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Texas Progressive Alliance Weekly Round Up April 13, 2009

Posted by nytexan on April 12, 2009


It’s Monday, and that means it is time for yet another edition of the TEXAS Progressive Alliance’s Weekly Round-Up.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chismes noticed Fort Bend County was slapped by the DOJ for actual election integrity problems. Voters were illegally denied provisional ballots and Spanish speakers were not accommodated. Betty Brown probably wishes those voters would make life easier for English-speaking poll workers.

BossKitty at TruthHugger cannot accept that Tax Laws, Tax Legislation and Lawmakers are ignorant to the fact that keeping the taxpayer clueless brings in more revenue. Built in vagueness and contradiction guarantee more tax dollars collected. This country has brainwashed its taxpayers, that it is easier to waste their money on sleazy preparers and tax software, than to learn what taxes are all about. Taxpayers are complicit in their own misery, even though the government really tries to make the facts available. Taxpayers are convinced that taxes are just a necessary evil … “Death and Taxes”. But today, Can You Trust Your Tax Software When It Can’t Keep Up.

Neil at Texas Liberal posted a video using Franklin Roosevelt and George W. Bush dolls to illustrate the recent liberal ascendancy in the United States.

We all had some fun at Rep. Betty Brown’s expense last week, but Off the Kuff noted that there was a bill pending before Rep. Brown’s Elections Committee that would actually help alleviate some of the problems that prevent eligible citizens from casting their ballots.

At Texas Kaos, it’s been a bemusing week of watching Glenn Beck prepare to storm the Alamo City with Tea Bags. But nothing could have prepared us for Rick Perry linking his fortunes with Beck after his gasoline drenched performance.   Apparently a primary threat in the Texas Republican Party means you double down on the batshit crazy lies. Who knew?

Kim Jong Il wasn’t the only person to fire a missile this week.  McBlogger went ballistic over that dapper Senator Watson.

The Employee Free Choice Act met the Democratic Senator from the Great State of Wal-Mart and is headed down to defeat as a result.  PDiddie at Brains and
has more on the Senate’s caving in once again to the  corporations.

Asian American Action Fund Blog has extensive coverage of Betty Brown’s ridiculous questioning of Ramey Ko from our first report to Brown’s “apology” and Ko’s description of their conversation. In addition, there are link roundups of most coverage of the incident from the 9th and 10th. And don’t miss law professor Frank Wu’s exploration of the matter. We will provide further updates as this story continues to develop.

Vince at Capitol Annex takes a look at the 20 Republicans in the Texas House who voted against education benefits for veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Posted in Politics, Texas, Texas Blogs, Texas Politics, Texas Progressive Alliance | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Cornyn’s fence flipflop

Posted by nytexan on July 21, 2007

StopCornyn.comFiled by Charles Kuffner on July 19th, 2007

You think having two Democrats with strong South Texas/Rio Grande Valley credibility might have an effect on next year’s Senate race? Look who’s concerned about the effect of the border fence on the surrounding communities all of a sudden.

  • Frustrated by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff’s decision to start construction of a controversial border fence in Texas this year, Sen. John Cornyn pledged today to fight any effort that proceeds without community input.
  • I assure you there will be local consultation,” the Texas Republican said in a call with state reporters. “There will not be … unilateral actions on the part of the Department of Homeland Security without local input.”
  • With border communities up in arms about the fencing, Cornyn is ramping up his criticism, saying he’s very frustrated by what he termed the department’s “ham-fisted” handling of a highly controversial matter.
  • “This could not be mishandled any worse, as far as I’m concerned,” said Cornyn, who voted last year for legislation mandating the construction of 700 miles of double-layered fencing at the Southwest border but insisted that local leaders be consulted.
  • Cornyn said the department has ignored its pledge of consultation, noting that Homeland Security officials prepared a map identifying 153 miles of fencing in Texas without talking to local elected officials. Department officials have repudiated the map, saying it was a preliminary plan meant only as a starting point for discussion.
  • “Now I read that Secretary Chertoff has said that construction will begin this year,” Cornyn said. “But he won’t say where.”

Welcome to our world, Senator Cornyn. Of course, if you had voted against this boondoggle instead of championing it, then perhaps your words now would have more meaning. Hopefully, your Democratic replacement will arrive in time to clean up this mess you helped create.

