Tag Archives: Texas

Student senators under fire for bill abolishing safe spaces

safe-space

From Campus Reform: Student senators at Texas State University recently introduced a bill that would place a permanent ban on “safe spaces,” but are facing predictably intense criticism over the “detrimental” legislation.

According to a copy of the bill obtained by Campus Reform, its passage would result in a ban on “all safe spaces and equivalent spaces,” and promote a campus where students can “be open to other concepts without ‘trigger warnings.’”

“It has become a nationwide trend for colleges to allow students to escape from views and concepts that might be deemed controversial, dangerous, or offensive,” the resolution argues, explaining that “upon graduating, students will experience views that differ from their own and will not be able to retreat to safe spaces.”

The bill, set to be voted on Monday night, is facing strident opposition from left-leaning organizations and students, including a candidate for the school’s Student Body President, who shamed the sponsors of the resolution for their “detrimental piece of legislation.”

“Not only is this detrimental to the social safety of many groups here at Texas State, but a clear obstruction of our core values as a university,” Russell Boyd wrote in a statement. “As representatives of the student body, it is imperative that the student government take into account the many students that will be greatly impacted by this detrimental piece of legislation.”

Meanwhile, the school’s Pan African Action Committee also rebuked the controversial bill, publicly reprimanding one of its four cosponsors, Student Senator Alex Sherman.

“Underdeveloped and undefined, this senator has administered a relatively weak challenge to the diverse student body of Texas State,” the group protested in a statement on its Facebook page, arguing that “a school with such a diverse population deserves not fewer but more ‘safe spaces’ to facilitate dialogue and education about the communities Alex Sherman is clearly detached from.”

Another group of students, identifying themselves simply as “the student organizers” who recently circulated a sanctuary campus petition, have now drafted a letter that urges students to “testify in opposition to the bill” Monday evening, and vote for candidates who support their movement.

“Our student government has many members that scoff at the idea of helping minorities and the [sanctuary campus] petition itself,” the letter contends, noting that “allies to the petition feel like they have a target on their backs,” and once again singling out Sherman for his support of abolishing safe spaces.

While Sherman has been repeatedly, and almost exclusively, called out by his peers, the primary author of the resolution is actually Student Senator Mason McKie, who told Campus Reform that he was not “surprised by the negative reactions” to his bill, since “colleges across the country have been experiencing similar reactions when conservative views are brought to the table.”

“This piece of legislation isn’t just important for my campus, but it could be a cornerstone for many more things to come,” he continued. “Students have the right to freely express themselves. College is a time to be open to new ideas and learn from others that might not necessarily agree with you.”

DCG

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Criminal whose sentence was commuted by Obama is back in prison

Obama_laughing

Fortunately no one was hurt by this man during his car chase.

From NY Post: A Texas man whose life sentence on drug charges was commuted by former President Obama is back behind bars after cops caught him with more than two pounds of cocaine following a high-speed chase, according to a report.

Robert M. Gill, 68, had been imprisoned in 1990 for cocaine and heroin distribution before Obama set him free along with other non-violent federal inmates in 2015, the San Antonio Express News reported. During his eight years in office, Obama commuted 1,715 prison sentences, more than any other president.

Last Thursday, according to federal court papers, Gill met with his probation officers and then went to the parking lot of a food market to buy more than 2 pounds of cocaine. Gill met a person who gave him a black backpack that he placed in his vehicle, and a sheriff’s deputy in an unmarked car tried to stop him, the affidavit said.

But Gill took off and after a high-speed chase collided with another vehicle where deputies were able to disable his car. Officers found the cocaine in the backpack and put him under arrest, the affidavit said.

Gill “related that he was going to sell the cocaine to make money and would be paying a female $26,000 for the cocaine,” the affidavit said.

“I’m so disappointed to hear that he got arrested again,” Ronald Schmidt, a lawyer who helped Gill appeal his life sentence in the courts, told the San Antonio newspaper.

In signing his release, Obama said he did so “because you have demonstrated the potential to turn your life around. … Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity.”

Gill’s prison warden also stood up for him, saying: “Robert has reformed and rehabilitated himself and poses no threat to the outside world.”

Gill has been charged with possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine and was held without bail. He faces a return to prison for up to 40 years, if convicted.

