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Rep. Briscoe Cain says he’s open to rescheduling canceled Texas Southern University speech

by Cassandra Pollock

After campus officials at Texas Southern University halted his planned speech Monday, state Rep. Briscoe Cain said later that evening that he would be “very open to revisiting the issue” of returning to campus to speak at the historically black university.

The Federalist Society, a conservative student group, had invited the Deer Park Republican to speak, but when he arrived at the university’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law, a group of protesters began demonstrating.

University administrators told the Dallas Morning News they halted Cain’s speech because it was an “unapproved event,” with university president Austin Lane telling the crowd that the lawmaker’s appearance would “stall out” until the Federalist Society went through proper channels with the administration, per footage posted to Twitter by KHOU reporter Janelle BludauREAD MORE HERE

Harvey updates: Politicians seek $18.7B more for recovery; New small-business assistance fund created; Rebuilding updates

By Olivia Pulsinelli

Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, and most U.S. Representatives from the Lone Star State sent a letter to Congress last week requesting $18.7 billion for Hurricane Harvey relief.

The letter, sent Oct. 5, urged leaders of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees to include $18.7 billion in Harvey-relief funding in the next Supplemental Appropriations bill. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would get $10 billion of that, which would be used “to rehabilitate and repair damages to completed USACE projects and those under construction, to implement authorized projects ready for construction, to dredge Federal navigation channels, and for emergency response and recovery operations, repairs, and other activities,” per the letter.

Another $7 billion would be used for Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds, and the rest would be split among

• State educational agencies: $800 million

• SBA Disaster Loans Program: $450 million

• Economic Development Administration: $300 million

• Transportation Infrastructure: $150 million

The latest request is in addition to the $15.25 billion in hurricane aid Congress approved last month, per the letter, but it’s just a small portion of the overall economic impact Harvey had on Texas.

“Texas greatly appreciates the appropriations committees’ efforts to swiftly provide funds,” per the letter. “However, in light of the unprecedented damage from Hurricane Harvey and the historically epochal flooding of Houston, Beaumont and surrounding regions, we all recognize that the funding already appropriated is a small fraction of the federal resources needed to help rebuild Texas and reinvigorate the American economy.”


Border-State Lawmakers Try to Block Eminent Domain from Being Used for Wall

By Nicholas Ballasy

WASHINGTON – Two Democratic congressman have teamed up on a bill that would prevent the federal government from violating the property rights of residents who do not want portions of the border wall or barrier located on their property.

Reps. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) and Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) are proposing “The Protecting the Property Rights of Border Landowners Act,” which would “amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to prohibit the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General from using eminent domain to acquire land for the purpose of constructing a wall, or other physical barrier, along the international border between the United States and Mexico, and for other purposes.”

On a conference call organized by America’s Voice on Wednesday about private land use for the construction of an “illogical” border wall, the representatives were asked for their response to ranchers in Arizona who support having a border wall on their property for security reasons.

“There’s also many ranchers who do not want a border wall and there’s also many families that do not want a border wall that would basically obstruct their property, and you could have security without a border wall,” Gallego said.




Bexar County Republican Party Chairman Robert Stovall forcibly stopped an effort to officially censure and sanction Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus, tonight at the party’s executive committee meeting.

When Stovall called for new business during the meeting, Precinct Chair Michael O’Donnell stood to be recognized.  O’Donnell proceeded to move that a #Rule44 resolution naming Speaker Straus be considered by the body.  Shouts of “second” came from the committee. Stovall ruled the motion out of order.

Immediately after the ruling by Chair Stovall, his brother, Lawrence Stovall, a Bexar precinct chair, moved that the meeting be adjourned.  Shouts of “second” came from the committee.  Stovall recognized the “second” and pronounced the meeting adjourned without taking a vote on the motion to adjourn.

Chair Stovall may have felt well within his power to declare the motion to #Rule44 Straus out of order. Shortly after broke the story on September 15, 2017 that an alliance of Bexar GOP precinct chairs were announcing an effort to sanction Straus through the powers of #Rule44, Stovall surprisingly announced a unilaterally-formed “resolutions committee” that would be charged with reviewing any and all resolutions to be put before the entire executive committee.

O’Donnell’s Straus #Rule44 hadn’t gone through the new committee that had been formed previously to this meeting and after the announcement of the effort to censure and sanction Straus.  Frieda Wright, Resolutions Committee Chair, stood to discuss the committee before the body for the first time at tonight’s meeting – previous to the new business #Rule44 motion by O’Donnell.