Posted in Border Fence, Border Patrol, Border Wall, Chertoff, Cornyn, Election, Politics, Texas, Texas Blogs, Texas Politics | 6 Comments »

John Cornyn & Rove Together On The Texas Trail

Posted by nytexan on July 21, 2007

You really have to wonder what universe Senator do nothing Cornyn lives in.  As Cornyn slips further and further in the Texas polls, he thinks getting Karl Rove to campaign for him is going to improve his standing.

From the Texas Democratic Patry

Cornyn (R-Rove) Gets His Political Payoff
Following the Rove/Republican Script Won’t Fool Texas Voters

(Austin, TX)— This week, John Cornyn proved once again that he represents the political interests of Karl Rove, rather than the best interests of middle-class Texans, in the U.S. Senate.  Cornyn, who is suffering from low approval ratings, has enlisted presidential advisor and political ally Karl Rove to appear at a series of fundraisers he is holding this weekend. [Houston Chronicle, 7/11/07]   Cornyn has unfailingly promoted the Bush Administration’s failed policies in the Washington.

“From the day he arrived in Washington, John Cornyn has proven to be Karl Rove’s most faithful servant in the U.S. Senate.  The White House can always count on Cornyn to toe the Republican Party line and gladly champion their failed policies,” said Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie. “By placing politics over the people of Texas, it’s no secret who John Cornyn truly represents in the Senate.”

Cornyn’s long-time association with Rove, who first recruited him to run for office, has benefited his political career – until now.  Recent Survey USA polling has shown Cornyn’s approval ratings consistently hovering well below 50% — dangerously low for an incumbent Senator.  As a result, Cornyn is trying to downplay his devotion to Rove and the Administration, claiming this week, “I work for the people of Texas. I don’t work for anyone who comes from the beltway of Washington, D.C.” he said. [Dallas Morning News, 7/17/07]  Yet Cornyn has aligned himself with the White House on everything from limiting access to quality health care for Texans to restricting educational opportunity for our children to dismissing the politically motivating firings of nine U.S. Attorneys as a “political witch hunt.” [ABC News, This Week, 3/18/07]

“It is hypocritical for Cornyn to dismiss his extreme partisan credentials and then use his friend Karl Rove to raise money the very next weekend.  His transparent attempt to distract from his real record of failure with hollow rhetoric is cynically designed to mislead Texas voters,” added Richie.  “But Texas Democrats won’t let Cornyn run from his dismal record and will make sure is held accountable to voters in 2008.”

Posted in Cornyn, Election, GOP, National, News, Republican, Rove, Senate, Texas, Texas Politics | Leave a Comment »

Texas Border Rally, “Walls of Mass Destruction!”

Posted by nytexan on July 15, 2007

I would like to say thank you to everyone that showed up and supported the Texas border rally. This was the first of several planned rallies against the Texas Mexico wall. Although the turnout may seem small to some, it was a huge first step in the opposition to the wall. This movement will continue to grow. Hopefully with help from other bloggers, Texans can get the word out on the environmental destruction and ill will this “wall of mass destruction” will create. I will continue to post all future rallies.

ROMA — About 100 people came out Saturday to the scenic bluffs overlooking the Rio Grande to demonstrate their opposition to the border fence, arguing it will ultimately be ineffective at addressing immigration and only cause grave harm to animal habitats along the river’s shores.

The event was highlighted by a trip some 40 rowers in kayaks and canoes took along the river from nearby Fronton to Roma.

The rowers’ 5-mile journey was meant to symbolize that people in the Rio Grande Valley don’t want a barrier that could interfere with the river since so many people use it for recreation and it is important to the local environment, said Betty Perez, one of the event’s organizers.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to build 270 miles of fence and 200 miles of vehicle barriers along the border by the end of next year. Of the 125 miles of fencing planned for Texas, most would be in the Valley, according to a map recently leaked to the media.

“The Valley is really united on this,” Perez said of opposition to the fence. “Nobody wants it for different reasons. We understand how stupid putting up a wall is.”

