Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Fri Jan 20 starting at 5:00PM on ​Auditorium Shores

Meet at Auditorium Shores at 5PM and join the community MARCH up Congress Ave.

America faces a crisis. Donald Trump’s campaign promises threaten millions. We must rally, protest, organize, and support one another.

On Inauguration Day, Austinites are gathering to protest Donald Trump’s politics of fear and hate. This is a call to action to rally for civil rights, immigrants’ rights, reproductive rights, our environment, good jobs, as well as justice and safety in all of our communities.

There will be  events throughout the day, culminating on Congress Avenue.


  • American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of Austin
  • ATX Environmental Justice
  • Austin360.org
  • Austin Central Labor Council
  • Austin Democratic Socialists of America
  • Austin Jewish Voices for Peace
  • Austin Justice Coalition
  • Austin Socialist Collective
  • Clean Water Action
  • Education Austin
  • Equal Justice Center
  • Equality Texas
  • Fight for 15 Texas
  • Grassroots Leadership
  • Jolt
  • Las Comadres
  • Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equality
  • NAACP Austin
  • NARAL Pro-Choice Texas
  • National Women’s Political Caucus of Austin
  • Planned Parenthood Texas Votes
  • Public Citizen
  • Raza Roundtable
  • Sierra Club Beyond Coal
  • Sierra Club of Austin
  • Texas AFT (American Federation of Teachers)
  • Texas Alliance for Retired Americans, Austin Chapter
  • Texas Civil Rights Project
  • Texas Freedom Network
  • Third Coast Activist
  • Workers Defense Action Fund

We will continue adding non-partisan progressive grassroots organizations to the host list. If your organization would like to participate, please email [email protected]. We’ll also keep you updated through www.oneresistance.com

While political party participation is welcome, this event is non-partisan and not affiliated with any political parties.

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As we’re all aware, weather is never static. Weather conditions and patterns are always changing and are difficult to predict. One very recent example of this is the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). ENSO is a cycle of warming and cooling events in the equatorial Pacific Ocean and the atmosphere above it. These periodic events take place over roughly 2-7 year intervals. The resulting variability in oceanic and atmospheric temperatures has a range of effects on seasonal precipitation and temperature patterns across the world.

With ENSO, the cycle can shift form its neutral or normal state, to a warm phase – El Niño, or a cool phase – La Niña. We’ve been in one of the strongest El Niño phases on record for the last 2 years. During El Niño, the typical East-to-West winds weaken in the equatorial Pacific, which drives warm waters from the western Pacific to the eastern Pacific. This causes warm ocean surface temperatures and heavy precipitation in northern South America, and dry conditions in Australia and Indonesia.

El Nino

With the El Niño phase we’re currently in, there have been a lot of extreme weather phenomena. The monsoon rains weakened in India, resulting in food shortages, West Africa has been in a drought, Australia experienced record heat, Brazil experienced excessive rains, and the northern hemisphere winters were warmer than usual. For Texas specifically, there’s been increased precipitation events, making 2015 Texas’ wettest year on record.

Winter Comparison - NOAA Climate.govThis month though, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have issued an official “La Niña Watch.” They predict that El Niño will phase out in late spring or early summer, and will shift to La Niña for the fall and winter. So we can soon expect to see generally opposite conditions than we have been experiencing with El Niño.

La Niña results when cool ocean water intensifies the East-to-West winds across the equatorial Pacific Ocean. This causes warm oceanic temperatures in the western Pacific, which means heavy rainfall for Australia and Indonesia. Conversely, it causes cool oceanic temperatures in the eastern Pacific, resulting in dry conditions in South America.

Nina Winter - Weather NetworkDuring La Niña winters, the U.S. experiences dry and warm conditions in the southern states, but wet and cool conditions in the Pacific Northwest and northern plains. We can expect there to be a lot of snow in the Pacific Northwest while there’s drought in California and Texas. In previous La Niña periods, the lack of rainfall negatively impacted Texas water supplies and crops. With La Niña, there’s also an increased chance of Atlantic hurricanes since the temperature and moisture flow associated with it creates ideal conditions for hurricane formation.

Even worse, research indicates that because of global climate change, El Niño and La Niña may hit twice as often as they did before. Climate models indicate that an extreme La Niña may hit every 13 years now instead of every 23 years, and an extreme El Niño may hit every 10 years now instead of every 20 years. Since a warmer atmosphere can hold more water and moisture, rainstorms can increase in intensity. For example, during a future El Niño, the West Coast may experience heavier downpours than usual. During a future La Niña, the added moisture in the air may make northeast snowstorms much stronger.

