Friday, December 30, 2011

The Republican method of handling household budgets includes letting grandma die

Congratulations are in order to Representatives John Kuempel and Doug Miller and their Republican colleagues in the state legislature for achieving a balanced budget on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens. Starting Sunday January 1, elderly Texans who are so poor that they qualify for Medicaid in addition to Medicare will find that some treatments for their ailments, including life threatening ones, aren’t available because our courageous legislators cut reimbursements by 20%.

The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders reports that it will “be unable to provide life-saving cancer treatment medications after Jan. 1, 2012, due to cuts to dual eligible patients (those elderly on Medicare who are also poor and on Medicaid - the Medicaid covers the Medicare deductible) - because they are already losing money on those patients and without the Medicaid match the financial losses are just too great.”

The contenders for the Republican nomination keep saying that our nation’s budget should be handled like a household budget. Apparently if grandma gets sick they’d just let her die.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

House Republicans taking hostages once again

Congressmen Quico Canseco and Lamar Smith conspired with the rest of the House Republicans to give their constituents and 160 million Americans a lump of coal this Christmas by choosing not to pass the payroll tax cut extension and unemployment insurance benefits extension. What may be even worse though is they also chose not to pass the bill that would have prevented Medicare from cutting doctors’ reimbursements by a whopping 27% starting January 1. Remember this is a bill that passed the Senate 89-10 with support from both Sen. Cornyn and Sen. Hutchison.

What will our seniors like me do when in need of medical care while House Republicans hold us hostage for political gain? Like any other hostage taker Canseco and Smith don’t care.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Response to Express News article on Republicans blocking enforcement of efficient light bulb regulations

Saturday’s story “Critics call light idea dimwitted” made the interesting observation that the major manufacturers of light bulbs have already switched production to energy and cost efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. They were able to do so because the 2007 bill that calls for improved efficiency and performance provided regulatory certainty. Now Texas Republican Joe Barton who frequently screams about regulatory uncertainty being one of the reasons that the “job creators” aren’t creating jobs is crowing about his success at creating that very regulatory uncertainty.

This is typical Republican posturing and much of the cause for the gridlock in Washington that has prevented our federal government from taking the steps necessary to bring our moribund economy back to life. If the people of Texas really want the jobs picture to improve in the near future instead of experiencing a lost decade like Japan we’d better look at electing more Democrats to Congress as they at least seem to understand the big picture.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Reporting some facts and quoting each side isn't journalism

Friday’s edition included a story titled “GOP blocks Obama’s pick for watchdog” about the filibuster which prevents an up or down vote on the man nominated to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). While the story was as accurate as one could ask for it failed to tell the whole story in that once again Republicans including both of our Senators, Cornyn and Hutchison, voted to protect the 1% at the expense of the 99%.

Having mentioned in the story that the Republicans want to eliminate the position of director and replace it with a bi-partisan board you failed to examine the ramifications of such a move which would result in politicizing decisions and removing the teeth from the agency’s rule making and enforcement efforts.

Express News readers deserve more than he said, she said reporting. Real journalism would explain that it is the Republican agenda to overturn every bit of regulation that has been put in place to prevent another implosion of the banking system because it would impair the ability of a few Wall Street fat cats to continue to rake in multi-million dollar annual bonuses.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Express New's Gurwitz still getting it wrong

Sundays editorial by Jonathan Gurwitz shows he hasn’t gotten the memo that the Koch Brothers paid for a two year study by prominent physicist and global warming skeptic Richard Muller and he found, much to his surprise, that the 97% of climate scientists who’ve been warning us about it are correct, the earth is warming.

Muller went back to data recorded by Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson and reviewed several other data sets as well as correcting for the heat island effects due to the growth of modern cities and still found that the planet is warming just like James E. Hansen of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has been telling us for over a decade. Muller’s conclusion is “now we have confidence that the temperature rise that had previously been reported had been done without bias.”

Muller says he was spurred to action by the very “Climategate” emails Gurwitz mentions in the editorial as evidence that the big bad scientists are misleading us. Sadly Mr. Gurwitz fails to note that while those emails show that scientists can also be petty and vainglorious just like everyone else they do not reveal any evidence that the conclusions of those scientists are wrong.

The Associated Press also reports that Georgia Tech climate scientist Judith Curry worked with Muller on the project and she is quoted as saying of the study “results unambiguously show an increase in surface temperature since 1960.”

I suggest Mr. Gurwitz catch up on his reading.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Why spend $300,000 for insurance if we can simply choose to never need it?

A couple of weeks ago the Guadalupe County Commissioners Court voted to spend $300,000 of taxpayer money wastefully. Guadalupe County hasn’t had a death penalty case in over 30 years yet they approved an inter-local agreement with Lubbock County to provide public defenders in death penalty cases, essentially an insurance policy.

Guadalupe County need never have a death penalty case as the District Attorney can simply choose to ask for life in prison without the possibility of parole and save the people of this county the $300,000 insurance premium.

Whatever you think about the justifiability of the death penalty you should remember two things. It costs about four times as much to execute someone as it does to put them in prison for life due to the appeals and other legal fees. There’s every reason to believe that not only did Texas kill an innocent man when Cameron Todd Willingham was executed by lethal injection but as we now know there was no crime committed at all because the fire that killed his children was accidental and not arson.

Guadalupe County should never have a death penalty case and if we don’t then we have no reason to spend $300,000 of the citizen’s money. Call your County Commissioner and Judge Mike Wiggins and tell them how you feel.

Stopping online piracy or stifling the internet, you decide.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) recently introduced of the Stop Online Piracy Act in the US House of Representatives. It sounds great, at least it does until you actually read some of the provisions in it.

 Without ever appearing before a judge or setting foot in a courtroom the owner of copyrighted material could shut down any website's online advertising programs and block access to credit card payments. The police can’t search your house without a warrant from a judge but a company can stop you from earning a living just by filing a document with the Clerk of Court.

Under this ridiculously broad bill, you can be found in violation if the core functionality of your site "enables or facilitates" infringement. Bye bye YouTube, so long Flickr and Shutterfly or any website that allows users to post text, photos or video. That means this newspaper’s website too my friends. Heck the entire internet enables or facilitates infringement.

