Saturday, March 30, 2013

Texas Gun Bills Stalled In Committee

With 60 or so days left to Texas's legislative year, there are several important gun-related bills stalled in congressional committees.

HB 1872 is one such bill. The bill would allow law enforcement personnel to immediately revoke somebody's second amendment rights if they self-identified as having any sort of mental illness. This would include temporary depression (grief) after loss of a family member including divorce. According to the bill, it would require the citizen to petition a judge in order to have second amendment rights reinstated.

This is unconstitutional. It should require a warrant or sentence issued by a judge after sufficient evidence is presented in order to have second amendment protections suspended.

Luckily, this law is listed as still in committee. It needs to be voted down, hard.

Severely mentally ill people, such as Jared Loughner, who shot Gabby Giffords, and Adam Lanza, the monster who shot students and faulty at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Connecticut, should have their second amendment protections called into question. Restricting them may have stopped their crimes. They may not have. Had they been intent on those crimes, they would have still acquired weapons and done their evil, regardless of the law. But restricting somebody's constitutional rights should never be done lightly. Even incarcerated criminals still have some level of First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment protections.

HB 972 is the Texas House bill to allow concealed carry on college campuses. It has been stuck pending in committee since March 14, 2013. It was filed on February 5, 2013.

The bill would allow for college students who posses concealed carry licenses (therefore passed rigorous background checks and took classes) to carry on campus. Saying "no" to this bill basically indicates advocacy for rape and other violent crimes on campus. Doing so says that the lawmaker supports leaving women unable to defend themselves.

The Texas Senate has a companion bill to HB 972. SB 182 is identical in text. It was filed on January 17, 2013. It has sat in committee since January 29th. One of it's biggest obstacles is Socialist Tyrant Democrat Whitmire from Houston.

While Texas is still eons away from recognizing the full Second Amendment rights known as "Constitutional Carry", there is a bill that comes a small step closer. Currently, open carry is unconstitutionally forbidden in Texas. HB 1194 would change that. The bill changes the wording in Texas gun laws to make carry licenses valid for both open and concealed carry. This bill has also been stuck "pending" in committee since March 14, 2013 despite several hearings with testimony in favor of passing the bill.

Constitutional Carry is the Second Amendment as written and intended. It allows for law-abiding citizens to carry concealed or openly any legal firearm, be it a handgun or rifle. This does come with some restraints, however, such as the "two action" rule. The two-action rule means the weapon needs to be configured so that the bearer must do two things in order to prepare the weapon to fire. This could be unholstering and disengaging a safety. It could be chambering a round. In the case of carrying an AR-15, there would most likely be three actions: shoulder the weapon, charge the weapon, disengage safety.

Four states, including Arizona, Alaska, and New Hampshire, currently employ constitutional carry at some level or another. Texas, who claims to be one of the most free and least restrictive states, needs to follow suit or relinquish its claim.

Friday, March 29, 2013

San Antonio Railroaded By Runaway Light Rail

The San Antonio City Council and Dictator Mayor Fidel Julian Castro voted to soak taxpayers for $180 Million in 2011, railroading them into a light rail street car program that is doomed to fail.

The San Antonio City Council and the city's socialist oligarch mayor don't pay particular attention to cost-benefit analysis studies before they push certain spending projects. They also tend to ignore common sense.

They do tend to employ the "everybody knows it's best for everybody" fallacious argument. In the case of light rail, also known as street cars, it isn't a case of "everybody knowing". It is a case of everybody being lied to and the truth being buried.

The voters in metropolitan Atlanta, GA quickly paid attention to the cost-benefit analysis of light rail when the government proposed raising taxes to support their project called TSPLOST. TSPLOST lost its referendum.

The simple answer is that the facts were published. Sunlight shined down on the plague of ignorance. The voters found out the price tag and their share of it. Then they found out how much the program would cost them after construction completed. Like herpes, light rail was the infection that would never go away. It was determined that the cost per passenger required was too expensive for the average public transit passenger to pay. So the fares would be kept artificially low. The difference would be subsidized through increased taxation. Next came the utilization estimates. It was determined that light rail would not bring any more passengers than a bus service, yet cost astronomically more.

The same is the case with San Antonio's light rail program.

The program will cost taxpayers $40 million per mile. A new bus, plus drivers, gasoline, and operating costs would cover over 20 miles for the same price.

The program also prioritizes the light rail construction over road construction, expansion, and repair. So, the average citizen, who drives, suffers to accommodate the few who may actually ride the street cars.

Those who support the light rail state that buses are capable of carrying an average of 35 passengers. Light rail street cars can carry 75.  However, the VIA buses rarely run at full capacity. If at only 60%, that would be 20-21 passengers. The same amount would travel on the street cars, leaving 55 empty seats. Taxpayers would have to pay for those empty seats. Cost per passenger on a street car is three times that of a bus. That means that taxpayers will be soaked for 155 bus fares per street car, per trip.

The city's public transit system runs at a an average $11 million deficit per year. In other words, each year, it costs taxpayers an additional $11 million to run the system. That's cumulative. That means after 3 years, the program will be $33 million in the hole. It loses money. It is not self-sufficient. It is a waste of taxpayer money. 

This further aggravates the fact that San Antonio has one of the highest per capita public debt burdens for a city in the country.

San Antonio could have doubled its bus service, paid for Castro's Pre-K indoctrination program, had money left over, and not borrowed a single penny or raised taxes with what the light rail program costs.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

TX Congress Courting Gun Manufacturers

The Texas legislature has two bills introduced that intend to court gun manufacturers, distributors, accessory companies, and ammunition manufacturers to the state.

The senate bill, SB 1467, plans to offer tax exemptions to US-based weapons companies. The exemptions will be proportionate to the size and scope of the business being brought to Texas.

S.B. No. 1467 
relating to economic development incentives for firearms manufacturers, firearms accessory manufacturers, and ammunition manufacturers. 
       SECTION 1.  Chapter 481, Government Code, is amended by adding Section 481.0297 as follows: 
(a)  The office shall facilitate the location, expansion, and retention of firearms manufacturers, firearms accessory manufacturers, and ammunition manufacturers to the state, including: 
             (1)  identifying domestic and international firearms manufacturers, firearms accessory manufacturers, and ammunition manufacturers interested in expanding or relocating to the state; and 
             (2)  issuing requests for proposals for the location, relocation or expansion of firearms manufacturers, firearms accessory manufacturers, and ammunition manufacturers to the state. 
       (b)  Upon receipt of proposals under subsection(a), the office shall negotiate on behalf of the state the issuance of funds provided by Section 481.078, franchise tax exemptions, sales tax exemptions, and other incentives as provided by this Chapter or other provisions of the law commensurate with the size and scope of the proposed project. 
       SECTION 2.  EFFECTIVE DATE. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2013.

The house companion bill, HB3190, is almost identical with no identifiable difference in meaning, scope, or intent.

Several companies that make and sell products directly affiliated with firearms have indicated intentions to leave their current headquarter states. The primary reason are the knee-jerk infringements to the Second Amendment many states plan to enact. One primary example is Magpul, Inc. Due to recent legislation passed in Colorado, the company plans to move to a state more favorable to their industry.

The prospect of relocation or expansions in the firearm industry may become necessary for many of these companies as their products may become illegal for sale, distribution, production, or transportation in many states. For example, a recent law passed in New York would make most semi-automatic handguns illegal to produce, sell, or transport because most are made with magazine sizes larger than the 7 round restriction.

Should companies wish to remain in those more-restrictive states, they would require special permits. those permits may not be granted, preventing the companies from operating. In addition, the increased costs of production could cost more than building a whole new facility and relocating. 

