Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Monday, June 27, 2016

SCOTUS crushes TX

Finally, the verdict we have been waiting for. The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) struck down the absurdly restrictive rules that Texas had passed that effectively shut down the majority of clinics that perform abortions across Texas. 

This ruling also has implications for other states that have passed similar restrictions. 

These GOP-controlled states are so obvious. They just HATE that women are getting abortions and controlling their own bodies that they cloak these naked efforts at control as if they care about women's safety. THEY CARE ABOUT CONTROLLING WOMEN!

A HUGE victory for women, reason, and common sense. Thank goodness that fat slob Scalia is off the court. If not for the three women now on the SCOTUS, this Texas law would have survived.


Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Abortion Clinic Restrictions

Wednesday’s oral arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, probably the most important Supreme Court abortion case since 1992, centered around one key question: Does a Texas law that forces abortion clinics to meet stringent new standards—in the name of shielding “women’s health”—impose an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy? In other words, would the law make it difficult, or maybe even impossible, for many Texas women to exercise their right to abortion? And if so, can the state wave away this issue by insisting, without much evidence, that such draconian regulations are still necessary to protect women?

Seconds after Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller began to speak Wednesday morning, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg zeroed in on the “undue burden” question—quickly and mercilessly knocking Keller off balance and setting the tone for the rest of his nearly 40 minutes at the lectern. Ginsburg asked Keller how many women would live 100 miles or more from a clinic if the Texas law went into effect. About 25 percent, he responded—but that didn’t include the clinic in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, just over the border from El Paso. The existence of this clinic featured heavily in the 5th Circuit’s decision to uphold the Texas statute; it asserted that the law did not impose on “undue burden” on abortion-seeking El Paso women, because they could simply cross state lines for the procedure.

“That’s odd that you point to the New Mexico facility,” Ginsburg said, in a clear and firm voice. New Mexico, after all, doesn’t force abortion clinics to meet the same standards that Texas would—standards which, Texas claims, are absolutely critical to protect women.

“So if your argument is right,” Ginsburg continued, “then New Mexico is not an available way out for Texas, because Texas says: To protect our women, we need these things. But send them off to New Mexico,” to clinics with more lenient standards, “and that’s perfectly all right."

“Well,” Ginsburg concluded, with just a hint of pique in her voice, “If that’s all right for the women in the El Paso area, why isn’t it right for the rest of the women in Texas?”  

This exchange was Keller’s first of the morning, and Ginsburg delivered a knockout punch. She very efficiently revealed the inconsistency at the heart of Texas’ argument. The state vows that its new standards—which include minimum sizes for hallways, doorways, and ventilation systems—are essential to protecting women’s health. But when confronted with the fact that these standards are so onerous and expensive that they will shutter many clinics, Texas shrugs and suggests women drive to another state without those ostensibly crucial standards. And in an impressive display of chutzpah, the state even relies on the continued existence of New Mexico’s clinics to defend the constitutionality of its own law.

Over the following excruciating 40 minutes, the liberals took turns brutally hammering Keller about the true justification and motivation for Texas’ law. (Why single out abortion when other procedures, like colonoscopies, pose an exponentially higher safety risk? Is there any proof that clinics were unsafe before the enactment of the new rules?) But Ginsburg’s early colloquy stuck out as the moment when Keller lost control of his narrative. The extraordinarily skilled advocate approached the lectern with Texas swagger, loudly exaggerating his drawl and smugly dismissing concerns that the law in question might disadvantage women. By the time he limped away, his voice was quiet, his tone was melancholy, and his Texas accent had all but disappeared. The Texas law may yet survive. But Ginsburg’s questioning amply demonstrated that it is, beneath the post hoc rationalizations, constitutionally indefensible. 


Wanna read the entire SCOTUS ruling? Click here.

I can relate

Sunday, June 26, 2016

art vandalized

It took less than a month, but vandals have already screwed up at least one of the newly-arted-up Lifeguard Towers on South Padre Island.

Why are people such dicks? The culprits are probably young kids, probably drunk young kids, but we will probably never know for sure. 

