Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts under ‘Show Business for Ugly People’

Wallace Jefferson is still going on about judicial elections

In an interview in The Atlantic, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson rides his favorite hobbyhorse of partisan judicial elections. I’ve been talking about this for a long time. And I am not the first one. Republican or Democrat Chief Justices for the last 30 or 40 years have been calling on the legislature […]

Castro v Patrick

Who do you think won? Democratic Mayor Julián Castro and GOP lieutenant governor candidate Dan Pat- rick of Houston clashed over immigration policy on Tuesday in a rowdy debate that left both politicians claiming victory. The politicians stood by the sharply different stances that brought them to their much ballyhooed face-off, at times in conciliatory […]

What’s the health insurance enrollment status in Texas?

The short answer is that we don’t know. The longer answer, as this Express-News story indicates, is that we’ll never really know. Self-sufficiency. Distrust. Desire for flexibility. Those are some reasons many consumers bypassed health insurance plans sold on government-run exchanges and instead chose to buy coverage directly from insurance agents or brokers before open […]

We really should have expanded Medicaid

We know it would have done a lot of good, at a very reasonable cost. Turns out that cost was even less than what we had been told. News reports and state officials have commonly stated that expanding the Medicaid program in this fashion would cost the state about $15 billion over 10 years. Except, that figure, provided […]

James O’Keefe is a lying liar

Don’t take my word for it. Listen to the special prosecutors that investigated the allegations by O’Keefe’s group Project Veritas made against Battleground Texas. A conservative activist’s allegations that Democratic group Battleground Texas illegally acquired voter information in San Antonio have been rejected by a Bexar County district court after a pair of special prosecutors […]

Would pot be a cash crop?

The Trib takes a serious look at Kinky Friedman’s campaign platform. Currently, it is illegal to grow and possess marijuana in Texas and most other states, and while hemp is legal for consumption, Texas and most other states do not allow farmers to grow it. Experts with experience in the legal pot industry in other […]

Always going backwards

That’s the Republican Party of Texas. When the Texas Republican Party made a guest worker program part of its 2012 platform, it was hailed as an important step forward for the party. The GOP needed to adjust itself, people said, to appeal to a new generation of Texas voters, and reorient itself toward some kind […]

Vote fraud by impersonation just doesn’t exist

I mean, if Greg Abbott can’t find it, who possibly could? Since taking office in 2001, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has called voter fraud an “epidemic,” and made cracking down on it a top priority. Now, as he runs for governor, he’s touting his ongoing battle to implement the state’s strict voter ID law, arguing […]

Pot polling

Our favorite pollsters aren’t optimistic about pot legalization despite some good looking poll numbers for it. In the February 2014 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, we asked respondents for their opinions on marijuana possession and gave them four options to choose from: “marijuana possession should not be legal under any circumstances;” “marijuana possession should be […]

The backlash to marriage equality

It’s been almost two weeks since a federal judge struck down Texas’ anti-gay marriage law. The sky hasn’t fallen, rivers continue to run downstream, dogs and cats are not cohabitating, and strangest of all, the Republican Party of Texas has not gone into full freakout mode. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a backlash coming, of […]

Perry’s No Jobs Tour continues

TrailBlazers takes the bait. Rick Perry is on the road again. But then, he’s rarely off it these days. This weekend, he’s in Western Kentucky at Murray State University to headline a Republican Party fundraiser. Then, it’s off to California to talk to their businesses about uprooting and moving en mass to the Lone Star […]

Once again, the cost of not expanding Medicaid

Short answer: It’s a lot. A team of Harvard researchers recently released a deeply sobering study quantifying how many Americans stand to die needlessly in the unflinching states hellbent on denying Medicaid expansion, as provided by the Affordable Care Act. The study singles out Texas: “In Texas, the largest state opting out of Medicaid expansion, […]

More Obamacare enrollments, still lots more needed

That’s pretty much the story. Texas enrollment in the online insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act rose steadily in February but did not meet expectations set forth by the Obama administration, according to figures that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released Tuesday. “As more Americans learn just how affordable marketplace […]

The Texas Future Project

Very interesting. High-powered Democrats from Texas and California have joined with national labor unions in an effort to mobilize out-of-state donors and raise millions of dollars to build a progressive majority in the Lone Star State that could change state policy and national elections. The Texas Future Project – that also will seek to convince […]

Harris County GOP to yell at cloud on Monday

Lone Star Q: Calling gay people “sodomites” and U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia a “would-be dictator,” the Harris County Republican Party announced it will host a news conference Monday morning in response to Garcia’s ruling Wednesday striking down Texas’ bans on same-sex marriage. The event at county GOP headquarters seems like a pretty obvious ploy […]

Don’t worry, Abbott and The Nuge are still besties

Everyone who thinks what happened last week was bad for his campaign is just too stupid to see the big picture. Right about the time Nugent was firing up the second crowd of North Texas voters last week in Wichita Falls, Abbott’s chief strategist, Dave Carney, wondered out loud on Twitter if the campaign’s Democratic […]

BGT fires back

Good for them. Allegations that Battleground Texas broke the law during its voter registration activities are “entirely without foundation,” the Democratic group wrote in a letter to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Tuesday. Dewhurst, citing a secretly recorded video of Battleground volunteers in Bexar County, had earlier called for a criminal investigation because of allegations […]

