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Houston Police Officer Kevin Will Killed While Serving City Over Memorial Day Weekend

A Houston police officer was killed while serving the city over Memorial Day weekend.

(Update 6/2/11–The circumstances of Officer Will’s death leaves people with a choice about how to respond.)   

(Update–Here is the latest on this story from the Houston Chronicle from 6/1 at 11:00 PM.

From the Houston Chronicle

“A Houston police officer was struck and killed by a suspected drunken driver early Sunday while investigating an accident on the North Loop near Yale. The 38-year-old officer, Kevin Will, died at the scene, Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland said. Will was a father of two children, ages 6 and 10, and his wife is 6 months pregnant with their third child, the chief said. The driver, 26-year-old Johoan Rodriguez, was taken to an area hospital for toxicology tests, police said. He’s currently in jail, facing pending charges of intoxication manslaughter of a peace officer, felony evading and possession of a controlled substance…  “At this morning’s roll call, (Will) announced to his comrades that today was his one-year anniversary in Vehicular Crimes, and he made a joke that he’s been here a year, so does that qualify him to be a veteran or is he still a rookie?” McClellan said. ..”

Above is a picture of Officer Will.

Everybody who drives in Houston knows that our roads are filled with drunks, crazies, and people taking all sorts of unnecessary risks.

While even at the most difficult times we can acknowledge that criminal acts can be in part the result of economic and social conditions, we must recall the fact we all have a choice to make about how we will conduct ourselves on our roads.

The decision to drive in a way harmful to others is made by each individual who gets behind the wheel.

I’m sorry about the loss of Officer Will.

May 29, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Texas Republicans Pass State Budget That Attacks Education, Health, And Family Planning—TPA Round-Up

At the end of this post is the weekly Texas Progressive Alliance round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best politcal bloggers in Texas. TPA members are citizen-bloggers who are working for a better Texas.

With the round-up this week comes the news that the Texas Legislature has passed a state budget.

From the Houston Chronicle

 ‘Texas lawmakers approved a $172.3 billion, two-year budget on Saturday that cuts billions from education and human services and uses accounting maneuvers to cover a budget shortfall… Public schools would receive about $4 billion less in state aid compared with what they’d get under current formulas through the next two years. Plus $1.4 billion for other public education programs and instructional materials would be cut. State funds to higher education would be cut by about $1.2 billion, although that would be softened a bit by funds allocated in separate legislation. Tens of thousands fewer students would get college financial aid than in the current two-year budget period. It would cut Medicaid reimbursement rates to hospitals — excluding children’s and rural hospitals — and leave unfunded $4.4 billion to $4.8 billion in projected state Medicaid costs, forcing the next Legislature to deal with the expense…”

Here is some of what Texas State Senator Wendy Davis had to say about the budget—

…“Cutting $4 billion dollars in state funding for public education will result in thousands of educator job losses, overcrowded classrooms and put an end to the state-funded prekindergarten programs,” Senator Wendy Davis said. “Throughout the state, school districts are already responding with massive layoffs and requests for the state to waive current restrictions on classroom sizes.” 

While those in charge try to defend the budget with false assertions that public education received slightly greater funding in this budget than the prior biennial budget, for the first time student population growth has not been funded. Defending the budget through slippery wording and fuzzy math, as Perry and Dewhurst have done, will do nothing to erase the harmful consequences of these cuts on Texas schoolchildren.

“Even more disturbing, this budget kicks the can of public education and healthcare funding down the road, with deferrals of current obligations totaling $7.1 billion that will need to be backfilled in the next budget cycle. Accordingly, when the legislature reconvenes in 2013, it will begin its budget cycle at least $7.1 billion in the hole. This is not responsible governance.”

Texans can decide what they think about all this. Republicans and the so-called Tea Party can go on and on about waste and illegal immigrants using up public services. My guess is that many people across the political spectrum in Texas have concerns about education and health in our state, and have concerns about how young people in Texas will compete in a changing economy.

The impact of this budget will be felt in many ways over the next two years. If the 2013 legislative session will be one that works to help Texans—or is one that once again attacks working Texans and engages in culutral warfare such as the forced sonogram bill—is up to each of us as Texans.

Here is the round-up—-

The Lege reached a budget deal on Friday. Off the Kuff explains why it is a bad deal for Texas.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson, in stating that “… by and large, Republicans aren’t as racist as they are greedy” makes the point that we must adopt a new form of populism in Texas.

At TexasKaos, lightseeker seeks to explain why snake oil is not a cure for evaluating teachers for purposes of improving public education. Check outSnake Oil, Classrooms and Teacher Evaluations. Continue reading

May 29, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment