors or idiots. One can wonder as to when the city of “Houston” will be renamed to “Bush” or a famous quote will be rephrased – “Bush,  Tranquility Base, the Eagle has landed.”

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.

Texas accidentally banned ALL marriages

This made me laugh out loud. That baby has been thrown out with the bathwater, as we say.

AUSTIN — Texans: Are you really married?

Maybe not.

Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a Houston lawyer and Democratic candidate for attorney general, says that a 22-word clause in a 2005 constitutional amendment designed to ban gay marriages erroneously endangers the legal status of all marriages in the state. (read whole story)


Rachel Maddow smacks the crap out of Gov Perry (TX)

Don’t worry, there’s plenty more crap where that came from…

Rick Perry wants to “invoke” the 10th Amendment, because states need to be allowed to find their own solutions.

How’s that workin’ for ya, Guv?

As Rachel points out, Texas has more uninsured people than any other state in the whole US of A.   Rick Perry has been the governor for NINE years, when’s the solutioning gonna happen?

Rachel goes on…Texas has the most expensive health care markets in the whole US of A, and the fewest people insured.  Well, Guv?

Her guest, Lou Dubose, calls it “line item secession.”

Watch the whole video.  It’s awesome.

Dallas School: South Oak Accused Of Staging Cage Fights

The Dallas school system was rocked by allegations Thursday that staff members at an inner-city high school made students settle their differences by fighting bare-knuckle brawls inside a steel cage.

The principal and other employees at South Oak Cliff High knew about the cage fights and allowed the practice to continue, according to a 2008 report by school system investigators.

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Will Chuck run for President—of Texas?!

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So, up-Chuck Norris would like to run for “President of Texas”(Huh..?)

From his own words:

On Glenn Beck’s radio show last week, I quipped in response to our wayward federal government, “I may run for president of Texas.”

That need may be a reality sooner than we think. If not me, someone someday may again be running for president of the Lone Star state, if the state of the union continues to turn into the enemy of the state.

From the East Coast to the “Left Coast,” America seems to be moving further and further from its founders’ vision and government.

[…] On March 1, 1845, then-President John Tyler signed a congressional bill annexing the Republic of Texas. Though the annexation resolution never explicitly granted Texas the right to secede from the Union (as is often reported), many (including me) hold that it is implied by its unique autonomy and history, as well as the unusual provision in the resolution that gave Texas the right to divide into as many as five states. Both the original (1836) and the current (1876) Texas Constitutions also declare that “All political power is inherent in the people. … they have at all times the inalienable right to alter their government in such manner as they might think proper.”

Anyone who has been around Texas for any length of time knows exactly what we’d do if the going got rough in America. Let there be no doubt about that. As Sam Houston once said, “Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may.”

Just last Friday, the Alamo celebrated its 173rd commemoration, when on March 6, 1836, Texans under Col. William B. Travis were overcome by the Mexican army after a two-week siege at the Alamo in San Antonio. But they didn’t go down without a hell-of-a-fight, as those roughly 145 Texans fought to their dying breaths against more than 2,000 Mexican forces under Gen. Santa Anna. (Casualties in the battle were 189 Texans vs. about 1,600 Mexicans.) They lost that battle, but would provide the inspiration to win the war. Their fighting spirit rallied the new-found republic, and still does to this day. So when you think all is lost in America, remember the Alamo![…]

So, Chuck, what exactly as you suggesting? That Texas should secede from the U.S., possibly divide into five states, and you would then try to become president of your own little country?? And that makes you—a ‘patriot’?

When Bush was president, anyone questioning ANYTHING with his administration and their tromping all over the Constitution, and their constant bypassing the rule of law, had their ‘patriotism’ questioned.. And now that Barack Obama is president, your talk of secession from the United States makes you a ‘patriot’?

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Galveston Residents Return-Mayor Seeks 2.5 billion

With traffic backed up for 10 miles, most of the people are returning today for the first time since the city was hit by Hurricane Ike almost two weeks ago. There were warnings issued that Galveston was infested with germs and snakes. The city of Galveston started letting people come back at 6 a.m. this morning, some found their homes destroyed.

Police are trying to make this an easy transition; since many signals are missing, they are directing traffic at major intersections. To prepare the residents for the ravages from the Hurricane, city officials didn’t pull any punches on what the living conditions on the island would be like.

Ruben Rosas, 74, one of those who had fled inland to San Antonio. Once he reached his first-floor apartment located on a bayou, he found that the walls and nearly all his possessions were gone. “This is just sad, but the good thing is, I’m still around,” Rosas said. “I can recuperate these things sooner or later.”

The mayor and others warned people not to return without tetanus shots and rat bait, and to be ready for swarms of mosquitoes and displaced snakes. Residents were told to bring their own water and to not even consider turning on the gas or flipping an electrical switch until one of the island’s three remaining electrical inspectors can examine the property.

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Texas Has Little Sympathy For Some Ike Victims

Why in the world did the State of Texas allow people to build their homes there in the first place.  If there could be a potential problem with them rebuilding after a Hurricane? You can’t have it both ways. Especially, when there is a possibility that you are going to condemn a home–that is undamaged, with no compensation–shouldn’t you warn the owner first?  Well, it seems that could be exactly what happens.

Hundreds of people whose beachfront homes were wrecked by Hurricane Ike may be barred from rebuilding under a little-noticed Texas law. And even those whose houses were spared could end up seeing them condemned by the state. Now here’s the saltwater in the wound: It could be a year before the state tells these homeowners what they may or may not do.

