Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Rise of the Democrats?

There have been recent articles discussing how a new political action committee (PAC), launched by two Democratic Mexican-American lawmakers, has been concentrating on the Hispanic community. I think this is a great effort to get the Hispanic community to go out and become more involved in politics by voting. Now are the Democrats just informing the Hispanics on the upcoming elections or is this a form of gathering votes for the Democratic party?

The PAC is called the One Texas PAC and will be concentrating on supporting Hispanic candidates for the Texas Legislature. Although the efforts are good, I would have liked that the PAC concentrate more on informing the Hispanic community on voting, not just gathering voters for their desired candidates, but that's what PAC's do isn't it? The plan for the PAC is to go and mobilize Hispanic voters to districts where they can make a difference in elections.

Yes, the Hispanic minority is growing and will eventually become the majority, but are political parties trying to take advantage of this? Most likely. The recent Voter ID issue had claims flying all over the media, "Republicans Aim to Keep Obama Voters From Ballot Box," "Does the Texas Voter ID Law Discriminate Against Blacks, Hispanics?" So it makes sense that the Democrats are trying to gain the Hispanic community in Texas to influence the upcoming elections.

According to the article, the voter turnout for Hispanics in Texas is half the rate of the turnout in California. So why are the Democrats investing in a PAC for Hispanics in Texas? This could be the start of the Democratic part's return in dominance. With this PAC's plan to support Hispanic candidates, directly engage with the voters, and mobilize the voters to districts where they can influence elections the Democrats may begin a small set up to increase their dominance in Texas Legislature.

Although I'm quite excited to see that the Democrats are trying to get the Hispanic community involved in politics, I'm not happy with the way they are trying to influence them for more votes.

The Associated Press. "Democrats start group to mobilize Hispanic voters." Article. The Daily Texan. Published July 26, 2012. Accessed July 26, 2012.

Reber, Pat. "Republicans Aim to Keep Obama Voters From Ballot Box." Article. Hispanic Business. Published July 25, 2012. Accessed July 26, 2012.

Ramirez, Rosa. "Does the Texas Voter ID Law Discriminate Against Blacks, Hispanics?." Article. National Journal. Published July 16, 2012. Accessed July 26, 2012.

"Protecting the Health of Women"

Mean Rachel wrote a post, The Texas Shame Act, on her blog about the controversy sparked by a Doonesburry comic strip regarding the Texas law that requires women to have an ultrasound before having an abortion.

Obviously her followers are the main intended audience, but I believe she is also aiming at the general public who has come across this issue. I believe she wants to inform them of the flaws in the controversy by pointing out the methods of other comic strips regarding women. She tells her audience this, "If that's all this law is about, truly a plight to keep women safe, then why can't I read about it while I gulp down OJ and Cheerios? Comic strips like Zits prod at women's health and no one seems to get up in arms about that."

I believe Mean Rachel has been running her blog for quite some time and she has written a lot of posts about Texas politics. She has a lot of credentials like the following taken from her about me section: "covered the 2008 Democratic National Convention with The Texas Observer team, writes for The Huffington Post and has served as the National Communications Director for the Young Democrats of America Women's Caucus." She also states that she was asked by Mark Wiggens from KVUE to comment on the issue. Therefore I believe Mean Rachel provides a lot of credentials for her credibility.

She addresses the issue and her argument is how the Texas sonogram issue brings shame to women and how the comic proves that point. She points out the flaw in the logic that is being used to pull the comic from the papers by saying, "If all this law is about is simply "protecting the health of women," then what's the harm of it being brought up in the comic section where "families and children may see it"?"  She also points says that the law isn't out to protect women by saying, "It's not about giving a woman "the privacy that she deserves," as if the very basic right to privacy is something women still have to be deserving of, like a day at the spa or a pay raise. But this law isn't even about that. It's invasive, state-mandated shaming. So call it what it is: the Texas Shame Act."
Rachel. "The Texas Shame Act." Blog. Mean Rachel. Posted March 15, 2012. Accessed July 23, 3012.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Austin Energy Fairness

I read the editorial Don't turn to state for energy fairness from the Austin American Statesman where the author states that the Texas Legislature is pending on a decision to increase the utility rates for customers who live outside of Austin.

I believe the author is targeting local Austin Energy customers to inform themselves about the upcoming situation and to respond to the necessary people in order to produce a solution. The author says, "The Legislature should leave it to the Austin City Council, Austin Energy's suburban customers, our local state delegation and utility officials to find the best way to protect ratepayers who live outside the city." After saying that, the author suggests that the management of the utility should change from the City Council to an independent board of trustees, which would include suburban representatives.

The author stated many important details relating to the Texas Legislature and Austin Energy funds. The author mentions an Austin Energy project, which is claimed to return and "haunt Austin ratepayers." Apart from being very knowledgeable about the situation, the author is writing for the Austin American Statesman, which is a big source of news for central Texas. Therefore, I believe the author presents facts well enough to claim credibility.

The author argues that the current method of dealing with energy utilities is flawed. The author argues that the Legislature should step away from making decisions and leave it to a local board or delegation. The author shows how CPS Energy from San Antonio could be a model for Austin since "CPS is governed by a five-member board consisting of four citizens from different parts of the city and the mayor."

This editorial is an interesting read because the author shows some detailed information when comparing Austin Energy to CPS Energy.

Editorial Board. "Don't turn to state for energy fairness." Austin American Statesman. Editorial. Published July 13, 2012. Accessed July 20, 2012.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"No to Obamacare." Is it that simple?

I was reading this article* from Austin American Statesman, which discusses the results of saying "no" to the federal health care law upheld by the Supreme Court. Gov. Rick Perry stated that about one fourth of the Texas population was uninsured, which makes up about 12% of the uninsured population in the United States.

According to the author, states that reject the law's Medicaid expansion risk opening up another "hole" for the uninsured people of their state. Not only do the states risk this problem, they may also be funding the states that do accept the Medicaid expansion. Here is a quote from the article about this issue: "You are still paying for that coverage expansion but not getting the benefit of it," said Herb Kuhn, president of the Missouri Hospital Association. "So you as a state are exporting your dollars to another state. If you have some adjoining state that accepts (the Medicaid expansion) then you are basically sending your dollars to your neighbor."

Since the Supreme Court allowed the state officials to make the decisions regarding the federal health care law, many are waiting to see the results of this Presidential election to determine their final decision. With Gov. Perry saying "no" to the Medicaid expansion, about 1.3 million Texans will not have the chance to obtain health insurance for which they may be eligible.

I recommend this interesting article because it shows some of the details in regards to saying "no" to the federal health care law.

*Zaldivar, Ricardo A. "States saying no to 'Obamacare' could see downside." Austin American Statesman. Article. Published July 17, 2012. Accessed July 17, 2012.