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2 arrested at Capitol for carrying ‘black powder’ handguns

On Saturday, the group Let’s Roll America was having a peaceful demonstration on the Capitol grounds.  The group supports constitutional rights…second amendment included.

But things took an interesting turn.
Army Master Sgt. Christopher “C.J.” Grisham with Open Carry Texas was there with his group.  Back in March, he was arrested by Temple Police for carrying an AR-15.  Last week Fox 7 reported his case was declared a mistrial.

After what happened to him, he started OpenCarryTexas.org.

He spoke with us minutes after Saturday’s arrests.
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(Photos courtesy: Open Carry Texas)

“I mean here we are talking about the fact that our rights are being violated and gee, low and behold we have a first person account of our rights being violated,” Grisham said.

DPS tells us the men were being charged with criminal trespass with a deadly weapon.  But protesters say troopers wouldn’t tell them at the time what the men were being charged for.

According to Open Carry Texas, the men were carrying antique 19th century handguns…which they say are not illegal.

“They don’t fall under firearms laws, you can carry them anywhere, you can carry them openly.  They’re cap and ball,” Grisham said.

As troopers attempted to leave with the 2 men, Grisham sat in front of the black SUV.

“You can take a pistol into this building concealed and nobody will ever know it.  But if you have an open carried antique replica firearm out here and these guys see it they’re gonna make an example out of you,” Grisham said.

(Photo courtesy: Open Carry Texas)

Texas Statewide Race Update for October 16, 2013

Slowly but surely I’m digging out from my post-Worldcon backlog, so I hope to do more on various statewide races soon-ish (for certain values of “soon-ish” that work out to “before the end of the year”).

Greg Abbott At Odds With GOP Lt. Gov. Hopefuls Over In-State Tuition For Undocumented Students

by: Omar Araiza

Attorney General Greb Abbott, GOP candidate for governor, is finding himself at odds with would-be No. 2s over repealing the Texas DREAM Act.

Republicans running for Texas lieutenant governor are practically tripping over themselves to oppose the 2001 law that affirms in-state college tuition rates to young undocumented immigrants living in Texas.

Abbott, increasingly weary of alienating Latinos, had been repeatedly dodging questions over the matter time and again, until his campaign finally spoke on the issue. Sort of.

In a written statement on Thursday, Abbott spokesman Matt Hirsch said Abbott believes the goal of the law is laudable…Continued here: http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/14229/greg-abbott-at-odds-with-gop-lt-gov-hopefuls-over-instate-tuition-for-undocumented-students

Advancing. Ever Advancing.

Erick Erickson (Diary)

Much cynicism has been expressed over the past month about the effort, led by Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, to fight Obamacare. It was about money or defeating Republicans or something other than what it was about — undermining Obamacare with a united front.

It was always about undermining Obamacare, despite the claims of others. But, those of us who were in this fight against Obamacare, have been quite open that we knew there were side benefits. This fight would expose conservative activists to the frauds they have funded.

Men like Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn, Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, and others have preached a great sermon against Obamacare, but now conservatives who supported them see that these men have refused to actually practice what they’ve been preaching. They’ve refused to stand and fight with the rest of us.

The fight was always about Obamacare. Today we know we must keep fighting and fight harder against even our own supposed side. But we always knew the fight would force the charlatans of the GOP out of the shadows into disinfecting sunlight. It has happened as I wrote it would almost a month ago.

Now conservatives can keep advancing. They should not be disheartened.

In reality, the GOP of a decade ago would never have fought like it has fought now. The party that gave us No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, and TARP would never have stood for two weeks embarrassing Democrats with short term spending bills.

Ted Cruz and Mike Lee may not have been able to strike a death blow to Obamacare today, but they were able to fight a fight that would have been impossible before them. They have now made it less and less possible for Republicans to collaborate with Democrats to fix or stabilize Obamacare.

So we must advance. Two Republicans in the Senate caused this fight that their colleagues would have surrendered on more quickly but for them. Imagine a Senate filled with more. We have an opportunity to replace Mitch McConnell in Kentucky with a better conservative. We should do that. We have the opportunity to send a strong conservative from North Carolina and we should do that. Same in Colorado. Kansas looks to be in play. Chris McDaniel will declare his candidacy for the Senate in Mississippi. Conservatives will rally to him quickly. Tennessee could be in play too.

