It Takes More than Boots

I’ll believe that Ms. Burton stands for life when I see her vote to restore funding to our schools, to vote for a budget that increases funding for child protective services and that assures that low-income women have access to cancer screenings restored. Until then, her boots are nothing more than a kitschy statement that stand for the proposition that she believes it’s OK to pick and choose between which constitutional freedoms we’ll defend, and which we’ll ignore.

Wendy Davis, on the “Stand for Life” cowboy boots worn by her replacement in the Texas Senate, Konni Burton.

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Greg Abbott isn’t saying much, and that can only help him

I made a Storify about Greg Abbott’s campaign strategy (major h/t to Andrea Grimes), which involves not saying much and doing a bit of gaslighting. Continue reading

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“Texas Doesn’t Belong to Them”

Last summer, I expressed my sincere view that we progressives are not stuck here in Texas with those who would impose their own narrow religious views on everyone in this state and have the audacity to call it freedom. Those people are stuck here in Texas with us.

I am a Texan, born, raised, and flag-waving, and if you try to say otherwise, bless your heart, you can go  to hell.

While she is far more diplomatic about it, it seems Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis agrees with me, according to this e-mail I received today:

This month has been quite a start to the election year. Our opponents are showing exactly how low they’re willing to go to keep their stranglehold on power. But Texas doesn’t belong to them. It belongs to each and every person who lives here. Every student struggling to get ahead. Every family working to put food on the table. Every child who dreams of a future that’s filled with possibilities. Texas deserves leadership that understands and respects their stories -- not leaders that attack them.

This month has been quite a start to the election year. Our opponents are showing exactly how low they’re willing to go to keep their stranglehold on power.

But Texas doesn’t belong to them. It belongs to each and every person who lives here. Every student struggling to get ahead. Every family working to put food on the table. Every child who dreams of a future that’s filled with possibilities.

Texas deserves leadership that understands and respects their stories — not leaders that attack them.

[Emphasis added]

Contribute to Wendy’s campaign (or volunteer) if you want to help make Texas a better place for everybody (even the religious folk who might not appreciate it at first.)

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Stop Trying to Make “Hail Satan” Happen, Greg Abbott

Satan School Girl (South Park)Greg Abbott never could decide exactly how to respond to the stunt planned by his former staffer, Lorenzo Garcia, who is currently the UT chapter chair of Young Conservatives of Texas. As Joe Deshotel describes at Burnt Orange Report, he first threw Garcia under the bus, but then decided this was a good opportunity for political cheap shots. Most notable, of course, was his attempt to resurrect the “Hail Satan” nontroversy from this summer. He couldn’t even do that right, of course, claiming that it was a series of chants during Wendy Davis’ filibuster. It actually occurred during the protests that started with the second special session, and by all appearances it was actually a handful (at most) of kids who clearly did not realize that many people would actually take them seriously.

I tried to find any media coverage of the incident that wasn’t overblown and sensational. U.S. News and World Report called it heckling, which seems fair. The Blaze offered a grudgingly fair assessment with a shout-out to the nutters: “Obviously, it is much more likely that the abortion supporters were chanting ‘Hail Satan!’ to mock pro-lifers rather than actually hailing Lucifer, but anything is possible.” Of course, Natural News (via Infowars, of course), let the crazy fly:

Obviously, not all abortion activists are Satan worshippers, but you’ll notice that none of them have denounced the Satanists, either. By failing to denounce it, they effectively embrace and welcome Satan worship as part of their cause. [Emphasis in original.]

Somewhat hilariously, the episode drew the ire of actual Satanists: Continue reading

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Wendy Davis Totes Saved Greg Abbott on Election Day…..Or Did She?

Domenichino [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsTexas Attorney General, presumptive 2014 Republican gubernatorial nominee, and general dweeb Greg Abbott might not have been allowed to vote Tuesday because of a voter ID law that he vigorously endorsed. His driver’s license has a different name than his voter registration. One says “Greg Abbott,” while the other says “Gregory Wayne Abbott.” Since we have to ensure that people have the same name on both documents (or else the terrorists win or something), this would have prevented him from voting altogether, but for an amendment to the law from State Senator and 2014 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis. Her amendment allows a person to vote anyway if they sign an affidavit confirming that both names are correct.

Of course, in-person voter fraud is not exactly an epidemic. One of the most prominent organizations supporting voter ID laws, True the Vote, states on their page “The Reality of Voter Fraud,” that “64 percent of Americans believe voter fraud is a serious problem.” Note that this is an opinion poll, not a statistic on actual investigations or convictions for actual voter fraud. The page goes on to cite more opinion polls, mostly Fox News and Rasmussen, but no actual statistics that would, you know, show actual voter fraud. They do add in a bit of anecdata, with the obligatory slam on ACORN, and a single incidence of alleged voter fraud, Hazel Woodard James of Forth Worth. James was indicted for conspiracy to arrange in-person voter fraud in May 2012:

Hazel Woodard James, 40, is accused of arranging for her son — who was not a registered voter — to vote on behalf of his father. The incident reportedly came to light when the father showed up later in the day to vote in the same precinct, 1211, for which James is now running to be chairwoman.

Now, I’m not trying to minimize the severity of the allegations against James, in part because I don’t think the severity can get much more minimal. Allegedly illegal, of course, but not exactly cause for a major overhaul of the voting system.

I tried to find any information on James’ case after early May 2012, but nothing comes up in a Google search, the Tarrant County Clerk (which would have the case if it is a misdemeanor) has no records, and the District Clerk (if it’s a felony) does not have online search capability. I don’t know if she was convicted or acquitted, if she entered a plea, if the state dismissed the case, or even if the state ever pursued a case in the first place. The news media saying she was “indicted” doesn’t tell me much of anything. I will try to follow up on this. At any rate, Greg Abbott does not have the best track record when it comes to identifying actual convictions for voter fraud in Texas, and neither do other proponents of voter ID laws.

My theory, which I completely made up from my own imagination, is that Greg Abbott wanted to get turned away at the polls, which would make him a martyr to the cause of fighting in-person voter fraud. Wendy Davis screwed all of that up, though. He would have proudly ridden across the plains of Texas, tilting at the mighty windmills of fraudulent voters for the greater cause of liberty—if it weren’t for that meddling Wendy. I say we should support Greg Abbott in his quixotic quest, perhaps by encouraging him to do something about Texas’ serious unicorn problem.

Photo credit: Domenichino [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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Texas Monthly is playing it safe

The latest issue of Texas Monthly arrived in the mail today:

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I really can’t blame the magazine for adhering to the “red state” paradigm. Progressives are generally viewed as mythical beings in Texas, except when they are making too much noise to ignore. Besides that, the editors have better things to do than sift through the petabytes of psychotic, barely-literate RWNJ screeds that would follow anything remotely nice about liberals and progressives. A Greg Abbott victory might not actually be inevitable, but an onslaught of keyboard poundings from the mouth-breathing class most certainly is.

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Welcome to Our Dystopia: The Health and Freedom of Millions of Texas Women Depends on One Woman Talking Nonstop for 13 Hours

There is something very dystopian about the notion that the health, dignity, and safety of millions of women rests on the back of one woman, who must stand and talk without water or bathroom breaks for thirteen hours, in order to protect said women. Margaret Atwood didn’t write this. This is real. This is the Texas lege.

Monique Daviau, on Texas Sen. Wendy Davis’ 13-hour filibuster, currently in progress

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