Texas AG Paxton under the Microscope

It seems fair to say that statewide Texas politicians of the Republican variety are having some legal troubles.

Some of them have led to full-blown legal proceedings, like former Governor Rick Perry’s pending criminal charge, the civil fine against Attorney General Ken Paxton from the Texas State Securities Board (for an incident that occurred before he was elected), and the criminal securities fraud complaint filed against AG Paxton by Texans for Public Justice (which goes before a grand jury soon).

Some have remained in the realm of allegations and suspicions, like current Governor Greg Abbott’s alleged misconduct with regard to the Texas Enterprise Fund when he was Attorney General. I’m not sure if any formal complaints are currently pending against Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick—which is not to say he hasn’t had complaints (PDF file) before—but he sure does know how to stir people up.

"SCOTUS Marriage Equality 2015 (Obergefell v. Hodges) - 26 June 2015" by Ted Eytan from Washington, DC, USA (SCOTUS Marriage Equality 2015 58151) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Most recently notorious, I’d say, is AG Paxton’s official opinion (PDF file here or here), issued on June 28, 2015 in response to a request from LG Patrick, regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges and the Fifth Circuit’s order affirming that ruling in De Leon v. Abbott. Continue reading


Truth Bomb in SCOTUS

This comes from Texas Freedom Network‘s daily “News Clips” email:

"This Congress, your honor?"


Here’s a bit more context, via National Journal: Continue reading


What I’m Reading, April 28, 2014

klsgfx [Public domain, CC0 1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/)], via OpenclipartPlease, Please, Please: Do Not Make Your Kid The Center Of Your Universe, Cassie Murdoch, Jezebel, July 6, 2012

It’s impossible to say for sure that intensive parenting leads to depression and stress and being dissatisfied, but the links don’t really make sense if you flip them around. It’s also not clear whether intensive parenting has any great impact on the children, but Liss concludes that anything that makes moms depressed probably doesn’t benefit children in the long run. Plus, anecdotally some of us have observed that making your child the center of the universe tends to result in rather obnoxious offspring.

Justice Sotomayor accuses colleagues of thinking they can ‘wish away’ racial inequality, Robyn Pennacchia, Death and Taxes, April 23, 2014

Just yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the people of Michigan had the right, via mob rule, to ban the practice of Affirmative Action at state institutions such as the University of Michigan. It wasn’t a good ruling. Ever since the state voted to ban it, minority enrollment has declined significantly. Which is not surprising, because when you ignore unearned privileged and advantages, it’s hardly shocking when the priviledg and advantaged pull ahead. Obviously the person who starts the race in the middle of a marathon is going to have a better chance at winning.

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What to Do Post-McCutcheon

"Corporate PAC Campaign Contributions Have Tripled Over the Last Two Decades" by citizens4taxjustice [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)], via FlickrI haven’t read the actual McCutcheon opinion yet (if ever). To be honest , the minutiae of campaign-finance law makes my head hurt, mostly because of the system’s artificial and inane complexity. To be more honest, I have generally always accepted that campaigns with more money tend to win, but I’ve never really understood the mechanics of why. Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns & Money offers a bit of post-McCutcheon tough love that, I think, nails the real problem:

My thought on the McCutcheon case’s importance is as follows. Liberals need to quit whining about the money. I’m not saying the case isn’t a big deal. It is. But I am saying that the plutocrats have always had far more money than working people and they’ve always used it to control politics the best they can.


The problem today is that progressives believe the ballot box is where change is made, when in fact it is where change is consolidated. Organize on the ground to demand the change desired and the money can be overcome. But if you think a social movement is buying ad time on television or the right kind of media messaging, that’s a game that progressives are never going to win.

(Emphasis added)

How do political campaigns spend money? That’s actually a serious, non-rhetorical question. I know they pay for massive amounts of advertising, along with all the expenses of running a campaign. For the purposes of discussing how money influences politics, the advertising seems like the pertinent issue. Continue reading