Archive for January, 2012

Planned Parenthood Responds to Komen Decision to Cut Funding
January 31, 2012

Planned Parenthood “Deeply Alarmed” by Komen Foundation Succumbing to Political Pressure

HOUSTON– Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast (PPGC) today expressed deep disappointment in response to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation’s decision to stop funding breast cancer prevention, screenings, and education at Planned Parenthood health centers. Anti-women’s health groups have repeatedly targeted and boycotted the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation for partnering with Planned Parenthood to provide these lifesaving cancer screenings and news articles suggest that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation ultimately succumbed to these pressures.

“As a leading health care provider in our community, Planned Parenthood is trusted to help women identify breast cancer early. We are deeply alarmed that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation appears to have succumbed to political pressure from a vocal minority”, said Peter J. Durkin, President and CEO of PPGC. “For years, opponents of women’s health have waged an aggressive pressure campaign aimed at the Susan G. Komen Foundation at the expense of women’s health and lives.”

While not directly affected by the Komen Foundation’s decision making, PPGC is deeply concerned about the troubling precedent of putting politics before women’s health. Over the past couple of years, PPGC provided more than 41,000 women in our communities with breast health exams.

“In these tough economic times, more women than ever need access to essential health care services like lifesaving breast cancer screenings. Politics should never get in the way of a woman’s ability to access health care. We want to assure women who count on us for breast health, that we are still here for them,” said Durkin.

The Komen-funded Planned Parenthood programs have been instrumental in helping women, especially in rural and underserved communities, get breast health care and detect breast cancer early.

Over the past five years, Planned Parenthood health centers with Komen program funding have provided nearly 170,000 clinical breast exams out of the more than four million clinical breast exams performed nationwide at Planned Parenthood health centers, as well as more than 6,400 mammogram referrals out of 70,000 mammogram referrals.

Planned Parenthood’s quality, accessibility and affordability make it a leader in identifying breast cancer early when there is the best chance of successful treatment. Nationwide, Planned Parenthood doctors and nurses provide nearly 750,000 breast cancer screenings annually, offering risk assessments, breast exams, breast health information and education, and diagnostic and surgical referrals.

In the last few weeks, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has begun notifying local Planned Parenthood programs that their breast cancer initiatives will not be eligible for new grants (beyond existing agreements or plans). The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation’s leadership did not respond to Planned Parenthood requests to meet with the Foundation’s Board of Directors about the decision.

One in five women in America has come to Planned Parenthood at some point in her life. More than 90 percent of Planned Parenthood health care services are preventive in nature, including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, testing for and treatment of STDs, breast health services, Pap tests, and sexual health education and information.

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Since 1936, PPGC has been the most trusted provider of reproductive health care for women and men in the Gulf Coast region. Planned Parenthood provides birth control, annual well-woman exams, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, breast and cervical exams, sex education and advocacy for reproductive rights. With a network of thirteen health centers in Houston, southeast Texas and Louisiana, we help people get the health care they need so they can live and love the way they want to.

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Statement By Former President George H. W. Bush On The Passing of Coach Joe Paterno
January 22, 2012

A family spokesperson has confirmed that Joe Paterno,  former Penn State football coach, has died at the age of 85.  Former President George H.W Bush released the following statement.

 

  I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Joe Paterno.  He was an outstanding American who was respected not only on the field of play but in life generally — and he was, without a doubt, a true icon in the world of sports.  I was proud that he was a friend of mine.  Barbara and I send our condolences to his devoted wife Suzanne and to his wonderful family.

What Texas Democrats Are Saying About Gov. Perry Today
January 19, 2012

TDP Statement on Rick Perry Dropping Out of Presidential Race

 Austin—TDP spokesperson Anthony Gutierrez released the following statement in response to Rick Perry dropping out of the Republican presidential race:

“Dropping out of this race is the first smart decision Rick Perry’s made in a long time. Unfortunately, the aftermath of Rick Perry’s presidential bid will affect Texans for a long time. 

Rick Perry’s presidential run didn’t only damage his ego; it had real, devastating consequences on our entire state. Rick Perry used our last legislative session and state budget as a prop to launch this run. He put his political aspirations ahead of the needs of Texas children, slashed billions from public education and refused to use any of the $6 billion in our state’s savings account. 

Tens of thousands of public school teachers are unemployed right now because Rick Perry wanted to position himself for a presidential run.* Despite their shared affinity for firing people, not even Rick Perry could get excited about endorsing Mitt Romney. Even Perry was bright enough to recognize a vulture capitalist when he saw one.

