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Open Carry Texas Reschedules Walk On Houston's Mostly Black 5th Ward To Fight "Racist" Gun Laws


by: Joe Deshotel

Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 01:17 PM CDT

Open Carry Texas turns 1 year old today and it looks like the gun rally they planned in Houston's predominantly Black 5th Ward I reported on last month is back on for August 16th. After a month of criticism over racial insensitivity they have recruited an African American, and follower of Louis Farrakhan, named Maurice Muhammad as a special guest.

C.J. Grisham, OCT's founder, says open carry is a "universal right" and believes the media has been unfair in characterizing the organization as white male "rednecks." He says this description is a disservice to their minority members. Having seen many pictures and videos of OCT events I can attest that the group is predominantly white and male but does have minority members.

See what Grisham told Muhammad in a radio interview below the jump...

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Race-Baiting Open Carry Advocates to March through 5th Ward in Houston Juneteenth Weekend


by: Joe Deshotel

Thu Jun 19, 2014 at 09:27 AM CDT

UPDATED: According to the Facebook event page this event had been "postponed" due to a "scheduling conflict" with another Open Carry rally.

In what they say is an effort to "show that gun rights belong to all" members of the open carry movement will walk through the 5th Ward on Sunday -- a day after many Texans will be celebrating Juneteenth, in a predominantly African American area of Houston settled by former slaves just after the Civil War. The Facebook event claims the event will be a "canned food drive" and donations will be given to the "First Missionary Baptist Church."

The walk is being hosted by CJ Grisham, founder of Open Carry Texas, who was convicted of interfering with police duties over an incident where he was being questioned about his AR-15. The resulting conviction led to no jail time and he plans to appeal, but he was fined $2,000 and lost his concealed handgun license for 5 years. One does not need a license to open carry a long gun.

Hear the results of my call to the 5th Ward Missionary Baptist Church...

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Two Debates Between Greg Abbott And Wendy Davis Now Scheduled


by: Omar Araiza

Thu May 29, 2014 at 11:00 AM CDT

State Senator Wendy Davis and Attorney General Greg Abbott have agreed to debate in Dallas and McAllen as part of their gubernatorial race.

Their first debate, which is scheduled in Dallas on September 30, will be hosted by WFAA-TV's Victory Park Studio and The Texas Tribune.

Aside from these two locations, Wendy Davis has accepted various other invitations for debates in major cities across Texas. Meanwhile, Greg Abbott continues to decline these same proposals and refuses to defend his record in front of voters throughout the state.

More below the jump.  

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Houston's LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance Heads To City Council For A Vote


by: Omar Araiza

Tue May 06, 2014 at 10:00 AM CDT

Houston Mayor Annise Parker's LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance will be brought to the full council for a vote on Wednesday, May 7th.

The equal rights ordinance has faced opposition by Republicans since Parker first called for an LGBT non-discrimination ordinance in her inaugural address. Knowing they are on the losing side of history, Republicans and conservatives in Houston have since resorted to using ancient homophobic phrasing to stir an opposition, calling the proposed legislation the "Sexual Predator Protection Act."

Read more of the fight to pass Houston's NDO below the jump.

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Texas Lesbian Couple Murdered In A Possible Hate Crime Attack


by: Omar Araiza

Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 10:30 AM CDT


Picture of couple on left, sketch of suspect to the right

A lesbian couple from Houston were murdered last week in Galveston County in a possible hate crime attack. Their bodies were found Friday morning next to a convenience store dumpster in Port Bolivar, Texas, but are believe to have been driven there once after being murdered. The victims have since been identified as Britney Cosby, 24, and Crystal Jackson, 24.

Relatives say the couple had been together for two years, and were visiting Galveston for Mardi Gras. Officials in Galveston County ruled the deaths as homicides on Monday, but the motives behind the killings are still not known. While sexual orientation is part of our federal and state hate crime laws, it is still not clear yet whether their murders will ultimately be considered a hate crime. Autopsies performed on the bodies show Cosby died of blunt force trauma and Jackson was shot to death.

Detectives handling the case are asking anyone that recognizes the man in the sketch to contact the sheriff's office tip line at 866-248-8477. Anyone with information is also encouraged to call Galveston County Crime Stoppers at 409-763-8477.  

Updated 2:32pm: James Cosby, father of one of the victims, has been arrested in connection with the murders. He is being charged with two accounts of tempering with evidence in the deaths of his daughter and girlfriend.

Read the statement issued by Equality Texas below the jump.

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Texas Values: Greg Abbott "Stands Up Against Lesbian Mayor" Annise Parker


by: Joe Deshotel

Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 11:00 AM CST

UPDATED This post has been updated as of 11:45am to include the response of Mayor Parker to attacks on her marriage.

When I read the tweet, "@TxValues: AG @GregAbbott_TX stands up against lesbian Houston Mayor in briefs," the first thing I thought was, "put some pants on Greg!" But, of course there is so much more wrong with this. It clearly uses the term "lesbian" as a pejorative, otherwise Texas Values would have referred to, "heterosexual AG Greg Abbott," or simply and respectfully referred to Parker as Mayor.