The establishment has given conservatives a brilliant opportunity to advance against them and then against the Democrats. As Obamacare now goes into full swing, conservatives can show that they tried to stop it while Mitch McConnell and so many others sat and watched from a cozy booth the Capitol Hill Club leaving the fighting to others while they did…Continued here: http://www.redstate.com/2013/10/16/advancing-ever-advancing/

Methinks The Tea-Party Just Went Back On The Warpath

Why Peter King, and John McCain Are Really So Angry

By: Repair_Man_Jack (Diary)

Here’s the unspoken narrative of the entire recent adventure in Game Theory that was the soon-to-be-terminated government shutdown. The Tea Party is Ba-aaaack!

Oh, RMJ, you kwazy Wingnut! How can you speak such blasphemy? The GOP got crushed. Emperor Barack I and his own appointed Conde’ Harry Reid got EVERYTHING they could have wanted. The GOP’s polls are in the septic tank. It’s over for you silly neanderthals. OVER!

Except for one thing…The GOP did this to oppose President Obama’s signature healthcare reform – Glorious ObamaCare. On October 1st, the Internet portion of this monstrosity came, saw and 404′d. Reason Magazine describes the carnage.

Two weeks into the launch and its problems only keep multiplying. Consumers still can’t log into the federal exchange website, let alone compare plans, apply for the promised subsidies and buy coverage. The site—whose staggering $634 million construction cost is more than that of LinkedIn and Spotify combined—has already been shut down once for repairs, but the problems persist. Thing are so bad that the administration won’t even reveal basic information about enrollment rates. Nor will it make its IT folks available to explain the technical glitches, insisting that “pent up demand” is overwhelming capacity.

Oh, and Senator Cruz basically made the Democrats fight for a whole bunch of things that they already had. And as for poll issues that sound just wrong, check out how David Pryor, Mark Begich and Mary “I’d vote for ObamaCare Again” Landrieu are doing lately. That’s three Red State Dem Senators with Lincoln Chafee 2006 re-election poll numbers.*

So obviously John McCain and Peter King both popped a vessel over what Senator Cruz did to the Republicans. John McCain wants Ted Cruz and Mike Lee held personally responsible for the government shutdown. According to him, elections have consequences. One only wishes he would have acted like it in 2008.

Peter King just about treats Ted Cruz the way he used to treat opponents of the War in Iraq. He claims Ted Cruz strengthened ObamaCare. Really? What he did was demonstrated in bold relief which members of both the GOP and the Democratic Party will most aggressively…Continued here: http://www.redstate.com/2013/10/16/methinks-the-tea-party-just-went-back-on-the-warpath/

Texas Abortion Laws Will Close Clinics, Witness Testifies

By Andrew Harris & David Montgomery

New Texas laws requiring abortion doctors to have local hospital admitting privileges will likely force clinics to close, compelling women seeking the procedure to travel substantially farther, a trial witness said.

Joseph Potter, a University of Texas demographer, testified for Planned Parenthood yesterday in federal court in Austin, Texas, in a trial over the group’s challenge to the privileges measure and a provision barring anyone except a doctor from administering abortion-inducing drugs.

Clinics that close probably won’t be replaced by new facilities that comply with those abortion-related regulations and others signed into law by Governor Rick Perry on July 18, Potter told U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel.

“My opinion is that is unlikely,” he said. Seventy-six family planning clinics closed after 2011 funding cuts and none of those reopened, Potter said.

Planned Parenthood last month sued to block the hospital affiliation and drug dispensing requirements set to take effect Oct. 29, arguing they unconstitutionally burden women’s rights.

Texas Solicitor General Jonathan F. Mitchell disputed those assertions in his opening statement yesterday, saying the group had no evidence to support its claims and was wrongly trying to shift the burden of proof to the government.

Abortion Clinics

The legislation, Texas House Bill 2, also bans abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy and, as of Sept. 1, 2014, requires abortion clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers. Those provisions weren’t challenged in Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit.