Sadly, Rick Perry’s dangerous political agenda did not dissolve with his presidential campaign. Perry’s Texas Republican clones are marching on to implement the most extreme aspects of Perry’s out of touch policy proposals.” 

*Perry prohibiting the legislature from using any of the state’s saving account known as the Rainy Day Fund led to $4 billion in cuts to public education funding and tens of thousands of teacher layoffs.

Gov.Perry’s Remarks As He Ends Campaign For President
January 19, 2012

Text of Gov. Rick Perry’s Remarks
1/19/12, North Charleston, S.C.

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – Below is the text of Gov. Perry’s speech today. 

*NOTE: Gov. Perry sometimes deviates from prepared remarks.

Thank you. As I have stated numerous times on the campaign trail, this campaign has never been about the candidates.
 
I ran for President because I love America, our people and our freedom.  
 
But the mission is greater than the man.  
 
As I have traveled across this great country: from New Hampshire to California, from Iowa to Florida, and to numerous states in between, I have discovered a tremendous purpose and resiliency in our people. 
 
They have never lost hope despite current circumstances. 
 
They haven’t stopped believing in the promise of America or the American Dream. 
 
Americans are down, but we can never be counted out. We are too great a people. 
 
What is broken in America is not our people, but our politics. 
 
And what we need is a Washington that is humbler, with a federal government that is smaller so our people can live freer.
 
I entered this campaign offering a unique perspective: a governor who has led a large state leading the nation in job creation, an executive leader who has implemented conservative policies, a son of tenant farmers born with little more than a good name, but who has experienced the great possibilities of freedom. 
 
But I have never believed that the cause of conservatism is embodied by any one individual.
 
Our party, and the conservative philosophy, transcends any one individual. 
 
It is a movement of ideas that are greater than any one of us, and that will live beyond our years.
 
As a former Air Force pilot, I know we can’t lose track of the ultimate objective in carrying out our mission, and that objective is not only to defeat President Obama, but to replace him with a conservative leader who will bring about real change.
 
Our country is hurting with more than 13 million unemployed, nearly 50 million on food stamps and a debt of more than $15 trillion and growing.
 
We need bold, conservative leadership that will take on the entrenched interests and give the American People their country back.
 
I have always believed the mission is greater than the man. 
 
As I have contemplated the future of this campaign, I have come to the conclusion that there is no viable path to victory for my candidacy in 2012.
 
Therefore, today I am suspending my campaign and endorsing Newt Gingrich for president.
 
I believe Newt is a conservative visionary who can transform our country. 
 
We have had our differences, which campaigns inevitably bring out. And Newt is not perfect, but who among us is?
 
The fact is, there is forgiveness for those who seek God and I believe in the power of redemption, for it is a central tenet of my own Christian faith. 
 
And I have no question Newt Gingrich has the heart of a conservative reformer, the ability to rally and captivate the conservative movement and the courage to tell the Washington interests to take a hike if it’s what is best for the country.
 
As a Texan, I have never shied away from a good fight, especially when the cause was right. 
 
But as someone who has always admired a great Texas forefather — Sam Houston — I know when it is time for a “strategic retreat.”
 
So I will leave the trail, return home to Texas and wind down my 2012 campaign organization.  And I will do so with pride knowing I gave myself fully to a cause worthy of our country. 
 
And as I head home, I do so with the love of my life by my side, a woman who makes every day a good one when she is by my side, my wife Anita. 
 
Thank you Anita for all you have done.
 
I also want to thank my son Griffin, my daughter Sydney, and my daughter-in-law Meredith for standing with us in this great effort.
 
With a good wife, three wonderful children, and a loving God in my life, things will be good no matter what the future holds.
 
I’m proud of the policies we put forward to the American people and believe they provide the right path forward for our party and our nation: overhauling Washington and returning power to state and local governments and to the people, creating energy jobs and energy security, cutting spending and eliminating unnecessary federal agencies and cutting taxes to a flat, fair 20 percent.   
 
And I will continue to fight for these conservative reforms because the future of our country is at stake and the road we are traveling today – President Obama’s road – endangers our future.
 
I want to thank some wonderful individuals who have stood by my side in this state: Katon Dawson, Ambassador Wilkins, and a strong and good man serving you in Congress, Mick Mulvaney.
 