Marriage equality has made tremendous progress in the past year and it, dare I say, threatens to come to Texas. Abbott hasn't had the best of luck in the courtroom lately against the federal government, so this time he is arguing that it doesn't even have jurisdiction to hear these cases.

Mayor Parker has pushed for the City of Houston to recognize legal same-sex marriages performed in other states for purposes of spousal benefits. Suggesting she did this simply because she is "an open lesbian," is not only crude but ignores the fact that most Texans support, by a large margin, extending benefits to same-sex partners of government employees. According to a poll taken last year by Equality Texas, "65.7% of voters support extending domestic partnership benefits to government/public university employees; an increase of 3.4%" over a similar poll taken in 2010. The poll also found a 5.2% increase in support for full marriage equality; transforming a 52% majority against into a 47.9% plurality for.

See more on Abbott's continued assault on local control and the response from Mayor Parker below the jump...

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Houston Mayor Annise Parker Not Coy About Intentions To Run Statewide In 2018


by: Joe Deshotel

Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 00:00 PM CST

Annise Parker, fresh off reelection to her 3rd term as Houston Mayor, told Lone Star Q she is eyeing a future run for statewide office possibly in 2018. As fired up as Texas Democrats are right now, the state will not turn blue without recruiting top tier candidates, so you can mark this announcement as another progressive victory of 2013.

Parker is an experienced campaigner who first honed her chops on Houston City Council in 1997 before being elected to 3 terms as City Comptroller starting in 2003. Now, in her final term as Mayor she is no stranger to headlines and continues to rattle the Conservative establishment far beyond Houston's city limits.

Find out what position Mayor Parker may be considering along with the full interview below the jump...

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Payday Lenders' Money In Houston Municipal Runoffs Puts Reform at Risk


by: Shelby Alexander

Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 05:00 PM CST

Houston's new payday lending reform ordinance, pushed by the recently re-elected Mayor Annise Parker, is on shaky ground.

Depending on the results of the municipal runoff election this Saturday, the future of the ordinance could change significantly.

The plan, which would make Houston the fifth major city in Texas to pass such regulations, aims to protect consumers by establishing minimum standard business practices to prevent abuse from payday lending institutions.

The future of this ordinance will be especially more difficult to predict because payday lenders are giving much-needed cash to runoff candidates who are preventing payday lending reform from happening.

With five of the races going into runoffs, there are two main races who the payday lending industry has invested their money in. Andrew Burks is one of them, who tagged the ordinance at this week's Houston City Council meeting, which throws off the trajectory of the ordinance, likely pushing it into the new year in which a new City Council will be in place. This procedural shake-up makes uncertain the fate of the ordinance and allows payday lenders to continue preying on low-income Houston residents, whose interest rates often exceed 500 percent APR, trapping people in a cycle of debt.

Curtailing the efforts of predatory lenders has grown to be high-profile cause for progressives, which is why we have seen reforms pass in some of Texas' bluest cities. Legislators -- including Senator Wendy Davis -- have worked for years to cap and limit payday lenders and helped make some of the biggest steps forward for reform in Texas this past legislative session.

However, because of the payday lending industry's strong investment in legislators, statewide reform was defeated-- and the same powers are at play in Houston.

Read who payday lenders are investing in below the jump.

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Harris County GOP Chair: Mayor Annise Parker Abuses Her Office Over Same-Sex Benefits


by: Omar Araiza

Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 11:00 AM CST

Well, someone seems a bit bitter after losing an election.

Posted on the Quorum Report, Harris County GOP chair, Jared Woodfill, had some interesting things to say about Mayor Annise Parker's announcement last week that the city of Houston will begin to grant health and life insurance benefits to legally married same-sex couples whose marriages have been recognized in states with marriage equality laws.

"On Wednesday, Houston Mayor Annise Parker continued to show her true self as an extreme liberal that does not share the values of Texans and Houstonians," Woodfill said about Parker and her decision.

Read more below the jump.

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Mayor Annise Parker Introduces Consumer Protections Against Abuses By Payday Lenders


by: Shelby Alexander

Tue Nov 26, 2013 at 10:00 AM CST

Joining Austin, Dallas, El Paso, and San Antonio, Houston is on track to become the fifth major city in Texas to pass tighter restrictions on the payday and auto-title loan industry. Mayor Anise Parker's recently revealed regulations for payday lending reflects the minimum standard business practices for payday lending institutions that have passed in other cities as means to prevent borrowers from being trapped in a cycle of debt.

Many interest rates for payday loans, when including fees, often exceed 500 percent APR. With support from numerous advocacy groups, Mayor Annise Parker joins other municipalities who have taken the initiative in light of inaction from our State Legislature to rein in high-cost, small-dollar loans offered to individuals without credit checks, which frequently preys upon low-income Texans.

Progressive leaders have been working overtime to protect consumers while Republicans have allowed the payday lending industry take between $800 million and $1.1 billion in excess fee charges from Texas families.

Read more below the jump.

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