Everything Is Bigger In Texas. Especially A Protest To Removing Abortion Rights For Women!!

By Jueseppi B.


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We’ll be there — will you?


TOMORROW: Texans Rally to Oppose Attacks on Women’s Health


BREAKING! Program for the rally: Natalie Maines, State Sen. Wendy Davis, actress Stephanie March, actress Lisa Edelstein, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, and NARAL President Ilyse Hogue to address crowd.



See you tomorrow!



Thousands Attend Texas Capitol Anti Abortion Rally



Cecile Richards: “Dewhurst called us an unruly mob. The rest of us call that democracy.”

Cecile Richards: “Dewhurst called us an unruly mob. The rest of us call that democracy.”

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards rocking the burnt orange! Go Texas!

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards rocking the burnt orange! Go Texas!



Texas Senate Livestream 83(2)


Started on May 29, 2013

This channel carries gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Texas Senate during the 2013 special sessions. For more info on the session, as well as other Texas politics and policy news, please visit http://www.texastribune.org/.





From My San Antonio:


Texas lawmakers return to the Capitol on Monday to debate abortion in a second special session called by Gov. Rick Perry.


A filibuster by Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, ended the first special session last week when lawmakers missed a deadline to vote on the bill. Hundreds of Texans, mostly women, turned out in support of Davis and against the bill, and they vowed to return to rally Monday.


The issue has attracted thousands, not just from Texas, to rally about the bill.



Here’s what’s going on in Austin:


1:20 p.m. in the Senate Gallery: Texas Department of Public Safety troopers have been stationed inside the Senate gallery as it begins to fill. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has warned that he will clear the room if he cannot keep order after the Senate convenes at 2 p.m. The troopers are outfitted with zip-tie handcuffs. During Tuesday’s filibuster, outspoken protesters were removed from the gallery.


1:20 p.m. Capitol Rotunda: Men and women alike gathered in the rotunda of the Capitol to protest Monday.


Jose Orta from Taylor, Texas, came to protest the restrictive abortion bill. He said he thought it was important for men to get involved in the issue as well as women.


“I think men have to stand up as well for women’s rights. We have to stand to stand up for our daughters, sisters and mothers,” he said.


Orta said he didn’t like how men were making decisions and passing legislation controlling the bodies of women.


“We’re standing up to draconian rules,” he said. “I don’t want women to think that all men have that stance.”


Orta, originally from West Texas, said that he believes the bill would make it too hard for the women of West Texas to get abortions.


“It’s already hard to travel around in West Texas,” he said. “Adding this stress for the women in West Texas will just make it too hard.”


Orta said he was especially mad at the fact that Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst referred to those protesting last week as an “unruly mob.”


“This is the people’s house,” he said. “I can’t believe I’m 50 and we’re still doing this.”


Meanwhile, as Wendy Davis walked through the Capitol’s Rotunda, the crowds went wild.


Pro-choice supporters continue to chant.


“Not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate!”


“The people, united, will never be defeated!”


1:03 p.m.: Fort Worth residents Jennifer Silver-Hudnall and her 5-year-old son Daniel stood in the first floor of the rotunda at the Capitol holding signs silently as the pro-choice chanting continued.


Daniel, Jennifer’s adopted son, was almost aborted at 7 months from his natural mother.


“His name is Daniel because he was in the lion’s den, but he was protected,” Jennifer said.


Jennifer met Daniel’s mother through an outreach ministry group, and intervened when she found out his mother planned to abort him.


“I was pro-choice until I envisioned my own child on a medical waste tray,” Jennifer said. “I brought Daniel here to give a face to the victims.


“I held his mother’s hand when she delivered. He’s a miracle.”


12:50 p.m.: Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, addressed the crowd in front of the Capitol.


Amongst jabs at Gov. Rick Perry, Richards emphasized Planned Parenthood wasn’t going anywhere and the the fact the bills would take the state back decades.


“Texas women settled the prairies, build this state, raised our families,” said Richards, a Texan and daughter of the late Gov. Ann Richards. “We survived hurricanes, we survived tornados, and we can survive Texas legislation.”


State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, also took the stage to applause.


She addressed the moment on the Senate floor where she had to raise her hand to make a comment.


“It’s true, some people have problems hearing women’s voices,” Van de Putte said. “For the next 30 days, make sure they hear you,” she told a roaring crowd.


12:30 p.m., in the Rotunda: Pro-choice supporters dance and chant against the bill that would reinforce restrictions on abortions in Texas.


Veronica and Rosemary Hamilton, sisters from San Diego, Calif.,, are among the leaders of the chants. The pair drove to Austin a week ago to support Wendy Davis’s filibuster.


