Texas ‘Baby Jails’ Can Ignore Regulations Protecting Children — Senate Republicans Say So


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❝ …The state Senate has passed SB 1018, which would license immigrant family detention centers — also called ‘baby jail — as child care facilities. The bill would allow prison firms to ignore regulations that other child care facilities must follow, and was written by GEO Group, Inc., the nation’s second-largest for-profit prison corporation.

❝ Currently, mothers and children such as the ones fleeing violence in Central America and seeking asylum are only held in “baby jails” for weeks at a time, but the new bill would allow facilities to detain mothers and children for the duration of their asylum cases. It would also give the Department of Family and Protective Services broad authority to waive any minimum standards necessary in order to license the facilities…

❝ In the last month, dozens of people have testified against the legislation — while only four spoke in favor, and three of those four were employees of the GEO Group. The bill’s author, Bryan Hughes, admitted that he’s never been to a family detention center and had only “seen pictures”.

Texas Republicans prove, once again, they’re ready, willing and able to pass corrupt regulations that benefit sleazy corporations – as long as it pays.

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Scientists photographed Bambi snacking on a human carcass


That’s a human rib bone in Bambi’s mouthMeckel et al., J Forensic Sci

❝ Forensic scientists have to do a lot of weird things in order to solve crimes and identify bodies. Sometimes that involves leaving corpses outside to rot, to better understand what happens during and after decomposition. In fact, there are entire facilities devoted to studying the decay of donated human remains, like the 26-acre Forensic Anthropology Research Facility in San Marcos, Texas.

❝ In July 2014, researchers left a body in a wooded part of FARF. They wanted to learn about how different scavengers leave their marks on human remains, so they set up a motion-sensitive camera to see who would stop by. In this part of Texas, it’s not unusual to see foxes, turkey vultures, raccoons, coyotes, and other carrion-gobblers picking at a corpse. But after a few months, someone new came to the table.

On January 5, 2015, the camera caught a glimpse of a young white-tailed deer standing near the skeleton with a human rib bone in its mouth. Then it happened again on January 13 — the camera caught a deer with another rib sticking out of its mouth like a cigar. It’s not clear whether it was the same deer in both cases, but it’s certainly possible first one came back for seconds…

❝ It is not, however, the first time we’ve seen deer violating their vegetarian diets. In fact, they’re known to have a taste for blood. Previously they’ve been spotted eating fish, bats, and dead rabbits. Scientists think deer and other herbivores may occasionally seek out flesh to get minerals — such as phosphorus, salt, and calcium — that may be missing from their regular diets, especially in wintertime…

Still, for folks whose knowledge of science is as limited as, say, our so-called president, those whose guide through life is superstition and spells – this may be a sign of the End of Times.

Bwa-ha-ha-hah!

Texas sets the standard for Republican lies about abortion


Click to enlargeRena Schild/Shutterstock

❝ Despite suffering a major defeat at the Supreme Court this past June, Texas simply can’t stop — won’t stop — undermining reproductive rights. Earlier this month, the Texas Department of State Health Services released an updated edition of its abortion booklet — ironically titled “A Woman’s Right to Know” — which unapologetically promotes debunked links between abortion, breast cancer, and adverse psychological risks.

❝ A pregnant person considering termination in the Lone Star state may very well believe that her physical and mental health are at risk if she obtains an abortion. Texas already requires a 24-hour waiting period for abortion, after mandated counseling that includes information on breast cancer, fetal pain and mental health effects. But the updated DSHS booklet spreads further misinformation.

With regards to mental health, the booklet says, “Women report a range of emotions after an abortion. This can include depression or thoughts of suicide. Some women, after their abortion, have also reported feelings of grief, anxiety, lowered self-esteem, regret, sexual dysfunction, avoidance of emotional attachment, flashbacks and substance abuse.”…

Everything an otherwise sensible person feels after voting for Trump. Har.

❝ …Not only does promoting such misleading information stigmatize a common medical procedure that 1 in 3 U.S. women will have, but it also directly impacts the quality and availability of abortion care. Anti-choice legislators routinely use the mental health myth to pass restrictions on abortion, from mandatory waiting periods and counseling to gestational limits on abortion…

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong way to feel after having an abortion; every person’s experience is unique and valid. State legislators and governments would do well to finally acknowledge this, and abandon the harmful myths that drive legislation designed to make women feel bad about their decisions.

