Tag Archives: Texas

Best Quotes of the Week – June 19, 2021

President Joe Biden points to Opal Lee after signing the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Washington.  Lee, a 94-year-old Texan, had campaigned for holiday.  From left, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif, Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., Opal Lee, Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., Vice President Kamala Harris, House Majority Whip James Clyburn of S.C., Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, obscured, Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

“This day doesn’t just celebrate the past. It calls for action today.”

President Joe Biden, upon signing the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act on June 17

“You are courageous leaders and American patriots.”

Vice-President Kamala Harris, praising a group of Texas Democrats for walking out on a state legislative session in protest of a strict new voting bill

“Without a national standard for voting rights and voting reform, states are going to just chip away at the rights of voters state by state. Hopefully, this might inform minds and shape opinions when folks are in that Senate cloakroom wrestling over how they’re going to proceed with HR1 and HR4.”

Texas State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, about the Texas Democratic walk-out

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Best Quotes of the Week – June 12, 2021

“To have to see these people every day, and they don’t have our back.  Something as simple as just trying to find out what happened, so that it doesn’t happen again, because my fear is this was the tip of the iceberg.  You have a lot of people that are radicalized, that this is exactly what they wanted to do.  And it’s – by there being no accountability – it’s emboldening them.”

James Blassingame, a Capitol Hill police officer on repercussions of the January 6 Capitol Hill riots, in a PBS interview

“‘Patriotic education’ isn’t education; it’s propaganda.  And it’s honestly not that patriotic to raise the next generation on whitewashed, simpleminded half-truths just because it makes you feel good.”

Kevin M. Kruse, history professor at Princeton University, about Texas House Bill 2497, which would establish a panel of nine political appointees tasked with educating students about Texas history

The measure, House Bill 2497, earned bipartisan support this session, passing the House by a vote of 124 to 19, and 22 to 9 in the Senate. It establishes a panel of nine political appointees tasked with educating about Texas history, whose work will mostly be found in informational pamphlets given to Texans receiving driver’s licenses. The committee will “promote awareness” of Texas’ past as it relates to “the history of prosperity and democratic freedom in this state,” according to the bill.

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Guns, Votes and Demented Priorities

Last week the state of Texas loosened gun restrictions.  That’s almost incomprehensible in a state that already boasts some of the most relaxed (weakest) firearm regulations in the nation.  But, for the hamster-dick right-wing extremists that dominate the Texas state legislature, any kind of gun restriction is a prospect more terrifying than a bunch of angry Black and Brown women storming into a Proud Boys meeting armed with attitudes and hair brushes.

And that’s pretty much who comprises both the Texas state legislature and the Proud Boys: old and middle-aged White men pissed off the world is no longer theirs to play with.  Thus, they assert control the only way they know how – with guns.

Now, in Texas, people no longer need a license or even proper training to tote a firearm anywhere within the state’s 268,597 sm. (695,663 km).

Gosh, what could possibly go wrong?

Gun rights advocates have always proclaimed that responsible firearm owners have nothing to fear and the general public has nothing to fear from responsible firearm owners.  But they’ve also screamed that any measure of regulation is a step towards elimination.  They’ve warned about those proverbial “slippery slope” dilemmas, even though any nearby slope is slippery because of all the spittle flying out their chapped lips from screaming about gun rules.

Someone with more than half a brain stop the madness!

Contrast that shenanigans with the new voting regulations – restrictions – the same state legislature imposed shortly before then.  Those rules limit early voting hours, ban drive-through voting and require large counties to redistribute polling places that could move sites away from areas with more Hispanic and Black residents.

The voting measures don’t surprise me.  Ever since Barack Obama won his first election – fairly, legitimately and without question – legions of (mostly White) conservatives in state legislatures around the country have done everything they could to ensure that never happens again.

