Texas Politics: A Primer – UPDATED

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Austin, Texas’s capital, is the Berkeley of that state, decidedly blue in a red sea. Travis County, where Austin is located, elects their county attorney who in turn oversees criminal cases in Austin. They have a special prosecutorial agency that prosecutes corruption cases for all of Texas, because it is the capital. Following me still? The liberal city of Austin has legal obligations and power to prosecute crooked politicians, who oddly seem to be Republicans. Go figure.

This has gotten under the chaps of the Republicans in power for years. They cannot do anything about it. The Republican state-wide candidates often run on a platform of “reforming” the watch dog prosecutorial abilities of Travis, but generally fail. Travis county, however, has successfully prosecuted Tom Delay, and is currently investigating Republican Candidate for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Keep that thought in mind, it is important.

Rosemary Lehmberg is the (Democratic) elected (and not answerable to Rick Perry) Travis County District Attorney. She was arrested for DUI (though oddly, she was not driving at the time), pleaded guilty and did some jail time. For the reasons stated above, Rick Perry wanted her to resign, the DUI gave him cover to ask for her resignation. Her replacement for the rest of her term would be appointed, and presumably investigations into corrupt politicians (Republicans) would stop, and maybe Ken Paxton would be elected.

There’s no way to prove this, of course, otherwise this indictment might also include obstruction of justice or some variation thereof. Can you indict for a future crime yet to be committed? No. But it could be shown as motive for what he was doing. Anyway, this is probably the reason behind the official abuse charge: he cannot ask for the resignation of a duly elected official nor demand it.

So Lehmberg did not resign her office, nor was she required to. Rick Perry then upped the ante: resign or he would line-item veto the county of Travis’ budget to prosecute corruption cases; that is certainly coercion: do what I want or your department is defunded from prosecuting me and my buddies. And then he proceeded to do just that, and being not the sharpest thorn on that yellow rose, he bragged about it very publicly. Perry is rumored to have gone so far as to offer her a state-wide job if she would resign her county job, and, you know, let him pick her replacement.

So that is what the Grand Jury investigated: abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant, which are felonies and if convicted and would hold a maximum prison sentence of 109 years. It isn’t going to happen, or very unlikely anyway. I mean Tom Delay was prosecuted in 2006 and he’s now close to a decade into the process of fighting it, much of the original charges having been overturned by a Republican, sympathetic judge.

In the meanwhile, it is pretty funny that Wingnuts all over the place are trying to defend Perry with video of Lehmberg’s drunken antics. It clearly was not her finest hour, but it is also not the issue at hand. Her drunken escapades was the opportunity that motivated Perry. So Texas politics, as usual.

UPDATE: I forgot that I wrote about this before, and it is actually a funny story.

The wheels of justice slowly grind

5 years later, Tom Delay’s trial moves ahead… in Texas where he will not only be acquitted, they will probably name a school after him. Anyway…

The Republican was indicted in 2005 on charges he illegally sent $190,000 in corporate money through the Republican National Committee to help elect GOP Texas legislative candidates in 2002.

DeLay, who resigned in 2006, has pleaded not guilty to money laundering and conspiracy. He has said the trial will clear him.

Of course now you can launder as much money as you want for candidates and in the open. Delay was ahead of his time.

Readin’, ritin’, and Reagan…

After all the angst over how will the kiddies ever learn about Phyllus Schlafly and the Moral Majority (and her predecessor, Joe McCarthy) in the Texas school books, it turns out that no one can afford them.

Now it appears that Texas kids will have to glean those points from supplementary materials rather than new textbooks that were supposed to arrive in the fall. The state normally replaces textbooks on a rotating basis every 10 years. With Texas facing a budget shortfall of at least $11 billion in 2011, the money isn’t going to be there. Textbooks covering the new science standards would have cost $400 million, and the Legislature is already expecting a bill of $888 million for textbooks already ordered.

Yes, the native sons and daughters of the Lone Star State will have to learn about the significant contributions of the confederate soldiers elsewhere, because the state is broke, and will not be replenishing their old textbooks this year.

But not to fear, y’all: they found enough money stashed away somewhere so that they hope to produce a Science supplement about Evolution’s failabilities. And there will be a test: they upgraded the exit exam to match the new standards before they rolled out the new text books. Lots’a luck with that!

The Yellow Rose Air of Texas

Ha ha ha! The EPA is threatening Texas with taking over regulating air quality in Texas because they are doing such a crap job of it.

In 3… 2… 1…

The Obama administration has taken yet another step in its campaign to harm our economy and impose federal control over Texas. On behalf of those Texans whose jobs are threatened by this latest overreach and in defense of not only our clean air program but also our rights under the 10th Amendment, I am calling upon President Obama to rein in the EPA.