This was predicted by this article back in late February 2013.

This is similar to many US-based corporations who have moved segments of their companies, to include manufacturing, overseas. Current US regulations and laws make those parts of their businesses not cost-efficient in the US.

Texas wooed several companies away from California including the aerospace corporation XCOR.  The strategy coupled with no state individual income tax is very lucrative for companies seeking to expand or relocate. Those actions increase employment opportunities in Texas and the state's overall prosperity.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

More Oral On Same-Sex Marriage

Today, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the United States v Windsor, E. case.

DOMA was championed by President Bill Clinton. It passed both houses of congress, including 84 US Senators voting in favor of the act. Clinton signed the bill into law.

The law defines marriage as applicable to all federal code, such as tax code, military benefits, social security survivor benefits, etc. to be a union of one man to one woman.

Reading the transcription, it seems highly likely that the ruling may favor striking the act as unconstitutional. It appears they may accept the argument that the act exceeded the enumerated powers of congress listed in Article 1 Section 8 as well as the 10th Amendment. The court's decision isn't scheduled until June.

Such a ruling would have bearing upon the Proposition 8 opinion, which is expected in June as well. A ruling against DOMA based upon the 10th Amendment would strengthen upholding California's controversial amendment. Several justices seemed to uphold North Carolina and other state's rights to define marriage in their state constitutions. Holding to that, they also seemed to, on the same principle, hold to the rights of the 9 states that have decided to legally define marriage to allow for same-sex unions.

The written transcript is available on the US Supreme Court's site along with several options to download the audio files of the oral arguments.

Ending 'Boot Camp' Sentences In Texas

State Senator John Whitmire (D-Houston) is on a crusade to abolish "boot camp" sentences.

So-called "boot camp" programs started popping up in the mid-80s. These paramilitary style camps sought to use military indoctrination methods to help people correct certain behaviors. Since then, they have gained popularity for a variety of purposes from self-esteem to weight control to smoking cessation.

Among these boot camps are those aimed towards first-time non-violent criminal offenders. The camps were designed to instill discipline and redirect criminals' energies towards more positive and rewarding activities. They sought to reduce recidivism, or the likelihood of return to the criminal behaviors that got the inmates in trouble in the first place.

Now, John Whitmore has filed legislation to prohibit justices within the state of Texas from sentencing offenders to these alternative incarceration and rehabilitation programs.

SB 345 plainly states that, if passed, persons of any age will no longer be sentenced to "boot camps". The bill allows for those sentenced at the time of execution to remain in the program until complete or custody is transferred to another institution (usually due to unsatisfactory participation).

S.B. No. 345 
relating to the abolition of the state boot camp program. 
       SECTION 1.  The following are repealed: 
             (1)  Section 8, Article 42.12, Code of Criminal Procedure; and 
             (2)  Section 499.052, Government Code.
       SECTION 2.  (a)  On and after the effective date of this Act: 
             (1)  a judge may not recommend a person for placement in the state boot camp program under Section 499.052, Government Code; and 
             (2)  a participant in the state boot camp program remains a participant in the program only until the later of the following dates: 
                   (A)  the date on which the convicting court suspends further execution of the sentence and reassumes custody of the person; or 
                   (B)  the date on which the Texas Department of Criminal Justice transfers the person to another unit in the department. 
       (b)  Section 8, Article 42.12, Code of Criminal Procedure, and Section 499.052, Government Code, repealed by this Act, are continued in effect for the limited purpose of the orderly abolition of the state boot camp program created by those provisions.
       SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2013.

In recent years, many of these camps have come under fire for being ineffective. In fact, national studies on the adult camps have demonstrated recidivism rates to be the same as for standard incarceration. The most cited reason is that the boot camps don't offer any form of program to assist the inmates in re-entering society after successfully completing the program.

Other studies counter that attrition rates in the program should be taken into account when calculating recidivism. Those who "go AWOL" or fail to participate satisfactorily may be counted in the recidivism calculations when program failures should not be.

The success of these boot camps in cases of voluntary enrollment is simple. Just as in joining the military, the participants have a clear goal in mind. They just seek structure and motivation to get them there and put them on the path of continual improvement. The military basic indoctrination program (Basic Combat Training, or "Boot Camp") is a very successful tool in doing so. It promotes drive and motivation to overcome obstacles and succeed both as an individual and as a member of a team.

Compulsory enrollment may lack that founding desire in the participants. Military basic training revolves around the concept that the students want to be there in the first place. The military has been a volunteer force since the mid-1970s. Even when basic consisted of draftees and volunteers, the volunteers responded more positively to the training, making it more effective. In the military, Soldiers want to graduate Basic, graduate Advanced Training, get to their first units, and do the job they enlisted to do.

To make the compulsory enrollment, or sentence, work, the programs need to anchor to the inmates' goals. If they truly want to correct their criminal behavior, then the program has a good start. If the inmate sees nothing wrong with stealing, for example, the program may not be as effective. In considering the sentence, justices may want some form of confirmation that participants truly have rehabilitation as one of their main goals. Other goals may be to develop a successful work ethic and to develop positive job and social skills.

Other considerations for a successful boot camp program would be the ages of the inmates. The adult models would probably work best on first-time offenders under the age of 25. While maturity can aid enlistees in the military, it may hamper criminals in correctional paramilitary programs. The "can't teach old dogs..." clause may apply. Also, recidivism and re-incarceration studies demonstrate that younger offenders are more prone to return to crime than older offenders. The recidivism rates of those under 24 are double the rates of those over 45. Those 24 and younger are the ones who would benefit more from such a program.

These camps for teenage offenders also stand a better chance of success. However, certain adjustments should be considered. Though a notorious supporter of socialism, Mother Jones published an insightful article on one teen's tragic experience with a boot camp for teens. The girl was not in good physical shape. No special considerations were given for her. The girl collapsed and died of a heat stroke.

Now the Mother Jones article points to a single camp where the cadre needed better training. Personnel who served as Non-Commissioned Officers, school cadre, or Drill Instructors in the military receive training that would have identified the risks to heat casualties, assessed it at the early stages, and taken appropriate measures. The cadre at this particular camp did not.

What the incident does demonstrate is that the physical and medical fitness of the inmates need to be assessed and addressed by the court prior to such a sentence. If a candidate is obese and in poor physical condition, the program needs to address that inmate's individual physical fitness needs. That doesn't mean excusing the inmate from "gym class". IT means tailoring the program so the inmate can progress at a healthy rate. A three mile run for an obese person should be a goal, not a minimum starting point.

Military indoctrination follows a specific formula of tearing down and building up. The idea is to tear away at the bad habits and replace them with positive alternatives. It means to shame bad behaviors and reward good ones until that reward self-originates as pride in accomplishment of a mission. The same techniques are used by sports teams.

These stand a better chance of success if the participants/inmates want to be there. Perhaps the sentences should be issued as alternatives to other sentences, giving the criminals the option if they can qualify for the programs. This would make them voluntary alternatives rather than alternative compulsory sentences. That would increase their success.

The "drop-out", "AWOL", or non-attendance rates in teen boot camps for at-risk youth can be mitigated with a better screening process for candidates. This same screening process would include some key factors that may mitigate other failings within the programs. For example, physical assessments should be done as well as medical screenings. Psychological screenings should also be included, but not, necessarily, as disqualifying criteria. Cases involving abuse or neglect need to be addressed so that the program cadre can be equipped to contend with those as well. In addition, family problems need to be considered. An "at risk" youth who has a younger sibling left with abusive parents is more prone to "go over the hill" than a single child, for example. Same with a candidate with very ill family members.