As boaters arrived in Roma, protesters carried signs with slogans such as “Say No to the Wall of Shame” and “WMDs — Walls of Mass Destruction.” They chanted “No wall!” from their perch on the bluffs, which overlook Mexico’s Ciudad Miguel Alemán.

Like many who oppose construction of the fence, John Martin said he instead supports establishing a so-called “virtual fence” that relies on technology and personnel to detect undocumented immigrants.

Martin said he understands that something needs to be done to address the threat of terrorism, but a virtual fence would be more effective than the current plan.

“This (fence) is a stone-age solution to a 21st century problem,” he said.

Nancy Brown of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it’s hard for her to have a definitive opinion on the fence since some details are unknown, but a barrier could harm animal habitats, affect their migration patterns and interfere with their genetics by splitting populations in two.

“If you’re a tortoise and you run into eight miles of fence, you have a problem,” Brown said.

Animals don’t adapt to great environmental change quickly enough to survive the changes a fence would cause, said Martin Hagne of the Valley Nature Center in Weslaco.

Posted in Border Fence, Border Patrol, Border Wall, Democracy In Action, Headlines, Homeland Security, Immigration, Mexican, Mexico, News, Politics, prejudice, Protest, Rio Grande, Roma Texas, Texas | 2 Comments »

Lady Bird Johnson Dies At 94

Posted by nytexan on July 11, 2007

Lady Bird Johnson, the former first lady who championed conservation and worked tenaciously for the political career of her husband, former President Lyndon B. Johnson, died Wednesday, a family spokeswoman said. She was 94.

Lady Bird Johnson returned home late last month after a week at Seton Medical Center, where she’d been admitted for a low-grade fever. Her husband died in 1973.

She died at her Austin home of natural causes about 4:18 p.m. CDT. Elizabeth Christian, the spokeswoman, said she was surrounded by family and friends.

She was hospitalized with a stroke in 2002 that left her with difficulty speaking. But even after that she continued to make public appearances and in May attended an event at the LBJ Library and Museum featuring historian Robert Dallek.

In March, she listened from Texas through a conference call when President Bush signed legislation naming the Education Department headquarters building in Washington, D.C., after her late husband.

Posted in Johnson, Lady Bird, National, Texas | 3 Comments »

Mexico Gets Texas Land Through Border Fence

Posted by nytexan on July 11, 2007

Everyday I wake up and think, what will our government managed to screw up today. Well low and behold they can’t even figure out the U.S. Mexico border. I suppose I shouldn’t be shock at the level of incompetence and never thinking anything through. Why that’s just part of our incompetent president and his incompetent policies.

  • McALLEN, Tex., June 15 — Antonio N. Zavaleta, a vice president and professor of anthropology at the University of Texas branch in Brownsville, saw a slight problem in the route of a border fence that federal officials displayed at a community meeting earlier this month.
  • “Part of our university,” Dr. Zavaleta said, “would be on the Mexican side of the fence.”
  • What about traffic between classes, he wondered. “Would the students need to show a passport?”

Yes our government is priceless, incompetent, clueless and band-aid fix ridden.

  • But maps like the one shown in Brownsville on June 4 by Chief David Aguilar of the Border Patrol put the route along a levee built inland to hold back flooding on the Rio Grande. That location, some here say, would in effect cede to Mexico the land on the other side of the fence up to the official international border, the middle of the Rio Grande.
  • ut-border.jpg

I’m sure Mexico is happy, since they’ve wanted to get Texas back for years.

  • In Brownsville, Dr. Zavaleta said, that path would cut off not only the International Technology, Education and Commerce campus of the University of Texas and Texas Southmost College, which is in a former shopping center about a mile from the main campus, but also its golf course and a national historic site, Fort Brown, where an upright cannon marks an opening skirmish of the Mexican War.
  • Even the heavily trafficked bridge between Brownsville and Matamoros, Mexico, would be on the Mexican side of the fence, Dr. Zavaleta said.

Wow, Mexico not only gets Texas land, and a full blown university, but they also get a national historical site and an American bridge. What a wind fall.

  • In Brownsville, the district clerk, Aurora De La Garza, and a county commissioner, Sofia Benavides — who emerged from a hurricane-planning visit to the Mexican consulate at the university campus that would be isolated — derided officials in Washington as not understanding family ties across the border.
  • “This is a relationship that cannot be broken by a fence,” Ms. Benavides said.
  • Representative Henry Cuellar, the South Texas Democrat who has been organizing local forums to air grievances, said the Homeland Security Department had become more responsive.

