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The State of Texas: Three Texas Congressmen Announce Inauguration Boycott

Plus: Asylum seekers are being turned back at the border, Planned Parenthood makes its case to stay in Texas Medicaid, and George H.W. Bush has been hospitalized since Saturday.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY


“I am by far not racist.”

—Sabrina Pyle, owner of Azle Café in Tarrant County, to WFAA. Pyle advertised a Martin Luther King Jr. Day special for her café on Facebook: a lunch plate of chicken and waffles with a side of watermelon. Pyle said she thought it was an “incredible, ingenious idea,” then quickly realized it wasn’t. She was skewered on social media for what she now admits was a “distasteful” menu item.


BIG NEWS


U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro (D-TX) delivers remarks on the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Boycott Blues
When President-elect Donald Trump is sworn into office this Friday, the crowd in Washington, D.C. will be short at least three Texans. On Tuesday, a trio of Texas Democrats—U.S. Representatives Joaquin Castro of San Antonio, Lloyd Doggett of Austin, and Al Green of Houston—announced that they plan to boycott the inauguration, according to the Texas Tribune. These guys certainly aren’t alone in boycotting the Donald’s big day—about 60 Democratic lawmakers have said they’ll skip the inauguration in protest, according to the Washington Post—but they are, so far, the only Texans in Congress to come out and commit to being elsewhere when Trump takes the oath of office. The Texans have made their reasons for skipping the inauguration clear. “I come from a family and a place, Texas, where respect is a fundamental value—respect for people regardless of what they look like, where they were born, or whether they share your view of the world,” Castro wrote in a statement, according to the San Antonio Current. “Donald Trump has shown an utter lack of respect for so many Americans.” Green quoted Martin Luther King Jr. in his statement explaining his decision, saying, “there comes a time when we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.” Green also added that he won’t be at the inauguration “because conscience says it is the right thing to do.” Doggett said in a statement that the boycotters are “sending a message to Mr. Trump. Respect, like Pennsylvania Avenue, is a two-way street. Instead of uniting our country, his continued, unprecedented, unpresidential actions are further dividing it.” Joaquin’s twin brother, outgoing U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, also won’t be there for the inauguration, as Politico reported last week. And, according to the Houston Chronicle, Houston Representative Sheila Jackson Lee is mulling a potential boycott as well.


MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS


No Refuge
Immigration advocates and attorneys say migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. are illegally being turned away by U.S. border patrol, according to the Washington Post. Apparently asylum seekers from Central America and Mexico are being told by border officials that they have to go back to Mexico to make an appointment with U.S. officials, while in other cases, border agents are telling asylum seekers that a “daily quota” for asylum cases has already been reached or that they need a visa, which goes against immigration laws. The problem was first reported by the San Antonio Express-News in late December, and it has apparently not improved. One immigration advocate told the Post that this is happening on a “daily basis,” and has testimony from dozens of immigrants who were seeking asylum but were turned away at different points along the border, including at Laredo, El Paso, and McAllen. On Friday, six immigrant advocacy groups filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties protesting the “systemic denial of entry to asylum seekers.” A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman told the Post there hasn’t been any “policy change” regarding asylum procedures, which follow international law meant to provide safe harbor for immigrants fleeing persecution and life-threatening dangers in their home countries.

In Or Out
Texas Planned Parenthood leaders made their case in federal court on Tuesday to stay in the state’s Medicaid program, asking Judge Sam Sparks to issue an injunction that would block the state of Texas’s plan—which goes into effect Saturday—to kick the women’s health services provider out of Medicaid, according to Reuters. Lawyers for Planned Parenthood argued that the Medicaid ouster could have a “devastating” effect on low-income women in South Texas, who rely on the organization for a variety of services, including cancer screenings and family planning, according to the Houston Chronicle. The state, meanwhile, argued that Planned Parenthood would still be able to function without the $4 million it receives annually from the state through Medicaid. During the hearing, state attorneys also showed clips from videos clandestinely shot by an anti-abortion group in 2015, purportedly showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal parts. According to the Texas Tribune, state attorneys used that footage as their main argument for why Planned Parenthood should be kicked out of Medicaid, even though a Harris County grand jury investigated the videos and declined to pursue charges against Planned Parenthood last year, indicting the video makers instead.

