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No jokes, and no thoughts ‘n’ prayers. If you can send money to help Texas, DO IT. This storm is unprecedented, and thousands of people will be indefinitely homeless.

Last week, before the skies opened up over East Texas, all hell was breaking loose in two Texas federal courts. And because the Wonketariat can walk and chew gum, we’d like to talk about the political earthquake that’s rumbling through Texas, while respecting that the state is in the midst of a horrendous tragedy. Particularly since the fallout from this storm might precipitate its own political shake up in the Lone Star State.

How Much Discrimination? A LOT!

Last Wednesday, a federal judge in Corpus Christi threw out Texas’s voter ID law in its entirety. All voter ID laws are ridiculous, but Texas’s 2014 law was really special! Gun licenses were fine, but not student IDs or Texas state employee IDs. You could vote with a simple voter registration card, but only by signing an affidavit swearing under threat of felony prosecution that you had a really good reason for not getting an acceptable photo ID. Domestic birth certificates were fine, but not Messican foreign ones that naturalized American citizens hold.

After the court blocked the earlier version of the law, Texas’s legislature tried to put a little lipstick on the pig. Look, they said, now we accept both a passport and a passport card! Perhaps they’d even do a bit of mobile voter registration, if they feel like it and if they ever find some money. But Judge Nelva Ramos wasn’t having it. She tossed the law for violating the Voting Rights Act and the 14th and 15th Amendments.

The next day in San Antonio, a different federal court found that nine Texas House Districts were discriminatory and must be redrawn before the 2018 election. Two weeks prior, the same San Antonio court had ordered Texas to redraw two Congressional Districts immediately, or the court was going to do do it for them. Bye bye Congressman Footie Pajamas!

And to top it all off, the 5th Circuit found on August 17 that Texas violated the Voting Rights Act by restricting the use of interpreters at the polls in a transparent attempt to discourage voting by Hispanics.

That is a big pile of evidence that the state is deliberately discriminating against blacks and Hispanics in violation of the Voting Rights Act. So Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is panicking. In the past, Texas had to pre-clear changes to its electoral process with the Justice Department. But in 2013, Justice Roberts did them a solid by proclaiming that racism was officially over and no one had to get permission from the DOJ anymore. Texas Republicans immediately set about gerrymandering the shit out of their state to ensure that Democrats would remain a minority forever. But they might have overshot! Because if a state is proved to be intentionally discriminating against minorities, then a court can order it to be “bailed back in” to the pre-clearance requirement. And the plaintiffs in the voter ID and gerrymandering cases have made it clear that they’re going to take their giant pile of evidence of discrimination to Judge Ramos and ask her to put Texas back in VRA jail for another decade.

So, Paxton immediately appealed the voter ID decision to the 5th Circuit and asked the Supreme Court to step in and tell the mean San Antonio judges not to make them redraw all those districts that they’d cracked and packed with such loving care. Help us Obi Wan Alito, you’re our only hope!

BUT THEN CAME HURRICANE HARVEY.

No one knows how bad the property damage will be, but potentially hundreds of thousands of Texans could be displaced. Paxton will argue that Texas can’t possibly redraw its map right now because it doesn’t even know where its citizens are. And he has a point!

Via Texas Tribune

Congressional District 27, which the court has labeled illegal, is still at risk of dangerous flooding.

As for Texas’s voter ID provisions, well every person in the country has seen this photo.

Photo Credit: Kimberly McIntosh

Thousands of people just lost everything they own. It’s going to be a lot harder to argue that people without ID are just shiftless scammers.

And the storm itself has the potential to scramble Texas politics in unpredictable ways. Once the water recedes, people are going to be looking for someone to blame. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was widely excoriated for not evacuating the city early enough before Hurricane Katrina. And President George W. Bush faced huge backlash over FEMA’s handling of that storm. Remember this?