If the weather is always undergoing different cycles and is constantly changing, then why does an upcoming La Niña matter? Shifts in precipitation and temperature patterns alter crop production abilities, which will impact the prices of goods all over the world. Various commodities will be affected by the upcoming La Niña:

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Public Utility Chair was Donna Nelson was reappointed by Governor Greg Abbot to another term today. The new term will expire on September 1, 2021.

The Public Utility Commission of Texas regulates the state’s electric, telecommunication, and water and sewer utilities, implements respective legislation, and offers customer assistance in resolving consumer complaints.
Donna Nelson of Austin is chairman of PUC, and is the past director of the PUC telecommunications section. Prior to her work at PUC, she was an assistant attorney general of Texas, where she specialized in antitrust lawsuits. She is a member of the State Bar of Texas, ex-officio member of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, and a past member of the Texas Council on Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders. Nelson received a Bachelor of Science from Black Hills State College and a Juris Doctor from Texas Tech University.
The salaries of the Public Utility Commissioners is currently $180,000.
For more information See http://www.guidrynews.com/story.aspx?id=1000072360

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Former House Speaker Tom Craddick collapses

Former House Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland, collapsed in the Capitol this morning while laying out a bill before the House Transportation Committee. His office sent out a statement saying EMS does not consider the situation serious.  For updates, we suggest checking the Texas Tribune.

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The following post is a guest contribution by Citizen Richard of Audits in the Public Interest.

In late spring of 2010, Austin residents woke to the grand news their city had been selected as the host city for Formula One racing in the United States.  Amidst the hype, and not immediately noticed, was the price tag hanging off the back of their new community award: an invoice in the amount of $250,000,000 to Formula One World Championship, Ltd, for the sanctioning fee.

A 25 followed by seven zeros is one quarter of a billion dollars and this was not all: the City of Austin would be on the hook for another $40,000,000.  The incentive, from the Texas Major Events Trust Fund (METF), would supposedly be paid from increased retail taxes.  The METF is administered by the Comptroller of Public Accounts, Susan Combs.

An extensive review by Audits in the Public Interest reveals a different picture about Formula One. (more…)

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Well, we’ve waited for these, and here they are, the Committee Chairs for your 82nd Texas Legislature:


Agriculture & Livestock: Representative Rick Hardcastle (R-Vernon)

Appropriations: Representative Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie)

Border & Intergovernmental Affairs: Representative Veronica Gonzales (D-McAllen)

Business & Industry: Representative Joe Deshotel (D-Beaumont)

Calendars: Representative Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi)

Corrections: Representative Jerry Madden (R-Richardson)

County Affairs: Representative Garnet Coleman (D-Houston)

Criminal Jurisprudence: Pete Gallego (D-Alpine)

Culture, Recreation & Tourism: Representative Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City)

Defense & Veterans’ Affairs: Representative Joe Pickett (D-El Paso) (more…)

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Here is a photo of Austin, Texas as a winter wonderland –  shared by a friend on facebook who lives in Arkansas.  If you are interested some other amazing photographs of Austin in snow by this photographer, you can go to Stanford Moore’s website by clicking here.

Austin in winter

A stunning photo by Stanford Moore

If you didn’t catch it last week, check out MSNBC’s Today Show host Matt Lauer interview with CUNY physics professor, Michio Kaku, about possible causes of these wild winter storms.  Click here to watch the segment.

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If you haven’t already pre-registered to celebrate the holidays at the 3rd Annual Austin Green Holiday Party, do so now.  It is coming up soon and this year it is hosted by 10 great organizations.

Fiesta Gardens  (2100 Jesse E. Segovia St., Austin, TX 78702)
Thursday, December 16th, 2010 from 5:30pm-9:30pm

Registration:  Pre-Registration ONLY for this Event (No Cash Accepted at Door)

Network and learn about the hosting organizations and come together for a unified 2011.  Celebrate the holidays with us and enjoy music, great food, beer, wine and other beverages, as well as holiday cheer…

Live Music by: Austin Eco-Musicians (Reed Sternberg, Bill Oliver, Frank Meyer and More!) with Tribal Nation, the Austin reggae band later in the evening.

