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Username: Katherine Haenschen
PersonId: 4576
Created: Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 01:22 PM CST
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Students for Gun-Free Schools releases endorsement information for UT campus-wide elections


by: John Woods

Mon Mar 01, 2010 at 06:01 PM CST

This year, The Daily Texan asked every candidate in the University of Texas student elections for his or her position on the issue of guns in classrooms.

The NRA has worked hard to make keeping schools free of guns appear to be a partisan issue, but the Texan's fearlessness in asking about the issue in its endorsements demonstrates that student leaders aren't buying it. More tellingly, only two candidates are listed as "in favor" of guns in classrooms.

Indeed, with complete confidence that students will vote for leaders who are opposed to guns in classrooms, Students for Gun-Free Schools -- a student organization at UT and a nation-wide non-profit -- released a record of candidates' positions on the issue, as well as endorsement statements.

This time last year, there were two bills in the Texas Legislature that would have allowed students to carry guns in classrooms. Both bills were ultimately caught in the Texas House, after one (SB 1164) passed the Senate, in part because of the time and energy spent by student leaders on the issue.

Although Students for Gun-Free Schools was created as a response to such bills, the organization pursues other strategies for preventing campus violence as well. "Our focuses are access to mental health, and various measures which can keep at-risk students from falling through the cracks," said SGFS's Southwestern University chapter president.

The organization's statewide director, John Woods, had this to say: "There's not a lot of violence on college campuses, and we'd like to keep it that way. But over thirty thousand people are killed every year by guns -- that's more than terrorism worldwide most years. We have a responsibility to make students aware of these issues."

Volunteers with SGFS have also put together resolutions against guns in classrooms and in favor of closing the gun show loophole. They plan to introduce these at some precinct meetings Tuesday, in an attempt to unify the Texas Democratic Party around common sense public safety issues.

"Our biggest obstacle right now is getting the word out about our organization," said Woods. "There are so many troubling things happening in Texas that sometimes keeping our classrooms safe gets pushed to the back of the line. Students know about what we're doing, but parents generally don't."

Campus-wide elections begin Tuesday at 9 AM and end Wednesday at 5 PM. Voting may be done online at utsg.org, or at computers on campus.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

The EPA Called Out the TCEQ, So We Went on a Texas Statewide Tour!


by: Texas Sierra Club

Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 10:17 AM CDT

(The TCEQ is fixing to be a major story in the coming months. Good to see that Sierra Club is already out in front on it. - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

Recently, Texas got some big news. It's a story that Texans have known for years and have been shouting out loud, but no one seemed be listening.  Until a couple weeks ago.  President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ruled that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is not following the federal Clean Air Act!

It takes a lot for the EPA to step in and say enough is enough.  Here in Texas they've finally done just that.  And it's about time.  However, a ruling is not enough.  Time is running out considering 11 new coal-fired power plants are proposed across the state. The EPA should halt the permitting or construction of any new coal plants in Texas until the TCEQ cleans up it's act.  Because air regulation in Texas has been like law west o' the Pecos, it's not surprising there are more proposed here than any other state in the nation, nor surprising that many of the17 coal plants chuffing away in Texas rank amongst the absolute filthiest.  The coal companies are getting away with too much.

Texans deserve better. How about some clean air to breathe!  

So, this week we (Sierra Club) and Public Citizen launched a statewide tour with a huge inflatable coal fired power plant visiting communities that would be impacted by the proposed coal plants-collecting comments to send to the EPA, hearing community members speak out, letting other community members know what's going on and asking them to take action!

This could be a huge deal for Texas, as long as the EPA knows that Texans are in their corner and that we want the TCEQ to do it's job by protecting the health and well being of us-the people-instead of just taking money for permits.  

You can add your voice to this chorus.  It's like Carmina Burna, a nice tune.

Coal is the dirtiest, least efficient energy source available.  If you consider doubled asthma rates a problem, then you will say its been disastrous to the health and well being of Texans.  Texas is already infamously number ONE in the nation for mercury pollution. In fact, coal plants in Texas emit nearly twice as much mercury pollution as power plants in other states. We're number ONE in our nation for carbon dioxide the principal gas causing global warming.  

Texans deserve better.  Submit a comment. Get involved.  So far, we've been to Abilene, Waco and Dallas, College Station, Corpus Christi, Bay City and Houston.  Next stop, next week-Austin!  See you out there.  

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 26 words in story)

Chris Riley for Austin City Council - Place 1


by: EugeneS

Wed Apr 15, 2009 at 03:52 PM CDT

It would be hard to find a more qualified new council member than Chris Riley.  Austin born and raised, congressional page for Jake Pickle, economics grad from Harvard University, UT law degree, attorney with Tx Supreme Court and private practice since.  

He's chaired the Downtown Commission, the Planning Commission, co-founded the Alliance for Public Transportation and Austin CarShare.  Founded the Downtown Neighborhood Association and is a member of the Parks Foundation Board.  He's a lifelong progressive with a proven track record in Austin.

Perla - beautiful, committed and a compelling life story.  Obviously, would represent an addition to the council's diversity (woman and Hispanic).  Though, there is NOT a single mutual friend with whom I've spoken who doesn't agree there is NO comparison between the intellectual fire power between the two.  Chris is very smart, experienced and knows the city's intricacies.  

We need Chris Riley on the Austin City Council.  He's shovel ready.

