Tag Archives: Texas

Outrage as Dallas officials threaten to tear down wall honoring fallen police officers because of regulations

last call lounge fence

Fence at Last Call Lounge/AP photo

From Fox News: A downtown Dallas business owner says city officials are threatening to issue summonses over an 8-foot-tall fence on her property that features a mural honoring five police officers killed in an ambush last year.

The large mural pays tribute to the officers who were killed during an attack on law enforcement at a Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas on July 7, 2016. Flowers, notes and other tokens have been left at the mural regularly since its unveiling four days ago.

Diana Paz, who runs the Last Call Lounge, told Fox News Friday that city officials didn’t want to listen when she tried to them about the mural, which is about a mile away from where the shooting took place. “They never gave me the chance to tell them what it was that we wanted to do,” Paz said.

City officials insist the mural is not the problem and that they are wrongly being portrayed as insensitive. They say the fence was constructed in violation of city codes.

“We did not ask that any mural be taken down, this has nothing to do with any mural,” said Richard Hill, the public information officer for Dallas City Hall. “It has to do with the fact that a fence was built without a permit.”

“The building inspector went out and looked at it, and gave them a notice,” Hill said. “They went back and the owners still didn’t have a permit, so they gave them a warning. The city did its job.”

Paz was issued a violation notice May 25 saying that she failed to obtain a permit to use metal siding in the construction and that the fence blocks visibility at a nearby four-way stop.

Paz said her cousin, Cesar Rodriguez, made changes. He moved the fence back three feet to address complaints about visibility at the intersection at an added cost of $2,000, bringing the cost of building the fence to more than $17,000.

“They still said it wasn’t right,” Paz said. “The previous old posts are still there, they can see we moved the posts. They say they’ll keep giving us citations.”

Paz said her intention was to commemorate the shooting anniversary with the mural, which shows six officers of different races carrying a coffin with an American flag draped over it.

She said she vividly remembers that horrible night. Three officers working at her bar took off when they heard the call for assistance. “We saw how they rushed out,” Paz said. “It touched our own employees. We just wanted to do something for the anniversary, to give some positivity” by commissioning the mural.

Paz said she will continue making modifications to the fence until inspectors are satisfied and grant her a permit.

DCG

Advertisements

Unintended consequences: California’s travel ban may trip up intercollegiate athletic teams

unintended consequences

Way to punish the athletes and guarantee diminishing alumni donations. Brilliant move California…

From SF Gate: California’s newly expanded ban on state-funded travel to states that discriminate against LGBT people could trip up intercollegiate athletic teams in the coming years — not only by restricting where they may play, but how they tap new recruits.

As of Thursday, state employees — including those at the University of California and California State University — are banned from traveling on the public dime to eight states. The shunned states often appear on college teams’ travel schedules. They are: Alabama, Texas, Kansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and South Dakota.

“In terms of recruiting, under current California law our coaches would be restricted from using state funds to travel to affected states,” says a statement issued Friday by the Cal Athletics Department.

On Friday, a day after state Attorney General Xavier Becerra expanded the list from four to eight states, his office told The Chronicle it had received a request for a legal opinion on whether the ban applies to “athletic team staffs” at UC and CSU. His office did not respond when asked who had made the request.

Each of the states in the ban has enacted a discriminatory law since June 26, 2015, according to Becerra, such as preventing adoptions and foster care by lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people (South Dakota and Alabama) or allowing school clubs to restrict membership on that basis (Kentucky). In Texas, a law that passed June 15 prohibits the state from “taking adverse action” against religious caregivers, which critics say gives them too much power over the welfare of LGBT children.

California’s travel ban took effect in January and specifically includes the two university systems. But it also exempts them from the ban to fulfill any athletic contracts they entered into with schools in the affected states before Jan. 1. That helps many major college athletic teams — for now — because they set their travel schedules with other schools sometimes years in advance.

But the exemption does not apply to collegiate postseason contests, where teams that do well could find they are headed for one of the states in question.

Eight sports are scheduled to have their top-tier NCAA regionals or championships in states affected by the travel ban within a year: Texas, Alabama, Kentucky and North Carolina. The most notable is the men’s Final Four basketball championship, to be held in San Antonio.

The others are men’s and women’s cross country, women’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s tennis, and men’s and women’s indoor track. Championships for lower-tier schools, including many in the CSU system, also are scheduled for some of the states included in the ban.

When California’s ban took effect in January, the Cal athletic department issued a statement saying: “Our intent is to support our student-athletes in their right to participate in NCAA postseason competition should they be assigned to a restricted state.”

But it’s not clear how they could do that, short of raising private donations to support not only travel costs, but also salaries for coaches and staff, and potentially insurance.