FoodBarr Mansion (Please help support our event sponsor and friend to the environmental community, the Barr Mansion.  They are catering this event, even as their own facility is being rebuilt after the fire.)

  • Blue Cheese and Winter Squash Sandwich
  • Chicken and Pepperoni Sandwich
  • Sundried Tomato White Bean Dip with Crostini
  • Basil Hummus and Cracker Shards
  • Local Organic Farm Salad Station with assorted dressings

Beverages: Beer, Wine, Sodas, Teas and water will be provided by the following sponsors:

The Co-Hosts: Texas Green NetworkPublic Citizen • SEED Coalition • Sierra ClubDesign Build Live • Austin EcoNetwork • Solar Austin • NetImpact • Texas League of Conservation Voters • Austin Physicians for Social Responsibility

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Deepwater Horizon rig catastrophe has been called a unique event by the oil industry, but the recent history of offshore drilling suggests otherwise according to an investigative story by the Wall Street Journal.

In the months before and after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, spilling millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the industry was hit with several serious spills and alarming near-misses.

A rig operated by PTT PCL caught fire off Australia in late 2009. - Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

A blowout off the coast of Australia left oil flowing into the Timor Sea for weeks. An out-of-control well in the Gulf of Mexico dislodged a 4,000-pound piece of equipment on the deck of the Lorris Bouzigard drilling rig as workers scurried to safety. A gas leak in the North Sea aboard a production platform came within a rogue spark of a Deepwater Horizon-scale disaster off the coast of Norway.

Data from regulators around the world suggest that after years of improvement, the offshore-drilling industry’s safety record has declined over the past two years.  In 2009, in the Gulf of Mexico, there were 28 major drilling-related spills, natural-gas releases or incidents in which workers lost control of a well – up 4% from 2008, 56% from 2007, and nearly two-thirds from 2006. If you include the number of hours worked on offshore rigs in the equation, the rate of these incidents rose every year from 2006 to 2009.

There are various possible explanations for the recent spate of problems. Investigations into the Deepwater Horizon and some other recent incidents have pointed to the industry’s difficulties finding and retaining enough experienced workers, its struggles to balance safety priorities with profit demands, and occasional lapses in the face of lax regulation. These challenges have become more pronounced as oil companies continue to push the limits of technology and experience in deeper water, harsher environments and more complex oil reservoirs, the investigators say.

The six-month moratorium on deep-water drilling imposed by the Obama administration ended in October, one month ahead of schedule.  Still, the administration reversed plans to expand drilling into new areas.

Public Citizen continues to call for better regulation and stronger accountability for off-shore drilling operations.


By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

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Come close together, cats and kitties, and gather ’round, while the Powerman gets his story-telling hat- the one with the fine white brim- slips it on and talks about what’s going down with a happening riff:, with a tip o’ the hat to Lord Buckley for those yet to be hip to the flip, we are not talking bout sound. 60.000 cycles per second 60 hertz or one sixtieth of a second, precisely, exactly, over and over, up and down, positive to negative and back again, round and around. You- over in the corner, the group that seems in tune, go ahead and hit an Ohm- I know that you want to. Now don’t that sound mighty fine, but take it down real low, just a hum, the cats might have to carry this tune ’cause it’s down kinda a low, around 60 cycles or so. Now there’s a Ohm that’s fine to hear and hum that travels, it’s nice and it’s clear, and kitties don’t worry if the tone hunts around, that’s fine, it’s how it works, now I’ll tell you what’s going down.

Back in the day, not so long ago, there were wizards walked the earth mighty and proud. They worked with lightning, electricity we say, with sparks and bolts that could knock you down, pick you up and smack you around and kill a cat if you didn’t know the rules, it wasn’t nothing to play round with now, can you dig it? I knew that you could. (more…)

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(L to R) - Andy, Ryan, Melissa, and "Lady Bird" Liberty telling us how money we are (and we don't even know it! Vegas, baby!)

Yes, friends, it is that time again: Netroots Nation!  Your favorite convergence of bloggers most likely to be called Lenin’s Pioneers by Fox News.  And this time it’s in lovely Las Vegas, Andy’s personal least favorite city in the US (don’t drink, don’t smoke- what do you do?).  Hey, I have an idea– let’s have a convention in the middle of the summer and put it someplace HOTTER than Texas!  Top 3 choices: 3. Phoenix,  2. Vegas, 1. Hell (I’m just a little sour grapes because, nerd that I am, I’d rather be at the other major convention happening that week just a couple hundred miles down I-15 in San Diego.)