Is this really the road we want to be on, do we really want just anyone to be able to shutdown nearly any website on a whim?

Failure of the Super-Committee is an opportunity

The Super-Committee has failed in its duty to find $1 trillion in budget cuts over the next decade but that doesn’t mean we don’t still need to make those cuts. Congressman Cuellar has been open to cutting many areas of the budget but not the Pentagon budget which is perhaps the most bloated of all. Did you know that we spend more on our military than the next 17 nations combined? That’s China, France, the UK, Germany, Russia and a dozen others. The U.S. spends 43% of all the money spent on the military in the entire world.

Now I’m not talking about cutting military healthcare budgets and raising co-pays on our military retirees as has been proposed by some, I’m talking about real cuts in our weapons budgets for things like the troubled V22 Osprey that has failed to meet design goals over and over again. I’m talking about closing half of the over 800 overseas military bases we staff. If we bring those troops home where they will spend their paychecks in American stores and restaurants employing American people who pay American taxes we get twice the bang for the buck.

Guadalupe County and Bexar County are the home of many active duty and retired members of our military as well as their families. If the Pentagon budget isn’t cut those who have given the most to our country will be forced to give more and that isn’t right.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bi-partishanship that's just nuts

In one of the most disgusting displays of bi-partisanship I’ve ever seen both Congressman Henry Cuellar and Senator John Cornyn are advocating for a balanced budget amendment. Both these highly educated gentlemen are lawyers and experienced legislators but obviously not economists.

Enshrining a balanced budget in our constitution would shackle our nation in times of disaster or war by preventing the federal government from spending on emergency needs without either immediately cutting spending elsewhere by the same amount thus cutting government services and putting government employees out of work or raising taxes precipitously to immediately offset that spending rather then spreading the payments out over time.

According to a blistering analysis of a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) by Macroeconomic Advisers, one of the nation’s preeminent private and non-partisan economic forecasting firms, if a constitutional balanced budget amendment had already been ratified and were now being enforced for fiscal year 2012, “the effect on the economy would be catastrophic,” Macroeconomic Advisers also concludes that under a balanced budget amendment, “recessions would be deeper and longer,” and uncertainty would be cast over the economy that could slow economic growth even in normal economic times.

In short Congressman Cuellar and Senator Cornyn should bone up on their economics before bring up this silly amendment ever again.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mitt Romney would have IUD users charged as murderers

When asked by Fox News whether he would have supported a "personhood" constitutional amendment, Mitt Romney replied, "Absolutely."

Now I realize that many readers are pro-life but this is by far the most radical stand of any of the Republican contenders. "Personhood" amendments are now being considered in states like Mississippi, Florida, and Ohio, and if passed would elevate a fertilized human egg to the status of a legal person. That means no more IUDs or the morning-after pill and if a woman used them she could be charged with murder. In-vitro fertilization would be illegal because is creates fertilized eggs that would have to be disposed of at some point. Abortions would be considered murder and there would be no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest and if a woman’s pregnancy endangers a her life doctors would have to just let her die.

Would a class action suit be filed on behalf of all those eggs in refrigeration at fertility clinics around the country to force their mothers to carry them to term? Would anyone disposing of those fertilized eggs be prosecuted for murder?

So we now have a leading contender for the Republican party’s presidential nomination on the record in favor of radically changing that status quo regarding fertility clinics and  classifying some forms of birth control as murder. Is Mitt Romney really the man you want to be next President of the United States?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Reponse to TEA Party letter

Don Larsen’s letter on October 6, “Look at the Facts” is really quite funny since the facts are exactly what the TEA Party can’t seem to get straight. While Larsen says he wants to keep Medicare it is his TEA Party colleagues and the legislators they have elected, like Paul Ryan, who are determined to privatize the program which would be its death knell. A voucher is no guarantee an insurance company will cover your pre-existing conditions nor is it a guarantee that the insurance company won't raise your rates due to the cost of caring for you such that the voucher no longer covers the cost.

Larsen wants to talk about taxes and who doesn’t pay them, how about this fact, last year General Electric earned $5 billion in US profits alone and paid $0 in federal income taxes and Exxon/Mobil earned $15.1 billion in profits and paid 1% in federal income taxes. Now I ask you, who do you think isn’t paying their fair share?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Why shouldn't health insurance cover birth control if it covers Viagra?

Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn signed a letter to Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius this week complaining about the department’s implementation of the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) recommendation to include birth control as a required part of health insurance.

The Senators say they are concerned "with the lack of due consideration given by [Sebelius] and your Department to the adverse impact that IOM's recommendations would have on our core constitutional value of religious liberty." The Senators stated that "[t]hough the IFRs' 'religious exemption' purports to protect religious organizations, health care professionals, and health care plans, it is clear that this protection falls well short of securing this constitutional right."

In other words because some fundamentalists feel there is a biblical prohibition on birth control in any form health insurance companies shouldn’t be required to cover it. Shouldn’t the logical extension of their argument be that if God wanted a man to procreate the man wouldn’t need Viagra therefore insurance shouldn’t cover it? Why haven’t we heard a tremendous uproar about prohibiting insurance from covering Viagra I wonder?

Response to letter attacking science via separation of church and state

In Jeremiah Arevalo’s recent letter regarding separation of church and state he claims a false equivalence between Jesus and Socrates among other misleading statements.

With regard to Socrates, no one makes fantastic suggestions that he was god incarnate, and Xenophon was a contemporary of Socrates so can speak as a primary source. The same can not be said for Matthew, Mark, Luke or John as the earliest of them lived 60+ years after Jesus’ death.

Nothing the teachers are purported to have said is explicitly anti-Christian though the claim about the authenticity of the biblical description of Goliath as a giant might be construed as a questioning the literal truth of the bible. This type of fact based discussion is nothing that I as a student in a Catholic high school didn’t hear from Brother Brendan or my other instructors.