Conservatives have spouted the usual rhetoric about protecting the integrity of the voting process, just as they claim the need to protect their right (their right) to own firearms.  I’ve noticed many of those old men – allegedly tough and strong – always express some degree of paranoia; their fear of someone invading their property and hurting their loved ones.  Therefore, their guns are readily available.  Stupid, paranoid people in the U.S. always reach for their guns and Christian Bibles when things look scary.

Strangely, though, they’ve long since recognized the power of the vote.  Voting is actually more powerful and with longer lasting effects than firearms.  A bullet could kill someone.  A vote can put someone in office who will enact legislation that may alter society for decades.

And thus, they are scared.

It’s almost laughable if it wasn’t so serious.  Right-wing extremists always seem to forget – or perhaps, never truly understood – that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the first amendment for a reason.  You vote first to enact and ensure change in society.  Then again, as I stated above, perhaps they do understand the significance of voting – and that’s why they do what they can to assure that only people with their similar and limited intellectual prowess can vote.  With their guns and Bibles by their sides.

My parents told me of seeing television footage of White police officials attacking Black citizens protesting against discrimination and segregation laws and trying to vote in the Deep South in the 1950s and 60s.  I recall my father, in particular, telling me that the former Soviet Union would display those images on their own TVs and point out this was an example of democracy.

The U.S. always promoted itself as a beacon of democracy; a government of and by the people.

I’ve seen those black-and-white images of 1950s and 1960s America in various retrospectives of a time how we used to be.  Considering what conservative-dominated states legislatures have done to voting and gun laws in recent years, I keep seeing those old images in contemporary colors.

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Best Quotes of the Week – May 22, 2021

“Holy crap.  Perhaps a U.S. Senator shouldn’t suggest that the Russian military is better than the American military that protected him from an insurrection he helped foment?”

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, responding to a Tweet by Sen. Ted Cruz criticizing the U.S. military’s diversity endeavors

“We can’t even imagine the thinking behind Gov. Abbott’s callous decision to strip the remaining federal unemployment insurance benefits out of the pockets of Texas working families.  If he took the time or had any interest in understanding the challenges working people face, Gov. Abbott would see clearly that folks across Texas desperately need these funds as they try to navigate their way through the economic carnage of the pandemic.”

Rick Levy, president of the Texas AFL-CIO, reacting to Gov. Abbott’s decision to opt out of federal unemployment benefits extensions

“The Big Pharma fairy tale is one of groundbreaking R&D that justifies astronomical prices.  But the pharma reality is that you spend most of your company’s money making money for yourself and your shareholders.”

Rep. Katie Porter, to Richard Gonzalez, CEO of pharmaceutical giant AbbVie, about increasingly high costs for prescription drugs

During the U.S. House Oversight Committee hearing, Porter also declared, “You lie to patients when you charge them twice as much for an unimproved drug, and then you lie to policymakers when you tell us that R&D justifies those price increases.”

Gonzalez’s 2020 total compensation topped USD 24 million.

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Best Quotes of the Week – April 24, 2021

The Texas State Capitol Confederate Monument stands on the south lawn in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

“Confederate artifacts are undeniably a representation of hate, racism and of oppression. They are an insult to the many people who visit our Capitol today in the state of Texas. The argument that these monuments preserve history somehow or symbolize America’s past is merely to reshape and rewrite the intent of the Civil War.”

Rafael Anchía, Texas State Senator, promoting House Bill 1186, which would remove all Confederate monuments from the state capital

“We can’t stop here.”

President Joe Biden, on race relations in the United States, after the conviction of Derek Chauvin

“I can’t believe I’m going to say anything good about her. You all know I’m no fan of Nepotism Barbie. But here I go. Take a deep breath…Yesterday, I commend Ivanka Trump for having used her platform to show herself getting the vaccine and promote vaccination, when she says, I hope you get the shot too. And if you see the responses from Trump-supporting Republicans against what used to be their favorite daughter, you can see how political it has become.”

