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Posts under ‘Show Business for Ugly People’

The Sugarek/Jeffery family is back together

Wonderful news. Seven weeks after Child Protective Services caseworkers removed the boys following their foster mothers’ repeated complaints about suspected abuse by an older sibling living elsewhere in foster care, a CPS supervisor brought them back. The move followed a contentious court hearing and a series of private meetings in which the mothers say CPS […]

You get a severance! And you get a severance!

Everybody gets a severance package! Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush has spent nearly $1 million in taxpayer money to entice dozens of people fired by his administration to agree not to sue him or the agency, a practice that may run afoul of a ban on severance pay for state workers. Bush, a first-term […]

The Sheriff and Lord High Executioner of Edwards County

In case you haven’t already, you really need to read this: The first thing she noticed was Sheriff Pamela Elliott standing across the street. It was an August evening in 2014, and Rachel Gallegos had just gotten home for a meeting of the Edwards County Democratic Party. The law enforcement official was a highly unlikely […]

What, me worry?

Ken Paxton? Sid Miller? Meh, no big deal. Gov. Greg Abbott is steering clear of the legal problems swirling around two of his fellow Republican statewide officials, saying he does not know the facts of their cases and expressing little concern about their ability to serve. Speaking Wednesday afternoon with reporters, Abbott kept his distance […]

Sugarek/Jeffery foster family update

From Lisa Falkenberg: The drab little courtroom off the square in Wharton, with its blond wood, stoic flags and idle metal detector at the door, seemed like an alternative universe. Two Houston foster mothers who entered Thursday with anticipation and profound concern for the little boys recently removed from their home were jolted back by […]

Ken Paxton would like to remind you that he really is running for re-election

We all understand that’s what this is about, right? Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton warned Target this week that the company’s restroom policy could lead to criminal activity and demanded the retailer supply his office with its safety policies, stepping up his fight against transgender access to public accommodations of their choice. In a letter […]

Your increasingly regular Sid Miller update

What a piece of work this guy is. For years, a sticker affixed to more than 170,000 gas pumps in Texas featured a straightforward headline — “Fuel Feedback?” — alongside a toll-free number, email address and instructions for consumers with questions. But in his latest effort to remake the embattled Agriculture Department, Commissioner Sid Miller […]

Business as usual with the Texas Enterprise Fund

Raise your hand if this surprises you. In July of 2013, Gov. Rick Perry announced that he had closed another deal. Chevron would build a 50-story tower in downtown Houston next to one of its existing office buildings. The $662 million capital investment was slated to create 1,752 high-paying jobs. “The state is providing $12 […]

Why North Carolina and not Houston?

John Nova Lomax asks why Houston has not suffered the same backlash as North Carolina after the repeal of HERO last November. In the aftermath of the repeal of Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance in November, the bill’s proponents predicted dire economic consequences. Then-Mayor Annise Parker predicted a “direct, economic backlash” for the Bayou City. A #boycotthouston campaign […]

Ken who? Sid who?

Whatever you do, don’t mention the indicted Republican officeholders! The Texas attorney general has been indicted for allegedly duping investors in a tech startup, and the agriculture commissioner reportedly used tax dollars to travel to obtain a so-called Jesus shot supposedly offering long-term relief from pain. So far, fellow Republicans are all but ignoring the […]

You’ll take lower pay, ladies, and you’ll like it

From Lisa Falkenberg; Over at the Wall Street Journal, a 25-year newsroom union pay analysis found women earning 13.2 percent less, a finding that prompted the chief executive of parent company Dow Jones and Co. to vow an urgent review of salaries. Back in Texas last week, Gov. Greg Abbott gave a decidedly less urgent […]

The Chron looks at Rodney Ellis

Not a very flattering look. Over the past 26 years, state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, has voted to confirm gubernatorial appointments to the Lower Colorado River Authority, a powerful electric utility in Central Texas. During the same time, financial firms he either owned, worked for, or owned stock in have profited handsomely by helping underwrite […]

We haven’t heard the last of TMF

He’ll be back. State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer says he laments nothing about a failed gambit for the state Senate that will end his 16-year stint with the Texas Legislature. The boisterous San Antonio Democrat, however, is leaving office at the end of the year with a message: Don’t write off his political career just […]

More Congressional seats are likely on the way

If current trends continue, that is. Texas could pick up two, perhaps three, new congressional seats following the 2020 decennial Census if current population growth continues through the decade, political and demographic experts said Thursday. With continued growth in Texas’ four major metropolitan areas, they said, the state could almost match the gains it made […]

Paxton’s hack hire

What else do you expect? When Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton named Jeff Mateer as his new first assistant earlier this month, conservatives lauded him for a legal background that’s highlighted by his work on religious-liberty cases. But Mateer’s background is drawing fire from those who champion gay rights and church-state separation, particularly since the […]

Sid Miller and the Jesus Shot

I have three things to say about this. Less than a month after taking office, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller flew to Oklahoma City with a top aide, billing the taxpayers at least $1,120 for flights and a rental car, budget records show. At the time, Miller said he made the trip to tour the […]

Abbott lies about vote fraud

Ross Ramsay calls him out for it, much more politely than I would have. The governor of Texas thinks that fraud in the electoral system that put him and others in office is “rampant.” He can’t back that up. Greg Abbott was asked on Monday what he thought about President Obama’s throwdown last week on […]

