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Posts under ‘Show Business for Ugly People’

Paxton’s cronies

This guy really is a piece of work. When seeking a job at the Texas attorney general’s office, it’s less about what is on your résumé than who you know. In Attorney General Ken Paxton’s first weeks in office, he filled his higher ranks with at least 14 people connected to him and other prominent […]

Wilson thwarted again

Dave Wilson’s latest troll job: applying for a spot in the annual Pride parade. It did not go well. Wilson told me he received preliminary approval to appear in the parade, and paid $805 in fees. He said he crossed out portions of the contract that said he supports LGBT equality. He planned to drive […]

The next steps for equality advocates

Marriage equality will be a huge step, but there are many more steps to be taken. The newly launched Texas Wins campaign—a multiyear, multimillion-dollar effort—aims to increase the number of LGBT Texans protected by local nondiscrimination ordinances. “We want to take the momentum for LGBT equality coming out of the session, build on it, and […]

On judicial elections and campaign finance

Ross Ramsey raises an interesting point. It might seem silly to elect people who promise they won’t represent you, their political party or their donors, but that’s what we expect judges to do. They’re supposed to apply the law, and if they do any of those other things, they’re probably out of line. Florida elects […]

Pointless pastor protest

Where to even begin? Some prominent Houston church leaders put their names on a full-page open letter to the U.S. Supreme Court in major U.S. newspapers, promising to defy the court should it decide same-sex marriage is a civil right. Pastor Gregg Matte of Houston’s First Baptist Church, Pastor Dave Welch of the U.S. Pastor […]

Sid Miller confirms that he’s a joke

Sadly, the joke’s on us. Across the U.S., officials waking up to the nation’s obesity epidemic have been moving to cut down on unhealthy food in schools. Not in Texas. Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller announced Thursday that schools around Texas, one of the states struggling most with childhood obesity, soon will regain the right to […]

Maybe Ratliff won’t step down from the SBOE after all

Just when he thought he was out, they (might) pull him back in. Gov. Greg Abbott appointed a social conservative and former staffer for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to chair the Texas State Board of Education on Thursday. Donna Bahorich will lead the 15-member board, whose duties include setting curriculum standards and approving the textbooks […]

Why don’t younger people vote in local elections?

It’s a great and confounding question, isn’t it? The folks at the Knight Foundation tried to answer it. Local government often has more real-world impact on the everyday lives of citizens than other levels of government. Police departments, libraries and schools all fall under local government jurisdiction, and for homeowners, local government significantly afects their […]

Further lessons in throwing money at dishonest people

It’s so sad seeing such savvy businessmen being so badly fleeced, isn’t it? A second major donor to the conservative group that secretly recorded elected officials and lobbyists says he stopped providing financial support after growing dissatisfied with how his money was being used. Anthony Holm, a staple in Texas conservative circles and a consultant […]

A brief lesson in the value of disclosure and transparency

I confess, I have not been following the “wingnut activists videoing everyone at the Capitol” clown show very closely, but the absurdity of it all has been kicked up to the point where I couldn’t ignore it any more. The activist group employing people who have been secretly recording lawmakers have talked about having a […]

Another redistricting update

Once again from Russ Tidwell, writing at Letters from Texas. The three judge federal panel in San Antonio is nearing a final decision on redistricting litigation for the Texas House and congressional delegation. As previously discussed here, multiple weeks of trial have provided a mountain of evidence of intentional discrimination and dilution of the opportunity […]

Point/counterpoint on online voter registration

Point. Texans can use www.Texas.gov for nearly 1,000 services, such as applying for concealed handgun licenses and driver records, and renewing driver licenses, vehicle registrations and many state-required professional licenses. It is time to allow Texans to use this proven, secure online portal to register voters. Online voter registration does not allow online voting. Under […]

No, seriously, expand Medicaid or else

Bring. It. On. The federal government is officially holding state leaders’ feet to the fire, hoping to get Texas to expand its Medicaid program to provide health insurance to more low-income Texans. Federal officials called the state’s health agency this week to say that Texas’ reluctance to expand Medicaid — a key tenet of President […]

Vote centers in Fort Bend

I continue to like this idea. Voters may get more flexibility on Election Day as Fort Bend become the largest county in the Houston area to consider moving away from precinct polling sites. “A voter could vote at any location on Election Day just like they do in early voting,” said John Oldham, Fort Bend’s […]

State-run Women’s Health Program continues to be a failure

Quelle surprise. Thousands fewer women are getting health services through the now state-run Women’s Health Program after Planned Parenthood was barred from being a provider. A report released Monday by the state Health and Human Services Commission showed that almost 30,000 fewer women were served through the program in 2013 than in 2011, and 63,581 […]

The At Large trend

From Think Progress: Yakima, WA is one-third Latino, but a Latino candidate has not been elected to the city council for almost 40 years. Santa Barbara, CA is 38 percent Latino, but only one Latino has been elected to its council in the last 10 years. And Pasadena, TX is 43 percent Hispanic, but the […]

The scared institution of marriage

Smell the fear and desperation. Several hundred Christian fundamentalists gathered on the south steps of the Capitol today in a rally that was less about the defense of traditional marriage than about preparing for civil disobedience if, as expected, the U.S. Supreme Court later this year declares bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Beneath a sweltering […]

