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June 15th, 2013:

Saturday video break: Tainted Love

Song #15 on the Popdose Top 100 Covers list is “Tainted Love”, originally by Gloria Jones and covered by Soft Cell. Here’s the original:

I’ve covered this before, if you will. It’s still pretty mind-blowing to hear this as a Motown song, even if you can totally see the straight line from this version to the one we all know by Soft Cell:

And boy howdy, there’s nothing like a video with a strong 80s sensibility to go with that 80s remake of the sound, is there? I have no idea what that was supposed to be about, but then it wouldn’t be an 80s video if it weren’t for that. And for those of you thinking that this song used to be longer than two and a half minutes, you’re right, it did.

That little Motown coda at the end, with the electronic heartbeat underpinning it, really ties it all together nicely, doesn’t it? That’s what I’m talking about.

TPJ alleges Perry broke the law when he threatened to veto Public Integrity funds

Well, now isn’t this a nice little can of worms.

Rosemary Lehmberg

In a complaint sent to prosecutors today, Texans for Public Justice alleges that Governor Rick Perry potentially committed several criminal offenses related to his recent threat to use his discretionary power to withhold money from the Travis County District Attorney’s office unless DA Rosemary Lehmberg resigns. TPJ believes the governor’s actions violate the Texas Penal Code, Title 8, Offenses Against Public Administration.

“Governor Perry has no legal authority to remove the Travis Country District Attorney from her job. Threatening to take an official action against her office unless she voluntarily resigns is likely illegal,” said Craig McDonald, TPJ Director.

“The governor overstepped his authority by sticking his nose in Travis County’s business. A legal process is currently underway. That process is alone should determine the fate of the District Attorney.

“Governor Perry’s official threats attempt to obtain two things that he can’t achieve through legal democratic means. First, to remove an elected Democrat and replace her with an appointed Republican DA. Second, to wipe out the state’s public corruption watchdog, which is currently investigating corruption in at least one of the governor’s signature corporate subsidy programs.

TPJ sent its complaint letter to both the Travis County District Attorney and to the Travis County Attorney’s office. TPJ believes the Governor’s actions violate Penal Code Section 36.03 Coercion of a Public Servant, Section 39.02 Abuse of Official Capacity, Section 39.03 Official Oppression and potentially the Bribery Section 39.02. The offenses range from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class 2 felony.

BOR voiced this argument a couple of days ago. Here’s the complaint, and here is my blog post about Perry’s veto threat. And late Friday afternoon, Perry followed through on his threat by zeroing out the PIU budget. The game is well and truly afoot.

The “signature corporate subsidy program” is presumably the embattled Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, or CPRIT, the investigation into which Dems had previously argued would be shut down by Perry defunding the Public Integrity Unit. In response to a question related to this on Thursday, Perry suggested that Travis County could simply re-prioritize its own spending to keep the PIU and its investigations going. Perhaps that will be an argument for a grand jury; in any event, we’ll see how Travis County responds. The idea of Lehmberg’s office possibly pursuing an indictment against Perry for issuing that veto threat boggles the mind, but it sure as hell will be fun to watch. Any lawyers want to take a crack at this? Texas Politics, TRail Blazers, EoW, and BOR have more.

Senate approves redistricting bills

As pro forma as they wanna be.

The Texas Senate voted to ratify court-drawn political maps that were used for legislative and congressional races in 2012. The bills now head to the House.

In party-line votes, Senators voted 16-11 to approve the interim maps for congressional and state House districts. The map of the state’s 31 Senate districts passed with unanimous consent.

Senate Redistricting Chair Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, defended the maps against criticism and questions from Senate Democrats.

“As I’ve said before, I believe this map is fair and legal,” Seliger said on the Senate floor, referring to the Congressional map.

[…]

But after several hearings from around the state on the pros and cons of the court-drawn lines, Senate Democrats questioned why Seliger was blocking efforts to change the Congressional and House district maps. State Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, said members of the redistricting committee had privately told her that Seliger had refused to consider any changes to the maps.

Seliger said no redistricting map is going to please everybody.