“This bill is going to kill people,” said Veronica. “When women don’t have access to healthy abortions, they’ll start doing unhealthy things. This is a national issue, affecting more than just Texas women.”


Veronica said the 40-hour drive from California was definitely worth it.


“This is definitely going to hit the poor hard,” Rosemary said. “And there’s similar legislation being considered in other states, too. It’s important to stand up to it.”


12:25 p.m.: Davis emerges to greet the crowds.


12:15 p.m.: After no sign of pro-life protesters near the main entrance thus far, people blue shirts have begun to congregate on the lawn. Some maintain a distance from the pro-choice rally, others stand a few steps away.


Troy Rother and his wife and daughter stand under a tree a few feet away from the crowd. Rother holds a sign until a fellow pro-life advocate from the San Antonio Family Association returns, which urges passersby to honk for life.


“It’s about everybody’s rights,” Rother said, who is not part of the association and hails from College Station. “The rights of the unborn, who are hurt more than anyone.”


“It’s about better health care for women, too,” adds Jen, Troy’s wife.


An elderly woman yells “honk” as she passes the sign.


Noon, Capitol, Second Floor, outside of Senate chambers: Around 50 to 80 members of the San Antonio Family Association came to the Capitol to support pro-life legislation.


“We came to represent the organization we started,” said Patrick Von Dohlen, the chairman of the organization. “This session is about the future of our state and our society. We have to protect our most vulnerable.”


Von Dohlen said he thinks it’s important for men to take a stronger stand on abortion.


“It takes a man and a women to procreate,” he said. “While the woman is sharing space with the baby in the womb, the father helps make the baby. If (men) don’t stand up for their unborn children, women often feel like they don’t have options.”


He said he believes men should be more involved because they are 50 percent of the equation.


11:50 a.m.: As chanting against the bill continued, more and more pro-choice supporters gathered in the Rotunda of the Texas Capitol.


University of Texas at San Antonio students Kexia Nero and Samantha Burns were among the crowd.


“I we don’t stand up for our rights, who will,” Nero asked.


Nero, 20, and Burns, 21, said they believe it is important as young women to stand for women’s health and the right to choose when it comes to womens’ bodies.


“It’s our bodies,” said Burns. “I think this session is pointless. We shouldn’t let other people decide to make these choices for other people’s bodies.”


The two drove from San Antonio on Monday morning, arriving at the Capitol around 11.


Burns said she knows people who have had abortions.


“It’s traumatizing,” she said, “but it’s their choice.”


11:45 a.m.: Chants of “Wendy, Wendy” come from the main stage as Bright Lights Social Hour amps up the crowd.


In the meantime, a girl in braids holds up a handmade sign that reads “Girls Rock.” The child, Matilda Flowers, stands next to her mother, Dana Schultez and her aunt Jen Schultez.


“I brought my daughter because I wanted her to see the process happen,” Schultez said, who traveled from Fort Worth. “(We) have to (make our voice heard) in politics.”


Schultez said she attended the Day 1 events because she believes the bill affects her and her daughter’s personal rights as women.


“This is not about infanticide,” Schultez said.


Around 11:30 a.m.: Natalie Maines of The Dixie Chicks sings “Not Ready to Make Nice” on the steps of the Capitol.


10:58 a.m.: Pro- life supporters gathered on the second floor of the Capitol as the leader of the pro-life organization Austin Bound4LIFE, Thomas Umstattd, spoke to the crowd.


“The eyes of the nation are on Texas right now,” said Umstattd. “People have come from all over the nation to pray to God for one purpose: to save life.”


As he continued his speech, pro-life gatherers clapped as pro-choice supporters yelled out over the crowd.


“When they scream, we will be quiet. They have anger but we have love,” he said.


“There are generations of Texans who are in the womb. We are here to speak for them.”


After Umstattd’s speech, the crowd recited the Lord’s Prayer.


Umstattd said pro-life supporters would keep a “peaceful” and “prayerful” presence over the course of the special session.


10:42 a.m.: Pro-life supporters began to gather outside the senate chamber and on the second floor of the Capitol. Many wore red tape with the word “Life” written across; some donning it on their mouths and others on the front of their shirts.


Nancy Castro, a San Antonio native, said she left as early as 5 a.m. to get to the Capitol from San Antonio.


“I knew that if I wanted to represent, that I would have to be here from the beginning,” Castro said. “I left at 5 a.m. to be here.”


Castro, who has had three abortions in the past, said it was important for her to be here to represent unborn children and let women know of the pain it leaves women with.


“When I had my abortions, I didn’t realize how I would feel after,” Castro said. “No one told me. We want people to be fully informed.”


