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Username: Joe Deshotel
PersonId: 7873
Created: Sat May 26, 2012 at 11:48 AM CDT
Joe Deshotel's RSS Feed
Web Page: https://twitter.com/joethepleb
Email: joe@burntorangereport.com

Joe has worked in politics for over 10 year with representatives of Congress, the Texas legislature, Jefferson Co. and the City of Austin. His focus on social media has earned him several panel appearances regarding its use in politics.

Orange County, Texas Proclaims April "Confederate History & Heritage Month"

by: Joe Deshotel

Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 02:00 PM CDT

Orange County, Texas Commissioners are under fire from some residents for a proclamation that declares April "Confederate History and Heritage Month." It is the 5th time in as many years that the local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans have been granted their request.

The proclamation caused intense reaction from the community, some reported by local media and much more can be found in the comment section of their reports. One of the prevailing arguments made by supporters was essentially "If there is a Black History Month, there should be no complaints of a Confederate History Month." Yep, they went there, and still others pushed the fallacy that the Civil War had nothing to do with the "peculiar institution" of slavery. That, of course, is what SCV wants everyone to believe.

In 2010 the group held a Sesquicentennial Event to "celebrate the beginning of the Confederacy" by marching in Montgomery, Alabama along the same route that Martin Luther King Jr. led Civil Rights protesters down in the 1965 march from Selma. SCV says it's mission is to ensure Americans remember the Civil War in the "right way."

See what SCV means by the "right way" below the jump...

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New Gun Safety Organization Launched To Directly Counter National Rifle Association

by: Joe Deshotel

Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 04:30 PM CDT

A year after the Senate majority blocked a bill that would have required background checks for commercial gun sales, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Mayor's Against Illegal Guns have announced a new umbrella effort called "Everytown."

The idea is to compete directly with the National Rifle Association on membership numbers and lobbying efforts.

The local Chapter of Moms Demand Action made their announcement at Austin City Hall today and were met by protesters from Open Carry Texas, a group that supports the open carry of handguns.

According to Everytown's website:

Everytown connects survivors to each other, creating a vital network of people who support one another and work together to make change. Everytown also acts as a resource to survivors, educating them about gun laws and the policy-making process so they can take more effective action together.

Click below the jump to see who pledged $50,000,000 of their own wealthy to kick start Everytown...

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Wendy Davis to Greg Abbott: Pre-K for 4 Year Olds, Not Standardized Tests

by: Joe Deshotel

Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 00:07 PM CDT

Image: Progress Texas
On Monday Wendy Davis held a press conference to talk about extending quality Pre-K to all Texas school children and to chastise Greg Abbott for proposing standardized testing of 4 year olds.

The Abbott campaign claims that the portion of his education plan that references "Direct Assessments, norm referenced standardized tests" for 4 year olds is "for informational purposes only." There is more on Abbott's backtracking here.

If Abbott is shying away from the standardized testing claim it is likely because a bipartisan bill (HB 5) that passed last session to reduce the number of standardized tests from 15 to 5 was incredibly popular with parents and teachers alike. However Jim Windham, a key Abbott advisor, was caught off message during an online town hall hosted on Abbott's campaign website when he confirmed that not only did he believe HB 5 was a "mistake," but referenced "normed Pre-K assessments" as a way test the "efficacy" of Pre-K that 4 year olds receive.

See how Abbott's campaign advisor responded below the jump...

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Residents of Major U.S. Cities Flock To Austin -- Because It's Cheaper

by: Joe Deshotel

Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 02:30 PM CDT

Austin is the nation's fastest growing city since 2010. That's not breaking news to those have have lived here at least that long. But, where is everyone coming from and why? The short answer is easy: from other major U.S. cities and...California, and because it's relatively cheaper.

Folks coming from New York or Chicago may appreciate not shoveling snow, but the weather isn't the only reason people are giving up their sprawling metropolis.

Despite the outcry of decreasing affordability by current residents, Austin is still cheaper to live than most established big cities like New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago or Washington D.C.

The housing shortage, let alone the affordable housing shortage, is still pretty apparent in Austin. From talks with local real estate agents I'm told almost every sale ends in a bidding war, and long time renters lament their rent going up at the end of every lease. For many residents it certainly doesn't feel like one of America's most affordable major cities.

More below the jump...

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Civil Rights Summit In Austin Reflects on LBJ's Legacy & Continued Struggles

by: Joe Deshotel

Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 00:00 PM CDT

This Summer marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson's signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act. And, to honor those that fought and the progress they made, a 3 day summit was held this week at his Presidential Library on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.

Johnson's legacy has been haunted by the specter of the Vietnam War, and that has in many ways overshadowed his top accomplishments like the Civil Rights Act, fair housing, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Voting Rights Act.