Families mean nothing to this administration. Homeland Security is just another word for failure. Way to go Chertoff.

Posted in Border Fence, Border Patrol, Border Wall, Brownsville, Bush, Chertoff, Headlines, Homeland Security, Immigration, Mexican, Mexico, News, Politics, Texas, Texas Politics, United States, University of Texas | 3 Comments »

Austin IMPEACH NOW Forum – 07/07/07

Posted by nytexan on July 6, 2007

Texans doing the right thing!!!!


We are a coalition of Austin individuals and organizations – including the Green Party of Texas, The Travis County Green Party, CodePink, and World Can’t Wait – organizing an impeachment forum that will take place in Austin, Texas. The Austin “Impeach Now” forum will be held on Saturday, July 7, 2007, from 4:00 to 7:00 PM at the First Unitarian-Universalist Church, 4700 Grover in central Austin.

The list of distinguished speakers includes Elaine Brown, Dr. Dennis Loo, Dave Lindorff, and Larry Everest. The forum will be moderated by Prof. David Ferris. We will have music from Daniel Lytle, the “I Miss America” Pageant by CodePink, panel discussions among the speakers, and responses to audience questions.

The forum will be organized around three broad themes:

  • Why Can We Impeach? (the legal basis for impeachment)
  • Why Should We Impeach? (the moral imperative for impeachment)
  • How Do We Impeach? (the necessary steps to impeachment and actions we can all take to help get there).

Even though the event is on 07/07/07 we know its going to take a lot more than luck to impeach Dick and Bush. Austin says, “Impeach ’em NOW!” Please get our flier here and post it all over town! We need a huge crowd!

We need your help to make this historic event a success!
Please consider donating to the forum to help defray the costs associated with bringing nationally known, distinguished speakers to central Texas.

And Please come to the Forum and help get these two war criminals IMPEACHED!

Posted in Austin, Bush, Cheney, Constitution, Corruption, Democracy, Democracy In Action, Impeach, National, News, Politics, President, Texas, United States, War Crimes | 3 Comments »


Posted by nytexan on July 6, 2007

I have been asked to get the word out on a rally in Roma, Texas to oppose the border wall.The Roma rally will be the first in a series of border wall opposition rallies.  As you know I am opposed to the Texas/Mexico border fence and I will be helping any organization in their efforts to stop the destruction of South Texas.

    • What: A community rally to oppose the building of a wall on the Texas/Mexico border;
    • When: Saturday, July 14, 2007 at 10 a.m.
    • Where: Roma Bluffs overlooking the Rio Grande just in front of Roma City Hall, 77 Convent Street, Roma, Texas.

    Everyone is invited to the first in a series of Lower Rio Grande Valley community rallies to oppose the building of a wall on the Texas/Mexico border.

    The event is scheduled for Saturday morning, July 14, in Roma, Texas. Saturday’s rally will take place at 10 a.m. on the historic Roma Bluffs overlooking the Rio Grande. To get there, just follow the signs to Roma Bluffs and the World Birding Center.

    Paddlers opposed to a wall that would limit access to the river for recreation are invited to bring their canoes or kayaks to the riverside in Fronton, Texas at 8 a.m. before the rally on Roma Bluffs. Fronton is a few miles west of Roma. This group will paddle as a flotilla to a take-out point below the international bridge between Roma and Ciudad Miguel Alemán and join in the 10 a.m. rally above. The paddle trip will take approximately two hours.

    The rally will feature speakers, including a representative from the flotilla trip who will describe their experience on the river. From Roma Bluffs, rally attendees and paddlers will walk to the international bridge and form a hands-across-the-river line to Cd. Miguel Alemán to signify the close ties between border cities along the Rio Grande.

    Organizer and river paddler, Betty Pérez, said, “We’re hoping to draw a large crowd on the Bluffs, and a large group of paddlers on the river to draw national attention to this issue. The beautiful view from Roma bluffs to the river and sister city, Miguel Alemán, and the site of a flotilla paddling down the river will hopefully do this. The idea of a wall between our countries is ludicrous, and it won’t work. Put that money into helping Roma, not making it less attractive to visit.”

