onestepforward's Journal - Archives
Houston police arrested about a dozen protesters Thursday during a march that ended at a downtown bridge.
About 200-300 people affiliated with the Occupy Houston movement and other advocacy groups met at Market Square Park about 4 p.m. then moved out to their destination at the Travis Street bridge near Commerce.
When they arrived, 12 members suddenly linked arms and sat in the intersection, blocking afternoon commuters from leaving.
“A non-violent movement’s best weapon is disruption,” said Carl Gibson with Occupy Houston.
“We’re going to peacefully disrupt society and let people know that are voices are going to be heard,” Gibson said.
HPD officials said they asked the protesters to leave the intersection and took them into custody only when they chose not to.
“The vast majority of these protesters exercised their First Amendment rights peacefully. We appreciate that,” said HPD spokesman Kese Smith.
Nice slideshow at the link!
protesters who try to protect their supplies:
ANOTHER HOUSTON OCCUPIER ARRESTED – NOVEMBER 15, 2011
Occupy Houston protesters were frustrated today by the ever-widening definition of a “tent” as articulated by City Hall and HPD. At approximately 3:00 PM, the occupation site at Tranquility Park was approached by several uniformed officers from the police and fire departments, including a police captain and Fire Chief Galvan. Protesters were instructed to remove tarps placed over tables which were being used to protect food, electronic equipment and medical supplies both on top of and underneath the tables from today’s showers. The practice has been permissible throughout the duration of the occupation, which has now exceeded a month, and today the tarps were suddenly deemed “tents” and therefore in violation of the current policy. The protesters refused to remove the tarps, forming a line and chanting, while police forcibly removed all tarps covering the tables. One occupy participant was arrested in the process and remains in custody.
The action occurred only a few moments after today’s City Council meeting, where several occupy participants commended City Council and HPD for their respectful and cooperative disposition during the past several weeks before requesting action on the increasingly contentious issue of the use of tarps, tents and canopies in the park. It is exactly one week since 6 other protesters were arrested over a tarp being used to protect similar equipment, and three weeks since the last appearance of the protesters at a City Council meeting, where they requested permission for the use of tarps, tents and canopies. Also addressed during the incident were some concerns of the fire department over the use of extension cords, with which the protesters respectfully complied.
This is a small event, considering the gut-wrenching police abuse and brutality at larger OWS cities, but it fits into the pattern of police/city officials harassing and sometimes attacking peaceful protesters.
Here in Houston, the 4th largest city in America, the number of protesters is extremely small and non-threatening. They are such a peaceful and thoughtful group who would make anyone here very proud. It really angers me to hear about an arrest for trying to protect property from rain. I am not happy with Mayor Parker right now.
It will be a few weeks until I can return due to prior plans, but I look forward to it. If it wasn't a 60 mile round trip, I'd be there more often. Off to write my Mayor now.
UPDATE: We have a rough timeline of the situation available. All times are approximate.
8:30pm: Approximately three Houston police officers approached Shaun, a sustainability and peacekeeping volunteer, calling his tarp a structure in violation of city ordinance. The previous night HPD advised us on how to put up a tarp and not violate ordinances, so Shaun refused and stayed with other Occupy Houston members under the tarp.
9:30pm: Approximately 13 HPD officers are present at Tranqility park.
10:00pm: Approximately 18 HPD officers are present at Tranquility park.
11:00pm: Approximately 27 HPD officers in approximately 19 squad cars arrest seven members of Occupy Houston. Some had to be carried away.
HPD officers were in communication with Burke, a councilor working with Occupy Houston, advising on how to remove the tarp and items under the tarp, and how to avoid arrest. Shortly after Occupy Houston members were arrested Burke and his wife were seized then arrested by HPD officers for jaywalking. An HPD squad car was blocking the crosswalk at the intersection of Bagby St. and Walker St. at the time.
A majority of HPD offricers refused contact with Occupy Houston members requesting officer name, and badge numbers.
Those awaiting arrest used the people’s microphone to recite Amendments one through fourteen of the U.S. Constitution and HPD’s mission statement.
Damn! More information at the link.