I wonder if the Republican Party will ever get round to abandoning the 19th Century religious claptrap that mandates their patriarchal War on Women and Women’s Rights? I realize that offering scientific and social proof means nothing to spooky, fearfilled mice. But, just stepping back and peering with open eyes at decades of failed ideology might eventually make an impression. Even on a Texas Republican.

U.S. secessionists getting ready for Texit campaign

Emboldened by Brexit, U.S. secessionists in Texas are keen to adopt the campaign tactics used to sway the British vote for leaving the European Union and are demanding “Texit” comes next…

“The Texas Nationalist Movement is formally calling on the Texas governor to support a similar vote for Texans,” the group said on Friday. The office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott was not immediately available for comment.

The group, which claims about a quarter million supporters, failed earlier this year to place a vote on secession on the November ballot but aims to relaunch its campaign for the next election cycle in 2018, buoyed by the British vote, Miller said.

Texit is in the air,” he said…

Actually – if, say, you’re on the western outskirts of Amarillo – it’s the shit stench from cattle feed lots.

From Maine to Alaska, the bids to break away by groups often angry at taxation or what they see as an infringement of their liberties have been unsuccessful either due to the nearly impossible legal challenges or lack of support.

A 2014 Reuters/Ipsos poll showed nearly a quarter of Americans are open to their states leaving the union.

Americans in general, Texans in particular, are willing and ready to prove they are prepared to out-lemming any furrin’ nation.

Texas Power wants the cheapest electricity for the next 15 years — which means solar


Click to enlargeRyan Loyd/TPR News

Yes, Texas also raises more sheep than any other state

Something unprecedented just happened on the renewable energy front in Texas that is likely to reverberate in energy markets across the country.

ERCOT, the entity that manages the flow of electric power to some 24 million Texas customers, representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric load, has posted its predictions of where the state will be able to find the cheapest electricity over the next 15 years…

As it usually does, ERCOT looked at a range of scenarios. The group mapped potential bulk power purchases from 2017 to 2031 under six different scenarios, including low gas prices, high economic growth, etc. And here’s the part that marks a momentous tipping point: solar power emerged as a clear economic winner in the state in all seven scenarios. In other words, ERCOT is saying that the price of solar power in Texas is now low enough that it predicts no other power plant types will be built…

It’s hard to overstate what a remarkable change this under-the-radar industry assessment represents. First of all, this happened in Texas, where competition to supply electricity is unfettered, and existing power plants have no guarantees or privileged status. In this environment, ERCOT is showing that solar is priced low enough to beat the cost of other new plants

One effect of the ERCOT predictions will surely be to increase the pressure on policy makers not to shield existing fossil-fuel generation from healthy competition.

That may be too optimistic. This is, after all, in Texas.

…In the political realm, Texas is leading the court fight against the federal carbon reduction requirements, known as the Clean Power Plan. But this stance is rendered purely symbolic when Texas’ own deregulated market is moving the state rapidly towards the same clean-energy outcome.

RTFA for history, details and positive projections. Good news often starts with basic economics.

Trump — Shove your border wall “Up Your Ass” — Congressman Filemon Vela

U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela took a poison pen to the Republican presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump, in an open letter Monday morning.

“Mr. Trump, you’re a racist and you can take your border wall and shove it up your ass,” the Brownsville Democrat wrote in a lengthy missive to the real estate magnate.

Later Monday, Vela elaborated on his remarks in an MSNBC interview.

“Well, I would have liked to have spoken in a much more diplomatic fashion, but I felt like I had to speak to Donald Trump in language he understands,” he said…

Vela then pointed out that his own family lineage in the United States goes back farther than Trump’s paternal grandfather.

“Before you dismiss me as just another ‘Mexican,’ let me point out that my great-great grandfather came to this country in 1857, well before your own grandfather,” he wrote. “His grandchildren (my grandfather and his brothers) all served our country in World War I and World War II. His great-grandson, my father, served in the U.S. Army and, coincidentally, was one of the first ‘Mexican’ federal judges ever appointed to the federal bench.”…

More details in the complete article. Of course, I think the headline says it all. No time, no patience left to be tolerant of blather from bigots. That’s for people who care more about etiquette than equal opportunities. The latter is part of how this nation was founded.