Last week, it looked like Texas was in danger of facing real consequences for wholesale racial discrimination in its electoral system. But there’s no way to predict how this humanitarian disaster will change Texas politics. It seems unlikely that courts will insist Texas redraw its districts by the October 1 deadline. Beyond that, will the storm affect Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s reelection campaign? Will a botched FEMA response damage the Trump Administration? How will the federal government come up with billions of dollars for hurricane clean-up during contentious tax reform negotiations? And can we still be mad at all the Texas Republicans who voted against aid for Hurricane Sandy? (Yes. We can.) In the meantime, though, Houston’s got a problem, and we stand ready to help.

[Order Throwing Out Voter ID Law / Texas Tribune / Texas Tribune, again / Slate / Buzzfeed / Texas Tribune, again]

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  • schmannity

    Only 9 more plagues to go, Texas GOP. Let my people vote.

    • Celtic_Gnome

      The 10th plague won’t bother Trump unless God changes the rules and takes the first-born females.

  • armed_bears
    • Oblios_Cap

      No tie and a baseball cap. If Obama has been photographed looking like that, Fox News would have descended into a fit of screaming that could be heard at the South Pole.

      • jesterpunk

        They freaked out when Obama wore a tan suit.

        • MynameisBlarney

          They freaked out when Obama was nominated and haven’t stopped clutching their pearls since.

          • jesterpunk

            That too.

      • Beowoof14

        He is promoting his hats which sell for $40 on his web site. It’s all about Donald.

        • jesterpunk

          Yet another reason why electing a businessman with no politician experience as president is a bad idea.

          • Permit-holder Ron

            Never mind electing a businessman with no BUSINESS experience as president.

          • jesterpunk

            Hey it takes a lot of skills to bankrupt 3 casinos.

          • fredoandme

            where people literally THROW money at you!

        • SweetDeeKat

          He is wearing a too-large hat inside like a common douchebro. Christ, my kids knew not to do that when they were in elementary school.

          • Celtic_Gnome

            Maybe he’s having a bad hair day.

          • willi0000000

            . . . or maybe the hair was having a bad t’Rump day and needed to hide.

  • Zonath

    Where’s Pat Robertson to tell us that the storm is just God’s anger at those federal judges for making it easier to the blacks and messicans to vote (and for their votes to actually count)?

    • Permit-holder Ron

      Hey, it’s still early.

    • eggs ackly-wright

      I thought it was gawd’s punishment for Texas being so gay.

      • Celtic_Gnome

        Texas, home of the steers and queers!

    • Celtic_Gnome

      I’d like to suggest to Mr. Robertson that it’s God’s anger over Donald Trump, but, honestly, I think it has more to do with global warming.

  • Oblios_Cap

    Hopefully the flood will wash away some Texas legislators.

  • Proud Liberal

    I do know that Fuckface Von Clownstick has already fucked up his hurricane response.

    • Permit-holder Ron

      As expected.

    • cmd resistor

      He’s no more “engaged” than any person glued to the TV watching it, except that he is patting himself on the back in case we don’t notice what a great job he’s doing while other people are trying to help.

  • MynameisBlarney
    • fredoandme

      i….uh….am…..that’s fuckin’ charming….

    • Erala Contratista

      Awwww!
      Got a book “Is Your Dog Gay?” to go with that shot.

    • The Librarian

      That scares the hell out of me.
      Ben, is that you? — Willard

  • BosGrl

    I cried pretty hard looking at that nursing home picture.

    • Proud Liberal

      My heart goes out to all of those people! I can’t imagine going through something like that!

      • BosGrl

        I kept thinking, those women are people’s moms and grandmothers. This is awful.

        • Proud Liberal

          Retirement homes are sad anyway but seeing them sitting in that filthy water is so very sad!

          • cmd resistor

            They are not for the faint of heart, even the nice ones.

          • Permit-holder Ron

            The housemate’s mother was in one for five years, as a series of strokes took more and more of her away. At the end I was the only one visiting because she couldn’t take it any more. And this was the best nursing home in the province. Something about it – nice or not, it was warehousing dying people.

          • cmd resistor

            It was sad to go every week and see people go downhill, some faster than others, and then one day they just wouldn’t be there.

