Mark Twain

"Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress? But I repeat myself." Mark Twain

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Three Fights over School Funding

Republican state-wide candidates were wrong about the lack of ability to properly fund public education in 2011. We had the money. One even bragged about the cuts and Patrick not only voted for the cuts of 2011 but also against the bill which restored some of them two years later. 
Three Fights over School Funding

Monday, September 22, 2014

Google Disavows ALEC: They Are 'Literally Lying' About Climate Change

For more background on A.L.E.C., The American Legislative Exchange Council look to my blog labels. It has produced model legislation mainly for conservative Republican Legislators for years. The legislation is so standardized, it's mostly,  fill in your state name type stuff . Some of it gets passed. A lot of it gets passed in some states.  Much of A.LE. C.'s fill in the blank legislation in my opinion  is out of step with all but the right wing base of the Republican party.





Google Disavows ALEC: They Are 'Literally Lying' About Climate Change

Friday, September 19, 2014

jobsanger: More Polls On Various 2014 U.S. Senate Races

From jobsanger blog, Ted has compiled links to some of the most recent polling in states which will likely determine control of the U.S. Senate.

jobsanger: More Polls On Various 2014 U.S. Senate Races: This is from a Fox News Poll done between September 14th and 16th of 604 likely Kansas voters, with a margin of error of 4 points. ...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Next in “What’s wrong with our textbooks”: Climate change – Off the Kuff

Both my Bachelor of Science degree from U.T. at Austin and M.Ed Degree (S.F.A.S.U.) were science based. Add to those experiences, my teaching major in history, decades of teaching experience and actual textbook adoption committee experience, and it is very disappointing that some Texas public school textbooks 'currently proposed for adoption,' reflect ideological beliefs. Empirical evidence is increasing exponentially that pollution from, but not limited to, the burning of fossil fuels is affecting the earth's climate. It is critical for students to realize the fragility of this planet. We can already with available technology at least slow these effects. Hopefully ultimately some can be reversed. Today's R.D.& S recommending reading, (especially for Texans) or anyone interested in public education issues is Charles Kuffner's post, "What's wrong with our textbooks."
Post Script: During my career as an educator in Texas Public schools, at one time or another I taught every social studies / history class offered or required (at the time) in the Texas curriculum. From 5th through 12th grade, I have taught: social studies, (all courses offered), Texas history, (Jr. high and high school), American history, world  history / world civilization / Western civilization, (different texts had different titles). I also taught high school Civics and geography. 

Next in “What’s wrong with our textbooks”: Climate change – Off the Kuff

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Chart of the day: Fox's Benghazi obsession

Fox has an obsession. It's Benghazi. There have been 9 Congressional investigations already. Now there is another one so Fox imagines smoking guns again. Fox is obsessed that Hillary Clinton has something to hide. After 9 investigations it seems they would quit obsessing over the tragedy of the death of Christopher Stephens. Fox though is going to do what it does best, obsess, announce bomb shells which aren't there, obsess again and try to keep the story going. Kevin Drum, writing for Mother Jones, announces a special award for Sean Hannity.

Chart of the day: Fox's Benghazi obsession

On polls and turnout – Off the Kuff

In 2010 I personally believed that Bill White was the best Democratic Candidate for Texas Governor since Ann Richards. It however was a Republican "Tea Party," year. Mayor White was the right person but the timing just wasn't there and Texans gave Perry one last term. Mr White was what we needed in a governor especially in 2010. His ideas and willingness to work with anyone and solutions based management skills would have been great for the state but he didn't win. Now we have another off year election, Democrats have another qualified candidate for governor and in my opinion, and other Democratic friends, "This is the best state-wide ticket in recent memory and maybe the best since Democrats ran the state."  To break the Republican domination of these offices though it is going to take a huge turnout of the Democratic vote. Hundred's of thousand's of moderate Republicans both women and men need to be convinced. Ultimately though it can only happen by getting many inactive possible voters to register and then act on their registration and vote. It will take votes and the apathy and low turnout numbers must change. It's frustrating to me to hear people say it doesn't matter and they aren't going to vote. It does. People complain. People say we need to put more money where it does the most good. That would be our schools, by the way. Wouldn't it be great if we invested in education. Every dollar spent on education saves many multiples of dollars on prisons. I want us to have a business friendly state but when you go to the lake wouldn't it be nice to be able to actually eat the fish if you choose to and not worry about pollution. Find people to register. Take people to vote. Only by voting can you bring positive change to Texas. Let's get rid of our current pay to play cronyism. We can have a more fair and transparent government. Your vote counts and it's the only poll that matters. Voter registration ends October 6th 2014 for the general election. Early voting by mail is an option if you are 65 or older or will be out of the county. I usually try to be one of the first people to vote in my county when early voting starts. Make that your goal also.