“This is an important day for those who support life and for those who support the health of Texas women,” Perry, a Republican, said in a statement announcing he’d signed the legislation.

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Pro-choice demonstrators march near the Texas state capitol in Austin. Photographer: Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

Debate over the issue in June catapulted to prominence Democratic state Senator Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, whose filibuster against the bill drew national media coverage.

Davis on Oct. 3 kicked off a bid to be the first Democrat elected governor of the second-biggest U.S. state in area and population since Ann W. Richards in 1990.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a named defendant in the Planned Parenthood case, is seeking the Republican nomination to succeed Perry.

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Legislative debate over the Texas abortion restrictions in June catapulted to prominence Democratic state Senator Wendy Davis, now running for the governorship, whose filibuster against the measure drew national media coverage. Photographer: Stewart F. House/Getty Images

Constitutional Issues

While Planned Parenthood initially sought a preliminary court order blocking the laws, Yeakel on Oct. 8 set the case for a trial before him yesterday on the constitutional issues. Both sides waived their right to a jury.

Yeakel yesterday urged attorneys for both sides to proceed expeditiously, saying…Continued here: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-21/texas-abortion-restrictions-tested-at-trial-in-austin.html

How Will You Fare in the Obamacare Exchanges?

By Drew Gonshorowski

There are literally no comparisons to current rates. That is, [the Department of Health and Human Services] has chosen to dodge the question of whose rates are going up, and how much. Instead they try to distract with a comparison to a hypothetical number that has nothing to do with the actual experience of real people.

—Douglas Holtz-Eakin
President, American Action Forum[1]

Enrollment in Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges has proven to be a somewhat difficult process amidst technical glitches and delays. Aside from the issues associated with actually purchasing health care, once an individual gets a quote for health insurance on an exchange, is the premium higher or lower than before?

Our research finds that for many states, the insurance on health exchanges will cost more than existing insurance. This study illustrates that the general experience for individuals shopping on the exchange is that of increasing premiums from what was available to them prior to implementation of the exchanges. Many families and individuals will face this reality as they apply for coverage, and the implications of experiencing sticker shock are important to consider if enough people choose not to sign up for coverage for various reasons.

Methodology

The Heritage Health Insurance Microsimulation Model (HHIMM), in concordance with insurer data compiled by Mark Farrah and Associates, is used to create a snapshot of what it looks like to shop for insurance prior to exchange implementation. This data is used to build weighted average premiums within the rating areas, similar to the process described in the most recent release from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).[2]

First, we use expected age distribution in the individual market from the HHIMM. Next, we use census data for the county populations in order to scale up to the state level, creating something that is roughly comparable to the weighted averages presented by HHS.[3] This comparison is different from others in that, rather than comparing specific plans, it is designed to capture the difference in premium levels between the exchange and what could be acquired in the market.

This paper is meant to provide a necessary segue to HHS’s data summary, creating an apples-to-apples comparison of exchange data to what the costs are for individuals. Effectively, we have used the same methods that were employed to provide summary data on the exchange markets to prior insurance data in order to get the closest comparison.

Some state-based exchanges have data releases that are more limited than the 36 federal exchanges. For state exchanges, some premiums must be estimated. As is the case with all studies built to address the changes in exchange premiums, it is important to note that when more data…Continued here: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/10/enrollment-in-obamacare-exchanges-how-will-your-health-insurance-fare?utm_source=heritagefoundation&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=saturday131019&utm_content=headline

Editorial: Nov. 5 election will test Texas’ new voter ID rules

Today begins two weeks of early voting for state constitutional amendments. It’s also the first statewide test for a landmark change in Texas election law — the requirement to show a government-issued photo ID at the polls.

From early on, this newspaper opposed the requirement as a politically motivated, unneeded restriction imposed by the 2011 Legislature. Majority Republicans distorted the incidence of voter impersonation at the polls — which is nearly nonexistent — in ramming through the change.

But it’s time to set that aside and focus on the new reality, in hopes of keeping things as clear and simple as possible for people who want to do their civic duty. Here’s the lowdown:

The photo ID law will not rock the world of most voters, those who carry a driver’s license in their wallets. That’s all they will need to get a ballot. Or they could present one of five other familiar forms of photo ID, like a passport.