I want to thank all my supporters from across the country, in particular Governor Bobby Jindal, Steve Forbes and Governor Sam Brownback, as well as Senator Jim Inhofe, Congresswoman Candice Miller and Congressman Sam Graves.
 
And I want to say a special thanks to three distinguished veterans who have joined me on the campaign trail: Medal of Honor awardee and Navy SEAL Mike Thornton, Navy Cross recipient Marcus Luttrell and Purple Heart recipient, Marine Captain Dan Moran.
 
I began this race with a sense of calling. 
 
I felt led into this arena to fight for the future of this country. 
 
I feel no different today than I did then, knowing a calling never guarantees a particular destination, but a journey that tests one’s faith and character.
 
So now the journey leads us back to Texas, neither discouraged nor disenchanted, but instead rewarded for the experience and resolute to remain in the arena and in the service of a great nation. 
 
Our country needs bold leadership and a real transformation. 
 
We must rise to the occasion and elect a conservative champion to put our nation back on the right track.  
 
And this I know, I am not done fighting for the cause of conservatism. In fact I have only begun to fight. 
 
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

Online Protest Planned For Wednesday
January 17, 2012

It is being called the largest online protest in history.   On Wednesday, several groups are uniting to fight SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act.
 
According to the Wallstreet Journal, SOPA would give federal lawsuit enforcement the authority to shut down websites that offer pirated content. 
The author of the bill estimates that 13% of  American adults have watched illegal copies of movies or TV shows online and the practice has cost media companies billions of dollars.
 
JANUARY 17, 2012 – The largest online protest in history will take place on Wednesday January 18, with thousands of websites, including some of the largest in the world, blacking out their front pages, putting up messages, or shutting down completely.The SOPA Strike, which is being organized at http://www.sopastrike.com, now has more than 10,000 participating websites, including some of the most popular in the world:

• Google.com
• Mozilla.com
• Wikipedia.org
• WordPress.org
• Archive.org
• reddit.com
• GetMiro.com
• Tucows.com
• OpenCongress.com
• Credo

Many other large companies are preparing actions but have not yet announced their exact plans.  The list on SOPAStrike.com will be kept up to date throughout the protest.

Tiffiniy Cheng, co-founder of Fight for the Future, the non-profit which first circulated the strike idea in December, said, “At its core, this is a fight for freedom of speech, and the language in SOPA and PIPA have stepped over the line. The SOPA Strike on Wednesday is the largest online protest that has ever happened.  Several hundred million people, potentially more than one billion, will see messages about the dangers of censoring the Internet.  That is absolutely unprecedented.”  

The participation of Google and Wikipedia bring the reach of the protests far beyond any other online protest.  The idea of blacking out sites on the 18th gained momentum on Reddit.com, which has had a huge surge of anti-SOPA activism from their users as well as support from its founders.  Fight for the Future created SOPAStrike.com and AmericanCensorship.org to organize the protest. SOPAStrike.com will also provide an up-to-date list of participating websites.

About Fight for the Future

Fight for the Future is a new non-profit organization that works to defend online rights and personal freedoms.  Fight for the Future organized American Censorship Day on November 16, 2011, the largest online protest in the past 5 years, with more than 4 million people contacting Congress and companies like Tumblr and Mozilla taking unprecedented steps to drive users to contact Congress.

Links and Company Announcements

Google’s plans – http://buswk.co/AbLFXI

Wikipedia announcement – http://bit.ly/xkd9Xp

Reddit announcement – http://bit.ly/zpgUWZ

POLITICO Article on Protest Plans – http://politi.co/zXleB2

What Governor Perry is Saying About New Hampshire Results
January 10, 2012

Governor Rick Perry decided to skip New Hampshire after polling in last place, but he and his campaign are obviously keeping their eye on the results and the next battle in South Carolina.

Here’s the statement, just in from the campaign. It was sent from South Carolina, the next primary battleground and the place Perry hopes to salvage his bid for the White House.

“Tonight’s results in New Hampshire show the race for ‘conservative alternative’ to Mitt Romney remains wide open. I skipped New Hampshire and aimed my campaign right at conservative South Carolina, where we’ve been campaigning hard and receiving an enthusiastic welcome. I believe being the only non-establishment outsider in the race, the proven fiscal and social conservative and proven job creator will win the day in South Carolina.


“South Carolina is the next stop. I have a head start here, and it’s friendly territory for a Texas governor and veteran with solid outsider credentials, the nation’s best record of job creation, and solid fiscal, social and Tea Party conservatism.”