On polls and turnout – Off the Kuff

Analysis: The Voter ID You Won't Need to Show When You're at the Polls, by Ross Ramsey

The Texas Voter I.D. law in Texas has proven to be just another Republican voter suppression technique. Just to use students and young people for an example, here we go. Students and young adults from 18 to their late twenties (for the most part are very mobile). To make this example simple I will use my own personal story. I attended Angelina Jr. college and lived in Lufkin, Texas for nearly a year. I lived in Austin at three different addresses and also had a Hays county, (Kyle) address and a Round Rock address in just my four years at U.T.  While attending S.F.A.S.U. to obtain a Master's degree and do post graduate studies, I lived at two different Nacogdoches addresses and also in Melrose. The only solution for me to be able to vote during those years as a student was to vote in Pineland, Texas. Pineland is where I was born and my parent's home and farm were my home bases. I received important mail there as temporary addresses changed and I was registered to vote and I did. I tried to vote in all the elections I could get home to vote in, it was about 290 miles (one way) to exercise my right to vote while I was in Austin attending U.T. but I knew the candidates and officeholders because I spent the Summers in Sabine County at home. I worked for the U.S. Forest Service / Sabine National Forest eight different years so I kept my Pineland address until I moved to Center, Texas. I registered and voted in Shelby County for years. I now reside in Sabine County again and am registered to vote here again.
 I don't oppose a picture I.D in principle however the way it was done: starting it immediately (instead of phasing it in for seniors, (especially), accepting types of I.D. more likely to be held by a Republican voter, think passport but not a current picture college I.D., also keep in mind that every Texas county doesn't have a place to get the proper I.D.'s, so there's for many people a significant financial burden which for all practical purposes amounts to a poll tax. Texas' strict Voter I.D. Law has nothing to do with, "The integrity of the ballot." The point here is, excuse me because I'm going to yell, TEXAS' STRICT PICTURE I.D. LAW WAS PASSED TO COMPLEMENT GERRYMANDERED MAPS TO GIVE REPUBLICANS A SHORT TERM ADVANTAGE AND KEEP THE REIGNS OF POWER IN THEIR HANDS UNTIL 2022 AT LEAST. Looking at demographic changes and desperate to hold on to the reigns of power as long as possible, Republicans looked to voter suppression and gerrymandered Texas House, U.S. House and Texas Senate districts to keep their majorities intact. Your Voter I.D. card will let you know you are registered but all you get is a provisional ballot at your polling place. That passport or concealed handgun license can be used by anyone but likely more Republicans hold them. Make sure your picture Texas driver's license or Texas I.D. is up to date and correct in every way or get it that way now. Otherwise you could become a victim of Republican voter suppression and a disenfranchised Texan.

Analysis: The Voter ID You Ross Ramsey

Thursday, September 11, 2014

New witnesses to Ferguson shooting describe scene

Previously unknown witnesses to the Ferguson shooting of Michael Brown have come forward and are verifying the accounts of several community observers. Construction workers assigned to duties near the scene of the shooting had had contact with Michael before the incident according to several news sources. Their reactions of disbelief during the shooting was recorded by a third party video and provides more evidence that early police information is likely misleading if not false. These new witnesses may finally lead to the arrest and prosecution of the officer.

New witnesses to Ferguson shooting describe scene

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Innocent on Death Row

Today's early morning recommended reading is, "The Innocent on Death Row." The New York Times Editorial Board takes on an issue which most people likely realize; (and at least in the back of their minds, recognize exists.) There are innocent people on death row. There is no doubt in my mind at least, that innocent people have been executed in the past. If we wish to believe ours a civilized society, the logical conclusion of the editorial board is? Click the link to read the editorial.

The Innocent on Death Row

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Rick Perry's Indictment

What is actually going on, (this is opinion now) is that Perry likely crossed the line of legality. My opinion, yes, but the national media hasn't gotten below the surface on this story and it's really deep water. The Public Integrity Unit is located in Travis County. Austin is where the legislature meets. Having it there, the  Public Integrity Unit, makes sense. Perry's threat, and he did follow through on it, (vetoing the funding for an agency with ongoing investigations,) at least one of which and possibly others, involve his actions is where politics and crossing that line of legality intersect. It's very possible an ongoing investigation, one involving Perry himself might have gone away had he been able to pick, ( I'm getting into speculations now) just the perfect Republican replacement for Rosemary Lehmberg. Forcing the resignation of a public 'elected' official, also reaching way back to an obscure Texas law to try do it, doing it possibly to protect his own hide, political career, and second possible presidential run, is where the national media gets lost in the hardball politics of Texas. There's also a lot more here that most media outlets have either missed, ignored, or have just done lazy reporting about. Republican elected district attorneys have received D.W.I.'s / D.U.I.'s and all that could be heard from Perry was the sound of silence. It's about how Perry has used and abused his political power and office. Although Perry may face no consequences for this, there is an iceberg as large as the one which sunk the Titanic below the surface of this story.



Rick Perry's Indictment

Ask Not for Whom the Bell Tolls

Texas Republicans, in recent election cycles, have dominated: state-wide offices, held majorities in the Texas Senate, controlled the Texas House and also many county offices. Paul Burka has a short commentary and also provides a link to a Politico story worth a look whatever political party you more closely identify with.

Ask Not for Whom the Bell Tolls

School finance system ruled unconstitutional again – Off the Kuff

Off the Kuff blog has some more details, opinions, possible political implications, and links concerning Thursday's  ruling that Texas's school finance system is unconstitutional.



School finance system ruled unconstitutional again – Off the Kuff