Join Sen. Don Huffines for his legislative town hall tomorrow

Huffines.Don

Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas.

Sen. Don Huffines, a freshman Dallas Republican, hosts a town hall from 1–2 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, March 28, at the Town North Family YMCA, 4332 Northaven Road.

However much I like spending a Saturday afternoon with a right-wing Republican who looks like the plastic byproduct of a Catholic priest and a Ken Doll, the event is not open to press. Though I could go simply as a concerned Texas resident, I would probably be tossed out. Plus, I don’t even live in the guy’s district.

So hopefully you’ll go and ask questions instead.

Not sure what to ask about? I’m glad you asked! Here are some examples of what you could mention related to LGBT issues:

1) You could ask about his co-authoring SB 673, the Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act. It’s the Senate companion to Magnolia Republican Rep. Cecil Bell’s HB 1745. Both would strip the responsibility of issuing marriage licenses from counties and onto the state. They were filed in response to the Travis County Clerk’s decision to issue a marriage license last month to a lesbian couple. (As if the title didn’t give the bill’s intent away already.)

2) You could also ask him about SB 343, which would align local ordinances and laws with state laws. So those nondiscrimination ordinances? Bye, Felicia.

Here’s some other fun stuff to talk about:

1) Ask Mr. Free Market himself about his blatant campaign hypocrisy. The Dallas Morning News reported in 2014 how “Texas housing developers like Huffines had won hundreds of millions of dollars in taxing authority from voters and elected officials to whom they provided homes, jobs or other benefits.”

2) Oh Hell, y’all are smart and have 24 hours to dig through the bills he’s authored and co-authored here.

If you want to check out his campaign finance reports, go here. Click the bubble next to By Filer Name. Type Huffines in the Last/Entity Name text box.  Your search will bring up only the senator’s name. Click 00069651 on the far left.

Remember folks, your elected officials may not represent your views, but they still represent you.

Get out there tomorrow and make sure he hears from you.

—  James Russell

Ted Cruz’s Presidential Campaign’s No Good, Very Bad First Day

Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-A Cave.

I wrote earlier today how, after his presidential campaign announcement, Sen. Cruz failed to buy TedCruz.com and TedCruzforAmerica.com. Though he snatched up TedCruz.org, the guy’s team can’t even get the donor link together.

According to The Hill, the donor link did “not offer encryption for online transactions, the level of security illustrated by a padlock next to the URL on most common browsers.” Meaning someone could steal your credit card number.

Which is funny since, after that was resolved, the security certificate revealed the alternative site domain was “Nigerian-prince.com.” That site parodies those spam e-mails you get from long lost “beloved relatives” who want to give you a billion dollars in exchange for your Social Security number.

Birds of a feather stick together, y’all.

As if it didn’t get any worse, the Liberty University crooners surrounding him were so *not* into it. Though Liberty, an evangelical Christian university, attracts a certain type, that doesn’t mean they fit neatly into Cruz’s 1984-esque wet dream of an America where everyone received the Most Likely to be Ted Cruz honor in their yearbook. (Qualifications: Beating Commies with Bibles.)

Yeah even some of those freethinking Communists dissed the dude.

Look I know running for president is pretty much the epitome of #YOLO but Christ almighty, Ted Cruz, get your shit together.

 

—  James Russell

UPDATED: Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign’s first big blunder

Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is a former solicitor general who helped shut down the government.

This post has been reflected to update just how much Sen Ted Cruz’s web presence sucks.

Dude. Y’all. The guy is a sitting senator running for president who let Tedcruz.com slip between his fingers. It’s his damned name! What the hell is wrong with this guy?!?!?

Original post:

You know, if you’ve had your eyes on the presidency since your first Senate election, you should probably, you know, prepare in advance. Not only do you need staffers, fundraisers, dark money PACs and unpaid interns, you also need an adept web presence. (see: President Barack Obama)

Which brings me to Sen. Ted Cruz, who launched his presidential campaign this morning. The firebrand freshman senator forgot to buy Tedcruzforamerica.com. So instead of a beaming Cruz-as-superman welcoming the Chosen Ones to his campaign bunker, you are redirected to…Healthcare.gov, a portal for President Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act.

And Cruz’s nemesis.

Maybe you remember Cruz and others forced a 16 day government shutdown in 2013 by refusing to vote for a budget bill that didn’t repeal the entire ACA. After Congress passed a clean budget bill, Cruz and his right-wing allies were slammed for their actions. Backbenchers, fringe types, they were called.