    • Persistent Tennessee Rain

      Me, too. I’ve been having a “tough” time the past few days because my dogs are getting older and keep shitting on my floors. I cleaned up dog shit 4 times yesterday and felt beaten up by it and by life in general. Perspective. It’s a thing.

    • Vincent Ricola

      It is horrifying. This is why I get so angry with the “I can’t wait for the boomers to die off” crowd, the dehumanizing of older people in this country leads to pictures like this one and is a heartbreakingly sad reflection of our shared moral values.

      • Serai 1

        I just think of the karma those assholes are gathering for themselves everything they say that, and I smile.

    • cmd resistor

      Having spent a lot of time at my mom’s nursing home, I can’t even imagine.

  • Oblios_Cap

    I see Cruz has already whined his allegiance to Twitler concerning the FEMA response.

  • PubOption

    It seems that judges are messing with Texas.

  • fawkedifiknow

    Has Pat Robertson blamed Harvey on transgender bathrooms in North Carolina yet?

    • TEX Dept. of Space Tacos

      well, our lege didn’t pass a trans bathroom bill, so he’ll just blame us directly.

  • Yes, we can still be mad at the Tx politicians who voted against hurricane Sandy relief. But we should not let that stop us from helping the people of Texas who need it. We should just remind the politicians what giant assholes they were, and remind the people of Texas that their representatives were giant assholes when they run for reelection.

    • BosGrl

      Any Dem that votes against relief for TX should not be reelected.

      • Toomush_Inferesistance

        They can vote for relief while still pointing out the shitty way Texas politicians treated Sandy victims.

        • Permit-holder Ron

          I’d hope they’d make a POINT of that during the vote.

        • BosGrl

          Exactly.

        • Celtic_Gnome

          I just assumed there’d be no question among the Democratic members of Congress when it came to funding Texas’s recovery. When you ask a Dem for help, generally what you get is help.

    • House0fTheBlueLights

      Cory Booker should hand Ted his ass along with the check.

  • DerrickWildcat

    First FEMA airdrop lands in Houston: 40,000 Make America Great Again hats.

    • Zonath

      In boxes marked “toilet paper”?

      • Permit-holder Ron

        So, accurate labelling, then.

    • And shitty ties made in China so they can look good while they starve to death?

      • Opalescent Riddles

        If you mean Trump ties, perhaps you meant to put scare quotes around “good”. Also too, they need some tape to keep them looking “sharp” at the only length he knows how to tie them.

        • Celtic_Gnome

          Does he tie his own ties? I can’t imagine him doing much of anything for himself besides eating, which I’ve actually seen him do.

    • Martini Ambassador 🍸

      For free? Surely, you jest. If there’s no financial gain for Dumbshit, there’s no give-away.

      Although, I suppose the taxpayers could generously fund that buy.

      • FauxAntocles

        Or COD

        • Permit-holder Ron

          He’d never go for that. Money up front. After all, do you know how many people will buy stuff and then stiff you on the bill? Donnie knows ALL about that!

          • Rags

            FEMA will buy them at $100 a pop

          • Permit-holder Ron

            Or they’re all fired.

      • What part of “Everybody Gets Billed!!” dont we all understand?

        Eh?

      • Yellerduck

        They will be slightly irregular seconds; The ones the ones that say, “Make America Grate Again!”

  • MynameisBlarney
    • BosGrl

      Don’t laugh – it is exactly like this.

  • Martini Ambassador 🍸

    Maybe the GOP fundies will take this storm as a sign that they need to change their selfish ways? They like to assign meaning to every other storm.

    But nah, more likely, it’ll be seen as God’s wrath because of the gays again.

    • MynameisBlarney

      Yeah, blame the gays and refugees, while finding ways to capitalize on this disaster.

    • Celtic_Gnome

      Probably some gay thing in North Dakota, too. Considering his aim, this God is the Tim Tebow of Gods.

      • willi0000000

        so . . . he got tired of being W. W. Corrigan?