These will also help combat recidivism. A Licensed Professional Counselor or equivalent with background experience in case management should be assigned to the inmate. This relationship should be established during the screening process. It should continue through the boot camp with regular sessions. Then, the inmate should go through a half-way program with the same LPC/Case Manager. This allows for a continuity of rehabilitation and grants the inmate stability.

The Case Manager needs to be equipped at the level of an LPC, with competitive pay and benefits. Merely handling records and getting status reports is not enough. An amount of clinical therapy needs to be part of the process in order for the inmate to establish goals and readjust their behaviors and attitudes. This requires far more skills than a baccalaureate degree in psychology, social work, or criminal justice can provide. Of course, any business unwilling to pay qualified personnel with masters degrees their fair market value will be able to attract adequately qualified personnel.

That LPC/Case Manager could not only manage the rehabilitation and reintegration process, but provide clinical therapy along the way. One other function the LPC/Case manager could serve is as a conduit of oversight to insure against abuse or neglect within the boot camps and half-way houses. The LPC/Case Manager could give the inmates a point of contact for redress of legitimate concerns as well as one capable of referring the inmates for advocacy if justified. 

The case load would also need to be kept reasonable so each client/inmate would receive the attention required for successful participation. That would be similar to class sizes in charter schools, no more than 15 inmates per LPC/Case manager.

The military has programs for those separating at the end of their contracts, retirement, or other discharges. In the US Army, the program is called ACAP. It includes job search techniques, classes in reintegrating into civilian culture, and other necessary skills. The same concept needs to be included in any boot camp program.

Inmates may do well in the boot camp program. However, once left on their own, afterward, they no longer have that structure in place to keep them on track. A half-way program such as the halfway houses run by Crosspoint, Inc. combined with the boot camps would grant an effective means to combat recidivism that neither is capable of achieving on its own.

This is where the LPC/Case Manager performs those "ACAP" function in a structured manner. The steps in employing the lessons learned from the boot camp are taken like wading step by step into a pool rather than being tossed into a deep end without swimming lessons. The LPCs will be able to assist in the inmates overcoming the environmental factors that led to their incarceration in the first place. The boot camp experience would give them the confidence to overcome those obstacles in a positive manner, with self-confidence and self-reliance.

The programs don't need to be abolished. It has too many merits to be discarded. However, reforms, continuity and oversight need to be enacted in order to insure success. With these common sense changes, the programs can be far more cost-effective for taxpayers than the inevitable long-term incarcerations that will eventually come from recidivism. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Oral (No Pun) Arguments On Same-Sex Marriage

As discussed last week and earlier this week, same-sex marriage is again a popular subject.

Both sides of the issue make both rational and emotional arguments in their cases.

Some see this as a civil rights case. Others see it as a religious rights case. Still others see it as a case of the Tenth Amendment and states' rights versus federal authority.

On March 26, 2013, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments on both sides of the issue in regards to California's controversial "proposition 8". Proposition 8 is no longer a referendum but a ratified amendment to the state's constitution.

The arguments could leave you confused as to which way several of the justices leaned after hearing the case. Justice Kennedy issued the hardest questions on the Article III authority of the US Supreme Court to even hear the case, as though he is posturing to posit that it is a matter bet left to the individual states and not a matter for federal authority.

The decision will be a close one. The outcome is indeterminate. The court opinions on this case aren't scheduled to be finalized until June. The DOMA case to be heard on the 27th follows a similar schedule.

You can hear the audio file of the arguments here (download or stream from source it player doesn't appear below) or read them here:

Hollingsworth v. Perry

Docket Number:

Date Argued:

Play Audio:


Layman's Look At Marriage Laws

Today, the US Supreme Court is hearing arguments on California's Proposition 8. Prop. 8 passed with 52% of the vote, by state referendum. In voting that way, the state's society defined its rules of marriage to be between one man and one woman. They determined the biological definition to be the right one for their society.

When the transcripts and audio files become available, they will be discussed in future articles.

North Carolina passed a state constitutional amendment with a similar definition of marriage. That amendment passed by referendum. The majority of the people decided what their society's definition was.

States have the right to determine the criteria for marriage in their state.

Some require blood tests to prove the couple is not blood-related. Some go so far as to require DNA testing as well.

Some states require proof of divorce. Some require that a divorce decree be executed a certain time in advance, up to a year in some states. Others don't require the dissolution, or proof thereof, of any previous marriage.

Some states require 90 days from application for a license before the union can be witnessed and legal. Others require only 3 days. Some do same-day execution.

Marriage is defined as a union between two or more people based upon the rules of a given society and their culture.

Normally, I oppose strict democracy. It tends to lead to the tyranny of the majority where the rights of the smallest minority, the individual, tend to be trampled.

However, the very definition (lexiconic) of marriage makes the determination of the majority necessary.

In our country, the First Amendment preempts the religious definition of marriage, regardless of the religion.

In our country, a wedding is a religious ritual. A marriage is a legal contract recognized by the government and society it serves. If it were a religious condition, then atheists could never be married. Using the religious basis for religion, it must be blessed and consecrated by a deity. That occurs during a religious wedding ceremony. However, that has no legal standing, because of the First Amendment.

Under the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution, each state has the right to define marriage per its culture and society as a whole. That means it should be up to that popular referendum to determine.

It is why I personally oppose the Defense of Marriage Act that Bill Clinton championed (and executed into law). It violates the 10th Amendment.

Conversely, I oppose any one state refusing to recognize the legal status/contract executed and notarized under the laws of its state.

Texas, California, or North Carolina may not issue marriage licenses or register unions between same-sex couples. That is their 10th Amendment right, as long as popular referendum determined that definition. But if a gay couple legally married in a state, such as Massachusetts, that does issue licenses and registrations to gay couples should move to one of these states that does not; then that new state must recognize the marriage.

The 14th Amendment supports that.

Once upon a time, some states didn't allow multiracial unions. So people went to other states to get married. Some of the states that didn't allow for those unions tried to prosecute those who went to other states to get married. The supreme court deemed such laws unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment. Later, these laws prohibiting mixed-race marriages disappeared, were repealed, or were struck down.  

Sociological views change over time. 100 years ago, women were falsely seen as inferior. They didn't have suffrage privileges. The 20th Amendment to the US Constitution changed that.

200 years ago, despite having served honorably in both the War of Independence and the War of 1812, Americans of African ancestry were falsely viewed as somehow inferior. 60 years later, after another war, that view finally began to change. It took until the 1960s for that evolution of ideology to catch up to the truth.

If science were to advance to the point it allowed same-sex couples to produce biological offspring of shared genetic material, perhaps these states would alter or repeal their amendments that define marriage as one man to one woman. Currently, this is the only non-religious argument that logically prevents same-sex marriage. If that should happen, then all logical arguments against will be nullified. However, the biological argument concerning offspring is a strong one. Many see marriage to primarily be a contract regarding the generation and rearing of biological offspring.

Biologically, it takes a man and a woman to create a child. That is a fact. There is not any technology, yet, that changes that.

Psychological studies have proven that children raised by two parents are more stable and successful than those raised by a single parent. Further studies prove that those raised by both a male and a female role model (a mother and a father) do even better than those raised by same-sex couples. That, of course, assumes the parents are a loving and mutually supportive couple. The studies exempted parental couples determined as dysfunctional (both same-sex and traditional couples).

Cultural and societal mores defining marriage will change over time. It doesn't happen overnight. The case of marriage is one dependent upon popular view and acceptance. As long as the majority within any state rejects same-sex marriages preferring the traditional/biological definition, the state has the right to its current definition. When the majority shifts, so should the legal definition.

