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Federal Court Issues Voter ID Ruling That Could Impact Election

A federal court ruled Wednesday that Texas’ voter identification law violates the U.S. Voting Rights Act prohibition on racial discrimination in elections.

In its 9-6 ruling, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the 2011 voter ID law makes it harder for blacks and Hispanics to vote, and asked a district court to make changes to the law before the general election in November. “The district court must ensure that any remedy enacted ameliorates [the law’s] discriminatory effect, while respecting the legislature’s stated objective to safeguard the integrity of elections by requiring more secure forms of voter identification,” the court said.

The law, Senate Bill 14, requires voters to present proof of identification, including a state driver’s license or ID card, a U.S. passport, an election ID certificate, a military ID card, a concealed handgun license or a U.S citizenship certificate with a photo.

Proponents said it prevents voter fraud, and noted that Texas makes it easy for voters to acquire ID cards free of charge.

In the ruling, however, Judge Catharina Haynes wrote, “The record shows that drafters and proponents of SB 14 were aware of the likely disproportionate effect of the law on minorities, and that they nonetheless passed the bill without adopting a number of proposed ameliorative measures that might have lessened this impact.”

Judges who disagreed with the ruling said, “Requiring a voter to verify her identity with a photo ID at the polling place is a reasonable requirement widely supported by Texans of all races and members of the public belonging to both political parties. The majority ruling ‘fans the flames’ of perniciously irresponsible racial name-calling.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the court had “wrongly concluded” that the law had a discriminatory effect. “Voter fraud is real, and it undermines the integrity of the election process,” he said in a statement.

The Texas Democratic Party, on the other hand, celebrated the ruling. “The most restrictive and discriminatory Republican voter ID law in country has been struck down,” it said. (For more from the author of “Federal Court Issues Voter ID Ruling That Could Impact Election” please click HERE)

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Texas Student Suspended After Carrying Classmate Having Asthma Attack to Nurse

A Killeen mother is defending her son who was suspended after helping a fellow student having an asthma attack.

Anthony Ruelas, 15, said his eighth grade classmate was wheezing and gagging for three minutes Tuesday morning while no one did anything. But when Ruelas did do something, he apparently broke the rules.

“He may not follow instructions all the time, but he does have a great heart,” said Mandy Cortes, Ruelas’ mother.

Ruelas goes to Gateway Middle School, an alternative school in the Killeen Independent School District. Ruelas has been suspended before, but Tuesday was different.

“I wasn’t trying to hear it,” said Cortez. When she picked her son up from school for the suspension she told him,”No, they already told me what happened you walked out of class, and he was like ‘ok forget it’, but I can tell, ya know you know your kids, I could tell he was upset.” (Read more from “Texas Student Suspended After Carrying Classmate Having Asthma Attack to Nurse” HERE)

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Baby Jesus, ‘Merry Christmas’ Banner Removed from VA Hospital

Photo Credit: KENS5 A manger and a banner reading “Merry Christmas” were removed from a public area of a VA hospital in Texas after someone complained about “overly religious and offensive” decorations . . .

Holloway said she had been putting up decorations at the Audi Murphy VA Hospital for 33 years – without any problems. This year, her yuletide banner turned out to be problematic.

“They literally took pieces from the middle of a whole train set, because the middle said ‘Merry Christmas,’” helper Grace Martinez told the television station.

The South Texas Veterans Health Care System admits they removed not only Holloway’s “Merry Christmas” banner, but also a manger along with a “specific scripture decoration.”

“During the removal of a manger and specific scripture decoration, a Merry Christmas decoration was accidentally removed and damaged,” read a statement from the VA to Fox News. “The remaining decorations were removed by the decoration donor and her representatives.” (Read more from “Baby Jesus, ‘Merry Christmas’ Banner Removed from VA Hospital” HERE)

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Hospital Trying to End the Life of a CONSCIOUS Patient [+video]

A Texas mother claims a hospital is seeking to end the life of a her son who is a fully conscious patient. The patient’s mother says that a hospital administrative death panel is “Playing God” in deciding whether her son has the “quality of life” to continue to live.

Her son, Christopher David Dunn, 46, a fully-conscious former peace officer, is receiving life-sustaining care. Hospital officials in Houston are fighting to stop that care.

The man, his mother, and his lawyers, have filed a lawsuit in an attempt to save the man’s life. His attorney, Joe Nixon, told Breitbart Texas, “A criminal on death row in Texas has more rights than a patient in a Texas hospital.” He says a Texas statute denies a patient all due process rights and is unconstitutional.

Trey Trainor, another lawyer with the same firm who is representing Dunn, says Texas law gives a hospital the right to make life or death decisions without consulting the patient or the patient’s family.