Ah well, it will be a party for everyone else, and I’m sure I’ll have some fun– I’ll take some comic books and it’ll be exactly the same for me.  After all, I couldn’t ask for two better traveling companions: Ryan Rittenhouse, our illustrious anti-coal organizer, and Melissa Sanchez, master of… basically everything in our office.

But because we believe in breaking down the information silos, we hope you’ll join us in person if you’re there, or in spirit if you’re not.  Highlights:

Public Citizen will have a booth.  Come join us and grab some swag.

Texas Caucus and Environmental Caucus:unfortunately both are taking place at the same time, Thu at 3pm.  Andy will be at the Enviro Caucus, Ryan and Melissa will be at the Texas Caucus.

Karaoke, Trivia Quiz, and Bowling Parties- oh my! Just because I don’t drink doesn’t mean I don’t love all of the activities that generally accompany it.  Watch for us to be involved in these events.  Want to join a trivia quiz or bowling team with us? Want to sing a duet with Ryan (and really, who doesn’t?)  Come find us!

Follow us online: (more…)

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Wolrd Oceans Day logo - because oceans should be clean not full of oil from BP spills in the Gulf of MexicoWorld Oceans Day has been celebrated unofficially since 1992, and officially since December 2008 when the UN formally recognized it. Organized by The Ocean Project and the World Ocean Network, this holiday celebrates our oceans which bring us clean air, clean food, and clean water- that is, until April 20. The explosion at BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig has, if you choose to believe the ‘official government estimate’, leaked somewhere between 12,000 and 19,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico each day. And scientists fear we will be living with the effects of this disaster for decades.

According to MSNBC.com, Bill Mott, the director of the Ocean Project said, “it’s terrible disaster and it’s raising awareness around the country and the world about the ocean’s fragility to a large extent.”

If you want to show our oceans a little more love than they have received over the past few months, here are some ideas:

Stop by the Smithsonian Ocean Portal to learn About 5 Simple Things You Can Do For The Ocean.

Visit Change.org for Ten Ways To Honor World Oceans Day.

Find events near you organized by the World Ocean Project.

ALSO:  Several groups are gathering for makeshift vigils tonight around the country to celebrate World Oceans Day and mark the 50th Day since the Deepwater Horizon explosion that began this catastrophe.  The vigil in Austin will be at 1005 Congress Ave, just a block or so south of the Texas Capitol.


By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

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Week in Review

It’s a bitter sweet day here at Public Citizen. We’ve had another successful week despite the gulf catastrophe. But, we’re all a little sad because Andrew Sauls just finished the last day of his internship. Melissa “Mami” Sanchez is both proud of her fledgling for flying off and also dismayed to see the intern nest grow a little emptier. But that means she’s on the lookout for new eager interns if you’re interested in energy advocacy work shoot her an email at [email protected].

Andrew extends his sincere thanks to all of our staff for the knowledge, training, and expertise everyone has imparted. He left today’s staff meeting to warm cheers and handshakes. Andy’s off to Houston for the weekend to celebrate Mothers’ Day.

Now, the week in review…


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Hey folks! Just letting you know that I’m going to be taking a little summer-time breather from Public Citizen. All this advocacy awesomeness is my passion and has been invigorating, but I need to unplug for a little while. Expect to see me again sometime this July!

If you’re going to miss  me, miss me — come out to Old Settler’s and say hi!


By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

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Public Citizen is an Earthshare of Texas MemberApril is Earthday, give at HEB to Earthshare

Celebrating Earthday in April, look for this tearpad at HEBs and give to Public Citizen’s Texas office through Earthshare

Public Citizen’s Texas office is pleased to announce that H-E-B has selected EarthShare of Texas to be the beneficiary of its in-store coupon promotion for April, in recognition of Earth Day. This means that customers can tear off and add check-out coupons worth $1, $3, or $5 to their total bill.

In November, H-E-B’s San Antonio region stores will feature EarthShare of Texas — giving H-E-B’s San Antonio customers the opportunity to support environmental work in the San Antonio area.

Look for the EarthShare of Texas display and tear-off coupons at the check-out stands in your local H-E-B and Central Market stores beginning in late March through April.  Help support Public Citizen, EarthShare of Texas and the Texas environment!


By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

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