Former State Board of Education Chair, Don McLeroy, would have had science teachers instruct our children that the earth is 6,000 years old because he believes every word of the bible is literally true. Surely the vast majority of us know that there is ample scientific evidence disproving such foolishness, the Pope certainly does.

I wonder if Mr. Arevalo also wants teachers to avoid other such scientific realities as evolution, global climate change and the very real possibility of life on other planets now that the Kepler spacecraft has identified 687 planets orbiting 474 stars.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Captain Obama has left the Mad Hatters of the TEA Party at the helm

Once again President Obama has caved to pressure by the Chamber of Commerce and TEA Party Republicans; this time over whether or not to update smog standards in order to the protect Americans from increasing incidents of asthma. This means that the same standards put in place by George W. Bush and believed to violate the Clean Air Act by Obama’s EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, will remain in place for another two years while Americans suffer.

The excuse is that requiring additional scrubbers on pollution generating industrial plants will be too expensive and cost jobs. Tell that to the 12,000 or so people who die from pollution induced asthma and other respiratory conditions. I’ve got news for the Chamber, going to the emergency room nearly unable to breathe is too expensive. Jobs would be created by updating these regulations as new equipment would have to be purchased and installed and it could all be paid for by the record profits that corporate America is racking up while it isn’t hiring new employees.

The Mad Hatters in the TEA Party would have you believe that freedom and deregulation are synonymous but the air we breathe is shared by us all and if government doesn’t regulate what can be dumped in it, our air may not be fit to breathe for much longer. So TEA Party members I have news for you too, air and water are shared by all and if that makes them socialist – get over it.

Another giant sucking sound as American jobs head to South Korea

The op-ed in Sunday’s paper by Antonio Garza offers an amazingly inverted argument for quick passage of three bilateral free-trade agreements. While in the same breath commenting on our current unemployment crisis he goes on to suggest that somehow opening our doors to even more cheap imports will help solve this problem. Of course he couches this in claims that we’ll actually be able to export more but that claim has been debunked for nearly twenty years.

Former presidential candidate Ross Perot once said of the North American Free Trade Agreement, listen for the "giant sucking sound" of American jobs heading south to Mexico should NAFTA be ratified. He’s been proven correct, Economic Policy Institute economist Robert Scott estimates that 682,900 U.S. jobs have been "lost or displaced" because of the agreement and the resulting trade deficit.

The Economic Policy Institute estimates that in the first seven years of the Korean agreement as many as 159,000 American jobs could be lost and the trade deficit could increase by $16.7 billion. While the pacts proposed with Columbia and Panama will of course have smaller effects they will nevertheless have negative consequences for employment in the U.S.

Were we actually competing with other countries on a level playing field meaning that all countries had similar labor and environmental regulations free trade might make sense. Since we won’t also have fair trade multi-national corporations will simply continue to outsource jobs as they seek “shareholder value” leaving more Americans unemployed.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Letter to the Express News responding to arguments against same sex partner benefits

Saturday’s letters included “A vote-getting ploy” in which Mr. Charest seems overwrought because unmarried same-sex couples will now be granted benefits that have previously only been granted to married heterosexual couples. He goes on and on about whether other unmarried couples will be granted similar benefits. Well there’s an excellent reason that this particular group of citizens is being singled out for “special privileges”, Texas unlike more enlightened states such as Iowa denies them the right to be married in the first place.

Given the tone of his letter I’d guess Mr. Charest is among those Christians who persist in cherry picking bible passages from the Old Testament which support their particular bigoted views. I suggest that in order to alleviate his theological concerns he open his mind to the entire set of Christ’s teachings in which I think he’ll find a more accepting and loving approach. On the governmental side if Charest is so concerned that these benefits are granted in return for votes; all he has to do is support state legislation providing marriage equality.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

"Mom's" letter to the President on job creation

Dear Mr. President,

Having lived through the “Great Depression”, I’ll be 82 later this month, I can speak from experience that many of your esteemed advisers cannot. I am a child of an unemployed laborer who died prematurely of a heart attack and a disabled homemaker. I went to school often having eaten no breakfast and bringing nothing for lunch. I must tell you that while the current “Great Recession” is certainly not as bad as when I was growing up that is cold comfort for workers and their families who through no fault of their own have been without jobs for several years.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been my hero since I was old enough to say his name and I know from terrible experience that his policies are what saved my life and that of my sister and three brothers. The Herbert Hoover clones in Congress would have America cut spending and therefore cut more jobs, how can that possibly be the remedy for the lack of jobs we already suffer? Even Richard Nixon knew such actions were foolhardy for he said “We’re all Keynesians now.”

FDR recognized that the American people he loved were suffering under Hoover’s policies. I know that you too feel for the millions of Americans who are suffering today. I urge you to put aside the attempts at bi-partisanship which the party of Hoover apparently sees as weakness and proudly follow Roosevelt’s lead by putting Americans back to work building for our future.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Why aren't tax breaks for working stiffs the same as tax breaks for millionaires?

President Obama has proposed to extend the payroll tax cut for low income Americans. Since the TEA Party acronym stands for “taxed enough already” you’d think that TEA Party Republicans would jump on that and agree with the President for a change. You’d think wrong.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) told the AP “It's always a net positive to let taxpayers keep more of what they earn, but not all tax relief is created equal for the purposes of helping to get the economy moving again.”

Rep. David Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said he also opposed the 12-month tax cut because it would cost the government about $120 billion next year if it were renewed.

According to the Washington Post the Bush tax cuts amount to about $130 billion per year so I guess that means Republicans will now be against renewing those too. Why aren’t we hearing Lamar Smith and Quico Canseco coming out in favor of either continuing the payroll tax cuts or not renewing the Bush tax cuts? Is expecting logical consistency too much to ask?

It looks like Smith, Canseco and Hensarling never saw a millionaire tax break they didn’t like.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What New Orleans should know about presidential candidate Rick Perry

As a New Orleans native transplanted to Texas a decade ago I thought your readers should know a little more about our Governor, Rick Perry, now that he’s announced his candidacy for President of the United States.

Perry talks about the Texas economic miracle and touts the states high level of job growth as proof that his business friendly policies are successful. While it’s true that Texas is creating jobs faster than most other states you should also know that the Texas also has the highest percentage of minimum and low wage jobs in the country.