I went to Occupy Houston this afternoon and stayed until the evening. Less people overall today. Several families and individuals came by to visit. It was inspiring to talk with folks. This is a very determined group
This is the next big event:
A few things have changed. TSU (Texas Southern University) will also be participating and the march from UH to Tranquility Park may change re: too far.
A few photos from today:
Come out sometime if you can!
Tonight on the radio, there was an announcement that Michael Moore was in Houston for his book tour and that he would be visiting Occupy Houston afterward, so I decided that now was the time to make my first visit. Upon arriving, there was an announcement that he was too tired and would not be coming tonight. I hope that he can make it tomorrow before he leaves. It would mean a lot to the protesters.
I just have to say that I was so excited to be there! There were about 100 or so people and a lot of smiles. There were a few police cars parked on the corners of the park. Everything was calm and peaceful. I'll post a few pictures later on and plan to return again this weekend.
Activists save a whale who is entangled in fishing net. They only have a pocket knife. The ending is beautiful
WASHINGTON -- In an attempt to defund Planned Parenthood without breaking any federal rules, Texas lawmakers passed two measures this month that will decimate the state's family planning program and result in nearly 300,000 women losing access to cancer and diabetes screenings.
In early June, Rick Perry, Texas' Republican governor, signed a budget bill that reduced the state's family planning funding from $111 million to just $37 million. Then on Monday, state lawmakers passed a measure that forces the Texas Health Department to dole out the remaining funds using a tiered priority system, in which Planned Parenthood is at the very bottom.
"It doesn't completely defund us, but it puts the agency in a position where they have to put us third in line for the money," said Yvonne Gutierrez, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of South Texas. "And it's not only us that's in the third tier -- it's all the traditional family planning providers that don't provide comprehensive care, many in rural areas. So it's the hard to reach population that's really being affected by this."
Further, if Texas breaks federal Medicaid rules by discriminating against Planned Parenthood, the state could risk nearly $150 million in federal family planning funds.
I first heard about this tonight on Rachel's show. These bastards make me sick.
This is from a 2005 article, but it is still pertinent.
The Japanese auto giant announced that it was going to bypass offers of hundreds of millions of dollars in "recruitment incentives" (corporate subsidies) from several Southern states, and would instead set up shop in Ontario, Canada, which was offering much fewer give-aways.
The decision to head north was an embarassment for Southern states eagerly competing to lure Toyota, on several levels. Not only did they lose a trophy job-creator for their state. But the reason Toyota gave for the move was especially damning:
"The level of the workforce in general is so high that the training program you need for people, even for people who have not worked in a Toyota plant before, is minimal compared to what you have to go through in the southeastern United States," said Gerry Fedchun, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association, whose members will see increased business with the new plant <...>
Several U.S. states were reportedly prepared to offer more than double
He said Nissan and Honda have encountered difficulties getting new plants up to full production in recent years in Mississippi and Alabama due to an untrained - and often illiterate - workforce. In Alabama, trainers had to use "pictorials" to teach some illiterate workers how to use high-tech plant equipment.
But now companies are waking up to the limitations of locating in a state that cares more about handing out tax breaks than investing in its people.
Have the Republicans learned anything from this? Hell no. Their ideology of refusing to learn from mistakes, belligerent stubbornness to change direction and desperate clinging to their failed policies will harm Texans for years to come.
No need to wear shades here. Our future is not bright.
AUSTIN — After taking the unusual and controversial strategy of cutting off debate, the Texas House late Monday voted 99 to 47 in favor of a ban on "sanctuary cities," despite objections that the measure was unnecessary and will increase racial profiling against Hispanics.
House Republicans voted to end debate by calling for an immediate vote on the bill, shutting down debate on amendments after four hours of sometimes heated discussion.
Democrats roundly criticized the tactic almost as emotionally as the underlying legislation, and faulted House Speaker Joe Straus for allowing the maneuver.
The bill, given emergency status by Gov. Rick Perry, would prohibit government entities from instructing law enforcement personnel not to inquire into the immigration status of persons detained in a criminal investigation. Opponents say it would lead to racial profiling and diminished trust of law enforcement in the Hispanic community.