Meanwhile, Cal had been in preliminary talks for a men’s basketball series with the University of Kansas in January, when the travel ban that included Kansas took effect. “Cal got back to us and told us the state ban would prevent it,” said Jim Marchiony, a spokesman for KU athletics.

On Friday, Cal issued a new statement affirming its support of “equity, diversity and inclusion,” adding: “We have an obligation and firm commitment to remain compliant with California law.” The statement also said Cal will fulfill any contracts it signed with affected states before January.

Cal’s baseball team is signed on to play in the Frisco College Baseball Classic in March in Texas. The contract for the event, which features Texas A&M, Baylor and Louisiana Tech, was signed two years ago, former Bears head coach David Esquer said.

At California State University, several campuses have major sports teams, including Cal State Fullerton, San Diego State, Long Beach State, Fresno State and San Jose State.

The news that Texas is now included in the travel ban has made some sports fans nervous at San Jose State, and Lawrence Fan, spokesman for campus athletics, has been fielding questions — mostly about whether the San Jose Spartans will be able to play its scheduled football game at the University of Texas in September. Fan tells them not to worry. The contract was signed in September.

Nevertheless, CSU is taking a close look at the expanded travel ban and will consult with the attorney general if needed, said Toni Molle, spokeswoman for systemwide Chancellor Timothy White. However, she said, “The CSU fully intends to comply with the law, and we will not be using any state funds to pay for travel expenses to any of the banned states.”

Ricardo Vazquez, a spokesman for UC, agreed. But he said, “There have been instances where UC sports teams or researchers attending conferences have used nonstate funds to travel to the states on the list.”

Vazquez did not reply when asked for examples.

At UCLA, spokeswoman Liza David said the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics receives no state funding, but said that UCLA is “committed to promoting and protecting equity, diversity and inclusion.”

DCG

Demand soars for concealed carry permits, data shows

second amendment3

Shannon Watts hardest hit.

From Fox News:  The number of concealed carry permits in the United States has topped 15 million over the last year, according to data collected by the Crime Prevention Research Center.

That’s the largest one-year increase ever in the number of permits issued, according to the research center. In July 2016, the center reported that 14.5 million people had concealed handgun permits. As of May of this year, the number is already 15.7 million.

John Lott, founder of the group and a Fox News columnist, said several states, including Arizona, Florida, Michigan and Texas, have seen a big jump in the number of gun permits issued. There are several reasons for the increase – most notably, a rise in women and minorities seeking to purchase handguns, Lott said.

“I think you’re continuing to see a change in the composition of people who go and get permits,” Lott said. “Women are growing at a much faster rate than men.”

Between 2012 and 2016, Lott said, the growth rate for women was twice as much as it was for men. He also said minorities are purchasing handguns at a higher rate compared to previous years.

Firearms instructors are reporting an increase in the number of black women learning how to use guns around the country, as noted in an earlier Fox News report. Gun instructors who teach self-defense courses say more women are looking toward guns to protect themselves against crime.

In a May 10 statement to Fox News, NRA spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen said women are the fastest growing segment of firearms buyers in the country. “The NRA is a natural home for women firearms owners,” Mortensen said. “Increasingly, women today don’t want to rely on a spouse or neighbor for protection. They want to be able to protect themselves and their families.

The Crime Prevention Research Center – a nonprofit, gun advocacy research group – releases an annual report each July documenting firearm statistics by citing numbers provided by state agencies. The center’s official report for 2017 is due in July but Lott said data already collected shows a significant increase in permits in a number of states.

Arizona had 272,622 such permits in 2016 and 315,107 as of May 2017. Florida had 1,581,742 last year compared to 1,755,580 as of April 30.

Lott noted other factors contributing to an increase in permits. “You’re seeing states making it easier for people to go and get permits,” he said.

In contrast, states like California and New York have among the toughest requirements for permits in the nation. 

In Sacramento County, as of December 2016, residents are “required to pay $220 in application fees, pass a state criminal background check, take a 16-hour training course and have approval of the sheriff’s department by having ‘good moral character’ and a good reason to have CCW,” according to the center.

DCG

Planned Parenthood Will Close 4 Iowa Clinics Due To New State Restrictions

mammograms

Don’t’ believe the fearmongering of this article from Refinery29. There are still PLENTY of health care clinics in Iowa. My quick search found the following:

The Iowa Association of Rural Health Clinics has a list of over 140 rural health clinics in Iowa. And of course, there are the countless other municipal health care clinics as well as private health care facilities.

Plenty of facilities for Iowa residents to receive “vital health services” that only Planned Parenthood can provide.