Dan Wallach: The case for not letting everybody vote by mail

You know who Dan Wallach is by now. Voting systems and security are in his wheelhouse, and when he sent this to me in response to this, I was happy to queue it up. Vote by mail (VBM) is cheaper! It’s more enfranchising! Take your time and do it right! Yes, indeed, and why not […]

If you don’t have ID, you probably can’t get it

Just another reminder that our voter ID law sucks. At the time, civil rights groups and Democrats pointed out that hundreds of thousands of Texans lacked a driver license or other government-sanctioned forms of photo ID, and that cost and access could be a barrier to acquiring them. In one of the few concessions to […]

The case for letting everyone vote by mail

The Washington Monthly in an article written by a former Secretary of State for Oregon, lays it out. Presidential elections still attract a majority of America’s voters. For all other elections, however, democracy is mostly a spectator sport. In the 2014 midterms, just 83 million registered voters cast ballots—a nosedive of almost 10 million from […]

Hotze gets official hater status

Congratulations, I guess. After more than 30 years of anti-gay activism, Steven Hotze picked up the equivalent of a lifetime achievement award from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on Wednesday. The Alabama civil rights group labeled Hotze’s Conservative Republicans of Texas (CRT) an anti-LGBT hate group in its annual report on extremist organizations. Hotze, […]

Checking in on Battleground Texas

They’re still here. So where does [Lon] Burnam see Battleground Texas in his plan to be the first Texas Democrat elected to a statewide office since 1994? “No comment,” he said, before adding as he walked away, “In 20 years of public service, that’s the first time I’ve ever said that.” Burnam’s response echoed that […]

Complaint filed against Cruz campaign for “check enclosed” stunt

This ought to be fun. A liberal Texas political group has filed a formal complaint alleging that a recent fundraising solicitation mailed by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign violated state law. The solicitation came in an envelope featuring a return address in official government type and the words “check enclosed.” The “check” was a […]

Mary Beth Rogers’ prescription for Texas Democrats

I’m sure you’ve seen this article by Mary Beth Rogers, onetime campaign manager for Ann Richards, about how Democrats can compete and win statewide again. DEAR TEXAS DEMOCRATS… First, let’s get the numbers out of the way. Let’s use the analytics as a backdrop for all that we do, but not as the only factor […]

Our obsolete voting machines

From the Brennan Center: Executive Summary In January 2014, the bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration (PCEA) issued a stern warning that should be of grave concern to all Americans: There is an “impending crisis … from the widespread wearing out of voting machines purchased a decade ago. … Jurisdictions do not have the money […]

One million plus Texas Obamacare enrollments

It keeps going up. Just over one million Texans had signed up on the federal health insurance exchange as of last Saturday, signaling a steady drumbeat of interest and giving local advocates a chance for some celebration. “I will take it,” Ken Janda, president and CEO of Community Health Choice, a Houston-based non-profit health plan […]

Maybe we just shouldn’t have nativity scenes on government property

Seems like the obvious answer to me. A “winter solstice” display by the Freedom From Religion Foundation has been ordered removed from the Texas Capitol after Gov. Greg Abbott called it a “juvenile parody.” The display had been approved by the State Preservation Board, of which Abbott is chairman, after it was sponsored by state […]

State cuts off funds to Planned Parenthood for HIV testing

Seriously? Amid an ongoing battle over Planned Parenthood’s participation in the state Medicaid program, Texas health officials are cutting off funding to a Planned Parenthood affiliate for an HIV prevention program. In a notice received by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast late Monday, an official with the Department of State Health Services informed the Houston-based provider […]

The state was full of it all along on Planned Parenthood

Shocked, shocked I am. Almost two months after Texas Republican leaders announced they would kick Planned Parenthood out of Medicaid, it hasn’t happened. The organization is still receiving federal and state funds to provide health care for about 13,500 low-income women a year, and the state officials who called for a cutoff, including Gov. Greg […]

Just leave already

Seriously. State GOP leaders, in a predictable but closely watched vote, have defeated a proposal to ask Texas voters whether they favor secession. In a voice vote Saturday afternoon, the State Republican Executive Committee rejected a measure that would have put the issue on the March 1 primary ballot. The ballot language would have been […]

Feds say No to Abbott on refugees

What now, Greg? The federal government on Wednesday informed refugee resettlement agencies in Texas and across the country that states do not have the authority to refuse to accept Syrians. The statement, made in a letter obtained by the Houston Chronicle, appears to mark the first time federal refugee program officials formally have rejected statements […]

The Mexican abortion option, part 3

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Between 100,000 and 240,000 Texans have attempted to terminate their pregnancies without medical assistance, according to new research released Tuesday. Based on interviews and a statewide survey, the unprecedented study by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) estimates that between 1.7 and 4.1 percent of Texas women […]

Now who’s messing with religious freedom?

What is Greg Abbott’s beef with faith organizations? A prominent Texas faith organization signaled Friday that refugee resettlement agencies in the state may not comply with Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to turn away Syrian refugees, writing a letter “to express shock and dismay” with the directive. The governor’s order “constitutes an unprecedented attempt on the […]

The Dallas Equal Rights Ordinance

Buckle up. Chapter 46 of the Dallas City Code, which was passed in May 2002, makes it illegal to discriminate against someone based on sexual orientation. The ordinance, which applies to everything from employment to housing, has defined sexual orientation as “an individual’s real or perceived orientation as heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual or an individual’s […]