Wendy and the ‘A’ word

Abortion, that is. Peggy Fikac at the Houston Chronicle has the full story over State Senator Wendy Davis (D-Tarrant County), the Democratic nominee for Governor, and her perplexing stance on perhaps the most divisive political issue of the time: abortion.

Most will recall that Davis shot to international stardom following a 13-hour filibuster on abortion rights last June. She nearly singlehandedly killed a bill –later resurrected and passed– that would close the majority of abortion-providing clinics in Texas. Only after that spectacular event did Davis garner the star-power and name identification needed for a feasible run for Statewide office, namely Governor.

Have you ever seen a crowd like this for education?

The Chronicle article notes that Davis has now been enormously reluctant to bring up this issue, even sidestepping it when others mention it. Last year, she made the unfortunate decision to call herself “pro-life,” which appeared as nothing but insincere pandering.

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It’s a trap!

The Texas Tribune reports that a gaggle of Republican politicians, lead by State Senator Dan Patrick (R-Harris County), the GOP nominee for Lieutenant Governor, have began pushing for Governor Rick Perry to call a fourth special session of the Texas Legislature to deal with border security.

The Washington Post provides the needed background on this issue. There have been tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors illegally crossing the border, with some evidence that they are coming here because of deferred action programs delaying the deportation of minor undocumented immigrants. Anyways, the powers-to-be have quickly realized that something needs to be done. Breitbart notes that Perry has said that, given current budget constraints, he can do little over the issue.

Accordingly, enter State Reps. Jonathan Strickland (R-Tarrant County) and Steve Toth (R-Montgomery County). The two pushed for the Governor to call a fourth special session specifically devoted to border security. By the end of the day, Patrick had publicly signed onto the matter. Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, now a lame duck but still President of the Senate for the time being, also supported the measure via his Facebook page.

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John Castillo, 1939-2014

John Castillo, a member of the Houston City Council from 1996 to 2000, has passed away, reports the Houston Chronicle. Castillo, in addition to his duties as an elected official, was one of the most prominent Hispanic political activists in the City. His brother-in-law, Leonel Castillo, served as City Controller in the 1970s and later as the Director of the INS, both positions that John Castillo was instrumental in obtaining for him.

For every election that his brother-in-law or Ben Reyes won early on, advancing the cause of his community, Castillo was every bit as important from behind the scenes. “Leonel was the heart and soul of the Latino political movement, and John was the brains,” Reyes said about his mentor. Similarly conciliatory  in his comments was Marc Campos, a local political consultant. “Back in the ’70s, we didn’t really have mentors. We were all learning back then. He was probably the first real numbers guy we had,” Campos said.

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Judge Franklin

Local News reports that Alicia Franklin, a local attorney who defeated now-former Judge Denise Pratt in the Republican primary runoff last month following Pratt’s abrupt resignation, has officially been appointed to the bench by Governor Rick Perry. As many might recall, the 311th District Court was plagued by malfeasance and misfeasance on the part of the Pratt, who was simply one of the most incompetent jurists to grace the bench in my memory within the boundaries of Harris County.

When the work of being a judge got ahead of her, she began maliciously backdating orders in order to hide her ineptitude in office.  When the District Attorney’s office began investigating her, the case was referred to a Grand Jury, where she was no-billed. Not long thereafter, Pratt unilaterally dismissed hundreds upon hundreds of cases. Some of these cases involved very tenuous disputes involving child custody or even domestic abuse, and including temporary orders, making a solely political point tremendously irresponsible. The DA’s office began investigating him once more and was prepping yet another indictment when Pratt suddenly resigned. At that time, Pratt was in the midst of a runoff election with Franklin, after finishing with a plurality in the preliminary March primary, where she faced four opponents.

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Majority Leader race

None of these old dudes hold a candle to Jackie Sharp!

As I wrote about a few days ago, US House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) lost his primary to a disgruntled member of the Tea Party. Ostensibly, he would continue in that post until January of next year, but Cantor made headlines shortly thereafter by announcing his tentative resignation from the leadership post, effective upon the election of his successor, likely in the next six weeks. Immediately, a leadership scramble ensued between the “next in line,” Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and a slew of opponents, both more conservative and (possibly) more pragmatic.

First, the National Journal reported that Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Rep. Pete Session (R-TX), both Texas Republicans, had tossed their hats into the ring for Cantor’s post. Both are prominent members of the Tea Party and have not pulled many punches against the establishment. Accordingly, it did not make much sense the next day when both Texans promptly pulled out of the leadership race, leaving McCarthy as the only candidate. As the Majority Whip of the House, McCarthy holds the same position as Frank Underwood on the first season of House of Cards. However, unlike Underwood, who was (Spoiler Alert!!!) notoriously ruthless and even murderous to achieve his goals, McCarthy likes to compare himself to a camp counselor more than some sort of nefarious, Machiavellian villain.

But McCarthy WILL NOT be unopposed. Click here to see who is running against him!

Terrible, terrible poll

The Texas Tribune has released its newest poll, and the results continue to paint a bleak picture for the campaign of State Senator Wendy Davis (D-Tarrant County), the Democratic candidate for Governor. The poll has her down 12 points to Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate. The poll also examined Statewide races up and down the ticket and found that Democrats were doing miserably bad in all of them. Most all of these polls included Libertarian and Green candidates, for what it is worth. Additionally, undecideds boasted pretty good showings in all of these races, and the number only got bigger the further down the ballot one traveled.

As many will remember, the Tribune commissioned an extensive poll in February that was not worth the non-existent paper that is was not printed upon. Among the many terrible predictions it made was that Kesha Rogers and Debra Medina led the plurality in their respective primaries. Rogers barely squeaked into a runoff and Medina came in a distant last place in a race where one candidate (Hegar) won outright. I went after the Tribune with a wrench in the Daily Texan a couple days after the preliminary primary completely discredited their polling, noting that we should not waste our breath analyzing something so unreliable anymore.  As my friend Charles Kuffner noted yesterday, the Tribune polls should be “in time-out,” meaning that we have to very look at what they have to say quite critically.

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Perry, Abbott and the LGBT

The Dallas Morning News reports that Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), while in California, officially touting Texas’ economic success but unofficially already beginning a 2016 campaign for President, has made some extremely controversial comments. Perry compared homosexuality to alcoholism, admitting that many people may be genetically predisposed to it, but insisting nonetheless that great will-power be used to overcome the urges.

“I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way,” Perry said. Of course, alcoholism inherently kills you by poisoning your liver, whereas homosexuality does nothing to your physical health. In fact, every reputable psychological and medical association has confirmed that being gay is not a choice, nor does it inherently harm anyone.

Perry’s comments were combed over especially rigorously in light of the Texas Republican Party’s recent wobbles into gay bashing. As many will recall, the Texas GOP endorsed reparative therapies for gay people, a practice universally condemned as cruel and ineffective by the pertinent parties. Accordingly, I get the feeling that everyone is far more interested in these types of controversial statements on the part of people like Perry, even though he has largely said the same thing countless other times in recent years. After all, this is the same man who ran a television commercial lambasting active soldiers at Christmastime just because they were gay.

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