Van de Putte Isn't One of Those Serape-Wearing, Tortilla-Tossing Candidates

Photo by Texas Military Forces
Leticia Van de Putte, who comes from a military family, is getting strong cross-party support in her bid for office.
At the beginning of her campaign for Lieutenant Governor, most voters connected Leticia Van de Putte with the now-legendary Wendy Davis filibuster to stop SB5 and her frustration at being ignored by the presiding chair and bravely remarking, "At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?"

Her courageous remark elicited deafening applause and cheers from the gallery above, which David Dewhurst labeled an "unruly mob." She refused to be silent.

Her struggle to be heard began a long time before that early summer night in Austin. She's been a determined force in Texas politics for 23 years, in both the House, from 1990-1999, and then the Senate.

She's a sixth-generation Tejana of a military family (her maiden name is San Miguel) who grew up during the dark era of segregation in San Antonio. She's raised six children and had a 30-year career as a pharmacist, alongside her husband, Pete Van de Putte.

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Rick Perry: The Rise and Fall of a Boy From Paint Creek

Photo by Ed Schipul
The "we gotcha" moment might be coming for Perry.
After the news of a grand jury's seating and Rick Perry's hiring of defense lawyer David Botsford, the word on the street is, "What took you so long?"

The last time a Texas governor faced possible indictment was almost 100 years ago. In 1917, James "Pa" Ferguson's past shady dealings, which were common knowledge among the well-connected, finally came to light via a quarrel with the University of Texas about removing faculty that "Pa" disliked. When the Board of Regents refused to do Ferguson's bidding, he vetoed practically the entire appropriation for the university.

Is any of this sounding familiar?

Just like Ferguson, Rick Perry allegedly attempted to coerce Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg to leave office and upon her refusal, he vetoed $7.5 million in funds to the state Public Integrity Unit. The kicker being that the TCPIU was in the process of investigating him for his laundry list of misdeeds of his 14 years in office.
It went to a grand jury last year, but that panel's term expired.

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Ted Cruz Is Writing a Memoir: Ways He Can Make It Even More Awesome

Really Big Coloring Book
Could this be the cover of Ted Cruz's memoir? Please?

It's finally happening! After all his time in Washington D.C. (he's been there almost two whole years now, folks) Sen. Ted Cruz is finally going to put pen to paper and write about his own oh-so-personal experiences fighting the good fight against pretty much everything that might get him media coverage in D.C.

As one would expect, a bidding war erupted between publishing houses when Cruz started shopping this whole thing around. Totally makes sense. After all, who wouldn't want the privilege of ushering what is sure to be a best-seller literary masterpiece into the world? For a cool $1.5 million HarperCollins has ensured that the honor will be all theirs. Now, Cruz (or, you know, his ghost writer) just has to find time in his busy schedule of lecturing his own party to make the memoir a reality. We, thoughtful and eager future readers that we are, have a few suggestions on what he should include:

5. Canadian Ted. Yes, we know that Cruz has already disavowed his technical Canadian citizenship repeatedly during that slow news cycle last August, but he hasn't actually gotten around to formally renouncing his actual Canadian citizenship. We would like the Cruz memoir to include an alternate reality chapter on Canadian Cruz. What would he have been like if his parents had chosen to raise him in Canada instead of the United States? What would the United States have been like? Also, we want proof at the end of the section that Cruz is definitely for sure not Canadian. And maybe a connect-the-dot puzzle that will allow us to conclude for sure he isn't anything but as American as apple pie. After all, most politicians who write memoirs at this point in their careers tend to end up making a run at the White House. If the book settles that whole Canadian question now, life will be easier for everyone.

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Is Jim Hogan a Trojan Horse in Democratic Runoff?

Making a move for Ag Commish.
Just as we predicted in our cover story on the Texas Agriculture Commissioner race last November, it has turned into one of the best political circuses since Claytie Williams went on his dove hunt, opened his arrogant, chauvinistic pie-hole, and handed Ann Richards the last statewide Democratic victory.

Since the March 4 primary, Democrats have had to face some rather unpleasant realities. Hugh Asa Fitzsimons III, the party's regal-sounding Anointed One, was embarrassed by maverick Richard "Kinky" Friedman and unknown Jimmie Ray Hogan, a Cleburne insurance salesman.

Candidates such as lieutenant governor hopeful Leticia Van de Putte who closed ranks behind Fitzsimons didn't even bother to address Hogan's candidacy, but she not only trashed Friedman in the press, she also hired a phone bank to bad-mouth him just prior to the election.

