Tag Archives: Greg Abbott

Texas AG sues districts … for seeking to keep everyone safe?

There’s a lot of things that get past me. Not this item.

Masks help prevent the spread of a deadly virus. Local Texas school districts are defying a governor’s order that bans them from issuing “mask mandates.” The Texas attorney general, who’s under felony indictment, has sued six Texas school districts for defying Gov. Greg Abbott’s order prohibiting them from issuing mask mandates.

So, wait. Does that mean that Abbott and the AG, Ken Paxton, don’t want districts to do what they can to protect teachers, students, parents and staffers? Really?

Two of the districts — Sherman and Richardson — are in North Texas. This is a ridiculous waste of time and money. Why? Because the governor is flat wrong to ban local officials from doing what they can to protect their constituents against the COVID-19 virus.

The Texas Tribune reports: Some 85 school districts and six counties have instituted mask mandates of some kind in defiance of Abbott’s ban — citing the need to protect schoolchildren too young to get the vaccine amid the spread of the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19.

Texas AG sues Sherman, Richardson, other ISDs over masking (ketr.org)

This is preposterous in the extreme. School districts have an obligation to do what they can to protect children, teachers and anyone who enters these public buildings. They shouldn’t be fighting the governor — for crying out loud! — in that effort.

As for the AG, he’s got his own legal battles to fight, as he is awaiting trial on a Collin County indictment that he committed securities fraud.

Abbott and Paxton are managing to enrage me more each day.


Roe v. Wade far from ‘settled’

If you thought the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States had become “settled law,” you had better think again.

The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision is now under a full frontal assault by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature. Texas now has a law on the books that prohibits a woman from obtaining an abortion as early as six weeks into her pregnancy.

President Biden calls the law “unconstitutional.” The current Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 to let the law take effect even though it is being contested by multiple lawsuits.

One of the four dissenting justices, Stephen Breyer, calls the SCOTUS decision “very, very, very wrong.”

The Texas Tribune reports: The Texas law is novel for incentivizing private citizens to police abortions. It empowers anyone living in the state of Texas to sue an abortion provider or anyone else they suspect is “aiding and abetting” abortions after the six-week mark. Those opposing the law say this may be far-ranging and could include the abortion provider or anyone who provided transportation to a woman, or counseled or referred a woman for an abortion.

Stephen Breyer calls Supreme Court decision on Texas abortion law ‘wrong’ | The Texas Tribune

There’s a fascinating bit of irony at play here. Conservatives proclaim proudly that they oppose what they call “judicial activism.” They say they dislike court decisions that go beyond the Constitution’s strict adherence to original intent.

From my perch in North Texas, it appears that most of the court’s conservatives — except for Chief Justice John Roberts, who sided with the liberal wing — are engaging in a raw form of judicial activism by dismissing the lawsuits and declaring that a law that is being challenged should take effect.

Wouldn’t a “conservative” court just let the litigation play out and stay out of the way?

Settled law? Not when you have a group of judicial activists on the nation’s highest court.


Abbott won’t end abortion, either

Now that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has declared his intention to “eliminate rape” from Texas, I have this overwhelming need to remind him of something else.

He won’t be able to eliminate abortion, either.

Indeed, what the governor and the Republican-dominated Texas Legislature have done is spur desperate women to take desperate measures to terminate a pregnancy. Their measures could kill them.

Abbott signed a law that disallows abortion later than six weeks into a pregnancy. Most women, from what I understand, don’t even know they are pregnant that early.

What is the most egregious element of this law is that it does not allow for any exceptions for rape and incest victims. A woman gets raped or is entangled in an incestuous encounter and become pregnant by her attacker? Tough sh**, lady! You have to give birth to that child.

What, though, might she do? She could go to a medical quack who could perform what they call a “back-alley abortion.” What happens then? Only God Almighty knows.

This is the kind of world that awaits women who might seek to end a pregnancy. It is cruel. It is inhumane. It also speaks to the profound hypocrisy of our state’s political leadership, which proclaims itself to be “pro-life” as it regards the unborn but ignores the needs of sentient human beings who are being told they must carry a pregnancy to full term while enduring enormous heartbreak along the way.

Reports have poured in that Mexico’s supreme court has declared abortion to be legal. Will Texas residents flee across our border to seek an abortion in a country that doesn’t criminalize that act? Or will they merely go to neighboring states in this country where they can end a pregnancy without the threat of being arrested and jailed? Yes, those options await some women.

Those who cannot afford to travel or who are unable to make contact with medical professionals are left to take desperate measures.