Rick Perry boasts of low taxes and no state income tax but fails to mention that Texas also spends less per student on education than almost any other state and ranks near the bottom in high school graduation rates.

If it’s true that you can judge someone by the company they keep consider that when organizing his recent prayer rally, The Response, he partnered with such men as John C. Hagee who claims that the Catholic Church is "the Great Whore," an "apostate church" and a "false cult system." and Dr. John Benefiel who believes the Statue of Liberty is “a demonic idol”.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Quico Canseco wants seniors to pay more for medical care

Quico Canseco’s recent ad claims that President Obama is advocating changes to the Medicare drug plan that would cost seniors more. Well that’s calling the kettle black since it was Mr. Canseco who voted for the Ryan budget which would have killed Medicare as we know it entirely and cost seniors $6,000 a year more.

The Ryan budget would have replaced the entire Medicare program with a voucher that paid a fixed amount with no connection to the cost of insurance premiums. So while the amount the voucher was worth would increase as overall inflation increased it would not have kept up with medical insurance increases because those costs have increased at two to three times the rate of overall inflation. In no time at all seniors would be paying $6,000 a year more than they do now and it wouldn’t stop there.

So I ask you who’s really advocating for increasing the cost of medical insurance for seniors? Canseco, that’s who.

Thanks TEA Party Republicans

We all owe a debt of gratitude to TEA Party Republicans like Quico Canseco and Lamar Smith who trashed America’s historically sterling credit rating and caused a 630 point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Their sheer petulance over what is normally a simple housekeeping measure that has been passed dozens of times during both Democratic and Republican administrations, notably 19 times under Reagan alone, has added further drag on our already fragile economic recovery.

Taxpayers will foot the bill for higher interest rates on our national debt while simultaneously losing billions in the stock market which will undoubtedly lead to further job losses as Americans have less money to spend. All this is brought to us by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who promised to do everything in his power to make sure that President Obama doesn’t get re-elected.

So thank you Lamar Smith and Quico Canseco for showing America just how spiteful the TEA Party Republicans can be before the next election so we have our eyes wide open when next we vote.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Representing Americans United for Separation of Church and State in McAllen Texas

Thank you all for being here to represent the millions of Texans who have been excluded by Gov. Perry’s sectarian prayer event today.

Supporters of this un-American event often claim that it is atheists and Muslims who object to it but that’s really not so. There are many Christians here in this group today and one of the most vocal criticisms of Gov. Perry’s shindig is Rev. Barry Lynn, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and the Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. There are over two dozen members of the Houston Clergy Council who along with Rev. Dr. Stephen Sprinkle, Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Texas Christian University believe that Rick Perry is wrong too and no one would call any of them atheists.

Rev. Lynn sent a letter to Gov. Perry June 8th urging him to step back from his exclusionary event. Here’s a brief excerpt that I think summarizes it well:
"To be blunt, you have overstepped your constitutional bounds. I am a Christian minister and would like to remind you that it is not the job of government officials to call people to pray, recommend that they fast or prod them to take part in other religious activities. That job belongs to me and my fellow clergy. We are capable of doing it without government “help” or interference. We are offended when you attempt to usurp our role.

Furthermore, in a pluralistic nation where people hold many faiths (and none), it is certainly not the job of any government official to sponsor and promote a worship service that reflects a narrow segment of our religious community."

Not only is Gov. Perry violating the spirit if not the letter of the constitution in his sponsorship of this religiously exclusionary event he is coordinating with religious groups and figures with very controversial theological ideas. The rally isn’t just exclusively Christian in nature; it’s only for certain types of Christians.

The event’s most prominent sponsor, the American Family Association, is well known for slinging extreme anti-gay and anti-Muslim rhetoric. One of its bloggers, Bryan Fischer, says Adolf Hitler invented church-state separation and believes the United States should yield to biblical law. The AFA is also known for blaming gays and lesbians for the Holocaust and for Hurricane Katrina.

Then there is the International House of Prayer, a controversial congregation based in Grandview, Mo. The church’s founder, Mike Bickle, who claims that Oprah Winfrey is the "pastor of the Harlot Movement" a pre-cursor to the anti-christ.

And there’s Dr. John Benefiel of the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network in Oklahoma City. Benefiel’s views are so outside the mainstream that he believes the Statue of Liberty is “a demonic idol”.

And let’s not forget Rev. John Hagee who claims the Catholic Church is "The Great Whore," an "apostate church," the "anti-Christ" and a "false cult system."

Most Americans do not accept these extreme views. It’s bad enough that Perry is using his government office to promote a prayer rally; it’s even worse that the one he is promoting excludes the majority of Americans.

As Kim Kamen, of the American Jewish Committee, told The Times, “There are many houses of worship here in Texas, not just Christian churches. As the leader of our state, we hope that he will bear that in mind.”

Americans United believes Perry’s sponsorship of a “Christians-only” event fails to honor our country’s religious diversity. Gov. Perry's actions are divisive, unwelcoming and constitutionally inappropriate.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Report on a conversation with White House staff on the "Debt Ceiling Deal"

I had an opportunity Monday afternoon to participate in a conference call with one of the White House staff in which the “Debt Ceiling Deal” was described in some detail. Here’s what we learned:

Most important the deal raises the debt ceiling far enough that we won’t have to revisit the issue until after January 1, 2013.

Budget cuts totaling $1 trillion of which $350 billion come from Defense and $650 billion from discretionary spending will be phased in over 10 years and are backend loaded so little happens now. There will be NO CUTS to Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, Pell Grants or other social programs that we have fought so hard to protect.

There will be a Super Committee of 12 made up of three members of each party from each house of Congress who will be charged with coming up with another $1.5 trillion in cuts to be spread over 10 years, there will be a firewall around social programs. Whatever plan 7 or more can agree on will be submitted to both houses of Congress for an up or down vote, no filibusters, no amendments. If both houses pass it then the President has an opportunity to sign it or veto it.