Republicans demand something for nothing on Medicaid

Um, okay. Leading Texas Republicans on Monday asked the Obama administration for greater flexibility to administer Medicaid — a move that has gotten little traction in the past — while reiterating that they would not participate in an expansion of the program under the Affordable Care Act. “Any expansion of Medicaid in Texas is simply […]

Voter fingerprint ID

This has superficial appeal, but I don’t believe it holds up under close scrutiny. Fingerprints can now be used to unlock smart phones, car engines, even guns. Why not ballots, too? A New Mexico legislator has just proposed that his state’s election officials study the feasibility of a biometric voter identification system. The idea is […]

Abbott waffles on vaccinations

Come on, dude. Weighing in on a national debate, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made clear this week that he supports laws that include exemptions to requirements that parents vaccinate their children. “Abbott recognizes the public health benefits of vaccines and encourages all parents to have their children vaccinated, as he and the First Lady did […]

We still have those outsourcing blues

We never learn from history. That’s just how we roll in this state. In 1991, the Texas attorney general’s office signed an $11 million contract to computerize its child-support payments system. By 1997, the deal with Andersen Consulting had ballooned to more than $68 million and was three years behind schedule. A state audit found […]

How the appraisal game is rigged

The Observer tells the tale of how we got to where we are with the appraisal process and how easy it is for the big boys to get their taxes drastically reduced. At the heart of Valero’s lawsuits in Moore County was a complicated question: What is a refinery worth? For that matter, what is […]

Local control, schmocal control

From Lisa Falkenberg: So, let me get this straight. Government is the problem, not the solution. It’s a bumbling bureaucracy run by tyrants, cronies and other self-important suits who think they know better than you or I how to live our lives – UNLESS, of course, that bumbling bureaucracy operates under a pink dome on […]

From the Bad Editorial Timing department

From the Houston Chronicle Saturday edition: State Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, called Harris Health’s impending budget shortfall “one more casualty of Texas not participating in the Medicaid expansion. “We could at least stop the bleeding if we had the additional Medicaid funding,” said Coleman. “Treating people without insurance cards, particularly county hospitals but private hospitals, […]

Same sex marriage ads on your TV

In case you missed it. The national same-sex marriage advocacy group Freedom to Marry will air a series of television ads in Texas this week, with the aim to personalize the issue ahead of an important federal hearing Friday. The $100,000 TV buy will air Sunday and Monday, just days before the 5th Circuit Court […]

Does any of this sound like “Medicaid Expansion” to you?

So Wonkblog, TPM, and BOR, all riffing off the same news story in which Greg Abbott had a clandestine meeting with Houston-area legislators and may have said some things that made them think he might be open to “Medicaid expansion”, are all talking about it as though it’s a thing that could happen. Here’s Wonkblog, […]

How much do payday lenders suck?

This much. Pursuing, or even threatening, criminal charges against payday and title borrowers is strictly prohibited by Texas law, with very few exceptions. The Texas Constitution unequivocally states, “No person shall ever be imprisoned for debt.” But new research released this morning by Texas Appleseed shows that criminal charges against payday borrowers for missing payments […]

Abbott puts on a moderate act

He cares about education! During a Capitol news conference in which he announced the selection of his senior staff, Gov.-elect Greg Abbott said Monday that education will be his top policy priority. Abbott said he wants to improve the educational foundation that students receive in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade. “I want to ensure that all […]

Bag fees versus bag bans

Interesting. If you live in Washington, you know the drill: After bagging your groceries, the checkout machine asks you how many bags you used. And if you used plastic or disposable bags (rather than bags you brought on your own), you have to pay 5 cents per bag. The District passed a law requiring as […]

SBOE adopts history textbook changes it hasn’t read

Awesome. After adopting hundreds of pages in last minute updates and corrections, the Texas State Board of Education approved new social studies textbooks Friday. All but the five Democrats on the 15-member board voted to accept products from all publishers except Worldview Software, which they rejected because of concerns over factual accuracy. “When I think […]

It’s OK if energy costs go up for now

That’s my reaction to this. As Texas regulators weigh a response to President Obama’s proposal to combat climate change, the operator of the state’s main electric grid says the plan would raise energy costs and threaten reliability – particularly in the next few years. In an analysis released Monday, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) […]

SBOE defers new textbook decision

They’re funny even when they’re not trying to be. After an afternoon spent wrangling over the proper definition of jihad and the influence of Moses on the Founding Fathers, it was Common Core that ultimately derailed the State Board of Education’s initial vote on giving a stamp of approval to new social studies textbooks Tuesday. […]

It’s textbook approval time again

You know what that means, because we can’t do this sort of thing without controversy and a generous side order of knuckleheadedness. Bowing to public pressure, the world’s largest textbook publisher has revised misleading language on global warming in a proposed Texas reader. But another major imprint has yet to do the same, worrying scientists […]

Even Rick Perry appointees back Medicaid expansion

It’s just the right thing to do. A board of medical professionals appointed by Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday that the state should provide health coverage to low-income Texans under the Affordable Care Act — a move the Republican-led Legislature has opposed. The 15-member Texas Institute of Health Care Quality and Efficiency recommended that the […]