Discuss :: (32 Comments)

Cravey announces candidacy


by: Robin Cravey

Wed Apr 01, 2009 at 08:21 AM CDT

For immediate release.
Contact:  Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann

Robin Cravey today announced his candidacy for lieutenant governor of Alaska in 2010.  He was recruited to run in the Republican primary by Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in a secret full moon meeting at Barton Springs Pool.

The announcement came just one day after Cravey withdrew as President Obama's nominee for Secretary of Two Wheelers amid revelations that he underreported his tip income as a cabdriver in 1975.

"Governor Palin has an impressive pair of  

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 397 words in story)

Austin City Council Place 1 Debate: Perla Cavazos vs. Chris Riley


by: tonsoffun

Tue Feb 17, 2009 at 09:42 PM CST

(This is on at 8PM tonight for those that would like to tune in to listen. - promoted by Karl-Thomas Musselman)

DJordan, DJosh and I will be dodging rhetorical bullets on Wednesday night as Austin City Council Place 1 candidates Perla Cavazos and Chris Riley rumble.

The two go head-to-head for the first time, on "Tons of Fun," hoping to win our hearts.

Purpose: 91.7FM KVRX Austin City Council Place 1 debate
Date: Wednesday, Feb18, 2009
Time: 8PM-830PM
Location: 91.7FM or http://www.listen.KVRX.org
Details: Live, on-air
Call-in: 512.495.5879(KVRX)

Austin's been through a lot in the last few years. Got anything that's keeping your spirits down/lifting your spirits up? Stop Domain Subsidies vs. Keep Austin's Word? Live Music Task Force?

If you have any questions, please include them in a response to this blog posting, or you can call-in! 512.495.5879(KVRX).

Tons of Fun is a political free-form talk show on 91.7FM KVRX - UT-Austin's student-run radio station. ToF was awarded an Honorable Mention in Public Affairs radio from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association in the spring of 2008.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
Abhinav Kumar

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Please Help Save Soapblox!


by: Matt Glazer

Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:02 AM CST

On Tuesday our backend provider, Soapblox was hacked.  On Wednesday, Paul gave us a scare by saying he was done with Soapblox.  At that moment we all realized how vulnerable our infrastructure is and how we took Paul for granted.

On Thursday Paul aptly told the online community he is back, but what he didn't tell you was that he need our support to ensure this never happens again.

Goal Thermometer That is why Chris Bowers, the national BlogPAC, and hundreds of sites across the country are asking your help to save Soapblox.

We are helping raise $17,400 nationally in order to save SoapBlox and state blogs from going offline.

As Chris Bowers aptly put it:

Why is Soapblox Important?
Soapblox is an inexpensive, community-building content management platform developed by Paul Preston and currently used by over 100 progressive blogs. For only $15 / month, Soapblox has offered most of the features available on sites like Daily Kos and MyDD: user diaries, recommended diaries, promoted diaries, interactive comments, comment ratings, tip jars, and even things like quick hits. It is a lot of functionality for not much price, making it ideal for independent, progressive, grassroots media. As such, it has been adopted by about 90% of the fifty-state blog network, and also by several national sites including Pam's House Blend, My Left Wing, Swing State Project, and my own Open Left. Collectively, the blogs on Soapblox received over 50,000,000 page views in 2008, and provided a huge percentage of the state-level, local politics coverage in the progressive blogosphere.

Why Is Soapblox in Danger?
On Wednesday morning, Soapblox was hacked to within an inch of its life. A quarter of all Soapblox sites went completely offline, and their databases were gone. Most others were threatened, as My Left Wing and Open Left temporarily lost all of their diaries. The hackers were in so deep, that Paul temporarily threw in the towel and declared defeat. Dozens of bloggers that I knew were all frantically emailing each other. Desperate attempts were made to try and copy all of our data before The End. At one point I was, literally, running up and down the stairs in my apartment building freaking out, as there are few things I fear more than my website's content being wiped out. It was an impending blog apocalypse, where the entire archive and operation of over 100 blogs were almost wiped off the Internet with no hope of return.

As the day went on, through a lot of effort Soapblox was able to fend off the attack, save all data, and restore full service. However, the threat remains.

Burnt Orange Report was one of the lucky sites.  We were not affected and our data remains totally intact, but some of our friends were not as lucky. We talk constantly about the netroots movement and the online community.  

What effects our friends in California, Florida, New Mexico, Michigan or anywhere else, effects the entire movement. Imaging a Democratic party without Open Left or Michigan Liberal.  

What will your donation go to?

Here is what Soapblox needs in the immediate short-term to become safe and secure once again:
  • Recharge ten servers
  • Perform a full security audit of the SoapBlox server/unix infrastructure to prevent hackers from gaining access
  • Ensure all backup processes are working and functional to guarantee that if hacking happens, data is preserved
  • Perform a security audit on the SoapBlox code itself so that hackers cannot exploit the SoapBlox code itself.
  • Migrate to new, secure servers

Paul has already found a system administrator who lives in his area and is able to help. All of the work listed above is currently underway. Here is what it will cost:

  • Recharging ten servers at $100 apiece: $1,000
  • Purchasing new, secure severs, and migrating the data: $8,000
  • One month of full-time work at $50 / hour in order to complete all of the tasks listed above: $8,400

So, for a total of $17,400, we can secure Soapblox, and ensure that yesterday's dangerous attack can never be replicated. Let's make this happen.

On behalf of the over 100 sites that use SoapBlox, please make a donation of any size today!

Discuss :: (13 Comments)

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