Castro began to tear up as she talked about her previous experiences with abortion. She now has two adopted children and a natural son.


“It took him a long time to forgive me,” she said. “He wanted siblings.”


“There’s a pain you have to live with. We want these people to know the pain that comes with this for the woman.”


Sylvia Rodriguez, an Austin resident, also came to support the bill.


“The baby is a human life, and we’re speaking for life,” she said. “It goes beyond politics.”


Rodriguez also had an abortion. She now has two sons.


10:15 a.m.: The orange-clad crowd is growing in front of the Capitol.


As people file in, Linda Brooks urges people over to a circle of people signing cards.


“I saw these giant cards at H-E-B and I thought, great,” she said.


Amongst the names of senators and representatives receiving the cards are state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte and state Sen. Wendy Davis, of whom Brooks is a constituent.


“(We) want to thank the people who are working so hard on their constituents’ behalf, and (people) can’t always do that,” said Brooks, who lives in Arlington.


Brooks plans to deliver the cards to offices this evening.


9:45 a.m., just outside the Capitol: As men roll a cart filled with water down the path leading from the Capitol, Natalie Atwater stands serenely by a red pull cart. A sign propped up reads “the people’s food.”


“I was here last week and it was very energy-taxing,” said Atwater, an Austin resident. “You don’t want to leave … to keep solidarity.”


She added she was repaying the favor to those had provided food for her.


“My body, my choice” is painted on her torso as she hands out apples, yogurt and pastries.


“I’ll be here all day, all week, all month if I have to,” Atwater said.


People started gathering on the Texas Capitol Rotunda floor as early 7 this morning, ready to protest during the second special session.


Pre-rally, outside Capitol: Lainie Duro, an Austin resident, has set up her own section of the rotunda floor to be the makeshift “People’s Library,” where people can read pamphlets and books on women’s health.


“I wanted to have an early presence,” Duro said. “This is one of my days off from work and I wanted to be here if people had questions or wanted to get involved.”


In addition to the “People’s Library,” Duro is helping run the “People’s Filibuster.” She’s taking down people’s testimonials, and sending them to the face of the filibuster, Austin native Quinn Cornship.


Cornship, along with others in various areas around the Capitol, are live streaming and reading the collected testimonials. Links to the live streams can be found on riseuptx.org.


“(The various pro-choice organizations) quickly formed a community through riseuptx.org,” Duro said. “We have twitter feeds, Facebook groups and various live streams.”


Duro, a member of Occupy Austin and Unruly Mob Media, said she thought it was important for her to give a voice for the women who can’t make it to the Capitol.


“I wanted to support the full spectrum of women’s health,” Duro said. “I feel like this affects poor, rural women. They can’t be here. I think it’s important for them to be represented.”


When asked why she’s a proponent of abortion, Duro laughs and answers easily.


“I have a uterus,” she said. “I’m a proponent of women listening to their bodies. I want to make sure people’s health care choices are based on what they think is best.”


Thank you My San Antonio & My San Antonio Staff writers Emily Bamforth and Elise Brunsvold.



Ms. Jessica Luther and musician Ms. Natalie Maines

Ms. Jessica Luther and musician Ms. Natalie Maines

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Abortion Restrictions Texas


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Kaufman County Assistant DA Gunned Down In Broad Daylight Outside County Courthouse

By Jueseppi B.







From WFAA.Com Dallas/Ft. Worth:



Posted on January 31, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Updated today at 6:09 PM

Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was shot dead outside the courthouse Thursday, spurring a complete lockdown of the grounds and an active search for the two shooters.


Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Pat Laney said the suspects ambushed the assistant DA on his way in to court and shot him multiple times in a parking lot at about 8:50 a.m. They then fled the scene. The courthouse was locked down and later closed for the day.


As of 3:30 p.m., there’s been no arrest. During an afternoon press conference, Kaufman County Sheriff David Burns, District Attorney Mike McLellan and Police Chief Chris Albaugh begged the public for any information that could identify those responsible.


“We’re very confident that we’re going to find you, we’re going to pull you out of whatever hole you’re in, we’re going to bring you back and we’re going to let the people of Kaufman County prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law,” McLellan said.


Hasse, a longtime prosecutor for the Dallas County District Attorney‘s Office and current assistant DA for Kaufman County, is the man who was shot and killed, the Sheriff’s Office confirmed. He was a felony prosecutor who headed murder and drug cases.


Hasse joined the Kaufman County District Attorney’s Office in July 2010, records show.