– Governor Goodhair Rick Perry

And so there you have it. Citizen of Kenya, Language-of-the-Koran-speaking, Closet-Muslim, socialist, magic-negro overlord, re-education camp counselor, and Nobel laureate President Carebear is trying to conquer Texas, and it is only Rick Perry that is standing between yellow-aired freedom and Worker Paradise #2 of our Maoist dictator.

(Loved the veiled threat of the 10th Amendment, too.)

(Hat tip: Scissorhead Skinny-D)

Governor Goodhair kills… and will kill again

Rick Perry, governor of Texas (National Laboratory of Bad Politics – according to Molly Ivins) goes jogging with sidearms, we learn today. And he is a-feared o’ snakes.

Anyway, Governor Goodhair was out jogging and shot a coyote using a laser-sighted .380 Ruger — loaded with hollow-point bullets.

Dude really is a-feared of snakes. That’s some serious firepower. Lesson here: don’t go jogging with Governor Goodhair if you look like a snake or a coyote. Giuliani, you’ve been warned.

Georgia: still crazier than Texas

Remember the other day when Georgia wrestled the Crazeee away from Texas when they passed a law that outlaws the government putting beepers in your vaginal-anus area? Me neither! So today, sensing that they were not crazee enough, Georgia decided to propose some birther legislation to make sure that noted Lawyer-Dentist-Realtor Orly Taitz always feels welcome. Or something.

Republican legislators in Georgia are following their counterparts’ lead in Arizona and proposing a law that would force President Obama and all other future presidential candidates to prove their citizenship before being registered to run in the state.

The move comes days after Arizona’s House passed a similar amendment which, according to the Arizona Republic, was inspired by the “birther” movement that believes President Obama is not entitled to hold the office of president because he wasn’t born in the United States.

But of course, no Birther story would be complete without a quote from some nut, so here we go:

But when asked by channel 11 if [state Rep. Mark Hatfield, the lead sponsor of the bill] considered himself a birther, Hatfield said, “No, I wouldn’t say that at all. I’m simply a citizen who is concerned, to make sure that the Constitution is upheld and enforced.”

“So you don’t know one way or the other whether he is a citizen of the United States?” reporter John Shirek asked.

“Well, of course not,” Hatfield replied. “I have not been given any sort of proof, one way or the other.”

(The Raw Story)

Is Georgia the new Texas?

In the history of dog-whistle politics no one gets close to Texas. Until today. The nuts who are agitating to get an election bounce using Obamacare to ratchet up the crazy in Georgia have sunk to a whole new level: they introduced a law to prevent that Kenyan usurper to the White House from micro-chipping citizens:

Last Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee entertained SB 235, the bill sponsored by Sen. Chip Pearson (R-Dawsonville) to prohibit the involuntary implantation of microchips in human beings.

OK, strange, but fair enough. But then, the ironically named Chip had to have a hearing on it, and Georgia decided to give Texas a crazy run for the money:

…a hefty woman who described herself as a resident of DeKalb County. “I’m also one of the people in Georgia who has a microchip,” the woman said. Slowly, she began to lead the assembled lawmakers down a path they didn’t want to take.

Microchips, the woman began, “infringe on issues that are fundamental to our very existence. Our rights to privacy, our rights to bodily integrity, the right to say no to foreign objects being put in our body.”

She spoke of the “right to work without being tortured by co-workers who are activating these microchips by using their cell phones and other electronic devices.”

She continued. “Microchips are like little beepers. Just imagine, if you will, having a beeper in your rectum or genital area, the most sensitive area of your body. And your beeper numbers displayed on billboards throughout the city. All done without your permission,” she said.

It was not funny, and no one laughed.

“Ma’am, did you say you have a microchip?” asked state Rep. Tom Weldon (R-Ringgold).

“Yes, I do. This microchip was put in my vaginal-rectum area,” she replied. Setzler, the sponsoring lawmaker, sat next to the witness – his head bowed.

I think right about then is when you withdraw the motion, you apologize to your constituents, and you quietly retire from being a public servant, and you spend the rest of your days cursing the memory of Ronald Reagan for closing all the mental hospitals so that gazillionaires can have a few more bucks.

But instead, the Georgia legislature passed the measure. And that, Scissorheads is how Georgia just took the crazee away from Texas.

“What’s on the teevee machine, pa?”

Chimpy’s Economic Disaster, Cont.

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The latest news from someplace called “Laredo” which is in the legendary state of Texastan is that they will soon be the largest US city without any bookstore.

The B. Dalton store is pullin’ outta town next month, and while some might say that it means that they never had a bookstore, well, yeah.

Golden opportunity for an entrepreneur to bring readin’ to a large metropolitan area — wonder who will fill the void?