Near the end of a lengthy back and forth, state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, accused Seliger of admitting to refuse to consider input from critics of the maps.

“That may be what you thought you heard me say but it may not be what I thought I said for you to hear me say,” Seliger said.

I’m not even going to try to parse that last sentence. Hard to believe that some unnamed sources once thought that a deal to create more minority opportunity districts might be in the works, isn’t it? The bills will go to the House on Monday and be summarily approved some time next week. Texas Redistricting has more on this action. In the meantime, both chambers can now get down to the real business of regulating vaginas, which is about the only thing some of them ever wanted to do. There were some hearings in the Senate on Thursday on the anti-abortion uber-bill, which was voted out of committee on Friday shortly after the redistricting business was over, but I just can’t bring myself to write about it. Go read the Observer and BOR for the depressing details – I recommend having a drink handy when you do. Oh, and Rick Perry also vetoed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. It sure is a great time to be a lady in Texas, isn’t it?

Overview on criminal justice legislation from the regular session

I tried to pay attention to as many issues as I could during the legislative session, but no one can keep track of it all. Criminal justice bills were one area that I lagged on. Fortunately, there are people like Scott Henson keeping a close eye on such matters. Here’s his look back at the good and bad criminal justice bills that made it through, or failed to make it through, the 83rd Legislature. He also has a post that categorizes the criminal justice bills by type. Note that HB1790, one of the two bills Grits identifies as “only two bills … aimed at de-incarceration”, was vetoed by Rick Perry. Check them out.

Sebastien De La Cruz

You da man, Sebastien.

A soft-spoken boy with a big voice isn’t about to let obnoxious online remarks bring him down — especially when he has so many positive ones in his virtual corner.

Fans of Sebastien De La Cruz have rallied on social media to support the young mariachi, whose rendition of the national anthem Tuesday at the Spurs game against the Miami Heat set off a flurry of racist tweets criticizing the 11-year-old.

“On the positive remarks, I just want to thank everybody for their support,” Sebastien said at a hastily organized news conference Wednesday. “With the racism remarks, to be honest, it’s just the people how they were raised. My father and my mother told me that you should never judge people by how they look. You should judge them on the inside. And the saying that I go by is never judge a book by its cover.”

On his Twitter account @selcharrodeoro, he said, “Please do not pay attention to the negative people. I am an American living the American dream. This is part of the American life.”

Mayor Julián Castro offered his own words of support on his Facebook page, telling Sebastien “don’t let a few negative voices get you down. You are a true talent and you represent the best of our nation’s future!”

[…]

Sebastien, who has appeared on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” was a last minute replacement at Tuesday’s game, subbing for former Hootie & the Blowfish front man Darius Rucker.

Sebastien’s mom, Stacy De La Cruz, said her son knew of the harsh remarks and told her not to cry about them, but instead to save her tears for joy when he sings.

“I’d rather shed more happy tears than sad tears,” she said. “But I will say this: As a mom, a parent, I’m going to be overprotective. I’m going to look over my shoulder, over their shoulder. We have four children. I’m going to be looking over all of them. (But as for those negative) words, it’s always that saying, ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt.’”

More grace and guts in his little finger than all the racist idiot cowards out there put together. Hell of a singer, too:

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, also a class act, has it exactly right:

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich offered words of encouragement for Sebastien De La Cruz, the young San Antonian who drew a flurry of racist comments on Twitter after singing the national anthem Tuesday at Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

“I would like to say I would be shocked or surprised by the comments,” Popovich said about an hour before tipoff of Thursday’s Game 4 at the AT&T Center. “But given the fact that there’s still a significant element of bigotry and racism in our nation, I’m not surprised.

“It still plagues us, obviously. And what I was surprised by was how proud these idiots were of their ignorance by printing their names next to their comments.

“(De La Cruz) is a class act. Way more mature than most his age. And as much as those comments by the idiots saddens you about your country, he makes you feel that the future could be very bright.”

Damn right it does. Good on the Spurs for bringing him back for Game 4.

You keep doing what you’re doing, Sebastien. We need as many people like you as we can get. Lisa Falkenbergand Think Progress have more.