Monday, May 14, 2012

The Weekly Early Voting Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance reminds everyone that early voting has begun as it brings you this week's blog roundup.

Off the Kuff finished his interview tour of Texas with a conversation with Domingo Garcia in CD33.
BossKitty at TruthHugger will not weigh in, whether or not the truth was actually served in court, when a black woman fired a warning shot into a wall. Firing a gun in irresponsible ways is natural in Texas. But Florida has contradictory laws that allow courts to pick and choose who gets punished for similar irresponsible behavior. You can decide for yourself how good a job of it they do.

Rick Perry came to Williamson County this week and endorsed John Bradley -- the man who whitewashed the investigation into whether the state of Texas executed an innocent man -- for District Attorney. WCNews at Eye On Williamson has the rest of the story: Birds of a feather.

It was a good week to be gay if you were Barack Obama and John Carona, and a bad week to be gay if you were Mitt Romney and Dan Patrick. And if you think that's confusing, wait until you read what PDiddie at Brains and Eggs said about Greg Abbott's rose petals and Joe Arpaio's pink panties.  

Lewisville Texan Journal looks at the Republican candidate for HD 106 Pat Fallon's residence, and addresses whether he committed voter fraud by voting from an address where he apparently did not live.

At TexasKaos, lightseeker asks: Could the education cuts be the beginning of the end for Texas Republicans? Check out the details.

Neil at Texas Liberal endorsed Sean Hubbard in the Democratic primary for the open U.S. Senate seat.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

DOJ moves on Arpaio

I'd like to see this sadist in pink panties and living in a tent, right alongside those he has done similarly. But that would be as cruel and unusual as he is, so I'll settle for arrested, charged, held without bail, and quickly tried, convicted, and incarcerated. For a long, long time. Hopefully the remainder of his miserable life.

A few days after the “Toughest Sheriff in America” oversaw his 60th Latino-harassing raid in the Phoenix area, the Obama administration’s top civil-rights lawyer flew to Phoenix and slapped Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his office with a monumental civil-rights tort alleging rampant constitutional abuses, including widespread racial profiling of Latinos. The suit also claims the sheriff violated the civil rights of his critics by “illegal retaliation” that included baseless lawsuits and meritless administrative actions.

Abuses? What abuses?

In one case, the suit says, a five-months’ pregnant American citizen was stopped as she pulled into her driveway. Officers ordered her to sit on the hood of her car. She refused. They slammed her into the car three times—fetus-side first. Next, they placed the woman in a patrol car without air conditioning for half an hour. She was released and cited with failure to provide identification. Later, the charge was changed to “failure to provide proof of insurance.”

In another case, deputies trailed a U.S. citizen to her home, then knocked her to the ground, kneed her in the back and handcuffed her when she tried to run into her house, the suit alleges. They charged her with disturbing the peace. (A judge dismissed the charge.)
In the jails, some Latinos were placed in solitary confinement because they didn’t speak English, the lawsuit says. On some streets, Latinos were nine times more likely to be stopped than non-Latinos. And sheriff’s officials detained dozens of Latinos because “probable cause” included smelling of “strong body odor” or appearing nervous and avoiding eye contact, the lawsuit says.

What do you mean only the first two above make the top ten?

1. Forcing Women To Sleep In Their Own Menstrual Blood: In Arpaio’s jails, “female Latina LEP prisoners have been denied basic sanitary items. In some instances, female Latina LEP prisoners have been forced to remain with sheets or pants soiled from menstruation because of MCSO’s failure to ensure that detention officers provide language assistance in such circumstances.” [...]

5. Criminalizing Living Next To The Wrong People: “[D]uring a raid of a house suspected of containing human smugglers and their victims . . . officers went to an adjacent house, which was occupied by a Latino family. The officers entered the adjacent house and searched it, without a warrant and without the residents’ knowing consent. Although they found no evidence of criminal activity, after the search was over, the officers zip-tied the residents, a Latino man, a legal permanent resident of the United States, and his 12-year-old Latino son, a citizen of the United States, and required them to sit on the sidewalk for more than one hour, along with approximately 10 persons who had been seized from the target house, before being released.” 

These atrocities have been going on for quite some time. In 2009, Arpaio's deputies detained (too mild a word to use to describe what happened) a 9-month-pregnant Latina, refused to remove her shackles even as she gave birth, and then refused to let her hold the baby and threatened to put the child into state custody.

Think this is still America, land of the free and home of the brave? Think again. Did you miss the words 'American citizen' in those excerpts?

Arizona is, amazingly, worse than Texas and Alabama when it comes to this shit.

See what happens when you vote for Republicans? Or when you don't bother to get out and vote against them?

Stace is kinder and gentler, but the time for that has long passed. When they're going after American citizens who look like him, it's time for people who look like me to stand up, speak out, and fight back. Else they come for people who look like me next.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Romney's Gay Pride Week (not so much)

So Mitt Romney fired accepted the forced resignation of an openly gay member of his foreign policy staff. Yes, it was almost two weeks ago, eons in the collective memory, but its recollection bleeds into "This Week in Gay Marriage", in which Obama is yanked out of the closet even as his protagonist pushes past him and forces his way in.

Oh yeah, Mitt also bullied a gay kid when he was in high school.

Reading that story almost makes strapping an Irish Setter to the roof of your car for a ride to Canada sound like a normal thing, doesn't it?

At least the Log Cabins are unswayed. So he hasn't lost the entirety of another voting bloc. But let's back away from the snark for just a moment.

This story is resonant because one can, all too easily, see Romney walking away even now, or simply failing to connect, to grasp hurt. How he talks about this incident will be impossible to divorce from how he talks about same-sex marriage in the wake of President Obama’s announcement, and about questions of basic dignity for gay and lesbian Americans. But unless he deals with it soundly, it will also be present as people wonder about his compassion for anyone not as well situated and cosseted as he has always been. Who else might he walk away from? Until now, the campaign has talked about his fondness for pranks as a way to humanize him; his wife called him wild and crazy. Is this what they think that means?

There's a whole lot of excuse-making on the Right in the wake of these developments. "Everybody gets/got bullied in high school", "I was a bully; I got bullied; it's just a part of growing up, a right of passage'. I believe most of us know better than that today. Just as many of us know better than to vote for civil rights discrimination as codified into the state constitution. But mentioning gay anything lathers up the Christian conservatives so badly that they leap out of the pews and mob their e-mail accounts, or the phones, threatening to do the same thing at the polls. So the GOP knuckles under.

As for Mitt, he's left with "Can't we just talk about the economy, please?"

Hey, they're YOUR base, buddy. You get 'em in line.

Update: Cenk Uygur had a more expansive report on this topic last night: "(W)hat looks like a lifelong pattern of Mitt Romney’s mean-spirited behavior, from allegations of bullying a prep school peer, taunting a blind English teacher, hazing classmates at Stanford and, later, pressuring a pregnant woman whom he counseled not to have an abortion, even if it risked her life."

So the record shows it's a lot more than just bullying gay kids or family pets. I doubt Mitt is going to be able to talk much about the economy for the next few days.