If the Super Committee fails to develop a plan that 7 or more members can agree upon or it fails to be passed by either house or it is vetoed by the President by January 1, 2013 then the hammer comes down and there will be $500 billion cut from Defense and $500 billion cut from discretionary spending and again there will be a firewall around social programs except that there will be a requirement to reduce Medicare fees to doctors by 2%.

I was immediately concerned because we all know that finding a doctor who takes Medicare is often difficult now and cutting fees further is certain to make that tougher. The response was that it isn’t necessary to pay less for a service, the Medicare folks could choose to offer incentives to be more efficient so that spending goes down because fewer unnecessary tests were done or some other cost saving measure could fulfill the requirement.

Another person on the call asked about whether the Defense spending cuts would come of out the VA budget or in other ways hurt veterans and the answer was that Defense cuts were focused on the Pentagon, referring to weapons and deployments etc.

There are a few points to remember when determining how you feel about the “Deal”. First, the reality is it should have been clean of all encumbrances but since the R’s decided to play chicken with our jobs and families we weren’t going to get that. Second, the “Deal” means we don’t have to revisit the issue going into the 2012 election so they can’t use the debt ceiling against again by holding it hostage in an election year. Finally, we got a minimum of $850 billion in Defense cuts over 10 years and didn’t kill any of our most precious social programs to do it. The TEA Party R’s wanted $1.2 trillion in cuts right away and they wanted to take them from Pell Grants, Medicare and Social Security but that isn’t going to happen.

I’m sure some will claim that we didn’t raise taxes on the rich but that’s going to happen anyway because the extended Bush tax cuts expire January 1, 2013. No we didn’t close corporate tax loopholes but remember that what should have happened was a clean bill, there wouldn’t have been any tax increases as part of that, there wouldn’t have been any closing of corporate tax loopholes either. Those things weren’t part of what we really wanted so there’s no reason to cry about not having them. The R's didn't get what they wanted and we didn't lose anything we worried about so in my book we won.

Now let’s go out and elect some Democrats so we can regain control of the House and return Barack Obama to the White House then we can toss this crap in the bonfire, fix the tax code and save our country from the bat shit crazies in the TEA Party and the Koch Bros.

Please pass this on.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Responding to claims that tradition justifies Gov. Perry calling for Day of Prayer

In Ms. Nuckols letter “Day of prayer one of Texas’ oldest public traditions” she makes the argument that because we’ve always done it that way we can keep on doing it. That’s really odd for someone in the Republican Party which prides itself on being the party of emancipation. After all slavery was an accepted practice for nearly all of recorded history and amongst Christians and Jews alike.

Tradition doesn’t make something right, if it did Nuckols wouldn’t have the right to vote just because she’s a woman. Of course if we really want to operate on the premise that we should do things the same way we’ve always done them then we should take “In God We Trust” off our paper money because it was only added in 1957 during the height of the Red Scare.

The problem with Gov. Perry’s prayer shindig is that it isn’t just exclusively Christian in nature; it’s only for certain types of Christians. The event’s most prominent sponsor, the American Family Association, is well known for slinging extreme anti-gay and anti-Muslim rhetoric. The AFA is also known for blaming gays and lesbians for the Holocaust and for Hurricane Katrina. And there’s Dr. John Benefiel of the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network in Oklahoma City. Benefiel’s views are so outside the mainstream that he believes the Statue of Liberty is “a demonic idol”.

Our governor should be working to make all Texans feel included whether they are a member of his religious tradition or not.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Letter responding to "freedom of religion" doesn't imply freedom from religion

In Beverly Nuckols’ recent letter “A Little Perspective for Texas Atheists” she makes the absurd assertion that the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion does not also imply the option to choose freedom from religion.

If you walk into a pizza parlor and the sign says – “Large Pizza $9.99 choose any single topping”, does anyone really think you can’t order that pizza without a topping? Must you only select from sausage, pepperoni, ham, green peppers or black olives, isn’t no topping an option?

Regarding Gov. Perry’s shindig, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, led by Reverend Barry Lynn, has this to say on the issue: “AU believes Perry’s sponsorship of a “Christians-only” event fails to honor our country’s religious diversity. His actions are divisive, unwelcoming and constitutionally inappropriate.”

Rev. Lynn isn’t the only faith leader to take an opposing position. Over two dozen members of the Houston Clergy Council as well as Rev. Dr. Stephen Sprinkle, Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Texas Christian University and others believe that Rick Perry is wrong too and no one would call them atheists.

Monday, July 11, 2011

More students, fewer teachers - Republicans attack public education

The SCUC ISD will have 19 fewer teachers available in the 2011-2012 school year while enrolling 538 more students due to state budget cuts according to Superintendent Greg Gibson. In addition the Board of Trustees made the highly controversial decision to eliminate the District Police force and has reduced the number of administrators by 6 along with other cost saving measures that became necessary when our state legislators saw fit to reduce funding by $450 or 11% per student.

Now you’ll hear from our Representative in the state legislature, John Kuempel, and even the Governor that they’ve actually added $1.6 billion to the elementary and secondary education budget but what they don’t tell you is that’s what it takes just to cover the increase in the number of Texas students with 89% of last year’s per student rate.

So our schools will serve 538 more kids which calls for 18 more teachers but instead we’ll have 19 less. That’s going to leave us 37 teachers short of the number we should have. This comes on top of higher performance requirements and even more days of state mandated testing during this budget cycle.

Apparently John Kuempel and his Republican colleagues’ conservative philosophy doesn’t include investing in the future of our children and our state. If you’re not happy with your kids and grandkids getting shortchanged on their education remember whose fault it is when you vote in November 2012.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Jobs, taxes and bringing the troops home will fix the budget deficit

Betty Clifford’s tirade is simply too much to ignore. Any economist whether left, right or center will tell you that governments aren’t like families when it comes to budgets. We were paying down our debts before President Bush and his cronies decided that the ultra-wealthy deserved even bigger tax breaks than they already had. So yes, one of the steps to reducing our budget deficit will have to be letting the Bush tax cuts expire. Another step will be to end the occupation of Iraq, end the war in Afghanistan and bring all our troops home.