Lifeguard Towers Vandalized

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas

Less than a month ago, South Padre Island unveiled new artistic lifeguard towers. Today, the artists learned someone vandalized one of the towers. News Center 23's Derick Garcia spoke with the artist who helped beautify the towers and learned the damage is much more than just on the surface.
Christina Salazar, one of the artists says, "I feel really sad for whoever did this because you don't understand what we did."
A busted guitar, on a beautifully colored life guard tower dangles right behind Wanna Wanna's.
A vandal broke the guitar sometime this week. Christina Salazar, owns a boutique in Port Isabel.
She is also one of the artists who helped turn the lifeguard towers from a plain high chair into a work of art. Now, it's damaged and will need to be repaired.
Christina Salazar, "For me it was more than just a project it's something I've had on my mind since I was a kid.”
The beautification project took negotiating and artists from across the Rio Grande Valley. The artists, did the work for free with art supplies being donated by the South Padre Island Fire Department Beach Patrol. For Christina, the chairs are a labor of love. Salazar can't help take something like this personal and so do the other artists they're looking to press charges on whoever vandalized the tower.
But not everyone thinks the busted guitar is a bad look. Mark Standiford and Josh Wink of Jim's Beach Service say, "I think It's awesome what they did, It's a bummer they broke it but I still think it looks kind of cool just got some wear and tear. Adds a little character, I agree."
But for Christina Salazar, the "character takes away from the island's progress of becoming a more family friendly environment.
Salazar says, "I feel like this project did a lot not just for the kids but the locals the community the feedback we've got is incredible"
She hopes it doesn't turn the city away from more art projects.
Salazar says, "Everytime you damage one of these towers you're hurting them not me or the artists you're hurting the kids and you're hurting heart Beach and we don't understand why but the next time that you think about it just think about that"
If you know who damaged the lifeguard tower, South Padre Island PD wants to hear from you. On a lighter note, the artists have taken beautification photos. We'll share on our rgvproud Facebook page.
Original plus some video.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Rude on Brexit

So it appears that a lot of Britain's Leave voters were fed lies, deceits, and misinformation, basically using fear and ignorance to trick them into voting to Leave the European Union. How not unusual.

Sounds a lot like what is going on in America right now. Donald Trump is lying about anything and everything to fool the rubes into voting for him, and he's pulled the wool over quite a number of Republicans. Granted, that's not that hard to do, since they are such low-information voters. Or it could also be that the GOP voters have finally found a racist that isn't afraid to talk shit and they can relate. 

Similar to the Brits, facts do not seem to permeate Trump voters. Their minds are made up. Period. They actually think that "Trump is just like me" and that he cares about the poor slobs with poorly paid jobs. 

And as the economy and stock markets deteriorate under all this uncertainty, a lot of Britons seem to be having a touch of buyer's remorse.

In cases like this, I like to turn to the Rude Pundit.

While the vote yesterday in the United Kingdom to leave the European Union is a giant roach fuckball of awful consequences, many still to come, and while it represents a triumph of xenophobia and outright racism over the forces of reason and sanity, a sign of the apocalypse, and a demonstration that the Great Stupiding of the world is fully upon us (more on that next week), hey, we're human, so let's go into the weekend with a teacup half-full attitude.

1. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's hair will make President Donald Trump's epic combover look positively normal. 

2. A whole bunch of stiff upper lips are getting some much-needed exercise by quivering in fear and sadness.

3. Two words: Bargain corgis.

4. For Tony Blair alone: The smug satisfaction of knowing you are no longer the worst PM of the modern era.

5. For David Cameron alone: More time to stick your dick in a pig.

6. Pound notes will make good kindling when winter rolls around.

7. Much fewer annoying Spanish tourists in England. They'll all be heading to Scotland and Ireland.

8. Owners of curry houses in Birmingham won't have to worry about more competition coming in.

9. Young people in England now have the best reason to hate the elderly.

10. Good chance that, 28 days later, the country will be decimated by crazed zombies with a rage virus. So we get to see how that goes.

11. Maybe, just maybe, voters in the United States will think, "Huh. Voting for the crazy side might not be as fun as it sounds."


Friday, June 24, 2016

art goes on

Every now and then people do good stuff that can surprise and delight you. We could all use more of that in our lives.