  • MynameisBlarney
    • PubOption

      Coming soon, new episodes of ‘Swamp People’ and ‘Duck Dynasty’!

      • MynameisBlarney

        No.
        Just…No.

    • SweetDeeKat

      I’m bummed because with all of Pussgrab’s fuckery, we won’t get aid from the Mexican Navy. Not only are they one of the best search and recovery units in the world, but they helped out a LOT with Katrina.

      • Celtic_Gnome

        Nieto should get the Navy ready and announce it to the world. As much a fuck you to Donnie as El Presidente Fox’s tweets.

  • I wonder how long before Trump talks about needing a border wall to stop this flood of immigrants?

  • DerrickWildcat

    Jade Helm is going as planned.
    Phase Two: Forced gender re-assignment surgery in FEMA internment camps are on standby.

    • WeaselPoo

      An the Walmart underwater tunnels are now fully operational.

    • marxalot

      So I should schedule a flight hom e as soon as the water recedes, is what I’m hearing.

    • SweetDeeKat

      The Blue Bell ice cream trucks are lined up, idling.

  • jesterpunk
    • fredoandme

      he did!! he thanks a hurricane!

      • Beanz&Berryz

        What was the hurricane thank you??

        • cmd resistor
          • Opalescent Riddles

            So he’s a weatherman now?

          • Celtic_Gnome

            New weatherman on Naked News. The ratings will soar!

        • fredoandme

          in one of his twits.

          HISTORIC rainfall in Houston, and all over Texas. Floods are
          unprecedented, and more rain coming. Spirit of the people is
          incredible.Thanks!

  • Beowoof14

    I am heartbroken for all of the folks in Texas. With Dipshit Don in office who knows how the response will go. Since he plans to go tomorrow, he will be there in time to get in the way of the 1st responders. His security will pull people away from important work.

    • Vincent Ricola

      He’ll give some interview talking about how more people in Texas showed up for his hurricane speech than showed up for anything in the history of ever before except his inauguration and it will be fucking appalling.

    • cmd resistor

      I bet they end up telling him to reschedule. Especially if the rain gets worse.

      • Permit-holder Ron

        Would he listen?

        • cmd resistor

          Not necessarily. Just depends on how much attention he thinks he can get if he goes.

          • Permit-holder Ron

            Oh, he’ll get attention all right. But unless it’s praise he won’t care.

  • Joe Beese
    • Means nothing. We are better than they. Let the vote on this one reflect that.

      • kbbaldwin2

        I’d still like to see it conditional on Ted Cruz publicly apologizing to the people of New Jersey.

  • Joe Beese
    • This.

    • Permit-holder Ron

      Wanna know what I spotted first? That little boy isn’t scared. He’s ENJOYING the experience. His sister (I assume) is a bit apprehensive, but it’s because of the yucky brown water.
      One could read a LOT into this. Perhaps one should.

      • Robbertjan Brandenburg

        Or he’s just happy someone came to his rescue but yes I don;t think a kid his age completely comprehends the gravity of the situation.

        • Permit-holder Ron

          That, and, whatever his parents might be like, he doesn’t give a damn about his rescuer’s melanin levels.

      • Good_Gawd_Yall

        He’s also got his feet in the water, as boys will, while his sister’s got hers well up out of there. I bet ten bucks he wanted to wade out.

      • mardam422

        And not about the yucky black man? How could that be? It’s…it’s almost as if children aren’t born hating someone who doesn’t look like them. But that can’t be right.

        • You’ve got to be taught
          To hate and fear,
          You’ve got to be taught
          From year to year,
          It’s got to be drummed
          In your dear little ear
          You’ve got to be carefully taught.

          You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
          Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
          And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
          You’ve got to be carefully taught.

          You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
          Before you are six or seven or eight,
          To hate all the people your relatives hate,
          You’ve got to be carefully taught!

          “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught” – Richard Rogers
          (from South Pacific

        • phoenix00

          “Yucky black man” gives RIDES!

