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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.

Oops! Greg Abbott Unveils Education Plan At School District Currently Suing The State Over Funding

by: Joe Deshotel

Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 04:30 PM CDT

Today Greg Abbott unveiled another portion of his education plan at a school in Spring Branch I.S.D. -- a district that is currently suing the state over funding cuts that Abbott is defending as Texas' Attorney General.

Awkward? It should be.

"Perhaps the problem is that Greg Abbott is having trouble locating a school district in the entire state of Texas that's not currently fighting him in a courtroom lawsuit," said Zac Petkanas the Communications Director for Wendy Davis.

Abbott has been on the defense after a weeks-long rocky rollout of his education plan, and today said he supported more "local control," yet his plan for Pre K called for more state assessment and mandates.

See what teachers' representatives are saying about Abbott's plan below the jump...

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Charges Filed Against RiseUp Protesters From Last Summer At The Texas Capitol

by: Joe Deshotel

Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 10:00 AM CDT

Last summer the Texas Capitol erupted in protest after the lawmakers worked to pass some of the nation's strictest abortion legislation. Some of those protesters with RiseUp/Levanta Texas were arrested and over 9 months later some have been handed additional charges (while others were dropped) -- and at least a few feel that they were unfairly targeted by DPS.

Of the original 16 who were arrested 9 were summoned back to the court for additional charges levied Friday. Most were downgraded from Class B (disruption of a public meeting) to Class C (failure to comply with a lawful order). Protesters held a press conference outside of the Travis County Jail chastising DPS and the County Attorney to "drop the charges" -- still many questions were left unanswered.

Heather Busby of NARAL spoke at the press event and said, "What these people did was simply a non-violent act of civil disobedience by refusing to leave a public space...They are heros of Democracy and do not deserve to be strung along, punished for speaking out against a bill that hurts Texans, and that the people of this state did not want."

See what charges were dropped below the jump...

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Greg Abbott Campaign Now Accepting The Cryptocurency Bitcoin

by: Joe Deshotel

Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 10:00 AM CDT

Image: rollingalpha
In an odd move adopted from the even stranger Congressman Steve Stockman, Gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott announced last week that he would now accept the cryptocurrency Bitcoin as campaign contributions.

For tax and reporting purposes Bitcoins are treated as an asset or an "in kind" contribution, but the FEC is expected to release an advisory with guidelines in the next couple of days. Two drafts have been posted and the second would limit Bitcoin donations to $100 in value.

Abbott says the move is part of his "cutting-edge digital strategy" and he welcomes the Bitcoin community to this team. According to the Wire that team is predominantly young, White, male and libertarian.

Abbott says "The spirit of Bitcoin embodies the free market principles that make Texas a leader," but there are many reason to be skeptical of the volatile decentralized digital currency.

See what is so concerning below the jump...

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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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