    More rallies are being scheduled in the following weeks in other cities along the river, including a rally in Brownsville, Texas on Saturday, August 25.

    For more information and details about the Roma paddling trip and rally, contact Betty Pérez at 956-580-8915 or email her at

    Posted in Border Fence, Border Patrol, Border Wall, Democracy In Action, Headlines, Homeland Security, Immigration, Mexican, Mexico, National, News, Politics, Rio Grande, Roma Texas, Texas, Texas Politics | 2 Comments »

    Texas Anger Swells Over Plans for Fence

    Posted by nytexan on June 22, 2007

    The idea of building a fence across the U.S. Mexico border is a sickening and a destructive non-solution to Texans. In Texas the fence will have an impact on endangered species, wildlife, small business, trade and families.

    For those who have never been to the Texas Mexico border or the Rio Grande, you most likely think it’s a desolate waste land with no value. Therefore, the idea of a fence means nothing and its only impact will be to keep Mexicans out. You are very wrong, my friend. Let’s look at what the Texas border really is; the people who live and own property and how they feel about the fence that all of you so desperately want.

    By the way the Rio Grande is the border and the fence isn’t going in the Rio Grande, its going on private land which will cut off access to the lake and the Rio Grande. Businesses will suffer.

    Pictures at the end of the post are the areas and business that will suffer.

    Generational Family Land:

    ROMA, Tex. — Since 1767, some 150 acres of wooded riverfront along the Rio Grande has belonged to the family of Cecilia Ramirez Benavides, land granted to her ancestors by Spanish settlers who colonized Mexico, or New Spain, as it was then known.

    Generations later, much of the Ramirez tract, with its mile of riverbank, remains undisturbed, overrun by huge mesquite and ebony trees, thick clusters of prickly pear cactus and chaparral. It is inhabited by the endangered ocelot — only 100 are believed to remain in the United States — the bright-orange Altamira oriole with its distinctive whistle and huge, pouchlike woven nests, and the green jay, with its bright-blue nape.

    Already, the modern world has intruded on this privately owned mini-nature preserve. Cecilia Benavides and her husband, Noel Benavides Sr., have given the Border Patrol, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the National Guard permanent access to their land to apprehend illegal immigrants and drug smugglers.

    “They’re going to destroy an ecosystem that took centuries and that’s never going to come back,” said Noel Benavides, an alderman in this small border city.

    But the Department of Homeland Security’s latest entreaty is where the couple have decided they must draw the line. Their tranquil piece of riverfront — owned by the Ramirez clan long before northern Mexico became Texas — lies directly in the path of the federal government’s plan to build 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border.

    Texas will get 153 miles of fence; Arizona, 129 miles; California, 76 miles; and New Mexico, 12. A map of the proposed fencing was attached to the memo.

    The documents sparked an outcry from border officials from El Paso down to Brownsville, as well as from farmers who plant vegetables, cotton and grain in the rich alluvium along the banks of the Rio Grande. Border businessmen who depend on Mexicans for a majority of their retail sales and private landowners, such as the Benavideses, were outraged, too.

    For many, the Rio Grande may only conjure up television images of illegal immigrants swimming or tubing the river from Mexico to Texas. But in South Texas, the river is the source for municipal water systems and farm irrigation districts and of recreation. It is a natural boundary between two regions whose history, families and commerce are intricately connected.

    Agriculture and Business:

    Richard Drawe is not only concerned about his water rights and access to the land he farms on the banks of the Rio Grande. He’s also worried about the prospect of the federal government appropriating his land for a fence under eminent domain.

    Drawe’s family has been farming the area since 1917, and today he grows grain sorghum, cotton and vegetables on 1,400 acres. The fence, as proposed, would cut Drawe’s farmland in half.

    “All the land south of the fence would be unusable. We would be cut off from our land, plain and simple,” said Drawe, who supports the addition of Border Patrol agents and the high-tech surveillance towers. “For somebody that’s outside South Texas, it sounds like a great idea to have a fence. You have to have controlled borders, I know that. But there’s other ways to do it.”