DCG

Texas lawmaker pushing for Constitutional Carry

jonathan-stickland

Rep. Jonathan Stickland fighting for the Second Amendment

Liberals’ head sure to explode. Works for me.

From Fox4News: A state lawmaker from Bedford wants to make it legal for all Texans to pack a pistol, with or without a permit.

Two controversial gun laws have come through the Texas Legislature in the past few sessions.  Legislators passed the Open Carry law two years ago. Campus Carry also allows the concealed carry of handguns on college campus.

But State Rep. Jonathan Stickland wants to take it a step further. He has authored House Bill 375, or the Constitutional Carry bill, to give all Texans the right to openly carry a handgun.

“Right now what HB 375 is looking to do is make the CHL program right now optional for folks. We don’t think that Texans should have to take a required class or pay a fee to exercise their Second Amendment rights to defend themselves,” Stickland said.

The Texas Democrats and critics worry the bill would give unstable and untrained people easier access to guns. Stickland argued gun owners would still have to meet the current requirements, but wouldn’t have to go through the process of getting their CHL.

“This is not an expansion of who can carry or where they could carry. So people who could currently qualify to get their CHL license would be able to do it under constitutional carry, but no one new,” he said.

Stickland said criminals by nature do not obey the laws, so the restrictions are only hurting the good guys.

“What we are looking to do with Constitutional Carry is remove some of the barriers that are keeping the good guys from being in a position to defend themselves,” he said.

Gov. Greg Abbott has not committed to supporting the bill, but Strickland said it is still one of the top two priorities for the Republicans. He’s filed similar legislation in the past. He thinks this year is the year that it will pass.

DCG

U.S. judge blocks transgender, abortion-related Obamacare protections

judge-reed-oconnor

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor

From Yahoo: A federal judge in Texas on Saturday issued a court order barring enforcement of an Obama administration policy seeking to extend anti-discrimination protections under the Affordable Care Act to transgender health and abortion-related services.

The decision sides with Texas, seven other states and three Christian-affiliated healthcare groups challenging a rule that, according to the judge, defines sex bias to include “discrimination on the basis of gender identity and termination of pregnancy.”

In granting an injunction one day before the new policy was to take effect, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor held that it violates the Administrative Procedure Act, a federal law governing rule-making practices.

The judge also ruled that plaintiffs were likely to prevail in court on their claim that the new policy infringes on the rights of private healthcare providers under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

As explained in O’Connor’s 46-page opinion, the plaintiffs argued that the new regulation would “require them to perform and provide insurance coverage for gender transitions and abortions, regardless of their contrary religious beliefs or medical judgment.”

The same judge issued a similar court order in August blocking a separate Obama administration policy that would have required public schools, over the objections of 13 states, to allow transgender students to use restrooms of their choice.

It was not immediately clear whether the Obama administration, which has just 20 days left in office, would seek to appeal the latest injunction.

White House spokeswoman Katie Hill decried the ruling. “Today’s decision is a setback, but hopefully a temporary one, since all Americans – regardless of their sex, gender identity or sexual orientation – should have access to quality, affordable health care free from discrimination,” she said.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, was passed in 2010 with an anti-discrimination section designed to prevent insurers from charging customers more or denying coverage based on age, race, national origin, disability or sex.

The rule in dispute on Saturday was adopted by the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Department to implement those provisions, including definitions for sex discrimination that encompassed transgender and abortion services.

According to the court opinion, gender identity was defined under that rule as “an individual’s internal sense of gender, which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female, and which may be different from an individual’s sex assigned at birth.”

The state of Texas has led a string of legal cases brought by Republican-controlled states contesting various social policies advanced by President Barack Obama, most notably his 2014 executive action to protect millions of immigrants in the United States illegally and give them work permits.

That plan, challenged by Texas and other states, has been barred by the courts. But the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 and 2015 issued rulings that kept the Affordable Care Act, his top legislative achievement, intact.

DCG

Sole Republican elector who plans to vote against Trump is a 9/11 faker?

Chris Suprun

Chris Suprun

From Daily Mail: The Republican elector from Texas who refuses to cast his vote for Donald Trump at the Electoral College wrongly claimed to be a first responder during the September 11 attacks.

Chris Suprun, a Texas elector, said he was one of the first on scene after a third plane flew into the Pentagon on 9/11. But in fact he was not employed as a firefighter at the Virginia department he often credits until a month after the attacks, according to an investigation by WFAA. The fire department did not even attend the Pentagon on 9/11.

