Let’s put a pin in that

I’m posting this here just so we remember his name. I have a feeling we’re going to hear more from him in the future.

Richard Spencer, white nationalist and creator of the term alt-right spoke in Texas A&M’s Memorial Student Center on December 6. Source: TheBatt.com

While he was giving his speech the university was hosting an “Aggies United” event across the street. Some 400 people attended Spencer’s speech – most were protesters and most of the protesters weren’t students at A&M. Many more attended Aggies United.

Just weeks after the Texas A&M speech, Spencer is still in national headlines:

  • Spencer is considering race for Senate
  • His mom is target of hate
  • White supremacists targeting Jews in Montana (His mom lives in Whitefish, Montana)
  • Alt-right Plans Armed March Through Montana Town To Scare Jews

Our Next President: Donald J. Trump

President Elect Donald Trump Today’s New York Times front page headline: “TRUMP TRIUMPHS Shocking Upset as Outsider Harnesses Voters’ Discontent.” The story’s headline echos the anti-establishment: Donald Trump Is Elected President in Stunning Repudiation of the Establishment. Source: New York Times

So there it is. I really don’t know what to say. Some headlines talk about “election hangover” or “now what” so let’s review and see what just happened. (Full disclosure, I didn’t vote for Trump or Clinton.)

On June 16, 2015, Donald Trump officially announced that he was running for President of the United States. His campaign slogan was “Make America Great Again.” Even from the beginning – from his first speech (he descended to the podium on an escalator in Trump Tower and mentioned Mexico sending rapists across the border) – controversy followed Donald, and he spewed hate-filled rhetoric.

On July 27, 2016, after the primaries, I wrote, the nominees have been chosen to represent their parties. Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, and making waves as the 3rd (and 4th?) party nominees are Gary Johnson for the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein for the Green Party.

In the past 6 months – since the primaries began – there’s been scandals, mudslinging, and a healthy dose of much-to-do-about-nothing. History has again been made with the nomination of Hillary as the first female nominee of “a major political party” for president. (Victoria Woodhull ran for president in 1872.) WikiLeaks leaked over 30,000 emails from the DNC – they showed a preference toward Hillary and motives to eliminate Bernie Sanders from the nomination. (Russian hackers got into the email server.) Donald, meanwhile, has been saying some radical things: he would (possibly) eliminate the World Bank; get Mexico to pay for a wall along our border with them; (possibly) not support NATO countries that don’t pay their share; he wants to talk with Putin, …

Hillary and Donald had 4 debates, he lost them all. He was trailing – even just a little – in polls most of the race. He lost the popular vote by 200,000 votes. But, in the end, he won the electorate. They’re still counting votes, but as of now he has 51%. Hillary conceded Wednesday morning thus making Donald J. Trump our 45th president.

I forgot to mention that Donald’s Vice President is Mike Pence. Remember his name I think we’ll see more of him.

Andrea Yates Where Is She Now

It’s been a little over ten years since Andrea Yates was found insane and I wrote about the verdict.

Fifteen years after drowning her five children in the bathtub of her suburban Houston home, Andrea Yates lives a reclusive life in a Texas mental health facility and frequently watches videos of her children laughing and playing, sources close to Yates tell PEOPLE. Source: People.com

It continues to be a sad end to a sad case.

Texas Voter ID Law and the 2016 Election

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said the [Texas Voter ID] law violates the Voting Rights Act.

On July 20, a federal appeals court found a Texas voter-identification law discriminates against blacks and Hispanics, and ordered that temporary remedies be put in place by the November election. Source: Wall Street Journal.

This is the same 5th Circuit Court that I wrote about last year (and the year before last) allowed Texas to keep the law because it was too close to elections to change it. Apparently, a couple weeks makes the difference in being too close to an election. The election is now 109 days away.

The lower court hasn’t fixed it in 2 years, so I don’t see them doing much with it now. They may follow the Wisconsin example and accept affidavits from affected voters who swear they can’t get a photo ID.

You’re hearing it here first: I predict someone will go to Mexico and “collect” a lot of signed affidavits from people that are unable to get government IDs. That’s right up there with the dead voting.

Yeah, there’s no room for fraud in an affidavit system.

Declaration of Independence

This 4th of July, as you’re munching on hot dogs and drinking ice-cold beer, take a moment to remember the reason for the season.

I think we should read the Declaration of Independence on July 4th like we read the Bible on December 25th. The same truths apply to today’s government as they did in 1776. The people and the politicians should always remember, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” And “…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government….”

Maybe Gary, Jill, Donald and Hillary should read it twice.

