Saturday, August 30, 2014

Republicans again found to unconstitutionally under fund public education, it's time to do better

Once again the system Texas uses to fund public schools was found to violate the state's constitution by not providing enough money to school districts and failing to distribute it fairly. The situation is so bad even the conservative SCUC ISD Board of Trustees approved suing the state over the unjust funding formula.

What’s worse is that the same judge, John Dietz, found the system unconstitutional well before the last legislative session was over and yet state our Representative John Kuempel and state Senator Donna Campbell voted for it anyway.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott who as Attorney General is defending the state has again lost in court. Senators Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte, now running for governor and lieutenant governor, both worked hard to overcome resistance to adequately funding public education in the legislature.


On November 4th we’ll elect our state leaders, I’ll be voting for people who have shown they believe in public education and are willing to work hard to invest in our kids futures. I hope you will too.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Greg Abbott isn’t confident he can win on the issues

Most of the analysis of Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott’s withdrawal from the only statewide televised debate talks about it in horse race terms. The various talking heads say it’s a smart move because it removes a chance for Democratic candidate Wendy Davis to get statewide exposure and possibly close the increasingly tight gap. Unfortunately I haven’t heard any analyst talk about what the citizens of Texas lose by not getting the opportunity to hear from both candidates on the issues.

Abbott’s withdrawal is called smart by Republicans and cowardly by Democrats but it’s really a disservice to the people of Texas. We should be exposed to both candidates and their ideas on how to best service our state. We should hear from them in their own words and not some script read for a 30 second television spot.


The real problem here is Greg Abbott isn’t confident he can win on the issues so he’d rather play it safe and hide until the election is over.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Lamar Smith fulfills Upton Sinclair's quote "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

Congressman Lamar Smith’s August 9 letter “Funding NASA” makes the spurious claim that climate change research is part of a partisan agenda. Nothing could be further from the truth. Global climate change is the single most important threat to the future of mankind.

97% of climate scientists, not to be confused with the local TV weatherman, say that humans are the cause of most of the coming global climate change and we have the power to mitigate it. If 97 aerospace engineers told you that the airliner you were about to board would likely crash on the next flight and 3 paid by the airline said it wouldn’t; who would you believe?

Most of the scientists claiming that human caused global climate change is a hoax are paid for by the very industries contributing the most to the problem. These are the same people using the same techniques to obfuscate scientific truth who stymied action on leaded gasoline and the connection between tobacco use and lung cancer.


Learn the truth about how industry has poisoned our environment and our political system, read “Merchants of Doubt” by Professor Naomi Oreskes and historian Erik Conway.

Response to SA Express News article on sex ed program in one California school district

Jill Tucker’s August 5 story “Health textbook too explicit for some East Bay parents” covers an issue many Texas School Boards would rather left buried. As pointed out by Board member Ann Crossbie our kids need to understand the implications of drug and alcohol use as well as the risks of sexual activity, especially unprotected sex much younger than most parents would like to believe.

Just a few years ago one of my daughter’s classmates, a girl from a traditional Catholic family, was pregnant in the seventh grade. Our school district doesn’t even mention sex ed until the last months of seventh grade. You can see that would be a little late to have affected my daughter’s friend.

As Texas districts go we’re fortunate that after more than a year of effort by me and other parents in the SCUC ISD the Student Health Advisory Council recommended and the district has implemented a medically accurate Abstinence Plus program replacing the failed Abstinence Only program. While it doesn’t come near the information provided in the textbook this article discusses it is a significant improvement.

A growing number of Texas school districts are using “Big Decisions”, a curriculum by San Antonio’s own Dr. Janet Realini, which complies with Texas law while providing districts with a program that actually lowers teen pregnancy rates.



Saturday, May 24, 2014

Extending unemployment benefits is a no brainer

Mike Collins May 14 guest commentary “Unemployment benefits need real discussion” talks about taking a second job as the solution for workers not earning enough. What Collins doesn’t consider is that with nearly 2.5 workers for every job opening there aren’t enough jobs for everyone to have just one let alone two. He also doesn’t take into account that many of the low wage jobs in Texas are fast food and similar jobs with highly variable schedules that don’t lend themselves to having a second job.

Those opposing extended unemployment benefits while the economy is still in a slump claim that those on benefits are somehow shirkers and living high on the hog at our expense. That’s just crazy talk given that the maximum weekly benefit is $454 which wouldn’t pay my family’s medical bills and insurance let alone housing, transportation and food.


When this nation has a full employment policy and finds meaningful work for everyone who wants a job then I’ll support cutting extended unemployment compensation. Doing so while so many in Texas are unemployed or under-employed just makes a bad situation worse.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Real Christians would expand Medicaid, Campbell and Patrick not so much

Republicans politicians like Texas Senator Donna Campbell make a big deal about being Christians when campaigning yet when it comes to caring for the least among us she and other Republicans like Sen. Dan Patrick turn a blind eye. They had a golden opportunity to make the lives of hundreds of thousands of Texans better by expanding Medicaid as offered by Obamacare. Campbell and Patrick chose to play politics instead and now, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, an estimated 1261 Texans will die needlessly every year simply for lack of medical insurance. My old Catholic school principal, Sister Agnes, would not call that Christian behavior.

Another recently published study in the Annals of Internal Medicine indicates that expanding health insurance coverage saves one life for every 830 people covered. The group of Harvard researchers used Massachusetts as a reference since the state provided the model for Obamacare in the 2006 legislation signed by then Gov. Romney.


So if conservatives in Texas really want to act on their Christian principles they’ll vote Leticia Van de Putte for Lt. Governor and Dan Boone for Texas senate because they’ll work to expand Medicaid and save the lives of our neighbors, co-workers, employees and their families. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Cornyn Votes for Corporate Welfare

Wednesday, Senator John Cornyn once again voted in favor of welfare for businesses. He voted to continue subsidizing the profits of many of America’s largest and most profitable corporations by filibustering debate on raising the minimum wage.

Full time employees currently paid at or near minimum wage often live in poverty and receive various forms of government assistance such as food stamps, housing assistance and Medicaid. We the tax payer are essentially subsidizing the profits of businesses that employ them.

As President Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said “No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.”

Dr. David Alameel who is running to be the Democratic nominee for US Senate in November knows what it’s like to live on low wages, he worked in the California strawberry fields as a young man to help his family make ends meet. Later Alameel joined the US Army and used his GI benefits to go to college, eventually becoming a successful dentist. After years of building a multi-location practice he sold his business and became an investor and philanthropist who as worked to improve education for the most vulnerable in the Dallas area.


David Alameel will make a much better senator than the one we have now. Vote for him in the May runoff and again in November for a better Texas and a better America.