Most importantly because it is both a major cause of our deficit and the damage it is doing to families all over this nation we must focus on creating jobs. Now I’m not talking about more tax cuts to “stimulate” big companies because there’s plenty of evidence that doesn’t work, just look at the Bush years where we had big tax cuts and no change in unemployment. No, I’m talking about investing in the infrastructure that we’ve allowed to crumble all over this nation like the interstate highway bridge in Minneapolis that collapsed killing 13 people August 1, 2007.

If we put people back to work they’ll spend their paychecks which will increase demand at stores all over the country and they’ll hire more staff and all of them will pay more taxes. Then we’ll also have the benefits of resurfaced highways and replacement bridges to deliver the goods that make the economy run.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

If Republicans really wanted to protect the Constitution they'd just do it

The president I voted for is not above the law and it is up to Congress to see it that he obeys the constitution. Under Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution only Congress has the power to declare war. The War Powers Resolution of 1973 requires the President to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30 day withdrawal period, without an authorization of the use of military force or a declaration of war.

The United States House of Representatives, controlled by Republicans, has failed to either authorize the war in Libya or to hold President Obama accountable, that makes them both wrong. It seems that Representative Boehner (R-OH) as Speaker of the House and Eric Cantor (R-VA) as majority leader find it more useful politically to complain about the President’s actions than to actually take the steps necessary to do something about it.

This Congress like every other that has had the chance to weigh in on military action since 1973, has abdicated its authority and allowed the sitting president to make war as he sees fit. If the Republican leadership in the House doesn’t have the political courage to force the issue then the cowards should at least stop whining about it.

Friday, June 24, 2011

99.5% pure water can kill you

In his letter “Dismiss Fracking Myths” Eric Milito says that the hydraulic fracturing fluids are “99.5 percent water and sand” or .5% other chemicals. I suppose this is intended to persuade us that regardless of what else is in the fluid it can’t be bad because there is so little in it.

I just checked the packaging on the Amdro I bought yesterday to kill the ants climbing into my home and it says the 99.12% of the material is “inert ingredients” or .88% poison yet the instructions carefully caution the user not to get any on their skin. It also says not to let animals graze on the grass where Amdro is spread and don’t eat vegetables that may have been dusted with it.

One of the contaminants that hydraulic fracturing may let loose is benzene which is a known carcinogen and can cause leukemia among other forms of cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency has set 5 parts per billion as the maximum permissible level of benzene in drinking water. That’s approximately equal to one drop in 8,000 gallons of water or 5 drops in the neighborhood swimming pool.

I don’t know about you but I don’t find Mr. Milito’s nonchalant attitude toward contaminating our water supply all that reassuring.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Weiner resigned now it's time for Clarence Thomas to go also

The media went crazy for weeks over naughty pictures Rep. Antony Weiner (D-NY) sent via twitter and now he has resigned. Why hasn’t the bigger scandal of Justice Clarence Thomas’ unethical and illegal behavior had as much or more attention given the power he has as one of only nine Supreme Court Justices?

52 years ago Justice Abe Fortas resigned in disgrace for accepting gifts from wealthy patrons who had interest in cases heard before the Supreme Court. Thomas has taken gifts valued in the tens of thousands of dollars from Harlen Crow and the American Enterprise Institute just to name a few. Since presenting its gift the American Enterprise Institute has filed three briefs in cases before the Supreme Court and Thomas has ruled in their favor every time. Whether or not it was quid pro quo the appearance of a conflict should have been enough for Thomas to recuse himself but he didn’t.

Clarence Thomas also lied when he repeatedly failed to disclose his wife’s hundreds of thousands of dollars in earnings from her job at the Heritage Foundation as he is legally required to do. So why is it that the media in this country is far more interested in satisfying our prurient interests than it is in doing its job as America’s watch dog?

Now that you know about Justice Thomas’ lies, unethical and illegal behavior will you call for him to resign like Anthony Weiner and Abe Fortas before him?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dismantling the Social Safety Net - A Republican Theme

Not only do Lamar Smith (R-TX) and the Republican Party want to destroy Medicare which provides guaranteed health care to millions of American seniors, now Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) has filed a bill to dismantle Social Security as well by turning it into a privatized system. Sessions calls it the SAFE Act but it should be labeled the UNSAFE Act due to its failure to protect seniors by ensuring that they have enough income to avoid poverty in their last years. Just think the benefits guaranteed by our current system would instead become bets in the casino known as Wall Street.

I don’t know about you but my private investments in mutual funds still haven’t fully recovered from the losses caused by the Great Recession. Let’s not forget that these are the same folks who also believe that Wall Street is over-regulated even though we’ve had to jail Bernie Madoff and numerous others for stealing from investors who will never receive full restitution. Even Alan Greenspan now admits that lax regulation of Wall Street didn’t work.

Do you want to trust the financing of your last years to that bunch of sharks? Are you willing to risk having nothing at 78 years old?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Reponse to letter to the editor in the Herald-Zeitung

Arvin Brehm’s recent letter to the editor he says, “Obama took $500 billion from Medicare to pay for the so-called health care bill that the Democrats passed”. That is a patently false assertion, the $500 billion referred to is from restraining growth in spending as shown here by

“Growth in future spending of the program is being restrained to less than it would be under current law, over 10 years. But seniors’ basic Medicare benefits packages wouldn’t be cut – in fact, the law doesn’t allow it: Section 3601 says: ‘Nothing in the provisions of, or amendments made by, this Act shall result in a reduction of guaranteed benefits under title XVIII of the Social Security Act’ (the part of the U.S. Code that establishes the Medicare program).”

The savings comes from reducing payments to for profit insurance companies who offer Medicare Advantage which provides additional benefits and often unnecessary inducements like health club memberships. The insurance companies get an extra 15% above what Medicare would pay for similar benefits.