    Business and Ecomony:

    Farming and drinking water are not the only water issues that will have an economic impact it will also affect Lake Amistad in Del Rio. Lake Amistad has marinas and small businesses that support them. Amistad is an international recreation area on the United States-Mexico border. The Amistad Reservoir on the Rio Grande includes 850 miles of Lake Shoreline, of which 540 are in Texas. Boating and water sports highlight activities in the U.S. section of the reservoir. In addition, the area is rich in archeology and rock art, and contains a wide variety of plant and animal life.

    The Rio Grande also has water rafting, competition and recreational fishing, bed and breakfasts, horse back riding excursions and much more. All of these companies and small mom and pop business will shut down.

    Eagle Pass Mayor Chad Foster, who said he crosses the bridge daily to Piedras Negras, the Mexican city across the Rio Grande, said the lawmakers “that voted for this fence have never seen the reality of the border” and seen “the relationship that we have with our neighbors.”

    In Texas families that live on both sides and visit weekly, daily, on birthday and holidays. You don’t think the fence will affect these families. Think of it this way; you live in N.Y.C. and your parents live in Newark, N.J., you can’t go see them because there is a fence and Homeland Security requires documents so you can have dinner with your parents. Have you thought about this; probably not.

    Did you know that there are many employee of U.S. companies that cross the border every day to go to work and then cross to go home. No, they are not all Mexicans many Americans live across the border because it’s cheaper. This will this affect their employment and the business that depend on them. Have you thought about this; probably not.

    The Environment:

    The environmental groups that oversee a corridor of 182,000 acres of wildlife refuge along or near the river — a top birding destination whose devotees infuse the deep South Texas economy with an estimated $150 million yearly — said the region is now under threat.

    For two decades, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has spent $80 million buying property along the Rio Grande, replanting the land with native vegetation to attract animals and birds and to create the wildlife corrider. That effort, environmentalists say, is now directly threatened.

    “Fencing in general creates problems for wildlife,” said Nancy Brown, a spokeswoman for the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge in Alamo. “This wildlife corrider is a string of pearls [that has] 20 federally listed threatened and endangered species. This adds one more layer of difficulty.”

    Many Texans, myself included, find the whole idea of the fence a destruction to families, businesses, the environment and our way of life. If the rest of the country who so desperately wants a fence, I suggest that Texas erect the fence on its northern and western border. Then Texas won’t have to suffer the consequences of misguided and uniformed information or the hatred to our neighbors that the rest of the country has.

    How do you put a fence here without destroying Texas? You thought this was a desert we’re talking about. I’m not surprised at your main stream media awareness or lack thereof of our state.







    Marina Lake Amistad in Del Rio


    Border bridges: Laredo, Texas, on the right, is the nation’s busiest inland port.

    Posted in Border Patrol, Bush, Congress, DEA, destruction, economics, Education, Homeland Security, Immigration, injustice, Mexican, Mexico, National, Politics, prejudice, Rio Grande, Texas, United States | 13 Comments »

    Poll Alert: More Texans Disapprove of Cornyn’s Job Performance than Approve

    Posted by nytexan on June 19, 2007

    I will be posting all articles and reposting from to help get John Cornyn out of the U.S. Senate.  Cornyn is a disgrace to all  Texans. Well except Bush, Gonzales and Rove.

    From  Filed by Matt Glazer on June 19th, 2007

    A new Survey USA poll released today shows that more Texans now disapprove of the way Senator John Cornyn is handling his job than approve.  Only 42% of Texans approve of the way Cornyn is handling his job, with 43% disapproving.

    Cornyn’s approval rating hasn’t cracked 50% since 2005 and has slipped four points since last month.  Cornyn continues to have the lowest job approval rating of any incumbent running for re-election in the country.

    “John Cornyn is about as popular in Texas as three-dollar gas and wool sweaters in June,” DSCC spokesman Matthew Miller said.  “Texans have gone from quietly tolerating Cornyn’s poor record and partisan antics to actively demanding a change, and next year they’re going to have an opportunity to vote for one.”

    To access the most recent Survey USA poll, click here.

    To access previous Survey USA polls showing Cornyn’s approval rating, click here.

    Posted in Cornyn, Election, GOP, National, News, Politics, Texas, Texas Politics | 1 Comment »