Suprun portrayed himself as a heroic firefighter in a widely-shared editorial this month for The New York Times, in which he declared he would not be voting for Trump, calling him unqualified, unfit and ‘dismissive’ of his own conflicts of interest.

The 42-year-old, from Dallas, is the sole Republican to publicly announce his ballot would not be cast for the president-elect. He also co-signed a letter with nine Democratic electors which has been widely described as ‘bipartisan’ calling for briefings before the college voted from intelligence agencies on claims Russia hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails in an attempt to tip the election in Trump’s favor.

Suprun is just one of 38 electors in the Lone Star state, where Trump won by more than nine points.

chris-suprun

The faithless elector detailed his criticism of Trump in the Times, writing: ‘Fifteen years ago, as a firefighter, I was part of the response to the Sept. 11 attacks against our nation. That attack and this year’s election may seem unrelated, but for me the relationship becomes clearer every day.’

Suprun claimed to be a first responder with the Manassas Park, Virginia, fire department and has made at least two appearances at Major League Baseball games where he was introduced as a 9/11 veteran and threw out the first pitch. He also claims to have founded the nonprofit Never Forget, and says he is a licensed paramedic.

But a first responder who knows Suprun told WFAA a different story.

The responder, who spoke under anonymity, said: ‘He claimed to be a first responder with the Manassas Park [Virginia] Fire Department on September 11, 2001 and personally told us stories “I was fighting fire that day at the Pentagon”.

‘No, I was on a medic unit that day at the Pentagon and you make a phone call to Manassas Park and you find out that he wasn’t even employed there until October 2001.’ The City of Manassas Park confirmed that Suprun was hired on October 10, 2001, a month after the September 11 attacks.

The city’s fire chief told WFAA that the department never even responded to the Pentagon or other 9/11 sites.

‘It’s no different than stolen valor for the military; dressing up and saying “Hey, I earned a Purple Heart” when you weren’t even in combat,’ the first responder told WFAA. ‘There’s a big difference between shopping at Old Navy and being a Navy SEAL.’

In his editorial, Suprun credits former President George W Bush for leading the nation through 9/11 in his New York Times op-ed. ‘George W. Bush is an imperfect man, but he led us through the tragic days following the attacks,’ he writes. ‘His leadership showed that America was a great nation.

‘That was also the last time I remember the nation united. I watch Mr. Trump fail to unite America and drive a wedge between us. Mr. Trump goes out of his way to attack the cast of ‘Saturday Night Live’ for bias. He tweets day and night, but waited two days to offer sympathy to the Ohio State community after an attack there. He does not encourage civil discourse, but chooses to stoke fear and create outrage.”

‘This is unacceptable. For me, America is that shining city on a hill that Ronald Reagan envisioned. It has problems. It has challenges. These can be met and overcome just as our nation overcame Sept. 11.’

Read the rest of the story here.

Suprun has responded to the above story:

That story exhibits a reckless disregard for the truth,” Suprun wrote on Reddit of the WFAA piece. Noting that he had never claimed to be a first responder with Manassas Park, Suprun said at the time of the attacks he was a volunteer firefighter for the “Dale City Fire Dept.” and was later hired by Manassas Park. “We’ve corrected the record with the journalist who wrote that story, and if he has any integrity, he’ll reveal his anonymous sources and let everyone have open debate,” he wrote. “I know where I was on that tragic day.” Even if the debate takes place, the allegation that Suprun was less than truthful raises questions about how electors are chosen.

DCG

Judge blocks Texas rules requiring burial of fetal remains

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks

From Fox News: A federal judge on Thursday blocked until at least next month hotly debated Texas rules mandating burial or cremation of fetal remains that were set to go into effect within days.

The ruling by Austin-based U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks (appointed by George H.W. Bush) begins the latest legal battle for a state whose tough anti-abortion laws were largely struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court this summer.

The Center for Reproductive Rights and other national advocacy groups sued to prevent Texas from requiring hospitals and clinics to bury or cremate fetal remains from abortions or miscarriages rather than disposing of them in a sanitary landfill, as they often currently do with such remains and other biological medical waste.