  • ziggywiggy

    NY already stepping up, even as we are STILL fixing what Sandy tore apart.http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/nyc-sending-120-emergency-workers-texas-wake-harvey-article-1.3446527

  • La forza del resistino

    Every fraudster building contractor in the country not named Donald are working their way down to TX now to ‘help’. Let’s hope Willie Nelson is on the ground to smoke ’em out.

    • Rick Hill

      You don’t think that a trump affiliate will be there and magically get a lot of the contracts awarded?

    • WeaselPoo

      You know what they really need ?
      A monorail!

      • TEX Dept. of Space Tacos

        it would actually be nice – Takes a damn day to drive or take a train across this state.

        • Rick Hill

          So…something like high speed rail. Too bad that no one tried to do this before. I’m certain Texas politicians would jump at the chance….

          • TEX Dept. of Space Tacos

            unsurprisingly, i believe it’s been talked about! (and killed). Just like Florida’s high speed rail (which actually would have been nice. I remember once being delayed coming into Miami, I could have gotten a flight to West Palm, but I had no way to get to Miami Beach (it was new year’s eve and i didn’t expect my scumbag friends to come get me.) Also, flying out of FTL is WAY cheaper.

          • Rick Hill

            Hint-Because the money would have come from Obama’s stimulus.

        • Erala Contratista

          Wow!
          Takes us 2.5 days….
          We sleep, tho.

          • TEX Dept. of Space Tacos

            yeah, I was counting a straight drive through, not one wiht breaks. I stopped in Austin for the night on my way to Florida.

            The train takes about 44 hours or something.

          • svejk

            hey, i’l have you know it’s only 21 scheduled hours from el paso to beaumont an’ a hop, skip an’ a jump to the cajun border from there.

      • Antonin Dvorak

        If you could frame it as a means of evacuation, it might actually work.

      • mardam422

        No. That’s more of a Shelbyville Idea.

    • Canned Covfefe

      ISWYDT

    • Celtic_Gnome

      Ohio maintains a database of all contractors and whether or not they have the proper licensing. That thing gets heavy use by the Attorney General’s office whenever there’s a natural disaster that causes property damage.

  • Update to: Donald Trump doesn’t care about any people, himself excepted.

    And Putin. Definitely Putin.

  • Rick Hill

    So, are other states going to take a hard line and tell Texas they don’t want any refugees coming to live in their states?

    • mardam422

      OOOO. That may leave a mark.

    • willi0000000

      i heard they were patrolling the LA border to keep refugees out.

      [ odd, but they were only shooting at white people ]

  • marxalot

    So far, everyone I know has reported in safe, though many have had to pull back inland and it’s anyone’s guess how long they’ll be displaced. In general, though, I hope that Kex Paxton and Greg Abbot both continue to get their eyes blacked by courts (it’s like “with votes” only a different branch of gov’t).

    • Beanz&Berryz

      …with judgments…

  • Lefty Wright

    North Carolina is screwing around with the state legislative and federal congressional districts also. This does not include the slap down they got on the voter ID laws, which they are still trying to do an end run around. The first lawsuit came in 2013. At every level, the courts ruled against the state, claiming that several districts they had drawn in 2012 were racially packed. This went up to the Supreme Court, and was sent back down for the federal district court to correct.

    Of course, the legislature sat on their butts for several months and did nothing. The Democratic governor actually issued an order for the legislature to start working on this in June, which they promptly ignored. Finally the court gave them a September 1 deadline, which of course they claimed did not give them enough time for all the public input they needed. The court said no way, it’s September 1 or we do the redistricting. So the legislature appointed the same person who drew the illegal districts to redraw them. In addition, they directed that race could not be considered in the new districts. Considering the fact that the old ones, used illegally for four years, were ruled unconstitutional due to race, this is definitely a middle finger at the courts.

    My bet is that the legislature is going to relitigate the whole issue, claiming that using race at all is unconstitutional. Thereby resetting the clock for another four years. I hope the court slaps them down and redraws the districts themselves. If I were a judge, I would be getting pissed off at the legislative stalling.