I really appreciate how hard many Dems. are working, even when totally outnumbered. Rep. Jose Menendez has been kickin' ass.
I wonder if the passage of this bill will help motivate Latino voters to get out the vote?
Texas nursing home leaders are concerned about how they will care for the frail and elderly if lawmakers carry out plans to drastically reduce the state Medicaid budget.
Deep cuts would gut many nursing homes, forcing them to pare back services, reduce staff or even close, administrators said. A majority of the state's nursing home residents depend on Medicaid for long-term care.
"This is an unprecedented crisis we are facing in the state," said George Linial, president and CEO of the Texas Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.
Medicaid is a state-federal funded program that provides health care assistance for children, pregnant women, disabled and elderly people. Senate and House budget proposals call for a 10 percent reduction in Medicaid spending to help close a budget shortfall, but the loss totals 33 percent when the loss of federal matching funds from the stimulus package is factored in, the association said. The stimulus funding runs out in June and won't be replaced.
Based on a survey to determine how dependent nursing homes are on Medicaid, the association estimates that 80 percent of the state's 1,054 nursing homes would close and more than 60,000 residents would lose care if Medicaid funds dropped by 30 percent. In the Houston-Galveston area, 65 out of 76 facilities would close and more than 7,000 elderly would lose care, the association said.
These are Texans that can no longer care for themselves and their family can no longer care for them. 60,000 elderly without care? What happens to these folks?
AUSTIN — Legislation requiring women seeking an abortion to first have a sonogram is an emergency that merits expedited consideration by the Legislature, Gov. Rick Perry told anti-abortion activists on Saturday.
A bill backed by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Houston state Sen. Dan Patrick will be granted emergency status, Perry told more than a thousand anti-abortion protesters at a rally. They had gathered at the Capitol on the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.
Patrick's bill this session goes further than in 2009. Beyond requiring women who seek an abortion to receive a sonogram, a procedure that provides an image of the fetus, the bill would require women to listen to a doctor's explanation of the physical characteristics of the fetus and to hear audio of the heartbeat. It would also require women to be informed about alternatives to abortion at least 24 hours before the procedure.
I can't even imagine what the next "emergency" will be.
The voter ID bill was one of two items declared an emergency Thursday by Republican Gov. Rick Perry, prompting some Democratic leaders in the Texas House to say only the budget should get priority status. Some said they will urge their members not to support a plan next week allowing early debate on bills Perry has identified as emergencies.
Late Thursday, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst notified senators that he would bring up voter ID on Monday, with Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, presiding over the Senate meeting as a committee of the whole. By doing so, it will allow the Senate to accelerate the process. Usually, a bill will go before a committee, which then takes testimony on the issue, followed by debate and then a committee vote taking it to the full Senate.
Democrats have blocked Republican efforts in recent years to pass a voter ID bill. Republicans contend a more secure voting system is needed to make sure ineligible voters don't cast ballots. Democrats counter that a photo ID-based system would only make it harder for seniors and low-income Texans to vote.
These are just the highlights. I knew this was coming but I didn't realize just how unprepared I was to see the numbers. I feel sick now.
Cuts in public education: $5 billion
The budget proposes nearly $5 billion less for public education below the current base funding. It is also $9.8 billion less than what is needed to cover current funding formulas, which includes about 170,000 additional students entering the public school system during the next two-year budget cycle. Pre-kindergarten would be scaled back.
Higher education funding, including student financial aid, would be slashed.
Cuts in health and human services: $2.3 billion (including $2 billion Medicaid, CHIP and food stamps and $241 million from state health services.)
The proposal wouldn't provide funding for all the people projected to be eligible for the Medicaid program and would slash Medicaid reimbursement rates for health care providers.
Community supervision programs would be cut and a Sugar Land prison unit would be closed. Funding would be eliminated for four community colleges including Brazosport near Lake Jackson.
Cuts in higher education: $771.6 million (including: $100 million from the University of Texas and Texas A&M University.)
This a cute video of a group of Canadian children being shown electronic gadgets of the past. It is funny to see them try to figure out their purpose!
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Any fellow Texans still here?
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