Dunn is fully conscious but is receiving oxygen and antibiotics through two tubes down his throat. He is receiving fluids and nutrients intravenously. (Read more from “Hospital Trying to End the Life of a CONSCIOUS Patient” HERE)

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Texas AG: ‘In God We Trust’ Decals on Cop Cars Constitutional

There’s nothing wrong with stickers or decals featuring the phrase “In God We Trust” on police vehicles, the Lonestar state’s top cop assured lawmakers.

Attorney General Ken Paxton weighed in on the matter on Nov. 4 with a letter to two Republican state senators who asked if police departments were inviting legal trouble by including the phrase on patrol cars. Pointing to precedent in a series of court cases, Paxton noted challenges to “In God We Trust” on money, police vehicles and goverment property haven’t been successful.

“Displaying ‘In God We Trust’ on police vehicles is a passive use of a motto steeped in our nation’s history that does not coerce Citizen approval or participation,” Paxton wrote to the state senators. “A law enforcement department’s decision to display the national motto on its vehicles is consistent with that history. Thus, a court is likely to conclude that a law enforcement department’s display of ‘In God We Trust’ on its patrol vehicles is permissible under the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.”

Slapping the phrase on police vehicles has become a contentious issue in recent months, with more than 60 police departments — most of them in the south and midwest — approving decals or stickers on patrol cars, according to the National Constitution Center, a Philadelphia-based non-profit dedicated to civic education.

In each case, the Freedom From Religion Foundation has challenged the use of the phrase on government-owned vehicles. The Wisconsin-based group advocates for separation of church and state in all matters, and has said the phrase amounts to “phony pandering” to the nation’s religious demographic, especially in socially conservative states. “In God We Trust” became the national motto in 1956 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into law, a move that also made the phrase mandatory on American currency. (Read more from “Texas AG: ‘In God We Trust’ Decals on Cop Cars Constitutional” HERE)

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Here’s Why Planned Parenthood Is Suing Texas

Planned Parenthood and 10 of its patients sued the state of Texas on Monday to block officials from cutting off Medicaid funds, calling the state’s actions political and part of a long-term pattern of denying reproductive healthcare to women.

“Women in Texas today have fewer rights than they did when I was growing up, and less access to healthcare,” Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards told reporters when announcing the lawsuit. “This time, they’re targeting some of the most vulnerable Texans — women who already have the least access to healthcare in the country.”

Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott announced in October that state health officials were kicking Planned Parenthood and its affiliates out of the Medicaid program, which pays for procedures such as cancer screenings, birth control and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

In a statement at the time, Abbott said the state was acting in response to a series of antiabortion videos, which accused Planned Parenthood of profiting from the sale of fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood denies the allegations, and more than half a dozen state investigations have cleared the organization of wrongdoing.

“The gruesome harvesting of baby body parts by Planned Parenthood will not be allowed in Texas, and the barbaric practice must be brought to an end,” Abbott said at the time. “As such, ending the Medicaid participation of Planned Parenthood affiliates in the state of Texas is another step in providing greater access to safe healthcare for women while protecting our most vulnerable — the unborn.” (Read more from “Here’s Why Planned Parenthood Is Suing Texas” HERE)

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Something Very Strange Is Taking Place off the Coast of Galveston, TX

Having exposed the world yesterday to the 2-mile long line of tankers-full’o’crude heading from Iraq to the US, several weeks after reporting that China has run out of oil storage space we can now confirm that the global crude “in transit” glut is becoming gargantuan and is starting to have adverse consequences on the price of oil.

While the crude oil tanker backlog in Houston reaches an almost unprecedented 39 (with combined capacity of 28.4 million barrels), as The FT reports that from China to the Gulf of Mexico, the growing flotilla of stationary supertankers is evidence that the oil price crash may still have further to run, as more than 100m barrels of crude oil and heavy fuels are being held on ships at sea (as the year-long supply glut fills up available storage on land). The storage problems are so severe in fact, that traders asking ships to go slow, and that is where we see something very strange occurring off the coast near Galveston, TX.

FT reports that “the amount of oil at sea is at least double the levels of earlier this year and is equivalent to more than a day of global oil supply. The numbers of vessels has been compiled by the Financial Times from satellite tracking data and industry sources” . . .