Brehm also takes issue with my claim that the Ryan plan is terrible but then doesn’t refute any of my reasons for saying that. The Ryan plan makes no provision for requiring private insurers to cover people like me with several chronic conditions or those with a history of heart attacks or other acute medical issues. The Ryan plan would cause millions of seniors to lose access to any kind of health insurance at all.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Religious right wrong again - many faithful support Separation of Church and State

In all of the hullabaloo over prayer at the Medina Valley High School graduation ceremony much was made about the young man who instigated the legal challenge being agnostic. Attorney General Dewhurst was quoted in this paper claiming “Coinciding with these concerns about the erosion of values have been attempts by atheists and agnostics to use courts to eliminate from the public landscape any and all references to God whatsoever”.

Well I’ve got news for your readers while Mr. Schultz is unabashedly agnostic the organization he turned to for help and which eventually filed the lawsuit is headed by Reverend Barry Lynn, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. Rev. Lynn supports separation of church and state on the grounds that it protects his faith from interference by government.

Last month the San Antonio chapter of Americans United held a celebration of the First Amendment at which Rev. Lynn addressed Freedom of Religion. In addition to Rev. Lynn there was a panel of members of the San Antonio faith community including Rabbi Sam Weiss, Rev. Paul Zeise (a Lutheran) and Dr. Javier Elizondo, Professor of Biblical/Theological Studies at Baptist University of the Americas. All supported the separation of church and state that Dewhurst and his radical right supporters dismiss.

Next time anyone says that only atheists and agnostics support separation of church and state ask one of the fine members of the local faith community for their view.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Texas Republicans, are they really patriots?

Republicans including our own Representative John Kuempel often talk about being patriots, they talk the talk but do they walk the walk? They’ve cut the budget and setup a tax system in which there is little to be gained by raising local tax rates beyond a certain point because the state will just shift funds away from that district.

One of the grievances against Mexico in the Texas Declaration of Independence says: “It has failed to establish any public system of education, although possessed of almost boundless resources, (the public domain,) and although it is an axiom in political science, that unless a people are educated and enlightened, it is idle to expect the continuance of civil liberty, or the capacity for self government.”

The Texas Constitution, Article 7, Section 1 says “A general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.”

It sounds to me like the citizens who wrote Texas Declaration of Independence and the Texas Constitution felt very strongly that educating Texans is an obligation not only to the youth of this state but to all its citizens. People always think protecting freedom is just about the military, but really it starts and ends with free public education for all.

So ask yourselves is John Kuempel really a patriot?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Religious right starts new war on contraception

Years ago I’d heard from several “liberals” who I thought were crackpots that the religious right didn’t just want to do away with abortion they really wanted to eliminate contraception all together because if a woman is married she should have as many children as God gave her. If a woman isn’t married she shouldn’t be having sex anyway and if she did and got pregnant that too was God’s plan.

Then I saw State Representative Wayne Christian in an interview with a reporter from the Texas Tribune say “Well of course it’s a war on birth control, on abortions, on everything. That’s what family planning is supposed to be about.” I almost fell out of my chair.

Some call this a war on women, I can’t disagree but I think it is also another example of why the separation of church and state is so important. There may be religious reasons to advocate for no contraception and that is the privilege of those who believe that way because our Constitution insures Freedom of Religion. At the same time our Constitution also provides protection from religious interference in state matters and no one has the right to push their religious convictions on anyone else in this country.

There simply is no social case for the Republican Party’s war on contraception.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lamar Smith responds in the SA Express News and my response

Smith's letter:
A recent letter to the editor wrongly accused me of wanting to end Medicare. That is false. The House budget would save Medicare to ensure it is available for future generations. We know that if we do nothing Medicare will become insolvent in 10 years, according to recent estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.

Under this budget proposal, anyone 55 or older would keep their current Medicare system for the rest of their life. And for those 54 and under, the Medicare system would be saved by providing retirees with the ability to choose from a menu of government-supported options.

For the sake of our seniors, we cannot afford to wait to fix Medicare's impending insolvency. Those who oppose the House budget have not proposed any solutions of their own.

My response:
Congressman Smith’s letter published May 28 falsely states that he’s protecting Medicare when in fact he’s ending it for anyone 54 and younger. While a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet, calling a voucher program Medicare is disingenuous at best. Mr. Smith fails to inform us that the program he voted for will only pay a fixed amount to private insurers who can charge any amount they want for any level of coverage they to choose to offer and deny coverage to anyone they wish all in the name of making a profit.

I hope regular readers will note that he didn’t bother to respond to the question posed in the original letter. “I’m 44 years old and can’t get private coverage now due to several medical conditions; what insurance company do they think will want to cover me when I’m 67?”

There are any number of ways to address the projected funding shortfall including raising premiums, raising co-pays and forcefully prosecuting Medicare fraud. Mr. Smith needs to understand that handing us steaming longhorn droppings and calling it roses doesn’t make it roses.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lamar Smith doesn't remember voting to kill Medicare last month

Wednesday evening at a Town Hall hosted by WOAI a constituent asked Congressman Lamar Smith why he voted to end Medicare and give more tax breaks to the rich when the majority of Americans were opposed. Smith responded: “What vote was that?” The constituent’s reply was: “Aren’t you in the House?”

What a short memory Smith must have, the vote to pass the Ryan budget bill occurred on April 15. Congressman Smith and 234 other Republicans voted to end Medicare and give away tax breaks to the wealthy. Since then Smith has claimed that ending Medicare is necessary to protect our children’s future when in fact it actually makes things worse for their parents.

Smith and Ryan claim that the voucher provided in lieu of actual insurance coverage will allow seniors to seek private insurance. I’m 44 years old and can’t get private coverage now due to several medical conditions; what insurance company do they think will want to cover me when I’m 67? On the odd chance that seniors can find coverage on the private market what makes them so sure that the voucher will be enough to cover that insurance?

The election was all about jobs, jobs, jobs so why did we elect Republicans?

In the last election the American people indicated they wanted a focus on jobs and the economy. They were so unhappy about the state of the economy and shortage of jobs that they threw out the Democratic majority in the US House and gave the Republican Party a super-majority of 101 seats in the state House. With jobs and the economy as an overwhelming mandate what did we get?
A congressional push for a five-year, $100 million plan to pour taxpayer money into a religious school voucher scheme in Washington, D.C.