Naturally those are fightin’ words. And Cruz, the humble junior senator from Texas, is all ready to fight regardless who criticizes him.

Because when does criticism ever stop Cruz?

Never.

Duh.

—  James Russell

Sen. Ted Cruz announces 2016 presidential campaign

Ted Cruz

Sen Ted Cruz, R-Cruzlandia.

Texas’ own Sen. Ted Cruz announced via Twitter at midnight he is running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

He is the first major candidate to announce his presidential ambitions.

He’ll kick off his campaign today at Liberty University, the evangelical Christian university founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell in Lynchburg, Va.

As the Washington Post points out, Liberty is “the perfect launch pad for Cruz.” As the intellectual home of the Moral Majority, Cruz is reaching out to a key segment of the grassroots Republican vote: social conservatives. As I previously wrote, Cruz has re-introduced the State Marriage Defense Act, which would circumvent the expected U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning marriage equality bans.

He also plans to introduce a constitutional amendment barring federal recognition of same-sex marriage later this year.

Hopefully he’ll remember along the way, he just doesn’t capitulate to the GOP grassroots but to his home state as well.

—  James Russell

Rep. Louie Gohmert loses bid for House Speaker

Louie GohmertOn Sunday (Jan. 4), Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, announced his intention to challenge Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, for House Speaker.

“After the November elections gave Republicans control of the Senate, voters made clear they wanted change,” he said in a statement. There have been numerous examples of problematic Republican leadership, but we were hopeful our leaders got the voters’ message. However, after our Speaker forced through the CRomnibus [the spending bill] by passing it with Democratic votes and without time to read it, it seemed clear that we needed new leadership. There had been much discussion.”

Today (Jan. 6), the first day of the new Congress, the raucous Tea Party Republican lost to Boehner. A last minute challenger, Rep. Dan Webster, R-Florida, even received more votes than Gohmert, 12-3.

Five candidates were formally nominated, including Boehner, Tea Party Republican Reps. Ted Yoho and Dan Webster, both of Florida, and former Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-California.

Boehner was expected to easily be re-nominated despite the challenges from the right-wing of his party. He was elected by a slim margin in January 2013 after a failed attempt by a faction of his caucus. At least 12 Democrats were attending former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo’s funeral, Politico noted, while others did not show up at all. Every absent Democrat lowered the threshold for the Ohio Republican’s re-election.

Four Democrats also bucked their party’s leadership and voted for a candidate other than Pelosi.

The Washington Post has a full list of defectors on both sides of the aisle here.

If you’re an avid Dallas Voice reader, you probably know all about Gohmert; a search of our archives alone yields 22 mentions. He’s well-known for his conspiracy theories and opposition to LGBT legislation. He called ENDA “a continuation of the Obama administration’s ‘war on religion.’” He was among the first inductees in HRC’s Hall of Shame last year and is a frequent recipient of the Advocate’s Phobie Awards.

Openly bisexual Rep. Krysten Sinema, D-Arizona, and one of the four Democrats to not vote for Pelosi, spoke for all of us when she did this:

—  James Russell

Tea Party Leader: Republican Party in Florida being taken over by gay ‘thugs’

tea29n-3-web

Danita Kilcullen

The co-founder of a Florida Tea Party group compared Log Cabin Republicans to gay “thugs” and complained they have taken control of the local party in Broward County and are pushing a progressive platform.

The New York Daily News reported Thursday that Danita Kilcullen wrote the slur in an email early in November as she expressed her displeasure at nondiscrimination legislation, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which was up for debate in Congress.

She denounced the bill that would force her to “hire someone with orange hair, body/neck/face covered with tattoos, multiple piercings, or a man in a dress … or for that matter, a demonstrative effeminate male or purposeful butch-looking female,” she wrote, according to an email obtained by the Sun-Sentinel.

Her scathing attack added, “The Log Cabins are the same lobbyist organization that has all but taken over BREC (Broward Republican Executive Committee) … Keep in mind, this is a thug organization with only their own ‘special interests’ in play.”

The message was denounced by Broward County Republican Chair Tom Truex, who complained about the Tea Party splintering the conservative movement with their aggression.

Kilcullen has been active in the local Tea Party effort since its founding in 2009, but has previously courted controversy, when she was arrested in 2011 for allegedly kicking a police officer with a 3-inch stiletto high heel.