From Yahoo (Refinery29): Following in Texas’ disastrous footsteps, four Planned Parenthood clinics will close in Iowa because of the state government’s actions to partially defund the health organization. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signed a health and human services budget that discontinued the state’s federal Medicaid family planning waiver and replaced it with a state program that excludes any clinic that offers abortions.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland announced on Thursday that it will close one third of its 12 health centers in Iowa this summer, leaving an estimated 14,600 patients in Quad Cities, Burlington, Keokuk, and Sioux City without their current healthcare provider.

Iowa’s $1.77 billion health and human services budget keeps roughly the same amount of funds for family planning as the previous year, but places new restrictions on which facilities can receive money to cover low-income patients’ health care. Because the Hyde Amendment already prevents federal funds from paying for abortion, the budget change is the latest attempt by Republican politicians to shut down abortion providers.

Defunding Planned Parenthood and forcing clinics to shutter keeps low-income women from accessing vital health services such as contraception and cancer screenings, as the organization says abortions make up roughly 3% all services it performs.

Back in 2011, Texas took similarly drastic measures, cutting its family planning budget by more than $70 million and directing it away from clinics that provided abortion. Across the state, 25% of all family planning clinics closed, and about 30,000 fewer women had access to a health clinic two years later.

Clinic closures in the Lone Star State also forced women to drive four times farther to have an abortion. A Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) study found that Texas women whose closest clinic stayed open drove an average of 22 miles, while women whose closest clinic closed drove an average of 85 miles for health services. The women furthest from an open clinic had to drive more than 250 miles.

Iowa’s new regulations forced clinics to close right away, which foreshadows what will happen if the healthcare bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier in May becomes law. The GOP’s American Health Care Act proposes cutting off Medicaid reimbursements Planned Parenthood currently receives for treating low-income patients for one year unless its clinics stop performing abortions.

“We have seen what happens in states like Texas, and now in Iowa, when politicians attack access to care at Planned Parenthood — it’s devastating, and sometimes deadly, for the women who are left with nowhere to turn for care,” Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement to Refinery29. “I am concerned about the health and well-being of the people in Iowa who now can no longer turn to their trusted health care provider.”

Texas has already proven that when a state cuts off Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid funds, it forces clinics to close and keeps women from getting the health services they need. Now, Iowa has followed suit and essential care for women is at stake in one more state.

DCG

‘Clock Boy’ lawsuit thrown out in federal court

Ahmed Mohamed clock boy

Good.

From Fox News: A federal court has thrown out the civil rights lawsuit filed by the family of the Texas teenager known as “Clock Boy.”

The lawsuit alleged that the city of Irving and Irving school district discriminated against Ahmed Mohamed at Irving MacArthur High School in September of 2015.

Mohamed, a Muslim teenager who was 14 years old at the time, brought a homemade clock to school to show his engineering teacher. But an alarm on the clock went off in his English class and the teacher confiscated it. He was sent to the principal’s office.

“A.M. never stated the device was anything other than a clock, never threatened anyone with harm, never claimed to have made a bomb, and never attempted to scare or cause alarm to anyone. When he asked for his parents, he was told that he could not speak with them because he was in the middle of an interrogation,” his attorney argued according to the court’s ruling.

The lawsuit claimed Mohamed’s civil rights were violated when he was interrogated at length without his parents and arrested on hoax bomb charges.

When his father finally arrived at the school several hours later, the court documents state he “tried to explain to Officer Howman that A.M. was interested in robotics and created things, but she was unwilling to listen to his explanations.”

Police originally said Mohamed was not very forthcoming and the school as concerned that the device was possibly the infrastructure for a bomb. Officers acted in an abundance of caution.

“It was a very suspicious device. We live in an age where you can’t take things like that to school. Of course we’ve seen across our country horrific things happen. We have to err on the side of caution,” Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd told FOX 4 in 2015.

The charges against Mohamed were later dropped but the school still suspended him for three days.

Read more at Fox 4 News.

DCG

‘The luckiest man alive’ insists raising a child in a ‘throuple’ is the future of parenting

throuple from england

Dad, mum and mum and their kids

Because parenting and relationships should be all about logistics that make your life easier so you have time to socialize!

From Daily Mail: When a family announces that it is expecting, it is usually two parents that excitedly break the news. However, for Adam Lyons and his two girlfriends, it’s three parents who are getting increasingly excited about their forthcoming bundle of joy.

Two years ago, Adam Lyons, 36, who is from East London, but now lives in Austin, Texas, was dubbed ‘the luckiest man alive’ because of his unusual living arrangements with his two girlfriends Brooke Shedd and Jane Shalakhova.

At the time, Adam and Brooke had son, Dante, two, together but now the ‘throuple’ are expecting again after Jane fell pregnant. 