“Mark was really a great guy, he was the consummate prosecutor, he was hard-working, loved his job, and juries loved him for some reason,” said Dallas attorney Ted Steinke, who oversaw Hasse in the Dallas County DA’s Office. “He wasn’t very large in stature, but juries loved him and he exuded confidence.”


Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood told News 8’s Jonathan Betz that he was not working on any high-profile cases that required any extra security. Investigators are following up on his caseload, however.


However, hours after Hasse was gunned down, the Department of Justice issued a release on its website crediting the Kaufman County District Attorney’s Office with helping investigate two known members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas gang. They pleaded guilty the day of the shooting to racketeering charges.


Before the release was issued, The Dallas Morning Newscredited “authorities with knowledge of the assistant DA’s caseload” as saying he was “heavily involved” in an investigation of the Aryan Brotherhood. According to the release, Ben Christian Dillon, aka “Tuff”, of Houston, and James Marshall Meldrum, aka “Dirty”, of Dallas, both “agreed to commit multiple acts of murder, robbery, arson, kidnapping and narcotics tracking” for the Aryan Brotherhood.


During the press conference, Burns and Albaugh each warned against speculation, saying they are both following “several” leads.


“Due to the nature of them, we can’t discuss them,” Albaugh said. “As soon as we’re able to, we’d be be glad to help you.”


Earlier, Wood  classified Hasse’s shooting as an “ambush” and told Betz that courthouse security is always tight, but not in the parking lot.


“It’s a scary deal,” Steinke said. “Every prosecutor every once in a while gets a death threat, and we take them seriously, but this is the first time in 20 years that I can remember here in North Texas a prosecutor actually being assaulted.”


During a press conference, Sheriff David Burns and Police Chief Chris Aulbaugh said Hasse was heading to misdemeanor court when he was assaulted and gunned down.


“When you get up into the level, you are really attacking society as a whole because our whole society is based on our criminal justice system and getting our day in court,” Burns said. “This is not how to handle our business.”


The Texas Department of Public Safety sent out an alert for troopers to be on lookout for a silver “older model” Ford Taurus. According to the alert, the two suspects are wearing all black and at least one is in a tactical vest. DPS choppers are flying low over the treeline in north Kaufman.


Kaufman County Crime Stoppers issued a reward that quickly swelled to $30,000 Thursday afternoon for information leading to who is responsible. To submit an anonymous tip, you’re asked to call 817-847-7522. 


Kaufman Independent School District Superintendent Todd Williams said all schools in the district are also locked down as authorities search for the shooters. Forney ISD spokesman Larry Coker said all schools have been ordered to lock their doors until the suspects are caught. Administrators will reevaluate the plan at 2 p.m.


Forney is about 22 miles northwest of Kaufman.


“This is a crime, as our county judge said, that is against the very basis of our fabric,” McLellan said. “As far as I know, this has never been done before.”


In an email sent to staff Thursday morning, the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office confirmed the victim was a prosecutor and was fatally shot.


Below is the entire email sent by the Dallas County DA:

“This message is not intended to scare anyone but please be advised. A Kaufman County prosecutor was fatally shot a few minutes ago outside the Kaufman County Courthouse in Kaufman. Two masked gunman are the suspects. They have not been apprehended yet.

Please be aware of your surroundings when leaving the building for your safety. This is probably a isolated incident but until further notice if you plan to work past dark today please be careful and ask security for assistance escorting you to your vehicles if needed. I will keep you informed as to the arrest of the suspects when i am notified. Don’t panic but please be aware of your environment when leaving the building.”


Employees at businesses nearby say they’ve seen heavy police activity and heard reports of the shooting. Cathy Coulson, a real estate agent at Re/Max across from the courthouse, said she was not at work when the shooting happened, but reported seeing police helicopters searching overhead.


“I didn’t hear anything, I came into my office right after it happened, but I talked to one of my clients that’s two blocks behind us and he said that he heard it,” Coulson said, adding that she’s seen police walking the streets. “They don’t have time to come tell us to lock down, we have enough sense to do that; we’ve seen them going around and the helicopters.”


Tonya Ratcliff, a clerk at The Kaufman County Tax Office located to the right of the courthouse, said officers came inside and asked them to lock their doors.


Kaufman is a town of 7,000 about 30 miles east of Dallas.