The tea partier told the the Broward/Palm Beach New Times the run-in with the law came because she was fighting “injustice” and trying to use the bathroom at the Embassy Suites hotel in Boca Raton.

Police say she appeared intoxicated when she began screaming obscenities at security protecting a private function at the hotel. After a scuffle, police say she resisted arrest and kicked a police officer twice in the chest with her spiky heel.

She pleaded guilty to trespassing and a lesser charge of misdemeanor resisting arrest in October 2011 and was sentenced to 20 hours of community service. Then in 2013, she was accused of racism when she responded to a tweet by R&B singer Toni Braxton after the acquittal of George Zimmerman for Trayvon Martin’s murder.

“I too am embarrassed to be an American when our government and society fail to empower and protect all people,” Braxton tweeted in reaction.

Kilcullen took to her personal Facebook account in a message aimed at Braxton, “Yo, girl, you can’t take America’s justice system? Go be an African!!”

 

—  Steve Ramos

WATCH: Gohmert says gays are hurting evolution, which he doesn’t believe in

Louie Gohmert

Rep. Louie Gohmert

Congressman Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, spoke at a Kaufman County Tea Party rally on July 2.

He spoke about the war against religion and how President Barack Obama made it clear he was going after Christianity.

“For someone who believes in evolution, you believe that throughout the history of the universe, and particularly Earth, that people have come together and borne offspring from different species that has evolved and given us stronger and better species. How does the mating of two males evolve the species upward?” Gohmert said.

Since Gohmert apparently doesn’t believe in evolution, two men “mating” really shouldn’t bother him at all.

But Gohmert is also concerned with having his free speech rights taken away by hate crime legislation. He said he no longer has the right to “openly believe homosexuality is wrong without encroaching on the possibility of a hate crime. We’re not haters as Christians. We’re lovers.”

Actually, the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act that Gohmert opposes has been used only once to prosecute a hate crime committed against a gay man. Four people arrested in Kentucky were charged under the law after beating a gay man.

Poor Louie. Four people beating the crap out of a gay man is apparently part of his definition of Christian love and free speech rights.

Gohmert is known for his staunch opposition to LGBT equality and for his off-the-wall statements. He opposes employment nondiscrimination as part of Obama’s war on religion and opposed the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” because of “bunk crawling.”

Watch the video after the jump:

—  David Taffet

Gay GOP leader calls attacks on Leppert over gay Pride ‘repugnant’

Tom Leppert at gay Pride in 2007

Senate rivals rip former mayor for appearing in Dallas parade

JOHN WRIGHT  |  Senior Editor

One local gay Republican leader called attacks against GOP Senate hopeful Tom Leppert for appearing at gay Pride while Dallas mayor “reprehensible” and “repugnant.”

And another said the attacks have actually prompted him to support Leppert over tea party favorite Ted Cruz — despite the former mayor’s perceived betrayal of the LGBT community when he stepped down to run for Senate last year.

Cruz, the former Texas solicitor general, along with  ex-pro football player Craig James and longshot candidate Lela Pittenger, ripped into Leppert for twice appearing at gay Pride during a debate luncheon hosted by the right-wing Eagle Forum at the Dallas Country Club on Wednesday, Feb. 22.

The exchange featured some virulently anti-gay language, with James saying he believes homosexuality is a choice that goes against the Bible and Pittenger comparing the Pride parade to a drunken orgy.

“There was much that was said at the senatorial debate about gays and lesbians that was reprehensible and, at times, repugnant,” Thomas Purdy, president of Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas, said in a statement Thursday. “In an instance such as this, it would be easy to throw in the towel, but it really is a testament as to why Log Cabin Republicans must exist: to ensure the Party of Abraham Lincoln remains so and does not become the Party of Anita Bryant.”

Former Log Cabin President Rob Schlein, who now heads the gay GOP group Metroplex Republicans of Dallas, said Cruz’s attacks against Leppert for appearing at Pride — which began last month at a forum in Fort Worth —  have prompted him to support the former mayor.

“In terms of a personal favorite, even though I was very disappointed with his tweet six months ago, I would probably look beyond that and choose Tom  Leppert,” Schlein said. “I eliminated Ted Cruz when he came out and attacked Leppert. That was enough to dissuade me from supporting his campaign.  … All else being equal, then I will support the candidate that doesn’t attack the gay community. ”

Leppert appeared at gay Pride in 2007 and 2009 as Dallas mayor. He also employed an openly gay chief of staff — Chris Heinbaugh — and repeatedly expressed support for the community.