A vote reaffirming the importance of "In God We Trust" as the national motto, and a call for its display in all public schools and other public buildings.

A vote to end federal support for family planning.

A federal budget bill that would end Medicare.

A state budget bill that damages public education by reducing funding 10 to 12 %. We’re already 49th in per student spending on education.

Sharia Law bills that attempt to protect us from something that we’re already protected from by the United States Constitution’s First Amendment.

A bill to force invasive, medically unnecessary sonograms on women who wish to legally terminate their pregnancies.

I could go on but by now I’m sure you’ve noticed that there are no proposals to actually generate jobs either directly or indirectly, in fact by cutting the state education budget Texas will lose tens of thousands of jobs. So exactly why was it that Republicans were elected?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Are you sure that Republican Party values really align with yours?

Lately I’ve heard from quite a few well-meaning people that say they vote Republican because the party generally espouses their values. These conversations have led me to wonder to which values they’re referring. Do they mean carving a hole in education budgets across the state such that a whole generation of Texans receives an inferior education? After all Texas already spends less per student on education than almost every state but Mississippi.

Do the values of these well-meaning people require such extensive cuts to the state's Medicaid program that seniors, in need of daily medical care which their families are unable to provide, be thrown out on the street in the name of low taxes for millionaires?

While one may argue over when life begins based on one’s interpretation of the bible or science or some combination thereof; are the values of these well-meaning people really such that making abortions almost impossible to get for low income women more important than the non-abortion related women’s health care services provided by Planned Parenthood which are 97% of its budget?

Are the profits of Halliburton and other energy companies valued more highly than the lives and health of people who live near virtually unregulated gas drilling sites where you can ignite the water from your kitchen faucet with a match? All these and more are brought to us by the Republican Party of Texas whose values you say align more closely with yours, I’d like to know if you’re sure about that?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Republicans claim savings as they let tax cheats off the hook for 9 times as much

Last week the Republicans were crowing about the $38 billion they cut out of the 2011 federal budget, but what they didn’t tell you was that they’re also letting $330 billion in taxes go uncollected according to the Government Accountability Office. That’s right not only does G.E. legally not owe any income taxes on its $5.1 billion in U.S. profits because of loopholes in the tax code but the Republicans in Congress don’t even want to try to collect money that is legally owed.

How do they do it? Simple, they just don’t allow the IRS the requested funds to hire more agents. Rather than hire agents, a job that has a return of $10 for every $1 spent on salary the Congressional Republicans claim they’re saving $38 billion instead of bringing in $330 billion from tax cheats.

Of course most of that money is in the hands of high rollers such as the gentleman with a multi-million dollar home and luxury cars who owes $1 million in back taxes. Someone please explain to me how this is fiscally responsible.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Response to letter claiming that government hurts the economy

In his letter Bill Jones’ is right that government protection diminishes our freedom, but is the freedom of a company to pollute the soil, water and air more important than the freedom of the local citizens to breathe clean air and drink clean water? I’m quite sure that the former residents of Love Canal in Niagra Falls, New York feel that their freedom to be safe from toxic materials outranks a corporation’s freedom to dump it. After all Hooker Chemical secretly buried toxic waste that then polluted the land and water so bad that it forced residents to evacuate. New York State Health Department Commissioner David Axelrod stated that Love Canal would long be remembered as a “national symbol of a failure to exercise a sense of concern for future generations.”

I doubt the families of the miners who died in the explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine think Massey Energy should continue to be free to risk the lives of miners. I doubt that the employees of Enron whose 401k’s were invested in the company’s stock think they shouldn’t have been protected from their CEO’s manipulation of stock values. Banks risked their client’s money in casino like gambles on bad assets crashing our economy in 2008 putting millions of Americans out of work. We’re still reeling from the effects as Texas is about to slash funding for education.

History shows time and again that strong regulation protects Americans and keeps our economy healthy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Response to letter to the editor about going back to limited government

In Romelio Carta’s letter of a few days ago he blames loans
to low income individuals for the banking collapse when in
fact low income individuals have a very strong record of
paying their mortgages. What actually imperiled the banking
system was predatory lenders doing a hard sell on variable
rate mortgages to unsophisticated buyers. In addition there
were plenty of financial incentives to loan money to
unqualified buyers in order to collect the up front fees and
the lending institutions knew they had no intention of
keeping the loans because they would resell them in the form
of a package that investors would buy.

Mr. Carta’s solution for our economic problems is: “Let's go
back to limited government and the free market capitalism.
This system brought the United States to be the most
prosperous nation in human history?” Unfortunately free
market capitalism is exactly what caused the banking
collapse that imperiled our economy and obliterated the jobs
of millions of Americans by failing to regulate the actions
of all too many banks, mortgage brokers and insurers.

Our economy has been strongest when it was heavily regulated
in order to protect individual investors. Remember that the
best known banking collapse “The Great Depression” was due
to failure to regulate banking activities, over the last two
decades the regulations put in place as a result of what was
learned from that devastating experience were systematically
removed and we once again have suffered another collapse.
Coincidence? I think not.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Constitutional protections more robust than anti-Sharia Law bills

HB 911 by state Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, and HB 3027 by state Rep. Randy Weber, R-Pearland, attempt to prevent the imposition of Islamic law in Texas. I would commend them for their concern for the sanctity of our laws except that we and the rest of the 50 states are already protected by a much more robust measure known as the Constitution. Yes, that marvelous document which was read in the U.S. House of Representatives at the opening of the current session already protects us from the imposition of Sharia Law or Jewish Law or rulings by the Catholic Pope.

The First Amendment says in part “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. The Supreme Court has ruled on more than one occasion that this amounts to a separation of church and state. Unfortunately the very same people so concerned about imposition of Sharia Law seek to undermine the protections offered through separation of church and state by claiming that the United State is in fact a Christian nation and our laws are guided by the Bible.

Once we open ourselves to this notion we’re just a step away from the very same type of theocracy that people like Leo Berman and Randy Weber claim they want to protect us from. If you really want to protect Texas and the United States then you must support the Constitution’s protections by supporting separation of church and state.