Copyright©2017 Raging Elephants Radio LLC

Red Cross Brought More Excuses Than Aid to Texas After Hurricane Harvey, Locals Say

Joanna Purpich

HOUSTON—One month after Hurricane Harvey, Adam Hunt is stuck living in a tent on his property in New Caney, northeast of Houston.

He camps out in his yard with no electricity or running water ever since flooding destroyed the two mobile homes he and his mother lived in. Ten homes on his street alone flooded, but just as clean up began, aid disappeared, Hunt said.

“We’re kind of a forgotten neighborhood,” he told The Daily Beast.

Hunt said that volunteers and church groups passed out supplies right after the storm but that few stuck around. He spends his days helping his neighbors clean out their homes and picking up odd jobs to scrape together money.

While the Red Cross came to New Caney four times—twice with chili, twice with water and shovels—Hunt feels frustrated with the situation and says he expected more manpower to clean out houses.

“The Red Cross was never really here,” he said.

In fact, Hunt’s experience with the Red Cross was above average, according to east Texas residents who spoke to The Daily Beast. In Rose City, east of Beaumont, only one out of roughly 300 homes didn’t flood, according to Tony Wilcoxson, pastor of Rose City Baptist Church. The town went more than a month without running water.

Problems with Harvey recovery is the latest in a long list of controversies surrounding the Red Cross. The organization first came under scrutiny in 2001 after only distributing 27 percent of the more than $564 million raised in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to CNN.

Similar complaints arose after the earthquake in Haiti where the Red Cross “raised half a billion dollars for Haiti and built six homes,” according to a joint investigation by NPR and ProPublica then again after Sandy where a second investigation found “excessive” amounts of food waste, unsafe shelters, and resources diverted to promote a better public image.

Although the Red Cross said it began delivering supplies to Rose City on Sept. 10 and coordinated with the military to pass out “vital supplies like water and snacks” even earlier, Wilcoxson said he was unaware the relief group was in the area until well after that.

“It was like people didn’t know where we were,” he said.

Weeks later, when Wilcoxson did see the group serving meals, he was unimpressed.


After years of challenges, boll weevil eradication program making progress

Logan Hawkes 3

Cotton producers have a lot to worry about every year. But, one thing they aren’t worrying about as much as once they did is the dreaded Anthonomus grandis, or boll weevil, for generations the scourge of U.S. cotton farmers.

A little more than a century ago, the National Cotton Council notes, the tiny pest migrated from Mexico to the U.S., and  spread rapidly throughout the cotton belt. Over subsequent decades, it has cost America’s cotton producers more than $15 billion in yield losses and control costs.

In 1958, the council officially recognized the economic havoc the pest represented for U.S. cotton production, and with congressional support, a USDA Boll Weevil Research Laboratory was created, followed by eradication experiments, a trial eradication program, and an area-wide boll weevil control program implemented in the Texas High Plains and Rolling Plains to halt the weevil’s migration northward out of Mexico.

Based upon the results of those efforts, in the 1970s a boll weevil eradication program was launched by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), beginning with eastern seaboard states. Not long afterward, several state boll weevil groups were founded, including the Texas Boll Weevil Foundation, Inc.


Texas has long been on the front line of eradication efforts because of the common border it shares with Mexico. Boll weevil problems across the Rio Grande have been a serious issue, including potential for migration of the pest — mostly carried by wind — and sporadic outbreaks that have been problematic in parts of Texas, especially along the border corridor.

Much like other issues in the cotton industry, 2017 has had its share of challenges for the boll weevil eradication program, says Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Lindy Patton. But in spite of huge increases in cotton acres, weevil reinfestations into eradicated areas, and plenty of weather-related obstacles, such as Hurricane Harvey, the Texas boll weevil eradication program made excellent progress toward eliminating the dreaded pest.


Abbott courts Hispanic support at San Antonio conference Saturday

By Lauren Caruba

Gov. Greg Abbott told a group of conservative Hispanics that they were the future of Republican politics in the state, signaling in a Saturday speech his intention to once again court Latino votes in the 2018 race.

“The first Hispanic governor must be a Republican,” Abbott told the audience of about 200 in San Antonio.

“We are running to win the next generation,” he added. “You are that next generation.”

The governor’s remarks came at a Hispanic Leadership Conference hosted by his reelection campaign at the Norris Conference Centers. It featured a series of panels, closed to reporters, on political outreach, appointments and the media.

Abbott connected with Hispanics when elected in 2014, garnering an estimated 44 percent of their vote. He ran ads on Spanish-language television channels that featured his wife Cecilia, who would become the first Hispanic first lady of Texas, and his mother-in-law, who immigrated to Texas from Monterrey, Mexico.