Texas GOP Votes On Secession [UPDATED]

TxSecede On Wednesday [May 11, 2016], the Platform Committee of the Republican Party of Texas voted to put a Texas independence resolution up for a vote at this week’s GOP convention, according to a press release from the pro-secession Texas Nationalist Movement. The resolution calls for allowing voters to decide whether the Lone Star State should become an independent nation….It’s very unlikely to win. Then again, that’s what people said about Donald Trump. Source: motherjones.com

With Donald Trump being the presumptive nominee of the GOP for the 2016 election – and Hillary Clinton is presumptive nominee of Dems – Texans, and Washington, might take this vote more seriously.

Texas did it before. Maybe this time it will stick. Secede-y’all-later folks!

UPDATE 5/16/2016:

As predicted, the committee voted down language of Texas secession. It wasn’t without a fight though. The secessionists and nationalists made their voices heard.

After much parliamentary wrangling and motions and counter-motions, the delegates voted to approve language about the federal government’s having “impaired our right of local self-government,” but voted down the language on Texas secession. Source: texasobserver.org

The latest political talking point (a distraction if you ask me) is the rights of transgendered individuals to use public bathrooms of the sex they identify with. Obama has threatened to revoke federal funding for public schools if states don’t support this idea in schools. The Texas GOP wasn’t having it.

“We urge the enactment of legislation addressing individuals’ use of bathrooms, showers and locker rooms that correspond with their biologically determined sex,” the document stated. Source: texastribune.org

The 2016 Primary Election in Texas

The date for the 2016 Primary election in Texas is March 1. Early voting is February 16 – 26.

Here’s a look at who’s on the ballot in Brazos County, Texas.

Asterisk (*) indicates incumbent. Strikethrough indicates withdrawn/drop-out.

President/Vice President

  • Martin J. O’Malley (D)
  • Star Locke (D)
  • Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente (D)
  • Bernie Sanders (D)
  • Calvis L. Hawes (D)
  • Willie L. Wilson (D)
  • Keith Judd (D)
  • Hillary Clinton (D)
  • Lincoln Chafee (D)
  • Lawrence Lessig (D)
  • Jim Webb (D)

U.S. House of Representatives (District 17)

  • Bill Flores (R)*
  • Ralph Patterson (R)
  • Kaleb Sims (R)
  • William Matta (D)

Texas House of Representatives (District 14)

  • John Raney (R)*
  • Jess Fields (R)

Texas Supreme Court

Place 3

  • Debra Lehrmann (R)
  • Michael Massengale (R)
  • Mike Westergren (D)

Place 5

  • Rick Green (R)
  • Paul Green (R)
  • Dori Contreras Garza (D)

Place 9

  • Eva Guzman (R)
  • Joe Pool (R)
  • Savannah Robinson (D)

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

Place 2

  • Mary Lou Keel (R)
  • Chris Oldner (R)
  • Ray Wheless (R)
  • Lawrence “Larry” Meyers (D)

Place 5

  • Sid Harle (R)
  • Steve Smith (R)
  • Scott Walker (R)
  • Brent Webster (R)
  • Betsy Johnson (D)

Place 6

  • Michael E. Keasler (R)
  • Richard Davis (R)
  • Robert Burns (D)

Texas Courts of Appeals (District 10)

Place 3

  • Al Scoggins (R)

Comptroller of Public Accounts

  • Debra Medina (R)
  • Glenn Hegar (R)*
  • Harvey Hilderbran (R)
  • Raul Torres (R)
  • Mike Collier (D)

Commissioner of the General Land Office

  • George P. Bush (R)*
  • David Watts (R)
  • John Cook (D)

Commissioner of Agriculture

  • Sid Miller (R)*
  • Eric Opiela (R)
  • J. Allen Carnes (R)
  • Joe Cotten (R)
  • Tommy Merritt (R)
  • Hugh Asa Fitzsimons III (D)
  • Jim Hogan (D)
  • Richard “Kinky” Friedman (D)

Railroad Commissioner

  • Weston Martinez (R)
  • John Greytok (R)
  • Gary Gates (R)
  • Ron Hale (R)
  • Lance N. Christian (R)
  • Wayne Christian (R)
  • Doug Jeffrey (R)
  • Lon Burnam (D)
  • Cody Garrett (D)
  • Grady Yarbrough (D)

Texas State Board of Education Member (District 8)

  • Barbara Cargill (R)*

District Courts – Brazos County

272nd District Court Judge

  • Travis Bryan III (R)*

85th District Attorney – Brazos County

  • Jarvis Parsons (R)*

Sheriff – Brazos County

  • Chris Kirk (R)*
  • Miguel C. Vasquez (R)

Tax Assessor-Collector

  • Kristeen Roe (R)*

County Commissioner Pct. 1

  • Lloyd Wassermann (R)*
  • Steve Aldrich (R)

County Commissioner Pct. 3

  • Gabriel Garcia (R)
  • Nancy Berry (R)

 Read More

Voter ID’s and Elections

8-6--8-12-forcastAs we enter the hottest days of of the year – the forecast calls for at least 7 days of 100+ F temperatures – the arguments of last year’s election and the Texas Voter ID law is starting to heat up too.

