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Burnt Orange Report is redeveloping our website for the first time in almost a decade. This is critical to the ongoing existence of BOR.

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Armed Domestic Terrorist 'Militia' Groups Patrolling Texas Border on Hunt for Child Refugees


by: Omar Araiza

Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 03:00 PM CDT

No less than 10 armed "militia" groups, all composed of private citizens, have ganged up together to patrol the Texas-Mexico border, with a mission to seek out "illegals" -- child refugees coming in from Central America.

Leading the groups is Chris Davis, a former truck driver discharged from the Army in 2001 "under other than honorable conditions in lieu of trial by court martial." Davis is asking his followers to threaten and shoot to kill any child they see crossing the border seeking refuge. "You see an illegal. You point your gun dead at him, right between his eyes, and you say, 'Get back across the border or you will be shot.'"

While Republicans remain silent on condemning these fascist, domestic terrorist groups, Democrats have denounced the groups and call for appropriate action by law enforcement officials.

More on the border crisis below the jump.

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Austin Urban Rail Would Be An Alternative To Traffic Not A Panacea


by: Joe Deshotel

Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 00:00 PM CDT

The battle for the narrative on Austin's urban rail proposal is being fought out as much with in the pro-transit community as it is with those who oppose it all together.

The stakes are high, as it remains unclear how a new 10-1 City Council may address future transportation investments if voters turn down rail in November. Add to the pressure pot the lingering sting of losing by less than 1% that many advocates still remember from 14 years ago.

On Wednesday I attended a media tour sponsored by CapMetro to visit the proposed rail route from East Riverside to Highland Mall. The tour included one of rail's most vocal proponents, Mayor Lee Leffingwell.

Read about the route and how the plan is being pitched below the jump...

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Children's Home of Lubbock Fires Employee for Being Gay


by: Emily Cadik

Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 09:00 AM CDT

The Children's Home of Lubbock, which provides adoption, foster care and other family services, has fired an employee simply because of his sexual orientation. Children's Home knew that childcare worker Casey Stegall was gay. But when he introduced his fiancĂ© to some of the children he worked with, he was fired over his "lifestyle choices," the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reports.  

"I got fired just for being who I am," Stegall said.

According to Children's Home President Lynn Harms, "As a faith-based, church-related outreach providing welfare services, if you will, to children and families, there is a set of biblical values that we adhere to and live by. When you are implementing life training and so forth - particularly with children - to put a confused message out there is counterproductive."

"If you want to try to force our culture to meet your expectations, that's not going to go well," Harms continued. "I don't feel like the culture here has to meet an individual's desire for the world to be different."

Read about Stegall's response and his options for recourse after the jump.

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Texas Rep Dennis Bonnen Thinks It's Easier To Teach "Coonass" Katrina Evacuees Than Refugee Kids


by: Joe Deshotel

Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 09:00 PM CDT

State Representative Dennis Bonnen said in a committee hearing this week that there has been "way too much focus on the children" refugees along the border. He also made a faux pas during that same meeting that might have some Cajuns ragin' and maybe anyone who speaks Spanish as a first language.

The first rule of using ethnic slurs is -- don't. Sure there may be exceptions like referring to yourself for instance (if you're into that sort of thing) but certainly not at the dais of a Legislative Committee Hearing which you are chairing.

He was trying to describe why children from Central America might be harder to teach than evacuees from Katrina -- "we had to have a teacher who could do Coonass and English, but here we have to do Spanish and English, maybe, and there's a higher marker."

More below the jump...

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Dan Patrick's Disappearance Act: Where Did Danny Go?


by: Genevieve Cato

Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 04:30 PM CDT


Image courtesy of Lone Star Project
If the campaign landscape in Texas has seemed a little less ridiculous recently, it is probably because one of the most unabashedly offensive characters running for office in November disappeared for almost forty days.

After winning his primary against David Dewhurst, Dan Patrick dropped off the radar. If it strikes you as odd that one of the candidates in the country's most interesting race for Lieutenant Governor would be MIA following an incredibly high profile run-off, you aren't the only one.  

More on Disappearing Dan below the jump.

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CD-23 Republican Will Hurd Plans to Cut Veterans' Benefits as Rep. Pete Gallego Passes VA Reform


by: Katie Singh

Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 01:00 PM CDT

The centerpiece of Republican candidate Will Hurd's challenge to incumbent congressman Pete Gallego is his call for across-the-board, indiscriminate budget cuts. These cuts would be devastating for many Texans, but especially for Texas veterans.