Abbott invoked that history again Saturday, joking that his ability to win over the Latino electorate was due to support from his wife’s large extended family.

But much has changed in the years since, including the governor’s support this year for Senate Bill 4, the controversial legislation that would criminalize so-called sanctuary cities and allow police officers to ask people about their immigration status. Now disputed in court, the bill became a flashpoint in the politics of immigration, with Democrats saying it was a “show me your papers” law that encouraged racial profiling.

“If you are a Republican candidate for governor or a Republican candidate for high office in Texas, you have to rebuild your connection to the Hispanic community every election cycle,” said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University. “You can woo Hispanics in a campaign, but then in governing you alienate some of those same Hispanics, including conservative Hispanic leaders.”


Health officials watching mosquitoes in Texas after Harvey


DALLAS (AP) — Health officials in Texas will be on watch in coming weeks for any increases in mosquito-borne diseases including the West Nile and Zika viruses after Harvey’s heavy rains and flooding brought water that filled ponds and ditches and crept into trash and debris that piled up.

“We’re not out of the woods. I still think we don’t really know what we’re going to see, so that’s why we’ve got to monitor it,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “The next month is going to be the critical time,” he added.

Officials are hopeful, though, that aerial and ground spraying done after Hurricane Harvey made landfall on Aug. 25 will help ensure that populations don’t swell. The Texas Department of State Health Services said more than 7 million acres (2.8 million hectares) were sprayed by plane across areas inundated from Harvey.

It looks like they’ve gotten pretty good results,” said health department spokesman Chris Van Deusen, adding, “Hopefully it will prevent any kind of uptick.”

Of particular concern is West Nile. Texas trails only California this year in the number of cases of the virus, which is transmitted from infected birds to humans by the common Culex mosquito. Most people don’t develop any symptoms, but those who do may have fever, headache, vomiting and diarrhea. In rare cases, people develop severe illnesses such as encephalitis and meningitis, which can be deadly. Texas has had at least 100 human cases this year, including three deaths.


NAACP state conference ‘Steadfast and Immovable’ begins Thursday in Killeen

By Julie A. Ferraro | Herald staff writer

For the 80th year, branches of the National Association for Advancement of Colored People from across Texas will gather for their state conference.

This year, the conference is being held in Killeen, from Thursday to Saturday.

The Killeen NAACP branch submitted a bid proposal, which included hotel location and conference site information, along with a video of city leaders stating why the conference should be held in Killeen.

“It’s always a big deal to be awarded the state convention,” said TaNeika Driver-Moultrie, committee member for the Killeen NAACP branch.

The conference theme is “Steadfast and Immovable.”

Conference workshops, plenary sessions and luncheons will be held on the Central Texas College campus. The Killeen Civic and Conference Center, 3601 S. W.S. Young Drive, will be the site of the Texas Heroes Banquet on Saturday, which begins at 7:30 p.m.

Derrick Johnson will be the speaker for that event. Johnson is the interim CEO/President of the NAACP.
Johnson was just appointed in July, according to Driver-Moultrie. “It’s very powerful and exciting” having Johnson at the conference, she said.

Derrick Johnson formerly served as vice chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors as well as state president for the Mississippi State Conference NAACP. Born in Detroit, Johnson attended Tougaloo College in Jackson, Miss. He then earned his law degree from the South Texas College of Law.

A silent auction during the banquet will benefit the NAACP Texas State Conference and various initiatives, Driver-Moultrie said.

Linda Lydia, NAACP Texas state conference chair, added, “We have some Texas heroes we’re recognizing” at the banquet. Three individuals from across the state will receive the Texas Hero Award, with three others receiving special presidential awards.


Appeals court OKs some of Texas’ sanctuary

By Danielle Haynes

Sept. 25 (UPI) — A federal appeals panel on Monday said part of Texas’ law banning sanctuary city policies may going into effect while the court awaits arguments scheduled for November.

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Texas law enforcement agencies must comply with federal detainers for undocumented immigrants, part of Senate Bill 4. The three-judge panel left in place a lower court ruling blocking the part of the law that threatens fines, imprisonment and removal from office for any state, county or city official who interferes with enforcement of the state law.

The office of Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez, who previously said the agency would comply with detainer requests on a limited basis, said it would now comply with all requests. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott withheld state grants from Travis County based on the sheriff’s office’s initial position.

“Contrary to the state’s position, SB4 is neither clear nor simple,” she said in a statement. “The Fifth Circuit and the Trial court have both recognized the complexity of the issues, some of which were conceded by the state. I look forward to further clarification from the courts after oral argument in November.”