To recap, last year I wrote in Voter ID Law in Texas:

On Tuesday, October 14, the Texas GOP successfully appealed the blocked law.

The ruling by a three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals allows the law to be used in the November election, despite a lower judge’s ruling that the law is unconstitutional. The 5th Circuit did not rule on the law’s merits; instead, it determined it’s too late to change the rules for the election. Source abcnews.com

They said while it may cause harm to some voters, the greater harm would come from disrupting the election statewide.

Yesterday, the same 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Texas law “runs afoul of parts of the federal Voting Right Act…”

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 2011 Texas law runs afoul of parts of the federal Voting Rights Act – handing down the decision on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the landmark civil rights law. Source: AP.org

However, the court sent the law back to the lower courts to fix the discriminatory effects. Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General, said the law will stand. Ironically, he’s currently under indictment for felony securities fraud. Suffice it to say, this issue isn’t finished.


First-GOP-debate-2015Speaking of things heating up, the 2016 presidential election, which is 459 days away, is getting started with the first GOP debate tonight – brought to you by (they chose 10 debaters based on the highest average of 5 polls) and broadcasted on Fox News. The 10 are Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and John Kasich. The number of potential GOP candidates is overwhelming – something like 39 have declared!

With all the drama, this is starting to look like a reality tv show: Survivor or Big Brother or America’s Got Talent. “Retiring” Jon Stewart said it best on his show last night, “[Fox News] will decide the next leader of the free world…WTF is going on here!”

I have a feeling this election is going to be colossal – colossally expensive, and a colossal waste of time on commercials. Hillary Clinton (don’t get me started) is going to start running ads this week. Did I mention we’re 459 days away from the election.

UPDATE:

20150820-deeznutsA surging Independent candidate, Deez Nuts, is taking the polls – and the world – by storm. A 15-year-old boy from Iowa registered as a candidate under the name Deez Nuts, and the Internet loves him. The name trended on Twitter for a day. Everybody wants to know more about him. His real name is Brady Olsen.

This picture is a screen shot from the coverage of the North Carolina poll held August 20, 2015.

Texas Passes Open Carry and Campus Carry Bills

Texas passed the “Open Carry” bill (HB910) and the “Campus Carry” bill (SB11) on May 31, 2015; they’re waiting Governor Abbott’s signature.

Starting January 1, 2016, you can carry any handgun openly or concealed as long as you are licensed by Texas or a state with reciprocity. By law, the handgun must be carried in a “shoulder or belt holster.” Long arms do not require a license.

The campus carry bill is set to go into effect August 1, 2016, for four-year institutions, and August 1, 2017, for public junior colleges.

Under the current version of the bill, university presidents will establish “reasonable rules, regulations, or other provisions regarding the carrying of concealed handguns,” on campus. However, the bill clearly states that universities may not establish “general prohibitions” on concealed carry. Source: TheBatt.com

There was a lot of debate about an amendment to the open carry bill that would prevent law enforcement from stopping a person who is open carrying just because they are open carrying – to have them show their license. Proponents said it was a violation of the U.S. Fourth Amendment. Opponents said it would hinder law enforcement’s ability to do their job or keep the public safe. In the end the amendment was removed.

I can think of a catch 22 scenario where a person is forced to show their gun license: if a licensed person, who open carries, is stopped by a LEO under the suspicion that a crime is about to occur – that crime is failure to identify yourself as a gun license holder.

If the person doesn’t show their license then the LEO was right in their suspicion and they can arrest the person; they’ll search the person and find their license. If the person does show their license the LEO checks it and sends them on their way. Either way the LEO forced the person to identify.

All in all I glad the Texas legislature passed these bills. We’re living in times were force is sometimes required. There have been many instances where I said “that would have ended differently if only a (responsible) gun owner was present.” We shall see what the future holds for these laws – will the help or make things worse.

Open Carry In Texas One Step Closer

After turning back last-minute attempts to let city voters opt out, the Texas House gave final approval Monday to legislation allowing gun owners with concealed weapons licenses to carry their side arms openly.

House Bill 910, by Rep. Larry Phillips, R- Sherman, passed on third reading 101-42. Similar legislation has already passed the Senate, and Gov. Greg Abbott has promised to sign open carry legislation. Source: Texas Tribune

Back in January, I was watching SB11 and HB937, relating to concealed carry on college campuses, but thanks to lobbying by Open Carry Texas and the NRA, SB11 and HB910 seem to be doing well. Both bills would relax the concealment requirement of the Concealed Handgun License (CHL) holders.