As we've written, Hurd's plan puts many vital services for veterans at risk. These include VA medical care, disability services, and small business loans. In total, there are over 46,000 veterans who live in CD-23 whose access to services would be jeopardized by this part Will Hurd's budget plan.

It turns out there is yet another place Will Hurd's budget would cut support for veterans--education support provided through the GI bill. This program is used by 30% of veterans nationwide, including tens of thousands of Texans, and it would be endangered if Will Hurd's budget succeeded.

Meanwhile, Pete Gallego spent this week once again showing his commitment to helping Texas veterans as two of his proposals for VA reform were incorporated into the final version of a bill agreed upon by the House and Senate.

Watch Pete Gallego stand up for veterans on the House floor after the jump.

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The Ugly Truth About Our Website


by: Burnt Orange Report

Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 11:00 AM CDT

While we at Burnt Orange Report work hard to bring you progressive coverage of Texas news, the website we have isn't that great. In fact, it's kind of ugly.

That's why we're doing something about it. Last week, we started the process of redeveloping Burnt Orange Report's website -- we're making one that will look as good as the content we publish on it.

This is a big step for our blog. And we can't do it alone. We're counting on our loyal readers who value Burnt Orange Report and rely on our progressive news coverage to help us fund part of this redesign.

--> Click here to help build an even better Burnt Orange Report. <--

Over the last few years we've broken national news stories, provided on-the-ground live-blogging of major political events, and kept our focus on the issues that matter to progressive Texans.

If you help us fund this redesign, you will enable Burnt Orange Report to do even more great reporting, expand our audience, and engage the growing progressive base in Texas.

Click here to help us build a website that is as great as the content we publish on it..

Thanks for your support over the past 11 years -- we're committed to working even harder to provide progressive coverage of issues that matter in Texas on a website that matches the quality of our work.

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Protect The Vote! Texas Democratic Party Launches Voter Protection Effort


by: shaltom

Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 00:48 PM CDT

(Thanks to the TDP for making voter protection such a priority! - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy. That's why the Texas Democratic Party is doing everything it can to protect the vote.

We've been fighting hard against the Republican voter bullying efforts in court, and now we're gearing up to fight against them at the polls.

Election judges and clerks will play a critical role on November 4th. That is why one of our first priorities is to help your local Democratic county parties recruit and train more qualified election workers. These election workers are on the front lines of voter protection. We know that eliminating confusion at the polls goes a long way to improve the voting experience. Election workers who understand correct voting procedures can alleviate confusion and ensure that ballots are cast correctly and accurately counted.

Sign up to be an election worker!

Read more below the jump.

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Texas has Some of the Highest and the Lowest Costs of Living in the Country


by: Emily Cadik

Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 04:30 PM CDT

Everything is bigger in Texas - including cost of living disparities.

The Atlantic Citylab looked at data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) on the price levels of various expenses like food, transportation, housing, and education.  

The analysis shows that in Texas, there are metro regions where the costs of living are among the highest in the country - generally in the major cities of Dallas, Austin and Houston where you'd expect higher costs. On the other hand, there are metro regions along the border where the costs of living are among the lowest in the country.

There are very few states that combine such low-cost and high-cost areas. But then again, there are no states like Texas.

There's more after the jump.

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Criminal Complaint Filed Against Sen. Ken Paxton


by: Joseph Vogas

Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 03:00 PM CDT


Republican Sen. Ken Paxton: Do not pass go, do not collect $200
At the beginning of the month, it was becoming clear Republican State Senator and nominee for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton could become toxic to the entire Texas Republican slate. Paxton admitted to violating the Texas Securities Act when he failed to register as an investment advisor when soliciting clients and paid a fine as a result of his violation. However, Paxton's actions may have also been criminal. To find out, an investigation would need to be held by Texas' Public Integrity Unit.

It is rare for Texas' Public Integrity Unit, led by the incumbent District Attorney of Travis County, to open an investigation on their own. Often, formal criminal complaints must be filed for an investigation to begin. Recently, such a criminal complaint was filed against Senator Paxton by the watchdog group Texans for Public Justice.

The criminal complaint lays out a direct case of what it is believed Paxton did and how the law was violated. The complaint is now expected to be reviewed by a staff lawyer for the Public Integrity Unit to determine if the Public Integrity Unit has jurisdiction and if a formal investigation is warranted should the Public Integrity Unit have jurisdiction.