And unlike the last oil price collapse during the financial crisis only half of the oil held on the water has been put there specifically by traders looking to cash in by storing the fuel until prices recover. Instead, sky-high supertanker rates have prevented them from putting more oil into so-called floating storage, shutting off one of the safety valves that could prevent oil prices from falling further. (Read more from “Something Very Strange Is Taking Place off the Coast of Galveston, TX” HERE)

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Conservatives Post Huge Election Victories in Ohio, Texas

Ohio Voters Reject Legal Pot

By WLWT. Ohio voters rejected a first-of-its-kind proposal Tuesday that would have legalized both medical and recreational marijuana, following an expensive campaign, a legal fight over its ballot wording and an investigation into the proposal’s petition signatures . . .

The measure known as Issue 3 on Tuesday’s ballot would have allowed adults 21 and older to use, purchase or grow certain amounts of marijuana and made cannabis available for medical uses in the same vote, a unique approach nationally . . .

Issue 2 targeted the system of 10 marijuana-growing sites that would have been created by the pot legalization question known as Issue 3 on the ballot. Issue 3 was defeated, avoiding a court challenge as to which issue would have trumped the other.

A few precincts in southwest Ohio’s Hamilton County reported problems getting voters their ballots because of poll workers’ unfamiliarity with a new electronic check-in system being used for the first time.

The marijuana legalization campaign, ResponsibleOhio, sought the extension, citing those problems. (Read more from “Ohio Voters Reject Legal Pot” HERE)

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Houston Equal Rights Ordinance Fails by Wide Margin

By Katherine Driessen. Houston’s controversial equal rights ordinance failed by a wide margin Tuesday, with voters opting to repeal the law that offered broad non-discrimination protections, according to incomplete and unofficial returns.

The hotly contested election has spurred national attention, drawing comment from the White House and the state’s top officials. Largely conservative opponents of the law allege that it would allow men dressed as women, including sexual predators, to enter women’s restrooms. Supporters of the law, including Mayor Annise Parker, argue that it extends an important local recourse for a range of protected classes to respond to discrimination.

Supporters released a written statement Tuesday night: “We are disappointed with today’s outcome, but our work to secure nondiscrimination protections for all hard-working Houstonians will continue. No one should have to live with the specter of discrimination hanging over them. Everyone should have the freedom to work hard, earn a decent living and provide for themselves and their families.”

The ordinance bans discrimination based not just on gender identity and sexual orientation, but also 13 classes already protected under federal law: sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, disability, pregnancy and genetic information, as well as family, marital or military status. (Read more from “Houston Equal Rights Ordinance Fails by Wide Margin” HERE)

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Texas Family Arrested for Vandalizing Own Truck With Racial Message

BlackLivesMatter-1A Texas family has been arrested for painting profanities and racially charged slogans on their pickup truck and falsely claiming others had done so, police said on Monday.

Scott Lattin, 45, was arrested last week, and his wife, Cindy, and their son Jason, 18, were taken into custody on Monday. All three are suspected of making a false police report, said police in Whitney, northwest of Waco.

Scott Lattin told officers his truck was tagged with “Black Lives Matter” and profanities earlier this month while it was parked in his driveway, police said. Lattin claimed the graffiti was in response to pro-police logos he had put on the vehicle, police said.

Whitney Police Chief Chris Bentley said Lattin’s initial report stated only the outside of the truck was damaged, with no damage to the inside.

A GoFundMe account set up to help the Lattin family repair the damages received nearly $6,000 in donations. Many donors saw the family as victims for their support of police, who have faced criticism after a series of incidents nationwide where officers have fatally shot unarmed black men. (Read more from “Texas Family Arrested for Vandalizing Own Truck With Racial Message” HERE)

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Texas Nationalists Reportedly Try to Get Secession Question Onto GOP Primary Ballot

balloA group calling for Texas to secede from the United States and become an independent nation has launched an effort to get a question about independence onto next year’s Republican presidential primary ballot.

The Texas Tribune reports that the Texas Nationalist Movement has begun circulating a petition with the goal of getting 75,000 signatures by December 1, over 8,000 more than what the Texas Secretary of State’s office requires to put the question on the ballot.

The vote on whether Texas “should reassert its status as an independent nation”, in the words of the petition, would be non-binding and the state Republican party has already distanced itself from the group.

“Historically the executive committee of the Republican Party has chosen what goes on this,” spokesman Aaron Whitehead told the Tribune, “and it’s party preference that it stays that way.”

Texas was a Republic for nine years after gaining independence from Mexico before it was admitted to the Union in 1845. The state voted to secede in 1861 to join the Confederate States of America prior to the Civil War. Scholars told the Tribune that under the auspices of an 1869 Supreme Court ruling, Texas would not be able to secede from the U.S. again even if voters gave the go-ahead. (Read more from “Texas Nationalists Reportedly Try to Get Secession Question Onto GOP Primary Ballot” HERE)

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