But when Leppert stepped down to run for Senate, he sent out an anti-gay message on Twitter, and came out against both same-sex marriage and civil unions on his campaign website.

But Leppert’s position on those issues appears similar to the other candidates in the GOP race.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, whom polls show is the frontrunner, didn’t attend Wednesday’s debate. But Dewhurst has been touting his support for Texas’ 2005 marriage amendment, which enshrined a ban on both same-sex marriage and civil unions in the state’s Constitution.

Earlier this month, Dewhurst told a Houston radio station that marriage has been between a man and a woman “from the origins of the Bible, and this is a Christian nation, this is a Christian state, and that’s what we were reflecting.”

Cruz, meanwhile, has played up his role several years ago, when he worked for Attorney General Greg Abbott, in blocking a gay couple from obtaining a dissolution of their Vermont civil union in a Beaumont court.

And James said during Wednesday’s debate that same-sex couples shouldn’t receive any federal benefits from civil unions.

The fireworks began when debate moderator John C. Goodman, president and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis, noted that Cruz had attacked Leppert for appearing at gay Pride last month.

Goodman then asked Cruz, “Do you have something against gay people?”

“I have something against gay marriage,” Cruz responded. “I don’t support gay marriage. I think there is an onslaught right now in this country to tear down traditional marriage, and I don’t think it’s right.”

Goodman asked Cruz whether he was suggesting that Leppert supports same-sex marriage.

“When the mayor of a city chooses twice to march in a parade celebrating gay pride, that’s a statement, and it’s not a statement I agree with,” Cruz said.

Leppert then responded by referring to himself in the third person: “The mayor is against gay marriage. He believes that marriage should be defined as one man and one woman.

“My job as mayor was to represent everybody in this city,” Leppert said. “I visited with groups that didn’t agree with what I said. I talked to groups that I didn’t agree with what they said, but it was my obligation to represent everybody. I engaged everybody, and I will continue to do that.”

When Cruz attacked Leppert for appearing at gay Pride last month, Leppert responded by comparing himself to Jesus. This time, although he took a similar approach, he stopped short of invoking the lord’s name.

“I will tell you my role as a Christian is to reach out and touch everybody,” Leppert said. “I wish I could have made stands only when I was in a courtroom, but I didn’t. I was criticized time and time again for showing my faith and being open with it, and standing pro-life. In fact, The Dallas Morning News criticized me for taking a position of pro-life. It was the right thing to do, I will continue to do it. But I did it when I put my neck on the line as a leader standing up for what exactly was right. I was pro-life unabashedly, and I said it.

“I am against gay marriage,” Leppert said. “I believe marriage should be defined as one man and one woman. It is very clear. But I had a responsibility to represent everybody, and everybody understood exactly where my faith was, and if there’s any question you can see pastors like Robert Jeffress and David Dykes and those folks, who don’t understand me from the business standpoint, but they sure understand who I am, and they have stood unabashedly and endorsed me for this office.”

Goodman then noted that gay couples are denied more than 1,000 rights because the federal government doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage. Goodman asked the candidates whether, in lieu of legalizing same-sex marriage, the federal government should merely grant gay couples those benefits by recognizing civil unions or other partnerships.

That’s when James, the former SMU football star, chimed in.

“I think right now this country, our moral fiber is sliding down a slope that is gonna be hard to stop, if we don’t stand up with leaders who don’t go ride in gay parades,” James said. “I can assure you I will never ride in a gay parade. And I hear what you’re saying, Tom, but leaders, our kids out there and people need to see examples. Now, I’m a guy that believes in a man and a woman being the greatest governance occurring in a home at night between a husband and a wife, Adam and Eve and what the Bible says. And the backbone, and I know you’re a Christian, I’m not doubting that, Tom, but man you’ve got to stand up, if you are chosen as our senator, and be a leader, and not do things like that. We need examples for our kids.”

Goodman then asked James and the other candidates whether they think being gay is a choice.