The rules had been set to take effect Monday. The lawsuit argues that the rules serve no medical purpose and are meant to shame women who seek abortions and make it harder for doctors to provide them.

Sparks scheduled two days of testimony for early next month, then said he expected to rule by Jan. 6 on whether or not the rules can be allowed to stand going forward. Earlier legal challenges blocked similar measures in Louisiana and in Indiana, where they were signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence, now Donald Trump’s vice president-elect.

Texas’ proposed rules brought more than 35,000 public comments. The state health department wrote that it “believes the methods allowed by the rules will protect the public by preventing the spread of disease while also preserving the dignity of the unborn in a manner consistent with Texas laws.”

Greg Abbott

The new rules were proposed to the health commission at the behest of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in July, just days after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down anti-abortion laws that would have left Texas with 10 abortion clinics, down from more than 40 in 2012.

They require fetal remains, regardless of the state of gestation, to be treated like those of a deceased person by having them buried or cremated. Cremated remains would still have to be buried or scattered.

Republican state lawmakers also have pre-filed bills that would codify similar rules into Texas law. The Texas Legislature convenes Jan. 10.

Remains are currently most often disposed of in sanitary landfills, and that cost is included in the price of getting an abortion or otherwise undergoing treatment for a terminated pregnancy.

Critics say cremation, and especially burial, would cost more and force women to have to cover the additional expenses, while funeral home operators also have worried about the added costs interment and cremation. The Texas Catholic Conference, however, has announced that it is readying plans to allow free burial for fetal remains at Catholic cemeteries.

DCG

TV reporter fired after writing Facebook post praising Trump

Funny…couldn’t find any stories about a reporter being fired after writing a Facebook post praising Obama. Shocker, not.

Scarlett Fakhar

Scarlett Fakhar

From NY Post: A Texas television reporter is out of a job after she criticized President Obama and praised President-elect Donald Trump on her personal Facebook page — claiming the country went “downhill” under the outgoing commander-in-chief.

Scarlett Fakhar said she was recently canned from her local news gig at Fox in Houston for posting last week that she was “happy and relieved” over Trump’s unexpected White House win. Fakhar had said in the post, which has since been deleted, that Obama made the “entire county hate one another” and claimed God “had a hand” in the election. She also said she could “barely sleep from how happy and relieved she was” after Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton.

“Fox 26 Houston fired me today for expressing my conservative views on my private Facebook page,” Fakhar posted Thursday. “That is all I will say for you. But I want you to know how much your support has gotten me through this. God bless you all.”

scarlett-fakhar-fb-post

A spokesperson for KRIV confirmed to The Post that Fakhar, 25, was no longer with the station, but declined further comment.

Fakhar, who is originally from Wilmington, Delaware, graduated from Elon University in North Carolina with a degree in broadcast journalism, according to a biography on her Facebook page. Before joining the station last year, she worked at television stations in Austin and Lubbock, as well as internships at “NBC Nightly News” with Brian Williams in New York and at KTRK-TV in Houston.

After posting the message announcing her termination, Fakhar wrote a message claiming that FOX 26 was trying to get her to take down her “fan page” from Facebook.

Fakhar also singled out the “liberal” Houston Chronicle, claiming the newspaper wrongfully reported that she criticized African-Americans, a reference to Fakhar’s original problematic post that stated the “number of African Americans killed one another far outweighs the number of them being killed by whites.”

“The media has made this a RACE issue when in reality the matter boils down to a difference in political philosophy,” Fakhar wrote Thursday. “As a multiracial person myself, I never have been or never will be racist. I simply stated the fact that the media continues to misrepresent the factual realities that there is NO more white on black crime than there is black on black crime.” Fakhar’s post did not elaborate on her ethnicity.

She previously apologized on her personal Facebook page for making her “personal views” public after the election, saying it was “wholly inappropriate.” That post has also been deleted from her page, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Messages seeking additional comment from Fakhar were not immediately returned Friday.

A review of Fakhar’s Twitter feed shows several of her most recent stories, including an exclusive on a student who said he was attacked by classmates for voting for Trump in a mock election. She also called out what she claimed to be “media bias” in October when CNN’s Christopher Cuomo referenced Joseph McCarthy in connection to WikiLeaks disclosures that reporters at a number of outlets, including CNN, met in secret and coordinated with Clinton’s campaign.

DCG