TX Senator Wants High Schoolers As Election Clerks

Socialist Democrat Texas State Senator Carlos Uresti proposed a bill to the state Senate that will allow for minor high school students to serve as election officials.

SB 553 establishes election law that will allow for high school students to serve as election clerks at both polling places and in assisting early voting. The bill states that such work could legally count as part of a high school curriculum. If passed, students who work as election clerks will not have the time absent from classes counted against them, regardless of academic credit granted. Students are already allowed to serve as election clerks at hard polling places.

The students will serve as early voting election officials in a limited capacity. They may also serve as "student election officials" even if they do not meet the legal requirements and qualifications to serve as a full election clerk. The bill also entitles them to pay and benefits as though they were election or early voting clerks.

By: Uresti                                 S.B. No. 553

relating to certain high school students serving as early voting clerks in an election.

       SECTION 1.  Section 25.087, Education Code, is amended by adding Subsection (b-1) and amending Subsection (d) to read as follows:
       (b-1)  A school district may adopt a policy excusing a student from attending school for service as a student early voting clerk in an election.
       (d)  A student whose absence is excused under Subsection (b), (b-1), (b-2), or (c) may not be penalized for that absence and shall be counted as if the student attended school for purposes of calculating the average daily attendance of students in the school district.  A student whose absence is excused under Subsection (b), (b-1), (b-2), or (c) shall be allowed a reasonable time to make up school work missed on those days.  If the student satisfactorily completes the school work, the day of absence shall be counted as a day of compulsory attendance.
       SECTION 2.  Section 33.092, Education Code, is amended to read as follows:
       Sec. 33.092.  STUDENT ELECTION CLERKS AND EARLY VOTING CLERKS. A student who is appointed as a student election clerk under Section 32.0511, Election Code, or as a student early voting clerk under Section 83.012, Election Code, may apply the time served as a student election clerk or student early voting clerk toward:
             (1)  a requirement for a school project at the discretion of the teacher who assigned the project; or
             (2)  a service requirement for participation in an advanced academic course program at the discretion of the program sponsor or a school-sponsored extracurricular activity at the discretion of the school sponsor.
       SECTION 3.  Subchapter A, Chapter 83, Election Code, is amended by adding Section 83.012 to read as follows:
       Sec. 83.012.  STUDENT EARLY VOTING CLERKS. 
(a) The early voting clerk may appoint student early voting clerks as necessary to assist the early voting clerk.
     (b)  A person is eligible to serve as a student early voting clerk under this section if the person is ineligible to serve as a clerk of an election precinct under Section 32.051(c) but meets the eligibility requirements to be a student election clerk under Section 32.0511.
       (c)  A student early voting clerk serving under this section:
             (1)  is entitled to compensation under Section 83.052 in the same manner as other early voting clerks; and
             (2)  when communicating with a voter who cannot communicate in English, may communicate with the voter in a language the voter and the clerk understand as authorized by Subchapter B, Chapter 61.
       (d)  Not more than four student early voting clerks may serve at an early voting polling place.
       (e)  The secretary of state may initiate or assist in the development of a statewide program promoting the use of student early voting clerks appointed under this section.

The bill was introduced by Castro and Obama supporter, Carlos Uresti of San Antonio. Uresti has a history of supporting bills and efforts that support socialism. This bill, if passed, opens the doors for voter fraud and degrades the integrity of the electoral process.

The language of the bill may indicate that Uresti supports non-citizens having a role in elections. That would include illegal aliens living in Texas. However Texas Election Code Section 32.0511 states that those serving as "specially appointed student election clerks" must be US Citizens.

The bill allows for minors under legal voting age, as young as 16, to be hired as election clerks and early voting clerks.

Early voting has come under fire by those who oppose voter fraud such as True The Vote and Verify the Vote. The reason is there are not enough controls in place to insure that ballots are not tampered with. There have been cases where registration officials have changed the mailing address of early ballots and voted in place of the actual registered voter listed on the ballot. In other cases, individuals claiming to assist early voters have destroyed ballots that did not support the candidate of their choice. In other cases, voters left ballot items blank which these personnel later filled in with their choices.

Early voting has it benefits. However, better controls need to be enacted. Allowing 16 year old children to handle these ballots may not be the most responsible reform of voter law. In fact, it may lead to increased voter fraud and open legal challenges to the integrity and validity of any election.

Somebody not eligible to register to vote should not be allowed to count votes or handle ballots.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Supremes Hearing Same-Sex Marriage Arguments

Tuesday March 26, 2013 and Wednesday March 27, 2013 the US Supreme Court will hear arguments on the issue of same-sex marriage.

On Tuesday, the court hears oral arguments on Hollingsworth v Perry, a challenge to California's controversial Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage in the state. The major question posed before the court considers the applicability of the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment requires fair and just treatment under laws regardless of race, religion, creed, ancestral origin, or color.

DECISION BELOW: 671 F.3d 1052
Whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the State of California from defining marriage as the· union of a man and a woman.

Wednesday's case revolves around the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which was championed by President Bill Clinton.  One portion of DOMA identifies the federally accepted definition of marriage as a union of two spouses of the opposite sex. United States v Windsor challenges the law.

US v Windsor questions DOMA's constitutionality under the Fifth Amendment which guarantees fair and equal treatment under the law. Since some states, such as Massachusetts have decided to legally define marriage in terms that accept same-sex unions, the argument is that this law unconstitutionally invalidates those marriages. Other states, such as Texas, currently have laws in compliance with DOMA that do not recognize same-sex marriages, even those performed in other states.

Also questioned is the Article 3 of the US Constitution's applicability of this law. Article 3 of the US Constitution governs the US Court System and jurisdiction in court decisions.

DECISION BELOW: 833 F.Supp. 2d 394

Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defines the term "marriage" for all
purposes under federal law, including the provision of federal benefits, as "only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife." 1 U.S.C. 7. It similarly defines the term "spouse" as "a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife." Ibid. The question presented is:  Whether Section 3 of DOMA violates the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection of the laws as applied to persons of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their State.
CERT. GRANTED 12/7/2012

Due to the high level of interest among our republic's citizens in this issue, the US Supreme Court has announced that it will expedite releases of transcripts and audio clips from these hearings.

The dictionary definition of marriage leaves it to a society to decide its own rules. Several states have amended their state constitutions to define marriage as between a man and a woman. The foundations for these decisions to enact such amendment stem from two places. The first is the so-called "Biblical" definition. That means the definition is one common to the religious views of the majority of the citizens. The second is the scientific basis. As of yet, it is impossible for two humans of the same sex to biologically reproduce. Many consider marriage to be a contract to run a household. The corner stone of that idea is parenting children.

Taking the biblical definition is a violation of the First Amendment. It implies the establishment of a state religion. There are some religions that do accept same-sex marriage. In essence, the biblical definition is legally negated because it would necessitate that states accept any same-sex marriage conducted under the religious dogma of a religious sect that consecrated such.

However, the biological basis holds traction in establishing a state's legal definition of marriage.

Regardless, the dictionary definition states it is a condition recognized within the cultural rules of a society. The United States is a nation under the rule of law, not the dogma of any religious sect. It is up to the common views of the segment of society (each state) to define marriage.

Hopefully, the US Supreme Court will recognize that definition. In doing so, they will bolster states' rights. That would mean that states such as Texas and California will have to recognize same-sex marriages conducted in other states. However, such would also recognize that the citizens of each state have the right to legally define marriage within their state.

Texas Bill To Fight Inflation (of Grades)

On March 21, 2013, the Texas Senate passed a bill to better define and combat "grade inflation". The bill clarifies how cumulative grades are to be calculated by educational institutions. Furthermore, it forbid the misrepresentation of the grades deserved by a student.