Investigators placed evidence markers in the spot where Kaufman County Assistant DA Mark Hasse was gunned down on Jan. 31, 2013. (Credit: WFAA




Texas Department of Public Safety troopers line a street in north Kaufman following a shooting at the Kaufman County Courthouse that left a assistant district attorney dead. (Marcus Moore/WFAA)




A prosecutor was shot dead outside the Kaufman County courthouse on Jan. 31, 2013. (Credit: Jonathan Betz/WFAA)




Kaufman County authorities gather after Assistant DA Mark Hasse was murdered outside the courthouse on Jan. 31, 2013. (Credit: WFAA)




The Kaufman County Courthouse was shut down after Assistant DA Mark Hasse was gunned down nearby on Jan. 31, 2013. (Credit: WFAA)




State troopers search a Kaufman neighborhood after the county’s assistant district attorney was gunned down on Jan. 31, 2013. (Credit: WFAA)



Get The Rest of The Story & Photos at WFAA.Com Dallas/Ft. Worth.















14 Dead In Horrific Texas Pickup Truck Crash


By Jueseppi B.




In a photo provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety the wreckage of a pickup truck is seen after it crahed into trees in Goliad County, Texas, Sunday July 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Texas Department of Public Safety)




A pickup truck carrying 23 people veered off a Texas highway and crashed late Sunday, killing 14 and injuring 9 others.


The Ford F-250 Super Duty pickup was was traveling north on U.S. Highway 59 when it crashed into two large trees near Goliad, Texas, about 100 miles southeast of San Antonio, Texas Highway Patrol trooper Gerald Bryant told KTRK-TV.


Some of the victims were airlifted to hospitals in San Antonio and Corpus Christi. The cause of the crash remains under investigation, police said.


“In my 38 years as an officer, this is one of the worst fatalities I have been to,” Bryant said. “I have never seen where we had that many in a vehicle.”


The victims were crammed in the cab and bed of the pickup truck.


“Based on the mode of travel, the way that the people were in the vehicle, it’s a high probability there were illegal immigrants traveling northbound on 59,” Texas Dept. of Safety Lt. Glen Garrett told KIII-TV.


According to CNN, U.S. border patrol and “immigration and customs enforcement agents were called to the scene.” Goliad County is about 150 miles northeast of the Mexican border.


The names of the victims have yet to be released. According to MySanAntonio.com, the vehicle was registered to an owner in Houston. The driver of the vehicle was one of the survivors.


“It is not uncommon for human traffickers to try to maximize profits by over-loading vehicles with illegal immigrants,” the Associated Press said. “In April, nine Mexican immigrants died near the border when the teenage driver of their van crashed after fleeing Border Patrol. There were 18 people in that minivan.”



More coverage:


(AP) McALLEN, Texas – A pickup truck overloaded with illegal immigrants veered off a highway and crashed into trees in rural South Texas, killing at least 14 people and leaving 9 injured, authorities said.


U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations agents were looking into the human smuggling aspect of the case. A Texas Department of Public Safety accident reconstruction team meanwhile investigated the cause of the Sunday evening crash in Goliad County, about 150 miles northeast of the border with Mexico.


ICE spokesman Greg Palmore said that among the 11 men and three females who died were citizens of Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras.


Gerald Bryant, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said at least 23 passengers were crammed inside the truck’s cab and bed, including at least two young children whom he saw among the dead.


“This is the most people I’ve seen in any passenger vehicle, and I’ve been an officer for 38 years,” Bryant said.


The driver was among the 11 found dead at the scene, Bryant said, adding that investigators were trying to confirm his name. Six of those who died in the crash were still inside the mangled vehicle when emergency crews arrived at the scene, Bryant said.


The white 2000 Ford F-250 pickup was heading north on U.S. 59 when it drove off the right side of the highway near the unincorporated community of Berclair and struck two large trees, Bryant said. Berclair is about 90 miles southeast of San Antonio.


The truck was registered in Houston to someone other than the driver, Bryant said.


A DPS accident reconstruction team was investigating the accident, but Bryant said it could be another week or two before it is concluded. U.S. ICE agents were working to confirm the identities of the victims and investigate the possibility that they had been smuggled into the United States.


It is not uncommon for human traffickers to try to maximize profits by over-loading vehicles with illegal immigrants as they move their loads north from the Texas-Mexico border. In April, nine Mexican immigrants died near the border when the teenage driver of their van crashed after fleeing Border Patrol. There were 18 people in that minivan.


Bryant told The Associated Press that several of the survivors had life-threatening injuries. He did not have their official conditions but described them as “very serious.” The injured were taken to hospitals in San Antonio, Victoria and Corpus Christi.


A Goliad County sheriff’s spokesman did not immediately return a message left by the AP.


In just over 48 hours, two days, in two separate incidents, 26 human lives were lost. In both cases the deceased were simply doing what we all do on a daily basis. Twelve were watching a movie in a theater, fourteen were riding in a vehicle.  It boggles my mind that simple actions such as riding in a pick up truck or watching a movie in a theater are no longer safe things to do.





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