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Thursday, November 6, 2014
Top 10 Midterm Election Hangover Cures
  1. We get it. The 2014 election felt like this:

  2. It's ok to get angry.

  3. And maybe a little drunk.

Thursday, November 6, 2014
Rick Perry Indictment Pre-Trial

Governor Rick Perry is due in court for his second pre-trial hearing today. At issue is Perry’s veto of millions of state dollars to the office of the Travis County District Attorney after she failed to heed his demand for her resignation. The veto subsequently derailed 400 felony investigations committed against the State of Texas.

Here’s an update on what’s gone down since he was booked on a two-count felony indictment in August:

  • Reprimanded and accused of mocking the justice system: After remarks at a press conference in which Rick Perry responded to the indictment by stating “those responsible will be held to account,” he was issued a stern warning from the courts. Judge Julie Kocurek said that the only people the Governor could be referring to as being held accountable are the grand jurors, the judge and the prosecutor. In issuing her warning, she cited the section of the Texas Penal Code that outlaws retaliation against a grand juror—a second-degree felony. Third felony’s the charm, right? Citing the circus Rick Perry’s legal defense team created around his booking at the courthouse, special prosecutor Michael McCrum commented that he’d “never seen a defendant make such a mockery of our system of justice.” 
  • Continues to threaten grand jury: Perry’s defense team has since requested transcripts from the grand jury investigation. These transcripts would identify the grand jurors involved in his indictment: “There's also a risk the governor, armed with a transcript, would retaliate against anyone associated with the grand jury process, prosecutors argued. ‘In particular, the defendant's own words have instilled a concern for all persons who participated in the grand jury investigation.’" Continue reading this post »

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

In 2014, progressives saw the successful rebuilding of our grassroots base, including increased funding, a more sophisticated online presence and growing memberships. Organizations like ours will carry that momentum beyond the election.

We know that overcoming the Republican advantages of fundraising and infrastructure is going to take time, and this year’s collective organizing reflects long-term efforts to build a more progressive Texas.

Put simply, progressives are ahead of schedule in 2014. Continue reading this post »

Friday, October 31, 2014
Five Reasons We Support Austin's Prop 1

We support Austin's local bond proposition, commonly known as Prop 1 - the plan for starting our local rail transit. We support Prop 1 because it is a strong first step towards solving our long-term traffic solutions.

As the Austin Chronicle wrote in their endorsement for Prop 1:

"We believe it's a good first [rail] line that responds to the city's projected growth; we also believe it's a potentially fatal mistake to wait for a perfect consensus (which is never possible, anyway)."

We agree with the Austin Chronicle, along with countless other progressive groups, that Prop 1 sets us on the path we need to go to address Austin's long-term transportation needs. Continue reading this post »

Friday, October 31, 2014
Greg Abbott Pals Around With Some Creepy People
Over the years, one thing I've heard people say about political candidates is that "they'll be good leaders if they surround themselves with good people." It tells you something about the central figure: the company they keep is a reflection of themselves.
 
In the race for Texas Governor we've seen Republican Greg Abbott associate himself with a cast of characters that are unlikely to be invited to anyone's house, so why would we invite them to have a direct line into the State House?
 
Here is a quick list of who Abbott has surrounded himself with this year:
 
Ted Nugent, a rock and roller who is now better known for inflammatory comments than he is for playing the guitar. Earlier this year Nugent had to apologize for calling President Obama a "subhuman mongrel." When a reporter asserted that such phrasing was Nazi terminology, PolitiFact looked in to the claim and rated it true. Abbott hosted Nugent at a campaign event, leading media from all around Texas to question Abbott's judgement, with the Texas Monthly writing that "it reveals Abbott, at the very least, as someone who doesn't have acute political judgement."
 
Eric Erickson, the editor-in-chief of RedState.com and the man who coined the phrase "Abortion Barbie." Abbott appeared at the Red State Gathering in Fort Worth early this year. Erickson's 2014 greatest hits go on to include public statements such as "the male of the species is dominant," and that women who work are "hurting children, and it's going to have impact for generations to come." He continued that "I don't view it as judging, I view it as a statement of fact." Even the conservative Fox News took him to task on these comments, when host Megyn Kelly gave him the what-for
 
Dennis Bonnen, the Speaker Pro Tempore of the Texas Legislature, who was worked together with Abbott for years. Over the summer Bonnen apologized after being recorded using a racial slur during a committee hearing while referring to child refugees from Hurricane Katrina.
Continue reading this post »

Friday, October 31, 2014
Healthcare Is Always on the Ballot

Ed. note: the following is cross-posted from the Texas Organizing Project.

This year, Texas voters are hearing a lot about the issue of healthcare. It’s an important subject that touches peoples lives every day - not just in election years and not just this year.

Governor Rick Perry’s refusal to participate in Medicaid expansion has left more than 2 million Texans without access to affordable health care. This course of inaction, which is now supported by Republican gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott, is a painful example of how Republicans are placing ideology before public policy.

Their actions have created a “coverage gap” for more than one million Texans - those who work and get paid too little to qualify for subsidies but earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. The coverage gap includes veterans and their spouses, and those who are the vast majority of Texas’ growing economy: workers in retail, construction, child care, hospitality, and food service.

Even though passage of the Affordable Care Act increased access to affordable health care, working families still have trouble affording the preventative care and routine check-ups that defend against expensive “emergency” procedures. Without expanding Medicaid, these one million Texans in the gap can’t get subsidies to help cover these costs that low-income working families in other states have access to. Even Republican strongholds such as Arizona, Arkansas and Kentucky have adopted a form of affordable care to serve those most vulnerable.

Refusing to expand Medicaid also leaves $100 billion in federal dollars on the table. Leaving taxpayer money in the hands of the federal government means we are paying twice for health care - in higher taxes at the local level to cover uncompensated costs of the uninsured, and in federal taxes that aren’t coming home to Texas.

Continue reading this post »

Friday, October 31, 2014
What the Candidates Say About Marijuana Policy Reform

This election season, let’s be honest about marijuana policy reform in Texas.

We know that marijuana is common. There have been thousands of studies on the subject. It is used by people of all backgrounds for medical purposes. It can be a taxable product that brings in overwhelming revenue.

And it’s gaining popular support: polling shows that more than 60% of Texans favor laws that reduce possession laws from criminal offenses to civil offenses (which is commonly referred to as “decriminalization”), while 58% support medical marijuana laws in Texas.

Yet the subject scares some politicians. They still find it hard to believe that we finally live in age where people are coming around on this issue. But we know it, you know it, and it’s likely that nearly everyone you talk to knows it.

The fear some politicians have is causing us to deny cancer patients the use of helpful medicine. And our tax dollars are being used to overcrowd prisons with non-violent offenders who are doing hard time for petty crimes - such as carrying a joint.

The only way we can affect change is by voting.

Continue reading this post »

Thursday, October 30, 2014
Politifact: Abbott Paved Way for Nearly 200% Predatory Lender Growth

Politifact confirmed what we knew was true all along: As Attorney General, Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate for Governor, approved a legal loophole that allowed his donors in the predatory lending business to run rampant, gouging Texans across the state.

“Abbott's office reaffirmed a way for politically supportive payday lenders to squeeze Texas borrowers.”

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