The threesome – who share a super-kingsize bed – believe the new baby, due in July, will make their family even more complete. Adam, 36, says: ‘It’s so sweet that we all get to parent and raise the kids together. We have talked about it at length and we all consider ourselves parents to the children. ‘

With the kids, our titles are officially “Dad”, “Mum” and “Mum”. For us, three definitely works better than two.’

In fact the threesome believe their unusual arrangement could be the future of relationships and parenting.

Adam, who runs his own business consulting company Psychology Hacker, says: ‘For us, three people works because it enables us to manage daily life so much better.  So many of our friends are in “normal” two-person couple relationships with kids, jobs and all the other typical responsibilities and I see them struggling to juggle their lives. It’s difficult with two people.  But with three parents, we always have the ability for one person to look after the kids.’

‘As a result, we never begrudge each other anything because we all have lots of time. With three people, it’s logistically so much easier to handle all those things – we share out the responsibilities and it fits our sexual preferences too.’

‘When Brooke, Jane and I first came out about our relationship, we had some criticism and certain people said we wouldn’t last.

But we’ve been going for five years now. What we have is not a fling or a phase, we’re a real family with healthy, happy kids. Our son Oliver doesn’t even recognise what is ‘unusual’ about our family.’

‘This should be the future of relationships, where people are able to enjoy love in any way they feel works. Three people and three parents makes so much sense to us.’

Indeed pregnant mother, Jane, 27, says that she never wanted children until she realised how much easier it was with three parents. Jane, who also works with Adam in his business consulting company, explains: ‘When I had boyfriends before, I never wanted or cared about kids. Growing up, I always thought that when you had a baby, you became a slave to your child. You see a lot of parents struggling. But raising Dante with Adam and Brooke and watching him grow up with three parents around – I realise we could do it as a family. With three parents around, it’s so doable.’

With three parents, we can still have a social life, make time for one another and share the parenting tasks so you don’t end up like the typical sleep-deprived mum! With two partners, there’s so much help and I’ll never have to leave my kids with someone I don’t trust.’

Bisexual Brooke, 28, – who also has son, Oliver, 7 from a previous relationship – says: ‘I’m so excited for Jane’s pregnancy – I love talking to her bump. I’ve always wanted four sons so this is a dream come true. ‘I think our good parenting is one of the sexiest things about our relationship. It’s incredible to see them Adam and Jane with the kids and how we share all the responsibilities.’

‘We definitely want a few more kids and I would love to have a wedding to show my commitment to Adam and Jane. Oliver says he would like to get married someday too and he knows three people can be really happy together in a relationship. We’re setting a good example.

Adam, Jane and Brooke all live together on a large plot of land with two separate houses – one of which they use as an office and one of which Brooke uses as a home school where she plans to teach all the trio’s children.

Bisexual Jane says: ‘We love living and working together – the family house is a one-minute walk from our office. Adam and I can have meetings in the office and head back home for lunch with Brooke and the kids. It allows us to spend more time together. I love coming home and getting a kiss from Brooke, Dante and Oliver!

‘My pregnancy was a planned one. We were trying for a baby – it just felt like the right time and parenting together as a threesome is a lot of fun.’

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG

Mexico Criticizes New Texas ‘Sanctuary City’ Law

small violin

Imagine my distress…

From Yahoo: The Mexican government is expressing regret over a new Texas ban on so-called sanctuary cities, saying the law could step on the rights of its citizens who choose to live just across the border.

The Secretary of Foreign Relations on Monday said in a statement that the Texas law signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott “criminalizes even more the phenomenon of immigration.” It says the law foments racial discrimination and will reduce collaboration between police and immigrant communities.

Mexico is Texas’ largest trading partner and shares close ties with the state.

Abbott on Sunday night signed the bill that allows police to ask a person about their immigration status during routine traffic stops. He says the law does away with those who “seek to promote lawlessness in Texas.”

San Antonio’s police chief says the department will abandon a policy prohibiting officers in the nation’s seventh-largest city from asking about a person’s immigration status due to Texas’ new law banning so-called sanctuary cities.

Chief William McManus on Monday ripped Republican lawmakers over the law signed Sunday night, which opponents say is the nation’s most anti-immigrant law since an Arizona crackdown in 2010.

Texas’ law takes effect in September and will allow police officers to ask about a person’s immigration status during routine stops. McManus says that could include people even stopped for jaywalking. He says a written department policy prohibiting questions about immigration status was added several years ago following community meetings.

Abbott says the law will help fulfill a duty to keep “dangerous criminals off our streets.”

Critics say it will lead to Hispanics being racially profiled.

DCG