A Flea in the Fur of the Beast

“Death, fire, and burglary make all men equals.” —Dickens

Tag: david dewhurst

How Screencaps Killed SB5

by evanmcmurry

After Wendy Davis’s epic filibuster was stopped just minutes before the special session’s midnight deadline, the GOP-controlled Texas Senate attempted to hold a vote on anti-abortion bill SB5. Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst was drowned out by protestors chanting from the rotunda to the point that nobody could hear what was being voted on, and amidst the scrum, almost everybody present said the Senate didn’t actually take the vote until 12:01.

But then Republican Dan Patrick emerged touting a victory for the bill, and someone got the Associated Press to believe him:

Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 3.24.01 AM

Just one problem. Here a screencap of the official timestamp from TLO, Texas Legislature Online, the real-time record of the Senate:

The bill is shown as having passed on 6/26, or after the midnight deadline, making it illegal.

But a few minutes later, the record looked like this:

Now the record states the bill passed on 6/25, or before the midnight deadline, making it legal.

That might have flown had nobody noticed it. But within a few minutes, all of Twitter was retweeting the edited timestamps, most of which were taken by Texas Tribune reporters and other media-types thinking fast on their feet. By 2:00 a.m. the Senate had recaucused and killed the bill, admitting that there was no arguing with the timestamp (which was officially recorded at 12:03 a.m., or, as many joked, 11:63 p.m. on the GOP’s clock).

And that’s how, with the national media ignoring the story and the AP jumping the gun, a couple of screencaps stopped an abortion bill in its tracks and reversed an abuse of congressional power.

Rick Perry To Spend Remaining Days Drug Testing Poor People, Crying

by evanmcmurry

Rick Perry on SB 11, filed today, which would require those applying for government aid to take a drug test:

“This will help prevent tax dollars from going into the pockets of drug abusers,” Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday at a news conference. He said that the goal of the bill is to “empower every Texan to reach their potential,” because “being on drugs makes it harder to begin the journey to independence.”

As Perry himself knows, using drugs greatly increase your chances of getting caught singing “I’ve Been Working On The Railroad” in a New Hampshire bathroom and losing a Republican primary to the weakest field in political memory.

Anyway, Rick Scott tried this, ahem, policy in Florida and found out that it not only netted few drug users but cost the state more money than it saved. But at least Scott implemented the tests in a corrupt scheme to funnel state money to his own drug testing corporation. Rick Perry appears to be doing it because he’s sad.

Bonus: “‘It is a legitimate function of government to help people that are not able to help themselves,’ added Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst,” a.k.a. the guy who got whupped by long shot Tea Party nutjob United States Senator Ted Cruz last week. Look who’s found some perspective!

Enter Ted Cruz

by evanmcmurry

Tea party insurgent Ted Cruz beat establishment(?) figure David Dewhurst in a Texas Senate run-off. As the Atlantic points out, this doesn’t mean squat for the make-up of the Senate, as Texas was sending a Republican no matter what. Here’s what does matter:

Whether there are significant policy differences between [Cruz and Dewhurst] is a matter of some debate. The New York Times noted, “The two candidates differ little on major issues — both call for repealing Obama’s health care law, balancing the budget, abolishing the Department of Education and ending abortion.” But Dewhurst skeptics contend that he has been too willing to compromise with Democrats.

Dewhurst is an establishment figure—of a Rick Perry administration, one of the most extremely conservative of the country; when the establishment figure calls for abolishing the DOE, the word has lost all meaning. But Dewhurst’s mere presence in the political system as lieutenant governor necessitated that he occasionally speak in complete sentences to Democrats, and that was enough to get him on the tea party’s hit list.

Whether intransigence was once a tactic of the tea party’s to effect their policies of severe cuts to social services, or whether it was always a cover, is a matter of debate. What’s clear is intransigence is now an end in and of itself. The Texas GOP is sending a Senator to Washington with the express mandate of not participating in the legislative process except to ruin it.

Also: leading by example.