From the Annals of the Constitution – In 1972, Texas voters passed the Equal Rights Amendment to the Texas Constitution. The Amendment was the end result of a campaign started in 1957 by the Texas Federation of Business and Professional Women. In 1957, the TFBPW sent attorney Hermine D. Tobolowsky to testify for a bill authorizing married women to control property separately from their husbands. When members of the Senate Committee reacted to her testimony with amusement, Tobolowsky determined to shift direction and steer the TFBPW towards a campaign for an equal rights amendment rather than seeking incremental changes in particular statutes. Despite several setbacks including resistance from later-disgraced House Speaker Gus Mutscher, the TFBPW ultimately succeeded in getting the amendment passed by the Legislature and almost 80% of Texas voters approved the amendment. The amendment is remarkably simple in its phrasing but broad in its impact.
Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of sex, race, color, creed, or national origin. This amendment is self-operative.
“I think that your successor 500 years from now is going to be writing about us the way that we write about the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages. It’s just so corrupt, in the same way that they were selling bishoprics and indulgences to shorten your time in purgatory. We’re selling votes. We’re selling amendments. We’re selling democracy, and it’s absolutely disgusting. But what makes it even more fucked up is that everybody knows that it’s happening, but it’s just what has always happened for so long now that it’s all-encompassing in the system. No one seems really willing to do anything that will compromise their ability to be successful in that system by stepping out of it.”
Texas agreed Wednesday to significantly weaken its voter ID law, which federal courts have said discriminated against minorities and the poor and left more than 600,000 registered voters potentially unable to cast a ballot.
Faced with a direct rebuke from the Fifth Circuit and a complete lack of evidence of in-person voter fraud, Texas has loosened its voter ID requirements for the November election. Voters without one of the absurd list of seven forms of suitable ID — which includes concealed handgun permits, but not college IDs — can now sign an affidavit and vote. And that vote will be counted. This provision essentially guts the law. This is a remarkable failure of the Texas GOP’s attempt to suppress voter turnout – an effort that likely failed anyway.
The state also agreed to $2.5 million on voter outreach before November pursuant to the settlement submitted to U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, who must still approve the changes.
Red can already hear the outcry from Our Poor Idiot Governor Greg Abbott about how this will allow massive voter fraud at the polls despite the utter lack of any such evidence. Republicans can take their cue from nominee Donald Trump who is already claiming that the presidential election will be “rigged” against him. No sir, it is your party who has repeatedly attempted to “rig” elections by enacting numerous state laws designed to suppress voter turnout.
The San Antonio Express-News reports that GOP Texas House candidate Kyle Biederman attended a costume party dressed as “Gay Hitler” in 2008. The costume was based on a Saturday Night Live character.
A self-declared “conservative, Christian Republican,” Biedermann is running to unseat state Rep. Doug Miller, R-New Braunfels, in Texas House District 73, which covers Comal, Gillespie and Kendall counties just north of San Antonio. After winning about 36 percent of the vote in the March primary, Biedermann is facing Miller in a May 24 runoff.
Biedermann dressed up like “gay Hitler,” he said, for a Saturday Night Live-themed costume party that benefited a Fredericksburg food pantry about eight years ago. “Gay Hitler” was a character portrayed on the television comedy show in 2001 by actor Chris Kattan.
“What would be offensive about that photograph?” Biedermann asked on Wednesday. “This whole thing is about political correctness. It’s not a problem for me whatsoever.”
Red is loath to criticize because he once dressed as “Yessir Paraquat” for a costume party. But Biederman may have just lost the “Hitler Lover” and Skinhead vote – which probably will hurt him in a GOP runoff election.
Photo of “Gay Hitler” from Kyle Biederman/Facebook
The Texan Republican Party’s Voter ID law passed by the Legislature still has some life. A U.S. District Court in Corpus Christi ruled that the law (known as Senate Bill 14) was in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and that decisions was upheld by a 3 judge panel of the Fifth Circuit. Now the entire Court has decided to hear the case – which is likely an ominous sign for the voters of Texas. The notoriously conservative court of appeals is likely to uphold the discriminatory law whose only purpose is to suppress voter turnout for poor, elderly and non-white citizens.
At trial, the burden was on the law’s opponents to show discriminatory impact and the plaintiffs succeeded. Unfortunately, the State does not have the burden to establish a rationale basis for the law. Unfortunate, because it would be impossible to do so. There is no in person voter fraud in Texas that has ever affected the outcome on an election – at least not on the part of the voters. Texas has been unable to point to more than one or two reported instances of in person voter fraud. Everyone who knows anything about elections knows that all the potential electoral hanky-panky occurs with the mail in ballots. And the Voter ID law does nothing to prevent that. This has always been about Republicans attempting to suppress the vote and nothing more. Shame on the GOP for promoting this farce.
From the Annals of the Halls of Power – In 1999, Rick Perry took office as Texas’ first Republican lieutenant governor since Reconstruction. Perry’s long career in public office began in 1984 when he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat from District 64, which included Haskell County where his father had served as a County Commissioner. Perry was well regarded as a Representative and served three terms. He supported Al Gore for President in 1988. But when George H.W. Bush won the Presidency, Perry was clearly attune to the direction the political winds were blowing in Texas, and he changed his party affiliation to the GOP. In 1990, he narrowly defeated the popular incumbent Jim Hightower for Agriculture Commissioner. With the help of Karl Rove he raised over $3 million and tarnished Hightower’s name – aided by a corruption scandal that enveloped 3 of Hightower’s aides. Perry’s narrow win by about 20,000 votes pushed him into statewide prominence. After serving two terms, Perry chose to run for Lieutenant Governor to succeed the retiring Democrat Bob Bullock. Perry had a notable falling out with his previous top political strategist Karl Rove leading to the much-reported rivalry between the Bush and Perry camps. In the 1998 election, Perry eked out another narrow win with 1,858,837 votes (50.04 percent) to the 1,790,106 (48.19 percent) cast for Democrat John Sharp.
Rep. and self-styled “former fetus” Jonathan Stickland (TP-Bedford) is trying to move past his on-line record indicating that he condoned marital rape and really liked smoking the marijuana so much so that he was curious about growing his own cannabis. Stickland, a Tea Party stalwart, now claims that he regrets the on-line trail of evidence he left and that yes, he smoked a few spleefs in his time, but he has repented and been forgiven. Red is the last person to cast stones – unless the target thereof is parading as some holier than thou state representative who is fair game for public comment. Red also believes in forgiveness – but not disremembering. The Trail Blazers Blog from the Dallas Morning News has more.
Notably, our former poor idiot governor Rick Perry has endorsed Bedford pastor Scott Fisher, who he once appointed to serve on two state commissions.