Our Legislature and our governor have performed an act of cruelty.


Eliminate rape? Umm … how?

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott officially has lost his ever-lovin’ mind.

He has signed a bill that bans abortion in Texas virtually across the board. It says women cannot terminate a pregnancy after the sixth week when most women — as I understand it — don’t even know they’re pregnant.

The new law also does not exempt women who have become pregnant as a result of rape or incest. Abbott’s response to a question from a reporter about that?

He said he is going to “eliminate all rape in Texas.” What? Huh? How in the world does he propose to do that?

No law ever written has deterred a madman from attacking a woman, forcing himself on her and impregnating her. No law can ever prevent rape from occurring. None! What in the world is Gov. Abbott saying here?

Do not misunderstand me on a key point: There are few things in the world I would want more than to see an end to violent sexual assault … such as rape and incest. However, it cannot be legislated. It cannot be mandated just because a governor, or a legislature, or Congress or the president declares his or her intention to “eliminate” it.

Women will continue to be raped. Some of them will conceive children as a result of that dastardly act. Now, under Texas law, they will have to carry that pregnancy to full term and these women will have to give birth to someone who came into their lives as the result of a violent crime.

Someone will have to explain the humanity of that law to me. Anyone? I’m all ears.


Not so funny, eh?

Whoever photo-shopped this picture perhaps thought he or she was cracking wise.

In fact, it ain’t funny.

The Texas Legislature and the state’s governor, Greg Abbott, are turning the state into the butt of jokes that won’t make many of us laugh out loud.

The state has enacted three laws that took effect at the start of the month that give me the heebie-jeebies.

One of them is the so-called “constitutional carry law” that allows any Texas resident — with some exceptions — to pack heat openly without ever having to be tested to determine if they know how to handle a firearm. They can’t be convicted felons, or convicted of domestic abuse or be a dishonorably discharged military veteran. But … still.

Another of them sets strict voting restrictions aimed primarily at voters who live in heavily Democratic communities. It bans drive-in balloting, restricts vote by mail and gives partisan poll watchers more power to snoop at what voters are doing at polling places.

Then we have this law that effectively makes abortion illegal in Texas. It says women cannot terminate a pregnancy earlier than six weeks … when most women don’t even know they’re pregnant!

I suppose I should note that these laws are being driven by Texas Republican pols.

A couple we know well once moved out of Texas and settled in Virginia. Part of the reason they made the move — and this was years ago — was because of the wacky political climate that was developing in this state. The husband half of this couple, a retired journalist, told me bluntly that the state was going bonkers and he couldn’t stand to be anywhere near the state where he came of age as a young man. This couple was ahead of their time.

Accordingly, I get asked now and then, “Why do you live in that state?” Well, we live here because we came to Texas more than 37 years ago because I wanted to pursue my career as a print journalist. We are staying here because we love watching our granddaughter grow up.

As for the politics, I am going to compartmentalize all these political matters. I pledge to not let them get me down. It’ll be a tough task, but we do have a good life here … even if the politicians who write these laws are trying mightily to pi** me off.


Hoping DOJ can reverse abortion ban

You are welcome to count me as one American who hopes that the U.S. Department of Justice can find a way to circumvent the Texas law that all but eliminates abortion in this state.

Why? Because the law signed recently by Gov. Greg Abbott removes a woman’s right to make a determination on what to do about her own body; it places it in the hands of politicians — most of whom are male — who are seeking to appease constituencies with agendas that have nothing to do with women’s rights and freedom.

Attorney General Merrick Garland has declared DOJ’s intent to examine how to force Texas to back away from a law that makes it illegal for a woman to terminate a pregnancy later than six weeks after conception.

I haven’t ever discussed this matter with young women, but my understanding based on what I have learned over many years of life is that a minuscule number of women even know they are pregnant fewer than six weeks after conceiving a child.

This battle sets up a national state-by-state fight as legislatures elsewhere consider ways to do what the Texas Legislature has done.

The Texas Tribune reports:

Texas’ abortion ban faces potential Justice Department challenge | The Texas Tribune

It had been thought over many years that the Roe vs. Wade decision handed by the Supreme Court in 1973 had become “settled law.” I guess not, given the current SCOTUS’s decision not to hear a challenge to the Texas law.

I hope DOJ succeeds in finding a way to restore what should be a woman’s constitutional right to make the most difficult decision anyone should ever have to make.


A rebellion takes hold

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Let’s call it what it appears to be: a schoolhouse rebellion.

