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Is there a Santa for Independents?


Today, a few hours before the filing deadline at 5 pm, after lots of encouragement from friends,I decided to throw my hat in to run as an independent (non-aligned) candidate for the Texas House of Representatives, District 17 (Lee, Bastrop, Caldwell, Gonzales and Karnes counties).

Early voting starts on Monday, Dec. 29! Election day is January 6!

It is outrageous the Governor has called an election for this critical seat in the legislature during the Christmas holidays!

I’m running not only to defend our water, our property rights and local control. I’m mad as all get out that the Governor is pulling this election in the middle of the holidays and that Tim Kleinschmidt abandoned District 17 — on the heels of selling us and our water out.

I feel strongly that only an independent can… more here.

By Independent Texans, PAC


Poll suggests 77 percent of Texans favor some form of legal pot

Photo: Pronews 7 file photo

AUSTIN, Texas — The results of a new survey released this week suggests Texans are continuing to relax their attitudes toward marijuana.

A poll conducted by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune between Feb. 7 and 17 suggests a whopping 77 percent of registered Texas voters believe in some form of legal marijuana. According to the survey, 28 percent are comfortable with easing marijuana restrictions solely for medicinal use.

A full 49 percent of respondents said marijuana should be legal in some quantity, consisting of 32 percent who believe it should be legal in small amounts and 17 percent who believe it should be legal in any amount. Only 23 percent said marijuana should remain illegal in all cases.

I think it’s easy to look at these numbers and be surprised at first, said pollster and professor James R. Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas. But if you look at the trend, that’s actually down about four points from the last time we asked this question about four years ago.

There’s always been a tension in Texas between the more restrictive bible belt influences and the western, much more individualist, individual freedom orientation in the state, said Henson. I think we’re seeing that here. This is an area where a lot of Texans, I think, see this as a matter of individual liberty; and no small amount of them perhaps are not pro-legalization, but there has developed a sense of compassion around medical marijuana use.

Austin resident Vincent Lopez has lived with muscular dystrophy for more than two decades, and says marijuana is the only drug effective at relieving his constant pain and muscle spasms without uncomfortable side effects. As director of patient outreach for Texas NORML, Lopez argued for a legal defense for medical marijuana users before the Texas House Public Health Committee in 2013.

Not many of us have the option to put our condition on the shelf or to act like it’s not there, Lopez told KVUE in early February. We have to face it, and we have to face it dead-on, head-on. And it’s in that reality where cannabis can help alleviate that situation by not making it so hard, without being zombified by prescription medications.

The issue of marijuana laws has percolated just below the surface during the 2014 election season. Participating in a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in January, outgoing Gov. RickPerry (R-Texas) made headlines while attempting to explain Texas’ policy of promoting drug courts as alternatives to jail time for those found in possession of small quantities of marijuana.

Later the same month, Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson raised eyebrows during a debate between Republican contenders for lieutenant governor as the only candidate to voice support for medical marijuana. Musician and humorist Kinky Friedman hopes to make his latest longshot bid as a Democrat running for Texas Agriculture Commissioner a referendum on marijuana and hemp.

In the race for governor, the top Republican and Democrat have also addressed the issue of medical marijuana to varying degrees.

I think these are important decisions to be made by the…… more here.


By KHOU Staff,

Castle Doctrine Fact vs. Fiction

Photo: Personal Defense

Learn the facts behind Castle Doctrine when it comes to protecting your family!

“A man’s home is his castle; attacked there, he need not retreat.” It’s a catchphrase known even to people who don’t keep weapons for self-defense. It’s a tenet of the English common law, from which American law so largely derives. It’s called Castle Doctrine.

But as with any law, we don’t fully grasp it until we read the fine print. Anti-gun Senator Nancy Pelosi famously—or infamously—said, “We won’t know what’s in the law until we pass it.” The senator’s quote lives on today as a classic example of irresponsible stupidity.

And if any of us ever have to shoot a home invader in defense of ourselves or our families, and are forced to invoke Castle Doctrine, if we don’t know what it actually says, we would be just as irresponsible and just as stupid.

As it applies to the armed citizen, Castle Doctrine means that if you are attacked in your own home, you need not retreat, but may stand your ground and defend yourself with whatever force is necessary. The fine print is found, not only in the law itself, but in case law—the interpretation of the laws by the higher courts—which binds courts that follow at trial level with subsequent such cases.

The law itself articulates certain exemptions. So will the case law. And, in the end, there are going to be at least two other elements in play that only those actually involved in trials seem to know about: trial strategy and jury psychology.

Most lawyers I’ve discussed it with tell me that they didn’t learn much about trial tactics in law school. “Law school taught me the law; I learned trial tactics ‘on the job’ and in CLE [Continuing Legal Education] seminars,” has always been the typical comment. Trial tactics—when bad lawyers try to stick it to good people—sometimes involve coming up with a fantasy of what happened. Unfortunately, what you and I would call BS is, when uttered by an attorney, dignified as “the plaintiff’s theory of the case” and must be treated in court as if it could be every bit as valid as the actual truth that you, the defendant who justifiably pulled the trigger, are trying to get across to the judge and jury.

Jury psychology is very much in the same category, and we’ll go into that more deeply pretty soon.

Busting Myths

castle doctrine, castle doctrine facts, castle doctrine myths, castle doctrine law, what is castle doctrine, castle doctrine massad ayoob

Yes, you are the king or queen of your castle. Yes, your home is that castle. However, that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to install an execution chamber.

How many times have you heard someone say, “I can/will shoot any stranger I find in my house, because Castle Doctrine says I can”? Well, that simply isn’t the case. In one lawsuit in Florida, a man paid out a great deal of money when he shot a workman who—upon the shooter’s request—had come to his home to repair some storm damage. In the early morning twilight, the homeowner saw the man with a long object over his shoulder that he thought was a gun, so the homeowner opened fire and inflicted permanently crippling injury. Yes, that cost him a huge financial settlement. He was lucky he didn’t go to prison for it……read more here.


By Massad Ayoob 

Stewart: Land Office is out of line

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, left, talks with San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor before a news conference to celebrate the $31.5 million the General Land Office received for the preservation and development of the Alamo in San Antonio.


When the Daughters of the Republic of Texas ended its 110-year tenure as caretakers of the Alamo, the General Land Office under the leadership of George P. Bush falsely claimed the state owned the DRT library. Established in 1945, the DRT library is composed of 38,000 historical items donated to the DRT by Texas families. It’s housed on the grounds of the Alamo by the DRT with private funds.

The Land Office has used unwarranted tactics in an attempt to intimidate the DRT staff, such as ordering DRT staff to cancel appointments and close on weekends; informing DRT library staffers that they would be required to become state employees and …….. read more here

Deborah Stewart, Plano