The state may not compensate the homeowners who lose their property.

The reason: a 1959 law known as the Texas Open Beaches Act. Under the law, the strip of beach between the average high-tide line and the average low-tide line is considered public property, and it is illegal to build anything there.

Over the years, the state has repeatedly invoked the law to seize houses in cases where a storm eroded a beach so badly that a home was suddenly sitting on public property. The aftermath of Ike could see the biggest such use of the law in Texas history.

Texas General Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, a Republican whose office is responsible for policing the beaches, said he saw hundreds of houses in jeopardy of being declared on the beach unlawfully as he flew over the coastline this week.

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Media Blackout: Ike Death Toll Hits 51

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As Hurricane Ike’s death toll rises, search teams pull out of Galveston. The few photos released show severe damage ravaged by the storm. I found that National Geographic had released seven photos today. Jake Cantrell has been accumulating online video and other images to compare the extent of the damage since September 13th also. For him this all started as the hunt for Hotel YaYa, his family’s beach house, and trying to put his family at ease. Here is his site for all the Google Earth images, photos and updates.

Vince at Capitol Annex commented that the rumors began bubbling about Perry’s inability to manage the situation.

Dolcefino went on to compare the media’s lack of access to the situation in Myanmar, where the media was denied access to many areas hit hard by disaster there.

In addition, some sources tell Capitol Annex that local government leaders and some legislators have already begun to criticize both the state response and FEMA’s response to Ike, although none of that has been covered by the media yet.

Hurricane Ike flatten Bolivar Peninsula- Raw Video under the fold.

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Teflon Tom

Tom DeLay may be able to escape prosecution for money laundering, on the grounds that the Texas money laundering statute does not apply to checks, according to Republican justices in Texas. A panel of judges voted along party lines not to rehear a decision that would exempt checks from the definition of “funds” in the money laundering law. DeLay’s attorneys believe that this will force prosecutors to dismiss charges against DeLay.

An Austin-based appeals court split along party lines in rejecting a call from one of its members for a full-court rehearing of a case involving Tom DeLay’s onetime political associates.

Third Court of Appeals Justice Diane Henson, a Democrat, unsuccessfully asked the six-member court to reconsider a decision, reached last month by a panel of three Republican justices, that DeLay’s attorney believes will eventually throw out the prosecution’s case against the former congressman.

DeLay was not a party to the appeal but faces the same money laundering and conspiracy charges as his associates, John Colyandro and James Ellis. The panel refused to dismiss charges, finding that the state’s ban on corporate contributions is constitutional. But it said that the money laundering statute in place at the time did not apply to checks.

Request denied

The full court on Friday denied Henson’s request, with the four Republican members voting against a full hearing and Henson and Democrat Jan Patterson dissenting.

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Europeanview’s view absolutely – Open Thread

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Good Morning everyone. The results of the Texas caucuses are not yet in and it will take a short while still until the dust settles a bit and more political analysis is available. So, mostly, the papers in Europe are reporting the statistical facts and stating the obvious. Until the pro’s have decided on what to say, here’s a piece of my mind. I’ll give you the press clippings from Europe later in another post. Injun honest. This is an open thread, so whatever’s on your heart, let us know!

Using the pure facts and getting back to my “gut feeling” later, the advantage still lies with Barack Obama. First of all he has the lead in delegates and, never mind her strong showing in Ohio last night, Hillary Clinton has not made a significant dent there. Ohio is clearly hers, as expected, as is Rhode Island, equally as expected. Vermont is a win for Barack Obama with the significant margin we have seen in his other victories, too. Texas has been attributed to Senator Clinton, however, this state’s message is mixed. The caucus results are not in yet and point to Senator Obama. So, when it comes to Texas the number of delegates allotted may be evenly split or even slightly higher for Barack Obama. Even if she wins all remaining primaries by huge margins, unlikely, she will not be able to get in front of his count in pledged delegates. This puts Senator Clintons “bounce back” into perspective.

The campaigning has turned aggressive during the last few days with the notorious “3a.m. ad” at it’s center. Senator Obama seemed flustered by this and he should quickly start getting used to that kind of campaigning, because this is exactly what will be coming from Republicans during a presidential campaign. Here, too, lies a weakness of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. In exit polls voters showed discomfort with the aggressive style. So, while this style has brought her some advantage in the short term lead-up to the primaries, it may be a disadvantage in the long run. It points too much to her being the political animal, the power-hungry member of the political elites in Washington.

No matter what, right now voters in the United States strongly disapprove of the government branches in Washington. In Reuters’Zogby Index you can see, that the Republican President has a 35% approval rate and the Democratic Congress a dismal 18% approval rate. Congress has squandered the landslide win in 2006, which was broadly considered a mandate to end the war in Iraq and a mandate to hold the current administration accountable for breaches of civil rights and international law. Their approval rate shows that voters consider their will disregarded by them. Now, if Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party should disregard the popular vote and nominate her against the majority in pledged delegates this would resonate badly with voters and would do damage to herself and the Party. Moreover, her aggressive campaigning is damaging beyond the nomination process as well. If Senator Obama is going to be the candidate, Hillary Clinton has already done a lot for Senator McCain’s campaign, by chipping away at Senator Obama’s standing.

The decision is in the superdelegates’ and party leaders’ hands now. The fact that Barack Obama will have a lead in pledged delegates is not likely to change, they may as well decide how the’re going to handle it now.