The State House of Representatives has received SB 132 and related it to its respective committees for analysis and recommendation.

Here is the text of the bill as passed by the State Senate:

S.B. No. 132 
relating to the contents and applicability of a school district's grading policy. 
       SECTION 1.  Section 28.0216, Education Code, is amended to read as follows: 
       Sec. 28.0216.  DISTRICT GRADING POLICY.  (a)  Before each school year, a [A] school district shall adopt a grading policy, including provisions for the assignment of grades on class assignments and examinations and the calculation of cumulative averages of grades[, before each school year].  A district grading policy: 
             (1)  must require a [classroom] teacher to assign a grade that reflects the student's relative mastery of the subject without employing grade inflation or misrepresenting a student's deserved grade [an assignment]; 
             (2)  may not require a [classroom] teacher to assign a minimum grade [for an assignment] without regard to the student's quality of work; and 
             (3)  may allow a student a reasonable opportunity to make up or redo a class assignment or examination for which the student received a failing grade. 
       (b)  A district grading policy shall apply to the assignment of a grade for which written notice is required under Section 28.022(a)(2), in addition to any other grade assigned by the district. 
       SECTION 2.  This Act applies beginning with the 2013-2014 school year. 
       SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2013.

"Grade Inflation" harms students. While some may argue that it "spares" students' "feelings", it actually handicaps their successes later in life.

There are reasons why employers place more value on an applicant with a degree from Harvard, Princeton, or Yale over one from Whatsamatter U. The ivy-league schools have histories of high standards, challenging curricula, and higher quality graduates. It is also why the tuition at those universities are much higher. In addition, their admissions criteria are also higher. If they inflated their grades, the degrees they issue would lose value.

The same concept trickles down to elementary and high schools. Inflated grades give a false perception of ability and achievement. It devalues higher grade point averages which can lead to heart-crushing failing grades at more challenging universities and colleges.

Inflated grades also destroy a valuable metric. They mislead how well a student is doing and hide areas where a student may need to work harder or seek improvement. They also lead to students graduating high school with "B averages" who are illiterate.

Teachers, administrators, and unions support grade inflation. Grade inflation leads to pay bonuses. It leads to higher salaries. It leads to increased funding. It leads to higher union dues. All of this at the cost of them actually doing their jobs in teaching our kids. In short, grade inflation is fraud.

This bill identifies that fraud and holds educators accountable for it.

However, regard the wording of that bill. It states "relative mastery". This begs the question "mastery relative to what constant?".

Many schools set minimum goals by grade level. Those may be at or above state and national standards. They may be lower, though. Many schools are starting to allow students more say in those goals and standards. They are allowing kids to say what they want to achieve in that quarter or year. Their grades are then determined, in part, by how close they come to achieving or surpassing those goals.

That looks great on a Power Point presentation. It does not do so well in practice.

Human Nature teaches us two things. First, it teaches us that human beings, especially Americans, will rise to a challenge. They will fight hard to overcome obstacles as long as the reward is deemed worthy of the effort. The second thing it teaches us is the important one to consider. That is that human beings, in general, are inherently lazy. Most people will do the bare minimum to reach a standard unless there is some motivating factor to do more.

A third grader should not be allowed to have educational goals of reading at a first grade level, spelling monosyllabic words, and writing a 100-word essay with less than 20 grammatical errors. A fourth grader should not aspire to know multiplication tables 0-10 and being able to give change for $1. If those are their "set goals", their "relative mastery" may be high. But their acceptable mastery are failing.

There need to be set minimum standards. Those standards should be the difference between an "F" and a "D". Teachers are supposed to use a tool called Bloom's Taxonomy (or a better one in the Revised Taxonomy) in developing grading rubrics. At the lowest box of that rubric is the "passing standard". That passing standard is a "D" and does not represent "mastery". It represents "familiarity".

Students need to be taught how to understand that a minimum standard is a minimum standard. They need to learn that minimum effort and minimum achievement garner minimum rewards. They need to see that working harder and achieving higher goals yield higher rewards, like getting into better colleges or earning higher salaries. It's how the world works.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Schlichter 3: Fetch My Latte (Review)

Kurt Schlicter is at it again. He released his third e-book, Fetch My Latte:  Sharing Feelings With Stupid People, a sequel to his previous two.

This third book is more of the same. For the most part, it is a compilation of one-liners derived from his twitter battles against mushy-minded liberals, the culture of moral relevance, and establishment GOP members who fake conservatism.

In many ways, this book is funnier than the previous two, though shorter. However, it bites deeper at his targets.

Kurt's previous books both ranked number 1 on Amazon's political humor list.  I Am A Conservative: Uncensored, Undiluted, and Absolutely Un-PC, and I Am a Liberal: A Conservative's Guide to Dealing With Nature's Most Irritating Mistake are both worth the time and price, if you haven't yet read them.

From several statements by Mr. Schlicter (AKA Colonel Doctor Schlichter, esq.) this compendium is meant to hold readers over until his book "Conservative Insurrection" (working title) can be released. The project is on hold for the time being. Having read excerpts of that novel, it proves to be a more serious work of fiction detailing the fall of socialism in the United States and how the founding ideals reclaim and rebuild our great republic.

Friday, March 22, 2013

CSCOPE -- Lying To Students & Revisionist History

The CSCOPE program and curricula in use at too many Texas schools has come under fire over the past few months. This has not been without cause or just reason. Parents and patriots are outraged.


The comprachicos using the curricula have forced students, US Citizens, to commit acts of treason. Such occurred when a so-called "teacher" forced students to deny their US Citizenship and pledge allegiance, instead, to Mexico.

While a stunt of cultural awareness and diversity exposure such as having students wear full Abayiahs or Burkhas in class may upset some people, that act is not as severe as pledging allegiance to a foreign power.

Imagine this is 1943. It may bother parents if a school asked students to wear wooden shoes (sabot) or lederhosen to class while studying European customs.

However, what if those teachers demanded students salute pictures of Adolph Hitler while singing "Deutschland Uber Alles"? Yes, it is the same thing.

In grade school, I took French. We learned the "Marsailles". We did not stand while singing it. We did not salute France's flag. We did not pledge our loyalty to that country. We just sat and sang a song.

Now, as the Blaze reports, students were given a test regarding the September, 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. One of the questions on the test was "Why might the United States be a target for terrorism?". The test's listed "correct" answer "Decisions made in the US have negative effects on people elsewhere".

The author of the test and the course material obviously has no background in counter-terrorism, intelligence, or international relations. The main reason that radical Islamic terrorists attack the US is that they want to force their view of their religion and the tyranny of a theocracy based upon their religious views upon our country. That is the reason.

Other left-wing terrorist groups have attacked our country because of jealousy, pure and simple. They want their oligarchy to rule the world. The US has historically been a bastion against socialism and oligarchic tyranny. We are a symbol of their innate, systemic and ideological failure. They are miserable and want to force us or scare us through threat of force to be miserable as well. That is the reason.

As the revisionist history, such as the claim that the Boston Tea Party was a "terrorist attack, that CSCOPE promotes gets more an more exposed, the program's administrators continue to backpedal and adjust. What this strongly indicates is that they push indoctrinating curricula as far as they can, changing only when they get caught. This does not portray negligence. It strongly appears as obviously intentional.

Perhaps CSCOPE should change their name to something more accurate, such as "Common Comprachico and Indoctrination Curricula For Conversion to Communism (CCICC)". Even better:  "Comprachico's Common Curricula and  Propaganda (CCCP)". For those too young to recall the days of the Cold War, CCCP was the acronym the Soviets used for the USSR.