Ana Navarro, co-host of The View, on former First Daughter Ivanka Trump posting a photo of herself getting a COVID-19 vaccine

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Press Release of the Week – April 3, 2021

American Airlines Statement on Texas Voting Legislation

Thursday, April 01, 2021, 4:23 PM

Earlier this morning, the Texas State Senate passed legislation with provisions that limit voting access. To make American’s stance clear: We are strongly opposed to this bill and others like it. As a Texas-based business, we must stand up for the rights of our team members and customers who call Texas home, and honor the sacrifices made by generations of Americans to protect and expand the right to vote.

Voting is the hallmark of our democracy, and is the foundation of our great country. We value the democratic process and believe every eligible American should be allowed to exercise their right to vote, no matter which political party or candidate they support.

We acknowledge how difficult this is for many who have fought to secure and exercise their constitutional right to vote. Any legislation dealing with how elections are conducted must ensure ballot integrity and security while making it easier to vote, not harder. At American, we believe we should break down barriers to diversity, equity and inclusion in our society – not create them.

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Best Quotes of the Week – March 13, 2021

“I believe this… historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country and giving people of this nation – working people, middle class folks, people that built the country – a fighting chance.  I’m going to have a lot more to say about that tonight and the next couple days.”

President Joe Biden, upon signing a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill

“ … Conspiracy theories should have no place in the Christian life. As people who claim to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, we should not risk our public witness for political fantasies. We should denounce any movement that spreads false information.”

Seth Brown, in response to social media posts by Luke Coffee, former actor and conspiracy proponent, who took part in the January 6 Capitol Hill riots

Brown works with North Carolina-based Biblical Recorder and has written extensively for Southern Baptists about QAnon.

“In societies with bigger differences between rich and poor, women are less enfranchised and have less power, resources, and prestige than women in societies where those differences are smaller.”

Kate Pickett, British epidemiologist and Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of New York, in “Fissures That Tear Us Apart and Pressures That Weigh Us All Down”, Social Europe, 03/08/21

“In Austin, we’re committed to saving lives, period.  If state officials don’t want to do their jobs protecting people from the virus, then we will.”

Greg Casar, Austin, Texas City Councilman, responding to Gov. Abbott’s order rescinding mandatory mask-wearing in public

The Governor’s new order went into effect March 10, but the City of Austin plans to retain a mask mandate for the immediate future.

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Best Quotes of the Week – March 6, 2021

“Abbott has purposefully injected a new infection into the state in the form of irresponsible policies that will promote unnecessary infection, hospitalization and death.”

Dr. Kavita Patel, on the announcement by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to reopen the state 100% to retailers, restaurants and other businesses, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

“The Republican Party’s biggest problem is that too many people of color are exercising their right to vote.  The party’s solution is a massive push for voter suppression that would make old-time Jim Crow segregationists proud.”

Eugene Robinson, in a Washington Post editorial

“I think a lot of us assumed that we were the dominant gene – if only because the country was changing so much – that out of its own self-interest the party would have to change.  We saw the dark side.  We thought it was a recessive gene.  And I don’t know any conclusion to come to except that we were wrong.”

Stuart Stevens, on MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” 03/03/21

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We Could Have Had Beto

Texas, we could have had Beto O’Rourke as U.S. Senator.  Instead, a slight majority voted to keep Ted Cruz in office in 2018.  I emphasize “slight majority” because – unlike his 2012 victory over Paul Sadler – Cruz didn’t well…cruise to a reelection win.

In the summer of 2018, O’Rourke, then a U.S. House Representative, shocked the Texas Republican Party and political observers alike when he raised several million dollars in a very short time.  It was no minor feat; accomplished by literally cold-calling people and pounding the pavement all over the state, gathering small amount donations from average citizens.  O’Rourke also did something no other Texas candidate for the U.S. Senate had done: he visited every single county in the state.  Some residents were stunned upon his arrival, as their county had no record of such a candidate stopping by.  Again, this was no minor task.  Texas boasts 267 counties in roughly 268,597 square miles (695,663 sq. km).  It’s half the size of Alaska and as big as some of Europe’s largest countries, such as Spain and France.  So, O’Rourke disturbed the evangelical conservative force that’s dominated Texas politics for generations; first as Democrats and now as Republicans.

