Posts tagged Texas
The late Congressman and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill famously said, “All politics is local.” Even as the national Congress seems stalemated, unable to enact even such vital legislation as a jobs bill or firearm reform or a new immigration bill, locked in seemingly endless partisan obstructionism — even as inaction reigns supreme, state legislatures across the country are making progress, though too often the progress is in taking states backward.
There is some good news. Colorado will require more background checks for gun sales, and will outlaw high-capacity ammunition magazines. At least eighteen other states, however, have loosened firearms restrictions. As of July 1, for instance, Kansas will allow schools to arm employees with concealed handguns, and will ensure weapons can be carried into more public buildings.
Are there people who honestly believe that the way to reduce gun violence is to have more guns? Perhaps so; or perhaps much action in state legislatures is more partisan than rational.
I wrote a couple of articles recently about water. It is no coincidence that today the Supreme Court is hearing arguments in Tarrant Regional Water District v. Hermann, a case about water, precipitated by a battle over limited water resources. As I mentioned before, the United States is consuming water from our various sources at a rate that exceeds the replenishment rate.
In this particular case, a water utility district in Tarrant County, Texas, is suing the state of Oklahoma over the rights to water from tributaries in Oklahoma that feed the Red River, which borders the two states. This happened because Oklahoma, recognizing the increasing shortage of a precious resource, passed legislation prohibiting any increases in diverting water to other states. Tarrant RWD filed suit on the grounds that the legislation violated the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.
While the battle was wending its way through the courts, the law’s sunset clause expired. In the meantime, Oklahoma passed a series of additional laws making it more difficult for other states to obtain water permits for sources within Oklahoma. At that point, Tarrant RWD amended its suit to cover the discriminatory nature of those new laws, on the same Commerce Clause grounds. (more…)
Ever wonder whether there is a difference between extreme left-wing groups and extreme right-wing groups?
Back in early 2009, the Department of Homeland Security released two reports which had been in the works for some time. The first one, released in late January of that year, dealt with the threat posed to the nation by leftist groups. It was titled, “Leftwing Extremists Likely to Increase Use of Cyber Attacks over the Coming Decade.” You can download it here. It was released to little fanfare, and almost no notice was taken by the press, by politicians, or by, well, much of anyone.
In fact, there were two earlier DHS reports released on left-wing groups the previous year: “Plans to Target Transportation Infrastructure Surrounding Republican National Convention” was released in March of 2008, and “Ecoterrorism: Environmental and Animal-Rights Militants in the United States” from May of that year. These, too, went pretty much unnoticed.
The second report released in early 2009 described the threats posed by rightist groups in the United States. It was released in early April of 2009, under the title, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.” You can obtain it here. It resulted in a firestorm of complaint and objection from conservative pundits, bloggers, media channels, and politicians.
Why the difference in reception? (more…)
Within a week of the election in which Barack Obama won a second term while Democrats gained seats in both Houses and Republicans got what George W. Bush might call a “thumpin’,” petitions calling for various states to secede from the union began to spring up across the nation like mushrooms after a thundershower.
Most of these petitions were registered at the White House official website, where over 675,000 digital signatures appeared on 69 separate petitions covering all 50 states. Petitions from seven states soon exceeded the 25,000-signature threshold for White House action, with Texas leading the pack one week in at over 94,000 signatures. Petitions covering Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee also crossed the required threshold for White House action.
In response to the requests for secession, several counter-petitions calling for the exile and deportation of those who signed the secession petitions have appeared, and another petition wants to strip citizenship rights from those who signed petitions to help states secede, according to the Daily Caller. Residents in three Texas cities, Houston, Austin and El Paso, have signed petitions asking to secede from Texas if Texas secedes from the Union. The Houston petition says that “those asking for secession of the state of Texas are mentally deficient and we do not want them representing us. We would like more education in our state to eradicate their disease.” As of this writing the “mentally deficient” petition has 134 signatures.
These “secession petitions” reflect the widespread post-election angst among Republicans. “Think Progress” reports that twenty-five percent of registered Republicans now want their state to secede from the United States, according to a new poll from Public Policy Polling.
Twenty-five percent! That’s a lot of discontent out there in Middle America. (more…)
This is Ballot Watch. Today is the 12th in the series of articles on the upcoming ballot initiatives and some key local elections. Some of these covered topics in common with multiple states, but the remainder look at a state level.
This is the middle of the country. Most of this territory is deeply Republican, though Iowa and Missouri are more closely balanced. Of these six states, Kansas and Nebraska have nothing of particular interest going on in November. The other four are described below the fold, with significant help from a couple of our regular commenters.
Texas has always been different.
As Texans are fond of telling outsiders (even themselves), it’s the only part of the United States that was once a sovereign nation. That’s the basis for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism’s slogan, “It’s Like a Whole Other Country”. Texas insurgent forces won independence for Texas on the battlefield in 1835 and 1836. Texas was a Republic from 1836 until it joined the United States in 1845. Texas then seceded from the Union along with the other Confederate States of America in 1861, and rejoined the United States with the South’s defeat in 1865.
There is a general belief amongst most Texans that some sort of special “get out of the Union free” Easter Egg was implanted in the documents that joined Texas to the United States. However, not even the Texas Secede! website believes such a thing: “No such provision is found in the current Texas Constitution (adopted in 1876) or the terms of annexation.”
Texas established one more difference between itself and the rest of the Union on Tuesday: in an election cycle when the Tea Party has been declared dead and buried, Texans showed that, in Faulkner’s words, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” They advanced former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz as the Republican candidate in the general election, where he should cruise to an easy victory over Democratic nominee Paul Sadler. (more…)