Johnson also had the courage to use the Presidency as a bully pulpit to pass Civil Rights legislation during an election year. It would be his only election to the Presidency as he decided not to run for reelection due to the division and death toll of Vietnam.

Every living former U.S. President, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush was in attendance at the Civil Rights Summit. Thursday's keynote reflection on Civil Rights was delivered by President Obama, who acknowledged that he is President today because of the Civil Rights movement.

More below the jump...

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Transgender Woman is Asked Not To Return To Work After Parents Raised Questions About Her Sexuality

by: Joe Deshotel

Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 11:00 AM CDT

A transgender substitute teacher in Southeast Texas was asked not to return to work after some parents expressed concerns about her sexuality. Laura Jane Klug was put on suspension while Lumberton I.S.D. will privately decide whether she can return to the classroom.

Klug told KBMT that she had worked at the school before without incident and that "I have always conducted myself in a professional manner and would never discuss my gender identity in school."

Before L.I.S.D. makes its final decision there will be a public hearing on Thursday where individuals from the community can express their opinions. Local organizers including the Stonewall Democrats of Southeast Texas and other LGBT allied groups have rallied behind Klug.

Read what Lumberton conservatives have to say about the issue below the jump.

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Greg Abbott Ducks Press While Adviser Charles Murray Doubles Down on Anti-Woman Rhetoric

by: Joe Deshotel

Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 09:00 AM CDT

Greg Abbott has been under fire for citing Charles Murray in his education plan. Murray is a controversial libertarian thinker who believes women's brains are smaller than men's and that "women have played a proportionally tiny part in the history of the arts and sciences."

Charles Murray came to speak at the University of Texas last night, where he was greeted by a protest by the University Democrats. During his speech he doubled down on the same racist, misogynistic rhetoric he has been criticized for in the last weeks.

Murray was there to speak about his new book "Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010." He addressed a small but full room hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank for which Murray is a "scholar."

Murray began his speech with references to the controversy surrounding Greg Abbott and his "footnote." Murray said he was sorry he had caused him grief but curmudgeonly joked that he wished Abbott would have used more of his ideas, indicating he wasn't very fond of Abbott's plan overall. Murray ended his comments on the subject by saying he'd rather just stay out of it altogether, but let's just say he didn't do Abbott any favors.

Listen to the audio of Murray's comments about women below the jump.

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Senator Leticia Van de Putte Ends Statewide Bus Tour With Rally at UT

by: Joe Deshotel

Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 01:00 PM CDT

On Monday Senator Leticia Van de Putte ended her statewide bus tour at the campus of UT Austin in front of an enthusiastic crowd of students and other supporters. She was welcomed to the podium by State Representative Celia Israel who she had sworn into office herself only a month before.

She appeared with her family flanking her on both sides, whom she said had been with her throughout her tour. It was something of a homecoming for Van de Putte, even though she represents San Antonio, she is also a Longhorn.

She brought with her the stories from every corner of Texas. When she mentioned a different region you could hear sporadic cheers of young voices who who have found, at least their educational home, in Austin.

More below the jump...

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Senator Leticia Van de Putte Speaks With Bloggers On "Core Issues" and Power of Social Media

by: Joe Deshotel

Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 05:01 PM CDT

On a conference call with Texas bloggers Senator Leticia Van de Putte gave a summation of her statewide bus tour that concludes today at the West Mall on UT's campus.

She launched her campaign in November with the line, "Mama ain't happy," and today she confirmed that that sentiment is widespread across our state -- including in the business community.

Her focus she said, was on "core priorities" of education, water, transportation and affordable healthcare.

See why LVP believes her message will resonate with Red State voters below the jump...

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Texas Association Of Business Distorts Wendy Davis' Position To Push Drug Testing Some Unemployed

by: Joe Deshotel

Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 09:00 AM CDT

Texas Association of Business President Bill Hammond thinks it's "unconscionable" that the U.S. Labor Department is delaying a Texas' law that would drug test some individuals before receiving unemployment benefits -- even those who were not fired for the use of illicit drugs.

Hammond also touts "unanimous support" in the Senate, calling out Wendy Davis by name even though she spoke out against the bill on the floor and offered an amendment that was eventually accepted. The bill had zero Democrat authors, or co-authors in the Senate and zero Democrat sponsors in the House.

Senate tradition holds that many bills pass the upper chamber with unanimous consent, even some of those that are hotly debated. A bill passing the Senate chamber with 0 nay votes is no indication that the bill did not have objectors. TAB's press release also fails to mention that the House vote was 104 to 42, far from unanimous.

See what Davis said during the debate on the Senate floor below the jump...

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