City of Houston Neighborhood Director is Out
January 9, 2012

Only a few months after being appointed as the new Director of the City of Houston’s Department of Neighborhoods, Catherine Flowers has resigned according to several sources.

This morning, Mayor Annise Parker sent a memo to council members and staff about the appointment of an Interim Director

 Her bio was still on the city’s website as of 10:40 this morning.  According to the official bio, Flowers has “more than 20 years of successful nonprofit, public service, corporate and self-employment experience.  She has worked closely with community leaders, non-profits, elected officials, city agencies, churches and small businesses to lead projects and deliver services to communities in need. Prior to her appointment as the Director of the Department of Neighborhoods, she ran a Houston-based project management and technical assistance agency.  In 2007, she worked at Capital One Bank as the Vice President of Community Development Banking, focused on economic and community development in the Houston, Port Arthur and Beaumont areas.  During her tenure there, she helped increase the bank’s lending portfolio and improve overall bank relationships.  She also created economic development programs for small businesses, churches, community development corps and nonprofits.”

No other details are available at this time.

What You Need To Know Before The Texans Playoff Game
January 5, 2012

(News Release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                   Wednesday, January 4, 2012

KEY INFO FOR HOUSTON TEXANS WILD CARD PLAYOFF GAME PRES. BY KROGER

Fans urged to arrive early and be in stadium by 3:00 p.m.

The Houston Texans will host the first playoff game in franchise history, and the first in Houston since January 16, 1994, on Saturday when they play the Cincinnati Bengals at 3:30 p.m.

The Texans have a number of exciting things planned for their fans throughout the day. In order to help fans better prepare for Saturday, following are several key pieces of information regarding the game, including ticket information, the times when parking lot and stadium gates will open and pregame activities.

General Information

  • The Texans strongly encourage all fans attending Saturday’s game to be in their seats by at least 3:00 p.m. CSTto participate in the pregame activities and be ready for kickoff.
  • Due to the large crowd and additional security, fans should allow themselves additional time to get into the stadium.
  • Ticket Information
  • Saturday’s game is sold out. The Texans advise any fans who are still looking for tickets on the re-sale market to utilize the NFL Ticket Exchange powered by Ticketmaster.
    • Only tickets acquired from team-associated outlets, including the Reliant Stadium ticket office and Ticketmaster/Ticket Exchange, can be fully validated by the club and the NFL.

Parking Lot and Stadium Gate Information

  • All non-premium parking lots will open four (4) hours prior to kickoff as with all other Texans home games. The lots will open at 11:30 a.m. CST Saturday.
  • Because of the later than normal kickoff time, fans will not be allowed block the normal flow of traffic by lining up their vehicles along Kirby Dr., Main St. or other city streets before the gates open.
  • All main stadium gates will open 90 minutes prior to kickoff as usual, meaning that they will open at 2:00 p.m. CST.
  • At the recommendation of the National Football League, the Texans will implement additional security procedures at all gates on Saturday. Fans are strongly encouraged to allow an additional 15 minutes to get into the stadium. 

Pregame and In-Game Entertainment

  • The H-E-B Tailgater of the Game – Playoff Edition contest will take place in the Blue Lot outside Budweiser Plaza. The contest will feature six previous H-E-B Tailgater of the Year winners, including this year’s winning team, Battle Red Wagon. Judging will take place from 12:15-1:45 p.m., and the winner will be announced at 2:00 p.m.
  • Exclusive playoff giveaways at every gate for all fans in attendance, including Reliant Power Towels and Kroger “Go Texans” signs.
  • A card stunt which will spell out “GO TEXANS” across the entire East side lower level when the Texans take the field for introductions. All fans seated in Sections 121-132 will be involved and are encouraged to be in their seats by 3:00 p.m.
  • Former Houston Oilers head coach Bum Phillips will serve as an honorary team captain and will help lead the team out of the tunnel for introductions. Award-winning actor Dennis Quaid, a Houston native, will join the team captains for the coin toss before kickoff.
  • The National Anthem will be performed by Grammy Award-winning Gospel artist (and Houston native) Yolanda Adams.
  • Texas native Clay Walker will perform both pregame and at halftime. Before the game, Walker will break out a special playoff-inspired rendition of “Football Time In Houston,” the unofficial Texans theme song. At halftime, he will perform a collection of his greatest hits.