Here is a very condescending press release from the Four Bluff Independent School District in regards to CSCOPE. As you read it, you will see the most important governing authority of our kid's education completely ignored -- the parents. In fact, the only reference to parents is that they may be allowed to view some of the course material starting in April. Until then, teachers and comprachicos are forbidden from sharing the material with parents under a Non-Disclosure Agreement with the company that administrates the CSCOPE program. Nowhere does it allow for parents (or students) a role in determining what will be taught.

That displays the false belief some teachers hold that they know better what is best for our kids than their parents do. The best counterpoint to that belief are the statistics that prove that home-schooled children outperform those subjected to the indoctrination in government schools. Obviously, the data proves that parents know better what is best for their kids than the comprachicos do.

More and more, the CSCOPE approved and utilized curricula appear to be indoctrinating our children to despise Texas's and our nation's founding principles. It seems to push for them to prefer ideals more aligned with the propaganda and ideology of the Frankfort School, Marxism and the Zeitgeist movement.

Next, elementary schools will have their students instructed in the proper use of vinegar to remove "chemtrails". "Chemtrails" are the stripes of condensation from an aircraft, called "contrails". Several conspiracy theorists believe that these are actually "Bilderbergers" or the "Illuminati" spraying mind-control chemicals.

Some pro-active state legislator needs to take up the fight for our children. With new legislation proposed to combat grade and student progress inflation and misrepresentation, citizens would think that the state government would act to suspend CSCOPE from Texas Schools until better protections of parental rights can be enacted.

Proposed legislation should push for greater transparency in the schools. All proposed curricula should be made available for review by parents 30 days in advance. If CSCOPE or other controversial material is placed in the curricula, parents should be allowed to opt-out of the instruction with no penalties levied against the students. If a teacher or school uses CSCOPE or other such material for more than 20% of their lessons, parents should be allowed to veto that curriculum and a proper, factual alternative should be offered.

House Resolution To Reinforce 2nd Amend.

Morgan Griffith (R-VA-CD-9) introduced a House Resolution bill that reinforces a freedom implied by the Second Amendment. HR 1290 addresses the right to bear arms across state lines.

Entitled the "Protecting Lawful Transportation of Firearms Act", HR 1290 intends to establish common laws across the states for the transportation of a firearm from one to another. As it currently stands, different states have different laws regarding how a lawful owner may transport firearms. The law would, hopefully, eliminate the necessity to check the laws for each state one travels through, then stop short of that state's border in order to insure compliance.

The law is meant mostly to protect hunters and sportsmen who may conduct interstate travel for hunting or for shooting competitions.

The Second Amendment states that the right to "...bear arms shall not be infringed". This means that a law-abiding citizen's right to carry or transport firearms should not be impeded, restricted, or otherwise hindered. Discrepancies in laws from state to state regarding the regulation of the transportation of privately owned firearms are a systematic infringement of the Second Amendment.

In a press release concerning the legislation, Griffith stated:

“Current federal law or the Second Amendment of the Constitution should neither be misinterpreted nor ignored to prevent law-abiding Americans from legally traveling with firearms across state lines. I am pleased to be reintroducing this bipartisan legislation, and will continue working to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding American citizens.”

Regarding the bill, co-sponsor Bill Owens (D-NY-CD-21) stated: 

“Responsible gun owners who follow existing laws and procedures should be able to travel throughout the country free from fear of improper arrest or detention. This legislation ensures hunters and sportsmen who travel with their firearms in full compliance with the law will have the appropriate protections to do so.”

The full text of the bill is not yet available to the public.

Cornyn Bill 'No Budget No Pay'

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced SB 620, entitled "No Budget, No OMB Pay 2013". The bill is directed at the Executive Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The OMB is responsible for advising Obama on his proposed budget and expenditures.

Recently, the OMB came under fire as they were very selective on which federal domestic accounts received which cuts and to what extent during the so-called "sequestration". However, they cut all military and most veterans spending at the full rate across the board. This included appropriations accounts such as ammunition procurement, training funds, and operational accounts that keep deployed forces equipped and fed. All defense department accounts were cut near 7.8%, and those domestic accounts that had defense department co-use/concurrent funding were cut at above the 5% domestic account cuts. This was done in order to cut other, less important, accounts less.

Obama has been granted several extensions on his deadline to submit a budget. His latest due date has come and gone without a proposal submitted. In an effort to pressure the OMB to motivate the president to do his job, Senator Cornyn's bill will withhold the director of the OMB's pay until the president obeys the law.

Of course, this bill presumes Obama's empathy and sympathy. The bill could open Obama's spin doctors to place blame on withheld salaries on the GOP.

This bill was introduced in the Senate, the same house of congress that recently proposed a budget that double-counted reduced increases in spending and will not come close to balancing the federal budget. The Democratic Party holds the majority in the US Senate. If this bill lives long enough to see a floor vote, the results will most likely be along party lines. While this is a great political move in taking a stance, it , unfortunately, stands little to no chance of ever passing.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Texas Bill Will Enact Educator Certification Testing

Parents tend to trust that those people we hired to educate our children are qualified to do so. A bill proposed to the Texas House of Representatives by Mike Villarreal (D- District 123, San Antonio)  may better insure that trust.

HB 3484 will require comprehensive examinations for education professionals in order for them to be and remain certified educators within the state. The bill, if passed, will require the state board of education to establish minimum requirements for each category or class of teacher at appropriate levels. It appears, for example, that the minimum proficiency standards for an elementary school teacher will be different from those required of a high school teacher.

If passed, HB 3484 may better enable school choice legislation and parental decisions in regards to their students. It will give parents as well as governing board officials a more clear metric on potential performance. Used properly, if school choice programs are enacted, parents will be better informed when deciding which school best fits their goals for their children.

Other factors do need to be considered, however. Just because the average grade level proficiency in one school is higher than that of the teachers in another doesn't mean the teachers are necessarily more effective teachers. Somebody with a PhD may be well above the minimum proficiency but may be so far above that they have difficulty relating the material to students.

Opponents of School Choice may claim that this bill would negate the necessity for school choice, stating that it will improve all standards for professional educators. This "cookie-cutter" ideology attempts to marginalize parental rights. The education of our children it the ultimate responsibility of the parents until the children reach the age where they undertake the responsibility themselves.

The other effects the bill may precipitate may include future changes in how teachers' salaries are calculated, giving higher wages and compensations to those who perform better on the certification tests. This will make the education industry more competitive leading to better quality teachers in all segments of the industry:  public, charter, parochial, and private schools.

Here is the bill:

relating to requirements for state educator certification examinations. 
       SECTION 1.  Section 21.048(a), Education Code, is amended to read as follows: 
       (a)  The board shall propose rules prescribing comprehensive examinations for each class of certificate issued by the board. The rules must: 
             (1)  require each educator to perform satisfactorily on each section of an examination for an educator to be considered to have performed satisfactorily on the examination as a whole; and 
             (2)  establish for each examination a rigorous minimum score indicating satisfactory performance. 
       SECTION 2.  Not later than January 1, 2014, the State Board for Educator Certification shall propose rules relating to certification examinations as provided by Section 21.048(a), Education Code, as amended by this Act. 
       SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2013.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bill Introduced To Continue Military Tuition Assistance

Over the past few weeks since the "sequester" cuts went into effect, Military Personnel have been outraged to hear that their Tuition Assistance benefits were cut by the White House. Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma introduced a bill that may correct that.

S. 614 is titled "A bill to require the continuation of tuition assistance programs for members of the Armed Forces for the remainder of fiscal year 2013". The bill was introduced on March 19. 2013 by Senator Inhofe (R-OK)with bipartisan co-sponsorship from from Socialist Democratic Senator Kay Hagan from North Carolina. The bill text is not yet available through the Library of Congress site.