For many Texas Hispanics – especially someone like me whose ancestry in this state goes back before there was a United States – Cruz’s win in 2012 was a distinct insult.  Cruz, a Canadian-born Cuban-Italian, was lauded as the state’s first Hispanic senator.  Cruz is to Hispanics what I am to Nigerians.

More significantly, though, Cruz is known for his antagonistic approach to political navigations once he got to Washington, as well as his failed 2016 presidential bid.  He and Donald Trump ended up battling for the final nomination.  In what I considered a case of choosing the lesser of two evils, Cruz would have been that lesser one.  But, I’ve only voted Republican once in my life and have let myself live to regret it; thus I don’t know what shenanigans rumbled through the brains of Trump acolytes.  The animosity between Cruz and Trump became even more palpable during the 2016 Republican National Convention, when the Texan gave his speech and did everything he could NOT to say the name Donald Trump, as the crowd booed and jeered.  The tension was so high that Secret Service agents removed Cruz’s wife, Heidi, from the convention floor.

By 2018, though, Cruz had done little to advance a pro-citizen agenda.  In all fairness, O’Rourke had no significant legislative achievements during his tenure either.  I guess I was mistaken in believing we elect people to such prestigious positions to actually…you know, do something.  I must be a damn fool!  But that year I eagerly jumped on the O’Rourke train, donating money and proudly voting for him.

Alas, it was for naught.  Cruz squeezed into another term, sweating and hyperventilating all the way.  It was enough to upset that right-wing force in Texas politics, but Cruz made it back to Washington anyway.

Then came the ice.  Like a herd of Central American immigrants carrying loads of bananas stuffed with cocaine (a conservative’s second worst nightmare after queer marriage), Winter Storm Uri ambushed Texas.  Meteorologists had warned state and energy industry officials about its strength.  When most Texans think of hurricanes, they conjure images of Katrina and Harvey, not a snow-laden monstrosity from the Pacific or (hah-ha) Canada.

As millions of Texans found themselves without power – and, in some cases, water – state leaders began blaming liberals and their green energy ideas for the catastrophe.  And Ted Cruz left his comfortable Houston abode to jet to Cancun because his 2 daughters wanted to go.  He was there for all of one day before the angry heat from his constituents melted his margarita and his resolve and he scurried back to Houston; hoping no one would notice.

We noticed.  We also noticed that at least 80 Texans died last week directly as a result of the ice storm.

Cruz hopscotched across the stage of excuses to explain his sudden departure and miraculous return.  Meanwhile, Beto O’Rourke began raising money for Texans stranded in their darkened homes and even made calls to some of them.  He got help from one of the most demonized figures among conservatives in American politics: New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Now, as Texas state leaders continue blaming everyone else for the catastrophe, Ted Cruz left Texas again and headed for Orlando, Florida to attend the annual conference of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC).  In summation it’s a yearly festival where right-wingers trash anyone even slightly to the left of their narrow-minded ideology.  At this year’s escapade, a gold-colored figure of Trump has taken center stage.

And so has Cruz.  Making light of his Cancun trip, he quipped: “I’ve got to say, Orlando is awesome.  It’s not as nice as Cancun, but it’s nice.”

Oh, ha-ha!  HURK!

Fuck you, Cruz.  Fuck you and your conservative philosophies.  Fuck you and the Texas Republican “leaders” who can’t admit their pro-business, anti-regulation antics over the past decades put us into this quagmire.  People suffered and people died during this mess!  One of the wealthiest states in the richest nation on Earth in the third decade of the 21st century should not have experienced such a calamity!

But I’m just venting.  Texas, we could’ve had Beto.

Image: Mike Luckovich

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Tweet of the Week – February 20, 2021

Beto O’Rourke

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