Lifeguard towers brightened by local artists


By MARINA WISE 
Special to the PRESS 
The week before Memorial Day Weekend, eight artists were materializing the vision that they had held for quite some time—to leave an artistic stamp on the beaches of South Padre Island. To achieve this goal, they coated various lifeguard towers along the coast with unique paintings. 

Jim Pigg, who operates the Beach Rescue program, recruited a core nucleus of talented painters to fulfill the Mob. %each Rescue provided all the paint used. 

“Jim Pigg was looking any artists willing to do this project because he believed it would make a difference as we (the painters) all have believed,” said Christina Salazar, one of the artists involved and owner of Indigo Art & Apparel in Port Isabel. “He opened the door for all of the artists from the area and from a far.”

While working on their task, the painters took many of South Padre’s natural elements into account. One beach fundamental, though, held the most importance in the hearts and creativity of the artists.

“Our biggest inspiration was the ocean,” Salazar said. “Though we all knew that what we were doing was bigger than all of us.” 

All the while, the artists kept in mind the different kinds of people their work would impact. Using this as their motivation, they created masterpieces they thought would touch the hearts of a diverse array of beachgoers. 

“I think they will be excited to see more (paintings) every summer,” Salazar said. “People who don’t know about art will have a different outlook at art at the beach. I hope it inspires children who want to become artists.” 

Salazar does not want the Laguna Madre’s artistic influence to be capped with the completion of just the lifeguard towers, though. She is hopeful to see the area one day flooded with art. 

“I would love to see murals all over the Laguna Madre and South Padre Island area as well,” Salazar said. “Port Isabel needs more murals and definitely more art. I would love to see a music and art festival.” 

And she doesn’t stop there. “I think getting the kids involved would be the icing on the cake,” Salazar continued. “Trash cans with art and possibly sidewalk chalk art around the (Lighthouse) Square. I would love for Port Isabel to be known for its art and history.”

Only time will tell if Salazar’s other artistic dreams become reality, but for now, the public can enjoy these beautiful lifeguard towers. These towers have been transformed from utilitarian items to pieces of art. 

“These structures are not just lifeguard towers,” Salazar said. “They are part of each artist that made them. It’s) never been done here and it was time,” she said, referring to the artwork created on the towers. 

Original, and you can find more of the Lifeguard towers here.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Bernie says run

I am seriously thinking about it, but I think I need to retire first. I just don't think that maintaining a full-time job AND running for political office is a good combination. Fuck all those goddamned skeletons lurking in my closet. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

solar in Houston

Wouldn't you know, just when the wife and I are winding up our working career and are poised to blow this joint (e.g., get out of town), Houstonians are finally going to have the option of installing solar panels on their homes and paying only for the cost of the electricity generated. 

I wish this option had been around when we built our last home in Houston. We sold it two years ago so we could leave Houston easily when we retired.  

And of course now we are moving into an area that does not have this solar option.  Grrr. But we will have SpaceX as a neighbor.


SolarCity Expands Into Houston Area for First Time

SolarCity announced this week that it has now expanded into the Houston area for the first time, giving residents the chance to go solar for as little as $40 per month.
SolarCity, the United States’ leading solar energy provider, relaunched its solar program earlier this month into 14 states across the US, with plans to expand as soon as possible. The new solar loan program replaced the company’s MyPower product, which the company pulled earlier this year. Announced on Monday, SolarCity revealed that it is now making its solar services available to the Greater Houston area with purchase, loan, and lease options all available.
SolarCity, for as little as $40 per month, provides solar installations complete with the design, installation, financing, monitoring, and a performance guarantee — and qualifying customers can also walk away with a Nest Thermostat free of charge.
In addition, for Houston homeowners, SolarCity has partnered with local retail electricity provider M2P Energy to give residents, whose transmission service provider is CenterPoint Energy, access to full net metering benefits.
SolarCity installed 870 MW of solar in 2015, up 73% from its 2014 figures, solidifying its position as the leading solar installer in the US. However, SolarCity only offered installation guidance of 180 MW for its first quarter, which worried some investors, and only installed 214 MW of new solar in the quarter, which would have been OK, if it had not also lost $2.56 per share during the quarter.
Nevertheless, SolarCity continues to expand, and is expecting to hire between 50 and 100 local staff in Houston for sales, installation, and related fields.

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Bernie Sanders 2016

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