The bill will allow for funds to be transferred into the military education benefits funds in order for military service members to continue to receive their tuition assistance benefits. Tuition Assistance to the military service members benefits both the military members and the armed services themselves. The better education the force is, the better they can perform their duties and missions to defend this great nation.. Furthermore, college credits earned during military service better assist veterans in attaining employment upon separation. This improves the workforce and our nation's overall economy.

Sen. Inhofe released this statement in regards to the bill:

“Sen. Hagan and I are determined to see the military tuition assistance program restored immediately for our hardworking, active-duty service members. This is an earned benefit that not only assists in recruiting and retention efforts for our all-volunteer force, but it also improves the lives of our men and women as they seek leadership opportunities within the military. Furthermore, our youngest veterans are currently facing high unemployment rates upon exiting the service. We are doing our brave military members and America a disservice if we take away a program that can be critical in assisting their re-entry into the civilian workforce. I applaud the Navy’s recent decision to maintain the tuition assistance program, which goes to show education benefits can and should be prioritized. As our nation’s defense faces unprecedented budget cuts, it’s critical we reestablish the right priorities to support our military and this bill starts us on that path."

Here is the major portion of the bill's text:


  (a) IN GENERAL.—The Secretaries of the military departments shall carry out tuition assistance programs for members of the Armed Forces during the remainder of fiscal year 2013 using amounts specified in subsection 1(b).

  (b) AMOUNTS.—The minimum amount used by the Secretary of a military department for tuition assistance for members of an Armed Force under the jurisdiction of that Secretary pursuant to subsection (a) shall be not less than—

     (1) the amount appropriated or otherwise made available by the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 for tuition assistance programs for members of that Armed Force, minus

     (2) an amount that is not more than the percentage of the reduction required to the Operation and Maintenance account for that Armed Force for fiscal year 2013 by the budget sequester required by section 251A of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Texas Bill Bans Abortion Providers From Schools

A bill proposed in the Texas Senate would, in effect, ban abortion providers or their affiliates from teaching "human sexuality" or "family planning" in public and open-enrollment charter schools. SB 521 includes in this ban any entity that has a direct affiliation with an abortion-performing or advocating entity.

SB 521 passed its committee votes with recommendation for final floor vote at a vote of 7 "yes" to two "nay" votes. 

The bill also places requirements on those schools to require parental permission for any such classes given by any entity that is not a direct employee of the school or the district. This would include requiring permission before any contracted company provides such a curriculum. The notice must be presented to parents at least 14 days prior to the scheduled day of instruction. The permission form must be separate from any other permission slip. In other words, a field trip permission slip cannot be combined with the permission slip that allows students to receive "human sexuality" or "family planning" instruction.

The benefits of this bill is that it places more authority back where it belongs, as parental decision.

Here is the pertinent bill text as proposed:

relating to the provision of and parental approval for a student's participation in human sexuality and family planning instruction in public schools.


SECTION 1.  Section 28.004, Education Code, is amended by adding Subsections (e-1), (e-2), and (i-2) to read as follows:
       (e-1)  An entity or individual that performs abortions or an affiliate of an entity or individual that performs abortions may not provide human sexuality or family planning instruction or instructional materials for use in human sexuality or family planning instruction in a public school.
       (e-2)  For purposes of Subsection (e-1), "affiliate" means an entity or individual that has a legal relationship with another entity or individual that is created or governed by at least one written instrument that demonstrates:
             (1)  common ownership, management, or control;
             (2)  the existence of a franchise; or
             (3)  the granting or extension of a license or other agreement that authorizes the affiliate to use the entity's or individual's brand name, trademark, service mark, or other registered identification mark.
       (i-2)  Before a student may be provided with human sexuality or family planning instruction from an entity or individual other than an employee of a school district, the district must obtain the written consent of the student's parent or guardian.  A request for written consent under this subsection:
             (1)  may not be included with any other notification or request for written consent provided to the parent or guardian;
             (2)  must be provided to the parent or guardian not later than the 14th day before the date on which the human sexuality or family planning instruction begins; and
             (3)  must include the information described by Subsection (i)(1) and the name of the entity or individual who will provide the instruction.

The bill references transparency in regards to current and future curricula dealing with the subjects of "human sexuality" and "family planning". Texas educational code already requires these curricula be made available to parents for review. Here is the applicable portion of Texas Section 28.004, Education Code, Subsection (i):

(i)   A school district shall notify a parent of each student 
enrolled in the district of:
  (1)  the basic content of the district's human 
sexuality instruction to be provided to the student;  and
  (2)  the parent's right to remove the student from any 
part of the district's human sexuality instruction.

10 Years Ago

It was ten years ago. It was yesterday. It was the day before. It was a week ago. It was a lifetime ago.

If you asked most people where they were ten years ago, today, they most likely would have to think long and hard. They would have to do an amount of research of current events of that time and make an educated guess. I don't have that problem.

Like many others, though, I can play the "what if I knew then" game.

Ten years ago today I woke up before dawn. It was hot, but comfortable. I worked diligently to accomplish as many tasks as I could before the sun popped over the horizon and began to make it unbearable. We were making final preparations to shoot, move, and communicate.

I was in a little country in Southwest Asia called Kuwait. Just to my north, on the other side of a huge, man-made sand dune was a war that would kick off soon.

The sand was everywhere. You couldn't breath, talk, drink, or eat without sand tainting the taste of everything.

It was the same with sweat. The arid air stole it away from exposed skin, leaving it dry, flaky, and feeling as though I just rose from being buried in sand at a beach. But there was no cool lake or ocean to run into for relief. Under the uniform, body armor, helmet, and combat gear, however, the perspiration was trapped. Without air getting to it, the sweat was unable to do its job in cooling the body. It made my undershirt stick to my upper body, irritating my skin. To this day, If I sweat, I cannot stand the feel of a wet shirt against my skin.

We were nervous and anxious. We just wanted this thing to kick off and be done with. The waiting was the worst part.

If I knew on that day what I know today, I may not have been in such a hurry to cross the border and start shooting. The war was not a short, violent action like Operation Desert Storm. Ten years later, Al Qaeda is still recruiting those formerly loyal to Saddam and killing innocent people. 50 more died yesterday, March 18, 2013, with 170 injured from bomb blasts. Ten years later and the war is far from over.

This was my first of four tours to Iraq. It would also prove to be the shortest. Despite the outright war with tanks and armored personnel vehicles moving in formation and Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) firing rockets and missiles, this would prove to be the least deadly tour, as well.

If I had known on March 19th that three days later, on Camp Pennsylvania, a good friend of mine would be killed by a traitor, I may not have been as optimistic. The murder of Chris Seifert at the hands of traitor Hassan Akbar would later prove to be an omen of how this war wold be fought over the years. The enemy would be cowards in hiding. They would use children to conduct grenade attacks. They would fight from crowds of innocents, using them as shields.

If somebody had told me that I would do four tours, I would have laughed in their face. If they told me that I'd face a 12 year old boy throwing grenades at US Soldiers nearby, I would have laughed harder. I'm not laughing today. It's something I'd actually rather forget. I cannot, though. I still see images of the kid's dead body when I hear children at play.

Ten years ago today, many, many friends of mine were still alive, like Schuyler Haynes and Derek Dobogai. Others were still physically whole, like my good friend Christopher Edwards.

Ten years ago today was a good day.

Since then, I have done so much. I survived the war several times over. I met great people. I saw war do an amazing thing in its horror. I saw it bring out the best in great people. I was tempered into a better man. Since then, I met and married my wife.

