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Username: Joe Deshotel
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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.

Left In Texas: Rick Perry in Freefall, Greg Abbott In Retreat

by: Joe Deshotel

Sun Aug 31, 2014 at 11:00 AM CDT

This is Episode 33 for the week of August 24th.

It's been a huge week for Texas politics folks! Imad and I review the latest news on Gov. Rick Perry's indictment and the unraveling of his 2016 bid before our very eyes.

We discuss why Greg Abbott backed out of a TV debate with Wendy Davis, and his 2 epic court loses that came back to back. The first was the school finance decision ruling current funding unconstitutional, and the second was that parts of HB2, the bill that Wendy Davis was made famous for filibustering, was also ruled unconstitutional.

That has to be pretty awkward for a guying running for Governor as as the current Attorney General. He seems to have issues with what is and is not constitutional -- but still always finds his way on the opposite side of the people.

The heat from the press and voters has him on the run, and his response has been to hunker down and try and ride the GOP advantage past the finish line.

Oh, and we also talk about some great and not so great advances in environmental policy.

Listen to the full episode below the jump!

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At Least 50 Troops Relying On Food Bank After Gov. Perry Sent Them To Border Without Pay

by: Joe Deshotel

Sat Aug 30, 2014 at 10:00 AM CDT

After Governor Rick Perry's controversial move to send National Guard troops to the border, new broke that many were not paid and at least 50 were relying on a local food bank to eat.

It's not the kind of news the Governor needs after a long two weeks that included 2 felony indictments and a mugshot, but his reckless policies and refusal of accountability is starting to catch up at warp speed.

The Governor has been out visiting early primary states as he flirts with the idea of another run at the White House, but back at home along the border his highly politicized and extremely costly moves are beginning to unravel any chance that he may have had.

See more below the jump.

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Greg Abbott Backs Out Of Only TV Debate With Wendy Davis After Hiring New Debate Consultant

by: Joe Deshotel

Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 03:12 PM CDT

UPDATED 8/30/14: Apparently Greg Abbott has "agreed" to a different televised debate after complaining about the format and backing out of the previously planned TV debate with WFAA. Davis and Abbott will appear on the same day (Sept. 30th) on KERA. One of Abbott's major concerns in his original acceptance letter was the presence of a live audience.

Original Story:

Back in May Wendy Davis proposed 6 debates with Greg Abbott across the state of Texas, he agreed to do two, but today he backed out of the only one that was planned to be broadcasted on statewide television.

The move is another mark in a disturbing trend of Abbott moving away from transparency and the public spotlight just as the traditional campaign season kicks-off this Labor Day weekend.

It seems all the heat Abbott has been taking regarding his policy positions and connections to the Rick Perry indictment is starting to make him a little uncomfortable and he has decided to take his ball and go home.

The backlash has been swift and from all side -- see what people are saying below jump...

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Texas Ethics Commission Sidelines Greg Abbott; Puts AG Back in Perry Indictment Spotlight

by: Joe Deshotel

Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 02:30 PM CDT

The Texas Ethics Commission is seeking $150,000 for outside council in a lawsuit against the unelected Tea Party leader Michael Quinn Sullivan because it doesn't trust Attorney General Greg Abbott to hold his close friend accountable.

The Attorney General is tasked to represent state agencies, but the Ethics Commission seems to think the relationship between MQS and the Attorney General's office is a little too close for comfort, and I mean, they are the state's ethical watchdog.

See more on the MQS connection and why the Commission is right in be concerned below the jump...

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Texas Teen Won't Serve 99 Years For Hash Brownies, But Still Faces Multiple Felony Charges

by: Joe Deshotel

Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 11:30 AM CDT

It turns out that Jacob Lavoro, the Williamson County teen who got busted baking pot brownies with hash oil, won't serve that 99 year sentence after all.

A grand jury refused to indict him on the most serious charge that would have included the full weight of the brownies (flour, chocolate, eggs, butter, etc.) as a controlled substance instead of just the 2.5 grams of hash oil that he used -- a difference of over 650 grams.

The Williamson County DA's office told KVUE earlier this month that if they reduced the charges it would be because it was standard procedure and would have nothing to do with public outcry or the nearly 250,000 change.org signatures gathered by supporters of Lavoro.

See what he the grand jury actually indicted him with below the jump...


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New Rules Proposed To Address Fracking And Earthquakes At Texas Railroad Commission

by: Joe Deshotel

Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 10:30 AM CDT

The fact that fracking for oil and gas may be causing earthquakes puts some legislators in an awkward position pitting their land-owning constituents against the oil and gas industry.

The Energy Resources Subcommittee on Seismic Activity met this week to discuss new rules proposed to address the connection between hydraulic fracturing and the seismic activity that has been taking place more frequently near disposal wells.

Small town mayors in the affected area of North Texas say they are grateful the issue is being addressed but believe these proposals should only be a "first step."

See what the state's recently hired seismologist had to say...

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Collateral Damage of Gov. Rick Perry's Veto of PIU Funds Includes 400 Felony Investigations

by: Joe Deshotel

Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 02:00 PM CDT

Governor Rick Perry's name isn't on the ballot in 2014, but you wouldn't know that judging by the news coverage alone.  And, you could forgive any Texans who might still make that mistake given that most have grown accustomed to "candidate Perry" during a non-presidential election year.

The resurgence of media mentions and a budding presidential re-run began with his unilateral decision to bring 1000 National Guard troops to the border, but is now consumed by another unilateral move -- attempting to force an elected official from office.

The collateral damage for Rick Perry's political maneuvers is stacking up, see what could but the worst of unintended consequences below the jump...

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Left in Texas Podcast: Rick Perry Mugshots, Merch, & Mockery

by: Joe Deshotel

Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 10:41 AM CDT

This is Episode 33 for the week of August 18th.

For the second week in a row we spend nearly an entire episode catching you up to the latest news surrounding the indictment of Gov. Rick Perry.

The Texas media has been fixated on this subject and for good reason, Gov. Perry has thumbed his nose at the prosecution, the grand jury and Texas taxpayers. And, despite his serious legal troubles he's not skipping any stops on the road to seeking the 2016 GOP nomination for President.

Perry did however give at least one giant (and surprising) reprieve to opponents and taxpayers -- find out what it is, and hear the full episode below the jump!...

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Gov. Rick Perry Still Owes Texans $80,000 In Legal Fees After Agreeing To Pay Future Costs

by: Joe Deshotel

Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 03:00 PM CDT

When Texans found out they were footing the bill for Gov. Perry's high dollar legal defense they started asking questions. Then the Texas Tribune reported that this may be the first time a Texas Governor has ever charged taxpayers for attorney's fees.

Now Gov. Perry, who we rarely see retreat has bowed to public pressure and agreed to pay his "future" bills with privately raised funds. But what about the $80,000 he has billed so far?

It seems odd that the Governor would feel the heat and not move to put out the fire completely.

See what his spokesperson said below the jump...


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Austin Could Be First Texas City To Make All Single-Person Public Restrooms "Gender Free"

by: Joe Deshotel

Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 01:00 PM CDT

On August 28th the Austin City Council will consider a resolution to make all single occupancy restrooms "gender free." In practice this means goodbye to the traditional gender binary signage on restrooms intended for individuals -- no changes will be made for restrooms with multiple stalls.

Austin would be the first major city in Texas to make the change that has already made its way on to some Texas University campuses including the University of Texas.

See what this means for the transgender community and small businesses below the jump...

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