“I think it’s a choice, I do,” James responded. “You have to make that choice, absolutely.… Same-sex marriage, if someone chooses to do that, then that’s them, and God’s going to judge each one of us in this room for our actions, but in that case right there, they’re going to have to answer to the lord for their actions. We should not give benefits to those civil unions. It should not occur. We have to stay strong on this. This is important, man. I tell you what, we have a fiscal issue in this county, but we also have a moral issue in this country, and as Christians we better stand up.”

Pittenger, a longshot candidate, was next to weigh in.

“I think what you see on the stage pretty much explains why we have so many denominations in the church,” Pittenger said. “Everyone kind of has a different perspective on what they think Christ would have done and how he would have acted. Now, I respect what Tom was saying, that he felt like he was to engage the entire community. I personally disagree with his approach, just because if there was a Republican club that was openly homosexual, and they wanted to talk issues, any number of issues, I’m happy to go visit with them about the issues. But I’m not going to walk down the street with them celebrating what I believe to be a sin. But I respect Tom’s approach. Christ reached people in many different ways. The Pharisees hated him because he ate dinner with sinners. And Jesus said, ‘The doctor doesn’t come for the well, he comes for the sick.’ And we just have to, each one of us has to stand before God, and make sure our heart is right with God about how we engage those who are living in sinful ways. Now while he ate dinner with them, I don’t believe he marched along with them as they were going down to have an orgy or have any sort of drunken revelries. But they came in his space, and he engaged with them there. This is about different perspectives on how we engage people we believe are lost, and you just have to decide which one’s better.”

Finally, Leppert was given an opportunity to respond to James and Pittenger.

“I’ve addressed the issue,” Leppert said, and the debate moved on to the topic of illegal immigration.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 24, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Tea party group makes surprising endorsement

The tea party is certainly not one unified political organization. And as a group the tea party has not backed any one particular GOP presidential candidate. While many supported Michele Bachmann, there’s been no consensus. But most tea party support has gone to Republicans and most tea party candidates have run as Republicans.

President Barack Obama

But one Tea Party endorsement is surprising. A group has formed called Tea Party for Obama.

Huh?

Well, they explain.

“We manned up and realized that the problem is that the recession began during the previous administration,” they wrote.

They wrote that they’re tired of being called nut jobs and racists and looked at all the candidates and found no one to support on the Republican side. So they looked at Barack Obama’s record.

Reducing the size of government and the amount people pay in taxes are two main tea party demands.

Just a few weeks ago, the president proposed combining agencies to reduce the size of government and make it easier to do business with the government.

And taxes?

“Last time we checked, Obama forced GOP in Congress to approve tax cuts for payroll,” they wrote.

Here’s Tea Party for Obama’s list of the president’s accomplishments:

• Reduced government size
• Largest tax cut ever
• Provided health care for everyone
• Protected Medicare
• Saved country from the worst recession ever
• Saved the U.S. auto industry
• Took out Osama bin Laden

So is this an actual tea party group or is this a group of Democrats co-opting the tea party name for attention? The website doesn’t give a clue because no names or other information is included.

—  David Taffet

You can vote in the Tea Party’s straw poll this weekend, but it will cost you

There’s still time to register for the Saddle Up Texas Straw Poll, a three-day Tea-Party-sponsored event at Minute Maid Park here in Houston. The poll’s organizers say it’s designed to give Texas greater weight in the presidential primary process. From their website, saddleuptexaspoll.com:

Despite Texas’ apparent political clout as holder of the second largest delegation to the Electoral College and the second largest population in the United States, its position in the primary election, which is governed by political parties, is significantly and detrimentally out of balance to its general election influence…

Citizens from every corner of Texas have come together to bring Texas’ influence forward as an integral part of the national primary election process through a grassroots organized presidential straw poll, called the Saddle Up Texas Straw Poll, which is designed to give Texans an appropriate voice in the Primary.

To participate all you have to do is make your way to Minute Maid Park, prove your identity using a state issued photo identification (of course), and shell out $45 for the tickets. Obviously this isn’t a real election, just a straw poll, so pesky things like the twenty-fourth amendment and the Voting Rights Act don’t apply, but it occurs to me that charging almost half a c-note for the honor of participating in a poll is a pretty good way of insuring that the poll results only reflect a particular segment of the population. Whatever the results of the poll (to be announced Sunday) let’s hope that anyone repeating them includes the addendum that the poll reflects only the opinions of Texans able to 1. travel to Houston for three days and 2. willing to shell out $45 for the honor of voting in a meaningless poll.

—  admin