28 February 2007
I live in one of the 10 highest income-tax paying congressional districts in the country, according to the Tax Foundation. The average taxpayer in CD7 pays over $15k in federal income taxes ever year. That's quite a bit of money being sent from Houston to Washington DC.
Of the 10 highest paying tax districts, 7 voted for Kerry (the top 7). No surprise there. In Texas, the rich still vote for Republicans, unlike the rest of the country.
I am (un)happy to report that I pay a fraction of that in income tax.
Click for the extended entry to see every Texas congressional district. I'd love to have formatted this, but time constraints do not permit.
20 February 2007
Really bad law that needs to be changed
Texans who unintentionally cover even a small portion of their car's license plate can be stopped by police, ticketed and perhaps arrested for the offense, the state's highest criminal court ruled Wednesday.Hat tip to Kevin, who had commented on it previously.
The 8-1 decision left three Court of Criminal Appeals judges holding their noses — proclaiming the statute "uncommonly bad," but acknowledging that the letter of the law prohibits drivers from encasing their license plate in a frame that obscures the state name, state nickname or even portions of the artwork.
Unfortunately, the law as written unintentionally endangers civil liberties, Judge Cathy Cochran wrote in an opinion that, while siding with the majority, raises concerns about the ruling's impact.
"It is a 'gotcha' law because it allows the police to arbitrarily stop, ticket, arrest and search any person who is driving a car whose license plate frame covers up any portion of that plate's design," Cochran wrote in an opinion joined by Judges Tom Price and Cheryl Johnson. "Look around you — the vast majority of drivers on Texas roads and highways can be stopped and arrested at any given moment."
Still, Cochran wrote, under a law revised in 2003, "it is a crime . . . if that frame obscures even the tiniest bit of the doo-dad design details of the standard-issue Texas license plate."
This is potentially a much bigger threat to civil liberties (in that it allows any rogue police officer to capriciously pull over probably something like 50% of the population) than something like...oh, I don't know, the death penalty, yet I see nothing on the Texas ACLU's website. [To be fair, I didn't see anything on their website about the death penalty either, but I still think it's a fair comparison.]
15 February 2007
Sorry for the lack of updates
I just haven't had time for the blog.
It's been quite a busy period, especially for this blog's named protagonist. I talked to my mom yesterday for the first time a couple weeks, and she was "hopping mad" about Perry's HPV vaccine order. For this sort of thing to reach my Mom -- who lives far away from Texas -- and anger her so...well, that's pretty impressive.
02 February 2007
Special Session is back
Paul Stekler's Special Session is back on the air again this year. It's a weekly half-hour TV show on PBS. This session, it starts up this Sunday the 4th at 11am.
From the press release:
Something on PBS leaning to the left? No way! I'd never, ever possibly dream of believing that.
Produced in Austin, Special Session will interweave documentary and discussion to stay one step ahead of the legislation destined to affect our lives long after the legislators head home. The first month's programs will feature a look back at the late Gov. Ann Richards (including a short
documentary using never-seen-before footage), former state Comptroller John Sharp looking back on the school finance plan he helped pass last year, and the impact of human service cuts across Texas.