    In the mean time, I hope the rain does stop in Texas and that for once, the only really competent agency head in Trump’s administration, Brock Long, can get FEMA working to help these people. But with Trump involved and sticking his nose into the operation, it will probably be a monumental disaster. No pun intended.

  • The Librarian

    California finally got its collective (I’ve had loons tell me I live in a communist state, so I’m running with it) shit together and voted for a commission for redrawing districts. It’s had its ups and downs, but it’s better than it used to be.

    • Celtic_Gnome

      Ohio passed a constitutional amendment forming a bipartisan commission to redraw the districts and requires them to use modeling software to create competitive districts. The first time we’ll see the results of that will be the 2022 midterms.

      • The Librarian

        Kudos!

  • mimar

    Oooo! Jesus must be SO mad at Texas right now. (Just imagine what vileness those right wing scamvangelists would spewing if a Hurricane Harvey strength catastrophe hit somewhere like California or San Fransisco. Religious bigots.)

  • SweetDeeKat

    Hmm. AG Paxton’s felony securities fraud trial had been set for September in Harris County. Damn.

    • svejk

      doanchew worry none. them courts’ll be operatin’ full steam come september. how else ye gonna evict all them folks couldn’t pay rent cuz they been unpaid since the floods hit? li’l ol’ fraudster gonna hafta show up in court too.

  • Johnny Appleseed

    Fuck em! No FEDERAL AID! Fuck.em!

    • TEX Dept. of Space Tacos

      AND FUCK YOU AGAIN.

      • Johnny Appleseed

        Much like Sandy, it’ll be a little more than one month before Congress sends penny one. Or until 113 Americans, not Mezzicans, are dead. What’s fair is fair. Karma is a bitch!

        • TEX Dept. of Space Tacos

          Denying people aid was wrong then and it’s wrong now. You think the politicians are the one’s gonna suffer?

          But glad you admit you’re a fucking racist.
          (You don’t really understand karma do you?)

          FUCK YOU.

          • Johnny Appleseed

            I’m a racist?? How so smart ass?

      • Johnny Appleseed

        I see, Texas keeps electing DICKHEADS who vote to harm other Americans but when they deal with disaster themselves, we should just find the money to help them?? Fuck them!!!!! Rot in hell.

  • YetAnotherRebecca

    Thanks for the easy links to charities that are already working on the ground. Just sent a few of my Ameros to the SPCA (I’m such a sucker for small fuzzy things) and food bank. The pictures and video I’ve been seeing just make my heart jump to my throat. Imagining myself (and family, and pets) in their situation just sucks the breath right out of me. These poor people.

  • Lyly Sirivong

    Look, America, I know it’s kind of against your principles but national ID cards are quite convenient. Every citizen has one regardless of status or ability to drive.

    • SadDemInTex

      I like it…but won’t some people think Big Brother yada yada?

      • Lyly Sirivong

        Yeah, there are always people who think that.
        To be fair, this is not an issue yet in countries where ID cards don’t have a chip (like France), but it will be when the government start delivering secure electronic ID cards.

      • Stulexington

        Oh you get around that by charging a nominal fee so it’s voluntary.

      • TEX Dept. of Space Tacos

        uh…do you have your social security memorized? of course you do – you get asked for it 8 times a day…it’s used to track your medical records, credit history, employment etc etc AND WAS NEVER MEANT FOR THAT.

        • SadDemInTex

          AHHHHHHHHH!

      • Wookie Monster

        Or Mark of the Beast?

    • Wookie Monster

      Yes, but if you make them freely available to any citizen regardless of their ability to pay, that defeats the whole purpose of voter ID laws, which is to discourage the poor and “blah people” from voting.

  • Celtic_Gnome

    Younger sibling in Houston. Has generator. Has lights, teevee, fridge. No water in the house.

  • willi0000000

    if the rain washes away all the confederate statues . . . will the racists consider it a monumental disaster?

  • Marc Berrenson

    Wasn’t it Mike Pence who wanted to steal our social security in order to pay for disaster relief?

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