Dallas County DA Craig Watkins held a Twitter Town Hall on his participation in the voter ID lawsuit against the state of Texas. The new law will be in effect for the November Constitutional election and is expected to place an unnecessary burden on communities already less likely to make it to the polls, African Americans and Hispanics.
The additional plaintiffs in the suit filed by Eric Holder and the Obama Justice Department include the Texas League of Young Voters, the Mexican American League Legislative Caucus and the NAACP. The suit contends the there is both discriminatory intent and effect which are violations of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and that the right to vote is abridged based on race contrary to the 14th and 15th Amendments. Other arguments against the Texas voter ID law equate the additional barrier to a poll tax in violation of the 24th Amendment as well as a violation of our 14th Amendment right to equal protection under the law and an undue burden on political expression (1st Amendment).
The focus for the Justice Department and the other parties to the suit is to: permanently block the implementation of the law, have Texas "bailed in" to preclearance coverage under section 3 of the Voting Rights Act, and allow for the appointment of federal election observers.
Click below the jump to see some of the best tweets from Watkins' Town Hall and find out what you'll need to vote this November...
A new bill proposed by Republicans in Congress will give legal protections to individuals who morally object to marriage equality on the basis of "religious liberty."
Congressional Republicans and state Republicans in Texas have employed a scorched earth policy in the culture wars towards anything resembling a progressive agenda item by the Obama Administration, but in the wake of the apocalyptic rhetoric their harsh stance against marriage-equality threatens any chance to sway a crucial voting bloc -- Millennials.
This is a problem for Republicans for the same reason that Millennials are also the most highly-prized target for advertisers. Why? Because they are opinion makers and trendsetters, and they have the polls to prove it. A Pew Research tracking poll shows that millennials support marriage equality at a rate of 66% and growing, and that pattern of increased support was mimicked by prior generations. The poll also reveals that support for marriage equality is also growing with in the Republican Party and Independents are right in line with Democrats at 57%.
Find out below the jump how Republicans and others like the Heritage Foundation are attempting to redefine the word "tolerance"...
Today a gun and hardware store in Nederland, Texas confirmed that their sign read, "We are now closed on Saturday Thanks Obama." A picture surfaced on facebook and at least several local Southeast Texans who recognized the store began to call for an explanation and share their conversations. Multiple sources had similar stories, they were told the economy was slow and the store could not afford to stay open on Saturday...and that it was Obama's fault.
My initial thought was that it was over Obamacare, and when I saw that they also sold guns thought could it be related to recent proposed gun legislation. But then I remembered headlines like, "Barack Obama, Gun Salesman of the Year" from Bloomberg and, "Anti-Gun Debate May Be Best Thing For Firearm Industry Since Obama's Election" from Forbes -- and it just didn't make sense.
I called the store and identified myself as a reporter. After confirming the accuracy of the photo, I was told that both my theory on Obamacare and guns were wrong and someone from management would call if they had further comment. I'm not holding my breath for that phone call and Democrats may not want to hold theirs lest their faces turn blue long before Texas does. Just this month 3 elected officials from Jefferson County have switched parties from Democrat to Republican.
That represents a shift the area has seen over the last few election cycles. In the past the area has been pro-labor and reliably Democrat but never socially progressive. Still, with a growing student population and art community it remains one of the state's of greatest potentials for adding Democratic votes with some training and outreach efforts. I know because I helped to hold the line as Executive Director of the Jefferson County Democratic Party and after I left, I saw several seats over the next couple of cycles change hands to the Republicans. I know the story and I see what grassroots groups are doing online back home to put Texas back on a path to progress.
If you want to make change, putting your money where your mouth is is always a good start. One caller told me when the employee blamed Obama for their store being closed on Saturday that she replied, "well I won't be shopping there Mon - Friday then."
It has been a year since President Obama signed an executive order protecting DREAM Act-eligible youth from being deported. The order instructed the Department of Homeland Security not to deport undocumented immigrants that arrived in the United States before the age of 16, lived in the country for five years, and are enrolled in school or are military veterans.