Nearly 50 independent school districts in Texas have decided to defy Gov. Greg Abbott’s no-local-measures mandate and declared that their students, faculty and staff will mask up when they enter these educational institutions.

That’s good news, at least it is to me. The even better news is that the state is not going to dig in and force the school districts to abide by Gov. Abbott’s ridiculous — and dangerous — executive order.

It is ridiculous because it flies directly against the traditional Republican political mantra that declares local control is the better way to manage public policy issues.

It is dangerous because situations differ from community to community and for the governor to issue an order prohibiting school districts from requiring masks puts everyone in potentially dire peril of being infected by the COVID-19 virus or the Delta variant that has sprung forth.

You want more good news? The Food and Drug Administration this morning gave full authorization for the Pfizer vaccine to be used to inoculate human beings against the coronavirus.

President Biden has declared that vaccination rates are climbing again.

Yes, there remain the fearmongers out there who continue to spread lies about the vaccines. Hospitals are at or over capacity. Children are getting sick. Fully vaccinated Americans are coming down with the virus. So it’s not all peaches and cream, right?

In Texas, though, there appears to be some semblance of sanity and reason taking root in classrooms throughout the state.

Thank goodness.

Paris ISD gets creative

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

So help me, I cannot get past relishing the decision up yonder in Paris, Texas, to perform an end-around Gov. Greg Abbott’s order barring local governments from imposing mask-wearing mandates on the people they serve.

It’s simply a stroke of genius!

Paris Independent School District trustees voted to make masks a part of the student dress code. “The Board believes the dress code can be used to mitigate communicable health issues, and therefore has amended the PISD dress code to protect our students and employees,” the district said in a statement after the board ruled.

COVID-19 is spiking all over the damn place. The Delta variant is to blame. Too many children are being affected. Paris ISD, which educates about 4,000 students in North Texas, decided it couldn’t stand still while Abbott fought with other districts over their own masking-up decisions.

NBC News reports: Abbott has sought to portray his stance as protecting the freedoms of Texans. “The path forward relies on personal responsibility — not government mandates,” the governor said earlier this month.

Texas school district makes masks part of dress code to get around Gov. Abbott’s order (nbcnews.com)

Personal responsibility, though, well might get more Texans sick from a disease that could kill them.

Let’s mask up, eh? As for Paris ISD’s creative response to ham-handed authority, I will await other school districts’ decision to follow suit.

Paris ISD swims against the tide

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I have ruminated over the past several days — privately and on this blog — about the political realities in play as school districts defy Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s mandate banning local governments from issuing orders such as mask mandates in this COVID virus era.

The reality is this: School districts that have taken action in defiance generally represent constituencies that lean toward Democratic politicians and away from Republican pols, such as the former POTUS, No. 45.

Then we have Paris, Texas, where the public school board has voted 5-1 to impose mask mandates for students, faculty and staff. Why is that noteworthy? Because Paris sits in a community that voted overwhelmingly for POTUS 45 in the 2020 presidential election.

The Paris school board’s decision to include face masks as part of the students’ dress code was an inspired and creative way to outflank Gov. Abbott’s ridiculous no-mandate mantra.

They are more concerned in the Paris Independent School District about children’s safety and health than about whatever push back they might get from their constituents.

I simply want to offer this: Bravo!

Paris ISD has a solution

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

When in doubt, just change the in-house rules to counter external pressure. So seems to be the mantra at the Paris (Texas) Independent School District.

Paris ISD has just decided to add masks to the district’s student dress code. thus defying the no-mask mandate order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott.

Hmm. Creative, don’t you think?

Abbott has been pushing back against school districts issuing mask mandates to battle the COVID outbreak caused by the Delta variant. Paris ISD — a small district up yonder next to the Red River — decided to perform an end-around the governor.

KETR-FM radio reports: “The Texas Governor does not have the authority to usurp the Board of Trustees’ exclusive power and duty to govern and oversee the management of the public schools of the district,” a release from Paris ISD said after the meeting. “Nothing in the Governor’s Executive Order 38 states he has suspended Chapter 11 of the Texas Education Code, and therefore the Board has elected to amend its dress code consistent with its statutory authority.”

Paris ISD, Defying Abbott, Adds Masks To Dress Code | 88.9 KETR

Therein lies a template for other school districts to follow. It well might withstand any court challenge that Abbott or Attorney General Ken Paxton file decide to pursue to keep Abbott’s ridiculous no-mandate rule in effect.

I am going to offer a quiet, but still enthusiastic, hand-clap to Paris ISD for showing the way around what I continue to believe is the governor’s power grab.