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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas


Rabid Response

Are any of you guys as sick of hearing false claims of "euthanasia" and "Nazis" and "death panels" at health care town halls as I am? Frustrated that plain, overt facts are somehow being passed over for sensationalist tripe from the lowest of TV personalities?

If you are, you'll enjoy this piece from Roger Simon at the Politico on how the country's figureheads of Republi—excuse me—conservatism have brought us into the age of rabid response: attacking a subject with such an extreme, scorched-earth response that hopefully your opponents will be too stunned to respond.

Friday News Roundup

As nice as it would be, we don't always have time to catch every big story that hits during a week. So here's a roundup of the notable events of the week.

Sotomayor Confirmed

The Senate voted yesterday to confirm Sonia Sotomayor as the first Latina and third woman to ever sit on the United States Supreme Court.

Walter Cronkite, 92, Passes Away

CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite passed away yesterday at the age of 92. Dubbed "The Most Trusted Man in America," the Edward R. Murrow recruit made a name for himself, among many other things, by having the courage to report, against the U.S. military's line, that the Vietnam War was unwinnable. Glenn Greenwald at Salon speaks to why Cronkite's passing is such a tremendous loss, and why no one in the mainstream media grasps the enormous irony of their eulogizing him. His article is an absolute must-read. If you want the takeaway, you can get the general idea from the two quotes he uses to lead off his article:

Houston Latino Summit Mayoral Debate

Stace at Dos Centavos just finished liveblogging the Houston Latino Summit mayoral debate. Head over there for a recap of the discussion and some breakdown and sum-up.

Cheney Linked to Terror Program Coverup

The New York Times is reporting that CIA director Leon Panetta has informed the House and Senate intelligence committees that the CIA hid from Congress a secret counterterrorism program by direct order of then-Vice President Dick Cheney.

Voting Rights Act Lives to Fight Another Day

The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled on the challenge to the Voting Rights Act by Northwest Austin Municipal District Number One, and, much to the relief of civil rights activists everywhere, let stand a key provision stating that certain areas within the United States with histories of injustice at the voting booth -- including much of Texas -- are required to get federal approval for any changes in their voting procedures.

Arbitering the Unthinkable

I've always believed that forced arbitration agreements are one of the most stark displays of unchecked corporate power beating down The Little Guy. The idea that companies that are big enough and that supply services that one will nearly inevitably need -- for example credit card companies, cell phone companies, home builders, and other such industries that are never very popular with consumers -- can by merit of their size and the standards of their profession avoid all accountability in the judiciary, the one institution designed to be the protector-of-last-resort of the rights of the few, is appalling to me. But I was left numb by the idea that it was even possible that forced arbitration be enforceable in a rape case.

Because Lege News Never Gets Old

Nobody yet knows when or for what, but there will be a special session of the Texas legislature this year.

Rep. Kuempel Collapses

EDIT: 6/2/09: After receiving care at an Austin facility for a life-threatening heart attack, Rep. Kuempel returned to the House yesterday, to everyone's relief. We are very glad to hear of his recovery.

Representative Edmund Kuempel (R-Seguin) was found collapsed and unconscious in a Capitol elevator by a House sergeant-at-arms late last night, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

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