Short Stay
President George H.W. Bush has been in Houston Methodist Hospital since Saturday, according to the Houston Chronicle. Bush’s chief of staff, Jean Becker, told the Chronicle that the 92-year-old is “fine and he’s doing really well,” and he’s expected to be released sometime in the next few days. Family spokesman Jim McGrath told KHOU that Bush was admitted to Houston Methodist on Saturday after experiencing shortness of breath, and that doctors said he responded well to antibiotics. Barbara Bush and their son, Neil, have both visited Bush during his stay in the hospital. As the Chronicle notes, Bush’s health hasn’t been the greatest lately (which is expected because, again, the man is 92). Bush was hospitalized in 2015 after fracturing a bone in his neck during a fall at the family’s summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine, and about six months before that he ended up in Houston Methodist due to shortness of breath.


WHAT WE’RE READING


An inside look at the social activism of Coach Pop San Antonio Express-News

A Halsom City cop is being investigated for spanking two kids he stopped from running into the street Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The Catholic priest sexual abuse scandal in Galveston that you’ve never heard of Houston Press

Some real weird stuff is going on in the Corpus Christi mayor’s office Corpus Christi Caller-Times

If you can afford to buy a $385,000 Ferrari, then you can hopefully also afford to crash it in a 40-foot ravine KXAN

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  • Mark Machado

    Hypocritical sore losers. Zero doubt these 3 would be the first to condemn any republican that would have tried to do that to Hillary if she won. This is about the next President of the USA. The people and more specifically Texas voted for Trump so get over it.

    • José

      If Hillary Clinton spent her campaign insulting people based on their race, ethnicity, and religion, and then bragged about committing sexual assault, and then insulted the military and the US intelligence community and accused them of fraud while offering no supporting evidence whatsoever but instead praised the murderous dictator of a historically belligerent adversary, and lambasted those who sacrificed themselves in the civil rights movement while refusing to criticize the neo-Nazi and KKK supporters, and spent the transition period on a self congratulatory tour that reinforced all of those previous actions instead of studying hard to make up for a dangerous lack of knowledge about the important job ahead…
      Then I think we would all understand not wanting to attend her inauguration.

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      • Mark Machado

        And despite all that he won. Big league. He is going to be your President. Get use to it. So you can go to your safe space and cry but the rest of us will be celebrating America. Don’t remember any Republicans sitting out Obama’s and they most definitely didn’t have any love for him. Whatever you need to tell yourself to sleep better at night but it’s pretty plain and simple. Sore losers.

        • José

          It’s funny to see who’s whining about this, the guy who is addicted to adulation and his fawning sycophants. Sometimes people skip the inauguration. Sometimes it’s for a reason. Sometimes that reason is you. GET OVER IT. If Trumpkins can’t stand criticism they’re going to have a tough time over the next four years.

          Do you think that these folks are disobeying the law or something? Maybe they are bucking tradition but it would be dumb to use that argument given the way that Trump has already undermined the respect and dignity of the office.

  • Nancy E

    Three more names going on the “Drain the Swamp” list. Just don’t understand. It won’t change anything and only pushes the divide wider. It’s about the office of the PRESIDENCY, not who is president. Democrats are hurting themselves. Sad. They think they are the only one who can be right.

    • José

      That’s a good point, but it assumes that the President Elect is treating this as a celebration of our shared citizenry. He is not. It’s shaping up to be another gaudy, coarse, and self-congratulatory party to praise a man, not an office or a nation.

      Let’s see how this inauguration compares to previous ones. I was looking back at George W Bush’s first inaugural address. It emphasized themes of civility and mutual respect for all. He was sincere about those ideals and he was truly humble. I cannot imagine Trump delivering that kind of message, much less actually believing it.

  • Daniel J. Lopez

    U.S. Representatives Joaquin Castro of San Antonio, states he will boycott Trumps inauguration, Castro states his reason…“I come from a family and a place, Texas, where respect is a fundamental value—respect for people regardless of what they look like, where they were born, or whether they share your view of the world.” I would accept his reasons, if he would cite these same Virtues, and Values and he would have also planned to boycott Hillary’s inauguration had she been elected…

  • sherwood

    Surprising that these creeps won’t show? Not at all. Can you imagine if the GOP politicians boycotted Obama’s inauguration? They’d be called racist by the liberal media and the jerks currently boycotting Trump. Such a charade.

  • rakohlin

    These “Representatives” are clearly demonstrating the make-up of their constituency that they wish to represent. Traditionally, they are to represent ALL of those that live in their district. Unfortunately, I believe a precedent is being set by these self-serving “politicians” that will not be un-done.

  • José

    Funny how some folks criticize the hooky playing politicians, saying that they’re disrespecting the office of President, when the guy who will actually assume the office can’t be bothered to prepare for the job.

    There’s a good reason why Trump was not the first choice of the American people. Not by a wide margin.