Should Ken Paxton be convicted of committing a felony, he will be unqualified and ineligible to serve as Texas Attorney General.

The official criminal complaint which is a direct and stinging indictment on Sen. Paxton's potentially criminal past can be read in full after the jump.

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Greg Abbott Denies Petitions for Same Sex Marriage, Says They Don't "Naturally Produce Children"


by: Joe Deshotel

Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 01:30 PM CDT

In a brief filed Monday Attorney General Greg Abbott said the state's ban on same sex marriage is constitutional because it promotes child birth in "stable, lasting relationships."

This come after he denied accepting over 5,700 petitions asking him to stop defending the state's ban in court.

Abbott has been defending the state's 2005 ban vigorously even as mainstream views have changed tremendously over the past decade, and courts continue to strike them down state by state -- including Texas'. Abbott maintains that he will continue to fight in support of the ban because it is the law, but his brief proves he is actively promoting discrimination against same-sex couples.

See what Abbott said below the jump...

 

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Greg Abbott Denies Petitions for Same Sex Marriage, Says They Don't "Naturally Produce Children"


by: Joe Deshotel

Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 01:30 PM CDT

In a brief filed Monday Attorney General Greg Abbott said the state's ban on same sex marriage is constitutional because it promotes child birth in "stable, lasting relationships."

This come after he denied accepting over 5,700 petitions asking him to stop defending the state's ban in court.

Abbott has been defending the state's 2005 ban vigorously even as mainstream views have changed tremendously over the past decade, and courts continue to strike them down state by state -- including Texas'. Abbott maintains that he will continue to fight in support of the ban because it is the law, but his brief proves he is actively promoting discrimination against same-sex couples.

See what Abbott said below the jump...

 

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Refugee Children Come Seeking Life Itself, Not American Lifestyle


by: John Canales Gorczynski

Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 02:01 PM CDT

(Kudos to the Texas Young Democrats for raising over $100,000 in donated goods for refugee children. Thanks for showing Texas hospitality to these kids in their moment of need. - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

Last night my mother told me the story of a family friend who was murdered on a bus in Guatemala City. This young man cashed his very first paycheck, got onboard, then was shot dead moments later in front of his sister and a crowded bus load of people. Mama hadn't told me this story before because she was trying to protect me, as is her instinct even now in my thirties. With the work Texas Young Democrats are doing to get supplies to the refugee children currently in the Rio Grande Valley, she thought I should know why TYD's work matters to our family.

When you wonder why parents would ever send their child off to the United States unaccompanied, know that it's not out of greed or because they want to push their responsibility onto someone else. It's certainly not because they think it'll be easy for anyone - not the parents, not the kids, not us. It's not some idea of life in America. In reality, it's life itself. These mothers and fathers are trying desperately to protect their children just as you or I would. How we treat these young refugees will reveal the way we would want our own children to be treated when they're desperately in need of protection.

Want to send #LoveFromTexas to these little ones? Order something from our Amazon Wish list and one of our partners working on the ground will make sure a refugee in need gets the care and comfort every child deserves.

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Conservatives Resort To Lying About Child Refugees' Vaccination Rates To Justify Their Deportation


by: Omar Araiza

Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 10:00 AM CDT

Conservatives are coming up with multiple kinds of excuses in order to deport the Central American child refugees, all while trying to hide their true prejudice against them. Case in point: "Our schools cannot handle this influx, we don't even know what all diseases they have. Our health care systems can't withstand this influx," recently said U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, trying to make a healthy safety case for deportation and "war" against these children.

Sadly for conservatives, their excuses and lies simply don't match up to the facts. In a horrible twist of irony, according to statistics by the United Nations, Central American children have a higher vaccination rate than U.S. children.

And whose fault is this? The very same conservative officials and voters in America raging war against vaccinations, and health insurance coverage.

More below the jump.

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Backlog of Immigration Cases Fueled by Republicans


by: Progress Texas

Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 02:48 PM CDT

(Thanks to Progress Texas for continuing to highlight the role that Republicans' refusal to fill our courts is playing in the current refugee crisis. - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

undefinedA massive backlog in immigration courts, fueled by years of Republicans refusing to approve funding for more judges, is complicating the government's decision of what to do with 57,000 child refugees who have come to America seeking asylum.

Whether it was sequestration, refusing to approve an immigration bill, or not agreeing to White House budget requests, Republicans have repeatedly refused to approve enough funding for more judges to hear immigration cases, creating an 18-month backlog for certain cases.

Read more below the jump.

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Editor and Publisher:
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