ACA enrollments top 200K in Texas

Despite continued fierce resistance from state leadership, people keep signing up for health insurance in Texas via the Healthcare.Gov exchange. Enrollment in the federal health insurance marketplace continued to steadily climb in January, according to data the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released Wednesday. In January, another 89,500 Texans selected a health plan […]

Montgomery County voting shenanigans

Fascinating story out of Montgomery County in which a handful of self-styled activists in Montgomery County attempt to register to vote in a Road Utility District (RUD), a taxing entity that has literally almost no voters, and wind up getting arrested on felony voter fraud charges. In May 2010, [Adrian] Heath, along with nine of […]

Gallup’s poll of Latinos in Texas

I have four things to say about this. Texas Hispanics are decidedly Democratic in their political party preferences, 46% to 27%, but that 19-percentage-point Democratic advantage is much smaller in Texas than the average 30-point gap Democrats enjoy among the Hispanic population in the other 49 states. And white Texas residents are decidedly more Republican […]

More on Texas Left Me Out

The Observer reports on the launch of Texas Left Me Out. Members of the coalition pointed to two different studies that estimate that thousands of uninsured Texans with chronic conditions are likely to die as a result of not expanding Medicaid. A Harvard University/CUNY study released last week predicts between 1,840 to 3,035 deaths. Another study, by a […]

The coverage gap

As you may know, the intent of the Affordable Care Act was to get people below a certain income level onto Medicaid, with people at or above that income level receiving subsidized health insurance via the exchanges. Unfortunately, when the Supreme Court ruled that the Medicaid expansion mandate was unconstitutional, it meant that in states […]

Cutting one’s nose to spite one’s face isn’t a matter of principle

It’s just stupid and self-destructive. Lots of conservative lawmakers hate Obamacare. Rep. Louie Gohmert is putting his money where his mouth is. The Tyler Republican gave up his health insurance for 2014, asserting that the president’s signature health care law, the Affordable Care Act, has made coverage too expensive. “Other people are going to see […]

Somewhat less onerous navigator rules published

They could have been worse, but they could still be better. The Texas Department of Insurance on Tuesday issued state regulations for health care “navigators,” the workers who assist people seeking health insurance in the federal marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act. The rules take into account some of the criticism aired recently by […]

ACA enrollments in Texas

As was the case with the rest of the country, there was a big surge in December. Texas enrollments in the online insurance marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act rose nearly eightfold in December, according to 2013 figures that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released Monday. Texas ranks third in the […]

Where are the women’s health providers?

The Republican jihad against Planned Parenthood continues to have real consequences. In 2011, under pressure from Republican leaders, state health officials began enforcing a provision lawmakers wrote to exclude Planned Parenthood and any clinics with organizational ties to abortion providers from the Women’s Health Program. At the time, Planned Parenthood clinics provided 40 percent of […]

Rick Perry doesn’t want people to get health insurance

There’s really no other viable explanation. On a White House conference call on Monday, Texas Democrats criticized Gov. Rick Perry and other Republican state leaders for “getting in the way” of implementing federal health care reform. During the call, which was organized by the White House to tout the impact of the Affordable Care Act […]

How Greg Abbott enabled the payday lenders

The Lone Star Project kicks it off: Abbott’s Green Light to Predatory Lenders Key AG document provided payday lenders a loophole to bilk Texans Greg Abbott’s office issued the key document that has allowed payday lenders to operate outside of Texas usury laws and exploit Texans across our state. A letter issued from the office of the Attorney General carefully […]

The fox has always guarded the henhouse

News item: Rick Perry appointee says something obnoxious and privileged about the people his company fleeces for his fortune. The official who oversees Texas’ consumer watchdog says payday-loan customers — not the lenders — are responsible when the loans trap them in a cycle of debt. William J. White says it’s out of line to […]

Wendy Davis is our Texan of the Year

From the Texas Progressive Alliance press release: The Texas Progressive Alliance, the nation’s largest state-based association of online and netroots activists, today named State Senator Wendy Davis recipient of its Texan of the Year Award for 2013. “Senator Davis’ actions this year made her a clear choice. Our vote was unanimous,” said Vince Leibowitz, Chair […]

Texas Left Me Out

This. Obamacare advocates are actively recruiting those left out of the Medicaid expansion in Republican-controlled states to lobby state officials to change their minds and participate in that key provision of the health care reform law. So far, the effort is most organized in Texas, which is also the state with the most people in […]

Who enforces voter registration requirements?

My guess upon reading this is in effect nobody. A combination of lax enforcement in the state’s election code, a faulty voter registration system and lack of leadership by state election officials have led to the disenfranchisement of thousands of Texans who faced challenges while registering to vote in the 2012 elections, according to a […]

The oldest established permanent floating ethics probe in the state

The Chief Justice of our State Supreme Court, ladies and gentlemen. Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, already the longest-serving member of the state’s highest civil court, has the dubious distinction of owning another record: the longest running appeal of a state ethics fine. With the case dragging into its fifth year, watchdog groups […]

Abbott’s CPRIT problem

Expect to hear a lot about this. A Travis County grand jury has indicted Jerry Cobbs, a former high-ranking official with the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, on charges that he unlawfully secured the execution of an $11 million grant for Peloton Therapeutics, a Dallas-based biotechnology firm. The Travis County Public Integrity Unit […]