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Posts published in “Day: June 24, 2003”

Governor calls special legislative session on Redistricting

Governor Rick Perry issued a call for a Special Session of the Legislature to start June 30. The only item on the agenda is the Redistricting of congressional boundaries.

This contentious issue was the reason that 51 Democratic legislators fled from Austin to the safety of Ardmore, Oklahoma during the regular session, a tactic that kept the legislature from having a quorum and being able to take a vote on the issue.

Republicans, under the leadership of U.S. Congressman Tom DeLay, are pushing for redistricting because the legislature in the last session did not agree on new boundaries, which are required every 10 years when there is a new census count, and the issue was decided by the courts instead. If the Republicans can get a vote on new lines, they believe that it will create more Republican districts for the next congress, at the expense of the Democrat’s current seats. Thus, the issue is highly political as well as constitutionally questionable.

Democrats at this session are not expected to disappear, because Perry could keep calling special sessions until they agree to show up. Instead, they are counting on the Texas Senate, where rules say that a 2/3 majority is required to bring the issue to a vote, and the Republicans do not have that many seats. However, swing votes could alter the outcome when votes are counted.

To prepare for the special session, Representative Joe Crabb, Atascocita, who is Chairman of the House Redistricting Committee, has scheduled public hearings in six cities around the state of Texas prior to the June 30th call.

Congressman Gene Green says:
“Expressing Disappointment that Governor Perry calls Special Session”


“By calling for a special session today on Congressional Redistricting, Governor Perry has shown that he is more interested in playing partisan politics like in Washington. A special session will cost at least $1.7 million when the state is reducing health care for seniors, children and education funding.

“We have a Congressional plan that has been approved by a bipartisan three judge panel, it has been ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court to be constitutional and in compliance with the Voting Rights Act, and elections have been held using these lines. While the districts created by the court elected 17 Democrats and 15 Republicans in 2002, statewide Republican candidates carried 20 of the 32 Congressional districts. Democrats have prevailed in these districts only because they can and do win the votes of ticket-splitters.

“The main premise for redrawing Congressional Districts is that Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives receive more votes than their Democratic counterparts. Their argument is wrong and is unconstitutional. Districts are drawn based on population, not on voters.

“After the 2000 Census, each Congressional District in Texas has a population of 651,620. Among the 32 districts, the number of registered voters, as well as those who exercise the right to vote, varies.

“Some districts, for example the 29th Congressional District, has a little more than 223,000 registered voters with about 72,000 having participated in the last election. By contrast, the 8th Congressional District has about 368,000 registered voters and more than 157,000 voted in the last election. Both districts have equal population.

“The United States Constitution requires that states establish congressional districts that are equal in population, under the ‘one man, one vote’ principle. This means that everyone, regardless of whether they are registered to vote or actually vote, deserves to be represented in the United States Congress.

“Redistricting is a serious constitutional matter. It is not a childish ‘do-over’ when it does not meet your partisan whims. In a democracy, voters should choose their representatives; representatives should never choose voters.”

Republican State Chair S. Waddington says:
“We commend Governor Perry for showing courageous leadership”


“We commend Governor Perry for showing courageous leadership by calling a special session and not allowing Democrats to continue to disenfranchise Texas voters.

“Texans have elected their lawmakers to do a job, including the task of congressional redistricting. Texans want their elected leaders to live up to their responsibilities, not abdicate them to appointed federal judges.

“The legislature has failed to fulfill its constitutional responsibility to draw new congressional districts for the past two legislative sessions. The federal court admitted that the interim map it imposed was not intended to reflect Texans’ voting behavior or minority growth across the state. In fact, the court stated that creating additional minority or Republican districts, in accordance with population and electoral changes since the last census, is ‘a quintessentially legislative decision.’

“There is a critical public need for lawmakers to draw new congressional districts that can be implemented before the next election. The current congressional map drawn by the federal court does not accurately reflect the will of Texas voters. Fifty-six percent of Texans voted for the GOP congressional candidate in the 2002 elections, yet Republicans received less than 47% of the seats. In effect, 10% of votes cast by Texans in congressional races are being thrown away.

“The only responsible course of action for lawmakers to take is to return to Austin immediately and do their job by passing a fair redistricting plan that respects Texans’ votes, their will and their views.

“Democrats have stifled Texans’ voices for their own political gain for too long. Democrats refused to pass a fair congressional redistricting plan in 2001, and they ran away to Oklahoma to prevent one from passing in 2003. To allow Democrats to continue to disenfranchise Texas voters would be an absolutely irresponsible travesty of our democratic system. The legislature must enact a fair redistricting plan now, before the next election, so that Texans’ voices are finally heard and respected.”

Pests

We have them at the house and at work. They are truly a pest and most bothersome not to mention nasty. Actually they are fruit flies.