It was ten years ago. It was  last week. It was yesterday. It was.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Eyes Again On AZ Over Illegal Immigration

Arizona set precedents with its state-level immigration enforcement bill, SB1070. The US Supreme Court upheld the majority of the bill. Since, several other states have proposed or passed their own state-level enforcement bills.

SB 1070 has inspired Texas to introduce two bills based upon key portions of the Arizona law that the US Supreme Court upheld.

The US Congress has another bill, the SAVE Act of 2013, which is, in part, based upon Arizona's SB1070.

Now, another Arizona law is seeing its day in court. Today, on the US Supreme Court's docket is Arizona, Et. Al. v The Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc.  The main question the case will answer is if federal law preempts state election law in regards to requiring proof of citizenship.

This is not the first time this issue will appear before the court. In some cases, the US Supreme Court struck down the state-level laws because they required proof of citizenship to register to vote on the federal voter registration forms. Arizona has a law in place that does not require such with the federal forms, but does require proof of citizenship to register with the state-level forms. Those state level forms are required in order to vote in local and state level elections and referendums in addition to federal elections.

The US Constitution places election law as mostly a state-level responsibility and authority. Exceptions have all been made through amendments to the US Constitution and have been limited in authority and scope. These have included eliminating a poll tax, allowing all free citizens (non-felons) to vote regardless of race or gender, and setting the national age of suffrage to 18.

Some of the arguments against the Arizona's requirement surround the prohibition of a poll tax. Others will argue that members of indigenous tribes are exempt from state-level election laws.

States seeking to enact voter-ID laws to prevent voter fraud due to stolen identity, non-citizenship, and casting multiple ballots are watching the decision closely. The decision the US Supreme Court issues will states set the foundation upon which these states will build their own voter-fraud prevention laws. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Basement-Dwellers' Post-Menopausal Moms

The title should say it all. However, there are some out there who need it explained to them in slow, painful detail.

Progressive, Liberal Socio-Commies and their Useful Idiots like to refer to the GOP as the "Party of Stuffy Old White Men".

Isn't that "special".

What is even more special is that they fail to understand the difference between a Conservative and a Republican. Most Conservatives tend to vote Republican. However, the two are not one in the same.

Example:  John McCain is a Republican (allegedly). He is a stuffy, out-of-touch old man. He is not a Conservative.

The same can be said, emphatically, of Speaker Boehner. Republican, yes, Conservative, no.

Lindsey Graham fills that same mold.

So does Karl Rove.

Though members of the Republican Party, the following are Conservatives who do not fit into the mold. They are round pegs who tend to destroy those square holes rather easily:

Senator Ted Cruz is a dynamo. He has hit the US Senate with a Texas-sized wildfire of conservatism. He is not old. He is also not white, for those who are hell-bent on addressing somebody's ethnic heritage.

Marco Rubio is a conservative, also neither old nor white.

For those who need more examples: Herman Cain, Allen West, Karen Harrington, Sarah Palin, Elisabeth Emken, Mia Love, Condoleeza Rice, and Dr. Ben Carson, to name a few.

While some may say that right-wing political pundits still fill that false collectivist description of the GOP, they are correct when referring to Rush Limbaugh. However, they have it dead wrong if they bother to look at Ann Coulter. Do you want to see them back-pedal and stumble? Show them a picture of the lovely Dana Loesch and Katie Pavlich!

The Democrats need to pay close attention to how they categorize their opposition. Since they felt the urge to start throwing pebbles from the front porch of their glass house, it is fitting to return fire.

If the GOP is the "party of stuffy. old, successful, white men" then the Jackass party is the party of "Post-Menopausal Mothers Of 30-something Basement Dwellers".

Think about that for a second. Let it sink in.

They want their baby-boy safe, warm, protected, and free to play World of Warcraft in the basement without those tiresome burdens like responsibility and accountability. They don't want their 30+ year old baby boys and girls to grow up and leave their nests empty. They don't want them to work and succeed on their own. If they should then, gasp, they may find a spouse! They may raise their own children! NO!

They support abortions for their 20 something daughters. Why? They want them to feel all secure and nurtured by momma. Should they keep the child, they shouldn't worry. They don't need a man! No, the kid doesn't need a daddy. Momma will raise the kid for them so that momma never needs to feel that empty nest feeling.

If you think this is just hyperbole made to poke humor at the socialist ideology, you've missed something.

Senator Dianne Feinstein -- Momma doesn't want you to have guns! You might shoot your eye out! Don't worry, Momma-barbie will protect you! Just stay in your basement and play WoW until five AM. The problem is that she isn't equipped, has no authority, and is completely unable to defend you.

Senator Barbara Boxer -- She will tell you how many oranges you are allowed to grow. She will tell you how much you can water them. But don't worry, she'll make you your tofu and alfalfa sandwich to go with your Pepsi.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Shultz -- does not fit the mold. That is because scientists are still attempting to determine her species.

More examples: Sheila Jackson-Lee, Maxine Waters, Claire McCaskill, Hillary Clinton, Elisabeth Warren, and Mikulski.

Even Rep. Henry Waxman fits the bill. She claims to be male, but may really just be a preoperative transgendered post-menopausal woman. The same goes for Harry Reid.

If you require further proof, look no further than Nancy Pelosi. She cooked up a mystery-meat stew and named it "Obamacare". She won't tell you what is in it until you've eaten it. She tells you that it is good for you. What she failed to tell you is that she accidentally grabbed the package of rat poison instead of the corn starch, went a little overboard on the alum, and mixed in a year's supply of progestin.

If you still have doubts, every time one of these women speaks, play Pink Floyd's "Mother" from their "The Wall" album. Heck, take a few minutes to look at their official photographs and voting records while playing that song. It will sink in, eventually.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Netflix: Hit or Miss With US Rewrite of 'House'?

Netflix produced an exclusive series entitled "House of Cards". The series stars Robin Wright, former wife of renowned socialist Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey, and Kate Mara, who played the spooky student stalker on "American Horror Story".

Kate Mara seems a bit type-cast in the series, playing a role similar to her "Horror Story" role as a somewhat naive coquettish thorn in the main character's side.

Kevin Spacey's acting is a little overdone. It is almost as though he attempts to reprise two of his previous roles into one. Those roles would be that of "David Gale" and his role from "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil". The role does spark a level of deeper intrigue such as Spacey portrayed in "The Usual Suspects".

The writers did a splendid job reworking the old BBC series of the same name. Like the BBC series did concerning corruption and political intrigue in the British Parliament, the Netflix retelling makes for a good American political thriller.

Where the two series differ is that the BBC version revolved around Britain's Conservatives and Margaret Thatcher. The Netflix version concentrates mainly on the socialist oligarchs that comprise the US's Democratic Party.

The pilot episode opens with the main character, Spacey, awaiting an important announcement. After being elected as a US Representative 11 consecutive times and backing the "right" members of his party, he feels he is due. Congressman Underwood was promised a nomination to Secretary of State by the newly elected Democratic president. However, the president decides to leave Underwood where he is:  the house majority whip.

For the most part, the show is a deep exploration of Machiavellian-style political games as the main character works a complex plan for revenge in his attempt to achieve his goals for ultimate power -- an eventual run at the White House. In doing so, he has no qualms destroying people's careers and lives and manipulating members of the press (Kate Mara's "Zoe Barnes"). Underwood even uses his wife, played by Robin Wright, as a pawn in his game.

While this is a work of fiction, it is not too far of a stretch to see some of the same games being played in our current government, mostly by those oligarchy-bent socialists who call themselves the "Democratic Party". For entertainment purposes alone, though, this show creates interesting escapism for political junkies. This is to say, it does once you get past Spacey's butchering of southern accents.