Category Archives: Texas News

Quote for the Day

“When I go back to Texas, nobody asks about Russia. You know, I held town halls all over the state of Texas. You know how many questions I got on Russia? Zero.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (TP-Texas).   Red wonders exactly what town hall meetings Cruz is talking about.  Looking at his official website, there is a bizarre out-of-focus picture of the Loop 360 bridge over Lake Austin, but nary a mention of any town hall meetings since Trump took office and shows that none are scheduled.  Red acknowledges Cruz held some kind of under the radar meeting to discuss Veterans’ issues in recent weeks, but Cruz has been notably unwilling to face the citizens he supposedly represents in recent months.  So hold a real town hall Ted, and Red will be there to ask you plenty of questions about Russians and why you now support the “utterly amoral”, “pathological liar”, serial philanderer”, and  “sniveling coward” of a President who slandered your wife and father.

Texas Student Wins National Geographic Bee

Red was unaware that there was a Geographic Bee, but is pleased to report that Pranay Varada of Irving has won this year’s Bee.  The event, sponsored not surprisingly by National Geographic Magazine, tests the entrants knowledge of countries,  rivers, lakes,  mountain ranges, borders and cultures.  Second place went to Thomas Wright of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The Bee was decided in a thrilling sudden-death tiebreaker won by Varada when he correctly identified the Kunlun mountains, a 1,200-mile range along the Tibetan plateau.  Who knew?  Certainly not Red who somewhat prides himself on his geographic knowledge.

Quick – what city is famous for Boston baked beans?

 

Varada finished in sixth place last year, but another year of hard work (who doesn’t love looking at maps) paid off.  He won a $50,000 scholarship, a trip to the Galapagos Islands and a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society.

Texas GOP in Turmoil

The Texas Tribune reports that members of the so-called Freedom Caucus sabotaged more than 100 bills in the Texas House last night in retribution for not getting their way in attempting to restrict abortion rights even more, make sure that everyone has a gun and that good God-fearing white people are not abused.   It’s all too complicated and inside baseball for Red to explain, but it does show that there is no Republican solidarity in Texas and that the ultra rightwing of the party is willing to do anything to inflict punishment on those who will not go along with their attempt to turn Texas into the largest Christian Church in the country where the good ol’ boy whiteys are running the show.

This Just in – Houston Highways are Congested!

In what can hardly be called news, the Texas Department of Transportation has revealed that 44 of the State’s most congested roadways are in – of all places – Houston.  Even less surprising is that the stretch of the I-610 West Loop between I-69 and I-10 is the worst.  Red thanks TxDOT for this valuable information, but is still wondering why nothing was done to relieve congestion when that part of the West Loop was rebuilt about a decade ago. Yes that entire stretch was rebuilt and not a single land was added – with the exception of additional entrance/exit ramps crossing the I-69 interchange.   KHOU reports

 The annual hours of delay per mile along that one stretch is more than 1.1 million hours.

We  asked TxDOT, specifically, about what it’s doing to improve the worst stretch. For starters, connectors at 610 and the Southwest Freeway are being modified. And it plans to build elevated express lanes over the existing loop in the years to come.

Who to Vote Against in 2018

Every  Republican Congressman from Texas – with one exception – voted for the abomination that is the Affordable Healthcare Act (aka Trumpcare) – and then celebrated with a beer afterwards.  They voted for a bill that they had not read, that didn’t have a score from the CBO and that was rammed through without any support from the Democrats and then were positively giddy.  Gee, that sounds familiar.  Who has been complaining about the similar passage of the ACA (aka Obamacare) for the last 7 years?  Oh yeah, the Republicans.  Except the ACA had a CBO score so we actually had a pretty good idea of what it what cost and what its effects would be.

The current crop of Republicans somehow managed to forget all of their past criticisms of the Democrats and the passage of the ACA after nearly a year of debate and work,  and rush to push out a bill that will punish the most vulnerable, possibly cause approximately 24 million people to lose coverage, eviscerate critical protections for average folks,  and provide a huge tax break for their fatcat donors.  And despite the claims that popular provisions of Obamacare (such as coverage for pre-existing conditions) are being protected – it’s a bald-faced lie people.  Red hasn’t read the 1800 pages of the ACHA (and is guessing that none of the Reps who voted for this have either), but reports are that under the ACHA, states will be able to opt out of coverage for pre-existing conditions.  No doubt, that will be high on Our Poor Idiot Governor’s list of things to accomplish in screwing over the average Texan (apparently his only goal in life).  So in Texas, it may soon be a pre-existing condition to have been raped, assaulted, pregnant, or have had a caesarian section, cancer or a host of other diseases, illnesses and problems.  Good luck getting affordable insurance then – all you Trump voters.

So who was the lone Texan GOP holdout?  By pure coincidence, it happens to be the only GOP congressman who had a competitive race in 2016.  That would be Will Hurd of San Antonio who beat Pete Gallego by less than 4000 votes out of about 225,000 cast.  Hurd managed to stand on his principles in not casting a vote that likely would have doomed his chances for re-election next year.  According to Hurd,

“Since the implementation of Obamacare, I’ve told my constituents that the only meaningful metric when it comes to healthcare is actual access to quality, affordable care – not just health insurance. While the goal of Obamacare was to make healthcare more accessible and more affordable, it has done just the opposite. Likewise, while the goal of the American Health Care Act was to combat the skyrocketing premiums and outrageous deductibles millions of Americans face, it too, falls short.”

It warms the cockles of Red’s heart, to hear such selfless sentiment delivered by a vulnerable Congressman who is devoted to the best interests of his constituents (which primarily include re-electing said Congressman).  Would that others had such courage.

Dan Patrick Gets Dope Slapped by House

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (TP) really, really wanted a vote on one of his pet projects – school vouchers.  After getting the increasingly right-wing Texas senate to pass a bill that would create education savings accounts allowing parents to remove children from public schools and send them to private alternatives, and provide tax breaks for businesses offering donations to help pay for private schooling.  The measure went down in flames in the Texas House – about the last bastion of occasional sanity in GOP-dominated Texas politics.   The House voted 103-44 to reject Patrick’s plan.  Democrats and rural Republicans torpedoed any chance of passage.  Republicans wonder how they sell a bill that  would reduce public school funding to parents who actually like public schools and have a harder time selling Patrick’s patchwork plan to rural voters where the public schools are the only option.

On to the bathrooms!