They seem more prevalent this time of year for some reason and I assume it is because of all the fresh fruit available at the market and that one has brought home i.e., bananas, peaches, grapes, onions, etc. I think they get in potted plants also.

I managed to get three of them last night in the kitchen by popping them with a wet dish rag. Most folks use a dish cloth but it’s a dish rag to me. They were on the kitchen window and it was near dusk with the window providing the only light coming inside the house.

One can use insecticides but I do not care to spray that stuff in my kitchen. ##M:[more]#

The fruit fly is common around food that can rot, spoil, or ferment. They breed in drains, garbage disposals, empty bottles, trash cans, sour mops and even yeast products.

You’ve seen the cartoons of drunks with the little flies flying around? That is the fruit fly going for the yeast in the alcohol fumes…yuck.

Go to the grocery store and check out the numerous fruit flies around the onions, potatoes and other products. One can lay about 500 eggs and go from egg to adult in a week. They are most plentiful as they breed like a virus. These creatures lay eggs that hatch into what is known as little maggots.

When your produce is ripened, it should be eaten, discarded or refrigerated. Now you know why you want to wash your fruit before you eat it.

You can make a trap for the little creatures by making a paper funnel and place it over a jar with bait consisting of cider vinegar or a slice of banana in the bottom.

Or tape a clear plastic bag over the sink hole over night. If any are breeding in the drain, the adults will emerge and be caught in the bag.

Enough already.

As usual, Four Dog was resting on his belly watching out the sliding glass door as I sat in my rocker and read. The first growl is usually not something that causes me to look but he did it again. Shortly, he did it again so I couldn’t stand it, I had to look. I looked hard too and could not find out what was causing him to take notice.

Finally I looked down close to the door and by the mower. There was a plastic bag of bird seed and inside the bag was a dove. Not one dove but two. I was going to wait until the Mrs. came home and let her see, but thought maybe I’d better let them out. Sure enough they fluttered their wings wildly but could not escape the bag as I picked it up slowly.

Not wanting them to break a wing or anything, I tore the bag and reached in grabbing one of the dove.

As I got the second dove out of the bag I put it down and let Four Dog take a sniff. He had no interest so I gently tossed the dove into flight.

This is Texas, you know…

Boy, I am one lucky cowboy! I traveled all over Texas in the last nine days with my wife and daughter and son-in-law, and saw some of the prettiest country and the best people in the world. After all, this is Texas, you know!

We left Friday, June 6th, and drove to ol San Antone where we did the tourist thing, (something I’m not cut out for), and did the Riverwalk. We also payed tribute to my ancestor, Davy Crockett and the Alamo. By the way, did you know Alamo means, cottonwood? I sure didn’t.

Well, we also got to visit the Texan Days Festival at the Museum of Texan Cultures and went up in that “Hemisphere” thing where you can see for about eighty miles. While we were waitin’ at the entrance, I took off my boots, rolled up my jeans and waded in the fountain. Some local folks musta liked that cause they made me pose for pictures. Only after I got out did someone show me the sign that said, “NO WADING”. I’m sure glad they didn’t catch me!

It was really nice to slow down. We then drove to Galveston and stayed in a friends “little beach house”. Turns out it was one of the biggest places on West End with all the best of everything. Sure is nice to have friends, ain’t it?!

Miss Judy and I caught a plane on Thursday and flew to Amarillo where we were picked up by the fine folks from the Cal Farley Boys Ranch. In case you didn’t know, Cal Farley’s Boys ranch is an amazing place. It is home to over 400 boys and girls who have been abandoned or who’s parents have given them up. They are the best young people I have ever met and the Ranch is a city in itself. They grow most of their beef and much of their vegetables as well as have their own school district. The “town” was formed in 1939 by Cal Farley on the old Tascosa townsite.

I was privileged to be invited to perform, teach and assist in their Second Annual Youth Cowboy Poetry Gathering. I worked with the best of the best. Folks like Red Steagall, R.W. Hampton, Don Dane, J.W. Beeson, Jeff Gore, Trudy Fair, Trey Allen and Stephanie Davis, just to name a few.

I am changed by my time spent at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch and you can find out more at their website.

We flew back Sunday and went directly into rehearsal with the Baytown Little Theater for the August presentation of “Annie Get Your Gun”. It’s gonna be a humdinger! I’ll let you know more, later on.

Finally, I’m lookin’ forward to seein’ a bunch of you all who like great Texas music on Saturday evening at Lyin’ Larry’s. None other than Doug Supernaw, one of my fav-or-ites, will be on stage. Cost is about $15, a real bargain. But you might want to get your tickets asap, since there’s only room for about 400 or so. Hope to see y’all there! Be sure and say howdy, if’n you see me.

Lotsa other good things happenin, but I’ll tell ya when I see ya next.

Gotta go slog through the mud and feed my babies, so I’d appreciate it if you’d shut the gate and I’ll see ya down the trail.

Just a Ridin’,
Lloyd