In its first year, 58% of those estimated eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) have applied. According to a Brookings Institution study released last Wednesday, more than 557,400 DREAMers have applied for deportation relief as of June 2013. Approximately 74 percent -- more than 400,000 DREAMers -- have had their applications accepted, with additional cases pending review. Overall, only one percent of applicants have been denied.
United We Dream has even introduced a "Pocket DACA" mobile app:
But with all these recent steps being taken, why does the Obama administration continue setting new records for deporting people?
East Texas, we have a problem. Years after national headlines over James Byrd's dragging in Jasper, a series of unrelated high profile events have kept the region's reputation of racial intolerance alive and well.
John Craft, an assistant U.S. Attorney in the criminal justice division of the Eastern District of Texas, posted derogatory comments about Trayvon Martin and President Obama in a private facebook group. In reference to Stand Your Ground laws Craft wrote:
How are you fixed for Skittles and Arizona watermelon fruitcocktail (and maybe a bottle of Robitussin, too) in your neighborhood? I am fresh out of "purple drank." So, I may come by for a visit. In a rainstorm. In the middle of the night. In a hoodie. Don't get upset or anything if you see me looking in your window...kay?"
Read the response by the U.S. Attorney's office below the jump...
Seems like immigration reform has finally grown on Republicans.
Research by GOP pollster, Whit Ayres, showsmore than two thirds of Republicans support immigration reform, including providing a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the country. Indeed, Republicans want to see something done.
Only one third of conservatives are adamantly against immigration reform, and refuse providing a path to citizenship for the undocumented no matter the conditions.
There's a catch to all of this, of course.
The pathway to citizenship must be really strict and rigorous -- as if to serve a form of punishment or criminal sentence -- and be accompanied with a continued flooding of security along the border.
Read what type of requirements Republicans are demanding for after the jump.
Congress has gone home for a month-long August recess after a very weak showing of leadership at our nation's Capitol. After all these months in Washington, D.C., our GOP-controlled House has little to show for but the now 40th vote to repeal Obamacare and 13th time defunding an organization that no longer exists.
Among the list in their agenda still left pending that actually matters? Immigration reform.
Report after report has shown Texas' economic output would be tremendously benefited from achieving such legislation. Immigration reform would boost our state's economy by $3.8 billion and create approximately 43,097 new jobs just next year. On the other hand, deporting our immigration population would cause over a $17.7 billion negative impact on the state's economy.
President Obama and Democrats continue to push for immigration reform in the House.
The White House is doing an amazing job pumping report after report showing just how large of an impact immigration reform would have on our economy.
A new recent report provides Texans with the economic benefits fixing our nation's broken immigration system would have on our state.
Providing a pathway to earned citizenship for immigrants and expanding high-skilled and other temporary worker programs would boost Texas's economic output by $3.8 billion and create approximately 43,097 new jobs just next year. By 2045, boost to Texas's economic output would be around $18.9 billion.
The report also shows how immigrants already create large important contributions to our states' economy. Currently, Texas's labor force is 21.1% foreign-born. Roughly 25% of Texas business owners are immigrants, which are helping generate $10 billion in income for Texas each year.
Just last month, Congressman Pete Gallego, (D-Alpine), received a no for a response from State Comptroller Susan Combs to update a study on the fiscal impact of Texas' population of undocumented immigrants.
Immigration has been an important issue of discussion lately and a huge headache to socially conservative Republicans. From earlier talks in 2012 about "self-deportation", to President Obama capturing over 70% of the Latino vote in 2012, and to now this year when Congress has finally decided to address immigration reform. All throughout this debate, Republicans have done an amazingly good job at making themselves seem like the party of old, white people.
I don't believe there is much doubt in anyone's mind that the issues against immigration reform have largely been due to ethnicity and race. While not all Republicans act in a racist manner, the party does seem prone to racist tendencies. They also do a bad job (or two) at trying to make themselves seem inclusive of minorities.
Enter George P. Bush (on the right).
Bush is the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, nephew of former President George W. Bush, and grandson of former President George H. W. Bush. He is also running for office as Texas Land Commissioner.
Bush, who is part Hispanic, might actually be Republican's future hope of keeping the Latino vote competitive in Texas. Perhaps one day too, nationally.