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Mayor's Anti-Discrimination Proposal May Not Be Wide Enough

Photo by Camilo Smith
Opening the door to more LBGT protections.
It'll be a public statement about discrimination in the City of Houston if a planned anti-discrimination ordinance gets through the council. For her final two years in office, Mayor Annise Parker wants to be working on greening Houston and cutting deeper into the homelessness problem, but it may be the so-called human rights ordinance that gets all the attention.

The wide-ranging anti-discrimination proposal looks to prohibit discrimination in "city employment and contracting, housing and public accommodations." It would include bars, restaurants, retail stores and businesses that serve the public. It's nothing that's different from federal discrimination laws, except for one thing: It adds protections to the gay and transgender community.

"Every other mega city in America has local laws and ordinances that govern how we treat each other. Houston doesn't have any, we default to the federal standards," she said at a press conference on Thursday following her State of the City speech.

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Mayor Parker Talks Crime Lab, Rape Kits and Human Rights at State of the City

Photos by Camilo Smith
Mayor Annise Parker at a press conference following her third State of the City speech.
The biggest applause for Mayor Annise Parker's third State of the City speech probably came when she talked about creating an independent forensics crime lab and when she talked about the work in helping to eliminate a backlog of untested rape kits.

That was part of the speech she gave this afternoon before the Greater Houston Partnership, but later according to her, they weren't the main points of her agenda. Those would be greening the city and improving the situation for the city's homeless. Still, she closed out her speech, and dedicated a press conference to, talking about a draft ordinance she's putting together to protect citizens civil rights, especially for the city's LBGT community.

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Plutocracy in Action: Rick Perry's Employment Agency and McCutcheon Simplified

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Perry politics.
That quaking and creaking isn't from the Chilean earthquake, it's a destructive seismic shift to right-wing extremism and plutocracy in real time with its epicenter in Texas.

The rumble began with Greg Abbott's new education model, "Teach the Best and Shoot the Rest" based on Charles Murray's white nationalist writing. It became louder with Rick Perry's favorable nod to his nuclear waste cronies on Monday, his abuse of political patronage and having Texas taxpayers foot the bill for his travels related to his thinly veiled presidential aspirations.

But the "big one" came this week with the SCOTUS ruling on McCutcheon.

There's no more point in waiting for an all clear; it's a daily series of aftershocks.

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Ted Cruz Goes Obamacare Trolling and Fails

Screengrab from CNN via Youtube
Ted Cruz, just doing what he does.

As we rolled up to the fourth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act being signed into law, Sen. Ted Cruz couldn't help but take a shot at the program -- which has had plenty of administrative problems since it was kicked off last fall.

Cruz made a name for himself in the political ring by railing against pretty much everything, but his stunts concerning Obamacare where his particular talent for turning politics into high-stakes trolling and he really found a way to shine. Of course, Cruz is not alone in his dislike of Obamacare, so he -- or whoever manages his social media -- probably assumed that surely everyone would be on board with his little poll. And thus Cruz offered all of us a lesson about the danger of making assumptions. It's never a good idea.

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Green Says He's Backing Law to Protect LGBT Workers, But Not Ready to Sign

Rep. Green says he's down for ENDA, but won't sign yet.
A move to speed up legislation to ban LGBT workplace discrimination is being spearheaded through a letter last week urging President Barack Obama to issue an executive order.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has been gaining bipartisan support since last year when it passed the Senate.

Our local representative Gene Green, and more than 50 other Democrats didn't bother signing the letter that went out last week which called on the president to hurry up and make the law official, since more than 30 states still allow discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation.

Green, who has not cosponsored EDNA assured us he is backing the law.

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Rick Perry Has No Intention of Going Gently Into the Good Night (But We Already Knew That)

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Perry can't say no to a presidential bid.
Gov. Rick Perry is wrapping things up. Yeah, he's been the guy with the best hair in Texas politics and has held the governor's seat for a record-setting 14 years, but Perry has obviously decided he hasn't reached the end of the political line quite yet. He popped up on Jimmy Kimmel and now there's a bunch of media chatter about how Perry is (shockingly) probably gearing up for another run at the White House.

Before South By Southwest in Austin became the scene of a tragedy, it was the place to be for pretty much every famous person in the world. (Except Elton John, who went to Beaumont instead, go figure.) Of course, Perry turned up too and he made an appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel during Kimmel's stint in Austin last week.

Perry wasn't at all fazed by the booing he received when he walked out on stage. He handled it, kept on walking and seemed to be silently reminding everyone that his politics are what they are, but just look at all his presidential hair. "There's three places you want to make sure you don't want to be introduced when you're in the business I'm in," Perry said. "a hockey match, a rock concert, and now Jimmy Kimmel's show."

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