There’s one other option and a new addition to the election glossary — the Election Identification Certificate. Be clear on one thing: The wallet-size EIC card is not necessary to vote for people who already have another form of photo ID. In fact, the EIC will not be issued to licensed drivers and those with another approved government-issued photo ID.

The Department of Public Safety issues the free Election Identification Certificate at driver’s license offices to Texas residents who are eligible to vote and can prove identity and citizenship. The DPS is maintaining special Saturday hours to issue the new election ID card at select license offices before Election Day, Nov. 5.

Perhaps an indication of low interest in the constitutional election, only 41 of the new cards were issued by DPS as of last week — statewide. That’s in contrast to estimates that as many as 1.4 million eligible voters in Texas don’t have a photo ID.

The DPS statistics also indicate some uncertainty over the new ID requirement. In issuing the 41 new ID cards, the agency also handled 930 inquiries about them. Many of the inquiries were from people who already had an approved photo ID for voting purposes but thought they might need more.

Other questions are certain to arise while breaking in the new system, and it’s fortunate that the shakeout comes during a constitutional election where turnout will not climb out of the single digits. Any confusion ought to be manageable.

There already have been scattered local elections around Texas this summer in which…Continued here: http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/editorials/20131020-editorial-nov.-5-election-will-test-texas-new-voter-id-rules.ece?nclick_check=1

Despite Threats, Sen. Cruz Continuing Texas Tour

Senator Ted Cruz is continuing a scheduled tour of Texas, after a series of online threats this week.

The FBI and U.S. Capitol Police are looking into several Twitter messages sent on Oct. 14th.

The posts include several expletive-laden comments, including violent references.

In one, the user writes, “Show up at Ted Cruz’s home, he is the dirt bag (expletive) who caused all of this (expletive) to take place. Let’s drag him out hid (sic) (expletive) home and kick his (expletive)”.

The tweet included a specific address in Houston that belongs to the senator.

Other tweets called Sen. Cruz the “anti-Christ” and placed blame on the senator for the partial government shutdown.

The poster claims to be a former veteran from New Jersey.

Another tweet read “Hang Ted Cruz, y (sic) by his small (expletive) if he tries another ‘shutdown tactic’. He is a scum and needs tobe (sic) taught a street wise lesson.”

The senator’s schedule in DFW this coming week includes…Continued here: http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Despite-Threats-Sen-Cruz-Continuing-Texas-Tour-228563821.html

Police chief: Edcouch alderman tried to block own arrest with restraining order

EDCOUCH — Alderman Noe Garcia Jr. has been charged with two counts of theft by a public servant and his bond was set at $20,000, said Edcouch police Chief Eloy Cardenas.

And a candidate running for another Board of Aldermen seat on the same slate as Garcia — Jose Hinojosa Jr. — also was arrested and claimed that Garcia helped him steal water worth $399 from the City of Edcouch.

Both Garcia and Hinojosa are still on the ballot for election, Cardenas said.

Garcia, who is running for re-election to his seat, is accused of stealing money two different times from the City of Edcouch.

One complaint states that Garcia carpooled to a conference in Grape Vine, Texas, in November but still cashed a city check worth $623.89 that was meant to reimburse him for gas had he not carpooled.

Another complaint states that in April, Garcia carpooled to a conference at South Padre Island with Edcouch City Manager Juan Cedillo but still cashed a check worth $70.06 also meant to reimburse him for gas had he not carpooled.

According to the complaint, Cedillo looked into the matter after an anonymous note requested that city officials look into Garcia’s spending.

Additionally, Cardenas said that Garcia filed a temporary restraining order against the city that kept him from getting arrested after the city put out a warrant for his arrest. It was signed this past Tuesday, but then overturned Friday by Hidalgo County Court-at-Law Judge Rodolfo “Rudy” Gonzalez.

“Those temporary restraining orders, they’re very common for a lot of things, but not to keep you from getting arrested,” Cardenas said. “Imagine if you commit a crime and you want to come home after…Continue here: http://www.themonitor.com/news/local/article_4373def0-3aaa-11e3-99bf-0019bb30f31a.html