You may recall we also told the Brits to stick taxation without representation up their ass, too. Too bad the so-called Tea Party plastic patriots are mostly cheapskate bigots who hate responsibility as much they hate paying taxes. Always ready for benefits without paying a fair share – or building a nation with a modern future.

Texas attorney general told county clerks to ignore Supreme Court — may be disbarred


Delightfully smarmy booking photo courtesy of Reuters

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is being probed for ethics violations for telling county clerks that they could deny marriage licenses to same sex-couples, another potential setback for the state’s top lawyer, who is already facing felony charges.

The Texas Bar Association ordered its Board of Disciplinary Appeals this week to look into Paxton and his office, Houston attorney Eddie Rodriguez said on Thursday. If Paxton is found to have an ethics violation, he could be disbarred, which means he could no longer serve as attorney general…

Paxton’s office said in a statement:Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

In a separate case, Paxton, a Tea Party Republican, is facing three felony charges relating to securities fraud. If convicted of the most serious charge, he could face up to 99 years in prison.

Gotta love law’n order candidates who don’t care a rat’s ass about the law part.

“Affluenza” teen and momma busted in Mexico

A Texas woman and her son, a teen known for invoking an “affluenza” defense after a deadly drunken driving wreck, held a sort of farewell party before fleeing his probation, driving to the Mexican border and trying to disguise themselves…

Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said 18-year-old Ethan Couch and his mother, who were detained Monday in the Pacific Coast resort city of Puerto Vallarta, planned their disappearance.

“They even had something that was almost akin to a going-away party before leaving town,” he said.

Couch was on juvenile probation for the wreck that killed four people when he was 16. During the sentencing phase of his trial, a defense expert argued that his wealthy parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility — a condition the expert termed “affluenza.” The condition is not recognized as a medical diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association, and its invocation drew widespread ridicule.

Anderson said an arrest warrant would be issued for Couch’s mother, Tonya Couch, on charges of hindering an apprehension. A prosecutor says that during a hearing next month they plan to ask a judge to transfer Ethan Couch’s case to adult court…

Ricardo Ariel Vera, the representative of Mexico’s immigration institute in the western state of Jalisco, said the mother and son were being held at immigration offices in the state capital, Guadalajara, and would be returned to the United States aboard a commercial flight to Houston sometime Tuesday…

Couch was apparently trying to lie low; a photo distributed by the Jalisco state prosecutor’s office show him in detention with his blond hair dyed black and his normally blondish beard a light brown.

Anderson has said he believes the two fled in late November after a video surfaced that appears to show Couch at a party where people were drinking. If found to be drinking, Couch’s probation could be revoked and he could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

Couch was driving drunk and speeding on a dark two-lane road south of Fort Worth in June 2013 when he crashed into a disabled SUV off to the side, killing four people and injuring several others, including passengers in Couch’s pickup truck.

Throw the key away. Put mom in a cell down the hall. Sentence their lawyers to work at honest jobs.

Students protest open carry law — carrying dildos instead of guns


Cocks not Glocks!

Texas students are protesting…legislation that allows you to carry a gun on campus by highlighting what you can’t carry: a dildo.

On August 1, 2016, Senate Bill 11, which allows students to carry concealed weapons on most areas of campus, will officially go into effect. Meanwhile, the Texas penal code and the University of Texas’ rulebook says that engaging with any sort of obscene content in public is prohibited and punishable by fine. Thus, a hilarious juxtaposition of inconsistent legal nonsense.

UT student Jessica Jin is organizing based on this inconsistency.

A Facebook event (subtitled #CocksNotGlocks) hosted by Jin is urging UT students to start strapping dildos on their backpacks in August 2016. As of Monday morning, the event had secured 3,900 confirmed attendees, 768 maybes, and dozens of trolls – this is Facebook after all.

“The State of Texas has decided that it is not at all obnoxious to allow deadly concealed weapons in classrooms, however it DOES have strict rules about free sexual expression, to protect your innocence. You would receive a citation for taking a DILDO to class before you would get in trouble for taking a gun to class,” the Facebook event reads. “Heaven forbid the penis.”

Contradictions never bother law enforcement in Texas. Equal rights, voting rights – for women, non-whites – might be a stretch for some. But, enforcing stupidity? No problem at all.